Reporters, Don’t Let Trump Make You Cry | POLITICO

By Jack Schafer

Journalists play better offense than defense. Give them the ball, and they’ll sleuth out the hidden crumbs of information, filling the scoreboard with touchdowns. Assign them to a dangerous story, and they’ll exhibit the bravery associated with U.S. Marines. Ask them to work late, and they’ll labor all night and file copy at dawn, rat-eyed from exhaustion yet happy and ready for the next story.

But criticize them and ask them to justify what they do and how they do it? They go all go all whiny and preachy, wrap themselves in the First Amendment and proclaim that they’re essential to democracy. I won’t dispute that journalists are crucial to a free society, but just because something is true doesn’t make it persuasive. The chords that aggrieved journalists strike make them sound as entitled as tenured professors. This behavior was on display last Friday after President Donald Trump disparaged the press at CPAC and on Twitter. Later that day, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, amplified the CPAC insult by excluding CNN, Politico, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and others from an off-camera briefing.

Almost immediately, the press protests went off like a battalion of popguns. “Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest,” said New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet. “This is an undemocratic path that the administration is traveling,” chimed Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron. Others in the press scrum called for retaliation. MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski demanded that the press boycott the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner “until the White House’s abhorrent behavior towards members of the press stops.” Her Morning Joe co-host, Joe Scarborough, likewise insisted, “All news organizations must refuse to attend briefings where major outlets are excluded because of critical coverage.”

On and on it went. Former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse tweeted that White House reporters should “show some solidarity (and spine) & boycott briefings if Trump Admin excludes certain media.” Writer Simon Schama tweeted for a boycott of “the tinpot dictator’s briefings.” Public radio host Maria Hinojosa (Latino USA) reprised Jay Rosen’s recent idea that the press protest the administration’s behavior by sending interns to White House briefings instead of credentialed reporters. The Washington Post adopted a dreadfully overwrought masthead slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” for its online edition and the New York Times produced a sanctimonious “truth is hard” commercial, which aired during the Oscars. By Sunday morning, Brian Stelter’s guests on Reliable Sources had adopted the wounded theme, which was almost enough to cause me to start rooting against the home team and throw in with Trump.

I understand the press corps’ fury, but does the reaction make sense? As excluded New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush tweeted, there was a deliberate method to Spicer’s madness. It allowed the press secretary to avoid on-camera goofs; it got the press to “whine”; it sowed internal strife among reporters; and it prevented Trump—not Spicer’s biggest fan—from watching his performance. As a piece of lion-taming, the Spicer move was a great success. The lions may still be roaring, but he’s cracking the whip.

There’s nothing Trump and Spicer would love more than a press walkout from gaggles, press briefings, press conferences and assemblies like the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Boycotts would change the subject from Trump and Spicer’s original insults to the bruised egos of the boycotters—and really, how much sympathy should we expect the masses to have for the gang that brings them reams of bad news every morning? Besides, a boycott would be doomed. To be effective, a boycott must enlist almost everybody. Good luck with that. As candidates for adopting a one-for-all ethos, journalists must rank last. The only organizational principle most of them understand is competition.

For the sake of argument, imagine journalists pulling off a principled boycott after Spicer repeats his Friday stunt. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it—we’re halfway there. The Associated Press and Time boycotted the Friday briefing when they learned of the limitations he had placed on participation. Bloomberg, the Christian Science Monitor, the Wall Street Journal and other outlets have already vowed to shun future closed briefings. But as “principled” reporters peel off to paint protest placards, won’t Spicer merely tilt the briefings toward Trump-friendly media like Breitbart and One America News Network? Remember, Breitbart and OANN’s reporters attended Spicer’s controversial briefing, and they’ll never boycott. Spicer and Trump have already demonstrated a preference for calling on friendly media and will happily shovel interesting news to the pro-Trump outlets who attend. This will create an incentive for news organizations to hold their noses and ditch the boycott. Cozying up to power—writing “beat sweeteners” to gain access and publishing an administration’s planted leaks—has made more than one career in Washington. A boycott will only make the pro-Trump media stronger.

