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Editor's Choice: 2018-19 News & Views

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

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

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

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

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

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

Index: Deep State News, Revelations, Commentary

 2019

October

Oct. 10

jacob hornberger newThe Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Pull Them All Out of Syria, Now, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Oct. 10, 2019 (excerpted). Democrats, Republicans, the mainstream press, and all the other Washington, D.C., interventionists are up in arms over President Trump’s decision to relocate a few U.S. soldiers within Syria. Based on their hysterical reaction, you would think that the United States was about to be invaded and conquered by some new or old official enemy, like communists, terrorists, Muslims, illegal immigrants, or drug dealers.

In this particular case, the official bugaboo is ISIS, the group that, ironically, was the direct consequence of U.S. interventionism in Iraq. Apparently, there were people in the Middle East who didn’t take kindly to a foreign imperialist power invading and occupying a country that had never attacked the United States and killing, injuring, and destroying hundreds of thousands of people in the process.

But let’s not go overboard. ISIS is not coming to get us, any more than the communists were coming to get us during the Cold War. For that matter, neither are the terrorists, Muslims, drug dealers, illegal immigrants, Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Vietnamese, Cubans, Iranians, or any other scary boogeymen.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t a threat of terrorist retaliation for U.S. interventionism in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere. Of course there is. That is one of the prices that have to be paid for U.S. imperialism and interventionism. (Other prices include the destruction of our liberty here at home and out-of-control federal spending and debt that are bankrupting our nation.)

End U.S. interventionism entirely

If we want to restore a free, peaceful, harmonious, and normally functioning society to our land, we have to bring an end to U.S. interventionism all over the world. That means bringing all the troops home immediately, which would put an end to the death and destruction that U.S. interventionism wreaks abroad, which in turn would disintegrate the anger and rage that leads to the threat of terrorist retaliation against the United States.

That includes Syria. Instead of repositioning a few soldiers within Syria, Trump should be ordering an immediate and complete withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria. What Trump is obviously having a difficult time processing is the notion that U.S. troops have no more business in Syria than Syrian troops have here in the United States.

Unfortunately, despite his positive words about wanting to end America’s “endless wars,” Trump has continued to defer to the interventionists, especially the Pentagon, by keeping U.S. troops in Syria. Don’t forget — he has had three years to order the Pentagon to pull them out and bring them home. He has chosen not to issue that order.

The Kurds

The interventionists also say that U.S. forces must continue to be kept in Syria to serve as sacrificial tripwires to protect their Kurdish allies from a military attack by Turkey, which is their NATO ally.

Notice something important, however, about the deep concern that interventionists have for the Kurds: Not one single interventionist is traveling to Syria to join up and fight with them. Imagine that! They want U.S. soldiers to fight, kill, and die for the Kurds, but they’re not willing to do so themselves.

The interventionist chessboard

Here’s are the big questions:

Why are there any U.S. troops in Syria at all? What business do they have in Syria? What constitutional authority do they have being there? What difference does it make whether ISIS or any other tyrannical group takes over the government in some foreign country? Aren’t tyrannical groups running Egypt, Pakistan, North Korea, China, Russia, Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Venezuela? Why should American troops be sacrificed to prevent one tyrannical group from replacing another tyrannical group?

Why should American troops be sacrificed to oust the Syrian dictatorship and replace it with a pro-U.S. dictatorship?

Oct. 6

washington post logoWashington Post, Epstein accuser holds Victoria’s Secret billionaire responsible, as he keeps his distance, Sarah Ellison and Jonathan O'Connell​, Oct. 6, 2019 (print ed.). Artist Maria Farmer says the Ohio home where she stayed during the summer of her alleged assault was guarded by Leslie Wexner’s security. The retail mogul says he knew nothing about Jeffrey Epstein’s misconduct.

jeffrey epstein at harvard universityThe first time the artist Maria Farmer says she heard the name of fashion billionaire Leslie Wexner, she recalled, was when her employer, financier Jeffrey Epstein, right, told her, “Les loves me. He’ll let me do anything.”

Farmer, then 26, had just been invited to create two large-scale paintings for the upcoming film “As Good As It Gets,” starring Jack Nicholson. Epstein offered Farmer an unexpected location to do the work in the summer of 1996: an expansive country home in New Albany, Ohio, located amid 336 acres of land owned by Wexner and guarded in part by sheriff’s deputies employed by the longtime chief executive of Victoria’s Secret and The Limited.

Jeffrey Epstein's friend Leslie Wexner (via cropped screenshot of remarks at American Academy of AchievementIn a series of interviews with the Washington Post, Farmer, 50, spoke publicly for the first time about Wexner, left, and his wife, Abigail. She never met Leslie and says she spoke to Abigail only by phone while at the New Albany home.

But she says she holds him “responsible for what happened to me” because the alleged assault happened at the hands of one of his closest advisers on property Farmer says was monitored by Abigail and the Wexner security team. She says that she was held her against her will at the property by Wexner’s security staff after her alleged assault, until her father came to pick her up.

It was there, Farmer said in an affidavit she submitted as part of an Epstein-related lawsuit, that she was molested by Epstein and his associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

Media News

KO Productions via YouTube, Introducing Andrew Kreig, "Presidential Puppetry" author, interview by John OLoughlin at Lafayette Park / White House, Washington, DC (5:03 min. livestream video.). Two DC-based attorney / researchers discuss power structures in the nation's capitol after attending the annual Red Mass at the historic Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on Sunday.

"Its purpose," according to organizers at the John Carroll Society (named for a principal drafter of the U.S. Constitution who was also the first Roman Catholic archbishop for North America, "is to invoke God's blessings on those responsible for the administration of justice as well as on all public officials."

The annual service, first celebrated in 1953, is sponsored by the John Carroll Society just before the opening of the U.S. Supreme Court's annual term on Oct. 7.

This year's celebrants included, as usual in recent years, Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as several other justices, prominent members of the U.S. foreign service and regional bar, as well as presidential cabinet members, including Attorney General William Barr and recently confirmed Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia.

 

September

Sept. 25

9 11 ron insana quote sept 11 2019

AE 9/11 Truth, CNBC Anchor Ron Insana: Building 7 a ‘Controlled Implosion,’ Ted Walter, Sept. 25, 2019. Insana’s story suggests he was told of Building 7’s demolition.
ae for 9 11 truth logoOn the 18th anniversary of 9/11, CNBC senior analyst and former anchor Ron Insana went on Bernie and Sid In the Morning on New York’s 77 WABC Radio to share his haunting experience of that horrible day.

Approximately eight minutes into the interview, Insana made a statement regarding the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7 — which collapsed late in the afternoon of 9/11 — that is truly stunning, especially considering his access to the scene and his job as a prominent news anchor:

“Well, remember 7 World Trade had not yet come down. And so when I went down to the [New York Stock] Exchange that Wednesday morning [September 12], I was standing with some military and police officers, and we were looking over in that direction. And if it had come down in the way in which it was tilting, it would have wiped out everything from where it stood to Trinity Church to the Exchange to, effectively, you know, the mouth of the Hudson. And so there were still fears that if that building had fallen sideways, you were going to wipe out a good part of Lower Manhattan. So they did manage for one to take that down in a controlled implosion later on. And the Exchange was up and running the following Monday.” [Emphasis added.]

Before addressing questions about Insana’s timeline, let us establish the aspects of his story that are clear and unambiguous. First, he clearly identifies Building 7 as the building he is talking about. Second, he clearly states that Building 7 was taken down in a “controlled implosion,” which flatly contradicts the official explanation that it collapsed due to office fires.

AE 9/11 Truth, University Study Finds Fire Did Not Bring Down World Trade Center Building 7 on 9/11, Staff report, Sept. 25, 2019. Release of Draft Report to Be Followed by Public ae for 9 11 truth logoComment Period. On September 11, 2001, at 5:20 PM, the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed into its footprint, falling more than 100 feet at the rate of gravity for 2.5 seconds of its seven-second destruction.

Today, we at Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth are pleased to partner with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in releasing the draft report of a four-year computer modeling study of WTC 7’s collapse conducted by researchers in the university's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The release of the draft report begins a two-month period during which the public is invited to submit comments. The final report will be published later this year.

We invite you to read the report and to tune in at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight for Dr. Leroy Hulsey’s presentation at the UAF campus, where he will outline his team’s findings.

Today, we at Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth are pleased to partner with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in releasing the draft report of a four-year computer modeling study of WTC 7’s collapse conducted by researchers in the university's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The UAF WTC 7 report concludes that the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11 was caused not by fire but rather by the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.

Download the Report | Read the Abstract

Project Information

Lead Researcher

Dr. J. Leroy Hulsey
Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Assistants

Dr. Feng Xiao
Associate Professor, Nanjing University of Science and Technology

Dr. Zhili Quan
Bridge Engineer, South Carolina Department of Transportation

Project Dates

May 1, 2015 – September 30, 2019

Funding

$316,153 (provided by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth)

Simulations and Videos

Figure 4.16 Failure of Columns 76 to 81
Figure 4.20 Failure of All Core Columns
Figure 4.24a Failure of All Columns Fl 6 to 13

Public Comment Period

Following the release of the UAF WTC 7 draft report on September 3, 2019, there will be a two-month public comment period ending on November 1, 2019. The final report will be released later this year.

During this period, the UAF research team and AE911Truth staff welcome any and all members of the public to submit constructive comments intended to further the analyses and presentation of findings contained in the report. Designated reviewers external to UAF and AE911Truth will also review the report during this period.

Transitions

robert mcclelland flickr

JFK Facts, RIP: Dr. Robert McClelland, the Most Important JFK Witness, Jeff Morley, Sept. 25, 2019. Dr. Robert McClelland (shown delivering a lecture) saw JFK’s wounds up close on November 22, 1963. Dr. Robert McClelland, the surgeon who oversaw the effort to save President Kennedy’s life in 1963, died earlier this month at age 89. In his interviews, you sense a man of considerable dignity, humility, and integrity. It comes as no surprise that he self-published an anthology of writings on surgery to which thousands of doctors subscribed. He was both a teacher and doctor, an instructor and a healer. And it is those qualities that make McClelland one of the most important witnesses to JFK’s assassination.

In 1963, McClelland was 34 years old. He had just become the chief of surgery at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. When the mortally wounded JFK was brought to Trauma Room One, McClelland stood over the dying president and directed the efforts to save him. He observed the president’s fatal head wound for about 10 minutes from a distance of less than two feet.

“My God,” he recalled saying to his colleagues. “Have you see the back of his head. There’s a wound in the back of his head that’s about five inches in diameter.”

After about ten minutes, Kennedy’s breathing and heartbeat ceased. The Secret Service came and took the body away.

McClelland concluded, on the basis of what he saw that day, and what he saw in a home movie of the assassination taken by a bystander, that Kennedy had been struck by a gunshot fired from in front, not behind.

“That bullet came from the grassy knoll, the picket fence,” McClelland said of the fatal shot, referring to the area in front of the presidential motorcade at the moment the shots rang out.

How the New York Times handled McClelland’s eye-witness testimony is a textbook case of the journalism profession’s strange approach to the JFK assassination story. McClelland was a superb witness. No trained medical professional had a close a view of Kennedy’s head wound so soon after he was shot. McClelland went on to a distinguished career. Yet the New York Times did not report what he saw and what he said about JFK’s head wound until he was dead. For some strange reason, McClelland’s testimony, contradicting the Warren Commission, was not regarded as news.

The Times obituary gingerly avoids any suggestion that McClelland might have been right or that his testimony was unique. In the headline, the Times reported that he saw the “gravity” of the President’s wounds, not that he formed a judgment about their cause. On the issue of the official story, he is described as “skeptic,” as he was someone who had merely read about the case. In fact, McClelland was a highly credible eyewitness whose well-informed account flatly contradicted the government’s official story.

McClelland didn’t believe in “wild conspiracy theories,” the Times assures us. The rather more relevant point, of course, is that he did not believe in the equally implausible anti-conspiracy theories of the Warren Commission, the CIA, the FBI, and Dallas Police Department, which holds that one man shot JFK for no reason.

McClelland’s account is consistent with the accounts of 21 police officers at the crime scene who also thought gunfire had come from in front of JFK’s limousine.

McClelland was mistaken, say defenders of the official theory. Pay him no mind. Look at the JFK autopsy photos in the National Archives, they say. But the autopsy photos cannot disprove McClelland’s account said if they if they do not depict the wounds that he saw. And there is sworn testimony that they do not.

Navy doctors conducted an autopsy on JFK about eight hours after Dr. McClelland saw him. The Secret Service transported the president’s body from Parkland to Air Force One, which then flew from Dallas to Washington where the body was taken to Bethesda Medical Center. The autopsy was conducted around 8 pm Eastern time in the evening.

Facebook, David Talbot's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 2 people, sunglasses, David Talbot, Sept. 25, 2019. Dr. Robert McClelland was one of the very first people to conclude President Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy. And it was no "theory." Dr. McClelland, a surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, saw the medical evidence with his own eyes as he struggled to save the life of the mortally wounded president. As Dr. McClelland stood directly over Kennedy's head, he saw clear evidence that JFK had been struck in the head by a bullet fired from in front of his limousine, not just from the rear, where Lee Harvey Oswald was alleged to have shot down the president.

For years, Dr. McClelland and the other members of the Parkland surgical team were strongly pressured by authorities to stick with the Warren Commission's absurd lone gunman theory. But Dr. McClelland and his colleagues finally told the truth: JFK was the victim of a conspiracy, which was then officially covered up.

In today's obituary of Dr. McClelland, who died in Dallas earlier this month, the New York Times does not mention this sensational piece of information -- the most remarkable revelation of his medical career -- until paragraph 22! In the news business, that's called burying your lead. The Times buries this explosive fact, of course, because the newspaper has long been part of the JFK assassination coverup.

The Times also fails to mention that Dr. McClelland and two other surviving members of the Parkland surgical team that worked on President Kennedy signed a powerful joint statement about the assassination and coverup last January. The statement, which I played a role in writing and organizing, reads that the "conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy was organized at high levels of the U.S. power structure, and was implemented by top elements of the U.S. national security apparatus using, among others, figures in the criminal underworld to help carry out the crime and cover-up."

Sept. 23

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), William Barr, "deep state" cover-up artist for at least three U.S. presidents, Wayne Madsen, Sept. 23, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission). Donald Trump’s paranoia about being subjected to the whims of an amorphous American “deep state” are contradicted by the meteoric rise of his mobster-like Attorney General, William Barr, within the ranks of the Central Intelligence Agency and later, the Department of Justice. Barr was heavily involved in covering up the 1980 “October Surprise,” an “arms-for-no-hostages” deal between the Ronald Reagan-George H.W. Bush campaign that sealed the fate of a second term for President Jimmy Carter.

Sept. 22

OpEdNews, America: A Land Without Truth, Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 22, 2019. It has been 17 days since a four-year study of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 by civil engineers was made available to the media. The study concluded that fire was not the cause of the collapse of the 47-story building. The study also concluded that "the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building."

In other words, the study concludes that the building was intentionally destroyed by controlled demolition. Controlled demolition means that there was a plan to destroy the building and that access to the building inhabited by a number of US security agencies was permitted in order to wire the building for demolition. This finding is consistent with what the owner of the World Trade Center, Silverstein, said on television, that the decision was made "to pull" the building.

To pull a building means to bring it down by controlled demolition. Later, Silverstein tried to retract his admission and claimed that he meant the decision was made to pull the firemen out of the building, but according to reports no firemen were in the building as the fires were not regarded as of any consequence.

After 17 days, the report of the civil engineering team remains unmentioned in the American media except for a local Alaska TV station and a local Alaska newspaper. The report went straight into the Memory Hole. The vast majority of the American people will never know that the information has been kept from them.

The pile of lies that constitutes American awareness is very high. Indeed, it is as high as the hundred-story twin towers: the lies about Gaddafi and Libya, Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," "Assad's use of chemical weapons," the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Yemen, Pakistan, China, Russian invasions, World War II, World War I, Vietnam War, overthrows of Latin American governments, Ukraine, Spanish/American war, and on, and on.

All of these lies have been exposed, but the facts have been kept from the vast majority of Americans. Historians such as Howard Zinn in his book, A People's History of the United States, and Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick in their book, The Untold History of the United States, attempted to make Americans more aware of the false reality in which they live, but the small number of voices on the side of truth are simply overwhelmed by a massive propaganda machine.

The reason for the dim future that the United States faces is that explanations are controlled by elites in the interest of their agendas. There is no independent media except on the Internet, and that media is being overwhelmed by the numerous elite-sponsored websites.

Many Americans are too mentally and emotionally weak to come to grips with the possibility that the events of September 11, 2001, were a false flag attack orchestrated in order to serve agendas hidden from the American people. They are much more comfortable not to look at the evidence and simply dismiss it as a "conspiracy theory."

The families of those killed in the twin towers made a stink about the unexplained total failure of US national security. No one was held accountable for the amazing security breaches and dysfunction of the national security state. Washington tried to buy off the families with money, but only partially succeeded. The "Jersey Girls" helped to rally impacted families. After one year of stonewalling their demands for an investigation, the White House finally agreed to a political investigation and appointed the 9/11 Commission, which avoided a forensic investigation.

In contrast to the families who lost members in the twin towers, I have never heard anything about a similar organization of families of those who died in the hijacked airliners. Perhaps they are included in the 9/11 Family Steering Committee. If so, they must have been silent members. I have not come across any sign of them demanding explanations. It is almost as if they don't exist.

Those who know that they have been lied to about Septermer 11, 2001, are still trying to get truthful answers. A report on their latest efforts can be found here.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments.

Sept. 12

Inside DC: Spying?

Politico, Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House, Daniel Lippman, Sept. 12, 2019. The likely Israeli spying efforts were uncovered during the Trump presidency, several former top U.S. officials said. The U.S. government concluded within the past two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cellphone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

Israel FlagBut unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cellphones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates — though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. Politico reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cellphone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that “Chinese spies are often listening” to Trump’s cellphone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as “so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it.” (A former official said Trump has had his cellphone hardened against intrusion.)

By then, as part of tests by the federal government, officials at the Department of Homeland Security had already discovered evidence of the surveillance devices around the nation’s capital, but weren’t able to attribute the devices to specific entities. The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top Department of Homeland Security official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May 2018 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Based on a detailed forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom served in top intelligence and national security posts.

That analysis, one of the former officials said, is typically led by the FBI’s counterintelligence division and involves examining the devices so that they “tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are.” For these types of investigations, the bureau often leans on the National Security Agency and sometimes the CIA (DHS and the Secret Service played a supporting role in this specific investigation).

An Israeli Embassy spokesperson, Elad Strohmayer, denied that Israel placed the devices and said: “These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.”

A senior Trump administration official said the administration doesn’t “comment on matters related to security or intelligence.” The FBI declined to comment, while DHS and the Secret Service didn’t respond to requests for comment.

After this story was published, Trump told reporters that he would find it "hard to believe" that the Israelis had placed the devices. "I don't think the Israelis were spying on us," Trump said. "My relationship with Israel has been great...Anything is possible but I don't believe it."

Beyond trying to intercept the private conversations of top officials — prized information for any intelligence service — foreign countries often will try to surveil their close associates as well. With the president, the former senior Trump administration official noted, that could include trying to listen in on the devices of the people he regularly communicates with, such as Steve Wynn, Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani.

“The people in that circle are heavily targeted,” the former Trump official said.

Another circle of surveillance targets includes people who regularly talk to Trump’s friends and informal advisers. Information obtained from any of these people “would be so valuable in a town that is like three degrees of separation like Kevin Bacon,” the former official added.

That’s true even for a close U.S. ally like Israel, which often seeks an edge in its diplomatic maneuvering with the United States.

“The Israelis are pretty aggressive” in their intelligence gathering operations, said a former senior intelligence official. “They’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to to achieve that objective.”

So even though Trump has formed a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made numerous policy moves favorable to the Israeli government — such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, ripping up the Iran nuclear deal and heavily targeting Iran with sanctions — Israel became a prime suspect in planting the devices.

While the Chinese, who have been regularly caught doing intelligence operations in the U.S., were also seen as potential suspects, they were determined as unlikely to have placed the devices based on a close analysis of the devices.

“You can often, depending upon the tradecraft of the people who put them in place, figure out who’s been accessing them to pull the data off the devices,” another former senior U.S. intelligence official explained.

Washington is awash in surveillance, and efforts of foreign entities to try to spy on administration officials and other top political figures are fairly common. But not many countries have the capability — or the budget — to plant the devices found in this most recent incident, which is another reason suspicion fell on Israel.

IMSI-catchers, which are often used by local police agencies to surveil criminals, can also be made by sophisticated hobbyists or by the Harris Corp., the manufacturer of StingRays, which cost more than $150,000 each, according to Vice News.

Sept. 15

Historical Commentary

Strategic Culture Foundation, Commentary: The Chaos Theory Behind Fascism, Wayne Madsen, Sept. 15, 2019. The disclosure by the British Parliament of the “Most Sensitive” Operation YELLOWHAMMER document describes a United Kingdom ripe for the machinations of Britain’s proto fascists, who make up a large part of the Tory government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. YELLOWHAMMER’s prediction of economic and social chaos in the United Kingdom resulting from a hard-British exit (BREXIT) from the European Union will have dire consequences for the rule of law and democracy throughout the United Kingdom.

Chaos is what fascists thrive upon. It was the pre-war and wartime British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley who opined that order could be created out of chaos. Therefore, Mosley’s modern-day fellow travelers, individuals like Johnson, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, Home Secretary Priti Patel and others felt the need to create, through a hard Brexit, chaos where none existed before. In a chaotic United Kingdom, these proto-fascists can achieve their ultimate goal of unquestioned authority and order in a post-Brexit United Kingdom, where far-right English nationalism holds sway.

In August of this year, 113 Member of Parliament signed a letter to Johnson that accused the prime minister of deploying the language of “fascism and authoritarianism” in plowing ahead with plans to leave the EU with no deal. Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament for five weeks, thus stifling debate on a hard Brexit, was seen by pro-EU MPs expelled from the Conservative Party by Johnson, as well as by MPs from the opposition Labor, Liberal Democratic, Green, Scottish National, Change UK, and Plaid Cymru parties, as one step toward fascism. The renegade Tory and other MPs actually questioned Johnson’s commitment to democracy.

As bad a Operation YELLOWHAMMER is for economic and political stability in a post-hard Brexit United Kingdom, it pales in comparison to another classified report on Brexit, Operation BLACK SWAN. This document foresees a doomsday scenario for the United Kingdom on par with World War II. BLACK SWAN includes nationwide food and fuel shortages, unavailability of medicines and medical supplies, a spike in unemployment, transport delays, and mass protests.

Sept. 14

UK To Keep Assange Jailed

julian assange indicter image

The Guardian, Julian Assange to remain in jail pending extradition to US, PA Media, Sept. 14, 2019. WikiLeaks founder’s custody will be extended after current prison terms comes to end. Julian Assange (shown above in a photo by The Indicter Magazine) will stay in prison after the custody period on his current jail term ends because of his “history of absconding.”

As home secretary, Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange’s extradition to the US over hacking allegations. A 50-week jail term was imposed in the UK after he had jumped previous bail by going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The WikiLeaks founder would have been released from HMP Belmarsh on 22 September, Westminster magistrates court heard on Friday, but he was told he would be kept in jail because of “substantial grounds” for believing he would abscond again.

united kingdom flagAssange, 48, who is an Australian citizen, appeared by video-link wearing a loose-fitting T-shirt.

District judge Vanessa Baraitser told him: “You have been produced today because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end. When that happens your remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.

“Therefore I have given your lawyer an opportunity to make an application for bail on your behalf and she has declined to do so, perhaps not surprisingly in light of your history of absconding in these proceedings.

“In my view I have substantial ground for believing if I release you, you will abscond again.”

Assange was asked if he understood what was happening. He replied: “Not really. I’m sure the lawyers will explain it.”

Another administrative hearing will take place on 11 October and a case management hearing on 21 October, the court heard. The final extradition hearing is expected in February.

Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted in connection with sexual offence allegations.He spent nearly seven years living in the building until police dragged him out in April after Ecuador revoked his political asylum.

Physician Who Treated JFK Dies

robert mcclelland flickr

Dallas Morning News, Robert McClelland, surgeon who tried to save JFK and believed there was a second shooter, dies at 89, Marc Ramirez, Sept. 14, 2019. A skilled surgeon at UT Southwestern whose true passion was teaching, he's among the luminaries whose images grace Parkland's walls today.

Inextricably linked to the death of John F. Kennedy, surgeon Robert McClelland (shown above delivering a lecture) dutifully preserved the blood-soaked white dress shirt he wore the day he tried to save the president's life in 1963.

For the rest of his life, the retired professor emeritus of UT Southwestern's medical school also clung staunchly to a contentious opinion forged firsthand: that one of the shots that had struck Kennedy had come from the front, which would require the existence of a second gunman.

Robert Nelson McClelland, the lone dissenting voice among the operating-room doctors who tried to save the president at Parkland Memorial Hospital, died Tuesday of renal failure. He was 89.

A celebration of his life is set for 1 p.m. Monday at Highland Park United Methodist Church's Cox Chapel, 3300 Mockingbird Lane in Dallas.

A skilled surgeon whose true passion was teaching, he's among the luminaries whose images grace Parkland's walls today. In a note to campus colleagues, Dr. William Turner of the campus's department of surgery, called McClelland "the titan among those giants," saying the institution had "lost one of its heroes."

An insatiably curious reader who doted on his seven grandchildren, McClelland was a driving force in surgical education at UT Southwestern for decades and oversaw the launch of its liver surgery program.

He was modest and unassuming despite his accomplishments and role in history. But he also had an irreverent side, allowing his grandkids as young children to watch the cheeky television show South Park with him, to the occasional dismay of their parents.

"I would get angry," said daughter Alison McClelland of Dallas. "His defense was that it was philosophical."

Robert McClelland was born Nov. 20, 1929, in Gilmer, the same East Texas town that spawned musicians Don Henley and Johnny Mathis. His intellect and curiosity were evident early, his passion for discovery stoked by a chemistry set he got at age 11.

He graduated in 1947 as valedictorian of Gilmer High and, as the grandson of a physician, was further inspired to pursue medicine through the mentorship of two local physicians.

After studying at the University of Texas in Austin, he earned his doctorate at the school's medical branch in Galveston in 1954. He spent two years in Germany as a general medical officer for the U.S. Air Force, then returned to Texas to begin residency at what is now UT Southwestern.

It was there that he would meet Connie Logan, a head nurse at Parkland whom he'd noticed several times at church and finally got the nerve to ask out. They married in May 1958 and settled in Highland Park, where they raised three children.

Dr. Robert McClelland joined the faculty at UT Southwestern and Parkland in 1962 and spent his entire career there. He completed his residency in 1962 and joined the faculty at UT Southwestern and Parkland, where the following year, that momentous November day became forever tied to his life story.

He was 34 then, screening a film on hernia repair for hospital interns and residents, when a colleague burst in and asked him to help operate on the president of the United States.

jfk parade route dealey plazaAs Kennedy lay wounded on the operating table in Trauma Room One, McClelland assisted as surgeons Malcolm Perry and Charles Baxter performed a tracheotomy in an attempt to save the president. For 10 minutes, he stood above Kennedy's head and stared at "that terrible hole," as he put it, tackling his duty as instinctively as a fireman slides down a pole.

But from his vantage point, one shot seemed to have come from the front — which would mean Lee Harvey Oswald, whom McClelland would be called to operate on just two days later, wasn't the only gunman.

"The shot that killed [Kennedy] probably was from the back, but I have to honestly say what I think," McLelland told The News.

The other four attending physicians would eventually pen a joint article in The Journal of the American Medical Association concluding there were two shots, from the back and above. The journal's editor noted McClelland's differing opinion, emphasizing, however, that he wasn't an "expert in forensic pathology and ballistic wounds."

McClelland never wavered, and a scene from Oliver Stone's JFK depicts him offering his dissenting opinion in court, which McClelland said never actually happened. However, he did once act as a juror in a 2013 mock trial giving Oswald his chance in the courtroom. (The trial ended in a hung jury, with the vote 9-3 in favor of a guilty verdict.)

McClelland would go on to spend his entire career at UT Southwestern, where generations of students and residents knew him as "Dr. Mac" and called him for years afterward seeking advice about difficult cases.

In 1974, he launched the medical journal Selected Readings in General Surgery after requests from former residents for copies of papers discussed in a journal club he'd started. The club eventually became a Saturday morning event, led by McClelland, for the school's surgery department, with the compilations earning national and worldwide subscribers as they covered the entire field of general surgery.

A prodigious reader, he consumed history books and subscribed to dozens of medical journals.

McClelland adored his hundreds of books more than any other material thing.

"When we moved him, his only requirement was that he had to have a place with bookcases in every room," said daughter Alison, whose memories of her father as a child were of him behind a pile of journals on his huge office desk, blaring classical music while flanked by his Siamese cat, Bandit.

"We needed to have custom bookcases built. He would give anybody the shirt off his back, but he would never loan out his books."

Until last weekend, McClelland had remained engaged, reading constantly and asking a million questions about what his family members were up to. Then things took a sudden turn.

By Tuesday afternoon a hospital bed had been wheeled in, around which the family gathered, playing Mozart and screening South Park on the TV in tribute. McClelland died peacefully that evening.

In addition to daughter Alison and grandson William, McClelland is survived by his wife, Connie, of Dallas; son Chris McClelland and daughter Julie Barrett of New York City; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Parkland Surgical Society Robert N. McClelland Lectureship Fund at the Southwestern Medical Foundation, 3889 Maple Ave., Suite 100, Dallas, TX 75219.

Sept. 13

U.S. 2020 Politicsdemocratic debate houston sept 12 2019 Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, Rifts Emerge as Democrats Joust in Fiery Debate, Shane Goldmacher and Reid J. Epstein, Sept. 13, 2019 (print ed.). Biden’s Liberal Rivals Seek to Set Themselves Apart. Rivals are clearly aiming at Biden. He is punching back.

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Tulsi Gabbard's alarming links to Indian intelligence and extremist Hindu groups, Wayne Madsen (shown in a 2015 file photo), Sept. 13, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission). If one were to ask India's right-wing Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi who his favorite U.S. politician wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallis, the answer would, perhaps surprisingly, not be Donald Trump. Modi's American Hindu nationalist fellow-traveler is Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), right, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate....

tulsi gabbard newTrump has set the bar for foreign involvement in U.S. elections, something that is prohibited by federal and state election laws, but not being rigorously enforced. Trump's political support by Russian and Russian-Israeli oligarchs has opened a flood gate of foreign support for U.S. presidential candidates, including that of Israel for Trump and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Taiwan (Republic of China) for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

[With election financing law] normally regulated and enforced by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Trump administration’s refusal to replace Republican vacancies on the FEC had led to it becoming a moribund and toothless regulatory arm of the government. Meanwhile, foreign owned-and-operated candidates like Gabbard, Harris, Booker, Yang, and others are representing the interests of New Delhi, Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, and Taipei over those of Dubuque, Iowa; Nashua, New Hampshire; and Beaufort, South Carolina.

WMR Editor Wayne Madsen is a syndicated columnist, author of 16 books and a former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst whose Navy assignments included helping to investigate the damage to U.S. interests caused by the convicted Israeli spy Michael Pollard. 

U.S. House Impeachment Plan

ny times logoNew York Times, House Judiciary Committee Inches Toward Impeachment, Nicholas Fandos, Sept. 13, 2019 (print ed.). The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday took its first recorded vote to press forward with a possible impeachment of President Trump, putting aside Democrats’ internal divisions for the time being in a bid to strengthen its hand in investigating whether he committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

Voting along party lines, the panel approved rules for a continuing “investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with regard to President Donald J. Trump,” which clarified new authorities for lawmakers and laid out a process, albeit limited, for the president to respond.

But Thursday’s action was as much a symbolic display as it was a practical exercise of constitutional powers, aimed at showing federal courts and impatient Democrats that the House is, in fact, serious about building an impeachment case, even if it is not yet taking the politically loaded step of filing charges.

Surveillance Issues

ny times logoNew York Times, Book Review: In Snowden’s Memoir, the Disclosures Are Personal, Jennifer Szalai, Sept. 13, 2019. Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked U.S. secrets, gives a riveting account in “Permanent Record,” our critic writes. Revealing state secrets is hard, but revealing yourself in a memoir might be harder. As Edward Snowden puts it in the preface of “Permanent Record”: “The decision to come forward with evidence of government wrongdoing was easier for me to make than the decision, here, to give an account of my life.”

edward snowden permanent recordSnowden, of course, is the former intelligence contractor who, in 2013, leaked documents about the United States government’s surveillance programs, dispelling any notions that the National Security Agency and its allies were playing a quaint game of spy vs. spy, limiting their dragnet to specific persons of interest. Technological change and the calamity of 9/11 yielded new tools for mass surveillance and the incentive to use them.

Sweeping up phone records of Americans citizens, eavesdropping on foreign leaders, harvesting data from internet activity: For revealing these secret programs and more, Snowden was deemed a traitor by the Obama administration, which charged him with violating the Espionage Act and revoked his passport, effectively stranding Snowden in Moscow, where he has been living ever since.

Sept. 9

Vision Times (New York City), Analysis: Ahead of 9/11 Anniversary, Lawyers and Engineers Question Official Story, Staff report, Sept. 9, 2019.  What caused the twin towers of the World Trade Center to collapse precipitously onto their own footprints on September 11, 2001? Was it solely due to the impact of the airliners that flew into them and the subsequent fires, or did somebody detonate pre-installed explosives or incendiaries to demolish those buildings, as in a controlled demolition?

The latter hypothesis has been ridiculed and dismissed as a kooky conspiracy theory by the mainstream media for years. Indeed, if such allegations were true, the events of 9/11 would point to a conspiracy so vast, the legitimacy of the United States government would be severely undermined.

As uncomfortable as this line of inquiry may be, a group of activists have been gathering evidence that seem to support the controlled demolition theory. On September 7, they organized an event at the All Souls Church on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to remember the people who perished on that fateful day. With over 200 people in attendance, the activist group also provided an update on their efforts.

The investigation, led by Lawyers Committee for 911 Inquiry (Lawyers Committee) and Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth) are remarkable in two ways:

First, they have presented their evidence, none of which were previously considered by the various bodies commissioned to investigate the events on 9/11, to various U.S. government agencies, imploring them to adjudicate the validity of the evidence.

Among those efforts is a petition filed by the Lawyers Committee, with subsequent amendments, with the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York to empanel a grand jury to investigate. The petition contains 60 exhibits of forensic evidence. Among them are a 60-page testimony from 118 firefighters on the scene, who recalled hearing explosions before the buildings collapsed, and a 33-page document naming individuals “who may have information material to the investigation, including contractors and security companies that had access to the WTC Towers before 9/11, persons and entities who benefited financially from the WTC demolitions, and persons arrested after being observed celebrating the WTC attacks.”

According to the executive summary of the petition, “Federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 3332(a), requires the United States Attorney who receives information concerning an alleged federal crime from any person, if requested by that person, to provide that information to a special grand jury. The Petition emphasizes that this federal law creates a duty on the part of the United States Attorney, and removes the prosecutor’s discretion in deciding whether to present information to the grand jury.”

In other words, the U.S. Attorney must present the evidence to a grand jury after they receive the evidence.

On November 7, 2018, assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Ferrera and Ilan Graff acknowledged in writing their receipt and review of the original and amended petitions, and affirmed: “we will comply with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3332 as they relate to your submissions.”

The second remarkable aspect of the group’s effort is they recently received an endorsement from the firefighter community. Speaking at the memorial event, the Lawyers Committee president David Meiswinkle said the fire commissioners of New York’s Franklin Square and Munson Fire District “have just done a historic resolution in a vote, and are now taking the lead to try and get some truth and integrity to the investigation to what happened on 9/11.”

Speaking at the event for AE911Truth, the group that assembled the evidence cited in the petitions and lawsuits, Richard Gage acknowledged the importance to have their efforts endorsed by the firefighter community: “the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District… became the first elected body in the country to officially support a new investigation into the events of 9/11.”

Noting “the overwhelming evidence presented in said petition demonstrates beyond any doubt that pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries — not just airplanes and the ensuing fires — caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings,” the resolution states, “the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District fully supports a comprehensive federal grand jury investigation and prosecution of every crime related to the attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as any and all efforts by other government entities to investigate and uncover the full truth surrounding the events of that horrible day.”

After passing the resolution, Fire District Commissioner Christopher Gioia had remarked: “We’re a tight-knit community and we never forget our fallen brothers and sisters. You better believe that when the entire fire service of New York State is on board, we will be an unstoppable force.”

U.S. Torture

jacob hornberger newThe Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Pentagon’s Upcoming Kangaroo Show Trial in Cuba, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Sept. 9, 2019. After 18 years, there is a possibility that the Pentagon is finally going to permit a “trial” of five men who are accused of conspiracy to commit the 9/11 attacks. If so, the proceedings will prove what a charade the Pentagon’s entire “judicial system” at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been and continues to be. In fact, the trial, if it is even permitted to take place, will serve as a mirror for how “trials” are conducted in communist China or, for matter, in communist Cuba.

Let’s review how the Pentagon’s “judicial” system got established in the first place. After the 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon decided to establish a prison, torture center, and “judicial” system for accused terrorists that it would be capturing and kidnapping around the world. It decided to locate this center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Why Cuba rather than somewhere in the United States? The Pentagon wanted to make certain that it would have omnipotent power to run its center any way it wanted, without having to bother with the rights and guarantees enumerated in the Constitution, especially in the Bill of Rights. It also didn’t want any interference with its operation from the U.S. Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary. In other words, the Pentagon wanted a Constitution-free zone in which to operate its prison, torture center, and “judicial” system.

Ultimately, much to the Pentagon’s chagrin, the Supreme Court ruled that it did have ultimate jurisdiction over the Guantanamo operations. However, while the federal judiciary has accepted some petitions for writ of habeas corpus from Guantanamo inmates, overall it has followed its longtime policy of deference to the national-security establishment when it comes to matters of “national security.”

What the Supreme Court should have done from the very beginning was to order a complete shutdown of the Pentagon’s prison, torture center, and “judicial” system at Guantanamo Bay. There is a simple reason for that: the Constitution, which is the higher law that controls the actions of federal officials, including the Pentagon, does not authorize the Pentagon to operate such a center.

It is critically important to keep in mind that terrorism is not an act of war. Instead, it is a federal criminal offense. That is why there are terrorism trials in federal courts in New York, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and elsewhere. Terrorism is listed among federal crimes in the U.S. Code. In fact, the Pentagon’s upcoming “trial” in Cuba is itself an acknowledgement that terrorism is, in fact, a criminal offense, one that here is being prosecuted by the Pentagon in Cuba rather than by the U.S. Justice Department in federal district court here in the United States.

Two different systems

It is also critically important to recognize that the Constitution does not provide for two separate judicial systems to try criminal cases, one run by the military and the other run by the federal courts. The Constitution provides for only one judicial system for all criminal offenses, including terrorism cases.

It is also critically important to recognize that the principles being followed in both systems — the federal court system and the military system — are as different as night and day.

In the federal court system, people who are accused of terrorism or any other crimes are presumed innocent. Judges and law-enforcement personnel are prohibited from torturing people or inflicting other “cruel and unusual” punishments on them. An accused has the right to remain silent — i.e., no forced confessions. Communications between attorney and client are confidential. The accused has the right to confront his accusers — i.e., hearsay evidence is inadmissible. Trials can be by jury, where ordinary citizens, not a judge, decide the facts of the case and the guilt or innocence of the accused. Trials must be speedy — i.e., no 18-year delay, as there has been in the Pentagon’s system.

Things are the exact opposite in the Pentagon’s system, which is precisely it established its system in Cuba rather than the United States. Remember: the Pentagon’s goal is establishing its center in Cuba was to avoid the principles of the Constitution and the interference of the Supreme Court.

Why would the military want to avoid the principles of the Constitution, especially given that military personnel take oaths to support and defend the Constitution? The answer lies in the conservative military mindset that has long held that the Bill of Rights consists of constitutional “technicalities” that permit guilty people to go free. By establishing an independent prison, torture center, and “judicial” system at Gitmo, the Pentagon was going to show the American people and the world what a “real” judicial system should look like, one where “the guilty” had what was coming to them and where there was no possibility of an acquittal by some ignorant jury.

Thus, under the Pentagon’s system, the accused are presumed guilty. They are subject to being brutally tortured, not only to secure information but also confessions. Forced confessions are admissible at trial. There is no right of trial by jury. A tribunal of military personnel, all of whom are answerable to the President, decide the facts in the case and the guilt of innocent of the accused. Communications between attorney and client are secretly monitored. Hearsay evidence is admissible. Trials can be delayed indefinitely, even forever. The outcome of the “trial” is not in doubt.

npr logoNational Public Radio (NPR), The CIA's Secret Quest For Mind Control: Torture, LSD And A 'Poisoner In Chief,' Host Terry Gross interview author Stephen Kinzer about his new book, Poisoner in Chief), Sept. 9, 2019. (37:36 min.). CIA sidney gottliebchemist Sidney Gottlieb (right, shown in a CIA photo) headed up the agency's secret MK-ULTRA program, which was charged with developing a mind control drug that could be weaponized against enemies.

During the early period of the Cold War, the CIA became convinced that communists had discovered a drug or technique that would allow them to control human minds. In response, the CIA began its own secret program, called MK-ULTRA, to search for a mind control drug that could be weaponized against enemies.

MK-ULTRA, which operated from the 1950s until the early '60s, was created and run by a chemist named Sidney Gottlieb. Journalist Stephen Kinzer, who spent several years investigating the program, calls the operation the "most sustained search in history for techniques of mind control."

stephen kinzer poisoner coverSome of Gottlieb's experiments were covertly funded at universities and research centers, Kinzer says, while others were conducted in American prisons and in detention centers in Japan, Germany and the Philippines. Many of his unwitting subjects endured psychological torture ranging from electroshock to high doses of LSD, according to Kinzer's research.

"Gottlieb wanted to create a way to seize control of people's minds, and he realized it was a two-part process," Kinzer says. "First, you had to blast away the existing mind. Second, you had to find a way to insert a new mind into that resulting void. We didn't get too far on number two, but he did a lot of work on number one."

Kinzer notes that the top-secret nature of Gottlieb's work makes it impossible to measure the human cost of his experiments. "We don't know how many people died, but a number did, and many lives were permanently destroyed," he says.

Ultimately, Gottlieb concluded that mind control was not possible. After MK-ULTRA shut down, he went on to lead a CIA program that created poisons and high-tech gadgets for spies to use.

Sept. 6

MintPress News, Investigation/Commentary, How the CIA, Mossad and “the Epstein Network” are Exploiting Mass Shootings to Create an Orwellian Nightmare, Whitney Webb, Sept. 6, 2019. Following another catastrophic mass shooting or crisis event, Orwellian “solutions” are set to be foisted on a frightened American public by the very network connected, not only to Jeffrey Epstein, but to a litany of crimes and a frightening history of plans to crush internal dissent in the United States.
5.2K

Following the arrest and subsequent death in prison of alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, a little-known Israeli tech company began to receive increased publicity, but for all the wrong reasons. Not long after Epstein’s arrest, and his relationships and finances came under scrutiny, it was revealed that the Israeli company Carbyne911 had received substantial funding from Jeffrey Epstein as well as Epstein’s close associate and former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist and prominent Trump backer Peter Thiel.

Carbyne911, or simply Carbyne, develops call-handling and identification capabilities for emergency response services in countries around the world, including the United States, where it has already been implemented in several U.S. counties and has partnered with major U.S. tech companies like Google. It specifically markets its product as a way of mitigating mass shootings in the United States without having to change existing U.S. gun laws.

Yet, Carbyne is no ordinary tech company, as it is deeply connected to the elite Israeli military intelligence division, Unit 8200, whose “alumni” often go on to create tech companies — Carbyne among them — that frequently maintain their ties to Israeli intelligence and, according to Israeli media reports and former employees, often “blur the line” between their service to Israel’s defense/intelligence apparatus and their commercial activity. As this report will reveal, Carbyne is but one of several Israeli tech companies marketing themselves as a technological solution to mass shootings that has direct ties to Israeli intelligence agencies.

Editor's Note: This series contains much more  than the powerful and well-supported excerpt above....

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism

 Trump Watch

Future of Freedom Foundation, Analysis: The Hitler Phenomenon, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Sept. 6, 2019. At the very beginning of this article, let me first state that I am jacob hornberger newnot saying that Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler. Then why am I bringing it up? Because everyone agrees that when it comes to the subject of dictatorship, Hitler provides the gold standard. He is the model dictator in everyone’s books. Therefore, we can safely use him as a measuring rod for danger signs with respect to dictatorship here in the United States, not only with respect to the Trump presidency but also to other presidencies, both Democratic and Republican.

Hitler’s extermination program and death camps didn’t get established until the midst of World War II, which began in 1939. Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933. That means that there were six years of Hitler rule before the outbreak of the war. The era I wish to explore is 1933-1939, the period before the war. Specifically, how did Hitler become a dictator? After all, we shouldn’t forget that when Hitler became chancellor, Germany was a democracy, something that has been a longtime goal of U.S. foreign policy.

adolf hitlerIn my article yesterday, entitled Opinion: The Trumpster Phenomenon, I pointed out that there is a large segment of conservatives who unconditionally support whatever Trump does. Their reason? They see him as a Great Leader, one who is just trying to make America great again. Therefore, the Trumpsters say, he should be given the widest authority to do what he thinks is best for America and for “national security.” Nothing, and certainly not Congress or the courts, should be permitted to stand in his way.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence logoI would be remiss if I failed to mention that conservatives are not the only ones who suffer from the Great Leader concept. So do liberals/progressives, specifically when their Great Leader is president. Consider Barack Obama, for example.

Today, liberals are shedding lots of crocodile tears over the harsh immigration enforcement measures that Trump is inflicting on illegal immigrants. Yet, when it was Barack Obama who was deporting so many illegal immigrants that he earned the moniker “Deporter in Chief,” there was a dearth of crocodile tears and not even the hint of criticism from the left. That’s because they viewed Obama as their Great Leader, one who should be given wide authority to do what he felt was best for America.

For example, watch a particular segment of the movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. The movie is the story of the White Rose, a group of German students of diverse religious beliefs at the University of Munich who were secretly distributing pamphlets containing essays critical of the Hitler regime. They were caught and put on trial before the People’s Court, the special tribunal system that Hitler put into place because he didn’t trust the German court system to deliver the “right” verdict in terrorism and treason cases.

If you haven’t seen the entire movie, I recommend it highly. But in the meantime, begin at 1:31:07. It is about 3 minutes long. It is the courtroom scene in which the presiding judge, Roland Freisler, questions Sophie Scholl. Notice the extreme rage displayed by Freisler over Scholl’s “treasonous” behavior. (Notice also how her scared attorney does nothing to defend her.) Freisler provides a perfect example of the Great Leader mindset.

Americans should reflect on all this when they see Donald Trump arbitrarily raising taxes on the American people or building walls or other public-works projects without congressional enactment. The end of that road is the destruction of liberty.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Ivanka Trump is acting as if everything is normal, Monica Hesse, Sept. 6, 2019 (print ed.). The first daughter is neglecting the only ivanka trump twitter portraitdiplomatic mission that could possibly matter right now.

Ivanka Trump, right, descended upon Bogota, Colombia, this week to talk about women’s empowerment and left us talking about her sleeves. They were voluminous, bell-shaped swaths of green fabric. Ivanka abroad seems to be Ivanka’s platonic ideal of herself: doing things that are considered patriotic but not overly political, important but not controversial, and personally on-brand.

Sept. 5

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Trumpster Phenomenon, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Sept. 5, 2019. One of the fascinating aspects of the Donald Trump jacob hornberger newpresidency has been the rise of the Trumpster phenomenon. Trumpsters are conservatives who have become steadfast and unwavering followers and supporters of Trump.

There are two distinguishing characteristics of Trumpsters: (1) their unconditional support of whatever Trump decides to do to “make America great again”; and (2) their refusal to tolerate or countenance any criticism or disagreement with Trump’s courses of action.

What drives Trumpsters is what can be called the Great Leader concept. Their mindset is that we have elected a Great Leader to be president and, therefore, to make America great again, we just have to entrust him with omnipotent powers, trust him to make the right decisions, and support him in whatever courses of action he takes.

donald trump twitterAnd woe to the person who even hints at criticism or disagreement with what the Great Leader has chosen to do. Filled with immediate rage, the Trumpster will lash out against the critic with an array of nasty attacks, for example by accusing him of hating America, being unpatriotic, being a liar, and being ungrateful for what America has done for him.

For example, consider Trump’s unilateral imposition of tariffs (taxes) on the American people and his arbitrary raising of such taxes whenever he wants. That’s classic dictatorial conduct, given that Congress didn’t enact a law imposing or raising such taxes.

djt justice liberty truth metooTrumpsters love it. In their minds, the Great Leader is doing what he believes is necessary to make America great again. So what if he has to exercise dictatorial powers to do so.

Needless to say, this is how people throughout history have lost their liberties to Great Leaders. That’s in fact what the Constitution was intended to prevent. The Framers had no use for the Great Leader concept. Their notion was to limit severely the powers of anyone who became president.

In fact, notice that the Constitution doesn’t even provide an exception for emergencies and crises. That’s because they knew that crises and emergencies were the time-honored ways that Great Leaders acquired dictatorial powers.

CIA Mind Control Program

stephen kinzer poisoner coverThe Guardian, From mind control to murder? How a deadly fall revealed the CIA’s darkest secrets, Stephen Kinzer (author of new book Poisoner In Chief), Sept. 5, 2019. Frank Olson died in 1953, but, because of clandestine US government experiments, it took decades for his family to get closer to the truth.

Glass shattered high above Seventh Avenue in Manhattan before dawn on a cold November morning in 1953. Seconds later, a body hit the sidewalk. Jimmy, the doorman at the Statler hotel, was momentarily stunned. Then he turned and ran into the hotel lobby. “We got a jumper!” he shouted. “We got a jumper!”

The night manager peered up through the darkness at his hulking hotel. After a few moments, he picked out a curtain flapping through an open window. It turned out to be room 1018A. Two names were on the registration card: Frank Olson and Robert Lashbrook.

Police officers entered room 1018A with guns drawn. They saw no one. The window was open. They pushed open the door to the bathroom and found Lashbrook sitting on the toilet, head in hands. He had been sleeping, he said, and “I heard a noise and then I woke up.”

“The man that went out the window, what is his name?” one officer asked.

“Olson,” came the reply. “Frank Olson.”

“In all my years in the hotel business,” the night manager later reflected, “I never encountered a case where someone got up in the middle of the night, ran across a dark room in his underwear, avoiding two beds, and dove through a closed window with the shade and curtains drawn.”

Leaving the police officers, the night manager returned to the lobby and, on a hunch, asked the telephone operator if any calls had recently been made from room 1018A. “Yes,” she replied – and she had eavesdropped, not an uncommon practice in an era when hotel phone calls were routed through a switchboard. Someone in the room had called a number on Long Island, which was listed as belonging to Dr Harold Abramson, a distinguished physician, less well known as an LSD expert and one of the CIA’s medical collaborators.

“Well, he’s gone,” the caller had said. Abramson replied: “Well, that’s too bad.”

To the first police officers on the scene, this seemed like another of the human tragedies they saw too often: a distressed or distraught man had taken his own life. They could not have known that the dead man and the survivor were scientists who helped direct one of the US government’s most highly classified intelligence programmes.

Spectacular Revelations

frank olsonDecades later, however, spectacular revelations cast Olson’s death in a completely new light. First, the CIA admitted that, shortly before he died, Olson’s colleagues had lured him to a retreat and fed him LSD without his knowledge. Then it turned out that Olson, right, had talked about leaving the CIA – and told his wife that he had made “a terrible mistake.” Slowly, a counter-narrative emerged: Olson was disturbed about his work and wanted to quit, leading his comrades to consider him a security risk. All of this led him to room 1018A.

Frank Olson had been one of the first scientists assigned to the secret US biological warfare laboratories at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland during the second world war. There Olson began working with the handful of colleagues who would accompany him throughout his clandestine career. One was Harold Abramson. Others included ex-Nazi scientists who had been brought to work on secret missions in the US. For a time they worked on aerosol technologies – ways to spray germs or toxins on enemies and to defend against such attacks. Later, Olson met with American intelligence officers who had experimented with “truth drugs” in Europe.

Olson was discharged from the army in 1944, but remained at Fort Detrick on a civilian contract and continued his research into aerobiology. Several times he visited the secluded Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, which was used for testing “living biological agents, munitions and aerosol cloud production”. He co-authored a 220-page study entitled Experimental Airborne Infections, which described experiments with “airborne clouds of highly infectious agents”.

In 1949, he travelled to the Caribbean for Operation Harness, which tested the vulnerability of animals to toxic clouds. The next year, he was part of Operation Sea Spray, in which dust engineered to float like anthrax was released near San Francisco. He regularly travelled to Fort Terry, a secret army base on Plum Island, off the eastern tip of Long Island, which was used to test toxins too deadly to be brought on to the US mainland.

cia logoThis was the period when senior army and CIA officers were becoming deeply alarmed at what they feared was Soviet progress toward mastering forms of warfare based on microbes. Their alarm led to the creation of the special operations division. Rumours about its work spread through offices and laboratories. Olson learned of it over an evening game of cards with a colleague, John Schwab, who unbeknown to him, had been named the division’s first chief. Schwab invited him to join. Olson accepted immediately.

In 2017, Stephen Saracco, a retired New York assistant district attorney who had investigated the Olson case and remained interested in it, made his first visit to the hotel room where Olson spent his final night. Looking around the room, Saracco said, raised the question of how Olson could have done it.

“If this would have been a suicide, it would have been very difficult to accomplish,” Saracco concluded. “There was motive to kill him. He knew the deepest, darkest secrets of the cold war. Would the American government kill an American citizen who was a scientist, who was working for the CIA and the army, if they thought he was a security risk? There are people who say: ‘Definitely.’”

 This is an edited extract from "Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control," published by Henry Holt & Co on Sept 10 and available at guardianbookshop.co.uk

RFK Murder Cover-up

Black Op Radio, Justice Integrity Project Director Andrew Kreig interviewed on RFK murder cover-up and stabbing this month of imprisoned accused len osanic black  op logo 1assailant Sirhan Sirhan, Black Op Radio host Len Osanic, Sept. 5, 2019 (64:04 min. audio interview). 

Andrew Kreig, based in Washington DC, is a public affairs commentator, author, attorney and legal reformer
Andrew's website: www.andrewkreig.com
Andrew is also the editor of the Justice Integrity Project at www.justice-integrity.org
Article: Sirhan Stabbing Revives Questions On His Safety, Innocence, and the RFK Murder Cover Up
The reactions of various researchers have been included in the article
The "Conspiracy Theory" smear is alive and well more than 50 years after the CIA popularized it
FREE ONLINE EBOOK: The Secret Team by Col. L. Fletcher Prouty
Book: JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by Col. Prouty: Hardcover, Paperback
The debate between George Orwell and Aldous Huxley
Book: Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters by Andrew Kreig: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle
Every US President after Jimmy Carter had been a covert asset of either the CIA or FBI before entering politics
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth: www.ae911truth.org
University of Alaska report on the collapse of Building 7 (World Trade Center)
Journalist Whitney Webb's articles: Here
The remarkable "coincidences" in the Jeffrey Epstein case
William Barr, United States Attorney General
Barr worked for the CIA before becoming a lawyer
10 billion dollar Pentagon cloud computing contract may be awarded to Amazon
Amazon already has a 600 million dollar contract for cloud computing with the CIA
Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for 250 million dollars
Michael Morell, former Deputy Director of the CIA

"You don't fight tyrants because you think you can win. You fight them because they are tyrants" -- Chris Hedges

Sept. 2

Hong Kong Riots: Biased Coverage?

Moon of Alabama, Analysis: Hong Kong Rioters Wage Sabotage Campaign To Press Congress Into Punishing China, B, Sept. 2, 2019. The Associated Press is doing its best to make the Hong Kong police look bad by describing an incident without its context

Late at night Saturday, video from Hong Kong broadcaster TVB showed police on the platform of Prince Edward subway station swinging batons at passengers who backed into one end of a train car behind umbrellas. The video also shows pepper spray being shot through an open door at a group seated on the floor while one man holds up his hands.

Police officers said at a briefing Monday that they rejected accusations that they “beat up” ordinary citizens without first confirming their identities. They said they specifically targeted those who they believed to be rioters, including those who had changed out of their black protester outfits, and arrested 63 people on suspicion of illegal assembly and possessing explosives and offensive weapons.

The incident described in the first paragraph above did indeed happen. But it was only the last part of a larger story which the AP fails to mention. Here is how it started:

The violence in Prince Edward Station began during a dispute between protesters and some older men who were insulting them. One of the men swung a hammer at the protesters, who threw water bottles and umbrellas and later appeared to set off fire extinguishers in the car. After the clashes, the subway system suspended service across much of Hong Kong. Three stations remained closed on Sunday.

A full 10 minutes long video of the scene can be watched here.

It was the above incident that led the MTR, the public Mass Transit Railway operator, to stop the traffic at the station and to call up the police. When the riot police entered the station it immediately faced resistance:

The whole scene was not an isolated incident. Black clad folks ripped wastebaskets off the wall and threw them on the rail tracks. They smashed customer service centers, vandalized subway entry gates and hit regular passengers who disliked their behavior. This happened not only in one subway station but was part of a systematic attempt to disrupt the whole service:

The intent was obviously not to protest but a well planned and coordinated sabotage campaign against the city's indispensable mass transport system. Sabotaging infrastructure is an old CIA tactic to "harass and demoralize enemy administrators and police." Tianamen was, as we now know, a CIA-led color revolution attempt, set up within a background of general protests, in which the U.S. regime change mastermind Gene Sharp was directly involved. The mostly falsely reported incident, during which soldiers were lynched and protesters gunned down, led to 'western' sanctions against China.

Beijing is not going to fall for the same trick twice. The Joshua Wong op-ed [by a protester in the New York Times] shows that the aim has now been lowered. The riots and the inevitable police response to them are now supposed to push Congress to give the Treasury a tool to sanction Chinese officials for interfering in a Chinese(!) city's affairs.

 

August

Aug. 29

Justice Probe Of Comey Memos

james comey fbi recent photo

washington post logoWashington Post, Comey violated policies in handling memos on interactions with Trump, inspector general finds, Matt Zapotosky, Aug. 29, 2019. The former FBI director (shown above in a file photo) was found to have broken the bureau’s rules, but prosecutors declined to pursue a criminal case.

FBI logoFormer FBI Director James B. Comey violated FBI policies in how he handled memos that detailed his controversial interactions with President Trump, setting a “dangerous example” for bureau employees about substituting personal righteousness for established rules, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found in a report released Thursday.

michael horowitz CustomThe report is the second time Inspector General Michael Horowitz, left, has criticized Comey for how he handled FBI business during his abbreviated tenure in charge of the bureau. Last summer, Horowitz lambasted Comey for his leadership of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, accusing him of insubordination and flouting Justice Department policies in deciding only he had the authority and credibility to make key decisions on the case and speak about it publicly.

Comey told investigators he felt the memos were personal, and that he was acting in the best interests of the country. But the inspector general rejected that defense, writing that Comey’s senior FBI leaders all agreed the memos were government documents, and that the former director’s “own, personal conception of James Comeywhat was necessary was not an appropriate basis for ignoring the policies and agreements governing the use of FBI records.”

On Twitter, Comey, right, noted that the inspector general found “no evidence” that he or his attorneys released any classified information to the media.

“I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice,” he wrote. “And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me ‘going to jail’ or being a ‘liar and a leaker’ — ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The DOJ’s inspector general buries the real news, Jennifer Rubin, right, Aug. 29, 2019. With William P. Barr as President Trump’s attorney general, one jennifer rubin new headshotmust always keep in mind that everything out of this Justice Department will be spun, shaded or, in the case of Robert S. Mueller III’s report, misrepresented with the sole purpose of exonerating Trump of any malfeasance and attacking his political opponents.

Unfortunately, the media, as it did with Barr’s letter and Justice Department log circularnews conference about the Mueller report, too often accepts the spin without examining the underlying documents.

That seems to be what is happening with the newly released inspector general’s report examining former FBI director James B. Comey’s release of memos documenting Trump’s attempt to secure his personal loyalty and to go easy on Trump’s fired ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn. At the time, Trump accused Comey of breaking the law.

He tweeted: “James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” Trump’s minions in the right-wing media ran with it. The problem is that it was false.

Aug. 29

Media Criticism

real news networkThe Real News Network, Opinion: Corporate Media Bias Against Sanders Is Structural, Not a Conspiracy, Greg Wilpert, Aug. 27, 2019 (video interview transcript). What the United States needs is a real discussion about the systematic structural bias against politicians and political movements that question corporate control over the news, say RootsAction.org founders Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon

bernie sanders gage skidmoreGREG WILPERT: Almost two weeks ago, there was a slight blip in the news cycle in which Bernie Sanders confronted corporate media with a claim that their coverage might be biased. Of course, corporate media outlets have been facing this charge ever since Trump became president, but this time it came from Senator Sanders, who said the following.

BERNIE SANDERS (shown in a Gage Skidmore file photo): Anybody here know how much Amazon paid in taxes last year? Bernie Sanders: I talk about that all of the time and then I wonder why The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos who owns Amazon, doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why.

The reaction to Sanders’ claim that The Washington Post coverage of him is biased against him generated a wave of pushback. The Washington Post Chief Editor, Martin Baron, said that Sanders is pushing a conspiracy theory when he suggested that Jeff Bezos interferes with the work of the newspaper. Many other corporate news outlets followed suit, saying that Sanders failed to provide evidence, and that he was copying a page from Trump’s playbook.

GREG WILPERT: So let’s get the main issue out of the way. Was Sanders correct in pointing out The Washington Post’s bias against him? And if so, how does Amazon, or any media owner for that matter, achieve this kind of control when what their defenders say is true, that there are no instructions coming from Bezos to the editors or journalists? What do you say, Jeff? Let’s start with you.

JEFF COHEN: Well, there doesn’t have to be a memo from management or ownership, or orders from management or ownership. When I worked at MSNBC in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, there actually were memos and there were orders that we should bias our coverage in support of the invasion. That’s why we were all terminated. That’s the exception. The mere presence of one of the richest people on Earth, Jeff Bezos, as the owner of The Washington Post, his mere presence is enough. What I love about Bernie Sanders is, in 2015-2016, he took democratic socialism out of the closet. And from then, especially these last few weeks, Greg, that you’re referring to, he’s taken this idea of corporate media bias out of the closet, so even the mainstream media has to be discussing it.

Anyone can look at the studies that FAIR.org has done over the decades to show the homogenous nature of the coverage. And there isn’t always a memo. There doesn’t need to be a memo from management. I mean, FAIR showed, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, they did a study of two weeks, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, 393 people quoted about the invasion. Only three represented the anti-war movement. That’s less than 1%. There probably wasn’t a memo at PBS, or ABC, or CBS, or NBC, but they got that homogenous coverage. FAIR has done studies of how The New York Times and Washington Post covered NAFTA when it was being debated, and they virtually put the critics into the margins. FAIR recently did a study of Venezuela and how you basically can’t get into the mainstream media if you think overthrowing a government in Latin America might be a bad idea.

So there doesn’t need to be a memo. Everyone understands what is off limits and what isn’t. I learned that when I was in the mainstream TV news. I mean, think about it: the famous Adam Johnson article in March of 2016 where The Washington Post ran 16 negative stories about Bernie Sanders in 16 hours. Now, if anyone wanted to investigate at The Washington Post the very newsworthy controversies of Amazon and Jeff Bezos— the exploitation of labor, the tax avoidance, the CIA contracts— if they wrote even three negative articles in three days, their heads would roll and everyone at Washington Post knows it.

More On U.S. Justicejack ruby shoots oswald

Detective James R. Leavelle, left, glowered as Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald at a police station basement in Dallas on Nov. 24, 1963.CreditCreditBob Jackson/Dallas Times-Herald, via Associated Press

Nny times logoew York Times, James Leavelle, Detective at Lee Harvey Oswald’s Side, Dies at 99, Ralph Blumenthal, Aug. 29, 2019. Mr. Leavelle’s reaction to Lee Harvey Oswald’s shooting by Jack Ruby in 1963 was captured in an indelible photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize.

James R. Leavelle, the big man in the white Stetson who epitomized the horrors of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in one of the most famous photographs of all time — the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby — died on Thursday at a hospital in Denver. He was 99.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Karla Leavelle.

Mr. Leavelle, a veteran Dallas homicide detective who had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, was handcuffed to Mr. Oswald and was leading him through a police station basement on Nov. 24, 1963, when Mr. Ruby, a nightclub owner, stepped out of the crowd and pumped a fatal bullet into the prisoner. The shooting, with Mr. Oswald’s pained grimace and Detective Leavelle’s stricken glower, was chillingly captured by Robert H. Jackson of The Dallas Times Herald in an iconic photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize the following year.

Moments earlier, he and Mr. Oswald had had an eerie exchange, Mr. Leavelle often later recounted. “Lee,” he recalled saying, “if anybody shoots at you, I hope they are as good a shot as you.”

To which, he said, Mr. Oswald replied: “You’re being melodramatic.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Curtis Flowers’s Conviction Tossed by Mississippi Supreme Court, Mihir Zaveri, Aug. 29, 2019. Mr. Flowers, a black man, has been tried by a white prosecutor six times over the killings of four people in a furniture store in 1996. His case was featured in the podcast “In the Dark.” The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday threw out the murder conviction of Curtis Flowers, a black man who has been tried six times for the same crimes, two months after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor, who is white, unconstitutionally kept black people off the jury.

Iraq War's Roots

keira knightley official secrets sundance institute

Keira Knightley stars in the film "Official Secrets" opening this week and based on the historic whistleblowing of UK intelligence worker Katherine Gun (photo via Sundance Institute).

Consortium News, Film Review: ‘Official Secrets’ is the Tip of a Mammoth Iceberg, Sam Husseini, Aug. 29, 2019. A new film depicting the whistleblower Katherine Gun, who tried to stop the Iraq invasion, is largely accurate, but the story is not over. Two-time Oscar nominee Keira Knightley is known for being in “period pieces” such as “Pride and Prejudice,” so her playing the lead in the new film “Official Secrets,” scheduled to be released in the U.S. on Friday, may seem odd at first. That is until one considers that the time span being depicted — the early 2003 run-up to the invasion of Iraq — is one of the most dramatic and consequential periods of modern human history.

It is also one of the most poorly understood, in part because the story of Katharine Gun, played by Knightley, is so little known. Having followed this story from the start, I find this film to be, by Hollywood standards, a remarkably accurate account of what has happened to date–“to date” because the wider story still isn’t over.

Epstein's Helpers

ny times logoNew York Times, How a Ring of Women Allegedly Recruited Girls for Jeffrey Epstein, Amy Julia Harris, Frances Robles, Mike Baker and William K. Rashbaum, Aug. 29, 2019. After Mr. Epstein’s suicide, his inner circle of girlfriends, employees and other associates is now under scrutiny by prosecutors. A Times investigation uncovered allegations about how a cadre of women helped lure girls into his orbit and managed the logistics of those encounters.

The urgency of the investigation into Mr. Epstein’s associates was underscored on Tuesday when about two dozen women offered searing accounts of how he had sexually abused them before a packed courtroom in Manhattan.

The judge overseeing the case had invited the women to speak at a hearing to dismiss the indictment against Mr. Epstein in light of his death.

Sex Trafficking In History

Gilad.com, Historical commentary: 'Jeffrey Zwi Epstein Migdal,' Gilad Atzmon (UK-based jazz artist and cultural/political commentator), Aug. 29, 2019. The story of Jeffrey Epstein has lost its mystery as more and more commentators allow themselves to express the thought that it is a strong possibility that Epstein was connected to a crime syndicate affiliated with a Zionist political organisation or Israel and / or at least a few compromised intelligence agencies.

Whitney Webb, right, and others have produced superb studies of possible scenarios.

I would instead like to attack the topic from a cultural perspective. Epstein wasn’t the first Jewish sex trafficker. This seems like a good time to look back at Zwi Migdal, a Jewish global crime syndicate that operated a century ago and trafficked tens of thousands of Jewish women and under age girls as sex slaves. According to contemporary Jewish writer Giulia Morpurgo the Zwi Migdal had turned Argentina, “into a nightmare of prostitution and exploitation.”

During the first three decades of the 20th century Argentina was a rich country. It outgrew Canada and Australia in population, total income, and per capita income. Just before the first world war Argentina was the world's 10th wealthiest state per capita. When Argentina was a rich country, large parts of its economy, culture and politics were controlled by crime syndicates and particularly a Jewish organised crime apparatus named ‘Zwi Migdal.’

In 2009 The International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCACA) published a comprehensive article about the Zwi Migdal titled Understanding the Zwi Migdal Society, which I am about to quote from extensively.

The Zwi Migdal, was an association of Jewish mobsters who were involved in the “sexual exploitation of Jewish women and children, which operated globally.” Apparently the Zwi Migdal originally picked a pretty innocent sounding name: "Warsaw Jewish Mutual Aid Society." It does indeed sound almost as innocent, humane and charitable as ‘Anti-Defamation League,’ ‘Jews against Breast Cancer,’ or even ‘Jewish Voice for Peace.’

But the Warsaw Jewish Mutual Aid Society wasn’t innocent at all. It forced thousands of women and girls to become sex slaves and destroyed their lives. “Zwi Migdal means ‘strong power’ in Yiddish and it also honoured Zvi Migdal, known as Luis Migdal, one of the founders of the crime organization.”

The Zwi Migdal organization operated from the 1860s to 1939. In its heyday, after the First World War, it had four hundred members in Argentina alone. Its annual turnover was fifty million dollars in the early 1900s.

Unlike Epstein and Maxwell who allegedly recruited non-Jewish underage women, the Zwi Migdal specialised in trafficking Jewish women. “Most of the Jewish women and children who were kidnapped were taken from impoverished shtetls (Jewish small towns) and brought to Buenos Aires.”

The recently released documents related to the Jeffrey Epstein affair suggest that Epstein and Maxwell were to be charged with child sex trafficking, and as the alleged procurer of underage girls. It seems none of that is really novel in the Jewish world: “The Zwi Migdal Society lured decent girls and young women from Europe in many inventive and deceitful ways. A very well-mannered and elegant-looking man would appear in a poor Jewish village in places such as Poland or Russia. He would advertise his search for young women to work in the homes of wealthy Jews in Argentina by posting an ad in the local synagogue. Fearful of pogroms and often in desperate economic circumstances, the trusting parents would send their naïve daughters away with these men, hoping to give them a fresh start.”

The last line recalls Virginia Giuffre’s account of her encounter with the elegant British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell who allegedly lured her victims to ‘escape’ their misery.

From Rachel (Raquel) Lieberman to Virginia Roberts Giuffre

rachel libermanWe learn that the rufianos' audacity eventually led to their demise. “It happened when they refused to forgo their income from the work of one woman, Rachel Lieberman (shown at right in an undated photo) from Lódž, Poland. She, like so many others, was tempted to travel to Buenos Aires answering a matrimonial ad, but was taken to Jonin Street where she was forced to prostitute.”

“After five years she had enough money to go into the antique furniture business to support herself and her sons but the rufianos made it impossible for her. They did not want her to set an example for their other slaves. But this woman had not been broken.”

As was the case for Virginia Giuffre, it needed brave Rachel to come forward (film via vimeo). 

Her testimony led to an extensive investigation. The findings reached Dr. Rodriguez Ocampo, a judge who would not take Zwi Migdal bribes either.

The lengthy trial ended in September 1930, with 108 detainees. "The very existence of the Zwi Migdal Organization directly threatens our society," the judge wrote in his verdict, handing down long prison terms.”

