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Editor's Choice: 2018 News & Views

This archive of assassination, regime change and propaganda news and commentary excerpts significant news stories and commentaries john_f_kennedy_smilingregarding alleged work by those involved with so-called "Deep State" efforts to subvert normal democratic procedures.

The materials are arranged in reverse chronological order from 2018 backward in time. They focus heavily on current news arising from the 1960s murders of President John F. Kennedy (shown in a file photo), his brother Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK). Although conventional wisdom is that the deaths were solved long ago and hence of little but historical importance our contention is that close study reveals a Rosetta Stone of lost history that makes current events far more understandable.

Much of that research probes what are known as Deep State activities, which are covert and often illegal activities by powerful private figures working with allies in government, often connected to security bodies, in ways unaccountable in the ostensible leaders. This section includes materials on such other covert activities as government-connected regime change, false flag attacks, propaganda, spy rings, blackmail, smuggling, election-rigging and other major "crimes against democracy" (in the description of historian Lance deHaven Smith). 

The top section shows excerpts since Jan. 1, 2018. Undernearth it are materials from October through December of 2017. Buttons at bottom link to sections covering earlier months in 2017. News for the entire year of 2016 is here. Below also are links to the Justice Integrity Project's multi-part and separate "Readers Guides" to the JFK, MLK and RFK assassinations containing notable books, films, archives and commentary.

Included also are several reports regarding other alleged political murders of prominent international leaders, or attempts. Correspondence should be sent to this site's editor, Andrew Kreig.

Editor's Note: Excerpts below are from the authors' own words except for subheads and "Editor's notes" such as this.

November

Nov. 9

wsj logoWall Street Journal, Donald Trump Played Central Role in Hush Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, Joe Palazzolo, Nicole Hong, Michael Rothfeld,Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Rebecca Ballhaus, Nov. 9, 2018. Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of president’s participation in transactions that violated campaign-finance laws.

david pecker croppedAs a presidential candidate in August 2015, Donald Trump huddled with a longtime friend, media executive David Pecker, in his cluttered 26th floor Trump Tower office and made a request.

What can you do to help my campaign? he asked, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Mr. Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., offered to use his National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of women if they tried to publicize alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.

Less than a year later, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pecker to quash the story of a former Playboy model who said they’d had an affair. Mr. Pecker’s company soon paid $150,000 to the model, Karen McDougal, to keep her from speaking publicly about it. Mr. Trump later thanked Mr. Pecker for the assistance.

The Trump Tower meeting and its aftermath are among several previously unreported instances in which Mr. Trump intervened directly to suppress stories about his alleged sexual encounters with women, according to interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents.

Nov. 8

Investigator's Report Announced

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: General release of Trump-Mafia collusion Road Map, Wayne Madsen (syndicated columnist, author of 16 books and former Navy intelligence officer), Nov. 8, 2018 (Whereas most WMR columns are subscription only this article is available to the general public.)

Since WMR began developing and maintaining the "Trump-Mafia collusion Road Map" in 2017, it has been WMR's intention to release it to the general public the moment Donald Trump made a hostile move on the Department of Justice and specifically, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Sessions — who was recused from overseeing the collusion investigation of Trump's and his family's criminal foreign entanglements — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are all being targeted by Trump and his criminal associates in an attempt to hide the Trump Organization's close connections to and involvement with major international criminal networks.

The Trump-Mafia Road Map illustrates the myriad nature of Trump's criminal enterprises. Due to its size and compression, the .PDF file [download here] must be expanded by at least 400 times, using a .PDF viewer, for proper reading and scrolling.

On November 7, Trump fired Sessions, removed Rosenstein from overseeing Mueller's investigation, and named, as acting Attorney General, the Attorney General's chief of staff Matt Whitaker, a GOP operative from Iowa and a close friend and political associate of Sam Clovis, a Trump campaign official and a witness called before a grand jury empaneled by Mueller. This "Wednesday afternoon massacre" was the first step toward Trump's shutting down the important work of Mueller and his team of investigators.

There is an inter-active version of the Road Map. It contains side notes and other relevant information. It can be accessed by clicking here. If you choose this viewing method, be prepared for very long load times. This is a massive document. Your device may freeze during accessing. We are, therefore, recommending only downloading the PDF document.

Nov. 5

washington post logoWashington Post, CIA contractor gets 3-month prison sentence for taking home classified information, Rachel Weiner, Nov. 5, 2018 (print edition). A former CIA contractor who kept 60 notebooks full of classified information will spend three months in prison.

cia logoWhy Reynaldo Regis over his 10 years at the agency felt compelled to look up classified information about individuals outside his purview and take it home with him, however, remains a mystery.

“The $64 question is why he was keeping those notebooks,” U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady said Friday before sentencing Regis in an Alexandria courtroom.

david petraeus cia oRegis, a Philippine native who spent 25 years in the U.S. military and held a top-secret security clearance, only told O’Grady, “I’m really sorry for what I have done . . . truly sorry.”

Sentences in such cases vary widely. A National Security Administration employee who brought work on sensitive hacking tools home was recently sentenced to five years in prison by a federal judge in Maryland. But retired Army general and former CIA director David Petraeus, left, and former national security adviser Sandy Berger both got probation for taking home classified information.

king abdullah left crown prince salman abdul aziz third right praying during 2103 funeral saudi press agency via ap

Saudi leaders at 2013 funeral (Saudi royal family photo via Associated Press)

washington post logoWashington Post, A year after Ritz-Carlton roundup, Saudi elites remain jailed by crown prince, Kevin Sullivan and Kareem Fahim, Nov. 5, 2018. Human rights activists and other analysts said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may be preparing to release more detainees to help cool the furor over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Somewhere in this kingdom, Prince Turki bin Abdullah is locked away.

Turki, 47, was once a golden scion of Saudi Arabia’s gilded royal family, a prominent son of former King Abdullah and a fighter pilot with advanced degrees who trained in the United States and Britain. He was the powerful governor of Riyadh province, then chief executive of the multibillion-dollar King Abdullah Foundation, which funds charitable work around the world.

He is now among an unknown number of superwealthy Saudis who remain detained a full year after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman startled his country by turning Riyadh’s posh Ritz-Carlton hotel into a 5-star jail for some of the nation’s most prominent citizens in what he called an anti-corruption sweep.

Prince Turki, who officials have reportedly accused of graft related to construction of the Riyadh subway, remains detained without any formal charges. His chief of staff, Gen. Ali al-Qahtani, was also arrested and died in detention under circumstances that have never been fully explained.

Early this year, the Saudi attorney general said 56 men remained locked up, some the subject of criminal investigations, with more than $106 billion in cash, real estate, businesses, securities and other assets recovered in the Ritz operation.

Mohammed said in interview last month with Bloomberg only eight men were still detained. He offered no other details, except to say, “They’re with their lawyers and facing the system that we have in Saudi Arabia.”

But other people familiar with the detentions said the number is much higher, with 45 Ritz detainees still locked up.

Nov. 2

gary hart donna rice monkey business

Model Donna Rice and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, a Colorado senator taking a cruise on a yacht named Monkey Business.The photo, allegedly a political dirty trick set up against Hart, was taken during the campaign by Rice's friend Lynn Armandt and provided to the news media

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump and the Hart-less Presidency, Maureen Dowd, Nov. 2, 2018. After 30 years, Gary Hart still wonders what might have been.

While the rest of us obsess on what happened in 2016 and what will happen on Tuesday, Gary Hart is bedeviled by what happened in 1987, and whether the tabloid mania sparked by his liaison with Donna Rice led down a rattlesnake-filled path straight to our tabloid president.

gary hart the front runner jason reitman directorHart, and a new Jason Reitman movie about the Rice imbroglio, The Front Runner, both pose the question: Is there a direct connection between Hart’s fall and Trump’s rise?

If reporters had not hidden in the bushes, would there have been any Bushes?

“I bear a very heavy burden of responsibility,” Hart says, picking at a “game plate” of elk, buffalo and quail at The Fort restaurant outside of Denver. “If all that stuff had not happened and if I had been elected, there would have been no gulf war. H.W. wouldn’t have been president. W. wouldn’t have been president. Everything would have changed. I don’t say that to aggrandize myself. It’s just, history changed.

“And that has haunted me for thirty years. I had only one talent and it wasn’t traditional politics — I could see farther ahead than anybody.’’

Hart maintained that “there was no relationship” with Rice. Rice — who became an evangelical and supports Trump — told People this week, “I’m just not discussing it.” But a married candidate can’t have a gorgeous young model fly up to D.C. from Miami for the weekend to visit his house — “the infamous townhouse,’’ as Hart’s son dryly calls it — and not attract questions if they are seen.

A recent piece by James Fallows in The Atlantic reported that Lee Atwater, the Republican dirty trickster and Poppy Bush party chief, confessed before his death that he had set up Hart for his weekend of doom on “Monkey Business.”

“That’s the only way that 48-hour period makes any sense,’’ Hart told me.

See also for background:

  • Miami Herald, The Gary Hart Story: How It Happened, by Jim McGee, Tom Fiedler and James Savage, May 10, 1987. This article was prepared by Jim McGee, Tom Fiedler and James Savage. It was first published in the Miami Herald on May 10, 1987. It is reprinted with permission of The Miami Herald. Note: This article is from  the University of North Carolina “AFS” site, which is being close on Nov. 13, 2018.
  • The Atlantic, Was Gary Hart Set Up? James Fallows, Oct. 16, 2018. November 2018 issue, What are we to make of the deathbed confession of the political operative Lee Atwater, newly revealed, that he staged the events that brought down the Democratic candidate in 1987?

Nov. 1

National Emergency?

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump ignoring the curbs on declaring a national emergency, David Nakamura, Nov. 1, 2018 (print edition). As a caravan of migrant families heads toward the United States, the president said that he was “bringing out the military for a National Emergency.” But he has filed no proclamation declaring a national crisis.

jefferson morley newDeep State, Former Spy Chiefs Warn of Trump’s Dangerous Radicalization: ‘We Have Four Years to Stop Him,’ Jefferson Morley, right, Nov. 1, 2018. Trump is similar to ISIS in that both use social media to recruit and radicalize, say Clapper and Hayden.

If you think some former U.S. intelligence officials have been harsh in their criticism of President Trump, well, they’re getting harsher. In the wake of the mail bomb arrest and the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings, James Clapper and Michael Hayden are likening President Trump’s political rhetoric to radicalization tactics used by terrorists.

james clapper oClapper, shown in a file photo, former director of the National Security Agency, and addressee of one of the bombs mailed to CNN, told a Virginia audience on Wednesday, “It’s not unlike what we experienced with ISIS where you have a group using social media to recruit and radicalize their supporters.”

While former CIA director John Brennan has attacked Trump’s character, Clapper and Hayden have tried to restrict themselves to issues of policy. No more. The president is acting like a recruiter for a terrorist organization, and a few among his supporters are acting like terrorists, the former spy chiefs say.

Former CIA director Michael Hayden, who appeared with Clapper at George Mason University, added, “I don’t want to say the two groups are equivalent, but there are parallels.”

michael hayden CIA official portraitHayden, shown in a former official photo at right, proceeded to spell them out.

“At CIA when our people looked at radicalization, I asked, ‘Is it the ideology of al-Qaeda or ISIS that attracts them? Or are these unhappy young males, who don’t have a job, have disappointments, are unattached, and are looking to attach themselves to a larger cause?”

“In this country,” said Hayden, “what you get are individuals who are unhappy, violence-prone on their own, with a great sense of grievance, who now get legitimization and justification for their grievance by attaching it to something larger themselves. .... and here’s what’s new. They now have a set of grievances to which they can attach themselves that have been articulated by the president of the United States of America.”

The charge is severe, but the most recent evidence lends credence to the claim.

“If you look at the bomber, it was all there on his van,” Hayden said. “If you look at the incident in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, [the shooter who killed 11 people had] a latent anti-Semitism, but the proximate cause was his belief that international Jewry was sponsoring the invasion of America by that caravan which is still a thousand miles from the U.S. border. That has been a constant theme coming from the White House.”

Both men said Trump’s attacks on the press, the FBI, and his critics are damaging the country’s democratic institutions, perhaps irretrievably. “We have four years to stop him,” Hayden said. “We don’t have eight.”

New Angle On Khashoggi Murder

washington post logoWashington Post, Saudi crown prince described slain journalist as a dangerous Islamist in call with White House, John Hudson, Souad Mekhennet and Carol D. Leonnig,  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist days after his disappearance in a phone call with President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton, according to people familiar with the discussion.

jamal khashoggi western suitIn the call, which occurred before the kingdom publicly acknowledged killing Khashoggi, right, the crown prince urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the U.S.-Saudi alliance and said the journalist was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group long opposed by Bolton and other senior Trump officials.

The attempt to criticize Khashoggi in private stands in contrast to the Saudi government’s later public statements decrying the journalist’s death as a “terrible mistake” and a “terrible tragedy.”

October

Oct. 31

Looking Back: Dirty Tricks or Scandal?

gary hart donna rice monkey business

Model Donna Rice and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, a Colorado senator taking a cruise on a yacht named Monkey Business.The photo, allegedly a political dirty trick set up against Hart, was taken during the campaign by Rice's friend Lynn Armandt and provided to the news media

People, 31 Years After Gary Hart Sex Scandal, Donna Rice Hughes Can Feel PTSD from Old Media Firestorm, Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, Oct. 31, 2018. At first, she hoped she could remain anonymous.

When The Miami Herald‘s bombshell front-page headline — “Miami woman is linked to Hart; Candidate denies any impropriety” — hit newsstands on May 3, 1987, the 29-year-old woman in question thought her name could be kept out of what quickly spun into the first big political scandal of its kind. Hart, of course, was Gary Hart, the married U.S. senator from Colorado who, at the time, seemed to be coasting toward the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.

The woman, spied by Herald reporters who staked out Hart’s Washington, D.C., home to investigate his reputation for womanizing, was Donna Rice, then a pharmaceutical sales rep and model-actress living in Miami.

Known today by her married name, Donna Rice Hughes spoke exclusively to PEOPLE for the new issue on newsstands Friday, ahead of the Nov. 21 nationwide opening of The Front Runner, director Jason Reitman’s big-screen retelling of the 1987 sex scandal that shut down Hart’s campaign and tarred Hughes, in her words, as a “bimbo, homewrecker, sleaze.”

“The Miami Herald didn’t know my identity. Somebody in the Hart campaign released my name to the media and so within the day the story broke, my name and other things were released,” Hughes, now 60, recalls in an interview at the kitchen table of the D.C.-area home she shares with her husband, Jack, a tech-industry businessman.

See also: The Atlantic, Was Gary Hart Set Up? James Fallows, Oct. 16, 2018. November 2018 issue, What are we to make of the deathbed confession of the political operative Lee Atwater, newly revealed, that he staged the events that brought down the Democratic candidate in 1987?

Secret Watergate Filing Released

richard nixon desk archives

President Richard Nixon in the White House Oval Office (Photo via Wikimedia and the National Record and Archives Administration).

Lawfare, The Watergate Road Map Unsealed, Benjamin Wittes, Oct. 31, 2018. The National Archives [shown at right] has released the famed — and long mysterious — Watergate national archives“Road Map,” which Special Prosecutor sent to Congress in 1974.

For background on the Road Map, and our litigation to get it released, see here and here. This only just happened, and I have not read the document yet. I’m sure that I will have things to say about it once I have had a chance to digest it, as, I suspect, will Stephen Bates and Jack Goldsmith.

For now, the document itself is [here]; redactions, on initial inspection, seem relatively minor. And here is a trove of related material also available from the National Archive.

Oct. 29

djt man in high castle nazi salutes wmr graphic

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Commentary: This is a real-life "Man in the High Castle" drama, Wayne Madsen, Oct. 29, 2018 (Subscription required). Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, a former Navy intelligence officer, has studied the Trump family extensively, including in the latest of Madsen's 16 books, "Trump's Bananas Republic."

In the television adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, The Man in the High Castle, which has, as its premise, how Americans fare in an alternate history where Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan win World War II, American John Smith becomes the SS Obergruppenführer for Nazi-occupied America. The television series has turned out to be so popular, Amazon Prime has extended it to a third season.

There is a reason why The Man in the High Castle, both the novel and the TV series, is so popular. Donald Trump has, in effect, become an Obergruppenführer over the United States.....We are all now bit players in an increasingly Nazified world. And that is why the upcoming November 6 mid-term election is the most important election in the history of the United States.

Oct. 26

Bombing Threat Against Democrats

cesar altieri sayoc

 washington post logoWashington Post, BREAKING: Bomb suspect charged with 5 federal crimes; fingerprints and DNA tie him to devices, as one more package found, authorities say, Devlin Barrett, Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky, Oct. 26, 2018. Records show Cesar Sayoc, 56, shown above in a booking photo, has a lengthy criminal record. Sayoc had a 2002 arrest for a bomb threat and others for larceny and fraud. After the Friday arrest, FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel could be seen in news footage draping a blue tarp over what was believed to be his van in a South Florida parking lot.

A man in Florida with a lengthy criminal record was arrested and charged Friday in connection with the suspected mail bombs sent to high profile figures, authorities said.

The arrest came on the same day law enforcement responded to three more devices — in Florida, New York and California — pushing the total number of packages found by authorities to 13. All of the devices were sent to people who have criticized or clashed with President Trump, and while none have detonated, officials have been on high alert and worried about whether more could be delivered.

The suspect has been identified as 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc. State records show he had a criminal record dating back decades, including a past arrest for making a bomb threat.

Sayoc was charged with transporting explosives across state lines, illegally mailing explosives, threatening former presidents and others, threatening interstate communications and assaulting federal officials, according to charging documents. He faces up to 58 years in prison, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference announcing the charges.

democratic donkey logoFBI Director Christopher Wray referred to the 13 explosive devices recovered so far as “IEDs,” an acronym for improvised explosive devices. He said investigators were able to trace Sayoc after finding a fingerprint on an envelope containing a bomb sent to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and that DNA found on two of the devices matched a sample previously taken from Sayoc during an earlier arrest.

barack obama smile HRInside the packages sent to three of the potential targets — former president Barack Obama, right, former CIA director John Brennan and Waters — were a picture of each person with red "X" marks on them, according to the criminal complaint, filed by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

A suspicious package addressed to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) found Friday at a Sacramento mail facility is also suspected to have been sent by Sayoc, a law enforcement official said. An aide to Harris said her office was told the package was similar to the others that had been sent to public figures. Tom Steyer, a major Democratic donor, also said Friday that a suspicious package mailed to him was intercepted in California; it was not immediately clear if that package was linked to the others.

Palmer Report, Commentary: Donald Trump gives utterly horrible speech after FBI arrests Trump supporter for sending bombs, Bill Palmer, below right, Oct. 26, 2018. This morning, the FBI bill palmerarrested Cesar Sayoc for sending bombs to numerous prominent Democratic political figures. Based on the propaganda on his van and his social media pages, Sayoc is a huge supporter of Donald Trump. Moments after the arrest, Trump held a pre-scheduled event at the White House. He gave a brief and generic statement condemning the bomber, but before long, Trump and his audience dissolved into incendiary rhetoric.

george soros uncreditedDuring his televised speech, Donald Trump lashed out at “globalists” which prompted some people in his audience to begin yelling the name of George Soros (left) – who was targeted by the bomber – while also chanting “lock him up.”

To be clear, Trump’s supporters were calling for Soros to be locked up, not the guy who tried to kill Soros. Donald Trump then repeated the “lock him up” remark himself. Again, this came after the FBI arrested a Trump supporter for sending these bombs.

That’s right, after one of Donald Trump’s own supporters was arrested for trying to murder George Soros and other liberals, Trump’s response is that he wants Soros to be imprisoned. It’s clear that Trump has no intention of taking responsibility for his own rhetoric, and if anything, he’s ramping up that rhetoric.

The Atlantic, Why the Mail Bomber Wasn’t Charged With Terrorism, Kathy Gilsinan, For domestic actors without international connections, the First Amendment and other civil-liberties protections make it tough to do so.

Donald Trump condemned a spate of attempted mail bombings this week as “terrorizing acts.” And his Justice Department today charged a suspect with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive and threats against former presidents.

Announcing the charges against Cesar Sayoc of Florida, Attorney General Jeff Sessions characterized the mailings, which were directed at prominent critics of Trump, as “political violence” — which is a common way of describing terrorism.

cesar altieri sayocSo why wasn’t Sayoc (shown at right in a mug shot) charged with terrorism?

There’s a popular perception that investigators are quicker to label violent crimes by Muslims “terrorism” than they are, say, right-wing extremist violence. This perception is well founded, and the approach is morally inconsistent, but the reasons aren’t necessarily related to racism.

In the United States, the most frequently used terrorism-related charge, by far, is for providing “material support” to a foreign terrorist organization. Support can mean anything from offering money or advice to showing up in person to help a group that is on the State Department’s designated list of terrorist organizations.

These days, the organization at issue tends to be ISIS. Modern terrorism in the United States is largely a homegrown phenomenon; even most of the actors charged with ISIS-related offenses in the U.S. are American citizens or permanent residents. But in the eyes of the law, the connection to an international terrorist group, even if it’s only rhetorical or ideological, matters a great deal.

For domestic actors without such connections, the law — and the intelligence community’s investigative powers — runs up against First Amendment and other civil-liberties protections. The U.S. government does not formally designate domestic terrorist organizations. So it may not be illegal to give money to a domestic extremist group like Aryan Nations, even if some members commit violence.

“The First Amendment protects the right of people to associate with each other,” said Mary McCord, a former acting assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department who is currently a professor at Georgetown Law. “And it certainly protects the right for people to express their points of view, political or otherwise.”

“We don’t worry about that with foreign terrorist organizations because foreign terrorist organizations don’t have First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution,” McCord said.

In effect, whether a suspect gets formal “terrorism” charges or not, the justice system still allows for harsh punishment. Sessions noted that if convicted, Sayoc could face up to 50 years in prison. But the political discussion remains acute and divisive.

“Often the question really is one that focuses just on the policy side, whether or not we want to think of this as terrorism, or whether it feels like terrorism,” said Matthew Olsen, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, which coordinates terrorism-related intelligence across the government.

Either way, with the count of mailed explosive devices now at 13 and a suspect in custody, the terror has spread, and so have the politics.

cesar sayoc michael symonette IMG 3908

Bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc poses with "Michael the Black Man," variously known as Michael Symonette and Michael Israel, at a "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) rally for Trump (file photo). See Washington Post story, excerpted below, on "Michael the Black Man," a religious cult member acquitted of two murders in Florida and a frequent presence at Trump rallies positioned behind the president by rally organizers to show racial diversity on television screens while the president speaks. Separately, news reports state that Sayoc worked many years as a bouncer and / or promotions worker in the strip club scene in the Miami area.

washington post logoWashington Post, Who is Sayoc? Here’s what we know about the suspect, Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Mark Berman​, Oct. 26, 2018. Cesar Altieri Sayoc is believed to be the owner of a white van plastered with names and photos of prominent Democrats and media figures, several of them framed by shooting targets.

Next to the pro-Trump stickers plastered all over the white van authorities believe belongs to Cesar Sayoc are the names and photos of dozens of prominent Democrats and media figures — former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former first lady Michelle Obama, former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta E. Lynch, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, filmmaker Michael Moore, “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.

Authorities on Friday arrested Sayoc and identified him as a suspect in the sprawling mail-bomb scare that included at least a dozen suspicious packages sent to political and media figures, including many pictured on the van.

republican elephant logoSayoc, a 56-year-old registered Republican, lives in Aventura, Fla., near the facility from where many of the packages were mailed, authorities said.

Sayoc, who was previously known to law enforcement officials, has been arrested nearly a dozen times in Florida, including a 2002 arrest for making a bomb threat. His criminal record in the state extends to the early 1990s, starting with his arrest for larceny at the age of 29, according to state records. Other charges of larceny, grand theft and fraud would soon follow across the southern part of the state.

In the 2002 bomb threat case, Sayoc pleaded guilty to the felony without a trial and was sentenced to probation, the records show.

According to Miami-Dade County jail booking records, Sayoc called Florida Power and Light and threatened to blow up the local electric utility. Sayoc said “it would be worse than Sept. 11″ and also threatened something would happen to the FPL representative he was talking to if the utility cut his electricity.

FBI logoHe declared bankruptcy in 2012, according to a court filing that said he lived with his mother at that time.

A lawsuit in which Sayoc was deposed said he had been a manager at a strip club called Stir Crazy for 35 years. In that same deposition, Sayoc claimed he was also a pro wrestler, a Chippendales dancer, a professional soccer player in Milan, and an arena football player in Arizona.

See related 2017 story on MAGA supporter "Michael the Black Man."

washington post logoWashington Post, The strange story of that ‘Blacks for Trump’ guy standing behind POTUS at his Phoenix rally, Katie Mettler and Lindsey Bever, Aug. 23, 2017. At a number of political rallies over the past year, a character calling himself “Michael the Black Man” has appeared in the crowd directly behind Donald Trump, impossible to miss and prompting widespread fascination.

He holds signs that scream “BLACKS FOR TRUMP” and wears a T-shirt proclaiming with equal conviction that “TRUMP & Republicans Are Not Racist.”

Almost always, he plugs his wild website, Gods2.com, across his chest.

And so it was Tuesday night before a crowd of Trump supporters in Phoenix who had come to watch another show. There was the president, whipping up the wildly cheering crowd, and then there was Michael the Black Man, chanting just beyond Trump’s right shoulder in that trademark T-shirt.

The presence of Michael — variously known as Michael Symonette, Maurice Woodside and Mikael Israel — has inspired not only trending Twitter hashtags but a great deal of curiosity and Google searches. Internet sleuths find the man’s bizarre URL, an easily accessible gateway to his strange and checkered past.

The radical fringe activist from Miami once belonged to a violent black supremacist religious cult, and he runs a handful of amateur, unintelligible conspiracy websites. He has called Barack Obama “The Beast” and Hillary Clinton a Ku Klux Klan member. Oprah Winfrey, he says, is the devil.

Most curiously, in the 1990s, he was charged, then acquitted, with conspiracy to commit two murders.

But Michael the Black Man loves President Trump.

It’s unclear whether the White House or Trump’s campaign officials are aware of Michael the Black Man’s turbulent history or extreme political views.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a Washington Post query about Michael the Black Man by saying, in a Wednesday-morning email: “You would have to contact the campaign.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Man Arrested in Connection With Pipe Bombs Sent to Trump Critics, William K. Rashbaum and Alan Feuer, Oct. 26, 2018. Federal authorities made an arrest on Friday in connection with the nationwide bombing campaign against outspoken critics of President Trump.

cory booker official profileIt was not immediately clear who had been taken into custody, but the arrest took place in Florida, two law enforcement officials said. The arrest came only hours after the mysterious spate of pipe bombs spread further on Friday morning as federal authorities said that they had found two more of the explosive devices: one addressed to Senator Cory Booker, left, and the other to James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence.

cnn logoThe package addressed to Mr. Clapper was meant to be delivered to the New York offices of CNN, where he works as an analyst, but was intercepted at a mail facility in Midtown Manhattan, police officials in New York City said. The package addressed to Mr. Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, was found in Florida, which two people briefed on the matter have said has become a focus of the intense, nationwide investigation into the bombs.

ny times logojames clapper oNew York Times, Two More Bombs Found, Addressed to Cory Booker and CNN, Oct. 26, 2018. Two more explosive devices were intercepted today: One was sent to Senator Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, and the other to James R. Clapper Jr., right, the former director of national intelligence. The package sent to Mr. Clapper was addressed to CNN’s offices in New York.

Oct. 24

Top Democrats, Media Receive Suspected Bombs

washington post logoWashington Post, Potential explosives sent to Obama, Clinton and CNN spur search for other devices, Devlin Barrett, Mark Berman and Cleve R. Wootson Jr.​, Oct. 24, 2018. The devices sent to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in New York and former president Barack Obama in Washington are thought to be the work of the person who sent a similar device to liberal philanthropist George Soros, two law enforcement officials said.

Roll Call, Capitol Police Investigate Another Suspicious Package; Senate Staff Warned of Mail Threats, Katherine Tully-McManus, Oct. 24, 2018. Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters was apparent intended target.

barack obama smile HRPalmer Report, Opinion: Here’s how to fight back against the bombs sent to President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats, Bill Palmer, Oct. 24, 2018. We’re in the middle of a still-unfolding and profoundly disturbing situation which can only be described as a terrorist attack against the United States. Based on the reporting thus far, bombs have been mailed to President Obama (shown at right), Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Brennan, Eric Holder, and other prominent Democratic figures. Even as we wait for more details, one thing is abundantly clear: how we fight back against this.

When people resort to violence against political officials, it’s clear that they’re trying to subvert democracy. Someone out there doesn’t want Democratic politicians to hold office, or doesn’t want Democratic politicians to remain alive, or wants Democrats to be afraid to go vote.

So if you’re a Democrat, the solution is simple: go vote. Seriously, vote. The best way you can fight back against an attack on democracy is to exercise the rights you’re given in a democracy.

Roll Call, The Coincidence of Bomb Recipients, Trump and Far-Right Rhetoric, John T. Bennett, Oct. 24, 2018. White House ducks questions about president’s win-at-all-costs polarizing approach

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump supporters go berserk at rally after Democrats are targeted with bombs, Bill Palmer, Oct. 24, 2018. Today we saw an unmistakable attempt at assassinating Donald Trump’s most frequent Democratic political targets, as someone sent mail bombs to everyone from President Obama to Hillary Clinton to Maxine Waters. Trump’s response to the terrorist attack has been weak and generic at best, and his refusal to cancel his planned political rally tonight has been widely criticized.

Now the rally itself is quickly dissolving into precisely what one might have expected.Trump supporters at the Wisconsin rally are already chanting “Lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton, just hours after someone tried to murder her, according to MSNBC. Things are apparently so in danger of getting out of control at the rally, even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan – a man without a spine – has felt compelled to meekly ask the crowd to dial it back. Trump himself has yet to speak at the event.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘We have a serious problem’: Paul Volcker is worried about something worse than inflation, Heather Long, Oct. 24, 2018. The former Fed chairman said he is aghast at how Americans no longer trust in government, media, science or about anything else. He chastised President Trump for exacerbating the problem.

Trump Trivializes Saudi Murder

jamal khashoggi son sahal with mbs

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, widely suspected of ordering the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate on Oct. 2, greets the victim's eldest son Sahal Khashoggi, who is forbidden to leave Saudi Arabia. (Saudi government photo and video. Analyst's column excerpted below.)

ny times logoNew York Times, Turkey’s President and Saudi Prince Escalate Battle Over Khashoggi Killing, David D. Kirkpatrick and Carlotta Gall, Oct. 24, 2018 (print edition). For the strongmen of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the dispute over the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is personal and political. Their competing stage shows on Tuesday were the latest salvos in an increasingly high-stakes battle that no longer appears to leave either one room for retreat, pitting against each other two American allies who have each aspired to be the leader of their region.

recep tayyip erdogan o presidentPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, shown at left in a file photo, swept into Ankara’s wood-paneled Parliament on Tuesday to level his most direct attack yet against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, accusing his government of planning the “savage murder” and mutilation of the dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Hours later, Prince Mohammed bounded into the gilded conference hall of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh to a standing ovation from scores of oil executives, bankers and other businessmen who had risked association with scandal over the killing of Mr. Khashoggi for a chance to profit from the kingdom’s vast wealth.

“More people, more money,” the crown prince told reporters, pronouncing the event a success despite the withdrawal of dozens of speakers and the pleas of many businessmen for him to spare them embarrassment by calling it off.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump says Saudis engaged in ‘worst coverup ever’ as U.S. imposes penalties, Kareem Fahim, Tamer El-Ghobashy, John Hudson and Chico Harlan, Oct. 24, 2018 (print edition). Turkey’s president said the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “planned” and called for the extradition of the Saudi suspects.

CraigMurray.com via Southfront: Commentary: Khashoggi, Erdogan and the Truth, Craig Murray (shown at left, author, broadcaster and former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan craig murray new2002-2004), Oct. 24, 2018. The Turkish account of the murder of Khashoggi given by President Erdogan is true, in every detail. Audio and video evidence exists and has been widely shared with world intelligence agencies, including the US, UK, Russia and Germany, and others which have a relationship with Turkey or are seen as influential.

That is why, despite their desperate desire to do so, no Western country has been able to maintain support for Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, right. I have not seen the mohammed bin salman al saudvideo from inside the consulate, but have been shown stills which may be from a video. The most important thing to say is that they are not from a fixed position camera and appear at first sight consistent with the idea they are taken by a device brought in by the victim.

There are many things to learn from the gruesome murder other than the justified outrage at the event itself. It opens a window on the truly horrible world of the extremely powerful and wealthy.

The first thing to say is that the current Saudi explanation, that this was an intended interrogation and abduction gone wrong, though untrue, does have one thing going for it. It is their regular practice.

bbc news logo2The Saudis have for years been abducting dissidents abroad and returning them to the Kingdom to be secretly killed. The BBC World Service often contains little pockets of decent journalism not reflected in its main news outlets, and here from August 2017 is a little noticed piece on the abduction and “disappearance” of three other senior Saudis between 2015-17. Interestingly, while the piece was updated this month, it was not to include the obvious link to the Khashoggi case.

The key point is that European authorities turned a completely blind eye to the abductions in that BBC report, even when performed on European soil and involving physical force. The Saudi regime was really doing very little different in the Khashoggi case.

jamal kahshoggiIn fact, inside Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi (right) was a less senior and important figure than those other three abducted then killed, about whom nobody kicked up any fuss, even though the truth was readily available. Mohammed Bin Salman appears to have made two important miscalculations: he misread Erdogan and he underestimated the difference which Khashoggi’s position as a Washington Post journalist made to political pressure on Western governments.

washington post logoWashington Post, Saudi crown prince calls Khashoggi killing ‘heinous crime,’ Kevin Sullivan and William Branigin, Oct. 24, 2018. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made his first public comments on the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during an appearance by the prince at an investment conference in Riyadh.​

Oct. 22

Saudi Killing

jamal khashoggi western suit

ny times logoNew York Times, Turkey’s President Vows to Detail Khashoggi Death ‘in Full Nakedness,’ David D. Kirkpatrick, Oct. 22, 2018 (print edition). Turkish officials have been leaking lurid details for weeks about the assassination and reported dismemberment of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, right, in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

recep erdogan with flagBut President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, keen to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia, has until now mostly held his tongue.

turkey flagOn Sunday, Mr. Erdogan broke his silence, promising that within 48 hours he would remove the lid completely from what his spokesmen are now calling a Saudi cover-up. “We will reveal it,” he said in a televised speech. “It will be revealed in full nakedness.”

With international outrage at Mr. Khashoggi’s killing increasingly focused on the potential culpability of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr. Erdogan appears to sense an opportunity.

washington post logoWashington Post, Germany halts arms deals with Saudi Arabia, encourages allies to do the same, Rick Noack, Oct. 22, 2018. "Arms exports can’t take place in the current circumstances," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

washington post logogina haspel screenshotWashington Post, CIA director flies to Turkey amid controversy over Khashoggi killing, John Hudson, Shane Harris and Josh Dawsey​, Oct. 22, 2018. CIA Director Gina Haspel, right, departed for Turkey on Monday amid a growing international uproar over Saudi Arabia’s explanation of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to people familiar with the matter.

Intelligence officials are increasingly skeptical of the Saudi account and have warned President Trump that the idea that rogue operators flew to Istanbul and killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi without the knowledge or consent of Saudi leaders is dubious, a White House official said.

Saudi Clout In DC

washington post logoWashington Post, Inside the Saudis’ Washington influence machine: How the kingdom gained power through fierce lobbying and charm offensives, Tom Hamburger, Beth Reinhard and Justin Wm. Moyer, Oct. 22, 2018 (print edition).  In 2017, Saudi payments to lobbyists and consultants in Washington more than tripled over the previous year, public filings show.

The strength of the Saudi operation is now being tested amid a global condemnation of the killing of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi earlier this month in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul — a death the kingdom belatedly acknowledged last week.

More on Saudi Murder Most Foul

saudi consular service cropped

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Khashoggi Drama - A Deal Is No Longer Possible -- Erdogan Demands That MbS Goes, Staff report, Oct. 22, 2018. The Khashoggi saga continues to influence Middle East policies. On Friday, the Saudi regime admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Istanbul. Since then they have changed their story twice.

Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi clown prince and effective ruler, does not seem to have any good media advisors. By not sticking to one story, all further Saudi accounts will immediately come into doubt.

jamal khashoggi mustafa al madani

The Saudis originally claimed that Khashoggi had left the consulate. We now know why they felt safe to make that claim. CNN has a new Turkish story of a decoy which was send out to make it look as if Khashoggi left. They provide pictures to prove it. While Khashoggi was half bald, the decoy in Khashoggi's cloth[ing] seems to have full hair.

Khashoggi was a personal friend of Erdogan. He was a columnist at the Washington Post, the CIA's most favored news outlet. Mohammad bin Salman is an enemy of both. Neither the neocon opinion editor of the Post, Fred Hiatt, nor Erdogan have any love for the Saudi clown prince. They would of course raise a ruckus when given such a chance.

They will pile on and air the Saudi's dirty linen until MbS is gone. Years of lobbying and tens of millions of dollars to push pro-Saudi propaganda have now gone to waste.

The affair is damaging to Trump. He built his Middle East policy on his relations with Saudi Arabia. But he can not avoid the issue and has to call out MbS over the killing.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed is Mohammad bin Salman's mentor and partner in crime in Yemen. MbZ is smarter than MbS -- and will be more difficult to dislodge.

The Riyadh administration must dethrone Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at once. It has no other choice. Otherwise, it is going to pay very heavy prices. If they fail to quash the trap set up targeting Saudi Arabia through bin Zayed, they will be victims of Trump’s “You won’t last two weeks” statement, and the process is going to start to work in that direction.    ...    This duo must be taken out of the entire region and neutralized. Otherwise they are going to throw the region in fire.

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Khashoggi Drama - A Deal Is No Longer Possible -- Erdogan Demands That MbS Goes, Staff report, Oct. 22, 2018. The Khashoggi saga continues to influence Middle East policies. On Friday, the Saudi regime admitted that Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Istanbul. Since then they have changed their story twice.

Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi clown prince and effective ruler, does not seem to have any good media advisors. By not sticking to one story, all further Saudi accounts will immediately come into doubt.

jamal khashoggi mustafa al madaniThe Saudis originally claimed that Khashoggi had left the consulate. We now know why they felt safe to make that claim. CNN has a new Turkish story of a decoy which was send out to make it look as if Khashoggi left. They provide pictures to prove it. While Khashoggi was half bald, the decoy in Khashoggi's cloth[ing] seems to have full hair.

Khashoggi was a personal friend of Erdogan. He was a columnist at the Washington Post, the CIA's most favored news outlet. Mohammad bin Salman is an enemy of both. Neither the neocon opinion editor of the Post, Fred Hiatt, nor Erdogan have any love for the Saudi clown prince. They would of course raise a ruckus when given such a chance.

They will pile on and air the Saudi's dirty linen until MbS is gone. Years of lobbying and tens of millions of dollars to push pro-Saudi propaganda have now gone to waste.

The affair is damaging to Trump. He built his Middle East policy on his relations with Saudi Arabia. But he can not avoid the issue and has to call out MbS over the killing.

Oct. 20

The Atlantic, Letter to the Editor Opinion: Gary Hart Was Not Set Up, James Savage, Oct. 20, 2018. A journalist who reported on Gary Hart’s downfall in 1987 pushes back on the notion that the candidate’s Monkey Business incident may have been staged.

I was the Miami Herald’s investigations editor who helped report and edit the 1987 stories that uncovered Gary Hart’s relationship with Donna Rice and prompted him to quit his presidential campaign.

I believe from my personal knowledge of the facts that The Atlantic’s article contains serious factual errors.

The article’s conspiracy theory suggests that William Broadhurst deliberately maneuvered Hart into potentially damaging press exposure by arranging for him to spend time on the yacht Monkey Business and have his picture taken with Donna Rice sitting on his lap.

The truth is the late Mr. Broadhurst did everything short of violence trying to prevent the Herald’s investigations team from publishing the first story about the scandal.

I believe the Atlantic story also implies that Donna Rice was somehow involved in a conspiracy to embarrass Hart. I am convinced from my firsthand knowledge of how the Herald learned about Hart’s plan to meet with Ms. Rice that she did not have any involvement in any plan to embarrass Hart.

Atlantic author James Fallows replies: The details of the Miami Herald’s handling of the Gary Hart–Donna Rice case were donna rice hughes explicitly not the topic of my article.

The literature on the topic is too vast and contradictory to set out, even in a magazine article many times longer than the one I wrote.....what the Herald did was not the topic I was discussing. The news my article conveyed is what might have happened before anyone at any newspaper got involved.

Oct. 16

gary hart donna rice monkey business

Model Donna Rice and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, a Colorado senator taknig a cruise on a yahct named Monkey Business, in a photo taken during the campaign by Rice's friend Lynn Armandt and provided to news media

The Atlantic, Was Gary Hart Set Up? James Fallows, Oct. 16, 2018. November 2018 issue, What are we to make of the deathbed confession of the political operative Lee Atwater, newly revealed, that he staged the events that brought down the Democratic candidate in 1987?

lee atwater headshotIn the spring of 1990, after he had helped the first George Bush reach the presidency, the political consultant Lee Atwater learned that he was dying. Atwater, right, who had just turned 39 and was the head of the Republican National Committee, had suffered a seizure while at a political fund-raising breakfast and had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. In a year he was dead.

Atwater put some of that year to use making amends. Throughout his meteoric political rise he had been known for both his effectiveness and his brutality. And in a private act of repentance that has remained private for nearly three decades, he told Raymond Strother that he was sorry for how he had torpedoed Gary Hart’s chances of becoming president.

“There were a lot of people on the dock, people getting off their boats and wandering up and down on the wharf,” [Gary] Hart told me. “While I was waiting for Broadhurst and whatever he was working out with the customs people, I sat on this little piling on the pier.” Hart said that Donna Rice’s friend and companion on the boat, Lynn Armandt, was standing a short distance away. “Miss Armandt made a gesture to Miss Rice, and she immediately came over and sat on my lap. Miss Armandt took the picture. The whole thing took less than five seconds, with lots of other people around. It was clearly staged, but it was used after the fact to prove that some intimacy existed.”

What are we to make of Strother’s late-in-life revelation of Atwater’s deathbed confession?

Oct. 19

bill yeomans afj cropped CustomAlliance for Justice, Opinion: The Captured Court, Bill Yeomans, right, Oct. 19, 2018. In the aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation, Supreme Court justices have taken to public fora to assert the independence of the Court and to assure the public that the Court is not a political institution. Most prominently, Chief Justice Roberts distinguished justices from officials in the political branches, noting that “they speak for the people” while the justices “do not speak for the people, but we speak for the Constitution.”

As aspiration, Roberts’ comment shines, but in current context, it is a distraction from the stark reality that the Court is a political institution. It has been captured by the sustained effort of the Republican Party to distort the third branch of government into an instrument to promote a right-wing political agenda. While the justices will not decide cases in the language of partisan politics, the conservative majority will repeatedly reach results that match Republican political goals. The conservative justices were selected by political officials and confirmed through a highly partisan political process because they were reliable votes for those results. The product is a political institution.

The roots of the drive to reshape the Court to serve conservative political goals lie in the reaction of social conservatives against Brown v. Bd. of Education and Roe v. Wade, and the effort by Lewis Powell and others in the early 1970’s and thereafter to mobilize the business community to capture the courts. The Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation were central to the rise of the organized conservative legal movement in the 1980’s. That movement focused on building a strong cadre of rising lawyers who could be appointed to the bench by Republican presidents. Each of the Republican appointed justices now sitting – Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh – has deep roots in the Federalist Society. Indeed, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were selected by Trump from lists compiled specially for him by the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.

The justices were groomed to be reliable conservatives. Each served in one or more Republican administrations and each completed a successful tryout on a federal court of appeals. They were nominated for the Supreme Court because Republicans were confident there would be no surprises in their rulings. They were adherents to a legal philosophy (characterized by subtle variations that rarely affect results on major issues) that would produce outcomes that align almost perfectly with the Republican political agenda. By relying on their legal philosophy, they would exercise non-partisan judgment to interpret the laws and Constitution to promote Republican interests.

Reform the Supreme Court

The Kavanaugh confirmation debacle has justifiably left people angry. We must continue to process the allegations against Kavanaugh, the limitations imposed on the FBI investigation, and the suppression of documents by the White House and Senate Republicans. But it is also time to get serious about reforming the Supreme Court.The president and Republicans in the Senate have installed a radically conservative justice who was credibly accused of sexual assault and lied to the Judiciary Committee about matters ranging from his activities in the Bush White House to the meaning of his high school yearbook. They pressed ahead with a supremely flawed candidate to complete the right-wing takeover of the Court that has been a central Republican political goal for at least fifty years.

The Court is now indisputably a political institution in which Republican justices will move the law inexorably to the right in furtherance of the Republican agenda. By further weakening public confidence in the Court’s independence and neutrality, Republicans have damaged its legitimacy. Congress must begin to repair the Court.Proposals for essential reforms have been floating around for years, including adoption of a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, reform of recusal practices, limits on financial holdings and outside appearances, better policing of conflicts of interest, and the adoption of 18-year terms.

The elevation of Kavanaugh brings several of these reforms into play, but two stand out. First, Congress must impose a code of conduct and method for enforcement on Supreme Court justices, if the justices will not do it themselves. Judge Henderson, acting as Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit because of Judge Garland’s recusal, referred to Chief Justice Roberts more than a dozen complaints filed against Judge Kavanaugh based on the confirmation process. Complaints filed against federal district court and court of appeals judges can be dismissed by the chief judge or referred to the circuit’s judicial council for fuller consideration. Henderson, apparently, thought these complaints were sufficiently meritorious to send forward.

It is common to ask the Chief Justice to refer the complaints to another circuit. The complaints were sent to Roberts before Kavanaugh’s swearing in. After Kavanaugh was sworn in, Roberts, in what appears to be a ministerial act, referred the complaints to Chief Judge Tymkovich of the Tenth Circuit. Tymkovich will almost certainly dismiss them now that Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court. Because the code of conduct and disciplinary process that govern court of appeals judges do not apply to Supreme Court justices, Kavanaugh will escape accountability. The law must be changed.

Congress also must address the issue of recusals. Currently, each justice decides whether or not to recuse him or herself from a matter and there is no requirement that a justice offer reasons. The bar and public, therefore, often can only speculate about a justice’s reasoning. That’s troubling since the Court’s legitimacy depends entirely on the justices’ written explanations of the bases for their decisions. Compounding the concern, the Chief Justice has suggested that justices are not bound by the existing recusal statute. Ideally, the Court should itself articulate clear standards and an improved process for recusal, but its failure to do so places the burden on Congress to act.

Kavanaugh’s angry, intemperate, and partisan tirade before the Judiciary Committee requires close monitoring of his recusal decisions. He denounced the Clintons, Democrats, and groups on the left, creating the appearance, at least, that he cannot fairly adjudicate claims involving them. While Congress faces legitimate separation of powers concerns in this area, it must act to the full extent of its constitutional authority to ensure that justices apply clear standards transparently when faced with recusal decisions.

Progressives also must begin thinking long term about expanding the Court. This change cannot happen until Democrats control the White House, the House, and 60 votes in the Senate.

bill yeomans afj cropped CustomBill Yeomans, right, is the Senior Justice Fellow for Justice at Alliance for Justice. He previously taught constitutional law, civil rights, and legislation at American University Washington College of Law. He also served for 26 years in the Department of Justice, where he litigated cases involving voting rights and discrimination in employment, housing, and education, and prosecuted police officers and racially motivated violent offenders before assuming a series of management positions, including acting Assistant Attorney General. For three years, Bill served as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has also held positions at AFJ and the American Constitution Society.

Oct. 18

terry albury gofundme photo

Former FBI special agent Terry Albury, sentenced to four years in prison on espionage charges after what he describes as whistleblowing (personal photo via GoFundMe campaign)

The Intercept, As FBI Whistleblower Terry Albury Faces Sentencing, His Lawyers Say He Was Motivated by Racism and Abuses at the Bureau, Alice Speri, Oct. 18, 2018. On Thursday, Judge Wilhelmina Wright sentenced Terry Albury to 48 months in prison, telling him that his disclosure “put our country at risk.” Albury pleaded guilty to unlawful transmission and unlawful retention of national defense information, which under the Espionage Act could earn him 10 years in prison each.

Albury was specifically charged with leaking two documents to the media — one that highlighted FBI methods for recruiting informants and another that was about threats from an unspecified Middle Eastern country — and retaining another. In a search warrant affidavit released at the time of his plea, the government said that Albury had also accessed other documents published by the news outlet.

In January 2017, Albury was assigned by the FBI to be an airport liaison, working to recruit informants at the border. According to the government sentencing memo, he continued to take FBI documents home from the airport — though he never shared them with anyone. When law enforcement raided his home, in August 2017, they found the documents on a storage device in a shirt pocket in his closet, wrapped in a note with a reporter’s phone number of it.

Prosecutors wrote that Albury acted with “clear disrespect for the law and his profession” and that his actions “put us all at risk.”

While they maintained that “motive is irrelevant to the offenses,” they called into question whether Albury was driven by “social conscience,” and said that he was no whistleblower because, in their view, the matters he exposed don’t constitute abuse. “Were the defendant truly troubled or disturbed or at odds with FBI policies or practices, he could have walked away,” they wrote. “Ultimately, he chose instead to engage in criminal conduct for 18 months rather than engage any process to remedy the ills he perceived against others or felt against himself.

That argument was supported by an amicus brief filed by 17 First Amendment scholars. The group wrote that between 2 to 3 million U.S. officials have the authority to classify information, and that last year, they made more than 49.5 million classification decisions — a 10 percent increase over 2016. Reviews of classification practices have regularly concluded that the procedure is widely abused, that classifying information is too easy, and that there is no consequence for misclassification. A former director of the Information Security Oversight Office cited in the scholars’ brief reported that information “published in third-grade textbooks” is classified. Further revealing just how arbitrary the process can be, fired FBI Director James Comey’s memos of his meetings with President Donald Trump, which were leaked to the media earlier this year, opened with his assessment of the level of classification they should hold. “I am not sure of the proper classification here so have chosen SECRET,” Comey wrote. “Please let me know of [sic] it should be higher or lower than that.”

“Overclassification is rampant,” the scholars concluded. “A great deal of nonsensitive information is classified simply because disclosure would embarrass powerful officials or expose government misconduct.”

Perhaps the most famous example of the arbitrary and unequal nature of leak prosecutions is that of former CIA Director David Petraeus, who pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor — and served no jail time — for sharing his highly classified journals with his biographer and lover, and then lying to the FBI about it.

“All administrations leak profusely from the top, meaning that they leak politically convenient information,” Heidi Kitrosser, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and one of the authors of the amicus brief, told The Intercept. “When that is coupled with a historically unparalleled use of the Espionage Act to go after lower-level employees for leaking classified information, it becomes a powerful weapon for the government to pick and choose what they want the people to know.”

In their amicus brief, the group of legal scholars recalled a 2011 exchange between an intelligence official and the then-executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, about the subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen, who is now at The Intercept.

That subpoena to force a reporter to disclose his source — which Risen refused to do — would be “one of the last you’ll see,” the official said at the time. “We don’t need to ask who you’re talking to. We know.”

In fact, the scholars argue, First Amendment protections extended to reporters have become all but useless now that officials can easily track their sources without them. “Given technological advances, the administration simply no longer needs to rely on subpoenaing reporters the way they used to,” Kitrosser told The Intercept. “They have surveillance cameras, call logs, third-party subpoenas, and many other means less available to them in the past to track down sources without having to go to the reporter. This poses a new and very scary threat to the ability of the press to cover information of great public importance.”

The prosecution of leakers has already significantly chilled sources’ willingness to risk their jobs and freedom, several reporters have said, with devastating impact on public discourse. In punishing Albury, the legal scholars pleaded, the court should consider “the benefits to the public and to democratic deliberation” that resulted from his disclosure, “as well as the damage that a severe sentence would inflict on the constitutionally-protected interest in the flow of information to the citizenry on matters of public importance.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Ex-Minneapolis F.B.I. Agent Is Sentenced to 4 Years in Leak Case, Charlie Savage and Mitch Smith, Oct. 18, 2018. By the time Terry J. Albury arrived in Minneapolis in 2012, about 11 years after he went to work for the F.B.I., he had grown increasingly convinced that agents were abusing their powers and discriminating against racial and religious minorities as they hunted for potential terrorists.

The son of an Ethiopian political refugee, Mr. Albury was the only African-American field agent assigned to a counterterrorism squad that scrutinized Minnesota’s Somali-American community. There, according to his lawyer, he became disillusioned about “widespread racist and xenophobic sentiments” in the bureau and “discriminatory practices and policies he observed and implemented.”

In 2016, Mr. Albury began photographing secret documents that described F.B.I. powers to recruit potential informants and identify potential extremists. On Thursday, he was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty last year to unauthorized disclosures of national security secrets for sending several of the documents to The Intercept, which published the files with a series titled “The F.B.I.’s Secret Rules.”

Before Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright announced the sentence, Mr. Albury spoke haltingly in her courtroom in downtown St. Paul, pausing to wipe his face and breathe deeply. He apologized to his former F.B.I. colleagues and said he had been motivated to act by perceived injustices. In hindsight, he said, he wished he had voiced his concerns through official channels and not the news media.

“I truly wanted to make a difference and never intended to put anyone in danger,” Mr. Albury said.

The sentencing — which also included three years of supervised release after Mr. Albury gets out of prison — brought to a close the second leak case charged under the Espionage Act during the Trump administration after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s vow last year to crack down on unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

jeff sessions ag oOn Thursday, Mr. Sessions, left, was triumphant, saying in a statement that the department was “conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks” in its history.

“Today’s sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price,” he said.

The first leak case came to a close in August when Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor, was sentenced to more than five years in prison after she pleaded guilty to leaking a classified document about Russian efforts to hack state elections systems. Like Mr. Albury, Ms. Winter had sent her document to The Intercept.

Betsy Reed, the editor in chief of The Intercept, which published a lengthy profile of Mr. Albury on Thursday, said in an email that it was getting easier for the government to hunt down journalists’ sources using surveillance and internal monitoring systems. She warned of a growing chill for investigative journalism.

Oct. 12

jamal khashoggi entering Saudi consulate

Jamal Kashoggi, a dissident Saudi Arabian journalist living in Virginia and Turkey, is shown entering a Saudi consulate before his disappearance on Oct. 2 and suspected murder.

Washington Post, Turks tell U.S. officials that audio and video prove Khashoggi was killed, Shane Harris, Souad Mekhennet, John Hudson and Anne Gearan, Oct. 12, 2018 (print edition). The audio recording provides some of the strongest evidence that a Saudi team killed Washington Post opinion writer Jamal Khashoggi, officials said. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered,” one person said.

Oct. 11

Oct. 11

Justice Integrity Project, Courts Continue Voter Suppression As Trump Celebrates With His Justice In Partisan White House Gala, Hatefest

By Andrew Kreig

The U.S. Supreme Court helped launch the Brett Kavanaugh era on Oct. 10 by curtailing the voting of Native Americans in North Dakota, where a tight Senate race threatens a Democrat who voted against Kavanaugh's recent confirmation.

brett kavanaugh white house promoThe court enabled a new state rule barring voters who use for election purposes Post Office boxes instead of street addresses. Many Native Americans living on reservations use only PO Boxes and have heavily supported Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, below, the incumbent Democrat who is now an underdog in her race.

heidi heitkamp oThe court's refusal to intervene follows its recent practice of avoiding review for the most part of voter suppression and gerrymandering efforts by Republican state officials who have taken major steps recently to reduce voter registrations and polling place en masse in ways that heavily disadvantage Democrats in November.

In the North Dakota case, five votes were needed from the nine justices. Kavanaugh, shown in a White House-promoted political-type photo of a kind unusual for a sitting justice, did not participate for unexplained reasons, presumably because of his busy schedule getting installed onto the court.

Several columns this week describe a looming legal crisis regarding election-rigging in next month's elections and beyond.

Update: Trump Administration Seeks to Stifle Protests Near White House and on National Mall.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast, who documented for the BBC in 2001 how Republicans had stolen the 2000 presidential election by eliminating the names of more than 100,000 suspected Democrats from voter rolls (and not by the few ballots with hanging "chads" described by the American media), published several investigations regarding secret cutbacks in 2018 voter rolls by Republican secretaries of state seeking to tilt next month's elections.

For example, he wrote for Truthout in GOP’s Brian Kemp Purged 1 in 10 Georgia Voters: I’ve Got the Names:

"My lawyer had to threaten Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp with a federal lawsuit to force him to turn over the names of over half a million voters whose citizenship rights he quietly extinguished," Palast began. "This past week, I released the name of every one of these Georgia voters Kemp flushed from voter rolls in 2017."

Yet all such legal actions and reporting is based on the increasingly quaint theory that federal courts will honestly address the election issues and not just endorse Republican vote suppression by 5-4 party line votes by justices installed like Kavanaugh after long involvement in extreme partisan politics, including dirty tricks at election time.

brett kavanaugh election fraud wmr graphicTaking another broad view, investigative reporter Wayne Madsen linked Kavanaugh with presidential election rigging in the United States with Karl Rove and in the Ukraine with Paul Manafort in 2004, as portrayed at right and as described in his column Exclusive Investigative Commentary: Bush backed Kavanaugh to keep election thefts of 2000 and 2004 a secret.

The column, based on Madsen's years of covering election frauds, linked Kavanaugh and Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee to the Bush dynasty and its election-rigging operation headquartered in Chattanooga, TN,  where Corker was mayor before his 2006 election to the senate.

Madsen thereby explained the all-out Bush team pressure that kept such supposed "moderates" as Corker and former Bush appointee Susan Collins as strong Kavanaugh supporters despite their supposed willingness to weigh evidence fairly about  allegations against the nominee. Collins is married to Thomas Daffron, a lobbyist with deep ties to the Bush administration and powerful corporations.

Also, Ohio-based investigative reporters/authors Robert Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman published Will the Trump GOP Strip and Flip America's 2018 Election While the Democrats Fail to Protect the Vote?

djt brett kavanaugh anthony kennedy oct 8 2018 white houseEarlier this week, President Trump invited the newest justice and his family to the White House to reenact the official weekend swearing-in ceremony.

With Trump front and center and denouncing Democrats, the White House ceremony became a highly partisan attack by the president on "mobs" of protesters against the nominee.

Democrats and other protesters must be defeated at the polls in next month's elections to maintain law and order, the president urged as the new justice looked on during the celebration — thereby horrifying both Democrats and others who think presidents and judges should at least pretend to be non-partisan on formal occasions.

The spectacle was an especially flagrant disregard of norms for a non-partisan judiciary independent of party or president. That's because Kavanaugh, doubtless now deeply indebted to Trump, has argued that a president should not have to undergo civil or criminal litigation.

Murder Most Foul?

washington post logoWashington Post, Crown prince sought to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, U.S. intercepts show, Shane Harris, Oct. 11, 2018. The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, below left, ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him, mohammad bin salman cropped fileaccording to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan.

The intelligence, described by U.S. officials familiar with it, is another piece of evidence implicating the Saudi regime in Khashoggi’s disappearance last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say that a Saudi security team lay in wait for the journalist and killed him.

jamal khashoggi western suitKhashoggi, right (a U.S. resident), was a prominent critic of the Saudi government and Mohammed in particular. Several of Khashoggi’s friends said that over the past four months, senior Saudi officials close to the crown prince had called Khashoggi to offer him protection, and even a high-level job working for the government, if he returned to his home country.

jared kushner head shotThe intelligence pointing to a plan to detain Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia has fueled speculation by officials and analysts in multiple countries that what transpired at the consulate was a backup plan to capture Khashoggi that may have gone wrong.

The intelligence poses a political problem for the Trump administration because it implicates Mohammed, who is particularly close to Jared Kushner, left, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative commentary: Murders of journalists and kidnappings: Welcome to Trump World, Wayne Madsen, Oct. 11, 2018 (subscription required $30 annually; excerpted with permission). All of the films that depict a dystopian future of lawlessness, complete with tyrannical leaders, wanton murders, and ransom kidnappings, have come to fruition under Donald Trump's presidency.

Oct. 10

Reader Supported News, Opinion: Will the Trump GOP Strip and Flip America's 2018 Election While the Democrats Fail to Protect the Vote? Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman (Ohio-based authors of many books on election fraud), Oct. 10, 2018. Are you ready to be a poll worker? To stop Trump’s dictatorial rise, a real opposition party would be mobilizing Americans to vote AND to protect the right to cast verifiable ballots while making sure they’re actually counted.

That means becoming poll workers, registration protectors, vote count monitors and much more.

A real opposition party would now be organizing massive nationwide grassroots trainings for a reliable election. Are the Dems doing that?

Trump’s Republicans enter 2018 with a 5-10% structural advantage. They’ve stripped voter registration rolls and flipped electronic vote counts since at least 2000. This year just voting will again not be enough.

Progressives MUST become poll workers, bring voters to the polls, monitor vote counts after the balloting, and refuse to concede close elections.

Strip/flip tactics gave Republicans the presidency in 2000, 2004 and 2016. In 2014 and 2016, they took six US Senate seats when their candidate trailed in the exit polls and/or “won” by less than five points.

Those six seats gave Trump control of US Supreme Court, his mega-tax cut for the super-rich, and much more.

To win one or both houses of Congress this year, far more than just voting will be required. Some reasons:

• The GOP is everywhere waging war on the right to vote, targeting (as always) primarily people of color, ethnicity, youth, and low income.

• Suspected Democrats now face impossible demands involving photo ID, proof of citizenship, movable/disappearing precincts, massive voter roll purges, elimination of early and weekend voting, elimination of same-day registration, outright intimidation, and more.

• Key swing states have been targeted, but procedures vary from state to state, as reported in Arizona by Steve Rosenfeld at Alternet.

• The core assault on voting rights comes primarily from US-based corporate Republicans, but Russian operatives did access registration rolls in Illinois in 2016, and rolls nationwide are as vulnerable as ever.

• White Supremacist Trump crony Kris Kobach (now running for Governor of Kansas) has deployed Crosscheck to strip voter rolls, as Choicepoint was used by then-governor Jeb Bush to steal Florida 2000. As reported by Greg Palast, Crosscheck will strip voter rolls in many states in 2018.

• Palast now reports as much as ten percent of the Georgia electorate is being stripped from the voter rolls, more than enough to flip the governor’s race to an extreme right-wing Trumpist.

• The US Supreme Court has let Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted strip more than a million voters (of about 5.4 million) in mostly Democratic urban areas.

• Photo ID requirements and other Jim Crow methods to deny voting rights are still in use throughout the US.

• Indigenous citizens who have post boxes rather than street addresses are being stripped from voter rolls, a move (unless it’s stopped) likely to give North Dakota’s US Senate seat to Trump.

• Based on corrupted registration rolls, millions will be given provisional ballots that will go straight into the trash.

• Electronic voting machines all over the US have source codes hidden from independent watchdogs.

• Many of them are 15 or more years old and are obsolete, unreliable and easily hacked.

• Hacking can be done by state and local officials, Russian operatives, and anyone else with wifi capabilities and/or insider access.

• Algorithms still in use “beheaded” 70,000 ballots in Detroit, Flint and other Democratic areas in 2016, producing “no votes for president” that gave Michigan to Trump.

• Activists led by the Green Party’s Jill Stein won a 2016 court decision forcing a recount in Michigan, but Democrats led by Hillary Clinton refused to join, guaranteeing Trump’s victory there.

• Digital ballot images can enhance vote count security, but are being resisted by Trumpists in Alabama, Georgia and elsewhere.

• Gerrymandering gives the GOP control of the US House and many state legislatures.

• Evenly divided between GOP/Dem voters, Ohio has 12 GOP US Reps versus 4 Dems, plus GOP super-majorities in the state legislature; similar scams rule North Carolina and elsewhere.

• In 2020, US electoral maps will be redrawn, as heavily impacted by this year’s outcome.

Oct. 9

U.S. Constitutional Protest Rights Under Attack

white house protest ted eytan flickr

White House Protest (File photo by Ted Eytan via Flickr)

American Civil Liberties Union, Trump Administration Seeks to Stifle Protests Near White House and on National Mall, Arthur Spitzer, Oct. 9, 2018. President Trump has a record of attacking the rights of protesters, from suggesting that protest be illegal to praising dictators who crush any kind of dissent.

Now, the Trump administration proposes to dramatically limit the right to demonstrate near the White House and on the National Mall, including in ways that would violate court orders that have stood for decades. The proposal would close 80 percent of the White House sidewalk, put new limits on spontaneous demonstrations, and open the door to charging fees for protesting.

Fee requirements could make mass protests like Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic 1963 March on Washington and its “I have a dream” speech too expensive to happen.The public has until October 15 to comment on the plans, and on Monday, we submitted our formal written comment explaining why the planned changes are unconstitutional.

In 1967, in the middle of the Vietnam War, the federal government tried to impose severe limits on protests near the White House. The ACLU of the District of Columbia sued, and after years of litigation, the courts rebuffed the government’s effort and reminded the National Park Service, which administers these areas, that Lafayette Park is not Yellowstone and that the White House area and the National Mall “constitute a unique [site] for the exercise of First Amendment rights.” Under court orders, the park service issued regulations allowing large demonstrations, guaranteeing quick action on applications for permits, and accommodating spontaneous protests as much as possible.

Closing the White House sidewalk. The park service plans to close 20 feet of the 25-foot-wide White House sidewalk, limiting demonstrators to a 5-foot sliver along Pennsylvania Avenue. This is perhaps the most iconic public forum in America, allowing “We the People” to express our views directly to the chief executive, going back at least to the women’s suffrage movement 100 years ago.

The closure would violate the earlier court order, which permits demonstrations by at least 750 people on the White House sidewalk and declares that any lower limit is “invalid and void as an unconstitutional infringement of plaintiffs’ rights to freedom of speech and to assemble peaceably and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

washington post logomitch mcconnell2Washington Post, McConnell signals he would push to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2020, Elise Viebeck, Oct. 9, 2018 (print edition). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — who blocked President Barack Obama’s 2016 nominee to the Supreme Court for nearly a year amid widespread Democratic objections — signaled Monday that he would help fill a high-court vacancy if one emerges when President Trump is up for re­election in 2020.

Speaking at a news conference in Louisville, McConnell, right, said his decision to block Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, was based on a tradition that opposition parties in control of the Senate do not confirm Supreme Court nominees during presidential election years.

He claimed the precedent only applies when different parties control the Senate and the White House — leaving open the possibility he would help advance a Trump nominee in 2020 if Republicans still hold a majority in the Senate.

ny times logo

paul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: The Paranoid Style in G.O.P. Politics, Paul Krugman, right, Oct. 9, 2018 (print edition). Republicans are an authoritarian regime in waiting.

Many people are worried, rightly, about what the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh means for America in the long term. He’s a naked partisan who clearly lied under oath about many aspects of his personal history; that’s as important as, and related to, the question of what he did to Christine Blasey Ford, a question that remains unresolved because the supposed investigation was such a transparent sham. Putting such a man on the Supreme Court has, at a stroke, destroyed the court’s moral authority for the foreseeable future.

But such long-term worries should be a secondary concern right now. The more immediate threat comes from what we saw on the Republican side during and after the hearing: not just contempt for the truth, but also a rush to demonize any and all criticism. In particular, the readiness with which senior Republicans embraced crazy conspiracy theories about the opposition to Kavanaugh is a deeply scary warning about what might happen to America, not in the long run, but just a few weeks from now.

Oct. 8

Supreme Court Swearing-in

djt brett kavanaugh anthony kennedy oct 8 2018 white house

Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, right, ceremonially swears-in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as President Donald Trump looks on, in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 8, 2018. Susan Walsh / AP

abc news logoABC News, Trump apologizes 'on behalf of the nation' to Kavanaugh during swearing-in, claims he was 'proven innocent,' Adam Kelsey and Meridith McGraw, Oct. 8, 2018. President Donald Trump apologized to incoming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Monday evening "for the terrible pain and suffering" that he and his family endured during his confirmation process, going so far as to claim that Kavanaugh was "proven innocent" of the sexual assault allegations made against him.

Trump's comments, which he acknowledged as outside of the norm just prior to making them, came at a ceremonial swearing-in event for Kavanaugh in the East Room of the White House, two days after Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate and formally sworn-in as a member of the court by Chief Justice John Roberts.

"On behalf of the nation, I'd like to apologize to Brad and the entire a Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you've been forced to endure," Trump said. "Those who stepped forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation. Not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception."

Trump addressed the controversy head-on characterizing the heated political debate over sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh by California professor Christine Blasey Ford and several other women as "violat[ing] every notion of fairness, decency and due process."

"[In] our country, a man or a woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty," the president continued. "And with that, I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent."

nbc news logoNBC News, Hillary Clinton calls Kavanaugh's ceremonial swearing-in a 'political rally,' Adam Edelman, Oct. 9, 2018. Trump's remarks at the White House event "further undermined the image and integrity of the court," the former secretary of state said.

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday ripped President Donald Trump’s unusual handling of the ceremonial swearing-in for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling the display a "political rally" that "further undermined the image and integrity of the court."

hillary clinton gage skidmore peoria azIn an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, parts of which aired Tuesday morning on the network, Clinton (shown in a file photo by Gage Skidmore) said that the way Trump carried out the event "troubles me greatly."

"What was done last night in the White House was a political rally. It further undermined the image and integrity of the court," Clinton said, "and that troubles me greatly. It saddens me because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government."

"So I don't know how people are going to react to it. I think given our divides it will pretty much fall predictably between those who are for and those who are against," she added, calling Trump “true to form.”

"He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign. Really for many years leading up to the campaign — and he's continued to do that inside the White House," Clinton said.

Trump responded on Tuesday to Clinton's comments, saying, "I guess that's why she lost. She never got it."

GOP Election Scandals

brett kavanaugh election fraud wmr graphic

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Exclusive Investigative Commentary: Bush backed Kavanaugh to keep election thefts of 2000 and 2004 a secret, Wayne Madsen, Oct. 8, 2018 (Subscription required, $30 annually; excerpted with permission.)

karl rove HR"Bush White House aides Brett Kavanaugh and Karl Rove, left, closely coordinated their election fraud operations with two experienced Washington campaign advisers for Republican candidates, Rick Davis, and Davis's partner, Paul Manafort."

wayne madsen trumps bananas coverNote: Former Navy intelligence officer, NSA analyst and defense contractor computer scientist Wayne Madsen for many years has exposed techniques to rig U.S. and international elections, electronically and by other methods. He is the author of 16 books, including the just-published "Trump's Bananas Republic," which portrays administration scandals through the lens of iconic Hollywood movies.

Climate Change

washington post logoWashington Post, World has just over a decade to get control of climate change, U.N. scientists say, Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis. Oct. 8, 2018 (print edition). “There is no documented historic precedent" for the scale of changes required, the body found.

The report warns of dire consequences if nations do not cut their carbon emissions by more than 1 billion tons per year, a figure that is larger than the annual emissions of nearly every country on the planet.

Supreme Court Battle

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: We need to stay angry about Kavanaugh, E.J. Dionne Jr., Oct. 8, 2018 (print edition). But even more, we need to vote, organize and think boldly after this travesty.

Republicans rushed through Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to avoid the possible consequences of an election. They aborted a full investigation because they feared what it might find. They made themselves complicit in a presidential attack on Christine Blasey Ford, a brave woman who asked only that her case against Kavanaugh be taken seriously.

After all these outrages, there will be calls for a renewal of civility, as if the problem is that people said nasty things about one other. But the answer to this power grab cannot be passive acceptance in the name of being polite. The causes and consequences of what just happened must be acknowledged frankly.

brett kavanaugh.judgeLThe conservative struggle for the court began in the 1960s, but it hit its stride in the Bush v. Gore decision after after the 2000 election. Five conservative justices violated the principles they claimed to uphold on states’ rights and the use of equal-protection doctrine to stop a recount of votes in Florida requested by Al Gore, the Democratic nominee. They thus made George W. Bush president.

The pro-Bush justices made abundantly clear that they were grasping at any arguments available to achieve a certain outcome by declaring, “our consideration is limited to the present circumstances.” Translation: Once Bush is in, please forget what we said here.

washington post logoWashington Post, Justices move to repair Supreme Court’s image after fight over Kavanaugh, Robert Barnes, Oct. 8, 2018 (print edition). As Brett M. Kavanaugh prepared for his debut on the high court, his colleagues already had moved quickly to paper over the damage from the bitter and tumultuous confirmation battle.

