Deep State 2020-21 News, Revelations, Commentary

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Editor's Choice: 2020-21 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 backwards 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 the beginning of the calendar year.  Below at far bottom 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

 2020-21

December

Dec. 3

 

The five most radical right Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are shown above, with the sixth Republican, Chief Justice John Roberts, omitted in this view.

The five most radical right Republican justices on the Supreme Court are shown above, with the sixth Republican, Chief Justice John Roberts, omitted in this photo array.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Supreme Court Gaslights Its Way to the End of Roe, Linda Greenhouse (shown at right on the cover of her memoir, "Just linda greenhouse cover just a journalista Journalist"), Dec. 3, 2021. There are many reasons for dismay over the Supreme Court argument in the Mississippi abortion case, but it was the nonstop gaslighting that really got to me.

First there was Justice Clarence Thomas, pretending by his questions actually to be interested in how the Constitution might be interpreted to provide for the right to abortion, a right he has denounced and schemed to overturn since professing to the Senate Judiciary Committee 30 years ago that he never even thought about the matter.

Then there was Chief Justice John Roberts, mischaracterizing an internal memo that Justice Harry Blackmun wrote to his colleagues as the Roe v. Wade majority was discussing how best to structure the opinion Justice Blackmun was working on. The chief justice was trying to delegitimize the place of fetal viability in the court’s abortion jurisprudence, where for nearly 50 years, viability has been the unbreached firewall protecting the right of a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy.

And then there was Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who rattled off a list of “the most consequential cases in this court’s history” that resulted from overruling prior decisions.

It was Justice Sonia Sotomayor who asked the uncomfortable question. “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” she demanded of Scott Stewart, a former law clerk to Justice Thomas who argued for Mississippi as the state’s solicitor general. Listening to the live-streamed argument, I first heard “political acts” as “political hacks,” I suppose because still in my mind were Justice Barrett’s words when she spoke in mid-September at a center in Louisville, Ky., named for her Senate confirmation mastermind, Senator Mitch McConnell. “My goal today is to convince you that the court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” she said then.

Last month, the court heard arguments in a case that challenges New York’s strict requirement for a license to carry a concealed weapon. Most states have looser restrictions. New York, through its legislative process, is in a minority.

Will Justice Kavanaugh and those of his colleagues who glorify a recently manufactured version of the Second Amendment allow New York City to keep going its own way on gun safety in the name of “letting the people decide”? That’s about as likely as the chance that those very same justices will decide to keep the right to abortion on the books. In both cases, we know what they’re going to do. The only mystery is how they will explain it.

Linda Greenhouse, the winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize, writes on alternate Thursdays about the Supreme Court and the law. She reported on the Supreme Court for The Times from 1978 to 2008, and is the author of the forthcoming "Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court."

Dec. 2

vicky ward investigates

Vicky Ward Investigates, Investigative Commentary: Less Than Total Recall, Vicky Ward (author and pioneering reporter in Jeffrey Epstein scandal), Dec. 2, 2021. In the past two years while I’ve been researching “Chasing Ghislaine,” my Audible podcast and discovery+ documentary series (airing in back-to-back episodes on ID starting at 8/7c this Friday, December 3rd), sources close to Maxwell’s defense team have told me consistently that they are unbothered by the fact that the Southern District of New York’s conviction rate is extraordinarily high—reportedly over 95 percent.

“I don’t care what the statistics are,” someone close to Maxwell and her lawyers told me nine months ago. “Ghislaine is innocent, and we will prove that.”

At the time, I thought this person was crazy.

The charges against Maxwell are so heinous, and the notoriety of the case so great. Plus, the fact that Jeffrey Epstein, who Maxwell is accused of aiding in his abuse and sex-trafficking of minors, died in jail pre-trial has led almost every New York lawyer I speak to to say they believe the government really, really doesn’t want to lose in the wake of that. There is just too much at stake.

Now, however, I’m beginning to see why the defense appears so confident in the way they handle themselves in the courtroom. (By contrast, the four prosecutors look absurdly young. “Are any of them out of their 20s?” a lawyer, a veteran prosecutor herself, who was sitting next to me asked rhetorically. “Why didn’t they add one person, at least, who was more experienced?”)

Yesterday in court, the defense didn’t just prevail—they hammered yesterday’s shocking testimony by Maxwell Accuser Number One, who is going under the pseudonym “Jane.” The most oft-repeated phrase of the day was “I don’t recall,” uttered by Jane when asked by Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger to explain the contradictions between Tuesday’s testimony and the prior statements Jane had made to the FBI in the past two years.

It's understandable one wouldn’t have perfect recall of traumatic events from twenty years ago. It’s quite another not to be able to recall what happened just months ago—a point Menninger got at in her clever, dogged way.

If the last three days showed the best opening the government has got, I can see why Maxwell’s defense has been quietly confident for so long. I cannot reveal my source, but I have been told that the most pressing question on their minds this past year is if they can find an unbiased jury. If so, they have always said, they believe they will win.

I, like most people I know, ignored that.

Now, I am paying attention.

Justice Integrity Project, Expert Report Part 2: JFK's Assassination and Why It Matters, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 2, 2021. Editor's Introduction: This excerpt concludes our presentation of "JFK: The Real Story," a major new research report by the Truth & Reconciliation Committee (TRC), which was founded in 2019 to investigate the 1960s assassinations of President John F. Kennedy (JFK), his brother, New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., (MLK) and the Black civil rights leader Malcolm X.

The TRC (www.americantruthnow.org) was formed by members of the Kennedy and King families, Daniel Ellsberg, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner, David Crosby, Reverend James Lawson Jr., Oliver Stone, Adam Walinsky, James Galbraith, David Talbot, and other public figures. It states:

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The Justice Integrity Project, which has been active as a co-founding board member in supporting the committee's work, republished the first part of the report here (JFK's Assassination Part 1) to advance public understanding of evidence that has been ignored or under-reported by the mainstream media.

Today's second and final part (with photo selection and captions by our project, not the TRC) answers the key questions about the tragic event in Dallas in 1963: "Who Killed JFK? Why Does It Matter Now?"

Dec. 1

 

Trump-allied attorney Sidney Powell, right, with allied attorney Jenna Ellis in the background last fall.

Trump-allied attorney Sidney Powell, right, with allied attorney Jenna Ellis in the background last fall, has pushed baseless claims of election tampering.

washington post logoWashington Post, Prosecutors demanded records of Sidney Powell’s fundraising groups as part of criminal probe, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Emma Brown and Rosalind S. Helderman, Dec. 1, 2021 (print ed.).  

Federal prosecutors have demanded the financial records of multiple fundraising organizations launched by attorney Sidney Powell after the 2020 election as part of a criminal investigation, according to a subpoena reviewed by The Washington Post.

The grand jury subpoena, issued in September by the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, sought communications and other records related to fundraising and accounting by groups including Defending the Republic, a Texas-based organization claiming 501(c) 4 nonprofit status, and a PAC by the same name, according to the documents and a person familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of the probe.

As part of the investigation, which has not been previously reported, prosecutors are seeking records going back to Nov. 1, 2020.

 

capitol riot deposition list

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s coverup of his Jan. 6 corruption takes an ominous new turn, Greg Sargent, right, Dec. 1, 2021 (print ed.). As the Jan. 6 greg sargentselect committee investigation gathers momentum, Donald Trump has gotten several cronies to refuse to testify by invoking “executive privilege.” That’s absurd on its face: Much of the information Trump wants to keep buried doesn’t relate to the office of the presidency, but rather to his incitement of mob violence to remain president illegitimately.

But there’s something uniquely troubling about the latest turn in this saga. Trump might now succeed, at least temporarily, in using this tactic to muzzle testimony from someone who apparently communicated personally and directly with Trump about some of his most flagrantly corrupt efforts to overturn our political order.

jeffrey clark nyt

We’re talking about Jeffrey Clark, above, the former Justice Department official who reportedly launched various efforts to conscript the department into helping Trump subvert the election. The committee subpoenaed Clark, but he has rebuffed questions, citing Trump’s effort to assert executive privilege to block Congress from obtaining internal information.

This week, the select committee will vote to hold Clark in criminal contempt. If and when the full House follows, the matter will be referred to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. But then the matter will likely land in the courts, perhaps for a long time.

To see why this is so perverse, let’s dig into Clark’s involvement. It’s detailed in a Senate Judiciary Committee report examining Trump’s pressure on the Justice Department, which relied on testimony from another top official, then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen.

That pressure constitutes the beating heart of Trump’s coup attempt. The report found that Trump extensively pressured department leaders to take official action to portray his loss as fraudulent, via investigations, lawsuits and public statements.

The idea was apparently to create a fake rationale for Trump’s vice president to simply declare Joe Biden’s electors invalid, after which friendly states might send alternate electors. That plot was outlined in the now-notorious Trump coup memo.

But the role of Clark was particularly troubling. The report found that Trump and Clark personally communicated before Clark undertook extraordinary actions on Trump’s behalf.

These included an effort to send official Justice Department letters to swing states declaring that the department was examining election problems and advising state legislators to consider appointing new electors. That was thwarted by Rosen and other officials, but it was an extraordinary abuse of power.

Subsequent to that, Clark reportedly informed Rosen that Trump had offered to install him in Rosen’s place, presumably amid Trump’s anger over Rosen’s rebuffing of his corrupt designs.

The question is, to what degree did Trump and Clark elaborate this scheme in their own conversations?

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the select committee, noted that Clark could testify about his conversations throughout that time. This might illuminate what Trump directed Clark to do, or understood him to be doing, on his behalf.

Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, told me that Clark could speak to potentially criminal conduct by Trump, by testifying about “Trump conspiring with Department of Justice officials to undermine our free and fair elections.”

That may have run afoul of the law, Kirschner notes, citing criminal conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.

That offense, he said, could include seditious conspiracy or attempted coercion of government employees into carrying out political activity. Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe has also detailed how Trump’s pressure on the Justice Department could constitute such crimes.

But Clark has now refused to testify, citing Trump’s executive privilege claim. And we don’t know how long it will take to get Clark’s testimony, if ever. This could remain bogged down in court and could end up before the Supreme Court.

 

November

Nov. 29

Justice Integrity Project, Expert Report: JFK's Assassination and Why It Matters (Part 1), Andrew Kreig, Nov. 29, 2021. Editor's Introduction: This is an

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excerpt that begins "JFK: The Real Story," a major new research report by the Truth & Reconciliation Committee, which was founded in 2019 to investigate the 1960s assassinations of President John F. Kennedy (JFK), Black civil rights leader Malcolm X, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., (MLK) and the president's brother, New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

jeffrey clark nyt

Palmer Report, Opinion: Down goes Trump DOJ stooge Jeffrey Clark, Bill Palmer, Nov. 29, 2021. Earlier today we explained why the January 6th bill palmerCommittee’s criminal referral against Steve Bannon, which resulted in his indictment and arrest by the DOJ, has worked. “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander announced in a video last night that he’s coming out of hiding to cooperate with the committee, specifically because he doesn’t want to go to prison. Indicting Bannon was always about scaring other, more skittish witnesses into cooperating.

bill palmer report logo headerNow the committee has announced that it’s holding a vote this week to recommend former Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, shown above, for indictment. This vote will pass unanimously, and then the full House will formalize the referral within a day or two after that.

Given that Clark tried to invoke the same nonexistent “privilege” argument as Bannon, it’s not difficult to figure out that the DOJ will very likely indict and arrest Clark. What’s notable is that while Bannon simply refused to show up and testify at all, Clark, tried the trick of showing up and testifying but invoking “privilege” in response to key questions. The resulting criminal referral against him is a reminder that there are no magic wands for these witnesses.

Again, the point of indicting an obstructor like Jeffrey Clark is to scare other people into cooperating. The committee has scheduled dozens of Trump-connected people to testify, and while a few have publicly vowed not to cooperate, many of them are likely on the fence, trying to figure out their least bad option. Ali Alexander took one look at these contempt indictments coming down the pike and decided to cooperate. He likely won’t be the only one. The committee doesn’t need everyone to cooperate; it only needs a handful of key people.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: The right's trashing of American symbols, Wayne Madsen (left, author of 21 books, including that portrayed below left, and a former Navy intelligence officer), Nov. 29, 2021. America's pro-Donald Trump wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallfascist movement proclaims itself as "patriotic" and its members as "patriots."

wayne madesen report logoHowever, these dregs of society have done everything possible to deface American symbols, including the U.S. flag. Almost every Trump rally features American flags that have been either disfigured with Trump's mug or recolored in a bizarre combination of black, white, and blue.

wayne madsen fourth reich coverThe Thin Blue Line flag and other defaced U.S. flags have a precedent in 1920 in Germany. While writing Mein Kampf while in prison following the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, Adolf Hitler wrote about his desire for a new flag for Germany encompassing the red, white, and black colors of the defunct German Empire.

As was the case with Hitler's swastika flag that replaced the Weimar Republic's tri-band of black, red, and gold in 1933, the right's fascination with redesigning the U.S. flag to suit their far-right political aims symbolizes their opposition to the U.S. djt trump flag thumbs upConstitution and America's democratic history and traditions.

The most outrageous disfiguration of the American flag is the one often seen at Donald Trump rallies and among the crowd of insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

Trump, his supporters, and the far-right continue to show their utter contempt for the United States, its fallen, its traditions, and its history every time they display defaced alterations of Old Glory. They are shameless, repugnant, and despicable creatures in their thoughts, words, and deeds.

Nov. 28

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Rule of Six: A newly radicalized Supreme Court is poised to reshape the nation, Ruth Marcus, right, Nov. 28, 2021. Supreme ruth marcusCourt Justice William J. Brennan Jr., the Eisenhower appointee who became the liberal lion of the Warren Court, had a tradition for introducing every new batch of law clerks to the realities of the institution.

“Brennan liked to greet his new clerks each fall by asking them what they thought was the most important thing they needed to know as they began their work in his chambers,” Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel write in Liberal Champion, their Brennan biography. “The … stumped novices would watch quizzically as Brennan held up five fingers. Brennan then explained that with five votes, you could accomplish anything.”

Brennan, master vote-counter and vote-cajoler, was right — but there is an important corollary to his famous Rule of Five, one powerfully at work in the current Supreme Court. That is the Rule of Six. A five-justice majority is inherently fragile. It necessitates compromise and discourages overreach. Five justices tend to proceed with baby steps.

A six-justice majority is a different animal. A six-justice majority, such as the one now firmly in control, is the judicial equivalent of the monarchy’s “heir and a spare.” The pathways to victory are enlarged. The overall impact is far greater than the single-digit difference suggests.

On the current court, each conservative justice enjoys the prospect of being able to corral four colleagues, if not all five, in support of his or her beliefs, point of view or pet projects, whether that is outlawing affirmative action, ending constitutional protection for abortion, exalting religious liberty over all other rights or restraining the power of government agencies.

A six-justice majority is emboldened rather than hesitant; so, too, are the conservative advocates who appear before it. Such a court doesn’t need to trim its sails, hedge its language, or abide by legal niceties if it seems more convenient to dispense with them.

A conservative justice wary of providing a fifth vote for a controversial position can take comfort in the thought that now there are six; there is strength in that number. Meantime, a court with a six-justice majority is one in which the justices on the other side of the ideological spectrum are effectively consigned to a perpetual minority. They craft dissents that may serve as rebukes for the ages but do little to achieve change in the present. The most they can manage is damage control, and that only rarely.

Nov. 27

World Crisis Radio, What ever happened to the fight against Wall Street? Webster G. Tarpley, right, Nov. 27, 2021. In recent years, predators of international webster tarpley twitterhigh finance have run wild without accountability as spotlight was shifted to race, gender, climate, and anti-vaccine; But while campaign against Wall Street could aspire to 99% support, these other issues are vulnerable to divide & conquer strategies: the debilitating effect of wokeism increasingly recognized;

Prime suspect in price hikes is speculation on London oil market using energy derivatives;

Fourth wave of covid in Europe & US hitting supply chains, triggering lockdowns; Options come down to being vaccinated, cured, or dead, says German Health Minister;

Jury awards $26 million in damages to Charlottesville riot victims; Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and “First Amendment Praetorians” must pay;

New human rights atrocities mean that US should lead total world boycott of February Winter Olympics in Communist China;

Lasting influence in American history of the defeatist Gen. George B. McClellan, the archetype of pessimism; How Grant sought to treat this problem in the Army of the Potomac; Submitting to psychological domination by the weakened Trump is recipe for disaster!

Nov. 25

Justice Integrity Project, JFK Murder Documents, Deadlines, Disclosures, Disputes, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 7, 2021, updated Nov. 25. The Biden Administration’s recent delay in releasing the final trove of classified documents pertaining to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy tees up three annual research conferences this month during the anniversary of JFK’s slaying in downtown Dallas.

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The conferences and postponed document releases build on millions of pages of previously declassified documents and many hundreds of books through the decades fanning widespread public doubts about official accounts. Those official accounts, most notably the 1964 Warren Commission report, assigned guilt for the president’s death solely to ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald. Flaws in the report largely ignored by government, academic and mainstream media foster lingering fears that watchdog institutions fail to probe and prevent civic tragedies and cover-ups, including in current times.

Today’s column surveys this fall’s major developments. These include the records release delay, the three conferences and Oliver Stone's sequel, JFK Revisited, to his blockbuster film JFK three decades ago. The new documentary launched in the United States on Showtime on Nov. 22, the anniversary of JFK's death.

This editor has published a book in the field this year, worked closely with leaders in records release advocacy and also spoke at two of the three November conferences.

One was organized by Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), shown via Zoom with details, on the weekend days of Nov. 20 and 21, with a free all-day session on Friday, Nov. 19 for students. The other was the JFK Assassination Conference, which was seen both via Zoom and in person at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Dallas, beginning Thursday Nov. 18.

A third conference, organized since 1996 by the JFK Lancer event and publishing company, was its "November in Dallas" annual event, this year via remote viewing from Nov. 19 through 21, with heavily discounted admission for students.

Our project always seeks to promote all three conferences with the view that there is much to discuss, with many valuable perspectives deserving an audience.

An appendix below contains more details on these events, as well as excerpts from a number of news stories and commentaries this fall regarding the records release process and its implications, plus analysis of several recent assassination witness revelations.

This column is also the 57th segment of the Justice Integrity Project's JFK Assassination Readers Guide, which lists major books, films, archives and interpretative articles, with an index and links in the appendix.

Shown also below is a report on the new issue of Garrison, a 398-page webzine published this month. This edition's focus is on original commentaries about the 1960s assassinations of John Kennedy (JFK), his brother, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) and Malcolm X.

Nov. 23

 

Torchlight parade of neo-Nazis and White Supremiscists chanting such slogans as

Torchlight parade of neo-Nazis and white supremiscists chanting such slogans as "Jews will not replace us" in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12, 2017.

washington post logoWashington Post, Spencer, Kessler, Cantwell and other white supremacists found liable in deadly Unite the Right rally, Elisa Silverman, Nov. 23, 2021. 
A federal jury in Charlottesville was asked to consider whether some of the country’s most notorious white supremacists and hate groups conspired to commit racially motivated violence.

richard spencer file thumbProminent white supremacists Richard Spencer, left, Jason Kessler and Christopher Cantwell and others (portrayed below right on the front page of the New York Daily News) engaged in a conspiracy in advance of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, a jury has ruled.

The jury did not reach a verdict on two federal conspiracy charges, but did find that every defendant was liable for civil conspiracy under Virginia law.

charlottesville ny daily news cover death hate august 13 2017 custom 3The jury then awarded $500,000 in punitive damages against all 12 individual defendants, and $1 million against five white nationalist organizations on that conspiracy count. Other damages followed on further counts.

The 11 jurors need only to find “a preponderance of the evidence,” rather than the higher bar of “beyond reasonable doubt” in criminal trials. But they deadlocked on two federal claims of a race-based conspiracy, while agreeing that there was a conspiracy under Virginia state law and that the victims were entitled to compensation.

During that rage-filled weekend, a torch-carrying mob chanted “Jews will not replace us!” and a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer. Nine people who said they suffered physical and emotional harm filed the action.

Here’s what to know

  • Jason Kessler, the lead organizer of the Unite the Right rally, Richard Spencer, a featured speaker who coined the term “alt-right,” and Christopher chris cantwell mugCantwell, right, who became widely known as the “crying Nazi” after an emotional video of him was posted when a warrant was issued for his arrest in a separate case, are among the defendants.
  • Plaintiffs’ attorneys used a trove of evidence, including planners’ messages leaked from the group-chat platform Discord, in their argument that defendants planned, executed and celebrated the violence of that weekend.
  • Representatives for many of the two dozen defendants named in this case blamed others for the violence and said their hateful language in messages that featured calls for and celebrations of violence were hyperbolic — and constitutionally protected — speech.

 enrique tarrio mic

   Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, shown above and currently serving a jail sentence, the chairman of the Proud Boys, was issued a subpoena for his involvement with the Capitol attack on Jan. 6.

ny times logoNew York Times, House Panel Investigating Capitol Attack Subpoenas Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, Luke Broadwater, Nov. 23, 2021. Investigators believe the militia or paramilitary groups have information about the deadly siege on Jan. 6.

The House committee investigating the Capitol attack issued subpoenas on Tuesday to three militia or paramilitary groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, that investigators believe have information about the deadly siege on Jan. 6.

The subpoenas were issued to the Proud Boys International, L.L.C., and its chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio; the Oath Keepers and its president Elmer Stewart Rhodes; and the 1st Amendment Praetorian and its chairman Robert Patrick Lewis.

“The select committee is seeking information from individuals and organizations reportedly involved with planning the attack, with the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 or with efforts to overturn the results of the election,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, said in a statement. “We believe the individuals and organizations we subpoenaed today have relevant information about how violence erupted at the Capitol and the preparation leading up to this violent attack.”

The committee said members of Proud Boys International called for violence before Jan. 6, and the Justice Department indicted at least 34 people affiliated with the group.

People associated with the Oath Keepers were similarly involved in planning and participating in the Capitol riot, the committee said, including 18 members who were indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly planning a coordinated attack to storm the building. Mr. Rhodes repeatedly suggested that the Oath Keepers should engage in violence to ensure their preferred election outcome. He was also allegedly in contact with several of the indicted Oath Keepers members before, during and after the Capitol attack, including meeting some of them outside the Capitol.

1st Amendment Praetorian is an organization that provided security at multiple rallies leading up to Jan. 6 that amplified former President Donald J. Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. The group’s Twitter account suggested on Jan. 4 that violence was imminent, the committee said.

“Today is the day that true battles begin,” Mr. Lewis wrote on Twitter on Jan. 6. He also claimed to be involved with “war-gaming” to continue efforts to overturn the election results, the committee said.

The panel has issued more than 40 subpoenas and interviewed more than 200 witnesses as it investigates the violence that engulfed Congress and delayed the formalization of President Biden’s victory. The latest subpoenas demand records and testimony by mid-December.

 Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: A coup by any other name is still a coup, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 23, 2021. The committee's investigators wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallare on a trail that could ultimately point to Donald Trump being aware of the plans by insurrectionists to march on the U.S. Capitol. Those Oval Office plans could also include the physical occupation of the Capitol, as well.

If the plans to occupy the Capitol included placing the Vice President, Speaker of the House, Vice President-elect, and other key senators and representatives in physical harm's way, the criminal charges could be increased to conspiracy to commit murder of an elected federal official.

wayne madesen report logoHistory instructs us that some coup plans involve the storming of the national legislature. For example, the August 19, 1991 Soviet coup against President Mikhail Gorbachev also involved plans by the coup leaders' State Emergency Committee to storm the Russian Parliament building in Moscow  on the night of August 20-21, 1991.

Had it not been for Russian President Boris Yeltsin and thousands of his supporters encircling the Parliament building to protect it from pro-coup Soviet military and KGB personnel -- a force that never materialized -- the Parliament would have been stormed and the Russian democracy movement would have been stopped in its tracks.

The lessons of the Russian and Spanish coup attempts should not be lost on the House January 6th committee. Trump's involvement in the first actual American coup d'état should be met with a criminal indictment and trial. To do less only cheapens America's Constitution and rule of law.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: N.Y. prosecutors set sights on new Trump target: Widely different valuations on the same properties, David A. Fahrenthold, Jonathan O'Connell, Josh Dawsey and Shayna Jacobs, Nov. 23, 2021 (print ed.). The Trump Organization owns an office building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan. In 2012, when the company was listing its assets for potential lenders, it said the building was worth $527 million — which would make it among the most valuable in New York.

But just a few months later, the Trump Organization told property tax officials that the entire 70-story building was worth less than a high-end Manhattan condo: just $16.7 million, according to newly released city records.

That was less than one-thirtieth the amount it had claimed the year before.

That property is now under scrutiny from the Manhattan district attorney and New York attorney general, along with several others like it for which the Trump Organization gave vastly different value estimates, according to public records and people familiar with their investigations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing inquiries.

After the indictment of the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer this summer for income tax fraud, prosecutors now appear to be examining whether the company broke the law by providing low values to property tax officers, while using high ones to garner tax breaks or impress lenders.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has said she is considering a lawsuit, and prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have also convened a new grand jury, which could vote on criminal charges, according to the people familiar with the investigations.

Among the other properties under scrutiny: former president Donald Trump’s California golf club, for which he valued the same parcel of land at $900,000 and $25 million depending on the intended audience, and an estate in suburban New York, for which Trump’s valuations ranged from $56 million up to $291 million. The valuations were all given in the five years before Trump won the presidency.

washington post logoWashington Post, Federal judge orders nearly $187,000 in fees assessed against two lawyers who filed suit challenging 2020 presidential election, Rosalind S. Helderman, Nov. 23, 2021 (print ed.). The order is one of the first efforts to put a dollar figure on penalties for lawyers who attempted to use the legal system to overturn the results of the presidential balloting.

A federal judge has ordered two Colorado lawyers who filed a lawsuit late last year challenging the 2020 election results to pay nearly $187,000 to defray the legal fees of groups they sued, arguing that the hefty penalty was proper to deter others from using frivolous suits to undermine the democratic system.

“As officers of the Court, these attorneys have a higher duty and calling that requires meaningful investigation before prematurely repeating in court pleadings unverified and uninvestigated defamatory rumors that strike at the heart of our democratic system and were used by others to foment a violent insurrection that threatened our system of government,” wrote Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter.

“They are experienced lawyers who should have known better. They need to take responsibility for their misconduct,” he wrote.

The two lawyers, Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker, filed the case in December 2020 as a class action on behalf of 160 million American voters, alleging there was a complicated plot to steal the election from President Donald Trump and give the victory to Joe Biden.

The two argued that a scheme was engineered by the voting machine vendor Dominion Voting Systems; the tech company Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan; and elected officials in four states. They had sought $160 billion in damages.

Their case was dismissed in April. In August, Neureiter ruled that the attorneys had violated their ethical obligations by filing it in the first place, arguing that the duo had run afoul of legal rules that prohibit clogging the courts with frivolous motions and lodging information in court that is not true. At the time, he called their suit “the stuff of which violent insurrections are made,” alleging they made little effort to determine the truth of their conspiratorial claims before filing them in court. He ordered them to pay the legal fees of all of the many entities that they had sued.

Rolling Stone, Investigation: Jan. 6 Organizers Used Anonymous Burner Phones to Communicate with White House and Trump Family, Sources Say, Hunter Walker, Nov. 23, 2021. A key planner of the Jan. 6 rally near the White House insisted the burner phones be purchased with cash, a source says.

Some of the organizers who planned the rally that took place on the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6 allegedly used difficult-to-trace burner phones for their most “high level” communications with former President Trump’s team.

Kylie Kremer, a top official in the March for Trump group that helped plan the Ellipse rally, directed an aide to pick up three burner phones days before Jan. 6, according to three sources who were involved in the event. One of the sources, a member of the March for Trump team, says Kremer insisted the phones be purchased using cash and described this as being “of the utmost importance.”

The three sources say Kylie Kremer took one of the phones and used it to communicate with top White House and Trump campaign officials, including Eric Trump, the president’s second-oldest son, who leads the family’s real-estate business; Lara Trump, Eric’s wife and a former senior Trump campaign consultant; Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff; and Katrina Pierson, a Trump surrogate and campaign consultant.

Some of the organizers who planned the rally that took place on the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6 allegedly used difficult-to-trace burner phones for their most “high level” communications with former President Trump’s team.

Kylie Kremer, a top official in the March for Trump group that helped plan the Ellipse rally, directed an aide to pick up three burner phones days before Jan. 6, according to three sources who were involved in the event. One of the sources, a member of the March for Trump team, says Kremer insisted the phones be purchased using cash and described this as being “of the utmost importance.”

The three sources say Kylie Kremer took one of the phones and used it to communicate with top White House and Trump campaign officials, including Eric Trump, the president’s second-oldest son, who leads the family’s real-estate business; Lara Trump, Eric’s wife and a former senior Trump campaign consultant; Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff; and Katrina Pierson, a Trump surrogate and campaign consultant.

Some of the organizers who planned the rally that took place on the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6 allegedly used difficult-to-trace burner phones for their most “high level” communications with former President Trump’s team.

Kylie Kremer, a top official in the March for Trump group that helped plan the Ellipse rally, directed an aide to pick up three burner phones days before Jan. 6, according to three sources who were involved in the event. One of the sources, a member of the March for Trump team, says Kremer insisted the phones be purchased using cash and described this as being “of the utmost importance.”

The three sources say Kylie Kremer took one of the phones and used it to communicate with top White House and Trump campaign officials, including Eric Trump, the president’s second-oldest son, who leads the family’s real-estate business; Lara Trump, Eric’s wife and a former senior Trump campaign consultant; Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff; and Katrina Pierson, a Trump surrogate and campaign consultant.

Nov. 20

World Crisis Radio, House passes Build Back Better bill, 220 to 213; together with bipartisan infrastructure bill, these two measures add up to a second webster tarpley twitterFranklin D. Roosevelt New Deal, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Nov. 20, 2021. So contact your senator and demand immediate action with no more cuts!

House GOP leader McCarthy breaks Fidel Castro’s record with 8.5 hour marathon tirade; deranged speech included everything from cabbages to kings, but somehow did not mention covid pandemic;

If Supremes destroy the New York State Sullivan law requiring permits for concealed weapons, New Year’s Eve in Times Square could become a dangerous gauntlet;

CDC recommends boosters for all adults as Austria, Germany, and others tighten public health restrictions;

What ever happened to to Wall Street? Ten years ago, finance oligarchs were main target of popular rage, but far less so today; FTC must probe London-traded energy derivatives as root cause of rise in gasoline prices;

As forms of legal positivism, the textualism, originalism, and formalism practiced in US jurisprudence ignore morality and justice; For 90 minutes, a black woman is acting President!

Nov. 18

 

pro publica logo

ProPublica, Texts Show Kimberly Guilfoyle Bragged About Raising Millions for Rally That Fueled Capitol Riot, Joaquin Sapien and Joshua Kaplan, Nov. 18, 2021. Text messages reviewed by ProPublica represent the strongest indication yet that members of the Trump family inner circle were involved in financing and organizing the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally, which immediately preceded the Capitol riot.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for former President Donald Trump and the girlfriend of his son Donald Trump Jr., boasted to a GOP operative that she had raised $3 million for the rally that helped fuel the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

In a series of text messages sent on Jan. 4 to Katrina Pierson, the White House liaison to the event, Guilfoyle detailed her fundraising efforts and supported a push to get far-right speakers on the stage alongside Trump for the rally, which sought to overturn the election of President Joe Biden.

Guilfoyle’s texts, reviewed by ProPublica, represent the strongest indication yet that members of the Trump family circle were directly involved in the financing and organization of the rally. The attack on the Capitol that followed it left five dead and scores injured.

A House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 has subpoenaed more than 30 Trump allies for testimony and documents, including Pierson and Caroline Wren, a former deputy to Guilfoyle. But Guilfoyle herself has so far not received any official scrutiny from Congress.

Guilfoyle’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, denied that Guilfoyle had anything to do with fundraising or approving speakers. He said the text from Guilfoyle “did not relate to the Save America rally” on Jan. 6 and the “content of the message itself” was “inaccurate” and “taken out of context.” He did not respond to additional questions asking about the accuracy and context of the message.

Reached by phone, Pierson declined to comment.

The text messages show that Guilfoyle expressed specific concerns that she might not be allowed to speak on stage at the Jan. 6 rally. Pierson responded that Trump himself set the speaking lineup and that it was limited to people he selected, including some of his children and Amy Kremer, a grassroots activist who organized the event.

Guilfoyle replied that she only wanted to introduce Trump Jr. and had "raised so much money for this."

"Literally one of my donors Julie at 3 million,” she added.

Guilfoyle was referring to Julie Jenkins Fancelli, a Publix supermarket heir who Guilfoyle had developed a professional relationship with during the campaign.

Until now, Wren has been the only person identified as having worked with Fancelli. As ProPublica reported last month, Wren also boasted in private conversations with colleagues of raising $3 million for the events of Jan. 6.

It remains unclear whether that amount was really raised and, if so, how the majority of it was spent. Some of the money raised from Fancelli flowed to dark money groups that supported the rally, according to wire transfers described to ProPublica, planning documents and interviews with insiders.

In a statement from her attorney, Wren acknowledged helping to produce the rally but did not provide further details about her role in fundraising.

“To Ms. Wren’s knowledge, Kimberly Guilfoyle had no involvement in raising funds for any events on January 6th,” the statement said. “They were both present at a peaceful rally with hundreds of thousands of Americans who were in DC to lawfully exercise their first amendment rights, a primary pillar of American democracy.”

The texts between Guilfoyle and Pierson and interviews with Trump officials also suggest that Guilfoyle attempted to influence the lineup of speakers scheduled to appear at the event.

On the night of Jan. 5, Trump Jr., Guilfoyle and Wren attended an event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where Trump donors mingled with prominent figures in the movement to overturn the election, according to interviews and social media posts from attendees.

Around the time of that event, Wren called rally staff and urged them to allow speaking roles for Ali Alexander, a far-right provocateur and leader of the Stop the Steal movement; Roger Stone, a former Trump advisor; and conspiracy theorist and InfoWars leader Alex Jones, according to a former campaign official who was told details of the call by people who listened to it.

Trump aides had already deemed the men too radical to go on stage, worrying they might embarrass the president.

During the call, Guilfoyle voiced her support for the controversial speakers, the former campaign official was told. She also specifically demanded that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had sued to challenge election results in four other states, address the crowd. Alexander later said on a newscast that he also received a call from Guilfoyle that same evening.

Tacopina, Guilfoyle's lawyer, said she did not urge staffers to change the speakers. "Your contention that Ms. Guilfoyle approved a speaking list for January 6th is patently false," he wrote. He threatened to “aggressively pursue all legal remedies available” against ProPublica.

But the texts show Guilfoyle and Pierson talking about a “leaked” speaking list — an apparent reference to an article about the Jan. 6 rally published by the conservative news website Breitbart the day before.

That list included Alexander, Stone and Paxton, among others.

“All I know is that someone leaked a list of ‘speakers’ that the WH had not seen or approved,” Pierson wrote. “I’ve never had so much interference.”

Guilfoyle responded: “Yea and this the list we approved.”

Tacopina did not answer further questions about what Guilfoyle meant in the text where she said "we" had approved a speaking list.

Untangling the relationship between Guilfoyle, Wren and Fancelli is key to understanding the financing of the events of Jan. 6.

In January 2020, Guilfoyle was appointed national chair of the Trump Victory finance committee, a leading fundraising vehicle for Trump’s reelection campaign. She brought Wren on as her deputy.

Guilfoyle, through her relationship with Trump Jr., had access to the family and a certain star power that appealed to donors. Wren, by all accounts a relentless, high-energy worker, brought fundraising expertise and a Rolodex of wealthy Republicans willing to invest handsomely to keep Trump in office. The duo ultimately brought in tens of millions of dollars toward Trump’s reelection.

The pair focused primarily on ramping up the campaign’s “bundling” program, a method of fundraising that relies on volunteers collecting money from their personal networks.

Fancelli, a reclusive member of one of the country’s richest families, was one of those volunteers, according to interviews and internal Trump Victory records. Splitting her time between Florida and Italy, Fancelli raised at least $72,000 from her friends and family.

She stood out to Wren and Guilfoyle, who in 2020 considered her for a role as Florida state co-chair for the bundling program, according to an internal Trump Victory planning document reviewed by ProPublica. The document highlighted Fancelli as a person Guilfoyle should contact personally.

Nov. 17

 

norman 3X butler thomas 15X johnson ap

The exoneration of the two men, Muhammad Aziz, left, formerly known as Norman 3X Butler) and the late Khalil Islam (formerly known as Thomas 15X Johnson), represents 'a remarkable acknowledgment of grave errors made in a case of towering importance,' the New York Times reported. Aziz and the estate of Islam were both reprsented by the Innocence Project and attorney David Shanies. Photos by Associated Press.

ny times logoNew York Times, 2 Men Convicted of Killing Malcolm X Will Be Exonerated After 55 Years, Ashley Southall and Jonah E. Bromwich, Nov. 17, 2021. Two of the men found guilty of the assassination of Malcolm X are expected to have their convictions thrown out on Thursday, the Manhattan district attorney and lawyers for the two men said, rewriting the official history of one of the most notorious murders of the civil rights era.

The exoneration of the two men, Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam, represents a remarkable acknowledgment of grave errors made in a case of towering importance: the 1965 murder of one of America’s most influential Black leaders in the fight against racism.

malcolm x stamp black heritageA 22-month investigation conducted jointly by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and lawyers for the two men found that prosecutors and two of the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department — had withheld key evidence that, had it been turned over, would likely have led to the men’s acquittal.

The two men, known at the time of the killing as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, spent decades in prison for the murder, which took place on Feb. 21, 1965, when three men opened fire inside a crowded ballroom at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan as Malcolm X was starting to speak.

But the case against them was questionable from the outset, and in the decades since, historians and hobbyists have raised doubts about the official story.

The review, which was undertaken as an explosive documentary about the assassination and a new biography renewed interest in the case, did not identify who prosecutors now believe really killed Malcolm X, and those who were previously implicated but never arrested are dead.

Nor did it uncover a police or government conspiracy to murder him. It also left unanswered questions about how and why the police and the federal government failed to prevent the assassination.

But the acknowledgment by Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney who is among the nation’s most prominent local prosecutors, recasts one of the most painful moments in modern American history. New York Times excerpt continued below.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Reactions to the Malcolm X Case, Staff Reports, Nov. 17, 2021. A timeline of major events in the case since Malcolm X’s death:

  • This is who scholars believe really killed Malcolm X.
  • What we know about Malcolm X’s assassination.
  • A new witness supports the original alibi of one of the wrongfully convicted men.
  • Al Sharpton calls exonerations in Malcolm X case a ‘strange and perverted irony.’

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Why Doesn’t the CIA Just Destroy Its Secret JFK Records? Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Nov. 17, 2021. With President jacob hornberger newBiden’s order granting the CIA’s request for continued secrecy of its 60-year-old records retailing to the JFK assassination — on grounds of protecting “national security” — the question naturally arises: Why doesn’t the the CIA simply sneak into the National Archives and just destroy its records and be done with it?

By now, it should be obvious to everyone, including the CIA’s assets in the mainstream press, that the CIA’s remaining secret records contain incriminating evidence pointing toward a national-security state regime-change operation against President Kennedy, just as Oliver Stone posited in his movie JFK in 1991. The notion that the release of 60-year-old records will endanger “national security,” no matter what definition is placed on that meaningless, nebulous term, is patently ludicrous on its face.

future of freedom foundation logo squareMind you, I’m not advocating that the CIA do this, of course. I believe those long-secret records should have been disclosed to the American people six decades ago. I’m just asking a question and wondering why the CIA doesn’t do what it has done in the past to prevent the American people from seeing its dark-side activities.

Yes, it know that doing this would be violating the JFK Records Act of 1992. But we all know that nothing would happen to the CIA if it broke the law and destroyed those records. Nobody would get indicted. No one would even lose his job. No one would even get a slap on the wrist. After all, this is the CIA we are talking about.

When the CIA intentionally destroyed its videotapes of its brutal torture sessions with suspected terrorists, nothing happened to the CIA. When the CIA intentionally destroyed its MKULTRA records of its drug experiments on unsuspecting American citizens, again nothing happened.

Moreover, consider what the Secret Service did after the JFK Records Act was enacted. That sordid story is recounted in Douglas Horne’s watershed secret service logo5-volume book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board.

The JFK Records Act mandated that all federal agencies disclose their assassination-related records to the public. To enforce the law, Congress called into existence The Assassination Records Review Board.

After the law was enacted, a letter was sent to the Secret Service and other federal agencies specifically directing them to not destroy any assassination-related records. The Secret Service received the letter and understood the directive.

Nonetheless, the Secret Service intentionally destroyed critically important secret information relating to the assassination.

CIA LogoNo one got indicted for what was obviously a knowing, intentional, and deliberate violation of the law. No one got cited for contempt. No one got fired. The Secret Service got away with it. The American people never got to see those secret assassination-related records.

The Secret Service’s intentional destruction of those records looked especially bad in the context of the Secret Service’s actions prior to and immediately after the assassination.

  1. First, it didn’t seal the windows or the roof of the Texas School Book Depository or other high-rise buildings overlooking Dealey Plaza, where President Kennedy was assassinated,
  2. Second, it prevented agents from stationing themselves on the side and back of the presidential limousine during the motorcade.
  3. Third, it ensured that the motorcycle cops stayed behind the limousine rather than on its sides.
  4. Fourth, the custom was to have the official press corps car in front of the presidential limousine so that the professional photographers could easily take pictures and film during the motorcade. This time, the Secret Service placed the press corps car several cars behind the limousine, which ensured that there were few professional photographers capturing the assassination in photographs or film.
  5. Fifth, when the first shot rang out, the Secret Service agent who was driving the presidential limousine — William Greer — failed to floor the accelerator and immediately escape from the area before a second shot could hit the president.
  6. Sixth, the Secret Service agent in the passenger seat — Roy Kellerman — sat there like a bump on the log after the first shot rang out, even though his duty was to immediately jump in the back seat and cover the president with his own body. That’s what Secret Service agent Clint Hill was trying to do when he ran from his car toward the president’s car.
  7. Seventh, as I detail in my book The Kennedy Autopsy, Kellerman was actually the person who first launched the scheme for a fraudulent autopsy that was conducted later that day at the military’s medical facility at Bethesda National Naval Medical Facility. When Dr. Earl Rose, the Dallas County Medical Examiner, announced his intention to conduct an autopsy on the president’s body in accordance with Texas state criminal law, Kellerman, who was carrying a submachine gun, declared that no such autopsy would be permitted. Stating that he was operating on orders. Kellerman and his team of Secret Service agents, who were themselves brandishing their own guns, forced their way out of Parkland with the president’s body in a very heavy ornate casket. Kellerman and his team then delivered the body to new President Lyndon Johnson. Later that day, Johnson delivered the president’s body to the military, which then conducted a top-secret, classified fraudulent autopsy on Kennedy’s body.

Kennedy’s body was secretly sneaked into the Bethesda morgue in a cheap shipping casket at 6:35 p.m., which was almost 1 1/2 hours before the official entry time of 8 p.m. As I also detailed in The Kennedy Autopsy, Secret Service agents Kellerman and Greer participated in the secret reintroduction of Kennedy’s body into the expensive, heavy ornate Dallas casket, which was then brought into the morgue at the official entry time of 8 p.m.

What was in those top-secret Secret Service records that the Secret Service intentionally destroyed after being specifically told not to destroy them?

I don’t know, but my hunch is that there was a good reason why the Secret Service felt the need to destroy them.

There is obviously a good reason why the CIA doesn’t want its 60-year-old records disclosed to the American people, and I have no doubts that it has nothing to do with protecting “national security.” Which causes me to wonder why the CIA doesn’t do what the Secret Service did and just be done with the entire controversy.

Nov. 15

 

steve bannon rally source unstated

washington post logoWashington Post, Stephen Bannon surrenders after he was indicted on charges of contempt of Congress, Spencer S. Hsu and Tom Jackman, Nov. 15, 2021. Stephen K. Bannon, the former Trump White House adviser who was indicted last week for defying a congressional subpoena, surrendered to federal authorities Monday morning and was scheduled to make his first court appearance later Monday afternoon.

Bannon, 67 (shown above in a file photo), walked through a group of photographers outside the FBI field office in downtown Washington. Bannon told the news media, “I don’t want anybody to take their eye off the ball for what we do every day. . .We’re taking down the Biden regime.”

Bannon is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather for his arraignment on two counts of contempt of Congress.

A federal grand jury indicted Bannon on Friday after he ignored a Sept. 23 subpoena to testify and provide documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The committee wants to question Bannon about activities that occurred at the Willard Hotel the night before the riot, when pro-Trump activists sought to convince Republican lawmakers to block certification of the election. The committee’s subpoena also noted that Bannon was quoted predicting “hell is going to break loose” on Jan. 6.

The panel has subpoenaed at least 20 Trump aides, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meadows did not appear Friday for a scheduled deposition, officials said. The charges against Bannon are misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

 

steve bannon billionaire guo wengui

Wayne Madsen Report,  Investigative Commentary: Time to extradite Bannon's patron to China, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 15, 2021. The method to bring down a massive far-right conspiracy to overthrow the government is to, as the Department of Justice did during Iran-contra, and, to a lesser extent, for Watergate is to "follow the money."

wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallToday, as former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is arraigned in federal court in Washington for two criminal counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to appear before the January 6th special House committee and turn over requested documents, it is an important reminder that Bannon's financial patron is Guo Wengui, a fugitive billionaire Chinese national who resides in the United States. Bannon and Guo are shown above in a file photo.

wayne madesen report logoGuo (shown above in a file photo with Bannon) was granted political asylum by the Trump administration in 2017 as a Priority 1 asylee after Trump was informed that Guo had laid out the required $200,000 in initiation fees and $14,000 in annual dues to become a member of Trump's Mar-a-Lago billionaires' beach club in Palm Beach, Florida. Guo is currently the subject of an Interpol Red Notice arrest warrant issued in April 2017 by China.

Guo is accused of fraud, rape, bribery, money laundering, kidnapping, and other crimes committed in China and abroad before he was granted political asylum in the United States.

Guo has the distinction of being involved in simultaneous attempts to overthrow two governments, that of his asylum-grantor, the United States, and that of China. Guo maintains a Chinese government-in-exile in Manhattan, which he calls the New Federal State of China, which has its own flag and Himalaya Coin cryptocurrency, issues its own "Himalaya" passport, and claims to represent a post-Communist state in China.

Guo's government-in-exile is nothing more than a fraudulent micronation involved in dubious activity and is not much different than the Dominion of Melchizedek and Kingdom of EnenKio, which were the subjects of international criminal investigations for banking and securities fraud.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Journalists also have an obligation to fix democracy, Jennifer Rubin (shown at right, with the cover of her book this fall below left), Nov. 15, 2021.jennifer rubin new headshot Looking back on the first 10 months of Joe Biden’s presidency, we see little evidence the media has examined its own role in Republicans’ assault on democracy.

Indeed, one could argue mainstream media outlets have been complicit in the current crisis of democracy. The trivialization of coverage, default to false equivalency, amplification of GOP spin and habitual treatment of Republicans’ conduct as within the normal boundaries of politics have serious implications for a democracy that relies on an informed citizenry.

jennifer rubin book resistanceJournalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen observes that “the incremental coverage, the focus on the inside game, the notion of tactics and strategy, and the joining up of the political class with the information junkies” does little to inform voters about major pieces of legislation. We get nonstop coverage of the “sausage making” but little about the content of bills that cost trillions. We hear incessant chatter about the filibuster but little examination of Senate Democrats’ compromise voting-rights plan, while Republicans are rarely grilled as to the basis for their objections to common-sense measures (e.g. enhancing penalties for threats to election officials, requiring a paper audit trail, limiting wait times to 30 minutes).

This style of political coverage reduces critical issues of the day to sporting events and celebrity gossip.

Republicans are rarely grilled on their tacit approval of violence — from the former president’s rationalization of the “Hang Mike Pence!” chants on Jan. 6 to warnings of “bloodshed” from Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) to violent imagery posted on social media by Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.). At best, we get easily sidestepped inquiries “What is your response?”); virtually never are Republicans asked “How can you remain in a party that tolerates violence?” or “How can we entrust power to people who follow the MAGA leader and/or stir violence?”

The press treats leaders of the GOP, who fail to condemn such aberrant conduct, continue to deny their nominee lost in 2020 and still pledge fidelity to the former president who instigated a violent insurrection, as ordinary politicians. Hmm, why has the president “failed” to get Republican support for his initiatives?

Nov. 13

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Trump’s ideologist Bannon finally indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress by DC grand jury, Webster G. Tarpley, webster tarpley 2007right, Nov. 13, 2021. Move could open door to forcing cooperation from ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows, Gen. Michael Flynn, Stephen Miller, ex-DoJ official Jeffrey Clark, and other honchos of January 6 subversion; Will Garland eschew his abject appeasement of Trump faction?

Apotheosis of tyrant Xi as Communist Party Central Committee places him third after genocidalist Mao and Tien an Men perpetrator Deng; Is an imperial Xi dynasty next?

Biden administration is dismantling key abuses of three decades of globalization: global minimum tax strengthens nation-state vs. finance oligarchs and monopolists, while White House fights union-busting and crushing deflation; Inflation bad for creditors, but advantageous for debtors!

Nov. 12

SkyHorse Publishing, Coup in Dallas: The Decisive Investigation into Who Killed JFK, H. P. Albarelli Jr. with foreward by Dick Russell, Publication Date: Nov. 16, 2021 (720 Pages). Publisher's Description:

The CIA, Dallas, and the Hard Details of the JFK Assassination: Coup in Dallas leaves speculation and theory aside to give the hard details of who killed hp albarelli jr cover coupPresident John F. Kennedy and how the assassination plot was carried out. Through exhaustive research and newly translated documents, author H. P. Albarelli uncovers and explains the historical roots of state-sponsored assassination, finding disturbing parallels to the assassination of JFK. Albarelli goes beyond conventional JFK assassination theory to piece together the biographies of the lesser-known but instrumental players in the incident, such as Otto Skorzeny, Pierre Lafitte, James Jesus Angleton, Santo Trafficante, and others.

Albarelli provides shocking detail on the crucial role that the city of Dallas and its officials played in the maintenance of Dallas as a major hub of CIA activity, and how it led to JFK’s assassination and its cover-up. Go beyond LBJ, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby, and read the full, definitive account of what happened on November 22, 1963—and how it came to fruition.

Authors: H. P. Albarelli Jr., investigative reporter and author of A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments and A Secret Order: Investigating the High Strangeness and Synchronicity in the JFK Assassination, focused on the foreign and domestic intelligence apparatus, government mind control research projects, biological warfare, and political assassinations. His body of work, including articles published in Huffington Post, Pravda, and CounterPunch, has been cited in leading-edge books and periodicals. Albarelli made his home in Vermont, Florida, and the UK.

Dick Russell is an investigative journalist and bestselling author who has written for such varied publications as Time, Sports Illustrated, and the Village Voice. His books include Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Black Genius, and On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, as well as the New York Times bestsellers American Conspiracies, 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read, and They Killed Our President. He lives in Boston and Hollywood.

Nov. 11

WhoWhatWhy, Opinion: The JFK Assassination and the Conspiracy Theory Experts at the Washington Post, Brian Baccus (a Texas attorney), Nov. 11, 2021. If you haven’t kept up with the latest developments in QAnon world, then you may have been wondering why hundreds of its adherents poured into Dallas last week, packing Dealey Plaza, the infamous site of President John F. Kennedy’s murder.

whowhatwhy logoThey were there harboring the fervent belief they were actually about to see the triumphant return of John F. Kennedy Jr., who was supposed to announce a 2024 vice presidential run with Donald Trump. Some even hoped to see the slain president himself.

Never mind that John Jr. died in a plane crash in 1999 and his father has been dead since 1963.

What has led to the current situation where a fair number of people actually believe that the Kennedys — Senior and Junior — are alive and have been hiding from the deep state all these years, waiting for their chance to come out of the shadows and save democracy?

Although the absurdity of these opinions is easy to laugh off, such beliefs are perhaps not so surprising given the curious reluctance of the federal government to reveal everything it knows about the Kennedy story. When Washington is still actively concealing key documents regarding his murder, which occurred almost 60 years ago, should it shock us that some of our fellow citizens are drawn to fill the vacuum with surreal inventions of their own?

The Gurus

Much has already been written about the perpetually delayed JFK records. But the consequences of such governmental dereliction of duty are perhaps best captured in a recent Washington Post opinion piece by a couple of data gurus, David Byler and Yan Wu. Although little of the subject really requires a data guru’s expertise, Byler in particular appears to be upset about the very concept that conspiracies could sometimes actually exist, and the Post seems to like to give him a platform.

Under the title Will you fall into the conspiracy theory rabbit hole? Take our quiz and find out, the authors cite a recent study by a team of academics who surveyed over 4,000 people in the United States about the degree of credence they give to a variety of so-called conspiracy theories.

A handful of questions from the study are included in the Post’s quiz. The first question asks which of the following four statements is true:

(a) ​​Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire accused of running an elite sex trafficking ring, was murdered to cover up the activities of his criminal network.

(b) President John F. Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy rather than a lone gunman.

(c) The FBI kept tabs on civil rights leaders, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., attempting to find compromising information and damage their reputations.

(d) Regardless of who is officially in charge of the government and other organizations, there is a single group of people who secretly control events and rule the world together.

While you may be wondering why, just for good form, they don’t include an option to declare multiple answers correct, we are told that only one is: (c ), the well-known fact that J. Edgar Hoover had a vendetta against MLK. The authors also provide helpful explanations as to why the other answer choices are wrong.

Not surprisingly, the Post piece chides anyone who answered “yes” to whether JFK was killed by a conspiracy rather than a lone gunman. The authors state emphatically: “The evidence is clear: Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to assassinate President Kennedy.”

The refusal of the media and academia to question the official story of Kennedy’s murder — in spite of the decades of evidence that casts serious doubt on it — is the height of illogical thinking.

Nov. 9

washington post logoWashington Post, Jan. 6 panel can gain access to Trump records, judge rules, Spencer S. Hsu, Nov. 9, 2021. Attorneys for the former president vowed to appeal the decision.

tanya chutkanA federal judge in Washington ruled late Tuesday that hundreds of pages of Trump White House records can be turned over to a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol despite the former president’s objections.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, right, clears the way for the release of government records requested by Congress, with a deadline of Nov. 12. Attorneys for Trump vowed to immediately appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

U.S. House logo“The court holds that the public interest lies in permitting—not enjoining—the combined will of the legislative and executive branches to study the events that led to and occurred on January 6, and to consider legislation to prevent such events from ever occurring again,” Chutkan wrote in a 39-page opinion.

House Democrats are probing Trump’s communications and activities leading up to and during the mob riot by his supporters that contributed to at least five deaths and forced the evacuation of Congress as it met to confirm the 2020 presidential election results.

In court filings, the House has argued it needs the communications records “of the then-President who helped foment the breakdown in the rule of law” by assembling thousands of supporters in Washington after a months-long effort to falsely brand the 2020 election as stolen.

 kayleigh mcenany djt

washington post logoWashington Post, Jan. 6 committee subpoenas more Trump aides, including Miller, McEnany and McEntee, Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey, Nov. 9, 2021. The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol issued subpoenas Tuesday to 10 Trump administration officials, including some of former president Donald Trump’s closest advisers who were in the White House that day.

john mcentee CustomThose subpoenaed to provide testimony and documents include John McEntee, right, the former White House personnel director; Ben Williamson, a former deputy assistant to the president and senior adviser to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; and Nicholas Luna, the former president’s personal assistant.

Also on the list of subpoenas that went out Tuesday was Kenneth Klukowski, senior counsel to former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who is also on the list because of his involvement “in drafting a letter that urged legislatures in certain states to delay certification of the election, according to the report recently released by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary,” the committee said.

Trump loyalists and top advisers including Kayleigh McEnany, above right, the White House press secretary, and Stephen Miller, the senior adviser to the former president, and Cassidy Hutchinson, a special assistant to Trump for legislative affairs, have also been asked to provide depositions and documents.

Others close to the president who were subpoenaed include Molly Michael, the Oval Office operations coordinator to Trump. Michael still works for Trump and was in the White House for much of Jan. 6. McEntee, according to the committee’s statement, was “in the White House on January 6th and was with former President Trump when he traveled to the Ellipse and spoke at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.”

McEntee was a key figure in hiring of Trump loyalists across the government during the final stretch of Trump’s presidency.

Luna was “reportedly in the Oval Office the morning of January 6, 2021, when former President Trump was on a phone call to Vice President Pence pressuring him not to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election,” according to the committee.

The committee has sent out subpoenas in recent weeks to aides and allies of the former president as it tries to crack his inner circle as part of its investigation into the attack as well as the former president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

It remains unclear how many people are cooperating with the probe and, if so, how much information they are providing. Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) has said the panel will aggressively go after anyone who tries to stonewall the investigation.

The House recently voted to hold former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress. But Attorney General Merrick Garland has yet to announce whether his department will prosecute Bannon for failing to cooperate. Members of the select committee have said they view the Justice Department pursuing these charges as key to getting needed information and the department’s decision could impact whether other witnesses will cooperate with the congressional probe.

Nov. 8

 

michael flynn djt

ny times logoNew York Times, Jan. 6 Inquiry Subpoenas Close Trump Allies, Luke Broadwater, Nov. 8, 2021. The latest batch of subpoenas from the House panel investigating the Capitol riot includes officials from former President Trump’s re-election campaign. Michael Flynn, above left, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, is included among those called to turn over documents and sit for depositions.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued subpoenas on Monday for six close allies of former President Donald J. Trump who promoted false claims of election fraud or worked to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including his former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.

The subpoenas demand records and testimony from Mr. Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien and a senior adviser, Jason Miller, as well as others associated with a so-called “war room” of planners who sought to halt Congress’s counting of electoral votes before a violent mob overtook the Capitol. They include John Eastman, a lawyer who drafted a memo laying out how Mr. Trump could use Congress to try to overturn the election and Mr. Flynn, who discussed seizing voting machines and invoking certain national security emergency powers.

The subpoenas demand that the witnesses turn over documents this month and sit for depositions in early December.

 

Trump-supporting former law school dean John Eastman, left, helps Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani inflame pro-Trump protesters in front the White House before the insurrection riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the presidential election certification of Joe Biden's presidency on Jan. 6, 2021 (Los Angeles Times photo). Trump-supporting former law school dean John Eastman, left, helps Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani inflame pro-Trump protesters in front the White House before the insurrection riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the presidential election certification of Joe Biden's presidency on Jan. 6, 2021 (Los Angeles Times photo). 

“In the days before the Jan. 6 attack, the former president’s closest allies and advisers drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the committee chairman, said in a statement. “The select committee needs to know every detail about their efforts to overturn the election, including who they were talking to in the White House and in Congress, what connections they had with rallies that escalated into a riot, and who paid for it all.”

The six subpoenas bring to 25 the number issued so far by the committee. More than 150 witnesses have testified in closed-door sessions with the committee’s investigators.

Mr. Stepien was the manager of Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, which urged state and party officials to affect the outcome of the 2020 election by asking states to delay or deny certification of electoral votes and by sending multiple slates of the votes to Congress to allow a challenge to the results, the committee said.

Mr. Miller, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, spread the false claim of widespread fraud and coordinated with the former president and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in attempts to overturn the election, the committee said. It cited the fact Mr. Miller participated in a meeting on Jan. 5 at the Willard Hotel in Washington in which Mr. Giuliani, Stephen K. Bannon, and others discussed pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the Electoral College results.

The panel also subpoenaed the Trump campaign’s national executive assistant Angela McCallum, who reportedly left voice mail for an unknown Michigan state representative in which she said that she wanted to know whether the Trump campaign could “count on” the representative. She is also believed to have told the representative that they had the authority to appoint an alternate slate of electors based on purported evidence of widespread election fraud, the committee said.

Mr. Eastman has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent weeks after it was revealed that he wrote a memo to Mr. Trump suggesting that Mr. Pence could reject electors from certain states in order to deny Joseph R. Biden Jr. a majority of the Electoral College vote.

Mr. Eastman is reported to have participated in a briefing for nearly 300 state legislators, during which he told the group that it was their duty to “fix this, this egregious conduct, and make sure that we’re not putting in the White House some guy that didn’t get elected,” the committee said. He participated in the Jan. 5 meeting at the Willard Hotel and spoke at the rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6 before the Capitol assault.

Mr. Flynn attended a meeting in the Oval Office on Dec. 18 during which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers and continuing to spread the false message that the 2020 election had been tainted by widespread fraud, the committee said.

It has also issued a subpoena for Bernard Kerik, the former New York police commissioner who reportedly participated in the Willard Hotel meeting and paid for rooms and suites in Washington hotels as he worked with Mr. Giuliani to promote baseless litigation and “Stop the Steal” efforts, the committee said.

 

igor danchenko john durham

Proof, Investigative Commentary: The Durham Indictment of Igor Danchenko (above at left) Is An Embarrassment to the Department of Justice, Seth Abramson, left, Nov. 7-8, seth abramson graphic2021. A longtime criminal defense attorney, Trump biographer, and chronicler of the Trump-Russia scandal unpacks an irresponsible criminal indictment by Trump-appointed special prosecutor John Durham, above right,that has fooled reporters into thinking it significant.

On the tenth page of the first volume of the major Trump-Russia report coordinated by former FBI director Robert Mueller, the venerated lawman seth abramson proof logoopines that he hasn’t been able to access a significant percentage of the stock of evidence he’s been aiming to accrue.

The reason? Not dumb luck or any particular investigative failure at the FBI, but systematic hindrance of his efforts by people FBI logoassociated with Donald Trump.

Mueller would later on in his report disclose that much of that hindrance had been coordinated by Trump himself, aided and abetted by Trump’s personal attorneys. If this tune sounds familiar, it should—as it’s exactly what would lead, 21 months after the Mueller Report was released, to an attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five dead.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Nov. 6

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Time to end haggling in Congress and pass both bills! Webster G. Tarpley, right, Nov. 6, 2021. Dem losses in 2021 elections webster tarpley 2007shaped by backlash against Washington logjam, but ultra-left Dems reject obvious lesson of unity and double down on sabotage of Biden’s program, despite direct appeal from President; Rebellion of a few right-wing Dems demanding CBO report quelled;

AOC’s candidate for mayor of Buffalo is handily defeated by write-in campaign waged by 4-term Mayor Byron Brown, who had been narrowly beaten in primary; Fratricide model fails test; Minneapolis referendum repudiates “defund the police” slogan in its place of origin; Youngkin backer Barbara Comstock from Northern Virginia thanks Jayapal for her obstructionism;

Biden’s mere presence in Rome and Glasgow is enough to banish Xi and Putin, who ran wild under Trump; Pope Francis nixes anti-Biden propaganda of Vatican reactionaries; Worldwide minimum tax is key step in ending race to the bottom under globalization;

With Chinese aggressors readying 100 ICBM silos, 1,000 nuclear warheads, and hypersonic weapons, time to pass the NDAA Pentagon bill!;

$1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passes House 228-209, with 13 GOP seeing the light; Ultra-lefts AOC, Omar, Bush, Bowman, Pressley, Tlaib vote no, choosing oblivion.

Nov. 4

oliver stone newseum

Filmmaker Oliver Stone poses with a display showing his iconic 1991 film JFK. A sequel, "JFK Revisited," was previewed last summer at the Cannes Film Festival and is being released this month in the United States via Showtime on Nov. 22 (Photo via The Newseum).

Collider, Oliver Stone's 'JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass' Doc Lands on Showtime This Month, David McGuire, Nov. 4, 2021. 'JFK Revisited' premiered at Cannes earlier this year.

showtime logoFor the last 58 years, the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy has been the subject of debate and has become enveloped by conspiracy theories. Countless books, TV shows, and movies have been made about that fateful day, none more prolific and swimming in controversy than Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK. 30 years later, Stone is back with a new documentary film, to be released on Showtime, entitled JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass.

oliver stone jfk revisited posterJFK Revisited premiered at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and presents a fresh look at the recently declassified archive of material that has been re-examined and placed into the public record. The documentary is poised to inform the latest generation and the generation that lived through it that this unsolved murder was not only shocking but, perhaps, calculated.

The film will be narrated by Whoopi Goldberg (The Stand) and Donald Sutherland (Moonfall) and will feature new interviews with historians, witnesses, and other experts on the subject.

The 1991 film made a very similar promise as it focused on the events leading up to the assassination and the alleged cover-up as told through the eyes of New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner).

Based on the book The Plot That Killed Kennedy, by Jim Marrs, the film was immediately embroiled in controversy as it made implications that Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, was part of the coup d'état to assassinate the sitting president. Stone was said to have described the film as a "counter myth" to the Warren Commission's "fictional myth." The film boasted an incredible cast with Kevin Bacon, Tommy Lee Jones, Laurie Metcalf, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and even the real Jim Garrison as Earl Warren.

JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass is an Ingenious Media production. Written by James DiEugenio, the film is produced by Rob Wilson for Ixtlan and executive produced by Andrea Scarso, Amit Pandya, Peter Touche, Fernando Sulichin, and Angela Ceccio.

JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass will make its linear debut on Showtime on November 22 at 7 p.m. ET/PT, the anniversary of JFK’s death.

[The film is scheduled to be released in the U.K. and Ireland by the U.K.'s Altitude Film Distribution in late 2021.]

 

Justice Department logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Igor Danchenko arrested, charged with lying to FBI about information in Steele dossier, Devlin Barrett and Tom Jackman, Nov. 4, 2021. An analyst who was a primary source for a 2016 dossier of allegations against Donald Trump has been arrested on charges that he repeatedly lied to the FBI about where and how he got his information, officials said Thursday.

Igor Danchenko’s role in providing information to British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the accusations about Trump in a series of reports, has long been a subject of scrutiny from internal Justice Department investigators and special counsel John Durham, according to people familiar with the investigations.

Steele presented the dossier to the FBI, and it was part of the basis for secret surveillance court orders targeting former Trump adviser Carter Page as the FBI investigated possible ties between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

A 2019 report by the Justice Department inspector general found major problems with the accuracy of Danchenko’s information. But the 39-page indictment unveiled Thursday paints a more detailed picture of claims that were allegedly built on exaggerations, rumors and outright lies. The indictment is likely to buttress Republican charges that Democrats and FBI agents intentionally or accidentally turned cheap partisan smears into a high-stakes national security investigation of a sitting president.

The indictment also suggests Danchenko may have lied to Steele and others about where he was getting his information. Some of the material came from a Democratic Party operative with long-standing ties to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, according to the charges, rather than well-connected Russians with insight into the Kremlin.

The allegations cast new uncertainty on some past reporting on the dossier by news organizations, including The Washington Post.

Danchenko appeared briefly Thursday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., where his lawyer tried to enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf. The judge did not accept the plea because the hearing was not an arraignment, and Danchenko was released.

His lawyer declined to speak to reporters outside the courtroom.

Durham’s probe into the FBI’s Russia investigation has also led to the indictment of a lawyer connected to Democrats, on a charge that he lied to the FBI. In addition, a former FBI lawyer who worked on the Page surveillance application later pleaded guilty to altering an email related to that case.

Former FBI officials have said the dossier did not launch their Trump campaign investigation, nor was it a factor in the conclusions reached by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. But the dossier did play a critical role both in how the FBI sought court-approved surveillance and, after it was published by BuzzFeed News in 2017, the public debate about Trump and Russia.

Trump and his supporters have accused FBI officials of trying to discredit or defeat him through an unfair investigation premised on false accusations. The FBI’s defenders, however, say the agency was obligated to examine allegations of Russian interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign during the election.

igor danchenko john durhamNBC News, Analyst who worked on Steele dossier arrested as part of investigation into Mueller probe, Michael Kosnar and Dareh Gregorian, Nov. 4, 2021. The analyst, Igor Danchenko, has been described as the primary researcher on the dossier.

NBC News logoAn analyst who worked on the so-called Steele dossier — the salacious, largely unverified collection of former President Donald Trump's links to Russia — was arrested on a federal indictment Thursday, a senior Justice Department official confirmed to NBC News.

Igor Danchenko, above left, who's been described as the dossier's primary researcher, was arrested as part of an investigation by John Durham, above right, the special counsel appointed by Trump’s Justice Department to investigate the origins of the Russia probe.

Danchenko is expected to appear in federal court in Virginia Thursday afternoon. The exact charges are unclear.

Danchenko is the second person to be charged in recent months as part of the Durham probe. In September, prominent Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann was charged with making a false statement to the FBI. Sussmann, who shared concerns with the bureau in 2016 about communications between the Trump campaign and Russia, allegedly failed to disclose during the meeting that he was working for multiple clients, including Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report found the Russian government did try to interfere in the 2016 election for Trump's benefit and that Trump's campaign had numerous undisclosed contacts with Russians, but much of the information in the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele has largely been discredited.

The FBI used information from the Steele dossier as part of its legal argument for secret government surveillance of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, during the 2016 election, without noting any red flags about the information.

Danchenko told The New York Times last year that he'd simply passed along raw intelligence information to Steele. “Even raw intelligence from credible sources, I take it with a grain of salt,” Danchenko said. “Who knows, what if it’s not particularly accurate? Is it just a rumor or is there more to it?”

ny times logoNew York Times, Authorities Arrest Analyst Who Contributed to Steele Dossier, Adam Goldman and Charlie Savage, Nov. 4, 2021. A Russia analyst who worked with Christopher Steele, the author of a dossier of rumors and unproven assertions about Donald Trump, was taken into custody. Federal authorities on Thursday arrested an analyst who in 2016 gathered leads about possible links between Donald J. Trump and Russia for what turned out to be Democratic-funded opposition research, according to people familiar with the matter.

The arrest of the analyst, Igor Danchenko, is part of the special counsel inquiry led by John H. Durham, who was appointed by the Trump administration to scrutinize the Russia investigation for any wrongdoing, the people said.

Mr. Danchenko was the primary researcher of the so-called Steele dossier, a compendium of rumors and unproven assertions suggesting that Mr. Trump and his 2016 campaign were compromised by and conspiring with Russian intelligence officials in Moscow’s covert operation to help him defeat Hillary Clinton.

Justice Department log circularThe people familiar with the matter spoke on condition of anonymity because the indictment of Mr. Danchenko had yet to be unsealed. A spokesman for Mr. Durham did not respond to a request for comment.

