Deep State 2020-22 News, Revelations, Commentary

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Editor's Choice: 2020-21 News & Views

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

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

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

The top section shows excerpts since the beginning of the calendar year.  Below at far bottom also are links to the Justice Integrity Project's multi-part and separate "Readers Guides" to the JFK, MLK and RFK assassinations containing notable books, films, archives and commentary. Included also are several reports regarding other alleged political murders of prominent international leaders, or attempts. Correspondence should be sent to this site's editor, Andrew Kreig.

 

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

Index: Deep State News, Revelations, Commentary

 2020-21-22

May Updates

May 14

World Crisis Radio, Kremlin responds with rocket-rattling to looming NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D., right, May 14, 2022. Expansion of 1949 North Atlantic Pact is once in webster tarpley twittera century event made possible by Putin’s fanaticism and stupidity; Russians forced into humiliating retreat from Kharkiv, blowing up bridges as they go; Ukrainians close to border at Belgorod;

Weak and sickly Putin presides over low-budget May 9 nothing-burger commemoration under pall of defeat; Possible contenders for anti-Putin palace coup reputedly include Bortnikov of FSB, now eclipsed by GRU owing to unreliable Ukraine intel; National Security Council boss Patrushev, the foremost among the siloviki; and (less likely) the boyish Kremlin apparatchik Dmitri Kovalev;

Abortion now tied with inflation as top US voting issue;

Consternation at Fox News over next Tuesday’s Pennsylvania GOP primary marked by fratricide of negative ads: If extremism is the only coin of the realm, a bidding war among nihilist demagogues is likely; Troglodyte reactionares Mastroiano and Barnette could top PA GOP ticket!

Breaking: Hill GOP’s sabotage of Covid funding puts American lives at risk!

May 12

 

 

Trump Defense Secretary Mark Esper, shown in a file photo at right with then-President Trump, has published a harsh assessment of Trump's willingness to break law and other norms to retain power and punish his perceived opponents..

Trump Defense Secretary Mark Esper, shown in a file photo at right with then-President Trump, has published a harsh assessment of Trump's willingness to break law and other norms to retain power and punish his perceived opponents.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump wanted to court-martial prominent retired officers, former defense secretary’s book says, Dan Lamothe, May 12, 2022 (print ed.). In A Sacred Oath, former defense secretary Mark Esper details his often uneasy tenure in Trump’s Cabinet.

mark esperPresident Donald Trump wanted to court-martial two prominent retired military officers for their perceived slights and disloyalty, his former defense secretary Mark T. Esper, right, alleges in a new book, the latest insider account to raise claims about the combative commander in chief and his attempts to upend government institutions.

Department of Defense SealTrump, Esper recounts in A Sacred Oath, had developed a disdain for Stanley McChrystal and William H. McRaven, popular and influential leaders who, in retirement, criticized the president.

When Trump informed Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (below right,, of his wish to see McChrystal and McRaven court-martialed, the two Pentagon leaders “jumped to their defense,” Esper writes, arguing that both completed distinguished military careers and that taking such action would be “extreme and unwarranted.”

“Doing this ‘will backfire on you, Mr. President,’ we said,” Esper writes. “The discussion went back and forth a little while longer in the Oval Office, with Milley finally figuring out a way to get the president to back down by promising that he would personally call the officers and ask them to dial it back.”

mark esper bookThe alleged episode highlights Esper’s often uneasy tenure in Trump’s Cabinet, a fraught 15 months when, according to his memoir, he endeavored to serve as a guardrail on Trump’s most alarming and inappropriate impulses.

White House intensifies effort to install Pentagon personnel seen as loyal to Trump

Elsewhere in the book, Esper describes a campaign to purge officials deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump in favor of others thought to be more pliable.

mark milley army chief of staffA White House liaison assigned to the Pentagon “expressed an interest in ‘interviewing’ the DOD’s senior officers, which we saw as a code for loyalty tests,” Esper recalls. “We shut this down immediately.”

In an interview, Esper said Trump’s desire to punish McChrystal and McRaven was “obviously disconcerting” and that he considers the two men to be heroes.

“If I wasn’t there and Milley wasn’t there, what would have happened?” he said. “And what would it have done to the military profession for a president to call back to active duty two … retired four-stars and to try and court-martial them for publicly expressing their views?”

May 10

  

Insurrectionists loyal to Donald Trump rioted at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (AP photo by José Luis Magaña).Insurrectionists loyal to Donald Trump rioted at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (AP photo by José Luis Magaña).

Palmer Report, Analysis: DOJ obtains secret January 6th text messages between Roger Stone and Alex Jones, Bill Palmer, May 10, 2022. Shortly after the DOJ rounded up the entire Oath Keepers leadership in January, and flipped at least one of them against Trump world, it set up a dedicated prosecutor and grand jury to target Trump world for January 6th related crimes. Since that time, additional Oath Keepers and Proud Boys leaders have cut cooperation deals with the DOJ.

bill palmer report logo headerNow CNN is reporting that the DOJ has obtained encrypted January 6th “Signal” text messages involving Roger Stone, Alex Jones, Ali Alexander, and the Oath Keepers. The CNN article doesn’t explicitly say as much, but since Signal is an encrypted app, the implication is that someone who’s cooperating may have turned over these messages to the DOJ.

In any case, we now have confirmation that the DOJ has indeed pierced Trump’s inner circle with regard to January 6th. Keep in mind that while we didn’t learn until last month that the DOJ has a grand jury targeting Trump world, the reporting is that the grand jury has been proceeding since at least January – and now we know the DOJ has the secret encrypted January 6th communications that Roger Stone and Alex Jones were counting on never seeing the light of day.

May 9

 

djt jan 6 twitter

Donald Trump rouses supporters in a speech outside the White House just prior to the mob's assault on the U.S. Capitol, which contained elected members of Congress giving final certification of November election results on Jan. 6, 2021 in advance of President-elect Joe Biden's planned Inaugution.

May 7

 

 

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washington post logoWashington Post, Judge dismisses Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter, Cat Zakrzewski, May 7, 2022 (print ed.). The former president accused the social network of violating the First Amendment by suspending his account after Jan. 6.

A California judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit that Donald Trump filed against Twitter, the latest blow to the former president’s high-profile battles with major tech companies over their decisions to suspend his accounts in the fallout of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

twitter bird CustomThe lawsuit, which Trump initially filed last year in Florida along with suits targeting Google and Facebook, was viewed as part of a broader strategy to appeal to conservatives who have long argued that social media companies unfairly censor their viewpoints. The judge’s dismissal comes after Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced his plans to buy Twitter, taking issue over content moderation decisions he views as limiting free speech — and raising speculation that Trump could return to the platform.

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge James Donato rejected Trump’s argument that Twitter was operating as a “state actor” when it suspended his account in January 2021, calling it not plausible. Trump had claimed that Twitter was constrained by the First Amendment’s restrictions on government limitations of free speech because it had acted in cooperation with government officials.

May 4

 

 

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ny times logoNew York Times, Oath Keepers Leader Sought to Ask Trump to Unleash His Militia, Alan Feuer, May 4, 2022. An account of how the militia leader, Stewart Rhodes, tried to reach Donald Trump on Jan. 6 with a plan to help keep him in power was revealed in federal court.

Even as the beleaguered police were still trying to disperse a violent mob at the Capitol last January, Stewart Rhodes, above, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, undertook a desperate, last-ditch effort to keep President Donald J. Trump in the White House, according to court papers released on Wednesday.

In a suite at the Phoenix Park Hotel, just blocks from the Capitol, Mr. Rhodes called an unnamed intermediary and, the papers said, repeatedly implored the person to ask Mr. Trump to mobilize his group to forcibly stop the transition of presidential power.

But the person refused to speak with Mr. Trump, the papers said. And once the call was over, Mr. Rhodes, turning to a group of his associates, declared, “I just want to fight.”

Witnessing this scene, which unfolded in the twilight hours of Jan. 6, 2021, was William Todd Wilson, a midlevel Oath Keepers leader from North Carolina. On Wednesday, Mr. Wilson, 44, pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington to charges of seditious conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation of the Oath Keepers’ role in the Capitol attack.

Mr. Wilson’s tale of what took place at the Phoenix Park — the same hotel that Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the far-right Proud Boys, had stayed at days earlier — was among the most dramatic accounts to have emerged so far in the government’s monthslong investigation of the Oath Keepers.

In a 15-page statement of offense released in conjunction with his plea, Mr. Wilson also admitted to helping stockpile weapons in hotel rooms in Virginia for a so-called quick reaction force assembled to “provide firearms or cover to co-conspirators” who were “operating inside of Washington” on Jan. 6.

With his guilty plea, Mr. Wilson, a military and law enforcement veteran, became the third member of the Oath Keepers charged with sedition to reach a deal with the Justice Department to help in its most serious criminal case connected to the Capitol attack. As part of their inquiry, prosecutors have fanned out across the country interviewing dozens of members of the group. More than 20 Oath Keepers have been charged.

The new court papers paint a picture of Mr. Wilson as a man enraged by the results of the 2020 election. In early November, for example, he expressed outrage in an Oath Keepers group chat after Georgia was called for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Rigged,” he wrote. And then, “I’m ready to go coyote hunting.”

On Dec. 14, 2020 — the day that a majority of electors cast their votes for Mr. Biden in the Electoral College — Mr. Wilson saw an article posted in the group chat that was written by Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s onetime national security adviser. The article warned about “unelected tyrants,” and Mr. Wilson wrote to his compatriots, “It is time to fight.”

After several phone calls with Mr. Rhodes in early January, Mr. Wilson admitted driving from North Carolina to the Washington area on Jan. 5 with an AR-15-style rifle, a 9-milimeter pistol, 200 rounds of ammunition, body armor, pepper spray and a pocketknife. As he traveled, court papers say, he posted a message in the group chat, saying, “It’s going to hit the fan tonight!”

Just two days after voting ended, prosecutors say, Mr. Rhodes told several members of his group to refuse to accept Mr. Biden’s victory — by force, if necessary.

“We aren’t getting through this without a civil war,” he wrote on the encrypted chat app Signal. “Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit.”

CBS News, DHS watchdog says Trump's acting DHS secretary changed intel report on Russian interference in 2020 election, Nicole Sganga and Olivia Gazis, Updated May 4, 2022. Former Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf changed and delayed an intelligence report detailing Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, according to a new review by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) top watchdog.

CBS News logoThe decision to deviate from DHS standard review procedures "rais[ed] objectivity concerns," according to the report, and led to the perception that unorthodox interference by a top DHS official was intended to help Donald Trump's reelection bid.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at DHS, through its Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), released the redacted results of its investigation into Russian interference in the election — "DHS Actions Related to an I&A Intelligence Product Deviated from Standard Procedures" — on Tuesday.

us dhs big eagle logo4"We found that DHS did not adequately follow its internal processes and comply with applicable [intelligence community] policy standards and requirements when editing and disseminating an I&A intelligence product regarding Russian interference with the 2020 U.S. Presidential election," the DHS OIG report states, in part.

"The acting secretary participated in the review process multiple times despite lacking any formal role in reviewing the product, resulting in the delay of its dissemination on at least one occasion," the DHS inspector general report continued. "The delays and deviation from I & A standard process and requirements put [them] at risk of creating a perception of politicization."

Analysts in DHS' Cyber Mission Center (CYMC) began drafting the original intelligence product titled, "Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Electoral Dynamics" in April 2020, to warn state and local governments of a noticeable uptick in Russian state media efforts to question then-candidate President Joe Biden's mental health after Super Tuesday.

The DHS analyst who first raised the concern "believed foreign efforts questioning a candidate's health were worth exploring because they could impact voters' willingness to vote for that candidate and began drafting the product," the OIG report read. "In its initial form, the product was approximately two pages in length and included information relating to one 'current Democratic presidential candidate' and to Russian activities to influence the 2020 U.S. Presidential election."

At a July 8, 2020, meeting, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf — who is referenced to by his title but never named in Tuesday's OIG report — determined that the intelligence document should be "held" because it "made the President look bad," according to a whistleblower complaint.

The whistleblower, Brian Murphy, who was then principal deputy under secretary at I&A, also alleged that Wolf ordered him to shift the focus of future assessments to interference efforts by China and Iran, and that instructions to do so had come from White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien. Murphy declined to comply, he said in the complaint, because "doing so would put the country in substantial and specific danger."

ny times logoNew York Times, Georgia Jury to Consider Whether Trump Illegally Interfered in 2020 Election, Richard Fausset, May 3, 2022 (print ed.). The panel will have up to a year to recommend whether the prosecutor should pursue criminal charges against the former President Trump and his allies.

As the criminal investigation of Donald J. Trump by Manhattan prosecutors appears to be stalling out, the separate investigation into whether the former president and his allies illegally interfered with Georgia’s 2020 election results took a significant step forward on Monday, as 23 people were chosen to serve on a special investigative grand jury.

djt hands up mouth open CustomThe panel will focus exclusively on “whether there were unlawful attempts to disrupt the administration of the 2020 elections here in Georgia,” Judge Robert C.I. McBurney of the Fulton County Superior Court told 200 potential jurors who had been called to a downtown Atlanta courthouse swarming with law enforcement agents.

The ability of the special grand jury to subpoena witnesses and documents will help prosecutors, who have encountered resistance from some potential witnesses who have declined to testify voluntarily. The panel will have up to a year to issue a report advising District Attorney Fani T. Willis on whether to pursue criminal charges.

Some legal experts have said the inquiry could be perilous for Mr. Trump, who, in a January 2021 phone call, asked Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to put Mr. Trump ahead of his Democratic rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., in Georgia’s presidential election tally.

The seating of the Georgia grand jury comes as a criminal inquiry in Manhattan has come to an apparent standstill. Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, is said to be concerned about the strength of the New York case, which focuses on whether Mr. Trump exaggerated the value of assets in annual financial statements. People close to the investigation have told The New York Times that the inquiry may lose steam if other witnesses do not step up to cooperate.

In the Georgia case, a group of legal experts, in an analysis published last year by the Brookings Institution, wrote that the call to Mr. Raffensperger, and other postelection moves by Mr. Trump, put the former president at “substantial risk” of criminal charges in Georgia, including racketeering, election fraud solicitation, intentional interference with performance of election duties and conspiracy to commit election fraud.

The investigation is also likely to look at Trump allies who inserted themselves into election administration matters in Georgia, including Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani; Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; and Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff. The investigation is within the purview of the Fulton County district attorney because many of the actions in question took place in or involved phone calls to officials in Fulton County, which includes the State Capitol building in downtown Atlanta and numerous government offices.

 Recent Headlines

May 7

World Crisis Radio, Commnetary: Alito draft ending Roe v. Wade declares war on all rights in US, but backlash builds! Webster G. Tarpley, right, May 7, 2022 (74:49 webster tarpley twittermins). Supreme Court leak reveals GOP’s creeping coup to overthrow democracy;

Mass mobilization, not ultra-left sectarian fratricide, needed to decimate Republicans in Congress, end filibuster, pass Roe as a statute, and add new justices; Extinction of Republicans as biggest threat to America now long overdue; Fascist dictatorship looms;

Depravity of Supremes majority derives from postwar legal positivism, a doctrine which banishes justice and morality from law; Originalism and textualism are forms of legal positivism;

Alito proves himself a constitutional ignoramus by neglecting Ninth Amendment, which leaves door wide open to new rights deriving from social, economic, and scientific progress;

Self-cannibalization of GOP, the party of hedge fund hyenas: Pompeo attacks Dr. Oz as security risk, Esper attacks Stephen Miller as mad bomber of Mexico, and Trump’s endorsement leaves Ohio Hillbilly with fewer than one third of the votes;

Biden job expansion continues strong beyond twelfth month; Inflation is an international phenomenon generated by objective factors of pandemic; Nuclear renaissance triggered by Putin’s energy war;

Putin prepares for May 9 monster fest with no victories to show; Reports say Russian frigate Admiral Makarov crippled by missile, and first T-90 tanks destroyed; Alt-left and alt-right spread demoralization in west; Beware demagogic stunts by the sickly dictator during hollow anniversary!

May 6

Proof, Investigative Commentary:The Real Supreme Court Leak in Dobbs v. Jackson Isn’t the One You Think—and May Point Toward the Leaker’s Identity, Seth seth abramson proof logoAbramson, May 6, 2022. It turns out Alito’s draft opinion on abortion may have leaked earlier than believed, and not to Politico but another—farther right—outlet. This revelation may hold the key to a historic leak probe.

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

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

May 5

 

supreme court Custom

 

supreme court 2018 group photo cropped Custom

SCOTUSblog, Analysis: How the leak might have happened, Tom Goldstein (SCOTUSblog editor and founder, and prominent litigator before the Supreme Court), May 5, 2022. Among the debates generated by the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in Dobbs is whether the leaker was conservative or liberal. The leak will ultimately pale in importance to the court’s decision once it is issued; the ruling will directly affect the lives and rights of tens of millions of people. But in the meantime, the motives of the leaker are an important topic because they help explain why an institution that zealously guards its secrets suddenly seems porous.

Start from the premise that there were actually (at least) two leakers, and three leaks. The first leak was to the Wall Street Journal editorial board last week. john roberts oIn substance, it was that the court had voted to overrule Roe v. Wade, but that the precise outcome remains in doubt because Chief Justice John Roberts, right, is trying to persuade either Justice Brett Kavanaugh or Justice Amy Coney Barrett to a more moderate position that would uphold the Mississippi abortion restriction without formally overturning Roe.

While not formally presented as relying on a leak, the editorial transparently does. The most obvious example is that it predicts that Alito samuel alito ois drafting a majority opinion to overrule Roe, but gives no explanation for that prediction and none is apparent. We now know that Alito, left, did draft that opinion.

The second leak was to Politico. Likely within the past few days, a person familiar with the court’s deliberations told them that five members of the court – Alito, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, along with Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch – originally voted to overturn Roe and that remains the current vote. In addition, the position of the chief justice is unclear. The remaining justices are dissenting.

The third leak was also to Politico. It was presumably – but not certainly – by the same person. Someone provided them with Alito’s Feb. 10 draft opinion.

Note as well what was not leaked. Politico seemingly was not told which justices had joined the Alito opinion. (The fact that five justices voted in December politico Customto overturn Roe as a general matter does not mean that all five of them necessarily would have agreed to sign on to Alito’s draft.) And Politico apparently was not provided with a subsequent draft, which ordinarily would have circulated to the court by now – in response to comments from some members of the would-be majority.

Here is what you would conclude is the state of play if you took all the leaks as both accurate and pretty complete (assumptions that, admittedly, are by no means certain). Alito’s opinion probably has been joined by Thomas and Gorsuch. Kavanaugh and Barrett have yet to join – most likely because they are waiting to consider an alternative opinion from the chief justice.

In these circumstances, which ideological side would think it benefits from leaking the opinion? It seems to me, that is the left. I can see conservatives believing that they would gain from leaking the fact that Kavanaugh had originally voted to strike down Roe. They might believe it would tend to lock him into that position. But that was accomplished by leaking that fact to both The Wall Street Journal and Politico.

The question here is who believed they would benefit from leaking the opinion itself. That document was much more likely to rally liberals than conservatives. It brought home the fact that the court was poised to overrule Roe in much more concrete terms than merely leaking the vote. The opinion is also a full-throated attack on abortion rights and – with important caveats – substantive due process rights more broadly. And as a first draft – without the benefit of later refinement – it does not yet present the critique of Roe in its most persuasive form.

It is also important to look at the leak of the opinion through the lens of the fact that someone – almost certainly a conservative – had just before leaked the court’s tentative decision and the state of the voting to The Wall Street Journal. That leak was itself an extraordinary and unethical breach of confidences and certainly caused very deep concern inside the court.

amy coney barrett headshot notre dame photoMy guess is that someone on the left felt somewhat justified in releasing the opinion in response. Through the opinion, one would see what the Journal was saying Kavanaugh and Barrett, right, were considering. That leak was a historically unprecedented violation of the deepest and most solemn trust among the justices and the court’s staff. It wounded the institution.

One small note about the identity of the leaker. There has been some speculation that turns on a supposed relationship with Josh Gerstein, the Politico legal affairs reporter who is the lead author on their story. It seems to me that the leak very likely runs instead through the other reporter with a byline on the story: Alexander Ward, who is a national security reporter. In response to questions from The Washington Post, Politico confirmed that the story was very tightly held from even its own staff. Almost surely, the leaker would have insisted on that confidentiality. I cannot think of a reason that Ward would have been on the story other than that the leaker communicated through him, not Gerstein. And Politico would have felt compelled to give Ward a byline on such a historic scoop.

May 3

disney world mickey mouse facebook

San Francisco Chronicle, Opinion: No, Ron DeSantis’ battle with Disney isn’t just political grandstanding, Burt Neuborne and Erwin Chemerinsky, Updated May 3, 2022. The core principle underlying the First Amendment is that government cannot punish speech because it disagrees with its viewpoint. But that is exactly what Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have done to the Disney corporation for having dared to oppose legislation limiting discussion of gay issues in Florida’s public schools.

We think the Supreme Court was wrong in Citizens United when it granted full free speech rights to corporations like Disney. Nor are we fans of delegating government powers to profit-driven corporations. But, as long as corporations continue to function as powerful First Amendment speakers, the worst thing we could do is empower an all-powerful regulatory state to turn corporate speakers into mouthpieces for the government by punishing them for failing to toe the party-line. That’s how Vladimir Putin rules Russia.

ron desantis hands outGov. DeSantis, right, and Florida state lawmakers have revoked a 55-year-old arrangement that allowed the Walt Disney Co. to self-govern its 25,000-acre Disney World complex. Stripping Disney of its local governmental powers was done for just one reason, and DeSantis was explicit about it: Disney CEO Bob Chapek had criticized Florida’s recently adopted law prohibiting classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in certain elementary school classrooms. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature were simply retaliating for Chapek’s criticism of the “don’t say gay” law.

It was once the law that government could condition the grant of a so-called “privilege,” like Disney’s authority to exercise delegated local government power, on any terms it wished. But over a half century ago, the Supreme Court rejected that approach and repeatedly has held that the regulatory state may not condition the continued enjoyment of a government-granted benefit on the recipient’s waiver of its First Amendment rights. Under disney logosettled First Amendment principles, the Florida Legislature could not provide that a person’s license to practice medicine or law, or their eligibility to receive welfare benefits, could be made contingent on supporting government policy.

Simply put, the government cannot condition the discretionary grant of a benefit on a recipient’s waiver of a constitutional right. The Supreme Court, applying its “unconstitutional condition” doctrine, has struck down efforts to condition government funding of public television stations on a waiver of the station’s First Amendment right to use privately raised funds to support news programs.

Florida’s effort to condition Disney’s continued exercise of local government authority on its support for the governor’s anti-gay bill is no different. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have unconstitutionally conditioned Disney’s ability to exercise local government benefits on the company’s silence.

There is a temptation to dismiss Florida’s action as political grandstanding by a governor who wants to run for president and is seeking issues that play to his base. Going after Disney for being too supportive of gays received just the headlines DeSantis wanted.

But if DeSantis and the Florida Republicans can get away with this, there will be no stopping their power to use the machinery of government to punish and silence their critics — corporate or otherwise. If DeSantis gets away with punishing Disney for its speech, any corporation, indeed any person receiving a benefit from a government will risk losing it unless they toe the party line. The potential for government manipulation of corporate — and other — speech is enormous.

May 2

Investigations: Challenges To Democratic Norms

 

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ny times logoNew York Times, Part 1: Tucker Carlson, once a failed pundit, stoked white fear to conquer cable, Nicholas Confessore, April 30, 2022. A New York Times investigative analysis in three parts of 1,100 episodes of the apocalyptic worldview of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," the top-rated 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Fox News.

Tucker Carlson burst through the doors of Charlie Palmer Steak, enfolded in an entourage of producers and assistants, cellphone pressed to his ear. On the other end was Lachlan Murdoch, chairman of the Fox empire and his de facto boss.

fox news logo SmallMost of Fox’s Washington bureau, along with the cable network’s top executives, had gathered at the power-class steakhouse, a few blocks from the office, for their annual holiday party. Days earlier, Mr. Carlson had set off an uproar, claiming on air that mass immigration made America “poor and dirtier.” Blue-chip advertisers were fleeing. Within Fox, Mr. Carlson was widely viewed to have finally crossed some kind of line. Many wondered what price he might pay.

The answer became clear that night in December 2018: absolutely none.

When “Tucker Carlson Tonight” aired, Mr. Carlson doubled down, playing video of his earlier comments and citing a report from an Arizona government agency that said each illegal border crossing left up to eight pounds of litter in the desert. Afterward, on the way to the Christmas party, Mr. Carlson spoke directly with Mr. Murdoch, who praised his counterattack, according to a former Fox employee told of the exchange.

“We’re good,” Mr. Carlson said, grinning triumphantly, as he walked into the restaurant.

In the years since, Mr. Carlson has constructed what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news — and also, by some measures, the most successful.

 

sean hannity uncredited

ny times logoNew York Times, Part 2: How Tucker Carlson reshaped Fox News — and became Trump’s heir, Nicholas Confessore, May 2, 2022 (print ed.). A New York Times investigative analysis in three parts of 1,100 episodes of the apocalyptic worldview of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," the top-rated 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Fox News.

Tucker Carlson had a problem.

tucker carlsonAfter years in the cable wilderness, he had made a triumphant return to prime time. And his new show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” had leapfrogged to the heart of Fox News’s evening lineup just months after Donald J. Trump’s upset victory shattered the boundaries of conventional politics.

But as Mr. Trump thrashed through his first months in office, Mr. Carlson, right, found himself with an unexpected programming challenge: Fox was too pro-Trump. The new president watched his favorite network religiously, and often tweeted about what he saw there, while Fox broadcasts reliably parroted White House messaging. No one was more on message than Sean Hannity, shown above, then Fox’s highest-rated star, who frequently devoted his show to Mr. Trump’s daily battles with Washington Democrats and the media.

Newly planted in Fox’s newly vacated 8 p.m. time slot — previously held by the disgraced star Bill O’Reilly — Mr. Carlson told friends and co-workers that he needed to find a way to reach the Trump faithful, but without imitating Mr. Hannity. He didn’t want to get sucked into apologizing for Mr. Trump every day, he told one colleague, because the fickle, undisciplined new president would constantly need apologizing for.

The solution would not just propel Mr. Carlson toward the summit of cable news. It would ultimately thrust him to the forefront of the nationalist forces reshaping American conservatism. “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the host and his producers decided, would embrace Trumpism, not Mr. Trump. The show would grasp the emotional core of Mr. Trump’s allure — white panic over the country’s changing ethnic composition — while keeping a carefully measured distance from the president himself. For years, as his television career sputtered, Mr. Carlson had adopted increasingly catastrophic views of immigration and the country’s shifting demographics. Now, as Mr. Trump took unvarnished nativism from the right-wing fringe to the Oval Office, Mr. Carlson made it the centerpiece of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

ny times logoNew York Times, American Nationalist: Part 3, Nicholas Confessore, April 30, 2022 (print edition upcoming). A New York Times investigative analysis in three parts of 1,100 episodes of the apocalyptic worldview of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," the top-rated 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Fox News.

The nightly message to audience about the audience's domestic enemies in the media and among Democratic leaders and Left activists: "They don't care what you think. They want to control what you do."

 

April Updates

April 30

World Crisis Radio, 40 nations meeting at Ramstein AFB to assist Ukraine defense, Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D., right, April 30, 2022. Over 40 nations webster tarpley 2007meeting monthly at Ramstein AFB to assist Ukraine defense are the world’s alternative to Putin’s cutthroat anarchy; Dictator threatens Blitzkrieg attack on nations sending arms to Ukraine;

Russians fire 5 missiles at downtown Kyiv just minutes after Zelensky’s meeting with UN Secretary General Guterres: was it reckless disregard for his life or a deliberate assassination attempt? The legal basis for expelling Russia from the United Nations emerges-

Possible application of the enemy states clause of the UN Charter against the USSR/Russian Federation as de facto Axis power & ally of Nazi Germany between August 1939 and June 1940;

Twilight of the oligarchs: cynical nihilists run wild on Kremlin media: RT boss Simonyan sees nuclear war as most likely outcome of Russia’s defeat; Solovyov agrees; all claim to be willing to die for mission of Third Rome; Dugin wants Russsian troops in Cuba;

To block threatened Russian moves west of Odessa, EU should sponsor long-awaited unification of Moldova with NATO member Romania, producing a stronger state allied with west and further neutralizing Russian-occupied exclave of Transnistria;

Dems take note: Goal of redistricting is not to prevent gerrymandering, but to stop fascist dictatorship; GOP primary tests of value of Trump’s endorsement start next week!

April 28

 

Collage of photos portraying the career and memoir of Abraham Bolden, recruited by President John F. Kennedy from the Illinois State Police force to become the first African-American on a Secret Service presidential protection detail. Bolden's memoir,

Shown above is a collage of photos portraying the career and memoir of Abraham Bolden, recruited by President John F. Kennedy from the Illinois State Police force to become the first African-American on a Secret Service presidential protection detail. Bolden's memoir, "The Echo from Dealey Plaza," documents how he was framed and convicted on corruption charges in a trial with many highly dubious procedures after he sought to describe publicly security flaws in JFK's Secret Service protections. The Justice Integrity Project, among other researchers, has for years described Bolden as victim of a frame-up who deserves a presidential pardon, wihch President Biden announced on April 26, 2022.

JFK Facts, Commentary: Biden pardons Abraham Bolden, the only Secret Service agent who sought JFK accountability, Jefferson Morley, right, April 27, 2022. The jefferson morley newgood news is that President Biden has pardoned Abraham Bolden, the first African-American Secret Service agent, who was falsely convicted on bribery charges in the 1960s.

The bad news is that initial reports emphasize Bolden was persecuted for the color of his skin, which is true enough but not the whole story.

Bolden was silenced because he raised questions about the causes of JFK’s assassination. For doing his job, he was targeted, defamed, and railroaded.

After Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, Bolden said lax procedures and heavy drinking in JFK’s detail may have contributed to the breakdown of security in Dallas. He also called attention to a possible plot against Kennedy in Chicago in early November 1963.

From British historian John Simkin:

Bolden claimed that in October, 1963, the Chicago Secret Service office received a teletype from the Federal Bureau of Investigation warning that an attempt would be made to kill President John F. Kennedy by a four-man Cuban hit squad when he visited the city on 2nd November. Armed with high-powered rifles, the men from “a dissident Cuban group”. According to investigative journalist Edwin Black, the Secret Service arrested two suspects, however, they were eventually released.

Abraham Bolden later discovered that this information was being kept from the Warren Commission. When he complained about this he was warned “to keep his mouth shut”. Bolden decided to travel to Washington where he telephoned Warren Commission Counsel J. Lee Rankin.

That’s when Bolden was arrested and charged with discussing a bribe with two known counterfeiters. He was convicted on the testimony of a witness who later recanted and spent close to four years in prison.

In fact, the Secret Service and J. Edgar Hoover, the racist FBI director, wanted to blame JFK’s death entirely on Lee Harvey Oswald–the accused assassin who was conveniently dead–and absolve their agents of any responsibility for Kennedy’s violent death. In the end, only one Secret Service agent lost his job after Kennedy’s murder, the only one who served the martyred president faithfully: Abe Bolden.

Bolden chronicled his journey from a ‘first’ to a ‘disgraced’ Secret Service agent in his 2008 memoir ‘The Echo from Dealey Plaza.’”

Nonetheless, ABC News is reporting the story without reference to JFK’s assassination.

Following his conviction in a second trial, key witnesses admitted lying at the prosecutor’s request. Bolden, of Chicago, was denied a retrial and served several years in federal prison. Bolden has maintained his innocence and wrote a book in which he argued he was targeted for speaking out against racist and unprofessional behavior in the Secret Service.

Source: Biden pardons former Secret Service agent and 2 others – ABC News

The bad faith of the Secret Service was exposed in 1995 when the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) was seeking documents about the events of 1963. The Secret Service informed the ARRB that it had just destroyed “presidential protection survey reports for some of President Kennedy’s trips in the fall of 1963.” Those records might have given credence to Bolden’s allegations. Instead they were shredded.

Major U.S. news organizations often tip-toe around inconvenient facts of the JFK story that call into question the official theory of a “lone gunman.” The full story of Bolden’s overdue pardon is one such story.

joe biden 4 26 2022

ap logoAssociated Press via ABC News, Biden pardons former Secret Service agent and 2 others, Aamer Madhani, April 26, 2022. President Joe Biden is announcing he has granted the first three pardons of his term.President Joe Biden has granted the first three pardons of his term, providing clemency to a Kennedy-era Secret Service agent convicted of federal bribery charges that he tried to sell a copy of an agency file and to two people who were convicted on drug-related charges but went on to become pillars in their communities.

The Democratic president also commuted the sentences of 75 others for nonviolent, drug-related convictions. The White House announced the clemencies Tuesday as it launched a series of job training and reentry programs for those in prison or recently released.

Many of those who received commutations have been serving their sentences on home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several were serving lengthy sentences and would have received lesser terms had they been convicted today for the same offenses as a result of the 2018 bipartisan sentencing reform ushered into law by the Trump administration.

“America is a nation of laws and second chances, redemption, and rehabilitation,” Biden said in a statement announcing the clemencies. “Elected officials on both sides of the aisle, faith leaders, civil rights advocates, and law enforcement leaders agree that our criminal justice system can and should reflect these core values that enable safer and stronger communities.”

Those granted pardons are:

— Abraham Bolden Sr., 86, the first Black Secret Service agent to serve on a presidential detail. In 1964, Bolden, who served on President John F. Kennedy's detail, faced federal bribery charges that he attempted to sell a copy of a Secret Service file. His first trial ended in a hung jury.

Following his conviction in a second trial, key witnesses admitted lying at the prosecutor's request. Bolden, of Chicago, was denied a retrial and served several years in federal prison. Bolden has maintained his innocence and wrote a book in which he argued he was targeted for speaking out against racist and unprofessional behavior in the Secret Service.

— Betty Jo Bogans, 51, was convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in Texas after attempting to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice. Bogans, a single mother with no prior record, received a seven-year sentence. In the years since her release from prison, Bogans has held consistent employment, even while undergoing cancer treatment, and has raised a son.

— Dexter Jackson , 52, of Athens, Georgia, was convicted in 2002 for using his pool hall to facilitate the trafficking of marijuana. Jackson pleaded guilty and acknowledged he allowed his business to be used by marijuana dealers.

After Jackson was released from prison, he converted his business into a cellphone repair service that employs local high school students through a program that provides young adults with work experience. Jackson has built and renovated homes in his community, which has a shortage of affordable housing.

Civil rights and criminal justice reform groups have pushed the White House to commute sentences and work harder to reduce disparities in the criminal justice system. Biden’s grants of clemency also come as the administration has faced congressional scrutiny over misconduct and the treatment of inmates in the beleaguered federal Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for inmates serving sentences of home confinement.

Biden, as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, helped shepherd through the 1994 crime bill that many criminal justice experts say contributed to harsh sentences and mass incarceration of Black people.

During his 2020 White House run, Biden vowed to reduce the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. and called for nonviolent drug offenders to be diverted to drug courts and treatment.

He also has pushed for better training for law enforcement and called for criminal justice system changes to address disparities that have led to minorities and the poor making up a disproportionate share of the nation's incarcerated population.

Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, granted 143 pardons and clemency to 237 during his four years in office.

Trump sought the advice of prison reform advocate Alice Johnson, a Black woman whose life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense he commuted in 2018. He was also lobbied by celebrity Kim Kardashian as well as advisers inside the White House, including daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as he weighed applications for clemency.

The Republican used his pardon authority to help several political friends and allies, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Republican operative Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father-in-law of Ivanka Trump.

Among Trump's final acts as president was pardoning his former chief strategist Steve Bannon and Al Pirro, the husband of Fox News host and Trump ally Jeanine Pirro.

Prosecutors alleged that Bannon, who had yet to stand trial when he was pardoned, had duped thousands of donors who believed their money would be used to fulfill Trump’s chief campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border. Instead, Bannon allegedly diverted more than $1 million, paying a salary to one campaign official and personal expenses for himself. Pirro was convicted in 2000 on tax charges.

With the slate of pardons and commutations announced Tuesday, Biden has issued more grants of clemency than any of the previous five presidents at this point in their terms, according to the White House.

In addition to the grants of clemency, Biden announced several new initiatives that are meant to help formerly incarcerated people gain employment — an issue that his administration is driving home as key to lowering crime rates and preventing recidivism.

The Labor Department is directing $140 million toward programs that offer job training, pre-apprenticeship programs, digital literacy training and pre-release and post-release career counseling and more for youth and incarcerated adults.

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress last year includes a trio of grant programs that the administration says promote hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals. And the Labor and Justice Departments announced on Tuesday a collaborative plan to provide $145 million over the next year on job skills training as well as individualized employment and reentry plans for people serving time in the Bureau of Prisons.

Biden said the new initiatives are vital to helping the more than 600,000 people released from prison each year get on stable ground.

"Helping those who served their time return to their families and become contributing members of their communities is one of the most effective ways to reduce recidivism and decrease crime," Biden said.

April 23

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Pool photo by Evgeny Biyatov).

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Pool photo by Evgeny Biyatov).

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Speak softly and carry a big 155 mm howitzer! Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D., right, April 23, 2022 (72:17 mins.). Acting webster tarpley 2007out of weakness, fear of massive casualties, and domestic backlash, Putin gives up on conquest of Azovstal complex in Manriupol; He covers backdown with rocket rattling against NATO and testing a new ICBM; Putin’s incessant escalation of nuclear threats is removing any rationale for restraint by western powers;

Weird antics of Trump, McCarthy, and deSantis increase chaos in GOP; DoJ fights back against crackpot anti-mask judge;
US must maintain supply line of weapons deliveries at $1 billion per week for the duration;

Macron leads re-toxified ultra-reactionary Le Pen by 10 to 14 points in Sunday’s vote; turnout likely to decide outcome; Putin is her banker, and her demand for ban headscarves would trigger civil war: Allez Macron! Allez la France!

The moral bankruptcy of neutrality, aka "both-sidesism," in journalism;

Oderint dum metuant as watchword for Dems in 2022.

April 21

 

vicky ward investigates

Vicky Ward Investigates, Text Messages Show the Critical Role the Trump White House Had in Giving MBS His Job, Vicky Ward, April 20-21, 2022. On Monday, I published excerpts including text messages from legal documents that supported my previous reporting about the relationship forged between Jared Kushner and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known as MBS.

The messages showed that, in the spring of 2017, MBS and Kushner discussed how MBS—then only the deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia—did not have the support of three US intelligence agencies (the CIA, the FBI and the NSA) to dislodge his cousin, then-current Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a long-time counterterrorist asset and ally of U.S. intelligence who had even been awarded a medal for saving American lives.

I reported how sources told me Kushner played a role in helping MBS ultimately dislodge MBN in June 2017 and how MBN was aware of their plans (which he believed were formed early in the Trump administration) to oust him. At the time, MBN warned confidants (who spoke with me on the condition of anonymity) that, should they succeed, he suspected money would change hands (between MBS and Kushner) and there would be evidence of it ultimately.

This month, it was reported by the New York Times that Kushner recently received an investment of $2 billion from the PIF, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, at the behest of MBS, who overrode advisors who had been leery because of Kushner’s lack of investing track record. (A spokesperson for Affinity, Kushner’s investment fund, told the NYT, “Affinity, like many other top investment firms, is proud to have PIF and other leading organizations that have careful screening criteria, as investors.”)

The excerpts I published are from the complaint of Saad Aljabri, MBN’s right-hand aide, who is suing MBS and his alleged henchmen for attempted murder (“ongoing attempted extrajudicial killing,” as the document says), including activities carried out on American soil. In his complaint, Aljabri alleges that MBN was aware by the spring of 2017 that MBS and Kushner were talking about the succession issue.

erik prince amazon proof Proof, The Coming Collapse of Donald Trump’s January 6 Conspiracy, Seth Abramson, April 20-21, 2022. Part 7: Erik Prince. Is it possible the longtime shadow seth abramson graphicTrump national security adviser and international arms dealer known as the “Prince of Darkness,” Erik Prince, shown above, was one secret driving force behind January 6? Evidence is mounting. 

Introduction. The U.S. House of Representatives long ago referred Erik Prince to the Department of Justice for immediate federal criminal indictment—but as with nearly every other criminal referral made to the DOJ by the legislative-branch investigators now looking into Donald Trump seth abramson proof logoand his past and ongoing treacheries against the United States (as well as the men and women who aided and abetted such treacheries), DOJ

But is there a chance this situation could change? And could the ongoing January 6 investigation inside the DOJ focusing on high-level targets, currently shrouded in mystery to a degree perhaps unparalleled in the Department’s long history, be the thing that finally changes it?

Those who watched with horror as longtime shadow Trump national security adviser and international arms dealer Erik Prince got away with repeatedly perjuring himself before Congress have long believed that Mr. Prince’s years-long spree as a malfeasor—which saw him help Trump’s 2016 campaign execute a domestic disinformation plot by spreading elaborate lies, via Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon’s media outlet, about a supposedly pending indictment of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton—would continue if Prince weren’t at some point stopped by the long arm of the law.

And still-unfolding public revelations about January 6 now suggest that that may be exactly what happened. Along with dozens and dozens of major-media news outlets across the United States—encompassing exposés from the New York Times to the Washington Post, from TIME to The Intercept—Proof has been issuing warnings about Prince for almost five years now, having begun writing about him in long columns connected to the Proof project at the Huffington Post in 2016 that subsequently transformed into a lengthy chapter in Proof of Collusion (Simon & Schuster, 2018), a book in which Prince is a “mid-major” figure; large portions of Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, 2019), a 600-page book in which Mr. Prince is one of a handful of major players; and more minor appearances on both this substack and in Proof of Corruption (Macmillan, 2020).

If there’s one thing that Proof has often opined about—using thousands of sources in support of the claim—it’s that Donald Trump actually has only a relatively small cadre of men and women willing to aid and abet his international corruption, which is why he sticks with them in caper after caper.

These same few dozen names appear as the totality of the rogues’ gallery in every Trumpist election-interference, transnational collusion, and business corruption scandal of the last six years, including the violent insurrection Trump incited on January 6, 2021. And Prince is a known member of that cadre.

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

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

April 19

William

Legal Schnauzer, Investigative Commentary: In the wake of Birmingham attorney's shocking suicide, attention turns to possible obstruction of justice, criminal roger shuler and murphyconcealment, and civil RICO cases, Roger Shuler, right, April 19, 2022. The suicide last week of Balch & Bingham attorney William "Bo" Lineberry, shown above, was a stunning and perhaps telling event in the years-long effort to unwind apparent scandal in the Alabama corporate, legal, judicial, and law-enforcement worlds.

Where does attention turn next? Ban Balch Publisher K.B. Forbes provides clues, under the headline "After Suicide, National Media and Feds Zero in on Alleged Obstruction and “Criminal Concealment;” RICOs Coming?" The sub-headline -- "Suicide. Resignations. Internal turmoil. Corporate strife" -- provides insight into the unrest that seems to be roiling elite circles in Birmingham and beyond. Writes Forbes:

Since November, Birmingham is seeing what appears to be the collapse of the house of marked cards allegedly propped up by the deep resources of Alabama Power. The Three Stooges (Balch & Bingham, Drummond, and Alabama Power) have seen their dominance stumble.

High-level sources told us in late October that Mark A. Crosswhite, the Chairman and CEO of Alabama Power and a former partner at embattled law abdul kallonfirm Balch & Bingham, was an alleged target of an obstruction investigation.

Federal Judge Abdul K. Kallon, left, resigned along allegedly with two Assistant U.S. Attorneys earlier this month, while Balch partner Bo Lineberry committed suicide last week.

What enormous pressure and worry caused Lineberry to end his life? Was he facing unbearable consequences? Was there an offer on the table that was too brutal for Lineberry to accept?

Seasoned law enforcement authorities tell us the Lineberry suicide spoke volumes about the depth and seriousness of the alleged federal probe.

Attention appears to be spreading beyond Alabama. Writes Forbes:

Now national media are focused on the alleged unsavory and criminal misconduct and alleged abuse of power surrounding the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. once run by disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, who resigned in 2020.

Concurrently, federal investigators are allegedly looking at obstruction of justice and accusations of “criminal concealment.”

In what looked like sheer panic with the rebirth of the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal, the illustrious Mark White, Mark Crosswhite’s go-to criminal attorney, fumbled the ball and showed how concealment appears to be part and parcel of the work product and a standard operating procedure of the Three Stooges and their hired guns.

As we reported about the “Tale of Two Marks” in January of 2021:

alabama power logo[Alabama Power’s] team of attorneys at White, Arnold, & Dowd, led by white-collar criminal attorney Mark White, filed an avalanche of court pleadings in December [2020] at the courthouse office, over the counter as if it were 1950 not 2020. (We wonder if Mark White still uses a rotary phone, stencil duplicator, and Royal typewriter.)

The delay and “hiding the goods” tactic failed. The paper court pleadings were [immediately] scanned and uploaded by the clerk to Alacourt where we, the CDLU, were able to download them.

Concealment might be an unfamiliar legal term to the general public, but it seems to be central to the unfolding Birmingham story:

Concealment has been a consistent element.

Concealment was discovered in January when Alabama Power’s multi-million-dollar secret contracts (no invoicing required) with obscure political consulting firm Matrix and its founder “Sloppy Joe” Perkins were exposed.

Attorneys for “Sloppy Joe” attempted to call the secret contracts “trade secrets” and sent worthless demand letters to an environmental group and blog that published the concealed million-dollar agreements.

Allegations of non-disclosure and concealed indemnity agreements tied to Alabama Power and Balch have swirled since 2017.

Absolute concealment was achieved when ex-Drummond executive David Roberson’s $75-million civil lawsuit was sealed in its entirety in the Winter of 2021 in an attempt to hide alleged criminal misconduct. The secretive Star Chamber does not allow anyone to follow or read proceedings in the case.

The conservative Alabama Supreme Court reinstated Balch as a defendant in Roberson’s civil case this past February. Bloomberg reported that Balch must face fraud claims due to “misrepresention and concealment.”

chase espyBalch terminated an alleged pedophile months before he was arrested for soliciting a child online. Ex-Balch attorney Chase T. Espy, left,  had worked at the embattled firm for eight years. He then went on to work briefly for Alabama Governor Kay Ivey when he was kay ivey current 2022arrested and immediately fired last August. What caused Balch to fire Espy? What did Balch conceal from the public and the governor, right, regarding Espy?

The biggest concealment appears to be Alabama Power’s alleged secret deal during the North Birmingham Bribery Trial in which the company was “unmentionable” during the trial and criminal defense attorneys allegedly had to clear any mention of Alabama Power with Mark White.

The federal statute of limitations for obstruction of justice is five years. The timing of the alleged federal investigation makes sense. The trial happened in July of 2018. The statute would expire in the summer of 2023.

Those aren't the only worries likely knocking around Birmingham board rooms. Writes Forbes:

Now Alabama Power and their sister-wife Balch & Bingham appear to have even bigger issues coming.

If obstruction of justice indictments are handed down and/or alleged criminal information is disclosed related to the alleged federal probe and the Matrix Meltdown, expect a federal civil RICO lawsuit or two against Balch, Alabama Power, and others.

The first civil RICO lawsuit will be based on the Newsome Conspiracy Case, a travesty of justice in which an innocent man, Burt Newsome, was allegedly targeted, falsely arrested, and defamed by Balch in an attempt to steal his law practice providing legal services to banks.

Newsome was arrested by a cop who was the son of a now-retired Alabama Power executive. Ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town allegedly blocked four investigations related to the Newsome Conspiracy Case.

Another, separate civil RICO lawsuit could be filed on behalf of “fall guy”and ex-Drummond executive David Roberson.

Either way, the Three Stooges and their defenders are exposed in the open no matter how many concealed deals, secret smear campaigns, or Star Chambers they create.

April 17

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter underscores the risks of social media ownership, Joseph Menn, Cat Zakrzewski and Craig Timberg, April 17, 2022. After years of struggling to get Facebook to confront its problems, experts worry about the impact of a Twitter owned by one individual.

elon musk 2015Social media industry safety professionals and outside experts who’ve spent years trying to slow the empowerment of tyrants and violent mobs by Facebook and other platforms are aghast that a second major company might come under the control of just one person — especially one complaining that Twitter places too many limits on what can be posted on its site.

In tweets and a TED conversation that followed his surprise bid last week to take Twitter private, billionaire Elon Musk, right, has decried decisions to bar some users as censorship and said moderation that blunts the spread of legal but offending content as going too far.

twitter bird Custom“If it’s a gray area, let the tweet exist,” Musk said Thursday.

Such comments alarm those whose experience has been that unfettered speech makes social media platforms unusable and that lightly controlled speech favors those who can direct thousands to make versions of the same point, which is then amplified by algorithms designed to maximize engagement and thereby advertising dollars.

“This is a disaster, and it’s not only about Elon Musk, but he kind of puts it on steroids,” said Shoshana Zuboff, a retired Harvard Business School professor and author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,”which says that the money coming from the collection of data about human behavior is the lifeblood of a new and thus far nearly unregulated era.

facebook logoZuboff’s work argues that Facebook, Twitter and others extract as much data about users as possible and then attempt to maximize their time on the site because that earns them money. But platforms, she argues, aren’t neutral — in driving users’ online interests, they alter not only discussions but also beliefs and even physical actions, encouraging people to do what they otherwise would not, such as joining real-world protests.

April 16

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Pentagon confirms that Russia’s Black Sea flagship Moskva was sunk by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles! Webster G. webster tarpley 2007Tarpley, Ph.D., right, April 16, 2022. Kremlin chaos spreads: Baltic Fleet Commander Admiral Igor Osipov arrested; 20 generals probed; 150 FSB agents fired; 5th Service boss Col. Gen. Beseda goes from house arrest to infamous LeFortovo prison; Defense Minister Shoigu incapacitated by suspicious hearth attack;

Vindman: finish Ukraine struggle in 4-5 weeks or be dragged into conflict by Russia; US weapons airlift to Poland reported operational; High priority needed for Harpoon anti-ship missiles;

Dramatic sinking of Putin’s heavy cruiser may convince despot Xi that attack on Taiwan is beyond his reach;

Kremlin gangsters threaten US with ”unpredictable consequences” if arms shipments to Ukraine continue; UK told that weapons deliveries are legitimate targets; Medvedev proclaims nuclear re-armament in Baltic as Finland and Sweden move towards fast-track NATO membership in response to Russian aggression; CIA Director Burns warns that Moscow’s threats must be taken seriously;

Kreminologists estimate Putin cannot last longer than 2 years after Ukraine failure, similar to Khrushchev going from defeat in Cuban missile crisis to ouster for ”harebrained scheming” in October 1964; But today things move faster; Russia misses dollar-denominated payments on government bonds, with clock now ticking on 30-day grace period before final default;

DoJ January 6 investigation is expanded, with Electoral College imposters as key targets; Scurrilous mockery for Trump’s infantilism among insiders at Gridiron Club; Trump backs hillbilly poetaster J.D. Vance as evidence piles up that his endorsements do more harm than good; GOP MAGAt operative promised dupes that Trump would stop Biden presidency using a ”limited form of martial law”;

Ward off Musk with a poison pill defense before he puts Benedict Donald back on Twitter!

Holiday greetings to those observing Easter, Passover, and Ramadan!

April 15

 

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani with Donald Trump in August last year. Prosecutors consider each one of Giuliani and the other lawyers’ acts to be crucial evidence of a potential violation of law, according to sources close to the investigation (Photo by Sarah Silbiger via Reuters).

Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani, at center, with Donald Trump in August 2020 (Photo by Sarah Silbiger via Reuters). 

Palmer Report, Opinion: DOJ brings intriguing new indictment, amid reports that a charging decision against Rudy Giuliani is imminent, bill palmerBill Palmer, right, April 15, 2022. Earlier this week a CNN article reported that the Department of Justice is on the verge of making a charging decision in the criminal case against Rudy Giuliani for violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

The CNN article portrayed Giuliani as having voluntarily unlocked his own seized cellphone in order to prove to the DOJ that nothing was incriminating on it – and the point of view of this gave away that Giuliani was almost certainly the source for CNN’s story.

bill palmer report logo headerThis meant we had to take the report with a grain of salt. At the time, we suggested watching for any signs from the DOJ that might serve to corroborate Giuliani’s claims in any way. Now the DOJ has indeed made a move, by criminally indicting a Russian government official yesterday for having illegally paid an unnamed U.S. citizen to violate the Foreign Agent Registration Act back in 2017.

There are a number of intriguing aspects to this indictment. For instance, the Russian official will never be extradited for trial. So this indictment against him appears to be purely to set up the rest of the indictment. After all, the unnamed U.S. citizen is also allegedly guilty of FARA violations.

There are two plausible reasons why this U.S. citizen was not indicted yesterday alongside the Russian official. The first would be that the DOJ is still completing a broader criminal case against the individual. The second would be that the individual has cut a plea deal, and thus his or her identity is being concealed during the cooperation period.

The only clues in the court filing to this person’s identity: it’s a “New York City-based individual with experience relating to international relations and media” who was first recruited by the Russians back in 2011, and committed the alleged FARA crime in question back in 2017.

Rudy Giuliani fits the above description, and he lives in New York City – but so do about ten million other people. Maybe it’s him, maybe it’s not. But either way, this indictment suggests that the Garland DOJ has indeed been going back and working to catch up on the Trump-era FARA crimes that the DOJ was previously blocked from prosecuting by Trump or Bill Barr.

The statute of limitations on FARA is five years, and the alleged crime in question took place in 2017, which could explain why this indictment was brought now. So unless the U.S. citizen in question has cut a deal, we would expect that person to also be indicted rather quickly, given that the statute of limitations is ticking.

Even if this person is not Rudy Giuliani – and there are plenty of other people it could be – this still very much appears to be bad news for Giuliani. It points to the DOJ having indeed been working on all those Trump-era FARA cases all this time. Keep in mind that when the Feds raided Giuliani’s home and seized disputed evidence that the courts just turned over to the DOJ ten weeks ago, the warrant was based largely on Giuliani’s alleged violations of FARA laws.

And now, even as the DOJ has begun bringing indictments in Trump-era FARA cases, Rudy Giuliani is leaking to the media that the DOJ has supposedly told him it’s about to make a FARA charging decision against him. Interesting to say the least.

April 13

World Crisis Radio, Beware Putin’s bid to crush Ukraine in time for May 9 1945 victory anniversary! Webster G. Tarpley, right, Ph.D., April 10, 2022. NATO Harpoon anti-ship webster tarpley 2007missiles arrive in Odessa, ready to sink Russian warships and transports! Mariupol also needs this capability to break siege & wreck Russian land bridge; All-out battle for Donbas looms with new Russian missile atrocity at Kramatorsk station killing over 50; still no criticism from self-styled Confucian humanitarians of Beijing;

Peskov forced to admit ”significant losses of troops ” in Ukraine ”tragedy ”; First mutinies in Russian forces when 60 paratroopers in Pskov region defy order to go to front;

Macron leads in first round of French presidential contest, just 3% to 4% ahead of neo-Vichy Marine LePen; French reactionary candidates total almost 40% of vote, but are split three ways;

BND German intelligence secures audio intercepts proving mass murder is official policy of Russian occupation forces;

166,000 new jobless claims make last week the best performance since 1968, but corporate cable hacks talk only about inflation;

Confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson makes US polity stronger; GOP’s vile character on full display; Origins of stubborn myth of Soviet and Russian military superiority despite a history of defeat.

April 7

Probes Into Jan. 6 Trump Insurrection

 

 

capitol noose shay horse nurphoto via getty

A crowd of Trump supporters surrounded a newly erected set of wooden gallows outside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. "Hang Mike Pence!" members of the crowd shouted at times about the Republican Vice President who had announced that he could not comply with the president's call to block election certification that day. The wooden gallows near the Capitol Reflecting Pool was just one example of the racist and anti-Semitic imagery on display at the riot. The noose is a racist symbol of the lynching of Black Americans. (Photo by Shay Horse  via NurPhoto / Getty).

 

djt rudy giuliani vlodomyr zelensky

President Trump, his attorney and Ukraine strategist and fixer Rudy Giuliani, center, and Ukraine President Volodymyer Zelensky. Trump's machinations regarding Ukraine led to his first impeachment.

Proof, Investigative Commentary: The Biggest Lie Trump Just Told the Washington Post Was About January 6. It Now Requires An Investigation, Seth seth abramson graphicAbramson, left, April 7, 2022. Proof has been trying to get mainstream media to investigate the actions of the U.S. Secret Service in the days before January 6. Trump has just given Congress a reason to finally do so—and urgently.

seth abramson proof logoIntroduction: In a just-released interview with the Washington Post, former president Donald Trump—as is par for the course with him—uttered barely an honest word across a 45-minute conversation, most of which comprised Trump monologuing to avoid having to answer more (and more difficult) questions from Washington’s paper-of-record.

Among the lies Trump told the Post, apparently confident that they would be dutifully reported out to the very voters he hopes will vote for his chosen Republican primary candidates in 2022 (and perhaps he himself in the 2024 presidential race), were these:

(1) That he “liked” new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky immediately upon the latter’s election in spring 2019. In fact, Mr. Trump told aides he both disliked and distrusted Zelensky, for the reason that—as is now even more clear than it was then— Zelensky was committed to ending the pro-Kremlin (and, notably, Kremlin-sponsored) corruption inside the Ukrainian government Trump sought to benefit from politically.

(2) That he spent the hours of the attack on the U.S. Capitol asking aides why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t stopping the assault. In fact there’s no evidence from any eyewitness that Trump spoke of Pelosi during the Capitol riot, or had any doubt that the responsibility for calling up the National Guard was his. Nor is there any evidence that he misunderstood that GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on January 6 had responsibilities concurrent with and coextensive to those of Rep. Pelosi.

(3) That, as it was happening, he told aides the attack on the U.S. Capitol “had to be taken care of.” In fact, as reported on by Proof at great length in January and February of 2021, at least six major-media reports published immediately after the attack on the Capitol used eyewitness sources to confirm that Trump was both excited and gleeful—even giddy—during the attack, whose continuation (and whose success as obstruction of the official business of the U.S. Congress) he very much seemed to be rooting for.

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

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

 

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washington post logoWashington Post, Trump deflects blame for Jan. 6 silence, says he wanted to march to Capitol, Josh Dawsey, April 7, 2022. The former president (shown above in a file photo) struck a defiant posture and repeated false claims in an interview with The Washington Post.

Former president Donald Trump voiced regret Wednesday over not marching to the U.S. Capitol the day his supporters stormed the building, and he defended his long silence during the attack by claiming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others were responsible for ending the deadly violence.

“I thought it was a shame, and I kept asking why isn’t she doing something about it? Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi doing something about it? And the mayor of D.C. also. The mayor of D.C. and Nancy Pelosi are in charge,” Trump said of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot in a 45-minute interview with The Washington Post. “I hated seeing it. I hated seeing it. And I said, ‘It’s got to be taken care of,’ and I assumed they were taking care of it.”

The 45th president has repeatedly deflected blame for stoking the attack with false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, and in the interview, he struck a defiant posture, refusing to say whether he would testify before a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault. Trump said he didn’t remember “getting very many” phone calls that day, and he denied removing call logs or using burner phones.

