Wednesday, October 18, 2017

LAPD becomes nation's largest police department to test drones after oversight panel signs off on controversial program

After months of often-heated debate, a civilian oversight panel Tuesday signed off on a yearlong test of drones by the Los Angeles Police Department, which will become the largest police department in the nation to deploy the controversial technology.

The Police Commission’s 3-1 vote prompted jeers, cursing and a small protest that spilled into a downtown intersection just outside the LAPD’s glass headquarters — evidence of the opposition police have faced in recent weeks as they tried to reassure wary residents that the airborne devices would not be misused.

The use of drones — or “small Unmanned Aerial Systems,” in police-speak — has become a contentious issue for law enforcement in Los Angeles, where the nation’s largest sheriff’s department has flown one since January.

Advocates say camera-mounted drones could help protect officers and others by collecting crucial information during high-risk situations or searches without risking their safety. For many privacy advocates and police critics, however, the drones stir Orwellian visions of unwarranted surveillance or fears of militarized, weapon-toting devices patrolling the skies.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CIA urges POTUS Trump to delay release of 3,000 never-before-seen documents on assassination of John F. Kennedy

More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department on the assassination of John F. Kennedy are scheduled be released, with many experts fearing that such a large release of secret JFK assassination documents will spur “a new generation of conspiracy theories.”

According to Roger Stone, the CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years.

According to The Gateway Pundit Roger Stone and Gerald Posner, two New York Times bestselling authors who are polar opposites about who killed JFK, have joined together to urge Donald Trump to release all the remaining classified files on Kennedy’s assassination.

US judge blocks latest Trump travel restrictions to the US from eight countries

A federal judge in Hawaii blocked President Donald Trump's latest bid to impose restrictions on citizens from eight countries entering the United States, which had been set to take effect this week.

The open-ended ban, announced last month, targeted people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea, as well as certain government officials from Venezuela. It was the latest version of a policy that had previously targeted six Muslim-majority countries but had been restricted by the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson on Tuesday granted Hawaii's request to temporarily block the federal government from enforcing the policy. It was supposed to take effect at midnight Wednesday.

Hawaii argues the updated ban is a continuation of Trump's "promise to exclude Muslims from the United States."

Judicial Watch: State Department Reveals 2,800 Huma Abedin Government Documents on Weiner’s Laptop

Judicial Watch revealed today that the U.S. Department of State admits it received 2,800 Huma Abedin work-related documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that were found on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s personal laptop. Abedin was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. Weiner is a disgraced former congressman and New York mayoral candidate who recently plead guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor. Abedin kept a email account that she used repeatedly for government business on Hillary Clinton’s notorious email server(s).

The revelation was produced in a May 5, 2015, lawsuit Judicial Watch filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)). Judicial Watch sued after the State Department failed to respond to a March 18, 2015, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking: “All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-‘’ email address.”

In accordance with a court ordered production of documents, the State Department’s court filing states: “The State Department has identified approximately 2,800 work-related documents among the documents provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” By December 31, 2017, the State Department expects to complete its review and production of the FBI records. The government suggests some of the material may be “duplicative” of other records.

“This is a disturbing development. Our experience with Abedin’s emails suggest these Weiner laptop documents will include classified and other sensitive materials,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “When will the Justice Department do a serious investigation of Hillary Clinton’s and Huma Abedin’s obvious violations of law?”

Hillary Clinton Just Told Five Blatant Lies About WikiLeaks

As part of her ongoing “Thank God You Didn’t Elect Me” tour, Hillary Clinton made her debut on Australian television last night in an interview with the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson. Though she didn’t repeat her infamous “17 intelligence agencies” lie, which she’d continued to regurgitate long after that claim had been conclusively debunked, there were still plenty of whoppers to be heard.

From her ridiculous claim that the aggressively protested DNC convention was “very positive” to her completely baseless assertion that Bernie Sanders “couldn’t explain his programs” during the primaries, Clinton did a fine job of reminding us all why the average American finds her about as trustworthy as a hungry crocodile. But while she has blamed her loss on James Comey and Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders and self-hating women and the media and uninformed voters and voter suppression and her campaign staff and the DNC and campaign finance laws and Jill Stein and the Electoral College and Anthony Weiner and sexism and Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton reserved the lion’s share of her deceit for the organization she hates most of all: WikiLeaks.

Here are five lies that Clinton told about the outlet during her ABC interview:

The Vegas shooter, general aviation, & CIA planespotting

It is a circumstance unparalleled in American history.

Two weeks after a gunman started pouring down fire from a 32nd floor window in Las Vegas on people at a country music festival, police and the FBI remain in the dark over why he did it—and why he stopped.

The tragedy hit with no warning and took fifty-nine of our number. And despite being recorded in real time on thousands of cellphones, there is still no explanation for it.

The motivation of the shooter (or shooters’) remains a mystery. Hopefully it was more than petulance.

But we don’t know.

Given the circumstances, you don’t need to be a “conspiracy theorist” to sense something hinky about the official investigation into the Las Vegas Massacre.

In the absence of any sort of coherent narrative, both concerned citizens and ‘conspiracy theorists’—and good luck telling them apart—are attempting to augment the official FBI investigation, such as it is, by crowd-sourcing clues with friends on the internet.

Admittedly, it isn’t much. But, at the moment, it’s all we’ve got.

The JFK Document Dump Could Be a Fiasco

The federal government’s long campaign to try to choke off rampant conspiracy theories about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy is threatening to end this month in massive confusion, if not chaos.

Within the next two weeks, the National Archives is legally obligated to release the last of thousands of secret documents from government files about the assassination, most of them from the CIA, FBI and the Justice Department.

And there is every indication that the massive document dump—especially if any of it is blocked by President Donald Trump, the only person empowered under the law to stop the release of the files—will simply help fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories.

Trump, no stranger to conspiracy theories, including totally unsubstantiated theories about a link between Ted Cruz’s father and JFK’s death, has not yet revealed his plans for the documents. His friend and political adviser Roger Stone, the Republican consultant who is the author of a book claiming that President Lyndon Johnson was the mastermind of the Kennedy assassination, said last week that he has been informed authoritatively that the CIA is urging Trump to delay the release of some of the JFK documents for another 25 years. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead,” Stone said in a statement on his website.