Protests Grow Over Saudi Dissident

Saudi Arabian flag

washington post logojamal kahshoggiWashington Post, Opinion: Jamal Khashoggi chose to tell the truth. It’s part of the reason he’s beloved, David Ignatius, Oct. 8, 2018 (print edition). In his work, he has always had the same insistent passion for honesty about his country. I have known Khashoggi, right, for about 15 years and want to share here some of the reasons he is beloved in our profession and the news of his disappearance has been such a shock.

washington post logoWashington Post, Disappearance and alleged killing of Saudi journalist could complicate relations with U.S., Karen DeYoung, Oct. 8, 2018 (print edition). The Trump administration has said little publicly about the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Post, but officials are frustrated with the lack of a Saudi response to its queries.

JIP Editor's Note: An example of Khashoggi's commentary was in Middle East Monitor, Khashoggi: the deal of the century will disappear, Staff report, Feb. 21, 2018:

The well-known Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince has started a relationship with Israel and tried to pressure the Palestinians to accept the so-called “deal of the century.”

However, this approach has floundered. Khashoggi [shown at right in a Facebook photo] was speaking during a seminar in Istanbul hosted by the “Riwaq Istanbul” [Istanbul gallery].

jamal khashoggi western suit“The Crown Prince’s promise was that he will manage to pressure the Palestinians to accept the “Deal of the Century” in return for the Americans and Israelis expulsion of Iranians from Syria and Lebanon. But in reality this cannot be realized,” Khashoggi told The New Khaleeji.

According to Khashoggi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would not agree to consider the town of Abu Dis (adjacent to Jerusalem) as the capital of Palestine. Khashoggi also added that Jordan’s King Abdullah II l has ignored all Saudi pressures.

He said “The crown prince discovered that he does not have a ‘Palestine card’ to play. The American president, Donald Trump, cannot do anything about the Iranians. The man is paralyzed and sending US troops to get the Iranians out of Aleppo and Damascus is but a dream.”

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Mainstream Journos Pissed As Saudi Clown Prince Nabs One Of Their Own, Staff report, Oct. 8, 2018. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, is pissed that the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the kidnapping of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

mohammad bin salman cropped fileKhashoggi, who comes from a very rich family, has long served the Saudi regime in editorial positions and was the media adviser to Prince Turki al-Faisal during his tenure as ambassador in London and Washington. He left Saudi Arabia last year out of fear of being targeted in the ongoing crackdown by clown prince Mohammad bin Salman (shown at right). He ended up writing mildly critical columns for the Washington Post.

Khashoggi is no liberal but a staunch supporter of Saudi system and its brutality. He had praised the beheading of Syrian soldiers by ISIS as an "effective psychological military tactic" and supported the abhorrent Saudi war on Yemen.

The mainstream journos who are now up in arms over Khashoggi are mostly embarrassed about their earlier adoration of Mohammad bin Salman. But even more important to them is that Khashoggi is one of their class. They think of themselves as entitled aristocrats who do not deserve such a fate. That is reserved for the deplorable plebs below them.

Just consider this amoral passage in Friedman's whining column about the Khashoggi case:

If Jamal has been abducted or murdered by agents of the Saudi government, it will be a disaster for M.B.S. and a tragedy for Saudi Arabia and all the Arab Gulf countries. It would be an unfathomable violation of norms of human decency, worse not in numbers but in principle than even the Yemen war.

Every ten minutes a child in Yemen starves because of the famine caused by the Saudi, UAE, U.S. and UK war on the country. The renewed attack on the harbor of Hodeidah and hyperinflation over the recent months have doubled the prices of food and gas Most people in Yemen no longer have the income to pay for the needed food. Tens of thousands were already silently starved, millions will likely follow. By what humanitarian 'principle' would the potential death of one bootlicking columnist be worse than that?

Investigator Murdered

SouthFront, Bulgarian Journalist Found Raped, Murdered; She Was Covering Investigation of Financial Frauds of EU Politicians, Businessmen, Staff report, Oct. 8, 2018. On October 6, a Bulgarian journalist, Viktoria Marinova, was found brutally raped and murdered in Bulgaria’s northern town of Ruse.

viktoria marinova tvn bulgaria via reuters scanpix leta cropThe body of the 30-year-old woman (shown at left in a TVN photo) was found by a passerby in bushes near the pier on the Danube river, according to Ruse regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev. “Her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and part of her clothes were missing,” he said.

Prior to the murder, Marinova was also raped. She was disfigured due to blows to the head and suffocated to death. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov expressed hope that the investigation would succeed because of the “work that has been done.”

She was a TV host, and her last aired show happened on September 30th when she interviewed investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project about an investigation of alleged fraud with EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians.

Her colleagues from TVN were staggered by the event. “We are in shock. In no way, under any form, never have we received any threats – aimed at her or the television,” a journalist from TVN told AFP under a condition of anonymity, adding that he and his colleagues feared for their safety.

Bulgarian media reports said that over the last year Marinova had reported on an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption involving European Union funds for the broadcaster TVN. She also worked on a program focusing on social issues and was involved with charity work.

brett kavanaugh swear in kennedy

Former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy reenacts the swear-in his former clerk Brett Kavanaught as the new justice's family looks on (Supreme Court photo)

Palmer Report, Opinion, Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, which had Trump-Russia fingerprints all over it, is a bigger scandal than ever, Bill Palmer, Oct. 8, 2018. It was an instantly explosive scandal, with ramifications deep and wide enough to shake American democracy to its core – and then almost as instantly, the mainstream media simply abandoned its coverage. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cast an uncharacteristic vote in Donald Trump’s favor on the Muslim Ban, then abruptly announced his retirement the next day (even though he had already hired clerks for the upcoming session), just as we were learning that Kennedy’s son was deeply caught up in the Trump-Russia scandal.

On June 28th of this year, just as Anthony Kennedy was announcing the end of his Supreme Court tenure, the New York Times reported that his son Justin Kennedy “spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer.” This was particularly noteworthy considering that not too long ago, Deutsche Bank was busted for having laundered billions of dollars of Russian money into the hands of unnamed clients in cities including – ahem – New York City.

So was Justin Kennedy the secret conduit for the Kremlin to criminally launder money into the hands of Donald Trump, or was Kennedy totally uninvolved in any such hijinks, and he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? We don’t know the answer, because the major media outlets – who have the inside sources and investigative resources to expose these kinds of things – completely dropped the story. In the name of trying to get somewhere on this crucial but dry-docked scandal, I’m going to present one possible theory of what could have happened.

Let’s say – hypothetically, because there is no proof of this – that Justin Kennedy was indeed a criminal money launderer for Donald Trump and Russia. let’s further say that once the media dredged this up, Anthony Kennedy realized he was going to need to find a way to bail his son out. The easiest path of course would be a presidential pardon. Let’s say that Kennedy asked Trump to pardon his son, and that Trump agreed to it on one condition: Kennedy had to immediately retire. This would hand Trump a key victory – getting to appoint a Supreme Court Justice while the Republicans still safely had control of the Senate before the midterms.

The scary part is that, while this would represent one of the most criminally scandalous corrupt bargains in the history of the United States government, it doesn’t sound that crazy. It’s also worth pointing out that there is no plausible above-board explanation for some of the things that have transpired here. What are the odds that Kennedy would happen to make his retirement decision at the same time his son was being exposed, and that these two events were somehow related? It’s time for the major media outlets to do their jobs and dig up the real story here.

Oct. 7

brett kavanaugh swear in oct 6 2018 ashley

Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as his wife Ashley and two daughters look on, is sworn onto the court by Chief Justice John Roberts, whom Kavanaugh recommended for the court as Bush Administration White House Staff secretary (Supreme Court photo, Oct. 6, 2018). A political precedent used during the Republican installation of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was to rush the swear-in in order to limit the impact of new scandal and protest for the lifetime appointment.

ny times logorepublican elephant logoNew York Times, Kavanaugh Is Sworn In After Close Confirmation Vote in Senate, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Oct. 7, 2018 (print edition). Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday by one of the slimmest margins in American history, locking in a solid conservative majority on the court and capping a rancorous battle that began as a debate over judicial ideology and concluded with a national reckoning over sexual misconduct.

He was promptly sworn in by both Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy — the court’s longtime swing vote, whom he will replace — in a private ceremony.

brett kavanaugh zina bash c span sept 2018

washington post logoWashington Post, Divided Senate confirms Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, Oct. 7, 2018 (print edition). The Senate voted to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as the Supreme Court’s 114th justice on Saturday by one of the narrowest margins in the institution’s history, as police stood guard and protesters’ shouts of “shame, shame” echoed through the Senate chamber.

The 50-to-48 vote capped a brutal confirmation fight that underscored how deeply polarized the nation has become under President Trump, who has now successfully placed two justices on the nation’s highest court, cementing a conservative majority.

With Vice President Pence presiding, senators sat in their chairs and rose to cast their votes, repeatedly interrupted by protesters in the visitors’ gallery who yelled out and were removed by Capitol Police. The Supreme Court announced Kavanaugh would be sworn in later Saturday.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Rock bottom’: Supreme Court fight reveals a country on the brink, Michael Scherer and Robert Costa​, Oct. 7, 2018 (print edition). In the battle over Brett M. Kavanaugh, few of the players emerged from the process unchanged or unblemished, underscoring the uncharted territory of deepening distrust and polarization that now defines the American system.

Oct. 6

JFK Assassination Research

harry truman oJFK Facts.org, After JFK was killed, former president Truman called for the abolition of CIA covert operations, Jefferson Morley, Oct. 6, 2018. “For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment,” wrote former president Harry Truman, right, in the Washington Post on December 22, 1963. It was exactly one month after the assassination of President Kennedy.

“It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas,” Truman wrote.

The former president never explicitly linked JFK’s death to the clandestine service, but the timing and venue of his piece was suggestive.

Why Truman spoke out

Already Soviet bloc news outlets were speculating Kennedy’s murder — and the murder of the only suspect while in police custody—pointed to U.S. government involvement in the assassination.

cia logoTruman addressed the allegations obliquely. “This quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and subject for cold war enemy propaganda,” Truman wrote.

Truman said he knew the first two directors of the CIA and called them “men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity.” He added he could only assume the same about “all those who continue in charge.”

But he had stiff words for the agency’s leaders. He said the CIA’s “operational duties” should “be terminated.”

In short, JFK’s assassination prompted Truman to call for the CIA’s abolition.

There can be little doubt that the circumstances of Kennedy’s murder prompted Truman’s radical proposal. The former president, living in Missouri, began writing his Post article nine days after Kennedy was killed, according to an excellent 2009 piece by former CIA officer Ray McGovern (who says he was relying on JFK researcher Ray Marcus).

GOP Wins Court Battlerepublican elephant logo

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The High Court Brought Low, The Editorial Board, Oct. 6, 2018 (print edition). Don’t let Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh have the last word about American justice.

The task of plugging the holes and patching the rents in the court’s legitimacy now falls to the justices themselves, mainly to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. (shown at left) He john roberts omust know that every decision of political significance rendered by a 5-to-4 majority that includes a Justice Kavanaugh will, at the very least, appear to be the product of bias and vengeance. If he cares about the integrity of the court as much as he claims to, the chief will do everything in his power to steer the court away from cases, and rulings, that could deepen the nation’s political divide.

There’s work the rest of us can do as well.

We can, for one thing, find ways in our own workplaces and communities to assure victims of sexual assault that they will be respected if they come forward, even if so many national political figures are dismissive of them.

And if we disapprove of the direction of the courts, we can put the lessons Mitch McConnell taught us to work — and vote.

It’s worth noting that, of the five justices picked by Republicans, including Judge Kavanaugh, four were nominated by presidents who first took office after losing the popular vote. And the slim majority of senators who said they would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh on Saturday represent tens of millions fewer Americans than the minority of senators who voted to reject him. The nation’s founders were wise to design the court as a counter-majoritarian institution, but they couldn’t have been picturing this.

Most Americans are not where this Senate majority is. They do not support President Trump. They do not approve of relentless partisanship and disregard for the integrity of democratic institutions. And they have the power to call their government to account.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Rock bottom’: Supreme Court fight reveals a country on the brink, Michael Scherer and Robert Costa​, Oct. 6, 2018. In the battle over Brett M. Kavanaugh, few of the players emerged from the process unchanged or unblemished, underscoring the uncharted territory of deepening distrust and polarization that now defines the American system.

Suspected Saudi Murder Of Journalist

jamal kahshoggiwashington post logoWashington Post, Turkey concludes Saudi journalist Khashoggi killed by ‘murder’ team, sources say, Kareem Fahim, Oct. 6, 2018. Turkey has concluded that Jamal Khashoggi, shown above in a 2011 file photo, a prominent journalist from Saudi Arabia, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this week by a Saudi team sent “specifically for the murder,” two people with knowledge of the probe said Saturday.

Turkish investigators believe a 15-member team “came from Saudi Arabia. It was a preplanned murder,” said one of the people. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

recep erdogan with flagTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, shown in a file photo, was expected to make a statement on the case on Sunday. Saudi Arabia had vehemently denied that Khashoggi was detained after he entered the consulate.

In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, below at right, said Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after he arrived on Tuesday. Saudi officials have yet to provide any evidence for that assertion.

mohammad bin salman cropped fileKhashoggi’s disappearance has drawn attention to Prince Salman’s crackdowns on his critics. It also threatened to deepen a rift between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both regional powers that have competed for influence in the region.

Khashoggi, who writes for the Washington Post’s Global Opinions section, visited the consulate Tuesday to obtain documents related to his upcoming wedding, according to his fiancee and friends.

The killing, if confirmed, would mark a stunning escalation of Saudi Arabia’s effort to silence dissent.

Under direction from the crown prince, Saudi authorities have carried out hundreds of arrests under the banner of national security, rounding up clerics, business executives and even women’s rights advocates.

But analysts said Khashoggi might have been considered especially dangerous by the Saudi leadership because he was not a longtime dissident, but rather a pillar of the Saudi establishment who was close to its ruling circles for decades, had worked as an editor at Saudi news outlets and had been an adviser to a former Saudi intelligence chief.

Oct. 5

Supreme Court Battle

george hw bush and son

ryan grim CustomThe Intercept: Analysis: Sen. Susan Collins and Brett Kavanaugh Are Both in the Bush Family Inner Circle. That Helps Explain Her Vote, Ryan Grim, right, and Akela Lacy, Oct., 5, 2018. The announcement Friday by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was about family. Namely, the Bush family.

George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush [shown above in a file photo] have both been welcomed into the ranks of the resistance to President Donald Trump, but their most consequential action since his election has been to help lift Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court.

susan collins oCollins, left, is an honorary member of the Bush family. She got her start in politics as a congressional aide to Rep.-turned-Sen. William Cohen. The Maine Republican was close to George H.W. Bush, who has long maintained a presence in the state. At the end of the first Bush administration, Collins was appointed New England regional director of the Small Business Administration. In 1996, she was elected to the Senate to replace her mentor, Cohen.

Kavanaugh, too, has longstanding ties to the Bush family. He served as an attorney for George W. Bush’s campaign, playing a major role in the legal battle between Bush and Al Gore. He then served as staff secretary in the Bush White House, a position of intimate influence — the staff secretary attends most Oval Office meetings and is a trusted sounding board for the president.

In the weeks after Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault during his high school and college years, Bush personally called wavering senators, lobbying on the nominee’s behalf. Collins, who had said she would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade, was one of those wavering senators. In August, HuffPost reported, citing a source close to Collins’s staff, that Collins had assured the White House that she would support Kavanaugh if he were nominated. (She has denied that.)

Collins has since said that the decision was a difficult one, though there was no hint of that agonizing in her Senate floor speech Friday, which was a full-throated defense of Kavanaugh and a prosecution of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations.

In the end, Collins suggested that she hoped Kavanaugh’s nomination would restore the faith of Americans in the Supreme Court, easing partisan tensions and decreasing the number of 5-4 decisions the court handed down. It’s difficult to rationalize the idea that a nomination as contentious as this would usher a return to a more harmonious era of bipartisan collaboration.

Supreme 'Deep State'

webster tarpley podium2World Crisis Radio, Kavanaugh nomination as culmination of a fascist movement in the United States, Dr. Webster G. Tarpley (historian, author, commentator, shown at right), Oct. 5, 2018. Mussolini's was a normal government...it was not an open terroristic dictatorship....but of course all that changed....So where do we find ourselves?....In the case of Italy, it took about 20-25 months.

In the case of Kavanaugh, they picked the worst possible guy. And of course it's not just him, you've alerady got four votes on this court that might go along with the fascist program. The way to control this dictatorship is to control the Supreme Court because then you can decide what the laws are.....

Global Research, Opinion: High Crimes and Misdemeanours of Kavanaugh and the Senate-Trump Faction. Step-by-step Overthrow of the Rule of Law, John McMurtry and Matthew Stanton, Oct. 5, 2018. Despite the historic stakes of the ram-through appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States of a serial liar and alleged early rapist, who loudly denounces his Senate questioners as a “left-wing conspiracy” – sniffing all the time as his habit – there has been no legal analysis of his abetted crimes of persistent false statements and declarations, and factional subversion of the rule of law and the US Constitution itself.

As law and moral philosophy professors writing just as the White-House-counsel controlled FBI ‘investigation’ is hidden under cover from citizens and the press, we are moved by duty to explain what has so far been lost in media melodrama, political cover-up at the highest levels, he-says-she-says reductions, and the politics of effectively usurping the rule of law in the United States.

As a branch of government it is unique from the other two branches of government – the legislative. and executive branches – in that the supreme Justices are arbiters of what is allowed or prevented by the US Constitution as the ultimate source of the rule of law in America. What if the entire process is led by a long train of proved false declarations, persistently intentional misdirection, and perjury under oath with no restraint?

What if in all evident respects the process and appointment to the highest judicial office of the land operates like a criminal conspiracy with a vice-grip on all three branches of government – in the words of Madison, the very definition of ‘tyranny’ – with now the Supreme Court itself fixed to ignore and override basic issues of justice and morality for the next generation in a situation of cumulatively unprecedented social and environmental crisis?

We have already seen the unraveling of even the need to appear objective, disinterested, above the political mob mentality and thuggery of this ruling faction in one long train of abuses, false statements and lying with impunity under oath. The reckless and grasping nature of the Kavanaugh appointment, in short, shows an unbound faction of power treating its position of tyrannical rule as its personal property and right. Step-by-step overthrow of the rule of law

What has happened in Washington DC with the Kavanaugh hearings is of grave concern to anyone who believes in the democratic rule of law over a moneyed faction fixing all legal process. What this hearing and FBI investigation now controlled by the White House Counsel and ranking Senate Republicans shows is a series of non-stop false statements and actions that attack the very heart of our system of laws and poison the soul of the nation.

In our considered legal and moral opinion, Kavanaugh’s continual false declarations and prevarications are grounds for impeachment in even his current position of Federal Court Judge. In our judgement, with which many will agree, Trump’s candidate Kavanaugh has incontestably demonstrated unfitness for any judicial or public office. His speech and actions under oath, to the US Senate, is enough to be disbarred and lose his law license.

Kavanaugh has been so continuously coached from the highest offices of the land to act above the lawin every regard that this corrupt appointment reaches into the depths of a ‘tyrannical faction’ now in control of our federal government and institutions. It has so overreached in lawless and naked abuse of power that only keeping the public in ignorance can allow it to continue into the mid-term elections this November – the acid test of US democracy which is now before us.

The Aristocrats

david sirotaThe Guardian, Opinion: America's new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone, David Sirota, right, Oct. 5, 2018. Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history.

When the former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was released from prison a few weeks ago, the news conjured memories of a corporate scandal that now seems almost quaint – and it was also a reminder that Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.

Since Skilling’s conviction 12 years ago, our society has been fundamentally altered by a powerful political movement whose goal is not merely another court seat, tax cut or election victory. This movement’s objective is far more revolutionary: the creation of an accountability-free zone for an ennobled aristocracy, even as the rest of the population is treated to law-and-order rhetoric and painfully punitive policy.

Let’s remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers.

That is because the United States has been turned into a safe space for a permanent ruling class. Inside the rarefied refuge, the key players who created this era’s catastrophes and who embody the most pernicious pathologies have not just eschewed punishment – many of them have actually maintained or even increased their social, financial and political status.

The effort to construct this elite haven has tied together so many seemingly disparate news events, suggesting that there is a method in the madness. Consider this past month that culminated with the dramatic battle over the judicial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

supreme court building

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Supreme Court’s Legitimacy Crisis, Michael Tomasky (editor of "Democracy: A Journal of Ideas" and a contributing New York Times opinion writer), Oct. 5, 2018. It’s not about Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior. It’s about justices who do not represent the will of the majority..

Donald Trump won just under 46 percent of the popular vote and 2.8 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. And Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by a vote of 54-45. According to Kevin McMahon of Trinity College, who wrote all this up this year in his paper “Will the Supreme Court Still ‘Seldom Stray Very Far’?: Regime Politics in a Polarized America,” the 54 senators who voted to elevate Judge Gorsuch had received around 54 million votes, and the 45 senators who opposed him got more than 73 million. That’s 58 percent to 42 percent.

And if the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh, the vote is likely to fall along similar lines, meaning that we will soon have two Supreme Court justices who deserve to be called “minority-majority”: justices who are part of a five-vote majority on the bench but who were nominated and confirmed by a president and a Senate who represent the will of a minority of the American people.

And consider this further point. Two more current members of the dominant conservative bloc, while nominated by presidents who did win the popular vote, were confirmed by senators who collectively won fewer popular votes than the senators who voted against them.

They are Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed in 1991 by 52 senators who won just 48 percent of the popular vote, and Samuel Alito, confirmed in 2006 by 58 senators who garnered, again, 48 percent of the vote. This is a severe legitimacy crisis for the Supreme Court.

The court, as Professor McMahon notes, was intended never to stray far from the mainstream of American political life. The fact that justices represented that mainstream and were normally confirmed by lopsided votes gave the court’s decisions their legitimacy. It’s also why past chief justices worked to avoid 5-4 decisions on controversial matters: They wanted Americans to see that the court was unified when it laid down a major new precedent.

But now, in an age of 5-4 partisan decisions, we’re on the verge of having a five-member majority who figure to radically rewrite our nation’s laws. And four of them will have been narrowly approved by senators representing minority will.

Judge Kavanaugh’s alleged youthful behavior is a scandal, but this legitimacy crisis is one too, and with arguably greater consequences. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, may not care about them. But Chief Justice John Roberts, and for that matter Brett Kavanaugh, surely should.

washington post logoWashington Post, The rise and the reckoning: Inside Brett Kavanaugh’s circles of influence, Marc Fisher, Ann E. Marimow and Michael Kranish, Oct. 5, 2018 (print edition). The story of President Trump’s embattled choice for the Supreme Court is a classic Washington tale of a young man who grew up surrounded by people in high places, keenly aware of protecting his image. He told a friend in college that he didn’t plan to buy stocks as an adult because he had to avoid conflicts if he wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps as a judge.

brett kavanaugh 1983 yearbookKavanaugh’s story is also one of the power and insularity of wealth. He grew up in an idyll of country clubs and beach retreats, private schools and public prominence. The only child of a lobbyist and a judge, he had parents who pushed him hard, teachers who assured him that he faced no limits, and friends whose families knew the art of making problems go away quietly.

That Kavanaugh (shown in a prep school yearbook photo) would achieve greatness seemed certain. Some of his classmates called him “The Genius.” They liked him because he was smart and fun. Women found him thoughtful and empathetic. Men said he was a guy’s guy — a walking encyclopedia of sports, a good pal, always up for a beer.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Elizabeth Warren’s new, tantalizing claim about Kavanaugh shows what utter madness this is, Greg Sargent, Oct. 5, 2018. One of the most infuriating aspects of this whole Kavanaugh saga is the degree to which we are flying blind about some of the most fundamental points of disagreement at its core. Making this even worse, it doesn’t have to be this way.

elizabeth warren o purpleOn the Senate floor late Thursday, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), right, made a new and tantalizing claim about what’s in the FBI documents on Brett M. Kavanaugh that all senators have now reviewed. Senators are severely limited in what they can say about these documents, which are summaries of the interviews that the FBI conducted as part of their renewed background check into Kavanaugh, after Christine Blasey Ford went public with charges that he sexually assaulted her, which led to a host of new claims like that one and others about his drinking at the time.

Warren noted these limitations and said the following (emphasis added):

“Senators have been muzzled. So I will now say three things that committee staff has explained are permissible to say without violating committee rules. … One: This was not a full and fair investigation. It was sharply limited in scope and did not explore the relevant confirming facts. Two: The available documents do not exonerate Mr. Kavanaugh.

And three: the available documents contradict statements Mr. Kavanaugh made under oath. I would like to back up these points with explicit statements from the FBI documents — explicit statements that should be available for the American people to see. But the Republicans have locked the documents behind closed doors.”

Oct. 1

U.S. Politics

Public Broadcasting System (PBS), Dark Money, Director/Producer Kimberly Reed, Oct. 1, 2018 (premiere, 85 mins.). Check local listings. Synopsis: Dark Money, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials.

The film takes viewers to Montana — a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide — to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Through this gripping story, Dark Money uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold. Official Selection, 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

kimberly reed dark money producer claire jonesDirector/Producer Kimberly Reed (shown at right) has had featured work on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, NPR, The Moth and in Details magazine. One of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film," she directed and produced Prodigal Sons, which landed on many best of the year lists, screened at more than 100 film festivals and garnered 14 audience and jury awards, including a FIPRESCI Prize. Reed was recognized as one of Out magazine's "OUT100" and was number one on Towleroad's "Best LGBT Characters of the Film Year" list. She also produced, edited and wrote Paul Goodman Changed My Life and produced The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. Reed is a fourth-generation Montanan.

Midnight Writer News, Investigative Commentary: Bob Woodward, Al Haig, and the Confirmation of Deep History, S.T. Patrick, Oct. 1, 2018. Bob Woodward’s newest bob woodward fear trump in the white housebook, Fear: Trump in the White House, stands atop the New York Times Bestseller list for Hardcover Non-Fiction.

Woodward skeptics and Watergate revisionists still question Woodward’s monarchical hold on modern journalism and publishing. In this issue, contributing editor S.T. Patrick continues a series that will spotlight the questionable tactics and little-known fallacies of Bob Woodward’s journalistic career. This is part two in the series.

* * * * *

On March 6, 1989, would-be authors Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin sat with The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward in preparation for what would be their upcoming book Silent Coup: The Removal of a President (1991). Woodward and co-author Carl Bernstein had written what establishment historians and educators considered the two books of record on the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency: All the President’s Men (1974) and The Final Days (1976). Both would be made into films.

On this day, however, Colodny and Gettlin had confirmed information that would turn the Watergate story – and Woodward’s role in it – on its head.

len colodny silent coup coverWoodward verified that he had worked at the Pentagon as a communications officer. This was already in contrast with the book and film notion of Woodward as a bottom-rung hoofer who was fighting his way up the journalistic ladder at The Post. The film created the legend that all Woodward had done was to write about the lack of cleanliness in local restaurants. When the editors debated the oncoming storm of Watergate reporting, it was in an effort to decide if Woodward was even qualified to write such a consequential story. In reality, he was, and the editors knew it.

Woodward denied to Gettlin that he had any other function at the Pentagon beyond once being a communications watch officer. Gettlin then asked if Woodward had ever done “any briefings of people”?

“Never! … And I defy you to produce somebody who says I did a briefing. It’s just… it’s not true,” Woodward responded.

alexander haig generalThe conversation turned to Gen. Alexander Haig, who had become Nixon’s chief of staff upon the urged resignation of H.R. Haldeman.

Tim Weiner, upon Haig’s death in 2010, wrote in The New York Times that Haig, right, had been the “acting president” while Nixon was pre-occupied with Watergate.

Haig biographer Roger Morris wrote that President Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon was also a de facto pardon of Haig, as well. Haig had played an important role in the transition from Nixon to Ford, and had even been one of the most instrumental voices privately encouraging Nixon’s resignation.

alexander haig portraitIf Haig (shown also in his portrait as Secretary of State in the early 1980s) had a previous working relationship with Woodward, and if Woodward’s stories were contradictory to the Nixon administration’s best interests, then the relationship and roles of both Woodward and Haig in relation to Nixon’s fall demanded examination.

“I never met or talked to Haig until some time in the spring of ’73,” Woodward responded. That Woodward had never done briefings, had never been a briefing officer, and had never met Haig until 1973 were ideas that sources “in a position to know,” as Gettlin called them in the interview, contradicted.

Lest someone assume that Colodny and Gettlin’s sources on Woodward were journalistic rivals or disenfranchised victims made unemployable by Watergate’s political aftermath, they were not. And unlike Woodward’s most notable sources, they were not kept hidden under “deep background.”

Colodny and Gettlin’s confirmation came from Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, Melvin Laird, and Jerry Friedheim, all of who can be read and heard on “Watergate.com.”

cbs logo

oenearthlogoOpEdNews, Opinion:How the American Media Was Destroyed, Paul Craig Roberts, Oct. 1, 2018. In my September 24 column, "Truth Is Evaporating Before Our Eyes," I used the destruction of the CBS news team that broke the Abu Ghraib story and the story of President George W. Bush's non-performance of his Texas Air Force National Guard duties to demonstrate how accusations alone could destroy a Peabody Award-winning, 26-year veteran producer of CBS News, Mary Mapes, and the established news dan rather new portraitanchor Dan Rather, right.

Until I read Mary Mapes's book, Truth and Duty (St. Martin's Press, 2005), I was unaware of how this monopolization of the media in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and American tradition had proceeded to destroy honest reporting.

Here is what happened.

The Texas Air National Guard was a place the elite placed their sons to avoid the Vietnam War draft. Copies of documents written by Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian describing George W. Bush's ability to jump the large waiting list hoping to avoid the war, Bush's non-compliance with National Guard requirements and Bush's unauthorized departure to another state were given to CBS.

The CBS team worked for many months to confirm or discredit the documents. The information in the documents proved to be consistent with the interviews of people acquainted with George W. Bush's time in the Texas National Guard. It was a carefully prepared story, not a rushed one, and it fits all the information we now have of Bush's non-performance.

george w. bush wThe problem for the CBS news team, which might not have been realized at the time, was that the documents were copies, not originals that experts could authenticate as real beyond question. Therefore, although the documents were consistent with the testimony of others, no expert could validate the documents as they could originals.

The Republicans seized on this chink in the armor to turn the issue away from the truthfulness of the CBS 60 Minutes report to whether or not the copies were fakes.

CBS had two other problems. One was that Viacom, its owner, was not in the news business, but in the lobbying business in Washington -- wanting to enrich the company with legislative perks and regulatory permissions. Truthful news from CBS, exposing US torture in the face of the Bush regime's denials and showing that Bush (shown above at left) was too privileged to be held accountable by the Texas National Guard, was damaging Viacom's highly paid lobbying effort.

les moonvesTruth in America is being exterminated, and the destruction of CBS news was the starting point. As Mary Mapes reports in her book, as soon as Viacom was entirely rid of 60 Minutes with the firing of the entire staff, on the very next day Viacom held a triumphant annual investor meeting. Chairman Sumner Redstone was awarded a $56 million paycheck for 2004. Chief operating officers, Les Moonves, right, and Tom Freston "each pocketed a whoopping fifty-two million for the year."

Mapes writes: "Just a few years ago, this kind of corporate executive largesse was unherd of. Now, these media Masters of the Universe have taken over the public airwares and they have one obligation: making a profit." Ever a larger one, which requires protecting the government and the corporate advertisers from investigative reporting. The consequence today is that the American media is totally unreliable.

News Media / Propaganda Tools?

washington post logoWashington Post, That Facebook group you joined years ago? It might now be supporting Brett Kavanaugh, Tony Romm, Oct. 4, 2018. Many of the Facebook groups that seem to facebook logoadvocate for Brett M. Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court -- and some of those defending Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual assault in the 1980s -- actually amassed their followers months or years before Washington’s most politically charged controversy unfolded, according to Facebook’s records, offering yet another sign that public outcry on social media isn’t exactly what it appears to be.

September

Sept. 29

nbc news logoNBC News, White House limits scope of the FBI's investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, Ken Dilanian, Geoff Bennett, Kristen Welker, Frank Thorp V, Hallie Jackson and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Sept. 29, 2018. The FBI has not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, a White House official confirmed to NBC News. The White House is limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, multiple people briefed on the matter told NBC News.

While the FBI will examine the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the bureau has not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s, those people familiar with the investigation told NBC News. A White House official confirmed that Swetnick's claims will not be pursued as part of the reopened background investigation into Kavanaugh.

Ford said in Senate testimony Thursday that she was "100 percent" certain that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. Ramirez alleged that he exposed himself to her when there were students at Yale. Kavanaugh has staunchly denied allegations from Ford, Ramirez and Swetnick.

Instead of investigating Swetnick's claims, the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview, according to several people who discussed the parameters on the condition of anonymity. They characterized the White House instructions as a significant constraint on the FBI investigation and caution that such a limited scope, while not unusual in normal circumstances, may make it difficult to pursue additional leads in a case in which a Supreme Court nominee has been accused of sexual assault.

President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the FBI has "free reign" in the investigation. "They’re going to do whatever they have to do," he said. "Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing — things that we never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine."

JIP Editor's Note: We excerpt the column below to debunk the right-wing propaganda smearing sexual assault victim Christine Brasey Ford. We do not endorse the obviously false claims that are being made against her.

Media Matters, Right-wing conspiracy theorists now claim Christine Blasey Ford is “deeply tied to the CIA,” Sarah Wasko, Sept. 28, 2018. Conservative radio host and conspiracy theorist Michael Savage is promoting a rapidly spreading conspiracy theory that professor Christine Blasey Ford, who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school, has “deep” connections to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Savage has pushed incredibly bizarre conspiracy theories and hateful rhetoric, and he has been closely connected to President Donald Trump and the White House. He pushed the latest conspiracy theory on Twitter and his website:

IS DR. FORD DEEPLY TIED TO THE CIA? — Michael Savage (@ASavageNation) 2:59 PM - Sep 27, 2018
Savage’s conspiracy theory makes three claims about Ford’s connections to the CIA, all of which are false or baseless:

1. The post claims that Ford “happens to head up the CIA undergraduate internship program at Stanford University.” This claim seems to originate from a conspiracy theory website, brassballs.blog, that drew this conclusion because Stanford does have an undergraduate CIA internship program, and Ford, who is a psychology professor at nearby Palo Alto University, is also listed as an “affiliate” in the “psychiatry and behavioral sciences” department at Stanford. The blog post argues that it is suspicious that Ford’s contact information has been deleted from her Stanford profile page, although the more likely explanation is that it has been removed due to the threats and harassment that Ford has received since coming forward.

2. The theory draws another connection between Ford and the CIA via her brother’s previous work for law firm BakerHostetler. A previous Ford-related conspiracy theory connected her brother’s work at BakerHostetler to Fusion GPS, a research firm involved in the ongoing Russian collusion investigation. However, Ford’s brother left BakerHostetler six years before Fusion GPS was ever founded. Savage’s conspiracy theory repeats this false claim and goes even further, claiming that three CIA-controlled businesses are located in the same building as BakerHostetler. There is no evidence these businesses are connected to the CIA -- in fact, one, Red Coats, Inc., is a janitorial company that does not even share office space with BakerHostetler.

3. Savage’s post also claims that Ford is the granddaughter of Nicholas Deak, who worked with the CIA during the Cold War. According to his 1985 Washington Post obituary, Deak only had one child, a son named R. Leslie Deak. But as the conspiracy theory’s second claim also notes, Ford’s father is actually Ralph Blasey Jr.
Savage’s false claim is rapidly spreading, and was promoted during Alex Jones’ September 28 broadcast. The conspiracy theory is also indicative of how search platforms like Google amplify such clear falsehoods. A Google search for “Christine Ford CIA” done in a private browsing window aggregated YouTube videos pushing the conspiracy theory and Savage’s website as the top results:

Sept. 29

Information Clearing House, Analysis: Facebook’s New Propaganda Partners, Alan MacLeod, Sept. 29, 2018. Media giant Facebook recently announced (Reuters, 9/19/18) it would combat “fake news” by partnering with two propaganda organizations founded and funded by the US government: the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI). The social media platform was already working closely with the NATO-sponsored Atlantic Council think tank (FAIR.org, 5/21/18).

facebook logoIn a previous FAIR article (8/22/18), I noted that the “fake news” issue was being used as a pretext to attack the left and progressive news sites. Changes to Facebook’s algorithm have reduced traffic significantly for progressive outlets like Common Dreams (5/3/18), while the pages of Venezuelan government–backed TeleSur English and the independent Venezuelanalysis were shut down without warning, and only reinstated after a public outcry.

madeleine.albrightThe Washington, DC–based NDI and IRI are staffed with senior Democratic and Republican politicians; the NDI is chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, left, while the late Sen. John McCain was the longtime IRI chair.

Both groups were created in 1983 as arms of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a Cold War enterprise backed by then–CIA director William Casey (Jacobin, 3/7/18). That these two US government creations, along with a NATO offshoot like the Atlantic Council, are used by Facebook to distinguish real from fake news is effectively state censorship.

Facebook’s collaboration with the NED organizations is particularly troubling, as both have aggressively pursued regime change against leftist governments overseas. The NDI undermined the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in the 1980s, and continues to do so to this day, while the IRI claimed a key role in the 2002 coup against leftist President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, announcing that it had

"served as a bridge between the nation’s political parties and all civil society groups to help Venezuelans forge a new democratic future…. We stand ready to continue our partnership with the courageous Venezuelan people."

brazil flag wavingThe Reuters report (9/19/18) mentioned that Facebook was anxious to better curate what Brazilians saw on their feeds in the run-up to their presidential elections, which pits far-right Jair Bolsonaro against leftist Fernando Haddad. The US government has a long history of undermining democracy in Brazil, from supporting a coup in 1964 against the progressive Goulart administration to continually spying on leftist President Dilma Rousseff (BBC, 7/4/15) in the run-up to the parliamentary coup against her in 2016 (CounterSpin, 6/2/17).

Sept. 26

C-SPAN, Sen Blumenthal Moves for Adoption of S.Res.610, Urging Declassification of 9/11 Documents. Sept. 26, 2018. Sen Richard Blumenthal (D, CT), speaks on behalf of S.Res.610, which urges the broadest possible declassification of 9/11 documents. He argues that they're essential to 9/11 families seeking justice against Saudi Arabia for the alleged assistance that Saudi officials provided to the plotters. After his speech, the resolution was passed by unanimous consent.

Sept. 24

republican elephant logoPalmer Report, Opinion: What did they know about Brett Kavanaugh and when did they know it? Bill Palmer, Sept. 24, 2018. This evening we learned, thanks to Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, that unnamed “Senior Republican staffers” became aware last week that their Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had a second accuser named Deborah Ramirez. We also know that in response, the GOP decided to push harder to advance the confirmation process even more quickly, in the hope of confirming him before Ramirez’s accusations could become public.

It leads to a crucial question: which Republican Senators knew about this, and when did they know it?

Over the past several days we’ve all seen Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, as well as committee members Orrin Hatch and Lindsey Graham, publicly try to push Dr. Christine Blasey Ford into testifying as soon as humanly possible. They were demanding she testify on Monday. When she said she couldn’t make it there before Thursday, they then demanded that she testify on Wednesday.

While this was going on, Palmer Report pointed out that the Republicans were so afraid of the Kavanaugh nomination imminently slipping away, they were literally afraid to give Ford one more day; we just didn’t know specifically why. Now we do. Certain Republican Senators knew about Ramirez, and they knew she could go public at any minute, and susan collins lisa murkowski 150x150they were racing against time.

So here’s the question. Did the entire GOP Senate know about Ramirez, or were certain GOP Senators like Grassley and Hatch trying to keep this information from potential “no” votes in their own party, such as Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski? (The two are shown on the adjoining photos, with Collins at right.)

ny times logoNew York Times, Brett Kavanaugh, Facing New Allegations, Vows He Will Not Withdraw, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sept. 24, 2018. Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, facing mounting allegations of sexual impropriety and growing doubts over his confirmation to the Supreme Court, vowed on Monday to fight the “smears,” saying he will not withdraw his nomination.

“These are smears, pure and simple. And they debase our public discourse,” he wrote in a letter to the senior Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “But they are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country. Such grotesque and obvious character assassination — if allowed to succeed — will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service.”

“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process,” he continued. “The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed.”

[Read Judge Kavanaugh’s letter.]

Sept. 23

ny times logoNew York Times, Christine Blasey Ford Reaches Deal to Testify at Kavanaugh Hearing, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sept. 23, 2018. The woman who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers has committed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, her lawyers said on Sunday. The lawyers said some details — including whether an outside lawyer will question her — still needed to be resolved, but that those issues would not impede holding a hearing.

christine blasey ford headshot croppedThe agreement, reached after an hourlong negotiating session Sunday morning between the lawyers and committee aides, is the latest step in a halting process toward a potentially explosive hearing that will pit the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, against Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court. On Saturday, the two sides reached a tentative agreement for Dr. Ford, shown right in a file photo, to appear on Thursday.

The on-again, off-again talks — with an appointment to the nation’s highest court in the balance — have consumed official Washington, and thrown confirmation proceedings for Judge Kavanaugh, who has vigorously denied Dr. Ford’s allegations, into turmoil. Until last week, Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed all but assured; that is no longer the case.

A few sticking points between the two sides remain, according to people familiar with the talks. One is who will testify first, Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh. Republicans have rejected the idea that the judge would appear first. But perhaps the biggest sticking point is whether senators on the Judiciary Committee will question Dr. Ford themselves, or use an outside lawyer or a committee aide, most likely a woman.

brett kavanaugh fox poll sept 22 2018

fox news logo SmallFox News, Fox News Poll: Record number of voters oppose Kavanaugh nomination, Dana Blanton, Sept. 23, 2018. Voter support for Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court is down in the wake of Christine Ford’s assault allegations, as more believe her than him.

Currently, 40 percent of voters would confirm Kavanaugh, while 50 percent oppose him, according to a Fox News poll. Last month, views split 45-46 percent (August 19-21).

Sept. 22

lucian truscott iv west point cadet 1969Salon, Grooming Brett Kavanaugh: From prep school to the Supreme Court was a straight line…and crooked as hell, Lucian K. Truscott IV (author, journalist and former West Point cadet, as shown in a 1969 photo), Sept. 22, 2018. Ordinarily, when you think of the word “grooming,” pets come to mind. A poodle, say, or maybe a Westie.

Then a Supreme Court seat becomes vacant, and you start to see that, at least in Republican circles, people need grooming, too. People like Brett Kavanaugh, who as legal commentator Jonathan Turley informed us in The Hill “has long been viewed as someone actively groomed for the court by supporters in the Federalist Society and conservative legal circles.”

Grooming someone like Kavanaugh means nothing less than this: an older man, or more often older men, pick a young man, usually during the time he is being educated and trained for his chosen career, and they take him under their collective wing, and they put him on a path that will lead him where they want him to go, and while they’re doing it, they make sure he will arrive there fortified with the necessary beliefs and most importantly “fealty” that will insure that he does exactly what they want him to do. It’s usually men who are groomed in this manner. It didn’t used to happen with women, although it does now. But it’s usually a guy thing that involves stuff like prep schools and college fraternities and secret societies such as Skull and Bones.

But grooming isn’t mentoring. It’s deeper and more insidious than that. A mentor might take a young man or young woman under the wing and help them along with career skills and advice. I heard this job came up that you’d be perfect for! Here’s what to keep in mind when you go in for your interview . . .

Grooming is first and foremost selective. Those who are groomed, like Kavanaugh, are chosen — singled out from a pack of similarly inclined candidates for special attention. What really distinguishes those who are groomed from those who aren’t is exclusivity. You’re one of only a few. Remember when we heard Trump would be picking his Supreme Court nominees from lists given him by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society? Trust me. They weren’t long lists. You can’t groom everyone.

What’s going on here, right now as I write these words is this: I’m breaking these rules. I’m telling you this secret because I was groomed as a young man, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t take the deal. It happened this way.

When I was a cadet at West Point, every year a powerful man from Washington D.C. came up to the Academy as a kind of guest lecturer in the social science department. He spent a couple of weeks talking with cadets taking a required class in social science, and one by one, he picked out four or five to be groomed.

Sept. 21

Media News: Sinclair Promos For Kavanaugh?

djt boris epshteyn sinclair kavanaugh sept 21 2018 Custom 2

President Trump sat down for an interview with Sinclair’s chief political analyst, Boris Epshteyn, who has never disagreed with the president in his commentary (screenshot).

Media Matters, Opinion: In an interview with Sinclair, Trump touts Kavanaugh’s “unblemished record” and says he thinks he will be confirmed, Pam Vogel, Sept. 21, 2018. Media Matters is a left-leaning advocacy group founded by author and former right-leaning advocate David Brock.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner and operator of local TV stations in the country, regularly broadcasts pro-Trump propaganda segments created by an ex-Trump staffer into the homes of millions of Americans. And now those segments include an interview with President Donald Trump himself, in which he was given a friendly platform to discuss his continued support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh despite a report that he committed sexual assault.

The media company’s chief political analyst, Boris Epshteyn, has been producing regular commentary segments, called “Bottom Line With Boris,” for Sinclair for more than a year. Epshteyn had previously worked in the Trump White House on the communications team, after doing stints on the Trump inaugural committee and on the Trump campaign. Epshteyn also served as a Trump media surrogate throughout the campaign and first days of the Trump presidency. Epshteyn is personal friends with the president’s sons Eric and Donald Jr., and he has been spotted at Trump International Hotel multiple times, including with Don Jr. in June. He also may or may not have signed a nondisparagement agreement while he was working on the campaign, which could legally prevent him from criticizing Trump.

For a chief political analyst, Epshteyn offers takes that are notably unoriginal. At best, he regurgitates Trump talking points or touts some vague, imaginary bipartisan ideals that involve being nicer to Trump. At worst, he defends the most upsetting, racist things Trump does. In fact, in a recent interview on a National Review podcast, Epshteyn could not think of a single issue about which he had disagreed with the Trump administration in any of his commentary segments. What’s more: These segments ultimately air on an estimated 100 TV news stations under Sinclair’s control, exploiting the trust people have in their local news.

Given the president’s penchant for granting interviews to sycophants, it was only a matter of time before Trump himself made an appearance on "Bottom Line with Boris."

On September 21, Epshteyn shared the first of what will likely be several must-run segments featuring excerpts from his sit-down with the president. This one is focused on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and professor Christine Blasey Ford’s account of sexual assault by Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. In the segment, Trump largely repeats broad White House talking points about making sure Ford is heard, and then pivots to touting Kavanaugh’s “unblemished record.” Trump also says he believes Kavanaugh will ultimately still be confirmed.

BORIS EPSHTEYN: The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is facing last-minute turmoil over allegations that he committed sexual assault decades ago. I spoke with President Trump about this in a one-on-one, exclusive interview. Here’s what he shared.

[INTERVIEW CLIP BEGINS]

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think they’ve been very respectful of Dr. Ford, extremely respectful. I think they’re doing the right thing. They want to give her a voice, if she wants to take it. They’re talking now about timing. It’s already been delayed a week. That’s a long time. This is the U.S. Senate we’re talking about.

EPSHTEYN: Right.

TRUMP: I can only say this: Let her speak. But Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest people you’ll ever meet. I think it’s been extremely hard on him and his family. When I look at what’s happening -- here’s a man with an unblemished record, and to be going through this all of a sudden. So I won’t say anything now. All I’m saying is that -- let it play out. Let her have open voice. And let’s see what happens.

This year, Epshteyn has aired interviews with seven other members of the Trump administration, eight Republican congressmen, and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The appearances include: then-Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Council of Economic Advisers Chair Kevin Hassett, and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI). DeSantis, McCarthy, Rooney, and Duffy are all on ballots this year.

Sept. 15

richard nixon desk archives

President Richard Nixon in the White House Oval Office (Photo via Wikimedia and the National Record and Archives Administration).

Lawfare, The Watergate ‘Road Map’ and the Coming Mueller Report, Stephen Bates, Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittes, Sept. 14, 2018. According to countless media accounts and President Trump’s own lawyers, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is writing some kind of report on allegations of presidential obstruction of justice. Exactly what sort of report this may be is unclear. But to the extent that Mueller is contemplating a referral to Congress of possible impeachment material, he has two historical models of such documents to draw on. One, the so-called Starr Report, is famous and publicly available. The other is a document most people have never heard of: the “Road Map” that Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski sent to Congress in 1974 and that informed its impeachment proceedings, which were already underway.

The Road Map was very different from the Starr Report. Where Starr wrote a lengthy narrative, the Road Map was reportedly spare. Where Starr evaluated the legal relevance of the evidence he referred, the Road Map apparently contained no analysis and drew no conclusions. And where the Starr Report was in bookstores worldwide and today is just a Google search away, the Road Map is largely forgotten.

There’s a reason for that: The Road Map remains under seal at the National Archives. Kenneth Starr couldn’t read it. You can’t read it. And, remarkably for a document that may be the best model available for his current project, Mueller can’t read it either.

The three of us filed a petition on Thursday to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that seeks to rectify this problem. Represented by attorneys at Protect Democracy, we asked the court to unseal the Road Map. We did so because the document is of significant historical interest and significant contemporary interest. As we will explain in this post, which is drawn from declarations that we and others filed in the matter, the Road Map is one of the few significant pieces of Watergate history that remains unavailable to the public. The document is also keenly relevant to current discussions of how Mueller should proceed. It is possible that it is even relevant to discussions taking place within the Mueller investigation itself.

Sept. 12

9/11 Litigation

ny times logoNew York Times, Judge Dismisses Federal Suit Accusing Firm of Defrauding 9/11 Responders, Matthew Goldstein, Sept. 12, 2018. A day after the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit, brought by the New York State attorney general’s office, that accused a financial firm of defrauding firefighters and others involved in the response out of funds meant to compensate them for resulting injuries and illnesses.

The attorney general must instead use state courts to pursue any claims it has against the financial firm, RD Legal Funding, Judge Loretta A. Preska of Federal District Court in Manhattan said Wednesday.

For the moment, the ruling handed a surprising victory to RD Legal, which the attorney general’s office said had used deceptive tactics to ensnare emergency responders and former professional football players in high-interest loans while they awaited settlements.

Judge Preska said there was no basis for state authorities to continue their enforcement action in federal court after she dismissed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency, from the lawsuit in June. The judge tossed out the bureau’s claims that RD Legal had violated federal law after she determined that the structure of the agency was unconstitutional because of the way its director is appointed.

That decision was at odds with a ruling in January by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said there was nothing impermissible with the law that created the consumer bureau and allows it to be run by a single director. But the appellate ruling is not binding on federal courts in other districts, including New York.

RD Legal, a New Jersey firm, sparked controversy by entering into financial deals with emergency workers who responded to the attack that destroyed the World Trade Center towers in 2001.

The lawsuit, filed jointly last year by the consumer bureau and state authorities, claimed RD Legal persuaded firefighters, police officers and medical workers to enter into high-interest cash advances. The litigation claimed RD Legal also entered into similar agreements with former football players who were awaiting money from the National Football League concussion litigation.

The high-interest financial deals are an offshoot of the fast-growing consumer litigation market, in which firms compete to provide cash advances to people with pending lawsuits.

Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Barbara Underwood, the New York State attorney general, said the office was considering its options. But, she added, the decision “hinged on the judge’s interpretation of the constitutionality of specific provisions” of the federal law that established the consumer bureau.

Michael Roth, a lawyer with Boies Schiller Flexner, which represents RD Legal, said in a statement that the case never should have been brought. “Today’s order provides for the full relief we originally requested in our motion to dismiss,” he said.

The consumer bureau has not yet said if it will appeal Judge Preska’s decision dismissing its case, but it has taken steps in that direction. In an order last month, Judge Preska said she “anticipated” that the bureau would file an appeal, based on its actions in the case. Her finding on the bureau’s constitutionality was notable because it relied heavily on a dissenting opinion written by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court.

In her 108-page ruling in June, Judge Preska quoted Judge Kavanaugh when he said it was unconstitutional for “an independent agency that exercises substantial executive power” to be run by a single director. But she said she disagreed with Judge Kavanaugh’s solution, which would be to give the president more power to supervise and fire the director.

Instead, Judge Preska went further, saying the unconstitutionality of the bureau’s structure effectively rendered it powerless to bring action against RD Legal.

It’s a severe remedy, and one reason that many expect the bureau to appeal the ruling even though it has taken a softer approach to enforcement actions during the Trump administration.

Sept. 9

Media / Propaganda: Book Review

Washington Post, When Soviet and British spies toiled among the Washington press corps, Dina Temple-Raston, Sept. 9, 2018 (print edition). Dina Temple-Raston was NPR’s counterterrorism correspondent for a decade and is now working on a technology project for the network. She is also executive producer and host of the podcast “What Were You Thinking,” which looks at adolescent decision-making and how the developing brain may influence choices.

In hindsight, had I been a CIA operative posing as a journalist, I am confident my handlers would have told me to seem plausibly literate about the agency — to at least know where it was....

The story came to mind as I read Steven T. Usdin’s Bureau of Spies: The Secret Connections Between Espionage and Journalism in Washington. With his meticulous research and careful reporting, Usdin, who previously wrote a book about members of the Rosenberg spy ring titled “Engineering Communism,” pulls back the curtain on 80 years of propaganda and espionage emanating from the corner of 14th and F streets in Northwest Washington: the National Press Building.

In reading “Bureau of Spies,” I was frequently reminded of parallels to current events. Allen’s push for “Russian recognition” was reminiscent of Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during the presidential transition in 2016, when Flynn was set to become President Trump’s national security adviser. Flynn apparently urged the Russians not to retaliate in response to new Obama administration sanctions, suggesting to Kislyak that the sanctions could be rolled back once Trump took office.

Stories about Soviet operations make good cloak-and-dagger reading, but Usdin’s reporting on the influence operations of the British provide the most surprise. In the spring of 1940, Usdin writes, “British intelligence operatives, including American journalists in the National Press Building, worked to elect candidates who favored U.S. intervention [in the war], defeat those who advocated neutrality, and silence or destroy the reputations of American isolationists they considered a menace to British security.”

Sept. 5

brett kavanaugh screen grab 9 5 2018 at 3 56 pm

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, an federal court of appeals judge, at his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on Sept. 5, 2018 (screengrab at 3: 56 p.m.).

JFKFacts.org, Kavanaugh’s judicial activism on display, Sept. 5, 2018. On the second day of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, the Supreme Court nominee’s legal record is under close scrutiny. While far from is most important ruling, his last signed opinion as an appellate court judge provides a window into his judicial philosophy.

In a split decision on July 9, Kavanaugh’s vote decided my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for certain JFK assassination files. As fellow judge Karen Henderson pointed out in a stinging dissent, the majority decision ignored precedent and invented mandate.

Substantively, Kavanaugh’s decision undermined a key feature of FOIA law and strengthened the CIA and other agencies that want to keep embarrassing secrets out of the public record–even when they are more than 50 years old. That’s why I’m appealing the decision.

election polling places closed brutal deluxe wikimedia who what why

Local leadership has closed nearly 1,000 sites nationwide since the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in its 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Eric Holder. Data from The Leadership Conference Education Fund (PDF) and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Photo credit: Brutal Deluxe / Wikimedia

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Shuttered Polling Sites Cast Shadow Over Midterm Elections, Nina Sparling, Sept. 5, 2018. Georgia has shut down over 200 polling sites since 2014, and a string of recent closures in a predominantly African-American jurisdiction is raising eyebrows as the midterms approach. The Georgia examples figure in a growing national trend, with stark implications for the upcoming midterm elections, reports the Pew Charitable Trust.

Sept. 1

john mccain with flag recent

Global Research, The Beatification of John McCain, Adeyinka Makinde, Sept. 1, 2018. The eulogies for the recently deceased John McCain, a U.S. Senator for Arizona, have been plentiful, and so far as the American mainstream media is concerned, they have verged on the hagiographic. He has been variously described as a “patriot”, a “war hero” and a “defender of freedom.” Most perplexingly, McCain was lauded as a “warrior for peace”.

But while praise for McCain has been dutifully administered in reverential terms by both liberal and conservative figures, the truth is that there is widespread dissent about McCain’s legacy as a man, as a military officer, as well as a politician. Perhaps, most worrisome is the construction of McCain’s legacy as one of the resolutely principled maverick and insatiable peaceseeker.

On the contrary, McCain operated at the highest echelons of the American Establishment, a closeted world of vested interests comprising a network geared towards the enrichment of the American elite. He was a captive of the defence industry and an unceasingly aggressive spokesperson for the post-Cold War era militarism that has compromised the United States and brought it down low in the eyes of the global community of nations.

McCain was despite his maverick label an establishment man adept at manoeuvering between the public spotlight and the shadowy, largely unseen world of what many now understand to be the ‘Deep State.’

He was almost certainly a key player in the machinations of America’s ‘double government’ and its formulation of national security policy which, as Professor Michael Glennon pointed out in a lengthy research paper, has essentially remained unchanged from successive administrations starting with George W. Bush, through to the one headed by Barack Obama, and now that of Donald Trump.

 

August

MSM Ending Yemen War Self-Censonship

yemen cnn us missiles blackout broken1 14

Screenshot from CNN Aug. 20 report "CNN Exclusive: Bomb that killed 40 Childen in Yemen was Supplied by the United States"

Medium, //medium.com/@caityjohnstone/msm-finally-concedes-defeat-on-yemen-ceases-blackout-of-coverage-1b774266dbfe" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Opinion: MSM [Mainstream Media] Finally Concedes Defeat On Yemen, Ceases Blackout Of Coverage, Caitlin Johnson, Aug. 28, 2018. Last month, an article by Fair.org went viral in republications by popular alternative media outlets ranging from Salon to Zero Hedge to Alternet to Truthdig, among many others.

msnbc logo CustomThe article was initially titled “ACTION ALERT: It’s Been Over a Year Since MSNBC Has Mentioned US War in Yemen,” but many subsequent republications went with variations on the more attention-grabbing headline, “MSNBC has done 455 Stormy Daniels segments in the last year  —  but none on U.S. war in Yemen”.

The centerpiece of the article was the following graphic [below right], which I saw shared on its own many times in my social media feeds:

yemen msnbc graphic comparing stormy yemen coverageThat’s about as in your face as it gets, isn’t it?

Ever since the Saudi-led assault on Yemen began in March of 2015, alternative media outlets everywhere have been repeatedly and aggressively decrying the mainstream media in the US and UK for their spectacular failure to adequately and accurately cover the violence and humanitarian disaster with appropriate reporting on who is responsible for it. After the 2016 US election, journalist Michael Tracey wrote an essay documenting how throughout the entire year and a half that Americans were pummeled with updates from the mass media about candidates and their campaigns, not one single question about Yemen was ever asked by any mainstream outlet of any candidate.

This is of course outrageous, but because of how media coverage works, mainstream attention was never drawn to the problem. It hasn’t been a total media blackout, but because it only turns up in mainstream media reports every once in a while with little if any emphasis being placed on who is behind the devastation, it occupies a very peripheral place in western consciousness.

This has all changed in the last few days. Suddenly, the atrocities being inflicted upon the people of Yemen are being pushed into mainstream attention by the mass media outlets which have been ignoring them for more than three years.

washington post logoThe Washington Post editorial board published an op-edtitled “End U.S. support for this misbegotten and unwinnable war.”

cnn logoCNN did some actual, real journalism for a change with a viral exclusive [on Aug. 20] documenting which American war profiteers were behind some of the more devastating Saudi bombings.

And yes, MSNBC finally did cover the violence in Yemen, breaking its year-long silence to report on a US-supplied bomb which killed 40 children with such urgent condemnation of those responsible you’d never know they’d been consistently ignoring such incidents which have been going on for years.

Now politicians and celebrities everywhere are shoving the horror of their government facilitating the slaughter of innocents into mainstream attention.

9/11 Research

Newsweek, CIA and Saudi Arabia Conspired To Keep 9/11 Details Secret, New Book Says, Jeff Stein, Aug. 28, 2018. The authors of a new book on 9/11 hope to re-focus public attention on the cover-up. Thoroughly mining the multiple official investigations into the event, John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski find huge holes and contradictions in the official story that 9/11 was merely “a failure to connect the dots.”

Duffy, a left-leaning writer and environmental activist, and Nowosielski, a documentary filmmaker, have nowhere near the prominence of other journalists who have poked holes in the official story, in particular Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book that was turned into a gripping multi-part docudrama on Hulu earlier this year.

But Duffy and Nowosielski come to the story with a noteworthy credential: In 2009 they scored an astounding video interview with Richard Clarke, White House counterterrorism adviser during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

In it, Clarke raged that top CIA officials, including director George Tenet, had withheld crucial information from him about Al Qaeda’s plotting and movements, including the arrival in the U.S. of future hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. In The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark, the authors assemble a compelling case of a government-wide coverup of Saudi complicity in the affair.

Aug. 24

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Anti-Conspiracy Theorists in the JFK Assassination, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Aug. 24, 2018. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Kennedy assassination has been “anti-conspiracy theorists,” especially within the mainstream press. People are so scared of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist” that they will do everything they can to avoid making a careful examination of the circumstantial evidence pointing toward a national-security regime-change operation in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Consider, for example, Saundra Spencer, who I discuss both in my book The Kennedy Autopsy and in my current, ongoing video-podcast series on the JFK assassination.

Spencer was a U.S. Navy petty officer who was serving in the U.S. Navy’s photography lab in Washington D.C., in November 1963. She had a top-secret security clearance. Her job included the development of classified photographs. She worked closely with the White House. It would be virtually impossible to find a more credible and competent witness than Saundra Spencer. No one has ever questioned her veracity, integrity, and competence.

As most everyone knows, when someone in the military acquires what is known as “classified information,” he is required to keep it secret for the rest of his life, even if he leaves the military. Every member of the U.S. military — indeed, every employee of the U.S. national-security establishment — knows that if he ever breaches the secrecy principle, he is subject to severe punishment.

In the 1990s, Spencer was summoned to testify before the Assassination Records Review Board, the commission charged with enforcing the JFK Records Act, which forced the U.S. national-security establishment to disclose its records relating to the JFK assassination to the public.

Spencer related an astounding story, one that she had kept secret for some 30 years owing to its classified nature. After the ARRB released her from her obligation of secrecy, Spencer stated that on the weekend of the assassination, she had been asked to develop, on a top-secret basis, the photographs of the autopsy that the U.S. military had performed on President Kennedy’s body on the evening of the assassination.

The ARRB’s general counsel showed Spencer the official autopsy photographs, which she carefully examined. She stated directly, firmly, and unequivocally that those autopsy photographs were not the autopsy photographs that she developed on the weekend of the assassination. The ones she developed, she said, showed a large, exit-sized wound in the back of President Kennedy’s head. The official autopsy photographs showed the back of Kennedy’s head to be intact, that is, without a large exit-sized wound.

What are we to make of this? Well, according to anti-conspiracy theorists, nothing. We are not supposed to go down that road. We are not supposed to ask any questions, for to do so would mean that we have entered the dreaded realm of “conspiracy theory.”

Even the fact that the treating physicians at Dallas’s Parkland Hospital, who described the large, exit-sized wound in the lower back of the president’s head, from which, they said, was leaking cerebellum, which is the lower back part of the brain, is not supposed to cause us to wonder what is going on here. That could lead down the dangerous road to being called a “conspiracy theorist.”

Aug. 22

cases that will require Kavanaugh’s vote for a conservative victory.”

Looking Back In History

jfk pt 109 crew 1943 jfk library

Lt. John F. Kennedy, right, with his World War II crew on the PT109 before destruction of their boat and a dramatic rescue (1943 photo from the JKF Library)

whowhatwhy logoruss bakerWhoWhatWhy, Opinion: JFK’s War Heroism Speaks Louder Than Rhetoric of War-Dodging Chicken Hawks, Russ Baker, right, Aug. 22, 2018. Talking tough about military action and being tough are not one and the same. That’s worth remembering in the Trump era, when potential conflicts always seem just a tweet away. While many politicians, including President Donald Trump, have been quick to threaten military action, few have seen the horrors of war up close.

One reminder that war heroes do not necessarily become hawks — and vice versa — comes this month: the 75th anniversary of the day in 1943 when future president John F. Kennedy’s PT boat sank after being sheared in half by a Japanese destroyer off the Solomon Islands.

Kennedy managed to swim in the dark, for five hours, in treacherous currents — all while towing an injured mate. His teeth were clenched to the strap of a life jacket that held the man. (Go here to read the whole riveting story). Kennedy was later credited with saving members of the crew, and received both the Navy Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Heart for his heroics.

Kennedy’s war experience first became national news when, in 1944, both the New Yorker and Reader’s Digest published his story of survival during war on the high seas. Later, it served as a focal point of his candidacy in his first run at public office — in the 1946 Massachusetts congressional elections. Kennedy acknowledged the importance of his “war hero” status himself, later commenting, “I was elected to the House right after the war because I was the only veteran in the race.”

Aug. 13

ny times logorecep erdogan throneNew York Times, Opinion: Erdogan: How Turkey Sees the Crisis With the U.S., Recep Tayyip Erdogan (president of Turkey, shown at right), Unilateral actions against Turkey by the United States will undermine American interests and force Turkey to look for other friends and allies.

Unless the United States starts respecting Turkey’s sovereignty and proves that it understands the dangers that our nation faces, our partnership could be in jeopardy.

Fetullah-GullenOn July 15, 2016, Turkey came under attack by members of a shadowy group led by Fethullah Gulen [shown in a file photo at left], who leads his organization, officially described by my government as Fethullah Terrorist Organization, from a compound in rural Pennsylvania. The Gulenists tried to stage a bloody coup against my government. On that night, millions of ordinary citizens rushed to the streets out of a sense of patriotism, similar to what the American people undoubtedly experienced after Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two hundred and fifty one innocent people, including Erol Olcok, my longtime campaign manager and dear friend, and his son, Abdullah Tayyip Olcok, paid the ultimate price for our nation’s freedom. Had the death squad, which came after me and my family, been successful, I would have joined them.

The Turkish people expected the United States to unequivocally condemn the attack and express solidarity with Turkey’s elected leadership. It did not. The United States reaction was far from satisfactory. Instead of siding with Turkish democracy, United States officials cautiously called for “stability and peace and continuity within Turkey.” To make matters worse, there has been no progress regarding Turkey’s request for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen under a bilateral treaty.

Aug. 12

wayne madsen new headshotHabilian Foundation, Opinion: MEK Terrorists To Stir Up Problems In The Balkans, Wayne Madsen (Q&A format), Aug. 12, 2018. Investigative reporter and commentator Wayne Madsen, right, is a former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst.

The MEK became part of the neo-conservative network calling for US intervention in Iran after the disastrous US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The MEK worked closely with leading pro-Israel neo-cons in the aftermath of the Iraq debacle. These include Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Daniel Pipes, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback (now Donald Trump's special envoy for "religious liberty"), and the late Democratic Representative Tom Lantos.

The MEK also has other strong bi-partisan political support in the US from people like Rudolph Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, and John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser.

maryam rajavi 2017 paris conferenceThe MEK is a personality cult beholden to the Rajavis that conducts terrorist attacks on Iran and Shi'as in Iraq on behalf of third parties, including the U.S., Israel, and the Saudis.

The Rajavis [Maryam Rajavi, shown at left, wife of Massoud Rajavi] are cult leaders in the same manner of the heads of the Church of Scientology, the Unification Church (the "Moonies"), and the personality cult now developing [around] Trump. Cults are neither democratic nor libertarian because members must give total loyalty to the cult leaders. In the case of MEK, it is the Rajavis.

Aug. 10

gina haspel national security archive collage Custom

CIA Director Gina Haspel shown in a collage by the National Security Archive

National Security Archive, Gina Haspel CIA Torture Cables Declassified, Staff report, Aug. 10, 2018. Haspel described extended sessions of physical violence and waterboarding; CIA cables detail contract psychologists Mitchell and Jessen working for Haspel.

Current CIA director Gina Haspel described graphic acts of deliberate physical torture including the waterboarding of a suspected Al-Qa’ida terrorist under her supervision when she was chief of base at a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002, according to declassified CIA cables – most of which she wrote or authorized – obtained by the National Security Archive through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and posted on the Web today.

cia logoThe Haspel cables detail conditions the public has only seen in the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs from Iraq of detainees hooded and shackled, forced nudity, wall slamming, and box confinement, as well as “enhanced techniques” never photographed such as the simulated drowning of suspects on the waterboard. Waterboarding is a war crime under both U.S. and international law, dating back to U.S. prosecution of Japanese solders for torturing U.S. POWs during World War II.

Although the CIA redacted Haspel’s name and those of the CIA contract psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen who administered the waterboard, other declassified documents (including the 2004 CIA Inspector General report) and public statements confirm their leadership of the torture of alleged terrorist Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri at the black site between November 15 and December 4, 2002.

“Release of Gina Haspel’s torture cables shows the power of the Freedom of Information Act to bring accountability even to the highest levels of the CIA,” said Archive director Tom Blanton, who first identified the Haspel cables from a footnote (336 on p. 67) in the Senate Intelligence Committee torture report declassified in 2014.

The Archive filed its FOIA request for the Haspel cables on April 16, 2018, after she was nominated by President Trump to be CIA director. Despite the clear public interest in the documents, the CIA denied the Archive’s request for expedited processing, and the Archive went to court on April 27. The U.S. Senate confirmed Haspel as CIA director on May 17 (by a vote of 54-45) on the basis of a record amassed almost exclusively in closed hearings, with no declassification or public release of information even remotely approaching that of previous CIA nominees.

Aug. 7

ny times logoNew York Times, Israel Is Said to Have Assassinated Syrian Rocket Scientist, David M. Halbfinger and Ronen Bergman, Aug. 7, 2018 (print edition). Aziz Asbar was one of Syria’s most important rocket scientists, bent on amassing an arsenal of precision-guided missiles that could be launched with pinpoint accuracy against Israeli cities hundreds of miles away.

israel flagHe had free access to the highest levels of the Syrian and Iranian governments, and his own security detail. He led a top-secret weapons-development unit called Sector 4 and was hard at work building an underground weapons factory to replace one destroyed by Israel last year.

On Saturday, he was killed by a car bomb — apparently planted by Mossad, the Israeli spy agency. It was at least the fourth assassination mission by Israel in three years against an enemy weapons engineer on foreign soil, a senior official from a Middle Eastern intelligence agency confirmed on Monday. The following account is based on information provided by the official, whose agency was informed about the operation. He spoke only on the condition of anonymity to discuss a highly classified operation.

Under Israeli law, the prime minister alone is authorized to approve an assassination operation, euphemistically known as “negative treatment” within the Mossad. Spokesmen for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Aug. 6

ny times logonicolas maduro customNew York Times, Attack on Maduro: 2 Blasts, a Stampede and a ‘Flying Thing,’ Ana Vanessa Herrero and Nicholas Casey, Aug. 6, 2018 (print edition). A drone attack that failed to kill President Nicolás Maduro, right, of Venezuela unfolded on live TV and in front of many witnesses: “It was like, bang, I had never heard a sound like that in my life.”

In the presidential box stood the small cadre who run the country: a loyal general who was now the interior minister, the chief judge of the Supreme Court and Nicolás Maduro, the president, who looked down at a parade of national guard troops.

Mr. Maduro, bedecked for the ceremony with the gold chain and tricolor sash of his office, was ending his speech Saturday afternoon on the topic that is top of mind for every Venezuelan: the ravaged economy, which has left much of the population desperate for food, emptied the hospitals of medicine and driven hundreds of thousands to leave the country. Before a loyal audience, the president tried to sound an optimistic tone on improvements to come, despite Venezuela’s dire condition.

Aug. 3

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Silence on U.S. Meddling Abroad, Jacob G. Hornberger, Aug. 3, 2018. Among the most fascinating aspects of the brouhaha over supposed Russian meddling in America’s electoral system is the total silence in the U.S. mainstream press about U.S. meddling in the political affairs of other countries.

Consider the mass outrage and indignation among the mainstream press that Russia would actually want to help a U.S. presidential candidate who favors normalizing relations with Russia over a candidate that was determined to do the opposite.

Why not the same outrage against the U.S. national-security establishment for helping its favorite people come to office in foreign countries?

By their silence regarding U.S. meddling in foreign countries, one could easily draw the conclusion that the U.S. mainstream press is saying the following: It’s wrong for Russia to meddle in the U.S. electoral system but it’s okay for the U.S. national-security establishment (i.e., the military, CIA, and NSA) to meddle in the electoral affairs of foreign countries.

Or to put it another way, if it’s wrong in principle to meddle, then why is the U.S. government doing it, and why isn’t the U.S. mainstream press condemning both U.S. meddling and Russia meddling?

ny times logoNew York Times, Ex-‘Manhattan Madam’ Meets With Russia Investigators, Kristin Davis, Alan Feuer, Aug. 3, 2018. Kristin Davis, a Manhattan woman renowned for running a high-end New York City escort service a decade ago, met on Wednesday with investigators from the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to two people familiar with the matter.

kristin davis roger stone jan 28 2013Ms. Davis, who was known for years in New York City’s tabloids as the Manhattan Madam, told The New York Times last month that she was contacted in late July by Mr. Mueller’s office, which was seeking to serve her a subpoena as part of its investigation into ties between Russia and President Trump’s campaign. Ms. Davis said at the time that she had no idea what Mr. Mueller’s team wanted to know from her, insisting she did not believe it was related to her former prostitution business.