As with Epstein and his mobsters friends, things changed quickly and not in favour of justice let alone guided by ethical principles. The Zwi Migdal mobsters were at least as well connected as Epstein to politicians, judges and prosecutors. “While in prison, the pimps pulled some old strings, appealed their sentences in January 1931, and senior Justice Ministry officials left only three of the convicts in jail, discharging the rest.”

More On Epstein's Ties

WGBH-TV, Commentary: Harvard, MIT, and Epstein's 'Dirty' Money, Harvey Silverglate, right, and Monika Greco, Aug. 29, 2019. Following the apparent jailhouse suicide of disgraced harveysilverglate 136money manager and academic dilettante Jeffrey Epstein, two prominent Cambridge universities grapple with a straightforward ethical question that has been made out to be needlessly complex: Should an educational institution which has been the beneficiary of the largess of someone who, it turns out, was a monster, return or otherwise redirect donations of “dirty money”? The two universities seem to have arrived at somewhat different answers to this question.

Epstein’s death leaves a long line of victims in its wake, some of whom wished to face him in court and will now never have that opportunity. Epstein also leaves behind the many educational institutions that benefited from his considerable financial donations. A self-described “science philanthropist,” Epstein amassed an impressive network of the world’s leading scholars, scientists, and public intellectuals, by giving liberally to their personal research projects and home institutions. Epstein’s philanthropy enabled him to cultivate close connections with higher-ups at several prominent universities, including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In typical fashion, the media has taken the now-hot story as an opportunity to root out and vilify every person and every institution that has ever had anything to do with Epstein, regardless of whether the individuals and institutions had any knowledge of Epstein’s crimes. The public, galvanized by the media, has placed tremendous pressure on the numerous beneficiaries of Epstein’s sizable gifts to come to terms with their relationships with the now-deceased sex offender. It is in this climate that Harvard and MIT face calls to return or otherwise redirect Epstein’s “dirty money.”

The two universities have thus far responded in very different ways. Back in 2006, when the allegations against Epstein first emerged, Harvard made clear that it had no intention of returning or redirecting any of the millions of dollars it received. More than a decade later, and even after intense public pressure following Epstein’s 2019 federal indictment, Harvard reaffirmed this stance.

MIT, on the other hand, has been bending over backwards to appease the public by issuing mea culpas for various complicities, imagined or otherwise, stemming from the university’s ties to Epstein. In an email sent to the MIT community, University President L. Rafael Reif revealed that MIT accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from Epstein’s various foundations over two decades, all of which went either to the Media Lab or to Physics Professor Seth Lloyd. Reif issued a groveling apology and promised to essentially redirect Epstein’s gifts by donating an equal amount to charities that assist victims of sexual abuse.

Of course, we cannot know the true motivations underlying Harvard and MIT’s responses, although we can probably assume that these institutional decisions were made at the highest levels.

Many institutions have had to reckon with the present knowledge that contributions were made by donors then or now recognized as tainted. The most difficult decisions doubtless have had to be made by institutions for which changing mores have raised the question of whether the long-ago naming of buildings or programs (or entire universities) after now-disgraced donors should be reversed. But where a monument has not been built, nor a program named, to honor a donor, it would seem that there is no reasonable justification, other than moral grandstanding or ethical preening, for returning money that would otherwise be used for the education of our children.

Harvey Silverglate, WGBH’s “Freedom Watch” writer, is a criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer and author in Boston. Monika Greco is a graduate of the philosophy master’s program at Tufts University, and writes about ethical issues for the general public.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: A lesson in state censorship, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 29, 2019 (subscription required). WMR, A lesson in state censorship, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 29, 2019 (subscription required). By taking such extreme action as threatening to sue a news network, Trump has shown his true Achilles' heel: his financial records and tax returns. These records are the focus of the impeachment inquiry underway by the House Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Financial Services Committees.Aug. 28

Supreme Court Scandal?

Palmer Report, Opinion: The story of Donald Trump, Deutsche Bank, and Anthony Kennedy’s son comes back into the spotlight, Bill Palmer, Aug. 28, 2019. This new report about anthony kennedy scotus 236x3001Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans being signed for by Russian oligarchs close to Putin isn’t news to anyone paying attention. Russia has been Trump’s shadow for over 30 years and his attempts to hide that fact in his taxes is completely what we expected.

bill palmer report logo headerWhat’s truly new here is the fact that Deutsche Bank had an internal guideline to hire the children of power brokers, according to the Washington Post. Deutsche Bank hired Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s son. It now seems clear this deal was an attempt at owning the ultimate power broker, a Justice on the US Supreme Court (shown at right in an official photo).

We don’t know exactly what Kennedy’s son actually did for Trump, but when Russia shows up in one place, it seems to be in all the other places as well. The Kennedy/Deutsche Bank relationship is going to have to be investigated and prosecuted if wrongdoing occurred, which now seems likely.

deutsche bank logoBut the scary part here is if Trump was illegitimately elected President, then he illegitimately seated two justices on the Supreme Court. Since Trump never does anything without a quid pro quo, we have to ask what Brett Kavanaugh did for Trump to get the nomination. We also never heard exactly how Kavanaugh brett kavanaughmanaged to quickly pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of personal loans before being seated on the Court.

Neil Gorsuch may not have the same shady dealings around him, but even if he’s innocent, Donald Trump nominated him in order to get points from someone else. We need these answers. Trump never works without pay, bottom line. The US Supreme Court is the world’s biggest powerbroker and being able to appoint two justices to be seated on it is the ultimate cash prize. So what did Trump & Co. get in payback? We need to know.

More On Trump, Bankers

ny times logoNew York Times, The Trump Secrets Hiding Inside Deutsche Bank, David Enrich, Aug. 28, 2019. The president’s longtime lender has extensive documents related to Mr. Trump’s personal and business finances. Here’s what they could reveal.

Deutsche Bank’s disclosure on Tuesday that it has tax returns related to President Trump’s family or business set off a frenzy of speculation about what those materials might reveal.

deutsche bank logoBut a trove of other data and documents that his longtime lender is sitting on might prove more revelatory to investigators digging into Mr. Trump’s finances. That includes records of how Mr. Trump made his money, whom he has partnered with, the terms of his extensive borrowings and what transactions he has engaged in with Russians or other foreign nationals.

For nearly two decades, Deutsche Bank was the only mainstream financial institution consistently willing to do business with Mr. Trump, who had a long record of defaulting on loans. The bank over the years collected reams of his personal and corporate information.

President Donald Trump officialTwo congressional committees have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for a vast array of records related to Mr. Trump — including any tax returns since 2010. The investigators are hoping the materials will shed light not only on the president’s finances but also on any links he has had to foreign governments and whether he or his companies were involved in any illegal activity, such as money laundering for people overseas.

After the two House committees subpoenaed the bank, Mr. Trump sued to block it from complying. The case is pending with a federal appeals court.

While Deutsche Bank has been lending to Mr. Trump since 1998, the most detailed information would cover the period since 2011, when the company’s private-banking division struck up a relationship with the future president and his family.

Aug. 27

Major New 9/11 Findings Due Sept. 3

ae 911 truth building 7 graphic hulsey study Custom

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911 Truth), Advocacy: You Can Change the Course of 9/11 Truth by Sharing the Building 7 Study Widely, Richard Gage, AIA (AE911 Truth ae 911 truth blue horizontal logoFounder and CEO), Aug. 27, 2019. Exactly one week from today, the breakthrough Building 7 Study by Dr. Leroy Hulsey will be released, creating a groundswell of scientific discourse and public awareness that will change the course of 9/11 Truth forever.

I urgently need your help to raise $50,000 by Saturday in order to make the release of this study the watershed moment we all need it to be. Fortunately, a determined donor has stepped forward with a generous challenge gift of $5,000, meaning that he is challenging the community — including you — to equal his donation by August 31st.

Will you donate now to make sure this report is spread far and wide?

When you give today, your gift will be used immediately (as in next week!) to launch a multi-channel public awareness campaign about this groundbreaking study. For example, ae 911 truth hulsey study graphic Customfor just $25 you can ensure that ten engineers receive our large-format postcard (plus you’ll receive one, too!), helping us reach 20,000 engineers across the country.

Not only that, but your gift will be used to organize presentations across the country, hold a major news conference in Washington D.C. with the Franklin Square fire commissioners, produce a powerful short video for social media, commission a new YouGov survey, and more.

Will you give generously today to make sure we take full advantage of this opportunity to change the trajectory of 9/11 Truth permanently?

Gratefully yours,

Richard Gage, AIA

PS: There are only five days left to have your gift DOUBLED and spread the word about this breakthrough Building 7 Study — so please give by August 31st!

Aug. 26

Trump Trade Wars

washington post logoWashington Post, G-7 summit set to end amid Trump’s mixed messaging on the trade war, Toluse Olorunnipa, Michael Birnbaum and Damian g 7 logo france 2019Paletta, Aug. 26, 2019. There is no indication world leaders have made any progress on tackling such major global challenges as climate change, a slowing world economy or nuclear proliferation.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump sings the praises of his resort in Florida as possible G-7 host for 2020, Josh Dawsey and David A. Fahrenthold, Aug. 26, 2019. Aides say the president has sought for months to hold the summit in Doral, but many of his advisers have warned against the idea.

Consortium News, Opinion: Brexit & the Madness of the ‘Sovereign Individual,’ Daniel Lazar, Aug. 26, 2019. While Trump engages in a war of words with everyone from Denmark to Iran, Johnson is threatening to storm out of the European Union even though the likely result will be economic havoc and, in Northern Ireland, a return of the low-grade civil war that killed and wounded some 50,000 people over the course of three decades.

Somewhere, somehow, there must be a method to their madness. But what can it be? The answer may lie in the 1997 bestseller “The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age.” Written by popular stock analyst James Dale Davidson and former Financial Times editor William Rees-Mogg, it’s basically a primer on how to profit from the coming politico-economic apocalypse.

What makes it oddly prescient, as publications ranging from the Guardian to The New European have pointed out, is lineage. William Rees-Mogg is the father of Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons and Britain’s best-known advocate for a “hard Brexit” after BoJo himself, as Johnson is popularly known.

Basically, the book is not only an ode to the coming apocalypse but an extended assault on the 20th-century nation-state. That is something that people fought and died for but which Davidson and Rees-Mogg père associate with high taxes, burdensome regulation, and the pain and torture of having to do what other people tell them to.

Hence, its demise is to be welcomed since it will unleash a revolutionary new force, that of the unchained individual. “The new Sovereign Individual,” they write, “will operate like the gods of myth in the same physical environment as the ordinary, subject citizen but in a separate realm politically. Commanding vastly greater resources and beyond the reach of many forms of compulsion, the Sovereign Individual will redesign government and reconfigure economies in the new millennium.”

With “much of the world’s commerce … migrat[ing] into the new realm of cyberspace,” the book goes on, the old “nation-state, with all its pretensions, will starve to death as its tax revenues decline.” Democracy, which “flourished as a fraternal twin of Communism precisely because it facilitated unimpeded control of resources by the state,” will likewise wither away. So will hoary old concepts like “equal protection under the law” that rest on “power relations that are soon to be obsolete.”

Aug. 26

whowhatwhy logoruss bakerWhoWhatWhy, Opinion: Epstein Death: Deep Digging Not Welcome in Corporate Media, Russ Baker, right, Aug. 26, 2019. When news broke of Jeffrey Epstein’s death in prison, some corporate media were quick to assure the public — as they so often do — that whatever that was about, it should not be viewed as involving any sort of conspiratorial behavior.

They did question why Epstein was taken off suicide watch, especially since he allegedly attempted to kill himself in July, but few considered foul play. Even before the medical examiner’s final report, they accepted the government’s statement that Epstein had killed himself. Epstein’s death was labeled a suicide, and, basically, that was that.

The thing is, many people find the “suicide” scenario suspicious. Which is why recent polls show that just 29 percent of the American public believe it was suicide. It’s important to recall that, historically, journalism has not had such a great track record....This is what the media does — and another reason why the public does not trust them.

Consortium News, Opinion: Brexit & the Madness of the ‘Sovereign Individual,’ Daniel Lazar, Aug. 26, 2019. While Trump engages in a war of words with everyone from Denmark to Iran, Johnson is threatening to storm out of the European Union even though the likely result will be economic havoc and, in Northern Ireland, a return of the low-grade civil war that killed and wounded some 50,000 people over the course of three decades.

Somewhere, somehow, there must be a method to their madness. But what can it be? The answer may lie in the 1997 bestseller The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age. Written by popular stock analyst James Dale Davidson and former Financial Times editor William Rees-Mogg, it’s basically a primer on how to profit from the coming politico-economic apocalypse.

What makes it oddly prescient, as publications ranging from the Guardian to The New European have pointed out, is lineage. William Rees-Mogg is the father of Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons and Britain’s best-known advocate for a “hard Brexit” after BoJo himself, as Johnson is popularly known.

Basically, the book is not only an ode to the coming apocalypse but an extended assault on the 20th-century nation-state. That is something that people fought and died for but which Davidson and Rees-Mogg père associate with high taxes, burdensome regulation, and the pain and torture of having to do what other people tell them to.

Hence, its demise is to be welcomed since it will unleash a revolutionary new force, that of the unchained individual. The new Sovereign Individual, they write, “will operate like the gods of myth in the same physical environment as the ordinary, subject citizen but in a separate realm politically. Commanding vastly greater resources and beyond the reach of many forms of compulsion, the Sovereign Individual will redesign government and reconfigure economies in the new millennium.”

Aug. 25

Trump Allies On Attack

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Coverage Deemed Hostile to White House, Kenneth P. Vogel and Jeremy W. Peters, Aug. 25, 2019. A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists.

It is the latest step in a long-running effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting. Four people familiar with the operation described how it works, asserting that it has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations.

cnn logoThe group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects.

Operatives have closely examined more than a decade’s worth of public posts and statements by journalists, the people familiar with the operation said. Only a fraction of what the network claims to have uncovered has been made public, the people said, with more to be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up. The research is said to extend to members of journalists’ families who are active in politics, as well as liberal activists and other political opponents of the president.

It is not possible to independently assess the claims about the quantity or potential significance of the material the pro-Trump network has assembled. Some involved in the operation have histories of bluster and exaggeration. And those willing to describe its techniques and goals may be trying to intimidate journalists or their employers.

But the material publicized so far, while in some cases stripped of context or presented in misleading ways, has proved authentic, and much of it has been professionally harmful to its targets.

stephen bannon cropped npc 2013It is clear from the cases to date that among the central players in the operation is Arthur Schwartz, a combative 47-year-old conservative consultant who is a friend and informal adviser to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. Mr. Schwartz has worked with some of the right’s most aggressive operatives, including the former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon (shown in a file photo at right).

“If the @nytimes thinks this settles the matter we can expose a few of their other bigots,” Mr. Schwartz tweeted on Thursday in response to an apologetic tweet from a Times journalist whose anti-Semitic social media posts had just been revealed by the operation. “Lots more where this came from.”

The information unearthed by the operation has been commented on and spread by officials inside the Trump administration and re-election campaign, as well as conservative activists and right-wing news outlets such as Breitbart News. In the case of the Times editor, the news was first published by Breitbart, immediately amplified on Twitter by Donald Trump Jr. and, among others, Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and quickly became the subject of a Breitbart interview with Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary and communications director.

The White House press office said that neither the president nor anyone in the White House was involved in or aware of the operation, and that neither the White House nor the Republican National Committee was involved in funding it.

The Trump campaign said it was unaware of, and not involved in, the effort, but suggested that it served a worthy purpose. “We know nothing about this, but it’s clear that the media has a lot of work to do to clean up its own house,” said Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director.

ny times logoThe campaign is consistent with Mr. Trump’s long-running effort to delegitimize critical reporting and brand the news media as an “enemy of the people.” The president has relentlessly sought to diminish the credibility of news organizations and cast them as politically motivated opponents.

Journalism, he said in a tweet last week, is “nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party.”

The operation has compiled social media posts from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and stored images of the posts that can be publicized even if the user deletes them, said the people familiar with the effort. One claimed that the operation had unearthed potentially “fireable” information on “several hundred” people.

“I am sure there will be more scalps,” said Sam Nunberg, a former aide to Mr. Trump who is a friend of Mr. Schwartz.

Mr. Nunberg and others who are familiar with the campaign described it as meant to expose what they see as the hypocrisy of mainstream news outlets that have reported on the president’s inflammatory language regarding race.

“Two can play at this game,” he said. “The media has long targeted Republicans with deep dives into their social media, looking to caricature all conservatives and Trump voters as racists.”

But using journalistic techniques to target journalists and news organizations as retribution for — or as a warning not to pursue — coverage critical of the president is fundamentally different from the well-established role of the news media in scrutinizing people in positions of power.

“If it’s clearly retaliatory, it’s clearly an attack, it’s clearly not journalism,” said Leonard Downie Jr., who was the executive editor of The Post from 1991 to 2008. Tension between a president and the news media that covers him is nothing new, Mr. Downie added. But an organized, wide-scale political effort to intentionally humiliate journalists and others who work for media outlets is.

Aug. 24

Global Environment

christopher leonard kochland

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: David Koch Was the Ultimate Climate Change Denier, Christopher Leonard (above. the author of “Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America”), Aug. 24, 2019. David Koch, who died Friday at the age of 79, is best known as a major funder of right-wing political causes, from tax cuts to deregulation, an enthusiastic patron of the arts and a man-about-town. But to his critics, his most lasting political legacy might very well be the rapidly warming world that he has left behind.

Koch Industries realized early on that it would be a financial disaster for the firm if the American government regulated carbon emissions or made companies pay a price for releasing carbon into the atmosphere. The effects of such a policy would be measured over decades for Koch. The company has billions of dollars sunk into the complex and expensive infrastructure of crude-oil processing. If a limit on greenhouse gas emissions were imposed, it could dampen demand for oil and diminish the value of those assets and their future sales. The total dollar losses would likely be measured in trillions over a period of 30 years or more.

U.S. History, Race, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Liberty and Slavery Have Always Been Wrapped Up With Each Other, Jamelle Bouie, Aug. 24, 2019 (print ed.).  I am just one of many contributors to The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project and can’t claim to speak for it. But I have found the reaction to the project — or at least, one specific set of reactions — very revealing and worthy of a little analysis.

The stated aim of the project is to “reframe the country’s history” around the arrival of enslaved Africans to English North America. The argument is not that the United States was actually founded in 1619 but that its culture, economy, politics and social relations are inextricably bound in the race-based chattel slavery that would emerge in Virginia and spread throughout the colonies. Or as Nikole Hannah-Jones, who organized the project, puts it in her introductory essay, “Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.”

Unsurprisingly, the package has received considerable pushback from conservatives. They’ve made a forceful attack, in particular, on the idea that the founding was bound up in slavery and white supremacy. In The New York Post, Rich Lowry of National Review calls this idea an “odious and reductive lie.” The Federalist says it is “sweeping historical revisionism in the service of contemporary left-wing politics.” Ilya Shapiro, of the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, said the 1619 Project was intended to “delegitimize mankind’s greatest experiment in human liberty & self-governance.”

My larger point is this: History is not the uncovering of absolute truths. It is a dialogue between the present and the past, between communities of scholars and thinkers working to understand the record of what came before — it is always a process of change and revision and critique. Conservatives have every right to criticize The 1619 Project. But if they’re going to call it “lies” and “garbage history” — if they’re going accuse it of propaganda and partisanship — then they should ask themselves a question: Are they looking for better scholarship or are they making a demand for orthodoxy?

Related Story:

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Aug. 14, 2019. The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are. Read all the stories.

Aug. 23

Epstein Death Probes

whitney webb twitterMintPress News, Investigation: From “Spook Air” to the “Lolita Express”: The Genesis and Evolution of the Jeffrey Epstein-Bill Clinton Relationship, Whitney Webb, shown at right in her Twitter photo, Aug. 23, 2019 (Part Four of a four-part series). Far from being the work of a single political party, intelligence agency or country, the power structure revealed by the network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control.

Following the controversial conclusion by the New York Medical Examiner that Epstein’s death was a suicide — a conclusion contested by Epstein’s attorneys as well as by independent forensic pathologists, given the apparent evidence pointing towards strangulation — corporate media coverage of the Epstein case has slowed to a trickle, save for sensationalist stories about his alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell and new salacious details of his past. Gone from corporate media are any hints of the larger scandal, revolving around the admission that Epstein had “belonged to intelligence.”

In this four-part series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” MintPress has revealed that Epstein’s activities — a sexual blackmail operation involving minors and connected to intelligence agencies — was one of many such operations that have taken place for decades, developing from the nexus forged between the CIA, organized crime and Israeli intelligence shortly after World War II.

jeffrey epstein hands handsThough this series has thus far largely focused on the ties of Republican officials to those operations and associated crimes, the final installment of this series will focus on Democratic politicians, namely the Clinton family, and their ties to this same network as well as Jeffrey Epstein (right).

The Clintons’ own involvement in Iran-Contra revolved around the covert activities at Arkansas’ Mena Airport, which involved the CIA front company Southern Air Transport and occurred while Clinton was governor. Just a few years into the Clinton presidential administration, Leslie Wexner and Jeffrey Epstein would play a major role in Southern Air Transport’s relocation to Columbus, Ohio, leading to concerns among top Ohio officials that both men were not only working with the CIA, but that Wexner’s company, The Limited, sought to use the CIA-linked airline for smuggling.

During that same period of time, Epstein had already forged close ties to important Clinton White House officials and prominent Clinton donors like Lynn Forester de Rothschild and made several personal visits to the official presidential residence.

Some of these ties appear related to Epstein’s shady financial activities, particularly involving currency markets and offshore tax havens — activities he began to perfect while working for prominent Iran-Contra figures in the early 1980s, several of whom were tied to the CIA-linked Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and had known relationships with Israeli intelligence, namely the Mossad. The nature of Epstein’s work for these individuals and other evidence strongly suggests that Epstein himself had a relationship with BCCI after leaving Bear Stearns and prior to the bank’s collapse in 1991.

Of particular importance are Epstein’s relationship to the Clinton Foundation and the alleged role of Epstein’s Virgin Islands-based hedge fund and the Clinton Foundation in money laundering activity, a relationship still under investigation by MintPress.

It is this tale of intrigue that fully reveals the extent to which this decades-old alliance between organized crime, the CIA, and Israeli intelligence has corrupted and influenced politicians of both political parties, both through the use of sexual blackmail and through other means of coercion.

Far from being the work of a single intelligence agency or a single country, the power structure revealed by this network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that transcends nationality and is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control. Existing for decades and willing to use any means necessary to cover its tracks, this criminal racket has become so integrated into the levers of power, in the United States and well beyond, that it is truly too big to fail. 

Iran Contra, Mena Airport and the Clintons

When one thinks back to the now-famous Iran-Contra scandal, names like Ronald Reagan, Oliver North and Barry Seal comes to mind, but former President Bill Clinton also played an outsized role in the scandal — using his home state of Arkansas, where he was then serving as governor, as a sort of rallying point for the CIA’s U.S.-side of the Central American operation.

In fact, during Clinton’s reign as governor a small town called Mena, nestled in the Ozark Mountains west of Arkansas’ capital Little Rock, would be propelled into the national spotlight as a hub for drug and arms smuggling and the training of CIA-backed far-right militias.

Under the close watch of the CIA, then led by William Casey, the Mena Intermountain Regional Airport was used to stockpile and deliver arms and ammunition to the Nicaraguan Contras. The arms were sometimes exchanged for cocaine from South American cartels, which would then be sent back to Mena and used to fund the covert CIA operation.

Though efforts have been made to dismiss Clinton’s role in the scandal, his direct intervention in the Contras’ attempts to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua suggests Clinton had some sort of personal stake in the efforts and was unlikely aloof to the major smuggling operation taking place in his state while he had been governor. In fact, while governor, Clinton split with many other state governments in sending a contingency of the Arkansas National Guard to Honduras to train the Nicaraguan Contras on how to overthrow their Sandinista government. Clinton would also discuss his first-hand knowledge of the operation with now-Trump administration Attorney General William Barr.

Much of this channeling of both weapons and drugs was carried out by notorious drug smuggler and alleged CIA/DEA operative Barry Seal. According to the book Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs and the Press by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.

Seal was known to use aircraft that belonged to the company Southern Air Transport and he also employed flight crews that worked for that same company. Southern Air Transport, formerly Air America, was once directly owned by the CIA and today is remembered for being a CIA front during Iran-Contra. Less known is the relationship between the CIA-linked airline and Leslie Wexner and his then-close associate Jeffrey Epstein, which will be discussed in detail later in this report.

Seal seemed to always operate with much less than six degrees of separation from Clinton while the latter served as governor. In his 1999 confessional expose, Cross-fire: Witness in the Clinton Investigation, former Arkansas policeman turned personal driver and security guard for Bill Clinton, L.D. Brown, recounts how Clinton encouraged him to seek out a post at the CIA. Clinton allegedly went so far as to edit the essay Brown wrote for this employment application. The essay topic was drug smuggling in Central America. Upon receiving his application, the CIA put Brown in touch with none other than Barry Seal. Seal would later be gunned down in 1986 while serving six-months probation for drug-smuggling charges.

Seal was not the only affiliate of Oliver North running a Contra-connected operation in Arkansas. Terry Reed, who had worked for North since 1983, claimed to have been put in touch with Seal by North and established a base just 10 miles north of Mena — in Nella, Arkansas — where “Nicaraguan Contras and other recruits from Latin American were trained in resupply missions, night landings, precision paradrops and similar maneuvers,“ according to Cockburn and St. Clair. Reed further asserted that drug money was being laundered through Arkansas financial institutions.

After Clinton’s half-brother Roger was busted for cocaine smuggling (Clinton would later pardon him while president) the CIA sought to move Contra operations out of Arkansas, hoping to put a damper on the increasingly public and sloppy Arkansas-based operation. According to Terry Reed in his book Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA, co-written with John Cummings, a hushed meeting was held in a bunker at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas. During the meeting, William Barr, who represented himself as the emissary of then-CIA Director Bill Casey told Clinton:

The deal we made was to launder our money through your bond business but what we didn’t plan on was you and your n****r here start taking yourselves seriously and purposely shrinking our laundry.”

Barr chastised Clinton for his sloppy handling of the delicate operation and his half-brother’s very public fall from grace. He would later tell Clinton, according to Reed,

Bill, you are Mr. Casey’s fair-haired boy … You and your state have been our greatest asset. Mr. Casey wanted me to pass on to you that unless you fuck up and do something stupid, you’re No. 1 on the short list for a shot at the job that you’ve always wanted. You and guys like you are the fathers of the new government. We are the new covenant.”

Attempts to investigate Clinton’s role in the Mena operations and more broadly in the Iran-Contra affair were allegedly axed by Clinton’s own confidantes, who consistently denied he played a role in the scandal. According to the Wall Street Journal, former IRS investigator William Duncan teamed with Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch in what became a decade-long battle to bring the matter to light. In fact, of the nine separate state and federal probes into the affair, all failed.

Another Clinton connection to the CIA and the Iran-Contra affair runs through the family’s connection to Arkansas financier Jackson Stephens and the CIA-linked Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which critics nicknamed the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals International.” Stephens was among the richest people in Arkansas and was also a major donor and backer of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He also played a key role in the rise of Walmart.

Jackson Stephens and other members of the Stephens family bankrolled Bill Clinton’s rise to political prominence, contributing large sums of money to both Clinton’s gubernatorial and his later presidential campaigns. In addition, Worthen Bank, which was majority-owned by Stephens, provided Clinton’s first presidential campaign a $3.5 million line of credit. In addition, Stephens’ many businesses were frequently represented by the Rose Law Firm, where Hillary Clinton was a partner.

One of the men added to the BCCI board after the acquisition of First American Bank was Robert Keith Gray, whom Newsweek described as often having “boasted of his close relationship with the CIA’s William Casey; Gray used to say that before taking on a foreign client, he would clear it with Casey.” As was discussed in Part II of this series, Gray was also an expert in homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA and was reported to have collaborated with Roy Cohn in those activities. Some of Gray’s clients at the powerful PR firm he led, Hill & Knowlton, included BCCI clients and Mossad-linked individuals, such as Adnan Khashoggi and Marc Rich.

Editor's Note: This series contains much more  than the powerful and well-supported excerpt above....

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism

Aug. 22

Obamas To Purchase Vineyard Estate

bo michelle obama college tshirts may 5 20154

New York Post, Barack and Michelle Obama are buying a $15M estate in Martha’s Vineyard, Hana R. Alberts, Aug. 22, 2019. Barack and Michelle Obama (shown in a 2015 file photo wearing their college teeshirts) are close to buying a massive Martha’s Vineyard estate. TMZ reports that the former president and first lady are in escrow — aka in contract to purchase — a 29-acre beachfront plot with a 6,892-square-foot main house. The Obamas were initially just renting the seven-bedroom, 8½-bathroom spread for summer 2019, but apparently loved it so much that they made an offer.

The property at 79 Turkeyland Cove Road in Edgartown, Mass. — owned by Boston Celtics chief Wyc Grousbeck — has a living room with vaulted ceilings and a stone fireplace, a chef’s kitchen and a formal dining room with giant windows, according to the property’s Realtor.com listing

Aug. 21

Why No Epstein Probe?

jacob hornberger newFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Why No Congressional Investigation into Epstein’s Intelligence Connections? Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Aug. 21, 2019. With convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein now dead, the Justice Department has launched an investigation into prison procedures that allowed him to commit suicide. Meanwhile, women who were sexually abused or raped by Epstein when they were minors are continuing civil actions against Epstein’s estate.

But why no congressional investigation into Epstein’s relationship, if any, to intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the Mossad, or any others? Have we gotten to the point where everyone is so scared to be labeled a “conspiracy theorist” that Congress is precluded from conducting a legitimate investigation into the CIA or other intelligence agencies?

Such an investigation would not come out of the blue. It would revolve around the undeniably sweetheart deal that the U.S. Attorney in Florida, Alexander Acosta, gave to Epstein and the reasons that he gave that sweetheart deal to him.

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University The plea deal enabled Epstein, right, to escape federal charges for sex trafficking and allowed him to plead guilty at the state level to the much lesser crime of soliciting prostitution, which enabled him to serve one year in a local jail, sort of. During that year, officials permitted him to leave the jailhouse on a daily basis to attend to business matters, after which he would return to spend the night in jail.

It would be extremely difficult to find a more sweetheart deal than that. But the question is, Why? We all know how tough federal prosecutors can be. We also know that sex trafficking is not something that is ordinarily countenanced at the federal level, especially when it involves underaged girls.

So, why did Acosta do it? Why did he agree to that sweetheart deal rather than prosecute Epstein in federal court for sex trafficking?

That’s what a congressional investigation would be intended to determine. And Acosta’s sworn testimony could well lead to an answer to that question.

An article that appeared in the August 19, 2019, issue of the Daily Beast by an investigative reporter named Vicky Ward points out the reason why such a congressional investigation would be warranted:

Epstein’s name, I was told, had been raised by the Trump transition team when Alexander Acosta, left, the former U.S. attorney in Miami who’d infamously cut Epstein a non-prosecution plea deal back in 2007, was being interviewed for the job of labor secretary. The plea deal put a hard stop to a separate federal investigation of alleged sex crimes with minors and trafficking.

alexander acosta labor oIs the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)

Okay, all that is hearsay. Nonetheless, it clearly provides the basis for a congressional investigation.

All that a congressional committee has to do is subpoena Acosta and ask he if actually made that statement. If he acknowledges that he did, then he can be asked who said it to him and whether that was what motivated him to give Epstein the sweetheart deal.

Then, a subpoena could issue to the person who made that statement to Epstein. When that person arrives to testify, he could be asked about the source of his information. The investigation could then proceed accordingly.

Moreover, the director of the CIA could be summoned to testify as to whether Epstein was a CIA asset, operative, or agent. If Epstein did fall into one of those categories, it is certainly possible that the CIA director would lie about it, just as CIA Director Richard Helms lied to Congress back in the 1970s when he was asked about CIA involvement in Chilean regime-change operations. Nonetheless, he would at least know that he would be subject to a perjury indictment if it were later discovered that he had lied about Epstein’s involvement in the CIA.

Moreover, the CIA could be subpoenaed to produce all of its files and records relating to Epstein, which might indicate Epstein’s possible involvement with foreign intelligence agencies, such as the Mossad.

cia logoWhy would the CIA, Mossad, or other intelligence agency have been involved with Epstein and why would an intelligence agency have gone to bat for him in a federal criminal prosecution for sex trafficking? That’s something an investigation would be intended to answer.

Of course, the press could continue investigating whether Acosta actually did make that statement and, if so, whether it was true. But the ability of the press to get to the truth is limited given its inability to force people to testify under oath and then have them prosecuted for perjury if they lie. A congressional committee could both subpoena people to testify under oath and have them indicted for perjury if they lie.

Given the possibility of corruption in the federal judiciary at the hands of the CIA or other intelligence agency, the American people are entitled to such an investigation. If sex offenders are being accorded favorable treatment in the federal criminal justice system simply because they happen to work for the CIA or some other intelligence agency, then what does that say for the entire federal criminal justice system?

If Epstein did have a relationship with the CIA or other intelligence agency, then, unfortunately, there are only two chances that Congress would initiate an investigation into the matter: slim and none. That’s because an intelligence agency that is powerful enough to corrupt the judicial branch of the federal government is sufficiently powerful to do the same to the legislative branch.

Far from being the work of a single intelligence agency or a single country, the power structure revealed by this network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that transcends nationality and is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control. Existing for decades and willing to use any means necessary to cover its tracks, this criminal racket has become so integrated into the levers of power, in the United States and well beyond, that it is truly too big to fail.

Aug. 19

Epstein's Wall Street Enabling Culture

Wall Street On Parade, Jeffrey Epstein Learned His Sexual Depravity from Wall Street; Then Took It to the Next Level, Pam Martens Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University and Russ Martens, Aug. 19, 2019. From 1976 to 1981, Jeffrey Epstein, right, worked for the Wall Street investment bank, Bear Stearns.

Bear Stearns collapsed in the early days of the 2008 financial crisis and was purchased by JPMorgan Chase. One of the last acts of Bear Stearns’ CEO, Jimmy Cayne, was to make a $2 million payment to a woman who charged that the legendary Chairman of Bear Stearns, Ace Greenberg, had engaged in “inappropriate touching.” The young woman was said to have had a witness to her charges.

In a 2017 report by the New York Times, a former Managing Director of Bear Stearns, Maureen Sherry, reported that “…it was mostly the same men who preyed on young women.” In a 2016 report by Maureen Callahan at the New York Post, a former Bear Stearns’ employee reports that men at Bear Stearns were “getting bl*w jobs in front of staff – that happened all the time.” Claims that men at Bear were demanding sexual favors from female colleagues and getting away with it date all the way back to the 1980s.

As more allegations emerge daily into the sexual assault horrors of Jeffrey Epstein and his band of enablers, a profile is emerging that bears a striking resemblance to how Wall Street has allowed its highest-producing brokers to behave toward vulnerable young female employees for decades. In both situations, there are the enablers; in both situations there is a failed justice system and powerful lawyers cutting deals; in both situations there are hundreds of different females asserting the same type of claims over a long period of time with no governmental authority stopping the abuse; and in both situations, powerful men who were an important cog in Wall Street’s insatiable quest for profits were allowed to walk away from a multitude of credible sexual assault allegations.

Jeffrey Epstein’s major divergence from the sexual assaults by Wall Street brokers’ is that he preyed on underage girls. It is notable, however, that many Wall Street firms hire young women just out of high school to be “trained” to work in their branch offices. The sexual grooming is not as overt as in the Jeffrey Epstein cases, where the young girls were hired to give a massage and then told, over time, the massage had to be administered by them naked; and then, after more time, upped to a full-scale sexual assault. But young women in these Wall Street offices are sent a clear message by their Human Resources departments that they need to “get along” with those big producing brokers who generate outsized profits for the firm.

Walk into any of the Wall Street retail brokerage offices that dot the landscape in every major town and city across America and you will see glass-windowed offices filled with white male brokers and pretty, young female sales assistants (a/k/a client service associates) sitting in a low-wage, subservient position at a desk directly outside that office.

Subservience to that broker is ingrained in the following ways: the sales assistant’s performance is officially evaluated by that broker and becomes a written, permanent part of her employment file; the broker, if he is a big producer for the firm, can have the sales assistant fired over any flimsy, trumped-up claim; and, importantly, most Wall Street firms pay these women low wages, leaving it to the broker they work for to give the woman a percentage of his commissions if he finds her “performance” to be to his liking.

All that Wall Street would have to do to alter these sexual and power dynamics is to pay these women a good salary and take the broker’s additional compensation out of the equation. The fact that Wall Street doesn’t alter this dynamic suggests that the industry likes its hunting band to hone their skills on the vulnerable prey in the office as a form of target practice.

Just as Epstein was able to keep his abuse hidden for decades by employing a roster of expensive lawyers who knew how to work the system, Wall Street has all of the largest law firms in America at its beck and call. These law firms have systematically convinced the U.S. Supreme Court and Appellate Courts around the country that Wall Street should be allowed to run its own private justice system; that it should be allowed to make its employees sign a waiver giving up their rights to access the nation’s courts and use Wall Street’s rigged kangaroo court system instead.

Most Americans would agree that Wall Street is the most corrupt industry in America. And yet, the most corrupt industry is the only industry that universally requires both employees and customers to waive their rights to use the nation’s courts to settle claims and, instead, must use the Wall Street-created mandatory arbitration system which has none of the procedural protections of a court of law.

Editor’s Note: The excerpt above is from a much longer article. Pam Martens, the co-author of the above article and Editor of Wall Street On Parade, worked for two major Wall Street firms for 21 years. During that time, from 1996 through 2001, Martens challenged Wall Street’s mandatory arbitration system and the sexual assaults and sexual harassment of women facilitated under that system in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in a case titled "Martens v Smith Barney," in which she originally served as lead plaintiff.

The settlement fashioned by plaintiffs’ attorneys and Paul Weiss was deemed so conflicted by Martens that she withdrew from the settlement and never profited from the settlement or any subsequent payment from the parties. Her original co-plaintiff, Judy Mione, joined her in withdrawing from the settlement for the same reasons. Martens also appeared in the ABC 20/20 program referenced above.

Major Events Planned For 9/11 Truth Research

ae 911 truth nyc graphic Custom

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911 Truth), Truth, Science, Truth, and Justice 18 Years Later: September 2019 Schedule of Events, Staff report, Aug. 19, 2019. This ae 911 truth blue horizontal logoSeptember promises to be a momentous period for AE911Truth and the millions of people who have been fighting for a real investigation into the events of 9/11 over the past 18 years.

In the first week of September, AE911Truth will participate in releasing the draft report of the groundbreaking World Trade Center Building 7 Study by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

The release of this report will include a livestreamed presentation by the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Leroy Hulsey, at UAF’s Schaible Auditorium on September 3, 2019, followed by a second presentation from Dr. Hulsey at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club on September 5, 2019. The draft report will be published that same week at http://ine.uaf.edu/wtc7 — as well as at AE911Truth.org — and will be open for public comment for a two-month period ending November 1, 2019.

Then it’s onward to our events in New York and Washington, D.C. On September 7, 2019, AE911Truth founder Richard Gage will speak at an event hosted by the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry at the All Souls Church in New York City. Gage will be joined by 9/11 family member Bob McIlvaine, Franklin Square Fire Commissioner Christopher Gioia, NSA whistleblower William Binney, media critic Mark Crispin Miller, members of the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, and other invited speakers.

Four days later, on September 11, 2019, AE911Truth will hold a livestreamed news conference at the National Press Club, featuring Franklin Square Fire Commissioners Christopher Gioia and Joseph Torregrossa as well as Bob and Helen McIlvaine (parents of 9/11 victim Bobby McIlvaine), Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry President David Meiswinkle, and Mr. Gage.

After the news conference, we will head to Capitol Hill for meetings with several U.S. representatives and their staffs. We will also deliver to every member of Congress a packet containing a letter from the Franklin Square fire commissioners, our educational materials, and a copy of the Bobby McIlvaine World Trade Center Investigation Act.

Please join us online or in person for this series of significant events and political action activities. Help is especially needed at the U.S. Capitol delivering our materials to all 535 members of Congress in one afternoon!

We look forward to seeing you and making this 9/11 anniversary a major turning point in the pursuit of truth and justice.

Schedule of Events

A Structural Reevaluation of the Collapse of World Trade Center 7 (Fairbanks)

A Presentation by Civil Engineering Professor J. Leroy Hulsey, Ph.D., P.E.

September 3, 2019
6:00 PM Alaska Time / 10:00 PM Eastern
Schaible Auditorium
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Livestream: https://media.uaf.edu
View Poster
A Structural Reevaluation of the Collapse of World Trade Center 7 (Berkeley)

A Presentation by Civil Engineering Professor J. Leroy Hulsey, Ph.D., P.E.

September 5, 2019
5:00 PM Pacific
The Faculty Club at UC Berkeley
*Seating priority given to UC Berkeley students and faculty as well as AE911Truth petition signers.
View Poster
Front and Center: 9/11 Grand Jury Investigation (New York)

Hosted by the Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry and featuring AE911Truth Founder Richard Gage, AIA, 9/11 family member Bob McIlvaine, Franklin Square Fire Commissioner Christopher Gioia, NSA whistleblower William Binney, media critic Mark Crispin Miller, and more.

September 7, 2019
3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
The Unitarian Church of All Souls
1157 Lexington Avenue at East 80th Street
http://LCfor911.org
View Poster
News Conference: First Responders Urge Congress to Reopen 9/11 Investigation (Washington, D.C.)

A news conference featuring Franklin Square Fire Commissioners Christopher Gioia and Joseph Torregrossa, 9/11 family members Bob and Helen McIlvaine, Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry President David Meiswinkle, and Richard Gage, AIA.

September 11, 2019
10:00 AM
The National Press Club
4th Estate Room
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045
Livestream: Visit AE911Truth.org at the scheduled time.
DC Political Action Afternoon (Washington, D.C.)

Delivering our educational materials and the Bobby McIlvaine Act to every member of Congress.

September 11, 2019
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Meet at the steps of the West Front Side of the U.S. Capitol at 1:00 PM.
At 1:30 PM we’ll fan out in groups to all six congressional office buildings.
Other Events Where We'll Be
9/11 Perspectives: Public Master Class on the Events of September 11, 2001 (Zurich)

Featuring (via live feed) Richard Gage, AIA, Dr. Niels Harrit, Mick Harrison, and more.

September 11, 2019
1:00 PM to 7:30 PM Central European Time
Stauffacherstrasse 60, 8004 Zurich
https://11september.eu/911perspectives
View Poster
9/11 Truth Update Presentation (Washington, D.C.)

Dinner from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM followed by presentation and Q&A with Richard Gage and Fire Commissioner Christopher Gioia.

September 11, 2019
6:30 PM
Ler Mirch Indian Restaurant
1736 Connecticut Avenue
Washington, D.C. Near Circle Metro

Aug. 18

FBI Reveals UK Elite Deviance

The Sun, Lord Mountbatten's 'lust for young boys' exposed in FBI files, Tom Parry, Aug. 18, 2019. The decorated war hero was under US surveillance for more than three decades. Lord Mountbatten (right, a onetime chief of NATO shown in a 1976 before his 1979 death from an IRA bomb) was “a homosexual with a perversion for young boys,” according to newly released FBI files.

lord louis mountbatten 1976 photo by allan warren via wThe valued mentor to great-nephew Prince Charles (and was said to have counselled him on his love life) was under US surveillance for more than three decades. And one source described the Earl and wife Edwina as “persons of extremely low morals” – with him being “an unfit man to direct any sort of military operations” because of his sexual tastes.

The files emerged after historian Andrew Lownie used freedom of information laws while researching his new book about the couple, The Mountbattens: Their Lives & Loves.

It follows years of speculation over the private life of Mountbatten, who once said he and Edwina “spent all our married lives getting into other people’s beds”.

In Mr Lownie’s book, Ron Perks, who was the Earl’s driver in Malta in 1948, breaks his silence to claim one of his favourite places was the Red House near Rabat, “an upmarket gay brothel used by naval officers”.

And Anthony Daly, a rent boy to the rich and famous in the 1970s, claims he was told “Mountbatten had something of a fetish for uniforms — handsome young men in ­military uniforms and beautiful boys in school uniform”.

The first FBI files on the Earl date to February 1944 – soon after he was made supreme allied commander in south-east Asia during the Second World War.

After the war, he was the last viceroy of India, then chief of defence until 1965. He was killed in an IRA bomb attack in 1979.

Homosexual acts were banned here until 1967 and it is believed many FBI memos on Mountbatten’s sexuality have been edited or destroyed.

But one file references a 1944 interview with Elizabeth de la Poer Beresford, Baroness Decies. The memo says: “She states that in these circles Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife are considered persons of extremely low morals. “She stated Lord Louis Mountbatten was known to be a homosexual with a perversion for young boys. In Lady Decies’ opinion he is an unfit man to direct any sort of military operations because of this condition. She stated further his wife was considered equally erratic.”

Aug. 16

Epstein Death Follow-up

jeffrey epstein gurney cropped emergency room

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Results Conclude He Hanged Himself, Ali Watkins and Michael Gold, Aug. 17, 2019 (print ed.). The findings from New York City’s chief medical examiner refute conspiracy theories that Mr. Epstein may have been murdered.

The results came six days after Mr. Epstein (shown on a gurney at a hospital emergency room in a New York Post photo) was found dead in his cell in federal prison in Manhattan, where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

The New York City medical examiner said on Friday that Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a federal jail cell was a suicide, confirming he had hanged himself.

Mr. Epstein’s death had set off a wave of unfounded conspiracy theories, as people speculated online, without evidence, that he might have been killed to keep him from providing information to prosecutors about others in his social circle, including President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of Britain.

barbara sampsonBut the chief medical examiner in New York City, Dr. Barbara Sampson, right, ruled out foul play. She released a terse statement saying that, after an autopsy and a “careful review of all investigative information,” she had determined the cause of Mr. Epstein’s death was “hanging” and the manner was “suicide.”

Three of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, Martin G. Weinberg, Reid Weingarten and Michael Miller, challenged the findings and vowed to conduct their own investigation.

“We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner,” said the lawyers, who had hired a private pathologist to observe the autopsy, in a statement. “We will have a more complete response in the coming days.”

The medical examiner’s determination came six days after Mr. Epstein, 66, was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

Guards on their morning rounds found Mr. Epstein at about 6:30 a.m. last Saturday, prison officials said. He appeared to have tied a bedsheet to the top of a set of bunk beds, then knelt toward the floor with enough force that he broke several bones in his neck, officials said.

His suicide followed an apparent attempt to kill himself in late July, and came 12 days after prison staff had recommended he be removed from suicide watch and returned to the wing in which he had been housed before.

ny times logoNew York Times, Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein, Ali Watkins, Danielle Ivory and Christina Goldbaum, Aug. 17, 2019. The notorious jail in Manhattan was a sharp departure from Mr. Epstein’s formerly gilded life. Here’s what happened inside.

Jeffrey Epstein, inmate 76318-054, hated his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. It was cramped, dank and infested with vermin, so Mr. Epstein, long accustomed to using his wealth to play by his own rules, devised a way out.

He paid numerous lawyers to visit the jail for as many as 12 hours a day, giving him the right to see them in a private meeting room. Mr. Epstein was there for so long that he often appeared bored, sitting in silence with his lawyers, according to people who saw the meetings. While they were there, he and his entourage regularly emptied the two vending machines of drinks and snacks.

“It was shift work, all designed by someone who had infinite resources to try and get as much comfort as possible,” said a lawyer who was often in the jail visiting clients.

Outside the meeting room, Mr. Epstein mounted a strategy to avoid being preyed upon by other inmates: He deposited money in their commissary accounts, according to a consultant who is often in the jail and speaks regularly with inmates there.
But in his final days, Mr. Epstein’s efforts to lessen the misery of incarceration seemed to be faltering.

He was seldom bathing, his hair and beard were unkempt and he was sleeping on the floor of his cell instead of on his bunk bed, according to people at the jail.

Still, he convinced the jail’s leadership that he was not a threat to himself, even though an inquiry was already underway into whether he had tried to commit suicide on July 23. The federal jail was so poorly managed and chronically short-staffed that workers who were not correctional officers were regularly pressed into guard duty.

Challenging U.S. Supreme Court

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats ignite controversy with brief in gun case before Supreme Court, Robert Barnes​, Aug. 17, 2019 (print ed.). In filing an amicus brief, five Democratic senators questioned whether the high court’s conservative majority is motivated by partisan intent and is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society.

supreme court graphicsheldon whitehouseIt is rare that an amicus brief filed in a Supreme Court case is characterized as both a brassy reality check and unprecedented political bullying.

But such is the controversy that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), left, and four other Democratic senators have ignited with a filing that instructs the Supreme Court to either drop a New York gun case it has accepted for the coming term or face a public reckoning.

“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it,” writes Whitehouse, who is listed as the attorney of record on the friend-of-the-court brief. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ ” The phrase is from a poll question with which a majority democratic donkey logoof Americans agreed.

Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) joined the incendiary brief, which questions whether the court’s conservative majority — nominated by three Republican presidents — is motivated by partisan intent and is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

Aug. `16

Counter-Punch, Investigative Commentary: La Danse Mossad: Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, Jennifer Matsui, Aug. 16, 2019. Media tycoon and former Labour MP Robert Maxwell (father of Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s partner in crime) was given a state funeral in Jerusalem after *accidentally* falling off his yacht – the unluckily named “Lady Ghislaine”. Later it was revealed Maxwell Sr was a Mossad asset who used his vast network of connections and publishing platforms to run editorial interference over his purchased assets to influence enemies and friends alike, ensuring their fealty to the foreign government that had enlisted him for its espionage work.

His tabloid empire was the piss-colored propaganda organ of the interests he served, overseeing its rapid growth and tentacled reach across the globe. More ominously, he was behind the spy agency’s successful attempt to install a trapdoor in software intended for government use, allowing the Israelis a direct pipeline into a vast network of computers installed with undectable malware.

At the time of his death, the disgraced magnate was under investigation for raiding his companies’ pension funds to cover the losses incurred from his multiple and reckless takeovers, and finance a luxury lifestyle he enjoyed sharing with high-profile pals like Henry Kissinger and Barbara Walters. Curiously, many of these fossilized specimens from Robert Maxwell’s roster of friends from the Reagan era would circle around Epstein, most notably Donald Trump whose Mar-a-Lago resort would later become a recruiting center for employer Epstein’s underage “massage therapists”.

Fast forward a couple of decades since the days a casino mogul was gobbling down canapés with the old guard denizens of the ‘swamp.’ Notice a similar, if not identical MO in both Maxwell and Epstein’s role in procuring technology for the Israelis, who in turn sold it with undisclosed add-ons, providing an open window into its users’ databases.

Like his predecessor, Epstein had a financial stake in a startup (headed by former Israeli Defense Minister and later Prime Minister Ehud Barak) connected to Israel’s defense industry that provides infrastructure for emergency services as a call handling platform. Considering the company’s connection to military intelligence, it wouldn’t be a stretch to speculate on some of this software’s other ‘special’ features. A variation of the early technology that Maxwell was able to procure for his Israeli bosses was later sold to the Saudis, who leveraged its sophisticated tracking features to assassinate Jamal Khashoggi.

Epstein, like Maxwell, was laying the groundwork for Israeli espionage activities through his interests in companies with a political agenda concealed in products intended for international export. If true, the playboy philanthropist feted and flattered his high profile friends to ensnare them as complicit partners in what amounts to the legal definition of treason. Epstein’s covert activities have undiminished real world consequences for anyone on Israel’s international radar, especially those challenging the status quo policies in place that prioritize “The Jewish State’s” political and financial objectives over actual justice and global stability.

If you have ever asked yourself why Israel’s war crimes and settlement expansion go unchallenged by US lawmakers, consider the career destroying consequences contained within those dossiers compiled by the braintrust behind Epstein’s ’suicide.’ “We’ll trade you one US Embassy in Jerusalem for 10 minutes of hidden camera footage of you . . . let’s say ‘enjoying’ a rolled up Forbes magazine.”

Were the surveillance apparatuses installed throughout Epstein’s properties merely a voyeur’s tools, or did he use them to leverage the moral failings of his former friends for purposes that might have risked exposure of more than the nether regions of wealthy pedo-punters? Considering his connections to Israeli defense industries and his own Achilles penis that required, by his own admission, “three orgasms a day,” the answer points to an unslakable addiction that dovetailed conveniently with his state-sponsored sex crimes.

Jennifer Matsui is a writer living in Tokyo and a columnist for the print edition of CounterPunch magazine.

Aug. 14

U.S. History, Race, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Aug. 14, 2019. The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are. Read all the stories.

In August 1619, just 12 years after the English settled Jamestown, Va., one year before the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock and some 157 years before the English colonists even decided they wanted to form their own country, the Jamestown colonists bought 20 to 30 enslaved Africans from English pirates. The pirates had stolen them from a Portuguese slave ship that had forcibly taken them from what is now the country of Angola. Those men and women who came ashore on that August day were the beginning of American slavery. They were among the 12.5 million Africans who would be kidnapped from their homes and brought in chains across the Atlantic Ocean in the largest forced migration in human history until the Second World War. Almost two million did not survive the grueling journey, known as the Middle Passage.

Before the abolishment of the international slave trade, 400,000 enslaved Africans would be sold into America. Those individuals and their descendants transformed the lands to which they’d been brought into some of the most successful colonies in the British Empire. Through backbreaking labor, they cleared the land across the Southeast. They taught the colonists to grow rice. They grew and picked the cotton that at the height of slavery was the nation’s most valuable commodity, accounting for half of all American exports and 66 percent of the world’s supply.

They built the plantations of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, sprawling properties that today attract thousands of visitors from across the globe captivated by the history of the world’s greatest democracy. They laid the foundations of the White House and the Capitol, even placing with their unfree hands the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome.

They lugged the heavy wooden tracks of the railroads that crisscrossed the South and that helped take the cotton they picked to the Northern textile mills, fueling the Industrial Revolution. They built vast fortunes for white people North and South — at one time, the second-richest man in the nation was a Rhode Island “slave trader.”

Profits from black people’s stolen labor helped the young nation pay off its war debts and financed some of our most prestigious universities. It was the relentless buying, selling, insuring and financing of their bodies and the products of their labor that made Wall Street a thriving banking, insurance and trading sector and New York City the financial capital of the world.

Epstein Probes

New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center (Photo by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons)

New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center (Photo by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons)

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary, More details about Epstein's circle of friends seep out, Wayne Madsen, Aug. 14, 2019 (subscription required). As more questions fly about concerning the August 10 so-called suicide of uber-wealthy and politically connected pedophile Jeffrey Epstein at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan, so, too, is information about how far and wide Epstein’s circle of friends extended during the height of his international sex trafficking.

'Conspiracy Theory' As Cover-Up Tool

Off-Guardian, Media Criticism: Guardian Attacks Epstein “Conspiracy Theories,” Kit Knightly, Aug. 14, 2019. The mainstream narrative is shaping up – a story of suicide, neglect and tragic victims.  In two different opinion pieces The Guardian has made its position on the alleged death of Jeffrey Epstein clear – he “probably” committed suicide.

The first, titled "Epstein conspiracy theories are farfetched – but can you blame people?," takes the position that although “conspiracy theories” about Epstein’s apparent suicide are “understandable,” there’s no evidence to support them. Rather, the author endorses the slowly coalescing official narrative. Namely that of complete, systemic incompetence: "The official explanation for Epstein’s death comes down to rank incompetence. And it’s probably true."

A short-sighted attitude to take, which totally ignores a cardinal rule when dealing with state agencies: They will only admit to incompetence if the truth is worse.

The author also attempts to undermine the “conspiracy theories” by pointing out that Epstein was a potential threat to important figures on both sides of the political divide: "Online, conspiracy theories now abound. Observers suggest Epstein was killed by one of the men who may have been implicated in his crimes – maybe Bill Clinton, according to the fringe right, or maybe Donald Trump, according to the fringe left."

An argument rather akin to saying, “He can’t possibly have been murdered, because there were too many people who wanted him dead. There are SO MANY plausible suspects, that the only reasonable explanation is that…none of them did it."

(Also, note the word “fringe,” a manipulative use of language designed to discredit an idea without engaging with it rationally). However, this article – although laced through with traditional mainstream rhetoric about “conspiracy theories” – at least leaves them room to exist.

The Guardian’s other Epstein piece is rather less understanding: "Epstein’s death is a victory for misogyny: it denies accusers the justice they deserve" blares the headline (further evidence that very few people at the Guardian seem to know what “misogyny” really means), before continuing by taking aim at conspiracy theories several times in the text.

Firstly, in an almost word-for-word quote from the previous column: "Commentators on the right speculated that he had been murdered by powerful liberals; those on the left speculated that he had been murdered by powerful conservatives. These theories were not responses to evidence, of which there is little."

And then later claiming conspiracy theories not only “factually wrong” (something no one can know at this stage): The speculations may well be factually wrong – criminal justice experts have pointed out that inmate suicides are common, and that those detained in federal jails often face startling neglect" – but also attempting to 'Mrs Lovejoy' the public by claiming “conspiracy theories” are actually harmful: "The positing of these conspiracy theories is unhelpful, distracting from the important injustice that has been done to Epstein’s victims."

Declaring seeking the truth to be somehow unfair to the victims is a classic trope, deployed most famously against 9/11 Truthers, but common after many such incidents.

There’s also this sentence: "The conspiracy theorists also risk undermining efforts to bring Epstein’s co-conspirators to account. Their suggestions that the financier was killed to cover up the rapes and assaults of powerful men who would rather he be shut up could lend suspicion to anyone pointing out the breadth of his alleged pedophilia ring, giving those who want continued investigations of men such as Dershowitz, Pritzker and Dubin the aura of a maniac in a tinfoil hat."

Which, I’ll be honest, I simply don’t understand. "I think she’s arguing that “conspiracy theorists” talking about “conspiracy theories” might discredit the very real possibility there was an actual conspiracy.

If that’s what she means – because I honestly do not understand the words – well, that’s obviously just crazy. You can’t argue we shouldn’t talk about conspiracy theories, just in case there’s a conspiracy fact.

That’s the attitude of a person so brainwashed by the idea that “conspiracy theorist = crazy person” that they can no longer think in a straight line. Total cognitive dissonance.

The articles are different in tone, but they are united in purpose, and they each hit the same three key points:

  • Epstein “probably” killed himself. After all, inmates commit suicide all the time.
  • Conspiracy theories might look reasonable, but they are factually incorrect and morally harmful.
  • The real tragedy here is the poor victims who will go unavenged. We should all focus on that, not investigating the potential murder.

All this serves to demonstrate – for about the millionth time – the entire purpose of outrage culture and identity politics.

This is fear of being offensive used to control a conversation and dictate narrative: Don’t talk about Epstein being murdered, don’t even think about it. If you do, you’re a misogynist.

Aug. 12

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Epstein-Barr: “Justice” in a quasi-dictatorship known as the United States, Wayne DJT jeffrey epstein cheerleaders party cropped mar a logo screenshotMadsen (syndicated columnist, author and former Navy intelliegence officer), Aug. 12, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission).  One of the biggest threats to Donald Trump’s presidency – his former good friend and fellow uber-wealthy sex pervert Jeffrey Epstein – died in a federal detention center in Manhattan of what was officially termed a “suicide.”

Trump and Epstein are shown in a screenshot of them ogling cheerleaders at a wild party at Mar-a-Lago, which is located about a mile from the Palm Beach mansion where Epstein and his accomplices lured scores of Florida's under-age junior high and high school girls for illegal sexual encounters.

washington post logoWashington Post, Attorney general blames federal jail for ‘failure’ to keep Epstein alive, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett​, Aug. 12, 2019. Attorney General William P. Barr, right, said Jeffrey Epstein’s death would not william barr new odeter the probe into who might have aided the politically connected financier’s alleged crimes.

The attorney general’s comments were noteworthy in that he publicly blamed the Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the Justice Department, for the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s apparent suicide.

Palmer Report, Commentary: Wait a minute, WHO was watching Jeffrey Epstein when he died? Bill Palmer, Aug. 12, 2019. Earlier today, Attorney General Bill Barr tried to deflect responsibility away from himself when he pointed to “serious irregularities” at the jail where Jeffrey Epstein died. Based on his track record, no one can believe a word Barr says, and we wrote that it sounded like he was trying to pin the whole thing on lower level employees.

bill palmer report logo headerNow it turns out one of the guards watching Jeffrey Epstein on the night of his death “wasn’t a regular correctional officer” – whatever that’s supposed to mean – according to a surreal new report from the AP. To our ear, it sounds like some kind of staffing shortage resulted in someone guarding Epstein who wasn’t formally trained for that particular task.

This could indeed be the case, and it could explain how Jeffrey Epstein managed to commit suicide while he was under protective custody. This comes after the WSJ reported earlier today that it was Epstein’s lawyers who had him removed from suicide watch, which he’d been on since a suspicious incident two weeks ago. But there’s a catch to all this.

During the rollout of the redacted Mueller report, we saw Bill Barr repeatedly feed dubious claims to major news outlets, which they then turned around and reported as having been from a source “familiar” with the matter. In these instances it was painfully obvious that Barr himself was the source. Now we’ve got two major news outlets with unnamed sources who want to pin the blame on everyone but Barr. Considering Barr’s villainy, we’re taking all of this with a grain of salt.

Aug. 11

U.S. Politics / Trump

TheHill.com, Scaramucci fires back at Trump: He will turn 'on everyone' and then 'entire country,' Justin Wise, Aug. 11, 2019. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci denounced President Trump early Sunday, arguing that he would eventually turn on everyone in his circle.

anthony scaramucci salt conference 2016 cropped"For the last 3 years I have fully supported this President," Scaramucci said on Twitter. "Recently he has said things that divide the country in a way that is unacceptable. So I didn’t pass the 100% litmus test. Eventually he turns on everyone and soon it will be you and then the entire country."

The comments from Scaramucci came less than 24 hours after Trump railed against the former White House aide over his recent comments about the administration.

Scaramucci last week called Trump's visit to El Paso, Texas to meet with survivors of a mass shooting a "catastrophe."

"Anthony Scaramucci, who was quickly terminated (11 days) from a position that he was totally incapable of handling, now seems to do nothing but television as the all time expert on 'President Trump.'" Trump tweeted late Saturday night.

He added that Scaramucci "knows very little about me...other than the fact that this Administration has probably done more than any other Administration in its first 2 1/2 years of existence."

donald trump twitter"Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV, and it’s not for being the Mooch!" Trump said.

Scaramucci was ousted from his job as White House communications director in July 2017 after a chaotic 11-day stint. In the years since, he hasn't hesitated to criticize the administration while appearing on television talk shows.

msnbc logo CustomAppearing on MSNBC last Thursday, the former Trump aide said that the president's trip to El Paso was a "catastrophe."

“Maybe he’ll tweet something negative about somebody for saying he didn’t do well, but the facts are he did not do well on the trip because if the trip is being made about him and not the demonstration of compassion and love and caring and empathy for those people, then it becomes a catastrophe for him, the administration, and it’s also a bad reflection on the country," Scaramucci said.

After Trump attacked four minority congresswoman last month, Scaramucci said that the president could be "turning into" a racist.

"I don't think the president is a racist," Scaramucci said on BBC's "Today." "But here's the thing, if you continue to say and act in that manner, then we all have to look at him and say, OK, well, maybe you weren't a racist, but now you're turning into one."

Commentaries on Epstein Death

Below are links to notable expert commentaries, continued below, about the death of the wealthy pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, right, and the death's jeffrey epstein new mug cropped july 2019implications for the public:

Trump Watch: Immigration Judges

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Administration Moves to Muffle Border Judges, Christina Goldbaum, Aug. 11, 2019 (print ed.). The Justice Department has moved to decertify the union of immigration judges, a maneuver that could muffle an organization whose members have sometimes been openly critical of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement agenda.

ICE logoThe department filed a petition on Friday asking the Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine whether the union, the National Association of Immigration Judges, should have its certification revoked because its members are considered “management officials” ineligible to collectively organize, according to a Justice Department spokesman.

The move suggested escalating tensions between overwhelmed immigration judges desperate for greater resources and a Justice Department pushing them to quickly address a backlog of immigration cases.

“This is a misguided effort to minimize our impact,” said Judge Amiena Khan, vice president of the judges’ union, which has publicly criticized the use of a quota system in immigration court and other attempts to speed up proceedings.

Epstein Death Commentaries (Continued)

TheHill.com, Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein's suicide makes no sense, Bernard B. Kerik (right, former New York City corrections commissioner and poliice chief) Aug. 10, 2019. Accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s death bernard kerik portraitthis morning — reportedly a suicide, according to federal officials — is an inexplicable end to a bizarre, tragic case that only got more disturbing the more we learned about it.

The fact that one of the country’s highest-profile federal prisoners could even commit suicide defies all logic and belief.

His death raises doubts about officials’ actions. The FBI says it will investigate; Attorney General William Barr says he is “appalled” by what happened; members of Congress such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are demanding answers. Indeed we all need answers, before we lose all faith in our justice system.

But the most basic question, in my mind, is why Epstein was in solitary confinement in the first place — something so totally inappropriate for a prisoner already at risk of suicide.

Epstein, a billionaire financier with powerful friends in the worlds of business and politics, pleaded guilty in Florida in 2008 to sex crimes and served a few months in jail. He was reindicted this summer in New York on charges of sex trafficking underage girls and had been in federal custody ever since.

He tried to commit suicide less than two weeks ago and, we were told, was placed in solitary confinement and under a suicide watch.

So how in the world could he commit suicide?

There is a valid use for solitary confinement in a penal institution. If you’re a threat to the institution or a threat to its staff, an escape risk or a threat to national security, then solitary confinement should be considered.

But not in this case. Jeffrey Epstein — in spite of his previous pleas or the new, serious charges — was none of the above.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which had custody over Epstein, and federal prosecutors certainly knew his earlier suicide attempt was real. Yet, instead of putting him into an administrative segregation unit — into a real, true suicide watch — they put him into solitary confinement and, in so doing, enabled him to finish what he had tried before.

Was that their intent? Who knows, but it raises serious questions about his death and the investigation surrounding him.

There is nothing worse than taking a suicidal prisoner and sticking him into a solitary confinement cell. Common sense and any psychologist, any corrections professional, will tell you that — so why was it done in this instance?

In solitary confinement there is a 15-minute “watch” rule, but that is not the same as a “suicide watch.” A prisoner can asphyxiate himself in 90 seconds and, after eight minutes or so, he will be brain dead.

That’s exactly why around-the-clock supervision is necessary when a prisoner is classified as suicidal. And it requires constant supervision, in person or by technology — cameras.

So why was Epstein placed in “solitary” in the first place? After his first attempt, were his cell and his supervision changed? Was he watched constantly by cameras in his cell, or only checked sporadically? Was he allowed to have objects that he could use to attempt suicide again, after having done so once before? How could a prisoner hang himself — as Epstein did, according to early reports — and no guard would immediately see it or react? Why, given his previous attempt and all of the issues surrounding his case, wasn’t a supervisory officer watching him constantly and able to respond immediately?

None of this makes any sense, at least at this point.

The crime here — in my mind, with what is known at this point — is that Epstein was placed in solitary confinement at all. The government often uses every tool in its power to ensure you never have a fair day’s fight in court, including the use of psychological tools to force you to plead guilty or to force you to cooperate with the government.

Solitary confinement is one of those tools. It is a mechanism to demean, degrade and demoralize a prisoner. The mind-altering seclusion of “solitary” will force a prisoner into a deep depression from which, for some, there is no return.

Only time will tell if that’s what happened with Epstein or if something more sinister occurred.

But one thing already is crystal clear: There are flaws and failures in the U.S. criminal justice system that should disturb all of us. And in Jeffrey Epstein’s case, none of it makes any sense.

Bernard B. Kerik was the first deputy and commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, 1995-2000. As commissioner of the NYPD from 2000 through 2001, he oversaw its response to the 9/11 attack. He pleaded guilty in 2006 to ethics violations and was fined, then pleaded guilty in 2009 to eight federal charges, including tax fraud and false statements, which led to his 48-month sentence in a federal prison. He is the founder of the Kerik Group, providing homeland security, police and correctional training, criminal justice and prison-reform strategies.

Jeffrey Epstein's friend Leslie Wexner (via cropped screenshot of remarks at American Academy of Achievement

Retail mogul Leslie Wexner, Jeffrey Epstein's friend (via cropped screenshot of remarks at American Academy of Achievement

SouthFront, Jeffrey Epstein RIP: But Many More Questions Remain to be Answered, Philip M. Giraldi (former CIA officer), right, Aug. 11, 2019. The Jeffrey Epstein saga philip giraldigoes on even though convicted pedophile Epstein himself has been found hanged in his jail cell in Manhattan.

So, he is dead but did he do it himself or was he helped? There are many prominent individuals and powerful government agencies that will be very pleased that he is gone as most of his secrets will have gone to the grave with him.

There was certainly a warning that something might happen. Two weeks ago, he was reportedly found unconscious in his jail cell with marks around his neck. It was suggested that he might have tried to kill himself or, alternatively, had been beaten up by another inmate. There was also considerable speculation that some aggrieved part of the Deep State was trying to kill him to silence him.

The subsequent press reports revealed that Epstein had been taken to a hospital, but there has been no follow-up about his condition or status apart from a brief note that he had been returned to the same jail under suicide watch. In any event, the story had pretty much died, which is precisely what a lot of the high rollers and politicians who became involved with Epstein would have liked to see happen. Nevertheless, investigations of the “Affair Epstein” reportedly were continuing at the federal level as well as in New York State and Florida.

The most recent elaboration of the Epstein saga prior to his death came from his former patron Leslie Wexner, the canny Jewish business tycoon who built an Ohio based fashion empire called L Brands from scratch. L Brands, by the way, includes Victoria’s Secret, which features young women strutting around in their underwear. The 81 year old Wexner claimed in a 564 word letter that the wily Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money” from him. In the letter Wexner admitted to having lost at least $46 million from his family money, but some media accounts are suggesting that the fraud amounted to much more, possibly as much as $500 million. And the alleged theft also extended to property, to include the series of transactions that left Epstein possessing the Upper East Side mansion where he resided and did his filming of celebrities having sex with young girls, estimated to be worth $56 million, as well as the commercial airliner that became the Lolita Express and a yacht.

My belief that Jeffrey Epstein was an intelligence agent is based principally on Acosta’s comments when being cleared by the Trump transition team. He was asked “Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” … “Acosta testified that he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had ‘been told’ to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. ‘I was told Epstein belonged to intelligence and to leave it alone.’”

The questions about Epstein remain even though he is gone, but one fears that the authorities will be disinclined to further investigate a dead man. It appears that no one in the various investigative agencies or the mainstream media has been interested in what Acosta meant, even though it would be simple enough to ask him. Who told him to back off? And how did they explain it? And then there is Epstein’s Austrian passport. Was it fake or real, with a real name and photo substitution or alternation of both picture and name? How did he get it? Austrian passports are highly desirable in intelligence circles because the country is neutral and its holders can travel just about everywhere without a visa.

mossad seal CustomAnd there’s more. As a former intelligence officer myself, there is little doubt in my mind that what Epstein did and how he did it was an intelligence operation. There is no other viable explanation for his filming of prominent politicians and celebrities having sex with young girls. And as for the question of whom Epstein might have been working for, the most likely answer is Mossad. The CIA would have had no interest in compiling dossiers on prominent Americans, but American movers and shakers like Bill Clinton, with his 26 trips on the Lolita Express, former Governor Bill Richardson, or former Senator George Mitchell are precisely the types of “agents of influence” that the Mossad would seek to coerce or even blackmail into cooperation.