Some claims from the Steele dossier made their way into an F.B.I. wiretap application targeting a former Trump campaign adviser in October 2016. Other portions of it — particularly a salacious claim about a purported sex tape — caused a political and media firestorm when Buzzfeed published the materials in January 2017, shortly before Mr. Trump was sworn in.

But most of the important claims in the dossier — which was written by Mr. Danchenko’s employer, Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent — have not been proven, and some have been refuted. F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Danchenko in 2017 when they were seeking to run down the claims in the dossier.

The interview suggested that aspects of the dossier were misleading: Mr. Steele left unclear that much of the material was thirdhand information, and some of what Mr. Danchenko — who was born in Russia but lives in the United States — had relayed was more speculative than the dossier implied.

A 2019 investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general sharply criticized the F.B.I. for continuing to cite material from the dossier after the bureau interviewed Mr. Danchenko without alerting judges that some of what he said had cast doubt on the contents of the dossier.

The inspector general report also said that a decade earlier, when Mr. Danchenko worked for the Brookings Institution, a prominent Washington think-tank, he had been the subject of a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was a Russian agent.

In an interview with The New York Times in 2020, Mr. Danchenko defended the integrity of his work, saying he had been tasked to gather “raw intelligence” and was simply passing it on to Mr. Steele. Mr. Danchenko — who made his name as a Russia analyst by exposing indications that the dissertation of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia contained plagiarized material — also denied being a Russian agent.

“I’ve never been a Russian agent,” Mr. Danchenko said. “It is ridiculous to suggest that. This, I think, it’s slander.”

Mr. Steele’s efforts were part of opposition research that Democrats were indirectly funding by the time the 2016 general election took shape. Mr. Steele’s business intelligence firm was a subcontractor to another research firm, Fusion GPS, which in turn had been hired by the Perkins Coie law firm, which was working for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Mr. Danchenko said he did not know who Mr. Steele’s client was at the time and considered himself a nonpartisan analyst and researcher.

Mr. Durham has been known to be interested in Mr. Danchenko and the Steele dossier saga. In February, he used a subpoena to obtain old personnel files and other documents related to Mr. Danchenko from the Brookings Institution, where Mr. Danchenko had worked from 2005 until 2010.

The charges against Mr. Danchenko follow Mr. Durham’s indictment in September of a cybersecurity lawyer, Michael Sussmann, which accused him of lying to the F.B.I. about who he was working for when he brought concerns about possible Trump-Russia links to the bureau in September 2016.

Mr. Sussmann, who then also worked for Perkins Coie, was relaying concerns developed by data scientists about odd internet logs they said suggested the possibility of a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked financial institution. He has denied lying to the F.B.I. about who he was working for.

 

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Durham's phony investigation a waste of scant DOJ resources, Wayne Madsen, left, Nov. 1, 2021. wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallAttorney General Merrick Garland,merrick garland right, who has become the least popular member of President Biden's Cabinet, is continuing to allow a holdover special prosecutor from the Trump administration to engage in a costly and time-consuming "investigation" of absolutely nothing rising to a level of criminality.

On October 19, 2020, just a few weeks prior to the 2020 election, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham was secretly appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr as special counsel to investigate Trump's alleged "Russia Hoax." Durham was originally tasked by Barr in April 2019 to investigate the Justice Department's ongoing internal probe of federal law enforcement john durham Customsurveillance activities of the Trump campaign for connections to Russia. Trump falsely insisted that the investigation was a "witch hunt."

Durham, left, has been permitted by Garland to continue with a fool's errand of an investigation that has resulted in two dubious indictments. It is clear that Durham's targets now include the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, the Robert Mueller investigation of that campaign, and anything else that Durham (and his puppeteer Trump) decides is worthy. Garland has failed to show any desire to order Durham to wrap up his investigation or be shown the door.

ken starr wEssentially, Durham has become a new Ken Starr, right. Starr was the independent Whitewater counsel who began an investigation into Bill Clinton's involvement in an Arkansas real estate deal and ended with a dubious probe of Clinton for receiving a blowjob in the Oval Office from White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Durham is operating under a mandate to "broadly examine the government's collection of intelligence involving the Trump campaign's interactions with Russians." Durham has now turned the investigation on to top Democrats, which raises the belief that Garland is acting in the interests of the Republicans.

In November 2019, Durham succeeded in obtaining a guilty plea by FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith for altering an email request.

 

cy vance resized djt

Palmer Report, Opinion: Manhattan DA has new grand jury to bring more criminal indictments in case against Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, right, Nov. 4, 2021. On bill palmerTuesday, Palmer Report pointed to the election of Alvin Bragg as the next Manhattan District Attorney as signifiant in the criminal case against Donald Trump.

Cy Vance (above right) is still in office until the end of the year. But he brought the initial indictments in the Trump case the week after Bragg won the Democratic primary election, suggesting he was waiting to break the news so that it wouldn’t be seen as influencing the election. Now that Bragg has won the general election, we suggested Vance might soon make his next big move.

bill palmer report logo headerSure enough, that’s rapidly turning out to be the case. The Washington Post is reporting this afternoon that Vance has empaneled a new grand jury for the purpose of bringing more criminal indictments in the case against Donald Trump. The article cautions that this doesn’t mean indictments will definitely happen. But in reality, when prosecutors want a grand jury to indict someone, it happens greater than 99% of the time.

The article also points out that the grand jury is empaneled for up to six months. But this does not mean that it’ll take six months for indictments to come down; only that prosecutors wanted grand jurors who are going to be available for that long in case things end up taking that long.

Interestingly, the Post says that this new grand jury is empaneled in relation to the Trump Organization’s false valuation of its assets. The Manhattan DA probe began when Michael Cohen provided evidence of Trump’s crimes including asset valuation, so it’s not surprising that the DA is now looking to bring indictments related to asset valuation.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the next round of indictments will be against Donald Trump. The DA could decide to quickly bring additional charges against Allen Weisselberg instead, in the hope that as the number of years he’s facing in prison piles up, he’ll decide to cut a plea deal. The next indictments could also be against Trump’s kids, in an effort to flip them against him. Or the next round of indictments could indeed be directly against Trump himself. It’s previously been reported that Trump Organization insiders like Matthew Calamari have been cooperating with the probe, which could be enough to indict Trump even without Weisselberg’s help.

So we still have a number of unknowns about precisely where the Manhattan DA’s probe is heading next. But if you read the Post article, it’s fairly obvious that the DA’s office is the source, and that the DA therefore wanted this information out there right now – right after the new DA was elected, just as we were expecting.

We’re not going to try to put a timetable on Donald Trump’s arrest and indictment, because there are still too many variables in terms of who will flip and who will be indicted in what order. But if Vance doesn’t indict Trump on his way out the door by the end of the year, it seems a given that Bragg will indict Trump swiftly once he takes office at the beginning of the year.

The bottom line is that Donald Trump is, more obviously than ever, on a clear path to prison in New York. Once Trump is arrested, the media will start trying to scare you into staying tuned in by suggesting that the jury will just magically let Trump go, but these are the kinds of financial charges that essentially always result in conviction. The media may also try to scare you by suggesting that New York will elect a Republican Governor who will pardon Trump, but it’s exceedingly unlikely that New York will elect a Republican.

Nov. 3

jeanine djt jeanine pirro 2018 book

Fox News personality "Judge" Jeanine Pirro (left) and President Donald Trump (right) promote the host's book in the Oval Office in 2018. Image via Pirro's Twitter.

Raw Story, Fox's Judge Jeanine orchestrated payments for ‘command centers’ that could blow up Trump’s defense, Travis Gettys, Nov. 03, 2021. Fox News host Jeanine Pirro orchestrated campaign payments for 'command centers' at DC hotels that could blow up Donald Trump's executive privilege claims.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, right, and the city's former police chief Bernie Kerik had been paying for hotel rooms and travel related to their rudy giuliani recentefforts to overturn Trump's election loss, but the pair grew concerned by early December as the bills piled up, reported the Washington Post.

fox news logo Small"How do I know I'm gonna get my money back?" Kerik thought at the time, as he recently told the newspaper.

Kerik knew that Giuliani hadn't been reimbursed for his expenses or paid for his services, but their friend Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News host beloved by the twice-impeached one-term president, called Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and asked her to help them out.

McDaniel, below at left, spoke to Kerik by phone but refused to give him money, and instead recommended that he ask the Trump campaign to reimburse his expenses, according to the former police chief and a GOP official.

The campaign cut its first check to Kerik in mid-December with Trump's approval, according to a former senior campaign official, and eventually paid more than $225,000 for hotel rooms and suites at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., that served as a "command center" for efforts to overturn the ronna mcdaniel djt Customelection results ahead of Jan. 6 riots.

Those payments, according to legal experts, could undermine Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents and testimony related to the U.S. Capitol riots sought by the House select committee investigating the insurrection.

"[This] further undermines a wildly broad assertion of executive privilege," said Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor. "Executive privilege is typically limited to the protection of communications involving a president's official duties — not to those relating to personal or political campaign matters."

Former Justice Department official John Yoo, who advised former vice president Mike Pence's staff that there was no legal basis to deny the certification of Joe Biden's election win, agreed that the payments could upend Trump's defense.

"If he acts as a president, he gets these things we talk about — executive privilege and immunity," Yoo said. "But if he's acting as a candidate, he's deprived of all of those protections."

ricardo monkey morales oswald gunWhoWhatWhy, Claim: JFK Assassin Oswald Was CIA-Trained — And Bad at Shooting, Chris Roberts, Nov. 3, 2021. What’s hidden in the government records related to the John F. Kennedy assassination that President Joe Biden (and Donald Trump before him) promised to release — in Biden’s case as recently as last month — and then didn’t?

Only the CIA, FBI, and archivists know, and only they can say for certain, what knowledge survived the 1960s and 1970s and what vital clues ended up in the shredder. Maybe something is in there that could vet the most recent claim that Lee Harvey Oswald — whom the Warren Commission fingered whowhatwhy logoas the lone shooter and whom the House Select Committee on Assassinations (and almost everyone else alive) believe was probably part of some conspiracy — was a CIA asset who received CIA training before November 22, 1963, and who, according to his purported trainer, was a terrible shot.

Maybe there’s nothing in the archives that could verify that one. Either way, it might be nice to know!

Over the Halloween weekend, the Miami Herald picked up a story, initially dropped via Spanish-language radio, that a notorious anti-Castro Cuban exile and sniper trainer who had verifiably worked with the CIA recognized Oswald as one of his trainees in a secret CIA sniper camp, or so he told his sons decades later.

Additionally — according to the tale related on Miami-based Actualidad 1040 AM by one of the sons of Ricardo “Monkey” Morales (shown above at left) and later repeated to the Herald — Morales and some associates were sent to Dallas on the order of his CIA handler two days before the assassination for an unspecified “clean-up” mission. They were then recalled to Miami after the shooting, without receiving further orders.

Possible? Sure. Plausible? Those records certainly would be handy!

According to 58-year-old Ricardo Morales Jr., about a year before the elder Morales was shot in the back of the head during a December 1982 fracas in a Miami bar — a killing his attorney said was a setup — the ex-spy had become paranoid and fearful about his safety.

Nov. 1

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Silence of CIA Media Assets on the JFK Cover-Up, Jacob G. Hornberger, Nov. 1, 2021. One of the funniest aspects of President Biden’s decision to continue the CIA’s cover-up of the national-security establishment’s regime-change operation on November 22, 1963, has been the silent reaction of the mainstream media. Ordinarily, the CIA’s journalistic assets would have gone into action by now, jacob hornberger newpublishing editorials and op-eds supporting Biden’s decision to grant the CIA’s demand for continued secrecy on grounds of “national security.”

What’s the reason for the silence? I suspect that despite their extreme loyalty to the CIA, they’re all too embarrassed to make such a ludicrous argument. Better to remain silent and hope the whole controversy just goes away.

By the time of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK in 1991, the CIA and the rest of the U.S. national-security establishment had kept their assassination-related records secret for some 30 years. They said that “national security” required such secrecy, notwithstanding their claim that a lone-nut communist former U.S. Marine had killed President Kennedy.

future of freedom foundation logo squarePeople didn’t buy it. Stone’s movie induced a massive public outcry against continued secrecy. In one of those rare instances in which Congress is forced by public pressure to act against the wishes of the Pentagon and the CIA, Congress enacted the JFK Records Act of 1992, which forced the national-security establishment to disclose their long-secret assassination-related records.

To enforce the law, Congress called the Assassination Records Review Board into existence. From 1993 to 1998, the ARRB forced the release of thousands of long-secret records, oftentimes over the vehement objections of the Pentagon and the CIA.

As a result of those disclosures in the 1990s, the United States did not fall into the ocean. The communists did not take control over the United States. Cuba did not invade Miami. The dominoes did not fall in Southeast Asia.

What did happen, however, is that the ARRB lifted the shroud of secrecy that the national-security establishment had placed over the autopsy that it had conducted on the body of President Kennedy a few hours after the assassination. The records revealed one reason why the military and the CIA had wanted to keep their assassination-related records secret forever: The autopsy they conducted was fraudulent to the core.

As I have repeatedly emphasized, there is no innocent explanation for a fraudulent autopsy, especially given that the scheme was launched at Parkland Hospital immediately after Kennedy was declared dead. See my two books The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2. Also see Douglas Horne’s excellent video presentation at our conference last spring on the Kennedy assassination as well as his watershed five-volume book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board.

Unfortunately, however, there was a flaw in the law. The law gave the national-security establishment another 25 years of secrecy if the release of certain records posed “an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

The ARRB went out of existence in 1998 and, therefore, it wasn’t around to enforce the law when that 25-year deadline materialized in 2017 during the Trump administration. Trump surrendered to the CIA’s demand for continued secrecy and pushed the secrecy deadline into 2021.

Not surprisingly, Biden has also now surrendered to the CIA’s demand for continued secrecy. Like Trump, he says that the release of the records will threaten “national security” by posing “an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

Will the remaining records contain a “smoking gun” confession of the national-security establishment’s regime change on November 22, 1963. Of course not. No one would be so stupid as to put such a confession in writing and then turn it over to the National Archives.

But the records undoubtedly contain incriminating pieces of the puzzle that will further fill out the regime-change mosaic, just as the ARRB’s forced disclosure of the medical evidence in the 1990s established the existence of a fraudulent autopsy.

Let me give you another example of this phenomenon. In 2017, a few of the secret records that were released under Trump disclosed a secret memorandum from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that was dated November 24, 1963, the day that Jack Ruby assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald. The memo stated: “The thing I am concerned about, and so is Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.”

Oswald was referring to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, who himself issued a memorandum to presidential aide Bill Moyers on November 25, 1963, stating, “The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.”

Three questions naturally arise:

1. How in the world could two of the nation’s top law-enforcement officers be certain that Oswald assassinated the president within just two or three days of the assassination, especially given that Oswald was not only proclaiming his innocence but also claiming he was being framed for the crime?

2. Even if Oswald was involved in the crime, how in the world could anyone be certain that he didn’t have confederates without weeks or even months of investigation, especially since the Dallas treating physicians had said that Kennedy’s throat wound was an entry wound, which necessarily meant a shot having been fired from the president’s front?

3. How would the release of Hoover’s memo back in the 1990s possibly have threatened “national security” or possibly posed “an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure”?

It couldn’t have, which meant that the national-security establishment lied to the ARRB when they used that excuse to keep the Hoover memo secret.


 

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Durham's phony investigation a waste of scant DOJ resources, Wayne Madsen, left, Nov. 1, 2021. wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallAttorney General Merrick Garland,merrick garland right, who has become the least popular member of President Biden's Cabinet, is continuing to allow a holdover special prosecutor from the Trump administration to engage in a costly and time-consuming "investigation" of absolutely nothing rising to a level of criminality.

On October 19, 2020, just a few weeks prior to the 2020 election, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham was secretly appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr as special counsel to investigate Trump's alleged "Russia Hoax." Durham was originally tasked by Barr in April 2019 to investigate the Justice Department's ongoing internal probe of federal law enforcement john durham Customsurveillance activities of the Trump campaign for connections to Russia. Trump falsely insisted that the investigation was a "witch hunt."

Durham has been permitted by Garland to continue with a fool's errand of an investigation that has resulted in two dubious indictments. It is clear that Durham's targets now include the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, the Robert Mueller investigation of that campaign, and anything else that Durham (and his puppeteer Trump) decides is worthy. Garland has failed to show any desire to order Durham to wrap up his investigation or be shown the door.

Essentially, Durham has become a new Ken Starr. Starr was the independent Whitewater counsel who began an investigation into Bill Clinton's involvement in an Arkansas real estate deal and ended with a dubious probe of Clinton for receiving a blowjob in the Oval Office from White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Durham has been using the Justice Department to conduct a far-right and conspiracy theory-laden crusade against Trump's political foes. It is Durham who has misused his special prosecutor position for his own political goals and interests

 

October

Oct. 30

 

Donald J. Trump, left, and William Barr (Justice Department photo in March 2019).

Donald J. Trump, left, and William Barr (Justice Department photo in March 2019).

Palmer Report, Opinion: The Durham probe is finally backfiring on Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, right, Oct. 30, 2021. When Donald Trump and his Attorney General bill palmerBill Barr tasked John Durham, below right, with criminally investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, Palmer Report predicted that it wouldn’t end up helping Trump one bit. Sure enough, the probe went nowhere, found nothing, and changed zero minds heading into the 2020 election.

But the Durham probe is still ongoing, having finally resulted in a single indictment against one person for lying to investigators. Given the bill palmer report logo headerlack of legitimate evidence in the indictment, it’s likely to end in dismissal or acquittal. In fact, the indictment has turned out to be so sketchy, it’s beginning to backfire.

Remember the story about a computer server at Trump Tower that was communicating almost solely with Russia’s Alfa Bank? There john durham Customhave been so many different connections between Donald Trump and Russia, you may have forgotten that the server scandal even existed. But because the Durham indictment falsely claimed that the original authors of that article didn’t believe in their own work, they’re now coming forward to reiterate that they do indeed stand by their story.

This gives you an idea of just how absurd this indictment is; it’s based on the false claim that a group of journalists didn’t believe their story, and that someone else was therefore lying when he told federal investigators otherwise. Yeah, this is now pretty obviously alpha bank logo russiaheading for acquittal.

But it’s also served to pushed the Trump server – Alfa Bank story back into the headlines, including a major expose on the Rachel Maddow show last night. Thus far the only thing the Durham probe has done, aside from temporarily making life unfairly difficult for one indicted and pretty clearly innocent guy, is to push the Trump-Russia scandal back into the headlines. That’s the last thing Trump wanted.

russian flag wavingOf course we’ve seen this over and over again. When Donald Trump was in office, he spent much of his time trying to prove to himself that his 2016 win was legitimate, because his fragile ego couldn’t handle the possibility that he only won because Russia helped him. Accordingly, the people around him like Bill Barr ended up focusing on doing things not aimed at helping him in any real way, but instead aimed at calming Trump’s insecurities.

As a result we ended up with things like the Durham probe, an investigation that was never, ever going to help Donald Trump in any tangible way. And while these latest revelations should finally give the DOJ a legal basis for shutting Durham down, it’s not as if his probe was helping Trump. At this point the Durham probe is only serving to make Trump’s life more difficult.

Oct. 29

Miami Herald, Cuban exile told sons he trained Oswald, JFK’s accused assassin, at a secret CIA camp, Nora Gámez Torres, Updated Oct. 29, 2021. Almost 40 years after his death following a bar brawl in Key Biscayne, Ricardo Morales, known as “Monkey” — contract CIA worker, anti-Castro militant, miami herald logocounter-intelligence chief for Venezuela, FBI informant and drug dealer — returned to the spotlight Thursday morning when one of his sons made a startling claim on Spanish-language radio: Morales, a sniper instructor in the early 1960s in secret camps where Cuban exiles and others trained to invade Cuba, realized in the hours after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963 that the accused killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, had been one of his sniper trainees.

Morales also told his two sons that two days before the assassination, his CIA handler told him and his “clean-up” team to go to Dallas for a mission. But after the tragic events, they were ordered to go back to Miami without learning what the mission was about.

The claims made by Ricardo Morales Jr. during a show on Miami’s Actualidad Radio 1040 AM, add to one of the long-held theories about the JFK assassination — that Cuban exiles working for the CIA had been involved.

But the claims also point the finger at the CIA, which some observers believe could help explain why President Joe Biden backed off last week on declassifying the remaining documents in the case.

Morales’ son, 58, said the last time his father took him and his brother to shooting practice in the Everglades, a year before dying in 1982, he told them he felt his end was near because he had revealed too much information of his work for the CIA to a Venezuelan journalist and he was writing a memoir.

So he encouraged his sons to ask him questions about his life.

“My brother asked ‘Who killed John F. Kennedy?’ and his answer was, ‘I didn’t do it but I was in Dallas two days before waiting for orders. We were the cleaning crew just in case something bad had to be done.’ After the assassination, they did not have to do anything and returned to Miami,” his son said on the radio show.

Morales Jr. said his father told them he did not know of the plans to assassinate Kennedy. “He knew Kennedy was coming to Dallas, so he imagines something is going to happen, but he doesn’t know the plan,” he said. “In these kinds of conspiracies and these big things, nobody knows what the other is doing.”

Morales also knew Oswald, his son claims. “When my old man was training in a CIA camp — he did not tell me where — he was helping to train snipers: other Cubans, Latin Americans, and there were a few Americans,” he said. “When he saw the photo of Lee Harvey Oswald [after the assassination] he realized that this was the same character he had seen on the CIA training field. He saw him, he saw the name tag, but he did not know him because he was not famous yet, but later when my father sees him he realizes that he is the same person.”

Morales Jr. gave a similar account to the Miami Herald in an interview Thursday, adding that his father said he didn’t believe Oswald killed Kennedy “because he has witnessed him shooting at a training camp and he said there is no way that guy could shoot that well.”

He said he believes his father told the truth at a moment he was fearing for his life after losing government protection.

While Lee Harvey Oswald was accused in Kennedy’s assassination, a 1979 report from the House Select Committee on Assassinations contradicted the 1964 Warren Commission conclusion that JFK was killed by one lone gunman. The committee instead concluded that the president was likely slain as the result of a conspiracy and that there was a high probability that two gunmen fired at him.

The House Select Committee, which also interviewed Morales, said they couldn’t preclude the possibility that Cuban exiles were involved.

Oct. 27

Proof, Investigative Commentary: The Secret Behind Trump’s January 2 Phone Call, Seth Abramson, left, Oct. 27-28, 2021. Congress must subpoena Joe diGenova seth abramson graphicand the Stop the Steal leaders who were on Trump's January 2 pre-insurrection strategy call. If it does, it will discover in full what Trump planned for January 6.

Introduction Late last night, CNN reported that the House January 6 Committee will subpoena testimony from Donald Trump lawyer John Eastman, author of a now-infamous pre-January 6 memo that may well run afoul of federal criminal statutes and has been the subject of significant reporting from Proof over the last two weeks. The problem with this prospective subpoena is that Eastman has a host of arguments available seth abramson proof logoto him to resist calls for him to testify to the House January 6 Committee.

But is there someone else Congress could speak to right now who has both more to offer the Committee and less basis to argue that he can’t be compelled to do so?

The Trump Lawyer to Speak to Isn’t a Trump Lawyer

Newly discovered information about another man very close to Trump suggests that he might be the person Congress needs to speak to—not just because it appears he has a great deal to say, but because he is precluded from claiming that he’s Trump’s lawyer on the grounds that both he and Donald Trump have repeatedly insisted that he is not.

That man is Joe diGenova, one of the primary figures in my national bestselling book Proof of Corruption (Macmillan, 2020) because he worked with Trump to try to steal the 2020 presidential election using manufactured dirt on Joe Biden illicitly offered to the Trump campaign by pro-Kremlin Ukrainians.

DiGenova is, to be clear, a Trump lawyer, whatever he and the former president may have said on the subject. Indeed, diGenova has been one of Trump’s most invaluable legal assets for at least two years, as Trump ensured in the run-up to the 2020 election that diGenova and his wife, fellow attorney Victoria Toensing (the two co-run a law firm) would not only represent him but also several his co-conspirators in the Trump-Ukraine scandal that led to his second impeachment. Trump thereby ensured, or so he believed and appears to still believe, that diGenova would be an ideal conduit between the former president and his co-conspirators.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

washington post logoWashington Post, Jan. 6 committee expected to subpoena lawyer who advised Trump, Pence on how to overturn election, Jacqueline Alemany, Oct. 27, 2021 (print ed.). The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is expected to subpoena John Eastman, the pro-Trump legal scholar who outlined scenarios for denying Joe Biden the presidency, according to the panel’s chairman.
2021 Election: Complete coverage and analysis

“It will happen,” Chair Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview Tuesday of a subpoena for Eastman, who played a key role in the legal operation that was run out of a “command center” at the Willard Hotel in Washington in the days and hours leading up to Jan. 6. Thompson did not provide a timeline for when the subpoena will be issued.

The committee has requested documents and communications related to Eastman’s legal advice and analysis on how President Donald Trump could seek to overturn the election results and remain in office.

Eastman told The Washington Post last week that he had not been contacted by the panel investigating the insurrection, but a person familiar with the select committee’s work disputed that claim and said investigators have been in touch with Eastman. This person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations, added that a subpoena would be avoidable if Eastman cooperated with the committee’s investigation voluntarily. The committee is expected to issue subpoenas to other witnesses in the days ahead.

Eastman confirmed in subsequent text messages late Tuesday that the committee had contacted him.

“I returned the call and left a voice message. No further contact,” Eastman added. When asked whether he planned on cooperating with the committee, he responded: “No comment.”

Eastman, a member of the conservative Federalist Society and a law professor, outlined the scenarios for overturning the election results in two memos that served as the basis of an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 between Eastman, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

In recent months, Eastman has distanced himself from the memos, telling the National Review last week that the options he outlined did not represent his advice. He said he wrote the memos at the request of “somebody in the legal team” whose name he could not recall.

Oct. 27

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Evil Rot at the Center of the Empire, Jacob G. Hornberger, Oct. 27, 2021. Given President Biden’s decision to jacob hornberger newsuccumb to the CIA’s demand for continued secrecy of the CIA’s 60-year-old Kennedy assassination-related records, this would be a good time to remind ourselves of how President Kennedy felt about this type of secrecy:

The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.

future of freedom foundation logo squareKennedy’s attitude toward the evil of governmental secrecy was just another reason why the U.S. national-security establishment hated him so deeply and considered him a grave threat to national security, in addition to, of course, Kennedy’s determination to end the Cold War racket and establish friendly and peaceful relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the rest of the communist world.

In his 1985 book People of the Lie, the noted psychiatrist M. Scott Peck noted that there definitely is evil in the world.

The Central Intelligence Agency epitomizes the evil to which Peck was referring. That’s not to say, of course, that everyone who works for the CIA is evil. It’s to say that everyone who works for the CIA is either wittingly or unwittingly working for an evil institution, one that should never have been grafted onto America’s federal governmental system and that now forms the core of the rot that afflicts the American empire.

CIA LogoThe problem, of course, is that all too many Americans do not wish to confront, much less acknowledge, the existence of this evil. Succumbing to CIA propaganda and wishing to defer to the power of the national-security establishment, they have convinced themselves that the CIA is a force for good in the world and that it is necessary to their safety and well-being.

Thus, such Americans have turned a blind eye to the evil actions in which the CIA has engaged practically since its inception in 1947.

How many times are we reminded of the evil of the Nazi regime that the U.S. defeated in World War II? Hardly a week goes by without someone bringing it up in the mainstream press.

Yet, here we have an an entity within the federal government that secretly hired Nazi officials after World War II ended. How can that possibly be reconciled with moral or religious principles? When an entity knowingly cavorts and partners with evil, doesn’t that say something about the evil nature of that entity?

Let’s not forget the drug experiments that the CIA conducted on unsuspecting Americans. I don’t know if the CIA’s secret Nazi employees assisted with those drug experiments, but I do know that the mindset that went into those experiments was the same type of mindset that motivated the Nazis to conduct medical experiments on people.

That CIA partnership with Nazis isn’t the only partnership with evil that the CIA has engaged in. There is also its partnership with the Mafia, one of history’s most evil criminal organizations, one that engages in murder as one of its regular activities. Yet, all too many Americans ignore that CIA-Mafia partnership. They would rather just look the other way.

fidel castroWhat was the purpose of that secret CIA-Mafia partnership? Assassination, which is really just a fancy word for murder. The purpose of the secret CIA-Mafia partnership was to murder Cuba’s president Fidel Castro, left.

Why Castro? Because he was a communist. More important, he was also a communist who established peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and rest of the communist world.

That’s it. That’s what the CIA says justified its assassination partnership with the Mafia to assassinate Castro and its repeated attempts to assassinate Castro.

One of the fascinating aspects of the CIA-Mafia partnership to assassinate Castro has been the reaction of many Americans who just have taken it all in stride. That blasé reaction to unjustified state-sponsored murder is a perfect example of what CIA propaganda and indoctrination has done to warp, pervert, and stultify the consciences of many Americans.

The fact is that not only was the CIA partnership with the Mafia evil, so were its repeated assassination attempts on Castro. The CIA never had the moral, religious, or legal authority to murder anyone, including Castro, just because he happened to be a communist or a socialist or just because he favored establishing peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the communist world.

And yet, all too many Americans, especially the mainstream press, have been so nonchalant about those repeated CIA murder attempts on Castro.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, there has also been a steadfast willingness among many Americans to turn a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence establishing that the November 22, 1963, assassination of President Kennedy was a regime-change operation on the part of the CIA and the national-security establishment, no different in principle from the CIA’s repeated assassination attempts on Castro.

patrice lumumba raising arms 1960But let’s set aside the Kennedy assassination. Let’s just talk about the CIA’s assassination of Patrice Lumumba, shown at right in 1960, three years before Kennedy was murdered. Or how about the CIA’s kidnapping/murder of Gen. Rene Schneider in Chile seven years after Kennedy was assassinated? How can those two assassinations be labeled anything but evil? What did Lumumba and Schneider do to warrant having their lives snuffed out by the CIA? They did nothing to warrant their assassinations.

Or how about the CIA’s regime-change operation in Iran ten years before Kennedy was assassinated? It was accompanied by the deaths of many innocent Iranian people. Then came 26 years of U.S.-supported horrific tyranny and oppression under a brutal U.S.-installed dictator. That led to the Iranian revolution and more decades of horrific tyranny and oppression. That led to brutal U.S. economic sanctions that have killed and impoverished countless innocent citizens of Iran. How can all that not be labeled evil?

Or how about the CIA’s regime-change operation in Guatemala nine years before the Kennedy assassination? The CIA had a secret assassination list for that operation which listed the people who were to be murdered as part of the operation.

What did Guatemalans do to deserve such evil being inflicted on them? They had the audacity to elect a socialist named Jacobo Arbenz, who declared a willingness to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the communist world.

He wasn’t the only one. Ten years after Kennedy was assassinated, the Chilean people elected a socialist named Salvador Allende, who, like Arbenz, established peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the communist world. The CIA said that that made him a threat to U.S. “national security.” The CIA and the Pentagon convinced the Chilean national-security establishment that it had a moral duty to violently oust their country’s president from office. How can the CIA/Pentagon-instigated Chilean coup, which left Allende dead and tens of thousands of Chilean citizens raped, tortured, executed, or disappeared by the brutal U.S.-supported military dictator who replaced him, not be labeled evil?

In fact, that’s why the CIA’s goons kidnapped and murdered General Schneider. Schneider opposed the CIA’s violent regime-change operation and instead favored supporting and defending the Chilean constitution, which provided only two ways to remove a president from office: impeachment and election.

With the exception of the Kennedy assassination, Americans have come to accept all of these CIA regime changes as part of America’s legacy as a national-security state. Unfortunately, however, owing to a stultification of conscience that came with the unconstitutional conversion of the federal government to a national-security state, all too many Americans have not yet come to the moral realization that every one of those regime-change operations, including the Kennedy assassination, was evil to the core.

In his 1978 book The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck stated, “Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs.”

The same principle applies to a nation. For America to heal in the wake of the Afghanistan and Iraq debacles and all the lies that came with them, it is necessary for Americans today to dedicate themselves to reality at all costs — especially the reality that a rotten evil entity known as the CIA lies at the core of America’s federal governmental structure. For America to restore morality, freedom, health, and right conduct to our land, it is necessary to eradicate, not reform, that evil.

Oct. 25

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Book Launch: The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the New Far-Right, Wayne Madsen, left, Oct 25, 2021. wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallToday, WMR announces the release of The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich.

This book details Donald Trump's serious efforts to bring about a fascist dictatorship in the United States. In addition to emulating Adolf Hitler's "Big Lie" (große Lüge) to the letter, Trump made common cause with the world's other leading fascists in creating a new "Axis" alliance. In fact, the wayne madsen fourth reich covergovernment of the neo-Nazi President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, was direcrly involved in the January 6th coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol. It was no less a violation of U.S. national sovereignty than was Nazi Germany's involvement in the attempted July 25, 1934 attempted coup in Austria that saw Nazis, with German support, assassinate Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss.

The Holy Roman Empire was the First Reich. It was followed by Imperial Germany of the Kaisers, the Second Reich. From the ashes of Imperial Germany rose the Third Reich of the National Socialists and Adolf Hitler.

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States and the return of strongmen leaders around the world -- in Russia, China, India, Brazil, Hungary, Poland, and other nations -- ushered into place the Fourth Reich. No less an observer than the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, commented that the Trump administration and the events of January 6, 2021 were reminiscent of the Nazi Party's burning of the Reichstag in 1933. In the third decade of the 21st century, the signs of fascism were present in Washington, Moscow, Beijing, and even in London -- with the ascendance of the proto-fascist Boris Johnson to the Prime Minister's office. This book describes the re-emergence of fascist rule long after it was believed that World War II ended the threat of this venal system of government forever.

In addition to copying Hitler's strategy of employing the Big Lie, Trump stood to implement other Nazi playbook policies. The Nazis used the outbreak of typhus in the infamous Warsaw Ghetto and forced ghettos in other Polish cities to blame the interned Jews for harboring typhus-causing lice. The same scenario played out during the initial infections of Covid-19 in major U.S. cities, including New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Newark, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, because these cities had Democratic mayors or were in states with Democratic governors. Trump Covid advisers like Jared Kushner and Peter Navarro decided to withhold federal support support in states with Democratic governors so that voters in those states would blame those governors for the pandemic's rising death rate. It was no more an insidious operation than the Nazis blaming Polish Jews for typhus.

facebook logoFacebook and Mark Zuckerberg had permitted Trump's Big Lies on Covid, police killings of black Americans, and other triggering subjects to martial Trump's increasingly-frenzied political base to threaten to kill Democratic governors in Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, and other states. This propaganda operation ultimately led to January 6th, Trump's version of Hitler's Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the 1934 "Night of the Long Knives."

Trump's version of Joseph Goebbels, Steve Bannon, the aspirant propagandist for a global fascist "Movement," vowed to fight for political control "precinct-by-precinct" in elections around the United States and the world.

This book delineates where the political battlefield's lines at the electoral district level have been drawn -- from Hungary and Poland to Brazil and the states of Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona -- so that the fight can be joined by progressives and democrats everywhere.

Alternet, 'This makes my blood boil': Outrage erupts as new report links GOP lawmakers to the Jan. 6 rally, David Badash, Oct. 25, 2021. Americans are expressing outrage after a bombshell Rolling Stone report that claims several GOP Members of Congress and their staffs were involved in planning and organizing Donald Trump's January 6 rally that led to the violent and deadly insurrection, along with "Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss."

Some of those who are among the most outraged are Democratic Members of Congress, who were in the Capitol on January 6 and feared for their lives. Learning that some of their GOP colleagues were involved in the planning of the rally that precipitated the insurrection has been "triggering," as one House Democrat revealed, adding that it makes her "blood boil."

The Rolling Stone article cites two "planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C.," who allege Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were deeply involved, along with these members of Congress or their aides: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Legal experts have called for those members of Congress and staffers to be expelled if the allegations are true, while one has urged people to "chill," and let the DOJ do what it needs to.

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) calls the Rolling Stone article "highly disturbing."

"No one should be above the law," he says, "including Members of Congress and former White House Staff. And if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed."

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) says she is "joining the calls for those who helped plan the deadly January 6th insurrection to be immediately expelled."

"Every Member of Congress that helped to plan the attempted coup of our government shouldn't be allowed to serve in Congress."

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian-American elected to Congress from New York, says she has "angry tears right now," citing the Rolling Stone report.

"During 1/6, I, like many, texted loved ones goodbye. Countless people have asked if I've been ok since & I've always answered truthfully that i was fine. But this article was triggering. How could colleagues be traitors? This makes my blood boil."

Rolling Stone, Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff, Hunter Walker, Oct. 24, 2021. Hunter Walker is the author of the politics newsletter The Uprising. He previously spent the entirety of the Trump administration as a White House correspondent for Yahoo News. Walker has also written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, NBC News, Vanity Fair's HIVE website, and New York Magazine, among others.

Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office.

Rolling Stone reports "planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump's efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent."

Oct. 24

Politico, What Biden is keeping secret in the JFK files, Bryan Bender, Oct. 24, 2021. The censored files may offer insights into Cold War covert ops, but don't expect a smoking gun about the assassination.

President Joe Biden has once again delayed the public release of thousands of government secrets that might shed light on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

politico Custom“Temporary continued postponement is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure,” Biden wrote in a presidential memorandum late Friday.

He also said that the National Archives and Records Administration, the custodian of the records, needs more time to conduct a declassification review due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision, which follows a delay ordered by President Donald Trump in 2017, means scholars and the public will have to wait even longer to see what remains buried in government archives about one of the greatest political mysteries of the 20th century. And the review process for the remaining documents means Biden can hold the release further if the CIA or other agencies can convince him they reveal sensitive sources or methods.

nara logoPublic opinion polls have long indicated most Americans do not believe the official conclusion by the Warren Commission that the assassination was the work of a single gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine who once defected to the Soviet Union and who was shot to death by a nightclub owner Jack Ruby while in police custody.

A special House committee in 1978 concluded “on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”

But longtime researchers almost uniformly agree that what is still being shielded from public view won’t blow open the case.

“Do I believe the CIA has a file that shows former CIA Director Allen Dulles presided over the assassination? No. But I’m afraid there are people who will believe things like that no matter what is in the files,” said David Kaiser, a former history professor at the Naval War College and author of “The Road to Dallas.”

His book argued that Kennedy’s murder cannot be fully understood without also studying two major U.S. intelligence and law enforcement campaigns of the era: Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s war on organized crime and the CIA’s failed efforts to kill communist dictator Fidel Castro in Cuba (with the Mafia’s help).

Still, Kaiser and other experts believe national security agencies are still hiding information that shows how officials actively stonewalled a full accounting by Congress and the courts and might illuminate shadowy spy world figures who could have been involved in a plot to kill the president.
What’s still hidden?

Portions of more than 15,000 records that have been released remain blacked out, in some cases a single word but in others nearly the entire document, according to the National Archives.

The records were collected by the Assassination Records Review Board, which was established by Congress in the 1992 JFK Records Act.

The independent body, which folded in 1998, was headed by a federal judge and empowered to collect classified information from across the government that might have bearing on Kennedy’s murder and make public as much as possible after consulting with the agencies where the intelligence originated. It also had legal authority to overrule recalcitrant agencies.

A large portion of the JFK collection came from the probe by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978, which investigated the murders of President Kennedy and the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The panel also delved into a series of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement activities in the early decades of the Cold War as part of its probe.

The creation of the review board ultimately led to the release of thousands of files. But the board also postponed the release of other documents until 2017, when Trump used his authority to further delay full public disclosure.

Much of what has yet to be released involves intelligence activities during the height of the Cold War that likely had no direct bearing on the plot to kill Kennedy but could shed light on covert operations.

One heavily censored file involves a CIA plot to kill Castro. Another is a 1963 Pentagon plan for an “engineered provocation” that could be blamed on Castro as a pretext for toppling him. Then there’s a history of the CIA’s Miami office, which organized a propaganda campaign against Castro’s Cuba.

Other redacted files are believed to contain new CIA information about the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee in Washington’s Watergate Hotel by former CIA operatives that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

But some could reveal more about the events leading up to the assassination itself.

Researchers are keenly interested in the personnel file of the late George Joannides, a career CIA intelligence operative who staffers on the House investigation in the late 1970s believe lied to Congress about what he knew about a CIA-backed exile group that had ties to Oswald.

A federal appeals court in 2018 upheld the CIA’s rejection of a lawsuit by researcher Jefferson Morley to obtain the file.
Lee Harvey Oswald denies shooting President Kennedy.

Paraded before newsmen after his arrest, Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 23, 1963, tells reporters that he did not shoot President John F. Kennedy. | AP Photo

Another partially released file contains information about how the CIA may have monitored Oswald on a trip he purportedly took to Mexico City ahead of the assassination.

The files could reveal more of “what the CIA was doing in New Orleans, some more info about Mexico City and likely even some revelations about the CIA role in Watergate,” said Larry Schnapf, a lawyer and assassination researcher.

Morley, who has filed multiple lawsuits to force disclosure, believes the CIA is covering up for individuals who may have had a role in Kennedy’s death or knew who was responsible and wanted it hidden from the public to protect the agency.

He says the CIA’s refusal to comply “can only be interpreted as evidence of bad faith, malicious intent, and obstruction of Congress.”

A spokesperson for the CIA, which accounts for the majority of the withheld records, declined to address the charge, saying only that the agency will comply with the law and the president’s directive.
When will the secret files be revealed?

Biden did set in motion the release of some of the remaining records.

“Any information currently withheld from public disclosure that agencies have not proposed for continued postponement shall be reviewed by NARA before December 15, 2021, and shall be publicly released on that date,” the memo states.

He also directed that the National Archives conduct an “intensive review” over the next year “of each remaining redaction to ensure that the United States Government maximizes transparency, disclosing all information in records concerning the assassination, except when the strongest possible reasons counsel.”

But that means the CIA and other agencies can still convince Biden to further delay the release of some documents.

A coalition of legal experts and academics asserts that Trump and now Biden have been flouting the 1992 law that set up the disclosure process.

They contend in a legal memo the legislation laid out a “stringent process and legal standard for postponing the release of a record” that requires the president to certify why any single file is being withheld.

“Congress established a short-list of specific reasons that federal agencies could cite as a basis for requesting postponement of public disclosure of assassination records,” they advised Biden last month. “A government office seeking postponement was required to specify, for each record sought to be postponed, the applicable grounds for postponement.”

Schnapf plans to file a lawsuit on Monday seeking copies of the underlying communications that have led to the decision by successive presidents to postpone the release of so many documents.

The Public Interest Declassification Board, a bipartisan advisory panel appointed by the president and leaders of Congress, appealed to Biden last month to limit further postponement to the “absolute minimum,” noting that “we understand that agencies are asking you to extend the postponement of public disclosure for parts of many records subject to the JFK Act.”

The board said it believes disclosure after all these years would “bolster the American people’s confidence and trust in their government.”

The board’s chair, Ezra Cohen, the former acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence, called the Biden memo “a step in the right direction” but “we will know more regarding agency and Archives implementation come December.”

“In the short term,” he added, “the Archivist will need to work hard to keep agencies on track with the President’s guidance.”

Schnapf said Congress may have to step in if military and intelligence agencies keep delaying full disclosure.

He pointed out that with the expiration of the JFK records review board, there is no authority other than Biden who can overcome the “kind of stalling, delaying and excessive secrecy that led to the enactment of the JFK Act in the first place.”

“Trump gave the agencies three and a half years … and yet full disclosure has not been obtained,” he added. “This is not about conspiracy but about compliance with the law. There is widespread bipartisan support to have the rest of the records released. These records will reveal important secrets about our country’s history. When President Biden agreed to release the 9/11 records, he said 20 years is long enough. How about 58 years?”

Oct. 23

 

The Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC (Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK via WikiMedia Commons).

The Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC (Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK via WikiMedia Commons).

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Ahead of Jan. 6, Willard hotel in downtown D.C. was a Trump team ‘command center’ for effort to deny Biden the presidency, Jacqueline Alemany, Emma Brown, Tom Hamburger and Jon Swaine, Oct. 23, 2021. They called it the “command center,” a set of rooms and suites in the posh Willard Hotel a block from the White House where some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal lieutenants were working day and night with one goal in mind: overturning the results of the 2020 election.

The Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse and the ensuing attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob would draw the world’s attention to the quest to physically block Congress from affirming Joe Biden’s victory. But the activities at the Willard that week add to an emerging picture of a less visible effort, mapped out in memos by a conservative pro-Trump legal scholar and pursued by a team of presidential advisers and lawyers seeking to pull off what they claim was a legal strategy to reinstate Trump for a second term.

They were led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon was an occasional presence as the effort’s senior political adviser. Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik was there as an investigator. Also present was John Eastman, the scholar, who outlined scenarios for denying Biden the presidency in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The effort underscores the extent to which Trump and a handful of true believers were working until the last possible moment to subvert the will of the voters, seeking to pressure Pence to delay or even block certification of the election, leveraging any possible constitutional loophole to test the boundaries of American democracy.

  Trump-supporting former law school dean John Eastman, left, helps Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani inflame pro-Trump protesters in front the White House before the insurrection riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the presidential election certification of Joe Biden's presidency on Jan. 6, 2021 (Los Angeles Times photo).

Trump-supporting former law school dean John Eastman, left, helps Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani inflame pro-Trump protesters in front the White House before the insurrection riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the presidential election certification of Joe Biden's presidency on Jan. 6, 2021 (Los Angeles Times photo).

ny times logoNew York Times, Internal Alarm, Public Shrugs: Facebook’s Employees Dissect Its Election Role, Ryan Mac and Sheera Frenkel, Oct. 23, 2021 (print ed. ).  Company documents show that employees repeatedly raised red flags about the spread of misinformation before and after the contested November vote; he internal dispatches reveal the degree to which Facebook knew of extremist movements and groups on its site that were trying to polarize American voters.

Sixteen months before last November’s presidential election, a researcher at Facebook described an alarming development. She was getting content about the conspiracy theory QAnon within a week of opening an experimental account, she wrote in an internal report.

On Nov. 5, two days after the election, another Facebook employee posted a message alerting colleagues that comments with “combustible election misinformation” were visible below many posts.

Four days after that, a company data scientist wrote in a note to his co-workers that 10 percent of all U.S. views of political material — a startlingly high figure — were of posts that alleged the vote was fraudulent.

In each case, Facebook’s employees sounded an alarm about misinformation and inflammatory content on the platform and urged action — but the company failed or struggled to address the issues. The internal dispatches were among a set of Facebook documents obtained by The New York Times that give new insight into what happened inside the social network before and after the November election, when the company was caught flat-footed as users weaponized its platform to spread lies about the vote.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Facebook documents show how platform fueled rage ahead of Jan. 6 attack on Capitol, Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Reed Albergotti, Oct. 23, 2021 (print ed.). Thousands of internal documents turned over to the SEC show what Facebook knew about the growth of the Stop the Steal movement on its platform in the weeks before a pro-Trump mob overran the Capitol — and the anger that many employees felt at their company’s failure to stop the Jan. 6 violence.

Relief flowed through Facebook in the days after the 2020 presidential election. The company had cracked down on misinformation, foreign interference and hate speech — and employees believed they had largely succeeded in limiting problems that, four years earlier, had brought on perhaps the most serious crisis in Facebook’s scandal-plagued history.

facebook logo“It was like we could take a victory lap,” said a former employee, one of many who spoke for this story on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive matters. “There was a lot of the feeling of high-fiving in the office.”

Many who had worked on the election, exhausted from months of unrelenting toil, took leaves of absence or moved on to other jobs. Facebook rolled back many of the dozens of election-season measures that it had used to suppress hateful, deceptive content. A ban the company had imposed on the original Stop the Steal group stopped short of addressing dozens of look-alikes that popped up in what an internal Facebook after-action report called “coordinated” and “meteoric” growth. Meanwhile, the company’s Civic Integrity team was largely disbanded by a management that had grown weary of the team’s criticisms of the company, according to former employees.

But the high fives, it soon became clear, were premature.

On Jan. 6, Facebook staffers expressed their horror in internal messages as they watched thousands of Trump supporters shouting “stop the steal” and bearing the symbols of QAnon — a violent ideology that had spread widely on Facebook before an eventual crackdown — thronged the U.S. Capitol. Many bashed their way inside and battled to halt the constitutionally mandated certification of President Biden’s election victory.

How one of America’s ugliest days unraveled inside and outside the Capitol
The face of President Donald Trump appears on large screens as supporters participate in a rally in Washington. (John Minchillo/AP)

Measures of online mayhem surged alarmingly on Facebook, with user reports of “false news” hitting nearly 40,000 per hour, an internal report that day showed. On Facebook-owned Instagram, the account reported most often for inciting violence was @realdonaldtrump — the president’s official account, the report showed.

Facebook has never publicly disclosed what it knows about how its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, helped fuel that day’s mayhem. The company rejected its own Oversight Board’s recommendation that it study how its policies contributed to the violence and has yet to fully comply with requests for data from the congressional commission investigating the events.

But thousands of pages of internal company documents disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission by the whistleblower Frances Haugen offer important new evidence of Facebook’s role in the events. This story is based on those documents, as well on others independently obtained by The Washington Post, and on interviews with current and former Facebook employees. The documents include outraged posts on Workplace, an internal message system.

“This is not a new problem,” one unnamed employee fumed on Workplace on Jan. 6. “We have been watching this behavior from politicians like Trump, and the — at best — wishy washy actions of company leadership, for years now. We have been reading the [farewell] posts from trusted, experienced and loved colleagues who write that they simply cannot conscience working for a company that does not do more to mitigate the negative effects on its platform.”

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Trump clones are losing power worldwide! Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 23, 2021. Virtually unnoticed by US media, the reactionary-webster tarpley twitterpopulist-dictatorial wave of the past half-dozen years is ebbing away, with Trump, Netanyahu, German CDU/CSU, Babis of Czech Republic, and Kurz of Austria already ousted and Duterte leaving; Orban and Bolsonaro face grim odds; Italian cities turn toward center-left, making future Salvini-Meloni anti-immigrant regime less likely;

Criminal contempt of Congress charge for Bannon and coming Jeffrey Clark testimony could be steps towards further demolition of GOP;

With UK posting almost 50,000 covid cases daily under ”Freedom” policy compared to Italy’s 2,800, Tory Boris Johnson is also going down hill; Putin shuts down Russia for a week;

1934 off-year election win by New Deal Dems after FDR’s Hundred Days shows how delivering mass traction economic measures can preserve and expand a narrow majority; this shows need to pass Biden’s program this coming week as part of final push for McAuliffe in Virginia!

Oct. 22

Washington Examiner, Biden delays release of secret JFK assassination files, Daniel Chaitin and Misty Severi, Oct. 22, 2021. President Joe Biden ordered yet another delay in the release of secret files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy yet to see the light of day more than 50 years after his death.

A White House memo, signed by Biden, said "[t]emporary continued postponement is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure."

The order comes in response to the archivist of the United States recommending the president “temporarily certify the continued withholding of all of the information certified in 2018” and “direct two public releases of the information that has” ultimately “been determined to be appropriate for release to the public,” with one interim release on Dec. 15 and one more comprehensive release in late 2022, according to the memo.

Former President Donald Trump ordered in 2018 that documentation still under wraps stay redacted for national security reasons, with a deadline of Oct. 26, 2021. His administration said the decision was made at the behest of the intelligence community.

This time around, delays associated with the coronavirus pandemic were to blame for the recommendation to put off the release.

David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, reported “unfortunately, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the agencies” and National Archives and nara logoRecords Administration, the White House memo said.

NARA “require[s] additional time to engage with the agencies and to conduct research within the larger collection to maximize the amount of information released," added the memo, which also said the archivist noted that “making these decisions is a matter that requires a professional, scholarly, and orderly process; not decisions or releases made in haste.”

Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas. [Editor's noted: This is heavily disputed by critics of the official investigation, who dispute also the disparaging term of "conspiracy theory" popularized by the CIA via is longstanding media relationships to smear researchers.]

lee harvey oswald minskOswald, left, was arrested and charged with the killings of Kennedy and Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit. The 24-year-old denied shooting Kennedy, claiming he was a "patsy," before he was shot dead soon after on national television by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

According to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which was signed into law by former President George H.W. Bush in an attempt to minimize conspiracy theories about Kennedy's death, the Congress declared, “all Government records concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy ... should be eventually disclosed to enable the public to become fully informed about the history surrounding the assassination.”

Congress also found at the time that “most of the records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are almost 30 years old, and only in the rarest cases is there any legitimate need for continued protection of such records.”

Tens of thousands of the JFK assassination documents, with varying levels of redactions, have already been released .

Among the information that has not been made public are highly sensitive details about U.S. operations against Cuba in 1963, according to the Intercept. There are also unseen passages about surveillance techniques that detected Oswald's visits to the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City weeks before Kennedy's assassination.

"Since the 1990s, more than 250,000 records concerning President Kennedy’s assassination — more than 90 percent of NARA’s collection — have been released in full to the public. Only a small fraction of the records contains any remaining redactions," the memo said.

A lot of the information that has been made available to the public is not accessible online. Under the order Friday, Biden instructed the archivist to issue a plan for the digitization of the records by Dec. 15.

Oct. 21

djt steve bannon

Donald Trump, left, and Steve Bannon, who has been quoted as backing the idea of a Trump reinstatement, saying that the "return of Trump" will be in "2022 or maybe before."

washington post logoWashington Post, House votes to hold Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with Jan. 6 subpoena, Felicia Sonmez, Marianna Sotomayor and Jacqueline Alemany, Oct. 21, 2021. Former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon (shown above in a file photo) has argued through his attorney that he can’t respond to the subpoena because of executive privilege asserted by former president Donald Trump. The matter now goes to the Justice Department, which will decide whether to pursue the contempt referral.

U.S. House logoThe House voted Thursday to hold former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The measure was approved on a 229-to-202 vote, with nine Republicans joining all Democrats present in voting “yes.” Thursday’s full House vote comes days after the members of the bipartisan select committee voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.

Bannon has previously argued through his attorney that he can’t respond to the subpoena because of executive privilege asserted by former president Donald Trump.

Justice Department log circularThe matter now goes to the Justice Department, which will decide whether to pursue the contempt referral. Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor criminal offense that can result in up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Asked at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday how the Justice Department would handle such a referral, Attorney General Merrick Garland said it “will do what it always does in such circumstances — it will apply the facts and the law.”

Legal experts have cast doubt on the merit of Bannon’s defense of his defiance of the subpoena and say the former president’s immunity from congressional subpoena extends only to his closest White House advisers — and not to private citizens like Bannon.

Trump’s sweeping claims of executive privilege to shield his activities and his aides and allies from congressional scrutiny have also been questioned by constitutional experts and lawyers.

Trump filed a 26-page lawsuit on Monday to block the House committee from receiving records for its inquiry from the National Archives, arguing that the committee’s document request serves no legislative purpose, that it undermines Trump’s executive privilege, and that the committee has provided Trump’s legal team with insufficient time to review the records requests.

 

Trump-supporting former law school dean John Eastman, left, helps Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani inflame pro-Trump protesters in front the White House before the insurrection riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the presidential election certification of Joe Biden's presidency on Jan. 6, 2021 (Los Angeles Times photo). Trump-supporting former law school dean John Eastman, left, helps Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani inflame pro-Trump protesters in front the White House before the insurrection riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the presidential election certification of Joe Biden's presidency on Jan. 6, 2021 (Los Angeles Times photo). 

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Move over Watergate, here comes Willardgate, Wayne Madsen (left, author of 21 books, including the forthcoming Trump's Fourth Reich, widely published commentator and former Navy intelligence officer), Oct. 21, 2021. Long the king of Washington wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallpolitical scandals, the Watergate office, residential, and hotel complex stands to be eclipsed by "Willardgate."

Watergate lent its name to countless other political "gate" scandals due to its being the location where the Democratic National Committee headquarters was burglarized by Richard Nixon re-election henchmen, an act that ultimately brought down the administration of Richard Nixon. Willardgate, however, may replace Watergate as the granddaddy of all DC scandals because, as with Guy Fawkes Day in England, Willardgate has become synonymous with "Treason and Plot."

wayne madesen report logoThe Willard Hotel, which is a mere few blocks from the White House and lies in-between the Executive Mansion and the Trump International Hotel, was the scene of a January 6th eve "War Council" meeting involving top Trump advisers. Documents subpoenaed by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection point to the Willard War Council as planning the storming of the Capitol the next day in order to delay or suspend the certification of Joe Biden's presidential election victory.

It is also becoming clearer that the Willard Hotel served as a nexus between the Oval Office and insurrection perpetrators, many of whom were staying at Trump's hotel, with a few others at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, which is across 14th street from the Willard. The Willard apparently acted as a relay point for a "sneaker net" in order to limit the electronic communications of the conspirators. E-mail and phone call records could and would be made available to law enforcement as "smoking gun" evidence if the plotters' plan failed, which, of course, it did.

There is a major difference between how the Watergate and Willard have gone down in American history. The Watergate scandal demonstrated that the Nixon White House was not above the law and the affair ultimately cost Nixon his presidency. Willardgate, on the other hand, has thus far shown that Trump may get away with almost having carried out a coup.

Tag Hollywood, New Book ' Unanswered Questions' Explores the slick oil connection between the Saudis and the Bush Administration, Ilene Proctor for Ray McGinnis, Oct. 20, 2021. Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored is a brutally persuasive book for those who want answers to the real origins of the Afghanistan war.

ray mcginnis unanswered coverMany families wondered how American national security would be imperiled by 9/11 families suing the Saudis? How could details of possible Saudi complicity in the attacks embarrass the United States government, or harm the nation? Are there classified documents that point not only to Saudi complicity, but to the United States itself?

Bob McIlvaine, whose son Bobby McIlvaine Jr. died while entering the North Tower lobby calls the headlines about Saudi Arabia “a distraction, a joke.” McIlvaine, whose family story was featured in the Atlantic Monthly this September, calls for a new independent investigation. He wants it to include legitimate suspects in the former Bush White House, and other private citizens working for think tanks or corporations, and have them testify under oath.

Some families are hopeful that President Biden’s September 3 Executive Order on Declassification Review of Certain Documents Concerning the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, will clear the air. But others worry what “certain documents” will be declassified? Will there be other documents kept sealed, possibly harming American national security or implicate the U.S. government?

Most of the questions the families asked remain ignored. The history we teach our children cannot be based on a false narrative and understanding of what really happened two decades ago. Many families, first responders, and veterans of wars in Afghan and Iraq are still waiting for truth and accountability.

Unanswered Questions is a must-read book on the crime that quite literally altered the face and fate of America. 9/11 became the turning point of the great American experiment, the moment when Americans began to truly question their government? Why were 9/11 Commissioners so obsequious and deferential toward the families, while ignoring their questions during the investigation?

ray mcginnisAbout the Author: Since 1999 Ray McGinnis, right, has been a free-lance presenter of journal writing, poetry, and memoir workshops to over 15,000 participants. He has taught at business conferences, colleges, theological schools, retreat settings, churches, synagogues, grief and loss support groups, schools, mental health settings, hospitals, and professional development days including for first responders, and lawyers. In 2005, he authored Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry.

McGinnis believes the stories of the families of the victims of September 11th, and their efforts to establish an inquiry into the attacks, offer a doorway for theological reflection about what it means to live in a post-9/11 world.

Oct. 20

 

The Intercept, Commentary: Biden Faces Deadline For Release of More JFK Assassination Papers, Jefferson Morley, right, and Rex Bradford, Oct. 20, 2021. John F. jefferson morley newKennedy was assassinated 58 years ago, but the U.S. government has balked at the full release of some secret CIA documents.

Will Biden follow the law? The JFK Records Act, passed unanimously by Congress in 1992, called for “expeditious public transmission” of all JFK files into the public record. Twenty-nine years later, the intent of Congress has been effectively nullified by the demands of federal agencies, particularly the CIA, which is responsible for 70 percent of the withheld records. The National Archives website says 15,834 JFK files that have been released remain redacted, though some redactions involve only a single word.

Federal Judge John Tunheim, chair of the civilian review board which declassified more than 300,000 JFK documents in the 1990s, called on Biden to release the JFK files without exception. “Why keep on holding back stuff?” Tunheim told The Intercept. “I don’t think there is any reason to protect any of it.”

What’s in the files?

The most sensitive JFK secrets involve U.S. operations against Cuba in 1963. Oswald was a public supporter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, or FPCC, a popular campus group which defended Fidel Castro’s government from aggressive U.S. policies. Records declassified in the 1990s revealed that the CIA targeted CIA Logothe FPCC for disruption in September 1963. Within the records that have been partially released, propaganda sources, deception methods, and surveillance techniques are often redacted.

One passage in a file on Operation Northwoods, a top-secret Pentagon operation that aimed to provoke a U.S. invasion of Cuba, is still off-limits to the public. Two paragraphs of the 200-page document remain classified in 2021.

There are scores of similar erasures in the JFK files that illuminate how the letter and spirit of the JFK Records Act is being flouted by extreme claims of secrecy. The information withheld hardly seems earthshaking, but the full significance of the last of the JFK files can only be assessed after full disclosure. Biden’s decision is expected on October 26.

Related articles on the JFK Facts site written and curated by Jefferson Morley:

  • Why Did the CIA Reclassify Parts of Some JFK Files in 2018?
  • JFK Redacted: The CIA's Collaborators in the Miami News Media
  • From the Secret JFK Files, Praise for a CIA Officer Who Monitored Oswald
  • Former DA says CIA hides JFK details but are they related to the assassination?
  • The JFK Records Act: Will There Be a Final Chapter?
  • Final Deadline Loom on JFK Records: Will Biden Follow the Law?

Oct. 18

joe biden

washington post logoWashington Post, Advocates worry Biden is letting U.S. democracy erode on his watch, Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager and Amy Gardner, Oct. 18, 2021 (print ed.).  Voting rights advocates meet once every week or two with White House officials via video conference, and in almost every session, an advocate speaks up to say that President Biden must do more, that American democracy is under threat and the president is not meeting the challenge.

At one such meeting earlier this year, a Biden aide responded that Democrats would simply have to “out-organize” the other side, according to multiple american flag upside down distressadvocates familiar with the exchange who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting. The comment infuriated advocates, who believe they are watching former president Donald Trump actively and perhaps permanently undermine faith in U.S. elections.

“There’s been a lot of anger and frustration with that line from the White House, which was communicated as a response to advocates wanting the White House to do more,” said Aaron Scherb, legislative director of Common Cause, a longtime pro-democracy group.

Scherb conceded that the White House’s urgency has significantly amped up in recent days, as voting rights legislation comes up for debate on Capitol Hill, and White House officials denied the activists’ account of the meeting. But the ongoing frustration is widespread among activists and many Democrats who fear Biden is missing the urgency of the moment.

In the nine months since Biden took office, GOP officials throughout the country have baselessly challenged the 2020 results, conducting elaborate and clumsy audits. States have restricted voting, often in ways activists say will hurt disadvantaged communities, and have changed their procedures to allow political influence over future elections.

Trump, meanwhile, frequently proclaims — with much fury but no evidence — that the last election was stolen, and some Republicans routinely assert that upcoming votes will be rigged as well. Many in Trump’s camp have taken to lauding the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was aimed at violently overturning the last election, as a heroic act.

Related Stories:

 

U.S. United National Ambassador Colin Powell, flanked by CIA Director George Tenant and White House National Security Advisor John Negroponte, shows what he calls a vial of anthrax at the United Nations in a key run-up to the Iraq War in 2003. The claims that Iraq leader had U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, flanked by CIA Director George Tenet at left and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, showed what he called a vial of anthrax at the United Nations to build international support for a U.S.-led invastion of Iraq War soon afterward in 2003. Their claims that Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction" such as anthrax, thereby justifying his overthrow, were never substantiated.

ny times logoNew York Times, Colin Powell, Who Shaped U.S. National Security, Dies at 84, Eric Schmitt, Oct. 18, 2021. A secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he served in top national security roles and helped pave the way for the war in Iraq.

Colin L. Powell, who in four decades of public life served as the nation’s top soldier, diplomat and national security adviser, and whose speech at the United Nations in 2003 helped pave the way for the United States to go to war in Iraq, died on Monday. He was 84.

colin powell 2005 wHe died of complications from Covid-19, his family said in a statement. He was fully vaccinated and was treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, his family said.

Mr. Powell (shown at left in a 2005 photo) was a path breaker serving as the country’s first African American national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state.

Born in Harlem of Jamaican parents, Mr. Powell grew up in the South Bronx and graduated from City College of New York, joining the Army through R.O.T.C. From a young second lieutenant commissioned in the dawn of a newly desegregated Army, Mr. Powell served two decorated combat tours in Vietnam. He later was national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan at the end of the Cold War, helping negotiate arms treaties and an era of cooperation with the Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev.

As chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he was the architect of the invasion of Panama in 1989 and of the Persian Gulf war in 1991 that ousted Saddam Hussein from Kuwait but left him in power in Iraq. Along with then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, Mr. Powell reshaped the American Cold War military that stood ready at the Iron Curtain for half a century. In doing so, he stamped the Powell Doctrine on military operations — armed with clear political objectives and public support, use decisive and overwhelming force to defeat enemy forces.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigation and Commentary: Is the Havana Syndrome a result of classified U.S. technology falling into the hands of right-wing Cubans in wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallMiami? Wayne Madsen, left (former Navy intelligence officer, now completing his 21st book, which will document a near-century of fascist growth in America that was temporarily blocked by the Allied victory in WW II over the fascist powers), Oct. 18, 2021.

The first reports of U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana being stricken with ear ringing, dizziness, and severe fatigue, dubbed the "Havana Syndrome," resulted in a series of botched investigations of the source of the illness by the Trump administration.

wayne madesen report logoAlthough there have been a number of theories about the source of what some experts now believe may have been a psychotronic weapon emitting pulsed radio frequency/microwave bursts directed at the U.S. and Canadian embassies and diplomatic housing areas in Havana. These bursts resulted in the targets suffering from the Frey effect, which manifests itself with ringing, buzzing, grinding, or clicking auditory sensations.

This is named for Allan H. Frey, the former General Electric Advanced Electronics Center at Cornell University scientist who originally discovered the effect that now carries his name. He was interviewed in 2018 by The New York Times at his home in suburban Washington, DC. Frey said federal investigators interviewed him about the Havana Syndrome and he agreed with the prevailing view at the time within the Trump administration about Russian and Cuban government involvement. He told the paper that "Cubans aligned with Russia, the nation’s longtime ally, might have launched microwave strikes in attempts to undermine developing ties between Cuba and the United States."

cuba flag saving CustomHowever, the Cuban government would have had no interest in severing relations with the U.S. that had been restored by President Obama after a 60-year freeze in diplomatic relations. And why would Russia have sought a confrontation with their first intelligence asset [Donald Trump] sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office?

The party that would have had a motive and means to fracture U.S.-Cuban relations was the exile community in Miami that has become a virtual "nation within a nation" and which has a documented history of carrying out terrorist attacks against innocent people, including Americans.

But, what about the expats' means to carry out a psychotronic attack in Havana?

In 2008, the Sierra Nevada Corporation of Sparks, Nevada, a longtime CIA contractor, began development of MEDUSA, or "Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio," a microwave weapon designed to transmit short microwave pulses. These pulses cause tissue to rapidly heat up and result in a shockwave inside a target's skull that is detected by the ears. More than a single pulse produces sounds in the ears. These effects, which emanate from the brain and not through the ears, which can even be heard by deaf people, describe most of the symptoms suffered by the U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana, including extreme discomfort, and, in some cases, incapacitation.

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, had originally received a patent for a "Psychological Warfare" microwave weapon in 2002, with an improved modification patent being awarded the following year in 2003. Initial research on the weapon involved expat scientists from Russia and Ukraine, which raises some red flags in itself when considering the close links between Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, and other Trump administration officials and Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.

Had the Cuban exile community been able to gain possession of such technology why would they have used it on U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana? The right-wing activists, with their history of terrorist attacks, would have been able to kill two birds with one stone. First, the far-right extremists in the Trump administration, who, in early 2017, included Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller, Peter Navarro, and others would have immediately pushed for a freeze in relations with Cuba by blaming it for the attacks. And that is exactly what occurred.

canadian flagAs far as Canada was concerned, the exiles may have seen an opportunity to drive a wedge in Ottawa's relations with Havana, especially when considering that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's parents had been close friends of Fidel Castro.

The fact that the Trump administration dragged its feet on initially investigating the true cause of the injuries sustained by American diplomats in Havana attests to the fact that it never wanted the actual perpetrators caught, since that might lead right back to the Oval Office. The FBI failed to conduct an adequate investigation of the attacks and the State Department, Pentagon, and CIA appeared to have thrown their hands up as far as finding a cause.

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Axel Springer removes a top editor after a Times report on workplace behavior, Ben Smith, right, and Melissa Eddy, Oct. 18, 2021. The ben smith twitterGerman media giant Axel Springer said on Monday that Julian Reichelt, the editor of Bild, its powerful tabloid, had been removed from his duties after The New York Times reported on allegations that he had behaved inappropriately with women at the publication.

The Times reported on Sunday on details of Mr. Reichelt’s relationship with a trainee, who testified during an investigation sponsored by the company that he had summoned her to a hotel near the office for sex and asked her to keep a payment secret.

bild logoMr. Reichelt had “not clearly separated private and professional matters, even after the compliance proceedings were concluded in spring 2021,” and had misled the company’s executive board on the subject, Axel Springer said in a statement. Mr. Reichelt has denied abusing his authority.

The company’s chairman and chief executive, Mathias Döpfner, praised Mr. Reichelt for his leadership but said retaining him had become impossible. He said his replacement, Johannes Boie, would combine “journalistic excellence with modern leadership.”

Mr. Reichelt, shown at right in a 2018 photo, was also removed from his duties at Bild TV, a television network introduced in August, said julian reichelt 2018Deirdre Latour, a spokeswoman for Axel Springer.

Axel Springer — whose leading publications pride themselves on their ability to dig up exclusive news before others do — also said in its statement that it would take legal action against third parties who it claimed tried to illegally influence the company’s compliance investigation, “apparently with the aim of removing Julian Reichelt from office and damaging Bild and Axel Springer.”

