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Editor's Choice: 2018-2020 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.

Index: Deep State News, Revelations, Commentary

 2020

May 2020

May 14

May 14

atlantic logoThe Atlantic, Investigation Into The Prophecies of Q, Adrienne LaFrance, June 2020. American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase. This article is part of “Shadowland,” a project about conspiracy thinking in America.

Conspiracy theories are a constant in American history, and it is tempting to dismiss them as inconsequential. But as the 21st century has progressed, such a dismissal has begun to require willful blindness. I was a city-hall reporter for a local investigative-news site called Honolulu Civil Beat in 2011 when Donald Trump was laying the groundwork for a presidential run by publicly questioning whether Barack Obama had been born in Hawaii, as all facts and documents showed. Trump maintained that Obama had really been born in Africa, and therefore wasn’t a natural-born atlantic logo horizontalAmerican—making him ineligible for the highest office. I remember the debate in our Honolulu newsroom: Should we even cover this “birther” madness? As it turned out, the allegations, based entirely on lies, captivated enough people to give Trump a launching pad.

[With] Trump now president, a series of ideas began burbling in the QAnon community: that the coronavirus might not be real; that if it was, it had been created by the “deep state,” the star chamber of government officials and other elite figures who secretly run the world; that the hysteria surrounding the pandemic was part of a plot to hurt Trump’s reelection chances; and that media elites were cheering the death toll. Some of these ideas would make their way onto Fox News and into the president’s public utterances. fox news logo SmallAs of late last year, according to The New York Times, Trump had retweeted accounts often focused on conspiracy theories, including those of QAnon, on at least 145 occasions.

The power of the internet was understood early on, but the full nature of that power — its ability to shatter any semblance of shared reality, undermining civil society and democratic governance in the process — was not. The internet also enabled unknown individuals to reach masses of people, at a scale Marshall McLuhan never dreamed of. The warping of shared reality leads a man with an AR-15 rifle to invade a pizza shop. It brings online forums into being where people colorfully imagine the assassination of a former secretary of state. It offers the promise of a Great Awakening, in which the elites will be routed and the truth will be revealed. It causes chat sites to come alive with commentary speculating that the coronavirus pandemic may be the moment QAnon has been waiting for. None of this could have been imagined as recently as the turn of the century.

QAnon is emblematic of modern America’s susceptibility to conspiracy theories, and its enthusiasm for them. But it is also already much more than a loose collection of conspiracy-minded chat-room inhabitants. It is a movement united in mass rejection of reason, objectivity, and other Enlightenment values. And we are likely closer to the beginning of its story than the end. The group harnesses paranoia to fervent hope and a deep sense of belonging. The way it breathes life into an ancient preoccupation with end-times is also radically new. To look at QAnon is to see not just a conspiracy theory but the birth of a new religion.

What might have languished as a lonely screed on a single image board instead incited fervor. Its profile was enhanced, according to Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins of NBC News, by several conspiracy theorists whose promotion of Q in turn helped build up their own online profiles. By now, nearly three years since Q’s original messages appeared, there have been thousands of what his followers call “Q drops” — messages posted to image boards by Q. He uses a password-protected “tripcode,” a series of letters and numbers visible to other image-board users to signal the continuity of his identity over time. (Q’s tripcode has changed on occasion, prompting flurries of speculation.) As Q has moved from one image board to the next — from 4chan to 8chan to 8kun, seeking a safe harbor — QAnon adherents have only become more devoted. If the internet is one big rabbit hole containing infinitely recursive rabbit holes, QAnon has somehow found its way down all of them, gulping up lesser conspiracy theories as it goes.

It’s impossible to know the number of QAnon adherents with any precision, but the ranks are growing. At least 35 current or former congressional candidates have embraced Q, according to an online tally by the progressive nonprofit Media Matters for America. Those candidates have either directly praised QAnon in public or approvingly referenced QAnon slogans. (One Republican candidate for Congress, Matthew Lusk of Florida, includes QAnon under the “issues” section of his campaign website, posing the question: “Who is Q?”)

djt as chosen oneQAnon has by now made its way onto every major social and commercial platform and any number of fringe sites. Tracy Diaz, a QAnon evangelist, known online by the name TracyBeanz, has 185,000 followers on Twitter and more than 100,000 YouTube subscribers. She helped lift QAnon from obscurity, facilitating its transition to mainstream social media. (A publicist described Diaz as “really private” and declined requests for an interview.) On TikTok, videos with the hashtag #QAnon have garnered millions of views. There are too many QAnon Facebook groups, plenty of them ghost towns, to do a proper count, but the most active ones publish thousands of items each day. (In 2018, Reddit banned QAnon groups from its platform for inciting violence.)

Adherents are ever looking out for signs from on high, plumbing for portents when guidance from Q himself is absent. The coronavirus, for instance — what does it signify? In several of the big Facebook groups, people erupted in a frenzy of speculation, circulating a theory that Trump’s decision to wear a yellow tie to a White House briefing about the virus was a sign that the outbreak wasn’t real. On March 9, Q himself issued a triptych of ominous posts that seemed definitive: The coronavirus is real, but welcome, and followers should not be afraid. The first post shared Trump’s tweet from the night before and repeated, “Nothing Can Stop What Is Coming.” The second said: “The Great Awakening is Worldwide.” The third was simple: “GOD WINS.”

A month later, on April 8, Q went on a posting spree, dropping nine posts over the span of six hours and touching on several of his favorite topics — God, Pizzagate, and the wickedness of the elites. “They will stop at nothing to regain power,” he wrote in one scathing post that alleged a coordinated propaganda effort by Democrats, Hollywood, and the media. Another accused Democrats of promoting “mass hysteria” about the coronavirus for political gain: “What is the primary benefit to keep public in mass-hysteria re: COVID‑19? Think voting. Are you awake yet? Q.” And he shared these verses from Ephesians: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has become an object of scorn among QAnon supporters who don’t like the bad news he delivers or the way he has contradicted Trump publicly. In one March press conference, Trump referred to the State Department as the “Deep State Department,” and Fauci could be seen over the president’s shoulder, suppressing a laugh and covering his djt anthony fauciface. By then, QAnon had already declared Fauci irredeemably compromised, because WikiLeaks had unearthed a pair of emails he sent praising Hillary Clinton in 2012 and 2013.

Sentiment about Fauci, right, among QAnon supporters on social-media platforms ranges from “Fauci is a Deep State puppet” to “FAUCI is a BLACKHAT!!!”—the term QAnon uses for people who support the evil cabal that Q warns about. One person, using the hashtags #DeepStateCabal and #Qanon, tweeted this: “Watch Fauci’s hand signals and body language at the press conferences. What is he communicating?” Another shared an image of Fauci standing in a lab with Barack Obama, with the caption “Obama and ‘Dr.’ Fauci in the lab creating coronovirus [sic]. #DeepstateDoctor.” The Justice Department recently approved heightened security measures for Fauci because of the mounting volume of threats against him.

In the final days before Congress passed a $2 trillion economic-relief package in late March, Democrats insisted on provisions that would make it easier for people to vote by mail, prompting Q himself to weigh in with dismay: “These people are sick! Nothing can stop what is coming. Nothing.”

The most prominent QAnon figures have a presence beyond the biggest social-media platforms and image boards. The Q universe encompasses numerous blogs, proprietary websites, and types of chat software, as well as alternative social-media platforms such as Gab, the site known for anti-Semitism and white nationalism, where many people banned from Twitter have congregated. Vloggers and bloggers promote their Patreon accounts, where people can pay them in monthly sums.

There’s also money to be made from ads on YouTube. Q evangelists have taken a “publish everywhere” approach that is half outreach, half redundancy. If one platform cracks down on QAnon, as Reddit did, they won’t have to start from scratch somewhere else. Already embroiled in the battle between good and evil, QAnon has involved itself in another battle — between the notion of an open web for the people and a gated internet controlled by a powerful few.

May 12

 brett eagleson gail eagleson donald trump melania trump brett eagleson photo

Brett Eagleson and his mother, Gail Eagleson, with Donald and Melania Trump (undated photo of Brett Eagleson)

Yahoo News, In court filing, FBI accidentally reveals name of Saudi official suspected of directing support for 9/11 hijackers, Michael Isikoff, May 12, 2020. The FBI inadvertently revealed one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive secrets about the Sept. 11 terror attacks: the identity of a mysterious Saudi Embassy official in Washington who agents suspected had directed crucial support to two of the al-Qaida hijackers.

9 11 fbi list 19 hijackersThe disclosure came in a new declaration filed in federal court by a senior FBI official in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims that accuses the Saudi government of complicity in the terrorist attacks.

The declaration was filed last month but unsealed late last week. According to a spokesman for the 9/11 victims’ families, it represents a major breakthrough in the long-running case, providing for the first time an apparent confirmation that FBI agents investigating the attacks believed they had uncovered a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

It’s unclear just how strong the evidence is against the former Saudi Embassy official — it’s been a subject of sharp dispute within the FBI for years. But the disclosure, which a senior U.S. government official confirmed was made in error, seems likely to revive questions about potential Saudi links to the 9/11 plot.

FBI logoIt also shines a light on the extraordinary efforts by top Trump administration officials in recent months to prevent internal documents about the issue from ever becoming public.

“This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” said Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the 9/11 families whose father was killed in the attacks. “It demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.”

Still, Eagleson acknowledged he was flabbergasted by the bureau’s slip-up in identifying the Saudi Embassy official in a public filing. Although Justice Department lawyers had last September notified lawyers for the 9/11 families of the official’s identity, they had done so under a protective order that forbade the family members from publicly disclosing it.

Now, the bureau itself has named the Saudi official. “This is a giant screwup,” Eagleson said.
Brett Eagleson and his mother, Gail Eagleson, with Donald and Melania Trump. (Brett Eagleson)

After being contacted by Yahoo News on Monday, Justice Department officials notified the court and withdrew the FBI’s declaration from the public docket. “The document was incorrectly filed in this case,” the docket now reads.

But FBI and Justice Department officials declined to comment on how the erroneous disclosure had been made. A Saudi government spokesman, meanwhile, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The Saudi government has consistently denied any connection to the 9/11 hijackers, telling the New York Times and ProPublica in January: “Saudi Arabia is and has always been a close and critical ally of the U.S. in the fight against terrorism.”

Ironically, the declaration identifying the Saudi official in question was intended to support recent filings by Attorney General William Barr and acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell barring the public release of the Saudi official’s name and all related documents, concluding they are “state secrets” that, if disclosed, could cause “significant harm to the national security.”

The declaration was filed by Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division. Her declaration fleshes out some of the assertions Barr and Grenell have used in their filings, arguing that publicly disclosing internal FBI files — including “interview reports, telephone and bank records, source reporting documents and foreign government information” — would reveal intelligence sources and methods of collection and would hamper the willingness of foreign governments to assist the FBI on sensitive cases.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Mystery Explained: Moscow Has 1,700 Extra Deaths, Ivan Nechepurenko, May 11, 2020. Russia’s government has boasted of a low coronavirus mortality rate, but figures from an obscure city agency cast doubt on those claims.

Ever since the coronavirus took hold globally, researchers have been puzzled by Russia’s mortality rate of only about 13 deaths per million, far below the world average of 36 in a country with a ramshackle health system.

With the arrival of data for April, however, the mystery appears to be clearing up.

Data released by Moscow’s city government on Friday shows that the number of overall registered deaths in the Russian capital in April exceeded the five-year average for the same period by more than 1,700. That total is far higher than the official Covid-19 death count of 642 — an indication of significant underreporting by the authorities.

A similar picture has been observed in many other countries. In neighboring Belarus, for example — where the authoritarian leader Aleksandr G. Lukashenko has rejected calls for a lockdown as “frenzy and psychosis” — the reported death rate is about 10 per million. In Mexico, officials have recorded more than three times as many deaths in the capital as the government has acknowledged.

washington post logoWashington Post, Venezuela raid: How an ex-Green Beret and a defecting general planned to capture Maduro, Anthony Faiola, Shawn Boburg and Ana Vanessa Herrero, May 11, 2020 (print ed.). For the men in the Colombian safe house, the arrival of the muscular American felt like deliverance.

Defectors from Venezuela’s police and military, they had been rounded up from flophouses and streetside encampments for a secret mission to nicolas maduro customliberate their homeland from the socialist government of autocratic President Nicolás Maduro, right. They were holed up in a sweltering smuggler’s town near the Venezuelan frontier late last spring when Jordan Goudreau — a square-jawed former Green Beret who ran a strategic-services firm in Florida — stepped out of a car and approached.

“He had a translator,” said a man who later bowed out of the mission, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of persecution. “Jordan was talking about how he had connections with the U.S. high command.”

Five men who initially trained for the mission, or who came into contact with its operatives, said the 43-year-old veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had convinced the men that they were training for a U.S.-backed incursion into Venezuela. That belief, these people said, bolstered their sense of a serious operation that was worth risking their lives for.

From a Miami condo to the Venezuelan coast, how a plan to ‘capture’ Maduro went rogue

In a video of Goudreau’s encounter with the group, leaked to social media and confirmed by one of those present, one of the Venezuelans lavishes praise on their American hope.

“Mr. Jordan,” he says. “We want to give thanks to you for fighting for the freedom of a nation that is not yours. . . . Thanks to you, we will free Venezuela.”

What followed is a barely believable odyssey, a hall-of-mirrors operation that ended May 3 with Goudreau announcing a mission to overthrow Maduro that had already failed.

Maduro says his forces have killed eight men and captured 34 others, including Airan Berry and Luke Denman — fellow former Green Berets who served with Goudreau and are now being held in Venezuela on charges of terrorism, arms trafficking and conspiracy.

U.S. Crime & Courts

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Bill Barr Twisted My Words in Dropping the Flynn Case. Here’s the Truth, Mary B. McCord (an acting assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department from 2016 to 2017), May 11, 2020 (print ed.). The F.B.I.’s interview of Mr. Flynn was constitutional, lawful and for a legitimate counterintelligence purpose.

william barr new oAt the direction of Attorney General Bill Barr, right,the Justice Department last week moved to dismiss a false-statements charge against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser. The reason stated was that the continued prosecution “would not serve the interests of justice.”

timothy shea o CustomThe motion was signed by Timothy Shea, left, a longtime trusted adviser of Mr. Barr and, since January, the acting U.S. attorney in Washington. In attempting to support its argument, the motion cites more than 25 times the F.B.I.’s report of an interview with me in July 2017, two months after I left a decades-long career at the department (under administrations of both parties) that culminated in my role as the acting assistant attorney general for national security.

The Barr-Shea motion to dismiss refers to my descriptions of the F.B.I.’s justification for not wanting to notify the new administration about the potential Flynn compromise as “vacillating from the potential compromise of a ‘counterintelligence’ investigation to the protection of a purported ‘criminal’ investigation.” But that “vacillation” has no bearing on whether the F.B.I. was justified in engaging in a voluntary interview with Mr. Flynn. It has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to its investigation into any links or coordination between Mr. Trump’s FBI logopresidential campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

And perhaps more significant, it has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to the clear counterintelligence threat posed by the susceptible position Mr. Flynn put himself in when he told Mr. Pence and others in the new administration that he had not discussed the sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. The materiality is obvious.

In short, the report of my interview does not anywhere suggest that the F.B.I.’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not “tethered” to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose.

May 9 michael flynn djt

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: The judge should look skeptically at Barr’s latest effort to rescue another Trump crony, Editorial Board, May 9, 2020 (print william barr new oed.). Now, in a stunning blow to impartial justice, Attorney General William P. Barr, right, is proposing to clear Mr. Flynn, who served as national security adviser at the beginning of President Trump’s term.

Justice Department log circularIt is the latest and perhaps most disturbing action Mr. Barr has taken to overrule the professionals of the Justice Department in a manner pleasing to his boss.

U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen said he made the call, then consulted Mr. Barr, who agreed. Mr. Jensen should not have been in a position to make that call. He had that position because Mr. Barr tapped him to “assist” other Justice Department prosecutors on a case of particular interest to Mr. Trump. Yet those other prosecutors needed no help determining Mr. Flynn’s guilt.

washington post logoWashington Post, A constant battle of you against the leadership of your country’: Justice Dept. rattled as Flynn fallout reaches FBI, Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey, May 9, 2020. President Trump cast fresh doubt Friday on the future of his FBI director as federal law enforcement officials privately wrestled with fallout from the Justice Department’s move to throw out the guilty plea of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The president’s comments in a phone interview with Fox News highlight the ongoing distrust between the White House and some law enforcement officials in the aftermath of a nearly two-year investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. FBI logopresidential campaign.

“It’s disappointing,” Trump said when asked about Christopher A. Wray’s role in ongoing reviews of the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation. “Let’s see what happens with him. Look, the jury’s still out.”

Trump faulted the FBI director as “skirting” the debate surrounding the Russia investigation, although the agency and the Justice Department have insisted that the FBI has cooperated fully with those reviewing the case. The president said more developments could come in the next two weeks but declined to elaborate.

Justice Department log circularWhile the president continued to criticize the FBI’s conduct, multiple federal law enforcement officials interviewed Friday expressed varying degrees of anger, resignation and alarm over the decision by Attorney General William P. Barr to abandon the prosecution of Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump took office.

“The attorney general is supposed to be above reproach and apolitical in terms of how the department operates and how he or she as an individual operates, and he’s just completely lost that,” said one veteran Justice Department lawyer who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. “He’s Trump’s attorney. He’s not the country’s attorney.”

A day after the Flynn reversal, more than a half dozen Justice Department employees expressed similar displeasure with the move, saying that they did not agree with Barr’s legal rationale and that they worried about what it might portend for the agency. A smaller number of law enforcement officials contacted Friday said they were basically pleased with the outcome and were critical of decisions made by James B. Comey, who launched the Flynn investigation while he was FBI director.

“Wray is not going to be fired, because there is a sense of realism, because we are in a pandemic, and it’s in an election year,” predicted one official, who added that Trump has little love for Wray but is not preparing to fire him.

ny times logorichard painterNew York Times, Opinion: Trump’s Bid to Stand Above the Law, Claire O. Finkelstein and Richard W. Painter, right, May 9, 2020. Next week, the Supreme Court will hear lawyers argue the president’s claim that he has absolute immunity while in office.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear one of the most consequential cases ever considered on executive privilege. Trump v. Vance concerns a subpoena issued by the Manhattan district attorney to President Trump’s accountants demanding the release of tax returns and other financial documents to a grand jury.

supreme court buildingWhat is at stake is no less than the accountability of a president to the rule of law.

Mr. Trump claims that a president has “temporary absolute immunity,” meaning he cannot be criminally investigated while in office. Indeed, in oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, his lawyers said that if the president were to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, he could not be investigated or indicted until after he left office.

If the justices endorse this extreme view, they will make it impossible to hold this president, and all future presidents, answerable in courts for their actions.

Mr. Trump claims that a president has “temporary absolute immunity,” meaning he cannot be criminally investigated while in office. Indeed, in oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, his lawyers said that if the president were to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, he could not be investigated or indicted until after he left office.

If the justices endorse this extreme view, they will make it impossible to hold this president, and all future presidents, answerable in courts for their actions.

richard nixon portraitMr. Trump’s legal position contradicts clear Supreme Court precedent. In U.S. v. Nixon, a unanimous Supreme Court ordered President Richard Nixon (shown in an official portrait) to turn over Oval Office tapes subpoenaed by the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox. In Clinton v. Jones, a unanimous court held that a sitting president can be forced to testify in response to a subpoena in civil litigation. Taken together, these cases make it clear that the president is not immune from investigation, whether criminal or civil, while he is in office.

Mr. Trump’s claims of absolute immunity are even weaker than the assertions by Presidents Nixon and Bill Clinton. The subpoena was issued by a state, rather than a federal prosecutor. The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows states a certain degree of autonomy in investigating and prosecuting crimes. Although grand jury proceedings are secret, Mr. Vance is probably also investigating whether the president’s company, the Trump Organization, falsely accounted for hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 election to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump. To deny New York the right to exercise its “police powers” over serious financial crimes should give the court’s conservative justices pause.

mazars logo croppedIn addition, the subpoena was not issued to Mr. Trump, but to Mazars (logo at left), his accountants. Mr. Trump maintains that the immunity of a sitting president is so strong that it extends to his entire business empire and even to third-party businesses that possess his personal information. By this logic, President Clinton could have blocked a subpoena to Monica Lewinsky’s dry cleaner, had she had one, to prevent it from handing over the infamous blue dress before laundering to the independent counsel investigating him.

Mr. Trump’s legal team asserts that federal law pre-empts state law, arguing that his immunity descends directly from the president’s constitutional authority under Article II of the Constitution. We filed an amicus brief in the case opposing this sweeping assertion of presidential immunity, on the grounds that the language of Article II, the history of its drafting and its subsequent interpretation by federal courts contradict Mr. Trump’s interpretation.

FBI logoMoreover, his claim conflicts with the administration’s position in another recent Supreme Court case over states’ rights, Kansas v. Garcia. The administration’s solicitor general had sided with Kansas against an immigrant’s claim that federal immigration law prevented Kansas from prosecuting him for identity theft.

The same should apply in Trump v. Vance: The Constitution gives the Manhattan district attorney broad latitude to investigate possible financial misconduct of businesses headquartered in New York unless federal law expressly forbids it. No federal law does.

The authorities usually cited for the proposition that a sitting president cannot be indicted are two Justice Department memorandums. Rather than offering a legal analysis based on Article II, the memos are largely pragmatic, advising that it would be unwise to distract a president with legal processes when he needs to focus on the national interest. As such, these memorandums are merely advice to Justice Department prosecutors. They are not binding in any way on state prosecutors.

supreme court headshots 2019

washington post logoWashington Post, George Conway Opinion: No one in this country is above the law. The Supreme Court is about to teach that lesson, George T. george conway postConway III, right, May 9, 2020 (print ed.). Twenty-six years ago, I published my first op-ed. Entitled “‘No Man in This Country … Is Above the Law,’” it addressed news reports that President Bill Clinton planned to claim an immunity from having to respond to Paula Jones’s sexual harassment suit. “In a case involving his private conduct,” I wrote, “a President should be treated like any private citizen. The rule of law requires no more — and no less.”

The piece led to my ghostwriting briefs for Jones, including a Supreme Court brief two years later. The Supreme Court agreed unanimously that Jones could proceed, and, like the op-ed, quoted from the Founders’ debates about the status of the president: “Far from being above the laws, he is amenable to them in his private character as a citizen, and in his public character by impeachment.” Which meant that while a president could be impeached for official misconduct, he “is otherwise subject to the laws” — and therefore could be sued — “for his purely private acts.”

I couldn’t have imagined then that another president would challenge that proposition. Then again, I couldn’t have imagined President Donald Trump.
But here we are. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear telephonic arguments in three cases addressing whether Trump can keep his tax and financial information from being disclosed, whether from Congress or criminal prosecutors. In Trump v. Vance, which involves a New York state grand jury investigation, Trump’s lawyers argue that, even when it comes to purely private conduct, the presidency insulates him from the legal process.

Justice Department log circularThe case arises from a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, and it seems there’s plenty worth examining: whether, as suggested by extensive reporting in this newspaper and other outlets, Trump’s businesses may have dodged taxes. And whether Trump’s hush-money payments, made through his lawyer Michael Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, violated state law. (Cohen pleaded guilty to federal crimes arising from those payments, which the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said were made “at the direction of Individual-1” — Trump.)

The state grand jury subpoenaed the Trump Organization and Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, seeking tax returns and financial rmazars logo croppedecords. Trump sued to block the subpoena to Mazars — on the ground that he’s president. The lower federal courts rejected his pleas, and now he’s in the Supreme Court. Where he will lose — or should.

To say Trump’s argument is frivolous demeans frivolity. Clinton v. Jones dictates the result: The subpoenaed documents have nothing to do with Trump’s presidential duties — zip. That alone does it.

But Trump’s case is even weaker than Clinton’s. At least Clinton was being sued personally. He ultimately had to give evidence himself, which he did (infamously) at a deposition. But because the suit had nothing to do with presidential duties, the Supreme Court said it could proceed.

Here, Trump hasn’t been charged with or sued for anything. He’s not being required to do anything. The subpoenas have been directed at his company and his accountants. They don’t require his time or attention.

Trump’s position stupefies. In essence: Authorities can’t investigate anything touching his personal affairs — including, ahem, payments to pornographic actresses — because he’s president. Think of the logic: Not only does the president enjoy a personal constitutional immunity — his businesses do, too.

It doesn’t matter that Trump challenges a criminal inquiry, while Jones involved a civil suit. Whether a sitting president can be indicted remains unsettled, but Trump hasn’t been charged. In fact, presidents have given evidence in criminal matters many times — including ones touching them personally.

Chief Justice John Marshall ordered President Thomas Jefferson to produce documents in Aaron Burr’s treason case. A unanimous Supreme Court ordered President Richard Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes, and rejected a claim of presidential privilege — in a case in which Nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator. Clinton provided grand jury and criminal trial testimony in the Whitewater and Lewinsky investigations — matters in which he was potentially a target.

Trump complains nonetheless that letting 50 states conduct investigations involving presidents would endanger the presidency, as well as federal supremacy. A short answer is one the court gave in Jones, where Clinton raised the specter of countless private plaintiffs bringing meritless suits: Courts can address vexatious litigation case by case, and if that doesn’t suffice, Congress can legislate a fix.

A more fundamental answer, though, may be found in an amicus curiae brief in the Vance case, a brief submitted by the Protect Democracy Project and joined by me and 36 other conservatives: “The Constitution is concerned with the supremacy of federal law, not the supremacy of federal officials.”

Likewise, the Constitution is concerned with protecting the presidency, not the person who happens to be the president. That’s because no one in this country is above the law. The Supreme Court is now called upon to teach that lesson once again — even if Trump will likely never learn it.

April 2020

April 28

Medium, Commentary: We’re all in this together. Really? What about the oil majors? Charlotte Dennett, April 27, 2020. One thing I’ve learned over the years of investigating Big Oil and its hold over the futures of whole nations — including the US — is this: Never count on “straight talk” from its lobbyists, its PR people, and its protagonists in Congress and the White House

So what are we make of the fact that the price of oil tanked to below zero per barrel on April 22, the greatest drop in history? The price has gone up slightly since then, hovering around $16 a barrel on April 25th, but it is still severely depressed. Who will suffer from this? And perhaps more importantly, who will gain?
Motorists wil be happy with lower gas prices, but the impact on oil producing communites is “devastating.”

Predicting the future is difficult during this pandemic. Here are five questions that might yield answers.

1. What caused the precipitous drop in the price of oil?

In a word: coronavirus. No one can deny this. It is an inescapable fact, plainly portrayed by TV images of empty streets around the world. Sheltering at home has greatly reduced the consumption of gasoline. People are not driving their cars to work. Airlines — big consumers of gasoline — are cutting way back. A global over-supply of oil is not only driving down prices, it is causing havoc because there is no more storage space for tankers to unload their cargo.

Tankers cannot unload their cargo so wait offshore until stogage space can be found

2. Why did Russia and Saudi Arabia react by starting an oil price war now– of all times!

Members of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies, met in Vienna in early March to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on a declining demand for oil. Russia (though not a member of OPEC) joined the meetings, resulting in a pact called OPEC +. Representatives of OPEC’s 15 member countries (plus Russia) tried to hash out a deal that would curtail oil production enough to raise the price of oil. They failed. Why?

Saudi Arabia — the capo di tutti capi of oil producers — proposed cutting its oil production by 1 million barrels a day to prop up the price of oil, provided that Russia, another major leaguer, cut its production by 500,000 barrels a day. Russia balked. After all, Putin, ex-KGB guy that he is, is a master at playing the Great Game for Oil. Ever since the United States began exporting large quantities of shale oil and gas (much of it obtained through fracking) as cheap energy to Europe, he saw Russia’s market share in Europe threatened and revenues reduced. As the major supplier of oil and natural gas to Europe, Putin needed to compete with American shale oil producers and if possible, outcompete them with Russia’s own cheap oil.

But there was another factor at play, according to Bloomberg News: Russia’s economy was better prepared to take a hit because “five years of austerity and safeguarding assets against the threat of U.S. sanctions have left Russia in a stronger position than ever before to cope with lower oil prices…International sanctions forced Russia to strip back foreign borrowing in recent years, while stringent fiscal policies pared domestic spending to a minimum. The result is that Russia now boasts the fourth-biggest international reserves in the world, and some of the lowest debt levels.”

April 27

wayne madsen screen shotStrategic Culture Foundation, Opinion on Post-Corona World: Recrimination and Defederation, Wayne Madsen, right, April 27, 2020. There are growing signs that the coronavirus pandemic will radically alter the geo-political map of the world. The governors, prime ministers, premiers, chief ministers, and strategic culture logoadministrators of sub-national governments have been almost unanimous in decrying the lack of support from central governments during the current Covid-19 crisis.

Not least among these have been the governors of the American states of New York, Michigan, Washington, and other states and U.S. territories.

Welcome to the international empire of “Pandemia.” This unstructured alliance of disbelievers in public health, skeptics of scientific proof, practitioners of fascist ideology, and bloviators about any subject minus the ones at hand have ensured that a deadly pandemic became an international scourge.

Rather than pooling the resources of their nations with those of others, these cartoonish politicians decided to, at first, discount the threat; then, manipulate the numbers of infected persons in their countries; followed by hoarding precious medical supplies and resources and, in the case of Donald Trump, tighten sanctions on nations trying to deal with the virus at home and abroad. Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba discovered that the United States, far from being generous during a global health crisis, would use sanctions to increase the pandemic’s death count in the sanctions-targeted nations.

In two federal republics, the United States and Brazil, led by two extreme-rightwing Presidents, Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, respectively, the central governments demonstrated an initial and continued failure to take Covid-19 seriously. By waiting until the pandemic was already weighing heavily on state governments, the two presidents, rather than taking strong federal action, decided to engage in a ridiculous blame game in both shedding off federal responsibility and forcing state governors into roles best suited to the national governments.

jared kushner head shotWhen Trump appointed his New York/New Jersey “kosher nostra”-mobbed up son-in-law, Jared Kushner, left, to chair a “shadow” Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) task force charged with building up a national stockpile of ventilators, personal protection equipment (PPE), and Covid-19 test kits.

Kushner publicly stated at a White House press briefing that the federal medical stockpile was not meant for the states, even though the United States solely consists of states. Who would ultimately receive the federal stockpile over which Kushner maintained his control? Kushner granted himself sole authority to distribute the equipment and supplies.

To where? Israel, where the prime minister was a personal friend of Kushner and his family? The New York/New Jersey regional black market, where Baruch Feldheim, Yuriy Borukhov, Maisey Khovasov, and Michael Borukhov were arrested for hoarding masks and other medical supplies and gouging buyers? These are the types of criminals Trump and Kushner have been dealing with throughout their entire lives.

As if they were dealing with organized crime syndicates, governors were alerted to numerous attempts by FEMA and Kushner, using Gestapo-like tactics, to intercept PPEs pre-ordered by the states.

william barr new oColorado’s Democratic Governor, Jared Polis, revealed that FEMA “swept up” 500 ventilators that were already purchased by the state of Colorado. Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker decried the Kushner team’s confiscation of three million masks ordered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Acting entirely outside of their scope and doing the bidding of Trump “capo” and Attorney General William Barr, right, authorized the FBI to question the chief physician at Baystate Health in Massachusetts about the purpose of two semi-trucks, disguised as food-service vehicles, hauling badly-needed PPEs to Massachusetts hospitals.

Even after the FBI stood down, FEMA attempted to seize the equipment. Similar FEMA seizures and attempted seizures were reported from Florida, California, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska, and Texas.

ray mcgovern hsPopular Resistance via OpEdNews, Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray Indicted, Ray McGovern, right, April 27, 2020. Charged With Contempt Of Court.

Background: Alex Salmond, a friend of former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, was First Minister of Scotland and leader of the pro-Independence Scottish National Party. When the party narrowly lost the independence referendum in 2014, Salmond stepped down and his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, became, and remains, First Minister.

Salmond was thought to be considering a political comeback. Then came several sexual allegations against him, which Amb. Murray publicly craig murray uk ambassadordescribed as false. Murray, left, uses the word "fit-up," British slang meaning to incriminate someone on false charges.

Alex Salmond was tried and a majority female jury found him innocent of all charges. Murray believes that Sturgeon and associates are determined that nobody should find out what really happened.

There has been a media campaign implying Salmond is really guilty. Murray reports that there has also been a police campaign of intimidation against anyone, even ordinary folk making a Facebook post, who implies the charges were contrived. The chief prosecutor and his key staff are all Sturgeon appointees, as is the police chief.

The following are excerpts from a Craig Murray blog posted Friday:

"... I know of four pro-[Scottish] Independence folk who were last week phoned or visited by Police Scotland and threatened with contempt of court proceedings over social media postings they had made weeks back on the Alex Salmond case.

Then on Monday, a Scottish journalist I know had his home raided by five policemen, who confiscated (and still have) all his computers and phones. They said they were from the 'Alex Salmond team' and investigating his postings on the Alex Salmond case. He has not to date been charged, and his lawyer is advising him at present to say nothing, so I am not revealing his name.

"On Thursday two plain clothes police arrived and handed me the indictment. Shortly thereafter, an email arrived from The Times newspaper, saying that the Crown Office had 'confirmed' that I had been charged with contempt of court. In the case of my friend whose house was raided, he was contacted by the Daily Record just before the raid even happened!

"I am charged with contempt of court and the hearing is on 7 July at the High Court in Edinburgh. The contempt charge falls in two categories: i) Material published before the trial liable to prejudice a jury. ii) Material published which could assist 'jigsaw identification' of the failed accusers.

"[T]his is a blatant, one-sided political persecution. That much is entirely plain. I have therefore decided, in the interests of open justice, to publish [a link to the indictment is embedded in the Murray's blog item] the entire indictment against me (with a single sentence redacted where I think the prosecution were excessively indiscreet). Neither the indictment nor the covering letter is marked confidential or not for publication. It is, so far as I know, a public document. ...

"The state believes it has finally discovered a way to put me in prison without the inconvenient hurdle of a jury of my peers. Contempt of Court is just decided by a judge. It is extraordinary that you can go to jail for a substantial two years with no jury protection and no test of 'beyond reasonable doubt'; and on the whim of a judge defending what he may view as the dignity of his own office. This really is the epitome of bad law. To use it against freedom of speech is disgusting. ...

"I am charged specifically with saying that the Alex Salmond case was a fit-up and a conspiracy in which the Crown Office was implicated. So I thought I would say it again now: 'The Alex Salmond case was a fit-up and a conspiracy in which the Crown Office was implicated, foiled by the jury. If Scotland is the kind of country where you go to jail for saying that, let me get my toothbrush.'"

April 20

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion / Analysis: Is William Barr a remnant KGB sleeper agent? Wayne Madsen, April 20, 2020. In the 1970s, the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, operated an extremely aggressive intelligence gathering and recruitment effort in New York City.

wayne madesen report logoIn 1973-74, one subject of interest to the KGB resident agency in New York may have been Donald Barr, the quirky former Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer during World War II and the headmaster of the exclusive private Dalton School....

Today, William Barr's only real accomplishments as Attorney General have been to stifle his department's and the FBI's and CIA's investigation of foreign intelligence interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, permitting Jeffrey Epstein to be put in a position where he could be "suicided," ensuring that Epstein's underage victims cannot receive damages from the Justice Department for their rights as sex trafficking victims being violated, and other outrages.

April 18

ae 911 freefall correction request graphic Custom

Architects and Engineers for 911 Turth (AE911Truth) "Free Fall" radio show: Request for Correction: What It Means and How NIST Might Respond, ae for 9 11 truth logoAn Interview with Mick Harrison and Ted Walter, April 18, 2020. On this week’s episode of "9/11 Free Fall," attorney Mick Harrison and AE911Truth Director of Strategy Ted Walter join host Andy Steele for an in-depth discussion of the request for correction submitted to NIST earlier this week regarding the agency's 2008 report on the destruction of World Trade Center Building 7.

The 100-page request for correction, which is signed by ten 9/11 family members, 88 architects and structural engineers, and AE911Truth, represents the most serious challenge to date against NIST's World Trade Center investigation.

9/11 Free Fall recently moved from an hour-long to a half-hour format. We hope you’ll be able to tune in for this episode or read the full interview.

April 17

Dr. Leroy Hulsey trailer thumb headshot Custom

Architects and Engineers for 911 Turth (AE911Truth), Commentary: A Teaser for the Much-Anticipated Building 7 Documentary, Staff report, April 17, ae for 9 11 truth logo2020. We at Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth are thrilled to release a short teaser for our upcoming documentary on Building 7 and the University of Alaska Fairbanks study led by Dr. Leroy Hulsey, shown above.

We’ve got to bring this film to millions, so please share the teaser widely and stay tuned for updates on our forthcoming release of the film!

April 14

djt virus rewrites history cnn jonathan karl april 13 2020 Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis of The Me President: Trump uses briefing to focus on himself, Ashley Parker, April 14, 2020 (print ed.). Monday’s news conference offered a stark portrait of a president who seemed unable to grasp the magnitude of the crisis.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump’s propaganda-laden, off-the-rails coronavirus briefing, Aaron Blake, April 14, 2020 (print ed.). Near the start of his daily coronavirus briefing on Monday, President Trump made a statement that betrayed, better than just about anything, how he views the purpose of such briefings.

Before playing a campaign-style video intended to show his decisive action on the virus and to accuse his critics of being the actual culprits on downplaying the threat, Trump cued it up by talking about what he wanted to do after it played.

“Most importantly,” he said, “we’re going to get back on to the reason we’re here, which is the success we’re having.”

Trump’s self-promotion, falsehoods and use of dodgy medical advice in these coronavirus briefings have led to a dialogue about whether networks should carry them live. And on Monday, he seemed to be daring all of them to stop, turning the whole thing into a spectacle of government-produced propaganda and even more personal score-settling and grievances.

djt meltdown chyron cnn april 13 2020 Custom

Palmer Report, Editorial note: It’s about time! Bill Palmer, right, April 14, 2020. At one point during Donald Trump’s press briefing yesterday, after his behavior had bill palmertaken a turn for the indescribable, CNN put a chyron (above) across the bottom of the screen that said “TRUMP MELTS DOWN.” It was a perfectly accurate and factual description of what was going on. It’s about time.

bill palmer report logo headerWhen I first started referring to Donald Trump’s behavior as “meltdowns,” I took a ton of heat for it. Various mainstream media outlets and pundits told me I was being hyperbolic, sensationalistic, and unprofessional. Meanwhile they were doing their best to understate and normalize his behavior by framing his rubber room-level antics as somehow merely being “untraditional” or “out of the box.”

Now, three years too late, the media is finally reporting on Donald Trump using accurate words that properly reflect his behavior. I’m not bitter that some of the same mainstream pundits who gave me grief for using words like “meltdown” are now using it themselves. I do resent that if the media had been doing its job properly these past few years, Trump would probably have been ousted by now. But better late than never.

My goal from the start has been to nudge the mainstream media toward being more honest and accurate. The media has a bad habit of using painfully understated headlines and descriptors that have falsely painted Donald Trump as merely behaving in unusual fashion, when by any objective measure he’s behaving as an unhinged and deranged lunatic. We’re getting closer. I’ll keep pushing until the mainstream media is willing to fully tell the public just how objectionable Trump’s behavior is without sugarcoating it.

strategic culture logoStrategic Culture Foundation, Opinion: U.S. Will Always Be Remembered as a COVID-19 Pariah State, Wayne Madsen, April 14, 2020. The anti-science, conspiracy-driven, and radical right-wing agenda of the Trump administration has directly led to the needless deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and foreign citizens amid the worst pandemic to strike the world since the 1918 influenza scourge. Like any fascist tyrant, Trump requires scapegoats to maintain his power base and he has discovered plenty of them.

In addition to scapegoating almost a dozen U.S. state governors, two past U.S. presidents, and the Democratic Party, Trump has seen fit to blame the World Health Organization for the Covid-19 pandemic, even threatening to cut off U.S. assistance to the global health body.

Trump’s attack on the WHO came as no real surprise. The director-general of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is from Ethiopia, a nation Trump included in his sweeping reference to African nations as “shithole countries.” Trump also falsely accused the WHO of being “China-centric.” Dr. Tedros hit back at Trump’s criticisms, stressing that countries should avoid politicizing Covid-19 “if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”

Trump’s familiar fascist tactic of scapegoating others for his own failures is what was ultimately behind his attacks on the WHO and China.

However, Trump’s xenophobia and racism were not the only reasons for his attacks. Trump was echoing the propaganda of several right-wing entities, including those that back Taiwan’s admission to the WHO against strong Chinese opposition, the Falun Gong and its press mouthpiece, “Epoch Times,” that are opposed to the Chinese government and receive favorable treatment by the Trump White House; and white supremacist groups opposed to the WHO director being a black man from Ethiopia. Also irritating Trump was Dr. Tedros’s admonitions to Washington that it was not helpful to refer to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus.” Anti-Asian racial attacks were reported

April 6 supreme court headshots 2019

Slate, Commentary: By a 5-4 Vote, SCOTUS Lets Wisconsin Throw Out Tens of Thousands of Ballots, Mark Joseph Stern, April 6, 2020. On Monday, by a 5–4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court approved one of the most brazen acts of voter suppression in modern history.

The court will nullify the votes of citizens who mailed in their ballots late — not because they forgot, but because they did not receive ballots until after Election Day due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ruth bader ginsburg scotusAs Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, right, wrote in dissent, the court’s order “will result in massive disenfranchisement.” The conservative majority claimed that its decision would help protect “the integrity of the election process.” In reality, it calls into question the legitimacy of the election itself.

Wisconsin has long been scheduled to hold an election on April 7. There are more than 3,800 seats on the ballot, and a crucial state Supreme Court race. But the state’s ability to conduct in-person voting is imperiled by COVID-19.

Thousands of poll workers have dropped out for fear of contracting the virus, forcing cities to shutter dozens of polling places. Milwaukee, for example, consolidated its polling locations from 182 to five, while Green Bay consolidated its polling locations from 31 to two.

Gov. Tony Evers asked the Republican-controlled Legislature to postpone the election, but it refused. So he tried to delay it himself with an executive order on Monday. But the Republican-dominated state Supreme Court reinstated the election, thereby forcing voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote.

Because voters are rightfully afraid of COVID-19, Wisconsin has been caught off guard by a surge in requests for absentee ballots. Election officials simply do not have time, resources, or staff to process all those requests.

As a result, a large number of voters — at least tens of thousands — won’t get their ballots until after Election Day. And Wisconsin law disqualifies ballots received after that date. In response, last Thursday, a federal district court ordered the state to extend the absentee ballot deadline. It directed officials to count votes mailed after Election Day so long as they were returned by April 13. A conservative appeals court upheld his decision.

Now the Supreme Court has reversed that order. It allowed Wisconsin to throw out ballots postmarked and received after Election Day, even if voters were entirely blameless for the delay. (Thankfully, ballots postmarked by Election Day but received by April 13 still count because the Legislature didn’t challenge that extension.)

In an unsigned opinion, the majority cited the Purcell principle, which cautions courts against altering voting laws shortly before an election. It criticized the district court for “fundamentally alter[ing] the nature of the election by permitting voting for six additional days after the election.” And it insisted that the plaintiffs did not actually request that relief — which, as Ginsburg notes in her dissent, is simply false.

cheddi jagan reality in writing caribbean political economy british guiana pm

Dr. Cheddi Jagan (source: Reality in Writing : Caribbean Political Economy)

National Security Archive, CIA Covert Operations: The 1964 Overthrow of Cheddi Jagan in British Guiana (Briefing Book #670), Edited by John Prados and Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi, April 6, 2020. Cold War concerns about another Communist Cuba in Latin America drove President John F. Kennedy to approve a john_f_kennedy_smilingcovert CIA political campaign to rig national elections in British Guiana, then a British colony but soon to be independent, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive.

U.S. intelligence concluded that Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan, one of the main presidential candidates in the upcoming 1964 elections, was a communist, although not necessarily under the sway of Moscow. Nevertheless, Kennedy decided Jagan would have to go and urged London to cooperate in the effort. As early as mid-1962, JFK informed the British prime minister that the notion of an independent state led by Jagan “disturbs us seriously,” adding: “We must be entirely frank in saying that we simply cannot afford to see another Castro-type regime established in this Hemisphere. It follows that we should set as our objective an independent British Guiana under some other leader.”

Today’s posting details a clandestine operation that is far less well-known than other CIA actions in Latin America and elsewhere during the Cold War. It provides a behind-the-scenes look at the intelligence process as it gives shape to a complex covert campaign and offers fascinating insights into the anti-Communist outlook of Kennedy and his advisers.

CIA LogoThe documents were obtained through archival research in presidential libraries and from CIA declassifications. They are part of the Digital National Security Archive publication “CIA Covert Operations III: From Kennedy to Nixon, 1961-1974,” the latest in the authoritative series compiled and curated by one of the world's leading intelligence historians, Dr. John Prados.

* * *

The Overthrow of Cheddi Jagan in British Guiana

By John Prados and Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi

Attempts at influencing elections—that is foreign interference—are not new. In fact, the United States, using the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was an early practitioner of this tactic. The agency’s intervention in Italy in 1948 and after, while details remain vague, is a known example. But in British Guiana (present-day Guyana) in the 1960s we now have a virtually unknown yet well-documented instance of use of this technique. What makes this an extraordinary case also is that President John F. Kennedy did not begin this covert operation until 1962, after the Bay of Pigs failure, when that disaster had supposedly taught him to rein in the secret warriors.

The bugaboo which led to this was political ideology, specifically communism. Throughout the Cold War, Washington had difficulty appreciating that different political traditions applied in different lands, and that “communism” was not a monolithic, Soviet-led international movement. This time CIA wielded the covert scalpel against British Guiana, in fact a British Commonwealth member located on the northern coast of South America. Such was the overconcern with communism that the United States-United Kingdom alliance did not keep Washington from political intervention in a land that answered to an American ally. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., President Kennedy’s court historian and adviser on Latin America, several decades later observed that “we misunderstood the whole struggle down there.”[1]

Schlesinger apologized, but by then it was too late. At the time, he wrote, “it was idle to suppose that communism in Latin America was no more than the expression of an indigenous desire for social reform.”[2] He joined American leaders and spies to take the Guianese leftist and socialist Cheddi Jagan as a communist and plot against him—or, more accurately, Schlesinger took a more relaxed view of Jagan, became isolated in the Kennedy administration, and eventually ceased to oppose the CIA’s project. That regime change operation is documented in this electronic briefing book.

jamal khashoggi entering consulate

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump calls MBS his ‘friend’ — 18 months to the day after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, Fred Hiatt (Editorial page editor), April 6, 2020 (print ed.). No doubt President Trump was unaware of the significance of the date he chose to salute “my friend MBS.”

No doubt Trump had no idea that it was the year-and-a-half-anniversary of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Mohammed Bin Salman Al-SaudBut, yes, Trump’s tweet came 18 months to the day after his “friend MBS” — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right — had a hit squad murder Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. A hit squad that included forensic doctor Salah Mohammed Tubaigy, who brought his bone saw with him from Riyadh.

You probably remember the outlines of the story. A respected Saudi journalist living in Virginia and writing columns for The Post, Khashoggi (shown below in the Washington Post's newsroom) had visited the consulate the previous week seeking paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz. He had been told, no problem, come back the following Tuesday — Oct. 2, 2018.

U.S. intelligence officials concluded that the murder could not have taken place without the crown prince’s authorization. An investigation by U.N. special rapporteur Agnes Callamard called the murder and dismemberment “an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the jamal khashoggi washpost newsroom SmallKingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible.”

For a time, the Trump administration pretended to seek information about the killing. The truth would come out, Trump said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed the crown prince at least to move aside his chief henchman, Saud al-Qahtani.

But any pretense is long gone. Qahtani remains influential. The administration has illegally ignored congressional mandates to furnish information on the killing and impose sanctions.

And now, as though to mark a year and a half of Saudi nose-thumbing, Trump is prostrating himself again. The reason: As a pandemic imperils the American economy, the Saudis have threatened to devastate the U.S. oil industry further by flooding the market with cheap oil.

April 3

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Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump just decided to fire the Inspector General in the middle of the night during a pandemic, Bill Palmer, April 3, 2020. With everything that’s going on right now, you’d think Donald Trump would have better things to do than to carry out old petty michael atkinson ogrudges. Then again, he isn’t bothering to do anything useful about the coronavirus crisis anyway, so he has plenty of time on his hands for deranged things. Sure enough, he just fired the Inspector General in the middle of the night.

bill palmer report logo headerDonald Trump has fired U.S. intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, right, tonight. If you’re trying to place the name, Atkinson played a key role in Trump’s Ukraine extortion scandal. When someone in the intel community discovered what Trump was up to, that person reported it to Atkinson, who reported it to Congress.

Politico says that Trump’s official excuse for firing Atkinson is that he’s lost confidence in him – but of course this is the most thinly veiled of generic excuses. Trump can fire the Inspector General without needing a reason, but he can’t do it for retaliatory reasons, or to try to cover up his own crimes, which is what Trump is doing here.

This is pretty clearly an illegal firing on Donald Trump’s part. He’s hoping that by doing it late on a Friday night, in the middle of a deadly pandemic, it’ll get lost in the news cycle. But this firing is an impeachable crime all by itself.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Jared Kushner Is Going to Get Us All Killed, Michelle Goldberg, right, April 3, 2020 (print ed.). Trump’s son-in-law michelle goldberg thumbhas no business running the coronavirus response. Reporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror.

According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist.

“I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,” Kushner reportedly said. “I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, has said he trusts Cuomo’s estimate.)

jared kushner head shotEven now, it’s hard to believe that someone with as little expertise as Kushner, left, could be so arrogant, but he said something similar on Thursday, when he made his debut at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing: “People who have requests for different products and supplies, a lot of them are doing it based on projections, which are not the realistic projections.”

Kushner has succeeded at exactly three things in his life. He was born to the right parents, married well and learned how to influence his father-in-law. Most of his other endeavors — his biggest real estate deal, his foray into newspaper ownership, his attempt to broker a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians — have been failures.

Undeterred, he has now arrogated to himself a major role in fighting the epochal health crisis that’s brought America to its knees. “Behind the scenes, Kushner takes charge of coronavirus response,” said a Politico headline on Wednesday. This is dilettantism raised to the level of sociopathy.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Trump regime caught altering DHS website after Jared Kushner’s press conference meltdown, Daniel Cotter, April 3, 2020. At Thursday’s press briefing, the guest of the day was the fool who is assigned much, but is effective in nothing. His best qualifications are having been born into a New York real estate family and having married into the family of Donald J. Trump. His name is Jared Kushner.

Kushner made the statement at the press conference: “The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states stockpiles that they then use.”

bill palmer report logo headerLike his daddy-in-law, nobody knew what the hell he was talking about when he said it is “our stockpile”- was he saying that it belonged to the federal government or the Trump family? Anyone with a computer, or a cell phone, or a brain knows this is not true. If you go to the Public Health Emergency webpage, which is an official page of the United States Department of Health and Human Services agency, you will find it states:

“When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”

“When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”

Donald Trump, shown in a 2020 campaign hat.

Palmer Report, Opinion: I think I figured it out, Bill Palmer, right, April 3, 2020. We’ve all been chewing on three questions. 1) Why is Donald Trump bill palmerrefusing to fully invoke the Defense Production Act, which could solve all the medical supply shortages? 2) Why is Trump forcing states to outbid each other for the medical supplies they’re buying from foreign governments? 3) Why has the Trump regime been sending U.S. medical supplies overseas all along, when they’re needed here?

bill palmer report logo headerTo decipher any mystery involving Donald Trump, you have to apply two rules. One is that he’s always running a petty con for personal financial gain. The other is that with Trump, it’s always even more treacherous than you imagined. When you apply all of this to the three questions above, I think I’ve figured out what he may be up to.

First, Trump makes sure there’s a scarcity of medical supplies by refusing to order them into mass production. Then Trump sends the federal government’s existing stockpile to foreign countries. Then the individual states, which he’s made desperate for supplies, end up bidding each other through the roof for these supplies. Who’s profiting? The foreign entities – and Trump is the one giving them the djt doesnt listenopportunity to turn that profit.

I’ve come to suspect that Donald Trump is sending our medical supplies to corrupt foreign governments, so they can turn around and sell those supplies back to the states at a huge profit.

Then these foreign governments owe Trump a personal favor. We’ve already seen Trump use this kind of leverage to try to push Ukraine into making up fake scandals about Joe Biden. Why wouldn’t Trump be doing the same with the medical equipment he’s sending overseas? Someone with broader investigative resources than mine should try to get to the bottom of this, because there has to be something to it. With Trump, there always is.

March

March 30

Music / Politics / JFK Death

Kennedys and King, Review: The Dylan/Kennedy Sensation, James DiEugenio, March 30, 2020. Analysis of the surprising new song released by Bob Dylan about the JFK assassination, Murder Most Foul.

As everyone who reads this site must know by now, Bob Dylan’s newly released song Murder Most Foul has created nothing less than a cultural and popular mini earthquake. As of this writing, the song, his first in about 8 years, has registered 2.4 million views on You Tube. Over two million in 96 hours!

The song is themed around the murder of President Kennedy, but I hesitate to call Murder Most Foul a song. Because, as most people understand, Dylan is one of the finest lyricists in the modern history of music. At his best — in classics like Blowin’ in the Wind and Like a Rolling Stone — he does not really write song lyrics, not in the normal sense. He writes poems. And to anyone who knows anything about the Kennedy assassination, this song is really a poem. It is an intricately designed, multi-leveled, cleverly-referenced poem about both the Kennedy assassination and what happened to America after that cataclysmic event.

For people who have studied the Kennedy case, Dylan has centered the lyrics around a conspiracy to kill JFK in Dallas. Consider these three lines: “We’re gonna kill you with hatred, without any respect/We’ll mock you and shock you and we’ll put it in your face/We’ve already got someone here to take your place.”  But, then, this theme gets hammered home a few lines later.

#MeToo Claim Against Biden

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Medium, Investigative Commentary: Evidence Casts Doubt on Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegations of Joe Biden, Brian Krassenstein and Eddie Krassenstein, March 30, 2020. Alexandra Tara Reade’s accusations of sexual assault against Joe Biden (both shown above) appear very questionable once the story is fully investigated.

We were able to contact a longtime friend of Reade’s who wished to remain anonymous, but they said they “do not believe her allegations,” claiming she has always been one to seek attention. Note: We reached out to Ms. Reade for comment but she refused.

Every allegation of sexual assault must be taken seriously, and the #metoo movement has certainly given the victims of sexual harassment and assault a greater shield of confidence in coming forward with less fear of being attacked themselves. With this said, however, it is the media’s responsibility to thoroughly investigate accusations before jumping into a story and allowing those allegations to potentially destroy another human being, or, in this case, a political campaign. Every woman deserves to be heard, but every media outlet still has the responsibility of investigating and then relaying to the public all of the facts at face value.

joe biden 2020 button CustomAlexandra Tara Reade came forward last week with quite disturbing allegations against former Vice President and current 2020 Presidential candidate Joe Biden. In April of 2019, Reade originally said that Joe Biden’s handsiness made her feel uncomfortable when she worked as a Senate aide in 1993. At the time, however, she said that she did not consider Biden’s actions to be sexualization, instead comparing her experience to that of being a beautiful lamp.

This story suddenly changed last week when Reade took part in an interview with podcast host Katie Halper. In the interview, Reade claimed that then-Senator Joe Biden “penetrated” her, against her will, with his finger, in an encounter that took place in ‘93.

While the allegations made by Reade are impossible to prove or disprove, examining Reade’s actions over the years and other evidence Vladimir Putin Il Corrierethat has been archived on the internet, brings her honesty and integrity into question.

Below we will cover many of the inconsistencies in her story, the endless contradictions she has made over the years, and the evidence that paints a picture of someone who went from seemingly adoring Joe Biden and disliking Vladimir Putin, right, in 2017, to someone who showed compassion and love for Vladimir Putin in 2018, to someone who accused Biden of doing horrific things to her in 2019 and 2020.

Who is Alexandra Tara Reade?

Alexandra Tara Reade has gone by many names and aliases over the years. According to our research, she was born as Tara Reade Moulton, before changing her name in her early 20s to Tara Reade, then changing it back to Tara Moulton again, and then changing it once again later in life (through marriage) to Alexandra Tara McCabe.

It appears as though sometime between 2017 and early 2018 she began calling herself Alexandra Tara Reade.

According to a website that she recently deleted, Reade is the founder of Gracie’s Pet Food Pantry, graduated from Seattle University School of Law, and was the co-host, creator and producer of a soul music radio show called “Soul Vibes” on KNRY — an AM radio station that serves the Santa Cruz and Monterey areas in California.

At one point in her life Reade worked on the domestic violence unit for the King County Prosecutor, in Seattle, WA, as a ‘Victim’s Advocate,” and on at least one occasion testified as an expert witness on domestic violence.

Reade also worked for former Congressman Leon Panetta, former Senator Joe Biden, and former California State Senator Jack O’Connell.

In 2017 Alexandra Tara Reade Praised Joe Biden for Helping End Sexual Assault.

In 2017 Alexandra Tara Reade praised Joe Biden for his action in helping stop sexual assault, not just once, but on multiple occasions.

Alexandra Tara Reade’s other Twitter account under her legal name Alexandra (Tara) McCabe.

Between September of 2016 and May of 2017, Alexander Tara Reade used a Twitter account, under the name Tara McCabe, to spread praise of Joe Biden via tweeting, retweeting and liking various Tweets.

There are multiple examples of this, as seen below:

  • In the below instance, Reade retweeted a tweet by Margaret Cho that appears to commend Joe Biden for working with Lady Gaga to end sexual assault.
  • In 2017 Joe Biden worked with Lady Gaga to help end sexual assault. In February of 2017, Tara Reade retweeted this tweet apparently commending Biden for his work in doing so.
  • Then again in April of 2017, Reade liked a tweet by the Huffington post that praised the former Vice President for helping men realize how important they are in the fight against sexual assault. The article commends Biden for the steps he has taken to encourage men to take responsibility in stopping assaults against women.

 ...

Conclusion

No, no one will be able to say with certainty whether Tara Reade’s latest allegations are legitimate or not, but the very least we can do is ensure that the public has as much information as possible to make an informed decision. That’s the purpose of this article.

With that, we leave you with two things to think about

#1) A tweet response made by Reade just weeks before coming forward with new allegations seemingly contradicting her original story, and just days before The Daily Beast reported on the Russian media becoming concerned with Joe Biden’s resurgence. As you can see, it seems as though Reade is admitting that she’s waiting for the perfect time to release her new allegations in order to hurt Joe Biden’s campaign:

And #2) A tweet response that Reade made to the parents of accused rapist Julian Assange. She called the man “a hero.”

Note: UPDATE 4/2/20: We were able to contact a longtime friend of Reade’s who wished to remain anonymous, but they said they “do not believe her allegations,” claiming she has always been one to seek attention.

We went out of our way to get Reade on the record to defend herself and also spoke to individuals close to her for years in an effort to get someone to tell us that Reade was telling the truth. Those we spoke to could not do so and in fact left us even more convinced that things don’t add up.

Background on Krassentein Brothers

brian krassenstein ed krassenstein left facebook

Heavy.com, Krassenstein Brothers: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know, Erin Laviola, Updated May 24, 2019. Ed (above at left) and Brian Krassenstein (above right in the Facebook photo), the Florida brothers who became famous on Twitter for their outspoken opposition of President Trump, have been permanently banned from the social platform.

The Krassensteins were accused of creating fake Twitter accounts and purchasing automated “bots” that could share and “like” their tweets in order to boost their own profiles. They shared the official statement that Twitter sent out on their website, the Hill Reporter:

“The Twitter Rules to apply to everyone. Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service.”

Ed and Brian Krassenstein have denied the accusations. They wrote in an op-ed on May 24, 2019 “We NEVER, and we want to make twitter bird Customthis as clear as day, ever bought or sold ANY Twitter accounts or interactions. We swear on our graves that this is 100% true.”

The Krassenstein brothers had more than 1.6 million followers between them before Twitter banned them from the site. Ed and Brian Krassenstein have been tweeting about Donald Trump and his administration since late 2016. Many of their tweets have called for his impeachment and accused him of being corrupt. They often were seen responding to the president’s tweets. They are also credited with helping to promote the hashtag “Resistance” on social media.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Ed & Brian Krassenstein Began Tweeting About Donald Trump in Late 2016; The Brothers Say They Started Posting About the President Out of Sincere Concerns About the Administration

2. The Krassenstein Brothers Deny Paying For Bots & Have Asked Twitter to Review The Suspension

3. Federal Investigators Searched Ed & Brian Krassenstein’s Homes in 2016 After They Were Accused of Helping to Promote Scams Run By a Russian Crime Organization; The Brothers Were Never Charged With a Crime

4. Ed & Brian Krassenstein Have Operated Dozens of Websites Since the Early 2000s

5. Brian & Ed Krassenstein Are Both Married Fathers & Live in the Same Neighborhood in Fort Myers, Florida

Daily Beast, Twitter Bans #Resistance-Famous Krassenstein Brothers for Allegedly Operating Fake Accounts: GONE, Will Sommer, May 23, daily beast logo2019. Ed and Brian Krassenstein are banned for life after ‘operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions,’ a Twitter spokesman said.

Twitter has permanently banned prominent anti-Trump brothers Brian and Ed Krassenstein, alleging that two of the biggest stars of #Resistance Twitter had broken the site’s rules about operating fake accounts and purchasing fake interactions with their accounts.

“The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service.”

The suspensions are a major loss for the Krassensteins, who had used their massive Twitter followers and ability to quickly respond to tweets from Donald Trump to make themselves internet celebrities. Ed Krassenstein had roughly 925,000 followers before he was banned, while Brian Krassenstein had more than 697,000.

twitter bird CustomThe brothers appeared to be unusually good at getting attention on Twitter. While the Twitter statement doesn’t explain what the Krassensteins allegedly did to illicitly promote their accounts, “fake interactions” could engage buying bots to retweet their posts, or buying fake followers to inflate their profiles on the site.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, the Krassensteins denied breaking Twitter rules.

“Twitter claims that we manipulated our interactions through the purchase of fake accounts and fake interactions,” the Krassenstein brothers said. “We have never once acquired anything for the purpose of increasing our Twitter presence.”

The Krassensteins say they only operated secondary accounts on Twitter to monitor death threats, as well as accounts for their businesses.

“None of those accounts were ever used for manipulative purposes as Twitter claims,” the Krassensteins said in the statement.

March 29

Music / Politics / JFK Death

Vanity Fair, OK Boomer: How Bob Dylan’s New JFK Song Helps Explain 2020, Michael Hogan, March 27, 2020 Listen above. “The soul of a nation’s been torn away,” he sings in his first new song in nearly a decade.

It’s about Kennedy — and a lot more. Dylan has always been a stubborn contrarian, so maybe it’s fitting that, after five decades of evading any and all responsibility as a “voice of a generation,” he is finally embracing it, kind of, at the height of the “OK Boomer” backlash.

His new song, Murder Most Foul, which he says in a statement was “recorded a while back,” is an epic, 16-plus-minutes-long murder ballad about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that feels like an otherworldly hybrid of such earlier songs as Hurricane, Idiot Wind, and Not Dark Yet.

Before you object to the “OK Boomer” thing, yes, I know that Dylan, born in 1941, is technically a Silent Generation guy.

But teen and preteen baby boomers were heavily represented among the generation that felt inspired and galvanized by his politically charged folk music of the early- and mid-1960s. Even at the time, though, he couldn’t resist undercutting a rousing anthem like The Times They Are A-Changin’ with a cranky blow-off like It Ain’t Me, Babe. (“Go away from my window / Leave at your own chosen speed…”)

Irish Post, Bob Dylan releases 17-minute track about assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jack Beresford, March 29, 2020. Bob Dylan has released his first original song in eight years.

john f kennedy smilingThe new track, titled Murder Most Foul, centers on the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy and runs an epic 17 minutes in length.

Dylan dropped the surprise new track on social media. Writing on Twitter, the music icon thanked his fans for their continued support.

He also issued a message of support for anyone affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Greetings to my fans and followers with gratitude for all your support and loyalty across the years,” he said.

“This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant and may God be with you.”

A surprising release, to say the least, Murder Most Foul sees Dylan speaking in graphic terms about the 1963 assassination of JFK in Dallas.

In one line he comments how the former President was “being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb.”

He then goes on to describe how “they blew off his head while he was still in the car” adding that he was “shot down like a dog in broad daylight".

Dylan later asserts how America has been in steady decline since the killing of JFK.

In a wide-ranging track, Dylan goes on to name check the Beatles, Stevie Nicks, Woodstock Festival, The Eagles and Charlie Parker. Despite the song’s unusual length, the track has won praise from critics, with The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis calling it “a dark, dense ballad for the end times.” 

Murder Most Foul is the first song Dylan has written since he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

Dallas Morning News, Bob Dylan releases a 17-minute song about the JFK assassination, full of dark references to Dallas, Michael Granberry, March 27, 2020. 

It is the longest song ever recorded by the musician, who blames the president’s death on a conspiracy.

Bob Dylan once wrote a landmark song about a boxer named Hurricane Carter. We got word Friday that, at 78, Dylan has delivered his own Hurricane punch by releasing a new song, which is, in a word, wild.

It is about — of all things — the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Murder Most Foul is beyond being a one-two punch. It’s more like a one-two-three punch, because 1) any new song by Dylan is noteworthy, 2) its subject matter alone makes it a headline-grabber, and 3) it’s almost 17 minutes long.

Sixteen minutes, 56 seconds, to be precise. His longest song ever.

And here’s something else: “Murder Most Foul” overflows with references to Dallas, beginning with, “It was a dark day in Dallas, November ’63/A day that will live on in infamy.”

There are references to the grassy knoll, as in, “There’s a party going on behind the grassy knoll.” One lyric repeats the line spoken to Kennedy by a fellow passenger in the ill-fated limousine, Nellie Connally, the wife of Texas Gov. John Connally, who was critically wounded in the attack that killed the president.

Moments before shots rang out, Nellie Connally reacted to the enthusiastic crowd greeting the president by saying, “Mr. President, you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you," which Dylan changes to: “Don’t say Dallas don’t love you, Mr. President.”

Commentary for the Justice Integrity Project from cultural anthropologist Dr. Bruce Woych of Kingston, NY, who currently works on independent research on contemporary issues. 

"It's a stream of consciousness, with mature, fatalistic remorse. The piano and violin keep it drifting as a survivalist's daydream.

It is a disturbing lament about  the turbulence of realism. Youthful defiance and insight evoke a surrender in his tone, which is consolation rather than reconciliation.

The fact that Dylan is now pointing to the JFK murder is the underlying power of the song, not the lyrics themselves. Everyone else has all but dismissed it in popular culture.

This could be a significant break giving attention to the truth and realism of the crime, here brought vividly back by the hard line graphic phrases that he uses to bring revulsion over the act back to our senses."

March 27

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AE911Truth "Free Fall" radio show: In the Name of Engineering, Science, and Truth: Leroy Hulsey and Roland Angle on the Final WTC 7 Report, Host Andy Steele, ae for 9 11 truth logoMarch 27, 2020 (30 mins.). On this week's episode of 9/11 Free Fall, Dr. Leroy Hulsey of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Roland Angle of AE911Truth join host Andy Steele to discuss the release of the final report on World Trade Center Building 7 and the importance of everyone helping in their own way to share it.

Andrew Steele:

So we are all collectively at the end of a very long journey, maybe not long in the span of all of humankind, but for all of us who have been eagerly awaiting the publishing of the final report on World Trade Center 7, we are here now this week. We're going to be talking about that. For people who may be new — we always want to take them into account — Roland, can you briefly describe for our audience what this report is about.

Roland Angle:

Professor Hulsey and his team at the University of Alaska Fairbanks conducted this study of the collapse of World Trade Center 7, the 47-story building that collapsed in New York City on 9/11, because there had been significant questions raised about the government-issued report on that collapse, which was authored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

And there was just a lot of research that indicated that the conclusions that NIST came to — that the building was brought down by normal office fires — was highly suspect. And so Professor Hulsey and the University of Alaska agreed at our request, to conduct a full, thorough engineering study of the collapse and determine just how valid the NIST report was. And if not, what other mechanism might have caused the collapse of the building.

So that's the purpose of the study. And I would like to say that I've worked with Professor Hulsey and other engineers as this report has been developed, and I can say that it is a very thorough and exact study of what happened that day.

Dr. Hulsey, I know you have taped presentations out there that go into a lot of detail about this. But just briefly for our audience, as we maneuver into talking about the report overall, can you tell us about some of the many years' processes that were involved in putting this report together?

Leroy Hulsey:

So if it's going to come down through some form of natural phenomenon, it's likely not to come straight down. That was looked at very carefully at the beginning. We established the methodology to look at every little detail that might impact what might have occurred to this building as it might be coming down.

And so we looked at, in detail, floors 12 and 13, as NIST did, and we examined numbers of things about that. We also, at the same time, were looking at, without consideration from NIST, what might have happened under a heated-up floor system, walls, columns, etc., etc. And we determined that the modeling was essential in determining how this building is going to respond.

What we did is put together a virtual model of the building to virtually simulate a failure and then [analyze] what kind of failures needed to happen to get what you see in the videos that actually occurred. That's kind of a snapshot overview.

Andrew Steele:

Now again, because our time is brief, can you just talk about some of the conclusions that you had reached that you talked about last September.

Leroy Hulsey:

Yeah, well the first one was that it became very clear early on that fire did not bring this building down. So that's the first thing. And when I took this on, I said, "I might not be able to come up with the reason it came down, but I could certainly tell you what didn't happen." And, well, that didn't happen.

The second thing we began to look at is how the building actually deformed if it was subjected to all this heat. And it became pretty clear pretty quickly that the exterior part of this building was not that stiff. So when you heat up something, imagine that it's going to elongate with respect to some point. And that point is where it's the stiffest. That's not on the outside of the building; it's closer to the inner core, where the elevator shafts were.

That being said, the response going around, the big controversy, which was column 79, and the bearing plates, and the A2001 girder coming into it led to a whole different set of findings than they used as an argument that brought this building down. And furthermore, when you go up and take a look at the system, the other conclusion we came to was that the system up near the top, near the penthouse, that series of columns didn't fail down below, they failed up around Floor 45 — in that neighborhood, which there was no fires up there.

So that was a further finding that led us to be sure that what we were saying is true. Anyway, that's kind of a snapshot....

Andrew Steele:

Absolutely. And I love the fact that you point that out — the fact that we have NIST telling us one thing, Dr. Hulsey and the University of Alaska Fairbanks telling us another. You have two very different outcomes of this analysis. I will step back further and say for myself that from one side, you have the input data hidden away under this guise of public safety: We have to preserve public safety by not making the input data available to the general public, even though engineers like yourselves need that input data — if you believe the official story — to make the general public more safe. Because if buildings can just collapse from random office fires, good God, we're all in danger — anybody who works in a major city.

But this is only phase one of our getting the word out. Again, the corporate media have never been the best friend of 9/11 Truth. Any progress we've made has been because of ourselves. So the next step is to be doing the work to get this out in front of as many people — especially engineering professionals —as possible.

Our volunteers are getting ready for the long fight. They're going to be doing their work. They're fighting those professors on one team. They're going to be calling those professors on another team. And we're going to be having Project Due Diligence doing the proper outreach to those people as well, to carry on those discussions, to get presentations.

This is going to be a full-on assault against the official story of Building 7. And this report is going to be the big Sherman Tank driving through the resistance. Because, again, it's very hard to challenge. I mean, common sense, when you first look at the building coming down, is a very big weapon. But when you actually have the science and everything laid out in this volume, it's very hard to get around it.

Roland, I want to hear from you though. I know what our supporters can do. I've got my own views. But as a board member, what in your view, can our supporters do to help us out in promoting the results of the study?

Roland Angle:

I think if people will look at the results of the study. It's a 115-page document, and I think it's very well laid out. It's very clearly stated. I think that most people can actually follow it. Now, I know it's asking a lot for people to look through 115-page technical report, but this is an issue that is part of a story that has defined the whole era that we're living in.

People have asked in the past, "What good does it do to go back and study this?" And I think we need to understand that the study points out the fact that the evidence that was examined and the conclusion that we came to as a result of that study, was seriously flawed. Therefore, we have been off on a deviant trip. And we need to go back to that information and restudy it and come to different conclusions about what was the cause of that event.

And that event is so important from a professional standpoint alone, for us as engineers. We cannot allow information that is not correct to circulate throughout our profession. It will undermine the foundation of our profession, and we will lose all credibility—and we should lose all credibility if we can't explain why a failure like this actually occurred.