Other compelling evidence for a Mossad connection came from Epstein’s relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell, who reportedly served as his key procurer of young girls. Ghislaine is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, who died or possibly was assassinated in mysterious circumstances in 1991. Maxwell was an Anglo-Jewish businessman, very cosmopolitan in profile, like Epstein, a multi-millionaire who was very controversial with what were regarded as ongoing ties to Mossad. After his death, he was given a state funeral by Israel in which six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence listened while Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized: “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.”

Israel and high-profile Jewish players also have continued to turn up like bad pennies in the Epstein case, but no one seems to be interested in pursuing that angle. Epstein clearly had contact with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak and Wexner also had close tiesto the Jewish state and its government.

barry krischer alex acosta CustomBarry Krischer, who may have been the source of the comments to Acosta (shown at right with Krischer in file photos), has received the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) award. Evidence also suggests that Krischer, cooperating with rabidly pro-Israel Epstein lawyer Alan Dershowitz, played a key role in the failure to adequately punish Epstein for his conviction for pedophilia.

According to a recent New Yorker story, the police investigators of the Epstein case observed that “the tone and tenor of the discussions of this case with Krischer changed completely” after his meetings with Dershowitz. At that point, the two detectives most involved in the case found themselves under extreme pressure. They were surveilled constantly by private investigators and they even had their household trash snatched and searched. And the resulting plea agreement with Krischer “…was due to the efforts of Dershowitz, who had proceeded to attack and smear the victims.”

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, which seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is unfathomable, Harry Litman (a law professor, right, and former U.S. harry litman msnbc screenshotattorney and deputy assistant attorney general), Aug. 11, 2019 (print ed.). For anyone familiar with Bureau of Prisons standard operating procedures, Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is more than mysterious; it is unfathomable.

The 66-year-old accused sex trafficker was found dead in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) Saturday morning, apparently after having hanged himself.

The Bureau of Prisons, the federal agency that runs the MCC, has said the FBI will investigate. Epstein’s death almost certainly means that astounding blunders occurred, perhaps by multiple personnel at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

If any prisoner in the federal system should have been a candidate for suspicion of suicide, it was the high-profile and disgraced Epstein. All administrative and structural measures should have been in place to ensure it could not happen. And yet it apparently did.

First, consider the MCC itself. It is a high-rise, forbidding administrative detention facility in the south of Manhattan. Its population consists almost entirely of prisoners, like Epstein, awaiting trial in federal court in Manhattan. It has been referred to as the “Guantanamo of New john gotti mug shotsYork” for its stringent security measures. It is the facility of choice for notorious federal defendants, often in special administrative segregation units, having previously housed John Gotti (shown in 1990 mug shots), Bernard Madoff, Omar Abdel Rahman and, recently, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

In other words, it is the very place to put a high-profile and potentially suicidal defendant such as Epstein.

Second, consider the BOP’s suicide prevention protocol. Epstein was found last month unconscious in his MCC cell with marks on his neck. If he was not on suicide watch, it would be astonishing. Yet if he were on suicide watch, his death would be virtually inconceivable.

The BOP’s suicide prevention protocol entails, first and foremost, human eyes on the prisoner 24 hours a day. It also requires a strict deprivation of anything — shoelaces, sheets, pillowcases — that could possibly be used to hang oneself. It also requires disabling anything that could be used to tie a noose — vents, sprinkler heads, etc.

Finally, we are not talking about inexperienced yokels. BOP personnel, especially at MCC, are the best professionals in the corrections industry, and they receive special training in administrating suicide prevention. Who better to guard against such a horrific development?

At this point, questions abound, and BOP has to address them promptly.

  • The first: Was Epstein on suicide watch, and if not, why not?
  • The second: How exactly did Epstein manage to kill himself, and why exactly was it that he had access to the tools?
  • Third, is there a video of Epstein’s cell at the crucial time? There should be, and it will reveal exactly how and when Epstein killed himself.

David Talbot via Facebook, Opinion: The "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein, David Talbot (right, best-selling author of "The Devil's Chessboard," david talbot facebook"Season of the Witch" and "Brothers" and Founder of the Salon Media Group), Aug. 11, 2019 (updated). Well, it's official —- we now live in a criminal, lawless nation where people who know too much about the sleazy lives of the rich and powerful can be "suicided" to death — even when they're on suicide watch in a New York City jail cell!

The "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein — oh what the hell, let's call it what it really was, a politically necessary execution — reeks of the "suicide" of Craig Spence back in 1989.

Spence, below, a Republican lobbyist with deep ties to the Reagan presidency, ran a Washington call-boy service and, like Epstein, had the craig spencegoods on many of America's decadent elite. After his sex racket exploded in the headlines, Spence told friends he would probably be murdered — a termination that would be called a suicide. And guess what? In November 1989, Spence was indeed found "suicided" in a Ritz Carlton hotel room in Boston.

The list of prominent names on whom Jeffrey Epstein had secret dirt — including video and photos — is endless. It includes, of course, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. And Epstein's ties to intelligence services, including U.S. and Israeli agencies, are equally obvious.This is how the elite — and the secret police under their command — operate. Key witnesses get paid off or permanently disappeared. But the Epstein case is so fucking obvious it shows that the U.S. oligarchy has become so cocky it doesn't even pretend to be lawful anymore.

A final note on this flaming conspiracy to silence the latest man who knew too much.

For decades, the corporate media have been ridiculing and condemning those who believe that power in the U.S. often operates in darkly clandestine ways. The New York Times, Washington Post, TV networks et al have worked feverishly to marginalize the deep investigative work done by citizen researchers and independent journalists (including me) to shed light on the national security assassination of President Kennedy. Eye-opening investigations into 9/11 — and the undeniable web of connections between Saudi royalty and the hijackers, U.S. agencies' foreknowledge of the hijacker plots, and the Bush-Cheney administration's coverup of inconvenient 9/11 truths — also are routinely blacked out by the mainstream media.

But in the wake of this Epstein bombshell, now, the C-word (as in conspiracy) is even creeping into the prose of NY Times columnists like Paul Krugman. Sometimes the criminality at the top of America becomes so brazen, so obvious that even our press watchdogs are stirred from their slumber.

robert maxwell with papers fileThere is much information that suggests a connection between Epstein and Israeli intelligence. His top deputy and procuress was Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late Robert Maxwell, left, -- British media tycoon, swindler and spy (for Israeli and British intelligence). Epstein was also set up mysteriously in the high-end investment game -- despite being woefully unqualified -- by the lingerie billionaire Les Wexner, a major benefactor of Israel, whose large mossad seal Customdonations to Ehud Barak have become an issue in the current Israeli election.

Epstein was also infamously and aggressively defended by lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a prominent spokesman for the Israeli government. Epstein was operating a classic "honeytrap" -- spy parlance for a sex trap that ensnares powerful peopIe and makes them vulnerable to blackmail from security agencies. I should note that I don't believe Mossad would operate on U.S. soil without agreement or even partnership with US intelligence.

jeffrey epstein gurney cropped emergency room

New York Post, Jeffrey Epstein could have ‘paid’ for help with suicide: Former Gotti pal, Brad Hamilton, Aug. 11, 2019. The jail where Jeffrey Epstein (shown on an emergency room gurney on Aug. 10 in an uncredited photo via Twitter) apparently hanged himself was a nest of corruption in the early ’90s, according to one of late mobster John Gotti Sr.’s top associates — who insists it’s still a place where almost anything can be bought if you have the bucks.

“If he killed himself someone had to have helped him,” said Lewis Kasman, a onetime close confidant of the Dapper Don who visited the godfather several times at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in 1992.

“There are cameras going 24/7 and they’re watching 24/7. Someone had to give [Epstein] the equipment to kill himself and he had to pay for it dearly,” said Kasman, who has kept abreast of conditions in the lockup.

Kasman added: “That facility for years had issues of corruption, with correction officers bringing in food or cellphones for wealthy people.”

The former Gambino bean counter noted that Gotti, who did time both in the jail’s 9 South and 10 South units, its most secure wings, still managed to get his favorite steak dinner sneaked in: “He had Peter Luger’s whenever he wanted.”

william barr new oKasman said he heard US Attorney General William Barr, right, personally made a hush-hush trip to the MCC two weeks ago, about the time Epstein was found in his cell with bruises around his neck. “When does that happen?” he asked. “The attorney general never visits jails. Something’s not right there.”

Kasman said the facility was “totally disgusting — worse than Guantanamo Bay.” “There are roaches crawling all over you — in every orifice — when you sleep. The Bureau of Prisons’ answer to that is that they can’t spray. It’s toxic.”

New York Magazine, A Former U.S. Attorney on Where Epstein’s Legal Cases Will Go After His Death, Matt Stieb, Aug. 10, 2019. Facing a criminal case for sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy, multiple civil cases by alleged victims, and a Department of Justice inquiry into his wrist-slap plea deal in Florida, Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide has opened a flurry of questions about the future status of his legal proceedings.

As for the criminal charges, those are effectively kaput: As former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explains, “Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide ends the criminal case against him because no one else was charged in the indictment.”

Many questions — not to mention full-blown conspiracy theories — remain. How much more about Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking ring will come to light? Will others be indicted? What might we find out from the FBI and Department of Justice inquiries into Epstein’s suicide? To help weigh these questions, Intelligencer spoke with former U.S. Attorney and New York contributor Barbara McQuade about where the legal proceedings involving the sex offender go from here.

Other questions asked and answered:

  • How much information about Epstein and his co-conspirators will never be known because the criminal case against him closes with his death?
  • What about Epstein’s knowledge, now lost, of his own alleged crimes? I’m thinking about passwords, knowing where records are, information like that.
  • Does his death make it less likely that charges will be brought against other people?
  • How might this affect the civil cases by his victims against his estate, or the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General investigation into the plea deal?

Aug. 10

Epstein Dead

jeffrey epstein new mug cropped july 2019

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein Commits Suicide at Manhattan Jail, William K. Rashbaum, Aug. 10, 2019. Mr. Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, hung himself and his body was found this morning.

Epstein, shown in his mug shot, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, committed suicide at a Manhattan jail, officials said on Saturday.

Mr. Epstein hung himself and his body was found this morning at roughly 7:30 a.m.

Manhattan federal prosecutors last month charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behavior have been emerging for years.

New Epstein Revelations

jeffrey epstein trumps cropped ghislaine maxwell Photo by Davidoff Studios Getty Images vanity fair

Jeffrey Epstein with the Trumps and his girlfriend and alleged procurer Ghislaine Maxwell, at left (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘She was shaking’: Court filings describe system Jeffrey Epstein allegedly used to procure girls, Beth Reinhard, Marc Fisher, Tom Hamburger and Carol D. Leonnig, Aug. 10, 2019 (print ed.).  Newly unsealed documents lay out disturbing details about the financier’s alleged abuse and the number of people in his orbit who could have observed them.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001He demanded sex three times a day. A parade of powerful figures visited his private estates, which were adorned with pictures of naked girls and stocked with sex toys. And the schedules of teenagers on call to give him massages at his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion were documented in phone messages from his assistants.

Roberts, at center, claimed that Epstein farmed her out to other men, including Prince Andrew of the British royal family, left. The California native said the photo at left portrays her at center with Prince Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, on a trip to London when she was 17 in 2001. At right was Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite daughter of the corrupt newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, who drowned in 1991 after toppling overboard from his yacht Lady Ghislaine. 

Those and other claims about financier Jeffrey Epstein unsealed in court filings Friday lay out disturbing details both about his alleged activities and the number of people in his orbit who could have observed them, raising new questions about how the sex abuse charges against the multimillionaire were previously handled.

Epstein, who is now facing federal sex trafficking charges involving the alleged abuse of dozens of minors, previously pleaded guilty in Florida state court to two felony counts, serving about 13 months in jail. A federal judge ruled in February that the prosecution team led by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who recently resigned as President Trump’s labor secretary, violated the rights of alleged victims by failing to notify them of an agreement not to bring federal charges.

New York Post, Jeffrey Epstein dead in apparent suicide, Larry Celona and Eileen AJ Connelly, Aug. 10, 2019. Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died overnight in an apparent suicide, law enforcement sources told the Post Saturday.

A gurney carrying a man who looked like Epstein was wheeled into New York Downtown Hospital around 7:30 a.m. A call for a reported cardiac arrest came in at 6:38 a.m., Fire Department sources said. Two weeks ago, Epstein, 66, was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.

The multimillionaire financier was being held without bail pending trial on child sex-trafficking charges. Epstein was busted July 6 over the alleged sexual abuse of dozens of young girls in his Upper East Side townhouse and his waterfront mansion in Palm, Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. He pleaded not guilty and faced up to 45 years in prison.

Daily Mail, Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, 66, kills himself in his Manhattan jail cell, 24 hours after files in his case were unsealed and two weeks after he was placed on suicide watch ahead of his sex trafficking trial, Andrew Court, Aug. 10, 2019.

  • Jeffrey Epstein has hanged himself inside his New York City jail cell
  • He was discovered by prison guards in cardiac arrest on Saturday morning, and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead
  • Epstein was arrested on July 6 on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking, and was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center without bail
  • He was reportedly placed on suicide watch following after a first suicide attempt on July 24
  • Epstein's death comes just 24 hours after court documents detailing his sexual abuse of underage girls were unsealed by the courts
  • The explosive documents included claims from Epstein's alleged 'sex slave' that she was required to have intercourse with a number of powerful men

David Talbot via Facebook, Opinion: The "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein, David Talbot (right, best-selling author of "The Devil's Chessboard," david talbot facebook"Season of the Witch" and "Brothers" and Founder of the Salon Media Group), Aug. 10, 2019.  Well, it's official —- we now live in a criminal, lawless nation where people who know too much about the sleazy lives of the rich and powerful can be "suicided" to death — even when they're on suicide watch in a New York City jail cell!

The "suicide" of Jeffrey Epstein — oh what the hell, let's call it what it really was, a politically necessary execution — reeks of the "suicide" of Craig Spence back in 1989.

Spence, below, a Republican lobbyist with deep ties to the Reagan presidency, ran a Washington call-boy service and, like Epstein, had the craig spencegoods on many of America's decadent elite. After his sex racket exploded in the headlines, Spence told friends he would probably be murdered — a termination that would be called a suicide. And guess what? In November 1989, Spence was indeed found "suicided" in a Ritz Carlton hotel room in Boston.

The list of prominent names on whom Jeffrey Epstein had secret dirt — including video and photos — is endless. It includes, of course, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. And Epstein's ties to intelligence services, including U.S. and Israeli agencies, are equally obvious.This is how the elite — and the secret police under their command — operate. Key witnesses get paid off or permanently disappeared. But the Epstein case is so fucking obvious it shows that the U.S. oligarchy has become so cocky it doesn't even pretend to be lawful anymore.

A final note on this flaming conspiracy to silence the latest man who knew too much.

For decades, the corporate media have been ridiculing and condemning those who believe that power in the U.S. often operates in darkly clandestine ways. The New York Times, Washington Post, TV networks et al have worked feverishly to marginalize the deep investigative work done by citizen researchers and independent journalists (including me) to shed light on the national security assassination of President Kennedy. Eye-opening investigations into 9/11 — and the undeniable web of connections between Saudi royalty and the hijackers, U.S. agencies' foreknowledge of the hijacker plots, and the Bush-Cheney administration's coverup of inconvenient 9/11 truths — also are routinely blacked out by the mainstream media.

But in the wake of this Epstein bombshell, now, the C-word (as in conspiracy) is even creeping into the prose of NY Times columnists like Paul Krugman. Sometimes the criminality at the top of America becomes so brazen, so obvious that even our press watchdogs are stirred from their slumber.

LauraLoomer.us, Opinion: AUDIO: Jeffrey Epstein DEAD FOR HOURS On Suicide Watch With Cameras In Cell Before EMS Arrived, Laura Loomer, Aug. 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. (EDT). People are asking how Jeffrey Epstein “committed suicide” when he was on suicide watch and being monitored by multiple guards and cameras.

Exclusive sources for LauraLoomer.us tell us that at around 6:20 am EST, Manhattan Correctional Center (MCC) requested First Responders for an inmate who was found unresponsive.

Jeffrey Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive this morning in his cell in his bed, and was cold to touch when correctional officers entered to wake him for breakfast. Our sources say that there were no injuries visible and they began chest compressions while EMS were en route.

Epstein was being detained for his upcoming trial for child and human sex trafficking and a barrage of other charges. Sources tell us that food vendors, all correctional officers who have been in contact with Epstein, as well as his water supply are being investigated following his suspicious death that is being reproted as a suicide.

Two weeks ago in a declared failed attempt to commit suicide, Epstein was placed on suicide watch. This means that aside from his cell being monitored remotely 24 hours a day by at least TWO cameras in his cell, 30 min round checks were also conducted by correctional officers.

There are reports from MSM claiming that Epstein hung himself which are categorically FALSE. Epstein’s body was cold to touch which means he had been dead for at least 4 hours, and if he had hung himself, one of the TWO cameras in his cell would have alerted the officers monitoring them. The reports being pushed through MSM are contradictory to that which our exclusive sources and the EMS recording states.

There would not have been a way for Epstein to commit suicide because while on suicide watch, one does not have clothes, bed sheets, or shoelaces. Inmates on suicide watch only have a smock and a hole in the ground for using the restroom.

Under the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s policy regarding inmates on suicide watch, prisoners on suicide watch are to be kept under “direct, continuous observation.”

Epstein was dead for hours before EMS responded because his body was stone cold, according to EMS. How did Epstein die if guards were watching him continuously? If they were watching him continuously and he did commit suicide, then one of those things isn’t true.

Epstein wouldn’t have been able to commit suicide if he truly was being watched continuously, which means foul play is likely involved…

Even if Epstein didn’t commit suicide (because let’s be honest, nobody believes Epstein actually committed suicide), if he was being watched continuously like he was supposed to be, according to the prison protocol, how did it takes hours for guards to realize he was dead?

Epstein was found in his cell at around 6:25 a.m on Saturday morning. According to the audio recording from EMS that was reporting back to the dispatch at 6:33 am, Epstein was stiff/cold, meaning he had been dead for a while.

Listen to audio after 2 min and 40 sec where dispatchers confirm that Epstein was stiff and cold.

Epstein was found cold and unresponsive by EMS and was not considered a patient even though EMS is heard saying “working cold”. Sources also tell us no apparent injuries were visible on Epstein’s body, making it unclear how his death has been deemed suicide already without an autopsy.

NBC News, Jeffrey Epstein is dead by apparent suicide in federal jail, Justice Department investigating, Tom Winter, Jonathan Dienst and Phil nbc news logoMcCausland, Aug. 10, 2019. Attorney General William Barr said he was "appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead" and that his death "raises serious questions that must be answered."

Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker, died by apparent suicide Saturday morning while in federal custody, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Epstein, 66, was in his federal jail cell in downtown Manhattan but was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, multiple people familiar with the investigation told NBC News. He had apparently hanged himself, and was found unresponsive at around 6:30 a.m. ET.

william barr new oAttorney General William Barr, right, said he was "appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead" while in federal custody. He said he has consulted with the Department of Justice's inspector general, who is opening an investigation into the circumstances.

"Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered," Barr added.

Epstein's death comes a little over two weeks after he was found injured and in a fetal position in his cell at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He was semiconscious with marks on his neck at the time.

In July, two sources told NBC News that Epstein was on suicide watch. His death came the day after a trove of court documents was unsealed, providing new details about Epstein's alleged sex trafficking.

Epstein, who was being held on federal sex trafficking charges, was transported Saturday morning from the jail to a hospital in lower Manhattan. Upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest, people familiar with the matter said.

The Department of Justice said Epstein was pronounced dead at the hospital. The FBI is investigating his death.

More Epstein Death Coverage

New York Post, Jeffrey Epstein dead in apparent suicide, Larry Celona and Eileen AJ Connelly, Aug. 10, 2019. Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died overnight in an apparent suicide, law enforcement sources told the Post Saturday.

A gurney carrying a man who looked like Epstein was wheeled into New York Downtown Hospital around 7:30 a.m. A call for a reported cardiac arrest came in at 6:38 a.m., Fire Department sources said. Two weeks ago, Epstein, 66, was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.

The multimillionaire financier was being held without bail pending trial on child sex-trafficking charges. Epstein was busted July 6 over the alleged sexual abuse of dozens of young girls in his Upper East Side townhouse and his waterfront mansion in Palm, Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. He pleaded not guilty and faced up to 45 years in prison.

washington post logoWashington Post, Jeffrey Epstein dead after apparent suicide in New York jail, Matt Zapotosky and Renae Merle, Aug. 10, 2019 (at 11:43 AM). What you need to know about disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

Jeffrey Epstein, the politically connected financier and registered sex offender charged recently with sexually abusing dozens of young girls in the early 2000s, has died by apparent suicide while in jail and the FBI is investigating, the Bureau of Prisons said Saturday.

Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell in the special housing unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City about 6:30 a.m., the Bureau of Prisons said. Lifesaving measures “were initiated immediately by responding staff,” who then requested aid from emergency medical services, the bureau said.

Epstein was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the bureau said. ABC News, which first reported the incident, said that Epstein had hanged himself.

The Bureau of Prisons called the death an “apparent suicide,” though one official cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages and no final determination had been made. Aja Davis, a spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner, said that her office was investigating the death.

Daily Mail, Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, 66, kills himself in his Manhattan jail cell, 24 hours after files in his case were unsealed and two weeks after he was placed on suicide watch ahead of his sex trafficking trial, Andrew Court, Aug. 10, 2019.

  • Jeffrey Epstein has hanged himself inside his New York City jail cell
  • He was discovered by prison guards in cardiac arrest on Saturday morning, and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead
  • Epstein was arrested on July 6 on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking, and was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center without bail
  • He was reportedly placed on suicide watch following after a first suicide attempt on July 24
  • Epstein's death comes just 24 hours after court documents detailing his sexual abuse of underage girls were unsealed by the courts
  • The explosive documents included claims from Epstein's alleged 'sex slave' that she was required to have intercourse with a number of powerful men

LauraLoomer.us, Opinion: AUDIO: Jeffrey Epstein DEAD FOR HOURS On Suicide Watch With Cameras In Cell Before EMS Arrived, Laura Loomer, Aug. 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. (EDT). People are asking how Jeffrey Epstein “committed suicide” when he was on suicide watch and being monitored by multiple guards and cameras.

Exclusive sources for LauraLoomer.us tell us that at around 6:20 am EST, Manhattan Correctional Center (MCC) requested First Responders for an inmate who was found unresponsive.

Jeffrey Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive this morning in his cell in his bed, and was cold to touch when correctional officers entered to wake him for breakfast. Our sources say that there were no injuries visible and they began chest compressions while EMS were en route.

Epstein was being detained for his upcoming trial for child and human sex trafficking and a barrage of other charges. Sources tell us that food vendors, all correctional officers who have been in contact with Epstein, as well as his water supply are being investigated following his suspicious death that is being reproted as a suicide.

Two weeks ago in a declared failed attempt to commit suicide, Epstein was placed on suicide watch. This means that aside from his cell being monitored remotely 24 hours a day by at least TWO cameras in his cell, 30 min round checks were also conducted by correctional officers.

There are reports from MSM claiming that Epstein hung himself which are categorically FALSE. Epstein’s body was cold to touch which means he had been dead for at least 4 hours, and if he had hung himself, one of the TWO cameras in his cell would have alerted the officers monitoring them. The reports being pushed through MSM are contradictory to that which our exclusive sources and the EMS recording states.

There would not have been a way for Epstein to commit suicide because while on suicide watch, one does not have clothes, bed sheets, or shoelaces. Inmates on suicide watch only have a smock and a hole in the ground for using the restroom.

Under the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s policy regarding inmates on suicide watch, prisoners on suicide watch are to be kept under “direct, continuous observation.”

Epstein was dead for hours before EMS responded because his body was stone cold, according to EMS. How did Epstein die if guards were watching him continuously? If they were watching him continuously and he did commit suicide, then one of those things isn’t true.

Epstein wouldn’t have been able to commit suicide if he truly was being watched continuously, which means foul play is likely involved…

Even if Epstein didn’t commit suicide (because let’s be honest, nobody believes Epstein actually committed suicide), if he was being watched continuously like he was supposed to be, according to the prison protocol, how did it takes hours for guards to realize he was dead?

Epstein was found in his cell at around 6:25 a.m on Saturday morning. According to the audio recording from EMS that was reporting back to the dispatch at 6:33 am, Epstein was stiff/cold, meaning he had been dead for a while.

Listen to audio after 2 min and 40 sec where dispatchers confirm that Epstein was stiff and cold.

Epstein was found cold and unresponsive by EMS and was not considered a patient even though EMS is heard saying “working cold”. Sources also tell us no apparent injuries were visible on Epstein’s body, making it unclear how his death has been deemed suicide already without an autopsy.

NBC News, Jeffrey Epstein is dead by apparent suicide in federal jail, Justice Department investigating, Tom Winter, Jonathan Dienst and Phil nbc news logoMcCausland, Aug. 10, 2019. Attorney General William Barr said he was "appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead" and that his death "raises serious questions that must be answered."

Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker, died by apparent suicide Saturday morning while in federal custody, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Epstein, 66, was in his federal jail cell in downtown Manhattan but was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, multiple people familiar with the investigation told NBC News. He had apparently hanged himself, and was found unresponsive at around 6:30 a.m. ET.

william barr new oAttorney General William Barr, right, said he was "appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead" while in federal custody. He said he has consulted with the Department of Justice's inspector general, who is opening an investigation into the circumstances.

"Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered," Barr added.

Epstein's death comes a little over two weeks after he was found injured and in a fetal position in his cell at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He was semiconscious with marks on his neck at the time.

In July, two sources told NBC News that Epstein was on suicide watch. His death came the day after a trove of court documents was unsealed, providing new details about Epstein's alleged sex trafficking.

Epstein, who was being held on federal sex trafficking charges, was transported Saturday morning from the jail to a hospital in lower Manhattan. Upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest, people familiar with the matter said.

The Department of Justice said Epstein was pronounced dead at the hospital. The FBI is investigating his death.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is unfathomable, Harry Litman (a law professor, right, and former U.S. harry litman msnbc screenshotattorney and deputy assistant attorney general), Aug. 10, 2019. For anyone familiar with Bureau of Prisons standard operating procedures, Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is more than mysterious; it is unfathomable.

The 66-year-old accused sex trafficker was found dead in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) Saturday morning, apparently after having hanged himself.

The Bureau of Prisons, the federal agency that runs the MCC, has said the FBI will investigate. Epstein’s death almost certainly means that astounding blunders occurred, perhaps by multiple personnel at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

If any prisoner in the federal system should have been a candidate for suspicion of suicide, it was the high-profile and disgraced Epstein. All administrative and structural measures should have been in place to ensure it could not happen. And yet it apparently did.

First, consider the MCC itself. It is a high-rise, forbidding administrative detention facility in the south of Manhattan. Its population consists almost entirely of prisoners, like Epstein, awaiting trial in federal court in Manhattan. It has been referred to as the “Guantanamo of New York” for its stringent security measures. It is the facility of choice for notorious federal defendants, often in special administrative segregation units, having previously housed John Gotti, Bernard Madoff, Omar Abdel Rahman and, recently, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

In other words, it is the very place to put a high-profile and potentially suicidal defendant such as Epstein.

Second, consider the BOP’s suicide prevention protocol. Epstein was found last month unconscious in his MCC cell with marks on his neck. If he was not on suicide watch, it would be astonishing. Yet if he were on suicide watch, his death would be virtually inconceivable.

The BOP’s suicide prevention protocol entails, first and foremost, human eyes on the prisoner 24 hours a day. It also requires a strict deprivation of anything — shoelaces, sheets, pillowcases — that could possibly be used to hang oneself. It also requires disabling anything that could be used to tie a noose — vents, sprinkler heads, etc.

Finally, we are not talking about inexperienced yokels. BOP personnel, especially at MCC, are the best professionals in the corrections industry, and they receive special training in administrating suicide prevention. Who better to guard against such a horrific development?

At this point, questions abound, and BOP has to address them promptly.

  • The first: Was Epstein on suicide watch, and if not, why not?
  • The second: How exactly did Epstein manage to kill himself, and why exactly was it that he had access to the tools?
  • Third, is there a video of Epstein’s cell at the crucial time? There should be, and it will reveal exactly how and when Epstein killed himself.

Miami Herald, Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein kills himself in N.Y. jail; U.S. inquiry launched, Julie K. Brown, Aug. 10, 2019. U.S. Attorney General William Barr has opened a federal investigation into the suicide of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who was found unresponsive Saturday morning in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, a federal prison where he had been housed awaiting trial.

Attorney General William Barr said ‘serious questions’ about the death of Jeffrey Epstein must be answered.

perversion of justice miami herald logoPalm Beach lawyer Jack Scarola, who represents several victims, said an investigation is called for into how Epstein was able to, once again, get authorities to look the other way. “It is inexplicable how such a high-profile person on suicide watch could commit suicide without help,’’ Scarola said.

“Epstein once again cheated his victims out of an opportunity for justice. While I’m sure none of them regret his death, all of them regret the information that died with him. The one expectation is that Epstein’s death not derail the investigation into others who participated in his criminal activities. There are named and unnamed co-conspirators who still need to be brought to justice,’’ Scarola said.

Attorney General Barr said he directed the FBI and inspector general to open separate probes into his death.

“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

His death came one day after the Miami Herald and other news organizations published a trove of documents describing in detail how he operated the equivalent of a sexual pyramid scheme, luring girls, most of them 14 to 16, to his Palm Beach home, then coercing them into sex.

The court papers provided damning evidence — in the form of sworn depositions, photographs, flight logs and witness statements — that Epstein and his alleged accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, were operating an international sex-trafficking operation in which girls and young women were lured into trafficking with the empty promise that the couple would help them with their education or careers.

His death could short-circuit what would have been a spectacular trial that likely would have drawn in an array of prominent witnesses. Epstein had a constellation of important friends in business, political and society circles, including former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump.

However, with his death, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York will likely refocus their probe on Maxwell, Sarah Kellen Vickers, Adriana Ross and Lesley Groff — all of whom allegedly helped run Epstein’s operation in the mid- to late-2000s. Another woman, Nadia Marcinkova, who is now a commercial pilot, was accused of sexually abusing some of the underage girls.

New York Magazine, After Jeffrey Epstein’s Death, Everyone Is Turning to Conspiracy Theories, Matt Stieb, Aug. 10, 2019. Politicians, reporters, and pretty much everyone else on Twitter are responding to Epstein’s death, reaching for conspiracy and convincing — if unfounded — theories on how it might have happened.

New York Magazine, A Former U.S. Attorney on Where Epstein’s Legal Cases Will Go After His Death, Matt Stieb, Aug. 10, 2019. Facing a criminal case for sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy, multiple civil cases by alleged victims, and a Department of Justice inquiry into his wrist-slap plea deal in Florida, Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide has opened a flurry of questions about the future status of his legal proceedings.

As for the criminal charges, those are effectively kaput: As former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explains, “Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide ends the criminal case against him because no one else was charged in the indictment.”

Many questions — not to mention full-blown conspiracy theories — remain. How much more about Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking ring will come to light? Will others be indicted? What might we find out from the FBI and Department of Justice inquiries into Epstein’s suicide? To help weigh these questions, Intelligencer spoke with former U.S. Attorney and New York contributor Barbara McQuade about where the legal proceedings involving the sex offender go from here.

Other questions asked and answered:

  • How much information about Epstein and his co-conspirators will never be known because the criminal case against him closes with his death?
  • What about Epstein’s knowledge, now lost, of his own alleged crimes? I’m thinking about passwords, knowing where records are, information like that.
  • Does his death make it less likely that charges will be brought against other people?
  • How might this affect the civil cases by his victims against his estate, or the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General investigation into the plea deal?

Aug. 9

Manson Family Murders Revisited

sharon tate charles manson photos Lily Laurent Flickr and california department corrections

Sharon Tate (left). Charles Manson (right). Photo credit: Lily Laurent / Flickr and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Wikimedia

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy Podcast, Everything You Know About Charles Manson Is Wrong! Jeff Schechtman, Aug. 9, 2019. Joan Didion famously said that the Sixties ended on August 9, 1969, with the murders of Sharon Tate and six others at the hands of the so-called Manson Family.

For 50 years, the official narrative has held that the murders were initiated by Manson to appear as if they were committed by the Black Panthers with the goal of starting a race war. That was prosecutor Vince Bugliosi’s theory of the case. Bugliosi argued at trial that Manson had gotten this idea of “Helter Skelter” from a Beatles song.

That has remained the conventional wisdom — until now. Since it was first published, Bugliosi’s book Helter Skelter has never gone out of print. It now appears that this version of the story may be just as fanciful as Quentin Tarantino’s fictional version, in his new hit film tom oneill manson chaos coverOnce Upon A Time… in Hollywood.

In 1999, investigative journalist Tom O’Neill was commissioned to write a story for what was then Premiere magazine, marking the 30th anniversary of the Tate/LaBianca murders. Thus began for O’Neill a 20-year odyssey into the dark world of Charles Manson.

During his journey he has uncovered new revelations about the murders, about Manson, about a rogues’ gallery of cops, corrupt and violent prosecutors, drug dealers, celebrities, clandestine government drug researchers, secret agents, and a cover-up that points strongly to the FBI and the CIA.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Jeff Schechtman talks with O’Neill about his investigation, as laid out in his new book CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties.

Aug. 9

Daily Beast, Jeffrey Epstein Accuser Names Powerful Men in Alleged Sex Ring, Kate Briquelet, Katie Baker, Justin Miller, Pilar Melendez, daily beast logoTracy Connor, Aug. 9, 2019. In newly unsealed documents, Virginia Giuffre claims that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked her to politicians, princes, and a high-flying financier, among others.

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University A young woman who says financier Jeffrey Epstein, right, and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell kept her as a sex slave also accused a host of high-powered men of being involved in Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking ring, according to court records unsealed Friday.

Virginia Giuffre, who says that Epstein and Maxwell trafficked her to powerful people for erotic massages and sex, claimed in depositions in 2016 that Maxwell directed her to have sex with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Britain’s Prince Andrew (whom she has accused before), wealthy financier Glenn Dubin, former senator George Mitchell, now-deceased MIT scientist Marvin Minsky, and modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, as well as “another prince,” a "foreign president," a well-known prime minsiter" and the owner of a “large hotel chain” in France.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001None of the men named in the deposition have been charged with a crime or even sued in civil court in connection with the Epstein case. The deposition represents accuser Giuffre’s allegations, and the court documents unsealed on Friday did not contain any corroboration or further details, though many documents remain sealed.

Roberts, at center, claimed that Epstein farmed her out to other men, including Prince Andrew of the British royal family, left. The California native said the photo at left portrays her at center with Prince Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, on a trip to London when she was 17 in 2001. At right was Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite daughter of the corrupt newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, who drowned in 1991 after toppling overboard from his yacht Lady Ghislaine. 

Brunel’s attorney Joe Titone declined to comment. Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace have previously and vehemently denied Giuffre’s allegations. “Glenn and Eva Dubin are outraged by the allegations in the unsealed court records, which are demonstrably false and defamatory. The Dubins have flight records and other evidence that definitively disprove that any such events occurred," a spokesperson for the Dubin family told The Daily Beast on Friday.

A spokesperson for former Gov. Bill Richardson, Madeleine Mahony, told The Daily Beast on Friday,“These allegations and inferences are completely false. Governor Richardson has never even been contacted by any party regarding this lawsuit. To be clear, in Governor Richardson’s limited interactions with Mr. Epstein, he never saw him in the presence of young or underage girls. Governor Richardson has never been to Mr. Epstein’s residence in the Virgin Islands. Governor Richardson has never met Ms. Giuffre."

Mitchell said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “The allegation contained in the released documents is false ... I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre.”

He added: “In my contacts with Mr. Epstein I never observed or suspected any inappropriate conduct with underage girls. I only learned of his actions when they were reported in the media related to his prosecution in Florida. We have had no further contact.”

The revelation comes after a federal appeals court ordered the release of the sealed documents in a lawsuit that Giuffre filed against Maxwell, the British publishing heiress whom Giuffre says was Epstein’s madam. Maxwell has rejected allegations that she has acted as a procurer for Epstein and denied she facilitated Prince Andrew's acts of sexual abuse and was Epstein’s madam.

U.S. Foreign Policy

Politico, Fury grows over delayed probe of Trump aides' alleged political retaliation, Nahal Toosi, Aug. 9, 2019. House Foreign Affairs eliot engel oChairman Eliot Engel said he was 'fed up with the State Department playing games with this investigation.' Democrats and many in the State Department are increasingly exasperated that they have yet to see the results of an investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s political appointees mistreated career staffers.

The delayed release of the State Department inspector general's findings has generated rising suspicion that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is trying to derail the investigation, whose results could be damning to some of his top aides. Lawmakers initially expected the report “months ago,” according to Rep. Eliot Engel, right, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Engel said he was “fed up with the State Department playing games with this investigation.”

“We just keep hearing excuse after excuse for the delay, which only serves to shake confidence in the integrity of the IG’s investigation,” the New York Democrat added in a statement.

Aides to Pompeo did not offer comment on his role. The inspector general’s office, however, insisted that there is nothing unusual in the length of time it’s taken to release the findings. “There has been no delay, and we anticipate publishing the report this month,” said Sarah Breen, a spokeswoman for Inspector General Steve Linick. “We continue to act independently and objectively.”

According to Breen, Linick’s investigation dates to at least March 2018. A second piece of the investigation launched in July 2018. Lawmakers requested an initial probe of the alleged misconduct as early as January 2018.

Aug. 8

U.S. Pro-War Media Advocates

Consortium News, Opinion: For Cliff May, War Pays, Daniel McAdams (Executive Director, Ron Paul Institute), Aug. 8, 2019. About the only thing the Defense of Democracies’ founder does not love about war is fighting it himself, writes Daniel McAdams.

cliff mayTo say that Clifford May, founder of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, loves war would be an understatement. He loves almost everything about war and he thinks the U.S. should be in a lot more of them. He thinks that the U.S. should never go home, should never withdraw troops, should forever be searching for “bad guys” to fight, lest they come find us and fight us here. Because the rest of the world is exclusively focused on how to invade and destroy the United States.

He likes to invoke Sun Tzu and Clausewitz and Plato to make his case for endless wars. Neocons love to do that because it makes them sound erudite and grounded in history — when in fact they are neither. About the only thing Clifford May does not love about war is fighting it himself.

While others of May’s generation were being blown to bits in that lost cause called “Vietnam,” May was drinking brewskis at Sarah Lawrence College and then Columbia University. His experience of war consists of covering it as a pampered correspondent of the shining lights of the mainstream U.S. media like Newsweek and The New York Times.

In a recent Washington Times editorial, tellingly titled, “Why endless wars can’t be ended,” May argues that members of the U.S. military should be constantly in battle. Not a moment’s rest from the killing and being killed. After all "the men and women volunteering to serve in America’s armed forces are not doing so in order to hang around the house drinking brewskies.”

May’s is a rare look into the utter contempt the neoconservatives feel for members of the United States military. Veteran suicides are an epidemic in the United States and are in fact the second leading cause of death in the U.S. military. Veterans make up 18 percent of all U.S. suicides while representing only 8.5 percent of the population.

In The Washington Times piece, May argues passionately against President Donald Trump’s stated goal of removing U.S. troops from their positions occupying parts of Syria. U.S. troops in Syria are, in his telling, “both preventing a revival of the Islamic State, and helping contain the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

This above sentence is key to understanding May’s constant push for more U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Hint: It’s not really about America.

May’s Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is lavishly funded by single-issue billionaires who believe they are helping Israel by sending U.S. troops to the Middle East to constantly provoke and kill those they believe are Israel’s enemies. Thus far it has not brought peace any closer to either Israel or its rivals in the region. In fact, the opposite. But the money keeps flowing so May keeps blowing. And American troops (along with millions of innocents in the target countries) keep on dying.

Aug. 7

 william barr smile fox screengrab Small

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, a longtime Deep State cover-up artist who began his career as a CIA analyst.

MintPress News, Opinion & Analysis: Did Bill Barr Call His Shot? Unanswered Questions about FBI’s Foreknowledge of the El Paso Shooting, Whitney Webb, right, whitney webb twitterAug. 7, 2019. As a series of recent mass shootings have brought renewed demands for the U.S. government to do something to address the spike in “lone wolf” violence, the Trump administration’s decision to blame internet privacy, controversial websites like 8chan, and social media for the shootings has raised eyebrows from across the political spectrum, particularly in light of claims that Trump’s recent rhetoric about immigrants may have incited some of the shooters.

As a series of recent mass shootings have brought renewed demands for the U.S. government to do something to address the spike in “lone wolf” violence, the Trump administration’s decision to blame internet privacy, controversial websites like 8chan, and social media for the shootings has raised eyebrows from across the political spectrum, particularly in light of claims that Trump’s recent rhetoric about immigrants may have incited some of the shooters.

Yet, not long before the recent spate of mass shootings began, U.S. Attorney General William Barr gave a speech on July 23 in which he spoke of the need for all consumer electronic devices and encrypted software to have a backdoor for the government to bypass encryption, essentially calling for many of the same measures that Trump has proposed following the recent shootings.

Furthermore, the FBI, which operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and reports directly to William Barr, has now stated that it was aware of the El Paso shooter’s plan to murder civilians via a post made on 8chan at least two hours before the shooting took place. 8chan — a controversial website that the FBI is known to have used to incite violence as part of its controversial terrorist entrapment strategy — has since been banned in the shooting’s aftermath. In addition, less than two months ago, the FBI obtained a warrant for 8chan’s host — Ch.net — in which the Bureau demanded access to the entire contents of the accounts that were of interest in that specific investigation, suggesting that the FBI had increased access to information of hundreds of 8chan accounts in the lead-up to the recent shootings.

MintPress News, Investigation: Mega Group, Maxwells, and Mossad: The Spy Story at the Heart of the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal (Part III), Whitney Webb, right, whitney webb twitterAug. 7, 2019. The picture painted by the evidence is not a direct Epstein tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations.

As billionaire pedophile and alleged sex-trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein sits in prison, reports have continued to surface about his reported links to intelligence, his financial ties to several companies and “charitable” foundations, and his friendships with the rich and powerful as well as top politicians.

While Part I and Part II of this series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” have focused on the widespread nature of sexual blackmail operations in recent American history and their ties to the heights of American political power and the U.S. intelligence community, one key aspect of Epstein’s own sex-trafficking and blackmail operation that warrants examination is Epstein’s ties to Israeli intelligence and his ties to the “informal” pro-Israel philanthropist faction known as “the Mega Group.”

The Mega Group’s role in the Epstein case has garnered some attention, as Epstein’s main financial patron for decades, billionaire Leslie Wexner, was a co-founder of the group that unites several well-known businessmen with a penchant for pro-Israel and ethno-philanthropy (i.e., philanthropy benefiting a single ethnic or ethno-religious group).

However, as this report will show, another uniting factor among Mega Group members is deep ties to organized crime, specifically the organized crime network discussed in Part I of this series, which was largely led by notorious American mobster Meyer Lansky.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

Abusive Treatment Of Assange, Manning

Consortium News, Analysis: New Fears for Julian Assange, Joe Lauria, right, Aug. 7, 2019. Journalist John Pilger visited imprisoned WikiLeaks joe lauria head bookfounder Julian Assange on Tuesday and has raised an alarm about Assange’s “deteriorated” health. Pilger said in a Tweet on Wednesday that Assange is “isolated” and treated “worse than a murderer.”

“I now fear for him,” Pilger wrote.

Assange (shown below in a graphic by the human rights magazine The Indicter) is suffering from an undisclosed ailment and has been confined to the hospital ward at the maximum security prison for several weeks. He was arrested on April 11 by British police who were called by the Ecuadorian government into its London embassy in apparent violation of international asylum law. Assange had been granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012. He had been suffering health problems in the embassy but British authorities refused to allow him from leaving the embassy for treatment without being arrested.

julian assange and swedens politically appointed judges indicter graphicAlmost immediately after his arrest the United States unveiled an indictment against him for alleged intrusion into a government computer although the indictment itself describes normal procedures of investigative journalism: encouraging a source to provide more information and working to protect the source’s identity.

On May 23, Assange was charged under the U.S. Espionage Act for possession and dissemination of classified information given to him by WikiLeak‘s source, Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. army intelligence analyst. It was the first time the Espionage Act was used against a journalist for publishing classified information.

Manning, meanwhile, is imprisoned in Alexandria, VA for refusing to testify to a grand jury on Assange’s case. Since Assange has already been twice indicted, it is not clear if a new indictment against him is being prepared.

Judge Imposes New Manning Fines, Denies Hearing

chelsea manning screen shot 2018 06 05 media convention

The now-imprisoned anti-torture former Army intelligence officer and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, right, speaking in Germany in 2018 (screen shot)

ShadowProof, Judge Denies Chelsea Manning A Hearing, Insists Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars In Fines Are Not Punishment, Kevin Gosztola, Aug. 7, 2019. A federal judge denied Chelsea Manning’s motion to reconsider fines imposed against her for refusing to testify before the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. He also undermined due process and refused to hold a hearing.

“Manning has the ability to comply with the court’s financial sanctions or will have the ability after her release from confinement,” Judge Anthony Trenga ruled. “Therefore, the imposed fines of $500 per day after 30 days and $1,000 per day after 60 days is not so excessive as to relieve her of those sanctions or to constitute punishment rather than a coercive measure.”

Trenga additionally insisted that he had the authority to confine her and impose fines as well.

“I am disappointed but not at all surprised. The government and the judge must know by now that this doesn’t change my position one bit,” Manning declared in response to the decision.

Manning has been in jail for 147 days. She already owes $38,000 in fines, as of August 7, and she could owe up to $441,000—nearly a half million dollars—if the sanctions continue.

Her legal team said Manning will “remain confined for another year and will face ongoing financial hardship,” unless Judge Trenga or a higher court is convinced that the fines imposed will “never coerce her compliance” and amount to punishment.

“She has no personal savings, an uncertain speaking career that has been abruptly halted by her incarceration, and is moving her few belongings into storage, as she can no longer afford to pay her rent,” Manning’s legal team made clear in their motion.

Manning’s attorneys further indicated that Manning attempted to share her financial records with the federal court in an effort to show that she has debt and “compromised earning capacity,” which has “left her balance sheets near zero.” But the court apparently never completed a financial assessment of her ability to pay fines.

Trenga acknowledged the “substantial number of financial records documenting her assets, liabilities, and current and future earnings” that were shared with the court. Yet, he maintained they did not present “any new evidence, arguments, or legal authorities” that required the court to conclude it had committed an error by imposing detention, as well as fines.

The judge has “almost unreviewable discretion” when it comes to interpreting her financial records, according to Manning’s legal team.

“Despite the fact that Chelsea is currently deeply in debt, and cannot work while incarcerated, Judge Trenga was able to conclude that fines totalling $441,000 fall within the parameters of a ‘coercive’ sanction, and do not intrude into the forbidden realm of the punitive,” her attorneys stated.

He also stated his belief that continued confinement may yet exert a coercive impact upon Ms. Manning, and asserted that he retains the authority to keep her confined while simultaneously imposing daily fines, a point of law vigorously disputed by Ms. Manning’s lawyers.

Trenga maintained that fining and jailing Manning fell within the court’s “traditional contempt powers.” Manning’s attorneys disputed this “point of law” and argued these types of fines are often reserved for corporations because they can absorb fines without suffering homelessness.

“Rarely, individuals are fined, but counsel can find no case in which fines were assessed as to an individual other than where the individual was a sophisticated financial actor and the underlying contempt involved disobedience of a court order directing the management of a large amount of money,” they asserted in their motion.

Manning can appeal the decision, however, the intransigence of the judge does not bode well for someone who has already endured substantial trauma as a result of her return to confinement.

Aug. 5

Media and 'Conspiracy Theory'

Off-Guardian, Commentary: Can the Progressive / “Conspiracy” Divide be Bridged? John Kirby, Aug. 5, 2019. People from a variety of advocacy communities who tackle issues ranging from the assassinations of the 1960’s to vaccine safety are rightly upset by a recent NBC News.com op-ed authored by Lynn Parramore, a progressive journalist known for her insightful pieces for Alternet and other outlets.

lynn parramore 2010 c spanIn the article, Parramore (shown on a 2010 C-SPAN appearance) argues that those who espouse “conspiracy theories” might be displaying “narcissistic personality traits,” suffer from “low self-esteem,” and share a “negative view of humanity.” Various studies are cited in support of this claim.

As a filmmaker acquainted both with the author of the op-ed as well as a number of people from the communities under fire, I hope it’s possible to dispel some of the misconceptions on all sides and even find some common ground.

At the outset, it should be acknowledged that Parramore’s piece is an uncharacteristically harsh ad hominem smear, taking its place in a long line of similar attacks on people who have dared question—sometimes at great personal cost—a whole range of suspect official narratives over many years.

But Parramore and many journalists like her are neither assets of an intelligence service nor unthinking tools of big media; she is fully conscious of the ways in which power and wealth can be used collusively (one might even say conspiratorially) to deceive and abuse the public.

So what accounts for a piece like this one? Why does it rankle a progressive like Parramore so intensely when she hears someone mention that the U.S. military-industrial complex had the most to gain from the September 11th attacks, or that Big Pharma may be applying the same racketeering techniques to the ever-expanding vaccination schedule she discovered at play in the opioid crisis?

Those of us who have labored long to publicize state crimes against democracy have our own list of the psychological, political, and economic factors that may be preventing smart people from seeing evidence that we regard as overwhelming.

The primary difficulty may lie in just how smart and thoroughly educated many of these writers are: no one who has spent a lifetime looking into the way the world works wants to think they might have missed something big.

And as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the more educated we are, the more we are a target for state-corporate propaganda. Even journalists outside the mainstream may internalize establishment values and prejudices.

Which brings us to Parramore’s embrace of the term “conspiracy theory.” Once a neutral and little-used phrase, “conspiracy theory” was infamously weaponized in 1967 by a memo from the CIA to its station chiefs worldwide.

Troubled by growing mass disbelief in the “lone nut” theory of President Kennedy’s assassination, and concerned that “[c]onspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization,” the agency directed its officers to “discuss the publicity problem with friendly and elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” and to “employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.”

As Kevin Ryan writes, and various analyses have shown: "In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week.”

While it turns out that Parramore knows something about this hugely successful propaganda drive, she chose in her NBC piece to deploy the phrase as the government has come to define it, i.e., as “something that requires no consideration because it is obviously not true.” This embeds a fallacy in her argument which only spreads as she goes on.

Aug. 3

Global Leadership In History

fdr stalin churchill yalta 1945

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in February 1945 to discuss their joint occupation of Germany and plans for postwar Europe. Behind them stand, from the left, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Fleet Admiral Ernest King, Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, General of the Army George Marshall, Major General Laurence S. Kuter, General Aleksei Antonov, Vice Admiral Stepan Kucherov, and Admiral of the Fleet Nikolay Kuznetsov. February 1945. (Army) [Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 111-SC-260486 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 750"]

Strategic Culture Foundation, A Global Leadership Deficit Quotient, Wayne Madsen, right, Aug. 3, 2019. In an age of rapid information strategic culture logoexchange and ubiquitous mass media operations and options, the world has never before seen anything approaching the current wayne madsen newerglobal leadership deficit. During the World War II years, the forces of fascism were defeated because there were Allied leaders who exercised the leadership qualities necessary to rid the world of Nazi Germany and Imperial Italy and Japan.

There were the “Big Three” leaders: Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. They were ably supplemented by the supporting cast of Free French leader Charles de Gaulle, Australian Prime Ministers Robert Menzies and John Curtin, Canadian Prime Minister William Mackenzie King, South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts, New Zealand Prime Minister Peter Fraser, Chinese leaders Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, King Haakon II of Norway, Greek government-in-exile Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Polish government-in-exile Prime Minister Wladyslaw Sikorski, All India Muslim League leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia.

Out of the wartime armies and governments emerged a new set of leaders who would help create and nurture the United Nations and keep the post-war world from annihilating itself with nuclear weapons. General George Marshall would emerge as President Harry S Truman’s Secretary of State. General Dwight D. Eisenhower would be elected President of the United States and serve an eight-year term, passing the torch to a World War II Navy Lieutenant named John F. Kennedy. Soviet Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov would serve in the Soviet Politburo and as Minister of Defense. De Gaulle would see France through as its president during the upheavals of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Jinnah became the founding leader of Pakistan, while Mao Zedong became the founder of the People’s Republic of China. Papandreou battled against the Greek military’s influence over his country’s affairs until the 1967 military coup and the imposition of a dictatorship.

Three successive United Nations Secretaries General – Trygve Lie of Norway, Dag Hammarskjold, and U Thant – used their offices to promote peaceful dialogue over war. Hammarskjold would pay with his life while trying to negotiate an end to the Congolese civil war.

Whether they were former military commanders or wartime government officials, the post-war years produced the individuals who would help guide colonies to independence in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

Aug. 2

​Race Oppression In U.S. Historyelaine arkansas army bringing farmers to town arkansas times

U.S. Army escorting black farmers back to Elaine, Arkansas (Photo via Arkanas Times)

Arkansas Times, To Those Known and Unknown: The Elaine Massacre Memorial, Leslie Newell Peacock, Aug. 2, 2019. The Elaine Memorial pays tribute to the hundreds who died on the killing fields of Phillips County.

September 2019 will be the 100th anniversary of what has come to be known as the Elaine Massacre in Eastern Arkansas’s Phillips County. A century ago, white posses and U.S. soldiers shot and killed what may have been hundreds of African Americans, most of them tenant farmers, over a period of four days. The black farmers’ crime: They were unionizing to obtain fair prices for their cotton, and in some cases trying to buy their own farms. Some were just returned veterans of World War I and expected to be treated equitably and with respect after combat abroad.

It’s a complicated story from a time when white supremacy was the rule and the fear of communism and hatred of unions was pervasive. During the Red Summer of 1919, deadly clashes between racist white mobs and blacks, including veterans, erupted all over the nation. It’s a story that’s been told in rich detail in books by Little Rock lawyer Grif Stockley and American journalist Robert Whitaker. Here’s a bare-bones telling of the event:

Members of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union and others had been talking with a white Little Rock lawyer who had an office in Helena about suing the landowners for whom they planted. Cotton prices were at an all-time high, but black farmers were making pennies on the dollar from Arkansas landlords and could not get ahead. White eavesdroppers and a black spy hired by fearful residents of Helena claimed in reports to the elite of that city that there would be an uprising. Whites believed union organizers were stirring the tenant farmers to kill their landlords.

On the evening of Sept. 30, 1919, black families gathered in a church at Hoop Spur, a southern Phillips County community just north of Elaine, along the Missouri Pacific Railroad line, to talk about taking legal action. A deputy sheriff from Helena, a Missouri Pacific agent and a black prisoner drove to the church, stopped and turned out their lights. Someone opened the car door; armed black guards around the church approached. Shots rang out. It’s unknown who fired first; each side blamed the other. The deputy sheriff was killed. Blacks fled the shooting, some jumping out of the church windows with children. By the light of morning, a posse sent by the sheriff could see the church and a nearby shed had been shot at, though they would later lie about that (and even later admit to the lie).
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Over the next four days, whites from Helena and south Phillips County, plus posses from Mississippi who crossed the river to join in the carnage, tracked blacks down and shot them. They shot men, women and children, some in front of their homes, some as they hid in the woods and canebrakes, some as they were picking cotton. They were seen taking ears and other trophies from the bodies. Helena’s leaders asked for help; Gov. Charles Brough responded by sending 500 soldiers from Camp Pike to Elaine. Some Army units were armed with machine guns, which, according to several accounts, they turned on blacks emerging from their hiding places thinking they were saved. (Soldiers in some units, on the other hand, tended the bullet wounds of the black farmers.)

Five white men were fatally shot — one almost certainly by friendly fire, and possibly a second as well. Witnesses, black and white, interviewed after the event, estimated hundreds of blacks were killed between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4, one black ex-soldier wrote, “like they wont nothen but dogs.” An Arkansas Gazette reporter, in a book published in 1925, put the total deaths at 856, though he did not provide a source for the figure. Whitaker has estimated the number at more than 230, based on witness accounts. Eighty or more other blacks, including women, were jailed.

Twelve black men — union members — were convicted of first-degree murder at farcical trials and sentenced to die. Blacks who had been arrested were whipped and tortured by electric shock to give false testimony against the 12 at the trials. More than 80 men were convicted of lesser crimes, including, ironically, night-riding, the way the Ku Klux Klan exacted justice.
Photo of Scipio Africanus JonesCourtesy the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
SIX OF THE 12: Attorney Scipio Africanus Jones stands with defendants (back row) Ed Hicks, Frank Hicks, Frank Moore, (seated) J.C. Knox, Ed Coleman and Paul Hall.

Little Rock lawyer Scipio Africanus Jones — who learned the law on his own because the University of Arkansas would not admit him — won the men their freedom after nearly six years of legal and political machinations. He worked with several white attorneys; the NAACP insisted on white lawyers and, ironically, did not at first trust the talents of Jones.

Convenient For Epstein?

Virgin Islands Consortium, VIPD Case Files Wiped Out From Computers Following Intrusion; Hackers Demanding Ransom For Access, Ernice Gilbert, Aug. 2, 2019. Were it not for hardcopies of important case files that V.I.P.D. Commissioner Nominee Trevor Velinor said the police department had saved for use as backup, an untold number of cases — involving everything from murder to rape — would have been lost, resulting in possibly a mass dismissal of court trials and creating a problem that would overwhelm the department.

That’s because the Virgin Islands Police Department computer system has been hacked on a number of occasions over the past months, according to V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer Glen Dratte. Mr. Velinor corroborated Mr. Dratte’s statement, telling The Consortium during a phone interview Thursday that he was briefed on the hackings when he arrived in the territory.

“We’ve had a ransomware attack,” Mr. Velinor said, adding that the ransomware attack “really impacted us” on June 11. Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology (a field that studies how to use cryptography to design powerful malicious software) that threatens to publish a victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid.

According to a person with knowledge of the matter, the situation has been a nightmare for officers, many of whom cannot perform basic tasks on their computers. Mr. Velinor confirmed this to be true, telling The Consortium that many computers had to be wiped clean — losing all stored data — and “re-imaged” to allow officers to work.

Of grave concern is the security of important case files. With many cases pending and investigations ongoing, losing access to the database where files were stored poses a massive problem for the V.I.P.D., which could lead to lawsuits. But the commissioner nominee said most of the records, along being stored on computers, were secured the traditional way as well. “I believe that many of our records are also in hardcopies, which allows us to retrieve hardcopy documentation to be able to present those as evidence,” Mr. Velinor said.

The commissioner nominee said “many”, meaning there could possibly be files that have been lost. And still unclear is whether hardcopy file storage was affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and how effective, historically, the department has stored its hardcopy files.

The extent of the damage is far-reaching. “I was made aware to the fact that many of our computers were compromised. I was made aware that we had instructed all our users to not go on the particular server, to not go online and so therefore there was a full approach to attempt to minimize the damage. But as I said, many of the computers were already affected by the time the system administrators were alerted to the presence of a potential ransomware.”

The V.I.P.D. has refused to pay the hackers the ransom demanded to unlock the system. “As you know, quite frequently when you pay the ransom it doesn’t guarantee the hackers are going to provide you with the encryption key to read the encryption, and so we have not paid a ransom,” said the commissioner nominee.

Mr. Velinor said some officers had access to their computer systems again, but when asked whether those officers were able to regain access to their files, he acknowledged that access was only provided after the computers were wiped clean. Some officers who had stored files on external hard drives managed to recoup at least some data.

Whether the lost files can be recouped was unclear, but Mr. Velinor said the police department would try to. “We are utilizing various sources to include the F.B.I. and others to assist with the file recovery and decoding the ransomware encryption,” he said.

The V.I.P.D. has reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal arms for help. It has also contacted the territory’s Bureau of Information Technology for assistance. Additionally, the police force is considering contracting an online security firm that would ascertain the safety of the V.I.P.D.’s online systems moving forward. “We will be navigating towards full service to include strengthening our system so that we are able to protect against future ransomware,” Mr. Velinor said. He said the force had not secured the online security firm as of Thursday.

The police force has also started using a different domain, according to Mr. Velinor, although the name wasn’t made clear. The current website is vipd.gov.vi, and the V.I.P.D. still appears to be updating it: as of July 29, a VIPD release relative to a Sunday night shooting at the Floatopia event in Frederiksted was published.

 

Aug. 2

william barr swearing in wife djt roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts administer the office oath to Attorney General William Barr as his wife and Donald Trump look on.

Buzzflash, William Barr and Opus Dei, the Secretive Ultra-Conservative Catholic Organization That Poses an Existential Threat to Democracy and Pluralism, Bill Berkowitz, Aug. 2, 2019. It is no secret that Attorney General William P. Barr has ties to Opus Dei, the highly secretive, ultra-conservative Catholic organization. Opus Dei, which literally means "The Work of God," “is known for recruiting very influential members, especially those simpatico with culturally conservative causes,” veteran journalist Frank Cocozzelli recently explained. Barr’s connections to Opus Dei – it is unclear how deep it runs -- might in part explain, as Cocozzelli pointed out in an early May story headlined “Did Opus Dei Teach A.G. Barr to ‘Puts Away His Scruples’?,” Barr’s “apparent ‘ends justifies the means’ strategy” regarding his testimony about the Mueller Report before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
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“Before his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in January, Barr had completed a questionnaire,” Betty Clermont reported. “On page 4, he listed positions he’s held as director of the Catholic Information Center [which is managed by priests from Opus Dei], (2014-1017), director of the [decidedly right wing think tank] Ethics and Public Policy Center (2004-2009) and director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (1994-2015).

In her blog, The Open Tabernacle, Clerment, the author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America, wrote: “the Opus Dei Catholic Information Center’s ‘members and leaders continue to have an outsize impact on policy and politics. It is the conservative spiritual and intellectual center … and its influence is felt in all of Washington’s corridors of power,’ the Washington Post stated recently.”

“As Cozocelli points out,” researcher D. Cary Hart told me in an email, ”Barr was on the board of Catholic Information Center. The priests who manage CIC are all Opus Dei members and it is generally believed that membership is required of the board of directors. [However] [y]ou will never be able to prove it, [since] Supernumeraries and Cooperators keep their identities secret.”

“The Attorney General has in the past spoken with language that is in line with the goals of both Opus Dei’s and the EPPC’s [the Ethics and Public Policy Center where Barr was director from 2004-2009] overlapping agendas,” Cocozzelli suggested. “This past December Americans United’s Rob Boston reminded us of Barr’s past theological screeds. These run the gamut from condemning public schools (they had undergone a ‘moral lobotomy’); in a 1992 address to Bill Donohue’s Catholic League, he called for the imposition of ‘God’s law’ in America. In that same address he went after contemporary supporters of the separation of church and state (‘The secularists of today are clearly fanatics’).”

“In 1995,” Laura Murray-Tjan wrote in late May, “Barr wrote that he was troubled by the ‘steady erosion of the Judeo-Christian moral system’ in the United States, and argued that law should aid in the restoration of the ‘traditional moral order.’ Roe v. Wade has contributed to the nation’s ‘permissiveness,’ Barr argues, by causing fewer people to view abortion as ‘evil.’ In short, the ‘character of the judiciary’ is crucially important because, Barr believes, our morals track what judges say is legal.”

The Rev. C. John McCloskey, who was a member of Opus Dei, became director of the Catholic Information Center in 1998. He helped drive CIC from a little known organization to becoming a major player in DC politics; he was described as “Catholic Church’s K Street lobbyist.” After a few years of growing his and CIC’s profile, he suddenly disappeared. In early January of this year, it was disclosed that McCloskey had victimized “a woman who had gone to him in 2002 for spiritual guidance,” The Washington Post’s Joe Heim reported.

The priest Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, who believed “that lay Catholics could achieve holiness without entering a religious order”, founded opus Dei in Spain in 1928. According to Cocozzelli, among other things, “Escriva also taught his followers to put away their scruples (The Way, Nos. 258 and 259), seemingly teaching that the ends always justify the means. Perhaps maxims 258 and 259 might explain the Attorney General’s prior misleading House testimony as well his unwillingness to answer questions that merely required a yes or no response. Much of what Escriva preached dovetails nicely with the William Barr’s ideal of a society built upon religious orthodoxy. That being the case, it also seems that Escriva’s means for realizing that goal similarly dovetails.”

“Opus Dei has historically worked to purge progressives from church ranks, notably in Latin America, and infuse Catholicism with right-wing principles,” Cocozzelli pointed out in a 2009 story posted at Political Research Associates titled The Politics of Schism in the Catholic Church. “John Paul saw Opus Dei and other authoritarian-minded groups such as the Legionnaires of Christ and Communion y Liberacíon as a means to a more conservative Church.”

In a 2006 article posted at Talk to Action titled “The Catholic Right, Part Two: An Introduction To The Role Of Opus Dei” Cocozzelli noted that “The danger that a politically active Opus Dei membership currently represents to liberal democracy is not from assassinations by imaginary albino monks (for the record, there are no Opus Dei monks), but in its very Plutocratic attitude in abhorring dissent.”

Aug. 1

polly twitterAmazing Polly, Opinion: Epstein Enemy Emerges from the Swamp? Polly (shown on Twitter photo, last name withheld), Aug. 1, 2019. (33:32 min. video). You have to bear with me as I set the stage in this video about a person who has come out of the shadows recently and who ran in the same circles as Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Conrad Black was a powerful media mogul -- could he be a key to untangling the web of corruption? Find out why I think so.

 

July

July 31

JFK Assassination Evidence, News Suppression

jfk baldwin indicter graphic

Photo-graphic by The Indicter Magazine, founded and edited by Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, founder also of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights.

The Indicter: Monthly European review on geopolitical & human rights issues, New NBC Attack On Alec Baldwin, JFK Research Is Attack On indicter logo sloganTruth, Democracy, Andrew Kreig (J.D., M.S.L., attorney and journalist. Director of JIP. Member of the Editorial Board and Associate Editor at The Indicter Magazine), July 31, 2019 (August 2019 issue).

An NBC News column smearing actor and social critic Alec Baldwin as a “conspiracy theorist” this month because of his views on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy constituted an attack, in effect, on NBC’s consumers, particularly those who care about truth and other democratic values.

That is because the July 19 column, "From Trump to Alec Baldwin, conspiracy theories, narcissism and celebrity culture go hand in hand," provided no evidence whatsoever that anything Baldwin had said was untrue or otherwise dubious.

U.S. Presidential Racism Revealed

washington post logoWashington Post, Retropolis (The Past, Rediscovered): Reagan called Nixon to slur Africans. Of course there are tapes, Morgan Krakow and Tim Elfrink​, July 31, 2019. It was October 1971, and the United Nations had just voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China.

Then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan (shown as president in 1981 at left) was infuriated that delegations from Africa did not align themselves with the U.S. position — that ronald reagan 1981 wthe U.N. should recognize Taiwan as an independent state — and wanted to get President Richard Nixon on the phone. He was apparently disgusted after watching delegates from Tanzania celebrate the U.N. decision to support Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

“To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Reagan said.

Nixon (shown below at right) replied with a big laugh.

The conversation between Reagan and Nixon was published in The Atlantic. Tim Naftali, a history professor at NYU and the former director of the Nixon Presidential Library, worked to get the tape released and wrote the subsequent article for The Atlantic.

richard nixon headshot CustomThe National Archives withheld the racist comments in the recording’s first release in 2000, which Naftali says was apparently in protection of Reagan’s privacy. But after Reagan’s death in 2004, and amid continued review process by the National Archives, Naftali was successful in getting the full conversation released.

“It was worse than I expected,” Naftali told The Washington Post, referring to the audio on the tape. “It was the combination of the slur by Reagan and then Nixon’s repeating it, not once but twice in later conversations. This was not just revealing about what Ronald Reagan thought about Africans in 1971, and arguably later, it was also a reminder of how Nixon could hold racist views but not think of himself as a racist.”

More On Jeffrey Epstein

jeffrey epstein hands handsOver the years, Jeffrey E. Epstein, right, surrounded himself with many prominent scientists, including several affiliated with Harvard (Photo Credit: Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation).

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA, James B. Stewart, Matthew Goldstein and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, July 31, 2019. Over the years, Jeffrey E. Epstein surrounded himself with many prominent scientists, including several affiliated with Harvard.

Jeffrey E. Epstein, the wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker, had an unusual dream: He hoped to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating women at his vast New Mexico ranch.

Mr. Epstein over the years confided to scientists and others about his scheme, according to four people familiar with his thinking, although there is no evidence that it ever came to fruition.

Mr. Epstein’s vision reflected his longstanding fascination with what has become known as transhumanism: the science of improving the human population through technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Critics have likened transhumanism to a modern-day version of eugenics, the discredited field of improving the human race through controlled breeding.

Trump Watch / Inside DC

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s new DNI nominee John Ratcliffe is in deep trouble, Bill Palmer, July 31, 2019. When Donald Trump announced this weekend that he was replacing his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats with Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe, john ratcliffe headshot Customright, the widespread assumption was that the Republican Senate would simply rubber stamp the whole thing.

But if you’ve paid close attention, GOP Senators have actually killed off a number of Trump’s most idiotic nominations before they could even get to a vote. Now it looks like we may be on track for that to happen again.

The GOP Senate loves to rubber stamp Donald Trump’s terrible nominees when it can. But when Trump picks a nominee bill palmer report logo headerlike John Ratcliffe, who’s so hilariously inept he could end up harming the entire party’s 2020 chances, the GOP Senate usually finds a way to let Trump know that he needs to withdraw the pick. The first sign of trouble came on Monday when various Republican Senators began hinting on the record to the Washington Post that they weren’t thrilled with the Ratcliffe nomination. But then things got ugly.

On Tuesday, the New York Times turned around and exposed a scandal. John Ratcliffe has claimed repeatedly that he put terrorists in prison when he was a federal prosecutor – but it turns out that never happened. This is the kind of objectively ugly scandal that prompts the media to obsessively focus on it, until Trump and/or the GOP Senate decide they need to pull the nomination in order to make the bad headlines go away.

July 30

 

wikipedia logo

lila tretikov benjamin netanyahu 2015 israel

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu meets Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov in 2015. Photo | Israel GPO

MintPress News, Investigation / Commentary: The Spin War: How a Small Group of Pro-Israel Activists Blacklisted MintPress on Wikipedia, whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, July 30, 2019 [Investigation excerpted. Click link for full story]. For over ten years, Wikipedia has been a key focus of right-leaning, pro-Israel groups that have effectively weaponized the online encyclopedia as a means of controlling the narrative when it comes to the state of Israel’s more than 50-year-long military occupation of Palestine.

For over a decade, pro-Israel and ultra-nationalist Israeli settler groups have sought to weaponize the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, through concerted covert editing campaigns, offering Wikipedia editing courses to West Bank settlers and even formal alliances between Israel and Wikipedia to allow Israelis to create and edit content in a variety of languages.

In recent years, this alliance between pro-Israel partisans and Wikipedia has stepped up, largely in response to the growth of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure Israel to comply with international law with respect to occupied Palestine and the blockaded Gaza Strip. As a consequence, news outlets that consistently report on the success of BDS, such as MintPress News, have been targeted on Wikipedia by such partisans, who recently succeeded in blacklisting MintPress as a “reliable source” on the online encyclopedia.

In early June, a small number of partisan Wikipedia editors privately voted to blacklist MintPress News from use as a source on the online encyclopedia website at the behest of a Wikipedia editor who took issue with MintPress’ coverage of current events in Venezuela and Syria. At no point was MintPress ever asked to comment or allowed to respond to any of the allegations made and MintPress is unable to appeal the decision.

jimmy wales wikipedia logo

Jimmy Wales, the self-described pro-Israel advocate and founder of Wikipedia, is shown at left.

