Deep State 2018 News, Revelations, Commentary

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Editor's Choice: 2018 News & Views

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

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

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

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

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

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

Index: Deep State News, Revelations, Commentary

 

March 2019 Updates

March 20

ny times logoNew York Times, The Mueller Report Is Highly Anticipated. Here’s What We Already Know, Larry Buchanan and Karen Yourish, March 20, 2019. After more than two years of criminal indictments and steady revelations about contacts between associates of Donald J. Trump and Russia, we already know a lot about the work done by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Here are the main findings and lines of inquiry and the people involved in each.

The investigation has revealed a range of events related to Russian interference and the 2016 election.

Russian Hacking and WikiLeaks

As part of a complex effort to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump’s 2016 rival, Russia’s top military intelligence service hacked the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the private email account of the chairman of the Clinton campaign and released tens of thousands of stolen emails through WikiLeaks to the public, according to an indictment filed by Mr. Mueller. Only the Russians have been charged.

Russian Social Media Manipulation

The Russian government also directed a network of Internet trolls who used fake accounts on social media to manipulate potential voters and influence the election, according to the special counsel.

Trump Tower Moscow

Mr. Trump and other Trump Organization executives were involved in discussions throughout the 2016 campaign to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. During the campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly denied having any business interests in Russia, but has since admitted that discussions took place.

Trump Tower Russia Meeting

Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer after being told that the Russian government wanted to share damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. After the meeting was uncovered by The New York Times, the Trump team pushed a false narrative about the reason for holding it.

Russian Contacts

All told, Mr. Trump and more than a dozen of his associates had more than 100 contacts with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks, or their intermediaries, during the campaign and transition. These included multiple offers of dirt on Mrs. Clinton, attempts to arrange “back-channel” meetings between Mr. Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and private messages with WikiLeaks and other Russian fronts. At least 10 other advisers were told about these interactions but did not have any themselves.

Global Opinion: West v. ISIS

isis gunmen file

Strategic Culture Foundation via SouthFront, Opinion: “Hyper-Hypocrisy of The West about ISIS,” Eric Zuesse, March 20, 2019.  During the period of 17 September to 11 December of 2016, the United States and its allies carried out a massive operation to move ISIS’s surviving jihadists (shown in a file photo) who were in the oil-producing Iraqi region of Mosul, into the Syrian oil-producing region of Deir Ezzor and Palmyra. This was done so that those oil-stealing-and-selling jihadists in Iraq would now be stealing Syria’s oil and would thereby increase the likelihood of overthrowing Syria’s long-existing non-sectarian Government.

saudi scene no photo credit CustomThe US and its allies would then replace that Government by one which would be controlled by the fundamentalist Sunni Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, the long-time leading oil-power, and which family are America’s main foreign ally. The Sauds (with leading royals and retainers shown in a file photo crowd scene) are crucial to maintaining the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The US aristocracy rely upon them.

Now that ISIS is being defeated by Syria’s Government (and by its allies Russia and Iran) in Syria, the United States and its allies are trying to find other governments that will take them in as refugees. It’s part of a deal the US regime reached with ISIS.

The issue of what to do with the thousands of surviving but (temporarily) defeated ISIS members — and with their spouses and children — has raised hypocrisy to perhaps the highest level in all of history. Its background needs to be understood if one wants to understand the sources of that enormous hypocrisy. Here’s this background.

March 19

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Venezuela - Journalists Doubt Guaidó's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue, b, March 19, 2019. On February 23 the U.S. created a 'humanitarian aid' stunt at the border between Colombia and Venezuela. The stunt ended in a riot during which the supporters of the self declared 'president' Guaidó burned the trucks that where supposed to transport the 'aid'. Even the New York Times had to admit that.

The riots also marked the day that Guaidó lost the legal argument he had used to make himself 'interim president.' The hapless coup plotters in Washington DC were finally put on notice that the issue creates a legal problem for them. During a March 15 press briefing Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, was asked about the issue.

Here is a video of the exchange. (Abrams seems to be lying about the alleged National Assembly resolution.)

The legal argument Abrams produced lacks logic and clearly contradicts the wording of the constitution quoted above.

The legal subterfuge Abrams is using would not convince any serious court. It is of course well known that Abram's has little regard for the law. He was convicted for lying to Congress in two cases. But the issue will matter.

venezuela flag waving customThe U.S. seized Venezuelan assets, especially the Citgo refineries which are in financial trouble. The U.S. is trying to move all the valuable assets towards Guaidó to finance the next phased of its 'regime change' plan. Bondholders of Citgo will likely contest these impoundments and transfers of assets in court. There the argument Abrams made is not going to be a winning one.

The first round of the U.S. 'regime change' change attempt in Venezuela failed but it is far from over. The State Department alone foresees to spend $500 million more on it. The CIA and the Pentagon will have made much larger budget requests even while an invasion of Venezuela continues to be unlikely.

In preparation of the 'humanitarian aid' stunt the U.S. had asked Brazil to use military force to bring in the 'aid' into Venezuela and to allow a U.S. presence at the border. The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it (in Portuguese). Bosonaro is currently in Washington to meet cia logoPresident Trump. He also made an unusual visit to the CIA headquarter likely to review plans for future operations in Venezuela.

That a Brazilian President visits the CIA, the agency responsible for violent coups and brutal dictatorships in Latin American is disgusting. Many people in Brazil will dislike it. Supporting a CIA coup in a neighboring country is worse. It’s hard to sink any lower.

james stewart Mr. Smith Goes Stewart Capitol

James Stewart, portraying an idealistic new U.S. Senator in the film "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington"

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: A veto of Beto, Wayne Madsen, March 19, 2019 (Subscription required; excerpted with permission). 2016 Democratic Primary Campaign Trail. Here we go again. Just as there were some significant issues with [Barack] Obama that the starry-eyed media failed to dig into, O'Rourke's resume is not as much Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as it is The Dead Zone, a movie based on Stephen King's novel of the same name.

The Dead Zone is about a future presidential candidate with significant personal issues. Martin Sheen plays Greg Stillson, a U.S. Senate hopeful who harbors presidential ambitions. At a campaign rally, Stillson holds up a baby as a human shield during an assassination attempt. An iconic photograph of the incident puts an early end to Stillson's political career....

beto o rourke ted cruzWMR had the scoop on Ted Cruz's father Rafael Cruz being photographed with Oswald in New Orleans in August 1963. The story was completely mangled by Trump on the morning of the 2016 Indiana primary. Nevertheless, it helped to taint Cruz and led to Trump's winning of Indiana and the GOP nomination. It appears that O'Rourke, like Cruz (shown at right in file photos of the two), has not been completely honest about his own past.

March 16

Strategic Culture Foundation via Southfront, Opinion: Rubio’s Gloating Betrays US Sabotage in Venezuela Power Blitz, Finian Cunningham, March 16, 2019. US imperialists are so desperate in their regime-change predations over Venezuela, they seem to have a problem controlling their drooling mouths. The latest orgy of American gloating was triggered by the massive power outages to have hit Venezuela. No sooner had the South American country been blacked out from its power grid collapsing, senior US officials were crowing with perverse relish.

marco rubio official.jpg SmallRepublican Senator Marco Rubio (right) – who has become a point man for the Trump administration in its regime-change campaign in Venezuela – was a little too celebratory. Within minutes of the nationwide power outage last Thursday, Rubio was having verbal orgasms about the “long-term economic damage”… “in the blink of an eye.” But it was his disclosure concerning the precise damage in the power grid that has led the Venezuelan government to accuse the US of carrying out a sabotage.

venezuela flag waving customInformation Minister Jorge Rodriguez noted how Rubio, in his tweeted comments “three minutes” after the power outage, mentioned failure of “back-up generators” in Venezuela’s main hydroelectric plant, known as the Guri Dam, located in Bolivar State. The dam supplies some 80 per cent of the Venezuelan population of 31 million with its electricity consumption.

Rodriguez mockingly ascribed “mystic skills” to Rubio because the Florida Republican senator appeared to know the precise nature of the power failure even before the Venezuelan authorities had determined it.

The Venezuelan government has since claimed that the failure in the electric grid was caused by a cyber attack on the computer system controlling the Guri Dam turbines. Caracas said it will present proof of its claims to the United Nations.

Apart from Rubio’s apparent insider information, there are several other indicators that Venezuela’s latest turmoil from power blackout was indeed caused by US sabotage, and specifically a cyber attack.

The South American country has experienced recurring power cuts over recent years due to economic problems and Washington’s sanctions. But the latest outage was widespread – at least 70 per cent of the country – and sustained for more than four days, rather than being rectified within hours. That scale of disruption suggests an unprecedented event, way beyond intermittent problems of maintenance.

The duration of the blackout in the capital Caracas and other major cities also indicates that the nature of the problem was difficult to reverse, which would be consistent with a cyber attack on the power grid. “It was a kill-shot,” says American political analyst Randy Martin.

Furthermore, US officials like President Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton as well as “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams have been warning that Washington is seeking new ways to pile pressure on Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to stand down.

Abrams was caught out last week in a prank phone call made by two Russian entertainers posing as Swiss President Ueli Maurer in which Abrams openly advocated crushing the Venezuelan banking system in order to topple the government in Caracas.

The American envoy, who was convicted over the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s for sponsoring terrorism to sabotage Nicaragua, appeared to balk at using overt US military power against Venezuela. That suggests Washington was persuaded on the efficacy of cyber warfare to inflict social chaos and incite popular anger against the Maduro government.

The immediate reaction by Washington officials and the US-backed political opposition in Venezuela was to blame the Maduro government for the power disorder. The failure was flagged up as a sign of “incompetence” and “mismanagement” of the oil-rich country by the socialist juan guaidóadministration.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido (right), who has declared himself the rightful president with Washington’s blessing, conveyed the logic of blackmail when he declared, “the lights will come back on when usurper Maduro is gone.”

mike pompeo portraitUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) also weighed in with repulsive gloating within hours of Venezuela’s power crisis. Pompeo tweeted: “No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro.”

The delight openly displayed by Washington officials in regard to aggression against Venezuela has broken new ground in terms of the brazenness of US imperialism.

Only a few weeks ago, Bolton announced that the objective for seeking regime change in Venezuela against the elected President Nicolas Maduro was for US corporations to seize the South American state’s vast oil wealth – reckoned to be the largest known reserves on the planet, far exceeding those of Saudi Arabia.

March 15

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: CIA Blames Its Proxy For Its Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain, b., March 15, 2019. The CIA is the main suspect in the military style raid on the North Korean embassy in Madrid. It now launched a somewhat hapless effort to deflect from it. The Spanish report in which Spanish government sources accuse the CIA said:

cia logoAt least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

That the CIA is the main suspect in the assault was reported on Wednesday in the Spanish mainstream paper El Pais. The paper made the extra effort to publish an abbreviated English language version. It was widely picked up by other international outlets. Some of the assailants were Asian and spoke Korean language. They were probably from the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), a subsidiary of the CIA know for its extremely hawkish politics. It often rigs elections in South Korea in support of hawkish conservatives candidates.

north korea flagAttacking a foreign embassy in a third country is far out of bounce of international law and diplomatic decency. After the El Pais report something had to be done to direct the attention away from the CIA and to find some other culprit.

A story was thought up and pushed to the favorite CIA outlet, the Washington Post. It wasn't the CIA which did it, writes the Post's national security reporter {A shadowy group trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un allegedly raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight by John Hudson], it was a CIA controlled 'regime change' organization.

washington post logoWashington Post, A shadowy group trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un allegedly raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight, John Hudson, March 15, 2019. Days before President Trump was set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, a mysterious incident in Spain threatened to derail the entire high-stakes nuclear summit.

north korea flagIn broad daylight, masked assailants infiltrated North Korea’s embassy in Madrid, tied up the staff, stole computers and mobile phones, and fled the scene in two luxury vehicles.

The group behind the late February operation is known as Cheollima Civil Defense, a secretive dissident organization committed to overthrowing the Kim dynasty, people familiar with the planning and execution of the mission told The Washington Post.

The group’s alleged role in the attack has not previously been reported, and officials from the governments of North Korea, the United States and Spain declined to comment on it.

March 13

El Pais, CIA implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid, Miguel González and Patricia Ortega Dolz, March 13, 2019. Investigators from the Spanish police and National Intelligence Center (CNI) have linked an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid on February 22 to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

cia logoAt least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

Investigators from the Spanish police and National Intelligence Center (CNI) have linked an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid on February 22 to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Sources believe the goal of the attack embassy was to get information on the former North Korean ambassador to Spain

At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

If it is proven that the CIA was behind the attack, it could lead to a diplomatic spat between Madrid and Washington. Government sources say that it would be “unacceptable” for an ally to take such action. Not only would it mean that the US agency had operated on Spanish soil without asking for authorization or informing the authorities, it would also be a violation of the international conventions that protect diplomatic delegations.

What’s more, unlike other intelligence activities – such as cyberattacks, which are characterized by their discretion, the attack on the North Korean embassy was especially violent.

On February 22 at 3pm, 10 masked men carrying alleged imitation weapons broke into the embassy, located north of the capital in the residential area of Aravaca. They tied up the eight people inside and put bags on their heads. The victims were beaten and interrogated. A woman managed to escape from a window on the second floor and her screams for help were heard by a neighbor, who contacted the police.

Critics Of Mueller, Defenders of Assange

Consortium News, Opinion: VIPS: Mueller’s Forensics-Free Findings, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), March 13, 2019. The final Mueller report should be graded “incomplete,” says VIPS, whose forensic work proves the speciousness of the story that DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking.

We veteran intelligence professionals have done enough detailed forensic work to prove the speciousness of the prevailing story that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking. Given the paucity of evidence to support that story, we believe Mueller may choose to finesse this key issue and leave everyone hanging. That would help sustain the widespread belief that Trump owes his victory to President Vladimir Putin, and strengthen the hand of those who pay little heed to the unpredictable consequences of an increase in tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.

There is an overabundance of “assessments” but a lack of hard evidence to support that prevailing narrative. We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of “evidence,” particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions. We know only too well — and did our best to expose — how our former colleagues in the intelligence community manufactured fraudulent “evidence” of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We have scrutinized publicly available physical data — the “trail” that every cyber operation leaves behind. And we have had support from highly experienced independent forensic investigators who, like us, have no axes to grind. We can prove that the conventional-wisdom story about Russian-hacking-DNC-emails-for-WikiLeaks is false. Drawing largely on the unique expertise of two VIPS scientists who worked for a combined total of 70 years at the National Security Agency and became Technical Directors there, we have regularly published our findings. But we have been deprived of a hearing in mainstream media — an experience painfully reminiscent of what we had to endure when we exposed the corruption of intelligence before the attack on Iraq 16 years ago.

This time, with the principles of physics and forensic science to rely on, we are able to adduce solid evidence exposing mistakes and distortions in the dominant story. We offer you below — as a kind of aide-memoire— a discussion of some of the key factors related to what has become known as “Russia-gate.” And we include our most recent findings drawn from forensic work on data associated with WikiLeaks’ publication of the DNC emails.

We do not claim our conclusions are “irrefutable and undeniable,” a la Colin Powell at the UN before the Iraq war. Our judgments, however, are based on the scientific method — not “assessments.” We decided to put this memorandum together in hopes of ensuring that you hear that directly from us.

If the Mueller team remains reluctant to review our work — or even to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, we fear that many of those yearning earnestly for the truth on Russia-gate will come to the corrosive conclusion that the Mueller investigation was a sham.

In sum, we are concerned that, at this point, an incomplete Mueller report will fall far short of the commitment made by then Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “to ensure a full and thorough investigation,” when he appointed Mueller in May 2017. Again, we are at your disposal.

Discussion

The centerpiece accusation of Kremlin “interference” in the 2016 presidential election was the charge that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to embarrass Secretary Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win. The weeks following the election witnessed multiple leak-based media allegations to that effect. These culminated on January 6, 2017 in an evidence-light, rump report misleadingly labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).” Prepared by “handpicked analysts” from only three of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, and NSA), the assessment expressed “high confidence” in the Russia-hacking-to-WikiLeaks story, but lacked so much as a hint that the authors had sought access to independent forensics to support their “assessment.”

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – including a possible impeachment battle and greatly increased tension between Russia and the U.S. — it is difficult to understand why Comey did not move quickly to seize the computer hardware so the FBI could perform an independent examination of what quickly became the major predicate for investigating election interference by Russia. Fortunately, enough data remain on the forensic “trail” to arrive at evidence-anchored conclusions. The work we have done shows the prevailing narrative to be false. We have been suggesting this for over two years. Recent forensic work significantly strengthens that conclusion.

March 12

Mueller Report

ny times logoNew York Times, Mueller Report Has Washington Spinning (and It’s Not Even Filed), Staff report, March 12, 2019 (print ed.). The capital is jittery and full of rumor as it awaits the report of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on Russian interference and President Trump.  It may or may not be the report of the century, it may or may not be ready soon, and it may be only a few pages. But it is definitely highly anticipated.

djt li yang super bowlMassage parlor founder Li "Cindy" Yang, lower left, an active Republican contributor and PR specialist in linking Chinese nationals to prominent Repubicans, and a friend watch this year's Superbowl with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago (Facebook photo).

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Trump is the "Manchurian Candidate"-turned-President, Wayne Madsen (syndicated columnist, author, former Navy Intelligence officer), March 12, 2019 (Subscription required; excerpted with permission).

Palm Beach: Forget Russian oligarchs for the time being. Donald Trump and his family appear to have been co-opted by a standard Chinese intelligence operation -- both mainland and Taiwanese -- that uses overseas Chinese, shady dummy corporations, prostitution and blackmail, and political influence peddling to influence foreign governments.

ny times logomichelle goldberg thumbNew York Times, Opinion: The Massage Parlor Owner and Mar-a-Lago, Michelle Goldberg, right, March 12, 2019 (print ed.). We're jaded, but this should be a big scandal.

Even if you’re an avid follower of the news, it’s hard to keep track of Donald Trump’s scandals. Revelations that would have been shocking in the world we all lived in a few years ago — for example, news that the president overruled his staff to insist on security clearances for his fashion designer daughter and her husband — now take up half a news cycle, at most.

Still, it’s worth trying to summon whatever is left of our pre-Trump sensibilities and pause to consider the epic sleaze of the unfolding story of Li Yang, also known as Cindy Yang.

Yang, in case you haven’t heard of her yet, is a Florida businesswoman whose family owns a chain of massage parlors that, as The Miami Herald put it, “have gained a reputation for offering sexual services.”

Last month, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and a close friend of and donor to Trump, was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution at a spa Yang founded, Orchids of Asia. (She reportedly sold it around 2013, but online reviews indicate it was known as a place to buy sex before that.) Kraft pleaded not guilty. The authorities have said that Orchids of Asia is part of a major sex trafficking operation.

Venezuelan Crisis

Grayzone via Consortium News, max blumenthal screenshot rt america,’ Max Blumenthal, right, March 12, 2019. The group that trained Juan Guaidó and his allies laid out plans for galvanizing public unrest in a 2010 memo, Max Blumenthal reports for Grayzone.

A September 2010 memo by a U.S.-funded soft power organization that helped train Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó and his allies identifies the potential collapse of the country’s electrical sector as “a watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.”

The memo has special relevance today as Guaidó moves to exploit nationwide blackouts caused by a major failure at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri dam – a crisis that Venezuela’s government blames on U.S. sabotage.

venezuela flag waving customIt was authored by Srdja Popovic of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), a Belgrade-based “democracy promotion” organization funded by the U.S. that has trained thousands of U.S.-aligned youth activists in countries where the West seeks regime change.

This group reportedly hosted Guaidó (shown below at left) and the key leaders of his Popular Will party for a series of training sessions, fashioning them into a “Generation 2007” determined to foment resistance to then-President Hugo Chavez and sabotage his plans to implement “21st century socialism” in Venezuela.

In the 2010 memo, published by WikiLeaks, CANVAS’s Popovic declared, “A key to Chavez’s current weakness is the decline in the electricity sector.” Popovic explicitly identified the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant as a friction point, emphasizing that “water levels at the Guri dam are dropping, and Chavez has been unable to reduce consumption sufficiently to compensate for the deteriorating industry.”

juan guaidóSpeculating on a “grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010,” the CANVAS leader stated that “an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs.”

Flash forward to March 2019, and the scenario outlined by Popovic is playing out almost exactly as he had imagined.

March 8

ny times logoNew York Times, Manafort Is Sentenced to Nearly 4 Years; Punishment Falls Short of Guidelines, Sharon LaFraniere, March 8, 2019 (print ed.). Paul Manafort, the political consultant and Trump presidential campaign chairman whose lucrative work in Ukraine and ties to well-connected Russians made him a target of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was sentenced on Thursday to nearly four years in prison in the financial fraud case that left his grand lifestyle and power-broker reputation in ruins.

The sentence in the highest-profile criminal case mounted by the special counsel’s office was far lighter than the 19- to 24-year prison term recommended under sentencing guidelines. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., said that although Mr. Manafort’s crimes were “very serious,” following the guidelines would have resulted in an unduly harsh punishment.

A team of Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors sat glum-faced as Judge Ellis delivered his decision. Mr. Manafort, who has gout and came to the hearing in a wheelchair with his foot heavily bandaged, had asked the judge for compassion. “To say I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement,” he said in a barely audible voice, reading from a prepared statement.

Spas, Sports, Massages and Trumps

Daily Mail, Founder of massage parlor where Robert Kraft was arrested is a Trump donor, frequent Mar-a-Lago partygoer and White House djt li yang super bowlguest who was seen watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl with the president, Chris Spargo, March 8, 2019. The Chinese entrepreneur who founded Orchids of Asia Day Spa & Massage was seen rooting for the New England Patriots at Mar-a-Lago alongside President Donald Trump early last month.

Li Yang (at left in photo via Facebook) shared a photo of herself and a friend sitting directly behind President Trump at the event, which took place just two weeks before Patriots owner Robert Kraft would matt gaetz li yangbe charged with two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution for incidents that allegedly transpired at that spa.

She is shown above left with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a "family values" hard-right Trump supporter representing Florida's Panhandle, and below with the President's sons Eric (at left) and Donald Jr. in other photos via Facebook. 

Kraft is accused of visiting the spa on two consecutive days in January, with a worker performing a manual sex act on the billionaire during his first appointment while another worker performed an oral sex act during his second sojourn.

eric trump li yang facebookHe is planning to fight those charges and denies claims he was the recipient of any sexual act at the spa, despite police claiming there is video evidence in the case.

Kraft is one of Trump's closest friends, while Yang is one with deep pockets. Records obtained by DailyMail.com show donald trump jr li yang facebookthat she donated $8,100 to the Trump Victory Fund in 2018, listing her occupation on federal election forms as Chairman of the Women's Charity Foundation

She is also a Trump Republican, having been an inactive voter with no declared political party for the decade before the current president ran for office.

Miami Herald, Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where Kraft was busted, Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, miami herald logoand Caitlin Ostroff, March 8, 2019. Li Yang, 45, posed with Donald Trump during the Super Bowl while rooting for the Patriots. Two weeks later, authorities would charge the team owner, Robert Kraft, with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter that Yang had founded.

Seated at a round table littered with party favors and the paper-cutout footballs that have become tradition at his annual Super Bowl Watch Party, President Donald Trump cheered the New England Patriots and his longtime friend, team owner Robert Kraft (shown in a file photo), to victory robert kraft twitterover the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3.

Sometime during the party at Trump’s West Palm Beach country club, the president turned in his chair to look over his right shoulder, smiling for a photo with two women at a table behind him.

The woman who snapped the blurry Super Bowl selfie with the president was Li Yang, 45, a self-made entrepreneur from China who started a chain of Asian day spas in South Florida. Over the years, these establishments — many of which operate under the name Tokyo Day Spas — have gained a reputation for offering sexual services.

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: Billionaires’ solicitation of H-B2 visa sex slaves tip of huge EB-5 visa swindle, Wayne Madsen, March 4, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission).

Jupiter, Florida -- Across U.S. Highway 1 from the now-closed Orchids of Asia “Day Spa,” which provided owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft, as well as John Childs, a hedge fund owner and major GOP donor, and John Havens, a former president of Citigroup, with illegal prostitution services, is ground zero for a swindle and scandal involving EB-5 visas to wealthy Chinese investors.

President Donald Trump officialThe EB-5 visa is formally known as an “investment visa.” Foreign citizens who invest a minimum of $500,000 in the United States that create ten U.S. jobs per investor, qualify for an EB-5 visa. The EB-5 is a fast track program for obtaining a “Green Card,” which is permanent residency in the United States.

Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Securities and Exchange Commission investigators began closely examining the activities of Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, who was touting her brother’s access to President Trump to convince Chinese business people in Beijing to invest $500,000 each in a Kushner-owned residential complex in New Jersey.

Ms. Meyer, who has assumed control of Kushner Companies from her brother Jared, guaranteed the investors a fast-track to permanent residency and probable citizenship through the EB-5 visa investments in the Kushner property at One Journal Square in Jersey City on the Hudson River, just opposite lower Manhattan.

March 7

Manafort Sentencing

Forbes, Commentary: The Judge Who Let Manafort Off Easy With 47 Months Is An Arch-Conservative, Charles Tiefer,  March 7, 2019. It is striking that a judge just sentenced Paul Manafort, a major target of the Mueller investigation, to only 47 months in prison. The Sentencing Guidelines justified a sentence well above fifteen years. It was all-important that Manafort, who had been the head of the Trump presidential campaign, receive a strong sentence.

This was partly for the general reason in sentencing, to send the message to potential malefactors of the consequences. But, it was also needed to persuade Manafort to tell Mueller (and, eventually, in some forum, the public) the truth about President Trump and Russia.

Instead, this weak sentence sends these kind of messages of a conservative judge: it is not so bad to use Republican connections to cash in with Putin’s allies; Trump’s campaign manager is worthy of much, much more respect than in the Sentencing Guidelines; Mueller’s quest for the Russia connection deserves little help, and some messages.

Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis was nominated to the bench in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, who of course favored very conservative picks. Before then, he had worked since 1970 for Hunton and Williams, a very well known, quite conservative, Richmond firm.

President Reagan nominated Judge Ellis to the Eastern District of Virginia. Presidents have a special reason to want to stack that particular court with strong conservatives. The Pentagon and the CIA are in that district. There is a great desire among conservatives to stack that district court to handle the cases that concern national security brought in that district, including espionage cases.

Take a comparison of the Manafort case with another prosecution of a political figure, a black Democratic Congressman from a black district in Louisiana named William J. Jefferson. (I was a peripheral observer of that case. The FBI had raided Jefferson’s Congressional office and carried off his computer hard drive. The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the violation of Congressional independence by that raid, and I was the principal witness (because I knew the established limits on prosecution tactics as a former House General Counsel and I was now a professor.))

Jefferson’s case was basically bribery. It was nationally famous because agents raiding his house found cash in the freezer.

Manafort may have gotten off easy with four years, but Ellis threw the book at Jefferson. In 2009 Ellis sentenced Jefferson to 13 years, the longest sentence of any Congressman to that date. (After further twists and turns Ellis let off Jefferson in December 2017 for five years time served.) It seems that while Judge Ellis can sympathize with Manafort, the Republican presidential campaign manager, he did not sympathize with Jefferson.

Everything now depends on the sentence Manafort receives in his other case, and whether it is consecutive or concurrent. Imagine the relief for Trump if it is a sentence no longer than 47 months and it runs concurrently. If Manafort had gotten (or still gets) a sentence of more than 15 years, Trump would face the problem of pardoning Manafort to prevent him from experiencing great pressure to cooperate with Mueller.

The press and public have been waiting for the first use of the pardon power as a major statement about Trump.

Now, Trump might just get off and not need to display the pardon weapon. Trump should say "Thank you, Judge Ellis."

March 5

NSA Spying On Americans

ny times logocharlie savageNew York Times, Disputed N.S.A. Phone Program Is Shut Down, Aide Says, Charlie Savage (right), March 5, 2019 (print ed.). A system that analyzed logs of Americans’ domestic calls and texts was quietly ended, a congressional aide said. The program touched off years of debates about privacy and the rule of law after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The agency has not used the system in months, and the Trump administration might not ask Congress to renew its legal authority, which nsa official logois set to expire at the end of the year, according to the aide, Luke Murry, the House minority leader’s national security adviser.

In a raw assertion of executive power, President George W. Bush’s administration started the program as part of its intense pursuit for Qaeda conspirators in the weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and a court later secretly blessed it. The intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden disclosed the program’s existence in 2013, jolting the public and contributing to growing awareness of how both governments and private companies harvest and exploit personal data.

Barr To Control Mueller Probe

March 4

Barr To Control Mueller Probe

william barr senate hearing cnn screengrab jan 15 2019

Trump nominee for Attorney General William Barr during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 15, 2019.

Roll Call, Attorney General Barr will not recuse himself from Mueller investigation, John Bennett, March 4, 2019. Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, following the advice he received from Justice Department senior career ethics officials, a DOJ spokeswoman said Monday.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Barr did not commit to recusing himself. “I will seek the advice of the career ethics personnel, but under the regulations, I make the decision as the head of the agency as to my own recusal,” he told the Judiciary Committee in January.

Some Democrats have called for his recusal due to his past criticism of Mueller’s investigation.

Justice Department logoA source told Roll Call earlier Monday that based on the track record of Barr, who was attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, “he seems inclined to follow the Justice Department’s guidelines that a sitting president can’t be indicted.”

That means if Mueller or investigators in New York’s federal Southern District find the president broker federal laws, Barr would not sign off on charging Trump.

“That makes it a political decision,” the GOP source said. “And [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi hasn’t given us any reason to think she’s going to bring articles if impeachment if the votes for removal aren’t there in the Senate.”

March 3

Suppressed History

george hw bush george w bush 2001

Former President George H. W. Bush, left, visits with his son, President George W. Bush, in the White House Oval Office.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, The Bush Family Stories You Won’t See Tonight on CNN, Russ Baker, March 3, 2019. CNN is certainly aggressive in questioning the myths fathered by President Donald Trump.

But how does it stack up in the truth-telling department when it comes to former presidents? To determine that, you can watch its new series, The Bush Years: Family, Duty, Power, to air tonight — and then come see a small selection of what we have unearthed.

We expect you will be startled by the contrast between the public, the private, and the very private lives of this family.

March 2

jeffrey epstein alan dershowitz

Jeffrey Epsein, left, a wealthy Harvard donor and convicted serial sexual abuser of underage girls, speaks with his friend and counsel Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, as shown in a file photo. A hearing is scheduled in New York City Wednesday on whether authorities must release records. 

Miami Herald, Press access may be curbed at hearing on Epstein sex abuse, Julie K. Brown, March 2, 2019 (print ed.). A court hearing on miami herald logowhether to unseal sensitive documents involving the alleged sex trafficking of underage girls by Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein — and the possible involvement of his influential friends — will play out in a New York City courtroom next week.

But it may happen behind closed doors, with the news media and public barred — at least in part.

An attorney for lawyer Alan Dershowitz wrote a letter to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday, asking whether the media should be excluded from the proceeding because his oral arguments on behalf of his client could contain sensitive information that has been under seal.

republican elephant logoThe appeals court had not responded to his concern as of Friday, but if the hearing is closed during his lawyer’s argument, it would represent the latest in a long history of successful efforts to keep details of Epstein’s sex crimes sealed.

Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard, constitutional law expert and criminal defense attorney, represented Epstein, who in 2008 received what many consider an unusually light sentence for sexually abusing dozens of girls at his Palm Beach mansion.

perversion of justice miami herald logoTwo women — one of whom was underage — have said Epstein and his partner, British socialite and environmentalist Ghislaine Maxwell, directed them to have sex with Dershowitz, 80, and other wealthy, powerful men. Dershowitz and Maxwell have denied the claims.

Oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday to hear an appeal by the Miami Herald and other parties seeking to unseal a 2015 court case involving Epstein and Maxwell. The Herald, as part of an ongoing investigation into Epstein’s case, hopes to shed more light on the scope of Epstein’s crimes, who was involved and whether there was any undue influence that tainted the criminal justice process.

A legal brief supporting the Herald’s appeal was filed in December by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 32 other media companies, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Dow Jones, Fox News, Gannett, Politico, Reveal Center for Investigative Reporting and Tribune Publishing Co.

virginia robertsThe case — which was settled in 2017 — involved Virginia Roberts Giuffre (right), who sued Maxwell in federal court in the Southern District of New York in 2015. Giuffre had asserted that Maxwell and Epstein trafficked her and other underage girls, often at sex parties that Epstein hosted at his homes in New York, New Mexico, Palm Beach and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Maxwell called her a liar. Giuffre sued for defamation.

As the case was litigated, the judge allowed a vast trove of documents, including testimony by witnesses, to be sealed. Dershowitz, having been publicly implicated in Epstein’s crimes by Giuffre, tried unsuccessfully to get the judge to unseal a select number of documents that he says will exonerate him. Blogger Michael Cernovich also filed a motion to release a portion of the sealed documents.

The judge denied their motions in 2016, as the case was still ongoing, saying release of the documents could taint a potential jury pool.

After the case was settled, the Herald filed a more extensive motion, arguing that with the case now closed, all the documents should be made public. The motion, filed in April 2018, came as the Herald was working on an investigative series, Perversion of Justice, which detailed how Epstein and his lawyers manipulated federal prosecutors to obtain one of the most lenient sentences for a child sex offender in history.

Justice Integrity Project editor's note: The project has reported extensively on the Roberts and related Epstein cases, with a photo and caption excerpted below:

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Roberts claimed that Epstein farmed her out to other men, including Prince Andrew of the British royal family and French modeling scout Jean Luc Brunel.

The California native said the photo at left portrays her at center with Prince Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, on a trip to London when she was 17 in 2001. At right was Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite daughter of the corrupt newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, who drowned in 1991 after toppling overboard from his yacht Lady Ghislaine. The death left one of the world's largest media empires with a reported $3 billion in debts.

Roberts alleged that the Ghislaine Maxwell was girlfriend of the never-married Epstein's who helped him both maintain contacts to top levels of society, recruited teenage sex consorts, and sometimes participated in the sex abuse, including of Roberts.

Maxwell, Epstein, Andrew, and Dershowitz are among those who have denied the major allegations by Roberts. Epstein, in his first formal remarks on the revived scandal, condemned the “media frenzy” surrounding the case. He wrote that he and his associates “have been the subject of the most outlandish and offensive attacks, allegations, and plain inventions.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Behind Illicit Massage Parlors Lies a Vast Crime Network, Nicholas Kulish, Frances Robles and Patricia Mazzei, March 2, 2019. It has exploded into a $3 billion-a-year sex industry that ensnares tens of thousands of mostly foreign women in a form of modern indentured servitude. Many women stay on as prostitutes in order to pay debts to smugglers, spa owners and lawyers.

She was 49, a recent immigrant and deeply in debt to a loan shark back home in China when she answered an employment ad three years ago that promised thousands of dollars a month, but offered no job description. She realized too late that she had been tricked into working at a massage parlor in Flushing, Queens, where besides kneading backs, she was expected to sexually service up to a dozen men a day.

In strip malls across the country, neon signs and brightly colored placards promise hot stones, acupuncture and shiatsu with photos of women or couples receiving relaxing shoulder rubs. But a traditionally Asian form of therapeutic relaxation with deep roots in big-city Chinatowns has spun off a different kind of massage parlor that has little to do with traditional remedies. It has exploded into a $3 billion-a-year sex industry that relies on pervasive secrecy, close-knit ownership rings and tens of thousands of mostly foreign women ensnared in a form of modern indentured servitude.

robert kraft twitterThe recent arrest warrant filed against Robert K. Kraft (shown in a file photo), owner of the New England Patriots — and the solicitation charges filed against nearly 300 men in multiple jurisdictions as part of the same case — riveted national attention to a stretch of Highway 1 along Florida’s Treasure Coast dotted with strip malls, gas stations and sapphire ocean views. Across the region, parlors were empty and many frequent clients were phoning their lawyers, wondering if more warrants were going to drop.

Law enforcement officials said there were an estimated 9,000 illicit massage parlors across the country, from Orlando to Los Angeles.

The epicenter of this national underground is the bustling Chinatown in Flushing, in the New York City borough of Queens. Women — typically Chinese, but also Korean, Thai and East European — arrive at Kennedy International Airport, learn the trade and are sent out to places like Virginia, Iowa, Texas and Florida. Women are recruited locally through ads in Chinese-language newspapers or over the social network WeChat.

March 1

Strategic Culture Foundation, Military Intervention and Mercenaries, Inc. (MIAMI), Wayne Madsen (left, syndicated columnist, author of 16 books wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smalland former Navy intelligence officer), March 1, 2019. The city of Miami, Florida may have started out as a retirement mecca for winter-worn pensioners from northern climes. However, after the beginning of the Cold War and US military and Central Intelligence Agency intervention in Guatemala, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Guyana, the Bahamas, and other Western Hemisphere nations, Miami became a refuge for exiled wealthy businessmen escaping populist revolutions and elections in South and Central America and spies. The retirement and vacation capital of the United States quickly became the “Tropical Casablanca.”

cia logoNow home to thousands of limited liability corporations linked to the CIA, as well as private military contractors, sketchy airlines flying from remote Florida airports, the interventionist US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and exiled oligarchs running destabilization operations in their native countries, Miami – or MIAMI, “Military Intervention and Mercenaries, Inc.” – serves as the nexus for current Trump administration “regime change” efforts.

The latest example of Miami being a hive of CIA operatives came after five Americans, one Serbian permanent resident of the United States, and another Serbian national, were arrested by the Haitian National Police in Port-au-Prince with weapons, advanced communications devices, drones, and other military hardware amid anti-government protests linked to CIA regime change operations.

The government of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant is under US pressure to sever its diplomatic and financial links with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who the Trump administration is attempting to replace with Juan Guaido, a CIA agent-of-influence and US puppet.

The Americans and Serbs were subsequently transferred to Miami on the authorization of Haitian Justice Minister Jean Roody Aly, who was assured by the Donald Trump administration that the seven men would be criminally tried by the United States. Once in Miami, the US Attorney’s Office in Miami, which takes its orders from the CIA-friendly Attorney General, William Barr, declined prosecution of the men but “debriefed” them, a term usually applied to intelligence agents who are caught and expelled by foreign authorities.

The decision by the Haitian administration to release the seven men has resulted in a political firestorm in Port-au-Prince, with the Haitian Senate demanding answers about the role Moise played in ordering the Central Bureau of the Judicial Police of Haiti to release the individuals, described by Prime Minister Céant as “mercenaries” and “terrorists.”

February 2019 Update

Feb. 24

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Venezuela -- There Was A Riot At The Border But What Else Did The "Aid" Stunt Achieve? B, Feb. 24, 2019.  Yesterday's "humanitarian aid" stunt at the Colombian-Venezuelan border was supposed to achieve four points:

  1. to breach the border and thereby open venues that could later be used for the passage of arms and fighters,
  2. to incite large scale defections from the Venezuelan army and police forces,
  3. to demonstrate to the outside world that the Random Guyaido, who declared himself president, has a large following and is thereby legitimate enough to support him,
  4. to deliver justification for further steps against Venezuela.

Point 1 was clearly not achieved. A few hundred young men attacked the Venezuelan National Guard force that closed off the border. Attempts were made to ram "aid" trucks juan guaidóthrough. Random Guyaido ["Random Guy," Juan Guaidó, "interim president," right, leader of the rebellion] was nowhere to be seen. The whole thing ended in a minor riot. The violent attackers received gasoline and made Molotov cocktails to attack the guards and set the "aid" trucks alight. The riots continued (vid) until about midnight but neither any rioters nor the aid passed through the border.

The New York Times headlines, and Guaido claimed, that some "aid" passed into Venezuela from Brazil: "Some Aid From Brazil Pierces Venezuela’s Blockade, but Deadly Violence Erupts."

Down in paragraph 17 of its story the NYT admits that its headline is fake: "But as of Saturday night, the trucks remained stranded on the border, according to Jesús Bobadillo, a Catholic priest in Pacaraima, the Brazilian border town."

Bloomberg's bureau chief in Venezuela confirmed that the "aid" never entered the country: "Patricia Laya @PattyLaya - 4:31 PM - 23 Feb 2019. An important note from our reporter on the Brazil border @SamyAdghirni: while the aid is technically on Venezuelan territory, it hasn't crossed security or customs checkpoints"

venezuela flag waving customThe attempt to incite defections of Venezuelan security forces largely failed. A handful of National Guard foot soldiers went over to the Colombian side. But the National Guard lines held well even under a hail of stones and fire and the units were quite disciplined in taking and holding their positions. The military of Venezuela stays firmly on the side of the state.

The "aid" nonsense did not help to brush up Guaido's legitimacy. Defying a court order Guaido left Venezuela and entered Colombia. If he ever goes back he will have to go to jail. The large mobilization inside and outside of Venezuela he had promised completely failed to appear. The melee at the border crossing only showed that his followers are a gang of brutal thugs.

Guaido also lost his original legal position. He claimed the presidency on January 23 under this paragraph of article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution: "When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic."

That the "elected President becomes permanently unavailable" was never the case to begin with. But if article 233 would apply Guaido would have had 30 days to hold new elections. The 30 days are over and Guaido did not even call for elections to be held. He thereby defied the exact same paragraph of the constitution that his (false) claim to the presidency is based on.

All the above will not change the U.S. urge to "regime change" Venezuela. But it will certainly lower Guaido's support within the country as well as his international standing. It demonstrated aptly that he is nothing but an empty suit.

bernie sandersThe last aim of yesterday's stunt was to give justification for the next steps towards "regime change" -- whatever those steps may be.

The success of achieving that aim was never in question as all U.S. media and politicians were already backing Trump's plans by accepting the "humanitarian aid" nonsense in the first place:

"Bernie Sanders [shown at right] @SenSanders -- 18:47 utc - 23 Feb 2019: 'The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.'"

This response to the fake socialist is warranted:

"Roger Waters @rogerwaters - 22:27 utc - 23 Feb 2019. Replying to @SenSanders: Bernie, are you f-ing kidding me! if you buy the Trump, Bolton, Abrams, Rubio line, “humanitarian intervention” and collude in the destruction of Venezuela, you cannot be credible candidate for President of the USA. Or, maybe you can, maybe you’re the perfect stooge for the 1 %."

Feb. 23

lee marina oswald archives

Lee Harvey Oswald is shown returning to the United States in 1962 with his Soviet-born wife Marina after announcing in 1959 a defection to the Soviet Union. Oswald was later accused of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This column argues that he was a secret U.S. intelligence asset but leaves open the issue of whether he was complicit in the JFK assassination or a patsy, as Oswald claimed before he was murdered in a Dallas police station on Nov. 24, 1963.)

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Commentary: ISIS and Oswald, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), Feb. 22, 2019. How ironic that the U.S. government’s war on ISIS, the group brought into existence by the U.S. national-security establishment’s war of aggression on Iraq, would provide insight into the U.S. national-security’s establishment’s relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy some 55 years ago.

As I emphasized in my 29-part video series on the JFK assassination and as I am emphasizing in my multipart series on the same subject in FFF’s monthly journal Future of Freedom, circumstantial evidence is just as valid as direct evidence. Equally important, sometimes we can glean just as much from what government officials fail to do as from what they do.

Consider the case of Hoda Muthana, a 23-year-old American citizen who traveled to Syria four years ago and became the wife of a member of ISIS. She had a baby and now wants to return to the United States.

It’s not going to happen if President Trump gets his way. He is steadfastly refusing to permit Muthana to return to the United States. As far as he is concerned, she is a traitor for having left the United States to join up with ISIS, which became an official enemy of the U.S. Empire after the U.S. conquest of Iraq.

lee harvey oswald marine corbis via getty imagesWhich brings us to Lee Harvey Oswald (left), the former U.S. Marine who U.S. officials have always said was a “lone nut” communist who killed President Kennedy.

How does Oswald’s case relate to those of the Americans who joined up with ISIS? The U.S. government’s treatment of Oswald, whose conduct was arguably as bad if not worse than that of the ISIS Americans, was exactly the opposite of how they are treating the ISIS Americans.

In fact, as I have note in my two series, there are but two reasonable possibilities: Either Oswald was a Cold War miracle story or he was what many assassination researchers have long contended: a U.S. intelligence agent whose official cover was a communist.

Don’t forget the official narrative. It begins with a supposed communist joining the U.S. Marine Corps. How many communists have you ever heard of who have joined the U.S. Marines? Why would a genuine communist join the Marines? The Marines hate communists. They kill communists.

Oswald learned fluent Russian while he was in the Marines. How did he do that without help, especially since his study would presumably be limited to evenings and weekends? He was also studying Marxism, even to the point that his military colleagues were calling him “Osvaldovitch.”

Then Oswald walked into the U.S. embassy in Russia and loudly announced that he is renouncing his U.S. citizenship — loud enough to ensure that Russian monitoring devices could pick up what he was saying. He handed over his passport to a U.S. official in the embassy and loudly declared that he intends to divulge all the secrets he learned in the U.S. military to the Russians. It was not an idle threat because the U.S. military had stationed this ostensible communist at Atsugi Air Base in Japan, which was where the CIA’s top-secret U-2 spy plane was based.

lee harvey oswald cuba posterWhile in Russia, Oswald married a communist woman, one whose uncle had close ties to Soviet intelligence.

After a couple of years, Oswald suddenly had a change of heart, just like those ISIS wives. He decided that he now wanted to come home, along with his Red wife.

Now, how do you think that request would be handled by U.S. officials? Before you answer, remember: This was the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

In fact, in what can only be described as a Cold War miracle story, Oswald was given a red-carpet treatment during a period of time in which the U.S. national-security establishment was doing everything it could to ferret out, smear, and destroy any American who suspected to be a communist.

A U.S. group called Traveler’s Aid even advanced Oswald the money to return with his Red wife. Upon his return, he wasn’t arrested, investigated, harangued, abused, or interrogated. Why, he wasn’t even summoned to appear before a federal grand jury, much less criminally indicted. And no handcuffs.

lee harvey oswald new orleans leaflets rafael cruz wdsuInstead, he found himself being mentored in Dallas by a right-wing elderly man who had U.S. intelligence stamped all over him. He also somehow secured a job with a photography company that did top-secret work for the U.S. government.

After he moved to New Orleans, Oswald somehow had the good fortune of securing a job with a coffee company whose owner was a fiercely right-wing anti-communist.

Moreover, while Oswald (shown in the white shirt at left forefront) was distributing pamphlets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, which the U.S. national-security establishment was trying to destroy, he was associating with a former FBI agent whose office was located squarely within the U.S. intelligence establishment in New Orleans. Why, even some of Oswald’s FPCC pamphlets (shown above) had the FBI’s agent’s address stamped on the pamphlets as the return address.

The attitude and treatment of Americans who joined ISIS by President Trump and the national-security establishment is precisely what we would expect. The U.S national-security establishment’s treatment of Lee Harvey Oswald is also how we would expect they would treat a U.S intelligence operative trained to pose as a communist.

Feb. 22

Epstein / Acosta / Trump Scandal

alexander acosta o cropped Custom


President Trump's Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, now under fire for his sweetheart plea deal in 2007 for the billionaire accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Miami Herald, Federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case, judge rules, Julie K. Brown, Feb. 22, 2019 (print edition). A judge ruled Thursday that federal prosecutors — kenneth marra open jurist croppedamong them, U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta — broke federal law when they signed a plea agreement with a wealthy, politically connected sex trafficker and concealed it from more than 30 of his underage victims.

jeffrey epstein at harvard universityU.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra (right), in a 33-page opinion, said that the evidence he reviewed showed that Jeffrey Epstein (right) had been operating an international sex operation in which he and others recruited underage girls — not only in Florida — but from overseas, in violation of federal law.

