October 2015 - The Constantine Report    
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

'Satanic Panic' is Media Bluster -- Captive Texas Woman was Used in 'Blood Ritual' & Other Outrages

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

Also see: “Satanist admits molesting 3 girls, recording it and distributing it

‘I Serve Darkness’: Oregon Gunman Wrote About Obsession with Satan in Reported Manifesto, Says Source

Man wants to give satanic invocation at county meeting

Self-proclaimed Satanist found dead in jail cell in NC

Suspect sought in hate crimes at Lake Tahoe-area churches” (re satanic church vandalism)

But the media-at-large have given us this slant — ad nauseum — for the past 30 years: “People have ‘misconception’ of Satanists, S.A. group’s leader says,” and, of course, “Satanic panic and America’s witch-hunt problem

Establishment liberals cling to the “Satanic Panic” cover story that began with advocates of the perpetrators — particularly oily Village Voice huckster Debbie Nathan, who coined the phrase — and still reverberates through all channels of opinion formation. I am often ashamed of my fellow liberals. — AC

Captive Texas Woman was Used in ‘Blood Ritual’

DALLAS (AP) — Four people kidnapped a woman and held her captive for three days in a San Antonio-area home, forcing her to ingest drugs and at one point conducting a “blood ritual,” a sheriff’s spokesman said Wednesday.

Authorities believe Mercedes Salazar, 32, was the ringleader who orchestrated the woman’s captivity, according to James Keith, spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. Salazar is being held on charges that include aggravated kidnapping, he said.

Keith said Salazar believed the 25-year-old woman played a role in the August killing of her brother. Authorities say there’s no indication the victim played any role in the death.

The woman was abducted last month and spent most of her time in captivity tied to a chair. She told investigators she was forced to take drugs, including what she believed was heroin. Her captors also held a ceremony that Keith described as a blood ritual.

“It was a form of witchcraft where they cut her hair and drew blood from her,” he said.

It’s not clear what the four were trying to achieve with the ritual, Keith said, who added, “We’re solely operating on what the victim told us.”

Authorities have not released the woman’s name.

Sheriff’s deputies found the woman because she was eventually able to call her mother, who notified authorities.

The woman had been left with one of her captors who untied her from the chair so she could use the bathroom and get a drink. The suspect fell asleep, allowing the victim to make the phone call.

When the woman saw deputies arriving at the home, she screamed for help, awakening her captor, who threatened her with a knife and scissors, authorities allege. Deputies forced their way into the home and disarmed the suspect.

Three of the suspects were arrested within days and charged with a variety of crimes that include aggravated kidnapping. Authorities didn’t find Salazar until last weekend, taking her into custody early Sunday. Online jail records did not list an attorney who could address the allegations against her.

Salazar has a long criminal record that includes being booked into the Bexar County jail on 11 separate occasions on dozens of charges since she was 17, Keith said.

The victim at one time dated Salazar’s brother, Angel Salazar, who was killed Aug. 18 in San Antonio. Romana Lopez, spokeswoman for San Antonio police, said Wednesday that five men have been arrested in that killing.

Suit is first to rely on Senate’s $40 million investigation of the CIA’s program

Two psychologists made $80 million to set up what is described as an ‘experimental torture program’

One died and the other two were mentally traumatized after undergoing the techniques, suit says

AC Note: AlterNet recently attempted discredit my examination of CIA ties to the death of Bob Marley, published in a book entitled “The Covert War Against Rock” (Feral House, 2000), in an illiterate op-ed that seemed to suggest that the national security state wouldn’t think of conspiring against anyone. The swipe implied that my investigation of Marley’s demise (and ‘medical treatment” by an old guard Nazi doctor, a nine-year member of Himmler’s SS) constitutes a whimsical “conspiracy theory,” and noted that it had been “published — wait for it — in High Times.” Well, actually, the chapter from my book was reprinted by High Times (also in one non-conspiracist collection of biographical essays about Marley and a number of reggae websites), and that is enough, I suppose, to discredit facts that I rallied concerning the CIA-affiliated Shower Posse  death squad firearm assault on Marley at his Hope Road home, and subsequent cancer. Better High Times, I thought upon reading this cheap shot, than AlterNet …

Problems at AlterNet?

{MediaCulture.69.46}: Al Giordano {algiordano}

Fri, 08 Mar 2002 18:59:27 CST (37 lines)

… What credibility does Alternet have criticizing the big lies when it is busy telling its own? Only when we practice what we preach will we be able to triumph against these huge injustices.

If I’ve published 500 stories on the drug war and the corruptions of governments and capitalist enterprises, and if I practice what I preach in authentic journalism, I think I have every right to stand up for myself and my trade when Alternet behaves dishonestly like Enron.

Sure, there’s a question of scale. If I had written 499 stories about Alternet and only one on the drug war, this would be a different story already. But to say that the little lies, the small rip-offs, the “alternative” hypocrisies, the lesser indignities to workers, writers, readers and the public should go ignored is an invitation and endorsement of the larger ones.

Public Broadcasting is a good comparison to Alternet.

For a closer look at how Alternet and it*s parent corporation *Independent Media Institute* squander millions of dollars on bureaucracy, director Don Hazen*s $79,000 salary, about $40,000 a year in unspecified *travel expenses,* and, in fact, moves very little editorial product for the amount of money it burns, there is a public interest website that keeps track of *non-profit* corporations and their annual IRS filings.

It*s called Guidestar:


The Guidestar website states:

*Forms 990 provided by GuideStar in collaboration with the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute. These images have been altered to remove social security numbers and signatures from the signature block.*

One of Guidestar*s recommendations for potential donors and others viewing the IRS Forms 990 * particularly important when looking at Alternet/Independent Media Institute filings * is that *an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.*

The 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 990 tax forms for Alternet/IMI are linked from this Guidestar page:


Since it*s clear that Alternet staff members read this message board (posting messages here was the only effective way to provoke response from behind the stonewall, in the form of letters to us from Leda Dederich and Emi Kane), the staff members themselves may be dying to know just how much money passes over their heads.

So, folks, check out these legal documents, print them out, pass them (quietly, if you*re afraid of the blacklist!) around the office, ask an accountant to analyze them for you.

It will be a very educational experience for Alternet staff, writers, readers, donors and client newspapers.

You will find my analysis that Alternet has become a fat and inefficient bureaucracy, with less bang for the buck than donors, foundations, writers, readers, client papers and citizens have a right to expect, is, if anything, understated.

Here are the specific #s for the 990 forms for the years posted online by Guidestar:









Why does Guidestar post these documents online?

Because: *Non-profit* corporations have a special responsibility to be open to public inquiry. More of that spirit, and less obfuscation, would serve Alternet, and all concerned, much better.

*from somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano

… until what at last a few of us would still like to imagine is the revolution to come, seems sucking up to whoever holds the purse strings is often part of the story. honesty and transparency about who’s getting what and under what conditions, seems like the critical thing (though I must say, the OAS Latin American conference supposedly on that very topic…was it last year,
Al?…sure made me think that word and concept have been coopted
horrendously too).

I’ve dealt with Tides Foundation funding for many progressive and worthy endeavors, and think it;s all got to be taken on a case-by-case basis. taking Tides money doesn;t automatically make any entity corrupt…but the points Brugmann raised are worthy of consideration. I’ll lave it there for now. but Al’s critiques and discoveries stand on their own, totally independent of what SFBG says about Alternet and Tides. as I said, of all the proposed conspiracies within feuding factions in the “progressive” community (I thiink “progress” is a bit of a red herring, BTW), this accusation by Hazen that Bruce Brugmann’s personal vendetta, if indeed he has one, about Alternet, hasm*anything* to do with what Al said rates among the more ludicrous. no, among the MOST ludicrous.

{MediaCulture.69.61}: Don Freidkin {donf} Sun, 10 Mar 2002 22:15:06 CST (HTML) …


Don Hazen’s sleaze

THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA Institute, the San Francisco-based group that runs a news syndication service for the alternative press, has become embroiled in yet another serious ethical conflict that demonstrates the fundamental problems with foundation funding of media and political groups.

IMI operates Alternet, an online wire service that distributes stories to alternative newspapers all over the country. It started out as a simple, relatively small-scale operation created by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, a national trade group. Alternet picked up the best stories from the alternative press and resold them to other papers.

But some 10 years ago, Don Hazen became executive director of IMI (which back then was called the Institute for Alternative Journalism), and he quickly began moving to turn the outfit into his own personal fiefdom. Gone was much of any interest in serving the alternative press, particularly the small, struggling independent papers. Instead Hazen began looking for ways to get foundation funding to expand the size of his operation. He began looking for programs that the donors would fund.

The problem, of course, is that an organization that is heavily dependent on foundation funding has to tailor its agenda to meet the interests of the funders (see “Pulling Strings,” 10/8/97). And indeed, Alternet soon stopped running stories that might offend the folks with the money.

For example, he blacked out all of our reports on the privatization of the Presidio – at the same time as he was soliciting grants from the Tides Foundation, which had just gotten a sweetheart lease at the Presidio. Tides was also getting money from the Energy Foundation, which was pushing energy deregulation – another story Hazen wouldn’t properly cover.

The worst problem: Hazen kept all of this information secret. He wouldn’t make public the source or amount of his funding and refused to reveal what conditions were attached to his foundation grants.

That policy has just created a new firestorm in alternative media circles. Al Giordano, who runs an independent Web site called Narco News (www.narconews.com) that reports on drug policy, released an in-depth investigative report last week revealing, among other things, that Hazen had a special, secret arrangement with a private donor to pay IMI a “bounty” on every drug-policy story that Alternet placed in a publication. In other words, Hazen was pushing stories about a certain topic because he was getting extra cash for it. And – in what could prove to be a serious embarrassment to newspapers that regularly use Alternet stories – he never disclosed that those stories were in part underwritten by a private donor.

That violates a basic ethical standard that almost every major publication follows: When there’s outside funding for a story, you disclose it. In this case, Giordano wrote, Alternet “compromised the ethics of its subscribing newspapers. It denied them the knowledge they needed to make their own full disclosure. This is an example of how Alternet tangles other parties in its web of deceit.”

To make matters worse, Alternet pays writers half of the money it gets from selling their stories – but as far as Girodano could tell, none of the “bounty money” has made its way back to the writers.

Giordano has sent Hazen a list of 10 key questions (which are posted on his Web site and at www.sfbg.com). Among other things, he asks, “Are there bounty payments for other issue areas?” In other words, is almost everything on the Alternet wire compromised? Is there any way for any of the papers that use the material (or their readers) to know? Not so far, because Hazen is still keeping it all secret: he refused to respond to Girodano and to a series of questions that we submitted and has offered only a brief nonresponse to media critic Dan Kennedy (www.dankennedy.net) in which he doesn’t deny the “bounty” system.

The problem is that all of this sleaze tarnishes the good name of the alternative press and all of the writers who sell their work through Alternet. Hazen needs to come clean – now – or his board of directors needs to force him to do so. If he won’t answer the questions, the newspapers that provide and run Alternet material and the writers who submit it have no choice but to stop doing business with IMI.
News organizations have a special duty to abide by basic ethical practices. That is just as true, perhaps moreso, for those of us who claim an “alternative” status.

That’s why Narco News and I have, from our first day of publication, publicly disclosed any and all relationships, financial or otherwise, that could create even the appearance of conflict of interest. That information appears on our links page and is been regularly updated when necessary.

Alternet, an “alternative” news organization, which according to statements by its own director has received an estimated million dollars for editorial product, has been less forthcoming. Some of Alternet’s ethical lapses have entangled Narco News, and so we feel duty bound to clear the air.

This is not a critique of the many good writers whose work has been syndicated by Alternet. Au contraire. Alternet has systematically abused its writers. Today, we publish this information in defense of writers, readers and other publications that, like ours, have been swept up in events regarding Alternet without our knowledge and beyond our control.

For more than a decade, I have been one of Alternet’s syndicated writers. My work in the Boston Phoenix and, in years prior, the Valley Advocate, has occasionally been resold through Alternet to other periodicals. But the Alternet medium has begun to contaminate the message and tars anyone associated with the same corrupted brush.

Today I explain for our readers why Narco News and I will no longer allow Alternet to republish our work.

I have never been enthusiastic about Alternet’s charging of a usurious 50 percent fee for the articles it resells. But until now, Alternet has been the only game in town. It has had near monopoly status as a syndication agency for a particular niche of “alternative” news. But, as with other monopolies, Alternet has grown fat in abusing its position in a manner that now causes more harm than good.

That monopoly status is about to end with the launch of a competing alternative news syndication service, also based in San Francisco, titled Pulp Syndicate, which will charge 33 percent of the writer’s fee instead of the outrageous 50 percent taken by Alternet. Pulp Syndicate plans to launch later this Spring, but Narco News has obtained the # for Pulp’s draft web page as it prepares its inauguration, which, of course, we share with our readers. Additionally, here is the prototype page revealing the real meat for writers, explaining details about how Pulp will syndicate.

Neither Narco News nor I have any relationship, business or otherwise, with Pulp Syndicate or its management. We are spectators to its project, kind readers, just like you. Today we report on Alternet’s ethical problems, in part to encourage the new Pulp Syndicate group to scrupulously avoid the errors that have destroyed the credibility of the Alternet project.

We hope that this long overdue competition between “alternative syndication” groups will be healthy for all media, but particularly the genre known as the alternative press.

The competition could also be healthy for the board of directors of Alternet’s parent company, the Independent Media Institute. It could force them to finally come clean and correct the ethics problems at Alternet, and restore ethical practice to a runaway shop.

The most serious Alternet ethics problems involve its director, Don Hazen. In that sense, the main problem that Alternet has is a “Hazen problem.” With its monopoly status about to end, the pressure is getting to Alternet’s Hazen. Last month, he engaged in what we see as Hazen’s money-driven attack on a media watchdog group: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, FAIR. In the past, Hazen has similarly attacked other nonprofit institutions that compete with Alternet for donations: Project Censored and even against IndyMedia, which, in our view, is to date the pinnacle model of citizen participation in the media.

These organizations are unable to fully defend themselves because of that competition for funds. They would risk looking as petty as Hazen and Alternet if they did so.

Narco News, however, does not compete in any way with Alternet, and certainly not for funds. We are not presently engaged in any fundraising campaigns (Narco News doesn’t even have a bank account). We have recently won the Drug War on Trial case in the New York Supreme Court – that established First Amendment protection for all Internet journalists – and so we’re not soliciting money for our defense fund, either. Thus, we are able to speak, cleanly and responsibly, about the problem that Alternet is causing for the alternative media and the causes it claims to support.

The Alternet Papers

Narco News has obtained internal documents authored by Alternet director Don Hazen and other Alternet staff members that reveal serious violations of the most basic ethical standards for journalists.

Those violations include:

— The collection of what Alternet calls “bounty” fees for each story it sells on drug policy issues.

— Alternet’s refusal, when asked, to disclose the nature of those reprint fees.

— Alternet’s hiding the existence of those “bounty” fees from the writers of those articles, when Alternet claims to pay the writers 50 percent of all reprint fees.

— Alternet’s consequent non-payment of funds that, according to its own website, rightfully belong to the writers.

— Alternet’s blacklisting of writers (similar to the NY Times blacklist banning work by leaders of the National Writers Union), including when Hazen fantasizes, inaccurately, that a writer has been the source of information leading to a legitimate labor complaint by another writer.

— Alternet’s cavalier theft, on two occasions, of stories from our own publication, and Alternet’s dishonesty in having later claimed that it did not offer one of those stories for sale, when, in fact, it did.

— Alternet’s request to staff members that they use false identities to post “positive reviews” of an Alternet product that is for sale on Amazon.com

By violating these ethical standards, Alternet has abused the trust of readers, writers, funders, client newspapers and the public at large.

In doing so, Alternet is giving a bad name to “alternative journalism” and the causes it claims to support.

In other words, it is time for the alternative journalism community to clean house. As always, we favor sunlight as the best disinfectant.

At Narco News, we have frequently written about ethical problems by news organizations. Inauthentic journalists from Associated Press to the New York Times whose unethical actions were first reported here are no longer working in the jobs they once held. It is important that the press reports about the press. To do so is the only check and balance that the public has in its search to know the truth about power relationships of media in our society.

There may be those who say that we should look the other way from Alternet’s unethical practices; that we should first raise the issue “in the family” of alternative journalists. Last fall, we did bring some of these issues to the attention of Alternet. The response by Alternet’s director, Hazen, was less than serious. Alternet stonewalled, failed to answer questions that any competent journalist must answer to meet the standard of full disclosure, and made statements that – as we document today – were knowingly false and dishonest. This is not role model behavior for any business venture. For journalists, it is unconscionable, and casts doubt upon the integrity of the entire operation.

In any case, Alternet should be the last institution to complain about criticism of its actions, given director Don Hazen’s serial attacks on other alternative press organizations. Alternet/IMI’s board of directors – whose membership is not disclosed on its website – have known of “the Hazen problem” for years. Alternet should not cry now.

“Bounty Hunting” as Journalism

Narco News has obtained an internal memo authored last year by Alternet staffer Michael Kreidler that reveals “bounty” hunting by Alternet, for matching funds on stories related to drug policy. In other words, Alternet set up an arrangement with a donor in which, for every story on drug policy issues sold, Alternet would receive a “bounty” payment from that donor.

Remember that Alternet claims to give 50 percent of the proceeds on any story to the writer of the article or column. Alternet has not done so with a great many stories for which it received these “bounty” payments.