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

American Pravda, New York Times Part III – Senior Homepage Editor Reveals Biased Political Agenda at NYT

Monday, October 16, 2017

Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the vehicle into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.

Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

No group or individual has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.

Hillary Clinton: The Interview

In a special edition of Four Corners, Hillary Clinton, in her only Australian television interview, talks with Sarah Ferguson.

This riveting conversation, recorded in New York, takes us into the heart and mind of the woman at the centre of the most stunning election loss in modern US history.

This is a very different Hillary Clinton to the managed political performer. Candid, open and at times angry, the former presidential candidate talks about what went wrong and her fears for the future.

The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.

Their track record is mixed, but North Korea’s army of more than 6,000 hackers is undeniably persistent, and undeniably improving, according to American and British security officials who have traced these attacks and others back to the North.

Amid all the attention on Pyongyang’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon capable of striking the continental United States, the North Koreans have also quietly developed a cyberprogram that is stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and proving capable of unleashing global havoc.

Unlike its weapons tests, which have led to international sanctions, the North’s cyberstrikes have faced almost no pushback or punishment, even as the regime is already using its hacking capabilities for actual attacks against its adversaries in the West.

Menendez Trial May Hinge on a New Definition of Bribery

The defense is scheduled to begin its case on Monday, but first Judge William H. Walls is expected to rule on a motion to dismiss it, a motion that he hinted he was considering during arguments in court about the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the corruption conviction of Bob McDonnell, a former governor of Virginia.

In fact, the McDonnell decision has loomed over prosecutors throughout the Menendez trial, and Judge Walls suggested that he was leaning toward interpreting the ruling as invalidating a theory of bribery, known as “stream of benefits,” that is central to the government’s case.

The Supreme Court’s decision also set a high bar for what constitutes the kind of act an elected official must perform to have an exchange qualify as bribery — setting up meetings for constituents or making a phone call on behalf of a constituent no longer qualifies.

But in a narrative spun out in tedious, often repetitive, fashion over six weeks of testimony in the federal courthouse in Newark, prosecutors laid out the many ways that Mr. Menendez had helped Dr. Melgen whenever he ran into trouble.

Bowe Bergdahl, Called a ‘Traitor’ by President Trump, Pleads Guilty

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his base in eastern Afghanistan in 2009, setting off a huge military manhunt and a political furor, pleaded guilty on Monday to desertion and to endangering the American troops sent to search for him.

The guilty pleas by Sergeant Bergdahl, a 31-year-old Idaho native now stationed at an Army base in San Antonio, Tex., were not part of any deal with prosecutors.

It will now be up to an Army judge here at Fort Bragg to decide the sergeant’s punishment, following testimony at a hearing that is expected to begin as soon as next week. The desertion charge carries a potential five-year sentence, and the charge of endangering troops — formally known as misbehavior before the enemy — carries a potential life sentence.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

No Agenda: Sunday (10-15-17) Episode 973 - Exit on the Floor

How the DEA's efforts to crack down on the opioid epidemic were derailed

A collaboration by two of the world's most respected news organizations reveals how the Drug Enforcement Administration's efforts to crack down on the opioid epidemic were derailed as the number of opioid drug deaths increased. The results of the six-month investigation by 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker, producers Ira Rosen and Sam Hornblower, and The Washington Post's investigative reporters Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein will appear Sunday, Oct. 15 in The Washington Post and on 60 Minutes at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT.

The 60 Minutes double-length segment includes an interview with the highest-ranking DEA agent ever to turn whistleblower, former Deputy Assistant Administrator Joe Rannazzisi.

7 Charts That Show How The Rich Hide Their Cash

Who avoids the most tax and what does that mean for inequality?

These were the questions asked by two National Bureau of Economic Research working papers submitted this month (Tax Evasion and Inequality and Who Owns the Wealth in Tax Havens?). Both papers are available publicly here.

The research was based on a variety of data, including ICIJ’s Swiss Leaks and Panama Papers investigations, and prove for interesting reading. Here are seven highlights from the reports.

Friday, October 13, 2017

NYC Officials Won't Say What These Mystery Towers Are For

Hillary Clinton in talks with Columbia University to take on professor role

The former U.S. Secretary of State and presidential nominee is in talks with Columbia University to take on a formal role at the Ivy League — and potentially house her archives there, multiple sources told the Daily News.

One option under discussion is an esteemed “University Professor” role that would allow Clinton to lecture across a range of schools and departments without the requirement of a strict course load, one source said.

A former law professor, Clinton could maintain the vaunted but vague role indefinitely or decide at a later date she wants to settle at Columbia's celebrated law school or maybe the School of International and Public Affairs, the source said.

FBI Finds 30 Pages of Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Meeting Documents – Wants Six Weeks to Turn Over Docs

Judicial Watch was informed yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that the FBI has located 30 pages of documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, and proposes non-exempt material be produced no later than November 30, 2017 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:16-cv-02046)).

The new documents are being sent to Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to comply with a July 7, 2016, FOIA request seeking the following:

All FD-302 forms prepared pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure.

All records of communications between any agent, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding, concerning, or related to the aforementioned investigation. This request includes, but is not limited to, any related communications with any official, employee, or representative of the Department of Justice, the Executive Office of the President, the Democratic National Committee, and/or the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

All records related to the meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on June 27, 2016.

The FBI originally informed Judicial Watch they did not locate any records related to the tarmac meeting. However, in a related case, the Justice Department located emails in which Justice Department officials communicated with the FBI and wrote that they had communicated with the FBI. As a result, by letter dated August 10, 2017, from the FBI stated, “Upon further review, we subsequently determined potentially responsive documents may exist. As a result, your [FOIA] request has been reopened…”

How bad can the new spying legislation be? Exhibit 1: it's called the USA Liberty Act

The US Senate Judiciary Committee has unveiled its answer to a controversial spying program run by the NSA and used by the FBI to fish for crime leads.