Of the Wikipedia editors who voted to discredit MintPress, several were self-listed as experts in video games, computer science and anime, not geopolitical events, while others had previously gained notoriety for partisan promotion of pro-Israel perspectives and/or the U.S.-funded Venezuelan Popular Will political party, of which the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó is a member.

The involvement of pro-Israel partisans in the blacklisting of MintPress on Wikipedia is notable in light of the well-documented and unprecedented efforts of the Israeli government to promote the partisan editing of Wikipedia and to subsequently incorporate the online encyclopedia into its national educational curriculum.

The successful effort to blacklist MintPress News on Wikipedia began on June 1 and was initiated by Wikipedia user “Jamesz42,” a Wikipedia editor from Venezuela who has written several English-language Wikipedia articles on the wives of Popular Will politicians as well as on protest leaders and journalists who are aligned with Popular Will.

MintPress is one of several news organizations that have reported extensively on Popular Will’s U.S. government funding, its lack of popular support in Venezuela, and its history of engaging in violence. Yet MintPress is the only independent outlet that has been blacklisted on Wikipedia for reporting these facts. TeleSur, which is partially funded by the Venezuelan government, was also recently blacklisted by Wikipedia and some of the same users that targeted MintPress, including Jamesz42, were involved.

When his claims against MintPress were challenged by another editor, “R2”, Jamesz42 claimed his reason for starting the query as to MintPress’ credibility was that “MintPress News has been used several times as a source in articles about the Syrian Civil War and the Venezuelan crisis, among other controversial topics, which is the reason why I started this RfC [request for comment].”

However, apparently unable to find a factual inaccuracy in MintPress’ Venezuela or Syria coverage, Jamesz42 cited the accidental incorrect placement of a single hyperlink in a recent MintPress article about Microsoft’s Pentagon-funded election software, ElectionGuard, that was the result of a (now-fixed) copy-and-paste error made by the article’s author.

Jamesz42 stated:

The article accuses Microsoft of “price gouging for its OneCare security software,” and links that text to “Microsoft accused of predatory pricing of security software,” an article from The Guardian (RSP entry) that describes the exact opposite: “Incredibly, Microsoft has priced themselves almost 50% below the market leader.” (See Predatory pricing for a definition of the practice.)

The MintPress News article then uses its own false claim to assert that Microsoft’s ‘offering of ElectionGuard software free of charge is tellingly out of step for the tech giant and suggests an ulterior motive behind Microsoft’s recent philanthropic interest in “defending democracy.”'”

The sentence of the article from which Jamesz42 is quoting began by stating: “Considering that Microsoft has a long history of predatory practices, including price gouging …” The link that was originally attached to the text “price gouging” was the Guardian article referenced by Jamesz42, but was originally meant to link to the text reading “predatory practices.”

As noted, this was a copy-and-paste error on the part of the author and the article intended to link to the term “price gouging” — an article from The Verge titled “Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe attempt to justify ‘price gouging’ to Australian hearing” — was fixed when the error was brought to MintPress’ attention. Such corrections are common practice, undertaken by all reputable news organizations and indicative of high standards of integrity and accountability.

Notably, Jamesz42 claims that Microsoft’s predatory practices that include price gouging were invented by MintPress, even though the original version of the article with the copy-and-paste error based this on the claim that Microsoft was known to engage in predatory practices, with price gouging listed as an example, and citations we provided to back the claim, as even Jamesz42 noted.

This  copy-and-paste hyperlink error was the main justification for the blacklisting of MintPress on Wikipedia by Jamesz42, along with the fact that MintPress has previously republished content from the websites ZeroHedge and the Free Thought Project — notably in spite of the fact that all content republished on MintPress contains the following disclaimer:

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.”

Evidence-free name-calling and piling-on

After Jamesz42 made these initial claims, another user, “PaleoNeonate,” said that he confirmed his suspicion that MintPress’ reporting was “strange” with a “pro-Israel source” that referred to MintPress as “fringe.” PaleoNeonate then claimed that MintPress is unreliable for republishing “Russian state media” and reporting on “conspiracy theories” on chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian conflict. MintPress has been accused of promoting “conspiracy theories” about well-known, alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria on several occasions and MintPress reports on the subject were later corroborated by award-winning journalists like Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk. Notably, this user, PaleoNeonate, is an expert in computer science, not geopolitics.

These caims were followed by user “Alsee,” who was also involved in the effort to blacklist TeleSur. This user stated: “It’s unclear whether MintPress is part of the Russian fake news engine or merely a bunch of ‘useful idiot’ nutters participating in the same content-sharing web of alternative ‘news’ sites,” and also claimed that MintPress “is widely considered unreliable.” Alsee’s evidence for the latter was that Google and Facebook’s censorship of MintPress was proof that the site is “fake news.” Alsee’s comment was responded to by the anonymous moderator account “Newslinger,” who stated that MintPress “clearly has no ambition to be a reliable source.”

wikipedia logoAnother user, “TheTimesAreAChanging,” without providing evidence, called MintPress “a cesspool of conspiracy theories and misinformation,” and is notably an editor of Wikipedia articles related to video games. The user “IceWhiz” stated that MintPress should be blacklisted “for propagating non-mainstream viewpoints (which are usually UNDUE),” but also provided no further explanation for this assertion.

An additional user, “Bobfrombrockley,” cited the fact-checking organization Newsguard and its rating of MintPress. That rating came several months after MintPress authored a viral exposè of Newsguard’s connections to neoconservatives and former government officials, including former CIA director Michael Hayden. MintPress later authored an in-depth response showing that Newsguard’s rating of MintPress was clearly biased and possibly influenced by our critical reporting on their operations.

“Unreliable” blacklisting seems to mean anti-Israel

Several of the Wikipedia users involved in blacklisting MintPress News have gained varying degrees of notoriety for their pro-Israel partisanship on the online encyclopedia.

The user Icewhiz, who stated that MintPress should be blacklisted for “propagating non-mainstream viewpoints,” has lobbied to delete the entire Wikipedia article on the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, which Icewhiz refers to as the “Israeli military administration in the West Bank.” Prior to lobbying for the article’s removal, Icewhiz had edited the article on the military occupation of the West Bank by removing the entire section about settler violence targeting Palestinians and most of the section about how the military occupation affects Palestinian children, among other pertinent information.

In addition to his efforts to remove information from Wikipedia articles that paint Israel’s military occupation of Palestine in a critical light, Icewhiz also attempted to alter the article on Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najjar, who was killed by an Israeli sniper during the Great Return March protests in the Gaza Strip last year, despite clearly wearing a vest marking her as a medic. Icewhiz added a video of al-Najjar that was later found to have been heavily edited and promoted by the Israel Defense Force as a means of justifying her death and subsequently re-edited the article to promote the IDF interpretation of the video after another editor included information critical of the IDF’s use of the doctored video. Icewhiz also edited the article on Razan al-Najjar to claim that she was “allegedly shot” by the IDF, despite the fact that there has been no disputing the IDF’s responsibility for her death, even from Israel’s government.

Per other threads of Wikipedia, two other users who voted to blacklist MintPress — users “Shrike” and “Stefka Bulgaria” — collaborate or have collaborated with Icewhiz and have defended Icewhiz from accusations of editing with an extreme pro-Israel bias. The user Shrike, who called MintPress “clearly unreliable,” has co-authored articles on historical leaders of the Zionist movement with Icewhiz and currently lives in Israel.

Notably, Shrike was involved in allowing the neoconservative pro-Israel think tank, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), to edit Wikipedia articles with “protected status,” according to information posted by another user on his profile page. The current president of JCPA is Dore Gold, a former advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, and the Center receives large amounts of funding from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major supporter of Netanyahu and a top donor of U.S. President Donald Trump.

jimmy wales facing tomorrow conference israel 2009 AP photo 09102109924 1 Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales speaks at the ‘Facing Tomorrow’ conference in Israel in 2009 (Tara Todras-Whitehill | Associated Press)

Wales has long made it no secret that he is pro-Israel, having visited the country more than ten times per his own count, leading The Times of Israel to note in 2015 that “While Wikipedia strives for objectivity on Israel, Wales is unabashedly pro.” Years prior, in 2011, when Wales attended the Israeli Presidential Conference, he told Israeli media that “I’m a strong supporter of Israel, so I don’t listen to those critics.”

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

July 29

Unz Review, American Pravda: John McCain, Jeffrey Epstein, and Pizzagate, Ron Unz, July 29, 2019 (6,000 words, excerpted below).  Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings. The death of Sen. John McCain last August revealed some important truths about the nature of our establishment media.

On the face of it, such undiluted political love for McCain might seem a bit odd to those who have followed his activities over the last couple of decades....Even more remarkable were the discordant facts airbrushed out of McCain’s history.

At the beginning of December, a right-wing blogger produced a lengthy exposition of the Pizzagate charges, which finally gave me some understanding of what was actually under discussion, and I soon made arrangements to republish his article.

Over the years, it became increasingly obvious to me that nearly all elements of our national media were often quite willing to enlist in a “conspiracy of silence” to minimize or entirely ignore stories of tremendous potential interest to their readership and major public importance. I could easily have doubled or tripled the number of such notable examples I provided above without much effort. Moreover, it is quite intriguing that so many of these cases involve the sort of criminal or sexual misbehavior that would be ideally suited for blackmailing powerful individuals who are less likely to be vulnerable to other influences. So perhaps many of the elected officials situated at the top of our democratic system merely reign as political puppets, dancing to invisible strings.

Given my awareness of this remarkable track-record of major media cover-ups, I’m ashamed to admit that I had paid almost no attention to the Jeffrey Epstein case until it exploded across our national headlines earlier this month, suddenly becoming one of the biggest news stories in our country.

For many years, reports about Epstein and his illegal sex-ring had regularly circulated on the fringes of the Internet, with agitated commenters citing the case as proof of the dark and malevolent forces that secretly controlled our corrupted political system. But I almost entirely ignored these discussions, and I’m not sure that I ever once clicked on a single link.

July 27

Impeachment Inquiry

ny times logoNew York Times, Raising Prospect of Impeachment, House Seeks Mueller’s Secrets, Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage, July 27, 2019 (print ed.). House Democrats said they need access to secret grand jury evidence because they are weighing whether to recommend impeaching Mr. Trump.

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday asked a federal judge to unseal grand jury secrets related to Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, using the court filing to declare that lawmakers have already in effect launched an impeachment investigation of President Trump.

U.S. House logoIn a legal maneuver that carries significant political overtones, the committee told a judge that it needs access to the grand jury evidence collected by Mr. Mueller as special counsel — such as witness testimony — because it is “investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment” against the president.

“Because Department of Justice policies will not allow prosecution of a sitting president, the United States House of Representatives is the only institution of the federal government that can now hold President Trump accountable for these actions,” the filing told the judge, Beryl A. Howell, who supervised Mr. Mueller’s grand jury.

Referring to the part of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to impeach and remove a president, the filing continued: “To do so, the House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — approval of articles of impeachment.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: What the House Democrats just did to Donald Trump is genius, Bill Palmer, right, July 27, 2019. When it comes to bill palmerimpeaching Donald Trump, the House Democrats face a number of tricky factors. Democrats have to use the impeachment process to build up public demand for Trump’s ouster, so GOP Senators might be forced to go along with it for fear of losing their own seats. Democrats have to pull this off without prompting Trump’s existing supporters to reflexively rally around him. And Democrats can’t do any of this until they win their court battles over the relevant testimony and evidence.

bill palmer report logo headerSomehow, the House Democrats just managed to thread that needle in one fell swoop – at least in terms of getting the ball rolling. The House Judiciary Committee made a court filing yesterday which confirms that they’re seeking the evidence and testimony in question because they’re trying to determine whether Donald Trump needs to be impeached. This court filing is an impeachment inquiry, meaning the impeachment process has begun.

But because the House Democrats are kicking off impeachment with a Friday afternoon court filing instead of firing it out of a T-shirt cannon, they’re not giving Donald Trump much of a rallying point just yet. He can run his mouth all he wants, but he’ll have a difficult time firing up his base by whining about a mere impeachment court filing. After all, his supporters tend to view politics through a lens of “wall good, immigrant bad” and have no interest in the legal nuances of the impeachment process.

That means House Democrats have managed to start the impeachment process in a way that helps fire up their base, while making it difficult for Donald Trump to fire up his base, even while continuing to focus on the court battles over testimony and evidence that they’re going to need to win first before they can file the actual articles of impeachment anyway.

Climate Change

washington post logoWashington Post, Europe’s heat wave is about to bake the Arctic, Andrew Freedman, July 27, 2019 (print ed.). The heat is shifting toward Scandinavia, and eventually into the Arctic, where it could supercharge the sea and land ice melt season.

NY Fire Board Seeks New 9/11 Probe  ny fire commissioners franklin square munson 9 11 philip malloy dennis lyons kerry santina joseph torregrossa kenneth gray

Franklin Square Munson Fire District Commission 768, from left to right: Commissioner Philip F. Malloy, Jr.; Commissioner Dennis G. Lyons; District Secretary Kerry Santina; Commissioner Joseph M. Torregrossa; Attorney Kenneth Gray; Commissioner Christopher L. Gioia; Commissioner Les Saltzman.

Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth, New York Area Fire Commissioners Make History, Call for New 9/11 Investigation, Ted Walter, July 27, 2019. They started off by saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Ten minutes later, they were reading the text of a resolution claiming the existence of “overwhelming evidence” that “pre-planted explosives . . . caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings.”

And so it was, on July 24, 2019 — nearly 18 years after the horrific attacks that traumatized a nation and changed the world forever — the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District became the first legislative body in the country to officially support a new investigation into the events of 9/11.

The resolution, drafted and introduced by Commissioner Christopher Gioia, was unanimously approved by the five commissioners. Members of the audience — including the families of fallen firefighters Thomas J. Hetzel and Robert Evans, both Franklin Square natives — joined in solemn but celebratory applause after the fifth “ay” was spoken.

Conversing with guests after the meeting, Commissioner Dennis Lyons remarked on the enormous and lasting toll that 9/11 has taken on the Franklin Square community. “We have a memorial — a piece of steel from the World Trade Center with 28 holes where the nuts and bolts used to go,” Lyons explained. “Every year on the 11th, we put a rose in each hole for the 24 Nassau County firefighters and four Franklin Square residents who died on 9/11.”

“We have a memorial — a piece of steel from the World Trade Center with 28 holes where the nuts and bolts used to go. Every year on the 11th, we put a rose in each hole for the 24 Nassau County firefighters and four Franklin Square residents who died on 9/11.”
— Commissioner Dennis Lyons

The impact of 9/11 on the community extends well beyond the victims and their grieving families. On September 12, 2001, the Franklin Square Fire Department was called in to assist with the massive rescue and recovery effort that was just getting underway. Countless members of the department, including Gioia and Commissioner Philip Malloy (then rank-and-file firefighters), spent weeks on the pile searching in vain for civilians and fellow responders who might still be alive. Today, Malloy is one of thousands suffering chronic health effects.

Besides the commissioners’ desire to see justice done for their fallen brothers and deceased neighbors, the driving force behind the resolution was a petition filed last year with United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman by the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, outlining the evidence of the World Trade Center’s explosive demolition on 9/11.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office notified the Lawyers’ Committee in November that it would indeed comply with the federal statute requiring the U.S. Attorney to present the petition to a special grand jury. The news set off a wave of hope, among those paying attention, that the wheels of justice were finally beginning to move in the right direction.

Adding a surge to that wave of hope, the Franklin Square resolution declares the fire district’s full backing of the (presumably) ongoing grand jury investigation in Lower Manhattan, while also proclaiming the district’s support for “any and all efforts by other government entities to investigate and uncover the full truth surrounding the events of that horrible day.”

Epstein, Israeli Unmasked?

Narativ, Building Big Brother: Jeffrey Epstein’s investment in an Israeli start-up reveals a myriad of links to Donald Trump and Israeli spies, Zev Shalev and Tracie McElroy, July 27, 2019.

What we found:

  • Jeffrey Epstein is an Israeli spy.
  • He is an investor in a start-up with ties to Israeli Intelligence.
  • Two Putin-linked oligarchs are his partners.
  • The start-up poses a privacy risk.
  • Ties to Erik Prince, Michael Cohen, George Nader and Peter Thiel.

It’s been thirty-two years since the “Pollard Affair” pierced the seemingly impenetrable facade of U.S.-Israeli relations. Now, two suspected Israeli agents are in jail – indicted on separate charges of sex trafficking of minors.

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on July 6 and charged with trafficking minors across state lines. George Nader – a key witness for Robert Mueller – was arrested last month for possession of child porn and transporting a minor for sex from Europe.

Epstein and Nader share a personal network that includes Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, Erik Prince, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and his UAE counterpart, Mohamed Bin Zayed.

But their association goes further than powerful friends and proclivities for teenage boys and girls. Epstein and Nader are believed to be agents for Israeli Intelligence. Narativ has independently confirmed Epstein was indeed working for the Israelis.

Both men also have ties to a burgeoning Israeli tech sector which is bringing Mossad-style military intelligence to the private sector and endangering the global balance of power.

The Haaretz newspaper has previously reported that Epstein, who was Donald Trump’s friend through the ’80s and ’90s, partnered in an Israeli start-up alongside former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Barak is seeking to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli Prime Minister in the upcoming re-run elections scheduled for September. Since 2015, he has been the front-man for Carbyne, an Israeli start-up which purports to be a high-tech solution for 911 emergency call centers, but the platform’s architecture and investors raise serious privacy concerns.

Narativ undertook an extensive investigation into Carbyne, and can now reveal a myriad of troubling connections between the start-up and people connected to Donald Trump.

July 25

Epstein: The Big Picture

whitney webbMint Press News, Government by Blackmail: Jeffrey Epstein, Trump’s Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era (Part II), Whitney Webb, right, July 25, 2019 (Excerpted; Click link for full story]. Appalling for both the villainous abuse of children itself and the chilling implications of government by blackmail, this tangled web of unsavory alliances casts a lurid light on the political history of the U.S. from the Prohibition Era right up through the Age of Trump.

Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire who now sits in jail on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors, has continued to draw media scrutiny in the weeks after his arrest on July 6. Part of the reason for this continued media interest is related to Epstein’s alleged relationship to the intelligence services and new information about the true extent of the sexual blackmail operation Epstein is believed to have run for decades.

As MintPress reported last week, Epstein was able to run this sordid operation for so long precisely because his was only the latest incarnation of a much older, more extensive operation that began in the 1950s and perhaps even earlier.

Starting first with mob-linked liquor baron Lewis Rosenstiel and later with Roy Cohn, Rosenstiel’s protege and future mentor to Donald Trump, Epstein’s is just one of the many sexual blackmail operations involving children that are all tied to the same network, which includes elements of organized crime, powerful Washington politicians, lobbyists and “fixers,” and clear links to intelligence as well as the FBI.

This report, Part II of this series titled “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big To Fail,” will delve into Cohn’s close ties to the Reagan administration, which was also closely tied to the same organized crime network led by the infamous mob figure Meyer Lansky, which was discussed in Part I. Of particular importance is the “Iran Contra” network, a group of Reagan officials and associates who played key roles in the Iran Contra scandal. Though it has remained relatively unknown for years, many key figures in that same network, and several fronts for the CIA that were involved in funneling money to the Central American Contra paramilitaries, were also trafficking minors for their sexual exploitation and use in sexual blackmail rings.

Several of these rings made headlines at one point or another over the years — from the “call boy ring” run by Washington lobbyist Craig Spence, to the Franklin child-sex and murder ring run by Republican operative Larry King, to the scandal that enveloped the Catholic charity Covenant House in the late 1980s.

Yet, as this report will show, all of these rings — and more — were connected to the same network that involved key figures linked to the Reagan White House and linked to Roy Cohn — revealing the true scope of the sordid sexual blackmail operations and sex rings that involved the trafficking of children within the U.S. and even in Central America for their exploitation by dangerous and powerful pedophiles in the United States.

Appalling for both the villainous abuse of children itself and the chilling implications of government by blackmail, this tangled web of unsavory alliances casts a lurid light on the political history of the United States from the Prohibition Era right up to the present day and the Age of Trump, a fact made increasingly clear as more and more information comes to light in relation to the Jeffrey Epstein case.

“Roy could fix anyone in the city”

Since Donald Trump burst onto the political scene in 2015, the legacy of his mentor, Roy Cohn – as well as Cohn’s influence on his most famous protege — have begun to garner renewed media attention. Many of the profiles on Cohn following Trump’s rise have focused solely on certain shadowy aspects of Cohn’s history, particularly his association with major figures in New York organized crime, his corrupt dealings, and his eventual disbarment. Some of these portrayals even went so far as to label Cohn as politically impotent. While Cohn was known to deal with a sizable amount of sleaze in his career, such depictions of the man fail to note that he had created an influence machine of unrivaled power that included some of the most prominent people in media and politics as well as a cadre of celebrities.

Cohn was closely associated with numerous celebrities, famous politicians and political operatives. Many of his birthday parties over the years attracted such famous figures such as artist Andy Warhol, fashion designer Calvin Klein, and comedian Joey Adams, as well as notable political figures including former Mayor of New York Abraham Beame and then-Assemblyman from Brooklyn and future Senator Chuck Schumer, among others. In 1979 Margaret Trudeau, mother of current Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, attended Cohn’s birthday party, where she famously toppled his custom birthday cake; and of course Donald Trump, who became Cohn’s protege in the mid-1970s, was a frequent fixture at social events held in Cohn’s honor.

The politicians, journalists and celebrities invited to Cohn’s exclusive parties were said to be those who “had open accounts in Cohn’s ‘favor bank,’” his nickname for his unofficial balance sheet of political favors and debts that was surely informed and influenced by his extensive involvement in sexual blackmail operations from the 1950s well into the 1980s.

Many of Cohn’s celebrity friendships were cultivated through his relationship with and frequent appearances at the famous and famously debaucherous New York nightclub Studio 54, which was described by Vanity Fair as “the giddy epicenter of 70s hedonism, a disco hothouse of beautiful people, endless cocaine, and every kind of sex.” Cohn was the long-time lawyer of the club’s owners, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager.

Among Cohn’s closest friends were Barbara Walters, to whom Cohn often referred as his “fiancee” in public, and whom he later introduced to the head of the U.S. Information Agency, Chad Wick, and other high rollers in the Reagan White House. Yet, Walters was just one of Cohn’s powerful friends in the media, a group that also included Abe Rosenthal, executive editor of the New York Times; William Safire, long-time New York Times columnist and New York Magazine contributor; and George Sokolsky of The New York Herald Tribune, NBC and ABC. Sokolsky was a particularly close friend of both Cohn and former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, whose involvement in Cohn’s sexual blackmail operation is described in Part I of this investigative series. Sokolsky ran the American Jewish League Against Communism with Cohn for several years and the organization later named its Medal of Honor after Sokolsky.

Cohn was also the attorney and friend of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and, according to New York Magazine, “Whenever Roy wanted a story stopped, item put in, or story exploited, Roy called Murdoch;” and, after Murdoch bought the New York Post, Cohn “wielded the paper as his personal shiv.” According to the late journalist Robert Parry, the friendship between Murdoch and Cohn first began thanks to their mutual support for Israel.

Cohn also leaned on his life-long friend since high school, Si Newhouse Jr., to exert media influence. Newhouse oversaw the media empire that now includes Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ, The New Yorker, and numerous local newspapers throughout the United States, as well as major interests in cable television. New York Magazine also noted that “Cohn used his influence in the early ’80s to secure favors for himself and his Mob clients in Newhouse publications.” In addition to Newhouse, Cohn’s other high school pals, Generoso Pope Jr. and Richard Berlin, later became the owners of the National Enquirer and the Hearst Corporation, respectively. Cohn was also a close friend of another media mogul, Mort Zuckerman, who – along with Rupert Murdoch – would go on to befriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Cohn’s media confidants, like journalist William Buckley of The National Review and Firing Line, often attacked Cohn’s political enemies – particularly long-time Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau — in their columns, using Cohn as an anonymous source. Buckley, whom historian George Nash once called “the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure,” received the George Sokolsky medal alongside Cohn’s mob-linked client and “Supreme Commander” Lewis Rosenstiel from the Cohn-run American Jewish League Against Communism in 1966. Buckley later got a heavily discounted $65,000 loan to buy a luxury boat from a bank where Cohn held influence and whose president Cohn had hand picked, according to a 1969 article in LIFE magazine.

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

July 24

Transitions

 

JoBlo Videos, RIP Rutger Hauer -- A Tribute, July 25, 2019 (7:59 mins.). We pay tribute to the late Rutger Hauer, who passed on July 19, 2019 at the age of 75 (and in the same year that his character from Blade Runner dies). Hauer intrigued and entertained us for decades, from Blade Runner to The Hitcher to Flesh + Blood to Split Second to Ladyhawke to Batman Begins to Wanted: Dead or Alive to Blind Fury to Hobo with a Shotgun and more! Enjoy our tribute to the legendary performer!

Actor Rutger Hauer, shown on the cover of his memoir, "All Those Moments," whose title is drawn from iconic "Tears In the Rain" dialogue in his film "Blade Runner." Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig interviewed the actor for the radio show "Washington Update" in May 2007 upon publication of the memoir after organizing a speaking presentation for Hauer at the National Press Club.

Actor Rutger Hauer, shown on the cover of his memoir, "All Those Moments," whose title is drawn from iconic "Tears In the Rain" dialogue in his film "Blade Runner." Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig interviewed the actor for the radio show "Washington Update" in May 2007 upon publication of the memoir after organizing a speaking presentation for Hauer at the National Press Club..rutger hauer all those moments

Hollywood Reporter, Rutger Hauer, 'Blade Runner' Actor, Dies at 75, Mike Barnes and Ryan Parker, July 24, 2019. The Dutch star improvised his famous speech in the Ridley Scott classic and was memorable in 'Turkish Delight,' 'Nighthawks,' 'The Hitcher' and 'Batman Begins.'

Rutger Hauer, the rugged Dutch actor who starred as renegade replicant leader Roy Batty in Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, has died. He was 75. Hauer died Friday at his home in the Netherlands of an undisclosed illness, his agent, Steve Kenis, told The Hollywood Reporter. His family did not want the news revealed until his funeral, which was held Wednesday. "He was a wonderful man and terrific actor," Kenis said.

Hauer made his Hollywood debut opposite Sylvester Stallone in Nighthawks (1981) and went on to appear on the big screen in such films as The Osterman Weekend (1983), Ladyhawke (1985), The Hitcher (1986), Wanted — Dead or Alive (1986), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Batman Begins (2005), Sin City (2005), Hobo With a Shotgun (2011), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) and The Sisters Brothers (2018).

Born Rutger Oelsen Hauer on Jan. 23, 1944, in Breukelen, just south of Amsterdam, he was the son of actors. He began his career in 1969 on the Dutch TV series Floris, directed by countryman and director Paul Verhoeven, who then cast him in Turkish Delight (1973) and Soldier of Orange (1977).

In Germany, Turkish Delight "played next to Cabaret and Last Tango in Paris, and it outplayed them!" Hauer told THR's Scott Roxborough in February 2018.

"At first, I couldn't understand it. Looking back, it was the start of the sexual revolution, and I was on the cusp of that. I'm naked for three quarters of the film. In Hollywood, they called it pornography. I saw it 25 years later, in the Directors Guild [theater]. And the audience was still shocked. I come from Holland. We're not shocked."

Hauer played a sculptor in the film, which was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar.

He really made a name for himself with his turn as Batty and the character's "Tears in the Rain" speech — which he improvised — in the original Blade Runner.

"Rutger read that speech and then went on with a couple of lines about memories in the rain," co-screenwriter David Webb Peoples told THR in 2017. "And then he looked at me like a naughty little boy, like he was checking to see if the writer was going to be upset. I didn't let on that I was upset, but at the time, I was a little upset and threatened by it.

"Later, seeing the movie, that was a brilliant contribution of Rutger's, that line about tears in the rain. It is absolutely beautiful."

Hauer said he turned down a role in Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (1981) to work on Blade Runner, which he noted "wasn't about the replicants, it was about what does it mean to be human?" The late Philip K. Dick, whose novel served as the basis for the film, called the actor "the perfect Batty — cold, Aryan, flawless."

Hauer also won a Golden Globe in 1988 for his work on the TV film Escape From Sobibor and recurred as the supernatural creature Niall Brigant on HBO's True Blood.

He was known as an environmentalist and AIDS awareness activist. Survivors include his wife, Ineke; they met in 1968 and were married in 1985.

July 23

Epstein Scandal

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein’s Deep Ties to Top Wall Street Figures, Kate Kelly, Matthew Goldstein, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and James B. Stewart, July 23, 2019 (print ed.). A prominent banker, a top private-equity executive and a hedge-fund billionaire did business with Jeffrey Epstein even after his prostitution conviction.

jeffrey epstein hands handsMr. Epstein, who was charged this month with sex trafficking of teenage girls, liked to portray himself as a financial wizard, but there is little evidence to support that notion.

When Jeffrey Epstein (shown in a photo on his foundation site) was serving time in Florida for soliciting prostitution from a minor, he got a surprising visitor: James E. Staley, a top JPMorgan Chase executive and one of the highest-ranking figures on Wall Street.

Mr. Staley had good reason to maintain his relationship with Mr. Epstein, who received him at his Palm Beach office, where he had been permitted to serve some of his 13-month sentence in 2008 and 2009. Over the years, Mr. Epstein had funneled dozens of wealthy clients to Mr. Staley and his bank.

Mr. Epstein, who was charged this month with sex trafficking of teenage girls, liked to portray himself as a financial wizard, someone whose business and investing acumen made him indispensable to corporate executives and other leaders. But there is little evidence to support that notion. The financial services that Mr. Epstein dispensed appear to have been mostly pedestrian, and his list of clients small.

Mr. Epstein nonetheless managed to affix himself to a handful of prominent Wall Street veterans, including Mr. Staley, who is now chief executive of the British bank Barclays.

Mr. Epstein provided personal tax services to Leon D. Black, whose Apollo Global Management is one of the world’s largest private-equity firms. He discussed a major investment idea with and entrusted millions of dollars to Glenn Dubin, who ran the hedge fund Highbridge Capital Management. And, with Mr. Staley, he laid some of the early groundwork for JPMorgan to make a major acquisition — one that would vault Mr. Staley’s career to a higher plane.

Mr. Black, Mr. Dubin and Mr. Staley were not Mr. Epstein’s biggest business relationships: That distinction belongs to Leslie H. Wexner, the billionaire founder of the L Brands retail empire, which included Victoria’s Secret and The Limited. He gave Mr. Epstein broad powers to invest his fortune for nearly two decades.

Yet starting in the 1990s, Mr. Epstein — whose Wall Street experience consisted of a five-year stint at the investment bank Bear Stearns — managed to build a small but powerful finance network.

Mr. Black, the Apollo founder, was a widely respected figure on Wall Street when he met Mr. Epstein in the late 1990s. Before long, Mr. Black had entrusted Mr. Epstein with periodically providing a variety of tax and estate-planning services, according to a person close to Mr. Black. It was an unlikely assignment: Armies of lawyers and accountants have expertise in those fields; Mr. Epstein did not.

Over the next 15 or so years, including after Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in 2008, Mr. Black met with Mr. Epstein at his palatial townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, according to people who were there.

 July 22

Widely Respected NYC Prosecutor Dies

robert morgenthau jfk

President John F. Kennedy, left, greets Robert Morgenthau, a JFK-nominated prosecutor for the Southern District of New York. Below at right, Morgenthau and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet in 1962 (file photos).

ny times logoNew York Times, Robert Morgenthau, Longtime Manhattan District Attorney, Dies at 99, Robert D. McFadden, July 22, 2019 (print ed.). robert morgenthau mlk 1962 croppedMr. Morgenthau waged war on crime for more than four decades as the chief federal prosecutor for Southern New York State and as Manhattan’s longest-serving district attorney. From 1975 to 2009, he was the face of justice in Manhattan, a liberal Democrat elected nine times in succession.

In an era of notorious Wall Street chicanery and often dangerous streets, Mr. Morgenthau was the bane of mobsters, crooked politicians and corporate greed; a public avenger to killers, rapists and drug dealers; and a confidant of mayors and governors, who came and went while he stayed on — for nearly nine years in the 1960s as the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and for 35 more as Gotham’s aristocratic Mr. District Attorney.

Jeffrey Epstein's Image Rehab

Daily Mail, Jeffrey Epstein partied with Trump's closest advisers including Wilbur Ross, Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Mnunchin at dinner hosted by David Koch just TWO MONTHS after his release from prison, July 22, 2019 (updated from July 21).

  • Jeffrey Epstein, 66, attended a screening and dinner party back in August 2010 for the film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps in Southampton.
  • The dinner was at the home of David and Julia Koch, and Epstein can be seen in photos chatting with attendees after Peggy Siegal put wilbur rosshim on the guest list
  • 'He was chatting to Jonathan Farklas, Leon Black and Wilbur Ross [right]. He was sitting right near Rudy Giuliani,' wrote Page Six at the time
    Steve Mnuchin was also present, as were designers Tory Burch and Tamara Mellon and billionaires Steven Schwarzman and Henry Kravis
  • Epstein should have been registered as a sex offender in New York at the time but it is unclear if he was as his hearing was not until 2011

Jeffrey Epstein hobnobbed with high-profile guests from the worlds of politics, banking, Hollywood and philanthropy at a Hamptons party just two months after his release by the state of Florida for soliciting a minor. Photos from a 2010 dinner party at the home of David and Julia Koch obtained by DailyMail.com show Epstein as he chats with guests after a screening of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

steven mnuchin wAmong those guests were two men who currently serve in President Trump's cabinet and his most trusted legal adviser.

Steve Mnuchin,left, and his then-wife Heather, Rudy Giuliani, right, and his then-wife Judith and Wilbur Ross all attended the rudy giuliani recentscreening and dinner that followed at the Koch's.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about those who attended the event a few days later, and in the piece noted that Giuliani 'walked out of the theater around the same time as Jeffrey Epstein, leading one observer to remark on the "beautifully done meeting of the prosecutor and the felon."'

Accused mass trafficking pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, left, is shown in a photo with Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, one of his defense jeffrey epstein alan dershowitzattorneys.

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein Pitched a New Narrative. These Sites Published It, Tiffany Hsu, July 22, 2019 (print ed.). After Jeffrey Epstein got out of the Palm Beach County jail in 2009, having served 13 months of an 18-month sentence resulting from a plea deal that has been widely criticized, he began a media campaign to remake his public image.

The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost.

The Forbes.com article, posted in 2013, praised him as “one of the largest backers of forbes magazine l Customcutting-edge science around the world” while making no mention of his criminal past. The National Review piece, from the same year, called him “a smart businessman” with a “passion for cutting-edge science.”

The HuffPost article, from 2017, credited Mr. Epstein for “taking action to help a number of scientists thrive during the ‘Trump Era’,” a time of “anti-science policies and budget cuts.”

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times.

The articles in praise of Mr. Epstein came about partly because of an online publishing model adopted by some news organizations that relied on outside contributors who often wrote for little or no pay, with little or no input from editors.

The article on the Forbes website was attributed to Drew Hendricks, a contributing writer. As The Times revealed in an article last week, he was not the author of the piece. Instead, it was delivered to him by a public relations firm, and he said he was paid $600 to attach his byline and post it at Forbes.com.

A staff of roughly 200 employees produces Forbes’s in-house journalism, but most of the 100 articles the site publishes each day come from a group of nearly 3,000 outside writers. More content means more readers, and the number of unique visitors to Forbes.com has surged nearly 70 percent over the last four years, to 60.9 million last month, according to comScore.

While the number of views has gone up, the limited editing of contributors at Forbes has come in for criticism, with some noting huffington post logoproblematic posts like one in 2014 headlined “Drunk Female Guests are the Gravest Threat to Fraternities.”

Between 2005 and 2018, more than 100,000 contributors took advantage of HuffPost’s open-door model. At the time it was shut down, the HuffPost editor in chief Lydia Polgreen wrote, “Open platforms that once seemed radically democratizing now threaten, with the tsunami of false information we all face daily, to undermine democracy. When everyone has a megaphone, no one can be heard.”

The article on Mr. Epstein published by National Review, the conservative publication founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley Jr., was also national review logoremoved on Friday. It was credited to Christina Galbraith, who identified herself in her bio as a science writer who had published at Forbes and HuffPost.

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein’s foundations and initiatives in 2012, 2013 and 2014 that included her as a contact. Ms. Galbraith did not respond to requests for comment. In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having “given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children.”

Related Story From 2014

NewMediaWire, Hedge Funder Jeffrey Epstein Rewards Harvard's Legendary Hasty Pudding Institute, Christina Galbraith [emphasis added] March 4, 2014. Over the past year, the well-known science and Harvard philanthropist, Jeffrey Epstein [shown in a photo from the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation], has put his substantial support behind Harvard’s famous and oldest theatrical troupe, the Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770.

jeffrey epstein hands handsUp to now, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation has put its funds behind strictly science endeavors at Harvard, notably the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics with a $35 million dollar gift. The foundation has been a growing admirer of the Hasty Pudding’s role in supporting public education and the arts in the Cambridge and Boston communities.

Founded in 1770, by an erudite group of Harvard students as a secret society, "to uphold friendship and patriotism," The Hasty Pudding Institute evolved into a theatrical troupe and Harvard’s oldest. Much is written about Hasty’s theatrical performances, its a cappella singers, the Harvard Krokodiloes, its wit, roast dinners, illustrious guests from Grace Kelly to Elizabeth Taylor and the fun and glamorous awards given to various actors of the year such as Dame Helen Mirren in January 2014.

For example, the Hasty Pudding gives thousands of dollars and support each year to the West End House Boys and Girls Club, which supports low income families with programs in leadership, life skills, academia, sports, nutrition, the arts and free hot meals. Page to Stage, another Hasty Institute program, supports low income children through the playmaking process from conception to performance. In addition to funds for sets, costumes and production, the Hasty Pudding also mentors young students through each aspect from dramatic coaching to light direction.

"The Hasty Pudding Institute had typical beginnings as a secret society in a dorm room," Jeffrey Epstein remarked. "But they have evolved into a theatrical company that uplifts the young community of Cambridge and Boston."

The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation is known for supporting cutting edge science research around the world but it plays an active role in supporting education and youth programs for underprivileged youth across the country from Head Start programs to sports initiatives for juvenile offenders.

Christina Galbraith
Jeffrey Epstein Foundation
(917) 573-76XX

Remembering Muckraking Hoosier

wayne madesen report logowayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), WMR editor's email exchange with "suicided" Indiana political blogger Gary Welsh, Wayne Madsen, (right, author and syndicated columnist), July wayne madsen newer22, 2019 ($30 annual subscription required, excerpted here with permission).

Indiana’s most well known political blogger, Gary Welsh, left, who had uncovered scandal after scandal in Indianapolis, was said to have committed suicide on May 1, 2016.

It was very odd timing. The Indiana Republican primary, which was a last presidential gasp for Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign, was on May 3. Indianapolis was crawling with national media, which rarely ever treads in the capital of the Hoosier State.

gary r welshAlthough Welsh’s popular website, Advance Indiana, had a conservative bent, that did not dissuade Welsh, an attorney, from going after corruption wherever it was found, including the Republican-dominated state legislature and governor’s office. On April 29, two days before Welsh’s death, he posted the results of last-minute polling in Indiana on the campaigns of Donald Trump, Cruz, and Governor John Kasich from the neighboring state of Ohio.

WMR has recovered some of the emails the editor exchanged with Welsh. Our exchanges were similar to those I had with Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Gary Webb, right, just prior to his “suicide” in California in 2004.

gary webb with articleFor the first time the emails with Welsh are being revealed.

...

Muckraking reporters like Welsh were once the rule and not the exception in American journalism. Although nationally-syndicated investigators like Drew Pearson, Jack Anderson, and H. L. Mencken received all the kudos, it was the local and state reporters, those like Welsh and Webb, who actually helped clean up public and corporate corruption.

How U.S. Rules the World

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Ruler of the World, Jacob G. Hornberger (foundation president, book publisher, author, shown at jacob hornberger newright), July 22, 2019. Recently released secret documents from Chinese company Huawei provide insights into how the U.S. Empire rules the world. According to the Washington Post, the documents reveal that Huawei secretly helped North Korea “build and maintain the country’s commercial wireless network.”

What’s wrong with that? you ask. It violates U.S. sanctions against North Korea!

huawei square logoWhat do U.S. sanctions have to do with commercial relations between a Chinese company and North Korea? Well, as the ruler of the world — or, in common parlance, as the world’s sole remaining empire — the U.S. Empire’s rules and regulations apply to everyone in the world. If anyone anywhere in the world is caught violating them, he will be summoned to the United States to face criminal and civil prosecution.

What about President Trump’s lovefest with North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong-Un?

Irrelevant! Just because the president of the United States has fallen in love with North Korea’s communist dictator and salutes his communist generals, that still does not relieve foreigners from complying with the Empire’s edicts prohibiting commercial ties with North Korea without the official permission of U.S. officials.

That’s how the Empire works — its rulers are free to fall in love with anyone they want but that still doesn’t relieve foreign governments and foreign companies of their duty to comply with and obey the rules and regulations of the U.S. Empire.

american flag upside down distressAnyway, everyone is supposed to know that North Korea is a communist regime and that communism is bad.

That’s in fact why the Empire has maintained a harsh economic embargo against the Cuban people for more than 50 years. Since the Cuban people have refused to oust their communist regime with a coup or a violent revolution, the U.S. Empire has continued to target them with impoverishment and death through economic sanctions, the same thing they are doing to the North Korean people and, well, for that matter, the Iranian people.

Like Huawei’s helping North Korea to build and maintain a wireless commercial network, woe to the foreigner who does business with communist Cuba in violation of the U.S. embargo. He will be prosecuted, fined, and imprisoned for daring to violate the rules and regulations of the Empire.

In fact, woe to the American citizen who travels to Cuba and spends money there without the official permission of his rulers. He too will be viciously prosecuted, fined, and imprisoned by the Empire.

un security council

Strategic Culture Foundation, A Few Keystrokes Can Eliminate a UN Member State, Wayne Madsen, July 22, 2019. One of the renovations of the United Nations headquarters in New York commissioned by then-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was the replacement of the iconic plastic country name plates used for decades in the General Assembly with digital displays.

Although the old-school name plates continue to be used in the 15-member Security Council and other specialized agencies of the world body, for example, the World Health Assembly in Geneva and UNESCO in Paris, a few keystrokes can now eliminate a member of the General Assembly. Of course, such an action takes the agreement of the Security Council but considering the number of UN member states that have disappeared entirely or have undergone name changes since 1945, the process has been made much easier by digitization.

July 19

Trump Threatens $10b Amazon.com Bid

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Says He May Intervene in Huge Pentagon Contract Sought by Amazon, Scott Shane and Karen Weise, July 18, 2019. President Trump said on Thursday that he was looking “very seriously” at intervening in the hard-fought commercial battle for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud computing contract for which Amazon, a company he has frequently attacked, is seen as the leading contender.

amazon logo smallFor the president to weigh in on the award of a major government contract would be highly unusual, raising questions of improper political influence, but the stakes are high and Amazon’s competitors have been lobbying aggressively. Mr. Trump has long carried on a one-sided feud with Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, over some of the company’s business washington post logoactivities and also over what the president refers to as “The Amazon Washington Post,” though Mr. Bezos owns the newspaper personally, not as a corporate asset.

Asked by reporters about the contract known as JEDI, for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, Mr. Trump said he was “getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon.”

“They’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid,” he said.

In fact, the contract has not yet been awarded and has been the subject of a monthslong competition involving Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM. Pentagon officials decided in April that only Amazon and Microsoft had the capacity to meet the military’s requirements, and they have said they expect to choose the winner in late August.

jeffrey bezos washington postJeff Bezos, shown in a file photo and the founder of Amazon, which has been competing with Microsoft, Oracle and IBM for the Defense Department contract. Mr. Trump called JEDI “a very big contract, one of the biggest ever,” and noted that he had heard “complaining from different companies like Microsoft and Oracle and IBM.”

“Great companies are complaining about it,” he said, “so we’re going to take a look at it. We’ll take a very strong look at it.” He did not repeat his longstanding criticism of Amazon or Mr. Bezos.

As part of his regular attacks on the news media, Mr. Trump has often targeted The Post by lumping it with Amazon. He has also claimed that Amazon has unfairly exploited the United States Postal Service and has not paid its fair share of taxes.

Steve Kelman, a former federal procurement official now at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said it would be improper for any president to influence the contracting process. “It’s not appropriate and it’s definitely not typical for a president to intervene on a contract,” he said. “That should be left to the Civil Service.”

Kaepernick, Nike Abetting Tea Party's Racism?

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Useful idiots and provocateurs, Wayne Madsen (synicated columnist, author, shown at left in a file photo), July 19, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission). During a period when Donald Trump colin kaepernick nike ad Customwayne madsen may 29 2015 croppedis bringing back the old jingoistic and xenophobic “America: Love it or Leave It” mantra, it is awkward to criticize a person of color for besmirching American history, but trying times call for brutal honesty.

Former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick (at right)...showed himself to either be a useful idiot or a willful tool for elements, not all of which are based in the United States, that are trying to blemish and stain the historical icons of the United States.

July 18

U.S. 'Rule of Law'

supreme court headshots 2019

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: A ‘Train Wreck’ Was Averted at the Supreme Court, but for How Long? Linda Greenhouse (shown on the cover linda greenhouse cover just a journalistof her memoir Just A Journalist), July 18, 2019. While the rule of law prevailed in the census case, it still hangs by a thread.

The poison emanating from the White House in recent days has been so overwhelming that it’s hard to remember that something else held the country in thrall just a week ago: the prospect that President Trump would defy the Supreme Court and insist on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

There’s a strong temptation to extract a triumphalist narrative from the president’s grim-faced and rant-filled surrender last Thursday. After all, didn’t the rule of law prevail — and perhaps even emerge stronger for having been so sorely tested? Didn’t the country dodge a “constitutional train wreck,” as Harry Litman, a former federal prosecutor and Justice Department official in the Clinton administration, wrote in The Washington Post the next day?

Essence of Epstein Scandal

MintPress News, Hidden in Plain Sight: The Shocking Origins of the Jeffrey Epstein Case, Whitney Webb (shown in her Twitter photo), July 18, 2019 (excerpted). Epstein whitney webb twitteris only the latest incarnation of a much older, more extensive and sophisticated operation that offers a frightening window into how deeply tied the U.S. government is to the modern-day equivalents of organized crime.

Despite his “sweetheart” deal and having seemingly evaded justice, billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was arrested earlier this month on federal charges for sex trafficking minors. Epstein’s arrest has again brought increased media attention to many of his famous friends, the current president among them.

Many questions have since been asked about how much Epstein’s famous friends knew of his activities and exactly what Epstein was up to. The latter arguably received the most attention after it was reported that Alex Acosta — who arranged Epstein’s “sweetheart” deal in 2008 and who recently resigned as Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary following Epstein’s arrest — claimed that the mysterious billionaire had worked for “intelligence.”

Other investigations have made it increasingly clear that Epstein was running a blackmail operation, as he had bugged the venues — whether at his New York mansion or Caribbean island getaway — with microphones and cameras to record the salacious interactions that transpired between his guests and the underage girls that Epstein exploited. Epstein appeared to have stored much of that blackmail in a safe on his private island.

Claims of Epstein’s links and his involvement in a sophisticated, well-funded sexual blackmail operation have, surprisingly, spurred few media outlets to examine the history of intelligence agencies both in the U.S. and abroad conducting similar sexual blackmail operations, many of which also involved underage prostitutes.

In the U.S. alone, the CIA operated numerous sexual blackmail operations throughout the country, employing prostitutes to target foreign diplomats in what the Washington Post once nicknamed the CIA’s “love traps.” If one goes even farther back into the U.S. historical record it becomes apparent that these tactics and their use against powerful political and influential figures significantly predate the CIA and even its precursor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). In fact, they were pioneered years earlier by none other than the American Mafia.

In the course of this investigation, MintPress discovered that a handful of figures who were influential in American organized crime during and after Prohibition were directly engaged in sexual blackmail operations that they used for their own, often dark, purposes.

In Part I of this exclusive investigation, MintPress will examine how a mob-linked businessman with deep ties to notorious gangster Meyer Lansky developed close ties with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) while also running a sexual blackmail operation for decades, which later became a covert part of the anti-communist crusade of the 1950s led by Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), himself known throughout Washington for having a habit of drunkenly groping underage teenaged girls.

Yet, it would be one of McCarthy’s closest aides who would take over the ring in later years, trafficking minors and expanding this sexual blackmail operation at the same time he expanded his own political influence, putting him in close contact with prominent figures including former President Ronald Reagan and a man who would later become president, Donald Trump.

Samuel Bronfman and the Mob

Samuel Bronfman never planned to become a major producer of liquor but true to his family’s last name, which means “brandy man” in Yiddish, he eventually began distributing alcohol as an extension of his family’s hotel business. During Canada’s Prohibition period, which was briefer than and preceded that of its southern neighbor, the Bronfman family business used loopholes to skirt the law and find technically legal ways to sell alcohol in the hotels and stores the family owned. The family relied on its connections with members of the American Mafia to illegally smuggle alcohol from the United States.

Years later, Samuel Bronfman’s children and grandchildren, their family’s ties to the criminal underworld intact, would go on to associate closely with Leslie Wexner, allegedly the source of much of Epstein’s mysterious wealth, and other mob-linked “philanthropists,” and some would even manage their own sexual blackmail operations, including the recently busted blackmail-based “sex cult” NXIVM. The later generations of the Bronfman family, particularly Samuel Bronfman’s sons Edgar and Charles, will be discussed in greater detail in Part II of this report.

whitney webbWhitney Webb, right, is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets, including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

July 15

Intrepid Report, Accusing Adam Schiff of ‘criminalizing routine reporting,’ groups call for stripping CIA-backed provision from intelligence legislation, Eoin Higgins, July 15, 2019. ‘Schiff is clearly the resistance to the resistance, and he should drop this provision from his bill.’ A adam schiff officialCIA-backed provision for a bill that could have dire effects on the freedom of the press is quietly making its way through Congress, despite the protestations of civil rights groups to Rep. Adam Schiff, right, the powerful California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, to strip the rule.

“Adam Schiff is once again putting the interests of the intelligence agencies in concealing their misdeeds ahead of protecting the rights of ordinary Americans,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress, in a statement Thursday.

In the statement, Schuman also accused Schiff of “criminalizing routine reporting by the press on national security issues and undermining congressional oversight in his Intelligence Authorization bill.” Demand Progress was one of 30 groups that signed an open letter (pdf) on July 8 to congressional leaders of both parties calling for the provision to be stripped from the bill.

“This provision is an extremely broad expansion of felony criminal penalties, and delegates authority as to when those penalties apply to the executive branch,” reads the letter. “It would be significantly damaging to transparency, oversight, and accountability, and should be removed from the Intelligence Authorization Act.”

cia logoSection 305 of the Intelligence Authorization Act (pdf), which prohibits disclosure of the identity of agents currently in the field or who have been in the field in the last five years, would be tweaked under the new law to encompass the identities of a far larger number of agents, contractors, and sources—many of whom live and work domestically.

The effect of the law could be massive, Emily Manna, a policy analyst for Open the Government, told Yahoo News in an email.

“This language is almost unbelievably broad, drastically expanding felony criminal penalties for the disclosure of [many categories] of information about the intelligence agencies, even if those disclosures might be in the best interest of the government and the country,” wrote Manna. “There would likely be a significant chilling effect on journalists and government whistleblowers.”

Supporters of the law’s expansion cite WikiLeaks, the online clearinghouse for secure information, as the reason for needing further protections. It’s an argument that’s likely to have an effect on Schiff, who has spent much of the past two years railing against the site for its perceived involvement in the election of President Donald Trump.

Schiff, one of the favorite guests of MSNBC‘s “Rachel Maddow Show,” has cultivated an image of a hero to the so-called liberal “resistance” to Trump since 2017, something that Demand Progress’ Schuman took aim at in his statement.

July 13

Epstein Scandal

OPUS 167, Opinion: Mossad Epstein Connection, Steve Pieczenik (an American writer, former United States Department of State official, psychiatrist, and publisher.), July 13, 2019 (7:18 mins). Israel's intelligence agency, The Mossad, is behind Jeffrey Epstein's crimes.

"Israel not our greatest ally, they're our greatest enemy....The heroes of this picture are not only Trump and the White House [but others exposing corrupt U.S. intelligence agencies].... Israel has been placed on notice....As a Jew, I am not proud of what Jews have done."

mossad seal CustomMore from Pieczenik Wikipedia bio: Dr. Pieczenik was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance and James Baker.[2] His expertise includes foreign policy, international crisis management and psychological warfare.[6] He served the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the capacity of deputy assistant secretary.[7]

In 1974, Pieczenik joined the United States Department of State as a consultant to help in the restructuring of its Office for the Prevention of Terrorism. In 1976, Pieczenik was made Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for management. At the Department of State, he served as a "specialist on hostage taking". He has been credited with devising successful negotiating strategies and tactics used in several high-profile hostage situations, including the 1976 TWA Flight 355 hostage situation and the 1977 kidnapping of the son of Cyprus' president.

As a renowned psychiatrist, he was utilized as a press source for early information on the mental state of the hostages involved in the Iran hostage crisis after they were freed. In 1977, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Mary McGrory described Stephen Pieczenik as "one of the most 'brilliantly competent' men in the field of terrorism."

 July 12

Barr Team Thwarting Trump Probe?

CNN, Prosecutors unlikely to charge Trump Org executives, sources say, Erica Orden and Kara Scannell, July 12, cnn logo2019. A federal investigation into whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign-finance laws appears to be wrapping up without charges being filed, according to people familiar with the matter. For months, federal prosecutors in New York have examined whether company officials broke the law, including in their effort to reimburse Michael Cohen for hush-money payments he made to women alleging affairs with his former boss, President Donald Trump.

In recent weeks, however, their investigation has quieted, the people familiar with the inquiry said, and prosecutors now don't appear poised to charge any Trump Organization executives in the probe that stemmed from the case against Cohen.

A spokesman for the Manhattan US Attorney's office declined to comment. An attorney for the Trump Organization declined to comment.

michael cohen ap file croppedn January, one month after Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, prosecutors requested interviews with executives at the company, CNN reported. But prosecutors never followed up on their initial request, people familiar with the matter said, and the interviews never took place.

Meanwhile, there has been no contact between the Manhattan US Attorney's office and officials at the Trump Organization in more than five months, one person familiar with the matter said.
There is no indication that the case has been formally closed, and former federal prosecutors cautioned that it is always possible that new information could revive the inquiry. The Manhattan US Attorney's office continues to have at least one other ongoing Trump-connected investigation, a probe concerning the President's inaugural committee.

The Trump Organization investigation was launched out of the Cohen case, in which he pleaded guilty to eight counts, including two counts of campaign-finance violations for orchestrating or making payments during the 2016 election to two women -- adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal -- who alleged affairs with Trump. (Trump has denied the allegations.)

After Cohen made the $130,000 payment to Daniels, he was reimbursed, prosecutors said in court filings, by the Trump Organization. The company's executives authorized payments to him totaling $420,000, in an effort to cover his original payment, tax liabilities and reward him with a bonus, according to prosecutors, and they falsely recorded those payments as legal expenses in their books.

The criminal inquiry centered on whether those payments, like the hush money Cohen gave to Daniels, violated campaign-finance law.

.kamala harris caricature black agenda report dcma

 U.S. Sen. and 2020 Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, as portrayed in a caricature by Black Agenda Report

Black Agenda Report via OpEdNews, Opinion: Opinion: Kamala Harris Has a Distinguished Career of Serving Injustice, Marjorie Cohn, July 10, 2019. Harris favored criminalizing truancy, raising cash bail fees and keeping prisoners locked up for cheap labor. Kamala Harris, shown in the Democratic presidential debate at right, is rising in the polls after dramatically confronting Joe Biden during the Democratic primary debate about his opposition to federally mandated busing for desegregation.

kamala harris debate june 27 2019 fileThe following week, however, Harris backed away from saying that busing should always be federally mandated, calling it just one "tool that is in the toolbox" for school districts to use. When asked to clarify whether she would support federal mandates for busing, she said: "I believe that any tool that is in the toolbox should be considered by a school district." But Biden's poll numbers are falling as a result of Harris's theatrical attack.

Harris, who served as San Francisco District Attorney from 2004 to 2011 and California Attorney General from 2011 to 2017, describes herself as a "progressive prosecutor." Harris's prosecutorial record, however, is far from progressive. Through her apologia for egregious prosecutorial misconduct, her refusal to allow DNA testing for a probably innocent death row inmate, her opposition to legislation requiring the attorney general's office to independently investigate police shootings and more, she has made a significant contribution to the sordid history of injustice she decries.

July 11

Epstein / Acosta / Trump Scandals

nicole junderman johnny vedmore graphic

johnny vedmore twitterThe Swamp, Investigation: The Epstein Associate Nobody's Talking About: The IDF-Linked Bond Girl Infiltrating the UK NHS, Johnny Vedmore (shown in Twitter photo, UK based Singer, Songwriter, Political Investigative Journalist, Legalize Cannabis Advocate and Leader of UWIP -- The United Wales Independence Party), July 11, 2019. FIFA Corruption, the Panama Papers, the Mossad, and Nicole Junkermann.

I have a story to tell you. A story that causes my heart to pound and my blood pressure to rise as I type each and every word. A true story of a woman of great wealth and power, who rode on Jeffrey Epstein’s “Lolita Express” private jet on several occasions. She appears to be a German-born Israeli state intelligence operative based in London. An ex-model whose name appeared in the Panama Papers from the Mossack Fonseca leaks and who became embroiled in a FIFA corruption scandal with Sepp Blatter and his family.

She is perhaps the closest example that you could possibly find to a real-life “Bond Girl.” Yet, she is almost completely unknown to the majority of us.

July 8

djt melania epsteinDonald Trump, future wife Melania Knauss [Trump], and Jeffrey Epstein At Mar-A-Lago
Epstein poses for a photo with some powerful friends.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty Images

Esquire, Commentary: Jeffrey Epstein Allegedly Shows There's an Even Darker Side to the Masters-of-the-Universe Mentality, Charles P. Pierce, July 8, 2019. Who else at the top of politics and big business represents the same? It took me a couple of tries to wade through the muck of the indictment that the Southern District of New York dropped on Jeffrey Epstein on Monday. Every time I got sort of rolling, I'd run into a sentence like this: "Epstein typically would also masturbate during these sexualized encounters, ask victims to touch him while he masturbated, and touch victims' genitals with his hands or with sex toys."

It is impossible that Epstein's many influential friends and houseguests didn't know about this. Apparently, Epstein was not shy about his predilections. The current President* of the United States was a frequent running buddy, and he said in New York magazine back in 2002: "I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."

And before the flying monkeys take wing, let me say that, if any Democratic politician was involved in these late Roman Empire hootenannys, that person should be convicted and buried under the jail as well.

This is not a stick-to-politics moment. This is going to screw up the political moment good and proper, though. Unless Epstein cuts a quick deal at the encouragement of all those people who suddenly don't know him anymore, this is going to be a long and garish public spectacle. It's going to devour news cycle after news cycle.

And if anything emerges connecting the president* directly to Epstein's alleged crimes, there isn't going to be a news cycle anymore. There will be only this story, over and over again.

Mueller Probe Follow up

robert mueller testifying flickr

National Law Journal, Judge Warns Prosecutors About Public Statements in Case Against Russian Firm, C. Ryan Barber, July 8, 2019.  US District Judge Dabney Friedrich admonished prosecutors for statements about an indicted Russian company, but she declined to initiate contempt proceedings. "Nothing about the government's conduct to date suggests a flagrant disregard for the court's authority," Friedrich said.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Robert Mueller III (shown in a file photo via Flick testifying) violated court rules in public statements about a Russian firm accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, a federal judge in Washington has ruled, while stopping short of disciplining either Justice Department leader.

dabney friedrich nbcIn a July 1 opinion, unsealed Monday, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich [a Trump nominee shown at right in an NBC photo] said Barr and Mueller inappropriately linked a defendant, Concord Management and Consulting, to the Russian government, even though prosecutors have not expressly drawn a connection between the firm and the Kremlin. Friedrich, citing language in the Mueller report and Barr’s public comments on the Russia investigation, said the statements violated a court rule that prohibits lawyers in criminal cases from sharing information or opinions that could compromise the fairness of a trial.

Some of the statements could be viewed as ambiguous individually, Friedrich said in her ruling. But taken together, the statements “drew a clear connection between the defendants and a foreign government accused of interfering with the 2016 presidential election.” Friedrich said in her ruling: “The government’s statements were also prejudicial for another reason: they provided an opinion about the defendants’ guilt and the strength of the evidence.”

The dispute had unfolded largely under seal until Monday. Friedrich referenced a closed-door hearing in May at which she ordered ordered the government “to refrain from making or authorizing any public statement that links the alleged conspiracy in the indictment to the Russian government or its agencies.” Friedrich said the lack of any “bad faith” by prosecutors counseled against proceeding with a criminal contempt action.

Concord Management, represented by a defense team from Reed Smith, had argued in April that Barr and Mueller should be held in contempt for releasing “prohibited information and opinions” in the 448-page report on the special counsel investigation and public statements that followed its release.

Describing the report and Barr’s public statements as a “broadside,” Reed Smith partner Eric Dubelier argued that the attorney general and special counsel had effectively proclaimed that Concord Management, along with other Russian companies and individuals charged in the case, participated in an interference campaign led by the Kremlin. “This despite the fact that the indictment contains no such allegation,” Dubelier said.

July 1

OpEdNews, Opinion: The Torture of Julian Assange, Paul Craig Roberts, right, July 1, 2019. In a few days July 4th will be upon us. We will hear paul craig roberts head sternendless nonsense from insouciant speakers and editorialists about what a great democracy we are, having won our freedom from being a British colony.

One thing the United States most certainly is not is a democracy. A democracy requires an informed electorate, and the United States most certainly does not have an informed electorate. The American media, indeed, the entirety of the Western print and TV media, functions as a Propaganda Ministry for Washington and the ruling oligarchies. The explanations are controlled to serve the agendas of the ruling elites. The persecution and torture of Julian Assange proves conclusively that the First Amendment is a dead-letter Amendment.

Without an honest Fourth Estate it is impossible to prevent a democracy from becoming a tyranny. In America tyranny is far advanced. Suppose that Americans somehow became aware of the truth about Julian Assange's total innocence that has been disclosed by Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. What could they do about it, short of violent revolution and complete elimination of the ruling elites?

Formerly, the US Constitution was revered, but today even law faculties and judges see the Constitution as something to find a way around. The vast majority of Americans themselves have no idea that the Constitution is the bulwark of their independence and liberty.

nils melzer un photoNils Melzer (shown in a United Nations photo) describes how his investigation of Assange's treatment liberated him from the totally false picture that has been created in order to establish the legal precedent that government crimes against humanity cannot be revealed. In the "American Democracy," the people are not permitted to know.

"In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange (shown at right) had been systematically julian assange indicter imageslandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.

"Even so, you may say, why spend so much breath on Assange, when countless others are tortured worldwide? Because this is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.

"This Op-Ed has been offered for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek.

None responded positively."

Nils Melzer is a Swiss academic, author and practitioner in the field of international law. Since 1 November 2016, Melzer has been serving as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

June

June 30

Constitutional Crisis

william barr smile fox screengrab Small

atlantic logoThe Atlantic, Opinion: Bill Barr’s Dangerous Pursuit of Executive Power, Donald Ayer (Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General under George H. W. Bush), June 30,2019. Shown in a screenshot above, Barr is using the office he holds to advance his extraordinary lifetime project of assigning unchecked power to the president.

Buried behind our president’s endless stream of lies and malicious self-serving remarks are actions that far transcend any reasonable Donald Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)understanding of his legal authority. Donald Trump (shown in a Defense Department photo) disdains, more than anything else, the limitations of checks and balances on his power. Witness his assertion of a right to flout all congressional subpoenas; his continuing refusal to disclose his tax returns, notwithstanding Congress’s statutory right to secure them; his specific actions to bar congressional testimony by government officials; and his personal attacks on judges who dare to subject the acts of his administration to judicial review.

Attorney General William Barr has not had the lead public role in advancing the president’s claims to these unprecedented powers, which have come to us, like most everything about this president, as spontaneous assertions of Trump’s own will. To the contrary, in securing william barr o 1992his confirmation as attorney general, Barr (shown in a 1992 photo) successfully used his prior service as attorney general in the by-the-book, norm-following administration of George H. W. Bush to present himself as a mature adult dedicated to the rule of law who could be expected hold the Trump administration to established legal rules.

Having known Barr for four decades, including preceding him as deputy attorney general in the Bush Administration, I knew him to be a fierce advocate of unchecked presidential power, so my own hopes were outweighed by skepticism that this would come true.

But the first few months of his current tenure, and in particular, and his handling of the Mueller report suggest something very different — that he is using the office he holds to advance his extraordinary lifetime project of assigning unchecked power to the president.

June 29

Palmer Report, Opinion: President Jimmy Carter just dropped a house on Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, June 29, 2019. As Donald Trump has continued to debase and criminalize the presidency, he’s destroyed most of the norms of the office from within. That’s left others in the no-win position of trying to decide whether to ignore the norms of the office from the outside. For instance, the living former U.S. presidents have each taken different and measured approaches to calling out Trump’s horridness. That is, until now.

bill palmer report logo headerYesterday, President Jimmy Carter – long viewed as one of the highest character people to ever hold the office – flat out stated that Donald Trump isn’t a legitimate president because Russia helped alter the outcome of the election on his behalf. It’s not a big deal for you and me to state this obvious fact. But when Carter said it, his words carried the weight of the office itself, as he’s one of only four people on the planet who have previously occupied and are still around to speak on the office’s behalf.

jimmy carterThe whole thing was even more of a bombshell when you consider that President Carter didn’t merely say that Donald Trump is a bad president or a failed president – he essentially said that Trump is not president. Keep in mind that while Carter has always been known to call it like he sees it, he’s always done it in gentlemanly fashion – he’s a ninety-four year old guy who builds houses for the homeless, after all – so when he comes out swinging like this, it jeff flake omeans a whole lot.

President Carter’s words were met with widespread agreement and praise. Not everyone was happy, though. Retired GOP Senator Jeff Flake, left, tweeted that “This is an awful thing for one American President to say about another. Argue that he shouldn’t be reelected, sure, but don’t say that he wasn’t legitimately elected.” But then Flake’s tweet got hit with about twenty times as many comments as likes – a sign that most people were siding with Carter over Flake.

June 28

washington post logoWashington Post, Jimmy Carter says Trump wouldn’t be president without help from Russia, John Wagner, June 28, 2019. Former president Jimmy Carter said Friday that he believes a full investigation of the 2016 election would show that President Trump prevailed jimmy carter portrait deftnewsbecause of Russian interference on his behalf and otherwise would not be in office.

“There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election, and I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016,” said Carter, shown in a file photo. “He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”

His made his comments during a panel discussion at a conference in Leesburg, Va., sponsored by the Carter Center, a nonprofit organization he founded in 1982 that focuses on human rights.

Pressed by historian Jon Meacham, who moderated the discussion, on whether he considers Trump to be “an illegitimate president,” Carter replied: “Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract.”

ny times logoNew York Times, The Daily, E. Jean Carroll's two confidantes corroborate the account of her alleged sexual attack by Trump, Megan Tuohy hosted by Michael Barbaro, June 2019 [29:35 min. podcast). 

e jean carrollThe writer E. Jean Carroll, left, came forward last week with explosive accusations that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Today, the two women she confided in after the alleged attack discuss it publicly for the first time.

Megan Twohey, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, spoke with Ms. Carroll, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin. With Jessica Bennett and Alexandra Alter, she has published an investigative profile of Ms. Carroll, in which her friends and confidantes speak publicly for the first time.

June 27

Court Permits Extreme Gerrymandering 

supreme court headshots 2019

Roll Call, Supreme Court won’t step in to partisan gerrymandering cases, Todd Ruger, June 27, 2019. Ruling will affect how congressional districts are redrawn after 2020 census.

A divided Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that federal courts can’t rein in politicians who draw political maps to entrench a partisan advantage, a decision that will influence the redrawing of congressional districts after the 2020 census.

The justices instead said that was a political question and gave that task to Congress and the states, pointing to efforts from House Democrats to require independent commissions to oversee redistricting in each state, as well as the handful of states where voters did the same through ballot initiatives.

The decision keeps the current congressional maps in North Carolina and Maryland. It bodes poorly for similar partisan gerrymandering challenges in Ohio and Michigan, where lower court judges had ordered new congressional districts.

Critics say the decision gives a green light to the state officials and lawmakers to carve up their states in a way that strips voters of the ability to choose who represents them in Congress or the statehouse.

ny times logoNew York Times, Supreme Court Leaves Citizenship Question on Census in Doubt, Adam Liptak, June 27, 2019. In a major setback for the White House, the Supreme Court on Thursday sent back to a lower court a case on whether the census should contain a citizenship question, leaving in doubt whether the question would be on the 2020 census.

john roberts oChief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., right, writing for the majority, said the explanation offered by the Trump administration for adding the question — asking whether a person is a citizen — was inadequate. But he left open the possibility that it could provide an adequate answer.

“The reasoned explanation requirement of administrative law, after all, is meant to ensure that agencies offer genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public,” the chief justice wrote. “Accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case.”

us census bureauThe practical impact of the decision was not immediately clear. While the question is barred for now, it is at least possible that the administration will be able to offer adequate justifications for it. But time is short, as the census forms must be printed shortly. The decision was fractured, but the key passage in the chief justice’s majority opinion was joined only by the court’s four-member liberal wing.

Government experts predicted that asking the question would cause many immigrants to refuse to participate in the census, leading to an undercount of about 6.5 million people. That could reduce Democratic representation when congressional districts are allocated in 2021 and affect how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending are distributed.

The administration’s stated reason for adding the question — to help enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect minority voters — has been questioned by three federal judges. Recently discovered evidence from the computer files of a Republican strategist undermined the administration’s rationale and suggested that the true reason for the question was to help “Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”

The case — United States Department of Commerce v. New York, No. 18-966 — has its roots in the text of the Constitution, which requires an “actual enumeration” every 10 years, with the House to be apportioned based on “the whole number of persons in each state.”

But the government has long used the census to gather information beyond raw population data. In 2020, for instance, the short form that goes to every household will include questions about sex, age, race and Hispanic or Latino origin. Some of those questions may discourage participation, too.

June 26

Frederick News Post (MD), Opinion: Waking up to Empire, Barry Kissin, June 26, 2019. In the June 18 Frederick News-Post, page A1, from The Associated Press: “It appears as if Iran has begun its own maximum pressure campaign on the world. … The development follows apparent attacks last week in the Strait of Hormuz on [two] oil tankers, assaults that Washington has blamed on Iran. While Iran has denied being involved, it laid mines in the 1980s targeting oil tankers around the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s crude oil passes.”

This is pro-war propaganda — once again part of a campaign to justify American aggression, echoing Pompeo’s determination within hours of the attacks that Iran was responsible. Evidence ignored by the AP (and still by Pompeo) includes the statement by the Japanese owner of one of the tankers that the U.S. is wrong about the way the attack was carried out, that his ship was attacked on the starboard side by a flying object, not by a mine or torpedo. David Stockman, former director of management and budget under Reagan, posts at antiwar.com: “You can virtually bet when the dust settles [these tanker assaults] are false flags … manufactured pretexts for war.”

Until now, most Americans have been insulated from the ramifications of our Global War on Terror. That drastically changes in the event of a war with Iran. We are running out of places to blow up short of igniting global collapse — from which none are insulated except perhaps members of our ruling class of warmongers.

There is a ray of hope that Americans are finally wising up. A few elements in mainstream media are picking up on it. I have demonstrated in many previous letters and op-eds that both of our mainstream political parties are fully supportive of our militarism and our empire. There are very few exceptions, such as Republican Sen. Rand Paul and his father, Ron Paul, who have consistently opposed our Global War on Terror and confronted the litany of lies (pretexts).