“Epstein used paid employees to find and bring minor girls to him.,’’ wrote Marra, who is based in Palm Beach County. “Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.’’

Instead of prosecuting Epstein under federal sex trafficking laws, Acosta (right), then the U.S. attorney in Miami, helped negotiate a non-prosecution agreement that gave Epstein and his co-conspirators immunity from federal prosecution. Epstein, who lived in a Palm Beach mansion, was allowed to quietly plead guilty in state court to two prostitution charges and served just 13 months in the county jail. His accomplices, some of whom have never been identified, were never charged.

Justice Integrity Project Editor's Notes: President George W. Bush nominated Marra to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Jan. 23, 2002. Marra was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 82-0. He assumed senior status on Aug. 1, 2017.

The Justice Integrity Project and the Wayne Madsen Report reported extensively on how Acosta's actions helped protect such accused fellow pursuers of underage girls as his friend Donald Trump, who has been accused in withdrawn lawsuits of together raping two underage girls in New York City. Senate and House investigators have threatened to demand answers from Acosta in separate oversight hearings. See extensive coverage on our updated subsite: #MeToo News, which repors on allegations of such abuses and related crimes including blackmail and other threats that sometimes involve Deep State intrigues.

Feb. 19

washington post logoWashington Post, Roger Stone deletes photo of judge presiding over his case, says he didn’t mean to threaten her, Reis Thebault and Manuel Roig-Franzia, Feb. 19, 2019 amy berman jackson roger stone(print edition). Days after a federal judge imposed a limited gag order on him, Roger Stone posted a photograph of that judge to his Instagram page that included her name, a close-up of her face and what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun sight near her head.

Stone, a longtime confidant of President Trump, deleted the picture soon afterward, then reposted it without the crosshairs before deleting that second post as well.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson is presiding over Stone’s criminal trial, in which he has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying about his efforts to gather information about hacked 2016 Democratic Party emails that were published by WikiLeaks.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Roger Stone just got some bad news from the judge, Daniel Cotter, Feb. 19, 2019. Roger Stone took it upon himself to post a picture bill palmer report logo headerof his trial judge with crosshairs next to her head, then took it down and claimed he meant no harm. On Monday evening, Stone, under cover of a “Notice of Apology” by his lawyers, filed an apology with the court. As anyone could tell Stone, including what his lawyers surely did yesterday, that was not enough.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a minute order as to Roger J. Stone, Jr., stating:

Defendant is ORDERED to show cause at a hearing to be held on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. as to why the media contact order entered in this case and/or his conditions of release should not be modified or revoked in light of the posts on his Instagram account on or about February 18, 2019.”

Posting items such as Roger Stone did is not wise, especially when it implies a potential threat against a sitting federal judge. Stone potentially faces being jailed from now until his trial ends, for his conduct on Instagram.

washington post logorod rosenstein cspan Washington Post, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein plans to leave Justice Dept. next month, Matt Zapotosky, Feb. 19, 2019 (print edition). Rosenstein has spent nearly two years in the hot seat after he appointed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Wagging The Dog?

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Warns Venezuela’s Military to Stop Blocking Emergency Aid, Annie Karni, Nicholas Casey and Anatoly Kurmanaev, Feb. 19, 2019 (print edition). President Trump delivered his sharpest warning yet in an increasingly tense showdown over the country’s crisis. He said military authorities would “lose everything” by remaining loyal to Nicolás Maduro and refusing to allow in emergency aid stockpiled on the border.

President Trump on Monday delivered his sharpest warning yet to Venezuela’s military authorities in an increasingly tense showdown over that country’s crisis, proclaiming they would “lose everything” by remaining loyal to President Nicolás Maduro and refusing to allow in emergency aid stockpiled on the border.

Mr. Trump gave the warning in a speech denouncing Venezuela’s brand of socialism to an enthusiastic crowd in Miami that included many Americans of Venezuelan descent who have fled Venezuela or have relatives in the country, once Latin America’s wealthiest but now facing the greatest economic collapse in generations.

He spoke five days before a deadline that his administration and the Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, have declared for getting humanitarian aid into the country — a move aimed at weakening Mr. Maduro, who is no longer recognized by the United States and roughly 50 other nations as the country’s president. Mr. Trump was the first to recognize Mr. Guaidó last month as Mr. Maduro’s replacement until new elections can be held.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: It's back to the future with Venezuelan "Contras," the neocons, and the CIA, Wayne Madsen (author, syndicated columnist and former Navy intelligence officer), Feb. 19, 2019 (Subscription required). Trump's call for a coup in Venezuela is ironic when his most loyal supporter in the U.S. Senate, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), claimed that senior Justice Department officials who were discussing legally invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in early 2017 were trying to stage a "coup" against Trump.

Coups are unconstitutional in any form, while the removal of a president under the 25th Amendment is following the U.S. Constitution to the letter.

Alternative Media / Wacko Theories?

ny times logoNew York Times, YouTube Unleashed a Conspiracy Theory Boom. Can It Be Contained? Kevin Roose, Feb. 19, 2019. What if stemming the tide of misinformation on YouTube means punishing some of its biggest stars? Last month, the YouTube star Shane Dawson uploaded his new project: a 104-minute documentary, “Conspiracy Theories With Shane Dawson.”

In the video, set to a spooky instrumental soundtrack, Mr. Dawson unspooled a series of far-fetched hypotheses. Among them: that iPhones secretly record their owners’ every utterance; that popular children’s TV shows contain subliminal messages urging children to commit suicide; that the recent string of deadly wildfires in California was set on purpose, either by homeowners looking to collect insurance money or by the military using a type of high-powered laser called a “directed energy weapon.”

youtube logo CustomNone of this was fact-based, of course, and some of the theories seemed more like jokey urban legends than serious accusations. Still, his fans ate it up. The video has gotten more than 30 million views, a hit even by Mr. Dawson’s standards. A follow-up has drawn more than 20 million views and started a public feud with Chuck E. Cheese’s, the restaurant chain, which was forced to deny claims that it recycles customers’ uneaten pizza slices into new pizzas.

Mr. Dawson’s conspiracy series arrived at a particularly awkward moment for YouTube, which has been reckoning with the vast troves of misinformation and extreme content on its platform.

In late January, the company announced that it was changing its recommendations algorithm to reduce the spread of “borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways.” It cited, as examples, “videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.”

Mr. Dawson, whose real name is Shane Lee Yaw, has more than 20 million subscribers and a devoted teenage fan base. He has built his lucrative career by, among other talents, understanding what kinds of content plays well on YouTube.

Feb. 18

Stone Puts His Judge In 'Crosshairs'

roger stone fox news

Raw Story, Roger Stone lashes out at federal judge with threatening picture of her next to crosshairs, Eric W. Dolan, Feb. 18, 2019. Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone (shown in a file photo) on Monday attacked the federal judge presiding over his criminal case in the special counsel’s Russia probe. In an Instagram post, Stone lashed out at U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson (shown at right).

amy berman jackson roger stone“Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again Hillary Clinton [sic] and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime,” he wrote. Stone then asked for donations.

The Guardian’s Jon Swaine noted that the picture Stone posted on Instagram (shown at right) placed crosshairs next to Jackson’s head.

Last week, Jackson prohibited Stone from commenting on the case near the Washington, D.C., courthouse. But he remains otherwise free to discuss his situation. However, Jackson has warned that she could amend the limited gag order in the future if necessary.

“This is completely out of bounds. The cross hairs will likely lead prosecutors to ask for revocation of his pre-trial release. At best, this is a cheap stunt designed to get the judge to recuse, at worst, an outright threat,” former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance said.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Roger Stone and Donald Trump both just went off a cliff, Bill Palmer, Feb. 18, 2019. There’s a popular and arguably overused meme on social media in which one public figure says or does something incredibly stupid, and then another public figure says “Hold my beer” before doing something even more incredibly stupid. I can’t recall an instance of that meme fitting any situation better than when it came to Donald Trump and Roger Stone today.

bill palmer report logo headerDonald Trump woke up this morning and decided that his best move was to threaten “retribution” against Alec Baldwin over his Saturday Night Live portrayals. This went over about as well as one might have expected. Trump was condemned for it from all sides, as he managed to come off as both weak and dangerously out of control. Baldwin, never one to back down, will surely respond by portraying Trump on SNL more frequently. It was a disaster for Trump.

But then Roger Stone had his “Hold my beer” moment.

There has long been debate among observers as to whether Roger Stone would cut a plea deal at the first sign of real trouble, or if he would try to stick to his guns as long as possible. But we’re in a different realm now. Stone is about to go sit in solitary confinement in jail, in the same comparatively rough conditions Paul Manafort has been facing. Anyone get a good look at Manafort lately? By all accounts, he’s practically dead already. Stone is a lunatic, but even he may decide he simply can’t suffer the same fate as his pal Manafort.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The Matt Whitaker perjury case takes an even stranger turn, Bill Palmer, Feb. 18, 2019. On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler matthew whitaker headshot recentpublicly informed Matt Whitaker that the committee had found proof that Whitaker (right) had lied about his communications with Donald Trump. Nadler demanded that Whitaker come back and tell the truth. The clear implication: we have you nailed on felony perjury, and you can sell Trump out, or you can go to prison.

Tellingly, the next day, the Donald Trump regime announced that Whitaker – whose time as Acting Attorney General was ending – had been given a pointless new job at the Department of Justice. Trump was clearly attempting to keep Whitaker in the fold, and prevent him from cutting any sort of plea deal. But just because Whitaker (apparently) accepted the job, it doesn’t mean he’s still playing for Team Trump at his own expense.

Trump's 'Emergency' Claim

washington post logoWashington Post, White House defends Trump’s emergency declaration amid mounting challenges, Amy B Wang, Feb. 18, 2019 (print edition). Critics have seized on recent comments by President Trump as proof that he did not need to declare an emergency at the southern border. “I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” he said last week. The White House on Sunday defended President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border and sought to clarify his contradictory statements about its necessity, marking the start of what’s expected to be a drawn-out fight over funding the construction of djt maga hata wall amid mounting legal challenges and objections from Congress.

Trump’s announcement last week — an attempt to circumvent Congress by redirecting taxpayer money to pay for 230 miles of barriers along the border — has led to lawsuits. On Sunday, California’s attorney general said he was working with officials from at least six other states and would be filing suit against the White House “imminently.” The national emergency declaration also triggered protests, with various groups promising to hold more throughout the country Monday.

• Washington Post, ‘Answer my question’: Fox News’ Chris Wallace grills defiant Stephen Miller on national emergency, Alex Horton.

Libertarian Explains Defector To Iran

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Conscience Versus Blind Deep-State Allegiance, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), Feb. 18, 2019. Former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence officer jacob hornberger headshotMonica Witt (below), who has defected to Iran and who U.S. officials have charged with espionage and other crimes, has members of the U.S. national-security establishment and even the mainstream press befuddled.

As the New York Times put it, “But by mid-2013, Ms. Witt had become disillusioned with the government — why exactly remains a mystery.” They just can’t figure why any American, especially especially one who has been trained by the U.S. deep state and has served it, could engage in what U.S. officials and the Times call a “betrayal of the United States.”

monica witt militaryPermit me to offer the likely motive for Witt’s actions: conscience. After witnessing the horrifically immoral actions of the U.S. government toward the Iranian people for the last several decades, especially from within the bowels of the deep state, most likely Witt decided that she no longer could be part of this immorality and decided to help those who are being targeted for death, impoverishment, and suffering at the hands of the U.S. government.

The American people have not always lived under a national-security state or deep-state type of governmental structure. Since the time the Constitution was enacted and for the next century-and-a-half, Americans lived under a type of government structure known as a limited-government republic.

That type of governmental system was abandoned in the 1940s in favor of a national-security state, a type of governmental system that is inherent to totalitarian regimes. That’s how the federal government got the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the deep state, and the domestic and foreign empire of military bases and installations.

It’s also how the federal government got state-sponsored assassinations, torture, kidnappings, indefinite detention, military tribunals, denial of speedy trial, denial of due process of law, coups, regime-change operations, mass secret surveillance, invasions, wars of aggression, partnerships with dictatorial regimes, and sanctions and embargoes that target innocent people with death, impoverishment, and suffering.

Many Americans, including both conservatives and liberals, have come to accept these things are part of American “freedom.” In fact, they view them as necessary to preserve “our freedom.”

Feb. 15

washington post logodavid ignatiusWashington Post, Opinion: We’re entering a new phase of the Trump-Russia investigation, David Ignatius (right), Feb. 15, 2019 (print edition). President Trump has been insisting for so long that any investigation of his personal finances would cross a “ red line ” that people may have overlooked the outrageousness of his claim. But this self-declared immunity is about to change.

We’re entering a new phase of the Trump-Russia investigation, in which the president’s efforts to contain the probe are failing. Information he tried to suppress about his business and political dealings is emerging — with more to come.

adam schiff official“There are no red lines except what’s necessary to protect the country,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), left, said during an interview Monday. Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told me he plans to request information, perhaps by subpoena, from Deutsche Bank, a major Trump lender, and that “our work on Trump’s finances has already begun.”

A Deutsche Bank subpoena would be especially sensitive.

deutsche bank logoThe president’s relationship with Deutsche Bank intrigues investigators for several reasons. Trump turned to the big German bank two decades ago, when U.S. banks wouldn’t extend him more large loans. The Post estimated in 2016 that Deutsche Bank had $360 million in outstanding loans to Trump’s companies. Deutsche Bank also lent $285 million to Jared Kushner’s family real estate company in October 2016.

Investigators have noted other points of interest: Deutsche Bank, unusually, managed its lending to Trump through its private-banking division rather than normal commercial lending. Finally, the bank has been implicated in Russian money laundering, paying $630 million in fines in 2017 to settle U.S. and British charges that it had improperly transferred $10 billion from Russia.

Feb. 14lisa pease rfk cover

The Washington Post published a review of A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Photo credit: Feral House.

whowhatwhy logoruss baker cropped david welkerWhoWhatWhy, Shocker: ‘Washington Post’ Publishes Nuanced Article About RFK Assassination, Russ Baker (right), Feb. 14, 2019. Saturday was a turning point in American history. For perhaps the first time ever, one of the biggest legacy news organizations published a fair, fact-based article about a political assassination without dismissing, out of hand, any evidence of conspiracy.

The article, about a new book on the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the possible role played by elements of the national security establishment, likely would not have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker, or on NPR, PBS, CBS, NBC, and the like.

And yet here it is in the Washington Post.

washington post logoThis article would also likely never have appeared in the Post in the decades prior to Jeff Bezos’s taking over ownership. Say what you will about Bezos — and there’s plenty to say — he seems to be ushering in a new era of journalistic candor.

For many years, the Washington Post, like the Times and so many other news outlets, was a witting or unwitting participant in the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird, a program to shape public opinion by planting disinformation in the media.

One thing the national security establishment didn’t want was journalists taking a good look under the hood of our power hierarchy, or asking questions about the military-security-industrial complex that former presidents Eisenhower, Truman, and others warned against.

The powers-that-be certainly didn’t want the public knowing that US government agencies went around the world foiling democracy — including, on occasion, killing or sanctioning the killing of elected officials in other countries. (To see just a few of our eye-opening stories on this subject, please go here, here, and here.)

Feb. 13

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Netanyahoo Asks Arabs to "Advance The Common Interest Of War With Iran," b, Feb. 13, 2019. The U.S. had called for a high level anti-Iran meeting in Poland. The purpose of the meeting was to bring with its allies and poodles into line with the U.S. agenda on Iran, to press them at least into issuing harsher sanctions. But the European rejected that.

benjamin netanyahu frownThat State Department effort to somewhat hide the real agenda was sabotaged when the Prime Minister of Israel arrived and made it clear what the meeting is all about:

"I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran. What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran (emphasis added)."

The statement has now been changed into "combating Iran." But that is not what Netanyahoo said in Warsaw and there is video to prove it. There were also witnesses.

iran flag mapWhy is Netanyahoo doing this? No other country, except maybe the U.S., has any interest in waging war on Iran. Certainly not the Arab countries near the Persian Gulf. In case of a war they are all extremely vulnerable to Iranian retaliation. Their oil and gas installations would be in serious danger. The desalination plants which provide their drinking water are all within easy reach of Iranian missiles.

By claiming that the conference is about waging war on Iran Netanyahoo is not only embarrassing the State Department and Secretary Mike Pompeo. He also makes it extremely difficult for other attendees to justify their presence. The Arabs will be especially furious that they are shown in such an open alliance with Israel and its hostility against Iran. Scheming with Israel in the dark is fine.

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Why Iranians Bash the U.S. Government, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), Feb. 13, 2019. Two days ago, the New York Times carried an article by Times’ journalist Thomas Erdbrink entitled, “For Iran, a Grand Occasion to Bash the U.S.,” which was about Iran’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of its revolution in 1979. The article included the following sentence, “And like some evil doppelgänger, the United States was omnipresent, despite having broken all ties with Iran in 1981.”

Unfortunately, Erdbrink failed to point out two things: One, it is understandable why the Iranian people bash the U.S. government, and, two, while the U.S. government may have broken diplomatic ties with Iran, it has nonetheless continued to use economic sanctions to target the Iranian people with impoverishment and death as a way of hopefully effecting another regime change within the country.

iran flag mapFirst things first though. When the Times refers to “bashing the U.S.,” it makes a common mistake by conflating the U.S. government and our nation. Actually, they are two separate and distinct entities, a phenomenon best reflected by the Bill of Rights, which expressly protects the citizenry (i.e., our country) from the U.S. government.

The distinction is important because the Iranian people love Americans. They just hate the U.S. government. And when one considers what the U.S. government has done to Iranians and continues to do to Iranians, which, unfortunately, many Americans don’t like to think about, it is not difficult to understand the deep enmity that Iranians have toward the U.S. government.

mohammad mossadeqIn 1953, the CIA, which is one of three principal parts of the national-security branch of the federal government, secretly initiated a regime-change coup in Iran, one that not only ousted from power the democratically elected prime minister of the country, Mohammed Mossadegh (left), but also destroyed Iran’s experiment with democracy. That’s ironic, of course, given that U.S. officials are always reminding people how enamored they are with “democracy.”

Why did the CIA initiate this regime-change operation? Because the U.S. national-security establishment was convinced that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world, a conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia. (Yes, that Russia!)

What did that supposed worldwide conspiracy have to do with Mossadegh? The CIA was convinced that Mossadegh was leaning left because he had nationalized British oil interests, which, needless to say, had not sat well with British oil companies. Therefore, the CIA concluded, Mossadegh could conceivably be a secret agent for this supposed worldwide communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Russia.

Feb. 8

david pecker cnn screenshot

Trump family friend David Pecker, chairman of American Media, Inc. (AMI), parent company of the National Enquirer (screenshot from CNN)

washington post logoWashington Post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer’s parent of ‘extortion’ over ‘intimate’ photos, Paul Farhi​, Feb. 8, 2019 (print edition). Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, said the blackmail threat was made after he began looking into how the Enquirer acquired text messages that revealed his relationship with a former TV anchor.

jeffrey bezos washington postAmazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos (left) said Thursday that he was the target of an extortion attempt by the National Enquirer, which he said threatened to publish embarrassing photos of him if he didn’t halt his investigation into how the tabloid obtained private texts and photos between him and his mistress.

Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, said the Enquirer made the blackmail threat after he began looking into how the tabloid acquired text messages that revealed his relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor.

In a rare and revealing statement posted to the online publishing platform Medium, Bezos said the National Enquirer wanted him to make a false public statement to the news media that he and his security consultant, Gavin de Becker, “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage [of the affair] was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.” (AMI is American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer.)

djt don jr ivanka pecker eric

 washington post logoWashington Post, National Enquirer’s parent says it will ‘thoroughly investigate’ extortion claims made by Bezos, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Paul Farhi, Sarah Ellison and Devlin Barrett​, Feb. 8, 2019. American Media Inc. said it believes the tabloid acted lawfully in its reporting on Jeffrey P. Bezos, the Amazon chief executive and owner of The Post.

lauren sanchez jeff bezos david pecker ap via fox news

Lauren Sanchez, Jeffrey ezos and David Pecker (left to right, Associated Press via Fox News photos)

Background: Daily Beast, Bezos’ Investigators Question the Brother of His Mistress, Lauren Sanchez, in National Enquirer Leak Probe, Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, Jan. 31, 2019. Michael Sanchez is an outspoken Trump supporter with ties to Roger Stone and Carter Page. Jeff Bezos’ top personal security consultant has questioned his mistress’ brother as part of the probe into how the couple’s text messages wound up in the hands of the National Enquirer.

Gavin de Becker, the Amazon chief’s longtime personal security consultant and the point person for the investigation, confirmed to The Daily Beast on Wednesday that his probe has scrutinized Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos mistress Lauren Sanchez and a personal and business associate of Trumpworld figures including Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Scottie Nell Hughes.

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast first reported the existence of that investigation, which is taking place independent of Amazon and being funded by Bezos personally. Three sources familiar with the inquiry said it was increasingly probable that whoever leaked the text messages to the Enquirer, which ran a conspicuously large 12-page spread on Bezos’ affair, harbored political animosity towards Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post.

Michael Sanchez’s name bubbled up on the British celebrity news and gossip website Popbitch last week in the context of the Enquirer story. Stone also mentioned Sanchez in an interview with conspiracy theory site Infowars on Wednesday that sought to preempt The Daily Beast’s reporting by falsely claiming that it would accuse him of conspiring with the Trump administration to hack Bezos’ phone.

ny times logoNew York Times, Year Before Killing, Saudi Prince Told Aide He Would Use ‘a Bullet’ on Jamal Khashoggi, Mark Mazzetti, Feb. 8, 2019 (print edition). Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia told a top aide in a conversation in 2017 that he would use “a bullet” on Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist killed in October, if Mr. Khashoggi did not return to the kingdom and end his criticism of the Saudi government, according to current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of intelligence reports.

jamal khashoggi western suitThe conversation, intercepted by American intelligence agencies, is the most detailed evidence to date that the crown prince considered killing Mr. Khashoggi (right) long before a team of Saudi operatives strangled him inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and dismembered his body using a bone saw. Mr. Khashoggi’s murder prompted weeks of outrage around the world and among both parties in Washington, where senior lawmakers called for an investigation into who was responsible.

mohammad bin salman cropped file smallThe Saudi government has denied that the young crown prince played any role in the killing, and President Trump has publicly shown little interest in trying to get the facts about who was responsible. Prince Mohammed, left, the next in line to the Saudi throne behind his ailing father, King Salman, has become the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and a close ally of the Trump White House — especially Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

The conversation appears to have been recently transcribed and analyzed as part of an effort by intelligence agencies to find proof of who was responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death. The National Security Agency and other American spy agencies are now sifting through years of the crown prince’s voice and text communications that the N.S.A. routinely intercepted and stored, much as the agency has long done for other top foreign officials, including close allies of the United States.

Feb. 7

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Venezuela -- U.S. Aid Gambit Fails -- War Plans Lack Support, b, Feb. 7, 2019. A day after the U.S. coup attempt in Venezuela the U.S. game plan was already quite obvious: "The opposition in Venezuela will probably use access to that 'frozen' money to buy weapons and to create an army of mercenaries to fight a 'civil' war against the government and its followers. Like in Syria U.S. special forces or some CIA 'contractors' will be eager to help. The supply line for such a war would most likely run through Colombia. If, like 2011 in Syria, a war on the ground is planned it will likely begin in the cities near that border."

CIA LogoThe U.S. is using the pretext of 'delivering humanitarian aid' from Columbia to Venezuela to undermine the government and to establish a supply line for further operations. It is another attempt to pull the military onto the coup plotter's side. A New York Times op-ed by a right-wing former foreign minister of Mexico, Jorge G. Castañeda, details the escalation potential. 

Venezuelan military officials and troops in exile will then move these supplies into Venezuela, where if all goes well, army troops still loyal to Mr. Maduro will not stop their passage nor fire upon them. If they do, the Brazilian and Colombian governments may be willing to back the anti-Maduro soldiers. The threat of a firefight with their neighbors might just be the incentive the Venezuelan military need to jettison Mr. Maduro, making the reality of combat unnecessary.

venezuela flag waving customThis escalation strategy is unlikely to work unless some additional provocation is involved. The Venezuelan government blocked the border bridge between Cúcuta in Colombia and San Cristobal in Venezuela. Its military stands ready to stop any violation of the country's border. The Venezuelan military has shown no sign of interest to change its loyalty. The fake aid will be rejected.

The government of Venezuela does not reject aid that comes without political interference. Last year it accepted modest UN aid which consisted mostly of medical supplies from which Venezuela had been cut off due to U.S. sanctions. The UN claimed that around 12 percent of Venezuelans are undernourished. But such claims have been made for years while reports from Venezuela (vid) confirmed only some scarcity of specific products. There is no famine in Venezuela that would require immediate intervention.

The International Red Cross, the Catholic church's aid organization Caritas and the United Nations rejected U.S. requests to help deliver the currently planned 'aid' because it is so obviously politicized:

Feb. 5

john newman into the storm

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Book Excerpt: Antonio Veciana, Mystery Man in JFK Assassination, Part 1, John M. Newman (shown above with the cover of his new book), Feb. 5, 2019. Introduction by Alan Dale: More than 50 years after President John F. Kennedy’s death, details relating to his assassination have accumulated like snowflakes in a blizzard. Hundreds of names, thousands of alleged facts, millions upon millions of words competing for our attention and requiring our judgment: Is this important? Is this true? Who would know?

John M. Newman, PhD is unique in what he knows. He is a retired US Army intelligence officer who served for two years as military assistant to the director General William Odom at the National Security Agency. He has testified before various subcommittees of the US House of Representatives, and has been a consultant for various US and foreign media organizations including PBS Frontline, the History Channel, C-Span, and NBC. (He is also an adjunct professor of Political Science at James Madison University.)

His expertise as a strategic intelligence cryptologic analyst makes his credentials unique among those who delve into the hidden histories buried within America’s military and intelligence bureaucracies. For the past quarter century his works have overturned orthodoxies, introduced new facts, and produced revelations about America during the Cold War.

His past publications include Oswald and the CIA: The Documented Truth About the Unknown Relationship Between the U.S. Government and the Alleged Killer of JFK (2008); Where Angels Tread Lightly: The Assassination of President Kennedy, Volume I (2015); Countdown to Darkness: The Assassination of President Kennedy, Volume II (2017); JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue and the Struggle for Power 2nd Ed (2017).

His latest book — Into the Storm: The Assassination of President Kennedy Volume III (2019) — was described by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a “groundbreaking work that finally illuminates the dark places where democracy goes to die.”

Here we present the first of two excerpts from that book. They reveal the intricate web of claims, contradictions, and complexities relating to the former leader of the murderous anti-Castro paramilitary group Alpha-66, Antonio Veciana. Veciana made the explosive claim that he was present in Dallas two months before the Kennedy assassination, with Lee Harvey Oswald and an agent/handler whom he knew by the name of Maurice Bishop (eventually identified by Veciana as CIA officer David Atlee Phillips).

Chapter Three. When Fiction is Stranger Than Truth: Veciana and Phillips in Cuba — 1959-1960.

January 2019 Update

Jan. 31

Trump v. His Intel Appointees

washington post logoWashington Post, In latest attack on intelligence agencies, Trump ignores where they actually agree, Shane Harris and John Wagner, Jan. 31, 2019 (print edition). “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” the president wrote in pointed tweets Wednesday morning.

President Trump lashed out at the government’s most senior intelligence leaders Wednesday, his latest assault on the spies and analysts who work for him but sometimes deliver facts that he doesn’t want to hear.

CIA LogoTriggering the president’s rage was an annual congressional hearing on global security threats, a routine event at which intelligence agency heads testified that Iran, while still a global menace, is complying with an international agreement to suspend its development of nuclear weapons. Trump ridiculed that assessment and the intelligence leaders themselves.

“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “. . . They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Power Up: Trump rift with his own intelligence chiefs widens global opening for Putin, Jacqueline Alemany, Jan. 31, 2019.  Just look at Venezuela and North Korea.

Palmer Report, Commentary: Chuck Schumer moves for a Trump intervention, Bill Palmer, Jan. 31, 2019. On Tuesday, the leaders of the U.S. intel community testified publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Donald Trump didn’t like the truthful answers that his own handpicked people gave, so on Wednesday morning he viciously ripped into them on Twitter, undermining the entire intel community in the process, and coming across like a mentally unstable person. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has had enough.

bill palmer report logo headerOn Wednesday evening, Chuck Schumer announced that “It’s past time for U.S. Intelligence Community leaders to stage an intervention with Donald J. Trump.” He also posted a letter addressed to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (right), who oversees the entire U.S. intel dan coats headshotcommunity.

Here’s the meat of Schumer’s letter: “I believe it is incumbent on you, Director Wray and Director Haspel to insist on an immediate meeting with the President to educate him about the facts and raw intelligence underlying the Intelligence Community assessments, and to impress upon him how critically important it is for him to join you and the leadership of our Intelligence Community in speaking with a unified and accurate voice about national security threats. He is putting you and your colleagues in an untenable position and hurting the national interest in the process. You must find a way to make that clear to him.”

This all seems obvious enough, but coming from the Senate Minority Leader, it’s stunning: he’s literally calling, in exact words, for U.S. intel leaders to stage an intervention with an out of control President of the United States.

Global News: Venezuela

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Venezuela -- Coup Attempt Part Of A Larger Project -- Military Intervention Likely To Fail, b, Jan. 31, 2019. The Trump administration has launched a large political project to remake several states in Latin America. The Wall Street Journal headlines: "U.S. Push to Oust Venezuela’s Maduro Marks First Shot in Plan to Reshape Latin America." The Trump administration’s broader aim is to gain leverage over Cuba and curb recent inroads in the region by Russia, Iran and China.

The plan includes regime change in Venezuela, Nicaragua and eventually Cuba. The removal of any Russian or Chinese interest is another point. It is a multiyear project that has bipartisan support. It will likely require military force.

The project seems to echo the "New Middle East" plan then Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice launched in 2006. It largely failed due to U.S. incompetence but left behind juan guaidóseverely damaged states. That the U.S. is going for such a wide ranging plan in the western hemisphere might explain why Trump is pressing to end the other military projects in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The starting shot for the new plan, the U.S. led coup attempt in Venezuela, is already in trouble. The U.S. selected puppet Juan Guaidó (right) had called for demonstrations in support of his coup that were supposed to take place yesterday. But even the NYT, which propagandizes for each and every regime change operation the U.S. undertakes in Latin America, could find only little evidence of support.

Jan. 29

 washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. escalates efforts to force Maduro from power in Venezuela, Karen DeYoung, Steven Mufson and Anthony Faiola, Jan. 29, 2019. The Trump administration said it will block all U.S. revenue to Venezuela’s national oil company and called on members of its armed forces to switch their allegiance to Juan Guaidó.

Grayzone via Consortium News, Opinion: The Making of Juan Guaidó: US Regime-Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader, Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, Jan. 29, 2019. The Washington favorite has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization. Before the fateful date of Jan. 22, fewer than 1-in-5 Venezuelans had heard of Juan Guaidó, right.

Only a few juan guaidómonths ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence. Even in his own party, Guaidó had been a mid-level figure in the opposition-dominated National Assembly, which is now held under contempt according to Venezuela’s constitution.

But after a single phone call from from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (left), Guaidó proclaimed himself as president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom mike pence leftdweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the U.S.-selected leader of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves.

While Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the U.S. government’s elite regime change factories. Alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela’s socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country and one day seize power. Though he has been a minor figure in Venezuelan politics, he had spent years quietly demonstrating his worthiness in Washington’s halls of power.

washington post logoWashington Post, Venezuelan officials seek to block U.S.-supported opposition leader Juan Guaidó from leaving the country, freeze his assets, Andreina Aponte, Rachelle Krygier and Anthony Faiola, Amid political turmoil, Venezuelans express desire for a better future. Venezuelan authorities moved to prohibit opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó from leaving the country and to freeze his bank accounts, prompting the United States, which a day earlier slapped sweeping sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run oil company, to say there would be “serious consequences” if Guaidó is harmed.

President Nicolas Maduro’s chief prosecutor made the request, which was later ratified by the loyalist Supreme Court as a preventative measure pending a full investigation. The move stopped short of a detention order – something the Trump administration has strongly warned against.

“We request these preventive measures against Guaidó while we compile elements to stop the events that since January 22 have broken the peace of the Republic,” the prosecutor, Tarek Saab, said in a news conference.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Trump on North Korea and Iran, David E. Sanger and Julian E. Barnes
Jan. 29, 2019. A new American intelligence assessment of global threats has concluded that North Korea is “unlikely to give up” all of its nuclear stockpiles, and that Iran is not “currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activity” needed to make a bomb, directly contradicting two top tenets of President Trump’s foreign policy.

dan coats headshotDan Coats, the director of national intelligence, also challenged Mr. Trump’s insistence that the Islamic State had been defeated, a key rationale for his decision to exit from Syria. The terrorist group, the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report to Congress concluded, “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” and maintains eight branches and a dozen networks around the world.

Mr. Trump is expected to meet next month with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in a second round of direct negotiations aimed at ridding Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons.

But Mr. Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that “we currently assess North Korea will seek to retain its W.M.D. capability and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability.”

Global Research, Commentary: The CIA Then and Now: Old Wine in New Bottles, Edward Curtin, Jan. 29, 2019. The Nazis had a name for their propaganda and mind-control operations: Weltanschauungskrieg– “world view warfare.” As good students, they had learned many tricks of the trade from their American teachers, including Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, who had honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New York City, an industry whose raison d’ȇtre from the start was to serve the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.

This went along quite smoothly until some people started to question the Warren Commission’s JFK assassination story. The CIA then went on the offensive in 1967 and put out the word to all its people in the agency and throughout the media and academia to use the phrase “conspiracy theory” to ridicule these skeptics, which they have done up until the present day. This secret document – CIA Dispatch 1035-960 – was a propaganda success for many decades, marginalizing those researchers and writers who were uncovering the truth about not just President Kennedy’s murder by the national security state, but those of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy. Today, the tide is turning on this score, as recently more and more Americans are fed up with the lies and are demanding that the truth be told. Even the Washington Post is noting this, and it is a wave of opposition that will only grow.

In 1941, U.S. Intelligence translated Weltanschauungskrieg as “psychological warfare,” a phrase that fails to grasp the full dimensions of the growing power and penetration of U.S. propaganda, then and now. Of course, the American propaganda apparatus was just then getting started on an enterprise that has become the epitome of successful world view warfare programs, a colossal beast whose tentacles have spread to every corner of the globe and whose fabrications have nestled deep within the psyches of many hundreds of millions of Americans and people around the world.

And true to form in this circle game of friends helping friends, this propaganda program was ably assisted after WW II by all the Nazis secreted into the U.S. (“Operation Paperclip”) by Allen Dulles and his henchmen in the OSS and then the CIA to make sure the U.S. had operatives to carry on the Nazi legacy (see David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, The CIA, and The Rise of America’s Secret Government, an extraordinary book that will make your skin crawl with disgust).

Jan. 28

Trump Probes

rudy giuliani recentWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion -- Giuliani: Mobbed-up prosecutor and mayor, Wayne Madsen (investigative reporter, author, former Navy Intelligence officer), Jan. 28, 2019 (subscription required). If Donald Trump's legal mouthpiece, Rudolph Giuliani, right, appears as if he has as much at risk as his client, it is because he does.

Global Affairs: Venezuela

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: End All Interventionism, Not Just in Venezuela, Jacob G. Hornberger (foundation president, author, attorney, book publisher, shown below right), Jan. 28, 2019. The massive death and destruction from U.S. interventionism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East isn’t even over with, and yet interventionist dead-enders are now shifting their sights to jacob hornberger headshotVenezuela. One almost gets the impression that the dead-enders are saying to America, “Please, give us one more chance. We promise we’ll get it right this time.”

Obviously, the dead-enders are hoping that Americans forget the unmitigated disasters that interventionism has produced on this side of the world, such as in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cuba, Chile, and others.

The time has come for the American people to raise their sights to a higher level, one that involves not only rejecting more interventionism in Venezuela but one that rejects interventionism entirely. It is the only solution to the foreign policy-woes in which interventionist dead-enders have mired our nation

Jan. 25

kennedys and king logo

Assassinated 1960s civil rights leaders, from left: President John F. Kennedy, Attorney Gen. Robert F. Kennedy (JFK's brother), the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and preacher and activist Malcolm X (photo graphic from the site Kennedys and King)

washington post logotom jackmanWashington Post, Kennedy, King, Malcolm X relatives and scholars seek new assassination probes, Tom Jackman (right), Jan. 25, 2019. Their letter calls for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee on the JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcolm X slayings. Joined by relatives of Robert F. Kennedy, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, a group of more than 60 authors and investigators have called for a new congressional investigation into the assassinations of the three men and President John F. Kennedy, saying that the four slayings were not resolved and “had a disastrous impact on the course of American history.”

In a public statement, they demanded a public tribunal modeled on South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” process to persuade either Congress or the Justice Department to revisit all four assassinations.

Jan. 19

Press Statement
Embargoed for release Saturday January 19 at 11 p.m. ET

CONTACT:

Ira Arlook, Fenton Communications, c: 202 258 5437 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
David Talbot, The Truth and Reconciliation Committee, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kennedy and King Family Members and Advisors Call for Congress to Reopen Assassination Probes

Please scroll down to see the “Call” text and see attached (and also below) for list of signers.

On the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a group of over 60 prominent American citizens is calling upon Congress to reopen the investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Signers of the joint statement include Isaac Newton Farris Jr., nephew of Reverend King and past president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Reverend James M. Lawson Jr., a close collaborator of Reverend King; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, children of the late senator.

Other signatories include G. Robert Blakey, the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which determined in 1979 that President Kennedy was the victim of a probable conspiracy; Dr. Robert McClelland, one of the surgeons at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas who tried to save President Kennedy’s life and saw clear evidence he had been struck by bullets from the front and the rear; Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower who served as a national security advisor to the Kennedy White House; Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and a leading global authority on human rights; Hollywood artists Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and Oliver Stone; political satirist Mort Sahl; and musician David Crosby.

The declaration is also signed by numerous historians, journalists, lawyers and other experts on the four major assassinations.

The joint statement calls for Congress to establish firm oversight on the release of all government documents related to the Kennedy presidency and assassination, as mandated by the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992. This public transparency law has been routinely defied by the CIA and other federal agencies. The Trump White House has allowed the CIA to continue its defiance of the law, even though the JFK Records Act called for the full release of relevant documents in 2017.

The group statement also calls for a public inquest into “the four major assassinations of the 1960s that together had a disastrous impact on the course of American history.” This tribunal -- which would hear testimony from living witnesses, legal experts, investigative journalists, historians and family members of the victims -- would be modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation hearings held in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. This American Truth and Reconciliation process is intended to encourage Congress or the Justice Department to reopen investigations into all four organized acts of political violence.

Signers of the joint statement, who call themselves the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, are also seeking to reopen the Robert F. Kennedy assassination case, stating that Sirhan Sirhan’s conviction was based on “a mockery of a trial.” The forensic evidence alone, observes the statement, demonstrates that Sirhan did not fire the fatal shot that killed Senator Kennedy -- a conclusion reached by, among others, Dr. Thomas Noguchi, the Los Angeles County Coroner who performed the official autopsy on RFK.

The joint statement -- which was co-written by Adam Walinsky, a speechwriter and top aide of Senator Kennedy -- declares that these “four major political murders traumatized American life in the 1960s and cast a shadow over the country for decades thereafter. John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were each in his own unique way attempting to turn the United States away from war toward disarmament and peace, away from domestic violence and division toward civil amity and justice. Their killings were together a savage, concerted assault on American democracy and the tragic consequences of these assassinations still haunt our nation.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee views its joint statement as the opening of a long campaign aimed at shining a light on dark national secrets. As the public transparency campaign proceeds, citizens across the country will be encouraged to add their names to the petition. The national effort seeks to confront the forces behind America’s democratic decline, a reign of secretive power that long precedes the recent rise of authoritarianism. “The organized killing of JFK, Malcolm, Martin, and RFK was a mortal attack on our democracy,” said historian James Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. “We've been walking in the valley of the dead ever since. Our campaign is all about recovering the truth embodied in the movement they led. Yes, the transforming, reconciling power of truth will indeed set us free."

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls for Action:

1. We call upon Congress to establish continuing oversight on the release of government documents related to the presidency and assassination of President John F. Kennedy, to ensure public transparency as mandated by the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform should hold hearings on the Trump administration's failure to enforce the JFK Records Act.

(More on next page below)

2. We call for a major public inquest on the four major assassinations of the 1960s that together had a disastrous impact on the course of American history: the murders of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. This public tribunal, shining a light on this dark chapter of our history, will be modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation process in post-apartheid South Africa. The inquest -- which will hear testimony from living witnesses, legal experts, investigative journalists, historians and family members of the victims -- is intended to show the need for Congress or the Justice Department to reopen investigations into all four assassinations.

3. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we call for a full investigation of Reverend King’s assassination. The conviction of James Earl Ray for the crime has steadily lost credibility over the years, with a 1999 civil trial brought by Reverend King’s family placing blame on government agencies and organized crime elements. Following the verdict, Coretta Scott King, the slain leader’s widow, stated: “There is abundant evidence of a major, high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband.” The jury in the Memphis trial determined that various federal, state and local agencies “were deeply involved in the assassination … Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame.” Reverend King’s assassination was the culmination of years of mounting surveillance and harassment directed at the human rights leader by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and other agencies.

4. We call for a full investigation of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination case, the prosecution of which was a mockery of a trial that has been demolished by numerous eyewitnesses, investigators and experts -- including former Los Angeles County Coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who performed the official autopsy on Senator Kennedy. The forensic evidence alone establishes that the shots fired by Sirhan Sirhan from in front of Senator Kennedy did not kill him; the fatal shot that struck RFK in the head was fired at point–blank range from the rear. Consequently, the case should be reopened for a new comprehensive investigation while there are still living witnesses -- as there are in all four assassination cases.
 

List

A Joint Statement on the Kennedy, King and Malcolm X Assassinations and Ongoing Cover-ups:

As the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1979, President John F. Kennedy was probably killed as the result of a conspiracy.

In the four decades since this Congressional finding, a massive amount of evidence compiled by journalists, historians and independent researchers confirms this conclusion. This growing body of evidence strongly indicates that the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy was organized at high levels of the U.S. power structure, and was implemented by top elements of the U.S. national security apparatus using, among others, figures in the criminal underworld to help carry out the crime and cover-up.

This stunning conclusion was also reached by the president’s own brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who himself was assassinated in 1968 while running for president -- after telling close aides that he intended to reopen the investigation into his brother’s murder if he won the election.

President Kennedy’s administration was badly fractured over his efforts to end the Cold War, including his back-channel peace feelers to the Soviet Union and Cuba and his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam after the 1964 presidential election.

President Kennedy has long been portrayed as a Cold War hawk, but this grossly inaccurate view has been strongly challenged over the years by revisionist historians and researchers, who have demonstrated that Kennedy was frequently at odds with his own generals and espionage officials. This revisionist interpretation of the Kennedy presidency is now widely embraced, even by mainstream Kennedy biographers.

The official investigation into the JFK assassination immediately fell under the control of U.S. security agencies, ensuring a cover-up. The Warren Commission was dominated by former CIA director Allen Dulles and other officials with strong ties to the CIA and FBI.

The corporate media, with its own myriad connections to the national security establishment, aided the cover-up with its rush to embrace the Warren Report and to scorn any journalists or researchers who raised questions about the official story.

Despite the massive cover-up of the JFK assassination, polls have consistently shown that a majority of the American people believes Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy -- leading to the deep erosion of confidence in the U.S. government and media.

The CIA continues to obstruct evidence about the JFK assassination, routinely blocking legitimate Freedom of Information requests and defying the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992, preventing the release of thousands of government documents as required by the law.

The JFK assassination was just one of four major political murders that traumatized American life in the 1960s and have cast a shadow over the country for decades thereafter. John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were each in his own unique way attempting to turn the United States away from war toward disarmament and peace, away from domestic violence and division toward civil amity and justice. Their killings were together a savage, concerted assault on American democracy and the tragic consequences of these assassinations still haunt our nation.

Dr. Gary Aguilar
Daniel Alcorn
Russ Baker
Alec Baldwin
G. Robert Blakey
Denise Faura Bohdan
Abraham Bolden
Rex Bradford
Douglas Caddy
Rodnell Collins
Debra Conway
David Crosby
Edward Curtin
Dr. Donald T. Curtis
Alan Dale
James DiEugenio
James Douglass
Laurie Dusek
Daniel Ellsberg
Karl Evanzz
Richard Falk
Isaac Newton Farris Jr.
Marie Fonzi
Libby Handros
Dan Hardway
Jacob Hornberger
Douglas Horne
Gayle Nix Jackson
Stephen Jaffe
James Jenkins
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Bill Kelly
Andrew Kreig
John Kirby
Rev. James M. Lawson Jr.
Jim Lesar
Edwin Lopez
David Mantik
Dr. Robert N. McClelland
Mark Crispin Miller
Jefferson Morley
John Newman
Len Osanic
Lisa Pease
William F. Pepper
Jerry Policoff
Rob Reiner
Abby Rockefeller
Dick Russell
Mort Sahl
Vincent Salandria
Martin Sheen
Lawrence P. Schnapf
E. Martin Schotz
Paul Schrade
Peter Dale Scott
John Simkin
Bill Simpich
Oliver Stone
Dan Storper
David Talbot
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Adam Walinsky
Benjamin Wecht
Dr. Cyril H. Wecht
Betty Windsor

 

Biographies:

Gary L. Aguilar, MD, is a private practicing ophthalmologist in San Francisco, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California-San Francisco, and the vice chief of staff at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. One of the few physicians outside the federal government who has ever been allowed to review President Kennedy's still-restricted autopsy photographs and X-rays, Aguilar has delivered lectures on JFK's autopsy evidence before numerous medical and legal conferences. With coauthor Cyril Wecht, MD, JD, Aguilar has published articles on the Kennedy case in journals such as The American Scholar and the Journal of the American Medical Association, and has contributed chapters to several anthologies exploring the JFK assassination. Dr. Aguilar’s writings on various aspects of the Kennedy case are available online, most notably a multipart essay that examines the five investigations of Kennedy's medical and autopsy evidence that have been conducted by the U.S. government.

Daniel Alcorn was a law partner of the late Bud Fensterwald, co-founder of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC). He has served on the AARC board since 1992, and was a founding director of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) on behalf of AARC, and served on COPA's board until the end of the Assassination Records Review Board process in 1998. Alcorn has represented requesters in precedent-setting Freedom of Information Act cases in the trial and appellate courts in Washington, D.C., including cases related to the JFK assassination, the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, allegations of misconduct in the FBI crime laboratory, death squad activity in Central America, intelligence abuses, and PTSD, among other issues.

Russ Baker is the founder, editor-in-chief and CEO of WhoWhatWhy, a nonprofit news organization devoted to covering stories and angles ignored by the media. WhoWhatWhy has a special team poring over thousands of declassified JFK records. Baker is the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.

Alec Baldwin has appeared in numerous productions onstage, in films and on television. He has received a Tony nomination (A Streetcar Named Desire, 1992), an Oscar nomination (The Cooler, 2004) and has won three Emmy awards, three Golden Globes and seven consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards as Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on NBC-TV's 30 Rock. His films include The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, Malice, Blue Jasmine, and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. He has authored three books: A Promise to Ourselves; his memoir, Nevertheless; and You Can’t Spell America Without Me, with Kurt Andersen. He serves on numerous boards related to the arts, the environment and progressive politics.

