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Anti-inflammatory drugs may lower heart attack risk, study finds
US scientists find heart attack survivors given canakinumab injections have fewer future heart attacks and lowered cancer risk by half

Sunday 27 August 2017 23.25 EDT First published on Sunday 27 August 2017 05.00 EDT

Anti-inflammatory injections could lower the risk of heart attacks and may slow the progression of cancer, a study has found, in what researchers say is the biggest breakthrough since the discovery of statins.

Heart attack survivors given injections of a targeted anti-inflammatory drug called canakinumab had fewer attacks in the future, scientists found. Cancer deaths were also halved in those treated with the drug, which is normally used only for rare inflammatory conditions.

 The controversy over statins has revealed something: the nocebo effect is real

Statins are the mainstay drugs for heart attack prevention and work primarily by lowering cholesterol levels. But a quarter of people who have one heart attack will suffer another within five years despite taking statins regularly. It is believed this is because of unchecked inflammation within the heart’s arteries.

The research team, led from Brigham and Women’s Hhospital in Boston, tested whether targeting the inflammation with a potent anti-inflammatory agent would provide an extra benefit over statin treatment.

The researchers enrolled more than 10,000 patients who had had a heart attack and had a positive blood test for inflammation into the trial, known as the Cantos study. All patients received high doses of statins as well as either canakinumab or a placebo, both administered by injection every three months. The trial lasted for four years.

For patients who received the canakinumab injections the team reported a 15% reduction in the risk of a cardiovascular event, including fatal and non-fatal heart attacks and strokes. Also, the need for expensive interventional procedures, such as bypass surgery and inserting stents, was cut by more than 30%. There was no overall difference in death rates between patients on canakinumab and those given placebo injections, and the drug did not change cholesterol levels.

Dr Paul Ridker, who led the research team, said the study “usher in a new era of therapeutics”.

“For the first time, we’ve been able to definitively show that lowering inflammation independent of cholesterol reduces cardiovascular risk,” he said.

“This has far-reaching implications. It tells us that by leveraging an entirely new way to treat patients – targeting inflammation – we may be able to significantly improve outcomes for certain very high-risk populations.”

The hospital said the reductions in risk were “above and beyond” those seen in patients who only took statins.

Ridker said the study showed that the use of anti-inflammatories was the next big breakthrough following the linkage of lifestyle issues and then statins

“In my lifetime, I’ve gotten to see three broad eras of preventative cardiology,” he said. “In the first, we recognised the importance of diet, exercise and smoking cessation. In the second, we saw the tremendous value of lipid-lowering drugs such as statins. Now, we’re cracking the door open on the third era. This is very exciting.”

But there were some downsides to the treatment. The researchers reported an increase in the chances of dying from a severe infection of about one for every 1,000 people treated, although this was offset by an unexpected halving of cancer deaths across all cancer types. In particular, the odds of succumbing to lung cancer were cut by over 75%, for reasons the team do not yet understand. The researchers are planning further trials to investigate canakinumab’s potentially protective effect against cancer.

Dr Paul Ridker, who led the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, said it had far-reaching implications.


FBI Informants identified in Charlottsville Violence?

Man accused of firing gun at Charlottesville rally among three charged with violence
By ALLISON WRABEL The Daily Progress  

CHARLOTTESVILLE — A Maryland man accused of firing a gun during the white nationalist Unite the Right rally this month has been charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school in an incident that may have been caught on video.

Richard Wilson Preston, 52, was arrested Saturday and is currently in the custody of the Baltimore County Detention Center in Towson, Md. Charlottesville police said in a news release Saturday that Preston fired the gun Aug. 12 in the 100 block of West Market Street, which is a corner of Emancipation Park, where the rally was held.

In addition to Preston’s arrest, Daniel Patrick Borden, 18, has been charged with malicious wounding related to an aggravated assault that day near the Market Street Parking Garage. He was arrested Friday and is currently in the custody of the Hamilton County Criminal Justice Center in Cincinnati.

Related to that same assault, Alex Michael Ramos, 33, also has been charged with malicious wounding. Ramos is currently wanted by the Charlottesville police and has a last known address in Marietta, Ga.


Dick Gregory returns to his ancestors

August 27 2017

His name was Richard Claxton Gregory, born Oct. 12, 1932, in St. Louis, Mo. But the world knew him as Dick Gregory, comedian, human rights activist, social critic and presidential candidate.

As a young man, he won an athletic scholarship as a runner, which took him to college.

But he really hit his mark as a comedian who told side splitting jokes about U.S. segregation and racism. He once joined Malcolm X at his 1964 speech at the Audubon Ballroom, a meeting of the Organization of African-American Unity in New York.

Gregory did what he always did: he told jokes. One of his most famous ones came after Malcolm introduced him as a “revolutionary” and “freedom fighter.”

Gregory: “If the FBI ever taps your phone (like they tap mine) … See, they didn’t know … FBI wasn’t used to tapping no colored folk’s phone. Yeah, they come in with $10,000 worth of equipment, so they could tap my phone, and 2 days after they set all that equipment up, my phone got cut off!”

The ballroom erupted in hearty laughter. Most of his bit was about J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.

It is chilling to note that the FBI regarded him as a “militant black nationalist,” and his file was collected under the “Black nationalist hate group” section.

Gregory, fearlessly outspoken on a variety of social issues, once called the Mafia “the filthiest snakes that ever existed on this earth.”

What did the FBI do? They sent his statement to the Mafia! Truly. Imagine that.

Gregory was a friend to both Malcolm X and Martin L. King Jr.

He sacrificed a multimillion dollar comedy career to take the front lines of the Black Freedom struggle, where he suffered arrest, police beatings and became a target of FBI discontent.

He lived through 84 U.S. winters and, in a 1968 presidential race, he garnered 47,712 votes.

Dick Gregory returns to his Ancestors.


This suspected drug lord says the feds destroyed evidence proving he was an informant

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article169426597.html#storylink=cpy

AUGUST 27, 2017 5:36 PM

A highly prized Colombian defendant has accused U.S. law enforcement agencies of destroying Blackberry messages and withholding emails that he claims would show he was working for them as a confidential informant in the federal government’s battles against South America’s underworld.

Henry De Jesus Lopez Londoño, who was extradited to Miami on a cocaine-trafficking conspiracy charge last year, says the missing text messages and emails would reveal that federal agents authorized him to infiltrate dangerous criminal organizations with specific assignments — and that he wasn’t committing crimes on his own.

His lawyers claim he was an “undercover asset” for three federal investigative agencies from the fall of 2008 until the end of 2011, before his arrest the following year in Argentina. Prosecutors counter that the agents’ text messages to and from the informant were lost because their Blackberry phones were replaced and cannot be found. They


As violence persists, CPD murder 'clearance rate' continues to slide
Chicago Sun-Times-
The FBI counts the number of murders solved in a given year — even if the murder took place years earlier — against the number of slayings in the calendar ...

Chicago Police detectives have solved fewer than one in five murders committed this year, the lowest rate of closing murder cases since at least 2006 — and likely a historic low, police statistics show.

Seven months into 2017, the city’s police department had “cleared” fewer than 20 percent of murder investigations involving homicides that had taken place since Jan. 1, adding to a recent dip amid a decades-long trend of unsolved homicides in the city, according to the police data studied by crime analyst Jeff Asher.

Last year, the city tallied 781 murders and only 204 arrests, a 25 percent clearance rate by Asher’s calculations

A homicide is considered cleared when an offender is arrested, charges are filed, or when the suspect is dead or has fled the country. Asher’s figures are based on cases closed in the same calendar year in which they occurred.

The Chicago Police Department says its murder “clearance rate” stands at 34 percent — a 5-percent improvement over last year — but CPD’s calculations are based on different parameters used by the FBI. The FBI counts the number of murders solved in a given year — even if the murder took place years earlier — against the number of slayings in the calendar year. So far this year, CPD has closed 142 murder cases, including 42 from previous years.


Judge denies El Cajon officer's attempt to dismiss lawsuit against him in fatal shooting


Will There Be a Settlement Announced Monday in James Doe's Lawsuit Against Pedophile and Former Speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert?
  Aug 27, 2017

Hastert did not appear in court on August 11th in a second lawsuit that was filed by another former Yorkville School District student, who is called Richard Doe in court documents.

Richard Doe claims Hastert assaulted Doe in the bathroom at the old Game Farm property in Yorkville when Doe was a fourth grade student in 1973 or 1974.


Harvard scientists took Exxon’s challenge; found it using the tobacco playbook
A new study finds a stark contrast between Exxon’s research and what the company told the public

Wednesday 23 August 2017 06.00 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 23 August 2017 06.02 EDT

Read all of these documents and make up your own mind.

That was the challenge ExxonMobil issued when investigative journalism by Inside Climate News revealed that while it was at the forefront of climate science research in the 1970s and 1980s, Exxon engaged in a campaign to misinform the public.

Harvard scientists Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes decided to take up Exxon’s challenge, and have just published their results in the journal Environmental Research Letters. They used a method known as content analysis to analyze 187 public and internal Exxon documents. The results are striking:

In Exxon’s peer-reviewed papers and internal communications, about 80% of the documents acknowledged that climate change is real and human-caused.
In Exxon’s paid, editorial-style advertisements (“advertorials”) published in the New York Times, about 80% expressed doubt that climate change is real and human-caused.


Harvey’s Flooding is Already Catastrophic and Another 2-3 Feet of Rainfall is on the Way
by robertscribbler
For Houston, a city that hosts a massive oil industry, it's the climate change related flood version of the Fort McMurray fire. And we may well be witnessing, at this time, a tragedy that we could have at least in part prevented, but didn't.

August 27, 2017


Last week at this time, meteorologists were tracking a tropical cyclone moving across the Caribbean. 5-7 day models indicated that the system would enter the Gulf of Mexico by late week. This Gulf was hotter than normal. And for the past three months it had been dumping an over-abundance of moisture into an unusually deep summer trough over the Eastern U.S. This interaction between two features related to human-forced climate change was already producing very severe thunderstorms that generated record rainfall over cities like Kansas City, Missouri.

Harvey was already very moisture rich. It had issued from a tropical convergence zone and monsoon cycle that had already hit unusually high intensity due at least in part to abnormally warm ocean surface waters injecting much higher than normal moisture loads into the tropical atmosphere. And early last week there was some serious concern that intense tropical moisture in the form of Harvey could combine with a Gulf and Eastern U.S. weather and climate pattern that had already produced unprecedented rains to generate ultimately catastrophic and unprecedented results.

These fears have now been realized.

View of downtown Houston right now, from Instagram https://t.co/7wSWxM1z9s pic.twitter.com/ffkDkSdOK1

— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) August 27, 2017

As of this morning, Houston and Southeast Texas had received upwards of 30 inches of rainfall -- with up to 26 inches falling in just one 24-hour-period. In many places, the most rain ever to fall over a one day timeframe was breached.

As we have seen so often around the world from globally increasing instances of record rainfall, roads flooded, cars were abandoned, and people were forced to climb onto their rooftops for safety from the rising waters. In a Houston that is increasingly looking like post-Katrina New Orleans, more than 1,000 emergency calls for water rescues had been received by this morning. And with rivers hitting never-before-seen heights in a flood-prone city that is also facing the effect of rising sea levels, the rains were showing little sign of abating.

In total, as much as 1-3 feet of additional rain is still expected from the storm. In the worst case, this would bring ultimate rainfall totals to between 50 and 60 inches. In a litany that we are hearing everywhere now -- this would be the worst rainfall event Texas has ever seen in our records. It might, ultimately, be the worst flood from rainfall the U.S. has ever seen.

(September 1 GFS model shows remnants of Harvey interacting with a tropical cyclone south of Baja to continue to pull rains over Texas and Louisiana. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Moreover, weather models now indicate that Harvey may slowly track back toward the Gulf of Mexico. If this happens, a storm that is already pulling severe volumes of moisture in from the Gulf could be somewhat re-invigorated. Such a result would bring a second pulse of intense rains to parts of Southeast Texas and possibly Louisiana. Even more concerning is the fact that later this week Harvey shows a possible interaction with another stationary tropical cyclone forming near the southern tip of Baja in the Pacific. The two storms appear to interact to draw still more moisture from the abnormally warm Gulf over Southeast Texas later this week. Of course, this forecast potential is still a longer range uncertainty. But the models do appear to continue to indicate a persistent heavy rainfall potential for an already flooded region over an unprecedented long time frame.



In Houston, pleas for help go out over social media: 'Please send help. 911 is not responding'

When the rainfall turned torrential late Saturday night, and water began pouring into his living room, KeRon Hooey sloshed down the block to the highest ground in the neighborhood: his neighbor’s two-story house.

He and 10 others, including two elderly neighbors, spent the night on the second floor, watching the waters rising out of the nearby Buffalo Bayou and spreading across their quiet subdivision, Wood Shadows II.

All night, Hooey dialed emergency numbers – 911, 311, the Coast Guard, local police stations – only to find wait times of more than two hours, or lines so busy that his calls were dropped. So he turned to Twitter.

“Entire Wood Shadows II neighborhood is under water,” Hooey wrote in a Tweet posted at 4:23 a.m. Then he shared his address.


Tillerson brings Exxon's denial to the State Department
Climate change: Rex Tillerson tells US diplomats to dodge questions on Paris Agreement

Secretary of State tells envoys told to be deliberately vague if asked about the international accord by foreign countries
The Independent (U.K.), Aug. 10, 2017
US diplomats should sidestep questions from foreign governments on what it would take for the Trump administration to re-engage in the global Paris climate agreement, according to a diplomatic cable seen by Reuters.

The cable, sent by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to embassies, also said diplomats should make clear the United States wants to help other countries use fossil fuels.

In the wake of President Donald Trump's announcement in June that the United States would withdraw from the accord, the cable tells diplomats to expect foreign government representatives to ask questions like "Does the United States have a climate change policy?" and "Is the administration advocating the use of fossil fuels over renewable energy?"

If asked, for example, "What is the process for consideration of re-engagement in the Paris Agreement?", the answer should be vague. "We are considering a number of factors. I do not have any information to share on the nature or timing of the process," the cable advises.

A US State Department official declined to comment on the cable.

Mr Trump, a Republican, had campaigned on a promise to "cancel" the Paris deal, saying he believed it would cost the US economy trillions of dollars while leaving developing nations such as China unfettered. In sharp contrast to the previous administration of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, Mr Trump has several times called climate change a hoax.

In June, Mr Trump left the door open to re-engagement with the Paris Agreement if the terms improved. The United States will "start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair," he said.

The State Department guidance clarifies that right now, "there are no plans to seek to re-negotiate or amend the text of the Paris Agreement".

But it adds: "The President is sincere in his commitment to look for a path to re-engage that takes into account his concerns for US economic growth and energy security."

The Paris accord, agreed by nearly 200 countries in 2015, seeks to limit planetary warming by curbing global emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists believe drive global warming. The United States, under the Obama administration, had promised to cut emissions as much as 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Separate from the diplomatic cable, the Trump administration is reviewing a draft report written by scientists across 13 federal government agencies that shows the effects of climate change pose dire, near-term threats to the United States.

The Environmental Protection Agency declined to comment on the draft, which The New York Times published on Monday.
The report puts the White House in the awkward position of either clearing the report's findings or editing them.

The diplomatic guidance makes clear that the United States intends to attend global climate summits during the prolonged process of withdrawing from the Paris deal to protect US interests. The next summit is in November.

A US official said a major priority in these talks would be to beat back attempts to have separate standards in the guidance on emissions cuts for rich and poor nations - long a sticking point in negotiations.

"There's certainly nothing in the policies of this administration that would make us think that we should be acting differently," the official said on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal memo.

The cable also anticipates questions over why the United States has changed its policy to make it easier for global development banks such as the World Bank to finance coal-fired power projects. In 2013 the Obama administration said the United States would oppose most coal projects, guidance since altered by the Trump administration.

"The new principles will allow the (United States) the flexibility to approve, as appropriate, a broad range of power projects, including the generation of power using clean and efficient fossil fuels and renewable energy," the cable said.



also see
Children have no one to defend them before politicians.

We know child abuse produces post traumatic stress syndrome in children.


Pipeline to Prison May Start with Childhood Trauma | ACEs in the Criminal Justice System | ACEsConnection
ACEs Connection › blog › pipeline-to-pr...
Aug 29, 2016 - The likelihood of criminal behavior in adulthood increased by 28 percent and violent crime by 30 percent, ... Yet the consequences of behavioral problems for children of color, especially those who live in ...

We know PTSD produces criminal behaviour in children.


Adverse childhood experiences and adult criminality: how long must we live before we possess our own lives? - NCBI
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pubmed
by JA Reavis - ‎2013 - ‎Cited by 65 - ‎Related articles
Groups (nonsexual child abusers, domestic violence offenders, sexual offenders, and stalkers) were compared ... CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of a review of the literature and current findings, criminal behavior can ...

We have a chance to cut crime by cutting child abuse


In my 40+ years on the front lines, I've been interviewed countless times, in endless venues. But I've yet to be asked this question: "What do you consider the most important issue in American child protection today?" My answer would be: Closing the (deliberately inserted) loophole in the Federal Child Prevention and Treatment Act which permits states to allow "representation" of children in abuse/neglect cases by lay volunteers [such as "CASA" or non-lawyer "Guardian ad Litem"]. That's right: those accused of abuse are guaranteed lawyers; those alleged to be victims of abuse are not. That is fundamentally and foundationally wrong. Morally and ethically unacceptable. Devoid of logic. Guaranteed to produce the worst results. And the LAW in (far too) many states. Changing that law is the current task of the Legislative Drafting Institute for Child Protection. And I don't know of more important work. Before you decide to support us (or not) look at the facts:

The difference between representation by attorneys and "representation" by lay volunteers.

The damage that results.

Where I stand on this issue.

Where do you stand?

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materially impossible

“President Donald Trump has forbidden members of his cabinet from making any reference whatsoever to the alleged “Islamist” conspirators, during the commemorations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks… On the evening of September 11, 2001, the real estate developer Donald Trump appeared on the TV channel New York 9, and revealed that the official narrative was physically untenable: it is materially impossible for two planes to manage to bring down the twin towers, much less a third tower. ….” More (with video):





“… While it is impossible to predict the outcome, when taken together, the US actions seem to indicate their intent to attack the DPRK, overtly or covertly, or through proxies, though the risks are catastrophic. Only the dangerous possibility of China’s involvement could deter this intent. North Korea is now being crushed economically and subjected to intolerable provocations. Although the “status quo” may appear to be in the interest of all parties, recalcitrant and irrational aggressive forces are being unleashed within US-NATO, with or without UN authorization. If US-NATO military power is permitted to obliterate North Korea, their resultant intoxication with military force, combined with their economic weakness makes it inevitable that China and Russia are their next quarry. It is imperative that Russia and China take this seriously, as they surely do. The time is long overdue for Russia and China to use their veto power. Their appeasement of US/NATO interests is short-sighted and enabling a war of possibly incalculable proportions. It is preferable to live with a nuclear armed North Korea than to die in a nuclear holocaust….”