So, what people can do is spread this information as best they can. Point to it, talk about it, research it, look at the different aspects of it, and encourage, especially their engineering friends and colleagues, to do the same.

We will reach a tipping point. And I'm convinced that, from my experience—and our experience as engineers who have been taking this information out into the engineering community—that engineers, like it or not, are playing a very central role in this whole event, because we are the experts.

The public is relying upon us to tell them what we know to be true about what happened. What I'm finding is that, wherever we go, when we present our information to the engineering community, they stand behind us 100% and agree that the NIST report is flawed and we need a new investigation.

Andrew Steele:

As a layman sitting on the outside—I mean, I work here at AE, but I'm not a scientist or engineer like you guys are—it just seems to me that so much work has been done in this report and in all of the work previous on World Trade Center Seven. Now that this report is out, what else can be done to make the case? I think I asked Richard Gage one time this on the show, but I want to hear it from you guys as the engineers here, starting with Roland, is there anything further that could be done on World Trade Center 7 to point to the fact that we're not getting the full story of what happened that day?

Roland Angle:

That's a very good question. I think the information is clear now. I'm satisfied that the information that we have produced, including this report, over the last 15 years, proves without a doubt that the buildings were brought down by controlled demolition. That information is presented to the public most often as some kind of a conspiracy theory [Emphasis added].

However, we're progressing from an engineering standpoint of, in this case, constructing a virtual model, subjecting it to the fires, looking at the observed collapse, and coming to a reasoned, scientific conclusion about what caused that collapse. So we've got to take that information now out to the universities. We're going to encourage the universities to study both reports. They have students who are routinely assigned to solve forensic problems that are presented to them in this field. And we're going to ask that the universities take up such studies.

They can come down only in three ways. They can say that the NIST report is valid and they stand behind it. They can say that the University of Alaska study is valid and they stand behind it. Or they might come up with some third hypothesis or some theory as to why the building came down.

But I think it's very important that this discussion take place in the engineering community, that the public be aware that this discussion is going on, that the public encourage the engineering community in every way possible to take up this study, and that people continue to assist us by funding us to go out to the engineering community.

So far we've made 22 presentations to chapters of professional organizations like the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers, and to various universities. We've gone to conferences. We're getting a great response and a lot of interest.

And that all takes money. Money is a very important aspect of this, and we have only been able to accomplish this with the support of our many supporters who have contributed the money that has been necessary for us to pay for this study and to pay for our efforts with due diligence, and our other efforts to publicize this issue.

We are a grassroots organization. We're a nonprofit. We don't get any money from any special interest. We are not endorsing any products. We are simply in it for the benefit of the reputation of the engineering community and the responsibility that we have to the general public.

So, everybody has a role to play. Wherever they fit into that model, they should play their part. We encourage everyone to take this up as a matter of great, overwhelming importance to our society.

March 25leroy hulsey report final march 25 2020 Custom 2

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, WTC 7 Not Destroyed by Fire, Concludes Final University of Alaska Fairbanks Report, AE911 Truth, ae for 9 11 truth logoMarch 25, 2020. The destruction of the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7 in New York City late in the afternoon of September 11, 2001, was not a result of fires, according to the much-anticipated final report issued today by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

The UAF team’s findings, which were the result of a four-year computer modeling study of the tower’s collapse, contradict those of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which concluded in a 2008 report that WTC 7 was the first tall building ever to collapse primarily due to fire.

“Our study found that the fires in WTC 7 could not have caused the observed collapse,” said Professor Leroy Hulsey, right, the study’s principal investigator. “The only way it could have fallen in the observed manner is by the near-simultaneous failure of every column.”
leroy hulseyIMG 2188 Small“The only way it could have fallen in the observed manner is by the near-simultaneous failure of every column.” — Professor Leroy Hulsey

The four-year study was funded by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth), a nonprofit organization representing more than 3,000 architects and engineers who have signed the organization’s petition calling for a new investigation into the destruction of the three World Trade Center towers on 9/11.

“We are proud to have supported the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Professor Leroy Hulsey in conducting a genuinely scientific study into the reasons for this building’s collapse,” said Richard Gage, president and founder of AE911Truth. “It is now incumbent upon the building community, the media, and government officials to reckon with the implications of these findings and launch a new full-scale investigation.”

AE911Truth and its allies among the 9/11 victims’ families will now use the findings in the report as part of a formal “request for correction” that the group plans to submit to NIST in the coming days. “The indisputable errors documented in our request for correction will give NIST no way out of correcting its deeply flawed report and reversing its conclusion that fires were the cause of the collapse,” said Gage.

“It is now incumbent upon the building community, the media, and government officials to reckon with the implications of these findings and launch a new full-scale investigation.” — Richard Gage, AIA

The final report, entitled A Structural Reevaluation of the Collapse of World Trade Center 7 – Final Report, includes clarifications and supplemental text based on public comments submitted in response to a draft report released by UAF and AE911Truth on September 3, 2019.

The UAF team’s final report is the result of an extensive four-year computer modeling effort that was followed by a robust peer review process. The peer review included dozens of public comments as well as external review by two independent experts, Dr. Gregory Szuladzinski of Analytical Service Company, a leading expert in structural mechanics and finite element modeling, and Dr. Robert Korol, a professor emeritus of civil engineering at McMaster University and a fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

richard gage cspan interview“I am grateful to everyone who supported or participated in this study in any way,” said Professor Hulsey. “We hope that our findings will be carefully looked at by the building community and spur further investigation into how this building came down on that tragic day.”

The Hulsey report and supporting materials can be found on UAF’s Institute of Northern Engineering website and on the AE911Truth website.

Richard Gage (shown at left on one of the most downloaded C-SPAN program in its history) and civil engineer Roland Angle held a live virtual presentation on March 26, 2020 to outline the findings contained in the final report. Please tune in or watch the archived presentation here.

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March 23

Daily Beast, Opinion: The Party of Life Embraces Trump’s Death Cult, Matt Lewis, March 23, 2020. We’ve skipped over any nuanced daily beast logodiscussion of economic considerations, straight to the part where Republicans rationalize letting a million or so people die to fix the economy.

In the last twenty-four hours, it has become clear that, despite warnings from experts like Dr. Fauci, Donald Trump is willing to sacrifice lives to try and save the economy and his chances for re-election.

ron johnson o CustomThe amazing thing is that some of his prominent supporters are starting to say the silent part out loud. Consider the comments of Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, right, who, a few days ago, said, “We don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu.”

In other words, we take inherent risks all the time. Why should a global pandemic be any different?

Johnson went on to add that “getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population, (and) I think probably far less.”

When I signed up to be a columnist, I was told there’d be no math. Still, I’m pretty sure Johnson just said he was comfortable with millions of Americans dying of coronavirus — so long as it doesn’t disrupt economic activity.

Even if you accept that those millions of deaths, and the burden placed on our hospitals leading up to them, wouldn’t disrupt economic activity, is this the rhetoric of a man who believes that every life is precious? Is this the rhetoric of a man who believes in the dignity of human life? It sure doesn’t sound like it to me.

Trump echoed this ends-justify-the-means logic Monday night and the ghoulish and utilitarian worldview that defines one death as a tragedy, one hundred thousand as a statistic.

This logic is spreading about Republicans. Consider the comments Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made Monday night on Fox News: “No one reached out to me and said as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren. And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”

He went on to add, “I feel like as the president said, the mortality rate is so low, do we have to shut down the whole country for this? I think we can get back to work.”

I’m old enough to remember when conservatives worried that Obamacare rationing would lead to “death panels” whereby older patients would be deemed too sick and expensive to help. After all, why throw good money after bad? A few short years later, and it is Republicans who are making a shockingly similar rationalization.

Patrick might be willing to be collateral damage, but I’m not sure everyone over the age of 70 will be so eager to sacrifice their lives on the altar of the stock market — nor am I sure their loved ones would approve of a government willing to sacrifice the lives of our most weak and vulnerable for (I suppose) the greater good of the fatherland.

These are, after all, our moms and dads, aunts and uncles, friends, and grandparents he’s talking about. But I guess you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Maybe the old and the weak should make room so that the young and virile can thrive?

This is a weird turn of events for the party of life.

Look, I get the need for economic activity, and It’s fair to suggest that economic considerations (which, let’s be honest, can and do impact our health), should be part of the discussion.

Unfortunately, we have skipped over that nuanced discussion and gone straight to Republicans rationalizing the idea that we can just wipe out a million or so people to fix the economy.

The Last American Vagabonds, Investigative Commentary: The Truth About the United States' "Continuity of Government" Plans & The whitney webb newer smileCoronavirus Perfect Storm, Whitney Webb, March 23, 2020. Though often discussed in relation to nuclear war or a similarly chaotic scenario, “Continuity of Government” plans can be triggered even by popular, nonviolent opposition to an unpopular war abroad. It exists solely to keep the current system in place, regardless of the cost.

Last week, Newsweek published a report entitled “Inside The Military’s Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples the Government,” which offers vague descriptions of different military plans that could be put into effect if the civilian government were to be largely incapacitated, with a focus on the potential of the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to result in such a scenario.

The article’s author, William Arkin, largely frames these plans as new, though — buried deep within the article — he eventually mentions that such contingency plans can be traced back to the Eisenhower administration (though they were in place before) and have since been developed and updated by most subsequent administrations, largely through the issuance of executive orders. Arkin also points out that some of these “Continuity of Government”, or COG, plans include the “devolution” of leadership and Constitutional authority, which he notes “could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America.”

Yet, there are key aspects of COG and its development that Arkin leaves out. For instance, in his timeline on how such plans have developed in the post-World War II era, he conveniently fails to mention any of the Reagan administration’s major changes to COG, including the Reagan-era Executive Order on which all current COG programs are based.

Indeed, many of the “extra-Constitutional” aspects of COG that Arkin mentions began during the Reagan administration, when these plans were redrafted to largely exclude members of Congress, including the Speaker of the House, from succession plans and even moved to essentially eliminate Congress in the event of COG being implemented, with near total power instead being given to the executive branch and the military. It was also during this time that the “devolution” aspect of COG was hammered out, as it created three president-cabinet “teams” to be stationed in different parts of the country outside of the nation’s capital. Arkin’s decision to not mention how COG was a major focus of the Reagan administration is striking given that that administration poured hundreds of millions of dollars annually into COG planning and development and also conducted COG drills on a regular basis.

Furthermore, the Miami Herald revealed in 1987, that the COG programs of that era were deeply connected to what the Herald termed “a virtual parallel government outside the traditional cabinet departments and agencies” that began operating “almost from the day Reagan took office” and included many of Reagan’s closest advisers, including then-CIA Director William Casey. The Herald further claimed that this “parallel government” had been responsible for the Iran-Contra scandal (i.e. “involved in arming the Nicaraguan rebels”) as well as “the drafting of martial law plans for national emergencies,” i.e. COG, as well as “the monitoring of U.S. citizens considered potential security risks.”

Other key players in those Reagan-era COG developments, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, former CIA Director James Woosley and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, are also left unmentioned in Arkin’s article. Not mentioning Cheney and Rumsfeld are particularly glaring omissions given that they were involved in the implementation of aspects of those COG plans that went live in the wake of the September 11 attacks, when both men were serving in key posts in the George W. Bush administration.

While Arkin’s omission of the role of the Reagan administration and leading neoconservatives in the development and use of COG is significant, arguably more significant is his failure to mention one of COG’s major components, one that has gone essentially unmentioned by well-known media outlets for well over a decade – Main Core: The government’s database of “potential troublemakers”

March 18

djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studios

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss [Trump], Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, (left to right at Mar-A-Lago.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty Images

Miami Herald, Ghislaine Maxwell stakes claim to a piece of Jeffrey Epstein’s fortune, Kevin G. Hall, March 18, 2020. Maxwell, 58, has long said she had a miami herald logospecial relationship with him.

She hasn’t appeared publicly in months and her former neighbors just off posh Park Avenue say they’ve heard nothing. Yet from some mystery location, Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime partner and alleged enabler in his sex trafficking network, has filed a claim against the estate of the multimillionaire financier.

perversion of justice miami herald logoThe filing occurred in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the estate of the disgraced businessman is being settled. It was filed on Friday but it appeared on the docket late Tuesday, just hours before the March 18 deadline that effectively closes the window for asking the court for a piece of Epstein’s fortune. It was first reported by the New York Times on Wednesday but had been rumored for days.

The Miami law firm Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer filed the action on behalf of Maxwell. It has an office in the Virgin Islands and has not responded to requests for comment.

Search for images of her on the Internet, and there Maxwell is on Epstein’s arm alongside Donald and Melania Trump (shown above). She appears in Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001photos with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, British royal Prince Andrew (left) and even in one with Epstein and movie mogul and recently convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein.

Maxwell has largely been missing since Epstein’s controversial death by hanging last Aug. 10 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. It was the culmination of Epstein’s world caving in following the Miami Herald’s Perversion of Justice series that highlighted how powerful people helped him escape punishment in 2008.

Since then she was photographed reading a book on espionage at a Southern California In-N-Out Burger, maybe spotted briefly in New England and reported without any proof to have been in southern Brazil, Israel or even in FBI custody at a safe house.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

March 7

ny times logoNew York Times, Erik Prince Recruits Ex-Spies to Help Infiltrate Liberal Groups, Mark Mazzetti and Adam Goldman, March 7, 2020. Mr. Prince, a contractor close to the Trump administration, contacted veteran spies for operations by Project Veritas, the conservative group known for conducting stings on news organizations and other groups.

erik princeErik Prince, left, the security contractor with close ties to the Trump administration, has in recent years helped recruit former American and British spies for secretive intelligence-gathering operations that included infiltrating Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations and other groups considered hostile to the Trump agenda, according to interviews and documents.

One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation. Mr. Seddon directed an undercover operative to secretly tape the union’s local leaders and try to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization, documents show.

abigail spanberger twitterUsing a different alias the next year, the same undercover operative infiltrated the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger, then a former C.I.A. officer who went on to win an important House seat in Virginia as a Democrat. The campaign discovered the operative and fired her.

Both operations were run by Project Veritas, a conservative group that has gained attention using hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations on news organizations, Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups. Mr. Seddon’s role in the teachers’ union operation — detailed in internal Project Veritas emails that have emerged from the discovery process of a court battle between the group and the union — has not previously been reported, nor has Mr. Prince’s role in recruiting Mr. Seddon for the group’s activities.

Both Project Veritas and Mr. Prince have ties to President Trump’s aides and family. Whether any Trump administration officials or advisers to the president were involved in the operations, even tacitly, is unclear. But the effort is a glimpse of a vigorous private campaign to try to undermine political groups or individuals perceived to be in opposition to Mr. Trump’s agenda.

betsy devos oMr. Prince, the former head of Blackwater Worldwide and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, left, has at times served as an informal adviser to Trump administration officials. He worked with the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn during the presidential transition. In 2017, he met with White House and Pentagon officials to pitch a plan to privatize the Afghan war using contractors in lieu of American troops. Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, rejected the idea.

Mr. Prince appears to have become interested in using former spies to train Project Veritas operatives in espionage tactics sometime during the 2016 presidential campaign. Reaching out to several intelligence veterans — and occasionally using Mr. Seddon to make the pitch — Mr. Prince said he wanted the Project Veritas employees to learn skills like how to recruit sources and how to conduct clandestine recordings, among other surveillance techniques.

James O’Keefe, the head of Project Veritas, declined to answer detailed questions about Mr. Prince, Mr. Seddon and other topics, but he called his group a “proud independent news organization” that is involved in dozens of investigations. He said that numerous sources were coming to the group “providing confidential documents, insights into internal processes and wearing hidden cameras to expose corruption and misconduct.”

March 5

Epstein Case

PhilosophyInsights via YouTube,

, March 5, 2020 (15 min. video). In this new interview from March 2020, New York financier Dr.  Eric Weinstein goes to the bottom of what happned to Jeffrey Epstein, and asks precisely why journalists and government official do not ask some very basic questions.

Is journalism broken? What was his impression when Eric met Epstein in 2002?

Weinstein, with a Harvard Ph.D. in mathematics, is managing director of Theil Capital. His Wikipedia profile is here.

March 1

Assange Prosecution: Implications

julian assange clean cut library screenshot 2007 Custom 2Consortium News via Zero Hedge, Opinion: Assange Extradition: Can A French Touch Pierce A Neo-Orwellian Farce? Pepe Escobar, March 1, 2020.
 It’s quite fitting that the – imperially pre-determined – judicial fate of Julian Assange (shown above in a 2007 screenshot) is being played out in Britain, the home of George Orwell.

As chronicled by the painful, searing reports of Ambassador Craig Murray, what’s taking place in Woolwich Crown Court is a sub-Orwellian farce with Conradian overtones: the horror…the horror…, remixed for the Raging Twenties. The heart of our moral darkness is not in the Congo: it’s in a dingy courtroom attached to a prison, presided by a lowly imperial lackey.

In one of Michel Onfray’s books published last year, Theorie de la Dictature (Robert Laffont) – the top dissident, politically incorrect French philosopher starts exactly from Orwell to examine the key features of a new-look dictatorship. He tracks seven paths of destruction: to destroy freedom, impoverish language, abolish truth, suppress history, deny nature, propagate hate, and aspire to empire.

To destroy freedom, Onfray stresses, power needs to assure perpetual surveillance; ruin personal life; suppress solitude; make opinion uniform and denounce thought crimes. That sounds like the road map for the United States government’s persecution of Assange.

Other paths, as in impoverishing language, include practicing newspeak; using double language; destroying words; oralizing language; speaking a single language; and suppressing the classics. That sounds like the modus operandi of the ruling classes in the Hegemon.

To abolish truth, power must teach ideology; instrumentalize the press; propagate fake news; and produce reality. To propagate hate, power, among other instruments, must create an enemy; foment wars; and psychiatrize critical thinking.

There’s no question we are already mired deep inside this neo-Orwellian dystopia.

John Paradise Lost Milton, in 1642, could not have been more prophetic, when he wrote “Those that hurt the eyes of the people blame them for being blind.” How not to identify a direct parallel with Le Petit Roi Emmanuel Macron’s army, month after month, willfully blinding protesting Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests in the streets of France.

Orwell was more straightforward than Milton, saying that to talk about freedom is meaningless unless it refers to the freedom to tell people what they don’t want to hear. And he put it in context by quoting a line from Milton: “By the known rules of ancient liberty.”

No “known rules of ancient liberty” are allowed to penetrate the heart of darkness of Woolwich Crown Court.
A Spy at the Service of the People

Juan Branco is arguably the most brilliant young French intellectual – heir to a fine Sartre/Foucault/Deleuze tradition. The French establishment detests him, especially because of his best-seller Crepuscule, where he dissected Macronism – branded as a thuggish regime – from the inside, and the French president as a creature and instrument of a tiny oligarchy.

Julian Assange. (YouTube still)

He has just published Assange: L’Antisouverain (Les Editions du Cerf), an absorbing, erudite study that he defines as “a philosophy book about the figure of the Anti-Sovereign.” The Sovereign is of course the state apparatus.

Here (in French) is an excellent interview with Branco about the book. There’s nothing even remotely comparable to it in the Anglosphere, which has treated Assange essentially as an unpleasant freak, oozing pedestrian slander and piling up sub-ideology tirades disguised as facts.

The book is essentially structured as a seminary for the hyper-selective Ecole Normale Superieure, the august school in the Latin Quarter here that shapes French elites, a privileged nest of power institutions and reproduction of privileges. Branco takes the reader to the heart of this universe just to make him or her discover Assange from the point of view of one of those students.

Branco was privileged to profit from the interaction between the Ecole Normale Superieure and Yale. He met Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in January 2014, “in a state of radical confinement,” and then followed him as a juridical consultant, then lawyer, “day after day,” until meeting him again in September 2016, “getting ready to no less than change the course of the American presidential election and engineer the fall of the one who had sworn to crush him, one Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Branco is fascinated by Assange’s “scientific journalism,” and his capacity to “intervene in the political space without occupying a determined place.” Assange is painted as a contemporary oracle, a maniac for free access to information, someone who “never looked for a reward, or insertion, or juridical protection,” which is a totally different modus operandi from any media.

February

Feb. 26

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump has a whole new Julian Assange problem, TR Kenneth, Feb. 26, 2020. Richard Grenell, Trump’s new intelligence chief, is now becoming embroiled in the Julian Assange extradition fight. According to court filings made by Assange’s attorneys, they have recordings and richard grenell oscreenshots of Grenell’s involvement in the WikiLeaks founder’s legal troubles. Apparently, according to the attorneys, Grenell was acting on Trump’s orders.

bill palmer report logo headerWhile we wait for this latest Trumpy sh*tshow to unfold, it’s come out that Chuck Schumer is investigating Grenell, right, as well, and the CIA reportedly just had a closed door meeting with the Gang of Eight amid speculation that the briefing is concerning the fact that our top intelligence chief is nothing more than Trump’s handmaiden.

Grenell has also been seen as running interference for upper-echelon Russian mobster, Dmytro Firtash, in his fight against extradition to the US from Vienna for bribery. Firtash is the guy who wired Lev Parnas’ wife the inexplicable million dollars. Firstash is also “Ukraine corruption-fighting pals” with Rudy Giuliani. If this doesn’t smell like something rotting on the asphalt in the midday sun, we don’t know what does.

Background: ProPublica, Trump’s New Spy Chief Used to Work for a Foreign Politician the U.S. Accused of Corruption, Isaac Arnsdorf, Feb. 21, 2020. Richard Grenell did not disclose payments for advocacy work on behalf of a Moldovan politician whom the U.S. later accused of corruption. His own office’s policy says that could leave him vulnerable to blackmail.

Feb. 23

Trump Power, Payback

Axios, Exclusive: Trump's "Deep State" hit list, Jonathan Swan, right, Feb 23, 2020. The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them — according to more than a dozen jonathan swan twittersources familiar with the effort who spoke to Axios.

Driving the news: By the time President Trump instructed his 29-year-old former body man and new head of presidential personnel to rid his government of anti-Trump officials, he'd gathered reams of material to support his suspicions.

While Trump's distrust has only intensified since his impeachment and acquittal, he has long been on the hunt for "bad people" inside the White House and U.S. government, and fresh "pro-Trump" options. Outside advisers have been happy to oblige.

In reporting this story, I have been briefed on, or reviewed, memos and lists the president received since 2018 suggesting whom he should hire and fire. Most of these details have never been published.

A well-connected network of conservative activists with close ties to Trump and top administration officials is quietly helping develop these "Never Trump"/pro-Trump lists, and some sent memos to Trump to shape his views, per sources with direct knowledge.

ginni thomas gage skidmore CustomMembers of this network include Ginni Thomas (shown in a Gage Skidmore photo), the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Republican Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen.

The big picture: Since Trump's Senate acquittal, aides say the president has crossed a psychological line regarding what he calls the "Deep State." He feels his government — from Justice to State to Defense to Homeland Security — is filled with "snakes." He wants them fired and replaced ASAP.

"I think it's a very positive development," said Rich Higgins, who served on Trump's National Security Council in 2017. H.R. McMaster removed Higgins after he wrote a memo speculating that Trump's presidency faced threats from Marxists, the "Deep State," so-called globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans. (This was long before the full scope of the FBI's Russia investigation was known to Trump and his aides.)

Higgins told me on Sunday he stands by everything he wrote in his memo, but "I would probably remove 'bankers' if I had to do it over and I would play up the intel community role — which I neglected."

Let's get to the memos.

1. The Jessie Liu memo: Shortly before withdrawing the nomination of the former D.C. U.S. attorney for a top Treasury role, the president reviewed a memo on Liu's alleged misdeeds, according to a source with direct knowledge.

Ledeen wrote the memo, and its findings left a striking impression on Trump, per sources with direct knowledge. Ledeen declined to comment.

A source with direct knowledge of the memo's contents said it contained 14 sections building a case for why Liu was unfit for the job for which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin selected her, including:

  • Not acting on criminal referrals of some of Justice Brett Kavanaugh's accusers.
  • Signing "the sentencing filing asking for jail time" for Gen. Michael Flynn (a friend of Ledeen's).
  • Holding a leadership role in a women's lawyers networking group that Ledeen criticized as "pro-choice and anti-Alito."
  • Not indicting former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe.
  • Dismissing charges against "violent inauguration protesters who plotted to disrupt the inauguration."

Neither Liu nor the White House responded to requests for comment.

Between the lines: The Liu memo is not the first such memo to reach the president's desk — and there's a common thread in Groundswell, a conservative activist network that's headed by Thomas and whose members include Ledeen.

Sources leaked me details of two other memos from people associated with the Groundswell network that also caused a stir inside the White House over the past year.

Thomas has spent a significant amount of time and energy urging Trump administration officials to change the personnel inside his government. This came to a head early last year.

Members of Groundswell, whose members earlier led the successful campaign to remove McMaster as national security adviser, meet on Wednesdays in the D.C. offices of Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that has led the fight against the Mueller probe.

Judicial Watch's president is Tom Fitton. He's a regular on Fox News, and Trump regularly retweets his commentary on the "Deep State."
Conservative activists who attend Groundswell meetings funneled names to Thomas, and she compiled those recommendations and passed them along to the president, according to a source close to her.

She handed a memo of names directly to the president in early 2019. (The New York Times reported on her group's meeting with Trump at the time.)

2. The Groundswell memo: The presidential personnel office reviewed Thomas' memo and determined that some names she passed along for jobs were not appropriate candidates. Trump may revisit some given his current mood.

Potential hires she offered to Trump, per sources with direct knowledge:

  • Sheriff David Clarke for a senior Homeland Security role.
  • Fox News regular and former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino for a Homeland Security or counterterrorism adviser role.
  • Devin Nunes aide Derek Harvey for the National Security Council (where he served before McMaster pushed him out).
  • Radio talk show host Chris Plante for press secretary.
  • Federalist contributor Ben Weingarten for the National Security Council.

What we're hearing: These memos created tension inside the White House, as people close to the president constantly told him his own staff, especially those running personnel, were undermining him — and White House staff countered they were being smeared.

3. The State Department memo: In one extraordinary incident last year, President Trump passed along another action memo to his then-head of presidential personnel, Sean Doocey (since pushed to State and replaced with former body man John McEntee). People familiar with the January 2019 memo say it came from conservatives associated with Groundswell. Though nobody I’ve spoken to has claimed credit for it.

According to sources briefed on the incident, the memo was, in large part, an attack against Doocey. The memo accused him and a colleague in the State Department of obstructionism and named several State Department officials who needed to be fired.

This list named former deputy secretary John Sullivan, deputy undersecretary for management Bill Todd, and undersecretary for political affairs David Hale, who later testified in the impeachment hearings. (Todd and Hale are career foreign service officers, serving in positions typically reserved for career officials.) Sullivan is now the U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

Feb. 21

Truth Continuum, REVIEW: Ark Media and Malcolm X: Bad Acting and Half-Truths, Karl Evanzz, Feb. 21, 2020. If the truth will set us free, a lie will keep us in bondage. If you know the whole truth about something but deliberately withhold part of it, you are no better than a person who creates events out of whole cloth. An old adage is that “a half-truth is the same as a whole lie.”

Having watched the six-part Netflix series, “Who Killed Malcolm X,” I can say emphatically that the makers of this series are peddling a half-truth even though the whole truth was available to them. As such, the series is more propaganda than inquiry, more deception than honesty.

malcolm x stamp black heritageWhy do I call it a half-truth? Because Ark Media had access to the complete film footage of the scene outside the Audubon Ballroom moments after three members of the Nation of Islam assassinated Malcolm X, a charismatic revolutionary who inspired tens of thousands before his death on February 21, 1965, and who inspires millions across the globe today.

They had access to the complete footage, but they only revealed half of it. They show the footage of two of the assassins––Talmadge Hayer and William Bradley––fighting with police and spectators, but they deliberately suppressed footage of the third assassin––Norman 3X Butler––wrestling his way through the crowd as the body of Malcolm X is wheeled from the Audubon to the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital across the street.

There are a host of problems with the series, but the major offenses and omissions are these:

They minimize the role of the intelligence agencies in orchestrating the assassination. There is, for example, only one reference to the State Department’s hostility toward Malcolm X, but they don’t show a single document to substantiate it.

They fail to make a single reference to the CIA’s spying on Malcolm X while he was in Africa, and they make no mention of Benjamin H. Read, a White House official, telling CIA Director Richard Helms in the spring of 1964 that Malcolm was damaging America’s foreign policy in the Third World and should be “dealt with” the way the CIA dealt with other foreign leaders who cause problems for America. This information is in the declassified CIA documents on Malcolm X and is readily available.

Instead, the entire series is aimed at convincing viewers that Malcolm X was killed by a group of five Black Muslims from the Newark mosque who were acting independently of any leaders of the sect.

To buttress this argument, nearly all of the NOI members interviewed are from Newark. There were no interviews with members from Philadelphia, Chicago, or even Harlem, an inexcusable omission.

While there is a brief mention of a mandatory meeting of officers in the NOI’s Fruit of Islam group called by Elijah Muhammad Jr., during which he ordered them to kill Malcolm X, there is no mention that Junior added an extra incentive of $10,000 to the person who killed Malcolm.

The central premise of the series is that two of the three men convicted for murdering Malcolm X were innocent. While it succeeds in establishing the innocence of Johnson through eyewitness accounts and FBI documents, they fail to show any reliable evidence whatsoever to support Butler’s claim of innocence.

They give the false impression that Abdur-Rahman Muhammad is this brave, defiant soldier hell-bent on confronting William Bradley, the shotgun assassin of Malcolm X, but Bradley died before he could do so. This is, of course, utterly ridiculous. Rahman wrote on his blog on April 22, 2010, that he had discovered Bradley’s whereabouts.

Bradley didn’t pass until October 2018. By then, Ark Media was a full ten months into the project. If Rahman had eight years to confront Bradley, to give the impression that he didn’t locate Bradley until shortly before the latter’s death is dishonest, one of many half-truths in the series.
The Bradley confrontation hoax is one of many. Another half-truth is Rahman’s account of how he discovered Bradley’s whereabouts. He claims now that he was visiting a mosque and asked about Bradley when someone gave him Bradley’s new name, Al-Mustafa Shabazz.
This is at odds with what Rahman told me and other researchers in 2010, when he said that he was the Howard University classmate of the nephew of a prominent NOI official whose name has surfaced repeatedly in relation to the assassination. The nephew was the person who led him to Bradley.
Here are some of the key problems with the series, episode by episode. I refer to them as “acts” because the series is more theater than documentary.

Karl Evanzz is the author of several books about the Nation of Islam, including "The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X" (1992) and "The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad" (1999). He was the ghostwriter for Mark Curry’s bestseller, "Dancing with the Devil: How Puff Burned the Bad Boys of Hip Hop" (2009), and author of "The Wilma Chestnut Story" (2011).

ProPublica, Trump’s New Spy Chief Used to Work for a Foreign Politician the U.S. Accused of Corruption, Isaac Arnsdorf, Feb. 21, 2020. Richard Grenell did not disclose payments for advocacy work on behalf of a Moldovan politician whom the U.S. later accused of corruption. His own office’s policy says that could leave him vulnerable to blackmail.

President Donald Trump’s new acting intelligence director, Richard Grenell, used to do consulting work on behalf of an Eastern European oligarch who is now a fugitive and was recently barred from entering the U.S. under anti-corruption sanctions imposed last month by the State Department.

richard grenell oIn 2016, Grenell,right, wrote several articles defending the oligarch, a Moldovan politician named Vladimir Plahotniuc, but did not disclose that he was being paid, according to records and interviews. Grenell also did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which generally requires people to disclose work in the U.S. on behalf of foreign politicians.

FARA is the same law that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates were convicted of violating. (Manafort went to trial. Gates pleaded guilty.)

It’s not clear whether the articles were directly part of Grenell’s paid consulting work for Plahotniuc. Unpaid work could still require disclosures under FARA if it was directed by or primarily benefited a foreign politician, according to Matthew Sanderson, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale who advises people on complying with FARA. FARA contains several exemptions, such as for lawyers and businesses, Sanderson said, but none appear to apply to Grenell’s op-eds about Plahotniuc.

“There is real reason to believe that Mr. Grenell should have registered here,” Sanderson said after ProPublica described the circumstances to him. “This is exactly the type of circumstances I’d expect the Department of Justice to investigate further.”

Craig Engle, an attorney with the law firm Arent Fox, said he was responding to ProPublica’s questions on Grenell’s behalf. Engle declined to say what Grenell’s paid consulting work involved but said he did not have to register under FARA “because he was not working at the direction of a foreign power.”

“Ric was not paid to write these stories, in fact he has written hundreds of stories on his own time to express his own views,” Engle said. “But to be clear: he was not working for any individual, he was working for himself and was advocating the ideal of a pro-western political party that was emerging.”

Undisclosed work for a foreign politician would ordinarily pose a problem for anyone applying for a security clearance or a job in a U.S. intelligence agency because it could make the person susceptible to foreign influence or blackmail, according to the official policy from the office that Trump tapped Grenell to lead.

The policy specifies that among the “conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying” are:

“Failure to report or fully disclose, when required, association with a foreign person, group, government or country.”

“Substantial business, financial, or property interests in a foreign country … that could subject the individual to a heightened risk of foreign influence or exploitation or personal conflict of interest.”

“Acting to serve the interest of a foreign person, group, organization or government in any way that conflicts with U.S. national security interests.”

“That’s really easy, he should not have a clearance,” said Kel McClanahan, a Washington-area lawyer specializing in security clearances. “If he were one of my clients and just a normal [federal employee], he would almost assuredly not have a clearance.”

McClanahan said it’s unclear how Grenell could have already gotten a clearance as an ambassador. The House Oversight Committee is investigating whether the Trump administration has overruled career officials in granting security clearances to political appointees.

As Trump’s pick for acting director of national intelligence, Grenell will have access to the country’s most sensitive secrets. Grenell isn’t subject to Senate confirmation because Trump appointed him on a temporary basis.

The White House, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Grenell, who is also continuing in his current posts as ambassador to Germany and special envoy for negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia, has gained Trump’s favor with his unwavering loyalty and combative tweets. (In one instance, he attacked ProPublica in response to reporting that Vice President Mike Pence’s office had intervened in foreign aid decisions.) He raised hackles in Berlin by injecting himself into the country’s domestic politics, a departure from usual diplomatic protocol.

Grenell does not have prior experience in intelligence. He was the U.S. spokesman at the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration.

In between his turns in government, Grenell had a public affairs consulting firm called Capitol Media Partners. One of the firm’s clients, according to the financial disclosure that Grenell filed when he became an ambassador, was Arthur J. Finkelstein, the late Republican political consultant whose international clients included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary. Grenell’s financial disclosure indicates that he received more than $5,000 from Finkelstein’s firm but does not specify how much.

According to a person familiar with the relationship, Grenell worked for Finkelstein as a media consultant for clients in Eastern Europe. That person and another individual said the client in Moldova was Plahotniuc, the country’s richest man and then a top official in its ruling political party.

Feb. 18

Unz Review, Opinion: Explaining Syria: It's everyone's fault except the U.S. and Israel, Philip Giraldi, right, Feb. 18, 2020. The first week in February was philip giraldimemorable for the failed impeachment of President Donald Trump, the “re-elect me” State of the Union address and the marketing of a new line of underwear by Kim Kardashian. Given all of the excitement, it was easy to miss a special State Department press briefing by Ambassador James Jeffrey held on February 5th regarding the current situation in Syria.

Jeffrey is the United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL. Jeffrey has had a distinguished career in government service, attaining senior level State Department positions under both Democratic and Republican presidents. He has served as U.S. Ambassador to both Turkey and Iraq. He is, generally speaking, a hardliner politically, closely aligned with Israel and regarding Iran as a hostile destabilizing force in the Middle East region. He was between 2013 and 2018 Philip Solondz distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that is a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is currently a WINEP “Outside Author” and go-to “expert.”

Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt, academic dean at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, describe WINEP as “part of the core” of the Israel Lobby in the U.S. They examined the group on pages 175-6 in their groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy and concluded as follows:

“Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel and claims that it provides a ‘balanced and realistic’ perspective on Middle East issues, this is not the case. In fact, WINEP is funded and run by individuals who are deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda … Many of its personnel are genuine scholars or experienced former officials, but they are hardly neutral observers on most Middle East issues and there is little diversity of views within WINEP’s ranks.”

In early 2018 Jeffrey co-authored a WINEP special report on Syria which urged “…the Trump administration [to] couple a no-fly/no-drive zone and a small residual ground presence in the northeast with intensified sanctions against the Assad regime’s Iranian patron. In doing so, Washington can support local efforts to stabilize the area, encourage Gulf partners to ‘put skin in the game, drive a wedge between Moscow and Tehran, and help Israel avoid all-out war.”

Note the focus on Iran and Russia as threats and the referral to Assad and his government as a “regime.” And the U.S. presence is to “help Israel.” So we have Ambassador James Jeffrey leading the charge on Syria, from an Israeli perspective that is no doubt compatible with the White House view, which explains why he has become Special Representative for Syria Engagement.

Jeffrey set the tone for his term of office shortly after being appointed by President Trump back in August 2018 when he argued that the Syrian terrorists were “. . . not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator.” Jeffrey, who must have somehow missed a lot of the head chopping and rape going on, subsequently traveled to the Middle East and stopped off in Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It has been suggested that Jeffrey received his marching orders during the visit.

Two months later James Jeffrey declared that he would like to see Russia maintain a “permissive approach” to allow the Israelis to attack Iranian targets inside Syria. Regarding Iran’s possible future role in Syria he observed that “Iranians are part of the problem not part of the solution.”

What Jeffrey meant was that because Israel had been “allowed” to carry out hundreds of air attacks in Syria ostensibly directed against Iran-linked targets, the practice should be permitted to continue. Israel had suspended nearly all of its airstrikes in the wake of the shoot down of a Russian aircraft in September 2018, an incident which was caused by a deliberate Israeli maneuver that brought down the plane even though the missile that struck the aircraft was fired by Syria. Fifteen Russian servicemen were killed. Israel reportedly was deliberately using the Russian plane to mask the presence of its own attacking aircraft.

Russia responded to the incident by deploying advanced S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Syria, which can cover most of the more heavily developed areas of the country. Jeffrey was unhappy with that decision, saying “We are concerned very much about the S-300 system being deployed to Syria. The issue is at the detail level. Who will control it? what role will it play?” And he defended his own patently absurd urging that Russia, Syria’s ally, permit Israel to continue its air attacks by saying “We understand the existential interest and we support Israel” because the Israeli government has an “existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems such as surface-to-surface missiles.”

Later in November 2018 James Jeffrey was at it again, declaring that U.S. troops will not leave Syria before guaranteeing the “enduring defeated” of ISIS, but he perversely put the onus on Syria and Iran, saying that “We also think that you cannot have an enduring defeat of ISIS until you have fundamental change in the Syrian regime and fundamental change in Iran’s role in Syria, which contributed greatly to the rise of ISIS in the first place in 2013, 2014.”

As virtually no one but Jeffrey and the Israeli government actually believes that Damascus and Tehran were responsible for creating ISIS, the ambassador elaborated, blaming President Bashar al-Assad for the cycle of violence in Syria that, he claimed, allowed the development of the terrorist group in both Syria and neighboring Iraq.

He said “The Syrian regime produced ISIS. The elements of ISIS in the hundreds, probably, saw an opportunity in the total breakdown of civil society and of the upsurge of violence as the population rose up against the Assad regime, and the Assad regime, rather than try to negotiate or try to find any kind of solution, unleashed massive violence against its own population.”

Jeffrey’s formula is just another recycling of the myth that the Syrian opposition consisted of good folks who wanted to establish democracy in the country. In reality, it incorporated terrorist elements right from the beginning and groups like ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliates rapidly assumed control of the violence. That Jeffrey should be so ignorant or blinded by his own presumptions to be unaware of that is astonishing. It is also interesting to note that he makes no mention of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, kneejerk support for Israel and the unrelenting pressure on Syria starting with the Syrian Accountability Act of 2003 and continuing with embrace of the so-called Arab Spring. Most observers believe that those actions were major contributors to the rise of ISIS.

Well, one has to conclude that James Jeffrey is possibly completely delusional. The core issue that the United States is in Syria illegally as a proxy for Israel and Saudi Arabia is not touched on, nor the criminal role in “protecting the oil fields” and stealing their production, which he mentions but does not explain. Nor the issue of the legitimate Syrian government seeking to recover its territory against groups that most everyone admits to be terrorists.

Virtually every bit of “evidence” that Jeffrey cites is either false or inflated, to include the claim of use of chemical weapons and the responsibility for the refugees. As for who actually created the terrorists, that honor goes to the United States, which accomplished that when it invaded Iraq and destroyed its government before following up by undermining Syria. And, by the way, someone should point out to Jeffrey that Russia and Iran are in Syria as allies of its legitimate government.

Ambassador James Jeffrey maintains that “Russia needs to change its policies.” That is not correct. It is the United States that must change its policies by getting out of Syria and Iraq for starters while also stopping the deference to feckless “allies” Israel and Saudi Arabia that has produced a debilitating cold war against both Iran and Russia. Another good first step to make the U.S. a “normal, decent country” would be to get rid of the advice of people like James Jeffrey.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., directs the Council for the National Interest, an educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Feb. 14

Unz Review, Investigative Commentary: NYC Taxpayers Spending Millions on Cyber Center with Controversial Ties to Israeli Intelligence, Whitney Webb, Feb. 14, 2020. Early last week, the city of New York launched — with little media scrutiny — one of two new massive cybersecurity centers that will be run by private Israeli firms with close ties to Israel’s government, the so-called “Mega Group” tied to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal and prominent pro-Israel lobby organizations operating in the United States. The centers were first announced in 2018 as was the identity of the firms who would run them: Israel-based Jerusalem Venture Partners and SOSA.

As MintPress has reported on several occasions, all three of these entities have a history of aggressively spying on the U.S. federal government and/or blackmailing top American politicians, raising concerns regarding why these companies were chosen to run the new centers in the heart of Manhattan. The news also comes as Israeli cybersecurity companies tied to Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 were revealed to have access to the U.S. government’s most classified systems and simulating the cancellation of the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

The new cybersecurity centers are part of a new New York City public-private partnership called “CyberNYC” that is valued at over $100 million and officially aims to “spur the creation of 10,000 cybersecurity jobs and make New York City a global leader in cyber innovation.” CyberNYC is an initiative of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation.

However, the companies that will be responsible for creating those cybersecurity jobs will benefit foreign companies, namely Israeli and most of the jobs to be created will go to foreigners as well, as media reports on the partnership have quietly noted. Those reports also stated that, while the stated purpose of the centers is to create new jobs, the Israeli firms chosen to run them — Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and SOSA — view it as an opportunity to provide Israeli cybersecurity companies with a foothold into the American market and to see Israeli cybersecurity products adopted by both small and medium-sized American businesses, not just large corporations and government agencies.

For example, the founder of JVP and former Knesset member, Erel Margalit, told the Jerusalem Post that “the center we are setting up [in New York] will assist Israeli hi-tech companies in collaborating with customers and companies in the US and around the world.” More recently, ahead of the opening of the cybersecurity center that Margalit’s firm will manage, he told the Times of Israel that “New York is about something else, it’s about the drama of taking investors from Israel and Spain or Paris and other places and taking them to the next business level.” In other words, the companies set to benefit from these new centers will be foreign and mainly Israeli, as JVP invests the vast majority of its funds in Israeli start-ups.

Truth Continuum, Opinion: Netflix’s Nonsense about Norman Butler, One of Three Men who Killed Malcolm X, Karl Evanzz, Feb. 12, 2020. By now many of you are aware of the Netflix series about the assassination of Malcolm X, or more specifically, who allegedly killed him. The series aims to identify who actually pulled the triggers as opposed to the far more troubling question of who wanted him dead and why.

Some have asked why I wasn’t in the series.

I was asked by Shayla Harris, one of the African American’s behind the camera, to be interviewed for it, but I declined. Why? Because when I asked her whether certain people would be interviewed and the answer was what I expected, so I told her that I could not be part of it.

The people I referred to are responsible for some of the most despicable lies ever cast on Malcolm X’s legacy.

malcolm x stamp black heritageDespite data I sent to Arkmedia via Ms. Harris, they chose to go with the erroneous proposition that all of the assassins were from New Jersey and that Butler was framed. They conveniently show the footage of William Bradley fighting to free Hagan, but they omit the footage of Norman Butler at the same scene.

One of Marable’s sources was none other than Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, the person at this center of the Netflix series. Muhammad claims that his obsession with Malcolm X’s murder “changed the trajectory of my life.” The truth is that his life had no trajectory as far as anyone knows. He’s kind of fumbled his way through life until now.

He has not written any books or lengthy articles about the assassination. He has only written one blog of note, and that was because a friend of his from Howard University led him to Bradley’s whereabouts. Everything else in the series is based on my books and the book by Zak Kondo.

In Marable’s biography of Malcolm X, Muhammad is cited as the source for Marable’s bogus assertion that Malcolm X had an intimate relationship with Sharon 6X Poole (aka Shabazz). When I asked Muhammad about this claim, he replied that Malcolm X fathered Sharon’s child.

This was, of course, a blatant lie, one that I brought to Marable’s attention long before publication but which he printed anyway. In fact, Benjamin Goodman (aka Karim) fathered a child by Sharon Poole fourteen months after Malcolm X was assassinated. Once the lie was exposed, Marable's researcher named Karim as its source, yet there is no attribution to Karim in Marable’s book.

Karl Evanzz is the author of several books about the Nation of Islam, including "The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X" (1992) and "The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad" (1999). He was the ghostwriter for Mark Curry’s bestseller, "Dancing with the Devil: How Puff Burned the Bad Boys of Hip Hop" (2009), and author of "The Wilma Chestnut Story" (2011).

Feb.11

Counterpunch via JFK Facts, CIA tradecraft & JFK’s assassination: A veteran officer analyzes the death of a president, Jefferson Morley, Feb. 11, 2020. “I was struck by the intimacy and the smallness of the whole surroundings,” said retired CIA officer Rolf Mowatt-Larssen after his first visit to Dealey Plaza in November 2019.

Dealey Plaza, a grassy Art Deco entry point to downtown Dallas, is where President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed on November 22, 1963. Hundreds of thousands of people still come from around the world every day to see the spot where the popular liberal president was ambushed. Many of them have the same reaction to the crime scene: the intimacy, the smallness.

Mowatt-Larssen was not just any tourist.

A 22-year veteran of America’s clandestine service, he is an experienced secret intelligence professional and a senior fellow in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. With the binocular vision of an operations officer, Mowatt-Larssen assessed the landscape where JFK was murdered on November 22, 1963 for its action potential, both defensive and offensive.

“Everything was so easy to control, so easy to manipulate,” he told a crowd of 150 JFK researchers at a nearby hotel two days later. He described Dealey Plaza as “a setting that was so conducive to everything that happened that day And I wondered if that was accident.”

I wondered about Mowatt-Larssen’s wonder. This CIA veteran’s curiosity about the causes of JFK’s assassination, his willingness to talk about it publicly, and his analysis of how and why the liberal president was assassinated is compelling. What he brings to the historical record of JFK’s murder, is not new facts, but an original frame of analysis.

He sees Dealey Plaza through the eyes of a covert operator.

I found that intriguing, so I introduced myself to him in the crowded hall outside the room where he spoke. The conference, sponsored by the Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), attracted a graying, mostly male, crowd that debated and discussed the intricacies of a pivotal historic moment. Mowatt-Larssen was mixing amiably with these amateur sleuths when I intercepted him. He told me he liked my biography of CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton, The Ghost. Soon, we repaired to the lobby bar of the Quality Inn to trade spy stories over white wine.

Mole Hunter

A pinkish, polylingual Norwegian-American with white bangs, Mowatt-Larssen looks younger than his 65 years. He graduated from West Point in 1976 and served six years as a U.S. Army Cavalry officer before joining the CIA in 1982.

In Dallas, I learned that Mowatt-Larssen embraces the theory that JFK’s assassination was the work of rogue CIA officers. He argues that certain officers in the agency’s Miami station plotted JFK’s death as revenge for his perceived betrayal of Cuban anti-communist forces during the failed invasion at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961 and the missile crisis of October 1962.

This is not a novel interpretation of November 22. The possible involvement CIA officers in JFK’s death is explored most carefully in Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan’s deeply reported book, Not in Your Lifetime. Nor does Mowatt-Larssen stake out a grand claim to historical truth. He sometimes gives himself an out by saying things like, “If there was a conspiracy, here’s how it happened.” He repeats he is not speaking from any knowledge of CIA records on the subject. His method is probabilistic, not evidentiary.

“It’s based on tradecraft,” Mowatt-Larssen said. “How would a conspiracy look?”

While I appreciated this creative mode of thinking, more than one conference participant did not.

“I think there’s a zero percent chance he’s not a representative of the CIA cover-up,” Dan Storper, a record company owner and co-chair of The Truth & Reconciliation Committee, a group of 80 citizens, activists and authors who have called for the re-opening of the JFK investigation. Another researcher called Mowatt-Larssen a “CIA stooge” whose talk was “the low point of the conference. I couldn’t find a brick to toss, LOL. Why he was there is beyond me.”

Such suspicions should not blind people to Mowatt-Larssen’s central insight: in the eyes of an experienced CIA officer, the crime of November 22, 1963 was most likely the culmination of a covert operation, organized by CIA personnel.

Mowatt-Larssen’s presentation in Dallas is the first significant development in the JFK story since October 2017. That’s when President Trump agreed to keep secret portions of 15,834 assassination-related files until at least 2021. The statistic comes from the National Archives web site and was confirmed to me by an Archives official. Probably two-thirds of those records are held the CIA and FBI) Some people say the U.S. government has nothing to hide on JFK assassination’s. But if they have nothing to hide, why are they hiding so much?

While President Trump has acquiesced to the CIA’s demands for continuing JFK secrecy, this former station chief questions it.

“I’m a big believer in releasing the rest of the records,” said Mowatt-Larssen.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation On Trump, Kellyanne Conway, and The Mafia: Trump's mob talk comes from his time in Atlantic City, Wayne Madsen, left, Feb. 11, 2020 (Subscription required, excerpted with permission). Impeached President Donald John Trump’s legacy in Atlantic City as the proprietor of three casinos -- the Trump Plaza Casino and Hotel, the Trump Marina Hotel Casino, and the Trump Taj Mahal – is one of the mob.

The skim, the transfer of a small percentage of a casino’s pre-tax profits to organized crime syndicates, was pioneered by Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky in Las Vegas. The skim arrived in Atlantic City at the same time as did the first casino opening. And controlling the Atlantic City skim was the boss of the Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and South Jersey rackets, Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, and his nephew, lieutenant, and mob underboss, Philip “Crazy Phil” Leonetti.

Scarfo hid the money from the skim by plowing it into newly-incorporated legitimate businesses and the buying of property through Scarfo’s primary business, Scarf, Inc. It was a business practice that Trump also knew very well in the method of creating thousands of limited liability corporations and other corporate shells all interwoven with the Trump Organization.

One way by which Scarfo used Scarf, Inc. to exact “tribute” was to shake down businesses for extortion payments....

The mob had a deep impact on the method by which Trump operates, for example, vowing vengeance on all those who crossed him in supporting his impeachment in the House, sworn testimony against him by government employees and military and intelligence personnel, and guilty votes in the Senate....

Another Trump affectation is to apply nicknames to his enemies and friends, alike. That is standard operating procedure for the mob....

CIA Surveillance

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: For decades, CIA read encrypted communications of allies and adversaries, Greg Miller, Feb. 11, 2020. For decades, the CIA read the encrypted communications of allies and adversaries. The CIA in partnership with West German intelligence was the secret owner of a Swiss company that supplied more than 120 countries from Iran to the Vatican with encryption machines.

For more than half a century, governments all over the world trusted a single company to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret.

The company, Crypto AG, got its first break with a contract to build code-making machines for U.S. troops during World War II. Flush with cash, it became a dominant maker of encryption devices for decades, navigating waves of technology from mechanical gears to electronic circuits and, finally, silicon chips and software.

cia logoThe Swiss firm made millions of dollars selling equipment to more than 120 countries well into the 21st century. Its clients included Iran, military juntas in Latin America, nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, and even the Vatican.

But what none of its customers ever knew was that Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence. These spy agencies rigged the company’s devices so they could easily break the codes that countries used to send encrypted messages.

The decades-long arrangement, among the most closely guarded secrets of the Cold War, is laid bare in a classified, comprehensive CIA history of the operation obtained by The Washington Post and ZDF, a German public broadcaster, in a joint reporting project.

The account identifies the CIA officers who ran the program and the company executives entrusted to execute it. It traces the origin of the venture as well as the internal conflicts that nearly derailed it. It describes how the United States and its allies exploited other nations’ gullibility for years, taking their money and stealing their secrets.

The operation, known first by the code name “Thesaurus” and later “Rubicon,” ranks among the most audacious in CIA history.

“It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concludes. “Foreign governments were paying good money to the U.S. and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries.”

From 1970 on, the CIA and its code-breaking sibling, the National Security Agency, controlled nearly every aspect of Crypto’s operations — presiding with their German partners over hiring decisions, designing its technology, sabotaging its algorithms and directing its sales targets.

 

ICE logo

Politico, Opinion: A Conservative Judge Draws a Line in the Sand With the Trump Administration, Kimberly Wehle, Feb. 12, 2020. Outraged the attorney general had ignored a court order, he authors a blistering opinion rebuking William Barr for overstepping his constitutional authority.

frank easterbrook fullPresident Donald Trump has defanged Congress’ oversight authority. That became clear when the Senate acquitted the president of obstruction. But one conservative judge isn’t willing to let the executive branch steal power from his branch of government.

In a jaw-dropping opinion issued by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on January 23, Judge Frank Easterbrook, right — a longtime speaker for the conservative Federalist Society and someone whom the late Justice Antonin Scalia favored to replace him on the U.S. Supreme Court — rebuked Attorney General William Barr for declaring in a letter that the court’s decision in an immigration case was “incorrect” and thus dispensable.

Barr’s letter was used as justification by the Board of Immigration Appeals (the federal agency that applies immigration laws) to ignore the court’s ruling not to deport a man who had applied for a visa to remain in the country.

As Washington reels from the surprise withdrawals of Roger Stone‘s prosecutors, apparently triggered by Trump’s intervention in the upcoming sentencing of his long-time adviser, the Easterbrook broadside offers another window into the way the Trump administration is violating the division of power between the executive and judicial branches.

The 7th Circuit case involved an undocumented immigrant, Jorge Baez-Sanchez, who was subject to removal from the United States after being convicted of a crime.

Baez-Sanchez applied for a special visa allowing him to remain in the U.S. if he was also a victim of a crime. An immigration judge twice granted Baez-Sanchez a waiver. But the Board of Immigration Appeals reversed the immigration judge’s decision, claiming that only the attorney general personally could grant waivers — not immigration judges. Baez-Sanchez appealed to the 7th Circuit, which disagreed and remanded the case with a directive that the Department of Homeland Security comply with the immigration judge’s waiver. When it refused, Easterbrook, a 35-year veteran of the court, had had enough of the willful disregard for judicial authority.

Kimberly Wehle is a law professor, former assistant United States Attorney and author of the book, "How to Read the Constitution — And Why." JIP editor's note: Judge Easterbrook was this editor's law professor teaching antitrust at the University of Chicago School of Law, where Easterbrook has long taught law following his work as an assistant attorney general at during the 1980s in the Bush Justice Department.

Feb. 10

julian assange and swedens politically appointed judges indicter graphic

WikiLeaks Editor Julian Assange (graphic by The Indicter Magazine and Swedish Doctors for Human Rights).

OpEdNews, Opinion: What Is Happening to Assange Will Happen to the Rest of Us, Chris Hedges, Feb. 10, 2020. David Morales, the indicted owner of the Spanish private security firm Undercover Global, is being investigated by Spain's high court for allegedly providing the CIA with audio and video recordings of the meetings WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had with his attorneys and other visitors when the publisher was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

The security firm also reportedly photographed the passports of all of Assange's visitors. It is accused of taking visitors' phones, which were not permitted in the embassy, and opening them, presumably in an effort to intercept calls. It reportedly stole data from laptops, electronic tablets and USB sticks, all required to be left at the embassy reception area. It allegedly compiled detailed reports on all of Assange's meetings and conversations with visitors. The firm even is said to have planned to steal the diaper of a baby brought to visit Assange to perform a DNA test to establish whether the infant was a secret son of Assange. UC Global, apparently at the behest of the CIA, also allegedly spied on Ecuadorian diplomats who worked in the London embassy.

The probe by the court, the Audiencia Nacional, into the activities of UC Global, along with leaked videos, statements, documents and reports published by the Spanish newspaper El País as well as the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, offers a window into the new global security state. Here the rule of law is irrelevant. Here privacy and attorney-client privilege do not exist. Here people live under 24-hour-a-day surveillance. Here all who attempt to expose the crimes of tyrannical power will be hunted down, kidnapped, imprisoned and broken. This global security state is a terrifying melding of the corporate and the public. And what it has done to Assange it will soon do to the rest of us.

The publication of classified documents is not yet a crime in the United States. If Assange is extradited and convicted, it will become one. Assange is not an American citizen. WikiLeaks, which he founded, is not a U.S.-based publication. The extradition of Assange would mean the end of journalistic investigations into the inner workings of power. It would cement into place a terrifying global, corporate tyranny under which borders, nationality and law mean nothing. Once such a legal precedent is set, any publication that publishes classified material, from The New York Times to an alternative website, will be prosecuted and silenced.

The flagrant defiance of law and international protocols in the persecution of Assange is legion. In April 2019, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno capriciously terminated Assange's right of asylum at the London embassy, where he spent seven years, despite Assange's status as a political refugee. Moreno authorized British police to enter the embassy diplomatically sanctioned sovereign territory to arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador. (Assange retains his Australian citizenship.) The British police seized Assange, who has never committed a crime, and the British government keeps him imprisoned, ostensibly for a bail violation.

Assange is being held in the notorious high-security HM Prison Belmarsh. He has spent much of his time in isolation, is often heavily sedated and has been denied medical treatment for a variety of physical ailments. His lawyers say they are routinely denied access to their client. Nils Melzer, the United Nations' special rapporteur on torture who examined Assange with two physicians, said Assange has undergone prolonged psychological torture. Melzer has criticized what he calls the "judicial persecution" of Assange by Britain, the United States, Ecuador and Sweden, which prolonged an investigation into a sexual assault case in an effort to extradite Assange to Sweden. Assange said the case was a pretext to extradite him to the United States. Once Assange was arrested by British police the sexual assault case was dropped.

Melzer says Assange would face a politicized show trial in the United States if he were extradited to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables, documents and videos that exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each of the counts carries a potential sentence of 10 years, and an additional charge that Assange conspired to hack into a government computer has a maximum sentence of five years. A hearing to determine whether he will be extradited to the United States starts Feb. 24 at London's Woolwich Crown Court. It is scheduled to last about a week and then resume May 18, for three weeks more.

WikiLeaks released U.S. military war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, a cache of 250,000 diplomatic cables and 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs along with the 2007 "Collateral Murder" video, in which U.S. helicopter pilots banter as they gun down civilians, including children and two Reuters journalists, in a Baghdad street. The material was given to WikiLeaks in 2010 by Chelsea Manning, then Bradley Manning, a low-ranking intelligence specialist in the U.S. Army. Assange has been accused by an enraged U.S. intelligence community of causing "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States." Manning was convicted of espionage charges in August 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in a military prison. She was granted clemency in January 2017 by President Barack Obama. Manning was ordered back to prison last year after refusing to testify before a grand jury in the WikiLeaks case, and she remains behind bars. No one was ever charged for the war crimes WikiLeaks documented.

Assange earned the enmity of the Democratic Party establishment by publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee and senior Democratic officials. The emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman. The Podesta emails exposed the donation of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State. It exposed the $657,000 that Goldman Sachs paid to Hillary Clinton to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe. It exposed Clinton's repeated mendacity. She was caught in the emails, for example, telling the financial elites that she wanted "open trade and open borders" and believed Wall Street executives were best positioned to manage the economy, a statement that contradicted her campaign statements. It exposed the Clinton campaign's efforts to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Donald Trump was the Republican nominee. It exposed Clinton's advance knowledge of questions in a primary debate. It exposed Clinton as the principal architect of the war in Libya, a war she believed would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate.

Journalists can argue that this information, like the war logs, should have remained hidden, but they can't then call themselves journalists.

The Democratic and Republican leaders are united in their crusade to extradite and sentence Assange. The Democratic Party, which has attempted to blame Russia for its election loss to Trump, charges that the Podesta emails were obtained by Russian government hackers. However, James Comey, the former FBI director, has conceded that the emails were probably delivered to WikiLeaks by an intermediary, and Assange has said the emails were not provided by "state actors."

WikiLeaks has done more than any other news organization to expose the abuses of power and crimes of the American empire. In addition to the war logs and the Podesta emails, it made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency and their interference in foreign elections, including French elections. It disclosed the internal conspiracy against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by Labour members of Parliament. It intervened to save Edward Snowden, who made public the wholesale surveillance of the American public by our intelligence agencies, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow. (The Snowden leaks also revealed that Assange was on a U.S. "manhunt target list.")

The inquiry by the Spanish court is the result of a criminal complaint filed by Assange, who accuses Morales and UC Global of violating his privacy and client-attorney confidentiality rights. The WikiLeaks founder also says the firm is guilty of misappropriation, bribery and money laundering.

Feb. 9

djt roy cohn wheres my roy cohn

OpEdNews, Film Review: "Where's My Roy Cohn?": A U.S. Coup by Nihilists, Mobsters, Pedophiles and Blackmailers, Mike Rivage-Seul, Feb. 9, 2020. Recently, I spent two weeks in Tijuana working with Al Otro Lado (AOL). I've written about that experience here, here, and here.

AOL is a legal defense service for refugees seeking asylum mostly from gang-rule in Mexico and Central America. The emigrants want escape from countries whose police forces and allied power holders are controlled by ruthless drug rings whose only goal is accumulation of money and social dominance.

roy cohn wheres my row cohn poster sony picturesAs I did my work helping clients fill out endless forms concocted by those who would illegally exclude them, everything seemed so hopeless. I wondered how those gangs achieved such power? Isn't it a shame, I thought, that entire countries are now controlled by criminal mobs with names like "MS 13," "Nueva Generacion," and "18?" How sad for these people!

Then, during my flight home to Connecticut, I happened to watch the documentary "Where's My Roy Cohn?" (WMRC). It introduced viewers to the dark and criminal mentor of Donald Trump.

On its face, the film illustrated the absolute corruption of the U.S. government as the unwavering servant of the elite as the only people who count.

But in the light of my experience in Tijuana, it made me realize that our country too is literally controlled by shadowy gangs to an extent even worse than what's happening south of our border. I mean, the United States of America now has the most prominent protege of Roy Cohn, right, an unabashed mafioso, actually sitting in the Oval Office!

Both Cohn and, of course, his disciple turn out to be absolute nihilists without principle or any regard for truth.

The film made clear how both men tapped into a similar nihilist strain within huge numbers of Americans who identify with the Republican Party and ironically with the Catholic faith and Christian fundamentalism. Nonetheless, WMRC wasn't explicit enough in probing either Cohn's corruption, that of Donald Trump or of our reigning system's complex of government, education, church and mainstream media.

It failed to show how the phenomena of Roy Cohn and Donald Trump represent mere surface indications of a profoundly anti-democratic coup d'e'tat that has gradually unfolded in our country over the last 40 years. The actuality of this takeover was revealed most clearly in the recent impeachment proceedings. They provided a kind of last straw undeniably exhibiting how nihilist "Christians" have seized power in perhaps irreversible ways.

To see what I mean, begin by watching "Where's my Roy Cohn?" for yourself. It not only details Cohn's life as an infamous New York mafia consigliere. It also shows how he started his career in crime as the 23-year-old advisor of the equally villainous Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. (McCarthy, of course was the force behind the nation-wide communist scare of the early 1950s.)

However, most importantly WMRC describes the film's subject as the mentor of Donald Trump. By both their admissions, each recognized in the other a kindred spirit. Each used mafia and friends in high places (from Ronald Reagan to New York's Cardinal Spellman) to enrich himself in terms of power and money. In the end, the alliance brought Trump to "the highest office in the land."

washington post logoWashington Post, Meet the 71-year-old staging a one-man protest in his Trump-loving retirement community, Brittany Shammas, Feb. 9, 2020 (print ed.). For most of his life, Ed McGinty kept his political beliefs to himself.

Raised Irish Catholic in Philadelphia, the 71-year-old retired real estate broker has always been a Democrat, just like his parents before him. But the last time he remembers being especially politically motivated was when Hubert Humphrey ran against Richard Nixon in 1968. After that, he’d wake up the morning after Election Day, find out George W. Bush or another Republican had won and say, “Okay, well, back to work.”

Then Donald Trump was elected.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence logo“When Trump won, it changed the whole ballgame for me,” McGinty told The Washington Post. “I thought to myself, ‘This was supposed to be a joke. What’s wrong with these people?’ ”

In the three years since then, the once-quiet political observer has transformed into the best-known Trump protester in The Villages, a sprawling, meticulously planned and maintained retirement community that lies about 45 miles northwest of Orlando. McGinty’s daily vigil with signs blasting the president as a “SEXUAL PREDATOR” (among other things) has drawn ire in the Trump-loving Florida town he has called home since 2016. It has also brought viral fame.

For his one-man protest against the president, McGinty has been berated as a baby killer and a “dumb a--,” decried in letters to the editor of a local news site and hit with an anonymous, handwritten threat — a sign that even a town that is described as Disney World for retirees and markets itself as “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown” is not immune to the divisiveness of this political era.

washington post logoej dionne w open neckWashington Post, Opinion: Political idolatry is the enemy of religious faith, E.J. Dionne Jr., right, Feb. 9, 2020. If you wonder why young people are leaving organized religion in droves, look no further than last week’s National Prayer Breakfast.

Many who care about religion and its fate have condemned President Trump’s vindictive, self-involved, God-as-an-afterthought speech at the annual gathering. By contrast, his backers were happy to say “Amen” as they prepared to exploit religion in one more election.

My Post colleague Michael Gerson, a beacon of moral clarity in the conservative evangelical world, noted that Trump’s address was a tribute to his “remarkable ability to corrupt, distort and discredit every institution he touches.”

Gerson is right, but I confess that there has always been something troubling about the prayer breakfast. The gatherings encourage the suspicion that many politicians are there not because of God but because of their own political imperatives. They want to tell the world how religious they are and check the faith box on the advice of their political advisers. You worry that this is as much about preening as praying.

In his always crude but always revealing way, Trump has exposed the underside of long-standing political habits and practices. He is not the first politician to exploit religion. He just does it in a way so at odds with the core tenets of the Christian faith he claims to uphold that he pushes the hypocritical aspects of public religion to a breaking point.

Feb. 6

U.S. Political History

ny times logoNew York Times, Who Really Killed Malcolm X? John Leland, Feb. 6, 2020. Fifty-five years later, the case may be reopened. Malcom X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965. For more than half a century, scholars have maintained that prosecutors convicted malcolm x finger at headthe wrong men in the assassination of Malcolm X, right.

Now, 55 years after that bloody afternoon in February 1965, the Manhattan district attorney’s office is reviewing whether to reinvestigate the murder.

Some new evidence comes from a six-part documentary called “Who Killed Malcolm X?,” streaming on Netflix Feb. 7, which posits that two of the men convicted could not have been at the scene that day.

Instead it points the finger at four members of a Nation of Islam mosque in Newark, N.J., depicting their involvement as an open secret in their city. One even appeared in a 2010 campaign ad for then-Newark mayor Cory Booker.

 wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Historical Commentary: Pelosi and Romney: the last vestiges of constitutional governance, Wayne Madsen, left, Feb. wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small6, 2020. In the era of Donald Trump, the U.S. Constitution is merely an arcane encumbrance to be ignored by a dictatorial chief executive bent on amassing all political power into his own hands while threatening dissidents with criminal prosecution amid the rage of his cult following and chicanery of his political operatives and propagandists.

Pelosi and Romney grew up in political households, Pelosi's father being Baltimore's Democratic machine Mayor Thomas D'Alessandro and Romney's Michigan Republican Governor George Romney. N

either would recognize their respective political parties today, with the front-running Democratic presidential candidate not even a member of the party, but a Trotskyist Socialist former member of the Socialist Workers Party, and the Republican incumbent president being an accused rapist, money launderer, racist, misogynist, and fraudster.

Feb. 3

National Public Radio, Ex-CIA Employee Accused Of Leaking Documents To WikiLeaks Goes On Trial, Merrit Kennedy, Feb. 3, 2020. The documents npr logoreleased by WikiLeaks in 2017 represented one of the largest leaks in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency software engineer who allegedly leaked thousands of pages of documents to WikiLeaks was set to begin Monday in federal court in New York. The leak has been described as one of the largest in the CIA's history.

joshua schulte CustomJoshua Schulte, right, has pleaded not guilty to 11 criminal counts, including illegal transmission of unlawfully possessed national defense information and theft of government property.

WikiLeaks started publishing the documents, which it called "Vault 7," in March 2017. Many of the documents are highly technical, and appear to describe agency practices for hacking a number of different targets.

CIA LogoAs NPR's Camila Domonoske and Greg Myre reported at the time, the documents are said to be to be internal guides to creating and using many kinds of hacking tools, "from turning smart TVs into bugs to designing customized USB drives to extract information from computers."

In court filings ahead of the trial, they have expressed frustration at the pace with which they are required to review materials surfaced during the discovery process.

Some of the charges against Schulte stem from the Espionage Act, and defense lawyers say they are unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. They also said the law was intended to be used to prosecute those who transmit government secrets to foreign governments, and that it shouldn't apply to leaking to WikiLeaks. The judge rejected those arguments.

Prosecutors have said that when Schulte was working at the CIA, he developed classified cyber tools, including tools to covertly gather data from computers.

The leak allegedly happened during a time of rising tension between Schulte and his CIA colleagues.

In the summer of 2015, according to prosecutors, Schulte started having "significant problems" in his group that stemmed from a feud with one of his colleagues. The feud deepened after the colleague reportedly complained about Schulte to management. Prosecutors say Schulte accused the employee of making a death threat against him and eventually filed a protective order against that person. They were reassigned to different teams.

Because of his reassignment, Schulte's access to previous projects was revoked. But prosecutors say he reinstated his own administrative privileges. Management at the Center for Cyber Intelligence discovered it, and they attempted to revoke privileges and change passwords. But they missed credentials for one computer network, according to prosecutors, and in April 2016, Schulte allegedly stole vast quantities of information from the network and passed the data along to WikiLeaks.

The judge has granted measures to protect the anonymity of certain witnesses from the CIA who are expected to testify. During those sessions, the courtroom will be closed to press, except for two pool reporters who have agreed not to disclose the physical characteristics of these witnesses. Other reporters in an adjoining courtroom will be able to see a video feed that won't show images of the witnesses.

Federal prosecutors originally indicted Schulte in 2017 on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. They said they discovered more than 10,000 images and videos of child pornography encrypted on Schulte's personal computer.

In July 2019, the court severed the child pornography-related charges from the rest of the case, meaning that those accusations will be addressed at a separate trial.

January

Jan. 31

60 Minutes Australia,

, Producer: Stephen Rice, Jan. 31, 2020 (22:24 min.)  It’s one of Australia’s biggest mysteries, involving drug trafficking, money laundering, CIA spies and claims of murder. The collapse of the infamous Nugan Hand Bank wiped out tens of millions of dollars, most of it from mum and dad investors.

When Frank Nugan, one of the founders of the bank, was found dead it meant just one man knew where the money was, and the answer to many more questions. Then he disappeared – vanished from the face of the earth. For 35 years he’s been out of reach of the Australian authorities – but now 60 Minutes has finally caught up with Michael Hand.

Jan. 30

Media News

julian assange npc event jan 30 2020 Custom

@Action_4Assange, an advocacy group for the civil rights of imprisoned WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, sponosored a panel discussion on Jan. 30, 2020 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The discussion is available via YouTube

. In related news, see a news report below based on a United Nations finding.

 

Courage Foundation video YouTube,

.be" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Prosecution of Julian Assange and Its Impact on the Freedom of the Press, expert panel appearing at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Jan. 30, 2020, published on Jan. 31 and filmed by Taylor Hudak‏ of @Action_4Assange (70:04 mins).

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has been indicted on 17 counts of Espionage and 1 count of conspiracy to commit computer crime for WikiLeaks' 2010 publications of the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary, and State Department cables leaked to WikiLeaks by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

On Jan. 30, 2020, these legal and academic experts discussed the impact of Assange's prosecution on the freedom of the press, at the National Press Club's First Amendment Lounge in Washington DC.