Unsurprisingly, the proposed legislation [PDF] reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) – which allows American snoops to scour communications for information on specific foreign targets.

It also addresses the biggest criticisms of the FISA spying: that it was being used to build a vast database on US citizens, despite the law specifically prohibiting it; was being abused to do a mass sweep of communications, rather than the intended targeting of individuals; and that there was no effective oversight, transparency or accountability built into the program.

But in case you were in any doubt that the new law does not shut down the expansive – and in some cases laughable – interpretations put on FISA by the security services, you need only review the proposed legislation's title: the USA Liberty Act. Nothing so patriotic sounding can be free from unpleasant compromises.

And so it is in this case. While the draft law, as it stands, requires the FBI to have "a legitimate national security purpose" before searching the database and to obtain a court order "based on probable cause" to look at the content of seized communications, it still gives the domestic law enforcement agencies the right to look at data seized on US citizens by the NSA. And agents only need supervisory authority to search for US citizens' metadata.

Why Friday the 13th Spelled Doom for the Knights Templar

Founded around 1118 as a monastic military order devoted to the protection of pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land following the Christian capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, the Knights Templar quickly became one of the richest and most influential groups of the Middle Ages, thanks to lavish donations from the crowned heads of Europe, eager to curry favor with the fierce Knights. By the turn of the 14th century, the Templars had established a system of castles, churches and banks throughout Western Europe. And it was this astonishing wealth that would lead to their downfall.

For the Templars, that end began in the early morning hours of Friday, October 13, 1307.

A month earlier, secret documents had been sent by couriers throughout France. The papers included lurid details and whispers of black magic and scandalous sexual rituals. They were sent by King Philip IV of France, an avaricious monarch who in the preceding years had launched attacks on the Lombards (a powerful banking group) and France’s Jews (who he had expelled so he could confiscate their property for his depleted coffers).

In the days and weeks that followed that fateful Friday, more than 600 Templars were arrested, including Grand Master Jacques de Molay, and the Order’s treasurer. But while some of the highest-ranking members were caught up in Philip’s net, so too were hundreds of non-warriors; middle-aged men who managed the day-to-day banking and farming activities that kept the organization humming. The men were charged with a wide array of offenses including heresy, devil worship and spitting on the cross, homosexuality, fraud and financial corruption.

N.C.A.A.: North Carolina Will Not Be Punished for Academic Scandal

The N.C.A.A. on Friday announced that it “could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated N.C.A.A. academic rules” in what is widely considered the worst academic scandal in college sports history.

The organization, which governs the top tier of college sports in the United States, did not levy any penalties against North Carolina athletics.

Given that the university’s athletic department could have faced severe sanctions, including the loss of championships, the N.C.A.A.’s determination was a major victory for North Carolina.

The N.C.A.A. did not dispute that a major academic fraud had occurred over several years, but its committee on infractions, which empowered a panel to investigate, concluded it did not have the power to punish the university.

“While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’ offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes,” said Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, who led the panel.

The Bronx’s Quiet, Brutal War With Opioids

In the Bronx, which lost more residents to
drug overdoses last year than any other
New York City borough, the heroin epidemic
has latched on to a vulnerable population.

The dramatic rise in opioid-related deaths has devastated communities around the United States in recent years, and has stirred concern among law enforcement and public health officials alike in New York City.

Here, the reports about the epidemic and its ravages have mostly centered on Staten Island, where the rate of deaths per person is the highest of the five boroughs. But perhaps nowhere in the city has the trajectory of opioid addiction been as complex as in the Bronx, where overdose deaths were declining until a new surge began at the turn of the decade, and where more residents are lost to overdoses than anywhere else in the city. On Bronx streets, the epidemic’s devastation is next door, down the street, all around.

More Bronx residents died of drug overdoses in 2016 than any other New York City borough — 308. That’s more than double the number in 2010, 128. Fatal overdoses in the borough are now at their highest rates since at least 2000, as far back as official data is available. Eighty-five percent of those deaths involved opioids, and about 76 percent involved heroin or fentanyl specifically.

Of the five neighborhoods with the highest opioid-related overdose rates in 2015 and 2016, four were in the Bronx — Hunts Point-Mott Haven, Crotona-Tremont, High Bridge-Morrisania and Fordham-Bronx Park — and one was in Staten Island, South Beach/Tottenville.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

No Agenda: Thursday (10-12-17) Episode 972 - Menprovement

Justice Department records confirm PROMIS scandal’s ties to Israel

Justice Department documents recently released by the National Archives confirm what some Inslaw witnesses have been saying for decades: that a copy of PROMIS software was given to Israel.

Previous records and admissions acknowledged the fact that the software was given to Israel while insisting that it wasn’t delivered to Israeli Spymaster Rafi Eitan but instead went to Dr. Joseph Ben Orr. According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) memo, however, the man they claim they gave the software to wasn’t in the country at the time. The DOJ later asserted that the records on the two Israelis mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind only a few memos and vague memories. These facts lend a great deal of credence to the statements from Bill Hamilton and others that the phantom Israeli they met was none other than Eitan.

Israel hacked Kaspersky, then tipped the NSA that its tools had been breached

By Ellen Nakashima

In 2015, Israeli government hackers saw something suspicious in the computers of a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm: hacking tools that could only have come from the National Security Agency.

Israel notified the NSA, where alarmed officials immediately began a hunt for the breach, according to people familiar with the matter, who said an investigation by the agency revealed that the tools were in the possession of the Russian government.

Israeli spies had found the hacking material on the network of Kaspersky Lab, the global anti-virus firm under a spotlight in the United States because of suspicions that its products facilitate Russian espionage.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security instructed federal civilian agencies to identify Kaspersky Lab software on their networks and remove it on the grounds that “the risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.” The directive followed a decision by the General Services Administration to remove Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors. And lawmakers on Capitol Hill are considering a governmentwide ban.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

He Excelled as a Detective, Until Prosecutors Stopped Believing Him

But prosecutors now say Detective Desormeau, 34, struggled with one aspect of police work: telling the truth. After relying on Detective Desormeau’s word in hundreds of cases, prosecutors no longer believe him credible. In two cases, prosecutors have accused Detective Desormeau and his partner of making up crucial details when arresting people, even testifying about criminal activity that may never have occurred. They have said they are reviewing some of his old cases, though how many is not clear.