G. Robert Blakey is retired as the William J. & Dorothy K. O'Neill Professor of Law (now emeritus) at the Notre Dame Law School, where he taught criminal law, the law of terrorism, and jurisprudence. He also was a professor of law and the director of the Cornell Institute on Organized Crime, where he taught criminal law in the law school. Blakey also served as a special attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the United States Department of Justice. From 1977 to 1979, he was the chief counsel and staff director, United States House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Denise Faura Bohdan is a lawyer, film producer and the daughter of Fernando Faura, author of The Polka Dot File on the Robert F. Kennedy Killing: The Paris Peace Talks Connection, chronicling the search for an alleged conspirator in the assassination of RFK. Faura’s investigation in 1968 is regarded by most researchers as one of the most important, linking Sirhan Sirhan to co-conspirators. Ms. Bohdan is producing a film on his investigation to shine more light on the assassination and conspiracy. Her previous film work focuses on human rights abuses, freedom of speech and pursuit of justice.

Abraham Bolden was the first African-American assigned to the White House Secret Service Detail, at President Kennedy's personal request. When he later tried to testify to the Warren Commission about rampant misconduct in the Secret Service, he was punished for his courage by a trumped-up bribery charge that resulted in his imprisonment for over three years. He is the author of a 2008 memoir, The Echo From Dealey Plaza.

Rex Bradford pioneered the digital dissemination of declassified JFK assassination documents, over 1.5 million pages of which are available at www.maryferrell.org. He is president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation.

Douglas Caddy is a Houston-based attorney and the author of six books, most recently his memoir Being There: Eyewitness To History. In 1959, he published an article in the National Review that began a long friendship with founding publisher William F. Buckley as they worked together to help found what’s now known as the modern conservative movement. In 1960, Caddy was elected as the founding national director of Young Americans For Freedom. His conservative activism made him an early campaigner for 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater. Caddy then worked in Washington, DC, as an attorney involved in many high-profile cases. In one, he became the original defense attorney for the Watergate burglars. His legal work has included cutting-edge research and whistle-blowing on the JFK assassination, Koreagate, CIA influences and other justice-related issues.

Rodnell Collins, Malcolm X’s first cousin, is the founder of the Malcolm X, Ella L. Little Collins Family Foundation and curator of the childhood home that he and Malcolm shared in Duxbury, Massachusetts, now a national historic landmark. Collins is working on turning it into a museum. Collins’s memoir, Seventh Child, tells Malcolm’s story from a family member’s point of view. Most recently Collins participated in the 50th anniversary commemoration of the famous Oxford Union debate, “The Night Malcolm Spoke Out.”

Debra Conway is the president of JFK Lancer Productions and Publications, a historical research company specializing in the administration and assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

David Crosby is a musician and songwriter. He has been speaking out about the JFK assassination since the 1960s, including onstage with the Byrds at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Edward Curtin is a sociologist who teaches at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He is a widely published essayist who has written extensively about the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Donald T. Curtis is a retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon who participated in the resuscitation attempt of President Kennedy at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Alan Dale is executive director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center. He is the host of JFKConversations.com.

James DiEugenio is the author of The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today, and editor of Kennedysandking.com.

James Douglass is the author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.

Laurie Dusek has served as legal counsel to Sirhan Sirhan in a pro bono capacity for the last 11 years.

Daniel Ellsberg was a national security consultant to the Kennedy White House. Later he leaked the Pentagon Papers. A senior fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, he is the author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner and a memoir, Secrets, which became the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America. He is also a key figure in Steven Spielberg's film about the Pentagon Papers, The Post.

Karl Evanzz is the author of six books, including two highly acclaimed studies of the Nation of Islam: The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X (1992) and The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad (1999). A literary and film consultant, Evanzz worked on Malcolm X: Make It Plain (Blackside Productions, 1994) and Ali (2001), starring Will Smith. Evanzz worked at the Washington Post for 32 years in its news department before retiring in 2008.

Richard Falk is professor of international law, emeritus, at Princeton University and author of Power Shift: On the New Global Order (2016).

Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He has served as the president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and in 2011 was elected president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization founded by Dr. King. Farris currently serves as senior fellow of the King Center where he not only continues to write, research and lecture on the life, philosophy, and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., but also on how Kingian nonviolence should guide American society as we confront the social, religious, economic and war issues of America and of the world today.

Marie Fonzi is the widow of Gaeton Fonzi, a top investigator on both the Senate and House Committees that probed the death of President Kennedy in the 1970s. Marie wrote the preface and afterword of the 2016 paperback edition of The Last Investigation, Fonzi's inside story of this fateful Congressional drama.

Libby Handros is an award-winning TV producer and documentary filmmaker. Since beginning her career on the PBS team that produced Inside Story, the first regularly scheduled examination of the American press ever to appear on television, she has gone on to develop and produce over one hundred hours of prime-time programming on a wide array of subjects. Along with director John Kirby, Handros produced the critically acclaimed documentary feature The American Ruling Class and Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle, among other films. Currently she is Kirby’s producing partner on Four Died Trying, a multi-part series on the political murders of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, which changed the course of history.

Dan Hardway, a graduate of Cornell Law School, has practiced law for the past 37 years. His firm, based in Cowen, West Virginia, focuses on representing nonprofit organizations, especially Christian churches and ministries, and Freedom of Information Act litigants. From 1977 to 1978, Hardway worked as a researcher for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and assisted Ed Lopez in writing the section of the committee report titled, “Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City.”

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, a libertarian nonprofit educational foundation, and the author of The Kennedy Autopsy.

Douglas Horne served for three years on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), from 1995-1998. He was hired by the ARRB as a senior analyst on the Military Records Team, and was later promoted to the position of chief analyst for Military Records; while on the ARRB staff, Mr. Horne ensured the release of historical records on Cuba and Vietnam policy; played a key role in the sworn depositions of ten JFK autopsy witnesses; and became the primary ARRB point-of-contact for all matters related to the Zapruder film. He is the author of the five-volume work Inside the Assassination Records Review Board (2009), and the e-book JFK's War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated (2014).

Gayle Nix Jackson is the granddaughter of Orville Nix, the man who took the film of the JFK assassination opposite from Abraham Zapruder. Following three decades of research on the background of the government's loss of this film, she has written two books, Orville Nix: The Missing JFK Assassination Film and Pieces of the Puzzle: An Anthology.

Stephen Jaffe was an investigator and photo-analyst for New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison 1967-68, testified before the Rockefeller Commission, was an associate producer/technical advisor for the film Executive Action, associate producer/technical adviser for documentaries The Garrison Tapes and the sequel by filmmaker John Barbour, and is the producer of the new documentary, A Rush to Judgment: Conspiracy in America, with Mark Lane. Jaffe was an investigator for the Lane Law Firm for the past 50 years and has written numerous articles on the assassination of President Kennedy.

James Jenkins was a medical corpsman assigned to work with pathologists on the autopsy of President Kennedy at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. He reports his eyewitness account in his book At the Cold Shoulder of History, co-written with William Matson Law.

William Klaber was the producer of The RFK Tapes, a 1993 public radio documentary on the murder of Senator Robert Kennedy. In 1997 he co-authored, with Philip Melanson, the book Shadow Play, which examined the evidence of police misconduct in the RFK murder investigation, evidence found in the LAPD’s own files that was finally made public in 1988.

Bill Kelly is a co-founder of the Committee for an Open Archives and the Coalition on Political Assassinations. He was the recipient of the 2013 Mary Ferrell Award for his work on the Air Force One radio transmission tapes. He is currently the coordinator of the research committee for Citizens Against Political Assassinations. His blog is http://JFKCountercoup.blogspot.com.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the author of American Values: Lessons I Learned From My Family.

John Kirby made his directorial debut with the Tribeca Festival-award-winning film The American Ruling Class, made for the BBC and the Sundance Channel. He is currently directing and editing Four Died Trying, a multi-part documentary series on the extraordinary lives and calamitous deaths of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

Andrew Kreig is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit executive, attorney, author and commentator who edits the non-partisan Justice Integrity Project, which examines the performance of legal institutions. Its work includes publication of a multi-part “Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination” that highlights the topic’s leading books, films, archives, events and news developments.

The Reverend James M. Lawson Jr. was a long-time collaborator with Martin Luther King Jr. and, after the Reverend King, the major teacher in the non-violent struggles for desegregation and justice. Rep. John Lewis called him “the architect of the non-violent movement.”

Jim Lesar is president of the Assassination Archives and Research Center, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to disclose information on political assassinations to the public. During the past 49 years Lesar has litigated more than 200 Freedom of Information Act cases, resulting in the release of several hundred thousand pages of documents prior to the enactment of the JFK Records Act. He then testified before several House and Senate committees in favor of greatly expanded release of withheld government records pertaining to the assassination of President Kennedy. After the passage of the JFK Act, Lesar testified several times before the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) regarding the definition and scope of the term “JFK-assassinated-related” records. In 2006, in a suit in which he represented journalist and author Jefferson Morley, he won a significant precedent that subjected the CIA’s ultra-secret operational files to judicial review. This ultimately resulted in the disclosure of significant operational records, and in the process the CIA admitted under oath that it had hired a case officer linked to Lee Harvey Oswald’s pre-assassination activities to undermine the investigation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Edwin Lopez is an attorney practicing in New York. He has served as the general counsel at the Rochester City School District and is currently on the faculty of the Yang Tan Employment and Disability Institute at the Industrial Labor Relations School at Cornell University. In 1977 and 1978 he was a researcher for the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), where he was involved, among other areas, in the research and investigation of anti-Castro Cuban groups, their possible involvement in the assassination of President Kennedy, possible Cuban government complicity in the assassination of President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald’s activities in Mexico City and the performance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in monitoring and reporting those activities. With the assistance of other staff members, he wrote the HSCA’s “Lopez Report.”

David Mantik holds an MD from the University of Michigan and a PhD in physics from the University of Wisconsin. He is former faculty member in the physics department at the University of Michigan and in the radiation oncology department at Loma Linda University. He is the author of JFK's Head Wounds (an e-book).

Dr. Robert N. McClelland is professor emeritus in the Department of Surgery at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, an adjunct professor of law at Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, and a member of the attending staff at Zale Lipshy University Hospital. Previously, he served for 30 years as the UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Alvin W. Baldwin Chair in Surgery, where he had first come to work as an instructor in surgery in 1962. Two years prior to that, Dr. McClelland had begun his career on the senior attending staff at Parkland Memorial Hospital, where his duties would include the attempt to save the life of President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. While working on the mortally wounded JFK, Dr. McClelland saw clear evidence that the president had been struck by bullets from the front and rear, indicating more than one shooter was involved. The gruesome injury to the back of JFK’s head was caused by a bullet exiting the skull rather than entering it, McClelland determined, suggesting it was fired from the front of the presidential limousine, instead of from the rear, where Lee Harvey Oswald was allegedly shooting from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.

Mark Crispin Miller is a professor of media, culture and communication at New York University, and author of several books, including Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform. As editor of Discovering America, a book series published by the University of Texas Press, he commissioned Lance DeHaven-Smith to write Conspiracy Theory in America, and his Forbidden Bookshelf series, published by Open Road Media, has revived dozens of essential books long out of print, and many of them killed at birth, including works by I.F. Stone, Peter Dale Scott, Christopher Simpson, Ralph McGehee and Gerald Colby.

Jefferson Morley is the founder of The Deep State, a news blog that illuminates the influence of secret intelligence agencies. He worked for 15 years as an editor and reporter at the Washington Post. He is the author of Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton and of Our Man in Mexico, a biography of the CIA’s Mexico City station chief Winston Scott.

Major John M. Newman, U.S. Army (retired), is adjunct professor of political science at James Madison University. He is the author of JFK and Vietnam, Oswald and the CIA and the multi-part series The Assassination of President Kennedy: Volume I, Where Angels Tread Lightly; Volume II, Countdown to Darkness, and Volume III, Into the Storm.

Len Osanic is host of Black Op Radio and producer of The Collected Works of Col. L. Fletcher Prouty.

Lisa Pease is the author of A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Based on more than two decades of investigative research, Pease’s recently published book has already been hailed as “the magnum opus of RFK assassination research” by acclaimed Kennedy biographer James Douglass.

Dr. William F. Pepper is an American lawyer, English barrister and best-selling author. His legal career has included representation of governments and heads of state, and teaching human rights law at Oxford University. A political activist, Pepper was a 1960s friend and supporter of Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The King family asked his help to address their doubts about the guilt of accused assassin James Earl Ray. Pepper’s investigation concluded that Ray was a patsy. Representing both the imprisoned Ray before his 1998 death and the King family pro bono, Pepper then won a Memphis civil jury verdict in 1999 for the family concluding the murder was a conspiracy. Pepper authored three books on the evidence, most recently The Plot to Kill King (2016). In 2007, Pepper began representing pro bono Robert F. Kennedy’s accused assassin Sirhan Sirhan based on similar evidence that Sirhan did not fire any of the shots that struck RFK. Along with other RFK friends, Pepper has advocated for Sirhan to be released on parole and/or granted a first-ever hearing to examine the relevant scientific evidence.

Jerry Policoff has been a JFK assassination researcher since 1966, specializing in the role of the media. Widely published in magazines and book anthologies, Policoff covered the House Select Committee on Assassinations for New Times magazine, breaking many exclusives. He is the former executive director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center.

Rob Reiner is an actor and director best known for his role in the iconic TV show All in the Family and for his films A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally, and This Is Spinal Tap. His 2017 political thriller Shock and Awe was the first Hollywood movie to examine the tragic run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Reiner is now developing a docudrama TV series on the Kennedy assassinations.

Abby Rockefeller has participated in the sponsoring and organizing of several conferences concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Dick Russell is the author of three books on the assassination of President Kennedy: The Man Who Knew Too Much; On the Trail of the JFK Assassins; and They Killed Our President!, with Jesse Ventura.

Mort Sahl is an entertainer and political satirist. He helped write speeches for John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, and later worked closely with New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison to solve the Kennedy assassination, even though doing so severely damaged his career.

Vincent J. Salandria is a Philadelphia attorney who began studying the Kennedy assassination on November 23, 1963. One of the original critics of the lone assassin concept, he is the author of False Mystery, an anthology of his essays incriminating the national security state for the murder of JFK.

Martin Sheen is an actor and activist.

Lawrence P. Schnapf is the principal attorney of Schnapf LLC and an adjunct professor at the New York Law School. He serves on the board of Citizens Against Political Assassinations.

E. Martin Schotz is the author of History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial and the Murder of President Kennedy.

Paul Schrade is a former United Auto Workers official who knew both of the Kennedy brothers and worked in their campaigns. He was wounded in the hail of gunfire that mortally wounded Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Schrade, who has spent decades researching the RFK assassination, believes that Sirhan Sirhan did not fire the shots that struck Kennedy and is working for his release from prison.

Peter Dale Scott is a professor emeritus of English at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Deep Politics and the Death of JFK; Oswald, Mexico, and Deep Politics; The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War; The American Deep State; and Poetry and Terror.

John Simkin established the Spartacus Educational website in 1999, an important section of which was devoted to the Kennedy assassination. He is the author of the e-book Assassination of John F. Kennedy Encyclopedia.

Bill Simpich, a civil rights attorney, is on the board of the Mary Ferrell Foundation. He is the author of the e-book State Secret.

Oliver Stone is an Academy Award–winning director and screenwriter best known for his movies Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK. His 1991 feature JFK provoked a nationwide uproar about the Kennedy assassination that led to Congressional passage of the 1992 JFK Records Collection Act and the release of thousands of important previously withheld government documents.

Dan Storper is the founder and CEO of the world music company Putumayo. He is writing a book about the political struggles of the 1960s.

David Talbot is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. He is the founder and original editor-in-chief of Salon and a former senior editor of Mother Jones magazine.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the eldest of Robert F. and Ethel Kennedy’s children. She is the former lieutenant governor of Maryland. She has taught foreign policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland and is currently a research professor at Georgetown University, where she founded the Center for Retirement Initiatives.

Adam Walinsky served in the United States Department of Justice in 1963-64. He joined Robert Kennedy’s campaign for U.S. Senate in 1964, and then served as counsel and speechwriter for the senator through the presidential campaign of 1968. He was one of the coordinators of the Vietnam Moratorium of 1969-70, and was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General of New York in 1970. He practiced law in New York City until 1994, serving as chairman of the New York State Investigations Commission in 1979-81. Walinsky created and led the Police Corps, a federal program that offered scholarships to college students who agreed in return to train intensively for six months, and then serve four years in a state or local police force. Police Corps programs were created in 30 states, and although funding ended in 2004, many of its graduates are still serving in law enforcement and other civic endeavors across the country. From 2008 to 2012, he led a complete retraining of the Police Department in Baltimore, Maryland. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

Benjamin Wecht is the administrator of Duquesne University's Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, managing an internationally acclaimed center for professional and general education that presents public seminars on the assassination of President Kennedy and other urgent topics. He also serves as managing member of the Forensic Sciences and Law Education Group, a business dedicated to disseminating educational video products and online resources relating to topics at the interface of forensic investigation and historical inquiry.

Dr. Cyril H. Wecht is past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American College of Legal Medicine. He is a clinical professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and adjunct professor of law at Duquesne University. Dr. Wecht served as a consultant or expert witness on several major JFK inquests, including New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s prosecution of Clay Shaw, the Rockefeller Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Betty Windsor was a close friend of Dallas Times-Herald journalist Jim Koethe, who was murdered in his home in 1964 while working to solve the JFK case. Since the reporter’s murder, she has worked to solve both the Koethe case and the JFK case. Many researchers consider her the most important source on the events in Dallas during that era.

Jan. 17

george hw bush inauguration

Chief Justice William Rehnquist swears in President George H. W. Bush in 1989 as Barbara Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle (above her) look on.

george hw bushLondon Review of Books, The Vice President’s Men, Seymour M. Hersh, Jan. 24, 2019 edition. When George H.W. Bush arrived in Washington as vice president in January 1981 he seemed little more than a sideshow to Ronald Reagan, the one-time leading man who had been overwhelmingly elected to the greatest stage in the world....Bush [shown at right as CIA director] was invariably written off as a cautious politician who followed the lead of his glamorous boss – perhaps because he assumed that his reward would be a clear shot at the presidency in 1988.

There was another view of Bush: the one held by the military men and civilian professionals who worked for him on national security issues. Unlike the president, he knew what was going on and how to get things done. It would have been natural to turn instead to the director of the CIA, but this was William Casey, a former businessman and Nixon aide who had been controversially appointed by Reagan as the reward for managing his 1980 election campaign. As the intelligence professionals working with the executive saw it, Casey was reckless, uninformed, and said far too much to the press.

cia logoBush was different: he got it. At his direction, a team of military operatives was set up that bypassed the national security establishment – including the CIA – and wasn’t answerable to congressional oversight. It was led by Vice-Admiral Arthur Moreau, a brilliant navy officer who would be known to those on the inside as ‘M’. He had most recently been involved, as deputy chief of naval operations, in developing the US’s new maritime strategy, aimed at restricting Soviet freedom of movement.

In May 1983 he was promoted to assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Vessey, and over the next couple of years he oversaw a secret team – operating in part out of the office of Daniel Murphy, Bush’s chief of staff – which quietly conducted at least 35 covert operations against drug trafficking, terrorism and, most important, perceived Soviet expansionism in more than twenty countries, including Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Argentina, Libya, Senegal, Chad, Algeria, Tunisia, the Congo, Kenya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Vietnam.

oliver north mugshotIn 1986, as the Iran-Contra scandal turned toxic, the immediate problem for Vice President Bush was political survival. Too many outsiders – men like Oliver North [shown in a later mugshot]– knew too much.

Moreau’s small, off-the-record team, primarily made up of navy officers, was tasked with foreign operations deemed necessary by the vice president. The group’s link to Bush was indirect. There were two go-betweens, known for their closeness to the vice president and their ability to keep secrets: Murphy, a retired admiral who had served as Bush's deputy director at the CIA; and, to a lesser extent, Donald Gregg, Bush’s national security adviser and another veteran of CIA covert operations.

By 1983, it was plain to those who worked on national security for the White House that Reagan wouldn't or couldn't engage with intelligence or counterintelligence matters. Bush had emerged, by default and very much in private, as the most important decision-maker in America's intelligence world

Moon of Alabama, Seymour Hersh: George H.W. Bush Team Leaked To Media To Reveal CIA's Iran-Contra Affair, b, Jan. 17, 2019. A new piece by Seymour Hersh [right] seymour hershin the London Review of Books gives some insight into secret U.S. operations during the Reagan administration. The Vice President’s Men includes a quite sensational claim of who revealed the Iran-Contra affair.

According to the conventional wisdom, as reflected in Wikipedia, an Iranian operator revealed to a Lebanese paper that the U.S. was selling weapons to Iran in the hope to get hostages in Lebanon released:

After a leak by Mehdi Hashemi, a senior official in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the arrangement on 3 November 1986. This was the first public report of the weapons-for-hostages deal.

People is the National Security Council used profits from these weapon sales to illegally arm and finance CIA run anti-government gangs in Nicaragua. Both, the weapon sales to Iran and the weapon delivery to guerilla in Nicaragua, were illegal under U.S. law. The leak to Lebanese paper blew up both operations.

That Mehdi Hashemi, the Iranian operative, leaked the affair is only supported by second hand hearsay from a dubious source. Seymour Hersh reports of a very different culprit.

george hw bush HRAccording to his sources former CIA director George H.W. Bush, who was then Reagan's vice president, ran his own secret operations through a special office in the Pentagon....

Bush disliked William Casey, who Reagan had named as new CIA director. Casey was a business man who got the job after he managed Ronald Reagan's election campaign. Bush thought that he was too incompetent to run the clandestine service.

One of the operations run under Bush also involved Nicaragua, but had nothing to do with the later Iran-Contra scandal. At the same time the CIA director William Casey was drumming up support for the Contras in Nicaragua. The two operations collided when Lieutenant Colonel Oliver (Ollie) North at the National Security Council used the proceeds from the weapon sales to Iran to illegally finance the CIA's Contras in Nicaragua. While North was also a confident of the Bush/Moreau's operations, he allegedly freelanced and eventually deserted to the CIA side.

arthur moreau jrAccording to a former officer involved in Bush's operations office, Bush and [Vice-Admiral Arthur] Moreau [right] feared that the CIA's widely expanding Iran-Contra operation run by Oliver North would become a threat to their own operations. They decided to blow it up:

‘Ollie brings in Dick Secord and Iranian dissidents and money people in Texas to the scheme, and it’s gotten totally out of control,’ the officer said. ‘We’re going nuts. If we don’t manage this carefully, our whole structure will unravel. And so we’ – former members of Moreau’s team who were still working for Bush – ‘leaked the story to the magazine in Lebanon.’ He was referring to an article, published on 3 November 1986 by Ash-Shiraa magazine in Beirut, that described the arms for hostages agreement. He would not say how word was passed to the magazine, ...

According to Hersh's source the effect of the leak to the Lebanese paper was foreseen and intended....

Jan. 15

Deep State, Bill Barr’s CIA Resume: Cover-Ups, Covert Operations, and Pardons, Jefferson Morley, Jan. 15, 2019. “I started off in Washington at the Central Intelligence Agency and went to law school at night while I was working at CIA,” recalled William Barr in a 2001 oral history for the University of Virginia.

The new Attorney General, approved by the Senate on Thursday, has what Trump might call “deep state” credentials.

Barr comes to the job as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer at a pressure-packed moment. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has begun to disclose “the heart” of his case against President Trump’s campaign entourage: the interactions of his campaign manager Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian trained as a translator the Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.

Not only is Barr now Mueller’s boss, he is also in charge of the FBI, where deputy director Andrew McCabe and other senior officials contemplated the possibility that the president of the United States was–and perhaps is–an agent of a foreign power.

To this subterranean power struggle, Barr brings a key asset: formative CIA experience.

Barr came to Langley in 1973. He was a 23 year graduate of Columbia with a masters in Chinese studies His resume shows he toiled at the agency by day and attended George Washington University law school at night. The Watergate scandal was ravaging the agency’s reputation and bringing down president Richard Nixon.

william barr portrait at dojAttorney General William Barr in 1991 (Credit: Justice Department)

Barr spent four formative years working in the Intelligence directorate and the Office of Legislative Counsel. He even made the acquaintance of CIA director George H.W. Bush. In 1977 Barr moved on to a prestigious clerkship for a federal judge and then a series of jobs in private practice and the Justice Department. In 1991, Bush, who had since been elected president, appointed Barr to be attorney general.

At age 41, Barr was one of the younger men ever to hold that office. He left after one year and went on to a long career in corporate law and public service. Barr now returns to his old job at the behest of a besieged president under investigation for his dealings with Russian state agents.

Will Barr protect the investigation of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller? Or will he act on a tightly argued memo in which he claimed Mueller has already exceeded his authority?

A close examination of Barr’s legal career indicates a high tolerance for presidentially sanctioned law-breaking.

In his first turn as attorney general in 1991, Barr handled three legal issues of deep concern to the CIA. He helped resolve all three issues favorably for the agency’s leaders and the president.

Barr’s decisions, it is worth remembering today, were unfavorable to law enforcement, Congress, and the voters.

Jan. 12

robert mueller graphic IMG 6401

ny times logoNew York Times, F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia, Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos, Jan. 12, 2019 (print edition). In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

FBI logoThe investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which robert mueller full face fileMr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III [shown above in a graphic and at right in a file photo], took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.

Palmer Report, Opinion: One of Donald Trump’s people sold him out the day he fired James Comey, Bill Palmer, Jan. 12, 2019. Hours after the President Donald Trump officialrelease of the New York Times bombshell report that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation against Donald Trump in mid 2017, we’re still sifting through the pieces and putting them into context.

The first observation here is that the FBI had solid evidentiary grounds to believe that Trump was serving as a Russian spy. The second is that one of Trump’s own people sold him out immediately after he fired Comey.

bill palmer report logo headerIt’s long been reported that Donald Trump drafted a letter explaining his firing of James Comey which was highly self-incriminating, but then White House Counsel Don McGahn intervened and convinced Trump not to send it, and that the unsent letter eventually ended up in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hands. But this new NYT expose reveals that the FBI had a copy of the letter at the time it opened the counterintelligence probe, before Mueller was even hired.

This means that one of Donald Trump’s own people immediately turned over that unsent letter to the FBI. It could have McGahn; if so, it would mean he was cooperating with the Feds even sooner than previously reported. It could have been Rod Rosenstein, who at that point had only been Deputy Attorney General for roughly two weeks. It could have been someone else. But only a small circle of Trump’s top people would have even known at the time that the letter existed.

So now we know that one or more of Donald Trump’s own top people began reporting his crimes far sooner than we previously thought. This means the FBI and Robert Mueller have had a much deeper window into Trump’s crime spree. That makes it even more likely that Mueller’s report will be nothing short of devastating for Trump, and for anyone in his circle who didn’t cooperate with the probe.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Is there a FISA warrant against Donald Trump? Bill Palmer, Jan. 12, 2019. Last night we learned that the FBI opened a rosemary collyercounterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump in May of 2017. This means that at the time, the FBI had solid evidence that Trump was a Kremlin spy. Now it’s time to ask the obvious question: has there been a FISA surveillance warrant against Trump for the past year and a half?

[Chief Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, right, a Republican nominee of then President George W. Bush, presides over the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC, also called the FISA Court.)]

bill palmer report logo headerLet’s be clear here. The FBI would absolutely have sought a FISA eavesdropping warrant against any American being investigated for acting as a foreign government spy.

In fact the Feds had FISA warrants against Paul Manafort and Carter Page during the election for that reason. So if there hasn’t been a FISA warrant against Donald Trump, the only reason would be that he’s occupying the office of President of the United States.

Jan. 10

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: President Bolton? Or Worse? Jacob G. Hornberger, Jan. 10, 2019. President Trump excited many non-jacob hornberger headshotinterventionists when he publicly announced that he was ordering an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. Quite quickly, however, Trump bent to pressure and agreed to extend the withdrawal deadline to four months. That caused me to write an article on January 2 entitled “It’s Too Soon to Celebrate Trump’s Syria Withdrawal.”

Then came the stunning announcement by National Security Advisor John Bolton declaring that no U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Syria until ISIS has been totally defeated and only after Turkey has promised not to attack Kurdish forces, which have assisted Trump with his Syria intervention. Bolton’s announcement necessarily means that Trump’s deadline has now been extended far beyond the four-month extension. Indeed, for all practical purposes it implies that U.S. troops are going to remain in Syria indefinitely, the very thing that Trump initially said he was going to end immediately.

The question naturally arises: Who’s in charge here — Trump or Bolton? Wouldn’t one ordinarily think that it’s the president, not the person working for the president, who gives the orders with respect to U.S. troops?

The real answer is that neither Bolton nor Trump is in charge. The entity in charge of U.S. foreign policy is the national-security establishment, which consists of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. They, not Trump or Bolton, decide whether and when U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Syria or anywhere else. They are clearly the ones who have decided that U.S. troops shall remain in Syria.

I highly recommend a book entitled National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon: professor of law at Tufts University. The book explains how the national-security branch is where the real power of the federal government lies. The Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA permit the other three branches to maintain the veneer of power and permit them some latitude but in the final analysis, it is the national-security branch that is actually calling the shots.

It never really made sense that Trump would hire Bolton. He’s one of the fiercest foreign interventionists in the conservative movement. While Trump never professed to be a principled non-interventionist during his presidential campaign, his perspectives on foreign interventionism were extremely at odds with those of Bolton.

Jan. 5

elections voting photo pbs screengrab dcma

U.S. voting (file photo from a screengrab from a PBS broadcast, via DMCA)

Alternet via OpEdNews, Commentary: Democrats in Congress unveil ambitious plan to fix our election system, Steven Rosenfeld, Jan. 4, 2018. On the second day of the 116th Congress, the new House Democratic majority will introduce H.R. 1, the most comprehensive democracy reform legislation seen this century. It addresses voting rights and electoral procedures, campaign finance rules and loopholes, and seeks to institute higher ethical standards for federal officeholders and more.

One can look at the For The People Act as a wish list of inclusive, transparent and publicly accountable solutions and best practices that seek to come to grips with today's world of voting, election advocacy and voter engagementor suppression. Or one can look at its dozens of focal points as a catalog of everything that has broken down in a system that vainly labels itself the world's greatest democracy.

"When they trust you on this issue, they trust you on other issues as well," said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD, chair of the House Democrats' Democracy Reform Task Force and a longtime public financing advocate, describing H.R. 1. "That confidence is what democracy is all about."

The bill's overall framing is to counter systemic corruption that blocks some citizens -- but not others -- from voting; or allows large donors to hide their identity while funding attacks they wouldn't publicly want to be associated with; or enables current and recent office-holders to personally profit from serving in the highest levels of the federal government.

"The anti-corruption stuff isn't new," said Miles Rapoport, Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at Harvard Kennedy School, who previously led the government reform groups Common Cause and Demos. "People always say it's rigged. It's corrupt, etc., I think what's new now is people say our democracy itself, our elections themselves, are screwed up, rigged, incompetently run -- one thing or another."

"What I am excited about is these things [specific anti-democratic facets and remedies] are having real resonance," Rapoport continued. "It's not just 'Drain the Swamp,' which everyone can say, right and left, and means different things to different people."

The bill is a compendium of 22 previously introduced political reform bills and some new provisions. Most of the reforms have been proposed by Democratic lawmakers to counter abuses pioneered or deployed this century by Republicans -- whether extreme gerrymanders, voter suppression, or stealth financing -- or rulings from the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court that have deregulated campaigning.

"Throughout the last two years, we have heard people say they didn't just want to be part of a resistance, they wanted to insist on a set of values," said Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN, one of the newly elected freshmen from 2018's blue wave, in a press conference about the bill late last year. "I think, for us, it's really important to remember that accessibility, transparency and the trust of the public is the cornerstone of our democracy... They didn't want to send us here to resist [President Trump] and only work on oversight. They want to make sure we are insisting on furthering a set of values."

9 11 world trade center debris national park service wikimedia

OpEdNews, Commentary: 9/11: Finally the Truth Comes Out? Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 5, 2018. Based on the work of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth led by Richard Gage, first responder and pilots organizations, books by David Ray Griffin and others, and eyewitness testimony, the Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry has presented enough hard facts to the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York to force his compliance with the provisions of federal law that require the convening of a federal grand jury to investigate for the first time the attacks of September 11, 2001.

This puts the US Justice (sic) Department in an extraordinary position. Every informed person is aware that elements of the US government were involved either in the perpetration of the 9/11 attacks or in a cover-up of the attacks. There will be tremendous pressures on the US Attorney's office to have the grand jury dismiss the evidence as an unpatriotic conspiracy theory or otherwise maneuver to discredit the evidence presented by the Lawyers' Committee, or modify the official account without totally discrediting it.

911 Commission ReportWe can have hopes that the United States can establish the true story of its own Reichstag Fire, but I am not holding my breath that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York can stand up to the powerful elements in the Deep State that perpetuated or covered up the 9/11 false flag attacks or that he is inclined to try.

What the 9/11 truthers and the Lawyers' Committee have achieved is the destruction of the designation of 9/11 skeptics as "conspiracy theorists." No US Attorney would convene a grand jury on the basis of a conspiracy theory. Clearly, the evidence is compelling that has put the US Attorney in an unenviable position.

The likely result will be comparable to the US Congress' belated investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. No expert or informed person believed the obviously false story that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy. All evidence pointed to a plot by the Joint Chiefs, CIA, and Secret Service whose right-wing leaders had concluded that President Kennedy was too "soft on jfk hScommunism" to do what was necessary for the US to prevail in the contest with the Soviet Union.

Expert and public disbelief of the official story was so great that in 1976, 13 years after Kennedy's assassination, Congress investigated. The real culprits were, of course, not identified, but two important results were forthcoming. One was the conclusion by the Select Committee on Assassinations that President Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy and not of a lone gunman. The other was the release of the top secret Project Northwoods, which revealed the Joint Chiefs' plan presented to President Kennedy for the US government to kill US citizens and shoot down US airliners and place the blame on Castro in order to gain public acceptance for an invasion of Cuba.

The conclusion that a conspiracy, although unidentified, was involved in Kennedy's assassination was the sop thrown to those who disputed the official lone gunman account. The revelation of Project Northwoods created awareness of a previously unknown US government plot that drew attention away from Kennedy's assassination.

If the Lawyers' Committee and the 9/11 truthers trust the US Attorney to go entirely by the facts, little will come of the grand jury. If the United States had a rule of law, something as serious as 9/11 could not have gone for 17 years without investigation.

Drug Trafficking

daniel hopsickerMadcow News, The Lie at the Heart of the Trial of El Chapo Guzman, Daniel Hopsicker, right, Jan. 5, 2019. The lie at the heart of the trial of El Chapo Guzman is one familiar to every American who understands what happened to this country during Prohibition: Men and women are human. They can be bought, bribed, threatened or cajoled. It is the basis of organized crime.

In the trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman (shown below in a file photo), hints of what’s happening in every country south of the U.S. border have been allowed to surface, if only briefly.

But not a word has — or will be — spoken about the elephant in the room: It’s not just happening in Mexico. It happens here too.

joaquin el chapo guzmanThose being rewarded today look remarkably similar to the people on the take during Prohibition: corrupt politicians in both political parties, the DEA, law enforcement officials, Southern Sheriffs… and most importantly: Bankers, from the world’s most powerful banks.

Fernando Blengio Cesena knows a lot about corruption, especially at the top of the Mexican government. He was a transportation and aviation manager purchasing dozens of American-registered aircraft, ‘go-fast’ boats, and ocean-going vessels, for use by the Sinaloa Cartel.

Blengio was also at onetime a personal pilot to former Mexican president Vicente Fox.

Two-thirds of the way through the trial of El Chapo Guzman, it is common knowledge that the most egregious evidence of corruption isn’t and won’t be heard; that the prosecution, aided by the judge, have nixed all testimony implicating American politician and banks, without whose cooperation the drug trade could not exist in its present gargantuan state.

daniel hopsicker barry boys coverHowever none of the witnesses for the prosecution will breath of word of this in their testimony, for fear of jeopardizing their ‘most favored nation’ status — their get out of jail, if not free, then more quickly — card.

So it comes as no surprise that in the secrecy-obsessed trial of El Chapo currently underway in New York, an unscrupulous federal prosecutor in Miami, who has been called a “serial offender” in newspaper reports, used false accusations to prevent top Sinaloa cartel figure Blengio from testifying in the trial of El Chapo, as well as the trial of Vicente Zambada, the government’s chief witness against El Chapo.

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, "Welcome to Terrorland" and "Barry & the Boys" (shown at right).

Jan. 3

william arkin nbc screenshot

Medium, Opinion: Full email from William Arkin, leaving NBC and MSNBC, William Arkin (shown above), Jan. 3, 2018. January 4 is my last day at NBC News nbc news logoand I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good. This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis. My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.

I first started my association with NBC 30 years ago, feeding Cold War stories to Bob Windrem and Fred Francis at the Pentagon. I became an on-air analyst during the 1999 Kosovo War, continuing to work thereafter with Nightly News, delighting and oftentimes annoying in my peculiar position of being a mere civilian amongst THE GENERALS and former government msnbc logo Customofficials. A scholar at heart, I also found myself an often lone voice that was anti-nuclear and even anti-military, anti-military for me meaning opinionated but also highly knowledgeable, somewhat akin to a movie critic, loving my subject but also not shy about making judgements regarding the flops and the losers.

Somewhere in all of that, and particularly as the social media wave began, it was clear that NBC (like the rest of the news media) could no longer keep up with the world. Added to that was the intellectual challenge of how to report our new kind of wars when there were no real fronts and no actual measures of success.

david petraeus wTo me there is also a larger problem: though they produce nothing that resembles actual safety and security, the national security leaders and generals we have are allowed to do their thing unmolested. Despite being at “war,” no great wartime leaders or visionaries are emerging. There is not a soul in Washington who can say that they have won or stopped any conflict. And though there might be the beloved perfumed princes in the form of the Petraeus’ [left] and Wes Clarks’, or the so-called warrior monks like Mattis and [below left] McMaster, we’ve had more than a generation of national security leaders who sadly and fraudulently have done little of consequence.

james mattisAnd yet we (and others) embrace them, even the highly partisan formers who masquerade as “analysts”. We do so ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous.

As perpetual war has become accepted as a given in our lives, I’m proud to say that I’ve never deviated in my argument at NBC (or at my newspaper gigs) that terrorists will never bedefeated until we better understand why they are driven to fighting. And I have maintained my central view that airpower (in its broadest sense including space and cyber) is not just the future but the enabler and the tool of war today.

Jan. 2

Assassination Archives and Research Center, Publication Spotlight: 'A Certain Arrogance -- The Sacrificing of Lee Harvey Oswald and the Wartime Manipulation of Religious Groups by U.S. Intelligence,' Charles R. Drago, Jan. 2, 2018. Book review and introduction for A Certain Arrogance by Dr. George Michael Evica, shown above, (TrineDay, second edition, 2011; University of Hartford Press; 1st edition (1978).

George Michael EvicaGeorge Michael Evica (left), one of the preeminent prosectors of the malignant growth that disfigured the American body politic on November 22, 1963, for decades focused his intellect and intuition on the search for a cure for the underlying disease. In the course of forty years of research, analysis, writing, broadcasting, and teaching, he followed its devastating metastasis through the vital organs of politics (deep and otherwise) to the extremities of business, culture, and religion. All the while he cut away necrotic tissue and struggled valiantly, in the company of a surgical team as distinguished as it is obscure, to keep the patient alive.

Professor Evica, author of And We Are All Mortal: New Evidence and Analysis in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy (1975; University of Hartford), must be numbered among the most honored of the so-called second generation of Kennedy assassination researchers. Their labors to refine, reinforce, expand upon, and draw attention to the discoveries of their predecessors validate this direct statement of fact:

Anyone with reasonable access to the evidence in the homicide of JFK who does not conclude that the act was the consequence of a criminal conspiracy is cognitively impaired and/or complicit in the crime.

george michael evica certain arrogance coverA Certain Arrogance stands as Professor Evica’s response to the unavoidable question: How do we define and effect justice in the wake of the world-historic tragedy in Dallas?

Clearly he understood that, at this late date, being content merely to identify and, if possible, prosecute the conspiracy’s sponsors, facilitators, and mechanics would amount to hollow acts of vengeance. Cleaning and closing the wound while leaving the disease to spread is simply not a survivable option.

With the nobility of knowledge comes obligation: How can we utilize all that has been learned through our post-Dallas investigations to heal and immunize the long-suffering victims of the malady of which the assassination of John F. Kennedy is but the most widely appreciated and putrescent manifestation?

The method by which Professor Evica honored his noblesse oblige is, at first blush, hardly novel. Like many other researchers, he chose to begin his exploration by focusing on an aspect of the complex life of the lead character in the assassination drama, Lee Harvey Oswald. To carry the cancer metaphor forward: Think of the falsely accused killer as a tumor cell whose sojourn through the host organism in theory can be traced back to its source.

Oswald’s movements, however, are not easily discerned. False trails and feints abound. Promising clues have been obscured by a host of ham-handed interlopers and sinister obfuscators.

Rather than traverse well-worn pathways, Professor Evica set out by following one of the few remaining under-examined passages of an otherwise over-mapped life. His uniquely painstaking investigation of Oswald’s involvement with Albert Schweitzer College (hereinafter ASC), including the processes and implications of his application, acceptance, and nonattendance, has led both to major discoveries and to significant refinements of previously developed hypotheses.

In the former category our attention is drawn to what Professor Evica termed “one of U.S. intelligence’s last important secrets,” the involvement by the Central Intelligence Agency and psychological operations (psyops) in student and youth organizations – especially those with religious affiliations.

lee harvey oswald marine corbis via getty imagesMarine Lee Harvey Oswald, left, in uniform. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

The U.S. government’s faith-based initiatives, it seems, did not originate with George W. Bush’s alleged presidency.

As he meticulously followed Oswald’s ASC paper trail, the author was led not toward the Swiss campus, but rather into brick walls and empty rooms. A prime example: Oswald applied to the college on March 19, 1959. Less than two months later, when the chairman of ASC’s American Admissions Committee (and, at the time, the pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, Rhode Island) submitted to Switzerland the applications and related materials of prospective American students, Oswald’s folder was included.

Today those documents – critically important evidence in the investigation of the crime of the 20th century – do not exist in any official repository. Yet copies, or perhaps even originals, were in the Providence ASC file seized by the FBI after the assassination. This troubling absence, within a broader context fully substantiated in A Certain Arrogance, inevitably lead the author to conclude that Oswald’s application to ASC is “a still-protected American intelligence operation.”

I do not wish to spoil the bittersweet joy of discovery to be experienced as readers accompany Professor Evica on his journey through terra incognita. Yet the methodology and ultimate value of A Certain Arrogance as a “whodunit” (as opposed to the “howdunit” nature of the overwhelming majority of JFK assassination-related volumes) must be fully appreciated. To discover the identities of Oswald’s early manipulators is to be drawn into the necrotic nucleus of the disease. And so, thanks to the Evica investigation of the ASC charade, we are left with a preliminary, shattering conclusion regarding the “who” we seek.

CIA Logo“Whoever directed the Oswald [assassination] Game was thoroughly knowledgeable about both the OSS’s and CIA’s counterintelligence manipulations of Quakers, Unitarians, Lutherans, Dutch Reformed clerics and World Council of Churches officials as intelligence and espionage contacts, assets, and informants.”

From the mountains and snowfields and quaint villages of Switzerland, Professor Evica chose to escort us through a darker, more mysterious inner landscape. Examinations of what he neatly summarized as “U.S. covert intelligence operating under humanitarian cover” leads us to a confrontation with psychological operations – psyops and its propaganda, disinformation, and morale operations alter egos.

Professor Evica was the first to understand the Kennedy assassination and other intelligence operations as by-design theatrical productions, replete with all the essential elements of drama – including shameless manipulations of audiences’ minds and emotions. Within these pages he further supported and refines this hypothesis.

“Psychological manipulations of individuals and groups, whatever the procedure may have been called in the 18th and 19th centuries, drew upon discoveries in anatomy, mesmerism, hypnotism, counseling, studies in hysteria, rhetorical theory, psychoanalysis, advertising, behavior modification, and psychiatry. In the same periods, the literary forms of irony, satire, and comedy and the less reputable verbal arts of slander, libel, and manufactured lies were applied.”

While contemplating the implications of Professor Evica’s research, I was reminded of how Francis Ford Coppola struggled to find the best thematic hook on which to hang the plot of The Godfather, Part III. It is said that he considered and ultimately rejected a treatment of the Kennedy assassination as the most cinematically viable expression of systemic evil in full flower. Instead – perhaps wisely, perhaps not – he opted to dramatize the Vatican Bank scandal.

Upon initial examination, the conjoined stories of the looting of the Banco Ambrosiano, the perfidy of Roberto Calvi and P2, the assassination of John Paul I, and the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church at its highest levels present as the cellular components of yet another tumor, arguably the most horrific manifestation imaginable of the disease being probed by Professor Evica.

We are incredulous. We are outraged.

Then reason returns.

The manipulations of religious institutions for unholy purposes by elements of the deep political structure should provoke neither surprise nor anger. For is not organized religion merely politics by other means? Are not the most powerful bishops – of the wandering and Maurice varieties, among others – devoted to the same dark liturgy.

 

December

Dec. 30

The Inheritance – Poisoned Fruit of JFK’s Assassination – How One Man’s Custody of Bobby Kennedy’s Hidden Evidence Changed Our Past and Continues to Shape Our Future. (TrineDay, Walterville, Oregon, Published on Nov. 22, 2018, by Christopher and Michelle Fulton; Introduction by Dick Russell).

LBJ: Master of Deceit, A Review of an Incredible Book: “The Inheritance,” Phillip Nelson (author, lecturer, whose most recent book's cover is shown at right), Dec. 30, 2018. This book is taking the “JFK Assassination Research Community” (if one can seriously refer to it phil nelson mlk coveras such) by storm. Like men scurrying around a ship in distress looking frantically for safe harbor – in this case, words that will sustain the test of time – many old-time researchers are scrambling with the dilemma presented to an established institution by a “newbie” who has burst onto the scene with what appears, at least to some of them, to be a veritable solution to a fifty-five-year-old puzzle: “Who really killed JFK?”

For the naysayers, the vetting of Christopher and Michelle Fulton’s story is so conflicted that even the 120 pages of photos and documents, and as importantly, the numerous citations to sworn affidavits of key witnesses contained within the narrative (including many verbatim copies of other original materials) do not seem to mitigate the shock of those whose contrary opinions have been entrenched for many decades.

But more about that aspect of the “Crime of the Century” later.

* * *

Christopher Fulton’s life was forever altered when he acquired, in 1995, a gold Cartier watch that was worn by JFK on the last day of his own life.

Little did he know that the watch had once been covered by the slain president’s blood and brain matter, nor that the finely shattered lines – Fulton called them “striations” – on the crystal, were caused by a shock wave impacting it from the fatal shot to JFK’s head. That occurred just as he held his hands toward his neck, instinctively reacting to an earlier shot to his throat, and those striations would collect not only JFK’s bodily tissues, but traces of the mercury that had been infused into the bullet to ensure his death (p. 119).

christopher fulton michelle fulton cover What Fulton would find out later, from Robert Bouck – who, in 1963, had been in charge of the Secret Service’s Protective Research Section – revealed that Robert F. Kennedy had obtained absolute proof of a conspiracy with a number of shooters and many more shots than the official reports had stated. But that information would only come to him years later, though its provenance was a forensics examination done in the mid-1960s that RFK had obtained from a private entity, done specifically to keep it away from the FBI and Secret Service laboratories, where Kennedy knew it would never be properly analyzed.