What would I have the press do? Words of protest and pushback, of which we’ve seen plenty, can’t hurt. But the best response, and one that wouldn’t require much in the way of press corps solidarity, would be to make Spicer answer the exiled questions. If, say, Spicer deletes Thrush from another briefing, Thrush can distribute his questions to the invited reporters. When Spicer calls on one, the reporter can say, “Glenn Thrush of the New York Times, who couldn’t be here today, has this question …” And then read it. A couple of rounds of “Thrush questions” and questions from other exiled reporters would not constitute an “I am Spartacus” moment, but it would convey that Spicer can evade news organizations but not their questions. If he can’t stop the reporters’ questions, what’s the point of exiling them?

Reporters have become pawns in Trump’s political strategy. In recent weeks, he’s trotted them out for sacrifice whenever the seeping wound of Russia news gets too moist for him, something NBC News’ Chuck Todd explained Sunday. Instead of taking it personally, I want journalists to take it professionally and continue to report like hell. A great story is always the best revenge.

Source: POLITICO

Despite his lies, Donald Trump is a potent truth-teller | The Guardian

fools

By James S. Gordon

Donald Trump evokes a wily and resilient mythic figure: the joker, the trickster, the fool, the one the Lakota people call the Heyoka, the contrary. Had his opponents – such as Hillary Clinton – understood this quality in him, the electoral outcome might have been different. The sooner the rest of us understand this side of him, the better.

In the European tradition, the fool holds up the mirror to the monarch and to all of us, mocking our faults and pretensions. He (the fool is almost always a man) is not constrained by deference or allegiance to truth. The Heyoka, one of the purest forms of fool, pretends to shiver when everyone else is sweating and takes off his clothes in winter.

The fool is a potent truth-teller and commands attention. Shakespeare knew this. Lear’s Fool, a gentle version of the species, skewered the arrogance and pride that were his master’s downfall, even as he comforted him. The “scabrous” Thersites in Troilus and Cressida speaks with relentless, scene-stealing venom. He paints Achilles, the Greeks’ greatest hero, as a petulant adolescent; King Agamemnon is a blowhard, Helen of Troy a hooker.

The fool is always addressing us, his audience, as well as his high-ranking targets. He performs a vital social function, forcing us to examine our own preconceptions, especially our inflated ideas about our own virtue. Trump was telling all of us – women and minorities, progressives, pillars of the establishment, as well as his supporters – that we were just like him.

The appropriate, time-honored response to the fool’s sallies is to take instruction from them. Only after we’ve acknowledged and accepted our own shortcomings do we have the integrity that allows us to keep him in his place. Perhaps if Secretary Clinton had been a more skillful, poised and humble warrior, she could have done this.

Fools serve the collective order by challenging those whose ignorance and blindness threaten it. They are meant to be instruments of awareness, not rulers. Impossible to imagine Lear’s Fool succeeding him or Thersites commanding the Greek army. Trump will not address his own limitations, cannot tolerate criticism, and takes himself dangerously seriously. This makes him a seriously flawed fool. He believes his own hyperbole and threatens democratic order.

In the weeks since his election, Trump has continued to act the fool. Now, however, the underdog’s challenges have become a bully’s beatdowns. His attack on the steelworkers’ union leader, Chuck Jones, exactly the kind of man whom he claimed to champion, was a vicious and painful lie. Unfunny, purely ugly. His more recent rants, including boasts about the crowds at his inaugural and the millions of imaginary illegal Clinton voters, illuminate his own troubled insecurity: the all-powerful winner acting the petulant, powerless loser.

Many of President Trump’s cabinet choices are like the punchlines of jokes, but punchlines with potentially devastating real-world consequences: an education secretary who disparages public education and badly botched her own effort at creating an alternative; men charged with responding to climate change who deny its existence; and a national security adviser who purveys paranoid fantasies.

There are glimmers of hope that the jester might mature to majesty. Gen James Mattis, the defense secretary, inspired a Trumpian epiphany that waterboarding might be counterproductive. Conversations with Al Gore or, more likely, ones with his daughter Ivanka could persuade him to open his eyes to the reality of climate change.

Or perhaps President Trump will implode, brought down by the damage done by perverse cabinet choices, or words and actions so intemperate and ill-advised that Congress and the courts call him to a terminal account. His challenged immigration order could be a harbinger.