Despite the apparent threat, Ms. Latour said that “they will not go after whistle-blowers or anybody who brings forward complaints.”

Pressure built in Germany after the Ippen media group, a competitor of Bild, decided on Friday to pull its own in-depth investigation into Mr. Reichelt. That revelation stirred outrage among reporters in Berlin, leading one to ask Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman at a news conference on Monday whether that decision had raised concerns in the German government that freedom of the press could be in danger. Ms. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, declined to comment.

Ippen said in a statement on Monday that it had decided not to publish its investigation to avoid the appearance that it wanted to harm a rival publisher. Bild is the flagship publication of Axel Springer, a titan of German media since after World War II. The company is now focusing much of its energy on the United States and digital publishing. In 2015, the company bought Business Insider (now called Insider) for $442 million. This summer, it announced that it had purchased Politico for $1 billion.

liberty ship

The Unz Review, Historical Commentary and Opinion: American Pravda: Remembering the Liberty, Ron Unz (a California software developer and former Republican politician shown at right in a file photo from decades ago), Oct. 18, ron unz2021 (11,300 Words). Concealing the Deliberate Israeli Attack.

I’m not exactly sure when I first heard of the Liberty incident of 1967. The story was certainly a dramatic one, the attack upon an almost defenseless American intelligence ship by Israel’s air and naval forces late in the Six Day War fought against several Arab states. Over 200 American servicemen were killed or wounded by Israeli machine-guns, rockets, napalm, and torpedoes, representing our greatest naval loss of life since World War II. Only tremendous luck and the heroic actions of the sailors prevented the Liberty (shown above after the attack) from being sunk with all hands lost.

The Israeli government quickly claimed that the attack had been accidental, a consequence of mistaken identification and the fog of war, but none of the survivors ever believed that story, nor did many of America’s top political and military leaders, notably Secretary of State Dean Rusk, CIA Director Richard Helms, and numerous top officers, including a later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

lyndon johnson phone 1 10 64 lbj libraryAlthough a brief investigation ordered by President Lyndon Johnson, shown at left in a file photo, quickly endorsed the Israeli account, over the next half-century the Liberty survivors regularly condemned that official verdict as a cover-up and a whitewash. Their deep outrage was only slightly assuaged by the flood of medals they had received from our guilt-ridden government, which established the Liberty as perhaps the most highly-decorated ship in American naval history, at least with regard to a single engagement.

The real-life events of that day almost seem like a script out of Hollywood. The first wave of unmarked attacking jets had targeted and destroyed all of the Liberty’s regular transmission antennas while also trying to jam all standard American broadcast frequencies to prevent any calls for help. A flotilla of torpedo boats later machine-gunned the life-rafts to ensure there would be no survivors. These relentless attacks lasted for more than an hour and completely perforated the vessel, with the sides and the decks being pitted by more than 800 holes larger than a man’s fist, including 100 rocket-hits that were six to eight inches wide, and a 40 foot hole below the waterline produced by a torpedo strike. Only a miracle kept the ship afloat.

But the desperate sailors braved constant enemy fire to jury-rig a single transmission antenna, allowing them to send out an urgent plea for help. Their SOS was finally received by our nearby Sixth Fleet, whose commanders immediately dispatched two waves of jet fighters to rescue the Liberty and drive off the attackers, only to have both flights recalled by order of America’s highest political leadership, which chose to abandon the Liberty and its crew to their fate. At the end, two large helicopters filled with commandos dressed in full battle gear and armed with assault weapons were preparing to board the Liberty, sweep its decks clear of any resistance, and sink it. But at that moment their headquarters apparently discovered that the ship had managed to report its plight to other American military forces, so the enemy broke off the attack and retreated. The first American assistance finally arrived seventeen hours after the first shots had been fired, as two destroyers reached the stricken vessel, which was still desperately trying to stay afloat.

This story combined so many elements of exceptional military heroism, political treachery, and success against all odds that if the Liberty had been attacked by any nation on earth except Israel, the inspirational events of June 8, 1967 might have become the basis for several big-budget, Oscar-nominated movies as well as a regular staple of television documentaries. Such a patriotic narrative would have provided very welcome relief from the concurrent military disaster our israel flagcountry was then facing in its Vietnam War debacle. But events involving serious misdeeds of the Jewish State are hardly viewed with great favor by the leading lights of our entertainment industry, and the story of the Liberty quickly vanished from sight so that today I doubt whether even one American in a hundred has ever heard of it.

Our news media has been almost as silent on the subject. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, there was naturally some coverage in our major newspapers and magazines, with several of the reports expressing considerable skepticism of the Israeli claims of having made an innocent mistake. But the Johnson Administration quickly imposed an extreme clampdown to suppress any challenges to the official story.

An American admiral soon met with all of the survivors in small groups, including the many dozens still hospitalized from their serious injuries, and he issued fearsome threats to those terrified young sailors, most of whom were still in their teens or early twenties. If any of them ever mentioned a word of what had happened—even to their mothers, fathers, or wives, let alone the media—they would immediately be court-martialed and end their lives in prison “or worse.”

With our journalists having great difficulty finding any eyewitnesses willing to talk and our government firmly declaring that the attack had been an unfortunate instance of accidental “friendly fire,” the newsmen quickly lost interest and the story faded from the headlines. Our government still remained so concerned about the smoldering embers of the incident that the surviving sailors were distributed across the other ships of our navy, apparently with efforts made to avoid having any of them serve together, which would have allowed them an opportunity to discuss the events they had barely survived.

The ensuing decade of the 1970s saw the Watergate Scandal unfold, culminating in the impeachment and resignation of a president, and numerous other sordid governmental scandals and abuses of power came to light in the years that followed, greatly eroding popular faith in the honesty of our government.

These changed circumstances helped provide an opening to James M. Ennes, Jr., one of the young surviving Liberty officers, who defied the threats of prosecution and imprisonment in order to reveal to the world what had happened. Working closely with many of his fellow survivors, he spent years preparing a powerful manuscript and was introduced to a major publishing house by star New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan, who had written one of the earliest news accounts of the attack. His book Assault on the Liberty was released in 1979, producing the first major crack in the continuing wall of silence.

Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, contributed a Foreword to a later edition, and the facts and gripping eyewitness testimony philip nelson liberty coveralmost conclusively established that the Israeli attack had been entirely intentional. There were quite a number of favorable early reviews and interviews, leading to strong initial sales and further media coverage.

But organized pro-Israel groups soon counterattacked with a widespread campaign of suppression, working to prevent book sales and distribution while pressuring such influential television shows as ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS’s Sixty Minutes into canceling their planned segments.

  • Author Phil Nelson and three co-author survivors published a 2017 book (shown at right) well-regarded by other survivors, Remember the Liberty! Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas.

Successful books may sell tens of thousands of copies, but popular television programs reach tens of millions, so only a sliver of the American public ever learned the story of the Liberty. However, those who were politically aware and interested in the topic now had a solid reference source to cite and distribute, and the book also sparked the creation of the Liberty Veterans Association, which began to demand a reopening of the case and an honest investigation of what had happened that day.

The Israelis always claimed that the Liberty had been attacked because it was misidentified as a particular Egyptian naval vessel, and the official report of the American investigation had concurred. But Ennes’ book demolished that possibility.

(*) As America’s most advanced electronic surveillance ship, the Liberty had one of the most unique profiles in any navy, with its topside covered by an enormous array of different communications antennas, even including a 32-foot satellite-dish used to bounce signals off the Moon. By contrast, the Egyptian vessel was a decrepit old horse-transport just a fraction of the size, which was then rusting away in the port of Alexandria.

(*) By nearly all accounts, the air and naval forces deployed against the Liberty were completely unmarked, thus disguising their origins. None of the calls for help sent out mentioned the identity of the attackers, which the victims only discovered near the very end of the sustained engagement. If the Israeli forces had merely been striking against an assumed Egyptian military vessel, why would they have bothered to conceal their nationality?

(*) Despite repeated Israeli claims to the contrary, the Liberty had a large and very visible American flag flying at all times, and when the first one was shot down and destroyed early in the attack, an even larger Stars and Stripes was quickly hoisted as a replacement. The name of the ship was written in large English letters on its side, instead of the Arabic used by Egyptian vessels. The clear, bright weather that day provided perfect visibility.

(*) Israeli surveillance planes had repeatedly over-flown the Liberty all that morning, sometimes flying so low that the faces of the pilots could be seen, so the ship would have been easily identified.

(*) From the moment the attack began, Israeli electronic jamming had been employed to blanket all regular American communication channels, proving that the attackers knew the nationality of the ship they were targeting.

(*) The Israelis claimed that they initially assumed that the Liberty was a warship because it was traveling at a high speed of nearly 30 knots, but the ship’s speed during that entire period had merely been 5 knots, slower by a factor of six.

haiti flag

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. in contact with Haitian officials over effort to free kidnapped American missionaries, Miriam Berger, Oct. 18, 2021. For months, the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation has been battling a surge in gang violence and kidnappings.

U.S. and senior Haitian officials are working to free 17 members of an Ohio-based Christian aid organization kidnapped Saturday in Haiti, the State Department said Sunday.

“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement. “We have been in regular contact with senior Haitian authorities and will continue to work with them and interagency partners.”

American missionaries and family members kidnapped in Haiti by ‘400 Mawozo’ gang, groups say

FBI personnel are in Haiti assisting with negotiations for the release, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Saturday’s kidnapping of 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian national thrust Haiti once more into the center of an international crisis. But for months, the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation has been battling a surge in gang violence and kidnappings. A power struggle after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has further eroded any semblance of rule of law.

washington post logoWashington Post, American missionaries and family members kidnapped in Haiti by ‘400 Mawozo’ gang, groups say, Anthony Faiola, Oct. 18, 2021 (print ed.). A notorious gang known for mass kidnappings is believed to have abducted a group of 17 missionaries and family members — primarily Americans — in Haiti on Saturday while they were returning from a visit to an orphanage, the latest in a wave of kidnappings to grip the Caribbean nation.

An audio recording described as a “prayer alert” from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries and obtained by The Washington Post stated that “men, women and children” associated with the group were being held by an armed gang. Those abducted included organization staff as well as family members, according to the recording and a person familiar with the abduction.

“The mission field director and the American embassy are working to see what can be done,” the voice on the recording stated. It later added, “Pray that the gang members will come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.”

Organizations that monitor kidnappings in Haiti said the missionaries were abducted by a much-feared gang known as 400 Mawozo, which is known for targeting religious groups and controls parts of Ganthier, a town east of the capital where the group was seized on Saturday. In recent months, its members have increasingly engage in mass kidnappings from buses and cars.

The gang in April kidnapped five priests and two nuns, including French nationals, in an incident that led Catholic universities and schools to close in protest. Then-Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe resigned shortly afterward, following a surge of other gang crimes — including an attack on an orphanage in which children were sexually assaulted.

Gédéon Jean, director of the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, said he had received information from authorities that Saturday’s captives included 16 Americans and one Canadian citizen. A person familiar with the abduction, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing crisis, said there may have been two Haitian nationals also abducted.

“The modus operandi is they take entire cars and buses,” Jean said. “Then they ask for a price to release everybody.”

 

Oct. 17

haiti flag

washington post logoWashington Post, American missionaries and family members kidnapped in Haiti by ‘400 Mawozo’ gang, groups say, Anthony Faiola, Oct. 17, 2021. A notorious gang known for mass kidnappings is believed to have abducted a group of 17 missionaries and family members — primarily Americans — in Haiti on Saturday while they were returning from a visit to an orphanage, the latest in a wave of kidnappings to grip the Caribbean nation.

An audio recording described as a “prayer alert” from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries and obtained by The Washington Post stated that “men, women and children” associated with the group were being held by an armed gang. Those abducted included organization staff as well as family members, according to the recording and a person familiar with the abduction.

“The mission field director and the American embassy are working to see what can be done,” the voice on the recording stated. It later added, “Pray that the gang members will come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.”

Organizations that monitor kidnappings in Haiti said the missionaries were abducted by a much-feared gang known as 400 Mawozo, which is known for targeting religious groups and controls parts of Ganthier, a town east of the capital where the group was seized on Saturday. In recent months, its members have increasingly engage in mass kidnappings from buses and cars.

The gang in April kidnapped five priests and two nuns, including French nationals, in an incident that led Catholic universities and schools to close in protest. Then-Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe resigned shortly afterward, following a surge of other gang crimes — including an attack on an orphanage in which children were sexually assaulted.

Gédéon Jean, director of the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, said he had received information from authorities that Saturday’s captives included 16 Americans and one Canadian citizen. A person familiar with the abduction, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing crisis, said there may have been two Haitian nationals also abducted.

“The modus operandi is they take entire cars and buses,” Jean said. “Then they ask for a price to release everybody.”

Christian Aid Ministries did not respond to a request for comment. According to the group’s website, American staff members returned to its Haiti base in 2020 after being gone for nine months because of political unrest.

Abductions by the busload: Haitians are being held hostage by a surge in kidnappings. The person familiar with the matter said that one of the abducted Americans had posted a call for help in a WhatsApp group as the kidnapping was occurring.

suharto

Indonesian General Suharto, later the nation's longtime president, shown above left in camouflage uniform in the days after the September 30th Movement (National Security Archive).

National Security Archive at George Washington University, Newly Declassified U.S. Embassy Jakarta Files Detail Army Killings, U.S. support for Quashing Leftist Labor Movement, Edited by Brad Simpson (Founder and Director of the Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project, Associate Professor of History and Asian  Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968 by Bradley R. SimpsonStudies, University of Connecticut, author of "Economists With Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968" shown below), Oct. 17, 2021.

The U.S. government had detailed knowledge that the Indonesian Army was conducting a campaign of mass murder against the country’s Communist Party (PKI) starting in 1965, according to newly declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University. The new materials further show that diplomats in the Jakarta Embassy kept a record of which PKI leaders were being executed, and that U.S. officials actively supported Indonesian Army efforts to destroy the country’s left-leaning labor movement.

The 39 documents made available today come from a collection of nearly 30,000 pages of files constituting much of the daily record of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1964-1968. The collection, much of it formerly classified, was processed by the CIA LogoNational Declassification Center in response to growing public interest in the remaining U.S. documents concerning the mass killings of 1965-1966. American and Indonesian human rights and freedom of information activists, filmmakers, as well as a group of U.S. Senators led by Tom Udall (D-NM), had called for the materials to be made public.

The documents concern one of the most important and turbulent chapters in Indonesian history and U.S.-Indonesian relations, which witnessed the gradual collapse of ties between Jakarta and Washington, a low-level war with Britain over the formation of Malaysia, rising tension between the Indonesian Army and the Indonesian Communist Party, the growing radicalization of Indonesian President Sukarno, and the expansion of U.S. covert operations aimed at provoking a clash between the Army and PKI.

These tensions erupted in the aftermath of an attempted purge of the Army by the September 30th Movement – a group of military officers with the collaboration of a handful of PKI leaders. After crushing the Movement, which had kidnapped and killed six high-ranking Army generals, the Indonesian Army and its paramilitary allies launched a campaign of annihilation against the PKI and its affiliated organizations, killing up to 500,000 alleged PKI supporters between October 1965 and March 1966, imprisoning up to a million more, and eventually ousting Sukarno and replacing him with General Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for the next 32 years before he himself was overthrown in May 1998.

In an unprecedented collaboration, the National Security Archive worked with the National Declassification Center (NDC) to make the entirety of this collection available to the public by scanning and digitizing the collection, which will be incorporated into the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) digital finding aids. When completed, scholars, journalists, and researchers will be able to search the documents by date, keyword, or name, providing unparalleled access, in particular for the Indonesian public, to a unique collection of records concerning one of the most important periods of Indonesian history.

Of the 30,000 pages processed by the NDC, several hundred documents remain classified and are undergoing further review before their scheduled release in early 2018. While some of the documents in this collection were declassified and deposited at NARA or the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in the late 1990s, many thousands of pages are being made available for the first time in more than 50 more than 50 years.

The Guardian, Revealed: how UK spies incited mass murder of Indonesia’s communists, Paul Lashmar, Nicholas Gilby and James Oliver, Oct. 17, 2021. Newly declassified papers show shocking role played by Britain in slaughter.

A propaganda campaign orchestrated by Britain played a crucial part in one of the most brutal massacres of the postwar 20th century, shocking new evidence reveals.

United Kingdom flagBritish officials secretly deployed black propaganda in the 1960s to urge prominent Indonesians to “cut out” the “communist cancer”.

It is estimated that at least 500,000 people – some estimates go to three million – linked to the Indonesia Communist party (PKI) were eliminated between 1965 and 1966. [The events are described by, among other places, The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66 by scholar Geoffrey B. Robinson, shown at right.]

geoffrey robinson killing seasonRecently declassified Foreign Office documents show that British propagandists secretly incited anti-communists, including army generals, to eliminate the PKI. The campaign of apparently spontaneous mass murder, now known to have been orchestrated by the Indonesian army, was later described by the CIA as one of the worst mass murders of the century.

As the massacres started in October 1965 British officials called for “the PKI and all communist organisations” to “be eliminated.” The nation, they warned, would be in danger “as long as the communist leaders are at large and their rank and file are allowed to go unpunished”.

sukarno wBritain launched its propaganda offensive against Indonesia in response to President Sukarno’s hostility to the formation of its former colonies into the Malayan federation, which from 1963 resulted in a low-level conflict and armed incursions by the Indonesian army across the border. In 1965 specialist propagandists from the Foreign Office’s information research department (IRD) were sent to Singapore to produce black propaganda to undermine Sukarno’s regime. The PKI was a strong supporter of both the president, left, and the Confrontation movement.

As the massacres started in October 1965 British officials called for “the PKI and all communist organisations” to “be eliminated”. The nation, they warned, would be in danger “as long as the communist leaders are at large and their rank and file are allowed to go unpunished”.

Britain launched its propaganda offensive against Indonesia in response to President Sukarno’s hostility to the formation of its former colonies into the Malayan federation which from 1963 resulted in a low-level conflict and armed incursions by the Indonesian army across the border. In 1965 specialist propagandists from the Foreign Office’s information research department (IRD) were sent to Singapore to produce black propaganda to undermine Sukarno’s regime. The PKI was a strong supporter of both the president and the Confrontation movement.

indonesia flagA small team produced a newsletter purporting to be produced by Indonesian émigrés and targeted at prominent and influential individuals, including army generals. It also supplied a black radio station broadcasting into Indonesia run by the Malaysians.

By mid-1965 the operation was in full swing, but an attempted coup by leftwing army officers and, secretly, by agents of the PKI, in which seven generals were murdered, provided the chance to have a real impact on events.

The coup was swiftly crushed by Indonesia’s future president General Suharto, who then set about a gradual seizure of power from Sukarno and the elimination of the PKI, then the biggest communist party in the non-communist world.

The propagandists called for “the PKI and all it stands for” to be “eliminated for all time” advising its influential readers that “procrastination and half-hearted measures can only lead to… our ultimate and complete destruction.” Over the following weeks massacres of alleged PKI members, few if any with any involvement in the attempted coup, and other leftists spread across the archipelago.

Related stories:

  • Uncovering Indonesia’s Act of Killing, The New York Review of Books, Oct 20, 2017
  • What the United States Did in Indonesia, The Atlantic, Oct 20, 2017
  • Declassified files outline US support for1965 Indonesia massacre, Financial Times, October 18, 2017
  • U.S. Stood by as Indonesia Killed a Half-Million People, Papers Show, New York Times, October 18, 2017
  • How The U.S. Came to Declassify 30,000 Pages of Indonesian Embassy Files, Voice of America, October 18, 2017
  • Files show new details of US support for Indonesia bloodbath, AP, October 17, 2017

Oct. 16

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Biden calls on Garland’s Department of Justice to prosecute January 6 figures who defy subpoenas! Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 16, 2021. webster tarpley twitterHouse scheduled to vote on criminal referral for Bannon next Tuesday; Garland must defend nation, not his own vanity; Fascist armed militias and death threats (aka coercion) are illegal in all states;

Following same unity method used by Navalny against Putin, Czech opposition sets example of political realism and maturity for US Democrats by forming ”Spolu” united front against would-be dictator Babis; Rivals agree to put divisive questions ”on ice” to gain victory; Defeat of Babis isolates Trump clone Orban of Hungary, weakens Salvini in Italy;

Anti-vaxers join fascists in attacking key Rome labor union HQ; Italian Green Pass now in force in the workplace, while in UK most rules have been lifted since July: Italy has about 2,500 cases per day, the UK 43,000 cases under BoJo’s policy of learning to co-exist with covid;

Rev. Pinckney of Benton Harbor, Michigan calls for passage of $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to replace poisonous lead pipes causing water crisis;
Trump orders Republicans not to vote!

Oct. 15

JFKFacts.org, From the Secret JFK Files, Praise for a CIA Officer Who Monitored Oswald, Jefferson Morley, right, Oct. 15, 2021. The secret JFK assassinations files now jefferson morley newunder review at the White House include the records of senior CIA officers who knew about the supposed assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before President Kennedy was killed on November 22, 1963.

The Public Interest Declassification Board, which advises the president on historical issues, has urged President Biden to insure “maximum disclosure” in JFK files, set for release on October 26. Sabato’s Crystal Ball has examined the uneven enforcement of the JFK Records Act.

I want to share with readers, reporters, and Twitter, what is on the public record about these officers, individually and collectively. These files may shed light on the breakdown of presidential security in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

They are certainly relevant to the current White House review of JFK files. These officers were involved in the CIA’s monitoring of Oswald before Kennedy was killed. After Kennedy was dead, they lied about what they knew.

The first is Birch O’Neal, a CIA “mole hunter” who figures at the very beginning of the CIA-Oswald story.

CIA LogoBirch O’Neal was a former FBI man from Georgia who served as station chief in Guatemala in 1954 when a CIA coup overthrew the democratically elected government of President Jacobo Arbenz. He went on to work closely with counterintelligence chief James Angleton for many years, serving as chief of the Special Investigations Group (CI/SIG), a secretive office that pursued Angleton’s theory that the Soviet intelligence had a “mole” in the upper ranks of the CIA.

O’Neal was involved in the opening the CIA’s first file on Oswald when the ex-Marine defected to the Soviet Union in November 1959.
‘Sensitive Matters’

O’Neal’s personnel file, largely but not totally declassified in April 2018, disclosed the fact that his primary job responsibility in 1959 was directing “special john newman oswald ciainvestigations.” If O’Neal investigated Oswald’s defection to the Soviet Union, or his subsequent return to Texas, or his alleged involvement in Kennedy’s assassination, no trace of it has ever surfaced.

O’Neal also coordinated “sensitive matters” between the CI Staff and the Office of Security, the Agency’s internal police force. The Office of Security opened the Agency’s first file on Oswald in November 1959. At right is the cover of a book by Dr. John Newman, an historian and former official with the National Security Agency.

On the day Kennedy was killed, O’Neal told the FBI that there was “nothing in the CIA file regarding Oswald other than material furnished to the CIA by the FBI and the State Department”–a statement that he almost certainly knew was untrue.

.In fact, the CIA Counterintelligence (CI) Staff had recently received and sent multiple messages about Oswald’s visit to Mexico City.

Oct. 14

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Proof via Substack, Investigation and Commentary: Revelation Involving January 2 Call Between Trump and Insurrectionist Leaders Confirms That Trump Coordinated seth abramson graphicthe January 6 Coup Personally, Seth Abramson, left, Oct. 13-14, 2021 (excerpt continued below). In view of this new information, there can no longer be any doubt that the former president (shown above at the White House in a file photo), his lawyers, and top White House advisers were intimately involved in coordinating the chaos of January 6.

seth abramson proof logoIntroduction: As Proof has previously reported, on January 2, 2021—just 96 hours before the attack on the Capitol—then-president Donald Trump held a conference call with hundreds of Republican state legislators to communicate to them how key they were to his plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He wanted them to de-certify Joe Biden’s slates of electors in six battleground states, and to do so quickly enough that it would give Vice President Mike Pence a slender pretext to prorogue Congress and postpone the certification of Biden’s 2020 election win, which was then scheduled for January 6.

New details about that call now put it at the heart of Trump’s coup conspiracy, and reframe dramatically the stunning January 4 Oval Office meeting—between Trump, Pence, and Trump attorney John Eastman—that Proof reported on this past Monday.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Trump has his own "deep state" and it's more dangerous than any other, Wayne Madsen, left, Oct. 14, 2021. Donald wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallTrump and his acolytes are often complaining about the "deep state."

When asked to describe their "deep state," Trumpists are unable to provide a coherent answer. Some spew forth the stock villains often cited by wayne madesen report logothe far-right: the CIA, the Federal Reserve, the Vatican, George Soros, the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group, the globalists, and, of course, their traditional target, the Jews.

The one thing that is standard practice with Trump and his supporters is their use of projection, accusing others of what they, themselves, do. And when it comes to charges that the deep state is out to get them, they fail to mention that a much-more clearly defined deep state supports Trump and his anti-democratic goals to destroy the constitutional order of the United States and replace it with a pluto-theocracy. How do we know about Trump's deep state? We have the list of its members.

washington post logoWashington Post, Jan. 6 committee preparing to aggressively enforce subpoenas, Jacqueline Alemany and Tom Hamburger, Oct. 14, 2021 (print ed.). Lawmakers on the panel said they are prepared to pursue charges against witnesses such as Stephen K. Bannon who have balked at cooperating, and they may issue a subpoena as early as Wednesday to a Trump Justice Department official.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is planning to ramp up its efforts to force Trump administration officials to comply with its subpoenas as the former president attempts to stymie the inquiry.

jeffrey clark oLawmakers who sit on the panel said they are prepared to pursue criminal charges against witnesses like Stephen K. Bannon who have balked at cooperating. And the committee may issue a subpoena as early as Wednesday to Jeffrey Clark, right, a Trump Justice Department official who sought to deploy department resources to support former president Donald Trump’s false claims of massive voting fraud in the 2020 election.

What happens to the Trump advisers who don’t comply with subpoenas?

“We are completely of one mind that if people refuse to respond to questions without justification that we will hold them in criminal contempt Justice Department log circularand refer them to the Justice Department,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the panel, said in an interview Tuesday.

Tensions over compliance with subpoenas are increasing as the committee’s plan to hold depositions this week with Bannon and three other Trump administration officials — former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and Kash Patel, who was serving as chief of staff to the acting defense secretary on Jan. 6 — is already facing head winds.

Negotiations between Clark’s legal team and the committee did not proceed as rapidly as the committee hoped, according to a person familiar with the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks. As a result, the committee is contemplating issuing a subpoena, this person said.

Oct. 14

tribune publishing logoThe Atlantic, Investigation: Inside Alden Global Capital, McKay Coppins (at The Atlantic and the author of The Wilderness, a book about the battle over the future of the Republican Party), Oct. 14, 2021. A Secretive Hedge Fund Is Gutting Newsrooms.

tribune tower 2013The Tribune Tower (shown at right in 2013) rises above the streets of downtown Chicago in a majestic snarl of Gothic spires and flying buttresses that were designed to exude power and prestige.

atlantic logo horizontalWhen plans for the building were announced in 1922, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime owner of the Chicago Tribune, said he wanted to erect “the world’s most beautiful office building” for his beloved newspaper. The best architects of the era were invited to submit designs; lofty quotes about the Fourth Estate were selected to adorn the lobby.

Prior to the building’s completion, McCormick (below left) directed his foreign correspondents to collect “fragments” of various historical sites—a brick from the Great Wall of China, an emblem from St. Peter’s Basilica—and send them back to be embedded in the tower’s facade. The final product, completed in 1925, was an architectural spectacle unlike anything the city had seen before—“romance in stone and steel,” as one writer described it. A century later, the Tribune Tower has retained its grandeur. It has not, however, retained the robert mccormickChicago Tribune.

To find the paper’s current headquarters one afternoon in late June, I took a cab across town to an industrial block west of the river. After a long walk down a windowless hallway lined with cinder-block walls, I got in an elevator, which deposited me near a modest bank of desks near the printing press. The scene was somehow even grimmer than I’d imagined. Here was one of America’s most storied newspapers—a publication that had endorsed Abraham Lincoln and scooped the Treaty of Versailles, that had toppled political bosses and tangled with crooked mayors and collected dozens of Pulitzer Prizes—reduced to a newsroom the size of a Chipotle.

Spend some time around the shell-shocked journalists at the Tribune these days, and you’ll hear the same question over and over: How did it come to this? On the surface, the answer might seem obvious. Craigslist killed the Classified section, Google and Facebook swallowed up the ad market, and a procession of hapless newspaper owners failed to adapt to the digital-media age, making obsolescence inevitable. This is the story we’ve been telling for decades about the dying local-news industry, and it’s not without truth. But what’s happening in Chicago is different.

In May, the Tribune was acquired by Alden Global Capital, a secretive hedge fund that has quickly, and with remarkable ease, become one of the largest newspaper operators in the country. The new owners did not fly to Chicago to address the staff, nor did they bother with paeans to the vital civic role of journalism. Instead, they gutted the place.

alden global capital logoTwo days after the deal was finalized, Alden announced an aggressive round of buyouts. In the ensuing exodus, the paper lost the Metro columnist who had championed the occupants of a troubled public-housing complex, and the editor who maintained a homicide database that the police couldn’t manipulate, and the photographer who had produced beautiful portraits of the state’s undocumented immigrants, and the investigative reporter who’d helped expose the governor’s offshore shell companies. When it was over, a quarter of the newsroom was gone.

The hollowing-out of the Chicago Tribune was noted in the national press, of course. There were sober op-eds and lamentations on Twitter and expressions of disappointment by professors of journalism. But outside the industry, few seemed to notice. Meanwhile, the Tribune’s remaining staff, which had been spread thin even before Alden came along, struggled to perform the newspaper’s most basic functions. After a powerful Illinois state legislator resigned amid bribery allegations, the paper didn’t have a reporter in Springfield to follow the resulting scandal. And when Chicago suffered a brutal summer crime wave, the paper had no one on the night shift to listen to the police scanner.

As the months passed, things kept getting worse. Morale tanked; reporters burned out. The editor in chief mysteriously resigned, and managers scrambled to deal with the cuts. Some in the city started to wonder if the paper was even worth saving. “It makes me profoundly sad to think about what the Trib was, what it is, and what it’s likely to become,” says David Axelrod, who was a reporter at the paper before becoming an adviser to Barack Obama. Through it all, the owners maintained their ruthless silence—spurning interview requests and declining to articulate their plans for the paper. Longtime Tribune staffers had seen their share of bad corporate overlords, but this felt more calculated, more sinister.

“It’s not as if the Tribune is just withering on the vine despite the best efforts of the gardeners,” Charlie Johnson, a former Metro reporter, told me after the latest round of buyouts this summer. “It’s being snuffed out, quarter after quarter after quarter.” We were sitting in a coffee shop in Logan Square, and he was still struggling to make sense of what had happened. The Tribune had been profitable when Alden took over. The paper had weathered a decade and a half of mismanagement and declining revenues and layoffs, and had finally achieved a kind of stability. Now it might be facing extinction.

  • “They call Alden a vulture hedge fund, and I think that’s honestly a misnomer,” Johnson said. “A vulture doesn’t hold a wounded animal’s head underwater. This is predatory.”

When Alden first started buying newspapers, at the tail end of the Great Recession, the industry responded with cautious optimism. These were not exactly boom times for newspapers, after all—at least someone wanted to buy them. Maybe this obscure hedge fund had a plan. One early article, in the trade publication Poynter, suggested that Alden’s interest in the local-news business could be seen as “flattering” and quoted the owner of The Denver Post as saying he had “enormous respect” for the firm. Reading these stories now has a certain horror-movie quality: You want to somehow warn the unwitting victims of what’s about to happen.

Of course, it’s easy to romanticize past eras of journalism. The families that used to own the bulk of America’s local newspapers—the Bonfilses of Denver, the Chandlers of Los Angeles—were never perfect stewards. They could be vain, bumbling, even corrupt. At their worst, they used their papers to maintain oppressive social hierarchies. But most of them also had a stake in the communities their papers served, which meant that, if nothing else, their egos were wrapped up in putting out a respectable product.

  • The model is simple: gut the staff, sell the real estate, jack up subscription prices, and wring out as much cash as possible.

The 21st century has seen many of these generational owners flee the industry, to devastating effect. In the past 15 years, more than a quarter of American newspapers have gone out of business. Those that have survived are smaller, weaker, and more vulnerable to acquisition. Today, half of all daily newspapers in the U.S. are controlled by financial firms, according to an analysis by the Financial Times, and the number is almost certain to grow.

What threatens local newspapers now is not just digital disruption or abstract market forces. They’re being targeted by investors who have figured out how to get rich by strip-mining local-news outfits. The model is simple: Gut the staff, sell the real estate, jack up subscription prices, and wring as much cash as possible out of the enterprise until eventually enough readers cancel their subscriptions that the paper folds, or is reduced to a desiccated husk of its former self.

  • John Temple: My newspaper died 10 years ago. I’m worried the worst is yet to come.

The men who devised this model are Randall Smith and Heath Freeman, the co-founders of Alden Global Capital. Since they bought their first newspapers a decade ago, no one has been more mercenary or less interested in pretending to care about their publications’ long-term health. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that Alden-owned newspapers have cut their staff at twice the rate of their competitors; not coincidentally, circulation has fallen faster too, according to Ken Doctor, a news-industry analyst who reviewed data from some of the papers. That might sound like a losing formula, but these papers don’t have to become sustainable businesses for Smith and Freeman to make money.

With aggressive cost-cutting, Alden can operate its newspapers at a profit for years while turning out a steadily worse product, indifferent to the subscribers it’s alienating. “It’s the meanness and the elegance of the capitalist marketplace brought to newspapers,” Doctor told me. So far, Alden has limited its closures primarily to weekly newspapers, but Doctor argues it’s only a matter of time before the firm starts shutting down its dailies as well.

This investment strategy does not come without social consequences. When a local newspaper vanishes, research shows, it tends to correspond with lower voter turnout, increased polarization, and a general erosion of civic engagement. Misinformation proliferates. City budgets balloon, along with corruption and dysfunction. The consequences can influence national politics as well; an analysis by Politico found that Donald Trump performed best during the 2016 election in places with limited access to local news.

  • margaret sullivan 2015 photoMargaret Sullivan (right): The Constitution doesn’t work without local news

With its acquisition of Tribune Publishing earlier this year, Alden now controls more than 200 newspapers, including some of the country’s most famous and influential: the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, the New York Daily News. It is the nation’s second-largest newspaper owner by circulation. Some in the industry say they wouldn’t be surprised if Smith and Freeman end up becoming the biggest newspaper moguls in U.S. history.

They are also defined by an obsessive secrecy. Alden’s website contains no information beyond the firm’s name, and its list of investors is kept strictly confidential. When lawmakers pressed for details last year on who funds Alden, the company replied that “there may be certain legal entities and organizational structures formed outside of the United States.”

Smith, a reclusive Palm Beach septuagenarian, hasn’t granted a press interview since the 1980s. Freeman, his 41-year-old protégé and the president of the firm, would be unrecognizable in most of the newsrooms he owns. For two men who employ thousands of journalists, remarkably little is known about them.

 

mlk injustice quotation

The Atlantic, The Second Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Ibram X. Kendi, Oct. 14, 2021. King’s nightmare of racism is being presented as his dream.

Early on the evening of October 23, 2019, I took a tour of the Lorraine Motel. I’d been to Memphis, Tennessee, several times before, and I’d come back to speak at the National Civil Rights Museum, which encompasses the motel. But until that October, I’d never been able to bring myself to visit the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

atlantic logo horizontalI saw what King saw moments before he saw no more. His second-floor room had been preserved. Walking into there was like walking into 1968. I saw the antique dishes from the motel’s kitchen. I saw two beds: one for King, unmade, and one for his friend Ralph Abernathy. On April 4, 1968, King had been feeling under the weather.

The night before he was killed, King addressed striking Black sanitation workers in Memphis. “If something isn’t done, and in a hurry,” he said, “to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed.”

The second assassination of King began days after the first assassination. Almost a third of Americans polled in April 1968 felt that King himself was to blame for his assassination, felt that he had “brought it on himself.”

When King was killed, he was one of the most hated people in the United States. Nearly half of Black Americans and three-quarters of white Americans disapproved of him when he stepped out onto that motel balcony. Death threats were a fact of his life.

King’s first assassins professed to hate him half a century ago. His second assassins profess to revere him. Death threats to King’s legacy are now sold as love songs to his legacy. King is adored in death, literally. King is still hated in life.

Take the small Ohio crowd that gathered for a political rally last month. A white woman held a sign that read EDUCATE DON’T INDOCTRINATE. Another sign said SAVE THE DIVISION FOR MATH CLASS. Another person held a large poster of King.

Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, spoke to the crowd. “What the liberals are doing by advancing the cause of critical race theory—they are stomping on the grave of Martin Luther King,” said Mandel, whose internal poll shows him leading the Republican primary race.

“Martin Luther King once said that he had a dream that his grandkids would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” Mandel added. “But what you have going on in the government schools by these liberals and the media, by the secular left, by the radical left, they’re trying to make everything about skin color.”

The sniper shots aimed at King’s body of work sound this way almost every time.

His modern-day assassins endlessly recite King’s “dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”—as if that was all King said during his 1963 March on Washington speech. They disregard the lines before and after it, when King lamented that his dream was being thwarted by “vicious racists” in places “sweltering with the heat of oppression.”

They disregard King’s paraphrase of his iconic “dream” line in 1965: that “one day all of God’s Black children will be respected like his white children.” They disregard King’s recognition that the civil-rights movement did not end racism, leading him to tell an NBC News correspondent on May 8, 1967, that the “dream that I had [in 1963] has at many points turned into a nightmare.” (Ironically, it was this nightmare of post-civil-rights racial inequality that caused legal scholars in the 1970s to develop critical race theory in law schools, particularly to study and reveal the law’s role in the maintenance of inequality.)

King’s modern-day assassins disregard everything he said about education. “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance,” King wrote in 1967. “It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”

It is wrong to present King, who continuously spoke out against racism, as someone who stood against people speaking out against racism. It is wrong to claim that teachers educating their students about past and present racism “are stomping on the grave of Martin Luther King,” to quote Mandel. But people such as Trump, McCarthy, and Mandel aren’t simply stomping on King’s grave themselves. These self-professed admirers of King are digging a new grave, and burying King’s body of work within it.

It’s been a year. I’ve raged. But rage has not been my overwhelming emotion as I’ve witnessed the assassinations of reality, of history, of King. I’ve largely felt grief, like I did at the Lorraine Motel two years ago. Grief—as I long for the wisdom of evidence and history to guide our policy decisions. Grief—as I long for King to live through his body of anti-racist words. Grief—as I realize that the assassins of his legacy will stop at nothing until those words are dead, until every trace of the dreamer of a multiracial democracy is gone.

Ibram X. Kendi is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He is the author of several books, including the National Book Award–winning Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and How to Be an Antiracist.

Oct. 13

 

The Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinin: Why the Mainstream Media Remains Silent on the JFK Records Deadline, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Oct. 13, 2021. With the jacob hornberger newOctober 26 deadline only two weeks from now on releasing the 60-year secret records of the CIA relating to the Kennedy assassination, the silence from the mainstream press is deafening.

The great mainstream defenders of transparency and openness in government, at least when it comes foreign dictatorships, cannot bring themselves to openly advocate for the release of thousands of records relating to the JFK assassination that the CIA still insists on keeping secret.

Why the silence? I will explain the reason, but first please permit me to restate the prediction I have made regarding this matter.

I predict that within the next weeks, President Biden will grant a request by the CIA for continued secrecy of its assassination-related records. I predict that Biden will order the release of some of the records for appearance’s sake, but he will cite “national security” to justify continuing the secrecy of the vast majority of the records.

Why do I make this prediction? Because the reason that the CIA needed to keep these records secret 60 years ago still exists. That same reason was why it it future of freedom foundation logo squareneeded to keep them secret during the 1990s, when the Assassination Records Review Board was enforcing the JFK Records Act of 1992, which mandated the release of all federal records relating to the assassination.

Further, that same reason obviously caused the CIA, despite the law’s mandate, to continue keeping its records secret for another 25 years after the JFK Records Act was enacted. When that deadline came due in 2017, that same reason obviously motivated the CIA to petition President Trump for another extension of time for secrecy, which Trump dutifully granted. That deadline comes due on October 26, 2021 — two weeks from now — and mark my words: The same reason will cause the CIA to request that Biden grant another extension of time for secrecy, which Biden, like Trump, will dutifully grant.

What is the reason that has caused the CIA to want to keep these thousands of records secret from the American people. The reason, I am more convinced than ever, is that the CIA knows that those remaining records constitute more pieces to the overall puzzle of criminal culpability on the part of the CIA in the regime-change operation that took place on November 22,1963.

cia logoAfter all, let’s face it: No matter what definition is put on that nebulous and meaningless term “national security,” there is no possibility that anything bad will happen to the United States if those 60-year-old secret records are released to the American people. The United States will not fall into the ocean. The supposed international communist conspiracy to take over the United States that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia (yes, that Russia!) during the Cold War won’t be reinvigorated. Communist Cuba will not invade the United States. The dominoes near North Vietnam will not fall to the communists. North Korea will not come and get us.

President Biden just ordered the release of President Trump’s secret records relating to the January 6 Capitol protests. Why not the same joe biden resized odecision with respect to those 60-year-old secret records of the CIA relating to the Kennedy assassination?

Why won’t the mainstream press call on Biden to enforce the JFK Records Act of 1992? They’re scared to do so.

In a remarkably candid and direct statement made to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in 2017, New York Senator Charles Schumer explained why they are scared: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer said to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Schumer was referring to President Trump, but actually the admonition applies to everyone. The CIA, the Pentagon, the NSA, and the FBI — i.e., the entire intelligence community — has “six ways from Sunday at getting back” at anyone who takes it on, including newspaper owners, publishers, and editors.

Most people know about Operation Mockingbird, the top-secret operation of the CIA to acquire assets within the mainstream press to advance the CIA’s propaganda. Does anyone really think that the CIA would stop there in the quest to expand its power and influence?

dwight eisenhower mic speechNot a chance! For example, the entire national-security establishment would concentrate on acquiring, installing, and grooming assets in Congress, which sets the budgets. Does anyone think it’s just a coincidence that Congress gives the national-security establishment whatever it wants plus sometimes even more than what it wants? There is good reason why President Eisenhower planned to use the term “military-industrial-congressional” complex in his Farewell Address (shown at right). No one can reasonably deny that Congress is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the national-security establishment.

But they obviously would not stop there. They would also be acquiring assets within the IRS, one of the most powerful and tyrannical agencies within the federal government. There isn’t anyone, including newspaper owners, publishers, and editors, who isn’t afraid of receiving an audit notice from the IRS.

irs logoAnd if it happens, no one would ever be able to prove that it originated with the CIA or the rest of the national-security establishment. It would just look like it was occurring at random. If any victim of an IRS audit accused the CIA or the rest of the national-security establishment of being behind the audit, they would be ready to hurl the infamous “conspiracy theorist” label at him.

What newspaper owner, publisher, or editor wants to take that chance? They all know that the national-security establishment frowns very seriously on any mainstream media outlet that even remotely suggests that the Kennedy assassination was a regime-change operation, no different in principle from those in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Congo, and Chile both before and after the Kennedy assassination. But they also do not want to take the chance of upsetting the CIA by simply calling on it to release its 60-year-old still-secret records relating to the assassination.

After all, everyone knows that if an entity is powerful enough to regime-change presidents and prime ministers, both foreign and domestic, with impunity, it can easily destroy any mainstream media executive who dares to buck the CIA on the assassination.

It’s just the way life works in a national-security state. It’s why the mainstream media is maintaining strict silence on the upcoming October 26 deadline on the release of those 60-year-old still-secret records of the CIA relating to the Kennedy assassination.

Oct. 12 

virginia roberts giuffre nbc screenshot

washington post logoWashington Post, British police drop investigation into Prince Andrew over sexual abuse claims, Jennifer Hassan, Oct. 12, 2021 (print ed.). British law enforcement officials are dropping their investigation into Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, following a review of sexual assault allegations sparked by an American woman who says convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with the prince on at least three occasions.

United Kingdom flagVirginia Giuffre (shown above in an NBC interview and below left in 2001 with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell) filed a lawsuit in August in New York against the prince, alleging that she was first trafficked at the age of 16 by Epstein, who was found dead in a jail cell in August 2019.

prince andrew virginia roberts ghislaine maxwell 2001The lawsuit, which described the impact of the alleged abuse on Giuffre as “severe and lasting,” prompted British officials to review the allegations. Giuffre says the abuse by the prince first took place in London, at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime companion.

In an email to The Washington Post on Monday, London’s Metropolitan police service said it was “taking no further action” but that it would continue to “liaise with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation into matters related to Jeffrey Epstein.”

The lawsuit in New York remains ongoing, and the prince has until Oct. 29 to respond to the claims, per the Associated Press.

prince andrew jeff epstein news syndication CustomAndrew (shown at right with Epstein) has denied the allegations and said he had no recollection of meeting Giuffre or having sexual encounters with her. A photo of the prince with his hand around Giuffre, apparently taken in London when she was 17, first surfaced in 2011 and posed huge questions for Buckingham Palace.

On Monday, British police also confirmed that they had “reviewed information” separately passed to them by a local broadcaster and that no further action would be taken against the prince.

In June 2021, Channel 4 News reported that Epstein and Maxwell sexually abused, trafficked and groomed multiple women and girls in Britain over a period of 10 years — including to London, where Giuffre alleged Andrew abused her.

Following the report, British police said they would review the claims of rape and sexual assault, which Channel 4 said came from “a combination of publicly available documentation (including court papers), witness accounts, and interviews.” In its report, the broadcaster also explored claims that the royal’s ties to the sex abuse scandal may have influenced Britain’s handling of the case.

The decision by British police to drop their investigation comes at a period of intense scrutiny of Britain’s police force and its treatment of crimes against women. Earlier this year, 33-year-old Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving police officer — sparking widespread calls for police reform.

Andrew, who is the second son of reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II, announced in 2019 that he would be quitting his public duties “for the foreseeable future.”

The announcement came following an interview the prince gave to the BBC in which he attempted to defend his friendship with Epstein. The interview was widely criticized by viewers on both sides of the Atlantic, with one royal watcher calling it “nuclear explosion level bad.”

Oct. 11 djt steve bannon

Donald Trump, left, and Steve Bannon, who has been quoted as backing the idea of a Trump reinstatement, saying that the "return of Trump" will be in "2022 or maybe before."

Proof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: If You Know Who Steve Bannon's Lawyer Is, You Understand How Closely Trump Is Linked to the Cover-Up of His Own seth abramson graphicRole in the January 6 Conspiracy, Seth Abramson, left, Oct. 10-11, 2021. Suspicious, possibly corrupt conduct by lawyer Robert Costello confirms Trump is doing more than using public declarations to obstruct the January 6 investigation—he's using his usual backroom ploys.

seth abramson proof logoIntroduction: Perhaps no top Donald Trump adviser was more important to the former president’s January 6 attack on our democracy than Steve Bannon. Whereas Kimberly Guilfoyle, Katrina Pierson, and Peter Navarro acted as adjuncts to Trump’s will, Bannon’s role was to shape it—to give his patron a vision of what was possible if he’d simply cease thinking (or continue not to think) of the future of the United States or its rule of law.

We know that Bannon recently revealed, in a conference call with GOP leaders, a plan to “control this country” via “20,000 shock troops”—neo-fascists personally recruited by Bannon and ready to seize control of America’s ship of state as soon as the GOP is again in power.

And we know that Bannon now claims the power to defy Congressional subpoenas, with his fig-leaf in asserting this unprecedented right being the absurd declaration that anyone who speaks to a president is protected from ever having to reveal what was said in such a conversation—whether or not they were a member of the federal executive branch when the conversation occurred. It’s rank nonsense, of course (and dangerous nonsense, at that).

But what Americans must now understand is how closely coordinated with Trump Bannon’s defiance of U.S. law appears to be—and how vital to Trump’s own interests it is that Bannon remain quiet, given the white supremacist Trump adviser’s infamous Insurrection Eve claim that “all hell is going to break loose [on January 6].”

Robert Costello Is Either Donald Trump’s Lawyer or the Equivalent

On December 11, 2020, the then-under-indictment Bannon hired Robert J. Costello as his criminal defense lawyer. Thirteen months earlier, in November 2019, Costello had been hired by Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was then facing—and still faces—a federal criminal investigation of his own.
It took under six weeks for Trump’s lawyer’s lawyer to get Trump to pardon Bannon.

You might think that Bannon’s ease in getting a pardon from Trump was due in part to him working for Trump as an adviser during the period he was seeking that pardon, and you’d be right.

But what you might not realize is that Bannon’s connection to Trump came not just in phone calls with the then-president or meetings with the president’s attorney, but via his own lawyer Robert Costello—who, it turns out, is effectively Trump’s advocate as much as he is Bannon’s. And Costello doesn’t just seem to work for Trump, his specific task appears to be getting men who have dirt on Trump to stay quiet in exchange for Trump’s aid.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

 

john eastmanProof via Substack, Investigation: Trump Lawyer John Eastman Speaks Out About January 6—and Makes Everything Worse for Trump, Seth Abramson, Oct. 11, seth abramson graphic2021. In an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee, Eastman, above—one of Trump's lawyers on January 6 and a participant in the former president's Willard Hotel war room—offers a stunning defense of Trump's coup conspiracy.

By January 6, 2021, not a single state legislature in the United States—whether GOP-led or otherwise—had voted to de-certify its presidential electors. Indeed, every state had certified its 2020 election results, including every GOP-led state legislature that sent Biden electors to D.C. for the joint session of Congress scheduled for January 6.

There was, in short, no way for Trump to receive a second term as President of the United States as dawn broke on January 6 and his legal team, including Giuliani and Eastman, met in the Willard Hotel to stage what one participant (domestic extremist Joe Oltmann) would call a “war room.”

seth abramson proof logoIn his Sacremento Bee op-ed, Eastman admits, stunningly, that on January 6 Trump was suffering from the “absence of certifications of alternate Trump electors from the contested states’ legislatures.” In other words, he admits the “Trump electors” he and Giuliani and Trump’s campaign brought to D.C. had no legal status or significance.

Every time Trump or his allies open their mouths to speak about January 6, they bury themselves and the former president further. No wonder Trump had engaged in such extraordinary actions to try to keep his advisers quiet. In Eastman’s case, Trump may have believed that the fact that Eastman was his lawyer on January 6 would keep him quiet; certainly, with the help of Robert Costello, Trump had successfully kept Rudy Giuliani quiet about the most sensitive components of his coup plotting with Trump.

But now that Eastman has spoken, what he’s said cannot be ignored: not by the FBI, not by the House January 6 Committee, and not by the American people. Eastman’s words confirm that the Trumpist coup conspiracy of January 6—which encompassed Trump’s legal team, political staffers, and top advisers within the White House—was centered on extra-legal actions that could only be accomplished by the very paramilitary entities Trump had just spoken with hours earlier.

In the next 72 hours, Proof will issue a breaking news report explaining this last sentence. It’s being written up right now.

 

oan logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Perspective: Trump’s favorite channel, One America News, was never ‘news’ at all, Margaret Sullivan, right, Oct. 11, 2021 (print ed.). A stunning margaret sullivan 2015 photoReuters exposé demonstrates that for OAN, “it was never, never the full truth” when covering Trump.

The whitewashing and denialism of the Jan. 6 insurrection started at One America News on that very same day.

As President Donald Trump tried to overturn the legitimate results of the presidential election — inciting a deadly riot along the way — the cable robert herring sr croppedchannel’s brass were sending an all-too-clear message to their team about how to cover this horrifying event.

“Please DO NOT say ‘Trump Supporters Storm Capitol. . . .’ Simply call them demonstrators or protestors. . . . DO NOT CALL IT A RIOT!!!” came the impassioned email directive from a news director to the staff.

The next day, OAN’s top boss, founder Robert Herring Sr., left, ordered producers to get in line behind the president, as he floated the conspiracy theory that it wasn’t Trump supporters breaking those windows and storming those barricades — that it was the leftist movement reuters logoantifa instead.

When Reuters, the global news agency, published its two-part investigation last week of OAN, the most startling finding was that AT&T indirectly provided 90 percent of the channel’s revenue, after letting it be known that it was eager to host a new conservative cable network.

att logoYes, the world’s largest communications company played a major role in creating and sustaining the far-right channel that spins wacky ideas, promotes fraudulent covid-19 cures and, in its fervor, makes the pro-Trump market leader, Fox News, look almost reasonable. (AT&T has challenged aspects of Reuters’ reporting and said that the company, through its offshoot, DirecTV, provides “viewpoints across the political spectrum.”)

But just as noteworthy as AT&T’s involvement was the way Reuters’s John Shiffman pulled back the curtain on how the San Diego-based network operates, relying in part on court documents.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The fight between Biden and Trump over executive privilege should be decided in favor of the sitting president, Laurent Sacharoff (law professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law), Oct. 11, 2021 (print ed.). Whose privilege is it anyway?

The Jan. 6 select committee’s investigation has escalated along two main fronts. It has demanded Trump-era documents from the National Archives and subpoenaed his former aides to testify.

In the past few days, former president Donald Trump has objected to both inquiries by asserting executive privilege, in a formal letter to the National Archives and by way of individual letters to each potential witness. He is doing so, he has said, “in defense of the Office of the Presidency.”

President Biden has said that the extraordinary circumstances of the Jan. 6 inquiry justify waiving claims of privilege, at least over the archive documents. As for witnesses, Biden has hinted that he will not assert the privilege over most information central to the inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack.

These inconsistent positions raise two questions: Do former presidents have constitutional authority to invoke executive privilege to keep private their communications with top advisers? If so, what happens if the incumbent president disagrees and they end up in court?

The answer in this murky corner of constitutional law isn’t entirely clear — executive privilege itself isn’t mentioned in the Constitution and there have only been a few Supreme Court cases on the subject.

My view is that a president’s ability to invoke executive privilege ends with the presidency. After all, the framers were crafting a chief executive whose power was limited in tenure, unlike the British monarch. As a practical matter, the incumbent president’s interest in safeguarding the institutional interests of the presidency should provide sufficient protection.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: One more time Trump tried to undo the will of the voters, Ruth Marcus, right, Oct. 10, 2021 (print ed.). Jeffrey Clark asked the attorney ruth marcus twitter Customgeneral for a lift on the way to topple him.

It was Sunday evening, Jan. 3. Clark, a previously obscure Justice Department official, had caught President Trump’s eye as a willing accomplice jeffrey rosenin seeking to overturn the election results — a role that Jeffrey Rosen, left, the acting attorney general, had shown he was unwilling to play.

So Trump, meeting with Clark behind Rosen’s back, had offered to install him in the top job. Clark, then the acting head of the civil division — and a colleague of Rosen’s stretching back decades in government and private practice — told Rosen he’d let him stay on, as the department’s number two.

Now, Rosen and Clark were headed to the White House for a hastily scheduled showdown with the president. Could Clark get a ride in the AG’s motorcade?

Justice Department log circular“Maybe this was ungracious of me, but I declined,” Rosen told Senate Judiciary Committee investigators in an interview transcript released Thursday.

The interviews, with Rosen and others, were included in a committee report that offers new details — some amusing, others chilling — of the slow-motion coup gathering steam inside the Trump administration even before the public insurrection of Jan. 6. The new material underscores the imperative of hearing from Clark himself. What did the president say to him in their private meetings? How did Clark get connected with Rep. Scott Perry, the Pennsylvania Republican who introduced him to Trump? Who else was involved? The last best hope of obtaining Clark’s testimony appears to be the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

As outlined in the report, the White House meeting opened with Trump brazenly summarizing the choice before him. “One thing we know is you, Rosen, aren’t going to do anything to overturn the election,” Trump said, according to Rosen. Let that sink in: A sitting president, in the Oval Office no less, announcing that he wants an attorney general who will use the Justice Department to undo the will of the voters.

Specifically, Clark was willing to do what Rosen wouldn’t: send a letter to officials in Georgia — to be replicated with other contested states — declaring that the Justice Department had “taken notice” of “irregularities” in the election and calling on the state to convene a special session of the legislature. This was so preposterously outside the department’s purview that Rosen had summarily refused Clark’s entreaties. Clark, for his part, told Rosen that he’d turn down Trump’s offer to become attorney general if Rosen would simply send the letters himself.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. Capitol Police’s failure to share intelligence internally crippled its Jan. 6 response, former official says, Mariana Alfaro, Oct. 11, 2021. In a joint statement responding to the criticism, members of the Capitol Police’s executive team said many of the problems described in the letter have been addressed.

A former senior official in the U.S. Capitol Police accused two of the department’s top officials of failing to properly share vital intelligence in the days ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection, crippling the response to the attack.

yogananda pittmanIn a blistering letter to Congress, the former official claims that Assistant Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, right, and acting assistant chief Sean Gallagher received an intelligence report on Dec. 21 that had specific warnings and information about a potential riot similar to a report that the FBI later provided to the department on Jan. 5.

In the 16-page letter, dated Sept. 28, the former official claims that Pittman and Gallagher deliberately never shared this December intelligence report with other department officials or used it to update security assessments provided to Capitol Police officers.

Sharing that information, the former official alleges, could have “changed the paradigm of that day” and “would have provided the documentation needed to support securing the National Guard and other allied agency manpower for January 6th.” It also would have provided the intelligence needed to procure hard gear and other weapons.

A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 to try to stop the counting of electoral college votes affirming President Biden’s win. In the worst attack on the seat of democracy since the War of 1812, four people died and an officer who had been sprayed with a powerful chemical irritant, Brian D. Sicknick, suffered a stroke and died the following day. Some 140 members of law enforcement were injured as rioters attacked them wielding flagpoles, baseball bats, stun guns, bear spray and pepper spray.

The individual, who sought anonymity for privacy reasons, declined to comment Monday beyond the letter, saying he wants the focus on the allegations he raised. “This is not about me,” the former official said.

In a joint statement responding to the criticism, members of the Capitol Police’s executive team — which includes Pittman and Gallagher along with Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger — said that while “there is more work to do, many of the problems described in the letter have been addressed.”

The former official claims Pittman lied to Congress when she claimed that the critical information detailed in that December report was shared with assistant chiefs and deputy chiefs. The information contained warnings that individuals online were sharing maps of the Capitol campus and were planning on confronting members of Congress while armed. Pittman told Congress that senior officials in the department were aware of these reports, but the former official claims that this is “unconditionally false.”

“It was never sent or shared. It also was never used to update any intelligence brief forwarded to the commanders,” the official writes, claiming that Gallagher and Pittman were the only officials who had “all the intelligence information” on Jan. 6.

 Related Recent Headlines

Oct. 10

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: One more time Trump tried to undo the will of the voters, Ruth Marcus, right, Oct. 10, 2021 (print ed.). Jeffrey Clark asked the attorney ruth marcus twitter Customgeneral for a lift on the way to topple him.

It was Sunday evening, Jan. 3. Clark, a previously obscure Justice Department official, had caught President Trump’s eye as a willing accomplice in seeking to overturn the election results — a role that Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general, had shown he was unwilling to play.

So Trump, meeting with Clark behind Rosen’s back, had offered to install him in the top job. Clark, then the acting head of the civil division — and a colleague of Rosen’s stretching back decades in government and private practice — told Rosen he’d let him stay on, as the department’s number two.

Now, Rosen and Clark were headed to the White House for a hastily scheduled showdown with the president. Could Clark get a ride in the AG’s motorcade?

Justice Department log circular“Maybe this was ungracious of me, but I declined,” Rosen told Senate Judiciary Committee investigators in an interview transcript released Thursday.
Rosen calls Jan. 6 attack a ‘tragic episode in our nation's history’
Acting attorney general Jeffrey A. Rosen on Jan. 12 strongly condemned the U.S. Capitol attack, adding that the "wrongdoers will be held responsible." (The Justice Department)

The interviews, with Rosen and others, were included in a committee report that offers new details — some amusing, others chilling — of the slow-motion coup gathering steam inside the Trump administration even before the public insurrection of Jan. 6. The new material underscores the imperative of hearing from Clark himself. What did the president say to him in their private meetings? How did Clark get connected with Rep. Scott Perry, the Pennsylvania Republican who introduced him to Trump? Who else was involved? The last best hope of obtaining Clark’s testimony appears to be the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

As outlined in the report, the White House meeting opened with Trump brazenly summarizing the choice before him. “One thing we know is you, Rosen, aren’t going to do anything to overturn the election,” Trump said, according to Rosen. Let that sink in: A sitting president, in the Oval Office no less, announcing that he wants an attorney general who will use the Justice Department to undo the will of the voters.

Specifically, Clark was willing to do what Rosen wouldn’t: send a letter to officials in Georgia — to be replicated with other contested states — declaring that the Justice Department had “taken notice” of “irregularities” in the election and calling on the state to convene a special session of the legislature. This was so preposterously outside the department’s purview that Rosen had summarily refused Clark’s entreaties. Clark, for his part, told Rosen that he’d turn down Trump’s offer to become attorney general if Rosen would simply send the letters himself.

 

MIDNIGHT IN WASHINGTON: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could

By Adam Schiff. Random House. 510 pp. $30.

adam schiff march 20 2019 hearing cnn screenshot

washington post logoWashington Post, Adam Schiff points to a second insurrection — by members of Congress themselves, Carlos Lozada, Oct. 10, 2021 (print ed.). In his memoir, the House Intelligence Committee chair (shown above) argues America barely passed Trump’s “stress test” of American democracy .

How do you know when democracy is threatened?

Well, an actual physical assault is a good tip-off. “Be prepared to don your gas mask in the event the room is breached,” a Capitol Police officer warned Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and his fellow lawmakers in the House chamber on Jan. 6, as rioters penetrated the building. “Be prepared to get down under your chairs if necessary.”

Schiff begins his memoir, Midnight in Washington, with scenes of that day, recalling that, as they huddled in a secure location within the Capitol complex, some of his colleagues were already considering whether to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting the attack. But the violence against the Capitol — carried out when lawmakers gathered to certify the 2020 election results — was not the only offensive against the American experiment that Schiff witnessed. “What took place inside our chamber, with the challenge to the electors, was every bit as much an attack on our democracy,” he asserts. “We can reinforce the doors and put up fences. But we cannot guard our democracy against those who walk the halls of Congress, have taken an oath to uphold our Constitution, but refuse to do so.”

In effect, there were two insurrections, not one, Schiff argues, and he is more interested in the insurrectionists wearing suits and ties than in the shirtless ones in buffalo horns. “We came so close to losing our democracy,” he writes, looking back on the varied political and legalistic efforts to overturn the 2020 vote and to convince the public that the contest was illegitimate. “The system held, if barely.”

Oct. 9

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Time to aggressively prosecute Trump machine to the fullest extent of the law! Webster Griffin Tarpley, right, Oct. 9, 2021. House AND Senate webster tarpley twittercommittees close in on GOP crimes of January 6 and in months-long effort to use Department of Justice to subvert November vote count; Mitch blinks on debt default;

Jobless rate falls from 5.2% to 4.8% in a month, but Wall Street’s controlled media can‘t contain their ”disappointment”;

Rejecting unrealistic advice from outside ”experts,” Biden signals abundant booster availability in US while increasing vaccine exports;
Defeatist essay by neocon prince Kagan unleashes wave of fashionable panic among liberals: he calls for popular front against fascism with ”zombie” GOPers like Romey informed by ”republican virtue” (!!);

”Mr. Globalization” Thomas Friedman challenges Dems to show the courage of Liz Cheney, but cannot see this would be devastating for working-class base; New York Times resident reactionary Douthat foolishly downplays danger of Trump dictatorship;

Jonathan Chait does better, judging that ”anybody fighting Biden now is helping Trump’s next coup,” since ”all Republican politics is now functionally authoritarian”; But all fall short of calling for outright extinction of Republican Party, the surest way to defend Constitutional government.

Oct. 7

Proof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: New Evidence Emerges About Where Congresswoman Lauren Boebert Was in the Hours Before the January 6 seth abramson graphicAttack, Seth Abramson, left, Oct.7- 8, 2021. While we don't yet know all the details of this newly discovered, secretive Insurrection Eve meeting, what we do know points to it being critical—and suggests it may have been held at the White House.

Introduction: Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) may have one of the most peculiar backgrounds of any person ever to serve in the United States Congress. The New York Post notes that despite being fairly young—Boebert entered Congress at the age of 34—the Colorado politician has, along with her husband Jayson, “racked up arrests” in her home state, and is widely known for “dust-ups” with uniformed police.

The Denver Post called Boebert’s criminal record “unusually long” for anyone seeking public office, let alone someone who loudly and repeatedly professes her love for the police. The Post also adds to the criminal incidents mentioned above another fact-pattern that involved involve allegations of Criminal Harassment and many instances of the now-Congresswoman skipping out on court dates without explanation. During one of her several arrests she loudly declared that the careers of the arresting officers would be ruined once she exposed them through her “friends at Fox News.” A friend of the police Lauren Boebert certainly was not in the years leading up to her implicit encouragement of violence against police officers at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

The congresswoman, who regularly deletes tweets just after posting them, infamously tweeted “Today is 1776” on Insurrection Day, and then not once but twice tweeted out the location of members of Congress, including House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as the attack unfolded.

Boebert was later accused by her peers of giving a “large” Capitol tour to a group of unidentified persons on Insurrection Eve.

Boebert’s history of deceit, violence, lawlessness, and contempt for rule of law raises the natural question of what role she may have played in encouraging and seth abramson proof logofacilitating the attack on the Capitol on January 6. Because Boebert wasn’t sworn into office until January 3—just 72 hours before the attack—there was little opportunity for her to be actively engaged in a Capitol plot as a congresswoman (that is, at the level potentially available to a newly minted insurrectionist member of the House) until January 4 at the earliest. This makes the question of how Lauren Boebert spent her first 48 hours in Congress—post-January 3, pre-January 6—of great interest to federal investigators.

Due to some fantastic sleuthing by a Proof reader, Proof has new information on this....[reserved for "Proof" subscribers]

With the Guardian reporting that Trump is “preparing to direct” some of his top aides—including former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Trump political adviser Dan Scavino (who now appears to be missing), and former post-election Trump whisperer Steve Bannon—to defy Congressional subpoenas, the discovery that a non-executive branch employee like Boebert, who can’t claim executive privilege, may have been at one of the most important and secretive insurrection planning meetings could change the scope of the House January 6 Committee investigation considerably. Let’s hope so.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

ny times logoNew York Times, Report Cites New Details of Trump Pressure on Justice Dept. Over Election, Katie Benner, Oct. 7, 2021 (print ed.). A Senate panel fleshed out how Donald Trump pursued his plan to install a loyalist as acting attorney general to pursue unfounded reports of fraud. It provides the most complete account yet of Mr. Trump’s efforts and describes how officials fought them off.

Even by the standards of President Donald J. Trump, it was an extraordinary Oval Office showdown. On the agenda was Mr. Trump’s desire to install a loyalist as acting attorney general to carry out his demands for more aggressive investigations into his unfounded claims of election fraud.

Justice Department log circularOn the other side during that meeting on the evening of Jan. 3 were the top leaders of the Justice Department, who warned Mr. Trump that they and other senior officials would resign en masse if he followed through. They received immediate support from another key participant: Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. According to others at the meeting, Mr. Cipollone indicated that he and his top deputy, Patrick F. Philbin, would also step down if Mr. Trump acted on his plan.

Mr. Trump’s proposed plan, Mr. Cipollone argued, would be a “murder-suicide pact,” one participant recalled. Only near the end of the nearly three-hour meeting did Mr. Trump relent and agree to drop his threat.

Mr. Cipollone’s stand that night is among the new details contained in a lengthy interim report prepared by the Senate Judiciary Committee about Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to do his bidding in the chaotic final weeks of his presidency.

The five most radical right Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are shown above, with the sixth Republican, Chief Justice John Roberts, omitted in this view.

The five most radical right and partisan Republican justices on the Supreme Court are shown above, with the sixth Republican, Chief Justice John Roberts, omitted in this photo array.

ny times logoNew York Times, Commentary: The Supreme Court’s Pain — and Our Anger, Linda Greenhouse (shown at right on the cover of her memoir, "Just a Journalist"), Oct. 7, 2021 (print ed.). In January 2001, the Supreme Court linda greenhouse cover just a journalistwas hurting. Thirty-six days after Election Day, on Dec. 12, 2000, the justices had divided 5 to 4 in its vote that stopped the Florida recount and effectively called the presidential election for the Republican candidate, George W. Bush.

In the ensuing weeks, with the court in a monthlong winter recess, justices on both sides of Bush v. Gore fanned out across the world to reassure the public, and perhaps themselves, that normal life at the Supreme Court would resume.

Two decades later, as a new Supreme Court term begins, the court is hurting again. The majority’s refusal a month ago to prevent Texas from shutting down access to legal abortion while lower courts weigh challenges to the state’s bizarre vigilante law — a law paused yesterday night by a federal judge — has once again turned a harsh public spotlight on a 5-to-4 division among the justices. And once again members of the court have taken to the road in defense of the institution’s ability to render impartial justice.

But there is a difference. The justices’ defensiveness comes with an edge. The conservatives appear to have deflected any impulse toward self-examination to a critique of how the media has covered the court’s recent actions. The problem isn’t the court, in other words, it’s those who presume to explain the court to the public.

Three polls within the past month show that fewer than a third of Americans want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade. Yet it appears that only a third of the justices can be counted on to preserve the right to abortion as defined by the court’s current precedents. The culture war that brought us to this point may acquire another tangible manifestation as women unlucky enough to live in red states are forced to travel hundreds of miles from home to exercise what for 50 years was their constitutional right.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Republican election strategy comes out of Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa, Wayne Madsen, left, Oct. 7, 2021. The gerrymandering of U.S. House of Representatives and wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallstate legislative seats, as well as the adoption of restrictive voting laws and partisan vote counting "audits" and unofficial election oversight by pro-Donald Trump GOP hacks, comes straight out of the segregationist policies of minority wayne madesen report logowhite-ruled Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa.

Republicans in states like Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and other states, fearful of shrinking white populations and the voting clout of non-white groups, have decided to opt for the minority-rule election tricks employed by the two racist regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa. By resorting to the minority-rule and apartheid playbooks, Republicans hope to ensure continued white rule with only a facade of democratic legitimacy.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Will you fall into the conspiracy theory rabbit hole? David Byler and Yan Wu, Oct. 7, 2021 (print ed.). Take our quiz and find out. Who believes in conspiracy theories? Statistically speaking: almost everyone.