The subject of her interview this week with the special counsel’s office remained unclear, but one possible line of inquiry was her long association with Roger J. Stone Jr., a veteran political consultant and Trump adviser who has become a focal point for Mr. Mueller’s investigators. They are shown in a file photo.

Mr. Stone, a self-described “dirty trickster” with a career in politics reaching back to the Nixon administration, was in contact with Guccifer 2.0, an online figure that Mr. Mueller’s team has said was controlled by Russian military intelligence officers. Guccifer 2.0 was instrumental in helping WikiLeaks distribute stolen emails and other internal political documents that proved damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and to the Democratic Party.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, 1943 Harlem Race Riot: What the Hell Happened? Milicent Cranor, Aug. 3, 2018. On the 75th anniversary of the riot in Harlem, we wonder what, if anything, we have learned — and when and where the next riot will be.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump has berserk late-night meltdown about LeBron James after everything goes horribly wrong for him, Bill Palmer, Aug. 3, 2018. Here’s what Donald Trump tweeted at 11:37 pm Eastern time: “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”

We checked several times to make sure that this tweet really did come from Trump, and not from a parody account.

But the real upshot is this: Donald Trump has spent all day sitting at his golf course while tweeting and retweeting total nonsense aimed at convincing himself he’s somehow doing a good job and that he’s beloved. He’s in a delusional haze, and it’s growing worse by the hour as his criminal scandals close in on him. Trump’s tweet about LeBron is a sign that he’s either desperate to distract us from an even uglier Trump-Russia bombshell that’s about to land, or he’s just completely snapped altogether.

Aug. 2

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, What Will Happen If Abortion Legislation Is Turned Back to the States? Kirsty Vitarelli, Aug. 2, 2018. Some states’ laws are already cutting access to reproductive health care. What can the rest of the US expect if a conservative SCOTUS tips the balance on Roe v. Wade?

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Use It or Lose It — Voter Purges on the Rise, Nina Sparling, Aug. 1, 2018. Voter purging is on the rise in the US, according to a new report. Unfortunately, showing up at the ballot box and exercising your constitutional right is no guarantee that your vote will be counted.

 

July

July 31

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, A Reminder That Elections Matter and Every Vote Does Count, Milicent Cranor and Maria Adelmann, July 31, 2018. With the midterms now less than 100 days away, here is a reminder of why elections are important and why every vote matters.

Former Obama Counsel Resigns After Manafort Probe

The Atlantic, This Is So Much Bigger Than Paul Manafort, Franklin Foer, July 31, 2018. With Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman on trial, America is reckoning with its very serious kleptocracy problem.

paul manafort mugOn the eve of the Paul Manafort trial, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin casually announced that Donald Trump’s administration was considering a fresh $100 billion tax cut for the wealthy. The two events — the trial and the tax cut — should be considered plot points in the same narrative. Manafort (shown in a mug photo) had grown very rich by looting public monies, and Mnuchin was proposing an arguably legal version of the same.

Unlike past Trump tax cuts, this proposed cut would be implemented by executive fiat, without a congressional vote — a highly unusual and highly undemocratic act of plunder that would redirect money from the state to further enrich the American elite, not to mention Mnuchin himself.

The trial of Paul Manafort is not merely an episode in a larger scandal that will unfold over many chapters. It is a warning not to be ignored. It’s an occasion for the United States to awaken from its collective slumber about the creeping dangers of kleptocracy.

So much about America’s view of itself resists accepting a disturbing reality. Conventional wisdom long held that America’s free market would never tolerate the sort of clientelism, nepotism, and outright theft that prevailed in places like Brazil and Italy. Americans thought that globalization would export the hygienic habits of this nation’s financial system and its values of good government to the rest of the world. But over the past three decades, the opposite transpired: America has become the sanctuary of choice for laundered money, a bastion of shell companies and anonymously purchased real estate. American elites have learned to plant money offshore with acumen that comes close to matching their crooked counterparts’ abroad.

Manafort is one of the architects of this new world order.

Barack Obama’s White House counsel Greg Craig and his top-drawer law firm, Skadden Arps, abetted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s efforts to smash the political opponents who might get in the way of his thievery. Manafort arranged for the firm to publish a report justifying the arrest of a former Ukrainian prime minister, who had been denied counsel at crucial moments of her trial.

Last April, as reported by the ABA Journal in Greg Craig, former White House counsel and lead lawyer on Ukraine report, leaves Skadden, Craig retired under a cloud of scandal. Another Skadden associate who worked with Manafort has pleaded guilty to misleading Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators. Tony Podesta, a leading Democratic lobbyist of his generation, has watched his own power firm collapse after Mueller revealed his complicity in Manafort’s efforts. These are not stray villains, but representative figures: American law firms play an essential role in protecting global kleptocracy and helping it relocate money to the United States.

President Obama and White House Counsel Greg Craig talk with Supreme Court Justice David Souter in 2009 (Pete Souza photo)

Former White House counsel Greg Craig, right with former President Barack Obama in 2009 during president's call with Supreme Court Justice David Souter upon his retirement. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

July 26

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Analyzing the New JFK Revelations, Bill Simpich, July 26, 2018. Review of New CIA and FBI Documents That Change Cold War History. Bill Simpich is a civil rights attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is on the board of directors of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, an organization focused on the study of documents related to the 1960s assassinations, Watergate, and Iran-Contra. In the following essay, he offers a look at some of the gems found in the new JFK document releases and how to speed up the discovery of future finds.

More than 50 years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, thousands of government documents related to his death are still under classified lock and key.

By law, all of the remaining secret documents were supposed to have been released last year. President Donald Trump approved the release of approximately 35,000 files in 2017. But he delayed the publication of many other documents in full or in part until 2021 — when the winner of the 2020 presidential election will have another chance to review them for possible declassification.

Researchers have been digging through the released documents in search of a “smoking gun” file which neatly explains to skeptics what really happened that dark day in Dallas. While it’s possible such a document exists, it’s unlikely.

The difficult job of understanding why a president was murdered, and unpacking the Cold War path that America was treading, involves working through the minutiae — the “boring” material — so that the little puzzle pieces can fit together to form a coherent bigger picture.

The difficult job of understanding why a president was murdered, and unpacking the Cold War path that America was treading, involves working through the minutiae — the “boring” material.

July 25

washington post logoelizabeth bruenigWashington Post, Opinion: America’s heart of darkness, Elizabeth Bruenig, right, July 25, 2018 (print edition). Trump’s presidency is part of a decades-long erosion of trust in government.

There is the obvious side of the scandal: Russia clearly took steps to interfere with the 2016 presidential election and, to some incalculable extent, probably succeeded.

dnc square logoIt appears to have meddled by way of dirty persuasion, purchasing (somewhat bizarre) anti-Clinton Facebook ads, launching (truly bizarre) pro-Trump Twitter bots and, the pièce de résistance, hacking into several Democratic National Committee members’ email accounts and publishing thousands of missives on WikiLeaks. Trump’s campaign may or may not have been actively involved in the plot to scuttle Hillary Clinton’s chances (maybe the plot wouldn’t have gone so well if it were?), President Trump may or may not believe Russia interfered whatsoever (his mind changes day to day), and Trump may or may not have won anyway. All of that’s secondary.

The primary things are these: It just wasn’t that hard for a foreign power to tinker with our deliberative democratic process, which suggests that it just isn’t that hard, full stop, for anyone to tinker with our deliberative democratic process.

And if Trump’s campaign played along, those who benefited when he won don’t really seem to mind. Republicans will issue all sorts of official-sounding tweets and news releases decrying the subversion of America’s hallowed institutions, but they’ve got their tax cuts and Supreme Court seats, and they’re not going to initiate impeachment proceedings or primary Trump come 2020. A neutral observer couldn’t be blamed for concluding that the rich and powerful people who contend for control of the country don’t much care how public offices wind up in their hands, so long as they do.

And this is true across the board.

Those emails the Russians loosed upon the electorate were damning precisely because they revealed a similar scheme operating in miniature during the Democratic primary campaign: The supposedly neutral DNC functioned as more or less a Clinton campaign organ, subsisting off Clinton campaign funds and musing behind the scenes about targeting then-primary contender Bernie Sanders for being a secular Jew, how best to discipline his campaign for complaining about the DNC’s partiality and, ironically, how to properly dispel the appearance of a DNC conspiracy against Sanders.

July 22

'White Helmets' Headed To UK, Canada, Germany

Jerusalem Post, Opinion: Israel evacuates hundreds of Syrian White Helmets in humanitarian effort, Seth J. Frantzman, July 22, 2018. The evacuation was kept secret and began at 9:30 p.m. Some 800 Syrians affiliated with israel flagthe White Helmets and their families are being evacuated from Quneitra through Israel to Jordan, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. Syrian Civil Defense, the official name of the White Helmets, is a volunteer organization that has worked in rebel areas of Syria providing medical support during the Syrian conflict.

syrian white helmetsAccording to a Bild report published Saturday night by Paul Ronzheimer, Giorgos Moutafis and Julian Ropcke, around 800 Syrians were transported across the Syrian-Israel border. “From there on to Jordan,” the article states. “They are members and families of the famous White Helmets.” Those evacuated will continue on to the UK, Canada and Germany, according to Bild.

canadian flagThe Syrians will stay in a closed area while in Jordan for no more than three months and their passage onward has been guaranteed by three western countries. Jordan emphasized that it has hosted 1.3 million refugees from Syria and that the latest deal was organized by the United Nations.

Neither the AP report nor the Jordanian government statement mention Israel. This points to the fact that Israel’s role was considered controversial and that the method of the evacuation had to be kept under wraps until it was complete.

'Helmets' Alleged To Be UK/IDF/US Operatives

syria white helmets attack april 2017

'White Helmets' shown in alleged anti-Syrian propaganda film in April 2017

SouthFront, Opinion: Israel Evacuates 800 Members Of White Helmets And Their Families From Syria To Jordan, Staff report, July 22, 2018. Israel is working to hide the evidence of special propaganda operations carried out by the US-Israeli-led block against the Damascus government in Syria.

According to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Israel transported several hundred of the White Helmets and their families from the southwestern part of Syria to Jordan overnight Saturday. The IDF described it as “a humanitarian effort” at the request of the US and European countries.

The IDF claimed it engaged in the “out of the ordinary” move due to the “immediate risk” to the lives of the civilians in the area. The move came as Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, were finishing their operation to defeat Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies in the southern provinces of Daraa and al-Quneitra.

The “civilians” evacuated by Israel were evacuated from the militant-held area.

According to Jordan’s official Petra state media outlet, the number of evacuated persons included 800 White Helmets members and their families.

Germany’s Bild newspaper reported that a convoy of dozens of buses crossed the contact line between the Israeli-controlled area and Syria late Saturday. Then the convoy was escorted to the Jordanian border by Israeli police and UN forces.

The White Helmets is an infamous Western-backed organization, which according to Syrian, Russian and Iranian governments as well as to multiple independent researchers, has been involved in staging chemical attacks and other propaganda actions in order to assist the US-led block in its attempts to overthrow the Assad government.

One of the most prominent cases if the “Douma chemical attack” on April 14, 2018.

According to Syrian experts, the key goal of the evacuation of the White Helmets members is to not allow forces of the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance from questioning members of the organization over their activities and to prevent further leaks and failures how the mainstream narrative on the conflict has been created through special propaganda operations.

bbc news logo2BBC, Opinion: Syria conflict: White Helmets evacuated by Israel, Staff report, July 22, 2018. Israel says it has carried out an evacuation of members of Syria's White Helmets civil defence group from a war zone in south-western Syria. Some 422 volunteers and family members were taken to Jordan via the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights overnight.

Numbering about 3,000 volunteers, they also carry out essential repair works. Some 200 members have been killed.

The White Helmets have gained worldwide praise, were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize and were the subject of a Netflix documentary and BBC Panorama programme.

But Syria's government and its ally Russia have accused the group of links to jihadist groups. President Assad said it used "humanitarian masks and umbrellas just to implement a certain agenda".

The plan had been to evacuate 800 White Helmets and their families, but only 422 made it.The BBC's Mark Lowen says the others have been hemmed in by the expansion of Islamic State group fighters into pockets of south-west Syria and, as this was a one-off operation, fears remain for the fate of those left behind.

July 21

DCDave Blog, Opinion: Christopher Ruddy on Brett Kavanaugh, David Martin, July 21, 2018. Christopher Ruddy is the Long Island, New York, native who is the CEO of the media organization Newsmax, regularly sought out for interviews by the mainstream press because he keeps the company of his neighbor in Palm Beach, Florida, President Donald Trump and is one of his closest informal advisers.

vincent foster oRuddy first rose to prominence, though, as the only American reporter raising doubts about the mysterious July 20, 1993, death of President Bill Clinton’s deputy White House Counsel, Vincent W. Foster, Jr., shown at right. His first critical article appeared in the New York Post on January 27, 1994. In 1997 he would publish a book entitled The Strange Death of Vincent Foster: An Investigation. (Amazon used to tout my review of that book as the leading one, based upon the number of viewers finding it “helpful,” which it still is, but they have now deeply buried it away.)

Writing critically on the Vince Foster case, Ruddy could hardly avoid talking about young Brett Kavanaugh, who took over as Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s lead investigator after the resignation in disgust of Miguel Rodriguez. In the long passage below, we pick up the story on page 240 of Ruddy’s book.

He is talking about the troublesome witness, Patrick Knowlton, who had been tracked down by the British reporter, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Knowlton had happened by Fort Marcy Park where Foster’s body was found on the afternoon of July 20, where Knowlton had stopped in to take an emergency leak. Hearing on television that night about the discovery of the body there, he had done his civic duty and called the Park Police to tell them what he had seen. They had demonstrated little interest, taking only a short statement from him....

When Knowlton appeared before the grand jury the following week, Brett Kavanaugh, one of Starr’s prosecutors who (according to his official biography) had never prosecuted a case before, was doing the interrogation. Kavanaugh, a Yale graduate, was seen as one of the rising stars on the team: extremely bright, an establishment man in his late twenties with Harrison Ford looks and a demeanor to match.

Knowlton would later recount that during the proceedings he “was treated like a suspect,” with Kavanaugh focusing more on his character than on the potentially valuable information he had to offer. Kavanaugh asked a series of questions about Knowlton’s encounter with the Hispanic-looking man including one of a graphic sexual nature.

In contrast with Ruddy’s toned-down version, here is how Richard Poe described the grand jury interrogation, the details of which he got from the chapter entitled “Street Fascism” in Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s 1997 book, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton:

Perhaps the most telling indication of Starr's attitude toward Knowlton is the humiliating cross-examination to which this brave man was subjected before the grand jury. Knowlton says that he was "treated like a suspect." Prosecutor Brett Kavanaugh appeared to be trying to imply that Knowlton was a homosexual who was cruising Fort Marcy Park for sex. Regarding the suspicious Hispanic-looking man he had seen guarding the park entrance, Kavanaugh asked, Did he "pass you a note?" Did he "touch your genitals?"

Knowlton flew into a rage at Kavanaugh's insinuations. Evans-Pritchard writes that several African American jurors burst into laughter at the spectacle, rocking "back and forth as if they were at a Baptist revival meeting. Kavanaugh was unable to reassert his authority. The grand jury was laughing at him. The proceedings were out of control."

It was at that point, reports Evans-Pritchard, that Patrick Knowlton was finally compelled to confront the obvious: "the Office of the Independent Counsel was itself corrupt."

July 19

ny times logoNew York Times, Myanmar’s Military Planned Rohingya Genocide, Rights Group Says, Hannah Beech, July 19, 2018. Myanmar’s military systematically planned a genocidal campaign to rid the country of Rohingya Muslims, according to a report released on Thursday by the rights-advocacy group Fortify Rights based on testimony from 254 survivors, officials and workers over a 21-month period.

The 162-page report says that the exodus of around 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh last year — after a campaign of mass slaughter, rape and village burnings in Rakhine State in Myanmar — was the culmination of months of meticulous planning by the security forces.

Fortify Rights names 22 military and police officers who it says were directly responsible for the campaign against the Rohingya and recommends that the United Nations Security Council refer them to the International Criminal Court.

“Genocide doesn’t happen spontaneously,” said Matthew F. Smith, a former Human Rights Watch specialist on Myanmar and China who is chief executive officer of Fortify Rights. “Impunity for these crimes will pave the path for more violations and attacks in the future.”

Fortify Rights, 'They Gave Them Long Swords; Preparations for Genocide and Crimes Agianst Humanity against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Myanmar, Staff report, July 19, 2018. The Myanmar military’s ostensible trigger was on August 25, 2017, when Rohingya militants, armed mostly with sticks and knives, attacked several police outposts in northern Rakhine State, reportedly killing 12 officials. Members of ARSA explained to Fortify Rights their  involvement in and knowledge of these attacks.

Almost immediately after these attacks, the Myanmar authorities moved into Rohingya villages and evidently activated groups of non-Rohingya residents, some of whom had earlier received arms and training by the Myanmar military. Armed with guns, swords, and knives, these groups of civilian perpetrators joined state security forces in using lethal force against Rohingya civilians in villages throughout northern Rakhine State.

“We know the people who came with the army,” said “Abdul Rahman,” 41, an eyewitness and survivor of a Myanmar Army-led massacre in Chut Pyin village — also known as So Farang — in Rathedaung Township on August 27, 2017. “They were Rakhine from a neighboring village. I know them well. I could recognize them. The army shot people and then the Rakhine cut them.”

For several weeks, the Myanmar Army, Police, and non-Rohingya civilians raided hundreds of Rohingya villages, committing massacres of men, women, and children, systematic rape of women and girls, mass arbitrary arrest of men and boys, and widespread and systematic arson attacks. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in a matter of weeks, resulting in the fastest refugee outflow since the Rwandan genocide.

“Rashida,” 50, watched as Myanmar Army and Lon Htein soldiers dragged her two adult sons from her home in Kha Maung Seik village — also known as Fora Bazaar — in Maungdaw Township on August 27.

“I was watching the whole time,” she told Fortify Rights just days after the incident. “The soldiers made them lay down on the ground, and then they cut their necks. We were shouting and crying.”

Conservative estimates suggest that in the span of a few weeks, soldiers and police with the support of armed non-Rohingya civilian-perpetrators killed at least several thousand Rohingya civilians—if not tens of thousands—from hundreds of villages throughout the three townships of northern Rakhine State.

An annex to this report provides extensive documentation of similar crimes perpetrated against Rohingya in upwards of 40 villages in Maungdaw Township during military-led “clearance operations” in 2016. Fortify Rights documented a chilling continuity of killings by state security forces from 2016 to 2017, differing only in scale.

Justice Integrity Project, Myanmar Anti-Genocide Advocates Raise Alarms, Andrew Kreig, July 19, 2018 (updated). Amid continuing government-sponsored, mass atrocities in the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, an interfaith coalition is ramping up anti-genocide advocacy nationally this month, particularly in Washington, DC.

The Interfaith Coalition To Stop Genocide In Burma, for example, is calling on the U.S. government to more aggressively intervene in the situation and to enact tough sanctions against the government of Myanmar, which was formerly (and sometimes still) known as Burma.

Faith Coalition member and spokeswoman Nicolee Ambrose, who recently returned from a visit to the region, opened a news conference July 9 with reactions from her recent visit to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

"Since August 2017," the coalition leaders said in their overview, "more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Burma due to horrific conditions of torture, rape, and murder at the hands of the Burmese government. The Kachin Christians are now facing the same treatment as the genocide continues."

The Rohingya are primarily Muslims from the country's western province Rakhine on the Bay of Bengal. Kachin, a northern province, is reported as overwhelmingly Christian, stemming from long ago missionary work.

"We cannot sit and do nothing," said Rev. Bob Roberts, Senior Pastor at the Northwood Church in Dallas, Texas and co-chair of the Faith Coalition, shown at center of the photo of the news conference above. Ambrose is at right and Kachin National Organization USA President Sut Nau Ndayu is at left.

"We are calling on President Trump to help the people of the region," continued Roberts. "Our brothers and sisters cannot keep suffering at the hands of these thugs. Kachin and Rohingya people need to be repatriated to their country and villages with full rights."

July 18

ny times logoNew York Times, As ISIS Fighters Fill Prisons in Syria, Their Home Nations Look Away, Charlie Savage, July 18, 2018. On a rare tour of prisons for Islamic State suspects from nearly 50 countries, a Times reporter watched their jailers try to secure them humanely — but for how long?

AINISSA, Syria — The two-story building here still looks much like the school it once was. But the classrooms are closed off by reinforced black doors, padlocked from the outside. And the campus is surrounded by men with machine guns seeking refuge from the desert heat in the shade of towering concrete perimeter walls.

The visitors’ echoing footsteps and voices were the only sounds on a recent day in a dusty pink-and-white hallway once filled with schoolchildren. But when a guard slid open a small window in a classroom door, a man’s face pressed against the opening. Behind him, about 15 others, sitting on mats in black sleeveless shirts, stared back.

The old school is one of about seven makeshift wartime prisons in northern Syria housing suspects accused of fighting for the Islamic State and captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The S.D.F. prisons for male detainees — about 1,000 men from nearly 50 countries — are generally off limits, but a New York Times reporter accompanied a congressional delegation touring two of them, the first such visit to either.

The prisoners pose a dilemma that has no easy solution and that is growing urgent. Their home countries have been reluctant to take back the men. Their governments are leery that battle-hardened members of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, might radicalize domestic prisoners. Some countries face legal hurdles to prosecuting militants if they take custody of them from a nonstate militia, as opposed to extraditing them from another government.

But the S.D.F. is unlikely to hold them forever. A debate is brewing inside the United States government about whether to take a few of them — either for prosecution in civilian court or to the wartime prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — but even that leaves open the fate of the rest.

The uncertainty looms as a threat to the rest of the world, said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on President Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum. He pointed to the “wandering mujahedeen” of the 1980s who fought in Afghanistan, then metastasized Islamist mayhem to places like Bosnia.

July 16

'Honeytrap' Scandal For NRA, GOPers?

maria butina russian federation embassy via Twitter Custom

Maria (sometimes spelled 'Mariia') Butina speaking on Russian gun rights (Russian Federation embassy photo)

nbc news logoNBC News, Accused Russian agent Mariia Butina tried to trade sex for influence, say prosecutors, Tom Winter, Pete Williams and Tracy Connor, July 18, 2018. Previously, the FBI had said Butina was trying to establish relationships with a "gun rights organization," which NBC News has reported is the NRA.

The gun-loving Russian woman charged with being an unregistered foreign agent and cozying up to politicians to infiltrate the U.S. political system tried to swap sex for influence, prosecutors alleged Wednesday.

The "Red Sparrow" scenario was unveiled in a memorandum that laid out reasons why prosecutors believe Mariia Butina, 29, should remain jailed until trial. Butina, who allegedly conspired with a Russian politician and banker to push Moscow's agenda in the U.S., is due in federal court in Washington on Wednesday afternoon for a detention hearing.

nra logo CustomIn arguing that Butina is a flight risk, prosecutors said her only tie to the U.S. is a "personal relationship" with an unidentified man — which is branded "duplicitous," suggesting she was using him for her own means. According to The Washington Post, the man’s description matches that of Republican operative Paul Erickson.

"Butina appears to treat it as simply a necessary aspect of her activities," the memo says. "For example, on at least one occasion, Butina offered an individual other than U.S. Person 1 sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization. Further, in papers seized by the FBI, Butina complained about living with U.S. Person 1 and expressed disdain for continuing to cohabitate with U.S. Person 1."

July 16

Trump-Putin Meeting

djt vladimir putin summit 7 16 18 white house shealah craighead

President Trump and Putin shake hands at their summit in Finland on July 16, 2018 (White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Avoids Rebuking Putin on Meddling, Staff report, July 16, 2018. Won’t Say If He Believes Moscow or U.S. Intelligence. President Trump said he raised the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 American election, and President Vladimir V. Putin again denied it.

After holding their first summit meeting, Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin held out the prospect of a new era of cooperation between the two countries, as Mr. Trump continued to throw into doubt longstanding assumptions about the West’s political, military and trade alliances.

But Mr. Trump refused to say that he believed American intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 United States election, as a news conference where international affairs were expected to dominate turned again and again to the president’s domestic political troubles.

The timing was exceptionally awkward, just days after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents on charges of hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in an attempt to aid Mr. Trump.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump and Putin end historic summit that Trump says ‘changed’ bad relations, Philip Rucker, Anton Troianovski and Seung Min Kim, July 16, 2018. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded their first formal one-one-one summit here Monday, a high-stakes meeting that Trump said “went very well” and changed relations that had never been worse.

Appearing at a joint news conference with Putin after the talks in the Finnish capital ended, Trump said in opening remarks that he and Putin discussed their disagreements “at length.” He added: “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed, as of about four hours ago.”

He said he also “spent a great deal of time” talking about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The summit began hours after Trump blamed his own country, rather than Russia, for the hostilities between their two nations.

Speaking first at the news conference, Putin said the talks took place “in a frank and businesslike atmosphere,” adding: “I think we can call it a success.” He said that although bilateral relations have been “going through a complicated stage,” there was “no solid reason” for that. “The Cold War is a thing of the past,” he said.

He added later that Trump “mentioned the so-called interference of Russia in the American election” in 2016. Putin again denied any involvement by the Russian state and said any evidence of interference can be analyzed through a joint working group on cybersecurity.

washington post logoWashington Post, Maria Butina, Russian gun rights advocate, charged in U.S. with acting as Russian Federation agent, Tom Jackman and Rosalind S. Helderman, July 16, 2018. A Russian national with alleged ties to a top Russian official was charged in federal court in Washington Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation, and was ordered held without bond.

fbi logoMaria Butina, 29, was arrested Sunday in the District and made her first appearance in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson. Her attorney, Robert Neil Driscoll, told the judge that Butina’s residence was searched by the FBI in April, that she had testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session several months ago, and that “we have been offering to cooperate with the government the entire time.”

maria butina headshotButina (shown at left) did not speak during the brief hearing other than to state her name. A detention hearing and preliminary hearing were set for Wednesday.

The charges against Butina come days after the Justice Department unveiled an indictment against 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly conspiring to hack Democrats in 2016 and just hours after President Trump cast doubt on Russia’s involvement in an extraordinary joint news conference with President Putin.

Butina (shown also in a photo taken at a 2014 appearance) is accused of developing relationships with American politicians and a “gun rights organization,” none of which are named in the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint. FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson wrote that Butina was attempting to “establish a ‘back channel’ communication for representatives of the Government of Russia.”

Background On Related Story

maria butina with gun ad

Butina at the 2014 NRA convention in Indianapolis VK page

Mother Jones, The Very Strange Case of Two Russian Gun Lovers, the NRA, and Donald Trump, Denise Clifton and Mark Follman, March 1, 2018 for May/June 2018 Issue. Here’s what we uncovered about an odd pair from Moscow who cultivated the Trump campaign.

For more than a year, reports have trickled out about deepening ties among prominent members of the National Rifle Association, conservative Republicans, a budding gun-rights movement in Russia—and their convergence in the Trump campaign.

nra logo CustomNow attention is focused around a middle-aged Russian central bank official and a photogenic young gun activist from Siberia who share several passions: posing with assault rifles, making connections with Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates, and publicizing their travels between Moscow and America on social media.

Alexander Torshin and his protégé Maria Butina also share an extraordinary status with America’s largest gun lobbying group, according to Torshin: “Today in NRA (USA) I know only 2 people from the Russian Federation with the status of ‘Life Member’: Maria Butina and I,” he tweeted the day after Donald Trump was elected president.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: If you work for Trump, quit now, Ruth Marcus (Deputy editorial page editor), July 16, 2018. Everyone who works for President Trump: Quit now. Save your souls. Save your honor, such as it is. Save your reputation, such as it remains.

Russia attacked our democracy. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly, and did so again with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, that he doesn’t care and won’t defend his country.

If you work for this man and you call yourself a patriot, it is time for you to go.

This may sound excessive, even irresponsible. Indeed, for months I have agonized over the question of public service in the age of Trump.

Of course, as a general matter, it is better to have more grown-ups around Trump, mitigating his worst impulses, providing wisdom born of experience to counter his ignorance and petulance. But that assessment assumes facts not in evidence: that Trump is educable or containable. Actually, it contravenes the available evidence. There is none that Trump has done anything but what Trump wants to do. Monday’s news conference made that clear.

Trump-Putin Preview

In hosting a meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, at the White House last year, President Trump barred the U.S. media from attending while he disclosed classified information, according to later reports. Much of the news, including the photo above showing also Russia's ambassador to the United States (at right), came from Russian sources or leaks. Photo: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS.

All staff and other witnesses, except possibly a translator, are barred from Trump's meeting with Russian Premier Vladimir Puter in Finland on July 16, 2018. 

washington post logoWashington Post, Ahead of meeting with Putin, Trump faults U.S. ‘stupidity’ for poor relations with Russia, Philip Rucker, Anton Troianovski and Seung Min Kim, July 16, 2018. President Trump’s comments, which he tweeted before his one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, were in sync with Moscow’s view that Obama-era policies and the Justice Department’s probe into election interference have inflamed tensions between the countries.​Trade War Update

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Yes, special investigations can be witch hunts. The Mueller probe is not one, Nelson W. Cunningham, July 16, 2018 (print edition). President Trump and his allies have made much of the fact that 13 lawyers working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III are Democratic voters or contributors. Almost all of them are career Justice Department employees who, like most in the D.C. and New York areas, seem to lean to the left.

This has understandably raised questions about their ability to be fair. But do you remember the 36 Angry Republicans who preceded them?

ken starr wBefore there was Mueller, there was Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel tasked with investigating President Bill Clinton over of the course of five years. Those Angry Republicans worked for him.

Starr (shown at left) started with the Whitewater land deal and Vince Foster’s suicide, and over more than five years also investigated the travel office firings, the handling of FBI files and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, for which Starr ultimately recommended that Congress consider Clinton’s impeachment.

The lesson from the Starr investigation is that the political makeup of independent investigations does matter — as do the checks and balances that can serve to keep such investigations from becoming a “witch hunt.” Unfortunately for Trump, it’s much harder to make the case that the Mueller investigation is improperly balanced against him than the Starr investigation was against Clinton.

Mueller himself is not only a registered Republican, but few can match his record of Republican presidential service, which includes senior appointments under Presidents Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43.

Nelson W. Cunningham served as general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-chair Joseph Biden and as general counsel of the White House Office of Administration under President Clinton. He is now president of McLarty Associates, a global strategy firm.

July 13

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: NATO Is the Model Entangling Alliance, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown right), July 13, 2018.  Suppose I had an unlimited power of attorney to sign your name as a co-signer on any loan I made with the bank. Every time I went to the bank and borrowed money, I could legally obligate you to pay my loan if I defaulted.

How would you like that? My hunch is that you wouldn’t be too excited about that arrangement. That is precisely the authority that NATO has over the American people, only the obligation is much worse than a financial one. The obligation involves killing and dying. That is, NATO has the authority to obligate young Americans, both men and women, to kill and die for whatever overseas regime that NATO decides to admit as a member of the organization.

NATO logoHow does NATO work? If another nation attacks any member of NATO, the United States is automatically bound to come to its defense. https://www.fff.org/2018/07/13/nato-is-the-model-entangling-alliance/

That is not the type of system on which the United States was founded when the U.S. Constitution called the federal government into existence. The founding principle was that it would be up to Congress to decide whether the country would, in fact, go to war against another nation. There would be nothing automatic about it. If Congress declared war, then it would be the president’s responsibility to wage war. But if Congress failed to declare war, the government could not legally go to war.

July 12

WhoWhatWhy, Opinion: JFK Assassination Film: Proof of Tampering? Milicent Cranor, July 12, 2018.

Milicent Cranor, a WhoWhatWhy senior editor with a background in forensic medical publishing, has studied the JFK assassination on and off for more than two decades. In this essay, Cranor asks readers to consider whether there is a significant discrepancy between the Nix and Zapruder films of the assassination, and if this indicates tampering. She also focuses on the Warren Commission testimony of Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who jumped onto the back of the President’s limousine. What he said seems to suggest he saw Kennedy being shot in the head — for a second time — immediately after the first time. This would contradict the Commission’s central finding that JFK was killed by a single shooter.

The other day I was trying to make sense of some strange discrepancies in what a Secret Service agent said about what he saw when President John F. Kennedy was shot.

I’m referring to Clint Hill, the man who jumped onto the trunk of the limousine to protect Jackie Kennedy who had gone out onto the trunk of the car.

Here’s what I can’t sort out: His stories do not agree with the films, and the films do not seem to agree with each other.

Amateur films by Abraham Zapruder and Orville Nix do not agree with each other in at least one obvious way. James Norwood, a retired professor of Humanities, University of Minnesota, was perhaps the first to point out what seems to be a definitive discrepancy:

In the Zapruder film of the assassination, Jackie goes only just beyond the middle of the trunk before retreating.

In the Nix film, Jackie goes noticeably further out on the trunk.

Before looking at stills from these rather fuzzy films, you may want to see a good clear picture of the trunk, and the reference points that help nail down Jackie’s location on the trunk at various times: the seatback, the handholds, and the word on the side of the limousine (Continental).

July 10

jefferson morleyJFKFacts.org, Opinion: On JFK secrecy, Brett Kavanaugh sides with the CIA, Jefferson Morley (right), July 10, 2018. The D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Monday that the CIA does not have to pay my court costs incurred in the long-running FOIA lawsuit Morley v. CIA. The split decision was joined by Judge Brett Kavanaugh (below left), who was nominated by President Trump later that day to serve on the the Supreme Court.

brett kavanaughAbout the information I obtained via litigation, the unsigned opinion said, “the public benefit was small.” The decision made no reference to extensive coverage of Morley v . CIA in the New York Times, Fox News, San Diego Union, St. Paul Pioneer Press, CBS News in Dallas, and the New Yorker, among many other news organizations.

The Times and the U.K. Daily Mail, even published a photo, obtained by the lawsuit, of CIA officer George Joannides (show at right below receiving a lifetime award from the CIA) receiving a medal after he stonewalled JFK investigators in 1978. In the majority view, public interest in Morley v CIA is not a measure of its public benefit.

george joannides cia citation 1981 cia photoA strong dissent by Judge Karen Henderson takes a much more balanced and independent view of the case, in my view. Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, Henderson points out that the court had previously found that I had met the standard of “public benefit” established in case law.

In a 2013 decision the court stated:

“Morley’s request had potential public value. He has proffered — and the CIA has not disputed — that Joannides served as the CIA case officer for a Cuban group, the DRE, with whose officers Oswald was in contact prior to the assassination. Travel records showing a very close match between Joannides’s and Oswald’s times in New Orleans might, for example, have (marginally) supported one of the hypotheses swirling around the assassination. In addition, this court has previously determined that Morley’s request sought information “central” to an intelligence committee’s inquiry into the performance of the CIA and other federal agencies in investigating the assassination. Under these circumstances, there was at least a modest probability that Morley’s request would generate information relevant to the assassination or later investigations.”

“In other words,” Henderson writes, “we held that Morley satisfied the public-benefit factor in this case,”

cia logoBy ignoring this finding, Henderson argues, the majority opinion ultimately depends on the assertion that the CIA responded “reasonably” to my request. Yet, Henderson notes, the ruling also ignores the fact that the appellate court had ruled the agency’s initial response to my FOIA request was deficient on seven different legal points.

Henderson again:

“The majority discusses five in its opinion. It acknowledges that the CIA: (1) missed the 20-day statutory deadline to respond, Maj. Op. 7; (2) incorrectly referred Morley to NARA rather than responding to his FOIA request itself, Maj. Op. 7-11; (3) failed to search its operational files, Maj. Op. 11; (4) submitted an incomplete Glomar response, Maj. Op. 11-12; and (5) relied on an interpretation of Exemption 2 that was later overruled, Maj. Op. 12. It addresses these errors of law seriatim and labels them “incorrect legally,” Maj. Op. 9, but not “unreasonable.” To me, the CIA’s multiple flawed legal positions suggests that it was “recalcitrant” in declining to produce any documents before being sued. Davy IV, 550 F.3d at 1162. At the least, the errors collectively undermine the district court’s conclusion that the fourth factor “weighs heavily against Morley.” Morley X, 245 F. Supp. 3d at 78 (emphasis added).”

Henderson concludes:

“In sum, I believe the district court erred on two levels: it erred in evaluating each of the four factors individually and abused its discretion in weighing them against one another. Accordingly, this case does not call for “[d]eference piled on deference.” Maj. Op. 11. It calls for an adherence to Davy IV and our four earlier Morley opinions. Because I believe the district court ignored our mandate and misapplied our precedent, I would vacate the district court order a fifth time and remand with instructions to award Morley the attorney’s fees to which he is entitled.”

Unfortunately, the majority, meaning Kavanaugh and Trump appointee Judge Gregory Katsas, disagreed. I have 45 days to appeal.

July 9

Unz Review, Opinion: American Pravda: Post-War France and Post-War Germany, Ron Unz, July 9, 2018. Back in Junior High School I became an avid war-gamer, and was fascinated by the military history of the past, especially World War II, the most titanic conflict ever recorded.

However, although I much enjoyed reading the detailed accounts of the battles of that war, especially on the Eastern Front that largely determined its outcome, I had much less interest in the accompanying political history, and simply relied upon the accounts in my standard textbooks, which I considered quite reliable.

July 8

July 7

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Syria: Mainstream Media Lie About Watchdog Report On The 'Chemical Attack' In Douma, B, July 7, 2018. Some mainstream media are outright lying about the OPCW report on the alleged 'chemical attack' in Douma.

washington post logoThe Washington Post writes: "[A] global watchdog concluded that chlorine was indeed used in the city of Douma a day before rebel forces surrendered there....In an interim report released Friday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] said its inspectors had discovered traces of “various chlorinated organic chemicals” across two sites it inspected."

The OPCW did not conclude at all that "chlorine was indeed used." It found some chemical compounds which have chlorine, carbon and hydrogen in various configurations as their main elements. There are hundreds if not thousands of "chlorinated organic chemicals." A plastic pipe made from polyvenylchlorid (PVC = (C2H3Cl)n) is made of the same elements. One could call it a "chlorinated organic chemical." Burning something made of PVC will releases various compounds many of which will themselves be "chlorinated organic chemicals." But finding residues of a burned plastic pipe or isolation in a home does not mean that chlorine gas was used in that place. Several of the compounds the OPCW found result from using chlorine to disinfect water. They can be found within the chlorinated water and about anywhere where chlorinated water was used.

bbc news logo2The BBC made a similar 'mistake.' It headlined "Syria war: Douma attack was chlorine gas -- watchdog".

It took extensive social-media outrage and several hours for the BBC to correct its 'mistake.' It now headlines: Syria war: 'Possible chlorine' at Douma attack site -- Watchdog." That is better but still a lie. Nowhere do the OPCW report or its Technical Statement (pdf) use the expression 'possible chlorine.' No editorial note was added by the BBC to reveal that the original dispatch was changed.

A possible reason why so many outlets made this 'mistake' is the British news agency Reuters which first distributed this false claim. Reuters has since changed the headline and text of that item from "chlorine" to "chlorinated chemicals" but attached no note of that change. Moreover it does not explain that "chlorinated chemicals" will be found about anywhere.

It is doubtful that these 'mistakes' were made out of sloppiness. The writers likely intend to create the false impression that Syria was responsible for a 'chemical attack' that did not happen. They would otherwise have to expose the lies they published and told about the incident.

July 6

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Mystery of Robert Knudsen, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), July 6, 2018. On January 29, 1989, the Washington Post published an obituary of Robert Knudsen, which stated in part: “He photographed … President Kennedy’s autopsy.”

There is one big problem, however: Knudsen did not photograph the president’s autopsy. The official autopsy photographer was John T. Stringer, a highly respected autopsy photographer for the U.S. Navy who taught photography at the Bethesda Naval Medical School. It is undisputed that Stringer photographed the president’s autopsy and that Knudsen wasn’t even at the autopsy.

What then are we to make of this? Why would Knudsen make up a story that could easily be exposed as false?

There are two conclusions that can be reasonably drawn: First, the official autopsy of President Kennedy, which was carried out by the U.S. military, was fraudulent and, second, there is no conceivable innocent explanation for having carried out a fraudulent autopsy.

For more information, see my book The Kennedy Autopsy.

July 3

ny times logoNew York Times, Suspect Sent Letter Stating Plans to Kill at Capital Gazette, Matt Stevens and Daniel Victor, July 3, 2018 (print edition). The man suspected of fatally shooting five people in an Annapolis newsroom last week sent a letter to the Capital Gazette’s lawyer announcing that he planned to go there “with the objective of killing every person present,” a copy of the letter shows.

jarrod ramosIn the bizarre letter — which is postmarked June 28, the day of the shooting — the suspect, Jarrod W. Ramos formatted his remarks in such a way that the letter looks and reads much like a court document. Mr. Ramos, 38  (shown in a mug shot), had a yearslong legal dispute with The Capital over a 2011 column that detailed his harassment of a former high school classmate and had represented himself in the proceedings.

In his letter, he appears to blame the judiciary for being “too cowardly” to confront what he calls “lies.” He also uses an apparent quotation to argue that one reason defamation law exists is to prevent a defamed person from “wreaking his own vengeance.” And in what appears to be a separate attachment, he writes directly to a judge who had heard his case against the newspaper: “Welcome,” he tells the judge, “to your unexpected legacy: YOU should have died.” He then signs the letter, “Friends forever.”

July 2

Unz Review, Opinion: American Pravda: Our Deadly World of Post-War Politics, Ron Unz, July 2, 2018. A year or so after encountering the strongly substantiated claims of [W.W. II Gen. George] Patton’s assassination, I happened to read Desperate Deception by Thomas E. Mahl, a mainstream historian, whose book was released by a specialized military affairs publishing house.

This fascinating account documented the long-hidden early 1940s campaign by British intelligence agents to remove all domestic political obstacles to America’s entry into World War II.

wendell willkieA crucial aspect of that project involved the successful attempt to manipulate the Republican Convention of 1940 into selecting as its presidential standard-bearer an obscure individual named Wendell Wilkie [sic, actually Willkie], who had never previously held political office and moreover had been a committed lifelong Democrat. Wilkie’s great value was that he shared Roosevelt’s support for military intervention in the ongoing European conflict, though this was contrary to virtually the entire base of his own newly-joined party. Ensuring that both presidential candidates shared those similar positions prevented the race from becoming an referendum on that issue, in which up to 80% of the American public seems to have been on the other side.

Wilkie’s nomination was surely one of the strangest occurrences in American political history, and the path to his improbable nomination was paved by quite a number of odd and suspicious events, most notably the extremely fortuitous sudden collapse and death of the Republican convention manager, a key Wilkie opponent, which Mahl regards as highly suspicious.

Among those who grow skeptical of establishment media verdicts, there is a natural tendency to become overly suspicious, and see conspiracies and cover-ups where none exist. The sudden death of a prominent political figure may be blamed on foul-play even when the causes were entirely natural or accidental. “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” But when a sufficient number of such persons die within a sufficiently short period of years, and overwhelming evidence suggests that at least some of those deaths were not for the reasons long believed, the burden of proof begins to shift.

Excluding the much larger number of less notable fatalities, here is a short list of six prominent Americans whose untimely passing during 1944-1949 surely evoked considerable relief within various organizations known for their ruthless tactics:

  • Wendell Wilkie, lifelong Democrat nominated for President by the Republicans in 1940, Died October 8, 1944, Age 52, Heart attack.
  • Gen. George Patton, highest-ranking American military officer in Europe, Died December 21, 1945, Age 60, Car accident.
  • Harry Hopkins, FDR’s “Deputy President,” Died January 29, 1946, Age 55, Various possible causes.
  • Harry Dexter White, Soviet agent who ran the Treasury under FDR, Died August 16, 1948, Age 55, Heart attack.
  • Laurence Duggan, Soviet agent, Prospective Secretary of State under Henry Wallace, Died December 20, 1948, Age 43, Fall from 16th story window.
  • James Forrestal, former Secretary of Defense, Died May 22, 1949, Age 57, Fall from 18th story window.

I do not think that any similar sort of list of comparable individuals during that same time period could be produced for Britain, France, the USSR, or China. In one of the James Bond films, Agent 007 states his opinion that “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.” And I think these six examples over just a few years should be enough to raise the eyebrows of even the most cautious and skeptical.

Foreign leaders outraged over America’s destructive international blundering have sometimes described our country as possessing physical might of enormous power, but having a ruling political elite so ignorant, gullible, and incompetent that it easily falls under the sway of unscrupulous foreign powers. We are a nation with the body of a dinosaur but controlled by the brain of a flea.

June

June 29

washington post logoWashington Post, Rep. Maxine Waters cancels events after ‘very serious death threat,’ Felicia Sonmez, June 29, 2018 (print edition). Rep. Maxine Waters, whose call for public protests of Trump administration officials has triggered a debate over civility in politics, said Thursday that she has canceled events in Texas and Alabama after a “very serious death threat” made against her.

maxine waters cnnIn a statement reported by CNN, the California Democrat (shown in a file photo) said that after President Trump took aim at her Monday on Twitter, “even more individuals are leaving threatening messages and sending hostile mail to my office.”

“There was one very serious death threat made against me on Monday from an individual in Texas which is why my planned speaking engagements in Texas and Alabama were cancelled this weekend,” Waters said in the statement.

washington post logoajit pai headshot customWashington Post, Man accused of threatening FCC chairman’s family over net neutrality, Rachel Weiner, June 29, 2018. A man who prosecutors say threatened to kill the family of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai (right) over the repeal of “net neutrality” regulations was arrested Friday in Los Angeles. Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk, Calif., was charged in Alexandria, Va., federal court with one count of intimidating a federal official by threatening to murder a family member.

Strategic Culture Foundation, Opinion: Is the Leash Now Off the ‘Other CIA?’ Wayne Madsen, June 29, 2018. Wayne Madsen, shown at left, is an wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallinvestigative reporter, syndicated columnist, author (whose books include two about the CIA) and former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst. The Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia is merely the tip of a US intelligence iceberg. Much of the CIA, whether or not it is with a “wink and a nod” from its director Gina Haspel, a veteran of the agency’s extraordinary rendition and torture program, exists in the murky world of “carve out” contracts and front companies. This “unofficial CIA” is where “plausible deniability” for US intelligence actions is of paramount importance.

cia logoUnder Donald Trump, who is on record favoring CIA kidnapping and torture programs, the CIA has been given a green light to carry out “targeted assassinations.” Although most of these targeted kills have been carried out by drone attacks in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, where civilian deaths from “collateral damage” are estimated to be well over three hundred, recent events point to the CIA’s return to the “bad old days,” when it engaged in a global program of assassinating political leaders.

patrice lumumba raising arms 1960The 1960s and early 70s were rife with examples of CIA assassinations of foreign leaders. Victims included Dominican Republic president Rafael Trujillo, Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba (shown at left), United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, and Chilean President Salvador Allende.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed Executive Order 11905, which banned political assassinations. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter reiterated that policy with Executive Order 12036. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which stipulated in unambiguous terms that “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.”

Trump has all but gutted these prohibitions against political assassinations, preferring to return the CIA to its deplorable past of committing heinous political crimes against innocent people.

emmerson mnangagwaTwo recent assassination attempts in Africa, carried out on the same day -- June 23 -- in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo, bear all the markings of a coordinated attack. What would be the motive of the CIA in trying to kill Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s first Muslim prime minister and an ethnic Oromo, and Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa (shown at left)?

abiy ahmed ethiopian pm

The Israelis are fearful that Ahmed, known as “AA” in Ethiopia, will bring Ethiopia, which has had historical links to Israel, closer to Arab and Muslim nations. That fear is shared by the Trump White House, which cannot distinguish between American and Israeli national security interests. Had AA (shown at right in a file photo) been killed by the explosion that tore through a rally of his supporters in Addis Ababa’s central Meskel Square, killing two and injuring 156, Ethiopia’s foreign policy, including its closer ties to Turkey, would have altered course in Israel’s favor.

AA has also been re-organizing Ethiopia’s intelligence service, the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). As with Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe, AA is stepping on egg shells in exposing the past human rights abuses of his nation’s intelligence service. In return for helping to facilitate 140,000 Ethiopian Jews migrating to Israel, Mossad provided NISS and its predecessor intelligence agencies with sophisticated interrogation and electronic surveillance equipment to ensure that successive Ethiopian dictatorships could quash all political and ethnic opposition.

robert mugabe may 2015A few hours after the explosion in Addis Ababa, a bomb detonated in Bulawayo during a rally of supporters of Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, the former chief of the Zimbabwe Defense Force. Some 49 people were injured, including Chiwenga’s wife and senior members of the Zimbabwe government.

Mnangagwa is busy cleaning up the corruption of his predecessor, the long-serving president Robert Mugabe (shown at left). As part of his reforms, Mnangagwa is investigating the activities of the Zimbabwean intelligence agency, the feared Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), which engaged in various covert operations with Israel’s Mossad during the Mugabe years.

Mary Ferrell Foundation, JFK Documents released on April 26, 2018, Rex Bradford, June 29, 2018. These documents were released on April 26, 2018, pursuant to a review of documents originally scheduled for final release in October 2017 under the JFK Records Act. The documents are listed on the Mary Ferrell site.

For those interested in using the Mary Ferrell site for these docs, the migration project has picked up the pace. This folder and its subfolders holds almost all of the 19,000 documents in the April 26 release. What is missing is a few hundred FBI files where NARA released blocks of records in single large PDF files, and I haven't yet figured out where the dividing lines are (would like to upload each record with just its pages):

DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) documents released on April 26, 2018
Dept. of State documents released on April 26, 2018
FBI documents released on April 26, 2018
NSA (National Security Agency) documents released on April 26, 2018
Church Committee (SSCIA) documents released on April 26, 2018
USIA (United States Information Agency) documents released on April 26, 2018
NARA-held White House related documents released on April 26, 2018
LBJ Library documents released on April 26, 2018
Rockefeller Commission documents released on April 26, 2018
NARA documents related to Warren Commission released on April 26, 2018
HSCA (House Select Committee on Assassinations) documents released on April 26, 2018
INSCOM/CSF documents released on April 26, 2018
OSD (Office of Secy. of Defense) documents released on April 26, 2018
USA (Pentagon HQ) documents released on April 26, 2018
Army documents released on April 26, 2018
JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff) documents released on April 26, 2018

Unz Review, Update On 'American Pravda' Series, Ron Unz, June 29, 2018. Demonstrating that the passage of more than a half-century has not entirely dimmed interest in the issue, ranking first in readership this last week were the two parts of my analysis of the 1963 JFK Assassination, the first even being a hold-over from the previous week.

In Part I, I summarized some of the very considerable body of evidence that the Warren Commission verdict of a “lone gun” was very likely incorrect, and that a conspiracy of some sort therefore claimed the life of our President, noting that in research years even such impeccably respectable publications as The New York Times seem to have admitted exactly that conclusion.

Given the high likelihood of such a conspiracy, my much longer Part I discussed the possible range of central organizers, concluding that although it is impossible to come to any firm conclusion, the two most likely suspects, especially based on the factor of motive, would be Vice President Lyndon Johnson and the Israeli Mossad. Unsurprisingly this controversial topic provoked a very spirited debate, disputing all aspects of the issue, with comments on the two articles already totaling nearly 200,000 words and still going strong.

Unz Review, American Pravda: The JFK Assassination, Part I - What Happened? Ron Unz, June 18, 2018. Among other things, occasional references reminded me that I’d previously seen my newspapers discuss a couple of newly released JFK books in rather respectful terms, which had surprised me a bit at the time. One of them, still generating discussion, was JFK and the Unspeakable published in 2008 by James W. Douglass, whose name meant nothing to me. And the other, which I hadn’t originally realized trafficked in any assassination conspiracies, was David Talbot’s 2007 Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, focused on the relationship between John F. Kennedy and his younger brother Robert. Talbot’s name was also somewhat familiar to me as the founder of Salon.com and a well-regarded if liberal-leaning journalist.

None of us have expertise in all areas, so sensible people must regularly delegate their judgment to credible third-parties, relying upon others to distinguish sense from nonsense. Since my knowledge of the JFK assassination was nil, I decided that two recent books attracting newspaper coverage might be a good place to start. So perhaps a couple of years after watching that Oliver Stone film, I cleared some time in my schedule, and spent a few days carefully reading the combined thousand pages of text.

I was stunned at what I immediately discovered. Not only was the evidence of a “conspiracy” absolutely overwhelming, but whereas I’d always assumed that only kooks doubted the official story, I instead discovered that a long list of the most powerful people near the top of the American government and in the best position to know had been privately convinced of such a “conspiracy,” in many cases from almost the very beginning.

American Pravda: The JFK Assassination, Part II – Who Did It? Ron Unz, June 25, 2018. A strong dam may hold back an immense quantity of water, but once it breaks the resulting flood may sweep aside everything in its path. I had spent nearly my entire life never doubting that a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald killed President John F. Kennedy nor that a different lone gunman took the life of his younger brother Robert a few years later. Once I came to accept that these were merely fairy tales widely disbelieved by many of the same political elites who publicly maintained them, I began considering other aspects of this important history, the most obvious being who was behind the conspiracy and what were their motives.

The Kennedy assassination surely ranks as one of the most dramatic and heavily reported events of the twentieth century, yet the overwhelming evidence that our president died at the hands of a conspiracy rather than an eccentric “lone gunman” was almost entirely suppressed by our mainstream media during the decades that followed, with endless ridicule and opprobrium heaped on many of the stubborn truth-tellers. Indeed, the very term “conspiracy theory” soon became a standard slur aimed against all those who sharply questioned establishmentarian narratives, and there is strong evidence that such pejorative use was deliberately promoted by government agencies concerned that so much of the American citizenry was growing skeptical of the implausible cover story presented by the Warren Commission. But despite all these efforts, the period may mark the inflection point at which public trust in our national media began its precipitous decline. Once an individual concludes that the media lied about something as monumental as the JFK assassination, he naturally begins to wonder what other lies may be out there.

Although I now consider the case for an assassination conspiracy overwhelming, I think that the passage of so many decades has removed any real hope of reaching a firm conclusion about the identities of the main organizers or their motives. Those who disagree with this negative assessment are free to continue sifting the enormous mountain of complex historical evidence and debating their conclusions with others having similar interests.

June 26

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Anti-Empire Report #158,Why do they flee? William Blum, June 26, 2018. The current mass exodus of people from Central America to the United States, with the daily headline-grabbing stories of numerous children involuntarily separated from their parents, means it’s time to remind my readers once again of one of the primary causes of these periodic mass migrations.

American FlagThose in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare or imply that the United States does not have any legal or moral obligation to take in these Latinos. This is not true. The United States does indeed have the obligation because many of the immigrants, in addition to fleeing from drug violence, are escaping an economic situation in their homeland directly made hopeless by American interventionist policy.

It’s not that these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed upon them by American police and other right-wingers.

But whenever a progressive government comes to power in Latin America or threatens to do so, a government sincerely committed to fighting poverty, the United States helps to suppresses the movement and/or supports the country’s right-wing and military in staging a coup. This has been the case in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras.

hillary clinton official secretary of  state wThe latest example is the June 2009 coup (championed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, shown in her official photo) ousting the moderately progressive Manuel Zelaya of Honduras. The particularly severe increase in recent years in Honduran migration to the US is a direct result of the overthrow of Zelaya, whose crime was things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education.

It is a tale told many times in Latin America: The downtrodden masses finally put into power a leader committed to reversing the status quo, determined to try to put an end to two centuries of oppression … and before long the military overthrows the democratically-elected government, while the United States – if not the mastermind behind the coup – does nothing to prevent it or to punish the coup regime, as only the United States can punish; meanwhile Washington officials pretend to be very upset over this “affront to democracy” while giving major support to the coup regime. The resulting return to poverty is accompanied by government and right-wing violence against those who question the new status quo, giving further incentive to escape the country.

June 26

whowhatwhy logodovey roundtreeWhoWhatWhy, The Brilliant Black Woman Who Defended the Accused Killer of JFK’s Mistress, Part 2, Peter Janney, June 26, 2018. Dovey Roundtree was facing tough pressure defending her client, who was accused of murdering the mistress of JFK. Everyone wanted a guilty plea, but Roundtree had done her homework, and once the trial began she started exposing holes in the prosecution’s “case-closed” narrative.

June 23

washington post logoWashington Post, Zimbabwe’s president narrowly escapes apparent assassination attempt, Max Bearak, June 23, 2018. A crude bomb may have targeted Emmerson Mnangagwa after a campaign rally in the city of Bulawayo.

Zimbabwe’s election campaign season took a worrying turn Saturday afternoon when a crude bombing at a speech delivered by president Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared to be an attempt on his life.

Mnangagwa had just finished giving a speech in a stadium in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, Bulawayo, when the bomb went off near him and other government officials as they shuffled offstage. Widely circulated videos on social media show a small blast knocking over people standing in the vicinity.

The president’s spokesman, George Charamba, released a statement saying that Mnangagwa was unhurt and that an investigation was underway.

June 20

whowhatwhy logodovey roundtreeWhoWhatWhy, Murder Investigation: The Brilliant Black Woman Who Defended the Accused Killer of JFK’s Mistress, Part 1, Peter Janney, June 20, 2018.  After Dovey Johnson Roundtree’s early life in the Jim Crow South, she was more than ready to face the white power establishment determined to convict her client for the usual reasons (he was black), as well as for mysterious reasons.

June 9

washington post logoWashington Post, Government’s attempts to stop leaks grow more aggressive with actions in Wolfe case, Matt Zapotosky, Shane Harris, Lynh Bui and Karoun Demirjian, June 9, 2018. Critics worry that the indictment of a former Senate Intelligence Committee staff member and the seizure of a reporter’s notes will have a chilling effect on newsgathering.

james wolf ali watkins

Former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe and New York Times reporter Ali Watkins (file photos)

pogo logo squareProject On Government Oversight (POGO), Opinion: A Dangerous Escalation in "The War on Leaks," Andrea Peterson, June 8, 2018. Last night, The New York Times reported that a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer, James Wolfe, was arrested Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Times reporter Ali Watkins and other journalists. Watkins, a rising star in national security reporting, and Wolfe, who led the Committee’s efforts to safeguard the classified and sensitive information shared with Members, had a three-year romantic relationship.

During that time, Watkins broke a number of high-profile scoops about the Committee’s operations. While Watkins told the Times Wolfe was not a source of classified information for her reporting during their relationship, the optics are concerning. But beyond the journalism ethics questions about the relationship, there’s a major threat to First Amendment rights. During the investigation into Wolfe and leaks from the Committee, the Justice Department went after Watkins’ data — seizing years of records related to her email accounts and phone number, according to a letter the agency sent to Watkins.

News media advocacy groups warn that the move sets a dangerous legal precedent for journalists’ ability to protect their sources. “Efforts by government that undermine this ability therefore represent a fundamental threat to press freedom,” the Committee to Protect Journalists’ North America Program Coordinator Alexandra Ellerbeck said in a statement Friday.

The Justice Department’s statement to the Times about the data grab also suggests the agency is potentially widening the scope of leak investigations beyond exposure of classified information by taking the unprecedented step of looking into the “unauthorized disclosure of controlled information" (emphasis added). That’s a much broader standard that could apply to leaking that is in no way criminal conduct, and which could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers who already face potential professional repercussions — such as being fired — for taking their concerns to the media.

Associated Press via New York Post, Anthony Bourdain used the belt from his bathrobe to kill himself, Staff report, June 9, 2018. The prosecutor of Colmar in France’s Alsace region says that writer and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain hanged himself in the bathroom of his French hotel room.

Prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny told The Associated Press on Saturday that the famed chef and host of the CNN series “Parts Unknown” used the belt of his hotel bath robe to commit suicide on Friday. Of the 61-year-old American’s death, Rocquigny said “there is no element that makes us suspect that someone came into the room at any moment.” He also said a medical expert had concluded there were no signs of violence on Bourdain’s body. The prosecutor said toxicology tests were being carried out, including urine tests, to see if Bourdain took any medications, to try to help his family understand if anything led him to kill himself.

June 8

hugh turley david martin thomas mertonDCDave.com, Opinion: Parade of Whoppers about Thomas Merton’s Death, David Martin, June 8, 2018. David Martin is the co-author with Hugh Turley of Turley, Hugh and David Martin. The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: An Investigation, published in March, which concludes that the reputed death of the famed pacifist monk Thomas Merton was an assassination.

What better measure could we find of a Deep State hit job than the lies that have been told about it? To take some prominent examples, the evidence could hardly be clearer that President John F. Kennedy was shot from the front, but the chosen patsy was behind him, so we are told that he was shot from the back. Robert Kennedy was shot from behind, but, in this case, the patsy was in front of him, so we are told that he was shot from the front. Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot by a sniper concealed in the bushes behind a rooming house, which was behind the motel in which he was staying, but the chosen patsy in this case was booked into that rooming house, so we are told that the chosen patsy perched himself precariously on the rim of a bathtub beneath a bathroom window to shoot King expertly in the neck.

These murders all took place within the United States, and still the press and the authorities got by with foisting upon the public a number of falsehoods about them that are rather easily shown to be falsehoods by anyone with the enterprise to look into the matter.

The Catholic monk and notable spiritual writer and antiwar leader, Thomas Merton, died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 53 while attending an interfaith monastic conference at a Red Cross meeting center in Samutprakarn, Thailand, a suburb of Bangkok, on the afternoon of December 10, 1968. It was the same year in which Bobby Kennedy and King were killed and the same president was in the White House, Lyndon Baines Johnson. The press had an excuse for their initial sketchy reporting of his death; it was a long ways away. But their reporting has not improved in the ensuing half-century,

Merton was last seen entering the cottage in which he was residing on the third day of the conference from about five minutes walking distance behind him by Fr. Celestine Say of the Philippines, whose room was the only other one on the first floor of the cottage. The time was just before 2 p.m., and Merton was in the company of Fr. François de Grunne of Belgium. There is nothing available from de Grunne as to what transpired in the cottage in the intervening five minutes before Say’s arrival, although the Thai police are known to have taken a statement from him. Say has written in letters that, from the time he arrived, he heard not a single sound from Merton, even though the walls to the rooms were only temporary netting, with sheets hung up to afford a modicum of privacy. Acoustically, the first floor was essentially one room with the exception of a full bathroom and a half bathroom. Say said that previously he could hear Merton walking in his bare feet in his room. The full bathroom, which had a shower facility, was off the parlor between the two bedrooms. The half bath, along the same wall, was entered from Merton’s room.

June 7

john barbour facebookRT America: "The World According to Jesse," Operation Mockingbird & John Barbour, Jesse Ventura, June 8, 2018 (26:57 mins.). Jesse Ventura and Brigida Santos discuss Operation Mockingbird and how America’s most powerful news outlets worked with the CIA for 25 years to plant false stories and mislead the public. Documentarian John Barbour, shown at right, talks about the surveillance of journalists.

paul schrade interesting stuff entertainment

RFK presidential campaign advisor Paul Schrade, 93. a United Auto Workers executive wounded during fatal attack on the senator in 1968 (photo courtesy of Interesting Stuff Entertainment)

American Prospect, The Legacy of Paul Schrade, Harold Meyerson, June 7, 2018. Not just the other guy who was shot in the Ambassador kitchen. Paul Schrade, hit by one of the bullets fired by Senator Robert Kennedy's assailant.

Today’s New York Times has a story on the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s murder, featuring interviews with Kennedy staffers and supporters. But the piece misidentifies Paul Schrade, who was also critically wounded when Kennedy was shot, as “a campaign aide” (in the caption) and doesn’t quite get it right in calling him “a labor organizer who worked on the campaign” in the text of the article.

It’s important to get Paul Schrade’s actual identity right, though — because he was a key figure in California and union history during the pivotal decade of the ‘60s.

As a young man, Paul had worked as an assistant to United Auto Workers (UAW) President Walter Reuther, who headed what today has to be viewed as by far the most important progressive union in American history. In the 1950s, Paul headed a UAW local at North American Aviation in Los Angeles, and became the UAW’s western regional director in the early 1960s. As such, he became, in 1965, the first established union leader to provide resources and assistance to the fledgling union of farmworkers that Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta were organizing. That same year, in the aftermath of the Watts Riots, he devoted union resources to establishing the Watts Labor Community Action Council and the East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU), which became longstanding political powerhouses in LA’s black and Latino communities, respectively.

Hollywood Reporter, Heidi Fleiss Reflects on 25th Anniversary of Her Arrest, Ex Tom Sizemore and What Charlie Sheen Really Spent on Girls, June 7, 2018, Seth Abramovitch. The "Hollywood Madam" made millions a week running a high-class escort service to the stars; now the former sex-work mogul runs a bird sanctuary in the Nevada desert as she opens up on Harvey Weinstein.

It’s hard to believe it took until 1993 for someone to earn the nickname “The Hollywood Madam.” That honor went to Heidi Fleiss, one of six children born to Paul Fleiss, a popular Los Feliz pediatrician. In 1987 and at age 22,

Heidi was taken under the wing of Madam Alex, a procuress to the stars, to whom Fleiss was introduced by her filmmaker boyfriend. She first worked as one of Alex’s call girls but quickly absorbed the business and launched her own prostitution service in 1990.

heidi fleiss coverWith a knack for recruiting high-end talent, Fleiss by 1991 had amassed a stable of 500 girls — the look was “clean-cut and perfect, [like] she was born and raised in Beverly Hills,” she once explained — who charged clients about $1,500 a night ($2,800 today), of which Fleiss took 40 percent. Soon she was clearing $300,000 a week ($560,000 now) as she kept an A-list roster of celebrities and Hollywood executives very satisfied. Her infamous “black book,” which contained the names of her famous clients, was actually a 28-page red Gucci planner.

The party did not last long: On June 9, 1993, Fleiss was arrested and charged with five counts of pandering. “The other players like Madam Alex were all working with the LAPD, giving lists of their clients on a weekly basis,” (emphasis added) says Nick Broomfield, director of the 1995 doc Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (shown above). “Heidi wouldn’t play the game. She broke all the rules. She kind of did it for fun, which was why she was so successful.”

The case went to trial, where Charlie Sheen testified he’d spent $53,000 a year on Fleiss’ services. A jury convicted her on three counts, for which she received a three-year sentence. That conviction was overturned in 1996, but a federal tax-evasion case the next year led to a 20-month stint in prison in Dublin, California.

Today, the 52-year-old Fleiss lives with dozens of exotic birds on the outskirts of Pahrump, Nevada. She spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her lasting place in show business infamy.

June 6

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Consortium News, OAS Facing Call for New Probe into RFK Murder, Dr. William F. Pepper (shown at right) and Andrew Kreig, June 6, 2018. Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5 and died June 6, 1968, fifty years ago today. A new examination of evidence is forcing human rights organizations — including the OAS — to consider william pepper headshotprobing the case.

Recent news about Robert F. Kennedy’s fatal shooting sharpens the challenge for human rights organizations in how to address the shocking justice issues raised by the continued imprisonment of RFK’s convicted slayer Sirhan Sirhan. Here is a link to the filing last summer by Sirhan's attorney, Dr. William F. Pepper.

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Washington Post, The Bobby Kennedy assassination tape: Were 13 shots fired or only 8? Tom Jackman, June 6, 2018. For years after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in June 1968, analysis of the case focused on the ballistics evidence and varying witness accounts of what happened in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. But in 2004, delving through the archives of the police case file, CNN senior writer Brad Johnson found a recording that had been ignored for decades.

It was a tape inadvertently made by Polish journalist Stanislaw Pruszynski, who had recorded Kennedy’s victory speech with a cassette recorder. Kennedy then left the stage and walked through the pantry while Pruszynski detached his microphone from the podium, video of the event shows. As Pruszynski then moved toward the pantry, his tape was rolling. When Johnson listened 36 years later, he thought he heard shots, then a scream.

No other recording of the shooting had ever been discovered. No cameras were rolling as Kennedy shook hands with bus boys in the pantry, followed by gunfire described by many witnesses as two shots, a pause, and then a rapid-fire sequence of shots. Johnson turned the tape over to audio engineer Philip Van Praag. Using modern technology to limit ambient noise and slow down the tape, Van Praag counted 13 shot “impulses,” or wave forms resembling gunshots, and possibly more drowned out by screams.

National Enquirer, RFK Junion Confronts Dad's Killer, Sharon Churcher, June 18, 2018 (Print purchase required; sales begin June 6). Face To face after 49 years. .

Gary Null Show, An investigation into the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the case of Sirhan Sirhan, and CIA's MK Ultra mind control operations. Gary Null interviews Dr. William Pepper and Rick Allen, June 6, 2018 

Richard "Rick" Allen is the current founding CEO of Snag Films -- and independent film and TV show distributor -- and View Lift, a leading digital marketing platform. He has been a producer for feature documentary films, including "Lost for Life" and "A Fighting Chance" and was the President and CEO for Sporting News, and the President and CEO for National Geographic Ventures. He also served as a Deputy Assistant during Bill Clinton's first term and was the Deputy Director of Clinton's AmeriCorps and Senior programs. A life-long admirer and scholar of Robert F. Kennedy's life, letters and speeches, he is the co-author/editor with the late Pulitzer Prize author Edwin Guthman, who served as RFK's press secretary at the Department of Justice, of the recent "RFK: His Words for Our Times" -- released for the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy's assassination. Their earlier "RFK Collected Speeches" has become a standard reference volume for activists and historians for RFK's position on civil rights, social justice, war poverty and creating a culture of peace. Rick received his law degree from the University of Chicago, and is a graduate of Dartmouth College. His website is RFKSpeeches.com.

william pepper headshotWilliam (Bill) Pepper is an international civil and human rights attorney based in New York best best known for representing Martin Luther King’s accused assassin, James Earl Ray. In 1967, Dr. King had reached out to Dr. Pepper regarding an essay he had written for Ramparts magazine concerning Vietnamese victims of American napalm missions. He was present at Dr. King’s famous Riverside william pepper plot to kill 2016Church speech. William was the citizens chairman for Robert Kennedy’s run for the Senate in Westchester Country and also a counsel for Robert Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan arguing for a second shooter, a trial he is now trying to reopen in an international court. William has received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Columbia, a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts, a Juris Doctoral degree from Boston College and also studied at the London School of Ecoomics and Political Science. His most recent book -- The Plot to Kill King: The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr published by Skyhorse Publishing -- is the result of 39 years of research and gathering of documentation and sworn testimonies on new confirmed information that will revise the history behind the assassination of Dr. King.

June 5

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Opinion & Analysis: Was Sirhan Hypnotically Programmed to Assassinate RFK? Shane O’Sullivan, June 5, 2018. Dr. Shane O’Sullivan, shown at right, is the author of the book "Who Killed Bobby?" and the director of the documentary "RFK Must Die."

Fifty years ago, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in the kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. His convicted assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, remains in prison in San Diego and claims to have no memory of the crime.

Robert Kennedy Jr. visited Sirhan for three hours last December and, on the basis of new audio evidence of a second shooter, is calling for a new investigation into the case.

dan brownOver the last 11 years, Sirhan’s attorney Laurie Dusek and Dr. Daniel Brown (shown at left), a leading expert on hypnosis and coercive persuasion at Harvard Medical School, have spent over 150 hours with Sirhan, working pro bono and at great personal cost to recover his memory of the shooting.

The WhoWhatWhy piece shows 67 minutes of video footage spiked from a Netflix documentary showing  Dr. Dan Brown and Sirhan’s attorney, Laurie Dusek, discussing their groundbreaking work with Sirhan for the first time.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Unique Recollections of the Night RFK Was Gunned Down, Jeff Schechtman, June 5, 2018. Many people doubt the official story of what happened when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in the kitchen of Los Angeles’s Ambassador Hotel exactly 50 years ago. Their doubts are fuelled by painstaking research, solid reporting, and even cutting-edge science. But nothing compares to talking with people who were there when Kennedy was struck down.

Paul Schrade, a long-time friend and political ally of Kennedy’s, was shot in the head that night, but he recovered from his wounds. Two years ago, when Schrade was 91, WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman spoke to him about Kennedy, the assassination, and about his theory of the case.

This 48-minute conversation offers indispensable insights into the life and legacy of Bobby Kennedy, his murder, and how that tragedy changed history.

washington post logotom jackmanWashington Post, Did L.A. police and prosecutors bungle the Bobby Kennedy assassination probe? Tom Jackman (shown right), June 5, 2018. For six years after he was shot and wounded while walking behind Robert F. Kennedy in the Ambassador Hotel in June 1968, Paul Schrade mourned the loss of his friend and stayed out of the public eye. But beginning with a news conference in 1974, Schrade has demanded answers to the question of whether a second gunman — and not Sirhan Sirhan — killed Kennedy.