Meanwhile, what are the rest of us to do? The fact that this question is even being asked is healthy, a residual benefit of his fool’s vocation. Trump’s grand and vulgar self-absorption is inviting all of us to examine our own selfishness. His ignorance calls us to attend to our own blind spots. The fears that he stokes and the isolation he promotes goad us to be braver, more generous.

Already, people all over the US – Republicans I know as well as Democrats – are beginning to link inner awareness to small and great political action.

The day after Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of women of all ages, ethnicities and political affiliations affirmed their rights, celebrated their community and slyly poked at the joker: “if I incorporated my uterus,” read one demonstrator’s sign, “would you stop trying to regulate it”.

The joker who is now our president has served an important function, waking us up to what we’ve not yet admitted in ourselves or accomplished in our country. He is, without realizing it, challenging us to grow in self-awareness, to act in ways that respect and fulfill what is best in ourselves and our democracy.

It’s time for us citizens, who’ve watched the performance, to take the stage.

Source: The Guardian

Court Rules Against Monsanto, Allows California To Put Cancer Warning On Roundup | CBS Sacramento

California can require Monsanto to label its popular weed-killer Roundup as a possible cancer threat despite an insistence from the chemical giant that it poses no risk to people, a judge tentatively ruled Friday.

California would be the first state to order such labeling if it carries out the proposal.

ALSO READ: Cancer Patient Donates Year’s Worth Of Pizza He Won To Food Bank

Monsanto had sued the nation’s leading agricultural state, saying California officials illegally based their decision for carrying the warnings on an international health organization based in France.

Monsanto attorney Trenton Norris argued in court Friday that the labels would have immediate financial consequences for the company. He said many consumers would see the labels and stop buying Roundup.

“It will absolutely be used in ways that will harm Monsanto,” he said.

After the hearing, the firm said in a statement that it will challenge the tentative ruling.

ALSO READ: What Is The EPA And Why Is It In The Hot Seat With Donald Trump?

Critics take issue with Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, which has no color or smell. Monsanto introduced it in 1974 as an effective way of killing weeds while leaving crops and plants intact.

It’s sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops.

The chemical is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency, which says it has “low toxicity” and recommends people avoid entering a field for 12 hours after it has been applied.

But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based branch of the U.N. World Health Organization, classified the chemical as a “probable human carcinogen.”

Shortly afterward, the most populated U.S. state took its first step in 2015 to require the warning labels.

St. Louis-based Monsanto contends that California is delegating its authority to an unelected foreign body with no accountability to U.S. or state officials in violation of the California Constitution.

Attorneys for California consider the International Agency for Research on Cancer the “gold standard” for identifying carcinogens, and they rely on its findings along with several states, the federal government and other countries, court papers say.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan still must issue a formal decision, which she said would come soon.

California regulators are waiting for the formal ruling before moving forward with the warnings, said Sam Delson, a spokesman for the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Once a chemical is added to a list of probable carcinogens, the manufacturer has a year before it must attach the label, he said.

Teri McCall believes a warning would have saved her husband, Jack, who toted a backpack of Roundup for more than 30 years to spray weeds on their 20-acre avocado and apple farm. He died of cancer in late 2015.

“I just don’t think my husband would have taken that risk if he had known,” said Teri McCall, one of dozens nationwide who are suing Monsanto, claiming the chemical gave them or a loved one cancer.

But farmer Paul Betancourt, who has been using Roundup for more than three decades on his almond and cotton crops, says he does not know anyone who has gotten sick from it.

“You’ve got to treat it with a level of respect, like anything else,” he said. “Gasoline will cause cancer if you bathe in the stuff.”

Source: CBS Sacramento

Former NSA Officer William Binney: CIA Lying About Russians Hacking DNC | Sputnik News

Binney, a cryptanalyst-mathematician and a Russia specialist at one point during his 30 years with the NSA, is a signatory of an open letter released Monday from six retired intelligence officials, calling themselves the “Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity,” who assert that the allegations that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are baseless.

“The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods,” the letter stated. “Thus, we conclude that the emails were leaked by an insider – as was the case with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Such an insider could be anyone in a government department or agency with access to NSA databases, or perhaps someone within the DNC.”

In an in-depth interview on Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, Binney details points clarifying that the WikiLeaks email releases are not hacks at all, but actually insider leaks.