When he had originally purchased the watch, Fulton had no reason to believe that it was material evidence directly related to the murder of President Kennedy that would have absolutely proved the existence of a conspiracy, had there ever been an honest investigation of the crime.

Nor did Fulton realize, until much later, that it was Robert Kennedy who had discovered that truth and had taken steps to preserve it, and other such incriminating evidence, out of the reach of either the government – or, to ensure their safety, his own family – when he entrusted much of it to JFK’s secretary Evelyn Lincoln for safe-keeping. Likewise, Fulton later discovered that Robert Kennedy had also taken precautionary steps to ensure that other evidence, proving the truths of his brother’s murder, would be kept safe for discovery by future generations; he did that by burying them with JFK’s casket when it was reinterred on March 14, 1967 at Arlington National Cemetery. These items included photographs of the watch, the original watch strap, the president’s brain, blood reports, and copies of the x-rays and autopsy photos.

Robert Kennedy (shown below at right) probably selected Mrs. Lincoln’s assistance because of his knowledge that she had already acquired, on the day after the robert f. kennedy 1964 wassassination, many other mementos of JFK and her time working in the Oval Office (undoubtedly made more numerous due to her anger with Lyndon Johnson, who had demanded that she complete the task of removing JFK’s property in less than one hour; her complaint to RFK about it succeeded in extending the deadline another two hours.[1] Johnson then claimed in his memoirs that he didn’t take over the office until three days later [forcing his future biographer Robert Caro to go along with it] among the many other lies contained within Johnson’s tome).

Fulton had walked innocently into the middle of the morass when he bought the watch from the man to whom Mrs. Lincoln had gifted it in her will, Robert L. White of Catonsville, Maryland, a collector of presidential memorabilia, after she had become friends with him through years of correspondence and visits; two years after she died, once the government discovered the existence of the hidden secrets, Fulton would begin experiencing a decade-long, nearly unbelievable, gestapo-like government-induced torture program including visits to some of the worst prisons in the country that almost defies description. But Fulton attempted to do just that by devoting nearly half of the book’s narrative to his personal long-term nightmare that essentially destroyed his previous life, as well as his wife’s and his mother’s, even the lives of his four rescue dogs. In all of their cases: Literally, destroyed.

In Fulton’s writing about such painful memories, he has laid bare the awful truth of the lengths to which the government will go to protect the original lies – now devolved into apparently permanent myths – that were meant to portray its own innocence as the original plotters cunningly replaced their own blame for the assassination of the 35th president onto a “lone nut” simpleton / malcontent.

The “lone nut malcontent” façade became another pattern to be twice repeated five years later with similar other “misfits” blamed for the murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Both of them had already become national heroes yet their public popularity had caused them to become feared by the plotters as being potential threats to the existence of those same myths that protected the truths from being exposed.

Mr. Fulton’s travails exposed still another long-buried, very plausible explanation for how and why JFK’s son – John F. Kennedy, Jr. – died. In early 1998, Fulton met with JFK Jr. in Florida and subsequently sold the watch to him, suddenly shifting the object of the government’s wrath with it, from one man to another, yet not releasing its grip on the first of them. Shortly after their meeting, JFK Jr. made the mistake of writing to President Clinton to suggest a proper forensic autopsy of his father, to establish “the truths behind my father’s murder being released to the public.” Those two events led to a series of others, not the least of which was Fulton’s indictment in February, 1998 and his arrest on August 9, 1998, then the beginning of his torture and the loss of his freedom until finally being released in February, 2007.

For JFK Jr., it appears that the interview he conducted with Christopher Fulton at the hotel in Florida was part of his larger plan for a major expose’ in his magazine George, but, as he cautioned Fulton, “I want to keep this under wraps until late next year.” (p. 181). Unfortunately for him, Mr. Kennedy would not live that long. He would die in a mysterious airplane crash on July 16, 1999. There has been a plethora of news articles written since then which suggest still another cover-up has been in place for two decades and counting. One such document is headlined: “HARD EVIDENCE OF CONSPIRACY, COVER-UP IN JFK Jr. DEATH” and includes the following sentences in its eleven (11) pages: [2]

JFK Jr.’s 9:39 PM radio contact was without doubt DELIBERATELY and literally “covered up”: hours of time on the tape archive of WCVB’s July 17 broadcast, during which information on Kennedy’s radio contact was continually reported have been intentionally cut. The record has in fact been FALSIFIED.

FAA Flight Specialist Edward Meyer of LaGuardia Airport in Queens N.Y., . . . stated in the report that visibility in the region was AT LEAST very good on the evening of July 16. Meyer himself became SO distressed by endless spewing of erroneous disinformation about these weather conditions by government agencies and mass media, he took the unprecedented step of issuing a public statement ON HIS OWN–which THOROUGHLY SLAMMED this onslaught of disinformational noise as complete, total NONSENSE. . . . To quote from Meyer’s personal statement as released to mass media: “The weather along his flight was just fine. A little haze over eastern Connecticut.”

* * *

There have been many other “dots connected” within the Fultons’ book which will be discovered by the careful reader. Ergo, we need not tabulate all of them within this paper, however a hint at some of them may be intuited from some of the following material as we return to the issues raised in the opening paragraphs. They relate to the paradox of how some of the most “experienced” researchers have not fully embraced the revelations contained within this extraordinary personal account, and how Christopher Fulton’s original desire to own a key piece of history, JFK’s watch, turned his world upside-down.

Link to full review here.

Dec. 27

Associated Press via MSN, Boston Marathon bomber's lawyers want death sentence tossed, Alanna Durkin Richer, Dec. 27, 2018. Attorneys for ap logoBoston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told a federal appeals court Thursday that his convictions or death sentence should be tossed because the judge refused to move the case out of the city where the bombs exploded, making it impossible for him to get a fair trial.

dzhokhar tsaraev hsIn a 500-page brief filed in the 1st U.S. District Court of Appeals, Tsarnaev's legal team outlined a host of other problems with his 2015 trial, including issues with jurors, certain testimony from surviving victims and the defense's inability to tell jurors about links between Tsarnaev's brother and an unsolved triple killing in 2011.

The lawyers argued the trial court's "first fundamental error" was denying the defense's repeated requests to move the case out of a city that was "traumatized by the bombings, ordered to shelter in place during the manhunt, saturated by prejudicial publicity and united in the Boston Strong movement."

"Tsarnaev stood accused of notorious crimes. The bombings were the subject of constant and widespread publicity, which included coverage of matters that would never be admitted at trial," the lawyers wrote. "Virtually every single prospective juror was familiar with that publicity, had been personally affected by the crimes and their aftermath, and thus had formed negative, entrenched preconceptions about Tsarnaev's guilt and the appropriate sentence," they said.

Tsarnaev was sentenced to death just over two years after he and his brother set off two shrapnel-packed, pressure-cooker bombs near the Boston Marathon's finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three people and wounding more than 260.

He was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of weapon of mass destruction, after a months-long trial in which his attorneys admitted he and his older brother carried out the attack. The defense had sought to portray Tsarnaev as an impressionable teenager who was lured by his brother into participating in the deadly plot.

tamerlan tsarnaev HSTsarnaev, now 25, is behind bars at the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. His 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev (left), died in a gunbattle with police a few days after the bombing.

Tsarnaev's lawyers pushed several times to move the trial, arguing the intense media scrutiny and number of people touched by the bombings in Boston would taint the jury pool. But U.S. District Judge George O'Toole refused, saying he believed a fair and impartial jury in the city could be found.

A three judge panel of the 1st Circuit agreed, noting that other high-profile terrorism cases such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing took place in the cities where the attacks occurred.

Among the dozens of other issues Tsarnaev's lawyers are raising on appeal include the judge's refusal to allow the defense to tell the jury about evidence tying Tamerlan to the killing of three people in the Boston suburb of Waltham in 2011. The defense sought to raise the issue of the killings to underscore their argument that Tsarnaev was under the influence of his more culpable older brother.

Prosecutors have said a friend of Tamerlan, Ibragim Todashev, implicated him in the killings of three men whose bodies were found sprinkled with marijuana, their throats cut. Todashev was shot to death by an FBI agent after authorities said he charged another investigator with a pole while being questioned about the Tsarnaevs.

Dec. 23

OpEdNews (OEN), Commentary: Shanahan Sec of Defense Appt is Grotesque Joke; It Pierces the Veil, Rob Kall (publisher and editor-in-oenearthlogochief, shown at right), Dec. 23, 2018. The appointment of Patrick Shanahan as acting Secretary of Defense is a grotesque joke, the kind you might see in the Onion. Imagine the Onion headline: "Trump Cuts Out Middleman, Appoints Boeing Exec to Head Defense Dept to rob kall new screenshot 2018Expedite boost of Military Spending"

Shanahan (below left) never served in the military. That could be a really good thing if the right non-military person was appointed. But Shanahan has spent most of his career as a player in the military industrial complex, working at Boeing from 1986 through 2017, when he was appointed by Donald Trump as Assistant Secretary of Defense.

patrick shanahan oIt's almost like this appointment pierces the veil that the US military serves a purpose other than producing massive profits for companies within the military industrial complex.

At least with James Mattis we had someone who had some experience in the military, some experience of losing soldiers to death. Now we face a situation where we have a businessman running the military. Personally, I'd like to see Secretary of Defense be someone who is known for opposing war. That's not going to happen. It will be interesting to see how the actual military responds to this appointment.

Finally, it appears that Trump has taken a strategy of avoiding getting congressional approval of appointees by dumping people, then appointing "Acting" replacements. This should be illegal. An "Acting" Department head should only be allowed to be appointed if there is a vacancy, not because the president is firing someone.

News From Underground, Opinion: Link to Kevin Ryan's piece on how to research 9/11, Edited by Mark Crispin Miller, Dec. 23, 2018. Anybody interested in really digging into 9/11 should begin by reading this exemplary how-to by Kevin Ryan, who may know more about that subject — and how to go about researching it effectively — than anyone alive.

Dig Within, Investigating 9/11, Kevin Ryan, Feb. 27, 2016. When people ask me what more can be done to achieve 9/11 truth and justice, I tell them to spend less time calling for a new investigation and more time investigating. Even without subpoena power, independent investigators can make a lot of progress. To help with that effort, here are three steps for an independent investigation and an objective way to evaluate suspects in the 9/11 crimes.

The first step is to ask specific, well-formulated questions.

The second step is to collect information that might help to answer the questions. Interview people who have detailed knowledge about the events. Most of the people who were present at the time of the attacks and during the official investigations are still alive and some of them will answer questions. Additionally, useful information can be obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Direct requests to federal, state, or local agencies using resources like these:

The third step to investigation is to collect the information, analyze it, and then communicate it clearly and objectively. Collecting the information is relatively easy. Analysis might include categorizing or framing the information in ways that help to see linkages. Examples include creating a timeline of events or a matrix of people and events, and considering if the new information fits into the existing body of knowledge. Once new information is ready to communicate to others, there are a lot of venues

Dec. 21

New York Magazine, Opinion: GOP Leaders Won’t Tolerate Trump’s Chaos for Much Longer, Frank Rich, Dec. 21, 2018. The beginning of the end of the Trump presidency came and went a long time ago. I have never wavered from my oft-stated convictions that (a) Trump will not finish out his term, and (b), the end will be triggered by a presidential meltdown that forces the Vichy Republicans in Washington to mount an insurrection — if only to save their own asses, not the country.

This week was a big step toward that endgame, and surely one of the most remarkable weeks in American history.

What we are likely to see in the meantime: further indictments of Trump family members and other close associates; a complete halt to governance in Washington whether there’s actually a government shutdown or not; new overt and covert threats to national security; a further effort by Trump to destabilize the Federal Reserve and assault its chairman; and perhaps, at last, an intervention by those Vichy Republicans, in the financial sector as well as in the capital, who see their own necks on the line.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Allies Fear That Traditional Ties No Longer Matter, Steven Erlanger and Jane Perlez, Dec. 21, 2018. The U.S. is withdrawing about 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. This, and the resignation, are being viewed as watershed moments for allies in Europe and Asia.

America’s allies in Europe and Asia thought they had learned to digest and compensate for the instinctive unpredictability of President Trump. But the bitter resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the abrupt announcement of plans to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan are being viewed as watershed moments for Washington’s relations with the world.

Dec. 20

Attorney General Bill Barr and Vice President Dan Quayle with President George H. W. Bush. (Source: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

Attorney General Bill Barr and Vice President Dan Quayle with President George H. W. Bush. (Source: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

Lawfare, Bill Barr’s Very Strange Memo on Obstruction of Justice, Mikhaila Fogel and Benjamin Wittes, Dec. 20, 2018. The memo on obstruction of justice by Bill Barr, the once and future attorney general, is a bizarre document—particularly so for a man who would supervise the investigation it criticizes.

As the Wall Street Journal first reported, Barr, whom the president has nominated to succeed Jeff Sessions as attorney general, sent the unsolicited memo—dated June 8, 2018—to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to offer his view of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible obstruction of justice by the president. The document elicited questions over whether Barr would need to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation as attorney general, along with outrage from congressional Democrats: both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking member on the Senate intelligence committee, have demanded that Trump withdraw Barr’s nomination. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary described the memo as “troubling.”

But the legal quality of the memo itself is a different question. Over at Just Security, Marty Lederman has what he describes as a “first take” on Barr’s memo, which is to say a detailed critique of it on both constitutional and statutory grounds. On National Review’s website, by contrast, Andrew McCarthy declares the memo a “commendable piece of lawyering” and “exactly what we need and should want in an attorney general of the United States.”

Whatever Barr’s memo is, it is not that. Because whether one agrees with his view of the law (as does McCarthy) or recoils at it (as does Lederman), one thing attorneys general of the United States should certainly not do is make up facts. And ironically for a memo laying out the argument that Bob Mueller has made up a crime to investigate, the document is based entirely on made-up facts.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Memo and a Recusal Decision Underscore Potential Threats to the Mueller Inquiry, Charlie Savage and Katie Benner, Dec. 20, 2018. Matthew G. Whitaker, who was installed last month as acting attorney general by President Trump, has cleared himself to supervise the special counsel’s investigation, rejecting the recommendation of career Justice Department ethics specialists that he recuse himself, according to a letter the department sent to Senate leaders on Thursday night.

The development came soon after the disclosure that the president’s nominee for attorney general, William P. Barr, had written a memo this spring in which he strongly criticized one of the main lines of inquiry by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III — whether Mr. Trump had committed obstruction of justice. Disclosure of the memo raised questions about whether Mr. Barr would order Mr. Mueller to shut down that component of the inquiry if the Senate confirmed him.

Together, the developments underscored the potential threats to Mr. Mueller’s ability to complete his work without interference at a time when his inquiry appears to be drawing closer to the White House and the president’s most trusted associates.

NBC News, Mueller may submit report to attorney general as soon as mid-February, say sources, Pete Williams and Ken Dilanian, Dec. 20, 2018. nbc news logoMueller may submit report to attorney general as soon as mid-February, say sources. "They clearly are tying up loose ends," said a lawyer who has been in contact with the Mueller team. Where the Mueller investigation stands and what may be coming next.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is nearing the end of his historic investigation into Russian election interference and is expected to submit a confidential report to the attorney general as early as mid-February, government officials and others familiar with the situation tell NBC News.

"They clearly are tying up loose ends," said a lawyer who has been in contact with the Mueller team.

robert mueller kit fox medill flickr croppedThe sources either did not know or would not say whether Mueller, right, has answered the fundamental question he was hired to investigate: Whether Trump or anyone around him conspired with the Russian intelligence operations to help his campaign.

Mueller has not made public any evidence proving such a conspiracy, though he has rebutted in court filings the president's assertion that neither he nor any of his top aides had met or talked with Russians during the 2016 race. They did, according to Mueller; and, in the case of his lawyer's negotiations over a Trump Tower in Moscow, Trump knew about it, court filings say.

Mueller has also examined the question whether the president obstructed justice, and is expected to address that matter in his report. Whether the special counsel will accuse the president of wrongdoing on that score is unclear.

Defense Secretary Resigns

ny times logoNew York Times, Jim Mattis, Marine General Turned Defense Secretary, Helene Cooper, Dec. 20, 2018. Will Leave Pentagon in February. Jim Mattis, the four-star Marine general turned defense secretary, will retire at the end of February, President Trump said on Thursday.

Mr. Mattis’ departure comes a day after the president announced his decision to withdraw 2,000 American troops from Syria over the objections of senior military officials.

His departure leaves the Trump administration without one of the few officials viewed as standing between a mercurial president and global tumult.

james mattis owashington post logoWashington Post, Mattis, once one of ‘my generals,’ loses clout with Trump, Anne Gearan and Josh Dawsey, Dec. 20, 2018 (print edition). President Trump’s move to pull all U.S. troops from Syria is a clear rebuke of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, right, who has been repeatedly overruled in recent months and left out of key discussions.

Justice Expert Urges Whitaker Recusal

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Dept. ethics official told Whitaker’s team he should recuse from Mueller probe, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky​,  Earlier, a department official had said the ethics office advised acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker he need not step aside. Hours later, people familiar with the situation disclosed that a senior ethics official told Whitaker advisers that he should recuse to avoid the appearance of a conflict.

matthew whitaker agA senior Justice Department ethics official concluded acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker, left, should recuse from overseeing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe examining President Trump, but advisers to Whitaker recommended the opposite and he has no plans to step aside, according to people familiar with the matter.

The latest account of what happened underscores the high stakes and deep distrust — within Congress and in some corners of the Justice Department — surrounding Whitaker’s appointment to become the nation’s top law enforcement official until the Senate votes on the nomination of William P. Barr to take the job.

Earlier Thursday, a different official, who spoke on the condition they not be named, said ethics officials had advised Whitaker need not step aside, only to retract that account hours later.

Syrian Decision

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump defends Syria decision amid backlash from lawmakers, fresh praise from Putin, John Wagner​, Dec. 20, 2018. The president said it was time for others to step up against the Islamic State and other hostile forces.

Department of Defense SealIn morning tweets, Trump selectively quoted lawmakers and political pundits who agreed with him and argued that the withdrawal was the fulfillment of a campaign pledge and that the United States should not play the role of “Policeman of the Middle East.”

“Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer,” Trump said in his tweets, adding: “Do we want to be there forever?”

More On Syria Pullout

Moon of Alabama, Opinion: Why Trump Decided To Remove U.S. Troops From Syria, b, Dec. 20, 2018. ("b" is the pen-name for a German national blogger on global affairs who often focuses on the Middle East.) Last Friday, President Trump had another long phonecall with the Turkish President Erdogan. Thereafter he overruled all his advisors and decided to remove the U.S. boots from Syria and to also end the air war.

This was the first time Trump took a decisive stand against the borg, the permanent neoconservative and interventionist establishment in his administration, the military and congress, that usually dictates U.S. foreign policy. It was this decision, and that he stuck to it, which finally made him presidential.

mike pompeo portraitTrump's National Security Advisor John Bolton, his Secretary of Defense 'mad dog' Mattis and his Secretary of State Pompeo (right) were all against this decision. The specialist working on Syria, the lunatic (vid) special representative for Syria engagement James Jefferey and Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, were taken by surprise. They had worked diligently to install a permanent U.S. presence in a Kurdish ruled proxy state in northeast Syria.

While these people first tried to change Trump's decision, their resistance has now ceased. “The push back from DOD, State and NSC stopped [Tuesday] night,” said one regional expert who consults with the US administration, referring to the Department of Defense, the State Department and the National Security Council.

Back in January we already explained why the neoconservative project of a Kurdish proxy state in northeast Syria was doomed from its start:

In this new big game Syria's northeast is just a sideshow and not worth a significant involvement. Trump decided that to prevent Turkey from leaving NATO, and from joining a deeper alliance with Russia, China and Iran, was more important than to further fool around at the margins of the Middle East. It is the right decision.

Media / Suspected Trafficking

sacha baron cohen as gio monaldo in who is america

Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Gio Monaldo (Showtime)

Newsweek, Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’ deleted scene may have exposed elite, Andrew Whalen, Dec. 20, 2018. In Sacha Baron newsweek logoCohen’s latest series, Who Is America?, the character comedian and provocateur nudged former and current Republican members of Congress into endorsing armed kindergartners, revealed anti-Muslim racism and got Dick Cheney to autograph a waterboarding kit. But there was one scene the Showtime series captured on camera that was too dark and extreme, even for Baron Cohen.

In a new interview with Deadline, Baron Cohen describes how the election of Donald Trump inspired him to get back into costume (“I realized, I have to do something else to deal with this kind of anger and total disgust at what was going on”) and explained the agonizing detail that went into fictional characters like former Mossad agent Erran Morad and far-right conspiracy theorist Billy Wayne Ruddick.

Along the way, Baron Cohen was astounded by the increase in open American racism. “When we were shooting Borat, if somebody said something anti-Semitic or homophobic, we were surprised and we knew that it would make the cut,” Baron Cohen told Deadline. “Now, going out all these years later, you realize that the political dialogue that’s come from the top has made an extremely negative impact on other politicians and to the populace. People are saying things that they never would have dreamed of saying publicly, prior to Trump.”

The interview also gives some new insight into how Baron Cohen gained Cheney’s confidence. “I think he felt happy and almost excited to sit in a room next to my character, because I had done the one thing that he hadn’t actually done. He’d ordered people to be killed but he never actually killed someone with his bare hands,” Baron Cohen said. “It’s a bit like a virgin sitting next to a womanizer and being enamored by them.”

But more than Cheney or the man he convinced to “murder” three people at the Women’s March (the interview subject triggered a fictional bomb), Baron Cohen’s most shocking encounter came when, in character as Italian playboy Gio Monaldo, he convinced a concierge to help him find an underaged boy to molest.

“We wanted to investigate how does someone like Harvey Weinstein gets away with doing what…get away with criminality, essentially. And the network that surrounds him. We decided that Gio would interview a concierge in Las Vegas,” Baron Cohen describes.

During the interview, believing the admission would drive the concierge from the room, Baron Cohen, as Gio, reveals that he’s molested an eight-year-old boy.

“This guy starts advising Gio how to get rid of this issue. We even at one point talk about murdering the boy, and the concierge is just saying, ‘well, listen, I’m really sorry. In this country, we can’t just drown the boy. This is America we don’t do that,’” Baron Cohen describes.

After the concierge offers to put Gio in touch with a lawyer who can help “silence the boy,” Baron Cohen asked for his help securing a date for the night.

“He says, ‘what do you mean, a date?’ I go, you know, like a young man. He says, ‘well, what kind of age?’ I say, lower than Bar Mitzvah but older than eight. And he says, ‘yeah, I can put you in touch with somebody who can get you some boys like that.’”

Rather than airing the segment, Baron Cohen and his production team turned the footage over to the FBI, “because we thought, perhaps alexander acosta labor othere’s a pedophile ring in Las Vegas that’s operating for these very wealthy men. And this concierge had said that he’d worked for politicians and various billionaires.”

While Baron Cohen judged the interview too “dark” and “extreme” to be included in the show, it’s a revealing look at how the powerful can get away with decades-long sexual abuse, including pedophile sexual abuse, such as in the massive cover-up of the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein, orchestrated by President Trump’s Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, right.

Dec. 19

More Facebook Scandal

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Facebook Gave Tech Giants More Intrusive Data Access Than It Disclosed, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Michael LaForgia and Nicholas Confessore, Dec. 19, 2018 (print edition). Internal records show that the social network had arrangements with Microsoft, Amazon and others, effectively exempting some partners from its usual privacy rules. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is shown in a file photo.

facebook logoFor years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews.

The special arrangements are detailed in hundreds of pages of Facebook documents obtained by The New York Times. The records, generated in 2017 by the company’s internal system for tracking partnerships, provide the most complete picture yet mark zuckerberg G8 summit deauville wof the social network’s data-sharing practices. They also underscore how personal data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age, traded on a vast scale by some of the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley and beyond.

The exchange was intended to benefit everyone. Pushing for explosive growth, Facebook got more users, lifting its advertising revenue. Partner companies acquired features to make their products more attractive. Facebook users connected with friends across different devices and websites. But Facebook also assumed extraordinary power over the personal information of its 2.2 billion users — control it has wielded with little transparency or outside oversight.

Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.

washington post logocambridge analytica facebook logosWashington Post, D.C. attorney general sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Tony Romm, Craig Timberg and Aaron C. Davis, Dec. 19, 2018. The lawsuit marks the first major effort by U.S. regulators to penalize the social media giant for its entanglement with the firm.

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U.S. forces conducted a precision airstrike near Sarmada in northwest Syria Nov. 18 that Pentagon says killed a senior al-Qaida leader. (Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

Consortium News, Opinion: Don’t Hold Your Breath on US Troop Withdrawal from Syria, Patrick Lawrence, Dec. 19, 2018. It would be nice to think the president has final say on foreign policy, given the U.S. Constitution. But the misleading troop withdrawal announcement, followed by Trump’s boastful tweet, suggests the exact opposite.

The announcement on Wednesday that the U.S. will withdraw all remaining troops from Syria within the next month looked at first like a rare victory for Donald Trump in his admittedly erratic opposition to senseless wars of adventure. “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there,” the president tweeted with an unmistakable air of triumph.

Don’t get your hopes up. Just about everything in these initial reports is either wrong or misleading. One, the U.S. did not defeat the Islamic State: The Syrian Arab Army, aided by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah militias did. Two, hardly was ISIS the only reason the U.S. has maintained a presence in Syria. The intent for years was to support a coup against the Assad government in Damascus—in part by training and equipping jihadists often allied with ISIS. For at least the past six months, the U.S. military’s intent in Syria has been to counter Iranian influence.

Last and hardly least, the U.S. is not closing down its military presence in Syria. It is digging in for an indefinite period, making Raqqa the equivalent of the Green Zone in Baghdad. By the official count, there are 503 U.S. troops stationed in the Islamic State’s former capital. Unofficially, according to The Washington Post and other press reports, the figure is closer to 4,000—twice the number that is supposed to represent a “full withdrawal” from Syrian soil.

It would be nice to think Washington has at last accepted defeat in Syria, given it is preposterous to pretend otherwise any longer. Damascus is now well into its consolidation phase. Russia, Iran, and Turkey are currently working with Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s special envoy for Syria, to form a committee in January to begin drafting a new Syrian constitution.

It would also be nice to think the president and commander-in-chief has the final say in his administration’s policies overseas, given the constitution by which we are supposed to be governed. But the misleading announcement on the withdrawal of troops, followed by Trump’s boastful tweet, suggest something close to exactly the opposite.

As Trump finishes his second year in office, the pattern is plain: This president can have all the foreign policy ideas he wants, but the Pentagon, State, the intelligence apparatus, and the rest of what some call “the deep state” will either reverse, delay, or never implement any policy not to its liking.

U.S. Troops To Leave Syria

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. plans to pull troops from Syria immediately, official says, Missy Ryan​, Dec. 19, 2018. The Trump administration is planning to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria, a defense official said on Wednesday, as President Trump declared victory against the Islamic State. The president, in a message on Twitter, said the United States had "defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency."

 Department of Defense SealAmerican FlagHis statement came shortly after news organizations reported that the White House had made a decision on Tuesday to abruptly remove the entire U.S. force of more than 2,000 troops from Syria and end the extended American ground campaign against the Islamic State.

Trump has long promised to conclude the campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and has questioned the value of costly and dangerous military missions overseas. But U.S. troops, working alongside Syrian partner forces, have struggled to eradicate remaining pockets of militants in central Syria. An abrupt American withdrawal would raise questions about whether the militants would be more easily able to regain strength.

The unexpected White House move comes as tensions increase sharply with NATO ally Turkey, which has promised to launch a military offensive against the U.S. partner forces in Syria, which Ankara considers part of a Kurdish terrorist group. Losing their U.S. ground partner will be a major blow to the Syrian Kurdish forces.

Judge Stuns Flynn, Supporters

washington post logoWashington Post, Flynn’s sentencing delayed; judge tells ex-Trump adviser, ‘Arguably, you sold your country out,’ Spencer S. Hsu, Matt emmet sullivan 2012Zapotosky and Carol D. Leonnig​, Dec. 19, 2018 (print edition). The judge said he could not guarantee he would spare Michael Flynn from prison — a stunning development as it had appeared that President Trump's former national security adviser would be able to avoid time behind bars for lying to the FBI. Related story: The Fix: Trump backers just had their anti-Mueller hopes dashed.

A federal judge on Tuesday postponed the sentencing for Michael Flynn after he lambasted President Trump’s former national security adviser for trying to undermine his own country and said he could not guarantee he would spare Flynn from prison.

The stunning development means that Flynn will have to be sentenced at a later date, when he can possibly convince a judge more thoroughly of how his cooperation has benefited law enforcement.

Flynn’s attorneys asked for the delay after U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (right) accused Flynn of acting as “an unregistered agent of a foreign country, while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States” — an allegation he later walked back. Sullivan granted the request and asked for a status report in 90 days, though he said he was “not making any promises” that he would view the matter differently in three months.

After reviewing some of the allegations against Flynn, including that he worked to advance the interests of the Turkish government in the United States during the 2016 presidential campaign, the judge pointed to an American flag behind him in the courtroom and said heatedly, “Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably you sold your country out.

“The court’s going to consider that,” the judge said. “I cannot assure you, if you proceed today, you will not receive a sentence of incarceration.”

Flynn, standing straight and flanked by attorneys on either side, looked shaken, his jaw clenched. Sullivan declared a recess to let Flynn consider whether he wanted to proceed and let the judge impose a punishment, or to delay and cooperate more with the special counsel in hopes of leniency.

Deep State Perspectives

Midnight Writer News Podcast, 'Presidential Puppetry' with Andrew Kreig, Host S.T. Patrick, Dec. 19, 2018 (Episode 105). Andrew Kreig, the midnight writer news st patrickdirector of the Justice Integrity Project and the author of Presidential Puppetry, joins S.T. Patrick to discuss presidential politics of the last 40 years. What should we have known about George H.W. Bush, Bill & Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, John Kerry, John Edwards, and John McCain?

Kreig takes a non-partisan approach to dissecting the pros, cons, misdeeds, and motivations of American presidential and vice-presidential candidates, dating back decades. In the interview, Kreig covers the Bush dynasty, why Reagan chose Bush in 1980, presidential puppetry 2Bush and the October Surprise, the Willie Horton ad, The Election of 1992, Ross Perot’s deficiencies, what Fletcher Prouty still teaches us, the legitimacy of Bob Dole’s 1996 nomination, the value of Jack Kemp, Bush v Gore, The Two Johns: Kerry & Edwards, the real John McCain, and much more.

Kreig also discusses current events with us, including the Corsi/Stone vs Mueller situation and the unbelievable resolution of the Jeffery Epstein trial in Palm Beach. Andrew Kreig can be read and followed at the Justice Integrity Project.

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Change of Official Enemies under George H.W. Bush, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Dec. 19, 2018. Missing from all the accolades heaped on former President H.W. Bush, who passed away a few weeks ago, was the fact that Bush presided over the jacob hornberger headshotbiggest transition of official enemies of our country in the 70-year-old history of the U.S. national-security state.

From the time the U.S. government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state after World War II, the official enemy of the United States was the Soviet Union, a confederation of nations led by Russia. The reason given for selecting the Soviet Union as America’s official enemy was that it was led by a communist regime that was supposedly hell-bent on conquering and ruling the world, including the United States.

Not surprisingly, during the 45 years of the Cold War, the tax-funded largess flowed into the coffers of the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI. No amount of tax-money largess was too much to prevent America from falling to the Reds.

In 1989, however, the Soviet Union suddenly and unexpectedly declared an end to the Cold War. In 1989, the U.S. national-security establishment lost its official enemy, and it was panicked. It knew that it needed an official enemy to keep Americans scared. If Americans weren’t scared of some official enemy, they might start asking an uncomfortable question: Why do we need a national-security state and why can’t we have our limited-government republic back?

george hw bush HRThat’s when H.W. came to the rescue. When Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait to settle an oil-drilling dispute, Bush declared that the United States now had a new official enemy, one who Bush and his national-security establishment said was as another Adolf Hitler. Amidst much pomp, fanfare, and fear, Bush ordered his army to invade Iraq to reverse Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.

But Bush stopped short of removing Saddam from power, which enabled the U.S. national-security establishment to have a new official enemy for the next 11 years. “Saddam! Saddam! Saddam!” That’s all that Americans exclaimed during the entire 1990s. U.S. officials made certain that Americans were convinced that Saddam was coming to get them, especially with mustard gas, Anthrax, mushroom clouds, and other weapons of mass destruction. Americans were as afraid of Saddam as they had been of the communists.

Of course, in the process everyone forgot that Saddam had been a close partner and ally of the Pentagon and the CIA during the 1980s, when they were partnering together to kill Iranians in the Iran-Iraq War. Everyone also forgot that it was the United States that furnished Saddam with those WMDs in the first place, so that he could kill Iranians with them.

Dec. 18

9-11 Truth Analyzed On Radio

steve bhaerman wiki politiki

Wiki Politiki, The Latest REAL News on the 9/11 Attacks and Finding Truth in a Sea of Lies, Steve Bhaerman, 5 p.m., Dec. 18, 2018. An Interview with Andrew Kreig, Author, Attorney, Broadcaster and Founder of the Justice Integrity Project. Did you know that In a letter dated November 7, 2018, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York notified the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry that he would comply with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3332 requiring him to present to a special grand jury the Lawyers’ Committee’s reports filed earlier this year of unprosecuted federal crimes at the World Trade Center?

You didn’t? That’s because mainstream media makes it its business to insure that anything that points to the nefarious doings of the real deep state is “none of its business.” The misinformation, disinformation and missing information that pollute corporate news have created the perfect field for “real” fake news to flourish.

Which is why this latest development might be a genuine breakthrough. It means a 23-member grand jury, vested with subpoena power and the authority to take sworn testimony, will hear the voluminous evidence of the World Trade Center’s demolition and will have the ability to conduct a thorough investigation that could result in indictments against suspected individuals — in other words, what the 9/11 Truth Movement has been working toward for 17 years.

Our guest this week on Wiki Politiki, journalist and author Andrew Kreig (pronounced “Craig”) will discuss his own involvement with the Lawyers Committee, as well as his work through his own organization, the Justice Integrity Project.

Visit Justice Integrity, and you will find a refreshingly broad, transpartisan and bluntly truthful site that isn’t afraid to take on both the deep state and the Trumpist disinfo machine. Their mission is “to report misconduct, primarily in the justice and political systems, that harms individuals, communities and democratic values. The project is non-partisan and supported by advertising revenue and paid subscriptions.”

Dec. 16

The 5th Estate, Poppy Bush's Seed and Bitter Harvest: Half Truths / History (Part 4), Andrew Kreig, Dec. 16, 2018. The major American news organizations whitewashed the life and legacy of President George H. W. Bush. The 5th Estate, published by the courageous editor Robert Finnegan for a global readership, helps sets the record straight by here republishing in the four-part series "George H.W. Bush: Poppy's Seed and Bitter Harvest" drawn from 2015 updated edition of Presidential Puppetry by Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig.

The segment below, Part 4, covers presidential decision-making involving hoked up excuses for the first Iraq War; the Reagan-Bush domestic program of deregulation that helped enable fat cats (including one Bush son) to game the system during the Savings & Loan scandal; and an overall historical assessment. See also the three earlier segments on the 5th Estate about Bush, a former CIA director whose sinister family ties date back two generations from his own secretive and history-making roles before his presidency.

Dec. 10

Covert Action Magazine, William Blum, Renowned U.S. Foreign Policy Critic, Dead at 85, Chris Agee and Louis Wolf, Dec. 9, 2018. William Blum (1933 – 2018) died in Virginia early william blumthis morning on December 9, 2018. He was surrounded by friends and family after falling in his Washtington D.C. apartment and sustaining serious wounds 65 days ago. He was 85 years old.

Bill was born March 6, 1933 at Beth Moses Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. and became an American author, historian, and critic of United States foreign policy. He worked in a computer-related position at the United States Department of State in the mid-1960s. Initially an anti-communist with dreams of becoming a foreign service officer, he became disillusioned by the Vietnam War.

Blum left the State Department in 1967 and became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first “alternative” newspaper in the capital. In 1969, he wrote and published an exposé of the CIA in which were revealed the names and addresses of more than 200 CIA employees.

He worked as freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America. In 1972–1973 Blum worked as a journalist in Chile where he reported on the Allende government’s “socialist experiment.” Its overthrow in a CIA designed coup instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various corners of the world.

GregPalast.com, Bush Sr. Made a Killing – 50 Miners Buried Alive, Greg Palast, Dec. 10, 2018. While pundits were falling all over themselves spewing about the “civility” of the patrician George H. W. Bush, l must honor the memory of those 50 men who were buried alive in a gold field in Africa so Bush Sr. could cash in.

Dec. 7

george hw bush inauguration

Chief Justice William Rehnquist swears in President George H. W. Bush in 1989 as Barbara Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle (above her) look on.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Bush 41: The Triumph of Manners Over Truth, Jeff Schechtman, Dec. 7, 2018. Russ Baker looks into the telltale heart of George H.W. Bush and the real (and tragically under-investigated) legacy of the Bush family. While President Donald Trump has used truculence, bluster, populism, and manufactured division to hide the true nature of his agenda, George Herbert Walker Bush used manners, civility, and grace to hide the truth of his and his family’s agenda.

Both are very similar in their objectives. Both have enabled the continued transfer of wealth to the upper echelons of society. Both have sought to protect the interests of corporations and rich friends. But as we witnessed this week, Bush and the Bush family were far more effective with honey than with vinegar.

To wrap up this week of seemingly non-stop hagiographic coverage of George H.W. Bush, Jeff Schechtman talks with Russ Baker about the Bush family and Baker’s blockbuster book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.

Dec. 6

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: The laughable fraud called "Pizzagate" diverts from actual child trafficking tied to Trump, Wayne Madsen (investigative reporter, author and former Navy intelligence officer), Dec. 6, 2018 (subscription required). Trump and his cronies are involved in covering up an international sex trafficking ring involving underage girls and boys.

Dec. 4

Down With Tyranny! Manafort Revelations Show Trump Team Crime, Legacy Of Injustice, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 4, 2018. Among the remarkable Mueller probe revelations last week was the claim that attorneys for former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort have been sharing confidential information about the special counsel’s investigation with the legal team of “Individual 1,” aka President Trump.

The New York Times broke the main story electronically on Nov. 27 under the headline, Manafort’s Lawyer Is Said to Have Briefed Trump Team on Mueller Talks. Reporters Michael S. Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere and Maggie Haberman wrote:

The controversy illustrates continuing tension between the federal enforcement “community” and the opportunists (or worse) who operate within the justice system or on its fringes. Such conflicts are especially important and outrageous as the Trump administration draws upon some of the very worst Bush administration attorneys.

Among the many such shocking situations, this column focuses on three such officials who have become extremely prominent and otherwise newsworthy, in part because of their ties to President Trump and his team.

• Manafort’s lead defense attorney, Kevin Downing, is a former senior litigator within the Justice Department’s tax fraud section, which missed a series of colossal tax frauds, including by Downing’s future client Manafort. Downing reportedly is also one of the attorneys involved in the liaison with the Trump White House that the New York Times reported last week;

• U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta as U.S. attorney for Miami in the Bush administration was involved both in major tax fraud cover-ups and also in whitewashing the federal-state prosecution of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein is a Trump friend and neighbor who is back in the news this week with the beginning of a major defamation trial in West Palm Beach, Florida; and

• Our third Bush-era former Justice Department official is Matthew Whitaker, whom Trump named as acting attorney general after Whitaker tried out for the job by arguing on cable news shows that Mueller’s investigation are excessive and unwarranted. Whitaker’s career includes a stint as a Bush-appointed U.S. attorney for Northern Iowa, where he vigorously prosecuted one of his political enemies whom a jury acquitted in just two hours.

george hw bush cia director after assassinations in Beirut june17 1976 NARA wh photo

CIA Director George H.W. Bush hears a briefing in 1976 on June 17 following the assassination of two Americans in Lebanon (David Kennerly photo now with the National Archives)

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Truthout, Opinion: George H.W. Bush Empowered Atrocity Abroad and Fascists at Home, William Rivers Pitt, Dec. 4, 2018. The television spent the entire weekend reminding me that George Herbert Walker Bush loved his country, his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren, his dog, the city of Houston, the town of Kennebunkport, baseball, football, golf and so very much else besides.

Our 41st US president, the talking heads assured me, was a veritable ocean of love. The newspaper folks did their part to paint this picture, as well; stealing a leaf from Jesus of Nazareth over the weekend, Bush Sr. died and rose again on the warm updraft of early 1990s B-roll footage and gushing headlines from all corners of the country.

The hagiography festival made a particularly grand to-do about the fact that George H.W. Bush was president when the Cold War ended. What the glowing obituaries obscured, however, was that Bush Sr. was a Cold Warrior of the first order, actively involved in a number of genuine atrocities that spanned the globe.

Most of Bush Sr.’s biography has been well documented for good and ill, but his time at the helm of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is seldom discussed in this hemisphere. He spent only a year in that job, but it was one of the bloodiest years South America has ever known. Fifteen years later, he personally, if inadvertently, opened the door for the proto-fascist takeover of his own party. Those two tales, combined with some other dark chapters of Bush Sr.’s life, frame a career in power and politics that did damage most everywhere it went.

CIA LogoAs director of the CIA from 1976 to 1977, Bush Sr. was an integral part of a US government covert terrorism/torture program in South America. Known as Operation Condor by the participants, the program was aimed at destroying left-leaning governments and organizations they feared might come to support the Soviet Union. Forty years later, the horror and chaos unleashed by Operation Condor still plagues that region, and is a fair explanation for why massive caravans of asylum-seeking migrants continue to arrive at the US-Mexico border.

Documents that were recently declassified reveal that the “Dirty War” in Argentina, the Augusto Pinochet regime in Chile, Alfredo Stoessner’s dictatorship in Paraguay and other atrocities across the continent were actively supported by the US government. Thousands of leftist peasants, union leaders, teachers, students, priests, and nuns were slaughtered, imprisoned and tortured, and George Herbert Walker Bush went to work every day at CIA headquarters to make sure it happened.

Many years later, when Bush Sr. rose to accept the Republican nomination for president in 1988, he made a fateful promise. “Read my lips,” he told the enthusiastic crowd, “no new taxes.” He broke that pledge in 1990, and in doing so dropped an atomic bomb on politics in the United States. Breaking that pledge infuriated the conservative wing of his party, which was deeply suspicious of Bush’s internationalist leanings to begin with.

The fascist upswelling that came in the wake of his broken campaign promise is as much a part of Bush Sr.’s legacy as the crisis at the southern border. Operation Condor happened even though the TV people this weekend chose to leave it off the script. The GOP’s neo-fascist twist erupted during Sr.’s administration. Both are side effects of the Cold War that will be with us for many years to come, and deserve their own wing in Bush Sr.’s library down in College Station.

Dec. 3

Washington Post, Opinion: Bush practiced a CIA omerta that may have died with him, Tim Weiner, Dec. 3, 2018.  It was his spy service, right or wrong, and he protected it at all costs. George H.W. Bush loved the CIA. It was “part of my heartbeat,” he once said. He was the only president who ever ran the agency, and the last president who truly believed in its Cold War code: Admit nothing, deny everything.

CIA LogoThe wall of silence cracked during the administration of Bush’s successor, Bill Clinton, when the FBI’s arrest of Aldrich Ames, a Russian mole who went undetected by the CIA for nine years, led the agency’s directors to denounce systemic flaws in the CIA’s integrity. The wall crumbled when the 9/11 Commission disclosed the CIA’s dead-wrong reporting on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a false case for a brutal war led by Bush’s son. By the time reporters brought to light the CIA’s secret prisons and its torture of terrorism suspects — the torture authorized by that son — the wall was dust.

Everything we know about the late president suggests that he might have been privately appalled by these failures of common law and common sense. But he never said anything — not in public. The CIA was his spy service, right or wrong. He protected it at all costs. Tim Weiner's reporting and writing on national security have won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He is the author of “Enemies: A History of the FBI” and “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.”

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washington post logoWashington Post, The Cuban spy and Watergate burglar who won a presidential pardon, Shane O’Sullivan, Dec. 3, 2018. How Cuba and the Kennedy assassination led to the pardon of Rolando Eugenio Martínez.

In anticipation of the Mueller report, political commentators and historians have drawn numerous parallels with Watergate and the impeachment proceedings against President Richard M. Nixon. A month after Nixon’s resignation in August 1974, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned him. But history has forgotten the only other man granted a presidential pardon for his role in the Watergate crimes, and why the pardon was given.

Watergate burglar Rolando Eugenio Martínez was a veteran of more than 300 infiltration missions into Cuba for the CIA during the secret war on Fidel Castro in the early 1960s. He was also the only Watergate burglar still on the agency’s payroll at the time of the break-in.

He was recruited for the Watergate operation by E. Howard Hunt, the former CIA liaison to the Cuban “government in exile” in Miami before the Bay of Pigs invasion. By the summer of 1971, Hunt had retired from the agency and taken up a new job as a security consultant for the Nixon White House.

Incensed by the publication of the Pentagon Papers, Nixon ordered a smear campaign against whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, so Hunt recruited Martínez and two other Cubans to break into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, Calif. Their goal? To find embarrassing secrets that could destroy Ellsberg’s reputation in the press. Hunt subsequently employed an expanded Cuban team to break into the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee in May and June 1972.

Amid rumors that Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern had financial support from Cuba, Hunt sent Martínez into DNC headquarters to find and photograph documentary evidence of collusion between Democrats and Castro. Martínez believed the Ellsberg and Watergate break-ins were “national security” operations being run through Hunt at the White House with the blessing of the CIA. After all, the agency was still paying Martínez a retainer of a hundred dollars a month to report on Cubans of intelligence interest arriving in Miami, and he had repeatedly told his case officer about his contact with Hunt.

Shane O’Sullivan is a documentary filmmaker, senior lecturer in filmmaking at Kingston University, London and author of the new book, “Dirty Tricks: Nixon, Watergate and the CIA."

Dec. 1

usa today logoUSA Today, George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. president and father of the 43rd, has died at age 94, Susan Page and Judy Keen, Nov. 30, 2018. George Herbert Walker Bush, george hw bush HRthe president who managed the end of the Cold War and forged a global coalition to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait, has died at age 94. In a political career that spanned three decades, he lost his bid for re-election, lived to see his son win the Oval Office and then, in a turn worthy of Shakespeare, died soon after Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years. He is shown in a 1989 official photo.

The death of Bush — nicknamed "41" to distinguish himself from son George W. Bush, "43" — was announced by spokesman Jim McGrath.

"Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died," his son, 43rd President George W. Bush, said in a state released by McGrath. "George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest charcater and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41's life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.

LewRockwell.com, Opinion: George Herbert Walker Bush, Charles Burris, Dec. 1, 2018. George H. W. Bush is dead. Regime journalists across the nation are scrambling to compose obituary prose concerning the late president. Here are hard cold facts which will not be included in such puerile accounts.

peter brewton“Former reporter for the Houston Post, Pete Brewton [right, now a professor of journalism and law at Texas Tech University], tells of one of the most momentous stories of the past 50 years and how it has been suppressed by the establishment media and the Congress. Pete’s book The Mafia, CIA and George Bush, shows the incredible complexity of the relationships in the operation of the destruction of hundreds of Savings and Loans at the hands of the CIA and the Mafia, stealing peter brewton bush mafia covermany billions of dollars in the process, and leaving the taxpayers to bailout the banks.

Big names at the state and national levels of power are involved, including Lloyd Bentsen, the Bush family, and power brokers in Houston. People such as Charles Keating and Don Dixon, who are mentioned prominently in the press in connection with the S & L debacle, were merely front men or “cutouts” for the main movers. Keating and his ilk only took millions; the CIA and the Mafia looted billions.”