In general, though, it is the Republican Party and its supporters who most consistently appear to approve on mindless patriotic grounds our every aggression and war crime. (You know, the “pro-life” crowd.) And so I am choosing a Fox News broadcast to illustrate how the run-up to war with Iran is being questioned even in the mainstream.

On June 13, Tucker Carlson interviewed a pollster from the Eurasia Group Foundation who reported that 80 percent of Americans want a “diplomatic solution” to our conflict with Iran, and that of the remaining 20 percent, a majority believed “Iran had a right to have nuclear weapons” as a ”deterrent,” leaving a mere 8 percent who favored “launching some sort of preventive war on Iran.” Tucker then comments that “this is one of those topics, foreign policy more broadly, war in the Middle East specifically, that proceeds really with no reference at all to what the American public wants. That’s not how a democracy is supposed to operate, is it?”

No — that’s how an empire operates, based not on what the public wants but on what its ruling class wants, which includes the owners of mainstream media and the principals in our military-industrial-intelligence complex.

Everybody knows that Congress has been complicit in all of this.

The loudest people in Congress righteously demand more interventions, more war, greater military and black ops budgets. We have no visible champions of peace, the only way out of the swirling whirlpool we are in.

It will not do to rely on the patriotic myth that American soldiers and special operatives fight for freedom and democracy all across the world. Quite the opposite. They fight for a corrupt, power-mad and cruel empire.

June 24

jacob hornberger newFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Solution to Trump’s Iran Mayhem, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, June 24, 2019. Undoubtedly, President Trump is fantasizing about the possibility of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for deciding at the last minute to not bomb Iran in retaliation for Iran’s shoot-down of a Pentagon drone. Apparently experiencing a crisis of conscience, Trump called off the strike when he learned that it would kill an estimated 150 people, which he decided would be disproportionate to the downing of an unmanned drone.

Meanwhile, Trump is not only continuing his brutal system of sanctions on Iran but actually ratcheting them up even more. His goal? To kill more Iranians through economic deprivation, either through starvation, illness, or domestic plane crashes arising from an inability to secure needed parts for maintenance and repair.

Should the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to a man who resolves his own crises and then chooses to kill innocent people with sanctions rather than bombs as a way to achieve a political end? Even a blind man can see that Trump’s actions toward Iran have been entirely belligerent, all with the aim of squeezing the Iranian citizenry and bullying their government officials into complying with his dictates or else face a “defensive” U.S. bombing attack.

It’s helpful to remind ourselves of what happened here.

Iran entered into a deal with the U.S. government under the presidency of Barrack Obama. Pursuant to the deal, Iran would agree not to acquire nuclear weapons and the U.S. government would lift the brutal U.S. sanctions that were impoverishing and even killing the Iranian citizenry.

Complying with the agreement, Iran gave up its nuclear weapons programs, fully expecting the U.S. government to comply with its end of the bargain by lifting its sanctions.

Then Donald Trump entered the presidency and proceeded to immediately tear up the deal, knowing full well that Iran had compiled with it with the expectation that the U.S. government would fulfill its end of the bargain. Not only did Trump not lift the sanctions, he doubled down and began enforcing them even more brutally than Obama had. In other words, Iran was double-crossed by the U.S. government operating under Trump. (I wonder if North Korean officials are noticing this.)

Throughout this ordeal, Trump has presented himself as a good guy, saying that he’s ready to “negotiate” and calling on the Iranians to just sit down and talk. In the process of “persuading” Iranian officials to “negotiate,” Trump has played the classic role of the bully — doubling down on sanctions against the citizenry of a poor Third World country with the aim of forcing its government to sit down and submit to any terms that Trump dictates.

Why would any regime want to sit down and “negotiate” under those circumstances, especially with a man who can’t be trusted to keep agreements entered into by U.S. presidents who have preceded him?

To ratchet up the pressure, Trump has, at the same time, been doing everything he can to provoke an “incident” to justify a U.S. military attack on Iran, one that would enable him to exclaim, “We’ve been attacked! We’re innocent! We were just minding our own business! We are now just defending ourselves with our bombings of this impoverished, Third World country.”

The Iran mayhem goes far beyond Donald Trump. It should cause Americans to question the entire foreign policy/military paradigm under which the United States has been operating for more than a century, a paradigm based on empire, world policing, foreign interventionism, and national-security statism.

America was founded as a limited-government republic and its founding foreign policy was non-interventionism in the affairs of other nations. In fact, if the American people had been told after the Constitutional Convention that the Constitution was bringing into existence a national-security state and a foreign policy based on foreign interventionism and world policing, they would have thought it was a joke. They would have summarily rejected the Constitution and just continued operating under the Articles of Confederation, a type of governmental system that they had had for 13 years, one in which the federal government’s powers were so weak that it didn’t even have the power to tax.

The problems began when the U.S. government abandoned its founding policies of a limited-government republic and non-interventionism and instead became a national-security state and embraced a foreign policy of empire and interventionism. This is what gave the country a huge, permanent military establishment, both domestically and in foreign countries. It also gave the nation assassinations, torture, coups, regime-change operations, alliances with dictatorial regimes, installation of dictatorial regimes, sanctions, embargoes, illegal invasions and occupations, undeclared wars, wars of aggression, terrorism, a war on terrorism, out-of-control spending and debt, and, of course, the destruction of American liberty and privacy.

June 23

Trump Team, Allies

jamal khashoggi entering consulate

Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist, enters the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey last year to process paperwork for his forthcoming marriage as his fiance waited on the street. Saudis chopped him to pieces inside, as documented by a gruesome report by the United Nations last week based in part on audio records of the murder-torture (Surveillance photo).

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Shrugs Off Khashoggi Killing by Ally Saudi Arabia, Michael D. Shear, June 23, 2019.  President Trump on Sunday shrugged off the brutal dismembering of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, just days after a United Nations report described how a team of Saudi assassins called Mr. Khashoggi a “sacrificial animal” before his murder.

donald trump monster abananapeeledcom dcmaThe U.N. report urged an F.B.I. investigation into the slaying. But in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. Trump said the episode had already been thoroughly investigated. He said the Middle East is “a vicious, hostile place” and noted that Saudi Arabia is an important trading partner with the United States.

“I only say they spend $400 to $450 billion over a period of time, all money, all jobs, buying equipment,” the president told Chuck Todd, the show’s moderator. “I’m not like a fool that says, ‘We don’t want to do business with them.’ And by the way, if they don’t do business with us, you know what they do? They’ll do business with the Russians or with the Chinese.”

Just days after pulling back from striking Iran for its downing of an American surveillance drone, Mr. Trump also said he was “not looking for war,” but added that if the United States went to war with Iran, “it’ll be obliteration like you’ve never seen before.”

mike pompeo state dept photo

ny times logoNew York Times, Pompeo, a Steadfast Hawk, Coaxes a Hesitant Trump on Iran, Edward Wong and Michael Crowley, June 23, 2019 (print ed.). Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (shown in a State Department photo), one of the longest surviving members of President Trump’s cabinet, pushed him to launch a missile strike against Iran.

In the days leading up to President Trump’s decision on whether to launch a missile strike against Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commanded the stage.

After warning that Mr. Trump was prepared to use force because of Iran’s suspected role in oil tanker attacks, Mr. Pompeo flew to Florida on Monday to strategize with generals at Central Command. Back in Washington, he briefed the foreign minister of the European Union on intelligence. By Thursday, he was pressing the case in the White House Situation Room for a strike.

Mr. Pompeo was steering Mr. Trump toward one of the most consequential actions of the administration. Only at the last minute did the president reverse course and cancel the strike.

The confrontation with Iran has put a spotlight on the extent of Mr. Pompeo’s influence with Mr. Trump. In an administration that churns through cabinet members at a dizzying pace, few have survived as long as Mr. Pompeo — and none have as much stature, a feat he has achieved through an uncanny ability to read the president’s desires and translate them into policy and public messaging. He has also taken advantage of a leadership void at the Defense Department, which has gone nearly six months without a confirmed secretary.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Trump compares himself to Kavanaugh in latest sexual assault allegation, Colby Itkowitz, Beth Reinhard, David Weigel, June 23, 2019 (print ed.). “You can’t do that for the sake of publicity,” the president says of such accusations, in general. resident brett kavanaughTrump compared himself to Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, right, on Saturday morning, following a fresh allegation that Trump sexually assaulted a woman in the mid-1990s.

Trump vehemently denied the accusation and said it was akin to the claims of sexual assault that roiled Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court in 2018.

“People have to be careful because they are playing with very dangerous territory,” Trump told reporters outside the White House before departing to Camp David. “When they do that, and it’s happening more and more, when you look at what happened to Justice Kavanaugh and you look at what happened to others, you can’t do that for the sake of publicity.”

e jean carrollE. Jean Carroll, left, a magazine writer and advice columnist, alleges that in 1995 or 1996, she encountered Trump at a high-end department store in Manhattan and agreed to help him shop for a gift for a woman. It was there, she says, that Trump attacked her in a dressing room.

She is telling her story for the first time in a new book, excerpts of which were published in New York magazine.

June 22

Mueller Sellout?

robert mueller screenshot washington post

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: Time to face it: Robert Mueller screwed us all, Bill Palmer (right, Palmer Report editor and publisher), June 22, 2019. When Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel, he was supposed to investigate and prosecute any crimes that Donald Trump and his campaign committed while conspiring with Russia to alter the outcome of the 2016 election. Two years later, Mueller’s work is done – and it’s time to admit that he screwed us all by simply not doing his job.

bill palmer report logo headerYes, there are still a dozen Mueller-spawned criminal cases in progress. But so what? We know who they’re not against. Robert Mueller decided that because of a forty year old DOJ memo that most legal experts have dismissed as meaningless, he didn’t even want to try to indict Donald Trump, despite having discovered that Trump committed a double digit number of felonies. Mueller also decided not to indict Donald Trump Jr for the crimes he committed in plain sight, while offering an insulting explanation that Junior was too stupid to have known he was committing a crime. And Mueller decided not to indict any of the dozen or more White House advisers who criminally conspired with Trump to commit obstruction of justice. So what was this guy even doing?

Mueller took down Paul Manafort, right, Rick Gates, and (perhaps) Roger Stone. Fine. Good. They’re all career criminals. But he spent two years doing nothing beyond taking down paul manafort mugthese guys – who are relatively unimportant in the scheme of things – while letting Donald Trump drag the country through the gutter the entire time. For that matter, Mueller gave Michael Flynn a free pass for conspiring with America’s enemies, and in exchange all Mueller got was evidence against Trump that knew all along he wasn’t going to indict Trump for. So what the hell was the point of any of this?

Robert Mueller is the only one who knows for sure why he spent two years farting around and pulling his punches, while leaving us all under the impression that he was investigating Donald Trump’s crimes so he could bring Trump to justice. Even if Mueller were under unfairly tight restrictions from Trump’s corrupt DOJ the whole time, Mueller still failed to warn us that his investigation was going to be a years-long waste of time.

The only solace here – if you can call it that – is that because the Republicans were in charge of the House and Senate for nearly the entire time that Robert Mueller was playing footsie instead of doing his job, it’s not as if the GOP Congress would have used that time to investigate Trump. And yes, while Mueller’s plan to simply release a report was wimpy, the real villain here is William Barr, for flat out lying about what Mueller’s report said.

June 21

Another Assault Claim Against Trump

new york magazine logoNew York Magazine, E. Jean Carroll: “Trump attacked me in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman,” Sarah Jones, June 21, 2019 (excerpted). The cover story New York published today details an encounter the writer E. Jean Carroll had over two decades ago with Donald J. Trump, in which the then–real-estate mogul allegedly assaulted her in a dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in midtown Manhattan. Trump is shown in a graphic by A Banana Peeled.

donald trump monster abananapeeledcom dcmaThe episode is one of six incidents Carroll details in the article of attacks on her by men over the course of her life. Another episode involves the disgraced former CEO of CBS, Les Moonves. The cover story is an excerpt from her newest book, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, which will be published on July 2 by St. Martin’s Press.

When Carroll meets Donald Trump in Bergdorf Goodman, the encounter starts as a friendly one. Trump recognizes her as “that advice lady”; Carroll recognizes him as “that real-estate tycoon.” Trump tells Carroll that he’s there to buy a gift for “a girl,” and though we don’t learn the identity of this mystery woman, Carroll places the ensuing incident in late 1995 or early 1996, during which time Trump was married to Marla Maples.

When Trump asks Carroll to advise him on what to buy, she agrees, and the two eventually make their way to the lingerie section. Trump suggests a lace bodysuit and encourages Carroll to try it on; she, deflecting, jokingly suggests that he try it on instead. After they reach the dressing rooms, e jean carroll twitterevents turn violent. In Carroll’s account, Trump shoves her against a wall inside a dressing room, pulls down her tights, and, “forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.”

Carroll, 75 (shown in her Twitter photo), is a venerated Elle advice columnist. At the time of the attack, she was well known in her own right. A frequent feature writer for magazines like Playboy and Esquire, she had her own television show on America’s Talking, the precursor to e jean carroll cover new york magazineMSNBC.

Carroll is now at least the 16th woman to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct and the 14th to accuse Moonves of similar offenses. The incidents, which date from the 1990s, are highly specific and related with dark humor.

Carroll says that she disclosed the Trump incident to two friends at the time. New York has verified that Carroll did disclose the attack to these friends at the time, and has confirmed that Bergdorf Goodman kept no security footage that would prove or disprove Carroll’s story. New York has also sought comment from Moonves and Trump. Through his representative, Moonves told New York that he “emphatically denies” the incident occurred. A senior White House official said in a statement, “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”

The Hill.com, Prosecutors examining whether Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy offered clients access to inauguration: report, John Bowden, June 21, 2019. Federal prosecutors are elliott broidyinvestigating whether Elliott Broidy, the top GOP fundraiser who previously served as the Republican National Committee's (RNC) deputy finance chairman, used his position to improperly offer access to President Trump's inaugural team.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that investigators are looking at whether Broidy,  right, was paid by his clients, including an intelligence firm, for access to inaugural events at his invitation, which would violate campaign finance laws or possibly statutes against money laundering.

According to the Journal, Broidy invited several officials from Angola and Romania to inaugural events, introducing some of them to members of Congress despite not being registered as a lobbyist for foreign countries. Weeks later, his company would be paid $6 million by Angolan officials for his services.

A spokesman for Broidy's company, Cirinicus, told the Journal that the guests were approved by the State Department and did not comment further on the investigation. The Trump inaugural committee reportedly told the Journal that it had responded to a request for information on the case from prosecutors in April.

rnc logoBroidy resigned from the RNC last April after it was revealed that he had paid a woman $1.6 million after she became pregnant with his child. He was also accused late last year of physical abuse by a former Playboy model. He has denied those allegations.

“This person tried to extract money from me by making up false, malicious and disgusting allegations," Broidy said in a statement last year. "I have acknowledged making the mistake of having an affair, and I entered a confidential agreement to protect my family’s privacy.

"I honored my agreement until her lawyer breached it—and then, when I failed to pay her demands, she did what blackmailers do and went public with her lies. I will vigorously defend myself against these false and defamatory allegations, and I will seek all relief available to me under the settlement agreement against her and her attorneys.”

The Atlantic, AOC’s Generation Doesn’t Presume America’s Innocence, Peter Beinart (Professor of journalism at the City University of New York), June 21, 2019. Ocasio-Cortez’s “concentration camps” comment questions an old orthodoxy: that only other countries—and not the U.S. — are capable of evil.

alexandria ocasio cortez officialOn Monday night, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared in an Instagram video that “the United States is running concentration camps on our southern border.” The following morning, Liz Cheney tweeted, “Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this.” After that, the fight was on.

On its face, the fight was about using concentration camp outside the context of the Holocaust. In a subsequent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez linked to an Esquire article noting that the term pre-dates World War II. It quoted the historian Andrea Pitzer, who defines concentration camp as the “mass detention of civilians without trial.” To Ocasio-Cortez’s critics, this was too cute by half. Whatever the term’s historical origins or technical meaning, in American popular discourse concentration camp evokes the Holocaust. By using the term, they argued, the representative from New York was equating Donald Trump’s immigration policies with Nazi genocide, whether she admitted it or not.

But whether you believe Ocasio-Cortez’s terminology was appropriate or offensive, the deeper question is why it provoked such a ferocious debate. The answer: Because for the first time in decades, the left is mounting a serious challenge to American exceptionalism.

June 20

U.S. Pounds War Drums Against Iran

iran wants war graphic

ny times logoNew York Times, Want War With Iran? Ask Congress First, Editorial Board, June 20, 2019. June 20, 2019. The Trump administration’s campaign of maximum pressure and minimal diplomacy are bringing the two countries ever closer to blows. From the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 to the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, maritime incidents, shrouded in the fog of uncertainty, have lured the United States into wars on foreign shoals. Which is why cooler heads must prevail — and Congress must be consulted — as American and Iranian forces inch closer to open conflict in and around the Strait of Hormuz.

american flagThe downing of an unmanned American surveillance aircraft on Thursday by an Iranian surface-to-air missile is another worrying click of the ratchet between the Trump administration, which unilaterally abandoned the 2015 nuclear accord for a campaign of “maximum pressure,” and an Iranian government suffering from tighter economic sanctions.

The United States has blamed Iran for recent attacks on shipping and pipelines in the Persian Gulf; Iran says it was not responsible. The United States has responded to the tensions by building up forces in the region.

ny times logoNew York Times, Iran Shoots Down a U.S. Drone, Escalating Tensions, Daniel Victor, David D. Kirkpatrick, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Helene Cooper, June 20, 2019. Iran shot down a United States surveillance drone early Thursday, both nations said, but they differed on the crucial issue of whether the aircraft had violated Iranian airspace, in the latest escalation of tensions that have raised fears of war between the two countries.

Iranian officials said the drone was over Iran, which the American military denied — an important distinction in determining who was at fault — and each side accused the other of being the aggressor.

Both said the downing occurred at 4:05 a.m. Iranian time on Thursday, or 7:35 p.m. on Wednesday in Washington. The drone “was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz,” the United States Central Command said in a statement. “This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.”

Mr. Trump repeated his assertion from earlier in the day, saying “Iran made a very big mistake,” in brief remarks to reporters on Thursday afternoon. He also dismissed Iran’s assertion that the unmanned drone was flying in Iranian air space. The drone, Mr. Trump said, was flying over international waters, which has been “scientifically documented.”

Iran's Strategy?

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Iran’s Gambit: Force the World to Rein In Trump, Max Fisher, June 20, 2019. The Trump administration has portrayed Iran’s recent moves, including its threat to resume stockpiling low-enriched uranium in violation of the nuclear agreement, as proof that Iran is an implacable rogue state, bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, that can be contained only through the threat of military force.

Iran has indeed often acted as a regional provocateur, but in this case some nonpartisan experts on Iran and on United States policy in the Middle East see something different.

They say Iran appears to be pursuing a provocative but calibrated strategy to counter what its leaders see as a potentially existential American threat — as severe economic sanctions strangle the economy and cut off vital oil revenues — as well as to preserve the nuclear agreement.

In doing so, Iran is falling back on tactics associated with its reputation as a rogue state, including asymmetric military escalation, like threatening oil shipments, though Iran denies American accusations that it attacked tankers last week, or the downing of an American drone on Thursday (in disputed circumstances), and nuclear blackmail. It is doing so, analysts say, because such tactics are part of the basis of Iranian power and because the United States has closed off other avenues for responding.

The result, the experts say, is an Iranian strategy, rational but risky, that increases the likelihood of the nuclear agreement’s collapse and even of outright war in the hopes of compelling the world to avert both.

“Iran lashing out is a way for it to show the rest of the world, ‘Look, we’ve been acting in a relatively restrained manner in the year since Trump pulled out of the deal. But now we can’t,’ ” said Dina Esfandiary, a Harvard University expert on Middle Eastern security issues.

She said Tehran had settled on a “two-prong strategy of showing that they, too, can apply pressure by being a pain but also saying, ‘We’re willing to talk.’ ”

President's 126th Visit To Trump Holdings

washington post logoWashington Post, Money follows Trump when he visits his clubs, as Republicans and officials pay to be with him, David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, Jonathan O'Connell and Michelle Ye Hee Lee​, June 20, 2019. President Trump’s trips have brought his businesses at least $1.6 million in revenue, according to a Washington Post analysis. When President Trump finished the first official rally of his reelection campaign this week, he got on Air Force One. But he didn’t go home to Washington. Instead, he flew 190 miles in the opposite direction — to visit his own Doral golf resort, outside Miami.

The resort’s profits have fallen since Trump took office. But it had a major event planned for the next day, a fundraiser for Trump’s reelection campaign.

It would be his 126th visit to one of his properties since taking office. And this visit — like more than a dozen before it — would bring paying customers, allowing Trump to play a double role. The president would be the headliner and the caterer.

Trump has bigger designs for the Doral club: He has suggested holding next year’s Group of Seven meeting — a gathering of world leaders — at Doral or another of his luxury resorts, current and former White House staffers said.

New Military Trial for 9/11 Defendants

ny times logoNew York Times, New Judge in the 9/11 Trial at Guantánamo Inherits a Complex History, Carol Rosenberg, June 20, 2019. When he took over this week as the judge in the military trial of the five defendants charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Col. W. Shane Cohen inherited 23,039 pages of public and secret transcripts; a vault with secret evidence withheld from defense lawyers by prosecutors invoking a national security exception; approximately 500 substantive legal case motions, some awaiting rulings; and more legal arguments and filings in the pipeline.

shane cohen judgeHe is the third person since 2012 to preside over the complex, slow-moving proceedings, which have been bogged down over how to handle what the United States did to the terrorist suspects from 2002 to 2006 in the C.I.A.’s secret network of black sites.

More than 17 years have passed since the attacks by Al Qaeda — and seven since Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the plot, and four accused accomplices were arraigned in the case, which carries the death penalty — and Colonel Cohen, right, could be the first judge to set a trial date.

On his first day on the bench, he described himself to lawyers in the case as a Mormon with “a very Jewish name” who felt shock but no anger over the hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11.

Media / 9//11 Evidence

ae911 truth continuing education photo AIA

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth), Opinion: American Institute of Architects Terminates AE911Truth’s Continuing Education Provider Status, Staff report, June 20, 2019. On May 31, 2019, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth) was notified by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) that it was terminating our status as an AIA continuing education provider. (A previous seminar is shown above, led by AE911Truth President Richard Gage, at the screen in front.)

AE911Truth was first approved as an AIA continuing education provider in June 2016. This enabled architects to take our courses and receive the continuing education credits they needed to maintain their AIA membership and architecture license.

During our nearly three years as a provider, we offered six live and on-demand courses, each of which was approved by the AIA prior to being introduced. Between September 2017 and April 2018, the AIA conducted an audit of one of our six courses, during which we made a number of minor revisions that brought the course into full compliance with AIA guidelines. The AIA was planning to audit our remaining courses after completing the audit of the first course, but the auditor never contacted us again.

According to the AIA’s managing director of professional development and resources, Stephen Martin, the AIA conducted a more recent review of our courses and, based on the results of that review as well as “past audit concerns,” determined that the “content of the courses and mission of [our] organization [were] incompatible with the mission and intent of the AIA’s continuing education program.” The AIA provided no explanation for its determination and did not respond when asked to provide the results of its review.

In the wake of the AIA’s silent refusal to provide any basis for its determination, we are left to conclude that the abrupt termination of our provider status was motivated not by any incurable deficiencies in our courses but by the AIA’s apparent bias against our mission and against the fundamentally sound analysis contained in our courses. If the mission of AE911Truth and the content of our courses are incompatible with the mission and intent of the AIA’s continuing education program, then something is clearly wrong with the AIA’s continuing education program.

Paradoxically, the AIA’s termination of our provider status comes at the same time as our relatively new outreach program to the engineering profession, known as Project Due Diligence, is beginning to take off. Of the hundreds of engineers we have presented to at local chapter meetings and at state and national conferences, not one has expressed confidence in the official reports issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology after hearing our critique of them. Indeed, the response to our presentation has been overwhelmingly positive.

In our decade of outreach to the AIA and its membership, we have done the very job that the AIA has neglected to do: educate thousands of AIA members about the three worst structural failures in modern history. That the AIA is now making it even harder for us to educate architects — after barring us in 2017 from exhibiting at its national conventions, which we had done from 2009 to 2016 — and will no longer award continuing education credits to architects who take our courses, marks a sad day for the profession.

Nevertheless, we are confident in our ability to disseminate knowledge of the WTC evidence to the architecture and engineering professions. And we know that, in time, organizations like the AIA will be forced to face the truth of the World Trade Center’s explosive demolition and reckon with the fact that they did nothing — or worse — when given the opportunity to be on the right side of history.

For further discussion of this development, we invite you to tune in to this week’s episode of 9/11 Free Fall with AIA members Richard Gage and Henry MacLean and civil engineer Roland Angle, who is the leader of AE911Truth’s Project Due Diligence.

June 18

Sudden DoD Change

pentagon dc skyline dod photo

ny times logoNew York Times, Shanahan Withdraws as Defense Secretary Nominee, Michael D. Shear and Helene Cooper, June 18, 2019. President Trump on Tuesday pulled the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan, right, to be the permanent defense secretary, saying on Twitter that Mr. Shanahan would devote more time to his family.

patrick shanahan oThe move leaves the Pentagon without a permanent leader at a time of escalating tensions with Iran after attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. The Trump administration has blamed Iran for the explosions that damaged the two tankers.

raytheon logoMr. Trump named Mark T. Esper, the secretary of the Army and a former Raytheon executive, to take over as acting secretary of defense. He did not say whether Mr. Esper would be nominated for the permanent position.

At the Pentagon, officials were internally discussing that a routine F.B.I. investigation for cabinet nominees was dragging on for Mr. Shanahan because of his divorce, which included an allegation from his ex-wife — denied by Mr. Shanahan — that he punched her in the stomach. Mr. Shanahan said that his ex-wife started the fight, and his spokesman said that she was arrested and charged with domestic violence, charges which were eventually dropped.

According to court documents viewed by The New York Times, in 2011 Mr. Shanahan’s son, who was 17 at the time, hit his mother repeatedly with a baseball bat, and she was hospitalized.

Department of Defense SealIn an interview with the Washington Post published Tuesday, Mr. Shanahan said that “bad things can happen to good families.” He called the episode “a tragedy,” and said that dredging it up publicly “will ruin my son’s life.”

During his tenure, Mr. Shanahan was criticized for slighting Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s chief competitor, for its mismanagement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft that is years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget.

He was widely viewed as acquiescing to the White House and other government officials, including John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state. Mr. Shanahan famously said that the Pentagon would not be viewed as the “Department of No.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has left the building, Bill Palmer, June 18, 2019. Last month, even as the Trump regime was scrambling to hide the USS John McCain from Donald Trump’s sight during an overseas trip, Trump’s longtime Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan did the right thing by publicly speaking out against such antics. At the time, Palmer Report predicted that it would eventually lead to the demise of Shanahan’s nomination to become permanent Secretary of Defense. Sure enough, that day has arrived.

bill palmer report logo headerDonald Trump just posted this tweet: “Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family. I thank Pat for his outstanding service and will be naming Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, (shown below at right) to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense. I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!”

To be clear, whenever an office holder abruptly says that they’re quitting in order to spend more time with their family, it’s nearly always a way of covering for something else. It couldn’t be much more clear that either Trump dumped Shanahan over his response to the McCain incident, or mark esperShanahan quit in disgust over the incident.

The United States has not had a permanent Secretary of Defense since late last year, when James Mattis reigned in protest of Donald Trump’s antics. Trump is now about to be on his second Acting Secretary of Defense. Mark Esper is a former corporate lobbyist for the military industrial complex, and is precisely the wrong kind of person to be in charge of the U.S. military.

Trump vs. Iran

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Adds Troops After Iran Says It Will Breach Nuclear Deal, Edward Wong, Helene Cooper and Megan Specia, June 18, 2019 (print ed.). Mr. Trump ordered another 1,000 troops to the Middle East as he again vowed that Iran would not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

Strategic Culture Foundation, Opinion: ‘Wagging the Dog’ While Lying About It, Wayne Madsen (Author of 16 books and former U.S. Navy intelligence officer), June 18, 2019. The Donald Trump administration, aided and abetted by the Republican congressional conference, will go down in history as a regime of liars, grifters, dime store propagandists, common criminals, and schoolyard bullies.

The evidence that “Team Trump” can and probably will lie the United States into a war with Iran, just as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney lied America into a war with Iraq, is seen in the latest tomfoolery regarding recent attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The attacks follow by almost a month similar suspicious attacks on four ships at anchor in the Gulf of Oman, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates sheikhdom of Fujairah. Although Iran was blamed by members of the Trump administration for the May 12 attacks, no evidence was provided to bolster such claims.

john bolton youtube guardianTrump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, right, a cartoon character-type war monger who could have served as a role model for the fictional film “Wag the Dog” about a US war against Albania based on concocted falsehoods and a steady stream of televised propaganda, strongly appears to have had his fingerprints all over the June 13 attack on two ships transiting outbound from the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf of Oman.

No sooner than had the story broken worldwide about the attack did Bolton’s partner-in-crime Secretary of State Mike Pompeo go before cameras a cast blame on Iran for attacking the ships with mines. Pompeo declared that “intelligence” determined that Iran carried out mine attacks on the mike pompeo cheated graphicJapanese-owned and Panamanian-flagged M/V Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian-owned and Marshall Islands-flagged M/V Front Altair. But whose intelligence?

Pompeo (shown in a graphic from his time as CIA director) did not claim that US intelligence concluded that Iran was responsible. Given Pompeo’s and Bolton’s close ties with the far right and uber-nationalist regime of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the “intelligence” being relied on by Pompeo strongly appears to have been from Mossad and its team of video propagandists in Herzliya; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles.

Ironically, on the very same day the House Intelligence Committee was hearing evidence about the threat of “deep fake videos” during the upcoming presidential election campaign, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) released a grainy forward-looking infrared (FLIR) video, along with photographs, purporting to show a boat belonging to the IRGC removing an unexploded limpet mine from the side of the Kokuka Courageous. The Pentagon provided the video as “proof” of Iran’s culpability. However, the Pentagon was caught in a major Trump-grade lie when Yutaka Katada, the president of Kokuka Sangyo Marine, the company that owns the Kokuka Courageous, said the attack on his firm’s vessel did not come from a mine, but from a “flying shell.” The explosion was too far above the water line to have been from a mine, Katada told the press in Tokyo.

June 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump says supporters might ‘demand’ that he serve more than two terms as president, Felicia Sonmez, June 16, 2019. The president has previously joked about serving more than two terms as president, including at an event in April where he told a crowd that he might remain “at least for 10 or 14 years.”

President Donald Trump officialPresident Trump on Sunday floated the possibility of staying in office longer than two terms, suggesting in a morning tweet that his supporters might “demand that I stay longer.”

The president has previously joked about serving more than two terms as president, including at an event in April where he told a crowd that he might remain in the Oval Office “at least for 10 or 14 years.”

The 22nd Amendment of the Constitution limits the presidency to two terms.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence logoIn tweets Sunday morning, Trump also voiced dissatisfaction with recent news coverage of his administration, calling both The Washington Post and The New York Times “the Enemy of the People.”

He added: “The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!”

iran wants war graphic

iran flag mapwashington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump’s criticism of Iran pushes U.S. to point of potential conflict, Anne Gearan and Carol Morello, June 16, 2019 (print ed.). The president, who insists he wants to avoid a Middle East war, faces a difficult choice: step back to reduce tensions or act unilaterally and risk conflict.

One constant in President Trump’s malleable foreign policy has been his fierce criticism of Iran and what he described as a weak and dangerous nuclear compact the United States and other countries negotiated with Tehran. Threats and sanctions, and lots of them, have been his go-to response, lately leavened with vague offers of future negotiations.

June 15

U.S. Attack On Russian Electric Grid

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ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid, David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, June 15, 2019. The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin (shown above meeting with President Trump in 2017) and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.

In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.

Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.

But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

As Washington’s strategy shifts to offense, officials say, it is placing malware inside Russia’s system with a new aggressiveness.
The move is both a warning and a push to be prepared to conduct cyberstrikes if conflict were to break out with Moscow.

The administration declined to describe specific actions it was taking under the new authorities, which were granted separately by the White House and Congress last year to United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world.

john bolton youtube guardianBut in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton (shown in a screengrab), said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort “to say to Russia, or anybody else that’s engaged in cyberoperations against us, ‘You will pay a price.’”

Power grids have been a low-intensity battleground for years.

June 14

U.S. Courts, Crime

ny times logoNew York Times, A St. Louis Prosecutor Took On the System. She Made Enemies, Richard A. Oppel Jr., June 14, 2019. Kimberly Gardner was one of a wave of prosecutors who promised to challenge the establishment. Now she is being scrutinized in a manner that is virtually unheard-of for an elected prosecutor.

kimberly gardnerKimberly Gardner, right, was elected chief prosecutor by a wide margin in 2016, one of two dozen district attorneys across the country who campaigned to overhaul the criminal justice system.

Like a lot of them, she made quick enemies. She angered the powerful police union in St. Louis, saying repeatedly that she would hold officers more accountable. She indicted the sitting governor, Eric Greitens, shown below at left with Vice President Mike Pence and a rising star in national Republican politics.

Now her adversaries have turned the tables: Ms. Gardner’s professional actions are being scrutinized in a manner that is virtually unheard-of for an elected eric greitens mike penceprosecutor.

In the Greitens case, she has become a focus of a special prosecutor who was appointed to investigate a former F.B.I. agent. The prosecutor has had her office’s email server seized by the police, giving them access, her lawyers say, to active criminal investigations of the department itself. He has been fishing for incriminating information on her administration, according to an affidavit by the agent’s lawyer. Her aides have been called before a grand jury.

The investigation has been conducted in secrecy, with a gag order on the parties involved. But that has not stopped allegations that it is riddled with serious conflicts of interest. Nor has it stifled a sense, among Ms. Gardner’s supporters, that the police and the city’s clubby legal establishment have joined forces in an attempt to embarrass one of the few black officials with truly independent power in St. Louis.

National advocates of remaking the criminal justice system have watched as like-minded prosecutors in places like Boston, Chicago and Dallas won the support of voters but ran headlong into opposition from police unions and other local powers. Though all of them have been criticized, Ms. Gardner’s situation — facing possible criminal charges — is the most extreme.

See related story, St. Louis American, Under attack, Kim Gardner fights back, Rebecca Rivas, March 13, 2019. Police, special prosecutor take, then return, circuit attorney’s server.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said last week that a search warrant demanding thousands of records from her office would put countless people’s privacy at risk. On Tuesday, March 12, Circuit Court Judge Michael K. Mullen rejected Gardner’s motion to quash the search warrant, after claiming last week that Gardner’s office was “playing games.”

The warrant relates to a grand jury case reviewing whether Gardner’s investigator William Tisaby lied under oath last spring during then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ felonious invasion of privacy case.

Gardner’s attorneys appealed within hours of Mullen’s decision. In the short amount of time it took for them to file the appeal, the police and special prosecutor overseeing the grand jury case on Tisaby seized the circuit attorney’s email server – knowing an appeal was underway, according to Gardner. The Court of Appeals ordered a halt to the search warrant that evening.
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“In my decades of work in the criminal justice system, I have never seen a chief prosecutor treated this way by a court or a police department,” said Roy L. Austin Jr., Gardner’s attorney.

He said he believes Special Prosecutor Gerard Carmody, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and even Mullen are trying to “intimidate and humiliate” Gardner and “strip her of the powers granted to her by the people of the City of St. Louis.”

This is the second search warrant that Carmody has issued in the grand jury case. Gardner’s office complied with the first search warrant in January. But the second search warrant, issued on February 21, is so broad that it would require the circuit attorney to hand over “every file in the office,” attorneys representing Gardner told a judge at a hearing on March 5. The warrant asks for all files stored on the office’s server that contain 31 common terms, including “notes,” “tape,” and “recording.”

A spokesman for Carmody’s office said he could not comment because of a gag order that Mullen issued on March 5. However, the appellate court also concluded on March 12 that the Gardner is not party to the Tisaby investigation and therefore not bound by Mullen’s gag order, according to Gardner.

The police and Carmody’s actions on March 12 temporarily interrupted the prosecutor’s entire email system “that is central to its efforts to keep the citizens of our city safe,” Gardner said.

Gardner said no information was retrieved from the server before it was returned. “They were unsuccessful,” her attorney said.

The grand jury case came out of the contentious legal battle to prosecute Greitens for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015 and then allegedly transmitting it so it could be viewed on a computer. Greitens’ felony charge was ultimately dropped.

There are still a lot of “personal feelings” and “water under the bridge” left over from that case, according to comments made between Gardner’s attorneys and Carmody’s team at the March 5 hearing addressing Gardner’s motion.

Gardner hired Tisaby, a former FBI agent, in January 2018 to investigate Greitens because she claimed the police department refused her requests to investigate the governor. The department denied that they were asked.

June 11

Critique of Dean-Woodward 'Watergate' Story

The Hard Question Show via WCGO 1590 AM / 95.9 FM (Chicago) and Soundcloud, Remember John Dean?, host Blanquita Cullum (former Republican-appointed member of the len colodny croppedBroadcasting Board of Governors, parent of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, etc.), June 11, 2019 (36:40 mins). Silent Coup author Len Colodny, right, challenges the credibility of June 10 House Judiciary Committee expert witness John Dean regarding the Watergate scandal. The challenge is based on Colodny's decades of research, two co-authored books (Silent Coup and The Forty years War). Colodny's scores of tape-recorded interviews with key Watergate figures, including with Dean and former President Gerald Ford, are now housed at The Colodny Collection at Texas A & M University.

Colodny praises the new book Haig's Coup authored by former USA Today investigations editor Ray Locker, published in May by the University of ray locker haigs coupNebraska Press and Potomac Press.

Colodny tells Cullum: "I plead with the American people. Don't be fooled. What you saw yesterday was 'Fools Gold' -- and the Democrats should know better....Somebody needs to tell the president [Trump] to stop what's going on in the sense that we're in this fictitious war between the president and the media. I don't support this president. I wouldn't vote for this president. I have real problems with him. But I don't have probelms with telling the American people the truth."

Background: The "Colodny Collection" has in it the often-suppressed Nixon/Dean tape (March 16,1973), available for listening remotely by clicking len colodny silent coup coverhere. Anyone can hear Nixon and Dean as they lay out a plot to cover up White House involvement (via White House aide Gordon Strachan) in the Watergate break in. Dean would suggest to Nixon a number of ways to cover up the crime, including blaming the campaign's dirty trickster Don Segretti for the crime. Nixon quickly agrees.

At the very end of the tape, Dean assured Nixon that "We Will Win." The tapes were produced in 1996 under a lawsuit protective order. "What is intriguing," Colodny has said, "is that the mainstream media has no interest in playing or reporting the contents of this tape, with one exception at the New York TImes."

"John Dean's book Nixon's Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It," Colodny has written, "deliberately leaves out this tape and others in this series. Dean made sure we would not know everything Nixon knew, especially everything that Dean told him. The Nixon on this tape is saying things that are so incriminating that the Nixon Library's 'Watergate' exhibit does not contain it. The one place that it is featured is in The Colodny Collection, donated to Texas A & M University."

June 10

News Media / Propaganda

SouthFront, Witness Testimonies Reveal Gorgon Face Of White Helmets ‘Humanitarian Activities,’ Staff report, June 10, 2019. It seems that Russia has started apparently late, but still important efforts to counter the White Helmets propaganda narrative in Syria.

syrian white helmetsThe Director of the Foundation for the Study of Democracy, Maxim Grigoriev, presented the 250-page study “White Helmets: Terrorist Accomplices and a Source of Disinformation,” on April 25th, 2019. He initially presented his research at event held by the Russian Mission to the UN on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 12th.

According to the aurthor, the research is primarily based on witness testimonies and concludes that the White Helmets NGO is in no way a group of volunteers upholding human rights. He did so by travelling to Syria and interviewing residents and former White Helmets members in Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta and other locations

Grigoriev said that nearly everyone on the staff of the White Helmets were salaried personnel with monthly food rations. Organizationally, the White Helmets is a centrally managed paramilitary organization with a system of punishment for personnel if they fail to comply with the orders of their group leaders.

He said that researchers from his foundation spent over three months in Syria interviewing Syrians, who “talked with them openly, giving names and indicating the sites where the footage of the White Helmets’ staged rescue operations was made.”

The research says that many known members of militant groups were working for the White Helmets and were even chairing some of the group’s local centers in Syria.

June 9

The Intercept, Investigation: How and Why The Intercept Is Reporting on a Vast Trove of Materials About Brazil’s Operation Car Wash and Justice Minister Sergio Moro, Glenn glenn greenwald hsGreenwald (shown at right), Leandro Demori, Betsy Reed, June 9, 2019 (Leia em português). 

Secret Brazil Archive, Part 1: A massive archive of previously undisclosed materials reveals systematic wrongdoing among powerful officials — and the public has a right to know.

The Intercept Brasil today published three explosive exposés showing highly controversial, politicized, and legally dubious internal discussions and secret actions by the Operation Car Wash anti-corruption task force of prosecutors, led by the chief prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, along with then-Judge Sergio Moro, now the powerful and jair bolsonaro brazilinternationally celebrated justice minister for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, left.

These stories are based on a massive archive of previously undisclosed materials — including private chats, audio recordings, videos, photos, court proceedings, and other documentation — provided to us by an anonymous source. They reveal serious wrongdoing, unethical behavior, and systematic deceit about which the public, both in Brazil and internationally, has the right to know.

These three articles were published today in The Intercept Brasil in Portuguese, and we have synthesized them into two English-language articles for The Intercept. Given the size and global influence of Brazil under the new Bolsonaro government, these stories are of great significance to an international audience.

This is merely the beginning of what we intend to be an ongoing journalistic investigation, using this massive archive of material, into the Car Wash corruption probe; Moro’s actions when he was a judge and those of the prosecutor Dallagnol; and the conduct of numerous individuals who continue to wield great political and economic power both inside Brazil and in other countries.

Beyond the inherent political, economic, and environmental importance of Brazil under Bolsonaro, the significance of these revelations arises from the incomparably consequential actions of the yearslong Car Wash corruption probe. That sweeping scandal implicated numerous leading political figures, oligarchs, Bolsonaro’s predecessor as president, and even foreign leaders in corruption prosecutions.

lulu de silva customMost importantly, Car Wash was the investigative saga that led to the imprisonment last year of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (shown in a file photo). Lula’s conviction by Moro, once it was quickly affirmed by an appellate court, rendered him ineligible to run for president at a time when all polls showed that Lula — who was twice elected president by large margins in 2002 and in 2006 before being term-limited out of office in 2010 with an 87 percent approval rating — was the frontrunner in the 2018 presidential race. Lula’s exclusion from the election, based on Moro’s finding of guilt, was a key episode that paved the way for Bolsonaro’s election victory.

brazil flag wavingPerhaps most remarkably, after Bolsonaro won the presidency, he created a new position of unprecedented authority, referred to by Brazilians as “super justice minister,” to oversee an agency with consolidated powers over law enforcement, surveillance, and investigation previously interspersed among multiple ministries. Bolsonaro created that position for the benefit of the very judge who found Lula guilty, Sergio Moro, and it is the position Moro now occupies. In other words, Moro now wields immense police and surveillance powers in Brazil — courtesy of a president who was elected only after Moro, while he was a judge, rendered Bolsonaro’s key adversary ineligible to run against him.

The Car Wash prosecutors and Moro have been highly controversial in Brazil and internationally — heralded by many as anti-corruption heroes and accused by others of being clandestine right-wing ideologues masquerading as apolitical law enforcers. Their critics have insisted that they have abused and exploited their law enforcement powers with the politicized goal of preventing Lula from returning to the presidency and destroying his leftist Workers’ Party, or the PT. Moro and the prosecutors have, with equal vehemence, denied that they have any political allegiances or objectives and have said they are simply trying to cleanse Brazil of corruption.

But, until now, the Car Wash prosecutors and Moro have carried out their work largely in secret, preventing the public from evaluating the validity of the accusations against them and the truth of their denials. That’s what makes this new archive so journalistically valuable: For the first time, the public will learn what these judges and prosecutors were saying and doing when they thought nobody was listening.

June 7

Trump Watch

washington post logoelijah cummings oWashington Post, House likely to hold Barr, Ross in contempt after subpoena demands are rejected, Colby Itkowitz, June 7, 2019. The Department of Justice informed Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, right, it won’t comply with a request for more documents about the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump lashes out at Pelosi after she said she’d like to see him in prison, John Wagner​, June 7, 2019. In an interview with Fox News, the president made his first public comments about recent remarks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made while trying to quell impeachment talk among Democrats.

donald trump twitter“I think she’s a disgrace,” Trump said on Fox News. “I actually don’t think she’s a talented person. I’ve tried to be nice to her because I would have liked to have gotten some deals done. She’s incapable of doing deals. She’s a nasty, vindictive, horrible person.”

The interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham was conducted at the site of a solemn ceremony in France commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Against the backdrop of a cemetery where nearly 10,000 American war dead are buried, Trump also called Senate Minority Leader robert mueller full face fileCharles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) a “jerk” and former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, right, a “fool.”

Trump’s tirade about Pelosi (D-Calif.) came in response to a question about comments she made during a meeting Tuesday night with five of her committee chairmen. Trying to tamp down impeachment talk about Trump, Pelosi said she would rather “see him in prison” after leaving office, according to two Democratic officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share private conversations.

wayne madsen may 29 2015 croppedWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Beware the Trump Trump Macoute, Wayne Madsen (above, syndicated columnist, former National Security Agency analyst), June 7, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission). For anyone who does not believe that Trump has the motive and the means to command a network of vigilantes capable of carrying out political assassinations, torching opposition campaign offices, beating up opposition political campaign volunteers, and attacking journalists, think again, because we have already witnessed the advent of such operations.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Nancy Pelosi just sent Democratic House committee chairs off to the races, Bill Palmer, June 6, 2019.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi upped her war of nancy pelosi djt 2 olderwords with Donald Trump this week, stating that she wants him to go to prison for his crimes, setting off all kinds of alarms in the process. But it turns out Pelosi is doing more than just getting inside Trump’s head. She just sent Democratic House committee chairs off to the races when it comes to cracking down on non-cooperating individuals.

In TV pundit land, and in certain corners of social media, impeachment is a magic wand that can send Donald Trump instantly through a trap door – and House Democrats are refusing to wave that magic wand because they’re wusses. But back in the real world, that’s not how anything works, of course. With or without the word “impeachment” attached, House Democrats are currently facing the same grueling process of fighting legal battles in court to obtain the testimony and evidence they need in order to move against Trump. That process just got sped up quite a bit.

bill palmer report logo headerThis evening Pelosi gave Democratic House committee chairs the power to go after non-cooperators and obstructors in court, without having to circle back and get the full House’s approval each time they need to take a step forward with it. This means that not only will the committee chairs sue people like William Barr, Don McGahn, Wilbur Ross, and Annie Donaldson, the chairs are now in position to hire private attorneys to go into court and help speed that process along.

The TV pundits who are claiming that yelling the word “impeachment” will magically cause Trump to instantly be ousted, are the same pundits who are insisting that any court battles over evidence and testimony will take years. But as we’ve seen from the multiple court rulings the Democrats have already won against Trump over his financial records, nothing actually takes that long, because the courts are prioritizing these cases. Now the process just became a swifter one.

Trump's Global Patrons, Enemies

djt saudi medal may 20 2017 afp

Saudi Arabia's king bestowed a medal on President Trump in May 2017 during the new president's first overseas trip, signifying the core relationship between the wealthy feudal monarchy and the new U.S. administration.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Allows High-Tech U.S. Bomb Parts to Be Built in Saudi Arabia, Michael LaForgia and Walt Bogdanich, June 7, 2019. Tucked into an emergency order to sell arms to Saudi Arabia is the approval for a defense company to team with the Saudis to build bomb parts there. It raises concerns that the Saudis could gain access to technology that would let them make versions of American precision-guided bombs.

When the Trump administration declared an emergency last month and fast-tracked the sale of more American arms to Saudi Arabia, it did more than anger members of Congress who opposed the sale on humanitarian grounds.

raytheon logoIt also raised concerns that the Saudis could gain access to technology that would let them produce their own versions of American precision-guided bombs — weapons they have used in strikes on civilians since they began fighting a war in Yemen four years ago.

The emergency authorization allows Raytheon Company, a top American defense firm, to team with the Saudis to build high-tech bomb parts in Saudi Arabia. That provision, which has not been previously reported, is part of a broad package of information the administration released this week to Congress.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: President Trump’s twists on Iran have confounded Europe, Edward Wong and David E. Sanger, June 7, 2019. President Trump and his aides have sent a dizzying, seemingly conflicting set of messages to Iran in recent weeks, ordering more troops to the Middle East and a carrier to the Arabian Sea as military threats even iran flag mapwhile declaring that Washington is seeking new negotiations, not war.

European allies, still trying to save a 2015 deal to restrain Iran’s nuclear program that Mr. Trump abandoned a year ago, are trying to make sense of the administration’s strategy.

And the government in Tehran, humiliated by Mr. Trump’s hard-line policies, has all but frozen diplomacy with Washington. “Standing and resisting the enemy’s excessive demands and bullying is the only way to stop him,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Tuesday.

Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, Barnes & Noble was sold to a hedge fund after a tumultuous year, Alexandra Alter and Tiffany Hsu, June 7, 2019. Barnes & Noble has been acquired by the paul singerhedge fund Elliott Advisors for $638 million. JIP editor's note: Elliott Advisors is the UK-based affiliated of Elliott Management Corp., whose New York-based parent company was founded by Paul Singer, right, a financially successful investor sometimes described as a ruther "vulture fund" tycoon dealing in distressed properties.

The sale was announced Friday morning following months of speculation over the future of Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the United barnes nobleStates and a critical retail outlet for publishers and authors.

Elliott’s acquisition of Barnes & Noble follows its purchase of the British bookstore chain Waterstones in June 2018. James Daunt, the chief executive of Waterstones, will also act as Barnes & Noble’s C.E.O. and will be based in New York. Waterstones has pursued a strategy that many analysts say is the only way to compete in a marketplace dominated by online sales, by allowing individual Waterstones booksellers to tailor each store to acommunity’s needs and interests. Mr. Daunt, who took over in 2011, has said that Waterstones operates more like a constellation of independent stores, rather than a homogeneous chain.

June 5

FBI Sex Claims Against Dr. King

david garrow thomas burr npc 5 11 17

Historian David Garrow, left, discusses his 2017 biographry "Rising Star" of Barack Obama with National Press Club President Thomas Burr on May 11, 2017 (Justice Integrity Project photo by Andrew Kreig)

ny times logoNew York Times, His Martin Luther King Biography Was a Classic. His Latest King Piece Is Causing a Furor, Jennifer Schuessler, June 5, 2019 (print ed.). David Garrow found F.B.I. documents alleging King stood by during a rape. But some scholars question whether to trust records created as part of a smear campaign.

When David J. Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sat down last spring to dig through a trove of previously unreleased martin luther king injustice quotegovernment records, it was business as usual for a researcher known for prodigious reporting and doorstop books.

“There’s this weird ability I have of complete recall with regard to what I already know and don’t know,” Mr. Garrow said, describing the experience of wrestling with some 54,000 separate web links posted by the National Archives and Records Administration. “I was just scrolling through the PDFs, looking for new little factoids.”

Mr. Garrow found factoids aplenty, about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s infamous surveillance of Dr. King — and, most controversially, about alleged sexual misconduct by the civil rights leader.

In a 7,800-word article published last week by the British monthly magazine Standpoint, which teased the piece on its cover as “Martin Luther King and #MeToo,” Mr. Garrow nara logoprovides new details about the F.B.I.’s tactics alongside graphic descriptions from documents recounting alleged group sex in bugged hotel rooms. He also names some of Dr. King’s purported lovers, including fellow activists who have never been publicly identified as such.

While Dr. King’s infidelities have long been known in broad outline, Mr. Garrow concludes by saying that the new material — including an explosive allegation that he witnessed, and even encouraged, a rape committed by a fellow minister — “poses so fundamental a challenge to his historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible.”

The revelations have sparked a heated reaction. But so far, it has been as much about the ethics and evidentiary standards of Mr. Garrow’s article as it is about Dr. King.

Some fellow historians credit Mr. Garrow with finding potentially important new information about both Dr. King and the F.B.I. attempts to discredit him. But others are denouncing him for publishing incendiary claims generated as part of an F.B.I. smear campaign, without offering any corroborating evidence. And some are accusing him of running roughshod over the privacy of the women with whom Dr. King was allegedly involved.

 wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative commentary: Election 2016 manipulation involved same players as 9/11, Wayne Madsen, June 5, 2019 (subscription required). A growing collection of evidence indicates that three nations directly involved in coordinating the planning and carrying out the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States – Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – were also jointly involved in “hacking” the 2016 U.S. presidential election to bring about Donald Trump’s victory.

Who Killed Bobby? Book Review: A Lie Too Big to Fail, Shane O'Sullivan, right, shane osullivan headshotJune 5, 2019. Lisa Pease’s recently-published book, A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (Feral House) is well-researched and digs up plenty of interesting new leads, but is undermined by implausible theories and conclusions based on a very selective interpretation of the evidence.

Lisa recently endorsed my book Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy (2008) on Black Op Radio but said it “didn’t go far enough” and inspired her to write her own. While she conducts an exhaustive survey of the witness testimony, some of her theories go too far, in my opinion, and may be damaging to our hopes of getting the case reopened. I feel obliged to point out the shortcomings of these theories, so that readers new to the case can get a more balanced view of the evidence and make up their own minds.

lisa pease rfk coverAs two of the handful of surviving authors on the case, we share some common ground. We agree that convicted Palestinian assassin Sirhan Sirhan did not kill Robert Kennedy; that Sirhan was a hypnotically programmed patsy; and that a second gunman fired the fatal shot which killed the senator. But Lisa’s book goes well beyond the second gun theory espoused by other authors on the case. Where Phil Van Praag’s analysis of the Pruszynski recording (the only known recording of the shooting) suggests thirteen shots were fired in the pantry, Lisa suggests there may have been seventeen. Where most authors believe there were two shooters in the pantry. Lisa believes there may have been four or five. While it’s generally accepted that Sirhan fired eight shots from his .22-caliber revolver, injuring Paul Schrade and four other bystanders, Lisa argues Sirhan didn’t shoot anybody as he was firing blanks.

The firearms examiners concluded that the bullet which lodged in Kennedy’s neck and the bullets recovered from victims Ira Goldstein and William Weisel were fired from the same gun. The panel also agreed that the bullet recovered from shooting victim Irwin Stroll was a CCI Mini-Mag with the same rifling characteristics as the Sirhan weapon and all four of these victim bullets were consistent with the .22-caliber CCI long rifle ammunition used by Sirhan.

sirhan sirhan 2016The leaded condition of Sirhan’s barrel prevented a positive identification but, as Bradford concluded, a second gun needed to have the same rifling characteristics as Sirhan’s weapon. Phil Van Praag’s tests are based on this. Lisa seemingly ignores it....

Sirhan (shown in a 2016 mug shot) is still in prison, in the desert just outside San Diego, having served more than fifty years for a crime he cannot remember committing and which the evidence shows he did not commit. While I agree with Lisa that he has served his time and should be freed, these implausible theories will not help that cause.

While I disagree with Lisa’s conclusions, the new research in her book is a welcome addition to the small library on the case and I hope we can work together through the new Truth and Reconciliation Committee to seek justice for Sirhan and Bobby Kennedy with the best and most credible evidence available.

Shane O'Sullivan is an Irish writer and filmmaker based in London and best known for his work on the assassination of Robert Kennedy. His works include the feature documentary "RFK Must Die." His book on the case, "Who Killed Bobby?," was published in 2008. This essay is adapted from a presentation that he gave at the “Political Assassinations of the 1960s” conference at Olney Central College, IL on April 7, 2019.

June 3

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: A Black Feminist’s Response to Attacks on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy, Barbara Ransby (history professor, June 3, 2019. We should not become historical peeping Toms by trafficking in what amounts to rumor and innuendo.

As a black feminist and a civil rights historian, I do not need to be persuaded that many black male ministers during the civil rights era were morally duplicitous, felt sexually entitled and slept around. So did many Catholic priests, politicians, Hollywood celebrities and some award-winning male academics.

Many historians have already argued that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may have been no different. However, David Garrow’s essay published last week in Standpoint, a conservative British magazine — goes much further, making the serious allegation that Dr. King may have witnessed and encouraged a rape. Absolutely any allegation of rape has to be taken seriously. However, this irresponsible account, drawn from questionable documents, has serious shortcomings and risks turning readers into historical peeping Toms by trafficking in what amounts to little more than rumor and innuendo from F. B.I. files.

fbi logoRape, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual assault are very serious accusations in our own time, and all too often women making those charges are doubted, dismissed or simply not believed as in the cases of Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford, who bravely came forward with credible stories, and the R. Kelly accusers who for many years told of their own nightmarish ordeals. The voices of these survivors must be heard and taken seriously, and the perpetrators must be held accountable. The F.B.I. allegations, funneled through Mr. Garrow’s essay, have nothing to do with this effort. It is not a woman’s voice we are being asked to believe here, but the F.B.I.’s — a source with blatantly ulterior motives.

Let me underscore a critical line to draw in our assessment of this new reporting. It is a point that feminist scholars and L.G.B.T.Q. activists have insisted upon for some time. Consenting sexual activity, even activity that mainstream public opinion might not condone, is the prerogative of the adults involved. Rape, on the other hand, is a violent crime. A major problem with Mr. Garrow’s essay, questionable evidence aside, is that he fails to adequately distinguish between the two.

Where is the evidence? And whose story is this? Mr. Garrow has not seen a transcript or listened to the tape of this alleged incident himself. Both are sealed until 2027. The documents he has reviewed were made available inadvertently through the release of the John Kennedy assassination papers by the National Archives. The mention of Dr. King’s having been in the room during an alleged rape “appears only as an annotation,” one handwritten sentence added to the typed summary. Mr. Garrow ascribes the scribble to either William Sullivan, head of the Domestic Intelligence Division, whose personal file was the source of the document containing the rape allegation, or one of his associates. In other words, we don’t even know who the author is.

Mr. Garrow goes on to speculate that the prudish Mr. Sullivan, who may or may not have written the damning sentence, and his aides were unlikely to have embellished this account and had no “apparent motive” to do so. Really? Who knows what motivated them, but the motives of their boss, the notorious F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover, are well known: to destroy and discredit Dr. King and later other black freedom movement leaders. Cointelpro, the counterintelligence program of the F.B.I. that later spied on and subverted the work of groups like the Black Panther Party, was even implicated in an assassination.

Barbara Ransby (@BarbaraRansby), a professor of history, gender and women’s studies and African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom MovementEslanda and Making All Black Lives Matter.

June 3

Swamp Watch

GQ, The Political Costs of Not Impeaching Trump, Adam Jentleson (former deputy chief of staff to former Senate majority leader Harry Reid), June 3, 2019. Democrats are ceding legitimacy to Trump’s claims of exoneration by giving him a pass. It is a long way from June 2019 to November 2020. And as they say in Boston, you can’t get there from here. Hoping everything turns out well while giving Trump free space to wield his power is unlikely to end well.

The fight will be hard for House Democrats and the appeal of dodging it is strong. But like the monsters in “It Follows,” this fight will find you. It already has. There is no way over, under, or around impeachment — only through.

On February 13, 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia died. Before his body was in the ground, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would block anyone President Barack Obama nominated to fill Scalia’s seat. The next week, Jeb Bush dropped out of the Republican primary, quickly followed by Marco Rubio, and eventually Ted Cruz, leaving Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee. Polls showed Hillary Clinton beating Trump by solid margins, with forecasters pegging her chances of victory from 71 to 85 percent, and Democrats favored to take back the Senate.

I was working for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid at the time. Being in the minority limited our options for overcoming McConnell’s blockade. But whenever we started to contemplate more aggressive tactics, they were dismissed on the theory that the upcoming election would sort everything out. Why rock the boat, we told ourselves. We’re on a glide path to victory in November, and then President Clinton will submit her Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed by a Democratic Senate.

The rest is history. McConnell’s decision to block Garland consolidated Republican support behind Trump and helped him pull off a narrow victory. Instead of a Democratic president appointing a liberal justice to tilt the balance of the Supreme Court, Trump has appointed two justices to entrench a conservative majority for a generation.

Republicans wielded their power while we hoped for the best. And the course of history was altered forever.

There are two lessons here for House Democrats as they debate whether to open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

First, polling can change. I don’t know how else to say this: getting impeached is bad. It is not something you want to happen to you, especially if you’re president. You do not want to go down as one of only four presidents in history to be impeached. This is a bad thing. Only Democrats, bless our hearts, could convince ourselves that it is good for a president to be impeached.

Richard Nixon’s approval rating was at 65 percent when his impeachment process began and only 19 percent of the public supported his impeachment. By the end, the numbers had flipped: his approval was 24 percent and support for impeachment was 57 percent. Former president Bill Clinton survived because he was popular and the man pursuing him, Independent Counsel Ken Starr, was not. The public rightly thought Starr was on a fishing expedition. By contrast, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is popular and the public thinks he is fair, while Trump is historically unpopular. Even though Clinton survived, his heir apparent lost the next election—which he had been heavily favored to win—while Republicans gained seats in Congress.

The second lesson from the Garland experience is that like nature, power abhors a vacuum. The decision not to impeach is not a decision to focus on other things, it is a decision to cede power, control, and legitimacy to Trump. Trump is not a master chess player, he just bluffs his opponents into forfeiting their moves — and that is exactly what he is doing to House Democrats.

Perception Managementwilliam barr cbs jan crawford 60 minutes may 31 2019

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: What was William Barr’s fleece vest trying to tell us? Monica Hesse,June 3, 2019 (print ed.). He could have worn a suit for his TV interview. But the attorney general picked a folksier vibe for floating conspiracy theories.

William Barr showed up to his CBS This Morning interview looking like he was prepared to discuss not the investigation into possible Russian coordination with the 2016 Trump campaign but rather how to bait a fishing hook. The attorney general was working a distinctly “River Runs Through It” cosplay vibe: a tan half-zipped fleece vest over a checked button-down shirt, and in the background, a roaring fire.

To be fair, the interview, which aired Friday, did take place in Alaska, where Barr was traveling. But there are business suits available in Alaska; Barr had worn one earlier on the cub scout webelos badgetrip, during a meeting about rural law enforcement issues. his decision to skip a suit as he held forth on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation seemed like an attempt to communicate a message.

And that message was: I am a man of the people, and I am here to speak truths and help you earn a [Cub Scout] Webelos badge.

May 31

Barr Defies Flynn Judge

washington post logoWashington Post, Despite court order, prosecutors don’t release transcripts of Flynn, Russian ambassador, Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman, May 31, 2019. The Justice Department also declined to give an unredacted version of parts of the Mueller report related to Michael Flynn. Federal prosecutors on Friday declined to make public transcripts of recorded conversations between Michael Flynn (shown below left in a file photo) and Russia’s ambassador to the United States in December 2016, despite a judge’s order.

michael flynn state department CustomIn a court filing Friday, the Justice Department wrote that it did not rely on such recordings to establish Flynn’s guilt or determine a recommendation for his sentencing.

Prosecutors also failed to release an unredacted version of portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn that the judge had ordered be made public.

Flynn, who served briefly as President Trump’s first national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and he cooperated with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. He is awaiting sentencing.

emmet sullivan 2012The government’s unusual response came after U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, right,  in Washington ordered earlier in May that the Justice Department make public various materials related to the case, including transcripts of any audio recordings of Flynn, such as his conversations with Russian officials.

Prosecutors provided one item that Sullivan ordered be released: a transcript of a voice mail left by an attorney for Trump, much of which had already appeared in Mueller’s report. It is unclear how the judge will react to the government’s noncompliance with other elements of his order. Late last year, Sullivan postponed Flynn’s sentencing after angrily lambasting the former national security adviser for his actions, saying, “Arguably, you sold your country out.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Top Democrats tell intelligence chiefs they must help monitor Barr’s review of Russia probe, Karoun Demirjian, May 31, 2019. The House Intelligence william barr new oCommittee chairman sent letters to the heads of the CIA, FBI, National Security.

In a separate letter, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), asked the spy chiefs to “immediately” inform the panel “if you see signs” that Barr’s inquiry risks compromising intelligence-gathering sources and methods, affecting relationships with foreign liaisons, or adversely impacting the intelligence community’s workforce.

He also asked that they notify the panel of any “selective declassification” that appeared politically motivated.Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, demanding in-person briefings to discuss what materials the attorney general has sought thus far.

May 30

Bilderberg Meeting

Global Research, Opinion: The Bilderbergers in Switzerland, Peter Koenig, May 30, 2019. The 67th Bilderberg Meeting is taking place in Montreux, Switzerland from 30 May – 2 June 2019, where the about 130 invitees – so far confirmed – from 23 countries, are staying at one of Switzerland’s most luxurious venues, the Montreux Palace hotel. About a quarter of the attendees are women. The Bilderberg meetings started at the onset of the Cold War, as a discussion club of American and European leaders, a fortification against communism, in clear text, against the Soviet Union. The first event took place in 1954 at the Bilderberg hotel in the Dutch town of Oosterbeek.

The conferences of the Bilderbergers are the most secretive events, managed by those who pull the strings behind world leaders – politicians, corporate CEOs, big finance, and other business execs – artists, and the who-is-who of the world elite. And we are talking of the western world. Other than about ten attendees from Turkey, Poland, Bulgaria and Estonia, participants are North Americans or Europeans. The rest of the world doesn’t count.

This year’s Bilderberg meeting will be chaired by Henri Castries, France, Chairman of the Paris-based Institut Montaigne, a non-profit thinktank working on public policy and social cohesion.

mike pompeo state dept photoOther prominent attendees include Mike Pompeo, left, US Secretary of State, and the driving force of these events and protégé of Rockefeller’s, former US Secretary of State (and war criminal), Henry Kissinger; France’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire; Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister, from the far-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy; Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s Defense Minister from the conservative Christian jared kushner head shotDemocratic Union (CDU); – and, perhaps most noteworthy, Jared Kushner, right, personal advisor and son-in-law of US President Donald Trump, and intimate friend of Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water.

U.S. Intelligence Documents: Operation Condor helena holmberg haroldo conti

Foreign Ministry official Elena Holmberg and renowned writer Haroldo Conti were among those who disappeared at the hands of security forces during the Argentine dictatorship

  • Buenos Aires Police Chief told CIA "he wanted no prisoners for interrogation, only cadavers"
  • Junta leader General Rafael Videla sought to hide mass murder to protect Argentina’s image
  • Before coup, CIA analysts predicted rise of "hardline mentality... to dominate the Army”
  • U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Patricia Derian reported that “Argentina has the worst human rights record in South America”

National Security Archive at George Washington University, Inside Argentina’s Killing Machine: U.S. Intelligence Documents Record Gruesome Human Rights Crimes of 1976-1983, Carlos Osorio, Silvia Tandeciarz and Johanna Weech, May 30, 2019. On August 20, 1976, Argentine security personnel dynamited the bodies of thirty people – ten women and twenty men – who had been detained by the Federal Police and executed in the town of Pilar, north of Buenos Aires.

The explosion scattered human remains over a wide radius. This gruesome display of repression was intended to send a bloody message to other alleged militants to cease their activities five months after the military coup, according to a CIA intelligence report posted today by the National Security Archive. But military junta leader General Rafael Videla was “annoyed that the bodies were left so prominently displayed,” sources told the CIA, because it “reflects adversely on the good name of Argentina."

Not that Videla opposed the mass murders, noted the CIA. “Videla is in agreement that subversives should be killed, but [believes] that the entire matter should be dealt with discreetly.”

For the duration of the “dirty war” during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, Argentine officials took extensive steps to hide their atrocities through the use of secret torture centers, disappeared victims, and faked battles with insurgents to cover up human rights crimes. Ceaseless efforts by the families of their victims, human rights organizations, courageous prosecutors and judges and survivors of the abuses have lifted the veil on the scale of repression and institutionalized brutality of the Argentine military.

Now, recently declassified U.S. intelligence reports provide comprehensive new information on the killing machine run by Argentina’s security forces during the military era. Officials from the CIA, FBI, and other U.S. government agencies recorded vivid details of the “extensive use of torture” by Argentina’s military regime to quell the leftist insurgency during the 1976-1983 dictatorship, according to a posting today of now-declassified U.S. intelligence materials by the National Security Archive. The recently released records describe “brutal methods employed by the military” during the period. "While numerous innocent people were tortured and killed by paramilitary units, most of the victims were at least supporters of the ERP or the Montoneros,” the CIA reported.

“We continue to receive numerous highly credible reports that torture is used routinely in the interrogation of detainees,” noted a graphic 1979 summary to the Secretary of State from Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Patricia Derian. “The electric ‘picana,’ something like a supercharged cattle prod, is still apparently a favorite tool, as is the ‘submarine’ treatment (immersion of the head in a tub of water, urine, excrement, blood, or a combination of these),” Derian reported. “There is no longer any doubt that Argentina has the worst human rights record in South America.”

May 28

Why Is U.S. House Stalling?

Alliance for Justice, Opinion: House -- Exhausted from Threatening Oversight -- Needs Another Recess, Bill Yeomans, May 28, 2019. The House greeted the release of the redacted bill yeomans afj cropped CustomMueller report by taking a 10-day recess. After returning for several weeks of name-calling between the Speaker and the President, the issuance of a bunch of subpoenas, threats of contempt, and two court victories, the House ran out of gas and headed off for another 10-day recess.

While Speaker Nancy Pelosi jockeyed to hold the growing impeachment caucus at bay, the House failed to hold a single substantive hearing on the Mueller Report or even to secure a date to hear from Mueller. Don McGahn bowed to Trump’s demand that he blow off the House Judiciary Committee’s (HJC) subpoena -- so far, without consequence. While Pelosi oversaw implementation of her plan to delay impeachment through slow-moving, diffuse oversight, the urgency of moving to impeachment only increased.

alliance for justice logoThe Democratic mantra during the 2018 election campaign was to wait for the Mueller report. When the report was delivered, the House announced its wait for the unredacted report and then for Mueller’s testimony. Waiting for Mueller has become a paralyzing syndrome. As Trump and Barr have lied repeatedly about the contents of the report, members of Congress have waited. After AG Barr stiffed the HJC, the committee promptly reported a contempt citation to the House floor. No vote. Mueller wants to testify in private, perhaps offering a public opening statement. No date.

The HJC’s most important responsibility now is to educate the public on the contents of the report. It cannot wait for Mueller. It can bring in experts to testify about parts of the report, explaining the facts and the law. Nearly 1,000 former federal prosecutors have now signed a letter saying Trump would be in cuffs if he were not president. I’ll bet at least 800 of them would be glad to testify or assist in other ways. Surely, there are distinguished national security experts who would be delighted to help the public understand Volume I of the report. The committee cannot simply wait for reluctant witnesses to come around and for the exhaustion of court processes.

Perhaps the most harmful effect of waiting is to convey the message that the facts we now have are somehow insufficient. We have a report and supplemental public record that establish that the President of the United States has committed multiple felonies and has engaged in deeply unpatriotic conduct. The task now is less to gather facts than to help the public understand the facts before them. Facts developed by other committees will prove welcome supplements.

The House leadership seems committed to a fear-driven political calculation that impeachment will backfire. History suggests otherwise. Nixon and Clinton were both far more popular than Trump and their conduct was not nearly as egregious as Trump’s. Even so, the impeaching party won the next presidential election. Trump’s denial of congressional authority and his blatant effort to run out the clock threaten to make the House look bullied and feckless if it doesn’t act.