The two detectives were indicted this year, adding to the body of evidence that police perjury and half-truths remain a persistent problem for the New York Police Department. And as more arrests and confrontations are being recorded, evidence of police falsehoods is more apparent.

The issue of false or misleading statements by the police has, on a national level, been intertwined with the issue of excessive force and the debate over whether officers are too quick to shoot people, particularly black men.

But the phenomenon of false or misleading police statements has not been confined to high-profile cases in which officers try to justify the use of deadly force. In New York, the practice of routinely making up facts to justify a dubious arrest was entrenched enough that it got its own nickname more than 20 years ago — “testilying.”

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch - Kennedy Space Center (10-11-17)

Might be a surveillance satellite.

American Pravda, New York Times Part II – Exploiting Social Media & Manipulating the News

5 People You Won’t Believe Worked For the CIA

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

End of the road: will automation put an end to the American trucker?

Baxter, 48, is one of the 1.8 million Americans, mainly men, who drive heavy trucks for a living, the single most common job in many US states. Driving is one of the biggest occupations in the world. Another 1.7 million people drive taxis, buses and delivery vehicles in the US alone. But for how long? Having “disrupted” industries including manufacturing, music, journalism and retail, Silicon Valley has its eyes on trucking.

Google, Uber, Tesla and the major truck manufacturers are looking to a future in which people like Baxter will be replaced – or at the very least downgraded to co-pilots – by automated vehicles that will save billions but will cost millions of jobs. It will be one of the biggest changes to the jobs market since the invention of the automated loom – challenging the livelihoods of millions across the world.

Recordings Capture Brutal FBI Tactics to Recruit a Potential Informant

For two years, the FBI has followed and harassed Refaie as part of an apparent effort to recruit him to become an informant or cooperate in some way with counterterrorism investigations. The FBI has more than 15,000 informants today, many working because they have been coerced or threatened by criminal prosecution or immigration enforcement. Classified FBI policy documents published by The Intercept in January revealed the often heavy-handed methods used by the government to recruit informants, including so-called threat assessments as “a means to induce him/her into becoming a recruited [informant] mainly through identifying that person’s motivations and vulnerabilities.” What’s unique about Refaie’s interactions with the FBI is that he recorded and documented the conversations and events that led to his indictment. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment or a list of questions about Refaie’s case.

“I don’t believe they are representatives of the government; they’re misusing the government with their badges,” Refaie said of the federal agents he’s come to know. “They’re breaking oaths that they swore to uphold.”

American Pravda, New York Times: Slanting the News and a Bizarre Comey Connection

Project Veritas' latest installment in the American Pravda series takes aim at The New York Times, the supposed "paper of record." In the first part of this series, Nicholas Dudich, Audience Strategy Editor for the Times' extensive video library speaks candidly about how his left political bias influences his editorial judgement and reveals an unusual connection to former FBI Director James Comey, and a strange association with domestic terror group Antifa.

Project Veritas has released a video of the New York Times video gatekeeper Nicholas Dudich, who was caught on hidden-camera boasting of his lack of journalistic ethics. Dudich, who serves as Audience Strategy Editor, displays a lack of integrity throughout the video, manages videos which go "on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram" for the Times.

While talking about being objective at the Times, Dudich replies candidly, "No I'm not, that's why I'm here."

Dudich considers himself an important player at the New York Times, telling the Project Veritas Journalist "my voice is on... my imprint is on every video we do."

Dudich goes on to explain what he might do to target President Trump:

"I'd target his businesses, his dumb fuck of a son, Donald Jr., and Eric...

"Target that. Get people to boycott going to his hotels. Boycott... So a lot of the Trump brands, if you can ruin the Trump brand and you put pressure on his business and you start investigating his business and you start shutting it down, or they're hacking or other things. He cares about his business more than he cares about being President. He would resign. Or he'd lash out and do something incredibly illegal, which he would have to."

When the undercover journalist asks Dudich if he could make sure that the anti-Trump stories make it to the front, he replied, "Oh, we always do."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet

A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America's Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots' every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military's Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech's computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military's most important weapons system.

"We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back," says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. "We think it's benign. But we just don't know."

The World’s Biggest Military Contractors Don’t Encrypt Their Websites

The websites of four of the five largest American defense and military contractors, which received a combined $95,278,712,971 last year from the US government, don't use web encryption.

The main sites of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman, all don't have the standard web encryption HTTPS enabled by default, which leaves visitors of these sites exposed to common cyberattacks that could potentially allow hackers to infect them with malware. When tested on Friday, was also not encrypted. On Monday, however, the site redirected to, which is served over HTTPS.

When websites have enabled HTTPS, the connection between the visitors and the site is encrypted, making it more private and secure. Without HTTPS, a hacker on your wireless network, internet service providers or governments, can track your every move online and also intercept and manipulate the data being exchanged between you and the site.

Read the Pentagon’s report on Che Guevara’s death

On October 9, 1967, 50 years ago today, Ernesto “Che” Guevara died in Bolivian captivity. However, a report located in the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) declassified archives by Emma Best shows that it wasn’t until four years later that the Pentagon finally got what was allegedly a first-hand account of what happened, and even then the details were sketchy.

Holding Prosecutors Accountable Is Hard. It Could Get Harder.

Under United States Supreme Court precedent, it is relatively easy to sue police officers who commit misconduct, but federal law still provides enormous protections to prosecutors. Individual lawyers in district attorneys’ offices enjoy complete immunity from being sued if they make mistakes in the courtroom — even those that lead to wrongful convictions. The unjustly imprisoned in New York are also barred from suing the state unless they can prove conclusively that they are innocent, not just the victims of an unfair trial.

