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AMERICANS WHO TELL THE TRUTH
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Americans Who Tell the Truth
is dedicated to the belief that a profound sense of citizenship is the only safeguard of democracy and the best defense of our social, economic, and environmental rights. Through portraits and stories of exemplary American citizens, both historical and contemporary, AWTT teaches the courage to act for the common good. The original portraits and accompanying resources promote our country’s ideals, illuminate the necessary work of the present, and inspire hope in the future.
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L.A.-based Holocaust claims lawyer sues FBI over Clinton warrant
Posted on Dec. 7, 2016 at 4:16 pm
E. Randol Schoenberg. Photo courtesy of E. Randol Schoenberg
E. Randol Schoenberg was confused when he read a New York Times article in the waning days of the presidential election reporting the FBI had obtained a warrant to seize new material in the Hillary Clinton email case.
“I thought, ‘What does that mean?’” he told the Journal. “Normally you have to show probable cause. That’s what it says in the Fourth Amendment.”
Schoenberg, 50, gained international prominence by reclaiming Jewish-owned art looted by the Nazis, most notably in the Maria Altmann case made famous by the 2015 film, “Woman in Gold.”
He is a former president of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and the leader in its revitalization. And on Dec. 7 he took on another major cause by filing suit against the FBI, hoping to get the agency to turn over the warrant it used to seize the computer of Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
“Countless American citizens, including Secretary Clinton, believe that [FBI Director James] Comey’s announcement and the re-opening of the investigation might have single-handedly swayed the election,” Schoenberg alleges in the suit.
[Click here to download a copy of the complaint]
By the time the FBI reopened the investigation, it had already spent months investigating the Clinton emails.
“It’s like somebody’s been to your house and searched ten times and says, ‘Oops, there’s a drawer I missed. Can I go back in?’” Schoenberg said.
The New York Times article was the last time Schoenberg saw mention of a search warrant in the press. So he decided to file a request on Nov. 12 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to review the warrant. Two days later, the FBI acknowledged receiving his request.
The transparency law allows government agencies twenty days, excluding holidays and weekends, to determine whether it will comply with the request and notify the petitioner. When that time period elapsed, Schoenberg contacted David B. Rankin, a Manhattan-based attorney specializing in FOIA requests, and filed suit in the United States District Court of Southern New York.
In an interview with the Journal, Schoenberg speculated one of two things happened to allow the FBI to obtain a search warrant: Either a lax judge didn’t care enough to scrutinize the warrant application, or “it could be something more nefarious."
Not unlikely, by his estimation, is that somebody provided the FBI allegedly incriminating information that turned out to be untrue.
In the course of his Holocaust-related work, he said, he’s worked with law enforcement and U.S. attorneys, persuading them to investigate or file suit.
“You’re allowed to give them information and encourage them to start investigate or file lawsuits,” he said. “That’s totally fine as long as it’s correct. But what if it’s false?”
Part of the reason he filed suit in New York (other than the fact that Weiner’s computer was there) is that he suspects somebody in the Manhattan orbit of then-candidate Donald Trump may have provided a false lead to the FBI, he said.
In the interview, he named New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, all Trump allies, as potential sources for the FBI's investigation.
Shortly after filing the FOIA request, he laid out in a Jewish Journal op-ed what could be at stake if incriminating information comes to light.
“This is potentially very serious, something that if traced back to Donald Trump might even lead to impeachment,” he wrote.
Nine days after re-opening the case, and two days before Election Day, Comey announced the FBI hadn’t found sufficient evidence to reconsider its original decision. For Schoenberg, that was only further proof there was never
Wed, Dec 7th 2016 3:36am
9th circuit, fbi, fisc, mohamud osman mohamed, own plot, section 702, sting operation, surveillance
Convicted FBI Sting Target Challenges Investigation, Domestic Surveillance; Ends Up With Nothing
from the entrapment-will-continue-until-national-security-improves dept
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld [PDF] a terrorism conviction, despite its own concerns about the government's behavior during the investigation. (h/t Brad Heath)
Mohamed Osman Mohamud appealed his conviction for attempting to detonate a bomb during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon, raising several arguments -- one of those being entrapment. But the court had this to say about the FBI's sting operation.