Trump also said he had spoken during his presidency with Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. A seven-hour gap in Trump’s phone records on Jan. 6, and Thomas’s texts to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows urging the White House to fight the election results, have both come under scrutiny by the Jan. 6 committee.

During the attack, Trump watched television, criticized then-Vice President Mike Pence and made calls pushing lawmakers to overturn the election as the violent mob of his supporters ransacked the Capitol. He was eventually persuaded by lawmakers, family members and others to release a video asking his supporters to go home — 187 minutes after he urged them to march to the Capitol during a rally near the White House. He was described by advisers as excited about the event.

Trump, speaking Wednesday afternoon at his palatial beachfront club, said he did not regret urging the crowd to come to Washington with a tweet stating that it would “be wild!” He also stood by his incendiary and false rhetoric about the election at the Ellipse rally before the rioters stormed the Capitol. “I said peaceful and patriotic,” he said, omitting other comments that he made in a speech that day.

In fact, Trump said he deserved more credit for drawing such a large crowd to the Ellipse — and that he pressed to march on the Capitol with his supporters but was stopped by his security detail. “Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute," he said.

The former president praised organizers of the rally, some of whom have now received subpoenas from federal authorities, and repeatedly bragged about the size of the crowd on the Ellipse, when questioned about the events of Jan. 6.

“The crowd was far bigger than I even thought. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to. I don’t know what that means, but you see very few pictures. They don’t want to show pictures, the fake news doesn’t want to show pictures,” he said. “But this was a tremendous crowd.”

Trump defends praise of Putin, makes strongest hint yet of a run for president in 2024

On at least a dozen occasions in the interview, Trump blamed Pelosi for the events of Jan. 6. On that day, Pelosi was taken to a secure location and worked with some of Trump’s top military officials and others to help secure the building. Trump supporters stormed her office and vowed to hurt her, with some shouting for her by name.

Pelosi does not have total control over the Capitol Police, as Trump alleged, but shares control of the Capitol with the Senate majority leader. Most decisions on securing the Capitol are made by a police board. He also blamed the D.C. mayor, whose advisers furiously tried to reach Trump’s team that day.

“The former president’s desperate lies aside, the speaker was no more in charge of the security of the U.S. Capitol that day than Mitch McConnell,” said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi.

Trump said he had not been contacted by the Jan. 6 committee and added that he didn’t know what he would do if he were. “It depends what the request is,” he said. He has repeatedly invoked executive privilege in a bid to block the committee from seeing documents.

He said the committee’s interview with his daughter Ivanka Trump for eight hours this week was a “shame and harassment,” though he insisted he did not know what she had told the members. He said he also did not know what her husband, Jared Kushner, had told the committee, and that he had offered the couple “privilege” if they wanted it. They declined, Trump said.

Trump said he had not destroyed any call logs from the afternoon of Jan. 6 and took part in no phone calls on “burner phones,” even though there is a large gap in his White House phone logs. Trump said that he remembered talking to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and other people during that period. He said he had a “very good” memory but could not say exactly who he talked to that afternoon, or when.

“From the standpoint of telephone calls, I don’t remember getting very many,” he said, later adding, "Why would I care about who called me? If congressmen were calling me, what difference did it make? There was nothing secretive about it. There was no secret.”

Trump said he had talked at times during his presidency with Ginni Thomas, whose texts with Meadows urging him to overturn the election were obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News. But Trump said he wasn’t aware of her electoral efforts. He declined to say whether he thought Meadows should have handed over the text messages to the Jan. 6 committee.

 

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

CNN, Bannon can't use lawyer's advice as defense for not cooperating with House January 6 probe, judge rules, Tierney Sneed, April 6, 2022. Why Steve Bannon is losing to the January 6 Committee. A federal judge said Wednesday that Steve Bannon will not be able to include as part of his trial defense any evidence that he was following the advice of his attorney in refusing to participate in the House January 6 probe.

cnn logoThe move by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols to grant the Justice Department's request for that evidence to be excluded is a major blow to Bannon, who is scheduled to go to trial in July.

The ex-adviser to former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to the contempt of Congress charge that was brought against him after his failure to comply with a House January 6 committee subpoena for documents and testimony.

In the pre-trial proceedings, his legal team previewed a defense that would highlight the advice Bannon got from his attorney before not complying. While the House was demanding Bannon's participation in the probe, his lawyer pointed to the indications from Trump that the former President would seek to shield certain evidence the House committee was seeking on executive privilege claims.

Nichols, a Trump appointee, said in a short order Wednesday that his decision to exclude such evidence was bound by precedent of the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

"After all, Licavoli involved a prosecution under the exact statute that Bannon is charged with violating," Nichols wrote, referring to the relevant precedent, "and the Court of Appeals expressly held that an advice-of-counsel defense is unavailable for that charge."

   djt as chosen one

ny times logoNew York Times, The Growing Religious Fervor in the Right: ‘This Is a Jesus Movement,’ Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham, April 7, 2022 (print ed.). Rituals of Christian worship have become embedded in conservative rallies in the U.S., as music and prayer blend with anger over vaccines and the 2020 election.

They opened with an invocation, summoning God’s “hedge of thorns and fire” to protect each person in the dark Phoenix parking lot.

They called for testimonies, passing the microphone to anyone with “inspirational words that they’d like to say on behalf of our J-6 political prisoners,” referring to people arrested in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, whom they were honoring a year later.

This was not a church service. It was worship for a new kind of congregation: a right-wing political movement powered by divine purpose, whose adherents find spiritual sustenance in political action.

The Christian right has been intertwined with American conservatism for decades, culminating in the Trump era. And elements of Christian culture have long been present at political rallies. But worship, a sacred act showing devotion to God expressed through movement, song or prayer, was largely reserved for church. Now, many believers are importing their worship of God, with all its intensity, emotion and ambitions, to their political life.

At events across the United States, it is not unusual for participants to describe encountering the divine and feel they are doing their part to install God’s kingdom on earth. For them, right-wing political activity itself is becoming a holy act.

These Christians are joining secular members of the right wing, including media-savvy opportunists and those touting disinformation. They represent a wide array of discontent, from opposing vaccine mandates to promoting election conspiracy theories. For many, pandemic restrictions that temporarily closed houses of worship accelerated their distrust of government and made churchgoing political.

At a Trump rally in Michigan last weekend, a local evangelist offered a prayer that stated, “Father in heaven, we firmly believe that Donald Trump is the current and true president of the United States.” He prayed “in Jesus’ name” that precinct delegates at the upcoming Michigan Republican Party convention would support Trump-endorsed candidates, whose names he listed to the crowd. “In Jesus name,” the crowd cheered back.

The infusion of explicitly religious fervor — much of it rooted in the charismatic tradition, which emphasizes the power of the Holy Spirit — into the right-wing movement is changing the atmosphere of events and rallies, many of which feature Christian symbols and rituals, especially praise music.

With spiritual mission driving political ideals, the stakes of any conflict, whether over masks or school curriculums, can feel that much larger, and compromise can be even more difficult to achieve. Political ambitions come to be about defending God, pointing to a desire to build a nation that actively promotes a particular set of Christian beliefs.

Times Reporters Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham have covered religion in America for more than a decade.

 

djt ivanka rnc photo

ny times logoNew York Times, Ivanka Trump, former President Trump’s eldest daughter, testified before the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack, Luke Broadwater, April 6, 2022 (print ed.). The former president’s daughter and adviser (shown in a file photo with him at a rally) was in the West Wing with him as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

She is said to have tried to persuade him to call off the rioters. vanka Trump, former President Donald J. Trump’s eldest daughter, who served as one of his senior advisers, testified for about eight hours on Tuesday before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to people familiar with the matter.

It was not immediately clear how revelatory her testimony was for the committee, but those familiar with the interview said Ms. Trump did not seek to invoke any privilege — such as executive privilege or the Fifth Amendment, as other witnesses have done — and broadly, if not garrulously, answered the panel’s questions.

Ms. Trump was one of several aides who tried to persuade the president to call off the violence that ultimately injured more than 150 police officers and sent lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence fleeing for safety, according to evidence gathered by the committee. She is not known to have been associated with the more extreme supporters of the former president who spread lies about widespread fraud after the 2020 election and planned efforts to try to keep him in power.

Her testimony came days after her husband, Jared Kushner, who was also a top adviser to Mr. Trump, sat for an interview and provided what one member of the panel described as “valuable” and “helpful” information.

 

vicky ward investigatesVicky Ward Investigates, Did Javanka Testify About Jan. 6th to Get Accepted to a Country Club? Vicky Ward, April 6, 2022. We know that, in the past few days, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump testified voluntarily to the House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection.

But why did they do so?

After all, there are other Trump loyalists, such as Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, who have refused—apparently on the order of Trump—and risk being held in contempt of Congress.

vicky ward kushner bookCould it be there was a reason for Javanka’s compliance that the public is not aware of?

My sources say their cooperation with the committee likely has everything to do with wanting admission to the notoriously exclusive Indian Creek Country Club in Miami, Florida, where, as of now, Jared and Ivanka are not members, despite having bought a property on the exclusive Indian Creek Island.

The Kushners are reported to have paid $30 million dollars for the land there. They have been spotted regularly going for walks on the island. But they’re not members of the club. Yet.

As of now, the Kushners are perceived to be struggling socially in Miami.

Readers of Kushner, Inc. know that the guiding principles of the couple are transactionality and public relations. In my book, I reported that even their union was part of a three-point plan devised by the late PR guru Howard Rubenstein to rehabilitate the Kushner name following the disgrace when Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, was imprisoned for charges that included a particularly sordid blackmail effort.

ny times logoNew York Times, House Votes to Find Two Trump Aides in Contempt in Jan. 6 Inquiry, Luke Broadwater, April 7, 2022 (print ed.). The vote was mostly along party lines to recommend that the Justice Department charge Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino Jr. for defying subpoenas.

The House on Wednesday voted to recommend criminal contempt of Congress charges against Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino Jr., two close allies of former President Donald J. Trump, after the pair defied subpoenas from the special committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The mostly party-line vote of 220 to 203 referred contempt charges to the Justice Department, calling for prosecutions of Mr. Navarro, a former top White House adviser, and Mr. Scavino Jr., a former deputy chief of staff. It came as congressional investigators have grown increasingly frustrated with some of Mr. Trump’s staunchest supporters who have refused to meet with the panel or turn over a single page of evidence to the committee as it digs into the worst assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812.

“We have two people who are flagrantly, brazenly defying the authority of the House of Representatives of the United States,” said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the committee. He said the men had “nothing but excuses for their noncompliance — excuses you would not accept from a teenage child.”

Only two Republicans, Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both members of the investigative committee, voted for the charges. The rest of their party refused to support the move.

ny times logoNew York Times, Dissatisfied With Their Party, Wealthy G.O.P. Donors Form Secret Coalitions, Kenneth P. Vogel, Shane Goldmacher and Ryan Mac, April 7, 2022 (print ed.).  Wealthy pro-Trump conservatives like Peter Thiel are involved in efforts to wield greater influence outside the traditional party machinery.

A new coalition of wealthy conservative benefactors that says it aims to “disrupt but advance the Republican agenda” gathered this week for a private summit in South Florida that included closed-door addresses from former President Donald J. Trump and an allied Senate candidate at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, according to documents and interviews.

peter thiel twitter smileThe coalition, called the Rockbridge Network, includes some of Mr. Trump’s biggest donors, such as Peter Thiel, left, and Rebekah Mercer, below right, and has laid out an ambitious goal — to reshape the American right by spending more than $30 million on conservative media, rebekah mercerlegal, policy and voter registration projects, among other initiatives.

The emergence of Rockbridge, the existence of which has not previously been reported, comes amid escalating jockeying among conservative megadonors to shape the 2022 midterms and the future of the Republican Party from outside the formal party machinery, and often with little disclosure.

In February, another previously unreported coalition of donors, the Chestnut Street Council, organized by the Trump-allied lobbyist Matt Schlapp, held a meeting to hear a pitch for new models for funding the conservative movement.

If those upstart coalitions gain momentum, they will likely have to vie for influence among conservatives with existing donor networks that have been skeptical of or agnostic toward Mr. Trump.

One that was created by the billionaire industrialists Charles G. and David H. Koch spent more than $250 million in 2020. Another, spearheaded by the New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, hosted top Republican politicians in February.

The surge in secretive fund-raising does not end there — a number of nonprofit groups with varying degrees of allegiance to Mr. Trump are also vying to become leading distributors of donor funds to the right.

Taken together, the jockeying highlights frustration on the right with the political infrastructure that surrounds the Republican Party, and, in some cases, with its politicians, as well as disagreements about its direction as Mr. Trump teases another presidential run.

The efforts to harness the fortunes of the party’s richest activists could help it capitalize on a favorable electoral landscape headed into this year’s midterm elections, and — potentially — the 2024 presidential campaign. Conversely, the party’s prospects could be dimmed if the moneyed class invests in competing candidates, groups and tactics.

April 6

 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, right-wing lobbyist Virginia Thomas were portrayed a decade ago in a collage entitled

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, second from the right, and his wife, right-wing lobbyist Virginia Thomas were portrayed a decade ago in a collage entitled "Bought by Billionaires" by critics who denounced the justice's false annual sworn financial statements that failed to report his wife's six-figure annual income from advocacy, as legally required

ny times logoNew York Times Sunday Magazine, With ‘Stealth Politics,’ Billionaires Make Sure Their Money Talks, Jaime Lowe, April 6, 2022 (print ed.). What do they actually want?

Billionaires are neither good nor bad for the country — at least that’s what more than half of Americans think, according to a poll published by the Pew Research Center last year. Maybe this is because they don’t know how billionaires affect their lives or what political power they wield; maybe it’s just because a billion is such an unfathomably large number.

northwestern logoA decade or so ago, three political scientists at Northwestern University, Benjamin Page, Jason Seawright and Matthew Lacombe, set out to determine the impact that superrich Americans have on congressional and presidential policies. They weren’t starting from scratch; previous work done by another political scientist, Martin Gilens, used years of surveys of thousands of poor, middle-income and affluent Americans to show that policymakers responded almost exclusively to the preferences of that last group.

Following this earlier research, Page told me recently, “I wanted to find out how much influence the truly wealthy have and what they want from government.” Page and his colleagues wanted to do a quantitative analysis of political inequality. First, however, they had to figure out where to get the data.

Teaming up with a colleague at Vanderbilt University, Larry Bartels, Page and Seawright started by surveying wealthy people in the Chicago area — interviewing a random sample of 83 individuals from households with a median worth of $7.5 million. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found that these multimillionaires skewed very conservative on economic issues, expressing a preference for marketplaces and philanthropy, rather than governments, to solve public problems; some also supported reductions to Social Security and Medicare. (At the same time, earlier research showed, affluent Americans tended to take socially liberal stances, supporting abortion and gay rights.)

The resulting study, “Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans,” felt small to Page, its data insufficient and limited by geography. But he thought he could use it as proof of concept to generate interest for a first-of-its-kind national data set.

“I spent most of two years running around the country — you know, Hewlett Foundation, MacArthur, Rockefeller, sort of all of the foundations I could get in the door — and nobody wanted to fund it,” Page says. There were two reasons, he thinks: “The obvious one was it was going to take five or six million dollars to do it. And that’s a lot of cash. I think in the background, a lot of boards of corporations, which have wealthy people on them, were not all that enthusiastic about studying the politics of wealthy people.”

“Maybe we’ll never be able to do this national study,” Page told Seawright at the time.

“These multimillionaires only have $10 million typically,” Seawright said. “Why not study the really wealthy people like billionaires?”

“How do we do that?” Page asked.

They couldn’t just talk to billionaires. The ultrarich generally don’t respond to surveys, nor are they particularly interested in being studied by academics. Their gatekeepers have gatekeepers, Page is fond of saying. So Seawright suggested a workaround: On Google and the LexisNexis database, they could search for various keywords on economic and social issues. It would then be possible to find and connect billionaires’ words and actions. This was a cheaper approach that allowed for a narrow focus on the extremely wealthy and the role they play in American democracy.

bill gatesThe authors chose to look at the decade between 2003 and 2013 and limit their searches to the 100 wealthiest billionaires in 2013, as determined by Forbes magazine. Their subjects — individuals with a net worth of at least $4.6 billion — included familiar figures like Bill Gates, left, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison, the Koch brothers, the Waltons, Mark Zuckerberg, Phil Knight, Jeff Bezos and Larry Page. And against these names Lacombe cross-searched 34 key words or phrases like “tax burden,” “tax revenue expansion,” “tax revenue enhancement,” “Social Security retirement pension,” “estate tax,” “corporate tax rates” and “flat tax.”

But Page was intrigued. “It was only later that I realized, first of all, what that finding was and what it signified,” he says. “In social science, people hate nonfindings. I’d been hoping that we figured out a clever way that we could tell what billionaires did for all these different issues, and it was disappointing not to.” But this nonfinding was different; perhaps the ultrarich didn’t talk about economic theory because they were practicing “stealth politics,” or actively working behind the scenes to shape government policies. This could be a serious finding, they realized. “If they’re being very influential, but it’s in a stealthy way without talking about public policy,” Page says, “that’s a special problem for American politics.”

The main reason Billionaires practice stealth politics, Page says, is that taken collectively, their political preferences do not align with what a majority of Americans want. Their near total silence on issues like taxes and Social Security is “almost certainly deliberate — probably caused mainly by a desire to avoid offense concerning their unpopular political opinions.” This makes it easier for them to avoid being held accountable.

Page was surprised by the difference between perception and reality when it came to billionaires and their politics. A few characters with public personas and relatively centrist or even left-of-center reputations — figures like Mike Bloomberg, michael bloombergright, George Soros and Warren Buffett — tended to define how the public felt about the cohort as a whole. “But it turns out when you look at all the wealthiest billionaires, the picture is very different, much more economically conservative,” Page says.

Forty percent of all political donations come from the top 1 percent of the 1 percent.

Though the billionaires barely showed up in the public record talking about taxes, for example, it was still possible to connect their sizable contributions to ideological political action committees and to candidates who supported issues like tax cuts for the wealthy, privatizing Social Security, reduced social spending and abolishing the estate tax. “What we see basically is a class of people who have more money than God, who are very politically active in relatively unknown ways and who we have reasons to believe have been politically influential and have used their political influence in ways that don’t really serve the interests or preferences of what most Americans want,” Lacombe says. And yet Americans whose interests are not being served by those wealthy contributors are being swayed by politicians working toward the billionaires’ ends.

“They’re mobilizing them on the basis of cultural grievances,” Lacombe says. “And I think those two things in conjunction are fairly large contributors to the dysfunction that we’ve observed in American politics.”

April 5

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: The gatekeepers who open America to shell companies and secret owners, Debbie Cenziper, Will Fitzgibbon, Emily Anderson Stern, Michael Korsh and Alice Crites, April 5, 2022. With scant oversight, registered agents have long been seen as a weak point in the U.S. financial system. Oligarchs, criminals and online scammers have reaped the benefits.

The clapboard house sits off a gravel road on the outskirts of town, partly hidden behind a fence and a heaping pile of trash. Here, amid grassland that stretches for miles, 77-year-old Cyndy Jackson is the official gatekeeper for more than 350 companies that operate in the United States and around the world.

The state doesn’t require any training for company representatives like Jackson, known as registered agents. She said she uses the Internet and gut instinct to size up the owners she represents, but has no formal procedures for examining their backgrounds. The state doesn’t require that, either.

“You just have to kind of go on trust,” said Jackson, an agent for 30 years. “Nobody knows who anybody is anymore.”

  • Read key takeaways from the Pandora Papers investigation

Few facilitators in the U.S. financial system operate with as little oversight as the thousands of registered agents who often serve as the only publicly known contact for companies with anonymous owners.

Jackson, for example, has represented companies tied to a disbarred lawyer convicted in California of “pimping and pandering” at massage parlors, a felon who served time in New York for defrauding investors, and a Ukrainian tycoon accused of stealing billions of dollars from one of his nation’s largest banks.

Their names and others turned up in an extensive examination by The Washington Post and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) of thousands of company records filed with the state of Wyoming, one of America’s most secretive tax havens. The records came primarily from limited liability companies (LLCs), a business structure that offers tax breaks, legal protections and privacy safeguards.

On most of the records, the only names listed were those of registered agents. In Wyoming, the owners of LLCs are not required to identify themselves, although some choose to do so on corporate filings. The Post and the ICIJ found additional names linked to LLCs and other companies by scouring court documents and other government records.

Across the United States, registered agents provide routine corporate services, filing incorporation documents and annual reports. In many cases, they are the lone contact for anyone looking to sue companies or lodge a complaint.

Experts have warned for years that the sprawling industry — comprising attorneys, part-time participants and multistate specialty operations representing thousands of companies — is a weak point in the U.S. financial system. While banks must vet customers, registered agents aren’t uniformly required to verify their identities.

“If I were a criminal or ran a criminal enterprise, I would have a field day with registered agents, because I just need to find another adult with a pulse,” said Sarah Beth Felix, a former banking compliance executive. “Who’s going to make sure they are doing the right thing?”

April 2

 

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ny times logoNew York Times, Garland Faces Growing Pressure as Jan. 6 Investigation Widens, Katie Benner, Katie Rogers and Michael S. Schmidt, April 2, 2022.
The inquiry is a test for President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who have promised to restore the Justice Department’s independence.

Immediately after Merrick B. Garland was sworn in as attorney general in March of last year, he summoned top Justice Department officials and the F.B.I. director to his office. He wanted a detailed briefing on the case that will, in all likelihood, come to define his legacy: the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

Even though hundreds of people had already been charged, Mr. Garland asked to go over the indictments in detail, according to two people familiar with the meeting. What were the charges? What evidence did they have? How had they built such a sprawling investigation, involving all 50 states, so fast? What was the plan now?

Justice Department log circularThe attorney general’s deliberative approach has come to frustrate Democratic allies of the White House and, at times, President Biden himself. As recently as late last year, Mr. Biden confided to his inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, according to two people familiar with his comments. And while the president has never communicated his frustrations directly to Mr. Garland, he has said privately that he wanted Mr. Garland to act less like a ponderous judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action over the events of Jan. 6.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr. Garland said that he and the career prosecutors working on the case felt only the pressure “to do the right thing,” which meant that they “follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead.”

Still, Democrats’ increasingly urgent calls for the Justice Department to take more aggressive action highlight the tension between the frenetic demands of politics and the methodical pace of one of the biggest prosecutions in the department’s history.

“The Department of Justice must move swiftly,” Representative Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia and a member of the House committee investigating the riot, said this past week. She and others on the panel want the department to charge Trump allies with contempt for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoenas.

“Attorney General Garland,” Ms. Luria said during a committee hearing, “do your job so that we can do ours.”

This article is based on interviews with more than a dozen people, including officials in the Biden administration and people with knowledge of the president’s thinking, all of whom asked for anonymity to discuss private conversations.

In a statement, Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said the president believed that Mr. Garland had “decisively restored” the independence of the Justice Department.

World Crisis Radio, Daring night raid by Ukrainian helicopters destroys oil storage tanks in Russian city of Belgorod, near Kharkiv, Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D., right, webster tarpley 2007April 2, 2022 (72.27 mins.). Despite Kremlin whining, Russia cannot count as privileged sanctuary for aggression; retaliation is not escalation!

Collapse of Russia’s failed envelopment of Kiev and defeats in south confirm initiative now belongs to Ukrainians; Russians holding only in east; Mariupol still waiting for anti-ship missiles;

In real world economic win for Biden, US jobs increase by 431,000 in February, bringing unemployment down to 3.6%, with 93% of covid-era job losses recouped; Michigan economics professor calls this pattern a classic boom, but cable pundits fixate on bondholders’ obsession with inflation;

Will GOP’s subservience to Russia destroy party? Putin stooge and pro-MAGAt ”Viktator” Orban of Hungary faces voters Sunday; his opponent Marki-Zay leads 6-party united front that could prevail, showing Republicans their own future;

Breaking: Florida federal judge strikes down DeSantis voter suppression law; ”Grotesque history of racial discrimination” triggers PRE-CLEARANCE on state; Staten Island Amazon workers stick it to megaparasite Bezos, win vote to form union!

 

March Updates

March 30

Proof, Investigative Commentary: The Truth About Trump and Ukraine Inside Trump’s vicious, illegal, years-long war on Ukraine—a clandestine effort seth abramson graphicthat has dovetailed with the political, economic, and military aggression against Ukraine authored by Vladimir Putin, Seth Abramson, March 30, 2022.

Preface: Bringing "Proof of Corruption" to Substack. Condensing a 576-page national bestseller with 44 chapters and 4,750+ major-media citations into a single Substack article is, of course, impossible.

seth abramson proof logoWhat this Proof essay aims to do, instead, is focus on just one of the narrative threads in Proof of Corruption: Donald Trump’s thirty-year relationship with Ukraine (Macmillan, 2020), which bears no similarity whatsoever to the former president’s anodyne description of it.

Even in focusing on just one narrative, this essay must elide over 75% of the full story, which has twists and turns in it (as well as many suddenly appearing and disappearing characters) to such a degree that it can’t be reduced to a single article. This is why I wrote a book on the subject, and the reason even that nearly 600-page work benefited from the fact that much of its foundation had already been laid in two earlier tomes, Proof of Collusion (Simon & Schuster, 2018) and Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, 2019).

I mention this only to underscore that if you have no familiarity with the truth about Donald Trump and Ukraine, what you are about to read will at once be shocking and the barest tip of a towering iceberg. And it matters—because the story of Trump and Ukraine, both the abridged and unabridged versions, are significant now not as dry history but because they may well determine the fate of America. The implications of what you will read below are that dire. Please note that what follows is more akin to a novella-length nonfiction narrative than a mere essay. It may take you several sittings to read and digest the text in full.

Introduction: The True Story of Trump and Ukraine. A little over a week ago, former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton made a startling statement revealing that when Donald Trump was president, the longtime New York City real estate developer could barely locate Ukraine on a map.

As with all else we’ve heard from Bolton over the last two years, the statement was a combination of a minute but accurate observation laced with some very subjective personal venom. Trump may or may not be able to locate Ukraine on a map—neither possibility would be surprising—but if Bolton intended to leave the impression that Trump is broadly unfamiliar with Ukraine, that implication would not only be inaccurate but a deeply troubling cover-up of the true story of Trump and the largest nation wholly in Europe.

As with nearly everything we’ve ever heard from the ex-president, his own narrative isn’t so much a nub of truth packed in layer upon layer of deceit, but an intentional, almost brutalizing mass of prevarication that aims to manipulate voters at every point, in every contour, and without exception.

To hear Donald Trump tell the tale, he has long been a champion of Ukraine, and has admired Vladimir Putin’s handling of Russia’s western neighbor only as an academic might—acknowledging the purported tactical genius of Russia’s strongman without approving of his methods.

In this fantasy world of Trump’s own creation (which is, unfortunately, now relevant to all of us because it reflects the belief of nearly 40% of Americans), in the same way that Russia has never had a more dangerous adversary than Donald Trump, Ukraine has never had a better friend than the former POTUS. I’ve often written on social media, and on occasion here at Proof, that the best way to parse any statement made by Mr. Trump is to start with the assumption that the exact opposite of anything he’s said is true.

While it’s an imperfect method of interlocution—sometimes when you take the opposite of everything Trump says, only 97% of it is true—it serves as a far better starting point then taking seriously or at face value anything declaimed by the former president. In the matter of Trump and Ukraine, however, the conventional reading of Trump long advised by Proof and its attendant Twitter feed is wholly sufficient: Russia has never had a better friend among American politicians than Donald Trump, and Ukraine no greater enemy.

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

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

March 28

 

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

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump ‘more likely than not’ committed crime in trying to block confirmation of Biden’s win, judge says, Matt Zapotosky and
John Wagner, March 28, 2022. A federal judge said in a ruling Monday that then-President Donald Trump “more likely than not” committed a federal crime in trying to obstruct the congressional count of electoral college votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

The determination from U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter came in a ruling addressing scores of sensitive emails that Trump ally and conservative lawyer John Eastman had resisted turning over to the House select committee investigating the insurrection. Eastman wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

capitol riot nyt jan 7 2021“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Carter wrote. A Trump representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 44-page opinion offers a careful analysis of 111 documents the committee wanted, ultimately concluding that lawmakers are entitled to have 101 of them.

But it is less notable for what it might given the committee access to and more for the judge’s analysis of Trump’s conduct leading up to the riot on Jan. 6. Breaking down the law on each point, Carter, who sits on the Central District of California and was nominated by President Bill Clinton, writes it is “more likely than not” that Trump and Eastman conspired to disrupt the counting of the electoral votes on Jan. 6 — which would be a crime under federal statutes.

“Dr. Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history,” the judge concludes. “Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower — it was a coup in search of a legal theory. The plan spurred violent attacks on the seat of our nation’s government, led to the deaths of several law enforcement officers, and deepened public distrust in our political process.”

The judge’s ruling does not mean Trump will be charged with, or even investigated for, a crime — though it will certainly increase pressure on the Justice Department to intensify its probe of the Jan. 6 riot and potentially examine the conduct of Trump himself. Carter noted that he was only assessing the legal arguments surrounding whether Eastman could be compelled to turn over documents to the Jan. 6 committee.

“More than a year after the attack on our Capitol, the public is still searching for accountability. This case cannot provide it,” Carter wrote. “The Court is tasked only with deciding a dispute over a handful of emails. This is not a criminal prosecution; this is not even a civil liability suit.”

The judge ultimately wrote on whether there was evidence Trump had committed a crime because the committee had alleged as much in a bid to convince a judge it should be allowed to access Eastman’s emails.

The committee cited the “crime-fraud exception,” essentially arguing that because there was evidence Eastman advised Trump in the commission of a crime, he could not legally shield his communications using attorney-client privilege.

Carter zeroed in on 11 documents as he assessed whether the “crime-fraud exception” applied. He determined it did for just one: “a chain forwarding to Dr. Eastman a draft memo written for President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani.”

Carter wrote that the memo recommended that Vice President Mike Pence reject electors from contested states on Jan. 6.

“This may have been the first time members of President Trump’s team transformed a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action,” the judge wrote. “The draft memo pushed a strategy that knowingly violated the Electoral Count Act, and Dr. Eastman’s later memos closely track its analysis and proposal. The memo is both intimately related to and clearly advanced the plan to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”

March 26

 United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (l) with his wife of thirty-five years, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas (r). (Safe Image)

United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (l) with his wife of thirty-five years, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas (r).

 washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Ginni Thomas’s texts reveal fears, motivation behind efforts to overturn election, Dan Balz, right, March 26, 2022. The dan balz column portraitmessages offer ample evidence that the drive to keep Trump in office went to the highest levels of the government amid fears of a Democratic administration.

“Release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.”

What more does anyone need to know about the many text messages sent by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the weeks after the 2020 election? A dozen words (above) sum up everything.

That the spouse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was imploring the president’s highest-ranking adviser to do all he could to overturn the 2020 election may seem beyond extraordinary. It is, but it is more than that.

The messages once again show how former president Donald Trump’s conspiracies, lies and obsessions infected the Republican Party (and in many quarters still do), from its rank-and-file base to some of its most establishment figures. The more that is known about the events between Election Day 2020 and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the clearer it is just how extensive the efforts to overturn the election were and how high up they went.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ethics experts see Ginni Thomas’s texts as a problem for the Supreme Court, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, March 26, 2022 (print ed.). The conservative media stars at the heart of the Ginni Thomas texts.

Justice Clarence Thomas checked out of the hospital Friday after a week-long stay and walked into the latest ethics controversy about the intersection of his Supreme Court duties and his wife’s political activism.

Democratic lawmakers and many legal ethicists said they were shocked by revelations that Virginia Thomas, known as Ginni, repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, at a time when President Donald Trump was saying he would challenge the results at the Supreme Court.

The Washington Post and CBS News jointly reported Thursday that in 29 text messages exchanged between Ginni Thomas and Meadows, she advocated for certain legal strategies, urged him to continue to dispute the election results and asserted that Joe Biden did not win the election.

“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!” Ginni Thomas texted Meadows in November, days after the election. “… You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

Virginia Thomas urged White House chief to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 election, texts show

Democrats on Capitol Hill said they were outraged by the messages and Justice Thomas’s participation in some of the election-related cases that reached the high court, none of which were decided in Trump’s favor. One of the strongest reactions came from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

“Justice Thomas’ conduct on the Supreme Court looks increasingly corrupt,” Wyden said in a news release. “Judges are obligated to recuse themselves when their participation in a case would create even the appearance of a conflict of interest. A person with an ounce of common sense could see that bar is met here.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Thomas’s wife is a political extremist. This is a problem for the court, Editorial Board, March 26, 2022 (print ed.). It is no revelation that conservative activist Virginia Thomas, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, is a political extremist. But The Post’s Bob Woodward and CBS News’s Robert Costa showed just how close she was to President Donald Trump’s plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol ransacking. The disturbing revelations only deepen the threat her entanglements pose to the court’s legitimacy.
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Mr. Woodward and Mr. Costa revealed Thursday 29 text messages between Ms. Thomas and Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, as Mr. Trump sought the Supreme Court’s help to reverse the election. “We are living through what feels like the end of America,” she wrote four days after Jan. 6 — but not in reference to the rioters who called for then-Vice President Mike Pence’s blood. “Most of us are disgusted with the VP and are in listening mode to see where to fight with our teams,” she said, indicating that she wished Mr. Pence had illegally overturned the election results.

Ms. Thomas flooded Mr. Meadows’s phone with bizarre far-right conspiracy theories about ballot watermarks, secret military operations and the possibility of locking up Democrats and journalists on barges off Guantánamo Bay.

The House committee investigating Jan. 6 obtained the texts from Mr. Meadows before he stopped cooperating with the panel. The 29 messages appear to be just a portion of the communications between the two, meaning there might be more that the panel will seek to force Mr. Meadows to turn over. The texts also suggest Ms. Thomas was in touch with others in the Trump White House, communications the committee will likely want to see.

This raises questions about Justice Thomas’s refusal to recuse himself from cases involving Jan. 6. In one text, Ms. Thomas talked about having a conversation with her “best friend,” apparently about the election fight. Did Ms. Thomas influence her husband’s thinking? Did Justice Thomas decline to recuse because he did not want to reveal the depth of his wife’s involvement? Justice Thomas was the only member of the court who voted against turning over White House communications to the committee.

For years, Justice Thomas’s critics have argued he should recuse himself more often from cases to which his wife has connections. Also that Congress should impose strict ethics rules on Supreme Court justices. This is harder than it sounds. Unlike in lower courts, no one can sit in for justices who have recused themselves. Also, many outstanding potential justices have professionally active spouses; they should not feel as though they must ask their partners to quit in order to serve.

Unfortunately, Ms. Thomas has abused the good faith others have offered her husband, pushing the limits of the ethical gray areas these considerations create. Justice Thomas must recuse himself whenever his wife has a financial stake in a case. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reported that Ms. Thomas took more than $200,000 from right-wing activist Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy as Mr. Gaffney asked the court to uphold Mr. Trump’s Muslim ban, which Justice Thomas voted to do. Justice Thomas must also recuse himself from cases that could substantially affect his wife in other ways. That includes litigation regarding the Jan. 6 committee, which is examining Ms. Thomas’s communications.

Americans should expect more. The best way for the court to avoid further erosion of public faith — and congressional intervention — is for the justices to set a higher example.

World Crisis Radio, Chinese think tank scholar Hu Wei sends Xi analysis entitled: ”Possible Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War and China’s Choice,” a webster tarpley 2007warning to dump Putin within weeks, Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D., right, March 26, 2022. (76:06 mins.) Hu argues that Putin seeks to ”… divert attention from Russia’s domestic crisis by defeating Ukraine with a blitzkrieg…. However, the blitzkrieg failed, and Russia is unable to support a protracted war….”

As Russia is defeated, ”The power of the West will grow significantly, NATO will continue to expand, and U.S. influence in the non-Western world will increase… Russia will be subject both to Western sanctions and rebellion within the territory of Ukraine. If Putin were to be ousted from power due to civil strife, coup d’état, or another reason, Russia would be even less likely to confront the West. [This] will greatly weaken the anti-Western forces in the world.

China cannot be tied to Putin and needs to cut him off as soon as possible…. China does not have the clout to back Russia…. The bottom line is to prevent the U.S. and the West from imposing joint sanctions on China.” So far, Xi has ignored this good advice!

Putin links cancel culture to Nazi Germany, but forgets his own guru Ivan Ilyin was a self-professed fascist and Nazi!

Daring night raid by Ukrainian helicopters destroys oil storage tanks in Russian city of Belgorod, near Kharkiv; despite Kremlin whining, Russia cannot count as privileged sanctuary for aggression; retaliation is not escalation!
Collapse of Russia’s failed envelopment of Kiev and defeats in south confirm initiative now belongs to Ukrainians; Russians holding only in east; Mariupol still waiting for anti-ship missiles;

In real world economic win for Biden, US jobs increase by 431,000 in February, bringing unemployment down to 3.6%, with 93% of covid-era job losses recouped; Michigan economics professor calls this pattern a classic boom, but cable pundits fixate on bondholders’ obsession with inflation;

Will GOP’s subservience to Russia destroy party? Putin stooge and pro-MAGAt ”Viktator” Orban of Hungary faces voters Sunday; his opponent Marki-Zay leads 6-party united front that could prevail, showing Republicans their own future;

Breaking: Florida federal judge strikes down DeSantis voter suppression law; ”Grotesque history of racial discrimination” triggers PRE-CLEARANCE on state; Staten Island Amazon workers stick it to megaparasite Bezos, win vote to form union!

March 25

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Virginia Thomas urged White House chief to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 election, texts show, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, March 25, 2022 (print ed.). In messages to chief of staff Mark Meadows in the weeks after Election Day, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called Joe Biden’s victory “the greatest Heist of our History” and told him that President Donald Trump should not concede.

Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in a series of urgent text exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.

The messages – 29 in all – reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.

On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!...You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

When Meadows wrote to Thomas on Nov. 24, the White House chief of staff invoked God to describe the effort to overturn the election. “This is a fight of good versus evil,” Meadows wrote. “Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.”

Thomas replied: “Thank you!! Needed that! This plus a conversation with my best friend just now… I will try to keep holding on. America is worth it!”

 

More On Supreme Court Nominee

 

Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: This is not advise and consent. This is smear and degrade, Ruth Marcus, right, March 26, 2022. The pretense is gone — the ruth marcus twitter Custompretense that Supreme Court confirmation hearings are about determining nominees’ fitness for office, gleaning a sense of their legal acumen and approach to judging, and gathering the information necessary to exercise a solemn senatorial power.

No longer. Advise and consent has yielded to smear and degrade. The goal is not to illuminate but to tarnish: If a nominee can’t be stopped, at least the other side can inflict some damage on her and the opposition party.

The confirmation hearings just concluded for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson represented the culmination of a sad trajectory. Nominations and hearings have always had a political component; after all, the Framers assigned the confirmation power to a political branch.

But never has a confirmation hearing been less about law and more about partisan point-scoring and presidential campaign-launching.

The 1987 confirmation hearings for Robert H. Bork kicked off the modern judicial wars, and Republicans still seethe over Bork as Democrats’ original sin. “We started down this road of character assassination in the 1980s with Judge Bork’s hearings and senators have been engaged in disgusting theatrics ever since,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).

I was there, and what actually happened was, to borrow Bork’s famous description of why he wanted to be a justice, an “intellectual feast” — especially in comparison with this past week’s food fight. He was defeated by a vote of 58 to 42, including six Republican senators opposed. (Two Democrats voted to confirm him.)

That wasn’t because Democrats dragged him “into the gutter,” as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) complained. Bork defeated Bork all by himself, thanks to his earlier, incendiary writings and then his testimony before the committee. His expressed views were so extreme and so far outside the legal mainstream that his confirmation failed by the largest margin in history.

“His view of the law is at sharp variance with more than a century of Supreme Court decisions which have applied equal protection to women, aliens, illegitimates, indigents and others,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), announcing his vote.

Contrast this with the case, such as it is, against Jackson. There were interludes of substance involving her judicial philosophy and methodology for deciding cases, her understanding of the substantive due process cases that led to rulings supporting abortion rights and same-sex marriage, even a case or two on which she had ruled.

But with minds made up, substantive probing mostly gave way to posturing.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how faithful would you say you are in terms of religion?” asked Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.)

“Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?” asked Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) And, “do you believe child predators are misunderstood?” Quoting from Jackson’s college thesis, Blackburn asked, “What personal hidden agendas do you harbor or do you think other judges harbor?”

washington post logoWashington Post, Manchin says he supports Jackson for Supreme Court, Felicia Sonmez and Mike DeBonis, March 26, 2022 (print ed.). Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said Friday that he intends to support President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, in a step toward ensuring Jackson’s confirmation.

joe manchin oManchin, right, who has been a roadblock to some of Biden’s nominees and agenda items, announced his backing of Jackson in a statement one day after the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded its confirmation hearings.

“I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice,” Manchin said.

Race hovered over Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing

Manchin cited Jackson’s “exemplary” career and record and said that her various roles in the judicial system have provided her with “a unique perspective that will serve her well on our nation’s highest court.”

He also noted that Jackson and her family frequently visit Manchin’s home state of West Virginia.

“During our meeting, she was warm and gracious,” Manchin said. “On top of her impressive resume, she has the temperament to make an exceptional jurist. Notably, Judge Jackson and her family spend a great deal of time in West Virginia and her deep love of our state and commitment to public service were abundantly clear. I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice.”

After a combined 36 hours of hearings, Jackson appeared to remain on track for confirmation early next month, according to interviews with key senators Thursday.

Jackson’s confirmation will not be overwhelmingly bipartisan, and the top Senate Republican vote-counter, Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), predicted no more than three GOP votes in her favor. But leaders of both parties agreed the long and often tense interrogation did not alter the fundamental dynamics around the nomination.

March 22

Wayne Madsen Report, Wartime Investigative Commentary: Putin is the new Hitler and Trumpers are the new Bund, Wayne Madsen, left, former Navy wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallintelligence officer and author of 21 books, including the recent The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the Far Right (shown below at left), March 22, 2022.

wayne madesen report logoBy conducting a failed blitzkrieg operation against Ukraine, Russian leader Vladimir Putin attempted to emulate Adolf Hitler's 1939 invasion and occupation of Poland.

Unlike Hitler, Putin had several factors weighing against him. Had Donald Trump been re-elected, Putin would have wayne madsen fourth reich covereasily taken over Ukraine due to the absence of a United States leading NATO in beefing up the eastern defenses of the alliance and providing weaponry to the Ukrainians.

Putin's ideology of Russian nationalism and expansionism is drawn directly from the ideology of Ivan Ilyin and Alexander Dugin, two Russian far-right Russian political philosophers.

Dugin is also closely linked to several far-right political parties outside of Russia, including the National Rally in France, the Freedom Party in Austria, and the Republican Party in the United States.

Dugin's philosophy is supported by such former Trump administration officials and propagandists as Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, and Rudolph Giuliani. These American fifth columnists of Putin are no different than the German-American Bundists and American Firsters of the 1930s, among whose ranks was a starry-eyed fan of Hitler, one Fred Trump, Sr.

March 19

World Crisis Radio, The tide is turning against Russian invaders in Ukraine! Webster G. Tarpley, right, March 19, 2022. Counter-offensive around Kiev seizes webster tarpley 2007initiative, pushing Russian invaders back 45 miles from east bank of Dnieper;

Ukraine needs hundreds of truck-mounted Typhoon missiles to protect its southern coast along the Black Sea, including cities like Mariupol and Odessa; focus demands on this, not Utopian fantasy of No-Fly Zone!

Biden warns Chinese that joining Putin’s war effort will impoverish their country, but Xi refuses to repudiate Russian crimes;

More intelligence bosses and generals sacked as Putin’s quest for scapegoats and fall-guys rolls on; Russian battlefield losses mount;

The Russian dictator as killer, revisited: new book by Catherine Belton explores charges that Dresden KGB case officer Putin provided support for Baader-Meinhof terrorists in DDR during 1980s; new interest in suspicious apartment bombings in Moscow and other cities in September 1999, which triggered the Second Chechen War and set stage for Putin’s presidency;

Pro-Trump, anti-Francis archbishop Viganò openly proclaims Moscow the Third Rome, not St. Peter’s in the Vatican, as last bastion of civilization against the Antichrist! Impeding access to US government offices amid acute war emergency is intolerable; Time for DC truckers to get lost!

March 15

washington post logoWashington Post, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio jailed pending trial in Jan. 6 Capitol attack, Christiana Lilly and Spencer S. Hsu, March 15, 2022. Prosecutors argued Tarrio poses a risk of flight and danger to the community, citing his purported efforts to evade law enforcement and discourage witnesses from cooperating.

A federal judge Tuesday ordered Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, a longtime leader of the Proud Boys far-right group, to remain jailed pending trial on charges that he conspired with followers who planned in advance to threaten Congress and battle police at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Lauren F. Louis of Miami ordered Tarrio to be held after federal prosecutors argued that he and co-defendants “directed and encouraged” the actions of Proud Boys members who formed “the tip of the spear” in the breach of the U.S. Capitol. Tarrio poses a risk of flight and danger to the community, prosecutors said, citing his purported efforts to evade law enforcement and discourage witnesses from cooperating.

“There is overwhelming evidence that Tarrio organized a plot to corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede the certification of the electoral college vote, an offense that strikes at the heart of our democracy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason McCullough argued in court filings. Even as Congress’s proceedings were still suspended Jan. 6, Tarrio posted to other members, “They’ll fear us doing it again,” prosecutors said. When a member asked, “So what do we do now?” he allegedly answered at 4:14 p.m., “Do it again.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Judges sentence Jan. 6 defendants to probation through next election, Spencer S. Hsu and Tom Jackman, March 15, 2022. ‘Damage from Jan. 6 persists,’ Republican appointees warn as Trump presses ‘false narrative’ that could mislead victims to commit new crimes.

U.S. judges including those appointed by Republican presidents are increasingly sentencing defendants who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the Capitol to three-year terms of court supervision, fearing they could be misled into committing political violence in the 2024 presidential election.

A former truck driver from North Carolina on Monday became the first Jan. 6 defendant to receive a combination of a 60-day jail term and 36 months of probation. James “Les” Little, 52, pleaded guilty in February after telling the FBI that he saw President Biden’s election victory as “the second Bolshevik revolution” and warned agents and the Democratic Party of civil war if it were not overturned.

“I’m not proposing this, but I think to secure our freedoms, we’re on the brink of civil war,” Little told FBI agents who interviewed him a week after the attack on the Capitol, according to a recording played in court. In a YouTube video Little posted after the election titled “We Won’t Beat Them Next Time! There Won’t Be A Next Time! It’s Now Or Never!” the part-time delivery driver and patio store worker from Catawba County addressed the Democratic Party, saying supporters of President Donald Trump “owned lots of guns and God forbid we’d ever have to use it on you.”

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Washington said Little’s explanations for his actions on Jan. 6 carried the seeds of a future threat.

“The Court must not only punish Little for his conduct but also ensure that he will not engage in similar conduct again during the next election,” Lamberth wrote in a 16-page opinion entered after a two-hour hearing. “Only a longer-term period of probation is adequate to ensure that Little will not become an active participant in another riot.”

Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan appointee, is among a growing number of judges who warn that the damage to democracy from last year’s assault on the peaceful transfer of presidential power is persisting as Trump has continued to whip a majority of Republican Party officials to embrace his false election fraud charges. Judges have also raised concerns about elected officials who continue to play down the violence of an attack that injured scores of police officers, ransacked lawmakers’ offices, caused more than $1.5 million in damage and disrupted a joint session of Congress.

“Many politicians are writing a false narrative about what happened. I think they are misleading people. … I am terribly afraid that people are going to follow that false narrative,” U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, another Reagan appointee, said in sentencing a 25-year-old Utah man to three years’ supervision this year.

Hogan said he was sentencing Jacob Kyle Wiedrich to supervision through the 2024 election “to make sure that you do not fall victim to false gods again.” The judge added that he feared participants “aren’t taking responsibility for what their role was and what they might do after the next election,” calling Jan. 6 an “unforgivable” day that will “affect this country for many years.”

March 14

 

 United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (l) with his wife of thirty-five years, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas (r). (Safe Image)

United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (l) with his wife of thirty-five years, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas (r).

 

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

washington post logoWashington Post, Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice, says she attended Jan. 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally before Capitol attack, Mariana Alfaro, March 14, 2022. Thomas, the wife of Clarence Thomas, said she left the rally before President Donald Trump took the stage.

Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for the first time has publicly acknowledged that she participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse that preceded the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, raising questions about the impartiality of her husband’s work.

In an interview with the conservative Washington Free Beacon that was published Monday, Thomas, who goes by Ginni, said she was part of the crowd that gathered on the Ellipse that morning to support President Donald Trump. Trump was claiming falsely that widespread voter fraud had delivered the presidency to Democrat Joe Biden — a falsehood he continues to repeat.

Thomas said she was at the rally for a short time, got cold and went home before Trump took the stage at noon that day.

“I was disappointed and frustrated that there was violence that happened following a peaceful gathering of Trump supporters on the Ellipse on Jan. 6,” the conservative activist told the publication. “There are important and legitimate substantive questions about achieving goals like electoral integrity, racial equality, and political accountability that a democratic system like ours needs to be able to discuss and debate rationally in the political square. I fear we are losing that ability.”

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In February 2021, Thomas apologized to her husband’s former law clerks after a rift developed among them over her election advocacy of Trump and endorsement of the Jan. 6 rally that led to violence and death at the Capitol.

The attack by a pro-Trump mob trying to stop the confirmation of Biden’s electoral college win left the Capitol vandalized and resulted in the deaths of five people and injuries to 140 members of law enforcement.

“I owe you all an apology. I have likely imposed on you my lifetime passions,” Thomas wrote to a private Thomas Clerk World email list of her husband’s staff over his three decades on the bench.

Ginni Thomas apologizes to husband’s Supreme Court clerks after Capitol riot fallout

As an outspoken activist, Ginni Thomas has drawn scrutiny to her husband’s work on the court and his impartiality, most recently in connection with the Jan. 6 attack and the House select committee tasked with investigating the riot.

While Ginni Thomas’s activism has, in multiple instances, overlapped with cases that have been decided by her husband, her connection to the rally that preceded the insurrection has reignited fury among his critics, who say it illustrates a gaping hole in the court’s rules: Justices essentially decide for themselves whether they have a conflict of interest.

March 13

 

Trump attorney and former Justice Department Deputy Attorney Gen. Rudy Giuliani, his colleague and significant other Maria Ryan, and One America Network White House correspondent Christina Bogbb are shown working in a Willard Hotel

Trump attorney and former Justice Department Deputy Attorney Gen. Rudy Giuliani, his colleague and significant other Maria Ryan, volunteer Trump attorney John Eastman, a law professor, and One America Network White House correspondent Christina Bobb are shown working in a Willard Hotel "War Room" near almost across the street from White House grounds with fellow Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021 in a photo by a fellow Trump supporter.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Major media outlets are finally warming up to the growing signs that the DOJ may be criminally targeting Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, bill palmerright, March 13, 2022. Signs have been brewing for months that the DOJ might be criminally targeting Trump, which we’ve been steadily documenting here at Palmer Report.

Now that major media outlets are finally waking up to this trend, it’s a good time to revisit what the DOJ would want to have in hand in order to charge Trump: one or more key co-conspirators flipping on him.

bill palmer report logo headerTo get a trial conviction against a crime boss like Trump who mostly doesn’t do his own dirty work, rarely uses email or texts, and often gives henchmen instructions in code words, you need one of those henchmen to testify that Trump really was instructing them to commit the crimes they committed.

Justice Department log circularThat’s why it’s so crucial that Roger Stone’s Oath Keeper driver cut a seditious conspiracy plea deal last week. If the DOJ can convince Stone that it has him nailed, and that he’s better off flipping now than going to trial, the DOJ gains a witness who can get Trump convicted.

It’s also why the DOJ case against Rudy Giuliani, which was stalled by the courts for about eight months in a battle over attorney-client privilege that was just recently resolved (largely in the DOJ’s favor), is now so relevant.

“So if the DOJ has Stone and Giuliani nailed already, why not just indict them?” Because it’s not about nailing them. It’s about nailing them so thoroughly, they REALIZE they’re nailed, and flip. Otherwise you have to wait a long time for their trial conviction, before they flip.

March 12

World Crisis Radio, The Ides of March are right around the corner! Webster G. Tarpley, right, March 12, 2022 (83 mins). Putin seeks scapegoats for his Ukraine webster tarpley 2007failure: instability in Moscow with two top foreign intelligence bosses arrested and eight generals fired; Most Favored Nation trading status for Russia to end soon;

Moscow approaching national bankruptcy with half of Vlad’s $640 million war chest gone after 16 days at $20 billion per day; at this rate, war effort will collapse after two more weeks; nationalizations of foreign firms boycotting Russia loom; capital controls already in effect;

Biden repeats opposition to No-Fly Zone as “World War Three”; Imperative to avoid direct armed clash of US with Russia while preventing wider war; US assists in procuring more Turkish drones for Kiev;

”Democratic Socialists of America” cover for Putin’s aggression & demand US exit from NATO, setting up total convergence with Kremlin’s plan of conquest & oppression; Sanders, AOC, & rest of Squad must condemn this infamy, which poses grave threat to Democratic candidates in November;

Putin’s monarchist-fascist guru & philodoxer Ivan Ilyin, who taught that independent Ukraine was a deadly threat to Russia!

Breaking: Opposition leader Navalny calls for anti-war demonstrations this Sunday!

March 11

 

World War

ukraine olena kurilo 52 teacher Russian missile Chuhuiv amazon

52 year-old Ukrainian teacher Olena Kurilo following a Russian missile strike in Chuhuiv, Ukraine.

Proof, The Ten Hardest Truths About the War in Europe, Seth Abramson, left, March 11, 2020. The author of a bestseller on Russia, Ukraine, and links seth abramson graphicbetween the Russia-Ukraine conflict and U.S. politics reveals 10 terrifying things about the worst military crisis in Europe since 1945.

Introduction: I’ve been nervous about publishing this article ever since I started writing it.

The reason for my anxiety will be familiar to anyone inside or outside the American government who has extensively researched Vladimir Putin and understands what the current atrocities in Europe represent: a terrifying new stage in the war against the West that Putin has been waging for twenty years, and that he’s been winning for at least half that time in part because many in the West remain unaware they’re at war.

seth abramson proof logoTo write at length about Putin and his twenty-first-century infiltrations of Western democracies and their institutions—as I did in the “Proof” trilogy—is to run the risk of seeming not just alarmist but almost ludicrously paranoid. It’s only the fact that all the warnings those who’ve written extensively about Putin have been giving for years are now coming to horrific fruition that it even feels safe to write candidly about what we’re all now experiencing.

Academics can debate whether our current period is in the umbra of the same Cold War that dominated the last century, or a new one; whether we’re on the doorstep of World War III, or are already in it; whether the conditions on the ground in Europe today are most reflective of the eve of World War I or World War II; but what no one can deny is that what is happening in Ukraine is not merely a “news story” or even a spate of well-televised war crimes but a fundamental shifting of our age toward chaos.

There is no need to rehash the core facts beyond this brief summary: Putin is a former KGB agent and current murderous autocrat who is almost certain to be a dictator over Russia until his death; he has repeatedly said that the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the twentieth century was the 1991 fall of the Communist Soviet Union; he seeks to reconstitute the land area of the Soviet Union by whatever means necessary and over however long a period of time is required, though he understands that this cannot be accomplished without the dissolution or destruction of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization defensive alliance (NATO) and possibly both the European Union and the United States; the post-Soviet government in Russia, including (indeed perhaps especially) Putin’s KGB, began searching for ways to collapse American democracy through asymmetrical warfare from the moment the Soviet Union passed into history; and some significant portion of the current domestic political strife in the United States has been deliberately provoked by the Kremlin and its agents through acts of subterfuge, espionage, propaganda, and hacking that properly answer to the name war.

Yesterday, a former high-ranking official in the Donald Trump administration, Miles Taylor, said that the current Trumpist-Putinist Republican Party is far and away the greatest national security threat America has faced in his lifetime. That he is correct is confirmed not just by the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trumpist irregulars or the fact that former president Trump—to please Putin and ensure his own future business opportunities in Russia—put every U.S. alliance and interest lying beyond our shores at risk, but the fact that America is now in a global conflict (call it the Cold War, World War III, or Second Cold War, as you like) at a time when Trump and Trumpism have deliberately put our body politic at a point of permanent fracture. That most Americans still do not understand what Putin is trying to do and the cost that will be exacted upon the United States as he seeks to do it means that the coming months and perhaps years will be the darkest and most fraught in a century.

Because Putin has now advanced from waging a “hot” cyberwar on America’s sacred electoral infrastructure to waging a hot conventional war on the European continent, everything is now in play that was previously only a harrowing specter in books like Proof of Collusion (Simon & Schuster, 2018), Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, 2019), and Proof of Corruption (Macmillan, 2020). Putin has already threatened the world with nuclear war; facing the most comprehensive sanctions ever leveled against a major global power, he has categorized those sanctions as themselves an act of war (thus, at least theoretically, permitting an immediate military response from Russia); there are already significant signs that the war in Europe will destabilize Earth’s international economy for the foreseeable future; the war has also shifted global alliances in such an extraordinary fashion and to such a dramatic degree that America’s supposed allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will not speak to the president of the United States, and the United States has now sent emissaries to negotiate with our long-time enemies in Venezuela. Gas prices just hit a historic high and show no signs of coming down rather than going up. Thousands of civilians are now being killed in Ukraine because they lack air cover, and yet the United States has just declared that it has no appetite for aiding Ukraine in rebuilding its air force via MiG-29s from Poland.

In short, we’re in the earliest days of a sequence of global events whose end none can know but whose present is a darkness deeper than anyone younger than 85 has known.

By and large, American media has so far done yeoman’s work covering the fighting in Europe. While certain news articles published in the United States have endangered the Ukrainian resistance by giving explicit descriptions of its defensive operations and placement, the fact that so many leading American journalists are now embedded in Ukrainian cities has given those of us who care about the indiscriminate killing of women and children—which at this point appears to be approximately half our nation at most—an unmistakable sense that the System of the World is unraveling. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who his aides say has survived more than a dozen assassination attempts in just the last two weeks, may be speaking first and foremost on behalf of the nation he leads when he says the Ukrainians are now fighting for the preservation of Western democracy—and against the global march of autocracy that our own president, Joe Biden, has so often spoken of—but his personal investment in this framing does not make the claim incorrect. While the NATO alliance has refused (and will continue to refuse) to deploy its forces into Europe’s current theater of war, this strategic decision in no way obviates the reality that right now the Ukrainians are indeed the world’s foremost proxies for capital-“d” Democracy.

In the coming weeks and months, Americans will be repeatedly confronted with the question of how much we’re willing to sacrifice to preserve our nation and preserve the very notion of democracy on the global stage. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic we learned that at least half of America is unwilling to have its daily routine at all disturbed by a global or even domestic tragedy; there’s no reason to expect we’ll answer the call of history any more honorably now that it’s a political principle and the integrity of American democracy at stake rather than hundreds of millions of lives.