Ed.: Recently, I was challenged by a naysayer on the HAARP/hurricane issue to put up confirmation that HAARP was real, operational, etc.; here are six links found on the first search:








[Ed.: The history of the military-industrial complex, from its early evolution since the final phases of World War Two as carefully nudged and nurtured by people whose membership in a secret society arguably bound them to a state other than the USofA, has been replete with the use of sword vs. shield Hegelian justification for “the other side has it and is going to use it against us so we must go beyond normal morality and humanitarian restraint”, as well as the taking of covert steps to ensure that the other side had the technology too.  

This has been combined with the active seeding of espionage agents from the other side into technology programs, a constant race for perfection of technique, their use on human guinea pigs, the demonstration projects, and a “wink, wink” attitude toward mass destruction by any and all means possible in intermittent steps.

Operation Paperclip could be seen as a pivot around which this turned and, indeed, early research into Tesla technologies, as well as what we call mind control, may have been done covertly while Paperclip people were still detained or incarcerated in Germany immediately post-surrender.]




Moscow, SANA – The Russian warplanes destroyed workshops for making booby-trapped vehicles of ISIS terrorists in the countryside of Hama, Homs and Deir Ezzor provinces.

Lt. Gen. Alexander Lapin, chief of staff of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria said in a statement Saturday that the Russian fighter jets destroyed three workshops for making booby-trapped vehicles of ISIS where they were discovered by unmanned planes in the vicinity of Uqeirbat town in Hama countryside and in the countryside of Deir Ezzor and in al-Sukhnah city in Homs province.

Lapin pointed out that the terrorists fill the old military vehicles with explosives and use them for suicidal operations, adding that the destruction capability of these vehicles cover a circle with a diameter of 300 meters and cause huge destruction once they blow up.







Russian forces fire on US-backed rebel group in Syria

CNN 2h ago


Russian airstrikes intentionally hit Kurdish, Western forces in east Deir Ezzor: Coalition

Local Source AMN Al-Masdar News (registration) 6h ago

Jets strike US-backed forces in eastern Syria

Reuters 15h ago

Pentagon claims Syrian opposition troops wounded in Russian air strike

International TASS 35m ago

Syria’s Deir el-Zour Coming Back to Life After 3-year Siege

In Depth Voice of America 12h ago

View full coverage






D’accord, accord

WH: US staying out of climate accord

CNN 2h ago


Sarah Sanders on Twitter: “Our position on the Paris agreement has not changed. @POTUS has been clear, US …

Most Referenced Twitter 1h ago

Paris climate deal: US denies it will stay in accord

BBC News 58m ago

Trump Administration Seeks to Avoid Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord, International Climate Officials Say

Highly Cited Wall Street Journal (subscription) 5h ago

View full coverage





Cracks in the foundations

“Are the Shadow Brokers identical with the Second Source?”

“Shadow Brokers And The “Second Source””.  emptywheel has been unconvincing lately, another victim of Putin/Trump Derangement Syndrome, now apparent due to The Clarification.

The careful Electrospaces conclusion is that Shadow Brokers is probably the Second Source (second to Snowden), and is probably an NSA insider based out of the NSA facility in San Antonio.  All of these ‘hacks’ are actually leaks, and leaks pose a deep psychological problem for Imperialists (leaks drive them bat-shit insane; see also Angleton’s insane and destructive/self-destructive search for the supposed CIA mole back in the 60s).  A hack is evidence of a technical problem which can be fixed, while a leak is a much deeper and darker problem, one involving dissent from the ideological foundations of Empire, and one that cannot ever truly be fixed, even by apprehending the leaker.

AT 9/16/2017 10:28:00 AM

[Ed.: Angleton was the mole.  The simplest cover for that fact is his deep engagement over time in turning everything upside down to search for the mole. Read deeply about the fellow, his background, his history and his time in Italy.]


The Barcelona Agreement




The Democrats Have Become Socialists | RealClearPolicy

Posted by Michele Kearney at 9:34 AM






Cops Say Suing Them for Killing Man with Down Syndrome Over a Movie Ticket Sets ‘Bad Precedent’



Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 12, 2017:


National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 7/12/17

Author Jonathan Blanks  Posted on July 13, 2017


DOJ rolls back program intended to identify problems in police departments

The Department of Justice announced Friday that it’s rolling back an Obama-era program created to help improve trust between police agencies and the communities they serve.

The department said it’s making significant changes to an office that investigated and issued public reports about problems it found in individual police departments.

DOJ said the changes to the program “will return control to the public safety personnel sworn to protect their communities and focus on providing real-time technical assistance to best address the identified needs of requesting agencies to reduce violent crime.”

The move falls in line with Sessions’ tough-on-crime policies and President Trump’s pro-police administration.

Read the full story here




[Ed.: Quite apart from other issues and nonsense and the commercials which denote or make fun of the phenomenon, I detect a hidden poison operating inside the US today (and perhaps in other parts of the world, but I don’t travel), and that is the disappearance and degradation of interpersonal face-to-face communication.  People don’t talk to one another, everyone is or acts estranged, there is an uptick of anomie and a downturn in the ability of people to connect.  This is, of course, flying in the face of social media, Facebook, smart phones et alia which are in theory an attempt to enable connection but seem to be having the opposite effect.]










Judge blocks Trump from denying funds to sanctuary cities

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s rules requiring so-called sanctuary cities to help enforce federal immigration laws in order to receive funding.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new rules governing DOJ law enforcement grants.

Read the full story here


McCain backs bill to block transgender troops ban

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) is backing a bipartisan bill that would block President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.

“When less than one percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country,” McCain said in a statement.

Read the full story here




2 years for officer in child-porn case

Alan C. Vigiard, a 46 year old Sergeant with the Adams Police Department in Massachusetts who served as a child exploitation officer, was charged, October 2009, and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of child pornography. Vigiard was sentenced, 22 June 2011, to two years in jail, serving only one year, and five years supervised release. He was free pending sentencing. The Police Department allowed him to resign. On 1 November 2016, Vigiard was arrested for a second time on child pornography charges. He was held without bail pending sentencing and was sentenced, December 2016, to 10–12 years in jail. Vigiard was originally caught viewing child sexual abuse at work; spending, on average, one to six hours per shift viewing pornography, including child pornography, and was caught masturbating in the evidence room.





[Ed.: This woman, who has an interesting father, is a spoiled, elite, entitled sensationalist who should have been hired to co-write Hillary’s recent exercise in angst.]
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Navy Doctor: Bullet Found in JFK’s Limousine, and Never Reported
This is the story of a bullet — a spent, misshapen, but otherwise intact, bullet — that a Navy doctor said was found late at night, on the floor, in the back of John Kennedy’s limousine. No one seems to want to acknowledge it.

Today, a majority of Americans assume the government lied about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. New evidence seems to prove they are right.

This is the story of a bullet — a spent, misshapen, but otherwise intact, bullet — that James Young, a Navy doctor, said was found late at night, on the floor, in the back of Kennedy’s limousine. He inspected it himself.

The bullet was found by two chief petty officers who, during the autopsy, were sent to retrieve any skull fragments they could find in the limousine. They came back with three pieces of bone, and the bullet. The skull fragments were reported — but not the bullet.

Years later, when reviewing a memoir he wrote in 1963, Young thought about that bullet, and tried to find some mention of it in the Warren Commission Hearings. To his dismay, he found nothing. In 2000, he wrote to President Gerald Ford to ask him about it. After all, Ford had been on the Warren Commission. But Ford said he knew nothing about it either. In 2001, two Navy historians interviewed Young who gave them a highly detailed account of the events of November 22, 1963, some of which he witnessed personally. And he mentioned the bullet.

Recently, Dr. Randy Robertson, a board member of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) came upon Young’s papers at a Navy website. This was an exciting discovery.

To understand the significance of this discovery, readers need to know that — according to the official record — only one whole bullet was recovered, the “magic bullet” found on Governor John Connally’s stretcher. And, agents found inside the limousine what is presumed to be two parts of one broken bullet. Numerous very small lead fragments were also found in the limousine, Connally’s wrist, and Kennedy’s brain. If close inspection of the bullet allegedly found in the back of the limousine were to show that it was not fired from Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle, this would prove to be a threat to the official narrative of a lone assassin. (Please go here for an essay on neutron activation analysis, another test the bullet would have been subjected to.)

Here, Robertson describes in an email to WhoWhatWhy how he came upon this apparently suppressed evidence:

“I was surfing the internet and somehow stumbled upon the Navy Live website. I found the What Price A Rose piece [the memoir] and found it intriguing because although I had heard of Young I never knew he attended the autopsy…”

Robertson is referring to excerpts of the memoir — none of which included the part about the bullet. But he delved further:

“After that I found the earlier piece Navy Medicine and the Kennedy Assassination which contained the dynamite about the bullet…

“After that it was detective work. I FOIA’ed the transcripts and received them and found out the actions Young had taken to find out what had happened to the bullet he had seen and corroborate what he had told the Navy interviewers. That led me to the Ford Library and the wonderful letter.”

Robertson remains cautious about this discovery since only one witness corroborates Young’s claims — the petty officer who found the bullet.

Below you will find links to Young’s letter to Ford and Ford’s bewildering response, as well as a link to Young’s entire memoir which includes a brief history of other unsuccessful attempts to find out what happened to the bullet.

For the convenience of the reader, I have retyped vital parts of Young’s letter to Ford, and Ford’s response.

Letter From James Young to Gerald Ford (Excerpted)
Dear President Ford,

I was active-duty Navy and assigned to the White House as White House Physician in 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated…

Knowing that you were on the Warren Commission at that time, I am writing to you confidentially, to see if you have any knowledge about an issue which has puzzled me for years…

My particular problem is a description of what occurred at the autopsy. During the autopsy examination, Dr. Jim Humes, then the Chief of Pathology at Bethesda Naval Hospital, and two other pathologists stated that some pieces of President Kennedy’s skull bones were missing. In order to reconstruct the President’s head for burial, Dr. Humes wanted to find those pieces which were missing. Dr. Burkley and I requested two of our corpsmen who were assigned to our White House medical unit, to go to the Executive Office Building where the Secret Service had placed the “Queen Mary,” the open convertible in which President Kennedy had been shot, for bone fragments.

Two of the corpsmen left and returned sometime later with three varying sized pieces of President Kennedy’s skull bones. In addition, they brought back in an envelope a spent misshapen bullet which they had found on the back floor of the “Queen Mary” where they had found the pieces of skull bones. The bullet and pieces of skull were given to Dr. Jim Humes.

I have never seen anything written about that spent bullet in the Warren Report or elsewhere. Do you recall any testimony or comments which would clarify my concerns?

Letter From Gerald Ford to James Young
Dear Dr. Young,

I appreciate your most interesting letter of December 27th involving the assassination of President Kennedy.

As a member of the Warren Commission I was very conscientious about my participation in the hearings. However, I have no recollection of “the spent bullet” you refer to.

Enclosed [is] a document I sent out to individuals who ask me my current views on the conclusions of the Warren Commission.

There are several excellent books on the assassination which might be helpful.

1.) Nov. 22, 1963: You Are The Jury, by David Belin.

2.) Case Closed, by Gerald Posner.

Both of these books should be in any major public library.

Best regards,

Regarding Young’s memoir and interview, please bear in mind that, although Young describes what he saw with his own eyes, he also includes a great deal of history which he necessarily learned from other sources.

Link du jour






Climate change in the Caribbean – learning lessons from Irma and Maria
Increasingly unfamiliar and unpredictable weather events mean that business as usual is not an option for these islands to survive

Friday 6 October 2017 06.43 EDT

As a Caribbean climate scientist, I am often asked to speak about how climate change affects small islands. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, one of two category five storms to batter the eastern Caribbean in just a week, three words resonate in my mind.

The first word is “unfamiliar”. Scientific analysis shows that the climate of the Caribbean region is already changing in ways that seem to signal the emergence of a new climate regime. Irma and Maria fit this pattern all too well. At no point in the historical records dating back to the late 1800s have two category five storms made landfall in the small Caribbean island chain of the eastern Antilles in a single year.


Charges dropped against California cop in Oakland police sex scandal
LOS ANGELES TIMES Friday, October 6, 2017, 11:55 AM

Prosecutors Thursday dropped charges against an Oakland police officer accused with several co-workers in a sprawling sex scandal that drew national attention last year, marking the fourth case in which charges against law enforcement officers implicated in the controversy have collapsed.

Alameda County Asst. Dist. Atty. Teresa Drenick said Thursday that her office will not pursue sex crime charges against Giovani LoVerde, who had been accused of felony oral copulation with a minor.

The charges against LoVerde and six other law enforcement officers stemmed from a sex scandal that rocked several East Bay departments last year, resulting in the firing of Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent.

In June 2016, a teenage Richmond, Calif., woman alleged she had sex with more than a dozen Oakland police officers, some of the encounters occurring when she was underage.

The woman, now 20, contended she also had sex or other inappropriate contact with officers from other police agencies. The Times generally does not name people who report being victims of sexual abuse.

But in recent weeks, a judge found there was insufficient evidence to pursue charges against Ricardo Perez, a former Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department employee, and Oakland police officer Brian Bunton.

Citing those rulings, prosecutors decided to drop charges against LoVerde, though they plan to appeal the ruling in Perez’s case, according to Drenick.

Why You May Not Give Your Child Enough Credit When It Comes to Eating
“There exists a conflict in the law interpreting the criminal statutes that govern the crimes charged, and we have determined that we will seek an appellate remedy,” Drenick said via email. “We are always mindful of how difficult it has been for the victim in these matters to testify in open court about her exploitation, and we made today’s decision in close consultation with her.”

"Jasmine," 19, who went by the street name Celeste Guap, reached a nearly $1 million settlement against the Oakland Police Department. She said she had sex with multiple officers from the Oakland Police, some when she was underage.
"Jasmine," 19, who went by the street name Celeste Guap, reached a nearly $1 million settlement against the Oakland Police Department. She said she had sex with multiple officers from the Oakland Police, some when she was underage. (NBC)
Prosecutors last year dropped charges against Oakland police officer Warit Utappa because of insufficient evidence.

Earlier this year, retired Oakland police officer LeRoy Johnson pleaded no contest to charges that he failed to report the sexual abuse of the woman. Retired Livermore officer Dan Black pleaded no contest to one count of lewd conduct in public, but the charges will be dismissed after a year under the terms of his plea deal, provided he commits no other crimes, according to attorney Michael Cardozo, who represented both Black and LoVerde in their criminal cases.

The only pending case involves ex-Oakland police officer Tyrell Smith, who was charged with improperly searching a law enforcement database. Smith is expected to stand trial in 2018, Drenick said. Smith resigned from the Oakland Police Department last year.

Utappa and LoVerde are still employed by the Oakland Police Department, according to a department spokesman. LoVerde is currently on administrative leave, Cardozo said. Bunton is no longer employed by the department, according to a police spokesman.


'Say something': FBI mounts billboard campaign in wake of Vegas ...
The billboards will feature the slogan "If you know something, say something" followed by an FBI contact number, FBI special agent in charge Aaron Rouse told ...



FBI Agent Arrested For Driving Without Pants and Allegedly Trying to Seduce a Truck Driver

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Utah judge halts Oklahoma City bombing evidence case to investigate if FBI threatened witness | fox13now.com
Fox 13 Now › 2015/05/11 › utah-judge-...
May 11, 2015 - ... an FBI agent instructed a witness in the case not to appear in court in Jesse Trentadue's lawsuit against the agency over documents and evidence from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.


FBI chief exposed as a secret transvestite: Peter Pringle reports from New York on new allegations that J Edgar Hoover attended orgies, wearing a fluffy black dress to one, and was blackmailed into protecting the Mafia


Report: August FBI Memo Called ‘Black Identity Extremists’ New Terror Threat

 OCTOBER 6, 2017 4:00 PM
In August, the FBI’s counterterrorism division published a report warning law enforcement across the country of a new threat. It called the threat “Black Identity Extremism.”

In reality, there is no “Black Identity Extremist” movement, at least not one that goes by that name. It appears to be an invented label, Foreign Policy reported. The publication revealed the existence of the counterterrorism memo Friday and briefly posted the actual document on its website before removing it.

According to the FBI, “it is very likely some BIEs are influenced by a mix of anti-authoritarian, Moorish sovereign citizen ideology, and BIE ideology.”

The report found it “very likely” that the police killing of Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown — and the subsequent decision by a grand jury not to indict the officer responsible for his death — “spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.”

“[I]ncidents of alleged police abuse against African Americans since then have continued to feed the resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity within the BIE movement,” the report said, referring to Michael Brown’s death.

Running 12 pages — including end notes and citations — the report included six examples of premeditated violence against police officers by black people judged to have been motivated by identity extremism.

“In all six targeted attacks since 2014,” the report said, “the FBI assesses it is very likely the BIE suspects acted in retaliation for perceived past police brutality.”

It noted: “Even though five of these attacks occurred following controversial police shooting of African Americans by white police officers, BIE targeting of officers was not, in every incident, based on their specific race.”

One individual profiled was Micah Johnson, who killed five police officers in a rampage in Dallas in July 2016, firing his first shots during a Black Lives Matter march. “[B]ased on Johnson’s journal writings and statements to police, he appeared to have been influenced by BIE ideology,” the report said.

The term “black identity extremists” doesn’t appear to have been used by counterterrorism officials before the FBI’s August report. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services appears to have been one of the first organizations to employ the new term, in a course description flagged by Foreign Policy for the upcoming training event “Introduction to Domestic Extremism and Hate Groups.”

“Domestic extremist movements covered will include white supremacists/white nationalists, black identity extremists, anarchists, animal rights and eco-terrorists, anti-government and other radical separatists groups,” the course description read.

Counterterrorism and homeland security experts interviewed by Foreign Policy expressed skepticism at the new label.

Michael German, a former FBI agent turned Brennan Center fellow, said: “Basically, it’s black people who scare them.”

also see


FBI agents spit on Martin Luther King's body before smothering him to death with pillow

January 17, 2017

Martin Luther King was murdered in a conspiracy that was instigated by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Review of William Pepper’s Book

Truth and Shadows

Our thoughts are with MLK Jr. Martin Luther King Day, January 15, 2016. This article was first published by  GR on September 5, 2016

For one bright moment back in the late 1960s, we actually believed that we could change our country. We had identified the enemy. We saw it up close, we had its measure, and we were very hopeful that we would prevail. The enemy was hollow where we had substance. All of that substance was destroyed by an assassin’s bullet. – William Pepper (page 15, The Plot to Kill King)

The revelations are stunning. The media indifference is predictable.