The panel held that the district court properly rejected Mohamud’s defense of entrapment as a matter of law. The panel could not say that no reasonable jury could have concluded that Mohamud was predisposed to commit the charged offense. Rejecting Mohamud’s alternative argument that the case should be dismissed because the government overreached in its “sting,” the panel wrote that while the government’s conduct was quite aggressive at times, it fell short of a due process violation.
As we've noted here before, courts have given the government plenty of leeway in its investigations. Entrapment is a popular defense but even the DEA's predilection for setting up desperate rubes to rob fake stash houses (and asking for sentences based on imaginary quantities of nonexistent drugs) has seldom been troubled by defendants' challenges. The courts have also ordained much, much more questionable tactics, like the FBI's creation of a child porn
DEC. 6 2016 12:30 PM
The FBI Debunked These UFO Documents in the Most Childish Way Possible
House votes to boost protection for FBI whistleblowers
By AL WEAVER (@ALWEAVER22) • 12/7/16 6:05 PM
The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to give more protections to whistleblowers at the FBI.
In a 404-0 vote, the House passed H.R. 5790, which was sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. The bill would broaden the protections for whistleblowers so they are not retaliated against by supervisors, putting them in the same position as other protected federal workers in other areas of the government.
"We have great respect and admiration for the FBI. They do wonderful work," Chaffetz said. "It's because I respect the FBI and it's agents that I helped introduce this bill ... The whistleblowers protections in the FBI have really not kept up with the rest of government, and that's why we need a change here. The whistleblowers at the FBI should be treated the same as they are within the rest of the federal government."
Chaffetz introduced the bill after a 2015 report found that protections for FBI whistleblowers were not as strong as those enjoyed
House committee approves FBI headquarters funding despite ...
Washington Business Journal
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has endorsed setting aside $834 million in federal funds for a new FBI headquarters to ...
FBI Policy Of Manufacturing Terrorism Plots Reaffirmed By Appeals ...
Shadowproof (blog)-Dec 5, 2016
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that provides further support for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its policy of ...
Attorney: FBI agent who shot at officer was paranoid
(WOOD) — The FBI agent who allegedly fired shots at a Grand Rapids police officer Tuesday felt paranoid at the time of the incident, his attorney said
Taxpayers still funding FBI Public Relations Program
For promoting tolerance, Norwich Sikh honored by FBI
Swaranjit Singh Khalsa, center, a community leader in Norwich, shakes hands with FBI Community Outreach Specialist Charles Grady, left, after receiving the ...
What is plagiarism?
Posted on December 5, 2016 by Daniel Hopsicker
Have you ever noticed how the CIA never gives up, on certain things, even if there’s no chance they’re going to change anyone’s mind? How they’re still pushing the Oswald-acted-alone meme, for example, or the phony war on drugs?
MCA-Universal has prepared a preemptive strike against crucial bits of America’s recent history— the part that’s got to do with drugs—in a new movie starring the world’s most famous Scientologist.
Fit at fifty-year old Tom Cruise portrays Barry Seal, a man who outweighed him by more than a hundred pounds, in a movie that was at first called “Mena,” before recently changing its name to “American Made” while pushing back its release date a year.
The movie is being directed by director Doug Liman, who also just happens to be the son of the lawyer for the Kerry Commission Iran Contra investigation in the late 1980’s, which did a reasonably effective job at keeping a lid on the contra cocaine scandal until Republicans were no longer in office.
It was me who dragged those ‘crucial bits’ about America’s biggest and most famous drug smuggler into the light. It was me who discovered that drug smuggler Seal —and probably not coincidentally—had also been a life-long CIA pilot, going back to the mid-50’s.
My book, “Barry & the boys,” the only full-length biography of Seal, is by far the go-to book on Seal. And it’s also the uncredited basis for Doug Liman and Tom Cruise’s Barry Seal movie.
Unless, of course, it isn’t. The following is a true story, which appears only on my website. There is no other source for it. If the story turns up in someone else’s book, is it plagiarism?