Speakers:

  • Jameel Jaffer, Director, Knight First Amendment Institute
  • Amy Jeffress, Attorney, former US Department of Justice
  • Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project

Moderator: Mary-Rose Papandrea, Constitutional Law Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Courage Foundation supports whistleblowers and the public's right to know. Courage hosts Julian Assange's defense site at defend.wikileaks.org

SwissInfo.org, UN rapporteur: Assange being set up to be ‘burnt at the stake,’ Nils Melzer, Jan. 31, 2020. The detention and potential extradition to the US of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is an attack on democratic principles and the freedom of the press, says the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.

In an interview with news outlet Republikexternal link, Melzer delivered a damning indictment of the legal and political systems in the United States, Britain, Sweden and Ecuador.

“It is obvious that what we are dealing with here is political persecution,” he said. “The case is a huge scandal and represents the failure of Western rule of law.”

Assange is currently in a high-security prison in Britain fighting extradition to the US. In 2010 the whistleblowing website Wikileaks published material from former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning of alleged US war crimes in Iraq.

Melzer got involved in the case last year but was dissatisfied with answers to his enquiries to the Swedish and British authorities. He has visited Assange in jail and says that the 48-year-old is being denied legal rights and is being subject to psychological torture that could cost him his life.

Melzer, who has previously criticised the Swiss government’s stance towards Assange, tells Republik that he has documentary evidence that Swedish police made up evidence to accuse Assange with rape, an investigation that was subsequently dropped.

“Four democratic countries joined forces – the US, Ecuador, Sweden and the UK – to leverage their power to portray one man as a monster so that he could later be burnt at the stake without any outcry. If Julian Assange is convicted, it will be a death sentence for freedom of the press,” Melzer said.

Assange is wanted for trial in the US to face several charges, including breaches of the Espionage Act. He continues to divide public opinion, with some accusing him of being a dangerous narcissist who endangers lives and others believing him to be a defender of democratic freedoms.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump signs executive order to combat human trafficking as some advocacy groups boycott summit, Jessica Contrera, Jan. 31, 2020. President Trump signed an executive order Friday creating a position within his domestic policy team dedicated solely to fighting human trafficking. The order, signed during a White House summit on the issue, also proposes an additional $42 million in funding for service programs and prosecutions.

“Human trafficking is worse than ever before because of the Internet,” Trump said. “The Internet has caused lots of good things to happen and lots of really bad things, and this is probably the worst of the bad things.”

Trump was joined by Vice President Pence and first daughter Ivanka Trump, whom he credited for championing the issue.

“I would say that this issue may be closest to her heart because of the level of evil that you would never believe is even possible in a modern age,” Trump said.

Ivanka Trump’s office organized the summit to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which established trafficking as a federal crime. While some anti-trafficking organizations were grateful for the spotlight on the issue, others boycotted the event, citing the administration’s treatment of trafficking victims who are immigrants. Among them was Polaris, the organization that runs the national human-trafficking hotline.

william barr new oHe praised Attorney General William P. Barr, right, for going after traffickers.

“My administration is fighting these monsters, persecuting and prosecuting them, locking them away for a very, very long time,” Trump said. “We have had a tremendous track record, the best track record in a long time.”

Statistics from the Justice Department show otherwise. Prosecutions of sex and labor traffickers, which fluctuated during the Obama years, are down from 531 in fiscal 2016 to 343 in fiscal 2019.

  • Washington Post, Anti-human-trafficking groups refuse to attend Ivanka Trump’s White House summit, Jessica Contrera, Jan. 30, 2020.

Jan. 30

julian assange npc event jan 30 2020 Custom

Action 4 Assange, an advocacy group for the civil rights of imprisoned WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, sponosored a panel discussion on Jan. 30, 2020 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The discussion is available via YouTube

. In related news, see a news report below based on a United Nations finding.

SwissInfo.org, UN rapporteur: Assange being set up to be ‘burnt at the stake,’ Nils Melzer, Jan. 31, 2020. The detention and potential extradition to the US of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is an attack on democratic principles and the freedom of the press, says the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.

In an interview with news outlet Republikexternal link, Melzer delivered a damning indictment of the legal and political systems in the United States, Britain, Sweden and Ecuador.

“It is obvious that what we are dealing with here is political persecution,” he said. “The case is a huge scandal and represents the failure of Western rule of law.”

Assange is currently in a high-security prison in Britain fighting extradition to the US. In 2010 the whistleblowing website Wikileaks published material from former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning of alleged US war crimes in Iraq.

Melzer got involved in the case last year but was dissatisfied with answers to his enquiries to the Swedish and British authorities. He has visited Assange in jail and says that the 48-year-old is being denied legal rights and is being subject to psychological torture that could cost him his life.

Melzer, who has previously criticised the Swiss government’s stance towards Assange, tells Republik that he has documentary evidence that Swedish police made up evidence to accuse Assange with rape, an investigation that was subsequently dropped.

“Four democratic countries joined forces – the US, Ecuador, Sweden and the UK – to leverage their power to portray one man as a monster so that he could later be burnt at the stake without any outcry. If Julian Assange is convicted, it will be a death sentence for freedom of the press,” Melzer said.

Assange is wanted for trial in the US to face several charges, including breaches of the Espionage Act. He continues to divide public opinion, with some accusing him of being a dangerous narcissist who endangers lives and others believing him to be a defender of democratic freedoms.

Jan. 29

keith raniere nxivm

ny times logoNew York Times, Nxivm ‘Sex Cult’ Was Also a Huge Pyramid Scheme, Lawsuit Says, Nicole Hong, Jan. 29, 2020. Eighty people contended that they were bilked out of millions of dollars through a “coercive” scheme by the self-help group. The self-help group Nxivm gained a reputation as a “sex cult” last year after its leader, Keith Raniere, was convicted of coercing some of his female followers into sexual servitude, even creating a ritual in which they were branded with his initials.

But a lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday illuminated another unsavory side of Nxivm. Most participants in the group were not Mr. Raniere’s sex slaves, the lawsuit said, but rather victims of an insidious pyramid scheme who were lured by false scientific claims into paying thousands of dollars for classes.

“They get you to not trust your own decision-making process,” said one former member, Sally Brink, who said she paid $145,000 to take Nxivm classes over the years. “They tell you that you need them to make decisions. You start to doubt everything.”

Ms. Brink was among the 80 plaintiffs who sued Mr. Raniere and 14 other associates of Nxivm (pronounced NEX-ee-um).

The 200-page lawsuit details sprawling allegations of fraud and abuse, including that Nxivm’s leaders drew “from methods used in pyramid schemes” to take people’s money and make it “physically and psychologically difficult, and in some cases impossible, to leave the coercive community.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Sonny Grosso, Detective Who Severed 'French Connection, Sam Roberts, Updated Jan. 29, 2020. He and his partner broke the heroin case that inspired that 1971 film. After he retired, he became a movie and television producer and consultant.

Sonny Grosso, the true-blue New York City police detective who with his gung-ho partner made the record heroin bust that inspired the Oscar-winning film “The French Connection,” died on Jan. 22 at his home in Manhattan. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by his longtime companion, Christina Kraus.

A product of East Harlem and the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mr. Grosso rose to the rank of detective first grade in the New York Police Department faster than any predecessor. He followed his 22 years on the force with a second career as a television producer and consultant for television shows about law enforcement, including “Kojak,” “Baretta” and “Night Heat,” and for the movie “The Godfather,” in which he played a detective named Phil.

Until he died, Mr. Grosso carried his off-duty .38-caliber Colt revolver, the very same gun that was taped to the tank of a toilet and fired (using blanks) by Al Pacino in a mob hit in “The Godfather.”

But Mr. Grosso was best known as the model for Buddy Russo, played by Roy Scheider in William Friedkin’s 1971 action thriller, “The French Connection,” which won five Academy Awards, including best picture. Gene Hackman portrayed Popeye Doyle, a doppelgänger for Mr. Grosso’s real-life partner, Edward R. Egan, who was revered for his bravery and nicknamed Bullets because he enjoyed firing his revolver for flamboyant effect. (Mr. Egan died in 1995.)

The film, a fictionalized account based on Robin Moore’s book of the same title, recounts how the case unfolded after the two detectives, out for drinks at the Copacabana nightclub, spotted known drug dealers adulating an unidentified man, whom they later discovered owned a greasy spoon luncheonette in Brooklyn.

They followed him on a hunch, and the trail led to a French smuggler who was shipping to the United States 100 pounds of heroin, some of it stolen from a police vault. Mr. Grosso determined the magnitude of the cache by weighing the Frenchman’s 1960 Buick Invicta when it arrived by ship and again when it was about to be transported back to France. (Mr. Grosso appears uncredited in the movie as a narcotics agent.)

Police said the seizure was a record amount at the time.

Jan. 27

Impeachment Headlines

djt impeachment graphic

Lev Parnas Trump Revelations

lev parnas ivanka jared kushner

 

Impeachment Trial Excerpts

john bolton youtube guardian

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Demands for Inquiries, Bolton Book Says, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Jan. 27, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump said he wanted to keep aid to Ukraine frozen until he got help with inquiries he sought, John Bolton (shown above in a Guardian file photo) wrote in drafts of a new book. The statement as described by Mr. Bolton, the former national security adviser, could undercut a key element of Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense.

john bolton surrender is not an optionPresident Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.

CNBC, Trump rages after reports that Bolton book claims president tied Ukraine aid to probes, Kevin Breuninger, Jan. 27, 2020. President Donald cnbc logoTrump vented rage Monday on Twitter, denying his ex-national security advisor John Bolton’s reported claim that the president withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to secure investigation into his political opponents.

But Trump flatly denied the account from Bolton, who left the White House in September amid a public dispute with the president over whether he resigned or was fired.

mitt romney headshot SmallLater Monday morning, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, right, of Utah told reporters, “I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.”

President Donald Trump vented rage on Twitter just hours before his Senate impeachment trial was set to resume Monday, denying his ex-national security advisor John Bolton’s reported claim that military aid to Ukraine was frozen in order to secure investigation into Trump’s political donald trump twitteropponents.

Trump’s pushback came amid growing pressure for the Republican-majority Senate to allow witnesses to testify in the trial.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Bolton, in his upcoming book “The Room Where It Happened,” wrote that ny times logoTrump personally tied a nearly $400 million aid package to Kyiv to an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. CNBC has not seen a copy of Bolton’s manuscript.

But Trump flatly denied the account from Bolton, who left the White House in September amid a public dispute with the president over whether he resigned or was fired.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Trump tweeted early Monday morning. “In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination.”

“If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” Trump claimed.

ny times logoNew York Times, Here are five revelations from Mr. Bolton’s book, Noah Weiland, Jan. 27, 2020 (print ed.). New revelations from the former White House national security adviser could complicate President Trump’s impeachment trial. ​President Trump directly tied the withholding of almost $400 million in American security aid to investigations that he sought from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript of a book that John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, wrote about his time in the White House.

john bolton full cropped CustomThe firsthand account of the link between the aid and investigations, which is based on meetings and conversations Mr. Bolton had with Mr. Trump, undercuts a key component of the president’s impeachment defense: that the decision to freeze the aid was independent from his requests that Ukraine announce politically motivated investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter.

In their opening arguments on Saturday in Mr. Trump’s trial, the president’s lawyers asserted that Mr. Trump had legitimate concerns about corruption in Ukraine and whether other countries were offering enough help for its war against Russian-backed separatists, which his lawyers said explained his reluctance to release the aid. They also said that Democrats had no direct evidence of the quid pro quo they allege at the heart of their impeachment case.

Multiple people described Mr. Bolton’s account. A draft of the manuscript, which offers a glimpse into how Mr. Bolton might testify in the trial if he were called to, was sent to the White House in recent weeks for a standard review process.

Here are five takeaways.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats call for Bolton to testify in Trump trial after new report on aid to Ukraine, Seung Min Kim and Felicia Sonmez​, Jan. 27, 2020 (print ed.). The New York Times, citing an unpublished manuscript of the former national security adviser’s book, reported that the president told John Bolton last August he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless it aided investigations into the Bidens.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: John Roberts Can Call Witnesses to Trump’s Trial. Will He? Neal K. Katyal, right, Joshua A. Geltzer and Mickey Edwards, neal katyal oJan. 27, 2020. Democratic House managers should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas for John Bolton and others.

the impeachment rules, like all trial systems, put a large thumb on the scale of issuing subpoenas and place that power within the authority of the judge, in this case the chief justice.

Most critically, it would take a two-thirds vote — not a majority — of the Senate to overrule that. This week, Democrats can and should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas on his authority so that key witnesses of relevance like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney appear in the Senate, and the Senate should subpoena all relevant documents as well.

Mr. Katyal and Mr. Geltzer are law professors at Georgetown. Mr. Edwards is a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma.

washington post logoWashington Post, Impeachment trial live updates: Trump team to resume defense amid fallout from new report on Bolton’s claim on withholding military aid from Ukraine, John Wagner, Jan. 27, 2020. President Trump’s legal team is set to resume its defense Monday in his Senate impeachment trial amid fallout from a new report that Trump told then-national security adviser John Bolton in August that he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless it aided investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: John Bolton’s bombshell gives the GOP a glimpse of its nightmare scenario, Aaron Blake, Jan. 27, 2020.  We finally got a taste Sunday night of what former national security adviser John Bolton might tell President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial — if he’s called to testify, that is.

What we learned reinforced the potential peril for Republicans if they refuse to let him do so.

Palmer Report, Analysis: Now we know why Donald Trump was racing against the clock, Bill Palmer, Jan. 27, 2020. Donald Trump and his legal team used just over two hours, out of their eight allotted hours for the day [Saturday], to present their farce of an impeachment trial defense. Then they called it a day. It suggested that they weren’t actually prepared to make a presentation, and that they had originally been planning to wait until Monday, before something suddenly changed.

bill palmer report logo headerAt the time, Palmer Report pointed out that Donald Trump appeared to be increasingly worried about the evidence that kept surfacing against him, and thus increasingly worried about Republican Senators deciding to cover their backsides by voting to call witnesses. By starting his defense on Saturday instead of waiting 'til Monday, Trump was ensuring that the trial would end sooner, and thus perhaps wrap up before the whole thing got out of control.

Now, thanks to the New York Times, we know that John Bolton’s upcoming book confirms that Donald Trump was guilty of a quid pro quo in his Ukraine scandal. We also now know that Bolton sent an advance copy of his book to the Trump White House last month, in order to get djt john bolton Customconfirmation that it didn’t contain any classified information.

This means Donald Trump was aware that John Bolton was looking to publish his book right around the time of the impeachment trial, and that Bolton was therefore likely going to end up wanting to testify at the trial in order to promote the book.

Republican Senators were already feeling the pressure to call witnesses as the Lev Parnas and “take her out” bombshells were dropping. Now we know that Trump knew the Bolton bombshell was coming too. No wonder he was having his lawyers try to get the trial over with as quickly as possible, even at the expense of forfeiting large chunks of his own defense presentation.

washington post logoWashington Post, Schiff ‘has not paid the price’ for impeachment, Trump says in what appears to be veiled threat, Felicia Sonmez and Elise Viebeck, Jan. 27, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump escalated his attacks on Rep. Adam B. Schiff on Sunday, issuing what appears to be a veiled threat against the California Democrat one day before Trump’s team is expected to deliver the crux of its defense in the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history.

“Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “He adam schiff squarehas not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is the lead impeachment manager in the Senate trial.

Schiff, right, responded in an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” saying he believes Trump’s remarks were intended as a threat.

“This is a wrathful and vindictive president; I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” Schiff said in the interview. “And if you think there is, look at the president’s tweets about me today, saying that I should ‘pay a price.’ ”

Mossad Assassinations

Unz Review, American Pravda: Mossad Assassinations: The JFK Assassination and the 9/11 Attacks? Ron Unz, right, Jan. 27, 2020. Final ron unzJudgment by the late Michael Collins Piper set forth the explosive hypothesis that Mossad had played a central role in the most famous assassination of the twentieth century, the 1963 killing of President John F. Kennedy.

While Ostrovsky’s books drew upon his personal knowledge of Israel’s secret intelligence service, Piper was a journalist and researcher who had spent his entire career at Liberty Lobby, a small activist organization based in DC. Being sharply critical of Israeli policies and Zionist influence in America, the group was usually portrayed by the media as part of the far right anti-Semitic populist fringe, and almost entirely ignored by all mainstream outlets. Its weekly tabloid Spotlight, which usually focused on controversial topics, had once reached a remarkable circulation of 300,000 in the unsettled times of the late 1970s, but then declined substantially in readership during the more placid and optimistic Reagan Era that followed.

Liberty Lobby had never much delved into JFK assassination issues, but in 1978 it published an article on the subject by Victor Marchetti, a prominent former CIA official, and as a result was soon sued for defamation by E. Howard Hunt of Watergate fame, with the lawsuit threatening its survival. In 1982 this ongoing legal battle attracted the involvement of Mark Lane, an experienced attorney of a leftist Jewish background who had been the founding father of JFK conspiracy investigations. Lane won the case at trial in 1985 and thereafter remained a close ally of the organization.

Piper gradually became friendly with Lane and by the early 1990s he himself had grown interested in the JFK assassination. In January 1994, he published his major work, Final Judgment, which presented an enormous body of circumstantial evidence backing his theory that Mossad had been heavily involved in the JFK assassination. I summarized and discussed the Piper Hypothesis in my own 2018 article:

cia logoFor decades following the 1963 assassination, virtually no suspicions had ever been directed towards Israel, and as a consequence none of the hundreds or thousands of assassination conspiracy books that appeared during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s had hinted at any role for the Mossad, though nearly every other possible culprit, ranging from the Vatican to the Illuminati, came under scrutiny. Kennedy had received over 80% of the Jewish vote in his 1960 election, American Jews featured very prominently in his White House, and he was greatly lionized by Jewish media figures, celebrities, and intellectuals ranging from New York City to Hollywood to the Ivy League.

Moreover, individuals with a Jewish background such as Mark Lane and Edward Epstein had been among the leading early proponents of an assassination conspiracy, with their controversial theories championed by influential Jewish cultural celebrities such as Mort Sahl and Norman Mailer. Given that the Kennedy Administration was widely perceived as pro-Israel, there seemed no possible motive for any Mossad involvement, and bizarre, totally unsubstantiated accusations of such a monumental nature directed against the Jewish state were hardly likely to gain much traction in an overwhelmingly pro-Israel publishing industry.

However, in the early 1990s highly regarded journalists and researchers began exposing the circumstances surrounding the development of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Seymour Hersh’s 1991 book The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy described the extreme efforts of the Kennedy Administration to force Israel to allow international inspections of its allegedly non-military nuclear reactor at Dimona, and thereby prevent its use in producing nuclear weapons. Dangerous Liaisons: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship by Andrew and Leslie Cockburn appeared in the same year, and covered similar ground.

Although Mark Lane was himself of Jewish origins and left-wing roots, after his victory for Liberty Lobby in the Hunt libel trial, he spent many years associated with that organization in a legal capacity, and apparently became quite friendly with Piper, one of its leading writers. According to Piper, Lane told him that Final Judgment made “a solid case” for a major Mossad role in the assassination, and he viewed the theory as fully complementary to his own focus on CIA involvement.

I suspect that concerns about these associations may explain why Lane was almost completely airbrushed out of the Douglass and 2007 Talbot books, and discussed in the second Talbot book only when his work was absolutely essential to Talbot’s own analysis. By contrast, New York Times staff writers are hardly likely to be as versed in the lesser-known aspects of the JFK assassination research community, and being ignorant of this hidden controversy, they gave Lane the long and glowing obituary that his career fully warranted.

Jan. 26

Impeachment Headlines

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Lev Parnas Trump Revelations

lev parnas ivanka jared kushner

 

Impeachment Trial Excerpts

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ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Defense Begins by Accusing Democrats of Subverting Election, Peter Baker, Jan. 26, 2020 (print ed.). President’s Lawyers Give Radically Different View of Facts. President Trump’s legal team attacked his accusers as trying to remove him because they could not beat him at the ballot box. Mr. Trump’s lawyers sought to turn the charges back on Democrats while denouncing the process as illegitimate.

President Trump’s legal defense team mounted an aggressive offense on Saturday as it opened its side in the Senate impeachment trial by attacking his Democratic accusers as partisan witch-hunters trying to remove him from office because they could not beat him at the ballot box.

After three days of arguments by the House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, the president’s lawyers presented the senators a radically different view of the facts and the Constitution, seeking to turn the Democrats’ charges back on them while denouncing the whole process as illegitimate.

“They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots all across the country on your own initiative, take that decision away from the American people,” Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel (shown above), said of the House managers. “They’re here,” he added moments later, “to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history, and we can’t allow that to happen.”

The president’s team spent only two of the 24 hours allotted to them so that senators could leave town for the weekend before the defense presentation resumes on Monday, but it was the first time his lawyers have formally made a case for him since the House opened its inquiry in September. The goal was to poke holes in the House managers’ arguments in order to provide enough fodder to Senate Republicans already inclined to acquit him.

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: Trump lawyers’ weak start opens the door to devastating questions, Jennifer Rubin, Jan. 26, 2020. President Trump’s lawyers’ repeated assertions Saturday that they would not take much time on their case confirmed that they know the result is in the bag and that they have embarrassingly little to say in Trump’s defense. The central problem for them remains: How do you contest the facts, or claim an absence of evidence when you won’t allow in available evidence?

As Democratic senators think ahead to question time, they might start formulating questions that perform one of five functions.

  • First are the questions that expose the lies.
  • Second are the questions that obviously require new documents and witnesses.

ny times logoNew York Times, Could Mr. Trump muzzle Mr. Bolton? We explain the limits of executive privilege, Charlie Savage, Jan. 26, 2020 (print ed.).  If senators vote to subpoena testimony for the impeachment trial, the president may not be able to block or delay a willing witness.

Republican senators allied with President Trump are increasingly arguing that the Senate should not call witnesses or subpoena documents for his impeachment trial because Mr. Trump has threatened to invoke executive privilege, and a legal fight would take too long to resolve.

But it is far from clear that Mr. Trump has the power to gag or delay a witness who is willing to comply with a subpoena and tell the Senate what he knows about the president’s interactions with Ukraine anyway — as Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser John R. Bolton has said he would do.

Here is an explanation of executive privilege legal issues.

Jan. 25

jeffrey epstein mcc cell 60 minutes

Epstein died in August at MCC Manhattan (shown above in a photo via CBS "60 Minutes") while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida. His cell is seen above after his death. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding. His cell is seen above after his death. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding.

Daily Mail, Warden who was in charge when Jeffrey Epstein died behind bars is quietly given a top job at 'Club Fed' prison -- despite Bill Barr ordering him assigned to a lowly desk job, Keith Griffith and Associated Press, Jan. 25, 2020. The warden in charge when Jeffrey Epstein died in his jail cell is getting a cushy new supervisor's job at 'Club Fed' despite Attorney General Bill Barr's demand that he be reassigned to a desk job.

Lamine N'Diaye is being reassigned to a leadership role at FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in Burlington County, New Jersey, two people familiar with the matter said.

The move comes months after Barr ordered N'Diaye be reassigned to a desk post at the Bureau of Prisons' regional office in Pennsylvania after Epstein´s death as the FBI and the Justice Department´s inspector general investigated.

One of the people said the agency planned to move N´Diaye into the new role on February 2. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal personnel matter.

It was unclear why the agency was planning to return N'Diaye to a position supervising inmates and staff members, even though multiple investigations into Epstein´s death remain active.

The inspector general's investigation is continuing, and the Justice Department is still probing the circumstances that led to Epstein´s death, including why he wasn´t given a cellmate.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderEpstein, right, died in August while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.

Epstein's death cast a spotlight on the Bureau of Prisons and highlighted a series of safety lapses inside a high-security unit of one of the most secure jails in America.

His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding and argued he may have been killed.

Barr said even Epstein's ability to take his own life in federal custody had raised 'serious questions that must be answered.'

He said in an interview with the AP in November that the investigation revealed a 'series' of mistakes made that gave Epstein the chance to take his own life and that his death was the result of 'a perfect storm of screw-ups.'

Epstein died in August at MCC Manhattan (above) while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida.

Two correctional officers responsible for watching Epstein have pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they lied on prison records to make it seem as though they had checked on Epstein, as required, before his death.

Instead, investigators say they appeared to sleep for two hours and had been browsing the internet - shopping for furniture and motorcycles - instead of watching Epstein, who was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.

The attorney general also removed the agency´s acting director in the wake of Epstein's death and named Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the prison agency´s director from 1992 until 2003, to replace him.

Since Epstein´s death and N'Diaye´s removal as warden, the Manhattan jail has had two interim leaders.

The newest warden, M. Licon-Vitale, used to oversee a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Her first big order of business has been to deal with jailed lawyer Michael Avenatti's complaints about his treatment at the lockup.

The Bureau of Prisons has been plagued for years by chronic violence, extensive staffing shortages and serious misconduct.

Jan. 24

More On Epstein Scandal

Cindy McCain, widow of longtime Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), admits 'we all knew' about Epstein in interview by Georgetown Professor Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, an expert on human rights, religious freedom, and international affairs. The session, "A Conversation: The Scourge of Human Trafficking" excerpted into a two-minute segment on YouTube, was part of a two-day panel "State of the World 2020" on Jan. 9 at Florida International University in Miami.

Washington Examiner, Cindy McCain admits ‘we all knew’ about Epstein, Spencer Neale, Jan. 24, 2020. Cindy McCain, the widow of late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), blasted authorities who were "afraid" to arrest convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein even though everyone "knew" what he was doing.

"Epstein was hiding in plain sight," said Cindy McCain. "We all knew about him. We all knew what he was doing, but we had no one that was — no legal aspect that would go after him. They were afraid of him. For whatever reason, they were afraid of him."

McCain's comments came after she was questioned by an attendee during her appearance at the State of the World 2020 conference in Florida (on Jan. 9, sponsored by Florida International University).

McCain said a girl from her daughter's high school was one of Epstein's victims and that she hopes Epstein "is in hell."

Epstein's massive wealth and his connections to powerful politicians and celebrities allowed him to continue trafficking young women and girls long after many had exposed his devious interests.

Dr. Barbara Sampson, the New York City medical examiner, said Epstein died by suicide at a Manhattan federal detention facility last August. His death and the circumstances surrounding it have created controversy after the former medical examiner of New York, Dr. Michael Baden, told 60 Minutes that he believes Epstein was murdered.

Cameras from outside Epstein's jail cell failed to record footage on the night of his death, and guards who were supposed to monitor him every 30 minutes fell asleep when the former financier died.

Jan. 21

Impeachment News

ny times logoNew York Times, News Analysis: ‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus, Charlie Savage, Updated Jan. 21, 2020. The president’s legal case would negate any need for witnesses. But constitutional scholars say that it’s wrong.

As President Trump’s impeachment trial opens, his lawyers have increasingly emphasized a striking argument: Even if he did abuse his powers in an attempt to bully Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election on his behalf, it would not matter because the House never accused him of committing an ordinary crime.

Their argument is widely disputed. It cuts against the consensus among scholars that impeachment exists to remove officials who abuse power. The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” means a serious violation of public trust that need not also be an ordinary crime, said Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on the topic.

“This argument is constitutional nonsense,” Mr. Bowman said. “The almost universal consensus — in Great Britain, in the colonies, in the American states between 1776 and 1787, at the Constitutional Convention and since — has been that criminal conduct is not required for impeachment.”

But the argument is politically convenient for Mr. Trump. For any moderate Republican senator who may not like what the facts already show about his campaign of pressure on Ukraine, the theory provides an alternative rationale to acquit the president.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Senators gird for spirited debate over rules governing Trump’s trial, John Wagner, Jan. 21, 2020. Senators are girding for a spirited debate Tuesday over the rules that will guide the impeachment trial of President Trump — just the third in history of a U.S. president — focused on his conduct toward Ukraine.

When it reconvenes, the chamber will take up a resolution proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that seeks a swift trial. Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), have panned the proposal, arguing it is part of an effort to “cover up” Trump’s dealings. On Tuesday, the House impeachment managers urged the Senate to reject McConnell’s rules.

The impeachment charges center on the allegation that Trump withheld military aid and a White House meeting to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Special Investigation: Trump attorney Pam Bondi -- mobbed up to her eyeballs, Wayne Madsen (WMR editor, author of 17 books, syndicated columnist and former Navy intelligence officer), Jan. 21, 2020.  Pam Bondi: From Florida cover-up artist to the White House Senate trial defense team.

Donald John Trump, impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on two articles – obstruction of Congress and abuse of office – has opted in choosing former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as one of his defense attorneys for his Senate trial to showcase Bondi, whose law enforcement record in Florida and Hillsborough County is rife with connections to organized crime.

Jan. 17

More On Epstein Death

jeffrey epstein mehmet oz david shankbone flickr palm beach sheriff dept Custom

Jeffrey Epstein (left). Dr Mehmet Oz. (Right). Photo credit: David Shankbone / Flickr (CC BY 2.0) and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department / Wikimedia

WhoWhatWhy, More Reasons to Question the Jeffrey Epstein ‘Suicide,’ Staff report, Jan. 17, 2020. Forensic pathologist Michael Baden has expanded on the evidence he provided to 60 Minutes. What he finds is more consistent with murder than with suicide.

On the heels of his analysis in a 60 Minutes interview pointing to reasons to believe Jeffrey Epstein may have been murdered, forensic pathologist Michael Baden is now back with more claims.

Baden, who was hired by Epstein’s family, presented his evidence on a Dr. Oz special, aired on January 16. In case you missed it, here are the main highlights with respect to the medical evidence. (He presented other evidence as well, on both shows.)

Previously, we posted our own observations that suggested Epstein may not have died from hanging: They concerned the strangeness of the marks across his throat — not only their location (too low, as pointed out by 60 Minutes), but the nature of the marks themselves.

Jan. 16

JFK Assassination

Kennedys and King Home, Opinion: More "Haagwash" from Lucien Haag, Milicent Cranor, Jan. 16, 2020. "Peer reviewed” forensics journal unintentionally proves conspiracy to cover up the truth — by publishing fresh fraud and decaying disinformation designed to sell the lone nut theory in the John Kennedy assassination. Have they no shame?

Lucien C. Haag, BS, describes himself as a “former criminalist and technical director of the Phoenix Crime Laboratory, with nearly 50 years of experience in the field of criminalistics and forensic firearm examinations; president, Forensic Science Services Inc.” And he was an “expert witness” in the November 2017 mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, hosted by South Texas College of Law.

In the December 2019 issue of the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Haag demonstrates this “expertise” with his article, The Unique and Misunderstood Wound Ballistics in the John F. Kennedy Assassination.

When it comes to this case, his expertise seems to be in the specialty of propaganda.

His article demonstrates scholarship below the level of a junior high school term paper. The title, like the rest of his story, is misleading. The wounds were not unique, and would have been understood had they been properly explored, and truthfully explained in previous investigations. But Haag is correct when he says the evidence is misrepresented — and he himself grossly misrepresents the evidence in crude attempts to perpetuate the government-approved narrative.

Jan. 14

Strategic Culture Foundation, Opinion: They Like to Get the Landmarks, Wayne Madsen, Jan. 14, 2020. In the 2016 science fiction sequel, Independence strategic culture logoDay: Resurgence, actor Jeff Goldblum, describing the targeting priorities of aliens invading the Earth, says, “They like to get the landmarks.” In both Independence Day and its sequel, movie viewers were treated to scenes of macabre-looking extraterrestrials destroying the Empire State Building, the White House, Los Angeles’s Tower Records building, and London’s Tower Bridge and “the Eye” wheel.

Destroying famous landmarks is not merely in the purview of motion picture aliens but also the president of the United States. In a series of tweets sent after Trump ordered the assassination at Baghdad International Airport of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Al Quds commander, Major General Qaseem Soleimani, he vowed to destroy Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the U.S. assassination of Iran’s most revered military leader.

Trump tweeted: “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have… targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

iran wants war graphic Custom 3Destroying cultural and religious sites during armed conflict is a war crime and a violation of international law. Not since 1944, when the German commander of Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, defied Adolf Hitler’s order to destroy the major cultural sites in Nazi-occupied Paris – the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Sacré-Cœur basilica, and others – had a military official so publicly defied a political leader.

Trump did not state what 52 Iranian cultural sites and antiquities were on his “hit list,” but informed observers believe they included the ruins of the capital of the Achaemenid Empire at Persepolis; the Kingdom of Elam’s holy city, Tchogha Zanbil; and Imam Square in Isfahan, all protected World Heritage sites protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), from which Trump withdrew the United States in 2019.

The world has in recent years witnessed a number of barbarian acts of destruction of world heritage cultural sites. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) destroyed several historical sites and objects of antiquity in Mosul, Iraq and Palmyra, Syria. In 2001, the Taliban blew up the UNESCO-protected Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, rendering them into a pile of rubble.

It is a sad commentary on the present state of the world that an American president would desire to put himself in the same barbarian category as Adolf Hitler, ISIL, and the Taliban. However, Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran appears to have very few boundaries.

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion:The Pentagon’s and CIA’s Power to Assassinate Americans, Jacob G. Hornberger (right, foundation president, book publisher, law school graduate and author), Jan. 14, 2020. Pentagon officials Jacob Hornbergerare assuring Americans that the Pentagon’s recent assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani (below at left) will make Americans safer. There is at least one big problem with that formulation, one that, unfortunately, many Americans still don’t recognize. That problem is this: the power of assassination wielded by the Pentagon and the CIA extends to American citizens.

Why is that a problem?

Because there is no way to reconcile a government’s power to assassinate its own citizens with the principles of a free society. A free society necessarily is one in which the government lacks the power to assassinate its own citizens.

Our American ancestors clearly understood this aspect of a free society. That’s why they demanded the enactment of the Fifth Amendment as a condition for accepting the new limited-government republic that was being proposed by the Constitution. The Fifth Amendment reads in part: “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” That phrase — due process of law, which stretches back to Magna qasem soleimani with zolfaghar orderCarta — has come to mean notice and trial, including trial by jury.

Americans had been operating under the Articles of Confederation for some 13 years when the delegates at the Constitutional Convention proposed a limited-government republic type of governmental system. Under the Articles, the federal government hadn’t even been given the power to tax, much less the power to assassinate American citizens. Americans were leery about the proposal for a limited-government republic because they feared that it might evolve into a government with totalitarian-like powers, such as the power to assassinate its own citizens.

Americans finally were persuaded to accept the deal but they demanded the enactment of the Bill of Rights to make sure that federal officials got the point. The Bill of Rights essentially says: “You don’t have the power to destroy our fundamental, God-given rights, and you also lack the power to kill us without following the principles of due process of law.”

george washington gilbert stuart portraitThe Framers did not bring into existence a government in which federal officials would be entrusted with the power of assassination. Instead, they made certain that the federal government was denied the power of assassination. They understood that freedom isn’t a government in which officials are exercising a power of assassination prudently, rarely, and wisely. They understood that freedom is a government in which officials don’t have the power to assassinate at all.

It is impossible to overstate the magnitude of the change that took place after World War II, when the federal government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state form of governmental structure. A national-security state is a totalitarian form of governmental structure, one that wields totalitarian-like powers. North Korea is a national security state. So are China, Russia, Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. And post-World War II United States.

The conversion of the federal government to a national-security state automatically brought into existence the power of the federal government to assassinate American citizens. At the moment of the conversion, the freedom of the American people was destroyed because, again, it is impossible to reconcile the totalitarian power of assassination with the principles of a free society.

Jan. 13

William Barr is sworn in as U.S. Attorney General. His wife, Donald Trump and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts look on

William Barr is sworn in as U.S. Attorney General. His wife, Donald Trump and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts look on (White House photo).

The New Yorker, William Barr, Trump’s Sword and Shield:  The Attorney General’s mission to maximize executive power and protect the Presidency, David Rohde (an executive editor of newyorker.com and the author of In Deep: The F.B.I., the C.I.A., and the Truth about America’s ‘Deep State’, forthcoming in April, 2020), Jan. 13, 2020 (January 20, 2020 Issue). For decades, Barr has argued that Congress is a menace to the Presidency.  As Attorney General, he’s poised to fight back.

Last October, Attorney General William Barr appeared at Notre Dame Law School to make a case for ideological warfare. Before an assembly of students and faculty, Barr claimed that the “organized destruction” of religion was under way in the United States. “Secularists, and their allies among the ‘progressives,’ have marshalled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values,” he said. Barr, a conservative Catholic, blamed the spread of “secularism and moral relativism” for a rise in “virtually every measure of social pathology”—from the “wreckage of the family” to “record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.”

The speech was less a staid legal lecture than a catalogue of grievances accumulated since the Reagan era, when Barr first enlisted in the culture wars. It included a series of contentious claims. He argued, for example, that the Founders of the United States saw religion as essential to democracy. “In the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people—a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order,” he said. Barr ended his address by urging his listeners to resist the “constant seductions of our contemporary society” and launch a “moral renaissance.”

Donald Trump does not share Barr’s long-standing concern about the role of religion in civic life.

(Though he often says that the Bible is his favorite book, when he was asked which Testament he preferred, he answered, “The whole Bible is incredible.”)

What the two men have in common is a sense of being surrounded by a hostile insurgency.

jeffrey epstein autopsy photos

Legal Schnauzer, Opinion: Surveillance video of Jeffrey Epstein's jail cell has been "accidentally" destroyed, and that along with analysis of autopsy evidence, points to homicide, not suicide, Roger Shuler, Jan. 13, 2020. Federal prosecutors revealed late last week that surveillance video from Jeffrey Epstein's first "suicide attempt" at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) no longer exists -- and that adds to troubling questions about Trump attorney general William Barr's possible involvement in a murder coverup, according to a D.C.-based investigative journalist.

The latest turn in the Epstein story came when attorneys for Epstein's cellmate -- former cop and quadruple drug-ring murderer Nicholas Tartaglione, below right -- requested the video in an nicholas tartaglione facebook Customapparent effort to clear their client of involvement in Epstein's death. The response from federal prosecutors? Any such video has been lost or destroyed. A new story (subscription required) at Wayne Madsen Report (WMR) says that only adds to the stench surrounding Epstein's death. Writes Madsen:

Federal prosecutors in New York have revealed that the MCC's video of the Special Housing Unit (SHU) cell where Epstein was placed with former cop Nicholas Tartaglione, charged with a quadruple homicide involving a drug ring, was "accidentally" destroyed. Epstein is said to have tried to commit suicide by hanging himself on July 23, 2019, while Tartaglione was in his cell. Under suspicion for strangling Epstein in the alleged first suicide attempt, Tartaglione's attorney requested a copy of the July 23 videotape to demonstrate that he "acted appropriately" in his sentencing. Federal prosecutors are asking for the death penalty for Tartaglione.

It is not known what Tartaglione meant by stating that he "acted appropriately" while Epstein tried to hang himself. Epstein's attorney claimed that marks on Epstein's neck (shown above) were more indicative of a strangling attempt, not an attempted suicide by hanging. Epstein had apparently passed information to his relatives that his first injuries were sustained as the result of a physical attack, and that it was Tartaglione who assaulted him.

How could an exceptionally dangerous bad actor, such as Tartaglione, be placed anywhere near the alleged sex trafficker Epstein, who because of his ties to Trump, was perhaps the nation's most high-profile inmate at the time? That is one of many head-scratchers in this case. Writes Madsen:

It is clear that Tartaglione is trying to bargain his way out of a death sentence. What is not clear is what the July 23 videotape, had it not been destroyed, would have shown. In a January 9 letter a federal judge, prosecutors stated that the MCC "inadvertently preserved video from the wrong tier," adding that the video from Epstein's and Tartaglione's cell "no longer exists." Earlier, prosecutors told the judge that the tape had been "lost." They then changed their story to state that the video they discovered was trained on the wrong cell.

It defies logic that one of the government's most secure correctional facilities, the one that held Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel chieftain "El Chapo" and Gambino family kingpin John Gotti during their trials, could have destroyed a videotape on its most high-profile inmate.

How ugly could Tartaglione's possible ties to Epstein's death get? The answer is "off-the-charts" ugly, as Madsen explains:

Just prior to Epstein's arrival at the MCC following his arrest at a New Jersey airport, Tartaglione had been found with a contraband cell phone. There is a distinct possibility that Tartaglione received orders over the cell phone to kill Epstein at the first practical opportunity. Tartaglione is now claiming that he "acted appropriately" in the cell with Epstein. In Targtaglione's world of gangland-style murders, "acting appropriately" might mean that he tried to carry out his orders to off Epstein, but, for some reason, Epstein managed to survive the attempted strangulation.

Once Epstein survived the first "suicide" event, did someone in authority takes steps to make sure he was safe? Nope.

After Epstein was found semi-conscious in his cell on July 23, he was moved to a special cell where he was placed under a suicide watch. An MCC psychologist later approved Epstein's removal from the suicide watch and back to the SHU. On August 10, Epstein was found strangled to death from what was reported to have been a noose crafted from a torn orange bed sheet (shown above at left). There are reports that “shrieking” and “shouting” were heard from Epstein’s cell shortly before his body was discovered by guards.

Media / Privacy / Elections

Julian Assange at Ecuador's Embassy (Photo Collage by The Indicter Magazine)

Julian Assange, center, at Ecuador's Embassy (Photo Collage by The Indicter Magazine)

The Hill, Opinion: Will Alleged CIA Misbehavior Set Julian Assange Free? James C. Goodale, Jan. 10, 2020. A few days before Christmas, Julian Assange testified to a Spanish court that a Spanish security company, UC Global S.L., acting in coordination with the CIA, illegally recorded all his actions and conversations, including with his lawyers, and streamed them back in real time to the CIA. He will, at the end of February, make a similar complaint to a British extradition court about the CIA’s alleged misbehavior.

Will such misbehavior, if proven, set Assange free?

The Daniel Ellsberg case may be instructive. You may recall that after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the “Pentagon Papers” case, Ellsberg was indicted under the Espionage Act for leaking Pentagon documents to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

julian assange facts wikileaks CustomAfter the trial commenced in San Francisco, it was brought to the judge’s attention that the “White House plumbers” broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Based on that information and other complaints of government misbehavior, including the FBI’s interception of Ellsberg’s telephone conversations with a government official, Judge William Matthew Byrne decided that the case should be dismissed with prejudice because the government acted outrageously.

For similar reasons, the case against Assange should be dismissed, if it reaches the U.S. courts.

The “plumbers” were a covert group formed by the Nixon White House to stop leaks of information from the government, such as the Pentagon Papers. They are notorious for their burglary at the Watergate complex, which led to former President Nixon’s downfall. Approximately nine months before the Watergate break-in, the plumbers, led by former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt, burglarized a psychiatrist’s office to find information that could discredit Ellsberg.

The CIA also was involved with the break-in. It prepared a psychiatric profile of Ellsberg as well as an ID kit for the plumbers, including drivers’ licenses, Social Security cards, and disguises consisting of red wigs, glasses and speech alteration devices.

Additionally, the CIA allowed Hunt and his sidekick, G. Gordon Liddy, to use two CIA safe houses in the D.C. area for meetings and storage purposes. Clearly, the CIA knew the plumbers were up to no good. It is unclear whether the CIA knew Ellsberg was the target, but it would not have taken much to figure it out.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais broke the story that UC Global invaded Assange’s privacy at the Ecuadorian embassy and shared its surveillance with the CIA. It demonstrated step-by-step, document-by-document, UC Global’s actions and its contacts with the CIA. UC Global reportedly installed cameras throughout Assange’s space in the embassy — including his bathroom — and captured Assange’s every word and apparently livestreamed it, giving the CIA a free TV show of Assange’s daily life.

After reading El Pais’s series, you would have to be a dunce not to believe the CIA didn’t monitor Assange’s every move at the Ecuadorian embassy, including trips to the bathroom.

Ecuador granted Assange asylum in their embassy for seven years, after he jumped bail in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for allegedly raping two Swedish women. (Those charges are now dismissed.) If you can believe it, Ecuador had hired UC Global to protect the Ecuadorian embassy and Assange. Not surprisingly, the CIA later made UC Global its spy to surveil Assange.

When there was a change of administration in Ecuador, Assange’s asylum was withdrawn, and he was immediately arrested by British police at the request of U.S. officials. The United States subsequently indicted him for violating the Espionage Act, for publishing the very same information published roughly contemporaneously by The New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde and Der Spiegel. (Assange already was subject to a sealed indictment in the United States for computer hacking.)

The behavior of UC Global and the CIA seems indistinguishable from the government’s behavior in the Ellsberg case, which a federal judge found to have “offended a sense of justice” and “incurably infected the prosecution” of the case. Accordingly, he concluded that the only remedy to ensure due process and the fair administration of justice was to dismiss Ellsberg’s case “with prejudice,” meaning that Ellsberg could not be retried.

Can anything be more offensive to a “sense of justice” than an unlimited surveillance, particularly of lawyer-client conversations, livestreamed to the opposing party in a criminal case? The alleged streaming unmasked the strategy of Assange’s lawyers, giving the government an advantage that is impossible to remove. Short of dismissing Assange’s indictment with prejudice, the government will always have an advantage that can never be matched by the defense.

The usual remedy for warrantless surveillance is to exclude any illegally obtained information from the trial, but that remedy is inapplicable here. The government’s advantage in surveilling Assange is not the acquisition of tangible evidence but, rather, intangible insights into Assange’s legal strategy. There is no way, therefore, to give Assange a fair trial, since his opponents will know every move he will make.

When Assange begins his extradition hearing, this will be part of his argument — that the CIA’s misbehavior violates his human rights by depriving him of his right to a fair trial.

The CIA will no doubt attempt to trump this argument by defending the surveillance on grounds of national security. This may be easier said than done, however: It is one thing to say the CIA can engage in surveillance abroad for its own intelligence-gathering purposes, and another to say it can listen to the private lawyer-client communications of a person against whom the U.S. government has an open criminal investigation.

More to the point, it does not seem immediately clear why eavesdropping on conversations of legal strategy protects U.S. national security. In my experience in national security cases (I led The New York Times lawyers in the “Pentagon Papers” case), every time the government is backed into a corner in such cases, it will simply serve up a defense of “national security” because it is difficult to defend against such an assertion and the government, consequently, has the ability to trump every competing argument.

James C. Goodale was the vice chairman and general counsel of The New York Times and is the author of “Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and other battles.”

Jan. 10

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Long Sordid History of Pentagon Intervention in Iraq, Jacob G. Hornberger, right (foundation president, book publisher, law school graduate and author), Jan. 10, 2020. There is no reason for the Pentagon to be Jacob Hornbergerdepressed, despondent, or angry over the fact that Iraqi officials are kicking the Pentagon out of Iraq. The Pentagon doesn’t belong in Iraq in the first place.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that ever since the Pentagon and the rest of the U.S. national-security establishment lost their official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union, with the end of the Cold War in 1989, Iraq never invaded the United States or even threatened to do so. In the 30 years that the Pentagon has been killing people and wreaking destruction in Iraq, it has always been the Pentagon that has been the aggressor and Iraq the defender.

Second, it’s also important to keep in mind that during the 1980s, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was a partner and ally of the Pentagon, when the Pentagon was helping him to wage his brutal 8-year war against Iran.

Third, U.S. officials expressed indifference to their partner and ally Saddam when he expressed exasperation with Kuwait, which, he said, was stealing oil from Iraq by slant-drilling into Iraqi land. That expressed indifference to a partner and ally could easily be construed as giving a green light for Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.

Fourth, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the dispute was no business of the Pentagon, given that the invasion did not constitute an invasion of the United States. Nonetheless, the Pentagon intervened in the conflict, notwithstanding the fact that Congress had not declared war on Iraq, as the Constitution requires. The Pentagon killed countless Iraqis in what was clearly an illegal U.S. war under U.S. law.

Fifth, the Pentagon had no business intentionally destroying Iraq’s water-and-sewage treatment plants during the course of its intervention. That was a war crime, especially since the Pentagon’s intent was to spread infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people.

Sixth, the Pentagon had no legitimate authority to establish “no-fly zones” over Iraq after hostilities ended. The Pentagon continue to kill Iraqis during the enforcement of such zones, including a teenage boy who was just tending his sheep.

Seventh, the Pentagon had no business enforcing sanctions on Iraq during the 1990s, especially when it became painfully clear that they were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, including through infectious illnesses from polluted water. The sanctions were preventing Iraqis from repairing the water-and-sewage treatment plants that the Pentagon had intentionally destroyed during the Persian Gulf War. It was the deaths of those children that turned out to be a major contributing cause to anti-American terrorism, such as the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, the 9/11 attacks, the Fort Hood attacks, the Detroit would-be attack, and many more.

Eighth, the Pentagon had no legitimate authority to invade Iraq after the 9/11 attacks because Congress never issued a declaration of war against Iraq, as the Constitution requires. Moreover, even if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in violation of UN resolutions, only the UN had the authority to enforce its own resolutions. Iraq never invaded the United States. That made the Pentagon the aggressor against Iraq once again. The Pentagon killed and injured countless more Iraqis in the process and ended up destroying the entire country under its mantra “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Ninth, once the Pentagon discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction, which was the Pentagon’s excuse for the invasion in the first place, it should have apologized for its “mistake” and come home. Instead, the Pentagon stayed in Iraq for several more years, killing and injuring countless more Iraqis during its occupation and wreaking continued destruction all across the country.

Tenth, the Pentagon’s invasion of Iraq gave rise to ISIS, which the Pentagon used as the excuse for wreaking even more death and destruction, not only in Iraq but also across the Middle East. That’s why the Pentagon is in Iraq today—ostensibly to defeat the entity that the Pentagon brought into existence with its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Evicting the Pentagon from Iraq is the best thing Iraqi officials could do, both for the people of the Middle East and the United States. The Pentagon has wreaked enough death, suffering, and destruction in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. The sooner the Pentagon comes home, the better off everyone will be.

Climate Change / Media / Economy

jane fonda publicity dec 17 Custom

Down With Tyranny! Opinion: Jane Fonda Is Pitching For Our Future. Lend an Ear, Skip Kaltenheuser, Jan. 9, 2020. Even for those already in the climate choir, Jane Fonda’s sermon last month at the National Press Club is well worth the time to read or watch and listen to. I’ve logged loads of press club luncheon speeches over the years. This was one of the finest I’ve heard. Fonda eloquently described how global warming has us up against the wall. Not just the heartfelt delivery one expects from Oscar winners, but the essential substance and slightly wicked wit woven throughout. Send it to those needing motivation to confront the stark realities before us and to act (59 min. video here via C-SPAN and YouTube).

Fonda’s many actions include Fire-drill Fridays, protests for which she temporarily moved to DC in September, at which she’s been arrested a half dozen times. If you’re around Washington, the last drill before her return to acting commitments in L.A. is Jan. 10. Guest speakers include Bill McKibben and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Fonda's speech took no prisoners, calling out a range of climate villains, including Exxon, which over forty years ago knew the truth about the effect of increasing CO2 gases and the short window to address it, and whose executives, when their scientists informed them of the global impacts, replied “This problem is not as significant to mankind as a nuclear holocaust or world famine.”

jane fonda dec.17 npc"And they continued to drill," said Fonda, right. "Exxon, Shell, Mobil, and others knew that their products wouldn’t stay profitable once the world understood the risks. So they used the same consultants that the tobacco companies had used to launch a huge communications effort, to develop strategies on how to fool us."

"The difference is that tobacco companies were primarily harming people who smoke. The fossil fuel companies are harming the entire planet and all its inhabitants. The companies not only hid what they knew, a coalition, together with the Koch brothers and other billionaires spent tens of millions of dollars on think tanks, like the Heartland Institute, that promote false science, sowing confusion about global warming, so that people won't try to stop them. Their line was, and continues to be, that the, “Science about climate change is not clear. And even if it were, the fault lies with governments and consumers, not with them.” You see, but the thing is, these oil companies have played a big role in actively stopping governments from enacting clean energy policies, with Exxon leading the way."

That includes Exxon’s undermining the 1998 International Treaty on Climate, the Kyoto Protocol. Fonda points to other bad actors, like the American Petroleum Institute, with its new video, America’s Energy Security: A Generation of Progress at Risk, equating fracking and drilling with patriotism, as Republicans including Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania introduce resolutions to prohibit a President from implementing a unilateral moratorium on fracking, and as the Manhattan Institute, with significant backing from fossil fuels concerns, warns of global recession if the US bans fracking. It won’t shock that Fonda advocates legal consequences for knowing deceptions and environmental damage.

To claims like Toomey’s that American oil and gas production is the only path to energy security, Fonda asks if it’s necessary for energy security, what are we doing shipping it overseas? She quoted Oil Change International that 45% of existing drilling wouldn’t be profitable without taxpayers subsidizing fossil fuels with over $16 billion dollars a year.

She didn’t mention it, but that’s dwarfed by military expenditures underpinning escapades with oil in mind. They arguably include backing Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-88, the invasions of Iraq, and shoring up the Saudi regime and the UAE and pumping up their ally Israel. Now we’re doing that trio's bidding with a dance in the dark with Iran.

ny times logoNew York Times, White House Moves to Exempt Big Projects From Environmental Review, Lisa Friedman, Jan. 9, 2020. The Trump Administration, hoping to speed infrastructure projects like pipelines, will formally introduce changes to a landmark environmental law.

The White House on Thursday introduced major changes to the nation’s benchmark environmental protection law, moving to ease approval of major energy and infrastructure projects without detailed environmental assessment or consideration of climate change.

epa general logoMany of the changes to the law — the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act, a landmark measure that touches nearly every significant construction project in the country — had been long sought by the oil and gas industry as well as trade unions, which have argued that the review process is lengthy, cumbersome and used by environmental activists to drag out legal disputes and kill infrastructure projects.

Under the law, major federal projects like bridges, highways, pipelines or power plants that will have a significant impact on the environment require an review, or environmental impact statement, outlining potential consequences. The proposed new rules would narrow the range of projects that require such a study and impose strict new deadlines on completing assessments.

World News

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Kangaroo rushes past a burning house Tuesday in Lake Conjola, New South Wales, Australia (Photo: Matthew Abbott for The New York Times).

washington post logoWashington Post, A billion animals have been caught in Australia’s fires. Some may go extinct, Karin Brulliard and Darryl Fears, Jan. 9, 2020.  Some of the rarest species on Earth are threatened by fires scorching their habitats, scientists warn. Expert says Australian habitats might take centuries to recover — if at all

The mouse-size dunnart is not as iconic as the koalas or platypuses that draw tourists, but it is arguably the most special mammal on Australia’s Kangaroo Island.

Now the Kangaroo Island dunnart’s days may be numbered. Before bush fires struck, it was already endangered, so rare that even researchers who studied them had never seen one. Now they fear they never will. One-third of the 1,700-square-mile island has burned, including the entire area where these dunnarts are known to live.

“One hundred percent — all of our records since 1990 are within the burned fire scar. The entire range of the species has been burned,” said Rosemary Hohnen, an ecologist who spent more than two years surveying the Kangaroo Island dunnart. “They’re in true peril, real peril of extinction.”

Jan. 7

Media News

daniel hopsickerMadcow News, Investigation & Commentary: Paint It Mint, Daniel Hopsicker, right, Jan. 7, 2020. On the eve of war, with breaking news advancing like an electrical storm across the horizon, I was outmaneuvered by an internet troll into promising to explain what I know about a bizarre little Minneapolis news site called MintPress News.

This is that story.

Who stands behind Mint Press, a small Minneapolis-based site with a progressive bent that hides its funding even from employees and has mysterious connections to the Middle East?

Their poking around also establishes the nature of the mystery. The background to the case.

In stories filed with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MinnPost, and the Colombia Journalism Review, journalists on the ground in Minnesota provided most of the following details.

Interviews with former employees and people familiar with the inner workings of Mint Press, they wrote, paint a portrait of a dysfunctional outlet where employees are left in the dark about the site’s sources of funding and are alienated from the Muhawesh family that runs it:

odeh muhawesh CustomMnar Muhawesh, the editor-in-chief, her brother-in-law and managing editor Muhammad Muhawesh, and her father-in-law Odeh Muhawesh, 54, left, a Minneapolis businessman born in Jordan.

They also revealed an agenda that lines up, from its sympathy with the Syrian regime to its hostility to Sunni Saudi Arabia, with that of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where Odeh Muhawesh studied under an ayatollah for five years after the Islamic Revolution, and where he visited as recently as last summer.

A fellow researcher recently discovered information indicating Odeh Muhawesh was part of a government operation with the father of Peter Strzok, the recently-famous and controversial FBI Agent.

Before to the invasion of Iraq by the George W. Bush regime, Muhawesh opened an office as president of Middle East Trading Company, Inc. in Jordan to provide agricultural and developmental projects within Iraq with funding from federal agencies like U.S. AID and the United Nations World Food Progress.

Peter Strzok, Sr. was the former director of humanitarian and development programs throughout the Middle East. Strzok organized a program to send used tractors and other farm equipment to Iraq.

Both Muhawesh and Srtzok’s Dad, himself a former FBI Agent, are affiliated with the Minnesota-based American Refugee Committee, part of a USAID program to distribute relief supplies in Iraq.

If their USAID program wasn’t connected to the CIA, it would likely be the only one operating in country.

 daniel hopsicker barry boys coverJustice Integrity Project Editor's Note: The project has not independently verified the allegations in the investigation above made by Hopsicker, author of Barry and the Boys, whose cover is shown at right, and Welcome To Terrorland. Our project has excerpted columns also by MintPress News, most notably a series of cutting-edge reports by Whitney Webb during the summer of 2019 regarding context for the Jeffrey Epstein scandals. We are seeking reaction from MintPress News and Webb to Hopsicker's report.

Justice Integrity Project, MintPress News Denounces Hopsicker's Claims As Error-Filled 'Smear,' Andrew Kreig, Jan. 13, 2020 (updated). MintPress News Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh and correspondent Whitney Webb rebutted claims made Madcow News founder Daniel Hopsicker in the column above, describing it as a poorly researched, inaccurate and highly biased "dangerous smear."

Webb, shown below in one of the photos she uses to illustrate her columns, wrote on Twitter on Jan. 8, "Dangerous smear about Mintpress sadly coming from D Hopsicker, who falsely claims that it has 'direct ties' to Iran and whitney webb twitterspecifically Soleimani at a time when the US is about to go to war w Iran and MSM calling Soleimani a 'terrorist'. Clear attempt to get MPN deplatformed."

She wrote also, using the Twitter name @whitneywebb, "Hopsicker also claiming, after looking up the names of my relatives, that my dad worked for the OSS, an agency that was liquidated years before my dad was even born. Hopsicker began to 'investigate"'me after he implied I was a Nazi for merely being an American living in Chile."

"Hopsicker's problem with me,"  Webb continued, "is because I wrote about the links between Epstein and Israeli intel (I also covered his links to US Intel btw). His smears now being promoted by other alt media ppl who think it's impossible that I wrote my Epstein series w/o special help fr a govt."

In another Tweet, she wrote, "Nearly [sic] smear since my Epstein series has come from old men in alt media who are clearly upset that a woman half their age (I'm 30) made connections in that case in a couple of months that they couldn't make for years."

MintPress editor Muhawesh wrote in a separate Tweet, "No mention of my response to BuzzFeed smear & Odeh's role as a tech & HR advisor when I first started MPN. Why didn't Hopsicker mention my actual editorial & other business advisors like Mickey Huff & Kate Madonna. Is it because they are not brown Muslims?"

The MintPress website describes its background and alliances in part as follows: "MintPress News is proud to partner with leading journalism venues and activist sites that work tirelessly to bring attention to social justice issues at home and abroad. These syndication partners include: Shadow Proof, TruthOut, CommonDreams, Media Roots, War Is A Crime, Occupy.com , and several others. Become a MintPress partner! If you’d like to become a syndication or news partner or are simply interested in collaborating on an investigation with MintPress, contact our editor Mnar Muhawesh."

Hopsicker replied with a Jan. 11 Tweet asserting in call capitals, "THE SECOND THING...WHITNEY WEBB DISSOCIATED HERSELF FROM MINT PRESS NEWS YESTERDAY."

Webb responded the same day as follows: "For those asking, this is not even remotely true. I have several reports coming out for Mintpress this week. An absurd smear campaign inventing its own victory lap. Can't make this stuff up."

Jan. 6

Tom Dispatch via Truthdig, Opinion: Trump Threatens Armageddon in Afghanistan, Nick Turse, Jan. 6, 2020. On February 4, 2002, a Predator drone circled over Afghanistan’s Paktia province, near the city of Khost. Below was al-Qaeda’s founder Osama bin Laden — or at least someone in the CIA thought so — and he was marked for death. As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put it later, both awkwardly and passively: “A decision was made to fire the Hellfire missile. It was fired.” That air-to-ground, laser-guided missile — designed to obliterate tanks, bunkers, helicopters, and people — did exactly what it was meant to do.

As it happened, though (and not for the first time in its history either), the CIA got it wrong. It wasn’t Osama bin Laden on the receiving end of that strike, or a member of al-Qaeda, or even of the Taliban. The dead, local witnesses reported, were civilians out collecting scrap metal, ordinary people going about their daily work just as thousands of Americans had been doing at the World Trade Center only months earlier when terror struck from the skies.

In the years since, those Afghan scrap collectors have been joined by more than 157,000 war dead in that embattled land. That’s a heavy toll, but represents just a fraction of the body count from America’s post-9/11 wars. According to a study by the Costs of War Project of Brown University’s Watson Institute, as many as 801,000 people, combatants and noncombatants alike, have been killed in those conflicts. That’s a staggering number, the equivalent of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. But if President Donald Trump is to be believed, the United States has “plans” that could bury that grim count in staggering numbers of dead. The “method of war” he suggested employing could produce more than 20 times that number in a single country — an estimated 20 million or more Afghans, almost all of them civilians.

It’s a strange fact of our moment that President Trump has claimed to have “plans” (or “a method”) for annihilating millions of innocent people, possibly most of the population of Afghanistan. Yet those comments of his barely made the news, disappearing within days. Even for a president who threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea and usher in “the end” of Iran, hinting at the possibility of wiping out most of the civilian population of an ally represented something new.

After all, America’s commander-in-chief does have the authority, at his sole discretion, to order the launch of weapons from the vast U.S. nuclear arsenal. So it was no small thing last year when President Trump suggested that he might unleash a “method of war” that would kill at least 54% of the roughly 37 million inhabitants of Afghanistan.

And yet almost no one — in Washington or Kabul — wanted to touch such presidential comments. The White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department all demurred. So did the chief spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. One high-ranking Afghan official apologized to me for being unable to respond honestly to President Trump’s comments. A current American official expressed worry that reacting to the president’s Afghan threats might provoke a presidential tweet storm against him and refused to comment on the record.

Experts, however, weren’t shy about weighing in on what such “plans,” if real and utilized, would actually mean. Employing such a method (to use the president’s term), they say, would constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, and possibly a genocide.

Jan. 5

CBS Epstein Probe

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The New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled Epstein's death a suicide by hanging, but a forensic pathologist (shown above in a CBS 60 Minutes screenshot) who observed the four-hour autopsy on behalf of Epstein's brother, Mark, tells 60 Minutes the evidence released so far points more to murder than suicide in his view. Dr. Michael Baden's key reason: the unusual fractures he saw in Epstein's neck.

cbs news logoCBS, 60 Minutes investigates the death of Jeffrey Epstein, Produced by Oriana Zill de Granados, correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi, Jan. 5, 2019. (14:14 mins). 60 Minutes examines the circumstances surrounding his death in a Manhattan federal jail cell. Warning: This report contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing. Continued from above.

In July 2019, Jeffrey Epstein, already a convicted sex offender, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors. On August 10, Epstein was found dead in his federal jail cell at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC).

The New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled Epstein's death a suicide by hanging, but a forensic pathologist who observed the four-hour autopsy on behalf of Epstein's brother, Mark, tells 60 Minutes the evidence released so far points more to murder than suicide in his view. Dr. Michael Baden's key reason: the unusual fractures he saw in Epstein's neck.

"There were fractures of the left, the right thyroid cartilage and the left hyoid bone," Baden said. "I have never seen three fractures like this in a suicidal hanging."

"Going over a thousand jail hangings, suicides in the New York City state prisons over the past 40-50 years, no one had three fractures," Baden said.

The medical examiner's office said it stands "firmly" behind its finding of suicide by hanging, arguing that fractures of the hyoid bone and cartilage can be seen in both suicides and homicides.

Still, questions linger.

Epstein was directing money to be deposited in other inmates' commissary accounts in exchange for protection, sources say, because he feared for his life. But the government says Epstein was suicidal and made his first, failed suicide attempt weeks after he arrived at MCC.

According to a federal indictment, on July 23 Epstein was found "on the floor of his cell with a strip of bedsheet around his neck." The government says it was a failed suicide attempt, but Epstein claimed his cellmate, 52-year-old former police officer Nick Tartaglione, attacked him. Tartaglione, who is accused of murdering four men, denied that and his lawyer says: "Absolutely nothing like that happened." His lawyer also says Tartaglione was cleared by jail officials.

jeffrey epstein new mug cropped july 2019Epstein was put on suicide watch after the incident, but one week later, "at the direction of the MCC's psychological staff," he was taken off suicide watch and "required to have an assigned cellmate."

Epstein (Jeffrey Epstein, seen in a March 28, 2017, image provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry) was moved back to his old unit and assigned a new cellmate, but the night before his death, Epstein's cellmate was released. According to court documents, "no new cellmate was assigned" before he died, even though he was required to have one.

That night, federal prosecutors say, "Epstein was escorted into his cell by Tova Noel at approximately 7:49 p.m." Noel and Michael Thomas, the two guards who were working the overnight shift in Epstein's unit, allegedly didn't check on him again until "shortly after 6:30 a.m." the next morning.

The two guards have been charged with falsifying documents and conspiracy to defraud the federal government. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Federal prosecutors say surveillance video "makes clear" that the guards "search[ed] the internet" and "appear to have been asleep" on their overnight overtime shift. One thing the video may not show, according to sources, is Epstein's cell door and the doors of the other inmates on his unit tier. Sources say the camera that should have captured those angles was corrupted the night of Epstein's death. Epstein's cell was about 15 feet away and up a set of stairs from the guards' station, with a single locked gate between them.

60 Minutes reviewed hundreds of graphic photographs from Epstein's autopsy and inside his cell. There are multiple nooses, a bit of orange sheet tied to the grate of a window. On the top bunk, bottles and medicines stand upright. Below it, another piece of fabric is tied through a hole on the bed about four feet from the ground.

Did Epstein, who was nearly 6 feet tall and 185 pounds, somehow lean in and hang himself from the lower bunk? We don't know.

Dr. Baden, the forensic pathologist hired by Epstein's family, says the noose that was sketched and included in the autopsy report doesn't appear to match the wounds on Epstein's neck. And Baden says, the ligature mark was in the middle of Epstein's neck, not beneath the jawbone, as one would expect in a hanging. Also puzzling to Baden is that Epstein would make a noose out of a bedsheet when wires and cords were present in his cell, as photographs show.

There are not any photos of Epstein's body in his cell, Baden says – he was rushed to an emergency room after guard Michael Thomas found him. But Baden believes, based on the autopsy, Epstein had been dead for two hours by then and he says the scene should have been treated as a crime scene, leaving the body alone. Federal Bureau of Prisons protocol mandates a suicide scene should be treated with the "same level of protection as any crime scene in which a death has occurred."

Baden has taken several controversial positions over his decades-long career.

.And Baden said, at this point, he doesn't have all the information needed to make a final conclusion. The Justice Department told the family, they say, that it won't release the video pertaining to the case and additional forensic testing because of the ongoing criminal case against the two guards on duty the night of Epstein's death.

The charges have also silenced the guards themselves. Michael Thomas's attorney Montell Figgins says Thomas still hasn't spoken to investigators or revealed how he, alone, found Epstein's body, a key piece of information in any death investigation.

One member of the Justice Department who has gone on record about the case is Attorney General William Barr. He told reporters in November he personally reviewed surveillance video that showed nobody entered the area where Epstein was held. Sources say he may be talking about surveillance video above the guard area or at the entrance to the Special Housing Unit. But this remains to be seen as the Department of Justice would not comment to 60 Minutes about which cameras were working that night.

Jan. 4

U.S. Attack In Iraq

washington post logoWashington Post, With missile strike, Trump opts for escalation and a swing at a ‘hornets’ nest,’ Joby Warrick and William Branigin, Jan. 4, 2020 (print ed.). Trump administration officials described the fiery attack as a defensive measure intended to disrupt Iranian plans to kill qasem soleimani with zolfaghar orderU.S. diplomats or service members overseas.

But current and former U.S. officials said the United States almost certainly will face retaliatory strikes for the killing of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, as well as a heightened risk of a wider regional conflict, which U.S. administrations previously had sought to avoid.

washington post logoWashington Post, At Baghdad funeral procession for Qasem Soleimani, calls for retaliation against U.S., Mustafa Salim, Kareem Fahim and Louisa Loveluck​, Jan. 4, 2020  Thousands joined the ceremonies on Saturday for Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi militia leader. “We will take our revenge,” some chanted.

Iran has vowed to retaliate against the United States for the killing of Soleimani, Tehran’s most powerful military commander, and the Trump administration has said it is sending thousands of new troops to the Middle East. The looming confrontation has left the region bracing for an escalation of violence, and Iraq, caught between its allies in Tehran and Washington, fears the country will be at the center of the storm.

An Iranian commander quoted by the Tasnim News Agency on Saturday suggested that dozens of American facilities and military assets in the Middle East were at risk, along with Israel, a key U.S. ally.

washington post logoWashington Post, Why Soleimani’s killing is different from other targeted attacks by U.S., Siobhán O'Grady, Jan. 4, 2020. After the killing of Soleimani, the United States could face direct Iranian reprisals, including potential cyberattacks, analysts said. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, threatened “severe revenge” but gave no indication of what could come.

Barbara Slavin, the director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, said Trump is “trying to do a victory lap here and beat his chest and somehow show this is like killing Baghdadi.” She was referring to the October raid on the hideout of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northwestern Syria. “But it’s not. It’s much more serious,” she said.

Like Baghdadi’s, other targeted killings carried out by the United States have typically struck at extremist leaders without affiliations to a powerful state such as Iran.

Jan. 3

World News qassem soleimani exploded car Custom 2

washington post logoWashington Post, Iran vows revenge after U.S. drone strike kills elite force commander, Louisa Loveluck​​, Jan. 3, 2019. The death of Quds qasem soleimani with zolfaghar orderForce commander Qasem Soleimani, right, could plunge the region into a new cycle of violence. His death in the wreckage of a two-car convoy (shown above) in Baghdad left U.S. outposts bracing for retaliation.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq warned its citizens to leave “immediately.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he discussed the operation afterward with British and Chinese officials, telling them that “the U.S. remains committed to de-escalation.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Attack at Baghdad Airport Is Major Escalation in U.S.-Iran Conflict, Michael Crowley, Falih Hassan and Eric Schmitt, Jan. 3, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump ordered the killing of the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, right, in a drone strike on the Baghdad International Airport early Friday, American officials said.

“General Suleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “General Suleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the statement added. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.” (More detail below.)

washington post logoIran FlagWashington Post, Why Iraq is at the center of the dispute between Iran and U.S., Adam Taylor​, Jan. 3, 2019. The location of this round of violence shows how Iraq is again stuck in the middle of the dispute between the United States and Iran — a dangerous place for a country still reeling from years of dictatorship, war and extremism.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Analysis: Soleimani coordinated the battle against ISIS in Iraq with U.S. and its allies, Wayne Madsen, Jan. 3, 2020. It was less than five years ago that U.S. troops in Iraq were coordinating with Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and members of his elite Al Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attacks on the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq. The Al Quds Force is the foreign expeditionary arm of the IRGC.

A 2015 photograph showed Soleimani [circled] in Tikrit, the hometown of the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, along with U.S., Iraqi government, British, and French forces, as well as members of the Iraqi Shi'a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). During the battle with ISIL, Soleimani also coordinated operations against the Saudi-backed jihadist forces with Pershmerga paramilitary forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.

Consortium News, Opinion: VIPS MEMO: Doubling Down Into Yet Another ‘March of Folly,’ This Time on Iran, Jan. 3, 2020. “We write with a sense of urgency suggesting you avoid doubling down on catastrophe,” Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) tells Donald Trump in its latest memo to the president.

The drone assassination in Iraq of Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani evokes memory of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914, which led to World War I. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to warn of “severe revenge.” That Iran will retaliate at a time and place of its choosing is a near certainty. And escalation into World War III is no longer just a remote possibility, particularly given the multitude of vulnerable targets offered by our large military footprint in the region and in nearby waters.

What your advisers may have avoided telling you is that Iran has not been isolated. Quite the contrary. One short week ago, for example, Iran launched its first joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman, in an unprecedented challenge to the U.S. in the region.