In his classic book on power elite analysis, The Yankee and Cowboy War, researcher Carl Oglesby divided up the Post-WWII American ruling class into two internecine factions: the northeastern seaboard Yankees versus the Sunbelt nouveau riche Cowboys. The amazing political success of George Herbert Walker Bush was his uncanny ability to stand astride and have one foot firmly planted in each of these competing factions.

Essential to understanding the Bush legacy is the historical background of the 1980 October Surprise when key individuals of the Reagan/Bush campaign covertly met with top members of the Iranian government to prevent the release of the 55 Americans held hostage in Tehran before the November election, ensuring the defeat of Democrat incumbent Jimmy Carter. The hostages were released on the day Ronald Reagan took office. Critical arm shipments, materiel and military supplies soon began flowing to the Khomeini regime, years before the more widely known Iran-Contra Scandal, which almost brought down the Reagan administration.

Barbara Honegger worked as a researcher at the Hoover Institution before joining the Ronald Reagan administration as a researcher and policy analyst in 1980. She was the Director of the Attorney General’s Anti-Discrimination Law Review at the Department of Justice. After leaving Washington, she became the Senior Military Affairs Journalist for the barbara honeggerNaval Postgraduate School.

While working for Reagan, she discovered information that convinced her that George H. W. Bush and William Casey had conspired to make sure that Iran did not release the U.S. hostages until Jimmy Carter had been defeated in the 1980 presidential election.

In 1987, Honegger began leaking information to journalists about the Reagan administration.

However, it was not until Reagan left office that Honegger published October Surprise (1989). In her book, Honegger claimed that in 1980 William Casey and other representatives of the Reagan presidential campaign made a deal at two sets of meetings in July and August at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid with Iranians to delay the release of Americans held hostage in Iran until after the November 1980 presidential elections. Reagan’s aides promised that they would get a better deal if they waited until Carter was defeated.

russ baker cover CustomFor more on the sordid backstory of epic criminality of Bush see the following volumes:

The Mafia, CIA & George Bush, by Pete Brewton; Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, The Powerful Forces That Put It In The White House, And What Their Influence Means For America, by Russ Baker; American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, by Kevin Phillips; peter dale scottSecrecy And Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, by Robert Parry; American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan, by Peter Dale Scott (shown at right); Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA, by Terry Reed and John Cummings; and The Iran Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era, by Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter.

[See also: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Griffin Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin.]

george hw bush george w bush 2001

ny times logoNew York Times, George H.W. Bush, Who Steered Nation Through Turbulent Era, Dies at 94, Adam Nagourney, Dec. 1, 2018 (print edition). Mr. Bush, a Republican, was the 41st president of the United States and the father of the 43rd [shown together above in a 2001 photo in the White House Oval Officie]. He was the last of the World War II generation to occupy the Oval Office. His one-term presidency during the tumultuous period at the end of the Cold War capped four decades in public service.

Mr. Bush had a form of Parkinson’s disease that forced him to use a wheelchair or motorized scooter in recent years, and he had been in and out of hospitals during that time as his health declined. In April, a day after attending Mrs. Bush’s funeral, he was treated for an infection that had spread to his blood. In 2013, he was in dire enough shape with bronchitis that former President George W. Bush, his son, solicited ideas for a eulogy.

But he proved resilient each time. In 2013 he told well-wishers, through an aide, to “put the harps back in the closet.”

Roll Call, A Life in Photos: George H.W. Bush, Gillian Roberts, Dec 1, 2018. The 41st president died Friday at 94. George H.W. Bush died Friday at 94. The 41st president — and 43rd vice president, and onetime congressman, CIA director, United Nations ambassador, Republican National Committee chairman, oil tycoon and World War II naval pilot — was also father to the 43rd president, George W. Bush.

The younger Bush in a statement Friday remembered Bush Sr. as “a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for.”

Roll Call delved into its archives to remember the former president’s days in D.C.

Mueller Probe

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Mueller Exposes the Culture of Lying That Surrounds Trump, Sharon LaFraniere, Dec. 1, 2018. The president has demanded loyalty of advisers, including an embrace of his habitual boasts, misstatements and outright falsehoods; Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, asked a judge that he be allowed to avoid prison when he is sentenced.

When Michael D. Cohen admitted this past week to lying to Congress about a Russian business deal, he said he had testified falsely out of loyalty to President Trump. When he admitted this summer to lying on campaign finance records about payments to cover up a sex scandal during the campaign, he said it was at Mr. Trump’s direction.

paul manafort mugPaul Manafort, left, and Rick Gates, former senior Trump campaign officials, lied to cover up financial fraud. George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide, lied in hopes of landing an administration job. And Michael T. Flynn, another adviser, lied about his interactions with a Russian official and about other matters for reasons that remain unclear.

robert mueller kit fox medill flickr croppedIf the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, right, has proved anything in his 18-month-long investigation — besides how intensely Russia meddled in an American presidential election — it is that Mr. Trump surrounded himself throughout 2016 and early 2017 with people to whom lying seemed to be second nature.

They lied to federal authorities even when they had lawyers advising them, even when the risk of getting caught was high and even when the consequences for them were dire.

LewRockwell.com, Opinion: George Herbert Walker Bush, Charles Burris, Dec. 1, 2018. George H. W. Bush is dead. Regime journalists across the nation are scrambling to compose obituary prose concerning the late president. Here are hard cold facts which will not be included in such puerile accounts.

“Former reporter for the Houston Post, Pete Brewton tells of one of the most momentous stories of the past 50 years and how it has been suppressed by the establishment media and the Congress. Pete’s book The Mafia, CIA and George Bush, shows the incredible complexity of the relationships in the operation of the destruction of hundreds of Savings and Loans at the hands of the CIA and the Mafia, stealing many billions of dollars in the process, and leaving the taxpayers to bailout the banks.

November

Nov. 28

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Roger Stone on C-SPAN

Lawfare, Opinion: Roger Stone’s ‘Time in the Barrel’: Campaign Dirty Tricks, Political Sabotage and the Law, Bob Bauer, Nov. 28, 2018. Bob Bauer served as White House Counsel to President Obama. In 2013, the President named Bob to be Co-Chair of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. He is a Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law, as well as the co-director of the university's Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic.

Roger Stone is pleased to be known as a campaign “dirty trickster.” A former Trump campaign aide and Republican operative, he has embraced his past as practitioner of the political dark arts. “One man’s dirty tricks,” he has said, are “another man’s political, civic action. He has warned that “Politics ain’t bean bag, and losers don’t legislate.” Going still further, he has articulated as one of his “rules” for success that “To win you must do everything.” Yet he has also insisted that, “Everything I do, everything I’ve ever done has been legal.”

This claim is now likely to be put to the test. News reports increasingly suggest that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is circling around Roger Stone and his associates in the Russia matter and that the legality of his “dirty tricks” is very much in question.

Stone’s argument that ”it’s all just politics” is close in kind to the First Amendment protection defenses that the Trump campaign has claimed it enjoys even if, as alleged, it had contacts with Russia and WikiLeaks. Like those defenses, Stone’s claims will be evaluated in the light of the still emerging but increasingly troubling facts of the campaign and its associates’ active connivance with the Russian cyber attack on the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign. As the Watergate prosecutions showed, dirty tricks pursued to sabotage an opposing campaign are very much a legal issue. They are not easily passed off as good old-fashioned hardball politics, the kind that “ain’t beanbag”—especially when, as in this case, the fellow tricksters are a foreign government and its agents.

Nov. 26

Feds Promise 9/11 Evidence Review

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Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, U.S. Attorney Agrees To Comply With Federal Law Requiring Submission To Special Grand Jury Of Report By Lawyers’ Committee and 9/11 Victim Family Members of Yet-To-Be- Prosecuted 9/11 Related Federal Crimes, Mick Harrison (Lawyers Committee litigation director), Nov. 26, 2018. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman (shown below at right) wrote on 7 November that his office will comply with the Lawyers’ Committee’s Petition.

geoffrey berman sdnyThe Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, a nonprofit public interest organization, announces its receipt of a letter from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in response to the Lawyers’ Committee’s April 10, 2018 Petition and July 30, 2018 Amended Petition demanding that the U.S. Attorney present to a Special Grand Jury extensive evidence of yet-to-be-prosecuted federal crimes relating to the destruction of three World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 (WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7).

The U.S. Attorney, in his November 7, 2018 letter to the Lawyers’ Committee, stated: “We have received and reviewed The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, Inc.’s submissions of April 10 and July 30, 2018. We will comply with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3332 as they relate to your submissions” (emphasis added).

The U.S. Attorney’s letter does not spell out the steps that will be taken to comply, but 18 U.S.C. § 3332 is clear as to what these steps must be.

This letter from the U.S. Attorney was signed by Michael Ferrara and Ilan Graff, Chiefs, Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. On November 24, 2018, the Lawyers’ Committee replied, thanking the U.S. Attorney and expressing support for a thorough inquiry into the crimes reported in the Lawyers’ Committee’s petitions.

911 world trade center creative commonsThe Lawyers’ Committee’s April 10th 52-page original Petition was accompanied by 57 exhibits and presented extensive evidence that explosives were used to destroy three WTC buildings. That evidence included independent scientific laboratory analysis of WTC dust samples showing the presence of high-tech explosives and/or incendiaries; numerous first-hand reports by First Responders of explosions at the WTC on 9/11; expert analysis of seismic evidence that explosions occurred at the WTC towers on 9/11 prior to the airplane impacts and prior to the building collapses; and expert analysis by architects, engineers, and scientists concluding that the rapid onset symmetrical near-free-fall acceleration collapse of three WTC high rise buildings on 9/11 exhibited the key characteristics of controlled demolition. The Lawyers’ Committee’s July 30th Amended Petition addresses several additional federal crimes beyond the federal bombing crime addressed in the original Petition. The Lawyers’ Committee concluded in the petitions that explosive and incendiary devices preplaced at the WTC were detonated causing the complete collapse of the WTC Twin Towers on 9/11 and increasing the tragic loss of life.

Attorney Mick Harrison, Litigation Director, stated: “The failure of our government to diligently investigate this disturbing evidence has contributed to the erosion of trust in our institutions. The Lawyers’ Committee felt it was out duty as public citizens to submit this evidence to the U.S. Attorney for submission to the Special Grand Jury.”

Attorney David Meiswinkle, President of the Lawyers’ Committee’s Board of Directors, stated: “We have offered to assist the U.S. Attorney in the presentation of this evidence to a Special Grand Jury. We have also requested that Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth provide us expert support in the hope that our organizations will be invited to make a joint presentation of relevant evidence to the Special Grand Jury.”

Attorney William Jacoby, Lawyers’ Committee Board Member, stated: “We call upon the public and legal community to contact us and support our efforts to contribute to this grand jury process and to monitor and ensure compliance by the Justice Department.”

Executive Director Ed Asner stated: “The U.S. Attorney’s decision to comply with the Special Grand Jury Statute regarding our petitions is an important step towards greater transparency and accountability regarding the tragic events of 9/11.”

Nov. 24

The Guardian, Opinion: If Trump is cornered, the judges he disdains may finally bring him down, Walter Shapiro, Nov. 24, 2018. The president thinks justice only matters as it affects him. As his defenders fall away, he may find this all too painfully true.

john roberts oA rational president, who had just bludgeoned Brett Kavanaugh onto the supreme court, would not jeopardize the long-awaited conservative majority by picking a fight with Chief Justice John Roberts, right. But rationality has never been Donald Trump’s strong suit when it comes to dealing with the judiciary.

Many phrases might describe Roberts’ 13 years as chief justice since he was appointed by George W Bush, but “hot-headed” is not among them. It presumably took dozens of provocations before he yielded to the temptation to instruct the president that with an independent judiciary, “we do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”

Trump’s concept of justice pivots around a simple question: “Is it good for me or bad for me?”

Nothing better illustrates Trump’s solipsistic approach to crime and punishment than the recent revelation by the New York Times that last spring he talked about ordering the justice department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey.

As he pursued such thuggish fantasies, it is possible Trump was influenced by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who had imprisoned hundreds of his political foes in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. (That, of course, was the more benevolent version of Prince Mohammed, before he became closely associated with a bone saw.)

In the American version of such a dragnet, you might see Robert Mueller confined to a room next to Elizabeth Warren with a couple of dozen recalcitrant federal judges down the hall. Of course, the incarcerated would be residing in a Trump hotel – and the president would be billing the federal government at inflated rates for its use.

The final line of defense of democratic values are judges and top law enforcement officials who answer to a higher loyalty than fealty to Trump. It would be both bracing and ironic if the president were ultimately thwarted by black-robed figures.

washington post logoWashington Post, In book, Trump allies call out government officials, alleging they are 'embedded enemies,' Philip Rucker​, Nov. 24, 2018. Two of the president’s longest-serving advisers allege in a new book that scores of officials inside the White House, Congress, the Justice Department and intelligence agencies are “embedded enemies of President Trump” working to stymie his agenda and delegitimize his presidency.

The authors, Corey R. Lewandowski and David N. Bossie, are both Republican operatives who do not work in the administration but are close to Trump and fashion themselves as his outside protectors. They portray the president as victim to disloyalty on his staff and “swamp creatures” intent on extinguishing his political movement.

Their book, Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency, which is being released Tuesday and was obtained in advance by The Washington Post, paints a dark and at times conspiratorial portrait of Trump’s Washington. The authors identify by name a number of Trump appointees who they claim have formed a “resistance” inside the government during the first two years of Trump’s presidency.

Lewandowski, the president’s former campaign manager, and Bossie, his former deputy campaign manager, enjoy personal relationships with Trump and traveled with him on campaign trips this year. But some White House aides are said to be suspicious of their motives and worry about them influencing the president — including Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, who routinely restricted their access to the West Wing, the authors write

Moon of Alabama, Investigative commentary: British Government Runs Secret Anti-Russian Smear Campaigns, b, Nov. 24, 2018. In 2015 the government of Britain launched a secret United Kingdom flagoperation to insert anti-Russia propaganda into the western media stream. We have already seen many consequences of this and similar programs which are designed to smear anyone who does not follow the anti-Russian government lines. The 'Russian collusion' smear campaign against Donald Trump based on the Steele dossier was also a largely British operation but seems to be part of a different project.

The 'Integrity Initiative' builds 'cluster' or contact groups of trusted journalists, military personal, academics and lobbyists within foreign countries. These people get alerts via social media to take action when the British center perceives a need.

On June 7 it took the Spanish cluster only a few hours to derail the appointment of Perto Banos as the Director of the National Security Department in Spain. The cluster determined that he had a too-positive view of Russia and launched a coordinated social media smear campaign (pdf) against him.

The Initiative and its operations were unveiled when someone liberated some of its documents, including its budget applications to the British Foreign Office, and posted them under the 'Anonymous' label at cyberguerrilla.org.

The Initiative is nominally run under the (government financed) non-government-organisation The Institute For Statecraft. Its internal handbook (pdf) describes its purpose:

The Integrity Initiative was set up in autumn 2015 by The Institute for Statecraft in cooperation with the Free University of Brussels (VUB) to bring to the attention of politicians, atlantic council logopolicy-makers, opinion leaders and other interested parties the threat posed by Russia to democratic institutions in the United Kingdom, across Europe and North America.

It lists Bellingcat and the Atlantic Council as "partner organisations" and promises that:

"Cluster members will be sent to educational sessions abroad to improve the technical competence of the cluster to deal with disinformation and strengthen bonds in the cluster community. [...] (Events with DFR Digital Sherlocks, Bellingcat, EuVsDisinfo, Buzzfeed, Irex, Detector Media, Stopfake, LT MOD Stratcom – add more names and propose cluster participants as you desire)."

The Initiatives Orwellian slogan is 'Defending Democracy Against Disinformation'. It covers European countries, the UK, the U.S. and Canada and seems to want to expand to the Middle East.

NATOOn its About page it claims: "We are not a government body but we do work with government departments and agencies who share our aims." The now published budget plans show that more than 95% of the Initiative's funding is coming directly from the British government, NATO and the U.S. State Department. All the 'contact persons' for creating 'clusters' in foreign countries are British embassy officers. It amounts to a foreign influence campaign by the British government that hides behind a 'civil society' NGO.

The organisation is led by one Chris N. Donnelly (shown in a Euromaidanpress photo) who receives £8,100 per month for creating the smear campaign chris donnelly via euromaidanpressnetwork.

The Initiative has a black-and-white view that is based on a "we are the good ones" illusion. When "we" 'educate the public' it is legitimate work. When others do similar, it its disinformation. That is of course not the reality. The Initiative's existence itself, created to secretly manipulate the public, is proof that such a view is wrong.

If its work were as legit as it wants to be seen, why would the Foreign Office run it from behind the curtain as an NGO? The Initiative is not the only such operation.

A look at the 'clusters' set up in U.S. and UK shows some prominent names. Members of the Atlantic Council, which has a contract to censor Facebook posts, appear on several cluster lists. The UK core cluster also includes some prominent names like tax fraudster William Browder, the daft Atlantic Council shill Ben Nimmo and the neo-conservative Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum.

state dept map logo SmallOne person of interest is Andrew Wood who handed the Steele 'dirty dossier' to Senator John McCain to smear Donald Trump over alleged relations with Russia. A separate subcluster of so-called journalists names Deborah Haynes, David Aaronovitch of the London Times, Neil Buckley from the FT and Jonathan Marcus of the BBC. The programme is proposed to run until at least March 2019, to ensure that the clusters established in each country have sufficient time to take root, find funding, and demonstrate their effectiveness. FCO funding for Phase 2 will enable the activities to be expanded in scale, reach and scope.

The budget plan includes a section that describes 'Risks' to the initiative. These include hacking of the Initiatives IT as well as: "Adverse publicity generated by Russia or by supporters of Russia in target countries, or by political and interest groups affected by the work of the programme, aimed at discrediting the programme or its participants, or to create political embarrassment."

We hope that this piece contributes to such embarrassment.

Nov. 22

john roberts twitter

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, nominated by GOP President George W. Bush (file photo)

washington post logoWashington Post, Rebuking Trump’s criticism of ‘Obama judge,’ Chief Justice Roberts defends judiciary as ‘independent,’ Felicia Sonmez, Nov. 22, 2018 (print edition). U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday issued an extraordinary statement in response to President Trump’s criticism of federal judges, one day after the president blamed an “Obama judge” for ruling against his administration’s ban on asylum for those who cross the border illegally.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said in a statement released the day before Thanksgiving. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”

“That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for,” the statement concluded.

On Tuesday, Trump had told reporters outside the White House that he would file a “major complaint” against the federal judge who temporarily blocked his administration from denying asylum to migrants who illegally cross the southern border. See below for related articles on immigration and the courts.

Nov. 21

JFK Assassination

jfk jeff morley james dieugenio russ baker 2018 whowhatwhy

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, JFK Assassination: Still Searching for Answers, Staff report, Nov. 21, 2018. It’s been 55 years since JFK was gunned down in Dallas. WhoWhatWhy founding editor Russ Baker and two other well-respected researchers, authors Jefferson Morley of JFKFacts.org and James DiEugenio of KennedysandKing.org, discuss what they’ve learned since then — and what remains in the shadows.

Fifty-five years ago President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. The widely accepted narrative for all these many decades is that he was murdered by lone-wolf gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Yet the evidence is overwhelming that there was at least one other shooter present in Dealey Plaza. Skeptical? There’s really only one piece of evidence you need to see in order to overcome your doubts.

Saudi Murder

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump Stands Up for Saudi Arabian Values, Editorial Board, Nov. 21, 2018 (print edition). He disregarded the C.I.A.’s conclusions and American values in swallowing the Saudi version of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

President Trump confirmed the harshest caricatures drawn by America’s most cynical critics on Tuesday when he portrayed its central objectives in the world as panting after money and narrow self-interest.

Ignoring the findings of the C.I.A., Mr. Trump said in a muddled statement released by the White House that, in effect, no matter how wrong the murder of the journalist Jamal mohammed bin salman al saudKhashoggi, no matter where true responsibility lay, he would not stand up to the Saudi regime. He would not take any chance of risking its supplies of money, oil and help in the Middle East by holding the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, right, accountable for the killing.

Roll Call, Corker: White House Like a ‘Public Relations Firm’ for Saudi Arabia, Griffin Connolly, Nov. 21, 2018. Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was “really astounded” by President Donald Trump’s apparent dismissal of U.S. intelligence assessments that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month.

bob corker closeup“I never thought I’d see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia,” Corker, shown in a file photo, said in statement on Twitter Tuesday, in response to a statement put out by the White House casting doubt on the Saudi government’s involvement in the journalist’s slaying.

Corker and Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on his committee, sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday to determine within 120 days whether bin Salman “is responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s murder.”

Corker indicated Tuesday that he was not remotely satisfied with the president’s statement that ran counter to the CIA’s claim that it has intelligence substantiating bin Salman’s involvement in Khashoggi’s killing.

“‘Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t’ won’t cut it,” Corker tweeted Tuesday. Trump has provided at least two reasons for his reticence to hold the Saudi government and the crown prince, to account: the military-industrial complex and oil.

Nov. 20

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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaiging in 2016 (Gage Skidmore photo)

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Wanted to Order Justice Dept. to Prosecute Comey and Clinton, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, Nov. 20, 2018. President Trump sought in the spring to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James B. Comey, but the White House counsel said the move could lead to impeachment.

The episode was a blatant example of how Mr. Trump saw the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be used against his political enemies.

james comey fbiPresident Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, shown at left, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, right, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request don mcgahn cato screengraban investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.

The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump read Mr. McGahn’s memo or whether he pursued the prosecutions further. But the president has continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey, according to two people who have spoken to Mr. Trump about the issue. He has also repeatedly expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton, calling him weak, one of the people said.

bill palmerPalmer Report, Commentary: Wait, Donald Trump tried to do WHAT to Hillary Clinton and James Comey? Bill Palmer, right, Nov. 20, 2018. Donald Trump sought the criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton and James Comey back in April of this year, and it’s just now becoming public, thanks to the New York Times. As the story goes, Trump’s effort was stymied by then-White House Counsel Don McGahn, who warned him that these phony prosecutions could lead to Trump’s own impeachment and ouster.

It’s worth pointing out that every time one of these stories about Donald Trump’s overreach has surfaced over the past year, Don McGahn is always conveniently portrayed as the hero. This strongly suggests that McGahn is the source for these stories, and that he’s been putting them out there in order to distance himself from Trump’s crime spree. But despite the obvious bias involved here, there is no reason to believe that McGahn is making this up.

It’s notable that McGahn – if he is indeed the source on this – is choosing to leak it to the public right now, just as Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing to make his big moves against Donald Trump. This paints Trump as a criminally and psychotically out of control would-be dictator who truly did try to imprison Hillary simply for being his political opponent, and imprison Comey simply for doing his job as a law enforcement official.

nbc news logoNBC News, Trump submits written answers to Robert Mueller's questions, Allan Smith, Nov. 20, 2018. President Donald Trump's legal team submitted his written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller's questions on Tuesday, Trump attorneys Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani said in a Tuesday statement.

"It has been our position from the outset that much of what has been asked raised serious constitutional issues and was beyond the scope of a legitimate inquiry," Giuliani said in a statement. "This remains our position today. The President has nonetheless provided unprecedented cooperation. The Special Counsel has been provided with more than 30 witnesses, 1.4 million pages of material, and now the President's written responses to questions. It is time to bring this inquiry to a conclusion."

Earlier Tuesday, Trump told reporters outside the White House that his attorneys have his answers and assumed they would "turn them in today or soon."

Trump Whitewashes Saudi Murderjamal khashoggi entering Saudi consulate

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

ny times logoNew York Times, In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing, Mark Landler, Nov. 20, 2018. President Trump declared his unswerving loyalty to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on Tuesday, declaring that the prince’s culpability in the killing of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, right, might never be known.

jamal kahshoggi“It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump said in a remarkable, eight-paragraph, exclamation-point laden statement that appeared calculated to end debate over the American response to Mr. Khashoggi’s killing.

“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” Mr. Trump said in the statement, which read like a verbatim transcript of the president’s off-the-cuff musings. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump defends Saudi Arabia’s denial about death of Khashoggi, Josh Dawsey, Shane Harris and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 20, 2018.  President Trump issued a statement that defended Saudi Arabia, questioned the CIA’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and effectively declared the issue closed — as far as he was concerned.

djt smiling filePresident Trump issued an exclamation-mark packed statement Tuesday defending Saudi Arabia, undermining the CIA’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and effectively declaring closed the debate over whether to stand by the kingdom.

The United States “may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder,” Trump said, noting that both King Salman and his son, Mohammed, “vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi,” which Trump called a “crime.”

“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said, contradicting the CIA’s high-confidence assessment that Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s assassination.

Ivanka's Private Emails

washington post logoWashington Post, Ivanka Trump used a personal account to send emails about government business, Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, Nov. 20, 2018 (print edition). Ethics officials learned Trump sent hundreds of emails last year. Some advisers to President Trump feared that his daughter’s practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton. Ivanka Trump said she was not familiar with some details of the rules, according to people with knowledge of her reaction.

ivanka trump in 2011The White House referred requests for comment to Ivanka Trump’s attorney and ethics counsel, Abbe Lowell.

In a statement, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Lowell, acknowledged that the president’s daughter, right, occasionally used her private email before she was briefed on the rules, but he said none of her messages contained classified information.

Austin Evers, executive director of the liberal watchdog group American Oversight, whose record requests sparked the White House discovery, said it strained credulity that Trump’s daughter did not know that government officials should not use private emails for official business.

“There’s the obvious hypocrisy that her father ran on the misuse of personal email as a central tenet of his campaign,” Evers said. “There is no reasonable suggestion that she didn’t know better. Clearly everyone joining the Trump administration should have been on high alert about personal email use.”

washington post logoWashington Post, House panel to investigate Ivanka Trump’s use of personal email, Felicia Sonmez and Colby Itkowitz, Nov. 20, 2018. The House Oversight Committee plans to investigate whether Ivanka Trump violated federal law by using a personal email account for government business, the panel’s incoming chairman, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), said Tuesday.

elijah cummings oIn a statement, Cummings said the committee launched a bipartisan investigation last year into White House officials’ use of personal email accounts, but the White House did not provide the requested information.

“We need those documents to ensure that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other officials are complying with federal records laws and there is a complete record of the activities of this Administration,” Cummings said.

In what appeared to be an acknowledgment of the potential risk of a backlash against Democrats for aggressively probing the Trump administration, Cummings also emphasized that his focus upon becoming chairman of the committee will be to address the everyday issues impacting Americans.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The real reason the mainstream media is suddenly setting Ivanka Trump on fire, Bill Palmer, Nov. 19, 2018. There is major breaking news this evening, reported by the Washington Post and then echoed by outlets like MSNBC, about Ivanka Trump having used personal email for government business last year.

Here’s the thing: this isn’t news. Not even close. In fact Palmer Report covered it more than a year ago. It’s not as if we had some exclusive information; Ivanka’s email scandal was well known and well documented at the time. So what’s suddenly happening here?

Mueller's Trump Probe

bill palmerPalmer Report, Commentary: Robert Mueller makes major new filing in the mysterious grand jury proceedings that appear to be against Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, right, Nov. 20, 2018. A few weeks ago, we all became aware that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has spent the past couple months pushing the courts to compel someone to comply with a grand jury subpoena. The person’s identity is top secret, and the legal battle itself has been given unprecedented priority by the courts. Numerous legal experts suspect that Mueller is trying to force Trump himself to testify before a grand jury.

In any case, Mueller just made a major new court filing in the matter.

Robert Mueller’s new filing is three thousand words long, and for better or worse, we can’t see what it says, because it’s under seal. But the most important clue here is the timing. Donald Trump keeps telling reporters that he’s finished answering Mueller’s questions in writing, while adding that he hasn’t turned them in yet. The question is why he’d do it this way.

One of the most plausible explanations is that Trump and Mueller were both waiting to see which way the courts rule on this matter. If Trump is ordered to testify before a grand jury, then his written answers may be irrelevant. If the courts side with Trump, then Mueller will have to accept his written answers and nothing more. But here’s the kicker: shortly after Mueller made this filing, Trump’s legal team told ABC News that they’ve preemptively submitted Trump’s written answers to Mueller. This could be a last ditch effort at appeasing the court and preventing it from siding with Mueller.

leon jaworskiEarlier this month, thanks to a legal challenge, the long-secret roadmap was revealed for ousting Richard Nixon, which never was carried out because he resigned. That roadmap showed that Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, right, was planning to have a grand jury conclude that Nixon should be indicted, and then turn those findings over to the House for impeachment proceedings.

If Robert Mueller is following this roadmap, there is every reason to believe that he’s trying to compel Donald Trump to testify before a grand jury that is then going to turn around and declare that he should be indicted.

Slush Funding For Trump AG

washington post logoWashington Post, Conservative nonprofit with undisclosed funders paid Whitaker $1.2 million, Robert O'Harrow Jr., Shawn Boburg and Aaron C. Davis, Nov. 20, 2018. Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker worked for the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust for three years. The group became a lucrative steppingstone in a swift rise to the nation’s top law enforcement job.

matthew whitaker headshot recentIn the three years after he arrived in Washington in 2014, Matthew G. Whitaker, right, received more than $1.2 million as the leader of a charity that reported having no other employees, some of the best pay of his career.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust described itself as a new watchdog nonprofit dedicated to exposing unethical conduct by public officials. For Whitaker, it became a lucrative steppingstone in a swift rise from a modest law practice in Iowa to the nation’s top law enforcement job. As FACT’s president, he regularly appeared on radio and television, often to skewer liberals.

But FACT’s origins and the source of funding used to pay Whitaker — now the acting attorney general — remain obscured. An examination of state and federal records, and interviews with those involved, show that the group is part of a national network of nonprofits that often work in concert to amplify conservative messages.

Contrary to its claims in news releases and a tax filing, the group was created under a different name two years before Whitaker’s arrival, according to incorporation and IRS records. At least two of the organizers were involved in another conservative charity using the same address.

washington post logoWashington Post, Before Justice Dept., Whitaker made $900,000 from charity, took ‘legal fees’ from company accused of fraud, Matt Zapotosky, Nov. 20, 2018. In the roughly two years before he rejoined the Justice Department, acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker earned more than $900,000 from a conservative charity with no other employees and collected more than $1,800 in “legal fees” from a Miami-based invention-marketing company that was shut down amid accusations of fraud, according to a financial disclosure form made public Tuesday.

The form, which Whitaker first filled out after taking over as Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff, shows Whitaker drew a salary from the conservative Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust of $904,000 and collected $1,875 in legal fees from World Patent Marketing.

That company is notable because it shut down in May and agreed to pay a settlement of more than $25 million to resolve a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into its practices.

Nov. 18

Palmer Report, Opinion: You’d better believe Robert Mueller is investigating Anthony Kennedy’s connection to Trump-Russia, Bill Palmer, Nov. 18, 2018. Earlier, Palmer Report pulled together all the confirmed pieces of the puzzle when it comes to Donald Trump, Russia, Deutsche Bank, and retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown below left. We argued that while the mountain of circumstantial evidence doesn’t prove anything, it’s the kind of situation that calls for a criminal investigation.

anthony kennedy oBased on the pattern we’ve watched play out with Robert Mueller over the past year, we can virtually guarantee you that one of two scenarios is true. Either Mueller and his team began investigating the Trump-Kennedy-Russia connection the minute it showed up in newspaper headlines last week, or Mueller and his team already knew about it and their investigation into it is well underway. How can we be so sure?

Robert Mueller (FBI Official Photo)We’re looking at a situation where a Supreme Court Justice’s son used his position at a major bank to steer absurdly inappropriate loans to Donald Trump, at the same time that bank just happened to be laundering billions of dollars of Russian money into the hands of clients in the city where Trump lived, even as Russia was working to get Trump elected President, and then that same Justice stepped down at just the right time to help Trump.

You’d better believe Robert Mueller, right, is looking into something that obvious and ominous – and if it is indeed a criminal matter, he’ll pursue it and expose it.

Trump Watch

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Says He’s Unlikely to Sit for Interview in Russia Investigation, Maggie Haberman, Nov. 18, 2018. President Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that he most likely would not sit for an interview with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, asserting that “we’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is, probably, we’re finished.”

The president also claimed that he had no idea that his acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, viewed the Mueller investigation skeptically, despite reports that the two had multiple conversations about the inquiry over the past year.

President Donald Trump officialThe comments from Mr. Trump were made during a wide-ranging, sometimes testy interview with Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” who sat with the president at the White House last week. The president continued to be defensive about his abandoned trip to an American military cemetery during a visit to Paris last week, insulted the widely respected retired Navy admiral who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and said he declined to listen to an audio recording of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi being killed by people connected to the Saudi crown prince last month.

His comments on the Mueller investigation marked an apparent reversal from a year of claiming that he was willing and eager to be interviewed by the special counsel, who is investigating possible collusion between the president’s campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election. Mr. Trump’s legal team has blanched at the idea, fearing that the president might lie under oath, and has steadily narrowed the path for such an interview.

Nov. 15

Trump Rants Against Prosecutors

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump blasts Mueller probe a week after installing new acting attorney general, John Wagner, Nov. 15, 2018. President Trump on Thursday lashed out anew at the investigation of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, calling his team of lawyers “a disgrace to our NationNation” and accusing them, without evidence, of threatening witnesses to get answers they want.

matthew whitaker headshot recentTrump’s rant, in a pair of morning tweets, came a week after the installation of Matthew G. Whitaker, right, as acting attorney general, a move many Democrats have said appears designed to curtail Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election.

Trump angrily dismissed a reporter’s question about that notion last week and said he had not spoken to Whitaker about the Russia probe before naming him to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Many of Trump’s complaints in Thursday’s tweets were familiar, but they took on heightened significance with Whitaker now overseeing Mueller’s probe, which is also examining whether Trump has obstructed justice.

Nov. 15

washington post logoWashington Post, Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for five suspects in killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Kareem Fahim​, Nov. 15, 2018 (print edition). Saudi Arabia said Thursday it has indicted 11 people in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month and that it is seeking the death penalty against five of them for ordering and committing the killing, according to the country’s public prosecutor.

Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement that the former deputy head of intelligence, Ahmed al-Asiri, had dispatched a Saudi team to Turkey to negotiate Khashoggi’s return to Saudi mohammed bin salman al saudArabia. The order to kill the journalist came from the head of the Saudi team in Istanbul, the prosecutor added.

Officials in several countries have said it is unlikely Khashoggi could have been killed without the knowledge of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader. But no definitive evidence has emerged showing that Mohammed ordered the operation. Saudi officials deny that the crown prince was in any way responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

nbc news logoNBC News, To ease Turkish pressure on Saudis over killing, White House weighs expelling Erdogan foe, Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley and Courtney Kube, Nov. 15, 2018. "Once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious," a U.S. official said of request tied to Khashoggi killing.

The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests.

Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, left, in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.

fetullah gulen 2016The effort includes directives to the Justice Department and FBI that officials reopen Turkey's case for his extradition, as well as a request to the Homeland Security Department for information about his legal status, the four people said.

They said the White House specifically wanted details about Gulen's residency status in the U.S. Gulen has a Green Card, according to two people familiar with the matter. He has been living in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s.

Career officials at the agencies pushed back on the White House requests, the U.S. officials and people briefed on the requests said.

"At first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious," said a senior U.S. official involved in the process.

Nov. 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 8

Investigator's Report Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 2

gary hart donna rice monkey business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also for background:

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

Nov. 1

National Emergency?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Angle On Khashoggi Murder

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

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

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

October

Oct. 31

Looking Back: Dirty Tricks or Scandal?

gary hart donna rice monkey business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secret Watergate Filing Released

richard nixon desk archives

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

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

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

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

Oct. 29

djt man in high castle nazi salutes wmr graphic

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

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

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

Oct. 26

Bombing Threat Against Democrats

cesar altieri sayoc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cesar sayoc michael symonette IMG 3908

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But Michael the Black Man loves President Trump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 24

Top Democrats, Media Receive Suspected Bombs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Trivializes Saudi Murder

jamal khashoggi son sahal with mbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 22

Saudi Killing

jamal khashoggi western suit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saudi Clout In DC

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

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

More on Saudi Murder Most Foul

saudi consular service cropped

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

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

jamal khashoggi mustafa al madani

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 16

gary hart donna rice monkey business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 19

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

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

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

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

Reform the Supreme Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 18

terry albury gofundme photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 12

jamal khashoggi entering Saudi consulate

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

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

Oct. 11

Oct. 11

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

By Andrew Kreig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Murder Most Foul?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 9

U.S. Constitutional Protest Rights Under Attack

white house protest ted eytan flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ny times logo

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

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

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

Oct. 8

Supreme Court Swearing-in

djt brett kavanaugh anthony kennedy oct 8 2018 white house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOP Election Scandals

brett kavanaugh election fraud wmr graphic

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

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

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

Climate Change

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

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

Supreme Court Battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protests Grow Over Saudi Dissident

Saudi Arabian flag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Investigator Murdered

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

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

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

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

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

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

brett kavanaugh swear in kennedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 7

brett kavanaugh swear in oct 6 2018 ashley

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

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

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

brett kavanaugh zina bash c span sept 2018

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

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

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

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

Oct. 6

JFK Assassination Research

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

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

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

Why Truman spoke out

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOP Wins Court Battlerepublican elephant logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suspected Saudi Murder Of Journalist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 5

Supreme Court Battle

george hw bush and son

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supreme 'Deep State'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Aristocrats

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

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

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

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

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

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

supreme court building

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 1

U.S. Politics

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cbs logo

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

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

Here is what happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News Media / Propaganda Tools?

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

September

Sept. 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 26

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

Sept. 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Read Judge Kavanaugh’s letter.]

Sept. 23

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

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

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

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

brett kavanaugh fox poll sept 22 2018

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

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

Sept. 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 21

Media News: Sinclair Promos For Kavanaugh?

djt boris epshteyn sinclair kavanaugh sept 21 2018 Custom 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[INTERVIEW CLIP BEGINS]

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

EPSHTEYN: Right.

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

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

Sept. 15

richard nixon desk archives

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 12

9/11 Litigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 9

Media / Propaganda: Book Review

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 5

brett kavanaugh screen grab 9 5 2018 at 3 56 pm

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

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

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

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

election polling places closed brutal deluxe wikimedia who what why

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

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

Sept. 1

john mccain with flag recent

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

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

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

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

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

 

August

MSM Ending Yemen War Self-Censonship

yemen cnn us missiles blackout broken1 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9/11 Research

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

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

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

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

Aug. 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug. 22

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

Looking Back In History

jfk pt 109 crew 1943 jfk library

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

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

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

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

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

Aug. 13

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

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

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

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

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

Aug. 12

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

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

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

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

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

Aug. 10

gina haspel national security archive collage Custom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug. 7

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

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

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

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

Aug. 6

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

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

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

Aug. 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug. 2

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

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

 

July

July 31

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

Former Obama Counsel Resigns After Manafort Probe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 25

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

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

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

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

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

And this is true across the board.

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

July 22

'White Helmets' Headed To UK, Canada, Germany

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

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

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

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

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

syria white helmets attack april 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 16

'Honeytrap' Scandal For NRA, GOPers?

maria butina russian federation embassy via Twitter Custom

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 16

Trump-Putin Meeting

djt vladimir putin summit 7 16 18 white house shealah craighead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background On Related Story

maria butina with gun ad

Butina at the 2014 NRA convention in Indianapolis VK page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump-Putin Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 13

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

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

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

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

July 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 10

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

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

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

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

In a 2013 decision the court stated:

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

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

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

Henderson again:

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

Henderson concludes:

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

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

July 9

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

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

July 8

July 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 6

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

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

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

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

For more information, see my book The Kennedy Autopsy.

July 3

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

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

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

July 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June

June 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

abiy ahmed ethiopian pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 26

state dept map logo Small

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 26

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

June 23

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

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

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

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

June 20

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

June 9

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

james wolf ali watkins

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

pogo logo squareProject On Government Oversight (POGO), Opinion: A Dangerous Escalation in "The War on Leaks," Andrea Peterson, June 8, 2018. Last night, The New York Times reported that a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer, James Wolfe, was arrested Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Times reporter Ali Watkins and other journalists. Watkins, a rising star in national security reporting, and Wolfe, who led the Committee’s efforts to safeguard the classified and sensitive information shared with Members, had a three-year romantic relationship.

During that time, Watkins broke a number of high-profile scoops about the Committee’s operations. While Watkins told the Times Wolfe was not a source of classified information for her reporting during their relationship, the optics are concerning. But beyond the journalism ethics questions about the relationship, there’s a major threat to First Amendment rights. During the investigation into Wolfe and leaks from the Committee, the Justice Department went after Watkins’ data — seizing years of records related to her email accounts and phone number, according to a letter the agency sent to Watkins.

News media advocacy groups warn that the move sets a dangerous legal precedent for journalists’ ability to protect their sources. “Efforts by government that undermine this ability therefore represent a fundamental threat to press freedom,” the Committee to Protect Journalists’ North America Program Coordinator Alexandra Ellerbeck said in a statement Friday.

The Justice Department’s statement to the Times about the data grab also suggests the agency is potentially widening the scope of leak investigations beyond exposure of classified information by taking the unprecedented step of looking into the “unauthorized disclosure of controlled information" (emphasis added). That’s a much broader standard that could apply to leaking that is in no way criminal conduct, and which could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers who already face potential professional repercussions — such as being fired — for taking their concerns to the media.

Associated Press via New York Post, Anthony Bourdain used the belt from his bathrobe to kill himself, Staff report, June 9, 2018. The prosecutor of Colmar in France’s Alsace region says that writer and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain hanged himself in the bathroom of his French hotel room.

Prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny told The Associated Press on Saturday that the famed chef and host of the CNN series “Parts Unknown” used the belt of his hotel bath robe to commit suicide on Friday. Of the 61-year-old American’s death, Rocquigny said “there is no element that makes us suspect that someone came into the room at any moment.” He also said a medical expert had concluded there were no signs of violence on Bourdain’s body. The prosecutor said toxicology tests were being carried out, including urine tests, to see if Bourdain took any medications, to try to help his family understand if anything led him to kill himself.

June 8

hugh turley david martin thomas mertonDCDave.com, Opinion: Parade of Whoppers about Thomas Merton’s Death, David Martin, June 8, 2018. David Martin is the co-author with Hugh Turley of Turley, Hugh and David Martin. The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: An Investigation, published in March, which concludes that the reputed death of the famed pacifist monk Thomas Merton was an assassination.

What better measure could we find of a Deep State hit job than the lies that have been told about it? To take some prominent examples, the evidence could hardly be clearer that President John F. Kennedy was shot from the front, but the chosen patsy was behind him, so we are told that he was shot from the back. Robert Kennedy was shot from behind, but, in this case, the patsy was in front of him, so we are told that he was shot from the front. Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot by a sniper concealed in the bushes behind a rooming house, which was behind the motel in which he was staying, but the chosen patsy in this case was booked into that rooming house, so we are told that the chosen patsy perched himself precariously on the rim of a bathtub beneath a bathroom window to shoot King expertly in the neck.

These murders all took place within the United States, and still the press and the authorities got by with foisting upon the public a number of falsehoods about them that are rather easily shown to be falsehoods by anyone with the enterprise to look into the matter.

The Catholic monk and notable spiritual writer and antiwar leader, Thomas Merton, died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 53 while attending an interfaith monastic conference at a Red Cross meeting center in Samutprakarn, Thailand, a suburb of Bangkok, on the afternoon of December 10, 1968. It was the same year in which Bobby Kennedy and King were killed and the same president was in the White House, Lyndon Baines Johnson. The press had an excuse for their initial sketchy reporting of his death; it was a long ways away. But their reporting has not improved in the ensuing half-century,

Merton was last seen entering the cottage in which he was residing on the third day of the conference from about five minutes walking distance behind him by Fr. Celestine Say of the Philippines, whose room was the only other one on the first floor of the cottage. The time was just before 2 p.m., and Merton was in the company of Fr. François de Grunne of Belgium. There is nothing available from de Grunne as to what transpired in the cottage in the intervening five minutes before Say’s arrival, although the Thai police are known to have taken a statement from him. Say has written in letters that, from the time he arrived, he heard not a single sound from Merton, even though the walls to the rooms were only temporary netting, with sheets hung up to afford a modicum of privacy. Acoustically, the first floor was essentially one room with the exception of a full bathroom and a half bathroom. Say said that previously he could hear Merton walking in his bare feet in his room. The full bathroom, which had a shower facility, was off the parlor between the two bedrooms. The half bath, along the same wall, was entered from Merton’s room.

June 7

john barbour facebookRT America: "The World According to Jesse," Operation Mockingbird & John Barbour, Jesse Ventura, June 8, 2018 (26:57 mins.). Jesse Ventura and Brigida Santos discuss Operation Mockingbird and how America’s most powerful news outlets worked with the CIA for 25 years to plant false stories and mislead the public. Documentarian John Barbour, shown at right, talks about the surveillance of journalists.

paul schrade interesting stuff entertainment

RFK presidential campaign advisor Paul Schrade, 93. a United Auto Workers executive wounded during fatal attack on the senator in 1968 (photo courtesy of Interesting Stuff Entertainment)

American Prospect, The Legacy of Paul Schrade, Harold Meyerson, June 7, 2018. Not just the other guy who was shot in the Ambassador kitchen. Paul Schrade, hit by one of the bullets fired by Senator Robert Kennedy's assailant.

Today’s New York Times has a story on the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s murder, featuring interviews with Kennedy staffers and supporters. But the piece misidentifies Paul Schrade, who was also critically wounded when Kennedy was shot, as “a campaign aide” (in the caption) and doesn’t quite get it right in calling him “a labor organizer who worked on the campaign” in the text of the article.

It’s important to get Paul Schrade’s actual identity right, though — because he was a key figure in California and union history during the pivotal decade of the ‘60s.

As a young man, Paul had worked as an assistant to United Auto Workers (UAW) President Walter Reuther, who headed what today has to be viewed as by far the most important progressive union in American history. In the 1950s, Paul headed a UAW local at North American Aviation in Los Angeles, and became the UAW’s western regional director in the early 1960s. As such, he became, in 1965, the first established union leader to provide resources and assistance to the fledgling union of farmworkers that Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta were organizing. That same year, in the aftermath of the Watts Riots, he devoted union resources to establishing the Watts Labor Community Action Council and the East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU), which became longstanding political powerhouses in LA’s black and Latino communities, respectively.

Hollywood Reporter, Heidi Fleiss Reflects on 25th Anniversary of Her Arrest, Ex Tom Sizemore and What Charlie Sheen Really Spent on Girls, June 7, 2018, Seth Abramovitch. The "Hollywood Madam" made millions a week running a high-class escort service to the stars; now the former sex-work mogul runs a bird sanctuary in the Nevada desert as she opens up on Harvey Weinstein.

It’s hard to believe it took until 1993 for someone to earn the nickname “The Hollywood Madam.” That honor went to Heidi Fleiss, one of six children born to Paul Fleiss, a popular Los Feliz pediatrician. In 1987 and at age 22,

Heidi was taken under the wing of Madam Alex, a procuress to the stars, to whom Fleiss was introduced by her filmmaker boyfriend. She first worked as one of Alex’s call girls but quickly absorbed the business and launched her own prostitution service in 1990.

heidi fleiss coverWith a knack for recruiting high-end talent, Fleiss by 1991 had amassed a stable of 500 girls — the look was “clean-cut and perfect, [like] she was born and raised in Beverly Hills,” she once explained — who charged clients about $1,500 a night ($2,800 today), of which Fleiss took 40 percent. Soon she was clearing $300,000 a week ($560,000 now) as she kept an A-list roster of celebrities and Hollywood executives very satisfied. Her infamous “black book,” which contained the names of her famous clients, was actually a 28-page red Gucci planner.