But twice in the past three decades, a New York federal appeals court has protected another way of holding prosecutors liable for their errors: The wrongfully convicted have been allowed to sue both cities and counties, which usually control the budgets of — and issue paychecks for — district attorneys’ offices, which otherwise operate in state court. The suits can be filed only under certain narrow circumstances. Defendants must show that a misstep was related to an administrative matter, like a hiring or a firing, or to an officewide policy, not just to specific prosecutorial decisions. And defendants need to prove that the courtroom errors in their own cases were not only part of a larger pattern of misconduct, but also that the prosecutors knew about the pattern and ignored it.

This spring, however, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a potentially influential order in a wrongful-conviction case in Queens, saying that under a 2009 Supreme Court ruling, issues related to the “supervision and training” of assistant district attorneys were not administrative matters, but prosecutorial ones, and so the city could not be held accountable for them.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

How & Why Big Oil Conquered The World

The 20th century was the century of oil. From farm to fork, factory to freeway, there is no aspect of our modern life that has not been shaped by the oil industry. But as the “post-carbon” era of the 21st century comes into view, there are those who see this as the end of the oiligarchy. They couldn’t be more wrong. This is the remarkable true story of the world that Big Oil is creating, and how they plan to bring it about.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Senate Intelligence Officials Plan to Question Treasury Department Over 'Alarming' Surveillance Report

US officials are denying accusations raised in an incredible BuzzFeed News report published Friday, in which a senior US Treasury official accused the intelligence arm of the Treasury Department of illegally spying on US citizens. A Senate source now tells Gizmodo that department officials may be called to brief the Senate Intelligence Committee over the matter.

The Treasury official, who spoke to BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity, implicated Treasury’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) in “domestic spying.” The report, which cited multiple government officials, stated that the OIA had “repeatedly and systematically” violated domestic surveillance laws by rifling through the private records of US citizens without legal authority.

Accusations that the OIA has been illegally collecting and storing data on US citizens—as well as providing the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies with “illegal backdoor access” to US citizens’ financial records—has already prompted a response from lawmakers charged with overseeing the intelligence community.

US Intelligence Unit Accused Of Illegally Spying On Americans’ Financial Records

The intelligence division at the Treasury Department has repeatedly and systematically violated domestic surveillance laws by snooping on the private financial records of US citizens and companies, according to government sources.

Over the past year, at least a dozen employees in another branch of the Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, have warned officials and Congress that US citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data has been illegally searched and stored. And the breach, some sources said, extended to other intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, whose officers used the Treasury’s intelligence division as an illegal back door to gain access to American citizens’ financial records. The NSA said that any allegations that it “is operating outside of its authorities and knowingly violating U.S. persons’ privacy and civil liberties is categorically false.”


Youtube's new algorithm removes conspiracy videos and may have the unnecessary side effect of impacting alternative media. Youtube removed several conspiracy videos about Las Vegas from their search and replaced it with "reputable" sources. What will this lead to in the future?

After 78 Killings, a Honduran Drug Lord Partners With the U.S.

Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga led a brutal drug gang that ferried tons of cocaine
north. Then he approached the Drug Enforcement Administration for a deal.

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS — The number of murders the Honduran drug lord admitted to orchestrating over 10 years was stunning.

The dead included people he described as killers, rapists and gang members. Then there were the innocents: a lawyer, two journalists, a Honduran refugee in Canada, an official who was serving as Honduras’s antidrug czar and a politician who became his adviser; there were even two children caught in a shootout.

In all, the drug lord, Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, said that, working in concert with drug traffickers and others, he had “caused” the deaths of 78 people — a number that posed a dilemma for United States officials when Mr. Rivera came to them offering to expose high-level corruption in this Central American nation of some nine million people.

Knowing that he was already in the sights of United States investigators, Mr. Rivera sought to help the Drug Enforcement Administration root out corrupt Honduran politicians and other elites who had made Honduras a gateway for massive amounts of cocaine headed for the United States through Mexico.

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention

Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned himself from Snapchat, which he compares to heroin, and imposed limits on his use of Facebook. But even that wasn’t enough. In August, the 34-year-old tech executive took a more radical step to restrict his use of social media and other addictive technologies.

Rosenstein purchased a new iPhone and instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps.

He was particularly aware of the allure of Facebook “likes”, which he describes as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure” that can be as hollow as they are seductive. And Rosenstein should know: he was the Facebook engineer who created the “like” button in the first place.

A decade after he stayed up all night coding a prototype of what was then called an “awesome” button, Rosenstein belongs to a small but growing band of Silicon Valley heretics who complain about the rise of the so-called “attention economy”: an internet shaped around the demands of an advertising economy.

These refuseniks are rarely founders or chief executives, who have little incentive to deviate from the mantra that their companies are making the world a better place. Instead, they tend to have worked a rung or two down the corporate ladder: designers, engineers and product managers who, like Rosenstein, several years ago put in place the building blocks of a digital world from which they are now trying to disentangle themselves. “It is very common,” Rosenstein says, “for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences.”

Judge Denies Bail for Reality Winner, Accepting Prosecutor’s Dubious Allegations

ON THURSDAY, A FEDERAL judge denied a second request for bail from Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor accused of violating the Espionage Act, despite an admission from the federal prosecutor in charge of the case that the government relied on false information in Winner’s initial bail hearing.

In his decision denying bail, Judge Brian Epps did not acknowledge or reference the prosecutor’s false statements, despite the statement having been a principal reason the defense moved for the renewed hearing.

The fight over whether Winner should be released pending trial stemmed from her bail hearing shortly after she was indicted in June. Winner was initially denied bail partly on the basis of alleged jailhouse recordings that suggested she may have other classified documents that she wanted to make public.

Relying on the FBI’s descriptions of the calls, the prosecutor told the judge on June 9 that Winner discussed having multiple classified “documents” (plural) beyond the document she allegedly released. When the prosecutor finally did listen to the recording herself — after the judge had already denied bail — she admitted that Winner did not use the plural “documents” in the phone call, but only referred to one “document.”

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Russian Hackers Stole NSA Tools From Contractor Who Used Kaspersky Software

Russian government hackers stole highly sensitive U.S. spying tools after a contractor brought classified material home and put it on a computer that used Kaspersky anti-virus software, a former senior intelligence official briefed on the matter told NBC News.