Of course, the impact of what’s happening now in Europe will fall upon the shoulders of hundreds of millions soon enough. Already we’re learning that the war in Ukraine is launching a refugee crisis the likes of which the West hasn’t seen since World War II, with the near certainty that at least 5 million Ukrainians will ultimately cross a national border to flee the war crimes Putin is presently inflicting on their homeland. But beyond this ever-expanding refugee crisis, and the morally intolerable civilian deaths in cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv and Mariupol, lies the fact that many millions in European democracies like Finland and Latvia and Estonia and Lithuania now feel under military threat from Russian aggression, as will those in Romania and Poland if (or more likely when) Ukraine is annexed in its totality by Russia. The economic and geopolitical effects of having the world’s largest country by land area—and its second-largest military—become a “pariah state” encompass the lives of hundreds of millions more than the tragedy in Ukraine has already affected. And that’s only in the medium term.

This essay seeks to speak candidly about this medium-range outlook, and to do so in terms that American media has so far eschewed—in part because it is habitually and temperamentally “present-oriented,” and in part because it has missed the fact, as have most Americans, that our country is, sadly, already implicitly at war with Russia.

While this may seem an inauspiciously hot-headed and alarmist start to what intends to be a sober essay on the very geopolitics that I wrote three national bestsellers about over the last forty months, understand that with the advent of the internet and the establishment of a global economy there was never a chance that World War III would look like World War II or World War I. The war we are in now is very much a twenty-first-century war, which doesn’t mean that there are no conventional components to it—as the Ukrainians are learning right now, with devastating consequences—but that if we fail to appreciate the unconventional components of international warfare in this century we are dooming ourselves to defeat at the very moment that the inchoate and unconventional aggressions of our enemies have become conventional and dire.

With all this said, here are ten truths that American media and American voters need to come to terms with immediately.

 

The Ten Hardest Truths About the War in Europe

(1) America is now in a world war.

If you’re one of those people who—like the notoriously geopolitically unsophisticated Trumpists, who speak so often of courage yet categorically oppose any instance of it—have always thought that World War III would feature the same sort of military, para- military, and asymmetrical logistics that World War I and World War II did, you need to rearrange your thinking immediately. While major international military conflicts always bear certain hallmarks—for instance, war crimes, so-called collateral damage, and the threatened use (or use) of weapons of mass destruction—the chances that a global military conflict in 2022 would look like a global military conflict that began on September 1, 1939 (let alone one that began on July 28, 1914) were always zero. Don’t be fooled by the fact that what’s happening now indeed exhibits certain similarities to what happened when Nazi Germany invaded Eastern Europe at the close of the 1930s, whether it’s the fact that Eastern Europe has again been invaded by a global military power with an autocratic leader, that fears of a genocide in Europe again dominate international political discourse, or that the use of nuclear weapons already hangs over the world like a glowering spectre. 2022 is, nevertheless, not 1939, and no amount of far-right Putin apologists whining about “liberals” wanting to drag America into a war with Russia will change the simple fact that America is already at war with Russia.

This war is a worldwide conflict that could last as many as a hundred years—think of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France (1337-1453) rather than World War I or World War II—and began upon the conclusion of hostilities in the European theater of WWII in 1945. The principal disputants have from the start been the United States and Russia, and while one could certainly question the instances in which one or the other of the two parties pushed the dispute into outright military conflict (e.g., the Korean War, the disaster at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, the Vietnam War, or the 1979-to-1989 Soviet-Afghan War that the United States involved itself in by coordinating with men who’d later turn their violent attentions on America), one of the least-discussed errors that either side has made during this Second Hundred Years’ War was made by America: many of our diplomats, generals, and politicians believed the war had ended when the Soviet Union fell. By the time GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was correctly telling Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that the Russians were still America’s foremost geopolitical opponents, it was all then-President Obama could do not to laugh in Romney’s face. And back in 2012, U.S. media scored the point for Obama.....

(6) The costs of the current world war may well be more than Americans are willing to bear—and if a majority of Americans come to wrongly believe that it’s President Biden rather than Vladimir Putin and his allies (very much including Donald Trump) who’ve brought the world to its current pass, they’ll punish the Democrats and reward the Republicans. Yet doing so would play into Putin’s hands.

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

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

March 6

 

Roger Stone watches news coverage of the Capitol riot in his suite at the Willard hotel on Jan. 6, 2021 (Photo by Kristin M. Davis.)

Roger Stone watches news coverage of the Capitol riot in his suite at the Willard hotel on Jan. 6, 2021 2021 (Photo by Kristin M. Davis.).

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: The Roger Stone tapes, Dalton Bennett and Jon Swaine, March 6, 2022. As a mob ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s longest-serving political adviser, hurried to pack a suitcase inside his elegant suite on the fifth floor of the Willard hotel. He wrapped his tailored suits in trash bags, reversed his black face mask so its “Free Roger Stone” logo was hidden, then slipped out of town for a hastily arranged private flight from Dulles International Airport.

“I really want to get out of here,” Stone told an aide, as they were filmed at the hotel by a Danish camera crew for a documentary on the veteran Republican operative. Stone said he feared prosecution by the incoming attorney general, Merrick Garland. “He is not a friend,” Stone said.

Stone allowed the filmmakers to document his activities during extended periods over more than two years. In addition to interviews and moments when Stone spoke directly to the camera, they also captured fly-on-the-wall footage of his actions, candid off-camera conversations from a microphone he wore and views of his iPhone screen as he messaged associates on an encrypted app. Reporters from The Washington Post reviewed more than 20 hours of video filmed for the documentary, “A Storm Foretold,” which is expected to be released later this year.

The footage, along with other reporting by The Post, provides the most comprehensive account to date of Stone’s involvement in the former president’s effort to overturn the election and in the rallies in Washington that spilled over into violence on Jan. 6.

Stone privately coordinated post-election protests with prominent figures, and in January he communicated by text message with leaders of far-right groups that had been involved in the attack on the Capitol, the footage shows. The filmmakers did not capture conversations between Stone and Trump, but on several occasions, Stone told them or his associates that he remained in contact with the president.

Stone has refused to give testimony and evidence to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, citing his rights under the Fifth Amendment. Last week, he sued members of the panel to try to block them from using a subpoena to obtain his telephone records.

On the day of the attack, as he packed his bags, Stone told the filmmakers the riot was a mistake and would be “really bad” for the pro-Trump movement.

On the eve of the 2020 election, however, he seemed to welcome the prospect of clashes with left-wing activists. In a recorded conversation, as an aide spoke of driving trucks into crowds of racial justice protesters, Stone said: “Once there’s no more election, there’s no reason why we can’t mix it up. These people are going to get what they’ve been asking for.”

Stone declined requests for an interview. In response to questions, he said in an email that he had no involvement in the Jan. 6 riot. “Any claim, assertion or implication that I knew about, was involved in or condoned the illegal acts at the Capitol on Jan 6 is categorically false and there is no witness or document that proves otherwise,” he wrote.

Without providing specifics, Stone accused The Post of employing “a clever blend of ‘guilt by association,’ insinuations, half truths, anonymous claims, falsehoods and out of context trick questions.” He suggested that video clips of him reviewed for this article could be “deep fakes.”

March 5

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Terror attacks on Ukrainian cities begin! Webster G. Tarpley, right, March 5, 2022. Putin’s strategy: restore Russian webster tarpley 2007support for his regime by baiting the US and NATO into an attack on Russia; Russian dictator stages deliberate provocations, like wanton shooting at nuclear power station, designed to pump up anti-Biden War Party aka The Blob in Washington;

Blob is fixated on demand for No-Fly Zone, meaning over two months of air battles, bombing of Russian air bases, radar, anti-aircraft missiles, and logistics deep into European Russia and beyond; Irresponsible calls for a No-Fly Zone only help Trump GOP, who will sell out Kyiv in an instant;

Those advocating thermonuclear World War III in this form should say so and press Congress to declare war; Otherwise, let All Aid Short of War be the watchword;

GOP demands import ban on Russia oil to get higher gasoline prices and a demagogic slogan for November;

76% approve strong State of the Union address; Generic ballot polls show solid support for Democrats; Wartime rally round effect benefits Biden;

Breaking: Gen. Milley visits 22-nation NATO airlift delivering 17 air transports of advanced weaponry each day to Ukraine border; Bolton tells WaPo Trump planned to quit NATO in second term-perfect timing for Putin’s attack!

 

Attorney Gen. William Barr, center, announces his version of the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, flanked by aides Rod Rosenstein and Edward O'Callaghan (C-SPAN photo).

Attorney Gen. William Barr, center, announces his version of the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2019, flanked by aides Rod Rosenstein and Edward O'Callaghan, while keeping the text of the Mueller Report largely secret for weeks while news coverage focused on the Barr verbal version, supplemented by his written excerpts (C-SPAN photo).

washington post logojeffrey toobinNew York Times, Book Review: William P. Barr’s Good Donald Trump and Bad Donald Trump, Jeffrey Toobin, right, March 5, 2022

ONE DAMN THING AFTER ANOTHER
Memoirs of an Attorney General
By William P. Barr

It’s a rare Washington memoir that makes you gasp in the very second sentence. Here’s the first sentence from William P. Barr’s One Damn Thing After Another, an account of his two turns as attorney general: “The first day of December 2020, almost a month after the presidential election, was gray and rainy.” Indeed it was. Here’s the second: “That afternoon, the president, struggling to come to terms with the election result, had heard I was at the White House. …” Uh, “struggling to come to terms with”? Not exactly. How about “struggling to overturn the election he just lost” or “struggling to subvert the will of the voters”? Maybe “struggling to undermine American democracy.”

Such opening vignettes serve a venerable purpose in the Washington memoir genre: to show the hero speaking truth to power. Barr had just told a reporter that the Justice Department had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

This enraged the president. “You must hate Trump,” Trump told Barr. “You would only do this if you hate Trump.” But Barr stood his ground. He repeated that his team had found no fraud in the election results. (This is because there was none.)

By the end of the book, Barr uses the election controversy as a vehicle for a novel interpretation of the Trump presidency: Everything was great until Election Day, 2020. As Barr puts it, “In the final months of his administration, Trump cared only about one thing: himself. Country and principle took second place.” For Barr, it was as if this great president experienced a sudden personality transplant. “After the election,” Barr writes, “he was beyond restraint. He would only listen to a few sycophants who told him what he wanted to hear. Reasoning with him was hopeless.”

The heart of One Damn Thing After Another concerns the earlier days of Trump’s presidency when, apparently, “country and principle” took first place. In his December confrontation with Trump, Barr recalls a comment that may be more revealing than he intends: “‘No, Mr. President, I don’t hate you,’ I said. ‘You know I sacrificed a lot personally to come in to help you when I thought you were being wronged.’”

Robert Mueller (FBI Official Photo)This, as the rest of the book makes clear, is the real reason Barr came out of a comfortable retirement in early 2019 to serve as Jeff Sessions’s successor as attorney general. Barr — who thought Trump was “being wronged” by the investigation into the 2016 election led by Robert S. Mueller III, left, the special counsel — wanted to come to Trump’s defense.

Barr refers to the allegations that Trump colluded with the Russians in the lead-up to the election as, variously, the “Russiagate lunacy,” the “bogus Russiagate scandal,” “the biggest political injustice in our history” and the “Russiagate nonsense” (twice). Barr was as good as his word and sought to undermine Mueller and protect Trump at every opportunity. As Barr reveals in his book, Trump first asked him to serve on his defense team, but Barr later figured he could do more good for the president as attorney general. He was right.

Throughout, Barr affects a quasi-paternal tone when discussing Trump, as if the president were a naughty but good-hearted adolescent. When Trump James Comeysays repeatedly that he fired the F.B.I. director James Comey, right, because of the Russia investigation, Barr spins it as, “Unfortunately, President Trump exacerbated things himself with his clumsy miscues, notably making imprecise comments in an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt and joking around with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador the day after firing Comey.” The just-joking defense is a favorite for Barr, as it is for the former president. In a strikingly humorless book, there is one “funny” line from Trump: “‘Do you know what the secret is of a really good tweet?’ he asked, looking at each of us one by one. We all looked blank. ‘Just the right amount of crazy,’ he said.” (Rest assured that Barr says the president spoke “playfully.”)

During his confirmation hearing, Barr promised to make Mueller’s report public — and he contrived to do so in the most helpful way for the president. In the key part of the report, concerning possible obstruction of justice by Trump (like firing Comey to interfere with the Russia investigation), Mueller said he was bound by Justice Department policy barring indictments of sitting presidents. So, instead of just releasing the report as he had promised, Barr took it upon himself to decide whether Trump could be charged with obstruction of justice. Barr “cleared the decks to work long into the night and over the weekend, studying the report. I wanted to come to a decision on obstruction.” And then, mirabile dictu, Barr concluded that the president had not violated the law, and wrote a letter to that effect. When the Justice Department got around to releasing the actual report several weeks later, it became apparent that the evidence against Trump was more incriminating than Barr let on, but by that point the attorney general had succeeded in shaping the story to the president’s great advantage.

djt barr conferring headshotsBarr, shown conferring at left with Trump, portrays Mueller, a former colleague and friend from their service in the George H W. Bush administration, as a feeble old man pushed around by liberals on his staff. To thwart them, Barr took extraordinary steps to trash Mueller’s work. On the eve of the sentencing of Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political adviser, for obstruction of justice, Barr overruled the prosecutors and asked for a lighter sentence: “While he should not be treated any better than others because he was an associate of the president’s, he also should not be treated much worse than others.” In fact, Stone was being sentenced pursuant to guidelines that apply in all cases, but in this one and only instance, Barr decided to intervene.

michael flynn wh podium CustomEven more dramatic was Barr’s intercession on behalf of Michael Flynn, right, who pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. Prodded by Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, who later emerged as a principal conspiracy theorist in the post-2020 election period, Barr not only allowed Flynn to revoke his guilty plea but then dismissed the case altogether. “I concluded that the handling of the Flynn matter by the F.B.I. had been an abuse of power that no responsible A.G. could let stand,” he writes. Suffice it to say that none of the thousands of other cases brought by the Justice Department during Barr’s tenure received this kind of high-level attention and mercy; moreover, it was rare, and perhaps even unprecedented, for the department to dismiss a case in which the defendant pleaded guilty.

The only scalps Barr wanted were of those in the F.B.I. who started the Russia investigation in the first place. He writes, “I started thinking seriously about how best to get to the bottom of the matter that really required investigation: How did the phony Russiagate scandal get going, and why did the F.B.I. leadership handle the matter in such an inexplicable and heavy-handed way?” He appointed a federal prosecutor named John Durham to lead this probe, which has now been going on longer than the Mueller investigation, with little to show for it.

Barr’s odd theory about Good Trump turning into Bad Trump may have more to do with his feelings about Democrats than with the president he served. “I am under no illusion about who is responsible for dividing the country, embittering our politics and weakening and demoralizing our nation,” he writes. “It is the progressive left and their increasingly totalitarian ideals.” In a way, it’s the highest praise Barr can offer Trump: He had the right enemies.

Jeffrey Toobin, the chief legal analyst at CNN, is writing a book about the Oklahoma City bombing.

March 4

 

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Special Investigative Report: Putin's American "klepto-colony" of DeSantis's Florida, Wayne Madsen, left (left, author of 21 books, including that portrayed below left, and a former Navy intelligence officer), March 4, 2022. WMR wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallis in possession of a tranche of financial and other data that points to the Republican Party establishment in Florida, particularly Governor Ronald Dion DeSantis, acting as virtual bag men for Russian oligarchs closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Even prior to receiving the data in question, this online publication was closely tracking DeSantis's activities, particularly those that have taken a strongly pro-Putin slant.

ron desantis uncredited CustomDeSantis, right, remained mum on Russia's invasion of Ukraine for a full five entire days after Russian troops crossed the borders of Russia and Belarus into Ukraine. On February 24, the same day Russia attacked Ukraine, DeSantis, speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, failed to criticize Russia, but, instead, lambasted U.S. allies Canada and Australia. DeSantis falsely stated that both countries were under “authoritarian rule." In tossing out red meat to his CPAC audience, DeSantis also referred to the Biden administration, which was feverishly engaged in high-level diplomacy to avoid a wider war in Europe, as the “Brandon Administration,” an unveiled cryptonym for “fuck Joe Biden.”

wayne madsen fourth reich coverThe following day, February 25, in a fundraising email for his current gubernatorial re-election campaign, DeSantis referred to the leader of Canada, a NATO member heaviy involved in training and supplying Ukrainian military personnel, as the "power drunk leader Justin Trudeau.” DeSantis also called Canada, a country with one of the largest populations of those of Ukrainian descent outside of Ukraine, as an "authoritarian wasteland." It was not until February 28 that DeSantis finally mentioned the war. He blamed it on President Biden, claiming it would not have occurred with Donald Trump as president. Still, there was no message of support for Ukraine by DeSantis nor condemnation of either Russia or Putin. On March 2, rather than condemning Russia, DeSantis attacked France, a NATO member, in claiming that the French, unlike the Ukrainians, would have quickly surrendered had they been attacked by the Russians. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, DeSantis's rhetoric has been indistinguishable from that of Putin or Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Two days prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, DeSantis's Press Secretary, Christina Pushaw, a former spokesperson for the Republic of Georgia's former president Mikheil Saakashvili, currently in prison in Georgia for fraud and presidential abuse of power, dismissed the Russian invasion of Ukraine in stating, "the sad fact is the USA is in no position to ‘promote democracy’ abroad while our own country is falling apart.” DeSantis failed to correct or amend Pushaw's comment.

DeSantis has also made no effort to disinvest $300 million of state funds in Russian corporations even though his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, state Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried challenged him to do so.

 

February Updates

Feb. 26

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Putin goes full Hitler against Ukraine! Webster G. Tarpley, right, Feb. 26, 2022. Russians continue attack on Kiev, but no big webster tarpley 2007cities taken yet; NATO activates Rapid Response Force for first-ever collective defense effort.

Free world joins punitive sanctions, but no SWIFT expulsion yet; Putin and Lavrov hit by personal economic sanctions; Putin tries conquest on the cheap: Subjugation of Ukraine’s 44 million people with fewer than 200,000 soldiers (1 invader per 220 Ukrainians) is an even worse blunder than G.W. Bush’s failed bid to conquer 26 million Iraqis with 250,000 troops (1 invader per 104 Iraqis)!

Pentagon notes that Putin’s Bliztkrieg is losing its vim; Russians driven back from Kherson Bridge; soldatesca suffers considerable losses; Policy of understating the danger of attack to soothe hot money investors is mistaken, since this prevents military readiness; US allies should stop public complaining about tactics and timing, since this conduct only provides raw material for pro-Putin GOP propaganda;

The collapse of the Russian Federation and the extinction of the Republican Party now linked!

Feb. 21

Steady, Reflections on the American presidency: Is It Really Presidents' Day? Dan Rather, right (author and former CBS News Evening Anchor and dan rather 2017Managing Editor), Feb. 21, 2022. Happy Presidents’ Day.

Let’s face it, it’s an odd holiday in many ways, starting with a lack of clarity over exactly what we are celebrating, other than a welcome Monday off in the depths of winter.

For most of my life, we celebrated George Washington’s birthday on February 22.

george washington gilbert stuart portraitAbraham Lincoln was also born in February (the 12th, under the new calendar, so no worries there). In most places, his birthday wasn’t an official holiday. So the idea of combining the birthdays of two of our most revered presidents into a Presidents’ Day seemed to make sense.

But does “Presidents’ Day” mean this day is actually in recognition of ALL presidents?

Perhaps we can try to disentangle ourselves from some of these syntactic wanderings and use this Presidents’ Day (I'm sticking with this form of the apostrophe) into a consideration of the presidency more generally. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately.

The U.S. presidency is a combination of both a head of government and a head of state. It oversees a continental experiment in representative democracy. It now also entails being the Commander in Chief of the most potent military force the world has ever seen assembled. So pretty powerful stuff.

When I was growing up, the office of the presidency carried with it an almost mythic status. At least that’s what we were taught in school. Thankfully, we have long since moved beyond seeing our presidents with hagiographic halos. Even Washington and Lincoln were flawed men, trapped by their times and their inability to think more broadly, especially on the issue of race.

This more nuanced view of the presidency, and American history more generally, is producing a backlash. The fights over our curricula at the state and local level are often about how we try to contend with the complexities of our national story. And it is only natural that our presidents, or at least their reputations, should get caught in the rhetorical crossfire.

Our Founding Fathers were very clear that they were creating, in the presidency, a citizen who was not above the law, certainly not a king, let alone a god. They could have never imagined how powerful the nation they created would become, and thus the powers that would lie with the person leading it. They were wary of concentrated power, and they would have never abided by the idea that presidents would be above reproach, re-examination, and even scorn. Cults of personality are the antithesis of what they hoped to create.

And yet, at the same time, as a nation we should yearn for stateliness in the position itself. We should hope for wise leadership. We should respect the office.

All presidencies are messy in real time. It often takes the distance of history to add necessary context. Fiercely debating how we should govern is completely acceptable. Wrestling over how we adjudicate power, how we weigh the accumulation and spending of our resources, how we plan for the future and make sense of the past — all this is also fair and open to disagreement.

But that presidents can be brazenly above the law must be considered un-American. That they should rule for only their supporters at the expense of the rest of the nation must be rejected. And that they should not accept the verdict of the people in free and fair elections is to make a mockery of our most basic democratic necessities.

Ultimately the American presidency is what we allow it to be. It is an extension of us, the nation at large. And it should reflect us, in all of our wonderful diversity, encouraged by our better angels.

Feb. 20

 

djt hands open amazon safe

Palmer Report, Opinion: This is outrageous, Bill Palmer, right, Feb. 20, 2022. Over the past week various judges in various jurisdictions ruled that Donald bill palmerTrump and his family must testify in the New York probe into the Trump Organization, that Allen Weisselberg must testify in the Washington DC probe into the Trump inaugural, and that Trump can be held personally liable for harm caused by the January 6th attack.

This swarm of devastating rulings against Donald Trump has finally convinced a lot of you that his future really does consist of bill palmer report logo headerbankruptcy and prison, not some kind of mythical comeback. It’s good to see some of the defeatist fretting finally subside, and give way to positive momentum. When defeatism rules the day, it’s difficult to organize and put in the work and win any upcoming battles. But when your side has momentum and is able to see what a win looks like, it becomes a whole lot easier to organize and win tough battles such as, say, the 2022 midterms.

However, before we embark on the constructive hard work of winning upcoming political battles, we should take a moment to think about how we got to this point – because it’s not pretty. If you look at what transpired in court this week (particularly in New York), and you work backwards, you realize that this was always going to be the outcome. It’s been clear since late 2019 that if Trump lost the 2020 election, New CNNYork would take his assets and put in him in prison. Once he did lose the election, there was never any doubt that we’d end up where we’re at now. Trump was always going down.

Yet for the past year, nearly everyone in the mainstream media – left, right, or center – and nearly all of the most prominent social media pundits, have been insisting that Donald Trump would get away with it all and somehow retake control of the country. Since literally the minute Trump was declared the loser, the media and the pundits have been insisting nonstop that Trump in 2024 was inevitable. Not only was he going to automatically win the Republican nomination, he was somehow magically going to steal the general election as well – and then we’d all be doomed.

There was never anything to support this narrative. Within days of leaving office, polling showed that only about half of Republican voters even wanted Trump to be their 2024 presidential nominee. There was no consensus on an alternative candidate; Republican voters were simply making clear that they knew Trump was washed up, damaged goods, someone who had no future and certainly wouldn’t be competitive if he were the 2024 Republican nominee.

fox news logo SmallYet even as the facts have made clear for the past year that the Republican electorate had already moved beyond Trump, and that New York was going to put Trump in prison long before 2024 anyway, the media has almost unanimously spent the past year feeding us a fictional story instead. The media simply ignored every single thing that was happening, and instead fed us baseless “Trump 2024” hype. And if anything, media outlets that lean liberal were more guilty of promoting this narrative.

How could the entire media have spent an entire year getting the entire narrative about Donald Trump entirely wrong? That kind of industry-wide ineptness isn’t possible, of course, unless it was done on purpose. And let’s not mince words: it was in fact done on purpose.

Every single person in the mainstream media, and every prominent political pundit, has known all along that things in New York would inevitably end up where they are now. The New York Attorney General would not only dismantle the Trump Organization, but do it in way that would feed the related criminal case against Donald Trump and his family. Trump was always heading for bankruptcy and prison in New York – and nothing was going to cause that path to deviate.

msnbc logo CustomBut it was going to take time for things to progress to this point – an unknown amount of time. And that was the problem. The media and the pundits didn’t want to have to spend every day of the past year factually pointing out that at some unknown future time, Trump would be ripped limb from proverbial limb by New York prosecutors. The media didn’t want to have to keep covering a story that was moving at a snail’s pace and didn’t produce any publicly visible results most days. More specifically, the media didn’t want to annoy audiences by repeatedly pointing out that Trump was going to be indicted and put in prison, without being able to specify when this would actually end up happening.

You should be so outraged by this industry-wide deception, there should be steam coming out of your ears. You’ve been lied to.

Not only have you been lied to, you’ve been lied to in an injurious manner. Many of you have spent the past year scared to death that Trump was going to “get away with it all” and take over the country in 2024. Many of you have been too scared, too paralyzed with fear, too demotivated, to be able to focus on fighting the political battles that have needed to be fought.

Feb. 19

World Crisis Radio, Russian Attack on Ukraine Begins with Cyber Ops & Flurry of Staged False Flag Provocations in Donbas Hyped by Pro-Putin webster tarpley 2007Media, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Feb. 19, 2022 (57.33 mins.). Biden announces US finding that Putin has chosen war; Kremlin’s nuclear drill adds another layer of grave danger; Hungary and Bulgaria get US ground forces as NATO Eastern Flank buildup continues;

Berlin signals awareness that Nord Stream pipeline will not survive Russian attack; Russia’s expulsion from SWIFT interbank money transfer must be centerpiece of retaliation;

Solution to challenge of Russian aggression requires anti-missile shield based on layered laser defense, starting with orbital platforms; a new Manhattan Project to build and deploy these systems will make US Arsenal of Democracy against totalitarians;

After paralyzing national capital & main artery of international commerce of leading NATO state Canada on eve of war, fifth column of anarchist ”truckers” scatters when police finally move in; enough already with ”post-nationalism”;

Will Trump/GOP’s pro-Russian, anti-American appeasement line doom party under conditions of war in Europe?

Not woke ideology, but mass traction economic demands are key to Democratic success!

Feb. 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Investors bought a record share of homes in metro areas in 2021, disproportionately squeezing buyers in Black neighborhoods, Kevin Schaul and Jonathan O'Connell, Feb. 16, 2022. An analysis of 40 major metro areas revealed unequal levels of investor activity, with southern cities and Black neighborhoods disproportionately affected.

Last year investors bought nearly one in seven homes sold in America’s top metropolitan areas, the most in at least two decades, according to the realty company Redfin.

Those purchases come at a time when would-be buyers across the country are seeing wildly escalating prices, raising the question of what impact investors are having on prices for everyone else. Investors were even more aggressive in the final three months of the year, buying 15 percent of all homes that sold in the 40 markets.

Real estate investors can be large corporations, local companies or wealthy individuals, and they generally don’t live in the properties they are buying. Some look to flip homes to new buyers, while others rent them out.

Neighborhoods where a majority of residents are Black have been heavily targeted, according to a Washington Post analysis of Redfin data. Last year 30 percent of home sales in majority Black neighborhoods were to investors, compared with 12 percent in other Zip codes, The Post’s analysis shows.

Feb. 14

joe oltmann patrick byrne safe

Colorado militant Joe Oltmann (left above) and ex-Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne (right). Introduction Just days ago, on an episode of Conservative Daily Podcast titled “GOPers Covering Up Election Fraud,” insurrectionist Colorado militiaman Joe Oltmann — whose presence in Donald Trump’s Insurrection Eve “command center” at the Willard Hotel in Washington was extensively covered by Proof here and here — lit into his one-time insurrectionist compatriot Patrick Byrne over a statement Byrne made about him.

Proof, Investigation: Eyewitness: I Was Present As Alleged Coup Plotter Patrick Byrne Privately Confessed to Federal Crimes on January 6—and seth abramson graphicThere's a Video of Him Doing It, Seth Abramson, left, Feb. 14, 2022. New audio and video evidence from insurrectionists Joe Oltmann and Patrick Byrne is about to become critical to ongoing federal investigations by both the FBI and House January 6 Committee.

Byrne and Oltmann are so loudly self-righteous about their supposedly noble efforts to end U.S. democracy that they have provided seth abramson proof logofederal investigators — both in Congress and the FBI — with a trail of evidence that cannot be ignored. And only some of that evidence is testimonial; some portion of it clearly exists in multimedia formats, whether it be prior statements made by Oltmann on his too-candid-by-half Conservative Daily Podcast or Byrne’s now multiple public confessions about what he was doing before and during and after January 6.

Or we could look at Oltmann’s Facebook videos — previously reported on by Proof here and here — or what apparently is a whole film Byrne made on his dubiously legal conduct.

All this must be seized by investigators before any of it is destroyed or otherwise compromised. But Congress must also exploit the new divisions that have appeared within the coup plotters’ ranks. At one point in the conversation of his with Patrick Byrne that he secretly lin wood gage skidmorerecorded, Linn Wood (shown at left in a Gage Skidmore photo) actually advises Byrne to go to federal authorities and drop a dime on his fellow coup plotter Sidney Powell (albeit for financial crimes, not political ones).

sidney powellThe consequences this would have for the January 6 investigation would have been fully unmistakable to Byrne in that moment, and yet he agreed with Wood that he would probably need to turn Powell, right, in to the authorities — partly (perhaps even in major part) to save his own skin. Congress and the FBI can now leverage the same sort of cynical reasoning to question Byrne and Wood with respect to their actions on and around January 6, or even to cut a deal with Powell on some of her alleged financial crimes if she will reveal in full what she said to Donald Trump (and what he said to her in response) on December 18, 2020 and other key dates in the insurrection timeline.

It has been far too easy, for some time now, for members of Congress and federal law enforcement officers to dismiss people like Lindell, Oltmann, Byrne, Powell, Flynn as cranks, lunatics, or some combination of the two. What sort of person would conspire with these incompetent radicals, one might ask?

The answer: Donald Trump. Donald Trump would, and apparently did, conspire with these people. That most Americans of sense would never partner up with them, or even (and here I speak from experience) communicate with them if they reached out, is immaterial.

Sometimes alleged wrong-doers are every bit as stupid as those aiming to chase them down hope they will be, and that’s all to the good (unless you’re currently working as a state public defender). That the January 6 coup plotters failed saved our nation. That the plotters are, in many instances, embarrassingly unsophisticated must be exploited to ensure the investigation of their coup plot doesn’t meet the same fate the plot itself did.

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

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

Feb. 13

 

Watergate Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward, left, and Carl Bernstein speaking at the National Press Club on Oct. 20, 2014 (Photo courtesy of Noel St. John).20 14

Watergate Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward, left, and Carl Bernstein speaking at the National Press Club on Oct. 20, 2014 (Photo courtesy of Noel St. John).

New York Magazine, Book Excerpt and Commentary: Woodward and Bernstein Didn’t Act Alone, Garrett M. Graff, right (adapted from the author's garrett graff twitterforthcoming book, Watergate: A New History, Avid Reader Press), Feb. 13, 2022. If not for their competitors, Nixon would probably have survived Watergate.

It’s easy looking back a half-century later to feel that the fall of Richard Nixon was inevitable, but the Watergate plotters almost got away with it. At a half-dozen moments after the June 17, 1972, burglary and attempted bugging of the Democratic Party headquarters, the investigations and follow-ons appeared all but over. Nixon won many of the early rounds of the coverup and went on to win reelection that same year in a landslide. It really did appear, in the White House’s famous words, to be just a “third-rate burglary.”

What eventually caused Watergate to turn from an odd political sideshow into an ultimately fatal, inescapable scandal was dogged investigative reporting — but there, again, the history we remember is not the history that actually happened.

It wasn’t just the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who broke open the story but a half-dozen other reporters, all working far from the cozy corners of D.C. power — none of whom were immortalized onscreen by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Woodward and Bernstein mattered, yes, but not in the way that the popular history recorded in the gauzy, laudatory movie All the President’s Men tells us. Under a slightly different set of circumstances, it’s not even clear that Woodward and Bernstein’s names would be synonymous with Nixon’s downfall. Without their competitors at other newspapers, Nixon would have almost surely survived.

The first Watergate leak from the man who would become the most famous source of all time, Deep Throat, a.k.a. FBI associate director W. Mark Felt, went not to the Post at all but to its crosstown rival, the Washington Daily News.

On June 30, Felt, already frustrated by what he saw as stonewalling in the investigation by the bureau’s acting director, L. Patrick Gray III, handed the capital’s afternoon tabloid a scoop about the suspicious contents of E. Howard Hunt’s safe at the White House. It turned out to be the Daily News’ first and last Watergate scoop; it shut down publication in early July, a victim of the city’s 1970s newspaper wars. Whether, if it had continued publishing, the paper would have become Felt’s preferred source of leaks, rather than Post, will never be known.

Over the next few weeks, both Woodward and Bernstein, who had doggedly reported about the burglary in the first following days, both drifted away from the story. The Post had all but moved on by mid-July. Bernstein was sure that the break-in was bigger than anyone imagined, but the Post had a daily newspaper to run, and despite his protests, his editors assigned him back to his normal Virginia beat. Woodward took a July vacation home to Michigan, where his Republican father urged him to vote for Nixon in the fall.

Meanwhile, a steady drip of stories about the FBI’s stalled investigation emerged from Time magazine’s Sandy Smith, a gruff former organized-crime reporter who was well-sourced in law enforcement. Smith documented how even in those first days, the Justice Department leadership appeared to be stonewalling attempts by the FBI’s Washington Field Office to dig deeper into the burglary and its ties to Nixon’s campaign. Smith’s scoops resulted in a then-unknown explosive meeting between the field agents and acting director Gray, where he hauled them into his director’s suite on a Saturday morning to rail against the leaks.

It was only a late July scoop by the New York Times’ Walter Rugaber that jolted the capital back to attention. Rugaber had come to the D.C. bureau in 1969 after covering the civil rights movement in Georgia and Alabama and had been suspicious of the Watergate operation as soon as he heard Nixon’s campaign security director was involved.

Rugaber’s scoop on July 25 spurred the Washington Post to reassemble their Watergate team. Managing editor Howard Simons, annoyed, cornered city editor Barry Sussman with the Times in hand and demanded, “Why didn’t we have that?” And by the end of the day, Woodward and Bernstein were back on the beat until further notice. Though in its own way, the assignment of two young, inexperienced reporters amid a newsroom filled with respected veterans still indicated how little attention the Post expected to get out of the scandal.

Barely two years later, Woodward and Bernstein’s legacy of aggressive investigative reporting was mythologized in the movie that grew out of their book. The movie also rewrote history in ways big and small: It put Deep Throat at the center of a story in which he was actually mostly a barry sussman cover newbit player and sidelined from the narrative two of the paper’s main internal Watergate champions: managing editor Howard Simons and city editor Barry Sussman.

Sussman, who had edited and overseen the paper’s trove of stories, was written out of the movie entirely and ultimately wrote his own (very good) history of the scandal, The Great Cover-Up. “I don’t have anything good to say about either one of them,” he said to journalism historian Alicia Shepherd decades later when she was writing a biography of the duo forever short-handed as “Woodstein.”

By the end of the scandal in August 1974, the reporters on the beat — Woodward, Bernstein, Smith, Nelson, Rugaber, Hersh, and others — collectively ushered in a new style of journalism and posture for reporters. “This was a turning point in the relationship between the White House and the press,” Shepherd wrote. “Never again would White House reporters be so trusting or respectful of a press secretary pushing the administration’s agenda.”

Feb. 12

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Biden issues War Warning for Ukraine, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Russian attack likely within days, before end of webster tarpley 2007Olympics.

Biggest signal yet of institutional resistance to Putin’s war policy from inside Russia: well-known Russian strategist Gen. Leonid Ivashov demands Putin’s resignation, condemns Kremlin’s ”criminal” war in Ukraine that could wipe out Russia and her population; Former KGB/FSB chief Gen. Savostyanov joins call;

Despite Putin’s complaints, no immediate threat from NATO exists; War policy exists to camouflage failure of regime; Ivashov expects Turkey to attack Russia in Crimea with two field armies and entire Black Sea fleet to seize Crimea and Sevastpol; 3,000 more tripwire forces going to Rzescow, Poland; other US forces arrive in Romania;

White House again urges Americans to leave; US expats in Kiev dawdle, failing to learn lessons of Kabul; False flag watch is on;

Truck convoys supported by Trump, deSantis, & Cruz disrupt NATO logistics on eve of war, and must cease!

Feb. 9

 

Trucks are backed up Monday on both sides of the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit (Photo by Daniel Mears via Associated Press).

Trucks are backed up Monday on both sides of the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit (Photo by Daniel Mears via Associated Press).

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary, Anti-vaxxers are the vanguard of the global fascist movement, Wayne Madsen, left, author of wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small21 books, including the recent The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the Far Right (shown below) and former Navy intelligence officer, Feb. 9, 2022.

wayne madesen report logoThe anti-vaxxer truckers' "FREEDOM CONVOY" siege of the Canadian capital of Ottawa and other Canadian cities finally exposed what the entire anti-Covid vaccination movement is all about: providing a cause to united and rally fascists around the world in a multi-pronged attempt to overthrow by force democratically-elected governments.

Opposition to public health requirements during the pandemic was used by fascists the world over to create political instability. First, the fascists opposed lock downs, mandatory masking, and safe distancing prior to a vaccine being fielded to the general population.

wayne madsen fourth reich coverIn August and September 2020, white supremacist militiamen with the Wolverine Watchmen attempted to storm the Michigan legislature in Lansing, kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, below right, from her vacation home, assassinate Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, and kill as many Democratic legislators and Michigan State Police officers as possible.

gretchen whitmer o horizontal CustomThis act followed the April siege of the Michigan legislature by armed protesters opposed to state lock down orders. Similar sieges of state Capitols by anti-vaxxers and the violence-prone far-right took place in Richmond, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Salem, Oregon; Olympia, Washington; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

The "LIBERATE MICHIGAN" siege would serve as a template for future political disruption, including the January 6, 2021 siege of the U.S. Capitol to prevent the certification of the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

The weaponization of lunacy with the rise of conspiracy cults like Qanon and the anti-vaxx cause fed directly into the unsuccessful attempt later in 2021 to recall California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. In these and other political actions, the not-so-hidden hands of Russian, other Eastern European, Israeli, and domestic U.S. "bot farms" and "boiler rooms" were at play in stirring up the far-right on social media platforms, including Facebook, Gab, Instagram, Telegram, and Twitter.

Feb. 7

 

michael flynn resized djt

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary SPECIAL REPORT: Michael Flynn, above left, and active duty brother represent a major U.S. intelligence wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallcollapse, Wayne Madsen, left,

Wayne Madsen, left (former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst, whose his 21st book The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich (shown below) documents parallels between 1930s fascists and the pro-Trump fascist movement in America, Feb. 6-7, 2022.

After perusing declassified files of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where Michael Flynn served as director from 2012 to 2014, there is a strong possibility that Flynn was more loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin than he was to his own commander-in-chief, President Barack wayne madesen report logoObama. The mere fact that it took two years before Obama fired Flynn as DIA director suggests that there were others inside the Intelligence Community and Defense Department who had been running interference for Flynn.

Flynn and [General Stanley] McChrystal serve as examples of renegade generals, who, in the spirit of General Douglas MacArthur, believe they have more authority than the president.

wayne madsen fourth reich coverSuch a flagrant abuse within the military ranks would not be seen again until January 2021, when Flynn's brother, General Charles Flynn, U.S. Army deputy chief of staff for operations, and Lt. General Walter Piatt, director of Army staff, conspired with the Trump White House to refuse authorization to dispatch National Guard troops to protect the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 siege by Trump insurrectionists.

charles flynn oEarlier, Michael Flynn had urged Trump to declare martial law, seize voting machines around the nation, and conduct an illegal "re-do" of the election. Such a collapse of constitutional government in the United States would have fulfilled the dreams of the Kremlin, which had never warmed to Western-style representative democracy, choosing instead autocratic rule by a corrupt oligarchy.

It is noteworthy that Charles Flynn is currently the commander of U.S. Army Forces Indo-Pacific at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, where he permitted a recent Republican Party event called "Red Takes Blue" at the Army's Schofield Barracks base, which is under Charles Flynn's command. The event, before it was quickly canceled due to adverse publicity, featured "Stop the Steal" figure Scott Presler.

Flynn lied about his Russia contacts to the FBI, an act that resulted in his criminal indictment and conviction, later overturned by Trump's pardon.

Flynn had been considered as the vice presidential running mate for Trump in 2016. One shudders to think of what would have occurred on January 6, 2021 had it been Flynn instead of Mike Pence who was presiding over the Senate's certification of the electoral votes.

Feb. 5

 

cyril wecht oswald jfk ny post composite

Dr. Cyril Wecht was the first non-governmental forensic pathologist to gain access to the National Archives to examine the assassination materials on JFK in 1972. He discovered that Kennedy's brain was missing as well as many shocking lapses in the official probe into his death. NY Post photo composite

New York Post, JFK assassination expert: Lee Harvey Oswald lone gunman theory is ‘bulls–t,’ Heather Robinson, Feb. 5, 2022. Dr. Cyril Wecht was the first non-governmental forensic pathologist to gain access to the National Archives to examine the assassination materials on JFK in 1972. He discovered that Kennedy’s brain was missing as well as many shocking lapses in the official probe into his death.

Dr. Cyril Wecht distrusts the US government. And he’s proud of it.

The forensic pathologist — who declared in 1978 that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy — is now 90 and still sticking to his story.

Wecht’s latest book, The JFK Assassination Dissected (Exposit Books), summarizes his six decades of research into the subject, and pokes cyril wecht jfk assassination dissectedholes in the conclusion made by the seven-man Warren Commission that Oswald, without any help, shot and killed Kennedy when his motorcade drove past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

“Young people are still being taught that the 35th president was murdered by a lone gunman, and that is simply bulls–t,” Wecht boomed during an interview at his modest office in downtown Pittsburgh last month.

Nearly 60 years ago, the commission concluded that Oswald killed Kennedy because he was a disaffected, profoundly maladjusted loner with communist sympathies. But Wecht still believes the shooter may have been a hired gun committing murder for the CIA.

Oswald “had almost certainly been a CIA agent of some kind,” says Wecht, but the directive to kill may have come from higher up. Allen Dulles, director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961, had overseen the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion to oust Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and had reason to be disgruntled. Dulles also ended up in prime position to participate in a coverup, Wecht conjectured.

“Kennedy had fired Allen Dulles because he was really pissed off about what the CIA was doing,” said Wecht. “Then who gets appointed to the Warren Commission? Dulles. It stinks to high heaven.”

Tanned, vigorous and dressed sharply in a black jacket and red necktie, Wecht said he wrote his book now for the sake of the truth — and his advancing age.

“I don’t intend to live forever, just for a long time,” said Wecht, who has a wife, Sigrid Wecht, and four children. “I felt I wanted to lay out all the things I’ve experienced and done and the people I’ve met, and it was time. I’ve been working on the book for six years.”

The former coroner of Allegheny County, Pa., Wecht is both a trained lawyer and doctor who has conducted more than 17,000 autopsies and also provided expert testimony on high-profile cases including the deaths of Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis Presley, JonBenet Ramsey and Laci Peterson.

The first non-governmental forensic pathologist to gain access to the National Archives to examine the assassination materials in 1972, Wecht discovered and exposed the ghastly fact that the 35th president’s brain had vanished.

“As we sit and talk today, the president’s brain remains missing. Unaccounted for,” he said.

Interest in the assassination — and speculation about a conspiracy — has simmered for decades, gaining steam after Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie “JFK” disputed the belief that Oswald acted alone. (Wecht consulted on Stone’s film and dedicated a chapter to his experience on the movie set. Stone, in turn, wrote the book’s foreword).

In 1992, after a public outcry, Congress passed the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act requiring release of all JFK assassination files by 2017. The deadline has come and gone with US presidents citing national security concerns Biden has scheduled release of the final documents for December 2022.

Wecht is dubious that all the relevant documents will be released but predicts that if they are, it could be revelatory.

“There might be something supporting more than one gunman, evidence of witness manipulation, or failure to call key witnesses,” he said.

In the decades since the assassination, most Americans have continued to believe that Oswald did not act alone. In 1976, one year after the public release of the Zapruder film, a 1963 home movie made by Dallas clothier Abraham Zapruder capturing the moment JFK was shot, 81 percent said they believed more than one gunman was involved.

By 2017, that figure was still high at 60 percent.

‘Young people are still being taught the 35th president was murdered by a lone gunman. That is simply bulls–t.’

Wecht’s book contains never-before published details of his meetings with Oswald’s widow, Marina, left, who, although unhappily married to marina oswald country styleOswald, validated her husband’s claim that he was “just a patsy,” as well as of Wecht’s meeting with George de Mohrenschildt, a shadowy CIA-connected figure who befriended the Oswalds prior to the assassination and, before committing suicide himself in 1977, corroborated Marina’s assessment of Oswald as a fall guy.

The book describes the defection of Oswald, a trained marksman, Marine, and fluent Russian speaker, to the USSR for two-and-a-half years, and his trouble-free return to the US with bride Marina, niece of a high-ranking KGB officer, at the height of the Cold War. (The implication is that Oswald had friends in high places).

After a 10-month investigation, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald fired three times. One shot missed, another hit Kennedy in the back, and the third hit him in the head. Rather than explain the sequence of the hits, the commission presented three slightly different scenarios, but each scenario ended with the conclusion that just one gunman killed the president.

In 1978, Wecht, as a member of the forensic pathology panel assembled by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), testified in favor of a second gunman. He was the lone dissenter.

“I really stood alone,” he said.

For one, the gunshot wound in Kennedy’s back — which the Warren Commission said had an upward trajectory — couldn’t have been caused by Oswald as the sole assassin firing from above, Wecht said.

“Under the single bullet theory, Oswald is the sole assassin, he’s firing from the sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository building, so the bullet is moving from up, downward, right? So how the hell could it go upward?”

Wecht believes an additional shot, from a second gunman, was “fired from the front, behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll” and that “two bullets hit Kennedy . . . one from the rear, one from the front.”

He also recounts that the chief medical examiner for the Dallas Coroner’s office, Dr. Earl Rose, whose office was located at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas where JFK received treatment and died, was manhandled by the Secret Service to prevent him from conducting the autopsy.

“The agent . . . put his arms under Rose’s armpits, lifted him into the air, and set him down gently against a wall. It wasn’t an action designed to hurt Dr. Rose but to show him who was boss,” Wecht writes.

“They swore, they put Dr. Rose up against the wall,” he added.

Instead, JFK’s corpse was flown to Washington, DC, where an autopsy was done by two physicians, neither of whom was board certified in forensic pathology, and neither of whom “had ever done a gunshot wound autopsy in their entire careers,” he said.

The autopsy materials, “including clothing, X-rays, bullet,” “amazingly, belonged to Jacqueline Kennedy,” who donated them to the National Archives in Washington, DC, with the proviso that nobody could see those effects for 75 years, except that after five years, a “recognized expert in the field of pathology with a serious historic purpose” could apply to examine them, Wecht said.

Wecht fought to fill that slot and was given permission to conduct the probe in 1972. That’s when he discovered that JFK’s brain, despite being listed in the inventory of assassination materials, was “no longer available.”

“If they had dissected the brain, they would’ve seen there were two bullets that hit Kennedy in the brain, one from the rear, and one from the front,” said Wecht. His theory that the president was hit in the head twice is “based on witness testimony, the Zapruder film, and medical evidence.”

Critics argue that professionals like Wecht questioning the Warren Commission’s findings have contributed to a general erosion of trust in authority and spawned an industry of conspiracy-theorizing, prompting potentially harmful doubts about everything from vaccines to elections.

But Wecht doesn’t mind the term “conspiracy theorist.”

“I am amused by the audacity and hypocrisy of people calling me a conspiratorialist,” he said. “I have always had a majority of Americans on my side. How many things are there that maintain a majority consensus?

“Go back and talk with older people, before Watergate and Vietnam,” he says. “Pretty much what the government said, that was it, you did not question.

“Go back and talk with older people, before Watergate and Vietnam,” he says. “Pretty much what the government said, that was it, you did not question.

“We are still learning things the government covered up.”

Feb. 4

 

 capitol peter stager

In one scene from the Capitol riot, an Arkansas man, Peter Francis Stager (shown at center in a screengrab, the man with a beard and holding a flag), was arrested last week on charges of beating a Capitol Hill policeman being stomped by the mob.

 

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and former President Trump (file photos).

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and former President Trump (file photos).

ny times logoNew York Times, G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack ‘Legitimate Political Discourse,’ Jonathan Weisman and Reid J. Epstein, Feb. 4, 2022. The moves were an extraordinary statement about the attack, in which Trump supporters stormed the complex, brutalized officers and sent lawmakers into hiding.

The Republican Party on Friday officially declared the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and events that led to it “legitimate political discourse,” and rebuked two lawmakers in the party who have been most outspoken in condemning the deadly riot and the role of Donald J. Trump in spreading the election lies that fueled it.

rnc logoThe Republican National Committee’s voice vote to censure Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois at its winter meeting in Salt Lake City culminated more than a year of vacillation, which started with party leaders condemning the Capitol attack and Mr. Trump’s conduct, then shifted to downplaying and denying it.

On Friday, the party went further in a resolution slamming Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger for taking part in the House investigation of the assault, saying they were participating in “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

After the vote, party leaders rushed to clarify that language, saying it was never meant to apply to rioters who violently stormed the Capitol in Mr. Trump’s name.

“Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line,” Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, said in a statement. “They chose to join Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol.”

But the censure, which was carefully negotiated in private among party members, made no such distinction. It was the latest and most forceful effort by the Republican Party to minimize what happened and the broader attempt by Mr. Trump and his allies to invalidate the results of the 2020 election. In approving it and opting to punish two of its own, Republicans seemed to embrace a position that many of them have only hinted at: that the assault and the actions that preceded it were acceptable.

It came days after Mr. Trump suggested that, if re-elected in 2024, he would consider pardons for those convicted in the Jan. 6 attack and for the first time described his goal as aiming to “overturn” the election results.

The day’s events, which were supposed to be about unity, only served to divide Republicans as their leaders try to focus attention on what they call the failings of the Biden administration.

Los Angeles Times, Investigative Commentary: Extremists are set to take over this California county. Will more of the state be next? Anita Chabria, Feb. 4, 2022. The recent recall election in Shasta County that pitted a Republican ex-police chief against a far-right faction backed by a local militia is different. It’s a wake-up call ahead of the 2022 midterms that elections can go very wrong, even in liberal California.

What happened in Redding should be a big, blinking warning light to what’s left of the mainstream Republican Party, and to us all that we have an obligation as Californians to protect elections across the state, not just the ones in our backyard.

The far right has made it clear that it hopes to target and drive out elected officials in places where their small numbers have outsized power with the right mix of discontent, propaganda and money. If those officials are replaced by ones willing to put ideology ahead of rules and democracy, we are going to end up with actual election fraud (not the conspiracy sort), school curriculums straight out of the 1950s, and perhaps even sheriffs and district attorneys more interested in power than law.

That all may sound alarmist, but as Christopher Browning, a professor emeritus at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an expert on Nazis and the Holocaust, told me, there’s a certain set of the far right that actually did learn something when they raided Congress a year ago.

Violent takeovers are hard. “Legal revolutions” are easier and more effective.

“They realize that you can’t go out and storm the Capitol, but you can take town hall after town hall,” Browning warned. He pointed out that this tactic has been used by authoritarians before, including in Nazi Germany.

The recall attempt in Shasta has the veneer of a free and fair election, but there’s slime under the surface. Like much in politics these days, it was the pandemic that shook the fault lines open and exposed the ugly in Redding. It started with the shutdown and masks in 2020.

Though the five members of the county Board of Supervisors had no particular interest in enforcing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandates, widely unpopular here, the majority of them didn’t rant and rail against them, either. So while most of Shasta County went about life, with businesses remaining open and mask rules enforced only in the loosest sense, a contingent of the outraged began showing up at meetings, charging their elected officials with “bowing down” to King Newsom.

Meetings turned into carnivals, not the fun kind, with speakers threatening violence, and someone got the idea to recall three supervisors who were deemed too liberal and scientific in their approach to the pandemic.

The Cottonwood militia, an armed group of men who describe themselves as civic leaders and helpers of local law enforcement (though law enforcement has said they are not affiliated), threw their might into the effort.

A film producer, best known for religious music videos, decided to make a glossy documentary full of slow-motion horseback riding about it, hopeful a successful recall would provide a blueprint for other communities to do the same.

They started a podcast and spent a lot of time telling one another (and anyone listening) how important they were to saving Shasta from what they described as criminal corruption — something they argued could be punishable by death. They demanded a government beholden to nothing and no one, except themselves, quoting dubious interpretations of the Constitution. Eventually, organizers collected enough signatures to trigger an election to unseat one supervisor, Leonard Moty, Redding’s ex-police chief who describes himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate.

The fight seemed neck and neck for a while until money came in the mix. Reverge Anselmo, the son of a billionaire and an erstwhile film producer and director, began dumping thousands into the recall effort, though he lives in Connecticut. It was $50,000 at first, then $400,000 in November. I left a message with Anselmo’s assistant but never heard back as to why he funded the far-right campaign. Local media reported that he had a beef with the county over permitting on a vineyard and restaurant he tried to build there.

The money put the recall in overdrive, with ads bombarding voters on radio and television. Doni Chamberlain, a local journalist, said regular Shasta residents were pulled into the rhetoric, and became “dupid.” That’s a mash-up of duped and stupid.

“It’s that thing,” said Chamberlain. “If you say something long enough and often enough, people will believe it.”

The election was held Tuesday, and while some ballots are still out, it is almost certain Moty will be recalled, leaving Shasta County likely to have leadership that is beholden to the militia and their far-right compatriots. For months, militia members have been clear about what that looks like.

“We have to make politicians scared again,” Carlos Zapata, a bar owner and militia member, told my colleague Hailey Branson-Potts, as the militia was heating up its tactics. “If politicians do not fear the people they govern, that relationship is broken.”

It isn’t just politicians who are cowed. Regular citizens are, too. People came up to Moty and said they supported him, “but they didn’t want to have their name out there because they are afraid,” he said.

It was safer to be quiet because those who opposed the recall, along with county employees deemed problematic, have received death threats and had their home and work addresses posted online. (Recall supporters say the same has happened to them.)

The official in charge of elections was recently “served” with papers accusing her of treason, and threatening a death sentence. Nathan Pinkney, a recall opponent who created a fictional social media character named Buford White to mock Zapata, was attacked by Zapata and two friends, in an altercation where a witness said the N-word was used. Zapata was found guilty of disturbing the peace by fighting and sentenced to community service, probation and an anger management class.

Feb. 2

 Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary, ANTIFA Week: Day Three -- Turning America into a massive Bebelplatz, Wayne wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallMadsen, left, author of 21 books, including the recent The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the Far Right (shown below) and former Navy intelligence officer, Feb. 2, 2022. No visit to Berlin is complete unless a visit is paid to the Night of Shame Memorial on the Bebelplatz, formerly called Opera Square.

On May 13, 1933, university students, who were coaxed by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, burned some 25,000 books that were considered to be "un-German." To the accompaniment of bands playing Nazi martial music, the book burners wayne madesen report logohad succumbed to the raving and ranting of Goebbels and his Nazi cohorts.

The plaque at the Night of Shame Memorial bears a mindful warning: "Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen." ("That was only a prelude; where they burn wayne madsen fourth reich coverbooks, they will in the end also burn people)." The prophetic words were written by German poet and writer Heinrich Heine in 1820.

The few surviving veterans of America's and the civilized world's battle against the forces of fascism in World War II would have ever believed that Nazi-style book burning -- along with book banning, which the Nazis also practiced -- would ever occur in the United States. However, this very core principle of fascist ideology has been unleashed by America's inheritor of Adolf Hitler's demagoguery and fanaticism -- Donald Trump.

The state of Tennessee has become a mini-Bebelplatz for fascist book burners and banners.

The book banners and burners have been incentivized by Republican racist and fascist governors like Greg Abbott of Texas, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, and others who have decided that by attacking public schools, colleges, and universities they can further their standing with the pro-Trump political ranks.

If Trump, like Goebbels and Hitler, gives the word that he wants certain books banned or burned, expect nighttime bonfires to spread across the nation and the world. The fascist and Nazi threat is now so much of a clear and present danger, the testament on the plaque on the Bebelplatz now has as much meaning as it did on May 13, 1933.

Feb. 1

 

djt rudy new giuliani Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Trump Had Role in Weighing Proposals to Seize Voting Machines, Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, Michael S. Schmidt and Luke Broadwater, Updated Feb. 1, 2022. Six weeks after Election Day, with his hold on power slipping, President Donald J. Trump directed his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani (shown above together in a file photo), to make a remarkable call. Mr. Trump wanted him to ask the Department of Homeland Security if it could legally take control of voting machines in key swing states, three people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Giuliani did so, calling the department’s acting deputy secretary, who said he lacked the authority to audit or impound the machines.

Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Giuliani to make that inquiry after rejecting a separate effort by his outside advisers to have the Pentagon take control of the machines. And the outreach to the Department of Homeland Security came not long after Mr. Trump, in an Oval Office meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr, raised the possibility of whether the Justice Department could seize the machines, a previously undisclosed suggestion that Mr. Barr immediately shot down.

The new accounts show that Mr. Trump was more directly involved than previously known in exploring proposals to use his national security agencies to seize voting machines as he grasped unsuccessfully for evidence of fraud that would help him reverse his defeat in the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the episodes.

 

U.S. House Jan. 6 insurrection investigating committee members Liz Cheney (R-WY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Jamie Raskie (D-MD) are shown, left to right, in a file photo.U.S. House Jan. 6 insurrection investigating committee members Liz Cheney (R-WY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Jamie Raskie (D-MD) are shown, left to right, in a file photo.

ny times logoNew York Times, Marc Short, who was chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence, testified to the House’s Jan. 6 panel, Luke Broadwater, Updated Feb. 1, 2022. Marc Short, who served as chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence, testified privately last week before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the latest turn in weeks of negotiations between the panel’s investigators and Mr. Pence’s team.

Mr. Short appeared in response to a subpoena from the committee, according to three people with knowledge of the developments, making him the most senior person around Mr. Pence who is known to have cooperated in the inquiry.

Investigators believe that participation by the former vice president and his inner circle is critical, because Mr. Pence resisted a pressure campaign by former President Donald J. Trump to use his role in presiding over Congress’s official count of electoral votes to try to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr. Short was with Mr. Pence on Jan. 6 as a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol, and has firsthand knowledge of the effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to try to persuade the former vice president to throw out legitimate electoral votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in favor of fake slates of pro-Trump electors.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity about Mr. Short’s testimony, which was earlier reported by CNN.

Investigators have been in high-stakes negotiations for months with Mr. Pence’s team about whether he would cooperate with the inquiry. In recent weeks, they have sought the cooperation of Mr. Short and Greg Jacob, Mr. Pence’s former lawyer.