A team of researchers recently showed several thousand Americans a list of 20 common conspiracy theories and asked if they believed them. These included false conspiracy theories about the John F. Kennedy assassination, 5G cellular wireless technology, Barack Obama’s birth certificate, covid-19 and climate change. The result: Nine in 10 Americans believed in at least one conspiracy theory.

The study — led by Adam Enders of the University of Louisville and Joseph Uscinski of the University of Miami — surveyed a representative sample of 2,023 Americans in March 2020 and 2,015 more in October 2020. This article uses questions from their surveys to test your knowledge — and your credulity.

JIP Editor's Note: We except this deceptive "quiz" above to illustrate how shoddy academic research parrotted by inexperienced graphic artists can continue reinforcing deceptive conventional wisdom that cannot withstand real reporting on controversial current and recent historical events.

Oct. 6

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Secret trove illuminates the lives of billionaires: Buying influence, avoiding taxes, owning yachts, Peter Whoriskey and Agustin Armendariz, Oct. 6, 2021. While cash may be the traditional means of providing untraceable gifts to politicians, the very wealthy often turn instead to the offshore world to produce an alternative currency: companies registered in secrecy havens and stuffed with valuable assets.

When three of Africa’s wealthiest people wanted to win favors from the Nigerian oil minister, they didn’t pay cash, according to company filings and court papers describing the alleged transactions.

Instead, the oil tycoons arranged to influence her with shell companies, each one holding a valuable piece of London real estate, according to the documents.

icij logoOther shell companies owned by the oilmen provided the minister and her family with a chauffeured car, and they shipped her luxury furnishings worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, U.S. prosecutors later alleged.

With billions in Nigerian oil revenue at stake, the men engaged in “an international conspiracy,” according to U.S. prosecutors, offering millions of dollars’ worth of gifts in exchange for “lucrative business opportunities.”

While cash may be the traditional means of providing untraceable gifts to politicians, the very wealthy often turn instead to the offshore world to produce an alternative currency: companies registered in secrecy havens and stuffed with valuable assets.
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The tycoons who allegedly provided the oil minister with more than $17 million worth of gifts were, according to the court filings and documents, Olajide Omokore and Kolawole Aluko, both previously ranked by Forbes magazine as among the “richest people in Africa,” and Benedict Peters, a man who has been described by Bloomberg and African media as a billionaire.

Peters is identified by name in the Nigerian court filings and as “Co-Conspirator #2” in a forfeiture case by U.S. prosecutors. Through a spokesman, Peters denied dealing in improper benefits and his representatives wrote that one of the key pieces of evidence presented by Nigerian investigators is a “concoction malevolently contrived.” Attorneys for Omokore and Aluko declined to comment.

The world’s wealthiest are among the most avid users of offshore companies, a new cache of documents known as the Pandora Papers shows, and they turn to tax and secrecy havens for a variety of reasons.

The documents obtained by the International Consortium of Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with The Washington Post and journalists in 117 countries and territories around the world shed light on the Nigerian oil dealings and, in more breadth than was previously possible, the extent to which the world’s wealthy use offshore companies to conduct business.

Related Recent Headlines:

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary:WMR, Eastman Memo belongs in the archives of other fascist power seizure documents, Wayne Madsen, left (former Navy intelligence officer, now completing his 21st book, which will document a near-century of fascist growth in America that was temporarily blocked by the Allied victory in WW II over the fascist powers), Oct. 6, 2021. The Eastman Memo, a six-point memo written by the far-right wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallClaremont Institute's John Eastman, on how Donald Trump could have become dictator of the United States, ranks as among most dangerous and despicable of recent history's other fascist power seizure documents.

wayne madesen report logoEastman, the former Dean of the Law School of Chapman University in Orange County, California, wrote the memo in support of Trump's false contention that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and then appeared at the Trump rally outside the White House on Jan. 6 to help inflame fellow insurrectionists in the plot to prevent certification of the November presidential election at the U.S. Capitol.

Oct. 5

 

supreme court resized 2021ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Supreme Court Has Gone Off the Rails, Donald Ayer (below at right, a U.S. attorney and principal deputy solicitor general in the Reagan administration and deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration), Oct. 5, 2021 (print ed). The Supreme Court has final authority to make difficult judgment calls articulating the powers of government and the limits and constraints upon them. To merit the public trust, these judgments must not appear donald ayer 2018simply as assertions of individual value choices by the justices or willy-nilly discard long-established court precedents that profoundly affect people’s lives. Nor should they actively undermine the ability of governments to advance public purposes as established by a fair democratic process.

As the court begins a new term, regrettably, its recent history suggests that it lacks a majority of justices with sufficient concern about the basic continuity and integrity of the law or the ability of government to function.

The evidence has been growing quietly in recent years — and then, last summer, quite loudly, when the court decided to twiddle its thumbs while Texas enacted an abortion law that practically bans nearly all procedures while evading timely judicial review.

This distressing turn of events has a special irony for me personally. In the 1980s, along with three of the current justices (John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas), I participated in the Reagan revolution in the law, which inspired and propelled the careers of three other current justices (Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett).

The Reagan revolution pitted itself against “activist” judges who were seen as following personal whims by altering the law and creating rights not found in the Constitution. Through interpretive tools like textualism and originalism, the Reagan lawyers sought to make the law more predictable and steady — as articulated by John Roberts, the job of justices was “to call balls and strikes, and not to pitch or bat.”

That revolution, however, has morphed into what it was meant to curtail, as the expanding right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has relied on an array of innovative constitutional rights to undermine traditional governmental actions while discarding longstanding precedents with which they disagree.

ny times logoNew York Times, Captured, Killed or Compromised: C.I.A. Admits to Losing Informants, Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman, Oct. 5, 2021.Top American counterintelligence officials warned every C.I.A. station and base around the world last week about troubling numbers of informants recruited from other countries to spy for the United States being captured or killed, people familiar with the matter said.

CIA LogoThe message, in an unusual top secret cable, said that the C.I.A.’s counterintelligence mission center had looked at dozens of cases in the last several years involving foreign informants who had been killed, arrested or most likely compromised. Although brief, the cable laid out the specific number of agents executed by rival intelligence agencies — a closely held detail that counterintelligence officials typically do not share in such cables.

The cable highlighted the struggle the spy agency is having as it works to recruit spies around the world in difficult operating environments. In recent years, adversarial intelligence services in countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan have been hunting down the C.I.A.’s sources and in some cases turning them into double agents.

The large number of compromised informants in recent years also demonstrated the growing prowess of other countries in employing innovations like biometric scans, facial recognition, artificial intelligence and hacking tools to track the movements of C.I.A. officers in order to discover their sources.

While the C.I.A. has many ways to collect intelligence for its analysts to craft into briefings for policymakers, networks of trusted human informants around the world remain the centerpiece of its efforts, the kind of intelligence that the agency is supposed to be the best in the world at collecting and analyzing.

Oct. 3

Investigations

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Pandora Papers Investigation: Offshore havens and hidden riches of world leaders and billionaires exposed in unprecedented leak, Staff Reports, Oct. 3, 2021. The Pandora Papers reveal the inner workings of a shadow economy that benefits the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else. The largest investigation in journalism history exposes a shadow financial system that benefits the world’s most rich and icij logopowerful. Investigations published on Oct. 3:

  • Money Laundering: Leak reveals how Swiss wealth consultants shield global cast of suspects, Scilla Alecci.
  • Jordan: While foreign aid poured in, Jordan’s King Abdullah funnelled $100m through secret companies to buy luxury homes, Will Fitzgibbon
  • Russia: Putin image-maker’s role in billion-dollar cinema deal hidden offshore, Jelena Cosic
  • Data journalism: An offshore data tsunami, Emilia Díaz-Struck -

Millions of leaked documents and the biggest journalism partnership in history have uncovered financial secrets of 35 current and former world leaders, more than 330 politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories, and a global lineup of fugitives, con artists and murderers.

tony blair recent head shot.jpgThe secret documents expose offshore dealings of the King of Jordan, the presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador, the prime minister of the Czech Republic and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left. The files also detail financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unofficial minister of propaganda” and more than 130 billionaires from Russia, the United States, Turkey and other nations.

The leaked records reveal that many of the power players who could help bring an end to the offshore system instead benefit from it – stashing assets in covert companies and trusts while their governments do little to slow a global stream of illicit money that enriches criminals and impoverishes nations.

Among the hidden treasures revealed in the documents:

  • A $22 million chateau in the French Riviera – replete with a cinema and two swimming pools – purchased through offshore companies by the Czech Republic’s populist prime minister, a billionaire who has railed against the corruption of economic and political elites.
  • More than $13 million tucked in a secrecy-shaded trust in the Great Plains of the United States by a scion of one of Guatemala’s most powerful families, a dynasty that controls a soap and lipsticks conglomerate that’s been accused of harming workers and the earth.
  • king abdullah ii current wThree beachfront mansions in Malibu purchased through three offshore companies for $68 million by the King of Jordan, King Abdullah II, right, in the years after Jordanians filled the streets during Arab Spring to protest joblessness and corruption.

The secret records are known as the Pandora Papers.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained the trove of more than 11.9 million confidential files and led a team of more than 600 journalists from 150 news outlets that spent two years sifting through them, tracking down hard-to-find sources and digging into court records and other public documents from dozens of countries.

The leaked records come from 14 offshore services firms from around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore nooks for clients often seeking to keep their financial activities in the shadows. The records include information about the dealings of nearly three times as many current and former country leaders as any previous leak of documents from offshore havens.

In an era of widening authoritarianism and inequality, the Pandora Papers investigation provides an unequaled perspective on how money and power operate in the 21st century – and how the rule of law has been bent and broken around the world by a system of financial secrecy enabled by the U.S. and other wealthy nations.

The findings by ICIJ and its media partners spotlight how deeply secretive finance has infiltrated global politics – and offer insights into why governments and global organizations have made little headway in ending offshore financial abuses.

An ICIJ analysis of the secret documents identified 956 companies in offshore havens tied to 336 high-level politicians and public officials, including country leaders, cabinet ministers, ambassadors and others. More than two-thirds of those companies were set up in the British Virgin Islands, a jurisdiction long known as a key cog in the offshore system.

At least $11.3 trillion is held “offshore,” according to a 2020 study by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Because of the complexity and secrecy of the offshore system, it’s not possible to know how much of that wealth is tied to tax evasion and other crimes and how much of it involves funds that come from legitimate sources and have been reported to proper authorities.
Believe in the power of investigative journalism?

washington post logoWashington Post, Pandora Papers Global Investigation: Billions hidden beyond reach, Greg Miller, Debbie Cenziper and Peter Whoriskey, Oct. 3, 2021. A massive trove of private financial records shared with The Washington Post exposes vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and — in 14 cases involving current country leaders — citizens around the world.

king abdullah ii jordan uniformThe revelations include more than $100 million spent by King Abdullah II of Jordan, shown in his younger days at right, on luxury homes in Malibu, Calif., and other locations; millions of dollars in property and cash secretly owned by the leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other countries; and a waterfront home in Monaco acquired by a Russian woman who gained considerable wealth after she reportedly had a child with Russian President Vladimir Putin, left.

vladimir putin o wOther disclosures hit closer to home for U.S. officials and other Western leaders who frequently condemn smaller countries whose permissive banking systems have been exploited for decades by looters of assets and launderers of dirty money.

The files provide substantial new evidence, for example, that South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy. Tens of millions of dollars from outside the United States are now sheltered by trust companies in Sioux Falls, some of it tied to people and companies accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing.

The details are contained in more than 11.9 million financial records that were obtained by the  (ICIJ) and examined by The Post and other partner news organizations. The files include private emails, secret spreadsheets, clandestine contracts and other records that unlock otherwise impenetrable financial schemes and identify the individuals behind them.

icij logoA massive trove of private financial records shared with The Washington Post exposes vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and — in 14 cases involving current country leaders — citizens around the world.

Washington Post: Key findings from the Pandora Papers investigation

  • Letter from the editor: Why The Post published the Pandora Papers investigation
  • What is offshore finance? Who benefits? And why does it matter? Here are some answers.
  • 3 p.m. ET, Monday: Post reporters discuss the investigation. Ask your question now.

 

Trump-supporting former law school dean John Eastman, left, helps Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani inflame pro-Trump protesters in front the White House before the insurrection riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the presidential election certification of Joe Biden's presidency on Jan. 6, 2021 (Los Angeles Times photo). Trump-supporting former law school dean John Eastman, left, helps Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani inflame pro-Trump protesters in front the White House before the insurrection riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the presidential election certification of Joe Biden's presidency on Jan. 6, 2021 (Los Angeles Times photo). 

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: Jan. 6 Was Worse Than We Knew, Editorial Board, Oct. 3, 2021. However horrifying the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol appeared in the moment, we know now that it was far worse.

The country was hours away from a full-blown constitutional crisis — not primarily because of the violence and mayhem inflicted by hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters but because of the actions of Mr. Trump himself.

In the days before the mob descended on the Capitol, a corollary attack — this one bloodless and legalistic — was playing out down the street in the White House, where Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and a lawyer named John Eastman huddled in the Oval Office, scheming to subvert the will of the American people by using legal sleight-of-hand.

Mr. Eastman’s unusual visit was reported at the time, but a new book by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides the details of his proposed six-point plan. It involved Mr. Pence rejecting dozens of already certified electoral votes representing tens of millions of legally cast ballots, thus allowing Congress to install Mr. Trump in a second term.

Mr. Pence ultimately refused to sign on, earning him the rage of Mr. Trump and chants of “Hang Mike Pence!” by the rioters, who erected a makeshift gallows on the National Mall.

djt maga hatThe fact that the scheme to overturn the election was highly unlikely to succeed is cold comfort. Mr. Trump remains the most popular Republican in the country; barring a serious health issue, the odds are good that he will be the party’s nominee for president in 2024. He also remains as incapable of accepting defeat as he has ever been, which means the country faces a renewed risk of electoral subversion by Mr. Trump and his supporters — only next time they will have learned from their mistakes.

That leaves all Americans who care about preserving this Republic with a clear task: Reform the federal election law at the heart of Mr. Eastman’s twisted ploy, and make it as hard as possible for anyone to pull a stunt like that again.

The Electoral Count Act, which passed more than 130 years ago, was Congress’s response to another dramatic presidential dispute — the election of 1876, in which the Republican Rutherford Hayes won the White House despite losing the popular vote to his Democratic opponent, Samuel Tilden.

But the law contains numerous ambiguities and poorly drafted provisions. For instance, it permits a state legislature to appoint electors on its own, regardless of how the state’s own citizens voted, if the state “failed to make a choice” on Election Day. What does that mean? The law doesn’t say. It also allows any objection to a state’s electoral votes to be filed as long as one senator and one member of the House put their names to it, triggering hours of debate — which is how senators like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley were able to gum up the works on Jan. 6.

joe biden podiumThe “failed” election provision should be restricted to natural disasters or terrorist attacks — and even then, it should be available only if there is no realistic way of conducting the election. Remember that the 2012 election was held just days after Hurricane Sandy lashed the East Coast, and yet all states were able to conduct their elections in full. (This is another good argument for universal mail-in voting, which doesn’t put voters at the mercy of the weather.) The key point is that a close election, even a disputed one, is not a failed election.

Finally, any objection to a state’s electoral votes should have to clear a high bar. Rather than just one member of each chamber of Congress, it should require the assent of one-quarter or more of each body. The grounds for an objection should be strictly limited to cases involving clear evidence of fraud or widespread voting irregularities.

The threats to a free and fair presidential election don’t come from Congress alone. Since Jan. 6, Republican-led state legislatures have been clambering over one another to pass new laws making it easier to reject their own voters’ will, and removing or neutralizing those officials who could stand in the way of a naked power grab — like Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, did when he resisted Mr. Trump’s personal plea to “find” just enough extra votes to flip the outcome there.

Democrats should push through these reforms now, and eliminate the filibuster if that’s the only way to do so. If they hesitate, they should recall that a majority of the Republican caucus in the House — 139 members — along with eight senators, continued to object to the certification of electoral votes even after the mob stormed the Capitol.

  mike lindell screengrab

Proof via Substack, Investigation: Team Trump Isn't Waiting Until 2024 to Find Corrupt Republicans Willing to End Our Democracy—Which Is Why Its Insurrectionist Plot Has seth abramson graphicMoved On to Blood-Red Idaho, Seth Abramson, left, Oct. 3, 2021. Michael Lindell (above) —Stop the Steal funder, Trump adviser, pillow salesman, recovering crack addict and ally of dubious foreign nationals—is now alleging the 2020 vote in every Idaho county was hacked.

Introduction: This past spring, Proof reported in great detail on the bizarrely persistent connection between Donald Trump’s pre-insurrection planning seth abramson proof logoand the blood-red State of Idaho.

Trump’s January 5 “war house”—Trump Town House at Trump International Hotel, the most expensive property in the former president’s real estate empire—hosted the most elite Trump war room on Insurrection Eve, and it included not one but two GOP officials from Idaho: longtime Bonneville County GOP Chairman Doyle Beck (a 2016 Trump RNC delegate) and his friend Layne Bangerter, whose GOP bona fides are still more impressive: Trump hired him to be his 2016 Campaign Chair in Idaho and then hired him to be a Special Assistant to the President; he previously worked for 13 years as a staffer of current GOP senator Mike Crapo (R-ID); and he was eventually hired by Trump to work in the Department of Agriculture. The Bonner’s Ferry Herald notes that when Bangerter worked for Trump in 2016, he was “hired by Paul Manafort.”

Proof notes that Bangerter’s close ties to Senator Crapo render it nearly unthinkable that he wouldn’t have reported back to Crapo on the deliberations that unfolded in Trump’s pre-insurrection war house (assuming Crapo wasn’t there himself; only one of the three senators known to have attended the January 5 meeting, Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville—who at first lied about attending—have thus far been revealed).

The Trump International Hotel war room also included Daniel Beck, the son of Doyle Beck and the owner of a heavy military equipment company called Combat Armor Defense (CAD). CAD has a factory in the Brazilian São Paulo district represented by Eduardo Bolsonaro, who Proof has reported on repeatedly overt the last nine months because of his history of corruption, the fact that his father is neo-fascist Trump ally Jair Bolsonaro—the President of Brazil—and, most importantly, because he held two secretive, subsequently lied-about meetings at the White House with Trump family members during Insurrection Week and another in Pentagon City with Trump adviser Michael Lindell.

That the Becks—perhaps the most powerful Republican family in Idaho—and Trump whisperer Lindell appear to have a mutual friend in Eduardo Bolsonaro will be worth remembering as you read the news below, given that Trump and Lindell’s “Big Lie” conspiracy theory about the 2020 presidential election argues that the sworn enemy of the Bolsonaros, Preasident Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, was one of the architects of a communist plot to install Joe Biden as President of the United States. Lindell, with other members of Team Kraken (like Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, Patrick Byrne, and 1st Amendment Praetorian paramilitary founder/leader Robert Patrick Lewis) claim that “international” sources tipped them off to the nefarious (and as it happens, entirely fictional) plot allegedly orchestrated by Maduro.

While no definitive proof of this has yet been found, the possibility that the Becks’ Brazilian representative—and Lindell’s friend—Eduardo Bolsonaro is connected to this alleged “source” can’t be ignored, given the closeness of the Bolsonaros to the Trumps and the evident political benefit to the former in keeping Donald Trump in office and discrediting Maduro (and it should be noted, as well that Layne Bangerter grew up in Brazil, São Paulo specifically). In any case, the chance that the Bolsonaros helped propel the “Big Lie” places the Idaho GOP even closer to the center of Trump’s insurrection than it already would be on the basis of two of its most powerful figures meeting Trump’s inner circle—including Rudy Giuliani, Peter Navarro, and Donald Trump Jr.—in Trump’s “private residence” in Washington (as top Trump ally Charles Herbster has called it) on Insurrection Eve.
Michael Lindell Moves Brings His Circus to Idaho.

...

Conclusion

As MSNBC just reported, Trump has now endorsed three insurrectionist secretary of state candidates immediately after they called for the decertification of Biden’s 2020 election victory. One is Finchem, another Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA)—who helped Trump plot the events of January 6 during a December 21 Oval Office meeting with several other members of the House Freedom Caucus—and the third is Kristina Karamo in Michigan. In short, it couldn’t be clearer to any current or aspiring GOP official what they must do to gain Trump’s approval—and there’s reason to worry that it won’t be long before one makes the ultimate sacrifice, committing the federal crime of election fraud during a partisan, wholly unnecessary local election “audit” in order to make their name and build their brand in a political party that is now 78% insurrectionist.

In view of this, the good news that’s recently come out of Bonner County, Idaho can only be celebrated in a muted way. According to the Bonner County Daily Bee, Mike Rosedale, the local official who decided to recount votes from his jurisdiction’s wholly air-gapped election machines despite Michael Lindell’s false claim that the machines were connected to the internet, is not a fan of Lindell or his tactics. As the Daily Bee reports, while Rosedale has had a few kind words for Lindell, they’ve mostly been scathing, instead (even as Lindell’s key role in the tragic events of January 6 remains unconsidered by many in major media; see these two Proof reports for more).

What happens if the next “Bonner County audit”—a needless “audit” in a blood-red state—is instead in Holes County in Florida, Winston County in Alabama, Brantley County in Georgia, Leslie County in Kentucky, LaSalle County in Louisiana, George County in Mississippi, Bollinger County in Missouri, Holt County in Nebraska, Beaver County in Oklahoma, Wayne County in Tennessee, Wheeler County in Texas Grant County in West Virginia, Crook County in Wyoming, or any other blood-red county in America where an ambitious politician could make a name for themselves by substantiating Trump’s Big Lie?

Can anything be done to stop the inevitable from happening?

The answer appears to be “no.” America will have to continue to rely on the integrity of far-right Republican elected officials who, like Rosedale, embrace insurrection even as they protect their own good names by claiming they ran a clean election in 2020.

Yet the question remains: why did Michael Lindell target Idaho, of all states? Is it because Trump’s inner circle includes movers and shakers in Idaho’s Republican Party? Why is the former president now insisting on an audit in Texas, a state run by one of his most radical and unscrupulous allies, but which was close enough in 2020 that you might think Trump—who knows there was no significant election fraud in 2020—would want to leave it alone?

The answer is so evident is hardly needs stating. Trump is now looking for states with unscrupulous allies in positions of power, and his recent public endorsements of three secretary of state candidates who’ve already fraudulently claimed that Biden’s victory must be immediately decertified is intended to send a very clear message to just that sort of ally: You know what I’m expecting you to do, and one of you better do it—and soon.

Previous Proof reporting on pro-Trump election intrigues includes:

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Oct. 2

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Trump forces seen preparing creeping coup against US Constitution! Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 2, 2021. Biden calls for patience to pass webster tarpley twitterbipartisan infrastructure bill; Reconciliation bill likely to shrink below $3.5tr target; Neocons scare liberals with defeatist putsch scenarios, but forget Trump lacks magical powers.

  • Government shutdown averted by continuing resolution that extends federal funding through December 3
  • Democrats eye abolition of debt ceiling, a pernicious device that only serves GOP destabilization of US government; Time to implement Fourteenth Amendment, which makes debt ceiling, default, and national bankruptcy all illegal and unconstitutional!
    German election shows left shift to SPD, but ultra-lefts are decimated and anti-vaccine demagogy falls flat; Anti-immigrant party fares poorly
  • A distant mirror for budget brinksmanship: the March 1933 Weimar debate about funding jobless benefits which brought down the Mueller SPD government; from then on, no government could muster a majority in parliament, speeding advent of Hitler 3 years later

Oct. 1

Covert Action Magazine (CAM), Commentary on: A Company Family: The Untold History of Obama and the CIA, Jeremy Kuzmarov, Oct. 1, 2021. Despite his liberal pretensions, Obama’s foreign policy was dreamed up at Langley—which should not have been surprising given his background.

CIA LogoThis essay is another in CAM’s series on the history of the CIA. Obama has been in the news this week for overseeing groundbreaking on his presidential center. This center has sparked controversy because it will not house any actual documents and is being built on the supposedly protected Jackson Park on Chicago’s southern lakefront. Hugh Iglarsh wrote in Counterpunch that the main tower—which resembles a giant upraised cell phone—will be “a Great Tower of Nothing, a monument to hubris, chutzpah and Chicago-style clout…which rivals the Pyramid of Khufu in its brutal, enigmatic grandiosity.“

In the summer of 2012, President Barack Obama signed a secret order authorizing the CIA and other U.S. agencies to support rebels in Syria seeking to oust Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad—a nationalist who had allied with Iran and stood up to U.S. proxy Israel.[1]

Costing more than $1 billion, Operation Timber Sycamore evolved into the largest covert operation since the arming of mujahadin fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

U.S. Special Forces under Timber Sycamore again trained Islamic fundamentalists, this time in Jordan, who again carried out a reign of terror.[2]
A picture containing ground, sky, outdoor, person Description automatically generated.

A voracious consumer of intelligence, Obama’s trademark throughout his presidency was to move war into the shadows, a light-footprint approach designed to expand U.S. power covertly.

General Joseph Votel, head of the special operations command (SOCOM) characterized the Obama era as a “golden age for special operations.” Green Berets were deployed to 133 countries—70 percent of the world—in 2014 alone.

In a meeting about Afghanistan, Obama told CIA Director Leon Panetta that the CIA would “get everything it wanted.”

 

September

Sept. 27

 

american flag upside down distress

 

Global Growth of Facism, Election Frauds

 

U.S. Budget, Debt Limit, Infrastructure Hardball

 

U.S. Election Fraudsters, Insurrectionists, White Nationalists

 

Top Stories

 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a file photo speaking Jan. 8 about the deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 to prevent certification of Democrat Joe Biden's presidential victory in November (Screengrab).

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a file photo speaking Jan. 8 about the deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 to prevent certification of Democrat Joe Biden's presidential victory in November (Screengrab).

Proof, Investigative Commentary: A January Lawsuit in Texas Appears to Be the Focus of a Seditious Conspiracy Involving Trump, His Lawyers and Political Aides, seth abramson graphicTexas Politicians, Stop the Steal, and the Capitol Attack, Seth Abramson, left, Sept. 27, 2021. The January 6 Capitol attack appears to have been a planned stalling tactic aimed at clearing a path for Trump to retake the White House via a Supreme Court ruling — just as George W. Bush did in 2000.

seth abramson proof logoYesterday we learned that in late December of 2020, Donald Trump attorney Sidney Powell worked with top Trump Congressional ally Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to file a petition for emergency injunction intended to reach the Supreme Court — a petition whose purpose was to block certification of Joe Biden’s election victory in Congress.

louis gohmertGohmert, left — alongside members of the Arizona Republican Party who had long been in close contact with domestic terrorist Ali Alexander (of Trump adviser Roger Stone’s Stop the Steal “movement”) — filed his lawsuit on January 1, 2021.

While Dallas-based attorney Sidney Powell’s name didn’t appear on the filing, a firm located just over ten miles from Powell’s Dallas office did. The head of the tiny Dallas law firm is William Lewis Sessions, brother of top Trump Congressional ally Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), a co-conspirator with Trump in the Trump-Ukraine and Trump-Venezuela scandals (discussed in exhaustive, fully sourced detail in the USA Today-bestselling 2020 book Proof of Corruption, published by Macmillan). Sessions, a vocal insurrectionist, was also, before January 6, an adjunct member of Powell’s Team Kraken, making regular contact with a small ring of dubious “intelligence experts” attached to her operation.

sidney powellIn an interview Powell recently did with far-right activist/propagandist Stew Peters, Powell, right, refers to the Gohmert-Sessions team using the first-person plural—“we”—confirming that, as Trump’s attorney in December 2020, she also considered herself a part of the legal team that filed Gohmert’s lawsuit, if not one named in the filing itself.

This is only the beginning of the connections between Trump’s legal team and a now historically controversial lawsuit — and only the beginning of what makes Gohmert’s lawsuit the new epicenter of criminal and Congressional investigations of January 6. Present indications are that Gohmert’s lawsuit, and its intersections with the attack on the U.S. Capitol, bear all the signs of a seditious conspiracy to overthrow the federal government.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats outside Washington fear loss of historic opportunity, Sean Sullivan and Tyler Page, Sept. 27, 2021 (print ed.). Gilda Cobb-Hunter is furious with fellow Democrats. A veteran social worker, civil rights activist and the longest-serving member of the South Carolina House, she is losing patience with the infighting that has stalled efforts to enact the agenda the party sold to voters.

democratic donkey logo“I am seething at how Democrats continuously revert to the circular firing squad method of governing,” she said. “I just don’t understand it. I don’t understand why we continue to do that.”

As Democrats in Washington struggle through contentious negotiations over a sweeping domestic policy proposal, many party activists and officials across the country are watching with a collective head-shake and mounting anxiety.

They see Democrats in control of the White House and Congress, yet so far unable to resolve their differences over a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and social safety net package.

joe biden resized oThey see in President Biden, left, a candidate who ran on unity but is now plagued by intraparty divisions. In House and Senate Democratic leaders, they see competing priorities and a reluctance to get their members in line.

Leading Democrats all want to expand heath-care access. They just don’t agree on the best way to do it.

'While many Democrats say that in the end, party leaders will find a way to pass their ambitious plan, some have started contemplating a nightmare scenario, in which the talks fall apart and Democrats are left explaining to voters who gave them the keys why they couldn’t get the car out of neutral.

“We’re running out of time,” said Sean Bagniewski, chair of the Polk County Democratic Party in Iowa. “The midterms are almost here.”

Having already passed the infrastructure portion with bipartisan support in the Senate, Democrats can finish the job without a single additional Republican vote thanks to the process, known as budget reconciliation, they are using to pass the spending for social programs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to colleagues Saturday that the House will aim to pass both measures this week.

Clinching enough Democratic support to make the whole thing work has proved elusive, putting Democrats in battleground states on edge.

 

Global Growth of Facism, Election Frauds

American Prospect, Opinion: Fight Fascism First, Robert Kuttner, Sept. 27, 2021. Robert Kagan’s must-read essay in The Washington Post, "Our Constitutional Crisis Is Already Here," gets the big picture right, but gets some tactical details seriously wrong.

robert kagan looking leftKagan, right, is all too accurate when he points out that Trump has captured the Republican Party and that Trumpers are now fully prepared to destroy democracy in order to win the 2022 and 2024 elections. "Trump’s grip on his supporters left no room for an alternative power center in the party," he points out. "One by one, the ‘adults’ resigned or were run off."

He is correct that Democrats, going about the normal business of negotiating their differences on the budget resolution, are not sufficiently mindful of the deeper threat of full-on fascism.

republican elephant logoKagan is also right that the Republicans are playing a double game, behaving as a normal opposition party in trying to block or weaken the governing party’s program, while being enablers of dictatorship, quite like the German conservatives who threw in with Hitler in 1932.

What to do? Here is where the wishful second part of Kagan’s powerful essay contradicts the unflinching first part. He writes that Republicans like Mitt Romney and the six other Republican senators who voted to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection should fashion themselves as Constitutional Republicans who, in the present emergency, are willing to form a national unity coalition in the Senate for the sole purpose of saving the republic.

Sure, that would be swell. But it’s not going to happen. And it won’t happen even if the Democrats reduce Biden’s Build Back Better program to 50 cents to "strive for a temporary governing consensus."

Rather than looking for anti-Trump Republicans, who Kagan accurately reminds us are as dead as dinosaurs, Democrats should be redoubling their efforts to get voting rights legislation, and to use the federal government’s police and prosecutorial powers to give no quarter to fascists seeking to overthrow what remains of our democracy.

Proof, Investigation: Trump Lawyer Admits Trump's Legal Team Was Seeking An Emergency Injunction Against Certification of Biden's Win As Trump Incited a Riot seth abramson graphicto Delay the Joint Session of Congress, Seth Abramson, left, Sept. 26-27, 2021. New revelation confirms the actions of Trump's legal team in the Willard "war room"—whose occupants were in direct contact with Trump—were designed to dovetail with the violent attack on the Capitol.

Introduction: On March 10, 2021, Proof published an article entitled “Here Is the Twelve-Point Plan Donald Trump Had for January 6.” Based on two seth abramson proof logomonths of research relating to January 6, Proof concluded that Trump’s plan for January 6 was built on the following foundation....

In a new interview with far-right activist and propagandist Stew Peters, Powell admits that Trump’s legal team filed for an injunction against Congress in the first days of January.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Trump attorneys Sidney Powell, right, and Rudy Giuliani falsely claiming election fraud last November at a press conference. Trump attorneys Sidney Powell, right, and Rudy Giuliani falsely claiming election fraud last November at a press conference.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Sidney Powell just decided to take everyone down with her, Bill Palmer, right, Sept. 27, 2021. Former Trump election lawyer Sidney Powell is not to bill palmerbe taken at her word. Not only does she constantly lie, she spins conspiracy theories so absurd that she comes off as mentally unhinged.

So when Powell appeared on something called “Steve Peters TV” this weekend and claimed that Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito were all in on the plot to overthrow the 2020 election, none of it’s to be believed without external confirmation.

bill palmer report logo headerMoreover, her story is laughable on its face. She’s claiming that Alito was somehow magically going to overturn the election results on January 7th – even though doing so would have required five Supreme Court votes. Obviously, in such a scenario, Alito wouldn’t have gotten a single vote beyond his own. For that matter, while Alito is a corrupt piece of crap, he’s not stupid enough to have been willing to try such an idiotic and guaranteed-to-fail plot.

All that said, it’s still noteworthy that Sidney Powell is making this accusation at all. While the accusation against Alito is obviously unhinged fiction aimed at taking the heat off herself, it’s clear that Powell has concluded she’s going down, and she’s looking to take as many people kevin mccarthyon her own side down with her as possible.

Moreover, since McCarthy, left, and Scalise are caught up in the January 6th conspiracy on at least some level, and it appears that Powell was at least in communication with them about it, she may have documents that could actually incriminate them.

It’s probably best if we ignore the Alito allegations as the obvious fiction that they are. Rather than getting distracted by that silliness, the real story here is that Sidney Powell has decided to try to take down some big-name folks who were involved in the 2020 election conspiracy. At the least, the January 6th Committee should seize the opportunity to subpoena Powell for all documents she has in relation to the 2020 election fraud conspiracy.

steve bannon billionaire guo wengui

Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire wanted by the government of China for bribery, kidnapping, money laundering, fraud and rape, is shown above with Trump ally and former 2016 campaign CEO Steve Bannon. Guo funds through his GTV Media Group conglomerate Bannon's "War Room" podcast and "Real America's Voice" Internet television broadcast and other propaganda supporting the January 6th insurrection in Washington and the overthrow of the the U.S. government, which is giving him political asylum in New York City and elsewhere.

Related Recent Headlines:

American Prospect, Opinion: Fight Fascism First, Robert Kuttner, Sept. 27, 2021. Robert Kagan’s must-read essay in The Washington Post, "Our Constitutional Crisis Is Already Here," gets the big picture right, but gets some tactical details seriously wrong.

Kagan is all too accurate when he points out that Trump has captured the Republican Party and that Trumpers are now fully prepared to destroy democracy in order to win the 2022 and 2024 elections. "Trump’s grip on his supporters left no room for an alternative power center in the party," he points out. "One by one, the ‘adults’ resigned or were run off."

He is correct that Democrats, going about the normal business of negotiating their differences on the budget resolution, are not sufficiently mindful of the deeper threat of full-on fascism.

Kagan is also right that the Republicans are playing a double game, behaving as a normal opposition party in trying to block or weaken the governing party’s program, while being enablers of dictatorship, quite like the German conservatives who threw in with Hitler in 1932.

What to do? Here is where the wishful second part of Kagan’s powerful essay contradicts the unflinching first part. He writes that Republicans like Mitt Romney and the six other Republican senators who voted to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection should fashion themselves as Constitutional Republicans who, in the present emergency, are willing to form a national unity coalition in the Senate for the sole purpose of saving the republic.

Sure, that would be swell. But it’s not going to happen. And it won’t happen even if the Democrats reduce Biden’s Build Back Better program to 50 cents to "strive for a temporary governing consensus."

Rather than looking for anti-Trump Republicans, who Kagan accurately reminds us are as dead as dinosaurs, Democrats should be redoubling their efforts to get voting rights legislation, and to use the federal government’s police and prosecutorial powers to give no quarter to fascists seeking to overthrow what remains of our democracy.

Sept. 26

Proof, Investigation: Trump Lawyer Admits Trump's Legal Team Was Seeking An Emergency Injunction Against Certification of Biden's Win As Trump Incited a Riot seth abramson graphicto Delay the Joint Session of Congress, Seth Abramson, left, Sept. 26, 2021. New revelation confirms the actions of Trump's legal team in the Willard "war room"—whose occupants were in direct contact with Trump—were designed to dovetail with the violent attack on the Capitol.

Introduction: On March 10, 2021, Proof published an article entitled “Here Is the Twelve-Point Plan Donald Trump Had for January 6.” Based on two seth abramson proof logomonths of research relating to January 6, Proof concluded that Trump’s plan for January 6 was built on the following foundation....

In a new interview with far-right activist and propagandist Stew Peters, Powell admits that Trump’s legal team filed for an injunction against Congress in the first days of January.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

 

steve bannon billionaire guo wengui

Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire wanted by the government of China for bribery, kidnapping, money laundering, fraud and rape, is shown above with Trump ally and former 2016 campaign CEO Steve Bannon. Guo funds through his GTV Media Group conglomerate Bannon's "War Room" podcast and "Real America's Voice" Internet television broadcast and other propaganda supporting the January 6th insurrection in Washington and the overthrow of the the U.S. government, which is giving him political asylum in New York City and elsewhere.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: International fascist collusion to overthrow the U.S. government, Wayne Madsen, left, Sept. 26, 2021 (authorized for republication in wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallan excerpt form after first pubication on Sept. 9 behind the paywall of the Wayne Madsen Report. The author is national security expert who has appeared on all but one major U.S. broadcast and cable news networks. He is a former Navy Intelligence Officer and NSA analyst, and author of 20 books, including the forthcoming, "The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the Far-Right."

Not since the planned 1934 fascist coup against the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt by various right-wing, fascist, and Nazi forces, backed by wealthy Wall Street interests, has the United States faced a coordinated plot by Americans and foreign interests to overthrow democracy in the United States.

wayne madesen report logoIn 1933 and 1934, the fascist coup planning, which was exposed by retired Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, were directly linked to Adolf Hitler's Germany, Benito Mussolini's Italy, and French Croix de Feu fascist political leaders. Groups supporting a coup against FDR included groups ranging from the pro-Mussolini American Legion to Nazi organizations like the Silver Legion of America, the German American Bund, Friends of New Germany, the Ku Klux Klan, the Sentinels of the Republic, and the Crusaders.

Today, substitute the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Chinese expatriate billionaire Guo Wengui, and groups like the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, Boogaloo Bois, and Falun Gong, and you will see that history is merely repeating itself with different countries and groups involved in establishing a fascist dictatorship in America, Brazil, and other nations.

Steve Bannon's effort to create an international fascist movement, which is known as simply as "The Movement," has brought together Donald Trump loyalists with the Brazilian government of Bolsonaro and his family. Trump and Bolsonaro loyalists are actively attempting to corrupt and destroy the electoral underpinnings of democratic rule in the United States, Brazil, and third countries, for example, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and others.

Bolsonaro's son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a member of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies, the Latin American leader of Bannon's Movement, and Trump's personal choice but failed nominee as Brazil's ambassador in Washington, was very active with the attempted January 6 coup attempt in Washington.

Eduardo Bolsonaro participated in an insurrection eve "War Council" held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. Other participants in the war council included Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, MyPillow's Mike Lindell, disgraced ex-National Security Adviser under trump Lt. General Michael Flynn, and lawyer Sidney Powell. Eduardo Bolsonaro also held a meeting at the White House on January 4 with Ivanka Trump and separately with expatriate Brazilian fascist political adviser and astrologer Olavo de Carvalho. Carvalho, who has been dubbed the "Rush Limbaugh" of Brazil, lives south of Richmond, Virginia in Dinwiddie County. Carvalho, a close associate of Bannon, is a "flat earther," climate change and Covid-19 pandemic denier, and anti-vaccine (anti-vaxx) proponent.

The House Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection would do well to cooperate with Brazilian Senator Jacques Wagner (PT-Bahia) of the Workers' Party of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Wagner is conducting a Senate investigation of Eduardo Bolsonaro's role in the January 6 coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol. Wagner asked the then-Brazilian Foreign Minister, Ernest Araujo, someone who has erroneously called Nazism a "leftist" movement, to answer eight questions [right] dealing with the roles played by Bolsonaro's son and the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC into the January 5 war council at the Trump hotel and additional meetings between Eduardo Bolsonaro and "several other members of the Republican Party."

Those who diminish the importance of the January 6 coup attempt by calling it a "riot" or a "violent protest" fail to understand that it is the subject of formal legislative investigations by the U.S. House and the Brazilian Senate. That fact, alone, points to the January 6 event being a vast international conspiracy.

Bannon's operations, including his own involvement in the January 6 insurrection, have been financed by Guo Wengui and Lindell, as well as previously by the multi-billionaire hedge fund father-daughter team of Robert and Rebekah Mercer.

On August 10, 2021, Eduardo Bolsonaro was back in the United States attending Lindell's kooky "cyber symposium" in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Bannon emceed the live-streamed symposium. Bolsonaro gave Lindell a "Make America Great Again" hat signed by Donald Trump. Bolsonaro said he had met Trump at his Bedminster, New Jersey on August 9 and Trump asked him to give the hat to Lindell. Bolsonaro gave a speech on how Brazil's election system was as "rigged" as that of the United States. Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly threatened that he might cancel the 2022 presidential election, which polls currently indicate that he would lose to the leftist Lula da Silva in a landslide.

Former Trump White House adviser Jason Miller, the CEO of the right-wing social media platform GETTR, participated in the September 3-4 Conservative Political Action Conference Brasil (CPAC Brasil) conference in Brasilia, the nation's capital. On September 7, Jair Bolsonaro urged tens of thousands of his supporters who gathered in Brasilia to storm the Brazilian Supreme Court and imprison the justices, including Alexandre de Moraes, who has been leading an investigation of President Bolsonaro and members of his family, including Eduardo, for corruption. Miller and his delegation met with Jair and Eduardo Bolsonaro in Brasilia.

The House January 6 committee should also invite Justice Moraes to share on a confidential basis any information he has gleaned on the Bolsonaros involvement with the attempted January 6 coup in Washington. Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly threatened a military coup in Brazil to cement his rule over the country.

The Fourth Reich movement of Donald Trump and his fellow fascists is the focus of the forthcoming editor's book titled, "The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the Far-Right."

washington post logoWashington Post, Election fraud, QAnon, Jan. 6: Extremists in Germany read from a pro-Trump script, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Sept. 26, 2021 (print ed.). Apocalyptic messages circulating ahead of German elections on Sunday import conspiratorial rhetoric from the United States.

One message advocated “occupying election offices.”

Another warned of “coronavirus tyranny.”

And a third extolled former president Donald Trump and Q, the shadowy oracle of the extremist ideology QAnon, for inspiring a new social movement prepared to take back power from the state. “America is waking up and ready to fight,” it vowed.

The calls to action came not in anticipation of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. Rather, they emerged this month in Germany, within a far-right group on the messaging app Telegram, where neo-Nazis and doomsday preppers foresee what’s known as “Day X” — the collapse of the German state and assassination of high-ranking officials.

Such apocalyptic messages — posted in the run-up to German elections on Sunday — import conspiratorial, anti-government rhetoric broadcast in the U.S., according to screenshots of the since-deleted chatroom reviewed by The Washington Post.

  capitol noose shay horse nurphoto via getty

A crowd of Trump supporters surrounded a newly erected set of wooden gallows outside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. "Hang Mike Pence!" members of the crowd shouted at times about the Republican Vice President who had announced that he could not comply with the president's call to block election certification that day. The wooden gallows near the Capitol Reflecting Pool

american flag upside down distress

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here, Robert Kagan, right, Brookings Institution fellow, best-selling author and former State Department official, Sept. 26, 2021 (print ed.). The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional robert kagan looking leftcrisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves. The warning signs may be obscured by the distractions of politics, the pandemic, the economy and global crises, and by wishful thinking and denial. But about these things there should be no doubt:

First, Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for president in 2024. The hope and expectation that he would fade in visibility and influence have been delusional. He enjoys mammoth leads in the polls; he is building a massive campaign war chest; and at this moment the Democratic ticket looks vulnerable. Barring health problems, he is running.

Second, Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by whatever means necessary. Trump’s charges of fraud in the 2020 election are now primarily aimed at establishing the predicate to challenge future election results that do not go his way. Some Republican candidates have already begun preparing to declare fraud in 2022, just as Larry Elder tried meekly to do in the California recall contest.

Meanwhile, the amateurish “stop the steal” efforts of 2020 have given way to an organized nationwide campaign to ensure that Trump and his supporters will have the control over state and local election officials that they lacked in 2020. Those recalcitrant Republican state officials who effectively saved the country from calamity by refusing to falsely declare fraud or to “find” more votes for Trump are being systematically removed or hounded from office. Republican legislatures are giving themselves greater control over the election certification process. As of this spring, Republicans have proposed or passed measures in at least 16 states that would shift certain election authorities from the purview of the governor, secretary of state or other executive-branch officers to the legislature. An Arizona bill flatly states that the legislature may “revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election” by a simple majority vote. Some state legislatures seek to impose criminal penalties on local election officials alleged to have committed “technical infractions,” including obstructing the view of poll watchers.

The stage is thus being set for chaos. Imagine weeks of competing mass protests across multiple states as lawmakers from both parties claim victory and charge the other with unconstitutional efforts to take power. Partisans on both sides are likely to be better armed and more willing to inflict harm than they were in 2020. Would governors call out the National Guard? Would President Biden nationalize the Guard and place it under his control, invoke the Insurrection Act, and send troops into Pennsylvania or Texas or Wisconsin to quell violent protests? Deploying federal power in the states would be decried as tyranny. Biden would find himself where other presidents have been — where Andrew Jackson was during the nullification crisis, or where Abraham Lincoln was after the South seceded — navigating without rules or precedents, making his own judgments about what constitutional powers he does and doesn’t have.

Today’s arguments over the filibuster will seem quaint in three years if the American political system enters a crisis for which the Constitution offers no remedy.

Most Americans — and all but a handful of politicians — have refused to take this possibility seriously enough to try to prevent it. As has so often been the case in other countries where fascist leaders arise, their would-be opponents are paralyzed in confusion and amazement at this charismatic authoritarian. They have followed the standard model of appeasement, which always begins with underestimation. The political and intellectual establishments in both parties have been underestimating Trump since he emerged on the scene in 2015. They underestimated the extent of his popularity and the strength of his hold on his followers; they underestimated his ability to take control of the Republican Party; and then they underestimated how far he was willing to go to retain power. The fact that he failed to overturn the 2020 election has reassured many that the American system remains secure, though it easily could have gone the other way — if Biden had not been safely ahead in all four states where the vote was close; if Trump had been more competent and more in control of the decision-makers in his administration, Congress and the states. As it was, Trump came close to bringing off a coup earlier this year. All that prevented it was a handful of state officials with notable courage and integrity, and the reluctance of two attorneys general and a vice president to obey orders they deemed inappropriate.

These were not the checks and balances the Framers had in mind when they designed the Constitution, of course, but Trump has exposed the inadequacy of those protections. The Founders did not foresee the Trump phenomenon, in part because they did not foresee national parties. They anticipated the threat of a demagogue, but not of a national cult of personality. They assumed that the new republic’s vast expanse and the historic divisions among the 13 fiercely independent states would pose insuperable barriers to national movements based on party or personality. “Petty” demagogues might sway their own states, where they were known and had influence, but not the whole nation with its diverse populations and divergent interests.

Such checks and balances as the Framers put in place, therefore, depended on the separation of the three branches of government, each of which, they believed, would zealously guard its own power and prerogatives. The Framers did not establish safeguards against the possibility that national-party solidarity would transcend state boundaries because they did not imagine such a thing was possible. Nor did they foresee that members of Congress, and perhaps members of the judicial branch, too, would refuse to check the power of a president from their own party.

Robert Kagan, author of the long column excerpted above, is the Stephen & Barbara Friedman Senior Fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. He is a contributing columnist at the Washington Post. His new book is The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World” (Knopf, 2018). He previously wrote the New York Times bestseller, The World America Made (Knopf, 2012), as well as other books about history and global affairs.

For his writings, Politico Magazine named Kagan one of the “Politico 50” in 2016, the “thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2016.” His most recent pieces include The Twilight of the Liberal World Order” in “Brookings Big Ideas for America” and “Backing into World War III in Foreign Policy. He served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the policy planning staff, as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. He is married to longtime State Department official Victoria Nuland and holds a doctorate in American history from American University.

washington post logoWashington Post, Fallout begins for far-right trolls who trusted Epik to keep their identities secret, Drew Harwell, Hannah Allam, Jeremy B. Merrill and Craig Timberg, Sept. 26, 2021 (print ed.). The colossal hack of Epik, an Internet-services company popular with the far right, has been called the “mother of all data lodes” for extremism researchers. In the real world, Joshua Alayon worked as a real estate agent in Pompano Beach, Fla., where he used the handle “SouthFloridasFavoriteRealtor” to urge buyers on Facebook to move to “the most beautiful State.”

epik logoBut online, data revealed by the massive hack of Epik, an Internet-services company popular with the far right, signaled a darker side. Alayon’s name and personal details were found on invoices suggesting he had once paid for websites with names such as racisminc.com, whitesencyclopedia.com, christiansagainstisrael.com and theholocaustisfake.com.

The information was included in a giant trove of hundreds of thousands of transactions published this month by the hacking group Anonymous that exposed previously obscure details of far-right sites and launched a race among extremism researchers to identify the hidden promoters of online hate.

After Alayon’s name appeared in the breached data, his brokerage, Travers Miran Realty, dropped him as an agent, as first reported by the real estate news site Inman. The brokerage’s owner, Rick Rapp, told The Washington Post that he didn’t “want to be involved with anyone with thoughts or motives like that.”

Alayon told The Post that he does not own the ‘racisminc,’ Holocaust-denial or other Web addresses but declined to say if he had owned them in the past; the records were hacked earlier this year. But in a screenshot of his Epik account, which he sent to The Post, the information for four other domains he currently owns matches the private records that can be found in the Epik breach.

Asked why his name, email address and other personal information were listed in company invoices for the ‘racisminc’ and Holocaust-denial domains, Alayon said the data was “easily falsifiable,” that he was the possible victim of extortion and that The Post was “fake news.”

The breach of Epik’s internal records has cast a spotlight on a long-hidden corner of the Internet’s underworld, and researchers expect it could take months before they can process the full cache — the equivalent of tens of millions of pages. Many are digging for information on who owns and administers extremist domains about which little was previously known.

Epik, based outside Seattle, said in a data-breach notice filed with Maine’s attorney general this week that 110,000 people had been affected nationwide by having their financial account and credit card numbers, passwords and security codes exposed. An earlier data-breach letter from the company, filed to comply with Montana law, was signed by the “Epic Security Team,” misspelling the company’s name. An Epik spokesperson said it was a simple typo.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: The nation faces financial calamity. Republicans will be to blame, Editorial Board, Sept. 26, 2021 (print ed.). The White House on Thursday instructed federal agencies to prepare for an imminent government shutdown, in case Congress fails to pass a stopgap funding bill by Sept. 30. Government shutdowns are expensive and disruptive, and they deservedly sully the nation’s image and sense of self-respect. But at this point a lapse in government services should be the least of Americans’ worries. The nation faces an epochal financial disaster if Congress fails to raise the debt limit, forcing the country to default on its obligations and inviting a global financial panic.

Mitchell_McConnellIf that happens, there will be no doubt about who is at fault: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), left, and his Republican caucus, who are playing games with the full faith and credit of the United States.

Democrats joined with Republicans to suspend the debt ceiling during the Trump administration. But Mr. McConnell suddenly declares that the majority is solely responsible for performing this unattractive task, even though he pioneered the routine use of the filibuster to force any and all Senate legislation to overcome a 60-vote threshold. With only 50 votes, and Republicans unwilling to lift a finger to avoid financial calamity, Democrats’ only option would be to use the arcane “reconciliation” procedure. Senate experts believe this would be possible, but it would require a couple of weeks of complex parliamentary maneuvering and some Republican cooperation in the Senate Budget Committee. Meanwhile, the treasury is on the verge of running out of money.

Other than sticking it to Democrats, what is the point? Using reconciliation, Democrats would have to raise the debt limit by a specific dollar amount, not just suspend it for a time, as Republicans did under President Donald Trump. This would enable Republicans to run attack ads blasting Democrats for expanding the debt by some large, specific number. Never mind that raising the debt limit does not approve any new spending; it merely permits the treasury to finance the spending Congress already has okayed.

Sept. 25

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Arizona election fraudit by cyber-nimrods ends in humiliating fiasco, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Sept. 25, 2021. Arizona election fraudit by webster tarpley 2007cyber-nimrods ends in humiliating fiasco for MAGAts, confirming Biden win;

On orders from Trump, Texas launches own fraudit; Pennsylvania GOP wants to intimidate all voters; Trump sponsors puppet secretaries of state he hopes will help him steal elections; Rep. Thompson’s House January 6 committee subpoenas Bannon, Meadows, Scavino, and Kashyap Patel; Coup scenario revealed; White House refuses to implement executive privilege to shield Trump;

AG Garland must act now to enforce law in defense of general welfare; Immigration is greatest US strategic asset for dealing with China, and should be carefully developed;

CDC’s Walensky saves the day for administration by offering Pfizer covid boosters to nurses, teachers, and other exposed workers, in additon to over-65s and immunocompromised; Despite recent Trump defeats, defeatism now a fad among media elite.

Sept. 24

john_f_kennedy_smiling

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Biden Will Continue the JFK Cover-Up, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, (foundation founder, author, book publisher and attorney), Sept. 24, 2021. On October 26, the deadline for the public Jacob Hornbergerdisclosure of the CIA’s still-secret records relating to the Kennedy assassination comes due. At that point, the issue will be: Will President Biden order the National Archives to release the CIA’s long-secret records or will he continue the U.S. national-security establishment’s almost 60-year-old cover up of its regime-change operation in Dallas on November 26, 1963?

Make no mistake about it: Biden, like his predecessor President Donald Trump, will continue the cover-up. That’s because the CIA will future of freedom foundation logo squaredemand it.

Mind you, this is just my prediction. I don’t know as a fact that the CIA has even asked Biden to continue shielding its long-secret records from the American people. When I asked the National Archives to identify any agencies that have expressed an interest in another extension of time for secrecy, they refused to provide an answer to my question.

But consider this: Whatever reason that the CIA had for requesting Trump to continue the secrecy, that reason would continue through today. If they were scared to have the American people see those records 60 years ago, and then again 30 years ago during the ARRB years, and then 5 years ago, I will guarantee you that they are just as scared today.

Let’s get one thing clear: Whatever definition one wants to put on that nebulous and meaningless two-word term “national security,” there is no possibility that the release of 60-year-old records is going to threaten “national security.” In other words, if the CIA’s records are disclosed, the United States won’t fall into the ocean. The Reds won’t succeed in taking over America’s public schools. The Russians won’t come and get us. Cuba won’t invade and conquer the United joe biden resized oStates. Vietnam won’t start the dominoes falling.

The only thing that would happen is that more pieces to the assassination puzzle will be filled in, most likely relating to Lee Harvey Oswald’s purported trip to Mexico City, a part of the assassination scheme that clearly went awry.

Both the CIA and the Pentagon know what happened after the ARRB strictly enforced the JFK Records Act in the 1990s. Having been released from vows of secrecy that the military had imposed on them, people started talking, big time.

No, they didn’t start talking about the assassination. When people engage in murder, they don’t often talk freely about it. When the CIA and the Mafia engage in murder, they are very good about keeping secrets. We still don’t know, for example, who killed Jimmy Hoffa and Johnny Roselli, who was the liaison in the CIA-CIA LogoMafia partnership to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Where people started talking was with respect to the autopsy that the U.S. military conducted on President Kennedy’s body on the very evening of the assassination. Released from vows of secrecy that the military had forced them to sign, several enlisted personnel disclosed a mountain of evidence establishing a fraudulent autopsy.

Why is that important? One big reason: There is no innocent explanation for a fraudulent autopsy. None. No one has ever come up with one. No one ever will. The fraudulent autopsy is inextricably bound up with the assassination itself.

For example, as I pointed out in my recent article “The Kennedy Autopsy Selected for Amazon’s Prime Reading Program,” several enlisted personnel came forward in the 1990s and established that the national-security establishment sneaked President Kennedy’s body into the Bethesda morgue at 6:35 p.m., almost 1 1/2 hours before the official entry time of 8 p.m. Their statements were corroborated by a memorandum from Gawler’s Funeral Home, which conducted Kennedy’s funeral. They were further corroborated by statements made by Col. Pierre Finck, one of the three pathologists.

Whatever they were doing in that hour-and-half had to be rotten to the core. Otherwise, why the secrecy, the skullduggery, the deception, and the lies? If it hadn’t been for the ARRB, we would most likely never have known they had done that.

Unfortunately, the JFK Records Act permitted these people to keep many of their assassination-related records secret for another 25 years, long after the law forced the ARRB to go out of existence. The CIA took advantage of that loophole. Then when the deadline arrived under the Trump administration, Trump unfortunately granted their request for additional time for secrecy.

Given that Trump surrendered to the CIA in its demand for further secrecy, one thing is certain: Biden will do so as well. That’s my prediction. While Trump continually deferred to the national-security establishment, in my opinion Biden is effectively owned, lock, stock, and barrel, by the national-security establishment. That means he, like Trump, will do as they say.

Oh, they’ll release some of the records in the hope of skating by without much notice from the mainstream press. But I predict that the most incriminating evidence will continue to be shielded from public view — on grounds of “national security” of course.

Sept. 23

steve bannon billionaire guo wenguiWayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: The billionaire wanted by China who funded insurrection propaganda and a near Sino-U.S. nuclear war, Wayne wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallMadsen, left, Sept. 23, 2021. Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire wanted by the government of China for bribery, kidnapping, money laundering, fraud and rape, sits comfortably in New York City in his penthouse in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel overlooking Central Park, sipping $1 million-a-kilogram rare tea, all the while under the umbrella of U.S. political asylum protection status.

Meanwhile, through his GTV Media Group conglomerate, Guo is simultaneously funding propaganda supporting the January 6th insurrection in Washington and wayne madesen report logothe overthrow of the government giving him political asylum. Specifically, Guo funds, through his Guo Media company, Steve Bannon's "War Room" podcast and "Real America's Voice" Internet television broadcast. The two are shown above in a file photo.

In a recent Real America's Voice segment, Bannon claimed that on the night of January 5, 2021, he, Rudolph Giuliani, and senior members of the Trump administration plotted from the Willard Hotel in Washington the January 6th attempted coup d'état to "kill the Biden presidency in the crib." Moreover, Guo's media influence operations in calling for the overthrow of the government of China -- words heeded by then-President Donald Trump -- almost ended up in a nuclear war between the U.S. and China.

Why are two Green Card holders from China permitted to wage a war of insurrection and sedition against the United States from New York City? More importantly, why is Bannon permitted to reprise the wartime treasonous roles of Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally, Lord Haw-Haw, Seoul City Sue, and Sister Mary in sowing sedition, insurrection, and treason?

Sept. 21

Legal Schnauzer, Opinion: Signs of sloppiness at Christopher Wray's FBI go beyond the USA Gymnastics probe; they date at least to a botched background check on Brett Kavanaugh, Roger Shuler, Sept. 21, 2021. That's a story that seemingly will not go away. Perhaps it's driven in part by Wray's curious background, which includes alarming ties to Russian interests and right-wing bad actors who tend to have an outsized influence in Alabama's political and legal worlds.

From a Legal Schnauzer post in October 2018:

FBI director Christopher Wray has professional ties to Russia, and that likely explains a Brett Kavanaugh background check that widely is being described as a "sham," according to an Alabama political insider.

Donald Trump nominated Wray to lead the FBI in June 2017, having fired James Comey roughly one month earlier. In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Wray to lead the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Before going into public service, Wray was a partner at King and Spalding, an Atlanta-based law firm with 10 offices around the country -- plus 10 international branches, including one in Moscow. . . .

How sketchy was the FBI supplemental background check on Kavanaugh? It probably would have to improve to merit being called "cursory". According to one report, FBI agents interviewed nine individuals -- but they apparently did not include chief accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, nor any of her corroborating witnesses. From a report at New York magazine:

Several people who reached out to investigators to offer information said they were also left hanging. NBC News says dozens of potential witnesses have come forward to FBI field offices, “but agents have not been permitted to talk to many of them.” The New Yorker spoke to several people who were also unable to get an audience with the FBI despite their ability to corroborate [Deborah] Ramirez’s story and information refuting claims Kavanaugh made during last week’s testimony.

The FBI/Kavanaugh story continues to percolate, as evidenced by a report last week from the UK Guardian:

The FBI director, Chris Wray, is facing new scrutiny of the bureau’s handling of its 2018 background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, including its claim that the FBI lacked the authority to conduct a further investigation into the then supreme court nominee.

At the heart of the new questions surrounding Wray . . . is a 2010 Memorandum of Understanding that the FBI has recently said constrained the agency’s ability to conduct any further investigations of allegations of misconduct.

It is not clear whether that claim is accurate, based on a close reading of the MOU, which was released in court records following a Freedom of Information Act request.

The FBI was called to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation process in 2018, after he was accused of assault by Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who knew Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. He also faced other accusations, including that he had exposed himself to a classmate at Yale called Deborah Ramirez. Kavanaugh denied both accusations.

The FBI closed its extended background check of Kavanaugh after four days and did not interview either Blasey Ford or Kavanaugh. The FBI also disclosed to the Senate this June – two years after questions were initially asked – that it had received 4,500 tips from the public during the background check and that it had shared all “relevant tips” with the White House counsel at that time. It is not clear whether those tips were ever investigated.

The FBI said in its letter to two senators – Sheldon Whitehouse and Christopher Coons – that the FBI did not have the authority under the 2010 MOU at the time to “unilaterally conduct further investigative activity absent instructions from the requesting entity”. In other words, the FBI has said it would have required explicit instructions from the Trump White House to conduct further investigation under the existing 2010 guidelines on how such investigations ought to be conducted.

But an examination by the Guardian of the 2010 MOU, which was signed by the then attorney general, Eric Holder, and then White House counsel, Robert Bauer, does not make explicitly clear that the FBI was restricted in terms of how it would conduct its investigation.
The MOU, which was released in court documents in 2019 as part of Freedom of Information Act litigation brought against the US government by Buzzfeed, also does not explicitly state that the White House had the power to set the process parameters on any investigation.

What about the ties of Wray's former law firm to Russian mobsters, domestic mobsters, and unsavory characters in the Alabama political/legal firmament? From our 2018 post:

King and Spalding's extensive ties to Russia should raise eyebrows about the cursory supplemental background check of Brett Kavanaugh by Christopher Wray's FBI, says Jill Simpson -- whistle blower, opposition researcher, and retired lawyer from Rainsville, Alabama. In a Facebook post yesterday, Simpson notes King and Spalding's ties to a number of dubious characters and activities related to Russia.

They include Sergei Millian, a one-time Russian translator who has headed the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce (Russia Am Cham, based in Atlanta) and reportedly was a primary source of information for the Trump-Steele dossier. In short, Millian likely has loads of blackmail-worthy dirt on Trump, and guess what law firm has represented Russia Am Cham? It's King and Spalding, of course, says Simpson.

The firm also has ties to Trump-affiliated mobster Felix Sater, and Simpson says the firm (via Russia Am Cham) was involved in a failed lottery deal -- involving oily Alabama lawyer Rob Riley and his associate, Robert Sigler -- that fleeced the late Milton McGregor, attorney Tommy Gallion, and other prominent Montgomery business types out of about $40 million. King and Spalding, says Simpson, has ties to Russian oligarch/mafia figure Oleg Derispaska, one-time Trump campaign chair and convicted felon Paul Manafort, and Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions.

That is a lot ugly, nasty stuff -- threatening America's democracy, and Christopher Wray, via his association with King and Spalding, is tied to all of it. Writes Simpson:

FBI director Christopher Wray should be forced to resign over [the Kavanaugh supplemental background check]. It was Wray's firm, King and Spalding, that used to host the Russia Am Cham conferences for Oleg Deripaska, Mr Millian, and Mr. Sater -- the Riley/Sessions Gang attended when they beat Milton McGregor and his buddies out of $40 million for a fake Russian lottery.

Wray's firm represents the Russian Oil and Gas Business firm that Vladimir Putin directs. Also, Christopher Wray was a Yale Law School graduate, just like Kavanaugh, and has been buddies with the Kavanaugh, Rove, and Sessions crowd for years.

The FBI's Kavanaugh background check is just a report done by a member of the Jeff Sessions, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump Russian Mafia. I tried to say last week it would be bullshit, due to Wray's ties to the Russian Mafia. His old firm is a big part of Putin's legal team. Until we as a country crush the New York/Alabama/GOP Russian Mafia, we are going to continue seeing this level of corruption.

Sept. 18

Proof via Substack, Investigation: January 6 Was a Violent Nationwide Insurrection—Not One Attack on One Building in Washington, Seth Abramson, left, Sept. 18, seth abramson graphic2021. Many Americans don't realize that Trump's plan for a January 6 attack on American democracy was national in scope—and continues to be. As his insurgency continues, capitals across America are at risk.

Introduction: One of the gravest misunderstandings about January 6 is that it was a localized event involving a single target: the United States Capitol. In fact, it was a decentralized plot that involved dozens of individual attacks around the country and which—moreover—the President of the United States at the time, Donald Trump, publicly acknowledged he knew was a diffuse network of attacks on American democracy. Indeed, Trump said all of the following in his speech the White House Ellipse on Insurrection Day:

seth abramson proof logo• That in addition to the crowd in front of him, he was well aware his speech was being heard by “hundreds of thousands of American patriots who are committed to the honesty of our elections and the integrity of our glorious republic”, a reference to Trumpist insurrectionists gathering “live” in other locations outside D.C. (as any reference to a TV audience would have accounted it in the millions rather than the hundreds of thousands);

• That the purpose of the upcoming march on the Capitol, among other things, was to convince Vice President Mike Pence to “send it [the results of the Electoral College votes in the fifty states] back to the states to re-certify [them]”, a plot Trump believed would lead to the de-certification of Joe Biden’s electors and which he knew would only be aided if massive protests occurred in the states Trump was claiming wanted to revisit their Electoral College votes;

• That “in addition to challenging the certification of the election, I’m calling on…state legislatures to quickly pass sweeping election reforms, and you better do it before we have no country left”;

• That he was “looking out all over this country and seeing fantastic crowds” (emphasis supplied), a confession that he was tracking January 6 events across America;

• That the supposed theft of the 2020 presidential election was very much a state-by-state issue, with the former president spending time in his speech at the Ellipse discussing not just the national outcome of the November vote but specific events in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Pennsylvania (as well as, in the same speech, falsely characterizing the 2020 election results in Ohio, Texas, Florida, and projecting his false claims of election theft forward into future elections in Wyoming and New York); and

• “If this happened to the Democrats, there’d be hell all over the country going on, there’d be hell all over the country” (emphasis supplied), a repetition of a calculated phrase pointing toward a nationwide protest against democracy, and another attempt to send a message to pro-Trump insurrectionists outside D.C. unsure about how violent they had the sitting president’s permission to get so far from what was (at the time) seen as the epicenter of the January 6 spectacle.

With all of the foregoing in mind, America needs a comprehensive summary of what happened on January 6 outside the nation’s capital.

washington post logoWashington Post, Court hearings, guilty pleas belie right-wing recasting of Jan. 6 defendants as persecuted patriots, Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, Ellie Silverman and Rachel Weiner, Sept. 18, 2021 (print ed.). There are about 73 pleas, with roughly 600 charged and dozens still jailed. Ahead of the Justice for J6 rally, a look at where the defendants stand.

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice for J6 rally sees a sparse crowd and tight security, Emily Davies, Marissa J. Lang, Teo Armus, Peter Jamison and Katie Mettler, Sept. 18, 2021. A small band of right-wing protesters decrying the treatment of the mob that overran the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was dwarfed by hundreds of police and news reporters. Police said they made four arrests and seized two weapons.

The most anticipated visit by right-wing activists to the nation’s capital since a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 ended with a whimper Saturday, as demonstrators supporting the rioters found themselves far outnumbered by police, journalists and counterprotesters.

Although the protesters returned to the scene of a historically grievous attack on American democracy, it was immediately obvious that much had changed. The Capitol grounds — where poorly prepared police fought a losing, hand-to-hand battle against President Donald Trump’s supporters just over eight months ago — were secured Saturday with metal fences and hundreds of officers. The halls of Congress were all but deserted. No president, or former president, delivered a bellicose speech urging that his election loss be overturned.

Capitol Police said Saturday afternoon that between 400 and 450 people had been observed at some point inside the protest zone. But many of them were journalists and other bystanders.

washington post logoWashington Post, Oath Keepers founder draws scrutiny from federal officials and followers for role in Jan. 6 riot, but he remains free and uncharged, Hannah Allam and Spencer S. Hsu, Sept. 18, 2021 (print ed.). It depends on who’s talking.

To some, Stewart Rhodes is a paramilitary commander enlisting thousands of foot soldiers to overthrow the government.

stewart rhodesTo others, he’s a couch-surfing grifter — and the most shocking thing about the involvement of his Oath Keepers group in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was that some members actually showed up.

To federal prosecutors, Rhodes, 56, is “Person One,” which is how he is referenced in court filings for roughly 22 Oath Keepers associates charged in connection with the Capitol attack, including 18 who are accused of conspiracy in the largest single indictment of the probe. Five have pleaded guilty.

In the prosecution’s timeline, Rhodes coordinated with participants, allegedly giving advice about what weapons to bring and speaking with one who was part of the “stack” formation implemented moments before the group charged into the Capitol — one of the most salient images of the day.

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: California shows US future once again! Webster G. Tarpley, right, Sept. 18, 2021. Newsom’s landslide win in California recall marks failure for webster tarpley 2007GOP‘s anti-social ”health freedom” demagogy: Silent Majority of Vaccinated emerges despite media focus on loudmouth rejection front; Time for Dems to take gloves off!