The details were first reported Thursday by The Wall Street Journal.

The contractor, whose name has not been made public, worked for the National Security Agency, which specializes in hacking computers and eavesdropping on communications.

The Journal said the stolen material included secret details about how the NSA penetrates foreign computer networks, the computer code it uses for such spying and how it defends networks inside the U.S.

The report also said it was unclear whether the contractor had lost his job or is facing prosecution. He is not believed to have wittingly cooperated with a foreign government.

The man took his work home in violation of NSA rules, and Russian hackers were able to identify the material and access his machine because he was using Kaspersky software, the former official said.

The case explains why the U.S. government has cracked down on Kaspersky in recent months, banning its use by government agencies, he added.

We're Drawing Close To The Deadline For JFK Documents To Be Released


The story of German industry before World War II should sound increasingly familiar to Americans. Industries are being consolidated and a few wealthy men are holding the reins.

That alone makes the book excerpted below — All Honorable Men: The Story of the Men on Both Sides of the Atlantic Who Successfully Thwarted Plans to Dismantle the Nazi Cartel System — an important read. However, the book offers much more. The publishers describe it as “A scathing attack on Wall Street’s illegal ties to Nazi Germany before WWII — and the postwar whitewashing of Nazi business leaders by the US government.” This is no exaggeration.

In fact, the CIA allegedly tried to buy all copies of this book when it was first published.

The author, James Stewart Martin, had been the Department of Justice’s Chief of the Economic Warfare Section during World War II. Part of his job had been suggesting key German industries for aerial bombardment.

After the war, he became director of the Division for Investigation of Cartels and External Assets in American Military Government.

President Harry S. Truman sent him to Germany to investigate Nazi economic warfare, and to dismantle Third Reich industry, that is, to transition the monopoly control of German businesses to a free market economy, a process known as decartelization.

Martin was also sent to Germany to investigate the connections between these Nazi-controlled cartels — and Wall Street. The connections were wide and deep. Many US corporations had done business with German corporations who helped fund the Nazi Party. And these businesses on both sides of the Atlantic knew what their money was supporting.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Are NFL Games Manipulated For Entertainment Purposes?

How the OSS helped John Ford win an Oscar - twice

John Ford already had multiple Academy Awards to his name when the United States entered World War II - three as Best Director for The Informer, Stagecoach, and The Grapes of Wrath. With the support of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the filmmaker, popularly-famed for his work with American Western legend John Wayne, went on to win two more for Best Documentary during the war for his films Battle of Midway and December 7.

Files recently unearthed in the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) CREST database help to illuminate Mr. Ford’s relationship with OSS Director William Donovan and his fellow military fans, who were eager to contribute to the lauded filmmaker’s war effort oeuvre.

Masquerading Hackers Are Forcing a Rethink of How Attacks Are Traced

THE GROWING PROPENSITY of government hackers to reuse code and computers from rival nations is undermining the integrity of hacking investigations and calling into question how online attacks are attributed, according to researchers from Kaspersky Lab.

In a paper set for release today at the Virus Bulletin digital security conference in Madrid, the researchers highlight cases in which they’ve seen hackers acting on behalf of nation-states stealing tools and hijacking infrastructure previously used by hackers of other nation-states. Investigators need to watch out for signs of this or risk tracing attacks to the wrong perpetrators, the researchers said.

Threat researchers have built an industry on identifying and profiling hacking groups in order to understand their methods, anticipate future moves, and develop methods for battling them. They often attribute attacks by “clustering” malicious files, IP addresses, and servers that get reused across hacking operations, knowing that threat actors use the same code and infrastructure repeatedly to save time and effort. So when researchers see the same encryption algorithms and digital certificates reused in various attacks, for example, they tend to assume the attacks were perpetrated by the same group. But that’s not necessarily the case.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

US violated spy laws 'hundreds' of times in the past decade

US intelligence agencies have violated federal surveillance laws hundreds of times over the past decade, a painstaking analysis of declassified reviews, opinions, and documents has shown.

New research by the Open Tech Institute has found over 200 violations by the NSA and the FBI since the introduction of a controversial surveillance provision designed to collect foreign intelligence. Violations include over-collecting data, violating attorney-client privilege, and conducting unlawful surveillance of Americans, who are generally protected from spying under the constitution.

The research is the first comprehensive, compiled list of violations of the provision, known as section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is designed to collect data on foreign persons overseas, but also incidentally collects a large amount of data on Americans. The statute is the legal basis for the PRISM program and the tapping of global undersea fiber optic cables.

Tom Petty, Rocker Who Wrote Durable, Defiant Hits, Dies at 66

Tom Petty, a songwriter who melded California rock with a deep, stubborn Southern heritage, died on Monday after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 66 and had lived in Los Angeles.

Tony Dimitriades, Mr. Petty’s longtime manager, confirmed the death.

Recording with the Heartbreakers, the band he formed in the mid-1970s, and on his own, Mr. Petty wrote pithy, hardheaded songs that gave a contemporary clarity to 1960s roots. His voice was grainy and unpretty, with a Florida drawl that he proudly displayed.

Mr. Petty’s songs were staples of FM rock radio through decades, and with hits like “Refugee,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Free Fallin’” and “Into the Great Wide Open,” Mr. Petty sold millions of albums and headlined arenas and festivals well into 2017. He played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008 and entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. But his songs stayed down-to-earth, with sturdy guitar riffs carrying lyrics that spoke for underdogs and ornery outcasts. In his 1989 hit, “I Won’t Back Down,” he sang, “You can stand me up at the gates of hell/But I won’t back down.”

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Facebook Blocks Chinese Billionaire Who Tells Tales of Corruption

A Chinese billionaire living in virtual exile in New York, Guo Wengui has riled China’s leaders with his sometimes outlandish tales of deep corruption among family members of top Communist Party officials.

On Saturday, his tales proved too much for one of his favorite platforms for broadcasting those accusations: Facebook.

The social media network said it had blocked a profile under Mr. Guo’s name and taken down another page associated with him. Facebook said the content on both pages had included someone else’s personal identifiable information, which violates its terms of service.