It is time to call a spade a spade. The country expecting to benefit most from hostilities between Iran and the U.S. is Israel (with Saudi Arabia in second place). As you no doubt are aware, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life. He continues to await from you the kind of gift that keeps giving. Likewise, it appears that you, your son-in-law, and other myopic pro-Israel advisers are as susceptible to the influence of Israeli prime ministers as was former President George W. Bush. Some commentators are citing your taking personal responsibility for providing Iran with a casus belli as unfathomable. Looking back just a decade or so, we see a readily distinguishable pattern.

Consortium News, Opinion: US Kick Starts Raging ’20s Declaring War on Iran, Pepe Escobar, Jan. 3, 2020. Iraq is the preferred battleground of a proxy war against Iran that may now metastasize into hot war, with devastating consequences.

Consortium News, Opinion: Qassem Suleimani Air Strike Escalates US Assassination Policy, Luca Trenta, Jan. 3, 2020. The killing of the Iranian general signals an escalation in the U.S. policy of assassination and targeted killing, says Luca Trenta.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: For Trump, a Risky Gamble to Deter Iran, David E. Sanger, Jan. 3, 2020. American officials have no doubt the Iranians will respond — but they don’t know how quickly, or how furiously. President Trump’s decision to strike and kill the second most powerful official in Iran turns a slow-simmering conflict with Tehran into a boiling one, and is perhaps the riskiest move made by the United States in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Jan. 3

LewRockwell.com, Book Review: How Controlled Explanations Are Achieved, Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 3, 2020. In 2014 Progressive Press published a book by a French author, Laurent Guyenot, titled JFK-9/11: 50 Years of Deep State. The book contains much interesting reporting that shows that the official explanations we are given about even major events, such as the assassination of a President and 9/11, are transparently false. Yet, these transparently false explanations are hard to challenge despite all available evidence being against the explanations.

Reviewing such a book is a challenge that I avoided by securing permission to reprint two chapters from the book. One chapter, “Ghost planes,” deals with the mystery of the four allegedly hijacked airliners. No trace of the one that allegedly hit the Pentagon has ever been found, and the many videos of the event remain under lock and key. No trace of the one that allegedly crashed in Pennsylvania has ever been found. Neither has any trace of the two that allegedly hit the two World Trade Center towers ever been found, although an unburnt passpost was allegedly found in the ruins of two massive buildings.

Readers might remember that I raised the question why we did not hear demands for explanations from the families of the victims of the four destroyed airliners like we did from the families whose relatives were in the twin towers. Guyenot reports that of the alleged casualties of AA77 “only five of these have relatives who received the 9-11 Compensation Fund offered by the State. . . . no family of the victims of Flight UA93 requested compensation.”

How can this be?

The other chapter, “The Art of the Patsy,” shows that the key to the ability of the authorities to control the explanation is to have an explanation of the event ready at hand. No one expected President Kennedy’s assassination or he wouldn’t have been riding in a convertible. Yet it was instantly known that Oswald was the assassin. The explanation for 9/11 was also instantaneous. It was CIA-asset Osama bin Laden, who was dying from renal failure and no longer useful to the CIA.

Jan. 1

Project Censored, Top 25 stories of 2018-2019, Staff report, Jan. 1, 2019. The presentation of the Top 25 stories of 2018-2019 extends the tradition originated by Professor Carl Jensen and his Sonoma State University students in 1976, while reflecting how the expansion of the Project to include affiliate faculty and students from campuses across North America has made the Project even more diverse and robust.

During this year’s cycle, Project Censored reviewed over 300 Validated Independent News stories (VINs) representing the collective efforts of 283 college students and 24 professors from 15 college and university campuses that participated in the Project’s Campus Affiliates Program during the past year.

1. Justice Department’s Secret FISA Rules for Targeting Journalists. A pair of 2015 memos, from former attorney general Eric Holder to the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, show how the government could use court orders.

2. facebook logoThink Tank Partnerships Establish Facebook as Tool of US Foreign Policy.  Under the guise of fighting “fake news” and protecting US democracy from “foreign influence,” in 2018 social media giant Facebook established partnerships with the Atlantic Council, a NATO-sponsored think tank.

3. Indigenous Groups from Amazon Propose Creation of Largest Protected Area on Earth. Sweeping development throughout the Amazon rainforest is an abiding concern for indigenous groups. The Amazon’s extraordinary biodiversity is being destroyed for profits and political gain.

4. U.S. Oil and Gas Industry Set to Unleash 120 Billion Tons of New Carbon Emissions. The US oil and gas industry has the potential to “unleash the largest burst of new carbon emissions in the world” through 2050, according to a January 2019 report.

2019

December

Dec. 29

Department of Injustice?

djt william barr doj photo march 2019

Attorney General William Barr. Under him, the Justice Department has been notable for aiding conservative Christians.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Bill Barr Thinks America Is Going to Hell, Katherine Stewart (author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism) and Caroline Fredrickson (president emerita of the American Constitution Society and author of The Democracy Fix), Dec. 29, 2019.  And he’s on a mission to use the “authority” of the executive branch to stop it.

Why would a seemingly respectable, semiretired lion of the Washington establishment undermine the institutions he is sworn to uphold, incinerate his own reputation, and appear to willfully misrepresent the reports of special prosecutors and inspectors general, all to defend one of the most lawless and corrupt presidents in American history? And why has this particular attorney general appeared at this pivotal moment in our Republic?

A deeper understanding of William Barr is emerging, and it reveals something profound and disturbing about the evolution of conservatism in 21st-century America.

Some people have held that Mr. Barr is simply a partisan hack — willing to do whatever it takes to advance the interests of his own political party and its leadership. This view finds ample support in Mr. Barr’s own words. In a Nov. 15 speech at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention in Washington, he accused President Trump’s political opponents of “unprecedented abuse” and said they were “engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law.”

Another view is that Mr. Barr is principally a defender of a certain interpretation of the Constitution that attributes maximum power to the executive. This view, too, finds ample support in Mr. Barr’s own words. In July, when President Trump claimed, in remarks to a conservative student group, “I have an Article II where I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” it is reasonable to suppose this is his CliffsNotes version of Mr. Barr’s ideology.

Both of these views are accurate enough. But at least since Mr. Barr’s infamous speech at the University of Notre Dame Law School, in which he blamed “secularists” for “moral chaos” and “immense suffering, wreckage and misery,” it has become clear that no understanding of William Barr can be complete without taking into account his views on the role of religion in society. For that, it is illuminating to review how Mr. Barr has directed his Justice Department on matters concerning the First Amendment clause forbidding the establishment of a state religion.

In these and other cases, Mr. Barr has embraced wholesale the “religious liberty” rhetoric of today’s Christian nationalist movement. When religious nationalists invoke “religious freedom,” it is typically code for religious privilege. The freedom they have in mind is the freedom of people of certain conservative and authoritarian varieties of religion to discriminate against those of whom they disapprove or over whom they wish to exert power.

America’s conservative movement, having morphed into a religious nationalist movement, is on a collision course with the American constitutional system. Though conservatives have long claimed to be the true champions of the Constitution — remember all that chatter during previous Republican administrations about “originalism” and “judicial restraint” — the movement that now controls the Republican Party is committed to a suite of ideas that are fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution and the Republic that the founders created under its auspices.

robert parry new hs

The late Robert Parry, above: On New Year’s Eve 2017, less than a month before he would die, Consortium News founder Bob Parry wrote a manifesto on the remit of journalism and its threatened demise, a chilling forecast of what was to come.

Consortium News, Opinion: An Apology & Explanation, Two Years On, Robert Parry, Dec. 29, 2019 (Originally published on Dec. 31, 2017). For readers who have come to see Consortium News as a daily news source, I would like to extend my personal apology for our spotty production in recent days.

On Christmas Eve, I suffered a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that “every day’s a work day” had something to do with this.

Perhaps, too, the unrelenting ugliness that has become Official Washington and national journalism was a factor.

It seems that since I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a correspondent for the Associated Press, the nastiness of American democracy and journalism has gone from bad to worse.

In some ways, the Republicans escalated the vicious propaganda warfare following Watergate, refusing to accept that Richard Nixon was guilty of some extraordinary malfeasance (including the 1968 sabotage of President Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks to gain an edge in the election and then the later political dirty tricks and cover-ups that came to include Watergate).

Rather than accept the reality of Nixon’s guilt, many Republicans simply built up their capability to wage information warfare, including the creation of ideological news organizations to protect the party and its leaders from “another Watergate.”

So, when Democrat Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 election, the Republicans used their news media and their control of the special prosecutor apparatus (through Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Appeals Court Judge David Sentelle) to unleash a wave of investigations to challenge Clinton’s legitimacy, eventually uncovering his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Though I don’t like the word “weaponized,” it began to apply to how “information” was used in America. The point of Consortium News, which I founded in 1995, was to use the new medium of the modern Internet to allow the old principles of journalism to have a new home, i.e., a place to pursue important facts and giving everyone a fair shake. But we were just a tiny pebble in the ocean.

The trend of using journalism as just another front in no-holds-barred political warfare continued – with Democrats and liberals adapting to the successful techniques pioneered mostly by Republicans and by well-heeled conservatives.

“The idea had developed that the way to defeat your political opponent was not just to make a better argument or rouse popular support but to dredge up some ‘crime’ that could be pinned on him or her.”

More and more I would encounter policymakers, activists and, yes, journalists who cared less about a careful evaluation of the facts and logic and more about achieving a pre-ordained geopolitical result – and this loss of objective standards reached deeply into the most prestigious halls of American media.

donald trump jr gage skidmore Custom

Donald Trump Jr. has the audacity to assert that he is a victim of the “leftist” media, which he labels, like his father, “the enemy of the people” (Gage Skidmore Photo).

Buzzflash, Commentary: How the Trumps Weaponize “Grievance Porn,” Mark Karlin, Dec. 29, 2019. Donald Trump Jr.'s Snowflake Meltdown Over Home Alone 2 Cut is Latest Example of Trump Family White Privilege "Grievance" Whimpering. 

The daily testament to how Trump and his family attract the media to the entertainment spectacle that the Trumps create, particularly the patriarch of the family, is unending. It is like a reality TV show that starts over every day with an early morning Twitter storm by the corrupt grifter-in-chief and master media manipulator.

BuzzFlash Informs, Inspires and Exposes, but we can only amplify our powerful voice of resistance with your financial support. This holiday season, please donate now.

We accept no advertising and are only responsible to our readers.

This weekend’s media scrum about how the Trumps took umbrage over a seven-second cut by the CBC of a Trump cameo appearance in the years-old (released in 1992) “Home Alone 2” — although Donald later stated that he was just joking that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was responsible for the “slight” — is testament to how entertainment and “journalism” have merged, along with the Trumps asserting resentment and victimhood at the hands of liberals, and in this case the “leftist “Canadians.

Yes, Donald Trump did have a blink-of-the-eye cameo in Home Alone 2, but according to CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson, it was edited out in 2014, long before Trump became president, to shorten the film to the length of its airing time on the Canadian TV network.

That the edit preceded Trujmp’s political ascendancy didn’t stop Trump Jr. from frothing into a tirade against the CBC, the media as “the enemy of the people,” and liberals as a group “oppressing” the “real” Americans. as explosively written in an Instagram entry by him:

Dec. 28

The Atlantic, Commentary: A Gangster in the White House, David Frum, Dec. 28, 2019. The president tweeted the name of the presumed whistle-blower in the Ukraine scandal — demonstrating that he is unrepentant and determined to break the law again.

nancy pelosi impeachmentIn the meantime, though, the country is left once again with the problem of a president who refuses to obey the law.

Trump is organizing from the White House a conspiracy to revenge himself on the person who first alerted the country that Trump was extorting Ukraine to help his reelection: more lawbreaking to punish the revelation of past lawbreaking. Impeaching a president whose party holds a majority in the Senate obviously presents many grave practical difficulties. But Trump’s post-Christmas mania confirms House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s prediction that Trump would impeach himself.

Dec. 27

SCOTUSblog, Decade in review: Citizens United and campaign spending, Edith Robers, Dec. 27, 2019. One of the first blockbuster Supreme Court decisions of the past 10 years will surely affect the election taking place at the beginning of the new decade. In January 2010, the court ruled 5-4 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to engage in independent spending to influence elections, overturning precedent to strike down part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

anthony kennedy scotus 236x3001Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy, right, discounted concerns that campaign spending would lead to corruption. “The fact that speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt,” he explained, and “[t]he appearance of influence or access … will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.” In a 90-page dissent read from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens countered that “[a] democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

The decision sparked what was then a rare public breach of separation-of-powers etiquette: During his 2010 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama asserted that it would “open the floodgates for special interests — samuel alitoincluding foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections,” and Justice Samuel Alito, left, responded by mouthing “Not true” from the audience.

Citizens United, together with an appeals court decision issued in its wake, led to the rise of so-called “super PACs,” political action committees that can raise unlimited funds from individuals, corporations, unions and other groups and can engage in unlimited spending on political campaigns as long as they do not coordinate directly with the candidates. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, super PACs spent $820,000,000 in the 2018 election cycle.

Dec. 26

SouthFront, ISIS Executed 11 Abducted Christians In Nigeria, Staff and wire report, Dec. 26, 2019. ISIS militants executed 11 Christians in isis nigeria screenshot amaq video dec 26 2019Nigeria’s Borno state, according to a video released by the terrorist group’s news agency Amaq (screenshot shown at right). All of them were supposedly civilians captured in previous raids of the terrorist group.

Earlier, the terrorist group reportedly wanted to exchange the abducted persons for its members detained by government forces. However, this proposal was rejected by the government.

ISIS claimed that the execution was a part of the campaign to avenge the death of the terrorist group’s leader, Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, and the group’s spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir. According to Amaq, the recent increase of ISIS attacks in Syria was a part of the same campaign.

Dec. 21

alexander acosta o cropped Custom

Chron, House asks for documents in Epstein probe from DOJ, Staff report, Dec. 20, 2019. House Democrats asked for documents from federal prosecutors and Florida law enforcement officials on Friday as part of a probe into how financier Jeffrey Epstein received a secret plea deal more than a decade ago after he was accused of molesting underage girls.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, asking for all emails about the plea deal and how victims should have been notified.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderEarlier this year, a federal judge ruled Epstein's victims should have been consulted under federal law about the deal.

Epstein reached the deal in 2008 with then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta's office to end the federal probe that could have landed him in prison for life. Epstein instead pleaded guilty to lesser state charges, spent 13 months in jail, paid financial settlements to victims and registered as a sex offender.

Acosta, shown at top, was appointed Labor Secretary by President Donald Trump, but he resigned in July amid renewed scrutiny of the secret plea deal.

The House committee asked for the documents by the first week in January.

The House committee also sent a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Richard Swearingen, asking for documents related to its investigation into the deal and Epstein's work-release arrangement at Palm Beach County's jail.

Two spokeswomen for the FDLE, Florida's top law enforcement agency, didn't return emails seeking comment.

During his 13-month stay at the jail, Epstein spent most days at his office. His driver would pick him and a guard up in the morning and he would spend the day working and meeting with visitors, before returning to the jail to sleep. Epstein was also able to visit his Palm Beach mansion, despite restrictions on home visits.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in his New York City jail cell in August after federal agents arrested him on new sex trafficking charges, according to authorities.

Dec. 19

The Grayzone via Consortium News, Investigative Commentary: National Security Mandarins Groomed Pete Buttigieg & Managed pete buttigieg mayor south bend inHis Future, Max Blumenthal, Dec. 19, 2019. An influential D.C. network of military interventionists placed Mayor Pete on an inside track to power. In his quest for front-runner status in the 2020 presidential campaign, Pete Buttigieg, right, has crafted an image for himself as a maverick running against a broken establishment.

On the trail, he has invoked his distinction as the openly gay mayor of a de-industrialized Rust Belt town, as well as his experience as a Naval reserve intelligence officer who now claims to oppose “endless wars”. He insists that “there’s energy for an outsider like me,” promoting himself as “an unconventional candidate.”

When former Secretary of State John Kerry endorsed Joe Biden this December, Buttigieg went full maverick. “I have never been part of the Washington establishment,” he proclaimed, “and I recognize that there are relationships among senators who have been together on Capitol Hill as long as I’ve been alive and that is what it is.”

But a testy exchange between the South Bend mayor and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard during a Nov. 20 Democratic primary debate had already complicated Buttigieg’s branding campaign.

After ticking off her foreign policy credentials, Gabbard turned to Buttigieg and lit into him for stating his willingness to send U.S. troops to Mexico to crack down on drug cartels.

Throughout the exchange, Buttigieg appeared shaken, as though his sense of inviolability had been punctured. Gabbard had clearly struck a vulnerable point by painting the self-styled outsider as a conventional D.C.-style politician unconsciously spouting interventionist bromides.

The remarkable dust-up highlighted a side of the 37-year-old political upstart that has been scarcely explored in mainstream U.S. media accounts of his rise to prominence. It revealed the real Buttigieg as a neoliberal cadre whose future was carefully managed by the mandarins of the national security state since almost the moment that he graduated from Harvard University.

After college, the Democratic presidential hopeful took a gig with a strategic communications firm founded by a former secretary of defense who raked in contracts with the arms industry. He moved on to a fellowship at an influential D.C. think tank described by its founder as “a counterpart to the neoconservatives of the 1970s.” Today, Buttigieg sits on that think tank’s board of advisors alongside some of the country’s most accomplished military interventionists.

Buttigieg has reaped the rewards of his dedication to the Beltway playbook. He recently became the top recipient of donations from staff members of the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Justice Department – key cogs in the national security state’s permanent bureaucracy.

On the presidential campaign trail, “Mayor Pete” has done his best to paper over the instincts he inherited from his benefactors among the national security state. But as the campaign drags on, his interventionist tendencies are increasingly exposed. Having padded his resume in America’s longest and most futile wars, he may be poised to extend them for a new generation to fight.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling “Republican Gomorrah,” “Goliath,” “The Fifty One Day War” and “The Management of Savagery.” He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including “Killing Gaza” and “Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie.” Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

Dec. 12

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Boston Bomber in Court but Full Story Still Muzzled, Staff report, Dec. 12, 2019. Lawyers for convicted Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went to court to argue that he deserves a new trial. They’re not telling the full story of something amiss. A court in Boston heard arguments on Thursday from lawyers for convicted Boston dzhokhar tsaraev hsMarathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right, His defense team argued that he had not had a fair trial and deserves a new one. Tsarnaev is being held at the federal supermax prison in Florence, CO, where he faces the death penalty.

The Boston Marathon Bombings were so horrific and egregious that the media pack quickly closed ranks around the narrative put out by the authorities and refused to look further. That’s understandable, but it isn’t good for journalism or for the country. Based on that history, we can both expect the media not to look carefully into the defense’s claims — nor at this late date to look into serious questions about the particulars of the case itself.

WhoWhatWhy was among the very few news outlets to ask these questions and to dig deeper than the accepted narrative — and published more investigative pieces on this topic than any other: 70+ articles and podcasts. The cumulative work we did clearly shows that there is much more to this story than what the public has been told.

Here are some of the remaining questions that need attention:

What was the relationship between the FBI and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s elder brother Tamerlan prior to the bombing?

• FBI records from April 2011 indicate that Tamerlan was willing to assist the FBI — and a senior FBI executive who had reviewed the documents suggested that Tamerlan had acted on this willingness via a telephone call.

Were the brothers even capable of building the bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston marathon?

• Experts said that they were not, but the subject disappeared altogether.

If the brothers acted as “lone wolves,” as the government claims, why is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being held under “special administrative measures”? These are usually applied if there is a concern that the detained person might pass on information to associates in a terrorist network. But with his brother dead and the two supposedly having acted alone, what is the justification for these measures?

This is just a sampling of the many unanswered questions. You can find more here.

Dec. 10

Impeachment Daily Indexdjt handwave file

No Anti-Trump Plot: IG

 

Impeachment Coverage Noted Above 

ny times logoNew York Times, House Democrats Unveil Articles of Impeachment Against Trump, Nicholas Fandos, Dec. 10, 2019. Charges Are Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress,
Lawmakers said that President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, and his efforts to block Congress’s attempt to investigate, violated the Constitution.

The move will bring a sitting president to the brink of impeachment for the fourth time in American history. House Democratic leaders announced on Tuesday that they would move ahead this week with two articles of impeachment against President Trump charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, accusing him of violating the Constitution when he pressed Ukraine for help in the 2020 election.

Speaking from a wood-paneled reception room just off the floor of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and leaders of several key committees said that Mr. Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, and his efforts to block Congress’s attempt to investigate, had left them no choice but to pursue one of the Constitution’s gravest remedies. The move will bring a sitting president to the brink of impeachment for only the fourth time in American history.

“Our president holds the ultimately public trust,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy, and he endangers our national security.”

The announcement comes a day after Democrats summed up the central allegations in their impeachment case against Mr. Trump: that he pressured Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals while withholding as leverage a coveted White House meeting for its president and $391 million in critical security assistance. His actions, they argued in a lengthy hearing at the Judiciary Committee, had placed the president’s personal political interests above those of the country, threatening the integrity of the election and national security in the process.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Lashes Out at F.B.I. Director Over Report on Russia Inquiry, Eileen Sullivan, Dec. 10, 2019. President Trump suggested he lacked confidence in the F.B.I. director because the director did not share his view of a long-awaited inspector general report.

President Trump snapped at his F.B.I. director on Tuesday for not agreeing with his interpretation of a highly anticipated government watchdog report about the early stages of the Russia investigation.

I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019

The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, said Monday that he agreed with the Justice Department’s inspector general’s conclusion that the F.B.I. agents were right to open an investigation into whether Russia was working with anyone on the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election. He also outlined 40 tasks his agency must complete based on the inspector general’s recommendations.

Mr. Trump and some of his allies saw the dense report as proof that their conspiracy theories were in fact true. The president has claimed for years that the Russia investigation was a witch hunt pursued by “deep state” bureaucrats who do not support him politically.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Another Inquiry Doesn’t Back Up Trump’s Charges. So, on to the Next, Mark Mazzetti, Dec. 10, 2019 (print ed.). Mr. Trump and his allies followed a script: Create expectations of finding a “deep state” campaign against him, and when no proof emerges, skew the results and move on.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats expected to draft two articles of impeachment against Trump, Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis, Elise Viebeck and Toluse Olorunnipa​, Dec. 10, 2019 (print ed.). Three officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be frank, described the likely articles that the Judiciary Committee would vote on later this week: one on abuse of power, the other on obstruction of Congress.

Democrats are expected to unveil two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday that will focus on abuse of power and obstructing Congress, and would be voted Donald Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)on by the full House next week, according to three officials familiar with the matter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and other committee chairmen Monday night after a nine-hour hearing in which a Democratic counsel laid out the party’s case against Trump. The three officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks, cautioned that the plan had not been finalized.

Leaving a meeting with Pelosi, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) told reporters that he and the chairmen of other House committees would announce specific articles at a news conference at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

No Anti-Trump Plot: IG

ny times logoNew York Times, Report on F.B.I. Russia Inquiry Finds Serious Errors But Debunks Anti-Trump Plot, Charlie Savage and Adam Goldman, Dec. 10, 2019 (print ed.). A long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s inspector general ("IG") delivers scathing critique of F.B.I.’s handling of wiretap application but also punctures many conspiracy theories.

Justice Department log circularThe Justice Department inspector general on Monday broadly rejected President Trump’s accusations about the F.B.I.’s conduct during the Russia investigation. A long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s inspector general released on Monday sharply criticized the F.B.I.’s handling of a wiretap application used in the early stages of its Russia investigation but exonerated former bureau leaders of President Trump’s accusations that they engaged in a politicized conspiracy to sabotage him.

michael horwitz headshotInvestigators uncovered no evidence of political bias behind official actions related to the investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, the 434-page report said. The F.B.I. had sufficient evidence in July 2016 to lawfully open the investigation, and its use of informants to approach campaign aides followed procedures, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, determined.

But Mr. Horowitz, right, also uncovered substantial dysfunction, carelessness and serious errors in one part of the sprawling inquiry: the F.B.I.’s applications for court orders approving a wiretap targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser with ties to Russia, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. He found that one low-ranking F.B.I. lawyer altered a related document and referred the lawyer for possible prosecution.

FBI logoGiven the highly fraught context of investigating someone linked to a presidential campaign, the report said, the Crossfire Hurricane investigators knew their work would be scrutinized — yet they nevertheless “failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ‘scrupulously accurate.’”

The findings on the wiretap application showed that when it mattered most — with the stakes the greatest and no room for error — F.B.I. officials still made numerous and serious mistakes in wielding a powerful surveillance tool. Mr. Horowitz’s discovery calls into question the bureau’s surveillance practices in routine cases without such high-stakes political implications.

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr Publicly Challenges Watchdog Report, Katie Benner, Dec. 10, 2019 (print ed.). Attorney General Bill Barr’s dismissal of a major finding of the report reasserted his willingness to act as President Trump’s vocal defender. Attorney General William P. Barr sharply criticized on Monday the F.B.I.’s decision to open the Russia investigation, undercutting a major finding in a long-awaited watchdog report and at the same time showing his willingness to act as President Trump’s vocal defender.

william barr new oThe report, by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, found that the F.B.I. had adequate reason in 2016 to open an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia. Mr. Horowitz broadly rejected Mr. Trump’s allegations that F.B.I. officials conspired to sabotage his campaign, but Mr. Barr, right, highlighted findings that underscored his and the president’s shared view that investigators were nonetheless overly invasive in scrutinizing people associated with a presidential campaign.

“The inspector general’s report now makes clear that the F.B.I. launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Mr. Barr said in a statement.

john durham CustomJohn H. Durham, left, a federal prosecutor whom Mr. Barr appointed to run a separate criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, backed Mr. Barr’s findings in his own highly unusual statement. “Last month we advised the inspector general that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the F.B.I. case was opened,” Mr. Durham said.

The statements from the Justice Department’s top official and one of his key investigators gave Mr. Trump’s supporters ammunition to dispute one of the key findings in the long-awaited report by Mr. Horowitz that excoriated the F.B.I.’s handling of a wiretap application used in the early stages of its Russia investigation.

While the report was searing in its conclusion that the wiretap application process was marked with errors, it exonerated former bureau leaders of accusations by the president and his allies that Mr. Trump was the victim of a politicized conspiracy to sabotage his campaign and his presidency.

washington post logoWashington Post, FBI felt it had hit a ‘tipping point’ before investigating Trump campaign, inspector general found, Shane Harris, Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman​, Dec. 10, 2019 (print ed.). A tip from a trusted ally about possible Russian assistance with Trump’s campaign shook FBI officials, who were already tracking suspected Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The FBI had barely closed a politically volcanic investigation into Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when it got a troubling tip about her rival’s presidential campaign.

FBI logoOn July 28, 2016, the bureau received information from an Australian diplomat, who said a Donald Trump campaign aide had “suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia” that Moscow could anonymously release damaging information about Clinton, according to the long-awaited Justice Department inspector general’s report released Monday.

The tip, vague as it was, shook senior FBI officials, who were already investigating suspected Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, including the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee. Three days later, the FBI took the momentous decision to open a counterintelligence investigation of a presidential campaign, as the election season entered the home stretch.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ivanka Trump was friends with former British spy Christopher Steele, according to person familiar with the situation, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, Dec. 10, 2019 (print ed.). The former British spy who authored several reports alleging links between Russia and President Trump’s 2016 campaign had been a personal friend of Trump’s Ivankadaughter Ivanka, a relationship that he said made him “favorably disposed” to the Trump family.

The previously unknown friendship between former intelligence officer Christopher Steele and Ivanka Trump was alluded to in a new report released Monday by the Justice Department’s inspector general, which said Steele had “been friendly” with a Trump family member, a relationship he described as “personal.”

Steele told investigators he had visited the Trump family member at Trump Tower in New York and had once gifted the person a family tartan from Scotland.

9/11 Research

9 11 new york pd wtc air view wtc Custom 2

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, On the Road to 9/11 Justice: A Year-End Update from the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, Mick Harrison, Dec. 10, 2019. The following is a ae for 9 11 truth logocomprehensive update from the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry of the organization’s ongoing legal initiatives, including the Grand Jury Investigation Project and the FBI 9/11 Review Commission Lawsuit.

Having partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee on these projects, we at AE911Truth are grateful for the expertise, creativity, and perseverance they have brought to the pursuit of 9/11 Justice. We also thank the many dedicated activists and donors who have made these endeavors possible over the past year.

Although the prior work of independent researchers, investigators and scientists has gone a long way towards discovering and informing the public as to the truth of what occurred on 9/11, many key facts have yet to be disclosed or acknowledged. Because, as the evidence developed to date indicates, criminal activity and corruption are involved, and because some or all of the federal agencies (and private parties) involved have not been forthcoming with the public regarding all the information they possess regarding this tragedy, the use of Freedom of Information Act litigation and the subpoena and discovery powers that accompany other federal civil litigation options is critical to achieving transparency and accountability regarding 9/11. Under the circumstances, key information necessary to a full understanding of what occurred on 9/11 can only be obtained via legal compulsion.

The Lawyers’ Committee, in furtherance of its mission, is in the process of conducting multiple federal lawsuits and several independent investigations into various aspects of the events surrounding 9/11. An update on the status of these efforts is provided below.

Dec. 4

CounterPunch, Investigative History: RIP Fred Hampton: a Black Visionary Assassinated by the FBI, Jefferson Morley, right, Dec. 4, 2019. Fifty years ago this week, a squad of Chicago police officers killed Black jefferson morley newPanther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in a pre-dawn raid on the apartment where they were sleeping. In the decades since, a revealing body of evidence has emerged showing that Hampton was the victim of a political assassination, sanctioned at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

fred hampton graphicThe story matters today, but not because the FBI still engages in assassination. The Bureau targets so-called “Black Identity Extremists” on flimsy grounds, but there’s no evidence that it has killed any of them. Indeed, FBI director Christopher Wray says new agents are required to study COINTELPRO precisely to learn what not to do.

What Wray prefers not to tell his employees or the public is that one of his predecessors, J. Edgar Hoover, instigated the murder of a promising African-American political leader, and got away with it. Hampton’s murder was a textbook example of how U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies robbed the country of hope and peaceful change and were never held accountable.

FBI logoNo one was ever convicted for Hampton’s murder. To this day, many journalists and historians are unwilling to state that Hoover and other senior U.S. officials countenanced the assassination of domestic foes. Yet compelling circumstantial evidence demonstrates they did exactly that in the case of Fred Hampton.

The story of Hampton’s assassination is not as well-known as that of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and Malcolm X. In 2018 a diverse group of citizens formed the Truth and Reconciliation Committee which calls for the re-opening of the investigations of those four famous killings. (I am a member.) The story of Fred Hampton shows why this is necessary.

Hampton’s terrible murder has much in common with the deaths of JFK, MLK, RFK, and Malcolm. It is an unsolved political crime, rife with official malfeasance and wrapped in mealy-mouthed media coverage.

Who Was Fred Hampton?

At age 21 Hampton was an honor student from suburban Chicago and an experienced leader. He got his start as an organizer for the integrationist National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He came to prominence as leader of the Black Panther Party, which scorned the NAACP as too accommodating to white people. At a time when many black militants favored dashikis and leather jackets, Hampton wore a button-down shirt and a pullover.

A self-described “revolutionary,” Hampton envisioned the future of the civil rights movement as a “rainbow coalition” of white, black, brown, yellow, and red people. Jesse Jackson would later adopt the term as the name of his organization and the theme of his ground-breaking presidential campaigns of 1984 and 1988. In short, Hampton was a charismatic leader with a vision of marrying the social gospel of King to the militant nationalism of Malcolm X.

Not coincidentally, Malcolm X, King, and Hampton were assassinated in the span of four years.

Dec. 1

U.S. Justice System

Donald Trump announces the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, right, to join the U.S. Supreme Court (New York Times photo by Doug Mills on July 9, 2018).

Donald Trump announces the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, right, to join the U.S. Supreme Court (New York Times photo by Doug Mills on July 9, 2018).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The many ambitions that propelled Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Geoffrey R. Stone, Dec. 1, 2019 (print ed.). Geoffrey R. Stone, right, is the Edward H. Levi geoffrey stonedistinguished professor of law at the University of Chicago and former dean. Whose “supreme ambition” is Ruth Marcus referring to in the title of her extraordinarily detailed and highly insightful new book, Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover” There are several possibilities.

The first and most obvious, of course, is Kavanaugh, who won a seat on the Supreme Court. Throughout his career — as a law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, as an assistant to special counsel Kenneth Starr, as a lawyer for the George W. Bush campaign during the 2000 Florida recount, as White House staff secretary during the Bush administration, as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — Kavanaugh kept his eye on the ultimate goal: the highest court in the land.

Another candidate is Kennedy. When candidate Donald Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees during the 2016 presidential campaign — a list prepared by Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society — Kavanaugh’s name was not on it. After Trump’s election, Kennedy made clear to the new president that if he were to retire, he would like to see his former law clerk Kavanaugh succeed him. This caused bitter disagreement between the White House and Leo, whose Federalist friends worried that Kavanaugh was too much of a “Bushie” and might not fulfill their hard-line right-wing ambitions. After a struggle in the White House, Trump and his advisers rejected Leo’s concerns and settled on Kavanaugh, delivering on Kennedy’s ambition.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump’s Intervention in SEALs Case Tests Pentagon’s Tolerance, Dave Philipps, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman and Helene Cooper, Dec. 1, 2019 (print ed.).  President Trump’s handling of the case of a commando accused of war crimes has distressed active-duty and retired officers. His intervention, some said, emboldens war criminals and erodes the order of a professional military.

The case of the president and a commando accused of war crimes offers a lesson in how Mr. Trump presides over the armed forces three years after taking office. While he boasts of supporting the military, he has come to distrust the generals and admirals who run it. Rather than accept information from his own government, he responds to television reports that grab his interest. Warned against crossing lines, he bulldozes past precedent and norms.

As a result, the president finds himself more removed than ever from a disenchanted military command, adding the armed forces to the institutions under his authority that he has feuded with, along with the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies and diplomatic corps.

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Lisa Page Speaks: ‘There’s No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All,’ Molly Jong-Fast, Dec. 1, 2019. The former FBI lawyer and ongoing Trump target breaks two years of silence in this exclusive interview. And she has quite a lot to say.

It’s not often that you interview a subject who has no interest in being famous. But recently, I did just that when I sat down with Lisa Page the week before Thanksgiving in my hotel peter strozk lisa pageroom in Washington, D.C. Page, of course, is the former FBI lawyer whose text-message exchanges with agent Peter Strzok (shown in file photos) that belittled Donald Trump and expressed fear at his possible victory became international news. They were hijacked by Trump to fuel his “deep state” conspiracy.

For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, she’s been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11.

That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she says. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

She is also about to be back in the news cycle in a big way. On Dec. 9, the Justice Department inspector general report into Trump’s charges that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign will come out. Leaked press accounts indicate the report will exonerate Page of the allegation that she acted unprofessionally or showed bias against Trump.

How does it feel after all this time to finally have the IG apparently affirm what she’s been saying all along? She said she wouldn’t discuss the findings until they were officially public, but she did note: “While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people. The president has a very loud megaphone.”

Page, 39, is thin and athletic. She speaks in an exceedingly confident, clear, and lawyerly way. But having been through the MAGA meat grinder has clearly worn her down, not unlike the other women I’ve met who’ve been subjected to the president’s abuse. She is just slightly crumbly around the edges the way the president’s other victims are.

washington post logoWashington Post, Explaining the Steele dossier — and how information flows in Washington, Quinta Jurecic,  Dec. 1, 2019 print ed.). Quinta Jurecic is the managing editor of Lawfare, an online publication on national security and law. Glenn Simpson, a co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, writes that the Steele dossier — a private intelligence united kingdom flagreport on President Trump’s supposed Russia connections — was never meant to be made public. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

What you think of the new book by Fusion GPS founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch — better known as the men behind the Steele dossier — will depend almost entirely on what view you take of the dossier itself. Is your position that the infamous document is a sham product cobbled together by Democratic operatives out to smear the president? Simpson and Fritsch’s Crime in Progress is unlikely to convince you otherwise.

The dossier burst onto the public scene in January 2017, when BuzzFeed News published the document that much of Washington had been whispering about for months: a private christopher steele ex MI6 spy express croppedintelligence report, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, documenting alleged links between Trump and the Russian government. Trump, then president-elect, declared the dossier to be “fake news.” His supporters began attacking Steele and the private research firm that had hired him, Fusion GPS, zeroing in on the fact that Fusion’s work was paid for in part by a law firm representing Democratic Party institutions. Almost three years later, the dossier is still a touchstone for the president’s supporters: Republicans have grilled witnesses about it during the past two weeks of impeachment hearings.

Simpson and Fritsch are open about their desire to push back on the years of criticism they and Steele have faced. Crime in Progress provides a detailed account of how Fusion GPS began its work researching then-candidate Trump — the project, they remind readers, was originally funded by the conservative Washington Free Beacon — and then, after Steele’s reports from Moscow began to roll in, how the three men scrambled to alert both the press and the FBI to the astonishing information they’d uncovered. They had no intention that the dossier would ever become public. And contrary to suggestions by the president’s allies, they played no role in the opening of the FBI’s investigation into Russian election interference.

 

November

Nov. 30

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail and a Lucrative ‘Hot List,’ Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Emily Steel, Jacob Bernstein and David Enrich, Nov. 30, 2019. A hacker claimed to have the financier’s sex tapes. Two top lawyers wondered: What would the men in those videos pay to keep them secret?

jeffrey epstein at harvard universitySoon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, right, died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers.

Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler — a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited.

He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein’s data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier’s communications and financial records — as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein’s properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world’s richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations — even in the act of rape.

Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again.

Nov. 27

supreme court headshots 2019

washington post logoWashington Post, As Trump cases arrive, Supreme Court’s desire to be seen as neutral arbiter will be tested, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Nov. 27, 2019 (print ed.). The justices will step onto an unwelcome partisan battleground as they confront a long list of cases involving the president. The legal cases concerning President Trump, his finances john roberts oand his separation-of-powers disputes with Congress are moving like a brush fire to the Supreme Court, and together provide both potential and challenge for the Roberts court in its aspiration to be seen as nonpartisan.

The court, composed of five conservatives nominated by Republican presidents and four liberals chosen by Democrats, has little choice but to step onto a fiercely partisan battleground.

It announced Tuesday that it will consider on Dec. 13 whether to schedule a full briefing and argument on the president’s request that it overturn a lower-court ruling giving New York prosecutors access to Trump’s tax returns and other financial records in their investigation of ­hush-money payments in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: Trump’s lawless intransigence is eviscerated in court, Editorial Board, Nov. 27, 2019. U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Monday eviscerated the Trump administration’s lawless intransigence in a ruling that was as sharp as it should have been predictable. No, former White House counsel Donald McGahn is not “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony.” No, President Trump cannot prevent Mr. McGahn from responding to legal congressional subpoenas. “Compulsory appearance by dint of a subpoena is a legal construct, not a political one, and per the Constitution, no one is above the law,” the judge wrote.

Previous presidents and congressional leaders have found ways to defuse disputes. George Washington and Ronald Reagan turned over documents to congressional investigators. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Congress held then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt when he failed to respond to a congressional subpoena in the overhyped investigation of the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scheme, but the two sides eventually worked out a compromise that prevented lengthy litigation.

Nov. 25

washington post logomark esperWashington Post, Navy secretary forced out by Pentagon chief over handling of SEAL’s war crimes case, Ashley Parker and Dan Lamothe​, Nov. 25, 2019 (print ed.).​ Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper acted after learning that Richard V. Spencer privately proposed to White House officials that if they did not interfere with proceedings against Edward Gallagher, who was accused of war crimes in Iraq, then Spencer would ensure Gallagher retired with his Trident pin.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: In firing Richard Spencer, Trump recklessly crosses another line, David Ignatius, right, Nov. 25, 2019 (print ed.).​ President Trump’s attempt to manipulate military justice had a sorry outcome Sunday with the firing of Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, shown below left. For the past nine months, Spencer had tried to dissuade Trump from dictating special treatment for Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher — but in the end Spencer was sacked for his efforts to protect his service.

david ignatiusrichard spencer navy​With Spencer’s firing, Trump has recklessly crossed a line he had generally observed before, which had exempted the military from his belligerent, government-by-tweet interference. But the Gallagher case illustrates how an irascible, vengeful commander in chief is ready to override traditional limits to aid political allies in foreign policy, law enforcement and now military matters.

Spencer was fired by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper late Sunday, supposedly because Esper was “deeply troubled” that Spencer had tried to work out a private deal with the White House that would avoid a direct presidential order scuttling a scheduled SEAL peer-review process. That panel was set to determine whether Gallagher would keep his coveted Trident pin, marking him as a SEAL, after he was convicted in July for posing in a trophy photo with the corpse of a Islamic State captive.

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Trump's "progressive" allies, Wayne Madsen, left, Nov. 25, 2019. There is a rather vocal sector of the so-called "progressive left" that has decided it is wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallbest to tolerate Donald Trump and his administration's fascist policies. This is mainly because Trump has made a few narrowly-focused decisions that the pro-Trump "left" happens to support. The Trump decisions that have enamored the faux left include the much-ballyhooed "withdrawal" of U.S. military forces from Syria -- actually, some of those forces remain in-country -- as well as trash talking NATO and U.S. bilateral military alliances with South Korea and Japan. These phony progressives also agree with Trump's kooky contention that it was Ukrainian government and not Russian oligarchical interests that interfered with the 2016 U.S. election. Ignored by the left-wing promoters of Trump is well-documented evidence of social media manipulation, analytical data micro-targeting of voters, and penetration of local and state election systems by an alliance of high-tech firms like Facebook; Twitter; YouTube; Cambridge Analytica; the Internet Research Agency of St. Petersburg, Russia; Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and others.

The Trump apologists of the left generally have one thing in common: they despise Hillary Clinton more than Trump. It is very doubtful that had she been elected, Ms. Clinton would have built an East German-type barrier on the southern border; ripped children from their parents and "disappeared" them into a byzantine network of "Christian" foster care, detention centers, and holding facilities; praise white nationalism; interfere with military justice; or demonize the U.S. Foreign Service, Civil Service, the Intelligence Community, the U.S. House of Representatives, the judiciary, and federal law enforcement.

Nov. 23

william barr hand out

CaitlinJohnstone.com, Opinion: Barr Ends All Conspiracy Theories Forever By Saying Epstein Died Via A Series Of Coincidences, Caitlin caitlin johnstoneJohnstone, right, Nov. 23, 2019. In an interview with Associated Press, US Attorney General William Barr (above) put all conspiracy theories to rest once and for all by assuring the world that alleged sex trafficker and alleged billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s death was simply the result of a very, very, very long series of unfortunate coincidences.

“I can understand people who immediately, whose minds went to sort of the worst-case scenario because it was a perfect storm of screw-ups,” Barr told AP on Thursday.

This perfect storm of unlucky oopsies include Epstein being taken off suicide watch not long after a previous suicide attempt and shortly before his successful suicide, suggestions that the first attempt may have actually been an assault via attempted strangulation inflicted by someone else, two security guards simultaneously falling asleep on the job when they were supposed to be checking on Epstein, one of those guards not even being an actual security guard, security footage of two cameras outside Epstein’s cell being unusable due to a mysterious technical glitch, at least eight Bureau of Prisons officials knowing Epstein wasn’t meant to be left alone in his cell and leaving him alone in his cell anyway, Epstein’s cellmate being transferred out of their shared space the day before Epstein’s death, Epstein signing a will two days before his death, unexplained injuries on Epstein’s wrists and shoulder reported by his family after the autopsy, and a forensic expert who examined Epstein’s body claiming that his injuries were more consistent with homicide than suicide.

“The attorney general also sought to dampen conspiracy theories by people who have questioned whether Epstein really took his own life, saying the evidence proves Epstein killed himself,” AP reports. “He added that he personally reviewed security footage that confirmed that no one entered the area where Epstein was housed on the night he died.”

Well if reporting that he’s reviewed footage which we were previously told didn’t exist isn’t enough to dampen those kooky conspiracy theories, I don’t know what is.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderSo there you have it. The US government says that an intelligence asset with damning information on many powerful individuals did in fact kill himself due to an admittedly bizarre and wildly unlikely series of strange coincidences. I for one have no more questions. Checkmate, conspiracy theorists.

“Mr. Epstein’s death in August at a federal detention center in Manhattan set off a rash of unfounded conspiracy theories on social media that were picked up and repeated by high-profile figures, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. No matter their ideology, the refrain of the theories was the same: Something did not add up,” says The New York Times in its report of Barr’s statements.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

It’s a completely unfounded conspiracy theory to believe that someone with ties to powerful institutions and individuals might be murdered in a way that was made to look like a suicide. We don’t live in a world where opaque organizations do evil things in secret, we live in a world where the government is always our friend and the TV would never lie to us. I’m glad these comments made by Barr (whose father in another strange coincidence gave Epstein his first job) have at long last struck a fatal blow to anyone who would doubt the beneficent hand of our beloved institutions.

 New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center (Photo by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons)

New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center (Photo by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons)

ny times logoNew York Times, Barr Says Epstein’s Suicide Resulted From ‘Perfect Storm of Screw-Ups,’ Katie Benner, Nov. 23, 2019. (print ed.) Attorney General William P. Barr said in an interview published on Friday that the death of Jeffrey Epstein, the financier accused of sex trafficking, in a secure federal prison resulted from “a perfect storm of screw-ups,” rather than any nefarious act.

Mr. Barr’s statement refuted suggestions from members of Mr. Epstein’s family that he may have been murdered. His remarks came the same week that two prison guards were criminally charged, accused in an indictment of failing to check on Mr. Epstein every half-hour as they were required to and then lying about it on prison logs.

“I can understand people who immediately — whose minds went to sort of the worst-case scenario, because it was a perfect storm of screw-ups,” Mr. Barr said in an interview with The Associated Press as he flew to Montana on Thursday night.

Mr. Epstein’s death in August at a federal detention center in Manhattan set off a rash of unfounded conspiracy theories on social media that were picked up and repeated by high-profile figures, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. No matter their ideology, the refrain of the theories was the same: Something did not add up.

Nov. 22

william barr ap photo patrick semansky

Attorney General William Barr speaks with an Associated Press reporter onboard an aircraft en route to Cleveland, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, during a two-day trip to Ohio and Montana. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Associated Press, AG Barr: Epstein’s death was a ‘perfect storm of screw-ups,’ Michael Balsamon, Nov. 22, 2019. Attorney General William Barr ap logosaid he initially had his own suspicions about financier Jeffrey Epstein’s death while behind bars at one of the most secure jails in America but came to conclude that his suicide was the result of “a perfect storm of screw-ups.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said his concerns were prompted by the numerous irregularities at the New York jail where Epstein was being held. But he said after the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general continued to investigate, he realized there were a “series” of mistakes made that gave Epstein the chance to take his own life.

“I can understand people who immediately, whose minds went to sort of the worst-case scenario because it was a perfect storm of screw-ups,” Barr told the AP as he flew to Montana for an event.

Barr’s comments come days after two correctional officers who were responsible for guarding the wealthy financier when he died were charged with falsifying prison records. Officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas are accused of sleeping and browsing the internet — shopping for furniture and motorcycles — instead of watching Epstein, who was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.

Epstein took his own life in August while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.

His suicide cast a spotlight on the federal Bureau of Prisons, which has been plagued by chronic staffing shortages and outbreaks of violence. The indictment unsealed this week against the officers shows a damning glimpse of safety lapses inside a high-security unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

But the indictment also provided new details that reinforce the idea that, for all the intrigue regarding Epstein and his connections to powerful people, his death was a suicide — as the city’s medical examiner concluded — and possibly preventable.

A lawyer for Thomas, Montell Figgins, said both guards are being “scapegoated.”

The attorney general also sought to dampen conspiracy theories by people who have questioned whether Epstein really took his own life, saying the evidence proves Epstein killed himself. He added that he personally reviewed security footage that confirmed that no one entered the area where Epstein was housed on the night he died.

Epstein was placed on suicide watch after he was found July 23 on his cell floor with bruises on his neck but was taken off the heightened watch about a week before his death, meaning he was less closely monitored but still supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes. He was required to have a cellmate, but he was left with none after his cellmate was transferred out of the MCC on Aug. 9, the day before his death, the indictment said.

Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell when the guards went to deliver breakfast. One of the guards told a supervisor then that they hadn’t done their 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. rounds, according to the indictment.

The Justice Department is still investigating the circumstances that led to Epstein’s death, including why he wasn’t given a cellmate.

“I think it was important to have a roommate in there with him and we’re looking into why that wasn’t done, and I think every indication is that was a screw-up,” Barr said. “The systems to assure that was done were not followed.”

Epstein’s death ended the possibility of a trial that would have involved prominent figures and sparked widespread anger that he wouldn’t have to answer for the allegations.

Even with his death, federal prosecutors in New York have continued to investigate the allegations against Epstein. Barr, who has vowed to aggressively investigate and bring charges against anyone who may have helped Epstein, said investigators were making good progress in the case.

 djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studios

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss [Trump], Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, (left to right at Mar-A-Lago.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty Images

wayne madsen cafe vaterlandWayne Madsen Report (WMR), New novella: "Café Vaterland" examines life in America under a victorious Nazi Germany, Wayne Madsen, left, Nov. 22, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small2019. WMR is exclusively announcing to its members the impending release of the editor's first work of fiction, a novella -- Café Vaterland -- which examines life in America had the Nazis been victorious in World War II. The novella also ponders the role of the Trumps with such an outcome. There are several surprises as the protagonist, a German-American Gestapo officer, investigates a murder that leads to a larger plot by the American Resistance against the Nazis. U.S. Naval officer John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas 56 years ago today, plays a critical role in leading the Resistance forces against the Nazis.

This book was inspired by Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, an alternate history short book. Also an alternate history of the United States after a victorious Axis in World War II, Dick's book was adapted to the small screen in a highly-acclaimed four-part Amazon Prime series by famed director Ridley Scott, with whom the editor dealt regarding a proposed film idea in 2005.

Key actual events in Café Vaterland include the rise in New York City of the German-American Bund, the Hindenburg airship disaster, the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and the fascist plot to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a coup.

The book also postulates on Fred Trump, Sr.'s activities after his arrest at a Ku Klux Klan march in 1927 in Queens leading up to his military draft evasion in World War II and construction activities around U.S. Navy ports during the war.

Nov. 21

lee oswald mug dallas

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, JFK Assassination Anniversary: Oswald Murder Witness Speaks, Russ Baker and Brian Baccus, Nov. 21, 2019. Not long before he died this year, James Leavelle granted an exclusive interview to WhoWhatWhy. The Dallas homicide detective, who was chained to Lee Harvey Oswald when Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby, said some interesting and surprising things.

The detective who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald on November 24, 1963, when Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby, provided several revelations in an exclusive interview he granted WhoWhatWhy. The conversation took place two months before his death on August 29 of this year.

This Friday is the 56th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death, allegedly at the hands of Oswald; Sunday is the anniversary of Ruby’s slaying of Oswald in the Dallas Police Department garage.

One striking contention offered by retired Dallas Police Department (DPD) Detective James Leavelle, almost in passing, was that he took notes while interviewing Oswald.

Nov. 17

'Deep State' / Drugs

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The real ‘deep state’ is about corporate power, not entrenched bureaucrats, Mike Lofgren (right, former Republican congressional staff member and the author of The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government), Nov. 17, 2019. This right-wing catchphrase supposedly describes rebellious mike lofgren photo covergovernment workers. But moneyed influencers are the real “deep state.”

With impeachment hearings underway, conservatives’ favorite catchphrase, the “deep state,” has gotten a thorough airing. Stephen Miller, the White House’s hard-line immigration adviser, called the Ukraine whistleblower a “saboteur,” adding, “I know the difference between a whistleblower and a deep state operative.”

As the author who popularized this term, I’m invoking the privilege of correcting them. There is no deep state as the right imagines it — that is, a secret cabal of government insiders hellbent on undermining the White House. Rather, it is Trump himself, under the camouflage of populist rhetoric, who has overseen the open expansion of the deep state: entrenched interests gaining outsize influence and setting their own policy agenda, unchecked by the will of the people, their elected representatives or the civil servants meant to regulate them.

 peter dale scott american deep state rowman and littlefield Custom

JIP Editor's note: Author, poet and retired University of California at Berkeley professor Peter Dale Scott, shown above, a former Canadian diplomat, is credited elsewhere with helping popularize the terms "Deep State" and "Deep Politics" beginning decades ago as applied to United States civic affairs via his books and articles.

The books include Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993), Deep Politics II (1994, republished and updated in 2013 as Oswald, Mexico and Deep Politics) and The American Deep State (2015). A reluctance to credit Scott for the terms may stem from a desire in more conventional political circles to normalize the political methods (including arms and narcotics trafficking, money laundering and political assassinations) that some political operatives and their leaders have found effective in American politics on occasion. 

 janis joplin via reelz

Pop star Janis Joplin shown hours before her death at age 27 (photo via YouTube excerpt from documentary clip by Reelz).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The ’60s tore my family apart. Acid made it worse, Mike Wise, Nov. 17, 2019. Forty-nine years after she died of a heroin overdose at age 27, rock’s doomed diva is on the road again. “A Night With Janis Joplin,” a musical homage to the psychedelic era and its favorite blues singer (shown in a  1969 file photo), returned to its Bay Area roots in mid-October — to Santa Rosa and then San Jose, where I first heard that scratchy, sultry crooning through our living-room stereo.

Interest in hallucinogenic drugs has rarely been stronger. The Oct. 13 episode of “60 Minutes” featured Johns Hopkins University’s ongoing psilocybin research studies. The report made a good case for magic mushrooms’ ability to cure depression and addiction; many control-group patients in the study swore the drug took them on some of the most profound “journeys” of their lives.

But what if you weren’t merely a child of the Sixties but just … a child? What if you couldn’t trust anyone to be your caregiver under 30? And what if, over time, you grew so sick and tired of hearing about how great it all had been that you just wanted to tell everyone to stop the revisionist history and shut the hell up?

f people who are still in thrall to The Sixties — and, for that matter, many of their children who still want to live vicariously through their parents’ imaginary pasts — remember that Janis and Jimi OD’d within three weeks of each other in 1970, they might also remember a songwriter and lyricist named Robert Hunter, best known for collaborating with Jerry Garcia.

cia logoDespite putting his body through hell over many years, he died in September at 78, outliving many of his contemporaries. Buried in his obituary was this: Hunter volunteered around 1962 to be a guinea pig in Stanford University’s CIA-sponsored psychedelic-drug research program. He was the first member of the Grateful Dead to regularly take LSD, a fact often attributed to the creative surge the band experienced in the following decade.

James “Whitey” Bulger, the late Boston crime boss, became one of MK-Ultra’s earliest test subjects when he was incarcerated at an Atlanta penitentiary in 1957. “Eight convicts in a panic and paranoid state,” Bulger later wrote of being forcibly injected with the drug. “Total loss of appetite. Hallucinating. The room would change shape. Hours of paranoia and feeling violent. We experienced horrible periods of living nightmares and even blood coming out of the walls. Guys turning to skeletons in front of me. I saw a camera change into the head of a dog. I felt like I was going insane.”

Impeachment Daily Index

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Impeachment Coverage Noted Above

washington post logoWashington Post, Sondland acted at Trump’s behest, senior official says, Colby Itkowitz, Karoun Demirjian, Michael Kranish and Shane Harris, Nov. 17, 2019 (print ed.). A former White House national security official told House investigators that Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, was acting at President Trump’s behest and spoke to a top Ukrainian official about exchanging military aid for political investigations — two elements at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Tim Morrison OMB, left in OctoberTim Morrison, right, the top Russia and Europe adviser on the National Security Council, testified that between July 16 and Sept. 11, he understood that Sondland had spoken to Trump about half a dozen times, according to a transcript of his sworn Oct. 31 deposition released by House committees Saturday. Trump has said he does not know Sondland well and has tried to distance himself from the E.U. ambassador, whom Trump put in charge of Ukraine policy along with two others, even though Ukraine is not part of the European Union.

“His mandate from the president was to go make deals,” Morrison said of Sondland.

Sondland continues to emerge as possibly the key figure in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as multiple witnesses have now described him as central to answering the question at the heart of the effort to remove Trump from office: Did the president specifically withhold military aid and a White House visit desperately sought by the new Ukrainian government in the face of Russian aggression in exchange for investigations into his political rivals?

Sondland has provided sworn testimony behind closed doors, but questions have been raised about whether he was fully forthcoming with lawmakers. He has already revised his testimony once, and Sondland will testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in what is now a highly anticipated appearance.

mark sandy Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, White House budget official says decision to delay aid to Ukraine was highly irregular, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, Colby Itkowitz and Erica Werner, Nov. 17, 2019 (print ed.). Saturday's testimony from Mark Sandy, above, who is the first employee of the Office of Management and Budget to testify in the House’s probe, appeared to confirm Democrats’ suspicions that the decision to withhold congressionally approved funds for Ukraine was a political one.

Nov. 14

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: The case of Bijan Ghaisar has enshrined injustice, Editorial Board, Nov. 14, 2019. Federal prosecutors close the books on the willful, unjustified police killing of Bijan Ghaisar. The disgrace of the foot-dragging, stonewalling, shoulder-shrugging two-year FBI investigation into the unwarranted killing of an unarmed man near the District by U.S. Park Police officers in November 2017 has now reached a contemptible travesty of a climax: a decision Wednesday by federal prosecutors to close the case with no charges.

bijan ghaisar headThe victim, Bijan Ghaisar, a charismatic, football-loving 25-year-old accountant beloved by his many friends and family, was shot repeatedly in the head by a pair of officers after his vehicle was rear-ended in a minor fender bender in the Northern Virginia suburbs. As is obvious from dash-cam video footage of the incident, the officers brandished their weapons for no good reason and opened fire even though Ghaisar posed no threat to them or anyone else.

The killing amounted to an execution by officers sworn to uphold the law, who appeared exasperated that Ghaisar, perhaps terrified that the officers had approached him with guns drawn, drove off twice after being stopped before the final, fatal encounter. To be clear: Exasperation does not give police a license to kill. Or at least — we would have thought until this decision that it does not.

Jessie K. Liu, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Justice Department officials say they have concluded that evidence is lacking to prove the officers “willfully” took Ghaisar’s life. To grasp how that offends any notion of justice, one need only watch the video. To see the footage and then assert the officers did not “willfully” shoot Ghaisar is to proclaim that grass is purple.

Ms. Liu’s office, in announcing its decision, said that “evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required” under the law. A “willful” police shooting, the office said, must meet the Supreme Court’s standard: an act impelled by “a bad purpose to disregard the law.”

The baffling ending to the criminal case is of a piece with the unjustified duration of the investigation, in the course of which the FBI arrogantly ignored requests for meetings and substantive updates from three senators, a member of the House and the Ghaisar family and lawyer.

If repeatedly shooting an unarmed man — a man who imperiled no one — does not amount to “a bad purpose to disregard the law,” then those words are devoid of meaning. And no police officer will ever be charged, no matter how egregious the case.

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein’s Estate May Set Up a Program to Pay Accusers, Matthew Goldstein, Nov. 14, 2019 (print ed.). A proposal for a “claims resolution program” was jeffrey epstein new mug cropped july 2019referred to in a court filing by a lawyer for a woman who accused the late financier, right, of sexual abuse. Not all the plaintiffs’ lawyers are on board.

Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein’s estate are considering setting up a program to resolve claims filed by women who say they were abused by the financier, who killed himself in August while facing federal sex trafficking charges.

kenneth feinberg wThe plan was disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday by a lawyer for one of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, who is suing the estate in federal court in Manhattan. The filing said lawyers for Mr. Epstein’s estate had informed plaintiffs that they were planning to disclose details of a “claims resolution program” to a court in the United States Virgin Islands, where the mysteriously wealthy Mr. Epstein had his will filed shortly before his death.

The estate has retained Kenneth R. Feinberg, the noted lawyer who specializes in compensating victims, to set up the program, his team confirmed late Wednesday. His associates Camille Biros and Jordana Feldman have also been tapped, and Ms. Feldman will carry out the plan once it is set up and if it meets court approval. Ms. Biros has been an architect of programs to provide restitution to victims of the Catholic Church abuse scandal. Ms. Feldman most recently played a critical role in overseeing the administration of the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund.

Nov. 13

Impeachment Inquiry: Hearings Begin

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Impeachment Witnesses Reveal Scope of Trump’s Ukraine Push

ny times logoNew York Times, Startling Testimony About New Call Further Implicates Trump, Nicholas Fandos and Michael D. Shear, Nov. 13, 2019. The House of Representatives opened historic impeachment hearings on Wednesday and took startling new testimony from a senior American diplomat that further implicated President Trump in a campaign to pressure Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In a nationally televised hearing from a stately committee room across from the Capitol, William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, brought to life Democrats’ allegations that Mr. Trump had abused his office by trying to enlist a foreign power to help him in an election.

Mr. Taylor testified to the House Intelligence Committee that he learned only recently of a July telephone call overheard by one of his aides in which the president was preoccupied with Ukraine’s willingness to say it would look into Mr. Biden and work by his son Hunter Biden for a Ukrainian energy firm. Immediately afterward, Mr. Taylor said, the aide had been informed that Mr. Trump cared more about “investigations of Biden” than he did about Ukraine.

A powerful witness for Democrats, Mr. Taylor appeared as Congress embarked on the third set of presidential impeachment hearings in modern times. Forceful, detailed and unflappable in the face of Republican taunts, the veteran diplomat delivered a remarkable rebuke of the actions taken by the president and his allies inside and outside of the government who placed Mr. Trump’s political objectives at the center of American policy toward Ukraine.

ny times logoNew York Times, Behind a Star Witness, Democrats Take Their Case to the Public, Peter Baker, Nov. 13, 2019. Their goal is to transform what the public might view as an abstract debate over foreign policy into high crimes, while Republicans argue there is no case.

ny times logoNew York Times, On Capitol Hill, Old School Washington Keeps Circus at Bay, Mark Leibovich, Nov. 13, 2019. After so much noise, a formal feeling fell upon the Capitol. The civil servants had entered the room.

In a sense, seriousness itself stood trial on Wednesday as William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, and George P. Kent, a top State Department official, strode into the velvet-draped hearing room just after 10 a.m. They wore stern stares and were seemingly oblivious to the discord that brought them there.

Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, MSNBC turned heads with a surprise guest: George Conway, husband of Kellyanne,Michael M. Grynbaum, Nov. 13, 2019. Even in television news, a little stunt casting can’t hurt. MSNBC turned heads on Wednesday when, minutes before the House impeachment hearings got underway, the network announced a surprise guest: George T. Conway III, the conservative lawyer and husband of President Trump’s White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway.

Little known outside legal circles before his wife’s ascent to political stardom, Mr. Conway has become a liberal sensation by emerging as an unlikely critic of the president. His Twitter account, once a sleepy province of corgi and cat videos, is now a favorite of Trump detractors eager for Mr. Conway’s sweeping and spiky denunciations.

But while Mr. Conway has also ventured onto newspaper op-ed pages (“Trump is a racist president” was the headline of his Washington Post opinion piece in July) and other media forums, he had drawn the line at appearing on Mr. Trump’s favored medium. Until now.

ny times logoNew York Times, Critic's Notebook: What Our TV Critic Noticed During the Televised Hearing, James Poniewozik, Nov. 13, 2019. The first day featured international drama, a volley of interruptions and a Cronkite-like voice.

ny times logoNew York Times, Court Rejects Trump’s Appeal in Fight to Keep Financial Records From Congress, Charlie Savage, Nov. 13, 2019. A full federal appeals court on Wednesday let stand an earlier ruling that President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over eight years of his financial records to Congress, bringing the case to the threshold of a likely Supreme Court battle.

In the latest of a string of court losses for Mr. Trump over his uncompromising vow to fight “all” subpoenas from Congress, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected his request that it rehear a case in which he challenged the subpoena to the firm, Mazars USA. A panel of the court had sided with lawmakers in that earlier ruling.

The president will now appeal to the Supreme Court, said a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Jay Sekulow. If the justices take the case, as seems likely, it would add another blockbuster case over separation of powers to the court’s current term, which ends in June — in the middle of the presidential election campaign.

“In light of the well-reasoned dissent, we will be seeking review at the Supreme Court,” Mr. Sekulow said in a statement.

Lawyers representing Mr. Trump had argued that Congress had no legitimate legislative authority to seek his business records because the panel seeking them, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was primarily trying to determine whether he broke existing laws — not weighing whether to enact a new one.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Republicans’ Best Defense Is a Bad Offense, Editorial Board, Nov. 13, 2019. What the day’s impeachment hearings revealed.What did Americans learn from the first day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry?

They learned damaging new information, about another witness who reportedly overheard a telephone conversation in which President Trump pressed to find out if the Ukrainians had committed to investigating his top political rival.

They learned they are still served by people of integrity who are committed to advancing the national interest. The day’s two witnesses, George Kent and William Taylor, both deeply experienced diplomats, provided precise, scrupulously nonpartisan and damning testimony about the effort at the center of the inquiry: the secretive shakedown of Ukraine by Mr. Trump and his associates, for the president’s political gain.

Roger Stone Trial

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ny times logoNew York Times, Roger Stone Lied to Protect Trump, Prosecutors Argue at Trial, Sharon LaFraniere and Zach Montague, Nov. 13, 2019. A jury will now consider the charges against Mr. Stone, including lying to investigators in a congressional inquiry into Russia’s 2016 election interference. Focusing squarely on his ties to President Trump, federal prosecutors argued Wednesday that Roger J. Stone Jr. (shown above in a 2016 screenshot) blatantly obstructed a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election because the truth “would look really bad” for Mr. Trump.

In closing arguments in Mr. Stone’s obstruction of justice trial, prosecutors argued that he concealed reams of evidence, threatened a fragile witness and told “whoppers” that impeded a House committee’s investigation into how Russia used WikiLeaks to sabotage the 2016 presidential race.

“He knew that if the truth came out about what he was doing in 2016, it would look terrible,” Jonathan Kravis, an assistant United States attorney, told the jurors on the sixth day of Mr. Stone’s trial on charges of deceiving the House Intelligence Committee two years ago. “Roger Stone knew that if this information came out it would look really bad for his longtime associate Donald Trump.”

Bruce S. Rogow, Mr. Stone’s defense lawyer, countered that the entire premise of the prosecution’s case was false because Mr. Stone had no evidence that would have hurt Mr. Trump, or embarrassed his campaign. “That is a nonstarter,” he said. “It makes no sense.”

Not only was Mr. Trump by then president and concerned with weightier matters when Mr. Stone testified before lawmakers in September 2017, Mr. Rogow said, but his campaign a year earlier had merely expressed a natural interest in what WikiLeaks might have in store for Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent. “There was nothing malignant, nothing corrupt” about the conduct of Mr. Stone or the campaign, he said.

Mr. Stone’s trial in a federal courthouse in Washington has unfolded against the backdrop of the impeachment inquiry into the president underway blocks away on Capitol Hill. As Congress grapples with allegations that Mr. Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to help his 2020 re-election effort, the Stone case has revived the story of how Russian operatives stole tens of thousands of Democratic emails and funneled them to WikiLeaks, which released them at critical points in the 2016 campaign.

Jury deliberations will begin on Thursday, said Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing the trial. Mr. Stone is charged with seven felonies that together carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, though a defendant with no criminal history, like Mr. Stone, would almost certainly receive a far lighter punishment if he were found guilty on any counts.

Prosecutors have said Mr. Stone hid dozens of text messages and emails that were pertinent to the House committee’s inquiry; deliberately misidentified the person he dispatched to get in touch with the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in late summer 2016; covered up the fact that he tried to obtain stolen Democratic emails from WikiLeaks; and denied that he talked to Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks’ plans.

Roger Stone Trial

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Predicted More Leaks Amid WikiLeaks Releases in 2016, Ex-Aide Testifies, Sharon LaFraniere and Zach Montague, Nov. 12, 2019. Both sides wrapped up their cases in the trial of the longtime Trump adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., accused of lying about his contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

Days after the rogue website WikiLeaks posted a trove of stolen Democratic Party emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump talked by phone with Roger J. Stone Jr. (shown right in a file photo), a longtime friend who claimed to have connections to WikiLeaks, then told a top aide that “more information would be coming,” the aide testified in Mr. Stone’s criminal trial on Tuesday.

roger stoneThe aide, Rick Gates, said he did not hear the substance of the July 31, 2016, call. Nor did he say that Mr. Trump mentioned WikiLeaks, the organization that had received tens of thousands of emails stolen by Russian operatives seeking to sabotage the campaign of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

But the context of the exchange suggests that Mr. Stone briefed Mr. Trump on whatever he had picked up about the website’s plans. In written answers that President Trump supplied during the special counsel’s investigation of Russian influence in the campaign, he said he did not recall the specifics of any of his 21 phone calls with Mr. Stone in the six months before the election. He also said he did not recall knowing that his campaign advisers were in touch with Mr. Stone about WikiLeaks.

Mr. Gates’s testimony revealed other new details about the Trump campaign’s intense interest in how WikiLeaks might disrupt Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. Much of what he said in court was covered in the 448-page report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, but it was blacked out in the version released publicly last spring to protect grand jury secrecy or open cases, a person familiar with the report said.

Impeachment Hearing Previews

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP and Democrats push dueling messages on Trump’s conduct, Toluse Olorunnipa, Karoun Demirjian and Rachael Bade​, Nov. 13, 2019. The series of open hearings that begin today will be a pivotal test of lawmakers’ ability to sway public opinion for or against President Trump’s impeachment in a polarized political environment.

washington post logoWashington Post, How the decline of public trust shaped Trump’s, Nixon’s and Clinton’s endgames, Marc Fisher, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). This is the first impeachment process to take place in an era of instant and constant spin.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: 5 questions we still need answered, Was President Trump definitively behind all of this? Amber Phillips, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). Nearly eight weeks into the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, we know that his administration withheld bipartisan military aid from Ukraine, and we know that Trump wanted Ukraine’s president to investigate a company related to former vice president Joe Biden as well as a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election.

But going into the first week of public hearings, we don’t have some key details pinned down that could go a long way to firming up Democrats’ case against Trump. Such as: 1. Who was directing all of this?

washington post logoadam schiff squareWashington Post, Fact Checker Analysis: A guide to impeachment hearing spin, Glenn Kessler and Salvador Rizzo, Nov. 13, 2019. Watch out for these debunked claims you may hear during the hearings. During the deposition stage of the investigation, Trump and his allies have offered false and misleading claims that we have debunked over the past few weeks.

Here’s a guide to some of the most significant claims. (We also gave Four Pinocchios to Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), right, for misleading reporters about the committee’s prior contact with the whistleblower who first alleged Trump has been “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”)

william taylor o CustomTODAY’S WITNESSES

washington post logoWashington Post, William B. Taylor, right:, The acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, he is a career diplomat and military veteran who has served in Republican and Democratic administrations.

Analysis: Who is William Taylor and why does his testimony matter? Amber Phillips, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). 
• Read his closed-door testimony from last month

washington post logogeorge kent oWashington Post, George Kent, right: As a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, he oversees European and Eurasian affairs.

Analysis: Who is George Kent and why does his testimony matter? Amber Phillips, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). 
• Read his closed-door testimony from last month

OTHER KEY PLAYERS, THEMES

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats’ impeachment lawyer cut his teeth prosecuting mobsters, Wall Street cheats, Devlin Barrett, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). The Democrats’ lead impeachment hearing lawyer made his bones as a prosecutor by sending mobsters, stock swindlers and a multimillion-dollar insider trader to prison, cases in which colleagues said he mixed brains and “swagger” to win convictions.

Daniel S. Goldman spent a decade as an assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan, a jurisdiction known for its tough, high-profile cases. He left that job in 2017 to become a television legal analyst but now holds a weightier role questioning witnesses called to testify about President Trump’s effort to persuade Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

washington post logoWashington Post, Who is Stephen R. Castor, the GOP staff attorney in the impeachment hearings? Elise Viebeck, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). Stephen R. Castor served as investigator to key House probes.The Republican staff member charged with questioning impeachment witnesses has served as an investigator in some of the biggest House probes of the last 15 years, including inquiries related to Hurricane Katrina, a gun-tracking operation known as Operation Fast and Furious and the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Yet the task facing Stephen R. Castor on Wednesday will be completely new, as Republicans seize the chance to bolster President Trump’s case that there was no quid pro quo involving Ukraine during the impeachment inquiry’s first public hearing.

washington post logodana milbank CustomWashington Post, Opinion: The case against Trump in seven words, Dana Milbank, right, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). Now it gets real. After three years of presidential assaults on democratic norms, after a 50-day impeachment inquiry, after 100 hours of closed-door testimony from 15 witnesses and after thousands of pages of publicly released depositions, the case against President Trump comes down to seven words:

He abused presidential powers for personal advantage.