Soon after Sirhan’s trial ended with his first-degree-murder conviction in April 1969, journalists noted that Kennedy had been shot in the back of the head at point-blank range, but witnesses all said Sirhan was standing in front of Kennedy. Bullet holes found in the doors of the crime scene indicated more shots were fired than could have come from Sirhan’s eight-shot .22-caliber pistol, some witnesses said. Sirhan’s defense team had not challenged any of the physical evidence at trial.

tim tate brad johnson rfk coverConsortium News, A just published book on the RFK murder re-examines the evidences and asks what the world might be like if the four 1960s assassinations never occurred, James DiEugenio, June 5, 2018. Authors Tim Tate and Brad Johnson begin their new book, The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy: Crime, Conspiracy and Cover-Up – A New Investigation (Thistle Publishing) with this quote from RFK the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed: “What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.”

Just two months later Kennedy would become the last in a series of four assassinations of American leaders from 1963-68: President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. The cumulative political impact of those murders is hard to overstate. Toward the end of their bookthe authors try to estimate what that impact was.

Though it’s impossible to say for sure, they conjecture that, at the very least, the Vietnam War would have ended much sooner and would not have expanded into Laos and Cambodia. We know for certain that President Richard Nixon’s decision to expand the war caused the collapse of the government of Cambodia’s Prince Sihanouk, the eventual takeover by the Khmer Rouge and the death of two million people.

The murder of Bobby Kennedy has always seemed to get less attention in the mainstream media than the other 1960s assassinations, perhaps because it’s been considered an “open and shut case.” There were, after all, seventy witnesses to RFK’s murder. But the Los Angeles Police Department decided very early, and quite literally, that what happened in the wee hours of June 5, 1968 would not be another Dallas, as Tate and Johnson say.

It’s not widely known that Sirhan Sirhan’s attorneys did not mount a defense to the charges against him. Instead they resorted to what’s known as an alternative defense called “stipulation to the evidence.” In legal terms this means the defense accepts the testimony and exhibits presented by prosecutor as valid. Therefore, there was no argument in court over the medical, eyewitness or ballistics evidence.

What the trial was really about was Sirhan’s mental state. Since his legal team thought he was guilty, they tried to avoid capital punishment by arguing he was mentally unbalanced at the time. This failed, and Sirhan only escaped electrocution because California later outlawed the death penalty.

As Tate and Johnson show, this defense strategy doomed Sirhan. For example, when coroner Thomas Noguchi was on the stand, lead defense lawyer Grant Cooper actually tried to curtail his testimony by saying, “Is all this detail necessary? I think he can express an opinion that death was due to a gunshot wound.”

Noguchi should have been Sirhan’s star witness, and Cooper should have had him on the stand all day, the authors argue. Noguchi’s 62-page autopsy report proved that all the bullets that hit the senator entered from behind Kennedy. They also entered at extreme upward angles and at close range, i.e. from 1-3 inches.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Campaign, a Murder, a Legacy: Robert F. Kennedy’s California Story, Tim Arango, June 5, 2018. Fifty years after his death, friends, aides and journalists recall the senator’s last campaign in California, his assassination in Los Angeles and what came next for the city.

June 4

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, RFK Murder News Divides His Family, Media As 50th Anniversary Nears On June 5, Andrew Kreig, June 4, 2018

Robert Kennedy Victory Speech Ambassador Hotel, June 6, 1968

Two children of slain U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy are disputing the official account of his assassination 50 years ago, prompting renewed debate before the June 5 anniversary.

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)Robert F. KennedyLongtime law professor and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Washington Post reporter Tom Jackman raised the profile of the long-simmering controversy with Jackman's front-page Sunday story on May 26 entitled, Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan.

The son is shown at far right in a portrait (by Gage Skidmore) next to a file photo of his father on the 1968 presidential campaign trail. The late New York senator also is portrayed above at top in file photo taken during his California Democratic primary victory speech minutes before his murder. He was shot in a kitchen pantry after leaving the speaking stage at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Jackman, who has covered law enforcement since 1998 at the Post, reported:

The younger Kennedy was ready to go public with his views after spending months re-examining the evidence and meeting in prison with Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted of the murder in a 1969 jury trial in which defense counsel mounted scant defense.

“I got to a place where I had to see Sirhan,” Kennedy told Jackman of the defendant, shown at right in a 2016 prison photo.

Sirhan Sirhan“I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence,” said Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and the third oldest of his father’s 11 children. “I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father. My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.”

The report of Kennedy's comments and the evidence supporting them represent breakthrough coverage of the case for a mainstream publication — and a challenge to other family members, authorities, opinion leaders and indeed any concerned citizen.

The challenge is whether the oft-reported basic facts of such a high-profile assassination could have been so incomplete or suppressed as to lead to a false imprisonment — and an escaped murderer or murderers.

Details here:

Consortium News, On the Trail of the RFK Murder, Dan Moldea, June 5, 2018. Investigative reporter and author Dan Moldea began 27 years ago believing two gunmen were involved in RFK’s murder but his pursuit of the case led him to a different conclusion, which we republish here in the ongoing debate on the killing.

Late one night in January 1991, I got a call informing me that a close friend, researcher Greg Stone, had committed suicide. Because I had talked to Stone, who seemed fine, earlier that day, the news seemed impossible to believe. Five days later, after I returned home from his funeral, I received a signed note from Stone in the mail that simply said, “Sorry about this, Dan. Stay a survivor.”

Stone and I had met during the summer of 1985 while I was living in Los Angeles, working on a book. A long-time aide to Allard Lowenstein, the former New York congressman who had been murdered in 1980, Stone had been trying to reopen the investigation of the murder of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Because of my background as an organized crime investigator, Stone wanted me to get involved in the case.Of the 187 principal law enforcement officials, detectives and officers identified in LAPD records as having been involved in the 1968 Kennedy crime scene investigation, I was able through my contacts to locate or learn the fate of 158 of them. A total of 114 agreed to be interviewed and speak on the record.

Virtually none of these law enforcement professionals had ever been interviewed about the Kennedy case. During our conversations, most of them were honest and unguarded in their responses to two basic questions: “What did you do?” and “What did you see?” Many officers had kept their field officer’s notebooks, and some even referred to their notes during my interviews.

I finally began to understand Sirhan’s strategy: As long as people like me continued to put forth supposed new evidence, he still had a chance to experience freedom. And I also understood why he was talking to me in the first place. More than any other person in recent years, I had been keeping this case alive.

At that moment of my stark realization in that prison visitation room, I barked at Sirhan, “You don’t remember writing in your notebooks in which you articulated your determination to kill Robert Kennedy and why — That’s motive! You don’t remember getting your gun when you returned to your car from the Rafferty party — That’s means! You don’t remember having been in the pantry, getting close to Kennedy, and firing your gun — That’s opportunity! “Every time you have a memory lapse, it goes to motive, means or opportunity!”

This article originally appeared in The Washington Post on June 4, 1995 and has been reprinted here with the permission of the author. Learn more in this video interview Moldea gave to the LA NBC affiliate KNBC on June 2, 1995 in which Moldea speaks of Sirhan’s ties to the mob. Dan Moldea is an investigative journalist and the author of nine books, mostly dealing with organized crime as well as one on the RFK assassination, The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy: An Investigation of Motive, Means, and Opportunity (1995).

Consortium News, Distorting the Life of Bobby Kennedy, James DiEugenio, June 4, 2018. As the 50th anniversary of his assassination is being remembered on Tuesday, it is vital to have a complete and accurate picture of the complex figure of Robert F. Kennedy, explains James DiEugenio.

TV commentator Chris Matthews’ book, Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, has been a best seller since it was released last October, but there’s a lot of important material that Matthews left out about Kennedy, whose assassination on June 5, 1968 is being remembered on Tuesday.

In recapping his early life, Matthews tells the story of Kennedy graduating from Harvard and going on to pursue a law degree at the University of Virginia, where he was chair of the Student Legal Forum. In that role, he invited some high profile guests to speak in Charlottesville.

washington post logotom jackmanWashington Post, The assassination of Bobby Kennedy: Was Sirhan Sirhan hypnotized to be the fall guy? Tom Jackman (shown right), June 4, 2018. Even as Sirhan Sirhan was being captured, seconds after the shooting of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles, he behaved oddly. A group of men had tackled him, held him down and tried to wrest the gun out of his hands.

But “in the middle of a hurricane of sound and feeling,” wrote one of those men, author George Plimpton, Sirhan “seemed peaceful.” Plimpton was struck by Sirhan’s “dark brown and enormously peaceful eyes.” A Los Angeles police officer who had rushed in recalled, “He had a blank, glassed-over look on his face — like he wasn’t in complete control of his mind.”

At the same time, the short, slim Sirhan — 5 feet 5 inches, about 120 pounds — exerted superhuman strength as one man held his wrist to a steam table in the Ambassador Hotel pantry, firing off five or six more shots even as he was held around the neck, body and legs by other men, witnesses said. It took a half-dozen men to wrench the .22-caliber pistol out of Sirhan’s grip.

At the police station, Sirhan was preternaturally calm, officers later said. “I was impressed by Sirhan’s composure and relaxation,” Sgt. William Jordan wrote in a report later that morning. “He appeared less upset to me than individuals arrested for a traffic violation.”

But the hypnosis angle gained momentum in recent years after Sirhan was examined for more than 60 hours by a Harvard Medical School professor with vast expertise in forensic psychiatry and hypnosis. In a lengthy affidavit filed with Sirhan’s last appeal in 2011, Daniel P. Brown concluded that “Mr. Sirhan did not act under his own volition and knowledge at the time of the assassination and is not responsible for actions coerced and/or carried out by others.” He was, Brown said, a true “Manchurian Candidate,” hypno-programmed into carrying out a violent political act without knowing it.

“I have written four textbooks on hypnosis,” Brown wrote, “and have hypnotized over 6,000 individuals over a 40-year professional career. Mr. Sirhan is one of the most hypnotizable individuals I have ever met, and the magnitude of his amnesia for actions under hypnosis is extreme.” Brown said he has spent another 60 hours with Sirhan in the years since his 2011 affidavit, further confirming his conclusions.

Brown researched not only Sirhan’s background but also the details of the case, and wove together the CIA’s notorious “MKUltra” mind-control experiments of the 1950s and 1960s; the Mafia; the famed “girl in the polka-dot dress” seen with Sirhan before the shooting; and an unknown “Radio Man” who secretly directed Sirhan to write the incriminating “RFK must die!” statements in a notebook found in his bedroom.

Lawyers for Sirhan are currently using the theory that he was a hypnotized distraction for the actual killer of Kennedy in a pending appeal to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Although it would have no binding power over the case, a positive finding could be used to push California authorities to reopen the case. Sirhan attorney William Pepper said he’s convinced that someone used “both drugs and hypnosis to make him a totally compliant distraction at the time Bobby Kennedy was within range of the second shooter, who was able to get down behind him.” Kennedy’s fatal wound was fired at point-blank range from behind, while witnesses said Sirhan was in front of him.

But to the U.S. court system, that claim simply didn’t fly. In rejecting Sirhan’s final federal appeal in 2013, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Wistrich wrote that Sirhan’s “theory that he was subject to mind control may be intriguing” but that the experts’ views “fall far short of demonstrating that [Sirhan] actually was subjected to mind control.” Wistrich added that “Brown’s retrospective opinion based upon tests assessing [Sirhan’s] mental condition forty years after the fact are of negligible weight.”

June 3

ap logoAssociated Press via Boston Globe, Wounded RFK aide from shooting still pushing RFK legacy, Russell Contreras, June 3, 2018. Paul Schrade had an up-close view of the Kennedy dynasty in the 1960s. The union leader got involved in politics during John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, advised Robert F. Kennedy during his own White House run eight years later and introduced the younger Kennedy to California farmworker union leaders who were instrumental in making poverty and labor pillars of his candidacy.

Then, on the early morning of June 5, 1968, an assassin shot Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. A bullet also struck Schrade in the head. He survived the attack and is now 93-years-old.

Schrade and the four others who were injured in the shooting are often overlooked players in the assassination that killed Kennedy at the age of 42 amid his ascendant presidential campaign.

paul schrade interesting stuff entertainmentWhen Schrade gained consciousness at a nearby hospital, a United Automobile Workers leader came to his bedside and told him the news: Kennedy was dead.

Schrade (shown in a photo at right by Interesting Stuff Entertainment, a documentary film company) has relived the moment almost every day of his life. He has dedicated his life to the memory of Kennedy, drawing attention to injustice and forgiving convicted murderer Sirhan Sirhan. Those causes have put him in direct conflict with the Los Angeles Police Department and a certain former real estate developer, Donald Trump.

“And I don’t care,” Schrade said.

A native of Saratoga Springs, New York, Schrade dropped out of Yale and took a job at an aerospace plant before rising up the ranks of the United Automobile Workers union. He met Robert F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential campaign and they struck up a friendship that remained as he became attorney general and a U.S. senator in New York.

Schrade convinced him to visit Delano, California, where poor Latino and Filipino farmworkers were involved in a strike with growers. Kennedy met United Farm Worker leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta during the visit.

“I saw Kennedy and Chavez meet and interact,” Schrade said. “I knew Kennedy would identify with what (the farm workers) were going through.”

When Kennedy announced he would run for president, Schrade agreed to join his team and advise him on labor issues. The night of the California primary, Schrade almost didn’t go to the Ambassador Hotel until he heard a radio report that Kennedy was trailing. But the senator would win California on the strength of the Mexican-American and black vote.

During Kennedy’s victory speech after the California and South Dakota primary wins, Schrade was on the stage a few feet behind him. As Schrade and Kennedy made their way through the hotel kitchen, they were were shot.

“I felt like I was electrocuted,” Schrade said.

Schrade underwent surgery and survived despite fragments of bullets remaining in his skull. But he fell into deep depression and lost his re-election for his union office. He returned to a factory job where he tried to stay out of politics.

To this day, Schrade believes Los Angeles police botched the case and failed to investigate possible leads about a second gunman. At Schrade’s Los Angeles home, his office and living room are stacked with documents arguing that Sirhan Sirhan wasn’t the lone shooter. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently announced he believed the case into his father’s death needed to be reopened.

Los Angeles police and prosecutors consider the case closed.

Schrade didn’t stay out of the spotlight for too long. In 2010, a $578 million complex of public schools for thousands of students opened on the site of the Ambassador Hotel after a two-decade fight that Schrade had a role in waging. The battle involved costly legal feuds with conservationists who wanted to save the historic hotel from razing, and with Trump, who wanted to build the world’s tallest skyscraper on the site.

The schools today serve predominantly Latino and black students. A “Paul Schrade Library” rests on the spot where the ballroom once stood. The education complex is called Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.

Schrade said many of the problems Kennedy sought to address are still with the country today, including poverty and racial divisions.

“A lot of these issues are still with us so we have to look at what Bobby Kennedy tried to do in 1968,” Schrade said. “The fight is not over.”

Associated Press writer Russell Contreras is a member of the AP’s race and ethnicity team.

Unz Review, Did Israel Kill the Kennedys? Laurent Guyénot, June 3, 2018. Just after midnight of June 6, 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in a backroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He had just been celebrating his victory at the California primaries, which made him the most likely Democratic nominee for the presidential election. His popularity was so great that Richard Nixon, on the Republican side, stood little chance. At the age of 43, Robert would have become the youngest American president ever, after being the youngest Attorney General in his brother’s government. His death opened the way for Nixon, who could finally become president eight years after having been defeated by John F. Kennedy in 1960.

John had been assassinated four and a half years before Robert. Had he survived, he would certainly have been president until 1968. Instead, his vice-president Lyndon Johnson took over the White House in 1963, and became so unpopular that he retired in 1968. Interestingly, Johnson became president the very day of John’s death, and ended his term a few months after Robert’s death. He was in power at the time of both investigations.

And both investigations are widely regarded as cover-ups. In both cases, the official conclusion is rife with contradictions. We are going to sum them up here. But we will do more: we will show that the key to solving both cases resides in the link between them. And we will solve them beyond a reasonable doubt.

As Lance deHaven-Smith has remarked in Conspiracy Theory in America:

“It is seldom considered that the Kennedy assassinations might have been serial murders. In fact, in speaking about the murders, Americans rarely use the plural, ‘Kennedy assassinations’. […] Clearly, this quirk in the Kennedy assassination(s) lexicon reflects an unconscious effort by journalists, politicians, and millions of ordinary Americans to avoid thinking about the two assassinations together, despite the fact that the victims are connected in countless ways.” [1]

John and Robert were bound by an unshakable loyalty. Kennedy biographers have stressed the absolute dedication of Robert to his elder brother. Robert had successfully managed John’s campaign for the Senate in 1952, then his presidential campaign in 1960. John made him not only his Attorney General, but also his most trusted adviser, even on matters of Foreign or Military affairs. What John appreciated most in Robert was his sense of justice and the rectitude of his moral judgment. It is Robert, for example, who encouraged John to fully endorse the cause of the Blacks’ civil rights movement[2].

Given this exceptional bond between the Kennedy brothers, what is the probability that the two Kennedy assassinations were unrelated? Rather, we should start with the assumption that they are related. Basic common sense suggests that the Kennedy brothers have been killed by the same force, and for the same motives. It is, at least, a logical working hypothesis that Robert was eliminated from the presidential race because he had to be prevented from reaching a position where he could reopen the case of his brother’s death. Both his loyalty to his brother’s memory, and his obsession with justice, made it predictable that, if he reached the White House, he would do just that. But was there, in 1968, any clear indication that he would?

washington post logoWashington Post, Robert F. Kennedy’s final flight: The storied journey of the ride from California to New York, David Margolick, June 3, 2018. Robert F. Kennedy’s body was loaded onto the front of the Air Force jet early in the afternoon of June 6, 1968. His family, holding hands, surrounded the coffin while it was hoisted up. Meanwhile, the various Kennedy friends, relatives and aides who had assembled at Los Angeles International Airport boarded from the stairs at the rear.

At one point, D. Paul Sweeney, the Secret Service agent standing by the back door as people filed in, peeked to his right, and spotted something quite extraordinary: Midway down the aisle, America’s three most famous widows were conversing. They spoke only briefly, maybe five or 10 minutes. But they were there, together. Then, for the next 4½ hours, Ethel Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy and Coretta Scott King shared a flight over their grieving, wounded, troubled country.

washington post logoWashington Post Sunday Magazine, What is it like to be the brother of Robert Kennedy’s assassin? The life of the other Sirhan, Peter Gilstrap, June 3, 2018 (print edition). On a serene, leafy street in north Pasadena, Calif., a 70-year-old man has lived a quiet life in a well-preserved Craftsman house since his family bought it in 1963. He keeps the lawn mowed. Trims his fruit trees. Chats with the neighbors. Sometimes he smokes Parliament cigarettes with his tea on the front porch, gazing at the San Gabriel Mountains that rise to the north into a sky that’s almost always blue.

One spring day 50 years ago, one of his older brothers left this house and eventually drove his pink-and-white ’56 DeSoto to the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. At the time, Kennedy was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. To his supporters, he represented a chance to heal the torn and reeling country. On June 6, 1968, he died of a gunshot wound to the head. Sirhan Sirhan, this man’s brother, was sentenced to the gas chamber for the assassination — a sentence that was commuted to life in prison in 1972.

In the intervening years, Munir Sirhan has cared for another brother, Adel, who lived here before dying of cancer in 2001, and looked after his mother, who passed away in 2005, blind and deaf after years of illness. His father and three other siblings have died, too. Munir, three years younger than Sirhan, was the baby of the family. Now he and Sirhan are the only ones left.

There are three shelves of books about the Kennedys that Munir bought but has never read. On the floor, vacuum trails are visible in the cream-colored carpet. When I visit on a Wednesday morning, he looks around the living room, which could not be tidier, and says, “Sorry for the mess.”

The shades are drawn and the lamps are twilight low. Munir is blind in one eye and always wears dark glasses. It’s quiet and still in this place. And then the sound of a robin chirping comes from the kitchen, where there’s a clock with birds on the face instead of numbers. “Every hour is different,” he says. “One hour it’s a mockingbird, and another hour it’s a blue jay and so on. I enjoy it. I live alone. It keeps me company.”

There is no wife, there is no career, never has been. Sirhan’s crime has had a 50-year ripple effect on Munir. He leads a simple existence, keeping mostly to himself while he waits for his brother — who has been denied parole 15 times. “I just want to hear his footsteps on the porch,” Munir says. “I just want to hug him and tell him, ‘Welcome home.’ ”

In 1948, the Sirhans, who were Christian Palestinians, fled their home in the newly divided Jerusalem. The family slipped away during a letup in the fighting of what became known as the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. The Sirhans were granted Jordanian citizenship, but they would come to see America as their future. "There was a program started by Eisenhower and the United Nations to help refugees," says Munir. In 1956 they left with only what they could pack in suitcases. "Sirhan didn't want to come," Munir says. "He ran away. Finally during the morning hours we found him and packed him up real quick."

A ship crowded with seasick refugees brought the family to New York City. Their sponsor lived in Pasadena, so the Sirhans took the train to this land of sunshine and roses. “It was a new haven, compared to Jordan,” says Munir.

June 2

Daily Mail Online US, 'Is everybody OK?': Busboy who cradled dying Robert F. Kennedy reveals the senator's last words, and admits he is still shaken by the 1968 shooting, Staff report, June 2, 2018. The busboy who held Robert F. Kennedy after the senator was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in California has been speaking about the senator's final moments in 1968.

Juan Romero still struggles with everything that happened 50 years ago. He had hoped to shake hands with RFK but ended up cradling the mortally-injured politician's head on the floor of the hotel's kitchen. 'I remember extending my hand as far as I could, and then I remember him shaking my hand,' Romero said on NPR's Morning Edition. 'And as he let go, somebody shot him.'

In an instant, he had Kennedy in his arms as both of them fell to the floor. Juan Romero, 67, holds a photo of himself and the dying Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968

"I kneeled down to him and I could see his lips moving, so I put my ear next to his lips and I heard him say, 'Is everybody OK?' Juan Romero said recalling his last words, 'Yes, everybody's OK.' I put my hand between the cold concrete and his head just to make him comfortable."

Photojournalists managed to captured the horrific moment as Kennedy lay dying while 17-year-old Romero searched for help and tried to make the senator more comfortable.

After the event Romero said letters began to flood into the Ambassador Hotel, many of them addressed to 'the busboy' and some of them angry that he hadn't been able to prevent the assassination.

May

May 31

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Analysis: Scientist Neutralizes JFK’s ‘Back and to the Left’ — Or Does He? Milicent Cranor, May 31, 2018. Should we necessarily trust “experts” writing in “peer reviewed” journals who seek to advance interpretations of events preferred by the very establishment whose approval is necessary for career advancement? Is this about National Security — the usual reason given when it comes to hiding the truth in the Kennedy assassination — or is it about job security?

See if the following makes you wonder as well. In any case, if you like puzzles, you should find this report engaging.

To those who support the lone gunman theory, the shot came from behind — the supposed lair of Lee Harvey Oswald. But Kennedy was knocked backward, suggesting he was hit from the front. Which would mean Oswald did not fire that bullet.

This image — combined with the discrepancies in the government’s reporting of the most fundamental facts in the case — perpetuate the well-earned distrust of official sources. (For details on discrepancies in the medical-ballistic evidence, please go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Lone-gunman theory advocates have sought to explain away this anomaly, utilizing a long string of purported experts. The establishment media, showing little interest in exploring other possibilities, has long promoted these counterintuitive explanations.

The latest comes from Nicholas R. Nalli, a PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences and senior research scientist with I.M. Systems Group, Inc. at STAR. He performs research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is said to have expertise in geophysics, optics, and remote sensing.

Boston Globe, RFK's children divided over calls for a fresh investigation of his assassination, Michael Levenson, May 31, 2018. Two of Robert F. Kennedy’s children are calling for a new investigation into their father’s assassination, opening a rift in the famous family as it prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death next Wednesday. Kennedy, often known as "RFK," is shown in a file photo.

kathleen kennedy townsendKathleen Kennedy Townsend (shown at left), the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, told the Globe this week that she supports a new investigation, joining her brother Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who revealed last weekend that he visited convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan in prison and believes someone else killed RFK. “I think Bobby makes a compelling case,” Townsend wrote in an e-mail.

But two other children of Robert F. Kennedy said this week that they would not support a re-investigation, underscoring how divisive the second-gunman theory continues to be, a half-century after the presidential candidate, former attorney general, and senator from New York was killed in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

joe kennedy ii rfk child former rep“As we approach the 50th anniversary of my father’s passing, I think what is most important is that our country and my family reflect on what my father stood for and fought for — a legacy promoting global peace, social justice, and civil rights,” Joseph P. Kennedy II (shown at right), the former congressman from Massachusetts, said in a statement.

Kerry Kennedy, the president of a human rights organization named for her father, also indicated that she opposes a fresh examination of the evidence that, critics say, shows Sirhan could not have acted alone.

“The reason that people are interested in the circumstances of my father’s death is because of what he did with his life,” she said. “And I think we should focus on his life and not so much on his death — his moral imagination, his capacity for empathy, his quest to heal divisions, and his belief that one person can make a difference.”

bill newman gayle newman dealey plaza 1963 aftermath

Bill and Gayle Newman are shown on the ground on the grassy knoll in Dallas following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. They may have been the closest bystanders to the motorcade on Elm Street in the foreground. A waist-high picket fence is in the background.

Hot Springs Village Voice (Texas), Newmans remember witnessing the Kennedy assassination – Part I, Jeff Meek, May 22, 2018. Dallas residents Bill and Gayle Newman went about everyday life like thousands of others in Texas until that fateful day of Nov. 22, 1963. That afternoon they witnessed, up close, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza.

From that day until today, they are sought after to interview about the horrifying experience, which they did for me on May 3 in their Texas home.Bill met Gayle while working at a frozen custard shop when in high school. She and some friends stopped in and before long they began dating, then married in 1958 and raised two children, Billy and Clayton. The four of them can be seen in many photos taken in the aftermath of the assassination.

In 1963 Dallas was a conservative city, not particularly Kennedy country, but the President wanted a trip to Texas to mend some political fences. After stops in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Air Force One landed at Love Field for a parade through the city, then lunch at the Trade Mart, then on to Austin to close out Nov. 22.

Some were worried about the Dallas stop. Posters had been going around that said “JFK: Wanted for Treason” and some newspaper articles were negative as well.

I asked Bill what he thought happened on Nov. 22, 1963. He was hesitant to answer at first, saying he shares what he saw, not what he thinks. But later Bill said, “A thought that goes through my mind is when you talk conspiracy, multiple shooters, to me if Lee Harvey Oswald was the shooter and in fact he was the only shooter, there very well could have been other people in the background. That’s always been a curiosity to me.”

Later in the interview Bill added another thought. If it was just Oswald alone, why are documents still being withheld or heavily redacted 55 years later?

May 30

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: A Conspiracy Contradiction at the Washington Times, Jacob G. Hornberger, May 30, 2018. I wonder if noted conservative writer R. Emmett Tyrell Jr. realizes that he has just contradicted himself in an op-ed in the Washington Times entitled, “Re-examining the RFK Assassination.” Based on a new book by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Tyrell is calling for a new investigation into the assassination of Bobby Kennedy to determine if he was killed as part of a … conspiracy.

But according to the two opening paragraphs of Tyrell’s article, he has “never believed in conspiracy theories” because, he feels, it would be impossible for conspirators to keep the conspiracy secret.

But if that’s the case, then why is Tyrell calling for a new investigation into the Bobby Kennedy assassination? If there really was a conspiracy in that assassination, the conspirators, according to Tyrell’s opening paragraphs, would have talked. Since no such talk has ever emerged, that would mean, under Tyrell’s reasoning, that there could be no conspiracy and, therefore, no need to have a new investigation.

But the fact is that Tyrell is wrong. There are conspiracies, especially those involving assassination (i.e., murder), in which the conspirators don’t talk. After all, let’s not forget that a criminal conviction for murder can involve the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Oftentimes that is enough incentive to keep murder conspirators, especially professional ones, silent about what they have done.

In 1953, the CIA published an in-house manual on assassination, which the CIA was successful in keep secret for more than 40 years. The manual reflects that, early on, the CIA was specializing not only in the art of political assassination but, equally important, also in the art of covering up CIA involvement in the assassination.

As previously stated, in the early 1960s, the CIA and the Mafia entered into a top-secret assassination partnership. Thus, here you had two entities, both of whom specialized in murder and cover-up, getting together to jointly perform a political assassination.

Therefore, why shouldn’t people raise their eyebrows at least a little bit with respect to the political assassinations that took place in the 1960s, especially those in which the victims were sworn enemies of the Mafia or the CIA or both, such as President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, and especially where the facts in the case are bit too pat?

May 29

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, Rights Pioneer's Obit Prompts Disputes Over JFK Murder Half-Truths, Andrew Kreig, May 29, 2018.

The Washington Post's obituary last week of a pioneering African-American lawyer continued the newspaper's controversial coverage of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the 1964 murder of JFK's friend and lover Mary Pinchot Meyer.

dovey roundtreeOn May 21, the Post published a long and respectful obituary, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 1914–2018, about an African-American woman by that name (shown at right) who overcame racial bias to carve out impressive careers in the military, law, and ministry in a Washington, DC work environment that was heavily segregated for most of her career.

One of Roundtree's early highlights was winning a 1965 jury acquittal for Raymond Crump, Jr., an African-American day laborer whom authorities had charged with murdering Meyer on a canal towpath near her home in the capital's fashionable Georgetown neighborhood.

Obituary writer Harrison Smith reported on Roundtree's civic commitment and skill in winning the acquittal. The reporter also quoted two commentators — journalist / author Nina Burleigh and attorney Robert Bennett — as opining that Crump was guilty, despite the jury verdict.

Several JFK assassination researchers, including this editor and another Meyer biographer, Peter Janney, sharply challenged via reader comments and letters to the Post its taint of Crump (and by implication Roundtree).

Details here.

May 26

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)

washington post logotom jackmanWashington Post, Retropolis: Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan, Tom Jackman (shown right), May 26, 2018. Just before Christmas, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pulled up to the massive Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, a California state prison complex in the desert outside San Diego that holds nearly 4,000 inmates. Kennedy was there to visit Sirhan B. Sirhan, the man convicted of killing his father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, nearly 50 years ago.

rfk head portrait 1964While his wife, the actress Cheryl Hines, waited in the car, Kennedy met with Sirhan for three hours, he revealed to The Washington Post last week. It was the culmination of months of research by Kennedy into the assassination, including speaking with witnesses and reading the autopsy and police reports.

sirhan sirhan 2016“I got to a place where I had to see Sirhan,” Kennedy said. He would not discuss the specifics of their conversation. But when it was over, Kennedy had joined those who believe there was a second gunman, and that it was not Sirhan (shown in a 2016 prison photo) who killed his father, shown at right.

“I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence,” said Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and the third oldest of his father’s 11 children. “I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father. My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.”

May 24

dovey roundtree

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, A Remarkable Lawyer and a Fascinating Case, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), May 24, 2018. The New York Times has published a lengthy obituary of one of most remarkable lawyers in U.S. history, an African-American woman named Dovey Johnson Roundtree (shown above), who passed away last Monday at the age of 104.

mary pinchot meyer 1963 cigaretteHer most famous case was a criminal case involving the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer, the former wife of a high CIA official who had been having an intimate affair with President John F. Kennedy in the months leading up to his assassination.

The Meyer case is detailed in Peter Janney’s excellent book Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, which I highly recommend. If you decide to read the book, be sure you get the most recent edition because it provides an exciting update on Janney’s successful search for one of the principal witnesses in the case, a military officer named Lt. William Mitchell stationed at the Pentagon.

OpEdNews, Opinion: Deep State Swamp Monster Says There Is No Deep State, Caitlin Johnstone, May 24, 2018. Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today that he does not believe there is a deep state in the CIA, the State Department or the Department of Justice, which is the same as a mob boss saying he doesn't believe there is organized crime in the Mafia.

California Rep. Ted Lieu (D), himself a virulent Russiagater and aggressive defender of the US intelligence community, asked Pompeo if he believed there was a "Criminal Deep State" at the State Department in reference to a recent tweet by America's reality TV president.

"I haven't seen the comments from the president. I don't believe there is a deep state at the State Department," Pompeo said.

ted lieu"You formerly served as CIA Director," Lieu (shown at right) continued. "Do you believe your colleagues at the CIA are part of the Criminal Deep State?"

"You know, this term 'deep state' has been thrown around -- I will say this, the employees that worked for me at the CIA, nearly uniformly, were aimed at achieving the president's objectives and America's objectives," Pompeo responded.

"And that's your experience when you interact with colleagues at the FBI and the Department of Justice as well?" Lieu asked.

"Uh, yes," Pompeo replied.

It was like watching a two-handed puppet show about two swamp monsters furiously agreeing with one another that there is no swamp.

I hardly ever use the term "deep state" anymore. For a time it was a sensible label to use within smaller, well-informed circles to refer to the unelected power structures which remain in America regardless of the shifting tides of its official elected government, but ever since it became a mainstream household term it's been rendered meaningless by partisan hackery.

Republicans, who spent the last week defending CIA torture as "Bloody Gina" Haspel ascended to Pompeo's old office, insist that President Trump is "fighting the deep state" due to some shady intelligence community behavior two years ago.

This would be the same President Trump who has authorized unprecedented black budget funding for that same intelligence community. The same President Trump who has advanced longstanding deep state agendas against Syria, Iran and Russia, the same President Trump who has continued Bush and Obama's Orwellian surveillance program, government opacity and persecution of whistleblowers, the same President Trump who said he supports the US Department of Justice in its prioritizing the arrest of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

Democrats meanwhile proclaim that talk of a deep state in America is a baseless conspiracy theory, which is an innately absurd position.

Deep state is not a conspiracy theory, it's a concept used in political analysis to describe the ways that unelected power structures like multinational plutocrats and intelligence/defense agencies tend to collaborate with one another in order to advance their own agendas. The fact that such plutocrats and agencies (A) exist, (B) have power, (C) are unelected, (D) tend to form alliances with each other and (E) try to advance their own agendas is not disputable; the only thing you can dispute is the nature and extent of their operations.

These would be the same Democrats, by the way, who have spent the last year and a half fanatically defending US intelligence agencies and canonizing J Edgar Hoover heirs James Comey and Robert Mueller as living saints.

Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!

Obviously there is a deep state in America, obviously it is extremely powerful, and obviously men like Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo are some of its most valuable foot soldiers. But partisan echo chambers have most Americans so blinkered that they can only see one of two halves of the equation: either the US intelligence community is a plucky band of virtuous patriots resisting a president who is simultaneously (A) stupid, (B) crazy, (C) a Nazi, and (D) a Kremlin agent, or Trump is a populist hero of the people who is fighting the deep state. Through the filters of partisan idiocy it's ibo with drones graphic artist unknownmpossible to see the otherwise obvious fact that unelected power dominates the United States, and that Donald Trump is in full service of that unelected power.

But more and more people are seeing through the illusion. More and more are asking the right questions about why US presidential administrations seem to advance more or less the same policies regardless of political affiliations. It isn't necessary to use the now-useless phrase "deep state" to point to these dynamics. They're becoming more and more self-evident by the day.

Truthout, Opinion: Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump and the "Me First" Doctrine, Interview by C.J. Polychroniou, May 24, 2018. President Trump's sudden cancellation of the upcoming denuclearization summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is just the latest example of Trump's wildly erratic approach to foreign policy.

While Trump's domestic policies seem to be guided by clear objectives -- increasing corporate profits, undoing every policy made by the Obama administration, and appeasing Trump's anti-immigrant base -- the imperatives driving US foreign policy under Trump remain something of a mystery.

In this exclusive interview, renowned linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky sheds light on the realities and dangers of foreign relations in the age of "gangster capitalism" and the decline of the US as a superpower.

C. J. Polychroniou: Noam, Donald Trump rose to power with "America First" as the key slogan of his election campaign. However, looking at what his administration has done so far on both the domestic and international front, it is hard to see how his policies are contributing to the well-being and security of the United States. With that in mind, can you decode for us what Trump's "America First" policy may be about with regard to international relations?

Noam Chomsky: It is only natural to expect that policies will be designed for the benefit of the designers and their actual -- not pretended -- constituency, and that the well-being and security of the society will be incidental. And that is what we commonly discover. We might recall, for example, the frank comments on the Monroe Doctrine by Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State, Robert Lansing: "In its advocacy of the Monroe Doctrine the United States considers its own interests.

The integrity of other American nations is an incident, not an end. While this may seem based on selfishness alone, the author of the Doctrine had no higher or more generous motive in its declaration." The observation generalizes in international affairs, and much the same logic holds within the society.There is nothing essentially new about "America First," and "America" does not mean America, but rather the designers and their actual constituency.In Trumpian lingo, "America First" means "me first" and damn the consequences for the country or the world.A typical illustration is the policy achievement of which the Trump-Ryan-McConnell administration is most proud: the tax bill -- what Joseph Stiglitz accurately called "The US Donor Relief Act of 2017."

It contributes very directly to the well-being of their actual constituency: private wealth and corporate power. It benefits the actual constituency indirectly by the standard Republican technique (since Reagan) of blowing up the deficit as a pretext for undermining social programs, which are the Republicans' next targets. The bill is thus of real benefit to its actual constituency and severely harms the general population.

Turning to international affairs, in Trumpian lingo, "America First" means "me first" and damn the consequences for the country or the world. The "me first" doctrine has an immediate corollary: it's necessary to keep the base in line with fake promises and fiery rhetoric, while not alienating the actual constituency. It also follows that it's important to do the opposite of whatever was done by Obama. Trump is often called "unpredictable," but his actions are highly predictable on these simple principles.

His most important decision, by far, was to pull out of the Paris negotiations on climate change and to tear to shreds efforts to prevent environmental catastrophe -- a threat that is extremely severe, and not remote. All completely predictable on the basic principles just mentioned.

The decision benefits the actual constituency: the energy corporations, the automotive industry (most of it), and others who pursue the imperative of short-term profit. Consider perhaps the most-respected and "moderate" member of the Trump team, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, kicked out because he was too soft-hearted. We now know that ExxonMobil scientists were in the lead in the 1970s in recognizing the dire threat of global warming -- facts surely known to the CEO, who presided over efforts to maximize the threat and to fund denialism of what the management knew was true -- all to fill some overstuffed pockets with more dollars before we say "goodbye" to organized human life, not in the distant future. It's hard to find a word in the language to describe such behavior.

The decision also appeals to the pretended constituency: the voting base. Half of Republicans deny that global warming is taking place, and of the rest, a bare majority think that humans may have a role in it. It's doubtful that anything comparable exists elsewhere.

And, of course, the decision reverses an Obama initiative, thus keeping to high principles.

May 23

Consortium News, Opinion: The U.S. and the Fate of the World, Inder Comar, May 23, 2018, It may not be an exaggeration to say that the fate of civilization is up to Americans to sort out how they want to interact with the rest of the world, argues Inder Comar in this commentary.

Americans ought to be more honest about U.S. military interventionism. There ought to be a serious debate about it. Instead there seems to be three, entrenched foreign policy camps who never talk to each other.

But the reality of their actions, and the consequences of those actions, makes it impossible to hide an underlying imperialist thread. Thinking people cannot ignore that it was a Democrat, President Barack Obama, who increased the use of military drones in several countries, invaded Libya, maintained and increased America’s presence in Afghanistan, and even committed $1 trillion to enhancing America’s nuclear arsenal.

There has never been a more urgent time for people to really study and consider American foreign policy, and to ask fundamental questions about America’s role in the world. There are people in power today who are literally playing with fire with a nuclear-armed country (North Korea) and who are goading another country (Iran) into seeking nuclear weapons in order to defend itself from the open threat of an American invasion.

An imperial foreign policy is one that makes the whole world far less safe—including the United States. We are not so different as humans. Humans, everywhere, eventually get sick of being bullied. And they eventually start to defend themselves. Or even fight back.

There is another point, too, which needs to be made. The pedigreed leaders who pace the halls of power, their think-tank enablers, and many individual Americans, very often find a false and perverse comfort in the domination, exploitation, and suffering of people who are not Americans. This is truly a despicable thing, and it needs to be called out. It was this type of thinking that created genocide in the United States, against the First Nations and indigenous people. It is this type of thinking which has killed, and which continues to kill, tens of millions abroad.

there is a third group, who’ve I’ve come to see as of two minds. They think it possible to maintain a militant foreign policy, while also saying they are using that foreign policy to spread civilized values. They want to wallow in the false glory that comes from empire, and to feel good about it.

Current political discourse in the United States — whether it is in the media, the think-tanks, or from major politicians — largely falls in this camp. For example, most Republicans and Democrats use the language of human rights and freedom to couch their perspective.

Daily Beast, Mystery Heiress Behind NXIVM Sex Cult Exposed in Graphic Court Docs, Amy Zimmerman, May 23, 2018. Sex slaves. Branding. Blackmail. A new cache of court documents has shed considerable light on the celebrity-riddled Upstate New York cult NXIVM.

New legal docs in the NXIVM case appear to shed further light on the cult’s alleged sex-trafficking techniques—and the continued involvement of Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman.

Following the arrests of leader Keith Raniere and his alleged top lieutenant, former Smallville actress Allison Mack, Clare Bronfman is now rumored to be calling the shots. In April, Vice wrote that, “Heiress to Canadian liquor fortune Clare Bronfman is now in charge of an estimated dozen or more ‘slaves’ spread between New York and Toronto,” citing former NXIVM publicist-turned-whistleblower Frank Parlato. Parlato also claimed that Bronfman might be attempting to intimidate ex-NXIVM members, telling Vice, “They bought up a number of domain names to attack some of the witnesses… If Jane Doe 1 or 2 decided not to testify, that would certainly hurt the case against Raniere… I think she would do whatever it takes to see that those witnesses don’t testify.”

Parlato’s theory is in keeping with legal docs filed on the subject of Allison Mack’s bail, in which the government spoke of “evidence” that, “after its investigation was reported in the press, high-ranking members of DOS undertook efforts to undermine potential witness, including by registering domain names such as [Witness Name]exposed.com, with the intention of publishing damaging information regarding those witnesses.”

Ex “slaves” would be particularly susceptible to these sorts of threats, since a main instrument of control and retention within DOS, a secret sorority within NXIVM, was demanding “collateral” from victims.

In a Wednesday filing, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue argued that two Halfmoon, New York, properties are liable to condemnation and forfeiture to the government, detailing the sex trafficking that allegedly took place on the NXIVM compound outside of Albany.

May 22

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, CIA Knew Torture Was Extorting Bad Intelligence — Kept Doing It Anyway, James Henry, May 23, 2018 (excerpted). In February, we wrote about how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks, has yet to stand trial — 17 years after the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center’s twin towers and the Pentagon.

The reason for the delay, Mohammed’s attorney David Nevin asserts, is the government’s desire to hide the details of the torture and rendition program his client and many others were subjected to in the early years of the “war on terror.”

After years of uncertainty on what to do with the alleged 9/11 conspirators, the Obama administration ultimately decided in 2011 to try Mohammed  and four others in a military tribunal at the US Naval Station Guantánamo Bay. But the process has been fraught with apparent prosecutorial shenanigans that have only added to the delay. As we wrote in February:

• Hidden microphones were found in the rooms where the defense attorneys met with their clients.• Hundreds of thousands of the defense’s emails ended up in the possession of the prosecution, and “huge volumes” of defense files mysteriously disappeared from a Department of Defense (DOD) computer network when the DOD did a network upgrade. “Months of work” were lost, according to Navy Cmdr. Stephen C. Reyes, an attorney defending Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Nashiri, another Guantánamo detainee, is accused of involvement in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.• Members of Mohammed’s defense team, including Nevin, allege they were the target of FBI spying.• Another member of Mohammed’s defense team, Maj. Jason Wright, resigned from the Army in protest after he had been taken off the case by a reassignment that he said would have violated his duty to vigorously defend his client.• The government seized four of the defendants’ laptops that they had used to prepare for trial and that contained much sensitive client-attorney material.• The defense team accused the judge of secretly colluding with the prosecution to destroy evidence that would have been helpful to their client.

And the many pretrial arguments over the government’s refusal to provide the defense with details of the detainees’ treatment have also caused delays. Mohammed’s defense team was even threatened with prosecution when they tried to investigate some aspects of the torture on their own.

What’s Truth Got to Do With it?

djt gina haspel white house via youtube installation

President Trump Greets on May 22 CIA Director Gina Haspel, a torture supervisor who destroyed taped evidence, as she takes office. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, her predecessor as CIA Director, looks on as shown in the photo at right (White House photos via YouTube and WhoWhatWhy)

The CIA’s record of torture is front and center in the media again. This time because President Donald Trump’s new CIA Director, Gina Haspel, played a key role in the agency’s program of “enhanced interrogation” (i.e., torture). Haspel was head of station in at least one of the CIA’s black sites in Thailand where torture took place, and also held multiple senior roles at the CIA Counterterrorism Center, which oversaw the torture program.

She was also involved in the destruction of the video recordings of the torture sessions and was less than forthcoming recently with members of Congress who asked about her role in that action.

Nevertheless, the Senate confirmed her. The fact that Haspel, who played a key role in the CIA torture program, made it through the confirmation process fairly easily, signals, at the very least, that the agency should have no problem continuing to shield itself from any outside scrutiny of its treatment of terror suspects in the years after 9/11.

Ominously, president Trump who has said he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” said Monday that “America is reasserting its strength” by putting Haspel in charge of the agency.

But besides the obvious motivation for covering up the particulars of the government’s torture program, there’s a far more ominous reality behind the sort of “evidence” obtained through that torture. Why? Because Mohammed (like others who were tortured), “simply told his interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear,” i.e., to get the torture to stop.

The above quote comes not from a human rights organization or even from one of the accused’s defense attorneys, but from the CIA itself: namely, a 2003 internal agency cable describing the interrogation of Mohammed.

The cable was included in 300 pages of documents recently obtained by Buzzfeed News. The documents were originally released to the nonprofit Property of the People, which seeks to obtain and publicize government documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The material includes cables, PowerPoint presentations, talking points, legal analyses, and detailed narratives.

Much of the revived discussion about torture in the media has dealt with its efficacy: whether or not reliable intel can be gained through its use. But there is another possibility which is largely ignored — that accuracy was always beside the point.

jefferson morleyJFKFacts.org, Opinion: Whitewash: JFK’s assassination in African-American eyes, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), May 22, 2018. I’ve added a version of this poignant Dealey Plaza picture to the JFK Facts banner because I’d never really noticed its telling detail: a dozen African-Americans cheering the arrival of President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie in Dallas. It made me realize the obvious: black people – with engrained memories of extrajudicial lynchings – experienced JFK’s murder rather differently than most whites.

For black Americans, JFK was the first of 35 U.S. presidents to endorse full civic equality for their community and families. For many white Americans (like future Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush) Kennedy’s endorsement of the Civil Rights Act was an assault on state’s rights. Not since Lincoln had a true emancipationist lived in the White House.

For blacks, memories of assassination were fresh. In 1963 white Americans in 1963 had not recently experienced the assassination of a political leader. African-Americans had just seen Medgar Evers, field secretary of the Mississippi NAACP, get gunned down in June 1963. Needless to say, Evers was not killed by a “lone nut.”

When JFK was killed the reigning ethos of white supremacy suppressed the black experience. For example, Kennedy’s murder was witnessed by a young African-American couple, whose testimony was lost to history.

According to Marilyn Sitzman and other people who saw them, the young woman was about 18 years old, her companion about 21. They were having lunch in the area known as the “grassy knoll,” when the shots rang out. They threw down their bag lunch and fled, never to be heard from again.

Who could blame them? If you were a young black person in Dallas in 1963 and you thought (like Bill Newman and 21 police officers in the vicinity) that a gunshot had come from in front of the president’s motorcade, would you have come forward?

Would you have been eager to share your thoughts with the thoroughly racist Dallas Police Department? Or the thoroughly racist FBI? Or the thoroughly white national news media? The answer is no. And so the experience of these witnesses was whitewashed from history. That blank page is part of the JFK story too.

bill newman gayle newman dealey plaza 1963 aftermath

Bill and Gayle Newman are shown on the ground on the grassy knoll in Dallas following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. They may have been the closest bystanders to the motorcade on Elm Street in the foreground. A waist-high picket fence is in the background.

Hot Springs Village Voice (Texas), Newmans remember witnessing the Kennedy assassination – Part I, Jeff Meek, May 22, 2018. Dallas residents Bill and Gayle Newman went about everyday life like thousands of others in Texas until that fateful day of Nov. 22, 1963. That afternoon they witnessed, up close, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza.

From that day until today, they are sought after to interview about the horrifying experience, which they did for me on May 3 in their Texas home.Bill met Gayle while working at a frozen custard shop when in high school. She and some friends stopped in and before long they began dating, then married in 1958 and raised two children, Billy and Clayton. The four of them can be seen in many photos taken in the aftermath of the assassination.

In 1963 Dallas was a conservative city, not particularly Kennedy country, but the President wanted a trip to Texas to mend some political fences. After stops in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Air Force One landed at Love Field for a parade through the city, then lunch at the Trade Mart, then on to Austin to close out Nov. 22.

Some were worried about the Dallas stop. Posters had been going around that said “JFK: Wanted for Treason” and some newspaper articles were negative as well.

I asked Bill what he thought happened on Nov. 22, 1963. He was hesitant to answer at first, saying he shares what he saw, not what he thinks. But later Bill said, “A thought that goes through my mind is when you talk conspiracy, multiple shooters, to me if Lee Harvey Oswald was the shooter and in fact he was the only shooter, there very well could have been other people in the background. That’s always been a curiosity to me.”

Later in the interview Bill added another thought. If it was just Oswald alone, why are documents still being withheld or heavily redacted 55 years later?

May 21

dovey roundtree

washington post logoWashington Post, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 1914–2018, Harrison Smith, May 21, 2018. Defense lawyer and civil rights warrior dies at 104. Ms. Roundtree played a critical early role in the desegregation of interstate bus travel and mentored several generations of black lawyers.

​Dovey Johnson Roundtree, a Washington criminal defense lawyer and courtroom warrior for civil rights who played a critical early role in the desegregation of interstate bus travel and mentored several generations of black lawyers, died May 21 at an assisted-living facility in Charlotte. She was 104.

The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said Jerry L. Hunter, her cousin and law partner.

peter janney jfk mary meyerIn a career that spanned nearly half a century, Ms. Roundtree defended predominantly poor African American clients — as well as black churches, community groups and the occasional politician. She was, former Fisk University president Walter J. Leonard once told The Washington Post, “a legal-aid clinic before there were legal-aid clinics.”

Her best-known case involved the black day laborer accused in the 1964 killing of Georgetown socialite and painter Mary Pinchot Meyer, who reportedly had an affair with President John F. Kennedy (shown together). She won him an acquittal despite what initially appeared to be damning witness testimony.

May 19

wikipedia logo

craig murray uk ambassadorCraigMurray.com, The Philip Cross Affair, Craig Murray, May 18, 2018. The widely read commentator Craig Murray, right, is a former ambassador of the United Kingdom.Philip Cross” has not had one single day off from editing Wikipedia in almost five years. “He” has edited every single day from 29 August 2013 to 14 May 2018. Including five Christmas Days. That’s 1,721 consecutive days of editing.

133,612 edits to Wikpedia have been made in the name of “Philip Cross” over 14 years. That’s over 30 edits per day, seven days a week. And I do not use that figuratively: Wikipedia edits are timed, and if you plot them, the timecard for “Philip Cross’s” Wikipedia activity is astonishing is astonishing if it is one individual:

united kingdom flagThe operation runs like clockwork, seven days a week, every waking hour, without significant variation. If Philip Cross genuinely is an individual, there is no denying he is morbidly obsessed. I am no psychiatrist, but to my entirely inexpert eyes this looks like the behaviour of a deranged psychotic with no regular social activities outside the home, no job (or an incredibly tolerant boss), living his life through a screen.

I run what is arguably the most widely read single person political blog in the UK, and I do not spend nearly as much time on the internet as “Philip Cross.” My “timecard” would show where I watch football on Saturdays, go drinking on Fridays, go to the supermarket and for a walk or out with the family on Sundays, and generally relax much more and read books in the evenings. Cross does not have the patterns of activity of a normal and properly rounded human being.

There are three options here. “Philip Cross” is either a very strange person indeed, or is a false persona disguising a paid operation to control wikipedia content, or is a real front person for such an operation in his name.

Why does this – to take the official explanation – sad obsessive no friends nutter, matter?

Because the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is systematically to attack and undermine the reputations of those who are prominent in challenging the dominant corporate and state media narrative. Particularly in foreign affairs. “Philip Cross” also systematically seeks to burnish the reputations of mainstream media journalists and other figures who are particularly prominent in pushing neo-con propaganda and in promoting the interests of Israel.

john pilgerThis matters because, an ordinary reader who comes across an article questioning (say) the official narrative on the Skripals, is very likely to turn to Wikipedia to get information on the author of the article. Simply put, the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is to make certain that if that reader looks up an anti-war person such as John Pilger (shown at right), they will conclude they are thoroughly unreliable and untrustworthy, whereas if they look up a right wing MSM journalist, they will conclude they are a paragon of virtue and entirely to be trusted.

The “Philip Cross” treatment is meted out not just to left wingers, but to all sceptical of neo-conservatism and who oppose “wars of intervention.” A list of jeremy corbynCross’s victims includes Alex Salmond, Peter Oborne, John Pilger, Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn (head of the UK's Labour Party, shown at left), Tim Hayward, Diane Abbott, Neil Clark, Lindsey German, Vanessa Beeley, and George Galloway. As you would expect “Philip Cross” is particularly active in making amendments to the Wikipedia articles of alternative media, and of MSM critique sites. “Philip Cross” has made 36 edits to the Wikipedia entry of The Canary and, staggeringly, over 800 edits on Media Lens. George Galloway remains the “Philip Cross” operation’s favourite target with a quite incredible 1,800 edits.

Just as revealing are the people who “Philip Cross” seeks to protect and promote. Sarah Smith, BBC Scotland’s uber-unionist, has had “Philip Cross” kindly delete references from her Wikipedia entry to family ties that (ahem) may have helped her career. Labour Friends of Israel’s Ruth Smeeth MP has had reference to the Wikileaks-released US diplomatic cable that showed she was an informer to the US Embassy on the secrets of the Labour Party, deleted by “Philip Cross.” Right wing columnist Melanie Phillips had her embarrassing climate change denial excised by Cross. (Snip....more in Murray's blog.)

May  16

richard gibson cbs radio cia george washington u

CBS radio reporter Richard Gibson, now revealed as a CIA informant, shown in a photo via the Richard Gibson Collection at George Washington University

jefferson morleyJFKFacts.org, Opinion: What the curious case of Richard Gibson tells us about Lee Harvey Oswald, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), bbc news logo2May 16, 2018. I was on BBC 3 Radio yesterday talking about the curious case of Richard Gibson, co-founder of the leftist Fair Play for Cuba Committee and, it turns out, a longtime CIA spy.

The larger context of Gibson’s story, which I broke in Newsweek, tells us a lot about the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Oswald in 1963. The fact that CIA dumped Gibson’s file while he is still alive is striking. The agency is not careless about protecting “sources and methods.” A journo-friend who knows the CIA well, asks: “Do you think this was just a massive screwup, or some sort of revenge for something he did?”

cia logoProbably the latter. Maybe CIA found out Gibson was selling information to the KGB as well. Maybe Gibson gave them bad intelligence. There has to be a reason why CIA officials chose to burn a living source–especially after President Trump tweeted that living sources would be protected.

Its too bad Gibson cannot give his side of the story. Suspicions of Gibson have been around a long time. Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan found some of the first evidence 25 years ago and asked Gibson about it. He denied all.

The Fair Play for Cuba Committee was not a CIA operation. It was a CIA target. The Gibson story, along with a lot of other evidence, shows how agency officers sought to penetrate, manipulate, control, and disrupt Americans who sympathized with the Cuban revolution. One of those Americans was Lee Oswald.

richard gibson robert taber fpcc founders gw universityGibson (shown at left) and his CBS News colleague Robert Taber (at right in a photo from the Richard Gibson Papers at George Washington University) did not intend the FPCC to become a mass organization. They brought together about 30 intellectuals to sign an ad in the New York Times in April 1960.

They hoped to do nothing more than persuade news organizations and newspaper readers to look at the aims and accomplishments of the Cuban revolution more objectively.

At a time when Jim Crow ruled America, the racial diversity of the signatories, starting with the writer James Baldwin, is striking. The fact that black intellectuals signed on to a foreign policy manifesto, when most whites expected blacks to restrict themselves to the “Negro question” was also radical.

fair play for cuba committee ny times ad april 1960At right, the New York Times published an advertisement in April 1960 announcing the creation of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC)

Striking too was the instantly hostility of the CIA, FBI, and Senate Internal Security Committee. As college students and professors formed chapters of the Committee, the FPCC was suddenly a growing organization and perceived as a growing threat to U.S. officials.

The popularity of the idea that American should give Cuba a break forced Gibson to take on a job he never expected to have: running a national political movement. He was not a CIA source — not yet. But the U.S. government was already seeking to disrupt and destroy his organization, by any means.

june cobb parada 1962Gibson was wiretapped by the CIA while talking to June Cobb (shown in a 1962 photo), a CIA informant known as LICOOKY-1. He was served with two subpoenas by the Senate Internal Security Committee, which was determined to press criminal charges against the group in 1961.

The FBI intercepted and opened the group’s mail. When the FPCC hired an accountant to handle the flood of donations, the FBI turned him an informant.

Gibson, feeling harassed and underpaid, resigned from the FPCC and offered his services to the CIA in July 1962. By 1963, the FPCC had dozens of chapters around the country. The Senate Internal Security Committee was still seeking to demonize and disrupt the group with hostile hearings. And the CIA had the co-founder of the group as a potential source.

May 15

newsweek logoNewsweek, CIA Reveals Name of Former Spy in JFK Files — And He's Still Alive, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), May 15, 2018. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Paris beckoned African-American intellectuals hoping to escape the racism and conformity of American life. Chief jefferson morleyamong them: Richard Wright, the acclaimed author of Native Son and Black Boy, who arrived in 1947. He was soon joined by Chester Himes, an ex-convict who mastered hard-boiled detective fiction, James Baldwin, the precocious essayist, and Richard Gibson, an editor at the Agence France-Presse.

These men became friends, colleagues and, soon, bitter rivals. Their relationship blew up after Gibson forged a letter, published in Life magazine under the name of one of Wright’s friends, attacking the French government for refusing to give up its colony in Algeria.

richard wright postage stampWright (shown on a postage stamp) was enraged, and he dramatized their falling out in a roman à clef he called Island of Hallucination, which was never published, even after his death in 1960. In 2005, Gibson published a memoir in a scholarly journal recounting the political machinations his former friend had dramatized, telling The Guardian he had obtained a copy of the manuscript and had no objections to its publication. "I turn up as Bill Hart, the 'superspy...'," Gibson said of the story.

Wright's book was apparently prescient. On April 26, when the National Archives released thousands of documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, they included three fat CIA files on Gibson. According to these documents, he had served U.S. intelligence from 1965 until at least 1977. The Gibson files revealed his CIA code name, QRPHONE-1, his salary — as much as $900 a month — his various missions, as well as his attitude (“energetic”) and performance (“a self-starter”).

The most curious part of the story: Gibson is still alive. He’s 87 years old and still living abroad. (Gibson “will not be able to your questions,” said a family friend who answered the phone at his residence.)

richard gibson cbs radio cia george washington uGibson (shown working for CBS radio in a photo now at George Washington University in a collection of his papers) was still an “active agent” in 1977, when Congress reopened the JFK investigation and started asking questions about the agency’s penetration of the FPCC in 1963.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations asked to see Gibson’s CIA file. The agency only showed investigators a small portion of his file, but the entirety of the still-classified material became part of the CIA’s archive of JFK records.

That designation would eventually change. In October 1992, Congress passed a law mandating release of all JFK files within 25 years. Gibson’s secret was safe for the time being. In 1985, he successfully sued a South African author who asserted he was a CIA agent. The book was withdrawn, and the publisher issued a statement declaring that “Mr. Gibson has never worked for the United States Central Intelligence Agency,” a claim that no longer seems tenable.

In 2013, Gibson sold his collected papers to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. To celebrate the acquisition, the university held a daylong symposium, “Richard Gibson: Literary Contrarian & Cold Warrior,” dedicated to “furthering our understanding of the intellectual and literary history of the Cold War.”

With the release of Gibson’s CIA files, scholars can now discern the hidden hand of the American clandestine service in writing that history. When it came to the character who inspired Bill Hart, “the superspy,” Richard Wright’s fiction was perhaps ahead of its time.

May 10

Black Vault, J.F.K. Assassination Records Archive – Previously Withheld JFK Assassination Documents Database, Staff archive, May 10, 2018.John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963 at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time in Dallas, Texas while riding in a motorcade in Dealey Plaza.

Kennedy was allegedly fatally shot by a former U.S Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald, while he was riding with his wife, Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally’s wife, Nellie, in a presidential motorcade. A ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission from November 1963 to September 1964 concluded that Oswald acted alone in shooting Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. Kennedy’s death marked the fourth (following Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and most recent assassination of an American President. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became President upon Kennedy’s death.

May 9

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, JFK Files Reveal US Biological Warfare Plans Against Cuba, Jimmy Falls, May 9, 2018. It is well known that the US tried to kill Fidel Castro, but recently released JFK assassination-related files show that the Pentagon actually planned to use biological weapons against the entire country, killing plants and animals in order to ruin its economy and effect regime change.

In the summer of 1975, congressional staffer Loch Johnson was searching through classified papers at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, when he came across something he couldn’t believe — a covert plan by the US military to deploy biological weapons against Cuba.

This was more than Johnson was bargaining for, even though he was at the archive looking for files related to covert actions directed against Cuba. By July 1975, the Watergate hearings had finished, and three separate, high-level investigations were underway — all aimed at revealing covert and possibly illegal activities of US intelligence agencies, including assassination.

Johnson was working as top aide to Sen. Frank Church (D-ID), chair of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, the so-called “Church Committee.” The American public knew that their government had a tense relationship with Cuba, especially with its feisty leader, Fidel Castro. The US had unsuccessfully underwritten a Cuban-exile paramilitary invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 — a disaster in every sense. And just a year later, the world came to the brink of nuclear apocalypse after a showdown with the Soviet Union over nuclear missiles it had placed in Cuba.

What the public was not aware of then, and would only discover in later decades, was that the CIA had attempted all manner of assassination plots against Castro, in addition to widespread sabotage actions — such as burning sugarcane fields and blowing up power plants — with the goal of undermining Cuba’s Communist government.

May 4

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: JFK and the Inconceivable Doctrine, Part 2, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown right), May 4, 2018. Three years ago, I wrote an article entitled “JFK and the Inconceivable Doctrine,” in which I pointed how many lone-nut theorists in the JFK assassination have reached their conclusion based not on an examination of the circumstantial evidence in the case but instead simply on the notion that it is inconceivable that the U.S. national-security establishment would have carried out a domestic regime-change operation by assassinating an American president.

The purpose of this article is to elaborate on this theme....The Pentagon and the CIA considered Kennedy to be a naïve, incompetent, treasonous president who was placing America in much greater danger than foreign leaders like Arbenz, Castro, and Lumumba were doing and like Allende would later do. For his part, Kennedy considered people with that type of mindset to be nut-balls. That’s why after seeing an advertisement accusing him of treason in the Dallas Morning News on the morning of the assassination, he turned to his wife Jackie and remarked, “We are headed into nut country today.”

Notwithstanding the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence pointing toward a national-security domestic-regime change operation carried out on November 22, 1963, many lone-nut theorists continue to hew to the notion that it is just inconceivable that the U.S. national-security establishment would act to protect America from a president whose policies were perceived to constitute a grave threat to “national security.” To actually explore the evidence in the case is still just too frightening for them.

May 3

JFKcountercoup, Opinion: The Truth in Our Lifetime: Some Positive Attributes of the Extension of the JFK Act, Bill Kelly, May 3, 2018. The Truth in Our Lifetime: Some positive attributes of the Extension of the JFK Act.

It is very disturbing that the JFK Act — the law of the land is not being enforced today, a fact that should make it relevant to everyone.

earl warrenWhen Warren Commission chairman Earl Warren (shown at left) was asked if the secret records on the assassination would be released to the public he replied, "Yes, but not in your lifetime."

And now it may not be in ours, as a lot of people, many of whom are not alive today, worked very hard to get the JFK Act passed by Congress and reluctantly signed by President George Herbert Walker Bush on October 26, 1992.

The law prescribed that all of the government records on the assassination of President Kennedy be released in full to the public by October 26, 2017, twenty-five years to the day Bush signed it into law. When he signed it however, Bush added a rider to the law that provided the President — and only the President, with the authority to continue withholding certain records beyond the October 26, 2017 date on the grounds of national security, where their release would harm American interests.

There are also a number of assassination records that fall into specific categories that are exempt from the JFK Act provisions — over 500 records are being withheld in full under sections 10 and 11, special "deeds of gift" and grand jury records, as well as IRS tax records.

nara logoThe "deeds of gift" records are those that have been donated to the National Archives and stored in the JFK collection but are restricted by the donor, and these records include William Manchester's notes and papers he used to write his book The Death of the President, and individual oral history recordings and transcripts such as Jackie Kennedy's memories and beliefs, that are restricted by the Kennedy family.

The IRS laws take precedence over the JFK Act, so individual tax records are totally exempt, though Marina Oswald reportedly agreed to allow her family's tax records be released, and the very first document I read from among those recently released in the October 2018 batch is a good example.

In reading the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) report on an interview with former Louisiana State policeman Francis Fruge, a single social security number was redacted, and one that is not important. The rest of the document is extremely significant however, as it confirms most of the facts concerning Rose Cheramie, the women whose story is told in the opening scenes of Oliver Stone's film JFK.

rose cheramieFound unconscious on the side of the road outside the Silver Slipper saloon in rural Louisiana, Cheramie (shown at left) told officer Fruge, who drove her to the hospital, that she was with two Cubans on their way to Dallas to kill Kennedy and do a drug deal when she was thrown out of the car.

After JFK was killed a few days later, Fruge re-interviewed her, got the details of the drug deal, all of which he confirmed, and showed her mug shots of some Cubans and she picked out Sergio Aracha Smith, a New Orleans Cuban who came into play in the Garrison investigation.

rose cherami michael marcadesThe owner of the Silver Slipper saloon, a roadhouse bar, also confirmed that Sergio Aracha Smith was a customer who was in the night Cheramie was there. Cheramie was later found dead, on the side of the road, run over by a car, another suspicious death. (Her only son, Dr. Michael Marcados, co-authored in 2016 a well-reviewed ebook biography "Rose Cherami: Gathering Fallen Petals").

While I had seen a redacted version of the same HSCA report, this one was only missing the social security number.

And as I perused other documents in this 2018 batch — what the Archives calls "The Final Release," though more are expected by October 2021, I found that every document I reviewed was significant, and I will be going over them in detail in a later report.

May 2

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Did Trump and the CIA Strike a Deal on the JFK Records? Jacob G. Hornberger (shown right), May 2, 2018. Did President Trump grant the CIA an additional 3 1/2 years of secrecy on its JFK assassination-related records because he truly believed that “national security” was at stake? Or did Trump grant the CIA’s request for continued secrecy as part of a negotiated bargain that Trump reached with the CIA?

Consider the following tweets that Trump sent out the week before October 26, 2017, when the 25-year deadline set by the JFK Records Act was set to expire:

October 21: “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”

October 25: “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!

cia logoNotice something important here: Trump makes no mention of any request by the CIA for continued secrecy. How likely is it that the CIA had not made such a request prior to that week? Not likely at all. It is inconceivable that the CIA would wait until October 26, rush into Trump’s office and declare, “Mr. President, we totally forgot about the deadline set 25 years ago and we need an additional time to review the records.” (As an interesting aside, notice that neither Trump, the CIA, nor the National Archives has disclosed to the public any written request by the CIA or any other federal agency for continued secrecy of the JFK assassination-related records.)

There is another possible explanation for what was going on during the week of October 26. As I pointed out my October 27, 2017, article “The JFK Cover-Up Continues,” the possibility exists that Trump was negotiating with the CIA and taking the matter to the brink with his two tweets — that is, that Trump knew that continued secrecy was critically important to the CIA but that he wanted something in return. You know, The Art of the Deal.

If that is what was happening, then Trump was likely communicating to the CIA with his tweets, “Give me what I want or I release the records.” That would mean that at the last minute the CIA caved and gave Trump what he wanted, which would explain why Trump suddenly changed his mind on October 26 and granted another six months of secrecy, contrary to what his two tweets indicated he would do immediately prior to that October 26 deadline.

What was something that would have been important to Trump that the CIA could have given him? As I indicated in my October 27 article, what would have been important to Trump would have been an exoneration in the Russia investigation, at the very least with respect to Congress and maybe, hopefully, even with respect to the investigation being conducted by the special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller. As part of the deal, Trump would have demanded that the CIA exercise its considerable power and influence to bring one and hopefully both investigations to a satisfactory conclusion.

Why only six months of secrecy back in October? Because as I indicated in my October 27 article, Trump would have wanted a guarantee that the CIA would live up to its end of the bargain. If the CIA didn’t deliver at its end, Trump could still order a release of the records in April. If the CIA delivered, Trump could grant its request for additional secrecy when the April deadline came.

On April 26, the day that the six-month extension expired, Trump granted the CIA another 2 1/2 years of secrecy. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but one day later, April 27, the House Intelligence Committee released its final report exonerating Trump in its investigation into the Russia brouhaha.

ispute that ultimately led to Dowd’s resignation.

May 2

McClatchy DC, Former Miami Herald editor's ties to CIA confirmed, but still unclear, in latest JFK docs, Kevin G. Hall, May 2, 2018. The roughly 5 million documents that make up the (mostly) released JFK assassination files revealed many secrets. But some of the material tantalizes without providing full answers.

don bohningThat includes documents mentioning legendary Miami Herald reporter and editor Don Bohning, a longtime Latin America expert whose colorful career was punctuated by coups, expulsions and a close relationship with CIA sources. How close? That's the vexing question.

One declassified document shows the CIA had granted Provisional Security Approval to Bohning on Aug. 21, 1967, and Covert Security Approval on Nov. 14 of the same year. Dated June 14, 1968, the document says Bohning had the agency approvals so he could be used “as a confidential informant with natural access to information about news companies and personalities.”

It’s unclear, however, whether that reflected a deep relationship, or whether Bohning even knew about it. Bohning's widow, Geraldine, declined to comment. The document also said Bohning was given the cryptonym AMCARBON-3, and elsewhere noted that Bohning “was not to be used operationally nor given clandestine training or assignments.” The AM was code for Cuba and CARBON appears to be a designation for journalists.

Another JFK assassination document, dating to June 1964, also revealed that the person who went by the cryptonym AMCARBON-1 was Bohning’s colleague at the Herald, Alvin Burt. The documents, declassified further over the past year to reveal more detail, show Burt actively passing information to the CIA about exile-group infiltration plans in Cuba.

None of this would have come to light but for New Orleans District Attorney James Garrison, who in 1966 began investigating alleged links to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Garrison’s probe ended with the 1969 arrest and trial of local businessman Clay Shaw, who was quickly acquitted by a jury.

May 1

jfk american university

President Kennedy delivers an iconic speech in June 1963 at American University calling for world peace.

Some scholars say the courageous speech during allen dulles HRthe Cold War -- combined with Kennedy's actions antagonizing CIA, Pentagon, fanatic anti-communist empire-builders, segregationist, Cuban exile, Mafia and wealthy Texas oil forces -- helped set in motion his death later in the year. Among other actions, JFK's fury at the CIA's manipulations during the Bay of Pigs invasion led him to oust the top three CIA executives. One of them, CIA Director Allen Dulles (right), an operative for decades on behalf of some of America's leading dynasties, would help guide six other Warren Commission officials supervising the Commission staff writing the official report in 1964 about JFK's death.

Beginning in the 1970s, professor, poet and former diplomat Peter Dale Scott popularized the term "Deep State" in his books to describe the secretive relationship between America's oligarchs and key unelected officials such as Dulles, as evident in scholarly research about the Kennedy assassination.

Justice Integrity ProjectJustice Integrity Project, Trump suppresses JFK murder records; Violates pledge; Bows to CIA, Deep State, Andrew Kreig, May 1, 2018. On April 26 this spring, the last day of the historic deadline for JFK assassination records release, President Trump ordered suppression until 2021 of some 520 remaining classified records regarding the 1963 murder of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in Dallas.