The party did not last long: On June 9, 1993, Fleiss was arrested and charged with five counts of pandering. “The other players like Madam Alex were all working with the LAPD, giving lists of their clients on a weekly basis,” (emphasis added) says Nick Broomfield, director of the 1995 doc Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (shown above). “Heidi wouldn’t play the game. She broke all the rules. She kind of did it for fun, which was why she was so successful.”

The case went to trial, where Charlie Sheen testified he’d spent $53,000 a year on Fleiss’ services. A jury convicted her on three counts, for which she received a three-year sentence. That conviction was overturned in 1996, but a federal tax-evasion case the next year led to a 20-month stint in prison in Dublin, California.

Today, the 52-year-old Fleiss lives with dozens of exotic birds on the outskirts of Pahrump, Nevada. She spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her lasting place in show business infamy.

June 6

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Consortium News, OAS Facing Call for New Probe into RFK Murder, Dr. William F. Pepper (shown at right) and Andrew Kreig, June 6, 2018. Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5 and died June 6, 1968, fifty years ago today. A new examination of evidence is forcing human rights organizations — including the OAS — to consider william pepper headshotprobing the case.

Recent news about Robert F. Kennedy’s fatal shooting sharpens the challenge for human rights organizations in how to address the shocking justice issues raised by the continued imprisonment of RFK’s convicted slayer Sirhan Sirhan. Here is a link to the filing last summer by Sirhan's attorney, Dr. William F. Pepper.

philip van praag sirhan quote 5 23 18

Washington Post, The Bobby Kennedy assassination tape: Were 13 shots fired or only 8? Tom Jackman, June 6, 2018. For years after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in June 1968, analysis of the case focused on the ballistics evidence and varying witness accounts of what happened in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. But in 2004, delving through the archives of the police case file, CNN senior writer Brad Johnson found a recording that had been ignored for decades.

It was a tape inadvertently made by Polish journalist Stanislaw Pruszynski, who had recorded Kennedy’s victory speech with a cassette recorder. Kennedy then left the stage and walked through the pantry while Pruszynski detached his microphone from the podium, video of the event shows. As Pruszynski then moved toward the pantry, his tape was rolling. When Johnson listened 36 years later, he thought he heard shots, then a scream.

No other recording of the shooting had ever been discovered. No cameras were rolling as Kennedy shook hands with bus boys in the pantry, followed by gunfire described by many witnesses as two shots, a pause, and then a rapid-fire sequence of shots. Johnson turned the tape over to audio engineer Philip Van Praag. Using modern technology to limit ambient noise and slow down the tape, Van Praag counted 13 shot “impulses,” or wave forms resembling gunshots, and possibly more drowned out by screams.

National Enquirer, RFK Junion Confronts Dad's Killer, Sharon Churcher, June 18, 2018 (Print purchase required; sales begin June 6). Face To face after 49 years. .

Gary Null Show, An investigation into the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the case of Sirhan Sirhan, and CIA's MK Ultra mind control operations. Gary Null interviews Dr. William Pepper and Rick Allen, June 6, 2018 

Richard "Rick" Allen is the current founding CEO of Snag Films -- and independent film and TV show distributor -- and View Lift, a leading digital marketing platform. He has been a producer for feature documentary films, including "Lost for Life" and "A Fighting Chance" and was the President and CEO for Sporting News, and the President and CEO for National Geographic Ventures. He also served as a Deputy Assistant during Bill Clinton's first term and was the Deputy Director of Clinton's AmeriCorps and Senior programs. A life-long admirer and scholar of Robert F. Kennedy's life, letters and speeches, he is the co-author/editor with the late Pulitzer Prize author Edwin Guthman, who served as RFK's press secretary at the Department of Justice, of the recent "RFK: His Words for Our Times" -- released for the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy's assassination. Their earlier "RFK Collected Speeches" has become a standard reference volume for activists and historians for RFK's position on civil rights, social justice, war poverty and creating a culture of peace. Rick received his law degree from the University of Chicago, and is a graduate of Dartmouth College. His website is RFKSpeeches.com.

william pepper headshotWilliam (Bill) Pepper is an international civil and human rights attorney based in New York best best known for representing Martin Luther King’s accused assassin, James Earl Ray. In 1967, Dr. King had reached out to Dr. Pepper regarding an essay he had written for Ramparts magazine concerning Vietnamese victims of American napalm missions. He was present at Dr. King’s famous Riverside william pepper plot to kill 2016Church speech. William was the citizens chairman for Robert Kennedy’s run for the Senate in Westchester Country and also a counsel for Robert Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan arguing for a second shooter, a trial he is now trying to reopen in an international court. William has received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Columbia, a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts, a Juris Doctoral degree from Boston College and also studied at the London School of Ecoomics and Political Science. His most recent book -- The Plot to Kill King: The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr published by Skyhorse Publishing -- is the result of 39 years of research and gathering of documentation and sworn testimonies on new confirmed information that will revise the history behind the assassination of Dr. King.

June 5

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Opinion & Analysis: Was Sirhan Hypnotically Programmed to Assassinate RFK? Shane O’Sullivan, June 5, 2018. Dr. Shane O’Sullivan, shown at right, is the author of the book "Who Killed Bobby?" and the director of the documentary "RFK Must Die."

Fifty years ago, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in the kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. His convicted assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, remains in prison in San Diego and claims to have no memory of the crime.

Robert Kennedy Jr. visited Sirhan for three hours last December and, on the basis of new audio evidence of a second shooter, is calling for a new investigation into the case.

dan brownOver the last 11 years, Sirhan’s attorney Laurie Dusek and Dr. Daniel Brown (shown at left), a leading expert on hypnosis and coercive persuasion at Harvard Medical School, have spent over 150 hours with Sirhan, working pro bono and at great personal cost to recover his memory of the shooting.

The WhoWhatWhy piece shows 67 minutes of video footage spiked from a Netflix documentary showing  Dr. Dan Brown and Sirhan’s attorney, Laurie Dusek, discussing their groundbreaking work with Sirhan for the first time.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Unique Recollections of the Night RFK Was Gunned Down, Jeff Schechtman, June 5, 2018. Many people doubt the official story of what happened when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in the kitchen of Los Angeles’s Ambassador Hotel exactly 50 years ago. Their doubts are fuelled by painstaking research, solid reporting, and even cutting-edge science. But nothing compares to talking with people who were there when Kennedy was struck down.

Paul Schrade, a long-time friend and political ally of Kennedy’s, was shot in the head that night, but he recovered from his wounds. Two years ago, when Schrade was 91, WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman spoke to him about Kennedy, the assassination, and about his theory of the case.

This 48-minute conversation offers indispensable insights into the life and legacy of Bobby Kennedy, his murder, and how that tragedy changed history.

washington post logotom jackmanWashington Post, Did L.A. police and prosecutors bungle the Bobby Kennedy assassination probe? Tom Jackman (shown right), June 5, 2018. For six years after he was shot and wounded while walking behind Robert F. Kennedy in the Ambassador Hotel in June 1968, Paul Schrade mourned the loss of his friend and stayed out of the public eye. But beginning with a news conference in 1974, Schrade has demanded answers to the question of whether a second gunman — and not Sirhan Sirhan — killed Kennedy.

Soon after Sirhan’s trial ended with his first-degree-murder conviction in April 1969, journalists noted that Kennedy had been shot in the back of the head at point-blank range, but witnesses all said Sirhan was standing in front of Kennedy. Bullet holes found in the doors of the crime scene indicated more shots were fired than could have come from Sirhan’s eight-shot .22-caliber pistol, some witnesses said. Sirhan’s defense team had not challenged any of the physical evidence at trial.

tim tate brad johnson rfk coverConsortium News, A just published book on the RFK murder re-examines the evidences and asks what the world might be like if the four 1960s assassinations never occurred, James DiEugenio, June 5, 2018. Authors Tim Tate and Brad Johnson begin their new book, The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy: Crime, Conspiracy and Cover-Up – A New Investigation (Thistle Publishing) with this quote from RFK the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed: “What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.”

Just two months later Kennedy would become the last in a series of four assassinations of American leaders from 1963-68: President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. The cumulative political impact of those murders is hard to overstate. Toward the end of their bookthe authors try to estimate what that impact was.

Though it’s impossible to say for sure, they conjecture that, at the very least, the Vietnam War would have ended much sooner and would not have expanded into Laos and Cambodia. We know for certain that President Richard Nixon’s decision to expand the war caused the collapse of the government of Cambodia’s Prince Sihanouk, the eventual takeover by the Khmer Rouge and the death of two million people.

The murder of Bobby Kennedy has always seemed to get less attention in the mainstream media than the other 1960s assassinations, perhaps because it’s been considered an “open and shut case.” There were, after all, seventy witnesses to RFK’s murder. But the Los Angeles Police Department decided very early, and quite literally, that what happened in the wee hours of June 5, 1968 would not be another Dallas, as Tate and Johnson say.

It’s not widely known that Sirhan Sirhan’s attorneys did not mount a defense to the charges against him. Instead they resorted to what’s known as an alternative defense called “stipulation to the evidence.” In legal terms this means the defense accepts the testimony and exhibits presented by prosecutor as valid. Therefore, there was no argument in court over the medical, eyewitness or ballistics evidence.

What the trial was really about was Sirhan’s mental state. Since his legal team thought he was guilty, they tried to avoid capital punishment by arguing he was mentally unbalanced at the time. This failed, and Sirhan only escaped electrocution because California later outlawed the death penalty.

As Tate and Johnson show, this defense strategy doomed Sirhan. For example, when coroner Thomas Noguchi was on the stand, lead defense lawyer Grant Cooper actually tried to curtail his testimony by saying, “Is all this detail necessary? I think he can express an opinion that death was due to a gunshot wound.”

Noguchi should have been Sirhan’s star witness, and Cooper should have had him on the stand all day, the authors argue. Noguchi’s 62-page autopsy report proved that all the bullets that hit the senator entered from behind Kennedy. They also entered at extreme upward angles and at close range, i.e. from 1-3 inches.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Campaign, a Murder, a Legacy: Robert F. Kennedy’s California Story, Tim Arango, June 5, 2018. Fifty years after his death, friends, aides and journalists recall the senator’s last campaign in California, his assassination in Los Angeles and what came next for the city.

June 4

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, RFK Murder News Divides His Family, Media As 50th Anniversary Nears On June 5, Andrew Kreig, June 4, 2018

Robert Kennedy Victory Speech Ambassador Hotel, June 6, 1968

Two children of slain U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy are disputing the official account of his assassination 50 years ago, prompting renewed debate before the June 5 anniversary.

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)Robert F. KennedyLongtime law professor and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Washington Post reporter Tom Jackman raised the profile of the long-simmering controversy with Jackman's front-page Sunday story on May 26 entitled, Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan.

The son is shown at far right in a portrait (by Gage Skidmore) next to a file photo of his father on the 1968 presidential campaign trail. The late New York senator also is portrayed above at top in file photo taken during his California Democratic primary victory speech minutes before his murder. He was shot in a kitchen pantry after leaving the speaking stage at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Jackman, who has covered law enforcement since 1998 at the Post, reported:

The younger Kennedy was ready to go public with his views after spending months re-examining the evidence and meeting in prison with Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted of the murder in a 1969 jury trial in which defense counsel mounted scant defense.

“I got to a place where I had to see Sirhan,” Kennedy told Jackman of the defendant, shown at right in a 2016 prison photo.

Sirhan Sirhan“I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence,” said Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and the third oldest of his father’s 11 children. “I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father. My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.”

The report of Kennedy's comments and the evidence supporting them represent breakthrough coverage of the case for a mainstream publication — and a challenge to other family members, authorities, opinion leaders and indeed any concerned citizen.

The challenge is whether the oft-reported basic facts of such a high-profile assassination could have been so incomplete or suppressed as to lead to a false imprisonment — and an escaped murderer or murderers.

Details here:

Consortium News, On the Trail of the RFK Murder, Dan Moldea, June 5, 2018. Investigative reporter and author Dan Moldea began 27 years ago believing two gunmen were involved in RFK’s murder but his pursuit of the case led him to a different conclusion, which we republish here in the ongoing debate on the killing.

Late one night in January 1991, I got a call informing me that a close friend, researcher Greg Stone, had committed suicide. Because I had talked to Stone, who seemed fine, earlier that day, the news seemed impossible to believe. Five days later, after I returned home from his funeral, I received a signed note from Stone in the mail that simply said, “Sorry about this, Dan. Stay a survivor.”

Stone and I had met during the summer of 1985 while I was living in Los Angeles, working on a book. A long-time aide to Allard Lowenstein, the former New York congressman who had been murdered in 1980, Stone had been trying to reopen the investigation of the murder of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Because of my background as an organized crime investigator, Stone wanted me to get involved in the case.Of the 187 principal law enforcement officials, detectives and officers identified in LAPD records as having been involved in the 1968 Kennedy crime scene investigation, I was able through my contacts to locate or learn the fate of 158 of them. A total of 114 agreed to be interviewed and speak on the record.

Virtually none of these law enforcement professionals had ever been interviewed about the Kennedy case. During our conversations, most of them were honest and unguarded in their responses to two basic questions: “What did you do?” and “What did you see?” Many officers had kept their field officer’s notebooks, and some even referred to their notes during my interviews.

I finally began to understand Sirhan’s strategy: As long as people like me continued to put forth supposed new evidence, he still had a chance to experience freedom. And I also understood why he was talking to me in the first place. More than any other person in recent years, I had been keeping this case alive.

At that moment of my stark realization in that prison visitation room, I barked at Sirhan, “You don’t remember writing in your notebooks in which you articulated your determination to kill Robert Kennedy and why — That’s motive! You don’t remember getting your gun when you returned to your car from the Rafferty party — That’s means! You don’t remember having been in the pantry, getting close to Kennedy, and firing your gun — That’s opportunity! “Every time you have a memory lapse, it goes to motive, means or opportunity!”

This article originally appeared in The Washington Post on June 4, 1995 and has been reprinted here with the permission of the author. Learn more in this video interview Moldea gave to the LA NBC affiliate KNBC on June 2, 1995 in which Moldea speaks of Sirhan’s ties to the mob. Dan Moldea is an investigative journalist and the author of nine books, mostly dealing with organized crime as well as one on the RFK assassination, The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy: An Investigation of Motive, Means, and Opportunity (1995).

Consortium News, Distorting the Life of Bobby Kennedy, James DiEugenio, June 4, 2018. As the 50th anniversary of his assassination is being remembered on Tuesday, it is vital to have a complete and accurate picture of the complex figure of Robert F. Kennedy, explains James DiEugenio.

TV commentator Chris Matthews’ book, Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, has been a best seller since it was released last October, but there’s a lot of important material that Matthews left out about Kennedy, whose assassination on June 5, 1968 is being remembered on Tuesday.

In recapping his early life, Matthews tells the story of Kennedy graduating from Harvard and going on to pursue a law degree at the University of Virginia, where he was chair of the Student Legal Forum. In that role, he invited some high profile guests to speak in Charlottesville.

washington post logotom jackmanWashington Post, The assassination of Bobby Kennedy: Was Sirhan Sirhan hypnotized to be the fall guy? Tom Jackman (shown right), June 4, 2018. Even as Sirhan Sirhan was being captured, seconds after the shooting of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles, he behaved oddly. A group of men had tackled him, held him down and tried to wrest the gun out of his hands.

But “in the middle of a hurricane of sound and feeling,” wrote one of those men, author George Plimpton, Sirhan “seemed peaceful.” Plimpton was struck by Sirhan’s “dark brown and enormously peaceful eyes.” A Los Angeles police officer who had rushed in recalled, “He had a blank, glassed-over look on his face — like he wasn’t in complete control of his mind.”

At the same time, the short, slim Sirhan — 5 feet 5 inches, about 120 pounds — exerted superhuman strength as one man held his wrist to a steam table in the Ambassador Hotel pantry, firing off five or six more shots even as he was held around the neck, body and legs by other men, witnesses said. It took a half-dozen men to wrench the .22-caliber pistol out of Sirhan’s grip.

At the police station, Sirhan was preternaturally calm, officers later said. “I was impressed by Sirhan’s composure and relaxation,” Sgt. William Jordan wrote in a report later that morning. “He appeared less upset to me than individuals arrested for a traffic violation.”

But the hypnosis angle gained momentum in recent years after Sirhan was examined for more than 60 hours by a Harvard Medical School professor with vast expertise in forensic psychiatry and hypnosis. In a lengthy affidavit filed with Sirhan’s last appeal in 2011, Daniel P. Brown concluded that “Mr. Sirhan did not act under his own volition and knowledge at the time of the assassination and is not responsible for actions coerced and/or carried out by others.” He was, Brown said, a true “Manchurian Candidate,” hypno-programmed into carrying out a violent political act without knowing it.

“I have written four textbooks on hypnosis,” Brown wrote, “and have hypnotized over 6,000 individuals over a 40-year professional career. Mr. Sirhan is one of the most hypnotizable individuals I have ever met, and the magnitude of his amnesia for actions under hypnosis is extreme.” Brown said he has spent another 60 hours with Sirhan in the years since his 2011 affidavit, further confirming his conclusions.

Brown researched not only Sirhan’s background but also the details of the case, and wove together the CIA’s notorious “MKUltra” mind-control experiments of the 1950s and 1960s; the Mafia; the famed “girl in the polka-dot dress” seen with Sirhan before the shooting; and an unknown “Radio Man” who secretly directed Sirhan to write the incriminating “RFK must die!” statements in a notebook found in his bedroom.

Lawyers for Sirhan are currently using the theory that he was a hypnotized distraction for the actual killer of Kennedy in a pending appeal to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Although it would have no binding power over the case, a positive finding could be used to push California authorities to reopen the case. Sirhan attorney William Pepper said he’s convinced that someone used “both drugs and hypnosis to make him a totally compliant distraction at the time Bobby Kennedy was within range of the second shooter, who was able to get down behind him.” Kennedy’s fatal wound was fired at point-blank range from behind, while witnesses said Sirhan was in front of him.

But to the U.S. court system, that claim simply didn’t fly. In rejecting Sirhan’s final federal appeal in 2013, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Wistrich wrote that Sirhan’s “theory that he was subject to mind control may be intriguing” but that the experts’ views “fall far short of demonstrating that [Sirhan] actually was subjected to mind control.” Wistrich added that “Brown’s retrospective opinion based upon tests assessing [Sirhan’s] mental condition forty years after the fact are of negligible weight.”

June 3

ap logoAssociated Press via Boston Globe, Wounded RFK aide from shooting still pushing RFK legacy, Russell Contreras, June 3, 2018. Paul Schrade had an up-close view of the Kennedy dynasty in the 1960s. The union leader got involved in politics during John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, advised Robert F. Kennedy during his own White House run eight years later and introduced the younger Kennedy to California farmworker union leaders who were instrumental in making poverty and labor pillars of his candidacy.

Then, on the early morning of June 5, 1968, an assassin shot Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. A bullet also struck Schrade in the head. He survived the attack and is now 93-years-old.

Schrade and the four others who were injured in the shooting are often overlooked players in the assassination that killed Kennedy at the age of 42 amid his ascendant presidential campaign.

paul schrade interesting stuff entertainmentWhen Schrade gained consciousness at a nearby hospital, a United Automobile Workers leader came to his bedside and told him the news: Kennedy was dead.

Schrade (shown in a photo at right by Interesting Stuff Entertainment, a documentary film company) has relived the moment almost every day of his life. He has dedicated his life to the memory of Kennedy, drawing attention to injustice and forgiving convicted murderer Sirhan Sirhan. Those causes have put him in direct conflict with the Los Angeles Police Department and a certain former real estate developer, Donald Trump.

“And I don’t care,” Schrade said.

A native of Saratoga Springs, New York, Schrade dropped out of Yale and took a job at an aerospace plant before rising up the ranks of the United Automobile Workers union. He met Robert F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential campaign and they struck up a friendship that remained as he became attorney general and a U.S. senator in New York.

Schrade convinced him to visit Delano, California, where poor Latino and Filipino farmworkers were involved in a strike with growers. Kennedy met United Farm Worker leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta during the visit.

“I saw Kennedy and Chavez meet and interact,” Schrade said. “I knew Kennedy would identify with what (the farm workers) were going through.”

When Kennedy announced he would run for president, Schrade agreed to join his team and advise him on labor issues. The night of the California primary, Schrade almost didn’t go to the Ambassador Hotel until he heard a radio report that Kennedy was trailing. But the senator would win California on the strength of the Mexican-American and black vote.

During Kennedy’s victory speech after the California and South Dakota primary wins, Schrade was on the stage a few feet behind him. As Schrade and Kennedy made their way through the hotel kitchen, they were were shot.

“I felt like I was electrocuted,” Schrade said.

Schrade underwent surgery and survived despite fragments of bullets remaining in his skull. But he fell into deep depression and lost his re-election for his union office. He returned to a factory job where he tried to stay out of politics.

To this day, Schrade believes Los Angeles police botched the case and failed to investigate possible leads about a second gunman. At Schrade’s Los Angeles home, his office and living room are stacked with documents arguing that Sirhan Sirhan wasn’t the lone shooter. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently announced he believed the case into his father’s death needed to be reopened.

Los Angeles police and prosecutors consider the case closed.

Schrade didn’t stay out of the spotlight for too long. In 2010, a $578 million complex of public schools for thousands of students opened on the site of the Ambassador Hotel after a two-decade fight that Schrade had a role in waging. The battle involved costly legal feuds with conservationists who wanted to save the historic hotel from razing, and with Trump, who wanted to build the world’s tallest skyscraper on the site.

The schools today serve predominantly Latino and black students. A “Paul Schrade Library” rests on the spot where the ballroom once stood. The education complex is called Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.

Schrade said many of the problems Kennedy sought to address are still with the country today, including poverty and racial divisions.

“A lot of these issues are still with us so we have to look at what Bobby Kennedy tried to do in 1968,” Schrade said. “The fight is not over.”

Associated Press writer Russell Contreras is a member of the AP’s race and ethnicity team.

Unz Review, Did Israel Kill the Kennedys? Laurent Guyénot, June 3, 2018. Just after midnight of June 6, 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in a backroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He had just been celebrating his victory at the California primaries, which made him the most likely Democratic nominee for the presidential election. His popularity was so great that Richard Nixon, on the Republican side, stood little chance. At the age of 43, Robert would have become the youngest American president ever, after being the youngest Attorney General in his brother’s government. His death opened the way for Nixon, who could finally become president eight years after having been defeated by John F. Kennedy in 1960.

John had been assassinated four and a half years before Robert. Had he survived, he would certainly have been president until 1968. Instead, his vice-president Lyndon Johnson took over the White House in 1963, and became so unpopular that he retired in 1968. Interestingly, Johnson became president the very day of John’s death, and ended his term a few months after Robert’s death. He was in power at the time of both investigations.

And both investigations are widely regarded as cover-ups. In both cases, the official conclusion is rife with contradictions. We are going to sum them up here. But we will do more: we will show that the key to solving both cases resides in the link between them. And we will solve them beyond a reasonable doubt.

As Lance deHaven-Smith has remarked in Conspiracy Theory in America:

“It is seldom considered that the Kennedy assassinations might have been serial murders. In fact, in speaking about the murders, Americans rarely use the plural, ‘Kennedy assassinations’. […] Clearly, this quirk in the Kennedy assassination(s) lexicon reflects an unconscious effort by journalists, politicians, and millions of ordinary Americans to avoid thinking about the two assassinations together, despite the fact that the victims are connected in countless ways.” [1]

John and Robert were bound by an unshakable loyalty. Kennedy biographers have stressed the absolute dedication of Robert to his elder brother. Robert had successfully managed John’s campaign for the Senate in 1952, then his presidential campaign in 1960. John made him not only his Attorney General, but also his most trusted adviser, even on matters of Foreign or Military affairs. What John appreciated most in Robert was his sense of justice and the rectitude of his moral judgment. It is Robert, for example, who encouraged John to fully endorse the cause of the Blacks’ civil rights movement[2].

Given this exceptional bond between the Kennedy brothers, what is the probability that the two Kennedy assassinations were unrelated? Rather, we should start with the assumption that they are related. Basic common sense suggests that the Kennedy brothers have been killed by the same force, and for the same motives. It is, at least, a logical working hypothesis that Robert was eliminated from the presidential race because he had to be prevented from reaching a position where he could reopen the case of his brother’s death. Both his loyalty to his brother’s memory, and his obsession with justice, made it predictable that, if he reached the White House, he would do just that. But was there, in 1968, any clear indication that he would?

washington post logoWashington Post, Robert F. Kennedy’s final flight: The storied journey of the ride from California to New York, David Margolick, June 3, 2018. Robert F. Kennedy’s body was loaded onto the front of the Air Force jet early in the afternoon of June 6, 1968. His family, holding hands, surrounded the coffin while it was hoisted up. Meanwhile, the various Kennedy friends, relatives and aides who had assembled at Los Angeles International Airport boarded from the stairs at the rear.

At one point, D. Paul Sweeney, the Secret Service agent standing by the back door as people filed in, peeked to his right, and spotted something quite extraordinary: Midway down the aisle, America’s three most famous widows were conversing. They spoke only briefly, maybe five or 10 minutes. But they were there, together. Then, for the next 4½ hours, Ethel Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy and Coretta Scott King shared a flight over their grieving, wounded, troubled country.

washington post logoWashington Post Sunday Magazine, What is it like to be the brother of Robert Kennedy’s assassin? The life of the other Sirhan, Peter Gilstrap, June 3, 2018 (print edition). On a serene, leafy street in north Pasadena, Calif., a 70-year-old man has lived a quiet life in a well-preserved Craftsman house since his family bought it in 1963. He keeps the lawn mowed. Trims his fruit trees. Chats with the neighbors. Sometimes he smokes Parliament cigarettes with his tea on the front porch, gazing at the San Gabriel Mountains that rise to the north into a sky that’s almost always blue.

One spring day 50 years ago, one of his older brothers left this house and eventually drove his pink-and-white ’56 DeSoto to the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. At the time, Kennedy was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. To his supporters, he represented a chance to heal the torn and reeling country. On June 6, 1968, he died of a gunshot wound to the head. Sirhan Sirhan, this man’s brother, was sentenced to the gas chamber for the assassination — a sentence that was commuted to life in prison in 1972.

In the intervening years, Munir Sirhan has cared for another brother, Adel, who lived here before dying of cancer in 2001, and looked after his mother, who passed away in 2005, blind and deaf after years of illness. His father and three other siblings have died, too. Munir, three years younger than Sirhan, was the baby of the family. Now he and Sirhan are the only ones left.

There are three shelves of books about the Kennedys that Munir bought but has never read. On the floor, vacuum trails are visible in the cream-colored carpet. When I visit on a Wednesday morning, he looks around the living room, which could not be tidier, and says, “Sorry for the mess.”

The shades are drawn and the lamps are twilight low. Munir is blind in one eye and always wears dark glasses. It’s quiet and still in this place. And then the sound of a robin chirping comes from the kitchen, where there’s a clock with birds on the face instead of numbers. “Every hour is different,” he says. “One hour it’s a mockingbird, and another hour it’s a blue jay and so on. I enjoy it. I live alone. It keeps me company.”

There is no wife, there is no career, never has been. Sirhan’s crime has had a 50-year ripple effect on Munir. He leads a simple existence, keeping mostly to himself while he waits for his brother — who has been denied parole 15 times. “I just want to hear his footsteps on the porch,” Munir says. “I just want to hug him and tell him, ‘Welcome home.’ ”

In 1948, the Sirhans, who were Christian Palestinians, fled their home in the newly divided Jerusalem. The family slipped away during a letup in the fighting of what became known as the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. The Sirhans were granted Jordanian citizenship, but they would come to see America as their future. "There was a program started by Eisenhower and the United Nations to help refugees," says Munir. In 1956 they left with only what they could pack in suitcases. "Sirhan didn't want to come," Munir says. "He ran away. Finally during the morning hours we found him and packed him up real quick."

A ship crowded with seasick refugees brought the family to New York City. Their sponsor lived in Pasadena, so the Sirhans took the train to this land of sunshine and roses. “It was a new haven, compared to Jordan,” says Munir.

June 2

Daily Mail Online US, 'Is everybody OK?': Busboy who cradled dying Robert F. Kennedy reveals the senator's last words, and admits he is still shaken by the 1968 shooting, Staff report, June 2, 2018. The busboy who held Robert F. Kennedy after the senator was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in California has been speaking about the senator's final moments in 1968.

Juan Romero still struggles with everything that happened 50 years ago. He had hoped to shake hands with RFK but ended up cradling the mortally-injured politician's head on the floor of the hotel's kitchen. 'I remember extending my hand as far as I could, and then I remember him shaking my hand,' Romero said on NPR's Morning Edition. 'And as he let go, somebody shot him.'

In an instant, he had Kennedy in his arms as both of them fell to the floor. Juan Romero, 67, holds a photo of himself and the dying Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968

"I kneeled down to him and I could see his lips moving, so I put my ear next to his lips and I heard him say, 'Is everybody OK?' Juan Romero said recalling his last words, 'Yes, everybody's OK.' I put my hand between the cold concrete and his head just to make him comfortable."

Photojournalists managed to captured the horrific moment as Kennedy lay dying while 17-year-old Romero searched for help and tried to make the senator more comfortable.

After the event Romero said letters began to flood into the Ambassador Hotel, many of them addressed to 'the busboy' and some of them angry that he hadn't been able to prevent the assassination.

May

May 31

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Analysis: Scientist Neutralizes JFK’s ‘Back and to the Left’ — Or Does He? Milicent Cranor, May 31, 2018. Should we necessarily trust “experts” writing in “peer reviewed” journals who seek to advance interpretations of events preferred by the very establishment whose approval is necessary for career advancement? Is this about National Security — the usual reason given when it comes to hiding the truth in the Kennedy assassination — or is it about job security?

See if the following makes you wonder as well. In any case, if you like puzzles, you should find this report engaging.

To those who support the lone gunman theory, the shot came from behind — the supposed lair of Lee Harvey Oswald. But Kennedy was knocked backward, suggesting he was hit from the front. Which would mean Oswald did not fire that bullet.

This image — combined with the discrepancies in the government’s reporting of the most fundamental facts in the case — perpetuate the well-earned distrust of official sources. (For details on discrepancies in the medical-ballistic evidence, please go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Lone-gunman theory advocates have sought to explain away this anomaly, utilizing a long string of purported experts. The establishment media, showing little interest in exploring other possibilities, has long promoted these counterintuitive explanations.

The latest comes from Nicholas R. Nalli, a PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences and senior research scientist with I.M. Systems Group, Inc. at STAR. He performs research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is said to have expertise in geophysics, optics, and remote sensing.

Boston Globe, RFK's children divided over calls for a fresh investigation of his assassination, Michael Levenson, May 31, 2018. Two of Robert F. Kennedy’s children are calling for a new investigation into their father’s assassination, opening a rift in the famous family as it prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death next Wednesday. Kennedy, often known as "RFK," is shown in a file photo.

kathleen kennedy townsendKathleen Kennedy Townsend (shown at left), the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, told the Globe this week that she supports a new investigation, joining her brother Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who revealed last weekend that he visited convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan in prison and believes someone else killed RFK. “I think Bobby makes a compelling case,” Townsend wrote in an e-mail.

But two other children of Robert F. Kennedy said this week that they would not support a re-investigation, underscoring how divisive the second-gunman theory continues to be, a half-century after the presidential candidate, former attorney general, and senator from New York was killed in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

joe kennedy ii rfk child former rep“As we approach the 50th anniversary of my father’s passing, I think what is most important is that our country and my family reflect on what my father stood for and fought for — a legacy promoting global peace, social justice, and civil rights,” Joseph P. Kennedy II (shown at right), the former congressman from Massachusetts, said in a statement.

Kerry Kennedy, the president of a human rights organization named for her father, also indicated that she opposes a fresh examination of the evidence that, critics say, shows Sirhan could not have acted alone.

“The reason that people are interested in the circumstances of my father’s death is because of what he did with his life,” she said. “And I think we should focus on his life and not so much on his death — his moral imagination, his capacity for empathy, his quest to heal divisions, and his belief that one person can make a difference.”

bill newman gayle newman dealey plaza 1963 aftermath

Bill and Gayle Newman are shown on the ground on the grassy knoll in Dallas following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. They may have been the closest bystanders to the motorcade on Elm Street in the foreground. A waist-high picket fence is in the background.

Hot Springs Village Voice (Texas), Newmans remember witnessing the Kennedy assassination – Part I, Jeff Meek, May 22, 2018. Dallas residents Bill and Gayle Newman went about everyday life like thousands of others in Texas until that fateful day of Nov. 22, 1963. That afternoon they witnessed, up close, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza.

From that day until today, they are sought after to interview about the horrifying experience, which they did for me on May 3 in their Texas home.Bill met Gayle while working at a frozen custard shop when in high school. She and some friends stopped in and before long they began dating, then married in 1958 and raised two children, Billy and Clayton. The four of them can be seen in many photos taken in the aftermath of the assassination.

In 1963 Dallas was a conservative city, not particularly Kennedy country, but the President wanted a trip to Texas to mend some political fences. After stops in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Air Force One landed at Love Field for a parade through the city, then lunch at the Trade Mart, then on to Austin to close out Nov. 22.

Some were worried about the Dallas stop. Posters had been going around that said “JFK: Wanted for Treason” and some newspaper articles were negative as well.

I asked Bill what he thought happened on Nov. 22, 1963. He was hesitant to answer at first, saying he shares what he saw, not what he thinks. But later Bill said, “A thought that goes through my mind is when you talk conspiracy, multiple shooters, to me if Lee Harvey Oswald was the shooter and in fact he was the only shooter, there very well could have been other people in the background. That’s always been a curiosity to me.”

Later in the interview Bill added another thought. If it was just Oswald alone, why are documents still being withheld or heavily redacted 55 years later?

May 30

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: A Conspiracy Contradiction at the Washington Times, Jacob G. Hornberger, May 30, 2018. I wonder if noted conservative writer R. Emmett Tyrell Jr. realizes that he has just contradicted himself in an op-ed in the Washington Times entitled, “Re-examining the RFK Assassination.” Based on a new book by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Tyrell is calling for a new investigation into the assassination of Bobby Kennedy to determine if he was killed as part of a … conspiracy.

But according to the two opening paragraphs of Tyrell’s article, he has “never believed in conspiracy theories” because, he feels, it would be impossible for conspirators to keep the conspiracy secret.

But if that’s the case, then why is Tyrell calling for a new investigation into the Bobby Kennedy assassination? If there really was a conspiracy in that assassination, the conspirators, according to Tyrell’s opening paragraphs, would have talked. Since no such talk has ever emerged, that would mean, under Tyrell’s reasoning, that there could be no conspiracy and, therefore, no need to have a new investigation.

But the fact is that Tyrell is wrong. There are conspiracies, especially those involving assassination (i.e., murder), in which the conspirators don’t talk. After all, let’s not forget that a criminal conviction for murder can involve the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Oftentimes that is enough incentive to keep murder conspirators, especially professional ones, silent about what they have done.

In 1953, the CIA published an in-house manual on assassination, which the CIA was successful in keep secret for more than 40 years. The manual reflects that, early on, the CIA was specializing not only in the art of political assassination but, equally important, also in the art of covering up CIA involvement in the assassination.

As previously stated, in the early 1960s, the CIA and the Mafia entered into a top-secret assassination partnership. Thus, here you had two entities, both of whom specialized in murder and cover-up, getting together to jointly perform a political assassination.

Therefore, why shouldn’t people raise their eyebrows at least a little bit with respect to the political assassinations that took place in the 1960s, especially those in which the victims were sworn enemies of the Mafia or the CIA or both, such as President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, and especially where the facts in the case are bit too pat?

May 29

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, Rights Pioneer's Obit Prompts Disputes Over JFK Murder Half-Truths, Andrew Kreig, May 29, 2018.

The Washington Post's obituary last week of a pioneering African-American lawyer continued the newspaper's controversial coverage of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the 1964 murder of JFK's friend and lover Mary Pinchot Meyer.

dovey roundtreeOn May 21, the Post published a long and respectful obituary, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 1914–2018, about an African-American woman by that name (shown at right) who overcame racial bias to carve out impressive careers in the military, law, and ministry in a Washington, DC work environment that was heavily segregated for most of her career.

One of Roundtree's early highlights was winning a 1965 jury acquittal for Raymond Crump, Jr., an African-American day laborer whom authorities had charged with murdering Meyer on a canal towpath near her home in the capital's fashionable Georgetown neighborhood.

Obituary writer Harrison Smith reported on Roundtree's civic commitment and skill in winning the acquittal. The reporter also quoted two commentators — journalist / author Nina Burleigh and attorney Robert Bennett — as opining that Crump was guilty, despite the jury verdict.

Several JFK assassination researchers, including this editor and another Meyer biographer, Peter Janney, sharply challenged via reader comments and letters to the Post its taint of Crump (and by implication Roundtree).

Details here.

May 26

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)

washington post logotom jackmanWashington Post, Retropolis: Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan, Tom Jackman (shown right), May 26, 2018. Just before Christmas, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pulled up to the massive Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, a California state prison complex in the desert outside San Diego that holds nearly 4,000 inmates. Kennedy was there to visit Sirhan B. Sirhan, the man convicted of killing his father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, nearly 50 years ago.

rfk head portrait 1964While his wife, the actress Cheryl Hines, waited in the car, Kennedy met with Sirhan for three hours, he revealed to The Washington Post last week. It was the culmination of months of research by Kennedy into the assassination, including speaking with witnesses and reading the autopsy and police reports.

sirhan sirhan 2016“I got to a place where I had to see Sirhan,” Kennedy said. He would not discuss the specifics of their conversation. But when it was over, Kennedy had joined those who believe there was a second gunman, and that it was not Sirhan (shown in a 2016 prison photo) who killed his father, shown at right.

“I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence,” said Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and the third oldest of his father’s 11 children. “I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father. My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.”

May 24

dovey roundtree

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, A Remarkable Lawyer and a Fascinating Case, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), May 24, 2018. The New York Times has published a lengthy obituary of one of most remarkable lawyers in U.S. history, an African-American woman named Dovey Johnson Roundtree (shown above), who passed away last Monday at the age of 104.

mary pinchot meyer 1963 cigaretteHer most famous case was a criminal case involving the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer, the former wife of a high CIA official who had been having an intimate affair with President John F. Kennedy in the months leading up to his assassination.

The Meyer case is detailed in Peter Janney’s excellent book Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, which I highly recommend. If you decide to read the book, be sure you get the most recent edition because it provides an exciting update on Janney’s successful search for one of the principal witnesses in the case, a military officer named Lt. William Mitchell stationed at the Pentagon.

OpEdNews, Opinion: Deep State Swamp Monster Says There Is No Deep State, Caitlin Johnstone, May 24, 2018. Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today that he does not believe there is a deep state in the CIA, the State Department or the Department of Justice, which is the same as a mob boss saying he doesn't believe there is organized crime in the Mafia.

California Rep. Ted Lieu (D), himself a virulent Russiagater and aggressive defender of the US intelligence community, asked Pompeo if he believed there was a "Criminal Deep State" at the State Department in reference to a recent tweet by America's reality TV president.

"I haven't seen the comments from the president. I don't believe there is a deep state at the State Department," Pompeo said.

ted lieu"You formerly served as CIA Director," Lieu (shown at right) continued. "Do you believe your colleagues at the CIA are part of the Criminal Deep State?"

"You know, this term 'deep state' has been thrown around -- I will say this, the employees that worked for me at the CIA, nearly uniformly, were aimed at achieving the president's objectives and America's objectives," Pompeo responded.

"And that's your experience when you interact with colleagues at the FBI and the Department of Justice as well?" Lieu asked.

"Uh, yes," Pompeo replied.

It was like watching a two-handed puppet show about two swamp monsters furiously agreeing with one another that there is no swamp.

I hardly ever use the term "deep state" anymore. For a time it was a sensible label to use within smaller, well-informed circles to refer to the unelected power structures which remain in America regardless of the shifting tides of its official elected government, but ever since it became a mainstream household term it's been rendered meaningless by partisan hackery.

Republicans, who spent the last week defending CIA torture as "Bloody Gina" Haspel ascended to Pompeo's old office, insist that President Trump is "fighting the deep state" due to some shady intelligence community behavior two years ago.

This would be the same President Trump who has authorized unprecedented black budget funding for that same intelligence community. The same President Trump who has advanced longstanding deep state agendas against Syria, Iran and Russia, the same President Trump who has continued Bush and Obama's Orwellian surveillance program, government opacity and persecution of whistleblowers, the same President Trump who said he supports the US Department of Justice in its prioritizing the arrest of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

Democrats meanwhile proclaim that talk of a deep state in America is a baseless conspiracy theory, which is an innately absurd position.

Deep state is not a conspiracy theory, it's a concept used in political analysis to describe the ways that unelected power structures like multinational plutocrats and intelligence/defense agencies tend to collaborate with one another in order to advance their own agendas. The fact that such plutocrats and agencies (A) exist, (B) have power, (C) are unelected, (D) tend to form alliances with each other and (E) try to advance their own agendas is not disputable; the only thing you can dispute is the nature and extent of their operations.

These would be the same Democrats, by the way, who have spent the last year and a half fanatically defending US intelligence agencies and canonizing J Edgar Hoover heirs James Comey and Robert Mueller as living saints.

Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!

Obviously there is a deep state in America, obviously it is extremely powerful, and obviously men like Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo are some of its most valuable foot soldiers. But partisan echo chambers have most Americans so blinkered that they can only see one of two halves of the equation: either the US intelligence community is a plucky band of virtuous patriots resisting a president who is simultaneously (A) stupid, (B) crazy, (C) a Nazi, and (D) a Kremlin agent, or Trump is a populist hero of the people who is fighting the deep state. Through the filters of partisan idiocy it's ibo with drones graphic artist unknownmpossible to see the otherwise obvious fact that unelected power dominates the United States, and that Donald Trump is in full service of that unelected power.

But more and more people are seeing through the illusion. More and more are asking the right questions about why US presidential administrations seem to advance more or less the same policies regardless of political affiliations. It isn't necessary to use the now-useless phrase "deep state" to point to these dynamics. They're becoming more and more self-evident by the day.

Truthout, Opinion: Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump and the "Me First" Doctrine, Interview by C.J. Polychroniou, May 24, 2018. President Trump's sudden cancellation of the upcoming denuclearization summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is just the latest example of Trump's wildly erratic approach to foreign policy.

While Trump's domestic policies seem to be guided by clear objectives -- increasing corporate profits, undoing every policy made by the Obama administration, and appeasing Trump's anti-immigrant base -- the imperatives driving US foreign policy under Trump remain something of a mystery.

In this exclusive interview, renowned linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky sheds light on the realities and dangers of foreign relations in the age of "gangster capitalism" and the decline of the US as a superpower.

C. J. Polychroniou: Noam, Donald Trump rose to power with "America First" as the key slogan of his election campaign. However, looking at what his administration has done so far on both the domestic and international front, it is hard to see how his policies are contributing to the well-being and security of the United States. With that in mind, can you decode for us what Trump's "America First" policy may be about with regard to international relations?

Noam Chomsky: It is only natural to expect that policies will be designed for the benefit of the designers and their actual -- not pretended -- constituency, and that the well-being and security of the society will be incidental. And that is what we commonly discover. We might recall, for example, the frank comments on the Monroe Doctrine by Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State, Robert Lansing: "In its advocacy of the Monroe Doctrine the United States considers its own interests.

The integrity of other American nations is an incident, not an end. While this may seem based on selfishness alone, the author of the Doctrine had no higher or more generous motive in its declaration." The observation generalizes in international affairs, and much the same logic holds within the society.There is nothing essentially new about "America First," and "America" does not mean America, but rather the designers and their actual constituency.In Trumpian lingo, "America First" means "me first" and damn the consequences for the country or the world.A typical illustration is the policy achievement of which the Trump-Ryan-McConnell administration is most proud: the tax bill -- what Joseph Stiglitz accurately called "The US Donor Relief Act of 2017."

It contributes very directly to the well-being of their actual constituency: private wealth and corporate power. It benefits the actual constituency indirectly by the standard Republican technique (since Reagan) of blowing up the deficit as a pretext for undermining social programs, which are the Republicans' next targets. The bill is thus of real benefit to its actual constituency and severely harms the general population.

Turning to international affairs, in Trumpian lingo, "America First" means "me first" and damn the consequences for the country or the world. The "me first" doctrine has an immediate corollary: it's necessary to keep the base in line with fake promises and fiery rhetoric, while not alienating the actual constituency. It also follows that it's important to do the opposite of whatever was done by Obama. Trump is often called "unpredictable," but his actions are highly predictable on these simple principles.

His most important decision, by far, was to pull out of the Paris negotiations on climate change and to tear to shreds efforts to prevent environmental catastrophe -- a threat that is extremely severe, and not remote. All completely predictable on the basic principles just mentioned.

The decision benefits the actual constituency: the energy corporations, the automotive industry (most of it), and others who pursue the imperative of short-term profit. Consider perhaps the most-respected and "moderate" member of the Trump team, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, kicked out because he was too soft-hearted. We now know that ExxonMobil scientists were in the lead in the 1970s in recognizing the dire threat of global warming -- facts surely known to the CEO, who presided over efforts to maximize the threat and to fund denialism of what the management knew was true -- all to fill some overstuffed pockets with more dollars before we say "goodbye" to organized human life, not in the distant future. It's hard to find a word in the language to describe such behavior.

The decision also appeals to the pretended constituency: the voting base. Half of Republicans deny that global warming is taking place, and of the rest, a bare majority think that humans may have a role in it. It's doubtful that anything comparable exists elsewhere.

And, of course, the decision reverses an Obama initiative, thus keeping to high principles.

May 23

Consortium News, Opinion: The U.S. and the Fate of the World, Inder Comar, May 23, 2018, It may not be an exaggeration to say that the fate of civilization is up to Americans to sort out how they want to interact with the rest of the world, argues Inder Comar in this commentary.

Americans ought to be more honest about U.S. military interventionism. There ought to be a serious debate about it. Instead there seems to be three, entrenched foreign policy camps who never talk to each other.

But the reality of their actions, and the consequences of those actions, makes it impossible to hide an underlying imperialist thread. Thinking people cannot ignore that it was a Democrat, President Barack Obama, who increased the use of military drones in several countries, invaded Libya, maintained and increased America’s presence in Afghanistan, and even committed $1 trillion to enhancing America’s nuclear arsenal.

There has never been a more urgent time for people to really study and consider American foreign policy, and to ask fundamental questions about America’s role in the world. There are people in power today who are literally playing with fire with a nuclear-armed country (North Korea) and who are goading another country (Iran) into seeking nuclear weapons in order to defend itself from the open threat of an American invasion.

An imperial foreign policy is one that makes the whole world far less safe—including the United States. We are not so different as humans. Humans, everywhere, eventually get sick of being bullied. And they eventually start to defend themselves. Or even fight back.

There is another point, too, which needs to be made. The pedigreed leaders who pace the halls of power, their think-tank enablers, and many individual Americans, very often find a false and perverse comfort in the domination, exploitation, and suffering of people who are not Americans. This is truly a despicable thing, and it needs to be called out. It was this type of thinking that created genocide in the United States, against the First Nations and indigenous people. It is this type of thinking which has killed, and which continues to kill, tens of millions abroad.

there is a third group, who’ve I’ve come to see as of two minds. They think it possible to maintain a militant foreign policy, while also saying they are using that foreign policy to spread civilized values. They want to wallow in the false glory that comes from empire, and to feel good about it.

Current political discourse in the United States — whether it is in the media, the think-tanks, or from major politicians — largely falls in this camp. For example, most Republicans and Democrats use the language of human rights and freedom to couch their perspective.