A lot going on beside just The Wedge
In the 10 years I spent living in Newport Beach I had never met a spook, a spy, or anyone in intelligence, until one day an occasional associate producer working on the business news show I was producing at the time brought a tanned, older but still vigorous man into our offices to meet me. He had an interest—in a puttering offhand way, he indicated, in a documentary I’d begun shooting on drug smuggler Seal.
He was the president of one of Newport Beach’s service clubs, like the Exchange Club, he explained. He thought I might want to come to speak to one of the Club’s weekly lunch meetings about my adventures.
Later I would learn that the man who stood in front of me with a genial sm
From Patriots to Panthers, a New ‘Rainbow Coalition’
December 7, 2016 12:24 p.m.
#Imagine what would happen if someone wore a Confederate flag button with clasped black and white hands (pictured) to a Trump or Black Lives Matter rally. Given what we have seen on the media, the person would likely be met with indignation, insults and perhaps physical violence.
#This button, which the Southern Student Organizing Committee developed in the 1960s, symbolized a unique partnership between the Black Panther Party, the Young Patriots Organization and the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican national group. I learned their story at the Black Panther Party's 50th-anniversary celebration in Oakland, Calif., where many of the founding leaders gathered. There I learned about the original Rainbow Coalition began in Uptown Chicago, known as "Hillbilly Harlem," because of its population of poor southern whites and African Americans.
#"I thought conditions were bad in Tennessee," Hy Thurman, a self-professed hillbilly, said of the 1960s. "In Uptown Chicago, housing conditions were so bad that neighbors were literally freezing to death. The cops referred to us as a 'swarm of locusts' who were backwards, dumb, immoral and violent." Thurman, Marilyn Katz and others formed the Young Patriots Organization to mobilize their community. YPO used the Confederate flag as their symbol, less as a racist statement but as a "symbol against Northern aggression."
#Elsewhere in Uptown, local Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Bobby Lee were organizing their community. Jose "Cha Cha" Jimenez, an immigrant from Puerto Rico and a member of the Young Lords gang, was doing the same thing, with more unlawful methods.
#In April 1969, the three organizations joined to form the Rainbow Coalition of Revolutionary Solidarity. "It took some time to build trust among the communities," Thurman said. "Once we broke the ice, we were able to identify their needs and get them help. Many were surprised to hear that the Black Panther Party played a major role in getting medical personnel and equipment for the Young Patriot Health Clinic and provided food for kids before they went to school. We'd walk into our redneck bars with our rebel-flag vests and 'Free Huey Newton' buttons, and our friends wouldn't know what to do with us."
Photo courtesy Kevin Fong
#"YPO provided security detail at each of our BPP functions," Aaron Dixon said. "I can't tell you how many times having a white boy standing next to me saved my ass from getting arrested."
#Mayor Richard Daly and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made it their top priority to dismantle the coalition. YPO's William "Preacherman" Fesperman said, "We are the living reminder that when they threw out their white trash, they didn't burn it." In December 1969, the Chicago police, working with the FBI, arranged for the murder of BPP leader Fred Hampton Jr., who was the torchbearer for the coalition. Hampton's murder galvanized the community.
#The Rainbow Coalition lasted for several more years before the Daly administration and the FBI dismantled it. "They found ways to frame us and throw us in jail," Cha Cha Jimenez said, "tearing the very fabric of our coalition apart."
#Harold Washington, Chicago's first Black mayor (1983-1987), built his platform on the shared ideals of the coalition. Later, Jesse Jackson Sr. formed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, with no affiliation with the original Rainbow Coalition. "We can trace Obama's rise to the presidency back to the Rainbow Coalition," YPO leader Marilyn Katz said.
#As the panelists, now in their 60s and 70s, gathered on stage for a photo, I wondered how we can come together today. The true work of social change and healing needs to stem from ordinary people at the local level. My friend Lloyd Dennis, from New Orleans, wrote in a post: "If the poor and struggling white folk who support Trump would wake up and understand that the very wealthy, like Trump, are the reason working people carry this country on their backs, they would find common ground with folks of color, and the real revolution would begin."
#The key is finding common ground, and we attain that through engagement in trust, love, story and struggle. "Serve the people. Love the people. Have faith in the power of the people," Pam Tau Lee said.