The unethical behavior, in this case, is that Alternet did not disclose this arrangement. This constitutes a serious corruption of the journalistic process.

First, the readers had a right to know that Alternet’s “Drug Reporter” program was a mechanism for Alternet to receive specific funds targeted on a “per story” basis.

Second, the client newspapers not only had a right to know this: They had a duty to disclose it. On an entire series of articles by different authors, Alternet compromised the ethics of its subscribing newspapers. It denied them the knowledge they needed to make their own full disclosure. This is an example of how Alternet tangles other parties in its web of deceit.

It is no crime that foundations and donors sometimes fund a particular story. Indeed, that practice should be encouraged. However, the practice, when it happens, must be disclosed. The ethical violation occurs if that funding is not disclosed to the readers, the writer, and/or the publishing newspaper.

Serious news organizations always disclose the funding for a specific story. This is an inviolable rule for journalism. (For example, when I wrote Zapatistas on the March for The Nation magazine on April 9, 2001, the article was accompanied by a text that disclosed: “This article is part of the Haywood Burns Community Activist Journalism series, sponsored by the New World Foundation and the Nation Institute.”)

Third, there is another sector in this chain of abuse that has suffered even worse: The writers.

Many citizens and activists may not know the indignities that freelance journalists must endure, beyond the low pay they receive for their work. In the caste system of journalism, we freelancers have scar tissue upon scar tissue. (This is not to suggest that staff writers for newspapers and magazines don’t also suffer indignities. I’ve been there, too. But nothing compares, in the media industry, to the abuse that freelance writers endure.)

Thus, since Alternet traffics in the issue of “human rights” with its “Human Rights USA” program, what about the human rights of labor? What of Alternet’s working class, the writers who produce its product? (Is Alternet’s “Human Rights USA” page another fundraising-driven operation? How would we know? Alternet doesn’t disclose its backroom financial deals. But given the reality of its dishonest “drug reporter” program, it is fair to ask whether the same kind of arrangements lurk beyond its other “issue specific” programs.)

According to the memo authored by Alternet staff member Michael Kreidler last year, a donor who supported its “drug reporter” program “gave $25,000 sometime in early May/late April.” Alternet’s Kreidler wrote, “and the only ‘bounty’ that I’m aware of came in recently, and was for $1,400.”

Kreidler wrote: “I see 2 thank you notes saved electronically, plus countless other packet of clippings, memos, etc. that Don has us whip together in advance of his meetings” with the donor.

“Getting an exact figure for this is nearly impossible,” Kreidler lamented in his memo. “I don’t know what he has/hasn’t received. Generally, each package contains the most current Drug Reporter stories spotted, some color screen shots of the Drug Reporter page, and a bit of general info about Alternet…”

(Obviously, I am not dragging the donor’s name into this story, an individual citizen who probably had the best intentions and committed no ethical violation at all. I will keep this report focused on the actual wrongdoing in a way that, to the best of my ability, doesn’t harm innocent parties.)

Alternet staff member Emi Kane sent a memo to Kreidler, asking about the donor: “Has he agreed to the new ‘bounties’ set by Don?”

Kreidler replied: “As far as I know, yes. I’ve only seen one check myself resulting from this agreement, and it was last week.”

Kane asked Kreidler, in a written memo, “basically – what is up with this guy, what is the status of AlterNet’s relationship with him?”

Kriedler replied: “Don (Hazen) meets with him practically every time he’s in DC… Alternet’s relationship with him is Don’s relationship with him… Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”

According to an October 22, 2001 memo by Alternet director Don Hazen, the following writers’ works were submitted to the donor for “bounty” payments: Jim Hightower, Maia Szalavitz, Rich Lowry, Martin A. Lee, Carla Spartos, Dean Kuipers, Marc Schanz and Nicholas Eyle. Alternet sought specific “bounty” payments of up to $150 per story, depending on what “class” of story was involved.

Because Alternet did not disclose whether it in fact received these “bounty” fees, the writers, until today, have had no idea if Alternet owes them their fifty-percent share of those fees.

Alternet’s own web page explaining its syndication policies states: “Half of each reprint fee goes directly to the writer or the originating publication.”

By any reasonable standard, these “bounty” payments constitute additional reprint fees received by Alternet for stories on drug policy. The writers have been ripped off.

Alternet Dollars for Dummies

In October 2001, Narco News edited and published a three-part series by Catherine Austin Fitts, titled Narco Dollars for Dummies.

Imagine our surprise to have discovered that Alternet stole that story and offered it for sale to its client newspapers.

Alternet lifted the story without seeking nor obtaining permission from either Ms. Fitts or Narco News.

On October 29th, I wrote a memo to Don Hazen of Alternet informing him of the facts:

“You should have known better, Don. You know that Narco News accepts no advertising, charges no payment from readers, and offers no commercial service at all. Our policy is that if truly non-commercial websites – such as, say, indymedia.org or non-commercial email lists – wish to republish our stories and commentaries, Narco News has no problem with that. But your organization, Alternet, although it has a stated ‘alternative’ mission, is a *commercial* syndication service, and does not fall into that category.”

By October 2001, Hazen was hardly an unknown quantity to me. I first met him in 1984, in Nicaragua, when Abbie Hoffman hired me as a tour guide for a group of North Americans visiting that country, and Hazen was one of the 60 tourists on the tour. In the 1990s, I would infrequently bump into Hazen at alternative media conventions. He was never my cup of tea, but neither did I have any conflicts with him. When I learned in October 2001 that Fitts’ story had been stolen by Alternet, I added a half-dozen colleagues, plus our legal counsel and the author, to the CC list on my email to Hazen, to make the correspondence transparent.

And I stated in that October 29th email to Hazen:

“In addition, I am deeply concerned with reports we’ve received that Alternet receives specific contributions *per story* that Alternet publishes regarding the war on drugs, from at least one philanthropist, and that, in my understanding, this has not been disclosed to the authors of these stories. Nor has, to my knowledge, the normal Alternet percentage of 50% of those moniesthat should go to the authors from that source has been shared with the authors of drug-war stories syndicated by Alternet. It was certainly never disclosed to Ms. Fitts or Narco News. I ask for clarification of how this matching-grant-type service works for Alternet….”

I further requested that 100-percent of any such funds go to the author, Ms. Fitts.

“It is sometimes said that the ‘alternative’ press is the biggest abuser of freelance journalists and authors,” I wrote to Hazen on that day. “Unfortunately, Alternet has provided us with another example of this shameful adage and the behavior of Alternet, in this case, harms the reputation of the entire alternative press.”

Hazen’s reply, which he titled “response to false allegations,” claimed that Alternet had published the Narco News story due to a “mistake, by a young person.”

And Hazen wrote: “Your allegation that we are in the business of exploiting and abusing journalists is libelous.”

And Hazen claimed: “This story has not been offered for syndication and will produce no revenue.”

Hazen’s claim, that the stolen article had not been offered for syndication, turned out to be a lie.

I asked a source in one of his client newspapers to check on this claim. The newspaper editor checked the part of Alternet’s online syndication pages that can exclusively be accessed by the client newspapers. The editor reported back to me that, in fact, the Fitts story had been offered for sale, and even had a price attached to it (which varied according to the size of the newspaper purchasing the article.)

Thus, in his claim that the “story has not been offered for syndication,” Hazen lied. His claim that I had made”false allegations” and “libelous” statements went beyond dishonest. They were downright sleazy.

With that dishonesty, Hazen committed yet another violation of ethics: He failed to respond honestly to a writer’s request “for clarification” on the issues stated above.

Recently, I discovered that the theft of Catherine Austin Fitts’ series had not been an isolated incident. On September 19, 2001, Alternet had stolen a Narco News story by Kim Alphandary, about the war on terrorism and “Plan Colombia.” As of today, it is still on Alternet’s website.

Alternet had sent me an email, last September, requesting permission to reprint the story. That permission was never granted. Our policy is that writers own their stories, so I forwarded the letter to Alphandary.

“I responded to them by asking about the terms,” says Alphandary, “and never heard from them again. Only recently did I discover that they had published it.”

Hazen still has not responded to my October request for clarification on how the “bounty” fees deal worked, an explanation that he owes to every writer whose work appears on Alternet, and every client newspaper.

Instead of meeting his ethical obligation to disclose the facts, Hazen went on the counter-attack.

Hazen vs. Press Freedom

At the time of Hazen’s dishonest email last October, Narco News and I were still being sued by the National Bank of Mexico in the New York Supreme Court, for reports that have subsequently been vindicated by the court in what all now view as a landmark decision for press freedom on the Internet.

The last time I had seen Hazen was in June at a drug policy convention in Albuquerque, where Hazen truly was “flailing around with tin cup in hand.” I had been invited to the convention to deliver a presentation on the drug war in Latin America. On the first day of the conference, I had successfully avoided Hazen, and he had successfully avoided me. But on the second day, something very revealing occurred.

At a luncheon featuring a speech by the governor of New Mexico, I was seated at a table with some friends, one of them a philanthropist who supports small human rights projects in Latin America, who has supported my own work as a journalist. The support of that philanthropist’s foundation has always been disclosed on our links page. Suddenly, and predictably, Hazen was heading toward my table, putting on an embarrassing show as if to give the impression that he was my dearest friend in the world (what is it about these guys like Hazen and former White House press secretary Bob Weiner who think it convenient to be seen as pals of mine?) It was clear that this act of theater was aimed not at me, but at the philanthropist at the table.

Fortunately, every seat at the table was already filled. Hazen kneeled down behind the philanthropist’s chair and asked me how my lawsuit was going. He made a loud point of claiming that “we want to do something in support of your defense,” and I politely suggested that he could send me an email. Of course, he never did anything, nor did I ever ask him for any help. The story of the narco-lawsuit was very well reported already by scores of authentic journalists. And Hazen and I both knew that he never intended to do anything in support of this press freedom case. It was just chatter, with the hidden agenda of wooing a friend of mine who happens to be a philanthropist. I was embarrassed for him and for me

Fast-forward to October, and Hazen, for the first time, opened his mouth about our legal battle. As a result of my emailed inquiry seeking clarification of his undisclosed secret funding deal, Hazen, the self-proclaimed promoter of alternative media, was now using the Banamex lawsuit as a rhetorical point against me. He wrote, “You would think that after being sued, you might be more thoughtful about making inaccurate attacks on your colleagues and allies, who have been supportive of your work.” His knowingly false use of the word “libelous” in his counter-attack speaks volumes about Hazen’s weakness of character and unreliability as a self-proclaimed “ally.” When trying to keep his unethical activity secret, he was capable even of siding with Banamex.

I responded to Hazen’s obfuscating email, saying:

“You still have not answered the question about whether Alternet’s syndication service does indeed receive ‘per-story’ additional funding for drug-war stories that it sells to periodicals, and the question about whether writers share in those proceeds, or even know about them…. As a writer who reports on the drug war and has had stories syndicated by Alternet in the past, I think I deserve a more honest answer to that question. I will state it again: Does Alternet receive additional funding on a ‘per story’ basis beyind what it is paid by the periodical that purchases the story? And if it does, what are the details of that arrangement? And what percentage, if any, goes to the author? Do the writers have a right to full answers to those questions or not? Don’t evade them with bombast. Just provide whole answers!”

Only because Narco News has obtained the aforementioned internal communications by Hazen and Alternet staff members, do the readers, writers and client newspapers now have access to the truth.

Hazen and Alternet, four months later, have still not responded publicly to those questions.

Their once-private memos, though, tell the truth that Hazen sought to hide.

The Alternet Blacklist

Almost a month after that email exchange, I went to Boston to deliver a lecture at Boston University. I visited my journalistic alma mater, the Boston Phoenix, and signed a new freelance contract. The generic contract had language protecting the newspaper from any disputes that might arise from Alternet’s resale of articles in the Phoenix. I explained to the management that I would like the Phoenix to amend my contract so that my work would no longer be resold to Alternet in the future. I no longer wanted to compromise my own credibility by allowing Alternet to syndicate my work. This would mean less income for me, but principle comes first in authentic journalism. The folks at the Phoenix, always responsive to my concerns as a writer, obliged me and we changed the wording of the contract.

Little did I know that I had already been placed on Alternet’s blacklist of writers whose work Alternet has banned.

Narco News has obtained a “confidential” memo authored by Alternet director Don Hazen on October 31, 2001 – two days after I wrote Hazen seeking full disclosure on these important matters of journalism.

The Halloween Blacklist memo, authored by Hazen, was titled “confidential.”

“Giordano,” Hazen instructed his staff, is “a propagandist in the grand tradition of (San Francisco Bay Guardian publisher Bruce) Brugmann… we never know when someone is jealous, is being fed bad information and wants to lash out and as in this case is fundamentally paranoid but nevertheless brilliant and feels no constraints.”

And Hazen delivered a new order to his staff, to “stay far away from Narco Watch (sic) – no links, no syndication, nada. If questions, let me know. DH.”

An irony here is that the only “bad information” that I had been fed turned out to have come from Hazen himself, when he denied having offered the stolen Narco News story for sale. Rather than answer my request for “a clarification,” Hazen placed me on the blacklist.

Since I had decided not to allow my work to by syndicated by Alternet anyway, the blacklist has no personal impact one way or another. It’s the existence of a blacklist – and its infantile kill-the-messenger mentality – that should concern all writers, readers and client newspapers who do business with Alternet.

Narco News has also learned that Giordano is not alone on that blacklist.

A January 18, 2002 memo authored by Hazen to an Alternet staff member – obtained by Narco News – reveals that Hazen is very quick to place writers on Alternet’s blacklist even in cases where the writer’s alleged offense merely springs from Hazen’s fantasy world.

Mother Jones magazine had published an excellent article about the failures of the war on drugs.

When Hazen saw that Alternet was about to syndicate that article, he freaked out, instructing his staff: “Absolutely DO NOT use (the Mother Jones writer’s) article – very bad vibes he was the source for Al Girodano attacks.” (Sic.)

Note that I have not dragged that writer’s name through Alternet’s mud here by repeating Hazen’s falsehood about him. That writer was definitely not the source of any information in my emails to Alternet. I swear that under the penalties and pains of perjury, not for Hazen’s benefit, but for the writer, who without evidence has been scapegoated and blacklisted based on nothing more than the troubles and traumas that lurk in Hazen’s brain. (Note, kind reader, my use of the legal language of a sworn affidavit. If Hazen wishes to persist in his dishonest and false claims of “libel” against him, I suggest that he sue me, or stand naked in his deceit. The truth, now as always, will be our sword.) It’s not the quality of one’s work that apparently determines whether Alternet syndicates it, but, rather, the degree of undignified ring kissing by a writer toward Don Hazen. This is not serious journalistic practice on the part of Alternet.

“Paranoia” is one of Hazen’s favorite accusations against anyone who raises legitimate questions about his unethical activity. One of the documents obtained above shows him using that word to describe me. He also recently accused respected media critic Bob McChesney of “paranoia” in a similar situation where the facts did not back up Hazen’s characterization. The act of blacklisting a writer based on Hazen’s – now documented – paranoid fantasies ought to cause grave concern among members of the Alternet/IMI board of directors about the mental stability of their agent. Innocent writers are now being blacklisted based on Hazen’s stunted imagination. In the end, the readers and client newspapers are harmed, too, for they are denied the opportunity to read the good works of the Mother Jones writer – and how many other writers?

Alter-Fraud and Book Sales

A February 2002 memo from Alternet staff member Judy Hong to other Alternet employees, obtained by Narco News, provides a scintillating glimpse into the ethics of the corporate culture at Alternet.

The memo reveals that Alternet has encouraged its staff to use false identities in posting positive “book reviews” for one of its products on the Amazon.com website.

The Alternet staff member wrote to all Alternet staff: “Our After 9/11 book is on the Amazon.com web site. We’ve already sold 4 books through them… If you get a chance, please go to the site and write a review for the book. Please sign a ‘pen name,’ ie, one not associated with AlterNet. Also, Amazon asks for your city and state. Maybe you could mix it up a bit, so that we look like we are all over the place.”

A memo like this one does a disservice to the good writers whose work was featured in that Alternet product. It implies that Alternet doesn’t have faith that real readers will give the book of essays positive reviews on its own merits. It also places Alternet staff members in a difficult position, in that to comply with the request they must jeopardize their own credibility as journalists by engaging in a kind of fraud. A news organization with a staff has a responsibility to breed ethical journalists. If there are young journalists starting their careers at Alternet, I shudder to think what they are being taught about how to succeed in a troubled industry.

This memo, encouraging fraud, resonates with the emerging view of how business is conducted at the Alternet news organization, where the obsession with money and sales consistently triumphs over the most important journalistic principles… like honesty.

Millions For Middlemen

In his October email to Narco News, Alternet’s Hazen boasted, “Over the past ten years or more, we have provided free lance journalists with well over one million dollars in payments.”

Kind readers, do the math: Alternet collects a usurious 50 percent of the fees for the stories it sells. If it has paid “over one million dollars” to writers, it therefore has collected an equal amount for itself.

Add to that million dollars the foundation grants that Alternet receives. We, the public, don’t have access to the details of Alternet’s financing. The issue of Alternet’s secrecy in its financing has long been the subject of controversy in the circles of alternative media. The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN), which once sponsored and subsidized Alternet, disassociated itself from Alternet in in part based on these ethics concerns. The San Francisco Bay Guardian – and this explains Hazen’s uneasiness with its publisher Bruce Brugmann – has reported on its attempts, as a former Alternet subscriber and a member of AAN, to gain answers to the same kinds of questions that we have posed about the relation of money to editorial content at Alternet

(There is a pattern to Hazen’s attacks on Brugmann, FAIR, Project Censored and others that concerns me as an investigative journalist: Hazen’s naked hostility to investigative journalism — something that Hazen himself does not produce, but, rather, selectively reproduces. Take Brugmann, for example, a veteran investigative reporter who is now a publisher, and recently vindicated on his 30-year journalistic crusade to expose the electric power monopoly of PG&E in California, for which he has recently been recognized by Columbia Journalism Review and Salon.com, among others.)