Daily Beast, Mystery Heiress Behind NXIVM Sex Cult Exposed in Graphic Court Docs, Amy Zimmerman, May 23, 2018. Sex slaves. Branding. Blackmail. A new cache of court documents has shed considerable light on the celebrity-riddled Upstate New York cult NXIVM.

New legal docs in the NXIVM case appear to shed further light on the cult’s alleged sex-trafficking techniques—and the continued involvement of Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman.

Following the arrests of leader Keith Raniere and his alleged top lieutenant, former Smallville actress Allison Mack, Clare Bronfman is now rumored to be calling the shots. In April, Vice wrote that, “Heiress to Canadian liquor fortune Clare Bronfman is now in charge of an estimated dozen or more ‘slaves’ spread between New York and Toronto,” citing former NXIVM publicist-turned-whistleblower Frank Parlato. Parlato also claimed that Bronfman might be attempting to intimidate ex-NXIVM members, telling Vice, “They bought up a number of domain names to attack some of the witnesses… If Jane Doe 1 or 2 decided not to testify, that would certainly hurt the case against Raniere… I think she would do whatever it takes to see that those witnesses don’t testify.”

Parlato’s theory is in keeping with legal docs filed on the subject of Allison Mack’s bail, in which the government spoke of “evidence” that, “after its investigation was reported in the press, high-ranking members of DOS undertook efforts to undermine potential witness, including by registering domain names such as [Witness Name]exposed.com, with the intention of publishing damaging information regarding those witnesses.”

Ex “slaves” would be particularly susceptible to these sorts of threats, since a main instrument of control and retention within DOS, a secret sorority within NXIVM, was demanding “collateral” from victims.

In a Wednesday filing, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue argued that two Halfmoon, New York, properties are liable to condemnation and forfeiture to the government, detailing the sex trafficking that allegedly took place on the NXIVM compound outside of Albany.

May 22

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, CIA Knew Torture Was Extorting Bad Intelligence — Kept Doing It Anyway, James Henry, May 23, 2018 (excerpted). In February, we wrote about how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks, has yet to stand trial — 17 years after the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center’s twin towers and the Pentagon.

The reason for the delay, Mohammed’s attorney David Nevin asserts, is the government’s desire to hide the details of the torture and rendition program his client and many others were subjected to in the early years of the “war on terror.”

After years of uncertainty on what to do with the alleged 9/11 conspirators, the Obama administration ultimately decided in 2011 to try Mohammed  and four others in a military tribunal at the US Naval Station Guantánamo Bay. But the process has been fraught with apparent prosecutorial shenanigans that have only added to the delay. As we wrote in February:

• Hidden microphones were found in the rooms where the defense attorneys met with their clients.• Hundreds of thousands of the defense’s emails ended up in the possession of the prosecution, and “huge volumes” of defense files mysteriously disappeared from a Department of Defense (DOD) computer network when the DOD did a network upgrade. “Months of work” were lost, according to Navy Cmdr. Stephen C. Reyes, an attorney defending Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Nashiri, another Guantánamo detainee, is accused of involvement in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.• Members of Mohammed’s defense team, including Nevin, allege they were the target of FBI spying.• Another member of Mohammed’s defense team, Maj. Jason Wright, resigned from the Army in protest after he had been taken off the case by a reassignment that he said would have violated his duty to vigorously defend his client.• The government seized four of the defendants’ laptops that they had used to prepare for trial and that contained much sensitive client-attorney material.• The defense team accused the judge of secretly colluding with the prosecution to destroy evidence that would have been helpful to their client.

And the many pretrial arguments over the government’s refusal to provide the defense with details of the detainees’ treatment have also caused delays. Mohammed’s defense team was even threatened with prosecution when they tried to investigate some aspects of the torture on their own.

What’s Truth Got to Do With it?

djt gina haspel white house via youtube installation

President Trump Greets on May 22 CIA Director Gina Haspel, a torture supervisor who destroyed taped evidence, as she takes office. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, her predecessor as CIA Director, looks on as shown in the photo at right (White House photos via YouTube and WhoWhatWhy)

The CIA’s record of torture is front and center in the media again. This time because President Donald Trump’s new CIA Director, Gina Haspel, played a key role in the agency’s program of “enhanced interrogation” (i.e., torture). Haspel was head of station in at least one of the CIA’s black sites in Thailand where torture took place, and also held multiple senior roles at the CIA Counterterrorism Center, which oversaw the torture program.

She was also involved in the destruction of the video recordings of the torture sessions and was less than forthcoming recently with members of Congress who asked about her role in that action.

Nevertheless, the Senate confirmed her. The fact that Haspel, who played a key role in the CIA torture program, made it through the confirmation process fairly easily, signals, at the very least, that the agency should have no problem continuing to shield itself from any outside scrutiny of its treatment of terror suspects in the years after 9/11.

Ominously, president Trump who has said he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” said Monday that “America is reasserting its strength” by putting Haspel in charge of the agency.

But besides the obvious motivation for covering up the particulars of the government’s torture program, there’s a far more ominous reality behind the sort of “evidence” obtained through that torture. Why? Because Mohammed (like others who were tortured), “simply told his interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear,” i.e., to get the torture to stop.

The above quote comes not from a human rights organization or even from one of the accused’s defense attorneys, but from the CIA itself: namely, a 2003 internal agency cable describing the interrogation of Mohammed.

The cable was included in 300 pages of documents recently obtained by Buzzfeed News. The documents were originally released to the nonprofit Property of the People, which seeks to obtain and publicize government documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The material includes cables, PowerPoint presentations, talking points, legal analyses, and detailed narratives.

Much of the revived discussion about torture in the media has dealt with its efficacy: whether or not reliable intel can be gained through its use. But there is another possibility which is largely ignored — that accuracy was always beside the point.

jefferson morleyJFKFacts.org, Opinion: Whitewash: JFK’s assassination in African-American eyes, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), May 22, 2018. I’ve added a version of this poignant Dealey Plaza picture to the JFK Facts banner because I’d never really noticed its telling detail: a dozen African-Americans cheering the arrival of President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie in Dallas. It made me realize the obvious: black people – with engrained memories of extrajudicial lynchings – experienced JFK’s murder rather differently than most whites.

For black Americans, JFK was the first of 35 U.S. presidents to endorse full civic equality for their community and families. For many white Americans (like future Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush) Kennedy’s endorsement of the Civil Rights Act was an assault on state’s rights. Not since Lincoln had a true emancipationist lived in the White House.

For blacks, memories of assassination were fresh. In 1963 white Americans in 1963 had not recently experienced the assassination of a political leader. African-Americans had just seen Medgar Evers, field secretary of the Mississippi NAACP, get gunned down in June 1963. Needless to say, Evers was not killed by a “lone nut.”

When JFK was killed the reigning ethos of white supremacy suppressed the black experience. For example, Kennedy’s murder was witnessed by a young African-American couple, whose testimony was lost to history.

According to Marilyn Sitzman and other people who saw them, the young woman was about 18 years old, her companion about 21. They were having lunch in the area known as the “grassy knoll,” when the shots rang out. They threw down their bag lunch and fled, never to be heard from again.

Who could blame them? If you were a young black person in Dallas in 1963 and you thought (like Bill Newman and 21 police officers in the vicinity) that a gunshot had come from in front of the president’s motorcade, would you have come forward?

Would you have been eager to share your thoughts with the thoroughly racist Dallas Police Department? Or the thoroughly racist FBI? Or the thoroughly white national news media? The answer is no. And so the experience of these witnesses was whitewashed from history. That blank page is part of the JFK story too.

bill newman gayle newman dealey plaza 1963 aftermath

Bill and Gayle Newman are shown on the ground on the grassy knoll in Dallas following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. They may have been the closest bystanders to the motorcade on Elm Street in the foreground. A waist-high picket fence is in the background.

Hot Springs Village Voice (Texas), Newmans remember witnessing the Kennedy assassination – Part I, Jeff Meek, May 22, 2018. Dallas residents Bill and Gayle Newman went about everyday life like thousands of others in Texas until that fateful day of Nov. 22, 1963. That afternoon they witnessed, up close, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza.

From that day until today, they are sought after to interview about the horrifying experience, which they did for me on May 3 in their Texas home.Bill met Gayle while working at a frozen custard shop when in high school. She and some friends stopped in and before long they began dating, then married in 1958 and raised two children, Billy and Clayton. The four of them can be seen in many photos taken in the aftermath of the assassination.

In 1963 Dallas was a conservative city, not particularly Kennedy country, but the President wanted a trip to Texas to mend some political fences. After stops in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Air Force One landed at Love Field for a parade through the city, then lunch at the Trade Mart, then on to Austin to close out Nov. 22.

Some were worried about the Dallas stop. Posters had been going around that said “JFK: Wanted for Treason” and some newspaper articles were negative as well.

I asked Bill what he thought happened on Nov. 22, 1963. He was hesitant to answer at first, saying he shares what he saw, not what he thinks. But later Bill said, “A thought that goes through my mind is when you talk conspiracy, multiple shooters, to me if Lee Harvey Oswald was the shooter and in fact he was the only shooter, there very well could have been other people in the background. That’s always been a curiosity to me.”

Later in the interview Bill added another thought. If it was just Oswald alone, why are documents still being withheld or heavily redacted 55 years later?

May 21

dovey roundtree

washington post logoWashington Post, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 1914–2018, Harrison Smith, May 21, 2018. Defense lawyer and civil rights warrior dies at 104. Ms. Roundtree played a critical early role in the desegregation of interstate bus travel and mentored several generations of black lawyers.

​Dovey Johnson Roundtree, a Washington criminal defense lawyer and courtroom warrior for civil rights who played a critical early role in the desegregation of interstate bus travel and mentored several generations of black lawyers, died May 21 at an assisted-living facility in Charlotte. She was 104.

The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said Jerry L. Hunter, her cousin and law partner.

peter janney jfk mary meyerIn a career that spanned nearly half a century, Ms. Roundtree defended predominantly poor African American clients — as well as black churches, community groups and the occasional politician. She was, former Fisk University president Walter J. Leonard once told The Washington Post, “a legal-aid clinic before there were legal-aid clinics.”

Her best-known case involved the black day laborer accused in the 1964 killing of Georgetown socialite and painter Mary Pinchot Meyer, who reportedly had an affair with President John F. Kennedy (shown together). She won him an acquittal despite what initially appeared to be damning witness testimony.

May 19

wikipedia logo

craig murray uk ambassadorCraigMurray.com, The Philip Cross Affair, Craig Murray, May 18, 2018. The widely read commentator Craig Murray, right, is a former ambassador of the United Kingdom.Philip Cross” has not had one single day off from editing Wikipedia in almost five years. “He” has edited every single day from 29 August 2013 to 14 May 2018. Including five Christmas Days. That’s 1,721 consecutive days of editing.

133,612 edits to Wikpedia have been made in the name of “Philip Cross” over 14 years. That’s over 30 edits per day, seven days a week. And I do not use that figuratively: Wikipedia edits are timed, and if you plot them, the timecard for “Philip Cross’s” Wikipedia activity is astonishing is astonishing if it is one individual:

united kingdom flagThe operation runs like clockwork, seven days a week, every waking hour, without significant variation. If Philip Cross genuinely is an individual, there is no denying he is morbidly obsessed. I am no psychiatrist, but to my entirely inexpert eyes this looks like the behaviour of a deranged psychotic with no regular social activities outside the home, no job (or an incredibly tolerant boss), living his life through a screen.

I run what is arguably the most widely read single person political blog in the UK, and I do not spend nearly as much time on the internet as “Philip Cross.” My “timecard” would show where I watch football on Saturdays, go drinking on Fridays, go to the supermarket and for a walk or out with the family on Sundays, and generally relax much more and read books in the evenings. Cross does not have the patterns of activity of a normal and properly rounded human being.

There are three options here. “Philip Cross” is either a very strange person indeed, or is a false persona disguising a paid operation to control wikipedia content, or is a real front person for such an operation in his name.

Why does this – to take the official explanation – sad obsessive no friends nutter, matter?

Because the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is systematically to attack and undermine the reputations of those who are prominent in challenging the dominant corporate and state media narrative. Particularly in foreign affairs. “Philip Cross” also systematically seeks to burnish the reputations of mainstream media journalists and other figures who are particularly prominent in pushing neo-con propaganda and in promoting the interests of Israel.

john pilgerThis matters because, an ordinary reader who comes across an article questioning (say) the official narrative on the Skripals, is very likely to turn to Wikipedia to get information on the author of the article. Simply put, the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is to make certain that if that reader looks up an anti-war person such as John Pilger (shown at right), they will conclude they are thoroughly unreliable and untrustworthy, whereas if they look up a right wing MSM journalist, they will conclude they are a paragon of virtue and entirely to be trusted.

The “Philip Cross” treatment is meted out not just to left wingers, but to all sceptical of neo-conservatism and who oppose “wars of intervention.” A list of jeremy corbynCross’s victims includes Alex Salmond, Peter Oborne, John Pilger, Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn (head of the UK's Labour Party, shown at left), Tim Hayward, Diane Abbott, Neil Clark, Lindsey German, Vanessa Beeley, and George Galloway. As you would expect “Philip Cross” is particularly active in making amendments to the Wikipedia articles of alternative media, and of MSM critique sites. “Philip Cross” has made 36 edits to the Wikipedia entry of The Canary and, staggeringly, over 800 edits on Media Lens. George Galloway remains the “Philip Cross” operation’s favourite target with a quite incredible 1,800 edits.

Just as revealing are the people who “Philip Cross” seeks to protect and promote. Sarah Smith, BBC Scotland’s uber-unionist, has had “Philip Cross” kindly delete references from her Wikipedia entry to family ties that (ahem) may have helped her career. Labour Friends of Israel’s Ruth Smeeth MP has had reference to the Wikileaks-released US diplomatic cable that showed she was an informer to the US Embassy on the secrets of the Labour Party, deleted by “Philip Cross.” Right wing columnist Melanie Phillips had her embarrassing climate change denial excised by Cross. (Snip....more in Murray's blog.)

May  16

richard gibson cbs radio cia george washington u

CBS radio reporter Richard Gibson, now revealed as a CIA informant, shown in a photo via the Richard Gibson Collection at George Washington University

jefferson morleyJFKFacts.org, Opinion: What the curious case of Richard Gibson tells us about Lee Harvey Oswald, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), bbc news logo2May 16, 2018. I was on BBC 3 Radio yesterday talking about the curious case of Richard Gibson, co-founder of the leftist Fair Play for Cuba Committee and, it turns out, a longtime CIA spy.

The larger context of Gibson’s story, which I broke in Newsweek, tells us a lot about the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Oswald in 1963. The fact that CIA dumped Gibson’s file while he is still alive is striking. The agency is not careless about protecting “sources and methods.” A journo-friend who knows the CIA well, asks: “Do you think this was just a massive screwup, or some sort of revenge for something he did?”

cia logoProbably the latter. Maybe CIA found out Gibson was selling information to the KGB as well. Maybe Gibson gave them bad intelligence. There has to be a reason why CIA officials chose to burn a living source–especially after President Trump tweeted that living sources would be protected.

Its too bad Gibson cannot give his side of the story. Suspicions of Gibson have been around a long time. Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan found some of the first evidence 25 years ago and asked Gibson about it. He denied all.

The Fair Play for Cuba Committee was not a CIA operation. It was a CIA target. The Gibson story, along with a lot of other evidence, shows how agency officers sought to penetrate, manipulate, control, and disrupt Americans who sympathized with the Cuban revolution. One of those Americans was Lee Oswald.

richard gibson robert taber fpcc founders gw universityGibson (shown at left) and his CBS News colleague Robert Taber (at right in a photo from the Richard Gibson Papers at George Washington University) did not intend the FPCC to become a mass organization. They brought together about 30 intellectuals to sign an ad in the New York Times in April 1960.

They hoped to do nothing more than persuade news organizations and newspaper readers to look at the aims and accomplishments of the Cuban revolution more objectively.

At a time when Jim Crow ruled America, the racial diversity of the signatories, starting with the writer James Baldwin, is striking. The fact that black intellectuals signed on to a foreign policy manifesto, when most whites expected blacks to restrict themselves to the “Negro question” was also radical.

fair play for cuba committee ny times ad april 1960At right, the New York Times published an advertisement in April 1960 announcing the creation of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC)

Striking too was the instantly hostility of the CIA, FBI, and Senate Internal Security Committee. As college students and professors formed chapters of the Committee, the FPCC was suddenly a growing organization and perceived as a growing threat to U.S. officials.

The popularity of the idea that American should give Cuba a break forced Gibson to take on a job he never expected to have: running a national political movement. He was not a CIA source — not yet. But the U.S. government was already seeking to disrupt and destroy his organization, by any means.

june cobb parada 1962Gibson was wiretapped by the CIA while talking to June Cobb (shown in a 1962 photo), a CIA informant known as LICOOKY-1. He was served with two subpoenas by the Senate Internal Security Committee, which was determined to press criminal charges against the group in 1961.

The FBI intercepted and opened the group’s mail. When the FPCC hired an accountant to handle the flood of donations, the FBI turned him an informant.

Gibson, feeling harassed and underpaid, resigned from the FPCC and offered his services to the CIA in July 1962. By 1963, the FPCC had dozens of chapters around the country. The Senate Internal Security Committee was still seeking to demonize and disrupt the group with hostile hearings. And the CIA had the co-founder of the group as a potential source.

May 15

newsweek logoNewsweek, CIA Reveals Name of Former Spy in JFK Files — And He's Still Alive, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), May 15, 2018. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Paris beckoned African-American intellectuals hoping to escape the racism and conformity of American life. Chief jefferson morleyamong them: Richard Wright, the acclaimed author of Native Son and Black Boy, who arrived in 1947. He was soon joined by Chester Himes, an ex-convict who mastered hard-boiled detective fiction, James Baldwin, the precocious essayist, and Richard Gibson, an editor at the Agence France-Presse.

These men became friends, colleagues and, soon, bitter rivals. Their relationship blew up after Gibson forged a letter, published in Life magazine under the name of one of Wright’s friends, attacking the French government for refusing to give up its colony in Algeria.

richard wright postage stampWright (shown on a postage stamp) was enraged, and he dramatized their falling out in a roman à clef he called Island of Hallucination, which was never published, even after his death in 1960. In 2005, Gibson published a memoir in a scholarly journal recounting the political machinations his former friend had dramatized, telling The Guardian he had obtained a copy of the manuscript and had no objections to its publication. "I turn up as Bill Hart, the 'superspy...'," Gibson said of the story.

Wright's book was apparently prescient. On April 26, when the National Archives released thousands of documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, they included three fat CIA files on Gibson. According to these documents, he had served U.S. intelligence from 1965 until at least 1977. The Gibson files revealed his CIA code name, QRPHONE-1, his salary — as much as $900 a month — his various missions, as well as his attitude (“energetic”) and performance (“a self-starter”).

The most curious part of the story: Gibson is still alive. He’s 87 years old and still living abroad. (Gibson “will not be able to your questions,” said a family friend who answered the phone at his residence.)

richard gibson cbs radio cia george washington uGibson (shown working for CBS radio in a photo now at George Washington University in a collection of his papers) was still an “active agent” in 1977, when Congress reopened the JFK investigation and started asking questions about the agency’s penetration of the FPCC in 1963.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations asked to see Gibson’s CIA file. The agency only showed investigators a small portion of his file, but the entirety of the still-classified material became part of the CIA’s archive of JFK records.

That designation would eventually change. In October 1992, Congress passed a law mandating release of all JFK files within 25 years. Gibson’s secret was safe for the time being. In 1985, he successfully sued a South African author who asserted he was a CIA agent. The book was withdrawn, and the publisher issued a statement declaring that “Mr. Gibson has never worked for the United States Central Intelligence Agency,” a claim that no longer seems tenable.

In 2013, Gibson sold his collected papers to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. To celebrate the acquisition, the university held a daylong symposium, “Richard Gibson: Literary Contrarian & Cold Warrior,” dedicated to “furthering our understanding of the intellectual and literary history of the Cold War.”

With the release of Gibson’s CIA files, scholars can now discern the hidden hand of the American clandestine service in writing that history. When it came to the character who inspired Bill Hart, “the superspy,” Richard Wright’s fiction was perhaps ahead of its time.

May 10

Black Vault, J.F.K. Assassination Records Archive – Previously Withheld JFK Assassination Documents Database, Staff archive, May 10, 2018.John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963 at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time in Dallas, Texas while riding in a motorcade in Dealey Plaza.

Kennedy was allegedly fatally shot by a former U.S Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald, while he was riding with his wife, Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally’s wife, Nellie, in a presidential motorcade. A ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission from November 1963 to September 1964 concluded that Oswald acted alone in shooting Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. Kennedy’s death marked the fourth (following Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and most recent assassination of an American President. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became President upon Kennedy’s death.

May 9

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, JFK Files Reveal US Biological Warfare Plans Against Cuba, Jimmy Falls, May 9, 2018. It is well known that the US tried to kill Fidel Castro, but recently released JFK assassination-related files show that the Pentagon actually planned to use biological weapons against the entire country, killing plants and animals in order to ruin its economy and effect regime change.

In the summer of 1975, congressional staffer Loch Johnson was searching through classified papers at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, when he came across something he couldn’t believe — a covert plan by the US military to deploy biological weapons against Cuba.

This was more than Johnson was bargaining for, even though he was at the archive looking for files related to covert actions directed against Cuba. By July 1975, the Watergate hearings had finished, and three separate, high-level investigations were underway — all aimed at revealing covert and possibly illegal activities of US intelligence agencies, including assassination.

Johnson was working as top aide to Sen. Frank Church (D-ID), chair of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, the so-called “Church Committee.” The American public knew that their government had a tense relationship with Cuba, especially with its feisty leader, Fidel Castro. The US had unsuccessfully underwritten a Cuban-exile paramilitary invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 — a disaster in every sense. And just a year later, the world came to the brink of nuclear apocalypse after a showdown with the Soviet Union over nuclear missiles it had placed in Cuba.

What the public was not aware of then, and would only discover in later decades, was that the CIA had attempted all manner of assassination plots against Castro, in addition to widespread sabotage actions — such as burning sugarcane fields and blowing up power plants — with the goal of undermining Cuba’s Communist government.

May 4

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: JFK and the Inconceivable Doctrine, Part 2, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown right), May 4, 2018. Three years ago, I wrote an article entitled “JFK and the Inconceivable Doctrine,” in which I pointed how many lone-nut theorists in the JFK assassination have reached their conclusion based not on an examination of the circumstantial evidence in the case but instead simply on the notion that it is inconceivable that the U.S. national-security establishment would have carried out a domestic regime-change operation by assassinating an American president.

The purpose of this article is to elaborate on this theme....The Pentagon and the CIA considered Kennedy to be a naïve, incompetent, treasonous president who was placing America in much greater danger than foreign leaders like Arbenz, Castro, and Lumumba were doing and like Allende would later do. For his part, Kennedy considered people with that type of mindset to be nut-balls. That’s why after seeing an advertisement accusing him of treason in the Dallas Morning News on the morning of the assassination, he turned to his wife Jackie and remarked, “We are headed into nut country today.”

Notwithstanding the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence pointing toward a national-security domestic-regime change operation carried out on November 22, 1963, many lone-nut theorists continue to hew to the notion that it is just inconceivable that the U.S. national-security establishment would act to protect America from a president whose policies were perceived to constitute a grave threat to “national security.” To actually explore the evidence in the case is still just too frightening for them.

May 3

JFKcountercoup, Opinion: The Truth in Our Lifetime: Some Positive Attributes of the Extension of the JFK Act, Bill Kelly, May 3, 2018. The Truth in Our Lifetime: Some positive attributes of the Extension of the JFK Act.

It is very disturbing that the JFK Act — the law of the land is not being enforced today, a fact that should make it relevant to everyone.

earl warrenWhen Warren Commission chairman Earl Warren (shown at left) was asked if the secret records on the assassination would be released to the public he replied, "Yes, but not in your lifetime."

And now it may not be in ours, as a lot of people, many of whom are not alive today, worked very hard to get the JFK Act passed by Congress and reluctantly signed by President George Herbert Walker Bush on October 26, 1992.

The law prescribed that all of the government records on the assassination of President Kennedy be released in full to the public by October 26, 2017, twenty-five years to the day Bush signed it into law. When he signed it however, Bush added a rider to the law that provided the President — and only the President, with the authority to continue withholding certain records beyond the October 26, 2017 date on the grounds of national security, where their release would harm American interests.

There are also a number of assassination records that fall into specific categories that are exempt from the JFK Act provisions — over 500 records are being withheld in full under sections 10 and 11, special "deeds of gift" and grand jury records, as well as IRS tax records.

nara logoThe "deeds of gift" records are those that have been donated to the National Archives and stored in the JFK collection but are restricted by the donor, and these records include William Manchester's notes and papers he used to write his book The Death of the President, and individual oral history recordings and transcripts such as Jackie Kennedy's memories and beliefs, that are restricted by the Kennedy family.

The IRS laws take precedence over the JFK Act, so individual tax records are totally exempt, though Marina Oswald reportedly agreed to allow her family's tax records be released, and the very first document I read from among those recently released in the October 2018 batch is a good example.

In reading the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) report on an interview with former Louisiana State policeman Francis Fruge, a single social security number was redacted, and one that is not important. The rest of the document is extremely significant however, as it confirms most of the facts concerning Rose Cheramie, the women whose story is told in the opening scenes of Oliver Stone's film JFK.

rose cheramieFound unconscious on the side of the road outside the Silver Slipper saloon in rural Louisiana, Cheramie (shown at left) told officer Fruge, who drove her to the hospital, that she was with two Cubans on their way to Dallas to kill Kennedy and do a drug deal when she was thrown out of the car.

After JFK was killed a few days later, Fruge re-interviewed her, got the details of the drug deal, all of which he confirmed, and showed her mug shots of some Cubans and she picked out Sergio Aracha Smith, a New Orleans Cuban who came into play in the Garrison investigation.

rose cherami michael marcadesThe owner of the Silver Slipper saloon, a roadhouse bar, also confirmed that Sergio Aracha Smith was a customer who was in the night Cheramie was there. Cheramie was later found dead, on the side of the road, run over by a car, another suspicious death. (Her only son, Dr. Michael Marcados, co-authored in 2016 a well-reviewed ebook biography "Rose Cherami: Gathering Fallen Petals").

While I had seen a redacted version of the same HSCA report, this one was only missing the social security number.

And as I perused other documents in this 2018 batch — what the Archives calls "The Final Release," though more are expected by October 2021, I found that every document I reviewed was significant, and I will be going over them in detail in a later report.

May 2

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Did Trump and the CIA Strike a Deal on the JFK Records? Jacob G. Hornberger (shown right), May 2, 2018. Did President Trump grant the CIA an additional 3 1/2 years of secrecy on its JFK assassination-related records because he truly believed that “national security” was at stake? Or did Trump grant the CIA’s request for continued secrecy as part of a negotiated bargain that Trump reached with the CIA?

Consider the following tweets that Trump sent out the week before October 26, 2017, when the 25-year deadline set by the JFK Records Act was set to expire:

October 21: “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”

October 25: “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!

cia logoNotice something important here: Trump makes no mention of any request by the CIA for continued secrecy. How likely is it that the CIA had not made such a request prior to that week? Not likely at all. It is inconceivable that the CIA would wait until October 26, rush into Trump’s office and declare, “Mr. President, we totally forgot about the deadline set 25 years ago and we need an additional time to review the records.” (As an interesting aside, notice that neither Trump, the CIA, nor the National Archives has disclosed to the public any written request by the CIA or any other federal agency for continued secrecy of the JFK assassination-related records.)

There is another possible explanation for what was going on during the week of October 26. As I pointed out my October 27, 2017, article “The JFK Cover-Up Continues,” the possibility exists that Trump was negotiating with the CIA and taking the matter to the brink with his two tweets — that is, that Trump knew that continued secrecy was critically important to the CIA but that he wanted something in return. You know, The Art of the Deal.

If that is what was happening, then Trump was likely communicating to the CIA with his tweets, “Give me what I want or I release the records.” That would mean that at the last minute the CIA caved and gave Trump what he wanted, which would explain why Trump suddenly changed his mind on October 26 and granted another six months of secrecy, contrary to what his two tweets indicated he would do immediately prior to that October 26 deadline.

What was something that would have been important to Trump that the CIA could have given him? As I indicated in my October 27 article, what would have been important to Trump would have been an exoneration in the Russia investigation, at the very least with respect to Congress and maybe, hopefully, even with respect to the investigation being conducted by the special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller. As part of the deal, Trump would have demanded that the CIA exercise its considerable power and influence to bring one and hopefully both investigations to a satisfactory conclusion.

Why only six months of secrecy back in October? Because as I indicated in my October 27 article, Trump would have wanted a guarantee that the CIA would live up to its end of the bargain. If the CIA didn’t deliver at its end, Trump could still order a release of the records in April. If the CIA delivered, Trump could grant its request for additional secrecy when the April deadline came.

On April 26, the day that the six-month extension expired, Trump granted the CIA another 2 1/2 years of secrecy. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but one day later, April 27, the House Intelligence Committee released its final report exonerating Trump in its investigation into the Russia brouhaha.

ispute that ultimately led to Dowd’s resignation.

May 2

McClatchy DC, Former Miami Herald editor's ties to CIA confirmed, but still unclear, in latest JFK docs, Kevin G. Hall, May 2, 2018. The roughly 5 million documents that make up the (mostly) released JFK assassination files revealed many secrets. But some of the material tantalizes without providing full answers.

don bohningThat includes documents mentioning legendary Miami Herald reporter and editor Don Bohning, a longtime Latin America expert whose colorful career was punctuated by coups, expulsions and a close relationship with CIA sources. How close? That's the vexing question.

One declassified document shows the CIA had granted Provisional Security Approval to Bohning on Aug. 21, 1967, and Covert Security Approval on Nov. 14 of the same year. Dated June 14, 1968, the document says Bohning had the agency approvals so he could be used “as a confidential informant with natural access to information about news companies and personalities.”

It’s unclear, however, whether that reflected a deep relationship, or whether Bohning even knew about it. Bohning's widow, Geraldine, declined to comment. The document also said Bohning was given the cryptonym AMCARBON-3, and elsewhere noted that Bohning “was not to be used operationally nor given clandestine training or assignments.” The AM was code for Cuba and CARBON appears to be a designation for journalists.

Another JFK assassination document, dating to June 1964, also revealed that the person who went by the cryptonym AMCARBON-1 was Bohning’s colleague at the Herald, Alvin Burt. The documents, declassified further over the past year to reveal more detail, show Burt actively passing information to the CIA about exile-group infiltration plans in Cuba.

None of this would have come to light but for New Orleans District Attorney James Garrison, who in 1966 began investigating alleged links to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Garrison’s probe ended with the 1969 arrest and trial of local businessman Clay Shaw, who was quickly acquitted by a jury.

May 1

jfk american university

President Kennedy delivers an iconic speech in June 1963 at American University calling for world peace.

Some scholars say the courageous speech during allen dulles HRthe Cold War -- combined with Kennedy's actions antagonizing CIA, Pentagon, fanatic anti-communist empire-builders, segregationist, Cuban exile, Mafia and wealthy Texas oil forces -- helped set in motion his death later in the year. Among other actions, JFK's fury at the CIA's manipulations during the Bay of Pigs invasion led him to oust the top three CIA executives. One of them, CIA Director Allen Dulles (right), an operative for decades on behalf of some of America's leading dynasties, would help guide six other Warren Commission officials supervising the Commission staff writing the official report in 1964 about JFK's death.

Beginning in the 1970s, professor, poet and former diplomat Peter Dale Scott popularized the term "Deep State" in his books to describe the secretive relationship between America's oligarchs and key unelected officials such as Dulles, as evident in scholarly research about the Kennedy assassination.

Justice Integrity ProjectJustice Integrity Project, Trump suppresses JFK murder records; Violates pledge; Bows to CIA, Deep State, Andrew Kreig, May 1, 2018. On April 26 this spring, the last day of the historic deadline for JFK assassination records release, President Trump ordered suppression until 2021 of some 520 remaining classified records regarding the 1963 murder of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in Dallas.

In violating his earlier pledge to release all records, Trump released at least parts of some 19,000 other records but cited only vague “national security” concerns for the redactions and outright document suppressions despite a congressionally passed legal requirement in the 1992 “JFK Act” that he and his administration provide a specific reason to suppress each withheld record.

The White House press announcement confused the issues further by redacting many of the 19,000 documents that were released by the National Archives and Records Administation (NARA) in the latest batch last week. The records are available online, a good thing. But NARA failed to organize them in a way readily accessible to reporters and other researchers — or to provide such other key details as whether documents had been previously released in significant part.

Trump used a similar stall tactic last fall in postponing the final release of documents, which were all supposed to be released by last Oct. 26, according to the so-called JFK Act unanimously passed by Congress in 1992 to quell public fervor from Oliver Stone's powerful film JFK.

 

cyril wecht mlk rfk 2018 event logo

Justice Integrity Project, Historic Conference May 3-4 To Document MLK, RFK Murder Evidence Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig, April 30, 2018. On the unique occasion of the 50th anniversary this spring of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, an unprecedented array of scientific, legal and historical experts will convene at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh from May 3 to 4 to describe the shocking shortcomings by law enforcers and the media in reporting on the deaths.

The conference will feature, among others, experts who will describe their belief that those convicted of the killings, James Earl Ray for MLK's death and Sirhan Sirhan for RFK's, were patsies who, according to scientific and witness evidence, could not possibly have killed the iconic 1960s leaders in the separate shootings.

cyril wecht hands up capa npc st johnThe 17th annual forensics conference is organized by the Cyril Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, based at the university.

The institute's namesake, the eminent forensic pathologist and longtime Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D., has for decades provided medical evidence regarding deaths. In a photo by Noel St. John, Wecht is shown at right during a news conference last year at the National Press Club where Wecht described the public interest in disclosure of suppressed records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Wecht, chairman of the group Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), among more than a dozen civic projects, was age 86 last year when he performed more than 530 autopsies. A longtime consultant, medical school professor, lawyer and prolific author, Wecht has been a world-renowned leader in disputing official accounts of the deaths of MLK, RFK and his brother JFK, among others.

Advance registration for in-person and remote audiences for the conference is here. Advance registration closes at noon Wednesday, May 2. But registration later is available on a walk-in basis if space is available at the university hall.

rex bradford mary ferrell whowhatwhy

WhoWhatWhy photo collage showing images of the Mary Ferrell Foundation (top left), its analyst Rex Bradford and the National Archives headquarters

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Analysis: Final Word on the JFK Assassination: There Will Never Be a Final Word, Jeff Schechtman podcast interview with Mary Ferrell Foundation analyst Rex Bradford, May 1, 2018. Some people may know where bodies are buried; Rex Bradford knows where all the papers are buried. The leading archivist and historian of the records of the JFK assassination has a lot to say in his talk with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman.

rex bradford cspan 2013According to Bradford (shown at right during a C-SPAN appearance), the recently released 19,000+ pages are interesting, but in no way dispositive. What they reveal, more than anything else, is further evidence of how so many cover-ups — for so many reasons, by so many groups, agencies, and individuals — have hopelessly muddied the waters.

Bradford believes that from President Lyndon Johnson’s recruitment of Earl Warren to President Donald Trump’s holding back the release of still more documents, layer upon layer of self-serving lies have made the truth now impossible to uncover. Moreover, he argues that kicking the can down the road really does work as a way to hide what Peter Dale Scott once called “the bleak path to the truth.”

Bradford points out how ironic it is that there are now over five million pages of documents of a story in which the popular narrative was once that one man acted alone. He talks about who’s been making the decisions about what is and isn’t redacted, missing transcripts from the Church commission, some new documents on Oswald’s alleged trip to Mexico seven weeks before the assassination … but also about how no new document is a smoking gun. Much like our politics today — or maybe because of those politics — Bradford doesn’t think we will ever agree on a common set of facts about the assassination.

Jeff: Schechtman: Welcome to Radio WhoWhatWhy, I’m Jeff Schechtman. Last week, the National Archives released 19,000 plus files that were previously unseen records related to the JFK assassination. Even while Trump headed off the release of additional materials under the guise of national security, the story of the release received little coverage, mostly about what was not released. The content of those 19,000 plus pages got even less coverage.

Our guest today, Rex Bradford, perhaps more than any other American, understands these documents. He has become the self-appointed electronic archivist of the assassination of JFK. He began scanning relevant documents and making them available online and on CDs all the way back in 1999. He founded History Matters to make them freely available. He’s also written several essays and given talks at many conferences. He is now the Vice President of the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and is a consultant and analyst at the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which has undertaken an even larger scale document archive project along with other materials, including essays, photographs, and multimedia presentations. It is my pleasure to welcome Rex Bradford back to Radio WhoWhatWhy.

Rex Bradford: And so in the 1990s, the government set up an Assassination Records Review Board which declassified a huge number of documents, there’s like up to 5,000,000 pages in the JFK collection of the National Archives, which is a whole lot for a murder supposedly carried out by some guy in a window in a building.

Jeff Schechtman: Is there any reason to think that we’re ever going to see what’s in those redactions, that even if more pages are ultimately released that there isn’t enough pressure or enough interest at this point to ever see what’s in those redactions?

Rex Bradford: I don’t know, many thoughts on that matter, I mean for one thing we are at least… the good news is, we’re approaching the point where what’s being redacted are what was sort of touted all along as being the reason, like agent or informant names, name of a person in a foreign government or would be embarrassing to the CIA just to acknowledge a liaison, that sort of thing. We’re not there yet. But it’s being reduced to a smaller collection of withheld information than where we were even a few months ago of having documents with hundreds of pages just completely whited out. So I guess that’s the good news. Whether we’ll get to full disclosure on this matter, good question. I’ve been unable to predict successfully each step of the way along here so we’ll see what we’ll see. Public pressure certainly does help, that’s why this law got passed in the first place, so public attention on the matter makes a great deal of difference. I don’t know what to predict.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation, all of our board members including myself wrote a letter to the Chief Archivist of the United States about six weeks ago, basically requesting, recommending basically full disclosure and some other things and also asking some questions about anomalies and issues in the documentation of what’s being released. And we can talk about that a little bit. Just basically records falling through the cracks, and that sort of thing. And I did get a reply from Martha Murphy who heads up the collection there, a partial reply, and I’ve tried to communicate with them and tried to get some clarity on some of the questions, because in part the thing is that… One of the good pieces of news is, unlike previously when you had to travel to the National Archives to collect these pieces of paper, for the first time with this set of releases, the Archives themselves have been putting PDF files online. So the good news and bad news is now they took that role upon themselves, a number of errors and problems with that process and their online listing are legion, and I’ve been trying to get some resolution on where they have two record numbers that point to the same document or the link that it points to is just a bad link, and on, and on, and on. But we’re getting closer I guess.

Jeff Schechtman: Do you have a sense that in any of the documents that were released back in October or this current tranche of documents that were recently released, that if nothing else, it points the way to other files and other information that we haven’t seen?

peter dale scottRex Bradford: Yeah, you know, I know a very wise person named Peter Dale Scott (shown at right) that some of your listeners may know of, and way back when he wrote Deep Politics and the Death of JFK in the early ’90s before all these declassifications, he put in the preface of that book that first of all the government records will tell us more about pre-assassination intelligence operations and post-assassination coverup than they do about the murder conspiracy itself. But he wrote that, quote, “This oblique path of the truth about the murder is the best hope which the documents give us.” And I think that’s been born out in spades.

JFKFacts.org, Opinion: After Trump’s big promise, 15,834 JFK files remain secret, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), May 1, 2018. Today, after Trump’s April 26 document dump, jefferson morleyjournalists, researchers, and historians face a different reality. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s analysis of the National Archives JFK database, 15,834 assassination files, most of them from the CIA, will not be released until 2021, if then. Sad!

Why Secrecy? Some of the redactions are obtuseness dictated by bureaucratic necessity. In the file of decorated officer David Phillips, the agency redacts the fact that it maintains a station in the Dominican Republic. But Phillips wrote about the D.R. station in his memoir, The Night Watch—which was approved for publication by the CIA. This sort of redacting is what CIA veterans do in their sleep: keep secrets, even if they’re not secret.

CIA in USA

Other redactions are politically motivated. Say you have an question like: “Where does the CIA have offices in the United States?” The answer is–and is not–found in this newly-declassified 1975 memo from the file of J. Walton Moore, the CIA’s man in Dallas in 1963.CIA hides US offices. In new JFK files, the CIA censors the names of the U.S. cities where it had offices in the 1970s.

Why keep such a secret in 2018?

Because the agency’s leadership doesn’t want to talk about its activities on U.S. soil. Revealing the cities where CIA has offices wouldn’t hurt U.S. national security. But it might raise questions on Capitol Hill, questions that director-nominee Gina Haspel doesn’t want to answer at her confirmation hearings. So the agency–and, alas, the president–say we’re not allowed to know where CIA does business in the United States.

JFK Redacted: What the CIA doesn’t want you to know.

One reason for the secrecy to protect the “national security” of the United States. The other reason for secrecy is to keep voters and taxpayers ignorant of how secretive government agencies actually work. JFK secrecy fails as the national security test but succeeds as civic disinformation.

mary ferrell foundation logo

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Analysis: 2017/2018 Document Releases: Update The April 26, 2018 Release, Rex Bradford, April 30, 2018. Rex Bradford is a longtime consultant and analyst for the Mary Ferrell Foundation, named for a JFK researcher (shown at right) who helped assemble and institutional a vast collection of JFK-assassination-related documents.  

On April 26, 2018, the National Archives released over 19,000 additional documents, pursuant to the 6-month deadline given when the White House authorized continued withholding last October. Here are some facts about this release:

In general, released documents feature fewer redactions than has been the case thus far, though many redactions remain. According to the National Archives' project page, 15,834 documents remain redacted. These are intended to be re-reviewed for possible full release at the future date of October 26, 2021.

The remaining previously withheld-in-full documents will not be released; the Archives gave explanations including:

  • 520 documents fall under sections 10 and 11 of the JFK Records Act: these are IRS documents and documents provided under a "deed of gift"
  • 9 Rockefeller Commission audio files could not be located
  • 79 RIF record numbers could not be resolved to actual found documents

Additionaly, the MFF is tracking these releases against previously provided spreadsheets of records provided by NARA in 2016 and 2018. There appear to be additonal documents in those listings, expected to be released, which were not in the April 26 records; these instances are being followed up. See the table below for document counts. You can view these new documents at the National Archives website.

 

April

April 30

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, Historic Conference May 3-4 To Document MLK, RFK Murder Evidence Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig, April 30, 2018. 

cyril wecht mlk rfk 2018 event logo

On the unique occasion of the 50th anniversary this spring of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, an unprecedented array of scientific, legal and historical experts will convene at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh from May 3 to 4 to describe the shocking shortcomings by law enforcers and the media in reporting on the deaths.

The conference will feature, among others, experts who will describe their belief that those convicted of the killings, James Earl Ray for MLK's death and Sirhan Sirhan for RFK's, were patsies who, according to scientific and witness evidence, could not possibly have killed the iconic 1960s leaders in the separate shootings.

cyril wecht hands up capa npc st johnThe 17th annual forensics conference is organized by the Cyril Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, based at the university.

The institute's namesake, the eminent forensic pathologist and longtime Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D., has for decades provided medical evidence regarding deaths. In a photo by Noel St. John, Wecht is shown at right during a news conference last year at the National Press Club where Wecht described the public interest in disclosure of suppressed records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Wecht, chairman of the group Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), among more than a dozen civic projects, was age 86 last year when he performed more than 530 autopsies. A longtime consultant, medical school professor, lawyer and prolific author, Wecht has been a world-renowned leader in disputing official accounts of the deaths of MLK, RFK and his brother JFK, among others.

Details here.

April 27

jfk american university

President Kennedy delivers an iconic speech in 1963 at American University calling for world peace, a speech that some scholars say marked his own doom

Future of Freedom Foundation, The JFK Cover-Up Continues, Jacob G. Hornberger , April 27, 2018. Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger, shown at right,jacob hornberger headshot is also a book publisher, author and attorney. Just as I repeatedly predicted, President Trump, the CIA, and the National Archives decided to continue keeping those 50-year-old JFK-assassination records of the CIA and other elements of the U.S. national-security establishment secret from the American people. On yesterday’s deadline, Trump dutifully issued an executive decree ordering at least three more years of official secrecy.

My new prediction: When the new deadline arrives on October 26, 2017 [sic, an apparent typo that should read 2012], it will be extended again. The American people will never — repeat never — be permitted to see those records.

Last October, I also correctly predicted that Trump would accede to CIA demands to extend the time for secrecy when the original deadline that had been sent 25 years ago arrived for releasing those 50-year-old records.

cia logoNow, before you call me Nostradamus, let me point out that it doesn’t take a psychic or even a rocket scientist to predict that the CIA would do whatever is necessary to keep those records secret, even after 50 years. That’s what guilty people do — they do whatever is necessary to keep their guilt concealed.

Secrecy was always an essential aspect of the regime-change operation that took place on November 23, 1963 (just as secrecy was essential to the U.S. regime-change operations that took place in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Congo, and Chile from 1953-1973). That’s why official investigations were shut down immediately after suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was himself assassinated.

lee harvey oswald cuba posterIt was imperative to the success of the operation that secrecy be maintained. Otherwise, it was a virtual certainty that investigations would pierce through the pat lone-nut theory and discover that the assassination was instead a highly sophisticated regime-change operation, one involving the frame-up of a U.S. intelligent [intellgence] agent, former U.S. Marine Oswald, who had been secretly trained to pose as a communist agent as a way to infiltrate the Soviet Union (America’s WW II partner and ally that had been converted into an official Cold War enemy) and, later, to help destroy domestic “communist” organizations like the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Keep in mind the top-secret assassination manual that the CIA started developing in 1954, as part of its regime-change operation against the president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, who, like Kennedy, was democratically elected in a national election. That manual, which didn’t come to light until the 1990s, established that the CIA was specializing not only in the art of assassination but also in the art of covering up any CIA involvement in the assassination. Keep in mind also that they were willing to assassinate Arbenz, an innocent man, because they had concluded that he was a grave threat to “national security.”

doug horneIf you haven’t already read FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne (shown at left), I highly recommend you do so. Horne served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board, which was the enforcement commission of the JFK Records Act, which mandated the release of all records held by the CIA and other federal agencies relating to the assassination.

JFK’s War explains motive. Kennedy’s war with the Pentagon and the CIA was much worse (from their standpoint) than anything Arbenz had done and, for that matter, what Mossadegh in Iran had done, Lumumba in Congo had done, what Castro in Cuba had done, and what Allende in Chile would do.

Just as all those foreign leaders were believed to be threats to U.S. “national security” and, therefore, were made targets of U.S. regime-change operations, including assassination, why should it surprise anyone that Kennedy himself would be made a target of a domestic regime-change operation given that what he was doing, from the standpoint of the U.S. national security establishment, was much worse than anything that those other leaders had done or would do? Or to put it another way, if foreign leaders who pose a threat to U.S. “national security” are going to be removed from power, why wouldn’t a domestic leader who posed an even greater threat to U.S. “national security” be removed from power?

Kennedy’s war with the U.S. national-security establishment had to be kept secret, for obvious reasons. If Americans had discovered that that war was going on, they would have become even more suspicious over the pat facts that pointed to a lone-nut assassination. Thus, Americans were led to believe, falsely, that everything had been hunky dory with Kennedy and that Lyndon Johnson, the Pentagon, and the CIA were just continuing his foreign policies, especially by revitalizing the Cold War, which Kennedy had vowed to end, expanding troops in Vietnam, which Kennedy was withdrawing, and ending all negotiations with Soviet Premier Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, which Kennedy had secretly initiated, something the American people wouldn’t discover for decades.