#I hope we all follow the example of the Black Panthers, Young Patriots, and Young Lords to love, serve, and have faith that the power of kindness and humanity will emerge as the true winner.
#Visit Kevin Fong's website at elementalpartners.net.
Michigan man says he was restrained by police and beaten so badly that he lost consciousness and can no longer fully see with his left eye.
Frankie Taylor was arrested for drunken driving in Detroit suburb Eastpointe last August, and said that officers made him sit in a restraint chair after he fell down during booking.
A lawsuit filed earlier this year says that one officer put on a rubber glove before hitting Taylor with a closed fist at least 10 times as he lost consciousness.
Neo-McCarthyism and the New Cold War
Democratic Senator Harry Reid, for example, following in McCarthy's footsteps, insisted that the FBI investigate two of Trump's American supporters for their ...
Judge orders new trial for Rasmea Odeh
The Electronic Intifada (blog)-
The indictment followed 2010 FBI raids on the homes of community and political activists in Chicago and other cities, leading to the subpoena of Arab American ...
THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
Judge orders new trial for Rasmea Odeh
7 December 2016
Rasmea Odeh Ali Abunimah
Rasmea Odeh will have a new trial in January.
In a written decision on Tuesday, US District Judge Gerswhin Drain swept aside the objections by US government prosecutors to clinical psychologist and torture expert Dr. Mary Fabri’s credibility as an expert witness.
His decision was issued a week after a hearing on the matter was scheduled to take place but cancelled by Drain at the last minute.
In November 2014, a jury found 69-year-old Palestinian American community leader Rasmea Odeh guilty of immigration fraud after a week-long trial in federal court in Detroit.
In March 2015, Drain sentenced Odeh to 18 months in prison, which she would serve before being stripped of her citizenship and deported.
In February 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Drain had erred by barring Fabri or Odeh from testifying during the trial about Odeh’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as part of her defense.
Prosecutors had argued against allowing for a new trial with Fabri’s testimony, asserting that it would be irrelevant and that Fabri was not qualified.
But Drain refuted each of the government’s arguments, at one point describing them as “puzzling.”
His decision clears the way for a new trial, scheduled to begin in a month.
In October 2013, federal prosecutors indicted Odeh, associate director of the Chicago nonprofit the Arab American Action Network, for unlawful procurement of naturalization, nine years after she became a US citizen and just one year short of the statute of limitations.
The indictment followed 2010 FBI raids on the homes of community and political activists in Chicago and other cities, leading to the subpoena of Arab American Action Network records. Six years after the raids and subpoenas to about two dozen individuals, no indictments have ever been filed against any of the original targets.
Though Odeh was not one of the original subjects of the broad investigation, her 45-year-old record from Israel was discovered in thousands of documents the US government obtained from Israeli authorities.
In 1969 Odeh was convicted by an Israeli military court of helping to coordinate a series of bombings in Jerusalem that killed two young men. She served 10 years in Israeli prison before being released in a prisoner exchange.
Odeh’s lawyers have maintained that she was convicted based on a confession that followed prolonged torture.
When Odeh filled out an application for US citizenship in 2004, she answered “No” to a series of questions asking if she had “ever” been arrested, charged, convicted or imprisoned.
Torture expert and psychologist, Dr. Mary Fabri examined Odeh over the course of several months in 2014 and concluded that Odeh suffers from PTSD as a result of torture, including rape by Israeli interrogators nearly 50 years ago.
Based on that examination, Fabri believes Odeh could have filtered out the traumatic memories when she filled out her immigration and naturalization applications.
Odeh’s legal team is arguing that as a result of her PTSD she understood the questions to be asking whether she had any criminal record in the United States.
In her first trial, Judge Drain refused to allow Odeh to mention her torture or PTSD in court.
A federal appeals court disagreed with Drain’s restrictions on Odeh’s defense, holding that Fabri’s testimony is “potentially admissible because it is relevant to whether Odeh knew that her statements were false, which is an element of a prosecution.”