Thanks to the nearly four-decade investigation by human rights lawyer William Pepper, it is now clear once and for all that Martin Luther King was murdered in a conspiracy that was instigated by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and that also involved the U.S. military, the Memphis Police Department, and “Dixie Mafia” crime figures in Memphis, Tennessee. These and many more incredible details of the King assassination are contained in a trilogy of volumes by Pepper culminating with his latest and final book on the subject, The Plot to Kill King. He previously wrote Orders to Kill (1995) and An Act of State (2003).


With virtually no help from the mainstream media and very little from the justice system, Pepper was able to piece together what really happened on April 4, 1968 in Memphis right down to who gave the order and supplied the money, how the patsy was chosen, and who actually pulled the trigger.

Instead, we know that Ray took the fall for a murder he did not commit. We know that a member of the Memphis Police Department fired the fatal shot and that two military sniper teams that were part of the 902ndMilitary Intelligence Group were sent to Memphis as back-ups should the primary shooter fail. We have access to the fascinating account of how Pepper came to meet Colonel John Downie, the man in charge of the military part of the plot and Lyndon Johnson’s former Vietnam briefer. We also learn that as part of the operation, photographs were actually taken of the shooting and that Pepper came very close to getting his hands on those photographs.

plot to kill king

Unfortunately, the mainstream media has ignored all of these revelations and continues to label Ray as King’s lone assassin. In fact, Pepper chronicles in detail how a disinformation campaign has featured the collaboration of many mainstream journalists over almost half a century. He says he suspects that those orchestrating the cover-up, which continues to this day, are no longer concerned with what he writes about the subject.

“I’m really basically harmless, I think, to the power structure,” Pepper said in an interview.

“I don’t think I threaten them, really. The control of the media is so consolidated now they can keep someone like me under wraps, under cover, forever. This book will probably never be reviewed seriously by mainstream, the story will not be aired in mainstream – they control the media. It was bad in the ’60s but nowhere near as bad as now.”

And the most stunning revelation in The Plot to Kill King – which some may question because the account is second hand – is that King was still alive when he arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital and that he was killed by a doctor who was supposed to be trying to save his life.

“That is probably the most shocking aspect of the book, that final revelation of how this great man was taken from us,” Pepper says. (By the way, when I quote Pepper as having “said” something I mean in our interview. If I’m quoting from the book, I’ll indicate that.)

The hospital story was told to Pepper by a man named Johnton Shelby, whose mother, Lula Mae Shelby, had been a surgical aide at St. Joseph’s that night. Shelby told Pepper the story of how his mother came home the morning after the shooting (she hadn’t been allowed to go home the night before) and gathered the family together. He remembers her saying to them, “I can’t believe they took his life.”

She described chief of surgery Dr. Breen Bland entering the emergency room with two men in suits. Seeing doctors working on King, Bland commanded, “Stop working on the nigger and let him die! Now, all of you get out of here, right now. Everybody get out.”

Johnton Shelby says his mother described hearing the sound of the three men sucking up saliva into their mouths and then spitting. Lula Mae described to her family that she looked over her shoulder as she was leaving the room and saw that the breathing tube had been removed from King and that Bland was holding a pillow over his head. (The book contains the entire deposition given by Johnton Shelby to Pepper, so readers can judge for themselves whether they think Shelby is credible – as Pepper believes he is.)

Pepper and King.
William Pepper with his friend Martin Luther King.
In fact, a second invaluable source was Ron Adkins, whose father, Russell Adkins Sr., was a local Dixie Mafia gangster and conspirator in the planning of the assassination even though he died a year before it took place. Ron told Pepper he had overheard Bland, who was his family’s doctor, tell his father that if King did survive the shooting he had to be taken to St. Joseph’s and nowhere else. As Pepper describes it:

He remembers Breen Bland saying to his father, ‘If he’s not killed by the shot, just make sure he gets to St. Joseph Hospital, and we’ll make sure that he doesn’t leave.’

Ron, who was just 16 when the shooting took place, was apparently taken everywhere by his father in those days, and he was able to recount many details of what happened as the assassination was planned and carried out.

“I definitely found him credible,” Pepper says. “I found him troubled, I found him disturbed in a lot of ways by things that went on earlier in his life.”

His deposition is also contained in the book, which Pepper explains was important so that readers could judge the statements for themselves.

“What I wanted to do was to make sure that the entire deposition of these critical moments and this critical information was there, so that one could go and read the depositions and see that I was being accurate,” Pepper says.

Besides describing what he heard Bland tell his father, Ron Adkins described the many visits made to Russell Sr. by Clyde Tolson, J. Edgar Hoover’s right hand man. Known to Ron as “Uncle Clyde,” the high-level FBI official often delivered cash to the elder Adkins for jobs he and his associates would carry out on behalf of Hoover. Among those the younger Adkins said were paid to supply information about the activities of Martin Luther King were the reverends Samuel “Billy”  Kyles and Jesse Jackson.

The basics of the official story

If you seek out any information from a mainstream source about James Earl Ray, you’ll find him described as the killer of Martin Luther King, just as Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan are labelled “assassins” in the murders of John and Robert Kennedy.

But once you read any or all of Pepper’s three books on the King slaying, you see very clearly that Ray is not a killer at all. Instead, he was a petty criminal who was a perfect “follower.” Like Oswald and Sirhan, Ray was set up to take the fall for an assassination that originated within the American deep state. In fact, Pepper says he’s convinced that knowledge of the plot went all the way to the top.

“The whole thing would have been part of Lyndon Johnson’s playbook,” Pepper says. “I think Johnson knew about this.”

As the official story of the shooting goes, at 5:50 p.m. on April 4, Kyles knocked on the door of room 306 of the Lorraine Motel to let King and the rest of his party know that they were running late for a planned dinner at Kyles’s home. Kyles then walked about 60 feet down the balcony where he remained even after King came out of the room at about 6 p.m. (Although Kyles has maintained ever since that he spent the last half hour in the room, Pepper has proven otherwise.)

Andrew Young and others on balcony of Lorraine motel pointing to where the shot originated while King lies at their feet. (Joseph Louw photo)

Andrew Young (left) and others on balcony of the Lorraine pointing to where the shot originated while King lies at their feet. (Joseph Louw photo)

Members of a militant black organizing group the Invaders, who were also staying in the motel because of King’s visit, were told shortly before the shooting by a member of the motel staff that their rooms would no longer being paid for by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and that they had to leave immediately. When they asked who had given this order, they were told it was Jesse Jackson. At the time of the shooting, Jackson was waiting down by the swimming pool. Ron Adkins also identified Jackson as the person who called the owners of the Lorraine Motel and demanded that King be moved from a more secure inner courtyard room to an exposed room on the second floor facing the street.

The Memphis Police Department usually formed a detail of black officers to protect King when he was in town, but did not this time. Emergency TACT support units were pulled back from the Lorraine to the fire station, which overlooked the motel. Pepper also learned that the only two black members of the Memphis Fire Department had been told the day before the shooting not to report for work the next day at the fire station. And black detective Ed Redditt was told an hour before the shooting to stay home because a threat had been made on his life.

Just about a minute after King exited his room, a single shot was fired and the bullet ripped through King’s jaw and spinal cord, dropping him immediately. The shot appeared to come from across Mulberry Street. King was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 7 p.m.

According to the official story, the shot was fired by Ray from the bathroom of a rooming house above a bar called Jim’s Grill, which backed on to Mulberry and faced onto South Main Street. But, as Pepper’s investigation proves, the shot actually came from the bushes located in between the rooming house and the street.  In fact, the only “witness” who placed Ray at the scene was a falling-down-drunk named Charles Stephens, who later did not recognize Ray in a photograph and who cab driver James McCraw had refused to transport a short time before because he was too intoxicated.

The bushes that concealed the shooter were conveniently trimmed the day after the shooting, giving a false impression that a shooter could not have been concealed there. Several witnesses, including journalist Earl Caldwell and King’s Memphis driver, Solomon Jones, described seeing the shot come from the bushes and not from the bathroom of the rooming house as the official story states.

Another casualty of the King murder was cab driver Buddy Butler who reported that he saw a man running from the scene right after the shot, going south on Mulberry St., and jumping into a police car (this would turn out to be MPD Lieutenant Earl Clark). Butler reported this to his dispatcher and later to fellow cab driver Louie Ward. Butler was interviewed at the Yellow Cab Company later that evening by police. Ward was told the next day that Butler had either fallen, or was pushed, to his death from a speeding car on the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge.

The owner of Jim’ Grill, Loyd Jowers, would later admit to being part of the conspiracy to kill King, and he would be found responsible – along with various government agencies – for the killing in a 1999 civil lawsuit by the King family, which was represented by Pepper.

“The King family got enormous comfort out of the results of that trial and the evidence that came forward from that,” Pepper says.

Betty Spates, a waitress at Jim’s Grill and girlfriend of Jowers, says she saw him rush into the back of the Grill through the back door seconds after the shot, white as a ghost and holding a rifle, which he then wrapped in a tablecloth and hid on a shelf under the counter. He turned to her and said, “Betty, you wouldn’t do anything to hurt me, would you?” She responded, “Of course not, Loyd.” Spates, who didn’t come forward until the 1990s, also recounted that Jowers had been delivered a large sum of money right before the assassination.

James McCraw stated that Jowers had shown him a rifle the day after the shooting and told him it was the one used to kill King.

“We confronted Loyd,” Peppers explains. “We told him he was likely to be indicted if he didn’t help us, if he didn’t give more information. Jowers didn’t know there was no way the grand jury was going to indict him. All he knew was what he did, what he participated in, how much money he got for it – he got quite a large sum of money, built a taxi cab company with it, had his gambling debt with [local Mafia figure Frank] Liberto forgiven.”

Liberto, an associate of Louisiana crime boss Carlos Marcello, turned out to be involved in the assassination also. He owned a produce warehouse and one of his regular customers, John McFerren, was making his weekly shopping trip there when he overheard Liberto shout into the phone an hour before the shooting: “Shoot the son of a bitch on the balcony.” Nathan Whitlock and his mother, LaVada Addison Whitlock, who owned a restaurant frequented by Liberto, stated that Liberto had told them he was responsible for the King murder.

Setting up the patsy

One thing that many don’t know is that Ray was in prison in 1967, the year before the assassination, serving a 20-year sentence for a grocery store robbery in 1959. After a couple of unsuccessful escape attempts, Ray succeeded in breaking out of prison on April 23, 1967. Unknown to Ray was the fact that the escape had been orchestrated, because he had already been chosen as the patsy in the planned assassination of King, which was still a year away.

The warden of Missouri State Penitentiary was paid $25,000 by Russell Adkins Sr. to allow the escape (as confirmed by Ron Adkins). The money was delivered to Adkins by Tolson, and it was this same connection that would later be used to finance the assassination of King.

After his escape from prison, Ray went to Chicago for a few weeks where he got a job. But, worried about getting caught, he went to Canada, specifically Montreal, and took the name Eric S. Galt. His intention was to get a passport under a false name and to travel to a country from which he could not be extradited.

james earl ray

James Earl Ray spent the last 30 years of his life in prison for a murder he did not commit.

At the Neptune Bar in the Montreal dock area in August 1967, Ray met a mysterious figure who identified himself as “Raul.” Raul asked Ray to help him with a smuggling scheme, and Ray agreed. In the months ahead, Ray would do a number of jobs, including gun running, for Raul for which he was paid and given a car. Always, Ray had to wait to be contacted by Raul, who Ray said co-ordinated his activities right up until the day of the assassination.

At one point Ray was instructed to purchase a deer rifle with a scope (although Raul was not satisfied with the one he bought and made him exchange it for another). Ray was instructed to go to Memphis (he arrived April 3, 1968) and upon meeting with Raul in his motel was given the name of Jim’s Grill, where the two were to meet at 3 p.m. the next day.  He also handed the rifle over to Raul and always maintained that he never saw it again.

Ray rented a room at the rooming house above Jim’s Grill (the two met the day of the assassination as planned). About an hour before the shooting, he was given money to go to the movies, but first he tried to have a tire repaired because Raul had said he wanted to use the car. But when Ray heard the sirens that followed the shooting, he got scared and left the area.

Fearing he had been set up, Ray left the country and ended up in England where he was captured on June 8, 1968 at London’s Heathrow Airport as he was trying to leave the UK. Once charged with the crime, Ray was pressured by his second lawyer, Percy Foreman, to plead guilty on the grounds that the evidence was too strong against him and Foreman was not in good health and couldn’t offer a strong defence.

“Foreman was sent in with the purpose of replacing the original lawyers,” Pepper says.

Foreman offered Ray $500 to get another lawyer if he pleaded guilty and even put this in writing. Ray would regret accepting this offer for the rest of his life. He tried unsuccessfully to rescind the guilty plea and get a trial for the next 30 years, finally dying in prison of cancer in 1998.

Pepper becomes convinced of Ray’s innocence

It was 10 years after the assassination before Pepper would even consider meeting with Ray. He had taken for granted at first that Ray was the assassin, but he was encouraged to meet him by Rev. Ralph Abernathy, who had succeeded King as President of the SCLC. Abernathy had remained unsatisfied with the official account of the shooting.

In the book, Pepper describes his first meeting with Ray in 1978 and how he quickly came to believe that Ray had not been the shooter and that the case was essentially still unsolved. It wasn’t until 1988 before Pepper became certain that Ray had not played any knowing part in the conspiracy, and at that point he agreed to represent him, which he did until his death.

Purveyors of the official story of the assassination have always claimed that Raul was an invention of Ray’s, and mainstream media accounts refer to this question as still unanswered even though Pepper not only found witnesses who described their connections to Raul, he actually found Raul himself with the help of witness Glenda Grabow (Pepper learned that his last name was Coelho). She identified Raul as someone she had known in Houston in 1963 and who around 1974, in a fit of rage, had implicated himself in the King assassination right before raping her. Grabow also identified Jack Ruby as someone who she had seen with Raul in 1963. This fascinating story is recounted both in An Act of State and The Plot to Kill King.

One of the most intriguing things to come out of both of these books is the account of a young FBI agent named Don Wilson who after the assassination was sent to check out a white Mustang with Alabama plates (Ray drove a white Mustang) that had been abandoned and that was thought to be connected to the assassination. Wilson opened the car door and some papers fell out. He examined them later and found a torn-out piece of a 1963 Dallas, Texas telephone directory. Written on the page was the name “Raul” and the initial “J” and a phone number, which turned out to be that of a Las Vegas night club run by Jack Ruby, the man who had shot Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas police station. A second piece of paper had a list of names with amounts of money beside each. Wilson decided to hold on to this evidence, fearing it would disappear forever if he turned it in. He held on to it for 29 years before making it available to Pepper and the King family.

The shooter revealed

Another incredible revelation in The Plot to Kill King is the identity of the man who appears to have fired the fatal shot. Pepper learned his identity from Lenny B. Curtis, who was a custodian at the Memphis Police Department rifle range. Curtis told Pepper this in 2003, and Pepper recorded a deposition with him but kept it confidential out of fear for Curtis’s life. Only after his death in 2013 did Pepper reveal what Curtis had said – that the shooter was Memphis police officer Frank Strausser.

“We had to be very careful about [Curtis’s safety],” Pepper says.

Curtis said to Pepper in his deposition that he heard Strausser say about King four or five months before the assassination that somebody was going to “. . . blow his motherfucking brains out.” He also described that Strausser had practised in the rifle range with a particular rifle that had been brought in four or five days earlier by a member of the fire department. That fireman had shown the rifle to Curtis and asked, “How would you like that scoundrel, that baby there?” When Curtis said it look like any other rifle, he replied, “No, this is a special one; that baby is special.” Lenny remembered that on the day of the assassination, Strausser spent the whole day practicing with it. (Strausser has given several conflicting accounts of where he was and what he was doing that day.)

After the assassination, Curtis says he was followed and intimidated by Strausser. Pepper writes:

Lenny said that he subsequently became aware that strange things were happening around him. His gas was strangely turned on once when he was about to enter his house. He had lit a cigarette, but as he opened the door he smelled gas and quickly put out the cigarette. A strange Lincoln was occasionally parked across the street from his apartment house. He was frightened. One morning when the car was there, he got into his own car and quickly drove off, and the strange car pulled out and followed him. He managed to see the driver. It was Strausser.

In the book, Pepper describes how he came to meet with Strausser, who he describes as a committed and devoted racist.

“He had no respect for black people at all,” Pepper says. “He wasn’t explicit about his racism. But he was not at all sympathetic to what Martin King was all about.”

In the hope of prompting an admission, Pepper lied and told him that he had been implicated in the killing by Loyd Jowers – but Strausser didn’t take the bait. Pepper also told Strausser that the footprints found in the bushes after the shooting were from size 13 shoes (which they were). Then he asked him about the size of his feet:

“He had a bit of a grin on his face, and he said ‘13 large,’” Pepper says.

Pepper also arranged to have cab driver Nathan Whitlock, who Strausser knew, tell him that there was a good possibility that he (Strausser) would be indicted for the shooting. He responded: “What are they going to indict me for, something I did 30 years ago?” Then he caught himself and added, “Or something I knew about 30 years ago?”

A threat to the powers that be

As Pepper explains, King was not only hated by the establishment as he rose to prominence in the 1960s, he was feared. Not only did he have the ability to move large numbers of people with his message of peace and tolerance, but he had designs on a political career. According to Pepper, King was planning to run for president on a third-party ticket with fellow anti-war activist Dr. Benjamin Spock. He was also causing panic in powerful circles because he intended to bring hundreds of thousands of poor people to an encampment in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1968 to bring attention to the plight of the poor.

“They were terrified that the anger level when [the demonstrators] were not going to get what they wanted was going to rise to such a point where Martin was going to lose control of that group and the more radical among them would take it over and they’d have a revolution,” Pepper explains. “And they didn’t have the troops to put it down. That was a real fear that the Army had. And I think it was a justifiable fear.”

King would also have posed an increasing threat to the political establishment because he intended to become much more vocal in his opposition to the Vietnam War. He had been influenced by an article and photos by Pepper called, “The Children of Vietnam,” which was published in Ramparts Magazine in January 1967 and later reprinted in Look magazine. (The man who published the piece in Look, Bill Atwood, actually told Pepper he received a visit from former New York governor and ambassador to the Soviet Union Averill Harriman who passed on a message from President Johnson that he would appreciate it if Atwood never published anything by Pepper.)

Beyond King’s importance as a powerful force for justice, peace, and equality, he was also Pepper’s friend. And the lawyer/journalist had to deal with that loss as he sought the truth about who really killed King and fought for justice for the man falsely accused of his murder. He writes:

For me, this is a story rife with sadness, replete with massive accounts of personal and public deception and betrayal. Its revelations and experiences have produced in the writer a depression stemming from an unavoidable confrontation with the depths to which human beings, even those subject to professional codes of ethics, have fallen. In addition, there is an element of personal despair that has resulted from this long effort, which has made me even question the wisdom of undertaking this task. (page xiv, The Plot to Kill King)


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September was hotter and drier than usual in Maine

Scot Gardner of St. Francis does a back flip into the deep pool below "Jacuzzi Falls" on the Fish River in Fort Kent as temperatures soared well above 80 degrees Fahrenheit in late September.