“In order to get to the servers, they [hackers] would have to come across the network and go into the servers, penetrate them, and then extract data out of the servers and bring it back across the network,” Binney explained. “If it were the Russians, it would then go to Russia, and it would have to go from there across the network again to get to WikiLeaks.”Binney explained that “anything doing that would be picked up by the NSA’s vast surveillance system, both in terms of collecting the data as it transits the fiber optics inside the US, as well as internationally.”

The retired intelligence analyst also noted that traceroute packets are embedded in hundreds of switchers around the world, and that email messages are easily traced.

“With all the billions of dollars we spend on this collection access system that the NSA has, there’s no way that could have missed all the packets being transferred from those servers to the Russians,” Binney said. “I mean, they should know exactly how and when those packets left those servers and went to the Russians, and where specifically in Russia it went. There’s no excuse for not knowing that.”

If it was a hack, Binney reveals, the NSA would know who the sender and recipients of the data are, thanks to mass internet surveillance programs. The intelligence apparatus does not depend on “circumstantial evidence,” as has been reported.

“My point is really pretty simple. There should be no guessing here at all, they should be able to show the traceroutes of all the packets, or some of them anyways, going to the Russians and then from the Russians to WikiLeaks,” Binney explained. “There is no excuse for not being able to do that — and that would be the basic evidence to prove it. Otherwise, it could be any hacker in the world, or any other government in the world, who knows.”

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern also signed the letter, and has been outspoken about his disbelief that the information came from a Russian hack — or that the breach was, indeed, a hack.

“Today they are talking about having ‘overwhelming circumstantial evidence.’ Now we have overwhelming technical evidence. We have the former technical director of the National Security Agency that tells us that this is really just drivel,” McGovern previously told Radio Sputnik. “This is really just an operation to blacken the Russians and to blame the defeat of Hillary Clinton on the Russians.”

On Monday, Sputnik reported that former CIA officer and current executive director of the Council for the National Interest, Philip Giraldi, has come to the same conclusion as Binney and McGovern.

“If the intelligence community is nevertheless claiming that they know enough to conclude that it was directed from the top levels of the Russian government, then they should be able to produce documentary or other evidence of officials’ ordering the operation to take place,” Giraldi wrote. “Do they have that kind of information? It is clear that they do not, in spite of their assertion of ‘high confidence,’ and there is a suggestion by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, a persistent critic of Russian spying who is on the House Intelligence Committee, that the information they do have consists of innuendo and is largely circumstantial.”

Source: Sputnik News

Democracy And Corruption: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights Files War Crimes Charges Against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld And Other CIA Officials | Liberal America

By Tiffany Willis

BushRumsfeldCheneyThe European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has filed a criminal complaint against U.S. torture program architects and members of the Bush Administration. The organization has accused CIA director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of war crimes and they’ve called for a German prosecutor to conduct an immediate investigation.

This move follows the release of the damning Senate report on CIA torture that includes the case of German citizen Khalid El-Masri, who was captured in 2004 by CIA agents in a case of mistaken identity. The report revealed the shocking contrast of democracy and corruption.

Bizarrely, the only person involved with the CIA torture program who has been charged with a crime is the man who exposed the war crimes — whistleblower John Kiriakou.

The relevant parties in this case have given an extensive interview to Democracy Now. Some of the important points are below.

Wolfgang Kaleck, the general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the author of International Prosecution of Human Rights Crimes said this:

“By investigating members of the Bush administration, Germany can help to ensure that those responsible for abduction, abuse and illegal detention do not go unpunished.”

Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and chairman of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights said this:

“I strongly disagree that Bush, Cheney, et al., would have a defense. This wasn’t like these memos just appeared independently from the Justice Department. These memos were facilitated by the very people — Cheney, etc. — who we believe should be indicted. This was part of a conspiracy so they could get away with torture. But that’s not the subject here now.”

“Secondly, whatever we think of those memos, they’re of uselessness in Europe. Europe doesn’t accept this, quote, ‘golden shield’ of a legal defense. Either it’s torture or it’s not. Either you did it or you didn’t. And that’s one of the reasons, among others, why we’re going to Europe and why we went to Europe to bring these cases through the European Center.”