Simple as that.

Inside DC

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump offers trade deal, sanctions workaround to Erdogan, Karen DeYoung, Missy Ryan and Kareem Fahim, Nov. 13, 2019. The offer is likely to infuriate some of Flag of Turkeythe House majority that voted to impose sanctions on Turkey over its assault into Syria, and a group of senators who introduced a similar bill.

• Analysis: An embattled Trump welcomes an embittered Erdogan

washington post logoWashington Post, Kushner proposes creating live video feed of border wall construction to rally public support, Nick Miroff, Nov. 13, 2019. The plan has been met by objections from U.S. Army Corps and border officials.

stephen miller nbc screenshot whWashington Post, Leaked Stephen Miller emails shows Trump’s point man on immigration promoted white nationalism, SPLC reports, Kim Bellware, Nov. 13, 2019. 
In the lead-up to the 2016 election, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, right, sought to promote white nationalism, far-right extremist ideas and anti-immigrant rhetoric through the conservative site Breitbart, according to a report released Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The report is the first installment in a series that draws on more than 900 emails that Miller sent to a Breitbart writer over a 15-month period between 2015 and 2016 and were given to the SPLC. The report describes Miller’s emails as overwhelmingly focused on race and immigration and characterizes him as obsessed with ideas such as “white genocide” (a conspiracy theory associated with white supremacists) and sharply curbing nonwhite immigration.

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washington post logoWashington Post, At donor dinner, Giuliani associate said he discussed Ukraine with Trump, according to people familiar with his account, Rosalind S. Helderman, Matt Zapotosky, Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). The April 2018 dinner was designed to be an intimate affair, an opportunity for a handful of big donors to a super PAC allied with President Trump to personally interact with the president and his eldest son. One of the men, Lev Parnas, has described to associates that he and his business partner, Igor Fruman, told Trump at the dinner that they thought the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was unfriendly to the president and his interests.

According to Parnas (shown at center in a file photo), the president reacted strongly to the news: Trump immediately suggested that then-Ambassador Marie ­Yovanovitch, who had been in the Foreign Service for 32 years and served under Democratic and Republican presidents, should be fired, people familiar with his account said.

washington post logoWashington Post, She inflated her resume and peddled a fake Time cover. Trump appointed her to the State Department, Reis Thebault, Nov. 13, 2019 (print ed.). Mina Chang sports a subtle smile on the cover of a Time magazine “Special Edition,” with a swaggering headline that reads, “We change the world: Modern humanitarian in the digital age.”

The cover shot was among the photographs Chang brought to a January 2017 interview about countering violent extremism. At the time, the State Department senior official was the chief executive of a small nonprofit, and she appeared on the public affairs show to discuss efforts to curb the influence of groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram.

Nov. 11

Bolivian Coup Alleged

ny times logoNew York Times, Evo Morales Urges Resistance to New Bolivian Government, Clifford Krauss and Daniel Victor, Nov. 11, 2019.  The former president’s stance could complicate efforts to form a transitional administration and hold fresh elections.

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Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary:Trump honors Native American Heritage Month with coup against Bolivia's first Native American president, Wayne Madsen, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallleft, syndicated columnist, author of 16 books and former Navy intelligence officer), Nov. 11, 2019 (excerpted with permission). Donald Trump, who has a schoolboy’s view of Native Americans as having been “savages” who besieged wagon trains of “peaceful” European settlers, has chalked up on his record of seedy deeds the military overthrow of Bolivia’s first Native American president, Evo Morales, an ethnic Aymara.

evo moralesTrump has been eyeing Morales, right), the leader of Bolivia’s Movement toward Socialism (MAS) party, for some form of retribution ever since Morales scolded Trump in person during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on September 26, 2018.

Morales, as president of the Security Council, lectured Trump on America’s past abuses. The Bolivian president cited the United States as having “financed coups d’etat and supported dictators,” and having instituted a border policy that “separated migrant children from their families and put them in cages.” Trump kept his head cia logodown during the tongue-lashing, only raising it periodically to glower at Morales, who was wearing the formal garb of his native Aymara people.

On November 10th, Morales received his belated response from Trump in the form of an old-style military coup. Even though Morales agreed to a new election, he and his entire MAS government, including Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, Chamber of Deputies President Victor Borda, and Senate President Adriana Salvatierra -- all in the line of succession to the president -- were forced to resign by the Bolivian military and national police. Without a constitutional successor to Morales, the military and national police commanders took over in a classic Central Intelligence Agency textbook coup from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Nov. 10

60 Minutes Australia,

, Producers Thea Dikeos and Naomi Shivaraman, reporter Tara Brown, Nov. 10, 2019 (45:16 mins.). The Jeffrey Epstein scandal: Tara Brown reports how a New York billionaire masterminded an international sex trafficking ring of young women, and why wealthy and powerful men, including HRH Prince Andrew, are now implicated in the saga.

Nov. 8

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washington post logoWashington Post, Trump ‘violates all recognized democratic norms,’ federal judge says in biting speech on judicial independence, Trump keeps lashing out at judges, Katie Shepherd, Nov. 8, 2019.  In an unusually critical speech that lamented the public’s flagging confidence in the independence of the judicial branch, a federal judge slammed President Trump for “feeding right into this destructive narrative” with repeated attacks and personal insults toward judges he dislikes.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman of the District of Columbia (shown above) said Trump’s rhetoric “violates all recognized democratic norms” during a speech at the annual Judge Thomas A. Flannery Lecture in Washington on Wednesday.

“We are in unchartered territory,” said Friedman, 75, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. “We are witnessing a chief executive who criticizes virtually every judicial decision that doesn’t go his way and denigrates judges who rule against him, sometimes in very personal terms. He seems to view the courts and the justice system as obstacles to be attacked and undermined, not as a coequal branch to be respected even when he disagrees with its decisions.”

Other judges have raised similar concerns about Trump’s rhetoric and the increasingly partisan interpretation of judicial rulings, but as a senior judge and secretary of the American Law Institute, Friedman’s criticism carries weight.

Trump has denounced judges who have halted some of his administration’s most hotly debated policies, including his threats to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities and his attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects from deportation young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. The president also has attacked judges over rulings that negatively affect him personally.

In 2017, Trump tweeted how a judge’s decision not to imprison Bowe Bergdahl, an Army sergeant who was captured by the Taliban in 2009 after walking away from his battalion in Afghanistan, was a “total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.” On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump had suggested Bergdahl was a “dirty rotten traitor” who should be sentenced to death.

Trump also attacked U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, when the federal jurist from the Southern District of California was assigned to preside over a fraud case involving Trump University, a real estate seminar program. Trump suggested Curiel, an appointee of President Barack Obama, could not remain impartial in the case because of his Mexican heritage, despite the fact that the federal judge was born in Indiana and the case had nothing to do with immigration or foreign affairs. Trump ultimately settled the suit, which alleged the seminars used false advertising to ensnare attendees, for $25 million.

Nov. 7

American Herald Tribune, How the Deep State ‘Justifies’ Itself in America, Eric Zuesse, Nov. 7, 2019. On October 30th, there was a panel discussion broadcast live on C-Span from the National Press Club and the Michael V. Hayden Center. The discussants were John Brennan, Michael McCabe, John Mclaughlin, and Michael Morrell. They all agreed with the statement by McLaughlin (former Deputy CIA Director) “Thank God for the ‘Deep State’”, and the large audience there also applauded it — nobody booed it.

John Brennan amplified upon the thought, and there was yet more applause. However, that thought hadn’t been invented by McLaughlin; it instead had evolved recently in the pages of the New York Times. Perhaps the discussants had read it there. Instead of America’s ‘news’-media uncritically trumpeting what government officials assert to be facts (as they traditionally do), we now have former spooks uncritically trumpeting what a mainstream ‘news’-medium has recently concocted to be the case — about themselves. They’ve come out of the closet, about being the Deep State. However, even in that, they are lying, because they aren’t it; they are only agents for it.

In America, the Deep State ‘justifies’ itself in the ‘news’-media that it owns, and does so by falsely ‘defining’ what the “Deep State” is (which is actually the nation’s 607 billionaires, whose hired agents number in the millions). They mis-‘define’ it, as being, instead, the taxpayer-salaried career Government employees, known professionally as “the Civil Service.” (Although some Civil Servants — especially at the upper levels — are agents for America’s billionaires and retire to cushy board seats, most of them actually are not and do not. And the “revolving door” between “the public sector” and “the private sector” is where the Deep State operations become concentrated. That’s the core of the networking, by which the billionaires get served. And, of course, those former spooks at the National Press Club said nothing about it. Are they authentically so stupid that they don’t know about it, or is that just pretense from them?)

How the Deep State’s operatives perpetrate this deception about the meaning of “Deep State” was well exemplified in the nine links that were supplied on October 28th by the extraordinarily honest anonymous German intelligence analyst who blogs as “Moon of Alabama” and who condemned there (and linked to) 9 recent articles in the New York Times, as posing a threat against democracy in America. As I intend to argue here, the 9 articles are, indeed, aimed at deceiving the American public, about what the true meaning of the phrase “the Deep State” is.

He headlined “Endorsing The Deep State Endangers Democracy”. (And that’s what the October 30th panel discussion was actually doing — endorsing the Deep State.) However, he didn’t explain the tactic the NYT’s editors (and those former spooks) use to deceive the public about the Deep State, and this is what I aim to do here, by showing the transformation, over time, in the way that that propaganda-organization, the New York Times, has been employing the phrase “Deep State” — a remarkable transformation, which started, on 16 February 2017, by the newspaper’s denying that any Deep State exists in America but that it exists only in corrupt nations; and which gradually transitioned into an upside-down, by asserting that a Deep State does exist in the United States, and that it fights against corruption in this country. As always, only fools (such as that applauding audience on October 30th) would believe it, but propagandists depend upon fools and cannot thrive without them. In this case, the Times, in those 9 articles, was evolving quickly from a blanket denial, to an American-exceptionalist proud affirmation, that a Deep State rules this country and ought to rule it. I agree with the statement that “Endorsing The Deep State Endangers Democracy”, but I am more concerned here to explain how that endorsement — that deceit — is being done.

Nov. 5

Associated Press, Gabbard signs up for NH primary, stands up for 9/11 families, Staff report, Nov. 5, 2019. Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, right, combined signing up for New tulsi gabbard newap logoHampshire’s presidential primary with standing up for survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

After her visit to the secretary of state’s office Tuesday, the Democrat joined a 9/11 survivor outside the Statehouse to repeat her call for the public release of documents that she believes could tie Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

She says the courage and strength shown by 9/11 survivors and family members speaks to leadership style she would bring to a government that currently serves the rich and powerful and puts the interests of other countries ahead of the American people. The filing period for the first-in-the-nation primary ends Nov. 15.

Nov. 3

 

60 Minutes Australia,

, Producer Grace Tobin, Nov. 3, 2019 (21:05 mins.) The creepiest place on earth: reporter Liam Bartlett visits 'Pervert Park,' and reveals why it could be good for society.

Nov. 2

9/11 Research

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Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, New Paper on WTC ‘Collapses’ Adds to Literature Refuting Progressive Collapse Theory, Ted Walter, Nov. 2, 2019. Few people know that the official account of the Twin Towers’ destruction relies entirely on just four journal papers. All four papers were coauthored by Northwestern University engineering professor Zdeněk Bažant, and all four were published in the ASCE’s Journal of Engineering Mechanics between 2002 and 2011 (Bažant submitted the first paper a mere two days after 9/11).

This may come as a surprise to many people, since one would assume that the government itself fully investigated the Twin Towers’ destruction and offered a complete theory explaining these catastrophic building failures. But that assumption is wide of the mark.

As it happens, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) limited the scope of its investigation to “the sequence of events from the instant of aircraft impact to the initiation of collapse.” Stunningly, NIST admitted that it conducted “little analysis of the structural behavior of the tower after the conditions for collapse initiation were reached” and that it was “unable to provide a full explanation of the total collapse.” 5 6

In other words, the government did not explain how the tops of the Twin Towers were able to crush through the enormous steel structures below them “essentially in free fall.”7 The only analysis ever produced in support of this notion was by Bažant and his various coauthors.

Ansgar Schneider portraitThis past September, the most recent paper refuting Bažant’s theory was presented by German mathematician and physicist Ansgar Schneider, right, at the annual congress of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) in New York City. Schneider’s paper, “The Structural Dynamics of the World Trade Center Catastrophe,” can now be found in the conference proceedings and is also available for free on arXiv, the e-print server of the Cornell University Library.

Complementing earlier research, Schneider’s paper offers a new and unique approach to falsifying [i.e., refuting] Bažant’s theory. Previous papers showed that Bažant hugely underestimated the ability of WTC 1’s lower section to resist the fall of the upper section and pointed out that there would have been a large, observable deceleration of the upper section’s downward movement — which there was not — if it had impacted the intact lower section.

Schneider’s approach is to assume that Bažant’s mathematical model of a progressive collapse is valid. Then, by plugging into the model the actual data related to the fall of the upper section, he calculates the upward resistance provided by the lower section.

Nov. 1

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SouthFront, British Government Keeps Journalist Julian Assange In Maximum Security Prison At Behest Of Trump Regime, Leon Tressell, Nov. 1, 2019. At his latest extradition hearing Julian Assange (shown above in a photo by The Indicter Magazine) was once again denied justice by a British court.

If extradited to the U.S. he faces 175 years imprisonment for revealing American war crimes committed during its regime change wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Magistrate refuses to dismiss the extradition case against Assange, shown in a file photo.

Julian Assange August On October 21 magistrate Vanessa Baraitser refused Assange’s defence a hearing to dismiss the extradition case on the basis of the 2003 U.S.-UK extradition treaty which prohibits extradition for political offences such as espionage. The wording of the American indictment against Assange makes it clear that 18 of the 19 charges against him regard offences that allegedly damaged the national security of the United States. These espionage charges are clearly political offences which should prevent his extradition under the 2003 extradition treaty.

Magistrate refuses to postpone Assange’s extradition hearing

The magistrate also rejected an application from Assange’s defence to postpone the full extradition hearing on 24 February 2020. This application to postpone was based on two grounds.

Firstly, that Assange is being kept in conditions at Belmarsh maximum security prison that obstruct his ability to prepare his legal defence. He is denied access to his legal papers, and a computer while his mental health has significantly declined due to his continued imprisonment.

The second ground for a postponement of the extradition hearing were that his defence team need more time to access the mass of evidence coming out of the Spanish investigation into the surveillance of Assange, his lawyers, friends and family during the time he sheltered in the Ecuadorian embassy. Spanish newspaper El Pais has revealed that security firm UC Global spied on Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy and passed the information onto the CIA.
British government blocks Spanish judge from questioning Assange over spying allegations tied to American intelligence services

united kingdom flagThe newspaper El Pais has noted how the Spanish investigation has major ramifications for Assange’s case which has led the British government to block attempts by the investigating judge to question Julian Assange by videoconference. El Pais has commented upon the unprecedented nature of the UK government’s actions:

“The British position, unprecedented in these types of requests for judicial collaboration, is being viewed by Spanish judicial bodies as a show of resistance against the consequences that the case could have on the process to extradite the Australian cyberactivist to the United States.”

Judge Jose De La Mata has expressed his surprise at the UK government turning down his request to interview Assange as it has agreed to such requests in ”previous cases”. Refusal of such requests rarely happens and in this case is an example of the British government interfering in the judicial process in an attempt to ensure that Assange is extradited to the United States.

In a separate development, the National Press Club's president issued a statement on behalf of the club earlier this year as follows:

julian assange statement

 

October

Oct. 30

scott ritter

Truthdig, Opinion: Russia Isn't Getting the Recognition It Deserves on Syria, Scott Ritter, Oct 30, 2019. At a time when the credibility of the United States as either an unbiased actor or reliable ally lies in tatters, Russia has emerged as the one major power whose loyalty to its allies is unquestioned, and whose ability to serve as an honest broker between seemingly intractable opponents is unmatched.

If there is to be peace in Syria, it will be largely due to the patient efforts of Moscow employing deft negotiation, backed up as needed by military force, to shape conditions conducive for a political solution to a violent problem. If ever there was a primer for the art of diplomacy, the experience of Russia in Syria from 2011 to the present is it.

Like the rest of the world, Russia was caught off guard by the so-called Arab Spring that swept through the Middle East and North Africa in 2010-2011, forced to watch from the sidelines as the old order in Tunisia and Egypt was swept aside by popular discontent. While publicly supporting the peaceful transition of power in Tunis and Cairo, in private the Russian government watched the events unfolding in Egypt and the Maghreb with trepidation, concerned that the social and political transformations underway were a continuation of the kind of Western-backed “color revolutions” that had occurred previously in Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004).

When, in early 2011, the Arab Spring expanded into Libya, threatening the rule of longtime Russian client Moammar Gadhafi, Russia initially supported the creation of a U.N.-backed no-fly zone for humanitarian purposes, only to watch in frustration as the U.S. and NATO used it as a vehicle to launch a concerted air campaign in a successful bid to drive Gadhafi from power.

By the time Syria found itself confronting popular demonstrations against the rule of President Bashar Assad, Russia—still struggling to understand the root cause of the unrest—had become wary of the playbook being employed by the U.S. and NATO in response. While Russia was critical of the violence used by the Assad government in responding to the anti-government demonstrations in the spring of 2011, it blocked efforts by the U.S. and Europe to impose economic sanctions against the Syrian government, viewing them as little more than the initial salvo of a broader effort to achieve regime change in Damascus using the Libyan model.

Moscow’s refusal to help facilitate that Western-sponsored regime change, however, did not translate into unequivocal support for the continued rule of Assad. Russia supported the appointment of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to head up a process for bringing a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis, and endorsed Annan’s six-point peace plan, put forward in March 2012, which included the possibility of a peaceful transition of power away from Assad.

Scott Ritter spent more than a dozen years in the intelligence field, beginning in 1985 as a ground intelligence officer with the US Marine Corps. Ritter was subsequently recruited by the United Nations Special Commission to help implement the provisions of Security Council resolutions requiring Iraq to be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). From 1991 to 1998, Ritter helped collect intelligence about Iraqi WMD programs, plan inspections in Iraq to find hidden WMD capability, and lead those inspections as Chief Inspector. These inspections were considered the most difficult, confrontational and controversial in UNSCOM's history, and resulted in several UN Security Council resolutions being passed as a result of Iraqi efforts to obstruct the work of the teams Ritter led.

Oct. 28

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The Grayzone, Commentary: ‘This charge is 100% false’: Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal arrested months after reporting on Venezuelan opposition violence, Ben Norton, Oct. 28, 2019. max blumenthal screenshot rt americaMax Blumenthal, the editor of the news site The Grayzone, was arrested on the morning of October 25 on a fabricated charge related to the siege of the Venezuelan embassy (shown above) in Washington, DC that took place between April and May.

A team of DC police officers appeared at Blumenthal’s door at just after 9 AM, demanding entry and threatening to break his door down. A number of officers had taken positions on the side of his home as though they were prepared for a SWAT-style raid.

Blumenthal, right, was hauled into a police van and ultimately taken to DC central jail, where he was held for two days in various cells and cages. He was shackled by his hands and ankles for over five hours in one such cage along with other inmates. His request for a phone call was denied by DC police and corrections officers, effectively denying him access to the outside world.

Blumenthal was informed that he was accused of simple assault by a Venezuelan opposition member. He declared the charge completely baseless.

“This charge is a 100 percent false, fabricated, bogus, untrue, and malicious lie,” Blumenthal declared. “It is clearly part of a campaign of political persecution designed to silence me and the The Grayzone for our factual journalism exposing the deceptions, corruption and violence of the far-right Venezuelan opposition.”

The arrest warrant was five months old. According to an individual familiar with the case, the warrant for Blumenthal’s arrest was initially rejected. Strangely, this false charge was revived months later without the defendant’s knowledge.

“If the government had at least told me I had a warrant I could have voluntarily surrendered and appeared at my own arraignment. I have nothing to fear because I’m completely innocent of this bogus charge,” Blumenthal stated. “Instead, the federal government essentially enlisted the DC police to SWAT me, ensuring that I would be subjected to an early morning raid and then languish in prison for days without even the ability to call an attorney.”


Background to the embassy siege

In April and May, Washington-backed Venezuelan coup leaders began taking over properties in the United States that belong to the internationally recognized government of Venezuela’s democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro, in violation of international law.

A group of activists responded by keeping a vigil inside the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC, in order to protect it from an illegal seizure by the US-supported coup leaders. The activists formed what they called the Embassy Protection Collective. The internationally recognized Venezuelan government gave them permission to stay in its embassy, which is its own sovereign territory under international law.

In response, hordes of violent right-wing activists who support the Venezuelan opposition launched a de facto 24/7 siege of the embassy, preventing people, food, and supplies from entering the building.

The Grayzone reporter Anya Parampil and Alex Rubinstein, a contributor to The Grayzone, were embedded in the embassy with several peace activists.

Parampil and journalists including Blumenthal documented the right-wing mobs lashing out with racist and sexist invective as well as violence at Venezuelan solidarity activists who gathered outside the embassy to show support for the protectors.

Court documents indicate the false charge of simple assault stems from Blumenthal’s participation in a delivery of food and sanitary supplies to peace activists and journalists inside the Venezuelan embassy on May 8, 2019.

The charge was manufactured by a Venezuelan opposition member who was among those laying siege to the embassy in a sustained bid to starve out the activists inside.

“I was not party to any violent actions around the Venezuelan embassy,” Blumenthal reiterated. “This ginned up claim of simple assault is simply false.”

According to court documents, Ben Rubinstein, the brother of journalist Alex Rubinstein, also participated in the non-violent and legal food delivery. Rubinstein was arrested over 12 hours later after the food delivery by Secret Service police officers.

He spent 20 hours in jail, alongside Gerry Condon, president of Veterans for Peace, who was arrested after being brutalized by Secret Service officers for attempting to toss a cucumber inside an embassy window.

“The opposition members made up these lies about Max and I know they’re lying, and they are obviously using the government and police as tools to get revenge,” Ben Rubinstein told The Grayzone.
Retaliation for The Grayzone’s reporting on the violent Venezuelan opposition

Max Blumenthal reported extensively from outside the Venezuelan embassy in May. He filed a story explaining how “the pro-coup mob outside turned violent, physically assaulting embassy protectors, and hurling racist, sexist and homophobic abuse at others.”

Blumenthal documented an opposition activist breaking into and subsequently vandalizing the embassy, in violation of international law. He also reported on opposition members destroying the embassy’s security cameras, while the authorities stood idly by.

The Venezuelan coup regime’s supposed ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, who is not recognized by the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community, helped to lead this aggressive mob as it besieged the embassy.

The Grayzone’s Anya Parampil exposed Vecchio to be a former lawyer for the oil corporation Exxon. The Grayzone has documented his close links to the US government, and has reported at length on accusations of corruption. Vecchio was a regular presence outside the DC embassy, appearing with his gaggle to stage manage the situation.

The Grayzone has also published numerous exposés on Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó, who was selected by the US government to be the so-called “interim president” in Caracas, detailing his extensive ties to Washington and his notorious corruption.

Blumenthal was arrested literally hours after The Grayzone published an article on USAID paying the salaries of Guaidó’s team as they lobbied the US government.

“I am firmly convinced that this case is part of a wider campaign of political persecution using the legal system to shut down our factual investigative journalism about the coup against Venezuela and the wider policy of economic warfare and regime change waged by the Trump administration,” Blumenthal stated.

If this had happened to a journalist in Venezuela, every Western human rights NGO and news wire would be howling about Maduro’s authoritarianism. It will be revealing to see how these same elements react to a clear-cut case of political repression in their own backyard.

Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the assistant editor of The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with editor Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Oct. 25

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Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: The real Three Amigos and how sexual blackmail has them at Trump's beck and call), Wayne Madsen (WMR editor, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallsynidcated columnist, author and former Navy intelligence officer, shown at left), Oct. 25, 2019 ((subscription required, excerpted with permission).. According to testimony provided to the House impeachment inquiry by George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's European and Eurasian Bureau, the Trump White House replaced the official Ukraine policy team within the State Department and National Security Council with "three amigos" who took their directions directly from Donald Trump's business agent and alleged lawyer Rudolph Giuliani.

The three amigos consisted of Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, a Trump Inauguration Committee donor and political appointee; Kurt lindsey graham judiciary chairmanVolker, the then-special envoy to Ukraine; and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Volker has since resigned his post and Perry has announced his resignation.

However, the "three amigos" title should be conferred upon Trump's top three congressional defenders: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), right, and Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Jim Jordan (R-OH). All three are subjects to significant political blackmail arising from their closeted gay sexual orientation. All three represent constituencies where anti-gay Christian fundamentalists enjoy political strength that can make or break any candidate for political office.

Justice Integrity Project Editor's Note: The editor of this site is aware, in part via presence at several interviews of sources, of the substantial evidence regarding the revelations above, which are newsworthy because of the national security and constitutional threats involved by continued suppression elsewhere of relevant allegations and commentary.

Future of Freedom Foundation, Interventionism and Isolationism, Jacob G. Hornberger (FFF president, book publisher, author and attorney, shown at right), Oct. 25, 2019. When jacob hornberger newPresident Trump decided to relocate a few troops on Syria’s northern border and announced that he would withdraw all the other U.S. troops from Syria, interventionists went ballistic. They said that Trump was leading America to “isolationism.”

That’s pretty funny, given (1) there is still no assurance that the Pentagon and the CIA are going to permit Trump to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria; (2) Trump is sending troops that he withdraws from Syria into Iraq and Saudi Arabia; (3) Trump continues to maintain troops in Afghanistan despite having had three years to have taken them out; (4) Trump continues to partner with the Saudis in their brutal war in Yemen; (5) Trump imposes sanctions and embargoes against any regime that bucks his will, including Turkey, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, China, and others; (6) the Pentagon and the CIA continue to maintain foreign imperial bases and secret prison camps all over the world; (7) Trump has kept the United State in NATO and other entangling alliances; and (8) foreign aid continues flowing into foreign regimes, dictatorial ones.

If that’s “isolationism,” I’d hate to see what interventionism looks like!

When we talk about foreign policy, there are two different systems from which to choose — the system of the statists, both Republican and Democrat, and the system that we libertarians favor.

Oct. 21

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Consortium News, Judge Denies Assange Extension on Extradition Hearing, Joe Lauria, right, Oct. 21, 2019. A judge at a hearing in London has denied the WikiLeaks’ publisher more time to prepare his defense, while a group of Australian politicians coalesce around a demand to return Julian Assange home. The judge in Julian Assange’s extradition process on Monday joe lauria head bookdenied his lawyer’s appeal for more time to prepare his case as the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher weakly told the court he was unable to “research anything” in the conditions under which he is being held in high-security Belmarsh Prison.

Assange (shown above in a photo by The Indicter Magazine) appeared in person at Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London Monday morning for a case management hearing on the request by the United States for Assange to be sent to Virginia to face 18 charges, including allegedly violating the U.S. Espionage Act for possessing and disseminating classified information that revealed prima facie evidence of U.S. war crimes.

Mark Summers, Assange’s lawyer, told the court the charges were “a political attempt” by the U.S. “to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information.” The Espionage Act indictment against Assange by the Trump Administration is the first time a journalist has been charged under the 1917 Act for publishing classified material.

“It is legally unprecedented,” Summers told Judge Vanessa Baraitser. He argued that President Donald Trump was politically motivated by the 2020 election to pursue Assange.

Summers also argued before Baraitser that the U.S. “has been actively engaged in intruding into privileged discussions between Assange and his lawyers.” It was revealed this month that the Central Intelligence Agency was given access to surveillance video shot by a private Spanish company of all interactions Assange had with lawyers, doctors and visitors.

“This is part of an avowed war on whistleblowers to include investigative journalists and publishers,” Summers said. “The American state has been actively engaged in intruding on privileged discussions between Mr Assange and his lawyer.”

Because of this surveillance, including “unlawful copying of their telephones and computers” as well as “hooded men breaking into offices,” Assange’s lawyers needed more time to prepare his defense, Summers argued. But Baraitser refused the request, and ordered Assange back in court for a second management hearing on Dec. 19. The full extradition hearing is scheduled to begin on Feb. 25 next year.

Deep State Political Analysis

McDuff Podcast,

" target="_blank" rel="noopener">'McDuff' Interviews JIP Editor on "Presidential Puppetry," John OLoughlin, host of the podcast McDuff: JFK's Man To Smash the CIA, interviews JIP Editor Andrew Kreig as second in a series about the latter's book on Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters, which documents hidden influencers on U.S. presidents during recent decades (80:26 min. video).

Oct. 18

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Media And Pundits Misread The 'Everyone Wins' Plan For Syria, B, Oct. 18, 2019. The U.S. media get yesterday's talks between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan all wrong. Those talks were just a show to soothe the criticism against President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria.

The fake negotiations did not change the larger win-win-win-win plan or the facts on the ground. The Syrian Arab Army is replacing the Kurdish PKK/YPG troops at the border with Turkey. The armed PKK/YPG forces, which had deceivingly renamed themselves (vid) "Syrian Democratic Forces" to win U.S. support, will be disbanded and integrated into the Syrian army. Those moves are sufficient to give Turkey the security guarantees it needs. They will prevent any further Turkish invasion.

The New York Times falsely headlines: "In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria."

"Military officials said they were stunned that the agreement essentially allowed Turkey to annex a portion of Syria, displace tens of thousands of Kurdish residents and wipe away years of counterterrorism gains against the Islamic State."

Turkey will not "gain territory". There will be no Turkish "security corridor". The Kurdish civilians in Kobani, Ras al Ain and Qamishli areas will not go anywhere. The Turks will not touch those Kurdish majority areas because they are, or soon will be, under control of the Syrian government and its army.

The picture, taken yesterday, shows the Syrian-Turkish border crossing north of Kobani. The Syrian army took control of it and raised the Syrian flag. There are no longer any Kurdish forces there that could threaten Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu confirmed that Turkey agrees with the Syrian government moves.

Russia "promised that the PKK or YPG will not be on the other side of the border," Cavusoglu said in an interview with the BBC. "If Russia, accompanied by the Syrian army, removes YPG elements from the region, we will not oppose this."

These moves have been planned all along. The Turkish invasion in northeast Syria was designed to give Trump a reason to withdraw U.S. troops. It was designed to push the Kurdish forces to finally submit to the Syrian government. Behind the scene Russia had already organized the replacement of the Kurdish forces with Syrian government troops. It has coordinated the Syrian army moves with the U.S. military. Turkey had agreed that Syrian government control would be sufficient to alleviate its concern about a Kurdish guerilla and a Kurdish proto-state at its border. Any further Turkish invasion of Syria is thereby unnecessary.

The question is now if the U.S. will stick to the deal or if the pressure on President Trump will get so heavy that he needs to retreat from the common deal. The U.S. must move ALL its troops out of northeast Syria for the plot to succeed. Any residual U.S. force, even an unsustainable small one, will make the situation much more complicate.

That the U.S. media and pundits completely misread the situation is a symptom of a wider failure. As Anatol Lieven describes the mess of U.S. Middle Eastern strategy:

This pattern has its roots in the decay of the US political system and political establishment at home, including the power of lobbies and their money over US policy in key areas; the retreat of area studies in academia and think tanks, leading to sheer ignorance of some of the key countries with which the USA has to deal; the self-obsession, self-satisfaction and ideological megalomania that in every dispute leads so much of the US establishment and media to cast the USA as a force of absolute good, and its opponents as absolutely evil; and the failure – linked to these three syndromes – to identify vital and secondary interests and choose between them....

Oct. 10

jacob hornberger newThe Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Pull Them All Out of Syria, Now, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Oct. 10, 2019 (excerpted). Democrats, Republicans, the mainstream press, and all the other Washington, D.C., interventionists are up in arms over President Trump’s decision to relocate a few U.S. soldiers within Syria. Based on their hysterical reaction, you would think that the United States was about to be invaded and conquered by some new or old official enemy, like communists, terrorists, Muslims, illegal immigrants, or drug dealers.

In this particular case, the official bugaboo is ISIS, the group that, ironically, was the direct consequence of U.S. interventionism in Iraq. Apparently, there were people in the Middle East who didn’t take kindly to a foreign imperialist power invading and occupying a country that had never attacked the United States and killing, injuring, and destroying hundreds of thousands of people in the process.

But let’s not go overboard. ISIS is not coming to get us, any more than the communists were coming to get us during the Cold War. For that matter, neither are the terrorists, Muslims, drug dealers, illegal immigrants, Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Vietnamese, Cubans, Iranians, or any other scary boogeymen.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t a threat of terrorist retaliation for U.S. interventionism in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere. Of course there is. That is one of the prices that have to be paid for U.S. imperialism and interventionism. (Other prices include the destruction of our liberty here at home and out-of-control federal spending and debt that are bankrupting our nation.)

End U.S. interventionism entirely

If we want to restore a free, peaceful, harmonious, and normally functioning society to our land, we have to bring an end to U.S. interventionism all over the world. That means bringing all the troops home immediately, which would put an end to the death and destruction that U.S. interventionism wreaks abroad, which in turn would disintegrate the anger and rage that leads to the threat of terrorist retaliation against the United States.

That includes Syria. Instead of repositioning a few soldiers within Syria, Trump should be ordering an immediate and complete withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria. What Trump is obviously having a difficult time processing is the notion that U.S. troops have no more business in Syria than Syrian troops have here in the United States.

Unfortunately, despite his positive words about wanting to end America’s “endless wars,” Trump has continued to defer to the interventionists, especially the Pentagon, by keeping U.S. troops in Syria. Don’t forget — he has had three years to order the Pentagon to pull them out and bring them home. He has chosen not to issue that order.

The Kurds

The interventionists also say that U.S. forces must continue to be kept in Syria to serve as sacrificial tripwires to protect their Kurdish allies from a military attack by Turkey, which is their NATO ally.

Notice something important, however, about the deep concern that interventionists have for the Kurds: Not one single interventionist is traveling to Syria to join up and fight with them. Imagine that! They want U.S. soldiers to fight, kill, and die for the Kurds, but they’re not willing to do so themselves.

The interventionist chessboard

Here’s are the big questions:

Why are there any U.S. troops in Syria at all? What business do they have in Syria? What constitutional authority do they have being there? What difference does it make whether ISIS or any other tyrannical group takes over the government in some foreign country? Aren’t tyrannical groups running Egypt, Pakistan, North Korea, China, Russia, Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Venezuela? Why should American troops be sacrificed to prevent one tyrannical group from replacing another tyrannical group?

Why should American troops be sacrificed to oust the Syrian dictatorship and replace it with a pro-U.S. dictatorship?

Oct. 6

washington post logoWashington Post, Epstein accuser holds Victoria’s Secret billionaire responsible, as he keeps his distance, Sarah Ellison and Jonathan O'Connell​, Oct. 6, 2019 (print ed.). Artist Maria Farmer says the Ohio home where she stayed during the summer of her alleged assault was guarded by Leslie Wexner’s security. The retail mogul says he knew nothing about Jeffrey Epstein’s misconduct.

jeffrey epstein at harvard universityThe first time the artist Maria Farmer says she heard the name of fashion billionaire Leslie Wexner, she recalled, was when her employer, financier Jeffrey Epstein, right, told her, “Les loves me. He’ll let me do anything.”

Farmer, then 26, had just been invited to create two large-scale paintings for the upcoming film “As Good As It Gets,” starring Jack Nicholson. Epstein offered Farmer an unexpected location to do the work in the summer of 1996: an expansive country home in New Albany, Ohio, located amid 336 acres of land owned by Wexner and guarded in part by sheriff’s deputies employed by the longtime chief executive of Victoria’s Secret and The Limited.

Jeffrey Epstein's friend Leslie Wexner (via cropped screenshot of remarks at American Academy of AchievementIn a series of interviews with the Washington Post, Farmer, 50, spoke publicly for the first time about Wexner, left, and his wife, Abigail. She never met Leslie and says she spoke to Abigail only by phone while at the New Albany home.

But she says she holds him “responsible for what happened to me” because the alleged assault happened at the hands of one of his closest advisers on property Farmer says was monitored by Abigail and the Wexner security team. She says that she was held her against her will at the property by Wexner’s security staff after her alleged assault, until her father came to pick her up.

It was there, Farmer said in an affidavit she submitted as part of an Epstein-related lawsuit, that she was molested by Epstein and his associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

Media News

KO Productions via YouTube,

, interview by John OLoughlin at Lafayette Park / White House, Washington, DC (5:03 min. livestream video.). Two DC-based attorney / researchers discuss power structures in the nation's capitol after attending the annual Red Mass at the historic Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on Sunday.

"Its purpose," according to organizers at the John Carroll Society (named for a principal drafter of the U.S. Constitution who was also the first Roman Catholic archbishop for North America, "is to invoke God's blessings on those responsible for the administration of justice as well as on all public officials."

The annual service, first celebrated in 1953, is sponsored by the John Carroll Society just before the opening of the U.S. Supreme Court's annual term on Oct. 7.

This year's celebrants included, as usual in recent years, Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as several other justices, prominent members of the U.S. foreign service and regional bar, as well as presidential cabinet members, including Attorney General William Barr and recently confirmed Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia.

 

September

Sept. 25

9 11 ron insana quote sept 11 2019

AE 9/11 Truth, CNBC Anchor Ron Insana: Building 7 a ‘Controlled Implosion,’ Ted Walter, Sept. 25, 2019. Insana’s story suggests he was told of Building 7’s demolition.
ae for 9 11 truth logoOn the 18th anniversary of 9/11, CNBC senior analyst and former anchor Ron Insana went on Bernie and Sid In the Morning on New York’s 77 WABC Radio to share his haunting experience of that horrible day.

Approximately eight minutes into the interview, Insana made a statement regarding the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7 — which collapsed late in the afternoon of 9/11 — that is truly stunning, especially considering his access to the scene and his job as a prominent news anchor:

“Well, remember 7 World Trade had not yet come down. And so when I went down to the [New York Stock] Exchange that Wednesday morning [September 12], I was standing with some military and police officers, and we were looking over in that direction. And if it had come down in the way in which it was tilting, it would have wiped out everything from where it stood to Trinity Church to the Exchange to, effectively, you know, the mouth of the Hudson. And so there were still fears that if that building had fallen sideways, you were going to wipe out a good part of Lower Manhattan. So they did manage for one to take that down in a controlled implosion later on. And the Exchange was up and running the following Monday.” [Emphasis added.]

Before addressing questions about Insana’s timeline, let us establish the aspects of his story that are clear and unambiguous. First, he clearly identifies Building 7 as the building he is talking about. Second, he clearly states that Building 7 was taken down in a “controlled implosion,” which flatly contradicts the official explanation that it collapsed due to office fires.

AE 9/11 Truth, University Study Finds Fire Did Not Bring Down World Trade Center Building 7 on 9/11, Staff report, Sept. 25, 2019. Release of Draft Report to Be Followed by Public ae for 9 11 truth logoComment Period. On September 11, 2001, at 5:20 PM, the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed into its footprint, falling more than 100 feet at the rate of gravity for 2.5 seconds of its seven-second destruction.

Today, we at Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth are pleased to partner with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in releasing the draft report of a four-year computer modeling study of WTC 7’s collapse conducted by researchers in the university's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The release of the draft report begins a two-month period during which the public is invited to submit comments. The final report will be published later this year.

We invite you to read the report and to tune in at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight for Dr. Leroy Hulsey’s presentation at the UAF campus, where he will outline his team’s findings.

Today, we at Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth are pleased to partner with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in releasing the draft report of a four-year computer modeling study of WTC 7’s collapse conducted by researchers in the university's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The UAF WTC 7 report concludes that the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11 was caused not by fire but rather by the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.

Download the Report | Read the Abstract

Project Information

Lead Researcher

Dr. J. Leroy Hulsey
Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Assistants

Dr. Feng Xiao
Associate Professor, Nanjing University of Science and Technology

Dr. Zhili Quan
Bridge Engineer, South Carolina Department of Transportation

Project Dates

May 1, 2015 – September 30, 2019

Funding

$316,153 (provided by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth)

Simulations and Videos

Figure 4.16 Failure of Columns 76 to 81
Figure 4.20 Failure of All Core Columns
Figure 4.24a Failure of All Columns Fl 6 to 13

Public Comment Period

Following the release of the UAF WTC 7 draft report on September 3, 2019, there will be a two-month public comment period ending on November 1, 2019. The final report will be released later this year.

During this period, the UAF research team and AE911Truth staff welcome any and all members of the public to submit constructive comments intended to further the analyses and presentation of findings contained in the report. Designated reviewers external to UAF and AE911Truth will also review the report during this period.

Transitions

robert mcclelland flickr

JFK Facts, RIP: Dr. Robert McClelland, the Most Important JFK Witness, Jeff Morley, Sept. 25, 2019. Dr. Robert McClelland (shown delivering a lecture) saw JFK’s wounds up close on November 22, 1963. Dr. Robert McClelland, the surgeon who oversaw the effort to save President Kennedy’s life in 1963, died earlier this month at age 89. In his interviews, you sense a man of considerable dignity, humility, and integrity. It comes as no surprise that he self-published an anthology of writings on surgery to which thousands of doctors subscribed. He was both a teacher and doctor, an instructor and a healer. And it is those qualities that make McClelland one of the most important witnesses to JFK’s assassination.

In 1963, McClelland was 34 years old. He had just become the chief of surgery at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. When the mortally wounded JFK was brought to Trauma Room One, McClelland stood over the dying president and directed the efforts to save him. He observed the president’s fatal head wound for about 10 minutes from a distance of less than two feet.

“My God,” he recalled saying to his colleagues. “Have you see the back of his head. There’s a wound in the back of his head that’s about five inches in diameter.”

After about ten minutes, Kennedy’s breathing and heartbeat ceased. The Secret Service came and took the body away.

McClelland concluded, on the basis of what he saw that day, and what he saw in a home movie of the assassination taken by a bystander, that Kennedy had been struck by a gunshot fired from in front, not behind.

“That bullet came from the grassy knoll, the picket fence,” McClelland said of the fatal shot, referring to the area in front of the presidential motorcade at the moment the shots rang out.

How the New York Times handled McClelland’s eye-witness testimony is a textbook case of the journalism profession’s strange approach to the JFK assassination story. McClelland was a superb witness. No trained medical professional had a close a view of Kennedy’s head wound so soon after he was shot. McClelland went on to a distinguished career. Yet the New York Times did not report what he saw and what he said about JFK’s head wound until he was dead. For some strange reason, McClelland’s testimony, contradicting the Warren Commission, was not regarded as news.

The Times obituary gingerly avoids any suggestion that McClelland might have been right or that his testimony was unique. In the headline, the Times reported that he saw the “gravity” of the President’s wounds, not that he formed a judgment about their cause. On the issue of the official story, he is described as “skeptic,” as he was someone who had merely read about the case. In fact, McClelland was a highly credible eyewitness whose well-informed account flatly contradicted the government’s official story.

McClelland didn’t believe in “wild conspiracy theories,” the Times assures us. The rather more relevant point, of course, is that he did not believe in the equally implausible anti-conspiracy theories of the Warren Commission, the CIA, the FBI, and Dallas Police Department, which holds that one man shot JFK for no reason.

McClelland’s account is consistent with the accounts of 21 police officers at the crime scene who also thought gunfire had come from in front of JFK’s limousine.

McClelland was mistaken, say defenders of the official theory. Pay him no mind. Look at the JFK autopsy photos in the National Archives, they say. But the autopsy photos cannot disprove McClelland’s account said if they if they do not depict the wounds that he saw. And there is sworn testimony that they do not.

Navy doctors conducted an autopsy on JFK about eight hours after Dr. McClelland saw him. The Secret Service transported the president’s body from Parkland to Air Force One, which then flew from Dallas to Washington where the body was taken to Bethesda Medical Center. The autopsy was conducted around 8 pm Eastern time in the evening.

Facebook, David Talbot Commentary On Dr. Robert McClelland, David Talbot, Sept. 25, 2019. Dr. Robert McClelland was one of the very first people to conclude President Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy. And it was no "theory." Dr. McClelland, a surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, saw the medical evidence with his own eyes as he struggled to save the life of the mortally wounded president. As Dr. McClelland stood directly over Kennedy's head, he saw clear evidence that JFK had been struck in the head by a bullet fired from in front of his limousine, not just from the rear, where Lee Harvey Oswald was alleged to have shot down the president.

For years, Dr. McClelland and the other members of the Parkland surgical team were strongly pressured by authorities to stick with the Warren Commission's absurd lone gunman theory. But Dr. McClelland and his colleagues finally told the truth: JFK was the victim of a conspiracy, which was then officially covered up.

In today's obituary of Dr. McClelland, who died in Dallas earlier this month, the New York Times does not mention this sensational piece of information -- the most remarkable revelation of his medical career -- until paragraph 22! In the news business, that's called burying your lead. The Times buries this explosive fact, of course, because the newspaper has long been part of the JFK assassination coverup.

The Times also fails to mention that Dr. McClelland and two other surviving members of the Parkland surgical team that worked on President Kennedy signed a powerful joint statement about the assassination and coverup last January. The statement, which I played a role in writing and organizing, reads that the "conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy was organized at high levels of the U.S. power structure, and was implemented by top elements of the U.S. national security apparatus using, among others, figures in the criminal underworld to help carry out the crime and cover-up."

Sept. 23

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), William Barr, "deep state" cover-up artist for at least three U.S. presidents, Wayne Madsen (left), Sept. 23, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallpermission). Donald Trump’s paranoia about being subjected to the whims of an amorphous American “deep state” are contradicted by the meteoric rise of his mobster-like Attorney General, William Barr, within the ranks of the Central Intelligence Agency and later, the Department of Justice.

Barr was heavily involved in covering up the 1980 “October Surprise,” an “arms-for-no-hostages” deal between the Ronald Reagan-George H.W. Bush campaign that sealed the fate of a second term for President Jimmy Carter.

Sept. 22

OpEdNews, America: A Land Without Truth, Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 22, 2019. It has been 17 days since a four-year study of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 by civil engineers was made available to the media. The study concluded that fire was not the cause of the collapse of the 47-story building. The study also concluded that "the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building."

In other words, the study concludes that the building was intentionally destroyed by controlled demolition. Controlled demolition means that there was a plan to destroy the building and that access to the building inhabited by a number of US security agencies was permitted in order to wire the building for demolition. This finding is consistent with what the owner of the World Trade Center, Silverstein, said on television, that the decision was made "to pull" the building.

To pull a building means to bring it down by controlled demolition. Later, Silverstein tried to retract his admission and claimed that he meant the decision was made to pull the firemen out of the building, but according to reports no firemen were in the building as the fires were not regarded as of any consequence.

After 17 days, the report of the civil engineering team remains unmentioned in the American media except for a local Alaska TV station and a local Alaska newspaper. The report went straight into the Memory Hole. The vast majority of the American people will never know that the information has been kept from them.

The pile of lies that constitutes American awareness is very high. Indeed, it is as high as the hundred-story twin towers: the lies about Gaddafi and Libya, Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," "Assad's use of chemical weapons," the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Yemen, Pakistan, China, Russian invasions, World War II, World War I, Vietnam War, overthrows of Latin American governments, Ukraine, Spanish/American war, and on, and on.

All of these lies have been exposed, but the facts have been kept from the vast majority of Americans. Historians such as Howard Zinn in his book, A People's History of the United States, and Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick in their book, The Untold History of the United States, attempted to make Americans more aware of the false reality in which they live, but the small number of voices on the side of truth are simply overwhelmed by a massive propaganda machine.

The reason for the dim future that the United States faces is that explanations are controlled by elites in the interest of their agendas. There is no independent media except on the Internet, and that media is being overwhelmed by the numerous elite-sponsored websites.

Many Americans are too mentally and emotionally weak to come to grips with the possibility that the events of September 11, 2001, were a false flag attack orchestrated in order to serve agendas hidden from the American people. They are much more comfortable not to look at the evidence and simply dismiss it as a "conspiracy theory."

The families of those killed in the twin towers made a stink about the unexplained total failure of US national security. No one was held accountable for the amazing security breaches and dysfunction of the national security state. Washington tried to buy off the families with money, but only partially succeeded. The "Jersey Girls" helped to rally impacted families. After one year of stonewalling their demands for an investigation, the White House finally agreed to a political investigation and appointed the 9/11 Commission, which avoided a forensic investigation.

In contrast to the families who lost members in the twin towers, I have never heard anything about a similar organization of families of those who died in the hijacked airliners. Perhaps they are included in the 9/11 Family Steering Committee. If so, they must have been silent members. I have not come across any sign of them demanding explanations. It is almost as if they don't exist.

Those who know that they have been lied to about Septermer 11, 2001, are still trying to get truthful answers. A report on their latest efforts can be found here.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments.

Sept. 12

Inside DC: Spying?

Politico, Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House, Daniel Lippman, Sept. 12, 2019. The likely Israeli spying efforts were uncovered during the Trump presidency, several former top U.S. officials said. The U.S. government concluded within the past two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

Israel FlagBut unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cellphones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates — though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. Politico reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cellphone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that “Chinese spies are often listening” to Trump’s cellphone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as “so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it.” (A former official said Trump has had his cellphone hardened against intrusion.)

By then, as part of tests by the federal government, officials at the Department of Homeland Security had already discovered evidence of the surveillance devices around the nation’s capital, but weren’t able to attribute the devices to specific entities. The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top Department of Homeland Security official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May 2018 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Based on a detailed forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom served in top intelligence and national security posts.

That analysis, one of the former officials said, is typically led by the FBI’s counterintelligence division and involves examining the devices so that they “tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are.” For these types of investigations, the bureau often leans on the National Security Agency and sometimes the CIA (DHS and the Secret Service played a supporting role in this specific investigation).

An Israeli Embassy spokesperson, Elad Strohmayer, denied that Israel placed the devices and said: “These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.”

A senior Trump administration official said the administration doesn’t “comment on matters related to security or intelligence.” The FBI declined to comment, while DHS and the Secret Service didn’t respond to requests for comment.

After this story was published, Trump told reporters that he would find it "hard to believe" that the Israelis had placed the devices. "I don't think the Israelis were spying on us," Trump said. "My relationship with Israel has been great...Anything is possible but I don't believe it."

Beyond trying to intercept the private conversations of top officials — prized information for any intelligence service — foreign countries often will try to surveil their close associates as well. With the president, the former senior Trump administration official noted, that could include trying to listen in on the devices of the people he regularly communicates with, such as Steve Wynn, Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani.

“The people in that circle are heavily targeted,” the former Trump official said.

Another circle of surveillance targets includes people who regularly talk to Trump’s friends and informal advisers. Information obtained from any of these people “would be so valuable in a town that is like three degrees of separation like Kevin Bacon,” the former official added.

That’s true even for a close U.S. ally like Israel, which often seeks an edge in its diplomatic maneuvering with the United States.

“The Israelis are pretty aggressive” in their intelligence gathering operations, said a former senior intelligence official. “They’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to to achieve that objective.”

So even though Trump has formed a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made numerous policy moves favorable to the Israeli government — such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, ripping up the Iran nuclear deal and heavily targeting Iran with sanctions — Israel became a prime suspect in planting the devices.

While the Chinese, who have been regularly caught doing intelligence operations in the U.S., were also seen as potential suspects, they were determined as unlikely to have placed the devices based on a close analysis of the devices.

“You can often, depending upon the tradecraft of the people who put them in place, figure out who’s been accessing them to pull the data off the devices,” another former senior U.S. intelligence official explained.

Washington is awash in surveillance, and efforts of foreign entities to try to spy on administration officials and other top political figures are fairly common. But not many countries have the capability — or the budget — to plant the devices found in this most recent incident, which is another reason suspicion fell on Israel.

IMSI-catchers, which are often used by local police agencies to surveil criminals, can also be made by sophisticated hobbyists or by the Harris Corp., the manufacturer of StingRays, which cost more than $150,000 each, according to Vice News.

Sept. 15

Historical Commentary

Strategic Culture Foundation, Commentary: The Chaos Theory Behind Fascism, Wayne Madsen, Sept. 15, 2019. The disclosure by the British Parliament of the “Most Sensitive” Operation YELLOWHAMMER document describes a United Kingdom ripe for the machinations of Britain’s proto fascists, who make up a large part of the Tory government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. YELLOWHAMMER’s prediction of economic and social chaos in the United Kingdom resulting from a hard-British exit (BREXIT) from the European Union will have dire consequences for the rule of law and democracy throughout the United Kingdom.

Chaos is what fascists thrive upon. It was the pre-war and wartime British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley who opined that order could be created out of chaos. Therefore, Mosley’s modern-day fellow travelers, individuals like Johnson, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, Home Secretary Priti Patel and others felt the need to create, through a hard Brexit, chaos where none existed before. In a chaotic United Kingdom, these proto-fascists can achieve their ultimate goal of unquestioned authority and order in a post-Brexit United Kingdom, where far-right English nationalism holds sway.

In August of this year, 113 Member of Parliament signed a letter to Johnson that accused the prime minister of deploying the language of “fascism and authoritarianism” in plowing ahead with plans to leave the EU with no deal. Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament for five weeks, thus stifling debate on a hard Brexit, was seen by pro-EU MPs expelled from the Conservative Party by Johnson, as well as by MPs from the opposition Labor, Liberal Democratic, Green, Scottish National, Change UK, and Plaid Cymru parties, as one step toward fascism. The renegade Tory and other MPs actually questioned Johnson’s commitment to democracy.

As bad a Operation YELLOWHAMMER is for economic and political stability in a post-hard Brexit United Kingdom, it pales in comparison to another classified report on Brexit, Operation BLACK SWAN. This document foresees a doomsday scenario for the United Kingdom on par with World War II. BLACK SWAN includes nationwide food and fuel shortages, unavailability of medicines and medical supplies, a spike in unemployment, transport delays, and mass protests.

Sept. 14

UK To Keep Assange Jailed

julian assange indicter image

The Guardian, Julian Assange to remain in jail pending extradition to US, PA Media, Sept. 14, 2019. WikiLeaks founder’s custody will be extended after current prison terms comes to end. Julian Assange (shown above in a photo by The Indicter Magazine) will stay in prison after the custody period on his current jail term ends because of his “history of absconding.”

As home secretary, Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange’s extradition to the US over hacking allegations. A 50-week jail term was imposed in the UK after he had jumped previous bail by going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The WikiLeaks founder would have been released from HMP Belmarsh on 22 September, Westminster magistrates court heard on Friday, but he was told he would be kept in jail because of “substantial grounds” for believing he would abscond again.

united kingdom flagAssange, 48, who is an Australian citizen, appeared by video-link wearing a loose-fitting T-shirt.

District judge Vanessa Baraitser told him: “You have been produced today because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end. When that happens your remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.

“Therefore I have given your lawyer an opportunity to make an application for bail on your behalf and she has declined to do so, perhaps not surprisingly in light of your history of absconding in these proceedings.

“In my view I have substantial ground for believing if I release you, you will abscond again.”

Assange was asked if he understood what was happening. He replied: “Not really. I’m sure the lawyers will explain it.”

Another administrative hearing will take place on 11 October and a case management hearing on 21 October, the court heard. The final extradition hearing is expected in February.

Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted in connection with sexual offence allegations.He spent nearly seven years living in the building until police dragged him out in April after Ecuador revoked his political asylum.

Physician Who Treated JFK Dies

robert mcclelland flickr

Dallas Morning News, Robert McClelland, surgeon who tried to save JFK and believed there was a second shooter, dies at 89, Marc Ramirez, Sept. 14, 2019. A skilled surgeon at UT Southwestern whose true passion was teaching, he's among the luminaries whose images grace Parkland's walls today.

Inextricably linked to the death of John F. Kennedy, surgeon Robert McClelland (shown above delivering a lecture) dutifully preserved the blood-soaked white dress shirt he wore the day he tried to save the president's life in 1963.

For the rest of his life, the retired professor emeritus of UT Southwestern's medical school also clung staunchly to a contentious opinion forged firsthand: that one of the shots that had struck Kennedy had come from the front, which would require the existence of a second gunman.

Robert Nelson McClelland, the lone dissenting voice among the operating-room doctors who tried to save the president at Parkland Memorial Hospital, died Tuesday of renal failure. He was 89.

A celebration of his life is set for 1 p.m. Monday at Highland Park United Methodist Church's Cox Chapel, 3300 Mockingbird Lane in Dallas.

A skilled surgeon whose true passion was teaching, he's among the luminaries whose images grace Parkland's walls today. In a note to campus colleagues, Dr. William Turner of the campus's department of surgery, called McClelland "the titan among those giants," saying the institution had "lost one of its heroes."

An insatiably curious reader who doted on his seven grandchildren, McClelland was a driving force in surgical education at UT Southwestern for decades and oversaw the launch of its liver surgery program.

He was modest and unassuming despite his accomplishments and role in history. But he also had an irreverent side, allowing his grandkids as young children to watch the cheeky television show South Park with him, to the occasional dismay of their parents.

"I would get angry," said daughter Alison McClelland of Dallas. "His defense was that it was philosophical."

Robert McClelland was born Nov. 20, 1929, in Gilmer, the same East Texas town that spawned musicians Don Henley and Johnny Mathis. His intellect and curiosity were evident early, his passion for discovery stoked by a chemistry set he got at age 11.

He graduated in 1947 as valedictorian of Gilmer High and, as the grandson of a physician, was further inspired to pursue medicine through the mentorship of two local physicians.

After studying at the University of Texas in Austin, he earned his doctorate at the school's medical branch in Galveston in 1954. He spent two years in Germany as a general medical officer for the U.S. Air Force, then returned to Texas to begin residency at what is now UT Southwestern.

It was there that he would meet Connie Logan, a head nurse at Parkland whom he'd noticed several times at church and finally got the nerve to ask out. They married in May 1958 and settled in Highland Park, where they raised three children.

Dr. Robert McClelland joined the faculty at UT Southwestern and Parkland in 1962 and spent his entire career there. He completed his residency in 1962 and joined the faculty at UT Southwestern and Parkland, where the following year, that momentous November day became forever tied to his life story.

He was 34 then, screening a film on hernia repair for hospital interns and residents, when a colleague burst in and asked him to help operate on the president of the United States.

jfk parade route dealey plazaAs Kennedy lay wounded on the operating table in Trauma Room One, McClelland assisted as surgeons Malcolm Perry and Charles Baxter performed a tracheotomy in an attempt to save the president. For 10 minutes, he stood above Kennedy's head and stared at "that terrible hole," as he put it, tackling his duty as instinctively as a fireman slides down a pole.

But from his vantage point, one shot seemed to have come from the front — which would mean Lee Harvey Oswald, whom McClelland would be called to operate on just two days later, wasn't the only gunman.

"The shot that killed [Kennedy] probably was from the back, but I have to honestly say what I think," McLelland told The News.

The other four attending physicians would eventually pen a joint article in The Journal of the American Medical Association concluding there were two shots, from the back and above. The journal's editor noted McClelland's differing opinion, emphasizing, however, that he wasn't an "expert in forensic pathology and ballistic wounds."

McClelland never wavered, and a scene from Oliver Stone's JFK depicts him offering his dissenting opinion in court, which McClelland said never actually happened. However, he did once act as a juror in a 2013 mock trial giving Oswald his chance in the courtroom. (The trial ended in a hung jury, with the vote 9-3 in favor of a guilty verdict.)

McClelland would go on to spend his entire career at UT Southwestern, where generations of students and residents knew him as "Dr. Mac" and called him for years afterward seeking advice about difficult cases.

In 1974, he launched the medical journal Selected Readings in General Surgery after requests from former residents for copies of papers discussed in a journal club he'd started. The club eventually became a Saturday morning event, led by McClelland, for the school's surgery department, with the compilations earning national and worldwide subscribers as they covered the entire field of general surgery.

A prodigious reader, he consumed history books and subscribed to dozens of medical journals.

McClelland adored his hundreds of books more than any other material thing.

"When we moved him, his only requirement was that he had to have a place with bookcases in every room," said daughter Alison, whose memories of her father as a child were of him behind a pile of journals on his huge office desk, blaring classical music while flanked by his Siamese cat, Bandit.

"We needed to have custom bookcases built. He would give anybody the shirt off his back, but he would never loan out his books."

Until last weekend, McClelland had remained engaged, reading constantly and asking a million questions about what his family members were up to. Then things took a sudden turn.

By Tuesday afternoon a hospital bed had been wheeled in, around which the family gathered, playing Mozart and screening South Park on the TV in tribute. McClelland died peacefully that evening.

In addition to daughter Alison and grandson William, McClelland is survived by his wife, Connie, of Dallas; son Chris McClelland and daughter Julie Barrett of New York City; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Parkland Surgical Society Robert N. McClelland Lectureship Fund at the Southwestern Medical Foundation, 3889 Maple Ave., Suite 100, Dallas, TX 75219.

Sept. 13

U.S. 2020 Politicsdemocratic debate houston sept 12 2019 Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, Rifts Emerge as Democrats Joust in Fiery Debate, Shane Goldmacher and Reid J. Epstein, Sept. 13, 2019 (print ed.). Biden’s Liberal Rivals Seek to Set Themselves Apart. Rivals are clearly aiming at Biden. He is punching back.

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Tulsi Gabbard's alarming links to Indian intelligence and extremist Hindu groups, Wayne Madsen (shown in a 2015 file photo), Sept. 13, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission). If one were to ask India's right-wing Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi who his favorite U.S. politician wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallis, the answer would, perhaps surprisingly, not be Donald Trump. Modi's American Hindu nationalist fellow-traveler is Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), right, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate....

tulsi gabbard newTrump has set the bar for foreign involvement in U.S. elections, something that is prohibited by federal and state election laws, but not being rigorously enforced. Trump's political support by Russian and Russian-Israeli oligarchs has opened a flood gate of foreign support for U.S. presidential candidates, including that of Israel for Trump and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Taiwan (Republic of China) for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

[With election financing law] normally regulated and enforced by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Trump administration’s refusal to replace Republican vacancies on the FEC had led to it becoming a moribund and toothless regulatory arm of the government. Meanwhile, foreign owned-and-operated candidates like Gabbard, Harris, Booker, Yang, and others are representing the interests of New Delhi, Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, and Taipei over those of Dubuque, Iowa; Nashua, New Hampshire; and Beaufort, South Carolina.

WMR Editor Wayne Madsen is a syndicated columnist, author of 16 books and a former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst whose Navy assignments included helping to investigate the damage to U.S. interests caused by the convicted Israeli spy Michael Pollard. 

U.S. House Impeachment Plan

ny times logoNew York Times, House Judiciary Committee Inches Toward Impeachment, Nicholas Fandos, Sept. 13, 2019 (print ed.). The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday took its first recorded vote to press forward with a possible impeachment of President Trump, putting aside Democrats’ internal divisions for the time being in a bid to strengthen its hand in investigating whether he committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

Voting along party lines, the panel approved rules for a continuing “investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with regard to President Donald J. Trump,” which clarified new authorities for lawmakers and laid out a process, albeit limited, for the president to respond.

But Thursday’s action was as much a symbolic display as it was a practical exercise of constitutional powers, aimed at showing federal courts and impatient Democrats that the House is, in fact, serious about building an impeachment case, even if it is not yet taking the politically loaded step of filing charges.

Surveillance Issues

ny times logoNew York Times, Book Review: In Snowden’s Memoir, the Disclosures Are Personal, Jennifer Szalai, Sept. 13, 2019. Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked U.S. secrets, gives a riveting account in “Permanent Record,” our critic writes. Revealing state secrets is hard, but revealing yourself in a memoir might be harder. As Edward Snowden puts it in the preface of “Permanent Record”: “The decision to come forward with evidence of government wrongdoing was easier for me to make than the decision, here, to give an account of my life.”

edward snowden permanent recordSnowden, of course, is the former intelligence contractor who, in 2013, leaked documents about the United States government’s surveillance programs, dispelling any notions that the National Security Agency and its allies were playing a quaint game of spy vs. spy, limiting their dragnet to specific persons of interest. Technological change and the calamity of 9/11 yielded new tools for mass surveillance and the incentive to use them.

Sweeping up phone records of Americans citizens, eavesdropping on foreign leaders, harvesting data from internet activity: For revealing these secret programs and more, Snowden was deemed a traitor by the Obama administration, which charged him with violating the Espionage Act and revoked his passport, effectively stranding Snowden in Moscow, where he has been living ever since.

Sept. 9

Vision Times (New York City), Analysis: Ahead of 9/11 Anniversary, Lawyers and Engineers Question Official Story, Staff report, Sept. 9, 2019.  What caused the twin towers of the World Trade Center to collapse precipitously onto their own footprints on September 11, 2001? Was it solely due to the impact of the airliners that flew into them and the subsequent fires, or did somebody detonate pre-installed explosives or incendiaries to demolish those buildings, as in a controlled demolition?

The latter hypothesis has been ridiculed and dismissed as a kooky conspiracy theory by the mainstream media for years. Indeed, if such allegations were true, the events of 9/11 would point to a conspiracy so vast, the legitimacy of the United States government would be severely undermined.

As uncomfortable as this line of inquiry may be, a group of activists have been gathering evidence that seem to support the controlled demolition theory. On September 7, they organized an event at the All Souls Church on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to remember the people who perished on that fateful day. With over 200 people in attendance, the activist group also provided an update on their efforts.

The investigation, led by Lawyers Committee for 911 Inquiry (Lawyers Committee) and Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth) are remarkable in two ways:

First, they have presented their evidence, none of which were previously considered by the various bodies commissioned to investigate the events on 9/11, to various U.S. government agencies, imploring them to adjudicate the validity of the evidence.

Among those efforts is a petition filed by the Lawyers Committee, with subsequent amendments, with the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York to empanel a grand jury to investigate. The petition contains 60 exhibits of forensic evidence. Among them are a 60-page testimony from 118 firefighters on the scene, who recalled hearing explosions before the buildings collapsed, and a 33-page document naming individuals “who may have information material to the investigation, including contractors and security companies that had access to the WTC Towers before 9/11, persons and entities who benefited financially from the WTC demolitions, and persons arrested after being observed celebrating the WTC attacks.”

According to the executive summary of the petition, “Federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 3332(a), requires the United States Attorney who receives information concerning an alleged federal crime from any person, if requested by that person, to provide that information to a special grand jury. The Petition emphasizes that this federal law creates a duty on the part of the United States Attorney, and removes the prosecutor’s discretion in deciding whether to present information to the grand jury.”

In other words, the U.S. Attorney must present the evidence to a grand jury after they receive the evidence.

On November 7, 2018, assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Ferrera and Ilan Graff acknowledged in writing their receipt and review of the original and amended petitions, and affirmed: “we will comply with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3332 as they relate to your submissions.”

The second remarkable aspect of the group’s effort is they recently received an endorsement from the firefighter community. Speaking at the memorial event, the Lawyers Committee president David Meiswinkle said the fire commissioners of New York’s Franklin Square and Munson Fire District “have just done a historic resolution in a vote, and are now taking the lead to try and get some truth and integrity to the investigation to what happened on 9/11.”

Speaking at the event for AE911Truth, the group that assembled the evidence cited in the petitions and lawsuits, Richard Gage acknowledged the importance to have their efforts endorsed by the firefighter community: “the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District… became the first elected body in the country to officially support a new investigation into the events of 9/11.”

Noting “the overwhelming evidence presented in said petition demonstrates beyond any doubt that pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries — not just airplanes and the ensuing fires — caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings,” the resolution states, “the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District fully supports a comprehensive federal grand jury investigation and prosecution of every crime related to the attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as any and all efforts by other government entities to investigate and uncover the full truth surrounding the events of that horrible day.”

After passing the resolution, Fire District Commissioner Christopher Gioia had remarked: “We’re a tight-knit community and we never forget our fallen brothers and sisters. You better believe that when the entire fire service of New York State is on board, we will be an unstoppable force.”

U.S. Torture

jacob hornberger newThe Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Pentagon’s Upcoming Kangaroo Show Trial in Cuba, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Sept. 9, 2019. After 18 years, there is a possibility that the Pentagon is finally going to permit a “trial” of five men who are accused of conspiracy to commit the 9/11 attacks. If so, the proceedings will prove what a charade the Pentagon’s entire “judicial system” at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been and continues to be. In fact, the trial, if it is even permitted to take place, will serve as a mirror for how “trials” are conducted in communist China or, for matter, in communist Cuba.

Let’s review how the Pentagon’s “judicial” system got established in the first place. After the 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon decided to establish a prison, torture center, and “judicial” system for accused terrorists that it would be capturing and kidnapping around the world. It decided to locate this center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Why Cuba rather than somewhere in the United States? The Pentagon wanted to make certain that it would have omnipotent power to run its center any way it wanted, without having to bother with the rights and guarantees enumerated in the Constitution, especially in the Bill of Rights. It also didn’t want any interference with its operation from the U.S. Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary. In other words, the Pentagon wanted a Constitution-free zone in which to operate its prison, torture center, and “judicial” system.

Ultimately, much to the Pentagon’s chagrin, the Supreme Court ruled that it did have ultimate jurisdiction over the Guantanamo operations. However, while the federal judiciary has accepted some petitions for writ of habeas corpus from Guantanamo inmates, overall it has followed its longtime policy of deference to the national-security establishment when it comes to matters of “national security.”

What the Supreme Court should have done from the very beginning was to order a complete shutdown of the Pentagon’s prison, torture center, and “judicial” system at Guantanamo Bay. There is a simple reason for that: the Constitution, which is the higher law that controls the actions of federal officials, including the Pentagon, does not authorize the Pentagon to operate such a center.

It is critically important to keep in mind that terrorism is not an act of war. Instead, it is a federal criminal offense. That is why there are terrorism trials in federal courts in New York, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and elsewhere. Terrorism is listed among federal crimes in the U.S. Code. In fact, the Pentagon’s upcoming “trial” in Cuba is itself an acknowledgement that terrorism is, in fact, a criminal offense, one that here is being prosecuted by the Pentagon in Cuba rather than by the U.S. Justice Department in federal district court here in the United States.

Two different systems

It is also critically important to recognize that the Constitution does not provide for two separate judicial systems to try criminal cases, one run by the military and the other run by the federal courts. The Constitution provides for only one judicial system for all criminal offenses, including terrorism cases.

It is also critically important to recognize that the principles being followed in both systems — the federal court system and the military system — are as different as night and day.

In the federal court system, people who are accused of terrorism or any other crimes are presumed innocent. Judges and law-enforcement personnel are prohibited from torturing people or inflicting other “cruel and unusual” punishments on them. An accused has the right to remain silent — i.e., no forced confessions. Communications between attorney and client are confidential. The accused has the right to confront his accusers — i.e., hearsay evidence is inadmissible. Trials can be by jury, where ordinary citizens, not a judge, decide the facts of the case and the guilt or innocence of the accused. Trials must be speedy — i.e., no 18-year delay, as there has been in the Pentagon’s system.

Things are the exact opposite in the Pentagon’s system, which is precisely it established its system in Cuba rather than the United States. Remember: the Pentagon’s goal is establishing its center in Cuba was to avoid the principles of the Constitution and the interference of the Supreme Court.

Why would the military want to avoid the principles of the Constitution, especially given that military personnel take oaths to support and defend the Constitution? The answer lies in the conservative military mindset that has long held that the Bill of Rights consists of constitutional “technicalities” that permit guilty people to go free. By establishing an independent prison, torture center, and “judicial” system at Gitmo, the Pentagon was going to show the American people and the world what a “real” judicial system should look like, one where “the guilty” had what was coming to them and where there was no possibility of an acquittal by some ignorant jury.

Thus, under the Pentagon’s system, the accused are presumed guilty. They are subject to being brutally tortured, not only to secure information but also confessions. Forced confessions are admissible at trial. There is no right of trial by jury. A tribunal of military personnel, all of whom are answerable to the President, decide the facts in the case and the guilt of innocent of the accused. Communications between attorney and client are secretly monitored. Hearsay evidence is admissible. Trials can be delayed indefinitely, even forever. The outcome of the “trial” is not in doubt.

npr logoNational Public Radio (NPR), The CIA's Secret Quest For Mind Control: Torture, LSD And A 'Poisoner In Chief,' Host Terry Gross interview author Stephen Kinzer about his new book, Poisoner in Chief), Sept. 9, 2019. (37:36 min.). CIA sidney gottliebchemist Sidney Gottlieb (right, shown in a CIA photo) headed up the agency's secret MK-ULTRA program, which was charged with developing a mind control drug that could be weaponized against enemies.

During the early period of the Cold War, the CIA became convinced that communists had discovered a drug or technique that would allow them to control human minds. In response, the CIA began its own secret program, called MK-ULTRA, to search for a mind control drug that could be weaponized against enemies.