“Because the government must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt … a defendant’s righ
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see the Frank Serpico portrait
Link du jour
Read Frank Serpico’s Blistering 1975 Letter to the Village Voice
After the release of the hit film about his life, the hero cop who exposed corruption in the ranks sent a letter to his hometown paper
July 8 2017
Al Pacino in Sidney Lumet’s “Serpico” (1973)
Starting this week, Film Forum is presenting “Ford to City: Drop Dead — New York in the ’70s,” a series devoted to the classic, history-making movies made during some of the city’s darkest years. To go with the retrospective, we will be sharing some of the stories and reviews that ran in the Village Voice during this time.
Al Pacino and Sidney Lumet’s hit 1973 film, Serpico, about the undercover cop who exposed police corruption and criminality in the NYPD in the late Sixties and Seventies, was one of the seminal movies of this era. And in its February 3, 1975, issue, the Voice ran a lengthy letter from Frank Serpico himself, who at that time was living in the Netherlands. In the letter, written with the help of the Voice’s Lucian K. Truscott IV, Serpico offers his thoughts on the film, the politics of the day, his fellow cops’ response to him, and the issues of police brutality and racism that continued to plague the force, and in many ways still do so today.
The piece also included a sidebar by Truscott about the circumstances that led to the Serpico letter. It also featured some of the correspondence Serpico had himself received, including a threatening one, filled with racist invective, from an “Ex-policeman in New York.”
Welcome to the Arizona Center for Investigative Journalism
ArizonaWatch.org, is the primary website for The Arizona Center for Investigative Journalism, Inc.
The Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Arizona corporation and will not engage in any form of political advocacy. The Center received formal approval from the IRS in January 2014 and all contributions are fully tax deductible.
The Center’s mission is to conduct independent investigative reporting on matters of the highest public interest and disseminate the information to the general public through the ArizonaWatch.org website, documentary films and published reports.
A recent example of investigative reporting supported by the Center is InvestigativeMEDIA’s investigation of the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30, 2013.
The Center will help fill the increasing void of investigative reporting resulting from the collapse of the traditional newspaper industry.
The Center may enter into agreements with major media outlets and university journalism schools to conduct joint investigative reporting projects for publication on the Center’s website and with media and university partners.
The Center will also provide an important training ground for young journalists on state and federal public records laws, open meetings laws and access to business information.
The Center will focus on major investigative reporting projects and will not cover day-to-day events. However, the Center will report on the underlying issues that shape much of the daily news coverage.
Energy production and distribution, natural resource exploitation, water supplies and distribution, environmental issues, urban growth and development, transportation, international trade, immigration policies, criminal justice issues, public and private education and campaign finance are among the topics the Center will
Assistant Sheriff in Orange County Says the System Failed
July 7, 2017
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) — For years, the sheriff’s department in Orange County, California, had a “failed system” that allowed deputies to use jail informants to violate the constitutional rights of criminal suspects, an assistant sheriff testified Thursday.
“During that period of time, we had a failed system,” Assistant Sheriff Adam Powell told Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals. “We had no policy and worse protocols.”
Powell’s testimony came in an evidentiary hearing to determine whether convicted mass murderer Scott DeKraai should be spared the death penalty for killing his ex-wife and seven others at a beauty parlor in 2011.
DeKraai’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, says the sheriff department’s improper use of informants to obtain incriminating statements justifies the restriction on sentencing.
Sanders’ allegations against the sheriff’s and the Orange County district attorney’s offices — which he first laid out in a 505-page motion in January 2014 — set off a continuing controversy in the county and led Judge Goethals to remove the district attorney as DeKraai’s prosecutor in November last year. The California Attorney General’s Office has taken over the case.
Powell’s testimony in some ways contradicted that of his boss, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, who testified Wednesday that while “a few” deputies in the jails may have violated the law, the practice was not widespread.
“There is no jailhouse informant program … that is not in accordance with the rules,” Hutchens testified.
But Powell told Goethals that the department’s “whole process [for informants] was failed.”
He said the deputies in the jails’ Special Handling Unit, who cultivated and developed informants, were doing what their supervisors wanted them to do.
“Deputies were working on their assigned duties and doing their job, and, as you very well know, they received accolades,” he told Sanders in court.