CARIBOU, Maine — The lack of rainfall that has plagued much of the state this summer continued last month, with Mainers experiencing mostly drier than normal weather coupled with above average temperatures.

Mark Bloomer, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Caribou, said Wednesday that at most of the climate sites across the region, September averaged between five and six degrees above average.

It was the third warmest September on record in northern and central Maine and the second warmest September in


08.11.1708:00 AM

THE MOST FORMAL manifestation of the scientific consensus on climate change is an organization called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Headquartered in Geneva, under the aegis of the United Nations, it coordinates the volunteer efforts of several thousand scientists, industry experts, nonprofit researchers, and government representatives into reports issued every five to seven years. These reports underpin virtually every climate-based decision on Earth, from the US military’s threat assessments to the Paris climate agreement itself.
So it’s maybe surprising that the IPCC is a shoestring operation, running on just over $4.3 million a year. It gets that money from about 25 different countries, plus a few UN groups. Historically, the biggest chunk of that money comes from the US. Or rather, it used to.

Congress and the Trump administration effectively zeroed out America’s nearly $2 million contribution for 2017, and the 2018 budget explicitly bars the State Department from giving the IPCC money. Congress, remember, has the power of the purse. But the budget starts and ends with Trump: first as a proposal, and finally as a bill he signs into law. Removing the IPCC from the budget doesn’t necessarily put the organization in an immediate bind; it has savings. But it could leave US scientists out of many important scientific discussions—and leave the US underprepared as climate change progresses.
The UN established the IPCC as an independent research organization in 1988, because member nations were worried about the rising chorus of alarming climate science. They wanted a group to review the research and deliver actionable recommendations to the UN. The IPCC’s fifth assessment came out in 2014, and the sixth is due in 2022.

Every country that wants to participate can do so, and the IPCC’s executive committee selects delegates based on the needs of the working groups—not just scientists, but industry representatives, nonprofit experts, and other climate-interested professions. “The US people that work in these groups are generally selected by the DOE or by the EPA," says Daniel Kammen, a UC Berkeley energy physicist who has been working with the IPCC since 1999. "They get a letter saying you are requested, and the US will cover your travel with the understanding that all the work you do is volunteer.”

Those volunteers don’t conduct any new research. Rather, they review the existing literature in order to present a consensus on climate change, its impacts, and how the world can prepare for the worst of them. Numerous subgroups investigate the nuances in renewable energy, agriculture, sea level rise, and so on. Most of that work happens remotely. The only thing the IPCC pays for is flying the delegates to working group meetings once or twice a year—flights that eat up the bulk of the organization’s budget.
The working group meetups are the meat and potatoes of the IPCC. They decide the focus of the big reports. Which is why the US pulling out its funds could bite back. “The topics we are mostly concerned about, like climate change and drying soils, and the impacts of that on US farmers, will get less attention,” says Kammen. The US only accounts for 2 percent of the Earth’s surface, so it makes a big difference when US scientists are present to stand up for domestic interests.

Despite the IPCC’s relative low cost and undeniably outsized scientific importance, Republican lawmakers have been trying to zero out the US’s contribution for years. It's a familiar dance: Early every year, the State Department sends a budget request to the appropriations committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives. And every year, the respective committees write back, detailing their thoughts on which programs do and don't deserve money. For most of Barack Obama’s presidency, the notes from the House of Representatives have trashed environmental programs, including the payouts to the IPCC. But then the bill would make its way to the Senate, and some politician or aide would work these programs back into the budget. And because the amount was so small ($2 million is less than a percent of a percent of the total US budget), the quibble apparently wasn't worth expending political capital over.
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Professor Who Admitted to FBI Burglary in Philadelphia Dies

A Washington Post story on what the stolen documents revealed.

One of the seven conspirators who revealed a dirty campaign of intimidation by the FBI in March 1971 by stealing a cache of documents in burglary of an bureau office in suburban Philadelphia died on Nov. 12 at his home in Philadelphia.

John C. Raines, a Temple University religion professor, was 84, the Washington Post reports.

During the burglary, the seven conspirators stole documents that showed a campaign of intimidation by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover against civil rights and antiwar activists, communists and other dissenters.

One of the documents revealed an that agents were directed to increasingly interview perceived dissenters “to get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.”

The burglars, who called themselves the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI, disseminated the stolen documents to newspapers.

The leaked reports lead to the formation of the Senate Church Committee, which revealed widespread abuses among intelligence agencies.

Raines kept the explosive secret for 43 years before revealing his identity to a Washington Post journalist, Betty Medsger, who wrote a book-length account of the break-in, “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.”


Sheriff’s deputy causes uproar over blackface Halloween costume
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, November 16, 2017, 4:04 PM


Ex-Macomb Twp. official says he complained about Dino Bucci years ago to FBI
Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press Published 5:00 p.m. ET Nov. 16, 2017


Keystone pipeline shut down after leaking 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Thursday, November 16, 2017, 6:15 PM


We should all be working a four-day week. Here’s why

Ending life-sapping excessive hours was a pioneering demand for the labour movement. For the sake of our health and the economy we need to revisit it


'Political watershed' as 19 countries pledge to phase out coal
New alliance launched at Bonn climate talks hopes to signal the end of the dirtiest fossil fuel that kills 800,000 people a year with air pollution


California Trashes Thousands of Mail-In Ballots, ACLU Says
November 15, 2017 DAVE TARTRE

Link du jour








Baby boy is first marijuana overdose death, doctors claim
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, November 16, 2017, 2:33 PM


October 18, 2017
by CMJ
October 18, 2017
NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Media Justice filed a Freedom of Information Act request today asking the FBI to turn over documents related to surveillance of Black people on the basis of a purported shared ideology or “extremism.”

The request was prompted by an FBI document leaked to Foreign Policy magazine. The document is an “Intelligence Assessment” dated August 3 and titled “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers.”

“The FBI’s report is a red flag that the bureau is once again profiling Black activists because of their beliefs and race,” said Nusrat J. Choudhury, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. “The public deserves to know whether the labeling of so-called ‘Black Identity Extremists’ is the latest flawed example in the FBI’s history of using threats — real or perceived — as an excuse to surveil Black people.”

The Constitution prohibits the government from targeting people because of their racial identity or because they take part in First Amendment-protected activities, which include protesting racism and injustice.

“As a member of the Black Lives Matter Network, I am deeply concerned that Jeff Sessions’ FBI and the Trump administration are escalating the use of high-tech tools to profile, police, and punish democratically protected activities of Black protestors despite volumes of evidence of a surge in white nationalist violence,” said Malkia A. Cyril, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice.

Although most individuals who shoot and kill officers are white, and government reports show that white supremacists were responsible for nearly 75 percent of deadly extremist attacks between 2001 and 2016, the FBI appears to be allocating investigative resources to surveil Black people based on a purportedly shared ideology linked to “Black identity” on the basis of six separate incidents.

Today’s FOIA request is here:

Want to learn more? Read “Is the FBI Setting the Stage for Increased Surveillance of Black Activists?” co-authored by Malkia Cyril, Executive Director, Center for Media Justice, Thaddeus Talbot, and Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project.


3rd Ohio Pastor Charged with Sex Trafficking Underage Girls

The Root-
Jenkins and Haynes were arrested by FBI agents earlier this year and were initially accused of knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing ...


Four Sisters Who Confronted Their Father and Their Pain
Posted on September 10, 2015

My father, was a Los Angeles Police Officer. He was a child sexual abuser, and child rapist. He used weapons on me to silence me. Edward Rodgers was a former state and federal law enforcement official. His daughter’s story is below:

By Patricia Brennan, March 20 1994

“At times, “Ultimate Betrayal” (a made for TV movie that was broadcast in the 1990’s) is not an easy movie to watch. Based on a true story of incest and physical abuse, it follows four adult sisters as they share their memories and decide to sue their father in civil court.

Their precedent-setting 1990 lawsuit in a Denver court has repercussions on Capitol Hill. If Rep. Patricia Shroeder (D-Colo.) gets her legislation passed, the Child Abuse Accountability Act will establish procedures to allow child abuse victims to claim court-ordered financial restitution by garnisheeing the federal (but not military) pensions of their abusers even years after the abuse occurred. Currently, federal pensions can be garnisheed for alimony and child support.

In the film, Marlo Thomas plays Sharon Rodgers Simone, eldest of seven children in a Colorado Springs, Colo., family. Now a middle-aged wife and mother, she is a fearful person on the edge of a nervous breakdown, a woman who sleeps in her car at night, returning at dawn to help get the children off to school. Her husband is keeping the family together.

When Sharon’s youngest sister, Mary Rodgers LaRocque (Ally Sheedy), calls to ask if she’ll join in a lawsuit against their father, Sharon learns that her three sisters also are leading dysfunctional lives. All four have sought psychological help; three have attempted suicide.

But unlike Sharon, who has no explanation for her undefined fears, the other sisters know why: As children, they say, they were sexually abused by their father. Sharon hears her sisters’ stories but denies that such horrors occurred — certainly, she believes, not to her. As Thomas put it, “Only Sharon had trouble connecting the dots.”

Filled with shame, the sisters — Mary, Susan (Mel Harris) and Beth Medlicott (Kathryn Dowling) — had never confided in one another.

“One of the things that Sue says on the stand is, ‘All my life, I thought this was my shame,’ ” said Thomas. “All of us carry little secrets that have tremendous power because they’re secrets. A secret tears you apart; it stops you. But if you let it out, it has no power. It doesn’t have to be a secret as big as theirs. The secret can be that you just weren’t loved, just the fact that your parents didn’t have time for you.”

But Mary’s secret was a big one, one she had never told. Sheedy, in one of the most touching and unsettling scenes in the movie, recounts to her older sisters the repeated sexual abuse, including a rape that occurred when she was very young and was the only child left at home.

Edward J. Rodgers Jr. said that never happened. Rodgers had been an FBI agent for 27 years when he retired from that career in 1967 and became a child-abuse investigator for the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office (El Paso County) in Colorado Springs. He also served on the board of a group that supports the rights of abused children.

The same year he retired from the FBI, he separated from the mother of his seven children. Two years later, he married a woman with a son and two daughters.

In 1990, long after the Rodgers children were grown, Susan Rodgers Hammond and Sharon Rodgers Simone sued their father, not only to gain money to pay for their therapy, but also hoping for a public accounting and to hear their father acknowledge what happened.

That he would not do. Edward Rogers failed to appear in court, and in a written deposition, he denied that the sexual abuse ever occurred, although he admitted that he had been a physically rough disciplinarian with a quick temper.

Nor would his sons Edward, Steve and John, who are seen in the film being beaten as children, participate in the lawsuit. They are seen in the film berating their sisters in the courtroom at the close of the trial. Sharon’s therapist (played by Eileen Brennan), did testify, as did Sharon’s husband, Patrick Simone.

Without the defendant present, and with no defense counsel, a six-woman Denver jury heard the testimony, considered the evidence for 90 minutes, and awarded them $2.3 million, the largest settlement (at that time) in a case of this nature.

Thus far, said Thomas, Rodgers has never paid a penny of that sum. Schroeder’s bill, introduced in November of 1993, would tap into Rodgers’s FBI pension. Currently, a federal employee’s pension can be garnisheed only for court-ordered child support or alimony.

Thomas pointed out that unlike other cases that have caught public attention recently, “This isn’t a case of false memory or repressed memory,” said Thomas. “The other sisters said, ‘I’ve known this all my life,’ but Sharon wouldn’t allow herself to admit that.”

They related all of this to producer/director Donald Wrye, writer Gregory Goodall and a therapist in an emotional two-day session before the movie went into production. Simone reviewed at least 10 drafts of Goodall’s script. Then the actors were cast.

“The abuse psychologist we spoke to said everybody plays a different role in the family,” said Thomas. “Sue was the one who fought back and got beaten the most. Sharon was the one who tried to make her father calm down and feel loved, met him at the door, brought him a beer. She thought she was helping by helping her father feel loved. But underneath, there was the guilt of the collaborator.

“To me, what was very touching was that she {Sharon} didn’t want to lose her father. Every girl needs her daddy. Sharon told me, ‘There’s a part of me that still loves my father.’ Her fantasy was that they would have this trial, the father would be found guilty, and then they would all go around and help other families. She said, ‘I thought maybe we’d make all this bad become good for somebody.’ ”

Thomas said Sharon eventually came to understand that her vision of family healing was an unlikely scenario. Instead, helping make the movie and working for the Child Abuse Accountability Act have become her way of making “bad become good for somebody.”

Thomas said after she read the script, she gave the movie a lot of thought.

“I’ve never done an ‘abuse movie’ before,” she said. “I put {the script} down and I thought, there’s something very special here. It took a lot of courage for these women to stand up to their father. There’s something basic about having your pain acknowledged, having your reality acknowledged.

“The father had every opportunity to acknowledge his daughters. They asked him to talk, they asked him for money for their therapy, and as a last resort, they sued him to get money for their therapy. But that doesn’t seem to be the real issue. The real issue is, if Dad won’t acknowledge what happened, maybe the jury will. That was the triumph for them.”


THE DENVER POST – Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire
May 17, 1990
Sisters win sex lawsuit vs. dad $2.3 million given for years of abuse
By Howard Prankratz
Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer

Two daughters of former state and federal law enforcement official Edward Rodgers were awarded $2.319,400 yesterday, after a Denver judge and jury found that the women suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father.

The award to Sharon Simone, 45, and Susan Hammond, 44, followed testimony of Rodgers’ four daughters in person or through depositions, describing repeated physical abuse and sexual assaults by their father from 1944 through 1965.

Rodgers, 72, who became a child abuse expert after retiring from the FBI and joining the colorado Springs DA’s office, failed to appear for the trial. But in a deposition taken in March, Rodgers denied ever hitting or sexually abusing his children.

He admitted that he thought of himself as a “domineering s.o.b. who demanded strict responses from my children, strict obedience.” But it never approached child abuse, Rodgers said. “Did I make mistakes? Damn right I did, just like any other father or mother…”

Thomas Gresham, Rodger’s former attorney, withdrew from the case recently after being unable to locate his client. Rodgers recently contacted one of his sons from a Texas town along the Mexican border. Gresham said his last contact with Rodgers was on April 24.

The sisters reacted quietly to the verdict, and with relief that their stories of abuse had finally been told.

“I feel really good that I’ve gone public with this,”Hammond said. “I am a victim, the shame isn’t mine, the horror happened to me. I’m not bad.
“My father did shameful and horrible things to me and my brothers and sisters. I don’t believe he is a shameful and horrible man, but he has to be held accountable,” Hammond added.

The lawsuit deeply divided the Rodgers family, with Rodgers’ three sons questioning their sister’s motives.

Immediately after the verdict, son Steve Rodgers, 37, reacted angrily, yelling at his sisters in the courtroom.

Later, Rodgers said he loves his father and stands by him. He said his sisters had told him their father had to be exposed the way Nazi war criminals have been exposed.

“In a way I’m angry with my father for not being here. But I’m sympathetic because he would have walked into a gross crucifixion,” Rodgers said.

Steve Rodgers never denied that he and his siblings were physically abused, but disputed that his father molested his sisters.
Before the jury’s award, Denver District Judge William Meyer found that Rodger’s conduct toward Simone and Hammond was negligent and “outrageous.”

Despite the length of time since the abuse, the jury determined the sisters could legally bring the suit. The statute of limitations for a civil suit is two years, but jurors determined that the sisters became aware of he nature and extent of their injury only within the last two years, during therapy.

The jury then determined the damages, finding $1,240,000 for Simone and 1,079,000 for Hammond.

The sisters had alleged in their suit filed last July that Rodgers subjected his seven children to a “pattern of emotional, physical, sexual and incestual abuse.”

As a result of the abuse, the women claimed their emotional lives had been left in a shambles, requiring extensive therapy for both and repeated hospitalizations of Hammond, who was acutely suicidal. Simone developed obsessive behavior and became so unable to function she resigned a position with a Boston-based college.

Despite the judgment yesterday, Rodgers cannot be criminally charged. the statue of limitations in Colorado for sexual assault on children is 10 years.
Rodgers, who worked for the FBI for 27 years, much of it in Denver, became chief investigator for the district attorney’s office in Colorado Sp;rings. during his employment at the DA’s office from 1967 until 1983, he became a well-known figure in Colorado Springs, and lectured and wrote about child abuse both locally and nationwide.

He wrote a manual called ” A Compendium — Child Abuse by the National College of District Attorney’s,” and helped put together manuals on child abuse for the New York state police and a national child abuse center.





Schorman on Cecil, 'Branding Hoover's FBI: How the Boss's PR Men Sold the Bureau to America'

Matthew Cecil
Rob Schorman

Matthew Cecil. Branding Hoover's FBI: How the Boss's PR Men Sold the Bureau to America. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016. 344 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7006-2305-1.

Reviewed by Rob Schorman (Miami University of Ohio Regionals)
Published on H-FedHist (October, 2017)
Commissioned by Caryn E. Neumann

Matthew Cecil, in Branding Hoover's FBI: How the Boss's PR Men Sold the Bureau to America, lays out a case that the prestige and public trust enjoyed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during most of J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure resulted not so much from the agency’s investigative prowess as from a finely tuned public relations apparatus that began operation only a few years after the term “public relations” was coined. As Cecil puts it: “The bureau practiced, at an early stage in the development of the field, sophisticated public relations techniques on a nationwide scale” (p. 15). Cecil sees the success of this effort as the achievement of specific, talented individuals. He suggests that had they not been on the scene, the agency would have fared much differently in the public estimation from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, and that had they not departed, the agency might have avoided its precipitous fall from grace in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In-depth coverage is given to the careers of both Louis Nichols and Cartha “Deke” DeLoach, the two most prominent overseers of the agency’s PR efforts, the former from 1935 to 1957 and the latter from 1959 to 1970. Nichols established the template for agency policies, and the book details the manner in which he led efforts to control its image in popular radio shows, fought to head off critical findings from a presidential commission, strategically leaked information on alleged Communist sympathizers to force them from public office, and recruited liberal “moles” to offer intelligence about such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union. DeLoach followed the template but with a different style. Whereas Nichols was a sometimes subtle manipulator of a vast network of media contacts—both friend and foe—DeLoach focused his attention on “managing upward” and influencing decision makers in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Justice Department, and White House (p. 263).

Nichols and DeLoach are well-known figures, although their methods have never been examined with such care. Perhaps even more valuable, the book provides an equally detailed appraisal of the contributions of agency staff members who are never more than bit players in standard FBI histories. These include Milton Jones, who for almost thirty years was personally responsible for maintaining the content standards for thousands of letters, memos, speeches, articles, and reports the agency produced, and Fern Stukenbroeker, who among other things was the chief ghostwriter for publications that appeared under Hoover’s name, ranging from law journal articles to the best-selling book Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It (1958), which sold more than two million copies. The book includes readable character sketches of these people and many others with whom they interacted, along with analysis of their activities.