Mr. Short and Mr. Jacob were both closely involved in Mr. Pence’s consideration of whether to go along with Mr. Trump’s insistence that he try to block the official count of Electoral College results by a joint session of Congress. Three days before the proceeding, the two men met with John Eastman, a lawyer then advising Mr. Trump, about a memo Mr. Eastman had written setting out a case for why Mr. Pence had the power to hold off the certification.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: ANTIFA Week: Day Two -- The fascist alteration of history, Wayne Madsen, left, Feb. 1, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small2022. In the fascist travesty known as the state of Texas, Stephen Balch is known for a lot of things, but historical accuracy is not one of them. Although Balch holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, his far-right views and historical revisionism have been widely condemned by other political scientists and historians.

wayne madesen report logoThe founding head of the National Association of Scholars, which seeks to stamp a right-wing imprimatur on higher education, Balch favors states' rights when it comes to overriding the Supreme Court's 2015 decision on gay marriage and he supports states assuming the responsibility for immigration and border control over that of the federal government.

Balch's recent appointment as a curriculum and textbook content adviser by the Texas State Board of Education that drew sharp criticism by educators and school administrators in the state. Balch's position on a Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) working group overseeing the state's social studies curricula and recommended reading materials was condemned by the Texas Freedom Network. It stated that Balch's "conspiracy theories, inflammatory rhetoric, and shocking contempt for our constitutional and democratic institutions make him unfit for this role."

More importantly and what is of greater alarm, Balch is a colleague of 2020 election insurrection lawyer John Eastman, the author of a paper that advanced the plan for Donald Trump and a group of Republicans in Congress and state legislatures to overturn the election of Joe Biden as president. Balch, writing for the right-wing website "American Greatness" on November 30, 2020 -- as Trump and his cohorts, including Balch's colleague Eastman, were scheming to overthrow the election -- unabashedly called for Trump's supporters to take to the streets.

Balch's dream came true on January 6, 2021, as Trump insurrectionists stormed the halls of Congress, smashed everything in their path, brutally beat and bludgeoned law enforcement officers, vowed to hang Vice President Mike Pence and assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and left their animalistic residue by urinating and defecating on the floors and walls of the U.S. Capitol. Trump appears to have recently echoed Balch's call for protesters to hit the streets of Washington, New York, and Los Angeles, when, during a rally in Texas, the former president urged his supporters to protest in Washington, New York, and Atlanta should indictments of him be handed down by any of the grand juries in those cities currently investigating his crimes.

Balch was clearly one of the behind-the-scenes "Svengalis" urging Trump to mount an electoral coup with the assistance of state legislatures.

 

January Updates

Jan. 31

 

mike pence djt side by side

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump suggests Pence should have ‘overturned’ the election on Jan. 6, John Wagner, Jan. 31, 2022. Former president Donald Trump suggested in a statement Sunday night that then-Vice President Mike Pence (shown above at left) should have “overturned” the election on Jan. 6, 2021, as he presided over the counting of electoral college votes by Congress.

Trump has expressed frustration before that Pence did not use his role to try to reject the votes of several states that Joe Biden won. But the language in Sunday’s statement was among Trump’s most explicit in publicly stating his desire.

The statement came in response to ongoing efforts by Congress to make changes to the Electoral Count Act, a law that governs what Congress should do in the case of any disputes about which candidate won in a state. Among the changes under consideration is making it more explicit that the role of the vice president is merely ceremonial.

“If the Vice President (Mike Pence) had ‘absolutely no right’ to change the Presidential Election results in the Senate, despite fraud and many other irregularities, how come the Democrats and RINO Republicans, like Wacky Susan Collins, are desperately trying to pass legislation that will not allow the Vice President to change the results of the election?” Trump said in his statement. “Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!”

There has been no evidence of widespread fraud in any states in which Biden prevailed, despite repeated claims by Trump to the contrary.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is among the lawmakers involved in bipartisan talks about changes to the Electoral Count Act, an effort that has gained momentum in the wake of the failure of Democrats to pass sweeping voting rights legislation.

Among the other changes under consideration is raising the total number of senators and House members required to challenge a state’s count.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), an outspoken Trump critic who voted to impeach him on a charge of inciting an insurrection, said in a tweet that the former president would try to do it again.

Jan. 30

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump toys with the mob, again, encouraging people to hold protests over his legal jeopardy, Aaron Blake, Jan. 30, 2022 (print ed.). What’s the worst that could happen?

Former president Donald Trump on Saturday night sent his strongest signal to date that he will fight his legal problems outside of a court of law. He djt texas 1 29 2022encouraged people to engage in massive demonstrations in jurisdictions pursuing criminal investigations against him over Jan. 6 and tax-related issues. Then, minutes later, he said that if he’s reinstalled as president, he would consider pardoning some of the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters.

Both Trump comments were, as with many earlier ones about ongoing legal matters, carefully tailored. (Trump seemed to be reading them off a teleprompter rather than speaking extemporaneously.) The combination of the two comments, though, can’t help but conjure a repeat — or at least the suggestive prospect of a repeat — of the kind of lawlessness we saw just over a year ago.

“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere,” Trump said, “because our country and our elections are corrupt.”

Shortly afterward, he floated pardons for people who had acted on a previous call to action and taken it to its extreme.

“If I run and I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly — we will treat them fairly,” Trump said in a speech in Texas. “And if it requires pardons, then we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”

 

virginia thomas donald trump jr amazon 2018

Ultra-right activist Virginia Thomas, a longtime lobbyist for extreme causes who has made vast amounts of money in key positions and wife of Associated Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, poses four years ago in the Trump International Hotel with Donald Trump Jr. Within the Trump Town House on Insurrection Eve, the epicenter of the epicenter was a blue-walled conference room with a flag at one end echoing Ali Alexander’s (and other insurrectionists’) favored refrain on Insurrection Eve: “1776!” Alexander’s favored use of the date has long been the phrase, “1776 [violence] is always an option!”

Within the Trump Town House on Insurrection Eve, the epicenter of the epicenter was a blue-walled conference room with a flag at one end echoing Ali Alexander’s (and other insurrectionists’) favored refrain on Insurrection Eve: “1776!” Alexander’s favored use of the date has long been the phrase, “1776 [violence] is always an option!”Proof, Investigative Commentary: The Coming Collapse of Donald Trump’s January 6 Conspiracy, Part 5: Ginni Thomas, Seth Abramson, left, Jan. 30, 2022. seth abramson graphicThis shocking new PROOF series details mounting evidence that Trump's seditious January 6 conspiracy is at the point of collapse because of the cowardice, fear, and perfidy of his co-conspirators.

seth abramson proof logoIntroduction: On Insurrection Eve—January 5, 2021—the epicenter of Trumpist coup plotting in the United States, the White House excepted, wasn’t the now-infamous Willard Hotel in Washington, but rather Trump’s so-called “private residence” in the nation’s capital: the Trump Town House at Trump International Hotel.

Presiding over the war room in the Town House was none other than Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. Just as crucial to the plotting under way that fateful night was Trump Jr.’s then–secret fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle, a leading presidential adviser who spent part of the hours-long war-room session speaking by phone with domestic terrorist Ali Alexander, co-leader of the Stop the Steal “movement” with Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone.

Proof must debunk the most widely spread myth about Ginni Thomas’s participation in Trump’s insurrection: that she helped organize the busloads of insurrectionists who arrived in Washington on Insurrection Eve, doing so to aid the aforementioned Alexander and Turning Point USA chief Charlie Kirk. While it’s true that Alexander has now confirmed he and Kirk orchestrated such busing in advance of the storming of the Capitol, and while it’s clear that some of those so aided by Kirk and Alexander later committed federal crimes on January 6—there is no evidence that Ginni Thomas was part of that effort, so this Proof report does not address it at all.

The reason many Americans believed Thomas was involved in the logistics of January 6 at such a granular level is partly owing to her reputation—an unfair extrapolation—and partly owing to her own public statements about January 6, for which, of course, she is directly responsible. As Slate has correctly reported via journalist Mark Joseph Stern, Ginni Thomas’s declarations on Insurrection Day gave many Americans pause:
Twitter avatar for @mjs_DCMark Joseph Stern @mjs_DC

On the morning of Jan. 6, Ginni Thomas—wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—endorsed the protest demanding that Congress overturn the election, then sent her “LOVE” to the demonstrators, who violently overtook the Capitol several hours later. She has not posted since....

In short, as the House January 6 Committee seeks to connect three spheres of coup plotting—grassroots activists and political insiders, Congress, and the White House—there is no map of the key players within these spheres in January 2021 that does not have both Ginni Thomas and Barbara Ledeen at or near the center of it.

The House January 6 Committee would be wise to subpoena these two women immediately in order to find out what they know as soon as possible. Proof is confident that if such a subpoena is issued, one or both women will take the same tack that their associates already have, either by asserting the Fifth Amendment (like Eastman and Clark), defying their subpoenas (like Meadows and Bannon), fighting document production vociferously (like Flynn and Trump), issuing statements filled with half-truths (like Foy and Navarro), or testifying under circumstances that suggest perjury (Alexander).

If House members do not determine what Ginni Thomas knew between now and the presumed Republican takeover of Congress in January 2023, it will be impossible for the case to be made that Clarence Thomas cannot sit on any Supreme Court case that involves Trump or the January 6 insurrection now or in the future. That is how urgent the immediate issuance of federal subpoenas to Barbara Ledeen and Ginni Thomas is.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kansas man who made Biden death threat said he was ‘coming for’ president, Secret Service alleges, Andrew Jeong and Spencer S. Hsu, Jan. 30, 2022 (print ed.). Charges have been filed against a Kansas man who said he was “coming for” President Biden and was found to be in possession of ammunition, though not a weapon, according to court documents.

Scott Ryan Merryman first called police in Independence, Kan., this past week to say he was going to Washington to see Biden, according to a complaint filed in Maryland federal court on Friday. He allegedly told the Secret Service in a phone interview the next day that God had said he should go to the capital to “lop off the head of the serpent in the heart of the nation,” Senior Special Agent Lisa Koerber said in a sworn affidavit.

secret service logoMerryman repeatedly denied that the serpent was a reference to the president, but on Thursday, Merryman called the White House, where a switchboard operator said he explicitly threatened Biden, the Secret Service said. Merryman, whose Facebook profile states he works in construction and used to be employed by the Army, said during that call that he was “going to cut off the head of the snake/anti-Christ,” according to the complaint. News of the charges was first reported by the Daily Beast.

After the White House phone conversation, Merryman told a Secret Service agent who spoke with him: “I’m coming for … sleepy Joe. I’m talking about President Biden, and you can quote me,” charging papers said.

The previous day, Secret Service agents met Merryman in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel in Hagerstown, Md., the service said. He consented to a search in which he was found with three rounds of ammunition, although he told law enforcement that he no longer had a weapon, according to charges.

The Secret Service allege Merryman violated at least two federal laws, including one that prohibits threatening to harm the president. That charge carries a prison term of up to five years.

A Facebook page that the complaint said belonged to Merryman also contained what the Secret Service described as “a series of increasingly threatening verbiage.” In a Tuesday post — one of many rife with extremist Christian rhetoric — Merryman allegedly wrote that he would go “on a God led journey to our nations capital,” and asked his followers “watch my strategic moves for the coming days.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: Liz Cheney confirms January 6th Committee is landing its cooperating witnesses, Bill Palmer, right, Jan. 30, 2022. Whenever bill palmerdiscussing House Republican Liz Cheney, it’s important to keep in mind that .... Cheney is not our friend. But she has proven to be our reliable ally when it comes to the specific matter of the January 6th Committee. Whether it’s because she honestly has a problem with treason, or whether she just wants to strategically take Donald Trump and his loyalists down, is irrelevant.

bill palmer report logo headerI spell all this out because while Liz Cheney often lies about other topics, she’s been consistently telling the truth about the January 6th Committee investigation. So when Cheney said in a local Wyoming interview this past week that the committee is getting “tremendous cooperation” from hundreds of witnesses, and that notorious holdouts like Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows are more of the exception than the rule, I believe her.

This is important because at this point in this kind of probe, we the public don’t know what all is going on behind the scenes. The January 6th Committee has to keep the cooperation of certain witnesses secret so as not to tip off some other hostile witness, and so on. And of course the only way to keep this kind of information secret from certain people is to keep it secret from the entire public – for now.

Each week the media reports that yet another mid-level Trump administration person has been cooperating with the committee. Usually, these reports reveal that the person in question has been secretly cooperating for weeks or even months. In other words, even when we learn about this stuff, this information tends to be several steps behind what’s really been going on.

So when Liz Cheney says that the committee has been getting tremendous cooperation from witnesses, it’s a reminder that while we still don’t have most of their names, they have in fact been giving the committee the information it needs to know about Donald Trump’s crime spree. The folks who think the committee is doing “nothing” or has gotten “nowhere,” just because they can’t see the committee’s results publicly yet, have a misunderstanding of how these kinds of probes work.

 

capitol riot shutterstock capitol

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump suggests that if he is reelected, he will pardon Jan. 6 Capitol rioters, Tyler Pager, Jan. 30, 2022 (print ed.). Former president Donald Trump suggested Saturday night he will pardon the rioters charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol if he is elected president in 2024.

Trump (shown below right in a file photo) , who has teased but not confirmed another run for president, has repeatedly criticized the prosecution of individuals who violently stormed the Capitol to protest the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president. But his comments at a Texas rally on Saturday marked the first time he djt maga hat speech uncredited Customdangled pardons, an escalation of his broader effort to downplay the deadly events of Jan. 6.

Some of those involved in the riot held out hope for a Trump pardon before he left office 14 days later, but none were granted.

“If I run and I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly,” he said near the end of a lengthy campaign rally in Conroe, a city about 40 miles north of Houston. “We will treat them fairly, and if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”

Authorities have arrested and charged more than 700 people in connection with a sprawling investigation into the insurrection. Earlier this month, the Justice Department charged Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers group, and 10 other members or associates of the group with seditious conspiracy, the most serious charges levied as part of the department’s investigation.

Trump also bashed the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, as he continued to spread baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen from him.

“This hasn’t happened to all of the other atrocities that took place recently,” he said. “Nothing like this has happened. What that ‘unselect’ committee is doing and what the people are doing that are running those prisons, it’s a disgrace.”

Jan. 29

World Crisis Radio, Biden will move US forces to NATO front lines on eastern flank; media defeatists and appeasers on parade, Webster G. Tarpley, right, webster tarpley 2007US GDP increased by 5.7% in all of 2021 and by 6.9% in fourth quarter, a stunning success for Biden which the corporate media are loath to report.

House January 6 Committee sends subpoenas to 14 Electoral College imposters as DoJ admits investigation is ongoing;

71 Virginia school districts defy Wall Street hedge fund predator Youngkin on school mask requirements, and seven sue him; Demagogue Salvini fails to impose a candidate as Italian President, leaving reactionaries in disarray; New research from Germany and Norway demonstrates that populist regimes increased excess covid deaths by 18%, compared to an increase of just 8% in non-populist states;

Anti-vaxers on losing streak after fiasco of DC march; Among Moscow’s favorite disinformation lines is the imminent collapse of the ”putrid west”; this line has been peddled by irrationalist Slavophiles for almost two centuries!

 

U.S. House Jan. 6 insurrection investigating committee members Liz Cheney (R-WY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Jamie Raskie (D-MD) are shown, left to right, in a file photo.U.S. House Jan. 6 insurrection investigating committee members Liz Cheney (R-WY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Jamie Raskie (D-MD) are shown, left to right, in a file photo.

ny times logoNew York Times, Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Fake Trump Electors, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Jan. 28, 2022. The panel investigating the Capitol riot demanded information from 14 people who were part of bogus slates of electors for President Trump.

The panel demanded information from 14 people who were part of bogus slates of electors for President Donald J. Trump, digging deeper into an aspect of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack issued 14 subpoenas on Friday to people who falsely claimed to be electors for President Donald J. Trump in the 2020 election in states that were actually won by Joseph R. Biden Jr., digging deeper into Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the results.

The subpoenas target individuals who met and submitted false Electoral College certificates in seven states won by President Biden: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“The select committee is seeking information about attempts in multiple states to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including the planning and coordination of efforts to send false slates of electors to the National Archives,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, said in a statement. “We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme.”

The so-called alternate electors met on Dec. 14, 2020, in seven states that Mr. Trump lost and submitted bogus slates of Electoral-College votes for him, the committee said. They then sent the false Electoral College certificates to Congress, an action Mr. Trump’s allies used to try to justify delaying or blocking the final step in confirming the 2020 election results — a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, to formally count the electoral votes.

The 14 individuals subpoenaed on Friday were: Nancy Cottle and Loraine B. Pellegrino of Arizona; David Shafer and Shawn Still of Georgia; Kathy Berden and Mayra Rodriguez of Michigan; Jewll Powdrell and Deborah W. Maestas of New Mexico; Michael J. McDonald and James DeGraffenreid of Nevada; Bill Bachenberg and Lisa Patton of Pennsylvania; and Andrew Hitt and Kelly Ruh of Wisconsin.

Justice Department log circularThe subpoenas order the witnesses, all of whom claimed to be either a chair or secretary of the fake elector slates, to turn over documents and sit for depositions in February.

The committee’s subpoenas came as the Justice Department said this week it was investigating the fake electors.

The scheme to employ the so-called alternate electors was one of Mr. Trump’s most expansive efforts to overturn the election, beginning even before some states had finished counting ballots and culminating in the pressure placed on Vice President Mike Pence to throw out legitimate votes for Mr. Biden when he presided over the joint congressional session. At various times, the gambit involved lawyers, state lawmakers and top White House aides.

Mark MeadowsAs early as Nov. 4, Mark Meadows, then Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, received a message from an unidentified Republican lawmaker proposing an “aggressive strategy” to maintain his grip on power. According to the strategy, Republican-controlled legislatures in states like Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania would “just send their own electors” to the Electoral College instead of those chosen by voters to represent Mr. Biden.

To promote the plan, Phill Kline, the director of the Amistad Project, a conservative legal group that was working with Mr. Trump’s lawyers on lawsuits to challenge the election, fanned across right-wing media outlets that day. And Stephen Miller, below right, a top adviser to stephen miller nbc screenshot whMr. Trump, announced on Fox News that state lawmakers in several key swing states were in the process of sending “an alternate slate of electors” to Congress.

Even after the Electoral College ignored the fake electors and certified Mr. Biden’s victory, Mr. Trump’s allies continued to push the scheme.

On Dec. 22, 2020, the Amistad Project filed a federal lawsuit asking a judge to essentially force Mr. Pence to recognize the fake elector slates when he presided over Congress’s official count on Jan. 6. While the lawsuit was dismissed, a Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, drafted a letter one week later laying out a plan to persuade officials in Georgia to call back their Biden electors and consider swapping them for those who support Mr. Trump. (The letter was never sent.)

The scheme gathered momentum as Jan. 6 approached.

On Dec. 31, according to Politico, Ms. Ellis wrote a legal memo to Mr. Trump advising him that six states had “electoral delegates in dispute” and that because of this conflict, Mr. Pence should not accept any electors from them, but rather ask state lawmakers which slate they wanted to use. On Jan. 5, 2020, with pressure building on Mr. Pence, Ms. Ellis wrote a second memo reasserting the vice president’s authority to refuse to consider electors from states that would have given Mr. Biden a victory.

Ultimately, the efforts were rejected by Mr. Pence.

 

stewart rhodesHuff Post, ‘Quick Reaction Forces’ And The Lingering Mysteries Of The Plot Against The Capitol, Ryan J. Reilly, Jan. 28, 2022. The Oath Keeper “QRFs” show how things could have been a lot worse, and how much more there is to learn.

The Comfort Inn location just off the interstate has three stars on Yelp, where reviewers noted it had free parking and free breakfast, but poor WiFi. It did well on TripAdvisor too, although one person reported they found a dead roach in the shower.

As a staging ground for an alleged seditious conspiracy, however, it was a pretty solid choice. The Comfort Inn Ballston had rooms available for members of the right-wing Oath Keepers organization at a reasonable rate. The hotel’s luggage carts were strong enough to lug the bins of weapons, ammunition and supplies that they wheeled in to prepare for Jan. 6, 2021. Its location right off the ramp to Route 66 eastbound, outside of rush hour, can get you to the U.S. Capitol in a hurry. Critically, it was located in the state of Virginia, where the alleged co-conspirators wouldn’t have to worry about those pesky D.C. gun laws until it was time to take over the federal government. Then the laws wouldn’t matter.
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The indictment of Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, above, who was integral to the plot that unfolded in Ballston, on seditious conspiracy charges this month has once again drawn national attention to how supporters of President Donald Trump plotted to help stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory on Jan. 6. Even after more than 700 arrests, and the hundreds of potential cases that remain, the latest indictment indicates there is much more we still don’t know about the most high-profile conspiracy case to emerge from the Jan. 6 investigation — and how much worse things could have been.

Part of the Oath Keepers’ conspiracy was standing up “Quick Reaction Forces” (QRFs) just outside of D.C. that were on standby to deliver guns into the capital on Jan. 6. The “base of operations,” according to the indictment, was the Comfort Inn Ballston, where the North Carolina QRF team leader reserved three rooms: one for their North Carolina team, another for the Arizona QRF team, and the third for the Florida QRF team. The indictment alleges they used those rooms to store and guard the firearms, although the four men on the North Carolina QRF team “kept their rifles ready to go in a vehicle parked in the hotel lot” according to a court filing.

“While certain Oath Keepers members and affiliates inside of Washington, D.C., breached the Capitol grounds and building, others remained stationed just outside of the city in QRF teams,” the indictment states. “The QRF teams were prepared to rapidly transfer firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C., in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power.”

Comfort Inn’s parent company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the inclusion of surveillance camera photos in court documents indicates it is cooperating with the FBI investigation.

A federal magistrate judge in Texas, where Rhodes was arrested, ordered the Oath Keepers founder held until trial this week. “Defendant created, staged, and controlled the QRF as a strategic force to escalate armed violence in support of the Raid upon his request,” wrote the federal magistrate judge.

The “stack” of Oath Keepers marched up the stairs in formation and breached the Capitol just after 2:30. Vallejo messaged Rhodes that they were “standing by” at the hotel at 2:38.

Court documents don’t indicate much about what happened after that, when the Capitol had been breached without the QRFs being called in. There’s no explicit acknowledgement that any of the three QRFs at the hotel left the facility, and there’s little reference to the specific activities of other groups that Rhodes seemed to allude to on Jan. 6.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: The Republican Party is now the American Nazi Party, Wayne Madsen, left, author of 21 books, Jan. 28, 2022. Since the 1930s, there have wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallbeen several iterations of the American Nazi Party under various names -- German-American Bund, American Nazi Party, National Socialist White People's Party, National Socialist Party of America, and Groyper Army -- and leaders -- Fritz Kuhn, George Lincoln Rockwell, Frank Collin, David Duke, and Nick Fuentes.

Today, the American Nazis, more powerful than at any time in the past, are part and parcel of the Republican Party. In fact, among the Republican Party's current elected officials and supporters are several died-in-the-wool Nazis.

wayne madesen report logoThe transformation of the Republican Party into a virtual carbon copy of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party began earlier than most people think. In 1989, Ku Klux Klan and National Socialist White People's Party leader David Duke was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives as a Republican. In 1990, Duke was the only Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate against three Democrats. In the run-off election, in which Duke faced incumbent Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Duke -- the Nazi and Klansman -- received an astounding 43.5 percent of the vote to Johnston's 53.9 percent. That means that in 1990 607,391 Louisianans, many of them Republican, favored a Nazi as their U.S. Senator.

Trump's purge of the Republican Party is similar to Hitler eliminating any of his opponents in the Nazi Party, including those who were members of the party's first incarnation, the German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, DAP), which was formed in 1919. .

If anyone doubts that Trump would not emulate Hitler and order his opponents executed, consider that on January 6, Trump's army that invaded the U.S. Capitol were prepared to, as they chanted, "Hang Mike Pence!" The Trump army, that included several Nazis, also vowed to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and any other anti-Trump senator or representative they could have laid their hands on, including Ms. Cheney, Kinzinger, and others.

 djt resized joe bidenPalmer Report, Opinion: What are they even talking about? Bill Palmer, Jan. 28, 2022. Weeks ago I gave you a heads up that as it became more clear to bill palmerthe average American that Donald Trump’s future consists of indictment, criminal trials, and prison sentences, the media would push the “Trump 2024” narrative more loudly than ever. After all, it’s the only ratings-friendly narrative that they’ve been able to come up with in the past year. And if the facts start to make clear that Trump 2024 isn’t a real thing, then the media is going to need to shout down the facts in order to keep milking its preferred narrative.

bill palmer report logo headerIf some of you saw this as overly cynical on my part, that was understandable. The trouble is, the media is already in the process of proving me right. Days ago, the Washington Post published an article which claimed that Trump is unlikely to be indicted, and then went on to make the incredible claim that Trump will still be a serious candidate in the 2024 election even if he’s in prison at the time. Now things have gotten even stupider.

Multiple prominent political pundits are now hyping the notion that Donald Trump is such a lock to win in 2024, the only remote chance Joe Biden has of beating him is if he drops Kamala Harris from the ticket and replaces her with a Republican like Mitt Romney. No really, this is a narrative now.

Meanwhile back in the real world, if 2024 were Biden vs. Trump, Biden would be the overwhelming favorite because his numbers are so much better than Trump’s numbers. In fact the only way Biden could screw up that advantage would be if he did something absurd like dropping his Black woman running mate and replacing her with an anti-choice Republican man with vaguely institutionally racist tendencies. As usual, the pundits are demanding that the Democrats make the one move that be certain to sink them. But it’s more than that.

The media is clearly hoping to spend 2022 and maybe 2023 chasing ratings by pushing the fictional “Trump is a lock to win in 2024” narrative. In order to sell that narrative, the media has to promote two lies.

The first lie is that Biden is unpopular. That’s why most pundits insist his approval rating is in the mid thirties, when you can easily look up the averages and see that it’s in the mid forties. In order to keep up the appearance that Biden is unpopular, the media will continue promoting phony scandals about him, as well as the fictional claim that he’s looking to get rid of Kamala Harris. In other words, the media – even on the left – will ramp up its efforts to sabotage Biden.

The second lie is that Trump will somehow magically get away with his crimes. After all, they insist, he got away with his crimes while he was in office. That’s cute, but at the time he controlled the Department of Justice, and he had the office of the presidency to shield himself from state level prosecution. These days he has none of the above – which is why multiple District Attorneys are in the process of criminally indicting him.

No prosecutor is afraid of Trump anymore, because he’s powerless over them. But the more obviously powerless he’s become, the more the media insists that he’s more powerful than ever. After all, they have to sell the notion that Trump – who at this point is an addled semi-corpse whose only “escape” will be if he croaks before he’s convicted – is somehow secretly more powerful than ever.

Jan. 24

 

 https://www.salon.com/2022/01/24/insurrection-by-other-means-the-far-right-is-using-anti-vaxx-sentiment-to-radicalize/

Demonstrators protesting mask and Covid-19 vaccination mandates participated in a "Defeat the Mandates" march on Sunday, Jan. 23 in Washington, DC (Photo by Stefani Reynolds via AFP and Getty Images).

Salon, Commentary: Insurrection by other means: The far right is using anti-vaxx sentiment to radicalize Republicans, Amanda Marcotte, Jan. 24, 2022.
The weekend's anti-vaccine rally in D.C. was heavy on violence-inspiring rhetoric and fascist recruitment.

The "Defeat the Mandates" rally on Sunday in Washington D.C. was not exactly the blockbuster event, size-wise, organizers had hoped to turn out. The event's planners had predicted 20,000 people, but more reasonable estimates suggested it was fewer than half that who actually showed. But despite the paltry turnout, the event was deeply troubling to experts who monitor the far-right.

rfk jr twitterThe tone and tenor of the occasion were so hyperbolic and self-aggrandizing, creating exactly the sort of conditions that will further radicalize ordinary Republicans and stoke more right-wing violence.

Disgustingly, one of the main speakers was Robert F. Kennedy Jr., right, the son of the Democratic scion who was assassinated in 1968. Kennedy has spent the past few years becoming an increasingly unhinged anti-vaccine activist — but his presence on Sunday was even more alarming considering the role that the Kennedy family plays in the imaginations of the QAnon cult.

Many QAnoners believe that JFK and JFK Jr. — Kennedy's deceased uncle and first cousin, respectively — are still alive and secretly supporting Donald Trump. Simply by showing up, Kennedy validated these kinds of fringe beliefs. The situation got much worse when he actually spoke and told the crowd that anti-vaxxers have it worse than Jews did during the Holocaust.

"Even in Hitler Germany (sic), you could, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did," Kennedy said. "I visited, in 1962, East Germany with my father and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died, true, but it was possible."

Kennedy's analogy is incoherent for obvious reasons — does he think East Germany was a Nazi state or not know that Frank died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp? — and was widely criticized for being offensive. The Auschwitz Memorial responded with a tweet describing Kennedy's speech as "a sad symptom of moral & intellectual decay."

But the speech wasn't just offensive — it's also dangerous.

It doesn't matter that Kennedy didn't come right out and call on people to commit violence. It's inciting to tell anti-vaxxers they are victims of oppression worse than what the Jews faced under the Nazis. It justifies violence as a form of self-defense. This is why experts on far-right organizing and violence were alarmed. Ben Collins, an NBC reporter who has been covering the rise of American fascism, was especially concerned.

Kennedy was just one of many who made the comparison Sunday, both onstage and in the crowd. There was also a lot of comparing the plight of anti-vaxxers to that of Black Americans living under segregation. Meanwhile, rally organizers pretended theirs was a message of diversity and tolerance.

In reality, however, as Will Carless of USA Today wrote, hate groups and far-right activists are using the anti-vaccine movement to recruit, both online and off. Brian Hughes of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University explained to Carless that the far-right sees "anti-vaccine sentiment and COVID denialism as a market that they can exploit for views, for clicks and for merchandise sales." Indeed, these kinds of groups were heavily represented in the crowd at the rally.

As Salon alum and current Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo noted, "Far-right fanatics were out in full force, from the extremist members of the hate group Proud Boy to rank-and-file supporters who consume everything that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones utters."

But it was also true that more ordinary Republicans also showed up. There were even people claiming to be disillusioned Democrats, although this is a common enough lie on the right and should always be taken with a grain of salt. Either way, what is crucial to understand is that the far-right and hate groups are plugging into the anti-vaccine discourse to lure conservatives into becoming even more fascistic and more supportive of the violent rejection of democracy.

Amanda Marcotte is a senior politics writer at Salon and the author of "Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself."

Jan. 23

 djt rudy giuliani headshots Custom

Palmer Report, Opinion: It’s over for Rudy Giuliani, Bill Palmer, Jan. 23, 2022. To give you an idea of just how slowly the federal court bill palmersystem can move, eight months after the Feds raided Rudy Giuliani’s home and seized his communications, the court appointed official overseeing those communications finally finished determining which of them were covered by attorney-client privilege just a few days ago.

Now the DOJ has its hands on the incriminating evidence it tried to take eight months ago – including about fifty communications that Rudy specifically tried and failed to get suppressed, which he would only have done because they incriminated him.

bill palmer report logo headerThis means the DOJ, once it finishes processing and evaluating these incriminating communications, can indict and arrest Rudy Giuliani any time it wants. The kicker is that doing so immediately may not be the best move. The point of busting Rudy, above left, is not simply to put him in prison. The real goal is to amass such a crushing criminal case against Rudy, even he realizes he has zero chance of winning at trial, thus prompting him to cut a deal against Trump world now instead of dragging out a trial date for a year.

But now that the court system has finally allowed the DOJ to have the evidence it wanted against Rudy Giuliani all along, it’s over for Rudy. He’s now a lock for indictment and prison. His only slim hope would have been if the court appointee had gone rogue and ruled that all of Rudy’s communications were privileged – which didn’t happen.

Of course because this process has taken so long, multiple additional Trump-era criminal scandals have surfaced that appear to incriminate Rudy Giuliani. So we’ll see if the DOJ decides to indict Rudy soon on the seized evidence it just received, or if it waits a bit to build a broader case against Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani hawking their false claims that they could prove election fraud caused Democratic nominee Joe Biden's presidential victory in 2020.him which includes some of the things that have put Rudy’s name in the headlines more recently.

Either way, it’s over for Rudy. He can flip on Donald Trump and everyone else, or he can spend the rest of his life in prison. Once he realizes he’s going down, we suspect he’ll flip. The only question is at what point Rudy will figure out he’s going down. Rudy also has to consider that his former ally Sidney Powell, right, now claims she’s begun cooperating with the DOJ. There’s usually only one lenient plea deal to go around.

Jan. 21

 

clarence virginia thomas bought by billionaires

Ultra-right lobbyist Virginia Thomas, her husband Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and a collage showing two right-wing billionaires who have served as friends and patrons of the couple through the decades. Real estate mogul Harlan Crow, second from the left, contributed $500,000 to her and considerable funds have also been funneled to her via Charles Koch, shown above at right, and his late brother David Koch. Forbes Magazine listed Charles Koch as the 22nd most wealthy American in January 2022, with assets of more than $60 billion.

The New Yorker, Investigative Commentary: Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court? Jane Mayer, right, Jan. 21, 2022. Behind closed doors, Justice jane mayer cspanClarence Thomas’s wife is working with many groups directly involved in controversial cases before the Court. Thomas has new yorker logodeclared that America is in existential danger because of the “deep state” and the “fascist left,” which includes “transsexual fascists.”

In December, Chief Justice John Roberts, below left, released his year-end report on the federal judiciary. According to a recent Gallup poll, the Supreme Court has its lowest public-approval rating in history—in part because it is viewed as being overly politicized. President Joe Biden recently established a bipartisan commission to consider reforms to the Court, and members of Congress have introduced legislation that would require Justices to adhere to the same types of ethics standards as other judges. Roberts’s report, however, defiantly warned everyone to back off. “The Judiciary’s power to manage its internal affairs insulates courts from inappropriate political influence,” he wrote. His statement followed a series of defensive speeches from members of the Court’s john roberts oconservative wing, which now holds a super-majority of 6–3.

Last fall, Justice Clarence Thomas, in an address at Notre Dame, accused the media of spreading the false notion that the Justices are merely politicians in robes. Such criticism, he said, “makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference,” adding, “They think you become like a politician!”

The claim that the Justices’ opinions are politically neutral is becoming increasingly hard to accept, especially from Thomas, whose wife, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas, is a vocal right-wing activist. She has declared that America is in existential danger because of the “deep state” and the “fascist left,” which includes “transsexual fascists.” Thomas, a lawyer who runs a small political-lobbying firm, Liberty Consulting, has become a prominent member of various hard-line groups. Her political activism has caused controversy for years. For the most part, it has been dismissed as the harmless action of an independent spouse. But now the Court appears likely to secure victories for her allies in a number of highly polarizing cases—on abortion, affirmative action, and gun rights.

Many Americans first became aware of Ginni Thomas’s activism on January 6, 2021. That morning, before the Stop the Steal rally in Washington, D.C., turned into an assault on the Capitol resulting in the deaths of at least five people, she cheered on the supporters of President Donald Trump who had gathered to overturn Biden’s election. In a Facebook post that went viral, she linked to a news item about the protest, writing, “LOVE MAGA people!!!!” Shortly afterward, she posted about Ronald Reagan’s famous “A Time for Choosing” speech. Her next status update said, “GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU STANDING UP or PRAYING.” Two days after the insurrection, she added a disclaimer to her feed, noting that she’d written the posts “before violence in US Capitol.” (The posts are no longer public.)

Later that January, the Washington Post revealed that she had also been agitating about Trump’s loss on a private Listserv, Thomas Clerk World, which includes former law clerks of Justice Thomas’s. The online discussion had been contentious. John Eastman, a former Thomas clerk and a key instigator of the lie that Trump actually won in 2020, was on the same side as Ginni Thomas, and he drew rebukes.

Thomas Swearing InJustice Byron White and the Thomases are shown at left in 1991 at a White House swearing-in ceremony staged by the Bush administration to quell criticism of Thomas after his controversial confirmation.

Stephen Gillers, a law professor at N.Y.U. and a prominent judicial ethicist, told me, “I think Ginni Thomas is behaving horribly, and she’s hurt the Supreme Court and the administration of justice. It’s reprehensible. If you could take a secret poll of the other eight Justices, I have no doubt that they are appalled by Virginia Thomas’s behavior. But what can they do?” Gillers thinks that the Supreme Court should be bound by a code of conduct, just as all lower-court judges in the federal system are. That code requires a judge to recuse himself from hearing any case in which personal entanglements could lead a fair-minded member of the public to question his impartiality. Gillers stressed that “it’s an appearance test,” adding, “It doesn’t require an actual conflict. The reason we use an appearance test is because we say the appearance of justice is as important as the fact of justice itself.”

The Justice Department has so far charged more than seven hundred people in connection with the insurrection, and Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that the federal government will prosecute people “at any level” who may have instigated the riots—perhaps even Trump. On January 19th, the Supreme Court rejected the former President’s request that it intervene to stop the congressional committee from accessing his records. Justice Thomas was the lone Justice to dissent. (Meadows had filed an amicus brief in support of Trump.)

Ginni Thomas, meanwhile, has denounced the very legitimacy of the congressional committee. On December 15th, she and sixty-two other prominent conservatives signed an open letter to Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, demanding that the House Republican Conference excommunicate Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for their “egregious” willingness to serve on the committee. The statement was issued by an advocacy group called the Conservative Action Project, of which Ginni Thomas has described herself as an “active” member. The group’s statement excoriated the congressional investigation as a “partisan political persecution” of “private citizens who have done nothing wrong,” and accused the committee of serving “improperly issued subpoenas.”

A current member of the Conservative Action Project told me that Ginni Thomas is part of the group not because of her qualifications but “because she’s married to Clarence.” The member asked to have his name withheld because, he said, Ginni is “volatile” and becomes “edgy” when challenged. He added, “The best word to describe her is ‘tribal.’ You’re either part of her group or you’re the enemy.”

Jan. 20

WhoWhatWhy, Why Does the Media Keep Blaming the Russians for JFK’s Assassination? Brian Baccus, Jan. 20, 2022. This story is part of our series revisiting the JFK assassination. To understand why we’re doing this, read our introduction.

In mid-December, the Biden administration released nearly 1,500 documents related to the John F. Kennedy assassination. Out of all the intelligence agencies memoranda, dossiers, and interview transcripts, the media has seized upon one: a CIA memo about Lee Harvey Oswald’s supposed in-person meeting with Valery Kostikov, a notorious KGB official, in Mexico City in September 1963.

whowhatwhy logoThere’s nothing new about the memo in question. The same is true for most of the JFK records released in December. But as a round of fresh press coverage indicated, the encounter suggests Oswald was working for the Soviets, and that America’s Cold War nemesis was responsible for Kennedy’s killing — not the mob, anti-Castro Cubans, the CIA, or the military-industrial complex.

The theory that Oswald was a KGB asset has persisted for decades, despite a lack of evidence. Even the CIA concluded that any contact Oswald had with KGB-affiliated Russians was a “grim coincidence.” (A man claiming to be Oswald did contact the Soviets in Mexico City — but that man was an impostor.)

This most recent recycling of the “Oswald and the Russians” story — the JFK assassination’s very own Russiagate — follows a predictable pattern that appears every time there’s a release of JFK records. It happened in 2017 and during the 1990s.

So, what gives? Why does the media gravitate toward the Oswald/KGB “revelation” every few years rather than any of the other more plausible theories?

This reliable rhythm suggests reporters are being encouraged to push this story, which also steers the conversation firmly away from potential domestic conspirators. The likeliest suspect behind any media manipulation — the entity that stands to benefit the most from misdirection — also happens to be the main suspect many researchers believe was involved in the assassination: the CIA.

Blame It on the Dead

With Oswald long dead and the USSR collapsed, purported “proof” that Oswald was working with the Soviets wraps up the case in the easiest way. The killer and the plotters are all long gone. Nothing else needs to be done.

This theory also exonerates the Warren Commission for its inadequate investigation, as well as the national security agencies that have refused to disclose all they know about JFK’s assassination. It also ignores the many signs that suggest Oswald may indeed have been an intelligence asset — but the CIA’s, an agency whose very existence was threatened by John F. Kennedy.

Oswald was almost certainly an agent for someone. As former Sen. Richard Schweiker (R-PA) once said, “Everywhere you look with him, there are fingerprints of intelligence.”

Circumstantial evidence suggests Oswald was recruited into the US intelligence community while in the Marines. Through this lens, everything Oswald did, including learning Russian while a teenaged Marine and “defecting” to the Soviet Union at 19 in 1959, was carefully choreographed.

Regardless of his actual allegiance, as a former defector, Oswald was well known to domestic intelligence and closely monitored.

Yet the FBI, CIA, and other federal agencies suppressed this information from the Warren Commission, important context most of the recent news coverage omits.

But much of the misdirection focuses on Oswald’s supposed activities in Mexico City.

The truth about what really happened in the Mexican capital remains elusive, but even conspiracy skeptics believe Oswald’s presumed actions there may hold the solution to the entire puzzle.

“It is startling to discover how many credible government officials — beginning with Ambassador Mann and CIA station chief Scott — have suggested that evidence was missed in Mexico that could rewrite the history of the assassination,” observed A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination author Philip Shenon, who is considered a Warren Commission shill. “The list includes the late former FBI Director Clarence Kelley and former FBI Assistant Director William Sullivan, as well as David Belin, a former staff lawyer on the Warren Commission.”

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary / Special Report: Minority rule Trump -- turning America into Rhodesia and Afrikaaner Suid Afrika, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallWayne Madsen, left, and author of The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the Far Right, Jan. 20, 2022. The more that is discovered about Donald Trump's coup d'état on January 6, the more it takes on the appearance of a pre-planned putsch that combined the elements of street action -- the occupation of the U.S. Capitol complex and, possibly, the Supreme Court -- with a quasi-constitutional "lawfare" operation consisting of fake electors, counterfeit elector certificates of ascertainment, and invocation of the Electoral Count Act of 1877.

wayne madesen report logowayne madsen fourth reich coverCombined, these actions, code named GREEN BAY SWEEP by its conspirators, would have not only placed the United States under martial law after Trump's implementation of dictatorial powers under the Insurrection Act but would have implemented minority white rule in the fashion of Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa.

GREEN BAY SWEEP was predicated on millions of votes for the Democratic presidential ticket being nullified by Trump electors in six states -- Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. Previously certified electors pledged to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would have been supplanted by electors pledged to the Trump-Pence ticket. Many of the Trump electors were sitting Republican members of the legislatures of the six states involved, plus New Mexico, in the electoral subterfuge plot.

Jan. 18

washington post logoWashington Post, David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, is retiring, Michael E. Ruane, Jan. 18, 2022 (print ed.). David S. Ferriero, who has been the archivist of the United States for more than a decade under three presidents, is planning to retire in April. Ferriero, 76, has been head of the National Archives and Records Administration since he was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009.

nara logo“It has been the honor of a lifetime,” Ferriero, below left, wrote in a note to his staff. “My time here has been filled with opportunities, challenges, and awesome responsibilities. … I am humbled and awestruck and so deeply grateful — grateful to all of you.”

david ferriero 2013 mIn addition to housing national treasures such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the National Archives holds 13 billion pages of text, 10 million maps, charts and drawings, as well as tens of millions of photographs, films and other records.

The archives is also responsible for the nation’s 13 brick-and-mortar presidential libraries.

Before coming to the agency, Ferriero was director of the New York Public Libraries and served in top positions at the libraries of the Massachusetts Institution of Technology and Duke University. A native of Beverly, Mass., he served as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War.

A self-described introvert, he is reserved and has a dry sense of humor. On his watch in 2014, the National Archives held its first sleepover.

He has pushed the digitization of the archives, and he embraced social media. In November, he noted in a blog post, “We know that not everyone can come to our facilities [for research] and providing these records online democratizes access.”

He has also promoted the role of “citizen archivists” who volunteer to transcribe and review historic documents online.

“I have met or known half of all Archivists of the United States … and none has done better” than Ferriero, historian Michael Beschloss tweeted.

One of the items framed in Ferriero’s office is a copy of a letter he wrote to President John F. Kennedy when he was in high school. The letter had been found at the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

The future archivist asked about the Peace Corps and requested a photo of JFK.Later, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library found two letters Ferriero had written to President Eisenhower as a youngster, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library found one he had written to President Johnson. Ferriero had them framed in his office, too.

Jan. 16

 

Former president Donald Trump endorses the 2022 re-election of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 9, 2021.

Former president Donald Trump endorses the 2022 re-election of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 9, 2021.

Proof, Investigation:The Coming Collapse of Donald Trump’s January 6 Conspiracy, Part 4: Chuck Grassley, Seth Abramson, left, Jan. 16, 2022 (Excerpt from a much longer article). This shocking seth abramson graphicnew PROOF series details mounting evidence that Trump's seditious January 6 conspiracy is at the point of collapse because of the cowardice, fear, and perfidy of his co-conspirators.

Introduction: There’s simply no other way to put this: the bizarre, still unexplained Insurrection Eve statement issued to U.S. media by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)—a stark declaration concerning the anticipated whereabouts of sitting Vice President of the United States Mike Pence over the coming 24 hours—remains one of the most sinister moments in the whole of the January 6 insurrection timeline.

seth abramson proof logoYet it appears as though no one in the DOJ, the FBI, or even the House of Representatives is seriously looking into it. The following Proof report attempts to remove any “fuzz” from the key facts regarding Grassley’s statement.

As you read this report, keep in mind the photograph atop this article: Donald Trump’s October 9, 2021 endorsement of Sen. Grassley for re-election to the United States Senate in 2022.

2022? Yes. Donald Trump travelled to Iowa over a year before the 2022 midterms to endorse Grassley for an election Grassley intends to run in but could easily, given his age and his health, find himself deciding against. Trump, out of office and spreading seditious rhetoric at every opportunity, is intent on drawing the senior senator from Iowa as close to him as possible.

Why would Trump care so much about the political fate of an extremely elderly United States senator surely in his final or second-to-last Senate term? Perhaps because Trump knows that, if the GOP regains control of the Senate in January 2023, Grassley will again chair the Senate Judiciary Committee rather than being (as he is now) merely its ranking member.

Grassley’s prospective 2023 role on the Senate Judiciary Committee would not only have been vital to Trump in a second term in office, but may still be now in the event any issues touching upon Trump’s legal liabilities somehow come before that body— for instance, issues relating to Trump’s rampant misconduct while in the Oval Office.

And yet, even all this might not have been enough to make Trump care about Grassley in October 2021. But at the time Trump went to Iowa to stump with Grassley, the aged senator was just weeks removed from being hounded by U.S. media (see below) as to another component of his Senate service: his past role as Senate president pro tempore. I

In endorsing the 88 year-old Grassley—the second-oldest human in Congress—in October 2021, Trump not only brazenly blew smoke about him (“He’s a very young guy”) but called Grassley a “patriot” (a term now used as code for “insurrectionist”); more importantly, he dropped a line which, in retrospect, seems telling: “When I’ve needed [Senator Grassley] for help, he was always there.” And Donald Trump desperately needed Chuck Grassley’s help on January 6, 2021.

The question now is whether Grassley is linked to Trump in ways that are much less evident—and relate not to 2022 but January 6, 2021. All of the Following Things Are True About Grassley’s Infamous Insurrection Eve Declaration About Pence (1) Grassley’s January 5 statement that Pence would not be overseeing the certification of the 2020 election was definitive and unambiguous. Grassley’s statement, The Hill reported at the time, “sent shock waves” through D.C., and did so on the eve of what would turn out to be the worst attack on Washington since the American Civil War.

Grassley’s claim caused “chaos” in the nation’s capital, wrote The Hill, forcing reporters to suddenly “grapple with [the question of] whether Pence had pulled out of the joint session”—and in effect giving Pence an opportunity to choose that option if he hadn’t been inclined to do so previously, it having been laid so neatly on the table for him by an esteemed senior member of the Republican Party.

Conclusion: Whereas Kevin McCarthy is now dissembling about the content of his January 6, 2021 conversation with Donald Trump, at least he previously (and repeatedly) was candid about it. In contrast, it appears that Chuck Grassley and his staff have been lying from the start about what could’ve been even more consequential contacts with Team Trump

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

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

Jan. 15

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: In Kazakhstan, Putin’s 2,500 occupation troops get order to shoot and kill protesters on sight, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Jan. 15, 2022. webster tarpley 2007Jan. 1 uprising there triggered by doubling of energy prices after 30 years of Nazabayev-Tokayev dictatorship; death toll measured in scores at minimum; what does mass unrest in Belarus and Kazakhstan tell us about conditions inside Russia pushing Kremlin towards aggression?

US reports Russia preparing false flag provocation against their own forces in Ukraine to furnish pretext for invasion in coming months; terrorists said to be deployed already; tactic recalls Hitler’s ”Sender Gleiwitz” action of August 1939, which was used to launch attack on Poland; Another mirror: Russian invasion of Afghanistan, which started war that ended USSR;

Supreme Court reactionary block votes 6-3 to maintain freeze on Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate for larger firms; decision approaches depravity of 1857 Dred Scott decision; Generic ballot polls suggest reserves of Dem strength;

Oath Keeper indictments target middle echelons of January 6 coup, focus on illegal armed militias;Democratic Party must back candidates for every school board seat in the country to bar fascist hooligans;

Breaking: Florida’s DeSantis defies Supreme Court, won’t enforce vaccine requirement in Medicare hospitals.

Jan. 14

 

Donald and Melania Trump, and Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, 2000. (Davidoff Studios / Getty Images)

Jacobin, Commentary: The Full Extent of Jeffrey Epstein’s Crimes Are Slowly Being Revealed, Branko Marcetic, Jan. 14, 2022. The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was disappointing for those hoping it would blow the lid off the Jeffrey Epstein sex ring. But the trial and new reporting have shown Epstein's relationship with political elites runs even deeper than we already knew.

The past few years have been disappointing for anyone hoping the public would learn the full scope of Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex trafficking operation. Epstein himself is dead, having mysteriously pulled off a suicide during a high-security prison stay filled with unexplained irregularities, and prosecutors targeting his coconspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, opted for a fairly conservative case that has kept a lid on details that might have revealed more of the picture of who was involved.

But it’s easy to overlook the fact that, as minimal as it was, the trial has added to our understanding of the Epstein case, principally through the unsealing of more years of the financier’s flight logs and some details in witness testimony, coupled with years of reporting on the case.

We’ve long known about Epstein and Maxwell’s long friendship with Donald Trump, but the trial has made clear just how extensive these connections were.

The big headline news of the release of Epstein’s flight logs last December was that Trump flew on Epstein’s private jet — the one nicknamed “The Lolita Express,” a knowing wink at Epstein’s predilection for underage girls, whom he would transport on the plane — far more than was previously known. Trump flew on the plane at least seven times, and on two occasions took his children, Eric and Tiffany, as well as his ex-wife Marla Maples and a nanny.

Another log shows Trump flew in April 1993 with Epstein and Erin Nance, who is explicitly identified as “Miss Georgia, runner up Miss USA.” Nance, who was indeed crowned Miss Georgia Teen USA in 1993 but fell short of the top prize later that year, had thirteen phone numbers listed in Epstein’s second address book, whose existence had been unknown until Business Insider obtained it last year, including several numbers for her parents (both home and work numbers).

Three years after that flight, Trump would buy the Miss Universe Organization, which included the Miss USA pageant that Nance (now Erin Hill) competed in, as well as the Miss Teen USA pageant, owning them until 2005. Besides picking the finalists and winners, Trump’s been accused by numerous former contestants of ogling them, kissing them, and barging into a dressing room while they changed — a charge made by multiple Miss Teen USA contestants, and one Trump freely admitted to in a 2005 interview with Howard Stern.

In the course of the trial, one of Maxwell’s accusers, known only by the synonym “Jane,” testified that not only had she taken part in one of the Miss Teen USA pageants owned by Trump, but that Epstein took her when she was only fourteen years old to Mar-A-Lago, where he introduced her to the future president. (It’s not clear in what order these discrete events took place).

This isn’t Epstein’s only link to the beauty world. We know now the sex offender used his close and still-mysterious relationship with Leslie Wexner, the Ohio billionaire and former owner of Columbus-based Victoria’s Secret, to lure victims, posing as a talent scout for the company. For years, Victoria’s Secret worked with models represented by a talent agency owned by Epstein associate Jean-Luc Brunel, which one Epstein survivor alleged in court he used to traffic underage girls into the United States from overseas (Brunel has now been arrested and charged with rape of a minor as part of a probe into Epstein). In her 2015 book TrafficKing, investigative reporter Conchita Sarnoff wrote that Epstein used the “modelling business to source underage girls for sex.”

Another Trump connection in the logs is Celina Midelfart, a Norwegian heiress and socialite, who Epstein’s former pilot and Maxwell’s former assistant both testified had dated Epstein in the mid-90s while he was in a relationship with Maxwell, and who later reportedly dated Trump until he met his current wife, Melania. Midelfart has vehemently denied dating either man, though she shows up numerous times on flights without Maxwell present — a relatively uncommon occurrence in the logs — and has numerous phone numbers listed in Epstein’s black book, including that of her summer house and her mother.

All of it hints at a much deeper and potentially even sleazier relationship between the two men. Trump had infamously told New York magazine in 2002 that he’d known Epstein, a “terrific guy,” for fifteen years, and that he “likes beautiful women as much as I do,” with many of them “on the younger side.” As photos and video footage suggests, for years the two partied together, including one instance in 1992 when Trump had dozens of women flown to Mar-a-Lago for a “calendar girl” competition where only he and Epstein were the audience.

As Trump was running for president in 2016, he was hit with a lawsuit by a woman alleging both Trump and Epstein raped her in 1994 when she was thirteen, at parties held by the latter, a charge backed up by an affidavit from a woman who “recruited” her for Epstein. She later dropped the suit, according to her lawyer, because of a flurry of death threats and hacking attempts. Epstein also reportedly claimed to have introduced Trump to Melania, at the time a Slovenian model, a claim strongly denied by one of Trump’s friends who takes credit for the pairing. Last year, Business Insider reported on the presence of Suzanne Ircha (now Johnson), Melania Trump’s best friend, in Epstein’s address book from the 1990s.

Despite all this, Trump and the oligarch-backed movement behind him have managed to redirect outrage around the Epstein case into the absurd QAnon mythos, which Trump and his political allies have taken to winking at in public. QAnon, whose entire basis is a series of anonymous message board posts, puts Trump, perversely, at the head of a secret battle against a pedophilic elite that’s, conveniently, made up exclusively of Democrats, prominent liberals, and other political opponents of the former president.
Clinton Cash

Of course, one of the defining features of the Epstein case is that the financier pedophile wasn’t aligned with just one political faction, but was cozy with US elites across the political spectrum, a fact further reinforced by recent revelations.

Most prominent was Epstein’s friendship with former Democratic president Bill Clinton, whose presence on Epstein’s flight logs made waves when they were first revealed years ago. The expanded release prompted by the trial shows Clinton aide Mark Middleton — whose many phone numbers appear in both of the Epstein address books unearthed — flew four times on Epstein’s plane in May 1994 alone, and once with Trump, his then-wife Marla, and their daughter.

Clinton had previously claimed he had only met Epstein a handful of times, even as evidence quickly emerged that he had been raising money from and meeting with him from the start of his presidency. Roughly the same time in 2019, unearthed records from Epstein’s 2008 prison stint showed he was visited at least twenty times by Arnold Paul Prosperi, a longtime Clinton associate and fundraiser who was among the flurry of controversial pardons the former president made in his final days in office, commuting his prison sentence for fraud to house arrest.

"One of the defining features of the Epstein case is that the financier pedophile wasn’t aligned with just one political faction, but was cozy with US elites across the political spectrum."

While Maxwell’s trial was going on last December, the Daily Mail revealed through a FOIA request that Epstein had visited Clinton’s White House at least seventeen times, his first visit in February 1993 coming through an invitation from “Rubin,” most likely Robert Rubin, the Wall Street banker who later became Treasury secretary and helped engineer the 2008 financial crisis. Those visitor records also show Epstein numerous times visited Middleton, who went on to tar Clinton with scandal by using his presidential connections to cash in after leaving the White House in 1995.

At least some of Middleton’s activities were for official Clinton business. Middleton, who raised money for and served as the director of the Clinton Birthplace Foundation, also worked on soliciting funds for Clinton’s future presidential library, refusing to cooperate in a subsequent GOP-led Congressional probe of Democratic fundraising. According to one book on Epstein, the seed money for another of these post-presidential projects, the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative, may have come from Epstein.

Further illustrating how closely connected this Epstein-linked strata of American society is, among the presidential library’s files was a copy of The Art of the Deal given to Middleton and personally inscribed by — who else? — Trump. Lest we forget, years later as he weighed up jumping in the Republican presidential race, Trump was personally encouraged by Clinton to do so.
Dems the Breaks

Clinton is by no means the only Democrat. Former Senate majority leader George Mitchell (D-ME), who prominent Epstein survivor Virginia Giuffre has accused of sleeping with her, shows up five times on the flight logs between 1994 and 1995, three of those times with his wife.

In other words, Mitchell, who later called Epstein “a friend and a supporter” who “organized a fund-raiser for me once,” was consorting with the sex trafficker in at least his final year in one of the country’s most politically powerful roles. Mitchell went on to oversee the Philadelphia archdiocese’s payment of compensation for survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of priests, assailed by critics at the time as a ploy to get abuse victims to sign away their right to sue.

Another former congressman listed on the flight logs is former representative Tom McMillen (D-MD), who’s listed as flying on Epstein’s jet twice on January 29, 1993 — twenty-six days after he left Congress. McMillen went on to have a prolific and controversial career in the private sector, with the Baltimore Sun comparing him to a “carnival barker” as he attempted to cash in on the burgeoning homeland security industry in the wake of September 11 with a “blank check company” — firms without any business plan, that exist to raise money from investors for a future, unspecified deal.

Numerous phone numbers for McMillen, who appears to have had a home in Epstein’s fiefdom of Palm Beach, are listed in both of Epstein’s address books. One lists him as a congressman, while the other lists his email at Washington Capital Advisors, the private equity firm he owned and served as CEO for since 2004, according to SEC filings, suggesting their acquaintance extended well past that one day in January 1993.

The logs also suggest how Epstein’s still-never satisfactorily explained relationship with Leslie Wexner — who gave Epstein unilateral control of his finances and practically gifted him his Manhattan home — drew in a wider world of elites. The July 5, 1992 log, for instance, shows Steve Tuckerman, the local construction executive who built the Georgian homes in Wexner’s idyllic, affluent neighborhood of New Albany, flying with his wife Judy from Aspen (where Wexner owned a home) to nearby Columbus. Wexner’s wife Abigail, who Judy Tuckerman has called a friend, flew on two of the legs of that trip.

Also flying with Epstein were Yehuda and Zipora Koppel, jetting together with the Tuckermans to Paris in September 1997. The Koppels are the parents of Abigail Wexner, making them the in-laws of the man widely believed to be the chief source of Epstein’s mysterious wealth.

In 2007, as Epstein was being charged by prosecutors in what would end up his first, remarkably lenient prison stay, Abigail Wexner formed and then quickly dissolved the YLK Charitable Fund, named for the initials of her father. It soon received a $47 million donation from Epstein at the same time that he sold his New Albany home to the couple for $0, and just one month before he was replaced as Leslie Wexner’s financial manager.