No Agenda: Sunday (10-1-17) Episode 969 - Sock Puppet Media

A new book explores the CIA’s crazy plan to snatch a Soviet sub from the bottom of the ocean

During the height of the Cold War, a Soviet submarine mysteriously sank in the Pacific Ocean. K-129 held a crew of nearly 100 sailors, as well as a full payload of nuclear missiles. Following its loss, the US Navy noted the flurry of Soviet activity dispatched to locate the ship and saw an opportunity to gain access to their rival’s military secrets. They decided to locate and then steal the sub. The fact that this was physically, scientifically, and perhaps legally impossible led the team assigned to the project to — often ad hoc, or accidentally — create, iterate, and apply technologies that would radically change the transportation industry forever.

Author and journalist Josh Dean’s new book is The Taking of K-129: How the CIA Used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Operation in History and tells the story of the project, which aimed to grab the sub from its resting place — three miles below the surface of the ocean. Spearheaded by the CIA and funded by a top secret black budget, the program required numerous uninvented technologies, an outrageous vehicle to carry and implement them, and a fantastical cover story to keep the Russians and the public in the dark—one that unexpectedly helped jump start the existence of an entire industry.

Cocaine cowboys ‘Willie and Sal’ made fortune, then financed CIA-run exile ops to kill Castro

The reputations of Willie Falcon and Sal Magluta as legendary cocaine cowboys precede them everywhere.

What’s not well known about the duo who dropped out of high school and became the Colombian cartels’ go-to smugglers is this: In the mid-1990s at the peak of the Miami Vice era, they donated substantial drug-trafficking profits to Cuban exile paramilitary groups aiming to kill Fidel Castro, according to former law enforcement sources and people with knowledge of their donations.

While Magluta is serving a 195-year sentence in prison after being convicted on drug-related charges, Falcon is facing a U.S. deportation order to Cuba after completing a 20-year sentence in June on a money-laundering plea agreement. Ever since, he has been detained in a Louisiana immigration facility.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Government Erecting Mystery Metal Towers in NY, Won’t Say Why

As bizarre metal towers mysteriously appear at entrances to bridges and tunnels all over New York, the project remains shrouded in secrecy. When pressed for details on the mystery structures by local news affiliate CBS2’s Dave Carlin, the MTA spokesman in charge of bridges and tunnels, Cedrick Fulton, simply replied, “I said no comment.”

The $100 million project includes 18 of these towers, which began to appear shortly after the Brooklyn Battery toll booths were taken down. The structures are being described as “decorative,” but a comment made by MTA chairman Joe Lhota suggests they are anything but.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ken Burns’ Vietnam War: An Object Lesson in the Failures of the Objective Lens

If journalism resigns itself to being a “first draft of history,” Ken Burns’ popular PBS documentaries, written by Lynn Novick, have increasingly aspired to—and achieved—a coveted status as popular historical canon. This has, in part, been accomplished by Burns’ choice of cozily American subject matter—jazz, baseball, the Brooklyn Bridge—as well as the calming effect that time and distance provide when it comes to more difficult, inflammatory topics like the Civil War. His success is a rare, fraught feat.

But how would Burns’ earnest, middlebrow glosses on American history, forever panning slowly across sepia-tinted photos, treat a more contemporaneous, contentious event like the Vietnam War? The answer can be found in a 10-part, 18-hour opus that for the first time ventures outside Burns’ previous editorial and narrative comfort zones. The Cold War lead-up, decade-plus of intense air and ground combat, and subsequent years of national shame/guilt over the war affected the second half of our 20th century like nothing else.

Teasing out a coherent, honest through-line of such a momentous, highly charged topic is ambitious, to say the least, and Burns rises to the challenge in many ways. Most notable among them: a dedicated effort to include the voices and experiences of the Vietnamese who suffered and/or fought Americans, to create a much more complete, insightful portrait of the war. But in the striving to present all sides and simply lay out the facts for the viewer, Burns nonetheless pulls his punches when it comes to assigning blame and culpability for the disastrous war. As a result, he has produced a sometimes daring, sometimes schmaltzy, richly detailed yet ultimately flawed film about the tragedy and horrors that the United States brought upon itself and inflicted upon Southeast Asia.

Trump Administration Lobbying Hard for Sweeping Surveillance Law

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is pushing hard for the reauthorization of a key 2008 surveillance law — section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA — three months before it sunsets in December.

To persuade senators to reauthorize the law in full, the Trump administration is holding classified, members-only briefings for the entire House and Senate next Wednesday, with heavy hitters in attendance: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, NSA Director Mike Rogers, and FBI Director Christopher Wray will give the briefings, according to an internal announcement of the meetings provided to The Intercept and confirmed by multiple sources on Capitol Hill.

Section 702 serves as the legal basis for two of the NSA’s largest mass surveillance programs, both revealed by Edward Snowden. One program, PRISM, allows the government to collect messaging data sent to and from foreign targets, from major internet companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft. The other, UPSTREAM, scans internet backbone sites in the U.S. and copies communications to and from foreign targets.

Both programs ostensibly only “target” foreigners, but likely collect massive amounts of Americans’ communications as well. And despite persistent questioning from members of Congress, the Obama and Trump administrations have repeatedly refused to provide an estimate of how many domestic communications the programs collect. Civil liberties advocates have long warned liberal defenders of the program under President Obama that one day the surveillance apparatus may fall into the hands of a president with little regard for rule of law or constitutional protections.

Antifa Plans “Civil War” to Overthrow the Government

Antifa is planning a new round of nationwide riots on November 4 as part of a plot to start a “civil war” that will lead to the overthrow of the Trump administration.

Far-left militants plan to “gather in the streets and public squares of cities and towns across this country” in the hope of building momentum for civil unrest that leads to nothing less than domestic regime change.

“Our protest must grow day after day and night after night—thousands becoming hundreds of thousands, and then millions—determined to act to put a stop to the grave danger that the Trump/Pence Regime poses to the world by demanding that this whole regime be removed from power,” states a call to action on the RefuseFascism website.