Cecil’s work has an impressive research base, most notably an extensive review of the FBI’s own files of correspondence, memos, and handwritten notes. At its peak, the FBI department responsible for public relations employed almost two hundred people and in a single year responded to about seven thousand letters a month, placed dozens of articles in national magazines, wrote hundreds of speeches and official statements for bureau employees, and performed thousands of “name checks” for the White House. For the network television series The FBI (1965-74), it rewrote scripts, vetted cast and crew members (blackballing “subversives”), and had two agents permanently assigned to the set while filming occurred. Censure, probation, demotion, and reassignment were penalties imposed on agency personnel for offenses as small as a typographical error on a letter that went out on the agency’s letterhead.

The book also covers the tsunami of criticism that led to a decline in the FBI’s reputation at the end of Hoover’s tenure. By that time, the health and vigor of Hoover and his top aide, Clyde Tolson, were in decline, and Nichols and DeLoach had moved on. Cecil states: “It seems likely that the Bureau could have weathered the kinds of public relations challenges it faced in the late 1960s and early 1970s had its leadership team been at full strength” (p. 252). I suppose that’s possible—certainly he provides examples of inept and inadequate response by the agency during this period. He also notes, however, that by the late 1960s the “FBI represented mainstream 1950s values in a counterculture America” (p. 214), and one wonders if any PR effort could have countered the rising suspicion and scrutiny of public institutions that were fueled by civil rights and Vietnam protests, the culture of scandal and investigative reporting that began to permeate Washington media, and the collapse of the Cold War consensus that had dominated public perception and discourse since World War II.

Branding Hoover’s FBI is well done in every respect. The book is well written and organized, its use of both primary and secondary sources is excellent, and overall its argument is convincing. It is a valuable addition to our understanding of the internal workings of the FBI.

Special Needs Adults Get VIP Treatment At Philly's FBI Field Office
CBS Philly-
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For FBI agents, suiting up for the task at hand is an everyday experience. For the rest of us, it's something special. “It's my first time ...


FBI agent gives advice to MTSU criminal justice students

November 16, 2017

Keith A. Johnson, security specialist for the Security Division of the FBI, addresses MTSU criminal justice majors at a Nov. 14 combined class.
MURFREESBORO -- "Take yourself out of your comfort zone. That's the only way you grow."

That was the message Keith A. Johnson conveyed to eager MTSU criminal justice majors in a combined class Nov. 14 in the College of Education Building. It was a message borne of experience.

In more than 20 years of service with the FBI, Johnson's assignments included gangs and organized crime, cybercrime, security for the bureau's 56 field offices and forensic digital media investigations. Those assignments took him to 46 of the 50 states.

"Your mind is your only limitation when you're working for us," said Johnson, referring to the FBI.

Johnson's work as director of the bureau's Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory in Chicago led to the impeachment, arrest and conviction of former Illinois Gov. Rob Blagojevich. Gleaning information from computers was critical to the case.

"We've had criminals try to hide information on PlayStations," said Johnson. "We found it. We look at everything, and we have software that can pull (deleted information) back. There's no way to fool the system. You think you deleted it because you put it in the trash bin. You've emptied it. It's recycled. You think it's gone. I can get it back."

Blagojevich, who tried to obtain bribes in exchange for political appointments, including an appointment to Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat, was removed from office in 2009. He is serving a 14-year term in a federal prison.

While the FBI does not hire new employees directly out of college, Johnson did offer what he called "pearls of wisdom" for prospective new agents. He rattled off a litany of anecdotes about applicants who sabotaged their interviews with their poor command of the English language.

"We want to understand how well you can write because, when you go to court, you have to testify about what you've put on paper," said Johnson. "And all the defense attorney needs to do is cause reasonable doubt."

Jace Gallagher, a law enforcement major from Hermitage, Tennessee, said he learned a great deal from Johnson's presentation.

"This lecture was very informative," said Gallagher. "It made me think about my days back in the Navy." Gallagher said he served in the U.S. Navy from 2012 to 2015.

Natalia Hammond, a global studies major and homeland security minor from Spring Hill, Tennessee, said she appreciated the encouraging nature of Johnson's lecture.

"Sometimes if you're in a college environment, you really have to tell yourself you can do this and to not give up," Hammond said.

Professor Lynda Williams' Introduction to Criminal Justice class and assistant professor Elizabeth Quinn's Introduction to Emergency and Disaster Management class combined for Johnson's lecture, but all criminal justice students were welcome to attend.


[exclusive] FBI Media Relations Guide

Media Relations at FBIHQ and in Field Offices: Policy Guide [PDF / 42 pages]

Released via my FOIA request, this is the FBI’s guide to dealing with the media. Its focus is the news media, although it also gets into the entertainment media, press releases, social media, and related topics.

AltGov2 is a one-person operation opening
the lid on official secrecy. Please donate.

Related FBI documents:

Social Media and Other Electronic Information Sharing Technologies [AltGov2]

Community Outreach in Field Offices [Brennan Center]



The FBI, COINTELPRO, and the Alternative Press

by Chip Berlet

The FBI in the 1960s and 1970s carried out a large-scale campaign of intelligence gathering and disruption specifically aimed at crippling the alternative and underground press. The FBI targeted what they called “New Left” publications along with old-line Communist periodicals and underground newspapers as part of its COINTELPRO program. These publica­tions were seen by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover as a threat to democracy, so he ordered his agents to violate the First Amendment rights of alternative journalists to suppress their newspapers.

Surveillance of the Underground Press Syndicate was documented through a lawsuit filed by former UPS kingpin the late Tom Forcade, whose files show that the UPS was subjected to mail openings, physical office stakeouts, staff surveillance, and the obtaining and copying of bank records, credit card records, postage meter records, car rental records, telephone call records, traffic ticket records, income tax records, and more. Some of the UPS files which resurfaced in the FBI files include documents that appear to have been obtained through illegal black‑bag jobs.

The Yipster Times file shows the FBI obtained its mailing list and harassed subscribers through interviews and heavy‑handed investigations. At one point certain Times staffers were considered such a threat to national security that their names were added to the FBI’s ADEX (Administrative Index) list of activists slated to be rounded up in case of insurrection. The publisher and a staff member of the L.A. Free Press were also ADEX’d.


Using anonymous letters to increase factionalism among leftist groups was a popular COINTELPRO tactic and the alternative press was no exception. In 1968, Liberation News Service experienced a staff split and Hoover used the occasion to suggest an operation against the news service. “Recent issues of the under­ground press have carried articles relating to the split which has developed within the Liberation News Service (LNS),” wrote Hoover in a memo to the New York office. “It would seem this is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the split to further disrupt the underground press and to attack the New Left.”

The New York FBI office promptly invented a letter titled “And Who Got the Cookie Jar?” which ridiculed the situation and criticized the LNS staffers who left the New York office for a farm in Massachusetts. “The letter is written in the jargon of the New Left, necessitating the use of a certain amount of profanity,” admitted the New York FBI office apologetically.

The letter, signed “a former staffer,” was circulat­ed among various progressive groups and alternative newspapers in an attempt to win support for the New York faction. At the time both factions were publishing under the name LNS. “A real kindergarten performance by all concerned,” said the letter, which called one of LNS’s founders, who had moved to Massachusetts, “a bit of a nut.” The letter went on to charge the farm-bound crowd with leaving the “scene of the action in exchange for assorted ducks and sheep,” and turning LNS “from an efficient movement news service into a complete mess.”

When LNS-New York survived the split and continued publishing, the FBI contacted the Internal Revenue Service, which obligingly began auditing LNS for possible tax law violations. The FBI used at least two other federal agencies in its vendetta against the alternative press.

Progressive radio station WBAI in New York came under FBI scrutiny after broadcasting portions of a Communist convention. The FBI began monitoring its bank account and contacted the Federal Communications Commission. The San Diego FBI office requested that postal inspectors be used to harass the San Diego Door and the Teaspoon, along with a newsletter published by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at San Diego State College.

Reports submitted to a Senate committee investi­gating intelligence abuse have indicated that FBI funds were used to finance paramilitary operations by two right‑wing groups in San Diego. These groups physical­ly attacked the Street Journal, destroying during one assault over $5,000 worth of typesetting and production equipment. After they forced the Journal out of business, the San Diego Door became a target, with equipment vandalized and cars firebombed.

The San Antonio FBI office took credit for coercing a printer into refusing to continue publishing the Rag, in Austin, Texas. Printer cancellations were a constant headache for underground papers, and now it appears they were induced in part by visits from friendly feds.

The New York office tried a more subtle approach to disruption by contacting the shipper who transported bulk copies of the Black Panther Party newspaper into the city. After the contact, the firm raised its rates to the highest legal fee. “This will amount to an increase of around $300 weekly in shipments to New York City alone,” gloated an FBI memo, which accurately noted, “This counterintelligence endeavor ... will definitely have an adverse effect on the amount of incendiary propaganda being published by the BPP…. The group suffers from a constant shortage of funds.”

Most alternative publications were operated on a shoestring budget in the 1960s and early 1970s, and there is little doubt that the added expense caused by FBI‑inspired tax audits, postal hassles, price hikes, evictions, and arrests forced many publications into insolvency. Distribution hassles were frequent among underground newspapers and the FBI played its part by encouraging local authorities to enforce vague and usually unconstitutional ordinances concerning pornog­raphy, obscenity, and hawking without a license. Details of this type of FBI role are incomplete but one incident in Milwaukee shows how the FBI succeeded in tipping the scales against two undergrounds.

“On 12/6/68, a copy of Kaleidoscope and a copy of The Open Door were anonymously mailed to Miss Lauren Dixon, Principal of Homestead High School, with certain objectionable state­ments and pictures indicat­ed in red pencil,” reports an FBI memo. A few weeks later Homestead High instituted a new dress code which forbade pupils from distributing “newspapers, maga­zines and pamphlets without permission from the administration,” according to a news story that quoted the principal saying both underground publica­tions could possibly have a bad effect on students.

One suggestion for disruption that was apparent­ly turned down by Hoover was to spray alternative newspapers with a chemical stench. “A very small amount of this chemical disburses a most offensive odor,” wrote the Newark FBI office, “and its potency is such that a large amount of papers could be treated in a matter of seconds. It could be prepared by the FBI laboratory for use in an aerosol‑type dispenser.”

If You Can’t Beat Them ...

On several occasions the FBI used alternative publications for counterintelligence operations by placing advertisements or submitting ersatz letters to the editor. In Los Angeles, for instance, the local FBI office concocted a byzantine plan to use the Los Angeles Free Press in an attempt to cause friction within the Commu­nist Party USA. This escapade characterizes the zany and sopho­moric side of COINTELPRO.

In 1966, the chairperson of the southern California branch of the Communist Party, Dorothy Healey, prepared a report that was “critical of CPUSA leader­ship,” according to FBI documents. The “Healey Report” was allegedly suppressed by CPUSA officials and the FBI decided to print up copies of the supposed­ly secret report and distribute them. By circulating the report, the FBI hoped to embarrass the CPUSA leadership and cause dissension in the ranks.

The Los Angeles bureau was authorized to place the following advertisement in the personal classified section of the L.A. Free Press:

Banned by the Communist Party National Secre­tariat. Get your copy of Dorothy Healey’s contro­versial report. Send $.15 in stamps to cover mailing costs to Ivanova care of Free Press.

The FBI chose the Free Press to reach its target audience of leftists because it was ultra-liberal and its classifieds already contained unusual notices. As the FBI observed in a memo: “A good portion of the paper is devoted to a ‘personal’ section of classified advertise­ments. The wording of these ‘personals’ is quite uninhibited and ranges from invitations to sex orgies and LSD parties to guitar lessons.”

The dubious contention was that such ads were read by Communists and others who would be interest­ed in the Healey report. There was more, however, to the operation than just distribution.

The ad was signed “Ivanova” because the FBI wanted Communist officials to believe that the report was being circulated by “disgruntled comrades.” To enhance this aspect of the operation the ad was placed by a “Russian speaking agent and an experienced, older female clerk with a heavy Russian accent” who were instructed to converse in Russian while placing the ad. Free Press ad takers were supposed to immediately assume the ad placers were dissident members of the CPUSA.

The FBI figured that Communist Party officials would contact the Free Press and ask who placed the ad. The Free Press would then tell them about the Russian‑speaking duo. The Communist officials would suspect unhappy party members, and this would “cause consternation among local comrades ... cause further internal dissension within the Party and possibly have internal ramifications,” predicted an FBI memo.

Now, you have to be pretty dumb to think Ameri­can Communists speak with a “heavy Russian accent,” or that the Freep staff would care who placed a particular advertisement, especially when the weirdest casualties of the hip scene frequently flowed into the Freep offices to place improbable sex ads. Nonetheless, J. Edgar Hoover was delighted with the plan, saying, “This suggestion by Los Angeles appears most imagina­tive and should have disruptive results.”

The ads appeared in the 2/17/67 and 2/24/67 issues of the Free Press. There is no indication whether or not “Ivanova” got any requests for the suppressed report from disgruntled Communists, fellow travelers, or sex-cult fetishists who misunderstood the ad.

Signed: A Friend

The FBI sent phony letters to the editor to com­mercial and college newspapers, as well as underground publications. The letters generally revealed embarrass­ing information or made false charges against progressives. The letters were usually signed with aliases or phrases such as “A True Progressive.”

When Angela Davis was arrested with Panther David Poindexter in New York in 1970, the FBI sent letters to the Village Voice and Ebony magazine. The FBI revealed a certain lack of cool by identifying both as “published by and primarily for Negroes, but in any case the letters painted Black Panther Party leader Huey P. Newton as an informer who was paid to rat on Angela by the feds. The letter to the Voice reads

Sister Angela is in jail. Poindexter is free. Huey Newton is free. David P. [Hilliard, a Panther leader] is a dumb‑head and a hop‑head. Forget him. But Huey is smart. Gets along well with the MAN. The question is: Did this cat bank five big bills lately ... a gift from the federal pigs?

The letter is signed “Concerned Brother.” Hoover instructed the agents sending the letters to “Take the usual precautions to insure that action taken cannot be traced to the Bureau.”

Wanna Buy a Paper?

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the FBI published a newsletter distributed in Winston-Salem called the Black Community News Service. The “newssheet” was aimed at disrupting the Black Panther Party and winning readers away from the Panther newspaper. The ostensible publisher of the newsletter was a fictitious FBI front called the “Southern Vanguard Revolutionary Party,” which the FBI hoped would be seen as “a black group at Winston‑Salem of a slightly higher calling than” the Black Panther Party.

New York Press Service, a photo agency that sent photographers to demonstrations and then offered the photos to alternative publications, also sent pictures to the FBI. The photo agency was subsidized by the FBI with $10,000 between 1967 and 1969 before the owner surfaced at the Chicago conspiracy trial as a govern­ment witness. Even the staff photographers had not been aware of the FBI connection.

Ever alert for an opportunity, the FBI seized the revelations about New York Press Service that appeared in the New York Post, and used them in a plan to discredit Liberation News Service. An FBI-authored letter signed “Howie” was sent to the Student Mobiliza­tion Com­mit­tee. The letter asked, “How has the Liberation News Service survived these many years?” and supplied the answer: “federal bread constitutes its main support.” The letter pointed out that “LNS is in an ideal position to infiltrate the movement at every level” and ended with a P.S.: “LNS represen­tatives all carry police press cards too.”

The FBI apparently produced bogus editions of Liberation News Service in the FBI laboratory by matching the paper, ink, and format and thus creating releases that contained counterintelligence misinfor­ma­tion in rewritten stories. One such release was used to discredit a leader of the Revolutionary Union in San Francisco. In another incident, the Cincinnati office proposed sending LNS a phony message from the Weather Underground containing retouched photo­graphs showing an activist supposedly passing informa­tion to a police agent. The note charged the activist with being a police spy. It is not clear from the FBI files if the plan was carried out.

The San Francisco office proposed printing “bogus copies of the Revolutionary Union (RU) pamphlet, ‘The Red Papers,’ to discredit the organization by changing the content and distributing the new version “to Marxists, Black militants, SDS, left publications, etc. throughout the country.” The Chicago office called the idea “outstanding” and suggested the alterations “distort the political line of the RU and, in fact, turn it into a revisionist line in a subtle manner.”

Avid Readers with Avaricious Appetites

The bureau found the alternative press to be a valuable source of information about progressive activities and subscribed through aliases to many newspapers and news services. It learned about a growing feud between SDS and the Black Panther Party through the Guardian, which it read avidly, and alerted its agents to encourage the split. The San Francisco bureau began its campaign against the Revolutionary Union after reading advertisements placed by RU in TheBlack Panther and the Movement.

A letter to the St. Louis bureau suggests the agent in charge instruct an informant to “review a number of locally available publications of New leftists, Negro militants, underground-type organizations, and other extremists in an effort to develop targets of intelligence interest with whom he may initiate correspondence.”

The FBI maintained a clip file of underground publications and sent clips to commercial newspaper reporters for background, and to parents and school officials to encourage them to take action against activists. Clippings and entire publica­tions were also distributed to various political groups to cause factional­ism. When the RU published “The Red Papers” the FBI had its San Francisco office send copies to the political groups whose ideology was criticized in the pamphlet. “San Francisco, for addition­al disruption, should anonymously forward copies of ‘The Red Papers’ pamphlet to one or several of the addresses listed in PLP (Progressive Labor Party) publica­tion, Progressive Labor. Appropriate sarcastic or warning notes should be included seeking to aggravate as well as alert PLP to the RU attack,” said the memo.


FBI needs to explain its war on 'black identity extremists'
Chicago Tribune
A Black Lives Matter protest, held in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both fatally shot by police officers, takes ...


Former FBI director represented Russian firm at center of major money-laundering probe

Business Insider-

The Russian-owned real-estate firm Prevezon earlier this year hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to help settle a major money-laundering ...


The FBI’s Explanation For Why It Released Less Crime Data Doesn’t Add Up
By Clare Malone and Jeff Asher

Filed under The Trump Administration


Judge Andrew Napolitano: The incredible new chapter in the Hillary Clinton chronicles

The Department of Justice will soon commence an investigation to determine whether there should be an investigation (you read that nonsense correctly) of a scandal involving the Clinton Foundation and a company called Uranium One. It appears that FBI decisions made during the time that Hillary Clinton was being investigated for espionage will also be investigated to see whether there should be an investigation to determine whether she was properly investigated. (Again, you read that nonsense correctly.)

Only the government can relate nonsense with a straight face. Here is the back story.