Epstein’s connection to the Koppels has gotten little notice until now. Yehuda Koppel, who died in 2006, had been a prominent Israeli military figure during the 1948 war that led to the country’s founding (and to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians). Afterward, he oversaw the development of Israel’s state-owned airline, El Al, in the United States, becoming its director.

Like many airlines in the Cold War era, El Al had a close relationship with its national intelligence agency, operating at times as a front for Mossad operations, most notably in the arrest of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1960. Its connection to the intelligence world appeared to continue decades later, when leaked South African spy cables showed the country’s intelligence services backing up a whistleblower’s claims that the airline was a cover for spy work.

Epstein’s relationship to Koppel is only one of several of his possible murky connections to the Israeli national security establishment. Most notable is the late Robert Maxwell, the newspaper magnate and father of Ghislaine, who according to multiple reports was the one who introduced Epstein to his daughter and, according to the deposition of Brunel’s bookkeeper, “started” Epstein’s wealth.
"Epstein’s relationship to Koppel is only one of several of his possible murky connections to the Israeli national security establishment."

Famed Israeli spy Rafi Eitan (who incidentally led the Eichmann operation) told Gordon Thomas, author of a history of the Mossad, that he used Maxwell for the “crowning achievement” of his spying career: selling rigged terrorist-tracking software to foreign governments that allowed Israeli intelligence to secretly vacuum up the data they were all collecting. Thomas later put the claim in an affidavit.

Four sources, including Epstein’s former business partner, told journalist Vicky Ward that Epstein worked for various governments, including Israel, and that Maxwell had introduced Epstein to Israeli leadership, who decided they could make use of him. Ward had earlier reported that Alexander Acosta, Trump’s labor secretary and the prosecutor who had cut Epstein his lenient non-prosecution deal back in 2008, had explained that he’d been told Epstein “belonged to intelligence.” Authorities later found a fake passport used to enter several countries in the 1980s, along with diamonds and cash in a safe, in Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
The Cue for Q

The Jeffrey Epstein saga is the story of the world’s most prolific child sex trafficker who operated more or less unhidden for decades, but was able to consistently escape media scrutiny, legal punishment, and, finally, justice by dying before he went to trial. In a normal world, this tale of sprawling criminality and public corruption would be the subject of an intense, wide-ranging government investigation that would expose the conspiracy’s full scope and the identities of those involved.

Instead, information about the case continues to come in dribs and drabs, thanks only to the work of a few dogged reporters and the occasional fortuitous legal disclosure, limited in this most recent trial by the judge’s order to avoid “needless” naming of names, and prosecutors’ decision to leave tens of thousands of photos seized from Epstein’s home by the FBI unreleased. The public may end up having to wait for the civil suit against Prince Andrew or for Maxwell herself to strike some kind of deal to learn more.

Jan. 12

National Press Club, Club member Madsen compares ‘Trumpism’ with Nazism at virtual event, Joe Motheral, Jan. 12, 2022. On the first anniversary of the Capitol insurrection, Jan. 6, National Press Club member, Wayne Madsen discussed his latest book, The Rise of the Fourth Fascist Reich, the Era of Trumpism and the Far Right, at a virtual event sponsored by the Club's Member-Author Group.

Madsen, below, said he had two inspirations for writing the book. As a reporter, “I covered Capitol Hill for so long and I was nauseated when I saw what was wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallgoing on last year.” The other reason was that his grandmother served in the underground in Denmark during the Nazi occupation and his mother in New Jersey told him about the German-American Bundt.

The title of the book derives from designating the Holy Roman Empire as the first Reich; Imperial Germany as the second Reich and Nazi Germany as the third Reich. The election of Donald Trump and strong-man leaders around the world in Russia, China, India, Brazil, Hungary, Poland and other nations, in Madsen’s view, constitutes the Fourth Reich.

wayne madsen fourth reich coverMadsen went through numerous examples of similarities between Trump and the far right with Hitler and the Nazis such as, “attempts to destroy local and state governments in Michigan, Oregon, Washington, Georgia [and] Richmond, [Virginia]. The far right is trying to get elected to school boards, city councils [and] state government with no interest in governance. The only thing they have in mind is destroying these institutions.”

After the event, Bea Snyder, a Club member and one of the attendees over Zoom, said it was “scary to see the similarities of the ultra-right groups in the 1920s in Germany and those being used today in our country by some ultra-right leaders.”

“Trumps version of Joseph Goebbels, Stephen Bannon, has vowed to fight for political control of precinct-by-precinct in elections around the United States and the world,” Madsen said. Accordingly, his book indicates that the battle lines are being drawn “so that the fight can be joined by progressives and democrats everywhere.”

Madsen recounted Goebbels and the big lie. Goebbels said if you tell it often enough people will believe it. “That’s what’s happening with Trump as he keeps saying the lie that the election was rigged,” he said.

After graduating from the University of Mississippi, Madsen joined the Navy. He later worked at the National Security Agency. As a freelance journalist, his work has appeared in a variety of publications such as The Village Voice, The Progressive and the American Conservative. He has also written columns for several newspapers. He has 21 published books.

The Rise of the Fourth Fascist Reich is available via Amazon.com or through Madsen’s investigative news site, The Wayne Madsen Report. Andrew Kreig, of the Member Author Group introduced the author.

 

vicky ward investigatesVicky Ward Investigates, Money Man: What Epstein’s Wealth Meant to Prince Andrew, Vicky Ward, Jan. 12, 2022. My in-box has been dinging all day about the latest news in the legal battle between Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Prince Andrew.

Judge Lewis Kaplan has ruled that the prince does not have grounds to get the case dismissed, which means the battle is now set to go ahead in New York’s Southern District. David Boies, the lawyer for Giuffre, emailed me that “the parties have agreed that he will be deposed in London and she will be deposed in Australia. She will testify live at trial. It will be up to him and the judge whether he comes to trial. He should come for his own sake. If he doesn’t, it will be up to the Court whether to compel him to come—in civil cases, sometimes courts do, sometimes courts don’t.”

Most people are focused on the sexual allegations that Giuffre has made in this case—and, rightly so. Giuffre—who was introduced to the prince in prince andrew virginia roberts ghislaine maxwell 20012001 when she was just 17—alleges that the prince had unwanted sex with her three times: first, on the night they met in London, when that now-infamous photo was taken (in 2001, left, with Ghislaine Maxwell also), and then at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse and on Epstein’s private island in Little St. John. (Prince Andrew has denied meeting or having sex with Giuffre.)

Now it’s no secret that Prince Andrew was partial to pretty women. “Randy Andy” was a much-remembered headline of my childhood growing up in Britain.

But there is another reason, according to my reporting, that explains why Prince Andrew was enamored of the world of not just Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell but of Donald Trump, whom he met around the 2000s, according to my sources, and was wildly impressed by. “Andrew raved about Mar-a-Lago,” says one person who has dinner with him often.

The reason is: Money.

I’ve spoken to several close friends of Prince Andrew during my reporting, and they’ve shared some interesting background.

The fact that Prince Andrew’s former wife, Sarah Ferguson, got into debt and once even had Epstein pay a former employee she owed money to, is no secret. It was widely reported in 2011.

What’s less well known is that the prince himself wanted to make money and saw Epstein—and Trump—as possible tickets to a successful career, according to my sources.

Jan. 8

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Biden shifts to aggressive posture towards Trump, GOP dark forces, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Jan. 8, 2022. In Kazakhstan, webster tarpley 2007Putin’s 2,500 occupation troops get order to shoot and kill protesters on sight; Jan. 1 uprising there triggered by doubling of energy prices after 30 years of Nazabayev-Tokayev dictatorship; death toll measured in scores at minimum; what does mass unrest in Belarus and Kazakhstan tell us about conditions inside Russia pushing Kremlin towards aggression?

Biden’s economic success story rolls on with 3.9% employment in December, down from 4.2% in November and 6.4% last January: these figures represent the biggest yearly improvement in history; wage growth exceeds expectations; but greedy media bosses and reporters stay grotesquely negative on Biden economy because they don’t want to pay taxes;

Supreme Court clique of reactionary hacks signal their lawless intent to strike down Biden’s OSHA vaccine requirement, needlessly exposing 84 million workers to ravages of pandemic; Gorsuch refuses mask, while incompetents Alito and Thomas display abysmal ignorance of vaccine; two plaintiff AGs out sick with covid; hapless Virginia to join anti-vaxer bloc;

Will Trump appointees also scuttle vaccine requirement for 20 million health workers?

Biden should treat this court the way Lincoln dealt with Taney; As 16th president reminded nation: US Constitution is NOT a suicide pact! Study of 1920s-1930s shows utter folly of giving fascist movements time to grow, instead of nipping them in the bud.

Jan. 6

Proof, Investigation: The Coming Collapse of Donald Trump’s January 6 Conspiracy, Part 2: Roger Stone, Seth Abramson, left, Jan. 5-6, 2022. This shocking new seth abramson graphicPROOF series details mounting evidence that Trump's seditious January 6 conspiracy is at the point of collapse because of the cowardice, fear, and perfidy of his co-conspirators. This is Part 2 of an ongoing series in the January 6 section of Proof. Part 3 is due soon, and will focus seth abramson proof logoon Stop the Steal co-organizer Ali Alexander. Part 1 in the series is here.

Introduction: While we don’t yet know if the walls are closing in on Donald Trump—for the former president to be in significant legal trouble it would take a degree of commitment and verve from AG Merrick Garland that we’ve seen little public evidence of yet—it can now be said that Trump is facing abandonment from his friends. It’s a sign that they, at least, believe the end is nigh for Trump politically and (perhaps) as a matter of law.

bennie thompson headshotAs 2021 turned to 2022, we heard Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), left, and Liz Cheney (R-WY)—chair and vice chair of the House January 6 Committee (hereafter the HJ6C)—boast of having spoken to over 300 fact witnesses in their investigation of January 6, making Trumpist dead-enders Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, right, who’ve both defied their congressional subpoenas, seem like outliers. Mark Meadows(Bannon, a top adviser to Trump in the days leading up to January 6, faces a federal Contempt of Congress trial later this year, while Congress referred former Trump chief of staff Meadows to the DOJ for potential prosecution via the same charge).

In just the last 72 hours, Thompson and Cheney have gotten even more explicit than this, disclosing that they’ve spoken to “multiple” witnesses with “firsthand knowledge” of Trump’s movements on January 6. Such individuals would have to have been very close to the former president indeed on both Insurrection Day and the days immediately preceding it.

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

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

 

mike pence djt side by side

Axios, Mike Pence’s team helping Jan. 6 committee, Alayna Treene, Jan. 5, 2022. People in and around former Vice President Mike Pence's office have been particularly cooperative as the Jan. 6 select committee focuses on what former President Trump was doing during the more than three hours the Capitol was under attack, sources familiar with the testimony tell Axios.

Why it matters: At the one-year mark of the insurrection, the committee is piecing together a definitive timeline of how Trump resisted pleas from his own advisers, allies, family members and lawmakers to halt the violence down Pennsylvania Avenue. The committee is axios logoramping up its closed-door work with the goal of holding public hearings as early as this spring.

Some Pence-world witnesses have testified without a subpoena, according to one source with direct knowledge of the closed-door hearings. Both Pence's former chief of staff Marc Short, and former press secretary Alyssa Farah, who later served as communications director to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, are among those cooperating with the committee. Keith Kellogg also has given a deposition. One source familiar with their involvement said Short, who was subpoenaed by the committee, would not have cooperated without the approval of Pence.

Jan. 3

 

oliver stone newseum

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

Future of Freedom Foundation, Historical Commentary: Clay Shaw, Liar and Perjurer, Jacob G. Hornberger, foundation president, author, book publisher and law school graduate, shown at right, Jan. 3, 2022. In 1969, New Orleans District jacob hornberger newAttorney Jim Garrison brought a criminal prosecution against a man named Clay Shaw. In the trial, Garrison rejected the lone-nut theory of the assassination of President Kennedy. He alleged instead that Kennedy was assassinated in a highly sophisticated regime-change operation spearheaded by the U.S. national-security establishment. Garrison alleged that Shaw had played a role in that operation.

Although Shaw was quickly acquitted, Garrison’s prosecution later inspired Oliver Stone to come out with his movie JFK, whose future of freedom foundation logo squaretheme was the same as Garrison’s — that Kennedy was assassinated by his enemies within the national-security establishment.

At the end of Stone’s movie was a blurb that informed people that official records relating to the assassination would continue to be kept secret until the year 2029. The inference was clear: The secrecy was designed to advance a cover-up of the national-security state’s regime-change operation against Kennedy.

cia logoThat blurb produced such an outcry among the American people that Congress was effectively forced to enact the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992, which mandated that all federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the CIA, release their long-secret assassination-related records to the public. To enforce the law, Congress called into existence the Assassination Records Review Board, which operated from 1994 to 1998.

The ARRB’s enforcement of the JFK Records Act is how we learned that the national-security establishment had conducted a fraudulent autopsy on President Kennedy’s body on the very evening of the assassination. The nature of that fraudulent autopsy was detailed in my books The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2.

That fraudulent autopsy is how we know that the national-security establishment orchestrated and carried out one of its patented regime-change operations against Kennedy. As I have repeatedly emphasized over the years, there is no innocent explanation for a fraudulent autopsy. Once one concludes that the Kennedy autopsy was fraudulent, there is but one reasonable conclusion that he can reach: The national-security establishment, which conducted the fraudulent autopsy, orchestrated and carried out the assassination.

Thus, if it hadn’t been for Garrison’s prosecution of Shaw in 1969, it is a virtual certainty that we still wouldn’t know today that what occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dallas was a national-security state regime-change operation. That’s because Garrison’s prosecution led to Oliver Stone’s movie, which, in turn, led to the JFK Records Act and the ARRB, which led to the evidence that established a fraudulent autopsy.

Ever since the Garrison’s prosecution, however, defenders of the lone-nut theory of the Kennedy assassination have portrayed Clay Shaw as an innocent victim of an abusive criminal prosecution. As it turns out however, Shaw wasn’t as sweet and innocent as the lone-nut theorists have long claimed. He actually was a perjurer and a liar.

At his trial, Shaw testified in his own behalf and denied that he had played any role in the Kennedy assassination. During his testimony, which, of course, was under oath, the following transpired:

Q: Mr. Shaw, have you ever worked for the Central Intelligence Agency?

A: No, I have not.

After he was acquitted, Shaw was interviewed by Penthouse magazine. In the interview, he stated, “I have never had any connection with the CIA.”

On November 1, 2021, the National Archives released a CIA document that had been kept secret since February 1992. That date was several months before the JFK Records Act was signed into law in October 1992. It was clearly an assassination-related record that should have been disclosed during the term of the ARRB in the 1990s. Instead, it was kept secret under a loophole in the law that entitled the CIA and other federal agencies to continue keeping certain records secret for another 25 years, on grounds that their disclosure would reveal “sources” or “methods” or endanger “national security.”

clay shaw early photoIf you read the document, you will see that there is no possibility that it falls within any of those categories. The CIA simply lied to the ARRB to ensure that the document would continue to remain secret for 25 more years. Then, when that 25-year deadline came due in 2017, the CIA again lied, this time to President Trump, to get even more time for continued secrecy of the document. Trump gave the CIA another five years of secrecy. When that deadline came due in 2021, the CIA persuaded President Biden to grant another extension of time for secrecy, this time to December 2022. For some unknown reason — perhaps even a screw-up — the National Archives released the document in November of 2021.

The document is a memo sent by J. Kenneth McDonald, the Chief of the CIA History Staff, to the Director of the CIA, with copies being sent to other CIA personnel. It pertains to how the CIA should handle the CIA’s records from the reinvestigation of the Kennedy assassination by the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations in the 1970s.

In his memo, McDonald states the following: “These records do reveal, however, that Clay Shaw was a highly paid CIA contract source until 1965.”

Thus, by the CIA’s own admission, it turns out that Clay Shaw, left, wasn’t the sweet, innocent man that lone-nut theorists in the Kennedy assassination have long portrayed him to be. At the very least, he was a perjurer and a liar, which, of course, taints his entire testimony at his trial.

Do you see why the CIA is loathe to disclose the 14,000 records that it continues to keep secret from the American people that related to the Kennedy assassination and why it continues to demand continued secrecy of such records?

Jan. 2

 

kennedys and king logo

Logo for Kennedys and King Research Site

Kennedys and King, Commentary: Max Boot vs JFK Revisited, James DiEugenio, Jan. 2, 2022. In this latest installment of what is now a multi-part series answering the disinformation and lies of the Warren Commission apologists reviewing Oliver Stone’s new film "JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass," jim dieugenio fileJim DiEugenio, left, responds to Washington Post columnist Max Boot’s recent piece, which is devoid of any genuine criticism and full of non-analytic smears.

On December 21st, the Washington Post decided to publish an opinion piece by columnist Max Boot about Oliver Stone and his new documentary JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass. Like Alecia Long before him, and Tim Weiner in Rolling Stone, there was little pretense of Boot writing any genuine criticism. (Click here for a reply to Weiner and here for one to Long). After all, the title of the column accused the director of telling lies about JFK’s assassination. Boot then called Stone a demagogue and compared his work to that of Leni Riefenstahl. When a writer stoops to this kind of name calling by the first line of his second paragraph, one knows what lies ahead is going to be a non-analytical smear.

max boot screen shotIn the second paragraph, Boot, right, calls Stone’s 1991 film JFK “the most deceitful film ever produced by a major Hollywood studio.” This for a film that won two Oscars and was nominated for eight. And, as far as Max is concerned, that disposes of that.

Except it doesn’t. When one compares the director’s cut of that film with the declassified record, one will see that compared to other true story films (e.g. The Untouchables), Stone’s film does not use an excess of dramatic license. The hyperbole used in that regard is so exaggerated as to be dismissed as an outburst of collective journalistic hysteria. The truth is that the people making these charges knew next to nothing about the JFK case or what happened in New Orleans with Oswald in the summer of 1963.

I know this since I am aware of those matters and did a comparative analysis of the first 16 scenes of the film with the new records made available by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). There are some things which appear later in the film that I would have advised Stone not to use, but there are also things that are clearly labeled as speculation or presented as theorizing. (James DiEugenio, The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today, pp. 190–94) To point out one major strand of JFK which was vehemently attacked at the time: all the material pertaining to the Vietnam angle is accurate. And further work in this field has made Stone’s thesis even stronger. (Click here for details)

Therefore, at the start, Boot shows what he is writing is bombast, playing to the crowd. In referring to the declassification process, he cannot even spell out the term Assassination Records Review Board. Or inform the reader that the Board declassified 60,000 documents and two million pages of material. Yet today there are still approximately 14,300 pages being withheld from public view: 58 years after Kennedy’s assassination.

Max then writes this whopper:

What has come out so far has done nothing to shake the conclusion reached by all credible investigators that Oswald was the lone gunman.

How does he know? Has he read the two million pages? It’s this kind of arrogance that has made a large part of the public so sick of the MSM that they have turned to alternative forms of media for information.

The other part of Max’s charade is this: He does not tell the reader anything that is in the film based on this new information. If he did, he’d expose his charade, because the ARRB did not just declassify 2 million pages of either redacted or completely classified documents. They were also able to conduct inquiries into ambiguities in the evidence. Therefore, they did an investigation into the autopsy of President Kennedy. Two of the witnesses they deposed under oath were FBI agents Jim Sibert and Frank O’Neill, who were present at the Bethesda morgue that night. Both men stated that they observed a large defect in the right rear of Kennedy’s skull. In their declassified interviews with the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), both men said the bullet in Kennedy’s back did not exit his body. (Doug Horne, Inside the ARRB, pp. 681, 685)

The agents had nothing but scorn for Arlen Specter of the Warren Commission. They were angry because neither testified before that body. They both felt this was due to Specter, since he knew what they would say would contradict his pre-ordained conclusion. They also both learned that Specter had, to put it gently, misrepresented their testimony to the rest of the Commission in order to keep them from testifying. (Horne, pp.702–05)

When the reader is presented with their evidence, one can see why Specter did not want them deposed. First, there is no autopsy picture of the skull wound they describe; a wound which would indicate a shot from the front. Secondly, their testimony vitiates the Single Bullet Theory that Specter needed to construct. If the bullet in the back did not transit Kennedy then Specter’s theory is simply untenable: another bullet hit Governor John Connally and there was a second assassin. JFK Revisited refers to this testimony. But Max Boot doesn’t reveal it to the reader, probably because it would “shake the conclusion reached by all credible investigators that Oswald was the lone gunman.” Or, in plain English, it would show that Max is a poseur.

Another episode in the film that would “shake the conclusion reached by all credible investigators” is the fact that there were two plots to kill Kennedy prior to Dallas. They both occurred in November of 1963. One was in Chicago and one was in Tampa. As essayist Paul Bleau demonstrates in the film, both of these failed attempts had remarkable similarities to what finally succeeded in Dallas. For example, in Chicago the profile of the fall guy—Thomas Vallee—resembled Oswald.

And the FBI informant who helped thwart the Chicago plot was codenamed ‘Lee’. (James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, pp. 204–07)

In Tampa, the suspected patsy was Gilberto Lopez. As Oswald was the organizer of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) branch in New Orleans, and its only member, Lopez was a pro-Castro Cuban who attended meetings of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He had been hospitalized that year for an epileptic condition. He was in Tampa on the day of Kennedy’s long motorcade route which went past the 23 floor Floridian Hotel. According to Secret Service expert Vince Palamara, the authorities had men on every floor of that hotel due to information about a threat on Kennedy’s life. Afterwards, Lopez went to Texas, and on the night of the assassination, he crossed the border at Nuevo Laredo into Mexico. With money loaned him by the FPCC, he was the only passenger on a Cubana airlines flight from Mexico City to Havana on November 27th. The Mexican authorities later wrote he was acting suspiciously and they had an informant who said he was involved in the Kennedy case. (Michael Benson, Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination, pp. 256–58; see also Daily Mail, September 3, 2019, article by Daniel Bates) On December 3rd, the CIA was alerted to run “urgent traces” on Lopez. Both the Church Committee and the House Select Committee on Assassinations found that, while the Warren Commission was in its most active stage, reports were “circulating that Lopez had been involved in the assassination.” (HSCA Final Report, pp. 118–21)

JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, is the first broadcast documentary to include these prior attempts. For whatever reason, both were covered up at the time. If that had not been the case, it is quite possible that the successful attempt in Dallas would not have occurred. The reason being that the similarities to the prior instances were obvious enough that Oswald would have been removed from the motorcade route. Somehow, Max Boot does not think this information merits public attention.

The film proves matters that Boot labels “lies.” It proves that CE 399, the Magic Bullet, was not fired in Dealey Plaza that day and would not have been accepted into a court of law. It does the latter through an instructor in criminal justice and also the illustrious criminalist Dr. Henry Lee. The film proves that James Humes, the lead autopsist, destroyed both the first draft of his report and, even worse, his autopsy notes. It also shows that Pierre Finck, another Kennedy pathologist, had his notes pilfered. The film illustrates, with blown up photos, points of evidentiary discrepancies not officially explored in the so-called backyard photographs of Oswald. In the forthcoming 4-hour version, the documentary will present the late CIA officer Tennent Bagley’s analysis of the routing of the CIA file on Oswald and his conclusion that he was a false defector.

For Max Boot to write that the information in the film was debunked by Gerald Posner in his book Case Closed is the height of MSM clownishness on the JFK case. That was not possible, since Posner’s book was published before the ARRB went to work. For Max to use the late Vincent Bugliosi to pose the question of why there were no extra bullets discovered is about as silly. In the long version of the film, to be released in America in February, we will show that there is evidence that an extra bullet was recovered that evening that made it into the morgue. (Click here for details)

Boot goes off the edge when he writes that the film uses an absence of evidence “as proof of a monumental coverup.” The film clearly demonstrates parts of the cover up that were concealed, but have been revealed by the ARRB. Another example being the hidden statement of Dorothy Garner, the supervisor to Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles at the Texas School Book Depository. As author Barry Ernest states in the film, she backed up what Adams and Styles officially stated: that they were on the stairs of that building about 15–30 seconds after the shots were fired. Therefore, in all probability, they would have seen or heard Oswald coming down those rickety wooden steps, if he had been on the sixth floor. They didn’t. The presentation of this evidence by Mr. Ernest is a major segment of the film. How Max missed it, or deemed it unimportant, is inexplicable.

Boot ends his column by saying that the film theorizes that Kennedy was a “peacenik” who was trying to end the Cold War. This is not a theory. The film shows with new evidence that JFK was planning to withdraw from Vietnam; his policy to keep the Congo free from imperialism after independence; and his attempts at rapprochement with both the USSR and Cuba in 1963. The film uses excerpts from Kennedy’s famous Peace Speech at American University in June of 1963, where he clearly called for outreach to Moscow. After his death, the last two policies were abandoned and the first two were dramatically reversed—with disastrous results. The upcoming 4-hour version of the film goes into this issue in more areas and at greater length. Boot tries to neutralize all this by using the speech Kennedy made it Fort Worth the morning of his assassination. I hate to tell Max, but if a president goes to a city that relies on defense spending for jobs, he makes a speech about defense spending, especially if his election is coming up the next year. Max ignores Kennedy’s planned speech in Dallas for that afternoon, where JFK was to speak against the John Birch Society, about leadership and learning, about the importance of foreign aid to developing nations, the pursuit of peace, and how military might is secondary to maintaining a just and righteous society.

It is predictable that Boot would cherry pick the speeches, since he was and is a neocon. He was a former member of the calamitous Project for the New American Century, which advocated for American intervention in Iraq as far back as the Clinton administration. He was also part of the mythologizing about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for that debacle. Boot championed intervention in Afghanistan and opposed withdrawal. He had no problem with Hillary Clinton’s unmitigated disaster in Libya. He also agreed with her advocacy of direct American intervention in Syria. As several have said, there has scarcely been a war that Max Boot did not like—no matter how bad the results were. And they do not get much worse than Iraq or Libya.

patrice lumumba raising arms 1960This helps show why Boot cannot be trusted with anything dealing with Kennedy. In 2018, in his hagiography of Ed Lansdale, he wrote that JFK had tried to topple Patrice Lumumba in Congo. (The Road not Taken, p. xxvii). As with Posner debunking the ARRB, this was not possible. How could it be? Lumumba, left, was assassinated before President Kennedy took office. One of the reasons the CIA took part in his murder was because they feared that Kennedy would back Lumumba once he was inaugurated. (John Morton Blum, Years of Discord, p. 23)

As the reader can see Max Boot is in no position to accuse anyone of telling lies about JFK.

Jan. 1

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: After asking for talks, Putin starts another round of rocket rattling in the style of former Soviet party boss N.S. Khrushchev, webster tarpley 2007Webster G. Tarpley, right, Jan. 1, 2021. Will Putin undergo a repeat of Khrushchev’s 1964 ouster on charges of ”harebrained scheming?”

Corporate media start paying attention to Trump’s glaring political weakness as January 6 committee closes in on the coup party, including 100 Congressmen and Senators; Will the Supremes serve the Constitution or the financier oligarchy?

Pearl Harbor as a case study in method: not every big event is a false flag! Paranoid vision of FDR, left, as mastermind of treason derives from franklin d rooseveltreactionary GOP and Roosevelt haters, and cannot withstand scrutiny; The relevance of 1940s context: Synarchist elements of French army refused to fight Hitler, while the Dowding air defense system defeated the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain; Hawaii commanders Kimmel and Short as defeatists who rejected reconnaissance and defense of Hawaii;

US post-1940 coalition government included anti-FDR Republicans Stimson and Knox; Key role of McCloy and Lovett, Stimson’s ”imps of Satan”; Rusbridger-Nave thesis: Churchill knew of looming attack by Yamamoto’s task force thanks to British codebreaking, but never informed FDR so as to guarantee US entry into World War II.


December

Dec. 31

 

James Wolf and Ali WatkinsYahoo News, Investigation: CBP launches review of secretive division that targeted journalists, lawmakers and other Americans, Jana Winter, Dec. 31, 2021. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is conducting a review of a secretive division that uses some of the country’s most sensitive databases to investigate the travel and financial records and personal connections of journalists, members of Congress and other Americans not suspected of any crime.

“A review is underway to ensure that the activities in question during the prior Administration remain an isolated incident and that proper safeguards are in place to prevent an incident like this from taking place in the future,” Luis Miranda, a spokesperson for CBP, told Yahoo News.

CBP’s internal probe was prompted by Yahoo News’ reporting earlier this month on Operation Whistle Pig, a leak investigation targeting reporter Ali Watkins and her then boyfriend, James Wolfe, a Senate staffer (shown above). The investigation was launched by Jeffrey Rambo, a border patrol agent assigned to CBP’s Counter Network Division who was looking at whether Wolfe provided classified information to Watkins and other reporters.

us dhs big eagle logo4As many as 20 national security reporters were also investigated during this time, according to an FBI counterintelligence memo included in the Department of Homeland Security inspector general report obtained by Yahoo News.

The DHS inspector general investigation was launched in response to an article in the Washington Post identifying Rambo as a border patrol agent who used a fake name to meet with Watkins, then a reporter for Politico. During the meeting, he questioned her about her sources and about her relationship with Wolfe, and also discussed leak investigations.

At the end of their two-year probe, investigators referred Rambo, his supervisor Dan White and a colleague Charles Ratliff for potential criminal charges including conspiracy and misuse of government computers. White was also referred for multiple potential counts of making false statements. Federal prosecutors declined prosecution, citing, among other reasons, the lack of policies and procedures governing their work.

Rambo told Yahoo News he was authorized every step of the way, and records included in the DHS investigative report show that his supervisor Dan White ordered him to expand his probe into journalists. White is still working at the Counter Network Division, and Rambo is currently employed as a border patrol agent in San Diego.

The Counter Network Division regularly investigated potential contacts, including journalists, as part of a process it referred to as “vetting.” As part of this process, the subject would be run through multiple databases, including a terrorism watch list.

The division regularly conducts database checks on reporters “to determine personal connections,” Rambo’s supervisor Dan White told investigators, according to the DHS investigation report obtained by Yahoo News.

Charles Ratliff, another CBP employee brought in to assist Operation Whistle Pig, used the vast resources and databases available to the division to build what investigators later described as a phone tree of contacts — mapping out connections between people to identify a hidden network. Such work, which was used to track terrorists, was also directed at Americans, including congressional members and staffers and journalists..

U.S. House logo“When Congressional “Staffers” schedule flights, the numbers they use get captured and analyzed by CBP,” Rambo’s supervisor, White, told investigators.

“White stated that Ratliff “does this all the time –inappropriate contacts between people.”

Ratliff regularly compiled reports on members of Congress with alleged ties to someone in the Terrorist Screening Database, according to the investigative report obtained by Yahoo News.

CBP marshaled those same resources to identify journalists' confidential sources, which was then passed to the FBI.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporter Martha Mendoza was one of the journalists vetted by the Counter Network Division — targeted only because she’d reported on forced labor, one of the issues related to CBP’s work. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington was also swept up in its dragnet.

“There is no specific guidance on how to vet someone,” Rambo later told investigators. “In terms of policy and procedure, to be 100 percent frank there, there’s no policy and procedure on vetting.”

The Counter Network Division also investigated NGOs, members of Congress and their respective staffs. Enough Project, a nonprofit named by CBP as one of those organizations investigated by Rambo’s team, told Yahoo News it was troubled by the revelations.

“If the Enough Project was in fact targeted for ‘extreme vetting’ by a United States government agency for our work to improve mineral supply chains originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and investigate corruption that robs the Congolese people of their country’s natural resource wealth, it would be deeply troubling,” the organization said in a statement to Yahoo News. “Such invasive and arbitrary targeting of human rights defenders would be a violation of privacy, a hindrance to this important work, and a waste of public resources.”

A CBP official who asked not to be named told Yahoo News that the National Targeting Center has put in place new procedures and training designed to bennie thompson headshotensure that the First and Fourth amendments are not being violated. The official declined, however, to specify what those measures were.

Congressional oversight committees have also begun looking into the division’s activities.

carolyn maloney oRep. Benny Thompson, left, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and Carolyn Maloney, right, chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to the DHS inspector general requesting the report.

“We write you regarding disturbing reports that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Counter Network Division used government databases to “vet” journalists, government officials, congressional members and their staff, NGO workers, and others by obtaining travel records as well as financial and personal information,” they wrote in a Dec. 14 letter to the DHS inspector general.

“The Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigated at least one Counter Network Division employee, Mr. Jeffrey Rambo, who used government databases to gather information on an American journalist Ali Watkins,” Thompson and Maloney wrote the DHS, citing reporting by Yahoo News.

Chairs Thompson and Maloney requested a copy of the Office of the Inspector General report for its investigation into Rambo and any other reports related to conduct by the Counter Network Division by Dec. 21, 2021. The DHS inspector general has to date not provided the committees with the requested information, according to congressional sources.

Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which has oversight over CBP, has also requested a copy of the inspector general report, but a spokesman for Wyden said he has still not received a copy.

The inspector general did not respond to a request for comment from Yahoo News about the congressional requests.

The DHS has declined to answer any questions posed by Yahoo News about Operation Whistle Pig and the activities of the Counter Network Division. However, in a statement, the department said that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “is deeply committed to ensuring the protection of First Amendment rights and has promulgated policies that reflect this priority.”

“We do not condone the investigation of reporters in response to the exercise of First Amendment rights,” the statement continued. “CBP and every component agency and office in the Department will ensure their practices are consistent with our values and our highest standards.”

CounterPunch, Commentary: JFK Revisited: Oliver Stone and the New JFK Fact Pattern, Jefferson Morley, right, Dec. 31, 2021. When Oliver Stone first ambles jefferson morley newthrough Dealey Plaza in Dallas in the opening frames his new documentary JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, I couldn’t help but think the man is a soldier. Rumpled, restless, and searching, the 75-year old director looks around the scene of the murder of President John F. Kennedy with the gaze of a combatant and a survivor.

Stone is the dogged veteran of a culture war that has been going on for thirty years since the release of his 1991 Oscar-winning feature film, JFK, a struggle to define American history that ripples through the culture with every new development in the ever-evolving JFK story. He is also a Vietnam veteran who did a dangerous tour of combat duty, as depicted his 1987 film Platoon. The man risked his life for his country, I thought, a sacrifice that few of his harshest critics have ever made.

oliver stone jfk revisited posterWhen I shared that thought with Stone in a telephone interview, he demurred. “Serving as a soldier doesn’t give me any better political insights than someone who did not,” he insisted, with the modesty that has recurred in our occasional conversations over the years. As film critic Ann Hornaday observed in a recent Washington Post piece that was actually fair to the Oscar-winning director. “To spend time with Oliver Stone is to enter a different kind of looking glass,” Hornaday wrote, “A man often caricatured as wild-eyed provocateur is thoughtful, easygoing and generous even at his most contrarian.”

Knowing Stone personally, I can say the canard that he is a fabulist or a fanatic is unfounded and unfair. In person, he is thoughtful, playfully aggressive, and occasionally insecure. The word “encyclopedic” does not do justice to his knowledge of American history or the cinema or politics. His anti-imperialist digressions offend conservatives who believe in the civilizing mission of American empire. His conspiratorial take on JFK’s assassination bothers liberal intellectuals still huddled in that last redoubt of American exceptionalism, the Warren Commission report, which assured a doubting public that it couldn’t happen here. He has made at least four terrific movies (JFK, Nixon, Platoon, and Born on the Fourth of July), and many more good ones than duds. Viewed with any detachment, he is an accomplished if heretical interpreter of the world, an iconoclastic moralist who distills his search for truth in celluloid.

Reviewing the Record

Stone and his writing partner James DiEugenio perform a basic task of journalism and history in their new documentary JFK Revisited, a task curiously ignored by our newspapers of record and academic historians. In the two-hour film, available on Showtime, the Oscar-winning director revisits a significant historical event—the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963–in light of substantial new evidence. You wouldn’t know it from the predictable media abuse, but his method is time-tested and honorable.

The Washington Post performed this function in June 2007 when the CIA declassified “the Family Jewels,” a file of allegations of CIA misconduct collected in 1973 amidst the Watergate scandal. Under court order, the Agency finally coughed up the 600-plus pages of material 33 years later. I was the World News editor at Washingtonpost.com at the time and role player in the journalistic full-court press that followed.

Bob Woodward took the lead while other senior reporters sifted the papers for new information about the Watergate scandal. We looked for what was new and what it meant for historical understanding of the Watergate affair. At the Post web site, we strove to put the new information in context so readers could make sense of a major event in Washington memory. The in-depth coverage was capped by Woodward’s incisive take on what was truly newsworthy: CIA director Richard Helms emerged from the new files as “the perfect Watergate enabler.” This was proficient journalism as the first draft of history.

Stone’s granular documentary, narrated by actors Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Sutherland, seeks to do the same for JFK’s assassination on November 22, 1963: make sense of the newest information. A huge body of new information has come into the record since Stone made his movie. The commercial and critical success of JFK shamed Congress into releasing millions of pages of long-secret government files related to Kennedy’s assassination. Since passage of the 1992 JFK Records Act, federal agencies have made public more than 319,000 once-secret government records, amounting to a new historical record of JFK’s assassination, that is much more comprehensive and detailed than the record available to Stone in 1991.

What to make of this new information?

Stone and DiEugenio interviewed scores of witnesses and experts, me included. They asked us the same basic question about the JFK story that the Post asked about the Family Jewels: what do we know today that we didn’t know yesterday?

Leave aside the conclusions of JFK Revisited for a moment, and note its curious lack of their competition. The Washington Post has never comprehensively reviewed the new historical record of JFK’s assassination that has emerged since the 1990s. Nor has the New York Times, despite voluminous new evidence and a steady stream of newsworthy disclosures.

Since the 1990s, we have learned, among other things, about Operation Northwoods, a top-secret Pentagon plan—a policy conspiracy, if you will– to provoke a war with Cuba in 1963 via violent deceptive operations on U.S. soil. We have learned the surprising extent of the CIA’s pre-assassination surveillance of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. We have learned about Agency propaganda operations involving Oswald before and after Kennedy was killed. We have learned about possible tampering with the photographic record of Kennedy’s autopsy, and we have learned about the CIA’s obstruction of Congress’s JFK investigation in the late 1970s.

On December 15, came yet another revelation. Under an October 22 order from President Biden, the CIA released 953 documents in their entirety for the first time, including two cables about Oswald written six weeks before Kennedy was killed. For the first time in 58 years, these two messages were completely declassified.

The last detail to become public was the identity of the CIA contract employee who initiated a request for more information about Oswald, an itinerant ex-Marine who contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. The information was no smoking gun but the delay in disclosure was significant and revealing. Why didn’t the CIA release this trivial information long ago?

As I told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Daily, the most likely explanation is that everything about the Oswald cables of October 1963 was extraordinarily sensitive. The CIA lied about their existence on November 22, 1963, telling the FBI they knew little about the accused assassin. We now know one of the Oswald cables was drafted by six top CIA officials. The authors included the assistant deputy director of the clandestine service, the counterintelligence liaison to the FBI, and the chief of operations in Agency’s Western Hemisphere division.

If the document made public in December 2021 had been disclosed in December 1963, the Warren Commission’s investigation would have been much different. The CIA would have been investigated for incompetence or worse.

Here’s what these covert operators knew about the accused assassin while President Kennedy was still alive. They knew that Oswald, a former Marine Corps radar operator, had defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959; that he offered to share military secrets with the enemy; that he returned with a Russian wife in June 1962; that he went public with his support for Fidel Castro in the summer of 1963; that he had been arrested for fighting with CIA-funded Cubans; and that he made contact with Valeriy Kostikov, a Soviet intelligence officer, in Mexico City in October 1963.

With all this information in mind, the CIA sent a reassuring cable—now available to the public in its entirety for the first time—telling its Mexico City office that Oswald’s two and half year stay in the Soviet Union had had a “maturing effect” on him. Forty-three days later, Kennedy was dead and Oswald was under arrest for the crime.

The next day Oswald denied he killed Kennedy (a fact that goes unmentioned in every critical review of JFK Revisited that I have read.) Oswald was then killed in police custody by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner with organized crime connections that the Warren Commission failed to investigate. At the same time, the CIA was already hiding documents related to JFK’s assassination from outside view, a practice that continues to this day, six decades later.

The New Fact Pattern

When one looks at the historical record of Kennedy’s assassination as a whole and with fresh eyes, there emerges a new fact pattern and new questions.

Responsible citizens and curious young people—not crazed conspiracy theorists–want to know: Were these senior operations officers wholly inept when it came to detecting the threat that Oswald posed to President Kennedy?

Defenders of the official theory of a lone gunman shrug off the question. These officials, they say, had no indication that Oswald posed a threat to the president. With no reason to take action, they simply overlooked him.

The problem with this reasonable-sounding proposition is that there is no corroboration for it. That is to say, there is no CIA document–no Inspector General’s report, for example–accounting for the actions of the authors of the Oswald cables, sent on October 10, 1963. The Warren Commission offered no explanation because they were not shown the cable. In the last 58 years, the Agency has never explained these officials’ failure to take action after Oswald was overheard making contact with a known KGB officer.

What we do know is that the CIA dissembled. When the Warren Commission asked about Oswald in May 1964, deputy director Richard Helms–the future Watergate enabler–testified that the Agency had only “minimal” information about him before Kennedy was killed. That statement, we now know, was false.

The Agency’s information was more like maximal. By the time President Kennedy left Washington for a political trip to Texas on November 21, 1963 the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff had a file containing 42 documents detailing Oswald’s whereabouts, politics, personal life, and foreign contacts. The Agency had even intercepted and read his mail, according to a document declassified in 2000. The story of the supposed lone gunman, as told in the Warren Commission report, implied the CIA knew little about him, which simply wasn’t true..

In fact, the men and women of the CIA monitored Oswald’s movements for four years before Kennedy was killed. Indeed, they followed him all the way to Dallas. As I reported in the Daily Beast in 2017, a declassified routing slip shows that CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton received an FBI report that Oswald was living in Texas on November 15, one week before Kennedy was killed.

Was the CIA hiding embarrassment about its failure to detect the threat Oswald posed? Or was someone in the Agency concealing a covert operation involving Oswald. I pointed out in a paywalled November 22 piece for the Miami Herald that among the secret JFK records still held by the Agency are administrative files on five undercover officers who known to have monitored Oswald’s activities and movements before JFK was killed. [1]*

Of course, reasonable people can differ on the meaning of such revelations, which is why you would think newspapers of record would summarize and analyze the new JFK evidence and, if they could, ratify the official theory of a lone gunman. You would think wrong. The editors of the Post and the Times have studiously avoided any comprehensive review of the JFK files released since the 1990s, preferring to repeat the mantra “there’s no smoking gun” and to assail Stone, the man responsible for putting millions of pages of JFK files into the public record.

What accounts for this curious lack of curiosity? I think it’s because the new evidence tends to undermine, not affirm, the notion of a lone gunman but I may be biased.

Self-interest is surely a factor. It is easy for the Washington Post to revisit Watergate (and for the New York Times to revisit the Pentagon Papers) because those stories reflect well on their institutions. By contrast, neither the Post nor the Times has distinguished itself on the JFK assassination story. What has been learned in the last 20 years was not uncovered by any news organization but by a civilian panel, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), which was created by the 1992 JFK Records Act – which Congress approved because of the popularity of Stone’s movie.

nara logoCultural conformity also shapes the narratives adopted by cohesive elite organizations like the Post and Times. To delve into the work of the ARRB is to implicitly credit Stone with serving the public interest. Without the crusading director, the government’s documentation of the JFK assassination story would have stayed where the CIA wanted it: in Langley’s vaults beyond the view of the American people. Given a choice between the CIA and Oliver Stone, ambitious Washington journalists do not hesitate. They know the safest path to promotion is to avoid the new information found by the ARRB, to express no opinion on the JFK story, or to endorse the infirm theory of a lone gunman.

In October, for example, the Post published an online quiz about conspiracy theories, created by data analyst Dylan Byler and data visualizer Wan Yu. The authors asserted “the evidence is clear” that Kennedy was killed one man alone for no reason. None of their editors had the nerve to tell the data reporters that their claim is empirically and incontrovertibly false.

Post editors who have followed JFK developments over the last 20 years (and there are some) know beyond a reasonable doubt that the evidence supporting the official theory is not clear. Many well-informed and astute power players, including Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jackie Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Charles DeGaulle, Joseph Califano and John Kerry, concluded that the Warren Commission was wrong. They all said, privately or publicly, that Kennedy was killed by his enemies, not by one man alone. To the Post’s credit, the editors did categorize Byler and Wu’s display of historical ignorance as “opinion.”

The Documentary

While the Post and Times avert their eyes from the new historical record, Stone and DiEugenio have done the journalistic chore of reporting on it. Not surprisingly, they believe the new records support the interpretation that Stone offered 30 years ago in JFK: Kennedy was killed by enemies in his own government who opposed his liberal policies on Cuba and Vietnam and who had the ability to lay the blame on Oswald.

To make his case Stone drills down on key evidentiary issues in interviews with subject area experts illustrated with new records. He examines the story of the so-called “magic bullet,” producing new evidence that the Warren Commission’s claim that one bullet caused seven wounds in Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally is factually unsupportable.

He brings forward the long-ignored testimony of three women indicating that Oswald was almost certainly not on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository at the time he supposedly fired at the presidential motorcade. He highlights the sworn testimony of photo technician Saundra Spencer who testified she developed photographs of Kennedy’s head wound showing that he had been hit by a shot from the front, photos not found in the official record of JFK’s autopsy.

He reviews the declassified documentation of Kennedy’s approach to Vietnam showing how U.S. policy changed drastically after Kennedy’s removal from the presidency.

Rather than examine whether JFK Revisited proves its claims in each of these areas, Stone’s critics savage him with an oddly tangential attack on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, whose scattershot prosecution of a JFK conspiracy in 1969 ended in acquittal of businessman Clay Shaw, the only man he charged.

A Straw Man

In a sustained attack on Stone in the Washington Post, professor Alecia Long argued that Garrison’s investigation was motivated by homophobia. Shaw was a closeted gay man and Garrison used his private life to smear him, she contends in a new book [Cruising for Conspirators, shown at left with the author]. Long’s unsubtle implication is that anyone who believes Kennedy was killed by his enemies is an ignorant bigot prone to QAnon-type fantasies.

alecia long and cruising coverIf Long thinks that Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Charles De Gaulle and Fidel Castro were deluded fabulists driven by homophobia, her argument is unconvincing, if not totally wrong.

The truth that Long and other critics are loathe to acknowledge is that plenty of serious political observers rejected the Warren Commission’s conclusion, not because they were ignorant or misinformed or hateful but because they knew more than the investigators and the general public.

When Lyndon Johnson told aide Marvin Watson in April 1967 that he thought the CIA had something do with Kennedy’s assassination, was he influenced by Garrison’s homophobia? No. He was speaking from long experience as a power broker at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

When Fidel Castro warned of “a Machiavellian plot” to blame Cuba for the crime of Dallas, was he a deluded fool animated by prejudice? No. He was a canny tactician who knew all about CIA assassination plots because his security forces had dismantled hundreds of them.

Long, a professor of history at Louisiana State University, acknowledges that the CIA was “undeniably guilty of dissemblance, if not outright deceit, but no documents have been released that indicate intelligence agency participation in the assassination.”

She seems mercifully unaware of the declassified documentation of the CIA’s surveillance and manipulation of Oswald, as well as the organizing principle of covert operations, which is to make sure they stay secret from conception to eternity–even from people inside the CIA. Her innocence gives her unwarranted confidence in the Agency’s veracity.

Rather than consider the new fact pattern found in the historical record, Long pledges allegiance to the theory of a lone gunman, which, let us remember, was duly endorsed by the racist Kennedy-hater J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Helms, the only CIA director ever convicted of a crime, If you don’t believe Hoover and Helms on JFK’s assassination, Professor Long argues, you’re a fool.

I submit she’s got it exactly backwards.

A KGB Plot?

On Rolling Stone’s web site, former New York Times reporter Tim Weiner recycled the contrived claim that Stone’s movie was the product of, drumroll please, a KGB disinformation plot. Weiner’s piece in does not mention the Assassination Records Review Board, or any information that has emerged since the late 1990s. The omission is striking.

Rather than report on new evidence, Weiner retails what he calls “the origin story” of Stone’s movie. This is a yarn first spun by Max Holland, a pro-CIA writer whose theory about the gunfire that killed Kennedy has been repudiated by defenders of the Warren Commission. Following Holland’s dubious lead, Weiner argues that an article published in an Italian newspaper in March 1967 speculating about a CIA conspiracy to kill Kennedy was planted by the KGB and read by Garrison. On that one article, Garrison supposedly built his conspiracy case. Because Stone portrayed Garrison heroically in his movie, the argument goes, the director got his “loony” interpretation of November 22 from a hostile intelligence agency.

It’s an ungainly contraption of an argument. As DiEugenio has pointed out in a heated post on his Kennedys and King blog, the Italian article was published after Garrison launched his investigation

But the most distinctive feature of Weiner’s critique, like Long’s, is its irrelevance. Whatever one thinks of Garrison’s failed prosecution in 1969 and Stone’s award-winning film in 1991, those events do not and cannot change the facts of what happened on November 22, 1963.

Was Garrison a ruthless homophobe? Was Stone the dupe of wily communists? A more pertinent question would be, what do such loaded questions tell us about the causes of Kennedy’s assassination? About Oswald’s guilt or innocence? They tell us absolutely nothing. Stone’s critics are more adept at constructing straw men than facing the facts.

Yes, JFK the movie influenced public thinking, but Oliver Stone didn’t make Americans believe in a conspiracy. Two statistically valid polls done by the National Opinion Research Center in late November 1963 found more than 60 percent of people in Dallas and nationwide believed more than one person was involved in Kennedy’s assassination. At the time, Stone was attending boarding school in Pennsylvania.

Despite the insinuations of Stone’s critics, suspicions of conspiracy did not originate in Hollywood or the fantasies of theorists but in the circumstances of the crime in Dallas, and the CIA’s consistent record of denial, deception, and delay ever since.

My Interview With Oliver

As Stone’s findings about the CIA’s role in the events of 1963, JFK Revisited is based, in part, on interviews with me and historian John Newman. Newman is a historian and former Army Intelligence officer who pioneered research on the CIA and FBI files. He has written four books on JFK’s policies in Vietnam and Cuba. I have written three biographies of top CIA officials involved in the events of 1963. In attacks on Stone, I looked for attacks on our work and was relieved to find none.

Stone interviewed Newman about what the new files show about Kennedy’s intentions in Vietnam. He asked me about the CIA’s pre-assassination file on Oswald and what it tells about covert operations involving the accused assassin.

Newman and I cited documents and interviews to support our view that top Agency officers had a keen interest in Oswald held on a need-to-know basis six weeks before Kennedy was killed.

We described the new evidence that has come to light in the last 20 years. Newman explained how the FBI removed Oswald’s name from a security watchlist after he contacted the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City. I talked about how a covert political action program, code named AMSPELL, generated propaganda about Oswald before and after Kennedy was killed. I detailed how George Joannides, a Miami-based covert action specialist CIA ran that operation in 1963 and obstructed Congress’s JFK investigation in 1978.

We don’t claim any one these facts is “smoking gun” proof of a conspiracy. But they are facts, facts that most readers of the Washington Post, the New York Times and Rolling Stone do not know. If Newman and I are wrong on the facts–or mistaken in our analysis–some expert refutation would seem to be in order.

Radio silence. Weiner, author of a good history of the CIA, did not contest anything we said. He didn’t dispute our factual claims. He didn’t question our documentation. He didn’t interview scholars who could refute us, support us, or comment knowledgably. Like Professor Long, he changed the subject.

In the end, Stone’s critics argue anachronistically. They deploy identity politics and Cold War propaganda to impugn a phantom of their own imagination and spare themselves the trouble of asking most basic journalistic question about the new JFK files: What do we know today, that we didn’t know yesterday?

A Dissenting Note

While I’m satisfied with my contribution to JFK Revisited, I must dissent from one of Stone’s claims. About halfway through the film, he says “Conspiracy theories have become conspiracy facts.” Stone is an intellectual pugilist and this is the journalistic equivalent of leading with your jaw, which heavyweight boxers are prone to do. With a great deal of respect, I disagree.

Conspiracy is a legal concept that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a specific individual is guilty in a court of law. In the case of the murdered president, I see no such proof. But that does not mean the official theory of a lone gunman is true. That’s the type of non sequitur offered by O.J. Simpson who, after his acquittal of double murder said, in effect, “I wasn’t convicted in a court of law, therefore I’m innocent.” Of course, when Simpson faced a civil suit in which the legal standard was not “beyond a reasonable doubt” but “the preponderance of evidence,” he was swiftly found culpable.

After 30 years of reporting on the CIA’s role in the JFK story, I am not persuaded by the Agency’s O.J. Simpson defense. I see no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that any one CIA employee was guilty of plotting to kill Kennedy. But that does not mean CIA officers were innocent of malfeasance in the wrongful death of the president. To the contrary, I think, like LBJ and Castro, that the preponderance of evidence shows Kennedy was killed by enemies in his own government. These enemies cannot yet be identified because of the bizarre and suspicious secrecy that still surrounds the JFK files 58 years after the fact.

The State of the Case

Rest assured, I didn’t come by my views via the KGB or QAnon or even Oliver Stone. My thinking has been most influenced recently by Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a retired CIA officer who teaches, ironically enough, at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. His espionage credentials are impressive. He playing a leading role in the counterintelligence investigation that snared Soviet spy Aldrich Ames. He ran operations deep in the sphere of Russian influence. As his memoir, State of Mind: Faith and CIA demonstrates, he is a creative thinker with a penetrating mind.

In a compelling presentation to JFK researchers in Dallas in November 2019, Mowatt-Larssen made a cogent case that the gunfire in Dealey Plaza was the product of a tightly compartmentalized operation, mounted by Kennedy’s enemies in the ranks of the CIA that was probably known to only four or five people. Mowatt-Larssen’ interpretation strikes me as more convincing than the large conspiracy that Stone evokes in JFK the movie and implies in JFK Revisited.

While I cannot identify the leaders in such a conspiracy, if there was one, I can identify one participant, the late George Joannides. He was the Miami-based undercover officer whose agents generated propaganda about Oswald and Castro before and after JFK was killed. Fifteen years later, he was called out of retirement to stonewall the House Select Committee on Assassination, a performance that won him a CIA medal.

His story was partially uncovered by my 16 year-long Freedom of Information lawsuit for Joannides’s files, as covered by the Associated Press and USA Today. But key documents remain out of public view, thanks to a split appellate court decision by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. In his last ruling before ascending to the Supreme Court in July 2018, Kavanaugh ruled that the CIA deserved “deference upon deference” when it came to JFK records. In their refusal to confront the new historical record of Kennedy’s assassination, our newspapers of records and Stone’s critics, display a Kavanaughian deference at the expense of their own credibility.

To be sure, there is no evidence that Joannides (who died in 1991) was witting to a plot to kill Kennedy. There is abundant evidence that he was an accessory after the fact. Joannides did not conspire to kill the president. He blocked the investigation of those who probably did.

I say “probably” because we don’t have all the evidence. The CIA continues to withhold 44 documents about Joannides’s secret operations, including an unexplained high-level security clearance in the summer of 1963 and a missing performance evaluation from September 1978 when he was stonewalling congressional investigators.

The withholding of these ancient documents is not smoking gun proof of conspiracy but it is solid evidence that the CIA still has something significant to hide about JFK’s assassination. If and when Joannides’s personnel file and thousands of other still-secret CIA records become public, the question of a large vs small conspiracy–or no conspiracy at all–will be clarified. We won’t see those files until December 15, 2022 at the earliest.

Until then, I can say Oliver Stone represented my views fairly and accurately, and none of his critics have disputed the analysis I shared with him and his audience. So, while there is much to be learned about the role of certain senior CIA officers in monitoring and manipulating Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963, JFK Revisited stands out as a journalistic service that the Washington Post and the New York Times have so far shirked.

Notes.

1. * Note to fact checkers: I’m referring to CIA files of Birch O’Neal, Angleton’s aide who opened the Agency’s first file on Oswald in 1959; J. Walton Moore, the CIA’s man in Dallas who knew Oswald had returned to Texas in June 1962; Ann Goodpasture, Angleton’s protégé who ran the surveillance operations that picked up on Oswald’s conversations with Cuban and Russian officials; David Phillips, chief of Cuba operations in Mexico City who had trouble keeping his Oswald stories straight; and George Joannides, who obstructed Congress’s JFK investigation in 1978. Their still-redacted files are searchable at the Web site of the Mary Ferrell Foundation. ↑

jefferson morley newJefferson Morley is the author of the forthcoming Scorpions’ Dance; The President, the Spymaster and Watergate, to be published by St. Martin’s Press in June 2022.

Dec. 30

 

ghislaine maxwell jeffrey epstein porchSex trafficking defendant Ghislaine Maxwell, right, in an undated photo with her onetime lover and boss Jeffrey Epstein (Photo submitted to jury by U.S. Department of Justice).

vicky ward investigates

Vicky Ward Investigates, Maxwell Unfiltered: The Full Transcript from My 2002 Interview with Ghislaine Maxwell, Vicky Ward, Dec. 30, 2021. Vicky Ward, shown above, is a journalist working at the intersection of power, money and corruption. She has been a New York Times bestselling author, is working on her fourth book and is host and reporter of "Chasing Ghislaine" streaming on Audible / Discovery.

So, it’s over. This chapter of the Jeffrey Epstein saga, at least. Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted on five counts out of six charges that constitute hideous sex crimes against children. She was reportedly emotionless as she heard the verdict. The mystery is what is going on inside her head.

We never got to hear from Maxwell herself this whole trial. Her defense’s strategy was to undermine the credibility of the accusers, not to explain her narrative.

So I went back and looked over the transcript of my 2002 interview with Maxwell about Maria and Annie Farmer, the latter who so bravely testified a couple of weeks ago. It was the one and only conversation I had with her on the topic of Annie and Maria Farmer.

It’s very revealing because it tells us—in her own words—who Maxwell really is and what she values. (It also shows that she lied to me about not giving Annie Farmer a massage.)

Here, for the first time, is our conversation, which was transcribed from micro-cassettes by a professional transcription service. The only redaction is the name of an employee who worked at Zorro Ranch, Epstein’s home in New Mexico.

WARD: Hi.

MAXWELL: Hi. Listen, I just got faxed something from the fact checker at Vanity Fair...the implication of which is so outrageous and disgusting to me that I cannot understand for the life of me why you would put something like that in it and not even [Overlap/Inaudible]

....

MAXWELL: Okay. Terrific. Bye.

WARD: Okay. Bye.

So, there you have it—in full, just as Maxwell insisted.

Her false denials condemn her almost as much as the credible testimony of Annie Farmer, which I believed then as now and which was entitled to be told, and all the others.

After my call with Maxwell, I submitted the story to my bosses at Vanity Fair—with the Farmers' description of events and a general denial from Epstein and Maxwell included. I did my journalistic duty: telling both sides of this ugly story. As I was taught from Day 1, journalism lets the readers to decide.

But Vanity Fair had other plans.

There was no subsequent conversation between Maxwell and myself because, shortly after my interview with the Farmer sisters and the follow-up with Maxwell, Epstein paid a visit to Graydon Carter at the Vanity Fair offices, and the Farmers’ allegations were cut from my article and a subsequent blog—to my eternal regret. I have felt deeply for the Farmers ever since. (Carter has said I didn’t have sufficient reporting. I disagree.)