The House has produced significant legislation. It’s now time to show that it can legislate and hold Trump accountable at the same time.

U.S. Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Texas secretary of state resigns after leading botched voter purge that questioned the citizenship of almost 100,000 people, Meagan Flynn, May 28, 2019. Texas’s acting secretary of state, David Whitley (R), resigned Monday just months after leading the botched voter purge of nearly 100,000 suspected noncitizens that erroneously also targeted U.S. citizens, efforts that drew rebukes from a federal judge and numerous voter rights groups.

May 27

War Planning

scott ritter

OpEdNews, Opinion: The U.S. Stands to Lose Much More Than a War With Iran, Scott Ritter (shown in a file screenshot), May 27, 2019. After much back-and-forth posturing by the Trump administration, book-ended by national security adviser John Bolton accelerating the planned deployments of an aircraft carrier battle group and a B-52 bomber task force to the Middle East, and President Trump commenting, "I hope not" when asked whether there would be a war, the American commander in chief threatened to destroy Iran on Sunday. "If Iran wants to fight," Trump tweeted, "that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"

Trying to pinpoint what prompted Trump to communicate what amounts to a genocidal threat is like reading tea leaves -- more art than science. But after seeing his effort to isolate Iran diplomatically rejected by a united Europe, and learning from military leaders that a war with Iran would be far costlier and much more problematic than he originally thought, the president reverted to character, lashing out with apocalyptic fury against a nation that has frustrated his administration from its inception.

iran flag mapiran wants war graphic Custom 3Trump has backed himself into a corner. The self-imagined dealmaker sincerely believed that by applying economic pressure on Iran, backed up with the threat of force, the Iranian government would come to the negotiation table and agree to a nuclear deal that denied it everything it had achieved through diplomacy with the Obama administration. Trump believed he could bully America's allies in Europe to go along with him.

And, in the end, when he asked his military leaders to provide him with options to forcefully compel Iran to bend to his will, Trump was told that nothing short of an all-out war, involving more than 500,000 troops, could provide the outcome he sought, and even then only at great cost.

Trump had run on a platform that promised an end to costly wars of choice in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. If he pulled the trigger on Iran, his chances of reelection in 2020 would be all but eliminated.

The heart of Trump's frustration lies with the military options he has been presented with, namely "OPLAN 1002." Short for "operations plan," OPLAN 1002 is the U.S. war plan for major military conflict in the Persian Gulf.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Trump's very un-American Memorial Day, Wayne Madsen (author and former Navy intelligence officer), May 27, 2019 (Subscription required, excerpted with permission). Donald Trump chose to spend the Memorial Day weekend hobnobbing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a man who consistently honors his nation's dead war criminals from World War II.

May 25

Facebook: Shameless Fake News Propagandists

monika bickert anderson cooper

CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper challenged Monika Bickert, a high-ranking Republican at Facebook, on why she was defending Facebook's continued distribution of a faked video making Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sound and look drunk by slowing the video's speed. President Trump also promoted the faked video.

washington post logoWashington Post, Facebook defends decision to leave up fake Pelosi video, saying users should make up their own minds, Alex Horton, May 25, 2019. There is no dispute that the Facebook video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) viewed by millions is a fake, deliberately altered to make her appear drunk. YouTube acted fast and removed duplicates. Other social media outlets have not made the same call.

facebook logoFacebook acknowledged the video is “false” but said the videos would remain on the platform.

Amid fierce calls across the public and government for Facebook to remove the video — which has been viewed 2.6 million times — and others like it, a Facebook official took to CNN on Friday to defend its decision.

Monika Bickert, a company vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, said the video was reviewed by fact-checking organizations, and after it deemed the video a hoax, the company “dramatically” reduced its distribution. But Facebook did not remove the video, Bickert said.

The question has vexed lawmakers and Silicon Valley for years, particularly after massive disinformation campaigns were harnessed in the 2016 election: Should we consider platforms like Facebook “news publishers,” and should they handle information like one?

CNN host Anderson Cooper believes the answer is yes and pressed Bickert on her company’s responsibilities.

“You’re making money by being in the news business,” he said. “If you can’t do it well, shouldn’t you just get out of the news business?”

Bickert rejected the premise in a tense back-and-forth. “We aren’t in the news business. We’re in the social media business,” she said, adding the company removes content deemed a threat to public safety and from fake accounts.

Fair Elections: U.S. Gerrymandering

washington post logoWashington Post, New electoral maps for Ohio and Michigan can wait, Supreme Court says, Robert Barnes, May 25, 2019 (print ed.). While they consider the question of partisan gerrymandering, the justices put lower-court decisions finding those states’ maps unconstitutional on hold. The Supreme Court on Friday put on hold lower-court decisions that said Ohio and Michigan had to come up with new electoral maps because of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.

supreme court graphicThe decision was not surprising, because the justices are currently considering whether judges should even have a role in policing partisan gerrymandering. There were no noted dissents in the orders for either state.

The Supreme Court in March heard arguments in similar cases from North Carolina, where judges found that Republicans had manipulated congressional maps to their advantage, and from Maryland, where Democratic lawmakers redrew a district that resulted in a loss for a longtime Republican congressman.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosWhile the Supreme Court regularly examines redistricting plans for signs of racial gerrymandering, it has never found a state’s plan so infected with partisan politics that it violates the rights of voters. The decision in the North Carolina and Maryland cases are expected before the end of June.

With the decisions from Ohio and Michigan, federal courts in five states have struck down maps as partisan gerrymanders. The courts in the Ohio and Michigan decisions ordered the states to come up with new maps that could be used in the 2020 elections.

May 20

paul craig roberts rob kall

OpEdNews, Opinion: The Assange/Manning Cases Discredit Humanity, Paul Craig Roberts (shown above at left in a radio interview with OpEdNews Publisher Rob Kall), May 20, 2019. Everyone who is aware of the US government's extraordinary criminal actions at home and abroad bears a heavy weight. The millions of peoples murdered, maimed, orphaned, widowed, and displaced by gratuitous American military aggression comprise a Holocaust of deaths based entirely on lies and false accusations in order to advance secret American and Israeli agendas.

I suspect that the heavy burden of responsibility for mass murder and destruction committed in our name is the reason most Americans prefer the fake news fed to them about how good and wonderful and exceptional we are and how hard our government works to protect us from the nasty folks elsewhere.

This story-line converts the illegal brutal war crimes of the US government against women, children, defenseless citizens, schools, wedding parties, funerals, and farmers in their fields into glorious and brave defenses of our liberty and virtue.

chelsea manning dan behrendt youtube screenshot dmcaIf you want the truth watch the video leaked by Chelsea Manning of US troops enjoying themselves while from the air they machine-gun reporters and innocent civilians walking along a street and follow up by machine-gunning a father and his two young children, babies, who stopped to help the wounded bleeding in the street. The leak of the video that showed the true picture of Washington's wars is the reason Manning (shown at right in a Dan Behrendt screenshot) was tortured and imprisoned.

It is the person who told the truth, not the criminals who committed the murders, who was punished.

I agree that the fake story of America's moral worthiness is much easier to live with than it is to bear the shame of the true story. But in the end the fake story destroys our liberty even more completely than would conquest by a foreign opponent. People are more suspicious of an occupying power than they are of their own government and are less likely to believe foreign occupiers when they lie to them. In contrast, a people's own government can trap them in a false consciousness and keep them there with fake news.

Washington's case against Julian Assange is so contrived and so weak, that the corrupt US attorney assigned to frame-up Assange has resorted to persecution of Manning in an effort to coerce false testimony against Assange from Manning. After being tortured and serving seven years in prison for revealing a US war crime, as Manning was required to do under the US military code, Manning was pardoned by President Obama.

Now Manning is back in prison for a second time after being pardoned, because Manning will not cooperate in the frame-up of Assange by giving false testimony to a grand jury. Without false testimony, the corrupt US attorney hasn't a case that could get a conviction from even the typical insouciant American jury, normally a collection of gullible people julian assange head bookeasily manipulated by the prosecutor.

When Manning (shown in a file photo at left) was imprisoned for 63 days for refusing to tell lies about Assange, Manning spent 28 of those days in solitary anthony trengaconfinement. Why?

A week after Manning was released, the corrupt US attorney called Manning again before the grand jury that the corrupt US attorney is using to contrive a case against Assange. Again Manning refused to cooperate in the frame-up, and was again held in contempt and again remanded into federal prison.

This time a corrupt US federal district judge, Anthony Trenga, right, added to Manning's jail time a daily fine of $500 rising to $1,000 daily after 60 days. In other words, the corrupt judge is helping the corrupt US attorney to coerce Manning into cooperating in a frame-up of Assange. Americans need to understand that their judges are not judges. They are operatives of the American police state.

indicter logo

The Indicter, The Making of a “Rapist,” Pamela Anderson (the famed actress, shown below right), May 2019 issue (first published by the pamela anderson foundation portraitPamela Anderson Foundation on May 20, 2019). Today, I want to speak out as a woman. A woman who has survived rape and sexual abuse. A woman who knows how cruel men can be, and how deep the wounds in a woman’s soul. To this day, I remember the excruciating pain.

To this day, I can feel the agony. To this day, their faces keep haunting my sleep – a fate shared by countless women worldwide. No, I would never defend a rapist, there can never be an excuse for this crime, nor for offenders enjoying impunity. We owe it to ourselves, our sisters and girls to speak out and fight complacency.

But in our resolve to do the right thing, let us never forget the danger of error, and the power of false accusations. For the same factors that make allegations of rape so difficult to prove in a court of law, make them even more difficult to disprove in the court of public opinion. Therefore, false allegations of sexual misconduct have always been the tool of choice for any campaign of mobbing, blackmail or slander. Once someone has been stamped a “rapist”, whether convicted, charged or merely alleged, his reputation has not only been sentenced to death, but has already been executed in public.

And this is the reason I speak out today. I speak out in support of a friend. A friend whom I love dearly, but whose health is crumbling, whose hopes are fading and whose time is running out. A friend who has dared to speak truth to power, who has shone a light on their criminal deeds and who is now paying the price. A friend whose voice has been strangled, whose hands have been shackled and whose name has been slandered. His name is Julian Assange.

julian assange and swedens politically appointed judges indicter graphicLet us remember that Julian has never been convicted for a sexual offense, that he has never even been formally charged with one, and that there never has been any supporting evidence against him. In fact, when the rape allegations first emerged in 2010, Julian voluntarily cooperated with the police, responded to their questions and stayed in Sweden until permitted to leave. Even the chief prosecutor, having carefully considered all the evidence, closed the case, stating that “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape” and that the alleged conduct “disclosed no crime at all”. Only to be re-opened a few days later by a different prosecutor, and based on conveniently modified allegations of fact.

Let us also remember what both complainants have confirmed already years ago: namely that their sex with Julian had always been consensual, that they had never intended to report a crime, but that Swedish police had pressured them into doing so. And when Sweden finally wanted to drop the case in 2013, it was the British who urged them not to get “cold feet.” Sweden complied and, in the following years, went out of its way to ensure that Julian would not be able to defend himself against the rape allegations without at the same time exposing himself to extradition to the US.

On 13 May 2019, Sweden re-opened the very same grotesque investigation for a third time since August 2010. We all know that the rape allegations against Julian are bogus. We all know what is their real purpose. And we all know that Sweden acts in bad faith. As poignantly summarized by Women Against Rape: “The allegations against [Julian] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction… The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will”. I fully agree. This is not about justice for rape. This is about the rape of justice. A tragedy for Julian, a disgrace for Sweden and a serious betrayal of all of us believing in justice, democracy and the rule of law.

To me, Julian is a personal friend, a hero, a liberator. To you, he may be an enemy, a traitor, a sleazy snitch. You are entitled to your opinion and don’t have to change your mind. But before you draw your conclusions, please make sure you have really thought this through.

If, after all I said, you still believe Julian is a rapist, did you ever ask yourself whether the mere fact of a ripped condom can really amount to “rape”? A ripped condom which has revealed no trace of DNA? A ripped condom happening in the midst of repeated sexual encounters between consenting adults? A condom which Julian is accused of having ripped intentionally, but without the only other person in the room even noticing the deed? Just in case you didn’t know: that’s all he is being accused of. Pause and think. And then draw your own conclusions.

May 19

9 11 dancing israelis anamza photo

A high-quality photo, top, shows the area the dancing Israelis were staged. Credit | Panamza

Information Clearing House, Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks, Whitney Webb, May 19, 2019. New information released by the FBI has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrests made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.

The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

For years, the official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack. However, newly released FBI copies of the photos taken by the five Israelis strongly suggest that these individuals had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The copies of the photos were obtained via a FOIA request made by a private citizen.

According to a former high-ranking American intelligence official who spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward in 2002, the FBI concluded in its investigation that the five Israelis arrested “were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ, served as a front.” At least two of the men arrested were determined to have direct links to the Mossad after their names appeared in a CIA-FBI database of foreign intelligence operatives. According to one of their lawyers, one of the men, Paul Kurzberg, had previously worked for the Mossad in another country prior to arriving in the United States. Another of those arrested, Oded Ellner, subsequently stated on Israeli TV that the five Israelis had been in New York at the time “to document the event,” meaning the attack on the World Trade Center.

House Democrats are now scrutinizing whether Sekulow or other Trump attorneys played a role in shaping Cohen’s 2017 testimony to Congress. Cohen has said he made the false statement to help hide the fact that Trump had potentially hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in a possible Russian project while he was running for president.

Related story from 2012: Media Mockery of 9/11 Evidence: From Video Archives

CNN, Ventura's take on 9/11: 'They wanted it to happen,' Piers Morgan interviews former Minnesota governor and Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura about the causes of 9/11, Sept. 17, 2012 (2:31 mins). Former Gov. Jesse Ventura gets into a heated argument with Piers Morgan about 9/11 and the government's response.

May 17

Mueller Probe

djt sergey lavrov sergey kislyak wh may 10 2017 tass

President Trump relaxes with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and then Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak at the White House on May 10, 2017. U.S. news media were barred from the confidential meeting, whose topics have remained secret. Photos are available only from the Russian outlet TASS.

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge tells prosecutors to release transcript of Michael Flynn’s call to Russian envoy, Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman, May 17, 2019. The michael flynn stephen miller jared kushner reince priebustranscripts of the call and a separate voice mail would reveal conversations at the center of two major avenues of the Mueller probe. A federal judge on Thursday ordered that prosecutors make public a transcript of a phone call that former national security adviser Michael Flynn (shown at center of file photo at right surrounded by Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner and Reince Priebus) tried hard to hide with a lie: his conversation with a Russian ambassador in late 2016.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (below at left) in Washington ordered the government also to provide a public transcript of a November 2017 voice mail involving Flynn. In that sensitive call, President Trump’s attorney left a message for Flynn’s attorney reminding him of the president’s fondness for Flynn at a time when Flynn was considering cooperating with emmet sullivan 2012federal investigators.

The transcripts, which the judge ordered be posted on a court website by May 31, would reveal conversations at the center of two major avenues of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. So far they have been disclosed to the public only in fragments in court filings and the Mueller report.

Sullivan also ordered that still-redacted portions of the Mueller report that relate to Flynn be given to the court and made public. Sullivan’s orders came very shortly after government prosecutors agreed to release some sealed records in Flynn’s case. The release was in response to a motion filed with the court earlier this year by The Washington Post, which argued that the public deserved to know more about Flynn’s role in key events and cooperation with investigators.

The newly unsealed portions of court records showed Flynn was a deep source of useful information to the special counsel’s team in 2017 and 2018, helping it probe the Trump campaign’s effort to gain stolen emails and the question of whether Trump sought to criminally interfere in the investigation bearing down on him.

The records confirm the questions that Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and former military intelligence officer, helped federal prosecutors answer after his guilty plea. Flynn admitted in 2017 that he tried to conceal the nature of his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and then began cooperating with Mueller’s team to try to reduce and possibly avoid a prison sentence.

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: No wonder Robert Mueller has been waiting to testify, Bill Palmer, right, May 17, 2019. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee publicly stated that they thought Robert Mueller was going to publicly testify on May 15th – and when they learned it wasn’t going to happen, they didn’t seem too upset about it. Now we know why they were confident Mueller’s testimony would happen soon enough, and why Mueller was waiting.

bill palmer report logo headerLast night Robert Mueller’s prosecutorial team – which apparently still exists on some level – made a court filing in the Michael Flynn case, despite the fact that it wasn’t under obligation to do so, and it wasn’t even close to being up against any deadline. The filing revealed that Flynn witnessed Trump and his underlings commit several crimes. This in turn prompted the judge in the case to order that far more evidence of these crimes be publicly released soon. This, of course, wasn’t coincidence.

democratic donkey logoWith his filing yesterday, Mueller is essentially unredacting the most important pieces of his own report by force, in a way that Attorney General William Barr can’t stop. If Mueller had publicly testified on the 15th as originally planned, would he have been legally able to discuss the Trump crimes that Flynn witnessed? But now that Mueller has found a way to force the Flynn stuff into the public purview, there’s nothing that Trump and Barr can even try to do to stop Mueller from testifying about the Flynn stuff.

We’ll see if Robert Mueller makes other similar moves in the coming days in order to force the key findings of his probe into public view. But it’s now fairly obvious why he’s been waiting to testify. Why fight with Barr’s compromised DOJ about what you can testify about, when you can instead use the courts to change the entire playing field?

May 15

 whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Commentary: Truth? WTF Is That? Milicent Cranor, May 15, 2019. At a time when the American public seems to be more ignorant than ever, the tools of deception have become more sophisticated.

We live in an age of scams that trick the senses. Photos can be altered, films and videos can be manipulated to an exquisite degree of realism. Malware can add images of nonexistent cancerous lymph nodes to CT scans. Artificial intelligence can generate photorealistic images of people who do not even exist. Videos appear to show someone saying things in a speech they never said. Voice simulators can fool your nearest relative into thinking that’s you on the phone asking for $500 to spring you from a Turkish prison.

And then there are the sophisticated tools of psychological manipulation. The human sock puppets. The trolls who control the internet. The CIA, with its department of perception management and its assets in the media. The unlimited supply of bribable witnesses who will swear to anything. And those who manufacture scandals, like the conservative activists who tried to frame presidential candidate Peter Buttigieg for sexual assault.

David Swanson, Book Review: Where Lyme Disease Came From and Why It Eludes Treatment, david swanson headDavid Swanson, May 15, 2019 (excerpted). A new book called Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons by Kris Newby adds significantly to our understanding of Lyme disease, while oddly seeming to avoid mention of what we already knew.

Newby claims (in 2019) that if a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer had not made a confession in 2013, the secret that Lyme disease came from a biological weapons program would have died with him. Yet, in 2004 Michael Christopher Carroll published a book called Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Germ Laboratory. He appeared on several television shows to discuss the book, including on NBC’s Today Show, where the book was made a Today Show Book Club selection. Lab 257 hit the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list soon after its publication.

Newby’s book reaches the same conclusion as Carroll’s, namely that the most likely source of diseased ticks is Plum Island. Newby reaches this conclusion on page 224 after mentioning Plum Island only once in passing in a list of facilities on page 47 and otherwise avoiding it throughout the book. This is bizarre, because Newby’s book otherwise goes into great depth, and even chronicles extensive research efforts that lead largely to dead ends, and because there is information available about Plum Island, and because Carroll’s best-selling book seems to demand comment, supportive or dismissive or otherwise.

In fact, I think that, despite the avoidance of any discussion of Plum Island, Newby’s research complements Carroll’s quite well, strengthens the same general conclusion, and then adds significant new understanding. So, let’s look at what Carroll told us, and then at what Newby adds.

Less than 2 miles off the east end of Long Island sits Plum Island, where the U.S. government makes or at least made biological weapons, including weapons consisting of diseased insects that can be dropped from airplanes on a (presumably foreign) population. One such insect is the deer tick, pursued as a germ weapon by the Nazis, the Japanese, the Soviets, and the Americans.

Deer swim to Plum Island. Birds fly to Plum Island. The island lies in the middle of the Atlantic migration route for numerous species. “Ticks,” Carroll writes, “find baby chicks irresistible.”

In July of 1975 a new or very rare disease appeared in Old Lyme, Connecticut, just north of Plum Island. And what was on Plum Island? A germ warfare lab to which the U.S. government had brought former Nazi germ warfare scientists in the 1940s to work on the same evil work for a different employer. These included the head of the Nazi germ warfare program who had worked directly for Heinrich Himmler. On Plum Island was a germ warfare lab that frequently conducted its experiments out of doors. After all, it was on an island. What could go wrong? Documents record outdoor experiments with diseased ticks in the 1950s (when we know that the United States was using such weaponized life forms in North Korea). Even Plum Island’s indoors, where participants admit to experiments with ticks, was not sealed tight.

And test animals mingled with wild deer, test birds with wild birds.

By the 1990s, the eastern end of Long Island had by far the greatest concentration of Lyme disease. If you drew a circle around the area of the world heavily impacted by Lyme disease, which happened to be in the Northeast United States, the center of that circle was Plum Island.

Plum Island experimented with the Lone Star tick, whose habitat at the time was confined to Texas. Yet it showed up in New York and Connecticut, infecting people with Lyme disease — and killing them. The Lone Star tick is now endemic in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

If Newby agrees or disagrees with any of the above, she does not inform us. But here’s what she adds to it.

The outbreak of unusual tick-borne disease around Long Island Sound actually started in 1968, and it involved three diseases: Lyme arthritis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and babesiosis. A U.S. bioweapons scientist, Willy Burgdorfer, credited in 1982 with discovering the cause of Lyme disease, may have put the diseases into ticks 30 years earlier. And his report on the cause of Lyme disease may have involved a significant omission that has made it harder to diagnose or cure. The public focus on only one of the three diseases has allowed a disaster that could have been contained to become widespread.

Newby, who has herself suffered from Lyme disease, blames the profit interests of companies and the corruption of government for the poor handling of Lyme disease. But her writing suggests to me a possibility she doesn’t raise, namely that those who know where Lyme disease came from have avoided properly addressing it because of where it came from.

Newby assumes throughout the book that there has to have been a particular major incident near Long Island Sound, either an accident or an experiment on the public or an attack by a foreign nation. Burgdorfer reportedly claimed to another researcher that Russia stole U.S. bioweapons. Based on that and nothing else, Newby speculates that perhaps Russia attacked the United States with diseased ticks, coincidentally right in the location where the U.S. government experimented with diseased ticks.

May 14

jfk limo jackie clint hill

Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill boards President Kennedy's limosine in Dallas shortly after the fatal shooting on Nov. 22, 1963.

JFKFacts.org, First-person commentary: Seven years, 2,172 posts, and 2,034,959 page views later, I want to share what we, collectively, jefferson morley newfound, Jefferson Morley, right, May 14, 2019. In my opinion, the JFK fact pattern found in the pages of JFK Facts is inconsistent with the official anti-conspiracy theory that an alienated leftist, alone and unaided, killed President Kennedy for no discernible reason.

To the contrary, the JFK fact pattern indicates to me that enemies of Kennedy’s policies in the CIA and Pentagon covertly conspired to kill the president in such a way that blame for the crime would fall on Lee Harvey Oswald, the supposed “lone gunman.” The role of certain CIA officers in this story is a central focus of JFK Facts.

May 13

Officials Ramp Up WikiLeaks Crackdown

Consortium News, Sweden Reopens 9-Year Old Rape Investigation Against Julian Assange; Seeks His Extradition, Joe Lauria, May 13, 2019. Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, said Monday that Sweden would seek the extradition of Julian Assange to face a nearly ten-year old allegation of rape.

julian assange head bookAssange (shown in a file photo) is serving a 50-week sentence at Belmarsh prison in London for skipping bail in the rape case in 2012. Assange had lived inside the Ecuadorian embassy from June 2012 to April 11 this year, when Ecuador lifted his asylum and allowed British police to enter the embassy and arrest him.

On the same day the United States unveiled a sealed indictment accusing Assange of intrusion into a government computer. The U.S. also filed an extradition request for Assange.

Persson told a press conference in Stockholm on Monday that it would be up to British authorities to determine which extradition request—to Sweden or to the U.S.— would take precedence. She also said she wouldn’t speculate on an extradition request from the U.S. to Sweden since one had not yet been made. The wikileaks logo2BBC reported that “the decision as to which of the two requests take precedence will be made by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid. He would make his decision primarily on the basis of which alleged offence was considered to be more serious. Rape is likely to be considered more serious than conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. That would mean ordering Assange’s extradition to Sweden.”

Britain may take the opportunity to wash its hands of the politically thorny case of extraditing a publisher to the United States by sending him to Sweden instead, though Persson said Assange could not then be extradited to the U.S. from Sweden without Britain’s consent.

julian assange screenshot arrest (Ruptly)

London police arresting the bearded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (screenshot from Ruptly video).

RT, Ecuador will give US all documents & devices Assange left in London embassy – report, Staff and wire reporting, May 13, 2019.Ecuador's attorney general has informed Julian Assange's lawyer that the WikiLeaks co-founder's files, computer, mobile phones and other electronic devices will be seized during a search of the London embassy and sent to the US.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson tried unsuccessfully to retrieve Assange's personal belongings from Ecuador's UK embassy, where he had been holed up for almost seven years before his arrest and incarceration last month. However, the Ecuadorian government has reportedly greenlighted a US request to provide it with access to the documents and electronic devices left behind by the jailed WikiLeaks editor after he was hauled out of the embassy by the British police on April 11.

ecuador flagAlso on rt.com WikiLeaks editor denied entry to Ecuadorian Embassy to retrieve Assange’s belongings

The searches are set to be conducted by police on May 20, El Pais reported, citing a notice sent to Assange's Ecuadorian lawyer Carlos Poveda.

Personal files, Assange's computer, mobile phones, memory sticks, CDs and any other electronic devices uncovered during the searches will then be seized and sent to the US as a part of Ecuador's response to the Department of Justice's judicial request. The US is currently building a case to extradite Assange on hacking charges.

The files contain troves of sensitive information, include communication with lawyers and other legal documents – which, the lawyers argue, deprive him of the right to a proper defense. Having this data will potentially allow the US to "build and create new charges" to extradite Assange in violation of Ecuador's own asylum policies.

julian assange indicter imageNews of the looming handover came as a bolt out of the blue for Assange's defense team, Poveda told RT Spanish, adding that it's impossible to be sure that his things in the embassy haven't been tampered with already.

"Since Mr Assange left the embassy, we cannot know for sure what has been happening inside these rooms," he said. Lawyers have requested CCTV records for the period since Assange's arrest, Poveda said.

The US has until June 12 to build a case for extradition. Last week, Assange, who has been serving a 50-week sentence in a maximum-security Guantanamo Bay-style prison for skipping bail, faced an extradition judge for the first time. The WikiLeaks co-founder said he would not surrender himself to extradition for simply "doing journalism" that has earned his site many international awards.

Ecuador's attorney general has informed Julian Assange's lawyer that the WikiLeaks co-founder's files, computer, mobile phones and other electronic devices will be seized during a search of the London embassy and sent to the US.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson tried unsuccessfully to retrieve Assange's personal belongings from Ecuador's UK embassy, where he had been holed up for almost seven years before his arrest and incarceration last month. However, the Ecuadorian government has reportedly greenlighted a US request to provide it with access to the documents and electronic devices left behind by the jailed WikiLeaks editor after he was hauled out of the embassy by the British police on April 11.

May 9

'Constitutional Crisis,' Pelosi Warns

ny times logoNew York Times, Pelosi Declares Nation Is in a ‘Constitutional Crisis,’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos, May 9, 2019. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the United States was in a “constitutional crisis” and warned that House Democrats might move to hold more Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress if they continued their refusals to comply with committee subpoenas.

nancy pelosi oSpeaking to reporters in the Capitol, Ms. Pelosi (shown in a file photo) said she agreed with Representative Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who said Wednesday that the nation was in a constitutional crisis after his committee recommended the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over an unredacted version of the special counsel’s report, along with the report’s underlying evidence.

“The administration has decided they are not going to honor their oath of office,” she said.

Ms. Pelosi said Democrats would bring the contempt citation to the floor for a vote of the full House “when we are ready.”

democratic donkey logoDemocrats have not settled on a precise date for the vote to hold Mr. Barr in contempt of Congress, though Mr. Nadler said after Wednesday’s vote that he wanted it scheduled “rapidly.”

Democratic leaders may wait to pair the Judiciary Committee’s contempt recommendations with another, most likely from the Intelligence Committee should its conflict with the Justice Department get to that point.

The committee’s chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff, issued a subpoena on Thursday for Mr. Barr to hand over the full Mueller report and evidence, as well as all counterintelligence and foreign intelligence generated by the special counsel’s investigations. He gave the Justice Department until May 15 to comply. If Mr. Barr ignores that deadline, the Intelligence Committee would probably hold its own contempt proceedings and send another recommendation to the House floor.

There are other possible contempt citations in the wings as well, including for Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel who is under subpoena by the Judiciary Committee, and witnesses in unrelated Oversight and Reform Committee investigations.

Ms. Pelosi has been urging caution since the release of the report by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel; she believes that Democrats campaigned on addressing issues like health care and the high cost of prescription drugs and must keep their focus on priorities for voters.

Barr Cited For Contempt

 ny times logoNew York Times, House Panel Votes to Recommend Contempt for Barr, Nicholas Fandos, May 9, 2019 (print ed.). The vote by the House Judiciary Committee against Attorney General William P. Barr came after he failed to turn over the unredacted Mueller report. Hours earlier, President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full report. Both moves escalate the drama in an increasingly tense battle. 

william barr new oThe House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to recommend the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr, right, in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report, hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full report and underlying evidence from public view.

The committee’s 24-16 contempt vote, taken after hours of debate that featured apocalyptic language about the future of American democracy, marked the first time that the House has taken official action to punish a government official or witness amid a standoff between the legislative and executive branch. The Justice Department decried it as an unnecessary and overwrought reaction designed to stoke a fight.

The drama raised the stakes yet again in an increasingly tense battle over evidence and witnesses as Democrats investigate Mr. Trump and his administration. By the day’s end, it seemed all but inevitable that the competing claims would have to be settled in the nation’s courts rather than on Capitol Hill, as Democrats had initially hoped after the initial delivery of Mr. Mueller’s report.

“Our fight is not just about the Mueller Report — although we must have access to the Mueller report. Our fight is about defending the rights of Congress, as an independent branch, to hold the president, any president, accountable,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Judiciary Committee chairman, during a grueling debate that ended with a vote along party lines.

The executive privilege assertion was Mr. Trump’s first use of the secrecy powers as president. The Justice Department described it as “protective” to allow Mr. Trump time to fully review the materials to make a final privilege determination. But the timing of the assertion signaled that the White House is eager for a fight, and the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, indicated that no change of heart was coming.

May 2

Venezuelan Coup Crisis

juan guaido nicolas maduro

washington post logoWashington Post, In Venezuela, opposition tries to maintain momentum as bid to topple Maduro crumbles, Anthony Faiola and Mariana Zuñiga​, May 2, 2019. Juan Guaidó, shown above at left, called for daily protests until President Nicolás Maduro (above right) leaves. Venezuela’s opposition sought to maintain pressure Thursday on President Nicolás Maduro through further protests, as the embattled socialist leader convened a weekend of dialogue to critique his mandate and fine-tune “the revolution.”

venezuela flag waving customFollowing a failed attempt to stage a peaceful military revolt Tuesday and overthrow Maduro, the opposition was facing a limited array of options.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Wednesday called on Venezuelans to stage daily protests until Maduro leaves. The campaign, opposition officials said, included an appeal to public servants to show civil disobedience by wearing blue armbands to work.

After two days of violent protests that left two people dead and dozens wounded, the opposition was banking on a resilient populace to continue the effort — though it remained unclear how exhausted, crisis-battered Venezuelans would respond. Guaidó insisted late Wednesday that political change remains within Venezuela’s grasp.

At 6 a.m. on Thursday, Maduro appeared at a military base in western Caracas alongside Vladimir Padrino López, a member of the president’s inner circle who the Trump administration has said was negotiating his ouster.

“The empire is investing in dividing us and say there’s a civil war in Venezuela,” Maduro said, referring to the United States. “They say they have to intervene, to weaken our homeland. No matter the circumstance we have to be united, and that’s what loyalty is. It has to be a collective strength.”

Future of Freedom Foundation, Commentary: Regime Change Failure (So Far) in Venezuela, Jacob G. Hornberger, May 2, 2019. So far, the U.S. national-security establishment’s jacob hornberger newregime-change operation in Venezuela has met with failure. Having designated Venezuelan public official Juan Guaidó as the new president of the country, U.S. officials have still not been able to deliver him the reins of power. At the very least, Guaidó isn’t collecting taxes from anyone, which is usually a good sign of who wields political power within a country.

A couple of days ago, Guaidó, perhaps acting on orders of the CIA and other U.S. officials, declared that the revolution to put him into office was on. He called on the Venezuelan people to take to the streets and rise up against the Nicholas Maduro regime and for the Venezuelan military to turn against Maduro.

The result was failure. Only few hundred people showed up and the military establishment declared its loyalty to Maduro. Guaidó’s right hand man, Leopoldo Lopez, who was aligned with Guaidó on revolution day, quickly ensconced himself in the Chilean embassy and then later in the Spanish embassy.

The Los Angeles Times yesterday pointed out that there is one constituency in Venezuela that matters most — the military. Whoever gets the military on its side will win the regime-change battle. The Times’ observation says as much about Venezuela’s government as it does about the U.S. government. Both governments are what are known as “national-security states.” A national-security state is characterized by an extremely powerful and permanent large military-intelligence establishment, one that wields overwhelming power within the overall governmental structure.

In the United States, the national-security branch of the government is composed of a triumvirate consisting of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. In Venezuela, like in Egypt, North Korea, and other national-security states, all of the powers that are wielded by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA are simply combined within the overall military establishment. Thus, when we refer to the Venezuelan “military,” we are referring to a combination military and intelligence establishment, one that wields such omnipotent powers as assassination, military arrests, indefinite detention in military facilities, torture, trial by military tribunal, secret surveillance, and all the other powers exercised by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

In any national security-state, the military-intelligence establishment wields the real power within the government. As Michael Glennon, professor of law at Tufts University, explains in his excellent book National Security and Double Government, in the U.S. governmental system the national-security part of the federal government is the part that is actually in control but permits the other three parts — the president, the Congress, and the federal judiciary to maintain the veneer of power.

For example, recall President Trump’s order last December to withdraw all troops from Syria. Very quickly, the Pentagon rejected that order by announcing that the troops would be withdrawn within 3 months, not immediately. But it never had any intention of even doing that. This week, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Mulroy announced that U.S. troops would be in Syria “for the long haul.” If that’s not proof of who’s in charge, I don’t know what is.

Consider who President “America First” Trump has brought into his inner circle — John Bolton and Eliott Abrams, two of the fiercest foreign interventionists and anti-communist regime-changers during the Cold War. At the same time, he appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo as U.S. Secretary of State. Not surprisingly, Bolton, Abrams, and Pompeo are leading the charge for regime change in Venezuela. Also not surprisingly, Bolton and Abrams are repeating their old Cold War anti-communist diatribes against Russia and Cuba and threatening severe action against them for supporting the Maduro regime. No doubt we’ll soon be hearing how the dominoes are going to fall and how the Reds, once again, are coming to get us.

No doubt Bolton, Abrams, Pompeo, the Pentagon, and the CIA really did believe that the Venezuelan people would rise up and be willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the Pentagon and the CIA. In convincing themselves that the Venezuelan people love the CIA and the Pentagon, they make the same mistake they made in Cuba during their disastrous regime-change invasion at the Bay of Pigs. At that time, they were convinced that the Cuban people would rise up against Cuban leader Fidel Castro and embrace the CIA’s invaders. It didn’t happen, just as the Venezuelan people didn’t rise up against Maduro a few days ago.

What the Pentagon and the CIA and Bolton and Abrams fail to realize is that there are two issues here confronting the Venezuelan people as well as the Cuban people. Many, if not most, Venezuelans and most Cubans hate their socialist economic systems but the fact is that they hate the CIA and the Pentagon and their regime-change interventionism even more. Thus, the darkly ironic part of all this is that Pentagon-CIA interventionism are responsible for making both the Cuban and Venezuelan socialist regimes even more deeply ensconced than they would be without U.S. interventionism.

The solution to all this mayhem? Leave Venezuela to the Venezuelans, dismantle America’s national-security state apparatus, and restore America’s founding governmental structure of a limited-government republic and its founding principle of non-interventionism.

 

william barr rod rosenstein ocallaghan cspan

The Atlantic, Opinion: The Catastrophic Performance of Bill Barr, The attorney general misled the public in seven key ways, Benjamin Wittes (editor-in-chief of Lawfare), right, May 2, ben wittes brookings2019. atlantic logoI was willing to give Bill Barr a chance. Consider me burned.

When Barr was nominated, I wrote a cautious piece for this magazine declining to give him “a character reference” and acknowledging “legitimate reasons to be concerned about [his] nomination,” but nonetheless concluding that “I suspect that he is likely as good as we’re going to get. And he might well be good enough. Because most of all, what the department needs right now is honest leadership that will insulate it from the predations of the president.”

Barr has now acted, and we can now evaluate his actual, rather than his hypothesized, performance. It has been catastrophic. Not in my memory has a sitting attorney general more diminished the credibility of his department on any subject. It is a kind of trope of political opposition in every administration that the attorney general — whoever he or she is — is politicizing the Justice Department and acting as a defense lawyer for the president. In this case it is true.

Barr has consistently sought to spin his department’s work in a highly political fashion, and he has done so to cast the president’s conduct in the most favorable possible light. Trump serially complained that Jeff Sessions didn’t act to “protect” him. Matthew Whitaker never had the stature or internal clout to do so effectively. In Barr, Trump has found his man.

Ironically, the redactions on the report — the matter on which I urged giving Barr the benefit of the doubt — are the one major area where his performance has been respectable. On this matter, he laid out a time frame for the release of the report. He met it. His redactions, as best as I can tell, were not unreasonable, though they were aggressive in some specific areas. To whatever extent he went overboard, Congress has a far-less-redacted version. The public, in any event, has access to a detailed account of Mueller’s conclusions. On this point, Barr did as he said he would.

Where Barr has utterly failed, by contrast, is in providing “honest leadership that insulates [the department] from the predations of the president.” I confess I am surprised by this. I have never known Barr well, but I thought better of him than that.

The core of the problem is not that Barr moved, as many people worried he would, to suppress the report; it is what he has said about it. I have spent a great deal of time with the Mueller report, about which Barr’s public statements are simply indefensible. The mischaracterizations began in his first letter. They got worse during his press conference the morning he released the document. And they grew worse still yesterday in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

May 1

U.S. Justice & Constitutional Crisis

robert mueller screenshot washington post

ny times logoNew York Times, Mueller Pushed Twice for Barr to Release Report’s Summaries, Michael S. Schmidt, May 1, 2019. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III (shown above in a file photo), pushed Attorney General William P. Barr twice to release more of his investigative findings in late March after Mr. Barr outlined the inquiry’s main conclusions in a letter to Congress, citing a gap between Mr. Barr’s interpretation and Mr. Mueller’s report, according to a letter released on Wednesday.

The letter, from Mr. Mueller, revealed deep concern about how Mr. Barr handled the initial release of the special counsel’s findings.

Mr. Mueller’s office first informed the Justice Department of their concerns on March 25, a day after Mr. Barr released his letter clearing Mr. Trump but declined to release the special counsel’s findings themselves.

“We communicated that concern to the department on the morning of March 25,” Mr. Mueller said in a second letter to Mr. Barr two days later. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.”

Mr. Barr’s letter “threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the department appointed the special counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations,” Mr. Mueller wrote.

ny times logoNew York Times, William Barr Hearing: Live Updates and Analysis of Testimony on the Mueller Report, Staff reports, May 1, 2019. Attorney General William P. Barr will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to testify about his decisions around the special counsel's report.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Lindsey Graham has profane meltdown during William Barr testimony, Bill Palmer, May 1, 2019. If you’ve been wondering why Donald Trump’s disgraced lindsey graham judiciary chairmanAttorney General William Barr was willing to show up and testify about his crimes to the Senate Judiciary Committee today, even as he publicly considers dodging tomorrow’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, you need look no further than the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee is run by Trump’s corrupt lunatic lackey Lindsey Graham. Sure enough, Graham (right) wasted no time turning the whole thing into a freak show this morning.

bill palmer report logo headerGraham kicked off his opening statement by appearing to complain about the air conditioning, and that turned out to be the least strange thing he said. He then went on to falsely claim that Robert Mueller found “no collusion” – such a blatant lie that MSNBC felt compelled to mute him and quickly jump in to explain that Graham was lying. That’s almost unprecedented for a committee chairman’s opening statement, yet it set the tenor for the day.

Graham made the stunning admission that he hasn’t even read the entire Mueller report, and that alone should have caused a trap door to open up underneath him. He then wasted no time bringing up Donald Trump’s favorite phony conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s emails and former FBI agent Peter Strzok’s text messages. At one point Graham read aloud the Strzok quote “Donald Trump is a fucking idiot” for no good reason, and his profanity was broadcast uncensored on live national television. Graham then apologized to any children who were watching.

After Lindsey Graham was finished with his profane, lying, and incoherent meltdown in front of the cameras, Democratic ranking member Dianne Feinstein then used her opening remarks to state the facts about the Mueller report, and Robert Mueller’s letter exposing William Barr’s lies about the Mueller report. We presume Lindsey Graham is now hiding under his desk.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr, James Comey (former F.B.I. director, shown in an official photo), May 1, 2019. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t james comeyresist the compromises necessary to survive this president. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive this president.

How could Mr. Barr, a bright and accomplished lawyer, start channeling the president in using words like “no collusion” and F.B.I. “spying”? And downplaying acts of obstruction of justice as products of the president’s being “frustrated and angry,” something he would never say to justify the thousands of crimes prosecuted every day that are the product of frustration and anger?

How could he write and say things about the report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, that were apparently so misleading that they prompted written protest from the special counsel himself?

washington post logoWashington Post, Emoluments case can proceed, judge says, providing potential access to information about Trump’s business deals, Jonathan O'Connell, Ann E. Marimow and Carol D. Leonnig​, May 1, 2019 (print ed.). The federal lawsuit, backed by nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers, says the president is violating the Constitution’s emoluments provision when his businesses accept payments from foreign governments.

emmet sullivan 2012Democrats in Congress can move ahead with their lawsuit against President Trump alleging that his private business violates the Constitution’s ban on gifts or payments from foreign governments, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The decision in Washington from U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (a Republican-nominated judge, shown at left) adopted a broad definition of the anti-corruption ban and could set the stage for Democratic lawmakers to begin seeking information from the Trump Organization. The Justice Department can try to delay or block the process by asking an appeals court to intervene.

In a 48-page opinion, the judge refused the request of the president’s legal team to dismiss the case and rejected Trump’s narrow definition of emoluments, finding it “unpersuasive and inconsistent.”

The lawsuit is one of two landmark cases against Trump relying on the once-obscure emoluments clauses of the Constitution. 

washington post logoWashington Post, Administration won’t provide details on individual clearances, Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey, May 1, 2019. The White House said that it will not authorize any executive branch officials to disclose to Congress information about individual security clearances.

The White House said Wednesday that it will not authorize any executive branch officials to disclose to Congress information about individual security clearances, a move that House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) called “the latest example of the president’s widespread and growing obstruction of Congress.”

The Oversight panel has been examining the administration’s handling of security clearances and allegations that officials, including presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, were granted access to sensitive information over the objections of career staff.

The investigation has led to an angry and escalating standoff between the House committee and the White House, which accused the panel in a letter Wednesday of “advancing a partisan political agenda.”

Among other things, White House Counsel Pat A. Cipollone wrote, “the committee appears to be putting public servants at risk” as it seeks information on the way in which the White House granted security clearances to Kushner and others in the top echelons of the Trump White House.

Media / WikiLeaks

washington post logoWashington Post, Assange sentenced to nearly a year in prison for jumping bail, William Booth and Karla Adam​, May 1, 2019. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced Wednesday to 50 weeks in a British prison for jumping bail. He apologized to the court, but the judge said he had used his “privileged position” to show disdain for British law.

julian assange head bookAssange (shown in a file photo) next faces an extradition hearing in London related to separate and more serious charges in the United States of conspiring to hack a government password.

Assange, 47, appeared at London’s Southwark Crown Court wearing a black jacket and gray sweater, the bushy white beard seen during his arrest last month now neatly trimmed. He offered a letter of apology and answered the judge in a quiet voice from behind a glass wall in a bland courtroom packed with journalists taking notes.

The Australian citizen had faced up to a year in a British prison for his bail violation — the maximum penalty for such an offense. He broke his bail conditions in 2012 when he fled to the Ecuadoran Embassy in London after Sweden requested his extradition in a case involving sexual assault allegations, including rape. Assange has denied those accusations.

Venezuelan Crisis

washington post logovenezuela flag waving customWashington Post, Guaidó, Maduro call for rival protests in Venezuela, Mariana Zuñiga and Anthony Faiola​, May 1, 2019. The demonstrations come a day after one person was killed and dozens others hurt in clashes around the country.

U.S. Crime, Courts

ny times logoNew York Times, Once Idolized, Guru of Nxivm ‘Sex Cult’ to Stand Trial Alone, Staff report, May 1, 2019. Keith Raniere, who led a group in which women were branded, is on trial in Brooklyn. Testimony is expected to be prurient, bizarre and nauseating, court filings suggest.

April

April 30

U.S. Justice & Constitutional Crisis

washington post logowilliam barr new oWashington Post, Mueller complained to Barr that his letter did not capture ‘context’ of probe, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky​, April 30, 2019. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (shown in a Washington Post screenshot) expressed his concerns in a letter to William P. Barr, right, after the attorney general publicized Mueller's principal conclusions. The letter was followed by a phone call during which Mueller pressed Barr to release executive summaries of his report.

washington post logoWashington Post, Emoluments case can proceed, judge says, providing potential access to information about Trump’s business deals, Jonathan O'Connell, Ann E. Marimow and Carol D. Leonnig​, April 30, 2019. The federal lawsuit, backed by nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers, says the president is violating the Constitution’s emoluments provision when his businesses accept payments from foreign governments.

emmet sullivan 2012Democrats in Congress can move ahead with their lawsuit against President Trump alleging that his private business violates the Constitution’s ban on gifts or payments from foreign governments, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The decision in Washington from U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (a Republican-nominated judge, shown at left) adopted a broad definition of the anti-corruption ban and could set the stage for Democratic lawmakers to begin seeking information from the Trump Organization. The Justice Department can try to delay or block the process by asking an appeals court to intervene.

In a 48-page opinion, the judge refused the request of the president’s legal team to dismiss the case and rejected Trump’s narrow definition of emoluments, finding it “unpersuasive and inconsistent.”

The lawsuit is one of two landmark cases against Trump relying on the once-obscure emoluments clauses of the Constitution. 

rod rosenstein cropped william barr screenshot april 18 2019

Attorney General William Barr, left, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at a Justice Department news conference on April 18 where Barr spun Special Counsel Robert Mueller's then-forthcoming report to make it look like it exonerated President Trump and his main line of defenses (Screenshot).

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Rod "The Weasel" Rosenstein departs Trump's criminal lair, Wayne Madsen (left, author, syndicated columnist and former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst), April 30, 2019 (Subscription normally wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallrequired but released today in the public interest. Excerpted below, with full version on WMR website).

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has tendered his resignation effective May 11. For someone like Donald Trump, who rants and raves like a lunatic about the nefarious “Deep State” he says is out to get him, Rosenstein has been and will remain a committed enforcer of the deep state.

Perhaps, not the deep state in the traditional sense. Rosenstein’s and Attorney General William Barr’s deep state is one of corporate manipulators that, today, finds itself entrenched firmly in the power centers of the United States, Russia, Britain, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Israel, France, and most of the world’s other major governments sans China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

Rosenstein drafted and signed the letter that fired James Comey as FBI director. Rosenstein joined Barr in pressuring Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller to prematurely wrap up his investigation of foreign meddling in the 2016 election. Rosenstein never raised one peep when Trump appointed sacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions chief of staff Matt Whitaker as acting Attorney General, a position for which Whitaker was totally unsuited.

Throughout his career, Rosenstein has been an untrustworthy, slimy worm.

lawrence walshRosenstein’s time in the Public Integrity Section was during Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh’s investigation of the Reagan and Bush administrations for the Iran-Contra scandal. There was plenty of public corruption in those days, but Rosenstein would witness Attorney General Barr prepare pardons for six pardons by George H W Bush for top officials convicted as a result of Walsh’s investigation. Mueller’s exasperation over Barr’s non-cooperation with Walsh’s investigation appeared in William Safire’s column in The New York Times. Safire called Barr “Captain Cover-up.”

From 1995 to 1997, Rosenstein worked in the Office of Independent Counsel Ken Starr as a co-counsel in what amounted to an actual witch hunt by Republicans of President Bill Clinton.

In 1996, Rosenstein, Starr (shown below), and other prosecutors gathered at a North Little Rock, Arkansas restaurant to celebrate three convictions of ken starr windividuals – James and Susan McDougal and Arkansas Democratic Governor Jim Guy Tucker, all friends of Bill Clinton -- who were found guilty in the so-called “Whitewater” investigation led by Starr. Rosenstein joined the other prosecutors in lighting up their “victory cigars.”

....When Trump appointed Barr to be his “Roy Cohn” at Justice, it was old home week for Rosenstein.

Once again, the man who sat in the office of the Attorney General was the same person Rosenstein had assisted thirty years earlier in the cover-up of the Iran-Contra scandal.

Rosenstein would use his remaining time at Justice to appear behind Barr at a news conference at which Barr incorrectly described Mueller’s final report on election manipulation as a total exoneration. Rosenstein also praised Barr in public remarks delivered to the Yale Club in New York. In full weasel mode, Rosenstein also lauded Trump for his “respect for the rule of law” and berated the Obama administration and the press.

Alliance for Justice, Opinion: The House Needs a Dose of Urgency, Bill Yeomans (right), April 30, 2019. Attorney General Barr unveiled a heavily smudged version of Robert Mueller’s bill yeomans afj cropped Customreport twelve days ago. He misrepresented its content both in writing and at a press conference before its release. His false narrative – that the president had engaged in neither collusion nor obstruction – continues to resonate with much of the public.

While journalists and experts who have read the 448-page report have rejected Barr’s take and marveled at his audacity, the burden rests with Congress to set the record straight. Congress responded initially with a face-plant, otherwise known as recess. It returns this week to try again.

alliance for justice logoTrump is pushing the House toward impeachment. His posture strengthens the case for bundling investigation of all of his obstructive and contemptuous conduct into hearings in a single forum that is focused on moving toward impeachment. While crystal balls are in short supply, the political argument against impeachment is not clear. Polling suggests that 37% of the general public and 60% of Democrats support the initiation of impeachment. Those numbers seem remarkably high considering that Barr’s spin as amplified by Trump has dominated the news. The polling was conducted before Trump’s full rejection of oversight.

People have not read – and will not read – the full report. Nor are they likely to pay close attention to diffuse oversight hearings in a variety of different committees. But they will pay attention to high-drama, focused hearings in a single committee that lay out the evidence in the report. Democrats need to trust that the public will react with disgust and horror to Trump’s astonishing abuse of the public trust. Recall that Republicans presented united opposition to Nixon’s impeachment and it wasn’t until two weeks before his resignation that a majority of the country first supported his removal from office.

djt robert mueller headshotsTrue, the Senate is unlikely to vote for removal, but months of hearings in the House followed by a trial in the Senate will make every American aware of Trump’s betrayal and will force every Senator to defend their vote to keep Trump in office. That’s a pretty powerful lead into the 2020 election.

This process will not be easy. While Congress may have the legal right to demand that witnesses testify and the executive branch produce documents, the forces of time and inertia favor the president. The House must rely on contempt citations followed by civil enforcement litigation. The process will take time, but moving to impeachment will strengthen the House’s legal position in overcoming executive privilege and objections to the scope of its investigation. It will also help in obtaining grand jury material collected by Mueller.

April 29

peter dale scott american deep state rowman and littlefield Custom

Dr. Peter Dale Scott is considered the father of “Deep Politics” — the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected, appointed, and career officials who come and go. A professor of English at Berkeley and a former Canadian diplomat, he is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the pivotal events of our country’s recent past, including American War Machine (2010) and The American Deep State (2018), which are relevant to the story below.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Analysis: The Mueller Report, Alfa Bank, and the Deep State, Peter Dale Scott, April 29, 2019. The Deep State, and stories of a mysterious computer back alpha bank logochannel between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest private banks, whose leaders are close to Putin.

For two years President Donald Trump and Fox News have been attacking the “deep state” in Washington, usually referring to the intelligence agencies, like FBI and CIA, who have had Trump under investigation.

But my notion of the deep state also includes private sources of power, outside government — but able to influence it illicitly — such as the Russian private Bank Alfa.

ny times logomichelle goldberg thumbNew York Times, Opinion: Trump’s Anti-Abortion Incitement, Michelle Goldberg, April 29, 2019. The president’s lies about infanticide could inspire violence. Abortion providers are regular targets of domestic terrorism, and Trump’s lies serve as incitement. In 2016, a man fired an AR-15 inside a Washington pizzeria because he believed right-wing conspiracy theories that it was the epicenter of a child sex trafficking ring involving Hillary Clinton. Now the putative leader of the free world is spreading tales about unimaginable Democratic depravity toward innocent children.

It’s not a stretch to imagine an unstable Trump acolyte taking him both seriously and literally. Indeed, it seems that at least one already has. Last week, a 30-year-old Trump supporter named Matthew Haviland was arrested and accused of threatening to rape and murder a professor who supports abortion rights. According to an affidavit by an F.B.I. joint terrorism task force officer, Haviland wrote in an email, “I will kill every Democrat in the world so we never more have to have our babies brutally murdered by you absolute terrorists.” He also made over a hundred threatening calls to an abortion clinic.

ny times logopaul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: The Zombie Style in American Politics, Paul Krugman (right), April 29, 2019. Why bad ideas just won’t stay dead. If you’ve been trying to follow the Republican response to revelations about what happened in 2016, you may be a bit confused. We’re not even talking about an ever-shifting party line; new excuses keep emerging, but old excuses are never abandoned. On one side, we have Rudy Giuliani saying that “there’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.” On the other side, we have Jared Kushner denying that Russia did anything beyond taking out “a couple of Facebook ads.”

It’s all very strange. Or, more accurately, it can seem very strange if you still think of the G.O.P. as a normal political party, one that adopts policy positions and then defends those positions in more or less good faith.

But if you have been following Republican arguments over the years, you know that the party’s response to evidence of Russian intervention in 2016 is standard operating procedure. On issue after issue, what you see are multiple levels of denial combined with a refusal ever to give up an argument no matter how completely it has been discredited.

What the right’s positioning on inequality, climate and now Russian election interference have in common is that in each case the people pretending to be making a serious argument are actually apparatchiks operating in bad faith. What I mean by that is that in each case those making denialist arguments, while they may invoke evidence, don’t actually care what the evidence says; at a fundamental level, they aren’t interested in the truth. Their goal, instead, is to serve a predetermined agenda.

The public deserves to know that the big debates in modern U.S. politics aren’t a conventional clash of rival ideas. They’re a war in which one side’s forces consist mainly of intellectual zombies.

 

April 29

Justice Integrity Project, What Would James Bond Think? How the CIA Relied on 007 for inspiration in its plot to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Thomas Maier, April 29, 2019. Introduction: Guest columnist Thomas Maier shares below an excerpt from his most recent book, Mafia Spies: The Inside Story of the CIA, Gangsters, JFK and Castro.

During America’s 1960 presidential campaign, Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro and his Russian-backed Communist regime loomed as one of the nation’s top issues. Rumors of a pending U.S. invasion were rampant. And talk about spying floated in the air, thanks to the popular novels about the adventures of the fictional British secret agent, James Bond.

But in real-life, only a few knew of the CIA’s top-secret plan for assassination of Castro by two mobsters, Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli -- apparently not even the candidates

April 24

April 26

The Sun, Analysis: Saudi Savagery: Saudi Arabia mass execution – Lad, 16, tortured with electricity and BEHEADED just for sending WhatsApp messages about protests, Patrick abdulkarim al hawaj screenshotKnox and Mark Hodge, April 26, 2019. Abdulkareem al-Hawa (right) was put to death in front of a baying crowd along with 36 other men who were executed this week in the barbaric desert kingdom.

A young lad was tortured with electricity and beheaded in Saudi Arabia because he sent WhatsApp messages about a protest aged 16. Abdulkarim al-Hawaj, 21, was a schoolboy when he was detained and accused of being a "terrorist" for sending texts online about an anti-government demonstration. He was a Shiite Muslim - which is a persecuted minority group in Sunni-dominated Saudi - living in the troubled Eastern province.

Abdulkarim was beaten and tortured with electricity while his hands were chained above his head when he “confessed” to his crimes, human rights charity Reprieve said.

mujtaba al sweikat soccer ballAccording to Amnesty International, his trial was a farce because he was denied access to a proper defence lawyer and convicted on the forced confession. Aside from torture, the charity also claims that his captors threatened to kill his family if did not confess to the crimes.

This week, he had his head cut from his body in front of a baying, bloodthirsty crowd along with 36 other men in the medieval country.

Sentencing a person to death who is aged under 18 is banned under international law.

Another victim, Mujtaba al-Sweikat, left, was a teenager who was set to start a new life in the US, studying at Western Michigan University, when he was arrested for attending an anti-government protest.

The then-17-year-old – who had enrolled in English language and finance - was badly beaten including on the soles of his feet before he “confessed” to crimes against the state.

Human rights charities claim he was also tortured into confessing and convicted in a "sham trial." Despite his university protesting his sentence, insisting he had “great promise,” Mujtaba was also beheaded this week.

April 24

UN logo

Reuters, U.N. rights boss condemns Saudi Arabia's beheading of 37 men, Stephanie Nebehay and Sylvia Westall, April 24, 2019. The U.N. human rights chief on Wednesday condemned the beheadings of 37 Saudi nationals across the kingdom this week, saying most were minority Shi’ite Muslims who may not have had fair trials and at least three were minors when sentenced.

Saudi Arabia, which said on Tuesday it had carried out the executions over terrorism crimes, has come under increasing global scrutiny over its human rights record since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and the detention of women’s rights activists.

“It is particularly abhorrent that at least three of those killed were minors at the time of their sentencing,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement issued in Geneva.

She said United Nations rapporteurs had expressed concern about a lack of due process and fair trial guarantees amid allegations that confessions were obtained through torture.

Amnesty International said late on Tuesday the majority of those executed in six cities belonged to the Shi’ite minority and were convicted after “sham trials”, included at least 14 people who had participated in anti-government protests in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province in 2011-2012.

It said in a statement that one of them, Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, was arrested when he was 16, making his execution a “flagrant violation of international law”.

London-based Amnesty said 11 of those executed had been convicted of spying for the kingdom’s arch-adversary, Shi’ite Muslim Iran, and sentenced to death in 2016.

The Shi’ite-majority Eastern Province became a focal point of unrest in early 2011 with demonstrations calling for an end to discrimination and for reforms in the Sunni Muslim monarchy. Saudi Arabia denies any discrimination against Shi’ites.

April 21

The Americas: Corruption, Death

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-president’s suicide brings more criticism of Peru’s pretrial detentions, Simeon Tegel, April 21, 2019 (print ed). It’s impossible to know why Alan García killed himself this week. The charismatic politician, once hailed as Latin America’s JFK, shot himself Wednesday after police showed up at his home in Lima to arrest him in the largest corruption scandal in the region’s history.

alan garcía 2008 wHad he not killed himself, García, 69 (shown at right in a 2008 photo via Wikipedia), would have faced up to three years in pretrial detention, potentially without actually being indicted — a term unthinkable in many democracies, even for suspects facing overwhelming evidence of the most heinous crimes.

“It is increasingly difficult to justify,” said Ignazio de Ferrari, a political scientist at Lima’s University of the Pacific.

But it’s the fate confronting more of Peru’s most prominent politicians as they’re swept up in the sprawling Odebrecht investigation by a new generation of aggressive prosecutors determined to stamp out the systemic graft that has long slowed economic development and corroded faith in public institutions here.

Other suspects who have been ordered to pretrial detention in the scandal include former presidents Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who is 80, and Ollanta Humala, who has three young children. Humala’s wife, the children’s mother, was also jailed.

Critics question the courts’ acceptance of the often limited arguments presented by prosecutors for locking up high-profile suspects before they have been indicted. They warn that the tactic could threaten the legitimacy of Peru’s landmark investigation.

Odebrecht, Latin America’s largest construction company, has admitted to paying nearly $1 billion in bribes across the region to secure public contracts. The international probe into the Brazilian giant has ensnared officials from Mexico to Argentina.

Arguably no country outside Brazil has been affected as badly as Peru. Four of the country’s previous presidents, including García, have been implicated. The freeze on Odebrecht’s extensive operations here, meanwhile, is thought to have slashed GDP growth by as much as 1.5 percent.

The case has crystallized Peruvians’ fury at entrenched graft, leaving many unconcerned about observing the niceties of due process for those suspected of benefiting from the company’s criminal largesse.

De Ferrari didn’t wish to defend García, but he called the use of pretrial detention “excessive.” Diego García Sayán, a former justice minister and judge on the inter-American Court of Human Rights, wants to see prosecutors adopt a “more selective criterion” for requesting detention. García Sayán warns that the practice provides rhetorical ammunition to those who want to block the anticorruption offensive. An example came this week when Mauricio Mulder, a lawmaker from García’s APRA party, described the probe into the former president as a “fascist persecution.”

April 19

More on Mueller Report

robert mueller waving hands

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III (file photo)

msnbc logo CustomMSNBC, Live Coverage & Analysis, Staff reporting, April 19, 2019. Redacted Mueller Report released here. Selected MSNBC print and videos on April 18 below:

ny times logoNew York Times, Mueller Details Multiple Contacts With Russians and Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Inquiry, Mark Mazzetti, April 19, 2019 (print ed.). Cites Legal Constraints in Declining to Charge, but Does Not Exonerate. Robert S. Mueller III revealed a frantic, monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference, cataloging in a report released on Thursday the attempts by Mr. Trump to escape an inquiry that imperiled his presidency from the start.

The much-anticipated report laid out how a team of prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, wrestled with whether the president’s actions added up to an indictable offense of obstruction of justice for a sitting president. They ultimately decided not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Mr. Mueller inherited a sweeping inquiry 23 months ago into whether Mr. Trump or any of his aides had coordinated with the Russian government’s campaign to sabotage the presidential election. The report found numerous contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russians in the months before and after the election — meetings in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton — but said there was “insufficient evidence” to establish that there had been a criminal conspiracy.

washington post logoWashington Post, Mueller rejects idea that Trump is shielded from obstruction laws, Staff report, April 19, 2019 (print ed.). Report suggests investigators found abundant evidence that Trump sought to undermine probe.

The special counsel rejected arguments advanced by the president’s lawyers that he is shielded from obstruction of justice laws by his unique constitutional role and powers. Follow along for the latest findings as a team of Post reporters dissects Robert S. Mueller III’s report.

President Trump, upon first learning of the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, cursed and declared, “this is the end of my presidency,” according to the redacted 400-page report by Mueller released Thursday by the Justice Department.

The detailed document depicts a Trump campaign that expected to “benefit electorally” from information stolen and released by Russia and a president who subsequently engaged in several alarming actions, including seeking the ouster of former officials and ordering a memo that would clear his name.

The release of the report followed a news conference at which Attorney General William P. Barr exonerated Trump, saying neither he nor his campaign colluded with Russia and that none of Trump’s actions rose to the level of obstruction of justice, despite Mueller leaving that question unanswered in his report.

washington post logoWashington Post, Mueller’s report paints a damning portrait of Trump’s presidency, Dan Balz, April 19, 2019 (print ed.). The report shows a pattern of behavior outside the norms of the Oval Office, even if Barr concludes there was no obstruction of justice.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Commentary: Impeachable -- Trump's attempted domestic re-weaponization of NSA, Wayne Madsen, April 19, 2019 (subscription required; excerpted with permission). Not since the Nixon administration has a U.S. president flagrantly attempted to use the National Security Agency (NSA) to involve itself in a domestic law enforcement matter in pursuit of an Oval Office cover-up....Trump’s action to misuse a U.S. intelligence agency to protect him from criminal liability is an impeachable offense, as previously decided by the U.S. House of Representatives in Article II of its impeachment resolution against Nixon.

ny times logoNew York Times, House Democrats Subpoena Full Report, and All Evidence, Nicholas Fandos, April 19, 2019. The subpoena escalates a fight with the attorney general over what material Congress is entitled to see from the investigation. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee formally issued a subpoena on Friday demanding that the Justice Department hand over to Congress an unredacted version of Robert S. Mueller III’s report and all of the evidence underlying it by May 1.

jerrold nadler o SmallThe subpoena, one of the few issued thus far by House Democrats, escalates a fight with Attorney General William P. Barr over what material Congress is entitled to see from the special counsel’s nearly two-year investigation. The chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York (right), asked for all evidence, including summaries of witness interviews and classified intelligence.

“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement. “Even the redacted version of the report outlines serious instances of wrongdoing by President Trump and some of his closest associates. It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward.”

ny times logoNew York Times, A Portrait of the White House and Its Culture of Dishonesty, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, April 18, 2019. The report by Robert S. Mueller III shows a hotbed of conflict defined by a president who lies and tries to get his staff to lie for him. At one juncture after another, President Trump gave in to anger in ways that turned aides into witnesses against him.

As President Trump met with advisers in the Oval Office in May 2017 to discuss replacements for the F.B.I. director he had just fired, Attorney General Jeff Sessions slipped out of the room to take a call.

When he came back, he gave Mr. Trump bad news: Robert S. Mueller III had just been appointed as a special counsel to take over the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and any actions by the president to impede it.

Mr. Trump slumped in his chair. “Oh, my God,” he said. “This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

It has not been the end of his presidency, but it has come to consume it. Although the resulting two-year investigation ended without charges against Mr. Trump, Mr. Mueller’s report painted a damning portrait of a White House dominated by a president desperate to thwart the inquiry only to be restrained by aides equally desperate to thwart his orders.

washington post logoWashington Post, Paranoia, lies and fear: Trump’s presidency laid bare by Mueller report, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, April 19, 2019 (print ed.). The 448-page report reveals a vivid portrait of a president and his aides on the brink of obstructing justice.

washington post logoWashington Post, Report lays out obstruction evidence against the president, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, April 19, 2019 (print ed.). The report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III details 10 “episodes” of potential obstruction of justice by President Trump, alternating between dense legal analysis and jarring scenes of presidential scheming.

washington post logowilliam barr new oWashington Post, Fact Checker Analysis: What Attorney General Barr said vs. what the Mueller report said, Salvador Rizzo, April 19, 2019 (print ed.). As it turns out, the attorney general (right) took liberties in describing the results of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Offers from Russia were not reported or forcefully rejected by Trump campaign, Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger, Karoun Demirjian and Rachel Weiner, April 19, 2019 (print ed.). The special counsel painted a portrait of a campaign that was intrigued by overtures from Russian officials and business executives.

Propaganda About Assange Arrest?

julian assange screenshot arrest (Ruptly)

London police arresting the bearded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on April 11, 2019. (Ruptly/YouTube)

Consortium News, Opinion: UK Blurring Two Very Different Extradition Claims, Jonathan Cook, April 19, 2019. The Swedish and U.S. claims are vastly different, writes Jonathan Cook. But the public conversation in the U.K. is simply about which has first dibs on Assange.

In a previous blog post, I warned that the media and political class would continue with their long-running deceptions about Julian Assange now that he has been dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy. They have wasted no time in proving me right.

Rather than focus on the gross violation of Assange’s fundamental human rights, the wider assault on press freedoms and the attack on Americans’ First Amendment Rights, U.K. politicians are “debating” whether the U.S. extradition claim on Assange should take priority over earlier Swedish extradition proceedings for a sexual-assault investigation that was publicly dropped back in 2017.

In other words, the public conversation in the U.K., sympathetically reported by The Guardian, supposedly Britain’s only major liberal news outlet, is going to be about who has first dibs on Assange.

What these U.K. MPs and The Guardian have done in this front-page story is muddy the waters yet further, with enthusiastic disregard for the damage it might do to Assange’s rights, to Corbyn’s leadership and to the future of truth-telling journalism.

April 18

Mueller Report

msnbc logo CustomMSNBC, Live Coverage & Analysis, Staff reporting, April 18, 2019. Redacted Mueller Report released here. Selected MSNBC print and videos on April 18 below:

ny times logoNew York Times, The Mueller Report Is 448 Pages Long. You Need to Know These 7 Key Things, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, April 18, 2019. Mr. Trump was not exonerated. Aides defied his orders to sabotage the inquiry, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, Here are seven takeaways:

1. Trump did try to sabotage the investigation. His staff defied him.
2. So many lies. So many changed stories.
3. Fake news? Not so much.
4. No obstruction? Not so fast.
5. Evading an F.B.I. interview proved a successful strategy.
6. No conclusive evidence of conspiracy, but lots of reason to investigate.
7. Imagine reading this report cold.

djt don jr ivanka pecker eric

Above the Law, Robert Mueller Didn’t Finish The Job, And We’ll Never Know Why, Elie Mystal, April 18, 2019. The Mueller report treats Trump and his family with kid gloves.
If you ever have the opportunity to choose who will prosecute you for you potential crimes, ask to be prosecuted by Robert Mueller. Apparently, he will spend half of his time making your legal arguments for you, and will not try to secure your testimony under oath if it looks like you’ll give him too much trouble.

I have read through (well, scrolled through) the entire Mueller report, and I am deeply dissatisfied with the thoroughness of Mueller’s investigation. Yes, yes, I know, I’m supposed to parrot the line about how “thorough” this investigation was because… it took a lot of time and the report is very long.

Big whoop. For all the time spent on it, and the obvious meticulous dedication to the cause, Mueller did not finish the job. Maybe he was pressured by new Attorney General William Barr. Maybe the constant drumbeat of “wrap it up” coming from the Trump administration wore him down. Maybe we’ll never know. But the 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s potential obstruction of justice punted investigative functions to Congress that his office should have completed before turning over his report.

And that’s because Mueller declined to seek subpoenas to compel testimony from Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, or Eric Trump. Mueller was willing to put the screws to everybody else. Paul Manafort is in jail; Michael Cohen is going to jail. Michael Flynn is going to jail; Robert Gates is going to jail; Roger Stone will most likely be going to jail. Many of these people are going to jail because they lied to Robert Mueller. But the First Family is not going to jail. And it’s not because they are innocent. It’s because Mueller refused to ask them a damned question.

As has been widely understood — and now confirmed with the release of the report — Mueller made the decision that his office did not have the authority to charge President Donald Trump with a crime. That’s… a questionable legal conclusion. I can more or less accept it on the issue of conspiracy with Russia to influence the election. But when it comes to obstruction of justice, I just can’t. Literally, what is the point of having an “independent,” “non-political” appointee conduct an investigation into the President if only political appointees and elected officials can actually do anything about it? It’s like hiring a restaurant critic who isn’t allowed to eat the food.

william barr image by donkehotey dmca

Attorney General William P. Barr (image by Donkehotey via DCMA)

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr says he disagreed with some of Mueller’s theories on obstruction claim, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky​, April 18, 2019. But Attorney General William P. Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein accepted the special counsel’s “legal framework” as they analyzed the case. A redacted version of the report is set to be released today.

• Transcript: The attorney general’s full remarks on the Mueller report

washington post logoWashington Post, Report examines 10 instances of potential obstruction, Barr says, Staff report, April 18, 2019. The attorney general also said that he has no objection to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testifying before Congress, which top Democratic lawmakers called for today.