Add to the million dollars and the unknown dollar quantities of foundation grants the undisclosed “bounty” fees for Alternet’s drug policy stories, and our questions about whether other “issue programs” by Alternet on themes from Human Rights to the Environment may similarly involve undisclosed funding mechanisms.

Alternet, although it is, technically speaking, a non-profit organization, deals in reproductive capitalism. Unfortunately, “non-profit” status does not cure the corruption of finance in too many ventures, nor make it a “non-commercial” operation. Commercialism rules the day at Alternet. The majority of its product is not produced by Alternet, but, rather, reproduced from the work of other publications and writers. In sum, Alternet’s main role in the industry is that of Middleman. It has collected, by Hazen’s own admission, more than a million dollars simply by placing itself between writers and publications. There is nothing inherently wrong with that – Alternet began with a mission that many of us supported. It is how Alternet has abused its Middleman status that has spoiled the project and now causes more harm than good.

From our perspective at Narco News, Alternet should have accomplished more – much more – with its millionaire budget over the past decade. We prefer our own “small is beautiful” model, and we don’t just talk about it: We live it. Hazen, if past is prologue, may respond to this report in a non-responsive manner, merely boasting alleged statistics of Alternet’s “success.” We simply note that our tiny operation of two journalists, two laptops and a web page has proved more productive than the entire million-dollar bureaucracy of Alternet by Hazen’s own oft-boasted yardsticks of “hit counts” and original stories produced. If he wishes to play dueling stats, we’re ready. We’ve earned the right, through our low-budget accomplishments, to question the bureaucratic inefficiency of Alternet.

Bureaucracy, of the Alternet model, is extrinsic to successful Authentic Journalism on the Internet. The story of “the dot.com boom-and-bust” is a story of the failings of bureaucracy. (That maxim, clearly, applies to .orgs, too.) Not only are big budgets unnecessary. The Alternet story shows that big budgets can become inefficient drainage pipes for the overall resources of social movements, and lead to Alternet-style abuses with many harmful and counter-productive results for all.

We will now apply our unconstrained eye to Hazen’s recent attack against Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the media watchdog organization known as FAIR.

Pot, Kettle, Hazen

On January 31, 2002, Don Hazen wrote a column, published by Alternet, purportedly about the 15th anniversary celebration, in New York, by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). It was a garbled, poorly written screed that attacked the media watchdog group FAIR as, in his view, “out of touch with the times.”

Like much of what Hazen writes, both under his own name and under the pseudonym of “Masher,” the column was pointless, boring, and, well… out of touch with the times. There should be a support group for people like Hazen, where they can go and get the attention they seek but don’t have the talent nor passion to obtain in a meritocracy.

Occasionally, Hazen’s personal frustration boils over. He has this big bureaucracy, Alternet, with access to more than 100 client newspapers and magazines, but he can’t seem to crack through the datasphere in any meaningful way, at least not with any original work of his own. The most attention Hazen has gotten in recent years, he has found, has been when he attacks competing organizations. He’s done it to Project Censored and to Indymedia, and now he’s done it to FAIR.

I write this out of a sense of personal duty to my trade of authentic journalism. It is interesting to note that more than one week has passed since the Colombian government declared all-out war on the rebels on February 20, in what even the major dailies acknowledge is the next big US military campaign. Major news stories have exploded regarding the US-imposed Plan Colombia, in each of Alternet’s “issue areas” of “drug reporter,” human rights, the environment and the so-called war on terrorism.

But during these nine days that shook everyone in the world except Alternet, what has Hazen’s tired bureaucracy done to “be in step” with the biggest story of the immediate times?


Narco News, with our tiny little operation, has in this same short time period, published the following stories:Drug War Goes Boom in Colombia; and also DynCorp Charged With Terrorism (Part I); and also The Ballad of Ramón Arellano Félix. In this same week, we translated the communiqué of the Colombian rebels and also the Call to Action of the International Solidarity Gathering for Peace in Colombia into English (we’ll be covering it from Mexico City beginning on Monday), and; we jousted with a former White House press secretary who acts a lot like… Don Hazen. Today and tomorrow, we continue in our mission to break the information blockade from Latin America, and we do it on a Third World budget.

Alternet has already missed the first week’s deadline for its weekly newspapers on the very kind of story that Alternet claims to champion. So who is, to borrow Hazen’s phrase, “out of step with the times?”

Whereas Alternet went AWOL on the Drug War on Trial case and so many other of the big battles that have made Narco News indisputably “in step” with the times, we feel a responsibility to point out that two of our biggest recent victories would not have been possible without the hardworking and effective aid and participation by FAIR.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting – alone among institutions – took the lead role in promoting our October 2000 report about corruption at the Associated Press bureau in Bolivia. It was precisely the phone calls from FAIR’s Steve Rendall that forced AP to dismiss its bureau chief of 18 years. And it was FAIR – not Narco News – that alerted Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz of the story. In this case, Narco News got credit for a huge victory that is equally shared by FAIR. So we find Hazen’s claim that FAIR is “out of touch with the times” to be nonsensical. Alternet was AWOL and FAIR was fantastic.

The biggest battle we’ve lived in the history of Narco News – our victory in the Drug War on Trial case against Hazen’s apparent narco-heroes at Banamex – would also not have been possible without FAIR. When we were sued by the billionaires, Alternet was not the only “alternative media” organization that went to hide under the nearest rock. Many self-proclaimed “press freedom” organizations did nothing. FAIR jumped into our defense early and often, sent out alerts to 15,000 activists, contacted reporters who later wrote about our case and featured us on its Counterspin radio show that appears on 70 stations nationwide. FAIR broke the ice in a way that allowed other organizations to feel more comfortable supporting our defense. Alternet was cowardly. FAIR was fearless.

If I were a foundation sincerely concerned with funding effective national projects to free the media, I would forget Alternet and give the grant to FAIR. Of course, that is why Hazen felt the need to attack FAIR. He can’t compete with them on the merits. And let’s not pussy-foot around the reality: alternative media organizations do compete for a very small niche of foundation funds.

Prominent media critic Robert McChesney wrote of Hazen’s attack piece on FAIR:

“I assume Don Hazen was in a grumpy mood the day he wrote this piece. Maybe he was looking at a pile of bills or some grant fell through. Maybe some hotshot at a big foundation told him to take a hike, and then mentioned how much she liked to read Extra! Perhaps he is bothered that FAIR and Chomsky are held in such high regard — generating huge crowds, like the one at the event he wrote about — while he toils in relative obscurity. I have no idea.”

Hazen, again on Alternet’s website, responded to McChesney sheepishly, as indicated by his recommendation that readers “please feel free to move on and read something else.”

“I expected a spirited debate,” Hazen said, revealing his attention-seeking motives for the attack on FAIR. .”But I’m taken aback by McChesney’s vitriol and personal attack… Apparently even nice guys like McChesney can get caught up in paranoid fantasies.”

When it comes to the corruption of that which claims to be “alternative” journalism, we don’t claim to be “nice guys” at Narco News. We live a daily battle to reclaim authentic journalism before it becomes extinct. Our form of journalism is like one of those rare rainforest plants under DynCorp’s helicopters in the Amazon. We have no diplomatic words for false poseurs who traffic in “alternative” but don’t demonstrate it with their actions.

Hazen, in his response to McChesney, made a strange but revealing admission when he said, “The economy of scarcity in terms of media funding really makes people crazy.”

Well, crazy is fine. But unethical is unethical.

Ben Carson’s Love Affair With a “Nutjob” Conspiracy Theorist

A top GOP presidential contender has embraced the dark, paranoid, and crazy worldview of a far-right pseudohistorian.

Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and political novice near the top of the GOP presidential polls, does not spend much time and energy promoting specific policy stances. He has soared to a statistical tie with Donald Trump by emphasizing his outsider status and calling to revive America, deploying general right-wing rhetoric that resonates with social conservatives. At the recent Republican debate, he said, “The thing that is probably most important is having a brain.” But he has provided one important clue as to his fundamental political worldview, by repeatedly endorsing a far-right conspiracy theorist named W. Cleon Skousen, who was characterized in 2007 by the conservative National Review as an “all-around nutjob.” Skousen came to prominence in the 1950s as a virulent anti-Communist crusader; he later claimed that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world from behind the scenes, and he once wrote a book that referred to the “blessings of slavery.”

Carson swears by Skousen, who died in 2006. In a July 2014 interview, Carson contended that Marxist forces had been using liberals and the mainstream media to undermine the United States. His source: Skousen. “There is a book called The Naked Communist,” he said. “It was written in 1958. Cleon Skousen lays out the whole agenda, including the importance of getting people into important positions in the mainstream media so they can help drive the agenda. Well, that’s what’s going on now.” Four months later, while being interviewed by Megyn Kelly on Fox News, Carson denounced unnamed Marxists who were presently seeking to destroy American society: “There was a guy who was a former CIA agent by the name of Cleon Skousen who wrote a book in 1958 called The Naked Communist, and it laid out the whole agenda. You would think by reading it that it was written last year—showing what they’re trying to do to American families, what they’re trying to do to our Judeo-Christian faith, what they’re doing to morality.” (Skousen had been an FBI employee—not a CIA officer—and mainly engaged in administrative and clerical duties; later he was a professor at Brigham Young University and police chief of Salt Lake City.) And the most recent edition of this Skousen book boasts Carson’s endorsement on the front cover: “The Naked Communist lays out the whole progressive plan. It is unbelievable how fast it has been achieved.”


 Skousen’s book was a hyperbolic, far-from-sophisticated Cold War denouncement of communism and the Soviet Union. Marx, Skousen claimed, had set out “to create a race of human beings conditioned to think like criminals.” And in McCarthyesque fashion, Skousen contended that “agents of communism” had “penetrated every echelon of American society—including some of the highest offices of the United States Government.” He insisted that many “loyal Americans” had been duped by Communists into doing the Reds’ dirty work because “they are not aware that these objectives are designed to destroy us.” Thus, these fellow travelers and naive citizens were part of a “campaign to soften America for the final takeover.”


Skousen listed dozens of the goals of the commies and their useful idiots, including pushing free trade, promoting coexistence with the Soviet bloc, capturing “one or both of the political parties in the United States,” winning control of schools (“use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda”), and infiltrating the press (“get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, and policy making positions”). He said they wanted to control “key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures,” weaken American culture by degrading artistic expression (and substituting “good sculpture from parks and building” with “shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms”), and present homosexuality as “normal, natural, and healthy.” What’s more, he claimed, they wanted to discredit the Bible, eliminate prayer in schools, demean the American Founding Fathers as “selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the ‘common man,'” and support “any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture—education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.” He said they also wanted to encourage divorce and promiscuity, incite “special-interest groups” to “rise up…to solve economic, political or social problems,” and seize control of unions and big business.

The most recent edition of Cleon Skousen’s book boasts Carson’s endorsement on the front cover: “The Naked Communistlays out the whole progressive plan. It is unbelievable how fast it has been achieved.”

Skousen, who had been active in the John Birch Society, worried that communists were taking over local PTAs. “Communist influences,” he wrote, “are gnawing away everywhere and thousands of confused citizens often aid and abet them by operating in a vacuum of their own ignorance.” In The Naked Communist, he revealed that the Communists even had a date for ultimate victory: “Total conquest is to be completed by around 1973.” Five decades after the book was released, the National Review huffed thatThe Naked Communist was “so irrational in its paranoia that it would have made Whittaker Chambersblush. According to Skousen, The Manchurian Candidate was a documentary—he earnestly believed Communists sought to create ‘a regimented breed of Pavlovian men whose minds could be triggered into immediate action by signals from their masters.'”

Carson’s repeated and full-throated endorsements of Skousen—which tend to be coupled with dire warnings about the covert scheming of Marxists and Saul Alinsky—suggest that Carson shares Skousen’s belief that the civil rights movement, acceptance of homosexuality, the rise of abstract art and modernism, and the advent of Medicare, Social Security, and other safety-net programs have all been part of a clandestine plot waged by Communists or other dark forces to destroy the United States. As Carson points out, this nefarious plotting is still in the works today.

Carson’s faith in Skousen is even more unsettling because Skousen was far more than a rabid anti-commie crusader and Red-baiter. He was a complete crank. He maintained that the Founding Fathers were direct descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel and contended that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world.

In a 1962 book, Skousen decried homosexuality and insisted, “Every boy should know that masturbation may be the first step to homosexuality.” In his 1970 book,The Naked Capitalist, Skousen disclosed another worldwide conspiracy and maintained that a sinister “secret society of the London-Wall Street axis”—which included the Council on Foreign Relations—controlled the planet and orchestrated global events, financing revolutions and collaborating with “dictatorial forces” to preserve its power. As Salon noted in 2009, in this work, “Skousen claimed the Anglo-American banking establishment had a long history of such activity going back to the Bolshevik Revolution. He substantiated this claim by citing the work of a former Czarist army officer named Arsene de Goulevitch. Among Goulevitch’s own sources is Boris Brasol, a pro-Nazi Russian émigré who provided Henry Ford with the first English translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Though Skousen was a pioneer in denouncing the New World Order and the globalist bankers who pulled all the strings, he still had his eyes on the Marxists. The same year that he birthed The Naked Capitalist, he claimed that criticism of the Mormon church for banning African Americans from its priesthood was a communist conspiracy against the church. In The Five Thousand Year Leap, a supposed history influenced by Mormon theology and published in 1981, Skousen asserted that the Constitution is rooted in the Bible. (Glenn Beck, a big Skousen fan, wrote the introduction to a new edition of this book in 2009.) Skousen’s 1985 book, The Making of America, came close to idealizing slavery, quoting a 1934 essay: “If the pickaninnies ran naked it was generally from choice, and when the white boys had to put on shoes and go away to school they were likely to envy the freedom of their colored playmates.”

In 1979, the Mormon church issued a directive distancing itself from a conservative organization started by Skousen.

In recent years, Beck has been Skousen’s No. 1 booster, and during a 2007 radio interview Mitt Romney praised Skousen, who had been his professor at BYU. Carson, though, might now hold the mantle as Skousen’s top champion. Yet as the National Review pointed out regarding Romney, “Skousen is not an association a presidential candidate should loudly trumpet.”

Carson’s enthusiastic embrace of this kook, who has peddled outlandish conspiracy theories and alternative histories with taints of racism and anti-Semitism, says as much about the GOP candidate as his policy positions and his anecdotes about his inspiring life story that brought him from poverty to the pinnacle of the medical profession. In recent days, Carson, a devout Seventh-day Adventist, has taken heat for his belief that Satan is behind the Big Bang theory and the promotion of evolution. His support of Skousen deserves as much attention. Skousen’s world was dark, paranoid, and nutty. How is it that Carson found a home here?

Keith Boykin: “The Black Lives Matter Movement Is Not The Nazi Party. It’s An Offensive Suggestion To Make That Comparison”

From the October 22 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

BILL O’REILLY: Look, would you be comfortable with the Republican Party bringing in the Stormfront — the Nazi people — and saying we would like our candidates to talk to you guys. Would you be comfortable with that –


O’REILLY: Mr. Goodfriend?

GOODFRIEND: No. No, I wouldn’t.

O’REILLY: OK. But they are an extreme group, the Nazi Party. The Black Lives Matter is also an extreme group as you have heard.

KEITH BOYKIN: The Black Lives Matter movement is not the Nazi Party. It’s an offensive suggestion to make that comparison, Bill. I’m outraged that you would say that.

Senate hearing on foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies dealing with Iran

Halliburton, the notorious U.S. energy company, sold key nuclear-reactor components to a private Iranian oil company called Oriental Oil Kish as recently as 2005, using offshore subsidiaries to circumvent U.S. sanctions. This clip shows Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) grilling Sherry Williams, V.P. and Corporate Secretary for Halliburton about the company’s deplorable ethics and questionable practices.

The following is an excerpt from From Healing to Hell, a memoir in which oral surgeon and inventor W. Henry Wall, Jr. explores how a mind-control experiment destroyed his father, former Georgia senator and mental health advocate, Dr. W. Henry Wall, Sr. “Daddy” became addicted to the narcotic Demerol after a routine dental procedure. His dependency eventually landed him in prison, where he became a victim of the CIA’s MK-Ultra experiment. 

“We do not target American citizens . . . The nation must to a degree take it on faith that we who lead the CIA are honorable men, devoted to the nation’s service.” — Richard Helms, former CIA director

In March 1979 the revelation came. After Times Books published journalist John Marks’s nonfiction opus The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, a horrifying exposé of a Central Intelligence Agency program known as MK-Ultra that focused on attempts to find an effective mind-control or “truth” drug, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured a series of six articles detailing the book’s content. By the time I read the second page of the second installment I knew exactly what had happened to my dad. Stunned, I read it again slowly to be quite sure.

As Marks reported, the linchpin of the MK-Ultra program was the compound d-lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. I had heard plenty about this hallucinogen through the 1960s headline-grabbing antics of Timothy Leary,  Ken Kesey,  Allen Ginsberg, and other derangement devotees. Sought by some as a mind-expander, at times the LSD experience or “acid trip” plunged other users into terrifying sensations and led to ghastly flashbacks that might persist for years.