When President Donald Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey last spring, the attorney general’s stated purpose for recommending the firing was Comey’s dropping the ball in the investigation of Clinton's email when she was secretary of state. After a year of investigating her use of her own computer servers to transmit and store classified materials instead of using a government server to do so -- and notwithstanding a mountain of evidence of her grossly negligent exposure of secret and top-secret materials, which constitutes the crime of espionage -- the FBI director decided that because no reasonable prosecutor would take the case, it should be dropped. Weeks later, the DOJ ratified Comey’s decision.

At the same time that Clinton was failing to safeguard state secrets, she was granting official State Department favors to donors to her family’s charitable foundation. There are dozens of examples of this so-called “pay to play,” the most egregious of which is the Uranium One case. This involved a Canadian businessman and friend of former President Bill Clinton's, Frank Giustra, who bundled donations from various sources that totaled $148 million, all of which Giustra gave to the Clinton Foundation.


Congress will not hold FBI accountable for allowing Army to stop reporting crime data
Army acknowledges failures to report crime data to FBI
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army’s top general says his service failed in a “significant” number of cases to report soldiers’ criminal history to the FBI.
Gen. Mark Milley told reporters that the Army is still reviewing the extent of the problem. Last week the Air Force acknowledged that it had not submitted to the FBI — as was required — the 2012 assault conviction of the former airman who killed 26 people in a Texas church on Nov. 5.


Senior Democrat wants information from FBI on security clearance ...
Los Angeles Times-
Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wants the FBI to turn over information to Congress on any security clearance application filed by Michael Flynn Jr., the son of President ...


A former Maui police officer was escorted to Oahu on Thursday to face charges of civil rights violations and tampering with a witness.

The charges against Anthony Maldonado come after a years-long investigation, and stem from a September 2015 traffic stop.

During the stop, state court documents say, he stole $1,800 from the driver.

The next day, the driver apparently notified Maui police, triggering an investigation.


Lakewood Police Chief's death-notification app idea attracts FBI's attention

Updated 8:19 AM; Posted 8:15 AM


It Is Time to Impeach the President
Five articles of impeachment have been proposed by members of Congress who say there are sufficient grounds to act.
By John Nichols


Men who allege they were framed by crooked Chicago cop get mass exoneration
Judge exonerates 15 men arrested by corrupt Chicago cop

Published: 3:30 PM EST November 16, 2017

CHICAGO — A judge on Thursday threw out convictions against 15 men who allege they were framed by a corrupt former Chicago Police sergeant and his underlings who demanded protection payoffs from residents and drug dealers in a city housing project.

Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. agreed to dismiss the charges after Cook County prosecutors confirmed at a brief hearing that they no longer had faith in the credibility of convictions brought against the men who were arrested on various drug charges from 2003 to 2008 by the rogue cop Ronald Watts and officers under his charge.

“In good conscience we could not see these convictions stand,” said Mark Rotert, who heads the Cook County State's Attorney's conviction integrity unit.

The mass exoneration is the latest mark on the Chicago Police Department, which has come under fire in the city’s black and Latino communities for unnecessarily using deadly force, police brutality and mistreatment of minorities.

The U.S. Justice Department issued a scathing report in the final days of the Obama administration about the Chicago Police Department finding that the city’s police force is beset by widespread racial bias, poor training and feckless oversight of officers accused of misconduct.

Following the dismissal of charges against the 15 men on Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a joint statement that they had “zero tolerance for abuse, misconduct or any unlawful actions” by law enforcement. More convictions could potentially be overturned as the integrity unit says it will review any credible complaints brought by people convicted of crimes that were investigated by Watts.

“The actions of Ronald Watts must be condemned by all of us, and we will continue our work to ensure the abuses of the past are never repeated in the future,” Emanuel and Johnson said in the statement.

The dismissals come two months after lawyers for the 15 men filed a petition on their behalf asking that their drug convictions be overturned because they had been framed by Watts.

Watts and another officer, Kallat Mohammed, pleaded guilty on federal charges in 2013 for stealing money from a drug courier who'd been working as an FBI informant. Watts received a 22-month sentence and Mohammed was sentenced to 18-months in federal prison for the shakedowns.

But the petitioners said Watts and his officers had terrorized residents of the Ida B. Wells public housing complex, a massive complex on the city’s South Side that is now shuttered, for years before they were caught by federal agents.

The petitioners also allege that several other officers, beyond Mohammed, took part in the scheme to plant drugs on innocent residents and drug dealers who refused to pay protection money.

Rotert said after reviewing the cases prosecutors concluded that the police officers were “not being truthful” and lost confidence in the arresting officers’ reports and testimony.

Rotert declined to speak about specific evidence that led State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to move to ask the courts to drop the charges. But he noted that his unit saw a troubling trend of defendants complaining early during their prosecution that drugs had been planted on them by Watts and his officers.

The 15 men, who had 18 convictions connected to Watts and his officers, join five others whose drug-related convictions connected to the officers that were previously overthrown. All the men were African-American and received sentences ranging from probation to nine years in prison.

Joshua Tepfer, the lead attorney representing the 15 men in the case, said police ignored complaints by residents about Watts and his officers.

One petitioner who had has conviction overturned, Leonard Gipson, 36, alleged that it was common knowledge in Ida B. Wells housing complex that Watts demanded payments from drug dealers and would plant drugs on men in the project — some who say they were not dealers — if they refused to pay him bribes.

He filed a complaint with the police department after he was arrested in 2003 and says Watts planted drugs on him. Four months later with charges still pending in the first arrest, he said Watts arrested him and planted drugs on him once again.

“Everybody knew if you’re not going to pay Watts, you were going to jail,” Gipson said.

In fact, Watts had been on the FBI’s radar for several years before he was finally arrested along with a junior officer Kallat Mohammed in 2012 after they were caught shaking down an FBI informant.

A September 2004 FBI report included portions of an interview by federal agents with an individual who alleged “Watts gets IBW (Ida B. Wells) drug dealers to pay him ‘to work’ (sell drugs) in the housing project. If the payments are made to Watts, he will in turn allow the drug dealers to continue to sell drugs.” The interview surfaced as a result of 2014 federal lawsuit filed by a man who alleged he had been framed by Watts, according to court filings.

Tepfer says Watts and his crew made about 500 arrests from 2003 to 2008 that led to convictions. He said that he and his team are currently vetting as many as two dozen additional convictions of people who said they had drugs planted on them by Watts or his officers for refusing to pay them off.

“These convictions stick with you,” Tepfer said. “The time that you served you can’t get back. It affects your ability to get jobs, housing, to get public aid…
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NY City Council passes police reform bills that will change how NYPD cops conduct searches

Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 8:07 PM

A pair of fiercely fought police reform bills that will slap new restrictions on how cops do stops and searches passed the City Council on Tuesday.

After bottling it up for more than three years, pols approved the Right to Know Act in a close vote at their last meeting before a new Council takes over in January.

A last-minute deal to change the legislation got the support of the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio — but it alienated advocates, who urged Council members to vote down one bill.

One measure requires cops to tell people they have a right to refuse to be searched when there’s no legal basis to force a search, and to get proof of their consent. The other forces officers to identify themselves with a business card when they do many kinds of stops, and to state the reason.

The Right to Know Act will improve police-community relations
“I grew up in the projects. I grew up in the Bronx. I’m not from an ivory tower. And I’m convinced ... from my own lived experience that this bill will have a real impact in improving the day-to-day interactions between police and civilians,” said Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), the sponsor of the identification bill, who gave an impassioned defense of his deal after being hit with a torrent of criticism.

“I believe what I’m doing is right. And I will defend what I’m doing, even if it means I stand alone,” he said.

The identification bill passed 27-20, with three abstentions. The consent-to-search mandate passed 37-13.

In the deal with the NYPD, low-level stops were excluded from Torres’ bill, which will now apply only to stops based on the suspicion of criminal activity, as well as searches. Traffic stops were excluded

City Council committee passes controversial police reform bills
“That means if an officer stops me, asks me for my ID, asks me why I’m here, asks me a bunch of questions, that officer does not have to give me a card. That doesn’t make sense,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), who voted against the revised bill.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito had blocked votes on the two bills — previously making a deal with the NYPD to instead make internal policy changes — but moved them forward after last week’s compromise.

The votes came amid a marathon session, the last in Mark-Viverito’s term as speaker, where the body voted on 38 bills.

Both the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and police reform advocates ended up lobbying pols to vote against the identification bill. The union slammed the whole package as an unneeded burden on cops.

One measure requires cops to tell people they have a right to refuse to be searched when there’s no legal basis to force a search, and to get proof of their consent. The other forces officers to identify themselves with a business card when they do many kinds of stops, and to state the reason.
One measure requires cops to tell people they have a right to refuse to be searched when there’s no legal basis to force a search, and to get proof of their consent. The other forces officers to identify themselves with a business card when they do many kinds of stops, and to state the reason. (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“Today the City Council chose politics over public safety by passing two pieces of harmful legislation. As we’ve said from the beginning, the 'Right to Know’ bills will discourage police officers from proactively addressing the threat of crime and terrorism — a threat that is no doubt growing based on recent events,” said PBA president Pat Lynch.

He charged the Council has “continuously piled on new burdens and second-guessing for our police officers, presenting a dangerous distraction that will place New Yorkers in harm’s way.”

A police reform coalition that had pushed the Right to Know Act backed only the consent to search measure, rejecting the ID requirement it said was too watered down.

“We have the right to know who the officers are that are stopping us,” said L. Joy Williams, head of the Brooklyn chapter of the NAACP. “We’re not accepting a piece of the pie. I want the whole damn thing.”

But Torres, who is running for Council speaker, rejected the criticisms, saying advocates had “no business asserting veto power” and denying he was motivated by politics.

“There is no political calculation under which I’m making a remotely rational decision. The bill I’m advancing has no organized support. It faces hysterical opposition,” he said.

He said he opted not “to go to political war with the NYPD and risk a revolt,” like the one that happened among rank and file cops in 2014


What is Police Misconduct?
Police misconduct encompasses illegal or unethical actions or the violation of individuals’ constitutional rights by police officers in the conduct of their duties. Examples of police misconduct include police brutality, dishonesty, fraud, coercion, torture to force confessions, abuse of authority, and sexual assault, including the demand for sexual favors in exchange for leniency. Any of these actions can increase the likelihood of a wrongful conviction.
Police misconduct statistics gathered by the Cato Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project confirm that around 1% of all police officers commit misconduct in a given year and that the consequences of such misconduct are grim. Keith Findley from the Wisconsin Innocence Project conducted a study and found that police misconduct was a factor in as many as 50% of wrongful convictions involving DNA evidence.
At times, police misconduct is systematic. In one such case, Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was arrested on federal obstruction of justice and perjury charges for allegedly lying about whether he and other officers under his command participated in torture and physical abuse of suspects in police custody dating back to the 1980s. On more than one occasion, Burge participated in the torture and physical abuse of persons in police custody in order to obtain confessions and Burge was aware that detectives he supervised engaged in torture and physical abuse of people in police custody. On one specific occasion, in order to coerce a confession, the police officers placed a plastic bag over the suspect’s head until he lost consciousness. He was fired from the police department in 1993 and was later convicted in federal court for perjury connected to a civil lawsuit flied against the city.
Four of Burge’s victims of torture, who were on death row because of their coerced confessions, were granted innocence pardons by the governor after Burge’s police misconduct was brought to light. In all, there were 14 documented cases where death sentences were based on confessions involving allegations of torture.
In most misconduct cases, the misconduct is more subtle than torture. Often times police simply push the envelope in order to obtain a witness statement. In the case of Timothy Atkins, Atkins was convicted after a witness, Denise Powell, testified that Atkins had confessed to the crime. After Atkins was incarcerated for more than two decades, the California Innocence Project presented evidence that Powell was pressured by police to testify. When reversing Atkins’ conviction, the judge held that the officers who interviewed Powell threatened her with jail if she did not provide information about the case.
Like prosecutors, police officers are tasked with making our society safe. Sometimes their zeal leads them to cross the line and use the power of their badges to make a case that otherwise would not be triable. Especially when a brutal and senseless crime occurs, the zeal to see justice done can actually lead to great injustice. Other officers are often reluctant to report misconduct because of the loyalty they feel for their fellow officers. The proliferation of cell phone cameras have allowed citizens to record and report police misconduct. Although, in the past, most misconduct stories were assumed to be false, now, a quick search on Youtube.com results in hundreds of videos exposing incidents of police misconduct. One example of a compilation of news and amateur video about the problems inherent in this system is BrasscheckTV’s Youtube page.
Even now, however, actually making a report of police misconduct can be a challenge for the average citizen, largely because when reporting police misconduct a person has to make the report to the agency being complained about. In many cities, a citizen’s review board will review complaints against police officers. Reforms and close monitoring are required to ensure that police misconduct is discovered quickly and that innocent persons are not falsely accused.
police misconduct


The Richmond Police Department is accepting applications for Class #25 of the Richmond Citizen's Police Academy (RCPA).
The purpose of the Citizen's Police Academy is to provide residents with a better understanding of the operations of the Richmond Police Department.
The classes will begin on Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Richmond Police Department, 600 Preston St. in Richmond. Class hours are from 6:30 until 9:30 p.m. Classes will be held every Thursday for 10 sessions. The only cost for this opportunity is a resident's time and dedication.
During the academy, citizens will be exposed to many areas of law enforcement including but not limited to:
Meeting the staff and officers of the Richmond Police Department.
Touring the Richmond Police Department and Fort Bend County Jail.
Riding along with Richmond Police Officers during their shifts, if citizens choose.
Participating in the "TASER training." (Full participation optional)
Participating in the "Shoot, Don't Shoot" Firearms Training Scenarios
Join the more than 600 involved citizens who have graduated from the Richmond Citizen's Police Academy by completing an online application at the Richmond Police Department website. Visit http://www.richmondtx.gov/departments/police-department/citizens-police-academy. Completed applications may be mailed, emailed or faxed to the Richmond Police Department, Attn: Lt. Lowell D. Neinast, 600 Preston St., Richmond, Texas 77469; Fax 281- 232-0004; call 281-342-2849 or email LNeinast@richmondtx.gov for more information.




Judge rules San Diego deadly shooting was justified


A federal judge has ruled that a San Diego police officer acted reasonably when he killed an unarmed man he thought was holding a knife.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a judge ruled Monday in a civil rights lawsuit brought by the family of 42-year-old Fridoon Nehad.

Police were called in 2015 after reports that Nehad was threatening people with a knife. Officer Neal Browder said he found the man in an alley and shot him as Nehad walked toward him with something in his hand. It turned out to be a pen.


Lawsuit filed over man’s death in struggle with Phoenix cops


A lawsuit alleging excessive force has been filed against the city of Phoenix in the death of a homeless man during a struggle with police officers nearly a year ago outside a community center.

Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin, 43, died shortly after officers took him into custody for having an outstanding criminal warrant. Police were called to the Maryvale Community Center after a dispute arose there over whether Muhaymin, who suffered from mental disabilities, could bring his service dog into a public bathroom with him.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by Muhaymin’s sister, seeks $10 million from the city. It alleges excessive force and wrongful death, saying officers caused the death by using unjustified force in restraining Muhaymin, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and acute claustrophobia.

The Phoenix Police Department on Tuesday declined to comment on the lawsuit. The agency also declined to specify the charge that Muhaymin faced in the outstanding warrant or say whether any officers were disciplined as a result of the encounter.


Texas officer found guilty in shooting death of teenager


A jury in Dallas has found a former police officer guilty of murder in the shooting death of a 16-year-old teenager who had burglarized the cop 's SUV.

Former Farmers Branch officer Ken Johnson was found guilty Tuesday of murder and also of aggravated assault.

His sentencing was postponed until next month.

Prosecutors previously told jurors that Johnson was off-duty in March 2016 when he chased Jose Cruz and another teen.

Surveillance video shows that Johnson chased the teens with his SUV, rammed their car and then repeatedly fired into their stopped vehicle.

Cruz died in the shooting in the Dallas suburb of Addison and the other teen was seriously injured.


Settlement allows Rockford officer to retire in good standing

A settlement agreement has been reached that will allow a Rockford police officer who was involved in the 2009 police shooting death of an unarmed black man to retire in good standing.


Congress secretly settled sexual harassment, discrimination claims with over $342G in taxpayer funds
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 5:30 PM



A lawyer for two men whose federal convictions were recently overturned is raising fresh questions about an April 2010 incident that led to their convictions on bogus drug charges and involved a Baltimore detective fatally gunned down last month just as he was set to testify before a grand jury investigating indicted police colleagues.

Attorney Steven Silverman represents a pair whose federal convictions were vacated Monday by a U.S. judge after they spent years in prison based on 2010 police work done by a group of allegedly corrupt officers.

He asserts that Detective Sean Suiter, then an officer, was driving an unmarked vehicle that intentionally rear-ended a car of one of his client’s. Suiter was among a group of officers dressed in black, wearing face masks, and showing no visible badges during the April 2010 incident, Silverman alleged.

A high-speed chase ensued, ending with the fatality of an 87-year-old man when client Umar Burley’s car slammed into another vehicle. A state court convicted him of manslaughter in the death.

Burley said he thought the masked figures were criminals trying to rob him. “I felt like I was in imminent danger and I took off,” he said in a Tuesday phone call.

Link du jour





U.S. lifts ban on funding risky virus research
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 4:24 PM

The National Institutes of Health announced Tuesday that it would allow the federal government to resume funding controversial research that makes viruses more contagious and deadly—despite scientists’ concern that the risks of such experiments outweigh potential advantages.

The federal government will lift a three-year pause, instituted in October, 2014, on funding the research projects.

The so-called “gain-of-function” experiments involve genetically altering viruses including bird flu, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) to make them more transmissible and pathogenic, in order to study the kinds of genetic changes that can make a disease more transmissible from person to person.

But scientists are leery of the testing — suggesting that there might be less risky ways to draw conclusions.

The moratorium was imposed after government employees mishandled anthrax and avian flu, suggesting that labs’ biosafety and security standards were inadequate.


Electric power to the people: Volkswagen plans 2,800 new EV charging stations in 17 U.S. cities
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 12:44 PM


Mother sues San Francisco police for fatally shooting son


A Northern California mother filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday alleging a San Francisco police rookie wrongfully shot and killed her unarmed son as he fled from a stolen van he was driving earlier this month.

The lawsuit alleges that poor police training led to O’Neil’s death. The officer who shot O’Neil graduated from the police academy four days earlier and was a passenger in a patrol car driven by a training officer.

Body-worn cameras captured officer Christopher Samayoa firing through the closed passenger-side window of the police car he was riding in, the bullet shattering glass before it hit O’Neil in the head.

“At the time of the fatal shot, Mr. O’Neil was unarmed and did not present an immediate threat to the officers or anyone else,”

San Francisco police did not immediately return phone and email inquiries Tuesday. The San Francisco Police Officers Association Union also did not return a telephone message seeking comment.

Police have not released the name of the training officer. Samayoa was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting while it was investigated.