Ratner is the author of The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book.

Ratner also said this:

“But, of course, you know, Cheney just showed us exactly why you have to — have to prosecute torture. Because if you don’t prosecute it, the next guy down the line is going to torture again. And that’s what Cheney said: ‘I would do it again.’”

From Addicting Info‘s Ryan Denson:

Khalid El-Masri was on vacation in Skopje, in Macedonia, when he was pulled off of a bus by government agents, sodomized with a drug, and taken to the secret base that was identified only as Cobalt in the CIA torture report. After four months, and after the United States learned of the mistaken identity, they left him there and continued to torture him. They held him further because the U.S. realized they had been torturing the wrong man. Afterwards, they released him, dropping him off somewhere to resume his life.

El-Masri’s comments to Democracy Now highlight the contrast of democracy and corruption:

[translated] I was the only one in this prison in Kabul who was actually treated slightly better than the other inmates. But it was known among the prisoners that other prisoners were constantly tortured with blasts of loud music, exposed to constant onslaughts of loud music. And they were—for up to five days, they were just sort of left hanging from the ceiling, completely naked in ice-cold conditions. The man from Tanzania, whom I mentioned before, had his arm broken in three places. He had injuries, trauma to the head, and his teeth had been damaged. They also locked him up in a suitcase for long periods of time, foul-smelling suitcase that made him vomit all the time. Other people experienced forms of torture whereby their heads were being pushed down and held under water.

“And let me just say, Germany — whatever happened before, between the NSA spying on Germany and the fact that their citizen has now been revealed to have been kept in a torture place, when it was known that he was innocent, I’m pretty sure that Germany is going to take this very seriously.“

We need to throw our full support behind this investigation and our government and the Obama administration needs to not impede it in any way. This is a harsh indictment of our hypocrisy as a nation when it comes to democracy and corruption.

Source: Liberal America

Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished | The Washington Post

By Barton Gellman

Snowden1MOSCOW — The familiar voice on the hotel room phone did not waste words.

“What time does your clock say, exactly?” he asked. He checked the reply against his watch and described a place to meet. “I’ll see you there,” he said.

Edward Joseph Snowden emerged at the appointed hour, alone, blending into a light crowd of locals and tourists. He cocked his arm for a handshake, then turned his shoulder to indicate a path. Before long he had guided his visitor to a secure space out of public view.

During more than 14 hours of interviews, the first he has conducted in person since arriving here in June, Snowden did not part the curtains or step outside. Russia granted him temporary asylum on Aug. 1, but Snowden remains a target of surpassing interest to the intelligence services whose secrets he spilled on an epic scale.

Late this spring, Snowden supplied three journalists, including this one, with caches of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor. Dozens of revelations followed, and then hundreds, as news organizations around the world picked up the story. Congress pressed for explanations, new evidence revived old lawsuits and the Obama administration was obliged to declassify thousands of pages it had fought for years to conceal.

Taken together, the revelations have brought to light a global surveillance system that cast off many of its historical restraints after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Secret legal authorities empowered the NSA to sweep in the telephone, Internet and location records of whole populations. One of the leaked presentation slides described the agency’s “collection philosophy” as “Order one of everything off the menu.”

Six months after the first revelations appeared in The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Snowden agreed to reflect at length on the roots and repercussions of his choice. He was relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry. Read more…

Source: The Washington Post

Saudi-Sized Cracks in the 9/11 Wall of Silence | WhoWhatWhy.com

By Russ Baker

123President Obama is apparently thinking about his presidential library. So now might be a good time to ponder whether anyone will want to visit it.

If he cared about revivifying his brief reputation as a good-guy outsider ready to shine light on the hidden recesses of our governing apparatus (remember his election-night victory speech that brought tears and rare hope to America?), Obama could certainly start at this late date by taking a stand for transparency.

Here’s how: Two Congressmen, a Democrat and a Republican, are asking Obama to declassify the congressional report on 9/11, which the Bush administration heavily redacted.

The two members of the House of Representatives have read the blacked-out portions, including 28 totally blank pages that deal largely with Saudi government ties to the alleged 9/11 hijackers.