More to the point as far as Daddy was concerned, its bad effects were said to be even greater for a person given the drug in “circumstances not conducive to pleasant feelings”—as when you were given it by someone you despised, when colleagues had turned against you, when you were in prison, when you were struggling to overcome a narcotic habit on your own while everything you’d built up for years was being auctioned off on the courthouse square. And I already knew from my pharmacological studies how far-reaching could be the aftereffects of a bad LSD trip, unique to this particular drug.

At long last I had the logical explanation of the sudden onset of Daddy’s terror of being driven insane, of the mental derangement that persisted as paranoia and “episodes” for years after his release. All of the elements matched up.

And among the various names of scientists mentioned in the article one leapt off the page: “Dr. Harris Isbell, director of the addiction research Center at the huge federal drug hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.” A hospital they might call it, but it was a prison for narcotics offenders, with the nationally acclaimed Isbell heading the center’s program. The very man whom Daddy so despised for his cavalier attitude toward drug-dependent patients in his charge, the enthusiastic dispenser of potions who enticed prisoner-addicts to volunteer for his experiments.

Among Isbell’s reports of his chemical experiments, he boasted, according to Marks, of having kept seven men on LSD for 77 straight days. And in cases where the response was not all that he hoped for, he doubled, tripled, even quadrupled the dose, noting that some of the subjects seemed to fear the doctors. My god, who wouldn’t have feared them? Such torment hardly bears imagining.

To put it plainly, what Harris Isbell did to my father was to assault him with a poison that permanently damaged his brain. In this day of effective alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, it’s unthinkable that America citizens’ taxes paid this man to destroy his hostages’ minds and lives.

Can you imagine yourself a respectable, middle-aged, recently prominent, heretofore sane, professional man, being told god knows what as the walls undulate around you, the drab hospital room glows with psychedelic light, the air hums with unearthly vibrations, and the faces of those around you constantly shift from human to animal to gargoyles and back to human again? It’s scarcely imaginable, but that was what happened to Daddy.

As he shuddered through these weird visual and auditory sensations, Daddy would often have felt nauseated, perspired profusely, and had “goose-bump” skin and a racing heart. His blood sugar would shoot up—bad news for a diabetic—and at times he would feel himself grow huge, then imagine he had shrunk to the size of his own thumb. No wonder he phoned Mother in a panic to report they were giving him something to make him lose his mind.

As the long days and nights dragged on, his fears and depression surely mounted. He told us little about it, but relatively normal periods probably alternated with acute panic reactions and repeated psychotic episodes—what we know today as “flashbacks.” Daddy had never heard of LSD and knew nothing about such experiences, let alone sought them.

Expecting to be paroled after four and a half months at most, he was kept in Lexington for eight, incarcerated a total of nine if you include his month in Georgia jails, with the final five of those months made nightmarish by LSD.

Further imagine, if you will, the insanity of making a man in the throes of such derangements responsible for another, more gravely ill person’s care. Surely the poor old black addict from Chicago with advanced TB deserved better. I don’t doubt for a minute that Daddy looked after him as best he could, but who could remain a balanced, thoroughly vigilant nurse in the grip of such mental torment?

It is a testament to the basically sound fabric of my father’s mind and constitution that he survived without taking his own life or that of any other.

The CIA’s ill-conceived covert Cold War scheme to find a mind-control drug for use on hostile leaders had caught my patriot father in its hateful web, as much a prisoner of war as if he were locked in a Communist prison. For 13 years afterward he would strive manfully to break free, but for all practical purposes his life was ruined. Once I grasped that much, I believed I understood why Daddy had been kept on in Lexington beyond the usual “cure” period referred to in his letters. The additional time was to allow Isbell to observe and record his behavior following the drug assault. Even when he was finally sent home, having received no treatment of any sort for his drug dependence, Isbell made no provision whatever for psychiatric or medical follow-up. I found it heinous beyond belief that this violated man, still prey to paranoid flashbacks, was simply turned loose to his bewildered family and whatever fate might overtake him.

On the one occasion when Isbell did invite Daddy to volunteer for his drug tests, Daddy refused outright. He never knew what persuaded his fellow inmates to sign up, but from Marks I learned the answer. Those who volunteered either got time off from their sentences or else were rewarded with the purest doses of their preferred drug—generally heroin or morphine. They were addicts, after all, and most chose their reward of choice. How much easier it was to get high in the safety of a clean hospital room where three meals a day were provided, as opposed to the dangerous daily struggle to cop a fix on the street. it’s not surprising that as word got out via the addicts’ grapevine, recidivism at Lexington approached 90 percent.

Once I learned of the reward system, it also seemed obvious that the politically astute Isbell would never have risked offering Daddy, a prominent narcotic-addicted physician sent there to break free of his drug, a reward in the form of that same narcotic. Had he presented Daddy with such an outrageous offer, Daddy would have done all in his power to blow the whistle on the man—fruitlessly, of course, in view of the CIA’s shield of secrecy. Isbell probably used that single offer to test the waters with Daddy, then backed off from further attempts at persuasion.

When Daddy turned him down, Isbell must then have ordered surreptitious dosing with the hallucinogen. How was it done? Daddy always thought it was in his food or something given him to drink. The easiest way might have been a tiny speck of LSD in the water pitcher beside Daddy’s bed. Odorless, colorless and tasteless, the chemical was undetectable other than by the mental derangement it caused.

God knows how many others at Lexington were also Isbell’s guinea pigs. To Daddy’s credit—and thanks to his resourcefulness—he caught on quickly enough to take himself out of the “experiment” by refusing all food and drink except for water and canned soup. But he still drank water, so though his dosage might have been reduced, he was probably still getting LSD.

And Isbell was only one of numerous scientists at prestigious institutions who accepted CIA grants to run LSD experiments on human subjects. Many students at various colleges and universities were paid to participate. The first medical centers to receive grants were Boston Psychopathic Hospital (later renamed Massachusetts Mental Health Center), New York’s Mt. Sinai and Columbia hospitals, the University of Illinois Medical School, Isbell’s own center at Lexington operating under the respectable cover of the Navy and national institutes of mental Health (NIMH), and the Universities of Oklahoma and Rochester.

While I knew I had found the answer to questions we had agonized over for so many years, I still found it hard to take in all that I had read. Could an agency of my own U.S. government truly have authorized and funded such reprehensible abuse of a loyal citizen and public servant, a sick man whose only crime was becoming dependent upon a painkiller his doctors had prescribed? Undoubtedly there was much more to be learned, but for the first installment this was more than enough.

I WENT BACK to read the first of the newspaper installments, pounced on the ones that followed day by day, and began to put all the known facts into place. Apparently the first U.S. concerns about behavior and mind control had arisen during the 1940s in the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS) created for intelligence work, about the same time that germany’s SS and Gestapo doctors were experimenting on Dachau prisoners with mescaline, another hallucinogen. In the U.S. the OSS set up its own “truth drug” committee and tested mescaline, barbiturates and scopolamine before settling on a concentrated extract of marijuana as their best hope.

With an eye to persuading the Mafia to help protect New York’s harbor from enemy infiltrators and support the invasion of Sicily, an OSS captain named George White first used the doped cigarettes to loosen up a New York gangster. With that first modest success the U.S. government’s mind-control quest was underway.

By 1946, revelations about atrocities performed by Nazi doctors impelled the Nuremberg war-crimes judges to draw up an international standard for scientific research that became known as the Nuremberg Code. It stated that no persons could be experimented on without their full voluntary consent, that all experiments should add to the good of society, and that no experiments could risk death or serious injury unless the researchers themselves served as test subjects. The following year brought sufficiently great concerns about the aims of Communist regimes that the U.S. Congress passed the National Security Act. Under one of its provisions the wartime OSS was succeeded by a new organization, the CIA. At the time, former President Herbert Hoover expressed sentiments fairly typical of the national outlook:. . .

We are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed object is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable longstanding America concepts of “fair play” must be reconsidered. We must . . . learn to subvert, sabotage, and destroy our enemies by more clever, sophisticated, and more effective methods than those used against us.

Many of the CIA’s personnel were OSS holdovers, and while they could not quite sink to the chilling inhumanity of the nazi doctors, the CIA took up the mind-control work. Upright Mr. Hoover surely had no inkling of the lengths to which the embryo agency would go, once notions of fair play fell away. The CIA’s men would go on to experiment, as marks observed, “with dangerous and unknown techniques on people who had no idea what was happening . . . [They] systematically violated the free will and mental dignity of their subjects and . . . chose to victimize . . . groups of people whose existence they considered . . .less worthy than their own.”

The Nazis had abused Jews, gypsies and prisoners; the CIA experimenters would prey on “mental patients, prostitutes, foreigners, drug addicts, and prisoners, often from minority ethnic groups” (most of the Lexington subjects were black). Mentally defective persons by the very nature of their affliction could never have given fully informed consent, yet they too became subjects for some of the mind-control tests. In the end the CIA zanies would violate every precept of the Nuremberg Code.

THE FIRST WIDESPREAD public concerns about MK-Ultra had been raised by the 1975 Rockefeller Commission’s hearings, with more information coming to light through congressional hearings led by Senators Frank Church and edward Kennedy. Their findings prompted the New York Times to publish a front-page article headlined “Private institutions Used in C.I.A. Effort to Control Behavior.” Other national magazines—Time, for one—ran similar pieces, but if I ever saw any of those articles, they failed to stick in my mind. Not until I read the 1979 Atlanta series summarizing Marks’ book did I grasp the full horror of what had gone on.

In its early years the CIA was such a small, clubby, shadowy organization that few Americans even knew existed, but alarms about mind control—or brainwashing—arose within its close-knit ranks in response to the glassy-eyed 1949 confession of Józef Cardinal Mindszenty at his Budapest treason trial. Convinced with Hoover that the Communists were dead-set on world domination, the CIA honchos believed the Russians were using methods of mind-control to further that aim. Determined to be prepared to fight fire with fire, the agency accelerated its mind-control movement, with disastrous results for thousands of America citizens and ultimately, I believe, for America society as a whole.

In that same year of 1949 Dr. Robert Hyde of Boston became the first known America LSD tripper. It made him paranoid for a time, yet he went on to become a consultant to the CIA. After Dr. Hyde’s maiden hallucinogenic voyage, little was known about the mind-blowing drug when a rumor arose claiming that its sole manufacturer, the Swiss pharmaceutical concern Sandoz, had sold the Russians 50 million doses of LSD. Blind to the rumor’s absurdity and panicked at the thought of such a weapon in Communist hands, the CIA worked on its own plans for the chemical, as the U.S. Army was already doing.

By 1950, CIA teams were running secret chemical tests on North Korean prisoners of war hoping to achieve mind control, amnesia, or both. The year that followed was a crucial one for the mind- and behavior control impetus. Dulles, who had graduated from spying for the OSS to become the CIA’s director, vividly recalled a wartime meeting with Dr. Albert Hofmann, the Sandoz chemist who discovered LSD. Hofmann told Dulles that after inadvertently dosing himself with the drug he became so terrified that he “would have confessed to anything.” On the basis of that admission, Dulles authorized his CIA people to cooperate with U.S. military intelligence and British and Canadian teams in a behavior-control program first called Project Bluebird, later renamed Project Artichoke.

Responsibility for recruiting medical scientists for Artichoke went to the agency’s technical Services Staff (TSS), with instructions to enlist only those experimenters with no moral or ethical scruples about engaging in possibly lethal work. Around this same time the CIA also considered electroshock experiments and neurosurgical techniques for behavior control. Besides concentrated marijuana, drugs used in the CIA and army experiments included cocaine, heroin, PCP, amyl nitrate, psilocybin, hallucinogenic mushrooms, barbiturates, nitrous oxide, speed, alcohol, morphine, ether, benzedrine, mescaline, and a host of others. But LSD quickly became the favorite, as it had the most powerful effects.

Subjects who took it might become extremely anxious, lose contact with reality, and suffer severe mental confusion. They hallucinated and often became paranoid, experiencing acute distortions of time, place, and body image. The experimenters never knew what their subjects’ mood might be—anything from panic to bliss. The drug produced mental states similar to those known to occur in schizophrenia: intense color perceptions, depersonalization, psychic disorganization, and disintegration. The paramount effect was a breakdown in a subject’s character defenses for handling anxiety—bad stuff indeed, and just the kind of thing the CIA was looking for.

In April 1953, as Daddy’s modest Blakely enterprises collapsed, Allen Dulles and his former OSS colleague and now henchman Richard Helms put Helms’ protégé, a clubfooted Ph.D. chemist and former Young Socialist from Caltech named Sidney Gottlieb, in charge of Artichoke, rechristened MK-Ultra, with the specific aim of exploring “covert use of biological and chemical and radiological materials.” The initial MK-Ultra budget was $300,000, by no means small for the time. Eager to see for himself what LSD could do, Gottlieb focused on it, and to his victims’ eternal loss, MK-Ultra was off and running.

In spite of warnings that LSD was known to produce insanity that could last “for periods of 8 to 18 hours and possibly for longer,” the agency’s medical office issued a mind-boggling recommendation: all CIA personnel should be given LSD, across the board. Many agents took it, including the MK-Ultra gang. That fact alone should have raised red flags. How many of them were made crazy themselves? After who knows how many acid trips, would you or I trust ourselves to make wise decisions.

Elated with these beginnings in spite of a few observed “bad trips,” Gottlieb, who would eventually admit to 200 LSD trips of his own, then decided to test his favorite mind-bender on unsuspecting persons in other countries and made multiple trips abroad with a stash of LSD for the purpose. He knew his superiors approved the secret dosing of unwitting people, contending that if a subject knew what he would be given and when, it would affect his response and skew the test.

While Gottlieb and his gang continued their freelance chemical capers, they were beginning to want reputable scientific research to back up their theories. Scientists at NIMH were also interested in learning more about LSD. If any large-scale testing of the drug was to be done, however, money must be found to pay for it. Gottlieb quickly rose to the challenge. From their vast CIA treasure chest he and his MK-Ultra cohort arranged to channel enormous sums of agency money to select consultants at well-known medical or educational institutions, in the guise of grants from two foundations—the Geschickter Fund for medical research and the Josiah Macy Jr., Foundation. A third faked-up conduit, the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, would later come into play.

Although the CIA origins of the money were not made public, recipients were well aware of its true source, because Gottlieb and his  underlings often visited the project sites, and the researchers reported directly to them. The agency cloaked the project in utmost secrecy, knowing very well what a hue and cry would erupt if the America public caught wind of such nefarious goings-on. Secrecy about CIA involvement was definitely preserved at Lexington. Hungry for status and acclaim, the power-drunk Dr. Isbell enhanced his own professional standing by publishing articles about his activities, though taking care never to state that his subjects were federal prisoners.

Irrefutable evidence that Gottlieb understood the need for secrecy was the early agreement he made with his mentor Helms to keep no records of MK-Ultra activities. Before these co-conspirators retired two decades later, they would make strenuous efforts to destroy what few incriminating files did exist. Had they not missed some 130 boxes, we would never know the havoc they wrought.

Just after Daddy was transported to Lexington, MK-Ultra suffered what should have been a fatal setback, barely concealed by the agency’s clumsy efforts at secrecy. A Ph.D. biochemist named Frank Olson was one of the scientists assigned to the army Chemical Corps’ Special Operations Division (SOD) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, working on diseases and toxins that ranged from instantly lethal chemicals to bacteria capable of disabling without killing the targeted person. An anthrax specialist, Olson was actually on the CIA’s payroll, and he and his boss, lt. Col. Vincent Ruwet, were included in a three-day working SOD-CIA retreat at an isolated lodge in western Maryland.

Gottlieb was also present, and in the course of their stay undertook to try out his pet hallucinogen on the unsuspecting group. He laced a bottle of Cointreau with LSD and offered it to the others after the evening meal. When all but two of those present had swallowed their drinks, he told them what he had done—or so he would later claim.

Calamity was the result. While the other four Cointreau trippers became giggly and uninhibited, Olson went completely around the bend. Unable to make sense of what was going on, he couldn’t understand why the others were laughing and believed he was the butt of their jokes. Persistently agitated the next morning, he returned home in what his wife called a highly atypical state and told her he had been ridiculed by his colleagues for a dreadful mistake but refused to give details.

The following day, still deeply disturbed, he reported to work intent on resigning but was persuaded by Ruwet to wait. When his agitation continued and Ruwet called on the CIA for advice, the decision was made to get Olson to New York to see Dr. Harold Abramson, one of the MK-Ultra grant recipients who believed, eccentrically, in alcohol as a useful antidote for a bad acid trip. (Abramson had first come to Gottlieb’s attention when he proposed giving mentally sound patients LSD without their knowledge for “psychotherapeutic purposes.”)

In the role of Olson’s minders, Ruwet and Robert Lashbrook, another CIA man, went along. They made no objections when Dr. Abramson left Olson in the hotel room with a bottle of bourbon and a quantity of barbiturate pills—a combination which, taken in a large enough quantity, can be fatal. The night before Olson was to return to his family for Thanksgiving, he went out of the hotel in a delusional state to wander the streets. He threw away his wallet, tore up all his currency, believing it to be secret orders of some sort, and discarded his government identification. With daylight he, Ruwet and Lashbrook took a plane back to Washington, but once there Olson refused to see his family for fear he might turn violent. The situation was desperate. Ruwet left to allay the Olson family’s concerns, while Lashbrook returned to New York with their pitiably disturbed charge.