 

william barr prin dep asst ag edward ocallaghan rod rosenstein april 18 2 2019 Small

Attorney General William Barr, center, flanked by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, right, and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Edward O'Callaghan of the National Security Division at the Justice Department news conference on April 18, 2019 (screenshot).

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: William Barr just did Trump another huge favor, Aaron Blake, April 18, 2019. When Attorney General William P. Barr announced he was going to hold a news conference before the release of the Mueller report Thursday, there was instant pushback. How can the media ask questions about a report it hasn’t seen? Would this just be a whole bunch of pre-spin from a man already accused of being too friendly to the president who appointed him?

Barr’s performance did nothing to argue against those allegations.

In a lengthy opening statement, Barr found just about every way possible to say that there was no coordination, cooperation or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also said Trump was right about “no collusion,” expanding the Mueller report’s clearing of Trump to a more nebulous term with little legal significance.

But perhaps more importantly, on obstruction of justice, he seemed to go to bat for Trump personally, offering a sympathetic take on the president’s state of mind and cooperation.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump is a cancer on the presidency. Congress should remove him, George T. Conway III (right, a lawyer in New York prominent in conservative george conway twitterlegal circles and married to President Trump's senior communications adviser Kellyanne Conway), April 18, 2019. So it turns out that, indeed, President Trump was not exonerated at all, and certainly not “totally” or “completely,” as he claimed.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III didn’t reach a conclusion about whether Trump committed crimes of obstruction of justice — in part because, while a sitting president, Trump can’t be prosecuted under long-standing Justice Department directives, and in part because of “difficult issues” raised by “the President’s actions and intent.” Those difficult issues involve, among other things, the potentially tricky interplay between the criminal obstruction laws and the president’s constitutional authority, and the difficulty in proving criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt.

Still, the special counsel’s report is damning. Mueller couldn’t say, with any “confidence,” that the president of the United States is not a criminal. He said, stunningly, that “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” Mueller did not so state.

That’s especially damning because the ultimate issue shouldn’t be — and isn’t — whether the president committed a criminal act. As I wrote not long ago, Americans should expect far more than merely that their president not be provably a criminal. In fact, the Constitution demands it.

ny times logoNew York Times, White House and Justice Dept. Discussed Mueller Report Before Release, Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos and Katie Benner, April 18, 2019 (print edition). Some of President Trump’s advisers are concerned about whether he will retaliate against them if the report reveals them as sources of damaging details.

Not all of Robert S. Mueller III’s findings will be news to President Trump when they are released Thursday.

Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.

william barr new oA sense of paranoia was taking hold among some of Mr. Trump’s aides, some of whom fear his backlash more than the findings themselves, the people said. The report might make clear which of Mr. Trump’s current and former advisers spoke to the special counsel, how much they said and how much damage they did to the president — providing a kind of road map for retaliation.

The discussions between Justice Department officials and White House lawyers have also added to questions about the propriety of the decisions by Attorney General William P. Barr since he received Mr. Mueller’s findings late last month.

April 17

cnn logoCNN, Book Excerpt: The evidence that the US government got into the assassination business, Thomas Maier (author of the new Mafia Spies: The Inside Story of the CIA, Gangsters, JFK and Castro, published by Skyhorse) April 14, 2019. Americans shocked by tales of Russian assassinations in Ukraine and the grisly murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi allegedly by Saudi Arabia might consider the past history of their own government and what rules exist today to prevent a US hit thomas maier mafia spiesjob against a foreign political opponent.

Indeed, the moral debate surrounding political assassination seems murkier and more open-ended now than ever.

Two years ago, President Donald Trump appeared unperturbed during a national television interview with then Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly when asked about doing business with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. In 2006, Putin approved a law allowing assassinations abroad, making them almost commonplace in nearby Ukraine.

"Putin's a killer," said O'Reilly.

"There's a lot of killers, we got a lot of killers," President Trump replied. "What, you think our country is so innocent?"

O'Reilly seemed taken aback. Trump persisted. "You think our country is so innocent?" the president repeated.

History shows America's first (known) attempt at state-sanctioned assassination began in the early 1960s when the CIA recruited two top gangsters, Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, to try to kill Cuba's young Communist leader Fidel Castro. The Mafia was enraged because Castro closed down their lucrative Havana casinos. And US officials worried about Castro spreading revolution throughout Latin America, becoming a puppet who obtained Russian missiles and nearly provoked an Armageddon-like nuclear war.

nbc news logoNBC News, 'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh to be released from prison next month, Tom Winter and Pete Williams, April 17, 2019. John Walker Lindh, the American man who john walker lindh 2002pleaded guilty to fighting for the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks, is slated to be released from prison next month under terms restricting his internet access.

A federal judge in Virginia ordered that Lindh, 38, can't have an internet-capable device without permission from his probation office, can’t view or access extremist or terrorism videos, and must allow the probation office to monitor his internet use.

"Given the rare nature of defendant's crime and his unique personal history and characteristics, the probation officer recently filed a request asking the court to impose additional special conditions of supervised release which will govern defendant's behavior post-confinement," Judge T.S. Ellis III (shown at left in a file photo) wrote in court papers filed earlier this month.

thomas s ellis iii federal judgeLindh was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2002 after he pleaded guilty to supplying services to the Taliban and carrying explosives in commission of a felony. Under the terms of the sentence, his probation will last for three years.

Lindh is scheduled to be released from federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, on May 23.

In addition to the internet restrictions, the judge ordered that Lindh can’t communicate with anyone online in any language other than English. Ellis also ruled that Lindh can’t leave the United States without permission of the court, and that he must undergo mental health counseling.

Court filings show that Lindh initially opposed the restrictions but dropped his objections after consulting with a lawyer.

Ellis said that Lindh can seek to modify some or all of the special restrictions if he adjusts well to his supervised release.

April 13

The Grayzone, Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting, Max Blumenthal, April 13, 2019. The complete list of attendees for the private CSIS event on US military options against Venezuela appears at the bottom of this article.

The Washington, DC-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a private roundtable on April 10 called “Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela.” A list of attendees was provided to The Grayzone and two participants confirmed the meeting took place. They refused to offer any further detail, however.

venezuela flag waving customAmong the roughly 40 figures invited to the off-the-record event to discuss potential US military action against Caracas were some of the most influential advisors on President Donald Trump’s Venezuela policy. They included current and former State Department, National Intelligence Council, and National Security Council officials, along with Admiral Kurt Tidd, who was until recently the commander of US SOUTHCOM.

Senior officials from the Colombian and Brazilian embassies like Colombian General Juan Pablo Amaya, as well as top DC representatives from Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido’s shadow government, also participated in the meeting.

On January 23, following backroom maneuvers, the United States openly initiated a coup attempt against Venezuela’s elected government by recognizing National Assembly president Juan Guaido as the country’s “interim president.”

Since then, Venezuela has endured a series of provocations and the steady escalation of punishing economic sanctions. President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of attacks on the Simon Bolivar hydroelectric plant at the Guri dam, which have led to country-wide blackouts openly celebrated by top Trump officials.

In a March 5 call with Russian pranksters posing as the president of the Swiss Federation, US special envoy for Venezuela Elliot Abrams ruled out military action against Venezuela, revealing that he had only held out the threat to “make the Venezuelan military nervous.”

Since then, however, Guaido has failed to mobilize the national protest wave the Trump administration had anticipated, and the Venezuelan military has demonstrated unwavering loyalty to Maduro. In Washington, the sense of urgency has risen with each passing day.

April 12

National Security Archive, Trump Administration Turns Over Massive Collection of Intelligence Records on Human Rights and Argentina, Edited by Carlos Osorio and Peter Kornbluh, April 12, 2019.

  • 47,000 Pages of CIA, FBI, NSC, DOD and State Dept.
    Records Touted as “Largest” Government-to-Government Transfer of Declassified Documentation.
  • Documents Spotlight Buenos Aires Base for International Death Squad Operations sponsored by Condor States; Record Ruthless Repression by Argentine Security Forces during Military Dictatorship, 1976-1983
  • National Security Archive Commends Completion of U.S. Government’s Special Argentina Project as ‘Model of Declassification Diplomacy’ and Major Contribution to the Cause of Human Rights and History

Revealing CIA “intelligence information cables” on Operation Condor are part of a major collection of records released on April 12 at a government event in Washington D.C., "Declassification Diplomacy: The United States Declassification Project for Argentina."

During the diplomatic ceremony, hosted by U.S. Archivist David Ferriero at the National Archives, U.S. officials turned over some 7500 CIA, FBI, DOD, NSC and State Department records—47,000 pages in total—to Argentina’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights, German Garavano. Garavano graciously thanked the Trump administration for fulfilling a formal request for the records by the Argentine government, made on the fortieth anniversary of the military coup during a state visit to Argentina by then-President Barack Obama.

Moreover, the declassification project has produced a historical roadmap that charts what and when U.S. national security agencies and policy makers knew about the human rights abuses in Argentina—and the actions they took, or failed to take, in response to detailed intelligence on internal and international repression by the military regime.

In his closing remarks at today’s ceremony, National Security Archive analyst Carlos Osorio, who served as an advisor to the Argentina Declassification Project, commended the U.S. government for pursuing what he called “one of the most comprehensive discretionary declassifications of sensitive intelligence records in recent history.” “The Argentina Project represents a new model of declassification diplomacy, and more,” Osorio said. “The release of these documents stands as a uniquely
valuable contribution to the cause of human rights, the cause of justice and the cause of our fundamental right-to-know.”

The National Security Archive today posted a selection of 18 CIA, FBI and State Department records from the newly released documents.

In late May 1976, the secret police chieftains of six Southern Cone military regimes gathered at a clandestine summit in Santiago, Chile, to create a “new unit, which was given the code name ‘Teseo’”—a reference to Theseus, the mythical Greek King of the Athenians and heroic slayer of the Minotaur, among other enemies. The mission of “Teseo” was to “conduct physical attacks against subversive targets” abroad, particularly militant Latin American leftists in Europe, according to formerly secret CIA intelligence reports turned over today to Argentina by the U.S. government, and posted for the first time by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

The "Teseo" program represented a new initiative under "Operation Condor"—the clandestine collaboration of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil to strike at their opposition in the Southern Cone and beyond. At the time, the CIA also managed to obtain the “text of the agreement by Condor countries regulating their operations against subversive targets”—a comprehensive planning paper on financing, staffing, logistics, training, and selection of targets that reveals both the banal and dramatic details of organizing and implementing Condor’s “Teseo” death squad operations. The “Teseo” operations base would be located “at Condor 1 (Argentina).” Each member country was expected to donate $10,000 to offset operational costs; and dues of $200 would be paid “prior to the 30th of each month” for maintenance expenses of the operations center. Expenses for agents on assassination missions abroad were estimated at $3,500 per person for ten days, “with an additional $1000 first time out for clothing allowance.”

Individuals to be eliminated, the Condor agreement stated, would be proposed by member services with “final selection…by vote and on the basis of a simple majority.” As a chilling section titled “Execution of the Target” explained: “This is the responsibility of the operational team which will (A) intercept the target, (B) Carry out the Operation, and (C) Escape. With the exception of the team leaders,” the planning paper stated, “the members of the intelligence and operational teams should not know each other for security and functional reasons.”

April 11

WikiLeaks Founder Assange Arrested

julian assange arrested april 11 2019 Copyright Ruptly

Julian Assange, at center, is dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy (Copyright Ruptly)

Euronews, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested and dragged out of embassy, Rachael Kennedy, April 11, 2019. WikLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, ending his seven-year asylum tenure there. The Metropolitan Police confirmed the arrest was based on an extradition request on behalf of the US, and for skipping bail in the UK, in a statement released on Thursday morning.

Assange is wanted in the US over an investigation into WikiLeaks' leaking of classified documents concerning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is wanted in the UK for breaching his conditions of bail in 2012 — it was granted amid a case that would see him extradited to Sweden to face charges of rape and sexual assault.

[Justice Integrity Project Editor's Note: Assange was never charged in Sweden and the procedures strongly suggested a political vendetta and possible entrapment and smear by intelligence agencies and their allies in the media and courts, according to our extensive reporting beginning in 2010.]

united kingdom flagTo avoid extradition, Assange took up asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had been until today.

Swedish prosecutors eventually dropped the rape charge in 2017, however, the alleged victim indicated on Thursday a wish to reopen the case, following Assange's arrest. Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren said Sweden was watching the developments, but was not yet able to "take a position" with the information available.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said the decision to remove Assange's asylum was made over "repeated violations" to international conventions and "daily life protocols."

The arrest came just a day after WikiLeaks held a press conference saying it found Assange had been a victim of an "extensive spying operation." Individuals in Spain had demanded a €3 million ransom for a "massive trove of documents" accumulated on him, which included video and audio recordings inside the Ecuadorian embassy, and other documents.

Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said he believed the documents were going to be handed over to US authorities to aid in an extradition case, but at the time he said he had no hard evidence to prove it.

Related stories below

ny times logoNew York Times, Julian Assange Is Arrested; Faces Charge in 2010 U.S. Leak, Eileen Sullivan and Richard Pérez-Peña, April 11, 2019. Britain Acts on U.S. Warrant Against WikiLeaks Founder. Mr. Assange faces one count of conspiracy to hack a computer related to the downloading of U.S. secrets by Chelsea Manning in 2010. The single charge stems from what prosecutors said was his agreement to break a password to a classified United States government computer.

The United States has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of conspiring to hack a computer as part of the 2010 release of reams of secret American documents, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday, putting him just one flight away from being in American custody after years of seclusion in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

The single charge, conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, was filed a year earlier, in March 2018, and stems from what prosecutors said was his agreement to break a password to a classified United States government computer. It carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and is significant in that it is not an espionage charge, a detail that will come as a relief to press freedom advocates. The United States government had considered until at least last year charging him with an espionage-related offense.

Mr. Assange, 47, has been living at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012. British authorities arrested him on Thursday, heavily bearded and disheveled. A dramatic video showed him shackled and being carried out of the embassy and forced into a police van. He was detained partly in connection with an American extradition warrant after he was evicted by the Ecuadoreans.

Mr. Assange has been in the sights of the United States government since his organization’s 2010 disclosures. Most recently, Mr. Assange has been under attack for his organization’s release during the 2016 presidential campaign of thousands of emails stolen from the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee, leading to a series of revelations that embarrassed the party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. United States investigators have said that the systems were hacked by Russian agents; the conspiracy charge against Mr. Assange unsealed Thursday is not related to the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s election influence.

Mr. Assange will have the right to contest the United States extradition request in British courts. Most people who fight extradition requests argue that the case is politically motivated rather than driven by legitimate legal concerns.

In 2010 WikiLeaks released American files that documented the killing of civilians and journalists and the abuse of detainees by forces of the United States and other countries, airing officials’ unvarnished, often unflattering views of allies and of American actions.

An Army private, Bradley Manning — now known as Chelsea Manning — was convicted of leaking that collection of files and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. President Barack Obama commuted the sentence after Ms. Manning had served almost seven years.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Julian Assange Arrested on U.S. Extradition Warrant, London Police Say, Richard Pérez-Peña, April 11, 2019. The WikiLeaks founder was arrested at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012, after Ecuador withdrew the asylum it had granted him.

lenin moreno ecuadorPresident Lenín Moreno (left) of Ecuador said on Twitter that his country had decided to stop sheltering Mr. Assange after “his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols,” a decision that cleared the way for the British authorities to detain him.

The relationship between Mr. Assange and Ecuador has been a rocky one, even as it offered him refuge and even citizenship, and WikiLeaks said last Friday that Ecuador “already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest” and predicted that Mr. Assange would be expelled from the embassy “within ‘hours to days.’”

Fox News,Watch police drag Assange out of Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs, Greg Palkot, April 11, 2019. British police are seen dragging the white-bearded WikiLeaks founder out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in a dramatic video after Ecuador withdraws his asylum.

Trump Probes

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation/commentary: Is William Barr a "peripheral third party" in the Mueller report? Wayne Madsen (WMR editor, syndicated columnist, author), April 11, 2019 (subscription required; excerpted with permission). Attorney General William Barr told the House Appropriations Committee that the 400-page report by Robert Mueller william barr new oon the 2016 Trump campaign’s foreign connections is being redacted of all information dealing with grand jury hearings, information that would reveal intelligence sources or methods, information on other current investigations, and information that would “unduly infringe on the personal privacy and representational interests of peripheral third parties.”

Barr may have a major conflict-of-interest in the last category. While many pundits are viewing “peripheral third parties” as Donald Trump daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Trump’s two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, the category of third parties might include Barr himself.

nancy pelosi djt

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump has made the mistake of awakening a monster, Bill Palmer, April 11, 2019. Here’s what someone once said about Nancy Pelosi: “She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding.” That quote came from Pelosi’s own daughter. The current Speaker of the House is so politically savvy, calm, and collected, she can do a lot of damage to her opponents while smiling the entire time. Here’s the thing. Pelosi is no longer smiling. Not even close.

bill palmer report logo headerWhen Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House earlier this year, she said that impeaching Donald Trump at that time wasn’t worth it, and she’d wait until the Mueller probe and/or other investigations turned up more about Trump’s crimes. It was a wise move. If she’d pushed forward with impeachment three months ago, it would have gotten through the House but certainly not the Senate, and all it would have done was make Trump more emboldened.

So Pelosi has held her fire, preferring to let the House committee chairs push forward with their probes, all while waiting for Trump to hand her an opening. He just did. Trump’s Attorney General William Barr thumbed his nose at Congress about the Mueller report yesterday, while repeating one of Trump’s most deranged phony conspiracy theories. Then Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin thumbed his nose at Congress as well when he announced that he was illegally refusing to turn over Trump’s tax returns.

These two scoundrels just declared war against American democracy, on Trump’s behalf. If Trump wants a war, and he clearly does, Nancy Pelosi is going to give him one. When she spoke before the cameras yesterday and accused Barr of having gone “off the rails,” you could clearly see from her tone and body language that Trump and his stooges had crossed her red line.

More Commentary On Assange Arrest

Palmer Report, Opinion: The real reason the United States chose right now to take down Julian Assange, Bill Palmer, April 11, 2019. UK authorities just hauled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, based on an extradition request from the United States. It’s a move that a lot of people have been waiting a long time for – particularly with regard to finally getting answers in the 2016 Trump-Russia election scandal. But the question must be asked: why now? There are two potentially plausible scenarios, so let’s lay them out.

bill palmer report logo headerFirst there’s the doomsday scenario: new Attorney General William Barr fired Special Counsel Robert Mueller before he could get to Assange, and now Barr is seizing Assange to try to make sure the truth never comes out. Considering that Assange is being arrested just weeks after Mueller’s investigation abruptly ended under highly suspicious circumstances, and Barr’s obviously corrupt desire to protect Trump at all costs, this does seem plausible.

julian assange indicter imageThen there’s essentially the opposite scenario: the takedown of Assange (right) is just the latest move by the non-corrupt elements in the DOJ to continue carrying out Robert Mueller’s gameplan, and Barr either wouldn’t or couldn’t stop the takedown from happening. We’ve already seen various DOJ prosecutors pushing forward with Mueller’s grand jury work against Roger Stone, and whoever’s financial records are being targeted by the subpoena of that mystery foreign government owned company.

Legal experts are saying that it could take several months (or longer) before the Assange extradition process plays out and he’s handed over to the United States. In the meantime he’ll be held in UK custody, where U.S. investigators can petition to interview him. So if and when House investigative leaders like Adam Schiff ask to travel to London to interview Assange about the Trump-Russia scandal, we’ll see if the DOJ tries to work with or against such requests – and that’ll tell us why the DOJ made this move now.

April 9

The Guardian, David Miliband: the most vulnerable pay for Trump's 'manufactured crisis,' Ed Pilkington, April 9, 2019. Exclusive: IRC chief says US government ‘failing in its most basic responsibilities’ in its handling of border issues. Donald Trump is manufacturing a crisis at the US-Mexico border to justify his hardline immigration plans while failing to tackle the real crisis in Central America that is the root of the problem, the head of one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid groups has said.

david milibandDavid Miliband (right), the former British foreign secretary who now leads the International Rescue Committee (IRC), issued a scathing critique of the Trump administration’s handling of border issues. “The US government is failing in its most basic responsibilities, never mind as a global leader but as a local example of how a civilized country should behave,” he said.

In an interview with the Guardian from IRC’s headquarters in New York, Miliband said that Trump’s approach to immigration amounted to “disorder by design”. “The administration needs to create the evidence to justify its immigration policies – it is using the concept of crisis to create the justification for government by executive fiat.”

The national emergency declared by the US president in February to bolster his plans for a border wall were denounced by Miliband as “manufactured crisis”. He said: “By no standards of national or international precedent would you describe it as a crisis, even in the communities affected in the southern US.”

Meanwhile, thousands of vulnerable people are suffering because of the removal of US protections, slow processing of their asylum claims and cuts in federal aid, he said. “The people who pay the price for government policy failure are the most vulnerable and least able to cope, whether Americans who are on the edge or Central Americans who are over the edge. That is a great danger.”

Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, IRC today operates in more than 40 countries, including many war zones. Its global emergency team is currently working to control the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

OpEdNews, Opinion: Financial Tyranny: America Has Become a Pay-to-Play Exercise in Fascism, John Whitehead, April 9, 2019. We're not living the American Dream. We're in the grip of a financial nightmare. "We the people" have become the new, permanent underclass in America.

We get taxed on how much we earn, taxed on what we eat, taxed on what we buy, taxed on where we go, taxed on what we drive, and taxed on how much is left of our assets when we die, and yet we have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used.

Case in point: Lawmakers across the country have been acting as fronts for corporations, sponsoring more than 10,000 model laws written by corporations, industry groups and think tanks such as the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Make no mistake: this is fascism disguised as legislative expediency.

usa today logoAs a recent investigative report by USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity points out, these copycat bills have been used to "override the will of local voters" and advance the agendas of the corporate state. "Disguised as the work of lawmakers, these so-called 'model' bills get copied in one state Capitol after another, quietly advancing the agenda of the people who write them."

In this way, laws that promise to protect the public "actually bolster the corporate bottom line."

For example, "The Asbestos Transparency Act didn't help people exposed to asbestos. It was written by corporations who wanted to make it harder for victims to recoup money. The 'HOPE Act,' introduced in nine states, was written by a conservative advocacy group to make it more difficult for people to get food stamps."

Talk about Orwellian. So we have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but that doesn't prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn.

We're being forced to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, for misguided pork barrel projects that do little to enhance our lives, and for the trappings of a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

All the while the government continues to do whatever it likeslevy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsiblywith little thought for the plight of its citizens. If Americans managed their personal finances the way the government mismanages the nation's finances, we'd all be in debtors' prison by now. Still, the government remains unrepentant, unfazed and undeterred in its money grabs.

April 7

Media News: Murder Motive

jamal khashoggi western suit

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: In a book proposal, Khashoggi outlined a U.S.-inspired vision for a new Saudi Arabia, David B. Ottaway, April 7, 2019 (print ed.). David Ottaway is a fellow in the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center. Jamal Khashoggi (right) was working on what he described as an “eye-opener” of a book challenging Saudi Arabia to draw inspiration for its reforms from American institutions and practices when he was savagely murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October. His book proposal illustrates that he was as much a visionary of a new Saudi Arabia as Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, author of the highly ambitious “Vision 2030” and the person who the CIA concluded ordered Khashoggi’s assassination.

Khashoggi’s gruesome murder touched off the worst crisis in U.S.-Saudi relations since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, with Congress pressing President Trump to name the instigator and to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

mohammad bin salman cropped file smallThe crown prince (left) tried to convince the White House that Khashoggi was a dangerous Islamist threat to the United States, but his book project reveals just the opposite: He was a great admirer of U.S. democracy and society. He had belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth but had long since disassociated himself from what Saudi authorities have branded a terrorist organization.

Khashoggi’s book project was outlined in his application for a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, submitted in June 2017. His daughter, Noha, recently agreed to allow me to disclose its content. His book was to be both a primer for Saudis coming to the United States, explaining how American institutions and practices function, and a plea for Saudi leaders to adopt many of them.

Its tentative title: United States for Saudis or U.S. Made Easy for Saudis.

“My plan is to explain American life to the Saudi reader and Arabs in general in a simple storytelling format,” he wrote, noting that at least 750,000 Saudis are graduates of American education institutions, and even more have come as tourists or family members of students. ”My focus will be on the schooling, educational reform [and] control of public funds,” he wrote.

April 3

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: How Rupert Murdoch’s Empire of Influence Remade the World, Jonathan Mahler and Jim Rutenberg, April 3, 2019 (print ed.). Part 1: Imperial rupert murdoch newReach: Murdoch, 86, right, and his children have toppled governments on two continents and destabilized the most important democracy on Earth. What do they want? Over the last six months, we spoke to more than 150 people about the most powerful media family on earth.

Rupert Murdoch was lying on the floor of his cabin, unable to move. It was January 2018, and Murdoch and his fourth wife, Jerry Hall, were spending the holidays cruising the Caribbean on his elder son Lachlan’s yacht. Murdoch tripped on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Few private citizens have ever been more central to the state of world affairs than the man lying in that hospital bed, awaiting his children’s arrival.

As the head of a sprawling global media empire, he commanded multiple television networks, a global news service, a major publishing house and a Hollywood movie studio. His newspapers and television networks had been instrumental in amplifying the nativist revolt that was reshaping governments not just in the United States but also across the planet.

New York Times, Here are six takeaways from The Times’s investigation.

ny times logoNew York Times, Media Companies Take a Big Gamble on Apple, Edmund Lee, April 3, 2019 (print ed.).  Executives have been burned by their previous dealings with big tech apple logo rainbowcompanies. But Apple’s promise of a billion devices worldwide was too good to pass up. Even for Rupert Murdoch.

The tech giant based the service on an app it acquired last year called Texture, which gave readers access to some 200 publications with a single subscription. The revamped and renamed version, introduced with much fanfare last week at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., charges subscribers $9.99 a month ($12.99 in Canada) for content from more than 300 titles, including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Time, The Atlantic and People, as well as The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. (Also included: Airbnb Magazine, Birds & Blooms, Retro Gamer and Salt Water Sportsman, befitting the app’s conceit as an omnibus newsstand.)

Peace Activism

david swanson head SmallLet's Try Democracy, Grassroots Activism / Opinion, NATO Interrupted, David Swanson (right), April 3, 2019. Wednesday morning an event was held in a building overlooking Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., at an organization called the Center for European Policy Analysis, which is funded by: FireEye, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Bell Helicopters, BAE systems, the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon, National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Mission to NATO, and NATO’s own Public Diplomacy Division.

Participating in the event were several foreign ministers from NATO nations, ambassadors to NATO, and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. NATO is designed to david swanson no to nato sign2vigilantly protect you from numerous imaginary and NATO-provoked dangers, but its events are apparently protected by magic spells, as I just walked in and took a seat.

When I couldn’t take any more of the pro-militarism talk, I stood up and interrupted, holding up a sign reading: “Yes to Peace / NoToNATO.org.” Lots of media cameras were in the room, so there is bound to be video somewhere. (Please share it with me.) I said words to this general effect:

"NATO needs to be shut down, not enlarged. Russia spends a tiny percentage of what NATO nations do on war, and you pretend to be afraid of nato logo flags nameRussia. We’re not buying it. You’re provoking dangers. NATO makes up 3/4 of military spending in the world. Its members are also responsible for about 3/4 of foreign weapons dealing — to dictatorships and so-called democracies around the world. NATO wages aggressive wars far from the North Atlantic. The people you can hear chanting outside have had enough. We’re not believing these myths anymore."

I continued along those lines for a little while before leaving. We sang songs and spoke to people in the building’s lobby and on the sidewalk out front, and did interviews with media from every continent other than North America, before heading off to Capitol Hill where the head of NATO was being welcomed in bipartisan harmony.

NATO is encountering protest everywhere it goes in Washington on Wednesday and will on Thursday as well. Detailed plans.

 April 2

Global Research, Book Review: The CIA Takeover of America in the 1960s Is the Story of Our Times, Edward Curtin (author and sociologist Edward Curtin is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization), April 2, 2019. The Killing of the Kennedys and Today’s New Cold War. A Quasi-Review of "A Lie Too Big To Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy" by Lisa Pease.

When Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968, the American public fell into an hypnotic trance in which they have remained ever since. The overwhelming majority accepted what was presented by government authorities as an open and shut case that a young Palestinian American, Sirhan Sirhan, had murdered RFK because of his support for Israel, a false accusation whose ramifications echo down the years. That this was patently untrue and was contradicted by overwhelming evidence made no difference.

lisa pease rfk cover“‘We’re all puppets,’ the suspect [Sirhan Sirhan] replied, with more truth than he could have understood at that moment.”

Lisa Pease, quoting from the LAPD questioning of Sirhan'

Sirhan did not kill Robert Kennedy, yet he remains in jail to this very day. Robert Kennedy, Jr., who was 14 years old at the time of his father’s death, has visited Sirhan in prison, claims he is innocent, and believes there was another gunman. Paul Schrade, an aide to the senator and the first person shot that night, also says Sirhan didn’t do it. Both have plenty of evidence. And they are not alone.

There is a vast body of documented evidence to prove this, an indisputably logical case marshalled by serious writers and researchers. Lisa Pease is the latest. It is a reason why a group of 60 prominent Americans has recently called for a reopening of, not just this case, but those of JFK, MLK, and Malcom X. The blood of these men cries out for the revelation of the truth that the United States national security state and its media accomplices have fought so mightily to keep hidden for so many years.

That they have worked so hard at this reveals how dangerous the truth about these assassinations still is to this secret government that wages propaganda war against the American people and real wars around the world. It is a government of Democrats, Republicans, and their intelligence allies working together today to confuse the American people and provoke Russia in a most dangerous game that could lead to nuclear war, a possibility that so frightened JFK and RFK after the Cuban Missile Crisis that they devoted themselves to ending the Cold War, reconciling with the Soviet Union, abolishing nuclear weapons, reining in of the power of the CIA, and withdrawing from Vietnam. That is why they were killed.

The web of deceit surrounding the now officially debunked Democratic led Russia-gate propaganda operation that has strengthened Trump to double-down on his anti-Russia operations (a Democratic goal) is an example of the perfidious and sophisticated mutuality of this game of mass mind-control.

The killing of the Kennedys and today’s new Cold War and war against terror are two ends of a linked intelligence operation.

Moreover, more than any other assassination of the 1960s, it is the killing of Bobby Kennedy that has remained shrouded in the most ignorance.

It is one of the greatest propaganda success stories of American history.

In her exhaustive new examination of the case, A Lie Too Big To Fail, Lisa Pease puts it succinctly at the conclusion of her unravelling of the official lies that have mesmerized the public:

The assassination of the top four leaders of the political left in the five year period – President John Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 – represented nothing less than a slow-motion coup on the political scene.

If anyone wishes to understand what has happened to the United States since this coup, and thus to its countless victims at home and throughout the world, one must understand these assassinations and how the alleged assassins were manipulated by the coup organizers and how the public was hoodwinked in a mind-control operation on a vast scale. It is not ancient history, for the forces that killed these leaders rule the U.S. today, and their ruthlessness has subsequently informed the actions of almost all political leaders in the years since. A bullet to the head when you seriously talk about peace and justice is a not so gentle reminder to toe the line or else.

March

March 31

Covert Politics At U.S. Supreme Court

geoffrey stonewashington post logoWashington Post, Book Review: Chief Justice Roberts’s delicate seat at the center of a divided Supreme Court, Geoffrey R. Stone (right, distinguished professor of law and former provost at the University of Chicago), March 31, 2019 (print ed.). The Supreme Court sits at the center of fundamental disagreements about various crucial issues — campaign finance, affirmative action, abortion, gun control, voting rights and the constitutionality of some of President Trump’s most controversial actions — and the stakes are as high as they have ever been. At the center of it all is conservative Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

As Joan Biskupic observes in her book The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts, after Republicans’ refusal to confirm President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court choice, Merrick Garland, and Trump’s appointment of two fiercely conservative justices, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court is “now Roberts’s in name and reality.”

joan biskupic john roberts the chiefAlthough Roberts consistently maintains that the court is not a political body, and although he insists publicly that “the justices do not advance political positions,” Biskupic concludes that, in his decision-making in the most important and ideological cases, Roberts has all too often “engaged in the partisanship he claimed to abhor.” Moreover, although Roberts’s public persona seems very easygoing and congenial, Biskupic reveals that his top-down style has often “rankled” his colleagues on the court.

Like Biskupic’s previous books about Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor, The Chief offers an extraordinarily insightful, thoughtful and accessible analysis of Roberts’s personal life, professional career, judicial experience and approach to constitutional interpretation. It is essential reading for anyone who truly wants to understand this pivotal moment in Supreme Court history.

Biskupic, who has known Roberts for more than 20 years, sat down with him for seven interviews totaling 20 hours for her book. She was therefore well-positioned to offer often stunning insight into Roberts’s life and thinking both on and off the court.

joan biskupic pbsRoberts leads the Supreme Court at a critical moment. For the first time in history, the court is divided 5 to 4 not only along ideological lines, but along partisan lines as well. That is, all five justices in the highly conservative majority were appointed by Republican presidents, and all four justices in the more liberal minority were appointed by Democratic presidents. Thus, there is a serious danger that on all the issues that have bitterly divided the justices over the past half a century, the court will divide sharply along partisan lines.

Such a state of affairs will seriously undermine the fundamental integrity of the court itself. The whole point of relying on judges and justices to decide fundamental questions of law is that they are doing their best to apply the law in a neutral and fair-minded manner. Although they may disagree sharply about questions of constitutional interpretation, their disagreements should be on intellectual rather than partisan lines.

March 29

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Commentary: Barr may have been a subject of Mueller's investigation, Wayne Madsen, March 29, 2019 (subscription required).  Attorney General William Barr may have been a subject of Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.

March 28

Media Self-Censorship On 9-11

9 11 courthouse news suppresses court filing march 27 2019

AE911Truth.org, Opinion: Courthouse News yanks article for its woefully fair and accurate coverage of 9/11 lawsuit, Ted Walter, March 28, 2019. If you had to pick one example to best encapsulate the mainstream media bias and censorship that have contributed significantly to suppressing the truth about 9/11 for nearly two decades, it would have to be the extraordinary actions of Courthouse News Service earlier this week.

The first extraordinary action came on March 26, 2019, when Courthouse News published the article “FBI Accused of Omitting Evidence From 9/11 Report,” which — to the astonishment of many — offered fair coverage of the lawsuit filed one day earlier by the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and 9/11 family member Bob McIlvaine.

March 27

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, ‘Tricky Dick’: Behind the Prevailing Myth, There’s Another Story, Staff Report, March 27, 2019. A new CNN four-part original series on the fall of President richard nixon portraitRichard M. Nixon — Tricky Dick — had its premiere March 17. Its makers promise “fresh insight into a riveting story of politics, power and scandal.”

Frankly, we doubt it. While we believe that most journalists do their level best to tell the truth as they understand it, major news organizations have tended to be corporations participating in the creation of a consensus narrative. It has been the case regardless of topic, and it was no different with the stories we are told about Richard Nixon and his downfall.

The story everyone heard was the one we all remember: Nixon (right) was a bad guy who committed a range of abuses, and paid the price. The heroes were the media and Congress. Russ Baker, founder of WhoWhatWhy, grew up believing that story. He believed it until his own research proved russ bakerotherwise: that Richard Nixon, for all his flaws, was not the architect of Watergate, but the victim of it.

And then Baker, left, stuck to his guns, telling a story that unsettled him deeply but was what he had uncovered. Because that is what an honest journalist does. It is what WhoWhatWhy does.

CNN will tell us a story that is entirely consistent with the prevailing myth, perhaps because its journalists only know the conventional story, but also perhaps in part because it is extremely risky — financially, professionally, in every respect — to break from the crowd.

To learn something with much more “fresh insight” than you will find in Tricky Dick, read on.

ken silversteinWashington Babylon, Investigative Commentary: Is The Intercept An Intelligence Operation? An Ongoing Inquiry, Ken Silverstein (right), March 28, 2019. Washington Babylon has been running a number of stories this week by Tim Shorrock and I which raise the possibility — mine did directly — that Pierre Omidyar’s The Intercept (TI) is an intelligence operation, working in collaboration with the U.S. and/or a foreign government. I understand why some readers might be skeptical of that charge, so let me lay out here some additional information and why I think everyone should be open-minded about the topic.

Let me also say that I don’t have 100 percent proof that TI was and is an intelligence operation, but the preponderance of evidence points that way. And I’m accumulating more evidence every day that makes the case even more compelling.

Before going further, here is a brief, lightly edited excerpt from the first story I ran on this topic. I urge all genuinely interested parties to read the entire story, before or after finishing this one.

Did Omidyar set up The Intercept on behalf of U.S. intelligence, in order to entrap, expose and prosecute whistleblowers? It’s curious: Greenwald was Omidyar’s first hire and he had pretty much exclusive access to Edward Snowden’s NSA treasure trove. When I worked at TI, the Snowden archive was locked in a safe. Omidyar and Greenwald long promised they would make it all available to the public but they never did, and last week, amid staff cuts that will inevitably lead to Omidyar killing the publication, TI announced that the Snowden archive will be sealed off from the public for an undetermined amount of time. So it looks like the most explosive leak in U.S. intelligence history will end up being buried by Omidyar and Greenwald.

I briefly noted in that story that I had previously worked at TI, being one of the first hires in 2014. I quit in disgust in early 2015 and wrote about my experience for Politico.

Back then, I didn’t suspect anything nefarious. I merely thought TI was experiencing a lot of the same problems any web start up would face. I remember joking with colleagues that by hiring so many left-leaning writers and paying them so much money to effectively not write — my two best stories for TI ended up in VICE — Omidyar had effectively decommissioned half of progressive journalism in the country. (Recall here Omidyar is a tech oligarch with rich ties to Silicon Valley, which in turn has deep links to U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies.)

But looking back, I have to wonder: was it merely incompetence and standard problems faced by start ups that kept TI from publishing much, or was it something worse?

JFK Death Legacy

charles thomas cynthia thomas child courtesy of cynthia thomas

Charles and Cynthia Thomas with one of their children (Credit: Cynthia Thomas)

jefferson morley newJFKFacts.org, Commentary: The Man Who Asked Too Many JFK Questions, Jeff Morley, March 27, 2019. The late Charles Thomas belonged to an exclusive, unhappy and forgotten club: U.S. government officials whose efforts to honestly investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 cost them their jobs and reputations.

Last week the Washington Post ran an obituary of Cynthia Thomas, the widow of Charles Thomas. It was an unusual tribute. The Washington Post now acknowledges that there are good and solid reasons for perfectly sane people to reject the U.S. government’s implausible and widely disbelieved official theory that a “lone gunman” killed JFK for no discernible reason.

This is a welcome and overdue development, as the facts of Thomas’s tragic story attest.

Thomas, a Foreign Service officer, was stationed in Mexico from 1964 to 1967. In the course of his consular duties, Thomas gathered first-hand information from credible sources about the visit of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to Mexico City six weeks before JFK’s assassination. Thomas assumed that the CIA and FBI would be interested in his new evidence. He assumed wrong.

In fact, Thomas was punished for asking questions about JFK’s assassination. Despite glowing job recommendations, he was inexplicably dismissed from the Foreign Service in 1969. “It was nonsensical,” Cynthia Thomas told a reporter, “Charles was the best sort of American diplomat.”

Two years later, Charles Thomas put a gun to his right temple in the second-floor bathroom of the couple’s home in northwest Washington and pulled the trigger.

March 24

washington post logoWashington Post, Attorney general: Mueller does not find that Trump campaign conspired with Russia, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky​, March 24, 2019. Special counsel ‘did not draw a conclusion . . . as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction,’ william barr new oBarr says.

A summary of Robert S. Mueller III’s findings was sent to lawmakers. On the question of whether the president might have sought to obstruct the high-profile investigation, “the Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him’,” the attorney general (right) said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Read: Attorney general’s principal conclusions of the Mueller report, March 24, 2019. Photos: Mueller in Washington after delivering his report.

 nancy pelosi djt

Speaker of the House, Pelosi, Schumer Joint Statement On Attorney General Barr’s Summary Of The Mueller Report, March 24, 2019. Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (shown above in a file photo with of President Trump) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released the following statement regarding Attorney General Barr’s summary of the Mueller report:

“Attorney General Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers.  The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay.  Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.

“And most obviously, for the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility.

“Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise.  The American people have a right to know.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats ‘absolutely’ willing to head to Supreme Court to release full report, Nadler says, Felicia Sonmez, Rachael Bade, Paul Kane and Paul Sonne, March 24, 2019. Lawmakers say it is too early to raise the specter of impeachment but suggested they are keeping their options open.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Here’s proof that William Barr is taking Robert Mueller’s report out of context, Bill Palmer, March 24, 2019. When Donald Trump’s handpicked Attorney General William Barr released a four page “summary” today of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, it felt wildly at odds with everything Mueller was investigating about Trump, and everything that we’ve seen play out in plain sight. Now it turns out there’s semantic proof that Barr has indeed taken Mueller’s Report out of context.

bill palmer report logo headerPalmer Report readers know that I can be critical of MSNBC during its most histrionic moments. But host Ari Melber nailed it this evening when he noticed something remarkable about Barr’s summary. Despite being four pages long, it didn’t quote a single full sentence from Mueller. Why is this important?

Imagine you’ve been given a very lengthy secret report. Your task is to summarize it for the public, in a way that’s going to give the public confidence that you’re being honest about what’s really in the secret report, and you have no limit on how long your summary can be. You’re going to make a point of quoting the secret report as directly as possible, particularly when it comes to the key points that the report makes.

Instead, William Barr did the precise opposite. Each time he quoted the Mueller report, he cherry picked sentence fragments, and never did include a complete sentence. In other words, he clearly took those fragments out of context. His only reason to chop up Mueller’s words so finely would be to try to alter their meaning. This “summary” is bogus. House Democrats will seize the real Mueller report soon enough.

william barr image by donkehotey dmca

Attorney General William P. Barr (image by Donkehotey via DCMA)

OpEdNews, Opinion: Impeach William Barr if he doesn't release the Mueller report, Michael Collins, March 24, 2019. Barr can't be Trump's oenearthlogonew Michael Cohen. United States Attorney General William Barr is acting as though he has a choice about releasing the Mueller report. He doesn't. Unless Barr wants to live in infamy as a disgraced enabler of the mad and corrupt president, He needs to fulfill his constitutional duty and release the report in its entirety. If he fails to do so, he should be impeached.

In the Department of Justice Order that initiated the investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated that the purpose of special counsel investigation was to "ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election."

The question of Russian interference in the 2016 election affects all citizens. This scope amplifies the meaning of Part 600 - General Powers of the Special Counsel, Code of Federal Regulations. The Special Counsel must deliver a confidential report to the U.S. Attorney General.

It couldn't be more obvious. The integrity of our democratic republic is the critical subject of inquiry and, given the overriding importance of that subject, the public interest must be served.

Why would we think Bill Barr would withhold the report? Because he told us so in his confirmation hearing.

Barr tried to come off as calm and thoughtful when answering questions. Despite his demeanor, he offered everything we need to know about his intentions. He accepted the notion that a sitting president cannot be indicted in a criminal case. There is no such restriction on presidential indictments in the Constitution. That doesn't bother Barr. He bases his opinion on a 1973 Nixon Department of Justice memo that somehow rationalized this position. Barr also informed us that if confirmed, he would not report on anything other than indictments.

Professor Alan J. Lichtman of American University summarized the ugly truth behind Barr's position in the confirmation hearings:

"Here is the Catch-22. Barr won't authorize an indictment of the president, but he is opposed to commenting on investigations absent indictments." Spectator USA 01/16/2019

Without hesitation or a scintilla of embarrassment, Barr gave the public a clear message I decide what gets released and unless there's an indictment, nothing gets published. He left out the need for full transparency based on the defined mission of the Special Counsels effort: "to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election" and "determine" the obvious that "the release of these reports would be in the public interest."

Impeaching a Cabinet Member

Cabinet members may be impeached on the same grounds as the president and vice president. The three broad categories of impeachable offenses are: "(1) improperly exceeding or abusing the powers of the office; (2) behavior incompatible with the function and purpose of the office; and (3) misusing the office for an improper purpose or personal gain" (Congressional Research Service, 10/29/2015).

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: A timeline of what we’ve learned so far about Russia and the Trump campaign, Philip Bump, March 24, 2019. The information relevant to the moment stretches back more than a decade. Over the course of the past two years,

The Washington Post has compiled timelines documenting what is known about various aspects of the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, interactions between President Trump’s campaign and Russian individuals, and ancillary activity that resulted in criminal charges obtained by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

As we’ve learned more, those timelines have grown and become more detailed. The sheer complexity of the intertwining stories, though, means that moments of overlap can be missed. So, with the final report from Mueller’s team still behind closed doors, we’ve gathered elements from all of our timelines into one grand timeline, providing a broader sense of what we’ve learned

washington post logorepublican elephant logoWashington Post, ‘Nobody I wanted to see in trouble seems as if they’re in trouble’: Some Democratic voters are disappointed, David Weigel and Colby Itkowitz, March 24, 2019. The special counsel’s findings have not yet been made public, but the fact that the investigation ended without any further indictments has Republicans declaring victory.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Inside the Justice Department, Attorney General Barr is viewed as ‘a lawyer’s lawyer,’ Aaron Gregg, March 24, 2019. Once again, William P. Barr is at the center of a protracted and politicized investigation that has dominated his time in office.

March 23

Next Steps For DOJ Probe

ny times logoNew York Times, As Mueller Report Lands, Prosecutorial Focus Moves to New York, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, Benjamin Weiser and Maggie Haberman, March 23, 2019. The work by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, may be done, but prosecutors in Manhattan and elsewhere are pursuing about a dozen other investigations. It all but ensures that a legal threat will continue to loom over the Trump presidency.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Robert Mueller has farmed out Trump-related investigations to SDNY and six other federal prosecutorial entities, Bill Palmer, March 23, 2019. Anyone with a basic familiarity with Robert Mueller’s investigation knows that “no more indictments from Mueller” doesn’t mean “no more indictments.” With his own investigation ending, it turns out Mueller has farmed out investigations to at least seven federal prosecutorial entities in total.

bill palmer report logo headerRobert Mueller has farmed things out to 1) the SDNY, which handles federal cases in Manhattan, 2) the EDNY, which handles federal cases in Brooklyn, 3) the EDVA in Virginia, 4) the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, 5) the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington DC, 6) the DOJ National Security Division, and 7) the DOJ Criminal Division. This is all according to a new report today from the New York Times. So what does this tell us?

Some of these are outright referrals for criminal prosecution, while others are referrals of evidence and witnesses. But these are all instances of Robert Mueller giving these seven federal prosecutorial entities the tools they need to investigate and indict. Because

djt don jr ivanka pecker eric

Mueller’s investigation was into Donald Trump and his campaign, it’s a given that all of these investigations are Trump-related. But how many of them are directly focused on Trump and his people?

This sentence from the New York Times would seem to sum it up rather succinctly: “Most of the investigations focus on President Trump or his family business or a cadre of his advisers and associates.”

So now we know Mueller has equipped seven different federal prosecutorial bodies to carry out investigations and indictments, and “most” of those investigations focused specifically on Donald Trump, his family, and his people. In other words, the people on Team Trump who are celebrating right now are merely suffering from a lack of understanding about how prosecutions work.

March 22

Mueller Delivers Report To Barr

robert mueller waving hands

ny times logoNew York Times, Mueller Delivers Report on Trump-Russian Investigation to Attorney General, Sharon LaFraniere and Katie Benner, March 22, 2019. Special Counsel Does Not Recommend New Charges; The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III (shown above in a file photo), focused on Russian election interference and whether anyone tied to the Trump campaign cooperated with them; Mr. Mueller did not suggest additional charges as part of his investigation, a senior Justice Dept. official said.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on Friday delivered a report on his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William P. Barr, the Justice Department said, bringing to a close an investigation that has consumed the nation and cast a shadow over President Trump for nearly two years.

Mr. Barr told congressional leaders in a letter that he may brief them on the special counsel’s “principal conclusions” as early as this weekend, a surprisingly fast turnaround for a report anticipated for months. The attorney general said he “remained committed to as much transparency as possible.”

Justice Department logoIn an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Mr. Trump has relentlessly attacked as a “witch hunt,” Mr. Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep him from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step. The department’s regulations would have required Mr. Barr to inform the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees about any such interventions in his letter.

A senior Justice Department official said that Mr. Mueller would not recommend new indictments, a statement aimed at ending speculation that Mr. Trump or other key figures might be charged down the line. With department officials stressing that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry was over and his office closing, the question for both Mr. Trump’s critics and defenders was whether the prosecutors condemned the president’s behavior in their report, exonerated him — or neither. The president’s lawyers were already girding for a possible fight over whether they could assert executive privilege to keep parts of the report secret.

For Trump and the System, a Turning Point and a Test

Once released, the Mueller report will transform the political landscape.
'
Since Mr. Mueller’s appointment in May 2017, his team has focused on how Russian operatives sought to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential race and whether anyone tied to the Trump campaign, wittingly or unwittingly, cooperated with them. While the inquiry, started months earlier by the F.B.I., unearthed a far-ranging Russian influence operation, no public evidence emerged that the president or his aides illegally assisted it.

ny times logoNew York Times, Mueller Delivers Report on Trump-Russian Investigation to Attorney General, Sharon LaFraniere and Katie Benner, March 22, 2019. Special Counsel Does Not Recommend New Charges; The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III (shown above in a file photo), focused on Russian election interference and whether anyone tied to the Trump campaign cooperated with them; Mr. Mueller did not suggest additional charges as part of his investigation, a senior Justice Dept. official said.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on Friday delivered a report on his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William P. Barr, the Justice Department said, bringing to a close an investigation that has consumed the nation and cast a shadow over President Trump for nearly two years.

william barr new oMr. Barr (shown at right in his new official photo) told congressional leaders in a letter that he may brief them on the special counsel’s “principal conclusions” as early as this weekend, a surprisingly fast turnaround for a report anticipated for months. The attorney general said he “remained committed to as much transparency as possible.”

In an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Mr. Trump has relentlessly attacked as a “witch hunt,” Mr. Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep him from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step. The department’s regulations would have required Mr. Barr to inform the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees about any such interventions in his letter.

A senior Justice Department official said that Mr. Mueller would not recommend new indictments, a statement aimed at ending speculation that Mr. Trump or other key figures might be charged down the line. With department officials stressing that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry was over and his office closing, the question for both Mr. Trump’s critics and defenders was whether the prosecutors condemned the president’s behavior in their report, exonerated him — or neither. The president’s lawyers were already girding for a possible fight over whether they could assert executive privilege to keep parts of the report secret.

For Trump and the System, a Turning Point and a Test

Once released, the Mueller report will transform the political landscape.
'
Since Mr. Mueller’s appointment in May 2017, his team has focused on how Russian operatives sought to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential race and whether anyone tied to the Trump campaign, wittingly or unwittingly, cooperated with them. While the inquiry, started months earlier by the F.B.I., unearthed a far-ranging Russian influence operation, no public evidence emerged that the president or his aides illegally assisted it.

washington post logodemocratic donkey logoWashington Post, ‘We will fight’: Democrats prepare to battle for Mueller’s complete findings, Ellen Nakashima, Karoun Demirjian and Rachael Bade​, ​March 22, 2019. Lawmakers are looking to the special counsel’s findings to inform their investigations — and insist they will be satisfied with nothing short of a complete account of the results and the evidence that informed them.

washington post logoWashington Post, After lashing out for months, a combative Trump awaits Mueller’s findings, Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, March 22, 2019. The president’s actions in office, including his firing of the FBI director, were scrutinized as possible obstructions of justice.

More On Mueller Report

ny times logoNew York Times, Glimpses of the Mystery That Is the Mueller Investigation, Scott Shane, Photos by Gabriella Demczuk, March 22, 2019. In 2016, the F.B.I. began its investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and journalists attempted to track it. We have seen pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. The full picture is missing.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: I wrote the special counsel rules. The attorney general can — and should — release the Mueller report, Neal Kumar Katyal, March 22, 2019. Neal Kumar Katyal, right, is the Saunders Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. He was neal katyal oacting solicitor general of the United States from 2010 to 2011.

The public has every right to see Robert S. Mueller III's conclusions. Absolutely nothing in the law or the regulations prevents the report from becoming public. Indeed, the relevant sources of law give Attorney General P. William Barr all the latitude in the world to make it public.

Those regulations, which I had the privilege of drafting in 1998 and 1999 as a young Justice Department lawyer, require three types of reports. First, the special counsel must give the attorney general “Urgent Reports” during the course of an investigation regarding things such as proposed indictments. Second, the special counsel must provide a report to the attorney general at the end of the investigation, which Mueller delivered on Friday. And third, the attorney general must furnish Congress with a report containing “an explanation for each action … upon conclusion of the Special Counsel’s investigation.”

Palmer Report, Analysis: Senator Richard Blumenthal says that, after Robert Mueller report, “high likelihood” Donald Trump will be indicted, Bill Palmer, March 22, 2019. The TV pundits really, really, really want you to buy into the narrative tonight that the submission of Robert Mueller’s report somehow means that Mueller didn’t find enough evidence to build a criminal case against Donald Trump. What’s this based on? Literally nothing, of course. Meanwhile, the people in position to know better are expecting Mueller’s report to set off additional indictments.

bill palmer report logo headerFirst, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, adam schiff officialright, appeared on MSNBC and stated that he thinks it’s “likely” there are more indictments coming; they’ll just come from the U.S. Attorneys’ offices that Mueller handed off the cases to. But this didn’t seem to fit with the doomsday narrative, so MSNBC kept pushing the notion that it’s all over, and everyone who hasn’t yet been arrested is somehow magically off the hook. That’s when Richard Blumenthal stepped to the plate.

Richard Blumenthal, below left, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, appeared on MSNBC and stated that there is a “high likelihood that there are indictments in this president’s future.” He explained that these indictments are likely to come from SDNY and/or richard blumenthal portraitother federal prosecutors. But again, this didn’t fit the prevailing MSNBC narrative, so the host cut off Blumenthal, and began asking leading questions which were aimed at painting the picture that no more indictments are coming.

We don’t know why the TV pundits are so eager tonight to push the notion that they somehow know that no one else will be indicted, beyond the obvious fact that scaring viewers is a good way to paralyze them into staying tuned in. But back in the real world, people who have been involved with the overall Trump-Russia investigation, such as Adam Schiff and Richard Blumenthal, are very loudly saying that they’re expecting more indictments. Blumenthal even thinks Trump is going to be indicted.

ny times logojames comeyNew York Times, Opinion: What I Want From the Mueller Report, James Comey (a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shown in an official photo before his dismissal in 2017), March 22, 2019 (print ed.). I am rooting for a demonstration to the world that the United States justice system works.

The country is eagerly awaiting the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Many people know what they want it to say — what they feel it simply must say — namely, that Donald Trump is a criminal who should be removed from office. Or that he is completely innocent of all wrongdoing.

But not everyone knows what it “must” say. Even though I believe Mr. Trump is morally unfit to be president of the United States, I’m not rooting for Mr. Mueller to demonstrate that he is a criminal. I’m also not rooting for Mr. Mueller to “clear” the president. I’m not rooting for anything at all, except that the special counsel be permitted to finish his work, charge whatever cases warrant charging and report on his work.

washington post logophilip shenon cover jfk cruel bookWashington Post, Cynthia Thomas, State Department widow who won presidential apology, dies at 82, Philip Shenon (author of A Cruel and Shocking Act, from which some of this obituary is drawn), March 22, 2019 (print ed). Cynthia Thomas once thought that she had solved the most confounding mystery of her life — why her late husband, a respected career diplomat, was abruptly fired by the State Department in 1969. His dismissal plunged her husband, Charles, into a severe depression and, she was certain, led him to kill himself two years later at 48.

Mrs. Thomas, who went on to her own diplomatic career and who died March 13 at 82, said the images and sounds of the suicide never left her thoughts, at least not for long.

On April 12, 1971, her husband put a gun to his right temple in the second-floor bathroom of the couple’s rented home in Washington. Mrs. Thomas, downstairs, thought at first that the boiler had exploded.

state dept map logo SmallHis firing by the State Department — he had been “selected out,” in the agency’s Orwellian language of the era — shattered Charles, his widow said.

Within weeks of her husband’s death, she mounted a one-woman lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill for an explanation of why his career had been derailed — what had put him on the path to ending his life.

With the help of outraged lawmakers, she got an answer. A State Department investigation in the mid-1970s showed he was dismissed because of a clerical mistake — the misfiling of his personnel records, including an especially flattering review from his final foreign posting at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. That evaluation described him as “one of the most valuable officers” in the diplomatic corps.

Declassified government files released in the 1990s suggested to her and her family — and to some historians and researchers who have studied the case — that her husband’s career was ended to stop him from continuing to raise unwelcome questions inside the government about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy: specifically, about whether the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had accomplices in Mexico, where Charles Thomas was posted from 1964 to 1967. The misfiling of his personnel records, his family suspected, may have been intentional.

In recent years, Mrs. Thomas, who retired from the State Department in 1993, readily conceded that the idea of a connection between her husband’s dismissal and unanswered questions about Kennedy’s death might sound “crazy.” She dreaded being branded an CIA Logoassassination conspiracy theorist.

The long-classified State Department and CIA documents show that her husband alarmed his superiors in the late 1960s by pressing for a new investigation that might have pointed to a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death. It was a plot, he suspected, that had been hatched on Mexican soil and somehow involved officials of the communist government of Cuba.

March 20

ny times logoNew York Times, The Mueller Report Is Highly Anticipated. Here’s What We Already Know, Larry Buchanan and Karen Yourish, March 20, 2019. After more than two years of criminal indictments and steady revelations about contacts between associates of Donald J. Trump and Russia, we already know a lot about the work done by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Here are the main findings and lines of inquiry and the people involved in each.

The investigation has revealed a range of events related to Russian interference and the 2016 election.

Russian Hacking and WikiLeaks

As part of a complex effort to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump’s 2016 rival, Russia’s top military intelligence service hacked the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the private email account of the chairman of the Clinton campaign and released tens of thousands of stolen emails through WikiLeaks to the public, according to an indictment filed by Mr. Mueller. Only the Russians have been charged.

Russian Social Media Manipulation

The Russian government also directed a network of Internet trolls who used fake accounts on social media to manipulate potential voters and influence the election, according to the special counsel.

Trump Tower Moscow

Mr. Trump and other Trump Organization executives were involved in discussions throughout the 2016 campaign to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. During the campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly denied having any business interests in Russia, but has since admitted that discussions took place.

Trump Tower Russia Meeting

Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer after being told that the Russian government wanted to share damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. After the meeting was uncovered by The New York Times, the Trump team pushed a false narrative about the reason for holding it.

Russian Contacts

All told, Mr. Trump and more than a dozen of his associates had more than 100 contacts with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks, or their intermediaries, during the campaign and transition. These included multiple offers of dirt on Mrs. Clinton, attempts to arrange “back-channel” meetings between Mr. Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and private messages with WikiLeaks and other Russian fronts. At least 10 other advisers were told about these interactions but did not have any themselves.

Global Opinion: West v. ISIS

isis gunmen file

Strategic Culture Foundation via SouthFront, Opinion: “Hyper-Hypocrisy of The West about ISIS,” Eric Zuesse, March 20, 2019.  During the period of 17 September to 11 December of 2016, the United States and its allies carried out a massive operation to move ISIS’s surviving jihadists (shown in a file photo) who were in the oil-producing Iraqi region of Mosul, into the Syrian oil-producing region of Deir Ezzor and Palmyra. This was done so that those oil-stealing-and-selling jihadists in Iraq would now be stealing Syria’s oil and would thereby increase the likelihood of overthrowing Syria’s long-existing non-sectarian Government.

saudi scene no photo credit CustomThe US and its allies would then replace that Government by one which would be controlled by the fundamentalist Sunni Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, the long-time leading oil-power, and which family are America’s main foreign ally. The Sauds (with leading royals and retainers shown in a file photo crowd scene) are crucial to maintaining the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The US aristocracy rely upon them.

Now that ISIS is being defeated by Syria’s Government (and by its allies Russia and Iran) in Syria, the United States and its allies are trying to find other governments that will take them in as refugees. It’s part of a deal the US regime reached with ISIS.

The issue of what to do with the thousands of surviving but (temporarily) defeated ISIS members — and with their spouses and children — has raised hypocrisy to perhaps the highest level in all of history. Its background needs to be understood if one wants to understand the sources of that enormous hypocrisy. Here’s this background.

March 19

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Venezuela - Journalists Doubt Guaidó's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue, b, March 19, 2019. On February 23 the U.S. created a 'humanitarian aid' stunt at the border between Colombia and Venezuela. The stunt ended in a riot during which the supporters of the self declared 'president' Guaidó burned the trucks that where supposed to transport the 'aid'. Even the New York Times had to admit that.

The riots also marked the day that Guaidó lost the legal argument he had used to make himself 'interim president.' The hapless coup plotters in Washington DC were finally put on notice that the issue creates a legal problem for them. During a March 15 press briefing Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, was asked about the issue.

Here is a video of the exchange. (Abrams seems to be lying about the alleged National Assembly resolution.)

The legal argument Abrams produced lacks logic and clearly contradicts the wording of the constitution quoted above.

The legal subterfuge Abrams is using would not convince any serious court. It is of course well known that Abram's has little regard for the law. He was convicted for lying to Congress in two cases. But the issue will matter.

venezuela flag waving customThe U.S. seized Venezuelan assets, especially the Citgo refineries which are in financial trouble. The U.S. is trying to move all the valuable assets towards Guaidó to finance the next phased of its 'regime change' plan. Bondholders of Citgo will likely contest these impoundments and transfers of assets in court. There the argument Abrams made is not going to be a winning one.

The first round of the U.S. 'regime change' change attempt in Venezuela failed but it is far from over. The State Department alone foresees to spend $500 million more on it. The CIA and the Pentagon will have made much larger budget requests even while an invasion of Venezuela continues to be unlikely.

In preparation of the 'humanitarian aid' stunt the U.S. had asked Brazil to use military force to bring in the 'aid' into Venezuela and to allow a U.S. presence at the border. The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it (in Portuguese). Bosonaro is currently in Washington to meet cia logoPresident Trump. He also made an unusual visit to the CIA headquarter likely to review plans for future operations in Venezuela.

That a Brazilian President visits the CIA, the agency responsible for violent coups and brutal dictatorships in Latin American is disgusting. Many people in Brazil will dislike it. Supporting a CIA coup in a neighboring country is worse. It’s hard to sink any lower.

james stewart Mr. Smith Goes Stewart Capitol

James Stewart, portraying an idealistic new U.S. Senator in the film "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington"

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: A veto of Beto, Wayne Madsen, March 19, 2019 (Subscription required; excerpted with permission). 2016 Democratic Primary Campaign Trail. Here we go again. Just as there were some significant issues with [Barack] Obama that the starry-eyed media failed to dig into, O'Rourke's resume is not as much Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as it is The Dead Zone, a movie based on Stephen King's novel of the same name.

The Dead Zone is about a future presidential candidate with significant personal issues. Martin Sheen plays Greg Stillson, a U.S. Senate hopeful who harbors presidential ambitions. At a campaign rally, Stillson holds up a baby as a human shield during an assassination attempt. An iconic photograph of the incident puts an early end to Stillson's political career....

beto o rourke ted cruzWMR had the scoop on Ted Cruz's father Rafael Cruz being photographed with Oswald in New Orleans in August 1963. The story was completely mangled by Trump on the morning of the 2016 Indiana primary. Nevertheless, it helped to taint Cruz and led to Trump's winning of Indiana and the GOP nomination. It appears that O'Rourke, like Cruz (shown at right in file photos of the two), has not been completely honest about his own past.

March 16

Strategic Culture Foundation via Southfront, Opinion: Rubio’s Gloating Betrays US Sabotage in Venezuela Power Blitz, Finian Cunningham, March 16, 2019. US imperialists are so desperate in their regime-change predations over Venezuela, they seem to have a problem controlling their drooling mouths. The latest orgy of American gloating was triggered by the massive power outages to have hit Venezuela. No sooner had the South American country been blacked out from its power grid collapsing, senior US officials were crowing with perverse relish.

marco rubio official.jpg SmallRepublican Senator Marco Rubio (right) – who has become a point man for the Trump administration in its regime-change campaign in Venezuela – was a little too celebratory. Within minutes of the nationwide power outage last Thursday, Rubio was having verbal orgasms about the “long-term economic damage”… “in the blink of an eye.” But it was his disclosure concerning the precise damage in the power grid that has led the Venezuelan government to accuse the US of carrying out a sabotage.

venezuela flag waving customInformation Minister Jorge Rodriguez noted how Rubio, in his tweeted comments “three minutes” after the power outage, mentioned failure of “back-up generators” in Venezuela’s main hydroelectric plant, known as the Guri Dam, located in Bolivar State. The dam supplies some 80 per cent of the Venezuelan population of 31 million with its electricity consumption.

Rodriguez mockingly ascribed “mystic skills” to Rubio because the Florida Republican senator appeared to know the precise nature of the power failure even before the Venezuelan authorities had determined it.

The Venezuelan government has since claimed that the failure in the electric grid was caused by a cyber attack on the computer system controlling the Guri Dam turbines. Caracas said it will present proof of its claims to the United Nations.

Apart from Rubio’s apparent insider information, there are several other indicators that Venezuela’s latest turmoil from power blackout was indeed caused by US sabotage, and specifically a cyber attack.

The South American country has experienced recurring power cuts over recent years due to economic problems and Washington’s sanctions. But the latest outage was widespread – at least 70 per cent of the country – and sustained for more than four days, rather than being rectified within hours. That scale of disruption suggests an unprecedented event, way beyond intermittent problems of maintenance.

The duration of the blackout in the capital Caracas and other major cities also indicates that the nature of the problem was difficult to reverse, which would be consistent with a cyber attack on the power grid. “It was a kill-shot,” says American political analyst Randy Martin.

Furthermore, US officials like President Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton as well as “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams have been warning that Washington is seeking new ways to pile pressure on Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to stand down.

Abrams was caught out last week in a prank phone call made by two Russian entertainers posing as Swiss President Ueli Maurer in which Abrams openly advocated crushing the Venezuelan banking system in order to topple the government in Caracas.

The American envoy, who was convicted over the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s for sponsoring terrorism to sabotage Nicaragua, appeared to balk at using overt US military power against Venezuela. That suggests Washington was persuaded on the efficacy of cyber warfare to inflict social chaos and incite popular anger against the Maduro government.

The immediate reaction by Washington officials and the US-backed political opposition in Venezuela was to blame the Maduro government for the power disorder. The failure was flagged up as a sign of “incompetence” and “mismanagement” of the oil-rich country by the socialist juan guaidóadministration.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido (right), who has declared himself the rightful president with Washington’s blessing, conveyed the logic of blackmail when he declared, “the lights will come back on when usurper Maduro is gone.”

mike pompeo portraitUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) also weighed in with repulsive gloating within hours of Venezuela’s power crisis. Pompeo tweeted: “No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro.”

The delight openly displayed by Washington officials in regard to aggression against Venezuela has broken new ground in terms of the brazenness of US imperialism.

Only a few weeks ago, Bolton announced that the objective for seeking regime change in Venezuela against the elected President Nicolas Maduro was for US corporations to seize the South American state’s vast oil wealth – reckoned to be the largest known reserves on the planet, far exceeding those of Saudi Arabia.

March 15

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: CIA Blames Its Proxy For Its Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain, b., March 15, 2019. The CIA is the main suspect in the military style raid on the North Korean embassy in Madrid. It now launched a somewhat hapless effort to deflect from it. The Spanish report in which Spanish government sources accuse the CIA said:

cia logoAt least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

That the CIA is the main suspect in the assault was reported on Wednesday in the Spanish mainstream paper El Pais. The paper made the extra effort to publish an abbreviated English language version. It was widely picked up by other international outlets. Some of the assailants were Asian and spoke Korean language. They were probably from the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), a subsidiary of the CIA know for its extremely hawkish politics. It often rigs elections in South Korea in support of hawkish conservatives candidates.

north korea flagAttacking a foreign embassy in a third country is far out of bounce of international law and diplomatic decency. After the El Pais report something had to be done to direct the attention away from the CIA and to find some other culprit.

A story was thought up and pushed to the favorite CIA outlet, the Washington Post. It wasn't the CIA which did it, writes the Post's national security reporter {A shadowy group trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un allegedly raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight by John Hudson], it was a CIA controlled 'regime change' organization.

washington post logoWashington Post, A shadowy group trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un allegedly raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight, John Hudson, March 15, 2019. Days before President Trump was set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, a mysterious incident in Spain threatened to derail the entire high-stakes nuclear summit.

north korea flagIn broad daylight, masked assailants infiltrated North Korea’s embassy in Madrid, tied up the staff, stole computers and mobile phones, and fled the scene in two luxury vehicles.

The group behind the late February operation is known as Cheollima Civil Defense, a secretive dissident organization committed to overthrowing the Kim dynasty, people familiar with the planning and execution of the mission told The Washington Post.

The group’s alleged role in the attack has not previously been reported, and officials from the governments of North Korea, the United States and Spain declined to comment on it.

March 13

El Pais, CIA implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid, Miguel González and Patricia Ortega Dolz, March 13, 2019. Investigators from the Spanish police and National Intelligence Center (CNI) have linked an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid on February 22 to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

cia logoAt least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

Investigators from the Spanish police and National Intelligence Center (CNI) have linked an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid on February 22 to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Sources believe the goal of the attack embassy was to get information on the former North Korean ambassador to Spain

At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

If it is proven that the CIA was behind the attack, it could lead to a diplomatic spat between Madrid and Washington. Government sources say that it would be “unacceptable” for an ally to take such action. Not only would it mean that the US agency had operated on Spanish soil without asking for authorization or informing the authorities, it would also be a violation of the international conventions that protect diplomatic delegations.

What’s more, unlike other intelligence activities – such as cyberattacks, which are characterized by their discretion, the attack on the North Korean embassy was especially violent.

On February 22 at 3pm, 10 masked men carrying alleged imitation weapons broke into the embassy, located north of the capital in the residential area of Aravaca. They tied up the eight people inside and put bags on their heads. The victims were beaten and interrogated. A woman managed to escape from a window on the second floor and her screams for help were heard by a neighbor, who contacted the police.

Critics Of Mueller, Defenders of Assange

Consortium News, Opinion: VIPS: Mueller’s Forensics-Free Findings, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), March 13, 2019. The final Mueller report should be graded “incomplete,” says VIPS, whose forensic work proves the speciousness of the story that DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking.

We veteran intelligence professionals have done enough detailed forensic work to prove the speciousness of the prevailing story that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking. Given the paucity of evidence to support that story, we believe Mueller may choose to finesse this key issue and leave everyone hanging. That would help sustain the widespread belief that Trump owes his victory to President Vladimir Putin, and strengthen the hand of those who pay little heed to the unpredictable consequences of an increase in tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.

There is an overabundance of “assessments” but a lack of hard evidence to support that prevailing narrative. We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of “evidence,” particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions. We know only too well — and did our best to expose — how our former colleagues in the intelligence community manufactured fraudulent “evidence” of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We have scrutinized publicly available physical data — the “trail” that every cyber operation leaves behind. And we have had support from highly experienced independent forensic investigators who, like us, have no axes to grind. We can prove that the conventional-wisdom story about Russian-hacking-DNC-emails-for-WikiLeaks is false. Drawing largely on the unique expertise of two VIPS scientists who worked for a combined total of 70 years at the National Security Agency and became Technical Directors there, we have regularly published our findings. But we have been deprived of a hearing in mainstream media — an experience painfully reminiscent of what we had to endure when we exposed the corruption of intelligence before the attack on Iraq 16 years ago.