Ask yourself an obvious question: If President Kennedy really was the victim of a random assassination by some lone nut who had no motive to kill him, would it really have been necessary to shroud the Warren Commission hearings in secrecy, based on the ridiculous claim of “national security?”

jfk limo jackie clint hill

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy stretches backwards to retrieve some of President Kennedy's brain matter for potential rescue of her husband after his fatal shooting in Dallas in 1963 as Secret Service special agent Clint Hill, assigned for her special protection, boards a limo strangely left unprotected otherwise.

Miami Herald, In latest JFK files, some tantalizing nuggets — and stuff that makes you go 'huh?' Glenn Garvin, April 27, 2018. Researchers who spent Thursday slogging through 19,000 newly declassified U.S. government documents on the Kennedy assassination learned little, except that the government's ideas about what needs to be secret, and what doesn't, are cryptic and unpredictable.

Some stuff in the documents that had been open for years is now classified again, and some stuff that had been classified and is now open is so innocuous that nobody can figure out what the point was.

gerald posner cover"You have things going back to the 1950s that were just declassified today, things that were probably of marginal importance even back then," said Gerald Posner, the Miami Beach author whose book Case Closed argues strongly against a conspiracy in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The documents revealed Thursday were supposed to be the final batch of a phased roll-out set by Congress in 1992 for the release of all government documents related to the assassination. But in the face of fierce argument from the CIA, FBI and other security organs, President Trump backed down.

What was apparent from early efforts to excavate the documents was the government's standards on classification range from ephemeral to nuts. One document was a complaint from one part of the federal government to another about the slowness with which office keys were being issued.

robert blakeyAnother listed the salaries of the staff of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979. If you're interested in lawyer-salary porn, the committee's chief counsel, G. Robert Blakey (shown at left in a file photo), was making just $47,500 a year at a time when young Wall Street attorneys just of law school were starting their jobs at $30,000 to $35,000.

In some cases, the documents re-redacted material that had already been declassified in previous versions. Often that seemed to reflect Trump administration sensitivities to the feelings of foreign governments.

A 1975 CIA report on the surveillance of shooter Lee Harvey Oswald during his visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City just a few weeks before Kennedy's death was released years ago identifying a particular photo as coming from "a Mexican police surveillance camera." In the same document, re-released Thursday, the words "Mexican police" had been covered over.

james angleton 1975 senate intelligence hearing ny times george tames customSimilarly, the transcript of an interview of former CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton contained odd deletions. Angleton, shown at a right, talking in 1975 to a presidential commission investigating the CIA, recounted how he had persuaded Israeli intelligence to post a skilled spy in Havana who would cooperate with the short-staffed CIA station there.

That information was plainly visible in an earlier release of the transcript. But on Thursday, government censors had blocked out portions of six sentences to cover up the nationality of the Israeli spy.

Why there is still more to come?

Angleton, a professional paranoid whose job assignment was to prevent penetration of the CIA by foreign intelligence agencies, played key roles in some of the most cryptic episodes following the Kennedy assassination. He was involved to some degree in CIA surveillance of Oswald in Mexico. He is believed to have removed and destroyed some documents from the CIA station there. And he also retrieved and burned the diary of one of Kennedy's paramours, the ex-wife of a senior CIA official.

So the transcript of his interview with the presidential commission has long been one of the most sought-after of the documents scheduled for release. Parts of it have been released before, but more than half remained redacted. Yesterday it was re-released, this time including much fascinating new information — but almost none of it having anything to do with the assassination.

The new material included Angleton discussing some of the great failures of Western intelligence during the 1950s, when the upper echelons of the British spy agency MI-6 were riddled with Soviet agents. There's also a lengthy conversation between Angleton and the commission members in which he strongly implies — but never states plainly — that he suspects two New York Times reporters were working for a foreign intelligence service.

seymour hersh hsThe two, Polish-born Tad Szulc (who died in 2001) and Pulitizer-prize-winning Seymour Hersh (still based in Washington and writing for the London Review of Books), were asking questions about an operation code-named Easy Chair, a top-secret CIA attempt to plant bugs in the home of the Soviet ambassador to the Netherlands.

One of the investigators bluntly asked if Angleton believed Hersh (shown at left in a file photo) was a Soviet agent. "I am not saying that," Angleton replied. But, he added, he would like to see the CIA's files on Szulc and Hersh. You've got files on them? an investigator replied in seeming surprise. Yes, Angleton confirmed, and on other reporters, too.

"And on other Americans?" the investigator asked.

"A lot of them," Angleton assured him.

April 26

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Trump Orders Release of JFK Assassination Files — But Many Redactions Remain, Jimmy Falls, April 26, 2018. The National Archives has released 19,045 JFK files today that were previously either partially redacted or withheld from the public. But secrecy continues.The National Archives just released 19,045 JFK files. Today was the deadline for President Donald Trump to announce whether files previously either partially redacted or withheld from the public would remain hidden.

According to NARA, 15,834 of the files still contain redactions. They also claim that 520 documents remain withheld in full from the public because they are not subject to disclosure, such as documents falling under the IRS code or a sealed court order. NARA clarified that the documents with remaining redactions would have another chance for disclosure in three years:

The President has determined that all information that remains withheld under section 5 must be reviewed again before October 26, 2021 to determine whether continued withholding from disclosure is necessary.

The White House also released a presidential memorandum stating the necessity for certain files to remain redacted.

roger stone headshotRoger Stone (shown in a file photo), a friend and former political consultant to the president, who also wrote a book on JFK claiming that President Lyndon Johnson was responsible for a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, told WhoWhatWhy,

“I am pleased that the president directed the final release of 19,045 documents today and that no document has been completely withheld. I am also pleased that the president ordered another review of withheld material by Oct 26, 2021 to determine whether further withholding can be justified. I have not yet had the opportunity to review how much of the material released today has been redacted but I am mindful that the president directed that redactions must relate to persons who are still living.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump delays release of some JFK files until 2021, bowing to national security concerns, Ian Shapira, April 26, 2018. After President Trump vowed last year to release all the long secret files related to the JFK assassination, the administration announced Thursday that some documents will be withheld until October 2021 for national security reasons.

In a White House memo, Trump said that the nation’s intelligence community persuaded him to keep some documents secret because their exposure could harm “identifiable national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns.”

Trump gave the CIA, FBI and other agencies a deadline of April 24 to release the last remaining documents related to the investigation into President Kennedy’s assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas. Last year Trump, who once suggested Sen. Ted Cruz’s father played a role in the assassination, promised he was going to release the entirety of the five million pages of records, most of which have been available since the late 1990s.

As of Thursday morning, it was unclear exactly how many records are being kept secret. The President did authorize the disclosure of 19,045 documents that are available on the National Archives web site.

Trump said the next deadline for release of more documents would be Oct. 26, 2021.

“The need for continued protection can only grow weaker with the passage of time from this congressional finding,” Trump wrote.

Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which tracks the JFK files, said he wasn’t sure yet what had been withheld and needed to spend time scrutinizing the latest release of documents to see whether they contain a large or small amount of redactions. He said he did a quick “spot-check” Thursday morning and was surprised to see fewer whited-out sections than in previous releases.

“I checked a few dozen files and there were certainly many with redactions, but they tended to be names and short phrases,” Bradford said.

jefferson morley newJFKFacts.org, Analysis: JFK researchers doubt Trump will free the files today, Jefferson Morley (shown at right, with the cover of his biography, The Ghost, about CIA spymaster James Angleton below at left), April 26, 2018. The extreme and strange secrecy around the government’s information about the JFK assassination continues — even as the CIA insists we already know the whole truth of who killed a popular liberal president a long, long time ago.

On President Trump’s April 26 deadline for full disclosure of the JFK files, that veil of secrecy is still in place. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s analysis of the National Archives database, some 21,890 JFK files remain wholly or partially secret. Approximately 85 percent of the still-secret files are held by the CIA and FBI.

cia logoSuch secrecy not only stokes JFK conspiracy theories and the specter of a “deep state.” It also discourages historians, journalists and students from completing the historical record of JFK’s murder. Official secrecy helps cede the question of who killed JFK to the social media cohort educated by InfoWars and Reddit. Nothing abets the conspiracy mongering like CIA secrecy.

As a journalist and historian who has written about these files since I broke the story of their existence back in May 2013, I’m less interested in what they say about conspiracy theories than in what they reveal about Washington’s response to a spectacular crime. The president of the United States was gunned down in broad daylight, and no one was ever brought to justice. No one at the CIA or FBI even lost their job over this atrocious intelligence failure. Now tell me how did that happen?

As editor of the JFK Facts blog, I hoped the release of the last of the government’s JFK files in October 2017 would shed new light some aspect of the story. Was Kennedy’s death the work of unknown conspirators, abetted by CIA officers? Or the work of a lone gunman, abetted by sheer CIA incompetence?

mike pompeo portraitAs news organizations worldwide clamored to know what might be in the last of the government’s JFK files, President Trump tweeted boldly but proceeded cautiously. He acceded to pressure from CIA director Mike Pompeo (shown at right) and delayed full implementation of the law for six months.

In November and December, there was a partial release of files. The National Archives posted four large batches of newly declassified CIA, NSA and FBI files about JFK’s assassination. As reporters and researchers delved into the records they found some revelations about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton (portrayed below left on the cover of The Ghost.).

They also found many files had not been released. Many still had blanked out paragraphs and even whole pages. These files concerned top CIA officers involved in the assassination story such as David Phillips, Howard Hunt, and George Joannides.

jefferson morley the ghost coverIt was weirdly fascinating, which is to say it was business as usual in Trump’s Washington. The president’s October 26 tweet, “JFK Files are released, long ahead of schedule!” was wholly misleading. In reality, thousands of JFK files are still secret and their release is way behind schedule. Sad!

The prospects that scholars, journalists, and interested citizens will ever see all of these files this week are not bright. The reason is found in the recently released transcript of what Angleton told Senate investigators behind closed doors in September 1975.

“It is inconceivable,” he said behind closed doors, “that a secret intelligence arm of the Government has to comply with all of the overt orders of the Government.”

Then Congress voted unanimously in favor of the JFK Records Act, which mandates the release of all files. The act was signed into law George H.W. Bush, a Republican, and implemented by Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

President Trump favors full disclosure. Yet the will of the people — it seems a quaint concept these days — has not been achieved despite the letter and spirit of the law. Indeed, since October 26, 2017, the CIA has flouted the JFK Records Act. The law gives the agency the right to postpone the release of records with the approval of the president. Trump’s October 26, 2017, order on JFK files does conform with the law.

But the law also requires the CIA to provide a declassified summary of the reasons for postponement for each and every JFK file. That has not been done for the 21,000-plus record withheld from public view since last October.

Angleton is dead, but his shadow is long. In 2018 the secret intelligence arm of the government is saying, with its actions, that it does not have to comply with the overt orders of the government, at least not as they concern ancient JFK assassination files.

Will Trump Cave?

Most JFK scholars and open government journalists who follow the JFK files story are pessimistic that Trump will deliver on his tweeted promise to open all the JFK files, save the names of living persons.

nate jones cspan croppedNate Jones (shown at right), director of the FOIA Project of the non-profit National Security Archive, said, “I think Trump will act like the presidents before him and have his opinions dictated by the disingenuous but hair-on-fire memorandums from the intelligence agencies warning of ‘grave irreparable harm’ to US espionage capabilities if all the information about what US spies were doing nearly 55 years ago during the JFK assassination is released.”

Jones predicts “the intelligence community will instruct to the president to sign off on the continued withholding of a substantial amount of material, and the president will listen to their orders.”

larry sabato hsLarry Sabato, University of Virginia professor and JFK author, concurs. “My bet is Trump will do whatever his new BFF Pompeo recommends. That means CIA will be protected.”

J. Pat Brown, executive editor of Muck Rock, a non-profit, collaborative investigative news site, said in an interview, “the original deadline was the last hope that the process would be held to any standard of control. [For the CIA] was more of a statement, ‘We can delay this as long as possible.’ So I would not be at all surprised if they continue to stall.”

Phil Shenon, former New York Times reporter and JFK author, thinks last October was “the best shot” for full disclosure. Joan Mellen, Temple University historian and biographer of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, thinks Trump is not competent to judge the issues.

gerald posner coverOne of the few JFK authors who predicts Trump will enforce full disclosure is Gerald Posner, author of Case Closed, an anti-conspiratorial bestseller.

peter dale scott newPeter Dale Scott (shown at left), former diplomat turned literature professor, whose JFK books helped popularize the notion of “deep politics” in American life, thinks Trump will ultimately accede to the CIA’s wishes.

“My uninformed guess is that Trump may intend to release all, and perhaps even back this with some efforts unseen by us,” Scott wrote, “but that he will not avail against the entrenched forces who believe their own interests are the nation’s.”

April 26

ny times logoNew York Times, Assassination in Malaysia Draws International Intrigue, Hannah Beach and Ronen Bergman, April 26, 2018 (print edition). An engineer is the latest Hamas figure to be targeted abroad by Israel’s Mossad spy agency, officials say, as another conspiracy plays out in Kuala Lumpur.

Fadi al-Batsh, a well-liked electrical engineering lecturer and devout family man, always had a smile for his friends and students in the seven years since he moved to Malaysia from his native Gaza. On Saturday, as he walked outside his apartment building in suburban Kuala Lumpur, he was gunned down in a hail of at least 14 bullets by two men on a motorcycle.

It was the Palestinian man’s undercover job — as what intelligence officials described as a technology expert for the military wing of the Gaza-based Hamas movement — that had put him in the cross hairs.

Malaysian officials said the attackers were “most likely born in the Middle East or in the West” but would not directly say who they thought was behind the killing. Mr. Batsh’s family blamed Mossad, the Israeli spy agency. That claim has been confirmed by Middle Eastern intelligence officials, who said the killing was part of a broader operation ordered by the Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, to dismantle a Hamas project that sends Gaza’s most promising scientists and engineers overseas to gather know-how and weaponry to fight Israel.

Weymouth News (MA), Kennedy assassin ‘acquited’ (sic) in mock Weymouth High trial, Ed Baker, April 26, 2018. Lee Harvey Oswald, 24 was acquitted of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas during a recent mock trial staged by a Weymouth High School junior social studies class that raised conspiracy questions about the crime.

The students portrayed prosecutors, defense attorneys, and witnesses of the president’s assassination in Dealey Plaza, Nov. 22, 1963. Oswald, portrayed by Ryan Roger, denied being involved with the president’s murder and the slaying of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippet, which occurred shortly after the assassination.

“I was shocked by the accusations and quite scared,” Rogers said while being cross examined by defense attorneys. “I did not kill the president.” Rogers said police did not tell him what he was charged with after being arrested, but did admit to owning a rifle while being questioned by prosecutors

“I did not use it that much,” he said. Student Vincent Cuoco, who served as a prosecuting attorney, said he wanted to know why Oswald went to Russia in 1959 to live and seek citizenship during the height of the Cold War.

“I went to the Soviet Union because of a book I found when I was 15 years old,” Rogers said. He said the book glorified communism and made him desire to immigrate to Russia, where he unsuccessfully sought citizenship and was turned down by Russian authorities.

“When I got there, I realized it (communism) was not like the way it was in the book,” Rogers said. Rogers said he met Marina Prusakova, a Russian national, while in Russia and they married before returning to Texas in 1962.

A defense attorney portrayed by James Donnelly said it was impossible for Oswald to successfully wound Kennedy with a rifle shot because he was seated in a moving convertible. “A loving father and husband would not have reason to assassinate President John F. Kennedy,” he said. “This shooting was at a moving target with a $14 rifle. There is no way it could be done by one man.”

The trial featured a slow-motion home movie video clip of the assassination filmed by Abraham Zapruder, which showed Kennedy being struck by bullets as it passed the landmark Texas School Book Depository building. Oswald’s wife Marina, portrayed by Delaney Spinney, said her husband was a loving caring father of their child and incapable of murdering Kennedy.

April 12

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, Readers react to lawyers petition to DOJ demanding 9/11 grand Jury probe of WTC 1, 2 and 7 explosion data, Andrew Kreig, April 12, 2018.

oenearthlogo OpEdNews published on an exclusive basis April 9 the following report by Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig previewing a filing to be made the following day demanding a criminal grand jury investigation of evidence regarding the 9/11 attacks. That column achieved a remarkable 2,100 "Likes" on Facebook, along with more than 14,000 page views, as of this writing on April 12. The column is reprinted below, with slight updates to reflect that the petition was filed. Other coverage is shown in an appendix at bottom.

The WTC Tower immediately below illustrates "ejections" or "squibs" marked by arrows that, according to the petition-filers, provide a small part of the evidence of pre-placed explosive materials causing the collapses. So does molten steel, they say, which most logically could come from thermite or thermate, not from airplane fuel. The photo below at right shows examples of molten steel.

9 11 wtc squibs Custom 2

A federal grand jury should investigate the collapses of the World Trade Center Twin Towers during the 9/11 attacks, as well as WTC 7, according to a petition that an expert lawyers group filed on April 10 in New York City's federal court.

The 54-page petition and its 57 exhibits detail the evidence that explosives were used to destroy the WTC buildings during the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The non-profit Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry demands that the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York convene and submit the evidence in the petition to a grand jury.

The petition's executive summary and full text are now posted on the Lawyers' Committee website.

"The failure of our government to diligently investigate this disturbing evidence that has emerged over the past sixteen years regarding what occurred at the World Trade Center on 9/11," commented Executive Director Mick Harrison, "has contributed to the erosion of trust in our institutions."

Details here.

ny times logoNew  York Times, Raid on Trump’s Lawyer Sought Records on ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape, Maggie Haberman, Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmid, April 11, 2018. The warrant also sought evidence of whether the lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, tried to suppress damaging information on the president before the election.

The F.B.I. agents who raided the office and hotel of President Trump’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, were seeking details on his relationship with the Trump campaign and his efforts to suppress negative information about Mr. Trump, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Prosecutors are interested in whether Mr. Cohen, who had no official role in the 2016 campaign, coordinated with it to quash the release of anything detrimental to it and whether that violated campaign finance laws — a new front in the investigation into Mr. Cohen.

The warrant executed Monday by the agents was striking in its breadth, according to those people. It demanded documents related to the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Mr. Trump was heard making vulgar comments about women, and to other materials related to secret agreements Mr. Cohen made with women in exchange for them not speaking publicly about sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.

The warrant also covered emails and other documents that could reveal Mr. Cohen’s private communications with Mr. Trump during a tense period in the presidential campaign when Mr. Trump confronted the possibility of embarrassing details of his extramarital affairs. And it delved deeply into Mr. Cohen’s past, including documents about Mr. Cohen’s personal and business finances, including his work as a New York taxi fleet manager.

Global Research, Propaganda, Disinformation and Dirty Tricks: James Earl Ray Was Innocent of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Gary G. Kohls, April 11, 2018.  The Myth of “Lone Assassin” Political Murders: MLK’s was just Another one of Many Conspiratorial Crimes (and Cover-ups) of the 20th Century.

Many American myths over the past century involve the alleged “lone assassins” who murdered national leaders like President Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.

These myths have been successfully perpetuated, thanks to a complicit mainstream media that is afraid to tell any of the many stories that refute the official stories that have been firmly established in the minds of the “rank and file” by powerful anti-democratic entities that include the CIA and the FBI, despite the overwhelming evidence that would prove in any legitimate court of law that those dramatic world-changing assassinations were indeed the result of high-level conspiracies involving deep state think tanks, disinformation campaigns, dirty tricks, death threats, the silencing of whistle-blowers and eye-witnesses, and with the essential help from the deep state-approved mainstream media.

Documentable stories that totally refutes the official stories are often reported by eye-witnesses and reporters on Day One of the dramatic event. But the official cover-ups and revisionism usually only get their start in earnest on Day Two, usually because the Deep State hasn’t gotten their false stories coordinated and “revealed” to the newspapers of record and the major television networks that will then willingly join the cover-up starting on Day Two.)

April 10

Poynter institute, YouTube, Facebook lean on Wikipedia, but is it too much? David Beard, April 10, 2018. In the past few weeks, both Facebook and YouTube have come up with a similar solution to some of their thornier problems.

On a day when Mark Zuckerberg has to face questions from U.S. members of Congress, this particular explanation seems so easy.

Let Wikipedia do it. Last month, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced a partnership with Wikipedia in which the online encyclopedia’s content on conspiracy theories would go alongside YouTube videos on such matters. Wikipedia, she said, would sort out these conspiracy videos, which have plagued the video service.

It was the first that Wikipedia had heard of such a partnership. Last week, with more warning, Facebook rolled out a part of an initiative to increase news verification with descriptions of a particular news source, taken from Wikipedia.

Oh, Apple is leaning on Wikipedia, too. If you use an iPhone and plug in a name on the default search bar, chances are the “Siri knowledge” is actually from Wikipedia. Or, hey Alexa, even many of the facts on your smart speaker may be from Wikipedia, says Samantha Lien, a spokesperson for the Wikimedia Foundation.

The idea that Google’s YouTube would dump one of its most contentious issues — conspiracy theories — on Wikipedia without warning caused some consternation in the Wikipedia community, as has the general issue of other platforms using its content wholesale as a Band-Aid for their own lack of editorial oversight.

Will the increasing exposure to YouTube conspiracy theorists increase the burden on Wikipedia’s volunteer editors? Will the platforms send new hordes to Wikipedia without contributing to its sustainability? Around the Wikimedia Foundation lately, "The Lorax” — the Dr. Seuss character who tries to protect the natural environment amid rampaging industrialism — has been referenced, Lien says.

Others are less polite, using terms that news providers might understand when they feel taken advantage of by the platforms.

April 4

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘The Business of War’: Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon, Scott Shane and Daisuke Wakabayashi, April 4, 2018. Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes.

The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash between Silicon Valley and the federal government that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes.

“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program, and announce a policy that it will not “ever build warfare technology.”

That kind of idealistic stance, while certainly not shared by all Google employees, comes naturally to a company whose motto is “Don’t be evil,” a phrase invoked in the protest letter. But it is distinctly foreign to Washington’s massive defense industry and certainly to the Pentagon, where the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has often said a central goal is to increase the “lethality” of the United States military.

From its early days, Google has encouraged employees to speak out on issues involving the company. It provides internal message boards and social networks where workers challenge management and one another about the company’s products and policies. Recently, the heated debate around Google’s efforts to create a more diverse work force spilled out into the open.

April 3

Justice Integrity Project

Justice Integrity Project, Breakthrough on MLK Death Coverage? Andrew Kreig, April 3, 2018. As the 50th anniversary of the April 4 murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. approaches, the Washington Post published on its front page this week a news report quoting the King Family and other experts as expressing doubt about the official story that the convicted killer acted alone, or even at all, to  kill the nation's pre-eminent civil rights leader of modern times.

This is the way that Tom Jackman, an experienced reporter, began his in-depth analysis titled The Past Rediscovered: Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.? His family believes James Earl Ray was framed:

In the five decades since Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by an assassin at age 39, his children have worked tirelessly to preserve his legacy, sometimes with sharply different views on how best to do that. But they are unanimous on one key point: James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King.

For the King family and others in the civil rights movement, the FBI’s obsession with King in the years leading up to his slaying in Memphis on April 4, 1968 — pervasive surveillance, a malicious disinformation campaign and open denunciations by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — laid the groundwork for their belief that he was the target of a plot.

The story represented a major breakthrough in mainstream news coverage, according to King’s friend Dr. William F. Pepper, whom Jackman quoted extensively because of Pepper's decades of work as a street-savvy investigator, an attorney, and a best-selling author seeking to solve the murder.

Pepper's 2003 William Pepper Act of Statebook An Act of State, shown at left and featuring King and his wife Coretta Scott King on the cover, is the second of a trilogy by Pepper documenting evidence that conspirators murdered the civil rights leader to stop his evolving social movement. At the time of the 1968 assassination, that movement was expanding from a largely civil rights movement with roots in the Jim Crow Deep South to nationwide anti-war and economic justice crusade that some believe threatened the nation's power structure, not just bigots.

Pepper, also a noted human rights advocate who has taught at Oxford University, worked with King family members who also believe that a plot by power brokers to remove King from the American political scene included a media-assisted frame-up of the accused killer Ray, a petty criminal and eighth-grade dropout who could be vilified as a lone-nut murderer.

“The article,” Pepper told the Justice Integrity Project regarding Jackman's Post piece, “is a major breakthrough for the mainstream media, which has refused to cover the truth about the murder of Dr. King."

"Hopefully," Pepper continued in an exclusive interview with the Justice Integrity Project, "this initiative will extend to others in the mainstream media who will be reporting on the 50th anniversary in June on the death of Robert F. Kennedy, whose accused killer Sirhan Sirhan was another patsy like James Earl Ray.”

William Pepper and Martin Luther King Jr.Pepper, a friend also of Kennedy, is shown with King in a 1967 photo by Ben Fernandez as Pepper and King conferred before King's keynote speech at the National Conference for New Politics in Chicago. King was evolving his message then to a much broader movement than anti-segregation efforts in the South.

Pepper was a journalist and political activist in the 1960s and later found himself in the unusual position of becoming convinced that the convicted killers Ray and Sirhan of Pepper's friends King and Kennedy were innocent of their deaths as shown by ballistics evidence.

Details here.

March

george orwell war is peace freedom is slavery ignorance is strength george orwell 22 12 12

robert mercer gettyThe Observer, Analysis: Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media, Carole Cadwalladr, Feb. 26, 2017, last mofified on March 21, 2018. With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist, shown at right, is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network.

Just over a week ago, Donald Trump gathered members of the world’s press before him and told them they were liars. “The press, honestly, is out of control,” he said. “The public doesn’t believe you any more.” CNN was described as “very fake news… story after story is bad”. The BBC was “another beauty”.

That night I did two things. First, I typed “Trump” in the search box of Twitter. My feed was reporting that he was crazy, a lunatic, a raving madman. But that wasn’t how it was playing out elsewhere. The results produced a stream of “Go Donald!!!!”, and “You show ’em!!!” There were star-spangled banner emojis and thumbs-up emojis and clips of Trump laying into the “FAKE news MSM liars!”

Trump had spoken, and his audience had heard him. Then I did what I’ve been doing for two and a half months now.

I Googled “mainstream media is…” And there it was. Google’s autocomplete suggestions: “mainstream media is… dead, dying, fake news, fake, finished”. Is it dead, I wonder? Has FAKE news won? Are we now the FAKE news? Is the mainstream media – we, us, I – dying?

I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”. How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic?

In the “About us” tab, I learn CNSnews is owned by the Media Research Center, which a click later I learn is “America’s media watchdog”, an organisation that claims an “unwavering commitment to neutralising leftwing bias in the news, media and popular culture”.

Another couple of clicks and I discover that it receives a large bulk of its funding – more than $10m in the past decade – from a single source, the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. If you follow US politics you may recognise the name. Robert Mercer is the money behind Donald Trump. But then, I will come to learn, Robert Mercer is the money behind an awful lot of things. He was Trump’s single biggest donor. Mercer started backing Ted Cruz, but when he fell out of the presidential race he threw his money – $13.5m of it – behind the Trump campaign.

It’s money he’s made as a result of his career as a brilliant but reclusive computer scientist. He started his career at IBM, where he made what the Association for Computational Linguistics called “revolutionary” breakthroughs in language processing – a science that went on to be key in developing today’s AI – and later became joint CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that makes its money by using algorithms to model and trade on the financial markets.

One of its funds, Medallion, which manages only its employees’ money, is the most successful in the world – generating $55bn so far. And since 2010, Mercer has donated $45m to different political campaigns – all Republican – and another $50m to non-profits – all rightwing, ultra-conservative. This is a billionaire who is, as billionaires are wont, trying to reshape the world according to his personal beliefs.

Robert Mercer very rarely speaks in public and never to journalists, so to gauge his beliefs you have to look at where he channels his money: a series of yachts, all called Sea Owl; a $2.9m model train set; climate change denial (he funds a climate change denial thinktank, the Heartland Institute); and what is maybe the ultimate rich man’s plaything – the disruption of the mainstream media. In this he is helped by his close associate Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign manager and now chief strategist. The money he gives to the Media Research Center, with its mission of correcting “liberal bias” is just one of his media plays. There are other bigger, and even more deliberate strategies, and shining brightly, the star at the centre of the Mercer media galaxy, is Breitbart.

It was $10m of Mercer’s money that enabled Bannon to fund Breitbart – a rightwing news site, set up with the express intention of being a Huffington Post for the right. It has launched the careers of Milo Yiannopoulos and his like, regularly hosts antisemitic and Islamophobic views, and is currently being boycotted by more than 1,000 brands after an activist campaign. It has been phenomenally successful: the 29th most popular site in America with 2bn page views a year. It’s bigger than its inspiration, the Huffington Post, bigger, even, than PornHub. It’s the biggest political site on Facebook. The biggest on Twitter.

March 20

jefferson morleyusa today logo 5USA Today, JFK files: 15-year lawsuit over mysterious CIA agent drags as final files await release, Ed Brackett, March 20, 2018 (print edition). For 15 years, journalist, author and assassination expert Jefferson Morley (right) has fought to compel the CIA to produce records about longtime spy George Joannides, who worked with a group associated with President John F. Kennedy’s acknowledged assassin and then aided the committee that tried to investigate that killing.

Morley returned to federal court again Monday, this time before a three-judge appeals court panel to get the government to pay legal fees that have climbed to more than $500,000, said Morley’s attorney, James Lesar.

Circumstances around Kennedy’s murder and the various theories over the decades that reject the idea that the lone assassin was Oswald — who himself was murdered during a jail transfer two days after Kennedy was killed — can get pretty complicated.

Morley, however, says his case is simple: The government needs to inform the public of its activities. Morley wants the appeals court in Washington to force the government to pay his legal fees and to get the CIA to reveal some of Joannides’ records.

“We’re talking about very specific things. We are not talking about a Chinese box,” he said in response to a question mentioning the term.

Bill Miller, public information officer of the Washington U.S. Attorney’s office, said the office had no comment on the case beyond its court motions and filings.

As more and more government files have been released under the JFK Records Act since October, various long-held CIA secrets have been revealed, many of them not related to the assassination, at least directly. But even with the court case and the Records Act — with its final production due in April — files on Joannides remain scarce.

In 1963, the year Kennedy was murdered, Joannides was the CIA case officer over students from Cuba eager to oust dictator Fidel Castro, who had seized power in 1959. In 1978, Joannides was named by the CIA as its contact with the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

March 16

Justice Integrity Project, DC 'Big Event' Boosts Pressure To Disclose Suppressed JFK Records, Andrew Kreig, March 16, 2018. Nearly a score of conference speakers last weekend presented powerful evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and to maintain a cover-up that exists to the present.

jfk historical group big event 2018Speakers documented again and again how a massive cover-up that began immediately after the president’s death has continued despite a unanimous congressional vote in 1992 on the so-called “JFK Act” that required release of all relevant documents by a deadline of last October.

capa cyril wecht hands up capa npc st john newCo-keynoter Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., drew on six decades of medical training and practice to denounce yet again what he described as scientifically impossible official findings of the 1964 Warren Commission.

The Commission and its supporters claim that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin who killed Kennedy by firing three shots from the sixth floor of an office building located behind the president during a motorcade through downtown Dallas.

Wecht, an eminent forensic pathologist, medical school professor, author and former coroner portrayed above right in a file photo by Noel St. John at the National Press Club, showed that extensive scientific evidence as well as common sense indicate that Oswald (shown in a passport photo below left) could not have fired the fatal shot and wounding Texas Gov. John Connolly in several places with the same bullet — and so there must have been a conspiracy.

lee harvey oswald cuba passport application“What the hell is the problem?” Wecht said of efforts by the CIA and other federal officials to suppress in violation of the 1992 law relevant witness, medical and other records. “Just put the goddamn stuff out there!”

Concurring in that view was co-keynoter Roger Stone, the noted political operative and best-selling author of a book arguing that Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson orchestrated the murder and a cover-up.

March 7

hugh turley david martin thomas mertonTurley, Hugh and David Martin. The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: An Investigation. CreateSpace, March 7, 2018. Hugh Turley, as a volunteer columnist for the Hyattsville Life and Times, is a winner of the National Newspaper Association award for best serious column, small-circulation, non-daily division. David Martin is twice winner of the Lawrence R. Klein Award for best Monthly Labor Review article by an employee of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Vladimir Kats was his co-writer for the second article.

Publisher's announcement: Seldom can one predict that a book will have an effect on history, but this is such a work. Merton's many biographers and the American press now say unanimously that he died from accidental electrocution. From a careful examination of the official record, including crime scene photographs that the authors have found that the investigating police in Thailand never saw, and from reading the letters of witnesses, they have discovered that the accidental electrocution conclusion is totally false.

The widely repeated story that Merton had taken a shower and was therefore wet when he touched a lethal faulty fan was made up several years after the event and is completely contradicted by the evidence. Hugh Turley and David Martin identify four individuals as the primary promoters of the false accidental electrocution narrative. Another person, they show, should have been treated as a murder suspect.

cia logoThe most likely suspect in plotting Merton's murder, a man who was a much stronger force for peace than most people realize, they identify as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States government. Thomas Merton was the most important Roman Catholic spiritual and anti-warfare-state writer of the 20th century. To date, he has been the subject of 28 biographies and numerous other books.

Remarkably, up to now no one has looked critically at the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sudden death in Thailand. From its publication date in the 50th anniversary of his death, into the foreseeable future, this carefully researched work will be the definitive, authoritative book on how Thomas Merton died.

Antiwar.blog, Jefferson Morley on the CIA and Mossad: Tradeoffs in the Formation of the US-Israel Strategic Relationship, Jefferson Morley, March 11, 2018. Discussion at The Israel Lobby and American Policy 2018 conference March 2, 2018 at the National Press Club.

Jefferson Morley is a veteran Washington investigative reporter and the author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton. His latest must-read book sheds new light on Angleton’s close relationship with Israeli intelligence, citing such cases as the Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty and the diversion of U.S. government-owned weapons-grade uranium from Apollo, PA to Israel in the ‘60s.

March 1

olof palmeSwedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (shown at right) was assassinated on the 28th of February 1986 in what remains as one of the Western world's leading unsolved assassinations. On the anniversary, one of Sweden's leading newspapers explores the case.

From Wikipedia: Assassination of Olof Palme. On Friday, 28 February 1986, Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden, was fatally wounded by a single gunshot while walking home from a cinema with his wife Lisbet Palme on the central Stockholm street Sveavägen. Mrs Palme was slightly wounded by a second shot. The couple did not have bodyguards at the time.

Christer Pettersson, who previously had been convicted of manslaughter, was convicted of the murder in 1988 after having been identified as the killer by Palme's wife. However, on appeal to Svea Court of Appeal he was acquitted. A petition for a new trial, filed by the prosecutor, was denied by the Supreme Court of Sweden. Pettersson died in late-September 2004, legally declared not guilty of the Palme assassination. The case remains unsolved.

sweden flagSVT Nyheter (Sweden), Investigation: How the Palme Investigation was Manipulated – witness heard 43 times and changed their story, Staff report, March 1, 2018. How did Christer Pettersson become the main suspect in the hunt for Olof Palme’s killer? Mission Investigate has spoken to three people who had central positions in the Palme investigation claiming that there was witness manipulation. For instance, one of the most important witnesses was heard more than 40 times – and changed their story completely over time.

No study of the work of the Palme Commission, not even the government’s exhaustive investigation, has so far been able to explain how Christer Pettersson – an addict from Rotebro – became the main suspect. But in every version provided by Thure Nässén, the investigator who was instrumental in naming Pettersson a suspect, there is one common denominator: drug dealer Sigge Cedergren.

February, 2018

Feb. 22

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Disappointment Over Tyler Cowen’s Take on the JFK Assassination, Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), Feb. 22, 2018. Anyone familiar with Tyler Cowen knows that he has been blessed with a brilliant and analytical mind. Such being the case, I was particularly interested in reading his Bloomberg article “How to Test Your Favorite Conspiracy Theory,” at least insofar as it related to the assassination of President John Kennedy. I wanted to see how Cowen applied his legendary analytical skills to that seminal event in U.S. history.

Alas, after reading the article, I was left with nothing but disappointment.

Mind you, the article wasn’t only about the JFK assassination. It also encompassed other subjects, like UFOs, the Malaysian Airliner crash, insider trading, baseball scandals, the moon walk, and Paul McCartney.

Nonetheless, Cowen’s comments on the JFK assassination was fascinating, revealing, and, well, disappointing. Here is what he writes:

I am inclined to think (although not certain) that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone…. Another way to search for true conspiracies is to scour history for deathbed confessions. Did any Cuban or Soviet agents, shortly before dying, blurt out that they knew the true story of President John Kennedy’s assassination? As far as I know, these admissions are hard to come by. That’s another reason for not believing in most conspiracy theories.”

That is a fascinating — and revealing — insight into Cowen’s perspective on the JFK assassination. Notice that Cowen’s mindset leads to but two possibilities: Oswald did it alone. Or Oswald conspired with others.

Who would those “others” be? Why, Soviet or Cuban agents of course. That’s why Cowen refers to the absence of deathbed confessions from Soviet or Cuban agents. He is suggesting that if Oswald didn’t act alone, then his co-conspirators had to have been Soviet or Cuban communists.

Why is that? Cowen is alluding to the official story: Oswald was supposedly a devout communist, one who had traveled to Moscow, attempted to defect to the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia), vowed to give the Reds all the information he had acquired as U.S. Marine, returned to the United States with a Russian wife, distributed pamphlets in New Orleans for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and traveled to Mexico City, where he purportedly visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies shortly before the assassination.

Thus, all that obviously leads Cowen to conclude that there are but two possibilities: Oswald acted alone or Oswald conspired with the Reds to kill Kennedy. Since no deathbed confessions have popped up among Soviet and Cuban agents, Cowen tends toward the lone-nut theory.

What is disappointing is that Cowen apparently fails to consider a third possibility: that Oswald was entirely innocent — that is, that he didn’t kill Kennedy, either alone or in concert with anyone.

Feb. 12

jefferson morley newJFKFacts.org, Analysis: Oswald under surveillance: the last JFK secret, Jefferson Morley, Feb. 12, 2018. Author, reporter and JFKFacts.org editor Jefferson Morley is shown at right. While JFK researchers seek to come up with an accurate count of just how many JFK assassination files remain secret in advance of the April 2018 deadline for full disclosure ordered by President Trump, we can be sure the number is more than 1,000 and maybe higher than 3,000. The precise number, however, matters less than what is still secret – and this we JFK Factknow with certainty.

One of the most important stories still under wraps: the story of the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald from 1959 to 1963. A Senate investigator’s memo, released in December, gives the exact date that the surveillance of Oswald began: November 11, 1959. This is one of the most important JFK records released in the past year, so its details are worth understanding.

Feb. 6

JFKFacts.org, Opinion: I’ll be in federal court on March 19 talking about certain JFK files that the CIA would really prefer you not think about, Jefferson Morley, Feb. 6, 2018. On Monday morning March 19  my attorneys Jim Lesar and Dan Alcorn and I will appear at the Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse in Washington for oral arguments in my long-running lawsuit, Morley v. CIA.

The issue before the three-judge panel: has there been a “public benefit” from the lawsuit’s disclosure of long-secret documents about deceased CIA officer George Joannides?Lesar will make the common sense case that widespread media interest in Morley v. CIA is proof of public benefit. The editors of the New York Times, Fox News, the San Diego Union, St. Paul Pioneer Press, CBS News in Dallas, and the New Yorker, among many other news organizations have seen fit to report on Morley v. CIA.

george joannides cia citation 1981 cia photoRetired CIA officer George Joannides (left in a CIA photo) received the Career Intelligence Medal in 1981, two years after misleading House investigators about what he knew about Lee Oswald. The Times, the Daily Mail,  and a dozen other news sites published a photo of Joannides receiving a CIA medal after he stonewalled congressional investigators about what he knew about the Cuban contacts of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

What’s New? Joannides’ curious, if not suspicious, role in the JFK story was utterly unknown before I filed my lawsuit. My argument: greater knowledge about the JFK story is benefits the public.

cia logoThe CIA wants their day in court too: Benton Peterson, a Trump Justice Department attorney, representing the agency, will argue that there has been no “public benefit” from the information obtained under Morley v. CIA. The CIA, he will say, should not have to pay my court costs for 15 years of successful litigation.

The CIA’s argument is revealing. The agency has been fighting my request for Joannides’ files since I sued in December 2003, They want to say publicly: Pay no attention to the story of George Joannides. They also want to say: And pay no attention to this Morley character. He’s a schemer who filed this lawsuit to get the government to pay the copying costs of his research. (The Obama Justice Department actually made this argument at one point.)

The CIA needs their day in court for purposes of JFK damage control. They need to assure the public and the courts there is no benefit from studying the story of Joannides, a CIA official who funded the first JFK conspiracy theory, who stonewalled JFK investigators, and who received a medal for his career job performance.

Feb. 5

jfk national press club 1961

President John F. Kennedy stopped by National Press Club President John Cosgrove's inauguration in 1961, and JFK followed up with a letter about how much he enjoyed accepting his Club membership in person.

National Press Club, President Kennedy's letter to Club President Cosgrove found, Staff report, Feb. 5, 2018. When the John F. Kennedy Library put together a joint program with the National Press Club last week, it sent something that the Club had not seen: A copy of President Kennedy’s letter to Club President John Cosgrove just after Kennedy attended Cosgrove’s inaugural party.

That Kennedy stopped by Cosgrove’s party just two weeks after Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 is a part of Club lore. The photo of the meeting is in the Cosgrove Lounge. Cosgrove, who was an active Club member right up to his death at the age of 98 last year, never tired of quipping: “Well I went to Kennedy’s inaugural, why shouldn’t he come to mine?”

Club historian Gil Klein recounted the event during the joint program with the Kennedy Library to discuss Kennedy’s legacy 100 years after his birth.Klein read Kennedy's letter to Cosgrove written after Cosgrove's inaugural. While the Kennedy Library had a copy, the Club’s archives did not.

Cosgrove did not know that Kennedy would make an appearance until the afternoon of the event. After Cosgrove presented the president with his membership card, No. 2973, Kennedy praised the Club for sticking to its rules and having “the decency to charge me the initiation fee and dues.”

The Club, unfortunately, cashed that check, which would be worth many times the $90 value today.

The president’s appearance was brief, but he greeted the head table guests, which included House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Chief Justice Earl Warren. He had to leave before the swearing-in ceremony, but in departing, he looked at Cosgrove and said, “I’m sorry I can’t stay any longer, but be sure to keep your hand on the Bible.”

That apparently was a reference to his own inauguration when someone watching it on television claimed that Kennedy’s hand was not on the Bible when he took the oath.

Feb.3

JFK Assassination Document Cover-up Report

Black Vault via Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), A detailed listing of JFK assassination related documents still being withheld (as of Jan. 29,2018), AARC and Black Vault staff reports, Feb. 3, 2018.

nara logoIn the words of an experienced FOIA attorney:

“Nearly 23,000 withheld assassination related documents represents 63.88% of the approximately 36,000 withheld records comprising the yet-to-be released JFK database, and raises questions relating to how many records there were to begin with. It seems most likely that the numbers represented in this important list published by the Black Vault refer to some documents which have never been released at all and many documents which have been only partially released."

Among the 442,606 pages there are then many which have not yet been released in their entirety.”

This “withheld” list was released via the FOIA to The Black Vault in FOIA Case #NARA-NGC-2018-000072. It contains, as of January 29, 2018, the entire list of withheld documents by NARA regarding the JFK Assassination. It shows 22,933 Documents totaling 442,606 Pages.

According to NARA: “We conducted a search and were able to locate an EXCEL spreadsheet that lists everything that has not been released since December 15th, 2017 (the last release date). We are releasing this document if full with no redactions. The spreadsheet lists the JFK record number, the decision, the file number, document date, number of pages, and the origination agency.”

January, 2018

Jan. 23

ny times logo

yasser arafat world economic forum 2001New York Times Magazine, How Arafat Eluded Israel’s Assassination Machine, Ronen Bergman, Jan. 23, 2018. The nation’s security forces tried for decades to kill the P.L.O. leader, Yasser Arafat.(shown at right during a 2001 speech at the World Economic Forum).  Now, former officials tell the story of how they failed — and how far they almost went to succeed.

As a reporter in Israel, I have interviewed hundreds of people in its intelligence and defense establishments and studied thousands of classified documents that revealed a hidden history, surprising even in the context of Israel’s already fierce reputation.

israel flagMany of the people I spoke to, in explaining why they did what they did, would simply cite the Babylonian Talmud: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” In my reporting, I found that since World War II, Israel has used assassination and targeted-killing more than any other country in the West, in many cases endangering the lives of civilians.

But I also discovered a long history of profound — and often rancorous — internal debates over how the state should be preserved. Can a nation use the methods of terrorism? Can it harm innocent civilians in the process? What are the costs? Where is the line?

Increasingly, people want to talk.

Jan. 8

Media Matters, Infowars fully embraces “The Storm,” a conspiracy theory called “the new Pizzagate,” Cristina López G., Jan. 8, 2018. The outlet is now working directly with online message boards to promote the conspiracy theory that Trump is staging a counter-cabal against the “deep state” officials in government.

Jan. 3

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Investigation: How to Avoid Being Linked to the JFK Assassination: Get Yourself Locked Up, Dick Russell (shown below at left), Jan. 3, 2018. Why would a man who knew Lee Harvey Oswald and had apparent connections to intelligence walk into a bank, shoot two holes in a wall, and await arrest months prior to JFK’s assassination? There is no better alibi than being in federal prison.

Dick RussellOn September 20, 1963, two months before President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, a highly decorated Army veteran named Richard Case Nagell walked into a bank in El Paso, fired two shots into a wall from a revolver, and went outside to await arrest. There was speculation, even by the officer who put him in handcuffs, that for some reason he wanted to be locked up.

dick russell man who knew too much coverNagell was charged with attempted bank robbery. Only later would he indicate to the FBI that he feared being implicated in an “inimical act” — one that involved accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

What could be known of Nagell’s strange saga was featured in my book on the Kennedy assassination, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Now recent releases from the National Archives of long-withheld CIA and FBI assassination-related files shed new light on Nagell, and on which branches of the CIA had the strongest interest in him.

Jan. 1

The Intercept, Wilderness of Mirrors, Jefferson Morley (shown at right and the author of a new book, The Ghost, a biography of James J. Angleton), Jan. 1, 2018. Documents Reveal the Complex Legacy of James Angleton, CIA Counterintelligence Chief and Godfather of Mass Surveillance.

jefferson morley the ghost coverVeteran CIA officer Cleveland Cram was nearing the end of his career in 1978, when his superiors in the agency’s directorate of operations handed him a sensitive assignment: Write a history of the agency’s Counterintelligence Staff. Cram, then 61, was well qualified for the task. He had a master’s and Ph.D. in European History from Harvard. He had served two decades in the clandestine service, including nine years as deputy chief of the CIA’s station in London.

Cram was assigned to investigate a debacle. The Counterintelligence Staff, created in 1954, had been headed for 20 years by James Jesus Angleton, a legendary spy who deployed the techniques of literary criticism learned at Yale to find deep patterns and hidden meanings in the records of KGB operations against the West. But Angleton was also a dogmatic and conspiratorial operator whose idiosyncratic theories paralyzed the agency’s operations against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and whose domestic surveillance operations targeting American dissidents had discredited the CIA in the court of public opinion.

Cram’s mission — and he chose to accept it — was to soberly answer the questions that senior CIA officials were asking in their private moments: What in the name of God and national security had Jim Angleton been doing when he ran the Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1974? Did his operations serve the agency’s mission? Did they serve the country?

 Index: Deep State News, Revelations, Commentary