Protester Gets Prison Time for Inauguration Day Violence
July 7, 2017
Witness claims California cop used N slur during traffic stop
BY ELIZABETH ELIZALDE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Sunday, July 9, 2017, 8:37 PM
House oversight committee investigates HUD Brooklyn housing co-owned by Trump for possible conflicts of interest
BY GREG B. SMITH
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Sunday, July 9, 2017, 5:56 PM
Koch-funded Ex-GOP Congressman Tim Huelskamp to Lead Climate Science Denial Group Heartland Institute
By Graham Readfearn • Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 11:26
Iowa woman who believed election was rigged pleads guilty to voting twice for President Trump
BY MEERA JAGANNATHAN
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Sunday, July 9, 2017, 4:33 PM
The most dangerous man in the White House is not who you think it is
BY MICHAEL LEVIN
DAILY NEWS CONTRIBUTOR Friday, July 7, 2017, 6:30 PM
The most dangerous man in the Trump administration isn't Steve Bannon or Jeff Sessions or even the President himself.
Instead, it's a sleazy, creepy lawyer who died 30 years ago, and his name is Roy Cohn.
It's not nice to criticize the dead, but in Cohn's case, I'll make an exception.
Back in the 1950s, Cohn was chief counsel for Senator Joe McCarthy, when McCarthy was destroying the lives of thousands by claiming they were Communists.
There’s nothing funny about this Bill Cosby show
Cohn's next stop was the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
Were they spies? Probably. Did they deserve the death penalty? Historians say it's an open question, but most agree that Roy Cohn's improper actions during the trial led the Rosenbergs to their electrocution.
At parties in Manhattan, Cohn would tell people that when he was a kid, he used to swim in the Hudson River.
"But it's so disgusting and dirty!" his listeners would exclaim.
To this out-of-towner, NYC pedestrians seem almost suicidal
He would reply with a sly grin, "How do you think it got that way?"
Fast-forward two decades and this same sleazeball becomes the attorney for none other than a young Donald Trump.
In 1973, the Justice Department accused the Trump Organization of violating the Fair Housing Act by denying African Americans the opportunity to rent apartments.
Roy Cohn, Trump's attorney and a notorious counterpuncher, sued the government for $100 million, claiming the charges were baseless.
Can a recovering alcoholic be a great dad? The answer is ‘Yes’
The lawsuit failed, but the strategy won.
He also learned a tremendous lesson — if somebody hits you, hit him back ten times harder, even when you're wrong.
Especially when you're wrong.
When Trump was just a businessman, how he behaved didn't matter — except, of course, to the businesses he fleeced while alternating between growing his empire and going bankrupt.
We saw vestiges of Roy Cohn in Trump's presidential campaign, where he would ignore potential opponents until they attacked him, and then he would attack them with endless brutality.
We're seeing the same thing today — the same brutal counterpunching tactics Trump learned at Roy Cohn's feet.
The biggest victim in all of this?
We are turning into a nation of Roy Cohns, snarling first and asking questions later.
It's not just celebrities, like the alleged comedienne who tweeted a photo of a decapitated Trump, or the Public Theater, turning Julius Caesar into a play about wishful thinking of the death of the President.
It's in the way regular people treat each other.
And it's not just one deranged gunman trying to mow down Republican Congressmen on a baseball diamond.
It's all of us.
It just feels like civility is vanishing from society.
It seems like wherever you go, on the highway, on Manhattan sidewalks, everywhere, people have less patience for each other.
Trump recently described the House bill to replace Obamacare as "mean."
But what's really become mean is we, the people.
It's just ugly out there.
I can't point to statistics and surveys. I can just tell you what I'm seeing.
People are emulating our President.
They're getting nasty.
They're getting short with each other.
As the President himself would tweet, sad.
Sunday, July 9, 2017 - 06:58 • BEN JERVEY
Yet Another Koch Cadet Hired to Push Fossil Fuels at Trump's Energy Department
Trump and his Cabinet
The Koch brothers have landed yet another of their trusted fossil fuel think tank veterans in the Trump administration’s Department of Energy (DOE). Alex Fitzsimmons was Manager of Policy and Public Affairs at the Institute for Energy Research (IER) and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance (AEA), while also working as a “spokesman” and communications director for Fueling US Forward (FUSF), the Koch-funded campaign to bolster public opinion of fossil fuels.