In violating his earlier pledge to release all records, Trump released at least parts of some 19,000 other records but cited only vague “national security” concerns for the redactions and outright document suppressions despite a congressionally passed legal requirement in the 1992 “JFK Act” that he and his administration provide a specific reason to suppress each withheld record.

The White House press announcement confused the issues further by redacting many of the 19,000 documents that were released by the National Archives and Records Administation (NARA) in the latest batch last week. The records are available online, a good thing. But NARA failed to organize them in a way readily accessible to reporters and other researchers — or to provide such other key details as whether documents had been previously released in significant part.

Trump used a similar stall tactic last fall in postponing the final release of documents, which were all supposed to be released by last Oct. 26, according to the so-called JFK Act unanimously passed by Congress in 1992 to quell public fervor from Oliver Stone's powerful film JFK.

 

cyril wecht mlk rfk 2018 event logo

Justice Integrity Project, Historic Conference May 3-4 To Document MLK, RFK Murder Evidence Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig, April 30, 2018. On the unique occasion of the 50th anniversary this spring of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, an unprecedented array of scientific, legal and historical experts will convene at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh from May 3 to 4 to describe the shocking shortcomings by law enforcers and the media in reporting on the deaths.

The conference will feature, among others, experts who will describe their belief that those convicted of the killings, James Earl Ray for MLK's death and Sirhan Sirhan for RFK's, were patsies who, according to scientific and witness evidence, could not possibly have killed the iconic 1960s leaders in the separate shootings.

cyril wecht hands up capa npc st johnThe 17th annual forensics conference is organized by the Cyril Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, based at the university.

The institute's namesake, the eminent forensic pathologist and longtime Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D., has for decades provided medical evidence regarding deaths. In a photo by Noel St. John, Wecht is shown at right during a news conference last year at the National Press Club where Wecht described the public interest in disclosure of suppressed records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Wecht, chairman of the group Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), among more than a dozen civic projects, was age 86 last year when he performed more than 530 autopsies. A longtime consultant, medical school professor, lawyer and prolific author, Wecht has been a world-renowned leader in disputing official accounts of the deaths of MLK, RFK and his brother JFK, among others.

Advance registration for in-person and remote audiences for the conference is here. Advance registration closes at noon Wednesday, May 2. But registration later is available on a walk-in basis if space is available at the university hall.

rex bradford mary ferrell whowhatwhy

WhoWhatWhy photo collage showing images of the Mary Ferrell Foundation (top left), its analyst Rex Bradford and the National Archives headquarters

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Analysis: Final Word on the JFK Assassination: There Will Never Be a Final Word, Jeff Schechtman podcast interview with Mary Ferrell Foundation analyst Rex Bradford, May 1, 2018. Some people may know where bodies are buried; Rex Bradford knows where all the papers are buried. The leading archivist and historian of the records of the JFK assassination has a lot to say in his talk with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman.

rex bradford cspan 2013According to Bradford (shown at right during a C-SPAN appearance), the recently released 19,000+ pages are interesting, but in no way dispositive. What they reveal, more than anything else, is further evidence of how so many cover-ups — for so many reasons, by so many groups, agencies, and individuals — have hopelessly muddied the waters.

Bradford believes that from President Lyndon Johnson’s recruitment of Earl Warren to President Donald Trump’s holding back the release of still more documents, layer upon layer of self-serving lies have made the truth now impossible to uncover. Moreover, he argues that kicking the can down the road really does work as a way to hide what Peter Dale Scott once called “the bleak path to the truth.”

Bradford points out how ironic it is that there are now over five million pages of documents of a story in which the popular narrative was once that one man acted alone. He talks about who’s been making the decisions about what is and isn’t redacted, missing transcripts from the Church commission, some new documents on Oswald’s alleged trip to Mexico seven weeks before the assassination … but also about how no new document is a smoking gun. Much like our politics today — or maybe because of those politics — Bradford doesn’t think we will ever agree on a common set of facts about the assassination.

Jeff: Schechtman: Welcome to Radio WhoWhatWhy, I’m Jeff Schechtman. Last week, the National Archives released 19,000 plus files that were previously unseen records related to the JFK assassination. Even while Trump headed off the release of additional materials under the guise of national security, the story of the release received little coverage, mostly about what was not released. The content of those 19,000 plus pages got even less coverage.

Our guest today, Rex Bradford, perhaps more than any other American, understands these documents. He has become the self-appointed electronic archivist of the assassination of JFK. He began scanning relevant documents and making them available online and on CDs all the way back in 1999. He founded History Matters to make them freely available. He’s also written several essays and given talks at many conferences. He is now the Vice President of the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and is a consultant and analyst at the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which has undertaken an even larger scale document archive project along with other materials, including essays, photographs, and multimedia presentations. It is my pleasure to welcome Rex Bradford back to Radio WhoWhatWhy.

Rex Bradford: And so in the 1990s, the government set up an Assassination Records Review Board which declassified a huge number of documents, there’s like up to 5,000,000 pages in the JFK collection of the National Archives, which is a whole lot for a murder supposedly carried out by some guy in a window in a building.

Jeff Schechtman: Is there any reason to think that we’re ever going to see what’s in those redactions, that even if more pages are ultimately released that there isn’t enough pressure or enough interest at this point to ever see what’s in those redactions?

Rex Bradford: I don’t know, many thoughts on that matter, I mean for one thing we are at least… the good news is, we’re approaching the point where what’s being redacted are what was sort of touted all along as being the reason, like agent or informant names, name of a person in a foreign government or would be embarrassing to the CIA just to acknowledge a liaison, that sort of thing. We’re not there yet. But it’s being reduced to a smaller collection of withheld information than where we were even a few months ago of having documents with hundreds of pages just completely whited out. So I guess that’s the good news. Whether we’ll get to full disclosure on this matter, good question. I’ve been unable to predict successfully each step of the way along here so we’ll see what we’ll see. Public pressure certainly does help, that’s why this law got passed in the first place, so public attention on the matter makes a great deal of difference. I don’t know what to predict.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation, all of our board members including myself wrote a letter to the Chief Archivist of the United States about six weeks ago, basically requesting, recommending basically full disclosure and some other things and also asking some questions about anomalies and issues in the documentation of what’s being released. And we can talk about that a little bit. Just basically records falling through the cracks, and that sort of thing. And I did get a reply from Martha Murphy who heads up the collection there, a partial reply, and I’ve tried to communicate with them and tried to get some clarity on some of the questions, because in part the thing is that… One of the good pieces of news is, unlike previously when you had to travel to the National Archives to collect these pieces of paper, for the first time with this set of releases, the Archives themselves have been putting PDF files online. So the good news and bad news is now they took that role upon themselves, a number of errors and problems with that process and their online listing are legion, and I’ve been trying to get some resolution on where they have two record numbers that point to the same document or the link that it points to is just a bad link, and on, and on, and on. But we’re getting closer I guess.

Jeff Schechtman: Do you have a sense that in any of the documents that were released back in October or this current tranche of documents that were recently released, that if nothing else, it points the way to other files and other information that we haven’t seen?

peter dale scottRex Bradford: Yeah, you know, I know a very wise person named Peter Dale Scott (shown at right) that some of your listeners may know of, and way back when he wrote Deep Politics and the Death of JFK in the early ’90s before all these declassifications, he put in the preface of that book that first of all the government records will tell us more about pre-assassination intelligence operations and post-assassination coverup than they do about the murder conspiracy itself. But he wrote that, quote, “This oblique path of the truth about the murder is the best hope which the documents give us.” And I think that’s been born out in spades.

JFKFacts.org, Opinion: After Trump’s big promise, 15,834 JFK files remain secret, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), May 1, 2018. Today, after Trump’s April 26 document dump, jefferson morleyjournalists, researchers, and historians face a different reality. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s analysis of the National Archives JFK database, 15,834 assassination files, most of them from the CIA, will not be released until 2021, if then. Sad!

Why Secrecy? Some of the redactions are obtuseness dictated by bureaucratic necessity. In the file of decorated officer David Phillips, the agency redacts the fact that it maintains a station in the Dominican Republic. But Phillips wrote about the D.R. station in his memoir, The Night Watch—which was approved for publication by the CIA. This sort of redacting is what CIA veterans do in their sleep: keep secrets, even if they’re not secret.

CIA in USA

Other redactions are politically motivated. Say you have an question like: “Where does the CIA have offices in the United States?” The answer is–and is not–found in this newly-declassified 1975 memo from the file of J. Walton Moore, the CIA’s man in Dallas in 1963.CIA hides US offices. In new JFK files, the CIA censors the names of the U.S. cities where it had offices in the 1970s.

Why keep such a secret in 2018?

Because the agency’s leadership doesn’t want to talk about its activities on U.S. soil. Revealing the cities where CIA has offices wouldn’t hurt U.S. national security. But it might raise questions on Capitol Hill, questions that director-nominee Gina Haspel doesn’t want to answer at her confirmation hearings. So the agency–and, alas, the president–say we’re not allowed to know where CIA does business in the United States.

JFK Redacted: What the CIA doesn’t want you to know.

One reason for the secrecy to protect the “national security” of the United States. The other reason for secrecy is to keep voters and taxpayers ignorant of how secretive government agencies actually work. JFK secrecy fails as the national security test but succeeds as civic disinformation.

mary ferrell foundation logo

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Analysis: 2017/2018 Document Releases: Update The April 26, 2018 Release, Rex Bradford, April 30, 2018. Rex Bradford is a longtime consultant and analyst for the Mary Ferrell Foundation, named for a JFK researcher (shown at right) who helped assemble and institutional a vast collection of JFK-assassination-related documents.  

On April 26, 2018, the National Archives released over 19,000 additional documents, pursuant to the 6-month deadline given when the White House authorized continued withholding last October. Here are some facts about this release:

In general, released documents feature fewer redactions than has been the case thus far, though many redactions remain. According to the National Archives' project page, 15,834 documents remain redacted. These are intended to be re-reviewed for possible full release at the future date of October 26, 2021.

The remaining previously withheld-in-full documents will not be released; the Archives gave explanations including:

  • 520 documents fall under sections 10 and 11 of the JFK Records Act: these are IRS documents and documents provided under a "deed of gift"
  • 9 Rockefeller Commission audio files could not be located
  • 79 RIF record numbers could not be resolved to actual found documents

Additionaly, the MFF is tracking these releases against previously provided spreadsheets of records provided by NARA in 2016 and 2018. There appear to be additonal documents in those listings, expected to be released, which were not in the April 26 records; these instances are being followed up. See the table below for document counts. You can view these new documents at the National Archives website.

 

April

April 30

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, Historic Conference May 3-4 To Document MLK, RFK Murder Evidence Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig, April 30, 2018. 

cyril wecht mlk rfk 2018 event logo

On the unique occasion of the 50th anniversary this spring of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, an unprecedented array of scientific, legal and historical experts will convene at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh from May 3 to 4 to describe the shocking shortcomings by law enforcers and the media in reporting on the deaths.

The conference will feature, among others, experts who will describe their belief that those convicted of the killings, James Earl Ray for MLK's death and Sirhan Sirhan for RFK's, were patsies who, according to scientific and witness evidence, could not possibly have killed the iconic 1960s leaders in the separate shootings.

cyril wecht hands up capa npc st johnThe 17th annual forensics conference is organized by the Cyril Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, based at the university.

The institute's namesake, the eminent forensic pathologist and longtime Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D., has for decades provided medical evidence regarding deaths. In a photo by Noel St. John, Wecht is shown at right during a news conference last year at the National Press Club where Wecht described the public interest in disclosure of suppressed records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Wecht, chairman of the group Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), among more than a dozen civic projects, was age 86 last year when he performed more than 530 autopsies. A longtime consultant, medical school professor, lawyer and prolific author, Wecht has been a world-renowned leader in disputing official accounts of the deaths of MLK, RFK and his brother JFK, among others.

Details here.

April 27

jfk american university

President Kennedy delivers an iconic speech in 1963 at American University calling for world peace, a speech that some scholars say marked his own doom

Future of Freedom Foundation, The JFK Cover-Up Continues, Jacob G. Hornberger , April 27, 2018. Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger, shown at right,jacob hornberger headshot is also a book publisher, author and attorney. Just as I repeatedly predicted, President Trump, the CIA, and the National Archives decided to continue keeping those 50-year-old JFK-assassination records of the CIA and other elements of the U.S. national-security establishment secret from the American people. On yesterday’s deadline, Trump dutifully issued an executive decree ordering at least three more years of official secrecy.

My new prediction: When the new deadline arrives on October 26, 2017 [sic, an apparent typo that should read 2012], it will be extended again. The American people will never — repeat never — be permitted to see those records.

Last October, I also correctly predicted that Trump would accede to CIA demands to extend the time for secrecy when the original deadline that had been sent 25 years ago arrived for releasing those 50-year-old records.

cia logoNow, before you call me Nostradamus, let me point out that it doesn’t take a psychic or even a rocket scientist to predict that the CIA would do whatever is necessary to keep those records secret, even after 50 years. That’s what guilty people do — they do whatever is necessary to keep their guilt concealed.

Secrecy was always an essential aspect of the regime-change operation that took place on November 23, 1963 (just as secrecy was essential to the U.S. regime-change operations that took place in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Congo, and Chile from 1953-1973). That’s why official investigations were shut down immediately after suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was himself assassinated.

lee harvey oswald cuba posterIt was imperative to the success of the operation that secrecy be maintained. Otherwise, it was a virtual certainty that investigations would pierce through the pat lone-nut theory and discover that the assassination was instead a highly sophisticated regime-change operation, one involving the frame-up of a U.S. intelligent [intellgence] agent, former U.S. Marine Oswald, who had been secretly trained to pose as a communist agent as a way to infiltrate the Soviet Union (America’s WW II partner and ally that had been converted into an official Cold War enemy) and, later, to help destroy domestic “communist” organizations like the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Keep in mind the top-secret assassination manual that the CIA started developing in 1954, as part of its regime-change operation against the president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, who, like Kennedy, was democratically elected in a national election. That manual, which didn’t come to light until the 1990s, established that the CIA was specializing not only in the art of assassination but also in the art of covering up any CIA involvement in the assassination. Keep in mind also that they were willing to assassinate Arbenz, an innocent man, because they had concluded that he was a grave threat to “national security.”

doug horneIf you haven’t already read FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne (shown at left), I highly recommend you do so. Horne served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board, which was the enforcement commission of the JFK Records Act, which mandated the release of all records held by the CIA and other federal agencies relating to the assassination.

JFK’s War explains motive. Kennedy’s war with the Pentagon and the CIA was much worse (from their standpoint) than anything Arbenz had done and, for that matter, what Mossadegh in Iran had done, Lumumba in Congo had done, what Castro in Cuba had done, and what Allende in Chile would do.

Just as all those foreign leaders were believed to be threats to U.S. “national security” and, therefore, were made targets of U.S. regime-change operations, including assassination, why should it surprise anyone that Kennedy himself would be made a target of a domestic regime-change operation given that what he was doing, from the standpoint of the U.S. national security establishment, was much worse than anything that those other leaders had done or would do? Or to put it another way, if foreign leaders who pose a threat to U.S. “national security” are going to be removed from power, why wouldn’t a domestic leader who posed an even greater threat to U.S. “national security” be removed from power?

Kennedy’s war with the U.S. national-security establishment had to be kept secret, for obvious reasons. If Americans had discovered that that war was going on, they would have become even more suspicious over the pat facts that pointed to a lone-nut assassination. Thus, Americans were led to believe, falsely, that everything had been hunky dory with Kennedy and that Lyndon Johnson, the Pentagon, and the CIA were just continuing his foreign policies, especially by revitalizing the Cold War, which Kennedy had vowed to end, expanding troops in Vietnam, which Kennedy was withdrawing, and ending all negotiations with Soviet Premier Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, which Kennedy had secretly initiated, something the American people wouldn’t discover for decades.

Ask yourself an obvious question: If President Kennedy really was the victim of a random assassination by some lone nut who had no motive to kill him, would it really have been necessary to shroud the Warren Commission hearings in secrecy, based on the ridiculous claim of “national security?”

jfk limo jackie clint hill

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy stretches backwards to retrieve some of President Kennedy's brain matter for potential rescue of her husband after his fatal shooting in Dallas in 1963 as Secret Service special agent Clint Hill, assigned for her special protection, boards a limo strangely left unprotected otherwise.

Miami Herald, In latest JFK files, some tantalizing nuggets — and stuff that makes you go 'huh?' Glenn Garvin, April 27, 2018. Researchers who spent Thursday slogging through 19,000 newly declassified U.S. government documents on the Kennedy assassination learned little, except that the government's ideas about what needs to be secret, and what doesn't, are cryptic and unpredictable.

Some stuff in the documents that had been open for years is now classified again, and some stuff that had been classified and is now open is so innocuous that nobody can figure out what the point was.

gerald posner cover"You have things going back to the 1950s that were just declassified today, things that were probably of marginal importance even back then," said Gerald Posner, the Miami Beach author whose book Case Closed argues strongly against a conspiracy in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The documents revealed Thursday were supposed to be the final batch of a phased roll-out set by Congress in 1992 for the release of all government documents related to the assassination. But in the face of fierce argument from the CIA, FBI and other security organs, President Trump backed down.

What was apparent from early efforts to excavate the documents was the government's standards on classification range from ephemeral to nuts. One document was a complaint from one part of the federal government to another about the slowness with which office keys were being issued.

robert blakeyAnother listed the salaries of the staff of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979. If you're interested in lawyer-salary porn, the committee's chief counsel, G. Robert Blakey (shown at left in a file photo), was making just $47,500 a year at a time when young Wall Street attorneys just of law school were starting their jobs at $30,000 to $35,000.

In some cases, the documents re-redacted material that had already been declassified in previous versions. Often that seemed to reflect Trump administration sensitivities to the feelings of foreign governments.

A 1975 CIA report on the surveillance of shooter Lee Harvey Oswald during his visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City just a few weeks before Kennedy's death was released years ago identifying a particular photo as coming from "a Mexican police surveillance camera." In the same document, re-released Thursday, the words "Mexican police" had been covered over.

james angleton 1975 senate intelligence hearing ny times george tames customSimilarly, the transcript of an interview of former CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton contained odd deletions. Angleton, shown at a right, talking in 1975 to a presidential commission investigating the CIA, recounted how he had persuaded Israeli intelligence to post a skilled spy in Havana who would cooperate with the short-staffed CIA station there.

That information was plainly visible in an earlier release of the transcript. But on Thursday, government censors had blocked out portions of six sentences to cover up the nationality of the Israeli spy.

Why there is still more to come?

Angleton, a professional paranoid whose job assignment was to prevent penetration of the CIA by foreign intelligence agencies, played key roles in some of the most cryptic episodes following the Kennedy assassination. He was involved to some degree in CIA surveillance of Oswald in Mexico. He is believed to have removed and destroyed some documents from the CIA station there. And he also retrieved and burned the diary of one of Kennedy's paramours, the ex-wife of a senior CIA official.

So the transcript of his interview with the presidential commission has long been one of the most sought-after of the documents scheduled for release. Parts of it have been released before, but more than half remained redacted. Yesterday it was re-released, this time including much fascinating new information — but almost none of it having anything to do with the assassination.

The new material included Angleton discussing some of the great failures of Western intelligence during the 1950s, when the upper echelons of the British spy agency MI-6 were riddled with Soviet agents. There's also a lengthy conversation between Angleton and the commission members in which he strongly implies — but never states plainly — that he suspects two New York Times reporters were working for a foreign intelligence service.

seymour hersh hsThe two, Polish-born Tad Szulc (who died in 2001) and Pulitizer-prize-winning Seymour Hersh (still based in Washington and writing for the London Review of Books), were asking questions about an operation code-named Easy Chair, a top-secret CIA attempt to plant bugs in the home of the Soviet ambassador to the Netherlands.

One of the investigators bluntly asked if Angleton believed Hersh (shown at left in a file photo) was a Soviet agent. "I am not saying that," Angleton replied. But, he added, he would like to see the CIA's files on Szulc and Hersh. You've got files on them? an investigator replied in seeming surprise. Yes, Angleton confirmed, and on other reporters, too.

"And on other Americans?" the investigator asked.

"A lot of them," Angleton assured him.

April 26

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Trump Orders Release of JFK Assassination Files — But Many Redactions Remain, Jimmy Falls, April 26, 2018. The National Archives has released 19,045 JFK files today that were previously either partially redacted or withheld from the public. But secrecy continues.The National Archives just released 19,045 JFK files. Today was the deadline for President Donald Trump to announce whether files previously either partially redacted or withheld from the public would remain hidden.

According to NARA, 15,834 of the files still contain redactions. They also claim that 520 documents remain withheld in full from the public because they are not subject to disclosure, such as documents falling under the IRS code or a sealed court order. NARA clarified that the documents with remaining redactions would have another chance for disclosure in three years:

The President has determined that all information that remains withheld under section 5 must be reviewed again before October 26, 2021 to determine whether continued withholding from disclosure is necessary.

The White House also released a presidential memorandum stating the necessity for certain files to remain redacted.

roger stone headshotRoger Stone (shown in a file photo), a friend and former political consultant to the president, who also wrote a book on JFK claiming that President Lyndon Johnson was responsible for a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, told WhoWhatWhy,

“I am pleased that the president directed the final release of 19,045 documents today and that no document has been completely withheld. I am also pleased that the president ordered another review of withheld material by Oct 26, 2021 to determine whether further withholding can be justified. I have not yet had the opportunity to review how much of the material released today has been redacted but I am mindful that the president directed that redactions must relate to persons who are still living.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump delays release of some JFK files until 2021, bowing to national security concerns, Ian Shapira, April 26, 2018. After President Trump vowed last year to release all the long secret files related to the JFK assassination, the administration announced Thursday that some documents will be withheld until October 2021 for national security reasons.

In a White House memo, Trump said that the nation’s intelligence community persuaded him to keep some documents secret because their exposure could harm “identifiable national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns.”

Trump gave the CIA, FBI and other agencies a deadline of April 24 to release the last remaining documents related to the investigation into President Kennedy’s assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas. Last year Trump, who once suggested Sen. Ted Cruz’s father played a role in the assassination, promised he was going to release the entirety of the five million pages of records, most of which have been available since the late 1990s.

As of Thursday morning, it was unclear exactly how many records are being kept secret. The President did authorize the disclosure of 19,045 documents that are available on the National Archives web site.

Trump said the next deadline for release of more documents would be Oct. 26, 2021.

“The need for continued protection can only grow weaker with the passage of time from this congressional finding,” Trump wrote.

Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which tracks the JFK files, said he wasn’t sure yet what had been withheld and needed to spend time scrutinizing the latest release of documents to see whether they contain a large or small amount of redactions. He said he did a quick “spot-check” Thursday morning and was surprised to see fewer whited-out sections than in previous releases.

“I checked a few dozen files and there were certainly many with redactions, but they tended to be names and short phrases,” Bradford said.

jefferson morley newJFKFacts.org, Analysis: JFK researchers doubt Trump will free the files today, Jefferson Morley (shown at right, with the cover of his biography, The Ghost, about CIA spymaster James Angleton below at left), April 26, 2018. The extreme and strange secrecy around the government’s information about the JFK assassination continues — even as the CIA insists we already know the whole truth of who killed a popular liberal president a long, long time ago.

On President Trump’s April 26 deadline for full disclosure of the JFK files, that veil of secrecy is still in place. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s analysis of the National Archives database, some 21,890 JFK files remain wholly or partially secret. Approximately 85 percent of the still-secret files are held by the CIA and FBI.

cia logoSuch secrecy not only stokes JFK conspiracy theories and the specter of a “deep state.” It also discourages historians, journalists and students from completing the historical record of JFK’s murder. Official secrecy helps cede the question of who killed JFK to the social media cohort educated by InfoWars and Reddit. Nothing abets the conspiracy mongering like CIA secrecy.

As a journalist and historian who has written about these files since I broke the story of their existence back in May 2013, I’m less interested in what they say about conspiracy theories than in what they reveal about Washington’s response to a spectacular crime. The president of the United States was gunned down in broad daylight, and no one was ever brought to justice. No one at the CIA or FBI even lost their job over this atrocious intelligence failure. Now tell me how did that happen?

As editor of the JFK Facts blog, I hoped the release of the last of the government’s JFK files in October 2017 would shed new light some aspect of the story. Was Kennedy’s death the work of unknown conspirators, abetted by CIA officers? Or the work of a lone gunman, abetted by sheer CIA incompetence?

mike pompeo portraitAs news organizations worldwide clamored to know what might be in the last of the government’s JFK files, President Trump tweeted boldly but proceeded cautiously. He acceded to pressure from CIA director Mike Pompeo (shown at right) and delayed full implementation of the law for six months.

In November and December, there was a partial release of files. The National Archives posted four large batches of newly declassified CIA, NSA and FBI files about JFK’s assassination. As reporters and researchers delved into the records they found some revelations about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton (portrayed below left on the cover of The Ghost.).

They also found many files had not been released. Many still had blanked out paragraphs and even whole pages. These files concerned top CIA officers involved in the assassination story such as David Phillips, Howard Hunt, and George Joannides.

jefferson morley the ghost coverIt was weirdly fascinating, which is to say it was business as usual in Trump’s Washington. The president’s October 26 tweet, “JFK Files are released, long ahead of schedule!” was wholly misleading. In reality, thousands of JFK files are still secret and their release is way behind schedule. Sad!

The prospects that scholars, journalists, and interested citizens will ever see all of these files this week are not bright. The reason is found in the recently released transcript of what Angleton told Senate investigators behind closed doors in September 1975.

“It is inconceivable,” he said behind closed doors, “that a secret intelligence arm of the Government has to comply with all of the overt orders of the Government.”

Then Congress voted unanimously in favor of the JFK Records Act, which mandates the release of all files. The act was signed into law George H.W. Bush, a Republican, and implemented by Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

President Trump favors full disclosure. Yet the will of the people — it seems a quaint concept these days — has not been achieved despite the letter and spirit of the law. Indeed, since October 26, 2017, the CIA has flouted the JFK Records Act. The law gives the agency the right to postpone the release of records with the approval of the president. Trump’s October 26, 2017, order on JFK files does conform with the law.

But the law also requires the CIA to provide a declassified summary of the reasons for postponement for each and every JFK file. That has not been done for the 21,000-plus record withheld from public view since last October.

Angleton is dead, but his shadow is long. In 2018 the secret intelligence arm of the government is saying, with its actions, that it does not have to comply with the overt orders of the government, at least not as they concern ancient JFK assassination files.

Will Trump Cave?

Most JFK scholars and open government journalists who follow the JFK files story are pessimistic that Trump will deliver on his tweeted promise to open all the JFK files, save the names of living persons.

nate jones cspan croppedNate Jones (shown at right), director of the FOIA Project of the non-profit National Security Archive, said, “I think Trump will act like the presidents before him and have his opinions dictated by the disingenuous but hair-on-fire memorandums from the intelligence agencies warning of ‘grave irreparable harm’ to US espionage capabilities if all the information about what US spies were doing nearly 55 years ago during the JFK assassination is released.”

Jones predicts “the intelligence community will instruct to the president to sign off on the continued withholding of a substantial amount of material, and the president will listen to their orders.”

larry sabato hsLarry Sabato, University of Virginia professor and JFK author, concurs. “My bet is Trump will do whatever his new BFF Pompeo recommends. That means CIA will be protected.”

J. Pat Brown, executive editor of Muck Rock, a non-profit, collaborative investigative news site, said in an interview, “the original deadline was the last hope that the process would be held to any standard of control. [For the CIA] was more of a statement, ‘We can delay this as long as possible.’ So I would not be at all surprised if they continue to stall.”

Phil Shenon, former New York Times reporter and JFK author, thinks last October was “the best shot” for full disclosure. Joan Mellen, Temple University historian and biographer of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, thinks Trump is not competent to judge the issues.

gerald posner coverOne of the few JFK authors who predicts Trump will enforce full disclosure is Gerald Posner, author of Case Closed, an anti-conspiratorial bestseller.

peter dale scott newPeter Dale Scott (shown at left), former diplomat turned literature professor, whose JFK books helped popularize the notion of “deep politics” in American life, thinks Trump will ultimately accede to the CIA’s wishes.

“My uninformed guess is that Trump may intend to release all, and perhaps even back this with some efforts unseen by us,” Scott wrote, “but that he will not avail against the entrenched forces who believe their own interests are the nation’s.”

April 26

ny times logoNew York Times, Assassination in Malaysia Draws International Intrigue, Hannah Beach and Ronen Bergman, April 26, 2018 (print edition). An engineer is the latest Hamas figure to be targeted abroad by Israel’s Mossad spy agency, officials say, as another conspiracy plays out in Kuala Lumpur.

Fadi al-Batsh, a well-liked electrical engineering lecturer and devout family man, always had a smile for his friends and students in the seven years since he moved to Malaysia from his native Gaza. On Saturday, as he walked outside his apartment building in suburban Kuala Lumpur, he was gunned down in a hail of at least 14 bullets by two men on a motorcycle.

It was the Palestinian man’s undercover job — as what intelligence officials described as a technology expert for the military wing of the Gaza-based Hamas movement — that had put him in the cross hairs.

Malaysian officials said the attackers were “most likely born in the Middle East or in the West” but would not directly say who they thought was behind the killing. Mr. Batsh’s family blamed Mossad, the Israeli spy agency. That claim has been confirmed by Middle Eastern intelligence officials, who said the killing was part of a broader operation ordered by the Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, to dismantle a Hamas project that sends Gaza’s most promising scientists and engineers overseas to gather know-how and weaponry to fight Israel.

Weymouth News (MA), Kennedy assassin ‘acquited’ (sic) in mock Weymouth High trial, Ed Baker, April 26, 2018. Lee Harvey Oswald, 24 was acquitted of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas during a recent mock trial staged by a Weymouth High School junior social studies class that raised conspiracy questions about the crime.

The students portrayed prosecutors, defense attorneys, and witnesses of the president’s assassination in Dealey Plaza, Nov. 22, 1963. Oswald, portrayed by Ryan Roger, denied being involved with the president’s murder and the slaying of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippet, which occurred shortly after the assassination.

“I was shocked by the accusations and quite scared,” Rogers said while being cross examined by defense attorneys. “I did not kill the president.” Rogers said police did not tell him what he was charged with after being arrested, but did admit to owning a rifle while being questioned by prosecutors

“I did not use it that much,” he said. Student Vincent Cuoco, who served as a prosecuting attorney, said he wanted to know why Oswald went to Russia in 1959 to live and seek citizenship during the height of the Cold War.

“I went to the Soviet Union because of a book I found when I was 15 years old,” Rogers said. He said the book glorified communism and made him desire to immigrate to Russia, where he unsuccessfully sought citizenship and was turned down by Russian authorities.

“When I got there, I realized it (communism) was not like the way it was in the book,” Rogers said. Rogers said he met Marina Prusakova, a Russian national, while in Russia and they married before returning to Texas in 1962.

A defense attorney portrayed by James Donnelly said it was impossible for Oswald to successfully wound Kennedy with a rifle shot because he was seated in a moving convertible. “A loving father and husband would not have reason to assassinate President John F. Kennedy,” he said. “This shooting was at a moving target with a $14 rifle. There is no way it could be done by one man.”

The trial featured a slow-motion home movie video clip of the assassination filmed by Abraham Zapruder, which showed Kennedy being struck by bullets as it passed the landmark Texas School Book Depository building. Oswald’s wife Marina, portrayed by Delaney Spinney, said her husband was a loving caring father of their child and incapable of murdering Kennedy.

April 12

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, Readers react to lawyers petition to DOJ demanding 9/11 grand Jury probe of WTC 1, 2 and 7 explosion data, Andrew Kreig, April 12, 2018.

oenearthlogo OpEdNews published on an exclusive basis April 9 the following report by Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig previewing a filing to be made the following day demanding a criminal grand jury investigation of evidence regarding the 9/11 attacks. That column achieved a remarkable 2,100 "Likes" on Facebook, along with more than 14,000 page views, as of this writing on April 12. The column is reprinted below, with slight updates to reflect that the petition was filed. Other coverage is shown in an appendix at bottom.

The WTC Tower immediately below illustrates "ejections" or "squibs" marked by arrows that, according to the petition-filers, provide a small part of the evidence of pre-placed explosive materials causing the collapses. So does molten steel, they say, which most logically could come from thermite or thermate, not from airplane fuel. The photo below at right shows examples of molten steel.

9 11 wtc squibs Custom 2

A federal grand jury should investigate the collapses of the World Trade Center Twin Towers during the 9/11 attacks, as well as WTC 7, according to a petition that an expert lawyers group filed on April 10 in New York City's federal court.

The 54-page petition and its 57 exhibits detail the evidence that explosives were used to destroy the WTC buildings during the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The non-profit Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry demands that the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York convene and submit the evidence in the petition to a grand jury.

The petition's executive summary and full text are now posted on the Lawyers' Committee website.

"The failure of our government to diligently investigate this disturbing evidence that has emerged over the past sixteen years regarding what occurred at the World Trade Center on 9/11," commented Executive Director Mick Harrison, "has contributed to the erosion of trust in our institutions."

Details here.

ny times logoNew  York Times, Raid on Trump’s Lawyer Sought Records on ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape, Maggie Haberman, Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmid, April 11, 2018. The warrant also sought evidence of whether the lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, tried to suppress damaging information on the president before the election.

The F.B.I. agents who raided the office and hotel of President Trump’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, were seeking details on his relationship with the Trump campaign and his efforts to suppress negative information about Mr. Trump, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Prosecutors are interested in whether Mr. Cohen, who had no official role in the 2016 campaign, coordinated with it to quash the release of anything detrimental to it and whether that violated campaign finance laws — a new front in the investigation into Mr. Cohen.

The warrant executed Monday by the agents was striking in its breadth, according to those people. It demanded documents related to the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Mr. Trump was heard making vulgar comments about women, and to other materials related to secret agreements Mr. Cohen made with women in exchange for them not speaking publicly about sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.

The warrant also covered emails and other documents that could reveal Mr. Cohen’s private communications with Mr. Trump during a tense period in the presidential campaign when Mr. Trump confronted the possibility of embarrassing details of his extramarital affairs. And it delved deeply into Mr. Cohen’s past, including documents about Mr. Cohen’s personal and business finances, including his work as a New York taxi fleet manager.

Global Research, Propaganda, Disinformation and Dirty Tricks: James Earl Ray Was Innocent of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Gary G. Kohls, April 11, 2018.  The Myth of “Lone Assassin” Political Murders: MLK’s was just Another one of Many Conspiratorial Crimes (and Cover-ups) of the 20th Century.

Many American myths over the past century involve the alleged “lone assassins” who murdered national leaders like President Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.

These myths have been successfully perpetuated, thanks to a complicit mainstream media that is afraid to tell any of the many stories that refute the official stories that have been firmly established in the minds of the “rank and file” by powerful anti-democratic entities that include the CIA and the FBI, despite the overwhelming evidence that would prove in any legitimate court of law that those dramatic world-changing assassinations were indeed the result of high-level conspiracies involving deep state think tanks, disinformation campaigns, dirty tricks, death threats, the silencing of whistle-blowers and eye-witnesses, and with the essential help from the deep state-approved mainstream media.

Documentable stories that totally refutes the official stories are often reported by eye-witnesses and reporters on Day One of the dramatic event. But the official cover-ups and revisionism usually only get their start in earnest on Day Two, usually because the Deep State hasn’t gotten their false stories coordinated and “revealed” to the newspapers of record and the major television networks that will then willingly join the cover-up starting on Day Two.)

April 10

Poynter institute, YouTube, Facebook lean on Wikipedia, but is it too much? David Beard, April 10, 2018. In the past few weeks, both Facebook and YouTube have come up with a similar solution to some of their thornier problems.

On a day when Mark Zuckerberg has to face questions from U.S. members of Congress, this particular explanation seems so easy.

Let Wikipedia do it. Last month, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced a partnership with Wikipedia in which the online encyclopedia’s content on conspiracy theories would go alongside YouTube videos on such matters. Wikipedia, she said, would sort out these conspiracy videos, which have plagued the video service.

It was the first that Wikipedia had heard of such a partnership. Last week, with more warning, Facebook rolled out a part of an initiative to increase news verification with descriptions of a particular news source, taken from Wikipedia.

Oh, Apple is leaning on Wikipedia, too. If you use an iPhone and plug in a name on the default search bar, chances are the “Siri knowledge” is actually from Wikipedia. Or, hey Alexa, even many of the facts on your smart speaker may be from Wikipedia, says Samantha Lien, a spokesperson for the Wikimedia Foundation.

The idea that Google’s YouTube would dump one of its most contentious issues — conspiracy theories — on Wikipedia without warning caused some consternation in the Wikipedia community, as has the general issue of other platforms using its content wholesale as a Band-Aid for their own lack of editorial oversight.

Will the increasing exposure to YouTube conspiracy theorists increase the burden on Wikipedia’s volunteer editors? Will the platforms send new hordes to Wikipedia without contributing to its sustainability? Around the Wikimedia Foundation lately, "The Lorax” — the Dr. Seuss character who tries to protect the natural environment amid rampaging industrialism — has been referenced, Lien says.

Others are less polite, using terms that news providers might understand when they feel taken advantage of by the platforms.

April 4

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘The Business of War’: Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon, Scott Shane and Daisuke Wakabayashi, April 4, 2018. Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes.

The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash between Silicon Valley and the federal government that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes.

“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program, and announce a policy that it will not “ever build warfare technology.”

That kind of idealistic stance, while certainly not shared by all Google employees, comes naturally to a company whose motto is “Don’t be evil,” a phrase invoked in the protest letter. But it is distinctly foreign to Washington’s massive defense industry and certainly to the Pentagon, where the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has often said a central goal is to increase the “lethality” of the United States military.

From its early days, Google has encouraged employees to speak out on issues involving the company. It provides internal message boards and social networks where workers challenge management and one another about the company’s products and policies. Recently, the heated debate around Google’s efforts to create a more diverse work force spilled out into the open.

April 3

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, Breakthrough on MLK Death Coverage? Andrew Kreig, April 3, 2018. As the 50th anniversary of the April 4 murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. approaches, the Washington Post published on its front page this week a news report quoting the King Family and other experts as expressing doubt about the official story that the convicted killer acted alone, or even at all, to  kill the nation's pre-eminent civil rights leader of modern times.

This is the way that Tom Jackman, an experienced reporter, began his in-depth analysis titled The Past Rediscovered: Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.? His family believes James Earl Ray was framed:

In the five decades since Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by an assassin at age 39, his children have worked tirelessly to preserve his legacy, sometimes with sharply different views on how best to do that. But they are unanimous on one key point: James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King.

For the King family and others in the civil rights movement, the FBI’s obsession with King in the years leading up to his slaying in Memphis on April 4, 1968 — pervasive surveillance, a malicious disinformation campaign and open denunciations by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — laid the groundwork for their belief that he was the target of a plot.

The story represented a major breakthrough in mainstream news coverage, according to King’s friend Dr. William F. Pepper, whom Jackman quoted extensively because of Pepper's decades of work as a street-savvy investigator, an attorney, and a best-selling author seeking to solve the murder.

Pepper's 2003 William Pepper Act of Statebook An Act of State, shown at left and featuring King and his wife Coretta Scott King on the cover, is the second of a trilogy by Pepper documenting evidence that conspirators murdered the civil rights leader to stop his evolving social movement. At the time of the 1968 assassination, that movement was expanding from a largely civil rights movement with roots in the Jim Crow Deep South to nationwide anti-war and economic justice crusade that some believe threatened the nation's power structure, not just bigots.

Pepper, also a noted human rights advocate who has taught at Oxford University, worked with King family members who also believe that a plot by power brokers to remove King from the American political scene included a media-assisted frame-up of the accused killer Ray, a petty criminal and eighth-grade dropout who could be vilified as a lone-nut murderer.

“The article,” Pepper told the Justice Integrity Project regarding Jackman's Post piece, “is a major breakthrough for the mainstream media, which has refused to cover the truth about the murder of Dr. King."

"Hopefully," Pepper continued in an exclusive interview with the Justice Integrity Project, "this initiative will extend to others in the mainstream media who will be reporting on the 50th anniversary in June on the death of Robert F. Kennedy, whose accused killer Sirhan Sirhan was another patsy like James Earl Ray.”

William Pepper and Martin Luther King Jr.Pepper, a friend also of Kennedy, is shown with King in a 1967 photo by Ben Fernandez as Pepper and King conferred before King's keynote speech at the National Conference for New Politics in Chicago. King was evolving his message then to a much broader movement than anti-segregation efforts in the South.

Pepper was a journalist and political activist in the 1960s and later found himself in the unusual position of becoming convinced that the convicted killers Ray and Sirhan of Pepper's friends King and Kennedy were innocent of their deaths as shown by ballistics evidence.

Details here.

March

george orwell war is peace freedom is slavery ignorance is strength george orwell 22 12 12

robert mercer gettyThe Observer, Analysis: Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media, Carole Cadwalladr, Feb. 26, 2017, last mofified on March 21, 2018. With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist, shown at right, is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network.

Just over a week ago, Donald Trump gathered members of the world’s press before him and told them they were liars. “The press, honestly, is out of control,” he said. “The public doesn’t believe you any more.” CNN was described as “very fake news… story after story is bad”. The BBC was “another beauty”.

That night I did two things. First, I typed “Trump” in the search box of Twitter. My feed was reporting that he was crazy, a lunatic, a raving madman. But that wasn’t how it was playing out elsewhere. The results produced a stream of “Go Donald!!!!”, and “You show ’em!!!” There were star-spangled banner emojis and thumbs-up emojis and clips of Trump laying into the “FAKE news MSM liars!”

Trump had spoken, and his audience had heard him. Then I did what I’ve been doing for two and a half months now.

I Googled “mainstream media is…” And there it was. Google’s autocomplete suggestions: “mainstream media is… dead, dying, fake news, fake, finished”. Is it dead, I wonder? Has FAKE news won? Are we now the FAKE news? Is the mainstream media – we, us, I – dying?

I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”. How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic?

In the “About us” tab, I learn CNSnews is owned by the Media Research Center, which a click later I learn is “America’s media watchdog”, an organisation that claims an “unwavering commitment to neutralising leftwing bias in the news, media and popular culture”.

Another couple of clicks and I discover that it receives a large bulk of its funding – more than $10m in the past decade – from a single source, the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. If you follow US politics you may recognise the name. Robert Mercer is the money behind Donald Trump. But then, I will come to learn, Robert Mercer is the money behind an awful lot of things. He was Trump’s single biggest donor. Mercer started backing Ted Cruz, but when he fell out of the presidential race he threw his money – $13.5m of it – behind the Trump campaign.

It’s money he’s made as a result of his career as a brilliant but reclusive computer scientist. He started his career at IBM, where he made what the Association for Computational Linguistics called “revolutionary” breakthroughs in language processing – a science that went on to be key in developing today’s AI – and later became joint CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that makes its money by using algorithms to model and trade on the financial markets.

One of its funds, Medallion, which manages only its employees’ money, is the most successful in the world – generating $55bn so far. And since 2010, Mercer has donated $45m to different political campaigns – all Republican – and another $50m to non-profits – all rightwing, ultra-conservative. This is a billionaire who is, as billionaires are wont, trying to reshape the world according to his personal beliefs.

Robert Mercer very rarely speaks in public and never to journalists, so to gauge his beliefs you have to look at where he channels his money: a series of yachts, all called Sea Owl; a $2.9m model train set; climate change denial (he funds a climate change denial thinktank, the Heartland Institute); and what is maybe the ultimate rich man’s plaything – the disruption of the mainstream media. In this he is helped by his close associate Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign manager and now chief strategist. The money he gives to the Media Research Center, with its mission of correcting “liberal bias” is just one of his media plays. There are other bigger, and even more deliberate strategies, and shining brightly, the star at the centre of the Mercer media galaxy, is Breitbart.

It was $10m of Mercer’s money that enabled Bannon to fund Breitbart – a rightwing news site, set up with the express intention of being a Huffington Post for the right. It has launched the careers of Milo Yiannopoulos and his like, regularly hosts antisemitic and Islamophobic views, and is currently being boycotted by more than 1,000 brands after an activist campaign. It has been phenomenally successful: the 29th most popular site in America with 2bn page views a year. It’s bigger than its inspiration, the Huffington Post, bigger, even, than PornHub. It’s the biggest political site on Facebook. The biggest on Twitter.

March 20

jefferson morleyusa today logo 5USA Today, JFK files: 15-year lawsuit over mysterious CIA agent drags as final files await release, Ed Brackett, March 20, 2018 (print edition). For 15 years, journalist, author and assassination expert Jefferson Morley (right) has fought to compel the CIA to produce records about longtime spy George Joannides, who worked with a group associated with President John F. Kennedy’s acknowledged assassin and then aided the committee that tried to investigate that killing.

Morley returned to federal court again Monday, this time before a three-judge appeals court panel to get the government to pay legal fees that have climbed to more than $500,000, said Morley’s attorney, James Lesar.

Circumstances around Kennedy’s murder and the various theories over the decades that reject the idea that the lone assassin was Oswald — who himself was murdered during a jail transfer two days after Kennedy was killed — can get pretty complicated.

Morley, however, says his case is simple: The government needs to inform the public of its activities. Morley wants the appeals court in Washington to force the government to pay his legal fees and to get the CIA to reveal some of Joannides’ records.

“We’re talking about very specific things. We are not talking about a Chinese box,” he said in response to a question mentioning the term.

Bill Miller, public information officer of the Washington U.S. Attorney’s office, said the office had no comment on the case beyond its court motions and filings.

As more and more government files have been released under the JFK Records Act since October, various long-held CIA secrets have been revealed, many of them not related to the assassination, at least directly. But even with the court case and the Records Act — with its final production due in April — files on Joannides remain scarce.

In 1963, the year Kennedy was murdered, Joannides was the CIA case officer over students from Cuba eager to oust dictator Fidel Castro, who had seized power in 1959. In 1978, Joannides was named by the CIA as its contact with the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

March 16

Justice Integrity Project, DC 'Big Event' Boosts Pressure To Disclose Suppressed JFK Records, Andrew Kreig, March 16, 2018. Nearly a score of conference speakers last weekend presented powerful evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and to maintain a cover-up that exists to the present.

jfk historical group big event 2018Speakers documented again and again how a massive cover-up that began immediately after the president’s death has continued despite a unanimous congressional vote in 1992 on the so-called “JFK Act” that required release of all relevant documents by a deadline of last October.

capa cyril wecht hands up capa npc st john newCo-keynoter Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., drew on six decades of medical training and practice to denounce yet again what he described as scientifically impossible official findings of the 1964 Warren Commission.

The Commission and its supporters claim that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin who killed Kennedy by firing three shots from the sixth floor of an office building located behind the president during a motorcade through downtown Dallas.

Wecht, an eminent forensic pathologist, medical school professor, author and former coroner portrayed above right in a file photo by Noel St. John at the National Press Club, showed that extensive scientific evidence as well as common sense indicate that Oswald (shown in a passport photo below left) could not have fired the fatal shot and wounding Texas Gov. John Connolly in several places with the same bullet — and so there must have been a conspiracy.

lee harvey oswald cuba passport application“What the hell is the problem?” Wecht said of efforts by the CIA and other federal officials to suppress in violation of the 1992 law relevant witness, medical and other records. “Just put the goddamn stuff out there!”

Concurring in that view was co-keynoter Roger Stone, the noted political operative and best-selling author of a book arguing that Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson orchestrated the murder and a cover-up.

March 7

hugh turley david martin thomas mertonTurley, Hugh and David Martin. The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: An Investigation. CreateSpace, March 7, 2018. Hugh Turley, as a volunteer columnist for the Hyattsville Life and Times, is a winner of the National Newspaper Association award for best serious column, small-circulation, non-daily division. David Martin is twice winner of the Lawrence R. Klein Award for best Monthly Labor Review article by an employee of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Vladimir Kats was his co-writer for the second article.

Publisher's announcement: Seldom can one predict that a book will have an effect on history, but this is such a work. Merton's many biographers and the American press now say unanimously that he died from accidental electrocution. From a careful examination of the official record, including crime scene photographs that the authors have found that the investigating police in Thailand never saw, and from reading the letters of witnesses, they have discovered that the accidental electrocution conclusion is totally false.

The widely repeated story that Merton had taken a shower and was therefore wet when he touched a lethal faulty fan was made up several years after the event and is completely contradicted by the evidence. Hugh Turley and David Martin identify four individuals as the primary promoters of the false accidental electrocution narrative. Another person, they show, should have been treated as a murder suspect.

cia logoThe most likely suspect in plotting Merton's murder, a man who was a much stronger force for peace than most people realize, they identify as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States government. Thomas Merton was the most important Roman Catholic spiritual and anti-warfare-state writer of the 20th century. To date, he has been the subject of 28 biographies and numerous other books.

Remarkably, up to now no one has looked critically at the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sudden death in Thailand. From its publication date in the 50th anniversary of his death, into the foreseeable future, this carefully researched work will be the definitive, authoritative book on how Thomas Merton died.

Antiwar.blog, Jefferson Morley on the CIA and Mossad: Tradeoffs in the Formation of the US-Israel Strategic Relationship, Jefferson Morley, March 11, 2018. Discussion at The Israel Lobby and American Policy 2018 conference March 2, 2018 at the National Press Club.

Jefferson Morley is a veteran Washington investigative reporter and the author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton. His latest must-read book sheds new light on Angleton’s close relationship with Israeli intelligence, citing such cases as the Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty and the diversion of U.S. government-owned weapons-grade uranium from Apollo, PA to Israel in the ‘60s.

March 1

olof palmeSwedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (shown at right) was assassinated on the 28th of February 1986 in what remains as one of the Western world's leading unsolved assassinations. On the anniversary, one of Sweden's leading newspapers explores the case.

From Wikipedia: Assassination of Olof Palme. On Friday, 28 February 1986, Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden, was fatally wounded by a single gunshot while walking home from a cinema with his wife Lisbet Palme on the central Stockholm street Sveavägen. Mrs Palme was slightly wounded by a second shot. The couple did not have bodyguards at the time.

Christer Pettersson, who previously had been convicted of manslaughter, was convicted of the murder in 1988 after having been identified as the killer by Palme's wife. However, on appeal to Svea Court of Appeal he was acquitted. A petition for a new trial, filed by the prosecutor, was denied by the Supreme Court of Sweden. Pettersson died in late-September 2004, legally declared not guilty of the Palme assassination. The case remains unsolved.

sweden flagSVT Nyheter (Sweden), Investigation: How the Palme Investigation was Manipulated – witness heard 43 times and changed their story, Staff report, March 1, 2018. How did Christer Pettersson become the main suspect in the hunt for Olof Palme’s killer? Mission Investigate has spoken to three people who had central positions in the Palme investigation claiming that there was witness manipulation. For instance, one of the most important witnesses was heard more than 40 times – and changed their story completely over time.

No study of the work of the Palme Commission, not even the government’s exhaustive investigation, has so far been able to explain how Christer Pettersson – an addict from Rotebro – became the main suspect. But in every version provided by Thure Nässén, the investigator who was instrumental in naming Pettersson a suspect, there is one common denominator: drug dealer Sigge Cedergren.

February, 2018

Feb. 22

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Disappointment Over Tyler Cowen’s Take on the JFK Assassination, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Feb. 22, 2018. Anyone familiar with Tyler Cowen knows that he has been blessed with a brilliant and analytical mind. Such being the case, I was particularly interested in reading his Bloomberg article “How to Test Your Favorite Conspiracy Theory,” at least insofar as it related to the assassination of President John Kennedy. I wanted to see how Cowen applied his legendary analytical skills to that seminal event in U.S. history.

Alas, after reading the article, I was left with nothing but disappointment.

Mind you, the article wasn’t only about the JFK assassination. It also encompassed other subjects, like UFOs, the Malaysian Airliner crash, insider trading, baseball scandals, the moon walk, and Paul McCartney.

Nonetheless, Cowen’s comments on the JFK assassination was fascinating, revealing, and, well, disappointing. Here is what he writes:

I am inclined to think (although not certain) that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone…. Another way to search for true conspiracies is to scour history for deathbed confessions. Did any Cuban or Soviet agents, shortly before dying, blurt out that they knew the true story of President John Kennedy’s assassination? As far as I know, these admissions are hard to come by. That’s another reason for not believing in most conspiracy theories.”

That is a fascinating — and revealing — insight into Cowen’s perspective on the JFK assassination. Notice that Cowen’s mindset leads to but two possibilities: Oswald did it alone. Or Oswald conspired with others.

Who would those “others” be? Why, Soviet or Cuban agents of course. That’s why Cowen refers to the absence of deathbed confessions from Soviet or Cuban agents. He is suggesting that if Oswald didn’t act alone, then his co-conspirators had to have been Soviet or Cuban communists.

Why is that? Cowen is alluding to the official story: Oswald was supposedly a devout communist, one who had traveled to Moscow, attempted to defect to the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia), vowed to give the Reds all the information he had acquired as U.S. Marine, returned to the United States with a Russian wife, distributed pamphlets in New Orleans for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and traveled to Mexico City, where he purportedly visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies shortly before the assassination.

Thus, all that obviously leads Cowen to conclude that there are but two possibilities: Oswald acted alone or Oswald conspired with the Reds to kill Kennedy. Since no deathbed confessions have popped up among Soviet and Cuban agents, Cowen tends toward the lone-nut theory.

What is disappointing is that Cowen apparently fails to consider a third possibility: that Oswald was entirely innocent — that is, that he didn’t kill Kennedy, either alone or in concert with anyone.

Feb. 12

jefferson morley newJFKFacts.org, Analysis: Oswald under surveillance: the last JFK secret, Jefferson Morley, Feb. 12, 2018. Author, reporter and JFKFacts.org editor Jefferson Morley is shown at right. While JFK researchers seek to come up with an accurate count of just how many JFK assassination files remain secret in advance of the April 2018 deadline for full disclosure ordered by President Trump, we can be sure the number is more than 1,000 and maybe higher than 3,000. The precise number, however, matters less than what is still secret – and this we JFK Factknow with certainty.

One of the most important stories still under wraps: the story of the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald from 1959 to 1963. A Senate investigator’s memo, released in December, gives the exact date that the surveillance of Oswald began: November 11, 1959. This is one of the most important JFK records released in the past year, so its details are worth understanding.

Feb. 6

JFKFacts.org, Opinion: I’ll be in federal court on March 19 talking about certain JFK files that the CIA would really prefer you not think about, Jefferson Morley, Feb. 6, 2018. On Monday morning March 19  my attorneys Jim Lesar and Dan Alcorn and I will appear at the Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse in Washington for oral arguments in my long-running lawsuit, Morley v. CIA.

The issue before the three-judge panel: has there been a “public benefit” from the lawsuit’s disclosure of long-secret documents about deceased CIA officer George Joannides?Lesar will make the common sense case that widespread media interest in Morley v. CIA is proof of public benefit. The editors of the New York Times, Fox News, the San Diego Union, St. Paul Pioneer Press, CBS News in Dallas, and the New Yorker, among many other news organizations have seen fit to report on Morley v. CIA.

george joannides cia citation 1981 cia photoRetired CIA officer George Joannides (left in a CIA photo) received the Career Intelligence Medal in 1981, two years after misleading House investigators about what he knew about Lee Oswald. The Times, the Daily Mail,  and a dozen other news sites published a photo of Joannides receiving a CIA medal after he stonewalled congressional investigators about what he knew about the Cuban contacts of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

What’s New? Joannides’ curious, if not suspicious, role in the JFK story was utterly unknown before I filed my lawsuit. My argument: greater knowledge about the JFK story is benefits the public.

cia logoThe CIA wants their day in court too: Benton Peterson, a Trump Justice Department attorney, representing the agency, will argue that there has been no “public benefit” from the information obtained under Morley v. CIA. The CIA, he will say, should not have to pay my court costs for 15 years of successful litigation.

The CIA’s argument is revealing. The agency has been fighting my request for Joannides’ files since I sued in December 2003, They want to say publicly: Pay no attention to the story of George Joannides. They also want to say: And pay no attention to this Morley character. He’s a schemer who filed this lawsuit to get the government to pay the copying costs of his research. (The Obama Justice Department actually made this argument at one point.)

The CIA needs their day in court for purposes of JFK damage control. They need to assure the public and the courts there is no benefit from studying the story of Joannides, a CIA official who funded the first JFK conspiracy theory, who stonewalled JFK investigators, and who received a medal for his career job performance.

Feb. 5

jfk national press club 1961

President John F. Kennedy stopped by National Press Club President John Cosgrove's inauguration in 1961, and JFK followed up with a letter about how much he enjoyed accepting his Club membership in person.

National Press Club, President Kennedy's letter to Club President Cosgrove found, Staff report, Feb. 5, 2018. When the John F. Kennedy Library put together a joint program with the National Press Club last week, it sent something that the Club had not seen: A copy of President Kennedy’s letter to Club President John Cosgrove just after Kennedy attended Cosgrove’s inaugural party.

That Kennedy stopped by Cosgrove’s party just two weeks after Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 is a part of Club lore. The photo of the meeting is in the Cosgrove Lounge. Cosgrove, who was an active Club member right up to his death at the age of 98 last year, never tired of quipping: “Well I went to Kennedy’s inaugural, why shouldn’t he come to mine?”

Club historian Gil Klein recounted the event during the joint program with the Kennedy Library to discuss Kennedy’s legacy 100 years after his birth.Klein read Kennedy's letter to Cosgrove written after Cosgrove's inaugural. While the Kennedy Library had a copy, the Club’s archives did not.

Cosgrove did not know that Kennedy would make an appearance until the afternoon of the event. After Cosgrove presented the president with his membership card, No. 2973, Kennedy praised the Club for sticking to its rules and having “the decency to charge me the initiation fee and dues.”

The Club, unfortunately, cashed that check, which would be worth many times the $90 value today.

The president’s appearance was brief, but he greeted the head table guests, which included House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Chief Justice Earl Warren. He had to leave before the swearing-in ceremony, but in departing, he looked at Cosgrove and said, “I’m sorry I can’t stay any longer, but be sure to keep your hand on the Bible.”

That apparently was a reference to his own inauguration when someone watching it on television claimed that Kennedy’s hand was not on the Bible when he took the oath.

Feb.3

JFK Assassination Document Cover-up Report

Black Vault via Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), A detailed listing of JFK assassination related documents still being withheld (as of Jan. 29,2018), AARC and Black Vault staff reports, Feb. 3, 2018.

nara logoIn the words of an experienced FOIA attorney:

“Nearly 23,000 withheld assassination related documents represents 63.88% of the approximately 36,000 withheld records comprising the yet-to-be released JFK database, and raises questions relating to how many records there were to begin with. It seems most likely that the numbers represented in this important list published by the Black Vault refer to some documents which have never been released at all and many documents which have been only partially released."

Among the 442,606 pages there are then many which have not yet been released in their entirety.”

This “withheld” list was released via the FOIA to The Black Vault in FOIA Case #NARA-NGC-2018-000072. It contains, as of January 29, 2018, the entire list of withheld documents by NARA regarding the JFK Assassination. It shows 22,933 Documents totaling 442,606 Pages.

According to NARA: “We conducted a search and were able to locate an EXCEL spreadsheet that lists everything that has not been released since December 15th, 2017 (the last release date). We are releasing this document if full with no redactions. The spreadsheet lists the JFK record number, the decision, the file number, document date, number of pages, and the origination agency.”

January, 2018

Jan. 23

ny times logo

yasser arafat world economic forum 2001New York Times Magazine, How Arafat Eluded Israel’s Assassination Machine, Ronen Bergman, Jan. 23, 2018. The nation’s security forces tried for decades to kill the P.L.O. leader, Yasser Arafat.(shown at right during a 2001 speech at the World Economic Forum).  Now, former officials tell the story of how they failed — and how far they almost went to succeed.

As a reporter in Israel, I have interviewed hundreds of people in its intelligence and defense establishments and studied thousands of classified documents that revealed a hidden history, surprising even in the context of Israel’s already fierce reputation.

israel flagMany of the people I spoke to, in explaining why they did what they did, would simply cite the Babylonian Talmud: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” In my reporting, I found that since World War II, Israel has used assassination and targeted-killing more than any other country in the West, in many cases endangering the lives of civilians.

But I also discovered a long history of profound — and often rancorous — internal debates over how the state should be preserved. Can a nation use the methods of terrorism? Can it harm innocent civilians in the process? What are the costs? Where is the line?

Increasingly, people want to talk.

Jan. 8

Media Matters, Infowars fully embraces “The Storm,” a conspiracy theory called “the new Pizzagate,” Cristina López G., Jan. 8, 2018. The outlet is now working directly with online message boards to promote the conspiracy theory that Trump is staging a counter-cabal against the “deep state” officials in government.

Jan. 3

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Investigation: How to Avoid Being Linked to the JFK Assassination: Get Yourself Locked Up, Dick Russell (shown below at left), Jan. 3, 2018. Why would a man who knew Lee Harvey Oswald and had apparent connections to intelligence walk into a bank, shoot two holes in a wall, and await arrest months prior to JFK’s assassination? There is no better alibi than being in federal prison.

Dick RussellOn September 20, 1963, two months before President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, a highly decorated Army veteran named Richard Case Nagell walked into a bank in El Paso, fired two shots into a wall from a revolver, and went outside to await arrest. There was speculation, even by the officer who put him in handcuffs, that for some reason he wanted to be locked up.

dick russell man who knew too much coverNagell was charged with attempted bank robbery. Only later would he indicate to the FBI that he feared being implicated in an “inimical act” — one that involved accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

What could be known of Nagell’s strange saga was featured in my book on the Kennedy assassination, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Now recent releases from the National Archives of long-withheld CIA and FBI assassination-related files shed new light on Nagell, and on which branches of the CIA had the strongest interest in him.

Jan. 1

The Intercept, Wilderness of Mirrors, Jefferson Morley (shown at right and the author of a new book, The Ghost, a biography of James J. Angleton), Jan. 1, 2018. Documents Reveal the Complex Legacy of James Angleton, CIA Counterintelligence Chief and Godfather of Mass Surveillance.

Veteran CIA officer Cleveland Cram was nearing the end of his career in 1978, when his superiors in the agency’s directorate of operations handed him a sensitive assignment: Write a history of the agency’s Counterintelligence Staff. Cram, then 61, was well qualified for the task. He had a master’s and Ph.D. in European History from Harvard. He had served two decades in the clandestine service, including nine years as deputy chief of the CIA’s station in London.

jefferson morley the ghost coverCram was assigned to investigate a debacle. The Counterintelligence Staff, created in 1954, had been headed for 20 years by James Jesus Angleton, a legendary spy who deployed the techniques of literary criticism learned at Yale to find deep patterns and hidden meanings in the records of KGB operations against the West. But Angleton was also a dogmatic and conspiratorial operator whose idiosyncratic theories paralyzed the agency’s operations against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and whose domestic surveillance operations targeting American dissidents had discredited the CIA in the court of public opinion.

Cram’s mission — and he chose to accept it — was to soberly answer the questions that senior CIA officials were asking in their private moments: What in the name of God and national security had Jim Angleton been doing when he ran the Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1974? Did his operations serve the agency’s mission? Did they serve the country?

 

2017 News & Views (Oct.-Dec.)

December 2017

Dec. 31

marcello ferrada de nolo the indicter 2018 logo Custom

The Indicter, Assessing New JFK Records, Alec Baldwin's Slam Of NBC Cover-up, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 31, 2017. The Indicter is a global human rights journal, marcello ferrado de noli glassesfounded and edited by Professor Emeritus Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Ph.D. (shown at left), a torture victim in the 1970s and retired medical  school professor based in Sweden and Italy. This month's release of documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy continued the Trump administration's chaotic process that confuses the public under a guise of compliance with a 1992 law requiring full release this year.

alec baldwin pr headshotMary Ferrell Foundation President Rex Bradford has described the Trump release process as a "travesty" and Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger called it a "fiasco," as we have previously reported.

Fortunately, the famed actor Alec Baldwin (shown at right) courageously cut through the confusion last month with a bold, civic-minded revelation of how the NBC and MSNBC continue to support the disputed Warren Commission view of the murder — and to suppress alternative discussion.

This column also was reprinted here by The Education Forum, a UK-based global web encyclopedia and discussion group founded by John Simkin.

 

Dec. 29

Tribune Washington Bureau via MSN, With more to come, new JFK documents offer fresh leads 54 years later, Kevin G. Hall, Dec. 29, 2017. Half-a-dozen 2017 releases of long-secret documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have given plenty of new leads to those who don’t believe alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

President Donald Trump promised via Twitter this fall that all the JFK assassination documents will be public by the end of April 2018 “to put any and all conspiracies to rest.”

Instead, the 34,963 documents released so far in 2017 have fed the fire tended by researchers and others who believe there is much more to the story how a U.S. president was assassinated in Dallas 54 years ago.

Dec. 24

JFKFacts.org, Echoes of Dallas: music inspired by JFK, Jefferson Morley, Dec. 24, 2017. Did you know JFK’s assassination “produced a mountainous range of forgotten, discarded and ghostly vinyl artifacts?” Some were briefly notorious: Bob Dylan’ rant about Oswald and Mick Jagger’s sneer, “Who killed the Kennedys?” Others were forgotten but popular music often echoed November 22. Collected here for the very first time are 20 of the strangest, most affectionate, controversial and insightful.

Dec. 21

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Codebreakers and Killers: CIA Covert Ops and the JFK Assassination, Jimmy Falls, Dec. 21, 2017. To those not acquainted with the multifaceted narrative of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the idea that US intelligence was somehow involved sounds like wild speculation — an alternative reality deserving of the pejorative label “conspiracy theory.” But to those more familiar with the facts surrounding the case, and knowledgeable about the formation and history of operations of the various intelligence agencies — particularly the CIA — this doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all.

cia logoOne of the more notorious CIA operations involved recruiting elements of the American mafia — no friends of Castro after he had closed down their casinos — to whack the dictator through famed mafioso and CIA liaison Johnny Roselli. These assassination attempts fell under the auspices of a top-secret assassination program, code name ZR/RIFLE, which was hidden in a strange place — inside the confines of a CIA signals intelligence section called “Staff D.” From what we can tell, Staff D was a kind of liason to the National Security Agency (NSA), which was in the business of breaking codes. Staff D’s goal was to provide the NSA with code books to decrypt foreign signals — by hook or crook. And the man in charge of this section was a notorious CIA figure — William “Bill” Harvey.

To help us understand who Harvey was, the origins and mission of these covert programs, and how Kennedy fell out of favor with the project’s leaders, esteemed JFK researchers Larry Hancock and Bill Simpich gave this joint in-depth talk (1:09:47 hrs. video here) at the recent JFK Lancer conference in Dallas.

Dec. 19

jefferson morley the ghost coverjefferson morley newJFKFacts.org, From the JFK files, a spymaster’s dictum on national security, Jefferson Morley (biographer, shown at left, in the recently published book The Ghost of the late CIA Counter-Intelligence Chief James J. Angleton, shown at right), Dec. 19, 2017.  From the new JFK files comes the long-suppressed testimony of CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton. Among other things, he spoke on the nature of the national security state: “It is inconceivable that a secret intelligence arm of the Government has to comply with all of the overt orders of the Government.”The transcript of Angleton’s closed-door testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities in September 1975, was released for the first time 42 years later, on December 15, 2017.

Dec. 18

Daily Mail, How the FBI LOST the fingerprints taken from rifle that killed JFK fifteen years after the president was assassinated, new files reveal, Amanda Cashmore, Dec. 18, 2017. The FBI lost fingerprints taken from the rifle agents found in the Texas School Book Depository after the president was assassinated in Dallas, new files have revealed. At the time of the investigation in 1963, agents and outside experts concluded that a palm print taken from the barrel off the rifle belonged to Lee Harvey Oswald.  

But 15 years later in July 1978, the agency revealed that the fingerprints had gone missing in their vast archives. Dallas Police say they sent over the original fingerprints to the FBI, and that those prints were never returned to them.

Dec. 15

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whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Breaking: National Archives Releases Yet Another 3,500+ JFK Files, Staff report, Dec. 15, 2017. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) today released its sixth 2017 batch of records that may in some way relate to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The agency’s press release states that this latest cache includes 3,539 documents. It appears that 1,240 files are labeled “withheld-in-full,” meaning the public has never seen these documents before, and 2,259 labeled “withheld-in-part”, meaning they had previously been released to the public, but with some information blacked out. Yet another 439 files on their index give no indication at all of their status.

The documents from this release appear to originate from a mix of government agencies including the FBI, CIA, Army, NSA, and various congressional committees — although approximately 35 percent of the documents listed are not labeled in NARA’s index with an originating agency.

It remains to be seen what percentage of the redactions the various agencies will unredact by the April deadline.

Thus far, only a few of the documents have drawn keen interest — in part, perhaps, because of the unlikelihood that any “smoking gun” documents ever existed, or if they did, the likelihood they have already been removed from government files. Still, experts and aficionados expect to find “breadcrumbs” that, put together, can help paint a better picture of what did happen on November 22, 1963 in Dallas. Polls have consistently shown that the public doubts the conclusion of the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, was responsible.

WhoWhatWhy’s research team has been diligently sifting through these documents since the first release, sorting and analyzing them to try and understand their significance. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest.

National Archives, New Group of JFK Assassination Documents Available to the Public, Staff report, Dec. 15, 2017. In the sixth public release this year, the National Archives today posted 3,539 documents subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act).  Released documents are available for download.

The versions released today were processed by agencies and, in accordance with the President’s guidance, are being posted expeditiously in order to make the documents available to the public, even before the 2018 deadline established by the President on October 26, 2017.  This is the last release planned by the National Archives for this year.

At this point, with the exception of 86 record identification numbers where additional research is required by the National Archives and the other agencies, all documents subject to section 5 of the JFK Act have been released either in full or in part.  Any information subject to section 5 of the Act, which has been redacted from documents in any of the six public releases this year, remains subject to further review by the agencies and the National Archives, in accordance with the President’s direction.

The National Archives will release additional documents in 2018 based on the outcome of the reviews conducted pursuant to the President’s direction.

The National Archives previously released 10,744 documents on Nov. 17, 13,213 documents on Nov. 9, 676 documents on Nov. 3, 2,891 documents on Oct. 26, and 3,810 documents on July 24. The National Archives established the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection in November 1992, and it consists of approximately five million pages. The vast majority of the collection has been publicly available without any restrictions since the late 1990s.

NARARelated records site: National Archives, JFK Assassination Records: 2017 Additional Documents Release. The National Archives is releasing documents previously withheld in accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.  The vast majority of the Collection (88%) has been open in full and released to the public since the late 1990s. The records at issue are documents previously identified as assassination records, but withheld in full or withheld in part. These releases include FBI, CIA, and other agency documents (both formerly withheld in part and formerly withheld in full) identified by the Assassination Records Review Board as assassination records. The releases to date are as follows:

  • July 24, 2017: 3,810 documents (read press release)
  • October 26, 2017: 2,891 documents (read press release)
  • November 3, 2017: 676 documents (read press release)
  • November 9, 2017: 13,213 documents (read press release)
  • November 17, 2017: 10,744 documents (read press release)
  • December 15, 2017: 3,539 documents (read press release)

Dallas Morning News, New JFK files show FBI misplaced Oswald's fingerprints, and CIA opened his mail -- and John Steinbeck's, Todd J. Gillman and Charles Scudder, Dec. 15, 2017. The 3,539 records include FBI and CIA reports on Soviet spies, the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Lee Harvey Oswald's trip to Mexico City a few weeks before he murdered President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

This batch likely will be the last released pending a final review of records. Many remain sealed at the request of the FBI, CIA and other agencies that pressed for more time ahead of a deadline set a quarter century earlier.

For decades, debate has raged not only over whether Oswald acted alone but whether the FBI and CIA could have stopped him. The latest documents provide fresh proof that he was in their sights: a 1975 CIA memo marked "top secret" shows that Oswald was on a "watch list" of people whose mail would be intercepted from Nov. 9, 1959, to May 3, 1960, and again from Aug. 7, 1961, through May 28, 1962.

The same watch list included Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 pilot shot down on May 1, 1960. His mail was opened until two months after his release by the Soviets. CIA also opened the mail of Earl Browder, the head of the Communist Party of the United States, playwright Edward Albee, novelist John Steinbeck, and a daughter of David Rockefeller, chairman of Chase Manhattan bank.

Another revelation comes from a July 1978 memo to an attorney on the staff of the House Select Committee on Assassinations: The FBI was unable to locate the original fingerprints lifted from the rifle found at the sniper's perch on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

Dallas police turned those over a few days after the assassination and never got them back. Top FBI officials told House investigators that finding the prints would be a "mammoth research effort."

The head of the bureau's fingerprint section told House investigators that standard procedure would have required returning the original prints to Dallas police, but "this case was not routine, nor was it handled as such."