A knife-wielding man shot by Minneapolis police during a tense confrontation in an interview room clung to life Tuesday, while union officials said officers followed proper procedures when handling an armed suspect believed to be a danger to himself or others.

Officers fired several shots at the teen on Monday afternoon after the 18-year-old, identified as Marcus Terrell Fischer of Minneapolis, produced a knife and began repeatedly stabbing himself in the chest and neck, ignoring repeated commands to throw the weapon down, according to multiple sources.

Fischer was later hospitalized with critical injuries; department sources said it was uncertain whether he would survive.

He had been brought in for questioning about a Dec. 13 robbery in northeast Minneapolis, in which a 21-year-old man was shot during a gun deal gone awry, police records showed.

Fischer was arrested about 2:25 Monday afternoon by members of the department's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team and turned over to the detective handling the shooting case. Fischer also has an open weapons possession case.

He was brought to police headquarters downtown and taken into an interview room in Room 108, which houses specialized units like Homicide and Robbery.

Suspects are seldom handcuffed during interviews, sources say, and that it isn't unusual for detectives to leave the room periodically.

At some point, investigators left the room, leaving Fischer unattended. When they returned, he was holding a knife and had stabbed himself at least 11 times in the neck and the chest and was trying to slash his own throat. By then, more officers came running over to the room, drawn by the commotion, according to a source familiar with the case.


Newburyport woman receives jail time for placing branch across driveway of FBI neighbor
By Dave Rogers Staff Writer Dec 19, 2017 Updated


Mayor: East Haven PD has rebuilt public trust and restored accountability after exhibiting racist behaviour
By Clare Dignan Published 10:07 pm, Monday, December 18, 2017

The consent decree between the town and DOJ came after a two-year investigation that concluded in 2011 found the EHPD engaged in patterns of biased policing against Latinos, intentionally targeting them. It was sparked by incidents in 2009 that brought to light that East Haven officers were targeting Latinos. The DOJ found that the EHPD engaged in “systematically discriminating against Latinos,” according to the investigation’s report.



Anyone who has worked at a television network has loads of stories about pieces that were spiked or totally suppressed because the corporation went into damage-control mode. One recent example: 60 Minutes.

On December 3, during a congenial retrospective presentation — “Fifty Years of 60 Minutes” — the iconic news program re-lived some of the show’s biggest moments: trophy interviews, scoops and revelations, and, commendably, a few jumbo mistakes.

But in the course of serving up confessions, such as Mike Wallace’s spiked interview with a tobacco company whistleblower, to which they devoted only a few seconds, they also mentioned how they were led astray on a key incident in the career of George W. Bush. And they blamed it on the sloppy reporting of Dan Rather and his producers.

By doing so, the network perpetuated a serious fiction about the 2004 election, in a way that only underlined its cowardice in dealing with an embarrassing scandal.

The real problem with Rather was not — as CBS would have us believe — that he failed to properly vet a fake document during an investigation into whether George W. Bush pulled strings to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

In fact, the documentation for Bush’s self-serving actions is clear and compelling.

The core issue is what CBS left unsaid. Rather’s producers were poking into an authentic story that powerful political forces had long been trying to suppress: how the then-President of the United States, who had taken the country into war in Iraq under false pretenses, resulting in untold unnecessary deaths, himself had gone AWOL from military service years earlier — and covered it up.

That’s a big deal. And a news organization worth its salt doesn’t run from the truth.

Another mainstream outlet, the Los Angeles Times, mocked Rather by putting the word “Truth” in quotation marks in the title of a story published in 2015 — “Dan Rather is sticking to the ‘Truth’ of his story about George W. Bush.” But at least that newspaper gave him a chance to defend himself. In his response, Rather made clear that he regrets the use of documentation that was not properly vetted. But he went on to strongly refute any inference that this invalidates the thrust of the original report:

“It’s not a matter of opinion whether the central facts of the story were true or not; it’s true,” he says of the 2004 report. “One: That through the influence of his politically powerful father, George W. Bush got into a so-called champagne unit of the Air National Guard as a way of assuring he wouldn’t have to go to Vietnam. And two: After he got in… he disappeared for more than a year.”

We agree. To find out why, and for all the sordid details, have a look at this story, previously published by WhoWhatWhy.

(Original publishing date October 15, 2015)

George W. Bush sent thousands of Americans to their deaths in wars that could have been avoided — while he himself dodged the draft as a young man. Dan Rather’s reporting on how Bush allegedly got away with it led to the famed television news anchorman’s spectacular downfall.

A new film, Truth, starring Robert Redford as Rather, and Cate Blanchett as his producer Mary Mapes, claims to show what really happened. The film is about to open, and we haven’t seen it yet. But we thought you’d be interested in WhoWhatWhy editor Russ Baker’s own discoveries on the tricks behind the scenes to rewrite history — including indications that a trap was laid for Rather and Mapes, with the goal of scaring all media off the investigative trail. Here, from his best-seller Family of Secrets, are related excerpts. (This is the first of a two-part series.)


The Skeleton in W.’s Closet
Even before George W. Bush attained his first public office, his handlers were aware of a skeleton rattling noisily in his closet. It was one that undercut the legend of principle and duty — the story of a man’s man and patriot. It would have to be disposed of.

At a televised debate in 1994 between incumbent Texas governor Ann Richards and challenger George W., Austin television reporter Jim Moore asked Bush to explain how he had gotten so quickly and easily into National Guard pilot training as an alternative to serving in Vietnam.

Candidate Bush simply asserted that favoritism had played no role and that he had honorably served. End of discussion. There were no follow-up questions.

But the moment the debate was over, Bush’s communications director, Karen Hughes, came at the journalist. “Karen just makes a beeline for me and gets in my face and tries to separate me from the crowd,” Moore said. “Then she starts a rant.

‘What kind of question is that? Why did you ask that question? Who do you think you are? That’s just not relevant to being governor of Texas. He’s not trying to run the federal government. He’s going to run the state of Texas. What does his service in the National Guard have to do with anything? He doesn’t have an army to run here in Texas. Why would you ask such a question, Jim?’”

Karen Hughes Photo credit: Bill Rice / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Karen Hughes Photo credit: Bill Rice / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In response to Hughes, Moore said, “It’s about character, Karen. It’s about his generation and mine coming of age, and how we dealt with what we all viewed as a bad war.”

As the reporter was turning to go file his story, Bush’s chief strategist, Karl Rove, came at him next. “‘What was that question, Moore?’ And I said, ‘Well, you know what it was, Karl.’ I said it’s a fair question. And he said, ‘It wasn’t fair. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything.’”

Bush’s handlers thought they could get reporters off a story by intimidating them. Often they turned out to be right. It sometimes seems that the entire story of George W. Bush’s life has been rewritten by hired hands.

Allbaugh told James that Karen Hughes and Bartlett would be coming out to Camp Mabry, which was on the outskirts of Austin, to comb through the records in preparation for a book on Bush, and he instructed the general to have the records prescreened. According to Burkett, Allbaugh said, “Just get rid of the embarrassments.”
Just one of hundreds of such examples: During his unsuccessful Midland congressional bid in 1978, W.’s campaign literature described his wartime service as “Air Force” — a claim also made for him in Poppy’s autobiography. Presumably both men knew the difference between the National Guard and the Air Force. Nevertheless, that claim remained in W.’s official biography until the 2000 presidential campaign, at which point the correction was quietly made.

After Bush’s election as governor in 1994, his political team worked to inoculate their man against further inquiries into his Guard service. Dan Bartlett, an eager staff aide then in his twenties, and with no military service of his own, was named as liaison between the governor and the National Guard. And Bush replaced Texas’s adjutant general Sam Turk, the administrative head of the Guard, who had been appointed by Governor Richards, with General Daniel James.

Lt. Gen. Daniel James III, Director, Air National Guard Photo credit: Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi / US Air Force

Cleaning up the Texas Guard records became a lot easier once W. was the titular commander in chief of the state’s National Guard units. The effort got under way just months after Bush’s inauguration. On May 16, 1995, Joe Allbaugh, by then Bush’s chief of staff, met with Guard officials and asked to see Bush’s personnel records. Three days later, they were sent over to the governor’s office from the office of the outgoing adjutant general. “I am enclosing copies of the Texas Air National Guard personnel records for Mr. Daniel O. Shelley and Governor George W. Bush,” wrote Turk.

It is not clear why Shelley’s records were also requested, except that he was about to be named Bush’s legislative director. In any case, asking for two records rather than one likely was a form of cover — comparable to what happened in 1972 when George W. Bush failed to take his mandatory National Guard physical and was joined in this violation by his friend Jim Bath. In each instance, the special treatment accorded W. was made to seem more “routine” by the fact that at least one other person was included.

That the people around the governor were concerned was evident when Dan Bartlett traveled to Denver to personally review the microfiche copy of Bush’s records on file at the Air Reserve Personnel Center.

Enter Bill Burkett
In 1996, the new adjutant general, Daniel James, hired Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett, a former Guardsman and tough cattle rancher who doubled as a private management consultant, to lead a task force assessing the state of the organization. Burkett returned several months later with a devastating report, documenting how outmoded, inefficient, unprepared, and even corrupt the service was.

What Burkett and his team discovered went way beyond unjustified promotions of politically connected officers. They also uncovered that the Texas Guard rolls were full of “ghost soldiers,” military personnel kept on the books after they had left the unit to justify the continued flow of money allocated for their pay. Equally important, the ghost numbers made units appear to be at authorized troop levels when reviewed by state and federal authorities.

Burkett and his team believed their findings were so important and so sensitive that they had to take them straight to the top. Not knowing who was responsible for the fraud, “we decided we had to go to the boss,” Burkett recalled. But James, the man governor Bush had handpicked to run the Guard, seemed far more upset about the breach of military procedure in reporting the news of corruption and malfeasance than in the news itself. According to Burkett, James responded: “Now guys, I want to know what I’m supposed to tell the chief of staff, Colonel Goodwin, when he wants to have your heads ’cause you violated the chain of command and came in here over his head.”

When Burkett asked for — and received — a promise of funding from the Clinton-Gore administration to begin repairing holes in the Guard, Governor Bush angrily declined the help. According to Burkett, Bush’s chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh, informed General James that henceforth his primary function was to ensure that Bill Burkett be kept as far as possible from the media.

“Just get rid of the embarrassments.”
Meanwhile, according to Burkett, there was discussion of Bush’s impending presidential bid and how it would become a priority for state officials. One day in 1997, Burkett said, he was in the vicinity of General James’s office when a call came in. James took it on the speakerphone. It was Joe Allbaugh, with Bush’s Guard liaison Dan Bartlett on the line. According to Burkett, Allbaugh told James that Karen Hughes and Bartlett would be coming out to Camp Mabry, which was on the outskirts of Austin, to comb through the records in preparation for a book on Bush, and he instructed the general to have the records prescreened. According to Burkett, Allbaugh said, “Just get rid of the embarrassments.”

About ten days after Allbaugh’s call, Burkett claims, he came upon Guard officials going through Bush’s records and observed a trash can nearby that included between twenty and forty pages of Bush’s military documents. Burkett had a few moments to see what they contained.

Another Guard officer and friend of Burkett’s, George Conn, would later corroborate much of this story, but then withdraw confirmation while steadfastly maintaining that Burkett was an honorable and truthful man. Clearly, Conn was in a difficult position, working for the military on a civilian contract, while his wife served as head of the secretarial pool for a large law firm that was a leading bundler of campaign contributions to the Bush campaigns.

“I was there. I know what I saw in the trash. I know what actions I saw taking place,” Burkett told me during one of several lengthy conversations. One of the documents that has been missing from the released files, Burkett claims, is a “counseling statement” from a senior officer to Bush, explaining why he was grounded and the changes to his assignment, slot, and pay rate. Burkett told me he glimpsed Bush’s counseling statement at the top of the discard stack, but did not have time to read it through.

“In a perfect world, I guess I should have just stepped up and grabbed the files and made a federal case of it all right there,” he said. “Looking back, I probably would have. It would have been simpler to have confronted the whole mess right then and there.”

Burkett, whose claims would surface publicly on a Web site for a Texas veterans’s group in 2000 and were subsequently detailed in Jim Moore’s 2004 book, Bush’s War for Reelection, first made his allegations within Guard circles in 1997. The next year he laid them out in letters to state legislators and in eight missives to Bush himself, addressing broad problems with the Guard, as well as in sworn public testimony.

“Dan Bartlett knew about it,” Burkett said.

“I called Dan in May or June 1998. I told him it’s gotten to the point where you need a new [National Guard] adjutant general.”

Getting Even
Burkett was pulled away to other projects, and then in 1998 abruptly and unexpectedly dispatched on federal orders to Panama. On his trip home, he fell seriously ill. It was when he had trouble receiving proper medical care under his benefits package that he tried to use his knowledge of the destruction of Bush’s military record as leverage.

Even efforts by Texas congressman Charles Stenholm and the surgeon general to arrange hospital care for Burkett were rebuffed by Guard headquarters. Two close friends of Burkett’s within the Guard who tried to get him help for emergency medical bills — George Conn and Harvey Gough — would themselves be fired from the Guard.

To this day, it remains unclear whether the treatment of Burkett was retribution for embarrassing the Guard with claims of corruption and of the destruction of documents concerning George W. Bush’s service.

The undeniable fact is that essential paperwork one would expect to find in W.’s file somehow was missing. This included records of how the military handled Bush’s transfer to Alabama, documentation of additional service after May 1972 or an explanation of why no such evidence existed, and a report from the panel that typically convened when a pilot stopped flying prematurely. However it happened, it certainly would appear that someone purged parts of the governor’s National Guard file.

“Accident” at National Records Center
Circa 1997, the same year as the trash-can incident, microfilm containing military pay records for hundreds of Guardsmen, including Bush, was irreversibly damaged at a national records center. When the government finally acknowledged the incident seven years later, it was described as an accident during a routine “restoration” effort.

Until May 23, 2000, the efforts of Bush’s team to keep their man’s military record from public view seemed to be succeeding. Then, with Bush closing in on the GOP presidential nomination, The Boston Globe ran a story headlined, 1-YEAR GAP IN BUSH’S GUARD DUTY: NO RECORD OF AIRMAN AT DRILLS IN 1972 — Reporter Walter Robinson had obtained and reviewed 160 pages of military documents. It was Robinson who first interviewed Bush’s former commanders, only to discover that none could recall Bush performing service during that period.

The Globe’s revelations gave rise to a veritable cottage industry of bloggers, with citizen journalists launching their own inquiries, complete with their own Freedom of Information requests. Together they provided sophisticated, rigorous analysis of the fine points of military procedure and record keeping.

Evidence of Service: a Torn Scrap of Paper?
The Bush camp swung into damage-control mode. Bartlett called in the retired Guard personnel director, General Albert Lloyd, and asked him to review W.’s record to look for any proof of his service. Armed with a request letter from Bush for access to his files, and, as he confirmed to me, left alone in the records room at Camp Mabry, Lloyd found a torn piece of paper with Bush’s social security number and a series of numbers. Though no one explained why the paper had come to be torn, or established the authenticity or validity of the document, it would be turned over to news organizations and the visible partial-date information extrapolated upon as evidence of service.

Texas Air National Guard 1st Lt. George W. Bush with the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Ellington Air Force Base, TX. Photo credit: US Air Force / Wikimedia (Public Domain)

Bush carried into the White House with him an official biography that by now reflected an already thoroughly discredited scenario:

“George W. Bush was commissioned as second lieutenant and spent two years on active duty, flying F-102 fighter interceptors. For almost four years after that, he was on a part- time status, flying occasional missions to help the Air National Guard keep two of its F-102s on round-the-clock service.”

Yet, in actuality, after he went on part-time status, Bush did not fly for four more years, but rather just one year and nine months.

Since that time, the White House has, without acknowledging or explaining the changes, repeatedly revised the script. Ultimately, the latter period of Bush’s Guard service would be presented this way: after April 1972 the high-flying and highly visible pilot suddenly becomes a ground-hugging reservist reading manuals in back offices both in Alabama and in Texas, unobserved by his former flight mates, and therefore unremembered.

The personable Bush, once nicknamed “the Lip” and “the Bombastic Bushkin,” had disappeared into a cubbyhole. In spite of this, when he became governor, his F-102 was symbolically refurbished like new, and a ceremony honoring his service was held, featuring Bush-supplied promotional materials containing the misleading biographical information.

Meanwhile, the original justification for Bush’s staff to review his Guard records — that they were seeking information to include in his “autobiography” — proved suspect. When the book, A Charge to Keep, finally appeared, all mentions of his Guard duty were couched in the vaguest possible language.

“It was exciting the first time I flew and it was exciting the last time … I continued flying with my unit for the next several years … My fellow pilots were interesting people … We were different, but we worked well together …”

From the moment journalists started to look into Bush’s military records, it was clear that some essential documents were missing. But after initial Freedom of Information requests had elicited the “complete record,” other documents — such as laudatory press releases — were mysteriously supplied in response to later rounds of FOIA requests. There was no adequate explanation of where these new documents came from.

Bush Accused: The Lottery Gambit


The National Security Threat that Inflicted 400 Billion in Damages This Year
Back in the 1990s, the U.S. Navy asked Congress to address the issue of rising sea levels at the Norfolk Naval Base. The Navy wanted to raise the piers, which were becoming vulnerable to flooding due to rising waters. For various reasons, including climate change denial, Congress has delayed funding for elevating the base’s 12 piers beyond the present and near term projected reach of ongoing sea level rise. Only four so far have been lifted.

According to former Norfolk Naval Base Commander Joe Bouchard, “Washington went bonkers” when it failed to recognize and address an obvious problem — sea level rise.

Up and down the U.S. coastline, the story is much the same. But it’s not just a case of Navy Base piers. It’s a case that every coastal city in the U.S. now faces rising seas threatening homes, real estate, infrastructure. And at the same time that seas are rising, the strongest storms are growing stronger and fire seasons that once ran through a few months of the year in places like California are now a year-round affair.

(A ribbon-thin rise of land separates the Norfolk Naval Base from flooding due to climate change driven sea level rise. Flooded bases not a national security threat? See related article by Vox. Image source: Wikipedia.)

This is the very definition of climate change as a threat to the security, not just to the world’s largest naval base, but to most if not all of the United States.

So how bonkers is Donald Trump and the climate change denying GOP now? How nuts is it that Trump yesterday made the anti-factual determination, in bald defiance of a plethora of U.S. military leaders, that “climate change is not a national security threat?”

Increasingly Destructive Hurricanes are Putting a Growing Number of People and Structures at Risk

This year, the U.S. has experienced not one, not two, not three, not four, but at least five major weather disasters that were made much worse by human-caused climate change. Three of them — hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey all roared out of a warming ocean. They all formed in a hotter atmosphere loaded up with a higher level of moisture. These factors gave them more fuel to feed on. They unarguably increased their peak potential intensity. Scientific studies have found that Harvey alone was three times more likely to form due to human-caused climate change. That its rainfall was considerably enhanced in a warmer atmosphere.