MK-ULTRA, which operated from the 1950s until the early '60s, was created and run by a chemist named Sidney Gottlieb. Journalist Stephen Kinzer, who spent several years investigating the program, calls the operation the "most sustained search in history for techniques of mind control."

stephen kinzer poisoner coverSome of Gottlieb's experiments were covertly funded at universities and research centers, Kinzer says, while others were conducted in American prisons and in detention centers in Japan, Germany and the Philippines. Many of his unwitting subjects endured psychological torture ranging from electroshock to high doses of LSD, according to Kinzer's research.

"Gottlieb wanted to create a way to seize control of people's minds, and he realized it was a two-part process," Kinzer says. "First, you had to blast away the existing mind. Second, you had to find a way to insert a new mind into that resulting void. We didn't get too far on number two, but he did a lot of work on number one."

Kinzer notes that the top-secret nature of Gottlieb's work makes it impossible to measure the human cost of his experiments. "We don't know how many people died, but a number did, and many lives were permanently destroyed," he says.

Ultimately, Gottlieb concluded that mind control was not possible. After MK-ULTRA shut down, he went on to lead a CIA program that created poisons and high-tech gadgets for spies to use.

Sept. 6

MintPress News, Investigation/Commentary, How the CIA, Mossad and “the Epstein Network” are Exploiting Mass Shootings to Create an Orwellian Nightmare, Whitney Webb, Sept. 6, 2019. Following another catastrophic mass shooting or crisis event, Orwellian “solutions” are set to be foisted on a frightened American public by the very network connected, not only to Jeffrey Epstein, but to a litany of crimes and a frightening history of plans to crush internal dissent in the United States.
5.2K

Following the arrest and subsequent death in prison of alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, a little-known Israeli tech company began to receive increased publicity, but for all the wrong reasons. Not long after Epstein’s arrest, and his relationships and finances came under scrutiny, it was revealed that the Israeli company Carbyne911 had received substantial funding from Jeffrey Epstein as well as Epstein’s close associate and former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist and prominent Trump backer Peter Thiel.

Carbyne911, or simply Carbyne, develops call-handling and identification capabilities for emergency response services in countries around the world, including the United States, where it has already been implemented in several U.S. counties and has partnered with major U.S. tech companies like Google. It specifically markets its product as a way of mitigating mass shootings in the United States without having to change existing U.S. gun laws.

Yet, Carbyne is no ordinary tech company, as it is deeply connected to the elite Israeli military intelligence division, Unit 8200, whose “alumni” often go on to create tech companies — Carbyne among them — that frequently maintain their ties to Israeli intelligence and, according to Israeli media reports and former employees, often “blur the line” between their service to Israel’s defense/intelligence apparatus and their commercial activity. As this report will reveal, Carbyne is but one of several Israeli tech companies marketing themselves as a technological solution to mass shootings that has direct ties to Israeli intelligence agencies.

Editor's Note: This series contains much more  than the powerful and well-supported excerpt above....

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism

 Trump Watch

Future of Freedom Foundation, Analysis: The Hitler Phenomenon, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Sept. 6, 2019. At the very beginning of this article, let me first state that I am jacob hornberger newnot saying that Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler. Then why am I bringing it up? Because everyone agrees that when it comes to the subject of dictatorship, Hitler provides the gold standard. He is the model dictator in everyone’s books. Therefore, we can safely use him as a measuring rod for danger signs with respect to dictatorship here in the United States, not only with respect to the Trump presidency but also to other presidencies, both Democratic and Republican.

Hitler’s extermination program and death camps didn’t get established until the midst of World War II, which began in 1939. Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933. That means that there were six years of Hitler rule before the outbreak of the war. The era I wish to explore is 1933-1939, the period before the war. Specifically, how did Hitler become a dictator? After all, we shouldn’t forget that when Hitler became chancellor, Germany was a democracy, something that has been a longtime goal of U.S. foreign policy.

adolf hitlerIn my article yesterday, entitled Opinion: The Trumpster Phenomenon, I pointed out that there is a large segment of conservatives who unconditionally support whatever Trump does. Their reason? They see him as a Great Leader, one who is just trying to make America great again. Therefore, the Trumpsters say, he should be given the widest authority to do what he thinks is best for America and for “national security.” Nothing, and certainly not Congress or the courts, should be permitted to stand in his way.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence logoI would be remiss if I failed to mention that conservatives are not the only ones who suffer from the Great Leader concept. So do liberals/progressives, specifically when their Great Leader is president. Consider Barack Obama, for example.

Today, liberals are shedding lots of crocodile tears over the harsh immigration enforcement measures that Trump is inflicting on illegal immigrants. Yet, when it was Barack Obama who was deporting so many illegal immigrants that he earned the moniker “Deporter in Chief,” there was a dearth of crocodile tears and not even the hint of criticism from the left. That’s because they viewed Obama as their Great Leader, one who should be given wide authority to do what he felt was best for America.

For example, watch a particular segment of the movie

. The movie is the story of the White Rose, a group of German students of diverse religious beliefs at the University of Munich who were secretly distributing pamphlets containing essays critical of the Hitler regime. They were caught and put on trial before the People’s Court, the special tribunal system that Hitler put into place because he didn’t trust the German court system to deliver the “right” verdict in terrorism and treason cases.

If you haven’t seen the entire movie, I recommend it highly. But in the meantime, begin at 1:31:07. It is about 3 minutes long. It is the courtroom scene in which the presiding judge, Roland Freisler, questions Sophie Scholl. Notice the extreme rage displayed by Freisler over Scholl’s “treasonous” behavior. (Notice also how her scared attorney does nothing to defend her.) Freisler provides a perfect example of the Great Leader mindset.

Americans should reflect on all this when they see Donald Trump arbitrarily raising taxes on the American people or building walls or other public-works projects without congressional enactment. The end of that road is the destruction of liberty.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Ivanka Trump is acting as if everything is normal, Monica Hesse, Sept. 6, 2019 (print ed.). The first daughter is neglecting the only ivanka trump twitter portraitdiplomatic mission that could possibly matter right now.

Ivanka Trump, right, descended upon Bogota, Colombia, this week to talk about women’s empowerment and left us talking about her sleeves. They were voluminous, bell-shaped swaths of green fabric. Ivanka abroad seems to be Ivanka’s platonic ideal of herself: doing things that are considered patriotic but not overly political, important but not controversial, and personally on-brand.

Sept. 5

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Trumpster Phenomenon, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Sept. 5, 2019. One of the fascinating aspects of the Donald Trump jacob hornberger newpresidency has been the rise of the Trumpster phenomenon. Trumpsters are conservatives who have become steadfast and unwavering followers and supporters of Trump.

There are two distinguishing characteristics of Trumpsters: (1) their unconditional support of whatever Trump decides to do to “make America great again”; and (2) their refusal to tolerate or countenance any criticism or disagreement with Trump’s courses of action.

What drives Trumpsters is what can be called the Great Leader concept. Their mindset is that we have elected a Great Leader to be president and, therefore, to make America great again, we just have to entrust him with omnipotent powers, trust him to make the right decisions, and support him in whatever courses of action he takes.

donald trump twitterAnd woe to the person who even hints at criticism or disagreement with what the Great Leader has chosen to do. Filled with immediate rage, the Trumpster will lash out against the critic with an array of nasty attacks, for example by accusing him of hating America, being unpatriotic, being a liar, and being ungrateful for what America has done for him.

For example, consider Trump’s unilateral imposition of tariffs (taxes) on the American people and his arbitrary raising of such taxes whenever he wants. That’s classic dictatorial conduct, given that Congress didn’t enact a law imposing or raising such taxes.

djt justice liberty truth metooTrumpsters love it. In their minds, the Great Leader is doing what he believes is necessary to make America great again. So what if he has to exercise dictatorial powers to do so.

Needless to say, this is how people throughout history have lost their liberties to Great Leaders. That’s in fact what the Constitution was intended to prevent. The Framers had no use for the Great Leader concept. Their notion was to limit severely the powers of anyone who became president.

In fact, notice that the Constitution doesn’t even provide an exception for emergencies and crises. That’s because they knew that crises and emergencies were the time-honored ways that Great Leaders acquired dictatorial powers.

CIA Mind Control Program

stephen kinzer poisoner coverThe Guardian, From mind control to murder? How a deadly fall revealed the CIA’s darkest secrets, Stephen Kinzer (author of new book Poisoner In Chief), Sept. 5, 2019. Frank Olson died in 1953, but, because of clandestine US government experiments, it took decades for his family to get closer to the truth.

Glass shattered high above Seventh Avenue in Manhattan before dawn on a cold November morning in 1953. Seconds later, a body hit the sidewalk. Jimmy, the doorman at the Statler hotel, was momentarily stunned. Then he turned and ran into the hotel lobby. “We got a jumper!” he shouted. “We got a jumper!”

The night manager peered up through the darkness at his hulking hotel. After a few moments, he picked out a curtain flapping through an open window. It turned out to be room 1018A. Two names were on the registration card: Frank Olson and Robert Lashbrook.

Police officers entered room 1018A with guns drawn. They saw no one. The window was open. They pushed open the door to the bathroom and found Lashbrook sitting on the toilet, head in hands. He had been sleeping, he said, and “I heard a noise and then I woke up.”

“The man that went out the window, what is his name?” one officer asked.

“Olson,” came the reply. “Frank Olson.”

“In all my years in the hotel business,” the night manager later reflected, “I never encountered a case where someone got up in the middle of the night, ran across a dark room in his underwear, avoiding two beds, and dove through a closed window with the shade and curtains drawn.”

Leaving the police officers, the night manager returned to the lobby and, on a hunch, asked the telephone operator if any calls had recently been made from room 1018A. “Yes,” she replied – and she had eavesdropped, not an uncommon practice in an era when hotel phone calls were routed through a switchboard. Someone in the room had called a number on Long Island, which was listed as belonging to Dr Harold Abramson, a distinguished physician, less well known as an LSD expert and one of the CIA’s medical collaborators.

“Well, he’s gone,” the caller had said. Abramson replied: “Well, that’s too bad.”

To the first police officers on the scene, this seemed like another of the human tragedies they saw too often: a distressed or distraught man had taken his own life. They could not have known that the dead man and the survivor were scientists who helped direct one of the US government’s most highly classified intelligence programmes.

Spectacular Revelations

frank olsonDecades later, however, spectacular revelations cast Olson’s death in a completely new light. First, the CIA admitted that, shortly before he died, Olson’s colleagues had lured him to a retreat and fed him LSD without his knowledge. Then it turned out that Olson, right, had talked about leaving the CIA – and told his wife that he had made “a terrible mistake.” Slowly, a counter-narrative emerged: Olson was disturbed about his work and wanted to quit, leading his comrades to consider him a security risk. All of this led him to room 1018A.

Frank Olson had been one of the first scientists assigned to the secret US biological warfare laboratories at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland during the second world war. There Olson began working with the handful of colleagues who would accompany him throughout his clandestine career. One was Harold Abramson. Others included ex-Nazi scientists who had been brought to work on secret missions in the US. For a time they worked on aerosol technologies – ways to spray germs or toxins on enemies and to defend against such attacks. Later, Olson met with American intelligence officers who had experimented with “truth drugs” in Europe.

Olson was discharged from the army in 1944, but remained at Fort Detrick on a civilian contract and continued his research into aerobiology. Several times he visited the secluded Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, which was used for testing “living biological agents, munitions and aerosol cloud production”. He co-authored a 220-page study entitled Experimental Airborne Infections, which described experiments with “airborne clouds of highly infectious agents”.

In 1949, he travelled to the Caribbean for Operation Harness, which tested the vulnerability of animals to toxic clouds. The next year, he was part of Operation Sea Spray, in which dust engineered to float like anthrax was released near San Francisco. He regularly travelled to Fort Terry, a secret army base on Plum Island, off the eastern tip of Long Island, which was used to test toxins too deadly to be brought on to the US mainland.

cia logoThis was the period when senior army and CIA officers were becoming deeply alarmed at what they feared was Soviet progress toward mastering forms of warfare based on microbes. Their alarm led to the creation of the special operations division. Rumours about its work spread through offices and laboratories. Olson learned of it over an evening game of cards with a colleague, John Schwab, who unbeknown to him, had been named the division’s first chief. Schwab invited him to join. Olson accepted immediately.

In 2017, Stephen Saracco, a retired New York assistant district attorney who had investigated the Olson case and remained interested in it, made his first visit to the hotel room where Olson spent his final night. Looking around the room, Saracco said, raised the question of how Olson could have done it.

“If this would have been a suicide, it would have been very difficult to accomplish,” Saracco concluded. “There was motive to kill him. He knew the deepest, darkest secrets of the cold war. Would the American government kill an American citizen who was a scientist, who was working for the CIA and the army, if they thought he was a security risk? There are people who say: ‘Definitely.’”

 This is an edited extract from "Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control," published by Henry Holt & Co on Sept 10 and available at guardianbookshop.co.uk

RFK Murder Cover-up

Black Op Radio, Justice Integrity Project Director Andrew Kreig interviewed on RFK murder cover-up and stabbing this month of imprisoned accused len osanic black  op logo 1assailant Sirhan Sirhan, Black Op Radio host Len Osanic, Sept. 5, 2019 (64:04 min. audio interview). 

Andrew Kreig, based in Washington DC, is a public affairs commentator, author, attorney and legal reformer
Andrew's website: www.andrewkreig.com
Andrew is also the editor of the Justice Integrity Project at www.justice-integrity.org
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FREE ONLINE EBOOK: The Secret Team by Col. L. Fletcher Prouty
Book: JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by Col. Prouty: Hardcover, Paperback
The debate between George Orwell and Aldous Huxley
Book: Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters by Andrew Kreig: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle
Every US President after Jimmy Carter had been a covert asset of either the CIA or FBI before entering politics
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth: www.ae911truth.org
University of Alaska report on the collapse of Building 7 (World Trade Center)
Journalist Whitney Webb's articles: Here
The remarkable "coincidences" in the Jeffrey Epstein case
William Barr, United States Attorney General
Barr worked for the CIA before becoming a lawyer
10 billion dollar Pentagon cloud computing contract may be awarded to Amazon
Amazon already has a 600 million dollar contract for cloud computing with the CIA
Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for 250 million dollars
Michael Morell, former Deputy Director of the CIA

"You don't fight tyrants because you think you can win. You fight them because they are tyrants" -- Chris Hedges

Sept. 2

Hong Kong Riots: Biased Coverage?

Moon of Alabama, Analysis: Hong Kong Rioters Wage Sabotage Campaign To Press Congress Into Punishing China, B, Sept. 2, 2019. The Associated Press is doing its best to make the Hong Kong police look bad by describing an incident without its context

Late at night Saturday, video from Hong Kong broadcaster TVB showed police on the platform of Prince Edward subway station swinging batons at passengers who backed into one end of a train car behind umbrellas. The video also shows pepper spray being shot through an open door at a group seated on the floor while one man holds up his hands.

Police officers said at a briefing Monday that they rejected accusations that they “beat up” ordinary citizens without first confirming their identities. They said they specifically targeted those who they believed to be rioters, including those who had changed out of their black protester outfits, and arrested 63 people on suspicion of illegal assembly and possessing explosives and offensive weapons.

The incident described in the first paragraph above did indeed happen. But it was only the last part of a larger story which the AP fails to mention. Here is how it started:

The violence in Prince Edward Station began during a dispute between protesters and some older men who were insulting them. One of the men swung a hammer at the protesters, who threw water bottles and umbrellas and later appeared to set off fire extinguishers in the car. After the clashes, the subway system suspended service across much of Hong Kong. Three stations remained closed on Sunday.

A full 10 minutes long video of the scene can be watched here.

It was the above incident that led the MTR, the public Mass Transit Railway operator, to stop the traffic at the station and to call up the police. When the riot police entered the station it immediately faced resistance:

The whole scene was not an isolated incident. Black clad folks ripped wastebaskets off the wall and threw them on the rail tracks. They smashed customer service centers, vandalized subway entry gates and hit regular passengers who disliked their behavior. This happened not only in one subway station but was part of a systematic attempt to disrupt the whole service:

The intent was obviously not to protest but a well planned and coordinated sabotage campaign against the city's indispensable mass transport system. Sabotaging infrastructure is an old CIA tactic to "harass and demoralize enemy administrators and police." Tianamen was, as we now know, a CIA-led color revolution attempt, set up within a background of general protests, in which the U.S. regime change mastermind Gene Sharp was directly involved. The mostly falsely reported incident, during which soldiers were lynched and protesters gunned down, led to 'western' sanctions against China.

Beijing is not going to fall for the same trick twice. The Joshua Wong op-ed [by a protester in the New York Times] shows that the aim has now been lowered. The riots and the inevitable police response to them are now supposed to push Congress to give the Treasury a tool to sanction Chinese officials for interfering in a Chinese(!) city's affairs.

 

August

Aug. 29

Justice Probe Of Comey Memos

james comey fbi recent photo

washington post logoWashington Post, Comey violated policies in handling memos on interactions with Trump, inspector general finds, Matt Zapotosky, Aug. 29, 2019. The former FBI director (shown above in a file photo) was found to have broken the bureau’s rules, but prosecutors declined to pursue a criminal case.

FBI logoFormer FBI Director James B. Comey violated FBI policies in how he handled memos that detailed his controversial interactions with President Trump, setting a “dangerous example” for bureau employees about substituting personal righteousness for established rules, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found in a report released Thursday.

michael horowitz CustomThe report is the second time Inspector General Michael Horowitz, left, has criticized Comey for how he handled FBI business during his abbreviated tenure in charge of the bureau. Last summer, Horowitz lambasted Comey for his leadership of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, accusing him of insubordination and flouting Justice Department policies in deciding only he had the authority and credibility to make key decisions on the case and speak about it publicly.

Comey told investigators he felt the memos were personal, and that he was acting in the best interests of the country. But the inspector general rejected that defense, writing that Comey’s senior FBI leaders all agreed the memos were government documents, and that the former director’s “own, personal conception of James Comeywhat was necessary was not an appropriate basis for ignoring the policies and agreements governing the use of FBI records.”

On Twitter, Comey, right, noted that the inspector general found “no evidence” that he or his attorneys released any classified information to the media.

“I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice,” he wrote. “And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me ‘going to jail’ or being a ‘liar and a leaker’ — ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The DOJ’s inspector general buries the real news, Jennifer Rubin, right, Aug. 29, 2019. With William P. Barr as President Trump’s attorney general, one jennifer rubin new headshotmust always keep in mind that everything out of this Justice Department will be spun, shaded or, in the case of Robert S. Mueller III’s report, misrepresented with the sole purpose of exonerating Trump of any malfeasance and attacking his political opponents.

Unfortunately, the media, as it did with Barr’s letter and Justice Department log circularnews conference about the Mueller report, too often accepts the spin without examining the underlying documents.

That seems to be what is happening with the newly released inspector general’s report examining former FBI director James B. Comey’s release of memos documenting Trump’s attempt to secure his personal loyalty and to go easy on Trump’s fired ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn. At the time, Trump accused Comey of breaking the law.

He tweeted: “James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” Trump’s minions in the right-wing media ran with it. The problem is that it was false.

Aug. 29

Media Criticism

real news networkThe Real News Network, Opinion: Corporate Media Bias Against Sanders Is Structural, Not a Conspiracy, Greg Wilpert, Aug. 27, 2019 (video interview transcript). What the United States needs is a real discussion about the systematic structural bias against politicians and political movements that question corporate control over the news, say RootsAction.org founders Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon

bernie sanders gage skidmoreGREG WILPERT: Almost two weeks ago, there was a slight blip in the news cycle in which Bernie Sanders confronted corporate media with a claim that their coverage might be biased. Of course, corporate media outlets have been facing this charge ever since Trump became president, but this time it came from Senator Sanders, who said the following.

BERNIE SANDERS (shown in a Gage Skidmore file photo): Anybody here know how much Amazon paid in taxes last year? Bernie Sanders: I talk about that all of the time and then I wonder why The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos who owns Amazon, doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why.

The reaction to Sanders’ claim that The Washington Post coverage of him is biased against him generated a wave of pushback. The Washington Post Chief Editor, Martin Baron, said that Sanders is pushing a conspiracy theory when he suggested that Jeff Bezos interferes with the work of the newspaper. Many other corporate news outlets followed suit, saying that Sanders failed to provide evidence, and that he was copying a page from Trump’s playbook.

GREG WILPERT: So let’s get the main issue out of the way. Was Sanders correct in pointing out The Washington Post’s bias against him? And if so, how does Amazon, or any media owner for that matter, achieve this kind of control when what their defenders say is true, that there are no instructions coming from Bezos to the editors or journalists? What do you say, Jeff? Let’s start with you.

JEFF COHEN: Well, there doesn’t have to be a memo from management or ownership, or orders from management or ownership. When I worked at MSNBC in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, there actually were memos and there were orders that we should bias our coverage in support of the invasion. That’s why we were all terminated. That’s the exception. The mere presence of one of the richest people on Earth, Jeff Bezos, as the owner of The Washington Post, his mere presence is enough. What I love about Bernie Sanders is, in 2015-2016, he took democratic socialism out of the closet. And from then, especially these last few weeks, Greg, that you’re referring to, he’s taken this idea of corporate media bias out of the closet, so even the mainstream media has to be discussing it.

Anyone can look at the studies that FAIR.org has done over the decades to show the homogenous nature of the coverage. And there isn’t always a memo. There doesn’t need to be a memo from management. I mean, FAIR showed, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, they did a study of two weeks, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, 393 people quoted about the invasion. Only three represented the anti-war movement. That’s less than 1%. There probably wasn’t a memo at PBS, or ABC, or CBS, or NBC, but they got that homogenous coverage. FAIR has done studies of how The New York Times and Washington Post covered NAFTA when it was being debated, and they virtually put the critics into the margins. FAIR recently did a study of Venezuela and how you basically can’t get into the mainstream media if you think overthrowing a government in Latin America might be a bad idea.

So there doesn’t need to be a memo. Everyone understands what is off limits and what isn’t. I learned that when I was in the mainstream TV news. I mean, think about it: the famous Adam Johnson article in March of 2016 where The Washington Post ran 16 negative stories about Bernie Sanders in 16 hours. Now, if anyone wanted to investigate at The Washington Post the very newsworthy controversies of Amazon and Jeff Bezos— the exploitation of labor, the tax avoidance, the CIA contracts— if they wrote even three negative articles in three days, their heads would roll and everyone at Washington Post knows it.

More On U.S. Justicejack ruby shoots oswald

Detective James R. Leavelle, left, glowered as Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald at a police station basement in Dallas on Nov. 24, 1963.CreditCreditBob Jackson/Dallas Times-Herald, via Associated Press

Nny times logoew York Times, James Leavelle, Detective at Lee Harvey Oswald’s Side, Dies at 99, Ralph Blumenthal, Aug. 29, 2019. Mr. Leavelle’s reaction to Lee Harvey Oswald’s shooting by Jack Ruby in 1963 was captured in an indelible photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize.

James R. Leavelle, the big man in the white Stetson who epitomized the horrors of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in one of the most famous photographs of all time — the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby — died on Thursday at a hospital in Denver. He was 99.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Karla Leavelle.

Mr. Leavelle, a veteran Dallas homicide detective who had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, was handcuffed to Mr. Oswald and was leading him through a police station basement on Nov. 24, 1963, when Mr. Ruby, a nightclub owner, stepped out of the crowd and pumped a fatal bullet into the prisoner. The shooting, with Mr. Oswald’s pained grimace and Detective Leavelle’s stricken glower, was chillingly captured by Robert H. Jackson of The Dallas Times Herald in an iconic photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize the following year.

Moments earlier, he and Mr. Oswald had had an eerie exchange, Mr. Leavelle often later recounted. “Lee,” he recalled saying, “if anybody shoots at you, I hope they are as good a shot as you.”

To which, he said, Mr. Oswald replied: “You’re being melodramatic.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Curtis Flowers’s Conviction Tossed by Mississippi Supreme Court, Mihir Zaveri, Aug. 29, 2019. Mr. Flowers, a black man, has been tried by a white prosecutor six times over the killings of four people in a furniture store in 1996. His case was featured in the podcast “In the Dark.” The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday threw out the murder conviction of Curtis Flowers, a black man who has been tried six times for the same crimes, two months after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor, who is white, unconstitutionally kept black people off the jury.

Iraq War's Roots

keira knightley official secrets sundance institute

Keira Knightley stars in the film "Official Secrets" opening this week and based on the historic whistleblowing of UK intelligence worker Katherine Gun (photo via Sundance Institute).

Consortium News, Film Review: ‘Official Secrets’ is the Tip of a Mammoth Iceberg, Sam Husseini, Aug. 29, 2019. A new film depicting the whistleblower Katherine Gun, who tried to stop the Iraq invasion, is largely accurate, but the story is not over. Two-time Oscar nominee Keira Knightley is known for being in “period pieces” such as “Pride and Prejudice,” so her playing the lead in the new film “Official Secrets,” scheduled to be released in the U.S. on Friday, may seem odd at first. That is until one considers that the time span being depicted — the early 2003 run-up to the invasion of Iraq — is one of the most dramatic and consequential periods of modern human history.

It is also one of the most poorly understood, in part because the story of Katharine Gun, played by Knightley, is so little known. Having followed this story from the start, I find this film to be, by Hollywood standards, a remarkably accurate account of what has happened to date–“to date” because the wider story still isn’t over.

Epstein's Helpers

ny times logoNew York Times, How a Ring of Women Allegedly Recruited Girls for Jeffrey Epstein, Amy Julia Harris, Frances Robles, Mike Baker and William K. Rashbaum, Aug. 29, 2019. After Mr. Epstein’s suicide, his inner circle of girlfriends, employees and other associates is now under scrutiny by prosecutors. A Times investigation uncovered allegations about how a cadre of women helped lure girls into his orbit and managed the logistics of those encounters.

The urgency of the investigation into Mr. Epstein’s associates was underscored on Tuesday when about two dozen women offered searing accounts of how he had sexually abused them before a packed courtroom in Manhattan.

The judge overseeing the case had invited the women to speak at a hearing to dismiss the indictment against Mr. Epstein in light of his death.

Sex Trafficking In History

Gilad.com, Historical commentary: 'Jeffrey Zwi Epstein Migdal,' Gilad Atzmon (UK-based jazz artist and cultural/political commentator), Aug. 29, 2019. The story of Jeffrey Epstein has lost its mystery as more and more commentators allow themselves to express the thought that it is a strong possibility that Epstein was connected to a crime syndicate affiliated with a Zionist political organisation or Israel and / or at least a few compromised intelligence agencies.

Whitney Webb, right, and others have produced superb studies of possible scenarios.

I would instead like to attack the topic from a cultural perspective. Epstein wasn’t the first Jewish sex trafficker. This seems like a good time to look back at Zwi Migdal, a Jewish global crime syndicate that operated a century ago and trafficked tens of thousands of Jewish women and under age girls as sex slaves. According to contemporary Jewish writer Giulia Morpurgo the Zwi Migdal had turned Argentina, “into a nightmare of prostitution and exploitation.”

During the first three decades of the 20th century Argentina was a rich country. It outgrew Canada and Australia in population, total income, and per capita income. Just before the first world war Argentina was the world's 10th wealthiest state per capita. When Argentina was a rich country, large parts of its economy, culture and politics were controlled by crime syndicates and particularly a Jewish organised crime apparatus named ‘Zwi Migdal.’

In 2009 The International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCACA) published a comprehensive article about the Zwi Migdal titled Understanding the Zwi Migdal Society, which I am about to quote from extensively.

The Zwi Migdal, was an association of Jewish mobsters who were involved in the “sexual exploitation of Jewish women and children, which operated globally.” Apparently the Zwi Migdal originally picked a pretty innocent sounding name: "Warsaw Jewish Mutual Aid Society." It does indeed sound almost as innocent, humane and charitable as ‘Anti-Defamation League,’ ‘Jews against Breast Cancer,’ or even ‘Jewish Voice for Peace.’

But the Warsaw Jewish Mutual Aid Society wasn’t innocent at all. It forced thousands of women and girls to become sex slaves and destroyed their lives. “Zwi Migdal means ‘strong power’ in Yiddish and it also honoured Zvi Migdal, known as Luis Migdal, one of the founders of the crime organization.”

The Zwi Migdal organization operated from the 1860s to 1939. In its heyday, after the First World War, it had four hundred members in Argentina alone. Its annual turnover was fifty million dollars in the early 1900s.

Unlike Epstein and Maxwell who allegedly recruited non-Jewish underage women, the Zwi Migdal specialised in trafficking Jewish women. “Most of the Jewish women and children who were kidnapped were taken from impoverished shtetls (Jewish small towns) and brought to Buenos Aires.”

The recently released documents related to the Jeffrey Epstein affair suggest that Epstein and Maxwell were to be charged with child sex trafficking, and as the alleged procurer of underage girls. It seems none of that is really novel in the Jewish world: “The Zwi Migdal Society lured decent girls and young women from Europe in many inventive and deceitful ways. A very well-mannered and elegant-looking man would appear in a poor Jewish village in places such as Poland or Russia. He would advertise his search for young women to work in the homes of wealthy Jews in Argentina by posting an ad in the local synagogue. Fearful of pogroms and often in desperate economic circumstances, the trusting parents would send their naïve daughters away with these men, hoping to give them a fresh start.”

The last line recalls Virginia Giuffre’s account of her encounter with the elegant British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell who allegedly lured her victims to ‘escape’ their misery.

From Rachel (Raquel) Lieberman to Virginia Roberts Giuffre

rachel libermanWe learn that the rufianos' audacity eventually led to their demise. “It happened when they refused to forgo their income from the work of one woman, Rachel Lieberman (shown at right in an undated photo) from Lódž, Poland. She, like so many others, was tempted to travel to Buenos Aires answering a matrimonial ad, but was taken to Jonin Street where she was forced to prostitute.”

“After five years she had enough money to go into the antique furniture business to support herself and her sons but the rufianos made it impossible for her. They did not want her to set an example for their other slaves. But this woman had not been broken.”

As was the case for Virginia Giuffre, it needed brave Rachel to come forward (film via vimeo). 

Her testimony led to an extensive investigation. The findings reached Dr. Rodriguez Ocampo, a judge who would not take Zwi Migdal bribes either.

The lengthy trial ended in September 1930, with 108 detainees. "The very existence of the Zwi Migdal Organization directly threatens our society," the judge wrote in his verdict, handing down long prison terms.”

As with Epstein and his mobsters friends, things changed quickly and not in favour of justice let alone guided by ethical principles. The Zwi Migdal mobsters were at least as well connected as Epstein to politicians, judges and prosecutors. “While in prison, the pimps pulled some old strings, appealed their sentences in January 1931, and senior Justice Ministry officials left only three of the convicts in jail, discharging the rest.”

More On Epstein's Ties

WGBH-TV, Commentary: Harvard, MIT, and Epstein's 'Dirty' Money, Harvey Silverglate, right, and Monika Greco, Aug. 29, 2019. Following the apparent jailhouse suicide of disgraced harveysilverglate 136money manager and academic dilettante Jeffrey Epstein, two prominent Cambridge universities grapple with a straightforward ethical question that has been made out to be needlessly complex: Should an educational institution which has been the beneficiary of the largess of someone who, it turns out, was a monster, return or otherwise redirect donations of “dirty money”? The two universities seem to have arrived at somewhat different answers to this question.

Epstein’s death leaves a long line of victims in its wake, some of whom wished to face him in court and will now never have that opportunity. Epstein also leaves behind the many educational institutions that benefited from his considerable financial donations. A self-described “science philanthropist,” Epstein amassed an impressive network of the world’s leading scholars, scientists, and public intellectuals, by giving liberally to their personal research projects and home institutions. Epstein’s philanthropy enabled him to cultivate close connections with higher-ups at several prominent universities, including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In typical fashion, the media has taken the now-hot story as an opportunity to root out and vilify every person and every institution that has ever had anything to do with Epstein, regardless of whether the individuals and institutions had any knowledge of Epstein’s crimes. The public, galvanized by the media, has placed tremendous pressure on the numerous beneficiaries of Epstein’s sizable gifts to come to terms with their relationships with the now-deceased sex offender. It is in this climate that Harvard and MIT face calls to return or otherwise redirect Epstein’s “dirty money.”

The two universities have thus far responded in very different ways. Back in 2006, when the allegations against Epstein first emerged, Harvard made clear that it had no intention of returning or redirecting any of the millions of dollars it received. More than a decade later, and even after intense public pressure following Epstein’s 2019 federal indictment, Harvard reaffirmed this stance.

MIT, on the other hand, has been bending over backwards to appease the public by issuing mea culpas for various complicities, imagined or otherwise, stemming from the university’s ties to Epstein. In an email sent to the MIT community, University President L. Rafael Reif revealed that MIT accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from Epstein’s various foundations over two decades, all of which went either to the Media Lab or to Physics Professor Seth Lloyd. Reif issued a groveling apology and promised to essentially redirect Epstein’s gifts by donating an equal amount to charities that assist victims of sexual abuse.

Of course, we cannot know the true motivations underlying Harvard and MIT’s responses, although we can probably assume that these institutional decisions were made at the highest levels.

Many institutions have had to reckon with the present knowledge that contributions were made by donors then or now recognized as tainted. The most difficult decisions doubtless have had to be made by institutions for which changing mores have raised the question of whether the long-ago naming of buildings or programs (or entire universities) after now-disgraced donors should be reversed. But where a monument has not been built, nor a program named, to honor a donor, it would seem that there is no reasonable justification, other than moral grandstanding or ethical preening, for returning money that would otherwise be used for the education of our children.

Harvey Silverglate, WGBH’s “Freedom Watch” writer, is a criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer and author in Boston. Monika Greco is a graduate of the philosophy master’s program at Tufts University, and writes about ethical issues for the general public.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: A lesson in state censorship, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 29, 2019 (subscription required). WMR, A lesson in state censorship, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 29, 2019 (subscription required). By taking such extreme action as threatening to sue a news network, Trump has shown his true Achilles' heel: his financial records and tax returns. These records are the focus of the impeachment inquiry underway by the House Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Financial Services Committees.Aug. 28

Supreme Court Scandal?

Palmer Report, Opinion: The story of Donald Trump, Deutsche Bank, and Anthony Kennedy’s son comes back into the spotlight, Bill Palmer, Aug. 28, 2019. This new report about anthony kennedy scotus 236x3001Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans being signed for by Russian oligarchs close to Putin isn’t news to anyone paying attention. Russia has been Trump’s shadow for over 30 years and his attempts to hide that fact in his taxes is completely what we expected.

bill palmer report logo headerWhat’s truly new here is the fact that Deutsche Bank had an internal guideline to hire the children of power brokers, according to the Washington Post. Deutsche Bank hired Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s son. It now seems clear this deal was an attempt at owning the ultimate power broker, a Justice on the US Supreme Court (shown at right in an official photo).

We don’t know exactly what Kennedy’s son actually did for Trump, but when Russia shows up in one place, it seems to be in all the other places as well. The Kennedy/Deutsche Bank relationship is going to have to be investigated and prosecuted if wrongdoing occurred, which now seems likely.

deutsche bank logoBut the scary part here is if Trump was illegitimately elected President, then he illegitimately seated two justices on the Supreme Court. Since Trump never does anything without a quid pro quo, we have to ask what Brett Kavanaugh did for Trump to get the nomination. We also never heard exactly how Kavanaugh brett kavanaughmanaged to quickly pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of personal loans before being seated on the Court.

Neil Gorsuch may not have the same shady dealings around him, but even if he’s innocent, Donald Trump nominated him in order to get points from someone else. We need these answers. Trump never works without pay, bottom line. The US Supreme Court is the world’s biggest powerbroker and being able to appoint two justices to be seated on it is the ultimate cash prize. So what did Trump & Co. get in payback? We need to know.

More On Trump, Bankers

ny times logoNew York Times, The Trump Secrets Hiding Inside Deutsche Bank, David Enrich, Aug. 28, 2019. The president’s longtime lender has extensive documents related to Mr. Trump’s personal and business finances. Here’s what they could reveal.

Deutsche Bank’s disclosure on Tuesday that it has tax returns related to President Trump’s family or business set off a frenzy of speculation about what those materials might reveal.

deutsche bank logoBut a trove of other data and documents that his longtime lender is sitting on might prove more revelatory to investigators digging into Mr. Trump’s finances. That includes records of how Mr. Trump made his money, whom he has partnered with, the terms of his extensive borrowings and what transactions he has engaged in with Russians or other foreign nationals.

For nearly two decades, Deutsche Bank was the only mainstream financial institution consistently willing to do business with Mr. Trump, who had a long record of defaulting on loans. The bank over the years collected reams of his personal and corporate information.

President Donald Trump officialTwo congressional committees have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for a vast array of records related to Mr. Trump — including any tax returns since 2010. The investigators are hoping the materials will shed light not only on the president’s finances but also on any links he has had to foreign governments and whether he or his companies were involved in any illegal activity, such as money laundering for people overseas.

After the two House committees subpoenaed the bank, Mr. Trump sued to block it from complying. The case is pending with a federal appeals court.

While Deutsche Bank has been lending to Mr. Trump since 1998, the most detailed information would cover the period since 2011, when the company’s private-banking division struck up a relationship with the future president and his family.

Aug. 27

Major New 9/11 Findings Due Sept. 3

ae 911 truth building 7 graphic hulsey study Custom

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911 Truth), Advocacy: You Can Change the Course of 9/11 Truth by Sharing the Building 7 Study Widely, Richard Gage, AIA (AE911 Truth ae 911 truth blue horizontal logoFounder and CEO), Aug. 27, 2019. Exactly one week from today, the breakthrough Building 7 Study by Dr. Leroy Hulsey will be released, creating a groundswell of scientific discourse and public awareness that will change the course of 9/11 Truth forever.

I urgently need your help to raise $50,000 by Saturday in order to make the release of this study the watershed moment we all need it to be. Fortunately, a determined donor has stepped forward with a generous challenge gift of $5,000, meaning that he is challenging the community — including you — to equal his donation by August 31st.

Will you donate now to make sure this report is spread far and wide?

When you give today, your gift will be used immediately (as in next week!) to launch a multi-channel public awareness campaign about this groundbreaking study. For example, ae 911 truth hulsey study graphic Customfor just $25 you can ensure that ten engineers receive our large-format postcard (plus you’ll receive one, too!), helping us reach 20,000 engineers across the country.

Not only that, but your gift will be used to organize presentations across the country, hold a major news conference in Washington D.C. with the Franklin Square fire commissioners, produce a powerful short video for social media, commission a new YouGov survey, and more.

Will you give generously today to make sure we take full advantage of this opportunity to change the trajectory of 9/11 Truth permanently?

Gratefully yours,

Richard Gage, AIA

PS: There are only five days left to have your gift DOUBLED and spread the word about this breakthrough Building 7 Study — so please give by August 31st!

Aug. 26

Trump Trade Wars

washington post logoWashington Post, G-7 summit set to end amid Trump’s mixed messaging on the trade war, Toluse Olorunnipa, Michael Birnbaum and Damian g 7 logo france 2019Paletta, Aug. 26, 2019. There is no indication world leaders have made any progress on tackling such major global challenges as climate change, a slowing world economy or nuclear proliferation.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump sings the praises of his resort in Florida as possible G-7 host for 2020, Josh Dawsey and David A. Fahrenthold, Aug. 26, 2019. Aides say the president has sought for months to hold the summit in Doral, but many of his advisers have warned against the idea.

Consortium News, Opinion: Brexit & the Madness of the ‘Sovereign Individual,’ Daniel Lazar, Aug. 26, 2019. While Trump engages in a war of words with everyone from Denmark to Iran, Johnson is threatening to storm out of the European Union even though the likely result will be economic havoc and, in Northern Ireland, a return of the low-grade civil war that killed and wounded some 50,000 people over the course of three decades.

Somewhere, somehow, there must be a method to their madness. But what can it be? The answer may lie in the 1997 bestseller “The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age.” Written by popular stock analyst James Dale Davidson and former Financial Times editor William Rees-Mogg, it’s basically a primer on how to profit from the coming politico-economic apocalypse.

What makes it oddly prescient, as publications ranging from the Guardian to The New European have pointed out, is lineage. William Rees-Mogg is the father of Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons and Britain’s best-known advocate for a “hard Brexit” after BoJo himself, as Johnson is popularly known.

Basically, the book is not only an ode to the coming apocalypse but an extended assault on the 20th-century nation-state. That is something that people fought and died for but which Davidson and Rees-Mogg père associate with high taxes, burdensome regulation, and the pain and torture of having to do what other people tell them to.

Hence, its demise is to be welcomed since it will unleash a revolutionary new force, that of the unchained individual. “The new Sovereign Individual,” they write, “will operate like the gods of myth in the same physical environment as the ordinary, subject citizen but in a separate realm politically. Commanding vastly greater resources and beyond the reach of many forms of compulsion, the Sovereign Individual will redesign government and reconfigure economies in the new millennium.”

With “much of the world’s commerce … migrat[ing] into the new realm of cyberspace,” the book goes on, the old “nation-state, with all its pretensions, will starve to death as its tax revenues decline.” Democracy, which “flourished as a fraternal twin of Communism precisely because it facilitated unimpeded control of resources by the state,” will likewise wither away. So will hoary old concepts like “equal protection under the law” that rest on “power relations that are soon to be obsolete.”

Aug. 26

whowhatwhy logoruss bakerWhoWhatWhy, Opinion: Epstein Death: Deep Digging Not Welcome in Corporate Media, Russ Baker, right, Aug. 26, 2019. When news broke of Jeffrey Epstein’s death in prison, some corporate media were quick to assure the public — as they so often do — that whatever that was about, it should not be viewed as involving any sort of conspiratorial behavior.

They did question why Epstein was taken off suicide watch, especially since he allegedly attempted to kill himself in July, but few considered foul play. Even before the medical examiner’s final report, they accepted the government’s statement that Epstein had killed himself. Epstein’s death was labeled a suicide, and, basically, that was that.

The thing is, many people find the “suicide” scenario suspicious. Which is why recent polls show that just 29 percent of the American public believe it was suicide. It’s important to recall that, historically, journalism has not had such a great track record....This is what the media does — and another reason why the public does not trust them.

Consortium News, Opinion: Brexit & the Madness of the ‘Sovereign Individual,’ Daniel Lazar, Aug. 26, 2019. While Trump engages in a war of words with everyone from Denmark to Iran, Johnson is threatening to storm out of the European Union even though the likely result will be economic havoc and, in Northern Ireland, a return of the low-grade civil war that killed and wounded some 50,000 people over the course of three decades.

Somewhere, somehow, there must be a method to their madness. But what can it be? The answer may lie in the 1997 bestseller The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age. Written by popular stock analyst James Dale Davidson and former Financial Times editor William Rees-Mogg, it’s basically a primer on how to profit from the coming politico-economic apocalypse.

What makes it oddly prescient, as publications ranging from the Guardian to The New European have pointed out, is lineage. William Rees-Mogg is the father of Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons and Britain’s best-known advocate for a “hard Brexit” after BoJo himself, as Johnson is popularly known.

Basically, the book is not only an ode to the coming apocalypse but an extended assault on the 20th-century nation-state. That is something that people fought and died for but which Davidson and Rees-Mogg père associate with high taxes, burdensome regulation, and the pain and torture of having to do what other people tell them to.

Hence, its demise is to be welcomed since it will unleash a revolutionary new force, that of the unchained individual. The new Sovereign Individual, they write, “will operate like the gods of myth in the same physical environment as the ordinary, subject citizen but in a separate realm politically. Commanding vastly greater resources and beyond the reach of many forms of compulsion, the Sovereign Individual will redesign government and reconfigure economies in the new millennium.”

Aug. 25

Trump Allies On Attack

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Coverage Deemed Hostile to White House, Kenneth P. Vogel and Jeremy W. Peters, Aug. 25, 2019. A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists.

It is the latest step in a long-running effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting. Four people familiar with the operation described how it works, asserting that it has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations.

cnn logoThe group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects.

Operatives have closely examined more than a decade’s worth of public posts and statements by journalists, the people familiar with the operation said. Only a fraction of what the network claims to have uncovered has been made public, the people said, with more to be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up. The research is said to extend to members of journalists’ families who are active in politics, as well as liberal activists and other political opponents of the president.

It is not possible to independently assess the claims about the quantity or potential significance of the material the pro-Trump network has assembled. Some involved in the operation have histories of bluster and exaggeration. And those willing to describe its techniques and goals may be trying to intimidate journalists or their employers.

But the material publicized so far, while in some cases stripped of context or presented in misleading ways, has proved authentic, and much of it has been professionally harmful to its targets.

stephen bannon cropped npc 2013It is clear from the cases to date that among the central players in the operation is Arthur Schwartz, a combative 47-year-old conservative consultant who is a friend and informal adviser to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. Mr. Schwartz has worked with some of the right’s most aggressive operatives, including the former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon (shown in a file photo at right).

“If the @nytimes thinks this settles the matter we can expose a few of their other bigots,” Mr. Schwartz tweeted on Thursday in response to an apologetic tweet from a Times journalist whose anti-Semitic social media posts had just been revealed by the operation. “Lots more where this came from.”

The information unearthed by the operation has been commented on and spread by officials inside the Trump administration and re-election campaign, as well as conservative activists and right-wing news outlets such as Breitbart News. In the case of the Times editor, the news was first published by Breitbart, immediately amplified on Twitter by Donald Trump Jr. and, among others, Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and quickly became the subject of a Breitbart interview with Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary and communications director.

The White House press office said that neither the president nor anyone in the White House was involved in or aware of the operation, and that neither the White House nor the Republican National Committee was involved in funding it.

The Trump campaign said it was unaware of, and not involved in, the effort, but suggested that it served a worthy purpose. “We know nothing about this, but it’s clear that the media has a lot of work to do to clean up its own house,” said Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director.

ny times logoThe campaign is consistent with Mr. Trump’s long-running effort to delegitimize critical reporting and brand the news media as an “enemy of the people.” The president has relentlessly sought to diminish the credibility of news organizations and cast them as politically motivated opponents.

Journalism, he said in a tweet last week, is “nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party.”

The operation has compiled social media posts from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and stored images of the posts that can be publicized even if the user deletes them, said the people familiar with the effort. One claimed that the operation had unearthed potentially “fireable” information on “several hundred” people.

“I am sure there will be more scalps,” said Sam Nunberg, a former aide to Mr. Trump who is a friend of Mr. Schwartz.

Mr. Nunberg and others who are familiar with the campaign described it as meant to expose what they see as the hypocrisy of mainstream news outlets that have reported on the president’s inflammatory language regarding race.

“Two can play at this game,” he said. “The media has long targeted Republicans with deep dives into their social media, looking to caricature all conservatives and Trump voters as racists.”

But using journalistic techniques to target journalists and news organizations as retribution for — or as a warning not to pursue — coverage critical of the president is fundamentally different from the well-established role of the news media in scrutinizing people in positions of power.

“If it’s clearly retaliatory, it’s clearly an attack, it’s clearly not journalism,” said Leonard Downie Jr., who was the executive editor of The Post from 1991 to 2008. Tension between a president and the news media that covers him is nothing new, Mr. Downie added. But an organized, wide-scale political effort to intentionally humiliate journalists and others who work for media outlets is.

Aug. 24

Global Environment

christopher leonard kochland

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: David Koch Was the Ultimate Climate Change Denier, Christopher Leonard (above. the author of “Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America”), Aug. 24, 2019. David Koch, who died Friday at the age of 79, is best known as a major funder of right-wing political causes, from tax cuts to deregulation, an enthusiastic patron of the arts and a man-about-town. But to his critics, his most lasting political legacy might very well be the rapidly warming world that he has left behind.

Koch Industries realized early on that it would be a financial disaster for the firm if the American government regulated carbon emissions or made companies pay a price for releasing carbon into the atmosphere. The effects of such a policy would be measured over decades for Koch. The company has billions of dollars sunk into the complex and expensive infrastructure of crude-oil processing. If a limit on greenhouse gas emissions were imposed, it could dampen demand for oil and diminish the value of those assets and their future sales. The total dollar losses would likely be measured in trillions over a period of 30 years or more.

U.S. History, Race, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Liberty and Slavery Have Always Been Wrapped Up With Each Other, Jamelle Bouie, Aug. 24, 2019 (print ed.).  I am just one of many contributors to The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project and can’t claim to speak for it. But I have found the reaction to the project — or at least, one specific set of reactions — very revealing and worthy of a little analysis.

The stated aim of the project is to “reframe the country’s history” around the arrival of enslaved Africans to English North America. The argument is not that the United States was actually founded in 1619 but that its culture, economy, politics and social relations are inextricably bound in the race-based chattel slavery that would emerge in Virginia and spread throughout the colonies. Or as Nikole Hannah-Jones, who organized the project, puts it in her introductory essay, “Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.”

Unsurprisingly, the package has received considerable pushback from conservatives. They’ve made a forceful attack, in particular, on the idea that the founding was bound up in slavery and white supremacy. In The New York Post, Rich Lowry of National Review calls this idea an “odious and reductive lie.” The Federalist says it is “sweeping historical revisionism in the service of contemporary left-wing politics.” Ilya Shapiro, of the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, said the 1619 Project was intended to “delegitimize mankind’s greatest experiment in human liberty & self-governance.”

My larger point is this: History is not the uncovering of absolute truths. It is a dialogue between the present and the past, between communities of scholars and thinkers working to understand the record of what came before — it is always a process of change and revision and critique. Conservatives have every right to criticize The 1619 Project. But if they’re going to call it “lies” and “garbage history” — if they’re going accuse it of propaganda and partisanship — then they should ask themselves a question: Are they looking for better scholarship or are they making a demand for orthodoxy?

Related Story:

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Aug. 14, 2019. The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are. Read all the stories.

Aug. 23

Epstein Death Probes

whitney webb twitterMintPress News, Investigation: From “Spook Air” to the “Lolita Express”: The Genesis and Evolution of the Jeffrey Epstein-Bill Clinton Relationship, Whitney Webb, shown at right in her Twitter photo, Aug. 23, 2019 (Part Four of a four-part series). Far from being the work of a single political party, intelligence agency or country, the power structure revealed by the network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control.

Following the controversial conclusion by the New York Medical Examiner that Epstein’s death was a suicide — a conclusion contested by Epstein’s attorneys as well as by independent forensic pathologists, given the apparent evidence pointing towards strangulation — corporate media coverage of the Epstein case has slowed to a trickle, save for sensationalist stories about his alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell and new salacious details of his past. Gone from corporate media are any hints of the larger scandal, revolving around the admission that Epstein had “belonged to intelligence.”

In this four-part series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” MintPress has revealed that Epstein’s activities — a sexual blackmail operation involving minors and connected to intelligence agencies — was one of many such operations that have taken place for decades, developing from the nexus forged between the CIA, organized crime and Israeli intelligence shortly after World War II.

jeffrey epstein hands handsThough this series has thus far largely focused on the ties of Republican officials to those operations and associated crimes, the final installment of this series will focus on Democratic politicians, namely the Clinton family, and their ties to this same network as well as Jeffrey Epstein (right).

The Clintons’ own involvement in Iran-Contra revolved around the covert activities at Arkansas’ Mena Airport, which involved the CIA front company Southern Air Transport and occurred while Clinton was governor. Just a few years into the Clinton presidential administration, Leslie Wexner and Jeffrey Epstein would play a major role in Southern Air Transport’s relocation to Columbus, Ohio, leading to concerns among top Ohio officials that both men were not only working with the CIA, but that Wexner’s company, The Limited, sought to use the CIA-linked airline for smuggling.

During that same period of time, Epstein had already forged close ties to important Clinton White House officials and prominent Clinton donors like Lynn Forester de Rothschild and made several personal visits to the official presidential residence.

Some of these ties appear related to Epstein’s shady financial activities, particularly involving currency markets and offshore tax havens — activities he began to perfect while working for prominent Iran-Contra figures in the early 1980s, several of whom were tied to the CIA-linked Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and had known relationships with Israeli intelligence, namely the Mossad. The nature of Epstein’s work for these individuals and other evidence strongly suggests that Epstein himself had a relationship with BCCI after leaving Bear Stearns and prior to the bank’s collapse in 1991.

Of particular importance are Epstein’s relationship to the Clinton Foundation and the alleged role of Epstein’s Virgin Islands-based hedge fund and the Clinton Foundation in money laundering activity, a relationship still under investigation by MintPress.

It is this tale of intrigue that fully reveals the extent to which this decades-old alliance between organized crime, the CIA, and Israeli intelligence has corrupted and influenced politicians of both political parties, both through the use of sexual blackmail and through other means of coercion.

Far from being the work of a single intelligence agency or a single country, the power structure revealed by this network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that transcends nationality and is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control. Existing for decades and willing to use any means necessary to cover its tracks, this criminal racket has become so integrated into the levers of power, in the United States and well beyond, that it is truly too big to fail. 

Iran Contra, Mena Airport and the Clintons

When one thinks back to the now-famous Iran-Contra scandal, names like Ronald Reagan, Oliver North and Barry Seal comes to mind, but former President Bill Clinton also played an outsized role in the scandal — using his home state of Arkansas, where he was then serving as governor, as a sort of rallying point for the CIA’s U.S.-side of the Central American operation.

In fact, during Clinton’s reign as governor a small town called Mena, nestled in the Ozark Mountains west of Arkansas’ capital Little Rock, would be propelled into the national spotlight as a hub for drug and arms smuggling and the training of CIA-backed far-right militias.

Under the close watch of the CIA, then led by William Casey, the Mena Intermountain Regional Airport was used to stockpile and deliver arms and ammunition to the Nicaraguan Contras. The arms were sometimes exchanged for cocaine from South American cartels, which would then be sent back to Mena and used to fund the covert CIA operation.

Though efforts have been made to dismiss Clinton’s role in the scandal, his direct intervention in the Contras’ attempts to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua suggests Clinton had some sort of personal stake in the efforts and was unlikely aloof to the major smuggling operation taking place in his state while he had been governor. In fact, while governor, Clinton split with many other state governments in sending a contingency of the Arkansas National Guard to Honduras to train the Nicaraguan Contras on how to overthrow their Sandinista government. Clinton would also discuss his first-hand knowledge of the operation with now-Trump administration Attorney General William Barr.

Much of this channeling of both weapons and drugs was carried out by notorious drug smuggler and alleged CIA/DEA operative Barry Seal. According to the book Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs and the Press by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.

Seal was known to use aircraft that belonged to the company Southern Air Transport and he also employed flight crews that worked for that same company. Southern Air Transport, formerly Air America, was once directly owned by the CIA and today is remembered for being a CIA front during Iran-Contra. Less known is the relationship between the CIA-linked airline and Leslie Wexner and his then-close associate Jeffrey Epstein, which will be discussed in detail later in this report.

Seal seemed to always operate with much less than six degrees of separation from Clinton while the latter served as governor. In his 1999 confessional expose, Cross-fire: Witness in the Clinton Investigation, former Arkansas policeman turned personal driver and security guard for Bill Clinton, L.D. Brown, recounts how Clinton encouraged him to seek out a post at the CIA. Clinton allegedly went so far as to edit the essay Brown wrote for this employment application. The essay topic was drug smuggling in Central America. Upon receiving his application, the CIA put Brown in touch with none other than Barry Seal. Seal would later be gunned down in 1986 while serving six-months probation for drug-smuggling charges.

Seal was not the only affiliate of Oliver North running a Contra-connected operation in Arkansas. Terry Reed, who had worked for North since 1983, claimed to have been put in touch with Seal by North and established a base just 10 miles north of Mena — in Nella, Arkansas — where “Nicaraguan Contras and other recruits from Latin American were trained in resupply missions, night landings, precision paradrops and similar maneuvers,“ according to Cockburn and St. Clair. Reed further asserted that drug money was being laundered through Arkansas financial institutions.

After Clinton’s half-brother Roger was busted for cocaine smuggling (Clinton would later pardon him while president) the CIA sought to move Contra operations out of Arkansas, hoping to put a damper on the increasingly public and sloppy Arkansas-based operation. According to Terry Reed in his book Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA, co-written with John Cummings, a hushed meeting was held in a bunker at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas. During the meeting, William Barr, who represented himself as the emissary of then-CIA Director Bill Casey told Clinton:

The deal we made was to launder our money through your bond business but what we didn’t plan on was you and your n****r here start taking yourselves seriously and purposely shrinking our laundry.”

Barr chastised Clinton for his sloppy handling of the delicate operation and his half-brother’s very public fall from grace. He would later tell Clinton, according to Reed,

Bill, you are Mr. Casey’s fair-haired boy … You and your state have been our greatest asset. Mr. Casey wanted me to pass on to you that unless you fuck up and do something stupid, you’re No. 1 on the short list for a shot at the job that you’ve always wanted. You and guys like you are the fathers of the new government. We are the new covenant.”

Attempts to investigate Clinton’s role in the Mena operations and more broadly in the Iran-Contra affair were allegedly axed by Clinton’s own confidantes, who consistently denied he played a role in the scandal. According to the Wall Street Journal, former IRS investigator William Duncan teamed with Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch in what became a decade-long battle to bring the matter to light. In fact, of the nine separate state and federal probes into the affair, all failed.

Another Clinton connection to the CIA and the Iran-Contra affair runs through the family’s connection to Arkansas financier Jackson Stephens and the CIA-linked Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which critics nicknamed the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals International.” Stephens was among the richest people in Arkansas and was also a major donor and backer of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He also played a key role in the rise of Walmart.

Jackson Stephens and other members of the Stephens family bankrolled Bill Clinton’s rise to political prominence, contributing large sums of money to both Clinton’s gubernatorial and his later presidential campaigns. In addition, Worthen Bank, which was majority-owned by Stephens, provided Clinton’s first presidential campaign a $3.5 million line of credit. In addition, Stephens’ many businesses were frequently represented by the Rose Law Firm, where Hillary Clinton was a partner.

One of the men added to the BCCI board after the acquisition of First American Bank was Robert Keith Gray, whom Newsweek described as often having “boasted of his close relationship with the CIA’s William Casey; Gray used to say that before taking on a foreign client, he would clear it with Casey.” As was discussed in Part II of this series, Gray was also an expert in homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA and was reported to have collaborated with Roy Cohn in those activities. Some of Gray’s clients at the powerful PR firm he led, Hill & Knowlton, included BCCI clients and Mossad-linked individuals, such as Adnan Khashoggi and Marc Rich.

Editor's Note: This series contains much more  than the powerful and well-supported excerpt above....

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism

Aug. 22

Obamas To Purchase Vineyard Estate

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New York Post, Barack and Michelle Obama are buying a $15M estate in Martha’s Vineyard, Hana R. Alberts, Aug. 22, 2019. Barack and Michelle Obama (shown in a 2015 file photo wearing their college teeshirts) are close to buying a massive Martha’s Vineyard estate. TMZ reports that the former president and first lady are in escrow — aka in contract to purchase — a 29-acre beachfront plot with a 6,892-square-foot main house. The Obamas were initially just renting the seven-bedroom, 8½-bathroom spread for summer 2019, but apparently loved it so much that they made an offer.

The property at 79 Turkeyland Cove Road in Edgartown, Mass. — owned by Boston Celtics chief Wyc Grousbeck — has a living room with vaulted ceilings and a stone fireplace, a chef’s kitchen and a formal dining room with giant windows, according to the property’s Realtor.com listing

Aug. 21

Why No Epstein Probe?

jacob hornberger newFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Why No Congressional Investigation into Epstein’s Intelligence Connections? Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Aug. 21, 2019. With convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein now dead, the Justice Department has launched an investigation into prison procedures that allowed him to commit suicide. Meanwhile, women who were sexually abused or raped by Epstein when they were minors are continuing civil actions against Epstein’s estate.

But why no congressional investigation into Epstein’s relationship, if any, to intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the Mossad, or any others? Have we gotten to the point where everyone is so scared to be labeled a “conspiracy theorist” that Congress is precluded from conducting a legitimate investigation into the CIA or other intelligence agencies?

Such an investigation would not come out of the blue. It would revolve around the undeniably sweetheart deal that the U.S. Attorney in Florida, Alexander Acosta, gave to Epstein and the reasons that he gave that sweetheart deal to him.

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University The plea deal enabled Epstein, right, to escape federal charges for sex trafficking and allowed him to plead guilty at the state level to the much lesser crime of soliciting prostitution, which enabled him to serve one year in a local jail, sort of. During that year, officials permitted him to leave the jailhouse on a daily basis to attend to business matters, after which he would return to spend the night in jail.

It would be extremely difficult to find a more sweetheart deal than that. But the question is, Why? We all know how tough federal prosecutors can be. We also know that sex trafficking is not something that is ordinarily countenanced at the federal level, especially when it involves underaged girls.

So, why did Acosta do it? Why did he agree to that sweetheart deal rather than prosecute Epstein in federal court for sex trafficking?

That’s what a congressional investigation would be intended to determine. And Acosta’s sworn testimony could well lead to an answer to that question.

An article that appeared in the August 19, 2019, issue of the Daily Beast by an investigative reporter named Vicky Ward points out the reason why such a congressional investigation would be warranted:

Epstein’s name, I was told, had been raised by the Trump transition team when Alexander Acosta, left, the former U.S. attorney in Miami who’d infamously cut Epstein a non-prosecution plea deal back in 2007, was being interviewed for the job of labor secretary. The plea deal put a hard stop to a separate federal investigation of alleged sex crimes with minors and trafficking.

alexander acosta labor oIs the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)

Okay, all that is hearsay. Nonetheless, it clearly provides the basis for a congressional investigation.

All that a congressional committee has to do is subpoena Acosta and ask he if actually made that statement. If he acknowledges that he did, then he can be asked who said it to him and whether that was what motivated him to give Epstein the sweetheart deal.

Then, a subpoena could issue to the person who made that statement to Epstein. When that person arrives to testify, he could be asked about the source of his information. The investigation could then proceed accordingly.

Moreover, the director of the CIA could be summoned to testify as to whether Epstein was a CIA asset, operative, or agent. If Epstein did fall into one of those categories, it is certainly possible that the CIA director would lie about it, just as CIA Director Richard Helms lied to Congress back in the 1970s when he was asked about CIA involvement in Chilean regime-change operations. Nonetheless, he would at least know that he would be subject to a perjury indictment if it were later discovered that he had lied about Epstein’s involvement in the CIA.

Moreover, the CIA could be subpoenaed to produce all of its files and records relating to Epstein, which might indicate Epstein’s possible involvement with foreign intelligence agencies, such as the Mossad.

cia logoWhy would the CIA, Mossad, or other intelligence agency have been involved with Epstein and why would an intelligence agency have gone to bat for him in a federal criminal prosecution for sex trafficking? That’s something an investigation would be intended to answer.

Of course, the press could continue investigating whether Acosta actually did make that statement and, if so, whether it was true. But the ability of the press to get to the truth is limited given its inability to force people to testify under oath and then have them prosecuted for perjury if they lie. A congressional committee could both subpoena people to testify under oath and have them indicted for perjury if they lie.

Given the possibility of corruption in the federal judiciary at the hands of the CIA or other intelligence agency, the American people are entitled to such an investigation. If sex offenders are being accorded favorable treatment in the federal criminal justice system simply because they happen to work for the CIA or some other intelligence agency, then what does that say for the entire federal criminal justice system?

If Epstein did have a relationship with the CIA or other intelligence agency, then, unfortunately, there are only two chances that Congress would initiate an investigation into the matter: slim and none. That’s because an intelligence agency that is powerful enough to corrupt the judicial branch of the federal government is sufficiently powerful to do the same to the legislative branch.

Far from being the work of a single intelligence agency or a single country, the power structure revealed by this network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that transcends nationality and is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control. Existing for decades and willing to use any means necessary to cover its tracks, this criminal racket has become so integrated into the levers of power, in the United States and well beyond, that it is truly too big to fail.

Aug. 19

Epstein's Wall Street Enabling Culture

Wall Street On Parade, Jeffrey Epstein Learned His Sexual Depravity from Wall Street; Then Took It to the Next Level, Pam Martens Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University and Russ Martens, Aug. 19, 2019. From 1976 to 1981, Jeffrey Epstein, right, worked for the Wall Street investment bank, Bear Stearns.

Bear Stearns collapsed in the early days of the 2008 financial crisis and was purchased by JPMorgan Chase. One of the last acts of Bear Stearns’ CEO, Jimmy Cayne, was to make a $2 million payment to a woman who charged that the legendary Chairman of Bear Stearns, Ace Greenberg, had engaged in “inappropriate touching.” The young woman was said to have had a witness to her charges.

In a 2017 report by the New York Times, a former Managing Director of Bear Stearns, Maureen Sherry, reported that “…it was mostly the same men who preyed on young women.” In a 2016 report by Maureen Callahan at the New York Post, a former Bear Stearns’ employee reports that men at Bear Stearns were “getting bl*w jobs in front of staff – that happened all the time.” Claims that men at Bear were demanding sexual favors from female colleagues and getting away with it date all the way back to the 1980s.

As more allegations emerge daily into the sexual assault horrors of Jeffrey Epstein and his band of enablers, a profile is emerging that bears a striking resemblance to how Wall Street has allowed its highest-producing brokers to behave toward vulnerable young female employees for decades. In both situations, there are the enablers; in both situations there is a failed justice system and powerful lawyers cutting deals; in both situations there are hundreds of different females asserting the same type of claims over a long period of time with no governmental authority stopping the abuse; and in both situations, powerful men who were an important cog in Wall Street’s insatiable quest for profits were allowed to walk away from a multitude of credible sexual assault allegations.

Jeffrey Epstein’s major divergence from the sexual assaults by Wall Street brokers’ is that he preyed on underage girls. It is notable, however, that many Wall Street firms hire young women just out of high school to be “trained” to work in their branch offices. The sexual grooming is not as overt as in the Jeffrey Epstein cases, where the young girls were hired to give a massage and then told, over time, the massage had to be administered by them naked; and then, after more time, upped to a full-scale sexual assault. But young women in these Wall Street offices are sent a clear message by their Human Resources departments that they need to “get along” with those big producing brokers who generate outsized profits for the firm.

Walk into any of the Wall Street retail brokerage offices that dot the landscape in every major town and city across America and you will see glass-windowed offices filled with white male brokers and pretty, young female sales assistants (a/k/a client service associates) sitting in a low-wage, subservient position at a desk directly outside that office.

Subservience to that broker is ingrained in the following ways: the sales assistant’s performance is officially evaluated by that broker and becomes a written, permanent part of her employment file; the broker, if he is a big producer for the firm, can have the sales assistant fired over any flimsy, trumped-up claim; and, importantly, most Wall Street firms pay these women low wages, leaving it to the broker they work for to give the woman a percentage of his commissions if he finds her “performance” to be to his liking.

All that Wall Street would have to do to alter these sexual and power dynamics is to pay these women a good salary and take the broker’s additional compensation out of the equation. The fact that Wall Street doesn’t alter this dynamic suggests that the industry likes its hunting band to hone their skills on the vulnerable prey in the office as a form of target practice.

Just as Epstein was able to keep his abuse hidden for decades by employing a roster of expensive lawyers who knew how to work the system, Wall Street has all of the largest law firms in America at its beck and call. These law firms have systematically convinced the U.S. Supreme Court and Appellate Courts around the country that Wall Street should be allowed to run its own private justice system; that it should be allowed to make its employees sign a waiver giving up their rights to access the nation’s courts and use Wall Street’s rigged kangaroo court system instead.

Most Americans would agree that Wall Street is the most corrupt industry in America. And yet, the most corrupt industry is the only industry that universally requires both employees and customers to waive their rights to use the nation’s courts to settle claims and, instead, must use the Wall Street-created mandatory arbitration system which has none of the procedural protections of a court of law.

Editor’s Note: The excerpt above is from a much longer article. Pam Martens, the co-author of the above article and Editor of Wall Street On Parade, worked for two major Wall Street firms for 21 years. During that time, from 1996 through 2001, Martens challenged Wall Street’s mandatory arbitration system and the sexual assaults and sexual harassment of women facilitated under that system in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in a case titled "Martens v Smith Barney," in which she originally served as lead plaintiff.

The settlement fashioned by plaintiffs’ attorneys and Paul Weiss was deemed so conflicted by Martens that she withdrew from the settlement and never profited from the settlement or any subsequent payment from the parties. Her original co-plaintiff, Judy Mione, joined her in withdrawing from the settlement for the same reasons. Martens also appeared in the ABC 20/20 program referenced above.

Major Events Planned For 9/11 Truth Research

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Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911 Truth), Truth, Science, Truth, and Justice 18 Years Later: September 2019 Schedule of Events, Staff report, Aug. 19, 2019. This ae 911 truth blue horizontal logoSeptember promises to be a momentous period for AE911Truth and the millions of people who have been fighting for a real investigation into the events of 9/11 over the past 18 years.

In the first week of September, AE911Truth will participate in releasing the draft report of the groundbreaking World Trade Center Building 7 Study by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

The release of this report will include a livestreamed presentation by the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Leroy Hulsey, at UAF’s Schaible Auditorium on September 3, 2019, followed by a second presentation from Dr. Hulsey at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club on September 5, 2019. The draft report will be published that same week at http://ine.uaf.edu/wtc7 — as well as at AE911Truth.org — and will be open for public comment for a two-month period ending November 1, 2019.

Then it’s onward to our events in New York and Washington, D.C. On September 7, 2019, AE911Truth founder Richard Gage will speak at an event hosted by the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry at the All Souls Church in New York City. Gage will be joined by 9/11 family member Bob McIlvaine, Franklin Square Fire Commissioner Christopher Gioia, NSA whistleblower William Binney, media critic Mark Crispin Miller, members of the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, and other invited speakers.

Four days later, on September 11, 2019, AE911Truth will hold a livestreamed news conference at the National Press Club, featuring Franklin Square Fire Commissioners Christopher Gioia and Joseph Torregrossa as well as Bob and Helen McIlvaine (parents of 9/11 victim Bobby McIlvaine), Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry President David Meiswinkle, and Mr. Gage.

After the news conference, we will head to Capitol Hill for meetings with several U.S. representatives and their staffs. We will also deliver to every member of Congress a packet containing a letter from the Franklin Square fire commissioners, our educational materials, and a copy of the Bobby McIlvaine World Trade Center Investigation Act.

Please join us online or in person for this series of significant events and political action activities. Help is especially needed at the U.S. Capitol delivering our materials to all 535 members of Congress in one afternoon!

We look forward to seeing you and making this 9/11 anniversary a major turning point in the pursuit of truth and justice.

Schedule of Events

A Structural Reevaluation of the Collapse of World Trade Center 7 (Fairbanks)

A Presentation by Civil Engineering Professor J. Leroy Hulsey, Ph.D., P.E.

September 3, 2019
6:00 PM Alaska Time / 10:00 PM Eastern
Schaible Auditorium
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Livestream: https://media.uaf.edu
View Poster
A Structural Reevaluation of the Collapse of World Trade Center 7 (Berkeley)

A Presentation by Civil Engineering Professor J. Leroy Hulsey, Ph.D., P.E.

September 5, 2019
5:00 PM Pacific
The Faculty Club at UC Berkeley
*Seating priority given to UC Berkeley students and faculty as well as AE911Truth petition signers.
View Poster
Front and Center: 9/11 Grand Jury Investigation (New York)

Hosted by the Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry and featuring AE911Truth Founder Richard Gage, AIA, 9/11 family member Bob McIlvaine, Franklin Square Fire Commissioner Christopher Gioia, NSA whistleblower William Binney, media critic Mark Crispin Miller, and more.

September 7, 2019
3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
The Unitarian Church of All Souls
1157 Lexington Avenue at East 80th Street
http://LCfor911.org
View Poster
News Conference: First Responders Urge Congress to Reopen 9/11 Investigation (Washington, D.C.)

A news conference featuring Franklin Square Fire Commissioners Christopher Gioia and Joseph Torregrossa, 9/11 family members Bob and Helen McIlvaine, Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry President David Meiswinkle, and Richard Gage, AIA.

September 11, 2019
10:00 AM
The National Press Club
4th Estate Room
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045
Livestream: Visit AE911Truth.org at the scheduled time.
DC Political Action Afternoon (Washington, D.C.)

Delivering our educational materials and the Bobby McIlvaine Act to every member of Congress.

September 11, 2019
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Meet at the steps of the West Front Side of the U.S. Capitol at 1:00 PM.
At 1:30 PM we’ll fan out in groups to all six congressional office buildings.
Other Events Where We'll Be
9/11 Perspectives: Public Master Class on the Events of September 11, 2001 (Zurich)

Featuring (via live feed) Richard Gage, AIA, Dr. Niels Harrit, Mick Harrison, and more.

September 11, 2019
1:00 PM to 7:30 PM Central European Time
Stauffacherstrasse 60, 8004 Zurich
https://11september.eu/911perspectives
View Poster
9/11 Truth Update Presentation (Washington, D.C.)