Dec. 5

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Mainstream Media’s Deference to Authority in the JFK Assassination, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Dec. 5, 2017.

I just finished watching an interesting documentary film entitled The Searchers by Randolph Benson, who teaches at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The film focuses on private researchers during the aftermath of the JFK assassination who have questioned and investigated the official narrative put out by the Warren Commission and the Washington, D.C., establishment.

Randy BensonAccording to an interview of Benson (Editor's note: shown in a photo by Noel St. John at a National Press Club lecture ignored by the mainstream media), his work “has appeared on the Bravo Network and Canal Plus-France, and his film Man and Dog received several awards, including a Gold Medal from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Student Academy Awards.” According to its home page, The Searchers is the 2017 Winner of the Orson Wells Award at the Tiburon International Film Festival, a 2017 Official Selection by the International Freethought Film Festival, and a 2017 Official Selection of the Let’s All Be Free Film Festival.

Early JFK researchers featured in the film include Mark Lane, John Judge, Cyril Wecht, Robert Groden, Josiah Thompson, Jim DiEugenio, Jim Marrs, Gary Aguilar, Rex Bradford, Penn Jones, Vincent Salandria, Debra Conway, Harold Weisberg, Mary Farrell, Lisa Peace, Walt Brown, Mae Brussell, Ray Marcus, Shirley Martin, Lisa Pease, and John Kelin, most, if not all, of whom would be recognized by people who have delved into the JFK assassination.

There were two things that struck me about the film.

The Searchers by Randy BensonOne, how the researchers are ordinary, regular, down-to-earth people who came to the realization that there was something fundamentally wrong with the official narrative in the JFK assassination and who decided to devote much of their lives to seeking the truth about the assassination.

Two, how reporters and commentators within the mainstream media overwhelming did the opposite, automatically deferring to the official account and steadfastly declining to pursue any investigation to determine whether the official account was truthful.

Much of the film focuses on this unusual dichotomy. After all, ordinarily you would think that it would be enterprising reporters who would be investigating a story that is riddled with contradictions, anomalies, inconsistencies, secrecy, mysteries, and lies by federal and state officials and that everyone else would be content to read the results of their investigations.

In the JFK assassination, it was (and is) the exact opposite. The mainstream media rolled over, and a group of self-selected individuals has done the investigating and ferreting out of the truth.

Of course the obvious question arises, one that the film does not answer or try to answer: Why?

Why did the reporters and the mainstream media simply roll over and accept the official story from the very start? Why didn’t they consider the possibility that they were being lied to? Why didn’t they even consider the possibility that the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was telling the truth when he denied having committed the crime and, going a critical step further, alleged that he was being framed for the crime? Why did they leave it to ordinary citizens to uncover the vast amount of circumstantial evidence, most of which U.S. officials kept secret, that has ultimately pointed in the direction of a U.S. national-security regime-change operation conducted against Kennedy?

Why weren’t they even a bit suspicious about how the entire investigation into what was purportedly a lone-nut assassination was shrouded in national-security secrecy for decades? Why didn’t they at least wonder whether all that secrecy was designed to cover up evidence of a crime?

Dec. 4

JFKFacts.org, CIA conceals files on wiretapped newsman who broke a big JFK story, Jefferson Morley, Dec. 4, 2017. In this Washington Post piece, When the CIA bugged my dad in our Prince George’s home, Jim Scott tells the story of how the CIA wiretapped his father, news reporter Paul Scott, for decades. In the 1960s, Paul Scott and his partner Robert Allen wrote a syndicated column on Washington politics that was driven, not by punditry, but by investigations. One reason Scott was targeted: his JFK reporting.

CIA logoIn March 1967, Allen and Scott published a sensational item in their column. The then-secret records of the Warren Commission, held by the National Archives, contained a State Department cable about suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald dated October 11, 1963.

The scoop was a threat to the CIA’s cover story about Oswald. The cable first reported by Paul Scott is a verbatim copy of the CIA cable that Jim Angleton’s staff sent to Mexico City the day before, on October 10.

In early 1967, the agency was still claiming, falsely, that its personnel knew little about Oswald’s visit to Mexico City in October 1963. When Warren Commission staffers asked in March 1964 for copies of the cable traffic concerning Oswald, Angleton said he preferred to “wait out” the Commission.

The Agency was also mobilizing against the investigation of New Orleans District Attorny Jim Garrison. Leading publications such Life and Look, two of the country’s most popular magazines, were calling for reopening the JFK investigation.

When Mexico City station chief Win Scott (no relation) read the Allen-Scott report he immediately cabled Langley. He warned against declassification of the cable saying it would open the CIA and State Department to “criticism” over “poor security.”

Dec. 1

Washington Post, When the CIA bugged my dad in our Prince George’s home, Jim Scott, Dec. 1, 2017. Twenty-five years apparently is not enough time to properly review the most sensitive documents about the Kennedy assassination. Now the CIA and FBI require another 180 days to complete this extended vetting process. The agencies are running out of time to prevent us from viewing the long-held and perhaps embarrassing secrets regarding Lee Harvey Oswald and his activities prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

I can relate to this delaying tactic by the CIA and FBI. More than 54 years ago, the agencies started wiretapping my dad’s work phone and our home phone in Prince George’s County. I’ve been working since 2008 to get access to the papers that would help me understand why they wiretapped my father, nationally syndicated columnist Paul Scott — and what they heard. I won’t end my search until all critical material is made public.

The notable stories he covered before and after the wiretap included the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Kennedy assassination.

I hoped the release of more JFK files would expedite the declassification and release of material I sought regarding my father. It’s frustrating enough that it takes years for agencies to make a determination, but their responses often contain bureaucratic language, redacted pages or statutory exemptions without detailed explanation.

In response to my most recent Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI for 40 pages in my dad’s files, the agency declassified the material but then applied a security exemption to prevent public release. I still have no idea of the time frame or subject matter of the documents that could be more than 50 years old. Why can’t the FBI simply redact sensitive or personal info and not delete entire pages? I also can’t imagine that sources and methods used more than 50 years ago can’t be disclosed.

It’s even more frustrating dealing with the CIA. I learned a few months ago that I could not inquire about the status of my latest FOIA request (initiated in 2015) until June 30. And, even if I uncover information useful in the search, the CIA makes it extremely difficult to contact a case manager. Since my request with the CIA focuses primarily on locating the wiretap transcript, I posed these questions to the CIA: Could a CIA historian explain whether the transcript still exists? Was it destroyed or transferred to another government agency?

Dallas News, Robert Oswald, brother to JFK's assassin, dies in Wichita Falls, Charles Scudder, Dec. 1, 2017. Robert Edward Lee Oswald, whose brother Lee Harvey Oswald killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, died Monday in Wichita Falls. He was 83.

His obituary in the Wichita Falls Times Record News made no mention of his brother's infamous place in history except to say "he spent his youth in Louisiana with his brothers Lee and John Pic before joining the Marine Corps in 1952 at age 18."

Oswald often said he believed the findings of most experts that his brother acted alone in killing the president on Nov. 22, 1963. Late in life, he said he still didn't understand why. "This is mind over heart," Oswald once told ABC News. "The mind tells me one thing, the heart tells me something else, but the facts are there."

Editor's note: Some experts in the JFK research community allege that the deceased sold out his brother's memory, wife and daughters, in part to achieve peace with the power structure.

November

Nov. 29

Madcow News, Jada & ‘the boys,’ Daniel Hopsicker, Nov. 29, 2017. Two hours before John Kennedy was murdered at 12:30 p.m. Central Time on Friday November 22 1963, something happened in Dallas which renders the official story that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone nut gunman as silly as arguments that the Earth is flat and astronauts never landed on the moon.

Jada at Carousel ClubAt 10:30 that morning Jada Conforto (shown at right), the burlesque queen headlining Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club, was hurtling across Dallas in her bronze Cadillac convertible, in such a panic to leave town that she struck a pedestrian at an intersection less than a mile from Love Field, where JFK’s plane had earlier touched down.

The injured pedestrian later testified that Jada said she’d been in a hurry to leave. Jack Ruby’s top stripper caused an accident while desperately  trying to get out of town. It never even made the papers. More on this in a moment.

Because this is just the first of two significant incidents involving Jada. Emphasizing how close she was to the plot to kill JFK, she was involved in a second  incident whose import changes the story of the Kennedy assassination.

Nov. 27

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, America’s Bargain with the Devil, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Nov. 27, 2017. As many Americans know, the National Archives ended up releasing only about 5 percent of the CIA’s JFK-assassination-related records, notwithstanding the fact that the JFK Records Act, which is the law, required the release of all of them.

The CIA claims that the release of remaining JFK assassination records would threaten “national security,” but that claim is patently ridiculous, especially when we consider that these records are more than 50 years old. There is another reason for secrecy, the same reason that existed for secrecy back in 1963: the remaining records, especially those relating to Lee Harvey Oswald’s trip to Mexico City, include additional pieces of circumstantial evidence implicating the CIA in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The few records that were recently released include a conspiracy that started out as a theory and ended up as fact: the CIA’s assassination attempts against Fidel Castro, the communist leader of Cuba. There is now no question but that the CIA conspired with the Mafia, the premier private-sector assassination organization in the world, to assassinate Castro.

As it turns out, however, Castro wasn’t the only Cuban the CIA conspired to murder. While Americans have long known about the CIA-Mafia conspiracy to assassinate Castro, the newly released records have revealed something new: Operation Bounty, which offered financial payments for “killing or delivering alive known [Cuban] Communists.”

To get a good sense of how the mainstream media reacts to such things, consider how the Washington Post reported on the discovery of Operation Bounty: “But the truly novel revelation are fairly minor. One such example is Operation BOUNTY, which targeted Cuban communists.” (See: What the JFK assassination files can tell us about the U.S. plot to kill Castro, Michael Poznansky,  Oct. 30, 2017.

Minor? How can it possibly be minor when innocent people are being murdered by the U.S. government? Because that is precisely what assassination is: murder. In fact, even Lyndon Johnson, who wasn’t exactly the paragon or moral values, pointedly noted that the CIA was running a “damned Murder, Inc.” in the Caribbean.

Nov. 25

Quillettte, Are the JFK Conspiracies Slowly Dying? Craig Colgan, Nov. 25, 2017.  The JFK conspiracy machine, which had showed some signs of slowing, was jolted back into life by Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK. Stone’s dazzling polemic is credited with the subsequent creation of the Assassination Records Review Board by Congress, which not only searched for un-released assassination documents but also deposed witnesses under oath. But Stone made the protagonist of his film Jim Garrison, the clownish New Orleans district attorney whose failed investigation is seen today, even by many conspiracists, as a sham. CAPA editor's note: The blog above is excerpted as a example of opinion and not for the accuracy of its judgments. Black Op RadioBlack Op Radio (shown #862), Topic: The Houston Trial in retrospect, Guests: Larry Schnapf and Jim DiEugenio, Nov. 23, 2017 (52:53 mins.).  A discussion of the CAPA trial strategies in Houston Nov. 16 & 17, 2017. Also, Views of the Trial outcome: Pro and Con what can we learn. Play Jim DiEugenio (1:58:13 hrs.).

Nov. 22

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: JFK, the CIA, and Secrecy, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown right), Nov. 22, 2017. Today marks the 54th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who famously said, "The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings...."

Isn’t that the ultimate of ironies, given that the “investigation” into his assassination was shrouded in secrecy and continues to be shrouded in secrecy?

It’s been that way since the day of the assassination. Everything was said to involve “national security,” which were (and are) the two most important words in the American political lexicon. Most of the proceedings of the Warren Commission, which was charged with pinning the assassination on Lee Harvey Oswald, were conducted in secret. The commission ordered that records relating to its proceedings be kept secret from the American people … for 75 years! When Warren was asked if Americans would ever be permitted to see the records, he responded, “Yes, there will come a time. But it might not be in your lifetime….”

Secret Service logoImmediately upon JFK’s death, a team of Secret Service agents, following orders from new President Lyndon Johnson, forced their way out of Parkland Hospital, where the president had died. Brandishing guns and screaming profanities, they made it clear to Dallas Medical Examiner Earl Rose that they had absolutely no intention of complying with Texas law, which required that Rose conduct an autopsy.

They took the body to Dallas Love Field, where Johnson was waiting for it. The body was delivered into the hands of the military in Maryland, which conducted an autopsy under top-secret conditions. Military personnel who participated in the autopsy were required to sign secrecy oaths in which they promised never to reveal what they had seen.

In the 1990s, thanks to Oliver Stone’s movie JFK (Stone is shown at right), the American people came to the realization that the CIA, the military, and other national-security state agencies were still shrouding their assassination records in secrecy. Public pressure caused Congress to enact the JFK Records Act in 1992, which ordered the CIA, the military, FBI, Secret Service, and other national-security state agencies to show their assassination records to the American people.

That was when it dawned on a lot of Americans that the military had conducted a false and fraudulent autopsy on the president’s body.

WhoWhatWhyWhoWhatWhy, What Could Have Been — JFK in His Own Words, Milicent Cranor, Nov. 22, 2017. On the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, let’s not forget the man who was lost that day and think about how much he could have changed the world. It is a big year for those interested in the mysteries that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on this day in 1963 still poses. WhoWhatWhy has been a leader on this subject and our team of experts will spend this day — as it has so many others — scouring the newly released documents for interesting information.

However, on this anniversary, we wanted to take a step back from the minutiae of CIA cables, FBI memos and other documents related to the assassination. Instead, we want to focus on what sometimes seems to get overlooked as people try to put together the puzzle: John F. Kennedy, the person and statesman the world lost that day.

Peoples Internet Radio, John Barbour with Karl Golovin, Andrew Kreig and Brian Lloyd, interviewed by Catherine April Watters, Nov. 22, 2017. Crowd Source Radio, John Barbour with Brian Lloyd, interviewed by Jason Goodman, Nov. 22, 2017. Nov. 21 Kennedys and King (formerly CTKA), The State of Texas vs Lee Harvey Oswald: The JFK Autopsy Skull X-rays in John Fitzgerald Kennedy, David Mantik, Nov. 21, 2017. The complete visual essay prepared by expert witness David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., for the mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald held at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, November 16 - 17, 2017. We are pleased to be able to feature here in its entirety a PowerPoint presentation on the JFK X-rays which for reasons of time was not fully reviewed by the jury during the mock trial.

Dr. David W. Mantik has been studying these materials since the early 1990s. He is a radiation oncologist and also holds a Ph.D. in physics. He has visited NARA on nine separate occasions and is one of the few outside the government to have been granted access to the autopsy X-rays and photographs. He also has published extensively on these issues, perhaps most notably in the peer-reviewed Medical Research Archives.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Oswald leaves behind a Fort Worth legacy, too: brawls, bitterness and a hidden gravestone, Bud Kennedy, Nov. 21, 2017. President John F. Kennedy spent 12 hours in Fort Worth. It would be the last night of his life.

But Lee Oswald spent nine years in Benbrook and Fort Worth. He still lies here.

More than a half-century after Kennedy was assassinated on Dallas’ Elm Street, the memory of both men is very much alive in Fort Worth, where an aging generation saw Kennedy’s spirited visit Nov. 21-22, 1963 and then whispered about their brawling school classmate who killed him.

“Fort Worth was as close to a home as he ever had,” said Stephen Fagin, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, the museum built around Oswald’s sniper’s perch. “Benbrook is where we first see this pattern emerge of an emotionally disturbed little boy. And when he comes home years later [from the Soviet Union], Fort Worth is where we first see him being abusive to his wife.”

CAPA editor's note: The story above is cited as an example of mainstream coverage and not for the truth of the underlying claims.

Nov. 20

Primal Interviews via Vimeo, Cyril Wecht on Kennedy: The Endless Cover-Up,  Interview of Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, Nov. 20, 2017. In this Primal Interview, Paul Guggenheimer talks with forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, a longtime critic of the Warren commission and its' finding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing JFK on November 22, 1963. In 1972, Dr. Wecht was the first civilian given permission to examine the Warren Commission's evidence at the National Archives. JFKFacts.org, Top 5 JFK files that the CIA is still hiding, Jefferson Morley, Nov. 20, 2017. The government’s release of long-secret JFK assassination records is generating headlines and hype worldwide. But the truth is the majority of the JFK files that were supposed to be released last month remain secret — and may forever if the CIA has its way.

CIA logoOn October 24, President Trump tweeted that “JFK files are released long ahead of schedule,” which was not true, In fact, as Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, pointed out in WhoWhatWhy, only about 10 percent of the JFK files were public by the statutory deadline of October 26. The hype continued November 3, when the National Archives posted more than 553 CIA documents never made public before, which CNN described as a “horde.” On November 9, the CIA and NSA released another batch of files, which the Washington Post called a “huge trove.”

But as Bradford explained in an interview, the impressive-sounding numbers lacked context. Even after the latest file dump on November 9, at least two-thirds of the never-seen JFK files that were supposed to be released — some 2,538 records — remain secret, according to the foundation’s analysis.

At least one-third of the JFK files that were previously released with redactions — a total of about 12,000 files — have still not been made public in unexpurgated form, he said. Unlike mainstream news organizations, the Mary Ferrell Foundation monitors the National Archives database for the latest information on what has and has not been released. Bradford called the releases so far “a big roiling mess.”

RT via WhoWhatWhy, Dick Russell Speaks on the New JFK Assassination Files, WhoWhatWhy Staff, Nov. 20, 2017. Dick Russell talks to RT News about the recently released JFK assassination files and what we can learn from them. Acclaimed author and WhoWhatWhy contributor Dick Russell recently (Nov. 16, 2017 ) spoke to RT News’s Watching the Hawks about the JFK assassination records that have been newly released by the National Archives. Russell talks about the true identity of Lee Harvey Oswald — is there evidence he was a US intelligence asset posing as a fake defector to the USSR?

Who was the “Mexico City mystery man” that was apparently posing as Oswald in the months leading up to the assassination? And despite President Donald Trump allowing these new documents to be released with significant redactions remaining — at least for now — what more can we learn? Watch the below video to find this out, and more.

Dick Russell is the author of many books, but he is perhaps best known for his thrilling, The Man Who Knew Too Much (Carroll & Graf, 2003).

University of Arkansas at Little Rock News, UA Little Rock professor reflects on investigation of JFK assassination records, Angelita Faller, Nov. 20, 2017. In 1991, the conspiracy-thriller film, “JFK,” reignited the public’s interest in a potential political conspiracy involving the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Congress passed the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act in 1992, which created the Assassination Records Review Board, an agency that investigated and collected records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“As someone who taught public policy, I’m not surprised a movie started all of this,” said Dr. David Montague, director of eLearning at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, who served as the senior investigator of the JFK Assassination Records Review Board from 1995 to 1997.

“Once that movie came out in 1991, a lot of people were getting older and wondering what really happened to JFK,” he said. “You had a president killed on national TV, and then the Warren Commission comes out and said Lee Harvey Oswald, single bullet, lone gunman. A lot of people weren’t satisfied. People wondered why the government needed to keep so many records classified. Is it administrative red tape, national security, or something else?”

The legislation also required the government to release all files related to Kennedy’s assassination after 25 years. President Donald Trump released thousands of the last classified records Oct. 26, but delayed the release of hundreds of documents due to national security concerns. Those documents will receive a 180-day review of redactions from agencies. An additional batch of documents related to Kennedy’s assassination investigation was released Nov. 3.

As senior investigator, Montague investigated, identified, collected, and reviewed countless documents and interviews related to Kennedy’s assassination. Most of the files Montague reviewed have already been released to the public. While he is excited about the recent release of additional documents, he doesn’t think they will provide the answers people hope to find.

“Do I think the release of these documents will shut all the questions down? No. I think it will intensify the questions for some people, and there are always going to be those that think this (Kennedy’s assassination investigation) is a dead issue,” Montague said.

When Montague joined the review board, he didn’t realize how vastly complex the investigation and theories surrounding Kennedy’s assassination were.

“I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, and I always had a commitment to public service,” Montague said. “I knew his death was a very big deal. What I didn’t realize is that it was enormously complex. I was very naïve at first. When I was first sitting in the executive director’s office, I started thinking about how we are a whole agency focused on the assassination of one person. Does that make sense? Then I realized how complex it has been for decades and the mystery that surrounded it.”

Nov. 18
The Secret Truth, Interview of JFK Researcher and "Presidential Puppetry" author Andrew Kreig, George Butler, Nov. 18, 2017.  George Butler spent three years in the U.S. Army, the last year in West Berlin, Germany, he witnessed the vulgarities and cruelties of the Berlin Wall. Today he speaks out about preserving our rights. His concerned about America's and the World's slide toward fascism motivated him along with Charlotte "Littlefield" Brown to launch the radio talk show program in the fall of 2006 "The Secret Truth." Today, America and the World are experiencing a great transformation and Mr. Butler is intent on trying to awaken the citizenry to present dangerous trends.

Nov. 17

National Archives, New Group of JFK Assassination Records Available to the Public, Staff report, Nov. 17, 2017. In the fifth public release this year, the National Archives today posted 10,744 records subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act).

All of the documents released today are from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Of the documents released today, 8,336 documents are released in their entirety and 2,408 are released with limited redactions. Also, this is the first release for 144 of the documents. Released records are available for download.

The versions released today were processed by the FBI and, in accordance with the President’s guidance, are being posted expeditiously in order to make the documents available to the public, even before the March deadline established by the President on Oct. 26, 2017. Any information that has been redacted from the records in this public release remains subject to further review by the FBI and the National Archives in accordance with the President’s direction.

The National Archives released 13,213 documents on Nov. 9, 676 documents on Nov. 3, 2,891 documents on Oct. 26, and 3,810 records on July 24.

The National Archives established the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection in November 1992, and it consists of approximately five million pages of records. The vast majority of the collection has been publicly available without any restrictions since the late 1990s.

Nov. 16

Black Op RadioBlack Op Radio (Show #861), Topics: Continued Redactions / JFK Conferences / Mock Trial, Guests: Dan Hardway / Larry Hancock / Bill Kelly / Chris Gallop / Mark de Valk, Nov. 16, 2017 (54:25 mins.). Nov. 15 The Wrap, Oliver Stone on Release of JFK Assassination Files: ‘Trump Got Rolled’ by ‘Deep State,’ Oliver Stone, Nov. 15, 2017. “As with everything else in the ‘Deep State,’ the Chief Priests told him, ‘You can’t do that,'” the filmmaker writes. I’ve been wrestling with how to deal with my response to these newly released files on the JFK assassination. Many people have asked me about my reaction to this release, and I’ve gleaned what I can from a very complicated release.

1. Trump got rolled. I think he truly wanted a release of all files, but as with everything else in the “Deep State,” the Chief Priests told him, “You can’t do that” and cited as cause “national security,” etc.; the et cetera going back to 1963.

2. The release was designed to be a mess. The rollout of deleted/undeleted/no longer redacted, and often illegible materials is meant to assure us that “you see, there’s nothing here.”

3. But some “stuff” has come to the surface like scum on a pond; the CIA/Angleton/Oswald file clearly goes back to 1959, and [former CIA head of counterintelligence James] Angleton clearly had a special interest in Oswald.Jeff Morley, who’s written a new biography of Angleton (“The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton,” St. Martin’s Press, 2017) and also works as the editor of JFK Facts, explains Oswald as a “marked card” in the game, i.e. a soldier/pawn to be used as needed, which, to my mind, very well fits the Oswald profile. (See full article for the rest of his seven points and conclusion.)

Nov. 14

WhoWhatWhyWhoWhatWhy, Anatomy of a CIA Assassination, Part 1, Peter Janney, Nov. 14, 2017. The author finds out more and more about the elusive man who may have murdered President John F. Kennedy’s mistress. Who killed President John F. Kennedy’s mistress, and why?

In searching for the answers to this mystery, author Peter Janney came upon what seem to be the jagged fragments of an even bigger picture.

Previously, we posted excerpts from Janney’s remarkable book on the murder of Kennedy’s mistress, Mary Pinchot Meyer — Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace: Third Edition (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016). The excerpts were from Chapter 2, which we broke up into three parts, here, here, and here.

We now present the first of two more excerpts, taken from Chapter 12 (but with added subheading).

Nov. 13

WhoWhatWhyWhoWhatWhy, The JFK Files: New Light on Oswald and Mexico City, Dick Russell, Nov. 13, 2017. The mainstream media has been focusing on the well-worn narrative that Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly traveled to Mexico City and paid visits to the Soviet and Cuban consulates some months before the assassination of JFK. Was he secretly working for the communists, or is the media missing the real story? Those with a stake in avoiding the truth about John F. Kennedy’s assassination want you to believe Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone nut. If you won’t accept that, they have a fallback position: “It’s even worse. He was working for the commies.”

That “alternative” scenario revolves around a purported Oswald trip to Mexico City in the months before Kennedy’s death, when he allegedly visited Soviet and Cuban missions, met with a handler and sought his escape path to his beloved USSR.

There’s just one problem with this narrative. It probably isn’t true.

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, How to Understand JFK Conspiracy Theories, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Nov. 13, 2017. The recent October 26 deadline for releasing 50-year-old JFK-assassination records of the CIA and other federal agencies provided an opportunity for people to promote their favorite JFK assassination theories. The Russians did it. Fidel Castro did it. The U.S. national-security establishment did it. The Mafia did it. A lone nut named Lee Harvey Oswald did it.

The reaction among some people was predictable: “Oh, there are so many JFK assassination theories that I guess we’ll never know what really happened.” Or “It’s all so overwhelming and I just don’t want to be pulled into the rabbit hole.”

Actually, however, understanding the various conspiracy and non-conspiracy theories in the JFK assassination is really not that difficult. All it takes is some critical thinking, analysis, and common sense.

There are three major conspiracy theories and one non-conspiracy theory (i.e., the lone-nut theory). Let’s examine each one. I believe you’ll see why the matter isn’t as difficult as mainstream writers and commentators make it out to be.

Nov. 10

Future of Freedom Foundation, The JFK Autopsy Cover-Up, Jacob G. Hornberger, Nov. 10, 2017. A classic example of the obtuseness of the U.S. mainstream press regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy occurred recently on television station KARE in Minneapolis-St. Paul, when the station’s reporter, Chris Hrapsky, was interviewing federal Judge John Tunheim, who served as chairman of the Assassination Records Review Board, the agency that Congress established in the 1990s to enforce the JFK Records Act.

Hrapsky is a reporter. As such, he had a professional duty to educate himself on the facts of the ARRB before conducting his interview with Tunheim. He also had a professional duty to follow up on critically important matters discovered by the ARRB that pointed in the direction of an official cover-up.

Hrapsky’s interview of Tunheim, which took place on November 2, arose within the context of the publicity generated by the October 26 deadline. During the interview, Hrapsky was presented with the opportunity to explore one of the “smoking guns” uncovered by the ARRB, one that pointed to the national-security state’s cover-up in the JFK assassination by conducting a fraudulent autopsy on the president’s body.

Doug HorneThe full details of this episode are set forth in Volume 3, Chapter 10, of Douglas Horne’s five-volume work Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government’s Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK. Horne (shown at left) served on the staff of the ARRB in the 1990s. The title of Chapter 10 is “Two Brain Examinations — Coverup Confirmed.”

Horne’s entire five-volume work is not an easy read. But anyone who takes the time to read and study it will inevitably conclude that the military’s autopsy of JFK was fraudulent. For an easy to read summary of Horne’s five-volume book, I recommend my book The Kennedy Autopsy.

Lyndon B. JohnsonKeep in mind also how it came to be that the military conducted the JFK autopsy. Texas law required that the Dallas County Medical Examiner conduct the autopsy. But Lyndon Johnson (shown in a file photo), who was elevated to the presidency on JFK’s death, ordered the Secret Service to get the body out of Parkland (in violation of state law) and immediately bring it to Dallas Love Field, where Johnson’s people were making room for the casket by removing seats from Air Force One.

Secret Service logoAs I point out in The Kennedy Autopsy, a team of Secret Service agents, brandishing guns and threatening the use of deadly force and screaming profanities, forced their way out of Parkland Hospital with JFK’s body in a casket, over the vehement objections of Dr. Earl Rose, the Dallas County Medical Examiner. Loyally following Johnson’s order, despite the fact that they were violating Texas law, the Secret Service team took the body to Parkland and loaded it onto Air Force One, after which it was delivered into the hands of the military in Maryland.

Nov. 9

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, National Archives Releases 13,000+ JFK Records, WhoWhatWhy staff, Nov. 9, 2017. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) just released the largest number of JFK assassination files it has released thus far this year — 13,213 mostly CIA files — but then introduced a frustrating wrinkle, raising doubts about the coherence of the process and about their intent. Upon brief inspection, it appears that all of the files so far examined still contain redactions.

If the files have not been re-reviewed yet by either the specific agencies (such as the CIA, FBI, and NSA) or the National Archives themselves, then one wonders why they would release them now in their present redacted form. It’s Alice in Wonderland time.

Only four of the files are classified as fully-withheld, meaning that the public had never seen them before. A full 48 out of 52 pages are completely redacted.

National Archives, Latest Group of JFK Assassination Records Available to the Public, Staff report, Nov. 9, 2017. In the fourth public release this year, the National Archives today posted 13,213 records subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act). The majority of the documents released today were released previously in redacted form. The versions released today were prepared by agencies prior to October 26, 2017, and were posted to make the latest versions of the documents available as expeditiously as possible.  Released records are available for download here.

National Archives logoOn October 26, 2017, President Donald J. Trump directed agencies to re-review each and every one of their redactions over the next 180 days. As part of that review process, agency heads were directed to be extremely circumspect in recommending any further postponement of information in the records. Agency heads must report to the Archivist of the United States by March 12, 2018, any specific information within particular records that meets the standard for continued postponement under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the JFK Act.

The Archivist must then recommend to the President by March 26, 2018, whether this information warrants continued withholding after April 26, 2018. The records included in this public release have not yet been re-reviewed by the agencies as part of that process and have not been reviewed by the National Archives.

The National Archives released 676 documents on Nov. 3, 2,891 documents on Oct. 26, and 3,810 records on July 24.  The National Archives established the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection in November 1992, and it consists of approximately five million pages of records. The vast majority of the collection has been publicly available without any restrictions since the late 1990s.

Black Op RadioBlack Op Radio (Show #860), Topics: Vietnam and Nixon / CIA and Oswald / Film Screening CITIZEN LANE by Pauley Perrette (2017), Guests: Jim DiEugenio (1:47:55 hrs.) / Steve Jaffe (35:07 mins.) / John Barbour (50:03 mins), Nov. 9, 2017. Nov. 7 Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, Martin Luther King and Lee Harvey Oswald, Jacob G. Hornberger, Nov 7, 2017. The mainstream media and the acolytes of the U.S. national-security establishment continue to emphasize that there are no “smoking guns” in the tiny (2 percent) of the 50-year-old JFK records that President Trump, the National Archives, and the CIA have recently permitted the American people to see.

Of course, these people define “smoking gun” as a videotaped confession or a memorandum summarizing how and why the CIA orchestrated the November 22, 1963 regime-change operation. If the released records don’t contain a confession or such a memorandum, then in the minds of the people that means the official narrative must stand: A lone-nut former U.S. Marine communist with no motive suddenly decided to kill the president.

The records that the National Archives just released included a secret FBI analysis on civil-rights leader Martin Luther King.

Martin Luther King Jr.The thrust of the analysis is that King was a communist, and an immoral communist at that.

In a November 4, 2017, article entitled “In the Latest JFK Files: The FBI’s Ugly Analysis on Martin Luther King, Jr., Filled With Falsehoods,” the Washington Post writes: "The 20-page document, dated March 12, three weeks before King was assassinated in Memphis, is included in the latest trove of government files about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, which the National Archives released Friday. It alleges that King’s political ideologies and the creation of his civil rights organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, were heavily influenced by communists, specifically the Communist Party USA."

FBIOne big question that arises, of course, is why the FBI chose to keep this 50-year-old analysis secret from the American people until now.

One possibility, of course, is that the FBI was just embarrassed about having published such a report.

A second possibility, however, is that the FBI orchestrated the assassination of King and decided that the analysis would constitute evidence of motive. After all, don’t forget, this was the era of the Cold War, when the CIA was targeting communists for assassination. Before anyone cries, “Conspiracy theory, Jacob!” let’s not forget that in a civil lawsuit brought by King’s family, after weighing all the evidence the jury found, in its official verdict,  that government agencies conspired to kill King.

Does the FBI analysis on King have any bearing on the Kennedy assassination? Actually, yes. That’s where critical thinking, circumstantial evidence, inferential thinking, and common sense come into play.

JFK Facts.org, Where to find a JFK smoking gun: in the coming FBI files, Jefferson Morley, Nov. 6, 2017. (Jefferson Morley, Washington bureau chief of AlterNet and editor of JFKFacts.org, has authored two books on CIA executives relevant to the Kennedy Assassination, most recently on Oct. 24 The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton.)

James J. AngletonThere is at least one potential smoking gun in the new JFK files, and it may soon come into public view. As I explained to the Washington Post: "one of the more interesting documents to emerge involves a CIA cable about Oswald’s contacts in Mexico City that had up until Friday been partially redacted. The Oct. 8, 1963 cable discussed Oswald’s interactions with a Soviet consular official named Valery Kostikov, the reputed head of the KGB’s assassinations operations. On Friday, the CIA cable’s slugline was finally declassified. The title: LCIMPROVE.”

If there is a “smoking gun” in the JFK files, it will be found in the FBI’s curious response to the October 8, 1963 cable. The next day, October 9, 1963, the FBI made a curious decision that has long puzzled JFK researchers and historians. Senior agents in Washington removed Oswald’s name from a list of persons of interest to FBI headquarters. Six weeks later, Oswald was arrested for shooting JFK.

In other words, the day after the CIA’s top counterintelligence official was informed that Oswald had met with possible KGB officer in Mexico City, the FBI decided that Oswald was no longer worthy of close scrutiny. The FBI files, scheduled for release, will likely shed light on this fateful decision. The FBI has previously released internal records about why the so-called “Flash” notice on Oswald was cancelled but they are filled with redactions. If and when those redactions are removed, we may learn who was shielding Oswald from law enforcement attention as he made his way to Dallas.

Jefferson MorleyJFKFacts.org, Morley responds to CIA historian David Robarge, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), Nov. 6, 2017. In a great compliment to me, personally and professionally, CIA historian David Robarge has attacked my new biography of James Angleton, The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (St. Martin’s Press. 336 pp. $27.99).

Robarge’s review is a compliment because it shows how my account of Angleton’s career is disturbing the CIA’s preferred narrative of Angleton, and especially the agency’s enduring cover story that Angleton was not paying close attention to Lee Harvey Oswald in the summer of 1963. In fact, he was paying attention to Oswald, as I show in The Ghost. Robarge is discomfited by the JFK facts as I have presented them. He should be.

Nov. 4 

Dan HardwayAssassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), The intelligence community flips off America, Dan Hardway, Nov. 4, 2017. The author (shown at left) is an attorney in private practice and a former investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), created by the House in 1976 to re-investigate the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The important and much longer version of this column is on the AARC website and is highly recommended.

James Angleton (shown below at right at a 1975 senate intelligence hearing in a New York Times photo by George Tames) set the [CIA's JFK assassination HSCA] strategy in 1964: “Jim would prefer to wait out the Commission,” as one CIA memo about Warren Commission inquiries put it. They are still doing that as well as running their propaganda campaign against anyone who questions the lone-nut theory, their “best truth” according to [the CIA's historian] David Robarge.

James J. AngletonNARA released some of the files that I have been waiting on yesterday, November 3, 2017....There has been no explanation, let alone a presidential certification, that the massive redactions in these “released in full” documents meet any of the mandatory exemptions that allow withholding.

No identifiable harm is specified. No rationale is given as to why the secrets protected outweigh the public interest in disclosure. These files are not in compliance with the law no matter what the main stream media says. They are an in-your-face flipped bird to the American public. They basically tell us that the CIA is saying that they don’t have to comply with the law of the land and that they will not tell us their secrets and that there is nothing we can do about it.

Johnny RoselliI’ve been here before. It was in a small room in CIA Headquarters in late 1978. I had been fighting to see a file generated by the CIA debriefing of John "Handsome Johnny" Roselli [shown at left, an influential mobster for the Chicago Outfit who helped control Hollywood and the Las Vegas Strip. He worked with CIA officers on anti-Castro assassination plots and was found  dismembered in 1976 before his rescheduled testimony to Congress].

George JoannidesScott Breckinridge and George Joannides had just handed me a highly redacted file that violated the HSCA/CIA Memorandum of Understanding mandating unexpurgated access by HSCA to CIA files. [Joannides, shown in a file photo, was a CIA official heavily involved in anti-Castro activities in the 1960s that, among other things, help fan anti-Kennedy sentiment among Cuban exiles. CIA later named Joannides to help the HSCA in the late 1970s understand operations, even though HSCA staff have said they were never informed by agency that Joannides was himself the key type of 1960s operative they were seeking to find and interview.)

They stood by, grinning, as they watched my reaction upon opening the file to find it largely expurgated. They were grinning so hard because they knew they had waited out the HSCA and there was nothing I could do about it. The Angleton strategy still worked. It is still working today.

I’ve been here before. It was in a small room in CIA Headquarters in late 1978. I had been fighting to see a file generated by the CIA debriefing of Johnny Roselli.

Scott Breckinridge and George Joannides had just handed me a highly redacted file that violated the HSCA/CIA Memorandum of Understanding mandating unexpurgated access by HSCA to CIA files. They stood by, grinning, as they watched my reaction upon opening the file to find it largely expurgated. They were grinning so hard because they knew they had waited out the HSCA and there was nothing I could do about it. The Angleton strategy still worked. It is still working today.

Joseph Burkholder Smith It appears our lawmakers are spineless in the face of the intelligence community. Joseph Burkholder Smith (shown at left), a retired CIA officer, told me and Gaeton Fonzi in 1978, “You represent Congress. What the f*** is that to the CIA? You’ll be gone in two years and the CIA will still be there.” To paraphrase that to fit the situation in which we now find ourselves: “You are the people that Congress supposedly represents. What’s that to the CIA? You’ll forget about it in a few weeks or so.”

But I won’t. I wrote a letter to my Senator yesterday before I saw the travesty that was the day’s release of JFK documents by NARA. Probably a futile gesture, but one I had to take anyway.

cia logoTo my knowledge there has been no coverage or explanation of why the intelligence community has requested this delay of the President. It was made in secret. What reason have they given for the delay?

What kind of pressure have they brought to bear? How can they force a president to so blatantly disregard the law? If they can do this in regard to disclosure of fifty-year-old records, in what else can they exercise a like secret influence that corrupts the laws of the nation?

What affect does the existence and use of such secret power have on our democracy? If these things – not just the documents but the method of influence – remain always secret, then how can a citizenry be sufficiently informed so as to exercise their franchise to any real purpose? How can we have faith in our democracy, let alone our government, if this kind of practice is allowed to continue unchallenged?

These are the questions that I would like to have answered.

Nov. 3 Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, The Cunningness of the CIA’s JFK Assassination Cover-Up, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Nov. 3, 2017. Whatever else might be said about the assassination of President Kennedy, one thing is for sure: The cover-up of this particular U.S. regime-change operation was one of the most ingenious and cunning plots ever designed. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, given that practically from its inception in 1947 the CIA was specializing in the arts of assassination, regime change, and cover-up.

As far back as 1953, the CIA published an assassination manual that the CIA succeeded in keeping secret from the American people for more than 40 years. It came to light in 1997 as a result of a Freedom of Information request. That was around the time that the Assassination Records Review Board, which was overseeing the mandatory release of JFK-related assassination records of the CIA and other federal agencies that had been kept secret from the American people since 1963.

Today, Americans can read the CIA’s assassination manual online. Titled “Study of Assassination,” the manual spells out various ways to assassinate people. Here is what the manual states in part regarding the use of firearms: "Firearms are often used in assassination, often very ineffectively…. Public figures or guarded officials may be killed with great reliability and some safety if a firing point can be established prior to an official occasion. The propaganda value of this system may be very high."

CIA logoThe manual also makes it clear that the CIA was studying ways to assassinate people without being detected. Note the following excerpt: "For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated."

It would be safe to assume that the CIA continued developing and expanding on the assassination principles enunciated in that early assassination manual. That’s what we would expect from an agency whose specialties included assassination. We can also assume that the CIA continued to refine the ways to avoid detection when assassinating someone.

The CIA published that secret assassination manual as part of its preparations for a U.S. regime-change operation in Guatemala, one that was designed to violently remove the nation’s democratically elected socialist president, Jacobo Arbenz, from office and replace him with an unelected, right-wing, pro-U.S. military general.

As part of the Guatemala regime-change operation, the CIA prepared a list of Guatemalan officials to be assassinated. While the CIA has never revealed the names of the people it targeted for assassination, there is little doubt that Arbenz, the president, was at the top of the list. There is something important to note: Neither Arbenz nor any other Guatemalan official had ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.

Nov. 2

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, Oliver Stone Was Right about the CIA, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Nov. 2, 2017. I can’t decide which is more amusing: the CIA’s use of “national security” to justify keeping secret its 50-year-old records in the JFK assassination or the mainstream media’s response to the continued secrecy.

On the one hand, the CIA’s use of “national security” to justify keeping 98 percent of the still-secret records is palpably laughable. However one defines that nebulous term “national security,” one thing is patently clear: Nothing — absolutely nothing — would have happened to the United States if the CIA had been forced to let the American people see its still-secret, 50-year-old JFK records on October 26, 2018, as the 1992 JFK Records Act mandated. The United States wouldn’t have fallen into the ocean. The federal government wouldn’t have turned Red.

After all, what happened to the United States when only 2 percent of the long-secret records were finally released last week? Nothing. The United States is still standing and the commies have not taken over the federal government. But don’t forget: For more than 50 years, the CIA has maintained, falsely as it turns out, that disclosing those 2 percent of its records would threaten “national security.”

Black Op RadioBlack Op Radio (Show #859), Topics: CAPA & Texas V. Oswald / Studio film screening, Guests: Cyril Wecht (23.37 mins. ) / Bill Simpich (37:02 mins.) / Larry Schnapf (38:10 mins.) / John Barbour (19:49 mins.), Nov. 2, 2017. CAPA (Citizens Against Political Assassinations).  State Of Texas V. Lee Harvey Oswald: Nov. 16-17, Houston. The first time scientific evidence in this case will be presented. You do not have evidence in this crime of a sole shooter.

The documentary film The Parkland Doctors will premiere at this event. Alec Baldwin will speak at the banquet Thursday night. Cyril Wecht eagerly awaits all the contributions of his colleagues. This two-day event will be live-streamed. Disappointment that Trump's willingness to release all records was foiled. Eyeball-to-eyeball with the CIA, Trump seemed to cave a little bit. Black Op Radio (Show #860), Topics: Vietnam and Nixon / CIA and Oswald / Film Screening CITIZEN LANE by Pauley Perrette (2017), Guests: Jim DiEugenio (1:47:55 hrs.) / Steve Jaffe (35:07 mins.) / John Barbour (50:03 mins), Nov. 9, 2017. https://blackopradio.com/archives2017.html   Walt Brown (1:29:19 hrs.) https://blackopradio.com/archives2017.html

October

Oct. 30

JFK Investigation Follow-up Mary Ferrell Foundation, Formerly withheld-in-full documents released on Oct. 26, 2017, Rex Bradford (shown in file photo), Oct. 30, 2017. These 52 documents, all formerly withheld in full, were released on October 26, 2017 (25 years after the passage of the JFK Records Act). They come from a variety of agencies. An additional 2839 formerly-redacted documents were also released on that day. See the 2017 Documents project page under the Resources menu for more information.Rex Bradford

Sort by: Title     NARA RIF Number       Date                Agency File Number

1. [No Title] RIF#: 124-10208-10333   (08/05/1964)   FBI#: 105-98177-32

2. [No Title] RIF#: 124-10291-10043   (11/08/1976)   FBI#: CR 109-12-223-6308

3. [No Title] RIF#: 124-10291-10044   (06/09/1976)   FBI#: CR 109-12-223-6322

4. [No Title] RIF#: 124-90089-10094   (01/04/1961)   FBI#: 2-1622-62, etc.

Consortium News, The Deep State’s JFK Triumph Over Trump, Ray McGovern (former CIA analyst, shown in a file photo), Oct. 30, 2017. Fifty-four years after President Kennedy’s assassination, the CIA and FBI demanded more time to decide what secrets to keep hiding – and a chastened President Trump bowed to their power.

Ray McGovernIt was summer 1963 when a senior official of CIA’s operations directorate treated our Junior Officer Trainee (JOT) class to an unbridled rant against President John F. Kennedy. He accused JFK, among other things, of rank cowardice in refusing to send U.S. armed forces to bail out Cuban rebels pinned down during the CIA-launched invasion at the Bay of Pigs, blowing the chance to drive Cuba’s Communist leader Fidel Castro from power.

It seemed beyond odd that a CIA official would voice such scathing criticism of a sitting President at a training course for those selected to be CIA’s future leaders. I remember thinking to myself, “This guy is unhinged; he would kill Kennedy, given the chance.”

JFK Countercoup, Adam Gopnik/New Yorker Annotated, Bill Kelly, Oct. 30, 2017. JIP Editor's Note: Assassination research expert Bill Kelly, board member of Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), debunks the pro-Warren Commission, lone-nut-did-it propaganda of New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik. Gopnik authored The J.F.K. Files, Trump, and the Deep State, published on Oct. 29, in which he reviewed in superficial fashion documents released last week by the Trump administration in partial compliance with a law requiring release of JFK assassination documents by Oct. 26. Gopnik claimed that the documents reaffirm his 2013 analysis that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and killed President Kennedy with three shots fired from the rear. Kelly (whose comments below are identified with "BK" contradicted Gopnik's claims, beginning with those below:

So far, the newly released documents on John F. Kennedy’s assassination seem only to confirm the wisest conclusions about the President’s death.

BK – Yes, that he was not murdered by one man alone.

The release last Thursday of previously classified, or at least unseen, government files of all kinds relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy is being heralded as Donald Trump’s decision—though it was simply his decision not to prevent their release, which had long been scheduled. In fact, at the last minute, Trump listened to requests from the intelligence services not to release some three hundred of the remaining three thousand files.

BK: You got your numbers wrong Gopnik – get it right please – this is important.

Georgetowner, Conspiracy Theories Old and New, Peggy Sands, Oct. 30, 2017. It’s Halloween 2017 and, perhaps appropriately, old and new mysteries of murder, collusion and conspiracy involving the highest realms of government — including the White House — have taken center stage.

On Friday, Oct. 27, the National Archives and Records Administration released 2,800 documents, held by the FBI and the CIA for 25 years, relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Hotly anticipated, this final document dump was supposed to definitively confirm or deny the Warren Commission’s official and controversial single-shooter, single-bullet conclusion about who shot JFK and why. But at the last minute on Friday, the National Archives held back the release of some records “for national security reasons”; these will be reviewed, re-redacted and released (perhaps) six months from now.

In the end, it may not matter what we know or what the facts are, at least according to [Andrew] Kreig, [who cites the former Georgetown University CSIS scholar and Reagan administration official Dr. Paul Craig Roberts as writing this week]: “The official story will never be changed. J. Edgar Hoover, along with LBJ, Earl Warren and the members of the Warren Commission understood that it was impossible to tell the American people that their president has been assassinated by the U.S. military and U.S. security agencies. At a dicey time of the Cold War, clearly it would have been reckless to destroy Americans’ trust in their own government.”

ABA Journal, JFK assassination documents digitized and made searchable by e-discovery firm, Jason Tashea, Oct. 31, 2017. The legal review software company iCONECT has digitized some JFK assassination records and is offering free access for 60 days. Launched Oct. 30, the company imported 6,701 public documents from the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection to its Xera platform, including audio files. A user can now search various fields to find relevant information. This is an improvement over the National Archives’ repository of these documents, which are in PDF format and non-searchable, according to a press release.

iCONECT also “built a search index, charts, graphs, quick-search folders and word-highlight reports for all the records,” according to the release. A user can even auto-mark CIA cryptonyms found throughout the document set.

The federal government released 2,800 new documents last week, according to CNN, after President Donald Trump declared on Twitter that he would do so.

“I am doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest,” Trump tweeted.

Full disclosure has so far proved illusive because of concerns from national security agencies that have kept many documents classified.

Not including the recent release of documents, “five million pages of assassination-related records” and other artifacts were already available online, according to the National Archives. All of the public records in the archive are free to the public.

Oct. 29 Jacqueline Kennedy in Dallas Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill, at top left, climbs onto bumper of President Kennedy's limousine in Dallas after the fatal shooting in 1963. The president's wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, meanwhile reaches for brain matter on the car trunk in hope it could help doctors. OpEdNews, Opinion: The Kennedy Assassination, Paul Craig Roberts (conservative scholar and former Reagan Assistant Treasury Secretary), Oct. 29, 2017. J. Edgar Hoover, along with LBJ, Earl Warren and the members of the Warren Commission understood that it was impossible to tell the American people that their president has been assassinated by the US military and US security agencies. At a dicey time of the Cold War, clearly it would have been reckless to destroy Americans' trust in their own government.

James Douglass Some are pushing me to continue with the Las Vegas shooting story while others are asking to know what to make of the release of files pertaining to President Kennedy's assassination. My answer is that we already know, thanks to exhaustively researched books such as James W. Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable (Simon & Schuster, 2008), far more than is in the released files. My answer is also that it doesn't matter what we know or what the facts are, the official story will never be changed.

Douglass concludes that Kennedy was murdered because he turned to peace. He was going to work with Khrushchev to end the Cold War. He refused the CIA US air cover for the Bay of Pigs invasion. He rejected the Joint Chiefs' Operation Northwoods, a plan to conduct false flag attacks on Americans that would be blamed on Castro to justify regime change. He refused to reappoint General Lyman Lemnitzer as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He told US Marine commandant General David Shoup that he was taking the US out of Vietnam. He said after his reelection he was going to "break the CIA into 1,000 pieces."

All of this threatened the power and profit of the military/security complex and convinced military/security elements that he was soft on communism and a threat to US national security.

New Yorker, The J.F.K. Files, Trump, and the Deep State, Adam Gopnik, Oct. 29, 2017. [CAPA Editor's Note]: The following column is excerpted as an example of #JFKFakeNews, not for veracity]:

It’s always possible that some smoking gun of a document will reveal itself in the remaining files. Scrolling through the PDFs of the (very well presented) documents, though, mostly reveals just what one expected: rumors and scuttlebutt, with uncertain sourcing. We learn that, two days after the assassination, the F.B.I. was roiled by the possibility that Jack Ruby was identical to a Florida racketeer named Rubin. And that, two weeks before the assassination, one Robert C. Rawls overheard someone in a bar in New Orleans offering to bet a hundred dollars that President Kennedy would not be alive in three weeks’ time. But, the document reads, “He does not recall ever seeing the man before and is not certain that he would recognize him if he did. He admits being somewhat intoxicated at the time and said the man also was in an intoxicated condition.”

Perhaps that smoking gun may yet exist; God knows there are enough dogged assassination researchers out there to find it if it does. But, so far, the documents seem to confirm the wisest twin conclusions about the J.F.K. assassination: Oswald was guilty, and acted alone; and, at the same time, the intelligence services — the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and the rest — were up to their armpits in bad acts that they were trying to keep concealed. These conclusions, as I wrote on the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination, point to two more: that the Warren Commission is almost certainly the only plausible account of what happened on that day in Dallas, and that the underlife of the government was more sinister, or at least more complicit in guilty knowledge, than the image makers of the time, and the Kennedys, wanted to accept or to publicize.

Oct. 28

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Featured: What Happened Thursday with the JFK Records? Rex Bradford, Oct. 28, 2017. Rex Bradford (shown above in a 2013 interview on C-SPAN) is president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, the world's largest private collection of JFK-related assassination documents. It is named for a late Dallas secretary, shown at right, who started it by collecting newspapers and documents out of disbelief in official reports.

A travesty. Most news reports correctly noted the release of about 2800 documents, but added that only a few were held back, in some cases saying "300 documents" remain withheld (see CNN, and Washington Post for example). They are off by a factor of 100. In fact, tens of thousands of documents, possibly as many as 30,000, remain sealed at the National Archives.

If President Trump had gone golfing at Mar-A-Lago and done absolutely nothing on Thursday, the National Archives (NARA) was set to release all the documents. See the relevant language in the Assassination Records Review Board's Final Report, quoting from the 1992 JFK Records Act.

This includes 3,147 "withheld in full" records never seen, and an unknown number of redacted documents estimated at about 30,000. Intensely lobbied by federal agencies including the CIA, Trump instead authorized the withholding of well over 90% of these documents. 52 of the 3,147 withheld-in-full records were released and put online by NARA, less than 2%, and 2,839 of the redacted documents were released, which is probably less than 10% of that set.

From the public metadata available for all these records, it's clear that the most-desired records were held back. Still withheld-in-full records among the 98% of those still withheld include, for example:

* Still-withheld Church Committee interview transcripts not included in the 1990s releases, including one with none other than CIA CounterIntelligence chief James Angleton.

* Lengthy CIA files on officers who played a role in Castro assassination plotting and/or the JFK story, including William Harvey, David Philips, E. Howard Hunt, James O'Connell, Richard Synder, and several others.

* A 167-page CIA document on Valeriy Kostikov, the Soviet agent stationed in Mexico whose name was used as part of the "World War III" scenario that the Warren Commission we now know was created to push back against.

* An interview the House Select Committee on Assassinations conducted with Orest Pena, the New Orleans bar owner who told the Committee that Oswald was an FBI informant and he often saw Oswald in the company of a particular FBI agent.

RT, Let's try this again: Trump vows full JFK files release to ‘put conspiracy theories to rest,’ Staff and wire reports, Oct. 28, 2017. Following Thursday's limited declassification of files relating to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that a complete release is imminent. “After strict consultation with General Kelly, the CIA and other Agencies, I will be releasing ALL JFK files other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living. I am doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest,” Trump tweeted.

RealClearPolitics, Sessions Full Interview With Bret Baier: Uranium One, Trump Dossier, JFK Files, Fourth Amendment & More, Ian Schwartz, Oct. 28, 2017. Bret Baier interviews Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the Friday edition of Special Report. Full transcript, via FOX News:

BAIER: Let's talk about the FISA issue and other topics. Joining us now, here at the Department Of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Attorney General, thanks for having us.

SESSIONS: Thank you, Bret. It's good to have you in our courtyard. Great building and great history, I work every day to be worthy of this great tradition to this department.

BAIER: Let me talk about the piece we just saw and that issue about FISA. There are concerns on Capitol Hill, a number of law makers think their need to be changes. What is your take, what is the administration's take?

SESSIONS: My view, and I’ve had it really embedded in me since I’ve been here in – in the department, is that this is a really important issue. We have to protect the fundamentals of 702. I really think if people understood it, they wouldn't think any changes needs to be made. But Congress is working at it, giving intensive review of it.

BAIER: Speaking of taking time, big story today, these JFK papers. The president says he wants to put them out. Then they come out redacted because of concerns from the CIA and FBI and there's a lot of people saying that after all these years, weren't you ready for this day?

SESSIONS: It's time to get it done, Bret. I've talked with the FBI. We've talked with our staff here. I think the president's right to say, let’s get these materials out. they are moving today very quickly. Some of documents have already been produced today and they will be moving faster, there will not be, I believe, any significant redactions – redaction that may have been suggested will not be in there. There's going to be virtually complete disclosure. Some people who are alive may not need their names or their current address’s revealed. Lot of it is extraneous entirely.

BAIER: You are trying to expedite it?

SESSIONS: We are working this weekend. We are going to be working every way possible to expedite the production of these documents as completely as possible and they will be virtually, completely revealed from the FBI files.

Associated Press, Trump frustrated by secrecy with JFK files, Staff report, Oct. 28, 2017. Thursday's release of 2,800 records from the JFK files was anything but smooth. An irritated Trump resisted signing off redaction requests, according to an account by two White House officials. It was a showdown 25 years in the making: With the world itching to finally get a look at classified Kennedy assassination files, and the deadline for their release just hours away, intelligence officials were still angling for a way to keep their secrets.

President Donald Trump, the one man able to block the release, did not appreciate their persistence. He did not intend to make this easy.

The tale of the final hours before the congressionally mandated 25-year release deadline adds a new chapter to the story of Trump's troubled relationship with his spy agencies. He again flashed his skepticism and unpredictability in dealing with agencies long accustomed to a level of deference. Intelligence officials, meanwhile, were again left scratching their heads about a president whose impulses they cannot predict.

And those officials had their own story tell, some rejecting the notion they were slow to act on Trump's expectations for the documents. The CIA began work months ago to get its remaining assassination-related documents ready for release on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the process. The person, who was not authorized to publicly to discuss the process and spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the goal was to have all the agency's documents ready to be released in full or with national security redactions before the deadline.

Late last week, Trump received his first official briefing on the release in an Oval Office meeting that included Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Counsel Don McGahn and National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg. Trump made it clear he was unsatisfied with the pace of declassification. Trump's tweets, an official said, were meant as a signal to the intelligence community to take seriously his threats to release the documents in their entirety.

According to White House officials, Trump accepted that some of the records contained references to sensitive sources and methods used by the intelligence community and law enforcement and that declassification could harm American foreign policy interests. But after having the scope of the redactions presented to him, Trump told aides he did not believe them to be in the spirit of the law.

Los Angeles Times, Opinion: The latest JFK documents still don't show a Russian conspiracy, James Reston Jr., Oct. 28, 2017.  The partial release of the remaining documents in the government’s Kennedy assassination archive has revived an old legend: the Russian orchestration of the president’s murder. All it took was a few new tidbits from CIA and FBI reports about Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City in September 1963.

It is no mystery why the majority of Americans believe that some grand plot, probably orchestrated by a foreign power, was behind the assassination of President Kennedy. For the greatest crime of the 20th century and perhaps of all American history, we demand a conspiracy of equivalent magnitude. That is the comfortable and lazy thing to believe.

Unfortunately, the real answer still lies in the demented mind of a wretched little man with a ninth-grade education, whose life was hopeless, and who was driven by anger, grudges and delusion.

James Reston Jr. is the author of “The Accidental Victim: JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the Real Target in Dallas.” A senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, and an Army intelligence officer from 1965 to 1968, his latest book is “A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam Memorial.”

CAPA editor's note: The column above is included here for the sake of illustrating the degree of propaganda, misinformation and fake news still being provided by well-connected pseudo-experts about the death.  Readers are encouraged to use the following Twitter hash tags to flag slanted articles such as this: #JFKFakeNews #MassmediaJFKLies.

Oct. 27

Cyril Wecht books Noted forensic pathologist Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., in his Pittsburgh lab, with a collage of book covers (Collage by WhoWhatWhy)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wecht faults Trump for delay in releasing all JFK assassination documents, Michael A. Fuoco, Oct. 27, 2017. Storied forensic pathologist Cyril H. Wecht, a longtime Warren Commission critic, reacted strongly Friday morning to President Donald Trump’s decision the preceding day to delay release of hundreds of secret government files related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Dr. Wecht wondered aloud if the president’s decision was a mutually beneficial deal with the CIA related to his ongoing problems involving Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Trump delayed release of about 300 of the 3,100 files — comprising thousands of pages — that have never been seen by the public after last-minute appeals from the CIA and FBI citing security concerns. About 30,000 documents were released previously with redactions.

“I think it was a poker game with the CIA. ‘You fellows want me to do this. What’s in it for me?’” said Dr. Wecht, who for decades has disputed the findings of the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. “Why does Trump, after all of this time, change his mind about releasing everything?

“I believe he had the CIA over a barrel, that they were pushing him very hard not to release everything and I think they gave in, so to speak, and worked out a quid pro quo about all of this business with Russia.”

Dr. Wecht admitted his theory is only conjecture and acknowledged his bias. For decades, he has been one of the best known critics of the Warren Commission, arguing that the government twisted evidence to pin the assassination on Oswald because the truth of what occurred would be too much for the American public to take. Dr. Wecht speculates that "truth" is that rogue elements of the CIA had the Mafia kill JFK.

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, The JFK Cover-Up Continues, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Oct. 27, 2017. While the mainstream media was announcing for the past two weeks that President Trump was going to release the CIA’s long-secret records on the JFK assassination, I took a different position. On Monday of this week, I predicted that Trump would make a deal with the CIA that would enable the CIA to continue its cover-up of the JFK assassination. (See I Predict Trump Will Continue the CIA’s JFK Assassination Cover-Up and No Smoking Guns in the JFK Records?)

On Thursday, the day of the deadline established by law for releasing the records, Trump granted the CIA’s request for continued secrecy, on grounds of “national security,” more than 50 years after the Kennedy assassination.

Please, don’t start calling me Nostradamus. A blind man could see what was happening. Donald “Art of the Deal” Trump was obviously negotiating all week with the CIA, and he was obviously pushing to get what he wanted all the way up to the very last day. On Thursday, the deadline established by law for releasing the records, the CIA undoubtedly blinked and Trump presumably got what he wanted in return for granting CIA request for continued secrecy.

CIASome mainstream media commentators are criticizing the CIA for waiting until the very last day to make its case for continued secrecy. Displaying their naivete, they demonstrate their lack of understanding about how things work in Washington, D.C. As I indicated in my Monday article, when someone in the federal government needs a favor from someone else, the someone else is going to ask for something in return.

The fact is that the CIA put in its request to Trump for continued secrecy of its JFK records long before yesterday. But “Art of the Deal” Trump obviously sat on the request, undoubtedly hoping that he could get what he wanted in return if he just continued holding out and conveying that he was ready to release the records.

In the end, the CIA blinked, just as Trump knew it would. Contrary to what the mainstream press is asserting, the records undoubtedly contain more incriminating circumstantial evidence that fills in the mosaic of a U.S. national-security regime-change operation on November 22, 1963. That’s what the mainstream media, forever wedded to the official story no matter how ridiculous and illogical it is, simply cannot bring themselves to confront.

Trump knew that he had the CIA over a barrel. As I indicated in my two articles this week, the CIA was between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, it could refuse to grant Trump what he wanted and let the records be released, which it knew would point to the CIA’s guilt in the assassination. On the other hand, it could give Trump what he wanted and have to suffer the obvious inference that people would draw — that the CIA was continuing to cover up incriminatory evidence.

What did the CIA give Trump in return for Trump’s extending the CIA’s 50-year-plus secrecy? We don’t know, but my hunch is that it pertains to Russia....

CIAKennedys and King (formerly CTKA), Rachel Maddow, JFK and Easy Money, James DiEugenio, Oct. 27, 2017. Maddow’s staff fished out some archival footage from NBC, did some research on Pettit, got permission to show parts of JFK and called up Shenon. This results in nothing but aimless and uninformed banter, and is pretty much symptomatic of the MSM’s attitude toward these releases.

In the lead up to the final declassification of the long awaited secret files on President Kennedy’s assassination, there were literally dozens of TV broadcast segments alerting the public to what President Trump had decided to do and what it all meant. Not one of these programs went beyond the surface of the event. And most of them relied on nothing but general information, questionable guests, and past clichés about the case to create their segments. Incredibly, the MSM even trotted out Mr. Plagiarism, Gerald Posner, for some appearances. No one noted that Posner has not done any work of the JFK case in twenty years. And his discredited book Case Closed was written and published before the creation of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in 1994. Therefore, not only was Posner not familiar with the current batch of declassified files, he was not aware of what was in the two million pages declassified from 1994-1998. But that did not stop Michael Smerconish from hosting him on his CNN show as an authority.

But probably the worst of the segments happened to be one of the longest ones, timing in at almost ten minutes. This took place on October 25th, the day before the documents were supposed to be released. It was on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.

MSNBC has a reputation, and a niche, in cable television as being a liberal haven. Compared to say Fox, that is true. But many would question just how liberal, and honest, the cable network is. For instance, Melissa Harris-Perry was an acute, well-informed host who really tried to book rarely heard voices onto her program. In fact, her show was the only Sunday talk show that did not utilize a majority of white males as guests. After four years, she was forced out in early 2016. She concluded that, since she was an African-American female, they did not want to hear her comments on election returns that year. Try and find anything online, or anywhere else, that Maddow said or wrote about Perry’s highly publicized dispute with management. My other point would be this: How liberal and honest can MSNBC be if Chris Matthews is the longstanding bellwether of the network? This is the man who actually wrote a book—Kennedy and Nixon—that tried to equate the political career of John Kennedy with that of Richard Nixon. He then wrote a completely inadequate biography of JFK. In all the years I listened to the Bay-area blowhard, I never heard anything but inside-the-beltway pabulum from the man. For this he makes five million a year. Nice work if you can get it.

Washington Post, Trump bowing to CIA on JFK files is a reminder of how the presidency changes people, James Hohmann, Oct. 27, 2017. Releasing all of the John F. Kennedy documents could add fuel to conspiracy theories about the former president's death. But it’s really hard to tell national security officials “no” when they’re warning you of potential dangers to the country and its intelligence apparatus. New York Times, In J.F.K. Files, a Peek Back at an Era of Secrets, Peter Baker, Oct. 27, 2017. Documents released this week recall the Cold War context against which the assassination of John F. Kennedy generated suspicion that still persists. How much does it cost to knock off a foreign leader? In 1964, the asking price to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro was $150,000. The Cuban exiles who were willing to pay felt that “was too high” and countered with $100,000 to seal the deal. As a bonus, the businessman who offered to arrange the assassin services also agreed to bump off Raúl Castro and Che Guevara for another $20,000 each — plus $2,500 for expenses, of course.

The haggling between Cuban exiles and criminal figures was recounted in a July 4, 1964, memo by the F.B.I. that was marked “SECRET” and released in full on Thursday as part of a stash of files related, if sometimes only theoretically, to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the end, of course, whatever came of the plot did not put either of the Castros or Guevara in the ground.

But that memo and many of the 2,800 once-secret documents that were made public harken back to an era of Cold War intrigue and spy-versus-spy contests, when assassinations and clandestine plots were a matter of tradecraft, not John le Carré novels. Some real, some fanciful, the schemes and stories contained in the newly divulged files help explain the backdrop against which the Kennedy killing stirred suspicions that persist to this day.

“It was a very different time, and you have to remember the context,” said Larry J. Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia and the author of “The Kennedy Half-Century,” published in 2013. “Almost everything revolved around this bipolar system we had” between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Washington Post, Strippers, surveillance and assassination plots: The wildest JFK Files, Michael E. Miller, Oct. 27, 2017 (with contributions below by Ian Shapira and others). More than a dozen reporters and editors for the Washington Post combed through the documents on Thursday night. Here are some of the wildest things they found, some of which have been reported about before and some new.
 $100,000 to kill Fidel Castro: A 1964 FBI memo describes a meeting in which Cuban exiles tried to set a price on the heads of Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. “It was felt that the $150,000.00 to assassinate FIDEL CASTRO plus $5,000 expense money was too high,” the memo noted. At a subsequent meeting, they settled on more modest sums: $100,000 for Fidel, $20,000 for Raul and $20,000 for Che.

Ted Cruz’s dad: Not one to shy away from conspiracy theories, then-candidate Trump himself had a hot take on the assassination he delivered to Fox News last year. Trump, who was at the time battling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for the Republican presidential nomination, claimed that his opponent’s father, Rafael Cruz, had been spotted with Oswald before the shooting. “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot,” Trump said during a telephone interview. “I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? Right? Prior to his being shot. And nobody even brings it up. I mean, they don’t even talk about that — that was reported. And nobody talks about it.”

Richard HelmsTrump appeared to be referencing an April 2016 National Enquirer article headlined  “Ted Cruz Father Linked to JFK Assassination!” The story contained a photo that, according to the tabloid, showed Oswald and Rafael Cruz distributing pro-Castro leaflets in New Orleans in 1963. Even after clinching the nomination, Trump stuck by the widely discredited story.

And the Killer Is: The records also reveal a deposition given before the presidential Commission on CIA Activities in 1975 by Richard Helms (shown in a file photo), who had served as the agency’s director. After a discussion of Vietnam, David Belin, an attorney for the commission, turned to whether the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s killing.

“Well, now, the final area of my investigation relates to charges that the CIA was in some way conspiratorially involved with the assassination of President Kennedy. During the time of the Warren Commission, you were Deputy Director of Plans, is that correct?” Belin asked.

After Helms replied that he was, Belin then asked: “Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent or agent…”

Then, suddenly, the document cuts off.

Who What WhyWhoWhatWhy, JFK Assassination Triggered More Than Kennedy’s Death, Jeff Schechtman, Oct. 27, 2017. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and particularly its aftermath, was the first in a series of high-profile events that triggered an increased level of distrust of government among Americans. The ripples from that day have now turned into a wave, author David Talbot argues. In his conversation with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman, he makes the case that the cynicism from decades of lies about JFK, Martin Luther King, Watergate, and many more seminal events in recent US history is to blame in part for the divisions and the distrust of government we are witnessing today.
In addition to the government, Talbot holds the mainstream media accountable for its refusal to see what’s under its nose. The net result is, according to Talbot, a mixed bag. On the one hand, he claims, the “deep state” is coming apart. The destruction that is washing over so many institutions, both public and private, has impacted the security state as well. The bad news is that while cracks allow light to shine in, it leaves no one in charge.
 
Talbot talks specifically about what he’s going to be looking for in the thousands of pages of JFK documents, if and when they are all released, and where he thinks the threads may take us. He even thinks that, in a time when the president shooting someone on Fifth Avenue might only be a two-day story, when all the facts are out, people will care about who killed Kennedy and its broader implications for politics today. in many ways the government’s failure and refusal to come clean about the Kennedy assassination, among other major traumas to this country, has resulted in this great cynicism, public cynicism about authority in this country and has led to the rise of Donald Trump and the whole notion that you can’t believe establishment media outlets and official voices, authoritative voices.
 
So the New York Times and the Washington Post and the cable news networks love to trash Trump and his fake news, campaign, and the Russians and all that, but they really have failed to look at their own culpability in all this and why there has been such an erosion of public confidence over the last few decades in official sources of information.

Oct. 26

Dzhokhar TsarnaevPaul Craig Roberts.org, Boston Marathon Bombing: A Case of Judicial Murder? Guest columnist John Remington Graham (attorney and former public defender), Oct. 26, 2017. I have been asked many times why I have intervened in the federal prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the young man who was convicted and sentenced to death in the Boston  Marathon bombing case where two brothers, on April 15, 2013, allegedly detonated pressure cooker bombs on Boylston Street in front of the Forum Restaurant that killed or maimed many people. (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is shown at right and below, walking at the rear of with his older brother Tamerlain.)

As I wrap up my career of fifty years as a member of the bar, including service as a public defender in state and federal courts, co-founder of an accredited law school, and chief public prosecutor in Minnesota state courts, I am apprehensive that my country might be entering into an era of judicial murder.

Judicial murder is the practice of designing a trial to get a guilty verdict, regardless of the facts, and a death sentence carried out.  It has happened in many countries in all ages. It has been recognized as a threat of public justice by the United States Supreme Court in Powell v. Alabama, 287 U. S. 45 at 72-72 (1932). Judicial murder is followed by corruption and destruction of society.

Tsarnaev BrothersThe judicial murder of Socrates was followed by loss of the classical civilization of ancient Greece. The judicial murder of Jesus of Nazareth, whether son of God or venerable philosopher, was followed by the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple. The judicial murder of Joan of Arc was followed by loss of most English lands in France. The judicial murder of Charles the First was followed by loss of the free constitution of England. The judicial murder of Louis XVI was followed by 150 years of defeat, ruin, suffering, and chaos in France. Judicial murder in the Third Reich was followed by humiliating defeat of Germany. Judicial murder in the Soviet Union was followed by collapse of the Soviet empire. If the justice system cannot be trusted, evil consequences follow.

My active intervention in the case began when I assisted the Russian aunt, herself a lawyer, of Dzhokhar file pro se papers in the federal district court in Boston, asking that she be recognized as a friend of the court so she could present evidence conclusively showing, by FBI-gathered evidence, incorporated by reference into the indictment, that Dzhokhar could not have detonated the bomb he was supposed to have detonated. I proceeded in this way as instructed by the bar liaison officer of the federal district court and the clerk’s office.

Paul Craig RobertsDr. Paul Craig Roberts wrote up this legal adventure in his column of August 17, 2015, in a way which draws from the judicial record, and portrays the scenario clearly enough. The link is here. Those unfamiliar with this case need to read that article.

The claim of the Russian aunt sounds fantastic only so long as one believes newspapers and does not pay attention to critical, undeniable facts gathered by the FBI, and the language of the indictment as returned on June 27, 2013, especially paragraphs 6, 7, and 24. A number of things have caused me to doubt Dzhokhar’s guilt.....

See related story: Newsweek, Boston Marathon Bomber’s Aunt Claims FBI Set up Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and She Has Proof, Michele McPhee (author of a book on the trial),

Oct. 23, 2017.