When Dr. Abramson saw the psychotic Olson and realized the problem was beyond his competence, he arranged for Olson to enter a Maryland sanitarium the next day, one that was considered secure by the CIA. After Lashbrook checked the two of them into a New York hotel room for the night, Olson phoned his wife to tell her he was better. Lashbrook would later report going to sleep only to awaken in the wee hours just in time to see Olson tear across their tenth-floor room at a run, then crash headlong through the drawn blinds and closed window. The tormented scientist plummeted to the sidewalk below and was found there by the hotel’s night manager, barely alive and mumbling incoherently. An ambulance was called, but he died before anyone could learn who he was or why he’d fallen.

After an in-house inquiry at the CIA, Lashbrook left the agency, while Gottlieb—who was taken to task only mildly—said that the drug had no serious side effects and that Olson’s death was just one of the risks of scientific experiments. He was allowed to continue his MK-Ultra activities for another 19 years.

The agency did its best to convince the Olson family that its despondent breadwinner had committed suicide. Ruwet always kept in touch with the family, and the CIA saw to it that Mrs. Olson received her husband’s government pension. But she was unable to forget that in the months before he died, something connected with his work had troubled her husband profoundly, and she refused to believe he would intentionally abandon her or his three children. For a time, that was as far as the story went.

TWO DECADES LATER, after James Schlesinger was named head of the CIA in 1973, he issued orders that all CIA employees were to inform him of any “improper or illegal acts” the agency might have carried out. He must have had no idea how much damning information would pour in. While Nixon fought the Watergate scandal, Schlesinger fielded a spate of reports going back as far as the North Korean and Vietnam conflicts, including the very first schemes of Gottlieb and his loose-cannon squad. In the purge that followed Schlesinger fired at least 250 CIA employees before Nixon extricated him from the morass by appointing him Secretary of Defense. Gottlieb and Helms stayed on.

Schlesinger’s CIA successor, William Colby, was another former OSS man, well aware he had inherited a colossal nightmare. To his credit, he stuck to the job through an unprecedented public outcry until his mysterious death while boating on a Maryland river.

In December 1974, Seymour Hersh of the New York Times brought the Olson family’s tragedy to public notice, implying that the CIA had run rampant for years. At that point President Ford named Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller head of a blue-ribbon panel to investigate the whole mess, including MK-Ultra. When the Rockefeller Commission brought  its full report back to Congress and the President, included were recommendations for future avoidance of such scandals. Among its findings, the Commission verified that 22 years previously an unnamed civilian unwittingly given LSD by the CIA had plunged from a New York hotel window to his death. The facts were too congruent for the Olsons to ignore. Pressed by Olson’s daughter, Ruwet finally admitted what had happened, or at least gave her the CIA’s doctored version of events.

Outraged, the Olson family went public and sued the U.S. government. They received a personal apology in 1976 from President Gerald Ford and a compensation award of $750,000 from Congress on condition that they never speak publicly of the matter again. By this time Director Colby had revealed enough agency secrets that Richard Helms was convicted of perjury and given a suspended jail term and a $2,000 fine, which his buddies paid because in CIA circles ratting on one’s colleagues “simply wasn’t done.” After Colby’s death George H. W. Bush replaced him to serve in the job for one year. Neither Gottlieb nor the CIA ever admitted any wrongdoing. But no matter how fervently the CIA spooks hoped they’d quashed their dirty little story, there was still more to come.

Forty years after Frank Olson’s death, Harvard professor Michael Ignatieff, an international authority on human rights and former classmate of Olson’s son Eric, took up the Olson case and in a New York Timespiece raised many troubling questions about the official version of events. As Ignatieff reported, many years after the tragedy Eric Olson had gone to New York and visited the hotel room from which his father was said to have thrown himself to his death. Already suspicious of the official account, young Olson discovered that the room was too small to allow anyone to run at the window, the window sill too high and too obstructed for anyone to go over it with enough force to crash through a closed blind and window. Still in search of a credible explanation, Eric Olson, his brother, and his mother called on both Gottlieb and Lashbrook but got nothing out of either of them.

Frank Olson’s passport indicated several trips to Europe in the summer of 1953, and according to Ignatieff’s account, a British journalist  with good reason to know told Eric how during that summer Olson had told a London psychiatrist he was deeply troubled by secret U.S.-British experiments he had witnessed in Germany. The journalist’s guess was that Olson had seen some truth-serum and interrogation experiments that ended in the death of one or more “captured Russian agents and ex-Nazis.” Furthermore, the CIA files turned over to the Olsons by Colby supported Mrs. Olson’s recollection of her husband’s disturbed state of mind that summer and fall, when agency personnel had raised official doubts about Frank Olson’s security clearance.

After Dr. Olson’s death his body had been embalmed, and the CIA told the family the casket must be closed because of the body’s brokenup condition and many facial lacerations caused by window glass. Yet in 1994 when Eric had his father’s body exhumed he found it almost perfectly preserved, with no facial lacerations. George Washington University forensic specialists who examined the remains found evidence of a fist-sized blow to the dead man’s left temple and concluded it could only have occurred before his fall.

On the basis of all he had learned, Eric Olson was convinced that rather than committing suicide, his father had been murdered by the CIA—rendered defenseless by a knockout punch, possibly with the aid of some drug, then thrown from that hotel window. After further investigations led him to believe that the CIA brought in contract killers to do the job, he saw the scenario as a cover-up to keep the troubled scientist from airing his deep anxieties about what the agency was doing. Definitive answers may never be known—suffice it to say that Gottlieb and MK-Ultra destroyed another useful life and forever wrecked another family’s peace.

Back in 1954, while the Olsons mourned their loss and Daddy was released from prison, Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis had succeeded in synthesizing “in tonnage amounts,” giving the CIA a more than ample supply for MK-Ultra and future grant recipients. The army and other military services continued their own mind-control experimentation, with cooperation from other U.S. government agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and the Bureau of Narcotics.

After the Bay of Pigs debacle in Cuba, President Kennedy and his brother, attorney general Robert Kennedy, had agreed that Allen Dulles must be replaced at the CIA. In 1961 John A. McCone was named to the position, while durable Richard Helms was put in charge of Clandestine Services and Gottlieb kept his job running MK-Ultra. Strong objections about the program were raised two years later when, after some substantial digging, the inspector general McCone appointed, John Earman, strongly recommended that MK-Ultra be shut down, declaring that many in the agency viewed its work as “distasteful and unethical.” When McCone put certain elements of the project on hold, Helms bombarded him with demands to continue the unwitting mindcontrol tests. Subsequent agency-funded tests sucked a young professor named Timothy Leary into its web, and the rest of the LSD story, as they say, is history.

By 1966, when Helms was finally promoted to director of the CIA, Gottlieb knew he could breathe easy and go on with the business, as Gordon Thomas would declare in his CIA exposé Journey Into Madness, of “devising new and better ways to disorient and discredit, to maim and kill.”

The world was already learning more than it wanted to know about LSD, as a cover story in Life reported: “a person can become permanently deranged through a single terrifying LSD experience.” Yet another senate subcommittee was convened to address the growing LSD problem among the young, but Robert Kennedy, now a U.S. senator, objected to suggestions that all LSD experimentation be curtailed…amid rumors that his wife Ethel had undergone LSD therapy, which could explain her husband’s resistance, he said, “. . . we have lost sight of the fact that [LSD] can be very, very helpful in our society if used properly.”

It might have seemed by this time that much of the world had gone mad. The poet Allen Ginsberg was urging every America over the age of 14 to drop LSD for “a mass emotional nervous breakdown.” In response to the public uproar, Sandoz called in all the LSD it had supplied to U.S. researchers. But the FDA would not back down from its involvement in LSD research. Instead, it moved to set up a joint FDA-NIMH body known as the Psychomimetic Advisory Committee and put at least one of the CIA’s grant-recipient foxes in charge of the henhouse when it named Harris Isbell to the new committee.

By 1968, possession of LSD had become a misdemeanor and sale of the drug a felony. Two years afterward it was listed as a Schedule I drug—a drug of abuse with no medical value. A Bureau of Narcotics pamphlet issued in 1969 stated as a matter of history that the CIA’s dissemination of LSD through the scientific and intellectual community was responsible for the alarming popularity of the drug. Even though people all over the country and especially disaffected young people were resorting to it, the CIA continued to deny any suggestion that it had promoted a market for the drug. But if not the CIA or the army, then who? The late John Lennon certainly gave credit to both.

Once other entrepreneurs learned how to produce LSD and moved it onto the black market beyond the CIA’s and FDA’s control, the psychedelic era was under way. As the Grateful Dead’s tripping followers were to declare, it would be a long, strange journey indeed.


Excerpt from GQ Magazine:

Fox News contributor Wayne Simmons was sold to the public as a “terror expert” and a former CIA operative. It turns out, he might’ve been just some guy named Wayne Simmons. Now this is embarrassing for Fox, but on some level it’s hard to blame them for not checking this guy’s résumé. The process of verifying someone’s CIA credentials must be difficult, what with the whole “classified” thing. But what’s really crazy about this story is how Simmons ended up getting arrested. From The Washington Post:

According to federal prosecutors, his claims of a 27-year career with the CIA were lies, and it was only by repeating such falsehoods that Simmons was able to briefly get actual security clearances and real government contracting work in more recent years…

It’s not clear precisely what prompted the criminal investigation or when it began, but the charges against Simmons are based largely on his allegedly lying on official government documents to help get contracting jobs and security clearances.

It’s one thing to allegedly lie to Fox News and then the American people about being in the CIA (and be bold enough to think you’d get away with it). It’s another thing to go to the American government about having done covert work for the American government. He knows that they’re actually able to track who was in the CIA, right? Additionally, it appears that Simmons claimed to have been in the Navy, though a Navy spokesperson told the Washington Post there was no evidence of that either. …

Full story:


U.S. Right to Know’s citizen petition shot down by agency officials

FTC officials cite ‘enforcement priorities,’ limited resources among factors

Pepsico abandoned aspartame last spring in response to consumer complaints

No one can possibly understand the precarious state of American democracy today without scrutinizing the often secret path the country was taken on by those in power from the 1950s to the present.

Among the elemental figures in forging that path was Allen Dulles.

He was the most powerful, and, it appears — the most sinister — director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Given that outfit’s history, that’s some accomplishment.

Dulles’s job, simply put, was to hijack the US government to benefit the wealthy.

Studying how this worked is a worthwhile pursuit. That’s why we decided to excerpt a few parts of David Talbot’s new Dulles biography, The Devil’s Chessboard.

In part one of our excerpts, we looked at indications that Lee Harvey Oswald was no rogue “lone nut” but in fact a man with strong connections to the American national security apparatus. We also looked at Allen Dulles’s highly suspicious behavior around the time of the assassination — a time when he was ostensibly in retirement, having been fired two years earlier by President Kennedy. And we saw how determined Dulles was in advancing the notion that Oswald had been Kennedy’s killer, and had acted alone.

In part two, we focused on the Warren Commission, the body “above suspicion” that was supposed to investigate Kennedy’s death and report its findings to the public. We see the irrepressible Allen Dulles, who should by almost any standard have been considered a possible suspect for a role in the assassination, instead appointed to the Commission. And we see how he became the leading figure in guiding the “probe,” along with a network of individuals whose loyalties were clearly to him and to the American establishment, but certainly not to the truth — or to the late President.

Below, in part three, we are treated to a detailed account of the Warren Commission’s “investigation” as the fraud that it was. Complete with leaks to influence public opinion, cooperative news organizations and journalists, cover-up artists and the odd person of conscience, this charade deserves much more attention because it shows the extent to which we are manipulated — and others forced to go along to get along. There’s one commission staffer with a conscience, but he gets a pretty clear warning to back off.

— WhoWhatWhy Introduction by Russ Baker.

Third part of a compressed Excerpt of Chapter 20, “For the Good of the Country” from The Devil’s Chessboard. Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of the American Secret Government. HarperCollins Publishers, 2015.

Weaving Two Separate Webs of Deceit

Despite the chronic tensions between the CIA and FBI, Hoover proved a useful partner of the spy agency during the JFK inquiry. The FBI chief knew that his organization had its own secrets to hide related to the assassination, including its contacts with Oswald.

Furthermore, taking its cues from the CIA, the bureau had dropped Oswald from its watch list just weeks before the assassination. An angry Hoover would later mete out punishment for errors such as this, quietly disciplining seventeen of his agents. But the FBI director was desperate to avoid public censure, and he fully supported the commission’s lone-gunman story line.

Angleton, who had a good back-channel relationship with the FBI, made sure that the two agencies stayed on the same page throughout the Warren inquest, meeting regularly with bureau contacts such as William Sullivan and Sam Papich.

Angleton and his team also provided ongoing support and advice to Dulles. On a Saturday afternoon in March 1964, Ray Rocca — Angleton’s right-hand man ever since their days together in Rome — met with Dulles at his home to mull over a particularly dicey issue with which the commission was grappling.

David Phillips — a man whose career was nurtured by Helms — had been spotted meeting with Oswald in Dallas. But when Helms was sworn in, he simply lied. There was no evidence of agency contact with Oswald, he testified.

How could the panel dispel persistent rumors that the CIA was somehow a “sponsor” of Oswald’s actions? The story had broken in the press the previous month, when Marguerite Oswald declared that her son was a secret agent for the CIA who was “set up to take the blame” for the Kennedy assassination.

Rankin had obligingly suggested that Dulles be given the job of clearing the CIA by reviewing all of the relevant agency documents that were provided to the commission. But even Dulles thought this smacked too much of an inside job. Instead, after conferring with Rocca, Dulles proposed that he simply provide a statement to the commission swearing — as Rocca put it in his report back to Dick Helms — “that as far as he could remember he had never had any knowledge of Oswald at any time prior to the date of the assassination.”

But Senator Cooper thought the allegations that Oswald was some kind of government agent were too serious to simply be dispelled by written statements. During a Warren Commission executive session in April, he proposed that the heads of the CIA and FBI be put under oath and questioned by the panel. It was a highly awkward suggestion, as Dulles pointed out.

“I might have a little problem on that — having been [CIA] director until November 1961.” There was a simple solution, however: put his successor, John McCone, on the witness stand. That was fine with Dulles, because — as he knew — McCone remained an agency outsider, despite his title, and was not privy to its deepest secrets.

When McCone appeared before the Warren Commission, he brought along Helms, his chief of clandestine operations. As McCone was well aware, Helms was the man who knew where all the bodies were buried, and he deferred to his number two man more than once during his testimony. Conveniently ignorant of the CIA’s involvement with Oswald, McCone was able to emphatically deny any agency connection to the accused assassin. “The agency never contacted him, interviewed him, talked with him, or received or solicited any reports or information from him,” McCone assured the commission.


It was trickier when Helms was asked the same questions. He knew about the extensive documentary record that Angleton’s department had amassed on Oswald. He was aware of how the agency had monitored the defector during his exploits in Dallas, New Orleans, and Mexico City.

David Phillips — a man whose career was nurtured by Helms — had been spotted meeting with Oswald in Dallas. But when Helms was sworn in, he simply lied. There was no evidence of agency contact with Oswald, he testified. Had the agency provided the commission with all the information it had on Oswald, Rankin asked him. “We have — all,” Helms replied, though he knew the files that he had handed over were thoroughly purged.

Helms was “the man who kept the secrets,” in the words of his biographer, Thomas Powers. Commission staff attorney Howard Willens politely called him “one of the most fluent and self-confident government officials I ever met.” Helms was the sort of man who could tell lies with consummate ease. It would eventually win him a felony conviction, and he wore it like a badge of courage. When one was defending the nation, Helms would lecture the senators who pestered him late in his career, one must be granted a certain latitude.


It was David Slawson, a thirty-two-year-old attorney on leave from a Denver corporate law firm, who was given the unenviable job of dealing with the CIA as part of the Warren Commission’s conspiracy research team. Rankin had told Slawson to rule out no one — “not even the CIA.”

If he did discover evidence of agency involvement, the young lawyer nervously joked, he would be found dead of a premature heart attack. But Rocca, the veteran counterintelligence agent assigned to babysit the commission, made sure nothing turned up. “I came to like and trust [Rocca],” said the young staff attorney, who found himself dazzled by his first exposure to a spy world he had only seen in movies. “He was very intelligent and tried in every way to be honest and helpful.” Slawson was equally gullible when evaluating Dulles, whom he dismissed as old and feeble — precisely the aging schoolmaster act that the spymaster liked to put over on people.

“I wish sometime you would sit down and write me a line as to why you think Lee Oswald did the dastardly deed,” Dulles wrote the novelist in March, as if discussing the plot of a whodunit. “All I can tell you is that there is not one iota of evidence that he had any personal vindictiveness against the man Kennedy.”

Years later, as the Church Committee began to reveal the darker side of the CIA, Slawson came to suspect that Rocca had not been so “honest” with him after all. In a frank interview with The New York Times in February 1975, Slawson suggested that the CIA had withheld important information from the Warren Commission, and he endorsed the growing campaign to reopen the Kennedy investigation.

Slawson was the first Warren Commission attorney to publicly question whether the panel had been misled by the CIA and FBI (he would later be joined by Rankin himself) — and the news story caused a stir in Washington.

Several days after the article ran, Slawson — who by then was teaching law at the University of Southern California — got a disturbing phone call from James Angleton. After some initial pleasantries, the spook got around to business. He wanted Slawson to know that he was friendly with the president of USC, and he wanted to make sure that Slawson was going to “remain a friend” of the CIA.