This time, with the principles of physics and forensic science to rely on, we are able to adduce solid evidence exposing mistakes and distortions in the dominant story. We offer you below — as a kind of aide-memoire— a discussion of some of the key factors related to what has become known as “Russia-gate.” And we include our most recent findings drawn from forensic work on data associated with WikiLeaks’ publication of the DNC emails.

We do not claim our conclusions are “irrefutable and undeniable,” a la Colin Powell at the UN before the Iraq war. Our judgments, however, are based on the scientific method — not “assessments.” We decided to put this memorandum together in hopes of ensuring that you hear that directly from us.

If the Mueller team remains reluctant to review our work — or even to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, we fear that many of those yearning earnestly for the truth on Russia-gate will come to the corrosive conclusion that the Mueller investigation was a sham.

In sum, we are concerned that, at this point, an incomplete Mueller report will fall far short of the commitment made by then Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “to ensure a full and thorough investigation,” when he appointed Mueller in May 2017. Again, we are at your disposal.

Discussion

The centerpiece accusation of Kremlin “interference” in the 2016 presidential election was the charge that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to embarrass Secretary Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win. The weeks following the election witnessed multiple leak-based media allegations to that effect. These culminated on January 6, 2017 in an evidence-light, rump report misleadingly labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).” Prepared by “handpicked analysts” from only three of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, and NSA), the assessment expressed “high confidence” in the Russia-hacking-to-WikiLeaks story, but lacked so much as a hint that the authors had sought access to independent forensics to support their “assessment.”

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – including a possible impeachment battle and greatly increased tension between Russia and the U.S. — it is difficult to understand why Comey did not move quickly to seize the computer hardware so the FBI could perform an independent examination of what quickly became the major predicate for investigating election interference by Russia. Fortunately, enough data remain on the forensic “trail” to arrive at evidence-anchored conclusions. The work we have done shows the prevailing narrative to be false. We have been suggesting this for over two years. Recent forensic work significantly strengthens that conclusion.

U.S. Courts, Crime

St. Louis American, Under attack, Kim Gardner fights back, Rebecca Rivas, March 13, 2019. Police, special prosecutor take, then return, circuit attorney’s server. St. Louis Circuit kimberly gardnerAttorney Kimberly Gardner, right, said last week that a search warrant demanding thousands of records from her office would put countless people’s privacy at risk. On Tuesday, March 12, Circuit Court Judge Michael K. Mullen rejected Gardner’s motion to quash the search warrant, after claiming last week that Gardner’s office was “playing games.”

The warrant relates to a grand jury case reviewing whether Gardner’s investigator William Tisaby lied under oath last spring during then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ felonious invasion of privacy case.

Gardner’s attorneys appealed within hours of Mullen’s decision. In the short amount of time it took for them to file the appeal, the police and special prosecutor overseeing the grand jury case on Tisaby seized the circuit attorney’s email server – knowing an appeal was underway, according to Gardner. The Court of Appeals ordered a halt to the search warrant that evening.
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“In my decades of work in the criminal justice system, I have never seen a chief prosecutor treated this way by a court or a police department,” said Roy L. Austin Jr., Gardner’s attorney.

He said he believes Special Prosecutor Gerard Carmody, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and even Mullen are trying to “intimidate and humiliate” Gardner and “strip her of the powers granted to her by the people of the City of St. Louis.”

This is the second search warrant that Carmody has issued in the grand jury case. Gardner’s office complied with the first search warrant in January. But the second search warrant, issued on February 21, is so broad that it would require the circuit attorney to hand over “every file in the office,” attorneys representing Gardner told a judge at a hearing on March 5. The warrant asks for all files stored on the office’s server that contain 31 common terms, including “notes,” “tape,” and “recording.”

A spokesman for Carmody’s office said he could not comment because of a gag order that Mullen issued on March 5. However, the appellate court also concluded on March 12 that the Gardner is not party to the Tisaby investigation and therefore not bound by Mullen’s gag order, according to Gardner.

The police and Carmody’s actions on March 12 temporarily interrupted the prosecutor’s entire email system “that is central to its efforts to keep the citizens of our city safe,” Gardner said.

Gardner said no information was retrieved from the server before it was returned. “They were unsuccessful,” her attorney said.

The grand jury case came out of the contentious legal battle to prosecute Greitens for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015 and then allegedly transmitting it so it could be viewed on a computer. Greitens’ felony charge was ultimately dropped.

There are still a lot of “personal feelings” and “water under the bridge” left over from that case, according to comments made between Gardner’s attorneys and Carmody’s team at the March 5 hearing addressing Gardner’s motion.

Gardner hired Tisaby, a former FBI agent, in January 2018 to investigate Greitens because she claimed the police department refused her requests to investigate the governor. The department denied that they were asked.

See related story: New York Times, A St. Louis Prosecutor Took On the System. She Made Enemies, Richard A. Oppel Jr., June 14, 2019. Kimberly Gardner was one of a wave of prosecutors who promised to challenge the establishment. Now she is being scrutinized in a manner that is virtually unheard-of for an elected prosecutor.

Kimberly Gardner was elected chief prosecutor by a wide margin in 2016, one of two dozen district attorneys across the country who campaigned to overhaul the criminal justice system.

Like a lot of them, she made quick enemies. She angered the powerful police union in St. Louis, saying repeatedly that she would hold officers more accountable. She indicted the sitting governor, Eric Greitens, shown below at left with Vice President Mike Pence and a rising star in national Republican politics.

Now her adversaries have turned the tables: Ms. Gardner’s professional actions are being scrutinized in a manner that is virtually unheard-of for an elected eric greitens mike penceprosecutor.

In the Greitens case, she has become a focus of a special prosecutor who was appointed to investigate a former F.B.I. agent. The prosecutor has had her office’s email server seized by the police, giving them access, her lawyers say, to active criminal investigations of the department itself. He has been fishing for incriminating information on her administration, according to an affidavit by the agent’s lawyer. Her aides have been called before a grand jury.

The investigation has been conducted in secrecy, with a gag order on the parties involved. But that has not stopped allegations that it is riddled with serious conflicts of interest. Nor has it stifled a sense, among Ms. Gardner’s supporters, that the police and the city’s clubby legal establishment have joined forces in an attempt to embarrass one of the few black officials with truly independent power in St. Louis.

National advocates of remaking the criminal justice system have watched as like-minded prosecutors in places like Boston, Chicago and Dallas won the support of voters but ran headlong into opposition from police unions and other local powers. Though all of them have been criticized, Ms. Gardner’s situation — facing possible criminal charges — is the most extreme.

March 12

30th Anniversary of Iconic Garrison Column On JFK Murder

ap logoAssociated Press via Los Angeles Times, Media No Longer Laughing, Jim Garrison Says : Judge Revives View of JFK Assassination, Austin Wilson, March 12, 1989. They killed the symbol of Jim Garrison's dreams, and after 25 years, he still cannot let it go.

john_f_kennedy_smilingThat would be the practical thing to do--just let it go--but the former prosecutor-turned-judge still believes the CIA killed President John F. Kennedy, that top government officials helped to cover up the crime and that the American people need to know what really happened.

Garrison tried before and was labeled a lunatic and worse. For three years in the late 1960s, he was a topic of international debate, quizzed by Johnny Carson, grilled in network interviews, sought out by authors and cited in footnotes in all sorts of publications.

Then, disillusioned, he withdrew from public view for 18 years, except for a cameo appearance as a judge in "The Big Easy," a steamy cops-and-robbers movie set in New Orleans.

As a district attorney here in 1969, Garrison put businessman Clay Shaw on trial for conspiracy to murder the President. The prosecution was turned into a nationally publicized farce. Garrison's star witness died under mysterious circumstances, and another witness said under cross-examination that he fingerprinted his daughter each time she came home from school to make sure that a spy hadn't taken her identity.

Third Book on Subject

Garrison's first book, Heritage of Stone, attempted to do in print what he couldn't do in the courtroom. Then came a novel, The Star-Spangled Contract. His third book, On the Trail of the Assassins, is a testimony to the tenacity with which he has pursued and developed his theory as new information became available.

His interest is driven by a deep, undying affection for Kennedy as a person and as a symbol. "He had ideals. He inspired dreams," he said. Garrison still gets tears in his eyes when he reads some of Kennedy's speeches.

jim garrison fullGarrison (shown in a file photo) was recently elected to a second 10-year term as a judge on Louisiana's 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. His 68 years sit well on him. His 6-foot-7 frame is erect, and he dwarfs his massive desk when he leans forward to emphasize a point.

For the first time in 19 years, he has granted a lengthy interview on the subject of the JFK assassination and his investigation of it. He remained silent so long because his experience with news reporters soured him, he said.

"I'm not talking about the average reporter, but there are certain organs of the national media--The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC, CBS--that, once they adopted the official fiction, there was no variation. They were like the New York Rockettes," he said.

Debunks Warren Report

The "official fiction" was the finding of the Warren Commission--that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed Kennedy, he said. Garrison maintains that Oswald was one of several "false sponsors," people set up in advance to divert attention from the CIA. The mob was another "false sponsor," he said.

To Garrison a conspiracy was obvious from the start, and it stung him when reporters began to regard him as a publicity-seeking opportunist or a buffoon.

"By that time, when I was saying, 'Look, there is no mystery about this,' they would just kind of roll their eyes," he said.

"We went about as far as we could go before our wings were clipped, in reaching a point, in '69, where I couldn't say anything without being pictured as a fool or a madman.

"I continued to have my interest in the assassination investigation, but I returned the district attorney's office to its primary function, about which we had no disagreement with anybody. It was a good office. In fact, in the election of 1968, I had the biggest vote I had ever had."

In 1972, a federal grand jury accused Garrison of taking bribes to protect illegal pinball gambling. He represented himself at his trial and was found innocent, but the trouble contributed to his defeat when he ran for a fourth term. He says that vengeful federal authorities cooked up the case against him by using fraudulent tapes secretly recorded by an old Army buddy.

No Time for Campaign

"They got me," he said. "They sure got me. When they set that trial, that federal trial, for a few months before the election, they sure got me.

"I found out it's all well and good to try your own trial--I wouldn't have it any other way--but when that case is over and you've only got six weeks or whatever it is to try and raise money and do the other things, there's not enough time for a citywide election.

"So they got me. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, because I wouldn't have found my way into the 4th Circuit (bench)."

Serving as an appellate court judge is the most satisfying thing he has done, he said. "I truly love it."

The son and grandson of lawyers, Garrison went to a public high school here and entered the Army a year before Pearl Harbor. He flew light planes as an artillery spotter in Europe, and arrived at Dachau the day after troops supported by his artillery unit had liberated it.

He enrolled at Tulane University after the war and earned a law degree, and briefly tried to earn a spot on the football team. "It didn't take long to realize that was not for me," he said.

'Good' and 'Bad' Wars

Old-fashioned values shape Garrison's views. He talks of truth, duty and honor, of "good wars," such as the one against the Nazis, and "bad wars," such as the one in Vietnam.

Kennedy was planning to pull the U.S. out of Vietnam, so the cold warriors in the CIA had to have him killed, he said.

By Garrison's estimate, about 18 people were involved in the assassination--at least three riflemen, a couple of coordinators with radios, two spotters to distract a strategically placed police officer and divert a standby ambulance away from the site of the shooting, about six members of the Dallas police homicide squad and three or four others who handled the training, on-site planning and logistics.

Somebody had to authorize changing the parade route from Main Street to Elm Street, and somebody had to authorize leaving the bulletproof top off the President's car, he said. Somebody, he said, had to call off the usual security check of buildings and rooftops along the new parade route.

The orders had to come from an upper level in the CIA, he said, but he would hazard no guess about the number of people involved in that decision.

Names and Pseudonyms

He never tried to identify the trigger men and never could understand reporters' fixations on that subject, he said. "They (assassins) all have nom de plumes ."

After the assassination, people as high as President Lyndon B. Johnson and Chief Justice Earl Warren lent themselves to validating the official fiction, Garrison said.

"Let's take the best-case scenario for Johnson: It was a terrible thing to happen, but it had happened, and what else could you do but put a lid on it for the good of the country?" he said.

"I think there was an awful lot of that. People will say, 'How could Chief Justice Earl Warren have let himself be dragged in?'

"Put it in the words of a forceful man like Lyndon Johnson. Put his meaty hand on your shoulder and hear him saying, 'Look, Mr. Chief Justice, this could be war. This could be misunderstood. The country has never needed you like it will now.'

"Then, coming down to: 'It could be much more involved, but we've got to put the lid on for the good of the country, for the good of the people.'

"I think that was the magic phrase from there on. A lot of people who you would not call bad people and who were not villains responded, I think, with active participation in the cover-up as a consequence."

The FBI and Secret Service became involved in the cover-up immediately, he said.

LBJ in the Dark

jim garrisonGarrison (shown in another file photo) said there is no indication that Johnson knew about the assassination beforehand. "Quite the contrary, in fact. The conspirators would have followed one of the cardinal rules of their trade and told Johnson only what he needed to know."

The proximity of Oswald's office to the New Orleans offices of some of the country's intelligence agencies started Garrison thinking, and those thoughts quickly formed themselves into his theory of a CIA conspiracy.

"I'm not particularly aggressive in seeking fights. Sometimes I wish I were more aggressive, but I just am who I am, and I can't change.

"One of the things that I happen to have in my makeup is that I am just constitutionally unable to back up, if that makes any sense to you.

"I would never cross the street to get in a fight, but if somebody comes up, I can't back up an inch.

Not a Fighter

"That, in a sense, tells you all about my role. If you were my manager and I were a professional prizefighter, after about my third fight you'd say, 'Jim, I think you've got nice hands, good footwork and everything, but you're really not a professional fighter.' "

Garrison refers to his rough treatment at the hands of the media and federal prosecutors as "that unpleasantness," but he says it has left no scars.

"Please, understand me. I'm not trying to portray myself as another Clint Eastwood. I'm not trying to portray myself as a 'make my day' fellow, but I found that I couldn't care less what other people thought about it.

"People have asked me from time to time if I felt vindicated by later developments. Watergate was a later development; Irangate was a later development--other things which showed the shadow of intelligence (agencies) around the edge of things . . . the 'off-the-shelf' activity outside the scope of regular tables of organization.

"I've had to answer that I don't feel vindicated, and have never felt the need of it.

"I still don't have ulcers. I know I gave some to people at Langley (CIA headquarters). I hope so."

Garrison's manuscript for On the Trail of the Assassins was rejected 19 times in six years before Sheridan Square Press accepted it. The first rejection came from the publisher of his novel.

"It was a very warm letter, but the essence of what he said was that 'We here do not believe the American people are interested in a murder that took place so long ago."

He was less than enthusiastic about renewing contact with the media until New Orleans television reporters covered his autograph party.

"It was quite different than it was 20 years ago," he said. "There was interest in what I said. I was not regarded as insane. They had read some of the book. Their questions were very good. That really is all I ask, and I never got that 19 years ago.

"Then, it was more along the lines, of: 'Now, you're supposed to be an intelligent man. What makes you think you're right and the United States government is wrong?' You phrase it like that, and it's a 'When did you stop beating your wife' question. So I just stopped giving interviews. Now, it's different."

Holds No Hope

Garrison said he holds out no hope that the book might inspire an investigation of the intelligence agency and the role it might have played in the assassination.

"I might have hoped that when I was younger," he said. "I do hope that it gets a wide enough readership that maybe some people will see through the false sponsorships, so they can see through the attempts to discredit John Kennedy.

"In the final analysis, I hope that it has provided information that someone--who knows? maybe even the government itself--may use to have a clearer awareness of what happened. I know that sounds awfully optimistic, but still, it is some of the truth that might otherwise have remained hidden."

Mueller Report

ny times logoNew York Times, Mueller Report Has Washington Spinning (and It’s Not Even Filed), Staff report, March 12, 2019 (print ed.). The capital is jittery and full of rumor as it awaits the report of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on Russian interference and President Trump.  It may or may not be the report of the century, it may or may not be ready soon, and it may be only a few pages. But it is definitely highly anticipated.

djt li yang super bowlMassage parlor founder Li "Cindy" Yang, lower left, an active Republican contributor and PR specialist in linking Chinese nationals to prominent Repubicans, and a friend watch this year's Superbowl with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago (Facebook photo).

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Trump is the "Manchurian Candidate"-turned-President, Wayne Madsen (syndicated columnist, author, former Navy Intelligence officer), March 12, 2019 (Subscription required; excerpted with permission).

Palm Beach: Forget Russian oligarchs for the time being. Donald Trump and his family appear to have been co-opted by a standard Chinese intelligence operation -- both mainland and Taiwanese -- that uses overseas Chinese, shady dummy corporations, prostitution and blackmail, and political influence peddling to influence foreign governments.

ny times logomichelle goldberg thumbNew York Times, Opinion: The Massage Parlor Owner and Mar-a-Lago, Michelle Goldberg, right, March 12, 2019 (print ed.). We're jaded, but this should be a big scandal.

Even if you’re an avid follower of the news, it’s hard to keep track of Donald Trump’s scandals. Revelations that would have been shocking in the world we all lived in a few years ago — for example, news that the president overruled his staff to insist on security clearances for his fashion designer daughter and her husband — now take up half a news cycle, at most.

Still, it’s worth trying to summon whatever is left of our pre-Trump sensibilities and pause to consider the epic sleaze of the unfolding story of Li Yang, also known as Cindy Yang.

Yang, in case you haven’t heard of her yet, is a Florida businesswoman whose family owns a chain of massage parlors that, as The Miami Herald put it, “have gained a reputation for offering sexual services.”

Last month, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and a close friend of and donor to Trump, was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution at a spa Yang founded, Orchids of Asia. (She reportedly sold it around 2013, but online reviews indicate it was known as a place to buy sex before that.) Kraft pleaded not guilty. The authorities have said that Orchids of Asia is part of a major sex trafficking operation.

Venezuelan Crisis

Grayzone via Consortium News, max blumenthal screenshot rt america,’ Max Blumenthal, right, March 12, 2019. The group that trained Juan Guaidó and his allies laid out plans for galvanizing public unrest in a 2010 memo, Max Blumenthal reports for Grayzone.

A September 2010 memo by a U.S.-funded soft power organization that helped train Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó and his allies identifies the potential collapse of the country’s electrical sector as “a watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.”

The memo has special relevance today as Guaidó moves to exploit nationwide blackouts caused by a major failure at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri dam – a crisis that Venezuela’s government blames on U.S. sabotage.

venezuela flag waving customIt was authored by Srdja Popovic of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), a Belgrade-based “democracy promotion” organization funded by the U.S. that has trained thousands of U.S.-aligned youth activists in countries where the West seeks regime change.

This group reportedly hosted Guaidó (shown below at left) and the key leaders of his Popular Will party for a series of training sessions, fashioning them into a “Generation 2007” determined to foment resistance to then-President Hugo Chavez and sabotage his plans to implement “21st century socialism” in Venezuela.

In the 2010 memo, published by WikiLeaks, CANVAS’s Popovic declared, “A key to Chavez’s current weakness is the decline in the electricity sector.” Popovic explicitly identified the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant as a friction point, emphasizing that “water levels at the Guri dam are dropping, and Chavez has been unable to reduce consumption sufficiently to compensate for the deteriorating industry.”

juan guaidóSpeculating on a “grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010,” the CANVAS leader stated that “an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs.”

Flash forward to March 2019, and the scenario outlined by Popovic is playing out almost exactly as he had imagined.

March 8

ny times logoNew York Times, Manafort Is Sentenced to Nearly 4 Years; Punishment Falls Short of Guidelines, Sharon LaFraniere, March 8, 2019 (print ed.). Paul Manafort, the political consultant and Trump presidential campaign chairman whose lucrative work in Ukraine and ties to well-connected Russians made him a target of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was sentenced on Thursday to nearly four years in prison in the financial fraud case that left his grand lifestyle and power-broker reputation in ruins.

The sentence in the highest-profile criminal case mounted by the special counsel’s office was far lighter than the 19- to 24-year prison term recommended under sentencing guidelines. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., said that although Mr. Manafort’s crimes were “very serious,” following the guidelines would have resulted in an unduly harsh punishment.

A team of Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors sat glum-faced as Judge Ellis delivered his decision. Mr. Manafort, who has gout and came to the hearing in a wheelchair with his foot heavily bandaged, had asked the judge for compassion. “To say I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement,” he said in a barely audible voice, reading from a prepared statement.

Spas, Sports, Massages and Trumps

Daily Mail, Founder of massage parlor where Robert Kraft was arrested is a Trump donor, frequent Mar-a-Lago partygoer and White House djt li yang super bowlguest who was seen watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl with the president, Chris Spargo, March 8, 2019. The Chinese entrepreneur who founded Orchids of Asia Day Spa & Massage was seen rooting for the New England Patriots at Mar-a-Lago alongside President Donald Trump early last month.

Li Yang (at left in photo via Facebook) shared a photo of herself and a friend sitting directly behind President Trump at the event, which took place just two weeks before Patriots owner Robert Kraft would matt gaetz li yangbe charged with two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution for incidents that allegedly transpired at that spa.

She is shown above left with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a "family values" hard-right Trump supporter representing Florida's Panhandle, and below with the President's sons Eric (at left) and Donald Jr. in other photos via Facebook. 

Kraft is accused of visiting the spa on two consecutive days in January, with a worker performing a manual sex act on the billionaire during his first appointment while another worker performed an oral sex act during his second sojourn.

eric trump li yang facebookHe is planning to fight those charges and denies claims he was the recipient of any sexual act at the spa, despite police claiming there is video evidence in the case.

Kraft is one of Trump's closest friends, while Yang is one with deep pockets. Records obtained by DailyMail.com show donald trump jr li yang facebookthat she donated $8,100 to the Trump Victory Fund in 2018, listing her occupation on federal election forms as Chairman of the Women's Charity Foundation

She is also a Trump Republican, having been an inactive voter with no declared political party for the decade before the current president ran for office.

Miami Herald, Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where Kraft was busted, Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, miami herald logoand Caitlin Ostroff, March 8, 2019. Li Yang, 45, posed with Donald Trump during the Super Bowl while rooting for the Patriots. Two weeks later, authorities would charge the team owner, Robert Kraft, with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter that Yang had founded.

Seated at a round table littered with party favors and the paper-cutout footballs that have become tradition at his annual Super Bowl Watch Party, President Donald Trump cheered the New England Patriots and his longtime friend, team owner Robert Kraft (shown in a file photo), to victory robert kraft twitterover the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3.

Sometime during the party at Trump’s West Palm Beach country club, the president turned in his chair to look over his right shoulder, smiling for a photo with two women at a table behind him.

The woman who snapped the blurry Super Bowl selfie with the president was Li Yang, 45, a self-made entrepreneur from China who started a chain of Asian day spas in South Florida. Over the years, these establishments — many of which operate under the name Tokyo Day Spas — have gained a reputation for offering sexual services.

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: Billionaires’ solicitation of H-B2 visa sex slaves tip of huge EB-5 visa swindle, Wayne Madsen, March 4, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission).

Jupiter, Florida -- Across U.S. Highway 1 from the now-closed Orchids of Asia “Day Spa,” which provided owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft, as well as John Childs, a hedge fund owner and major GOP donor, and John Havens, a former president of Citigroup, with illegal prostitution services, is ground zero for a swindle and scandal involving EB-5 visas to wealthy Chinese investors.

President Donald Trump officialThe EB-5 visa is formally known as an “investment visa.” Foreign citizens who invest a minimum of $500,000 in the United States that create ten U.S. jobs per investor, qualify for an EB-5 visa. The EB-5 is a fast track program for obtaining a “Green Card,” which is permanent residency in the United States.

Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Securities and Exchange Commission investigators began closely examining the activities of Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, who was touting her brother’s access to President Trump to convince Chinese business people in Beijing to invest $500,000 each in a Kushner-owned residential complex in New Jersey.

Ms. Meyer, who has assumed control of Kushner Companies from her brother Jared, guaranteed the investors a fast-track to permanent residency and probable citizenship through the EB-5 visa investments in the Kushner property at One Journal Square in Jersey City on the Hudson River, just opposite lower Manhattan.

March 7

Manafort Sentencing

Forbes, Commentary: The Judge Who Let Manafort Off Easy With 47 Months Is An Arch-Conservative, Charles Tiefer,  March 7, 2019. It is striking that a judge just sentenced Paul Manafort, a major target of the Mueller investigation, to only 47 months in prison. The Sentencing Guidelines justified a sentence well above fifteen years. It was all-important that Manafort, who had been the head of the Trump presidential campaign, receive a strong sentence.

This was partly for the general reason in sentencing, to send the message to potential malefactors of the consequences. But, it was also needed to persuade Manafort to tell Mueller (and, eventually, in some forum, the public) the truth about President Trump and Russia.

Instead, this weak sentence sends these kind of messages of a conservative judge: it is not so bad to use Republican connections to cash in with Putin’s allies; Trump’s campaign manager is worthy of much, much more respect than in the Sentencing Guidelines; Mueller’s quest for the Russia connection deserves little help, and some messages.

Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis was nominated to the bench in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, who of course favored very conservative picks. Before then, he had worked since 1970 for Hunton and Williams, a very well known, quite conservative, Richmond firm.

President Reagan nominated Judge Ellis to the Eastern District of Virginia. Presidents have a special reason to want to stack that particular court with strong conservatives. The Pentagon and the CIA are in that district. There is a great desire among conservatives to stack that district court to handle the cases that concern national security brought in that district, including espionage cases.

Take a comparison of the Manafort case with another prosecution of a political figure, a black Democratic Congressman from a black district in Louisiana named William J. Jefferson. (I was a peripheral observer of that case. The FBI had raided Jefferson’s Congressional office and carried off his computer hard drive. The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the violation of Congressional independence by that raid, and I was the principal witness (because I knew the established limits on prosecution tactics as a former House General Counsel and I was now a professor.))

Jefferson’s case was basically bribery. It was nationally famous because agents raiding his house found cash in the freezer.

Manafort may have gotten off easy with four years, but Ellis threw the book at Jefferson. In 2009 Ellis sentenced Jefferson to 13 years, the longest sentence of any Congressman to that date. (After further twists and turns Ellis let off Jefferson in December 2017 for five years time served.) It seems that while Judge Ellis can sympathize with Manafort, the Republican presidential campaign manager, he did not sympathize with Jefferson.

Everything now depends on the sentence Manafort receives in his other case, and whether it is consecutive or concurrent. Imagine the relief for Trump if it is a sentence no longer than 47 months and it runs concurrently. If Manafort had gotten (or still gets) a sentence of more than 15 years, Trump would face the problem of pardoning Manafort to prevent him from experiencing great pressure to cooperate with Mueller.

The press and public have been waiting for the first use of the pardon power as a major statement about Trump.

Now, Trump might just get off and not need to display the pardon weapon. Trump should say "Thank you, Judge Ellis."

March 5

NSA Spying On Americans

ny times logocharlie savageNew York Times, Disputed N.S.A. Phone Program Is Shut Down, Aide Says, Charlie Savage (right), March 5, 2019 (print ed.). A system that analyzed logs of Americans’ domestic calls and texts was quietly ended, a congressional aide said. The program touched off years of debates about privacy and the rule of law after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The agency has not used the system in months, and the Trump administration might not ask Congress to renew its legal authority, which nsa official logois set to expire at the end of the year, according to the aide, Luke Murry, the House minority leader’s national security adviser.

In a raw assertion of executive power, President George W. Bush’s administration started the program as part of its intense pursuit for Qaeda conspirators in the weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and a court later secretly blessed it. The intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden disclosed the program’s existence in 2013, jolting the public and contributing to growing awareness of how both governments and private companies harvest and exploit personal data.

Barr To Control Mueller Probe

March 4

Barr To Control Mueller Probe

william barr senate hearing cnn screengrab jan 15 2019

Trump nominee for Attorney General William Barr during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 15, 2019.

Roll Call, Attorney General Barr will not recuse himself from Mueller investigation, John Bennett, March 4, 2019. Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, following the advice he received from Justice Department senior career ethics officials, a DOJ spokeswoman said Monday.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Barr did not commit to recusing himself. “I will seek the advice of the career ethics personnel, but under the regulations, I make the decision as the head of the agency as to my own recusal,” he told the Judiciary Committee in January.

Some Democrats have called for his recusal due to his past criticism of Mueller’s investigation.

Justice Department logoA source told Roll Call earlier Monday that based on the track record of Barr, who was attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, “he seems inclined to follow the Justice Department’s guidelines that a sitting president can’t be indicted.”

That means if Mueller or investigators in New York’s federal Southern District find the president broker federal laws, Barr would not sign off on charging Trump.

“That makes it a political decision,” the GOP source said. “And [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi hasn’t given us any reason to think she’s going to bring articles if impeachment if the votes for removal aren’t there in the Senate.”

March 3

Suppressed History

george hw bush george w bush 2001

Former President George H. W. Bush, left, visits with his son, President George W. Bush, in the White House Oval Office.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, The Bush Family Stories You Won’t See Tonight on CNN, Russ Baker, March 3, 2019. CNN is certainly aggressive in questioning the myths fathered by President Donald Trump.

But how does it stack up in the truth-telling department when it comes to former presidents? To determine that, you can watch its new series, The Bush Years: Family, Duty, Power, to air tonight — and then come see a small selection of what we have unearthed.

We expect you will be startled by the contrast between the public, the private, and the very private lives of this family.

March 2

jeffrey epstein alan dershowitz

Jeffrey Epsein, left, a wealthy Harvard donor and convicted serial sexual abuser of underage girls, speaks with his friend and counsel Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, as shown in a file photo. A hearing is scheduled in New York City Wednesday on whether authorities must release records. 

Miami Herald, Press access may be curbed at hearing on Epstein sex abuse, Julie K. Brown, March 2, 2019 (print ed.). A court hearing on miami herald logowhether to unseal sensitive documents involving the alleged sex trafficking of underage girls by Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein — and the possible involvement of his influential friends — will play out in a New York City courtroom next week.

But it may happen behind closed doors, with the news media and public barred — at least in part.

An attorney for lawyer Alan Dershowitz wrote a letter to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday, asking whether the media should be excluded from the proceeding because his oral arguments on behalf of his client could contain sensitive information that has been under seal.

republican elephant logoThe appeals court had not responded to his concern as of Friday, but if the hearing is closed during his lawyer’s argument, it would represent the latest in a long history of successful efforts to keep details of Epstein’s sex crimes sealed.

Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard, constitutional law expert and criminal defense attorney, represented Epstein, who in 2008 received what many consider an unusually light sentence for sexually abusing dozens of girls at his Palm Beach mansion.

perversion of justice miami herald logoTwo women — one of whom was underage — have said Epstein and his partner, British socialite and environmentalist Ghislaine Maxwell, directed them to have sex with Dershowitz, 80, and other wealthy, powerful men. Dershowitz and Maxwell have denied the claims.

Oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday to hear an appeal by the Miami Herald and other parties seeking to unseal a 2015 court case involving Epstein and Maxwell. The Herald, as part of an ongoing investigation into Epstein’s case, hopes to shed more light on the scope of Epstein’s crimes, who was involved and whether there was any undue influence that tainted the criminal justice process.

A legal brief supporting the Herald’s appeal was filed in December by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 32 other media companies, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Dow Jones, Fox News, Gannett, Politico, Reveal Center for Investigative Reporting and Tribune Publishing Co.

virginia robertsThe case — which was settled in 2017 — involved Virginia Roberts Giuffre (right), who sued Maxwell in federal court in the Southern District of New York in 2015. Giuffre had asserted that Maxwell and Epstein trafficked her and other underage girls, often at sex parties that Epstein hosted at his homes in New York, New Mexico, Palm Beach and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Maxwell called her a liar. Giuffre sued for defamation.

As the case was litigated, the judge allowed a vast trove of documents, including testimony by witnesses, to be sealed. Dershowitz, having been publicly implicated in Epstein’s crimes by Giuffre, tried unsuccessfully to get the judge to unseal a select number of documents that he says will exonerate him. Blogger Michael Cernovich also filed a motion to release a portion of the sealed documents.

The judge denied their motions in 2016, as the case was still ongoing, saying release of the documents could taint a potential jury pool.

After the case was settled, the Herald filed a more extensive motion, arguing that with the case now closed, all the documents should be made public. The motion, filed in April 2018, came as the Herald was working on an investigative series, Perversion of Justice, which detailed how Epstein and his lawyers manipulated federal prosecutors to obtain one of the most lenient sentences for a child sex offender in history.

Justice Integrity Project editor's note: The project has reported extensively on the Roberts and related Epstein cases, with a photo and caption excerpted below:

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Roberts claimed that Epstein farmed her out to other men, including Prince Andrew of the British royal family and French modeling scout Jean Luc Brunel.

The California native said the photo at left portrays her at center with Prince Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, on a trip to London when she was 17 in 2001. At right was Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite daughter of the corrupt newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, who drowned in 1991 after toppling overboard from his yacht Lady Ghislaine. The death left one of the world's largest media empires with a reported $3 billion in debts.

Roberts alleged that the Ghislaine Maxwell was girlfriend of the never-married Epstein's who helped him both maintain contacts to top levels of society, recruited teenage sex consorts, and sometimes participated in the sex abuse, including of Roberts.

Maxwell, Epstein, Andrew, and Dershowitz are among those who have denied the major allegations by Roberts. Epstein, in his first formal remarks on the revived scandal, condemned the “media frenzy” surrounding the case. He wrote that he and his associates “have been the subject of the most outlandish and offensive attacks, allegations, and plain inventions.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Behind Illicit Massage Parlors Lies a Vast Crime Network, Nicholas Kulish, Frances Robles and Patricia Mazzei, March 2, 2019. It has exploded into a $3 billion-a-year sex industry that ensnares tens of thousands of mostly foreign women in a form of modern indentured servitude. Many women stay on as prostitutes in order to pay debts to smugglers, spa owners and lawyers.

She was 49, a recent immigrant and deeply in debt to a loan shark back home in China when she answered an employment ad three years ago that promised thousands of dollars a month, but offered no job description. She realized too late that she had been tricked into working at a massage parlor in Flushing, Queens, where besides kneading backs, she was expected to sexually service up to a dozen men a day.

In strip malls across the country, neon signs and brightly colored placards promise hot stones, acupuncture and shiatsu with photos of women or couples receiving relaxing shoulder rubs. But a traditionally Asian form of therapeutic relaxation with deep roots in big-city Chinatowns has spun off a different kind of massage parlor that has little to do with traditional remedies. It has exploded into a $3 billion-a-year sex industry that relies on pervasive secrecy, close-knit ownership rings and tens of thousands of mostly foreign women ensnared in a form of modern indentured servitude.

robert kraft twitterThe recent arrest warrant filed against Robert K. Kraft (shown in a file photo), owner of the New England Patriots — and the solicitation charges filed against nearly 300 men in multiple jurisdictions as part of the same case — riveted national attention to a stretch of Highway 1 along Florida’s Treasure Coast dotted with strip malls, gas stations and sapphire ocean views. Across the region, parlors were empty and many frequent clients were phoning their lawyers, wondering if more warrants were going to drop.

Law enforcement officials said there were an estimated 9,000 illicit massage parlors across the country, from Orlando to Los Angeles.

The epicenter of this national underground is the bustling Chinatown in Flushing, in the New York City borough of Queens. Women — typically Chinese, but also Korean, Thai and East European — arrive at Kennedy International Airport, learn the trade and are sent out to places like Virginia, Iowa, Texas and Florida. Women are recruited locally through ads in Chinese-language newspapers or over the social network WeChat.

March 1

Strategic Culture Foundation, Military Intervention and Mercenaries, Inc. (MIAMI), Wayne Madsen (left, syndicated columnist, author of 16 books wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smalland former Navy intelligence officer), March 1, 2019. The city of Miami, Florida may have started out as a retirement mecca for winter-worn pensioners from northern climes. However, after the beginning of the Cold War and US military and Central Intelligence Agency intervention in Guatemala, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Guyana, the Bahamas, and other Western Hemisphere nations, Miami became a refuge for exiled wealthy businessmen escaping populist revolutions and elections in South and Central America and spies. The retirement and vacation capital of the United States quickly became the “Tropical Casablanca.”

cia logoNow home to thousands of limited liability corporations linked to the CIA, as well as private military contractors, sketchy airlines flying from remote Florida airports, the interventionist US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and exiled oligarchs running destabilization operations in their native countries, Miami – or MIAMI, “Military Intervention and Mercenaries, Inc.” – serves as the nexus for current Trump administration “regime change” efforts.

The latest example of Miami being a hive of CIA operatives came after five Americans, one Serbian permanent resident of the United States, and another Serbian national, were arrested by the Haitian National Police in Port-au-Prince with weapons, advanced communications devices, drones, and other military hardware amid anti-government protests linked to CIA regime change operations.

The government of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant is under US pressure to sever its diplomatic and financial links with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who the Trump administration is attempting to replace with Juan Guaido, a CIA agent-of-influence and US puppet.

The Americans and Serbs were subsequently transferred to Miami on the authorization of Haitian Justice Minister Jean Roody Aly, who was assured by the Donald Trump administration that the seven men would be criminally tried by the United States. Once in Miami, the US Attorney’s Office in Miami, which takes its orders from the CIA-friendly Attorney General, William Barr, declined prosecution of the men but “debriefed” them, a term usually applied to intelligence agents who are caught and expelled by foreign authorities.

The decision by the Haitian administration to release the seven men has resulted in a political firestorm in Port-au-Prince, with the Haitian Senate demanding answers about the role Moise played in ordering the Central Bureau of the Judicial Police of Haiti to release the individuals, described by Prime Minister Céant as “mercenaries” and “terrorists.”

February 2019 Update

Feb. 24

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Venezuela -- There Was A Riot At The Border But What Else Did The "Aid" Stunt Achieve? B, Feb. 24, 2019.  Yesterday's "humanitarian aid" stunt at the Colombian-Venezuelan border was supposed to achieve four points:

  1. to breach the border and thereby open venues that could later be used for the passage of arms and fighters,
  2. to incite large scale defections from the Venezuelan army and police forces,
  3. to demonstrate to the outside world that the Random Guyaido, who declared himself president, has a large following and is thereby legitimate enough to support him,
  4. to deliver justification for further steps against Venezuela.

Point 1 was clearly not achieved. A few hundred young men attacked the Venezuelan National Guard force that closed off the border. Attempts were made to ram "aid" trucks juan guaidóthrough. Random Guyaido ["Random Guy," Juan Guaidó, "interim president," right, leader of the rebellion] was nowhere to be seen. The whole thing ended in a minor riot. The violent attackers received gasoline and made Molotov cocktails to attack the guards and set the "aid" trucks alight. The riots continued (vid) until about midnight but neither any rioters nor the aid passed through the border.

The New York Times headlines, and Guaido claimed, that some "aid" passed into Venezuela from Brazil: "Some Aid From Brazil Pierces Venezuela’s Blockade, but Deadly Violence Erupts."

Down in paragraph 17 of its story the NYT admits that its headline is fake: "But as of Saturday night, the trucks remained stranded on the border, according to Jesús Bobadillo, a Catholic priest in Pacaraima, the Brazilian border town."

Bloomberg's bureau chief in Venezuela confirmed that the "aid" never entered the country: "Patricia Laya @PattyLaya - 4:31 PM - 23 Feb 2019. An important note from our reporter on the Brazil border @SamyAdghirni: while the aid is technically on Venezuelan territory, it hasn't crossed security or customs checkpoints"

venezuela flag waving customThe attempt to incite defections of Venezuelan security forces largely failed. A handful of National Guard foot soldiers went over to the Colombian side. But the National Guard lines held well even under a hail of stones and fire and the units were quite disciplined in taking and holding their positions. The military of Venezuela stays firmly on the side of the state.

The "aid" nonsense did not help to brush up Guaido's legitimacy. Defying a court order Guaido left Venezuela and entered Colombia. If he ever goes back he will have to go to jail. The large mobilization inside and outside of Venezuela he had promised completely failed to appear. The melee at the border crossing only showed that his followers are a gang of brutal thugs.

Guaido also lost his original legal position. He claimed the presidency on January 23 under this paragraph of article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution: "When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic."

That the "elected President becomes permanently unavailable" was never the case to begin with. But if article 233 would apply Guaido would have had 30 days to hold new elections. The 30 days are over and Guaido did not even call for elections to be held. He thereby defied the exact same paragraph of the constitution that his (false) claim to the presidency is based on.

All the above will not change the U.S. urge to "regime change" Venezuela. But it will certainly lower Guaido's support within the country as well as his international standing. It demonstrated aptly that he is nothing but an empty suit.

bernie sandersThe last aim of yesterday's stunt was to give justification for the next steps towards "regime change" -- whatever those steps may be.

The success of achieving that aim was never in question as all U.S. media and politicians were already backing Trump's plans by accepting the "humanitarian aid" nonsense in the first place:

"Bernie Sanders [shown at right] @SenSanders -- 18:47 utc - 23 Feb 2019: 'The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.'"

This response to the fake socialist is warranted:

"Roger Waters @rogerwaters - 22:27 utc - 23 Feb 2019. Replying to @SenSanders: Bernie, are you f-ing kidding me! if you buy the Trump, Bolton, Abrams, Rubio line, “humanitarian intervention” and collude in the destruction of Venezuela, you cannot be credible candidate for President of the USA. Or, maybe you can, maybe you’re the perfect stooge for the 1 %."

Feb. 23

lee marina oswald archives

Lee Harvey Oswald is shown returning to the United States in 1962 with his Soviet-born wife Marina after announcing in 1959 a defection to the Soviet Union. Oswald was later accused of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This column argues that he was a secret U.S. intelligence asset but leaves open the issue of whether he was complicit in the JFK assassination or a patsy, as Oswald claimed before he was murdered in a Dallas police station on Nov. 24, 1963.)

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Commentary: ISIS and Oswald, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), Feb. 22, 2019. How ironic that the U.S. government’s war on ISIS, the group brought into existence by the U.S. national-security establishment’s war of aggression on Iraq, would provide insight into the U.S. national-security’s establishment’s relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy some 55 years ago.

As I emphasized in my 29-part video series on the JFK assassination and as I am emphasizing in my multipart series on the same subject in FFF’s monthly journal Future of Freedom, circumstantial evidence is just as valid as direct evidence. Equally important, sometimes we can glean just as much from what government officials fail to do as from what they do.

Consider the case of Hoda Muthana, a 23-year-old American citizen who traveled to Syria four years ago and became the wife of a member of ISIS. She had a baby and now wants to return to the United States.

It’s not going to happen if President Trump gets his way. He is steadfastly refusing to permit Muthana to return to the United States. As far as he is concerned, she is a traitor for having left the United States to join up with ISIS, which became an official enemy of the U.S. Empire after the U.S. conquest of Iraq.

lee harvey oswald marine corbis via getty imagesWhich brings us to Lee Harvey Oswald (left), the former U.S. Marine who U.S. officials have always said was a “lone nut” communist who killed President Kennedy.

How does Oswald’s case relate to those of the Americans who joined up with ISIS? The U.S. government’s treatment of Oswald, whose conduct was arguably as bad if not worse than that of the ISIS Americans, was exactly the opposite of how they are treating the ISIS Americans.

In fact, as I have note in my two series, there are but two reasonable possibilities: Either Oswald was a Cold War miracle story or he was what many assassination researchers have long contended: a U.S. intelligence agent whose official cover was a communist.

Don’t forget the official narrative. It begins with a supposed communist joining the U.S. Marine Corps. How many communists have you ever heard of who have joined the U.S. Marines? Why would a genuine communist join the Marines? The Marines hate communists. They kill communists.

Oswald learned fluent Russian while he was in the Marines. How did he do that without help, especially since his study would presumably be limited to evenings and weekends? He was also studying Marxism, even to the point that his military colleagues were calling him “Osvaldovitch.”

Then Oswald walked into the U.S. embassy in Russia and loudly announced that he is renouncing his U.S. citizenship — loud enough to ensure that Russian monitoring devices could pick up what he was saying. He handed over his passport to a U.S. official in the embassy and loudly declared that he intends to divulge all the secrets he learned in the U.S. military to the Russians. It was not an idle threat because the U.S. military had stationed this ostensible communist at Atsugi Air Base in Japan, which was where the CIA’s top-secret U-2 spy plane was based.

lee harvey oswald cuba posterWhile in Russia, Oswald married a communist woman, one whose uncle had close ties to Soviet intelligence.

After a couple of years, Oswald suddenly had a change of heart, just like those ISIS wives. He decided that he now wanted to come home, along with his Red wife.

Now, how do you think that request would be handled by U.S. officials? Before you answer, remember: This was the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

In fact, in what can only be described as a Cold War miracle story, Oswald was given a red-carpet treatment during a period of time in which the U.S. national-security establishment was doing everything it could to ferret out, smear, and destroy any American who suspected to be a communist.

A U.S. group called Traveler’s Aid even advanced Oswald the money to return with his Red wife. Upon his return, he wasn’t arrested, investigated, harangued, abused, or interrogated. Why, he wasn’t even summoned to appear before a federal grand jury, much less criminally indicted. And no handcuffs.

lee harvey oswald new orleans leaflets rafael cruz wdsuInstead, he found himself being mentored in Dallas by a right-wing elderly man who had U.S. intelligence stamped all over him. He also somehow secured a job with a photography company that did top-secret work for the U.S. government.

After he moved to New Orleans, Oswald somehow had the good fortune of securing a job with a coffee company whose owner was a fiercely right-wing anti-communist.

Moreover, while Oswald (shown in the white shirt at left forefront) was distributing pamphlets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, which the U.S. national-security establishment was trying to destroy, he was associating with a former FBI agent whose office was located squarely within the U.S. intelligence establishment in New Orleans. Why, even some of Oswald’s FPCC pamphlets (shown above) had the FBI’s agent’s address stamped on the pamphlets as the return address.

The attitude and treatment of Americans who joined ISIS by President Trump and the national-security establishment is precisely what we would expect. The U.S national-security establishment’s treatment of Lee Harvey Oswald is also how we would expect they would treat a U.S intelligence operative trained to pose as a communist.

Feb. 22

Epstein / Acosta / Trump Scandal

alexander acosta o cropped Custom


President Trump's Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, now under fire for his sweetheart plea deal in 2007 for the billionaire accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Miami Herald, Federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case, judge rules, Julie K. Brown, Feb. 22, 2019 (print edition). A judge ruled Thursday that federal prosecutors — kenneth marra open jurist croppedamong them, U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta — broke federal law when they signed a plea agreement with a wealthy, politically connected sex trafficker and concealed it from more than 30 of his underage victims.

jeffrey epstein at harvard universityU.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra (right), in a 33-page opinion, said that the evidence he reviewed showed that Jeffrey Epstein (right) had been operating an international sex operation in which he and others recruited underage girls — not only in Florida — but from overseas, in violation of federal law.

“Epstein used paid employees to find and bring minor girls to him.,’’ wrote Marra, who is based in Palm Beach County. “Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.’’

Instead of prosecuting Epstein under federal sex trafficking laws, Acosta (right), then the U.S. attorney in Miami, helped negotiate a non-prosecution agreement that gave Epstein and his co-conspirators immunity from federal prosecution. Epstein, who lived in a Palm Beach mansion, was allowed to quietly plead guilty in state court to two prostitution charges and served just 13 months in the county jail. His accomplices, some of whom have never been identified, were never charged.

Justice Integrity Project Editor's Notes: President George W. Bush nominated Marra to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Jan. 23, 2002. Marra was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 82-0. He assumed senior status on Aug. 1, 2017.

The Justice Integrity Project and the Wayne Madsen Report reported extensively on how Acosta's actions helped protect such accused fellow pursuers of underage girls as his friend Donald Trump, who has been accused in withdrawn lawsuits of together raping two underage girls in New York City. Senate and House investigators have threatened to demand answers from Acosta in separate oversight hearings. See extensive coverage on our updated subsite: #MeToo News, which repors on allegations of such abuses and related crimes including blackmail and other threats that sometimes involve Deep State intrigues.

Feb. 19

washington post logoWashington Post, Roger Stone deletes photo of judge presiding over his case, says he didn’t mean to threaten her, Reis Thebault and Manuel Roig-Franzia, Feb. 19, 2019 amy berman jackson roger stone(print edition). Days after a federal judge imposed a limited gag order on him, Roger Stone posted a photograph of that judge to his Instagram page that included her name, a close-up of her face and what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun sight near her head.

Stone, a longtime confidant of President Trump, deleted the picture soon afterward, then reposted it without the crosshairs before deleting that second post as well.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson is presiding over Stone’s criminal trial, in which he has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying about his efforts to gather information about hacked 2016 Democratic Party emails that were published by WikiLeaks.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Roger Stone just got some bad news from the judge, Daniel Cotter, Feb. 19, 2019. Roger Stone took it upon himself to post a picture bill palmer report logo headerof his trial judge with crosshairs next to her head, then took it down and claimed he meant no harm. On Monday evening, Stone, under cover of a “Notice of Apology” by his lawyers, filed an apology with the court. As anyone could tell Stone, including what his lawyers surely did yesterday, that was not enough.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a minute order as to Roger J. Stone, Jr., stating:

Defendant is ORDERED to show cause at a hearing to be held on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. as to why the media contact order entered in this case and/or his conditions of release should not be modified or revoked in light of the posts on his Instagram account on or about February 18, 2019.”

Posting items such as Roger Stone did is not wise, especially when it implies a potential threat against a sitting federal judge. Stone potentially faces being jailed from now until his trial ends, for his conduct on Instagram.

washington post logorod rosenstein cspan Washington Post, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein plans to leave Justice Dept. next month, Matt Zapotosky, Feb. 19, 2019 (print edition). Rosenstein has spent nearly two years in the hot seat after he appointed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Wagging The Dog?

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Warns Venezuela’s Military to Stop Blocking Emergency Aid, Annie Karni, Nicholas Casey and Anatoly Kurmanaev, Feb. 19, 2019 (print edition). President Trump delivered his sharpest warning yet in an increasingly tense showdown over the country’s crisis. He said military authorities would “lose everything” by remaining loyal to Nicolás Maduro and refusing to allow in emergency aid stockpiled on the border.

President Trump on Monday delivered his sharpest warning yet to Venezuela’s military authorities in an increasingly tense showdown over that country’s crisis, proclaiming they would “lose everything” by remaining loyal to President Nicolás Maduro and refusing to allow in emergency aid stockpiled on the border.

Mr. Trump gave the warning in a speech denouncing Venezuela’s brand of socialism to an enthusiastic crowd in Miami that included many Americans of Venezuelan descent who have fled Venezuela or have relatives in the country, once Latin America’s wealthiest but now facing the greatest economic collapse in generations.

He spoke five days before a deadline that his administration and the Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, have declared for getting humanitarian aid into the country — a move aimed at weakening Mr. Maduro, who is no longer recognized by the United States and roughly 50 other nations as the country’s president. Mr. Trump was the first to recognize Mr. Guaidó last month as Mr. Maduro’s replacement until new elections can be held.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: It's back to the future with Venezuelan "Contras," the neocons, and the CIA, Wayne Madsen (author, syndicated columnist and former Navy intelligence officer), Feb. 19, 2019 (Subscription required). Trump's call for a coup in Venezuela is ironic when his most loyal supporter in the U.S. Senate, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), claimed that senior Justice Department officials who were discussing legally invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in early 2017 were trying to stage a "coup" against Trump.

Coups are unconstitutional in any form, while the removal of a president under the 25th Amendment is following the U.S. Constitution to the letter.

Alternative Media / Wacko Theories?

ny times logoNew York Times, YouTube Unleashed a Conspiracy Theory Boom. Can It Be Contained? Kevin Roose, Feb. 19, 2019. What if stemming the tide of misinformation on YouTube means punishing some of its biggest stars? Last month, the YouTube star Shane Dawson uploaded his new project: a 104-minute documentary, “Conspiracy Theories With Shane Dawson.”

In the video, set to a spooky instrumental soundtrack, Mr. Dawson unspooled a series of far-fetched hypotheses. Among them: that iPhones secretly record their owners’ every utterance; that popular children’s TV shows contain subliminal messages urging children to commit suicide; that the recent string of deadly wildfires in California was set on purpose, either by homeowners looking to collect insurance money or by the military using a type of high-powered laser called a “directed energy weapon.”

youtube logo CustomNone of this was fact-based, of course, and some of the theories seemed more like jokey urban legends than serious accusations. Still, his fans ate it up. The video has gotten more than 30 million views, a hit even by Mr. Dawson’s standards. A follow-up has drawn more than 20 million views and started a public feud with Chuck E. Cheese’s, the restaurant chain, which was forced to deny claims that it recycles customers’ uneaten pizza slices into new pizzas.

Mr. Dawson’s conspiracy series arrived at a particularly awkward moment for YouTube, which has been reckoning with the vast troves of misinformation and extreme content on its platform.

In late January, the company announced that it was changing its recommendations algorithm to reduce the spread of “borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways.” It cited, as examples, “videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.”

Mr. Dawson, whose real name is Shane Lee Yaw, has more than 20 million subscribers and a devoted teenage fan base. He has built his lucrative career by, among other talents, understanding what kinds of content plays well on YouTube.

Feb. 18

Stone Puts His Judge In 'Crosshairs'

roger stone fox news

Raw Story, Roger Stone lashes out at federal judge with threatening picture of her next to crosshairs, Eric W. Dolan, Feb. 18, 2019. Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone (shown in a file photo) on Monday attacked the federal judge presiding over his criminal case in the special counsel’s Russia probe. In an Instagram post, Stone lashed out at U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson (shown at right).

amy berman jackson roger stone“Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again Hillary Clinton [sic] and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime,” he wrote. Stone then asked for donations.

The Guardian’s Jon Swaine noted that the picture Stone posted on Instagram (shown at right) placed crosshairs next to Jackson’s head.

Last week, Jackson prohibited Stone from commenting on the case near the Washington, D.C., courthouse. But he remains otherwise free to discuss his situation. However, Jackson has warned that she could amend the limited gag order in the future if necessary.

“This is completely out of bounds. The cross hairs will likely lead prosecutors to ask for revocation of his pre-trial release. At best, this is a cheap stunt designed to get the judge to recuse, at worst, an outright threat,” former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance said.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Roger Stone and Donald Trump both just went off a cliff, Bill Palmer, Feb. 18, 2019. There’s a popular and arguably overused meme on social media in which one public figure says or does something incredibly stupid, and then another public figure says “Hold my beer” before doing something even more incredibly stupid. I can’t recall an instance of that meme fitting any situation better than when it came to Donald Trump and Roger Stone today.

bill palmer report logo headerDonald Trump woke up this morning and decided that his best move was to threaten “retribution” against Alec Baldwin over his Saturday Night Live portrayals. This went over about as well as one might have expected. Trump was condemned for it from all sides, as he managed to come off as both weak and dangerously out of control. Baldwin, never one to back down, will surely respond by portraying Trump on SNL more frequently. It was a disaster for Trump.

But then Roger Stone had his “Hold my beer” moment.

There has long been debate among observers as to whether Roger Stone would cut a plea deal at the first sign of real trouble, or if he would try to stick to his guns as long as possible. But we’re in a different realm now. Stone is about to go sit in solitary confinement in jail, in the same comparatively rough conditions Paul Manafort has been facing. Anyone get a good look at Manafort lately? By all accounts, he’s practically dead already. Stone is a lunatic, but even he may decide he simply can’t suffer the same fate as his pal Manafort.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The Matt Whitaker perjury case takes an even stranger turn, Bill Palmer, Feb. 18, 2019. On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler matthew whitaker headshot recentpublicly informed Matt Whitaker that the committee had found proof that Whitaker (right) had lied about his communications with Donald Trump. Nadler demanded that Whitaker come back and tell the truth. The clear implication: we have you nailed on felony perjury, and you can sell Trump out, or you can go to prison.

Tellingly, the next day, the Donald Trump regime announced that Whitaker – whose time as Acting Attorney General was ending – had been given a pointless new job at the Department of Justice. Trump was clearly attempting to keep Whitaker in the fold, and prevent him from cutting any sort of plea deal. But just because Whitaker (apparently) accepted the job, it doesn’t mean he’s still playing for Team Trump at his own expense.

Trump's 'Emergency' Claim

washington post logoWashington Post, White House defends Trump’s emergency declaration amid mounting challenges, Amy B Wang, Feb. 18, 2019 (print edition). Critics have seized on recent comments by President Trump as proof that he did not need to declare an emergency at the southern border. “I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” he said last week. The White House on Sunday defended President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border and sought to clarify his contradictory statements about its necessity, marking the start of what’s expected to be a drawn-out fight over funding the construction of djt maga hata wall amid mounting legal challenges and objections from Congress.

Trump’s announcement last week — an attempt to circumvent Congress by redirecting taxpayer money to pay for 230 miles of barriers along the border — has led to lawsuits. On Sunday, California’s attorney general said he was working with officials from at least six other states and would be filing suit against the White House “imminently.” The national emergency declaration also triggered protests, with various groups promising to hold more throughout the country Monday.

• Washington Post, ‘Answer my question’: Fox News’ Chris Wallace grills defiant Stephen Miller on national emergency, Alex Horton.

Libertarian Explains Defector To Iran

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Conscience Versus Blind Deep-State Allegiance, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), Feb. 18, 2019. Former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence officer jacob hornberger headshotMonica Witt (below), who has defected to Iran and who U.S. officials have charged with espionage and other crimes, has members of the U.S. national-security establishment and even the mainstream press befuddled.

As the New York Times put it, “But by mid-2013, Ms. Witt had become disillusioned with the government — why exactly remains a mystery.” They just can’t figure why any American, especially especially one who has been trained by the U.S. deep state and has served it, could engage in what U.S. officials and the Times call a “betrayal of the United States.”

monica witt militaryPermit me to offer the likely motive for Witt’s actions: conscience. After witnessing the horrifically immoral actions of the U.S. government toward the Iranian people for the last several decades, especially from within the bowels of the deep state, most likely Witt decided that she no longer could be part of this immorality and decided to help those who are being targeted for death, impoverishment, and suffering at the hands of the U.S. government.

The American people have not always lived under a national-security state or deep-state type of governmental structure. Since the time the Constitution was enacted and for the next century-and-a-half, Americans lived under a type of government structure known as a limited-government republic.

That type of governmental system was abandoned in the 1940s in favor of a national-security state, a type of governmental system that is inherent to totalitarian regimes. That’s how the federal government got the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the deep state, and the domestic and foreign empire of military bases and installations.

It’s also how the federal government got state-sponsored assassinations, torture, kidnappings, indefinite detention, military tribunals, denial of speedy trial, denial of due process of law, coups, regime-change operations, mass secret surveillance, invasions, wars of aggression, partnerships with dictatorial regimes, and sanctions and embargoes that target innocent people with death, impoverishment, and suffering.

Many Americans, including both conservatives and liberals, have come to accept these things are part of American “freedom.” In fact, they view them as necessary to preserve “our freedom.”

Feb. 15

washington post logodavid ignatiusWashington Post, Opinion: We’re entering a new phase of the Trump-Russia investigation, David Ignatius (right), Feb. 15, 2019 (print edition). President Trump has been insisting for so long that any investigation of his personal finances would cross a “ red line ” that people may have overlooked the outrageousness of his claim. But this self-declared immunity is about to change.

We’re entering a new phase of the Trump-Russia investigation, in which the president’s efforts to contain the probe are failing. Information he tried to suppress about his business and political dealings is emerging — with more to come.

adam schiff official“There are no red lines except what’s necessary to protect the country,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), left, said during an interview Monday. Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told me he plans to request information, perhaps by subpoena, from Deutsche Bank, a major Trump lender, and that “our work on Trump’s finances has already begun.”

A Deutsche Bank subpoena would be especially sensitive.

deutsche bank logoThe president’s relationship with Deutsche Bank intrigues investigators for several reasons. Trump turned to the big German bank two decades ago, when U.S. banks wouldn’t extend him more large loans. The Post estimated in 2016 that Deutsche Bank had $360 million in outstanding loans to Trump’s companies. Deutsche Bank also lent $285 million to Jared Kushner’s family real estate company in October 2016.

Investigators have noted other points of interest: Deutsche Bank, unusually, managed its lending to Trump through its private-banking division rather than normal commercial lending. Finally, the bank has been implicated in Russian money laundering, paying $630 million in fines in 2017 to settle U.S. and British charges that it had improperly transferred $10 billion from Russia.

Feb. 14lisa pease rfk cover

The Washington Post published a review of A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Photo credit: Feral House.

whowhatwhy logoruss baker cropped david welkerWhoWhatWhy, Shocker: ‘Washington Post’ Publishes Nuanced Article About RFK Assassination, Russ Baker (right), Feb. 14, 2019. Saturday was a turning point in American history. For perhaps the first time ever, one of the biggest legacy news organizations published a fair, fact-based article about a political assassination without dismissing, out of hand, any evidence of conspiracy.

The article, about a new book on the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the possible role played by elements of the national security establishment, likely would not have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker, or on NPR, PBS, CBS, NBC, and the like.

And yet here it is in the Washington Post.

washington post logoThis article would also likely never have appeared in the Post in the decades prior to Jeff Bezos’s taking over ownership. Say what you will about Bezos — and there’s plenty to say — he seems to be ushering in a new era of journalistic candor.

For many years, the Washington Post, like the Times and so many other news outlets, was a witting or unwitting participant in the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird, a program to shape public opinion by planting disinformation in the media.

One thing the national security establishment didn’t want was journalists taking a good look under the hood of our power hierarchy, or asking questions about the military-security-industrial complex that former presidents Eisenhower, Truman, and others warned against.

The powers-that-be certainly didn’t want the public knowing that US government agencies went around the world foiling democracy — including, on occasion, killing or sanctioning the killing of elected officials in other countries. (To see just a few of our eye-opening stories on this subject, please go here, here, and here.)

Feb. 13

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Netanyahoo Asks Arabs to "Advance The Common Interest Of War With Iran," b, Feb. 13, 2019. The U.S. had called for a high level anti-Iran meeting in Poland. The purpose of the meeting was to bring with its allies and poodles into line with the U.S. agenda on Iran, to press them at least into issuing harsher sanctions. But the European rejected that.

benjamin netanyahu frownThat State Department effort to somewhat hide the real agenda was sabotaged when the Prime Minister of Israel arrived and made it clear what the meeting is all about:

"I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran. What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran (emphasis added)."

The statement has now been changed into "combating Iran." But that is not what Netanyahoo said in Warsaw and there is video to prove it. There were also witnesses.

iran flag mapWhy is Netanyahoo doing this? No other country, except maybe the U.S., has any interest in waging war on Iran. Certainly not the Arab countries near the Persian Gulf. In case of a war they are all extremely vulnerable to Iranian retaliation. Their oil and gas installations would be in serious danger. The desalination plants which provide their drinking water are all within easy reach of Iranian missiles.

By claiming that the conference is about waging war on Iran Netanyahoo is not only embarrassing the State Department and Secretary Mike Pompeo. He also makes it extremely difficult for other attendees to justify their presence. The Arabs will be especially furious that they are shown in such an open alliance with Israel and its hostility against Iran. Scheming with Israel in the dark is fine.

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Why Iranians Bash the U.S. Government, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), Feb. 13, 2019. Two days ago, the New York Times carried an article by Times’ journalist Thomas Erdbrink entitled, “For Iran, a Grand Occasion to Bash the U.S.,” which was about Iran’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of its revolution in 1979. The article included the following sentence, “And like some evil doppelgänger, the United States was omnipresent, despite having broken all ties with Iran in 1981.”

Unfortunately, Erdbrink failed to point out two things: One, it is understandable why the Iranian people bash the U.S. government, and, two, while the U.S. government may have broken diplomatic ties with Iran, it has nonetheless continued to use economic sanctions to target the Iranian people with impoverishment and death as a way of hopefully effecting another regime change within the country.

iran flag mapFirst things first though. When the Times refers to “bashing the U.S.,” it makes a common mistake by conflating the U.S. government and our nation. Actually, they are two separate and distinct entities, a phenomenon best reflected by the Bill of Rights, which expressly protects the citizenry (i.e., our country) from the U.S. government.

The distinction is important because the Iranian people love Americans. They just hate the U.S. government. And when one considers what the U.S. government has done to Iranians and continues to do to Iranians, which, unfortunately, many Americans don’t like to think about, it is not difficult to understand the deep enmity that Iranians have toward the U.S. government.

mohammad mossadeqIn 1953, the CIA, which is one of three principal parts of the national-security branch of the federal government, secretly initiated a regime-change coup in Iran, one that not only ousted from power the democratically elected prime minister of the country, Mohammed Mossadegh (left), but also destroyed Iran’s experiment with democracy. That’s ironic, of course, given that U.S. officials are always reminding people how enamored they are with “democracy.”

Why did the CIA initiate this regime-change operation? Because the U.S. national-security establishment was convinced that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world, a conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia. (Yes, that Russia!)

What did that supposed worldwide conspiracy have to do with Mossadegh? The CIA was convinced that Mossadegh was leaning left because he had nationalized British oil interests, which, needless to say, had not sat well with British oil companies. Therefore, the CIA concluded, Mossadegh could conceivably be a secret agent for this supposed worldwide communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Russia.

Medium, Inside Valerie Plame’s Spy Convention, Nina Burleigh, Feb. 13, 2019. Ex-CIA spooks clash over Russiagate while lunching on enchiladas. The conference had drawn an audience of 175 academics, historians, and espionage groupies, each of whom had paid up to $500, not including hotel rooms, for a series of presentations and panels bearing titles like “Terrorism, Intelligence, and the Paradigms of Perception” and “The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Secret Intelligence Perspective.”

One of the final panels, featuring a group of ex-spies, examined the question: “Was There Russian Interference in U.S. Elections?” Nearly all of the participants answered in the affirmative, but they disagreed, sometimes vehemently, on the effects. (This predated a report last month that the FBI had, in fact, investigated whether Trump was working for the Kremlin.)

“The Russians did what they always do and what we frankly do, too,” Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, who served for 23 years as a CIA intelligence officer in various domestic and international posts, including Russia station chief, told attendees. “They went to active measures. They wanted to hurt Hillary and help Trump. There is no question they tried to influence voters.”

While Mary Beth Long, a former CIA agent and assistant secretary of defense, defended the president as the duly elected commander-in-chief and slammed former intelligence chiefs John Brennan and James Clapper for publicly criticizing Trump, she also admitted he might well have been compromised. “I would be shocked if it was not the case that, while Trump was a businessman, he was approached by Russians,” she said, “and I have no doubt he was sexually entrapped and he had arrangements, for business purposes. But that doesn’t make him a traitor.”

Then again, it certainly might, insisted Glenn Carle, who worked for the Agency for more than two decades on four continents before retiring in 2007. “This is the greatest threat to our country since 1861,” he said. “Not even Watergate, not World War II  —  there was never any real danger Hitler would walk down Constitution Avenue. But I think there is substantive, overwhelming evidence, and that if any of us did not try to remove this man [Trump] from office, we would be derelict. It is absolutely clear that Russian intelligence manipulated him.”

“I strongly disagree,” countered Larry Johnson, former staffer at the State Department’s Office of Counterterrorism and ex-CIA agent, who now runs his own private investigation and security consulting firm. “Is there gambling at the casino?” he asked. “Yes, Russians have been intervening here for years. I harbor no illusions about that. But we do it, too.”

Johnson added that the “level of Russian hysteria” directed at the Trump election “is jeopardizing our ability to actually work with Russia, in places like the International Space Station.” “If they’re so damn bad,” he wondered, “why are we trusting our astronauts to them?”

Feb. 8

david pecker cnn screenshot

Trump family friend David Pecker, chairman of American Media, Inc. (AMI), parent company of the National Enquirer (screenshot from CNN)

washington post logoWashington Post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer’s parent of ‘extortion’ over ‘intimate’ photos, Paul Farhi​, Feb. 8, 2019 (print edition). Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, said the blackmail threat was made after he began looking into how the Enquirer acquired text messages that revealed his relationship with a former TV anchor.

jeffrey bezos washington postAmazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos (left) said Thursday that he was the target of an extortion attempt by the National Enquirer, which he said threatened to publish embarrassing photos of him if he didn’t halt his investigation into how the tabloid obtained private texts and photos between him and his mistress.

Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, said the Enquirer made the blackmail threat after he began looking into how the tabloid acquired text messages that revealed his relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor.

In a rare and revealing statement posted to the online publishing platform Medium, Bezos said the National Enquirer wanted him to make a false public statement to the news media that he and his security consultant, Gavin de Becker, “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage [of the affair] was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.” (AMI is American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer.)

djt don jr ivanka pecker eric

 washington post logoWashington Post, National Enquirer’s parent says it will ‘thoroughly investigate’ extortion claims made by Bezos, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Paul Farhi, Sarah Ellison and Devlin Barrett​, Feb. 8, 2019. American Media Inc. said it believes the tabloid acted lawfully in its reporting on Jeffrey P. Bezos, the Amazon chief executive and owner of The Post.

lauren sanchez jeff bezos david pecker ap via fox news

Lauren Sanchez, Jeffrey ezos and David Pecker (left to right, Associated Press via Fox News photos)

Background: Daily Beast, Bezos’ Investigators Question the Brother of His Mistress, Lauren Sanchez, in National Enquirer Leak Probe, Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, Jan. 31, 2019. Michael Sanchez is an outspoken Trump supporter with ties to Roger Stone and Carter Page. Jeff Bezos’ top personal security consultant has questioned his mistress’ brother as part of the probe into how the couple’s text messages wound up in the hands of the National Enquirer.

Gavin de Becker, the Amazon chief’s longtime personal security consultant and the point person for the investigation, confirmed to The Daily Beast on Wednesday that his probe has scrutinized Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos mistress Lauren Sanchez and a personal and business associate of Trumpworld figures including Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Scottie Nell Hughes.

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast first reported the existence of that investigation, which is taking place independent of Amazon and being funded by Bezos personally. Three sources familiar with the inquiry said it was increasingly probable that whoever leaked the text messages to the Enquirer, which ran a conspicuously large 12-page spread on Bezos’ affair, harbored political animosity towards Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post.

Michael Sanchez’s name bubbled up on the British celebrity news and gossip website Popbitch last week in the context of the Enquirer story. Stone also mentioned Sanchez in an interview with conspiracy theory site Infowars on Wednesday that sought to preempt The Daily Beast’s reporting by falsely claiming that it would accuse him of conspiring with the Trump administration to hack Bezos’ phone.

ny times logoNew York Times, Year Before Killing, Saudi Prince Told Aide He Would Use ‘a Bullet’ on Jamal Khashoggi, Mark Mazzetti, Feb. 8, 2019 (print edition). Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia told a top aide in a conversation in 2017 that he would use “a bullet” on Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist killed in October, if Mr. Khashoggi did not return to the kingdom and end his criticism of the Saudi government, according to current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of intelligence reports.

jamal khashoggi western suitThe conversation, intercepted by American intelligence agencies, is the most detailed evidence to date that the crown prince considered killing Mr. Khashoggi (right) long before a team of Saudi operatives strangled him inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and dismembered his body using a bone saw. Mr. Khashoggi’s murder prompted weeks of outrage around the world and among both parties in Washington, where senior lawmakers called for an investigation into who was responsible.

mohammad bin salman cropped file smallThe Saudi government has denied that the young crown prince played any role in the killing, and President Trump has publicly shown little interest in trying to get the facts about who was responsible. Prince Mohammed, left, the next in line to the Saudi throne behind his ailing father, King Salman, has become the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and a close ally of the Trump White House — especially Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

The conversation appears to have been recently transcribed and analyzed as part of an effort by intelligence agencies to find proof of who was responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death. The National Security Agency and other American spy agencies are now sifting through years of the crown prince’s voice and text communications that the N.S.A. routinely intercepted and stored, much as the agency has long done for other top foreign officials, including close allies of the United States.

Feb. 7

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Venezuela -- U.S. Aid Gambit Fails -- War Plans Lack Support, b, Feb. 7, 2019. A day after the U.S. coup attempt in Venezuela the U.S. game plan was already quite obvious: "The oppo