This is apparently major connect-the-dots stuff—much more significant than what one may remember from Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 911, about Saudi royals and other Saudis studying and living in the US, who were allowed to go home without being interviewed in the aftermath of the attacks. This is about actual financial and logistical support of terrorism against the United States—by its ally, the Saudi government.

As a Hoover Institution media scholar wrote in the New York Post (normally no bastion of deep investigative inquiry):

The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found “incontrovertible evidence” that Saudi government officials — not just wealthy Saudi hardliners, but high-level diplomats and intelligence officers employed by the kingdom — helped the hijackers both financially and logistically. The intelligence files cited in the report directly implicate the Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks, making 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war.

Congressmen “absolutely shocked”

The two outspoken Representatives, Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass) would be violating federal law if they offered any specifics about what they know, or even named any countries mentioned—but did say they were  “absolutely shocked” by revelations of foreign state involvement in the attacks. Now, they want a resolution requesting Obama declassify the entire document.

If the media were to do its job and create the kind of wall-to-wall coverage it bestows upon, say, inter-spousal murder trials, Obama might feel he had to release the full 9/11 report. He’d have to concede there is a public right to know, or at least explain in detail why he doesn’t think so. Either way, there would be major fireworks. But we’re not betting on either the president or the media doing the right thing.

Mainstream Media: out to lunch, so far

How much publicity is this enormously significant story getting? Very, very little. A search of the Nexis-Lexis database turned up just 13 articles or transcripts. One was a very short, cautious piece from the Boston Globe. One was a transcript of TV commentator Lou Dobbs on Fox News. All of the others were specialty or ideological publications or blogs—Investor’s Business Daily, the Blaze, Prairie Pundit, Right Wing News, etc. (CNN’s Piers Morgan did interview Rep. Lynch). Nothing showed up from the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, MSNBC or the broadcast networks.

That’s a remarkable oversight, given that the media did cover similar concerns expressed by former senators Bob Kerrey and Bob Graham almost two years ago. In an affidavit for a lawsuit by the families of 9/11 victims, Graham, head of the joint 2002 congressional 9/11 inquiry, said, “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.” Kerrey, who served on the non-congressional 9/11 Commission, said in his own affidavit, “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued.”

But two House members, one a Democrat, one a Republican, explicitly calling for the President to make the full report available? That’s certainly news.

What Will Obama Do?

If President Obama does declassify the records, that would be surprising, if not outright shocking.

Although he has belatedly (and under heavy pressure from his base) begun to shift more toward at least the rhetoric of openness, Obama failed to stand up for release of still-classified documents related to the John F. Kennedy assassination (a half century after that tragedy), and he has presided over myriad actions that take us further than ever from transparency. Meanwhile, the media has all but abdicated its responsibility to hold the administration’s feet to the fire on these and related matters.

At WhoWhatWhy, we understand how hard it is to get this kind of material into the hands of the American people. Our groundbreaking reporting on ties between prominent and powerful Saudis and the men said to have been on the planes attacking on September 11 (via a house in Sarasota, Florida) was almost entirely ignored by the establishment media, including many so-called “alternative” and “progressive” outlets, though it has nonetheless spread widely thanks to the Internet and social media. Even the above-mentioned New York Post only now has acknowledged our reporting on the Saudi-Sarasota connection, without mentioning our name or linking to us.

No matter. The significance is that others have come forward to ask tough questions about the daunting reach and self-protective reflexes of our government’s ever-expanding “secret sector.” With a related meta-issue—NSA surveillance—odd bedfellows like “leftie” Glenn Greenwald and “rightie” Larry Klayman (with a Bush appointed judge ruling in his favor) are going at the surveillance state simultaneously, mightily aided by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

Whatever one thinks of the 9/11 story—and one needn’t buy the more extreme theories to be open to examining new, documented facts—there’s clearly more to that trauma than we have been allowed to know; and we suspect there are many more establishment figures with a hunger for the truth. And once more “respectable” Washington insiders like House (and Senate) members start saying shocking things—well, that’s a man-bites-dog story few news organizations can turn down.

As for the executive branch, representatives of the State Department, Department of Justice and FBI have repeatedly denied knowing anything about the Saudi angle. If those documents are ever declassified, the denials themselves—and those issuing those denials—should also be news.

Source: WhoWhatWhy.com