Manufacturing a Motive for Oswald

His new job on the commission gave Dulles an opportunity to connect with old friends, such as … British novelist Rebecca West. In March, Dulles wrote West, beseeching her to draw on her fertile imagination to come up with possible motives for Oswald’s crime. The commission was so baffled by the question that Warren even suggested leaving that part of the report blank.

“I wish sometime you would sit down and write me a line as to why you think Lee Oswald did the dastardly deed,” Dulles wrote the novelist in March, as if discussing the plot of a whodunit. “All I can tell you is that there is not one iota of evidence that he had any personal vindictiveness against the man Kennedy.”

Meanwhile, the following month, Mary relayed a news report about Mark Lane to Dulles, informing her old lover in high dudgeon that Lane had apparently told a conference of lawyers in Budapest “that the killers — plural — of JFK were still at large… even I am amazed that Lane has the temerity to go to Budapest and shoot off his mouth in that fashion. I regard him as insane — but nevertheless I do hope the FBI has its eye on him.”

Dulles and McCloy, in fact, were very concerned about European public opinion regarding the Kennedy assassination, and they urged the commission to closely monitor both Lane and Thomas G. Buchanan, a Paris-based American journalist who had written the first JFK conspiracy book, Who Killed Kennedy? — an advance copy of which was airmailed to Dulles from the CIA station in London, where it was published….

Earl Warren was obsessed with press coverage of the inquiry and agonized over press leaks, including a May report by Anthony Lewis in The New York Times — midway through the panel’s work — that the inquiry was set to “unequivocally reject theories that the assassination was the work of some kind of conspiracy.”

Warren was very upset by the premature news report, which suggested that the commission had rushed to judgment before hearing all the evidence. The leak was clearly intended to counter the publicity being generated by authors like Lane and Buchanan.

While the commission frantically attempted to determine the source of such leaks, the answer was sitting in their midst. The two most active leakers were Ford and Dulles. It was Ford who kept the FBI constantly informed, enabling Hoover to feed the press with bureau-friendly stories about the inquest. And Dulles used the CIA’s own network of media assets to spin Warren Commission coverage.


The New York Times was a favorite Dulles receptacle. In February, the Timeshad run another leaked story — also bylined by Lewis — that clearly led back to Dulles. Lewis reported that Robert Oswald, the accused assassin’s brother, had testified that he suspected Lee was a Soviet agent. As the commission hunted the source of the leak, a staff attorney suggested that the Times reporter might have overheard a dinner table conversation that he and Dulles had with Robert Oswald at a Washington restaurant — a highly unlikely scenario that nonetheless provided Dulles with the fig leaf of a cover story…


There was a smug coziness to the entire Warren investigation. It was a clubby affair. When Treasury Secretary Dillon finally appeared before the commission in early September — less than three weeks before its final report was delivered to the president — he was warmly greeted by Dulles as “Doug.” Dillon was treated to a kid-gloves examination by the commission, even though there were troubling questions left unanswered about the Secret Service’s behavior in Dallas, where Kennedy’s protection had mysteriously melted away.

Led by Willens, the commission staff had tried for months before Dillon’s appearance to obtain Secret Service records related to the assassination. Willens believed that “the Secret Service appeared to be neither alert nor careful in protecting the president.”

This was a delicate way of characterizing what was a criminally negligent performance by the service entrusted with the president’s safety. The buildings surrounding Dealey Plaza and its shadowy corners were not swept and secured by the Secret Service in advance of Kennedy’s motorcade.

There were no agents riding on the flanks of his limousine. And when sniper fire erupted, only one agent — Clint Hill — performed his duty by sprinting toward the president’s vehicle and leaping onto the rear. It was an outrageous display of professional incompetence, one that made Robert Kennedy immediately suspect that the presidential guard was involved in the plot against his brother.

But Dillon stonewalled Willens’s efforts to pry loose Secret Service records, and when the commission staff persisted, the Treasury secretary huddled with his old friend, Jack McCloy, and then appealed to President Johnson himself. “Dillon was a very shrewd guy,” Willens marveled late in his life. “I still can’t believe he involved President Johnson in this.”

Instead of being grilled by the commission about why he had withheld records and why his agency was missing in action in Dallas, Dillon was allowed to make a case for why his budget should be beefed up. If the Secret Service was given more money, staff, and authority, Senator Cooper helpfully asked, would it be possible to offer the president better protection in the future? “Yes, I think [we] could,” Dillon replied brightly.

If any blame was assigned in the death of the president during Dillon’s gentle interrogation, it was placed on the victim himself. Soon after the assassination, Dillon and others began circulating the false story that Kennedy preferred his Secret Service guards to ride behind him in motorcades, instead of on the side rails of his limousine, and that Kennedy had also requested the Dallas police motorcycle squadron to hang back — so the crowds in Dallas could enjoy an unobstructed view of the glamorous first couple. This clever piece of disinformation had the insidious effect of absolving the Secret Service and indicting Kennedy, implying that his vanity was his downfall…

“… Jeb was also integral in securing a number of ‘pardons’ of Cubans involved in terrorist acts. A prominent example was his intervention to help release Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch from prison and grant him US residency. …”

Over the years various researchers and investigations have suggested, even asserted at times, that as Vice President [H. W.] George Bush, along with some of his national security advisers, maintained close ties with a secret air-re-supply operation in El Salvador during the Reagan years. In October 1986, a week after the Nicaraguan government shot down a plane carrying supplies for the Contras, front page press reports actually announced that the operation led to both the CIA and Bush.

When it was revealed that Contra resupply project Chief Felix Rodriguez met several times with Bush and a key aide, the VP claimed they didn’t discuss Nicaragua. That actually worked! But here’s where it gets really interesting: the trail also led to the vice president’s son, Jeb. According to the Manchester Guardian, Jeb Bush “long acted as a liaison man with the fiercely pro-Contra, anti-Cuban and Nicaraguan settlers in Miami.”

Yes, this is the Republican “establishment choice” for 2016.

When the Iran-contra scandal began to break in October 1986, mainstream sources like CBS Evening News and the Miami Herald quoted unnamed officials as saying that Jeb Bush had served as his father’s chief point of contact with the contra rebels. Jeb’s denials were narrow. He didn’t deny being his father’s liaison to the contras, only the idea that he had participated “directly” in the illegal contra resupply effort directed from the White House.

And yet, like Keyser Soze, such stories just vanished. George Bush, by then heir apparent to Reagan, was insulated from probing questions as he campaigned for president for the next two years. The one person who connected the CIA, NSA and the mercenary forces on the ground. Instead of being investigated he became president.

Robert Parry, an Associated Press reporter who investigated the Reagan-Bush administration’s secret support for the Contras, confirms Jeb Bush’s association with Contra supporters operating out of Miami. More recently, he recalled that one Nicaraguan businessman with close ties to both Jeb and the Contras told Parry that Jeb Bush was involved with a pro-Contra mercenary named Tom Posey, who was organizing groups of military advisers and weapons shipments. In 1988, Posey was indicted along with several other individuals on charges of violating the Neutrality Act and firearms laws. The charges were dismissed in 1989 when a federal judge ruled that the US was not “at peace” with Nicaragua.

Jeb was also integral in securing a number of “pardons” of Cubans involved in terrorist acts. A prominent example was his intervention to help release Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch from prison and grant him US residency. A notorious figure, Bosch was convicted of firing a rocket at a Polish ship en route to Cuba and was implicated in many other acts of terrorism, including the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane, which killed 73 civilians.

The Cubana Airlines bombing and several other major acts of terrorism by Cuban right-wingers occurred while George H.W. Bush was CIA director and was working closely with anti-communist Cuban exiles employed by the CIA, including Rodriguez, a close associate of Bosch’s alleged co-conspirator in the Cubana bombing Luis Posada Carriles.

Bosch’s release, often called a pardon by media, was the result of pressure by hardline Cubans in Miami — with Jeb Bush as their point man. In July 2002, while he was Florida’s governor, Bush nominated Raoul Cantero, grandson of Cuba’s deposed dictator Batista, as a Florida supreme court judge despite his lack of experience. Cantero had previously represented Bosch and acted as his spokesman, once describing Bosch on Miami radio as a “great Cuban patriot.”

Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana recounts that in 1984 Jeb “began a close association with Camilo Padreda, a former intelligence agent under the Batista dictatorship, overthrown by Fidel Castro. Jeb was then the chairman of the Dade county Republican party and Padreda its finance chairman.” Later, Padreda was convicted of defrauding the housing and urban development department of millions of dollars.

With baggage like this, it’s hard to imagine Bush making it through the race — or just the primaries — without opening up his shady past. And as for improving relations with Cuba, at least Trump would just want his name on a casino.

Recently declassified documents make it clear that the brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet ordered the killing of Chile’s former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier near the White House in 1976. However, an important question remains: Did the CIA have anything to do with the assassination?

From The Guardian:

General Augusto Pinochet directly ordered the 1976 assassination of a Chilean diplomat who was killed in a car bomb in Washington DC, according [to] top secret US intelligence documents declassified by the Obama administration.

The documents, which were handed to the Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, on Tuesday in Santiago by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, also show that the former dictator was so concerned with covering up his role in the murder that he planned to assassinate his own head of intelligence, General Manuel Contreras. … Letelier, who had once been Chile’s ambassador to the US, was murdered on 21 September 1976 by a car bomb planted under the driver’s seat of his vehicle just a mile from the White House. … Investigators in the US and Chile are poring through the records searching for evidence that CIA officials had forewarning but did not stop the assassination plan.

Speculation that the CIA was aware of the plot to kill Letelier is based on previously declassified records showing that Manuel Contreras was paid by the CIA before the bombing and was in regular contact with top officials at the spy agency.

Read more.

CIA director was part of a ‘benign cover-up’ to withhold information from investigators about JFK’s assassination

  • Declassified CIA reports claim former CIA Director Jon McCone withheld information about President John F Kennedy’s assassination
  • The reports claim McCone and other top officials were part of a ‘benign cover up’ to keep the Warren Commission focused on Lee Harvey Oswald
  • McCone concluded in his assessment that Oswald, a former Marine, was a ‘lone gunman’ who acted on his own
  • The Warren Commission’s final report was consistent with McCone’s
  • The declassified CIA reports did not raise question about the findings of the Warren Commission, including that Oswald was the gunman
  • But the reports acknowledge the failure in the CIA’s dealings with the Warren Commission
  • The CIA report offers no conclusion as McCone’s motivations to cover up agency activities 

A former CIA director withheld information about President John F Kennedy’s assassination, according to declassified agency reports.

The CIA reports, which were declassified last fall, claim that then-agency head John McCone and other top officials were part of a ‘benign cover-up’ surrounding the assassination of Kennedy in November 1963.

The report’s author, CIA historian David Robarge, claims McCone withheld information to keep the Warren Commission focused on what the agency believed to by the ‘best truth… that Lee Harvey Oswald, for as yet undetermined motives, had acted alone,’ according to Politico.

McCone and others were ‘complicit’ in keeping ‘incendiary’ information from the Warren Commission, a group established in the days after Kennedy’s assassination by President Lyndon B Johnson to investigate the incident.

The investigators were officially known at the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy.

McCone, who was appointed by Kennedy, died in 1991. His testimony in front of the commission, including Chief Justice Earl Warren, was considered vital in finding out what led to Kennedy’s death.

The former CIA head concluded in his assessment that Oswald, a former Marine, was a ‘lone gunman’ who acted on his own.

The Warren Commission’s final report – after a year-long investigation that included testimony from hundreds of other witnesses – was consistent with McCone’s assessment.

The then-CIA director John McCone withheld information from the Warren Commission during the organization’s investigation into Kennedy’s death, according to declassified CIA reports

Both McCone and the commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald (center) was a ‘lone gunman’ who killed Kennedy

Many people are convinced Harvey did not act alone in his assassination of Kennedy and that he was part of a bigger plot or conspiracy

The commission also reviewed FBI and Secret Service reports, visited the crime scene in Dallas and analyzed Oswald’s records as part of their investigation.

The 888-page report found that Kennedy was killed from a gunshot wound while riding in a motorcade passing below a school book depository building, where Oswald worked.

Many people, however, are unconvinced that Harvey acted alone in the assassination and believe he was part of a bigger conspiracy.

Within an hour of Kennedy being shot, Oswald killed a police officer who had stopped to question him and was arrested minutes later.

He was murdered the next day while being transported to a jail with higher security and his motives were never revealed.

While the declassified CIA reports did not raise question about the findings of the Warren Commission, including that Oswald was the gunman, the reports acknowledge the failure in the CIA’s dealings with the Warren Commission.

McCone, who was appointed by Kennedy, died in 1991. The motivations behind his decision to withhold information is still unknown

Oswald was killed shortly after he assassinated Kennedy – his motivation behind shooting the president was never revealed.

The information withheld could have prompted further investigations into Oswald’s potential ties with Cuba, according to Politico.

McCone’s predecessor, Allen Dulles, ran the CIA when the agency formed plans to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro.

But Robarge said in his report that McCone and Dulles did ‘not appear to have any explicit, special understanding’.

The CIA report offers no conclusion as McCone’s motivations to cover up agency activities, but suggests that the Johnson Administration may have directed him to do so.

Though it was initially stamped ‘SECRET/NOFORN’ and not to be shared outside the CIA, the report was published in the CIA’s classified internal magazine in September 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.

The report was declassified by the agency last fall ‘to highlight misconceptions about the CIA’s connection to JFK’s assassination’ and is now available on the website of The George Washington University’s National Security Archive.

American Widow’s Story of Her Mayan Activist Husband’s Death — and US Complicity

Earlier this week, we ran a two-parter on the US, Guatemala, corruption, the CIA, genocide, torture, and more. Reader interest was considerable.

We now invite you to watch this video of a presentation made by Jennifer Harbury, an American whose late Guatemalan husband, a Mayan indigenous activist, was “disappeared” by the military. After hunger strikes and investigations, she learned that Efraín Bámaca Velásquez had been tortured and then killed — and that the CIA knew all about it. Her story is a powerful one.

As someone who’s followed the news about far-right parties taking hold across Europe with much trepidation, I’ve often wondered how that current of political thought might manifest in the U.S. Is Donald Trump, with his outspoken xenophobia, hawkish foreign policy and “pro business” politics, the ultimate expression of that strain of thought, or is he only the beginning?

Now a senatorial candidate has arisen in Florida who makes Trump look like a goddamn centrist, and his name is (lol) Augustus Sol Invictus.

The 32-year-old lawyer and probable fascist is running as a Libertarian to replace Marco Rubio as one of Florida’s two representatives in the U.S. Senate, and his history is fairly insane. He practices Thelema, a spoooooky brand of occult paganism based on the teachings of O.G. depraved aristocrat Aleister Crowley. He was allegedly kicked out of his own dark church, Ordo Templi Orientis, for dismembering a goat and drinking its blood as a sacrifice to “the god of the wilderness,” an act to which he partially admits.

“I did sacrifice a goat,” he told the AP. “I know that’s probably a quibble in the mind of most Americans. Yes, I drank the goat’s blood.” (He denies the “dismemberment” part.)

In his work as a lawyer, he has represented white supremacist groups, and he’s written essays in support of eugenics and neo-fascist ideology. He believes America is headed for another civil war. His regular speaking voice is relatively normal, but, when he gives speeches, he suddenly sounds like Frank Underwood. Unlike most Libertarians, he opposes abortion rights. He once renounced his U.S. citizenship, but only as a symbolic religious act. His adopted name means “majestic unconquered sun.” He won’t tell anyone what his real name is.

While this all might sound like your garden variety Florida crazy, he’s currently the only Libertarian running for that Senate seat, and now-former chair of Florida’s Libertarian party Adrian Wyllie considered him enough of a threat that he resigned in protest of his campaign — which he believed was giving the party a bad name. It’s not often that I feel sympathy for a right-wing Libertarian, but damn. Via Wyllie’s Facebook:

By now, some of you have probably heard that I have resigned as Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida. I feel I owe many of you the courtesy of an explanation for my decision.
I have been extremely outspoken against Augustus Sol Invictus, who is currently the only candidate for the Libertarian U.S. Senate nomination. My strong opposition to him has put me in conflict with the LPF Executive Committee.

Mr. Invictus has repeatedly vowed that it is his destiny to start a second civil war in America. In a 2013 memo to his colleagues, he wrote, “I have prophesied for years that I was born for a Great War; that if I did not witness the coming of the Second American Civil War, I would begin it myself.”

He has described himself as an American Fascist, and even his campaign logo is nearly identical to that of Benito Mussolini. He has displayed swastikas in his published campaign materials.

He has expressed support for a eugenics program, which would sterilize, euthanize or forcibly abort “the weakest, the least intelligent, and the most diseased.”

Many of his supporters are known members of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, such as American Front, Vinelanders, and Stormfront, and he has been recruiting them into the Libertarian Party.

In a private, face-to-face meeting with Mr. Invictus, I asked him directly, “Do you actually intend to kill millions of people and start a civil war?” His answer to me was, “It’s my religion.”
I would never disparage anyone on the basis of their religion. But, since Mr. Invictus cites his religion as the motivation for his violent intentions, I believe it must be scrutinized.
Mr. Invictus practices Thelema, an occult pagan religion based on the teachings of Aleister Crowley. Mr. Invictus was ejected from Ordo Templi Orientis for brutally and sadistically dismembering a goat in a ritualistic sacrifice.

Even the legally-changed name he chose for himself is revealing. August Sol Invictus is Latin, and translates to “The Unconquerable Sun God.”