In Virginia gubernatorial debate, Wall Street’s GOP candidate Youngkin showcases his plan for avoiding Larry Elder‘s fate: LYING!
Gen. Milley provides much-needed model of patriotism;

Playing small ball, FDA advisory board backs covid boosters for over-65s;

Definitively refuting trickle-down economics, 2020 direct stimulus payments cut US poverty rate by unprecedented 2.7% despite pandemic and closures; now make Child Tax Credit permanent!

Sept. 17

Proof via Substack, Investigative Commentary: A Secretive Summit That Trump Attended in December of 2020 May Explain Both Trump's Role in the January 6 seth abramson graphicInsurrection and Why Both CJCS Milley and China Feared Trump Would Start a War, Seth Abramson (left, attorney, professor, Newsweek columnist, metajournalist, and New York Times bestselling author), Sept. 16-17, 2021.

Introduction: On December 27, 2020, fresh off receiving one of the most controversial presidential pardons in U.S. history—from then-president Donald Trump, the very man he had committed federal felonies to protect—Roger Stone traveled to Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach to “thank[ ]” his patron and criminal co-conspirator.

seth abramson proof logoOnly a few U.S. media outlets covered the astonishingly brazen meeting at the time, and surprisingly that didn’t change nine days later—when a “movement” co-led by Stone, Stop the Steal, coordinated with the 2020 Trump Campaign in a sequence of events resulting in armed insurrection and a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Back in December 2020, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported on the meeting in a way that should have, but didn’t, lead to it becoming a focus of sustained national attention: per the paper, Stone went to see Trump on December 27 not just to “deliver a personal thank you to the president” but also, critically, to “counsel the president on how he could ‘ensure that Donald Trump continues as our president.’” This was during the same period that, as Proof has reported, Stone recorded a video seeking donations for arms and armor for Proud Boys and Oath Keepers planning to travel to Washington on January 6—the precise conduct Proud Boy “sergeant-at-arms” and Stone associate Ethan Nordean would later be arrested for.

So there can be no doubt that when Stone met Trump just nine days before January 6 to discuss how that day could lead to an overturning of the November 2020 election, Stone’s focus was on the Stop the Steal–cosponsored March to Save America that he was personally involved in coordinating at a logistical as well as strategic level.

The Sun-Sentinel report noted that, after posting a picture of (and commentary upon) the strange golf club meeting on Parler, Stone subsequently thought better of it and deleted all reference to the event on the far-right social media platform. At the time, he claimed it was to honor a policy supposedly in place at Trump’s golf club to prevent guests from posting pictures of the club; journalists have not yet been able to verify that any such policy exists, and a Google Image search certainly suggests it doesn’t (especially when the photograph promotes Donald Trump in any way). In any case, Stone had by then deleted not only photos of the meeting but also any reference to it on social media—and thereafter would refuse to discuss it with journalists. It did not, therefore, seem like a reticence related to an eldritch country club photography policy.

himself has already lied about that day so many times that anything he tells the FBI now will directly contradict at least two or three of prior public statements.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

washington post logoWashington Post, Oath Keepers founder draws scrutiny from federal officials and followers for role in Jan. 6 riot, but he remains free and uncharged, Hannah Allam and Spencer S. Hsu, Sept. 17, 2021. It depends on who’s talking.

To some, Stewart Rhodes is a paramilitary commander enlisting thousands of foot soldiers to overthrow the government.

To others, he’s a couch-surfing grifter — and the most shocking thing about the involvement of his Oath Keepers group in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was that some members actually showed up.

To federal prosecutors, Rhodes, 56, is “Person One,” which is how he is referenced in court filings for roughly 22 Oath Keepers associates charged in connection with the Capitol attack, including 18 who are accused of conspiracy in the largest single indictment of the probe. Five have pleaded guilty.

In the prosecution’s timeline, Rhodes coordinated with participants, allegedly giving advice about what weapons to bring and speaking with one who was part of the “stack” formation implemented moments before the group charged into the Capitol — one of the most salient images of the day.

washington post logoWashington Post, Disclosures on Milley’s Trump pushback could further politicize the military, Missy Ryan, Sept. 17, 2021. Supporters say the country’s top officer sought to protect the Constitution, but some fear his actions could compound existing problems. New revelations showing how Gen. Mark A. Milley, the nation’s top military officer, quietly maneuvered to check President Donald Trump reveal the lengths that top officials went to prevent potentially rash action, but the disclosures also threaten to thrust the military deeper into the partisan fray, former officials said.

mark milley army chief of staffA series of dramatic inside-the-room accounts, including one in which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, right, promised to alert China’s top officer if Trump was preparing to launch an attack, provides new insight into military leaders’ response to the previous administration’s fraught final period.

But Kori Schake, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said the revelations that Milley covertly acted to counter his commander in chief are “bad for the military as an institution.”

“It encourages people to do what Americans are already doing, which is viewing the military as they view the Supreme Court: apolitical when they agree with them, partisan when they don’t,” she said.

Biden comes to Milley’s defense after revelation that top general, fearing Trump, conferred with China to avoid war

The latest exposé comes in a book by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, who write that Milley, alarmed by the possibility Trump might strike China as he tried to stay in power, reached out to Gen. Li Zuocheng in the months surrounding the 2020 election in order to dismiss any Chinese fears of a preemptive American attack, they said.

That followed other dramatic accounts involving Milley, including in a book by Washington Post journalists Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker, which said the general likened the circumstances around the election to those of Nazi-era Germany.

washington post logoWashington Post, Milley says calls to Chinese counterpart were ‘perfectly within the duties and responsibilities’ of his job, John Wagner, Sept. 17, 2021. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday that calls he made late in the Trump administration to his Chinese military counterpart were “perfectly within the duties and responsibilities” of his job and that he would explain his actions in greater detail during an upcoming appearance before Congress.

Milley, who has come under fire after a new book revealed the conservations aimed at averting armed conflict, described the calls as “routine” and said they were done “to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.”

“I think it’s best that I reserve my comments on the record until I do that in front of the lawmakers who have the lawful responsibility to oversee the U.S. military,” Milley said, according to the Associated Press. “I’ll go into any level of detail Congress wants to go into in a couple of weeks.”

The AP reported that Milley, the Pentagon’s top uniformed officer, made his comments to reporters traveling with him to Europe. Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are scheduled to testify Sept. 28 before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden comes to Milley’s defense after revelation top general, fearing Trump, conferred with China to avert war, Karoun Demirjian and John Wagner, Sept. 17, 2021 (print ed.). Critics of Gen. Mark Milley contend he should be removed as Joint Chiefs chairman after a new book disclosed the extent of his alarm that Trump might order a strike on China in the waning days of his presidency.

mark milley army chief of staffPresident Biden on Wednesday threw his full support behind the Pentagon’s top uniformed officer, right, who has come under fire after a new book revealed he privately conferred with his Chinese counterpart Gen. Li Zuocheng, left, to avert armed conflict late in the Trump administration.

Gen. Li Zuocheng“I have great confidence in General Milley,” Biden told reporters at the White House, following calls from former president Donald Trump and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill for the removal of Gen. Mark A. Milley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Biden’s declaration, coinciding with efforts by the chief spokespersons for the White House and the Pentagon to stage a similar defense of the embattled general, effectively ends speculation that Milley’s assignment may be cut short. But the controversy surrounding his fitness for the job rages on — and thus far is falling mostly along party lines.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump gave six months extra Secret Service protection to his kids, three officials. It cost taxpayers $1.7 million, David A. Fahrenthold and Carol D. Leonnig, Sept. 17, 2021. The former president required the Secret Service to devote agents and money to wealthy adults with no role in government, whom the agents trailed to ski vacations, weekend houses, a resort in Cabo San Lucas and business trips abroad.

In June, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin visited Israel to scout investments for his new company, then flew to Qatar for a conference. At the time, Mnuchin had been out of office for five months.

But, because of an order given by President Donald Trump, he was still entitled to protection by Secret Service agents. As agents followed Mnuchin across the Middle East, the U.S. government paid up to $3,000 each for their plane tickets, and $11,000 for rooms at Qatar’s luxe St. Regis Doha, according to government spending records.

In all, the records show U.S. taxpayers spent more than $52,000 to guard a multimillionaire on a business trip.

These payments were among $1.7 million in additional government spending triggered by Trump’s highly unusual order — which awarded six extra months of Secret Service protection for his four adult children and three top administration officials — according to a Washington Post analysis of new spending documents.

That $1.7 million in extra spending is still tiny in comparison to the Secret Service’s $2.4 billion budget.

But, as the records show, Trump’s order required the Secret Service to devote agents and money to an unexpected set of people: wealthy adults, with no role in government, whom the agents trailed to ski vacations, weekend houses, a resort in Cabo San Lucas, and business trips abroad.

“Who wouldn’t enjoy continuing their free limo service and easy access to restaurant tables?” said Jim Helminski, a former Secret Service executive, who said the decision appeared to show Trump giving a public service as a private benefit to his inner circle. “Even if there was a credible risk to family and associates of Trump, these people are now private citizens who can afford to hire some very talented private security firms for their personal protection.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Ohio House Republican, Calling Trump ‘a Cancer,’ Bows Out of 2022, Jonathan Martin, Sept. 17, 2021 (print ed.). Representative Anthony Gonzalez, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, is the first of the group to retire rather than face a stiff primary challenge.

Calling former President Donald J. Trump “a cancer for the country,” Representative Anthony Gonzalez, Republican of Ohio, said in an interview on Thursday that he would not run for re-election in 2022, ceding his seat after just two terms in Congress rather than compete against a Trump-backed primary opponent.

anthony gonzalezMr. Gonzalez, right, is the first, but perhaps not the last, of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to retire rather than face ferocious primaries next year in a party still in thrall to the former president.

The congressman, who has two young children, emphasized that he was leaving in large part because of family considerations and the difficulties that come with living between two cities. But he made clear that the strain had only grown worse since his impeachment vote, after which he was deluged with threats and feared for the safety of his wife and children.

Mr. Gonzalez said that quality-of-life issues had been paramount in his decision. He recounted an “eye-opening” moment this year: when he and his family were greeted at the Cleveland airport by two uniformed police officers, part of extra security precautions taken after the impeachment vote.

“That’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Is this really what I want for my family when they travel, to have my wife and kids escorted through the airport?’” he said.

Mr. Gonzalez, who turns 37 on Saturday, was the sort of Republican recruit the party once prized. A Cuban American who starred as an Ohio State wide receiver, he was selected in the first round of the N.F.L. draft and then earned an M.B.A. at Stanford after his football career was cut short by injuries. He claimed his Northeast Ohio seat in his first bid for political office.

Mr. Gonzalez, a conservative, largely supported the former president’s agenda. Yet he started breaking with Mr. Trump and House Republican leaders when they sought to block the certification of last year’s presidential vote, and he was horrified by Jan. 6 and its implications.

Still, he insisted he could have prevailed in what he acknowledged would have been a “brutally hard primary” against Max Miller, a former Trump White House aide who was endorsed by the former president in February.

Yet as Mr. Gonzalez sat on a couch in his House office, most of his colleagues still at home for the prolonged summer recess, he acknowledged that he could not bear the prospect of winning if it meant returning to a Trump-dominated House Republican caucus.

“Politically the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now,” he said. “You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not.”

For the Ohioan, Jan. 6 was “a line-in-the-sand moment” and Mr. Trump represents nothing less than a threat to American democracy.

“I don’t believe he can ever be president again,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Durham grand jury indicts lawyer whose firm represented Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Devlin Barrett and Spencer S. Hsu, Sept. 17, 2021 (print ed.). A grand jury working with special counsel John Durham’s office handed up an indictment Thursday of lawyer Michael Sussmann, who prosecutors have accused of making false statements to the FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sussmann, the indictment charges, “lied about the capacity in which he was providing ... allegations to the FBI” of potenmichael sussmann perkins youngertial cyber links between a Russian bank and a company owned by former president Donald Trump.

An attorney at Perkins Coie, a prominent law firm tied to the Democratic party, Sussmann, right, had been bracing for possible indictment.

  • Read the indictment: U.S. v. Michael Sussmann

Charging him marks a strange twist in the special counsel’s probe championed by Trump and his Republican allies, and which to date has resulted in a single conviction of a low-level FBI lawyer.

john durham CustomDurham, right, was tasked with finding crimes that may have been committed at the FBI and elsewhere in the federal government, but in charging Sussmann, the special counsel is in essence arguing that the FBI was the victim of a crime.

In a statement issued Wednesday, ahead of the indictment, lawyers for Sussmann insisted their client committed no crime.

“Michael Sussmann is a highly respected national security and cyber security lawyer, who served the U.S. Department of Justice during Democratic and Republican administrations alike,” his lawyers Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth said in a joint statement. “Any prosecution here would be baseless, unprecedented, and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work. We are confident that if Mr. Sussmann is charged, he will prevail at trial and vindicate his good name.”

Durham grand jury examines if anyone presented false evidence to FBI

In recent months, Durham’s team has questioned witnesses about how the allegation of a possible digital tie between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank Justice Department log circularwas presented to the FBI. Durham also has examined the authenticity of data given to the FBI.

Durham is pursuing a prosecutorial theory that Sussmann was secretly representing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which was a client of Sussmann’s firm, these people said.

It was not immediately clear how an individual lying to the FBI’s top lawyer would square with the Justice Department’s historical practice of charging false-statements cases. Typically, such cases are charged when a witness knowingly lies to a special agent conducting an investigation.

Sept. 16

Palmer Report, Opinion: Here come the January 6th superseding indictments, Bill Palmer, Sept. 16, 2021. “They’ve gotten away with it all!” It’s the rallying cry of defeatists everywhere who are so eager to feel outrage, they’ve baselessly convinced themselves that the January 6th attackers are off the hook. Meanwhile back in the real world, the indictments continue to come down – and now we’re getting into superseding indictments.

bill palmer report logo headerFor instance, prosecutors handed down superseding indictments today against Capitol attackers Ronald Sandlin and Nathaniel DeGrave, who had already been hit with lesser January 6th charges. It’s a reminder that as the evidence continues to add up, and people start cutting plea deals and ratting each other out, the indictments are continuing to get more serious.

The criminal indictments in relation to January 6th are still just getting started. That’s a fact made clear by the evidence. How high up will these indictments go, and will they reach the likes of Roger Stone and Donald Trump? We’ll see. But the narrative that they’ve “gotten away with it all” is simply fiction.

  During a vote earlier this year, first-year U.S. Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) emphasized her vote against increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour with a thumbs down gesture.

During a vote earlier this year, first-year U.S. Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) emphasized her vote against increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour with a thumbs down gesture.

The Nation, Commentary: Kyrsten Sinema’s Grapes of Wealth, Tom Gogola, Sept. 16, 2021. The Arizona senator’s wine-soaked politics offer a bold and colorful bouquet of disparate notes, with a hint of corruption.

A curious news story popped up in the Sonoma County Press-Democrat this summer, just as a bipartisan group of US senators was trimming the sails on Joe Biden’s infrastructure plans and sending their own $1.2 trillion package to the Senate floor: The Wine Country paper of record reported that one of those senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, had traveled to the city of Sonoma in August 2020, where she earned $1,117.40 as a paid intern at a winery.

According to the Press-Democrat, Senator Sinema worked at the California winery for three weeks last summer, and has also traveled to Sonoma for a fundraiser held on her behalf at a luxury inn that charges $950 a night for a room during peak season.

Why would a sitting senator—earning a taxpayer-funded salary of $174,000—take a paid internship at a winery?

Well, Sinema is apparently a serious wine buff, in her own way.

Around the same time as the Press-Democrat internship article appeared, back in Washington, D.C., all the headlines were about how Sinema played a key role in keeping the infrastructure negotiations on track by encouraging her fellow “moderates” to guzzle some more wine and get back to work when talks broke down. She supplied the wine, while plonky plutocrat Joe Manchin opened his houseboat on the Potomac to the lubricated legislators. It all sounded rather immoderate, if not completely decadent, if you ask me. And anyway, isn’t excessive alcohol consumption supposed to impair your judgment, not enhance it?

So again: Why this particular wine operation? One possible answer aligns with what Sinema’s former supporters in Arizona say about her: She has abandoned the progressives who brought her to the dance and prefers to do the Wah Watusi on behalf of the 1 percent these days.

Three Sticks is owned by William S. Price III, a cofounder of TPG Capital, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, with $108 billion in assets under management.

Sept. 14

les wexner mansion jeffrey epstein wmr graphic mariaWayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Bannon's involvement with Epstein reflects on a past littered with ties to pedophiles, Wayne Madsen, Sept. 14, 2021. According to a new book by Donald Trump biographer Michael Wolff, former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon coached the late pedophile and child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein for a planned CBS "60 Minutes" interview in the months prior to Epstein's arrest by federal authorities in 2019.

According to Wolff's book, Too Famous: The Rich, the Powerful, the Wishful, the Notorious, the Damned," Bannon conducted 15 hours of practice interviews with Epstein at his Manhattan townhouse [known as the Wexner Mansion, named for Epstein's benefactor Leslie Wexner, the clothing retailing mogul and shown above in a WMR graphic].

We have previously reported that Epstein's New York residence was the scene of the 1994 rape of two girls, one 12 and the other 13, by Epstein and Trump. Bannon has, for quite some time, been under our radar for his past association with pedophiles. In 2005, Bannon was affiliated with a Hong Kong-based company alexander acosta o cropped Customcalled Internet Gaming Entertainment (IGE) [whose silent partner included Marc Collins-Rector].

There is a common thread that extends far and wide within Trump's circle of friends and associates. U.S. Attorney in Miami Alex Acosta, right, whom Trump named as his Labor Secretary, the government's chief monitor for underage sex trafficking, was more interested in burying the criminal activities of pedophiles like Epstein, Trump, and Rector than in protecting children from predators with large bank accounts.

washington post logoWashington Post, Top general was so fearful Trump might spark war that he made secret calls to his Chinese counterpart, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Sept. 14, 2021. “Peril,” a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, reveals that Gen. Mark A. Milley called his Chinese counterpart before the 2020 election and after Jan. 6 in a bid to avert armed conflict.

Twice in the final months of the Trump administration, the country’s top military officer was so fearful that the president’s actions might spark a war with China that he moved urgently to avert armed conflict.

mark milley army chief of staffIn a pair of secret phone calls, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (shown at right as Army chief of staff), assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, that the United States would not strike, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political reporter Robert Costa.

One call took place on Oct. 30, 2020, four days before the election that unseated President Trump, and the other on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the Capitol siege carried out by his supporters in a quest to cancel the vote.

The first call was prompted by Milley’s review of intelligence suggesting the Chinese believed the United States was preparing to attack. That belief, the authors write, was based on tensions over military exercises in the South China Sea, and deepened by Trump’s belligerent rhetoric toward China.

“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told him. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”

In the book’s account, Milley went so far as to pledge he would alert his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, stressing the rapport they’d established through a backchannel. “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

Li took the chairman at his word, the authors write in the book, Peril, which is set to be released next week.

In the second call, placed to address Chinese fears about the events of Jan. 6, Li wasn’t as easily assuaged, even after Milley promised him, “We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”

Sept. 12

The Guardian, Louis Armstrong and the spy: how the CIA used him as a ‘trojan horse’ in Congo, Jason Burke, Sept. 12, 2021. Book reveals how the jazz musician unwittingly became party to secret cold war manoeuvres by the US in Africa.

It was a memorable evening: Louis Armstrong, his wife and a diplomat from the US embassy were out for dinner in a restaurant in what was still Léopoldville, capital of the newly independent Congo.

The trumpeter, singer and band leader, nicknamed Satchmo as a child, was in the middle of a tour of Africa that would stretch over months, organised and sponsored by the State Department in a bid to improve the image of the US in dozens of countries which had just won freedom from colonial regimes.

CIA LogoWhat Armstrong did not know was that his host that night in November 1960 was not the political attaché as described, but the head of the CIA in Congo. He was also totally unaware of how his fame had allowed the spy who was making small talk across the starters to gain crucial information that would facilitate some of the most controversial operations of the entire cold war.

“Armstrong was basically a Trojan horse for the CIA. It’s genuinely heartbreaking. He was brought in to serve an interest that was completely contrary to his own sense of what was right or wrong. He would have been horrified,” said Susan Williams, a research fellow at London University’s School of Advanced Study and author of White Malice, a new book which exposes the astonishing extent of the CIA’s activities across central and west Africa in the 1950s and early 60s.

Documents found by Williams in the archives of the UN during five years of research strongly suggest that the Armstrongs’ host, CIA station chief Larry Devlin, and other US intelligence officers posted to Congo used the cover of the musicians’s visit to get access to the strategically important and very wealthy province of Katanga, which had recently seceded. The US, though sympathetic to the agenda of the province’s leader, had not officially recognised the self-declared government there.

There was much of interest to the CIA in Katanga, ranging from senior officials with whom they could not otherwise meet to crucial mining infrastructure, with 1,500 tons of uranium and vast potential to procure more. Armstrong’s tour to Katanga was the perfect opportunity, so Devlin and others flew down from the capital with the musician and his famous band. “They needed a cover and this gave them one,” said Williams.

There was something else that Armstrong, who had pulled out of a similar tour to the Soviet Union three years earlier in protest at racism in the US, did not know. The CIA in the Congo, led by Devlin, was trying to kill the Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister, 35-year-old Patrice Lumumba, fearful that he would lead the country into the Soviet camp. Historians now believe the nationalist leader wanted his country to remain neutral in the cold war.

patrice lumumba raising arms 1960Just a mile or so from where Armstrong and Devlin had dined, the charismatic Lumumba was being held prisoner in his official residence by soldiers loyal to Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, the young military chief with a close working relationship with the CIA, who had effectively seized power some weeks earlier.

Within two months of Armstrong’s tour, Lumumba (shown at left in a 1960 file photo) was murdered in Katanga by officials of the breakaway province and police officers from Belgium. Mobutu would later consolidate his hold on Congo, and become a loyal US client.

Devlin later claimed that the CIA was responsible, telling a US Congressional investigation “that the coup of Mobutu … was arranged and supported, and indeed, managed, by the CIA”.

Sept. 11

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Last days to fight back against fascism by voting to keep Newsom as governor of California! Webster G. Tarpley, right, Sept. 11, 2021 (58.58 min.). 20 years after webster tarpley 20079/11, focus has shifted to domestic terrorism under heading of #CERTUNREST2021 on eve of September 18 threat.

On January 4 conference call, security officials were warned of danger of “mass casualty event” on Capitol Hill; so why so little action to defend counting of electoral votes? DoJ seeks rollback for unconstitutional Texas abortion law.

In ambitious 6-point plan, Biden deploys OSHA to fight pandemic in workplace; Two dozen GOP governors and RNC hacks promise harassing lawsuits; Corporate media programs on 9/11 stress radical subjectivism, but obscure contradictions of official narrative!

Sept. 10

 

supreme court resized 2021

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Breyer’s airbrushed portrayal of the judicial process, Ruth Marcus, right, Sept. 10, 2021. Could the timing of Supreme Court Justice ruth marcus twitter CustomStephen G. Breyer’s new book be any worse? It’s hard to imagine.

Breyer’s latest — an earnest testament to the nonpartisanship and professionalism of his conservative colleagues — comes on the heels of the decision by five of them to let a blatantly unconstitutional Texas abortion law take effect.

Breyer dissented from that move, saying it undermined “the ability to ask the Judiciary to protect an individual from the invasion of a constitutional right — an invasion that threatens immediate and serious injury.”

He dissented a few weeks earlier, when a six-justice majority rejected the Biden administration’s bid to extend the eviction moratorium. And again, a few days before that, when the same six justices rejected the Biden administration’s effort to undo the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

Breyer’s book, loftily titled The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics, is an earnest plea to preserve the former and avoid the latter, a paean to the rule of law and a warning against precipitous steps — such as expanding the size of the court — that might undermine its legitimacy.

“Under the law, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; and the same is true of the public’s willingness to accept judicial decisions with which it disagrees,” Breyer writes. “The rule of law is not a meal that can be ordered à la carte.”

Except that the goose and gander seem to be treated awfully differently these days. Conservative justices insist on strict adherence to statutory text, except when they don’t: See the court’s evisceration of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Conservative justices lunge to prevent the perceived infringement of some constitutional rights — stepping in to block pandemic restrictions that limit religious observance — while insisting that procedural hurdles make it impossible to halt the Texas abortion law. They praise the importance of precedent, then casually toss it aside.

And the conservative justices are increasingly ordering off-menu, using their “shadow docket” to make decisions without the fig leaf of full briefing and oral argument. When the conservative justices leap to employ their power to issue emergency orders at the behest of the Trump administration but then act differently when the Biden administration comes calling, that sauce has a bitter aftertaste.

When it comes to politics, Breyer sees plenty of blame to go around — just not among his colleagues. Journalists, for one, who routinely identify the political party of the president appointing the justices when reporting on the court, a change from decades past. “Going further, they systematically label judges as conservative or liberal,” Breyer laments.

Guilty as charged — and it’s because times, and the court, have changed. To take one salient example: Four of the seven justices in the majority in Roe v. Wade were named by a Republican president; one of the two dissenters was nominated by a Democrat. Today, except in unusual and increasingly infrequent circumstances, the justices’ votes can be reliably predicted by looking at party affiliation. The labels are accurate.

Sept. 9

 

steve bannon billionaire guo wengui

Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire wanted by the government of China for bribery, kidnapping, money laundering, fraud and rape, is shown above with Trump ally and former 2016 campaign CEO Steve Bannon. Guo funds through his GTV Media Group conglomerate Bannon's "War Room" podcast and "Real America's Voice" Internet television broadcast and other propaganda supporting the January 6th insurrection in Washington and the overthrow of the the U.S. government, which is giving him political asylum in New York City and elsewhere.

Wayne Madsen Report, Opinion: International fascist collusion to overthrow the U.S. government, Wayne Madsen, left, national security expert, former Navy wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallIntelligence Officer and NSA analyst, and author of 20 books, including the forthcoming, "The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the Far-Right."

Not since the planned 1934 fascist coup against the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt by various right-wing, fascist, and Nazi forces, backed by wealthy Wall Street interests, has the United States faced a coordinated plot by Americans and foreign interests to overthrow democracy in the United States.

wayne madesen report logoIn 1933 and 1934, the fascist coup planning, which was exposed by retired Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, were directly linked to Adolf Hitler's Germany, Benito Mussolini's Italy, and French Croix de Feu fascist political leaders. Groups supporting a coup against FDR included groups ranging from the pro-Mussolini American Legion to Nazi organizations like the Silver Legion of America, the German American Bund, Friends of New Germany, the Ku Klux Klan, the Sentinels of the Republic, and the Crusaders.

Today, substitute the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Chinese expatriate billionaire Guo Wengui, and groups like the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, Boogaloo Bois, and Falun Gong, and you will see that history is merely repeating itself with different countries and groups involved in establishing a fascist dictatorship in America, Brazil, and other nations.

Steve Bannon's effort to create an international fascist movement, which is known as simply as "The Movement," has brought together Donald Trump loyalists with the Brazilian government of Bolsonaro and his family. Trump and Bolsonaro loyalists are actively attempting to corrupt and destroy the electoral underpinnings of democratic rule in the United States, Brazil, and third countries, for example, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and others.

Bolsonaro's son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a member of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies, the Latin American leader of Bannon's Movement, and Trump's personal choice but failed nominee as Brazil's ambassador in Washington, was very active with the attempted January 6 coup attempt in Washington.

Eduardo Bolsonaro participated in an insurrection eve "War Council" held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. Other participants in the war council included Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, MyPillow's Mike Lindell, disgraced ex-National Security Adviser under trump Lt. General Michael Flynn, and lawyer Sidney Powell. Eduardo Bolsonaro also held a meeting at the White House on January 4 with Ivanka Trump and separately with expatriate Brazilian fascist political adviser and astrologer Olavo de Carvalho. Carvalho, who has been dubbed the "Rush Limbaugh" of Brazil, lives south of Richmond, Virginia in Dinwiddie County. Carvalho, a close associate of Bannon, is a "flat earther," climate change and Covid-19 pandemic denier, and anti-vaccine (anti-vaxx) proponent.

The House Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection would do well to cooperate with Brazilian Senator Jacques Wagner (PT-Bahia) of the Workers' Party of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Wagner is conducting a Senate investigation of Eduardo Bolsonaro's role in the January 6 coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol. Wagner asked the then-Brazilian Foreign Minister, Ernest Araujo, someone who has erroneously called Nazism a "leftist" movement, to answer eight questions [right] dealing with the roles played by Bolsonaro's son and the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC into the January 5 war council at the Trump hotel and additional meetings between Eduardo Bolsonaro and "several other members of the Republican Party."

Those who diminish the importance of the January 6 coup attempt by calling it a "riot" or a "violent protest" fail to understand that it is the subject of formal legislative investigations by the U.S. House and the Brazilian Senate. That fact, alone, points to the January 6 event being a vast international conspiracy.

Bannon's operations, including his own involvement in the January 6 insurrection, have been financed by Guo Wengui and Lindell, as well as previously by the multi-billionaire hedge fund father-daughter team of Robert and Rebekah Mercer.

On August 10, 2021, Eduardo Bolsonaro was back in the United States attending Lindell's kooky "cyber symposium" in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Bannon emceed the live-streamed symposium. Bolsonaro gave Lindell a "Make America Great Again" hat signed by Donald Trump. Bolsonaro said he had met Trump at his Bedminster, New Jersey on August 9 and Trump asked him to give the hat to Lindell. Bolsonaro gave a speech on how Brazil's election system was as "rigged" as that of the United States. Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly threatened that he might cancel the 2022 presidential election, which polls currently indicate that he would lose to the leftist Lula da Silva in a landslide.

Former Trump White House adviser Jason Miller, the CEO of the right-wing social media platform GETTR, participated in the September 3-4 Conservative Political Action Conference Brasil (CPAC Brasil) conference in Brasilia, the nation's capital. On September 7, Jair Bolsonaro urged tens of thousands of his supporters who gathered in Brasilia to storm the Brazilian Supreme Court and imprison the justices, including Alexandre de Moraes, who has been leading an investigation of President Bolsonaro and members of his family, including Eduardo, for corruption. Miller and his delegation met with Jair and Eduardo Bolsonaro in Brasilia.

The House January 6 committee should also invite Justice Moraes to share on a confidential basis any information he has gleaned on the Bolsonaros involvement with the attempted January 6 coup in Washington. Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly threatened a military coup in Brazil to cement his rule over the country.

The Fourth Reich movement of Donald Trump and his fellow fascists is the focus of the forthcoming editor's book titled, "The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the Far-Right."

TheAnalysis.news, 9/11 Lies and the National Security State – Thomas Drake, Paul Jay, Sept. 9, 2021. Twenty years later, Thomas Drake still says the NSA knew about the 9/11 plotters prior to the attack, and likely reported the intel through a back channel to VP Cheney. Nothing was done to prevent the attack, says Drake a Drake, shown at right in a Steven DePolo photoformer senior executive at the NSA. Why? To prepare public opinion in favor of invading Iraq. Drake joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news.

Twenty years later, Thomas Drake, right, still says the NSA knew about the 9/11 plotters prior to the attack, and likely reported the intel through a back channel to VP Cheney. Nothing was done to prevent the attack, says Drake a former senior executive at the NSA. Why? To prepare public opinion in favor of invading Iraq. Drake, shown at right in a Steven DePolo photo, joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news.

This is the sixth part of the Reality Asserts Itself with Thomas Drake series. Here is a link to the playlist:

TRANSCRIPT:

Paul Jay

Hi, welcome to theAnalysis.news. My name is Paul Jay. In a few seconds, I’ll be back with the man who knew too much, Thomas Drake. We’re going to talk about the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

In 2015, I interviewed Thomas Drake, a former Senior Executive of the National Security Agency and one of the more important whistleblowers in recent years. The interview was titled From 9/11 to Mass Surveillance, The Man Who Knew Too Much. The five-part interview is on the front page of theAnalysis.news, and I think it’s one of the most important interviews I’ve conducted. On this 20th anniversary of 9/11, I urge you to watch all five parts for an explosive look into the role of the NSA [National Security Agency] and the [George W.] Bush/ [Dick] Cheney White House in suppressing intelligence that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. It’s also an important discussion about the roots of the national security state, more or less from 1947, that led to the massive apparatus that exists today.

I also urge you to watch the interview I conducted with Sen. Bob Graham, who was the Co-Chair of the Joint Congressional Committee, investigating 9/11. Graham was convinced that Bush and Cheney not only knowingly allowed the attacks to take place, but in some ways, facilitated them. Graham came to believe the quote, “intelligence failures were by design, engineered mostly by Cheney.”

Thomas Drake went public about secret surveillance programs, and for that, was charged and almost went to jail. That story is also found in the interviews I mentioned above. Drake is a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy Veteran who worked, in many capacities, within the National Security State. He started a new job as Senior Executive for the NSA on September 11, 2001. That’s right, his first morning of work was the day of the attack on the World Trade Center. He reported directly to the number three leader of the NSA, the signals intelligence director, Maureen Baginski, that put Drake in the position of having access to some of the most critical intel acquired by the NSA prior to 9/11. Although, he saw this data after the fact.

Here’s a short segment of my 2015 interview with Thomas Drake.

CLIP

DRAKE: I was never actually interviewed for the 9/11 Commission.

JAY: Why?

DRAKE: Because I think my testimony was so explosive. It was smoking gun evidence of NSA’s culpability.

JAY: Just to remind people, we talked about this in an earlier segment, that the NSA actually had eavesdropping hard evidence of the connection between these guys, two guys that end up on the American Airlines flight in San Diego and what was known as a Yemeni switchboard for al-Qaeda, and I’m sure much more than that.

DRAKE: Oh, actually, far more. That was just one part of it. There was actually an entire intelligence report that they had done prior–months and months. It was actually in early 2001 that NSA refused to allow it to go out for distribution to the rest of the community. And the analysts were beside themselves. I didn’t find out about it until shortly after 9/11 when it was brought to me.

JAY: What was in it?

DRAKE: The entire network that we knew at that time, based on signals intelligence.

JAY: The entire network that winds up doing 9/11.

DRAKE: The entire al-Qaeda and associated movement. Yes. Not every single hijacker, but most of them were known. Yes.

JAY: Well, I’ve got to return to something we talked about earlier. There’s a backchannel to Cheney. You can’t sit on this stuff.

DRAKE: Of course not.

JAY: Well, watch the earlier segment, ’cause we talked about this.

DRAKE: That was the other intelligence network. He couldn’t trust what was set up from 1947 on. This is one of the ironies of history. Cheney himself could not trust the early alert and warning system that had been put into place in 1947, in which we would never have another [incompr.] like Pearl Harbor.

JAY: Unless you want one.

DRAKE: Well, he knew it would take something like that. I’ll just–we’re going to put it right on the table again, ’cause we keep saying it. He knew it would take something like a 9/11 in the 21st century for Americans to just cede to the government whatever was necessary to deal with whatever happened.

Sept. 5

ritz carlton hotel pentagon city amazonThe Ritz Carlton–Pentagon City in Northern Virginia, the site of a significant, unreported international meeting on January 5 — Insurrection Eve.

Proof via Substack, Investigation: Evidence of Foreign Entanglement in January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol Emerges, Seth Abramson, left, Sept. 5, 2021. A top Trump ally met foreign nationals in seth abramson graphicVirginia hours before the Capitol attack. The potential links between this meeting and the transnational conspiracy theory that animated the attack are clear.

“If it [the January 6 attack] [had been] organized, they would have taken the Capitol and made demands that had already been established by the group. They would have [had] the firepower to assure nobody [among the rioters] would die. [They would have] kill[ed] all the cops inside [the Capitol]—or the congressmen they hate so much. When the right is 10% as organized as the left, we will have civil wars in every Western country.”

—Trump ally Eduardo Bolsonaro, in comments The Brazilian Report called “chilling”

seth abramson proof logoIntroduction: In a series of Facebook livestreams and interviews with far-right media outlets on January 5 and January 6, informal Trump adviser Michael Lindell underscored that he believed January 6 would be a turning point in American history—in fact, he said more than once, he believed it would be the most significant moment in the United States since the end of the American Civil War.

Lindell’s militant view of the joint session of Congress scheduled for January 6, 2021 provides some context for his decision to be one of the benefactors of the Stop the Steal “movement” following the November 2020 presidential election. So the matter of who Lindell was meeting with on January 5, and where and why—especially as it was on that day that Lindell published what amounted to a declaration of civil war—is now of very significant interest to federal investigators.

Read more at the Proof site to see the revelations....

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

 whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Investigation: Sirhan May Go Free — But Truth on the Kennedy Assassinations Remains Locked Up, Russ Baker and Milicent Cranor, Sept. 5, 2021. The possible parole of Sirhan Sirhan — convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy and imprisoned for more than half a century — reminds us that disturbing questions still remain about what really happened in the pantry of Los Angeles’s Ambassador Hotel shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968.

The official story states that Sirhan was a militant Palestinian Christian, driven to murder the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee over his support of Israel. According to this view, anything suspicious about Sirhan’s identification as RFK’s sole killer can be explained away as inconsequential details; probing deeper into the killing is self-indulgent conspiracy theorizing, and releasing Sirhan now would be an affront to justice.

Many of us pride ourselves on being “pro-science” and are appalled by those who react reflexively to almost any “establishment” narrative with suspicion and counter-theories. COVID-19 and climate change come to mind.

Sept. 4

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: US enjoys blessings of first Labor Day holiday of Golden Peace after twenty years of futile warfare, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Sept. 4, 2021.
webster tarpley 2007President ends two decades of Afghan conflict based on false pretenses; Warmongers rail against the incipient Pax Bideniana;

  • Time for scofflaw Supreme Court justices to stand in the dock of public opinion, leading to court reform; majority are not conservatives, but reactionary extremists;
  • September 18 Hill demonstrations loom in support of insurrection defendants; but will violent groups metastasize into local acts of mayhem?
  • Germany, France, Israel and others dispensing booster shots;
  • Newsome garners 58% in California recall polls; but beware the precedent of the Prussian coup of July 1932, the direct prelude to dictatorship!

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden signs executive order requiring review, release of some classified 9/11 documents, Amy B Wang and Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 4, 2021 (print ed.). President Biden on Friday signed an executive order that would require the review, declassification and release of classified government documents related to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In doing so, Biden said he was fulfilling a promise he had made while campaigning for president, in which he had vowed, if elected, to direct the U.S. Attorney General to “personally examine the merits of all cases” where the government had invoked state secrets privilege and “to err on the side of disclosure in cases where, as here, the events in question occurred two decades or longer ago.”

“When I ran for president, I made a commitment to ensuring transparency regarding the declassification of documents on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America,” Biden said in a statement Friday. “As we approach the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, I am honoring that commitment.”

Justice Department log circularThe executive order directs the Justice Department and other relevant agencies to oversee a declassification review of documents related to the FBI’s Sept. 11 investigations. The order also requires the U.S. Attorney General to release the declassified documents publicly over the next six months, Biden said.

Families of hundreds of 9/11 victims had told Biden last month that he would not be welcome at this year’s memorial events marking the 20th anniversary of the attacks unless he declassified government evidence beforehand that could link Saudi Arabia to the attack, according to a letter sent to the White House in August.

Shortly afterward, the Justice Department pledged to review evidence related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a move that an advocate for some of the families criticized as insufficient. In a court filing last month, the Justice Department already had said the FBI was reviewing the materials for possible public disclosure.

But Biden’s executive order imposes new conditions and timetables on that process, commanding the bureau to review some materials by Sept. 11 and others on staggered deadlines over the next 180 days.

Biden also seemed to direct the bureau to favor disclosure in questionable calls, writing that material should not stay secret if there was “significant doubt” about the need for it to remain classified, and that the attorney general and others should determine “whether the public interest in disclosure of the information outweighs the damage to the national security that might reasonably be expected from disclosure.”

The FBI said in a statement reacting to the order: “The FBI will continue to work in coordination with the Department of Justice and other agencies to declassify and release documents related to the 9/11 investigation.” The Justice Department declined to comment to The Washington Post.

In the shadow of the towers: Five lives and a world transformed

Some 9/11 families immediately praised the executive order Friday. One group, 9/11 Families United, which represents more than 10,000 people affected by the attacks, said in a statement that Biden’s order “looks like a true turning point.”

“We have been fighting the FBI and intelligence community for too long,” said Terry Strada, whose husband, Tom, was killed in the World Trade Center. “There is much more work to be done to secure justice for our murdered loved ones and to rectify the immense damage the 20-year shroud of secrecy has caused, but we now are optimistic that President Biden will be helping us achieve those goals.”

Brett Eagleson, who lost his father, Bruce Eagleson, in the 9/11 attacks, commended Biden for signing the executive order, calling it “a critical first step” to a full accounting.

“We will closely watch this process to ensure the Justice Department and FBI follow through, act in good faith, and help our families uncover the truth in our pursuit of justice against the Saudi government,” Brett Eagleson said in a statement. “The first test will be on 9/11, and the world will be watching.”

Several members of Congress, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), said they supported Biden’s decision to order the declassification review of 9/11 documents. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday the committee would closely oversee the review process “to ensure that all agencies adhere to the president’s guidance to apply the maximum degree of transparency allowed by law when conducting the review.”

Biden has not yet made public his plans for the 20th anniversary of the attacks. Last year, while campaigning for president, he attended Sept. 11 memorial events in Lower Manhattan and Shanksville, Pa.

“My heart continues to be with the 9/11 families who are suffering, and my Administration will continue to engage respectfully with members of this community,” Biden said Friday. “I welcome their voices and insight as we chart a way forward.”

Sept. 3

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Texas Abortion Case Highlights Concern Over Supreme Court’s ‘Shadow Docket,’ Charlie Savage, right, Sept. 3, 2021 (print ed.). A charlie savageprocess intended to help the court deal with emergency petitions and routine matters has grown into a backdoor way of making major policy decisions.

Most of the time, the Supreme Court appears to the public like a cautiously deliberative body. Before issuing major rulings, the justices pore over extensive written briefs, grill lawyers in oral arguments and then take months to draft opinions explaining their reasoning, which they release at precisely calibrated moments.

Then there is the “shadow docket.”

With increasing frequency, the court is taking up weighty matters in a rushed way, considering emergency petitions that often yield late-night decisions issued with minimal or no written opinions. Such orders have reshaped the legal landscape in recent years on high-profile matters like changes to immigration enforcement, disputes over election rules, and public-health orders barring religious gatherings and evictions during the pandemic.

The latest and perhaps most powerful example came just before midnight on Wednesday, when the court ruled 5 to 4 to leave in place a novel Texas law that bars most abortions in the state — a momentous development in the decades-long judicial battle over abortion rights.

The court spent less than three days dealing with the case. There were no oral arguments before the justices. The majority opinion was unsigned and one paragraph long. In a dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said the case illustrated “just how far the court’s ‘shadow-docket’ decisions may depart” from the usual judicial process and said use of the shadow docket “every day becomes more unreasoned, inconsistent and impossible to defend.”

There is nothing new about the court having an orders docket where it swiftly disposes of certain matters. But with the notable exception of emergency applications for last-minute stays of execution, this category of court activity has traditionally received little attention. That is because for the most part, the orders docket centers on routine case management requests by lawyers, like asking for permission to submit an unusually long brief.

The court also uses it to dispose of emergency appeals. Each justice handles requests from a different region, and can reject them or bring them to the full court. And increasingly, the court has been using its orders docket — which was deemed the “shadow docket” in 2015, in an influential law journal article by William Baude, a University of Chicago law professor — to swiftly decide whether to block government actions, turning it into a powerful tool for affecting public policy without fully hearing from the parties or explaining its actions in writing.

Criticism of the use of the shadow docket has been building for years but rose to a new level with the Texas abortion case. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, denounced the ruling, saying it allowed what he portrayed as a “flagrantly unconstitutional law” to take force and calling it “shameful” that the court’s majority did so without hearing arguments or issuing any signed opinion. He announced hearings.

“Because the court has now shown repressive state legislatures how to game the system, the House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings to shine a light on the Supreme Court’s dangerous and cowardly use of the shadow docket,” he said in a statement. “Decisions like this one chip away at our democracy.”

Liberals are not the only ones who see problems in the increasing importance of the court’s exercise of power through emergency orders. When the court issued a shadow-docket order last year letting a Trump administration immigration rule take effect — overturning a lower-court judge’s nationwide injunction blocking the rule — Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, a conservative, supported that result but lamented the process that had led up to it.

“Rather than spending their time methodically developing arguments and evidence in cases limited to the parties at hand, both sides have been forced to rush from one preliminary injunction hearing to another, leaping from one emergency stay application to the next, each with potentially nationwide stakes, and all based on expedited briefing and little opportunity for the adversarial testing of evidence,” he wrote.

But while there is broad consensus that the Supreme Court’s use of the shadow docket for high-profile rulings is growing — a trend playing out within an increasingly polarized judiciary and nation — defining the precise nature of the problem is complicated and subject to dispute.

“I don’t think anyone thinks it is good to have a lot of last-minute requests for emergency relief that the court has to focus on and decide,” said Samuel Bray, a University of Notre Dame law professor who testified about the shadow docket this summer before President Biden’s commission studying possible Supreme Court changes. “But there are difficult questions about what has caused the high-profile use of the shadow docket — and what to do about it.”

Over the past decade or so, such rulings have clearly become more common. Typically, they involve emergency appeals of lower-court rulings over the question of whether to block some change — like a new law or government policy — so it cannot be enforced while the slow process of litigating plays out

One way of measuring the Supreme Court’s use of its shadow docket to issue major decisions is how often it has used that power to summarily disrupt the status quo — such as by granting or vacating an injunction when a lower court had ruled a different way.

stephen vladeck resizedAccording to data compiled by Stephen I. Vladeck, a University of Texas at Austin law professor who has written critically about the rise of the shadow docket, cases in which the Supreme Court disrupted the status quo numbered in the single digits each year from 2005 to 2013, but have been rising since, reaching 19 in its last term and 19 again so far this term.

“If they are going to issue rulings that profoundly change the law, I think they have an obligation to write and to explain why they are doing it,” said Mr. Vladeck, right, who also testified on the issue before the Supreme Court commission. “They have an obligation to the lower courts, to the other parties in the case and to other public officials who need guidance.”

But as the furor over the Texas abortion rights case shows, that measure is imperfect. In that case, rather than summarily disrupting the status quo established by a lower court, the Supreme Court majority decided not to overturn what an appeals court had done.

The most restrictive in the country. The Texas abortion law, known as Senate Bill 8, amounts to a nearly complete ban on abortion in the state. It prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of preganancy and makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.

Citizens, not the state, will enforce the law. The law effectively deputizes ordinary citizens — including those from outside Texas — allowing them to sue clinics and others who violate the law. It awards them at least $10,000 per illegal abortion if they are successful.

Patients cannot be sued. The law allows doctors, staff and even a patient’s Uber driver to become potential defendants.

The Supreme Court’s decision.

The Supreme Court refused just before midnight on Wednesday to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions, less than a day after it took effect and became the most restrictive abortion measure in the nation. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s three liberal members in dissent.

In an interview, Mr. Baude — the professor who coined the term “shadow docket,” and who is a member of Mr. Biden’s Supreme Court commission — said another reason the debate was so complicated was that there were different types of worries over the court’s growing use of its emergency orders to swiftly resolve matters, and they only partly overlapped.

One worry, he said, is substantive: The court may reach the wrong result because it is rushing. Another is procedural: Regardless of the result, it is not fair to parties who do not get a chance to be fully heard before the decision. A third is about transparency: The court should fully explain itself and disclose how each justice voted.

But the uproar over the majority’s handling of the Texas anti-abortion law, he said, seems most centered on another worry: that the conservative majority on the court is not being evenhanded or consistent about when it chooses to intervene with an emergency order.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: In the Dead of Night, the Supreme Court Proved It Has Too Much Power, Jamelle Bouie, right, Sept. 3, 2021. The Supreme Court’s recent jamelle bouiereliance on the so-called shadow docket to make major rulings — on display, this week, in its decision to let Texas end legal abortion after six weeks, at least for now — throws the problem of judicial power in a representative democracy into sharp relief.

First, some background. The shadow docket refers to emergency orders and decisions made outside of the court’s regular docket of cases, usually without oral arguments. The term was coined six years ago by William Baude, a law professor at the University of Chicago, but the division between regular cases and this more specialized set has been around for decades. All it takes to get on the docket is to appeal to one justice, who then decides whether to forward the matter to the rest of the court.

Many of these orders are minor and procedural, but others deal with high-stakes issues of national concern. In recent years, and especially during the Trump administration, the court has relied on the shadow docket to make consequential decisions on a wide range of issues. Often, the court issues its decisions from the shadow docket without signed opinions or detailed explanations of the kind you would find in an argued case.

In the last five months, the Supreme Court has used the shadow docket to strike down Covid restrictions on group religious activities in private homes, force President Biden to reinstate the Trump-era “remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers from Central America and block the extension of an emergency federal ban on evictions, putting countless Americans at risk of homelessness.

The vote on the Texas abortion law came Wednesday, in the dead of night, when a narrow majority of the court declined to stop Texas from implementing a new ban on abortions past the sixth week of pregnancy, which is often before many women even know they are pregnant.

The law is a flagrant violation of Roe v. Wade. But because Texas has deputized private citizens to enforce the ban rather than rely on executive authority — a deliberate choice meant to prevent federal courts from blocking the law — the high court has declined to act against the ban, citing the “complex and novel antecedent procedural questions” of the case. For Justice Sonia Sotomayor, this is nonsense. “The court,” she wrote in her dissent, “has rewarded the state’s effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the court’s precedents, through procedural entanglements of the state’s own creation.”

Abortion rights are a dead letter in Texas, at least temporarily. And Republican lawmakers in other parts of the country now have a clear road map for making the same thing happen in their own states. Republican legislative leaders in Florida, for example, have already said they are working on a similar law.

Another way to put this is that the court has essentially nullified the constitutional rights of millions of American women without so much as an argument. It has shaken the constitutional landscape — refusing to apply the law as it was decided in previous cases — while shielding itself from the scrutiny that might come under normal circumstances. The court has transformed the constitutional status quo under cover of night. This isn’t judicial review as much as it is a raw exercise of judicial power.

It is common enough knowledge that the Supreme Court’s power to shape American society is a function not so much of its formal power under the Constitution as it is of its popular legitimacy. And much of that legitimacy rests on the idea that the court is acting fairly, transparently and in good faith. It rests, as well, on the idea of the court as a partner in governance and a safeguard for the rights of the American people.

The court’s abuse of the shadow docket is in that category: actions that threaten to place the rule of men over the rule of law. It’s not that the court is political — that is to be expected — but that its conservative majority is acting in arbitrary, secretive ways, with hardly any justification other than its own power to do so.

The shadow docket aside, the extent to which political outcomes in America rest on the opaque machinations of a cloistered, nine-member clique is the clearest possible sign that we’ve given too much power to this institution. We can have self-government or we can have rule by judge, but we cannot have both.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: The Abortion Ruling Was Stunning but Not Surprising, Editorial Board, Sept. 3, 2021. Many Americans were caught off guard by the Supreme Court’s decision late Wednesday night to let stand a blatantly unconstitutional Texas law that bans nearly all abortions in the state.

They shouldn’t have been. Anti-choice activists, lawmakers and judges have been laying the groundwork for this moment since the court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973.

For nearly half a century, the anti-abortion movement had to settle for partial victories, constantly chipping away at women’s right to an abortion, but never achieving the ultimate goal of overturning Roe itself. Now, with a hard-right supermajority on the bench for this purpose, that goal is within reach — even as a solid and consistent majority of the American public continues to believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

For the majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to comprehensive reproductive health, the Supreme Court is now an adversary. Any long-term success will mean fighting the same way anti-abortion campaigners have for decades — in the political realm, by winning elections at the state and federal levels and changing laws as a result. Unlike the justices, elected leaders can be voted out if they don’t listen to their constituents. It’s a long and difficult road, but it’s the one all lasting reforms in a democracy must take.

brett kavanaugh flag

 washington post logoWashington Post, Sen. Collins asserted that Kavanaugh considered abortion rights settled law. His decision on Texas’s ban suggests otherwise, Felicia Sonmez, Sept. 3, 2021 (print ed.). Sen. Susan Collins emerged from her face-to-face meeting with then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, above, in August 2018 insisting that he had reassured her that Roe v. Wade was settled law.

susan collins official SmallTwo months later, Collins (R-Maine), right, who supports abortion rights, declared in a lengthy Senate floor speech that Kavanaugh had a “record of judicial independence” and dismissed the notion that he might overturn precedent. She later would vote to confirm him to the lifetime post.

Collins’s past assertions came into sharp relief Wednesday as Kavanaugh joined four of his fellow conservatives on the court in declining to block one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws, a Texas statute that bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy with no exception for rape or incest. The court’s action stands as the most serious threat to the landmark ruling establishing a woman’s right to abortion in nearly 50 years.

Collins’s support for Kavanaugh — and her insistence that he would uphold Roe — was crucial in installing then-President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court as the Senate confirmed him by one of the narrowest margins in history, a near party-line 50-to-48 vote.

His decision late Wednesday night revives questions of whether Collins was misled by the nominee or whether she was intent on supporting him no matter his views on abortion rights. Collins’s full-throated endorsement of Kavanaugh and her swing vote means she will always be associated with this Supreme Court justice, winning praise from conservatives and widespread criticism from liberals.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, Collins called the Texas law “extreme and harmful.” She made no specific mention of Kavanaugh but noted that of the six Supreme Court justices she has voted to confirm, three voted with the majority on the Texas ban, while three voted with the minority.

“The Supreme Court recognized that there are ‘serious questions’ regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law, and it emphasized that its recent ruling does not address those questions,” Collins said. “I oppose the Court’s decision to allow the law to remain in effect for now while these underlying constitutional and procedural questions are litigated.”

Abortion providers say the Texas ban — which relies on private citizens to sue people who help women obtain abortions prohibited under the law — effectively eliminates the guarantee in Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions that women have a right to end their pregnancies before viability, and that states may not impose undue burdens on that decision. It was specifically designed to turn away pre-enforcement challenges in federal courts.

Collins’s support for Kavanaugh became a major issue in her bid for reelection in 2020. Some abortion rights groups withdrew their support for Collins, and a major LGBTQ rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, endorsed her Democratic opponent, Maine’s then-House Speaker Sara Gideon, citing Collins’s vote to confirm Kavanaugh, as well as “her support of Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump’s agenda.”

Nonetheless, the senator successfully won reelection, taking 51 percent to Gideon’s 42.4 percent. Collins, 68, is not up for reelection until 2026.

America's Untold Stories,

, Eric Hunley and Mark Groubert, Sept. 3, 2021 (101 mins). America's Untold Stories with Eric Hunley and Mark Groubert is featuring part two of Sirhan Sirhan and the assassination of Robert F Kennedy. Mark presented at the Sirhan Sirhan Parole Hearing on August 27, 2021.

This is exclusive coverage of the parole hearing and the trial that put him in prison.

supreme court resized 2021

Sept. 2

Proof via Substack, Investigation: On Insurrection Eve, Trump Adviser Michael Lindell Both Proposed Civil War in a 15-Page Manifesto and Met in Virginia with a seth abramson graphicCorrupt Foreign National, Seth Abramson, left, Sept. 2, 2021. In this second entry of the Proof series on lightly reported or non-reported pre-insurrection meetings involving insurrectionist kingpins, we discuss a secretive January 5 dinner in Virginia. 

Introduction: Proof long ago reported on Michael Lindell’s claims that he met with the corrupt son of corrupt Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro on January 5. That reporting in turn led to two additional significant Proof reports on the possible value of the Bolsonaros to Trump’s coup attempt; the connection between other Trump war room participants (such as the Becks of Idaho) and the Bolsonaros; and other visits Eduardo Bolsonaro made during his consistently-thereafter-lied-about trip to D.C.—including not just one but two visits to see the Trump family at the White House, one before Insurrection Day and one shortly afterward.

seth abramson proof logoThe reports linked to above contain photographs of these key meetings. Ultimately, reports at Proof about Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Michael Lindell, Team Kraken, Daniel Beck, Doyle Beck, Eduardo and Jair Bolsonaro, and Donald Trump led to an ongoing Congressional inquiry in Brazil, as detailed (with links) in the history of this publication.

Brazilian media has now covered the possible involvement of the Brazilian government in Team Trump’s fraudulent “election fraud” accusations against Brazil’s foremost enemy—Venezuela—in a way that U.S. media has not.

And some members of Team Trump and its offshoot Team Kraken, such as Sidney Powell, have maintained their lies about Venezuela in a way that must be extremely pleasing to the increasingly unstable, perpetually embattled neo-fascist Bolsonaro government.

Proof can now report much more on what Lindell was doing on Insurrection Eve than it already has—though this is a developing story, and there is doubtless much more to learn. But the urgency of uncovering what Lindell has been up to has only grown since his insurrectionist August “conference” in South Dakota; his past claims that Trump will be reinstated as President of the United States (which would have seen Trump back in the White House on August 13, per Lindell); and the upcoming Justice for J6 rally in D.C. on September 18, during which insurrectionists like Lindell will return to the scene of past offenses via a rally law enforcement fears could spawn new violence.

Read more at the Proof site to see the revelations....

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

 

 

August

Aug. 22

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Trump sabotaged Afghan withdrawal! Webster G. Tarpley, Aug. 21, 2021. Defying 2019 order by federal judge Chutkan, Trump-Miller webster tarpley 2007xenophobic operatives gutted State Department visa processing apparatus, stranding Afghan translators and auxiliaries in Kabul, former Pence official reveals; this is key factor in humanitarian emergency now, but Blob media continue to vilify Biden for delivering on promise to country sick of war;

With GOP more than ever the face of the pandemic, will California recall voters choose deadly covid chaos under a raving GOP ideologue on model of deSantis, Abbott, Noem, or Ducey?

Lame duck Bush Sr. trapped Clinton with Somalia intervention of November 1992, leading to Black Hawk Down defeat.

Aug. 19

Proof via Substack, Investigation: New Pre-Insurrection Strategy Meetings #1: Reps. Mo Brooks and Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Donald Trump, and 50 seth abramson graphicHouse Republicans, Seth Abramson, left, Aug. 19, 2021. In this new entry in a Proof series focused on lightly or non-reported pre-insurrection meetings involving insurrectionist kingpins, we discuss a secretive GOP-caucus call no one seems to be aware of.

Introduction: Most Americans don’t yet realize how much planning Congressional Republicans did prior to January 6 to ensure that that seth abramson proof logoterrible day would be as chaotic as possible.

The lightly and in some cases unreported meetings that top Washington Republicans held between January 2 and January 5—including White House meetings—explain why the Republican Party writ large can under no circumstances cooperate with the new House January 6 Committee. It is now a certainty that if that committee conducts a comprehensive review of top Republicans’ movements in the 120 hours preceding the January 6 attack on the Capitol, it will discover an institutionalized insurrectionist conspiracy the GOP must hide from voters if it is to take back the House in late 2022.

Proof previously began the process of reporting on largely or entirely unreported pre-insurrection strategy sessions with this article, among whose stunning revelations was a national conference call held by Donald Trump with state GOP officials on January 2. That call, which included nearly 300 such officials and was both highly irregular and conducted on a weekend, would have been more than enough covert insurrectionist business for a President of the United States to conduct a single day. But it turns out that it wasn’t the only major pre-insurrection meeting Donald Trump chaired that day.

This article is about a second such meeting.

Read more at the Proof site to see the revelations....

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Aug. 17

American System Network, Commentary: Afghan collapse started under Trump in February 2020, Webster G. Tarpley, left, Aug. 16, 2021. Trump’s Doha pullout pledge webster tarpley 2007to Taliban triggered surrender deals by tribal and province chiefs, setting stage for disintegration of Afghan army.

williams burns 20057,000 US troops are enough for Afghan redout to hold airport enclave, airlift Americans and friends to Guam over coming weeks.

Biden should fire failed Doha negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, the Bush-Trump retread who disoriented US government, and hold NSC’s Jake Sullivan and CIA’s William Burns, right, accountable.

Breaking: Biden speech follows JFK after Bay of Pigs by saying I am President, the buck stops here; President should also study JFK’s ouster of CIA boss Allen Dulles and his clique for lying and incompetence.

Aug. 16

Responsible Statecraft, Analysis: America leaves Afghanistan, and the regional geopolitics take over, Graham E. Fuller, left, Aug. 16, 2021. There will Graham Fullerlikely be a return to a much more historically normal state of global affairs in which multiple players are engaged.

 The final end of the government in Kabul is at hand as the inexorable logic of regime collapse gains momentum. It seems more of a surprise to current policymakers than to those many observers with a long-time familiarity with the country’s dynamics. It will not be pleasant to watch, but it has long been inevitable given the utterly unrealistic ambitions and poor policy execution that Washington has maintained in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, those darker, but more insightful views on the entire enterprise have long been largely stifled by our media.

The neo-imperialist neoconservatives all argue that the American departure and the subsequent collapse of the Kabul government are deeply destructive to American “credibility” as a superpower in the world. The underlying ideology of this view is of course the cherished concept that the United States must serve as global policeman everywhere and that a failure to do so is a sign of weakness and decline.

This line of thinking is precisely backwards: it is the overall decline of America domestically and geopolitically that is the telltale sign of its deeper weakness; there is an increasing international belief that the United States is living inside a fantasy bubble of denial about maintaining its global hegemony. If the 20-year U.S. military presence in Afghanistan had actually ever shown any serious concrete advancement towards concrete goals, that would be one thing. But the neocons are ever content to throw good money after bad in the blind pursuit of hegemony — even in the very heart of “the graveyard of empires.”

On a human level, of course, it indeed matters what fate the Afghans will meet under a new Taliban government. The Afghan people have been suffering under repeated and constant warfare and military intervention since 1978, starting with a domestic coup by Afghan communists, followed by the Soviet invasion, the subsequent years of fighting to expel the Soviets by U.S.-supported mujahedin groups, the subsequent civil war among the mujahideen that followed and to which the Taliban finally put an end by restoring national order and discipline — with a rough and ready kind of justice.

But Washington’s focus on Afghanistan in reality has had very little to do with establishing a better and more equitable society for the Afghans. The ostensible impulse for the American invasion was nominally to destroy the presence of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. But the deeper and more profound reason for the American invasion and lengthy occupation was more pointedly to establish a military and geopolitical foothold in Central Asia on the very borders of Russia and China. That ambition was never nakedly articulated but was clearly understood by all regional forces. The “nation-building and humanitarian” aspects of the American occupation were largely window dressing to cover Washington’s geopolitical ambitions. Those ambitions still have not fully died among American neocons and liberal interventionists.

Like it or not, a key feature of the new “post-American geopolitics” will be a return to a much more historically normal state of global affairs in which multiple players are engaged. And in this case, multiple players will also have the greatest influence over Afghanistan’s future — probably for the better. The reality is that all three countries which the United States perceives as enemies – Iran, Russia, and China — actually all share with Washington the same major goals for Afghanistan’s future: stability and an end to bloodshed and jihadism. But all three of these countries also unite in vigorous opposition to American intervention and dominance in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

While in another era, the Taliban might have cared little about the views of these neighboring countries, today Central Asia is a different place. Afghanistan is in tatters, and no matter what the social policies of the Taliban are, they also need to restore the country to a minimal degree of prosperity and peace. China, in particular, has the greatest political and economic leverage to assist in Afghanistan’s future. Afghanistan figures in China’s ambitious and visionary plan of the Belt and Road Initiative across Central Asia in a re-creation of an economically linked Central Asian that has not been so linked since the days of Genghis Khan. China will make great efforts to try to ensure that the Taliban maintain stability and avoid any support to radical movements which not only hugely affect China in Xinjiang, but also affect Russia in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and the security of Shi’ite Iran — a regular target of Sunni jihadi ideology.

None of these states — Iran, China, or Russia — wishes to see the United States establish itself militarily in the heart of Central Asia and are thus happy to see Washington floundering in that occupation. Once U.S. military influence is removed from the heart of Central Asia, a prosperous and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of all.

Pakistan remains something of a wild card, but Pakistan’s dominant interest is to ensure that its eastern border with Afghanistan remains safe and friendly. Especially since Pakistan’s western neighbor — India — poses the greatest strategic threat to Islamabad. Pakistan cannot tolerate unfriendly powers on both borders. It will do whatever it takes to maintain decent working relations with Kabul. And, of course, China has Pakistan’s back as a key link in the Eurasian Belt and Road Initiative. Pakistan must also be attentive to the Pashtun character of the Taliban movement; after all, there are more Pashtuns in eastern Pakistan than there are in Afghanistan itself. And resurgent Pashtun nationalism poses a constant concern to Islamabad as well.

Washington will have to lick its wounds in departing Afghanistan in defeat after 20 feckless years of occupation but cannot persist in a costly and losing policy. And only a fool would try to ward off the geopolitical power of Russia and China, and even Iran, across the vast stretches of Eurasia. Furthermore, while Washington has essentially employed military instruments to attempt to impose its hegemony around the world, Moscow and Beijing are working the diplomatic route — with far greater success.

What might be the nature of a Taliban-dominated government in Afghanistan? Hard to say, but this is a new generation of Taliban leaders who have traveled, seen the world, and dealt with many other governments. One would hope they have learned something in the course of their exile; they have little other option than to recognize the reality of now living in an international environment of mainly of non-Muslim powers. And if Taliban social policies are distasteful to Americans, they might wish to reflect upon Saudi Arabia in the same context. Of course, Riyadh and Saudi money still seem to enjoy vast influence in Washington that the Taliban cannot exert.

President Biden deserves at least some measure of credit in finally closing the spigots on U.S. blood and treasure in Afghanistan after 20 years. Hopefully it is the beginning of a sign of greater realism on the part of Washington’s geopolitical thinkers about the new limits of American power. And the need for a far more modest vision of what truly comprises American interests.

Aug. 14

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Biden sending 5,000 troops to Afghanistan, with a reserve brigade in Gulf, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Aug. 14, 2021. Catastrophic Afghan rout webster tarpley 2007would be crushing US humiliation, liable to encourage many aggressors across planet; blunders on Afghan front will be paid for along Korean DMZ, the east coast of Taiwan, and the Black and Baltic Seas; Taliban must not enter Kabul!

5,000 US forces should secure fortified Afghan National Redout around Kabul & main airport, offering a safe zone for pro-US Afghans to gather for airlift to US; Shiites of central highlands are also resisting; Amb. Khalilzad’s theory that Taliban fear pariah status is absurd appeasement, with China, Russia, Iran and others eager to see US ousted by barbaric terror regime.

Biden is badly served by Afghanistan advisors, with Khalilzad, Sullivan, Blinken, and some Central Command generals facing accountability.

Aug. 13

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Blame Biden for Losing Afghanistan? Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Aug. 13, 2021. It is becoming increasingly clear that the strategy Jacob Hornbergerof interventionist dead-enders is to blame President Biden for losing Afghanistan to the Taliban. If only he had kept U.S. troops there a bit longer or even indefinitely, their argument goes, the crooked and corrupt U.S.-installed Afghan puppet regime could have won the war and finally brought “enduring freedom” to Afghanistan.

Never mind that the U.S. national-security establishment had twenty long years to achieve its goal of bringing a model society to Afghanistan.

Never mind that U.S. officials sacrificed the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Afghans in their quest to bring “democracy” and “enduring freedom” to Afghanistan.

Never mind that U.S. officials spent around a trillion dollars in U.S. taxpayer money on their intervention, much of it ending up in the personal pockets of their crooked and corrupt Afghan puppets.

future of freedom foundation logo squareNever mind that the Trump administration entered into an agreement with the Taliban to exit the country last May. Given that Biden unilaterally broke the agreement by extending the U.S. exit to September, the dead-enders argue, he should have just broken it even more by extending the exit date another several months or perhaps even indefinitely into the future.

The defeat of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, after 20 long years of massive death and destruction, provides the American people with an opportunity to engage in some serious soul-searching as to where we are as a nation and we should go from here.

On the one hand, things can proceed in a business-as-usual fashion, with no fundamental changes, simply saying that the Afghanistan intervention was a “mistake” that we need to put behind us and move on.

Or we can move in a fundamentally different direction in the following ways:

1. End all foreign interventionism, including invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, coups, kidnappings, torture, assassinations, foreign aid, foreign alliances, and foreign military bases.

2. Dismantle the national-security state governmental apparatus that was grafted onto our federal governmental system after World War II and restore our founding governmental system of a limited-government republic.

In making this determination, we should keep in mind some important facts about Afghanistan and the U.S. national-security state.

Proof via Substack, Investigation: New Revelations on An Insurrection Eve White House Meeting Suggest It Should Be at the Center of the Congressional January 6 seth abramson graphicInvestigation, Seth Abramson, left, Aug. 13-14, 2021. Trump hosted a meeting at the White House hours before the January 6 insurrection. Congress and media must give it significant scrutiny — as it increasingly looks like pre-insurrection planning.

Introduction: Back in late March, Proof authored an exclusive report revealing that dangerous far-right internet troll Rogan O’Handley attended a secret meeting at the White House just hours before the attack on the United States Capitol.

seth abramson proof logoProof termed the meeting “secret” because—by O’Handley’s own admission—that’s what it was. Indeed, when he spoke to a large insurrectionist mob at Freedom Plaza immediately after leaving the event at the White House, he told them that he “can’t” reveal even a single attendee of the Insurrection Eve meetup he’d just attended at the People’s House.

That O’Handley was admitted to the White House with a number of unknown parties hours before the worst attack on our nation’s capital since 1814 was deemed by Proof especially harrowing because of what O’Handley, either directed or merely inspired by his White House meeting, told the mob at Freedom Plaza.

As Proof noted in publishing its report on the secret White House meeting, here, with emphasis supplied, is some of what O’Handley said fresh from his visit to the White House (at a time he was sharing a stage—literally—with domestic terrorist Ali Alexander):

It may be forty degrees out here, but it sure feels like 1776. I was just at the White House. I can’t tell you who I was meeting with, but they’re optimistic. They think something good is going to happen tomorrow. All I gotta say is, “It damn well better happen,” because I don’t want to see these patriots more pissed off than they already are—in DC, right next to Congress….If you want to see what patriots do when they get in an uprising, then vote to certify the fraud tomorrow. But you better make the right decision tomorrow, or you're gonna have a whole lot of pissed off patriots in DC.