The storms ran in to land on a higher ramp. Seas, like those at the Naval Base and in so many other places, have risen by a foot or more from the Gulf Coast to New England and on into the Caribbean because the Earth has, indeed, warmed. And this made storm surge impacts worse.

You could go on and on with the list of climate change related factors that compounded this year’s disasters. About the climate zones moving north. About hot blobs in the ocean and bigger blocks in the atmosphere. About enhanced convection and ice cliff instability. About ridiculously resilient ridges and persistent troughs. But it’s just a simple fact that the storms were worse than they would have been. That climate change made them more likely (in some cases far more likely) to occur in the first place. In total, and in large part due to the nefarious influence of fossil fuel burning on the world’s weather, these three storms alone have inflicted 368 billion dollars in damages.

That’s billion with a capital B. A level of harm often attributed to warfare but one that can instead be put at the feet of weather indiscriminately weaponized by fossil fuel burning. For the Atlantic Hurricane season this year, at a time when global temperatures are 1.1 to 1.2 C hotter than 1880s averages, was the most destructive ever recorded. These climate change enhanced storms left whole island nations and entire regions in ruins. In many cases it will take months, years, or even a decade or more to fully recover.

Wildfires are Increasing and Wildfire Season is Getting Longer in the Western U.S.

But in the grim tally of climate change related damages during 2017, we don’t stop at just hurricanes. For California, during 2017 experienced its worst fire season on record. One in which 11,306 structures have so far been damaged or destroyed. We say so far because what is likely to become the largest fire in California history — the Thomas Fire — is still burning.

11,306 structures would be enough to make a decent sized city. All gone due to a fire season that is now year round. Due to western heating, drying and temperature extremes that are increasingly forced to well outside the normal range. Total damages this year for California are presently estimated at more than 13 billion dollars. That’s nothing to shake a stick at. But this damage total is likely to continue to climb as the tally of losses is counted.

(Abnormally above average temperatures and below average precipitation contributed to fire danger in California during December. This odd heat and drought was driven, in no small part, by climate change. Image source: NOAA.)

As with hurricanes, the presently more intense fires are linked in numerous ways to a warming climate. Warmer temperatures increase the rate of evaporation and the intensity of precipitation in the most extreme events. Such variance increases the rate at which vegetation grows during wet season and the rate at which it dries during times when the rains depart. This adds more ready fuels for fires. In addition, northward movement of the Arctic sea ice contributes to an overall warmer and drier pattern for the U.S. West. This pattern, helps to produce stronger high pressure systems that, in turn, strengthen the fire-fanning Santa Ana winds.

This year, December, which is typically a wet month for the U.S. West, especially during La Nina (which we are presently experiencing) has been incredibly dry. This dryness helped to fuel the Thomas Fire. But the dryness didn’t happen in a vacuum. It was associated with a major climate change related influx of heat into the Arctic linked to climate change driven polar amplification.

Failure to Recognize Climate Change Leaves U.S. Citizens Vulnerable to Harm

Anyone following the increasingly clear evidence of how Trump campaign officials coordinated with Russia to disrupt the 2016 elections and how ardently Trump is attempting to cover the whole thing up could draw the reasonable conclusion that Trump cares more about his own personal advancement than the safety and security of the American people. Trump’s, and by extension, the GOP’s climate change denial, can be seen through the same morally relativistic lens. Wealthy fossil fuel donors have for a long time now held an unreasonable influence over persons in higher office. The denial of climate change for both the Republican Congress and the Presidency is, in other words, well-funded.

(GOP funding by fossil fuel donors just keeps going up and up in lockstep with GOP climate change denial and anti-environmental policy. Image source: InsideClimate News.)

Such denial may line the pocketbooks of republican politicians and wealthy oil, gas, and ailing coal companies. But it places the American people, their homes, their livelihoods, beneath the blade of a falling ax. So when Trump says climate change is a hoax, forces government websites to shut down, scrubs words related to climate change from government communications, opposes alternative clean energy, and tells the Department of Defense not to treat climate change as a national security threat, he is culpable and a contributor to a very clear, present, and growing danger.
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In the Last Two Years Alone the FBI Missed Warning Signs About Several Mass Shooters, Including the Orlando Nightclub



February 16, 2018








Thirteen Russians Charged with Interfering in Election to Help Trump Win







Florida shooting: Nikolas Cruz, teenager charged with 17 murders, was trained by white supremacist group








Cartoon of JB Pritzker stirs controversy


In the corner an FBI agent appears to be listing in on the call. "That's the equivalent of putting gasoline on a fire, someone's doing that intentionally to stir up race," said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, Chairman of the Black Caucus. Ald. Sawyer said Thursday that he supports J.B. Pritzker. This issue is the first under new editor Mark ...









Feds admit reason for computer wipe in Woods kickback case not credible

By Doug Thompson

Posted: February 16, 2018 at 1:30 a.m.











FBI Admits It Ignored Warning about School Shooter’s Desire to Kill









FBI Reviewing How It Handled Tip Months Ago about Florida School Shooter









Ex-wife's photos raise questions about McGahn's role in Porter scandal

FBI Obtained Photos of Alleged Abuse by Rob Porter More Than a Year Ago









Vermont man finally admits to spraying Border Patrol agent's car with manure
















Immigrant rights activists block Homeland Security van from accessing Metropolitan Detention Center














University Announces New Doctor of Professional Studies in Homeland Security



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Responding to the growing need for a new generation of leaders in the field of homeland security—and the professionals who will educate them—St. John’s University’s College of Professional Studies has launched a Doctor of Professional Studies in Homeland Security program, to begin in the Fall 2018 semester.




















Nichols says bombing was FBI op

Detailed confession filed in S.L. about Oklahoma City plot

Published: February 21, 2007 12:00 am

Updated: Feb. 22, 2007 1:02 p.m.


The only surviving convicted criminal in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is saying his co-conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, told him he was taking orders from a top FBI official in orchestrating the bombing.

A declaration from Terry Lynn Nichols, filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, has proven to be one of the most detailed confessions by Nichols to date about his involvement in the bombing as well as the involvement of others. However, one congressman who has investigated the bombings remains skeptical of Nichols' claims.

The declaration was filed as part of Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue's pending wrongful death suit against the government for the death of his brother in a federal corrections facility in Oklahoma City. Trentadue claims his brother was killed during an interrogation by FBI agents when agents mistook his brother for a suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.

The most shocking allegation in the 19-page signed declaration is Nichols' assertion that the whole bombing plot was an FBI operation and that McVeigh let slip during a bout of anger that he was taking instruction from former FBI official Larry Potts.

Potts was no stranger to anti-government confrontations, having been the lead FBI agent at Ruby Ridge in 1992, which led to the shooting death of Vicki Weaver, the wife of separatist Randy Weaver. Potts also was reportedly involved in the 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993, which resulted in a fire that killed 81 Branch Davidian followers.

Potts retired from the FBI under intense pressure and criticism for the cover-up of an order to allow agents to shoot anyone seen leaving the Weaver cabin at Ruby Ridge.

When contacted, the FBI's main office in Washington, D.C., said it could not provide immediate comment on Nichols' claims Tuesday.
















'Multiple accomplices' ID'd by Terry Nichols - WND.com


Feb 26, 2007 - Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue secured Nichols' signed and sealed declaration as part of his ongoing legal battle to wrangle the truth out of the FBI in regard to the Oklahoma City bombing ... As Nichols recounts his conversation with McVeigh, “Potts had something to do with the change in targets.














FBI Alerted Months Ago about School Shooting Threat by YouTuber Named Nikolas Cruz


The FBI was alerted to an alarming comment on YouTube from a user named Nikolas Cruz, who posted months ago that he planned to become a “professional school shooter,” according to a Mississippi man.

Ben Bennight, a bail bondsman, said he flagged the comment on YouTube last fall and emailed a screenshot to the FBI, who paid him a visit and asked whether he knew the commenter.

“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed News. “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”

Cruz opened fire with an AR-15 Wednesday at a Florida high school, killing at least 17














'I Can't Do It, Wolf.' Veteran FBI Agent Breaks Down on CNN Over Florida School Shooting





FBI director's resignation demanded after agency admits it got tip ...


Had agents been able to confirm Cruz was the same person as the YouTube poster, they would have found dozens of photos of rifles, ammunition, targets filled with bullet holes, which likely would have led to a face-to-face interview. The FBI did not notify police in Florida about the post before the mass shooting.








Deputies were called to home of Florida high school shooter 39 ...

Fox 59

A video blogger said he warned the FBI in September about a possible school shooting threat from a YouTube user with the same name as Cruz. An FBI agent confirmed that a field officer in Jackson, Mississippi, received the tip and interviewed the person who shared it. But no additional information was found to help ...




The Waco Incident – 20 Years Later

April 19, 2013


Since this web site is all about police misconduct, we cannot let the twentieth anniversary of the Waco incident pass without comment.

April 19, 1993 marks the worst police action in modern American history.   Here are the main things to know:

  • 76 people, including 27 children, died that day.  That loss of life is a sufficient explanation as to why this incident is important and worth remembering.
  • The federal police operation did not involve a handful of “rogue” agents.  The incident is disturbing because it supposedly involved the best units of the ATF and the FBI.  And much of the decision-making was done by the top people at headquarters facilities in Washington, DC.
  • Make no mistake, crimes were committed by federal agents at Waco.  And those crimes were covered-up.
  • If the feds can successfully cover-up the worst police action in modern American history–an event that was highly publicized and that eventually brought extensive congressional hearings and the appointment of a special prosecutor– it is frightening to consider what police agencies would be able to get away in instances where there is no media scrutiny or legislative oversight.

For those interested in the details, read this paper that we published in 2001 (I also recommend the documentary film, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1997).  For today, let me just highlight some facts for all the people who do not have the time or inclination to study the details.

  • When the Branch Davidian residence burned to the ground and it became apparent that the FBI tank assault on April 19 backfired–resulting in almost everyone losing their lives, Attorney General Janet Reno told the media that the reason she ordered the assault was because “babies were being beaten” —  so the feds had no choice–they just had to move in.  About a week later, Reno testified before Congress.  Under oath, she admitted she had no evidence that babies were being beaten!  What!?
  • The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team kept saying they were there to save lives and that they were especially concerned about the safety of the children in the residence.   But their tanks drove into the side of buildings even as the agents admitted they did not know the whereabouts of the children.
  • Some of the Branch Davidians survived the inferno of April 19.  They were arrested and charged with “murdering ATF agents.”  In a stinging rebuke to the federal prosectors, the jury acquitted the Davidians of those very serious charges.
  • One of the primary reasons the cover-up was successful was that government officials kept deflecting attention away from their actions to the Branch Davidian leader, David Koresh.  And, later, the feds would deflect attention by pointing out the crimes of the Oklahoma City bombers.   The feds seemed to taunt everyone with the question, “Who are you going to side with? Koresh?  McVeigh and Nicols?”  That was always a false choice.  One can, for example, condemn excessive force against a shoplifter without “siding with” shoplifting.
  • There are, to be sure, some wild conspiracy theories out there about the feds and Waco.  But the existence of a conspiracy theorist(s) does not make all government conduct lawful and ethical, at least in logic.

What’s the takeaway from all this?  First, recognize that this awful incident really did happen.  Crimes were committed and then the government tried to deceive everyone about what actually happened there.  Second, when it comes to government power, especially police power and the use of deadly force, be impartial, ask questions, and follow the evidence.  We must remember that, in a free society, police agents may not use the “color of their office” to commit crimes.





Fanning the Flames of Waco

By David B. Kopel and Paul H. Blackman

September 8, 1999

On April 19, 1993, 26 children were killed at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. Six years and one day later, 12 children were killed at Columbine High School. The Columbine murderers are dead, and the man who illegally supplied them a gun is facing a lengthy prison sentence. But those responsible for the deaths of the children at Waco remain at large.

If, as President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno claim, the federal government bears no responsibility for the deaths of the children at Waco, why has the federal government worked so hard, and with so much success until recently, to falsify the facts about what happened there?

The lies about how the fire started commenced while the building was still in flames. A Justice Department spokesman in Washington claimed that an FBI sniper using a rifle scope had seen a male Branch Davidian, wearing black Ninja-style clothes and a black hood, pour liquid on the floor behind a piano and then ignite it. The day after the fire, Jeffrey Jamar, the FBI’s special agent in charge at Waco, asserted that the agent saw a person “get down with cupped hands and then there was a flash of fire.”

At the criminal trial of the Branch Davidians in 1994, that story fell apart. FBI Special Agent Jack Morrison said that he could see, through a hole created by a tank, somebody bent or kneeling by an overturned piano. The man appeared to be washing his hands, although the sniper admitted on cross-examination that he could not see the man’s hands. The fire did not erupt while the man was in the sniper’s sight, though the sniper did see a fire shortly thereafter. However, pictures of the progress of the fire show that the area near the overturned piano (the front door) was not a starting point for any fire. No fire appears there until several minutes after the sniper’s observation. Photographs show no fire in that area while much of the rest of the building was in flames.

Attorney General Reno earned a congratulatory phone call from President Clinton the day after the fire because of her highly publicized acceptance of responsibility. She put the FBI in charge of investigating its own conduct at Waco. The resulting report was a sham and a cover-up. Although seven independent reviewers were appointed to examine the FBI report, the FBI withheld evidence from them, such as Branch Davidian leader David Koresh’s April 14 offer to surrender as soon as he completed his written interpretation of the Seven Seals from the Book of Revelation.

Today, Reno claims to be angry that the FBI has been caught lying about Waco for the last six years. This brings to mind Claude Rains’s line from Casablanca, “I’m shocked … shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.”

The FBI lied to Janet Reno right from the start: they told her that CS chemical warfare agent is a mild irritant, even though much smaller doses than were used at Waco have killed children. On the day of the assault, the FBI flagrantly ignored her prior order to back off if there was any danger to the children. When she had initially rejected the FBI’s plan for a tank and chemical warfare assault on the Branch Davidians, the FBI told her that “Koresh was beating the babies.” In fact, FBI listening devices revealed no such thing.

Now Attorney General Reno’s response to new revelations about FBI lies is to order another FBI investigation of the FBI.

It is undisputed that while the FBI tanks were conducting the chemical warfare assault, the Branch Davidians spread kerosene in the building, intending to light it if the tanks entered the building. Starting a massive conflagration would have been consistent with Koresh’s apocalyptic interpretation of the Bible.

However, if federal agents bear no responsibility for the start of the fire and for the deaths of 76 people, why has the FBI covered up so much evidence for so long?

Recent revelations show that the FBI did fire pyrotechnic grenades — fully capable of starting a fire — during the attack on the Branch Davidian home. The FBI now claims that those grenades were launched six hours before the fire began. Yet if this “innocent” explanation is true, why did the FBI not tell the truth from the beginning?

Even if one takes the current FBI explanation at face value, it shows the federal government’s horrible disregard for the children. Although CS chemical warfare agent is banned from international warfare by a treaty that the United States has signed, the FBI used it against children and babies, knowing that those innocents would be unprotected by gas masks, since their faces were too small to fit them.

After the fire, the FBI bemoaned the failure of the Branch Davidians to take refuge in the underground tornado shelter, where the air remained cool and fresh. Yet the FBI now admits that the pyrotechnic grenades were launched at the very beginning of the assault as part of a systematic plan to keep anyone from fleeing to the shelter.

The federal Posse Comitatus Act forbids the use of the military for civilian law enforcement. Yet the Dallas Morning News reports that the U.S. Army’s Delta Force was “present, up front and close” on April 19, 1993. That revelation undermines earlier claims that only three Delta Force soldiers were at Waco in an “advisory” capacity.

The government claims that the FBI never fired a single shot at Waco, yet an FBI aerial film appears to show the distinctive pattern of machine gun fire coming from government posts at the rear of the Branch Davidian compound — on the one side of the building that television cameras could not see. Could it be that Delta Force, and not the FBI, was doing the shooting — making claims that the FBI did not fire a single shot literally true?

Congressional leaders are beginning new hearings on Waco. However, the 1995 Waco hearings were a disaster, with Republicans looking for administration appointees to blame and paying little attention to the malfeasance of career federal agents. Meanwhile, Democrats such as then-Rep. Charles Schumer succeeded in diverting attention away from crimes committed by government employees and toward the statutory rapes that David Koresh had perpetrated earlier. To his credit, Schumer, now a senator, was the first major Democrat to call for a new review of Waco.

If another round of hearings is to have any chance for success, it will be essential to have a small committee, to allow congressional staff to question witnesses, and not to impose time limits on how long a given witness may be questioned.

Even now, it is unclear who killed the children of Waco. More than ever, though, the recent unveiling of more FBI lies underscores the fact that the children died because of willful and knowing actions by our federal law enforcement professionals. Although the president shed crocodile tears over the 12 children at Columbine High School and now seeks partisan advantage by pushing for federal laws that could not possibly have prevented Columbine, he and his administration remain coldly indifferent to the 26 children at Waco. The day after the Waco fire, Clinton said, “I do not think the United States government is responsible for the fact that a bunch of religious fanatics decided to kill themselves.” But the children didn’t kill themselves. If the president and his attorney general really care about those 26 children, they will appoint outside investigators — not the FBI — to bring out the truth about what really happened on April 19, 1993.

  • David B. Kopel and Paul H. Blackman are the authors of No More Wacos: What’s Wrong with Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It.




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Court denies attorney chance to interview Terry Nichols

S.L. lawyer cannot take depositions in regards to his brother's death


The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a judge's ruling that allowed a Salt Lake attorney to take depositions of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and a death-row inmate.

The ruling, issued Thursday, states attorney Jesse Trentadue cannot take video depositions of Nichols and convicted killer David Paul Hammer about the death of Trentadue's brother and an underlying conspiracy regarding the bombing itself.

Jesse Trentadue believes his brother, Kenny Trentadue, was tortured and killed by federal officials while in custody after being mistaken for an associate of bombing conspirator Timothy McVeigh. Kenny Trentadue, a convicted bank robber, was in custody for a parole violation at the time.

According to a previous statement given by Nichols, Nichols claims a high-ranking FBI official was in contact with McVeigh and may have directed the bombing plot as a way to draw other anti-government people out. Hammer has claimed that after being housed together in prison, McVeigh told him that he had acted as an undercover military operative.

In its ruling, the 10th Circuit stated that it appeared neither Nichols, nor Hammer, had any direct information relevant to Jesse Trentadue's Freedom of Information Act request.

Thursday's ruling reverses an order by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball, who found Trentadue could conduct new depositions of the inmates.





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Contained in the Mobistealth data are customer accounts linked to email addresses from the FBI, DHS, TSA, ICE, and several different branches of the military. It's not clear whether the individuals paid for the malware themselves or through their respective organizations. But at least 40 of the Mobistealth ..






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