Dinner from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM followed by presentation and Q&A with Richard Gage and Fire Commissioner Christopher Gioia.

September 11, 2019
6:30 PM
Ler Mirch Indian Restaurant
1736 Connecticut Avenue
Washington, D.C. Near Circle Metro

Aug. 18

FBI Reveals UK Elite Deviance

The Sun, Lord Mountbatten's 'lust for young boys' exposed in FBI files, Tom Parry, Aug. 18, 2019. The decorated war hero was under US surveillance for more than three decades. Lord Mountbatten (right, a onetime chief of NATO shown in a 1976 before his 1979 death from an IRA bomb) was “a homosexual with a perversion for young boys,” according to newly released FBI files.

lord louis mountbatten 1976 photo by allan warren via wThe valued mentor to great-nephew Prince Charles (and was said to have counselled him on his love life) was under US surveillance for more than three decades. And one source described the Earl and wife Edwina as “persons of extremely low morals” – with him being “an unfit man to direct any sort of military operations” because of his sexual tastes.

The files emerged after historian Andrew Lownie used freedom of information laws while researching his new book about the couple, The Mountbattens: Their Lives & Loves.

It follows years of speculation over the private life of Mountbatten, who once said he and Edwina “spent all our married lives getting into other people’s beds”.

In Mr Lownie’s book, Ron Perks, who was the Earl’s driver in Malta in 1948, breaks his silence to claim one of his favourite places was the Red House near Rabat, “an upmarket gay brothel used by naval officers”.

And Anthony Daly, a rent boy to the rich and famous in the 1970s, claims he was told “Mountbatten had something of a fetish for uniforms — handsome young men in ­military uniforms and beautiful boys in school uniform”.

The first FBI files on the Earl date to February 1944 – soon after he was made supreme allied commander in south-east Asia during the Second World War.

After the war, he was the last viceroy of India, then chief of defence until 1965. He was killed in an IRA bomb attack in 1979.

Homosexual acts were banned here until 1967 and it is believed many FBI memos on Mountbatten’s sexuality have been edited or destroyed.

But one file references a 1944 interview with Elizabeth de la Poer Beresford, Baroness Decies. The memo says: “She states that in these circles Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife are considered persons of extremely low morals. “She stated Lord Louis Mountbatten was known to be a homosexual with a perversion for young boys. In Lady Decies’ opinion he is an unfit man to direct any sort of military operations because of this condition. She stated further his wife was considered equally erratic.”

Aug. 16

Epstein Death Follow-up

jeffrey epstein gurney cropped emergency room

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Results Conclude He Hanged Himself, Ali Watkins and Michael Gold, Aug. 17, 2019 (print ed.). The findings from New York City’s chief medical examiner refute conspiracy theories that Mr. Epstein may have been murdered.

The results came six days after Mr. Epstein (shown on a gurney at a hospital emergency room in a New York Post photo) was found dead in his cell in federal prison in Manhattan, where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

The New York City medical examiner said on Friday that Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a federal jail cell was a suicide, confirming he had hanged himself.

Mr. Epstein’s death had set off a wave of unfounded conspiracy theories, as people speculated online, without evidence, that he might have been killed to keep him from providing information to prosecutors about others in his social circle, including President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of Britain.

barbara sampsonBut the chief medical examiner in New York City, Dr. Barbara Sampson, right, ruled out foul play. She released a terse statement saying that, after an autopsy and a “careful review of all investigative information,” she had determined the cause of Mr. Epstein’s death was “hanging” and the manner was “suicide.”

Three of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, Martin G. Weinberg, Reid Weingarten and Michael Miller, challenged the findings and vowed to conduct their own investigation.

“We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner,” said the lawyers, who had hired a private pathologist to observe the autopsy, in a statement. “We will have a more complete response in the coming days.”

The medical examiner’s determination came six days after Mr. Epstein, 66, was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

Guards on their morning rounds found Mr. Epstein at about 6:30 a.m. last Saturday, prison officials said. He appeared to have tied a bedsheet to the top of a set of bunk beds, then knelt toward the floor with enough force that he broke several bones in his neck, officials said.

His suicide followed an apparent attempt to kill himself in late July, and came 12 days after prison staff had recommended he be removed from suicide watch and returned to the wing in which he had been housed before.

ny times logoNew York Times, Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein, Ali Watkins, Danielle Ivory and Christina Goldbaum, Aug. 17, 2019. The notorious jail in Manhattan was a sharp departure from Mr. Epstein’s formerly gilded life. Here’s what happened inside.

Jeffrey Epstein, inmate 76318-054, hated his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. It was cramped, dank and infested with vermin, so Mr. Epstein, long accustomed to using his wealth to play by his own rules, devised a way out.

He paid numerous lawyers to visit the jail for as many as 12 hours a day, giving him the right to see them in a private meeting room. Mr. Epstein was there for so long that he often appeared bored, sitting in silence with his lawyers, according to people who saw the meetings. While they were there, he and his entourage regularly emptied the two vending machines of drinks and snacks.

“It was shift work, all designed by someone who had infinite resources to try and get as much comfort as possible,” said a lawyer who was often in the jail visiting clients.

Outside the meeting room, Mr. Epstein mounted a strategy to avoid being preyed upon by other inmates: He deposited money in their commissary accounts, according to a consultant who is often in the jail and speaks regularly with inmates there.
But in his final days, Mr. Epstein’s efforts to lessen the misery of incarceration seemed to be faltering.

He was seldom bathing, his hair and beard were unkempt and he was sleeping on the floor of his cell instead of on his bunk bed, according to people at the jail.

Still, he convinced the jail’s leadership that he was not a threat to himself, even though an inquiry was already underway into whether he had tried to commit suicide on July 23. The federal jail was so poorly managed and chronically short-staffed that workers who were not correctional officers were regularly pressed into guard duty.

Challenging U.S. Supreme Court

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats ignite controversy with brief in gun case before Supreme Court, Robert Barnes​, Aug. 17, 2019 (print ed.). In filing an amicus brief, five Democratic senators questioned whether the high court’s conservative majority is motivated by partisan intent and is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society.

supreme court graphicsheldon whitehouseIt is rare that an amicus brief filed in a Supreme Court case is characterized as both a brassy reality check and unprecedented political bullying.

But such is the controversy that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), left, and four other Democratic senators have ignited with a filing that instructs the Supreme Court to either drop a New York gun case it has accepted for the coming term or face a public reckoning.

“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it,” writes Whitehouse, who is listed as the attorney of record on the friend-of-the-court brief. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ ” The phrase is from a poll question with which a majority democratic donkey logoof Americans agreed.

Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) joined the incendiary brief, which questions whether the court’s conservative majority — nominated by three Republican presidents — is motivated by partisan intent and is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

Aug. `16

Counter-Punch, Investigative Commentary: La Danse Mossad: Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, Jennifer Matsui, Aug. 16, 2019. Media tycoon and former Labour MP Robert Maxwell (father of Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s partner in crime) was given a state funeral in Jerusalem after *accidentally* falling off his yacht – the unluckily named “Lady Ghislaine”. Later it was revealed Maxwell Sr was a Mossad asset who used his vast network of connections and publishing platforms to run editorial interference over his purchased assets to influence enemies and friends alike, ensuring their fealty to the foreign government that had enlisted him for its espionage work.

His tabloid empire was the piss-colored propaganda organ of the interests he served, overseeing its rapid growth and tentacled reach across the globe. More ominously, he was behind the spy agency’s successful attempt to install a trapdoor in software intended for government use, allowing the Israelis a direct pipeline into a vast network of computers installed with undectable malware.

At the time of his death, the disgraced magnate was under investigation for raiding his companies’ pension funds to cover the losses incurred from his multiple and reckless takeovers, and finance a luxury lifestyle he enjoyed sharing with high-profile pals like Henry Kissinger and Barbara Walters. Curiously, many of these fossilized specimens from Robert Maxwell’s roster of friends from the Reagan era would circle around Epstein, most notably Donald Trump whose Mar-a-Lago resort would later become a recruiting center for employer Epstein’s underage “massage therapists”.

Fast forward a couple of decades since the days a casino mogul was gobbling down canapés with the old guard denizens of the ‘swamp.’ Notice a similar, if not identical MO in both Maxwell and Epstein’s role in procuring technology for the Israelis, who in turn sold it with undisclosed add-ons, providing an open window into its users’ databases.

Like his predecessor, Epstein had a financial stake in a startup (headed by former Israeli Defense Minister and later Prime Minister Ehud Barak) connected to Israel’s defense industry that provides infrastructure for emergency services as a call handling platform. Considering the company’s connection to military intelligence, it wouldn’t be a stretch to speculate on some of this software’s other ‘special’ features. A variation of the early technology that Maxwell was able to procure for his Israeli bosses was later sold to the Saudis, who leveraged its sophisticated tracking features to assassinate Jamal Khashoggi.

Epstein, like Maxwell, was laying the groundwork for Israeli espionage activities through his interests in companies with a political agenda concealed in products intended for international export. If true, the playboy philanthropist feted and flattered his high profile friends to ensnare them as complicit partners in what amounts to the legal definition of treason. Epstein’s covert activities have undiminished real world consequences for anyone on Israel’s international radar, especially those challenging the status quo policies in place that prioritize “The Jewish State’s” political and financial objectives over actual justice and global stability.

If you have ever asked yourself why Israel’s war crimes and settlement expansion go unchallenged by US lawmakers, consider the career destroying consequences contained within those dossiers compiled by the braintrust behind Epstein’s ’suicide.’ “We’ll trade you one US Embassy in Jerusalem for 10 minutes of hidden camera footage of you . . . let’s say ‘enjoying’ a rolled up Forbes magazine.”

Were the surveillance apparatuses installed throughout Epstein’s properties merely a voyeur’s tools, or did he use them to leverage the moral failings of his former friends for purposes that might have risked exposure of more than the nether regions of wealthy pedo-punters? Considering his connections to Israeli defense industries and his own Achilles penis that required, by his own admission, “three orgasms a day,” the answer points to an unslakable addiction that dovetailed conveniently with his state-sponsored sex crimes.

Jennifer Matsui is a writer living in Tokyo and a columnist for the print edition of CounterPunch magazine.

Aug. 14

U.S. History, Race, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Aug. 14, 2019. The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are. Read all the stories.

In August 1619, just 12 years after the English settled Jamestown, Va., one year before the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock and some 157 years before the English colonists even decided they wanted to form their own country, the Jamestown colonists bought 20 to 30 enslaved Africans from English pirates. The pirates had stolen them from a Portuguese slave ship that had forcibly taken them from what is now the country of Angola. Those men and women who came ashore on that August day were the beginning of American slavery. They were among the 12.5 million Africans who would be kidnapped from their homes and brought in chains across the Atlantic Ocean in the largest forced migration in human history until the Second World War. Almost two million did not survive the grueling journey, known as the Middle Passage.

Before the abolishment of the international slave trade, 400,000 enslaved Africans would be sold into America. Those individuals and their descendants transformed the lands to which they’d been brought into some of the most successful colonies in the British Empire. Through backbreaking labor, they cleared the land across the Southeast. They taught the colonists to grow rice. They grew and picked the cotton that at the height of slavery was the nation’s most valuable commodity, accounting for half of all American exports and 66 percent of the world’s supply.

They built the plantations of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, sprawling properties that today attract thousands of visitors from across the globe captivated by the history of the world’s greatest democracy. They laid the foundations of the White House and the Capitol, even placing with their unfree hands the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome.

They lugged the heavy wooden tracks of the railroads that crisscrossed the South and that helped take the cotton they picked to the Northern textile mills, fueling the Industrial Revolution. They built vast fortunes for white people North and South — at one time, the second-richest man in the nation was a Rhode Island “slave trader.”

Profits from black people’s stolen labor helped the young nation pay off its war debts and financed some of our most prestigious universities. It was the relentless buying, selling, insuring and financing of their bodies and the products of their labor that made Wall Street a thriving banking, insurance and trading sector and New York City the financial capital of the world.

Epstein Probes

New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center (Photo by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons)

New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center (Photo by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons)

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary, More details about Epstein's circle of friends seep out, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 14, 2019 (subscription required). As more questions fly about concerning the August 10 so-called suicide of uber-wealthy and politically connected pedophile Jeffrey Epstein at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan, so, too, is information about how far and wide Epstein’s circle of friends extended during the height of his international sex trafficking.

'Conspiracy Theory' As Cover-Up Tool

Off-Guardian, Media Criticism: Guardian Attacks Epstein “Conspiracy Theories,” Kit Knightly, Aug. 14, 2019. The mainstream narrative is shaping up – a story of suicide, neglect and tragic victims.  In two different opinion pieces The Guardian has made its position on the alleged death of Jeffrey Epstein clear – he “probably” committed suicide.

The first, titled "Epstein conspiracy theories are farfetched – but can you blame people?," takes the position that although “conspiracy theories” about Epstein’s apparent suicide are “understandable,” there’s no evidence to support them. Rather, the author endorses the slowly coalescing official narrative. Namely that of complete, systemic incompetence: "The official explanation for Epstein’s death comes down to rank incompetence. And it’s probably true."

A short-sighted attitude to take, which totally ignores a cardinal rule when dealing with state agencies: They will only admit to incompetence if the truth is worse.

The author also attempts to undermine the “conspiracy theories” by pointing out that Epstein was a potential threat to important figures on both sides of the political divide: "Online, conspiracy theories now abound. Observers suggest Epstein was killed by one of the men who may have been implicated in his crimes – maybe Bill Clinton, according to the fringe right, or maybe Donald Trump, according to the fringe left."

An argument rather akin to saying, “He can’t possibly have been murdered, because there were too many people who wanted him dead. There are SO MANY plausible suspects, that the only reasonable explanation is that…none of them did it."

(Also, note the word “fringe,” a manipulative use of language designed to discredit an idea without engaging with it rationally). However, this article – although laced through with traditional mainstream rhetoric about “conspiracy theories” – at least leaves them room to exist.

The Guardian’s other Epstein piece is rather less understanding: "Epstein’s death is a victory for misogyny: it denies accusers the justice they deserve" blares the headline (further evidence that very few people at the Guardian seem to know what “misogyny” really means), before continuing by taking aim at conspiracy theories several times in the text.

Firstly, in an almost word-for-word quote from the previous column: "Commentators on the right speculated that he had been murdered by powerful liberals; those on the left speculated that he had been murdered by powerful conservatives. These theories were not responses to evidence, of which there is little."

And then later claiming conspiracy theories not only “factually wrong” (something no one can know at this stage): The speculations may well be factually wrong – criminal justice experts have pointed out that inmate suicides are common, and that those detained in federal jails often face startling neglect" – but also attempting to 'Mrs Lovejoy' the public by claiming “conspiracy theories” are actually harmful: "The positing of these conspiracy theories is unhelpful, distracting from the important injustice that has been done to Epstein’s victims."

Declaring seeking the truth to be somehow unfair to the victims is a classic trope, deployed most famously against 9/11 Truthers, but common after many such incidents.

There’s also this sentence: "The conspiracy theorists also risk undermining efforts to bring Epstein’s co-conspirators to account. Their suggestions that the financier was killed to cover up the rapes and assaults of powerful men who would rather he be shut up could lend suspicion to anyone pointing out the breadth of his alleged pedophilia ring, giving those who want continued investigations of men such as Dershowitz, Pritzker and Dubin the aura of a maniac in a tinfoil hat."

Which, I’ll be honest, I simply don’t understand. "I think she’s arguing that “conspiracy theorists” talking about “conspiracy theories” might discredit the very real possibility there was an actual conspiracy.

If that’s what she means – because I honestly do not understand the words – well, that’s obviously just crazy. You can’t argue we shouldn’t talk about conspiracy theories, just in case there’s a conspiracy fact.

That’s the attitude of a person so brainwashed by the idea that “conspiracy theorist = crazy person” that they can no longer think in a straight line. Total cognitive dissonance.

The articles are different in tone, but they are united in purpose, and they each hit the same three key points:

  • Epstein “probably” killed himself. After all, inmates commit suicide all the time.
  • Conspiracy theories might look reasonable, but they are factually incorrect and morally harmful.
  • The real tragedy here is the poor victims who will go unavenged. We should all focus on that, not investigating the potential murder.

All this serves to demonstrate – for about the millionth time – the entire purpose of outrage culture and identity politics.

This is fear of being offensive used to control a conversation and dictate narrative: Don’t talk about Epstein being murdered, don’t even think about it. If you do, you’re a misogynist.

Aug. 12

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Epstein-Barr: “Justice” in a quasi-dictatorship known as the United States, Wayne DJT jeffrey epstein cheerleaders party cropped mar a logo screenshotMadsen (syndicated columnist, author and former Navy intelliegence officer), Aug. 12, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission).  One of the biggest threats to Donald Trump’s presidency – his former good friend and fellow uber-wealthy sex pervert Jeffrey Epstein – died in a federal detention center in Manhattan of what was officially termed a “suicide.”

Trump and Epstein are shown in a screenshot of them ogling cheerleaders at a wild party at Mar-a-Lago, which is located about a mile from the Palm Beach mansion where Epstein and his accomplices lured scores of Florida's under-age junior high and high school girls for illegal sexual encounters.

washington post logoWashington Post, Attorney general blames federal jail for ‘failure’ to keep Epstein alive, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett​, Aug. 12, 2019. Attorney General William P. Barr, right, said Jeffrey Epstein’s death would not william barr new odeter the probe into who might have aided the politically connected financier’s alleged crimes.

The attorney general’s comments were noteworthy in that he publicly blamed the Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the Justice Department, for the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s apparent suicide.

Palmer Report, Commentary: Wait a minute, WHO was watching Jeffrey Epstein when he died? Bill Palmer, Aug. 12, 2019. Earlier today, Attorney General Bill Barr tried to deflect responsibility away from himself when he pointed to “serious irregularities” at the jail where Jeffrey Epstein died. Based on his track record, no one can believe a word Barr says, and we wrote that it sounded like he was trying to pin the whole thing on lower level employees.

bill palmer report logo headerNow it turns out one of the guards watching Jeffrey Epstein on the night of his death “wasn’t a regular correctional officer” – whatever that’s supposed to mean – according to a surreal new report from the AP. To our ear, it sounds like some kind of staffing shortage resulted in someone guarding Epstein who wasn’t formally trained for that particular task.

This could indeed be the case, and it could explain how Jeffrey Epstein managed to commit suicide while he was under protective custody. This comes after the WSJ reported earlier today that it was Epstein’s lawyers who had him removed from suicide watch, which he’d been on since a suspicious incident two weeks ago. But there’s a catch to all this.

During the rollout of the redacted Mueller report, we saw Bill Barr repeatedly feed dubious claims to major news outlets, which they then turned around and reported as having been from a source “familiar” with the matter. In these instances it was painfully obvious that Barr himself was the source. Now we’ve got two major news outlets with unnamed sources who want to pin the blame on everyone but Barr. Considering Barr’s villainy, we’re taking all of this with a grain of salt.

Aug. 11

U.S. Politics / Trump

TheHill.com, Scaramucci fires back at Trump: He will turn 'on everyone' and then 'entire country,' Justin Wise, Aug. 11, 2019. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci denounced President Trump early Sunday, arguing that he would eventually turn on everyone in his circle.

anthony scaramucci salt conference 2016 cropped"For the last 3 years I have fully supported this President," Scaramucci said on Twitter. "Recently he has said things that divide the country in a way that is unacceptable. So I didn’t pass the 100% litmus test. Eventually he turns on everyone and soon it will be you and then the entire country."

The comments from Scaramucci came less than 24 hours after Trump railed against the former White House aide over his recent comments about the administration.

Scaramucci last week called Trump's visit to El Paso, Texas to meet with survivors of a mass shooting a "catastrophe."

"Anthony Scaramucci, who was quickly terminated (11 days) from a position that he was totally incapable of handling, now seems to do nothing but television as the all time expert on 'President Trump.'" Trump tweeted late Saturday night.

He added that Scaramucci "knows very little about me...other than the fact that this Administration has probably done more than any other Administration in its first 2 1/2 years of existence."

donald trump twitter"Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV, and it’s not for being the Mooch!" Trump said.

Scaramucci was ousted from his job as White House communications director in July 2017 after a chaotic 11-day stint. In the years since, he hasn't hesitated to criticize the administration while appearing on television talk shows.

msnbc logo CustomAppearing on MSNBC last Thursday, the former Trump aide said that the president's trip to El Paso was a "catastrophe."

“Maybe he’ll tweet something negative about somebody for saying he didn’t do well, but the facts are he did not do well on the trip because if the trip is being made about him and not the demonstration of compassion and love and caring and empathy for those people, then it becomes a catastrophe for him, the administration, and it’s also a bad reflection on the country," Scaramucci said.

After Trump attacked four minority congresswoman last month, Scaramucci said that the president could be "turning into" a racist.

"I don't think the president is a racist," Scaramucci said on BBC's "Today." "But here's the thing, if you continue to say and act in that manner, then we all have to look at him and say, OK, well, maybe you weren't a racist, but now you're turning into one."

Commentaries on Epstein Death

Below are links to notable expert commentaries, continued below, about the death of the wealthy pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, right, and the death's jeffrey epstein new mug cropped july 2019implications for the public:

Trump Watch: Immigration Judges

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Administration Moves to Muffle Border Judges, Christina Goldbaum, Aug. 11, 2019 (print ed.). The Justice Department has moved to decertify the union of immigration judges, a maneuver that could muffle an organization whose members have sometimes been openly critical of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement agenda.

ICE logoThe department filed a petition on Friday asking the Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine whether the union, the National Association of Immigration Judges, should have its certification revoked because its members are considered “management officials” ineligible to collectively organize, according to a Justice Department spokesman.

The move suggested escalating tensions between overwhelmed immigration judges desperate for greater resources and a Justice Department pushing them to quickly address a backlog of immigration cases.

“This is a misguided effort to minimize our impact,” said Judge Amiena Khan, vice president of the judges’ union, which has publicly criticized the use of a quota system in immigration court and other attempts to speed up proceedings.

Epstein Death Commentaries (Continued)

TheHill.com, Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein's suicide makes no sense, Bernard B. Kerik (right, former New York City corrections commissioner and poliice chief) Aug. 10, 2019. Accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s death bernard kerik portraitthis morning — reportedly a suicide, according to federal officials — is an inexplicable end to a bizarre, tragic case that only got more disturbing the more we learned about it.

The fact that one of the country’s highest-profile federal prisoners could even commit suicide defies all logic and belief.

His death raises doubts about officials’ actions. The FBI says it will investigate; Attorney General William Barr says he is “appalled” by what happened; members of Congress such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are demanding answers. Indeed we all need answers, before we lose all faith in our justice system.

But the most basic question, in my mind, is why Epstein was in solitary confinement in the first place — something so totally inappropriate for a prisoner already at risk of suicide.

Epstein, a billionaire financier with powerful friends in the worlds of business and politics, pleaded guilty in Florida in 2008 to sex crimes and served a few months in jail. He was reindicted this summer in New York on charges of sex trafficking underage girls and had been in federal custody ever since.

He tried to commit suicide less than two weeks ago and, we were told, was placed in solitary confinement and under a suicide watch.

So how in the world could he commit suicide?

There is a valid use for solitary confinement in a penal institution. If you’re a threat to the institution or a threat to its staff, an escape risk or a threat to national security, then solitary confinement should be considered.

But not in this case. Jeffrey Epstein — in spite of his previous pleas or the new, serious charges — was none of the above.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which had custody over Epstein, and federal prosecutors certainly knew his earlier suicide attempt was real. Yet, instead of putting him into an administrative segregation unit — into a real, true suicide watch — they put him into solitary confinement and, in so doing, enabled him to finish what he had tried before.

Was that their intent? Who knows, but it raises serious questions about his death and the investigation surrounding him.

There is nothing worse than taking a suicidal prisoner and sticking him into a solitary confinement cell. Common sense and any psychologist, any corrections professional, will tell you that — so why was it done in this instance?

In solitary confinement there is a 15-minute “watch” rule, but that is not the same as a “suicide watch.” A prisoner can asphyxiate himself in 90 seconds and, after eight minutes or so, he will be brain dead.

That’s exactly why around-the-clock supervision is necessary when a prisoner is classified as suicidal. And it requires constant supervision, in person or by technology — cameras.

So why was Epstein placed in “solitary” in the first place? After his first attempt, were his cell and his supervision changed? Was he watched constantly by cameras in his cell, or only checked sporadically? Was he allowed to have objects that he could use to attempt suicide again, after having done so once before? How could a prisoner hang himself — as Epstein did, according to early reports — and no guard would immediately see it or react? Why, given his previous attempt and all of the issues surrounding his case, wasn’t a supervisory officer watching him constantly and able to respond immediately?

None of this makes any sense, at least at this point.

The crime here — in my mind, with what is known at this point — is that Epstein was placed in solitary confinement at all. The government often uses every tool in its power to ensure you never have a fair day’s fight in court, including the use of psychological tools to force you to plead guilty or to force you to cooperate with the government.

Solitary confinement is one of those tools. It is a mechanism to demean, degrade and demoralize a prisoner. The mind-altering seclusion of “solitary” will force a prisoner into a deep depression from which, for some, there is no return.

Only time will tell if that’s what happened with Epstein or if something more sinister occurred.

But one thing already is crystal clear: There are flaws and failures in the U.S. criminal justice system that should disturb all of us. And in Jeffrey Epstein’s case, none of it makes any sense.

Bernard B. Kerik was the first deputy and commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, 1995-2000. As commissioner of the NYPD from 2000 through 2001, he oversaw its response to the 9/11 attack. He pleaded guilty in 2006 to ethics violations and was fined, then pleaded guilty in 2009 to eight federal charges, including tax fraud and false statements, which led to his 48-month sentence in a federal prison. He is the founder of the Kerik Group, providing homeland security, police and correctional training, criminal justice and prison-reform strategies.

Jeffrey Epstein's friend Leslie Wexner (via cropped screenshot of remarks at American Academy of Achievement

Retail mogul Leslie Wexner, Jeffrey Epstein's friend (via cropped screenshot of remarks at American Academy of Achievement

SouthFront, Jeffrey Epstein RIP: But Many More Questions Remain to be Answered, Philip M. Giraldi (former CIA officer), right, Aug. 11, 2019. The Jeffrey Epstein saga philip giraldigoes on even though convicted pedophile Epstein himself has been found hanged in his jail cell in Manhattan.

So, he is dead but did he do it himself or was he helped? There are many prominent individuals and powerful government agencies that will be very pleased that he is gone as most of his secrets will have gone to the grave with him.

There was certainly a warning that something might happen. Two weeks ago, he was reportedly found unconscious in his jail cell with marks around his neck. It was suggested that he might have tried to kill himself or, alternatively, had been beaten up by another inmate. There was also considerable speculation that some aggrieved part of the Deep State was trying to kill him to silence him.

The subsequent press reports revealed that Epstein had been taken to a hospital, but there has been no follow-up about his condition or status apart from a brief note that he had been returned to the same jail under suicide watch. In any event, the story had pretty much died, which is precisely what a lot of the high rollers and politicians who became involved with Epstein would have liked to see happen. Nevertheless, investigations of the “Affair Epstein” reportedly were continuing at the federal level as well as in New York State and Florida.

The most recent elaboration of the Epstein saga prior to his death came from his former patron Leslie Wexner, the canny Jewish business tycoon who built an Ohio based fashion empire called L Brands from scratch. L Brands, by the way, includes Victoria’s Secret, which features young women strutting around in their underwear. The 81 year old Wexner claimed in a 564 word letter that the wily Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money” from him. In the letter Wexner admitted to having lost at least $46 million from his family money, but some media accounts are suggesting that the fraud amounted to much more, possibly as much as $500 million. And the alleged theft also extended to property, to include the series of transactions that left Epstein possessing the Upper East Side mansion where he resided and did his filming of celebrities having sex with young girls, estimated to be worth $56 million, as well as the commercial airliner that became the Lolita Express and a yacht.

My belief that Jeffrey Epstein was an intelligence agent is based principally on Acosta’s comments when being cleared by the Trump transition team. He was asked “Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” … “Acosta testified that he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had ‘been told’ to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. ‘I was told Epstein belonged to intelligence and to leave it alone.’”

The questions about Epstein remain even though he is gone, but one fears that the authorities will be disinclined to further investigate a dead man. It appears that no one in the various investigative agencies or the mainstream media has been interested in what Acosta meant, even though it would be simple enough to ask him. Who told him to back off? And how did they explain it? And then there is Epstein’s Austrian passport. Was it fake or real, with a real name and photo substitution or alternation of both picture and name? How did he get it? Austrian passports are highly desirable in intelligence circles because the country is neutral and its holders can travel just about everywhere without a visa.

mossad seal CustomAnd there’s more. As a former intelligence officer myself, there is little doubt in my mind that what Epstein did and how he did it was an intelligence operation. There is no other viable explanation for his filming of prominent politicians and celebrities having sex with young girls. And as for the question of whom Epstein might have been working for, the most likely answer is Mossad. The CIA would have had no interest in compiling dossiers on prominent Americans, but American movers and shakers like Bill Clinton, with his 26 trips on the Lolita Express, former Governor Bill Richardson, or former Senator George Mitchell are precisely the types of “agents of influence” that the Mossad would seek to coerce or even blackmail into cooperation.

Other compelling evidence for a Mossad connection came from Epstein’s relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell, who reportedly served as his key procurer of young girls. Ghislaine is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, who died or possibly was assassinated in mysterious circumstances in 1991. Maxwell was an Anglo-Jewish businessman, very cosmopolitan in profile, like Epstein, a multi-millionaire who was very controversial with what were regarded as ongoing ties to Mossad. After his death, he was given a state funeral by Israel in which six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence listened while Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized: “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.”

Israel and high-profile Jewish players also have continued to turn up like bad pennies in the Epstein case, but no one seems to be interested in pursuing that angle. Epstein clearly had contact with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak and Wexner also had close tiesto the Jewish state and its government.

barry krischer alex acosta CustomBarry Krischer, who may have been the source of the comments to Acosta (shown at right with Krischer in file photos), has received the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) award. Evidence also suggests that Krischer, cooperating with rabidly pro-Israel Epstein lawyer Alan Dershowitz, played a key role in the failure to adequately punish Epstein for his conviction for pedophilia.

According to a recent New Yorker story, the police investigators of the Epstein case observed that “the tone and tenor of the discussions of this case with Krischer changed completely” after his meetings with Dershowitz. At that point, the two detectives most involved in the case found themselves under extreme pressure. They were surveilled constantly by private investigators and they even had their household trash snatched and searched. And the resulting plea agreement with Krischer “…was due to the efforts of Dershowitz, who had proceeded to attack and smear the victims.”

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, which seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is unfathomable, Harry Litman (a law professor, right, and former U.S. harry litman msnbc screenshotattorney and deputy assistant attorney general), Aug. 11, 2019 (print ed.). For anyone familiar with Bureau of Prisons standard operating procedures, Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is more than mysterious; it is unfathomable.

The 66-year-old accused sex trafficker was found dead in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) Saturday morning, apparently after having hanged himself.

The Bureau of Prisons, the federal agency that runs the MCC, has said the FBI will investigate. Epstein’s death almost certainly means that astounding blunders occurred, perhaps by multiple personnel at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

If any prisoner in the federal system should have been a candidate for suspicion of suicide, it was the high-profile and disgraced Epstein. All administrative and structural measures should have been in place to ensure it could not happen. And yet it apparently did.

First, consider the MCC itself. It is a high-rise, forbidding administrative detention facility in the south of Manhattan. Its population consists almost entirely of prisoners, like Epstein, awaiting trial in federal court in Manhattan. It has been referred to as the “Guantanamo of New john gotti mug shotsYork” for its stringent security measures. It is the facility of choice for notorious federal defendants, often in special administrative segregation units, having previously housed John Gotti (shown in 1990 mug shots), Bernard Madoff, Omar Abdel Rahman and, recently, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

In other words, it is the very place to put a high-profile and potentially suicidal defendant such as Epstein.

Second, consider the BOP’s suicide prevention protocol. Epstein was found last month unconscious in his MCC cell with marks on his neck. If he was not on suicide watch, it would be astonishing. Yet if he were on suicide watch, his death would be virtually inconceivable.

The BOP’s suicide prevention protocol entails, first and foremost, human eyes on the prisoner 24 hours a day. It also requires a strict deprivation of anything — shoelaces, sheets, pillowcases — that could possibly be used to hang oneself. It also requires disabling anything that could be used to tie a noose — vents, sprinkler heads, etc.

Finally, we are not talking about inexperienced yokels. BOP personnel, especially at MCC, are the best professionals in the corrections industry, and they receive special training in administrating suicide prevention. Who better to guard against such a horrific development?

At this point, questions abound, and BOP has to address them promptly.

  • The first: Was Epstein on suicide watch, and if not, why not?
  • The second: How exactly did Epstein manage to kill himself, and why exactly was it that he had access to the tools?
  • Third, is there a video of Epstein’s cell at the crucial time? There should be, and it will reveal exactly how and when Epstein killed himself.

David Talbot via Facebook, Opinion: The "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein, David Talbot (right, best-selling author of "The Devil's Chessboard," david talbot facebook"Season of the Witch" and "Brothers" and Founder of the Salon Media Group), Aug. 11, 2019 (updated). Well, it's official —- we now live in a criminal, lawless nation where people who know too much about the sleazy lives of the rich and powerful can be "suicided" to death — even when they're on suicide watch in a New York City jail cell!

The "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein — oh what the hell, let's call it what it really was, a politically necessary execution — reeks of the "suicide" of Craig Spence back in 1989.

Spence, below, a Republican lobbyist with deep ties to the Reagan presidency, ran a Washington call-boy service and, like Epstein, had the craig spencegoods on many of America's decadent elite. After his sex racket exploded in the headlines, Spence told friends he would probably be murdered — a termination that would be called a suicide. And guess what? In November 1989, Spence was indeed found "suicided" in a Ritz Carlton hotel room in Boston.

The list of prominent names on whom Jeffrey Epstein had secret dirt — including video and photos — is endless. It includes, of course, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. And Epstein's ties to intelligence services, including U.S. and Israeli agencies, are equally obvious.This is how the elite — and the secret police under their command — operate. Key witnesses get paid off or permanently disappeared. But the Epstein case is so fucking obvious it shows that the U.S. oligarchy has become so cocky it doesn't even pretend to be lawful anymore.

A final note on this flaming conspiracy to silence the latest man who knew too much.

For decades, the corporate media have been ridiculing and condemning those who believe that power in the U.S. often operates in darkly clandestine ways. The New York Times, Washington Post, TV networks et al have worked feverishly to marginalize the deep investigative work done by citizen researchers and independent journalists (including me) to shed light on the national security assassination of President Kennedy. Eye-opening investigations into 9/11 — and the undeniable web of connections between Saudi royalty and the hijackers, U.S. agencies' foreknowledge of the hijacker plots, and the Bush-Cheney administration's coverup of inconvenient 9/11 truths — also are routinely blacked out by the mainstream media.

But in the wake of this Epstein bombshell, now, the C-word (as in conspiracy) is even creeping into the prose of NY Times columnists like Paul Krugman. Sometimes the criminality at the top of America becomes so brazen, so obvious that even our press watchdogs are stirred from their slumber.

robert maxwell with papers fileThere is much information that suggests a connection between Epstein and Israeli intelligence. His top deputy and procuress was Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late Robert Maxwell, left, -- British media tycoon, swindler and spy (for Israeli and British intelligence). Epstein was also set up mysteriously in the high-end investment game -- despite being woefully unqualified -- by the lingerie billionaire Les Wexner, a major benefactor of Israel, whose large mossad seal Customdonations to Ehud Barak have become an issue in the current Israeli election.

Epstein was also infamously and aggressively defended by lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a prominent spokesman for the Israeli government. Epstein was operating a classic "honeytrap" -- spy parlance for a sex trap that ensnares powerful peopIe and makes them vulnerable to blackmail from security agencies. I should note that I don't believe Mossad would operate on U.S. soil without agreement or even partnership with US intelligence.

jeffrey epstein gurney cropped emergency room

New York Post, Jeffrey Epstein could have ‘paid’ for help with suicide: Former Gotti pal, Brad Hamilton, Aug. 11, 2019. The jail where Jeffrey Epstein (shown on an emergency room gurney on Aug. 10 in an uncredited photo via Twitter) apparently hanged himself was a nest of corruption in the early ’90s, according to one of late mobster John Gotti Sr.’s top associates — who insists it’s still a place where almost anything can be bought if you have the bucks.

“If he killed himself someone had to have helped him,” said Lewis Kasman, a onetime close confidant of the Dapper Don who visited the godfather several times at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in 1992.

“There are cameras going 24/7 and they’re watching 24/7. Someone had to give [Epstein] the equipment to kill himself and he had to pay for it dearly,” said Kasman, who has kept abreast of conditions in the lockup.

Kasman added: “That facility for years had issues of corruption, with correction officers bringing in food or cellphones for wealthy people.”

The former Gambino bean counter noted that Gotti, who did time both in the jail’s 9 South and 10 South units, its most secure wings, still managed to get his favorite steak dinner sneaked in: “He had Peter Luger’s whenever he wanted.”

william barr new oKasman said he heard US Attorney General William Barr, right, personally made a hush-hush trip to the MCC two weeks ago, about the time Epstein was found in his cell with bruises around his neck. “When does that happen?” he asked. “The attorney general never visits jails. Something’s not right there.”

Kasman said the facility was “totally disgusting — worse than Guantanamo Bay.” “There are roaches crawling all over you — in every orifice — when you sleep. The Bureau of Prisons’ answer to that is that they can’t spray. It’s toxic.”

New York Magazine, A Former U.S. Attorney on Where Epstein’s Legal Cases Will Go After His Death, Matt Stieb, Aug. 10, 2019. Facing a criminal case for sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy, multiple civil cases by alleged victims, and a Department of Justice inquiry into his wrist-slap plea deal in Florida, Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide has opened a flurry of questions about the future status of his legal proceedings.

As for the criminal charges, those are effectively kaput: As former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explains, “Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide ends the criminal case against him because no one else was charged in the indictment.”

Many questions — not to mention full-blown conspiracy theories — remain. How much more about Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking ring will come to light? Will others be indicted? What might we find out from the FBI and Department of Justice inquiries into Epstein’s suicide? To help weigh these questions, Intelligencer spoke with former U.S. Attorney and New York contributor Barbara McQuade about where the legal proceedings involving the sex offender go from here.

Other questions asked and answered:

  • How much information about Epstein and his co-conspirators will never be known because the criminal case against him closes with his death?
  • What about Epstein’s knowledge, now lost, of his own alleged crimes? I’m thinking about passwords, knowing where records are, information like that.
  • Does his death make it less likely that charges will be brought against other people?
  • How might this affect the civil cases by his victims against his estate, or the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General investigation into the plea deal?

Aug. 10

Epstein Dead

jeffrey epstein new mug cropped july 2019

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein Commits Suicide at Manhattan Jail, William K. Rashbaum, Aug. 10, 2019. Mr. Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, hung himself and his body was found this morning.

Epstein, shown in his mug shot, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, committed suicide at a Manhattan jail, officials said on Saturday.

Mr. Epstein hung himself and his body was found this morning at roughly 7:30 a.m.

Manhattan federal prosecutors last month charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behavior have been emerging for years.

New Epstein Revelations

jeffrey epstein trumps cropped ghislaine maxwell Photo by Davidoff Studios Getty Images vanity fair

Jeffrey Epstein with the Trumps and his girlfriend and alleged procurer Ghislaine Maxwell, at left (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘She was shaking’: Court filings describe system Jeffrey Epstein allegedly used to procure girls, Beth Reinhard, Marc Fisher, Tom Hamburger and Carol D. Leonnig, Aug. 10, 2019 (print ed.).  Newly unsealed documents lay out disturbing details about the financier’s alleged abuse and the number of people in his orbit who could have observed them.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001He demanded sex three times a day. A parade of powerful figures visited his private estates, which were adorned with pictures of naked girls and stocked with sex toys. And the schedules of teenagers on call to give him massages at his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion were documented in phone messages from his assistants.

Roberts, at center, claimed that Epstein farmed her out to other men, including Prince Andrew of the British royal family, left. The California native said the photo at left portrays her at center with Prince Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, on a trip to London when she was 17 in 2001. At right was Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite daughter of the corrupt newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, who drowned in 1991 after toppling overboard from his yacht Lady Ghislaine. 

Those and other claims about financier Jeffrey Epstein unsealed in court filings Friday lay out disturbing details both about his alleged activities and the number of people in his orbit who could have observed them, raising new questions about how the sex abuse charges against the multimillionaire were previously handled.

Epstein, who is now facing federal sex trafficking charges involving the alleged abuse of dozens of minors, previously pleaded guilty in Florida state court to two felony counts, serving about 13 months in jail. A federal judge ruled in February that the prosecution team led by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who recently resigned as President Trump’s labor secretary, violated the rights of alleged victims by failing to notify them of an agreement not to bring federal charges.

New York Post, Jeffrey Epstein dead in apparent suicide, Larry Celona and Eileen AJ Connelly, Aug. 10, 2019. Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died overnight in an apparent suicide, law enforcement sources told the Post Saturday.

A gurney carrying a man who looked like Epstein was wheeled into New York Downtown Hospital around 7:30 a.m. A call for a reported cardiac arrest came in at 6:38 a.m., Fire Department sources said. Two weeks ago, Epstein, 66, was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.

The multimillionaire financier was being held without bail pending trial on child sex-trafficking charges. Epstein was busted July 6 over the alleged sexual abuse of dozens of young girls in his Upper East Side townhouse and his waterfront mansion in Palm, Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. He pleaded not guilty and faced up to 45 years in prison.

Daily Mail, Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, 66, kills himself in his Manhattan jail cell, 24 hours after files in his case were unsealed and two weeks after he was placed on suicide watch ahead of his sex trafficking trial, Andrew Court, Aug. 10, 2019.

  • Jeffrey Epstein has hanged himself inside his New York City jail cell
  • He was discovered by prison guards in cardiac arrest on Saturday morning, and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead
  • Epstein was arrested on July 6 on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking, and was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center without bail
  • He was reportedly placed on suicide watch following after a first suicide attempt on July 24
  • Epstein's death comes just 24 hours after court documents detailing his sexual abuse of underage girls were unsealed by the courts
  • The explosive documents included claims from Epstein's alleged 'sex slave' that she was required to have intercourse with a number of powerful men

David Talbot via Facebook, Opinion: The "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein, David Talbot (right, best-selling author of "The Devil's Chessboard," david talbot facebook"Season of the Witch" and "Brothers" and Founder of the Salon Media Group), Aug. 10, 2019.  Well, it's official —- we now live in a criminal, lawless nation where people who know too much about the sleazy lives of the rich and powerful can be "suicided" to death — even when they're on suicide watch in a New York City jail cell!

The "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein — oh what the hell, let's call it what it really was, a politically necessary execution — reeks of the "suicide" of Craig Spence back in 1989.

Spence, below, a Republican lobbyist with deep ties to the Reagan presidency, ran a Washington call-boy service and, like Epstein, had the craig spencegoods on many of America's decadent elite. After his sex racket exploded in the headlines, Spence told friends he would probably be murdered — a termination that would be called a suicide. And guess what? In November 1989, Spence was indeed found "suicided" in a Ritz Carlton hotel room in Boston.

The list of prominent names on whom Jeffrey Epstein had secret dirt — including video and photos — is endless. It includes, of course, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. And Epstein's ties to intelligence services, including U.S. and Israeli agencies, are equally obvious.This is how the elite — and the secret police under their command — operate. Key witnesses get paid off or permanently disappeared. But the Epstein case is so fucking obvious it shows that the U.S. oligarchy has become so cocky it doesn't even pretend to be lawful anymore.

A final note on this flaming conspiracy to silence the latest man who knew too much.

For decades, the corporate media have been ridiculing and condemning those who believe that power in the U.S. often operates in darkly clandestine ways. The New York Times, Washington Post, TV networks et al have worked feverishly to marginalize the deep investigative work done by citizen researchers and independent journalists (including me) to shed light on the national security assassination of President Kennedy. Eye-opening investigations into 9/11 — and the undeniable web of connections between Saudi royalty and the hijackers, U.S. agencies' foreknowledge of the hijacker plots, and the Bush-Cheney administration's coverup of inconvenient 9/11 truths — also are routinely blacked out by the mainstream media.

But in the wake of this Epstein bombshell, now, the C-word (as in conspiracy) is even creeping into the prose of NY Times columnists like Paul Krugman. Sometimes the criminality at the top of America becomes so brazen, so obvious that even our press watchdogs are stirred from their slumber.

LauraLoomer.us, Opinion: AUDIO: Jeffrey Epstein DEAD FOR HOURS On Suicide Watch With Cameras In Cell Before EMS Arrived, Laura Loomer, Aug. 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. (EDT). People are asking how Jeffrey Epstein “committed suicide” when he was on suicide watch and being monitored by multiple guards and cameras.

Exclusive sources for LauraLoomer.us tell us that at around 6:20 am EST, Manhattan Correctional Center (MCC) requested First Responders for an inmate who was found unresponsive.

Jeffrey Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive this morning in his cell in his bed, and was cold to touch when correctional officers entered to wake him for breakfast. Our sources say that there were no injuries visible and they began chest compressions while EMS were en route.

Epstein was being detained for his upcoming trial for child and human sex trafficking and a barrage of other charges. Sources tell us that food vendors, all correctional officers who have been in contact with Epstein, as well as his water supply are being investigated following his suspicious death that is being reproted as a suicide.

Two weeks ago in a declared failed attempt to commit suicide, Epstein was placed on suicide watch. This means that aside from his cell being monitored remotely 24 hours a day by at least TWO cameras in his cell, 30 min round checks were also conducted by correctional officers.

There are reports from MSM claiming that Epstein hung himself which are categorically FALSE. Epstein’s body was cold to touch which means he had been dead for at least 4 hours, and if he had hung himself, one of the TWO cameras in his cell would have alerted the officers monitoring them. The reports being pushed through MSM are contradictory to that which our exclusive sources and the EMS recording states.

There would not have been a way for Epstein to commit suicide because while on suicide watch, one does not have clothes, bed sheets, or shoelaces. Inmates on suicide watch only have a smock and a hole in the ground for using the restroom.

Under the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s policy regarding inmates on suicide watch, prisoners on suicide watch are to be kept under “direct, continuous observation.”

Epstein was dead for hours before EMS responded because his body was stone cold, according to EMS. How did Epstein die if guards were watching him continuously? If they were watching him continuously and he did commit suicide, then one of those things isn’t true.

Epstein wouldn’t have been able to commit suicide if he truly was being watched continuously, which means foul play is likely involved…

Even if Epstein didn’t commit suicide (because let’s be honest, nobody believes Epstein actually committed suicide), if he was being watched continuously like he was supposed to be, according to the prison protocol, how did it takes hours for guards to realize he was dead?

Epstein was found in his cell at around 6:25 a.m on Saturday morning. According to the audio recording from EMS that was reporting back to the dispatch at 6:33 am, Epstein was stiff/cold, meaning he had been dead for a while.

Listen to audio after 2 min and 40 sec where dispatchers confirm that Epstein was stiff and cold.

Epstein was found cold and unresponsive by EMS and was not considered a patient even though EMS is heard saying “working cold”. Sources also tell us no apparent injuries were visible on Epstein’s body, making it unclear how his death has been deemed suicide already without an autopsy.

NBC News, Jeffrey Epstein is dead by apparent suicide in federal jail, Justice Department investigating, Tom Winter, Jonathan Dienst and Phil nbc news logoMcCausland, Aug. 10, 2019. Attorney General William Barr said he was "appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead" and that his death "raises serious questions that must be answered."

Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker, died by apparent suicide Saturday morning while in federal custody, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Epstein, 66, was in his federal jail cell in downtown Manhattan but was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, multiple people familiar with the investigation told NBC News. He had apparently hanged himself, and was found unresponsive at around 6:30 a.m. ET.

william barr new oAttorney General William Barr, right, said he was "appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead" while in federal custody. He said he has consulted with the Department of Justice's inspector general, who is opening an investigation into the circumstances.

"Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered," Barr added.

Epstein's death comes a little over two weeks after he was found injured and in a fetal position in his cell at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He was semiconscious with marks on his neck at the time.

In July, two sources told NBC News that Epstein was on suicide watch. His death came the day after a trove of court documents was unsealed, providing new details about Epstein's alleged sex trafficking.

Epstein, who was being held on federal sex trafficking charges, was transported Saturday morning from the jail to a hospital in lower Manhattan. Upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest, people familiar with the matter said.

The Department of Justice said Epstein was pronounced dead at the hospital. The FBI is investigating his death.

More Epstein Death Coverage

New York Post, Jeffrey Epstein dead in apparent suicide, Larry Celona and Eileen AJ Connelly, Aug. 10, 2019. Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died overnight in an apparent suicide, law enforcement sources told the Post Saturday.

A gurney carrying a man who looked like Epstein was wheeled into New York Downtown Hospital around 7:30 a.m. A call for a reported cardiac arrest came in at 6:38 a.m., Fire Department sources said. Two weeks ago, Epstein, 66, was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.

The multimillionaire financier was being held without bail pending trial on child sex-trafficking charges. Epstein was busted July 6 over the alleged sexual abuse of dozens of young girls in his Upper East Side townhouse and his waterfront mansion in Palm, Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. He pleaded not guilty and faced up to 45 years in prison.

washington post logoWashington Post, Jeffrey Epstein dead after apparent suicide in New York jail, Matt Zapotosky and Renae Merle, Aug. 10, 2019 (at 11:43 AM). What you need to know about disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

Jeffrey Epstein, the politically connected financier and registered sex offender charged recently with sexually abusing dozens of young girls in the early 2000s, has died by apparent suicide while in jail and the FBI is investigating, the Bureau of Prisons said Saturday.

Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell in the special housing unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City about 6:30 a.m., the Bureau of Prisons said. Lifesaving measures “were initiated immediately by responding staff,” who then requested aid from emergency medical services, the bureau said.

Epstein was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the bureau said. ABC News, which first reported the incident, said that Epstein had hanged himself.

The Bureau of Prisons called the death an “apparent suicide,” though one official cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages and no final determination had been made. Aja Davis, a spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner, said that her office was investigating the death.

Daily Mail, Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, 66, kills himself in his Manhattan jail cell, 24 hours after files in his case were unsealed and two weeks after he was placed on suicide watch ahead of his sex trafficking trial, Andrew Court, Aug. 10, 2019.

  • Jeffrey Epstein has hanged himself inside his New York City jail cell
  • He was discovered by prison guards in cardiac arrest on Saturday morning, and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead
  • Epstein was arrested on July 6 on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking, and was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center without bail
  • He was reportedly placed on suicide watch following after a first suicide attempt on July 24
  • Epstein's death comes just 24 hours after court documents detailing his sexual abuse of underage girls were unsealed by the courts
  • The explosive documents included claims from Epstein's alleged 'sex slave' that she was required to have intercourse with a number of powerful men

LauraLoomer.us, Opinion: AUDIO: Jeffrey Epstein DEAD FOR HOURS On Suicide Watch With Cameras In Cell Before EMS Arrived, Laura Loomer, Aug. 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. (EDT). People are asking how Jeffrey Epstein “committed suicide” when he was on suicide watch and being monitored by multiple guards and cameras.

Exclusive sources for LauraLoomer.us tell us that at around 6:20 am EST, Manhattan Correctional Center (MCC) requested First Responders for an inmate who was found unresponsive.

Jeffrey Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive this morning in his cell in his bed, and was cold to touch when correctional officers entered to wake him for breakfast. Our sources say that there were no injuries visible and they began chest compressions while EMS were en route.

Epstein was being detained for his upcoming trial for child and human sex trafficking and a barrage of other charges. Sources tell us that food vendors, all correctional officers who have been in contact with Epstein, as well as his water supply are being investigated following his suspicious death that is being reproted as a suicide.

Two weeks ago in a declared failed attempt to commit suicide, Epstein was placed on suicide watch. This means that aside from his cell being monitored remotely 24 hours a day by at least TWO cameras in his cell, 30 min round checks were also conducted by correctional officers.

There are reports from MSM claiming that Epstein hung himself which are categorically FALSE. Epstein’s body was cold to touch which means he had been dead for at least 4 hours, and if he had hung himself, one of the TWO cameras in his cell would have alerted the officers monitoring them. The reports being pushed through MSM are contradictory to that which our exclusive sources and the EMS recording states.

There would not have been a way for Epstein to commit suicide because while on suicide watch, one does not have clothes, bed sheets, or shoelaces. Inmates on suicide watch only have a smock and a hole in the ground for using the restroom.

Under the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s policy regarding inmates on suicide watch, prisoners on suicide watch are to be kept under “direct, continuous observation.”

Epstein was dead for hours before EMS responded because his body was stone cold, according to EMS. How did Epstein die if guards were watching him continuously? If they were watching him continuously and he did commit suicide, then one of those things isn’t true.

Epstein wouldn’t have been able to commit suicide if he truly was being watched continuously, which means foul play is likely involved…

Even if Epstein didn’t commit suicide (because let’s be honest, nobody believes Epstein actually committed suicide), if he was being watched continuously like he was supposed to be, according to the prison protocol, how did it takes hours for guards to realize he was dead?

Epstein was found in his cell at around 6:25 a.m on Saturday morning. According to the audio recording from EMS that was reporting back to the dispatch at 6:33 am, Epstein was stiff/cold, meaning he had been dead for a while.

Listen to audio after 2 min and 40 sec where dispatchers confirm that Epstein was stiff and cold.

Epstein was found cold and unresponsive by EMS and was not considered a patient even though EMS is heard saying “working cold”. Sources also tell us no apparent injuries were visible on Epstein’s body, making it unclear how his death has been deemed suicide already without an autopsy.

NBC News, Jeffrey Epstein is dead by apparent suicide in federal jail, Justice Department investigating, Tom Winter, Jonathan Dienst and Phil nbc news logoMcCausland, Aug. 10, 2019. Attorney General William Barr said he was "appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead" and that his death "raises serious questions that must be answered."

Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker, died by apparent suicide Saturday morning while in federal custody, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Epstein, 66, was in his federal jail cell in downtown Manhattan but was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, multiple people familiar with the investigation told NBC News. He had apparently hanged himself, and was found unresponsive at around 6:30 a.m. ET.

william barr new oAttorney General William Barr, right, said he was "appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead" while in federal custody. He said he has consulted with the Department of Justice's inspector general, who is opening an investigation into the circumstances.

"Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered," Barr added.

Epstein's death comes a little over two weeks after he was found injured and in a fetal position in his cell at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He was semiconscious with marks on his neck at the time.

In July, two sources told NBC News that Epstein was on suicide watch. His death came the day after a trove of court documents was unsealed, providing new details about Epstein's alleged sex trafficking.

Epstein, who was being held on federal sex trafficking charges, was transported Saturday morning from the jail to a hospital in lower Manhattan. Upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest, people familiar with the matter said.

The Department of Justice said Epstein was pronounced dead at the hospital. The FBI is investigating his death.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is unfathomable, Harry Litman (a law professor, right, and former U.S. harry litman msnbc screenshotattorney and deputy assistant attorney general), Aug. 10, 2019. For anyone familiar with Bureau of Prisons standard operating procedures, Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is more than mysterious; it is unfathomable.

The 66-year-old accused sex trafficker was found dead in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) Saturday morning, apparently after having hanged himself.

The Bureau of Prisons, the federal agency that runs the MCC, has said the FBI will investigate. Epstein’s death almost certainly means that astounding blunders occurred, perhaps by multiple personnel at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

If any prisoner in the federal system should have been a candidate for suspicion of suicide, it was the high-profile and disgraced Epstein. All administrative and structural measures should have been in place to ensure it could not happen. And yet it apparently did.

First, consider the MCC itself. It is a high-rise, forbidding administrative detention facility in the south of Manhattan. Its population consists almost entirely of prisoners, like Epstein, awaiting trial in federal court in Manhattan. It has been referred to as the “Guantanamo of New York” for its stringent security measures. It is the facility of choice for notorious federal defendants, often in special administrative segregation units, having previously housed John Gotti, Bernard Madoff, Omar Abdel Rahman and, recently, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

In other words, it is the very place to put a high-profile and potentially suicidal defendant such as Epstein.

Second, consider the BOP’s suicide prevention protocol. Epstein was found last month unconscious in his MCC cell with marks on his neck. If he was not on suicide watch, it would be astonishing. Yet if he were on suicide watch, his death would be virtually inconceivable.

The BOP’s suicide prevention protocol entails, first and foremost, human eyes on the prisoner 24 hours a day. It also requires a strict deprivation of anything — shoelaces, sheets, pillowcases — that could possibly be used to hang oneself. It also requires disabling anything that could be used to tie a noose — vents, sprinkler heads, etc.

Finally, we are not talking about inexperienced yokels. BOP personnel, especially at MCC, are the best professionals in the corrections industry, and they receive special training in administrating suicide prevention. Who better to guard against such a horrific development?

At this point, questions abound, and BOP has to address them promptly.

  • The first: Was Epstein on suicide watch, and if not, why not?
  • The second: How exactly did Epstein manage to kill himself, and why exactly was it that he had access to the tools?
  • Third, is there a video of Epstein’s cell at the crucial time? There should be, and it will reveal exactly how and when Epstein killed himself.

Miami Herald, Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein kills himself in N.Y. jail; U.S. inquiry launched, Julie K. Brown, Aug. 10, 2019. U.S. Attorney General William Barr has opened a federal investigation into the suicide of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who was found unresponsive Saturday morning in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, a federal prison where he had been housed awaiting trial.

Attorney General William Barr said ‘serious questions’ about the death of Jeffrey Epstein must be answered.

perversion of justice miami herald logoPalm Beach lawyer Jack Scarola, who represents several victims, said an investigation is called for into how Epstein was able to, once again, get authorities to look the other way. “It is inexplicable how such a high-profile person on suicide watch could commit suicide without help,’’ Scarola said.

“Epstein once again cheated his victims out of an opportunity for justice. While I’m sure none of them regret his death, all of them regret the information that died with him. The one expectation is that Epstein’s death not derail the investigation into others who participated in his criminal activities. There are named and unnamed co-conspirators who still need to be brought to justice,’’ Scarola said.

Attorney General Barr said he directed the FBI and inspector general to open separate probes into his death.

“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

His death came one day after the Miami Herald and other news organizations published a trove of documents describing in detail how he operated the equivalent of a sexual pyramid scheme, luring girls, most of them 14 to 16, to his Palm Beach home, then coercing them into sex.

The court papers provided damning evidence — in the form of sworn depositions, photographs, flight logs and witness statements — that Epstein and his alleged accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, were operating an international sex-trafficking operation in which girls and young women were lured into trafficking with the empty promise that the couple would help them with their education or careers.

His death could short-circuit what would have been a spectacular trial that likely would have drawn in an array of prominent witnesses. Epstein had a constellation of important friends in business, political and society circles, including former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump.

However, with his death, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York will likely refocus their probe on Maxwell, Sarah Kellen Vickers, Adriana Ross and Lesley Groff — all of whom allegedly helped run Epstein’s operation in the mid- to late-2000s. Another woman, Nadia Marcinkova, who is now a commercial pilot, was accused of sexually abusing some of the underage girls.

New York Magazine, After Jeffrey Epstein’s Death, Everyone Is Turning to Conspiracy Theories, Matt Stieb, Aug. 10, 2019. Politicians, reporters, and pretty much everyone else on Twitter are responding to Epstein’s death, reaching for conspiracy and convincing — if unfounded — theories on how it might have happened.

New York Magazine, A Former U.S. Attorney on Where Epstein’s Legal Cases Will Go After His Death, Matt Stieb, Aug. 10, 2019. Facing a criminal case for sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy, multiple civil cases by alleged victims, and a Department of Justice inquiry into his wrist-slap plea deal in Florida, Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide has opened a flurry of questions about the future status of his legal proceedings.

As for the criminal charges, those are effectively kaput: As former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explains, “Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide ends the criminal case against him because no one else was charged in the indictment.”

Many questions — not to mention full-blown conspiracy theories — remain. How much more about Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking ring will come to light? Will others be indicted? What might we find out from the FBI and Department of Justice inquiries into Epstein’s suicide? To help weigh these questions, Intelligencer spoke with former U.S. Attorney and New York contributor Barbara McQuade about where the legal proceedings involving the sex offender go from here.

Other questions asked and answered:

  • How much information about Epstein and his co-conspirators will never be known because the criminal case against him closes with his death?
  • What about Epstein’s knowledge, now lost, of his own alleged crimes? I’m thinking about passwords, knowing where records are, information like that.
  • Does his death make it less likely that charges will be brought against other people?
  • How might this affect the civil cases by his victims against his estate, or the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General investigation into the plea deal?

Aug. 9

Manson Family Murders Revisited

sharon tate charles manson photos Lily Laurent Flickr and california department corrections

Sharon Tate (left). Charles Manson (right). Photo credit: Lily Laurent / Flickr and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Wikimedia

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy Podcast, Everything You Know About Charles Manson Is Wrong! Jeff Schechtman, Aug. 9, 2019. Joan Didion famously said that the Sixties ended on August 9, 1969, with the murders of Sharon Tate and six others at the hands of the so-called Manson Family.

For 50 years, the official narrative has held that the murders were initiated by Manson to appear as if they were committed by the Black Panthers with the goal of starting a race war. That was prosecutor Vince Bugliosi’s theory of the case. Bugliosi argued at trial that Manson had gotten this idea of “Helter Skelter” from a Beatles song.

That has remained the conventional wisdom — until now. Since it was first published, Bugliosi’s book Helter Skelter has never gone out of print. It now appears that this version of the story may be just as fanciful as Quentin Tarantino’s fictional version, in his new hit film tom oneill manson chaos coverOnce Upon A Time… in Hollywood.

In 1999, investigative journalist Tom O’Neill was commissioned to write a story for what was then Premiere magazine, marking the 30th anniversary of the Tate/LaBianca murders. Thus began for O’Neill a 20-year odyssey into the dark world of Charles Manson.

During his journey he has uncovered new revelations about the murders, about Manson, about a rogues’ gallery of cops, corrupt and violent prosecutors, drug dealers, celebrities, clandestine government drug researchers, secret agents, and a cover-up that points strongly to the FBI and the CIA.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Jeff Schechtman talks with O’Neill about his investigation, as laid out in his new book CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties.

Aug. 9

Daily Beast, Jeffrey Epstein Accuser Names Powerful Men in Alleged Sex Ring, Kate Briquelet, Katie Baker, Justin Miller, Pilar Melendez, daily beast logoTracy Connor, Aug. 9, 2019. In newly unsealed documents, Virginia Giuffre claims that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked her to politicians, princes, and a high-flying financier, among others.

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University A young woman who says financier Jeffrey Epstein, right, and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell kept her as a sex slave also accused a host of high-powered men of being involved in Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking ring, according to court records unsealed Friday.

Virginia Giuffre, who says that Epstein and Maxwell trafficked her to powerful people for erotic massages and sex, claimed in depositions in 2016 that Maxwell directed her to have sex with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Britain’s Prince Andrew (whom she has accused before), wealthy financier Glenn Dubin, former senator George Mitchell, now-deceased MIT scientist Marvin Minsky, and modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, as well as “another prince,” a "foreign president," a well-known prime minsiter" and the owner of a “large hotel chain” in France.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001None of the men named in the deposition have been charged with a crime or even sued in civil court in connection with the Epstein case. The deposition represents accuser Giuffre’s allegations, and the court documents unsealed on Friday did not contain any corroboration or further details, though many documents remain sealed.

Roberts, at center, claimed that Epstein farmed her out to other men, including Prince Andrew of the British royal family, left. The California native said the photo at left portrays her at center with Prince Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, on a trip to London when she was 17 in 2001. At right was Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite daughter of the corrupt newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, who drowned in 1991 after toppling overboard from his yacht Lady Ghislaine. 

Brunel’s attorney Joe Titone declined to comment. Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace have previously and vehemently denied Giuffre’s allegations. “Glenn and Eva Dubin are outraged by the allegations in the unsealed court records, which are demonstrably false and defamatory. The Dubins have flight records and other evidence that definitively disprove that any such events occurred," a spokesperson for the Dubin family told The Daily Beast on Friday.

A spokesperson for former Gov. Bill Richardson, Madeleine Mahony, told The Daily Beast on Friday,“These allegations and inferences are completely false. Governor Richardson has never even been contacted by any party regarding this lawsuit. To be clear, in Governor Richardson’s limited interactions with Mr. Epstein, he never saw him in the presence of young or underage girls. Governor Richardson has never been to Mr. Epstein’s residence in the Virgin Islands. Governor Richardson has never met Ms. Giuffre."

Mitchell said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “The allegation contained in the released documents is false ... I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre.”

He added: “In my contacts with Mr. Epstein I never observed or suspected any inappropriate conduct with underage girls. I only learned of his actions when they were reported in the media related to his prosecution in Florida. We have had no further contact.”

The revelation comes after a federal appeals court ordered the release of the sealed documents in a lawsuit that Giuffre filed against Maxwell, the British publishing heiress whom Giuffre says was Epstein’s madam. Maxwell has rejected allegations that she has acted as a procurer for Epstein and denied she facilitated Prince Andrew's acts of sexual abuse and was Epstein’s madam.

U.S. Foreign Policy

Politico, Fury grows over delayed probe of Trump aides' alleged political retaliation, Nahal Toosi, Aug. 9, 2019. House Foreign Affairs eliot engel oChairman Eliot Engel said he was 'fed up with the State Department playing games with this investigation.' Democrats and many in the State Department are increasingly exasperated that they have yet to see the results of an investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s political appointees mistreated career staffers.

The delayed release of the State Department inspector general's findings has generated rising suspicion that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is trying to derail the investigation, whose results could be damning to some of his top aides. Lawmakers initially expected the report “months ago,” according to Rep. Eliot Engel, right, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Engel said he was “fed up with the State Department playing games with this investigation.”

“We just keep hearing excuse after excuse for the delay, which only serves to shake confidence in the integrity of the IG’s investigation,” the New York Democrat added in a statement.

Aides to Pompeo did not offer comment on his role. The inspector general’s office, however, insisted that there is nothing unusual in the length of time it’s taken to release the findings. “There has been no delay, and we anticipate publishing the report this month,” said Sarah Breen, a spokeswoman for Inspector General Steve Linick. “We continue to act independently and objectively.”

According to Breen, Linick’s investigation dates to at least March 2018. A second piece of the investigation launched in July 2018. Lawmakers requested an initial probe of the alleged misconduct as early as January 2018.

Aug. 8

U.S. Pro-War Media Advocates

Consortium News, Opinion: For Cliff May, War Pays, Daniel McAdams (Executive Director, Ron Paul Institute), Aug. 8, 2019. About the only thing the Defense of Democracies’ founder does not love about war is fighting it himself, writes Daniel McAdams.

cliff mayTo say that Clifford May, founder of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, loves war would be an understatement. He loves almost everything about war and he thinks the U.S. should be in a lot more of them. He thinks that the U.S. should never go home, should never withdraw troops, should forever be searching for “bad guys” to fight, lest they come find us and fight us here. Because the rest of the world is exclusively focused on how to invade and destroy the United States.

He likes to invoke Sun Tzu and Clausewitz and Plato to make his case for endless wars. Neocons love to do that because it makes them sound erudite and grounded in history — when in fact they are neither. About the only thing Clifford May does not love about war is fighting it himself.

While others of May’s generation were being blown to bits in that lost cause called “Vietnam,” May was drinking brewskis at Sarah Lawrence College and then Columbia University. His experience of war consists of covering it as a pampered correspondent of the shining lights of the mainstream U.S. media like Newsweek and The New York Times.

In a recent Washington Times editorial, tellingly titled, “Why endless wars can’t be ended,” May argues that members of the U.S. military should be constantly in battle. Not a moment’s rest from the killing and being killed. After all "the men and women volunteering to serve in America’s armed forces are not doing so in order to hang around the house drinking brewskies.”

May’s is a rare look into the utter contempt the neoconservatives feel for members of the United States military. Veteran suicides are an epidemic in the United States and are in fact the second leading cause of death in the U.S. military. Veterans make up 18 percent of all U.S. suicides while representing only 8.5 percent of the population.

In The Washington Times piece, May argues passionately against President Donald Trump’s stated goal of removing U.S. troops from their positions occupying parts of Syria. U.S. troops in Syria are, in his telling, “both preventing a revival of the Islamic State, and helping contain the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

This above sentence is key to understanding May’s constant push for more U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Hint: It’s not really about America.

May’s Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is lavishly funded by single-issue billionaires who believe they are helping Israel by sending U.S. troops to the Middle East to constantly provoke and kill those they believe are Israel’s enemies. Thus far it has not brought peace any closer to either Israel or its rivals in the region. In fact, the opposite. But the money keeps flowing so May keeps blowing. And American troops (along with millions of innocents in the target countries) keep on dying.

Aug. 7

 william barr smile fox screengrab Small

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, a longtime Deep State cover-up artist who began his career as a CIA analyst.

MintPress News, Opinion & Analysis: Did Bill Barr Call His Shot? Unanswered Questions about FBI’s Foreknowledge of the El Paso Shooting, Whitney Webb, right, whitney webb twitterAug. 7, 2019. As a series of recent mass shootings have brought renewed demands for the U.S. government to do something to address the spike in “lone wolf” violence, the Trump administration’s decision to blame internet privacy, controversial websites like 8chan, and social media for the shootings has raised eyebrows from across the political spectrum, particularly in light of claims that Trump’s recent rhetoric about immigrants may have incited some of the shooters.

As a series of recent mass shootings have brought renewed demands for the U.S. government to do something to address the spike in “lone wolf” violence, the Trump administration’s decision to blame internet privacy, controversial websites like 8chan, and social media for the shootings has raised eyebrows from across the political spectrum, particularly in light of claims that Trump’s recent rhetoric about immigrants may have incited some of the shooters.

Yet, not long before the recent spate of mass shootings began, U.S. Attorney General William Barr gave a speech on July 23 in which he spoke of the need for all consumer electronic devices and encrypted software to have a backdoor for the government to bypass encryption, essentially calling for many of the same measures that Trump has proposed following the recent shootings.

Furthermore, the FBI, which operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and reports directly to William Barr, has now stated that it was aware of the El Paso shooter’s plan to murder civilians via a post made on 8chan at least two hours before the shooting took place. 8chan — a controversial website that the FBI is known to have used to incite violence as part of its controversial terrorist entrapment strategy — has since been banned in the shooting’s aftermath. In addition, less than two months ago, the FBI obtained a warrant for 8chan’s host — Ch.net — in which the Bureau demanded access to the entire contents of the accounts that were of interest in that specific investigation, suggesting that the FBI had increased access to information of hundreds of 8chan accounts in the lead-up to the recent shootings.

MintPress News, Investigation: Mega Group, Maxwells, and Mossad: The Spy Story at the Heart of the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal (Part III), Whitney Webb, right, whitney webb twitterAug. 7, 2019. The picture painted by the evidence is not a direct Epstein tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations.

As billionaire pedophile and alleged sex-trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein sits in prison, reports have continued to surface about his reported links to intelligence, his financial ties to several companies and “charitable” foundations, and his friendships with the rich and powerful as well as top politicians.

While Part I and Part II of this series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” have focused on the widespread nature of sexual blackmail operations in recent American history and their ties to the heights of American political power and the U.S. intelligence community, one key aspect of Epstein’s own sex-trafficking and blackmail operation that warrants examination is Epstein’s ties to Israeli intelligence and his ties to the “informal” pro-Israel philanthropist faction known as “the Mega Group.”

The Mega Group’s role in the Epstein case has garnered some attention, as Epstein’s main financial patron for decades, billionaire Leslie Wexner, was a co-founder of the group that unites several well-known businessmen with a penchant for pro-Israel and ethno-philanthropy (i.e., philanthropy benefiting a single ethnic or ethno-religious group).

However, as this report will show, another uniting factor among Mega Group members is deep ties to organized crime, specifically the organized crime network discussed in Part I of this series, which was largely led by notorious American mobster Meyer Lansky.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

Abusive Treatment Of Assange, Manning

Consortium News, Analysis: New Fears for Julian Assange, Joe Lauria, right, Aug. 7, 2019. Journalist John Pilger visited imprisoned WikiLeaks joe lauria head bookfounder Julian Assange on Tuesday and has raised an alarm about Assange’s “deteriorated” health. Pilger said in a Tweet on Wednesday that Assange is “isolated” and treated “worse than a murderer.”

“I now fear for him,” Pilger wrote.