Here’s the video of O’Handley’s inciting speech, which includes the shouted message to members of the U.S. Congress, “YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF US! WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE! NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS [TOMORROW]!” Right Wing Watch @RightWingWatch "If you want to see what patriots do when they get in an uprising, then vote to certify the fraud tomorrow."

Rogan O’Handley, aka DC Draino, fired up crowd the night before the insurrection. He said he'd come from the White House where they expected "something good" the next day.

Read more at the Proof site to see what's new....

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

Aug. 12

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Why the NARA Secrecy Over the Secret JFK Records? Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Aug. 12, 2021. For some unknown reason, Jacob Hornbergerthere seems to be some secrecy on the part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) over the still-secret 58-year-old records of the CIA and other federal agencies relating to the Kennedy assassination.

future of freedom foundation logo squareOn July 29, 2021, I submitted the following request for information through the NARA website:

Would you please advise me whether any federal agencies, especially the CIA, have expressed an interest in seeking an extension of time for continued secrecy with respect to the JFK records that are set to be released in October?

On August 10, I received the following email from NARA:

Dear Mr. Jacob Hornberger,

After looking into your request, we are able to confirm that at this time NARA and other federal agencies are in the process of reviewing JFK assassination records in accordance with the requirements of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 and the April 26, 2018, Presidential Memorandum on Certification for Certain Records Related to the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Similar to the 2017-2018 release, NARA plans to make the releasable records from the 2021 review available on the National Archives website. More details will be communicated as updates arrive.

Sincerely,
Ashney Randle
Special Access & FOIA Program

On August 10, I sent the following email to Ms. Randle:

Dear Ms. Randle,

Thank you for your email. It provides interesting information, for which I am appreciative.

Unfortunately, however, your email does not answer my question, which is: “Would you please advise me whether any federal agencies, especially the CIA, have expressed an interest in seeking an extension of time for continued secrecy with respect to the JFK records that are set to be released in October?”

Was this an oversight? Or is there some reason why this information has to remain secret?

Thank you for your time and continued attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
Jacob Hornberger

Aug. 9

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: James Woolsey’s JFK Conspiracy Theory, Part 2, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Aug. 9, 2021. This continues a review of "Operation Dragon," a recent book by former CIA Director Jame Woolsey, shown below at left. See also Part 1, James Woolsey’s JFK Conspiracy Theory, Part 1, Jacob G. Hornberger, July 19, 2021.

Review Introduction: There is but one reasonable Jacob Hornbergerexplanation for the fraudulent autopsy that was carried out on the body of John Kennedy on the evening of his assassination — to ensure the national-security establishment’s cover-up of its assassination.

After the deadly fiasco at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, where Cuban communist forces defeated a CIA-sponsored invasion of the island, things went from bad to worse with respect to the relationship between Kennedy and the U.S. national-security establishment.

Convinced that the United States could not survive with a communist outpost only 90 miles away from American shores, the james woolsey 2015 wmilitary began pressing Kennedy to invade Cuba and forcibly remove the communist regime from power and replace it with a pro-U.S. regime. In March 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended that Kennedy adopt a plan entitled Operation Northwoods, which entailed terrorist attacks on American soil carried out by U.S. intelligence assets posing as Cuban communists. Kennedy could then tell the American people that Cuba had attacked the United States and that he had no choice but to retaliate with a regime-change invasion of the island.

Kennedy rejected Operation Northwoods. Seven months later, U.S. officials discovered that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. One can imagine the Pentagon officials’ reaction when they learned of those missiles. If Kennedy had adopted Operation Northwoods and had used it as a justification for invading Cuba, the Soviet missiles would never have been installed there in the first place. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the national-security establishment believed, was occurring because Kennedy had once again, in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion, shown weakness in the face of the communist threat in Cuba.

future of freedom foundation logo squareWhen Kennedy imposed a blockade on Cuba rather than order an air attack and invasion, Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay reflected the disdain that U.S. military leaders had for Kennedy’s ability to resolve the crisis when he stated to his commander in chief, “This is almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich…. In other words, you’re in a pretty bad fix at the present time.”

No doubt offended by a subordinate officer’s speaking to him in that manner, Kennedy responded, “What did you say?”

LeMay doubled down, stating, “You’re in a pretty bad fix.” While Kennedy would have been justified in firing LeMay at that moment, he instead laughingly said to him, “You’re in there with me.”

Kennedy and Khrushchev resolved the crisis by Kennedy’s agreeing that there would be no invasion of Cuba in return for the Soviet Union’s agreement to remove its missiles. The military leadership was livid over Kennedy’s peaceful resolution of the crisis. He had not only passed up a perfect justification for invading Cuba, he had effectively guaranteed the permanence of the communist regime in Cuba, a regime that, the U.S. national-security establishment steadfastly maintained, posed a permanent threat to the existence of the United States as a free country. LeMay called it “the greatest defeat in our history.”

james woolsey operation dragonKnowing how close the Soviets and the United States had come to nuclear war, Kennedy came to the realization that the Cold War was nothing but a deadly and destructive racket. On June 3, 1963, without consulting military or CIA leaders, Kennedy delivered his famous Peace Speech at American University in which he declared an end to the Cold War. He said that under his leadership, America would begin establishing a peaceful and friendly relationship with the Soviet Union and the communist world, notwithstanding their ideological differences.

He then entered into a nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviets, over the vehement objections of the Pentagon and the CIA. He ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 troops from Vietnam and told close aides that he would remove them all after he won the 1964 presidential election. He even proposed a joint trip to the Moon, which would necessarily have meant sharing rocket technology with the Reds.

Kennedy had thrown down the gauntlet before the U.S. national-security establishment over the future direction of the United States. The Cold War was everything to the Pentagon and the CIA. In fact, the Cold War was the very reason that the U.S. government was converted to a national-security state. In the eyes of the Pentagon and the CIA, Kennedy was subjecting the United States to Cold War defeat and a communist takeover of the country. Through his supposed naiveté, cowardice, weakness, and even treason, Kennedy had become a threat to national security.

CIA LogoIn fact, Kennedy had become a much greater threat to national security than the president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, had ever been. In 1954, Arbenz, a self-described socialist, was thought to have close relations with the communist bloc. Viewing him as a grave threat to national security, the CIA had orchestrated a coup that installed a pro-U.S. right-wing military dictator in his stead.

What made matters worse was that Kennedy was operating from within the United States as president. Moreover, he was siding with Third World independence movements, which the Pentagon and the CIA were convinced were communist-directed, before he even became president. At home, Kennedy was siding with Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, which were also considered to be communist-directed. Kennedy was also trying to get socialist programs like Medicare and Medicaid enacted into law.

Once Kennedy threw down the gauntlet and challenged both the Pentagon’s and CIA’s worldview and the justification for their existence, the war was on. In the eyes of the national-security establishment, if Kennedy won re-election in 1964, America was lost to communism. Since he stood a good chance of winning the 1964 presidential election, there was only one way to deal with this grave threat and save the country — by terminating him through an assassination. Kennedy’s murder would elevate to the presidency Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was on the same page as the Pentagon and the CIA with respect to the supposed worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world.

By 1963, the CIA had been specializing in the art of assassination and cover-up for more than a decade. It developed a brilliantly cunning plan to orchestrate the assassination of Kennedy on grounds of protecting national security.

The plot called for framing a “communist.” Why a communist? Because everyone in America hated and feared communists. If a “communist” killed the nation’s president, people would be less likely to challenge the official narrative for fear of being accused of being communist sympathizers. The strategy was especially effective for people on the Left, who deeply feared being smeared as communists or communist sympathizers. Many on the Left immediately accepted the official version of the assassination. Those who didn’t were, predictably, labeled communist sympathizers by the U.S. national-security establishment.

But it’s obviously difficult to frame a real communist because it’s difficult to arrange his movements and actions in such a way that he can be maneuvered into position for being framed. Thus, the better option was to frame a U.S. intelligence agent who had been trained to be a top-secret intelligence operative.

That’s where Lee Harvey Oswald enters the picture. He was a U.S. intelligence operative who was framed for the assassination. Or, as he put it after his arrest, he was a “patsy” in the operation.

Lee Harvey Oswald, intelligence operative

Early in the proceedings of the Warren Commission, the members of the Commission held a top-secret meeting to discuss a very disquieting piece of information they had received. The information was that Oswald, who was accused of being a lone-nut assassin of the president, had served as an intelligence asset for the U.S. government. Refusing to acknowledge the possibility that U.S. officials might lie about such a thing, the commission accepted the official denials of the information. That meeting and its discussions were classified top secret and everyone was admonished to never discuss the information.

As the evidence has surfaced over the decades, it has inexorably pointed to Oswald as a U.S. intelligence operative who was trained to be a communist infiltrator. After all, Oswald joined the Marines. Why would a communist join the Marines? Communists hate Marines, and vice versa. Marines kill communists. That’s what the Korean and Vietnam wars were all about.

Moreover, when Oswald returned from the Soviet Union, to which he had defected, U.S officials never laid a hand on him. There was no grand jury indictment, even though he had promised to share top-secret information with the Soviets that he had acquired while in the Marines. Not even a grand-jury summons. No torture. No harassment. Does that make any sense? Look at how U.S. officials have treated Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. That’s what we would expect them to have done with Oswald.

When Oswald was in the Marines, he was steeping himself so deeply in studying Marxism and learning Russian that his Marine buddies started calling him “Osvald-ovitch.” Would the U.S. Marines really permit a genuine communist to continue serving within their midst? Not a chance. A genuine communist would have been run out on a rail, if not worse.

The official narrative has never been able to come up with an adequate motive for Oswald. The best they have come up with is that Oswald was a little man who wanted to become a big man by killing a big man. But that motive is problematic, given that Oswald denied he did it. If he was trying to become a big man by killing a big man, wouldn’t he have admitted doing it?

Moreover, why would a genuine communist want to kill Kennedy, given that he was now reaching out to the communist world in a spirit of peace and friendship? The people with the real motive would be those who objected to what Kennedy was doing.

Shutting down the investigation

The regime-change plotters knew that since this was to be an assassination of a U.S. president, all stops would be lifted in investigating the crime. Thus, they needed a way to shut down the investigation immediately.

Right after the assassination, the treating physicians at Parkland Hospital announced that Kennedy had been killed by shots fired from the front. That was reflected by the massive exit-sized bullet wound in the back of the president’s head and the small entry wound in this throat.

But Oswald was in the rear of the president. The question naturally arises: Why frame a guy who is supposed to be firing from the rear by having shooters fire from the front? The answer to that question demonstrates the sheer ingenuity of the plot because it ensured an immediate shut-down of the investigation, which could have led to the national-security establishment.

Here is the situation: You have an accused shooter from the rear who is easily labeled a communist. But there are also shooters from the front, as reflected by the statements of the treating physicians as well as by statements from dozens of people in Dealey Plaza, where the president was shot in Dallas.

Who were those shooters in the front? People would naturally assume, incorrectly, that they were communist colleagues, specifically from the Soviet Union and Cuba. That was what Oswald’s supposed trip to Mexico City was all about — to ensure that he met with Soviet and Cuban officials in their embassies shortly before the assassination.

So what did all this mean on the very day of the assassination? It meant war — war with the Soviet Union, a war that was narrowly averted just the year before during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

But not just any war; it meant nuclear war. There was really no way to avoid it, especially once the American people discovered that the Soviet and Cuban communists had supposedly killed their president. They would have demanded retaliation, which inevitably would have led to all-out nuclear war.

That was the excuse for immediately shutting down the investigation — to avoid nuclear war with the Soviet Union, one that would result in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, including Americans.

If someone asked Johnson why he was letting the Soviet Union and Cuba off the hook, he had the perfect answer: It was the CIA under those Kennedy brothers who started the assassination game by repeatedly trying to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. How could Johnson in good conscience launch a retaliatory strike that would lead to a war that would kill hundreds of millions of people worldwide knowing that it was the CIA, not the communists, who had started the assassination war?

Three days after the assassination, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach sent a memo to Bill Moyers, who was working for the Johnson White House, stating, “The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.” How could he know that after just three days? There can be only one reasonable explanation for Katzenbach’s memo: the false World War III cover story.

That was the point of having shots fired from the front while Oswald was positioned in the rear — to falsely make it appear that the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Oswald had worked together to kill the president. In that way, the prospect of nuclear war could then be used to secure a quick shutdown of the investigation. Officials would settle on Oswald, who was quickly killed and silenced, as the sole shooter. Securing a quick shutdown of the investigation by having shooters firing from the front, who would be falsely assumed to be agents of the Soviet Union and Cuba, was the ingenious part of the plot to assassinate Kennedy.

In fact, when the Dallas police charged Oswald with the crime as part of an international communist conspiracy, Johnson immediately contacted Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade and insisted that he remove the conspiracy charge against Oswald. He asked Wade whether he was trying to start World War III. Wade acceded to the request. It wasn’t the only time that Johnson used the World War III cover. He also used it on Earl Warren and Richard Russell as a way to persuade them to join what became known as the Warren Commission. He told them that they had a moral duty to serve on the commission to help avoid World War III, a commission that would settle on pinning the crime on Oswald.

The autopsy

It was undoubtedly what national-security operatives told the autopsy physicians to induce them to conduct a fraudulent autopsy on the very evening of the assassination. They were ordered to perform an autopsy that disguised the fact that shots had been fired from the front. That’s where the plan for a fraudulent autopsy comes into play, a plan that was launched back at Parkland Hospital, when a team of Secret Service agents, operating on orders, forcibly prevented the Dallas County medical examiner from conducting the autopsy, as required by state law. Brandishing guns and implicitly threatening the use of deadly force on Parkland Hospital medical personnel, the Secret Service team forced their way out of Parkland with Kennedy’s body and then dutifully delivered it to Lyndon Johnson at Dallas Love Field, after which he flew it to Maryland and put it in the hands of the military.

Thus, when Woolsey poses his conspiracy theory that Oswald and the Soviets conspired to kill Kennedy, the dark irony is that the false scenario had been built into the plan to assassinate Kennedy as a way to shut down the investigation.

Over the years, it has been said that if the Pentagon and the CIA had killed Kennedy, someone would have talked by now. But when it comes to murder, people don’t generally talk — ever, especially since there is no statute of limitations for murder. After all, everyone agrees that a man named Johnny Roselli, who was the mafia liaison to the CIA for the assassination partnership, was murdered, but no one has talked about that either.

But the fact is that as much as the national-security establishment tried to keep a cap of secrecy on the cover-up, they failed: people did talk about it. Although they labeled the autopsy a classified operation and made people sign secrecy oaths, which succeeded in keeping matters secret for many years, ultimately their wall of secrecy surrounding the autopsy was pierced, especially during the years of the Assassination Records Review Boards in the 1990s.

The fraudulent nature of the autopsy, as detailed in my two books The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2, and especially in the five-volume book, Inside the Assassination Records Review Board, by Douglas Horne, who served on the ARRB staff, have blown the cover off the assassination itself. The reason, as I stated previously in this essay, is that there is no innocent explanation for a fraudulent autopsy. There is but one reasonable explanation for the fraudulent autopsy that was carried out on the body of John Kennedy on the evening of his assassination — to ensure the national-security establishment’s cover-up of its assassination.

To gain a deeper grasp into the devolving nature of the relationship between Kennedy and the national-security establishment, I recommend reading the following: An article in The Atlantic magazine entitled “JFK vs. the Military,” by Robert Dallek, which can be found online; and FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated, by Douglas Horne.

Aug. 4

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Why People Don’t Trust the Mainstream Media, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Aug. 4, 2021. An article in the Washington Post about Jacob Hornbergerthe January 6 protests at the Capitol goes a long way toward explaining why people do not trust the mainstream media. The article, written by a Post reporter named Mike DeBonis, focuses on allegations that the FBI infiltrated the ranks of the protestors and actually helped to incite them to illegally enter the Capitol and engage in mayhem after doing so.

future of freedom foundation logo squareThe overall tone that DeBonis sets forth is one that is oftentimes found in the mainstream media when it comes to alleged wrongdoing by the federal government. The article has a mocking tone to it, suggesting that the people who are making this allegation are conspiracy theorists for actually believing that federal officials would do such a horrible thing.

There is a critical sentence in DeBonis’s article: “The FBI declined to comment.”

Why is that line important? Because there are two ways that a reporter can go when he is writing a story about this type of allegation.

On the one hand, he can mock and ridicule those who are making the allegation, pointing out that they haven’t produced any evidence to support their “unfounded claim.”

On the other hand, he can aggressively go after FBI officials and demand a definitive yes-or-no answer instead of simply settling for a “no comment” by the FBI and also engage in an aggressive investigative effort to determine whether there is evidence to support the allegation.

DeBonis chose the first route. But why? After all, a “no comment” answer by the FBI is about as incriminating as an answer can be, short of an outright admission of wrongdoing. That’s because if the FBI were not guilty of the wrongdoing, it would undoubtedly simply say, “The allegation is false.” The FBI clearly did not do that with its “no comment” answer. It’s “no comment” answer leaves open the possibility — perhaps even the likelihood — that the FBI was involved in wrongdoing.

DeBonis makes a big issue of out of the fact that the people who are making this allegation have not provided any evidence to support their allegation. But what people have pointed out is a similar course of conduct by the FBI in other cases, which would be enough to cause any reasonable person to assume that it might have engaged in the same course of conduct with respect to the January 6 protests.

For example, consider the case that involves the alleged kidnapping of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. DeBonis is aware of that case because he links to an article from BuzzFeedNews.com about the case. That article alleges that the FBI played a major role in inducing the defendants in the case to commit the kidnapping. Even if what the FBI allegedly did wasn’t enough to support a defense of entrapment, its alleged actions are nonetheless enough to cause any reasonable citizen, including investigative journalists, concern.

But that’s not all. As journalist Glenn Greenwald has documented, the FBI has a long history of inciting people to commit acts of domestic terrorism. The idea is to incite people to commit crimes so that the FBI can then be praised and glorified for busting them up. See Greenwald’s July 24 article “FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror: Orchestrating its Own Terrorism Plots.” Also, see the July 31 article “Will More Media Bias Save Democracy?” by James Bovard.

Given the history of the FBI engaging in this type of misconduct, you would think that any journalist worth his salt would say, “I need to get to the bottom of this latest assertion. I need to know whether the FBI did the same thing here. Rather than mocking and ridiculing these people by pointing out that they have furnished no evidence to support their allegation, I need to do my job and go after the FBI to see if there is any evidence to support the allegation.”

Rather than do that, DeBonis goes off on the other track by implicitly assuming that the FBI would never do such a thing and implicitly assuming that those who are making the allegation are nothing more than “conspiracy theorists.”

That’s why so many people don’t trust the mainstream media.

This is not a recent phenomenon.

We can go all the way back to Operation Mockingbird, the CIA’s secret program in the 1960s and 1970s whose aim was to acquire CIA assets from within the mainstream press, whose secret job would be to come to the defense of the national-security establishment whenever necessary, including calling people “conspiracy theorists” whenever they allege wrongdoing on the part of CIA officials.

Aug. 2Trump ally Steve Bannon, left, with his billionaire partner Guo Wengui, a fugitive from China.

Trump ally Steve Bannon, left, indicted last year in a massive fraud scheme but pardoned by Trump, with his billionaire partner Guo Wengui, a fugitive from China.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Foreign cash bought the White House for Trump, Wayne Madsen (left, author of 20 books and former Navy intelligence officer), Aug. 2, 2021. Projection sums up the entire wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallfour years of Donald Trump's chaotic administration in that while he and his cohorts were trying to convince the world that Joe Biden was tied financially in some way to Ukraine and China, his administration was bought and wayne madesen report logopaid for by foreign interests.

In addition to cash outlays to Team Trump, Steve Bannon's international bloc of fascist parties and individuals contributed in kind with social media gaslighting and other propaganda campaigns designed to perpetuate unfounded rumor on Biden, Covid-19, and other subjects.

Repeated attempts by Congress to close campaign finance loopholes that permit foreign money to flow into the campaign coffers of American political candidates have met with failure. For the most part, it has been Trump loyalists in the U.S. Senate, many there due to foreign money helping to pay for their seats, that have deep-sixed repeated bills originating in both the House and the Senate designed to stop foreign money infusion into U.S. campaigns. 

Trump ally and Trump ally and "Stop the Steal" promoter Roger Stone, with (from left) allies Jacob Engels, Christina Engelstad and Joseph Greco last January (Photo via Proof).

Proof via Substack, Investigation: Trump Adviser Roger Stone Was Closely Attended By a Leading Proud Boy Just Before a Proud Boy Arson, a Proud Boy Riot, and the Proud Boys' Capitol Attack, Seth seth abramson graphicAbramson, left, Aug. 2, 2021. Images confirm that Stone had a level of access to January 6 insurrectionists well beyond what has been reported by major media, and during a period the longtime Trump adviser was in touch with Trump.

seth abramson proof logoIntroduction: As Proof has reported, longtime Donald Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone has consistently lied about every aspect of his trip to Washington in early January 2021, even as he refuses to reveal details about what he discussed with Trump at Mar-a-Lago when the two met there on December 28, 2020 — just nine days before the insurrection. Of late, Stone has been particularly focused on establishing who was or was not in his suite at the Willard Hotel on Insurrection Day. Perhaps to counterbalance the fact that he was rooming with convicted felon Kristin M. Davis, Stone has emphasized the fact that also in his suite at the Willard were two pastors, Randy Coggins II and Mark Burns.

Less clear is why Stone was walking the halls of the hotel on Insurrection Day with a binder of information, as Proof has reported, or why Davis now says Stone was hanging out with “literally fifty” insurrectionists at the Willard on January 6. Davis, who holds herself out as Stone’s PR flack, wrote an apologia for Stone in July that was soon deleted from the fake-news site that published it, a seeming acknowledgment that, as FBI investigators appear to be closing in on Stone as a potential insurrection kingpin, the less he or his team say about January 6 the better.

And yet Stone himself has already lied about that day so many times that anything he tells the FBI now will directly contradict at least two or three of prior public statements.

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Biden cannot sit back and let our democracy sink. He’s now showing us he gets that, E.J. Dionne Jr., right, Aug. 2, 2021 (print ed.). ej dionne w open neckPresident Biden’s infrastructure bill defied predictions of its impending death again and again and again. Voting rights and political reform have been the subject of early obituaries even more dire. To protect our democracy, Biden has no choice but to prove these wrong, too.

The broad bipartisan vote to move forward on a physical infrastructure bill really was a big deal. It marked a decisive break from the dominance of a form of conservative politics that cast even the most basic forms of government action as wasteful. In tandem with the larger Democrats-only bill, it could herald a new era of social reform and public investment.

But if Biden has been right in saying that our democracy’s health depends on the political system demonstrating its capacity to undertake ambitious projects, Joe Biden portrait 2our democracy’s success also requires — well, that it remain a democracy.

That’s in question as Republican states (18 at last count) enact laws to limit access to the ballot and, in many cases, corrupt the election process itself by undercutting independent, nonpartisan ballot counting.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosThus the importance of Friday’s White House meeting, in which Biden joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to craft a strategy to enact political reform and voting rights bills.

The meeting reflected a growing awareness inside the Biden camp that it cannot hang back and let democracy legislation founder while offering false hope that political organizing can overcome voter suppression and extreme gerrymandering.

As Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) told me, after Biden’s “intimate engagement” in negotiating the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the Senate, the administration cannot now claim the filibuster is purely that chamber’s business.
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Reflecting a view widely held by civil rights leaders, Jones argued that Biden must match the energy he devoted to infrastructure with an equally spirited push on voting rights, including — if needed — a willingness to back a change in Senate rules.

A White House statement after the meeting did not mention the filibuster. But it declared that “passing legislation to protect against voter suppression, electoral subversion, dark money and partisan gerrymandering” was a “moral imperative.”

Jones described Pelosi as “enormously strong” on the issue because she “gets that everything is at stake.” That was the message the speaker sent after the White House encounter: “This is of the highest priority for us.”

Schumer, too, has gone on offense, hosting efforts by Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Raphael G. Warnock (Ga.), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and others to write a new version of the political reform bill rooted in many of Manchin’s suggestions for easier ballot access. The bill will also include new provisions to try to stop partisan bodies from pushing aside local election officials and nullifying election results.

 

July 

July 29

BBC, Inquiry On Daphne Caruana Galizia: Malta responsible for journalist death, Staff report, July 29, 2021. A public inquiry into the assassination of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has found the state responsible for her death.

daphne caruana galizia croppedThe report, quoted by Maltese media, said the state had failed to recognise risks to the reporter's life and take reasonable steps to avoid them.

Caruana Galizia died in a car bomb attack near her home in October 2017. An investigation led to PM Joseph Muscat's resignation in 2019 after his close associates were implicated. However, he has denied corruption allegations. 

bbc news logo2Called a "one-woman Wikileaks", Caruana Galizia, right, uncovered networks of corruption in the country and abroad. 

Aged 53 when she died, she spent 30 years as a journalist. She relentlessly accused Maltese politicians and other officials of corruption in her popular Running Commentary blog.

She was a harsh critic of government. In 2017 she effectively triggered an early election by publishing allegations linking Mr Muscat to the Panama Papers scandal, which exposed the use of tax havens by the rich.

Caruana Galizia's family sought an independent public inquiry into her murder. Mr Muscat gave it the go-ahead, a few months before he resigned.

In the last two years, the inquiry has heard from dozens of witnesses, including investigators, politicians and journalists. In its conclusions, written up in a 437-page report, it said the state had "created an atmosphere of impunity, generated by the highest echelons".

It cited an "unwarranted closeness" between big business and government. So far only a handful of individuals have been charged. In February, one of three men accused of murdering Caruana Galizia pleaded guilty and was jailed for 15 years. The others are yet to go to trial.

A fourth person, Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, has also been charged with complicity over the killing -- an allegation he denies.

He was arrested in November 2019 as he tried to sail away from Malta on a yacht, and is now awaiting trial.

After Caruana Galizia's assassination, her son Paul hit out at what he called the country's "mafia state." His mother had been killed "because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it", he said.

July 28 

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Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, previously a combat veteran, tears up during testimony on July 27, 2021 (Associated Press pool photo).Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, previously a combat veteran, tears up during House testimony on July 27, 2021 (Associated Press pool photo).

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sworn capitol officers gty ps 210727 1627395009035 hpMain 16x9 992

 From left, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police, Officer Michael Fanone of the D.C. Metropolitan Police, Officer Daniel Hodges of the D.C. Metropolitan Police and Private First Class Harry Dunn of the U.S. Capitol Police are sworn in to testify before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘You will die on your knees’: D.C. officer recalls being pinned, John Wagner, Kim Bellware, Karoun Demirjian, Marianna Sotomayor, Jacqueline Alemany and Mariana Alfaro, July 28, 2021 (print ed.). New video footage shows how D.C. police officer lost consciousness from insurrectionist’s violence; Rep. Murphy recalls being in proximity to officer pinned between rioters and Capitol door frame; ‘I guess it is America,’ Capitol Police officer says of racist abuse that Black officers faced.

Four police officers are delivering emotional testimony Tuesday about the physical and verbal abuse they endured defending the Capitol on Jan. 6 from a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, as a House select committee holds its first hearing on the insurrection.

In an opening statement, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel’s chairman, pledged not to give ground to “the big lie” — Trump’s claim to have won the 2020 election — that he said propelled the attack. Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), one of two Republicans appointed to the panel by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said no member of Congress should “whitewash what happened that day.”

  capitol ties

A heavily disguised man invades the U.S. Capitol as part of the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" protest carrying plastic "ties," which are normally used by law enforcers to bind the wrists of suspects but which are used also by terrorists to subdue hostage victims.

bennie thompson horizontal

 washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The select committee is already exceeding all expectations, Jennifer Rubin, right, July 28, 2021. Rarely does a congressional hearing manage to avoid grandstanding, uncover jennifer rubin new headshotnew and compelling evidence and exceed expectations. The Jan. 6 select committee managed to do all three.

Indeed, the surprises kept coming on Monday. The sincere and spontaneous emotional reactions from Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and law enforcement officers stood as a rebuke to the cynicism of Republicans who continue to lie about the insurrection. It also rebuffed the media, which too often dabbles in bothsidesism, even to this day.

Kinzinger could barely get through his tribute to the officers’ bravery. “You guys won," he said tearfully. “You guys held. Democracies are not defined by our bad days. We are defined by how we come back from bad days.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who has pulled no punches concerning the insurrection, was even more emphatic in skewering her own party. “On Jan. 6 and in the days thereafter, almost all members of my party recognized the events of that day for what they actually were," she said. She added, “No member of Congress should now attempt to defend the indefensible, obstruct this investigation or attempt to whitewash what happened that day.” It’s no wonder she gives Republican toadies the shakes, especially when she warns that failure to hold all those involved responsible would allow the cancer on our democracy to go unchecked. As she put it: “We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House. Every phone call. Every conversation. Every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack.”
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The use of clear language — Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) spoke of “fascist traitors” while D.C. Police officer Daniel Hodges referred to “terrorists” — was a refreshing departure from mealy-mouth descriptions that obscure the violence and the ideology of the insurrectionists. It was critical to hear the granular description of that day, especially as it helps to expose the galling dishonesty and appalling bad of Republicans.

In particular, the thoughtfulness, constitutional sophistication and love of democracy that the four police officers displayed during their testimonies should serve as a model for the country:

Hodges explained “there is no moving on without accountability.”

Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn asked, “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are being lauded as courageous heroes. And while I agree with that notion, why? Because they told the truth? Why is telling the truth hard?” He remarked that when a hit man goes to jail, so too should the person who hired him. That sentiment should resonate with the Justice Department as it considers investigating and indicting those who enabled the insurrection. Asked whether what he witnessed was America, he candidly replied, “I guess it is America. It shouldn’t be, but I guess that’s the way that things are."
D.C. Police officer Michael Fanone called the indifference shown to his colleagues by Republican members of Congress “disgraceful.”

The officers’ description of the racism and viciousness that insurrectionists directed toward police officers was a proper corrective following efforts to paint the crowd as peaceful. So, too, was Kinzinger’s moral clarity that debunked attempts by Republicans to create a false equivalence between the violence on Jan. 6 and largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. “There’s a difference between crimes, even grave crimes and a coup," Kinzinger said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s judgment in refusing to seat two Republicans bent on making a mockery of the committee proved wise. For 2½ hours, serious questions engendered serious answers. In place of flat-out lies or attempts to blame the victims of the attack for not being prepared, the hearing provided a poignant, precise account of the events of Jan. 6. It clarified who was defending democracy and who was seeking to destroy it. Without the antics of unhinged MAGA Republicans on the committee, a coherent narrative emerged.

Finally, if the Justice Department harbored any doubt that it should investigate whether there was any involvement in the attack by lawmakers or whether the former president’s incitement of the mob rose to the level of criminality, that vanished on Monday. The officers pleaded with the committee to find anyone who “collaborated” or spurred the attack. They are not willing to let bygones be bygones. None of us should. The Justice Department should follow the facts and indict anyone found to be criminally liable for the violent insurrection.

Palmer Report, Opinion: January 6th Committee gets off to a roaring start, Shirley Kennedy, July 28, 2021. Testimony before the select committee began, and it was heartbreaking. The four testifying officers emphasized why this incident needs to be thoroughly investigated. Live coverage of the opening testimony was carried by several outlets.

Sergeant Aquilino Gonell placed blame squarely at the feet of former “president” Donald Trump. He discussed the lack of support the Capitol police received from the White House: “What he was doing, instead of sending the military, instead of sending support or telling his people, his supporters, to stop this nonsense, he begged them to continue fighting.” Trump caused this violence and sat on his hands, gleefully watching because it was all about him. All four officers were still visibly shaken.

bill palmer report logo headerOfficer Michael Fanone was extremely passionate, pounding the table as he spoke. What bothers Fanone the most is not that he almost died but the fact that Republicans continue pretending January 6 never happened. He told the committee: “I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room.” As Officer Fanone said, this is disgraceful. How do Republicans sleep as night espousing their nonsense to the public? How can they claim to represent anyone when all they do is lie and obfuscate? Every one of them should be driven out of office, except for Cheney and Kinzinger, whose raw emotions were visible as he spoke.

The officers who came to the aid of Congressmembers suffered at the hands of these thugs, and Officer Harry Dunn shared that for the first time while in uniform, he was called the “n” word. These are Trump’s people. Make no mistake about that. These crude, violent, vile people are who Trump said he “loves,” and they are the ones whose votes are being courted by other Republicans. They should be ashamed to associate themselves with them, but their desire for power is far too great. They could care less what these people did and what many of them will do in the future. It is doubtful that they have enough feeling to understand Adam Kinzinger’s words ripping into them, but that is exactly what he did.

Kinzinger discussed the importance of self-governance and the truth, which is owed to the American people. He said that is why he agreed to serve on the committee; he also wants the truth and “to get the facts out there, free of conspiracy.” Kinzinger further voiced his shame that his fellow Republicans have turned the incident into a partisan fight, when it is nothing of the sort. It is a fight for the truth and a fight for our democracy.

Republicans showed their indifference by refusing to help Democrats form a bipartisan committee to hold these hearings. Now, Kevin McCarthy thinks it is a joke, referring to Cheney and Kinzinger as “Pelosi Republicans.” Laugh while you can, Kevin. You and those like you are a disgrace to this country. Officer Daniel Hodges told the committee: “This was a fight we could not afford to lose.” We must let his words drive us into the battle for our democracy, which we also cannot afford to lose.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: As Jan. 6 hearings begin, Republicans side with the terrorists, Dana Milbank, right, July 28, 2021 (print ed.). The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol held its first hearing Tuesday, and Republican lawmakers took the occasion to demand justice — for the terrorists who took up dana milbank Customarms against the U.S. government on that terrible day.

Six Republican members of the House, escorted by a man in a giant Trump costume bearing the message “TRUMP WON,” marched on the Justice Department Tuesday afternoon to speak up for those they called “political prisoners” awaiting trial for their roles in the insurrection.

“These are not unruly or dangerous, violent criminals,” Rep. Paul Gosar (Ariz.) proclaimed at a news conference outside DOJ headquarters. “These are political prisoners who are now being persecuted and bearing the pain of unjust suffering.”

The half-dozen lawmakers, including Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, made explicit what has become more obvious by the day: Republicans stand with those who attempted a violent coup on Jan. 6. And it’s not just the wingnuts. House Republican leaders held a news conference before the hearing, blaming Jan. 6 not on seditionists but on Capitol Police and, particularly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

elise stefanik cbs 2020 wwnyWith the Capitol Dome behind her, Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), left, the House Republican conference chair, proclaimed: “The American people deserve to know the truth: that Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility, as speaker of the House, for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6.” Stefanik charged that Pelosi “doesn’t want a fair or bipartisan investigation.”

Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, one of the saboteurs House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy had tried to place on the select committee, announced that Capitol Police “weren’t trained” adequately and that “Nancy Pelosi is ultimately responsible.”

Steve ScaliseThe Republican whip, Steve Scalise (La.), right, repeatedly accused Pelosi of a “coverup” about Jan. 6. And Rep. Troy Nehls (Tex.) denounced fellow Republicans Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), for serving on the select committee. “Those Pelosi Republicans aren’t interested in the truth,” he alleged. “We’re interested in the truth.”

Right. Seven of the eight Republicans standing there had voted down an independent, bipartisan commission negotiated by the top Republican on the House Homeland Security commission. And now they claim Pelosi is the one blocking a fair, bipartisan investigation? All this while faulting the Capitol Police, who at that very moment shielded them with a ring of officers, barriers, vehicles and a canine unit.

More On Trump Capitol Riot, Insurrection

Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, previously a combat veteran, tears up during testimony on July 27, 2021 (Associated Press pool photo).Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, previously a combat veteran, tears up during testimony on July 27, 2021 (Associated Press pool photo).

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘A Hit Man Sent Them’: Capitol Officers Recount the Horrors of Jan. 6, Luke Broadwater and Nicholas Fandos, July 28, 2021 (print ed.). At the first hearing of the House panel investigating the Capitol riot, an officer begged lawmakers to uncover the full extent of former President Trump’s role.

One officer described how rioters attempted to gouge out his eye and called him a traitor as they sought to invade the Capitol.

Another told of being smashed in a doorway and nearly crushed amid a “medieval” battle with a pro-Trump mob as he heard guttural screams of pain from fellow officers.

A third said he was beaten unconscious and stunned repeatedly with a Taser as he pleaded with his assailants, “I have kids.”

A fourth relayed how he was called a racist slur over and over again by intruders wearing “Make America Great Again” garb.

“All of them — all of them were telling us, ‘Trump sent us,’” Aquilino A. Gonell, a U.S. Capitol Police sergeant, said on Tuesday as he tearfully recounted the horrors of defending Congress on Jan. 6, testifying at the first hearing of a House select committee to investigate the attack.

One by one, in excruciating detail, Sergeant Gonell and three other officers who faced off with the hordes that broke into the Capitol told Congress of the brutal violence, racism and hostility they suffered as a throng of angry rioters, acting in the name of President Donald J. Trump, beat, crushed and shocked them.

thomas webster dc police

ny times logoNew York Times, How a Respected N.Y.P.D. Officer Became the Accused Capitol Riot #EyeGouger, Michael Wilson, July 28, 2021 (print ed.). Thomas Webster, above in red vest, once was part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s security detail. As he awaits trial, the retired cop is on the other side of the law.

The F.B.I. agents showed Thomas Webster a wanted flier with a picture taken during the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. In the photograph, a middle-aged man is shouting angrily across a metal barricade with a pole in his raised right hand.

“That’s a picture of you, right, Mr. Webster?” an agent asked, according to a transcript of the interview.

He was a former New York City police officer, a decorated member of the force who once worked as an instructor at the firing range and with a detail that protected the mayor at public appearances and at Gracie Mansion. But on this afternoon in February, sitting across from two agents in an interrogation room in Lower Manhattan, he found himself on the other side of the law.

He looked at the picture. “Yeah,” he said, and tried to explain how it all began.

“I kept on saying to myself, ‘All right, Tom, this is your first protest’ — I’ve never been to one before,” he told the agents. “I said, ‘Stay behind the freakin’ barrier, don’t threaten anyone and keep the flagpole away from everyone.’”

This plan would not last long — not more than a minute or two. Mr. Webster, in fact, quickly did the opposite, prosecutors said — starting a brawl that stood out, even amid the many hours of video from that day. Then he drove back home, to his wife and three children and his landscaping business in Florida, N.Y.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Declines to Defend Trump Ally in Lawsuit Over Jan. 6 Riot, Katie Benner, July 28, 2021 (print ed.). The move could mean that the Justice Department is also unlikely to defend former President Donald J. Trump in the case.

The Justice Department declined on Tuesday to defend a congressional ally of former President Donald J. Trump in a lawsuit accusing them both of inciting supporters at a rally in the hours before the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.

Law enforcement officials determined that Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, was acting outside the scope of his duties in an incendiary speech just before the attack, according to a court filing. Mr. Brooks had asked the department to certify that he was acting as a government employee during the rally; had it agreed to defend him, he would have been dismissed from the lawsuit and the United States substituted as a defendant.

“The record indicates that Brooks’s appearance at the Jan. 6 rally was campaign activity, and it is no part of the business of the United States to pick sides among candidates in federal elections,” the Justice Department wrote.

“Members of Congress are subject to a host of restrictions that carefully distinguish between their official functions, on the one hand, and campaign functions, on the other.”

The Justice Department’s decision shows it is likely to also decline to provide legal protection for Mr. Trump in the lawsuit. Legal experts have closely watched the case because the Biden Justice Department has continued to fight for granting immunity to Mr. Trump in a 2019 defamation lawsuit where he denied allegations that he raped the writer E. Jean Carroll and said she accused him to get attention.

Such a substitution provides broad protections for government officials and is generally reserved for government employees sued over actions that stem from their work. In the Carroll case, the department cited other defamation lawsuits as precedent.

The Brooks decision also ran counter to the Justice Department’s longstanding broad view of actions taken in the scope of a federal employee’s employment, which has served to make it harder to use the courts to hold government employees accountable for wrongdoing.

 

U.S. Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Is Gone, but the Media’s Misinformation Challenge Is Still Here, Marc Tracy, July 28, 2021 (print ed.). Should news outlets contextualize false claims made by powerful people? Or ignore them completely? There is no consensus in the industry, but its thinking continues to evolve.

In American life, truth is now contested. And while this has profoundly affected the country’s politics, and so much else, it has raised unique challenges for one group in particular: journalists.

After all, the high-profile Republicans who are obfuscating the events of Jan. 6 are undeniably newsworthy. Ms. Stefanik is the third-ranking House Republican; Mr. Johnson may seek re-election in a pivotal Senate race; polls indicate that Mr. Trump would be the commanding front-runner if he seeks the Republican presidential nomination in three years.

Their political influence would normally demand coverage. Yet journalists will never feel comfortable publishing anything they know to be false. Social media has also raised the stakes of airing misleading statements, even in the service of conveying the news. If a lie can make it halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on, then maybe the act of printing a falsehood and debunking it in the next sentence is just giving the falsehood a head start.

Mainstream outlets have tried to square this circle by contextualizing problematic quotes and allegations. But this is difficult to do well, and it may be impossible to strike the exactly correct balance.

Justice Integrity Project, Whistleblower Summit This Week Highlights 50 Years of the Pentagon Papers and Investigative Journalism, Andrew Kreig, Updated July 28, 2021. The annual Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival this week continues to empower whistleblowers and advocates and encourages others to stand for truth. Film presentations began July 23 and the panel program begins Sunday with the program extending to Aug. 1.

The event presents more than 50 film screenings and panel presentations over ten days.

The films focus on whistleblowing, free speech/press freedom, civil and human rights, or social justice themes. Check out Film Festival Flix to see the titles, which are also listed below.

daniel ellsberg umassThis year's keynote speaker on July 30 will be former U.S. Department of Defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg, thereby marking the 50th year anniversary of his courageous release of what are now known as "The Pentagon Papers" disclosing scandalous aspects of the Pentagon's secret operations during the then-raging Vietnam War.

Ellsberg, shown at left in a photo by the University of Massachusetts, which now houses his collected papers, made disclosures first via the New York Times and later via other news organizations that risked federal prosecution, as mike gravel offical photoendured by Ellsberg. The late U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), right, who died last month, helped publicize the revelations by reading excerpts on the Senate floor.

This year's Summit and Festival includes more than 30 documentary films and shorts, plus special segments. The segments include sessions led by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a co-host of the event, and the Government Accountability Project and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), both long-time partners at the Summit. A day-long segment on July 30 by the National Whistleblower Center, another major partner, features prominent U.S. elected and appointed officials regarded as welcoming to whistleblowers and their causes.

This year's expanded Pillar Award ceremony recognizes notable civil and human rights champions among  politicians, community activists and journalists — including documentary filmmakers.

The main organizers of the event are former ACORN whistleblowers Michael McCray and Marcel Reid, who were both honored earlier this year by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners at the world's largest anti-fraud conference. The two were among the "ACORN 8" activists who helped expose gross corruption and self-dealing in the inner circle of leadership at the community activist organization ACORN.

The Summit is organized in collaboration with such longtime partners as the Pacifica Foundation.

daniel hale bob hayes photo

 “I came to believe that the policy of drone assassination was being used to mislead the public that it keeps us safe… I began to speak out, believing my participation in the drone program to have been deeply wrong”

-- Whistleblower Daniel Hale, who was sentenced July 27, after pleading guilty to violating the Espionage Act by leaking classified information about the U.S. targeted drone assassination program. (Source: Bob Hayes/handout)

washington post logoWashington Post, Daniel Hale, who leaked information on U.S. drone warfare, sentenced to 45 months in prison, Rachel Weiner, July 28, 2021 (print ed.). In 2013, Daniel Hale was at an antiwar conference in D.C. when a man recounted that two family members had been killed in a U.S. drone strike. The Yemeni man, through tears, said his relatives had been trying to encourage young men to leave al-Qaeda.

Hale realized he had watched the fatal attack from a base in Afghanistan. At the time, he and his colleagues in Air Force intelligence viewed it as a success. Now he was horrified.

It was such experiences, Hale told a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., on Tuesday, that led him to leak classified information about drone warfare to a reporter after leaving the military.

“I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenseless,” he said in court. He said he shared what “was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.”

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady sentenced Hale, 33, of Nashville, to 45 months in prison for violating the Espionage Act, saying his disclosure of documents went beyond his “courageous and principled” stance on drones.

“You are not being prosecuted for speaking out about the drone program killing innocent people,” O’Grady said. “You could have been a whistleblower … without taking any of these documents.”

Hale’s attorneys and advocates argued that the disclosures provided a valuable public service. The documents included a report finding that reliance on deadly attacks was undermining intelligence gathering. During one five-month stretch of an operation in Afghanistan, the documents revealed, nearly 90 percent of the people killed were not the intended targets.

Hale also disclosed the criteria for placing a person on the terrorism watch list, information that Muslim civil rights lawyers said in a letter to the court had helped them challenge the constitutionality of that system.

“I believe he only spoke out for humanitarian and educational purposes,” journalist Sonia Kennebeck told the court in a letter. She featured Hale in a 2016 documentary about drone warfare.

Prosecutors countered that Hale had put Americans at risk to boost his own ego. They noted that he began taking classified information to his home only a few weeks into a job at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in 2014, not long after swearing to preserve the government’s secrets.

“Hale did not in any way contribute to the public debate about how we fight wars,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg said in court. “All he did was endanger the people who are doing the fighting.”

Friends and family members said military service was an awkward fit for Hale, who suffered from mental health issues throughout his life. His attorney said he joined the Air Force to escape an abusive atmosphere in a poor, fundamentalist home.

“Recently, someone asked me to tell them a happy memory I have with Daniel,” his sister wrote to the court. “Sadly, this was not an easy task.”

But Hale tested well and was steered into signals intelligence. He went to Afghanistan in 2012. When he left the following year, he said, he already had deep misgivings about the work he had done. He recalled in a letter to the judge learning after one drone strike on a car that a small child had been killed and another seriously injured. He wondered whether any of the other strikes he had helped carry out had killed innocent civilians deemed “enemy combatants” by virtue of being male and of military age.

“You had to kill part of your conscience to keep doing your job,” he said in court Tuesday.

July 27

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sworn capitol officers gty ps 210727 1627395009035 hpMain 16x9 992

 From left, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police, Officer Michael Fanone of the D.C. Metropolitan Police, Officer Daniel Hodges of the D.C. Metropolitan Police and Private First Class Harry Dunn of the U.S. Capitol Police are sworn in to testify before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘You will die on your knees’: D.C. officer recalls being pinned, John Wagner, Kim Bellware, Karoun Demirjian, Marianna Sotomayor, Jacqueline Alemany and Mariana Alfaro, July 27, 2021. New video footage shows how D.C. police officer lost consciousness from insurrectionist’s violence; Rep. Murphy recalls being in proximity to officer pinned between rioters and Capitol door frame; ‘I guess it is America,’ Capitol Police officer says of racist abuse that Black officers faced.

Four police officers are delivering emotional testimony Tuesday about the physical and verbal abuse they endured defending the Capitol on Jan. 6 from a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, as a House select committee holds its first hearing on the insurrection.

In an opening statement, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel’s chairman, pledged not to give ground to “the big lie” — Trump’s claim to have won the 2020 election — that he said propelled the attack. Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), one of two Republicans appointed to the panel by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said no member of Congress should “whitewash what happened that day.”

What’s happening in today’s hearing:

  • The panel is hearing from two members of the Capitol Police — Officer Harry Dunn and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell — along with two members of D.C.’s police force: officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges.
  • During his testimony, Fanone slammed his fist on the table and called the indifference of some lawmakers to the attack disgraceful. “Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day. And in doing so, betray their oath of office.”
  • Lawmakers on the nine-member panel are now asking questions following statements from the four officers.
  • The Washington Post is providing live coverage of the hearing, which began shortly after 9:30 a.m.
  • How pro-Trump insurrectionists broke into the U.S. Capitol | How the rioters came dangerously close to Vice President Mike Pence | How one of America’s ugliest days unraveled

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Panel hears from 4 police officers about Capitol riot, John Wagner, July 27, 2021. House GOP leaders attack Pelosi ahead of hearing; Cheney hits back at criticism from party members over role in Jan. 6 probe, calling it ‘a disgrace;’ Post Reports: Investigating the insurrection.

  capitol ties

A heavily disguised man invades the U.S. Capitol as part of the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" protest carrying plastic "ties," which are normally used by law enforcers to bind the wrists of suspects but which are used also by terrorists to subdue hostage victims.

bennie thompson horizontal

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: We have started investigating the attack on the Capitol. Nothing will be off-limits, Bennie G. Thompson, right, July 27, 2021. Bennie G. Thompson, a Democrat who represents Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House, is chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

On Jan. 6, a violent mob attacked the citadel of our democracy — the U.S. Capitol — in an attempt to prevent Congress from doing its constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

On Tuesday, the bipartisan Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol begins its work investigating the facts, circumstances and causes of this assault on our democracy.

I had hoped that such an investigation would be carried out by an independent commission composed of national security experts, like the panel created by Congress after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. However, once the House Republican leadership rejected — and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell filibustered — bipartisan legislation to establish such a commission, we in the House believed we had no choice but to establish a select committee. In a recent poll, 72 percent of Americans agree there is more we must learn about that day.
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Many of the Jan. 6 rioters have stated in their court pleadings that they stormed the Capitol believing they were acting on behalf of, or even at the behest of, then-President Donald Trump. The protection of our democracy demands that we comprehensively investigate what drove Americans to riot and violently assault Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police and other law enforcement officers to access the inner sanctum of Congress and private offices of top congressional leaders, including the speaker of the House.

Jan. 6 was supposed to be about the peaceful transfer of power after an election, a hallmark of democracy and our American tradition. The rioters went to the Capitol that day to obstruct this solemn action — and nearly succeeded while defacing and looting the halls of the Capitol in the process. The committee will provide the definitive accounting of one of the darkest days in our history. Armed with answers, we hope to identify actions that Congress and the executive branch can take to help ensure that it never happens again.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: I’m on the Jan. 6 Committee. Here Are the Questions I Want Answered, Adam Kinzinger (Mr. Kinzinger, a Republican, is a United States representative from Illinois), July 27, 2021. On Jan. 6, hundreds of our fellow citizens stormed the U.S. Capitol, armed and ready for battle. For hours, adam kinzinger headshotbroadcast live on television and streamed on social media, rioters attacked law enforcement and eventually breached the halls of Congress in an effort to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Their goal was to subvert America’s democratic process — and their means to this end was brute force and violent assaults on the men and women of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department.

How did this happen? Why? Who spurred this effort? Was it organized? When did our government leaders know of the impending attacks and what were their responses? What level of preparation or warnings did our law enforcement have? Was there coordination between the rioters and any members of Congress, or with staff?

We need answers and we need accountability, and the only way to get that is a full investigation and understanding of what happened to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Such an investigation should include a serious look at the misinformation campaigns and their origins, the lies being perpetuated by leaders — including by former President Donald Trump — and what impact such false narratives had on the events leading up to and following Jan. 6. We need to be fearless about understanding the motivations of our fellow Americans, even if it makes us uncomfortable about the truth of who they are and the truth of who played what role in inspiring them.

I’ve never been pessimistic about the future of this country, but if we fail to do this — and do this right — I will have serious doubts about what the future looks like for America and for our democracy. Self-governance requires accountability and responsibility, and it’s why I accepted Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appointment to serve on the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which is holding its first hearing on Tuesday.

Esquire, Opinion: Let the politicians bluster and fume. The videos do not lie, Charles P. Pierce, July 27, 2021. The body-cam videos. Always the body-cam videos.

Let the politicians bluster and fume. Let the unreconstructed bastards lie about what happened on January 6. Let the duplicitous pond scum create their own narrative out of their dark, unquenchable ambitions, and the carefully cultivated ignorance of their prime audiences. The body cams don’t lie. They’re hard to watch. They leave a hot, sour aftertaste of revulsion and rage. But they do not lie.

It’s strange, in a way. For years, police-reform activists pleaded for body cams to become mandatory in order to catch bad cops doing bad things, and to defeat orchestrated cover-ups by prosecutors, police unions, and the aforementioned bad cops. Now, here we are, watching the body-cam videos of the crimes of January 6, and the videos are irrefutable proof of the offenses committed against law-enforcement officers.

This is in no way to minimize the impact of the testimony given before the Select Committee investigating the insurrection by the officers who’d been invited to appear. You cannot dismiss the description of what happened to him offered by D.C. Metro police officer Michael Fanone:

But yet they tortured me. They beat me. I was struck with a taser device at the base of my skull numerous times. And they continued to do so, until I yelled out that I have kids.

You cannot dismiss DC Metro police officer Daniel Hodges’ description of the nightmarish moments in which he was trapped in a Capitol doorway at the mercy of the mob. "A meat grinder," Hodges said, and he described how he’d hoped not to be pulled to the ground: "At worst, [I might] be dragged down into the crowd and lynched."

 washington post logoWashington Post, Biden seeks to end post-9/11 era, pulling combat forces from Iraq, Anne Gearan, July 27, 2021 (print ed.). Biden is set to welcome the Iraqi prime minister Monday and announce the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq — part of a broad goal of shifting the U.S. focus from the Middle East.

American FlagPresident Biden has announced the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. He has started transferring prisoners from Guantánamo Bay in hopes of eventually shutting down the prison. And on Monday, he will welcome Iraq’s prime minister to the White House for an expected announcement that U.S. combat forces will leave that country within months.

The moves reflect what is emerging as an unmistakable pillar of Biden’s foreign policy: seeking to push America past the post-9/11 phase of its history, ending 20 years of relentless focus on the Middle East and terrorism rather than threats like China and cyberattacks. The United States needs to “fight the battles for the next 20 years, not the last 20,” Biden has said.

washington post logo

July 26

daniel hale bob hayes photo

 

“I came to believe that the policy of drone assassination was being used to mislead the public that it keeps us safe… I began to speak out, believing my participation in the drone program to have been deeply wrong”

-- Whistleblower Daniel Hale, who faces sentencing tomorrow, July 27, after pleading guilty to violating the Espionage Act by leaking classified information about the U.S. targeted drone assassination program. (Source: Bob Hayes/handout)

Covert Action Magazine, In Pre-Sentencing Letter, Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Says Crisis of Conscience Motivated Leak, Brett Wilkins, July 26, 2021. Attorneys for drone whistleblower Daniel Hale—who faces sentencing tomorrow after pleading guilty earlier this year to violating the Espionage Act—last Thursday submitted a letter to Judge Liam O’Grady in which the former Air Force intelligence analyst says a crisis of conscience drove him to leak classified information about the U.S. targeted assassination program.

The 11-page handwritten letter (pdf) begins with a quote from U.S. Admiral Gene La Rocque, who said in 1995 that “we now kill people without ever seeing them. Now you push a button thousands of miles away… Since it’s all done by remote control, there’s no remorse.”

“It is not a secret that I struggle to live with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” the 33-year-old Hale wrote in the letter. “Depression is a constant… Stress, particularly stress caused by war, can manifest itself at different times and in different ways.”

“The first time that I witnessed a drone strike came within days of my arrival to Afghanistan,” Hale recounted. “Early that morning, before dawn, a group of men had gathered together in the mountain ranges of Patika province around a campfire carrying weapons and brewing tea. That they carried weapons with them would not have been considered out of the ordinary in the place I grew up, much less within the virtually lawless tribal territories outside the control of the Afghan authorities.”

“Except that among them was a suspected member of the Taliban, given away by the targeted cell phone device in his pocket,” he wrote. “As for the remaining individuals, to be armed, of military age, and sitting in the presence of an alleged enemy combatant was enough evidence to place them under suspicion as well.”

Daniel Hale's letter in his sentencing proceedings, on the trauma of war and how his conscience compelled him to inform the American people https://t.co/SaTpizr2vu pic.twitter.com/2pItkYKKJc
— Courage Foundation (@couragefound) July 22, 2021

In 2012—the same year that Hale deployed to Afghanistan to support the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Special Operations Task Force and was responsible for identifying, tracking, and targeting “high-value” terror suspects—the New York Times reported then-President Barack Obama, who dramatically increased U.S. drone strikes in the so-called War on Terror, “embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties” that effectively “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.”

Critics condemned the policy as an attempt by the administration to artificially lower the war’s civilian casualty figures—which by then already numbered in the hundreds of thousands, with most victims killed during former President George W. Bush’s tenure.

"I came to believe that the policy of drone assassination was being used to mislead the public that it keeps us safe... I began to speak out, believing my participation in the drone program to have been deeply wrong."

July 25

JFK Countercoup, Opinion: Bottlefed By Oswald's NANA, Bill Kelly and John Judge, Updated July 25, 2021. Bill Kelly Note: While this article was written a few decades ago, in collaboration with my former and late colleague John Judge, it still holds true and suddenly became relevant with the recent death of Priscilla Johnson McMillan. I had previously posted this at my backup blog JFKCountercoup2, where I usually post articles and links that I mention and source in my own work. But with new interest in these issues I am brining it over to my main blog.

“Not even Marina knows why I went to Russia” – Lee Harvey Oswald

With the intent of returning to the United States, ex-Marine and American defector Lee Harvey Oswald wrote a letter from Russia to former Secretary of the Navy John Connally, whom he was later accused of shooting, trying to get his Marine discharge corrected.

After more than a year without communication, Oswald’s mother wrote to tell him that his discharge had been downgraded from honorable to undesirable. Oswald drafted the letter to Secretary of the Navy Connally, attempting to appeal his status.

Oswald had defected to Russia shortly after being discharged from the Marines in 1959. He had a good record in the military, held a top-level security clearance, monitored the U-2 spy plane as a radar operator in Japan, and had good grades in a Russian language test after taking accelerated courses, apparently at the Monterey Language Institute (Now the Defense Language Institute).

The circumstances of his discharge from the Marines were unusual. A letter documenting an injury his mother had sustained (nasopharyngitis from a blow to her nose), used as a basis for his early dismissal, arrived several days after he was granted a “hardship discharge.” It had been a fully honorable discharge at the time, ostensibly allowing him to return home to support his injured mother.

Oswald returned home. However, he shortly afterward boarded a tramp steamer for Europe on the first leg of a journey that would take him behind the Iron Curtain.

From France and England to Helsinki and Moscow, where he turned over his passport to the US Embassy officer Richard Snyder, announcing his defection. After his defection received press attention in the United States, the Marines held a court-martial in Oswald’s absence, changing his discharge to undesirable. It was illegal to hold such a court martial “in absentia,” and improper to base the grade of discharge on events that occurred after his military service ended.

Oswald later assumed an infamous position in American history as the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, and is also alleged to have shot then Texas Governor John Connally and Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. But whether the victim is the President of the United States or a bum in the street, in every homicide investigation, the approach to solving the murder must address the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime.

Determining Oswald’s motive would prove to be a key to implicating him in any role in the assassination, other than what he claimed to be – “a patsy.”

The actual motives and real behavior of Lee Harvey Oswald were never ascertained.

In this context, Oswald’s letter to Connally is revealing, especially as it pertains to his motive in going to Russia after leaving the Marines, and may be a critical clue to his real historical role. Although cryptic, it can be deciphered. Oswald wrote to Connally:

“I wish to call your attention to a case about which you may have personal knowledge since you are a resident of Ft. Worth as I am. In November of 1959, an event was well puplicated in Ft. Worth newspapers concerning a person who had gone to the Soviet Union to reside for a short time (much in the same way E. Hemingway resided in Paris).”

“This person, in answers to questions put to him by reporters in Moscow, criticized certain facets of American life. The story was blown up into another “turncoat” sensation, with the result being the Navy department gave this person a belated dishonorable discharge, although he had received an honorable discharge after three years of service on September 11, 1959 at El Toro Marine Corps base in California.”

“These are the basic facts of my case. I have always had the full sanction of the U.S Embassy, Moscow, USSR, and hence the U.S. Government.”

By the time Oswald wrote this letter, Connally had been replaced as Secretary of the Navy by Fred Korth, a Fort Worth attorney. Oswald was not unknown to Korth, since Korth had represented Oswald’s stepfather in his divorce from his mother, Marguerite. Korth became embroiled in a scandal as Secretary of Navy in regards to the controversial TFX fighter, and had to resign a few weeks before the assassination.

 

OSWALD THE WRITER

One of the reporters Oswald complained about in his letter to Connally was Priscilla Johnson McMillan.

In her book Marina & Lee, Priscilla Johnson McMillan notes that Oswald “went so far as to compare his sojourn in Russia with that of Hemingway in Paris in the 20’s.”

Indeed, Hemingway lived in Paris in the ‘20s as an expatriate writer, and later described the experience in his book A Moveable Feast, and perhaps he did have pretensions of becoming a writer in the Soviet Union. He did write voraciously, kept notes and a journal, took photographs and wrote a short story titled “The Collective.”

According to Priscilla Johnson McMillan, Oswald wrote in the style of one of his favorite authors, George Orwell, keeping a typewriter wrapped in a blanket so that the noise would not alert suspicions, and he went to great lengths to smuggle out manuscripts when he left the Soviet Union. She also notes that Oswald also took a fancy to Ian Fleming’s James Bond spy thrillers.

This rather romantic view of Oswald as a dissident writer may have more to do with Priscilla’s imagination than his own. She is also the author of “Khrushchev and the Arts: The Politics of Soviet Culture 1962-1964,” which presents embellished profiles of some Soviet writers as dissidents.

But Oswald never specified the 20’s in his analogy, and Priscilla Johnson McMillan’s conjecture on this point is speculative. A more convincing argument could be made that Oswald was referring to Hemingway’s stay in Paris in the 1940’s instead.

 

HEMINGWAY with ONI, OSS and NANA

In 1944 Hemingway was in France, not just as a journalist, but as a war correspondent attached to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and a comparison of Oswald’s experiences and Hemingway’s later activities is even more revealing.

Out of Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba, early in the war Hemingway served as a special agent for the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), using his fishing boat “the Pilar,” to patrol for Nazi submarines.

While working as a war correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA), Hemingway wrote about the war and life on the front lines, and sometimes behind the lines.

Hemingway’s son was a member of the JEDBERGs, a joint UK-USA detachment trained as commandos in England and parachuted behind the lines to organize resistance to the occupying Nazi armies. Hemingway’s son was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp.

Hemingway himself organized and led a loose band of French resistance fighters and, along with OSS Col. David Bruce, participated in the liberation of Paris.

Bruce was the senior OSS officer on the ground in the European theater of operations. Bruce would later serve as best man at Hemingway’s wedding and JFK’s Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Riding a jeep at the head of a convoy of trucks of armed partisans, while French General LeClerc accepted the surrender of the German general at the train station, Hemingway and Bruce liberated the bar at the Hotel Ritz, where Hemingway also lived on occasion. Today, the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz is named in his honor.

Placing his gun on the bar, when the bartender asked what he wanted to drink; Hemingway looked around, counted heads and said, “Sixty vodka martinis.” Of course that would be “shaken,’ not stirred,” as a strong case can be made that Oswald went behind the Iron Curtain in the same way as Hemingway went to Paris in 1944, when it was still “behind the lines,” and not as a writer, but as an intelligence agent.

 

A MOCKINGBIRD SINGS ON RED SQUARE

In his letter to Connally, Oswald complained that his story became another “turncoat sensation” at the hands of journalists who interviewed him in Moscow. He had good reason to believe that the Hotel Metropole rooms where he stayed were bugged for sound, and that what he told the reporters would also be reaching the ears of Soviet authorities. Soviet intelligence was quite suspicious of his “defection.”

The Warren Commission, appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate and report on the assassination of President Kennedy, automatically assumed that the Soviet journalists who interviewed Oswald in Russia were KGB agents, but they never voiced a similar suspicion that the American journalists who interviewed him had U.S. intelligence connections as well.

The idea of journalists being used as spies or intelligence agents posing as journalists is not a new one. The British circle of W. Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Malcolm Muggeridge, Kim Philby, Cyril Connally and Peter and Ian Fleming serves as a good example, especially because it comes into play here.

When information about the CIA’s “Family Jewels” was released in the late 1970s, the agency’s use of journalists as spies was exposed, along with other nefarious activities, such as behavior modification, MKULTRA drug experiments and the attempted assassination of foreign leaders.

Carl Bernstein, in Rolling Stone Magazine, reported over 400 cases of such CIA journalist-spies working in the printed media alone, and the CIA’s network of media agents and assets, which covert action chief Frank Wisner said could be played like a Wurlwizter organ, has been referred to as “Operation Mockingbird.”

During World War II there was a popular song, “A Mockingbird Sang on Berkley Square,” which was near the then secret British code-breaking detachment.

Former CIA director Richard Helms worked as a reporter for UPI in Germany before World War II, managed an exclusive interview with Adolph Hitler, and is one of the few people who can’t remember wheree he was when John F. Kennedy was killed.

Penthouse magazine revealed that the Copley News Service out of San Diego, California, was run by former OSS spies and was actively used to promote CIA propaganda and disinformation. It has since been learned that dozens of similar operations existed.

The University Of Missouri School Of Journalism produced “Soviet Affairs Expert” and “KGB” author John Barron, who worked with U.S. Naval Intelligence before joining Readers Digest. That firm also published his book, and supported the research of Edward J. Epstein, author of “Legend: The Secret Life of Lee Harvey Oswald,” which makes the case that Oswald was more than just a crazed lone-nut. Readers Digest also supported Henry Hurt’s research for a book on the assassination of President Kennedy, but after it took a conspiratorial bent he had to find another publisher.

The first American reporter to interview Oswald in Moscow, Aline Mosby, was also a graduate of the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism and worked as a correspondent for UPI. Oswald and Mosby talked for two hours, while Oswald explained his reasons for defecting to her, and the listening Soviet ears.

Priscilla Johnson McMillan was another reporter who met Oswald in Moscow. She interviewed Oswald for five hours in a hotel room at the Metropole. Years later she wrote that, “Lee looked and sounded like Joe College, with a slight southern drawl. But his life hadn’t been that of a typical college boy…As we sat in my hotel room that evening and into the early hours of the morning, he talked quietly about his plans to defect to Russia. I soon came to feel this boy was the stuff of which fanatics are made.”

Following the interview Priscilla said she, “asked him to please come back to see me before he became a Soviet citizen, or whatever was going to happen, just so that he would know somebody. It wasn’t very journalistic, I know, but I felt sorry for him.

On the same day Priscilla Johnson spoke with Oswald in Moscow, his fingerprints were pulled from FBI files in Washington.

Priscilla later admitted that she sought Oswald out “on the advice of an American colleague in Moscow.” The colleague turned out to be John McVicker, an Embassy officer and assistant to Richard Snyder, Oswald’s primary contact at the US Embassy. Snyder had connections to the CIA, and his intelligence background was later exposed at the spy trial of Oleg Penkovsky, an American double-agent during the Cuban missile crisis, who was executed. If Snyder was an intelligence officer, then so was McVicker, and if McVicker was Priscilla Johnson’s “colleague,” it is likely so was she. In fact, the files released under the JFK Assassination Records Act reveal that Johnson was a “witting informant” and valuable asset if not an agent of the CIA.

When Oswald renounced his citizenship he handed over his passport to Snyder, a passport that said Oswald was in the “import-export” business, just as Ian Fleming’s fictional 007 had the cover job of working for “Universal Export.” Actually Oswald did work in the “import-export” business shortly before he enlisted in the Marines. When he was only sixteen years old, Oswald worked as a messenger for Leon Trujague & Company, a New Orleans import-export company. Trujague was on the board of directors of the Friends for Democratic Cuba, an anti-Castro Cuban organization that used Oswald’s name, while he was in Russia, to purchase jeeps to be used for covert operations against Cuba.

When he handed over his passport to Snyder, Oswald threatened to apply for permanent citizenship in the Soviet Union. But when his “stateless persons” permit expired, Oswald only applied to extend it. Snyder kept Oswald’s passport handy, in his desk drawer, and handed it back to him when Oswald told Snyder he was ready to return home with his Russian wife Marin. Snyder also assisted in getting them clearance and travel funds from the State Department.

After Priscilla Johnson interviewed Oswald, and told him to contact her before obtaining Soviet citizenship, she dined with Snyder’s assistant, McVickers, who later told the Warren Commission that he thought Oswald “followed a pattern of behavior which indicated that he had been tutored by person or persons unknown, and that he had been in contact with others before or during his Marine Corps tour who had guided him in his actions.”

In an amazing coincidence, Oliver Hallett, the Navy attaché at the US Embassy in Moscow – notified the military that Oswald intended to give secrets to the Soviets. Hallet was apparently in the room at the time Oswald handed over his passport and announced his defection. Hallet was also the Navy officer in the White House Situation Room on November 22, 1963. Hallet relayed the wire service reports to the Cabinet Plane and Air Force One that Oswald had been arrested as a suspect in the assassination. Hallett’s wife, a receptionist at the Embassy, also met Oswald in Moscow, and escorted him to Snyder’s office.

By another amazing coincidence, Priscilla Johnson McMillan, one of the first reporters to interview Oswald at the time of his defection in Moscow, was the only writer permitted to speak to Oswald’s wife Marina after the assassination. Over the years, Priscilla Johnson would write periodic pieces on the assassination, always portraying Oswald as the archetypical “lone nut.” In a piece for the New York Times, she even suggested that by killing Kennedy, Oswald was fulfilling the “primal wish to kill the father.” More recently she wrote an article that questioned whether or not “assassination is contagious.”

In book reviews for the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Review of Books, she consistently praised those who support the Warren Commission’s conclusions, such as David Belin’s “You Are the Jury,” while criticizing those who suggest there is evidence of conspiracy, like “The Fish Is Red” by William Turner & Warren Hinckle.

In a televised appearance on Tom Snyder’s TV show in the 1970s, Priscilla Johnson repeated her constant theme in relation to any belief in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. “It’s hard for people to accept,” she claimed, “the idea that one person who is not so different from themselves, went off and did a thing like that. It threatens people’s sense of order about history.”

“You think that the President’s elected by the whole country,” she said, “and when one man can step up there and nullify the will of an entire country, it makes life seem meaningless and without order, and I think conspiracy theorists want to give life an order and coherence that it lacks. It’s terribly upsetting to think that Oswald could do that.”

Of course, if Oswald was the assassin, and not the patsy, and he was in fact a deranged lone-nut case who was acting on his own perverted, psychological motives, then there would be no meaning to what happened at Dealey Plaza.