But what this conversation shows is Maxwell’s entitlement—and her belief that money trumps all. It was “crazy” that I could believe strangers over her and report the on-record allegations. It was also outrageous to think she would have time to give people massages. And how lucky these two girls were to benefit from Epstein’s generosity.

Right there, in this conversation is everything you need to know. This is the narrative that was missing from the courtroom these past weeks, but it does validate the jury’s verdict.

“Use your common sense,” AUSA Maurene Comey had told the jury during her closing arguments.

Apparently, they did.

Vicky Ward's documentary series “Chasing Ghislaine” (based on her Audible podcast of the same name) started streaming on discovery+ on November 22nd and has been be available on DiscoveryID since Dec. 3. She has been a senior reporter at CNN, the editor at large of HuffPost and HuffPost’s long-form magazine, Highline, as well as at Town & Country magazine. I was also a contributor to Esquire, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair for eleven years, and a columnist for the London Evening Standard. In June 2020, she joined the Council on Foreign Relations. Her most recent book — Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (St. Martin’s Press, 2019) — was an instant New York Times bestseller.

Dec. 29

 

ghislaine maxwell jeffrey epstein smiling young trial

Sex trafficking defendant Ghislaine Maxwell, left, in an undated photo with her onetime lover and boss Jeffrey Epstein (Photo submitted to jury by U.S. Department of Justice).

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Ghislaine Maxwell Found Guilty of All But One Charge in Sex Trafficking Case, Benjamin Weiser and Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Dec. 29, 2021. After deliberating for several days, jurors delivered their decision Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Manhattan.

Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of a British media mogul and the former companion to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was convicted on Wednesday of conspiring with him over a decade to recruit, groom and sexually abuse underage girls.

A federal jury in Manhattan found Ms. Maxwell, 60, guilty of sex trafficking and the four other charges against her. She was acquitted of one count of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sexual act.

As the verdict was read, Ms. Maxwell -- seated next to one of her lawyers, Jeffrey Pagliuca -- appeared to look straight ahead, without moving. Once it was done, she leaned in, poured some water from a bottle into a paper cup, and drank it.

The jury acquitted Maxwell of one count -- No. 2 -- which charged her with enticing a minor to travel with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activity. This count also related to the accuser referred to in court only as Jane, the first of four accusers who testified for the government.

The three other counts for which Maxwell was found guilty were all conspiracy counts, which carry a potential maximum sentence of 5 years each.

Another of the counts on which Maxwell was convicted, No. 4 -- transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity -- carries a potential maximum of 10 years in prison. This count applied to an accuser known only as Jane.

Of the five counts of which Maxwell was convicted, Count six is the most serious, carrying a potential maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Count 6, the most serious, charged sex trafficking of a minor, in this case of Carolyn, who testified using only her first name. The judge has just adjourned court for the day. No sentencing date has been set yet.

Dec. 27

CovertAction Magazine, Investigative Commentary: Sex Crimes of the CIA — Unreported, Unrepented, and Unpunished, John Kiriakou, right, Dec. 27, 2021. The john kiriakouCIA rivals the Vatican in covering up sex crimes against children and then protecting the members of its organization who commit them.

Buzzfeed reported early this month that, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the CIA revealed that 10 employees and a contractor had committed sex crimes against children—but only one was ever charged with a crime.

Considering how well the CIA knows how to cover up what it does not want to be known, we may reasonably speculate that those crimes represent only the tip of an iceberg—and I say this as someone who served 15 years in the CIA.

The evidence that the CIA released to Buzzfeed in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit shows that the 10 employees and one contractor committed crimes including child rape, the purchase of violent child pornography, and viewing as many as 1,400 photos of nude children on a CIA CIA Logocomputer while overseas on a work assignment.

The contractor had arranged to have sex with an undercover FBI agent who he thought was a child. The only CIA officer prosecuted for child sex crimes had also mishandled classified information. Four of the other accused employees and the contractor were fired, four were “disciplined administratively,” and the status of one is unknown.

Let’s be clear about these crimes.

These were not “he said, she said” allegations. They were serious sex crimes against children.

The Buzzfeed information, which includes both internal CIA documents and a declassified Inspector General’s report, say that besides the contractor, CIA officers admitted to, “using a government laptop to view photographs and videos of girls as young as 10 being abused by an older guy;” having sexual contact with two girls, ages two and six, and downloading illicit photos of other children; downloading 63 videos of sex between adults and children between the ages of 8 and 16; and distributing lewd photos and videos of children to other pedophiles.

One CIA officer told investigators that he “did not know it was a violation of Agency policy to access child pornography.” He was not prosecuted.

For its part, the Justice Department elected to do practically nothing, notwithstanding a statement to Buzzfeed that, “The occupation or employer of the Justice Department log circularsuspect does not factor into that evaluation” (of whether or not to prosecute.) “While we cannot comment on the reasons why specific cases were declined, we do take very seriously any allegation that our prosecutors declined a potential case based on an improper assessment of the relevant factors.”

That’s nonsense. The truth is that the Justice Department was afraid of graymail. That’s the threat of a CIA officer on trial “accidentally” saying something classified or something that compromises sources and methods. It’s not worth the risk to the CIA to prosecute most cases. And the bottom line is that the CIA doesn’t care one whit about the children.

I spent 15 years at the CIA. It is a highly-sexualized environment full of type A personalities, sociopaths, and psychopaths. We had an old joke that, when you went into a meeting, you should never touch the conference room table because you didn’t know who was having sex on it the night before.

There was one incident in a war zone overseas while I was there where CIA officers were passing around to each other a sexually-transmitted disease unique to the CIA. A CIA doctor had to fly to the country to tell them to stop and to remind them to practice safe sex.

Further afield, it was a common occurrence for CIA case officers developing foreign officials for recruitment to offer them trips to southeast Asia, where both could partake of prostitutes and indulge in whatever sexual fantasies they had.

I note in my first book, The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror, that one of my senior bosses, with whom I had had a dispute, tried to lighten the mood by telling me to take some money out of petty cash to pay for oral sex. I declined, angrily.

Case officers get promoted for recruitments and for the development of classified information. They don’t care about human trafficking. They don’t care about prostitution. And as it turns out, they don’t even care about abused children.

It’s accurate to say that I was “shocked but not surprised” when I read the Buzzfeed allegations.

All Americans should be sickened by them. I know that I sound like a broken record when I ask, “Where is the Congressional oversight?”

Why aren’t there hearings or investigations about child sex crimes at the CIA? Why aren’t the House and Senate Judiciary Committees investigating why the U.S. Attorneys refuse to take up the cases? Why are children not being protected?

It’s easy enough to say that we get the government we deserve. But somebody has to stand up for children. The CIA won’t do it. The Justice Department apparently won’t. Now that the cat is out of the bag, where do we go next?

John Kiriakou, right, was a CIA analyst and case officer from 1990 to 2004. In December 2007, John was the first U.S. government official to confirm that john kiriakouwaterboarding was used to interrogate al-Qaeda prisoners, a practice he described as torture. Kiriakou was a former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former counter-terrorism consultant. While employed with the CIA, he was involved in critical counter-terrorism missions following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but refused to be trained in so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” nor did he ever authorize or engage in such crimes.

After leaving the CIA, Kiriakou appeared on ABC News in an interview with Brian Ross, during which he became the first former CIA officer to confirm the existence of the CIA’s torture program. Kiriakou’s interview revealed that this practice was not just the result of a few rogue agents, but was official U.S. policy approved at the highest levels of the government.

Kiriakou is the sole CIA agent to go to jail in connection with the U.S. torture program, despite the fact that he never tortured anyone. Rather, he blew the whistle on this horrific wrongdoing.

Dec. 26

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Proof, Investigation: The Coming Collapse of Donald Trump’s January 6 Conspiracy, Part 1: Alex Jones, Seth Abramson, left, Dec. 27, 2021. This shocking new seth abramson graphicPROOF series details mounting evidence that Trump's seditious January 6 conspiracy is at the point of collapse because of the cowardice, fear, and perfidy of his co-conspirators. Note: This is Part 1 of an ongoing series in the January 6 section at Proof. Part 2 is due soon.

Introduction: One difficulty journalists face in writing about Alex Jones (shown above in a screenshot) is that the man produces so much content daily that sifting through it all is nearly impossible. Those who do are richly rewarded, however; on Jones’s nightly Infowars program (The Alex Jones Show) and in other venues, seth abramson proof logothe infamous far-right conspiracy theorist and self-described “performance artist” has made so many controversial and even self-incriminating statements that one could craft an endless breaking news cycle just by finding obscure video and audio of Jones in which he discusses the January 6th insurrection and his role in it.

Proof has already reported on some of the most shocking statements Jones has made about the attack on the U.S. Capitol, including interviews he has conducted with his Stop the Steal “movement” co-conspirators, domestic terrorist Ali Alexander and longtime Trump friend and political adviser Roger Stone. You can find a few of these reports (in chronological order) here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

A less commonly discussed component of Jones’s carefully constructed public persona is the incredibly delicate state of his relationship with the man who he agreed to lead the march on the Capitol for: Donald Trump. Jones has never been a particularly loyal Trumpist, which makes him a potential weak spot in Trump’s January 6 conspiracy and the ongoing effort to steal the 2024 presidential election linked to that conspiracy.

On November 22, 2021, Congress’s House January 6 Committee (hereafter “HJ6C”) subpoenaed Jones. The subpoena launched a raft of speculation about whether Jones would cooperate with Congress in order to save his own skin—and precisely how far he would be willing to go, and how much damage he would be willing to do to Trump, in an attempt to do so.

Alex Jones and Donald Trump: A Troubled History

The relationship between Jones and Trump has always been an uneasy one, but it’s been especially bad since the attack on the Capitol on January 6. On March 3, 2021, leaked video of a Jones tirade about Trump in 2019—which Jones did not appear to realize was being recorded—was published by a number of media outlets. In the video, Jones says the following of his nominal ally (emphasis supplied):

It’s the truth, and I’m just going to say it—that I wish I never would have fucking met Trump. I wish it never would’ve happened. And it’s not the attacks I’ve been through. I’m so sick of fucking Donald Trump. God, I’m fucking sick of him. And I’ve not doing this [carrying water for him] because, like, I’m kissing his fucking ass, you know. It’s, like, I’m sick of it.

In a longer version of the video, according to Caolan Robertson, who leaked it to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Jones derides his audience for being willing to “buy anything” and boasts about earning tens of millions of dollars—not just millions—via his far-right, often pro-Trump rhetoric.

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

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

Dec. 25

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Christmas 2021 in the shadow of fascist coup, dictatorship, and civil war, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Dec. 25, 2021. Garland is webster tarpley 2007massively derelict in his duty to defend the US Constitution; AG’s soft on fascism policy cannot enable the rule of law; Public outcry demands decisive action against coup plotters past, present, and future; Non-feasance equals appeasement of totalitarian forces;

Reactionary economist Glenn Hubbard reveals GOP inflation demagogy is camouflage for brutal deflationary austerity on the Volcker model; Warren and other senators mull blocking nomination of Powell;

Desperate demagogue Putin doubles down on threats to West, pointing once again to his severe domestic problems;
This year’s holiday reading might include: Malaparte, Luttwak, Agamben, Carl Schmitt;

Corrupt US media are drowning in corporate greed and the cynical nihilism of many reporters; Time to think like Grant, not McClellan! Merry Christmas to listeners and friends of World Crisis Radio!

Dec. 22

Media News, Freedom of Information

michael fanone

Palmer Report, Opinion: Capitol Police Officer Michael Fanone makes his move, Bocha Blue, Dec. 22, 2021. To find love, we need look no further than among each other — and the valiant heroes who fought for us on January 6. One of those heroes is Capitol Police Officer Michael Fanone (shown above in a file photo).

You may have seen him on television, in particular CNN. He is as brave a hero as one can find. And on January 6, he was viciously beaten by crazed insurrectionists. They could not take away the love that shines from him.

bill palmer report logo headerFanone has been an outspoken critic of the January 6 attacks and has become an activist in his own right. He also testified before the January 6 committee. Sadly, some of his colleagues were reportedly not pleased with his activism. And now Fanone has resigned from the police force.

“Clearly, there are some members of our department who feel their oath is to Donald Trump and not to the constitution,” Fanone said. “I no longer felt like I could trust my fellow officers and decided to make a change.”

It is unfortunate that such a brave soul could possibly receive derision for his bravery, but this is the world we now live in.

The good news is that Fanone has a new job — and it’s with CNN. This is one of their better decisions. CNN has hired Fanone as a contributor on issues of law enforcement. The world is a better place with Fanone in it, and CNN will undoubtedly be a better network with Fanone on it. We wish him all the best in his new occupation.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Americans distrust Facebook, TikTok, Instagram with their data and want privacy laws, poll finds, Heather Kelly and Emily Guskin, Pulled between not trusting some tech companies and still wanting to use their products, people look to government regulation, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kyle Rittenhouse gets standing ovation from conservatives, says he may sue media outlets, Timothy Bella, Dec. 22, 2021. Weeks after Kyle Rittenhouse said he wanted to “lay low” when he was found not guilty of homicide, attempted homicide and other charges related to last year’s fatal shootings that rocked Kenosha, Wis., the teen was welcomed Monday at a conservative conference to music, pyrotechnics and a standing ovation from thousands of attendees.

“You’re a hero to millions,” Turning Point USA leader Charlie Kirk told Rittenhouse during the group’s AmericaFest gathering in Phoenix. “It’s an honor to be able to have you.”

Amid the pomp and circumstance for an 18-year-old who had the crowd chanting his name, Rittenhouse, who shot and killed two men and injured another during mass protests against police violence in August 2020, suggested Monday that lawsuits could be filed against media outlets for how they covered his murder trial.

If he sues media outlets, Rittenhouse would follow the recent footsteps of Nicholas Sandmann, who announced Friday that he has reached a settlement with NBC News regarding its coverage of an interaction between the Catholic school student and Native American activist Nathan Phillips in Washington during the March for Life in 2019. When asked by Fox about Sandmann’s latest settlement, Rittenhouse responded, “Good for him.”

The Washington Post settled a lawsuit by Sandmann’s parents last year. Sandmann’s family contended in a suit filed in 2019 that The Post defamed Sandmann in seven articles and in tweets promoting the articles. The Post has maintained that its reporting was accurate and fair.

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Max Boot’s Rant Against Oliver Stone, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Dec. 22, 2021. Max Boot, a conservative who has long jacob hornberger newfavored regime-change operations on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment, is going after Hollywood producer and director Oliver Stone. His beef with Stone? He’s upset because Stone has long maintained that the U.S. national-security establishment employed one of its patented regime-change operations here at home, against President John F. Kennedy.

The title of Boot’s piece, which was published in the Washington Post, is “Oliver Stone Just Can’t Stop Spreading Lies About JFK’s Assassination.” In his article, he attacks Stone not only for his 1991 movie JFK but also for Stone’s latest update to the movie, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.

future of freedom foundation logo squareInterestingly, Boot makes a reference to Stone’s accusation “that Kennedy’s autopsy reports were falsified.”

Actually, the more accurate way to put it is that the U.S. national-security establishment conducted a fraudulent autopsy. That fraud was reflected in both the autopsy photographs as well as the final autopsy report.

But like many other proponents of the official lone-nut theory of the assassination, Boot doesn’t address any of the main features of the autopsy fraud in his rant against Stone.

Let’s take two examples. jacob hornberger jfk autopsy cover(Others are detailed in my two books The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2.)

For 30 years, the national-security establishment had falsely claimed that there was only one brain examination in the Kennedy autopsy.

It was a lie. And when people are lying about something that important, you know that they are up to something that is rotten and no good.

In the 1990s, the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s determined that there were two different brain examinations in the JFK autopsy, the second of which involved a brain that did not belong to Kennedy.

How did they determine this? The official photographer for the autopsy, John Stringer, was at the first brain exam. He stated that at that brain exam, the brain was “sectioned” or cut like a loaf of bread is cut. That’s standard procedure with an autopsy that involves a gunshot to the head. Stringer took photographs of the brain, which also is standard procedure.

jacob hornberg jfk autopsy2 coverOne of the three military pathologists who conducted the autopsy, Col. Pierre Finck, stated that he attended the brain examination. But he was not at the brain exam that Stringer attended. Stringer verified that. That means that there was a second brain exam. At that second brain exam, a different photographer was present taking photographs. The brain at the second brain exam was not “sectioned.” A sectioned brain cannot be reconstituted into a non-sectioned brand. That’s how we know that the brain at the second brain exam had to be a brain of someone other than Kennedy.

It’s also worth mentioning two other things about the brain exam. First, when Stringer was asked to examine the official photographs of Kennedy’s brain, he specifically denied that those were the photographs he took. Second, the autopsy report reflects that Kennedy’s brain weighed 1500 grams. An average brain weighs around 1350 grams. Everyone agrees that an extremely large portion of Kennedy’s brain was blown out by the shot that hit him in the head. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, there is no possibility that Kennedy’s brain could have weighed 1500 grams after having a large portion of it blown away by the gunshot.

max boot screen shotWhat does Boot, right, say about the two brain exams? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

There is something else worth noting. If it hadn’t been for Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, we would never have learned about this fraud. That’s because the national-security establishment would have continued lying about there being only one brain exam. It was Stone’s movie that led directly to the JFK Records Act and the ARRB whose job it was to enforce it. That’s how we learned about the fraud relating to the two brain exams.

 

 

oliver stone newseum

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

washington post logoWashington Post, Film Review: JFK’ at 30: Oliver Stone and the lasting impact of America’s most dangerous movie, Ann Hornaday, Dec. 22, 2021. Oliver Stone defied Washington, Hollywood and history itself to make his controversial JFK drama. Its legacy endures.

On a warm day in October, Oliver Stone leads a visitor into the sun room of his house in Brentwood, where he has been re-reading the daily journals he kept during the production of JFK, his kaleidoscopic drama about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Thirty years after its release in December of 1991, JFK’s influence can still be detected, on everything from Washington policy to Hollywood world-building. For baby boomers, it was a film that tapped into still-raw generational loss. For Gen-Xers, it defined all they knew about Kennedy and his death. Its form pushed visual language to visceral new extremes. Its content helped introduce a new generation to America’s long conspiratorial tradition. JFK is still with us, in style and substance.

Stone, 75, is recalling his preparations for the first day of filming on April 15, 1991. Peering avuncularly through a pair of reading glasses, he scans pages covered with looping blue scrawls.

JFK was a film conceived in grief, born of anxiety and destined for controversy. Adapted in part from the book On the Trail of the Assassins, by former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, the film examined Kennedy’s assassination through the cracked lens of Garrison’s 1969 prosecution of local businessman Clay Shaw, whom he accused of being part of a cabal that conspired to kill the president.

It was a scenario that radically challenged the findings of the Warren Commission, which had been tasked with investigating the murder, and whose members concluded that Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald. Garrison’s theory of the case was that the CIA — with whom Shaw had once worked — killed Kennedy because he wanted to de-escalate the conflict in Vietnam and dramatically reshape American foreign policy. A jury found Shaw not guilty in less than an hour.

Kennedy’s assassination had been the subject of speculation almost from the moment gunfire rang out in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963. Two days later, Oswald himself would be shot and killed, an event that created a black hole of suspicion that only seemed to widen.

In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that “Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” By the time filming on JFK got underway, more than 70 percent of the American public — having witnessed the assassinations of Kennedy’s brother Robert and Martin Luther King Jr.; national intelligence malfeasance including domestic surveillance and foreign coups; and the scandals of Watergate and Iran-Contra — believed a larger conspiracy had been at play.

Stone counted himself among that number.

“I did have a very strong feeling at the beginning [of filming], a magnetic attachment to the idea that it had to be powerful people, and they had to have had permission,” he says. With JFK, he would give florid, expressionistic voice to the residual trauma and disenchantment of his generation.

“Oliver Stone ... posed the question, ‘Why was this material still closed?’ ” observes presidential historian Timothy Naftali. “He had a poisonous answer, which was this vast conspiracy. But the question was a good one. And because it was such a good question, it actually moved Congress to act.” (The 1992 law stipulated that all files be declassified by Oct. 26, 2017; although President Donald Trump delayed that date by three years, President Biden has proceeded with the release. More than 1,400 documents were made public on Dec. 15; the next batch is expected in December 2022.)

Then there is JFK as pure cinema. The film operates as a whirling, paradoxical gyre: sprawling and tightly coiled; hallucinatory and clearly legible; shockingly subversive and reassuringly old-school. One of the film’s most vivid characters, a shadowy government figure named Mr. X., played by Donald Sutherland, evoked the jittery political thrillers of the 1970s, while the presence of such beloved actors as Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Kevin Costner, who played Garrison, gave the film a wholesome, all-American patina (the mainstream appeal was reinforced by John Williams’s score).

Working with more than a dozen film stocks, Stone knit together documentary footage, fervid speculations, high-gloss Hollywood dramatizations and note-perfect reenactments, with results that were both technically groundbreaking and disquietingly seamless.

“The concept was that we were going to shake it up with this film,” Stone explains of his flashback-within-a-flashback approach. “Who’s telling the truth? The style would be fractured from the beginning.”

With a running time of more than three hours, "JFK” challenged conventional notions of how long audiences would sit for a complicated, talky story. Improbably, the film’s most effective moments are both monologues: Mr. X’s 17-minute tutorial on secret government machinations and Garrison’s climactic 20-minute courtroom stemwinder.

oliver stone jfk revisited posterThirty years after the release of JFK, it seems, Oliver Stone has not backed down. In November, he released JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, a two-hour Showtime documentary in which he repeats the hypotheses he popularized in JFK, this time with fresh interviews and, he insists, new evidence. “Conspiracy theories are now conspiracy facts,” he declares early in the film.

He is more convinced than ever that Allen Dulles, who headed the CIA until Kennedy fired him in 1961, is at the center of it all. “He was on the Warren Commission, and he was the guy who attended the most meetings,” Stone says. “He supervised everything and made sure the CIA never really cooperated with the Warren Commission or gave them what they wanted.”

While it is true that the CIA either stonewalled or actively thwarted the Warren Commission and House Select Committee on Assassinations, that is not proof that Dulles conspired to kill Kennedy.

“Well, there’s no proof because we won’t allow the proof to come out!” Stone says with frustration. “Who knows what’s on paper? But we can’t even see those files.”

As for the “conspiracy theorist” label he has carried since making “JFK,” he is both philosophical and unapologetic. “I have really not gone in that direction,” he says, before adding: “Conspiracies have happened. Anybody who reads history knows that. But we act so innocent in America, like ‘Who, us?’ ” Stone laughs ruefully. “It just doesn’t work that way.”

Dec. 21

As the reader can see Max Boot is in no position to accuse anyone of telling lies about JFK.

 

kennedys and king logo

Logo for Kennedys and King Research Site

Kennedys and King, Commentary: Why Tim Weiner Never Called Me, James DiEugenio, left, Dec. 21, 2021. In response to Tim Weiner’s hatchet job on "JFK jim dieugenio fileRevisited: Through the Looking Glass" in Rolling Stone magazine, Jim DiEugenio exposes the false alternatives and hypocrisy used in this review, which ignores the work of the Assassination Records Review Board and other new evidence presented in the film.

On November 22, 2021, Tim Weiner wrote an article about Oliver Stone’s new documentary dealing with the JFK assassination for Rolling Stone. It’s really a hit piece, the literary equivalent of a drive by shooting. And, as we shall see, it’s not about what Weiner says it’s about.

Weiner begins by saying that JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass is “rooted in a big lie.” What is that lie? According to Weiner, the lie is that Kennedy was murdered by the Deep State (i.e. the CIA backed by the military-industrial complex). From here, one would think that Weiner would now confront the evidence in the film and, point by point, counter it and thus reduce Oliver Stone to, in his words, “a tinfoil-hatted fabricator.”

oliver stone jfk revisited posterHe does not do that. Not even close. Like a cardsharp, Weiner skips that step and jumps to this accusation: if anyone thinks the CIA killed Kennedy, you are being deluded by a Soviet era disinformation campaign. Unfortunately, I’m not kidding. But before Weiner begins playing his Russian aria, he first does a prelude. He says this about JFK’s assassination:

Either Lee Harvey Oswald, trained by the United States Marines as a sharpshooter before he defected to the Soviet Union, got off a million-to-one shot in Dallas. He acted alone. Or he was an instrument of a conspiracy so immense that it staggers the mind.

Right out of the gate Weiner sets up a game of false alternatives, because JFK Revisited shows Oswald’s “million-to-one shot” did not happen. The film takes pains to demonstrate that the Warren Commission’s Magic Bullet, labeled CE 399, was not fired in Dealey Plaza that day. JFK Revisited proves this on more than one basis. The film also proves that the FBI and the Warren Commission lied about the provenance of CE 399. It does this with evidence made possible by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), but Weiner does not want the reader to know this since it knocks out one of his false alternatives. If he admitted this evidence, then one would be left with, well, a conspiracy.

This phony prelude leads to Weiner’s main theme. It’s not an easy job to soften and make acceptable the life and career of CIA Director Allen Dulles. One would think that, after all we know about Dulles today, no one would try, but Weiner has to, in order to sketch in his other false alternative. Namely that Stone says that Dulles was the “presiding genius of the plot against the president.” (The film doesn’t really say that, but accuracy is not what Weiner is after.)

So now Tim pulls out his make-up kit for Dulles. He writes that the CIA Director did not back the plots to overthrow Charles de Gaulle of France, which is a startling statement. For many interested observers, one of the best books on the career of Allen Dulles is The Devil’s Chessboard. Author David Talbot uses a variety of sources to show that Weiner is wrong. For example, the newspaper Paris-Jour centered on Dulles as the main culprit in the attempted overthrow of April 1961. Later, bestselling French author Vincent Jauvert traced the sources of these stories in the French press to de Gaulle’s own foreign ministry. (Talbot, p. 414.)  In fact, De Gaulle had come to this conclusion himself. (London Observer, May 2, 1961.) Author Andrew Tully also noted columns in Le Monde and l’Express which he wrote were owed to high French officials. (CIA: The Inside Story, pp. 48–49.)

In the USA, The Nation reported that high level French government employees thought the CIA had encouraged the attempted overthrow. And using l’Express, they wrote that one of the dissident French generals had several meetings with CIA agents who advised him that getting rid of de Gaulle would do the free world a great service. (The Nation, May 20, 1961.) These stories also appeared in American mainstream newspapers like The Washington Post. (April 30, 1961.) Most fatally for Weiner, his former employer The New York Times also printed the story. Scotty Reston wrote that the CIA was indeed “involved in an embarrassing liaison with the anti-Gaullist officers.” (New York Times, April 29, 1961.) But further, Talbot goes into the reasons behind the conflict between Dulles and de Gaulle. It was the desire of the French leader to get rid of NATO’s Operation Gladio elements in France and also his intent to set free the French colony of Algeria in North Africa. (Talbot, pp. 416–17.) One would think that all this would be enough to satisfy most objective observers.

In a neat bit of cherry picking, Weiner never mentions any of these sources. He borrows a trick from Max Holland and says that the idea that the CIA backed the attempts by dissident French officers to overthrow de Gaulle was all part of a Russian disinformation campaign that began in Italy. To most informed observers the idea that Scotty Reston would rely on the Italian newspaper Paese Sera is ridiculous on its face.

But further, for Weiner to use Holland as a source for the John F. Kennedy assassination is inexcusable. Ten years ago, Holland made one of the worst documentaries ever produced on the Kennedy assassination. In fact, as Pat Speer has noted, there were indications that Holland knew his thesis was faulty before the documentary even aired. How bad was it? Even Commission zealots Dale Myers and Todd Vaughan attacked the show. The Lost Bullet was so indefensible that one would think no one would ever treat Holland with any degree of respect again. (Click here for details.)

But this is the JFK case, so normal rules of credit and reference do not apply. Therefore, Weiner trots out Holland once more. And he then doubles down on the man. He says that New Orleans DA Jim Garrison arrested Clay Shaw because of a story that ran in Paesa Sera three days after. (Hmm.) He then adds that Garrison bandied this story about as a basis for his prosecution of Shaw and also that it became a central basis for his whole case against the Central Intelligence Agency.

Again, this derives from Max Holland. Holland has been selling this line for a very long time. He was pretty much eviscerated on it by Gary Aguilar back in 2004. This was during a debate that was broadcast by CSPAN and is still available on the web; therefore Weiner could have easily located it. (Click here for the debate.) Aguilar proved that, unlike what Holland and Weiner imply, Garrison did not make the Paesa Sera story a part of his case against Shaw—either in public or at Shaw’s trial. For example, in his 26 page Playboy interview—the longest ever run by the magazine at that time—the DA never brought it up.

But then Weiner does something that is probably even worse. And it shows his utter disdain for the work of the Assassination Records Review Board. He says that Shaw was not a longtime operative of the CIA. Because of the work of the Board, we now have documentation that proves that the defendant lied about this at his trial. Shaw had three CIA clearances, one of them being a covert security clearance. (William Davy, Let Justice be Done, p. 196) As Joan Mellen discovered, Shaw was also a valuable and well-compensated contract agent. (Mellen, Our Man in Haiti, p. 54) Adding the documentation up, Shaw’s CIA career extended over a period of 23 years. Unlike Tim, most people would think that qualifies as being longtime. In fact, the Board’s CIA specialist also discovered that the CIA had destroyed Shaw’s 201 file. Why? (Click here for details.)

Virtually everything in the above paragraph is displayed in the film. Somehow Weiner either missed it or chose to ignore it, but in JFK Revisited we also feature authors Jefferson Morley and John Newman. Those two discuss what Garrison based his own investigation on at its inception: Oswald’s activities in New Orleans. Specifically, how he interacted with the CIA run anti-Castro Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE) and the fact he stamped his pro-Castro flyers with the address of the extremely rightwing Guy Banister. We then detail how:

1.) The FBI covered up Oswald’s association with Banister, (Newman, Oswald and the CIA, p. 310); and

2.) The CIA lied about their liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations having no association with the Oswald case in 1963. The truth was that George Joannides was the CIA handler of the DRE in 1963. (Miami New Times, April 12, 2001, “Revelation 1963”)

Most people, as Garrison did, would think that this information about Oswald in New Orleans would tell us something about him, probably that he was not really a Marxist. The latest discoveries on this issue were made possible by the ARRB and are in the film.

In fact, one of the most shocking things about Weiner’s article is this: He cannot bring himself to mention by name the Assassination Records Review Board. Or the fact that JFK Revisited uses their work to an unprecedented degree. This is quite a bit of alchemy since the film interviews three men who worked for that body, and it mentions the Board throughout. In addition, it displays declassified documents which back up many of the declarations in the film. Weiner does not refer to any of these documents or witness statements.

Toward the end of his screed, Tim writes that he cannot tell us that there wasn’t a conspiracy. He then says that maybe there is a bombshell in the still classified archives. That utterly inane statement demonstrates why Weiner’s article is not criticism; it’s a hatchet job. As demonstrated, Tim does not want to tell the reader what is in the film. The fact that, under oath, the official JFK autopsy photographer told the Board that he did not shoot the pictures of Kennedy’s brain that are in the archives today. John Stringer gave five reasons for his denial. Two of them being that he did not use the type of film with which the extant photographs were taken, and he did not utilize the photographic process evident in those pictures. JFK Revisited has Doug Horne, an ARRB employee who was in the room with Stringer during his sworn testimony, narrate this passage. (Horne, Inside the ARRB, p. 810.)

Just like he does not want to tell his readers about the above, Tim also won’t reveal that the FBI lied about CE 399, the Magic Bullet. They did so in three ways. The film proves that the Bureau lied about its identification by the first two people who handled it. (The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, pp. 282–84) It also proves that the Bureau lied about an FBI agent’s initials being on the exhibit. They are not. Third, by their own records, the FBI lab had the Magic Bullet before it was transferred to the agent who delivered it there. This delivery, of course, was by the agent whose initials are not on the bullet. (James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, second edition, p. 345)

Like the issue of the autopsy photos, the information about CE 399 is proved out in the film. It would be of great interest to anyone watching, since it goes to the heart of the Warren Commission’s case against Oswald. Like everything else above, Weiner does not mention it. In fact, before writing his piece and attributing sources of information in the script to Paese Sera, he never called this writer, which would seem to be a significant trespass of journalistic ethics since I wrote the script. I could have informed him of the actual sources we used for things like the attempted overthrow of de Gaulle or Clay Shaw and the CIA. Those sources had nothing to do with what Weiner attributes them to. When the annotated scripts are published next year, this will be made plain to anyone who reads them.

So, the question then becomes: Why didn’t Tim Weiner pick up the phone to call Jim DiEugenio? Or shoot an email to Jim to find out what my actual sources were in writing the script? It would have been simple to do either. All he had to do was call Oliver Stone’s office or find me on the web through the Kennedys and King web site.

Since Weiner neither poses nor replies to that question in his column, it leaves the answer open for speculation. He closes his hatchet job by saying something about “a moral obligation to call bullshit when we see it.” Tim is so wrapped up in his own agenda that he does not recognize his own paroxysm of hypocrisy. When a writer does not present any of the documented material that he calls “bullshit” then yes, one can declare it as such. But that is not journalism; its classic propaganda that does nothing to inform the public. When a film can document what it says with sworn testimony and documents written at the time, that is not “bullshit.” These are unpleasant facts that were kept hidden from the public for decades. And it was only through Oliver Stone’s making of his film JFK in 1991 that they finally began to emerge.

One last point about Tim’s concluding issue about disbelief in government. One can see through the graph in Kevin Phillip’s book Arrogant Capitol that, unlike what Weiner want you to think, that erosion of belief is not a recent phenomenon. That graph extends from 1960 to the mid-nineties. The year of the single biggest drop in trust was 1964, when the Warren Report was published.

Another factor that led to overall cynicism was ten years of war in Vietnam—the most divisive conflict since the Civil War. As JFK Revisited shows, if Kennedy had lived, this would not have happened. The film also shows that President Johnson consciously reversed Kennedy’s withdrawal plan in order to escalate that war. There is no mention of this by Wiener in his article.

By that excision, Wiener’s hypocrisy is in full view. For on December 23, 1997, there was an article in the New York Times about the ARRB declassifying documents from the May 1963 SecDef meeting in Hawaii where Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was collecting Vietnam withdrawal schedules from the Pentagon. The title of the story was “Kennedy Had a Plan for Early Exit in Vietnam.”

The reporter was Tim Weiner. What a convenient lapse of memory. Tim Weiner is an object lesson in why the public has lost faith in the MSM.

KGO  / ABC7-TV (San Francisco), JFK Unsolved: The Real Conspiracies examines assassination, who really shot President Kennedy, Dan Noyes, Dec. 21, 2021. New streaming documentary explores analysis of JFK assassination by Bay Area author.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy remains the greatest American murder mystery, decades after the official report declared Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman responsible for JFK's death.

But a new book from world-renowned JFK assassination researcher Josiah "Tink" Thompson comes to a shocking different conclusion: Lee Harvey Oswald did not fire the fatal shot that killed President Kennedy.

"JFK UNSOLVED: The Real Conspiracies" is the new ABC7 Originals documentary based on Thompson's book, Last Second in Dallas.

The film explores Thompson's analysis of the evidence and shows how he believes the government tried to cover up what really happened.

Josiah Thompson is part of an elite group of assassination researchers who descended on Dealey Plaza in Dallas after President Kennedy's death on Nov. 22, 1963.

Thompson worked on a cover story for LIFE Magazine and wrote what is considered to be a seminal book on the assassination, Six Seconds in Dallas, in 1967.

Thompson went on to a long, distinguished career as a private detective, but kept coming back to the JFK assassination.

For the past 10 years, he revisited the forensic evidence, worked with a team of scientists, researchers, and assassination buffs, and wrote a new book, Last Second in Dallas.

Thompson trusted investigative reporter Dan Noyes to turn the book into a documentary film.

THE EVIDENCE

For JFK UNSOLVED: The Real Conspiracies, Noyes returned to the site of the assassination and interviewed people who were just feet away from President Kennedy when he suffered the fatal shot, and with Thompson's help, Noyes explored evidence that points to a second gunman.

Debris fields of blood, bone and brain matter from the president traveled in two distinct directions, indicating two gunmen firing from different locations -- the Texas School Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll.

A panel from the National Academy of Sciences initially dismissed a recording from a Dallas motorcycle police officer's open microphone that may have picked up the sounds of gunfire.

Now, the leading acoustics scientist on the case defends the recording as authentic, and it provides a timing framework for the assassination.

Could Lee Harvey Oswald have fired all those shots from his Italian military-style, bolt-action rifle? The answers in JFK UNSOLVED: The Real Conspiracies.

 

jamal khashoggi entering consulate

washington post logoWashington Post, A UAE agency put Pegasus spyware on the phone of Jamal Khashoggi’s wife months before his murder, new forensics show, Dana Priest, Dec. 21, 2021. The new analysis, conducted by a research group devoted to uncovering cyber espionage, provides the first indication that a UAE agency placed the military-grade spyware on a phone used by someone in Khashoggi’s inner circle in the months before his murder.

Emirates flight attendant Hanan Elatr surrendered her two Android cellphones, laptop and passwords when security agents surrounded her at the Dubai airport. They drove her, blindfolded and in handcuffs, to an interrogation cell on the edge of the city, she said. There, she was questioned all night and into the morning about her fiance, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (shown above entering the facility where he would be butchered and at left in the Washington Post's newsroom).

jamal khashoggi washpost newsroom SmallThe next day, at 10:14 a.m. on April 22, 2018, while her devices were still in official custody, someone opened the Chrome browser on one of the Androids.

The spyware had been developed by an Israeli firm, NSO Group, for what it says is use against terrorists and criminals. The website was configured by NSO for a United Arab Emirates customer, said Marczak, whose research group is based at the University of nso group logoToronto and devoted to uncovering cyberespionage.

The new analysis provides the first indication that a UAE government agency placed the military-grade spyware on a phone used by someone in Khashoggi’s inner circle in the months before his murder.

“We found the smoking gun on her phone,” said Marczak, who examined Elatr’s two Androids at The Washington Post’s and her request. Emirati authorities returned them to her several days after her release.

Dec. 20

National Press Club, Club member to discuss book tracing today's far-right tactics back to Nazis on Jan. 6, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 18, 2021. The National Press Club's Member Author Book Group will hold a virtual event at 7 p.m. Jan. 6 with Club member Wayne Madsen discussing his latest book, The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the New Far-Right.

The event is open to all Club members. To be admitted, you must RSVP by email to Heather Forsgren Weaver at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to wayne madsen fourth reich coverreceive the link and be put on the guest list.

The event will coincide with the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, when supporters of Donald Trump tried to disrupt the certification of state-certified Electoral College ballots confirming Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich is the 21st book by Madsen, an investigative reporter and former naval intelligence officer, who draws on research into the Trump family’s history, and the methods used by ultra-right groups in the 1920s and extending to the present day.

He compares the tactics used in the past with those being used currently by ultra-right leaders in the United States, Europe and Latin America to undermine traditional bulwarks of democracy such as voting, legislatures, the court system and the press.

Madsen, author of a daily investigative column, has appeared on numerous broadcasts. His Navy career included investigating Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and a yearlong detail as a technology analyst at the National Security Agency.

washington post logoWashington Post, Pandora Papers Global Investigation, The ‘Cowboy Cocktail’: How Wyoming became one of the world’s top tax havens for the wealthy, Debbie Cenziper and Will Fitzgibbon, Dec. 20, 2021 (print ed.). New revelations from the Pandora Papers show how a coveted financial arrangement that combines a Wyoming trust and layers of private companies allows the world’s wealthy to move and spend money in extraordinary secrecy. An oligarch, a dictator’s aide and a beverage tycoon turned to America’s least populated state to shelter assets, the Pandora Papers show.

The honky-tonk bar under neon lights on the town square serves Grand Teton Amber Ale and Yellowstone Lemonade. The Cowboy Coffee Co. offers bison chili, and the Five & Dime General Store sells Stetson hats and souvenirs made from bullets.

In this tourist-friendly Western town, home to four celebrated arches fashioned from elk antlers, lawyers and estate planners draw customers with something far more exclusive.

It’s called the “Cowboy Cocktail,” and in recent years the coveted financial arrangement has attracted a new set of outsiders to the least populated state in America.

  • Read key takeaways from the Pandora Papers investigation

The cocktail and variations of it — consisting of a Wyoming trust and layers of private companies with concealed ownership — allow the world’s wealthy to move and spend money in extraordinary secrecy, protected by some of the strongest privacy laws in the country and, in some cases, without even the cursory oversight performed by regulators in other states.

Millionaires and billionaires around the world have taken note. In recent years, families from India to Italy to Venezuela have abandoned international icij logofinancial centers for law firms in Wyoming’s ski resorts and mining towns, helping to turn the state into one of the world’s top tax havens.

A dozen international clients who created Wyoming trusts were identified in the Pandora Papers, a trove of more than 11.9 million records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with The Washington Post that expose the movement of wealth around the world. The documents offer a rare look at Wyoming’s discreet financial sector and the people who rely on its services.

  • Washington Post, Key findings from the Pandora Papers investigation

The Future of Freedom Foundation, Commentary: The Fear of Those Still-Secret CIA Records on the JFK Assassination, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Dec. 20, jacob hornberger new2021. One of the amusing aspects of the ongoing controversy over those still-secret CIA records relating to the Kennedy assassination has been the reaction of lone-nut theorists. Hardly any of them, if any at all, are publicly calling on President Biden to disclose those records now rather than delaying disclosure for another year.

What’s up with that? Surely, lone-nut theorists don’t really buy into the “national security” rationale for keeping 58-year-old records relating to the assassination secret from the American people. I don’t know of anyone who really buys into that rationale. After all, what do they think will happen if those records are suddenly disclosed — that the Cuban communist army will invade Miami and start moving up the coast toward Washington?

future of freedom foundation logo squareI’ll tell you why those lone-nut theorists don’t demand immediate disclosure of those documents? They’re scared. Very scared. They fear, at least on a subconscious level, that those remaining records include powerful circumstantial evidence establishing that what happened on November 22, 1963, was a regime-change operation on the part of the national-security establishment. Why else would they still be hiding those records? No, the Cuban army isn’t not going to invade Miami and start moving north toward Washington.

And no, I’m not suggesting that those 58-year-old, still-secret CIA records contain a confession of wrongdoing. Nobody would be stupid enough to put a confession into writing. And even if someone was that stupid, no one would be stupid enough to deliver such a confession to the Assassination Records Review Board or the National Archives.

The JFK assassination is like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. Imagine a really complicated puzzle that has 1000 small pieces to it. Your kids have lost 25 percent of the pieces. You decide to put the puzzle together anyway. You finish it. Even though you’ve only got 75 percent of it completed, you can still CIA Logotell that it’s a picture of the Eiffel Tower. Then, you find several more pieces. You now have 80 percent of the pieces and you’re able to see the Eiffel Tower more clearly.

That’s the way it is with the Kennedy assassination. With around 75 percent of the pieces, one can see that this was a national-security state regime-change operation. What those remaining records will do is disclose several more small pieces that make the regime-change picture even clearer. That’s why they are hiding them. That’s why they have hidden them for 58 years. That’s why they will continue hiding them, even past Biden’s December 22, 2022, deadline for disclosure. It’s because those still-secret records contain additional incriminating pieces to the puzzle that further fill out the regime-change mosaic.

Permit me to address three factors regarding the Kennedy assassination.

The first one is what I call the Inconceivable Doctrine. It holds that it is just inconceivable that the Pentagon and the CIA would conduct a regime-change operation against President Kennedy.

Really? How can it be inconceivable given the fact that Pentagon and the CIA engaged in regime-change operations against presidents and prime ministers of foreign countries, both before and after the Kennedy assassination?

  • Their violent coup in Iran in 1953 that ousted the democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, from office.
  • Their assassination of Congo leader Patrice Lumumba.
  • Their regime-change operation in Guatemala in 1954, in which they ousted the democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz, from office and also targeted him for assassination.
  • Their repeated assassination attempts against Cuban president Fidel Castro.
  • Their kidnapping and assassination of General Rene Schneider, the overall commander of Chile’s armed forces.
  • Their violent coup in Chile against the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, which left him dead.
  • Their participation in Operation Condor, the top-secret kidnapping, torture, and assassination program in South America.

Given those regime-change operations and Operation Condor, how can it be inconceivable that they would do the same to a democratically elected U.S. president, especially one whose policies they are convinced pose a grave threat to national security.

What lone-nut theorists just do not want to confront is the fact that the little monster that was brought into existence to assassinate and regime-change douglas horne 2021foreign leaders and others turned inward to protect America from a president whose philosophy and policies, they were convinced, posed a grave threat to national security — a much graver threat, in fact, than those other leaders posed who they assassinated or regime-changed. See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, right.

The second factor: In the Guatemalan and Chilean regime-change operations, the U.S. national-security establishment told their national-security counterparts in those two countries that the latter had the moral duty to protect their countries by ousting their president whose policies supposedly posed a grave threat to their own national security. How can a domestic regime-change operation be inconceivable given that mindset on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment?

The third factor: The fraudulent autopsy. In the 1990s, the Assassination Records Review Board broke the dam of silence surrounding the autopsy that the U.S. national-security establishment conducted on Kennedy’s body just a few hours after the assassination.

Consider just one aspect to the fraudulent autopsy — the two brain exams that were conducted, the second of which did not involve President Kennedy’s brain.

For 30 years, the national-security establishment had succeeded in keeping its autopsy on Kennedy’s body secret from the American people. It did this by “classifying” it and forcing military personnel involved in the autopsy to sign written secrecy oaths. The personnel were threatened with severe punitive actions if they ever talked about what they had done or seen.

For 30 years, the three military pathologists who conducted the autopsy claimed that there was only one brain examination. That was a lie. And there is no innocent explanation for that lie. It is incriminating, highly incriminating.

The ARRB staff determined that there were two brain exams. John Stringer, the official photographer for the autopsy, told the ARRB that he was at the first brain exam. He told them that at that exam, the brain was “sectioned” or cut like a loaf of bread. That’s standard procedure in gunshot wounds to the head.

Stringer also stated that the photographs of the brain in the official autopsy records were not the photographs he took.

Stringer also told the ARRB that he was not at the second brain exam, which was attended by all three military pathologists and some unknown photographer. At that second brain exam, the brain was not sectioned. That could not have been the brain at the first brain exam because a sectioned brain cannot reconstitute itself.

And that’s just the tip of the autopsy iceberg. See my books The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2.

As I have repeatedly stated over the years, there is no innocent explanation for a fraudulent autopsy. Certainly no lone-nut theorist has ever come up with one. That’s how we know that this was a national-security state regime-change operation. A fraudulent autopsy necessarily means cover-up in the assassination itself, especially given that the scheme for a fraudulent autopsy was launched at Parkland Hospital at the moment Kennedy was declared dead. See The Kennedy Autopsy.

Notice something important about all this: Whenever lone-nut theorists say that there isn’t evidence of a domestic regime-change operation, they never — repeat never! — address the fraudulent brain exams and the fraudulent autopsy. That’s because they know that a fraudulent brain exam and a fraudulent autopsy necessarily mean a national-security regime-change operation carried out against Kennedy.

The sooner America comes to grips with the fact that the Kennedy assassination is every bit a part of our legacy as a national-security state as all the other regime-change operations, the better off we will be. Acknowledging the truth about out national-security legacy will be the first step in ridding ourselves of the evil system known as a national-security state and restoring our founding governmental system of a limited-government republic.

 

Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on March 23, 2020  (Photo via the Associated Press).

Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on March 23, 2020 (Photo via the Associated Press).

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: HIDDEN PENTAGON RECORDS REVEAL PATTERNS OF FAILURE IN DEADLY AIRSTRIKES, Azmat Khan, Dec. 19, 2021 (print ed.). The promise was a war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs. Documents show flawed intelligence, faulty targeting, years of civilian deaths — and scant accountability.

The Times is making public hundreds of confidential Pentagon reports of civilian casualties. Read them here. Here are six main takeaways from our investigation into the U.S.’s deadly airstrikes.

 The promise was a war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs. The documents show flawed intelligence, faulty targeting, years of civilian deaths — and scant accountability.

This is the first part of a series. Part 2 will examine the air war’s human toll.

Shortly before 3 a.m. on July 19, 2016, American Special Operations forces bombed what they believed were three ISIS “staging areas” on the outskirts of Tokhar, a riverside hamlet in northern Syria. They reported 85 fighters killed. In fact, they hit houses far from the front line, where farmers, their families and other local people sought nighttime sanctuary from bombing and gunfire. More than 120 villagers were killed.

In early 2017 in Iraq, an American war plane struck a dark-colored vehicle, believed to be a car bomb, stopped at an intersection in the Wadi Hajar neighborhood of West Mosul. Actually, the car had been bearing not a bomb but a man named Majid Mahmoud Ahmed, his wife and their two children, who were fleeing the fighting nearby. They and three other civilians were killed.

In November 2015, after observing a man dragging an “unknown heavy object” into an ISIS “defensive fighting position,” American forces struck a building in Ramadi, Iraq. A military review found that the object was actually “a person of small stature” — a child — who died in the strike.

None of these deadly failures resulted in a finding of wrongdoing.

These cases are drawn from a hidden Pentagon archive of the American air war in the Middle East since 2014.

The trove of documents — the military’s own confidential assessments of more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties, obtained by The New York Times — lays bare how the air war has been marked by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and often imprecise targeting, and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children, a sharp contrast to the American government’s image of war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.

The documents show, too, that despite the Pentagon’s highly codified system for examining civilian casualties, pledges of transparency and accountability have given way to opacity and impunity. In only a handful of cases were the assessments made public. Not a single record provided includes a finding of wrongdoing or disciplinary action. Fewer than a dozen condolence payments were made, even though many survivors were left with disabilities requiring expensive medical care. Documented efforts to identify root causes or lessons learned are rare.

The air campaign represents a fundamental transformation of warfare that took shape in the final years of the Obama administration, amid the deepening unpopularity of the forever wars that had claimed more than 6,000 American service members. The United States traded many of its boots on the ground for an arsenal of aircraft directed by controllers sitting at computers, often thousands of miles away. President Barack Obama called it “the most precise air campaign in history.”

This was the promise: America’s “extraordinary technology” would allow the military to kill the right people while taking the greatest possible care not to harm the wrong ones.

The ISIS caliphate ultimately crumbled under the weight of American bombing. For years, American air power was crucial to the beleaguered Afghan government’s survival. And as U.S. combat deaths dwindled, the faraway wars, and their civilian tolls, receded from most Americans’ sights and minds.

On occasion, stunning revelations have pierced the silence. A Times investigation found that a Kabul drone strike in August, which American officials said had destroyed a vehicle laden with bombs, had instead killed 10 members of one Afghan family. The Times recently reported that dozens of civilians had been killed in a 2019 bombing in Syria that the military had hidden from public view. That strike was ordered by a top-secret strike cell called Talon Anvil that, according to people who worked with it, frequently sidestepped procedures meant to protect civilians. Talon Anvil executed a significant portion of the air war against ISIS in Syria.

The Pentagon regularly publishes bare-bones summaries of civilian casualty incidents, and it recently ordered a new, high-level investigation of the 2019 Syria airstrike. But in the rare cases where failings are publicly acknowledged, they tend to be characterized as unfortunate, unavoidable and uncommon.

In response to questions from The Times, Capt. Bill Urban, the spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said that “even with the best technology in the world, mistakes do happen, whether based on incomplete information or misinterpretation of the information available. And we try to learn from those mistakes.” He added: “We work diligently to avoid such harm. We investigate each credible instance. And we regret each loss of innocent life.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Pandora Papers, A global investigation: This block used to be for first- time homebuyers. Then global investors bought in, Peter Whoriskey, Spencer Woodman and Margot Gibbs, Photograph by Salwan Georges, Illustration by Frank Hulley-Jones, Dec. 19, 2021 (Electronically published Dec. 15, 2021). Progress Residential reaps big profits from stressed American renters amid national affordability crisis.

The homes on Tammy Sue Lane aren’t fancy. Modest in size and clad in vinyl siding, the houses were priced below $200,000 when most were built about 15 years ago, and for many families in suburban Nashville, they represented a first chance at homeownership.

A corrections officer bought one, and so did a housekeeper and an electrician.

Then some of the world’s wealthiest people bought in.

icij logoOver the past six years, 19 of the 32 homes on Tammy Sue Lane have been purchased by a billion-dollar investment venture, part of an unprecedented flow of global finance into the American suburbs. Less than 10 years old, the company has amassed one of the nation’s largest portfolios of single-family houses, becoming the landlord for tens of thousands of families.

The venture, Progress Residential, acquires as many as 2,000 houses a month through the use of a computerized property-search algorithm and swift all-cash offers. Progress executives boast that the company’s efficient management practices have been a boon to their tenants who cannot afford to buy one of the “entry level” homes.

But according to previously undisclosed documents and dozens of interviews with renters and former employees, Progress Residential has been ringing up substantial profits for wealthy investors around the world while outbidding middle-class home buyers and subjecting tenants to what they allege are unfair rent hikes, shoddy maintenance and excessive fees.

Dec. 18

World Crisis Radio, Political Commentary: Russian ultimatum to US demands rollback of NATO in eastern Europe, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Dec. 18, 2021 (55:051 mins.). Thirty years after breakup webster tarpley 2007of USSR: Russian ultimatum to US demands rollback of NATO in eastern Europe and limited sovereignty for Ukraine, Georgia, and other nations under new Brezhnev doctrine; direct threat of military action included; Parts of ultimatum clearly designed to be rejected, furnishing pretext for aggression; Retaliation by West to include asset freezes for ruling oligarchs, exclusion from SWIFT payment system, and disruption of banks;

China demands European Union boycott Lithuania for daring to open liaison office for Taiwan; Xi freakout shows nervousness and insecurity of communist regime as US bans slave labor imports from East Turkestan and eyes steps against SMIC semiconductors and Huawei; German industrialists condemn Xi’s defacto embargo of EU-China trade, weakening dictator’s blackmail on Europe; Diplomatic boycott of winter Olympics is expanding; Do these moves reflect Sino-Russian convergence in wake of Putin-Xi virtual summit?

The beginning of the end for BoJo? Scandal-plagued Trump clone and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, reeling from disastrous covid performance, must deal with surprise Tory by-election defeat at hands of Lib Dems in Shropshire north, a constituency held by Conservatives for almost two centuries;
Another reactionary falls with ouster of Czech Prime Minister Babis; Kremlin should recall that ultimata often backfire, as seen with Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia of July 23, 1914, designed to be rejected, which resulted in outbreak of World War I five days later; This attempt to dictate limited sovereignty led to breakup of country issuing ultimatum!

Dec. 17

 

kennedys and king logo

Logo for Kennedys and King Research Site

Kennedys and King, Commentary: Alecia Long Lays An Egg: Part 2, James DiEugenio, Dec. 17, 2021. Jim DiEugenio responds to Alecia Long’s latest foray into JFK assassination disinformation by correcting her obvious mistakes and oversights and exposing her brazen attempts at misdirection in reviewing Olive jim dieugenio fileStone’s new documentary "JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass."

Since Priscilla Johnson has passed on, for the 58th anniversary of the murder of President Kennedy The Washington Post trotted out Alecia Long (shown at right in her Twitter photo). As readers of this site know, Long has been in rehearsal for becoming a public spokesperson defending the mendacity of the alecia long twitterWarren Report for quite a while. (Click here for her early practice session.) 

More recently, she published a truly nonsensical book about the JFK case, one which I was at pains to show, had no saving graces to it. (Click here for details and see below at left for book cover and promo.) Evidently, these prior run throughs were enough for the Post to give her the podium.

Why? Apparently, Long was needed to counter the broadcast by the Showtime cable network of Oliver Stone’s new documentary on the JFK case, JFK Revisited. Long says that the two-hour presentation “is entirely predictable” to anyone was saw Stone’s 1991 alecia long and cruising coverfeature film JFK. Since I wrote the documentary, I can inform Ms. Long that I never even looked at the 1991 film as I worked on the screenplay. What I wrote was focused upon presenting new evidence that had surfaced since 1991. Much of that material was derived from the Assassination Records Review Board, which operated from 1994–98 three years after JFK was released.

One of the things we deal with in the film is Kennedy’s intent to withdraw from Vietnam. Long states early in her piece that the idea that Kennedy was withdrawing from Vietnam “is counterfactual.” And that no one can know "…with certainty whether he would have started an active ground war, as Johnson did. Such thinking fuels conspiracy theories with an entirely unprovable assertion about what might have been."

oliver stone jfk revisited posterOne thing our documentary is not is counterfactual. It can only be deemed that by not telling the reader the facts in the film. The documentary presents three new pieces of evidence, never shown in broadcast format before, that makes the Kennedy withdrawal thesis both credible and provable. They are:

The records of the SecDef conference in Hawaii held in May of 1963, with representatives from Saigon. There, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was reviewing the withdrawal schedules he had previously requested from the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department. Once he looked them over, he told those in attendance the schedules were too slow and had to be speeded up.

The taped conversation in 1964 between Johnson and McNamara, where LBJ clearly admits he knew Kennedy and McNamara were withdrawing from Vietnam and always thought it was a bad idea. But he sat there in silence, since he was not in charge.

Interview subject John Newman listened to McNamara’s Pentagon debriefs after he was removed from office by Johnson. In those sessions, McNamara clearly states that he and Kennedy had decided they could send equipment, trainers, and advisors to Saigon. But that was it. American could not fight the war for South Vietnam. When the training period was over, America was leaving and it did not matter if Saigon was winning or losing.

None of this new evidence was in the 1991 film, but it would convince most objective people that Kennedy was simply not sending American combat troops into Vietnam. But Johnson was quite willing to do so. LBJ thought McNamara and Kennedy were wrong and he browbeat McNamara into changing policies. The evidence on this topic is overwhelming today and has been presented by several authors in different ways: Howard Jones, Gordon Goldstein, James Blight, David Kaiser, and, most prominently, by Newman in the 2017 version of his book JFK and john newman jfk vietnam coverVietnam. It speaks very poorly of Long as a history professor that she is not familiar with this work. Or if she is familiar with it, to simply deny it.

She follows this up with a bizarre statement that is confounding no matter how many times one reads it. She says that assassination related research continues to focus on a narrow set of questions, “including whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted as a lone assassin or if a conspiracy lay behind the president’s murder.” Alecia, that is not a narrow question. Most people would think it’s the ball game. If Oswald acted alone, the Warren Report is correct. If it was a conspiracy, the 900-page Warren Report was wrong and some secret body overthrew our government, with calamitous results.

She then writes something that, even for her, is astounding. She says that JFK Revisited blurs the lines between fact, fiction, and pure speculation in presenting the work of the ARRB. The film presents three people who worked for that body: Chairman John Tunheim, his deputy, Tom Samoluk, and Military Records analyst Doug Horne. JFK Revisited shows documents that were declassified due to their work. Every statement made in the film is backed up by evidence and we show many documents and exhibits in the film. For example, the testimony by the official autopsy photographer that he did not take the pictures of Kennedy’s brain that are today in the National Archives. Which leads to the questions: then who did take them, and why?

But, as with Vietnam, Long does not want to reveal that bit of new information, since it would prove the contrary of what she is preaching.