Mr. Invictus is extremely charming and persuasive in person, and is a talented public speaker, which makes him all the more dangerous.

Clearly, this man is the absolute antitheses of a Libertarian. Violent Fascist and Neo-Nazi ideologies are completely incompatible with Libertarian values. As such, I had repeatedly and vocally disavowed him and his followers. I advised the LPF that I would continue to speak out against him, regardless of the consequences.

The majority of the LPF Executive Committee believed I should remain silent, and simply allow the primary election process to play out. That is something I was unwilling to do. While no one on the Executive Committee openly supported Mr. Invictus, only a few had the conviction to stand openly against him.

I strongly believe that we must ensure that these violent ideologies are not associated with the Libertarian Party in any way. Libertarians should always be the first to rise up against hatred, subjugation, and violence.

Since, I could not in good conscience remain silent about this man or his followers, I had no choice but to resign.

It is my sincere hope that the Executive Committee of the LPF reverse their position, and provide the new leadership with the authority to disavow and nullify this clear and present threat to our party, our nation, and our freedom.

I write this in an attempt to convince the LPF that it must recognize the evil it faces, and have the courage to resoundingly reject it.

In response to charges of Neo-Nazism, Invictus holds up his sexual attraction to Latinas as evidence that he isn’t racist, which, LOL:

It has been said that I am a racist and a neo-Nazi. I guarantee you that my Puerto Rican ex-wife, our half-Puerto Rican children, and my half-Colombian step-children – not to mention my string of Latina girlfriends – would be quite shocked to hear of this.

He also says he publicly disavowed his pro-eugenics paper that he wrote in law school and compares Adrian Wyllie to a schoolyard bully trying to pick a fight; the entire response is here. There are many denials, clarifications, and rationalizations. Some of them are convincing, others less so. But if he really was just a classic Libertarian as he claims to be, why wouldn’t Wyllie support him? Is he just being persecuted for his freaky religion, or what?

While this Invictus fellow seems nuttier than most, right-wing libertarianism is essentially a reactionary movement against even the extremely weak welfare state we have now in favor of a Randian dystopia where the strong (read: those born with money and power, or the sociopathic traits necessary to amass them) dominate everyone else. In that way, the rise of a dark Sith lord like this is really just the chickens coming home to roost, and I don’t feel bad for them at all.

Here are some videos of Invictus holding forth; try not to be hypnotized by his powerful masculinity or cartoonish accent.

“… Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 74, threw the jury a Nazi salute before it went to consider his sentence. …”

A jury in Kansas recommended Tuesday that a white supremacist be put to death for killing three people outside two Jewish centers in April 2014.

Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 74, threw the jury a Nazi salute before it went to consider his sentence.

The jurors convicted him last week of capital murder in the fatal shootings of three people in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, and of attempted murder for shooting at three other people. None of those who died was Jewish, but Miller said he thought they were.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe had urged the jury to recommend a death sentence during closing arguments in the trial’s penalty phase. He told jurors how Terri LaManno, 53, had “begged for her life” before Miller shot her.

“There’s no doubt she was terrified. She froze. … And his response was to brutally kill her,” Howe said. “The defendant’s actions are clearly the type of case the death penalty was made for.”

Miller also killed William Corporon, 69, and Corporon’s grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. He shot LaManno later that day at the nearby Village Shalom retirement center.

Miller acted as his own attorney during the trial but barely offered any defense. He said he was suffering from chronic emphysema and wanted to kill Jews before he died. He said Jews control the media, financial institutions and the movie industry, and he blamed Jewish women for backing a movement that led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 to legalize abortion.

In a rambling, hourlong closing argument, he touched on the media, white supremacy and his health before telling the jury he did not care whether he was sentenced to death.

“I voluntarily sacrificed my freedom for my people,” he said. “Do you see fear in me? You see a proud white man.”

Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., is a Vietnam War veteran who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. He also ran for the U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010 in Missouri, each time espousing a white-power platform.

A judge will now decide whether to follow the jury’s recommendation.

“… The doctor prescribed a medicine-­cabinetful of barbiturates and sleep aids (Seconal and Doriden), tranquilizers (Equanil) and “uppers” (Dexamyl), a potentially addictive, mood-altering cocktail that Nixon apparently took throughout the 1950s and possibly thereafter. … At the height of the Cold War, both the president and the vice president could easily have been simultaneously incapacitated, leaving no one responsible for governing. …”

SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW|‘The President and the Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon, 1952-1961’

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., someone who unquestionably understood charisma, considered Vice President Richard Nixon “one of the most magnetic personalities” he had ever encountered. “When you are close to Nixon,” King observed in 1958, “he almost disarms you with his apparent sincerity.” But King also worried that there might be a hidden duality to Nixon, or worse, a facade. If the vice president was actually insincere, King warned, he could be “the most dangerous man in America.”

Nixon’s vice-presidential years are arguably the least well known of his long political career. It has been over 20 years since Stephen Ambrose wrote the first and until now only major book to focus on Nixon’s vice presidency. Much has since been released about the Eisenhower administration, and Ambrose’s own research methods have been called into question. But the reason Nixon’s activities between 1952 and 1961 are comparatively little understood also relates to a problem inherent in studying vice presidencies. Big decisions emanate from the White House, not the vice president’s office (though Dick Cheney may have broken the mold). Furthermore, the most influential vice presidents know to keep their advice confidential.

With the publication of “The President and the Apprentice,” Irwin F. Gellman hopes to fill that void. He is a prodigious researcher, who made his name with fine books on Franklin Roosevelt’s Cuba policy and on Sumner Welles. “The Contender,” his first book on Richard Nixon, covered the congressional years, and made the case that other historians had missed the Nixon behind the redbaiting.

In this long-awaited second volume, Gellman continues trying to set the record straight. He sees far less animosity in the peculiar political marriage between Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower than did Jeffrey Frank in his elegant and indispensable “Ike and Dick.” Gellman agrees with most historians that Eisenhower was prepared to drop Nixon from the ticket in 1952 over allegations about a secret fund set up by Southern Californian businessmen. Gellman, who has found the notes Eisenhower made while watching Nixon give the so-called Checkers speech, concludes that the general gained new respect for his running mate. Persuaded that Nixon was being honest, and impressed by his savvy and political courage, Eisenhower started to groom him for the presidency.

Although Nixon is clearly the “apprentice” of the title, what Gellman describes is more like a symbiotic relationship. Young enough to be Eisenhower’s son, Nixon traveled around the world for the president, serving as his eyes and ears. Presidential cynicism played a role in these assignments. Eisenhower exploited Nixon’s unassailable anti-Communist credentials to defend his policies abroad. At home, Eisenhower used Nixon to rally the Republicans’ restive right-wing base, occasionally wincing when Nixon verged on charging Democrats with treason but never ordering him to curtail his Reds! Reds! Reds! roadshows.

In a fascinating chapter on Nixon’s health, Gellman breaks new ground in understanding the man. Nixon’s trusted doctor Arnold Hutschnecker turns out to have been a Dr. Feelgood. Starting in 1952, Nixon sought help from Hutschnecker for a series of stress-induced ailments, and the doctor prescribed a medicine-­cabinetful of barbiturates and sleep aids (Seconal and Doriden), tranquilizers (Equanil) and “uppers” (Dexamyl), a potentially addictive, mood-altering cocktail that Nixon apparently took throughout the 1950s and possibly thereafter. We can now reconcile assertions by Nixon’s defenders that he drank little with evidence of strange late-night calls, slurred words and incoherence. As Gellman writes, “At the height of the Cold War, both the president and the vice president could easily have been simultaneously incapacitated, leaving no one responsible for governing.”

Like many Nixon scholars, Gellman believes that there were two Nixons. His private Nixon was a thoughtful pragmatist. The demagogy was political theater. “Nixon,” Gellman writes, “the inflexible ­anti-Communist in public, was far more flexible in private.” Unfortunately, instead of reflecting on the consequences of Nixon’s cynical use of anti-Communist rhetoric for the country, Gellman focuses on the cost to Nixon’s reputation. Had historians and the news media been allowed to sit in on Eisenhower’s national security meetings, he argues, they would have seen the real, nonideological Nixon. Nixon’s crowning foreign policy achievement, the opening to China a decade later, would not then have so shocked Nixon watchers. “The roots of Nixon’s thinking about East Asia,” he asserts, “go back to his vice presidency.”

Gellman’s case for Nixon’s foreign policy pragmatism this early on is not persuasive. There is nothing in the book to suggest that Nixon was inclined to think a two-China policy possible. Nixon returned from a 1953 meeting with the Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek singing his praises, despite the fact that the delusional Chiang was lobbying for support of a 600,000-man army to invade the mainland and topple Mao. More important, Gellman tends to play down the scattered but unmistakable evidence that Eisenhower and Nixon disagreed on how cold the Cold War should be. Eisenhower, for example, wanted to expand East-West trade as a way of forcing the Soviets to be better players in the game of nations; Nixon thought this a bad idea. Nixon favored American armed intervention to help the French win their war in Indochina in 1954. Eisenhower wisely disagreed. In sum, when Eisenhower deviated from hard-line Cold War policies, at least in his first term, Nixon was uncomfortable.

It is on the explosive issue of race where pragmatism may be the best explanation for Nixon’s vice presidency. Nixon was Eisenhower’s personal representative to the civil rights community, and “The President and the Apprentice” provides a thorough accounting of his activities. Gellman rightly points out that the Eisenhower administration’s record on civil rights was as significant as the Truman administration’s. And Nixon was comfortable among ­African-Americans to an extent not shared by Eisenhower or Truman. African-­American leaders like King took notice.

Gellman is convinced that Nixon was a sincere advocate of civil rights. “Fighting for racial justice,” Nixon wrote privately in 1958, “is for me a moral as well as a legal obligation.” As a result, Gellman sees Nixon as unfairly tarred with racism. “During my 20 years of Nixon research,” Gellman says, “I have not found him uttering any racial slurs.” He then cites another scholar, Luke Nichter, to demonstrate that even on the infamous tapes, where Nixon revels in using every other dirty word, the N-word does not escape his lips.

People of good faith can debate whether in fact they hear that word on the often muddy recordings, but racism is not exclusively the use of an epithet. In two chilling conversations with Daniel Patrick Moynihan in October and December 1971, Nixon discussed the implications for federal social policy of “science” allegedly showing that the Negro race was genetically inferior. Nixon, at least as president, believed that race largely determined I.Q.

Although Gellman’s research is extensive and his work on Nixon’s well-being is essential reading, this book is like a feast that leaves one hungry. A bit too quick to distance himself from the most ­single-minded of Nixon’s critics, Gellman provides an equally simplistic theory for what lay behind the actions of a publicly loyal vice president. His Nixon is a little bland: loyal, eager and, though politically cynical, deeply misunderstood. As vice president, Nixon clearly did not have the power to be “the most dangerous man in America.” That power would come later.

Eisenhower and Nixon, 1952-1961
By Irwin F. Gellman
Illustrated. 791 pp. Yale University Press. $40.

Timothy Naftali, clinical associate professor of history and public service at New York ­University, is the founding director of the federal Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

A version of this review appears in print on September 13, 2015, on page BR26 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: Unlike Ike.

In Nixon’s Gamble, set to be published Oct. 1 by Lyons Press, USA TODAY editor Ray Locker examines how the secret government established by President Richard Nixon ultimately brought down his administration. 

In an exclusive excerpt below, Locker looks at how Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, were alarmed in May 1969 by the number of leaks coming out of the government about Nixon’s foreign policy. The president and Kissinger were particularly incensed by a May 9, 1969, story in The New York Times about U.S. warplanes bombing targets in Cambodia, which was then a neutral country. They asked FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to help them find the leakers, and Hoover proposed having William C. Sullivan, the FBI’s longtime intelligence division, supervise wiretaps on government officials and journalists to see if they could determine who was leaking to the press. They found almost nothing, but Sullivan’s participation meant that the crafty longtime FBI official knew one of Nixon’s biggest secrets.

Sullivan, the man on whose shoulders rested the responsibility for the wiretaps, was known to friends and enemies alike as Crazy Billy. The taps would become a few more extra secrets for a man immersed in them. Sullivan looked little like the crisply dressed, white-shirted agents with neatly combed hair who dominated Hoover’s inner circle. Short and pugnacious, Sullivan’s clothes were often rumpled and baggy, a fashion statement his superiors often noted in his annual reviews. His office overflowed with papers, and while Sullivan looked like an absent-minded professor, he sounded like a raspy-voiced Boston street cop. He had grown up on a farm inBolton, Massachusetts, thirty-five miles west of Boston, gone to American Universityin Washington, and then returned home to work as a high school teacher and principal. After four years as an Internal Revenue Service agent, he joined the FBI in 1941 shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His superiors quickly saw promise behind his atypical appearance. He tracked suspected subversives in Milwaukee and then moved to El Paso, where he was mentored by Charlie Winstead, the agent who had gunned down notorious bank robber John Dillinger. By 1944, Sullivan had returned to Washington as an intelligence division supervisor. Hoover put him on his most sensitive investigations; in late 1945, Sullivan fed Bureau files about State Department official Alger Hiss to Father John Cronin, a fervent anticommunist. Three years later the information Sullivan passed to Cronin would end up in Nixon’s hands as he led the case against Hiss.

William Sullivan, the former intelligence chief ofWilliam Sullivan, the former intelligence chief of the FBI. (Photo: FBI)

Sullivan spent the coldest years of the Cold War spying on suspected Soviet agents and tracking Americans helping the Soviet Union. Communists were Hoover’s obsession. The Bureau developed its own counterintelligence program spying on Soviet and other agents in the United States. As deputy to Assistant Director Alan Belmont, who led the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence unit, Sullivan started his first operation against suspected communists inside the United States in 1956. His performance reviews noted his avid study of communism. President Eisenhower and other officials desperately wanted to know more information about Soviet intentions. Their ardor only increased when the Soviets launched their Sputnik satellite in 1957 and scared Americans about their head start in the space race. In some years, Sullivan gave more than sixty lectures around the country on the threat of communism, earning plaudits from civic and law enforcement groups.

Sullivan’s counterintelligence agents used the same techniques on suspected communists that they used during the war on Nazi and Axis operatives. They broke into homes and offices, tapped telephones, and mailed threatening letters to the wives and colleagues of members of groups agents wanted to destabilize. They created suspicions about disloyalty or infidelity by posing as cops who called targeted organizations to make them suspect each other was an informant. They sought less to build criminal cases but to destabilize and weaken their targets until they no longer posed a threat. Eventually, however, their focus changed from known communist groups to those with rather ephemeral connections to communism, such as the NAACP or local Boy Scout troops. It was, as Sullivan would tell a Senate committee almost twenty years later, a “rough, tough, dirty business and dangerous,” but one Hoover, his agents, and their clients thought they were winning. They had few, if any, regrets. These programs, operating under the designation COINTELPRO, were some of the FBI’s biggest secrets.

By 1961, Sullivan had become director of the Domestic Intelligence division and the FBI’s representative to the US Intelligence Board, a joint panel whose members included the heads of the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. That put him at the heart of deliberations for national intelligence estimates ranging from the Soviet Union to China to nuclear proliferation. Hoover cared little about these meetings, which enabled Sullivan to build relationships with other intelligence chiefs, including CIA directors John McCone and Richard Helms. Eventually Sullivan concluded the United States needed a more integrated intelligence system in which agencies collaborated instead of fighting each other. Helms, in particular, agreed. He and Sullivan cooperated behind Hoover’s back often, including during the 1965 US occupation of the Dominican Republic, when Hoover sent FBI agents into what Helms considered a CIA operation. Sullivan knew Hoover would have fired him if he had learned what he and Helms were doing. Sullivan did it anyway.

William Sullivan helped send FBI information to opponentsWilliam Sullivan helped send FBI information to opponents of former State Department official Alger Hiss, a suspected communist. (Photo: Associated Press)

Sullivan developed a band of eclectic friends beyond those of the typical FBI agent from Hoover’s closed circle. He became close to those at the heart of the Kennedy and Johnson Pentagon, particularly Haig. He got to know Kraemer on the anticommunist lecturing circuit, and they had a relationship in which the Pentagon strategist felt comfortable enough to drop into Sullivan’s office and accuse McGeorge Bundy, John Kennedy’s national security adviser, of being a “Fabian Socialist” who viewed nuclear war as “unthinkable.” He traded suspicions of domestic intelligence threats with James Angleton, the CIA’s counterintelligence chief who grew increasingly paranoid after he was burned by his friendship with British spy and traitor Kim Philby. Vernon Walters, Nixon’s former translator and later the deputy director of the CIA, was another with whom Sullivan would discuss how to improve the nation’s domestic intelligence network. Sullivan also befriended and influenced a generation of young reporters who would mature to become some of the nation’s most influential, such as columnists Robert Novak and Jack Anderson and a former navy lieutenant turned Washington Post reporter named Bob Woodward. Starting in 1969, Novak said, Sullivan provided him with a steady stream of tips about subversive groups operating in the United States.

The Bureau’s counterintelligence operations expanded greatly during Sullivan’s tenure as FBI intelligence chief, and fell under the umbrella known as COINTELPRO. First, because Hoover suspected communist manipulation of the civil rights movement, Sullivan started a program against Martin Luther King Jr. and other movement leaders. Despite the lack of evidence, Hoover believed that King would emerge from his cloak of nonviolence and suddenly embrace an angry, violent brand of Black Nationalism. Agents tapped King’s home telephone and the many hotel rooms in which he stayed while on the road. Eventually they gathered enough recordings to create a “sex tape” of King with other women. Sullivan authorized sending the tape to King’s home with a letter calling King an “evil beast.” The FBI’s intimidation never worked with King, who only fought harder. Although it never uncovered anything remotely close to communist manipulation of King, the Bureau continued spying on King until his assassination in April 1968. No matter what Sullivan said or what the evidence showed, Hoover never stopped trying to destroy King. After King’s death, the Bureau spied on his widow, Coretta Scott King, and kept on digging up what it considered incriminating information on King’s successor at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, until the COINTELPROs were stopped in 1971.