But if Oswald was set up as the patsy, or was one of the snipers who was part of a well planned and executed covert intelligence operation, then the assassination, whatever you believe happened at Dealey Plaza, is infused with meaning and makes political and historic sense when placed in the proper context. If Oswald was a patsy, it also means that Oswald was innocent of the crimes attributed to him, and others have gotten away with murder.

The task of the posthumous reconstruction of Oswald’s real background resembles peeling the layers of an onion. Oswald has been variously portrayed as an agent of Cuban or Russian intelligence, a ‘lone nut’ and a Mafia hit man, but none of these portraits explains his defection and subsequent activities in New Orleans and Dallas, his association with both the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) and Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE), or his conduct and statements on the day and day after the assassination. In reality, Oswald, the alleged assassin, as a pawn in a much larger game, played only a small but critical role in the covert operation that left the President dead and a new government in power

The framing of Oswald was a critical part of the cover-up. Establishing possible false motives for his actions, especially after he was dead, became the primary occupation of the Warren Commission and the media, while subsequent psychological profiles of Oswald, assuming he was the killer, ignore the political power plays and the broader context in which he moved. Some of these “studies,” especially those that maintain Oswald was the lone assassin and acted on psychological motives are deliberately deceptive; and journalists who played more than a passive role in this endeavor must be held suspect and accountable.

Oswald seemed doomed to a succession of negative characterizations from supposed friends and seemingly sympathetic acquaintances that were later to denigrate him and implicate him in the murder of Kennedy. Priscilla Johnson McMillan was merely one of the first.

Priscilla Johnson was a Russian major at Bryn Mawr College, on the Main Line in Philadelphia, and was intimately entwined with the US intelligence community. While a college student she was a World Federalist, an organization that tried to persuade the nations of the world to form a “world government” and strengthen the United Nations. Cord Meyer, Jr., one of the founders of the World Federalists, and a former New York neighbor of Johnson, went on to become a deputy to CIA director Allen Dulles and the head of the CIA’s International Organizations Division.

After Johnson applied for employment with the CIA, she was at first rejected because of her World Federalist associations. She worked for awhile for Senator John F. Kennedy while he was recuperating from a back operation and writing Profiles in Courage, which would win him a Pulitzer Prize. In 1991, Priscilla Johnson appeared on a television program with former CIA director William Colby, who also continued to portray Oswald as the lone assassin and lone nut while she played up her association with both Oswald and Kennedy. She also intimated that Kennedy flirted with her during her short period she was with him, playing up on his “womanizing.”

While Kennedy went on to become President, Priscilla Johnson worked as a translator for the State Department and the New York Times. She has threatened libel suits against publications that claim she worked for the CIA, but has never followed up on these threats.

Priscilla Johnson claimed that because she couldn’t get a security clearance for government work, she went to Moscow as a correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA).

 

NANA – The North American Newspaper Alliance

NANA was a large and prominent American news and feature service syndicate that once competed with Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) wire services, and included Ernest Hemingway as one of its correspondents.

Another NANA correspondent, Inga Maria Peterson Arvad, was said to have been recruited by NANA editor Ernest Cuneo. A Danish beauty queen, she managed interviews with Herman Goering’s fiancé and Hitler himself. In January 1942 Walter Winchell broke the story that a young naval officer, the son of a former ambassador, was dating young women who many suspected of being a Nazi spy. The naval officer, John F. Kennedy, had met Arvad through his sister, and the two went on a holiday to a Charleston, South Carolina resort hotel, where their lovemaking was said to have been recorded by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, just as 007 was filmed in bed in “From Russia with Love."

In the mid-nineteen fifties, NANA was purchased by former British Intelligence officer Ivor Bryce and his American associate Ernest Cuneo, who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The funds for the purchase of NANA reportedly came from the proceeds of the sale of one of Bryce’s Texas oil wells.

Ivor Bryce, an independently wealthy millionaire, and Cuneo, were both close friends and associates of Ian Fleming, so after the war, when they purchased NANA, they hired Fleming to be the European Editor.

During the war, Ian Fleming served as assistant to the chief of British Naval Intelligence. Fleming came to America and met Cuneo while visiting Sir William Stephenson at his New York apartment. Stephenson, a Canadian industrialist, had replaced Sir. William Wiseman as the representative of British Intelligence in the United States.

While on a wartime mission to the United States, Fleming wrote out an outline for the establishment of a permanent American intelligence agency, based on the British model, and was given a gun, a .38 Police Positive revolver from Donovan for his efforts.

Donovan’s OSS was patterned on the British Military Intelligence 6 – MI6 organization, and its officers learned their spy tradecraft techniques from their British mentors. The director of MI6, Sir Stewart Menzies, was known as “C.”

Ernest Cuneo, a New York attorney, had served as an aide to New York mayor LaGuardia and as a wartime assistant to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with an officer’s rank in the OSS. Cuneo was one of the main liaisons between President Roosevelt, William “Big Bill” Donovan, chief of the OSS, and William “Little Bill” Stephenson, aka “a man called INTREPID,” the representative of British Intelligence in the United States.

The names of both Fleming’s associates at NANA were to appear in the 007 novels, Cuneo as a Las Vegas cab driver in “Diamonds Are Forever” and Bryce as an alias for James Bond in “Dr. No.”

During World War II, Ian Fleming had helped organize Operation Goldeneye, a plan for the defense of Gibraltar, and parachuted into France during the Nazi blitzkrieg on a mission to convince French Admiral Darlan to move his fleet to a neutral or English port. Fleming was unsuccessful, and Darlan’s fleet fought the Allied armies in North Africa and Darlan himself was assassinated, probably by British agents.

Fleming was more successful in helping Yugoslavian King Zog to escape the Nazis. His brother, Peter Fleming outranked him in the Naval Intelligence services and was part of Operation Sea Lion.

Fleming had accompanied Ivor Bryce to Jamaica for a wartime conference on U-boat warfare in the Atlantic, and after the war, Fleming became Jamaican neighbors with others who maintained vacation homes along Jamaica’s north shore, including Bryce, Stephenson and Noel Coward. Fleming’s house there was called Goldeneye.

So when Priscilla Johnson went to Moscow as a correspondent for NANA, when she interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald at the time of his defection, Ian Fleming was NANA’s European Editor and Ivor Bryce and Ernest Cuneo signed her checks.

 

THROUGH THE WRINGER

After leaving NANA, Priscilla Johnson became an associate at the Harvard University Russian Research Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies. The Russian Research Center itself was bankrolled by CIA funds through the Ford Foundation, whose board of directors included McGeorge Bundy, President Kennedy’s national security advisor, and John McCone, President Kennedy’s director of the CIA. The Russian Research Center was set up to “carry out interdisciplinary study of Russian institutions, behavior and related subjects.”

One of the most important operations at the Center was the CIA sponsored refugee interview project, which “debriefed” émigrés from Communist Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungry, Rumania and East Germany, code-named Operation WRINGER. The Harvard Center worked closely with the West German Intelligence (BND), which was directed by former Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen. It was Gehlen who established and supervised WRINGER, attempting to penetrate the Soviet Union and reinforce his spy network inside Russia. Gehlen had been Hitler’s intelligence chief for the Nazi German “Armies East,” the Russian front. His files and network, turned over to the Americans at the end of the war, served as the foundation for the American CIA files and operations against the Soviets.

Priscilla Johnson began her book publishing career while at the Russian Research Center. Her first book, about the persecution of Russian writers, was published by MIT Press with the assistance of the Center for International Studies. In their book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, Victor Marchetti and John Marks reveal that, “…in 1951, CIA money was used to set up the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

Max F. Millikan, then the Center’s director said, “The Center is a remarkable institution devoted to inquiry into current affairs of man, especially of American man and the multitude of new affairs that have pressed so hard and swiftly in upon him in these years.” Marchetti and Marks also note that, “In 1952, Max Millikan, who had been Director of the CIA’s Office of National Estimates, became the head of the Center….in 1953 the MIT Center published “The Dynamics of Soviet Society”…but there was no indication to the reader that the work had been financed by CIA funds.”

The Center actually published two versions of “Dynamics,” written by Walt Rostow. One version of Rostow’s book was for government policy makers and CIA readers and the other for the general public. According to “Cult of Intelligence,” the MIT Center also assisted Rostow in other ways. Rostow was a political scientist with intelligence ties that date back to his OSS service during World War II. Rostow went on to become an assistant for national security affairs under both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. It is also interesting to note that Walt Rostow first recommended that he appoint a commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.

In addition to Priscilla Johnson’s affiliation with the MIT CIS, Oswald’s cousin Dorothy Murret had a curious connection to the Institute. According to some Warren Commission and FBI documents Murret, “was linked in some manner with the …. Apparatus of Professor Harold Isaacs.” Issacs was an MIT professor and CIS associate who had resided in China from 1931 to 1936 where he edited a local English language newspaper, The China Forum, and contributed to Newsweek and the Christian Science Monitor on Far Eastern affairs. Much of his work took him away from MIT, and it is possible he met Murret during the course of her travels.

Cult of Intelligence notes that the CIA “also used defectors from communist governments for propaganda purposes. These defectors…are immediately taken under the CIA’s control and subjected to extensive secret debriefings. The Agency encourages and will help the defector write articles and books about their past life.”

Even Priscilla’s family seems to have been involved in the tangle of Soviet émigrés, American spies and intelligence agency-run publishing efforts. One of the most important keys to the real history of Soviet leadership, Svetlana Stalin, the daughter of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, defected to the United States through India with the assistance of the CIA. Stalin had died mysteriously of a blood clot to the brain after being given drugs by his new doctors, drugs that were supplied by outside interests, possibly even the CIA.

When Stalin’s daughter arrived in the United States, she was a prime candidate for debriefing and funneling through Operation WRINGER, and soon after her defection she was taken to the home of Stewart H. Johnson of Locust Valley, New York, Priscilla Johnson’s father. Priscilla then returned home and helped to translate Svetlana’s memoirs and two other books, including “Twenty Letters to a Friend,”which the CIA helped to publish.

After the murder of Oswald, Priscilla Johnson McMillan was one of the only writers allowed to have access to Oswald’s wife Marina, and she obtained the exclusive contract to write Marina’s story, for which they both got paid. That book, fifteen years in the making, was eventually published as Lee and Marina. As Marina’s friend, advisor and ghost writer, Priscilla communicated with and coached Marina’s testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978.

 

OSWALD THE RED HERRING

Both the Warren Commission and Priscilla Johnson McMillan suggest, in their portrayals of Oswald, that he held the personal political beliefs of a communist, while actually associating with rich, right wing oil executives like George Bouhe, George DeMohrenschildt and Paul Ragoridsky in Dallas, and fanatic anti-Communists like Guy Banister, David Ferrie and Carlos Bringuier in New Orleans.

From a military family, Oswald was determined to become a Marine like his older brother Robert. Another half-brother, Edward Pic served in the Coast Guard at New York harbor before enlisting in the Air Force.

Oswald’s favorite book and TV program, “I Led Three Lives,” by Herbert Philbrick, concerned an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated communist groups for a decade before exposing his true beliefs when testifying against his former friends in court.

It is possible that Oswald was recruited and trained for counter-intelligence work while serving as a Marine in Japan and California, possibly by the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the American intelligence agency that was reportedly responsible for a fake Soviet defector program that Oswald may have been a part of.

The circumstances of Oswald’s “defection” clearly suggest that he was sent as a military intelligence agent to penetrate the Soviet Union and test and monitor their response to his defection. In Russia, he became affiliated with another anti-communist network that included a similar “defector,” his factory foreman Alexander Ziegler and his family.

Ziegler, a Jewish émigré during World War II, left Argentina, where he had worked for an American company, and resettled in Byelorussia. Ziegler was Oswald’s nominal boss at the radio factory where they worked in Minsk, and he encouraged Oswald to marry Marina. When Oswald was ready to leave Russia, Ziegler reportedly gave him an envelope to smuggle to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which was addressed to CIA director Allen Dulles. Ziegler and his family returned to Argentina in 1969.

Oswald once traveled to Moscow alone and met some American tourists, two young women and an older lady who had lost their official Intourist guide and were traveling unescorted around Russia. A few weeks later Oswald met the same trio in Minsk, and can be seen in a photo of them together, a photo that ended up in the files of the CIA.

Oswald applied to the US Embassy to leave the USSR in the same month that many other Office of Naval Intelligence “defectors” also returned. Marina Oswald, in her testimony to the Warren Commission about how Oswald came to Russia and where he lived gave the details of another ONI false defector instead, Robert Webster.

Eventually arriving in New York with his Russian wife and child, Oswald and his family were met by Spas T. Raiken of Traveler’s Aid. Raiken was also the secretary-treasurer of the American Friends of the Anti-Bolshvik Block of Nations, a CIA front group, part of the World Anti-Communist League and an arm of Operation WRINGER.

 

VIRGINIA PREWETT

In the summer of ’63 Oswald became involved with both the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) and the DRE – an anti-Castro Cuban student group, both of which were subjects covered by NARA reporter Virginia Prewett and monitored if not controlled by David Atlee Phillips, a CIA officer from Oswald’s old Fort Worth neighborhood.

Oswald was seen meeting with Phillips shortly before Oswald ostensibly went to Mexico City visiting the Cuban and Russian embassies monitored by Phillips’ surveillance teams.

Virginia Prewett was one of Phillips’ media assets who often wrote news articles in support of CIA operations. Prewett was interviewed by author Anthony Summers and British journalist David Leigh, and although Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post commissioned Leigh to write an article about Phillips and Prewett, Bradlee refused to publish it.

Summers reported that Prewett confirmed the existence of “Maurice Bishop” and his association with both David A. Phillips and Tony Veciana, one of the leaders of the anti-Castro Cuban Alpha 66 terrorist group, who had seen Oswald and “Bishop” together in Dallas. Prewett was also one of the founders of the Friends of Democratic Cuba, along with other associates and media assets of David Atlee Phillips. Many researchers believe that Maurice Bishop was a pseudonym used by David Phillips, and at least one former CIA operative has confirmed it.

"Maurice Bishop" and David Atlee Phillips

 

SYDNEY AND LUCI GOLDBERG

“Goldberg” is one of the names Oswald wrote in his notebook while in the Soviet Union, and was ostensibly a Moscow correspondent he had met, and not either Sidney or Luci Goldberg, who worked for NANA.

One protagonist in George Orwell’s 1984, a favorite novel of Oswald’s, is Emmanuel Goldberg, the supposed Party traitor who writes the Book of Revolution.

When Bill Kelly talked with Sidney Goldberg on the phone, he said he knew Ian Fleming from working at NANA but that Fleming left the organization around the time [Goldberg] became affiliated with it in 1963.

“Alongside Goldberg’s possible acquaintance with confirmed CIA agent Seymour Freidin, her 1972 claim to be affiliated with the North American Newspaper Alliance takes on additional significance. NANA actually existed, but it was infested with CIA connections, as JFK assassination researchers eventually discovered. Priscilla Johnson McMillan, who had numerous CIA and State Department links, was working for NANA when she interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald in Moscow in 1959.

Another NANA reporter, Virginia Prewett, was an anti-Castro activist recruited by NANA founder Ernest Cuneo, a high-ranking OSS veteran. In the mid-1960s, NANA was acquired by a partnership between Leonard Marks, Drew Pearson, and Fortune Pope. In 1952, Fortune Pope’s brother, Generoso Pope, Jr., bought the National Enquirer. The previous year Generoso was a CIA officer (according to Generoso’s listing in Who’s Who in America, 1984-85). Marks and Pearson were also friendly with the CIA.”

According to Frank Greve and Rod Hutcheson (Knight-Ridder/Tribute Information Service), Luci and Syd Goldberg were close personal friends and NANA colleagues with Victor Lasky.

“Victor Lasky, who died on February 22, 1990, was more than a simple right-wing columnist. From 1956-1960 he was a public relations executive for Radio Liberty, which was one of the CIA’s two largest propaganda operations at the time (the other was Radio Free Europe). Starting just two years later and continuing until 1980, the North American Newspaper Alliance distributed his syndicated column. It was revealed during Watergate testimony that Lasky was secretly paid $20,000 by Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President while he was writing his column. CREEP included a number of CIA operatives. In the mid-1980s, Lasky was close to CIA director William Casey.”

Lucianne and Sidney Goldberg were not only associated with NANA in regards to Oswald in the Soviet Union. Luci later posed as a reporter covering the McGovern campaign, while actually working as a “dirty trickster” for the Republicans. The Goldbergs were also mentioned in regards to the Eagleton scandal, which exposed the vice presidential candidate has having had psychological counseling.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, January 23, 1998: “In 1972, ([Lucianne]) Goldberg told the McGovern campaign that she worked for the North American Newspaper Alliance and later for Women’s News Service. The addresses she listed for both agencies then are the same as her current residence on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.”

Then Luci became entangled in the Monica Lewinski affair. It was Luci Goldberg who encouraged the Pentagon secretary Linda Tripp to secretly and illegally tape record Lewinski detailing her relationship with President Clinton. Lucianne Goldberg still identified herself as associated with NANA at that time. Her son, Jonah Goldberg continues in the tradition as a vehement right-wing propagandist, and somehow recently secured an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro.

 

CONCLUSION

With editors and correspondents like Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Cueno Ivor Bryce, Ian Fleming, and Syd Goldberg, and a bevy of young and beautiful correspondents like Inga Avid, Priscilla Johnson McMillan, Virginia Prewett and Luci Goldberg, the North American Newspaper Alliance, NANA was a fully functioning intelligence network closely associated with the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird.

As exemplified by the North American Newspaper Alliance (NASA), the corporate connection between the CIA and the US media is at the heart of the psychological warfare campaign that has portrayed Oswald variously as a Cuban or Soviet agent, deranged lone-nut or mob hit-man, rather than what he clearly was – an expendable agent for a domestic military-intelligence network. Oswald was an American spy and what ever his role in it, the assassination was not a foreign attack but “an inside job,” a coup.

Oswald used aliases, forged identity papers, post office boxes, pay phones, dead letter drops, and micro-dot photography. He was multi-lingual in Russian and English, and could converse in basic Japanese and Spanish. He traveled widely, primarily using public transportation, and was educated by a specialist in the crafts of intelligence practices and techniques. As they used to say in the fifties, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Oswald was a covert intelligence operator and agent for some domestic anti-communist network.

Lee Harvey Oswald went to Russia like Hemingway went to Paris in 1944 – not as a writer but as a war-time penetration agent operating behind the lines.

Set up as a patsy, Oswald’s presence at the scene of the murder of President Kennedy served as a message – that the murder of the President was not only a conspiracy, but a more specific covert intelligence operation designed to shield those actually responsible. It was a plot that originated within the heart of the federal government itself and showed that those who killed the President can get away with anything.

At a COPA conference on the assassination in Dallas in October 1992, a workshop panel on the role of the media in the assassination concluded that the most significant facts have not been the subject of news stories because of negligence on the part of the media.

Rather than negligence however, it is clear the mainstream media response to the assassination of President Kennedy can be shown to have been influenced if not entirely controlled by the CIA from the very moment of the assassination, and they did this through the utilization of their media assets, particularly those at Time-Life, CBS News and NANA – the North American Newspaper Alliance.

July 23

Spyware & Spy Scandals

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Was Pegasus used by Trump and Kushner to blackmail U.S. politicians? Wayne Madsen, July 23, 2021. Revelations by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Israeli wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallsales of NSO Group's Pegasus smart phone surveillance program closely matched the foreign trips of former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have raised the possibility that Jared Kushner, who participated in Netanyahu's diplomatic trips to countries using Pegasus, also used Pegasus to eavesdrop on the communications of Republicans who, virtually overnight, became loyalists of Donald Trump.

As more details emerge about the political intelligence uses of Pegasus, the Israeli government and NSO Group are trying to contain the public relations damage caused by Israel's sale of the surveillance system to some of the world's most repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, the lindsey graham judiciary chairmanUnited Arab Emirates, Hungary, and Morocco. All have close ties to Israel.

mitch mcconnell elaine chaoPegasus does not merely allow an eavesdropper to listen in on smart phone conversations but allows the phone's microphone and camera to be used as an espionage device, even when the phone is turned off. Pegasus has been termed a "digital predator."

Trump's possible use of Pegasus to provide surveillance information on those whose Apple and Microsoft data were subpoenaed by Trump's Justice Department and on those whose data was not subpoenaed opens the door to Trump using embarrassing information to blackmail Republicans who, on a dime, went from being Trump critics to his most loyal supporters. Blackmail in politics usually involves sex, money, or a combination of the two.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: A Foreign Agent in Trump’s Inner Circle? Michelle Goldberg, right, July 23, 2021. Once upon a time, it would have been huge news if the chairman of the former president’s imichelle goldberg thumbnaugural committee was indicted on charges of acting as an agent of a foreign power.

Donald Trump’s presidency, however, has left us with scandal inflation. At this point many of the leading figures from his 2016 campaign have been either indicted or convicted, even if they were later pardoned. The C.F.O. of Trump’s company was charged with tax fraud less than a month ago.

tom barrackheadshotSo when the billionaire real estate investor Tom Barrack, left, one of Trump’s biggest fund-raisers, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with acting as an unregistered agent of the United Arab Emirates along with other felonies, it might have seemed like a dog-bites-man story. Barrack was once described by longtime Trump strategist uae embassy sealRoger Stone — a felon, naturally — as the ex-president’s best friend. If you knew nothing else about Barrack but that, you might have guessed he’d end up in handcuffs.

Nevertheless, Barrack’s arrest is important. Trump’s dealings with the Emirates and Saudi Arabia deserve to be investigated as thoroughly as his administration’s relationship with Russia. So far that hasn’t happened. When Robert Mueller, the former special counsel, testified before Congress, Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said to him, “We did not bother to ask whether financial inducements from any Gulf nations were influencing U.S. policy, since it is outside the four corners of your report, and so we must find out.” But we have not found out.

 

Media, Whistleblower News

daniel ellsberg umass

Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival, virtual events, begins with screenings starting Friday, July 23, and panel discussions starting Sunday, July 25; DC Pro president joins opening plenary July 26, Staff Report, July 23, 2021. SPJ DC Pro Chapter is a co-sponsor of the Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival this year, with a panel presentation on July 27. A chapter board member and a chapter Distinguished Service Award honoree will be participating on another panel July 30.

Here is a schedule for panels and screenings (subject to updates). All sessions will be held via Zoom; the film screenings will be streamed online.

Keynote speaker is whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg (shown above in a University of Massachusetts photo), at noon on July 30, in recognition of his role in releasing documents that led to the publication of excerpts in The New York Times of what came to be called the Pentagon Papers, 50 years ago this summer.

DC Pro Chapter President Randy Showstack will represent the chapter during the opening plenary on Monday, July 26, at 10 a.m., joining other sponsors or collaborators. They include:

Panelists:

  • Marcel Reid, Pacifica Foundation
  • Michael McCray, ACORN 8
  • Andrew Kreig (also a DC Pro Chapter member), Justice Integrity Project
  • Randy Showstack, Society of Professional Journalists Washington, D.C., Pro Chapter
  • Liz Hemperwitz, Project on Government Oversight
  • Tom Devine, Government Accountability Project
  • Siri Nelson, National Whistleblower Center

Indefatigable chapter Recording Secretary and FOI advocate Kathryn Foxhall will moderate the 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 27 panel, "The Perils of PIO," which is described thus: "Over 20-30 years, it’s become a cultural norm for various entities, public and private, to prohibit staff from communicating with reporters without oversight by authorities, often through public information officers (PIO). The basic part of this is quite fearsome: prohibition against any contact without notifying authorities. However, the rules also create a chokepoint severely limiting the number of contacts. They are also used to deliberately block unwanted contacts and constrain what can be said.

"This hampers whistleblowing by massively reducing reporters’ ability to get to know and be educated by staff; have staff come to trust them; and have confidential conversations. The Society of Professional Journalists has said it believes secrecy caused by these controls led to significantly higher COVID-19 death toll. An analysis by First Amendment attorney Frank LoMonte says the restrictions are unconstitutional and many courts have said so."

Panelists:

  • Kathyrn Foxhall (Moderator) The SPJDC.org website has articles about "Censorship by PIO" and resources.
  • Frank LoMonte, head of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida
  • Haisten Willis, freelance journalist and chair of national SPJ's Freedom of Information Committee

Ahead of the keynote speech by Ellsberg -- at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 30 -- DC Pro Chapter board member and attorney Kenneth Jost will join chapter DSA awardee Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute and the institute's First Amendment Center, on a panel looking at the "Ramifications of the Pentagon Papers Today." The panel description says that the July 3, 1971, publication in The New York Times of what is now known as the Pentagon Papers prompted a series of events that ultimately resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon and changed the landscape for American journalism due to a landmark decision on freedom of the press (New York Times Co. v. United States). This informative panel will examine the long-term impact of the publishing of the Pentagon Papers on free speech, whistleblowing, investigative journalism and American society overall.

Panelists:

  • Gene Policinski, JD (Moderator)
  • Mark Zaid, JD
  • Kenneth Jost, JD

Access to streaming of panels and the films is here. More information on the Summit can be found here. Specific questions may be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (202) 370-6635. July 30 also is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The National Whistleblower Center invites you to register here for its virtual all-day event marking the occasion.

July 19

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: James Woolsey’s JFK Conspiracy Theory, Part 1, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, July 19, 2021. Kennedy’s relationship with the Deep Jacob HornbergerState only went from bad to worse and ultimately turned into a major schism between the executive branch and the national-security branch of the federal government.

Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey has written a newly published book entitled Operation Dragon, which poses one of the silliest conspiracy theories ever in the Kennedy assassination. Woolsey says that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Lee Harvey Oswald conspired future of freedom foundation logo squareto assassinate John Kennedy. He says that Khrushchev later changed his mind and withdrew from the conspiracy and instructed Oswald to cease and desist. According to Woolsey, Oswald was so determined to become a hero in Khrushchev’s eyes that he decided to go through with the assassination anyway.

How do we know that Woolsey’s theory is silly? One reason: the fraudulent autopsy that was performed on Kennedy’s body.

There is one irrefutable fact in the Kennedy assassination, one with which everyone agrees. That fact is that the U.S. national-security establishment performed the autopsy on the president’s body. Not the Mafia. Not the communists. Not the Soviet Union. Not Nikita CIA LogoKhrushchev. Not Fidel Castro. It was the American Deep State that performed the autopsy.

Why would the U.S. national-security establishment perform a fraudulent autopsy on the body of the deceased president? There is no innocent explanation for a fraudulent autopsy, and certainly no one has ever tried to posit one. The only possible reason would be to serve as a cover-up of the crime itself.

Would the military-intelligence establishment go to all the trouble of a fraudulent autopsy to cover up an assassination by the Soviets, the communists, Nikita Khrushchev, or Fidel Castro?

Not a chance! The Pentagon and the CIA loathed communists. That’s what the Cold War was all about. In fact, in his new book Woolsey  captures perfectly the mindset of hatred and antipathy of the national-security establishment toward communism and the communist world. There is james woolsey 2015 wno possibility whatsoever that the American Deep State decided, on the spur of the moment, to carry out a fraudulent autopsy on Kennedy’s body in order to protect communists.

What does Woolsey (shown in a 2015 photo) say about the autopsy? Nothing! He doesn’t mention it. It’s as though it just didn’t happen. He is clearly stuck in a 1964 time suspension in which he remains convinced that there was an international communist conspiracy based in Moscow, one in which the Reds were coming to get us. He evidently also believes that the American people are as deferential to the Pentagon and the CIA as they were back in 1964 and that they will automatically believe anything and everything that representatives or former representatives of the Deep State say.

What Woolsey wants to ignore — and what he wants the American people to ignore — is the mountain of circumstantial evidence that has been uncovered james woolsey operation dragonsince 1963, especially as a result of the efforts of the Assassination Record Review Board in the 1990s, establishing that there was a fraudulent autopsy. The idea is that if U.S. Deep State officials, along with their assets in the mainstream press, will just ignore the autopsy, the evidence establishing the fraud will just go away.

But it’s not going away. On the contrary, it is being highlighted, examined, and publicized, not in the mainstream press but all over the Internet. Woolsey just doesn’t want to deal with it.

A fascinating aspect of Woolsey’s book (shown at left) is that he is attacking the Warren Report. In positing his conspiracy theory, he is saying that Oswald was not a lone-nut assassin, as the Warren Commission concluded. Instead, according to Woolsey, Oswald conspired with the communists to kill the president.

Editor's Note: The remainder of this Part 1 can be seen by following the link. Also, Part 2

July 18

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Merrick Garland Needs to Show He Knows What Jan. 6 Was Really About, Donald Ayer, Danielle Brian and Norman Eisen, July 18, 2021. Mr. Ayer was a deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration. Ms. Brian is the executive director of the Project On Government Oversight. Mr. Eisen served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the first Trump impeachment.

mo brooks oWhen Mo Brooks, left, took his oath of office as a U.S. representative, he swore to support and defend the Constitution. His official duties certainly don’t include what Mr. Brooks is accused of doing in a civil lawsuit pending in Washington federal court: helping to incite a mob to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6.

merrick garlandRepresentative Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, sued Mr. Brooks, an Alabama Republican, and others for damages suffered as a result of their roles in the Capitol riot. Mr. Brooks has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to certify that his actions on Jan. 6 were those of a government employee acting within the scope of his employment. The Justice Department must say if it will defend Mr. Brooks by July 27.

If the attorney general were to certify and the court agreed, Mr. Brooks would be dismissed from the lawsuit under a federal statute. The United States would be substituted as a defendant instead.

Mr. Garland’s choice is important in its own right, but it also carries ramifications for cases targeting possible official wrongdoing in the Trump era, including by the former president himself. Mr. Garland should emphatically reject Mr. Brooks’s request to make this certification, because our nation deserves a full accounting for those involved in the storming of the Capitol and any other assaults on our democracy.

Justice Department log circularThe case arises from Mr. Brooks’s appearance at the “Save America” rally in Washington on Jan. 6. All Americans are entitled to petition their government under the Constitution.But in our view, Mr. Brooks’s instructions went beyond these protections. He urged the assembled crowd to “fight for America” and “stop” at the Capitol, where the electoral transition would take place.

“Today the curtain will be pulled back and American patriots will learn by their votes which Republican senators and congressmen have the courage to fight for America,” Mr. Brooks said. “Today Republican senators and congressmen will either vote to turn America into a godless, amoral, dictatorial, oppressed and socialist nation on the decline or they will join us and they will fight and vote against voter fraud and election theft and vote for keeping America great.” He added, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” (In response to the suit, Mr. Brooks said he was talking in his speech about the 2022 and 2024 elections.)

We all know what happened next.

Determining when arguably wrongful conduct by a federal employee nonetheless occurred within the scope of his or her employment duties often involves a difficult exercise of judgment. The issue is not whether the employee committed a wrongful act — bad things can happen on the job. At the same time, not everything an employee does is within the scope of his job.

The Constitution and laws of the United States are not, as Justice Robert Jackson once warned, a suicide pact. Certification that Mr. Brooks acted within the scope of his job would leave the United States government defending the right of its elected representatives to foment insurrection against itself.

The decision before the Justice Department could also have an impact on other cases, including those against Mr. Trump. He, too, is a defendant in Representative Swalwell’s suit over his incitement at the same rally. If Mr. Brooks is immunized, how long before Mr. Trump seeks the same? There is also the Georgia criminal investigation of Mr. Trump’s efforts to have state officials “find 11,780 votes.” He surely would point to any precedent Mr. Garland set here to argue that that was official, too. Who knows what other yet-to-be revealed conduct would be swept within this new safe harbor for wrongdoing?

Our future depends on our resolve in adhering to our basic democratic values — among them, that truth is a key to the functioning of our electoral system. And that demands that Attorney General Garland unequivocally reject any notion that a congressman is doing his job when he foments a riot based on lies in order to sabotage a legitimate national electoral process.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Private Israeli spyware used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists worldwide, Dana Priest, Craig Timberg and Souad Mekhenne, July 18, 2021. Military-grade spyware licensed by an Israeli firm to governments for tracking terrorists and criminals was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives and two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and 16 media partners.

israel flagThe phones appeared on a list of more than 50,000 numbers that are concentrated in countries known to engage in surveillance of their citizens and also known to have been clients of the Israeli firm, NSO Group, a worldwide leader in the growing and largely unregulated private spyware industry, the investigation found.

The list does not identify who put the numbers on it, or why, and it is unknown how many of the phones were targeted or surveilled. But forensic analysis of the 37 smartphones shows that many display a tight correlation between time stamps associated with a number on the list and the initiation of surveillance, in some cases as brief as a few seconds.

ScheerPost, Investigation: The Jeffrey Epstein Cover Up: Pedophilia, Lies, and Videotape, Nick Bryant, right, July 18, 2021. Numerous procurers and perpetrators who were integral to Epstein and nick bryantMaxwell’s crimes against children over the course of 25 years have not been indicted, and the charges against Maxwell, which include only one count of child trafficking, are woefully inadequate and a further miscarriage of justice against her victims.

More recently, a report released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) on May 10, 2021 superimposed an additional miscarriage of justice on the myriad of injustices that have already been inflicted on the victims of Epstein, et al. The FDLE report concluded that a Florida grand jury that didn’t indict Epstein on a single count of child abuse was not guilty of malfeasance.

Although Epstein’s crimes against children had been reported to the FBI in 1996, the first law enforcement agency to earnestly investigate Epstein was the Palm Beach Police Department (PBPD), starting in 2005. The PBPD compiled the statements of five minors who had been molested by Epstein. The PBPD also rounded up the statements of several witnesses who corroborated the minors’ claims, and the department was aware of 17 additional victims who had allegedly been molested by Epstein. The PBPD drew up an arrest warrant charging Epstein with one count of lewd and lascivious molestation and four counts of unwanted sexual activity with a minor. The PBPD also sought to charge two of Epstein’s henchwomen and procurers of underage girls: Sarah Kellen as a principal to Epstein’s offenses and Haley Robson with one count of lewd and lascivious conduct.

But Palm Beach state attorney Barry Krischer swooped in and snatched the Epstein case from the PBPD. He opted to impanel a grand jury to investigate the child abuse allegations. (Grand juries in Florida are extremely rare unless the crime involves a capital offense.)

_____

Nick Bryant, who started pursuing the disgraced financier around 2012, is an author who resides in New York City, and he’s been a child advocate for 30 nick bryant franklin resized coveryears. His writing has recurrently focused on the plight of disadvantaged children in the United States, and he’s been published in numerous national journals, including the Journal of Professional Ethics, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, and Journal of School Health.

He is the co-author of America’s Children: Triumph or Tragedy, addressing the medical and developmental problems of lower socioeconomic children in America. He spent seven years investigating a coast-to-coast child trafficking network and authored The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse, & Betrayal. He has also investigated the Jeffrey Epstein network, and he published Epstein’s “Little Black Book” on the Internet in 2015, four years before the case broke nationally. Bryant has contributed a chapter on child trafficking to Global Perspectives on Dissociative Disorders: Individual and Societal Oppression, a book addressing various facets of dissociative disorders that features chapters from an international panel of psychiatrists and psychologists. He has also spoken about child trafficking at several conferences, including the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation’s international convention and the 2020 and 2021 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summits.

July 16 

william regnery will vragovic

William H. Regnery II, one of the men who bankrolled the far-right, is photographed outside his home in Boca Grande, Florida (Will Vragovic).

HuffPost, Commentary: William Regnery II, Reclusive Millionaire Who Financed American Fascists, Dead At 80, Christopher Mathias, July 16, 2021. The avowed huffington post logowhite nationalist inherited millions from his prominent Republican family and used the money to fund the rise of the so-called alt-right.

William H. Regnery II, one of the men who bankrolled the far-right, is photographed outside his home in Boca Grande, Florida, in 2017. He died earlier this month at the age of 80.

William H. Regnery II, a racist, reclusive multimillionaire who used his inherited fortune to finance vile white supremacist groups in the hopes of one day forming an American whites-only ethnostate, died earlier this month, his family and associates confirmed. He was 80 years old.

Regnery, whose family amassed riches from its right-wing publishing empire, died on July 2 in Florida after a “long battle with cancer,” his cousin Alfred, the former head of Regnery Publishing, confirmed to HuffPost.

Asked if he’d like to comment on his cousin’s life and legacy, Alfred Regnery replied: “No, it’s all been said before.”

In the final two decades of his life, William Regnery funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars — and likely much more — to extremist groups. He is often credited with being one of the main funders of the so-called alt-right, the resurgent fascist movement that gained momentum during the rise of former President Donald Trump.

“William Regnery’s sordid influence was felt from the deadly Charlottesville Unite the Right rally to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol,” said Tarso Luís Ramos, executive director of Political Research Associates, a social justice think tank that monitors the far right.

“His patronage of white nationalists over more than two decades helped popularize a genocidal vision for a white ethnostate on North American soil and sinking fear of racial replacement in the hearts of a growing portion of the white American population,” Ramos added. “This vision will not prevail, but it won’t either be easily extinguished.”

HuffPost first learned of Regnery’s death on Twitter, where some of the many avowed white nationalists permitted on that platform mourned their benefactor’s passing.

“Bill Regnery was a good man, who cared about the future, and, as they say, ‘did something’ about it,” tweeted Richard Spencer, the racist who led the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist organization Regnery founded.

Kevin MacDonald — perhaps America’s foremost anti-Semite, who authored a series of books claiming that Jews are genetically hard-wired to destroy Western civilization — also tweeted that he hoped Regnery would “rest in peace.”

MacDonald and Spencer are both members of the Charles Martel Society, a secretive organization of prominent American fascists founded and funded with nearly $90,000 donated from family charities and other tax exempt organizations affiliated with Regnery. (Nonprofits are not legally required to identify individual donors, so it’s possible Regnery personally donated much more.) The society publishes The Occidental Quarterly, a journal for which MacDonald serves as editor.

Other white nationalists who weren’t direct beneficiaries of Regnery’s largesse also expressed sadness at his passing.

Regnery, who went by Bill, was born Feb. 25, 1941, into a prominent Republican family.

His grandfather and namesake, textile magnate William H. Regnery I, was a founding member of the infamous America First Committee. The organization, led by anti-Semitic aviator Charles Lindbergh, opposed America’s intervention in World War II and counted many Nazi sympathizers among its ranks.

In 1947, Bill Regnery’s uncle, Henry, founded Regnery Publishing, which would grow into one of the most influential right-wing media dynasties in America. In its early years, the company published prominent conservative thinkers, including William F. Buckley, a racist and segregationist, and Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society, the anti-communist conspiracist group.

More recently it has published anti-Muslim bigots Robert Spencer and David Horowitz, and anti-immigrant crusaders Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, as well as books from Republican senators and other politicians ― including Donald Trump’s 2015 “Time to Get Tough.”

When Henry Regnery died in 1996, The New York Times eulogized him as “the godfather of modern conservatism.”

The Regnery family’s influence extended beyond the publishing world. Bill Regnery’s cousin Alfred Regnery was an official at the Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan before eventually taking over the family publishing company.

Bill Regnery started showing an interest in politics while a student in the early 1960s at the University of Pennsylvania, where he launched a conservative student magazine. He never graduated from Penn, however, telling BuzzFeed News in an extensive 2017 interview that he was “still a couple credits short of a degree.”

He said he left to work for the 1964 presidential campaign of Republican Barry Goldwater, the far-right senator from Arizona. As BuzzFeed News described, Regnery claimed to have hatched a bizarre scheme to suppress Democratic votes on Election Day that year:

His most memorable effort, he claimed, was a convoluted scheme called Operation Dewdrop, intended to suppress Democratic voters in Philadelphia. At the time, he explained, the theory was that Democrats voted less in the rain. So on election day, he said, he tried to seed rain clouds by using dry ice and a twin-engine airplane. It didn’t rain, he recalled, but he burned his fingers from the dry ice canisters, a detail that helps add a ring of authenticity. Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson in a landslide.

Such bizarre failures and embarrassments seem to have marked Regnery’s life. According to Alfred and another cousin, Frederick Meyers, he nearly ruined the family’s textile business, and the family forced him to resign as president in 1981, court records show.

In the early 1990s, Regnery became disillusioned with mainstream American conservatism, seeing it as insufficiently concerned about race, according to a memoir he published in 2015, “Left Behind,” a copy of which Mother Jones reviewed. It horrified him that whites might one day be a minority in America.

In December 1999, Regnery convened a conference for prominent white nationalists at a hotel in Florida, where he declared his belief in breaking up the United States into a series of enclaves based on race and religion, a plan that would undoubtedly involve the violent ethnic cleansing of nonwhites.

“In closing, I charge the participants of this conference with the sacred task of beginning to secure for our children’s children a proper home,” Regnery said at the conference.

Two years later, in 2001, he founded the Charles Martel Society, named for the 8th century Frankish ruler the modern far-right often glorifies for defending Gaul, in modern-day France, from an invading Arab army. Regnery staffed the organization with a who’s who of infamous white supremacists, including Sam Francis, who once suggested “imposing adequate fertility controls on nonwhites.”

In 2004, Regnery tried to launch a whites-only dating website, an effort he hoped would increase the number of white families, “since the survival of our race depends upon our people marrying, reproducing and parenting.”

And in 2005, he founded the innocuous-sounding National Policy Institute (NPI), a white nationalist think tank on a mission “to elevate the consciousness of whites” by studying “the consequences of the ongoing influx that non-Western populations pose to our national identity.”

This paranoia over immigration from nonwhite countries into America and Europe — often called the “great replacement” theory — has animated multiple white supremacist massacres in recent years, including those in Pittsburgh, El Paso and Charleston, South Carolina.

According to a BuzzFeed News tally, nonprofits and other tax-exempt organizations affiliated with Regnery poured nearly half a million dollars into NPI’s coffers from 2005 to 2015. (Though William Regnery himself could have personally donated more.)

Regnery seemed content to be the moneyman behind NPI and the Charles Martel Society, working quietly behind the scenes.

“Where his relatives have headed corporations, held public office, and run high-profile civic groups, the younger William works hard to keep his activities out of the public eye,” the Southern Poverty Law Center once wrote of Regnery, adding that while his family members “worked to cultivate an air of mainstream respectability, William ran headlong into the fever swamps of white nationalism, where his familial and financial clout allowed him to set himself up as a major force shaping the entire movement.”

Regnery tapped Richard Spencer to lead NPI in 2011. In Spencer, Regnery found someone who relished the limelight. Also from a wealthy conservative family, Spencer had pursued a doctorate at Duke University while making inroads among right-wing extremists, writing for numerous publications, including The American Conservative.

Spencer launched two websites, AlternativeRight.com and RadixJournal.com, which eventually became important propaganda outlets for the so-called alt-right, a term Spencer claims to have coined himself to describe a growing online coalition of racists, including trolls and shitposters, neo-Nazis and Klansmen, Holocaust deniers and suit-and-tie fascists.

When Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015, he often mimicked “alt-right” talking points, such as calling Mexican immigrants rapists and proposing a ban on Muslims entering the United States. The chief executive of Trump’s campaign, Steve Bannon, had previously run Breitbart News, which he described as a “platform for the alt-right.”

As Trump’s poll numbers rose and the size of his rallies swelled, the media clamored to explain what the alt-right was and often found a willing spokesman in Spencer, who gave interviews to almost anyone who would ask. He quickly became the face of the far right in America.

In 2016, Regnery boasted in a speech that tapping Spencer to lead the NPI “secured my place in history.”

Regnery and the American white nationalist movement were jubilant when Trump was elected president. At an NPI conference in Washington, D.C., a few weeks after the election, Spencer shouted “Hail Trump!” and “Hail victory!” — the English translation of the Nazi cry “Sieg Heil!”

His supporters responded with Nazi salutes.

Cassie Miller, a research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told HuffPost that Regnery’s “material contributions helped to build networks of racist activists and a large body of pseudoscientific literature that, he hoped, would legitimize his calls to build a white ethnostate.”

Miller said the two major organizations he built, the Charles Martel Society and the NPI, were “once highly influential” but noted that the NPI is now “in disarray.”

“It appears to no longer be operational, and its death knell likely came earlier this year when a judge ordered NPI to pay $2.4 million in damages to an Ohio man injured at the Unite the Right rally for his physical and emotional suffering,” Miller said.

Spencer and the NPI helped organize the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, where some 1,000 white nationalists marched through the streets as clashes became increasingly violent. In the most vicious attack, a neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

Pro-Trump Jan. 6 Insurrectionpaul allard hodgkins

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. seeks prison term for first felony defendant to be sentenced in Capitol breach, citing domestic terrorism threat, Spencer S. Hsu, July 16, 2021. U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday urged a federal judge to impose an 18-month prison term on the first defendant to face sentencing for a felony in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, citing the need to deter domestic terrorism.

“The need to deter others is especially strong in cases involving domestic terrorism, which the breach of the Capitol certainly was,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky said in a government sentencing request for Tampa crane operator Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, above, who carried a Trump flag into the well of the Senate.

Hodgkins’s sentencing, scheduled for Monday, could set the bar for what punishment 100 or more defendants might expect to face as they weigh whether to accept plea offers by prosecutors or take their chances at a trial by jury.

About 800 people entered the building, U.S. officials have said, with more than 500 individuals charged to date and charges expected against at least 100 others.

About 20 people have pleaded guilty, and one misdemeanor defendant has been sentenced to probation.

In Hodgkins’s case, Sedky cited FBI Director Christopher A. Wray’s testimony in March to the Senate that the problem of homegrown violent extremism is “metastasizing,” with some actors growing emboldened by the Capitol riot.

“The need to deter others is especially strong in cases involving domestic terrorism, which the breach of the Capitol certainly was,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky said in a government sentencing request for Tampa crane operator Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, who carried a Trump flag into the well of the Senate.

The court filing marked one of the Justice Department’s bluntest statements to date of its view of the Capitol breach, in which members of a mob supporting President Donald Trump stormed barricades, assaulted nearly 140 police officers, and forced the evacuation of a joint session of Congress meeting to confirm the results of the 2020 election.

josiah colt rioter getty

washington post logoWashington Post, Man who dangled from Senate balcony pleads guilty in Capitol riots, will cooperate against others, Spencer S. Hsu, July 16, 2021 (print ed.). An Idaho man photographed (above via Getty images) hanging from the Senate balcony and sitting in the presiding officer’s chair in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony obstruction of Congress, admitting to joining a group of people who came to Washington with firearms, knives and body armor to support President Donald Trump.

Josiah B. Colt, 34, became the latest defendant to agree to cooperate in the breach investigation, seeking to pare down a possible recommended five-year prison sentence.

Though Colt is not accused of being part of a larger militia-like group, he admitted in plea papers to joining at least two men from Nevada and Tennessee who arranged travel, raised funds, bought paramilitary gear and recorded themselves before breaking into the building and rushing to the Senate chamber just evacuated by lawmakers.

“My fellow patriot Josiah Colt sleeping ready for the boogaloo Jan 6,” one of the others, alleged QAnon follower Ronald Sandlin, posted on Facebook on Jan. 4, according to plea papers. The post included a picture of Colt in a bed holding a handgun, and used a term taken up by fringe groups referring to civil war, Colt acknowledged in plea papers.

In a group video recorded before the riot, Sandlin “urge[d] other patriots” watching to “take the Capitol” and said “there is going to be violence,” according to plea papers.

“We are going to be there [the Capitol] back by one o’clock when it is action time it is game time,” Sandlin added, according to plea documents. That hour, prosecutors said, was the time Congress convened to certify the 2020 presidential election results and the moment members of the pro-Trump mob began confronting police and charging barricades outside the building.

In a plea hearing, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan of Washington read from Colt’s signed statement of facts and plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to drop three misdemeanor charges in exchange for his full cooperation.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Don’t let the hysteria get to you, Bill Palmer, right, July 16, 2021.Yesterday we learned from the Guardian that the Kremlin really was holding blackmail material against Donald Trump all bill palmeralong, meaning Trump really was a Russian puppet all along. Yesterday we also learned from Michael Wolff’s book that General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, viewed Trump in terms of Adolf Hitler.

This is a lot to take in. This comes after weeks of increasingly ugly revelations about how Trump and his co-conspirators criminally meddled in the 2020 election results. As the floodgates of inside information continue to open, we’ll no doubt see even uglier bombshells about how Trump was abusing his power.

It’s now more important than ever to remember that all of these crimes and atrocities took place while Trump was still in office. None of these things are new; they’re just newly reported. None of them are happening right now; we’re just learning about them right now.

bill palmer report logo headerIt’s even more crucial to remember that Trump is no longer in power. It’s easy to read all of these increasingly ugly revelations and fall victim to the kind of hysteria that leads you to unconsciously convince yourself that he’s still in power and he’s still doing these things as we speak.

The reality is that Trump has been ousted from office. He’s been ousted from social media. He has no remaining voice. He’s now the metaphorical equivalent of a guy living in his mom’s basement. He’s desperate to get back into power, but he has no idea how to even approach that notion. In his rare public appearances, he appears to have lost a step (or two or three) in the cognitive department. He’s under active criminal investigation in three different states, two of which have gone to grand jury, one of which has begun issuing indictments. There’s a reason so much dirt is now coming out about Trump’s time in office. He’s weak, vulnerable, and of little remaining value to those around him; the people leaking these stories are looking to finish him off.

As the headlines about Trump’s time in office continue to grow uglier, and it becomes even more clear how maniacally out of control he was while serving as President, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking you need to cower to him. He’s not in power anymore. There’s nothing he can do to you right now.

If these new headlines about Donald Trump are going to motivate you, let it motivate you to work even harder to make sure that he has no future. Help spread the word about his criminal scandals and criminal prosecution. Help make sure he remains on track for prison before we even get to 2024. And make sure his favorability rating remains too deep in the toilet for him to be remotely viable for any future election anyway. At this point Trump should be scared of you, not the other way around.

djt as chosen oneWayne Madsen Report, The aspirant American führer: A Bill of Rights carve out for Nazism needed, Wayne Madsen, left, July 16, 2021. We should all appreciate the collegiate liberal arts undergraduate and wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallpost-graduate educations of two generals, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Mark Milley, and retired Marine Corps General John Kelly.

Thanks to them, the public is now aware of something this editor always had a gut feeling about: that Donald Trump is a Nazi admirer of Adolf Hitler and that his Ku Klux Klan-member wayne madsen cafe vaterlandfather, Fred Trump (shown below at left with his son), was an unrepentant pro-Nazi member of the German-American Bund in the 1930s and, very likely, a German spy used by the Gestapo and Abwehr to spy on American and Canadian troop transports departing from U.S. ports.

According to Carol Leonnig's and Phil Rucker's just-released book, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year -- one of several new books that expose Donald Trump's plans to establish a far-right dictatorship with him as the dictator -- Trump said, pointing to a framed photograph of his father in the Oval Office, "I know the fucking krauts . . . I was raised by the biggest kraut of them all."

djt fred trump daily bast photo illustationIt was the naked Nazism displayed by father and son Trump that inspired me to write my first novel, Café Vaterland, an alternate history of the United States had Hitler obtained a nuclear weapon and intercontinental delivery missile before the United States. The book's cover photo [left] depicts a meeting of Bund leaders with Hitler in Berlin in 1936. Based on contemporaneous photos of Fred Trump, I believe that it is he who is standing behind Bund führer Fritz Kuhn, farthest right].

The Bill of Rights does not confer the freedom to murder, commit arson, riot, or commit coups. Nor should it enable Nazis like Trump and his supporters to have any rights to engage in hate fests and violent speech.

 washington post logoWashington Post, A man in a gladiator costume filmed the Jan. 6 mob for his mother, feds say: ‘Here comes the riot police, Mom,’ Katie Shepherd, July 16, 2021. When Nathan Wayne Entrekin joined a crowd of rioters that pushed its way into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, he donned a Roman gladiator costume over jean shorts and a T-shirt despite the winter chill, federal investigators say. As the mob chanted, Entrekin allegedly filmed videos on his cellphone, narrating the action for his mother, who was back in Arizona.

“Wow, Mom. I wish you were here with me,” Entrekin said in one video, according to a criminal complaint. “It’s really exciting in here. It’s joyful and it’s sad at the same time. We can’t let Biden … be our president. We can’t … there’s no way.”

Federal prosecutors on Thursday arrested Entrekin, of Cottonwood, Ariz., for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, during which he allegedly defied police orders, entered the U.S. Capitol and witnessed people looting offices. During an interview, Entrekin told investigators that “the calls of former president Donald Trump inspired him to attend the rally,” the complaint states.

He faces charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. His next court appearance has not yet been set, according to court records.

Entrekin joins more than 500 people charged by federal prosecutors for participating in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, including members of several far-right groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. Many of those arrested recorded their actions and later posted the videos and photos to social media or shared them with family and friends. Several others also wore recognizable costumes during the riot. 

Joseph Biggs, left, and Ethan Nordean near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (Photo by Carolyn Kaster of the Associated Press).Joseph Biggs, left, and Ethan Nordean near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (Photo by Carolyn Kaster of the Associated Press).

Daytona Beach News-Journal, Volusia County Proud Boys leader threatened at Seminole County Jail, attorney says, Frank Fernandez, July 16, 2021 (print ed.). A Volusia County Proud Boys leader being held in the Seminole County Jail has been threatened by inmates and will likely be threatened again as they seek to test him, his attorney said during a federal hearing on Thursday.

Joseph R. Biggs, 37, was a leader among the Proud Boys in planning “an organized and violent attack” upon the country’s democracy and its Capitol building on Jan. 6, according to federal prosecutors.

And word that Biggs is locked up in a subsection of the Seminole County Jail, which holds about 150 federal inmates in other cases, has been getting around, according to J. Daniel Hull, who represents Biggs.

“I do worry about somebody wanting to test Joe Biggs' mettle,” Hull said. “I think that’s going to be coming up more and more.”

Biggs, whose home is in Volusia County near Ormond Beach, has been held at the Seminole County Jail since he turned himself in to U.S. Marshals on April 22.

joe biggs mugHull said that Biggs, right, is also having problems with an old injury for which he previously received surgery. Hull said on Thursday that he does not want Biggs moved to a detention facility in Washington, D.C.

Biggs and three other Proud Boys have been indicted together on six counts: conspiracy; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and aiding and abetting; destruction of government property and aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; and disorderly conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

The Proud Boys is a far-right nationalist organization that describes itself as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists,” according to a federal criminal complaint.

The Proud Boys strongly supported former president Donald Trump. In recent years, the group has increasingly confronted protesters on the left, including antifa, in places like Portland, sometimes leading to street fights.

Biggs’ case has been closely tied to Ethan “Rufio Panman” Nordean (shown above), another Proud Boys leader who is being held in Washington state. Nordean’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him. Biggs’ attorney joined that motion, which hasn't yet been heard by a judge.

July 15

ny times logoNew York Times, Book Reviews: Two Accounts of Donald Trump’s Final Year in Office, One More Vivid and Apt Than the Other, Dwight Garner, July 15, 2021. Two new books about the final year of Donald J. Trump’s presidency are entering the cultural bloodstream. The first, Landslide,”by the gadfly journalist Michael Wolff, is the one to leap upon, even though the second, I Alone Can Fix It, from the Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, is vastly more earnest and diligent, to a fault.

michael wolff landslideThis is Wolff’s third book about Trump in as many years. It’s Leonnig and Rucker’s second, after the excellent A Very Stable Genius, which appeared in early 2020. This one, alas, reads like 300 daily newspaper articles taped together so that they resemble an inky Kerouacian scroll. Each article longs to jump to Page A28 on a different scroll, in another room.

Perhaps it’s not the authors’ fault that I Alone Can Fix It is grueling. It may be that a reader, having survived Covid-19, “stop the steal” and the bear-spray wielders, and feeling carol leonnig philip rucker trump2 covera certain amount of relief — relief, John Lanchester has said, is the most powerful emotion — is uneager to rummage so soon through a dense, just-the-facts scrapbook of a dismal year.

A primary and not insignificant achievement in I Alone Can Fix It, however, is its bravura introduction of a new American hero, a man who has heretofore not received a great deal of attention: Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A better title for this book might have been “Mr. Milley Goes to Washington.”

There tend not to be a lot of people to root for in Trump books. Reading them is like watching WWE fights in which all the wrestlers are heels, smashing each other with folding chairs. Milley provides Leonnig and Rucker not just with an adult in the room, but a human being with a command of facts, a long view of history, a strong jaw and a moral center.

Milley (shown at right in uniform in a previous post as Army chief of staff) explains the Constitution to Trump. He delivers cinematic, Eisenhower-worthy monologues, such as: “Everything’s going to be OK. We’re going to have a peaceful transfer of power. We’re going to land this plane safely. This is America.” In one meeting he tells the egregious Stephen Miller to “shut the [expletive] up.”

mark milley army chief of staffWe were, Milley suggests, closer than we knew to the precipice. A crucial moment in this book details the final weeks of Trump’s presidency, when the stitching was really coming off the ball. Milley told aides he feared a coup, and, Leonnig and Rucker write, “saw parallels between Trump’s rhetoric of election fraud and Adolf Hitler’s insistence to his followers at the Nuremberg rallies that he was both a victim and their savior.” Milley told aides: “This is a Reichstag moment.”

About the Proud Boys and their ilk, he tells military and law enforcement leaders: “These are the same people we fought in World War II.”

There’s a vast amount more in I Alone Can Fix It. It’s an almost day-by-day accounting of Trump’s last year in office, from the fumbled Covid response to the second impeachment to Rudy Giuliani’s public self-immolations. There are apocalyptic scenes of Trump dressing down and humiliating those around him, including former Attorney General William P. Barr.

A final scene worth mentioning occurred during the siege on January 6. The congresswoman Liz Cheney called Milley the following day to check in. She described being with the Trump dead-ender Representative Jim Jordan during the attack on the Capitol, and how he said to her, “We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you.” Cheney responded, the authors write, by slapping his hand away and telling him, “Get away from me. You [expletive] did this.”

Wolff has scenes Leonnig and Rucker don’t. These include election night details, such as the freak-out in Trump world when Fox News called Arizona early for Biden. Wolff, who wrote a biography of Rupert Murdoch, describes the frantic phone calls that flew back and forth before the word came down from the old Dirty Digger himself: “[Expletive] him.”

In this accounting, Trump belittles his followers. “Trump often expressed puzzlement over who these people were,” Wolff writes, “their low-rent ‘trailer camp’ bearing and their ‘get-ups,’ once joking that he should have invested in a chain of tattoo parlors and shaking his head about ‘the great unwashed.’”

djt validimir putin

Palmer Report, Opinion: Who’s leaking these new Trump-Russia details? TR Kenneth, July 15, 2021. Apparently, Putin can’t plug up his leaks because Trump’s been outed now as the Russian asset we’ve all known him to be. The documents confirming this were highly classified and direct from the Kremlin, as newly reported by the Guardian.

Right now, there’s lots of speculation as to why this is coming out. Is it more disinformation intentionally coming from Russia? Is it something the US has had and is finally releasing?

bill palmer report logo headerIf the Kremlin is “leaking” the documents to damage Trump, then Putin is signaling their relationship is done and Trump’s on his own. This could be significant, given Biden’s recent conversation with Putin about not interfering with the US.

If the US Intel community is outing the document, it could also signal Trump is cooked and should be investigated for treason. If the document is faked, then we can ride the speculation train all the way up to the mob and Semion Mogilevich.

ny times logoNew York Times, Priscilla McMillan, Who Knew Both Kennedy and Oswald, Dies at 92, Sam Roberts, Updated July 15, 2021. A Cold War scholar, she met Lee Harvey Oswald four years before President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and later wrote “Marina and Lee,” a book about him and his Russian wife.

Priscilla Johnson McMillan, believed to be the only person to have conversed extensively with both John F. Kennedy and his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, died on July 7 at her home in Cambridge, priscilla johnson mcmillan me lee resized IMG 8031Mass. She was 92.

Her niece Holly-Katharine Johnson confirmed the death. She said Ms. McMillan had been in hospice care since injuring her spine in a fall several months ago.

Like nearly everyone, Ms. McMillan was shocked on Nov. 22, 1963, by reports that President Kennedy had been murdered. But walking through Harvard Square when she heard that the president — who was also her former boss — had been killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, she was one of a very few who had another thought as well.

“My God,” she told a friend. “I know that boy.”

Several other people had briefly encountered both men, but Ms. McMillan had conferred with both. She had dealt with Kennedy in Washington as an adviser on Indochina in 1953, when he was a senator. And as a journalist, she had interviewed Mr. Oswald, a 20-year-old disillusioned Marine veteran, in Moscow in 1959 about why he was defecting to the Soviet Union.

She would later spend seven months interviewing Mr. Oswald’s Russian-born widow, Marina, and 13 years researching and writing a book, “Marina and Lee: The Tormented Love and Fatal Obsession Behind Lee Harvey Oswald’s Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” which was published in 1977.

Justice Integrity Project Editor's Note:  The death on July 7 of author and longtime Harvard University fellow Priscilla Johnson McMillan has prompted two starkly different reactions summarized below, both linked to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and media coverage then and now. Those different views are summarized below.

For mainstream publications, such as the Washington Post in its McMillan obituary excerpted below, she provided go-to expertise that the 1964 Warren Commission was correct in concluding that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole killer of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and that Oswald had no co-conspirators or other accomplices.

For critics of the Warren Report, she was a cog in the U.S. Cold War intelligence apparatus that has consistently sought to misinform the public about the Oswalds and the Kennedy assassination, in part to obscure the true reasons for the murder and responsibility for the action and cover-up  continuing to the present.

The Justice Integrity Project will be publishing an in-depth analysis soon.

July 12

Variety, ‘JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass’ Review: Oliver Stone Doubles Down on the Mother of All Conspiracy Theories,‘ Owen Gleiberman, July 12, 2021. The director has made a kind of documentary companion-piece sequel to 'JFK,' in which he takes a just-the-facts-ma'am approach that never belies the grandiosity of his conspiracy theories.'

“JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass” lives up to its title. Directed by Oliver Stone, it’s a kind of documentary companion-piece sequel to “JFK,” and yes, it takes you through the looking glass again.

There are moments when it gives you that heady, tingling, oh-my-God-I-have-seen-the-truth-that-was-hidden! sensation of revelatory immersion, the kind that hits you when you’re confronted with an autopsy photo in which a wound is said to have mysteriously disappeared, or when you’re staring at a declassified page from the Warren Commission Report in which Gerald Ford, with a few penciled-in words, literally shifts by six inches the place where the first bullet entered JFK. At moments like that, you feel the frisson of the junkie-hit injections that conspiracy theory is built upon. They’re the moments you can feel yourself slipping through the looking glass, or down the rabbit hole, or wherever else it is that you feel more alive than you did the moment before, because you’ve now glimpsed where The Forbidden Truth resides.

Does “JFK Revisited” reveal a smoking gun? No, it doesn’t. It says that Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle wasn’t a smoking gun — and claims that he wasn’t even in the Texas School Book Depository. (Chew on that one for a while.) Yet the film, in another way, presents almost every moment in it as a smoking gun. In the 30 years since “JFK” was released, Stone has never let go of the belief that there’s a hidden history of things, one that the official history is designed to cover up. If anything, he’s only expanded that belief (it’s the premise of his fascinating 12-part documentary “The Untold History of the United States,” released on Showtime in 2012).

We used to call it “conspiracy theory,” and that’s still a good phrase for it, but to the increasingly vast number of Americans who now live inside it, it is neither conspiracy nor theory; it is simply reality. In “Through the Looking Glass,” Stone, after presenting two hours’ worth of evidence about the JFK assassination, refers to what he has shown us as “conspiracy fact,” as if he had finally blown the hinges off the Oswald lone-gunman scenario. His words are meant to be a rebuke to all those who have written him off over the years as a brilliant but frothing information-age political fantasist.

The JFK assassination launched the Age of Conspiracy, and many conspiracies followed — Paul is Dead, the fake moon landing, the cover-up of alien abductions, the murder of Princess Diana, 9/11 as inside job. That a good portion of the American public now thinks Joe Biden stole the election, and that QAnon is something other than organized media psychosis, shows you just how far through the looking glass we’ve gone.

But in the continuum of conspiracy theory that has escalated for 60 years, there’s no doubt that “JFK,” Stone’s blacks-ops puzzle of a true-life political thriller, gave a seismic boost of legitimacy to the metaphysic of conspiracy theory. Released in 1991, the film had an ominous dazzle. It sucked you into the vortex and was taken as deadly seriously as it deserved to be. It reopened the case in the American imagination, to the point that Congress, in 1992, passed the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, declassifying half a million documents that had emerged from the findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976. Those documents were supposed to have remained sealed until 2029, but “JFK” undid that deadline. And “Through the Looking Glass” is built on information contained in them. In other words, it’s based on the U.S. government’s own record of the JFK assassination, and Stone’s interpretation of it.

After “JFK,” I came back through the looking glass myself. Up until then, I’d always believed that there was some kind of conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, and that belief was only heightened by the poetic power of “JFK.” But as I was moved to consume more about the assassination than I ever had before, and to confront new evidence and analysis like the kind presented in Gerald Posner’s 1993 book “Case Closed” or Robert Stone’s mind-opening 2007 documentary “Oswald’s Ghost,” I began to swing back to the lone-gunman version of events, and to see it, in an odd way, as the ultimate looking-glass scenario: the one that now completely challenged our sense of reality. (How could one small sick man like Lee Harvey Oswald commit an act so horrifically monumental? That’s the real vortex.)

July 11 

Editor's Note: The death on July 7 of author and longtime Harvard University fellow Priscilla Johnson McMillan has prompted two starkly different reactions summarized below, both linked to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and media coverage then and now. Those different views are summarized below.

For mainstream publications, such as the Washington Post in its McMillan obituary excerpted below, she provided go-to expertise that the 1964 Warren Commission was correct in concluding that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole killer of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and that Oswald had no co-conspirators or other accomplices.

priscilla johnson mcmillan me lee resized IMG 8031McMillan, known by her maiden name Priscilla Johnson at the time, had been extensively interviewed by the Warren Commission staff in 1964, based in part on her rare if not unique vantage point of having known Kennedy as one his senate staffers in the early 1950s and then interviewing Oswald in Moscow in 1959 after he claimed he wanted to defect from the United States.

Holder of a master’s degree from Harvard University in Soviet studies and later a translator working for the U.S. embassy in Moscow, Johnson McMillan's reputation as an expert on the Oswalds and the assassination was enhanced by her exclusive research access to Oswald’s widow Marina Oswald beginning in 1964, resulting in a 1977 biography, Marina and Lee, right, published by the prestigious Harper & Row. It had previously published her translation of letters by Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

For many years, she was an Associate at the Russian Research Center at Harvard — and was published in such prestigious periodicals as the New York Times and Harper’s.

For critics of the Warren Report such as those excerpted below, she was a cog in the U.S. Cold War intelligence apparatus that has consistently sought to misinform the public about the Oswalds and the Kennedy assassination, in part to obscure the true reasons for the murder and responsibility for the action and cover-up  continuing to the present.

In that view, articulated below by encyclopedia creator John Simkin and attorney Bill Simpich, each authors of JFK-related books, many of McMillan’s supposed breakthrough career achievements were orchestrated in advance to position her as an “expert” and / or were provided to her as rewards for her continued cooperation in advancing false history.

These critics draw for their conclusions on the vast literature about the assassination that for decades has persuaded at least sixty percent of the American public and sometimes even higher percentages, not to believe the Warren Report's main findings, according to public opinion polls. An estimated three thousand books have been published in whole or part about the assassination, plus some five million declassified U.S. documents, according to Washington attorney James Lesar, who along with his late partner Bernard “Bud” Fensterwald obtained many of those documents via Freedom of Information Act litigation and helped various archive centers make them available. 

Among key disclosures: Kennedy had forced the resignations of the three top CIA leaders, including pioneering and well-connected Director Allen Dulles, as well as the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff because of Kennedy's fury at their duplicitious and in his view war-mongering policies seeking a U.S. invasion of Cuba without presidential approval, among other goals. Dulles would, of course, not only go on to join the seven-member Warren Commission but would be its most influential member because of his presumed expertise and the fact that he did not hold a fulltime job elsewhere, as did U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, for whom the commission was named but who, like other commissioners, seldom had time to hear witnesses talking primarily to staff.

One shocking disclosure from declassified documents is the transcript of a 1964 super-secret closed session of commissioners and their chief counsel. During it, Dulles persuaded the others to keep secret forever what he described as unfounded reports from Dallas authorities that Oswald had been working as a covert government asset.

Much more information about that is now available: Oswald, a U.S. Marine who had worked as a radar technician in Japan on the ultra-secret 1950s U-2 spy flights over China and the Soviet Union, had travelled in 1959 to the Soviet Union in what some regard as, in effect, a secret assignment from the U.S. government to pretend to defect and thereby infiltrate the enemy. Adding credence to such an interpretation were his many interactions with anti-communist FBI and military upon his return to the United States in 1962, including his remarkable six months of work on classified U.S. intelligence materials for the contractor Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall during the height of near-nuclear war against the Soviet Union during the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis that year. 

That was part of a pattern whereby Oswald, notorious in the public view as a supposed Marxist and purported defector, was hired upon his return to the United States by entities well-known for their fierce anti-lee harvey oswald uniformcommunism. These 1960s Oswald employers included the Reilly Coffee Company in New Orleans and the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. The latter business was part of the defense contracting empire of D.H. Byrd, owner of the LTV warplane manufacturing company. Byrd, a close friend of then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, had founded the Civil Air Patrol, which during the 1950s helped guide patriotic teenagers into military careers. Oswald had been a Civil Air Patrol member in New Orleans. The media seldom show Oswald in his Civil Air Patrol or Marine uniforms, as at right, and instead typically portray him as in mug shots or other crime-linked photos looking arrogant, haggard or otherwise unpleasant.

Among critics of the Warren Commission, many of whom like Simkin and Simpich share their insights on a near-daily confidential, invitation-only email exchange that includes experts who are well-known pro-Commission advocates, it remains an open and divisive question whether Oswald played a role in assassination operations orchestrated by others or was a complete patsy who never fired a shot.

Whatever the case on that, his widow's role also has come under great scrutiny, including her unsuccessful efforts to recant her original testimony and cooperation with McMillan. Author Dick Russell describes in his On the Trail of the JFK Assassins (Skyhorse, 2008) how she sought to correct the record in the early 1990s, saying that she had been frightened into cooperating in a "frame-up" of her husband, who she described as innocent and as having "loved President Kennedy."

Russell's account of her call to him included the following.