Black Op RadioBlack Op Radio (Show #858), Topics: The People v. Lee Harvey Oswald / Johnson and Vietnam, Guests: Walt Brown / Jim DiEugenio, Oct. 26, 2017. Black Op Radio (shown #862), Topic: The Houston Trial in retrospect, Guests: Larry Schnapf and Jim DiEugenio, (52:53 mins.). A discussion of the CAPA trial strategies in Houston Nov. 16 & 17, 2017. Also, Views of the Trial outcome: Pro and Con what can we learn. Play Jim DiEugenio (1:58:13 hrs.)  

Dr. John Newman Facebook, Historian John Newman comments pro-war propaganda from media related to suppressed JFK documents, (Dr. John M. Newman, a longtime history professor and author of multiple major books related to the Kennedy assassination, is shown in a photo collage above published by WhoWhatWhy. Full bio below.)  Oct. 26, 2017. As I predicted six months ago, we are up against a full court press by the Castro-killed-Kennedy psych-warfare frame op cooked up by the true perpetrators behind the president’s murder.

And, now, beginning with Shenon (prompted by Arlen Specter) in 2012, followed by other famous amazing experts like FOX’s O’Reilly, MSNBC’s Matthews, and UVA’s Sabato, it has been regurgitated again.

If that wasn’t enough, we are being fed that old canard again today by hundreds of news items written by youngsters whose entire perspective and information about the assassination has taken place in just the last two weeks. They say: “What?? You don’t think Castro was involved??” As if we are the lunatics.

LBJ’s steamrolling of Chief Just Warren to force him to head the commission and rubber stamp the Oswald-did-it-alone FBI cover-up was done at the “Top Secret” level to prevent a world-wide nuclear holocaust and the deaths of 40 million Americans. Decades ago, we were able to listen to the tape recording of LBJ boasting to Senator Russell about how he pulled it off, and watch Warren on Washington Public TV (WETA) confirm the story.

John NewmanAuthor's Bio: Dr. Newman (shown in a photo at the National Press Club taken by Noel St. John at a CAPA conference  in March on JFK records release) served in Army Intelligence in Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, and China. He served as an attaché in China. He served as the Military Assistant to the director of the National Security Agency (NSA). He was a faculty member of the University of Maryland, Honors College (1992-2012), and is currently Adjunct Professor of Political Science at James Madison University, where he teaches courses in International Terrorism, Counterterrosm, and America in the 60s.

Dr. Newman was a consultant for Oliver Stone's film JFK. He was one of the experts called upon to testify the U.S. House of Representatives. He was asked to assist the JFK Assassination Records Review Board. He has been a critic of the 9/11 Commission Report. Newman is the author of "JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power"(1992; 2017); "Oswald and the CIA: The Documented Truth About the Unknown Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK" (1995; 2008); "Quest for the Kingdom: The Secret Teachings of Jesus in the Light of Yogic Mysticism" (2013); "Where Angels Tread Lightly: The Assassination of President Kennedy, Volume I" (2015, 2017); and "Countdown to Darkness: The Assassination of President Kennedy, Volume II (2017).

Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), What were they hiding and what should we look for? Dan L. Hardway, Oct. 26, 2017 (Dan Hardway, an attorney and former staff member for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, is a prominent JFK assassination researcher).  As we go into the hysteria of a massive JFK document dump, there is one remarkably surviving document that has already been released that we should keep in mind – especially when reading news coverage of the documents scheduled for release today.

On April 1, 1967, the Head of the Covert Action Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sent a dispatch to many of the CIA stations and bases around the world. That the document survived (Dispatch, Countering Criticism of the Warren Report, from Chief of CA Staff to Chiefs of Certain Stations and Bases, April 1, 1967, RIF 104-10009-10022) may be remarkable as it is clearly marked as “Destroy when no longer needed.”

Or, then again, maybe it is not remarkable that it has not been destroyed because the government and intelligence community’s efforts to silence those who question the official story about John Kennedy’s murder has never succeeded and, hence, the dispatch remains needful from their viewpoint.

The dispatch lays out a plan for defending the lone nut theory first advanced as the major theme of the government cover-up of the assassination investigation. The dispatch labels people who question the lone nut theory as “conspiracy theorists.” It plainly states the purpose of the dispatch “is to provide material for countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists…. Our play should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (i) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (ii) politically interested, (iii) financially interested, (iv) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (v) infatuated with their own theories.”

It goes on to suggest that critics be countered by advancing arguments such as they have produced no new evidence, that they overvalue some evidence while ignoring other evidence, that large scale conspiracies are “impossible to conceal in the United States,” that Oswald would not have been any “sensible person’s choice for a co-conspirator”, and by pointing out the comprehensive work of the Warren Commission which was composed of men “chosen for their integrity, experience, and prominence.”

New York Times, The J.F.K. Assassination: A Cast of Characters, Natalie Reneau and Peter Baker, Oct. 26, 2017 (video). As a new trove of documents about the killing of President John F. Kennedy is released, The Times's Peter Baker walks us through who’s who in this American tragedy.

New York Times, Theory That Hammarskjold Plane Was Downed Is Bolstered by U.N. Report, Alan Cowell and Rick Gladstone, Oct. 26, 2017 (print edition).  More than 56 years after a plane crash killed Dag Hammarskjold, the secretary general of the United Nations, an authoritative report released on Wednesday said it appeared plausible that an “external attack or threat” may have downed the airplane carrying him and 15 others on an epochal peace mission in Africa.

Dag HammarskjoldThe finding by Judge Mohamed Chande Othman, a senior Tanzanian jurist who was asked by the United Nations to review both old and newly uncovered evidence, gave weight to a longstanding suspicion that Mr. Hammarskjold (shown in his office) may have been assassinated.

The crash, during the overnight of Sept. 17-18, 1961, remains a painful open wound in the history of the United Nations and one of the 20th century’s most enduring mysteries. Judge Othman’s 63-page report offered a further rebuttal of the idea, advanced in inquiries soon after the crash, that pilot error or some other accident had caused Mr. Hammarskjold’s chartered DC-6 airplane to crash in what is now Zambia.

Moreover, Judge Othman’s conclusion reinforced the theory that the plane had been deliberately brought down, either by what the judge called “direct attack” or a distraction that diverted “the pilots’ attention for a matter of seconds at the critical point at which they were on their descent.”

At the time, Mr. Hammarskjold was flying to Ndola, in what was then Northern Rhodesia, for negotiations to end secession and civil war in the neighboring mineral-rich Congolese province of Katanga. The Katangese separatists were supported by Western political and mining interests not eager to see Mr. Hammarskjold’s diplomacy succeed.view of records and archives in their custody or possession, including those that remain classified, for potentially relevant information.”

Oct. 25

India America Today, Expert Applauds Trump Promise of Releasing JFK Files, Tejinder Singh (White House correspondent), Oct. 25, 2017. Tweeting from Air Force One, minutes before landing in Dallas, the city where the former president was shot and killed, [U.S. President Donald] Trump said, “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!” Trump was in Dallas to address a Republican Party fund-raiser.

Andrew Kreig, Justice Integrity Project Editor (www.justice-integrity.org) told India America Today, “Trump is taking a courageous stand on the side of the large majority of Americans who for decades have express disbelief in the findings of the Warren Commission, according to public opinion polls on the topic consistently reporting such disbelief as ranging from the mid-60s to more than 70 percent of Americans.”

“Release of documents over the needless objections of those obsessing over bogus “national security” implications also conforms with the views of many experts of diverse political views. These include such American conservatives as former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, progressives and several surviving staffers of the Warren Commission itself. My news report earlier this year summarized that impressive array of experts supporting the release that was announced today (JFK Experts Advocate Compliance With Records Release Deadline, published by the Justice Integrity Project and also by Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA),” noted Kreig, who is also CAPA Board member.

Welcoming the decision, Kreig added, “President Trump has upheld values of transparency and democracy in a way that should be applauded by freedom lovers around the world. The problems of political assassination and other persecution are a global problem. So, the unanswered questions surrounding the 1963 murder of America’s young president hold continuing importance around the world.”

The Hill, Trump teases release of JFK files: 'So interesting!' Jordan Fabian, Oct. 25, 2017. President Trump teased the release of thousands of government documents related to the assassination of former President Kennedy on Wednesday, minutes before landing in Dallas, the city where the former president was shot and killed.

“The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!” Trump tweeted. The president headed to Dallas to attend GOP fundraisers and receive an update on the recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Trump has said he doesn’t plan to block the release of files related to Kennedy’s killing ahead of the National Archives’s Thursday deadline to make them public. Congress passed a law in 1992 mandating the release of the files within 25 years, but the president has the power to stop it in the interest of national security. Trump’s advisers have reportedly urged him to block at least some of the files. The White House has not said whether the president will do so. “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted over the weekend.

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, No “Smoking Guns” in the JFK Records? Jacob G. Hornberger (think tank leader, book publisher and attorney shown at right), Oct. 25, 2017. Most of the mainstream media continues telling their readers not to expect any “smoking guns” in the JFK records that are supposed to be released tomorrow.

That’s assuming, of course, that President Trump doesn’t change his mind at the last minute and grant the CIA’s request for continued secrecy. I stand by the prediction I made earlier this week. I think Trump will strike a last-minute deal with the CIA, perhaps one in which the CIA promises to bring its power and influence to bear on Congress to cease and desist about Russia. My hunch is that the deal will be announced in a fundraising speech that Trump is delivering today, not coincidentally, in Dallas.

There are several fascinating aspects to this controversy.

First of all is the mainstream media’s new-found discovery that the records are set to be released tomorrow. For the past year, some of us have been harping on the impending deadline and suggesting that the CIA would beseech Trump to keep its long-secret records secret, perhaps for another 25 years. The entire time, the mainstream media has largely remained silent about the matter … until just recently when the issue exploded into the public arena. Just Google “JFK Records” and you’ll see what I mean.

Most of the media articles, op-eds, and editorials fail to question a central issue: The fact that the CIA wants its 50-year-old records to continue to be kept secret. That should be big news, especially given that the reason the JFK Records Act was enacted in the first place was because of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, which posited that the CIA orchestrated the assassination of the president as part of its many Cold War national-security regime-change operations. At the end of JFK, there was a blurb about the fact that the U.S. national security establishment was continuing to keep its assassination records secret from the American people. This secrecy created such an uproar among the American populace that Congress was effectively forced to act. That’s what produced the JFK Records Act, which the national-security establishment vehemently opposed.

The Act required the CIA, Pentagon, FBI, Secret Service, and other federal agencies to release their assassination records. (Unfortunately, for some reason, the Secret Service intentionally and knowingly destroyed many of its records after the Act was enacted and despite the fact that the Act expressly prohibited the destruction of such records.) During the term of the Assassination Records Review Board, the CIA requested the Board to keep many of its records secret, which the ARRB denied. When the CIA appealed the ARRB’s decisions to President Clinton on grounds of “national security,” the president denied its requests and the records were released.

Nothing happened to the country when the records were released. The United States didn’t fall into the ocean. The communists did not take control over the federal government.

The ARRB, whose job it was to force the CIA and other agencies to comply, went out of existence in the late 1990s. However, someone had slipped a provision into the Act that enabled the CIA and other agencies to keep selected records secret for another 25 years. That 25-year period expires tomorrow … unless Trump decides to extend it today (which I still predict he will).

CrowdSource Radio via YouTube, JFK Expert predicts release, implications, Jason Goodman, Oct. 25, 2017 (video interview, 69 mins.). Host Jason Goodman interviews Investigative reporter and author Andrew Kreig, a board member of Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), and author of a 42-part "Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination" online encyclopedia and commentary archive.

New York Times, A Half-Century Later, Papers May Shed Light on J.F.K. Assassination, Peter Baker and Scott Shane, Oct. 25, 2017 (print edition). With permission from President Trump, the federal government on Thursday will begin releasing the final documents on the 1963 killing of John F. Kennedy. Oct. 23 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cyril Wecht: Prospect of release of new JFK files 'exciting,' Patricia Sheridan, Oct. 23, 2017.  Have the Russians been meddling in our affairs for decades? When the classified National Archives files on the assassination of President John F.Kennedy are released by Thursday — assuming that President Donald Trump allows it — we may find out more about the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, who was said to have had ties to what was then the Soviet Union. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone and was influenced by his time in Moscow.

“If you buy the Warren Commission’s conclusion that nobody had any involvement in the assassination of President Kennedy except for Lee Harvey Oswald, then why would there be anything to hide?” asked Cyril H. Wecht, forensic pathologist, lawyer and former Allegheny County coroner. “Why keep these files classified?” he continued. “All the people involved are dead.”

Nine years after Kennedy’s Nov. 22, 1963, assassination in Dallas, Dr. Wecht examined the evidence available at the time.

“It was August 1972 and I was the first civilian given permission to do so,” he noted.

From what he was able to piece together, Dr. Wecht determined that the Warren Commission’s conclusion was, at best, flawed.

Dr. Wecht also was the first person to discover that the president’s brain was missing — no longer among the cataloged items at the National Archives.

“They tried to say that the Kennedys buried it, but it was there in April of 1965,” he said. “A year and a half later in October of 1966, the large container with the brain was no longer listed.”

But that fact went unnoticed until Dr. Wecht uncovered it.

“The brain is extremely important and significant to this case,” he said. “If it were properly preserved — which fixes it from the consistency of a soft-boiled egg to a hard-boiled egg — you could see the trajectory of the bullet.

“If this were anyone else, they would throw [the case] out because key evidence was destroyed. This case would be thrown out.”

Dr. Wecht has long maintained that the assassination, medical examination and Warren Commission were parts of a cover-up.

“It’s so obvious,” he said. As for the president’s brain, “it will be very interesting to see if there is any information about that,” he said.

The timing of the release of the files also is important for an event happening at the South Texas College of Law Houston, which Dr. Wecht and his organization, Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), will be presenting with the college on Nov. 16-17.

“It’s a two-day mock trial of Oswald,” he explained. “We will be showing the documentary, ‘The Parkland Doctors.’ The eight doctors present in the emergency room that day are interviewed and they describe in detail what they saw and did, and it is in contrast with the autopsy report.”

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: I Predict Trump Will Continue the CIA’s JFK Assassination Cover-Up, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Oct. 23, 2017. What is going on here?

Negotiations. The art of the deal. The CIA desperately does not want to show the American people its long-secret JFK-related records. It has asked Trump to continue keeping at least some of them secret notwithstanding the passage of more than 50 years since the Kennedy assassination.

What Trump has done with his announcement is send a clear message to the CIA: “Give me what I want and I’ll give you want you want. Otherwise, I will let all your cherished long-secret records relating to the JFK assassination be shown to the American people.”

Make no mistake about it: A deal is about to be made. The CIA will cave. It will end up giving Trump whatever it is he wants. Trump is in the driver’s seat because the CIA cannot afford to permit the American people to see the records it wants to continue to be kept secret.

And once the CIA gives Trump what he wants, he will cave and give the CIA the continued secrecy it so desperately needs. All this will happen by this Thursday, the date set by law for release of all the JFK records that Trump has not blocked.

Mary Pinchot MeyerWhoWhatWhyMary Pinchot Meyer (WhoWhatWhy photo collage from  JFK Library, Wikimedia and National Park Service) WhoWhatWhy, The Murder of John Kennedy’s Mistress, Part 3, Peter Janney (author of "Mary's Mosaic," shown at right),

Oct. 23, 2017. In the third and last installment of this series, the case against the black laborer continues to build. To make matters worse, a new witness comes forward. But something is quite wrong with his story about what he allegedly saw — and, it turns out later, about his own background. Who was he really?

Peter JanneyIn Part 3 of this mystery, the case against the black laborer, Ray Crump, for the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer continues to build, despite the lack of physical evidence, and despite the lack of an obvious motive. She was neither robbed nor raped. To make matters worse for Crump, a new witness comes forward — William L. Mitchell, an Army lieutenant stationed at the Pentagon. He claimed that, shortly before the murder, he passed a “negro male” who was following the victim, “about two hundred yards” behind her. His description of the man’s clothes matches what Crump had been wearing when arrested. The highly anticipated release of long-withheld US government documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is scheduled for this Thursday, October 26. In the runup to this event, the media has devoted more attention to this history-altering political murder than at any time since the Oliver Stone film “JFK” came out in 1991.

As one of the outlets digging deep into the tragedy, WhoWhatWhy has pointed out that many questions remain unanswered and many key issues are yet unresolved. Accordingly, we are dedicating more articles to the topic leading up to the highly-anticipated data dump, and have put together a crack team to analyze the documents once they are released. — WhoWhatWhy Staff JFK Jacqueline, John, CarolineJacqueline and John F. Kennedy pose in front of the Washington Monument with their two children, John and Caroline

People, Jackie Kennedy Would Want JFK Assassination Papers Made Public, Says Her Former Secret Service Agent, Tierney McAfee and Liz McNeil, Oct. 23, 2017. On Thursday, the government will release thousands of long blocked and classified documents about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

According to Jackie Kennedy’s former Secret Service agent, Clint Hill, that’s exactly what the former first lady would have wanted. “It was my understanding that she wanted all the information released,” Hill tells People. “She wanted people to have as much information about what actually happened as possible.” Hill says that’s also one of the reasons why the first lady didn’t immediately change out of the clothes she was wearing when her husband was shot and killed while riding by her side in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Just hours after her husband was shot, Jackie wore her bloodstained, pink Chanel suit to the inauguration of Vice President Lyndon Johnson. “She told us she wanted people to see what had happened. She wanted people to see the blood-spattered clothing that she was wearing because she was sitting right next to her husband. Because she wanted everybody to understand that this was a tragic event,” explains Hill, who wrote the memoir Five Presidents about his time as a Secret Service agent for former commanders in chief Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Hill says Jackie didn’t often speak of her husband’s assassination at age 46 and didn’t explicitly tell the agent she wanted all of the government documents related to his death released. “It was based on my understanding and knowledge of her,” he says. “I don’t think she would have denied access to any of the information from the public.” He adds, “Over the years, the entire family tried to put [the assassination] behind them. They didn’t want to recognize the fact that he had been assassinated.”

JFK Countercoup, Subject to Further Information - Trump Tweets on JFK Records, William Kelly, Oct. 23, 2017. President Trump tweeted that "subject to further information," he will not interfere with the scheduled release of the remaining sealed records on the assassination of President Kennedy according to the JFK Act of 1992.

The JFK Act requires the government release all of the remaining sealed records on the assassination of President Kennedy by Thursday, October 26, 2017, 25 years after the JFK Act was signed by President G. H. W. Bush. According to the JFK Act of 1992 it "remains in effect" until the Archivist of the United States informs the President, Congress and the citizens of the United States that the last remaining government record on the assassination of President Kennedy has been released to the public.If he does that on October 26th, it will be a lie because the CIA and other government agencies are stonewalling, destroying and illegally withholding records that supports the generally held belief that one man alone was not responsible for the murder and there was a conspiracy that the government and agencies will find embarrassing to their organizations. 

A quarter-of-a-century - twenty-five years ago the JFK Act was unanimously passed by Congress and was reluctantly signed by President G. H. W. Bush, contingent upon adapting the objections in his signing statement.

Oct. 22

The 5th Estate (Indonesia), Andrew Kreig: Trump Plans Release Of Suppressed JFK Records, Andrew Kreig, Edited by Robert Finnegan, Oct. 22, 2017. Long suppressed documents to be made public.

Boston Herald, JFK record release stirs speculations, Brian Dowling, Oct. 22, 2017. Records related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy will be released Thursday. The highly anticipated release of a treasure trove of previously redacted or withheld records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has researchers of the long-questioned killing speculating about key details that could shed light on what the feds knew about the killer. The National Archives document dump slated to take place Thursday may include reams of documents on CIA agents and Soviet defectors, some of Lee Harvey Oswald’s financial records and even personal notes from first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, experts predict.

Atlantic, Conspiracy Theories Are for Underdogs, Adrienne LaFrance, Oct. 22, 2017. Donald Trump’s recent tweet about long-secret JFK files is a way for the president to try to reclaim a status that has repeatedly helped him. So when Donald Trump suggests he will help the public access long-secret JFK files in the name of transparency, he’s doing it with the same talent for identifying the kinds of stories that captivate people that he’s leaned on his entire career.

(Those who have studied the JFK assassination closely are mixed on the potential significance of these files. “I've always thought that the release of these documents is going to be something like what happened on New Year’s Eve 2000,” Josiah Thompson, the author of Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination, told me on Saturday. “A great big zero of happening!”)

Regardless of the files, though, Trump’s attention to them is a window into how he wants to be seen. In one dashed-off tweet, Trump positions himself as doing something noble — advocating for transparency, against the warnings of the intelligence community — while feeding at least two major conspiracies. One, that the press is “the enemy of the American people” working in cahoots with the deep state, and, two, by lending credibility to the idea that the official story of JFK's assassination is indeed suspect.

“Trump has built a coalition of conspiracy minded constituencies,” said Joseph Uscinski, a political science professor at the University of Miami and the co-author of American Conspiracy Theories. “Trump had no political experience, and he therefore had to justify his candidacy by appealing to conspiracy theories that impugned the establishment. Trump appealed to people who had conspiracy mindsets and who would normally be disinclined to vote, but Trump used conspiracy theories to motivate them.”

“Now, appealing to JFK conspiracy theories is a great idea for him,” Uscinski added, “because recent polls show that 60 percent of Americans believe in one form of JFK conspiracy or another.” Trump’s focus on JFK comes, too, at a moment when it would serve the president to have the American people talk about anything other than his false claims about comforting grieving military families.

Boston Herald, JFK record release stirs speculations, Brian Dowling, Oct. 22, 2017. Records related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy will be released Thursday. The highly anticipated release of a treasure trove of previously redacted or withheld records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has researchers of the longquestioned killing speculating about key details that could shed light on what the feds knew about the killer. The National Archives document dump slated to take place Thursday may include reams of documents on CIA agents and Soviet defectors, some of Lee Harvey Oswald’s financial records and even personal notes from first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, experts predict.

The 5th Estate (Indonesia), Andrew Kreig: Trump Plans Release Of Suppressed JFK Records, Andrew Kreig, Edited by Robert Finnegan, Oct. 22, 2017.  Long suppressed documents to be made public.

Oct. 21

Washington Post, Trump plans to release JFK assassination documents despite concerns from federal agencies, Ian Shapira, Oct. 21, 2017. President Trump announced Saturday morning that he planned to release the tens of thousands of never-before-Donald Trumpseen documents left in the files related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination held by the National Archives and Records Administration. “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,”

Trump tweeted early Saturday. Kennedy assassination experts have been speculating for weeks about whether Trump would disclose the documents. The 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act required that the millions of pages — many of them contained in CIA and FBI documents — be published in 25 years, by Oct. 26. Over the years, the National Archives has released most of the documents, either in full or partially redacted.

But one final batch remains and only the president has the authority to extend the papers’ secrecy past the October deadline. In his tweet, Trump seemed to strongly imply he was going to release all the remaining documents. But he also hedged, suggesting that if between now and Oct. 26, other government agencies made a strong case not to release the documents, he wouldn’t.

Also, Trump was not clear about whether he would publish all of the documents in full, or with some of them redacted. In the days leading up to Trump’s tweet, a National Security Council official told the Washington Post that government agencies were urging the president not to release some of the documents.

But Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars this week that he personally lobbied Trump to publish all of the documents. Stone also told Jones that CIA director Mike Pompeo “has been lobbying the president furiously not to release these documents.” Kennedy assassination experts say they don’t think the last batch of papers contains any major bombshells. They do suspect the papers will shed light on the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin, while he was traveling in Mexico City in late September 1963, and courting Cuban and Soviet spies. Phil Shenon, who wrote a book about the Warren Commission, the congressional body that investigated Kennedy’s killing, said he was pleased with Trump’s decision. But he wonders to what degree the papers will ultimately be released.

New York Times, Trump Says He Will Release Final Set of Documents on Kennedy Assassination, Michael D. Shear, Oct. 21, 2017. President Trump has decided to release a final batch of thousands of classified government documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mr. Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday morning. Mr. Trump has the power to block the release of the documents, and intelligence agencies have pressured him to do so for at least some of them.

The agencies are concerned that information contained in some of the documents could damage national security interests. The president did not make clear what he meant when he said in his tweet that the release of the documents would be “subject to the receipt of further information.” A White House official did not immediately respond to emails seeking clarification.

New York Post, What’s inside the secret JFK assassination files? Bill Sanderson, Oct. 21, 2017.  Secret government documents to be released this week likely contain new details about what the CIA knew about Lee Harvey Oswald before he murdered President John F. Kennedy, assassination experts say. President Trump tweeted Saturday that he’ll allow the release of the documents, “subject to the receipt of further information.”

Eighty-eight percent of the Archives’ 5 million pages of JFK material are already public. Another 11 percent are partly public, with sensitive portions removed. Just 1 percent of the records remain fully secret. Revealing the secret details will help Americans grasp what happened in Dallas, said William Kelly [a CAPA board member], an assassination researcher from New Jersey. “It’s going to give us the final pieces of the puzzle,” Kelly said.

Oct. 19

JFK Facts.org, Opinion / Advocacy: What you can do to free the JFK Files, Jefferson Morley, Oct. 19, 2017. You can do two things.

1) Call your Congressman and Senators and tell them to sign H. Res 556 and S. Res 281, introduced by Rep. Walter Jones and Sen. Charles Grassley, calling on President Trump to release all the secret JFK files and to reject any requests from the CIA and the FBI for continuing secrecy. These petitions, also signed by leading liberal Democrats such at Sen Pat Leahy and Rep. John Conyers, show that full JFK disclosure enjoys wide support.

2) Sign the online petition to President Trump created by Citizens Against Political Assassinations.

Oct. 16 Politico, The JFK Document Dump Could Be a Fiasco, Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato, Oct. 16, 2017. Later this month, the National Archives is set to release thousands of documents about John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s likely to fuel conspiracy theorists for years. National ArchivesThe federal government’s long campaign to try to choke off rampant conspiracy theories about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy is threatening to end this month in massive confusion, if not chaos. Within the next two weeks, the National Archives is legally obligated to release the last of thousands of secret documents from government files about the assassination, most of them from the CIA, FBI and the Justice Department.

And there is every indication that the massive document dump — especially if any of it is blocked by President Donald Trump, the only person empowered under the law to stop the release of the files — will simply help fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories. Donald TrumpTrump, no stranger to conspiracy theories, including totally unsubstantiated theories about a link between Ted Cruz’s father and JFK’s death, has not yet revealed his plans for the documents. His friend and political adviser Roger Stone, the Republican consultant who is the author of a book claiming that President Lyndon Johnson was the mastermind of the Kennedy assassination, said last week that he has been informed authoritatively that the CIA is urging Trump to delay the release of some of the JFK documents for another 25 years. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead,” Stone said in a statement on his website. CIA

The CIA has not confirmed or denied reports that it has appealed to Trump to block the release of some of the files on grounds that the documents might still somehow endanger national security if made public. In a cryptic statement last week, the spy agency said only that it “continues to engage in the process to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously unreleased CIA information.”

As it stands now, the document release this month will be a logistical nightmare, with the public suddenly flooded with a huge online library of documents—tens of thousands in total—that will be, at first, mostly incomprehensible even to experienced students of the assassination. The National Archives, abandoning its plans to release the documents in batches over the course of several months, said this week that it will instead release everything at once—all on the same day—sometime between now and the deadline on October 26.

Jacob HornbergerFuture of Freedom Foundation, JFK and Regime-Change Conspiracies, Jacob G. Hornberger, Oct. 16, 2017. With the National Archives’ impending October 26 release of JFK-assassination records that the CIA has succeeded in keeping secret for more than 50 years, the mainstream media will undoubtedly obsess even more with the term “conspiracy theory,” the term that the CIA secretly came up years ago to discourage people from looking too closely at the circumstantial evidence in the Kennedy assassination.

That’s assuming, of course, that the National Archives proceeds with its plans to release those long-secret CIA records. Under the JFK Records Act, enacted in 1992, President Trump has the authority to extend the time for secrecy if the CIA makes a showing that “national security” will be threatened if the public is allowed to see its long-secret JFK-assassination records.What is a conspiracy? It’s nothing more than an agreement between two or more people to carry out an illicit or illegal act.

There’s nothing mysterious about conspiracies. They happen all the time, especially in the drug trade.If you have any doubts about this, just walk into any federal courthouse in the land and ask the District Clerk to show you the federal criminal indictments that have been issued in the last year. Just look at the first count of the indictment because it’s the one that almost always alleges a conspiracy. I’ll bet that 95 percent of federal criminal indictments allege a conspiracy. What we are talking about in the Kennedy assassination is nothing more than a regime-change operation or, if you will, a regime-change conspiracy.Interestingly, the mainstream media never refers to those regime-change operations with the terms “conspiracy” or “conspiracy theory.”  For some reason, they limit that term to the Kennedy assassination. Yet, that’s precisely what all those regime-change operations were — regime-change conspiracies.It is a virtual certainty that those records that the National Archives is set to release on October 26 will help fill out the mosaic, which is why it is also a virtual certainty that the CIA will ask President Trump to extend the time for secrecy.

Daphne Caruana GaliziaCenter for Public Integrity, Car bomb kills crusading Panama Papers journalist in Malta, Staff report, Oct. 16, 2017. Center CEO, John Dunbar, condemns attack, demands thorough investigation. News sources today are reporting the tragic death of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta.
Caruana Galizia, 53 (shown at right), was reportedly killed in a car bombing near her home. Local media reports indicated that in recent days she had filed a police report complaining of death threats. "Caruana Galizia was a fearless journalist and blogger who exposed numerous offshore dealings of prominent figures in Malta," said the Center's Dunbar.
She was also the mother of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) developer and data journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia. The Center for Public Integrity spun off ICIJ earlier this year. Dunbar, CEO of the Center, condemned the attack, saying it was “not only a tragic killing of a courageous journalist but an attack on the profession as a whole. This must not go unpunished.”
 
Oct. 15
Review of New Biography of CIA's Master Spy James Angleton James AngletonJames AngletonThe Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (shown above in a 1975 New York Times photo) by Jefferson Morley (St. Martin’s Press, 336 pp. $27.99).
 
Washington Decoded, Angleton Unrevealed, David Robarge, Oct. 15, 2017. David Robarge, the chief historian at the Central Intelligence Agency and a member of its History Staff since 1996, received his Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University. His articles and book reviews have appeared in Studies in Intelligence, Intelligence and National Security, and the Journal of Intelligence History. He is the author of the official biography of the sixth Director of Central Intelligence, John McCone As Director of Central Intelligence, 1961-1965, which was declassified in 2015. His review follows:
 
Readers who pick up The Ghost, hoping finally to have a comprehensive and objective treatment of James Angleton, the Agency’s long-time, shadowy, and controversial chief of counterintelligence, will be sorely disappointed. What they will find is an erratically organized account of most of the key events in Angleton’s life, along with an agglomeration of often badly sourced suppositions, inferences, allegations, and innuendoes frequently cast in hyperbolic or categorical language.
 
The Ghost displays the most prominent shortcomings of journalistic history: reportage substitutes for cohesive narrative, with vignettes and atmospherics stitched together with insufficient discernment among sources. One of Morley’s more dubious ones — an Angleton anonymous blog post with no citations, from which he pulls an outlandish quote — inadvertently provides an insight into what his ulterior motive in writing The Ghost appears to be: “This is not about who James Angleton was so much as what James Angleton had to be” (emphasis in the original).
 
Oct. 12 Judyth Vary Baker
TrineDay Books, Program Details Announced For NOLA & Lee": Lee Harvey Oswald's Birthday Party Oct. 18 In New Orleans, Kris Millegan, Oct. 12,  2017.TrineDay Books, publishers of many vital books about President Kennedy's Assassination and such otherwise under-reported angles as the life and colleagues of New Orleans native Lee Harvey Oswald, has announced additional details of its annual Oswald conference, held this  year on Oct. 18.
 
Among the various locations in New Orleans for the events: Judyth Vary BakerPress conference and rally at Lafayette Square, "Ground Zero" downtown tour of key locales, author event featuring Edward T. Haslam (author of Dr. Mary's Monkey and Judyth Vary Baker (author of memoir Me & Lee and forthcoming Kennedy & Oswald, all published by TrineDay) at Barnes & Noble, and "Birthday Party" at Le Bon Temps Roule. Produced by TrineDay Books. Details from 2016 event, with more 2017 details and registration here. Bus tour of New Orleans led by Judyth Vary Baker. 
 
John Tunheim Judge John Tunheim at CAPA JFK Forum at National Press Club, Noel St. John Photo[/caption]
 

KFGO (Minneapolis), Judge who chaired JFK assassination review board says 'it's time to release everything,' Jim Monk, Oct. 12, 2017. A federal judge from Minnesota says it's time for the government to release the remainder of its records connected to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The National Archives is scheduled to unveil about 3,000 never-before-seen documents before Oct. 26. 

In 1992, Congress mandated the documents' release in 25 years unless President Trump orders that they remain sealed. Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim was chairman of the JFK Assassination Records Review Board. In an interview with KFGO News, Tunhem said that he hopes the records can finally be seen by everyone. “I think it’s time to release everything” Tunheim said. “We didn’t really protect that much. We never protected an entire document, except for those that we didn’t think that were relevant at all. It might have been some kind of intelligence gathering method that was still being used that they didn’t want the public to know about.”

“Part of the problem through the years is that so much information was protected, which led to so many gaps in the story” according to Tunheim. “Gaps are often filled by plausible explanations – and a lot of plausible explanations pointed to conspiracies." Tunheim says Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he assassinated Kennedy, but he says at least one conspiracy may deserve closer scrutiny.

“Among all the conspiracy theories, if there’s any that deserve closer examination over time, it’s the idea that organized crime may have played some role, but having said that, there is very little evidence that’s direct and points that way.” Tunheim says he thinks the Trump Administration “likely will allow all the releases to occur unless there’s some type of appeal from the CIA or the FBI concerning certain records.”

About 30,000 additional records "not considered relevant" to the assassination could also be released. Tunheim says it's unlikely that any big surprises will be found, but he says materials considered irrelevant in the past may be seen in a different light today.

Oct. 6

WhoWhatWhyWhoWhatWhy, Navy Doctor: Bullet Found in JFK’s Limousine, and Never Reported, Milicent Cranor, Oct. 6, 2017. This is the story of a bullet — a spent, misshapen, but otherwise intact, bullet — that a Navy doctor said was found late at night, on the floor, in the back of John Kennedy’s limousine. No one seems to want to acknowledge it. Gerald Ford

Years later, when reviewing a memoir he wrote in 1963, the doctor thought about that bullet, and tried to find some mention of it in the Warren Commission Hearings. To his dismay, he found nothing. In 2000, he wrote to President Gerald Ford (shown at right) to ask him about it. After all, Ford had been on the Warren Commission. But Ford said he knew nothing about it either. In 2001, two Navy historians interviewed the doctor, who gave them a highly detailed account of the events of November 22, 1963, some of which he witnessed personally. And he mentioned the bullet. Dr. Randy Robertson

Recently, Dr. Randy Robertson, a board member of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) came upon the doctor's papers at a Navy website. This was an exciting discovery. To understand the significance of this discovery, readers need to know that — according to the official record — only one whole bullet was recovered, the “magic bullet” found on Governor John Connally’s stretcher. Here, Robertson describes in an email to WhoWhatWhy how he came upon this apparently suppressed evidence.

Oct. 5

Salon, Republicans and Democrats agree: Trump should release JFK records, Matthew Rozsa, Oct. 5, 2017. There seems to be one major issue that is rallying considerable bipartisan support on Capitol Hill — namely, having President Donald Trump allow the release of the remaining government records pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Trump will have until later this month to make this decision, due to the impending 25th anniversary of the passage of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act.

A bipartisan Senate resolution is being sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican, and a Democratic counterpart who also used to chair that committee, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, according to Roll Call. "Transparency in government is critical not only to ensuring accountability; it’s also essential to understanding our nation’s history.

The assassination of President Kennedy occurred at a pivotal time for our nation, and nearly 54 years later, we are still learning the details of how our government responded and what it may have known beforehand. Americans deserve a full picture of what happened that fateful day in November 1963," Grassley said in a statement.

Leahy echoed those thoughts in a statement of his own, saying that "the assassination of President Kennedy was one of the most shocking and tragic events in our nation’s history. Americans have the right to know what our government knows. Transparency is crucial for our country to fully reckon with this national tragedy, and that is the purpose of these resolutions."

Salon, Roger Stone calls on Trump to release JFK assassination files, Matthew Rozsa, Oct. 5, 2017. The Trump political adviser shares his odd reason why JFK assassination documents should be publicly available. Roger Stone (shown in a file photo), the famous political adviser to Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, wants the public release of the remaining secret government recoRoger Stonerds pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

"[The] last release of JFK assassination-related documents [included] a memo from Jay Hoover to the head of the FBI in Dallas instructing him to bring George Bush of the CIA [up] on activities of the anti-Castro Cubans in the Dallas area," Stone told Salon. "Also clued in a memo from Hoover to LBJ informing him that the Russian KGB had conducted their own investigation into the Kennedy assassination and had concluded LBJ was the ringleader in the plot to kill Kennedy," Stone claimed, implicating Kennedy's successor in his murder. "There is no telling what is in the unreleased documents, but at this point, I think the public has a right to know," he insisted.

The effort to publicize these government records has bipartisan support in both the Senate (Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and former chairman Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont) and House of Representatives (Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina and Democratic Rep. Louise M. Slaughter of New York). What Stone brings to the table, however, is a set of particularly controversial views on the Kennedy assassination itself.

In his book "The Making of the President 2016" (which I discussed in an interview with Stone), he repeatedly claimed that the father of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rafael Cruz, lied about his past as a Cuban immigrant.

After summarizing accounts by blogger Wayne Madsen and the National Enquirer, which claimed that Rafael Cruz may have been connected to Lee Harvey Oswald, Stone argued that one Cuban man photographed with Oswald looked like the elder Cruz. "The identity of the Cruz look-alike has never been established," Stone told Salon. "In May, I went on record saying that I had spoken with a source who identified the mystery man as Rafael Cruz." Stone also added that he did not start or plant the Cruz story.

Oct. 4

Roll Call, Lawmakers Push Trump to Release JFK Assassination Files, Niels Lesniewski, Oct. 4, 2017. Bipartisan group introduce resolutions ahead of October deadline Senior lawmakers are calling on President Donald Trump to allow the release of remaining government records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Resolutions introduced in the House and Senate would call on the president to allow release of documents held by the National Archives and Records Administration, and for the Archives to work to meet a statutory deadline that arrives later in October. The deadline occurs because it will be the 25th anniversary of the signing of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act. Chuck Grassley

The leaders of the Senate resolution are Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa (left) and Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who is a former chairman of the committee. “The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the most shocking and tragic events in our nation’s history,” Leahy said in a statement. “Americans have the right to know what our government knows. Transparency is crucial for our country to fully reckon with this national tragedy, and that is the purpose of these resolutions.” Grassley expressed a similar sentiment in his statement.

Oct. 3Las Vegas Broken windows show exterior Las Vegas shooter Stephen Mandalay's suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel Stephen Paddock

Washington Post, Investigators find arsenal fit for a commando team in retiree’s hotel room, Lynh Bui, Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky, Oct. 3, 2017. Hospitals remained full in Las Vegas with hundreds injured, some in critical condition, while authorities tried to grasp what caused a 64-year-old retiree, Stephen Peacock (shown in a 2002 photo) to turn a concert into a killing field, leaving at least 59 people dead and hundreds injured.

New York Post, Jimmy Kimmel tearfully rips into politicians in wake of Vegas shoooting, Lisa de Moraes, Oct. 3, 2017. Jimmy Kimmel excoriated politicians who sent love to the families of Las Vegas shooting victims, but who won’t pass legislation to curb mass shootings in this country.

Oct. 2.

Washington Post, Gunman was a high-stakes gambler known for keeping to himself, William Wan, Sandhya Somashekhar, Aaron C. Davis and Barbara Liston, Oct. 2, 2017. ​Stunned family members said Stephen Paddock was quiet and rarely fired guns but often gambled in tens of thousands of dollars. “My brother is not like you and me," Eric Paddock said. “He sends me a text that says he won $250,000 at the casino.”

​Before he opened fire late Sunday, killing at least 58 people at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, gunman Stephen Paddock was living out his retirement as a high-stakes gambler in a quiet town outside Las Vegas.ress refuses to act,” he said. “I am more than frustrated, I am furious.”

Washington Post, At least 58 dead, more than 500 injured in Las Vegas shooting, Derek Hawkins, Travis M. Andrews, Brian Murphy and Mark Berman, Oct. 2, 2017.​ Gunman in a high-rise hotel on the Strip opened fire during a country music festival. In the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the sniper-style gunfire rained down from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Sunday evening, police said.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, is believed to be a “lone wolf” and was killed after authorities confronted him on the 32nd floor of the hotel, police said. The carnage surpassed the death toll of 49 people slain when a gunman in Orlando, who later said he was inspired by the Islamic State, opened fire inside a crowded nightclub in June 2016.

 

justice integrity project new logo

Editor's Choice: Assassination News 2016

This archive of assassination-related news and commentary for the calendar year 2017 from July through December is a joint project between the Justice Integrity Project and Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA). The material below consists of selected excerpts from significant news stories or commentaries john_f_kennedy_smilingregarding alleged political assassinations or attempts. The materials are arranged in reverse chronological order and focus primarily upon news arising from the 1960s murders of President John F. Kennedy (shown in a file photo), his brother Robert Kennedy, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Included also are several reports regarding other alleged political murders of prominent international leaders, or attempts. CAPA welcomes your submission of additional items or any comments (including corrections) of items listed below. It is requested that new items be submitted in the format below: Publication name, headline with hotlink to URL, author, date, and brief excerpt. Correspondence should be sent to this site's editor, Andrew Kreig, via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Click here to see, on a complimentary basis, the first issue of CAPA's member-only newsletter, dated September 2016. (Downloading may take time, depending on your system.) 

2016 December

Dec. 31 JFKFacts.org, Trump family confidante served on the Warren Commission, Jefferson Morley, Dec. 31, 2016. JFK researcher Bill Kelly has the story on the former Warren Commission lawyer who is close to Donald Trump and well-positioned to influence the decisions the Trump administration will have to make about JFK secrecy and disclosure in the next ten months:

"Of all the surviving former Warren Commission lawyers," Kelly wrote, "none will be more influential in the new administration than Murray Laulicht, a New Jersey attorney whose wife, Linda Kushner, is the sister of Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law."

Dec. 30

JFKCounterCoup, Warren Commission Lawyers Strike Back, William E. Kelly, Dec. 30, 2016. The story was familiar: a group of former Warren Commission lawyers meet in Washington D.C. to plot their media strategy in the face of another looming threat to their dubious legacy -- the Warren Report conclusion that one man alone was responsible for the murder of President Kennedy.

Murray LaulichtAs reported in the American Scholar (Summer 2016), "On a sunny day in Washington last October," seven former Commission colleagues met to reflect, in their words, "on our investigation and the report we wrote." The discussion of the issues has recently shifted from "Who killed Kennedy?" to "What's in the secret and soon-to-be-released records?", and whether the next president will release them or acquiesce to the intelligence agency requests to keep the documents secret for reasons of national security.

Actor, assassin or fall guy, Oswald's role in what happened at Dealey Plaza is taking a back seat in the debate as the controversy over the release of the records increases in intensity.

As former Commission lawyer Howard Willens mentions in the American Scholar article, the remaining few who met in Washington included Willens, David Slawson, Stuart Pollack, Sam Stern, Murray Laulicht (shown in a file photo) and Alfred Goldberg. All are high powered lawyers except for Goldberg, a recently retired Army historian who worked out of an office in the Pentagon and was brought in to substantially re-write the investigative reports and chapter drafts to give the Warren Report a readable and believable narrative, an exercise that was only partly successful.

Willens, Slawson, Pollack, Stern and Laulicht were each responsible for drafting different aspects of the case, while Goldberg substantially re-wrote their drafts to form the basic narrative.

Dec. 28

Lee Harvey Oswald, center, arrested at Texas Theatre by Dallas Det. Paul Bentley (Jim Maccammon photo)

Dallas detective Paul Bentley escorts Lee Harvey Oswald out of the Texas Theater on Nov. 24, 1963, pushing "The Fall Guy" to his day of reckoning (Jim MacCammon photo via Warren Report exhibits)

JFKcountercoup, Oswald is Dashiell Hammett's Fall Guy, William Kelly, Dec. 28, 2016. Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco private eye Sam Spade had it all figured out. Chapter 14 of Hammett's The Maltese Falcon is called "The Fall Guy." Spade explains the need for a Fall Guy: "There's another thing that's got to be taken care of first. We've got to have a fall guy. The police have got to have a victim -- somebody they can stick those murders on. The way to handle them is to toss them a victim, somebody they can hang the works on."

"I get away with it because I never let myself forget that a day of reckoning is coming. I never forget that when the day of reckoning comes I want to be all set to march into headquarters pushing a victim in front of me, saying 'Here, you chumps, is your criminal!' .... He's made to order for the part. Let's pin the necessary evidence on him and turn him over to them."

In fact, Detective Paul Bentley may have more to do with the assassination than Oswald, a pawn and Fall Guy....while Bentley was the Dallas police polygraph operator who should never have been at the scene of Oswald's arrest. Even before Oswald was killed while in police custody, a close friend of Bentley, Robert D. Steel, wrote him a letter:

"Paul, Perhaps you are aware that ONI [Office of Naval Intelligence] has quite a file on Oswald, which no doubt has been made available on the Washington level. If not, I am certain that this information can be obtained for you through our resident special agent in charge of the Dallas office, A. C. Sullivan, who is a wonderful agent, and whom I hope you know."

In an interview before he died, ONI investigator Robert Steel said that he visited Bentley in Dallas, and personally wrote or read a number of 119 investigative reports on Oswald's defection and after the assassination, none of which are among the records of the JFK Collection at the National Archives or among the still withheld records list.

So the "quite a file" Steel said ONI had on Oswald just went missing, and no one is looking for them.

Dec. 26 JFKFacts.org, What the JFK review board recommended for 2017, Jefferson Morley (shown in file photo), Dec. 26, 2016. Between 1994 and 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) reviewed and declassified millions Jefferson Morleyof pages of JFK records, contributing immensely to the history of the JFK’s murder, his presidency, and the Cold War. The board’s final report also laid down the law to any government agency that wants to continue withholding JFK documents past October 26, 2017: “the JFK Act mandated that all postponed assassination records be opened to the public no later than the year 2017 (25 years from the date of enactment of the JFK Act)."

The report goes on: “Government offices could continue to postpone public release of material in assassination records after the year 2017 if “the President certifies” that (1) “continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military, defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations” and (2) “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

”The report stated: “Without such certification, NARA will release all postponed records or portions of records in 2017."

Dec. 21 Sputnik, Thanks to Oliver Stone, Thousands of JFK Assassination Files To Be Released, Staff report, Dec. 21, 2016. Next year, the US government will hit its 25-year deadline to release approximately 3,000 never-before-seen documents, and 34,000 previously redacted files relating to the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. In 1991, Oliver Stone’s film JFK renewed public interest in a probable conspiracy surrounding the events leading to the November 22, 1963 assassination. The massive surge in interest lead to the passage of the 1992 JFK Records Act, which gave the government 25 years to release all documents relating to what happened in Dealey Plaza on that day.

CIA LogoThe National Archives annex in Maryland is currently processing, scanning, and preparing for the large trove of files to be released.Many of the files are from the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and are expected to reveal what the CIA may have known about Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the shooting.

Also contained in the previously unseen files is “information about the CIA’s station in Mexico City, where Oswald showed up weeks before JFK’s death; 400 pages on E. Howard Hunt, the Watergate burglary conspirator who said on his deathbed that he had prior knowledge of the assassination; and testimony from the CIA’s James Angleton, who oversaw intelligence on Oswald,” Time Magazine reports.

“The records that are out there are going to fill out this picture,” Jefferson Morley, an author who has spent decades researching the JFK assassination, told the magazine. There are hopes that the files will provide information on George Joannides, a CIA officer who had been involved with an anti-Castro organization whose members fought with Oswald in New Orleans months before the assassination.

WhoWhatWhy, Berlin Truck Terror Suspect and the Curious Matter of ID Papers Left Behind; Not the First Time a Terror Suspect Apparently Left a Paper Trail -- or Was Previously KnownNot the First Time a WhoWhatWhyTerror Suspect Apparently Left a Paper Trail -- or Was Previously Known, WhoWhatWhy Staff, Dec. 21, 2016. Today, WhoWhatWhy has seen heavy traffic coming from Google searches that point to a story we ran almost two years ago. Why the sudden interest? It took us only a moment to discover the connection: We had written about the odd phenomenon of terrorists repeatedly leaving ID papers behind at the scene. And now, with the Berlin truck attack, we see yet another such example.

We also see that, in a pattern we have previously reported on with other terror incidents, the suspect was already known to authorities — had even been in custody, but was released.

What does it all mean? That’s for you to decide. You can start by reading the original article, below.

Original story: One intriguing — if barely discussed — aspect of the Paris massacre was the quick progress authorities made in their investigation. According to CNN, this was thanks to a staggering error — by one of the two now-dead alleged perpetrators. The man, Said Kouachi, reportedly left his identification card in the abandoned getaway vehicle. It was a most curious mistake. After all, this is the same man who went to such trouble to seemingly hide his identity by wearing a mask.

Such apparent gaffes have marked other watershed violence. Consider these examples, and draw your own conclusion:

  • Bundle of evidence dropped by James Earl Ray
  • Wallet of Lee Harvey Oswald
  • Passports belonging to Ziad Jarrah and Saeed al-Ghamdi

Dec. 19 JFKFacts.org, Attention CIA: the whole world expects full JFK disclosure, Jefferson Morley (JFKFacts.org editor, author, and adjunct professor shown in file photo), Dec. 19, 2016. Thanks to the Internet, Jefferson Morleythe media is finally paying attention. Three days ago, it was Macleans, the Canadian newsweekly, which ran an article about the impending release of thousands of secret JFK records in October 2016. Today it is Time magazine, which reports: “The tortured path that began with a left turn onto Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963, will find its unlikely end point this October in College Park, Md. At a National Archives annex, the last remaining documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are being processed, scanned and readied for release.”

In 2015, it was Politico which explained “Why the last of the JFK files could embarrass CIA.” In 2013, it was Associated Press that reported, “5 decades later, me JFK probe files still sealed.” The story is out there. It is undisputed. And it has nothing to do with the stupid JFK conspiracy theories.

Thanks to the Mary Ferrell Foundation (Mark The Date), and WhoWhatWhy (Exclusive: List of Withheld JFK Assassination Documents), anybody who wants to know can see a listing of all the JFK records that are supposed to be released on or before October 26, 2017.

The JFK issue in 2017 is not conspiracy. That is to say, the issue today is not whether one long deceased young man, Lee Oswald, engaged in criminal behavior on November 22, 1963. That is an interesting question, but it is actually a secondary issue.

WhoWhatWhyThe more significant issue for Americans today is the well-documented but still unexplained criminal behavior of certain career government officials when responding to the murder of the liberal president.

Note to all reporters/bloggers/pundits interested in the JFK story: We are not “conspiracy theorists.” I’ve been writing about JFK for thirty five years and I don’t have a “theory.” And we are not–repeat not–looking for a “smoking gun.” Nor do we expect to find one. So when no single “smoking gun” document emerges in October 2017, please do not report that as news. It is not news. It is already a commonly accepted fact.

Dec. 19 Andrei Karlov Russian Ambassador to Turkey Washington Post, Russia’s ambassador assassinated in Turkey, David Filipov and Brian Murphy, Dec. 19, 2016 (with graphic video of murder). A gunman in Turkey wearing a suit and tie opened fire Monday on Russia’s ambassador, killing the diplomat and wounding several others in an attack possibly linked to Russia’s military involvement in Syria. The gunman was killed as panicked people scattered for cover at a photo exhibit in the Turkish capital, Ankara, where the ambassador was a guest speaker.

Turkish gunman killing Russian ambassador Dec. 19, 2016 distributed by APVideo posted on social media purported to show the Turkish-speaking attacker (shown in a screen shot with the victim at his feet) decrying violence in Syria, where Russia is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Ambassador Andrei Karlov (shown above in a file photo) died after being hit in the back by gunfire. Earlier, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said efforts to treat Karlov were delayed as gunfire raged. Photos from the gallery showed the suspected attacker, wearing a dark suit and tie, gripping a pistol as he stood near the fallen ambassador. The gunman was later killed.

The Reuters news agency, citing security sources, said the attacker was an off-duty police officer. “We consider this to have been a terrorist attack,” Zakharova said. “Terrorism will not pass. We will fight it decisively.”

Flag of Turkey“Allah Akbar! Do not forget Aleppo!” said the gunman, according to the widely circulated video. “Do not forget Syria! Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! As long as our lands are not safe, you will not be safe!

In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby condemned Monday’s attack. Leonid Slutsky, head of the committee on international affairs of the Russian lower house of parliament, said talks in Moscow between the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey over Syria will continue as planned. “I think that tomorrow despite this monstrous tragedy," he said, "something constructive will nonetheless be achieved."

Dec. 16 JFK Facts.org, The impact of JFK’s assassination endures because of the cover-up continues, Jefferson Morley, Dec. 16, 2016. Even a half century after the fact, Americans believe the murder of the 35th president was one of the four most important events in the nation’s history, according to a new Pew Survey [reported in the New York Times as What Events Most Shaped America in Your Lifetime?]. This despite the fact that more than two-thirds of all Americans were born after November 22, 1963. Dec. 15 New York Times, What Events Most Shaped America in Your Lifetime? A Pew Survey Tries to Answer, Niraj Chokshi, Dec. 15, 2016. As divided as the American public may seem, there are still some things on which most people agree. No matter age, party or gender, Americans overwhelmingly believe that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, played a dominant role in shaping the history of the country, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center with A+E Networks’ History.

When asked to name the events in their lifetimes that had the greatest impact on the nation, 76 percent of those surveyed listed the attacks, far surpassing any other event, according to Pew, which conducted the survey of about 2,000 people, in part, to better understand the events that drive public discourse.

Sept. 11 came to mind most often, by a long-shot. President Obama’s election followed distantly, with 40 percent including it in their list. The tech revolution was next, followed closely by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and then the Vietnam War. The survey found that Americans were primarily united by their age.

While Sept. 11 dominated each generation’s list, the other entries varied by age. The so-called “silent” and “greatest” generations, identified as Americans 71 and older, were united by the import they placed on World War II. For baby boomers — adults 52 to 70 — it was the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War that unified them. Millennials and members of Generation X, the groups including those 18 to 51, were united in the importance they placed on Mr. Obama’s election.

Dec. 14 Ratical, John Judge, Leading Change: A Transformational, Quiet Servant Leader, Cynthia McKinney, Dec. 14, 2016. David Ratcliff Introduction: In June 2014, I joined the board of John Judge's Museum of John Judge SmilingHidden History non-profit. John (shown in a photo) was born 69 years ago today and died all too soon of complications from a stroke in April 2014. The current project focus of the Museum is the Hidden History Center located in York, Pennsylvania. In honoring John today I am pleased to announce an extended hypertext version of a case study written by former Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Cynthia McKinney (shown below) in 2012 as part of her Ph.D. leadership studies program. As Ms. McKinney describes some of the scope explored in this remarkable paper:

Dr. Cyrnthia McKinneyI decided that because of the brilliance and the dedication of this gentleman, that in my own PhD leadership studies I would write a paper on him and the type of leadership that he demonstrates. John Judge is perhaps one of the most important unknown historians of our generation. I chose to research the story of John Judge because he startled me into not one, not two, but many, disorienting dilemmas. I became so fascinated with John that I wanted to pierce deep down inside his world. There is a piece of each one of us, including me, inside this very special man. Imagine if we could flip the switch and have a little of John inside each and every one of us.

And while I might not agree with John on every issue, I say that if we had even just a few more John Judges in this country, not only our country, but also our world, would be a vastly different and much-improved place. In this paper, I give the floor to John and the other participants [Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D., Peter Dale Scott, Ph.D., Tamara Carter, Joe Green, Michael Nurko]. I give them the opportunity to be heard in full context.

JFFacts.org, Dealey Plaza eyewitness: ‘People were running to the grassy knoll,’ Jefferson Morley, Dec. 14, 2016. As a thirteen year old girl, Tina Towner went to Dealey Plaza with her parents on November 22, 1963 to see President Kennedy. She filmed the motorcade with a movie camera as it turned on to Elm Street. Here’s what she recorded. Kennedys and King (formerly CTKA), Review: 'A Coup in Camelot,' Martin Hay, Dec. 14, 2016. Aside from Shane O'Sullian's mostly worthwhile Killing Oswald, there has been very little of note that has even attempted to counter the MSM's seemingly endless deluge of propaganda with reliable evidence and solid reasoning. A Coup in Camelot (Directed and produced by Stephen Goetsch; written and produced by Art Van Kampen) clearly aims to fill that void. Unfortunately, however, it falls considerably short of the mark, writes Martin Hay, as described here:

A Coup In Camelot (2016) Directed and Produced by Stephen GoetschConsidering the large number of films and TV specials about the assassination of President Kennedy that have appeared over the last ten or fifteen years, genuinely worthwhile documentaries on the subject are sadly few and far between. The likes of Mark Lane's Rush to Judgement and Chip Selby's Reasonable Doubt were fine for their day but given the wealth of information and technological tools that have become available in the time since those films were produced they appear more than a little outdated now.

Sadly, the majority of well-budgeted, slickly produced documentaries of the 21st century have been created solely to push the delusory mythology of the Warren Commission. Aside from Shane O'Sullivan's mostly worthwhile Killing Oswald, there has been very little of note that has even attempted to counter the MSM's seemingly endless deluge of propaganda with reliable evidence and solid reasoning. A Coup in Camelot clearly aims to fill that void. Unfortunately, however, it falls considerably short of the mark because it consistently confuses theory with fact.

The film begins strongly enough with a ten-minute introduction that briefly discusses Kennedy's intention to withdraw American troops from Vietnam then outlines the reasons for his trip to Dallas and explains how, within hours of the assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was fingered as the lone nut assassin.

From there A Coup in Camelot moves swiftly into one of its strongest segments, featuring respected author and researcher Vince Palamara as its main talking head. Over the years, through his diligent hard work in locating and interviewing members of the Secret Service, Palamara has made himself the go-to expert on the subject of President Kennedy's protection ― or lack thereof ― in Dallas. I must admit that I have never been convinced the Secret Service was actively involved in the assassination. Yet Palamara's work most certainly gives reason to at least consider the idea that JFK's protection on November 22, 1963, was intentionally compromised.

Dec. 6 OpEdNews, Power to the People: John Lennon's Legacy Lives On, John Whitehead, Dec. 6, 2016. It's been 36 years since Lennon was gunned down by an assassin's bullet on December 8, 1980, but his legacy and the lessons he imparted in his music and his activism have not diminished over the years. All of the many complaints we have about government today — surveillance, militarism, corruption, harassment, SWAT team raids, political persecution, spying, over-criminalization, etc. — were present in Lennon's day and formed the basis of his call for social justice, peace and a populist revolution.

John Lennon ScripNews DCMA

Little wonder, then, that the U.S. government saw him as enemy number one. Because he never refrained from speaking truth to power, Lennon became a prime example of the lengths to which the U.S. government will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority.

Lennon was the subject of a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment by the U.S. government (spearheaded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), an attempt by President Richard Nixon to have him "neutralized" and deported. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times points out, "The F.B.I.'s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose. What is more surprising, and ultimately more unsettling, is the degree to which the surveillance turns out to have been intertwined with electoral politics."

  November Nov. 26 Justice Integrity Project, Revelations Prove JFK, RFK Murder Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 26, 2016. Disclosures and analysis at two research conferences last weekend in Dallas confirmed the U.S. majority popular opinion that conspirators murdered President John F. Kennedy in a 1963 plot that authorities have continued to cover up. Similar analysis shows a cover-up in the 1968 assassination of the leading Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. The combination illustrates the ongoing threat to American presidents since then of attempted assassination, which continues to threaten independent leaders and ultimately democracy itself. Editor's Note: The opinion column above and its components are not necessarily endorsed by CAPA, and neither are other commentaries in this section. Nov. 24 Midnight Writer News, The 4th Annual JFK Assassination Conference: Day Three in Dallas, S.T. Patrick, Nov. 24, 2016. The final day of the 4th Annual JFK Assassination Conference in Dallas came to a close with assassination witness Beverly Oliver serenading the crowd with “God Bless the USA” and a rousing, unique version of “Old Time Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Before Ms. Oliver took the stage to discuss her story and end in song, the day progressed with a group of high-level presentations that added an immense amount of knowledge to the ongoing discussions that had been permeating the Crowne Plaza Hotel for three days. Midnight Writer News, Review: The American Media, The 2nd Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: The Garrison Tapes, Part Two, S.T. Patrick, Nov. 24, 2016. “Liars run for office…. Truth tellers run for their lives.” — John Barbour, The American Media – The 2nd Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: The Garrison Tapes, Part Two.

As the 4th Annual JFK Assassination Conference drew to a close, around 300 invitees and locals attended a special screening of John Barbour’s new documentary, The American Media – The 2nd Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: The Garrison Tapes, Part Two. The screening was held on Monday, November 21st at the Texas Theatre in Dallas. The Texas Theater is the historic site where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder of Officer JD Tippit (and shortly thereafter charged with the murder of President John F. Kennedy) on November 22, 1963. Attending the special screening were Crossfire author and researcher Jim Marrs, researcher Richard Bartholomew, and assassination witness Beverly Oliver. Gary Fannin, author of The Innocence of Oswald, assisted with the research on the documentary and was in attendance as well.

John Barbour wrote and directed part one of The Garrison Tapes (1992) following the success of Oliver Stone’s JFK, which focused on the story of former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. Barbour was the only personality to conduct a comprehensive video interview with Garrison after the trial of Clay Shaw in 1969. Garrison prosecuted the only case regarding the murder of Kennedy.

In The American Media, narrated and directed by Barbour and co-produced with Myra Bronstein, Garrison’s story is told once again, this time with an emphasis on the tragic double-cross of an NBC producer who deceptively, and without Barbour’s input, doctored Barbour’s interview with Garrison so that Garrison states a foolish belief that there were 30 shooters in Dealey Plaza.

Barbour was angered to tears by the smearing of Garrison and called Garrison urging him to sue NBC using the conversation with the NBC producer that Barbour had recorded. Garrison, tired and somewhat accustomed to mainstream media tactics, told Barbour that he would not sue. Instead, Garrison told Barbour that he was a fan of Barbour’s show and asked him for a couple Real People t-shirts for his family. Because of his loyalty to Garrison and his distrust of NBC’s editorial decisions, Barbour would lose his position with NBC and would soon fade from show business altogether. He did not, however, fade from the fight for Jim Garrison’s honor and the truth regarding John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Nov. 22 Books & Books (Coral Gables, FL), NYT Bestsellers To Debate JFK Assassination Nov. 22 in FloridaRoger Stone, Staff report, Nov. 20, 2016. Roger Stone and Gerald Posner will debate JFK's assassination in a debate moderated by the Miami Herald's Glenn Garvin. On the 53rd anniversary of that fateful day in Dealey Plaza, South Florida will be hosting a debate on competing theories surrounding the murder.

Roger Stone, (shown at right) a veteran political operative and advisor to Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Bush will face investigative reporter Gerald Posner (below left). Both men have written extensively detailed books on the matter and have competing theories on the crime that rocked the world.

Gerald PosnerIn The Man Who Killed Kennedy, The Case Against LBJ, Stone colorfully posits that Vice President Lyndon Banes Johnson was behind the assassination. He had a prominent role in the 2016 presidential election as an informal advisor to President-elect Donald Trump. Posner's Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK Assassination, relentlessly defends the findings of the Warren Commission, which declared Lee Harvey Oswald acted completely alone. The debate will be moderated by veteran journalist Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald and will be hosted at the Coral Gables Books & Books.

Nov. 21 On-Target with Larry Sparano, New Push for Release of JFK Assassination Records (Video Interview), Host Larry Sparano interviews Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, Nov. 21, 2016. It’s Dr. Cyril Wecht in labbeen 53 years since the nation’s 35th president was gunned down in broad daylight in Dallas. And during those years a curtain of darkness has hidden information and records which could reveal the full story of what happened on that tragic day in November.

Listen to Dr. Cyril Wecht (shown in lab) explain how he and others hope to pierce a government-imposed black-out on the murder of John F. Kennedy – and why finding the truth still matters, more than five decades later.

Truth and Shadows, The ultimate weapon against dissent, Craig McKee, Nov. 21, 2016. CIA memo on JFK shooting leads entire culture to mock ‘conspiracy theories’ in defense of any official story It has been called the “conspiracy theory” conspiracy. But it’s not just a theory, it’s a fact. And like more than a few conspiracies it involves the Central Intelligence Agency – specifically a campaign in the 1960s to discredit those challenging the findings of the Warren Commission in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The agency achieved this by linking challenges to the official story with “conspiracy theories.” It is known as CIA dispatch #1035-960. It was distributed in 1967 but not released to the public until 1976 following a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times.

JFKFacts.org, On JFK, Joyce Carol Oates blames the victim, Jefferson Morley, Nov. 21, 2016. In an essay for the Washington Post, prolific novelist Joyce Carol Oates opines that the real problem in the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy was not the government’s implausible and mendacious account of the crime but the confused and outraged response of the American majority that could not – and does not – believe it.

“If Kennedy’s assassination was a tragedy,” she writes in a review of Alexandra Zapruder’s book about her grandfather’s home movie of the assassination, “the aftermath of competing and vociferous conspiracy theorists was a farce, with serious consequences: the undermining of trust in the U.S. government and in authority in general that continues to this day.” As we approach the commemoration of JFK’s death on November 22, Oates’s stance is a reminder of the sources and power of denial. Rather than face the facts, Oates takes comfort in the fiction that the American people are to blame for their own suspicion and doubt.

Oates suggests that the critics of Warren Commission’s account undermined trust in government. She refrains from judging President Johnson or FBI director J. Edgar Hoover or former CIA director Allen Dulles decided within 48 hours of JFK’s death that Oswald alone had committed the crime and then ordered subordinates to reach that conclusion.

Nov. 20 National Press Club, "Smitty" talk dominates Unipressers reunion at the Club, Wesley G. Pippert, Nov. 20, 2016. Merriman "Smitty" Smith was UPI's White House correspondent from the Franklin Roosevelt administration through Richard Nixon. During its glory days, UP (subsequently UPI) was fueled by a host of talented but underpaid and understaffed correspondents, eternally bonded by a sense of esprit de corps.

Merriman Smith UPI White House correspondentThe brightest star in this constellation was Merriman Smith,, shown in a file photo. When Smitty, as he was almost universally known, died the UPI story identified him as “Merriman Smith, the dean of White House correspondents." The next day, one UPI staffer said the lead should have identified him as, simply and elegantly, “Merriman Smith, the White House reporter." In other words, “THE White House reporter.”

Although he died 46 years ago, by his own hand perhaps during the grief of losing his namesake son in Vietnam, Smitty still dominated a gathering of Unipressers (including this writer) and friends at the National Press Club Thursday night to recall the long-gone glory days. The event, with several panelists, including Smith’s son, Tim, was arranged by Gil Klein the club’s chair of the history and archives committee. Much of its focused on Smitty’s coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas Nov. 22, 1963, including an eyewitness account from Sid Davis, then a Westinghouse broadcaster and later NBC Washington bureau chief.

Bill Sanderson read from his forthcoming book about Smith and the assassination, Bulletins from Dallas, a detailed account of what happened when Smitty, as usual in the front seat in the motorcade’s press pool car, recognized three loud pops as coming from a gun. Smitty, who knew guns from owning several himself, grabbed the mobile phone to call the Dallas UPI bureau to say that shots had been fired at the motorcade – and a scant five minutes later, based on Smitty’s reporting, UPI sent a flash that Kennedy was wounded “perhaps seriously perhaps fatally.” Smith later won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of that day. No one who was in that pool car is still alive.

Nov. 18

MaryFerrell.org, Mark The Date: Oct. 26, 2017, Rex Bradford, Nov. 20, 2016. This is a transcript of a video/slideshow presentation by Mary Ferrell Foundation President Rex Bradford (shown in a photo from a 2013 lecture), delivered at the 2016 Rex Bradford C-SPAN 2013"November in Dallas" research conference organized by JFK Lancer Events and Productions.

The date? October 26, 2017. That's about 11 months away. Why is this date important? Because it’s the 25th anniversary of the passage of the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992. But the significance goes beyond the normal anniversary nostalgia. Here is a section from the JFK Records Act: "Each assassination record shall be publicly disclosed in full, and available in the Collection no later than the date that is 25 years after the date of the enactment of this Act....."

And the National Archives is busy getting ready to do just that. They have published, and we have put online at maryferrell.org, a document listing 3,571 records which to this day have remained withheld in full. There are another roughly 35,000 documents which feature redactions — like this page of "The Lopez Report." In 11 months, all of those redactions are supposed to be lifted.

John F. Kennedy side profileOh but wait, I forgot to read the rest of the sentence in the JFK Records Act. "Each assassination record shall be publicly disclosed in full.....yadda yadda.....unless the President certifies, as required by this act, that: (i) continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations; and (ii) the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure."

So, is this event going to be a big deal? What's in these records? Will we get to see what's behind the whiteout on this page from the CIA's so-called family jewels" document, released in 2007 with much fanfare as a sign of new openness?

Personally, I have given up on the hunt for the smoking gun, but I also am very much looking forward to this release. We already have the RIF sheets — the metadata including titles, subjects, number of pages, etc. for all 3,571 fully withheld documents, so we have a sense of what to expect. This metadata, by the way, along with metadata for the full collection, is now all available and searchable at maryferrell.org, in a project called the JFK Database Explorer. The metadata cards I'll be showing in this presentation were grabbed off these MFF pages.

Here's a breakdown of those 3,571 documents by agency — FBI and CIA documents make up the bulk of them, but there's a fair number of IRS records too. Why? Tax returns.

FBI: 35% CIA: 33% DOJ: 15% IRS: 5% HSCA: 5% STATE: 3% OTHER: 5%

Records Walkthrough

Here are metadata slides for a few of those IRS records. Tax returns for Lee Harvey Oswald — 1959, the Paines — 1962, hmm, here's the William B. Reilly Coffee Company, where Oswald worked in New Orleans. Most of the FBI documents still with held are marked NBR — Not Believed Relevant, so many of them may not be of much interest, though I'm sure that judgment will differ from reader to reader.

But in general, and you can scan through these for yourself using the JFK Database Explorer, just from the titles and subjects it's clear that there is much of interest in these still-withheld records. And the simple fact that these have been withheld for this long adds a bit of mystery. In some cases, like IRS records, the withholding is directly related to general government practices around documents. In other cases, it's not at all clear why some documents are withheld. Let's have a look at a few interesting samples.....

Nov. 17

McClendon News Service, Author Andrew Kreig: Lecture at National Press Club Nov. 17 to advocate Obama pardons for political prisoners and renewed Kennedy assassination disclosures, John Edward Hurley, Nov. 17, 2016. President Obama should pardon the nation’s leading political prisoners and whistleblowers as a lasting legacy, according to Justice Integrity Project Editor Andrew Kreig, author of many investigative stories, including this week’s President Obama, I Beg Your Post-Election Pardon, which documents political prosecution, assassination, and media issues.

Justice for those have been framed in high-profile, historic cases — which include the assassinations of President John Robert KennedyF. Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy (shown in file photo) — would provide a vital civic lesson, he said as the nation wrestles with what Electoral College winner Donald Trump has called campaign for "law and order."

The lecture organized by the McClendon News Service chaired by John Hurley at 7 p.m. is open to the public at the National Press Club. Discussion is preceded at 6:30 p.m. by an optional no-host dinner with the speaker [shown above and a member of the CAPA board of directors, among other professional and civic groups].

Washington Post, Twenty-six seconds of the JFK assassination — and a lifetime of family anguish, Joyce Carol Oates, Nov. 17, 2016. Zapruder, granddaughter of the videographer and a founder of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, has written a moving and enlightening account that is part memoir; part detailed history of the film and its (inestimable) role in the nation’s understanding of the assassination; and part overview of the film as an inspiration for countless, often bizarre conspiracy theories, as well as for works of art as disparate as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow-Up,” Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” Don DeLillo’s “Libra” and “Underworld,” and a particularly inventive episode of “Seinfeld.”

So much history, embodied in a mere 26 seconds of footage! Not least, this film would one day be sold by the Zapruder heirs to the U.S. government for $16 million, the highest price ever paid for “an American historical artifact,” to be stored in the National Film Registry for scholars and historians to study.