She then admits that the CIA and FBI delayed the release of many documents. And sometimes they were actually deceptive to the two main federal investigations of Kennedy’s murder: the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. But she then adds that “no documents have been released that indicate intelligence agency participation in the assassination.”

Oh really? In the film, John Newman states that the FBI removed the FLASH warning from the Oswald file just a few days after Oswald’s return from his alleged Mexico City visit. This allowed him to escape being placed on the Secret Service security index in advance of Kennedy’s Texas trip. If the FLASH had not been taken off, Oswald would likely have been removed from the motorcade route due to his active and open communist activities in New Orleans and his alleged visits to the Cuban and Russian embassies in Mexico City. As Newman also states, this same type of maneuver inexplicably occurred at the CIA. In other words, something was going on with the Oswald file at both the FBI and CIA in advance of the assassination. When one throws in the fact that the legendary, ARRB-declassified Lopez Report about Mexico City indicates Oswald was not there—but the CIA insisted he was—then excuse me, but does someone have to hit Alecia Long over the head with a 2 x 4? This whole issue of Oswald’s relationship with the CIA, and counter-intelligence chief James Angleton, will be gone into at length in the four-hour version of the film.

jefferson morley newLong closes her column with her usual hatchet job on Jim Garrison. Through Jefferson Morley, right, the film shows that the alleged pro-Castro communist Oswald was associating with anti-Castro groups like the CIA sponsored DRE. In addition to that, Oswald associated with three known rightwing, CIA associated figures in New Orleans: Guy Banister, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw. And all three men lied about their association with Oswald after Kennedy was killed. The FBI covered these relationships up, another point Newman talks about in the film. (Click here for proof.) This would seem to raise some questions about who Oswald really was and what he was doing in New Orleans in that fateful summer before Kennedy’s assassination.

But to Long, this is not important. She ends her nonsensical column by saying, and I am not kidding, we should forget about bullets and ballistics. Forget about bullets and ballistics in a homicide case? Instead, we should consult the newly declassified record in order to learn “how events that fertilized citizen cynicism about the government more than a half-century ago can help us document our contentious past…” and also “explain the troubling conspiracy theories of today.”

The reason cynicism sprung up way back then was precisely because the Warren Report did not follow regular procedures in evaluating bullets and ballistics. And we prove that in our film with new evidence exposing the fallacies the Commission hoisted on the public, but somehow that is not important to Long or The Washington Post.

larry sabato cover JFKIn other words: Who the heck cares who killed Kennedy? We should worry about how all that stuff caused QAnon. Alecia, the question of who killed Kennedy is quite important, due to the fact that whether you know it or not, or like it or not, something happened to this country—both domestically and in foreign policy—due to his assassination. And if you do not trust me just look at Larry Sabato’s book, The Kennedy Half Century, right. There he explains, through polling and focus groups, how about 90% of the public feels America lost its way due to JFK’s assassination. (see p. 416.)

As far as QAnon goes, JFK Revisited relies on data, not faith or mysticism—or as some suspect what QAnon really is, a psy-op. The documented screenplays for both versions of the film will be published in February. As Long will then see, and as Stone said at Cannes, JFK Revisited turns conspiracy theory into conspiracy fact. It explains how, just one year after getting elected, Johnson had 175,00 combat troops in Vietnam. On the day he was killed, Kennedy had none. That is a fact. And the film does this throughout with documents and testimony that she either does not know about, or does not want to convey to the public.

The murder of John F. Kennedy was a homicide case. That is the way it should be treated. What Long writes is a diversion from the new calculus of that case. President Kennedy deserves better than that. Much better.

 

kennedys and king logo

Logo for Kennedys and King Research Site

Kennedys and King, Commentary: Alecia Long Lays An Egg: Part 2, James DiEugenio, Dec. 17, 2021. Jim DiEugenio responds to Alecia Long’s latest foray into JFK assassination disinformation by correcting her obvious mistakes and oversights and exposing her brazen attempts at misdirection in reviewing Olive jim dieugenio fileStone’s new documentary "JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass."

Since Priscilla Johnson has passed on, for the 58th anniversary of the murder of President Kennedy The Washington Post trotted out Alecia Long. As readers of this site know, Long has been in rehearsal for becoming a public spokesperson defending the mendacity of the Warren Report for quite a while. (Click here for her early practice session.)  More recently, she published a truly nonsensical book about the JFK case, one which I was at pains to show, had no saving graces to it. (Click here for details.) Evidently, these prior run throughs were enough for the Post to give her the podium.

Why? Apparently, Long was needed to counter the broadcast by the Showtime cable network of Oliver Stone’s new documentary on the JFK case, JFK Revisited. Long says that the two-hour presentation “is entirely predictable” to anyone was saw Stone’s 1991 feature film JFK. Since I wrote the documentary, I can inform Ms. Long that I never even looked at the 1991 film as I worked on the screenplay. What I wrote was focused upon presenting new evidence that had surfaced since 1991. Much of that material was derived from the Assassination Records Review Board, which operated from 1994–98 three years after JFK was released.

One of the things we deal with in the film is Kennedy’s intent to withdraw from Vietnam. Long states early in her piece that the idea that Kennedy was withdrawing from Vietnam “is counterfactual.” And that no one can know, "…with certainty whether he would have started an active ground war, as Johnson did. Such thinking fuels conspiracy theories with an entirely unprovable assertion about what might have been."

oliver stone jfk revisited posterOne thing our documentary is not is counterfactual. It can only be deemed that by not telling the reader the facts in the film. The documentary presents three new pieces of evidence, never shown in broadcast format before, that makes the Kennedy withdrawal thesis both credible and provable. They are:

The records of the SecDef conference in Hawaii held in May of 1963, with representatives from Saigon. There, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was reviewing the withdrawal schedules he had previously requested from the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department. Once he looked them over, he told those in attendance the schedules were too slow and had to be speeded up.

The taped conversation in 1964 between Johnson and McNamara, where LBJ clearly admits he knew Kennedy and McNamara were withdrawing from Vietnam and always thought it was a bad idea. But he sat there in silence, since he was not in charge.

Interview subject John Newman listened to McNamara’s Pentagon debriefs after he was removed from office by Johnson. In those sessions, McNamara clearly states that he and Kennedy had decided they could send equipment, trainers, and advisors to Saigon. But that was it. American could not fight the war for South Vietnam. When the training period was over, America was leaving and it did not matter if Saigon was winning or losing.

None of this new evidence was in the 1991 film, but it would convince most objective people that Kennedy was simply not sending American combat troops into Vietnam. But Johnson was quite willing to do so. LBJ thought McNamara and Kennedy were wrong and he browbeat McNamara into changing policies. The evidence on this topic is overwhelming today and has been presented by several authors in different ways: Howard Jones, Gordon Goldstein, James Blight, David Kaiser, and, most prominently, by Newman in the 2017 version of his book JFK and Vietnam. It speaks very poorly of Long as a history professor that she is not familiar with this work. Or if she is familiar with it, to simply deny it.

She follows this up with a bizarre statement that is confounding no matter how many times one reads it. She says that assassination related research continues to focus on a narrow set of questions, “including whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted as a lone assassin or if a conspiracy lay behind the president’s murder.” Alecia, that is not a narrow question. Most people would think it’s the ball game. If Oswald acted alone, the Warren Report is correct. If it was a conspiracy, the 900-page Warren Report was wrong and some secret body overthrew our government, with calamitous results.

She then writes something that, even for her, is astounding. She says that JFK Revisited blurs the lines between fact, fiction, and pure speculation in presenting the work of the ARRB. The film presents three people who worked for that body: Chairman John Tunheim, his deputy, Tom Samoluk, and Military Records analyst Doug Horne. JFK Revisited shows documents that were declassified due to their work. Every statement made in the film is backed up by evidence and we show many documents and exhibits in the film. For example, the testimony by the official autopsy photographer that he did not take the pictures of Kennedy’s brain that are today in the National Archives. Which leads to the questions: then who did take them, and why?

But, as with Vietnam, Long does not want to reveal that bit of new information, since it would prove the contrary of what she is preaching.

She then admits that the CIA and FBI delayed the release of many documents. And sometimes they were actually deceptive to the two main federal investigations of Kennedy’s murder: the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. But she then adds that “no documents have been released that indicate intelligence agency participation in the assassination.”

Oh really? In the film, John Newman states that the FBI removed the FLASH warning from the Oswald file just a few days after Oswald’s return from his alleged Mexico City visit. This allowed him to escape being placed on the Secret Service security index in advance of Kennedy’s Texas trip. If the FLASH had not been taken off, Oswald would likely have been removed from the motorcade route due to his active and open communist activities in New Orleans and his alleged visits to the Cuban and Russian embassies in Mexico City. As Newman also states, this same type of maneuver inexplicably occurred at the CIA. In other words, something was going on with the Oswald file at both the FBI and CIA in advance of the assassination. When one throws in the fact that the legendary, ARRB-declassified Lopez Report about Mexico City indicates Oswald was not there—but the CIA insisted he was—then excuse me, but does someone have to hit Alecia Long over the head with a 2 x 4? This whole issue of Oswald’s relationship with the CIA, and counter-intelligence chief James Angleton, will be gone into at length in the four-hour version of the film.

Long closes her column with her usual hatchet job on Jim Garrison. Through Jefferson Morley, the film shows that the alleged pro-Castro communist Oswald was associating with anti-Castro groups like the CIA sponsored DRE. In addition to that, Oswald associated with three known rightwing, CIA associated figures in New Orleans: Guy Banister, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw. And all three men lied about their association with Oswald after Kennedy was killed. The FBI covered these relationships up, another point Newman talks about in the film. (Click here for proof.) This would seem to raise some questions about who Oswald really was and what he was doing in New Orleans in that fateful summer before Kennedy’s assassination.

But to Long, this is not important. She ends her nonsensical column by saying, and I am not kidding, we should forget about bullets and ballistics. Forget about bullets and ballistics in a homicide case? Instead, we should consult the newly declassified record in order to learn “how events that fertilized citizen cynicism about the government more than a half-century ago can help us document our contentious past…” and also “explain the troubling conspiracy theories of today.”

The reason cynicism sprung up way back then was precisely because the Warren Report did not follow regular procedures in evaluating bullets and ballistics. And we prove that in our film with new evidence exposing the fallacies the Commission hoisted on the public, but somehow that is not important to Long or The Washington Post.

In other words: Who the heck cares who killed Kennedy? We should worry about how all that stuff caused QAnon. Alecia, the question of who killed Kennedy is quite important, due to the fact that whether you know it or not, or like it or not, something happened to this country—both domestically and in foreign policy—due to his assassination. And if you do not trust me just look at Larry Sabato’s book, The Kennedy Half Century. There he explains, through polling and focus groups, how about 90% of the public feels America lost its way due to JFK’s assassination. (see p. 416)

As far as QAnon goes, JFK Revisited relies on data, not faith or mysticism—or as some suspect what QAnon really is, a psy-op. The documented screenplays for both versions of the film will be published in February. As Long will then see, and as Stone said at Cannes, JFK Revisited turns conspiracy theory into conspiracy fact. It explains how, just one year after getting elected, Johnson had 175,00 combat troops in Vietnam. On the day he was killed, Kennedy had none. That is a fact. And the film does this throughout with documents and testimony that she either does not know about, or does not want to convey to the public.

The murder of John F. Kennedy was a homicide case. That is the way it should be treated. What Long writes is a diversion from the new calculus of that case. President Kennedy deserves better than that. Much better.

Dec.16

 

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

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

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Supreme Court, Weaponized, Linda Greenhouse (shown at right on the cover of her memoir), Dec. 16, 2021. When the Supreme Court overturned a 41-year linda greenhouse cover just a journalistprecedent three years ago and ruled that public employees have a right under the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee not to pay union dues, Justice Elena Kagan accused the 5-to-4 majority of “weaponizing the First Amendment” to serve its anti-labor agenda.

Her powerful dissenting opinion in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees helped propel the “weaponizing” image into circulation as an apt description of how the court’s conservatives were hijacking the First Amendment and converting it into a tool of deregulation.

Now it’s the Supreme Court itself that has been weaponized.

With the accuracy of a drone strike, the three justices appointed by President Donald Trump and strong-armed through to confirmation by Senator Mitch McConnell, then the majority leader, are doing exactly what they were sent to the court to do.

The resulting path of destruction of settled precedent and long-established norms is breathtaking.

Despite the increasingly plaintive reminders by Chief Justice John Roberts that, as he wrote in dissent in the Texas abortion case last week, “it is the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system that is at stake,” the new majority has refused to defend the supremacy of federal law in the face of open defiance by Texas. The court’s acquiescence has left that state’s abortion clinics all but shuttered for months, with pregnant women fleeing to seek care in numbers that are destabilizing the abortion infrastructure in states hundreds of miles from the Texas border.

 jeffrey epstein ghislaine maxwell motorcycle

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (Undated photo introduced by prosecution at trial).

The Unz Review, Investigation: Meet Ghislaine: Daddy’s Girl, Whitney Webb, right, Dec. 16, 2021 (4,500 Words). Introduction: Absent from mainstream discourse on Ghislaine Maxwell’s ongoing trial is any mention of the ties, not only of herself, but her family, to Israeli whitney webb twitterintelligence. Those ties, forged by Ghislaine’s father Robert Maxwell, are critical to understanding Ghislaine’s history and her role in Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual blackmail and trafficking network.

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged madam of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual blackmail and sex trafficking network, has attracted considerable mainstream and independent media attention, though not as much as one might expect given the level of media attention that surrounded Epstein’s 2019 arrest and death or given the public interest in the Epstein/Maxwell scandal and its broader implications.

Unsurprisingly, the broader implications of the Epstein/Maxwell scandal have been largely, if not entirely absent, from mainstream media (and some independent media) coverage of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial as well as absent from the case itself. For example, despite physical evidence of sexual blackmail stored at Epstein’s residences being shown by the prosecution (with the names of those incriminated being notably redacted), the prosecution chose not to mention even the potential role of blackmail in Ghislaine Maxwell’s activities and motives as it related to her involvement in sex trafficking activities alongside Jeffrey Epstein. Not only that, but the names of Ghislaine’s close contacts and even some of her defense witnesses, along with considerable information about her role in Epstein’s network that is very much in the public interest, is due to be filed under seal and forever hidden from the public, either due to “deals” made between the prosecution and the defense in this case or due to rulings from the judge overseeing the case.

Going hand in hand with the blackmail angle of this case is the specter of Ghislaine Maxwell’s family ties to intelligence agencies, as well as the intelligence ties of Jeffrey Epstein himself. Given that blackmail, particularly sexual blackmail, has been used by intelligence agencies – particularly in the US and Israel – since the 1940s and beyond, it is deeply troubling that neither the blackmail or intelligence angle has played any role in the prosecution’s case or in the mainstream media’s coverage of the trial.

To remedy this lack of coverage, Unlimited Hangout is publishing a 2-part investigative report entitled “Meet Ghislaine”, which is adapted from this author’s upcoming book on the subject. This investigation will detail key aspects of Ghislaine Maxwell’s links to intelligence agencies and sexual blackmail activities that are relevant to the case against her and perhaps explain the silence from the prosecution and their interest in sealing potentially incriminating evidence against Ghislaine from public scrutiny. Part 1 of this article will focus on Ghislaine’s father, Robert Maxwell, a “larger than life” figure who straddled the worlds of both business and espionage and whose daughters inherited different aspects of his espionage contacts and activities as well as his influence empire following his 1991 death.

Daily Mail, Classified JFK assassination files are FINALLY released, Jennifer Smith and Keith Griffith, Updated Dec. 16, 2021. Lee Harvey Oswald was in contact with member of KGB two months before shooting and CIA was told 'Russia was planning to pay hitman $100k to kill the president' a YEAR before he died. (Editor's note from Justice Intergrity Project:  The project strongly disagrees with the subheadline of this story and the themes of the text, but excerpts it below anyway in order to advance civic dialogue, including media criticism).,

  • More than 1,500 files were released by the National Archives at noon on Wednesday about JFK's assassination
  • nara logoThey include memos by CIA officers in the immediate aftermath of the shooting on November 23, 1963
  • One details how Lee Harvey Oswald met with a KGB agent on September 29, 1963, in Mexico City
  • The documents also included previously sealed files on Operation Mongoose, the CIA's plan to destabilize the Cuban government and remove Fidel Castro from power
  • Unsealed files from the 1975 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities state that President Kennedy's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, was part of the secret National Security Council group overseeing Mongoose
  • Not all of the files will be released; the NSA is holding some back pending further review
  • The secrecy has fueled conspiracy theories about JFK's assassination
  • The President was killed in 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in his motorcade in Dallas, Texas
  • Oswald denied shooting JFK in his interviews with police; he was killed two days later while being transported by police by a nightclub owner who shot him
  • Biden had promised to make the files public by October but he delayed, claiming COVID back logs stalled the release

The documents released on Wednesday include memos detailing anonymous phone calls to the US embassy in Canberra, Australia, a year before the shooting, where the caller said the Soviet Government was plotting to kill Kennedy, and details of Oswald's meeting with a KGB agent at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City two months before the shooting.

Another call was placed on November 24, two days after the shooting, claiming the Russians were behind it.

john f kennedy smilingAmong the files is a memo which reveals that the Naval Attaché in Canberra, Australia, cabled the CIA in 1962 to report a crank call of someone warning that 'Iron Curtain countries' were plotting to pay a Polish chauffeur $100,000 to kill Kennedy.

The call was dismissed as a crank.

Oswald's wife Marina, who was was Russian, is referenced throughout the files. One details how a Moroccan student contacted the CIA after the shooting and claimed he had been her boyfriend. The relevance of that to the investigation is not known.

There are also memos detailing interviews with communist activists in Mexico, who Oswald had met with, and details of how he tried to renounce his US citizenship to become Russian four year

In September 1963, two months before he killed JFK, Oswald met with Consul Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, a KGB agent in Mexico City.

The meeting has been referred to in previous documents but new details emerged today. It's unclear who initiated the meeting.

'According to an intercepted phone call in Mexico City, Lee Oswald was at the Soviet Embassy there on 23 September 1963 and spoke with Consul Valeriy Vladimirovich.

'Oswald called the Soviet Embassy on 1 October, identifying himself by name and speaking broken Russian, stating the above and asking the guard who answered the phone whether there was 'anything concerning the telegram to Washington,' a memo, written by CIA officer Tennent H. Bagley wrote on November 23, 1963, the day after the assassination.

A handwritten memo from May 1964 describes several tips that flowed into the CIA and State Department in the aftermath of the assassination, many of them seemingly from cranks.

On November 24, 1963, two days after Kennedy was killed, the Naval Attaché in Canberra, Australia cabled the CIA that someone claiming to be a Polish chauffer at the Soviet Union embassy had telephoned to report that 'probably' the Soviet government had financed the assassination.

The Naval Attaché said that a similar allegation had been made in an anonymous phone call on October 15, 1962, a year before the assassination, in which the caller stated that 'Iron Curtain Countries' planned to pay $100,000 for Kennedy to be killed.

However, the memo notes that Australian security services considered the caller a 'crank' and were unable to identify any Polish employees at the Soviet embassy. 'Avail. evidence would tend to show caller was a crank but can't confirm this,' the memo states.

CIA LogoThe memo also states that the US Embassy in Stockholm received a letter the day after the assassination, accusing the 'Communist Chinese of plotting the act'. A CIA analysis determined the anonymous letter was written by a Swede, using a Swedish keyboard typewriter.

As well, the US Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica received a letter in late November 1963 claiming the assassination was 'part of a plot to kill all presidents of the free world.'

'Letter was adjudged to be the work of a crank,' the memo states. 'No further info on the writer, signed Rodrigo C, has ever been received.'

The tranche of released documents also included previously sealed files on Operation Mongoose, the CIA's plan to destabilize the Cuban government and remove Fidel Castro from power.

Evolving from the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion debacle in April 1961, Mongoose involved a wide range of plots for economic sabotage, espionage, and even proposals to garner public support for an invasion through 'false flag' attacks attributed to Cuba. The program fell apart in the wake of the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

High-level US Mafia figures have long been rumored to have been involved in Mongoose, due to their connections in Cuba and anger at Castro for shutting down Mob-run casinos in Havana.

Unsealed files from the 1975 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities state that President Kennedy's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, was part of the secret National Security Council group overseeing Mongoose.

The report said Robert Kennedy was 'a vigorous participant in its activities and to many seemed the principal driving force.'

Mongoose has long figured prominently in conspiracy theories involving the JFK assassination, including Oliver Stone's film portrayal of Oswald as involved in the program.

In this telling, Oswald was attached to the CIA, and his overt pro-Castro activities were actually attempts to infiltrate Communist groups.

edward lansdale usaf wikimediaHowever, the documents released on Wednesday do not reveal any such connection, and include testimony from Mongoose chief of operations Edward Lansdale, left, denying any Mafia connection to the program.

The files are not expected to include any bombshells about the 1963 Dallas assassination, but will shed more light on what happened that day and the government's investigation into it.

The files were collected by a review board that was established by Congress in 1992.

Their investigation was finalized in 1997 and they issued a report, but thousands of documents were held back by the government.

The Kennedy family is among those who have repeatedly called for the documents to be made public.

Earlier this year, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., JFK's nephew, fumed that some of the files would remain secret until next year.

The files that will remain secret until next December have been flagged by national security agencies for further review.

'It’s an outrage. It’s an outrage against American democracy. We’re not supposed to have secret governments within the government.

'How the hell is it 58 years later, and what in the world could justify not releasing these documents?' RFK Jr. told Politico in October.

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the son of longtime Biden friend late Sen. Ted Kennedy, also slammed the decision to hold some of the files back.

'I think for the good of the country, everything has to be put out there so there’s greater understanding of our history,' he said.

Kennedy said it was a time of 'a lot of conspiracy theories' and noted there is 'a tendency to distrust government in general.'

Conspiracy theorists continue to question why the government wants to keep some of the files redacted.

joe biden resized oPresident Biden had promised to make the files public in October, but he delayed the release citing COVID backlogs at the National Archives

JFK was sitting in the backseat of a convertible with First Lady Jackie Kennedy when he was shot in the neck at 12.30pm.

He was taken to the hospital but was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in a theater a short time later. He denied shooting Kennedy in police interviews, and was also charged with shooting police officer J.D. Tippit.

Oswald, a former Marine and Marxism enthusiast, was shot and killed two days later while being transported by police.

He was killed by local Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby, and the murder was witnessed by the media and policemen.

He claimed that his rage over Kennedy's assassination is what motivated him.

The files were always meant to be made public within 25 years of the assassination under the JFK Records Act, but Biden delayed their release earlier this year, citing COVID back-logs as the reason.

President Trump agreed to make 10,000 public when he was in office, but they were mostly redacted.

Historians and experts do not believe that Wednesday's dump of files will contain any bombshells or revelations about the assassination but because of the secrecy that has surrounded them, there is still suspicion that the government isn't telling the public everything.

'Because it has taken [the government] so long to get these records out, no matter what comes out, no one is going to believe that that's it,' one official told CNN on Wednesday ahead of the release.

Dec. 15

National Archives, JFK Assassination Records: 2021 Additional Documents Release, Staff Reports, Dec. 15, 2021. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is processing previously withheld John F. Kennedy assassination-related records to comply with President Joe Biden’s Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on the Temporary Certification Regarding Disclosure of Information in Certain Records Related to the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, requiring disclosure of releasable records by December 15, 2021.

The National Archives has posted records online to comply with these requirements.

CNN, Biden administration releases previously classified JFK assassination documents, Katie Bo Lillis, Dec. 15, 2021.The Biden administration has released a tranche of secret documents that some historians -- and conspiracy theorists -- hope might shed light on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

CNNThe release of almost 1,500 documents still leaves more than 10,000 either partially redacted or withheld entirely. It is expected to prolong the bitter debate between the federal government and JFK researchers, who have argued that the CIA, the FBI and other national security agencies have continually stonewalled a congressionally mandated release.

Longtime JFK researchers say the release likely does not include a smoking gun that would substantively change the public understanding of the circumstances surrounding Kennedy's death -- nor, historians argue, does one likely exist elsewhere.

joe biden resized oBut for many lawmakers and transparency advocates, releasing all of the remaining documents, as mandated by Congress in 1992, is about restoring faith in the functioning of government. Public polling has long shown that a majority of Americans do not believe the Warren Commission's official finding that Kennedy was killed by a single man, Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone.

"Because it has taken [the government] so long to get these records out, no matter what comes out, no one is going to believe that that's it," said one official familiar with the classification concerns related to the documents.

In October President Joe Biden delayed a scheduled release to "protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in the immediate disclosure."

He set two deadlines: Wednesday, for any documents that national security agencies have not proposed be withheld, and Dec. 15, 2022, to allow for the remaining documents to undergo a rigorous security review and then be released.

Some transparency advocates argue that another filing the government is expected to make on Wednesday will be more significant than the documents release -- and, in fact, is a significant step toward transparency.

Agencies that wish to continue to withhold particular documents past December 2022 are scheduled to provide to the White House "an unclassified index identifying for each such record the reasons for which the agency is proposing continued postponement of information in such record," according to Biden's October order. That order dictated that those indexes should be made public along with the remaining documents in 2022.

"President Biden's memo reinforces the strict standards established by Congress and holds agencies to a strict timeline and well-structured process," Ezra Cohen, the chairman of the Public Interest Declassification Board, a bipartisan advisory panel whose members are appointed by the president and Congress, said in a statement.

"The PIDB's expectation is that, a year from now, most of the records currently withheld will be declassified and available to the public."
Researchers frustrated with Biden administration approach

But even before Wednesday's release, longtime assassination researchers expressed frustrated with the Biden administration's piecemeal approach.

Larry Schnapf, a lawyer and assassination researcher, announced on Tuesday night his intention to sue Biden for failing to release the records in full.
Schnapf has previously sued for internal government communications underpinning the decision behind successive postponements by both former President Donald Trump and Biden.

"We will be seeking a court order instructing the President to release the remaining records or to disclose the specific identifiable harm posed by each document sought to be postponed and how such alleged harm outweighs the strong public interest in the release of these records -- which were supposed to have been released by October 26, 2017," Schnapf wrote in an email to reporters on Tuesday.

Since many of the documents in question involve covert Cold War intelligence activities, there are theoretically legitimate reasons why classified information dating to the 1960s should be withheld, said former CIA officer David Priess, the author of "The President's Book of Secrets."

It is "increasingly unlikely" but "possible" that a CIA source from that era could still be alive and at risk from disclosure, Priess said.

"It could be that there's a source out there who is still in power or still connected directly to someone that would be dangerous for today's intelligence collection," Priess said. "Now, you have to balance that against the historical interest and the compelling public interest here."

In 1992, Congress passed the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, in part prompted by furor caused by the conspiratorial Oliver Stone film "JFK."

The act dictated that all assassination records should be publicly disclosed by October 2017, but Trump and now Biden have allowed multiple postponements on the advice of the FBI, the CIA and other national security agencies. Trump ultimately released tens of thousands of documents, the majority of which include at least some redactions.

Going into Wednesday, more than 90% of the records had been released, according to the National Archives -- 15,834 documents that had been previously released but include redactions and 520 documents that had been withheld in full. The majority of those documents are tax records, according to the Archives, including Oswald's tax returns. Those records are specifically exempted from the JFK records act.

Dec. 14

 

abraham lincoln military commission

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Punishment for U.S. coup leaders must be as severe as that which befell Lincoln assassination plotters, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallWayne Madsen, left, Dec. 14, 2021. In WMR's December 7, 2021 report, we predicted that we are now in a situation of experiencing "Watergate-level of back-to-back developments." The recent revelations by the House Select Committee on the January 6th sedition, now deemed an attempted coup d'état by Donald Trump and his circle of conspirators, bears out our earlier assessment.

It was Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Attorney General James Speed, and Advocate General of the Army Joseph Holt who successfully argued that the Lincoln assassination conspirators should be tried by a military commission. Those who plotted to kill Lincoln were, according to several historical records, continuing to follow orders from the remnants of the Confederate government, even though its Army chief, General Robert E. Lee, had surrendered his forces to the United States on April 9, 1865.

abraham lincoln alexander gardner library of congress getty imagesWhen Lincoln, right, was assassinated on April 14, 1865, members of the Confederate government and its Bureau of Special and Secret Service continued to be active around the nation. It was important for the federal government to send a message to the Confederate holdouts and the summary military commission trial and sentencing of the Lincoln assassination cabal sent that very message: continue to wage war and the consequences will be swift and harsh.

That same message must be vigorously delivered by the federal government to those who planned and carried out the coup attempt of January 6th.

A modern-day military commission that would handle the sedition trials of Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, Rudolph Giuliani, and other conspirators, could follow the same path as the 1865 tribunal. The lackadaisical attitude of Attorney General Merrick Garland toward the January 6th coup attempt demands why he and his department -- continued to be infiltrated by Trump right-wing loyalists like Alexander Haas, the director of the Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch and Curtis Gannon, the Deputy Solicitor General -- not be relied upon or trusted to ensure that the coup plotters are dealt with effectively and, if found guilty of seditious conspiracy, severely.

merrick garlandIf Garland does not want to "look backward," as he has stated, then it must be a military commission that looks forward in bringing the judicial hammer down on the seditious conspirators of January 6th. Garland, left, can watch the commission's proceedings on television if he so wishes.

In dealing with our country's worst case of sedition since the Civil War, justice for the main perpetrators and planners must be dealt with by thinking "out of the box." The coup plotters had definitely been creative when it came to interpreting election laws and the Constitution by proposing bogus presidential electors, killing off the major leaders of Congress, and declaring a "national security emergency" and imposing martial law.

America must send a clear message to the world: when our democracy is attacked from within, including by the President of the United States, justice is swift and certain.

And, if that means Donald Trump is found guilty of seditious conspiracy and related crimes against the nation and its Constitution, capital punishment should be a primary option for a special military commission to consider. Had the Trump coup been successful, there is no doubt that Trump and his cronies would have been merciless in dealing with those who opposed his attempted seizure of dictatorial power. This nation will not get a second chance to deal with the coup plotters in a determined and swift manner.

Dec. 13


 mark meadows hands out

Politico, Meadows Jan. 5 email indicated National Guard on standby to ‘protect pro Trump people,’ investigators say, Kyle Cheny and Nicholas Wu, Dec. 13, 2021 (print ed.). Mark Meadows, shown above in a file photo, indicated in a Jan. 5 email that the National Guard was on standby to “protect pro Trump people,” according to documents obtained by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, which the panel described in a public filing Sunday night.

politico CustomThe context for the message is unclear, but it comes amid intense scrutiny of the Guard’s slow response to violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and conflicting timelines about their efforts from the Pentagon and National Guard leadership.

It's unclear who Meadows, the former White House chief of staff to Donald Trump, relayed the information to or whether it was the result of any insight provided by the Defense Department.

But the exchange is of high interest to congressional investigators probing whether Trump played a role in the three-hour delay between the Capitol Police's urgent request for Guard support and their ultimate arrival at the Capitol, which had been overrun by pro-Trump rioters. The comment also aligns christopher miller official.jpgwith testimony from former Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, right, who said that in a Jan. 3 conversation with Trump, the then-president told him to "do whatever was necessary to protect the demonstrators that were executing their constitutionally protected rights."

The description of the message is part of a 51-page document released Sunday by the select panel a day before it is set to vote to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress. The full House is expected to vote to hold Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress on Tuesday.

In other messages described by the committee, Meadows appears to have asked members of Congress to help connect Trump with state lawmakers shortly after his defeat in November.

“POTUS wants to chat with them,” Meadows said, according to documents obtained by the Jan. 6 committee and described publicly Sunday evening.

The messages also describe numerous contacts with members of Congress about Trump’s efforts to recruit state lawmakers and encourage them to help overturn the election results. They also included questions about Meadows’ exchanges with members of Congress as they pressed him urgently to issue a statement telling rioters on Jan. 6 to exit the Capitol.

Meadows’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The messages are the clearest insight yet into the conversations Trump was having with senior advisers in the chaotic months after his defeat in which President Donald Trump officialhe sought to cling to power in increasingly desperate ways. Though Meadows turned over thousands of text messages and emails, he has declined to sit for a deposition to discuss those messages, claiming he is barred by executive privilege. The committee and Meadows had reached a tentative agreement for him to come in for an interview, but the pact collapsed last week.

Instead, the committee held a closed-door deposition without Meadows present and described the questions they would have asked him. The transcript of that closed session was appended to the panel’s contempt report, describing the details of the documents Meadows had provided.

“We would have asked him about text messages sent to and received from a Senator regarding the Vice President’s power to reject electors, including a text in which Mr. Meadows recounts a direct communication with President Trump who, according to Mr. Meadows in his text messages, quote, ‘thinks the legislators have the power, but the VP has power Too,’” the panel’s investigators noted.

Meadows' comments on the National Guard's readiness to defend Trump supporters align with concerns that have wracked investigators for months. POLITICO reported in May that a Capitol Police leader similarly encouraged officers to focus on anti-Trump forces within the Jan. 6 crowd, prompting concerns about intelligence failures even as the pro-Trump mob encroached on the Capitol.

The committee pointed out that many of the messages he shared already appeared to violate privilege by describing his own contacts with Trump. He mark meadows book chief chiefalso revealed many of those contacts in his recently released book (shown at right).

The committee described a slew of other messages it obtained from Meadows including:

— Text messages with a “media personality” who had encouraged Trump to issue a statement asking those at the Capitol to “peacefully leave.”

— A text “sent to one of — by one of the President’s family members indicating that Mr. Meadows is, quote, ‘pushing hard,’ end quote, for a statement from President Trump to, quote, ‘condemn this shit.’”

— Texts in December 2020 regarding efforts to install Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general.

— Texts to and from a member of Congress in November 2020 seeking contact information for the attorney general of Arizona to discuss claims of election fraud.

— Texts to and from organizers of the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the violent attack on the Capitol.

— Texts “reflecting Mr. Meadows’ skepticism about public statements regarding allegations of election fraud put forth by Sidney Powell and his skepticism about the veracity of claims of tampering with Dominion voting machines.”

Powell, who briefly worked with Trump's campaign legal team before leading her own series of lawsuits intended to overturn the election results, was the most notable purveyor of outlandish claims of election fraud. She huddled with Trump at the White House in December 2020. Trump briefly considered naming her a "special counsel" to pursue election fraud.

The context for the message is unclear, but it comes amid scrutiny of the Guard’s slow response to the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol.

 

U.S. House Jan. 6 insurrection investigating committee members Liz Cheney (R-WY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Jamie Raskie (D-MD) are shown, left to right, in a file photo.U.S. House Jan. 6 insurrection investigating committee members Liz Cheney (R-WY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) are shown, left to right, in a file photo.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: The PowerPoint that speaks the truth, Wayne Madsen, left (author of 21 books, syndicated columnist and former Navy intelligence officer), Dec. 13, 2021. Let’s talk about the January 5, 2021 PowerPoint slide show that wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smalldescribes the plot by Donald Trump to cancel the 2020 election and call out the National Guard to enforce a staged re-do of the election, one that would have ensured a Trump win over the actual victor, Joe Biden.

wayne madesen report logoThis has its roots in the info-sphere of Trump's far-right network of retired military officers. That includes former Army psychological operations Lieutenant Colonel Phil Waldron and former Lt. General Michael Flynn, who once led the Defense Intelligence Agency and served as Trump's later-disgraced White House national security adviser.

The PowerPoint was shared by former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection. The “insurrection” should properly be called “an attempted coup d'état” involving military and law enforcement assets.

Because the Trump cabal seems to like PowerPoint presentations, WMR has drawn up its own on the Trump-led attempted coup. Widest dissemination of this .PDF is encouraged.

CLICK HERE FOR POWERPOINT

Press Run, Opinion: Slow-walking the coup PowerPoint, Eric Boehlert, right, Dec. 13, 2021. Twelve months after the press shied away from calling Trump’s coup eric.boehlertattempt a “coup,” the Beltway media continue to go slow on the latest revelation about how deeply enmeshed the White House was in its blatant push to sabotage democracy following the Republican’s lopsided loss to Joe Biden.

The discovery of a pro-coup PowerPoint circulating within the White House last winter, designed to nullify millions of American votes, ought to be covered nonstop today, and used as proof that Trump is not suitable to hold office in this country. Instead, the PowerPoint has received mostly passing, disinterested coverage.

Titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN,” the 38-page presentation is a rocket ship ride into the Big Lie abyss. The proposed plan was for Trump to declare a national emergency and for all electronic voting to be rendered invalid, citing foreign “control” of electronic voting systems. The chilling PowerPoint came to light recently when Trump’s fourth and final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, turned the electronic presentation over to investigators at the January 6 Committee. Days later, Meadows stopped cooperating with the panel.

The PowerPoint included plans for Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6 to reject electors from “states where fraud occurred.” It also included a proposal in which the certification of Biden’s victory would be delayed, and U.S. marshals and National Guard troops would help “secure” and count paper ballots in supposedly disputed states.

A criminal conspiracy to overthrow last year’s election, the PowerPoint is a heavy-handed plot twist that most Hollywood scriptwriters would dismiss as not being believable. Yet here we are, as Trump plans his re-election run and we learn more about the runaway criminal enterprise he oversaw as president.

We’re learning about it slowly though, and what seems to be reluctantly by the Beltway press, which instead of touting the PowerPoint as a smoking gun that reveals the GOP’s proudly anti-democratic ways, are treating the proposal timidly — an oddity that doesn’t demand much attention. Virtually none of the coverage I’ve seen has included key context, such as quotes from experts on authoritarianism regarding the stunning implications of a White House likely consulting a sabotage plan like that.

“PowerPoint Sent to Mark Meadows Is Examined by Jan. 6 Panel,” was the ho-hum headline the New York Times produced over the weekend. As of Sunday night, there had been no Times follow-up on the story, suggesting the paper does not see the PowerPoint as being overly important or worthy of ongoing coverage.

The coup blueprint still has not appeared on the front page of single major American newspaper, nor has any influential editorial page weighed in. Republican members of Congress have not been repeatedly pressed to explain the document and why, twelve months ago, the president’s chief of staff took a meeting with the author of the unhinged PowerPoint. Or why members of the author’s conspiracy team, just days before the deadly January 6 insurrection, spoke to a group of Republican senators and House members, briefing them on the bogus claims of foreign interference in the election.

As of Sunday afternoon, “PowerPoint” had been mentioned just 20 times on CNN in the previous week, 50 times on MSNBC, and to nobody’s surprise, 0 times on Fox News. There has not been a single network evening news mention, according to a search of Nexis.

The media’s shoulder shrug response has left Democrats perplexed and enraged. “Can someone explain to me why this isn’t the only thing in the news?” tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). “I deeply respect the fourth estate, but, holy shit they had a plan to just end democracy, and is the press gonna just be like “are democrats using the wrong words again?”

There’s a long and disturbing history of the press sleepwalking through this coup story. The press embraced a timid storyline immediately following Trump's defeat as he unleashed a vicious campaign against free and fair elections in America.

Instead of detailing his treasonous, post-election behavior surrounding the would-be coup as a power-hungry authoritarian out to steal an election, news consumers received updates about Trump’s “tactics,” his vague “moves” and “chicanery”; his legal “strategy” and “power play” while he was “sulking” and “brooding” inside the White House.

One Politico dispatch at the time dismissed Trump’s anti-democratic behavior as merely “bad sportsmanship.”

Back in October 2020, when he was asked whether he would agree to the peaceful transfer of power if he lost, Trump became the first president in American history to balk at the centerpiece of our democratic tradition. The Times placed the story inside the paper on page 15, gently noting that Trump had "declined an opportunity on Wednesday to endorse” the idea. "Trump Won't Commit to Peaceful Transfer of Power" should have been the headline on the front page of every major newspaper in America. It didn't appear on a single one.

Now they’re sleepwalking past the coup.

Dec. 12

Palmer Report, Opinion: Mark Meadows email blows open January 6th National Guard scandal, Bill Palmer, right, Dec. 12, 2021. One of the biggest unanswered bill palmerquestions surrounding the January 6th Capitol attack was the delayed response of the Washington DC National Guard. Various people have made various excuses for the hours-long delay, all of which have sounded suspicious – raising the question of whether the Trump White House may have delayed sending in the National Guard on purpose in order to protect the pro-Trump people who attacked the Capitol.

bill palmer report logo headerNow we appear to be getting an answer. The January 6th Committee just released a fifty-plus page document recommending that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows be referred for criminal contempt. In that document, the committee spells out various things it would have asked Meadows if he’d shown up and testified. One of those questions is why Meadows sent an email on January 5th stating that the National Guard was on standby to “protect pro Trump people.”

Mark MeadowsSo what does this even mean? The darkest interpretation would be that the Trump White House knew the January 6th Capitol attack was coming, and decided that if the National Guard was going to be used at all, it would only be on the side of the pro-Trump terrorists.

Meadows, right, and his defense lawyers might try to argue that the National Guard was really on standby to protect against “Antifa” or other anti-Trump groups. But in such case, why would the National Guard be protecting pro-Trump people from anti-Trump people? Wouldn’t it still be protecting the Capitol from anti-Trump people?

The most obvious interpretation here is that Donald Trump refused to send in the National Guard to fend off the Capitol attackers because he’d already decided to use the National Guard to help protect the Capitol attackers from other law enforcement personnel. Keep in mind that the DC National Guard is technically part of the U.S Army. So if this is the proper context for the Meadows email, then it means Trump directed the U.S. military to side with domestic terrorists and against the United States Congress.

If it comes down to it, Donald Trump will try to pin the entire thing on Mark Meadows. At that point Meadows would have to flip on Trump just to avoid potentially spending the rest of his life in prison, and Meadows had better hope he’s got evidence up his sleeve that proves the orders came from Trump.

Of course that’s all getting a few steps ahead. For now Mark Meadows is being referred for criminal contempt, and based on how serious the referral is, the Department of Justice is highly likely to indict and arrest Meadows for contempt. That’s all before getting to whatever underlying criminal charges Meadows (and others, including Trump) might end up facing as a result of the criminal activity documented in evidence such as these emails.

Dec. 11

World Crisis Radio, Political Commentary: Biden boom: lowest jobless claims since 1969 cuts unemployment rate to 4.2%, Webster G. Tarpley, rght, Dec. webster tarpley 200711, 2021 (59:31 mins.). End phase of globalization rolls on as press fixates on mild inflation, ignoring the wisdom of Anton Erkelenz in late Weimar: deflationary austerity & unemployment are far more likely to produce fascist dictatorship than even the most severe inflation;On eve of Liverpool conference on Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary calls for unity against Putin’s blackmail; Biden must prepare expulsion of Russian banks from SWIFT system;

Gaslighting media fad of anti-Biden defeatism spreads across corporate press and cable outlets;

Signs of weakness by Trump and GOP: January 6 subpoenas accelerate as Trump privilege claim is rebuffed by DC Appeals Court; After caving on CR to fund government and NDAA, McConnell enables suspension of filibuster on extension of debt ceiling; Incessant feuding among Trump & GOP bigwigs; crisis of Protestant evangelicals erodes base; Party ripe for extinction, with New Monroe Doctrine urgent;

Revival of labor movement signaled by SEIU success in NLRB vote at Starbucks in Buffalo, with more to follow;

Overestimating the enemy’s strength can lead to loss of vital opportunities, as shown by failure of defeatist McClellan in the 1862 Peninsular Campaign & Antietam, contrasted with Grant’s realistic optimism;
By 5-4 vote, Trump’s puppet Supremes fail to end monstrous exercise in nullification by Texas abortion law;

UK, Canada, Australia join US diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics;

The ouster of UK PM Boris Johnson for incompetence is suddenly thinkable as new wave of covid hits Britain

Washington Decoded, Analysis and Opinion: Once More ‘Round the Plaza, Robert Reynolds, Dec. 11, 2021. Once again the National Archives is preparing to release previously redacted documents from the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection (JFK ARC). And once again the idea is becoming rampant that significant and newsworthy information on the assassination of President Kennedy 58 years ago will soon be revealed.

News coverage of the coming releases started out muted this time around compared to the last big releases, which occurred from July 2017 to April 2018. It picked up markedly, however, when President Biden released a memo on October 22 that spelled out short- to long-range plans for the collection.

The memo called for a first release of redacted documents that agencies no longer wish to withhold in mid-December, then another, larger, release by December next year. The memo also mandated a boat-load of paperwork for agencies to fill out if they want to postpone anything past that date. A nara logolonger-range element of the plan calls for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the federal agency that houses assassination-related materials, to scan the entire collection and put it on-line. How long that will take is not spelled out in the memo.

Reaction to Biden’s memo ranged from yawns to apoplectic complaints that Biden has sold out to pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and is suppressing incriminating documents.

That a collection of mostly paper documents can stimulate such passions is a tribute to the depth of the national trauma inflicted by the assassination. Given the confusing result of the last releases, it is also understandable that people might think there are still important documents left unreleased. A closer look at NARA’s latest data on the ARC, however, reveals just how unlikely this is.


The JFK Database

The 2017-2018 releases from NARA were confusing, first, because it was unclear how much material was from documents previously withheld in full, and second, because it was equally unclear how much was from documents that had been previously released in part. This should not have been the case.[1]

The primary reason for the uncertainty was outdated information in the JFK database, the computer listing of metadata for most records in the collection. The creation of the database had been mandated by the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, the 1992 public law that established the JFK archival collection in the first place. The purpose of the database was to provide a detailed index to the contents of the collection, including basic information for every record, such as the title and date of the document, the agency that generated the record, number of pages, and so on.

The main problem that led to the confusion was a failure to update the release status of each record. Why was this data field not better maintained? During the five years the database was being assembled, 1993 to 1998, there were frequent changes in the status of records. Agencies argued with the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), the limited-term panel created to oversee the assembly and release of the JFK records, about which documents counted as assassination-related records, and what standards should apply for withholding documents in full or redacting portions of their text. These status changes were not always recorded in the database. With more than three hundred thousand records in the database, that should not be surprising.

In addition, the online version of the JFK database was not updated to reflect the status of records in the collection after the 2017-2018 releases. During this period, NARA posted more than 600,000 pages online, in tens of thousands of pdfs, in seven discrete releases. Many of the documents made available online were posted in multiple versions, or were posted with multiple documents lumped into one pdf file. All of this made it a practical impossibility for the general public to keep track of which record was released in full, and which still had redactions.

This lamentable situation was finally addressed when NARA began an epic review of every record in the collection. The old public version of the JFK database was taken off line in October 2020, and in June of this year, NARA posted an updated version of the JFK database in the form of six large Excel files (available here).

This latest version is a significant update, correcting some widely cited figures. For example, a search of NARA’s own JFK ARC webpages will still turn up the estimate that 88 percent of the ARC documents are open in full. The update shows that following the 2017-2018 releases, approximately 95 percent of the documents are now released in full.

This update, though highly significant, is still not the end of the story. A closer look makes clear that NARA’s top-to- bottom review of the collection was not yet complete by May of this year, although that is the posted online date of the update. No doubt NARA is now even further along in the review process, seven months later, having placed a very high priority on reviewing the ARC (before but especially after President Biden’s memo). The JFK Act mandated a level of indexing and detail, however, that is found in no other NARA collection, and the volume of records is truly huge. If NARA actually finishes its review of the ARC this year, it will be doing very well indeed.

Although a work in progress, the May 2021 update of the JFK database still gives us the most current and accurate view of redactions in, and withholding of, ARC documents. Thanks to the large number of records NARA posted online from 2017-2018, moreover, those who are interested can check the database directly against the documents online.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time NARA’s diligent work on the collection has been largely ignored during the latest flap of publicity. The ARC is once again being touted as a source for information that could “blow the case wide open.” The updated database shows otherwise.

Dec. 6

Justice Integrity Project, Explosive New Report Challenges RFK Death Account, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 6, 2021. Editor's Introduction: We present "RFK: The Real Story" below, a major new research report by the Truth & Reconciliation Committee (TRC) debunking official accounts and conventional wisdom that convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan killed Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) in 1968.

The assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy appeared to be a cut-and-dried case, with Sirhan Sirhan, who undeniably fired a handgun towards Senator Kennedy, being convicted of murder and remaining in prison ever since. Over the decades, however, overwhelming evidence that RFK's murder was actually committed by a different gunman has emerged.

The facts of the case need to be exposed, especially since Sirhan Sirhan is currently being considered for parole by the California Parole Board and Governor Gavin Newsom.

capitol riot shutterstock capitol

Politico, 'Absolute liars': Ex-D.C. Guard official says generals lied to Congress about Jan. 6, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Meridith McGraw, Dec. 6, 2021. In a 36-page memo to the Capitol riot committee, Col. Earl Matthews also slams the Pentagon's inspector general, Sean O'Donnell [also the Trump-appointed Inspector General for the Environmental Protection Agency], for what he calls an error-ridden report about the riot, shown above.

earl matthewsA former D.C. National Guard official is accusing two senior Army leaders of lying to Congress and participating in a secret attempt to rewrite the history of the military's response to the Capitol riot.

politico CustomIn a 36-page memo, Col. Earl Matthews, right,who held high-level National Security Council and Pentagon roles during the Trump administration, slams the Pentagon's inspector general for what he calls an error-riddled report that protects a top Army official who argued against sending the National Guard to the Capitol on Jan. 6, delaying the insurrection response for hours.

Matthews' memo, sent to the Jan. 6 select committee this month and obtained by POLITICO, includes detailed recollections of the insurrection response as it calls two Army generals — Gen. Charles Flynn, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations on Jan. 6, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of Army staff — “absolute and unmitigated liars” for their characterization of the events of that day. Matthews has never publicly discussed the chaos of the Capitol siege.

william walker resized proofOn Jan. 6, Matthews was serving as the top attorney to Maj. Gen. William Walker, right, then commanding general of the D.C. National Guard. Matthews’ memo defends the Capitol attack response by Walker, who now serves as the House sergeant at arms, amplifying Walker's previous congressional testimony about the hourslong delay in the military’s order for the D.C. National Guard to deploy to the riot scene.

“Every leader in the D.C. Guard wanted to respond and knew they could respond to the riot at the seat of government” before they were given clearance to do so on Jan. 6, Matthews’ memo reads. Instead, he said, D.C. guard officials “set [sic] stunned watching in the Armory” during the first hours of the attack on Congress during its certification of the 2020 election results.

charles flynn oMatthews' memo levels major accusations: that Flynn, left, and Piatt lied to Congress about their response to pleas for the D.C. Guard to quickly be deployed on Jan. 6; that the Pentagon inspector general’s November report on Army leadership’s response to the attack was “replete with factual inaccuracies”; and that the Army has created its own closely held revisionist document about the Capitol riot that’s “worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist.”

The memo follows Walker’s own public call for the inspector general to retract its detailed report on the events of Jan. 6, as first reported by The Washington Post. Walker told the Post he objected to specific allegations by the Pentagon watchdog that Matthews’ memo also criticizes, calling the inspector general’s report “inaccurate” and “sloppy work.”

Reached for comment on Matthews’ memo, Walker, the former head of the D.C. Guard, said the report speaks for itself and that he had nothing further to add. A Jan. 6 committee spokesperson declined to comment.

The new memo from Matthews, who now serves in the Army reserves, emerges as officials involved in the response that day try to explain their decision-making to investigators. The House select committee has probed the attack for months, and earlier this year top officials testified before the House oversight panel.

Reached for comment, Matthews said the memo he wrote is entirely accurate. “Our Army has never failed us and did not do so on January 6, 2021,” he said. “However, occasionally some of our Army leaders have failed us and they did so on January 6th. Then they lied about it and tried to cover it up. Department of Defense SealThey tried to smear a good man and to erase history.”

Flynn, now the commanding general of the U.S. Army Pacific, and Piatt didn't respond to messages. Army spokesperson Mike Brady said in a statement that the service's "actions on January 6th have been well-documented and reported on, and Gen. Flynn and Lt. Gen. Piatt have been open, honest and thorough in their sworn testimony with Congress and DOD investigators."

“As the Inspector General concluded, actions taken ‘were appropriate, supported by requirements, consistent with the DOD’s roles and responsibilities for DSCA, and compliant with laws, regulations, and other applicable guidance," Brady added. “We stand by all testimony and facts provided to date, and vigorously reject any allegations to the contrary. However, with the January 6th Commission’s investigation still ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

steve sund recroppedMatthews’ memo begins by focusing on a 2:30 p.m. conference call on Jan. 6 that included senior military and law enforcement officials, himself and Walker among them. Then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, left, “pleaded” on the call for the immediate deployment of the National Guard to the Capitol, Matthews recalled, saying that rioters had breached the building’s perimeter. Walker has also told Congress that Sund made that plea then. According to Matthews, Flynn and Piatt both opposed the move.

At the time, Piatt was the director of Army staff, one of the top generals in the Pentagon, and Flynn was the Army’s director of operations. The two men were the highest-ranking Army officials who spoke on the 2:30 call, according to Matthews.

“LTG Piatt stated that it would not be his best military advice to recommend to the Secretary of the Army that the D.C. National Guard be allowed to deploy to the Capitol at that time,” Matthews wrote, adding: “LTGs Piatt and Flynn stated that the optics of having uniformed military personnel deployed to the U.S. Capitol would not be good."

Piatt and Flynn suggested instead that Guardsmen take over D.C. police officers’ traffic duties so those officers could head to the Capitol, Matthews continues.

In addition to Matthews’ memo, POLITICO also obtained a document produced by a D.C. Guard official and dated Jan. 7 that lays out a timeline of Jan. 6. The D.C. Guard timeline, a separate document whose author took notes during the call, also said that Piatt and Flynn at 2:37 p.m. “recommended for DC Guard to standby,” rather than immediately deploying to the Capitol during the riot.

Four minutes later, according to that Guard timeline, Flynn again “advised D.C. National Guard to standby until the request has been routed” to then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller.

Everyone on the call was “astounded” except Piatt and Flynn, Matthews wrote.

 

Charles Flynn, left, and his brother, Michael Flynn, are shown during their service in Afghanistan

Gen. Charles Flynn, left, and his brother, then-Gen. Michael Flynn, are shown during their service in Afghanistan.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Michael Flynn is “engaging” with the January 6th Committee amid new accusations against his brother, Bill Palmer, right, Dec. 6, 2021. bill palmerLast night we pointed out that Michael Flynn was on the January 6th Committee’s schedule to testify today. While the committee puts subpoenaed witnesses on the calendar whether they intend to testify or not, it was notable in that Flynn hadn’t yet publicly said whether or not he was going to show up.

Then early this morning, Politico reported that former D.C. National Guard official Col. Earl Matthews is now accusing Gen. Charles Flynn – brother of Michael Flynn of having lied about the events of January 6th.

bill palmer report logo headerEven as we wait for the other shoe to drop as far as what was really going on and who’s really telling the truth, NBC is reporting that the January 6th Committee has decided at the last minute to give Michael Flynn a “short postponement” so he can “engage” with the investigation.

So what’s going on here? That’s far from clear. This leaves us with a lot of questions.

Michael Flynn, left, has burned investigators before, cutting a plea deal michael flynn state department Customwith the Mueller team and pleading guilty in court, before changing his mind and backing out of his cooperation. So if Flynn is suddenly offering to cooperate on some level, the committee surely wouldn’t just take him at his word, unless he’s given them something of value to buy himself a few days. And of course the bigger question is whether this last minute maneuvering with Michael Flynn’s testimony is related to this morning’s reporting about his brother, or if that’s mere coincidence.

In any case, if Michael Flynn is suddenly panicking over this report about his brother and has decided to give the committee something of use… well, the committee might as well take it. If it ends up being of insufficient value, or nothing at all, the January 6th Committee can still quickly refer him for indictment for criminal contempt and move on with actual cooperating witnesses.

 

Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani hawking their false claims that they could prove election fraud caused Democratic nominee Joe Biden's presidential victory in 2020.

Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani hawking their false claims that they could prove election fraud caused Democratic nominee Joe Biden's presidential victory in 2020.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Sidney Powell nonprofit raised $14 million spreading falsehoods, Emma Brown, Rosalind S. Helderman, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Josh Dawsey, Dec. 6, 2021. Records also detail acrimony between the lawyer and her top lieutenants over how the money — now a focus of inquiries by federal prosecutors and Congress — was being handled.

In the months after President Donald Trump lost the November election, lawyer Sidney Powell raised large sums from donors inspired by her fight to reverse the outcome of the vote. But by April, questions about where the money was going — and how much there was — were helping to sow division between Powell and other leaders of her new nonprofit, Defending the Republic.

On April 9, many members of the staff and board resigned, documents show. Among those who departed after just days on the job was Chief Financial Officer Robert Weaver, who in a memo at the time wrote that he had “no way of knowing the true financial position” of Defending the Republic because some of its bank accounts were off limits even to him.

republican elephant logoRecords reviewed by The Washington Post show that Defending the Republic raised more than $14 million, a sum that reveals the reach and resonance of one of the most visible efforts to fundraise using baseless claims about the 2020 election. Previously unreported records also detail acrimony between Powell and her top lieutenants over how the money — now a focus of inquiries by federal prosecutors and Congress — was being handled.

The split has left Powell, who once had Trump’s ear, isolated from other key figures in the election-denier movement. Even so, as head of Defending the Republic, she controlled $9 million as recently as this summer, according to an audited financial statement from the group. The mistrust of U.S. elections that she and her former allies stoked endures. Polls show that one-third of Americans — including a majority of Republicans — believe that Trump lost because of fraud.

Matt Masterson, a former senior U.S. cybersecurity official who tracked 2020 election integrity for the Department of Homeland Security, said Powell’s fundraising success demonstrates one reason so many people continue to spread falsehoods about the 2020 election: It can bring in cash.

“Business is good and accountability is low, which means we’re just going to see continued use of this playbook,” Masterson said. “Well-meaning folks that have been told that the election was stolen are giving out money that they might not otherwise be able to give.”

For Trump advocate Sidney Powell, a playbook steeped in conspiracy theories

Last week, The Post reported that federal prosecutors have subpoenaed financial and other documents related to Defending the Republic and a political action committee by the same name, also headed by Powell. The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection sees Powell as a leading beneficiary of election-related falsehoods and has been seeking to determine how much money she raised, said a person familiar with the committee’s work who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential conversations.

 

Donald Trump debates Joe Biden on Sept. 29, 2020 (Associated Press photo by Patrick Semansky).Donald Trump debates Joe Biden on Sept. 29, 2020 (Associated Press photo by Patrick Semansky).

washington post logoWashington Post, Seven days: Following Trump’s coronavirus trail, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey, Dec. 6, 2021 (print ed.). From the day of his first positive test until his hospitalization last year, the president came in contact with more than 500 people in proximity to him or at crowded events, according to a Washington Post analysis.

mark meadows book chief chiefWhen he first learned he had tested positive for the corona­virus, President Donald Trump was already aboard Air Force One, en route to a massive rally in Middletown, Pa.

With him on the plane that Saturday evening were dozens of people — senior aides, Air Force One personnel, junior staffers, journalists and other members of the large entourage typical for a presidential trip — all squeezed together in the recirculating air of a jetliner.

“Stop the president,” White House physician Sean Conley told Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, right, according to a new book by Meadows set to publish Tuesday that was obtained by the Guardian newspaper. “He just tested positive for covid.”

cdc logo CustomBut Meadows asserts in his book, right, that it was too late to stop Trump and that a second rapid antigen test — apparently done using the same sample — came back negative. But under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump should have taken a more accurate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm whether he had the coronavirus.