A longer screed posted on the Revolutionary Communist website makes it clear that Antifa is not prepared to wait for electoral change from Democrats, and will engage in a “ferocious struggle,” based on plans outlined in a book written by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, which is called The Coming Civil War.

Julian Assange Says He Will Provide Evidence Russia Narrative Is False in Exchange for Pardon

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has offered to provide evidence that the Russian collusion narrative is false in exchange for a pardon from President Trump.

The president, apparently, has not yet gotten the message. On Saturday, President Trump told reporters that he has "never heard" of Assange's offer to make a deal.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) told The Daily Caller that Trump is being blocked from knowing about the potential deal with Assange. “I think the president’s answer indicates that there is a wall around him that is being created by people who do not want to expose this fraud that there was collusion between our intelligence community and the leaders of the Democratic Party,” Rohrabacher said.

Ken Burns & Lynn Novick, The Vietnam War: Part Two

With their defense of the Dulles brothers as “decent people” in Part One, the disappearance of Kennedy’s withdrawal plan and the championing of Vann and Sheehan in Part Two, so far the net value of this documentary is something less than zero, writes Jim DiEugenio.

Ken Burns & Lynn Novick, The Vietnam War: Part One

How can one tell the story of American involvement in Vietnam without mentioning the Dulles brothers or General Edward Lansdale? With a full 18 hours at one’s disposal, I would have thought such a thing would be impossible. Yet with Burns and Novick, the impossible becomes the possible, writes Jim DiEugenio.

The Killing of History

One of the most hyped “events” of American television, “The Vietnam War,” has started on the PBS network. The directors are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Acclaimed for his documentaries on the Civil War, the Great Depression and the history of jazz, Burns says of his Vietnam films, “They will inspire our country to begin to talk and think about the Vietnam War in an entirely new way.”

In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its “exceptionalism,” Burns’s “entirely new” Vietnam War is presented as an “epic, historic work.” Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam.

Burns says he is grateful to “the entire Bank of America family” which “has long supported our country’s veterans.” Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed, and around the same number are estimated to have taken their own lives.

I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war “was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings.”

The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of “false flags” that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers, which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971.

There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me – as it must be for many Americans – it is difficult to watch the film’s jumble of “red peril” maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences. In the series’ press release in Britain — the BBC will show it — there is no mention of Vietnamese dead, only Americans.

“We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy,” Novick is quoted as saying. How very post-modern.

All this will be familiar to those who have observed how the American media and popular culture behemoth has revised and served up the great crime of the second half of the Twentieth Century: from “The Green Berets” and “The Deer Hunter” to “Rambo” and, in so doing, has legitimized subsequent wars of aggression. The revisionism never stops and the blood never dries. The invader is pitied and purged of guilt, while “searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy.” Cue Bob Dylan: “Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?”

America’s amnesia

Everything wrong with the new ten-part PBS documentary on the Vietnam War is apparent in the first five minutes. A voice from nowhere intones about a war “begun in good faith” that somehow ran off the rails and killed millions of people. We see a firefight and a dead soldier in a body bag being winched into a helicopter, as the rotor goes thump, thump, thump, like a scene from Apocalypse Now. Then we cut to a funeral on Main Street and a coffin covered in Stars and Stripes, which multiply, as the camera zooms out, into dozens and then hundreds of flags, waving like a hex against warmongers who might be inclined to think that this film is insufficiently patriotic.

Everything right with the documentary is apparent in the next few minutes, as the film rolls back (literally running several scenes backward) into a trove of archival footage and music from the times and introduces the voices — many of them Vietnamese — that will narrate this history. The film relies heavily on writers and poets, including Americans Tim O’Brien and Karl Marlantes and the Vietnamese writers Le Minh Khue, and Bao Ninh, whose Sorrow of War ranks as one of the great novels about Vietnam or any war.

The even-handedness, the flag-draped history, bittersweet narrative, redemptive homecomings and the urge toward “healing” rather than truth are cinematic topoi that we have come to expect from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick through their films about the Civil War, Prohibition, baseball, jazz and other themes in United States history.

The NFL, the Military, and the Hijacking of Pat Tillman’s Story

Few episodes of the post-9/11 era have called down more disgrace upon the military than its handling of Tillman’s death and its treatment of his family in their search for answers. The most comprehensive documentation of those events can be found in three accounts: two books, “Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman,” written by Tillman’s mother, Mary, and “Where Men Win Glory,” by Jon Krakauer; as well as a 2006 story by Gary Smith for Sports Illustrated. Together, they offer an invaluable corrective to the simplistic depictions of Tillman, revealing a complex person and charting the ways in which officials at the highest levels of U.S. government sought to capitalize off his life and death.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Probes estimate billions of delayed mail to facilities and point to Postal Service ‘manipulation’ by a few employees

In a letter last week to Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) expressed his “great concern about the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General (OIG) audit report finding that the US Postal Service has been inaccurately reporting delayed mail across a number of facilities, directly impacting mail service for millions of customers.”

The OIG estimated that during the year ended Feb. 28, “mail processing facilities underreported late arriving mail by about 2 billion mailpieces” — that’s billion with a “b.”

Furthermore, another OIG investigation substantiated allegations of “time manipulation and inaccurate reporting of delayed mail.”

The Postal Service took strong exception to both reports, saying late arriving mail to facilities does not mean delayed delivery to customers and noting the time manipulation allegations involved only four people.

During the investigation that followed an inquiry from Tester, Christopher P. Cherry, a deputy assistant inspector general, said in a letter to the senator: “Four employees admitted to failing to report delayed mail. We learned that parcels were scanned as undeliverable to stop the clock. One of the four employees admitted to swiping employees’ time cards and manipulating … data at the direction of Postal Service management. Postal Service management denied directing clerks to scan the PO Box section barcode early.”

Tester was emphatic that those who engaged in manipulation or false reports should be sacked.

“To be clear,” he told Brennan, “any employee who deliberately delayed mail delivery or who knowingly misreported mail delivery should be terminated for violating the trust of America’s hardworking taxpayers and postal ratepayers.”