Assange (shown below in a graphic by the human rights magazine The Indicter) is suffering from an undisclosed ailment and has been confined to the hospital ward at the maximum security prison for several weeks. He was arrested on April 11 by British police who were called by the Ecuadorian government into its London embassy in apparent violation of international asylum law. Assange had been granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012. He had been suffering health problems in the embassy but British authorities refused to allow him from leaving the embassy for treatment without being arrested.

julian assange and swedens politically appointed judges indicter graphicAlmost immediately after his arrest the United States unveiled an indictment against him for alleged intrusion into a government computer although the indictment itself describes normal procedures of investigative journalism: encouraging a source to provide more information and working to protect the source’s identity.

On May 23, Assange was charged under the U.S. Espionage Act for possession and dissemination of classified information given to him by WikiLeak‘s source, Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. army intelligence analyst. It was the first time the Espionage Act was used against a journalist for publishing classified information.

Manning, meanwhile, is imprisoned in Alexandria, VA for refusing to testify to a grand jury on Assange’s case. Since Assange has already been twice indicted, it is not clear if a new indictment against him is being prepared.

Judge Imposes New Manning Fines, Denies Hearing

chelsea manning screen shot 2018 06 05 media convention

The now-imprisoned anti-torture former Army intelligence officer and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, right, speaking in Germany in 2018 (screen shot)

ShadowProof, Judge Denies Chelsea Manning A Hearing, Insists Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars In Fines Are Not Punishment, Kevin Gosztola, Aug. 7, 2019. A federal judge denied Chelsea Manning’s motion to reconsider fines imposed against her for refusing to testify before the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. He also undermined due process and refused to hold a hearing.

“Manning has the ability to comply with the court’s financial sanctions or will have the ability after her release from confinement,” Judge Anthony Trenga ruled. “Therefore, the imposed fines of $500 per day after 30 days and $1,000 per day after 60 days is not so excessive as to relieve her of those sanctions or to constitute punishment rather than a coercive measure.”

Trenga additionally insisted that he had the authority to confine her and impose fines as well.

“I am disappointed but not at all surprised. The government and the judge must know by now that this doesn’t change my position one bit,” Manning declared in response to the decision.

Manning has been in jail for 147 days. She already owes $38,000 in fines, as of August 7, and she could owe up to $441,000—nearly a half million dollars—if the sanctions continue.

Her legal team said Manning will “remain confined for another year and will face ongoing financial hardship,” unless Judge Trenga or a higher court is convinced that the fines imposed will “never coerce her compliance” and amount to punishment.

“She has no personal savings, an uncertain speaking career that has been abruptly halted by her incarceration, and is moving her few belongings into storage, as she can no longer afford to pay her rent,” Manning’s legal team made clear in their motion.

Manning’s attorneys further indicated that Manning attempted to share her financial records with the federal court in an effort to show that she has debt and “compromised earning capacity,” which has “left her balance sheets near zero.” But the court apparently never completed a financial assessment of her ability to pay fines.

Trenga acknowledged the “substantial number of financial records documenting her assets, liabilities, and current and future earnings” that were shared with the court. Yet, he maintained they did not present “any new evidence, arguments, or legal authorities” that required the court to conclude it had committed an error by imposing detention, as well as fines.

The judge has “almost unreviewable discretion” when it comes to interpreting her financial records, according to Manning’s legal team.

“Despite the fact that Chelsea is currently deeply in debt, and cannot work while incarcerated, Judge Trenga was able to conclude that fines totalling $441,000 fall within the parameters of a ‘coercive’ sanction, and do not intrude into the forbidden realm of the punitive,” her attorneys stated.

He also stated his belief that continued confinement may yet exert a coercive impact upon Ms. Manning, and asserted that he retains the authority to keep her confined while simultaneously imposing daily fines, a point of law vigorously disputed by Ms. Manning’s lawyers.

Trenga maintained that fining and jailing Manning fell within the court’s “traditional contempt powers.” Manning’s attorneys disputed this “point of law” and argued these types of fines are often reserved for corporations because they can absorb fines without suffering homelessness.

“Rarely, individuals are fined, but counsel can find no case in which fines were assessed as to an individual other than where the individual was a sophisticated financial actor and the underlying contempt involved disobedience of a court order directing the management of a large amount of money,” they asserted in their motion.

Manning can appeal the decision, however, the intransigence of the judge does not bode well for someone who has already endured substantial trauma as a result of her return to confinement.

Aug. 5

Media and 'Conspiracy Theory'

Off-Guardian, Commentary: Can the Progressive / “Conspiracy” Divide be Bridged? John Kirby, Aug. 5, 2019. People from a variety of advocacy communities who tackle issues ranging from the assassinations of the 1960’s to vaccine safety are rightly upset by a recent NBC News.com op-ed authored by Lynn Parramore, a progressive journalist known for her insightful pieces for Alternet and other outlets.

lynn parramore 2010 c spanIn the article, Parramore (shown on a 2010 C-SPAN appearance) argues that those who espouse “conspiracy theories” might be displaying “narcissistic personality traits,” suffer from “low self-esteem,” and share a “negative view of humanity.” Various studies are cited in support of this claim.

As a filmmaker acquainted both with the author of the op-ed as well as a number of people from the communities under fire, I hope it’s possible to dispel some of the misconceptions on all sides and even find some common ground.

At the outset, it should be acknowledged that Parramore’s piece is an uncharacteristically harsh ad hominem smear, taking its place in a long line of similar attacks on people who have dared question—sometimes at great personal cost—a whole range of suspect official narratives over many years.

But Parramore and many journalists like her are neither assets of an intelligence service nor unthinking tools of big media; she is fully conscious of the ways in which power and wealth can be used collusively (one might even say conspiratorially) to deceive and abuse the public.

So what accounts for a piece like this one? Why does it rankle a progressive like Parramore so intensely when she hears someone mention that the U.S. military-industrial complex had the most to gain from the September 11th attacks, or that Big Pharma may be applying the same racketeering techniques to the ever-expanding vaccination schedule she discovered at play in the opioid crisis?

Those of us who have labored long to publicize state crimes against democracy have our own list of the psychological, political, and economic factors that may be preventing smart people from seeing evidence that we regard as overwhelming.

The primary difficulty may lie in just how smart and thoroughly educated many of these writers are: no one who has spent a lifetime looking into the way the world works wants to think they might have missed something big.

And as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the more educated we are, the more we are a target for state-corporate propaganda. Even journalists outside the mainstream may internalize establishment values and prejudices.

Which brings us to Parramore’s embrace of the term “conspiracy theory.” Once a neutral and little-used phrase, “conspiracy theory” was infamously weaponized in 1967 by a memo from the CIA to its station chiefs worldwide.

Troubled by growing mass disbelief in the “lone nut” theory of President Kennedy’s assassination, and concerned that “[c]onspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization,” the agency directed its officers to “discuss the publicity problem with friendly and elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” and to “employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.”

As Kevin Ryan writes, and various analyses have shown: "In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week.”

While it turns out that Parramore knows something about this hugely successful propaganda drive, she chose in her NBC piece to deploy the phrase as the government has come to define it, i.e., as “something that requires no consideration because it is obviously not true.” This embeds a fallacy in her argument which only spreads as she goes on.

Aug. 3

Global Leadership In History

fdr stalin churchill yalta 1945

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in February 1945 to discuss their joint occupation of Germany and plans for postwar Europe. Behind them stand, from the left, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Fleet Admiral Ernest King, Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, General of the Army George Marshall, Major General Laurence S. Kuter, General Aleksei Antonov, Vice Admiral Stepan Kucherov, and Admiral of the Fleet Nikolay Kuznetsov. February 1945. (Army) [Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 111-SC-260486 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 750"]

Strategic Culture Foundation, A Global Leadership Deficit Quotient, Wayne Madsen, right, Aug. 3, 2019. In an age of rapid information strategic culture logoexchange and ubiquitous mass media operations and options, the world has never before seen anything approaching the current wayne madsen newerglobal leadership deficit. During the World War II years, the forces of fascism were defeated because there were Allied leaders who exercised the leadership qualities necessary to rid the world of Nazi Germany and Imperial Italy and Japan.

There were the “Big Three” leaders: Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. They were ably supplemented by the supporting cast of Free French leader Charles de Gaulle, Australian Prime Ministers Robert Menzies and John Curtin, Canadian Prime Minister William Mackenzie King, South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts, New Zealand Prime Minister Peter Fraser, Chinese leaders Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, King Haakon II of Norway, Greek government-in-exile Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Polish government-in-exile Prime Minister Wladyslaw Sikorski, All India Muslim League leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia.

Out of the wartime armies and governments emerged a new set of leaders who would help create and nurture the United Nations and keep the post-war world from annihilating itself with nuclear weapons. General George Marshall would emerge as President Harry S Truman’s Secretary of State. General Dwight D. Eisenhower would be elected President of the United States and serve an eight-year term, passing the torch to a World War II Navy Lieutenant named John F. Kennedy. Soviet Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov would serve in the Soviet Politburo and as Minister of Defense. De Gaulle would see France through as its president during the upheavals of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Jinnah became the founding leader of Pakistan, while Mao Zedong became the founder of the People’s Republic of China. Papandreou battled against the Greek military’s influence over his country’s affairs until the 1967 military coup and the imposition of a dictatorship.

Three successive United Nations Secretaries General – Trygve Lie of Norway, Dag Hammarskjold, and U Thant – used their offices to promote peaceful dialogue over war. Hammarskjold would pay with his life while trying to negotiate an end to the Congolese civil war.

Whether they were former military commanders or wartime government officials, the post-war years produced the individuals who would help guide colonies to independence in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

Aug. 2

​Race Oppression In U.S. Historyelaine arkansas army bringing farmers to town arkansas times

U.S. Army escorting black farmers back to Elaine, Arkansas (Photo via Arkanas Times)

Arkansas Times, To Those Known and Unknown: The Elaine Massacre Memorial, Leslie Newell Peacock, Aug. 2, 2019. The Elaine Memorial pays tribute to the hundreds who died on the killing fields of Phillips County.

September 2019 will be the 100th anniversary of what has come to be known as the Elaine Massacre in Eastern Arkansas’s Phillips County. A century ago, white posses and U.S. soldiers shot and killed what may have been hundreds of African Americans, most of them tenant farmers, over a period of four days. The black farmers’ crime: They were unionizing to obtain fair prices for their cotton, and in some cases trying to buy their own farms. Some were just returned veterans of World War I and expected to be treated equitably and with respect after combat abroad.

It’s a complicated story from a time when white supremacy was the rule and the fear of communism and hatred of unions was pervasive. During the Red Summer of 1919, deadly clashes between racist white mobs and blacks, including veterans, erupted all over the nation. It’s a story that’s been told in rich detail in books by Little Rock lawyer Grif Stockley and American journalist Robert Whitaker. Here’s a bare-bones telling of the event:

Members of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union and others had been talking with a white Little Rock lawyer who had an office in Helena about suing the landowners for whom they planted. Cotton prices were at an all-time high, but black farmers were making pennies on the dollar from Arkansas landlords and could not get ahead. White eavesdroppers and a black spy hired by fearful residents of Helena claimed in reports to the elite of that city that there would be an uprising. Whites believed union organizers were stirring the tenant farmers to kill their landlords.

On the evening of Sept. 30, 1919, black families gathered in a church at Hoop Spur, a southern Phillips County community just north of Elaine, along the Missouri Pacific Railroad line, to talk about taking legal action. A deputy sheriff from Helena, a Missouri Pacific agent and a black prisoner drove to the church, stopped and turned out their lights. Someone opened the car door; armed black guards around the church approached. Shots rang out. It’s unknown who fired first; each side blamed the other. The deputy sheriff was killed. Blacks fled the shooting, some jumping out of the church windows with children. By the light of morning, a posse sent by the sheriff could see the church and a nearby shed had been shot at, though they would later lie about that (and even later admit to the lie).
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Over the next four days, whites from Helena and south Phillips County, plus posses from Mississippi who crossed the river to join in the carnage, tracked blacks down and shot them. They shot men, women and children, some in front of their homes, some as they hid in the woods and canebrakes, some as they were picking cotton. They were seen taking ears and other trophies from the bodies. Helena’s leaders asked for help; Gov. Charles Brough responded by sending 500 soldiers from Camp Pike to Elaine. Some Army units were armed with machine guns, which, according to several accounts, they turned on blacks emerging from their hiding places thinking they were saved. (Soldiers in some units, on the other hand, tended the bullet wounds of the black farmers.)

Five white men were fatally shot — one almost certainly by friendly fire, and possibly a second as well. Witnesses, black and white, interviewed after the event, estimated hundreds of blacks were killed between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4, one black ex-soldier wrote, “like they wont nothen but dogs.” An Arkansas Gazette reporter, in a book published in 1925, put the total deaths at 856, though he did not provide a source for the figure. Whitaker has estimated the number at more than 230, based on witness accounts. Eighty or more other blacks, including women, were jailed.

Twelve black men — union members — were convicted of first-degree murder at farcical trials and sentenced to die. Blacks who had been arrested were whipped and tortured by electric shock to give false testimony against the 12 at the trials. More than 80 men were convicted of lesser crimes, including, ironically, night-riding, the way the Ku Klux Klan exacted justice.
Photo of Scipio Africanus JonesCourtesy the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
SIX OF THE 12: Attorney Scipio Africanus Jones stands with defendants (back row) Ed Hicks, Frank Hicks, Frank Moore, (seated) J.C. Knox, Ed Coleman and Paul Hall.

Little Rock lawyer Scipio Africanus Jones — who learned the law on his own because the University of Arkansas would not admit him — won the men their freedom after nearly six years of legal and political machinations. He worked with several white attorneys; the NAACP insisted on white lawyers and, ironically, did not at first trust the talents of Jones.

Convenient For Epstein?

Virgin Islands Consortium, VIPD Case Files Wiped Out From Computers Following Intrusion; Hackers Demanding Ransom For Access, Ernice Gilbert, Aug. 2, 2019. Were it not for hardcopies of important case files that V.I.P.D. Commissioner Nominee Trevor Velinor said the police department had saved for use as backup, an untold number of cases — involving everything from murder to rape — would have been lost, resulting in possibly a mass dismissal of court trials and creating a problem that would overwhelm the department.

That’s because the Virgin Islands Police Department computer system has been hacked on a number of occasions over the past months, according to V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer Glen Dratte. Mr. Velinor corroborated Mr. Dratte’s statement, telling The Consortium during a phone interview Thursday that he was briefed on the hackings when he arrived in the territory.

“We’ve had a ransomware attack,” Mr. Velinor said, adding that the ransomware attack “really impacted us” on June 11. Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology (a field that studies how to use cryptography to design powerful malicious software) that threatens to publish a victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid.

According to a person with knowledge of the matter, the situation has been a nightmare for officers, many of whom cannot perform basic tasks on their computers. Mr. Velinor confirmed this to be true, telling The Consortium that many computers had to be wiped clean — losing all stored data — and “re-imaged” to allow officers to work.

Of grave concern is the security of important case files. With many cases pending and investigations ongoing, losing access to the database where files were stored poses a massive problem for the V.I.P.D., which could lead to lawsuits. But the commissioner nominee said most of the records, along being stored on computers, were secured the traditional way as well. “I believe that many of our records are also in hardcopies, which allows us to retrieve hardcopy documentation to be able to present those as evidence,” Mr. Velinor said.

The commissioner nominee said “many”, meaning there could possibly be files that have been lost. And still unclear is whether hardcopy file storage was affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and how effective, historically, the department has stored its hardcopy files.

The extent of the damage is far-reaching. “I was made aware to the fact that many of our computers were compromised. I was made aware that we had instructed all our users to not go on the particular server, to not go online and so therefore there was a full approach to attempt to minimize the damage. But as I said, many of the computers were already affected by the time the system administrators were alerted to the presence of a potential ransomware.”

The V.I.P.D. has refused to pay the hackers the ransom demanded to unlock the system. “As you know, quite frequently when you pay the ransom it doesn’t guarantee the hackers are going to provide you with the encryption key to read the encryption, and so we have not paid a ransom,” said the commissioner nominee.

Mr. Velinor said some officers had access to their computer systems again, but when asked whether those officers were able to regain access to their files, he acknowledged that access was only provided after the computers were wiped clean. Some officers who had stored files on external hard drives managed to recoup at least some data.

Whether the lost files can be recouped was unclear, but Mr. Velinor said the police department would try to. “We are utilizing various sources to include the F.B.I. and others to assist with the file recovery and decoding the ransomware encryption,” he said.

The V.I.P.D. has reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal arms for help. It has also contacted the territory’s Bureau of Information Technology for assistance. Additionally, the police force is considering contracting an online security firm that would ascertain the safety of the V.I.P.D.’s online systems moving forward. “We will be navigating towards full service to include strengthening our system so that we are able to protect against future ransomware,” Mr. Velinor said. He said the force had not secured the online security firm as of Thursday.

The police force has also started using a different domain, according to Mr. Velinor, although the name wasn’t made clear. The current website is vipd.gov.vi, and the V.I.P.D. still appears to be updating it: as of July 29, a VIPD release relative to a Sunday night shooting at the Floatopia event in Frederiksted was published.

 

Aug. 2

william barr swearing in wife djt roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts administer the office oath to Attorney General William Barr as his wife and Donald Trump look on.

Buzzflash, William Barr and Opus Dei, the Secretive Ultra-Conservative Catholic Organization That Poses an Existential Threat to Democracy and Pluralism, Bill Berkowitz, Aug. 2, 2019. It is no secret that Attorney General William P. Barr has ties to Opus Dei, the highly secretive, ultra-conservative Catholic organization. Opus Dei, which literally means "The Work of God," “is known for recruiting very influential members, especially those simpatico with culturally conservative causes,” veteran journalist Frank Cocozzelli recently explained. Barr’s connections to Opus Dei – it is unclear how deep it runs -- might in part explain, as Cocozzelli pointed out in an early May story headlined “Did Opus Dei Teach A.G. Barr to ‘Puts Away His Scruples’?,” Barr’s “apparent ‘ends justifies the means’ strategy” regarding his testimony about the Mueller Report before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
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“Before his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in January, Barr had completed a questionnaire,” Betty Clermont reported. “On page 4, he listed positions he’s held as director of the Catholic Information Center [which is managed by priests from Opus Dei], (2014-1017), director of the [decidedly right wing think tank] Ethics and Public Policy Center (2004-2009) and director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (1994-2015).

In her blog, The Open Tabernacle, Clerment, the author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America, wrote: “the Opus Dei Catholic Information Center’s ‘members and leaders continue to have an outsize impact on policy and politics. It is the conservative spiritual and intellectual center … and its influence is felt in all of Washington’s corridors of power,’ the Washington Post stated recently.”

“As Cozocelli points out,” researcher D. Cary Hart told me in an email, ”Barr was on the board of Catholic Information Center. The priests who manage CIC are all Opus Dei members and it is generally believed that membership is required of the board of directors. [However] [y]ou will never be able to prove it, [since] Supernumeraries and Cooperators keep their identities secret.”

“The Attorney General has in the past spoken with language that is in line with the goals of both Opus Dei’s and the EPPC’s [the Ethics and Public Policy Center where Barr was director from 2004-2009] overlapping agendas,” Cocozzelli suggested. “This past December Americans United’s Rob Boston reminded us of Barr’s past theological screeds. These run the gamut from condemning public schools (they had undergone a ‘moral lobotomy’); in a 1992 address to Bill Donohue’s Catholic League, he called for the imposition of ‘God’s law’ in America. In that same address he went after contemporary supporters of the separation of church and state (‘The secularists of today are clearly fanatics’).”

“In 1995,” Laura Murray-Tjan wrote in late May, “Barr wrote that he was troubled by the ‘steady erosion of the Judeo-Christian moral system’ in the United States, and argued that law should aid in the restoration of the ‘traditional moral order.’ Roe v. Wade has contributed to the nation’s ‘permissiveness,’ Barr argues, by causing fewer people to view abortion as ‘evil.’ In short, the ‘character of the judiciary’ is crucially important because, Barr believes, our morals track what judges say is legal.”

The Rev. C. John McCloskey, who was a member of Opus Dei, became director of the Catholic Information Center in 1998. He helped drive CIC from a little known organization to becoming a major player in DC politics; he was described as “Catholic Church’s K Street lobbyist.” After a few years of growing his and CIC’s profile, he suddenly disappeared. In early January of this year, it was disclosed that McCloskey had victimized “a woman who had gone to him in 2002 for spiritual guidance,” The Washington Post’s Joe Heim reported.

The priest Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, who believed “that lay Catholics could achieve holiness without entering a religious order”, founded opus Dei in Spain in 1928. According to Cocozzelli, among other things, “Escriva also taught his followers to put away their scruples (The Way, Nos. 258 and 259), seemingly teaching that the ends always justify the means. Perhaps maxims 258 and 259 might explain the Attorney General’s prior misleading House testimony as well his unwillingness to answer questions that merely required a yes or no response. Much of what Escriva preached dovetails nicely with the William Barr’s ideal of a society built upon religious orthodoxy. That being the case, it also seems that Escriva’s means for realizing that goal similarly dovetails.”

“Opus Dei has historically worked to purge progressives from church ranks, notably in Latin America, and infuse Catholicism with right-wing principles,” Cocozzelli pointed out in a 2009 story posted at Political Research Associates titled The Politics of Schism in the Catholic Church. “John Paul saw Opus Dei and other authoritarian-minded groups such as the Legionnaires of Christ and Communion y Liberacíon as a means to a more conservative Church.”

In a 2006 article posted at Talk to Action titled “The Catholic Right, Part Two: An Introduction To The Role Of Opus Dei” Cocozzelli noted that “The danger that a politically active Opus Dei membership currently represents to liberal democracy is not from assassinations by imaginary albino monks (for the record, there are no Opus Dei monks), but in its very Plutocratic attitude in abhorring dissent.”

Aug. 1

polly twitterAmazing Polly,

Polly (shown on Twitter photo, last name withheld), Aug. 1, 2019. (33:32 min. video). You have to bear with me as I set the stage in this video about a person who has come out of the shadows recently and who ran in the same circles as Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Conrad Black was a powerful media mogul -- could he be a key to untangling the web of corruption? Find out why I think so.

 

July

July 31

JFK Assassination Evidence, News Suppression

jfk baldwin indicter graphic

Photo-graphic by The Indicter Magazine, founded and edited by Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, founder also of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights.

The Indicter: Monthly European review on geopolitical & human rights issues, New NBC Attack On Alec Baldwin, JFK Research Is Attack On indicter logo sloganTruth, Democracy, Andrew Kreig (J.D., M.S.L., attorney and journalist. Director of JIP. Member of the Editorial Board and Associate Editor at The Indicter Magazine), July 31, 2019 (August 2019 issue).

An NBC News column smearing actor and social critic Alec Baldwin as a “conspiracy theorist” this month because of his views on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy constituted an attack, in effect, on NBC’s consumers, particularly those who care about truth and other democratic values.

That is because the July 19 column, "From Trump to Alec Baldwin, conspiracy theories, narcissism and celebrity culture go hand in hand," provided no evidence whatsoever that anything Baldwin had said was untrue or otherwise dubious.

U.S. Presidential Racism Revealed

washington post logoWashington Post, Retropolis (The Past, Rediscovered): Reagan called Nixon to slur Africans. Of course there are tapes, Morgan Krakow and Tim Elfrink​, July 31, 2019. It was October 1971, and the United Nations had just voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China.

Then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan (shown as president in 1981 at left) was infuriated that delegations from Africa did not align themselves with the U.S. position — that ronald reagan 1981 wthe U.N. should recognize Taiwan as an independent state — and wanted to get President Richard Nixon on the phone. He was apparently disgusted after watching delegates from Tanzania celebrate the U.N. decision to support Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

“To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Reagan said.

Nixon (shown below at right) replied with a big laugh.

The conversation between Reagan and Nixon was published in The Atlantic. Tim Naftali, a history professor at NYU and the former director of the Nixon Presidential Library, worked to get the tape released and wrote the subsequent article for The Atlantic.

richard nixon headshot CustomThe National Archives withheld the racist comments in the recording’s first release in 2000, which Naftali says was apparently in protection of Reagan’s privacy. But after Reagan’s death in 2004, and amid continued review process by the National Archives, Naftali was successful in getting the full conversation released.

“It was worse than I expected,” Naftali told The Washington Post, referring to the audio on the tape. “It was the combination of the slur by Reagan and then Nixon’s repeating it, not once but twice in later conversations. This was not just revealing about what Ronald Reagan thought about Africans in 1971, and arguably later, it was also a reminder of how Nixon could hold racist views but not think of himself as a racist.”

More On Jeffrey Epstein

jeffrey epstein hands handsOver the years, Jeffrey E. Epstein, right, surrounded himself with many prominent scientists, including several affiliated with Harvard (Photo Credit: Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation).

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA, James B. Stewart, Matthew Goldstein and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, July 31, 2019. Over the years, Jeffrey E. Epstein surrounded himself with many prominent scientists, including several affiliated with Harvard.

Jeffrey E. Epstein, the wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker, had an unusual dream: He hoped to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating women at his vast New Mexico ranch.

Mr. Epstein over the years confided to scientists and others about his scheme, according to four people familiar with his thinking, although there is no evidence that it ever came to fruition.

Mr. Epstein’s vision reflected his longstanding fascination with what has become known as transhumanism: the science of improving the human population through technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Critics have likened transhumanism to a modern-day version of eugenics, the discredited field of improving the human race through controlled breeding.

Trump Watch / Inside DC

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s new DNI nominee John Ratcliffe is in deep trouble, Bill Palmer, July 31, 2019. When Donald Trump announced this weekend that he was replacing his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats with Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe, john ratcliffe headshot Customright, the widespread assumption was that the Republican Senate would simply rubber stamp the whole thing.

But if you’ve paid close attention, GOP Senators have actually killed off a number of Trump’s most idiotic nominations before they could even get to a vote. Now it looks like we may be on track for that to happen again.

The GOP Senate loves to rubber stamp Donald Trump’s terrible nominees when it can. But when Trump picks a nominee bill palmer report logo headerlike John Ratcliffe, who’s so hilariously inept he could end up harming the entire party’s 2020 chances, the GOP Senate usually finds a way to let Trump know that he needs to withdraw the pick. The first sign of trouble came on Monday when various Republican Senators began hinting on the record to the Washington Post that they weren’t thrilled with the Ratcliffe nomination. But then things got ugly.

On Tuesday, the New York Times turned around and exposed a scandal. John Ratcliffe has claimed repeatedly that he put terrorists in prison when he was a federal prosecutor – but it turns out that never happened. This is the kind of objectively ugly scandal that prompts the media to obsessively focus on it, until Trump and/or the GOP Senate decide they need to pull the nomination in order to make the bad headlines go away.

July 30

 

wikipedia logo

lila tretikov benjamin netanyahu 2015 israel

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu meets Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov in 2015. Photo | Israel GPO

MintPress News, Investigation / Commentary: The Spin War: How a Small Group of Pro-Israel Activists Blacklisted MintPress on Wikipedia, whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, July 30, 2019 [Investigation excerpted. Click link for full story]. For over ten years, Wikipedia has been a key focus of right-leaning, pro-Israel groups that have effectively weaponized the online encyclopedia as a means of controlling the narrative when it comes to the state of Israel’s more than 50-year-long military occupation of Palestine.

For over a decade, pro-Israel and ultra-nationalist Israeli settler groups have sought to weaponize the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, through concerted covert editing campaigns, offering Wikipedia editing courses to West Bank settlers and even formal alliances between Israel and Wikipedia to allow Israelis to create and edit content in a variety of languages.

In recent years, this alliance between pro-Israel partisans and Wikipedia has stepped up, largely in response to the growth of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure Israel to comply with international law with respect to occupied Palestine and the blockaded Gaza Strip. As a consequence, news outlets that consistently report on the success of BDS, such as MintPress News, have been targeted on Wikipedia by such partisans, who recently succeeded in blacklisting MintPress as a “reliable source” on the online encyclopedia.

In early June, a small number of partisan Wikipedia editors privately voted to blacklist MintPress News from use as a source on the online encyclopedia website at the behest of a Wikipedia editor who took issue with MintPress’ coverage of current events in Venezuela and Syria. At no point was MintPress ever asked to comment or allowed to respond to any of the allegations made and MintPress is unable to appeal the decision.

jimmy wales wikipedia logo

Jimmy Wales, the self-described pro-Israel advocate and founder of Wikipedia, is shown at left.

Of the Wikipedia editors who voted to discredit MintPress, several were self-listed as experts in video games, computer science and anime, not geopolitical events, while others had previously gained notoriety for partisan promotion of pro-Israel perspectives and/or the U.S.-funded Venezuelan Popular Will political party, of which the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó is a member.

The involvement of pro-Israel partisans in the blacklisting of MintPress on Wikipedia is notable in light of the well-documented and unprecedented efforts of the Israeli government to promote the partisan editing of Wikipedia and to subsequently incorporate the online encyclopedia into its national educational curriculum.

The successful effort to blacklist MintPress News on Wikipedia began on June 1 and was initiated by Wikipedia user “Jamesz42,” a Wikipedia editor from Venezuela who has written several English-language Wikipedia articles on the wives of Popular Will politicians as well as on protest leaders and journalists who are aligned with Popular Will.

MintPress is one of several news organizations that have reported extensively on Popular Will’s U.S. government funding, its lack of popular support in Venezuela, and its history of engaging in violence. Yet MintPress is the only independent outlet that has been blacklisted on Wikipedia for reporting these facts. TeleSur, which is partially funded by the Venezuelan government, was also recently blacklisted by Wikipedia and some of the same users that targeted MintPress, including Jamesz42, were involved.

When his claims against MintPress were challenged by another editor, “R2”, Jamesz42 claimed his reason for starting the query as to MintPress’ credibility was that “MintPress News has been used several times as a source in articles about the Syrian Civil War and the Venezuelan crisis, among other controversial topics, which is the reason why I started this RfC [request for comment].”

However, apparently unable to find a factual inaccuracy in MintPress’ Venezuela or Syria coverage, Jamesz42 cited the accidental incorrect placement of a single hyperlink in a recent MintPress article about Microsoft’s Pentagon-funded election software, ElectionGuard, that was the result of a (now-fixed) copy-and-paste error made by the article’s author.

Jamesz42 stated:

The article accuses Microsoft of “price gouging for its OneCare security software,” and links that text to “Microsoft accused of predatory pricing of security software,” an article from The Guardian (RSP entry) that describes the exact opposite: “Incredibly, Microsoft has priced themselves almost 50% below the market leader.” (See Predatory pricing for a definition of the practice.)

The MintPress News article then uses its own false claim to assert that Microsoft’s ‘offering of ElectionGuard software free of charge is tellingly out of step for the tech giant and suggests an ulterior motive behind Microsoft’s recent philanthropic interest in “defending democracy.”'”

The sentence of the article from which Jamesz42 is quoting began by stating: “Considering that Microsoft has a long history of predatory practices, including price gouging …” The link that was originally attached to the text “price gouging” was the Guardian article referenced by Jamesz42, but was originally meant to link to the text reading “predatory practices.”

As noted, this was a copy-and-paste error on the part of the author and the article intended to link to the term “price gouging” — an article from The Verge titled “Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe attempt to justify ‘price gouging’ to Australian hearing” — was fixed when the error was brought to MintPress’ attention. Such corrections are common practice, undertaken by all reputable news organizations and indicative of high standards of integrity and accountability.

Notably, Jamesz42 claims that Microsoft’s predatory practices that include price gouging were invented by MintPress, even though the original version of the article with the copy-and-paste error based this on the claim that Microsoft was known to engage in predatory practices, with price gouging listed as an example, and citations we provided to back the claim, as even Jamesz42 noted.

This  copy-and-paste hyperlink error was the main justification for the blacklisting of MintPress on Wikipedia by Jamesz42, along with the fact that MintPress has previously republished content from the websites ZeroHedge and the Free Thought Project — notably in spite of the fact that all content republished on MintPress contains the following disclaimer:

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.”

Evidence-free name-calling and piling-on

After Jamesz42 made these initial claims, another user, “PaleoNeonate,” said that he confirmed his suspicion that MintPress’ reporting was “strange” with a “pro-Israel source” that referred to MintPress as “fringe.” PaleoNeonate then claimed that MintPress is unreliable for republishing “Russian state media” and reporting on “conspiracy theories” on chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian conflict. MintPress has been accused of promoting “conspiracy theories” about well-known, alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria on several occasions and MintPress reports on the subject were later corroborated by award-winning journalists like Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk. Notably, this user, PaleoNeonate, is an expert in computer science, not geopolitics.

These caims were followed by user “Alsee,” who was also involved in the effort to blacklist TeleSur. This user stated: “It’s unclear whether MintPress is part of the Russian fake news engine or merely a bunch of ‘useful idiot’ nutters participating in the same content-sharing web of alternative ‘news’ sites,” and also claimed that MintPress “is widely considered unreliable.” Alsee’s evidence for the latter was that Google and Facebook’s censorship of MintPress was proof that the site is “fake news.” Alsee’s comment was responded to by the anonymous moderator account “Newslinger,” who stated that MintPress “clearly has no ambition to be a reliable source.”

wikipedia logoAnother user, “TheTimesAreAChanging,” without providing evidence, called MintPress “a cesspool of conspiracy theories and misinformation,” and is notably an editor of Wikipedia articles related to video games. The user “IceWhiz” stated that MintPress should be blacklisted “for propagating non-mainstream viewpoints (which are usually UNDUE),” but also provided no further explanation for this assertion.

An additional user, “Bobfrombrockley,” cited the fact-checking organization Newsguard and its rating of MintPress. That rating came several months after MintPress authored a viral exposè of Newsguard’s connections to neoconservatives and former government officials, including former CIA director Michael Hayden. MintPress later authored an in-depth response showing that Newsguard’s rating of MintPress was clearly biased and possibly influenced by our critical reporting on their operations.

“Unreliable” blacklisting seems to mean anti-Israel

Several of the Wikipedia users involved in blacklisting MintPress News have gained varying degrees of notoriety for their pro-Israel partisanship on the online encyclopedia.

The user Icewhiz, who stated that MintPress should be blacklisted for “propagating non-mainstream viewpoints,” has lobbied to delete the entire Wikipedia article on the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, which Icewhiz refers to as the “Israeli military administration in the West Bank.” Prior to lobbying for the article’s removal, Icewhiz had edited the article on the military occupation of the West Bank by removing the entire section about settler violence targeting Palestinians and most of the section about how the military occupation affects Palestinian children, among other pertinent information.

In addition to his efforts to remove information from Wikipedia articles that paint Israel’s military occupation of Palestine in a critical light, Icewhiz also attempted to alter the article on Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najjar, who was killed by an Israeli sniper during the Great Return March protests in the Gaza Strip last year, despite clearly wearing a vest marking her as a medic. Icewhiz added a video of al-Najjar that was later found to have been heavily edited and promoted by the Israel Defense Force as a means of justifying her death and subsequently re-edited the article to promote the IDF interpretation of the video after another editor included information critical of the IDF’s use of the doctored video. Icewhiz also edited the article on Razan al-Najjar to claim that she was “allegedly shot” by the IDF, despite the fact that there has been no disputing the IDF’s responsibility for her death, even from Israel’s government.

Per other threads of Wikipedia, two other users who voted to blacklist MintPress — users “Shrike” and “Stefka Bulgaria” — collaborate or have collaborated with Icewhiz and have defended Icewhiz from accusations of editing with an extreme pro-Israel bias. The user Shrike, who called MintPress “clearly unreliable,” has co-authored articles on historical leaders of the Zionist movement with Icewhiz and currently lives in Israel.

Notably, Shrike was involved in allowing the neoconservative pro-Israel think tank, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), to edit Wikipedia articles with “protected status,” according to information posted by another user on his profile page. The current president of JCPA is Dore Gold, a former advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, and the Center receives large amounts of funding from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major supporter of Netanyahu and a top donor of U.S. President Donald Trump.

jimmy wales facing tomorrow conference israel 2009 AP photo 09102109924 1 Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales speaks at the ‘Facing Tomorrow’ conference in Israel in 2009 (Tara Todras-Whitehill | Associated Press)

Wales has long made it no secret that he is pro-Israel, having visited the country more than ten times per his own count, leading The Times of Israel to note in 2015 that “While Wikipedia strives for objectivity on Israel, Wales is unabashedly pro.” Years prior, in 2011, when Wales attended the Israeli Presidential Conference, he told Israeli media that “I’m a strong supporter of Israel, so I don’t listen to those critics.”

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

July 29

Unz Review, American Pravda: John McCain, Jeffrey Epstein, and Pizzagate, Ron Unz, July 29, 2019 (6,000 words, excerpted below).  Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings. The death of Sen. John McCain last August revealed some important truths about the nature of our establishment media.

On the face of it, such undiluted political love for McCain might seem a bit odd to those who have followed his activities over the last couple of decades....Even more remarkable were the discordant facts airbrushed out of McCain’s history.

At the beginning of December, a right-wing blogger produced a lengthy exposition of the Pizzagate charges, which finally gave me some understanding of what was actually under discussion, and I soon made arrangements to republish his article.

Over the years, it became increasingly obvious to me that nearly all elements of our national media were often quite willing to enlist in a “conspiracy of silence” to minimize or entirely ignore stories of tremendous potential interest to their readership and major public importance. I could easily have doubled or tripled the number of such notable examples I provided above without much effort. Moreover, it is quite intriguing that so many of these cases involve the sort of criminal or sexual misbehavior that would be ideally suited for blackmailing powerful individuals who are less likely to be vulnerable to other influences. So perhaps many of the elected officials situated at the top of our democratic system merely reign as political puppets, dancing to invisible strings.

Given my awareness of this remarkable track-record of major media cover-ups, I’m ashamed to admit that I had paid almost no attention to the Jeffrey Epstein case until it exploded across our national headlines earlier this month, suddenly becoming one of the biggest news stories in our country.

For many years, reports about Epstein and his illegal sex-ring had regularly circulated on the fringes of the Internet, with agitated commenters citing the case as proof of the dark and malevolent forces that secretly controlled our corrupted political system. But I almost entirely ignored these discussions, and I’m not sure that I ever once clicked on a single link.

July 27

Impeachment Inquiry

ny times logoNew York Times, Raising Prospect of Impeachment, House Seeks Mueller’s Secrets, Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage, July 27, 2019 (print ed.). House Democrats said they need access to secret grand jury evidence because they are weighing whether to recommend impeaching Mr. Trump.

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday asked a federal judge to unseal grand jury secrets related to Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, using the court filing to declare that lawmakers have already in effect launched an impeachment investigation of President Trump.

U.S. House logoIn a legal maneuver that carries significant political overtones, the committee told a judge that it needs access to the grand jury evidence collected by Mr. Mueller as special counsel — such as witness testimony — because it is “investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment” against the president.

“Because Department of Justice policies will not allow prosecution of a sitting president, the United States House of Representatives is the only institution of the federal government that can now hold President Trump accountable for these actions,” the filing told the judge, Beryl A. Howell, who supervised Mr. Mueller’s grand jury.

Referring to the part of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to impeach and remove a president, the filing continued: “To do so, the House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — approval of articles of impeachment.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: What the House Democrats just did to Donald Trump is genius, Bill Palmer, right, July 27, 2019. When it comes to bill palmerimpeaching Donald Trump, the House Democrats face a number of tricky factors. Democrats have to use the impeachment process to build up public demand for Trump’s ouster, so GOP Senators might be forced to go along with it for fear of losing their own seats. Democrats have to pull this off without prompting Trump’s existing supporters to reflexively rally around him. And Democrats can’t do any of this until they win their court battles over the relevant testimony and evidence.

bill palmer report logo headerSomehow, the House Democrats just managed to thread that needle in one fell swoop – at least in terms of getting the ball rolling. The House Judiciary Committee made a court filing yesterday which confirms that they’re seeking the evidence and testimony in question because they’re trying to determine whether Donald Trump needs to be impeached. This court filing is an impeachment inquiry, meaning the impeachment process has begun.

But because the House Democrats are kicking off impeachment with a Friday afternoon court filing instead of firing it out of a T-shirt cannon, they’re not giving Donald Trump much of a rallying point just yet. He can run his mouth all he wants, but he’ll have a difficult time firing up his base by whining about a mere impeachment court filing. After all, his supporters tend to view politics through a lens of “wall good, immigrant bad” and have no interest in the legal nuances of the impeachment process.

That means House Democrats have managed to start the impeachment process in a way that helps fire up their base, while making it difficult for Donald Trump to fire up his base, even while continuing to focus on the court battles over testimony and evidence that they’re going to need to win first before they can file the actual articles of impeachment anyway.

Climate Change

washington post logoWashington Post, Europe’s heat wave is about to bake the Arctic, Andrew Freedman, July 27, 2019 (print ed.). The heat is shifting toward Scandinavia, and eventually into the Arctic, where it could supercharge the sea and land ice melt season.

NY Fire Board Seeks New 9/11 Probe  ny fire commissioners franklin square munson 9 11 philip malloy dennis lyons kerry santina joseph torregrossa kenneth gray

Franklin Square Munson Fire District Commission 768, from left to right: Commissioner Philip F. Malloy, Jr.; Commissioner Dennis G. Lyons; District Secretary Kerry Santina; Commissioner Joseph M. Torregrossa; Attorney Kenneth Gray; Commissioner Christopher L. Gioia; Commissioner Les Saltzman.

Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth, New York Area Fire Commissioners Make History, Call for New 9/11 Investigation, Ted Walter, July 27, 2019. They started off by saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Ten minutes later, they were reading the text of a resolution claiming the existence of “overwhelming evidence” that “pre-planted explosives . . . caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings.”

And so it was, on July 24, 2019 — nearly 18 years after the horrific attacks that traumatized a nation and changed the world forever — the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District became the first legislative body in the country to officially support a new investigation into the events of 9/11.

The resolution, drafted and introduced by Commissioner Christopher Gioia, was unanimously approved by the five commissioners. Members of the audience — including the families of fallen firefighters Thomas J. Hetzel and Robert Evans, both Franklin Square natives — joined in solemn but celebratory applause after the fifth “ay” was spoken.

Conversing with guests after the meeting, Commissioner Dennis Lyons remarked on the enormous and lasting toll that 9/11 has taken on the Franklin Square community. “We have a memorial — a piece of steel from the World Trade Center with 28 holes where the nuts and bolts used to go,” Lyons explained. “Every year on the 11th, we put a rose in each hole for the 24 Nassau County firefighters and four Franklin Square residents who died on 9/11.”

“We have a memorial — a piece of steel from the World Trade Center with 28 holes where the nuts and bolts used to go. Every year on the 11th, we put a rose in each hole for the 24 Nassau County firefighters and four Franklin Square residents who died on 9/11.”
— Commissioner Dennis Lyons

The impact of 9/11 on the community extends well beyond the victims and their grieving families. On September 12, 2001, the Franklin Square Fire Department was called in to assist with the massive rescue and recovery effort that was just getting underway. Countless members of the department, including Gioia and Commissioner Philip Malloy (then rank-and-file firefighters), spent weeks on the pile searching in vain for civilians and fellow responders who might still be alive. Today, Malloy is one of thousands suffering chronic health effects.

Besides the commissioners’ desire to see justice done for their fallen brothers and deceased neighbors, the driving force behind the resolution was a petition filed last year with United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman by the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, outlining the evidence of the World Trade Center’s explosive demolition on 9/11.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office notified the Lawyers’ Committee in November that it would indeed comply with the federal statute requiring the U.S. Attorney to present the petition to a special grand jury. The news set off a wave of hope, among those paying attention, that the wheels of justice were finally beginning to move in the right direction.

Adding a surge to that wave of hope, the Franklin Square resolution declares the fire district’s full backing of the (presumably) ongoing grand jury investigation in Lower Manhattan, while also proclaiming the district’s support for “any and all efforts by other government entities to investigate and uncover the full truth surrounding the events of that horrible day.”

Epstein, Israeli Unmasked?

Narativ, Building Big Brother: Jeffrey Epstein’s investment in an Israeli start-up reveals a myriad of links to Donald Trump and Israeli spies, Zev Shalev and Tracie McElroy, July 27, 2019.

What we found:

  • Jeffrey Epstein is an Israeli spy.
  • He is an investor in a start-up with ties to Israeli Intelligence.
  • Two Putin-linked oligarchs are his partners.
  • The start-up poses a privacy risk.
  • Ties to Erik Prince, Michael Cohen, George Nader and Peter Thiel.

It’s been thirty-two years since the “Pollard Affair” pierced the seemingly impenetrable facade of U.S.-Israeli relations. Now, two suspected Israeli agents are in jail – indicted on separate charges of sex trafficking of minors.

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on July 6 and charged with trafficking minors across state lines. George Nader – a key witness for Robert Mueller – was arrested last month for possession of child porn and transporting a minor for sex from Europe.

Epstein and Nader share a personal network that includes Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, Erik Prince, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and his UAE counterpart, Mohamed Bin Zayed.

But their association goes further than powerful friends and proclivities for teenage boys and girls. Epstein and Nader are believed to be agents for Israeli Intelligence. Narativ has independently confirmed Epstein was indeed working for the Israelis.

Both men also have ties to a burgeoning Israeli tech sector which is bringing Mossad-style military intelligence to the private sector and endangering the global balance of power.

The Haaretz newspaper has previously reported that Epstein, who was Donald Trump’s friend through the ’80s and ’90s, partnered in an Israeli start-up alongside former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Barak is seeking to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli Prime Minister in the upcoming re-run elections scheduled for September. Since 2015, he has been the front-man for Carbyne, an Israeli start-up which purports to be a high-tech solution for 911 emergency call centers, but the platform’s architecture and investors raise serious privacy concerns.

Narativ undertook an extensive investigation into Carbyne, and can now reveal a myriad of troubling connections between the start-up and people connected to Donald Trump.

July 25

Epstein: The Big Picture

whitney webbMint Press News, Government by Blackmail: Jeffrey Epstein, Trump’s Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era (Part II), Whitney Webb, right, July 25, 2019 (Excerpted; Click link for full story]. Appalling for both the villainous abuse of children itself and the chilling implications of government by blackmail, this tangled web of unsavory alliances casts a lurid light on the political history of the U.S. from the Prohibition Era right up through the Age of Trump.

Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire who now sits in jail on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors, has continued to draw media scrutiny in the weeks after his arrest on July 6. Part of the reason for this continued media interest is related to Epstein’s alleged relationship to the intelligence services and new information about the true extent of the sexual blackmail operation Epstein is believed to have run for decades.

As MintPress reported last week, Epstein was able to run this sordid operation for so long precisely because his was only the latest incarnation of a much older, more extensive operation that began in the 1950s and perhaps even earlier.

Starting first with mob-linked liquor baron Lewis Rosenstiel and later with Roy Cohn, Rosenstiel’s protege and future mentor to Donald Trump, Epstein’s is just one of the many sexual blackmail operations involving children that are all tied to the same network, which includes elements of organized crime, powerful Washington politicians, lobbyists and “fixers,” and clear links to intelligence as well as the FBI.

This report, Part II of this series titled “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big To Fail,” will delve into Cohn’s close ties to the Reagan administration, which was also closely tied to the same organized crime network led by the infamous mob figure Meyer Lansky, which was discussed in Part I. Of particular importance is the “Iran Contra” network, a group of Reagan officials and associates who played key roles in the Iran Contra scandal. Though it has remained relatively unknown for years, many key figures in that same network, and several fronts for the CIA that were involved in funneling money to the Central American Contra paramilitaries, were also trafficking minors for their sexual exploitation and use in sexual blackmail rings.

Several of these rings made headlines at one point or another over the years — from the “call boy ring” run by Washington lobbyist Craig Spence, to the Franklin child-sex and murder ring run by Republican operative Larry King, to the scandal that enveloped the Catholic charity Covenant House in the late 1980s.

Yet, as this report will show, all of these rings — and more — were connected to the same network that involved key figures linked to the Reagan White House and linked to Roy Cohn — revealing the true scope of the sordid sexual blackmail operations and sex rings that involved the trafficking of children within the U.S. and even in Central America for their exploitation by dangerous and powerful pedophiles in the United States.

Appalling for both the villainous abuse of children itself and the chilling implications of government by blackmail, this tangled web of unsavory alliances casts a lurid light on the political history of the United States from the Prohibition Era right up to the present day and the Age of Trump, a fact made increasingly clear as more and more information comes to light in relation to the Jeffrey Epstein case.

“Roy could fix anyone in the city”

Since Donald Trump burst onto the political scene in 2015, the legacy of his mentor, Roy Cohn – as well as Cohn’s influence on his most famous protege — have begun to garner renewed media attention. Many of the profiles on Cohn following Trump’s rise have focused solely on certain shadowy aspects of Cohn’s history, particularly his association with major figures in New York organized crime, his corrupt dealings, and his eventual disbarment. Some of these portrayals even went so far as to label Cohn as politically impotent. While Cohn was known to deal with a sizable amount of sleaze in his career, such depictions of the man fail to note that he had created an influence machine of unrivaled power that included some of the most prominent people in media and politics as well as a cadre of celebrities.

Cohn was closely associated with numerous celebrities, famous politicians and political operatives. Many of his birthday parties over the years attracted such famous figures such as artist Andy Warhol, fashion designer Calvin Klein, and comedian Joey Adams, as well as notable political figures including former Mayor of New York Abraham Beame and then-Assemblyman from Brooklyn and future Senator Chuck Schumer, among others. In 1979 Margaret Trudeau, mother of current Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, attended Cohn’s birthday party, where she famously toppled his custom birthday cake; and of course Donald Trump, who became Cohn’s protege in the mid-1970s, was a frequent fixture at social events held in Cohn’s honor.

The politicians, journalists and celebrities invited to Cohn’s exclusive parties were said to be those who “had open accounts in Cohn’s ‘favor bank,’” his nickname for his unofficial balance sheet of political favors and debts that was surely informed and influenced by his extensive involvement in sexual blackmail operations from the 1950s well into the 1980s.

Many of Cohn’s celebrity friendships were cultivated through his relationship with and frequent appearances at the famous and famously debaucherous New York nightclub Studio 54, which was described by Vanity Fair as “the giddy epicenter of 70s hedonism, a disco hothouse of beautiful people, endless cocaine, and every kind of sex.” Cohn was the long-time lawyer of the club’s owners, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager.

Among Cohn’s closest friends were Barbara Walters, to whom Cohn often referred as his “fiancee” in public, and whom he later introduced to the head of the U.S. Information Agency, Chad Wick, and other high rollers in the Reagan White House. Yet, Walters was just one of Cohn’s powerful friends in the media, a group that also included Abe Rosenthal, executive editor of the New York Times; William Safire, long-time New York Times columnist and New York Magazine contributor; and George Sokolsky of The New York Herald Tribune, NBC and ABC. Sokolsky was a particularly close friend of both Cohn and former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, whose involvement in Cohn’s sexual blackmail operation is described in Part I of this investigative series. Sokolsky ran the American Jewish League Against Communism with Cohn for several years and the organization later named its Medal of Honor after Sokolsky.

Cohn was also the attorney and friend of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and, according to New York Magazine, “Whenever Roy wanted a story stopped, item put in, or story exploited, Roy called Murdoch;” and, after Murdoch bought the New York Post, Cohn “wielded the paper as his personal shiv.” According to the late journalist Robert Parry, the friendship between Murdoch and Cohn first began thanks to their mutual support for Israel.

Cohn also leaned on his life-long friend since high school, Si Newhouse Jr., to exert media influence. Newhouse oversaw the media empire that now includes Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ, The New Yorker, and numerous local newspapers throughout the United States, as well as major interests in cable television. New York Magazine also noted that “Cohn used his influence in the early ’80s to secure favors for himself and his Mob clients in Newhouse publications.” In addition to Newhouse, Cohn’s other high school pals, Generoso Pope Jr. and Richard Berlin, later became the owners of the National Enquirer and the Hearst Corporation, respectively. Cohn was also a close friend of another media mogul, Mort Zuckerman, who – along with Rupert Murdoch – would go on to befriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Cohn’s media confidants, like journalist William Buckley of The National Review and Firing Line, often attacked Cohn’s political enemies – particularly long-time Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau — in their columns, using Cohn as an anonymous source. Buckley, whom historian George Nash once called “the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure,” received the George Sokolsky medal alongside Cohn’s mob-linked client and “Supreme Commander” Lewis Rosenstiel from the Cohn-run American Jewish League Against Communism in 1966. Buckley later got a heavily discounted $65,000 loan to buy a luxury boat from a bank where Cohn held influence and whose president Cohn had hand picked, according to a 1969 article in LIFE magazine.

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

July 24

Transitions

 

JoBlo Videos, RIP Rutger Hauer -- A Tribute, July 25, 2019 (7:59 mins.). We pay tribute to the late Rutger Hauer, who passed on July 19, 2019 at the age of 75 (and in the same year that his character from Blade Runner dies). Hauer intrigued and entertained us for decades, from Blade Runner to The Hitcher to Flesh + Blood to Split Second to Ladyhawke to Batman Begins to Wanted: Dead or Alive to Blind Fury to Hobo with a Shotgun and more! Enjoy our tribute to the legendary performer!

Actor Rutger Hauer, shown on the cover of his memoir, "All Those Moments," whose title is drawn from iconic "Tears In the Rain" dialogue in his film "Blade Runner." Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig interviewed the actor for the radio show "Washington Update" in May 2007 upon publication of the memoir after organizing a speaking presentation for Hauer at the National Press Club.

Actor Rutger Hauer, shown on the cover of his memoir, "All Those Moments," whose title is drawn from iconic "Tears In the Rain" dialogue in his film "Blade Runner." Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig interviewed the actor for the radio show "Washington Update" in May 2007 upon publication of the memoir after organizing a speaking presentation for Hauer at the National Press Club..rutger hauer all those moments

Hollywood Reporter, Rutger Hauer, 'Blade Runner' Actor, Dies at 75, Mike Barnes and Ryan Parker, July 24, 2019. The Dutch star improvised his famous speech in the Ridley Scott classic and was memorable in 'Turkish Delight,' 'Nighthawks,' 'The Hitcher' and 'Batman Begins.'

Rutger Hauer, the rugged Dutch actor who starred as renegade replicant leader Roy Batty in Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, has died. He was 75. Hauer died Friday at his home in the Netherlands of an undisclosed illness, his agent, Steve Kenis, told The Hollywood Reporter. His family did not want the news revealed until his funeral, which was held Wednesday. "He was a wonderful man and terrific actor," Kenis said.

Hauer made his Hollywood debut opposite Sylvester Stallone in Nighthawks (1981) and went on to appear on the big screen in such films as The Osterman Weekend (1983), Ladyhawke (1985), The Hitcher (1986), Wanted — Dead or Alive (1986), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Batman Begins (2005), Sin City (2005), Hobo With a Shotgun (2011), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) and The Sisters Brothers (2018).

Born Rutger Oelsen Hauer on Jan. 23, 1944, in Breukelen, just south of Amsterdam, he was the son of actors. He began his career in 1969 on the Dutch TV series Floris, directed by countryman and director Paul Verhoeven, who then cast him in Turkish Delight (1973) and Soldier of Orange (1977).

In Germany, Turkish Delight "played next to Cabaret and Last Tango in Paris, and it outplayed them!" Hauer told THR's Scott Roxborough in February 2018.

"At first, I couldn't understand it. Looking back, it was the start of the sexual revolution, and I was on the cusp of that. I'm naked for three quarters of the film. In Hollywood, they called it pornography. I saw it 25 years later, in the Directors Guild [theater]. And the audience was still shocked. I come from Holland. We're not shocked."

Hauer played a sculptor in the film, which was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar.

He really made a name for himself with his turn as Batty and the character's "Tears in the Rain" speech — which he improvised — in the original Blade Runner.

"Rutger read that speech and then went on with a couple of lines about memories in the rain," co-screenwriter David Webb Peoples told THR in 2017. "And then he looked at me like a naughty little boy, like he was checking to see if the writer was going to be upset. I didn't let on that I was upset, but at the time, I was a little upset and threatened by it.

"Later, seeing the movie, that was a brilliant contribution of Rutger's, that line about tears in the rain. It is absolutely beautiful."

Hauer said he turned down a role in Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (1981) to work on Blade Runner, which he noted "wasn't about the replicants, it was about what does it mean to be human?" The late Philip K. Dick, whose novel served as the basis for the film, called the actor "the perfect Batty — cold, Aryan, flawless."

Hauer also won a Golden Globe in 1988 for his work on the TV film Escape From Sobibor and recurred as the supernatural creature Niall Brigant on HBO's True Blood.

He was known as an environmentalist and AIDS awareness activist. Survivors include his wife, Ineke; they met in 1968 and were married in 1985.

July 23

Epstein Scandal

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein’s Deep Ties to Top Wall Street Figures, Kate Kelly, Matthew Goldstein, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and James B. Stewart, July 23, 2019 (print ed.). A prominent banker, a top private-equity executive and a hedge-fund billionaire did business with Jeffrey Epstein even after his prostitution conviction.

jeffrey epstein hands handsMr. Epstein, who was charged this month with sex trafficking of teenage girls, liked to portray himself as a financial wizard, but there is little evidence to support that notion.

When Jeffrey Epstein (shown in a photo on his foundation site) was serving time in Florida for soliciting prostitution from a minor, he got a surprising visitor: James E. Staley, a top JPMorgan Chase executive and one of the highest-ranking figures on Wall Street.

Mr. Staley had good reason to maintain his relationship with Mr. Epstein, who received him at his Palm Beach office, where he had been permitted to serve some of his 13-month sentence in 2008 and 2009. Over the years, Mr. Epstein had funneled dozens of wealthy clients to Mr. Staley and his bank.

Mr. Epstein, who was charged this month with sex trafficking of teenage girls, liked to portray himself as a financial wizard, someone whose business and investing acumen made him indispensable to corporate executives and other leaders. But there is little evidence to support that notion. The financial services that Mr. Epstein dispensed appear to have been mostly pedestrian, and his list of clients small.

Mr. Epstein nonetheless managed to affix himself to a handful of prominent Wall Street veterans, including Mr. Staley, who is now chief executive of the British bank Barclays.

Mr. Epstein provided personal tax services to Leon D. Black, whose Apollo Global Management is one of the world’s largest private-equity firms. He discussed a major investment idea with and entrusted millions of dollars to Glenn Dubin, who ran the hedge fund Highbridge Capital Management. And, with Mr. Staley, he laid some of the early groundwork for JPMorgan to make a major acquisition — one that would vault Mr. Staley’s career to a higher plane.

Mr. Black, Mr. Dubin and Mr. Staley were not Mr. Epstein’s biggest business relationships: That distinction belongs to Leslie H. Wexner, the billionaire founder of the L Brands retail empire, which included Victoria’s Secret and The Limited. He gave Mr. Epstein broad powers to invest his fortune for nearly two decades.

Yet starting in the 1990s, Mr. Epstein — whose Wall Street experience consisted of a five-year stint at the investment bank Bear Stearns — managed to build a small but powerful finance network.

Mr. Black, the Apollo founder, was a widely respected figure on Wall Street when he met Mr. Epstein in the late 1990s. Before long, Mr. Black had entrusted Mr. Epstein with periodically providing a variety of tax and estate-planning services, according to a person close to Mr. Black. It was an unlikely assignment: Armies of lawyers and accountants have expertise in those fields; Mr. Epstein did not.

Over the next 15 or so years, including after Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in 2008, Mr. Black met with Mr. Epstein at his palatial townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, according to people who were there.

 July 22

Widely Respected NYC Prosecutor Dies

robert morgenthau jfk

President John F. Kennedy, left, greets Robert Morgenthau, a JFK-nominated prosecutor for the Southern District of New York. Below at right, Morgenthau and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet in 1962 (file photos).

ny times logoNew York Times, Robert Morgenthau, Longtime Manhattan District Attorney, Dies at 99, Robert D. McFadden, July 22, 2019 (print ed.). robert morgenthau mlk 1962 croppedMr. Morgenthau waged war on crime for more than four decades as the chief federal prosecutor for Southern New York State and as Manhattan’s longest-serving district attorney. From 1975 to 2009, he was the face of justice in Manhattan, a liberal Democrat elected nine times in succession.

In an era of notorious Wall Street chicanery and often dangerous streets, Mr. Morgenthau was the bane of mobsters, crooked politicians and corporate greed; a public avenger to killers, rapists and drug dealers; and a confidant of mayors and governors, who came and went while he stayed on — for nearly nine years in the 1960s as the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and for 35 more as Gotham’s aristocratic Mr. District Attorney.

Jeffrey Epstein's Image Rehab

Daily Mail, Jeffrey Epstein partied with Trump's closest advisers including Wilbur Ross, Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Mnunchin at dinner hosted by David Koch just TWO MONTHS after his release from prison, July 22, 2019 (updated from July 21).

  • Jeffrey Epstein, 66, attended a screening and dinner party back in August 2010 for the film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps in Southampton.
  • The dinner was at the home of David and Julia Koch, and Epstein can be seen in photos chatting with attendees after Peggy Siegal put wilbur rosshim on the guest list
  • 'He was chatting to Jonathan Farklas, Leon Black and Wilbur Ross [right]. He was sitting right near Rudy Giuliani,' wrote Page Six at the time
    Steve Mnuchin was also present, as were designers Tory Burch and Tamara Mellon and billionaires Steven Schwarzman and Henry Kravis
  • Epstein should have been registered as a sex offender in New York at the time but it is unclear if he was as his hearing was not until 2011

Jeffrey Epstein hobnobbed with high-profile guests from the worlds of politics, banking, Hollywood and philanthropy at a Hamptons party just two months after his release by the state of Florida for soliciting a minor. Photos from a 2010 dinner party at the home of David and Julia Koch obtained by DailyMail.com show Epstein as he chats with guests after a screening of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

steven mnuchin wAmong those guests were two men who currently serve in President Trump's cabinet and his most trusted legal adviser.

Steve Mnuchin,left, and his then-wife Heather, Rudy Giuliani, right, and his then-wife Judith and Wilbur Ross all attended the rudy giuliani recentscreening and dinner that followed at the Koch's.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about those who attended the event a few days later, and in the piece noted that Giuliani 'walked out of the theater around the same time as Jeffrey Epstein, leading one observer to remark on the "beautifully done meeting of the prosecutor and the felon."'

Accused mass trafficking pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, left, is shown in a photo with Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, one of his defense jeffrey epstein alan dershowitzattorneys.

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein Pitched a New Narrative. These Sites Published It, Tiffany Hsu, July 22, 2019 (print ed.). After Jeffrey Epstein got out of the Palm Beach County jail in 2009, having served 13 months of an 18-month sentence resulting from a plea deal that has been widely criticized, he began a media campaign to remake his public image.

The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost.

The Forbes.com article, posted in 2013, praised him as “one of the largest backers of forbes magazine l Customcutting-edge science around the world” while making no mention of his criminal past. The National Review piece, from the same year, called him “a smart businessman” with a “passion for cutting-edge science.”

The HuffPost article, from 2017, credited Mr. Epstein for “taking action to help a number of scientists thrive during the ‘Trump Era’,” a time of “anti-science policies and budget cuts.”

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times.

The articles in praise of Mr. Epstein came about partly because of an online publishing model adopted by some news organizations that relied on outside contributors who often wrote for little or no pay, with little or no input from editors.

The article on the Forbes website was attributed to Drew Hendricks, a contributing writer. As The Times revealed in an article last week, he was not the author of the piece. Instead, it was delivered to him by a public relations firm, and he said he was paid $600 to attach his byline and post it at Forbes.com.

A staff of roughly 200 employees produces Forbes’s in-house journalism, but most of the 100 articles the site publishes each day come from a group of nearly 3,000 outside writers. More content means more readers, and the number of unique visitors to Forbes.com has surged nearly 70 percent over the last four years, to 60.9 million last month, according to comScore.

While the number of views has gone up, the limited editing of contributors at Forbes has come in for criticism, with some noting huffington post logoproblematic posts like one in 2014 headlined “Drunk Female Guests are the Gravest Threat to Fraternities.”

Between 2005 and 2018, more than 100,000 contributors took advantage of HuffPost’s open-door model. At the time it was shut down, the HuffPost editor in chief Lydia Polgreen wrote, “Open platforms that once seemed radically democratizing now threaten, with the tsunami of false information we all face daily, to undermine democracy. When everyone has a megaphone, no one can be heard.”

The article on Mr. Epstein published by National Review, the conservative publication founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley Jr., was also national review logoremoved on Friday. It was credited to Christina Galbraith, who identified herself in her bio as a science writer who had published at Forbes and HuffPost.

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein’s foundations and initiatives in 2012, 2013 and 2014 that included her as a contact. Ms. Galbraith did not respond to requests for comment. In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having “given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children.”

Related Story From 2014

NewMediaWire, Hedge Funder Jeffrey Epstein Rewards Harvard's Legendary Hasty Pudding Institute, Christina Galbraith [emphasis added] March 4, 2014. Over the past year, the well-known science and Harvard philanthropist, Jeffrey Epstein [shown in a photo from the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation], has put his substantial support behind Harvard’s famous and oldest theatrical troupe, the Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770.

jeffrey epstein hands handsUp to now, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation has put its funds behind strictly science endeavors at Harvard, notably the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics with a $35 million dollar gift. The foundation has been a growing admirer of the Hasty Pudding’s role in supporting public education and the arts in the Cambridge and Boston communities.

Founded in 1770, by an erudite group of Harvard students as a secret society, "to uphold friendship and patriotism," The Hasty Pudding Institute evolved into a theatrical troupe and Harvard’s oldest. Much is written about Hasty’s theatrical performances, its a cappella singers, the Harvard Krokodiloes, its wit, roast dinners, illustrious guests from Grace Kelly to Elizabeth Taylor and the fun and glamorous awards given to various actors of the year such as Dame Helen Mirren in January 2014.

For example, the Hasty Pudding gives thousands of dollars and support each year to the West End House Boys and Girls Club, which supports low income families with programs in leadership, life skills, academia, sports, nutrition, the arts and free hot meals. Page to Stage, another Hasty Institute program, supports low income children through the playmaking process from conception to performance. In addition to funds for sets, costumes and production, the Hasty Pudding also mentors young students through each aspect from dramatic coaching to light direction.

"The Hasty Pudding Institute had typical beginnings as a secret society in a dorm room," Jeffrey Epstein remarked. "But they have evolved into a theatrical company that uplifts the young community of Cambridge and Boston."

The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation is known for supporting cutting edge science research around the world but it plays an active role in supporting education and youth programs for underprivileged youth across the country from Head Start programs to sports initiatives for juvenile offenders.

Christina Galbraith
Jeffrey Epstein Foundation
(917) 573-76XX

Remembering Muckraking Hoosier

wayne madesen report logowayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), WMR editor's email exchange with "suicided" Indiana political blogger Gary Welsh, Wayne Madsen, (right, author and syndicated columnist), July wayne madsen newer22, 2019 ($30 annual subscription required, excerpted here with permission).

Indiana’s most well known political blogger, Gary Welsh, left, who had uncovered scandal after scandal in Indianapolis, was said to have committed suicide on May 1, 2016.

It was very odd timing. The Indiana Republican primary, which was a last presidential gasp for Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign, was on May 3. Indianapolis was crawling with national media, which rarely ever treads in the capital of the Hoosier State.

gary r welshAlthough Welsh’s popular website, Advance Indiana, had a conservative bent, that did not dissuade Welsh, an attorney, from going after corruption wherever it was found, including the Republican-dominated state legislature and governor’s office. On April 29, two days before Welsh’s death, he posted the results of last-minute polling in Indiana on the campaigns of Donald Trump, Cruz, and Governor John Kasich from the neighboring state of Ohio.

WMR has recovered some of the emails the editor exchanged with Welsh. Our exchanges were similar to those I had with Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Gary Webb, right, just prior to his “suicide” in California in 2004.

gary webb with articleFor the first time the emails with Welsh are being revealed.

...

Muckraking reporters like Welsh were once the rule and not the exception in American journalism. Although nationally-syndicated investigators like Drew Pearson, Jack Anderson, and H. L. Mencken received all the kudos, it was the local and state reporters, those like Welsh and Webb, who actually helped clean up public and corporate corruption.

How U.S. Rules the World

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Ruler of the World, Jacob G. Hornberger (foundation president, book publisher, author, shown at jacob hornberger newright), July 22, 2019. Recently released secret documents from Chinese company Huawei provide insights into how the U.S. Empire rules the world. According to the Washington Post, the documents reveal that Huawei secretly helped North Korea “build and maintain the country’s commercial wireless network.”

What’s wrong with that? you ask. It violates U.S. sanctions against North Korea!

huawei square logoWhat do U.S. sanctions have to do with commercial relations between a Chinese company and North Korea? Well, as the ruler of the world — or, in common parlance, as the world’s sole remaining empire — the U.S. Empire’s rules and regulations apply to everyone in the world. If anyone anywhere in the world is caught violating them, he will be summoned to the United States to face criminal and civil prosecution.

What about President Trump’s lovefest with North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong-Un?

Irrelevant! Just because the president of the United States has fallen in love with North Korea’s communist dictator and salutes his communist generals, that still does not relieve foreigners from complying with the Empire’s edicts prohibiting commercial ties with North Korea without the official permission of U.S. officials.

That’s how the Empire works — its rulers are free to fall in love with anyone they want but that still doesn’t relieve foreign governments and foreign companies of their duty to comply with and obey the rules and regulations of the U.S. Empire.

american flag upside down distressAnyway, everyone is supposed to know that North Korea is a communist regime and that communism is bad.

That’s in fact why the Empire has maintained a harsh economic embargo against the Cuban people for more than 50 years. Since the Cuban people have refused to oust their communist regime with a coup or a violent revolution, the U.S. Empire has continued to target them with impoverishment and death through economic sanctions, the same thing they are doing to the North Korean people and, well, for that matter, the Iranian people.

Like Huawei’s helping North Korea to build and maintain a wireless commercial network, woe to the foreigner who does business with communist Cuba in violation of the U.S. embargo. He will be prosecuted, fined, and imprisoned for daring to violate the rules and regulations of the Empire.

In fact, woe to the American citizen who travels to Cuba and spends money there without the official permission of his rulers. He too will be viciously prosecuted, fined, and imprisoned by the Empire.

un security council

Strategic Culture Foundation, A Few Keystrokes Can Eliminate a UN Member State, Wayne Madsen, July 22, 2019. One of the renovations of the United Nations headquarters in New York commissioned by then-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was the replacement of the iconic plastic country name plates used for decades in the General Assembly with digital displays.

Although the old-school name plates continue to be used in the 15-member Security Council and other specialized agencies of the world body, for example, the World Health Assembly in Geneva and UNESCO in Paris, a few keystrokes can now eliminate a member of the General Assembly. Of course, such an action takes the agreement of the Security Council but considering the number of UN member states that have disappeared entirely or have undergone name changes since 1945, the process has been made much easier by digitization.

July 19

Trump Threatens $10b Amazon.com Bid

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Says He May Intervene in Huge Pentagon Contract Sought by Amazon, Scott Shane and Karen Weise, July 18, 2019. President Trump said on Thursday that he was looking “very seriously” at intervening in the hard-fought commercial battle for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud computing contract for which Amazon, a company he has frequently attacked, is seen as the leading contender.

amazon logo smallFor the president to weigh in on the award of a major government contract would be highly unusual, raising questions of improper political influence, but the stakes are high and Amazon’s competitors have been lobbying aggressively. Mr. Trump has long carried on a one-sided feud with Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, over some of the company’s business washington post logoactivities and also over what the president refers to as “The Amazon Washington Post,” though Mr. Bezos owns the newspaper personally, not as a corporate asset.

Asked by reporters about the contract known as JEDI, for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, Mr. Trump said he was “getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon.”

“They’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid,” he said.

In fact, the contract has not yet been awarded and has been the subject of a monthslong competition involving Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM. Pentagon officials decided in April that only Amazon and Microsoft had the capacity to meet the military’s requirements, and they have said they expect to choose the winner in late August.

jeffrey bezos washington postJeff Bezos, shown in a file photo and the founder of Amazon, which has been competing with Microsoft, Oracle and IBM for the Defense Department contract. Mr. Trump called JEDI “a very big contract, one of the biggest ever,” and noted that he had heard “complaining from different companies like Microsoft and Oracle and IBM.”

“Great companies are complaining about it,” he said, “so we’re going to take a look at it. We’ll take a very strong look at it.” He did not repeat his longstanding criticism of Amazon or Mr. Bezos.

As part of his regular attacks on the news media, Mr. Trump has often targeted The Post by lumping it with Amazon. He has also claimed that Amazon has unfairly exploited the United States Postal Service and has not paid its fair share of taxes.

Steve Kelman, a former federal procurement official now at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said it would be improper for any president to influence the contracting process. “It’s not appropriate and it’s definitely not typical for a president to intervene on a contract,” he said. “That sho