William Sullivan developed a close relationship withWilliam Sullivan developed a close relationship with CIA Director Richard Helms in the 1960s. (Photo: NONE, XXX ABC)

Sullivan was an equal opportunity secret policeman. While he hounded King and the civil rights movement—at Hoover’s insistence, Sullivan would later claim — he also led the Bureau’s successful penetration of the racist Ku Klux Klan in 1964. FBI agents and informants destabilized the white hate group at the peak of its fight against the civil rights movement. They created bogus Klan chapters run by informants and sent anonymous letters to Klan family members, much as they did to King, aimed at breaking up their marriages. By the end of the 1960s, they had broken the Klan, Sullivan bragged.

From the Klan, the FBI’s COINTELPROs moved to more aggressive black groups, such as the Black Panthers, and then to what the FBI called the New Left, a grab bag of student groups focused mainly on their opposition to the Vietnam War. Sullivan knew they posed no real threat. Most of them just wanted the United States to get out of Vietnam, particularly if it meant they would be drafted and sent there to fight. Sullivan still gave COINTELPRO all he had and held little back. His FBI record teems with his memos to Hoover and other officials about the aggressiveness of intelligence and counterintelligence activities at home and abroad. He vigorously carried out Hoover’s paranoid vision. There was a reason Sullivan was the one subordinate Hoover addressed by his first name.

Throughout it all, Sullivan developed a reputation as the FBI’s liberal house intellectual with his dark, horn-rimmed glasses and Democratic leanings. Sullivan had also mastered the Bureau’s Byzantine politics. He burned, as former associate and rival Cartha DeLoach said, with “more ambition than sense.” His rivals and friends considered Sullivan passionate and unpredictable. His subordinates adored him, because he favored action against the enemy within, be they Soviet spies, civil rights leaders, Klansmen, or student radicals. Those instincts brought Sullivan into greater conflict with Hoover, as Sullivan thought Hoover had lost his nerve and wanted to do too little, especially when it came to cooperating with other agencies. Hoover wanted to preserve an FBI monopoly on intelligence; he bitterly fought the creation of the CIA and its predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services. He punished those who cooperated with anyone.

Hemmed in at the FBI, Sullivan turned increasingly to his friends at the CIA. Angleton’s doubts about FBI intelligence assets infected Sullivan. He, too, began to wonder if Soviet bloc operatives were playing the FBI. If Hoover would not allow a stronger FBI, Sullivan believed, he would have to find a way to bring the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies closer together. The US intelligence community was not reaching its potential, Sullivan told Helms in October 1968. They needed to find a better way to move “ahead of the winds of change instead of being blown by them later on willy-nilly.” Nixon’s call for wiretaps and a crackdown on leaks could not have found a more willing collaborator.

Locker is the Washington enterprise editor of USA TODAY and author of Nixon’s Gamble: How a President’s Own Secret Government Destroyed His Administration, to be published Oct. 1.

Also see the Telegraph article: “Chris Harper-Mercer: Everything we know about the Oregon school gunman on Friday afternoon” — “The 26-year-old, whose social media profiles featured content supporting the IRA … Obsession with Nazis …”

Oregon shooting: Gunman had white supremacy, anti-religion leanings, sources say

LA Times (Excerpts)

Chris Harper Mercer, the shooter in the attack at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, was a “hate-filled” individual, who held anti-religion, anti-government and white supremacy leanings, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.

During the Thursday rampage, Mercer, 26, wore body armor and had extra ammunition, although it is unclear whether he carried the ammunition during the shooting or left it in his car, a federal source said Friday. …

The attack left 10 dead, including Mercer, and at least 10 injured.

Mercer, who was also obsessed with guns, left behind an angry, hate-filled note, said another source who was not authorized to discuss the investigation.

The gunman, who was killed in an gunfight with police, also liked to discuss military history, sources said. …

Overnight, officials searched Mercer’s apartment and recovered weapons, said Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin. Further details are expected to be released at news conferences later in the day.

Hanlin also said investigators interviewed neighbors and others at the college to learn more details about Mercer.

Local hospitals were strained by the sudden flow of wounded and dead.

Ten people were treated at Mercy Medical Center, Dr. Jason Gray of the center told reporters on Friday.

“Yesterday was a challenging day,” Gray told reporters. “The days and weeks ahead will be the most challenging” as the rural community of about 22,000 people tries to deal with the aftermath of the shooting that touched almost everyone’s life. …

None of the victims was named. Gray said they were men and women of varying ages, saying the average age skewed young. Some of the victims’ injuries, he said, included gunshot wounds to the abdomen and head.

Of those treated, one died, two were quickly treated and released and three were transferred to a hospital near Eugene for higher-level care, Gray said.

Of the four remaining patients, one was discharged late Thursday and one is expected to leave Friday.

One patient was listed in stable and one in critical condition, he said.

The shooting is the latest is a series of attacks on educational institutions that has left scores dead. Each has prompted calls for tougher gun control laws.

FULL COVERAGE: Oregon college shooting >>

Hanlin spoke out against state and federal gun-control legislation last year, telling a state legislative committee that mandating background checks for private, person-to-person gun sales would not prevent criminals from getting firearms.

Hanlin also sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden after the 2012 shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

Hanlin said he and his deputies would refuse to enforce new gun-control restrictions “offending the constitutional rights of my citizens.”

Hanlin told CNN on Friday that his position on gun control had not changed following Thursday’s shooting in his town.

The White House’s failed push for gun-control legislation after the Newtown shooting — in which 20 children and six adults were killed at an elementary school — deeply frustrated President Obama, who was visibly upset as he addressed the nation after Thursday’s attack.

“I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws and to save lives and to let young people grow up, and that will require a change of politics on this issue,” Obama said.

Obama said there is a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in the United States. He asked how anyone with a straight face can make the argument that more guns will make people safer.

“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances,” Obama said. “But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say.”

Muskal reported from Los Angeles, Gerber and Los Angeles Times staff writer Matt Pearce from Oregon, and Serrano from Washington.

Republicans have been going on for years, well, actually only since a Democrat took over the White House, about deficits. The deficit, they scream hysterically, will kill our children! Therefore, we need to stop feeding the children in poverty today, as well as taking money from senior citizens and our veterans. We just can’t afford these things, they tell us. We must be responsible.

But then last night Speaker-in-Hopes House Majority LeaderKevin McCarthy (R-CA) spilled the Benghazi beans on Fox Newsas he was desperately attempting to do what poor, put-upon Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has been doing for years — calming the crazies on Fox News while selling total baloney to the public. McCarthy hasn’t Boehner’s presence or control, so when pushed about what he has done for conservatives, McCarthy proudly preened on about the fake Benghazi investigations being a political tool to steal the White House from Hillary Clinton in 2016.

McCarthy admitted that the Benghazi committee helped erode Clinton’s “unbeatable” aura. Huh.

It’s not as if we didn’t know this was the agenda, we’ve been writing this for years here at Politicus. And just yesterday we discussed the outrageous fact that the Benghazi probe has gone on longer than the Watergate probe.

But the party that sells itself as “fiscally responsible”, in spite of their claim that “deficits don’t matter” when they were in charge, would definitely want to reimburse taxpayers the $4.5 million they have spent on lowering former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers and manufacturing sound bites for free campaign ads against her, which they will all use since Republicans always have to run “against” a person since they can’t run on their own ideas.

We know they will never pay the taxpayers back, but it makes their justification for austerity transparent as the attempt to inflict their ideology without debate that it is. As we face yet another Republican shutdown due to their refusal to actually negotiate a budget the correct way, lest they lose the power to hold the country hostage, they should be called out for their wasteful spending. If we have $4.5 million to spend so Republicans can commit fraud against the people while manufacturing lies about a woman who has almost consistently been the “most admired” woman in the world for ten years, then we don’t need to be cutting SNAP or stealing from Social Security. Certainly not first on the list.

No, first on the list would be unnecessary spending, and campaign ads for Republicans are unnecessary spending. Not only is this an abuse of power that would have to be investigated by Republicans since they’re the majority (and we all know Republicans don’t hold themselves accountable so that’s not going to happen, unlike the weak-willed Democrats who would have already tossed themselves out of office), but it’s a total waste of money because it’s not going to work.

No matter what Republicans do, they do not have a single viable candidate. They are currently running Donald Trump first in the polls, so let’s just be honest — they’re up a creek without a paddle right now. The chances of them getting a sane candidate without the baggage of a last name and a team that started the Iraq invasion on a lie are slim, because their base won’t have it. The few candidates they have who are marketable to the public aren’t even making a blip in their primary polls. Poor Governor Kasich (R-OH), the lone person who could debate Hillary Clinton without looking like a complete lunatic, stands no chance. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FLA), for all of his compelling personal story and background, can’t hold it together in public and comes off like an infant. He’s just not ready.

So this Benghazi probe fraud is worse than just an abuse of power, it’s a total waste of money. Republicans would have been better served to have taken their 2012 post mortem to heart and worked on adjusting their current party of top 2% strategy to fit with the actual values of what used to be the Republican party. There are plenty of moderates who would vote for that party, but that party has turned into the Donald Trump Sarah Palin circus. It’s really hard to justify even taking them seriously at this point.

We want our $4.5 million back and barring that, I’m calling laughingstock on the next Republican to use “deficits” as an excuse to cut funding for programs they don’t like.

Watchdogs shocked at ‘disconnect’ between doctors who oversaw interrogation and guidelines that gave CIA director power over medical ethics

Read the document: ‘Human experimentation’ and the CIA
cia human experimentation

The Central Intelligence Agency had explicit guidelines for “human experimentation” – before, during and after its post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees – that raise new questions about the limits on the agency’s in-house and contracted medical research.

Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian on Monday, empower the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research”. The leeway provides the director, who has never in the agency’s history been a medical doctor, with significant influence over limitations the US government sets to preserve safe, humane and ethical procedures on people.

CIA director George Tenet approved abusive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, designed by CIA contractor psychologists. He further instructed the agency’s health personnel to oversee the brutal interrogations – the beginning of years of controversy, still ongoing, about US torture as a violation of medical ethics.

But the revelation of the guidelines has prompted critics of CIA torture to question how the agency could have ever implemented what it calls “enhanced interrogation techniques” – despite apparently having rules against “research on human subjects” without their informed consent.

Indeed, despite the lurid name, doctors, human-rights workers and intelligence experts consulted by the Guardian said the agency’s human-experimentation rules were consistent with responsible medical practices. The CIA, however, redacted one of the four subsections on human experimentation.

“The more words you have, the more you can twist them, but it’s not a bad definition,” said Scott Allen, an internist and medical adviser to Physicians for Human Rights.

The agency confirmed to the Guardian that the document was still in effect during the lifespan of the controversial rendition, detention and interrogation program.

After reviewing the document, one watchdog said the timeline suggested the CIA manipulated basic definitions of human experimentation to ensure the torture program proceeded.

“Crime one was torture. The second crime was research without consent in order to say it wasn’t torture,” said Nathaniel Raymond, a former war-crimes investigator with Physicians for Human Rights and now a researcher with Harvard University’s Humanitarian Initiative.

Informed consent, the director and his ‘human subject research’ panel

The CIA director’s powers over ‘human subject research’ have not been previously disclosed. Photograph: Guardian / via ACLU

The document containing the guidelines, dated 1987 but updated over the years and still in effect at the CIA, was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the ACLU and shared with the Guardian, which is publishing it for the first time.

The relevant section of the CIA document, “Law and Policy Governing the Conduct of Intelligence Agencies”, instructs that the agency “shall not sponsor, contract for, or conduct research on human subjects” outside of instructions on responsible and humane medical practices set for the entire US government by its Department of Health and Human Services.

A keystone of those instructions, the document notes, is the “subject’s informed consent”.

That language echoes the public, if obscure, language of Executive Order 12333 – the seminal, Reagan-era document spelling out the powers and limitations of the intelligence agencies, including rules governing surveillance by the National Security Agency. But the discretion given to the CIA director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research” has not previously been public.

The entire 41-page CIA document exists to instruct the agency on what Executive Order 12333 permits and prohibits, after legislative action in the 1970s curbed intelligence powers in response to perceived abuses – including the CIA’s old practice of experimenting on human beings through programs like the infamous MK-Ultra project, which, among other things, dosed unwitting participants with LSD as an experiment.

The previously unknown section of the guidelines empower the CIA director and an advisory board on “human subject research” to “evaluate all documentation and certifications pertaining to human research sponsored by, contracted for, or conducted by the CIA”.

CIA doctors helped revive Abu Zubaydah, the first terrorism detainee known to be waterboarded in CIA custody. Photograph: AP
Experts assessing the document for the Guardian said the human-experimentation guidelines were critical to understanding the CIA’s baseline view of the limits of its medical research – limits they said the agency and its medical personnel violated during its interrogations, detentions and renditions program after 9/11.

The presence of medical personnel during brutal interrogations of men like Abu Zubaydah, they said, was difficult to reconcile with both the CIA’s internal requirement of “informed consent” on human experimentation subjects and responsible medical practices.

When Zubaydah, the first detainee known to be waterboarded in CIA custody, “became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth”, he was revived by CIA medical personnel – known as the Office of Medical Services (OMS) – according to a CIA account in the Senate intelligence committee’s landmark torture report.

CIA torture: health professionals ‘may have committed war crimes’, report says

The OMS doctors were heavily involved in the torture of detainees in CIA custody. They advised interrogators on the physical and psychological administration of what the agency called “enhanced interrogation techniques”. After observation, the doctors offered perspectives on calibrating them to specific detainees’ resilience.

OMS staff assigned to the agency’s black sites wrote emails with subject lines like: “Re: acceptable lower ambient temperatures”.

The CIA, which does not formally concede that it tortured people, insists that the presence of medical personnel ensured its torture techniques were conducted according to medical rigor. Several instances in the Senate torture report, partially declassified six months ago, record unease among OMS staff with their role in interrogations.

There is a disconnect between the requirement of this regulation and the conduct of the interrogation program
Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists
But other physicians and human rights experts who have long criticized the role of medical staff in torture said the extensive notes from CIA doctors on the interrogations – as they unfolded – brought OMS into the realm of human experimentation, particularly as they helped blur the lines between providing medical aid to detainees and keeping them capable of enduring further abusive interrogations.

Doctors take oaths to guarantee they inflict no harm on their patients.

Zubaydah “seems very resistant to the water board”, an OMS official emailed in August 2002. “No useful information so far … He did vomit a couple of times during the water board with some beans and rice. It’s been 10 hours since he ate so this is surprising and disturbing. We plan to only feed Ensure for a while now. I’m head[ing] back for another water board session.”

Doctors and intelligence experts said they could imagine legitimate, non-abusive CIA uses for human experimentation.

Steven Aftergood, a scholar of the intelligence agencies with the Federation of American Scientists, suggested that the agency might need to study polygraph effects on its agents; evaluate their performance under conditions of stress; or study physiological indicators of deception.

But all said that such examples of human experimentation would require something that the CIA never had during the interrogation program: the informed consent of its subjects.

“There is a disconnect between the requirement of this regulation and the conduct of the interrogation program,” said Aftergood. “They do not represent consistent policy.”

A director’s decision, oversight and an evolving rulebook

Months after Zubaydah’s interrogation, Tenet issued formal guidance approving brutal interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. Tenet explicitly ordered medical staff to be present – a decision carrying the effect of having them extensively document and evaluate the torture sessions.

“[A]ppropriate medical or psychological personnel must be on site during all detainee interrogations employing Enhanced Techniques,” Tenet wrote in January 2003. “In each case, the medical and psychological staff shall suspend the interrogation if they determine that significant and prolonged physical or mental injury, pain or suffering is likely to result if the interrogation is not suspended.”

In response to the Guardian’s questions about the newly disclosed document and its implications for the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program, CIA spokesperson Ryan Trapani provided the following statement:

“CIA has had internal guidelines interpreting Executive Order 1233 in place continuously from 1987 to present. While some provisions in these guidelines have been amended since September 11, 2001, none of those amendments changed provisions governing human experimentation or were made in response to the detention and interrogation program.”

Ironically, the only part of the CIA’s torture program in which agency officials claimed they were hamstrung by prohibitions on human experimentation is when they were asked by Senate investigators if torture was effective.

Their response to an issue first raised by the agency’s own inspector general a decade earlier was framed as an example of the agency respecting its own prohibition on human experimentation. As political pressure on the agency intensified last year, the CIA used it as a cudgel against the Senate report’s extensive conclusions that the torture was ultimately worthless.

“[S]ystematic study over time of the effectiveness of the techniques would have been encumbered by a number of factors,” the agency CIA told the Senate intelligence committee in June 2013. Among them: “Federal policy on the protection of human subjects.”

Harvard’s Raymond, using the agency’s acronym for its “enhanced interrogation technique” euphemism, said the CIA must have known its guidelines on human experimentation ruled out its psychologist-designed brutal interrogations.

“If they were abiding by this policy when EIT came up, they wouldn’t have been allowed to do it,” Raymond said. “Anyone in good faith would have known that was human subject research.”