Fitzsimmons will be joining former IER colleagues Daniel Simmons and Travis Fisher at the DOE.
Dakota Access Security Firm’s Top Adviser Led Military Intelligence Efforts for 1992 LA Riots
Retired Major General James “Spider” Marks chairs the advisory board for TigerSwan, a private security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners to help police protests of the Dakota Access pipeline — an approach for which Marks has shown vocal support.
DeSmog has found that Marks also headed up intelligence efforts for the task force which brought over 10,000 U.S. military troops to police the 1992 riots following the acquittal of Los Angeles Police Department members involved in beating Rodney King. In addition, Marks, a long-time military analyst for CNN, led intelligence-gathering efforts for the U.S.military’s 2003 “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq, which was dubbed “Operation Iraqi Liberation.”
In recent months, Marks has endorsed Dakota Access and its southern leg, the Bayou Bridge pipeline. He has shown this support by writing op-ed pieces published in various newspapers and on the website of a pro-Dakota Access coalition run by a PR firm funded by Energy Transfer Partners.
“I spent a good portion of my adult life in Iraq, and I must tell you that the similarities are stark,” Marks said in November of the anti-Dakota Access encampment set up by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Marks, according to The Washington Times, traveled to Standing Rock “as an adviser to the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now” (MAIN), a pro-pipeline front group run by the Republican Party public relations firm, DCI Group.
“General Marks is still an adviser to the coalition. He is given a modest stipend for his time and expertise,” DCI Group’s Craig Stevens told DeSmog of Marks’ relationship with MAIN. “TigerSwan is not a member of the Coalition nor does the Coalition receive any funding from them.” Stevens manages public relations efforts for MAIN and is the crisis management lead for DCI.
In February, Marks traveled to Louisiana to speak in favor of the Bayou Bridge pipeline at a Louisiana Department of Natural Resources hearing.
Neither Marks nor TigerSwan responded to requests for comment for this story. TigerSwan has recently come under fire by the North Dakota Private Investigative and Security Board for operating in the state without a permit, with the Board filing a legal complaint about the matter. Energy Transfer Partners says TigerSwan is no longer working on its behalf in North Dakota.
Among his numerous public appearances, writings, and television pit stops, Marks has failed to disclose his advisory board position for TigerSwan. Failure to disclose affiliations, though, is not unusual for Marks.
As a military pundit for CNN, both The New York Times and the watchdog group Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) have documented that Marks has often appeared on cable TV while not disclosing his ties to military weapons companies. The 2008 New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation — “Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand” — covered Marks and explained that he and over 75 others were paid by the George W. Bush administration to give seemingly independent, pro-Iraq War analyses on cable TV outlets beginning in early 2002.
The catch: The public was never informed that these pro-war pundits were on the Pentagon’s payroll and often on the payroll of military weapons companies as well.
“To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as ‘military analysts’ whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world,” wrote The Times. “Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance.”
The thousands of documents obtained for The New York Times investigation were organized and published online in a searchable format by the Center for Media and Democracy. Those memoranda, emails, and other materials offer an insightful window into the cozy relationships among the upper echelons of the U.S. media, the U.S. military, and the U.S.government. General Marks fits neatly in the intersection of these three entities.
In an email to Major General Donald Shepperd, Joy DiBenedetto, then Vice President of Network Booking and Research at CNN Worldwide, thanked Shepperd for putting her in contact with General Marks. She wrote, “you can always contact me for any CNN reason, and if I’m not the right person, I can certainly get you to the right person.”
In 2006 Marks traveled on a pro-Iraq War trip during his capacity as a Pentagon pundit. That trip was convened by the U.S.Department of Defense, and the Pentagon tried to have Marks ask CNN to foot his bill for travel expenses. Along with other retired military men-turned-analysts, Marks was part of a roundtable meeting with General David Petraeus in 2007, and participated in conference call discussions with Defense Department officials. Marks had his media appearances reviewed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
In PAI’s 2013 report, “Conflicts of interest in the Syria debate,” the watchdog group named 22 people serving as commentators on the issue of whether or not the U.S. should attack Syria for using chemical weapons on its own citizens. That report, paralleling The New York Times’ findings on the Iraq War, found numerous cases of undocumented conflicts of interest. The group of men, which once again included Marks, landed mainstream media pundit gigs on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX and wrote op-eds for Bloomberg and The Washington Post.