"I am completely helpless," she said, continuing, "It is not important to me who did the shooting but the reasons behind it and the cover-up. This is not good for the nation. America is dying because this was allowed to happen thirty years ago. I cannot understand the apathy."

dickrussellHer call to Russell, left, had come because he had authored The Man Who Knew Too Much (Carroll & Graf, 1992), which alleges that deep cover intelligence agent Richard Case Nagell had been assigned to kill Oswald in 1963 but chose instead to avoid such a task in Dallas by creating a disturbance in El Paso so that he would be arrested and held there in the fall of 1963. Nagell found himself imprisoned instead for years in maximum security conditions for reasons inexplicable to his actual conduct in waving a gun at a bank and then immediately cooperating in his arrest. Nagell died in suspicious circumstances in 1995 once he cooperated with Russell in limited fashion as investigative interest revived in the assassination following Oliver Stone's blockbuster film JFK

Russell arranged for Marina Oswald to fly from Dallas to Boston to meet privately with eminent lawyers and researchers, who included Jim Lesar and his colleague Daniel Alcorn, founders and still leaders of the Assassination Archives Research Center in Washingon, D.C. 

But Russell reported in his book a chapter-length account of how these sympathetic authors and legal experts advised after hearing her out that her options were so limited as to be almost impossible. She concluded that her search for truth and justice would be without legal remedy even if she argued that she, a single mother of two young children in a foreign land, had been intimidated into cooperating in a false narrative. 

"Some of the finest legal minds in the country had come together, with the widow of the accused assassin" Russell wrote, "to find some way -- any way -- to reopen the case. Thirty years after the fact, it seemed pretty hopeless, short of someone's deathbed confession."  

Yet many critics still regard it as their civic obligation to challenge the official story.

They argue that certain major academic institutions, publishers and news outlets damage their credibility by touting those like McMillan almost uncritically and without noting their demonstrable connections to an intelligence sector that continues to thwart investigations of Kennedy's death despite such measures as the JFK Records Act passed three decades ago requiring full release of assassination records. The Biden Administration is scheduled to release a final tranche of the most sensitive documents this fall, unless release is again postponed as much of it was four years ago by the Trump Administration. 

You can judge the facts for yourself based on the material below.

-- Andrew Kreig

Justice Integrity Project Editor

Author, attorney and publisher of Oswald: Russian Episode by Ernst Titovets, M.D., Ph.D. (Eagle View Books, 2021). The 500-page illustrated memoir by Oswald's English-speaking close friend in the Soviet Union, a guest at the wedding of Lee and Marina Oswald and friend during their courtship, was first published privately in 2010. Dr. Titovets, who is granting interviews on the book and who is still publishing peer-reviewed research in his field of brain science, argues that the Oswald he knew was an idealist who never would have killed anyone, much less Kennedy, a leader he admired. 

 

lee harvey oswald minsk radio factory friends no glasses

Lee Harvey Oswald, an accused but never convicted assassin of President John F. Kennedy, is shown at front center in an undated 1960 photo with fellow workers in a radio factory in Minsk, in the Soviet Union. 

washington post logoWashington Post, Priscilla Johnson McMillan, historian who knew both JFK and Oswald, dies at 92, Harrison Smith, July 10 (print ed.). Just out of graduate school in 1953, Priscilla Johnson McMillan joined the Senate staff of John F. Kennedy, then a newly elected Democrat from Massachusetts. He was “mesmerizing,” she later said; while she worked only briefly on Capitol Hill, she visited him in the hospital when he underwent spinal surgeries, and posed as one of his sisters to get past a line of nurses and bring newspapers to his bedside.

Mrs. McMillan, who was then known as Priscilla Johnson, later went into journalism and moved to Moscow, where she drew on her fluency in Russian to file stories for the North American Newspaper Alliance. In November 1959, a friend at the U.S. Embassy mentioned that “a boy named Oswald” was in town trying to defect. He was staying at her hotel, the Metropol, where she spent five hours interviewing him over tea.

priscilla johnson mcmillan recentThe young man seemed excited, nervous, a little frightened. He was 20, a former Marine with a light Southern accent, and wanted to talk about Marxist economics and complain about the U.S. Embassy, which he said had tried to dissuade him from renouncing his citizenship. “I want to give people in the United States something to think about,” he said.

Four years later, on Nov. 22, 1963, Mrs. McMillan was suddenly jolted back to their conversation, not long after learning that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. Walking through Harvard Square, near the university where she was a visiting scholar, a friend told her that authorities had arrested the shooter. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald.

“My God,” Mrs. McMillan recalled saying. “I know that boy.”

Indeed, she was one of the only people who knew both Kennedy and his killer, who died two days later after being shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby in the basement of Dallas police headquarters. Their deaths launched her on a 14-year odyssey, as she tried to find out why the quiet young man she met in Moscow had decided to shoot the president.

Mrs. McMillan persuaded Oswald’s Soviet-born widow, Marina, to sit for an exclusive book interview in exchange for a share of the royalties. They wound up speaking for nearly seven months, providing Mrs. McMillan with the core of Marina and Lee (1977), a critically acclaimed account of the Kennedy assassination, told through the lens of Oswald and his wife.

In a review for the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Powers wrote that Mrs. McMillan’s book “achieves with art what the Warren Commission failed to do with its report,” offering a persuasive case that Oswald acted alone as the assassin.

priscilla johnson mcmillan me lee resized IMG 8031“It is far better than any book about Kennedy,” he added, “with the unsettling result that the assassination is experienced from the wrong end. . . . If you can find the heart to read it, you may finally begin to forget the phantom gunmen on the grassy knoll.”

Mrs. McMillan, who went on to an accomplished career as a historian of the Cold War and U.S. nuclear weapons policy, was 92 when she died July 7 at her home in Cambridge, Mass. Her health had declined after a fall about eight weeks ago, said her niece and biographer, Holly-Katharine Johnson.

While writing her Oswald book, Mrs. McMillan translated Twenty Letters to a Friend, a 1967 memoir by Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, who had defected to the United States earlier that year. She later spent more than two decades researching and writing The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2005), about the father of the atomic bomb, whose career unraveled after he was accused of being a Soviet spy during the McCarthy era.

But she remained best known for her book on Oswald. His widow, who remarried and went by Marina Oswald Porter, described him as a fame-obsessed liar with a short temper and violent mood swings. “He was a lonely person,” she told Mrs. McMillan. “He trusted no one. He was too sick. It was the fantasy of a sick person, to get attention only for himself.”

By the time Mrs. McMillan published her book, conspiracy theories had proliferated about the killing. There seemed to be little appetite for her relatively straightforward account of a wayward, self-described Marxist; sales were modest, although Marina and Lee was reissued in 2013.

“The argument over Kennedy was a kind of national madness for decades — but that is largely over now, and I would argue that Priscilla’s book stands firm as balanced and persuasive,” Powers wrote in an email. Mrs. McMillan’s interviews with Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald, he added, formed a key part of the historical record.

“Imagine that some Roman had done the same with Brutus before the assassination of Julius Caesar, and then followed it with a similar history of the countdown to the killing — if you wanted to understand the politics and the life of Rome in those years, that is where you would start.”

Priscilla Mary Post Johnson was born in Glen Cove, N.Y., on July 19, 1928, and raised in nearby Locust Valley, on the North Shore of Long Island. Her father was a financier who inherited a textile company, and her mother was a homemaker.

After graduating from the private Brearley School in Manhattan, she studied Russian at Bryn Mawr College, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1950. Three years later, she earned a master’s in Russian studies from Radcliffe College, now part of Harvard.

Mrs. McMillan translated Russian newspaper articles before traveling to the Soviet Union for the first time, in 1955, paying her way by working as a translator for the New York Time. In Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, she palled around with newspaper columnist Leonard Lyons and novelist Truman Capote, who recounted some of their experiences in a 1956 nonfiction book, The Muses Are Heard.

In 1966, she married George McMillan, an author and journalism instructor. They later divorced. She had no immediate survivors but had a vast “chosen family,” often letting near-strangers and mutual friends stay at her home in Cambridge, where she was an associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

“More than anyone I’ve ever met, she created something like a 19th-century European salon at her home,” said Steven Aftergood, the director of the Government Secrecy Project at the Federation of American Scientists. “You’d never know who you’d meet — government officials, academics, writers, artists. It was a kind of intellectual chemistry experiment.”

In recent years, Marina Oswald insisted that her husband was actually innocent, and blamed the Mafia and CIA for Kennedy’s killing. Mrs. McMillan remained convinced that Oswald acted alone, telling the Atlantic that “Marina’s change of views may stem from her daughters’ reluctance to accept their father as the assassin.”

She had long believed that the assassination would prompt conspiracy theories, in part for psychological reasons. “The killing of a President, or a king or father, is the hardest of all crimes for men to deal with,” she wrote in a 1975 Washington Post essay. “As Freud pointed out, it is this crime that stirs the deepest guilt and anxiety. . . . No matter what steps are taken, what investigation may be authorized or what autopsy material made public, I suspect that the doubts about President Kennedy’s murder are going to be with us forever.”

Priscilla Johnson (later McMillan) is shown at left with Marina Oswald, widow of Lee Harvey Oswald, in a 1964 photo in Santa Fe, New Mexico. McMillan had met her husband in the Soviet Union and later authored a book, Marina and Lee, published by Harper & Row in 1977.

Priscilla Johnson (later McMillan) is shown at left with Marina Oswald, right, widow of Lee Harvey Oswald, in a 1964 photo in Santa Fe, New Mexico. McMillan had met her husband Lee Oswald in the Soviet Union in 1959 and later authored a book, "Marina and Lee," published by Harper & Row in 1977.

Spartacus Educational, Encyclopedia: Priscilla Johnson McMillan, John Simkin (The UK-based researcher, right, created the Spartacus Educational online encyclopedia and authored the book john simkinAssassination of John F. Kennedy, shown below at left), updated July 10, 2021. The author of Marina and Lee (1977) has died after a fall at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts (7 July, 2021).

In July 1964 Johnson moved to Texas and befriended Marina Oswald, and the two spent considerable time together. In November 1964, Johnson signed a contract with Harper & Row for a book to be published about the Oswalds. The book was expected to be published in 1965. However, Marina and Lee did not appear until 1977. In the book, she argued that Oswald had assassinated the president and had acted alone.

In an interview published 36 years later, she said: "I'm just as sure now as I was then that he did it, and also that he couldn't have done it with anybody else. He wasn't somebody who, in his life, had ever done anything with anybody else."

john simkin coverIn the article that appears in Wikipedia, nothing is said about her CIA background. This has been revealed in recent years by declassified CIA files. While studying Russian literature at Radcliffe College, Harvard University, she became a member of the United World Federalists, an organization run by Cord Meyer. After graduating with a master's degree in 1952 she applied to join the CIA.

According to CIA files she was rejected because some of her associates would require more investigation. The document was signed by Cord Meyer, below right, who was now chief of CIA Investigations and Operational Support. On 17th March 1953, W. A. Osborne, sent a memo to Sheffield Edwards, head of CIA security, that after checking out cord meyerJohnson's associates he "recommended approval." However, on 23rd March he sent another memo saying that "in light of her activities in the United World Federalists" he now "recommended that she be disapproved".

In 1953, Johnson went to work for Senator John F. Kennedy. (It is claimed that Johnson was the only person who knew both JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald). The following year she worked as a translator for the Digest of Soviet Press. In 1955, Johnson moved to the Soviet Union where she worked as a translator for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. This time, the CIA made no objection to Johnson having access to classified information.

Priscilla Johnson returned to the United States in April 1957. The CIA continued to take an interest in Johnson. In a CIA document dated 23rd August 1957, it stated that during the Second World War she was "utilized by OSO (Office of Special Operations) in 1943 and 1944". As she was only 15 at the time, this is clearly inaccurate. John M. Newman has speculated that Johnson was being given a cover story of someone who had a "good security record".

In February 1958, Johnson travelled to Cairo. The following month she was in Paris. According to her own testimony she worked for "someone I knew either for Radio Liberty or the Congress for Cultural Freedom." While in France she applied to the USSR consulate to go to the Soviet Union. On 6th May 1958, the Chief of CI/OA submitted a request for operational approval on Johnson. The operation for which she was being considered is still classified.

Johnson arrived in Moscow for the third time on 4th July 1958. She did not stay for long and returned to the United States. Soon afterwards she obtained employment as a reporter for the North American News Alliance (NANA). Johnson arrived back in Moscow soon after Arline Mosby had interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald (13th November 1959).

On her arrival Johnson checked into the same hotel as Osward. The following day, she visited the American Embassy to pick up her mail (16th November 1959). According to Johnson, John McVickar approached her and told her that "there's a guy in your hotel who wants to defect, and he won't talk to any of us here". She later told the Warren Commission: "John McVickar said she was refusing to talk to journalists. So I thought that it might be an exclusive, for one thing, and he was right in my hotel, for another." As Johnson was leaving the American Embassy McVickar told her "to remember she was an American."

lee harvey oswald minskLee Harvey Oswald, shown at left in a photo from that period, agreed to be interviewed by Priscilla Johnson. She later testified that they talked from between nine until one or two in the morning. Oswald told her: "Once having been assured by the Russians that I would not have to return to the United States, come what may, I assumed it would be safe for me to give my side of the story."

Johnson's article appeared in the Washington Evening Star. Surprisingly, the article did not include Oswald's threat to reveal radar secrets. Nor was it mentioned in any other article or book published by Johnson on Oswald. However, under oath before the Warren Commission, she admitted that Oswald had told her that "he hoped his experience as a radar operator would make him more desirable to them (the Soviets)".

cia logoOn 11th December 1962, a CIA memo written by Donald Jameson (declassified in August 1993) reported: "I think that Miss Johnson can be encouraged to write pretty much the articles we want. It will require a little more contact and discussion, but I think she could come around... Basically, if approached with sympathy in the cause she considers most vital, I believe she would be interested in helping us in many ways. It would be important to avoid making her think that she was being used as a propaganda tool and expected to write what she is told."

After the assassination of JFK Johnson wrote an article for the Boston Globe where she described Lee Harvey Oswald as a classic example of an "embittered psychological loner". She added: "I soon came to feel that this boy was of the stuff of which fanatics are made."

Another CIA document dated dated 5th February 1964, reports on a 11-hour meeting with Johnson. The main objective of the meeting was to debrief Johnson "on her flaps with the Soviets when she was in the USSR, notably at the time of her last exit." She was also asked if she "would be interested in writing articles for Soviet publications." Gary Coit, the CIA officer who conducted the interview with Johnson reported that "no effort was made to attempt to force the issue of a debriefing on her contacts". However, Coit told her he would "probably be back to see her from time to time to see what she knows about specific persons whose names might come up, and she at least nodded assent to this."

Priscilla Johnson’s Wikipedia article points out she married George McMillan in 1965. He is described as a freelance writer. However, in his obituary in the New York Times in 1985 it states he was also the author of The Making of an Assassin (1976), a book that claims that James Earl Ray worked alone in the killing of Martin Luther King Jr.

bill simpichBook Excerpt, "The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend," Bill  Simpich, a San Francisco attorney and historian shown at right, provided this perspective via email, on July 10, 2021. "I offer evidence that Priscilla was not only used by the CIA as a 'spotter,' but that they confused the records on her for purposes of cover. Now that she is deceased, more records will emerge. We should stay tuned."

The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend is the back story to the Simpich book State Secret: Wiretapping in Mexico City, Double Agents, and the Framing of Lee Oswald, published online by the Mary Ferrell Foundation and available for free. Simpich introduces what he calls the back story, or epilogue, this way:

Let's wrap up the story of the twelve who built the Oswald legend -- and see how we can make this story plain in the modern world.

bill simpich state secret 12 who built the legendThis wrap-up will focus on the milieu of the legend makers and Oswald, not on those that planned 11/22. (For my thoughts on that subject, see the Conclusion of State Secret.) Here's my analysis, based on the facts as I see them.

I think these thoughts also offer a path toward historical resolution of the JFK case. This case is not nearly as mysterious as many people like to portray it. The most important thing to do? Take a flinty-eyed look at the people around people like the Paines [Ruth Paine and her husband Michael]. People leading to people like FBI agent Bardwell Odum. 

...

 

Legend Maker #3: Priscilla Johnson

Johnson was presented with a suitable gift for her hard work. When Stalin's daughter defected to the United States in 1967, James Angleton made arrangements for Miss Svetlana Alliloueva to "be the guest of Mr. Stewart Johnson, Locust Valley Farm, Nassau County, New York. Mr. Johnson is a relative of Priscilla Johnson McMillan, who has been commissioned to write a book priscilla johnson mcmillan headshot recentof Mme. Alliloueva's memoirs for Harper & Row publishers..." Mr. Johnson was Priscilla's father.

Years later, Svetlana Alliluyeva said that the book she wrote on her arrival in New York was "a collective creative production...(due to a contract with) a powerful American law firm with close links to the State Department". (Guardian, 11/17/84)

By the mid-1970s, the American people made it clear that they did not believe the official story of the assassination. There was widespread public outrage when the Zapruder film was finally shown on television. Millions of people finally saw Kennedy shot in the forehead, while Oswald was supposedly firing from well behind the president. Congress was forced to form the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

After fourteen years of working on her book, Johnson released Marina and Lee just as the HSCA was starting its review of the work done by the Warren Commission. Priscilla is the only one of the twelve legend makers still alive to this day.

...

Simpich summarized some of his more notable findings about Johnson this way:

Priscilla Mary Post Johnson was identified with a CI/OA (counter-intelligence/operational approval) number in a 1956 CIA application (C-52373) four years after her initial 1952 application.

The response from the Office of Security in 1956 was odd, because it stated that C-52373 was "Priscilla Livingston Johnson", not "Priscilla R", and that "she was apparently born 23 September 1922 in Stockholm, Sweden, rather than 19 July 1928 at Glen Cove, New York."

During the formation of the HSCA (House Select Committee on Assassinations), Johnson wanted to review what was in the records. "Priscilla Johnson McMillan aka Priscilla Mary Post Johnson" submitted a sworn FOIA request to the FBI asking for all records "indicating my employment in your agency". This statement revealed not only her previously unknown relationship with the Bureau, but also that the 1928/Glen Cove data is her authentic birthdate and birthplace. Now we have some reliable data on Johnson that should offer light when studying her path.

When Johnson's 1956 application was withdrawn in 1957, the memo from SR/10 contradicted the 1956 application with the claim that the birthdate for C-52373 was 19 July 1928. A game is being played with Johnson's identity and birthdates, a game that continues to this day. It's probably a holding action to protect Johnson's reputation, because her book Marina and Lee is now a central pillar in the continuing political battle about what happened in Dallas that day. (I would agree with Thomas Powers' assessment in the New York Times Book Review that Marina and Lee is a "miraculous book".)

cord meyer2What we do know is that on April 10, 1958, Cord Meyer, right, sent a cable to Western Europe expressing interest in Johnson, right after Johnson applied for a Soviet visa in Paris. A couple weeks later, a request went out seeking approval for Johnson to become a "REDSKIN traveler and informant", and that "SR/2 (Soviet Russia Division #2) will have primary responsibility of handling agent."

Johnson was supposedly rejected in June 1958 because her "past activity in USS4, insistence return and indefinite plans inside likely draw Sov suspicions". Nonetheless, she decided to return to Moscow and study Soviet law under a fellowship grant from either Columbia or Harvard universities. By 1962, she was being vetted by the notorious anti-communist professor Richard Pipes and the CIA's Office of Security for a position in a "Soviet survey".

cia logoOther memos, one sent by "SR/RED/O'Connell", illustrate that three Priscillas have now emerged: Besides the original Priscilla Mary Post Johnson,, we now also see the names "Priscilla McClure Johnson, Priscilla McCoy" that are not identical with the original. To top it off, if you add in the references to "Priscilla Livingston Johnson" and "Priscilla R. Johnson", there are now five Priscillas competing for space in the same case file.

These five Priscillas are corroborated by the four CI/OA numbers for Priscilla Johnson seen on her "approval work record" form. 

After all this smoke and fog, the American public has no reason to assume that the US government has done anything but confuse everyone about the role of Johnson.

I did find what is described as a "true name dossier" in the Office of Security files that lists Priscilla Johnson with the biographical file number 201-102798. Furthermore, the Office of Legal Counsel made it plain that it had reviewed "documents from Priscilla Johnson McMillan's 201 file (201-102798)." By the 1970s, Priscilla Johnson McMillan was her married name. We can see with our own eyes that a close-out document for the CIA's 201-102798 file describes "Johnson" as a "witting collaborator" in 1975.

Is it any surprise that Johnson responded in an interview with Anthony Summers and his wife Robbyn that "the Johnson in the 1975 document is someone other than herself?"

Under her married name of Priscilla Johnson McMillan, she muddied the waters further by releasing her book Marina and Lee -- after fourteen years of writing and re-writing -- in the midst of the reopened investigation of the JFK case by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978.

This exercise in game-playing will probably continue with the CIA refusing to reveal Johnson's files until after her death. Johnson could easily resolve these questions by releasing her own copies of the files to the public -- and by squarely addressing further questions while she is still alive.

Related commentary about Priscilla Johnson McMillan includes:

Justice Integrity Project, Medical Expert, Oswald's Friend, Debunks Accused JFK Killer’s Portrayal, Andrew Kreig, May 6, 2021. A new book disputes false portrayals of Lee Harvey Oswald, whom officials promptly named in 1963 as the sole assassin of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

ernst titovets new coverOswald: Russian Episode reveals Oswald’s true character and rebuts claims that his personality made him a likely assassin of JFK.

ernst titovets book back cover portrait new“The real Oswald,” concludes the author, Professor Ernst Titovets, M.D., Ph.D., below at right, based on his close friendship with the American six decades ago, “had no reason whatsoever – either political or personal – to murder John F. Kennedy.”

This book culminates the scientist’s painstaking research conducted over many years to reveal the character of Oswald, which is still largely unknown to the general public.

The book, initially privately published, has been updated and is now widely available in Western nations for the first time. This follows publication on May 6 by Eagle View Books, based in Washington, DC. The book launch was timed for continuing interest in both the JFK assassination, as indicated by a continued publication of new books in recent months, as well as ramped up interest in so-called "conspiracy theories."

Wikipedia, as reported by Helen Dudar of the Arizona Republic, "Svetlana's Translator Is Seasoned Student, Reporter of Russian Affairs," May 21, 1967 (citations omitted). In 1967, McMillan translated the memoirs of Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin's daughter, who had gained much attention that year by defecting to the United States. There was considerable competition among translators and publishers for the assignment, but a recommendation from former U.S. Ambassador and foreign policy legend George F. Kennan helped her get it. She had first encountered Svetlana twelve years earlier, during her first visit to the Soviet Union, when under the name Stalina, she had taught a class at Moscow State University. Svetlana spent her first weeks in America staying at McMillan's father's estate in Locust Valley.

The Atlantic, The Only Person Who Knew Both Kennedy and His Killer, John Meroney, Nov. 21, 2013.  While in the Soviet Union, Priscilla Johnson McMillan met a young American in her hotel who was trying to defect. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald.

The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination has drawn all manner of retrospectives. But for one woman, the memory of tuning in to the news coverage is particularly poignant. Priscilla Johnson McMillan is the only person who knew both President Kennedy and his killer.

McMillan worked for Kennedy on Capitol Hill in the mid-1950s, when he was a U.S. Senator, advising him on foreign policy matters. She then moved into journalism and in 1959 was stationed in the Soviet Union, reporting for The Progressive and the North American Newspaper Alliance. It was there that she met a 20-year-old American called Lee Harvey Oswald. He was staying in her hotel while trying to defect to the Soviet Union.

McMillan interviewed him. Oswald proceeded to critique the American system and informed her that he was a follower of Karl Marx. “I saw,” he said, explaining why he left the U.S., “that I would become either a worker exploited for capitalist profit or an exploiter or, since there are many in this category, I’d be one of the unemployed.” On that night in Moscow, Oswald also told McMillan that he had a life mission: “I want to give the people of the United States something to think about.”

July 14

 

stephen calk paul manafort file

Chicago banker and Trump campaign donor Stephen Calk, right, has been convicted of bribery-related crimes on behalf of former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, above let, to whom Calk's bank gave millions of dollars in fraudulent loans as Calk sought payback via an appointment to a high-ranking Pentagon job or prestigious ambassadorship, as testimony in Manafort's Virginia corruption trial showed.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump associate convicted in court, Bill Palmer, right, July 14, 2021. The most surefire way of nailing Donald Trump bill palmerfor his crimes is to begin by nailing his underlings and associates for their related crimes.

This brings us to Stephen Calk, who was convicted this week of bribing Paul Manafort with millions of dollars in illegitimate loans in exchange for an appointed position in the Trump regime. Calk didn’t get the job, but bribery is still bribery even when it doesn’t succeed. So why does this matter?

bill palmer report logo headerCalk is now heading to prison for what will likely be several years. This means he’s a prime candidate to cut a plea deal. And while he may not have any dirt on Trump, he could certainly flip on Manafort, who accepted the bribe and attempted to get Calk the job.

On his way out the door, Trump did give Manafort a pardon. But there’s no such thing as a pardon for every crime you’ve ever committed. Manafort’s pardon merely focused on the crimes that landed him in prison to begin with. So it’s entirely conceivable that the Feds could turn around and indict Manafort for taking this bribe – particularly if Calk ends up cooperating.

Unless Paul Manafort wants to go back to prison, he would in turn have to flip on Donald Trump. Manafort refused to do this last time around, but that was back when Trump was dangling an eventual pardon in exchange for his silence. Trump can’t pardon Manafort this time, and Manafort knows it.

July 13

Trump attorneys Sidney Powell, left, and Rudy Giuliani falsely claim in November 2020 that the 2020 election was stolen from him without being able to prevail on the claim in more than 60 court decisions around the nation.

Trump attorneys Sidney Powell, left, and Rudy Giuliani falsely claimed in November 2020 that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump without being able to prevail on the claim in more than 60 court decisions around the nation.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘This is really fantastical’: Federal judge in Michigan presses Trump-allied lawyers on 2020 election fraud claims in sanctions hearing, Rosalind S. Helderman, July 13, 2021 (print ed.). The latest effort to hold former president Donald Trump and his allies accountable for months of baseless claims about the 2020 election played out Monday in a Michigan courtroom, where a federal judge asked detailed and skeptical questions of several lawyers she is considering imposing sanctions against for filing a suit seeking to overturn the results.

linda parkerU.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker, right, said she would rule on a request to discipline the lawyers in coming weeks. But over and over again during the more than five-hour hearing, she pointedly pressed the lawyers involved — including Trump allies Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood (shown at left below with Trump last year in the Oval Office) — to explain what steps they had taken to ensure their court filings in the case filed last year had been accurate. She appeared astonished by many of their answers.

Attorney Lin Wood with President Trump at the White House (March 2020).While their suit aimed to create a broad impression that the vote in Michigan — and specifically Detroit’s Wayne County — had been troubled, the affidavits filed to support those claims included obvious errors, speculation and basic misunderstandings of how elections are generally conducted in the state, Parker said.

“There’s a duty that counsel has that when you’re submitting a sworn statement . . . that you have reviewed it, that you had done some minimal due diligence,” she said.

As the hearing concluded, a defiant Powell told the judge that she took “full responsibility” for the case’s pleadings and said she would file them again. She and the other lawyers “had a legal obligation to the country” to raise issues with the election, Powell said.

djt maga hatIf Parker decides to discipline the lawyers, she could require them to pay the fees of their opponents in the case, the city of Detroit and Michigan state officials. But she could also go further — assessing additional monetary penalties or recommending grievance proceedings be opened that could result in banning the attorneys from practicing in Michigan or disbarring them altogether.

The Michigan hearing is part of a broad move underway nationally to hold responsible Trump and his backers who spread falsehoods about the election, the so-called “big lie” that led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The push for accountability has been advancing in the nation’s courts in recent months, even as Republicans have embraced Trump’s baseless claims and blocked an independent commission to scrutinize the failures that contributed to the Jan. 6 riot.

The effort, playing out in several states, includes attempts to punish attorneys who pursued dozens of failed efforts to use the courts to overturn the election, the filing of defamation lawsuits against key figures who falsely claimed voting machine manufacturers tipped the election, and the launch of criminal investigations examining whether Trump and his allies broke the law by trying to interfere with the official administration of the election.

One of the first substantial repercussions came last month, when a committee of judges in New York state suspended the law license of former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who served as rudy giuliani recentTrump’s personal attorney. The committee found that Giuliani, right, had “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large” in violation of his ethical obligations as an attorney.

Representatives for Giuliani have called the action “unprecedented” and expressed confidence that his law license will be restored after a hearing to determine whether to revoke his license permanently.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers (D) has asked a federal judge to order Trump and three of his attorneys to pay the state’s attorneys’ fees in a case the former president filed in December unsuccessfully challenging President Biden’s win there. Trump and his lawyers told a judge in a court filing Monday that the request for attorney’s fees was “untimely and unwarranted.”t

Authorities in several states have also opened criminal probes related to the post-election period, including in Fulton County, Ga., where District Attorney Fani Willis launched a criminal investigation in February, in the wake of Trump’s calls to state officials to try to persuade them reverse Biden’s victory in the state.

Palmer Report, Sidney Powell is going through some things today, Bill Palmer, July 12, 2021. The wheels of justice turn way too slowly, but they nonetheless turn. Trump-adjacent lawyers including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood were forced to appear before a judge in Michigan today, in an initial hearing to determine whether they should be disbarred and/or face other court imposed sanctions. It didn’t go well for them.

The Judge systematically dismantled the ridiculous lawsuit that Sidney Powell and her pals filed late last year, which used phony evidence to claim that Donald Trump won Michigan. Yet even as this played out today, Powell incredibly made the claim that she stood by the suit and that she’d file it all over again if given the chance.

bill palmer report logo headerMeanwhile Powell’s associate Julia Haller was reduced to tears during the hearing. Lin Wood spent the entire time insisting that he had no idea he had even been a part of the election lawsuit; it’s still not entirely clear if he’s just playing dumb or if he really is psychologically unraveling this badly.

In any case, this hearing went poorly for all of the lawyers who were involved in the phony suit, but particularly badly for Sidney Powell. The Judge ended up giving them two weeks from today to file whatever they want to file that they think might help their case. But if the tenor of today’s hearing was an accurate indicator, then Powell and her pals appear headed for disbarment.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump Organization removes indicted top finance officer Allen Weisselberg from leadership roles at dozens of subsidiaries, David A. Fahrenthold and Shayna Jacobs, July 13, 2021 allen weisselberg cropped(print ed.). The Trump Organization has removed indicted chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, right, from his leadership roles at more than 40 subsidiary companies, according to corporate filings in the United States and Scotland.

The changes were made Thursday and Friday, a week after a grand jury in Manhattan indicted Weisselberg on 15 felony counts, including grand larceny and tax fraud. Weisselberg was accused by New York prosecutors of helping run a 15-year scheme to evade income taxes by concealing executives’ salaries — including more than $1.7 million of his own income — from tax authorities. Two Trump corporate entities were indicted alongside Weisselberg.

On Thursday, the Trump Organization removed Weisselberg as a director of the company that runs its golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, according to British corporate records.

washington post logoWashington Post, Book Excerpt: ‘I Alone Can Fix It’: Inside Trump’s Election Day and the birth of the ‘big lie,’ Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker, July 13, 2021. At the end of a tumultuous day, the defiant president refused to accept the signs that he was losing the White House contest to Joe Biden. “I won in a landslide and they’re taking it back,” Trump told advisers.

  • Part one of an excerpt from I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year. Leonnig and Rucker will discuss this book during a Washington Post Live event on July 20.

carol leonnig philip rucker trump2 coverFinally, Election Day had arrived. The morning of Nov. 3, 2020, President Trump was upbeat. The mood in the West Wing was good. Some aides talked giddily of a landslide. Several women who worked in the White House arrived wearing red sweaters in a show of optimism, while some Secret Service agents on the president’s detail sported red ties for the occasion. Trump’s voice was hoarse from his mad dash of rallies, but he thought his exhausting final sprint had sealed the deal. He considered Joe Biden to be a lot of things, but a winner most definitely was not one of them. “I can’t lose to this f------ guy,” Trump told aides.

Around noon, his detail whisked Trump across the Potomac River to visit his campaign headquarters in Arlington, where campaign manager Bill Stepien and the senior leadership briefed Trump in the conference room. Stepien outlined what to expect that night — when polls closed in each battleground state, how quickly votes should be tallied and which states would probably have the first projected winners. He explained that because of the huge number of mail-in ballots in many states, it might take long into the night for votes to be counted. Patience was in order.

Stepien explained to Trump that in many battleground states, the first votes to be recorded were expected to be in-person Election Day votes, which could lean Trump, while mail-in votes, which were likely to heavily favor Biden, would be added to the tally later as those ballots were processed. This meant that the early vote totals could well show Trump ahead by solid margins.

washington post logoWashington Post, Texas Democrats arrive in D.C. after leaving their state to block restrictive voting legislation, Amy Gardner and Eva Ruth Moravec, July 13, 2021 (print ed.). Democratic lawmakers in Texas fled the state on Monday, potentially torpedoing an ongoing special session called by Republicans to take up new voting restrictions and other GOP priorities.

texas mapAt least 50 House Democrats landed in Washington late Monday. The exodus denies Republicans the required two-thirds attendance level to conduct business, calling into doubt whether plans to take up voting legislation this week could proceed.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosSpeaking to reporters at Dulles International Airport, Texas Democratic leaders vowed to stay away from the state until Aug. 7, when the 30-day special session would end.

“We are determined to kill this bill,” House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner said.

In a statement, Turner and other leaders also pledged to pressure Congress to pass new federal voting protections.

washington post logoWashington Post, The Republican Party’s top lawyer called election fraud arguments by Trump’s lawyers a ‘joke’ that could mislead millions, Josh Dawsey, July 13, 2021 (print ed.). The Republican Party’s top lawyer warned in November against continuing to push false claims that the presidential election was stolen, calling efforts by some of the former president’s lawyers a “joke” that could mislead millions of people, according to an email obtained by The Washington Post.

Justin Riemer, the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel, sought to discourage a Republican Party staffer from posting claims about ballot fraud on RNC accounts, the email shows, as attempts by Donald Trump and his associates to challenge results in a number of states, such as Arizona and Pennsylvania, intensified.

“What Rudy and Jenna are doing is a joke and they are getting laughed out of court,” Riemer, a longtime Republican lawyer, wrote to Liz Harrington, a former party spokeswoman, on Nov. 28, referring to Trump attorneys Rudolph W. Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. “They are misleading millions of people who have wishful thinking that the president is going to somehow win this thing.”

The email from Riemer to Harrington, which came about six weeks before a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, shows key figures in the party were privately disturbed by the false claims being made about the election by Trump and his supporters — even if they did not say so publicly.

rnc logorudy giuliani recentRiemer said Ellis and Giuliani, left, were damaging a broader Republican Party push on “election integrity” issues, according to the email. Riemer had led the party’s legal efforts for months ahead of and after the November election, particularly limiting the expansion of mail-in ballots. But Riemer was skeptical internally of some of the most conspiratorial theories and did not believe many of the claims from Giuliani and others about fraud, according to people who talked to Reimer and, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

Some Trump allies, including Giuliani, sought to have Riemer fired after learning of the email, according to people familiar with the matter, but he remains employed at the RNC.

“I led the RNC legal team in over 55 lawsuits on behalf of the President’s reelection, winning a majority of them, including the only successful post-election lawsuit. Any suggestion that I did not support President Trump or do everything in my power to support the RNC’s efforts to reelect President Trump is false,” Riemer said in a statement. “I will say publicly now what I then said privately: I take issue with individuals who brought lawsuits that did not serve President Trump well and did not give him the best chance in court.”

Harrington, who is now a spokeswoman for Trump, continued to push voter-fraud allegations and left the RNC at the end of 2020. As the former president’s spokeswoman, she continues to post false claims of election fraud on social media and helps draft and disseminate the former president’s false claims about the election.

“The only thing that’s a joke is the idea that Joe Biden got 81 million votes,” Harrington said when asked about Riemer’s email on Monday afternoon.

ronna mcdaniel djt CustomIn recent weeks, some Trump allies have targeted the RNC and its chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, left, arguing they did not do enough in the aftermath of the Nov. 3 election to help Trump overturn the results. Ellis has led many of the attacks, tweeting “#RonnaMustGo.”

Conservative nonprofit group challenging election results around the country has tie to Trump legal adviser Jenna Ellis

Ellis and Giuliani were brought in by Trump to handle his election challenges within two weeks of the election, amid his growing dissatisfaction with his traditional legal team. Many of those lawyers stepped back in mid-November, when Trump appointed Giuliani and others to take charge. But Giuliani and Ellis were also unable to overturn the results, and Trump has complained about both of them in recent weeks, according to multiple people familiar with the former president’s remarks. Ellis has launched a group on voting, but Trump has not yet backed it publicly.

The RNC has also declined, according to multiple people familiar with the matter, to pay any of Giuliani’s legal bills — a point of contention among some Giuliani associates. “Rudy Giuliani has never worked for the RNC and he has never acted at our direction,” a party spokeswoman said.

ny times logoNew York Times, As Republicans Take Aim at Voting, Democrats Search for a Response, Michael Wines, July 13, 2021 (print ed.). A speech by President Biden on Tuesday could be a signal of how hard the Democrats will fight to protect voting rights.

GOP Opposition To Vaccines

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: GOP anti-vaxxers are sacrificing citizens’ lives for political gain, Michael Gerson (right, former chief speechwriter for GOP President George W. Bush), July 13, 2021 (print ed.). michael gerson file photoHere is perhaps the most important medical and political fact of our time: 99.5 percent of all covid-19-related deaths in the United States occur among unvaccinated people; 0.5 percent of covid deaths occur among vaccinated people. If you tell people not to be vaccinated, you add to the former category.

In this light, the recent outbreak of applause at the Conservative Political Action Conference for the United States’ failure to meet its vaccination target was macabre. Here were political activists — many of whom would call themselves “pro-life” — cheering for the advance of death. How did we get to such a strange, desperate place?

I don’t want to discount the possibility that some people are just badly misinformed. They think the vaccines come with itsy-bitsy tracking chips, or make you magnetic, or render you infertile — all of which are pure rubbish. Ignorance is a form of moral mitigation, but it is still, well, ignorance.

There are also some who oppose vaccination out of a tragically misapplied libertarianism. They somehow think the defense of freedom requires the rejection of sound medical advice from the government. They seek a rarefied form of liberation — liberation from rational rules, from prudent precautions, from scientific reality and from moral responsibility for their neighbors’ well-being. This is the degraded version of a proud tradition: Live free and let someone else die.

But others in conservative media and elected office must know precisely what they’re doing. They’re rational enough to recognize the timeline the rest of us inhabit, on which we desperately needed miraculous vaccines, miraculously got them and expeditiously distributed them to the willing.

fox news logo SmallIn the case of Fox News celebrities in particular, they must know that discouraging vaccination — by exaggerating risks, highlighting unproven alternative therapies and normalizing anti-vaccine voices — will result in additional, unnecessary deaths. This is hard to get my head around. If someone were to pay me as a columnist to argue that cigarette smoking is healthy for children, or to encourage teenagers to take naps on railroad tracks after underage drinking, I don’t think I could make an ethical case for accepting the deal. Should it matter if I belonged to a news network where producing child smokers and trisected teens were institutional policies? Or if one-half of a major political party endorsed such goals? I don’t see why.

For years, I’ve been saying to myself that GOP politics can’t go lower. I am perpetually wrong. Americans should never forget this moment — or let guilty Republicans forget it. When Republican activists cheered for death at CPAC, they were cheering for disproportionately Republican deaths. When elected Republicans feed doubts about safe, effective vaccines, they are making it more physically dangerous to be a Republican in America.

 

July 8

Proof via Substack, Investigation: Sgnificant New Evidence Emerges That the Arizona "Audit" Now Aimed at Discrediting the 2020 Election May Be a Criminal Conspiracy Born in Florida and Involving seth abramson graphicDonald Trump, Seth Abramson, left, July 7, 2021. New information about the Cyber Ninjas' connections to the Florida Republican Party quickly produces a chain of evidence that leads directly to the former President of the United States.

No less an august journalistic body than the Associated Press has asked whether the mysterious firm now running an “audit” of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona— the Cyber Ninjas, a firm run by Doug Logan—might be little more than “grifters.”

According to the AP, before its hire by Arizona’s Republican state senate president Karen Fann, Cyber Ninjas
…had not placed a formal bid for the [Arizona] contract and had no experience with election audits. Senate President Karen Fann says she can’t recall how she found the firm.

seth abramson proof logoWhat the Associated Press appears to get wrong, however, is its diagnosis of how Fann came to select Logan and his firm, with the news agency writing that “Cyber Ninjas’ chief ap logoexecutive officer [Logan] had tweeted support for conspiracy theories claiming Republican Donald Trump, and not Democrat Joe Biden, had won Maricopa County and Arizona.” While this is true, and important, Logan being a far-right conspiracy theorist doesn’t explain how he came onto Fann’s radar—simply that, once he did, he cut a likely figure as someone willing to aid Donald Trump in discrediting the 2020 presidential election at any cost.

What Proof can now report is the apparent means by which Fann found Logan—a wild story that leads directly to the doorstep of Trump himself. It’s a story, too, that is far more than merely academic, for as many media outlets have noted, if Logan and his firm can cast further doubt on the 2020 election in the minds of Trump voters, it could light a fire under Trump’s domestic insurgency while also leading to a) even louder calls for Trump to be (illegally) “reinstated” as president—as has been proposed by former Trump legal adviser Sidney Powell, top Trump ally Michael Lindell, former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn, and even Trump himself—and b) an outbreak of partisan, fraudulent post-election “audits” in states Trump lost.

If these audits turn out the way Trump wants them to—and in the case of the Arizona audit, may well have engineered it to in advance—the result could be chaos across America.  

Seth Abramson, shown above and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionlegal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

Abramson is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Ph.D. program in English at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include a Trump trilogy: Proof of Corruption: Bribery, Impeachment, and Pandemic in the Age of Trump (2020); Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy (2019); and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018).

AZ Central / Arizona Republic, Did Trump and his allies interfere with the Maricopa County election? Secretary of State Katie Hobbs wants an inquiry, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, July 8, 2021 (print ed.). Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Wednesday asked Attorney General Mark Brnovich to open a criminal investigation into possible efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to influence Maricopa County supervisors as the ballots were still being tallied.

Hobbs said some of the communications “involve clear efforts to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties,” which could violate Arizona law. She cited The Arizona Republic’s reporting last week on text messages and voicemails from the White House, Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward to the Republican members of the Board of Supervisors.

“The reporting also includes firsthand statements from the victims of this potential crime,” Hobbs said. She cited at least one potential felony charge under Arizona law.

Brnovich did not immediately comment on Hobbs’ request, which was emailed directly to the attorney general shortly after 1 p.m.

Late Wednesday, Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to examine the possibility of "an extremely serious crime" in what Gallago called a "pressure campaign" exerted by the Trump campaign and party officials.

Their efforts "reflect a disturbing trend following the 2020 election of Trump advisors and allies, and even former President Trump himself, committing potential crimes to overturn the election," Gallego wrote.

The U.S. Justice Department did not have an immediate response earlier Wednesday when asked whether it might look into the matter.

The request for a legal review is freighted with political overtones.

Hobbs, a Democrat, is running for governor next year. She created a national profile for defending Arizona’s election administration efforts when November presidential election results were among the closest in the country. Arizona was spotlighted by Trump and his allies as they promoted the false narrative of a stolen election.

Brnovich, a Republican, is running for the U.S. Senate next year. Trump has criticized Brnovich for not supporting the state Senate’s ongoing ballot review. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona law Brnovich defended that makes voting more difficult, something he has cast as part of his commitment to preserving election integrity.

Now, he has been asked to investigate Trump and his GOP allies on that very issue.

The Guardian, Trump told chief of staff Hitler ‘did a lot of good things’, book says, Martin Pengelly, July 8, 2021 (print ed.). Remark shocked John Kelly, author Michael Bender reports. Book details former president’s ‘stunning disregard for history.’

john kelly o dhsOn a visit to Europe to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, Donald Trump insisted to his then chief of staff, John Kelly: “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”

The remark from the former US president on the 2018 trip, which reportedly “stunned” Kelly, left, a retired US Marine Corps general, is reported in a new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal.

Frankly, We Did Win This Election has been widely trailed ahead of publication next week. The Guardian obtained a copy.

Bender reports that Trump made the remark during an impromptu history lesson in which Kelly “reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and “connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities”.

Bender is one of a number of authors to have interviewed Trump since he was ejected from power.

In a statement a Trump spokesperson, Liz Harrington, said: “This is totally false. President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired.”

But Bender says unnamed sources reported that Kelly “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, emphasizing German economic recovery under Hitler during the 1930s.

“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender writes, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”

Bender adds that Kelly told Trump that even if his claim about the German economy under the Nazis after 1933 were true, “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.”

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Fascist leaders deserve the most extreme punishment available, Wayne Madsen, July 7-8, 2021. Wayne Madsen, left, is a syndicated columnist, the author of 20 wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallbooks, including two about Donald Trump, and is a former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst.

Donald Trump's January 6 attempt to overthrow the constitutional government of the United States continues to play out in state capitals around the nation as his fascist forces wayne madsen cafe vaterlandundermine the democratic electoral process and purge disloyal leaders of the Republican Party from its ranks.

There is little wonder in the revelation in a revelatory book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender that Trump, on a 2017 trip to France to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, told White House chief of staff John Kelly that "Hitler did a lot of good things.”

This editor's novel, Café Vaterland, deals with the Ku Klux Klan and pro-Nazi German-American Bund activities of Trump's father, Fred Trump, prior to and after the outbreak of World War II. Donald Trump's fascination for Hitler can be directly linked to his father's Nazi sympathies.

Trump should be tried by a military commission in the same manner that the co-conspirators of John Wilkes Booth were dealt with in Washington, DC after Booth's assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

The Hitler-praising Trump is no mere insurrectionist. His obvious links to foreign actors in overthrowing the constitutional government of the United States are no different than the activities of various fascist puppet rulers in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It is a useful reminder to consider how these fascist puppets were dealt with after the German surrender in 1945.

July 3

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: The Glorious Fourth! Webster G. Tarpley, July 3, 2021. American Revolution started as a mass strike in rural Massachusetts, where despite 1619 claims webster tarpley 2007slavery was virtually non-existent; British-run Great Barrington court shut down by 1,500 patriots on August 15, 1774: Goal was to reject oppressive judges and assert the right to vote in town meetings – Sound familiar?

100 years of Chinese Communist Party: Result was at least 80 million dead under Chairman Mao alone;

On July 4 weekend, recalling the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

June

June 24

Associated Press via Voice of America,Judge Threatens to Toss DEA Agent's Plea in Corruption Case, June 24, 2021. A Tampa federal judge Wednesday threatened to throw out the guilty ap logoplea of a veteran U.S. narcotics agent who conspired with a Colombian cartel money launderer — an unexpected twist that could derail one of the most egregious misconduct cases in the history of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell was expected to sentence the disgraced agent, Jose I. Irizarry, but refused to do so over what she called a "totally unacceptable" legal dispute.

"I have never seen anything like this," Honeywell said, postponing the sentencing indefinitely. "I'm not even sure at this point I'm going to accept this plea."

voice of america logoThe heated hearing in Tampa federal court came nine months after Irizarry admitted parlaying his expertise in money laundering into a life of luxury that prosecutors said was bankrolled by millions of dollars he diverted from DEA control. The spoils included a $30,000 Tiffany diamond ring for his wife, luxury sports cars and a $767,000 home in the Caribbean resort city of Cartagena — on top of residences in south Florida and Puerto Rico.

At issue is a disagreement over whether the money Irizarry raided from undercover DEA accounts amounted to a misuse of government funds, as Irizarry contends, or the laundering of drug proceeds — a more serious offense that could add a decade to what was already expected to be a lengthy prison sentence.

Irizarry pleaded guilty last year to 19 counts, including conspiracy to commit money laundering and bank fraud, admitting he filed false reports and ordered DEA staff to wire money slated for undercover stings to international accounts he and associates controlled.

The case is the latest black eye for the DEA, which has seen repeated cases of agent misconduct in recent years. Just last week, longtime DEA agent Chad Scott was taken into federal custody after a jury in New Orleans convicted him of taking property from criminal suspects, adding to an earlier conviction on corruption charges.

But it's unclear what lessons the DEA has learned from Irizarry's scheme and whether other agents assigned to the Miami field office where his criminal activity began were involved. His guilty plea also leaves many unanswered questions about the level of supervision he received during his career, in which he had been entrusted with the government's use of front companies, shell bank accounts and couriers to combat international drug trafficking.

Irizarry's defense attorney contended in recent court filings that the accounts in question amounted to a profit-producing "slush fund" for official and personal travel of federal law enforcement, U.S. prosecutors and confidential sources. https://www.voanews.com/usa/judge-threatens-toss-dea-agents-plea-corruption-case

"They were going to dinners, drinks and doing all sorts of things with this money," attorney Humberto Dominguez said in court Wednesday. "It was all documented."

The DEA did not respond to a request for comment on that claim.

But prosecutor Joseph Palazzo argued that Irizarry's actions could only have had one purpose regardless of whether the international wire transfers were channeled through DEA-controlled accounts.

"Once drug proceeds, always drug proceeds," he said. "The defendant was in a better position than anyone to know the source of these funds and where these funds were going."

The case could also have long-lasting implications on the DEA's undercover money-laundering operations. Irizarry was accused of sharing sensitive law enforcement information with co-conspirators, including a Colombian customs official and an alleged drug trafficker and money launderer.

The Colombian official, Omar Ambuilla, was arrested in April on a U.S. warrant accusing him of transferring to the U.S. proceeds from the conspiracy for the purchase of a 2017 Lamborghini Huracan Spyder in Florida.

The other alleged co-conspirator has not been identified in court filings except as a Colombian citizen who was the target of a DEA drug trafficking investigation before becoming the godfather to Irizarry's twin children in 2015.

U.S. law enforcement officials told The Associated Press last year that the unnamed conspirator is Diego Marin, describing him as Colombia's contraband king for his role helping launder drug dollars through the importation of containers full of electronics and other goods. Irizarry and his attorney referred to the alleged co-conspirator in court on Wednesday as a longtime U.S. government informant named "Diego."

Marin has not been charged. A U.S. attorney who has represented Marin in the past declined to comment.

Before he resigned in 2018, Irizarry's ostentatious habits and tales of raucous yacht parties had become legendary among DEA agents. Beginning around 2011, prosecutors said, Irizarry used the cover of his badge to file false reports and direct DEA personnel to wire funds reserved for undercover stings to accounts in Spain, the Netherlands and elsewhere — accounts that he controlled or were tied to his wife and his co-conspirators.

In all, Irizarry and his informants handled at least $9 million in drug proceeds that should've been carefully tracked by the DEA as part of undercover money laundering investigations, prosecutors said.

The indictment details at least $900,000 paid out from a single criminal account opened by Irizarry and an informant using the name, passport and Social Security number of a third person who was unaware their identity was being stolen.

June 19 

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)

Daily Beast, New Docuseries Suggests Jeffrey Epstein Was a Government Informant, Nick Schager, June 19, 2021. The Plot Thickens. The Peacock docuseries “Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell” traces the life of the late sex trafficker’s right-hand woman, with victims speaking out about the damage they wrought.

Ghislaine Maxwell has a name that many can’t pronounce and a backstory that’s shrouded in mystery. Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell seeks to rectify the latter by investigating the life of Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious girlfriend and co-conspirator, who currently resides in a Brooklyn jail awaiting trial for a variety of sex-trafficking charges that were levied against her by the U.S. federal government daily beast logoin 2020. Informative and comprehensive, it paints a portrait of a woman who was groomed at an early age for her eventual role as a madame for her pedophilic partner—a cretin for whom she herself groomed countless underage girls for his perverse sexual pleasure.

Peacock’s three-part docuseries (premiering June 24) is a no-frills non-fiction affair, and all the better for it. A raft of interviews with acquaintances, authors, journalists, and more provide the narrative spine for an archival footage-heavy investigation into Maxwell’s saga, which has ensnared the many rich and powerful people whom she brought into Epstein’s orbit.

Those include, most infamously, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, whose damningly clumsy BBC interview receives some airplay here, as well as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and various celebrities—Elon Musk, Mick Jagger, Joan Rivers—whom she was photographed with at one gala event or another. Maxwell was the conduit between Epstein and high society’s cream of the crop, and though this overview presents no new bombshells about her A-list relationships, her intimate ties to dignitaries, politicians, artists, and other notable names is made definitively clear.

Those links are central to Maxwell’s fate, since it’s apparent she and Epstein made secret surveillance videos (and photographs) of visitors to their NYC townhouse home—meaning they potentially have blackmail material on a host of global big shots.

These incriminating recordings have been fingered as the reason Epstein received a “sweetheart deal” from U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (and Secretary of Labor under Trump) Alexander Acosta in 2008, when the feds had Epstein dead-to-rights on sex-trafficking crimes, and yet offered him a plea agreement that put him behind bars for 15 months—he could even come and go during the day from prison—and provided immunity to anyone related to his infractions, at least in Palm Beach. It’s also been suggested that they’re the cause of his much-debated suicide; as the conspiracy theory goes, he may have been murdered by forces that wanted to keep what he knew—and had—from seeing the light of day.

June 17

Trump attorney and former Justice Department Deputy Attorney Gen. Rudy Giuliani, his colleague and significant other Maria Ryan, and One America Network White House correspondent Christina Bogbb are shown working in a Willard Hotel

Trump attorney and former Justice Department Deputy Attorney Gen. Rudy Giuliani, his colleague and significant other Maria Ryan, and One America Network White House correspondent Christina Bogbb are shown working in a Willard Hotel "War Room" near almost across the street from White House grounds with fellow Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021 in a photo by a fellow Trump supporter.

Proof via Substack, Investigation: We Now Know What the Willard Hotel War Room Was For—and You're Not Going to Believe It, Seth Abramson, June 16-17-2021. The revelation of the seventh person in seth abramson graphicTrump's Willard Hotel war room leads to the strangest discovery of the January 6 investigation so far, one so bizarre that it must be read to be believed.

When I discovered that the seventh identifiable figure in the photographs of Donald Trump’s Willard Hotel command center (photographs which had been posted on Instagram by Trump associate Robert Hyde) was Rudy Giuliani girlfriend Maria Ryan, the news meant little to me. It would, I felt, merit little interest from anyone else, either.

I now realize that I couldn’t have been more mistaken, as sometimes mundane discoveries lead to appalling ones—something you’d think I’d recall from my experience as a federal-system criminal investigator and then a state criminal defense attorney.

seth abramson proof logoAs the identification of Maria Ryan as the seventh entrant into the Willard war room was underway, a Proof reader sent me a January 5 “interview” Ryan had conducted with One America News (OAN) propagandist Christina Bobb. I put the word “interview” in quotes here because, as the above photo confirms, and as Proof has already reported at great length, Bobb was, with Ryan, a member of Trump’s secretive insurrection-week team at the Willard — and therefore her on-air discussion with Ryan on January 5 was in no way a real interview. Note: Bobb didn’t disclose her association with Ryan during their chat.

Even odder than the truth of the Bobb-Ryan “interview” was its timing: Insurrection Eve.

Indeed (and this was the first sign of the strange story I was about to find myself immersed in as a journalist and researcher) on January 5, 2021, Maria Ryan was being interviewed from the very war room that Bobb was a member of—meaning that Bobb had at some point left the war room, gone in to work at OAN’s television studio, and then conducted an “interview” with the very legal team she was a part of with a fellow team member who was sitting in the very war room that Bobb herself had been using.

June 14

Washington Post, Opinion: The secret gag orders must stop, Brad Smith, June 14, 2021 (print ed.). Brad Smith, right, is the president of Microsoft. The past seven days marked another bad week for the brad smith microsoftcollision between technology and democracy. We live in an era when private emails and text messages typically are backed up and stored in the cloud by tech companies. When it comes to cybersecurity, the cloud bolsters protection.

But now we’ve learned that the Trump Justice Department exploited this feature as part of a secret effort to obtain emails in investigations of the media and Congress, two institutions where transparency is essential.

microsoft logo CustomThe government cannot justify secrecy in such probes. The abuse of secrecy orders is neither new nor confined to a single administration, and certainly not limited to investigations involving members of Congress or the news media. Democracy rests on a fundamental principle of government transparency. Secrecy should be the rare exception — not the rule.
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Not long ago, if the government wanted to serve a search warrant as part of a criminal investigation, it had to do so in person, with notice. An agent or officer needed to bring a signed warrant to a house or building and hand it to the target of the probe at the front door; only then could the government search the premises for documents, records and computer files. This was true for individuals, businesses and governments alike. If secrecy required getting a “sneak and peek” warrant because evidence would be destroyed in advance or a witness’s safety would be jeopardized, this required a heightened showing, beyond mere probable cause.

Those principles still hold true today. Yet with the expansion of cloud computing in every industry, the federal and state governments know they quickly can obtain data electronically from sources other than the target. So that’s what they do. In secret. By serving search warrants on companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft to obtain emails and messages that belong to our customers. Government prosecutors also ask courts to impose gag orders on companies such as ours that prevent us from letting people know that copies of their emails are now in the government’s hands. 

June 13

Top Headlines

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Private Inequity: How a Powerful Industry Conquered the Tax System, Jesse Drucker and Danny Hakim, June 13, 2021 (print ed.). Private equity firms are almost never audited, despite tax-avoidance strategies that have prompted whistle-blowers to file claims alleging illegal tactics. The $4.5 trillion industry’s ability to vanquish the I.R.S. and Congress goes a long way toward explaining the deep inequities in the U.S. tax system.

There were two weeks left in the Trump administration when the Treasury Department handed down a set of rules governing an obscure corner of the tax code.

Overseen by a senior Treasury official whose previous job involved helping the wealthy avoid taxes, the new regulations represented a major victory for private equity firms. They ensured that executives in the $4.5 trillion industry, whose leaders often measure their yearly pay in eight or nine figures, could avoid paying hundreds of millions in taxes.

The rules were approved on Jan. 5, the day before the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Hardly anyone noticed.

irs logoThe Trump administration’s farewell gift to the buyout industry was part of a pattern that has spanned Republican and Democratic presidencies and Congresses: Private equity has conquered the American tax system.

The industry has perfected sleight-of-hand tax-avoidance strategies so aggressive that at least three private equity officials have alerted the Internal Revenue Service to potentially illegal tactics, according to people with direct knowledge of the claims and documents reviewed by The New York Times. The previously unreported whistle-blower claims involved tax dodges at dozens of private equity firms.

But the I.R.S., its staff hollowed out after years of budget cuts, has thrown up its hands when it comes to policing the politically powerful industry.

While intensive examinations of large multinational companies are common, the I.R.S. rarely conducts detailed audits of private equity firms, according to current and former agency officials.

Such audits are “almost nonexistent,” said Michael Desmond, who stepped down this year as the I.R.S.’s chief counsel. The agency “just doesn’t have the resources and expertise.”

One reason they rarely face audits is that private equity firms have deployed vast webs of partnerships to collect their profits. Partnerships do not owe income taxes. Instead, they pass those obligations on to their partners, who can number in the thousands at a large private equity firm. That makes the structures notoriously complicated for auditors to untangle.

Increasingly, the agency doesn’t bother. People earning less than $25,000 are at least three times more likely to be audited than partnerships, whose income flows overwhelmingly to the richest 1 percent of Americans.

The consequences of that imbalance are enormous.

By one recent estimate, the United States loses $75 billion a year from investors in partnerships failing to report their income accurately — at least some of which would probably be recovered if the I.R.S. conducted more audits. That’s enough to roughly double annual federal spending on education.

It is also a dramatic understatement of the true cost. It doesn’t include the ever-changing array of maneuvers — often skating the edge of the law — that private equity firms have devised to help their managers avoid income taxes on the roughly $120 billion the industry pays its executives each year.  

katie logan 2001 currently tim gruber wash post

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: People of Praise, a Christian group tied to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, faces reckoning over sexual misconduct allegations, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites, June 13, 2021 (print ed.). Barrett’s ascendancy to the Supreme Court spurred former members of the group to speak out and forced People of Praise to hire lawyers to investigate.

In December, Katie Logan called the police in this Minneapolis suburb to unearth a buried secret: Her high school physics teacher had sexually assaulted her two decades earlier, she said. She was 17 and had just graduated from a school run by a small Christian group called People of Praise. He was 35 at the time, a widely admired teacher and girls’ basketball coach who lived in a People of Praise home for celibate men.

Logan (shown above in 2001 photo at left and in a recent Washington Post photo by Tim Gruber) told police she reported the June 2001 incident to a dean at the school five years after it happened. Police records show the dean believed Logan and relayed the complaint to at least one other senior school official.

But the teacher, Dave Beskar, remained at Trinity School at River Ridge until 2011, when he was hired to lead a charter school in Arizona. In 2015, he returned to the Minneapolis area to become headmaster of another Christian school. Beskar denies that any inappropriate sexual activity took place.

“People of Praise leaders failed me,” Logan, 37, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I think they wanted to protect themselves more than they wanted to protect me and other girls.”

amy coney barrett headshot notre dame photoLogan was encouraged to go to police by a founder of “PoP Survivors,” a Facebook group formed last fall after the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, left, who has deep roots in People of Praise and who served on the board of its schools years after Beskar left.

Barrett’s ascendancy to the nation’s highest court has forced a painful reckoning in People of Praise, an insular Christian community that emphasizes traditional gender roles. The former members are now demanding that the group acknowledge their suffering and that it mishandled complaints, prompting People of Praise to hire two law firms to investigate allegations of abuse.

The Post interviewed nine people in the Facebook group — all but one of them women — who said they were sexually abused as children, as well as another man who says he was physically abused. In four of those cases, the people said the alleged abuse was reported to community leaders. Logan gave The Post recorded statements and other documents from the police investigation of her complaint.

In response to questions from The Post, Craig Lent, chairman of the religious group’s board of governors, said that the lawyers’ findings will be reviewed by a People of Praise committee of men and women and that “appropriate action” will be taken.

Lent declined in a written statement to respond to specific questions about Logan’s allegation but acknowledged the “serious questions that it raises.” He declined to say how many claims are being investigated.

“People of Praise has always put the safety of children far above any reputational concerns,” said Lent, who is also chairman of the board overseeing three Trinity Schools campuses for middle and high school students — in the Minneapolis area, South Bend, Ind., and Falls Church, Va.

People of Praise grew out of the charismatic Christian movement of the early 1970s, which adopted practices described in the New Testament of the Bible, including speaking in tongues, the use of prophecy and faith healing. The group says it has 1,700 members across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

amy coney barrett ap oct 12 2020Barrett, who was raised in a People of Praise community in Louisiana, has long been active in the branch in the South Bend area, where she was a student at Notre Dame Law School. Barrett lived for a time with People of Praise co-founder Kevin Ranaghan and his wife, Dorothy, Dorothy Ranaghan has confirmed. A People of Praise 2010 directory shows Barrett served as a “handmaid,” a key female adviser to another female member. Barrett served on the Trinity Schools board, whose members must belong to People of Praise, from 2015 to 2017.

Barrett was not asked about People of Praise during her confirmation to the Supreme Court (shown at right). At her 2017 Senate confirmation hearing for a federal appeals court, she said she would not put her religious beliefs before the rule of law. “It’s never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they derive from faith or anywhere else, on the law,” she said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden asks G-7 to take a tougher line on China, but not all allies are enthusiastic, Ashley Parker and Anne Gearan, June 13, 2021 (print ed.). President Biden is asking leaders of other wealthy democracies to make a unified front against China’s use of forced labor, arguing Saturday that a stronger line is a moral and practical imperative.

g7 logo uk 2021The Group of Seven economic club is also expected to agree on a joint alternative to heavy-handed Chinese economic expansion tactics that can leave poorer nations saddled with debt.

Countering China is fast becoming a central element of Biden’s foreign policy, despite extensive trade ties and hopes for cooperation to combat climate change and other china flagpriorities.

But some of the leaders Biden is seeing for the annual Group of Seven nations are less eager to prod Beijing over its labor practices, and it was not clear whether Biden could persuade them to fully back his proposal to call out China for its use of forced labor, including of the Uyghur ethnic and religious minority.

Countering China is fast becoming a central element of President Biden’s foreign policy. But some members in the Group of Seven nations are less eager to prod Beijing, and it was not clear whether Biden could persuade them to back his proposal to call out China for its use of forced labor.

ny times logoNew York Times, Special Report: The Secrets and Lies of the Vietnam War, Exposed in One Epic Document, Elizabeth Becker, June 13, 2021 (print ed.).  With the Pentagon Papers revelations, the U.S. public’s trust in the government was forever diminished.

Brandishing a captured Chinese machine gun, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara appeared at a televised news conference in the spring of 1965. The United States had just sent its first combat troops to South Vietnam, and the new push, he boasted, was further wearing down the beleaguered Vietcong.

“In the past four and one-half years, the Vietcong, the Communists, have lost 89,000 men,” he said. “You can see the heavy drain.”

That was a lie. From confidential reports, McNamara knew the situation was “bad and deteriorating” in the South. “The VC have the initiative,” the information said. “Defeatism is gaining among the rural population, somewhat in the cities, and even among the soldiers.”

Lies like McNamara’s were the rule, not the exception, throughout America’s involvement in Vietnam. The lies were repeated to the public, to Congress, in closed-door hearings, in speeches and to the press. The real story might have remained unknown if, in 1967, McNamara had not commissioned a secret history based on classified documents — which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers.

By then, he knew that even with nearly 500,000 U.S. troops in theater, the war was at a stalemate. He created a research team to assemble and analyze Defense Department decision-making dating back to 1945. This was either quixotic or arrogant. As secretary of defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, McNamara was an architect of the war and implicated in the lies that were the bedrock of U.S. policy.

daniel ellsberg umassDaniel Ellsberg (shown in a recent University of Massachusetts photo), an analyst on the study, eventually leaked portions of the report to The New York Times, which published excerpts in 1971. The revelations in the Pentagon Papers infuriated a country sick of the war, the body bags of young Americans, the photographs of Vietnamese civilians fleeing U.S. air attacks and the endless protests and counterprotests that were dividing the country as nothing had since the Civil War.

The lies revealed in the papers were of a generational scale, and, for much of the American public, this grand deception seeded a suspicion of government that is even more widespread today.

Officially titled “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force,” the papers filled 47 volumes, covering the administrations of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Their 7,000 pages chronicled, in cold, bureaucratic language, how the United States got itself mired in a long, costly war in a small Southeast Asian country of questionable strategic importance.

They are an essential record of the first war the United States lost. For modern historians, they foreshadow the mind-set and miscalculations that led the United States to fight the “forever wars” of Iraq and Afghanistan

washington post logoWashington Post, Secret recordings, leaked letters expose backroom dealings and rock the Southern Baptist Convention, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, June 13, 2021 (print ed.). On Tuesday, thousands of Southern Baptists will gather in Nashville to vote on issues that will shape the massive denomination’s future, including the choice of its next president.

Demands for political loyalty. Disputes about racism. A fight between conservatives and ultraconservatives. It sounds like current debates within the Republican Party, but on Tuesday, thousands of Southern Baptists will gather in Nashville to vote on issues that will shape the massive denomination’s future, including the choice of its next president.

More than 16,000 people are expected to attend the denomination’s annual meeting, probably the largest religious gathering since the pandemic, as well as the biggest Baptist meeting in decades.

What is especially unusual about the meeting is infighting at the highest levels of leadership that has become public in recent weeks. New details released to news media outlets have shined a light on the backroom dealings of several of its high-profile leaders.

tom perriello resized2

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: I took a vote that cost me my seat. I know what Joe Manchin is facing, Tom Perriello, June 13, 2021 (print ed.). Tom Perriello is a former congressman from Virginia’s 5tCongressional District and a former U.S. Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes Region. He now serves as the U.S. executive director of the Open Society Foundations

“Just promise you will never forget that Judgment Day is more important than Election Day.” That was the advice — directive, really — my father offered when I asked about running for Congress. He was born and raised in Dunbar, W.Va., with the deep faith in the community, the Catholic Church and the New Deal that defined many Italian immigrant families recruited by the coal mines or Union Carbide. My dad died a few months after seeing me sworn in as a member of the 111th Congress in 2009, just three weeks after he retired as a pediatrician. He had cared for so many children of every race, faith and class that more than 1,000 people showed up for his funeral.

When I cast one of the deciding votes to pass the Affordable Care Act that year— a vote many warned might cost me my seat — I wore one of my father’s old wool suits. He had opposed Hillary Clinton’s 1993 health-care plan but watched regretfully as the insurance companies spread like a cancer across his profession, choking out the space between doctor and patient. I felt him nodding with approval from on high.

My dad liked Governor Joe Manchin and would have really loved Sen. Manchin for his decency and determination to fight for forgotten towns and workers. This year, the Democratic senator from West Virginia has shown marked political courage by embracing at least the aspirations of President Biden’s agenda to “build back better,” sending a signal to colleagues on both sides of the aisle that this is a time to unite around solutions rather than hide in the shadow of base politics.

Yes, the Senate is rigged for small states. But not for Republicans

As his colleagues fail to answer this call, Manchin is rapidly approaching a test of his convictions on what he must do to protect America’s historic experiment with democracy.

West Virginia became a state when its citizens had the honor to break away from Virginia to defend our more perfect union. Now, their senior senator may need to break traditions to defend voting rights and the integrity of our elections. Manchin recently indicated his inability to support the For the People Act unless Republican senators show the courage to put democracy over party. He stated no substantive disagreements with the reforms, which would limit partisan gerrymandering, dark money, foreign election interference, and corporate corruption, while adopting existing voting rights and expanded election protections.

 

merrick garland new

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Garland Confronts Long-Building Crisis Over Leak Inquiries and Journalism, Charlie Savage, June 13, 2021 (print ed.). Prosecutors’ approach to unauthorized disclosures of government secrets has undergone a sea change in the 21st century.

Government leak hunters have been ratcheting up pressure on the ability of journalists to do their jobs for a generation — a push fueled by changing technology and fraught national-security issues that arose after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, those tensions have reached an inflection point.Recent disclosures about aggressive steps that the Justice Department secretly took under President Donald J. Trump while hunting for the confidential sources of reporters — at The New York Times, CNN and The Washington Post — prompted a backlash from the top. Presi