“Had I been there, and Dr. Conley would have told me they would have received a positive test, I would have assumed it was accurate and frankly canceled everything right away,” said John F. Kelly, one of Trump’s previous chiefs of staff, adding that he also would have rushed Trump to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “To do anything else would be irresponsible.”

In fact, Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed about a week later. From the day he tested positive until his hospitalization, Trump came in contact with more than 500 people, either those in proximity to him or at crowded events, not including rallygoers, according to a Washington Post analysis of the president’s interactions during that period.

That seven-day window reveals a president and chief of staff who took a reckless, and potentially dangerous, approach to handling the coronavirus, including Trump’s own positive test.

 

vicky ward investigatesVicky Ward Investigates, Investigative Commentary: Week Two of Maxwell Trial, Vicky Ward (author and pioneering reporter in Jeffrey Epstein scandal), Dec. 6, 2021. As we head into week two of the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, I am more confused than ever as to the government’s strategy.

Friday morning saw Maxwell’s defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca destroy the credibility of Epstein’s “butler,” Juan Alessi, who, it emerged, had previously stated under oath in 2009 that he had burgled Jeffrey Epstein’s home twice back in 2003. However, on Thursday at the Maxwell trial, also under oath, Alessi said he had only committed one burglary. I saw at least one juror shake his head at the obvious inconsistency, which undermined the powerful testimony he’d given the day before: that he’d seen two underage girls with Epstein and Maxwell at Epstein’s home in Palm Beach. Alessi’s 2009 testimony had also given different accounts and, crucially, dates about the times he’d seen the girls around than what he testified in court this week.

While all salacious, does this evidence put Maxwell (as opposed to Epstein) at the heart of sexual abuse and trafficking of minors?

Looking forward, week two will likely include the testimony of Accuser Number Two, Annie Farmer, whom I know and first spoke to back in 2002.

Annie Farmer, who is now 41 and a psychotherapist, is remarkable in that her public allegations about what happened to her when she was 16 on Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico have never deviated in even one detail from what she said to me all those years ago, when she was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. She was extraordinarily composed back then, and, when I saw her again two summers ago, I noticed she still has that calm, unflappable manner, without being aloof.

My gut tells me it will be much harder for Maxwell’s defense to find inconsistencies in Annie’s story than it was for them to poke holes in Jane’s. What I suspect they will argue is that 16 was the age of consent in New Mexico when Farmer was there and that “what happened in New Mexico is not illegal conduct,” as defense lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim said in her opening statement.

Unz Review / American Pravda, Book Review: Vaxxing, Anthony Fauci, and AIDS, Ron Unz (Unz Review publisher and California-based software developer), Dec. 6, 2021. Over the last year or so, fervent anti-vaxxers have become a major presence on our alt-media website, a situation I found very disagreeable. Many of our longtime columnists—Mike Whitney, Paul Craig Roberts, Linh Dinh, Gilad Atzmon, and Israel Shamir—had also moved strongly into that ideological camp, with Whitney’s long articles drawing enormous readership from across the Internet.

I’ve never paid any attention to vaccines and my own views on the role they might play against Covid were entirely mainstream and conventional, as I explained a couple of months ago in a candid 9,000 word interview:

  •  Unz Review, Are the Opponents of the Covid Injections “Anti-Vaxx Crackpots”? Interview of Ron Unz by Mike Whitney, Aug. 1, 2021 (9,000 Words)

The resulting comment-thread—heavily laced with ferocious attacks against me—soon exceeded 200,000 words and became quite sluggish, so I was forced to follow it up with two successive Open Threads on the vaxxing controversy. Several of the anti-vaxxing articles by Whitney, Roberts, and Dinh also provoked enormously long exchanges.

The commenting-software I’ve developed for this website is quite powerful and flexible, allowing meaningful debates that may easily reach the length of a hefty book, a situation quite rare elsewhere on the Internet. As a consequence, some of the anti-vaxxers declared that our million or two million words of anti-vaxxing discussions probably constituted the largest such repository in existence, an achievement that gave me rather mixed feelings.

rfk jr gage skidmore CustomI’d gradually discovered that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., right, heir to the famous family, was a leading public figure in the anti-vaxx movement, and he released his lengthy book on the subject last month. A commenter whose opinion I respect had strongly endorsed it, so I decided to get a better sense of the issue directly from that source, and bought it by clicking a button.

Others apparently shared my interest. For ten days or so, The Real Anthony Fauci became the #1 bestseller on Amazon, and it has now accumulated over 1,500 reviews, 95% of them five-stars, which must be close to a record. The work also carried a couple of dozen strong endorsement-blurbs, mostly from medical doctors or scientists, including a Nobel Laureate, but also from public figures across the ideological spectrum including Oliver Stone, Tucker Carlson, Naomi Wolf, and Mark Crispin Miller. Meanwhile, despite its huge success and the famous name of its author, the work seems to have been greeted by almost total silence across the media.

I found the book itself rather unprepossessing. Although the text seemed fine and generally well-edited, I noticed some peculiar stylistic quirks. The text-margins were extremely narrow, so narrow that the pages lacked any chapter-headings, while the font-size was also smaller than normal, and tiny for the quoted passages. These unusual choices allowed a work that should have filled 600 or 650 pages to be squeezed down to just 480, but at the cost of some readability, with the intent probably being to minimize the length and the price. There were a couple of thousand reference-notes, but instead of being shown on each page or grouped together at the end, they were distributed chapter-by-chapter, which I found inconvenient. Worse still, the book lacked any index, severely diminishing the usefulness of the hard copy version, which I prefer reading. All of this suggests that the book was produced in considerable haste, but I think it would have been worth the effort to take an extra week to produce an index or reorganize the notes, and perhaps this will be done in a second edition.

However, none of these flaws nor the apparent near-total lack of any media coverage or advertising seem to have hindered the rise of this gigantic #1 bestseller, proving that controversial content does still sometimes triumph over anything else.

But evaluating that content is another matter entirely, especially for an ignorant layman such as myself. A sizable fraction of the author’s two thousand source-references are to academic journal articles or discussions of other scientific studies, and I am neither a medical doctor nor a biological researcher, so even if I had tried to check any of them—which I did not—I wouldn’t have been able to properly weigh their evidence against that on the other side. Therefore, all my remarks, at least with regard to the scientific issues, should be taken with a large grain of salt.

Surprisingly enough, and very contrary to my expectations, Kennedy’s stated position on vaccines seemed rather mild, quite different from the wild fear-mongering so regularly encountered on the Internet. He claimed that many vaccines weren’t properly tested, often had harmful side-effects, and were promoted mostly due to the profiteering of greedy pharmaceutical corporations and their subverted governmental regulators, accusations far more moderate—and far more plausible—than I had assumed he would make. While it’s not at all uncommon for wild-eyed anti-vaxxers to warn of millions—or even billions!—of deaths due to the current Covid vaccination drive, I didn’t see any such egregious claims in the carefully-documented chapters of this book.

bill gatesSome of his theories about vaccination efforts over the last couple of decades do seem rather implausible to me. He regards Microsoft founder Bill Gates, left, as a nefarious mastermind behind the global vaccination project, though Gates’ suggested motive is the multiplication of his wealth and power rather than a diabolical plot to exterminate most of the human race, with the latter allegation being widespread among the more excitable anti-vaxxers. But despite reading Kennedy’s account with an open mind, I saw nothing to seriously challenge my own much more mundane explanation. After having been vilified in the 1990s as a monopolist who had become the wealthiest man in the world by selling mediocre, buggy software, Gates may have simply sought to redeem his reputation by funding completely innocuous do-good projects, and he selected public health and vaccines as obvious choices, never dreaming that two decades later these efforts would have become so exceptionally controversial.

Similarly, although there is certainly much to condemn in the responses of the American and European governments to the Covid epidemic, my own interpretation sharply diverges from that of the author. In his opinion, the lockdowns and other disease control measures taken by our political elites represented a planned, sinister strategy for destroying all our traditional freedoms and establishing a totalitarian police state, while what I saw instead was utter incompetence.

China had responded brilliantly to the totally unexpected threat of a mysterious, highly-contagious disease, imposing an extremely severe short-term lockdown a thousand times larger than anything seen in world history; this allowed the government to completely stamp out the virus with minimal human losses, while restoring normal life for almost all Chinese within a month or two. But when the West tried to mimic that successful approach, the lockdowns imposed were so haphazard and disorganized that they proved entirely ineffective at controlling the virus, and since our flummoxed leaders had no other solution, they kept those lockdowns in place for a year or more, so that millions died while the lives of many hundreds of millions were severely disrupted.

My analysis is obviously quite different from Kennedy’s. But if we merely disagree about whether our ruling elites should be condemned and punished for their evil subversion or instead for their criminal incompetence, we are obviously allies in every practical sense, and disputing such matters of interpretation serves no purpose.

This relates to a broader criticism. Though many of the substantive, factual claims Kennedy makes seem reasonably plausible and are usually well-documented, they are often presented in an overly shrill tone that I found distracting, a tone that at times almost lapses into hysteria. Given the enormity of the issues involved and the millions of lives at stake, his tendency is quite understandable, but I think the book would have been strengthened if the same material had been presented in a more restrained manner.

RFK Jr. clearly ranks as a leader of America’s anti-vaxxer movement, which may broadly encompass 20-30% of our population, and his massive bestseller seems likely to become its seminal text. Meanwhile, I would regard myself as very much on the other side, but after carefully considering his views, I think the disagreements may be more apparent than real. I lack the scientific expertise to evaluate 95% of his claims. Yet even if many or most of them were correct, I do not think I would need to retract any of the statements I made in my long August interview denouncing “anti-vaxx crackpots.”

His first and longest chapter discussed the various proposed responses to the Covid epidemic, arguing that the use of extremely cheap but reasonably effective medical treatments such as Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Ivermectin (IVM) had been torpedoed by the vested interests of the powerful pharmaceutical industry, eager for lucrative profits from experimental vaccines and their own patented and very expensive drugs. This exact debate has been raging on the Internet since the early months of 2020, and I have never taken a stand on the contentious issue. But although I can’t weigh the credibility of the scientific studies he cites against those on the other side, I thought he made a reasonably persuasive case, especially with regard to IVM.

Unlike some of his more extreme supporters, Kennedy seemed to fully admit that Covid is a dangerous disease, but correctly emphasized its extreme age-skew. He pointed out that the vaccines have proven far less effective than originally predicted, and he noted that they were rushed into widespread release without sufficient testing, which may eventually lead to major future health problems. The legal fig-leaf that allowed the normal regime of patient trials to be set aside was the claim that no other medical treatment existed, and this probably explains the widespread attacks on the use of IVM. Moreover, the vaccination of children or the youthful seemed very misguided given mildness of the illness for those age-cohorts.

Mandatory vaccination efforts enforced by serious legal or employment sanctions are the explosive flashpoint of the anti-vaxxer movement, but these never made any sense to me. The vaccines appear ineffective in preventing infection or transmission, and their main benefit is to greatly reduce the risk of serious illness or death. So the vaccinated have little to fear from those who reject the needle, while the latter can made an informed—or perhaps emotional—choice in weighing the risks of a relatively untested vaccine against those of severe Covid illness. Given the extreme paranoia of a considerable segment of anti-vaxxers, heavy governmental pressure may even be proving counter-productive.

The Hidden Background of American Biological Warfare Programs

Kennedy is most closely identified with Covid vaccine issues, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover few sharp disagreements on those matters, but I was even more pleased with his discussion of one of my own areas of focus. I regard the long-obscured history of America’s massive biowarfare program as central to properly understanding the global epidemic currently ravaging the world, but any such association has been almost entirely avoided by mainstream journalists and even within the alternative media very few have been willing to broach that subject. Yet Kennedy squarely confronts the reality, devoting his last and second-longest chapter to this topic, ensuring that many millions will probably now encounter it for the first time.

tucker carlson gage skidmoreAlthough the author is a liberal Democrat, with deep ideological roots and the strongest of family pedigrees, in today’s topsy-turvy America his only significant mainstream media coverage came from an hour-long interview by Tucker Carlson of FoxNews (shown in a Gage Skidmore photo), who praised him as “one of the bravest and most honest people” he’d ever met. And near the end of that broadcast, listeners were told that if they only read one chapter of the book, the section on American biowarfare was the most important:

That chapter begins with a brief overview of the World War II origins and later growth of those controversial military programs, noting that they were officially abolished by President Richard Nixon in 1969, and afterwards banned by international treaty. But those prohibitions contained a large loophole, allowing the continuing existence of “dual use” biodefense projects, so much of what had been biological warfare development was simply rechristened “vaccine research” and shifted from the Pentagon to the National Institutes of Health.

Kennedy then focuses his attention on Dr. Robert Kadlec, a central figure in the story he tells. From the late 1990s onward, Kadlec had been one of America’s leading advocates of biowarfare, arguing that the technology offered the possibility of launching powerful attacks against the food supply or population of global adversaries while minimizing the risk of direct retaliation. As he wrote in 1998:

Biological weapons under the cover of an endemic or natural disease occurrence provides an attacker the potential for plausible denial. Biological warfare’s potential to create significant economic losses and consequent political instability, coupled with plausible deniability, exceeds the possibilities of any other human weapon.

Over the last few decades, our biowarfare programs have absorbed well over $100 billion in government funding, yet ironically the only known victims have been the American citizens who died in the false flag anthrax attacks that quickly followed 9/11. As Kennedy explains, those deadly bioweapon mailings to leading U.S. Senators and journalists stampeded Congress into passing the controversial Patriot Act and although purportedly from Islamic terrorists, the FBI later determined that the spores had been drawn from our own biowarfare stockpiles, possibility the one at Ft. Detrick. Although I had always been aware of these facts, until reading Kennedy’s book I hadn’t known that Kadlec’s business associates benefited enormously from those mysterious attacks, which panicked the government into rescuing their BioPort corporation from the brink of bankruptcy with huge and lucrative new biodefense contracts.

During the years that followed, Kadlec regularly switched back and forth between senior roles in America’s federal biowarfare programs and in the private corporations that received related contracts, with investigative journalist Whitney Webb providing a very detailed account of his activities. After the Trump Administration came into office, some of its leading elements began immediately mobilizing for a global confrontation against China, and Kadlec was brought back into government in 2017. Then in 2018 and 2019, China’s food supply was severely impacted by mysterious viral epidemics that destroyed much of its poultry industry and 40% of its entire pig herd, by far the largest in the world.

During these years, Kadlec was also heavily involved in a number of different biowarfare drills, intended to help prepare American society for the outbreak of dangerous and mysterious new viruses. In particular, he ran the large-scale “Crimson Contagion” simulation exercise from January to August 2019, in which federal and local authorities practiced a coordinated defense of their communities against risk of infection from the hypothetical outbreak of a dangerous respiratory virus in China; and two months after this major drill ended, a mysterious virus of exactly those characteristics suddenly appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The chapter also notes the close links between America’s biowarfare establishment and the Wuhan lab, which held the closest genetic match to the Covid virus and also received American funding to undertake the “gain of function” experiments that many experts now believe produced the enhanced virus that created the current pandemic. The author is very careful to avoid including any of the explicit accusations or scenarios that have been the centerpiece of my own series of articles over the past 18 months, but he provides a enormous amount of important information spread across those 65 pages and nearly 300 source references. This conveniently allows thoughtful readers to easily connect the dots.

The HIV/AIDS Crisis as a Medical Media Hoax?

Based upon Kennedy’s public focus and the individuals championing his book, I had expected it would contain a detailed critique of vaccines and the controversial public health measures Western governments had implemented to control the Covid epidemic, and so it did. I was pleased to also see a lengthy chapter on the substantial nexus between the mysterious new virus that had devastated the world and America’s longstanding biological warfare programs. But a major portion of the text was devoted to an entirely different topic, one that I had not expected to see and found completely astonishing.

The eponymous target of Kennedy’s book is Dr. Anthony Fauci, who had spent five decades playing a leading role in the public health activities of the American government before he became the official face of our response to the Covid epidemic. With the calm, soothing demeanor of an experienced physician and his ubiquitous presence on TV, he was elevated as a national hero by the political mainstream, which endorsed the policies he advocated, but eventually attracted huge hostility from those segments of the population that vehemently opposed lockdowns, masking, and vaccinations.

Since I don’t watch cable news and hadn’t paid much attention to the details of our Covid public health response, I completely missed most of Fauci’s burgeoning fame, and never had strong feelings about him one way or the other. However, his name was already somewhat familiar to me from three or four decades earlier when he had played a similar governmental role in America’s AIDS crisis, and he’d always been vaguely associated with that disease in my mind.

Given that Fauci was Kennedy’s primary target and AIDS had launched his career, I might have expected some discussion of that topic, but what I encountered were seven full chapters running nearly 200 pages and constituting almost half the entire book. The incendiary claims that Kennedy makes about AIDS and Fauci’s role in that human disaster were entirely new to me, and I lack even a sliver of the technical expertise to properly evaluate them. But if even 10% of his accusations are correct, his portrait is an absolutely devastating one.

Almost half of Kennedy’s book may be devoted to AIDS, but this shocking material seems to have been studiously avoided by most who have discussed it or interviewed the author, and it receives negligible attention on the Amazon sales page. Indeed, when I mentioned some of his claims to an academic I know, he checked around a bit, found no mention of them anywhere, and almost seemed to suspect that I had been hallucinating. Kennedy opens one of this AIDS chapters with the phrase “I hesitated to include this chapter…” and I can easily understand why.

As all of us know from the media, AIDS is a deadly auto-immune disease that was first diagnosed in the late 1970s, primarily afflicting gay men and intervenous drug users. Transmitted by body fluids, the disease usually spread through sexual activity, blood transfusions, or the sharing of needles, and HIV, the virus responsible, was finally discovered in 1984. Over the years, a variety of medical treatments were developed, mostly ineffective at first, but more recently so successful that although being HIV-positive was once considered a death-sentence, the infection has now become a chronic, controllable condition. The current Wikipedia page on HIV/AIDS runs more than 20,000 words including over 300
references.

Yet according to the information provided in Kennedy’s #1 Amazon bestseller, this well-known and solidly-established picture, which I had never seriously questioned, is almost entirely false and fraudulent, essentially amounting to a medical media hoax. Instead of being responsible for AIDS, the HIV virus is probably harmless and had nothing to do with the disease. But when individuals were found to be infected with HIV, they were subjected to the early, extremely lucrative AIDS drugs, which were actually lethal and often killed them. The earliest AIDS cases had mostly been caused by very heavy use of particular illegal drugs, and the HIV virus had been misdiagnosed as being responsible. But since Fauci and the profit-hungry drug companies soon built enormous empires upon that misdiagnosis, for more than 35 years they have fought very hard to maintain and protect it, exerting all their influence to suppress the truth in the media while destroying the careers of any honest researchers who challenged that fraud. Meanwhile, AIDS in Africa was something entirely different, probably caused mostly by malnutrition or other local conditions.

I found Kennedy’s account as shocking as anything I have ever encountered.

Extraordinary claims obviously require extraordinary evidence. Kennedy’s chapters on AIDS include more than 900 source-references, many of them to academic journal articles or other sources of supposedly authoritative scientific information. But although I have a strong science background, with my original academic training having been in theoretical physics, I am not a medical doctor nor a virologist, let alone someone with specialized expertise in AIDS research, and these articles would mean nothing to me even if I had attempted to read them. So I was forced to seek other indications that Kennedy’s 200 pages on AIDS represented something more than sheerest lunacy.

His book carries glowing praise from a long list of medical doctors and scientists, but their names and backgrounds are completely unknown to me, and with nearly a million practicing physicians in America, a few could surely be found to endorse almost anything. However, the first endorsement on the back cover is from Prof. Luc Montagnier, the medical researcher who won a Nobel Prize for discovering the HIV virus in 1984, and he writes: “Tragically for humanity, there are many, many untruths emanating from Fauci and his minions. RFK Jr. exposes the decades of lies.” Moreover, we are told that as far back as the San Francisco International AIDS Conference of June 1990, Montagnier had publicly declared “the HIV virus is harmless and passive, a benign virus.”

Perhaps the Nobel Laureate endorsed the book for other reasons and perhaps the meaning of his striking 1990 statement has been misconstrued. But surely the opinion of the researcher who won a Nobel Prize for discovering the HIV virus should not be totally ignored in assessing its possible role.

And he was hardly alone. Kennedy explains that the following year, a top Harvard microbiologist organized a group containing some of the world’s most distinguished virologists and immunologists and they issued a public statement, endorsed by three additional science Nobel Laureates, that raised the same questions:

It is widely believed by the general public that a retrovirus called HIV causes a group of diseases called AIDS. Many biomedical scientists now question this hypothesis. We propose a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against this hypothesis, to be conducted by a suitable independent group. We further propose that the critical epidemiological studies be designed and undertaken.

As Kennedy tells the story, by that point AIDS researchers and the mainstream media were completely in thrall to the ocean of government funding and pharmaceutical advertising controlled by Fauci and his corporate allies, so these calls by eminent scientists were almost entirely ignored and unreported. According to one journalist, some two trillion dollars has been spent on HIV/AIDS research and treatment over the decades, and with so many research careers and personal livelihoods dependent upon what amounts to an “HIV/AIDS industrial-complex,” few have been willing to critically examine the basic foundations of that empire.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I had never given any thought to questioning AIDS orthodoxy. But discovering the longstanding scientific skepticism of so many knowledgeable experts, including four Nobel Laureates, one of them the actual discoverer of the HIV virus, has completely shifted my perspective. I cannot easily ignore or dismiss the theories Kennedy presents, but can only briefly summarize them and leave it to individual readers to investigate further then decide for themselves. And in basic fairness to the author, he himself also repeatedly emphasizes that he can “take no position on the relationship between HIV and AIDS” but is simply disturbed that Fauci has successfully used his government funding and media clout to suppress an ongoing and perfectly legitimate scientific debate. According to Kennedy, his book is intended “to give air and daylight to dissenting voices.”

His narrative of the origins of the HIV/AIDS connection is absolutely stunning and seems well-documented. Dr. Robert Gallo, an NIH researcher in Fauci’s orbit, originally announced HIV as the apparent cause of AIDS at a packed 1984 press conference, which he held before any of his supportive research findings had actually been published and reviewed by his scientific peers. Only long after the theory had become firmly embedded in the national media did it come out that only 26 of the 76 AIDS victims in his seminal study showed any traces of the HIV virus, an extremely slender reed for such a momentous conclusion.

Furthermore, critics eventually noted that many thousands of documented AIDS victims similarly lacked any signs of the HIV virus, while millions of those infected by HIV exhibited absolutely no symptoms of AIDS. Correlation does not imply causality, but in this case, even the correlation seemed a very loose one. According to Kennedy, fully orthodox AIDS researchers grudgingly admit that no scientific study has ever demonstrated that HIV causes AIDS. The widespread accusations of serious scientific misbehavior and outright intellectual theft that long swirled around Gallo’s laboratory research were eventually confirmed by legal proceedings, and that helped explain why his name was not included on the Nobel Prize for the HIV discovery.

AIDS had originally come under the purview of the National Cancer Institute, but once it was blamed on a virus, Fauci’s own infectious disease center managed to gain control. That resulted in an enormous gusher of Congressional funding and media attention for what had previously been a sleepy and obscure corner of the NIH, and Fauci soon established himself as America’s reigning “AIDS Czar.” The HIV-AIDS link may or may not be scientifically valid, but it carried enormous political and financial implications for Fauci’s career.

In 1985 AZT, an existing drug, was found to kill the HIV virus in laboratory tests. Fauci then made tremendous efforts to speed it through clinical trials as an appropriate treatment for healthy, HIV-positive individuals, with FDA approval finally coming in 1987, producing Fauci’s first moment of triumph. Priced at $10,000/year per patient, AZT was one of the most expensive drugs in history, and with the cost covered by health insurance and government subsidies, it produced an unprecedented financial windfall for its manufacturer.

Kennedy devotes an entire chapter to the story of AZT, and the tale he tells is something out of Kafka or perhaps Monty Python. Apparently, Fauci had been under enormous pressure to produce medical breakthroughs justifying his large budget, so he manipulated the AZT trials to conceal the extremely toxic nature of the drug, which rapidly killed many of the patients who received it, with their symptoms being ascribed to AIDS. So following FDA approval in 1987, hundreds of thousands of perfectly healthy individuals found to be infected with HIV were placed on a regimen of AZT, and the large number of resulting deaths was misattributed to the virus rather than to the anti-viral drug. According to the scientific experts cited in the book, the vast majority of post-1987 “AIDS deaths” were actually due to AZT.

One of the major scientific heroes in Kennedy’s account is Prof. Peter H. Duesberg of Berkeley. During the 1970s and 1980s, Duesberg had been widely regarded as among the world’s foremost virologists, elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences at age 50, making him one of its youngest members in history. As early as 1987 he began raising serious doubts about the HIV/AIDS hypothesis and highlighting the dangers of AZT, eventually publishing a series of journal articles on the subject that gradually won over many others, including Montagnier. In 1996 he published Inventing the AIDS Virus, a massive 712 page volume setting forth his case, with the introduction provided by Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis, the renowned inventor of PCR technology and himself another leading public critic of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis. Duesberg even underscored the confidence of his HIV skepticism by offering to be injected with HIV-tainted blood.

But rather than openly debate such a strong scientific opponent, Fauci and his allies blacklisted Duesberg from receiving any government funding, thereby wrecking his research career, while also vilifying him and pressuring others to do the same. According to fellow researchers quoted by Kennedy, Duesberg was destroyed as a warning and an example to others. Meanwhile, Fauci deployed his influence to have his critics banned from the major national media, ensuring that except for a narrow segment of the scientific community few ever even became aware of the continuing controversy.

These elements merely scrape the surface of Kennedy’s remarkable story and I would urge those interested to buy and read the book, then decide for themselves, an inexpensive option since the Kindle version sells for just $2.99. For further information, they can also consult the lengthy review we published a week ago by French writer Laurent Guyénot, which focuses on exactly the HIV/AIDS chapters that are the most explosive but under-reported elements:

• Unz Review, Fauci and the Great AIDS Swindle: Partial Review of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. /  'The Real Anthony Fauci,' Laurent Guyénot, Nov. 27, 2021 (5,900 Words)

Contemplating a Complete Inversion of Scientific Reality

I found the medical history presented by Kennedy absolutely extraordinary, representing as it did a near-total inversion of the scientific reality that I had always accepted until just a couple of weeks ago. I do vaguely recall that my newspapers had occasionally included some mention of these sorts of AIDS controversies 25 or 30 years ago, but I had assumed that such disputes had long since been resolved. Although I have now read all his AIDS chapters twice and found his narrative disturbingly credible and persuasive, I would obviously need to read several books on the other side before I could hope to form an intelligent opinion.

But suppose that despite Kennedy’s wealth of factual material we assume that there is an 80% chance that the theory he presents is overwhelmingly wrong. That necessarily means that there is also a 20% chance that it is substantially correct, and such a conclusion would be staggering. Prior to the Covid outbreak, AIDS had spent almost four decades as the world’s highest-profile disease, absorbing perhaps a couple of trillion dollars of funding and becoming the central focus of an army of scientists and medical experts. It simply boggles the mind for someone to suggest that HIV/AIDS might have largely been a hoax, and that the vast majority of deaths were not from the illness but from the drugs taken to treat it.

My science textbooks sometimes mentioned that during the benighted 18th century, leading Western physicians treated all manner of ailments with bleeding, a quack practice that regularly caused the deaths of their patients, with our own George Washington often numbered among the victims. Indeed, some have argued that for several centuries prior to modern times, standard medical treatments inadvertently took far more lives than they saved, and those too poor or backward to consult a doctor probably benefited from that lack. But I had never dreamed that this same situation might have occurred during the most recent decades of our modern scientific age.

According to Kennedy, the extremely lucrative nature of AZT and other early AIDS treatments blinded their manufacturers to the obvious harm they were inflicting, and that situation recalls the similar case of Vioxx, a heavily-marketed pain medication eventually removed from use. As I discussed in a 2012 article, Merck had continued to promote that very profitable drug in a massive advertising campaign long after learning of its sometimes deadly side-effects. By the time the FDA finally demanded that it be withdrawn, government studies indicated that Vioxx had already caused tens of thousands of premature deaths, while my own examination of the mortality statistics suggested that the true figure may have been in the hundreds of thousands.

Dec. 4

World Crisis Radio, Political Commentary: Whatever happened to the fight against Wall Street? Webster G. Tarpley, right, Dec. 4, 2021 (55:20 mins.). In webster tarpley 2007recent years, predators of international high finance have run wild without accountability as spotlight was shifted to race, gender, climate, and anti-vaccine; But while campaign against Wall Street could aspire to 99% support, these other issues are vulnerable to divide & conquer strategies: the debilitating effect of wokeism increasingly recognized;

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

Fourth wave of covid in Europe & US hitting supply chains, triggering lockdowns; Options come down to being vaccinated, cured, or dead, says German Health Minister;
Jury awards $26 million in damages to Charlottesville riot victims; Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and “First Amendment Praetorians” must pay;

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

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

Dec. 3

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec. 2

vicky ward investigates

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

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

At the time, I thought this person was crazy.

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

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

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

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

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

I, like most people I know, ignored that.

Now, I am paying attention.

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

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

JIP Logo

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

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

Dec. 1

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

capitol riot deposition list

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

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

jeffrey clark nyt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

November

Nov. 29

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

JIP Logo

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

jeffrey clark nyt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 23

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what to know

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

 enrique tarrio mic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 18

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reached by phone, Pierson declined to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 17

 

norman 3X butler thomas 15X johnson ap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 15

 

steve bannon rally source unstated

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

steve bannon billionaire guo wengui

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 13

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

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

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

Nov. 12

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 11

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

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

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

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

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

The Gurus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

 kayleigh mcenany djt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 8

 

michael flynn djt

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

igor danchenko john durham

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 6

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 4

oliver stone newseum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Justice Department logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His lawyer declined to speak to reporters outside the courtroom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

wayne madesen report logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

cy vance resized djt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 3

jeanine djt jeanine pirro 2018 book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three questions naturally arise:

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

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

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

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


 

wayne madesen report logo

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

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

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

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

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

 

October

Oct. 30

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

kennedys and king logo

Logo for Kennedys and King Research Site

Kennedys and King, Book Review: Alecia Long Lays an Egg ( Part 1), James DiEugenio, Oct. 30, 2021. Nearly 55 years after the New Orleans inquiry into the JFK jim dieugenio fileassassination began, yet another character assassination of Jim Garrison has been published, Alecia Long’s Cruising for Conspirators, so Jim DiEugenio, left, diligently documents how the LSU history professor ignores a preponderance of ARRB evidence released in the last 30 years and instead relies upon the outdated and biased Clay Shaw apologia, "American Grotesque, to smear Garrison and his investigation.

The Assassination Records Review Board did some good work in New Orleans. For one, they made available the Clay Shaw trial transcript, which made James Kirkwood’s book, American Grotesque, obsolete. Today, in these post ARRB days, with 2 million pages of declassified documents available, Kirkwood’s wildly biased book—towards the end he actually compared Garrison’s assistants to the guards at the Nazi death camps—is a museum piece. In 2021, any writer on the New Orleans scene has to tell the reader about what the ARRB record reveals about things like AMSPELL (CIA code name for the DRE, Student Revolutionary Directorate), about David Phillips and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC), about CIA officer George Joannides, about Oswald’s false friend Kerry Thornley, etc. In fact, kennedysandking.com has led the way on many of these issues. (Click here for the FPCC and click here for Thornley.)

What makes Alecia Long’s book, Cruising for Conspirators, rather shocking is this: 23 years after the closing of the ARRB, she deals with none of these alecia long and cruising covermatters. Her book looks backward to Kirkwood—which means 1970. The ARRB uncovered many, many new documents from the FBI and CIA about the Crescent City and there were literally thousands of pages from Jim Garrison’s inquiry that finally entered the public domain. With all this new material now available, why would anyone—except maybe Paul Hoch—want to even pick up Kirkwood? But Long does something even worse. She uses Hugh Aynseworth. And while doing the latter, she does not tell the reader what these declassified documents reveal about the man. Namely that Aynseworth was a secret, and prolific, FBI informant on the JFK case.

This serves as a good introduction for what is to follow.

Unlike what Long depicts, photographer Lyle Bonge told Romney Stubbs and myself in the mid-nineties that Shaw was actively involved in pursuing a writer to compose a book on his case. He first tried to get Bonge’s longtime friend, James Leo Herlihy, to do such a volume. Herlihy declined, but he told Shaw that he knew a young up-and-coming writer who would probably be willing to take the assignment. And that is how then novelist Kirkwood wrote his book. It was, for all intents and purposes, commissioned by Shaw. And this is why it has today, an almost ludicrous, impenetrable Maytag dryer spin to it.

clay shawAs opposed to what Long implies, Shaw, left, was quite active in smearing Garrison, while portraying his indictment as completely unwarranted. He had previously gotten a friend of his to go to the FBI and spread rumors that somehow Garrison was involved in an approach to a 14-year-old boy. (FBI memo of March 16, 1967) This is most likely a reference to the so-called Bezou incident, which Long writes about. (Long, p. 178, all references to eBook version) Long says that the alleged episode at the New Orleans Athletic Club is shrouded because of grand jury secrecy. Not so. This reviewer talked to Bill Alford in his office back in 1994. Alford was the assistant DA who was running the grand jury at the time. As he related, Shaw’s lawyers had planted a ringer on the grand jury who would repeatedly bring this up. The grand jury chair said, fine, bring in the witness. No one showed. The pattern repeated itself twice more. Again, no one showed up. As Alford said to me, you can repeat this kind of stuff over and over, but if no one shows up what is one to make of it?

And Shaw was not just on the offensive with the homophobic smear. He was also involved in witness harassment and obstruction of justice. Either Long did not read the following memo from Garrison’s files or she chose to ignore it. Nina Sulzer worked in the Sheriff’s Department and was a friend of Clay Shaw’s. In May of 1967, Sulzer entered the prison to talk to Vernon Bundy. During the preliminary hearing Bundy said that he had seen a man he identified as Shaw approach Oswald with an envelope in hand and leaflets in his pocket at the seawall near Lake Pontchartrain. Sulzer began talking to Bundy, telling him he was on the losing side and pointing out articles in magazines like Newsweek and Saturday Evening Post attacking Garrison. She was there for about twenty minutes working him over. She accused him of taking rewards and asked what they were doing for him. Bundy denied both charges and said, “There is no one doing nothing for me.” He then added, he did not want anyone doing anything for him. Sulzer then went further. She concluded by saying, “You’ll see, somebody will get you out there.” After this, Sulzer was tracked to a residence where Shaw was staying and spent about three hours with him. (William Davy, Let Justice be Done, pp. 126–27) Because of the above, and much more, many of us are not predisposed to comparing Shaw with a suffering Jesus Christ, which, quite literally, Long does. (Long, p. 76)

Quoting Shaw’s lawyers, she writes that somehow Garrison bartered for Bundy’s testimony by dropping narcotics charges against him which could have resulted in a five-year sentence. (Long, p. 118.) This is contradicted by memos in Garrison’s files. His office contacted local narcotics officers. Bundy was in prison on a voluntary basis, in order to break his drug habit. The most serious crime he committed was breaking into cigarette machines. (Davy, p. 125; also 1995 interview with investigator Gary Raymond by the reviewer) Back then, a pack of cigarettes cost about 30 cents.

But more importantly, this reviewer interviewed assistant DA John Volz in 1994. Volz was a skeptic on Garrison’s JFK case, but the DA assigned him to interview Bundy. Volz decided to test the witness. He asked him: When you picked up the leaflet that Shaw had dropped, what color was it? Bundy had a rather unusual reply: he said it was yellow. Volz was impressed by this reply, since he had checked some of the flyers distributed in New Orleans and some were yellow. After conducting the interview, this reviewer visited the Royal New Orleans Collection. In a glass case was one of the yellow flyers the authorities had collected. Long lists the Royal New Orleans Collection, today, called the Historic New Orleans Collection, in her bibliography.

II

But Long goes off the rails even before she gets to New Orleans. Somehow, she feels she has to pay lip service to the Warren Commission, so she describes Jack Ruby’s shooting of Oswald in about two paragraphs and calls him, “an eccentric local nightclub owner with a history of violent volatility…” (Long, p. 32) Well, I guess that’s one way to dispose of Mr. Ruby. Another way is to buy into his polygraph test for the Commission, which, no surprise, she does, even though the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and author Don Thomas, exposed that test as being so fundamentally flawed as to be worthless. (Long, p. 67 and Don Thomas, Hear No Evil, pp. 537–53.)

And she abides by this Commission standby: Lee Oswald, as a boy in New York, pulled a pocket knife on his stepbrother’s wife and threatened her. (Long, p. 33) Greg Parker did a nice job in casting doubts on this story and showing how it appears to have been created by the FBI with some witness coaching. (Parker, Lee Harvey Oswald’s Cold War, pp. 129–35.)

But the above is just her warm up about Oswald. She mentions his days in the Civil Air Patrol—without bringing up David Ferrie. (Long, p. 34) That is quite a disappearing act, because many people who have written about Oswald consider his friendship with Ferrie to be a key event in his life. For instance, Greg Parker spends about seven pages on the topic. (Parker, pp. 223–29.) And he describes the powerful influence that Ferrie had on some of his CAP students. With Oswald, this included an apparent charade: Ferrie masqueraded as a Marine Corps recruiter, in order to convince Oswald’s mother to have her son join the service before he was age eligible. (See Parker, pp. 232–33; Davy, p. 6.)

Long deals with Oswald’s entire military service in five lines. This allows her to skip over crucial issues. For instance, if Oswald was intent on joining the Marines, why was he writing letters to the Socialist Party of America? This was just two weeks before he enlisted. (Parker, p. 249.) In that letter, Oswald said he was a Marxist and had been studying Marxist principles for over a year. Does Long know any students at LSU who studied Marxism and joined the Marines? To most objective observers, this double agent masquerade would suggest the influence of Ferrie. She also fails to bring up the military matters of his Russian language test and his association with the U2 spy plane. (Philip Melanson, Spy Saga, pp. 8–12.) Was it just a coincidence that, when he left the service, he hightailed it to Russia and offered them radar secrets? (Melanson, p. 13.)

Long then spends all of one sentence on Oswald’s journey to and his stay in the USSR. This radical ellipsis allows her to avoid questions like: How did Oswald know that, in all of Europe, the city of Helsinki granted the fastest visas into Russia? Secondly, how did the impoverished Marine afford to stay in jim dieugenio destiny covertwo five-star hotels when he got to Helsinki? (James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, second edition, pp. 137–39.)

I could go on and on. My point is that Long seems intent on discounting or avoiding all the earmarks that, in the words of Senator Richard Schweiker, branded Oswald with the “fingerprints of intelligence.” (Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, p. 192.) This includes the fact that the KGB did not believe he was a genuine defector. And this is why they shipped him out of Moscow to Minsk and surrounded him with a ring of human and electronic surveillance. (DiEugenio, pp. 144–49) As John Newman will state in Oliver Stone’s upcoming JFK Revisited, Tennent Bagley, a veteran CIA counter intelligence officer, agreed with the KGB on that. Upon Oswald’s return to Texas, the most influential figure for him was George DeMohrenschildt. And before George died, he admitted that he would never have befriended Oswald on his own. He was told to do so by the Dallas CIA station chief, J. Walton Moore. (DiEugenio, pp. 152–53.)

All of this is important information, and not just in understanding Oswald, but because it helps explain a fundamental paradox about Oswald’s life after he returned from the Soviet Union. One that Long does not in any way make explicit. Why, in 1962 and 1963, did the Warren Commission’s Marxist abide amidst two of the most right-wing communities in America? This would be, of course, the White Russians in Dallas/Fort Worth and the Cuban exiles in New Orleans. As many writers have shown—Phil Melanson, Jeff Morley, John Newman—both of these groups were tied in with the CIA and FBI. One example: when the wife of one of the White Russians saw the book Das Kapital at Oswald’s apartment; the couple called the FBI about it. The FBI told them not to worry, “Oswald was alright.” (Harold Weisberg, Whitewash II, p. 46)

III

Another character slighted by Long is Guy Banister. And, like many things in the book, this is weird. Why? Because back in May of 1989, in an interview with Dave Mendelsohn of Pacifica Radio, Jim Garrison said that, as far as the New Orleans aspect of the conspiracy went, Banister was the most important personage. The duality of the pinko Marine Oswald, which Long plays down, fits in adroitly with what Banister was doing in the Crescent City—which she also plays down.

Guy BanisterAs one of his preoccupations, Banister, left, had taken up the habit of recruiting spies on local college campuses. These would be conservative students who would infiltrate leftist groups. How did Banister find his way into this occupation? After retiring from the FBI in 1955, he came to New Orleans to work for Mayor Shep Morrison. Morrison wanted him to serve as a kind of ombudsman over his problematic police force. The mayor then shifted him over to study communist subversion with the aid of the conservative Senator James Eastland of the Senate Security Sub-Committee. (Davy, p. 12)

In January of 1958, Banister filed articles of incorporation to open a private detective service. It is notable that the articles were written up by William Wegmann, the brother of Ed Wegmann, Clay Shaw’s attorney. It gets even more interesting, because Banister forwarded for clearance the names of prospective student spies to attorney Guy Johnson, who was a partner to Bill Wegmann. (Letter from Johnson to Wegmann, 1/5/59) Through an informant to Garrison’s office, George Eckert, the DA learned that the former FBI agent never really severed himself from government service, which is why he could charge such low investigative fees. (Davy, p. 14) For instance, one of his spies, Dan Campbell, said “Banister was a bagman for the CIA and was running guns to Alpha 66 in Miami.” (Campbell interview with the reviewer, 9/6/94) Joe Oster, who used to work for Banister, remembered his boss calling Washington and speaking directly to J. Edgar Hoover. (HSCA interview with Oster, 1/27/78) Another former Banister employee saw George Lincoln Rockwell, who ran the American Nazi party, in Banister’s office. (NODA interview with Vernon Gerdes, 10/30/68.)

This is all ignored by Long, as is the following information from Tommy Baumler, an attorney who had worked for Banister as one of his student spies. In 1981, Baumler told researcher Bud Fensterwald that “Clay Shaw, Banister, and Guy Johnson made up the intelligence apparatus of New Orleans.” He also stated that Shaw and Banister were close and that Oswald worked for Banister. (Baumler interview with Fensterwald, 12/30/81.) Guy Johnson was with the Office of Naval Intelligence and was Shaw’s first criminal lawyer after Garrison indicted him. As everyone except Long seems to know, Banister was involved with preparations for the Bay of Pigs invasion. (Davy, p. 26) Later, according to HSCA Deputy Counsel Bob Tanenbaum, he was also involved with training for Operation Mongoose. (Probe Magazine, July/August, 1996, p. 24.) In fact, at a hearing that David Ferrie called to try and salvage his position with Easten Airlines, Banister said,

"I have had high-ranking Cuban refugees in my office asking me how to go underground and I gave them diagrams for that. I have talked to military and leaders from the various provinces of Cuba that have slipped out and slipped back." (Grievance hearing for Ferrie, 8/5/1963, p. 841.)

Now that we have established the profile of the pinko Marine and the role of Guy Banister in New Orleans subterfuge from the fifties on to 1963, let us turn to Oswald in New Orleans at that time, which, no surprise, Long also wants to discount. She does this by relying on two sources to filter the raw data, namely the FBI and the HSCA. But today, with the declassifications of the ARRB, plus the further work done on this subject since then, it’s not possible to deny the association of Oswald with Banister or his 544 Camp Street address.

For example, in April of 1968, Garrison’s office interviewed George Higginbotham, who was familiar with Banister and 544 Camp Street in 1962 and 1963. He said he kidded Banister about sharing a building with people passing out leaflets on the street, to which the former FBI man replied: “Cool it, one of them is one of mine.” (NODA memo of interviews, April 12, 16, 17 of 1968.) Recently, this writer wrote an article in which I quoted a man named Richard Manuel, who worked in New Orleans in the mid-sixties. He knew two men who worked near Banister’s office and saw him at Mancuso’s coffee shop with Oswald. (ARRB notes of Manuel call of 2/1/96) Dan Campbell, a student spy and Cuban exile trainer for Banister, saw Oswald come into the 544 Camp Street office one day that summer to use the phone. (DiEugenio interviewed Campbell in both New Orleans and Los Angeles in 1994.) His brother, Allen Campbell, also worked out of the Camp Street office. He recalls Banister’s secretary, Delphine Roberts, going to see her boss to tell him about Oswald’s leafleting. She got the same reaction that Higginbotham did: Don’t worry, he’s with us. (DiEugenio interview with Allen in New Orleans, 1994.) William Gaudet was a CIA asset who had an office in Clay Shaw’s International Trade Mart. He told the HSCA that he had observed Banister talking to Oswald on a street corner. (HSCA Report, p. 219.) Two INS agents were tracking illegal Cubans in New Orleans at the time. They got onto to David Ferrie’s association with them. They followed Ferrie to 544 Camp Street and observed Oswald going in also. (DiEugenio, p. 113.) With all the above, and more that I left out, her strategy, borrowed from the HSCA—to insinuate that somehow Jack Martin, who worked for Banister, and his secretary, Delphine Roberts, were insufficient—gets turned upside down. Their testimony is bolstered by these other corroborating witnesses.

IV

Harold Weisberg is an author that Long knocks almost as badly as she smears Jim Garrison, but she does not give Harold credit for uncovering some rather interesting information about Oswald in New Orleans. When Marina Oswald was sequestered at the Inn of the Six Flags in Dallas, she was harold weisbrg archiveinterrogated by the Secret Service. They asked her questions about her husband: about whether he owned a rifle, a handgun, or had been to Mexico City. But they also asked her about a “Mr. Farry.” And also if she knew about a Leonard Reisman at Tulane University, who was part of the Committee for Peaceful Alternatives. (Weisberg, p. 19.)

As a reader later wrote to Harold, what makes these questions so startling is that they seem to have been asked on November 24th, before Garrison brought Ferrie in for questioning. “Farry” is obviously a misspelling for Ferrie. In other words, the FBI was on to Ferrie before the DA even talked to him. But it’s the Reisman query that is perhaps even more crucial, because as John Newman points out in his book on Oswald, this leafleting at Tulane was done while the pinko Marine was in his undercover mode in New Orleans. That is when Banister was secretly trying to smoke out suspected Cuban sympathizers in the Crescent City. (John Newman, Oswald and the CIA, pp. 309, 331–32.) This was before Oswald got into an overt and direct conflict with a CIA funded Cuban exile group run by Agency officer and psychological warfare expert George Joannides.

With that, let us proceed to place another layer over all this New Orleans activity. One that Long completely avoids. That is the CIA’s operations against the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) and in support of the DRE, the Student Revolutionary Directorate. Oswald was the only member of the FPCC in New Orleans. He stamped Banister’s office address—544 Camp Street—on one (or more) of the pamphlets he passed out that summer in the Crescent City. Beginning in 1961, that particular pamphlet went through several printings and the CIA ordered copies of the first edition, which is the printing that Oswald had in New Orleans. According to Roberts’ first interview with the HSCA, Banister was very upset about Oswald placing his address on his pamphlets. (Bob Buras interview with Roberts, 7/6/78.)

It is even more provocative than that. And again, Long somehow missed it. The FBI knew about Oswald’s faux pas. After retrieving several of Oswald’s pamphlets, they did two things to conceal the association of Banister with Oswald from the Warren Commission. They either used the alternative address for Banister’s office, which was 531 Lafayette Street or, in their messages to headquarters, they scratched out the fact that Oswald had actually stamped the Camp Street address on his flyers. (Newman, p. 310; Tony Summers, Official and Confidential, p. 325) It would appear that J. Edgar Hoover was trying to conceal Oswald’s association with his former agent, because, as John Newman has written, both the FBI and CIA had ongoing operations against the FPCC at this time. (Newman, pp. 241–44.)

The man who began those CIA operations against the FPCC was David Phillips, left. And according to Howard Hunt’s testimony to the HSCA, it was also his david a phillips signed friend Phillips who started up the DRE. (Interview of 11/3/78, p. 77.) As we all know AMSPELL—the CIA code name for the DRE—collided with Oswald’s FPCC during a mild ruckus on Canal Street in August. After which, Oswald was arrested, apparently for receiving a punch from local DRE leader Carols Bringuier. After this, Oswald was part of a broadcast debate between Bringuier and Ed Butler, manager of the anti-communist organization Information Council for the Americas. It was these activities, and the photos and films of his leafleting, that got injected into the media very quickly after the assassination. They provided a public image and background for Oswald. And it was this which the Commission and the press used to incriminate him, as well as his alleged journey to Mexico City, which incredibly, Long just leaves out.

As Jeff Morley has pointed out, immediately after the JFK shooting, Bringuier placed stories about Oswald in the Miami Herald and Washington Post. About 24–48 hours after the assassination, Bringuier and the DRE published a broadsheet clearly suggesting Oswald had killed Kennedy for Castro. In other words, CIA assets were shaping the story at the start. That publication was at the CIA’s expense, as the DRE was being subsidized to the tune of $51,000 per month by the Agency. George Joannides was the case officer. He later lied about this to the HSCA, when he came back to stymie their investigation of Oswald in 1978. (Morley, Miami New Times, 4/12/2001.). Needless to say, the other immediate result was the long time CIA goal of the destruction of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

As many authors have pointed out, what is so notable about the confrontation on Canal Street is that Oswald wrote about it to the New York City branch of the FPCC about a week before it happened. (Click here for Paul Bleau’s fine article.) What we did not know prior to Paul’s milestone two-part essay was another fact that is important to understand Oswald’s role in the street theater. The host of the debate was local radio personality Bill Stuckey. Stuckey had written to the FBI in April of 1962 about their knowledge of any FPCC chapter in New Orleans. (FBI Memo of April 6, 1962.) Beyond that, Paul also discovered that Oswald had written the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New York, not in 1963, but in 1962.

To cap it all off, there is evidence Phillips was in Banister’s office in late 1960 planning a TV telethon to benefit the Cuban exiles with Banister and Butler. (Davy, pp. 21–24.)

From all the above, and more, one can understand why CIA officer William Kent, who worked out of the Miami JM/WAVE station, once said that Oswald was a useful idiot. You will learn almost all of this from Paul Bleau’s article. You will learn virtually none of it from Alecia Long. In other words, there is more current and cogent information about Oswald in New Orleans in Paul Bleau’s two-part essay than there is in Long’s entire book. Whether this failing is by design or a matter of poor scholarship is a question only she can answer.

V

Then what is Long’s book about? For one, it’s the weirdest interpretation of the Warren Report I have ever read. She writes that the Commission placed the sex lives of Oswald and Ruby under scrutiny for what that could mean as far as motivation went. (Long, p. 65.)

alecia long and cruising coverThis is balderdash. I am quite familiar with the Warren Report and I do not recall anything like this in those nearly 900 pages. Long later uses the testimony of Dean Andrews about Oswald as her source. Yet Andrews is shuffled on and off stage in that report in the space of one paragraph. (Warren Report, p. 325.) The other reference she uses is another throwaway paragraph about the Commission searching for a nexus point between Oswald and Ruby. In going through a list of possibilities, they wrote that there was not any homosexual relationship between the two men. (Warren Report, p. 364.) Two paragraphs out of 900 pages is grasping at straws.

In further desperation, she trots out the whole White Russian rigamarole about Oswald having problems satisfying his wife. Long writes that perhaps this was because Oswald harbored a hidden preference. She then says this was an obvious question. (Long, p. 66.) Obvious to who? After several pages of these eccentric and groundless comments, it struck me that Long was grafting her own agenda onto the facts—to such a degree as to be solipsistic. And when I saw her describing the Jack Gremillion complaint to the FBI about a homosexual ring in New Orleans that the DA was using, I understood the idea behind the book. (Long, p. 58.) And also why she discounted Banister: he was not gay.

State Attorney General Gremillion was a notorious racist and rabid McCarthyite. He opposed Garrison and his treatment of the famous James Dombrowski case, because Dombrowski was an active leftist who supported civil rights in the New Orleans area. Garrison took control of the case, in order to guide it to the highest court to invalidate the phony charges grafted onto a Gremillion/Eastland/Banister fabrication: the state’s Communist Control Law. Garrison thought this was unconstitutional. Dombrowski was smeared as a communist, because he was standing up for the civil rights of African Americans. In 1965, the Supreme Court ruled against Gremillion. (Click here for details.) It is clear that Gremillion greatly resented what the DA had done and he retaliated with this almost incomprehensible complaint, which he filed with, of all agencies, the FBI. For a scholar to side with riffraff like Gremillion in order to smear Garrison indicates that she has lost her compass.

When one combines that with the fact that she fails to give the reader a full portrait of Shaw and his association with the CIA, how can one come to any other conclusion? There is no mention of the ARRB declassified documents that reveal Shaw had a covert security clearance. (Davy, p. 195.) Or that he was a highly valued and well-paid contract agent for the CIA. (Joan Mellen, Our Man in Haiti, pp. 54–55.) Or that the Agency tried to hide all of this. Going as far as destroying Shaw’s 201 file. (Click here for details.) Need I also add that I could not detect any mention of Shaw and Permindex, which after the release of Michele Metta’s important book on the subject, is again, quite a disappearing act.

Throughout, Long tries to deny that Shaw was Clay Bertrand. In an amazing piece of sleight of hand, she even acknowledges the FBI memo which states such was the case—and further that the Bureau knew Shaw was Bertrand before Garrison arrested him, data they had from two sources. One being Aaron Kohn, a staunch Shaw ally. (FBI memo of March 2, 1967.) I could detect nothing in the text concerning the FBI inquiry back in December of 1963, where Cartha DeLoach wrote to Clyde Tolson that Shaw’s name “had come up in our investigation…as a result of several parties furnishing information concerning Shaw.” (DeLoach memo of 3/2/67, italics added.) Lawrence Schiller, a prolific FBI informant on the JFK case, sent information to the Bureau that he had several sources in New Orleans and San Francisco saying that Shaw went by other names, including Clay Bertrand. (FBI memo of March 22, 1967.) At the Shaw trial, FBI agent Regis Kennedy admitted that he was investigating the Kennedy case prior to his interview with Dean Andrews and that he was searching for Bertrand as part of that investigation. He was then stopped from answering any other questions by Washington. (Trial transcript, 2/17/69)

The information about Shaw using the Bertrand alias was common knowledge in the French Quarter. But many sources did not want to tell Garrison about it due to their resentment over his prior crusade against B girl drinking, which caused a lot of economic dislocations there. Two such witnesses were Barbara Bennett and Rickey Planche, the latter bought a house Shaw had owned previously. (Jim Garrison: His Life and Times,The Early Years, by Joan Mellen, p. 117) Need I add that she also ignores Andrews’ own secret admission to Weisberg that Shaw was Bertrand. (Mailer’s Tale, Weisberg unpublished manuscript, Chapter 5, p. 11.) Only by eliding all this data from one’s text can one write that the identity of Bertrand remained a mystery. (Long, p. 59.)

VI

Another important aspect of Oswald in New Orleans that Long discounts is Oswald’s leafleting in front of Shaw’s International Trade Mart in mid-August. This also had some interesting telltale points to it. First, Bringuier and his right hand man Carlos Quiroga said that they went to see Oswald in an lee harvey oswald new orleans leaflets rafael cruz wdsuattempt to infiltrate his FPCC “group” after the ITM incident. The visit occurred before it happened. And Quiroga arrived with a stack of flyers about a half foot thick. In other words, the DRE appears to have been supplying Oswald with his leaflets in preparation for the incident. Secondly, the reason we have films of the event is that Shaw’s first assistant at the ITM, Jesse Core, had summoned the cameras. (Davy, p. 38) Beyond that, it was this leafleting episode that caused George Higginbotham to alert Banister, and his reply was “One of them is one of mine.” (Oswald had hired two helpers from the unemployment office to aid him.) But there was something else to note. In addition to calling the cameras for the ITM incident, Jesse Core picked up a pamphlet from the prior Canal Street episode, the one which got Oswald arrested. He noted that it had Banister’s address on it. He mailed it from the Trade Mart to the FBI with a message attached: “note the inside back cover.” (John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, p. 568) This would suggest that both Shaw and Core knew about Oswald’s mistake. How would they know unless they were aware of Banister’s operation? Which recalls the work done for Banister by Bill Wegmann and Guy Johnson. But further, the FBI then knew about Oswald at 544 Camp Street before the assassination.

In light of all the above, for Long to say that the connection of Banister, Oswald, Ferrie, and Shaw was a Garrison innovation which relied on our culture’s suspicions about homosexuals—this is simply fruity. (See p. 90.) If one leaves out everything I wrote above about the CIA, then maybe you can sidestep someone with that bunk. But since the first two were not gay, it’s kind of hard to buy. But what makes it harder is all the relevant material she leaves out, like the fact that Ferrie was so desperate to separate himself from Oswald in the wake of the assassination that he committed obstruction of justice and perjury. He went to two sources to see if they recalled Oswald using his library card and he called a former CAP cadet to find any picture he might have depicting him with Oswald. He then lied to the FBI about not recalling Oswald. (See The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today, by James DiEugenio, pp. 175–77; Destiny Betrayed, pp. 176–77) Those four instances indicate, as prosecutors term it, consciousness of guilt. I won’t even discuss the illustration of Dealey Plaza that Ferrie had in his desk at work. (Destiny Betrayed, p. 216) And then there were Ferrie’s admissions to investigator Lou Ivon right before he died about his association with both Oswald and Shaw and Shaw’s hatred of JFK. (Davy, p. 66) In the face of this, Long is again ludicrous in saying that Garrison had little evidence against Ferrie. (Long, p. 111.)

We can do the same with Shaw. Since he committed perjury as many as six times on the stand during his trial. Long admits that Shaw lied about his CIA association to the press. She does not admit he did the same under oath at his trial. (Click here for details.)

Let us conclude this silly, utterly superfluous book with this. Long quotes Shaw as saying: Well if I was innocent, why didn’t we just go to trial and get it over with back in 1967? (Long, p. 138.) Well Alecia, that might have something to do with another declassified document you missed. It describes 24 folders the CIA titled Black Tape. James Angleton collected them from September of 1967 until March of 1969. He then deemed them classified until 2017. Is it just a coincidence that the beginning date matches the first meeting of the Garrison Group at CIA, which was specifically set up to counter Garrison? At that meeting, Ray Rocca, Angleton’s assistant, said that if things proceed as they are, Shaw would be convicted. (Destiny Betrayed, pp. 269–71) When they set up the Garrison Group and the Black Tape files, the Agency made sure things did not proceed that way, which makes Shaw’s comment likely more revealing than he meant it. (ibid, pp. 271–85.)

But that is the kind of book this is. It’s an almost humorous diversion created for one purpose. It wants us to forget virtually everything we have learned about New Orleans since the creation of the ARRB back in 1994. Sorry Alecia, no sale. It was too difficult to get those files opened in the first place. And when they were opened, we understood why Angleton wanted them closed for fifty years. Consciousness of guilt.

Oct. 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 23

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 21

djt steve bannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

wayne madesen report logoThe Willard Hotel, which is a mere few blocks from the White House and lies in-between the Executive Mansion and the Trump International Hotel, was the scene of a January 6th eve