Nov. 16 LewRockwell.com, “Mary’s Mosaic”: A Masterpiece of Biography and a Mesmerizing Detective Story, Douglas (Anonymous last name), Nov. 16, 2016. Mary’s Mosaic is several things at once: an insightful and sensitive biography of both Mary Meyer and her one-time husband, CIA propaganda specialist Cord Meyer; a murder mystery; a trial drama; an expose of secret knowledge and cover-ups inside the Washington D.C. Beltway during the 1950s and 1960s; and of course, a love story about the late-developing relationship between President John F. Kennedy and Mary Pinchot Meyer, whom he had first met at an Ivy League prep school dance when she was only 15 years old.

Their paths had crossed briefly once again in the Spring of 1945, at the founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco. (Mary, her new husband Cord Meyer, and John F. Kennedy all attended the conference as journalists reporting on the events there, at the birth of the United Nations.)

One of the fascinating aspects of this well-researched book is how it traces the evolution and personal development of Mary Pinchot Meyer, Cord Meyer, and John F. Kennedy. As Cord Meyer — a scarred war hero who was once an idealist and a pacifist, and who aggressively lobbied for a united world government following World War II — became a disillusioned cynic and was subverted to the “dark side” by Allen Dulles of the CIA, his all-consuming commitment to the Cold War (and his abandonment of his former idealism) slowly killed his marriage to Mary Pinchot. Mary remained an idealist and an independent thinker, and it was this very independent and unconventional woman whose orbit finally intersected with that of President John F. Kennedy again late in 1961, about two years before his assassination.

Nov. 11 New York Post, New JFK assassination theory: Cuban double agent led plot, Joshua Rhett Miller, Nov. 11, 2016. More than 50 years after President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, new evidence uncovered in the secret diaries of a Cold War spy and assassin implicates another clandestine figure believed to be working as a double agent for Cuba, an explosive new book claims.

The never-before-revealed diaries of Douglas DeWitt Bazata, a decorated officer for the United States Office of Strategic Services — the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency — claim that his longtime close friend and fellow spy, René Alexander Dussaq, was a “primary organizer and plotter” of Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. The diaries reveal that Dussaq might even have fired the fatal “shot or shots” that killed the 35th president of the United States, according to author Robert K. Wilcox’s latest book, Target: JFK, The Spy Who Killed Kennedy?

CAPA Editor's Note: This excerpt of this book announcement is in the spirit of news reporting and not an implied endorsement of its thesis, which differs from those espoused in vast numbers of other books.

Response to CAPA from author Robert Wilcox: "My book does not differ from thesis's implied in the vast amount of other books. It points to Castro and Cuba as the culprits. Both were among the first suspects in the assassination. It challenges the Warren Commission, as do most books about the assassination. And as most theses do, it suggests a frontal shot from the grassy knoll or elsewhere. It also agrees with what the Zapruder film suggests and details a conspiracy as most books about the assassination do. Where it is different is that it gives new evidence of the possible genesis of the conspiracy. This is based on credible witness that has recently been uncovered and certainly deserves a hearing."

Nov. 1 Richard BurrBoston Globe, GOP ‘jokes’ speak of bullets, not ballots, Renée Graham, Nov. 1, 2016. Hey, did you hear the one about Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican senator who “joked” last weekend that “nothing made me feel better” than seeing a picture of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on the cover of a firearms magazine? “I was a little bit shocked at that — it didn’t have a bullseye on it,” Burr said, getting a big laugh from a roomful of GOP volunteers. The lawmaker is shown in his official photo.

Just a few months earlier, Donald Trump, who has presided over a number of violent incidents at his raucous campaign rallies, quipped that if Clinton is elected and “gets to pick her judges — nothing you can do, folks. Although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

For what it’s worth — and during this campaign, so many apologies cover the ground like dead leaves — Burr eventually called his comment “inappropriate.”

Of course Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, carped that he’d been misinterpreted. After all, why would anyone believe that a man who said of a protestor, “I’d like to punch him in the face,” and longed for the “old days” when such a person would’ve been “carried out on a stretcher,” would advocate violence?

Among other sickening things, 2016 is the year when assassination became a fetid political punch line.

JFK Wanted for Treason handbill 1963

In 1963, hate mongers prepared for President Kennedy's assassination by distributing the handbill above in Dallas before he was killed. The Dallas Morning News ran a similar "welcome" (below) that day.

Los Angeles Times, Review Shakespeare meets Oliver Stone in 'The Tragedy of JFK,' Philip Brandes, Nov. 1, 2016. Friends, readers, theatergoers, lend me your eyes; I come to praise “The Tragedy of JFK (as told by Wm.Dallas Morning News Shakespeare)” at the Skylight Theatre, not to bury it.

Daniel Henning’s adaptation of “Julius Caesar” is an audacious new production from the Blank Theatre Company, one that inventively maps Shakespeare’s historical drama to figures and events surrounding the 1963 Kennedy assassination.

Marrying director Henning’s deep knowledge of both classical theater and JFK conspiracy theories, the play transposes Shakespeare’s plot to the political intrigues of an Oliver Stone-worthy cabal at the highest levels of our government.

  October Oct. 31 A Coup in Camelot, Award-Winning JFK Assassination Documentary Available on November 4, 2016 on iTunes and Other Digital Platforms, Oct. 31, 2016. A Coup in Camelot, the award-winning documentary on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will be available on November 4, 2016 on iTunes, Amazon Video Direct, Google Play and Vimeo OnDemand. On November 4, the DVD and Blu-ray can be purchased exclusively on the film’s website.

Narrated by Emmy award-winning actor Peter Coyote, directed/produced by Stephen Goetsch and written/produced by Art Van Kampen, A Coup in Camelot is a powerful examination of compelling new research, exclusive interviews and critical analysis by the top medical, forensic and research experts in the country.

“November 22, 2016 marks the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of the country’s 35th president,” said Stephen Goetsch, director/producer. “We are pleased to offer audiences this unbiased and impassioned addition to the historical record of this tragic event.” Five decades later crucial questions remain about President Kennedy’s assassination. The film provides extensive evidence of botched Secret Service protocols, Zapruder film analysis with 6k digital scans, shocking medical evidence revelations, and expert Oswald analysis, to uncover the dramatic tale of A Coup In Camelot. The following JFK assassination experts who appear in the film are available for interviews: Douglas Horne, Assassination Records Review Board, Author Vince Palamara, Secret Service Expert, Author Sherry Fiester, Forensics Expert, Author Dr. David Mantik, Radiologist Dick Russell, Oswald Expert, Author Barry Ernest, Oswald Expert, Author Jerry Dealey, Historian, Author For the film experts’ biographies, visit here. To view the trailer, visit here. For complete information, visit here. Oct. 28 Hidden History Center, Museum Announces Website, New Location In Pennsylvania, Executive Director, Marilyn Tenenoff, Oct. 28, 2016. Here are headlines:

  • The Center has moved to North George Street in York , PA.
  • Our presence extends far beyond our physical location.
  • Thanks to Assistant Director Dave Ratcliffe, our new information-packed website has just debuted here. Check it out!
  • The Center is on the threshold of an exciting new social media outreach.
  • Board member Joe Green is editing John Judge's book, "Judge for Yourself," and will soon re-publish it.
  • I turned 70 on October 23.
  • You can send me a great birthday gift by donating to support our important work at hiddenhistorycenter.org.

Mission: "The Hidden History Center is a Gateway for Truth ~ a source for facts our schools are not teaching, secrets our government is hiding, and information we are blinded from seeing by our culture. The Center is based on the vision of our founder, John Judge, whose scholarship, integrity and dedication to the Truth were unrelenting. The Center is a project of the Museum of Hidden History, a 501(c)(3) non-profit."

Oct. 27 Secrecy News, CIA Will Place Its CREST Database Online, Steven Aftergood, The Central Intelligence Agency said this week that it will post its database of declassified CIA documents online, making them broadly accessible to all interested users. The database, known as CREST (for CIA Records Search Tool), contains more than 11 million pages of historical Agency records that have already been declassified and approved for public release.

Currently, however, CREST can only be accessed through computer terminals at the National Archives in College Park, MD. This geographic restriction on availability has been a source of frustration and bafflement to researchers ever since the digital collection was established in 2000.

But that is finally going to change. The entire contents of the CREST system will be transferred to the CIA website, said CIA spokesperson Ryan Trapani on Tuesday. "When loaded on the website they will be full-text searchable and have the same features currently available on the CREST system at NARA," he said.

CIA was not able to provide a date for completion of the transfer, but "we are moving out on the plan to make the transition," Mr. Trapani said. In the meantime, "The CREST database housed at NARA will remain up and running at least until the website is fully functioning," he said.

Oct. 26 Carroll County Times-Georgian (Georgia), JFK exhibit at Ingram Library, Melanie Boyd, Oct. 26, 2016. The “Hidden History of the John F. Kennedy Assassination” exhibit opened Monday at the Ingram Library on the University of West Georgia campus. The exhibit, which will be up through Nov. 22, will include a free presentation by Lamar Waldron on Nov. 9. Waldron has written several books about JFK and his assassination. His talk will focus on evidence that the president was killed as the result of a conspiracy, a claim that has been rejected by many authorities, yet persists among many other scholars.

One of Waldron’s books on the JFK assassination, Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination, is currently being developed as a feature-length motion picture that will star Leonardo DiCaprio. Waldron has also been interviewed numerous times on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.

Oct. 18 JFK.Facts.org, Attacking Trump’s JFK theories, the New York Times neglects the facts, Jefferson Morley (shown below), Oct. 18, 2016. The disturbing shadow of John F. Kennedy’s assassination remains visible in American politics and journalism. Witness the Jefferson Morleyappearance of Roger Stone, adviser to Donald Trump, at a symposium on Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans, which drew the attention of the New York Times (and the pro-Clinton attack group Media Matters.)

"At a time when talk of having lost the country is very much in vogue, along with deep suspicions of a powerful and secretive elite, the symposium seemed remarkably of the moment,” writes reporter Campbell Robertson. Of course, reporting on how fears of secret power are driving the discourse of the 2016 presidential election is an eminently timely and worthy subject. But reporting is what Robertson failed to do. Instead of learning the latest JFK facts, Times readers were served a birthday cake.

For the editors of the Times, rightly worried about the possibility of a Trump presidency, depicting the “conspiracy theorists” who support him as a monolithic threat is a tempting editorial choice.

It is also a journalistic mistake. In seeking to capture how Trump and his advisers appeal to a fearful nation, the Times neglected to do its job: supply new and relevant information about topic of wide public interest. Robertson reported that symposium participants expressed “general approval” for Trump’s baseless claim that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in JFK’s assassination. It might have been worth mentioning that not a single credible JFK conspiracy author agrees. Editor's note: Morley's unsourced opinion on a potential Cruz connection is itself disputed by researchers who have probed deeper.

Oct. 17 New York Times, In Donald Trump, Conspiracy Fans Find a Campaign to Believe In, Campbell Robertson, Oct. 17, Happy Birthday Lee Harvey Oswald New Orleans 2016 2016. “What the government tells you is rarely the truth, and it’s never the complete truth,” proclaimed Roger Stone, the veteran political operative and longtime confidant of Donald J. Trump. To the approving hoots of several dozen audience members on Sunday in a conference room at the Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport Hotel, Mr. Stone went on to contend that his candidate was no tool of the elite power brokers at the Trilateral Commission or the Bilderberg meetings — and then he asserted paternity cover-ups within the Clinton family, declared that one group supporting Hillary Clinton was a “criminal-based money-laundering operation” and promised “devastating” revelations among hacked emails yet to be released.

And, in a brief detour, he explained that Lyndon B. Johnson helped orchestrate the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The last part, while hardly the focus of Mr. Stone’s speech, was what had brought him, for the second year in a row, to the annual Lee Harvey Oswald Conference, a gathering of conspiracy amateurs and prolific authors that is timed around Oswald’s birthday (Oct. 18). The conference is dedicated to the proposition, as the conference organizer explained in his introductory remarks, that “Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy and that it was a coup d’état that happened and we lost our country.”

At a time when talk of having lost the country is very much in vogue, along with deep suspicions of a powerful and secretive elite, the symposium seemed remarkably of the moment.

The idea that political figures are at the whim of shadowy forces is a core principle of the conference. The notion that elections have always been rigged was echoed by at least one presenter: Sean Stone, the son of the director Oliver Stone, whose 1991 film “JFK” is effectively one of the conference’s founding documents. There was also extensive and generally favorable discussion of claims put forward by Mr. Trump that Senator Ted Cruz’s father had played a role in a conspiracy behind the Kennedy assassination.

But the Oswald conference is not easy to classify politically. If there was any “party” loyalty, it was with Oswald (shown in a file photo at right), considered an honorable patriot manipulated and impugned by conspirators, and with Kennedy, described by one attendee as among the country’s great conservatives and by one speaker as a “kind of better-looking Bernie Sanders.”

Oct. 10 Lee Harvey Oswald Cuba Passport applicationJFK Facts.org, Oct. 10, 1963: Six top CIA officers discuss Lee Harvey Oswald among themselves, Jefferson Morley, Oct. 10, 2016. Fifty three years ago today, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald came to the attention of a group of senior CIA officers in Langley, Virginia. Oswald (shown in a passport application photo) had recently visited the Cuban consulate and Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. A CIA wiretap captured a man identifying himself as “Oswald.”

The CIA officers conferred about Oswald and his actions and signed off on a cable about him. They are identified on the declassified CIA cable whose authenticity is not disputed. Why were they so interested in Oswald? One possible explanation for their interest in Oswald is that he was part of a covert operation.The CIA denies it. For reasons that have never been unexplained, these CIA officers decided not to share information about Oswald’s recent arrest or his public activism in support of a subversive pro-Castro organization with their colleagues in Mexico City. Forty two days later, Oswald allegedly shot and killed Kennedy.

The October 10 cable destroys the cover story, fed to the Warren Commission, that the CIA only had a “routine” interest in Oswald before the assassination. To the contrary, a half dozen high-ranking officers were familiar with his biography, leftist politics, foreign travels and foreign contacts six weeks before JFK was killed.

Oct. 7 Texas Theatre, Premiere Screening of "The Searchers" Scheduled for Nov. 21, Oct. 7, 2016. The first public screening of "The Searchers," a feature documentary film by Randolph Benson, co-sponsored by JFK Lancer, will be Monday, Nov. 21 at the Texas Theatre in Dallas. Fourteen years in the making, the film uses never before seen interviews, archival footage and recently declassified documents to chronicle the past and present of these ordinary citizens and their contributions to revealing the truth about the crime of the 20th century.

Suffering ridicule, and being labeled with the intellectual scarlet letter of conspiracy theorists, these individuals have challenged the institutions of power for over 50 years. They have fought against great odds to, as they often proclaim, "take back our history!"

The film features Cyril Wecht, Robert Groden, Josiah "Tink" Thompson, Mark Lane, John Judge, Jim Marrs, Jim DiEugenio, Debra Conway, Gary Aguilar, Lisa Pease, Rex Bradford, Walt Brown, Andy Winiarczyk and John Kelin, among many others.

All profits from this special screening will go to the JFK Lancer Student Scholarship Fund. Reserve tickets here.

  September Sept. 23 Washington Post, CIA found ‘convincing evidence’ Chilean dictator was behind 1976 D.C. attack, Missy Ryan, Sept. 23, 2016. Augusto PinochetThe CIA concluded that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (shown in a portrait at left) personally ordered the 1976 murder of a top dissident, according to newly released government documents that show U.S. confidence about a key ally’s responsibility for a shocking attack in Washington.

The latest revelations about the Cold War-era case come on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a leading opponent of the Pinochet regime and onetime Chilean foreign minister, and his think-tank colleague, Ronni Moffitt, in a car bomb on D.C.’s Embassy Row. he CIA assessment released Friday is part of a suite of documents presented in 1987 to President Ronald Reagan by his national security adviser, Frank Carlucci, regarding U.S. government policy on Chile.

In the document, the CIA states that “a review of our files on the Letelier assassination has provided what we regard as convincing evidence that President Pinochet personally ordered his intelligence chief to carry out the murder.”

Wikipedia bio: Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (1915 – 2006) was a Chilean politician who was President of Chile Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet and Secretary of State Henry Kissingerbetween 1973 and 1990 and Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army from 1973 to 1998. He was also president of the Government Junta of Chile between 1973 and 1981. His rule of Chile has been described as a dictatorship. Pinochet assumed power in Chile following a United States-backed coup d'état on 11 September 1973 that overthrew the elected socialist Unidad Popular government of President Salvador Allende and ended civilian rule. Pinochet is shown in 1976 file photo with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

According to a government commission report that included testimony from more than 30,000 people, Pinochet's government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000. Two-thirds of the cases listed in the report happened in 1973. Pinochet was arrested under an international arrest warrant on a visit to London on 10 October 1998 in connection with numerous human rights violations. Following a legal battle he was released on grounds of ill-health, and returned to Chile on 3 March 2000. By the time of his death, about 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights violations during his 17-year rule, and tax evasion and embezzlement during and after his rule. He was accused of having corruptly amassed at least $28 million USD.

Sept. 21 Muckrock, Help release the FBI file on Watergate burglar (and alleged CIA asset) Frank Sturgis, Michael Best, Sept. 21, 2016. Despite numerous denials from the CIA and assertions that Frank Sturgis was never employed by the Agency, a pair of documents have surfaced that clearly contradict this and show the Justice Department was aware of it. We won’t know the full extent of the file -- which is more than four times as long as the 17,000 page FBI file on Watergate -- until it’s released, but there are a number of things that are certain to be in it and which have very little official documentation available to the public.

Sturgis’ career began in Cuba before Castro’s rise to power, when he was an ally to the Castro brothers in their opposition to Batista. During this period, he was a paramilitary who fought the government and made friends with a number of other Cuban paramilitaries, as well as the American government. According to Sturgis, he began making contact with the FBI and CIA in 1959. By 1961, he was opposed to Castro and became involved in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and other CIA sponsored and tolerated anti-Castro activities. According to Sturgis, his CIA control officer was Jose Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo AKA Sam Jenis.

The Agency has continued to deny this, but it’s known that Jenis did have a relationship with the Agency. Some of the papers relating to him are still being withheld in National Archives as part of the JFK Assassination records. These activities are specifically mentioned in the lawsuit that led to uncovering the Iran-Contra scandal as the beginning point for the modern nexus between paramilitary operations, assassinations, and the trafficking of weapons and narcotics. Sept. 16 JFKCountercoup, RFK Double Crossed at Dealey Plaza, William Kelly, Sept. 16, 2016. Lee Harvey Oswald was framed as the Patsy, Fidel Castro was set up as the Fall Guy, and RFK was double crossed and checkmated - so those who planned the Dealey Plaza operation would not be pursued and the truth about the assassination would be kept secret for over fifty years. Sept. 8

Robert F. Kennedy, Dolores Huerta, Paul Schrade Photo: Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund Robert F. Kennedy flanked by union organizers Dolores Huerta, left, and Paul Schrade, right. Huerta co-founded what would become the United Farm Workers. Schrade, also a union organizer, was one of five others wounded when RFK was assassinated in 1968. Photo: Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Litchfield County Times and Cool Justice Report, RFK Jr. points to forensic evidence of second gunman in his father’s assassination, Andy Thibault, Sept. 8, 2016. RFK Jr. points to forensic evidence of second gunman in his father’s assassination. Buried on page 271 of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s new book on the Skakel murder case in Greenwich is a quick, but telling reference to his father’s assassination. Kennedy family members rarely have spoken publicly about the assassinations of either President John Kennedy or U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, much less criticized the official findings. The passage is noteworthy for the simple fact it is memorialized in a book. It is not just a comment in an interview. This angle deserves serious attention, and so it wasn’t shoehorned into the column published Aug. 5 on the Greenwich murder case, RFK Jr. attacks prosecutors, cops, courts for willful misconduct as he asserts cousin Skakel’s innocence.” Following are two paragraphs from Kennedy’s book, Framed, Why Michael Skakel Spent Over A Decade In Prison For A Murder He Didn’t Commit, leading up to the clincher paragraph on the RFK assassination:

“I sympathize deeply with Dorthy Moxley [Martha’s mother]. I have seen up-close the agony of a mother’s grief over the loss of her child. my mother lost her husband to murder and two of her sons to violent, untimely deaths in the bosom of their youth. I was with her when my father died. I stood beside her 29 years later as my little brother Michael died in her arms.

“My mother told us that we needed to let go of our impulse for revenge and allow the cycle of violence to end with our family. This, she said, was the lesson of the New Testament, which swapped the savage eye-for-an-eye tribalism of the Old Testament for the ethical mandate that we turn the other cheek. But forgiveness wasn’t just ethics. It was salutary. Revenge and resentments, my mother said, are corrosive. Indulging them is like swallowing poison and hoping someone else will die. By opposing the death penalty for Sirhan, we diluted these poisonous passions.

“And what if, God forbid, the object of our revenge turns out to be innocent? For several decades, my father’s close friend Paul Schrade, who took one of Sirhan’s bullets, has argued that Sirhan Sirhan did not fire the shot that killed my father. Recent forensic evidence supports him. How would we have felt now, if our family had demanded his execution?”

Sept. 3

"For one bright moment back in the late 1960s, we actually believed that we could change our country. We had identified the enemy. We saw it up close, we had its measure, and we were very hopeful that we would prevail. The enemy was hollow where we had substance. All of that substance was destroyed by an assassin’s bullet."

William Pepper (Page 15, The Plot to Kill King)

Truth and Shadows, Martin Luther King survived shooting, was murdered in hospital: An interview with William Pepper, Craig McKee, Sept. 3, 2016. The revelations are stunning. The media indifference is predictable. Thanks to the nearly William Pepper The Plot To Kill Kingfour-decade investigation by human rights lawyer William Pepper, it is now clear once and for all that Martin Luther King was murdered in a conspiracy that was instigated by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and that also involved the U.S. military, the Memphis Police Department, and “Dixie Mafia” crime figures in Memphis, Tennessee. These and many more incredible details of the King assassination are contained in a trilogy of volumes by Pepper culminating with his latest and final book on the subject, The Plot to Kill King. He previously wrote Orders to Kill (1995) and An Act of State (2003).

With virtually no help from the mainstream media and very little from the justice system, Pepper was able to piece together what really happened on April 4, 1968 in Memphis right down to who gave the order and supplied the money, how the patsy was chosen, and who actually pulled the trigger.

Without this information, the truth about King’s assassination would have been buried and lost to history. Witnesses would have died off, taking their secrets with them, and the official lie that King was the victim of a racist lone gunman named James Earl Ray would have remained “fact.”

Instead, we know that Ray took the fall for a murder he did not commit. We know that a member of the Memphis Police Department fired the fatal shot and that two military sniper teams that were part of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group were sent to Memphis as back-ups should the primary shooter fail. We have access to the fascinating account of how Pepper came to meet Colonel John Downie, the man in charge of the military part of the plot and Lyndon Johnson’s former Vietnam briefer. We also learn that as part of the operation, photographs were actually taken of the shooting and that Pepper came very close to getting his hands on those photographs.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media has ignored all of these revelations and continues to label Ray as King’s lone assassin. In fact, Pepper chronicles in detail how a disinformation campaign has featured the collaboration of many mainstream journalists over almost half a century. He says he suspects that those orchestrating the cover-up, which continues to this day, are no longer concerned with what he writes about the subject.

And the most stunning revelation in The Plot to Kill King – which some may question because the account is second hand – is that King was still alive when he arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital and that he was killed by a doctor who was supposed to be trying to save his life.

“That is probably the most shocking aspect of the book, that final revelation of how this great man was taken from us,” Pepper says.

  August Aug. 30 Kennedy Library Foundation, Steven M. Rothstein Named Executive Director of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Rachel Flor, Aug. 30, 2016. Kenneth R. Feinberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, today announced the selection of Steven M. Rothstein as the new Executive Director of the organization. An accomplished non-profit administrator, public servant, and entrepreneur, Rothstein led the world-renowned Perkins School for the Blind through a period of significant growth during his eleven year tenure as President of the institution.

“Steven Rothstein’s proven success leading complex and ambitious educational, human service, government and business organizations makes him uniquely suited to advance the strategic vision of the Kennedy Library Foundation,” said Feinberg. “Throughout his career, Steven has answered President Kennedy’s call to service, dedicating himself to social justice and human progress. We are fortunate that he will now lead the Foundation in inspiring the next generation to become engaged citizens and make the world a better place.”

Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero expressed his support for the selection of Rothstein, noting that “his background and experience come at a critical time as we build on the decades of public-private partnership which the Foundation and the Library have enjoyed.”

Beginning September 6, 2016, Rothstein will oversee all operations of the Foundation, a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that provides financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a federal institution governed by the National Archives and Records Administration. In this role, Rothstein will work with staff to position the Foundation at the center of an interactive world-wide dialogue on President Kennedy’s legacy and the continued significance of the ideas, policies and programs that he advanced throughout his life and presidency.

Aug. 21

Mason City (Iowa) Globe-Gazette, Expert on JFK assassination to speak in Clear Lake, John Skipper, Aug. 21, 2016. Fifty-three years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Americans still are asking questions about the president’s death and the findings of the Warren Commission. North Iowans will have the opportunity to hear firsthand how some of those questions, dilemmas and findings were addressed and how the findings from 1963 stand the test of time today.

Federal Judge John R. Tunheim, chairman of the U.S. Assassination Records Review Board (and shown in a file photo), will give a special program at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Best Western Holiday Lodge, sponsored by the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce. Tunheim, chairman of the review board from 1994-98, will discuss the assassination and the many evidentiary issues concerning the assassination that are still talked about today.

These include the Warren Commission, the “magic bullet” theory, Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. The discussion will also address questions concerning organized crime and involvement of foreign governments. Tim Coffey, chief executive officer of the Chamber, said millions of Americans will never forget the assassination and its aftermath.

"To learn more about what really happened in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, is incredibly important in the history of our country,” he said. Tunheim will describe the many legal and procedural obstacles faced by the board in its efforts to open documents from government agencies. The program is free and open to the public.

Aug. 10 Washington Post, Political violence is no joke, William Kennedy Smith and Jean Kennedy Smith, Aug. 10, 2016. William Kennedy Smith and Jean Kennedy Smith are the nephew and sister of President John. F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated on June 6, 1968.

The words of public figures matter, and they reveal something about them. Bobby Kennedy knew this. Does the GOP nominee? On April 4, 1968, the day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed, Robert Kennedy was campaigning for the presidency in Indianapolis. Bobby conveyed the news of King’s death to a shattered, mostly black audience. He took pains to remind those whose first instinct may have been toward violence that President John F. Kennedy had also been shot and killed. Bobby went on, “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

That speech has crystallized into the single most enduring portrait of Bobby’s candidacy. Because it was extemporaneous, it conveyed directly, and with raw emotion, his own vulnerability, his aspirations for his country and a deep compassion for the suffering of others. Bobby concluded his remarks that night by urging those listening to return home and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Those words mattered. While there were riots in cities across the nation that night, Indianapolis did not burn.

Today, almost 50 years later, words still matter. They shape who we are as a people and who we wish to be as a nation. In the white-hot cauldron of a presidential campaign, it is still the words delivered extemporaneously, off the cuff, in the raw pressure of the moment that matter most. They say most directly what is in a candidate’s heart. So it was with a real sense of sadness and revulsion that we listened to Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, as he referred to the options available to “Second Amendment people,” a remark widely, and we believe correctly, interpreted as a thinly veiled reference or “joke” about the possibility of political assassination.

Aug. 9 Washington Post, Trump appears to encourage gun owners to take action if Clinton appoints anti-gun judges, Sean Sullivan and Isaac Stanley-Becker, Aug. 9, 2016. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in Wilmington, N.C. “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.”

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat, and MSNBC host Chris Matthews were among those responding that Trump's comment could be interpreted as an invitation for Clinton's assassination. Former Reagan and Bill Clinton White House advisor David Gergen said Trump's comment was "one of the major events of the campaign" because it was a "dog whistle" message to dehumanize his opponent in a way that could lead a mentally unstable person to try to kill her.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, disagreed and said Trump must have meant for gun-owners to vote against Clinton, not kill her.

Matthews countered Giuliani by saying Trump clearly spoke about options for Second Amendment backers after a possible Clinton election to prevent her from exercising presidential powers, not options like voting available before election.

Huffington Post, Donald Trump Suggests Shooting Hillary Clinton, Her Supreme Court Picks, Or Both, S.V. Date, Aug. 9, 2016. Donald Trump on Tuesday warned his supporters that if Hillary Clinton is elected president and appoints judges to the Supreme Court, there is nothing anyone can do about it. But then he added that, given the Second Amendment, maybe there is. “If she gets to pick her judges ― nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said with a shrug at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina. “Although, the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don’t know.”

“A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way,” the Clinton campaign responded.

What Trump was actually suggesting is not clear. However, Trump’s veterans affairs adviser found himself in hot water last month when he said that Clinton should be shot for treason over her use of a private email server.

Aug. 8 Amb. Wayne Smith, Gaeton Fonzi and Cuban Gen Fabian Escalante

Former U.S. State Department Chief of Cuban Interests Section based in Havana Dr. Wayne Smith, at left in 1995, with journalist and former House investigator Gaeton Fonzi, center, and Cuban retired Gen. Fabian Escalante, former head of Cuban State Security (Fonzi Family Photo)

Mary Ferrell Foundation, And Why, By the Way, is Fidel Castro Still Alive? Gaeton Fonzi, Aug. 8, 2016. (originally written in 1996). The Inside Story of Cuban Intelligence. The General is tired and would like to relax. He has gone up against very powerful adversaries and the struggle has not been easy. Yet he has helped keep both Cuba and Fidel Castro alive and while that is no longer his direct responsibility, he finds it very difficult to put his mind at ease after almost four decades of living on the edge.

The General and I are sitting on the ocean-side terrace of the Copacabana Hotel in Havana.

If anyone has a right to be sick and tired of Castro assassination plots, it is Fabian Escalante Font, Division General of the Cuban Revolutionary Army. Escalante is the former chief of Cuba's Counter-Intelligence.

Charged with detecting and diverting the continuing fusillade of anti-Castro plots, his covert unit went mano a mano with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency at its most venomous. Later, Escalante was made head of the Cuban State Security Department, the powerful, ubiquitous Big Brother bureau known as G2. Those key posts make Escalante the one man largely responsible for keeping Fidel Castro alive for more than three decades.

Most Americans have no idea just how deep and persistent was the U.S. government's desire to kill Castro. The reason they have no idea is because the CIA, which orchestrated many of the plots and played a support role in most of them, had, until the mid-Seventies, consistently denied any involvement. Its directors even lied to Congress when they had to. And one, Allen Dulles, never mentioned the Castro plots to his fellow members on the Warren Commission. Then, under pressure of investigating Congressional intelligence committees, the Agency admitted only those attempts it made with the only those attempts it made with the help of Organized Crime figures in the early Sixties. Even today, that's still as far as the CIA has gone....

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Unpublished Gaeton Fonzi Essay, Rex Bradford, Aug. 8, 2016. Rex Bradford (shown via C-SPAN during a 2013 lecture) s director of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, the world's largest private archive of materials related to the Rex Bradfordassassination of President John F. Kennedy. In late 1995, journalist and former House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) investigator Gaeton Fonzi traveled to Cuba and interviewed Fabian Escalante, the former head of Cuban CounterIntelligence. The interview was part of a planned article for Esquire magazine. Escalante talked with Fonzi for hours about his role protecting Castro, and together they toured a museum devoted to artifacts of assassination plots against the Cuban leader.

The article was never published by Esquire. But, through the generosity of Fonzi's widow Marie, the Mary Ferrell Foundation is now making it available for the first time. Also donated to the MFF are 6 cassette sides of interviews with Escalante, along with transcripts created by Gaeton Fonzi himself. Marie Fonzi wrote the following preface to the essay:

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Preface to Gaeton Fonzi's Escalante Story, Marie Fonzi, Aug. 8, 2016. In April of 1995, Gaeton received a contract from Esquire Magazine to write an article about General Fabian Escalante, former head of Cuban State Security. Expected length was 8,000 words with a due date of October 31, 1995. In July of 1996 Gaeton, after three revisions, wrote to the Esquire editor, "Here's the rewrite as per your suggestion. It comes pretty close to your suggested length also, in the 10-grand range. A few hundred more might come out if need be, but I think it reads pretty tight now. And I like it. So send the check. You're getting close to violating the hourly minimum-wage law now. I was a kid when I started this. Thanks."

Gaeton was a master at concealing his frustration with humor. And he was annoyed. In a letter to a friend dated August 1996, Gaeton complained that he was still waiting for Esquire to return his calls three weeks after that third revision. Esquire never did publish this story. It was a good story but it was a story, Gaet felt, that may have been too honest, too sympathetic to the Cuban side of the story, a story that made the CIA look like amateurs in their botched attempts to kill Castro.

Now that our Government has decided to make peace with our former enemy, I envision JFK saying, "About time." And I hear Gaet commenting on the publication of his article with the same words.

Please read below for previous items

July

Fernando FauraGlobal Research via Interpid Report, Robert F. Kennedy and the girl in the polka-dot dress: A review of Fernando Faura’s ‘The Polka-Dot File: on the Robert F. Kennedy Killing,’ Edward Curtin, July 19, 2016. There is a vast literature on the CIA-directed assassination of President John Kennedy. Most Americans have long rejected the Warren Commission’s findings and have accepted that there was a conspiracy. There is much less research on the assassination of JFK’s brother, Senator Robert Kennedy, and, if asked, far fewer people would say it was a conspiracy and a cover-up. They may not even know the alleged assassin’s name.

June

Gary Null Show, Guest Daniel "Danny" Sheehan, Gary Null, June 10, 2016. Part Four of Conversations with Remarkable Minds featuring public interest lawyer and author Daniel Sheehan, a constitutional and Daniel Sheehanpublic interest lawyer, public speaker and educator. Over the last forty-five years he has participated in numerous legal cases of public interest, including the Pentagon Papers Case, the Watergate Break-In Case, the Silkwood Case, the Iran-Contra Scandal and others. He established the Christic Institute and the Romero Institute, two non-profit public policy centers. Sheehan published The People's Advocate, a memoir, in 2013 through Counterpoint publishing. Series: Part One; Part Two; Part Three; and Part Four. June 4 WhoWhatWhy, What Did the Death of Bobby Kennedy Mean? Jeff Schechtman, June 4, 2016. How might the world be today had Bobby Kennedy lived? And who was behind his death? Paul Schrade, one of Paul Schrade and Robert Kennedyhis closest confidants, who was also shot that night, looks back. Schrade (with glasses) is shown with Kennedy in a file photo.

In commemoration of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination on this day nearly half a century ago, WhoWhatWhy offers a real treat to students of history. In an extensive podcast, Kennedy confidante Paul Schrade, who was also shot that fateful night, talks about his relationship to RFK and reveals insights never heard before.

The 91-year-old Schrade begins with a leisurely reminiscence on early labor and political days, of special interest to those with some background in those issues. Starting nine minutes in, he turns to the RFK assassination. After taking us through the events and the subsequent investigation, you can hear the pain and reluctance from Schrade when he talks about how Bobby might have changed the country, had he lived.

Reuters via Huffington Post, Nigeria Says It Has Recovered $9.1 Billion In Stolen Money And Assets, Staff report, June 4, 2016. President Muhammadu Buhari, elected last year largely on his vow to fight corruption, has vowed to recover “mind-boggling” sums of money stolen from the oil sector. Nigeria’s government has recovered $9.1 billion in stolen money and assets, its information and culture minister said on Saturday, as its corruption crackdown continues against the backdrop of the country’s worst economic crisis in years.

President Muhammadu Buhari, elected last year largely on his vow to fight corruption, has vowed to recover “mind-boggling” sums of money stolen from the oil sector and said public coffers were “virtually empty” when he took office last May.

June 3 AP via Greenwich Time, Letter written by JFK to purported paramour is for sale, Mark Pratt, June 3, 2016. An intimate letter written by President John F. Kennedy to a purported paramour seeking to set up a liaison is one of several Kennedy-related items being sold at auction. The four-page letter to longtime Kennedy family friend Mary Pinchot Meyer, an artist and former wife of a CIA agent (shown in a 1942 Mary Pinchot Meyer 1942photo), is thought to have been written in October 1963, about a month before the president's assassination.

"Why don't you leave suburbia for once — come and see me — either here — or at the Cape next week or in Boston the 19th," the letter reads. "I know it is unwise, irrational, and that you may hate it — on the other hand you may not — and I will love it. You say that it is good for me not to get what I want. After all of these years — you should give me a more loving answer than that. Why don't you just say yes."

It's signed simply "J."

"It's incredible to see the president writing something so personal," said Robert Livingston, the executive vice president of Boston-based RR Auction , which is handling the sale. "We've handled a lot of JFK letters here, and he was always very formal."

June 2 Justice Integrity Project, William Pepper, Friend of MLK, RFK, Slams Murder Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig (shown in CAPA board photo), June 2, 2016. Murder Andrew Kreigof political leaders is a common problem, according to noted historian and human rights attorney William Pepper, who believes that a continuing cover-up ruins the legacy of his friends Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

"Assassinations didn't start in the 1960s," says Pepper, author of explosive investigations that include a new book due June 21 exposing King's murderers in detail. "They have been part of our society for a very long time." His explosive new book The Plot To Kill King is scheduled for release this month. William Pepper The Plot To Kill KingEven more remarkable than Pepper's listing of political victims from Socrates, Julius Caesar and Jesus up to modern times, he has provided legal representation for both of his friends’ convicted killers. Pepper believes the late James Earl Ray, King's convicted killer, and RFK's still-imprisoned convicted slayer Sirhan Sirhan have been patsies framed by authorities to take the blame for the real assassins hired by still-powerful entities. Update: Gary Null Show, New Evidence On Martin Luther King Murder, Gary Null interviews Dr. William Pepper, a King family friend and author who published a new book June 21 naming the murderers, June 21, 2016. We present new evidence that demands a revision of the history behind the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. An exclusive live press conference happened today over the radio, June 21, at the studios of the Progressive Radio Network. William Pepper and Martin Luther King Jr.Pepper (shown in a 1967 photo with King) has spent decades attempting to expunge the convicted men's guilt in their separate cases. Pepper's work has included his courageous and creative successes in persuading several of those allegedly complicit in King’s murder to confess at least part of their guilt. Overcoming obstacles by so-called law enforcement, Pepper has revealed, most notably so far in his 2003 book An Act of State. a chilling plot perpetrated by rogue officials, who sometimes used Mafia or military gunmen, Setting the stage for his latest book, Pepper shared his insights May 21 in a panel discussion about American assassinations and Deep State intrigue held at the annual Left Forum at John Jay Criminal Justice College in Manhattan. William Pepper Act of StateJoining the panel were best-selling author Russ Baker, speaking on President John F. Kennedy’s death, and this editor. Baker is working on a new book about the JFK murder and cover-up. I previewed the Justice Integrity Project's comprehensive Readers Guide to the RFK Assassination that is being released today in preparation for the 48th anniversary of the late New York senator Robert Kennedy's 1968 death early in the morning of June 5, 1968. The shooting came minutes after Kennedy won that year's California Democratic presidential primary. The victory positioned RFK as that cycle's most likely Democratic nominee and the favorite to win the presidency. The presidency would have given him also the clout to renew an investigative into his brother's assassination, and implement other progressive policies, including ending the Vietnam war and pursuing the kind of economic and social justice policies King had advocated. Instead, Republican Richard Nixon won the election and two terms in office, putting the nation on a long-term authoritarian, Big Government course that continues to the present with a bipartisan consensus to engage in endless wars on grounds of national security.

University of California historian and former diplomat Peter Dale Scott advanced the Deep State concept with his pioneering 1993 book Deep Politics and the Death of JFK.

Scott's compelling thesis and evidence, since endorsed by many others, are that the major 1960s assassinations represented a power grab by a hidden "Deep" government. The perpetrators' ability to suppress the truth of the JFK, MLK and RFK murders showed that rogue officials could eliminate the decade's three most important progressive leaders without accountability in courts or elsewhere.

No Lies Radio, a non-profit grassroots affiliate of the Pacifica Radio Network, documented our 110-minute panel (including Q&A moderated by Gregory Longo). This was part of six-panel series at the conference on "The Deep State" at the conference. No Lies Radio recorded all six of the panels, which are listed below with links to the speakers and now-archived radio coverage.

June 1 TrineDay, New book claims link between the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and the Nixon conspiracy to scuttle the Paris Peace Talks, Staff report, June 1, 2016. There is a link between the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and the Nixon conspiracy to scuttle the Paris Peace Talks. The startling, explosive allegation is made by Miami based author Fernando Faura in his new book, The Polka Dot File on the Robert F. Kennedy Killing – The Paris Peace Talks Connection, to be published by TrineDay, June 6, 2016. Fernando FauraThe Polka Dot File refers to the mystery woman in the polka-dot dress who ran out of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles claiming to have shot the senator, while the alleged assassin was being pummeled and captured in the kitchen. Faura, an award winning journalist, is credited with being the only newsman to chase the mystery woman even after the police denied her existence.

"I have always been fascinated by the story of John Fahey, who spent the day leading up to Bobby Kennedy's assassination with a mysterious woman whose group were “going to take care of Kennedy tonight.” Without the persistence and ingenuity of Fernando Faura, we wouldn't have that story."

"As the last remaining reporter on the scene who chased the polka-dot dress mystery, here he brings us with him, day by day, on his investigation. We're transported back in time to the aftermath of Kennedy's murder in June 1968, and given suppressed witness testimony and a tantalizing new lead that connects to one of the great political scandals of the Nixon presidency. A must-read for anyone interested in this case."

– Shane O’Sullivan, producer and director of RFK Must Die ( 2007) and author of Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy (2008).

May

May 26
WhoWhatWhy, Exclusive, Previously Unpublished Interview With Mark Lane, Matt Harvey, May 26, 2016. Mark Lane, the store-front lawyer, freedom-rider, and prolific author who took the CIA to court and won, talks about a number of subjects, including his lifelong crusade to get the word out on who really killed John F. Kennedy.

Mark Lane 2011Lane, shown in a file photo, was arguably the first and most prominent of a band of citizens to question the increasingly untenable tale from government-approved media that President Kennedy was murdered by a lone lunatic with a mail order bolt-action rifle. (Especially after Lee Oswald was himself gunned down in the Dallas police station.)

If we accept Orwell’s dictum that truth-telling during a time of universal deceit equals revolution, America lost a great dissident when Mark Lane succumbed to a heart attack recently. In his careful, tweedy way, Lane did as much during the 1960s as any band of New Left radicals to change the national consciousness from blind acceptance of whatever came out of the TV to the bracing distrust of government that has marked public attitudes since the 1970s.

May 19 JFKFacts.org, Hardway declaration: how CIA stonewalled our JFK investigation, Jefferson Morley (shown at right in a file jefferson_morleyphoto), May 19, 2016. In a new sworn declaration filed in federal court, former JFK investigator Dan Hardway tells the story of how the CIA stonewalled him and other investigators for the House Select Committee of Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978.

Hardway’s first-person account is perhaps the clearest accounts of how the CIA obstructed Congress’s attempt to investigate JFK’s assassination in 1978 since Gaeton Fonzi’s book, The Last Investigation. Hardway adds new detail to the story Fonzi told by detailing the obstructionist tactics of George Joannides that he personally experienced.

Dan HardwayHardway (shown in a file photo) also documents the “public benefit” of disclosures forced by my Freedom of Information Action lawsuit, Morley v. CIA, now in its 13th year. The court is now considering the issue of whether the government has to pay the legal fees of my attorney James Lesar, who prevailed over government attorney’s three times during the course of the litigation.

Hardway’s declaration highlights how Joannides prevented the HSCA from clarifying the relationship between the CIA and the Cuban Student Directorate, an agency-funded anti-Castro group whose members had contact with Lee Oswald in the summer of 1963. Hardway notes that the HSCA didn’t probe the issue in 1978 because CIA “had firmly represented to the HSCA that all ties between the DRE and the CIA had been terminated prior to1963.”

That representation was false, as the records from Joannides’ personnel file, which I obtained in the lawsuit, demonstrate. In fact, Joannides served as case office for the DRE from April 1962 to May 1964.

Hardway also highlights one of the key documents that the CIA is withholding: a job evaluation, written September 20, 1978, “not long after Mr. Joannides began his job undercover as liaison with the HSCA." See Hardway declaration here.

photo), May 19, 2016. In a new sworn declaration filed in federal court, former JFK investigator Dan Hardway tells the story of how the CIA stonewalled him and other investigators for the House Select Committee of Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978.

Hardway’s first-person account is perhaps the clearest accounts of how the CIA obstructed Congress’s attempt to investigate JFK’s assassination in 1978 since Gaeton Fonzi’s book, The Last Investigation. Hardway adds new detail to the story Fonzi told by detailing the obstructionist tactics of George Joannides that he personally experienced.

Dan HardwayHardway (shown in a file photo) also documents the “public benefit” of disclosures forced by my Freedom of Information Action lawsuit, Morley v. CIA, now in its 13th year. The court is now considering the issue of whether the government has to pay the legal fees of my attorney James Lesar, who prevailed over government attorney’s three times during the course of the litigation.

Hardway’s declaration highlights how Joannides prevented the HSCA from clarifying the relationship between the CIA and the Cuban Student Directorate, an agency-funded anti-Castro group whose members had contact with Lee Oswald in the summer of 1963. Hardway notes that the HSCA didn’t probe the issue in 1978 because CIA “had firmly represented to the HSCA that all ties between the DRE and the CIA had been terminated prior to1963.”

That representation was false, as the records from Joannides’ personnel file, which I obtained in the lawsuit, demonstrate. In fact, Joannides served as case office for the DRE from April 1962 to May 1964.

Hardway also highlights one of the key documents that the CIA is withholding: a job evaluation, written September 20, 1978, “not long after Mr. Joannides began his job undercover as liaison with the HSCA." See Hardway declaration here.

May 12 New York Times, Mark Lane, Early Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theorist, Dies at 89, Keith Schneider, May 12, 2016. Mark Lane, the defense lawyer, social activist and author who concluded in a blockbuster book in the mid-1960s that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have acted alone in killing President John F. Kennedy, a thesis supported in part by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979, Mark Lane 2011died on Tuesday at his home in Charlottesville, VA. He was 89. The cause was a heart attack, his friend and paralegal Sue Herndon said.

The Kennedy assassination, one of the manifest turning points of the 20th century, was the pivotal moment in Mr. Lane’s life and career. He would go on to raise the possibility of conspiracy in the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. five years later, but it was his Kennedy inquiry that made his name. Before the president’s murder on Nov. 22, 1963, Mr. Lane was a minor figure in New York’s legal and political circles.

After the Kennedy murder, Mr. Lane (shown in a 2011 photo) devoted much of the next three decades to its investigation. Almost immediately he began the Citizens’ Committee of Inquiry, interviewed witnesses, collected evidence and delivered speeches on the assassination in the United States and in Europe, where he befriended Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher, who became an early supporter of Mr. Lane’s efforts.

Mr. Lane emerged as one of the most important experts on the Kennedy assassination after President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the Warren Commission to investigate it. Mr. Lane testified before the commission in 1964 and was a legal counsel to Marguerite Oswald, the suspect’s mother.

He published the results of his inquiry in August 1966 in “Rush to Judgment,” his first book, which dominated best-seller lists for two years. With a trial lawyer’s capacity to amass facts and a storyteller’s skill in distilling them into a coherent narrative, he asserted that the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald was the lone gunman was incomplete, reckless at times and implausible.

The book raised doubts about Oswald’s marksmanship and the expertise of police agencies, and it sought to ridicule the Warren Commission’s conclusion that one “magic bullet” could have struck and grievously injured President Kennedy and Gov. John Connally of Texas and have still emerged essentially intact.Mr. Lane’s findings were disputed aggressively by the government. Still, the financial success of “Rush to Judgment” and its conclusions prompted the development of a cottage industry of books on the assassination, written both by those who believed in a conspiracy and by those who did not. More than 2,000 such titles were eventually published. May 11 Flagpole, Lee Harvey Oswald and Ted Cruz's Father, Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., May 11, 2016. Donald E. Wilkes, Jr. (shown in a file photo) is a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia where he taught in the iaw school for 40 years. Recently, stunning accusations have been made against Rafael Cruz, father of recent presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz. It is alleged that in New Orleans in 1963 the elder Cruz accompanied Lee Harvey Oswald while Oswald was Donald Wilkeshanding out pro-Fidel Castro “HANDS OFF CUBA!” leaflets.

A majority of the researchers who have studied Lee Harvey Oswald’s short but enigmatic life—LBJ famously described Oswald as “quite a mysterious fellow”—believe it is likely that Oswald was both a CIA operative and an FBI informant. Under this approach, Oswald really was an undercover government agent, not a leftist or a Marxist. When he did such things as hand out pro-Castro leaflets or claim membership in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, he was engaged in sheepdeeping, a term used in the intelligence community to refer to manipulated behavior designed to create a desired image.

It is not improbable that Rafael Cruz, a vocal, militant, activist opponent of Fidel Castro, might have been involved in the CIA’s massive secret anti-Castro activities in New Orleans. Wayne Madsen may well be right in saying that “there is strong reason to believe that Cruz was associated with [the] Central Intelligence Agency’s anti-Castro operations.” If this was the case, Cruz may very well have known that both he and Oswald were undercover American intelligence assets. If so, this would explain why, if he was the man in the photos, he did not, despite his near-fanatical anti-Castroism, loudly remonstrate with a man distributing pro-Castro literature right in front of him.

At any rate, the story of the alleged connection between Lee Harvey Oswald and Rafael Cruz as told and popularized by the National Enquirer is flawed because it rests upon three fundamental factual errors. Contrary to what the Enquirer breathlessly asserts, Cruz was not a “commie;” Oswald was not pro-communist; and Oswald did not assassinate President Kennedy. May 7 OpEdNews, When They Killed JFK They Killed America, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in a file photo), May 7, 2016. In the JFK administration I was a White House Fellow. President Kennedy’s intention was Paul Craig Robertsto involve many young Americans in government in order to keep idealism alive as a counter to the material interests of lobby groups.

In my lifetime there has not been another like him. Indeed, today he would be impossible. Conservatives and Republicans did not like him, because he was thoughtful. Their favorite weapon against him was their account of his love life, which according to them involved Mafia molls and Marilyn Monroe. Unlike most presidents, Kennedy was able to break with the conventional thinking of the time. For those of you too young to have experienced John Kennedy and those of you who have forgot his greatness, do yourselves a favor and listen John F. Kennedy Side Profileto this 5 minute, 23 second speech.

The CIA, the Joint Chiefs, and the Secret Service concluded that JFK was “soft on communism.” So did the Bill Buckley conservatives.

JFK was assassinated because of anti-communist hysteria in the military and security agencies. The Warren Commission was well aware of this. The coverup was necessary because America was locked into a Cold War with the Soviet Union. To put US military, CIA, and Secret Service personnel on trial for murdering the President of the United States would have shaken the confidence of the American people in their own government. Oswald had nothing whatsoever to do with JFK’s assassination. That is why Oswald was himself assassinated inside the Dallas jail before he could be questioned. The evil that resides in Washington does not only kill foreign leaders who try to do the right thing, but also its own. May 4 The Blaze, Trump Says He Never Believed JFK-Rafael Cruz Conspiracy Theory, Only Wanted People to Read It, Oliver Darcy, May. 4, 2016 ((1:36 min. video). Donald Trump said Wednesday that he never believed Ted Cruz’s father was connected to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, just one day after floating a conspiracy theory which suggested exactly that during an interview on national television.Speaking with CNN host Wolf Blitzer, Trump repeatedly said he never thought the theory he cited held water: “Of course I don’t believe it. I wouldn’t believe it. But I did say, let people read it.” Just one day prior, Trump floated an unsubstantiated National Enquirer report on “Fox & Friends” that suggested Rafael Cruz was with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the assassination of Kennedy. “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the shooting?” Trump asked at the time. Pressed on the subject after Cruz ended his bid for the White House, the presumptive Republican nominee insisted he never believed the theory he floated. “Of course I don’t think that,” he told Blitzer. May 3 USA Today, Trump bizarrely links Cruz’s father to JFK assassin; Cruz goes ballistic, Donovan Slack, May 3, 2016. The feud between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz hit epic proportions Tuesday as Republican primary voters headed to the polls in Indiana. Trump was asked on Fox News to respond to remarks by the Texas senator's father on the campaign trail. Rafael Cruz had said electing “the alternative” to his son “could be the destruction of America.”

Then he [Trump] insinuated that Cruz’s father may have played some role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr. [Sic No really. He brought up a questionable National Enquirer story claiming Rafael Cruz appeared in a photo with Oswald shortly before the murder. (The Miami Herald took a critical look at the claims.)

JIP editor's note: The USA Today writer mixes up JFK (the president) and his son, JFK Jr., as noted above in the USA Today story widely redistributed May 3. Editors presumably will correct the story at some point in the future but the error shows the utter historical cluelessness of those involved, and their willingness nonetheless to editorialize on a breaking news story.

Politico, Trump accuses Cruz's father of helping JFK's assassin, Nolan D. McCaskill, May 3, 2016. Donald Trump on Tuesday alleged that Ted Cruz’s father was with John F. Kennedy’s assassin shortly before he murdered the president, parroting a National Enquirer story claiming that Rafael Cruz was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963. A Cruz campaign spokesperson told the Miami Herald, which pointed out numerous flaws in the Enquirer story, that it was “another garbage story in a tabloid full of garbage.” MSNBC, Cruz calls Trump ‘serial philanderer’ and ‘pathological liar’ in blistering attack, Staff report, May 3, 2016. Trump’s evidence? A photo, disseminated in fringe circles online and then by the National Enquirer, that conspiracy sleuths claim shows the elder Cruz near Oswald. There is zero evidence the person in question is Rafael Cruz. Washington Post, How on earth is the media supposed to cover Trump’s wacky JFK-Cruz conspiracy theory? Callum Borchers, May 3, 2016. Callum Borchers covers the intersection of politics and media. Some journalists aren’t holding back. But hard-news reports include some written gymnastics.

 

TruNews, The Cruz Conspiracy, Rick Wiles, May 3, 2016. (11:26 mins.). Infowars, Trump Links Cruz’s Father to JFK Assassination, Kit Daniels, May 3, 2016. "That was reported, and nobody talks about it," Trump says about mainstream media, GOP Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump seconded on May 3 the explosive allegation that Rafael Cruz, father of presidential rival Ted Cruz.   April April 22

Four French generals Four French Generals who tried to overthrow President Charles de Gaulle: Left to right: André Zeller, Edmond Jouhaud, Raoul Salan and Maurice Challe. Photo credit: Unknown / Wikimedia

Charles de Gaulle (Brigadier General during WW II)WhoWhatWhy, Anniversary of an Attempt to Overthrow France’s Charles De Gaulle. Did CIA Help? WhoWhatWhy Team, April 22, 2016. It seems like the far-fetched plot of a Hollywood movie: Top military leaders are conspiring to bring down a western democracy. But that is exactly what happened, just days after the Bay of Pigs. In the post-World War II era, one week stands out as truly extraordinary. Just a CIA Logocouple of days after the failed US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, on April 21, 1961, a group of French generals launched a coup-d’etat, with the aim of taking down President Charles de Gaulle (shown during World War II). This week marks the 55th anniversary of this profound event, little-remembered today.

The conspirators managed to control Algiers, the capital of French Algeria, but failed to achieve their secondary objective of taking Paris. Lacking popular support and having lost momentum, the coup was put down within days. Evidence suggests that Allen Dulles, the US Director of the CIA, and his numerous contacts deep within the French government, helped orchestrate the plot.

Consortium News, How CBS News Aided the JFK Cover-up, James DiEugenio, April 22, 2016. With the Warren Report on JFK’s assassination under attack in the mid-1960s, there was a chance to correct the errors and reassess the findings, but CBS News intervened to silence the critics. In the mid-1960s, amid growing skepticism about the Warren Commission’s lone-gunman findings on John F. Kennedy’s assassination, there was a struggle inside CBS News about whether to allow the critics a fair public hearing at the then-dominant news network. Some CBS producers pushed for a debate between believers and doubters and one even submitted a proposal to put the Warren Report “on trial,” according to internal CBS documents.

But CBS executives, who were staunch supporters of the Warren findings and had personal ties to some commission members, spiked those plans and instead insisted on presenting a defense of the lone-gunman theory while dismissing doubts as baseless conspiracy theories, the documents show.

March March 14 WhoWhatWhy, The Tortured Logic Behind Sirhan Sirhan’s Parole Denial, Shane O'Sullivan, March 14, 2016. Shane O’Sullivan is an author, filmmaker and researcher at Kingston University, London.His work includes the documentary RFK Must Die (2007) and the book Who Killed Bobby? (2008). Newly Released Transcript Exposes Tragic Flaws in Parole Sirhan SirhanProcess.

In the newly released transcript of Sirhan Sirhan’s parole hearing on February 10, we discover why — at nearly 72 years of age — the convicted murderer of Bobby Kennedy “continues to pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society or a threat to public safety and is therefore not suitable for parole.”

Since its landmark opinion in the Lawrence case in 2008, the California Supreme Court has required the parole board to provide “some evidence” that a prisoner is “currently dangerous” when denying parole. This, and pressure to reduce prison overcrowding, has seen parole grant rates for “lifers” jump from 8 percent in 2008 to 33 percent in 2014. A Stanford Law School study in 2011 found that, of 860 murderers paroled in California since 1995, only five re-offended and none were convicted of another murder.

But, as we’ll see, the tortured logic used by one of the commissioners to compute Sirhan’s current threat level gives him little hope of freedom anytime soon. As described in my previous piece, the hearing was hotly contested. On one side, David Dahle, representing the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, called Sirhan (shown in a mug shot) a “terrorist.” On the other, Sirhan’s attorney William Pepper and shooting victim Paul Schrade called him “a political prisoner” and condemned his inhumane treatment.

Read the full transcript of Sirhan’s parole hearing here.

  February The Indicter, Olof Palme and Julian Assange subjected in Sweden to same hate campaign by the same political forces and with the same purpose: to defend U.S. geopolitical interests, Professor Marcello Ferrada Marcello Ferrada de Nolide Noli (shown in photo), March edition (released Feb. 28, 2016). Today, the 28th of February 2016, the world is mourning the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Olof Palme, the honourable PM of Sweden. The Swedish media and a variety of early authorities and representatives of Sweden’s power and cultural elites have been during the last weeks unanimous on this: The assassination took place in the frame of a hate campaign against him, and where Olof Palme was constantly subjected to libelous personal attacks.

However, what that media and politicians who professed frank animosity against Palme’s anti-imperialist stances do not say is that it was they who promoted and/or echoed such a hate campaign. Months ago, a politician of name Jörgen Olsen and belonging of the same organization as Carl Bildt and Ulf Adelsohn wrote in Facebook, “Palme was a repulsive person.” That is The Indicterthe terms used by former Social Minister Göran Haglund when referring to Assange.

Martin Klepke, a reporter formerly working at the Swedish newspaper Expressen, told in 2014 that he heard colleagues at his working place in Expressen discussing in serious terms whether Olof Palme “should go voluntarily or forced out by means of military power.” That was the time when Olof Palme had in unambiguous terms denounced the bombing of Hanoi civilian population by the U.S. and criticized the occupation war in Vietnam.

Nevertheless, the Swedish police disregarded eyewitness reports from the very same evening of the murder of Palme which identified a U.S. agent at the time working for Pinochet’s infamous DINA – the secret security agency set up to assassinate opposition leaders abroad. Olof Palme was the only foreign dignitary who was listed in the death list of Operation Condor.

Feb. 26

OpEdNews, RFK Murder Cover-Up Continues After Dramatic Parole Hearing, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 26, 2016. A California parole board this month rejected a dramatic plea to release the convicted slayer of 1968 presidential contender Robert F. Kennedy, thereby continuing one of the nation's most notorious murder cover-ups.

Feb. 25

Bill SimpichReader Supported News, Sirhan Denied Parole: It's a Broken Criminal Justice System, Bill Simpich, Feb. 25, 2016. Bill Simpich, shown in a file photo, is a San Francisco attorney and prominent researcher of 1960s assassinations.
Sirhan Sirhan, the accused killer of Robert F. Kennedy, was denied parole for the 15th time on Wednesday, February 10. After 48 years in prison, he has done everything he could to change his life. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called not only for his release but for a new investigation of his father’s death. One of the men Sirhan shot, UAW organizer Paul Schrade, testified on Sirhan’s behalf at the hearing. Schrade, 91, expressed his confidence that a second gunman shot Bobby. Sparks flew when Schrade turned to Sirhan and said, “Sirhan, I forgive you.” The parole board told Schrade he had no right to speak to the prisoner.
Schrade is one of the victims of Sirhan’s bullets. Schrade has spent more than 40 years mastering the evidence in the RFK murder. Under California law, a victim can speak at the parole hearing for as much time as he or she wants. How dare these people say that Schrade cannot look into a man’s eyes and speak to him? Because the people who run the criminal justice system are powerful, well-connected, and above the law. The RFK murder was figured out a long time ago. There was a second gunman, but the California criminal justice system has no interest in looking for the killer.
 
The cover-up in the RFK case is well-documented. Review the evidence at sirhanbsirhan.org or at any number of competent websites. We live in a society that has lost its way. We need a mighty burst of outrage to turn things around. Sirhan has determined attorneys, but they have little power in the face of a determined law enforcement machine that is unaccountable to its citizens.

Feb. 23

Politico Europe, Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Feb. 23, 2016. They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil. In part because my father was murdered by an Arab, I’ve made an effort to understand the impact of U.S. policy in the Mideast and particularly the factors that sometimes motivate bloodthirsty responses from the Islamic world against our country. As we focus on the rise of the Islamic State and search for the source of the savagery that took so many innocent lives in Paris and San Bernardino, we might want to look beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology. Instead we should examine the more complex rationales of history and oil — and how they often point the finger of blame back at our own shores.

Feb. 20

Free Thought Project, Eyewitness Comes Forward: “Sirhan Sirhan Did Not Assassinate RFK,” Andrew Emett, Feb. 20, 2016. Andrew Emett is a Los Angeles-based reporter exposing political and corporate corruption. Despite the fact that Sirhan Sirhan shot him in the head nearly 50 years ago, Paul Schrade attended the convicted assassin’s parole hearing this week to both forgive Sirhan and defend the shooter’s innocence in the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. After decades of research into the assassination and witnessing the event first-hand, Schrade continues to assert that Sirhan physically could not have fired the fatal bullet that killed Kennedy.

Less than three months after the assassination, the LAPD incinerated thousands of documents and pieces of evidence related to Kennedy’s death. Besides destroying physical evidence, including door jambs and ceiling tiles taken from the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, the LAPD also burned 2,140 police photographs related to the murder. Calling for a reinvestigation into Kennedy’s murder in December 1974, Schrade led the campaign to eventually declassify the remaining LAPD documents in 1988, after 20 years of being suppressed.

Feb. 19

WhoWhatWhy, Sirhan: A “Manchurian Candidate” in the RFK Assassination? Jeff Schechtman, Feb. 19, 2016. Parole hearing number 14 for Sirhan Sirhan may have finally launched a search for the truth behind Robert F. Kennedy’s murder. Forty-eight years ago (in 1968), the country was in the midst of another presidential campaign that came at a seminal moment in American history. Five years earlier, John F. Kennedy had been murdered, and Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated in April of 1968. The Vietnam War was escalating. Race riots were becoming a fact of urban life. Racial and generational politics as well as social issues were threatening to tear the country apart. Then on the night of June 5th, 1968, after John Kennedy’s brother Robert had won the all-important California Primary, America got yet another jolt: the younger Kennedy, too, had been struck down.

Flash forward to 2016. Last week, his alleged killer, Sirhan Sirhan, was up for his 14th parole hearing. Sitting in the audience was Paul Schrade, one of RFK’s closest confidantes — who was also shot during the attack; Schrade, now 91, is interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is his conclusion that, assuming Sirhan was one of the shooters that night, he was not the only one. Moreover, if Sirhan fired any shots, Schrade is quite certain that the young Palestinian-American, once again being denied parole, could not have killed RFK — because it was a physical impossibility.

Feb. 16

WhoWhatWhy, The Full Story of the Sirhan Sirhan Parole Hearing, Shane O'Sullivan, Feb. 16, 2016. The near-complete media blackout means the world had to rely on one reporter’s account of the Sirhan Sirhan parole hearing. Here is the complete story of what actually transpired and matters.

Shane O'Sullivan and book RFK book

"Who Killed Bobby?" book cover and author Shane O’Sullivan; Photo: Union Square Press

Feb. 11

WhoWhatWhy, Sirhan Denied Parole; RFK Friend Distraught, Russ Baker, Feb. 11, 2016.

Information Clearing House, Man Shot Alongside RFK Says Sirhan Sirhan Should Be Granted Parole, Steve Fiorina, Feb. 11, 2016. Paul Schrade, now 91 years old, was shot in the head on June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles while standing alongside Kennedy. Schrade contends that Sirhan was not the only shooter that night. In an exclusive interview that aired on 10News Tuesday night, Schrade stated that Kennedy was actually killed by a second gunman.

Paul Schrade Interesting Stuff Entertainment
Washington Post, Sirhan Sirhan denied parole despite a Kennedy confidant’s call for the assassin’s release, Peter Holley, Feb. 11, 2016. After decades of investigation, Paul Schrade (shown in a photo) has no doubt about the identity of the man who shot him in the head shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel: It was Sirhan Sirhan, the same gunman convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy. And yet, when Schrade came face to face with Sirhan for the first time in nearly 50 years, at a parole hearing in San Diego on Wednesday, he argued that the notorious gunman wasn’t Kennedy’s killer.

But the panel wasn’t swayed and Sirhan [shown in a 2016 photo] was denied parole for the 15th time, according to the Associated Press, which noted: Commissioners concluded after more than three hours of intense testimony at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Center that Sirhan did not show adequate remorse or understand the enormity of his crime.

Still, the AP reported, Schrade forgave his shooter during the hearing and apologized to Sirhan not doing more to win his release. “I should have been here long ago and that’s why I feel guilty for not being here to help you and to help me,” Schrade said. The fatal bullets, Schrade argued, were fired from a different shooter’s gun.

Sirhan Sirhan

Sirhan Sirhan is shown in a photo upon his arrest in 1968

JIP Editor's Note: Important new books and citizen efforts, including by the new Citizens Against Political Assassinations, are compiling additional evidence that Sirhan, a Christian of Palestinian descent and no strong political views, was most probably a mind-controlled patsy who took the fall for Robert Kennedy's murder, with scant intention or remembrance of the circumstances.

Feb. 10

NBC News, Robert Kennedy Killer Sirhan Sirhan Denied Parole — Again, Corky Siemaszko, Feb. 10, 2016. The 15th time before a California parole board was not the charm Tuesday for Robert F. Kennedy's assassin. Once again, the commissioners said no to releasing Sirhan B. Sirhan, who has spent nearly half a century behind bars for fatally shooting the Democratic senator for New York. "This crime impacted the nation, and I daresay it impacted the world," commissioner Brian Roberts said. "It was a political assassination of a viable Democratic presidential candidate." Kennedy, who was the younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy, was shot June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles just after he'd won the state's Democratic presidential primary. The 42-year-old candidate died the next day.

Now 71, Sirhan has maintained for years that he doesn't remember shooting Kennedy. "If you want a confession, I can't make it now," Sirhan said at the hearing Wednesday. "Legally speaking, I'm not guilty of anything. ... It's not that I'm making light of it. I'm responsible for being there."

Sirhan, a Christian-born Palestinian from Jordan outraged by RFK's support for Israel, was caught with a gun in his hand and later convicted of the killing. He was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison after California banned the death penalty. At his last parole hearing in 2011, parole commissioners said Sirhan had not shown enough remorse or understanding of the severity of his crime.

Feb. 9

WhoWhatWhy, RFK Friend to Raise Doubts About Sirhan Guilt at Parole Hearing, Shane O'Sullivan, Feb. 9, 2016. Although Shot by Sirhan, Paul Schrade Calls for His Release.

KGTV (ABC-TV San Diego affiliate) / Channel 10 News, Did second gunman kill Robert F. Kennedy? Emily Valdez, Feb. 9, 2016. A bystander Sirhan Sirhan also shot the night Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated claims the presidential candidate was actually killed by a second gunman, who remains free to this day. It was quite the celebration at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the night of June 5, 1968. More than 1,000 people were celebrating. Democratic Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy won the California primary. His brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated five years earlier by a gunman in Dallas, Texas. He was poised to be the next president.

Paul Schrade Interesting Stuff Entertainment

“It was just a beautiful moment,” said Paul Schrade, 91. In 1968, Schrade (shown in a recent photo) was a union official and friend of Robert Kennedy, or Bobby, as he called him. Schrade walked with Kennedy into the kitchen that night, after Kennedy gave his victory speech to an elated, cheering crowd. Kennedy died 26 hours later. Sirhan was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Schrade knows Sirhan fired the bullet that hit him. But he is convinced there was a second gunman who shot Kennedy.

“[Sirhan] couldn’t shoot Robert Kennedy and didn’t, he was never in the position to do this,” Schrade said. Schrade said he has spent the last 40 years investigating the case. “There’s strong evidence of a second gunman,” Schrade said. He said experts re-examined evidence. “They could not match the Kennedy bullet. He got hit in the back of the neck, it was the only whole bullet, it did not match Sirhan’s gun,” Schrade said.

Feb. 4

President John F. Kennedy prepares to deliver remarks Photo credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum / White HousePresident John F. Kennedy prepares to deliver remarks. Photo credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum / White House

WhoWhatWhy, Exclusive: List of Withheld JFK Assassination Documents, Russ Baker, Feb. 4, 2016. Here It Is — a Map to What We Can Still Learn. Exciting news: WhoWhatWhy has obtained the complete list of 3,603 secret documents on the Kennedy assassination still being held by the US government. (Or, to be precise, what it admits to still holding.) Now we can at least get a peek at what they have been hiding. The list was obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request by FOIA specialist Michael Ravnitzky, who alerted us. The complete list is below [On WhoWhatWhy site). You’ll note that some documents are briefly characterized by subject, while others are less clearly identified.

The government has promised to release as many documents as possible in October, 2017, the 25th anniversary of the JFK Records Act, in which Congress mandated that all efforts be made to release everything in Washington’s possession unless an overriding case can be made for withholding in the national interest. Some — perhaps most — of these documents could be released at that time. Then again, they may be further withheld. The CIA in particular is likely to argue that some are just too sensitive to be made public. Still, knowing their subject matter makes it easier to press for disclosure, and to hold the government accountable by insisting it justify any continued withholdings.

Those who wish to look at the list should be forewarned that it’s a bit like looking at hieroglyphics. Most of the names and brief references will mean something only to a very few. Among the documents that caught our eye:

• Lee Harvey Oswald’s CIA “201 File.” 201 files contain personality assessments • Records on David Morales, David Atlee Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, William King Harvey and others considered by top researchers prime suspects for participation in the planning and implementation of Kennedy’s murder. • Tax returns of Michael Paine, who with his wife Ruth provided housing and more for the Oswalds — Ruth also got Lee a job in the Texas School Book Depository — from which he purportedly shot Kennedy; Michael worked for the defense contractor Bell Helicopter.

JFKFacts.org, Denied: the JFK records the government doesn’t want you to see, Jeff Morley, Feb. 4, 2016. The invaluable WhoWhatWhy has posted a spreadsheet of the 3,600-plus assassination-related records that the U.S. government has never made public. The existence of the 3,600 records was first reported in JFK Facts last May. The WhoWhatWhy document, obtained by FOIA specialist Michael Ravnitsky, advances the story by providing new details about what exactly the government does not care to share with the American people. I’ve already called attention to seven key files that the CIA is hiding.

The National Archives staff, led by Martha Murphy Wagner, says that it is now preparing to release all of these documents online by October 2017. This list identifies many more documents relevant to the question, “Who killed JFK?” and still more of historical interest. Some that jumped out at me on first reading. Take look and send me your list of the five JFK documents you think should be made public.

  January Justice Integrity Project, Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Enhanced By Historic Discovery, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 18, 2016. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is forever enhanced by discovery of a 24-minute recording of his first meeting with the national media, which occurred during a 1962 speech that was the first ever by an African American at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

 

 

"Readers Guides" To JFK, MLK, RFK Assassinations (via Justice Integrity Project)

 
Readers Guide To JFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives. A so-far 30-part compilation of major books, videos, documents, websites, interpretative columns, and other archives from all major points of view relevant to President John F. Kennedy's death on Nov. 22, 1963.  
 
Martin Luther King at NPCReaders Guide To The MLK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives. Key books, videos, documents, websites and other archives most relevant to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s murder on April 4, 1968. He is shown in a file photo at right.
 
Robert F. Kennedy
Readers Guide To RFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives. For researchers, reporters and concerned citizens, this guide presents key books, videos, documents, websites and other archives most relevant to 1968 Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy's murder on June 6, 1968.
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