PAI noted in its report that out of 111 total appearances by the pundits in October 2013 alone, only 13 had mentioned their relationships to the defense industry. Marks appears on the list identified as the former Commander of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center. The list ties him into the defense sector by noting his position at Willowdale Services, a boutique consulting firm for the energy and national security industries.
In the documents obtained by The New York Times, a picture emerges of Marks’ advocacy for military intervention in Syria long before 2013. When asked by CNN in February 2007 to speak about the failed bombing attempt on Vice President Cheney, he told the network to “bear in mind you have Syria, which is to the west of Iraq, which is a safe haven for the introduction of new ideas and an opportunity for insurgents to go across that border, and refit, regroup, and reintroduce themselves into the fight.”
And just hours later on another CNN show, Marks made similar remarks about Pakistan, telling CNN’s Brian Todd that “what is significant is the proximity of Bagram Air Base to Pakistan, which is as the crow flies only 70 miles, as you can see right here from Bagram to Pakistan. The region right here is Waziristan. This is the root of the challenge.”
Marks also serves as a source for the private security firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting Inc.), according to a roster leaked to and published by Wikileaks. Stratfor’s past client list has included the American Petroleum Institute.
1992 LA Riots
Marks also headed up the Joint Task Force Los Angeles, assigned with cracking down on the violent 1992 riots which erupted in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict. The task force operated under the authority of an executive order issued by then-President George H.W. Bush.
Messy, always late and swear like a sailor? It just means you’re super smart
Philip Morris cigarettes charged millions after losing plain packaging case against Australia
Court of arbitration finds Philip Morris Asia case to be ‘an abuse of rights’ and says it must pay Australia’s multi-million dollar legal costs
Family of 4 with Maine roots drops anchor in Portland after journey of a lifetime
Since 2011, Tucker and Victoria Bradford sailed around the world with their children.
THE TOP CENSORED STORIES OF 2015–2016
The presentation of the Top 25 stories of 2015-2016 extends the tradition originated by Professor Carl Jensen and his Sonoma State University students in 1976, while reflecting how the expansion of the Project to include affiliate faculty and students from campuses across North America has made the Project even more diverse and robust. During this year’s cycle, Project Censored reviewed 235 Validated Independent News stories (VINs) representing the collective efforts of 221 college students and 33 professors from 18 college and university campuses that participate in our affiliate program.
A Note on Research and Evaluation of Censored News Stories
How do we at Project Censored identify and evaluate independent news stories, and how do we know that the Top 25 stories that we bring forward each year are not only relevant and significant, but also trustworthy? The answer is that each candidate news story undergoes rigorous review, which takes place in multiple stages during […]
25. NYPD Editing Wikipedia on Police Brutality
In March 2015, Kelly Weill reported in Capital New York that computers operating at One Police Plaza, the headquarters of the New York Police Department (NYPD), had been used “to alter Wikipedia pages containing details of alleged police brutality,” including the entries for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. As Mother Jones subsequently reported, […]
24. India’s Solar Plans Blocked by US Interests, WTO
The United Nations Conference on Climate Change, held in December 2015 in Paris, featured lofty rhetoric about international cooperation to tackle climate change, including overtures by the US and other nations to include India. Anticipating the Paris summit, World Trade Organization (WTO) director-general Roberto Azevêdo wrote, “The challenge is not to stop trading but to […]
23. Modern-Day Child Slavery: Sex Trafficking of Underage Girls in the US
In December 2015, D. Parvaz published “Selling American Girls,” a seven-part investigative report for Al Jazeera America that documented sex trafficking in the US. Each part of her report examined a different role in the sex trafficking trade and its enforcement, from the prostitutes and their buyers, pimps, and advocates, to law enforcement officers and […]
22. Department of Education Cooperates with ALEC to Privatize Education
The Department of Education and school districts throughout the US are working with billionaire families such as the Waltons and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to undermine public education, Dustin Beilke reported for PR Watch in January 2016. Instead of defending public education in pursuit of equity for all students, the Department of Education (DoE) is […]
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