Friday, April 4, 2008

Big Borther Is Here!

But Unlike Orwell's version, this on is quite stealth and about to become more-so.

Centers Tap Into Personal Databases

by Robert O'Harrow Jr.

Intelligence centers run by states across the country have access to personal information about millions of Americans, including unlisted cellphone numbers, insurance claims, driver’s license photographs and credit reports, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.0402 09

One center also has access to top-secret data systems at the CIA, the document shows, though it’s not clear what information those systems contain.

Dozens of the organizations known as fusion centers were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to identify potential threats and improve the way information is shared. The centers use law enforcement analysts and sophisticated computer systems to compile, or fuse, disparate tips and clues and pass along the refined information to other agencies. They are expected to play important roles in national information-sharing networks that link local, state and federal authorities and enable them to automatically sift their storehouses of records for patterns and clues.

Though officials have publicly discussed the fusion centers’ importance to national security, they have generally declined to elaborate on the centers’ activities. But a document that lists resources used by the fusion centers shows how a dozen of the organizations in the northeastern United States rely far more on access to commercial and government databases than had previously been disclosed.

Those details have come to light at a time of debate about domestic intelligence efforts, including eavesdropping and data-aggregation programs at the National Security Agency, and whether the government has enough protections in place to prevent abuses.

The list of information resources was part of a survey conducted last year, officials familiar with the effort said. It shows that, like most police agencies, the fusion centers have subscriptions to private information-broker services that keep records about Americans’ locations, financial holdings, associates, relatives, firearms licenses and the like.

Centers serving New York and other states also tap into a Federal Trade Commission database with information about hundreds of thousands of identity-theft reports, the document and police interviews show.

Pennsylvania buys credit reports and uses face-recognition software to examine driver’s license photos, while analysts in Rhode Island have access to car-rental databases. In Maryland, authorities rely on a little-known data broker called Entersect, which claims it maintains 12 billion records about 98 percent of Americans.

In its online promotional material, Entersect calls itself “the silent partner to municipal, county, state, and federal justice agencies who access our databases every day to locate subjects, develop background information, secure information from a cellular or unlisted number, and much more.”

Police officials said fusion center analysts are trained to use the information responsibly, legally and only on authorized criminal and counterterrorism cases. They stressed the importance of secret and public data in rooting out obscure threats.

“There is never ever enough information when it comes to terrorism” said Maj. Steven G. O’Donnell, deputy superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police. “That’s what post-9/11 is about.”

Government watchdogs, along with some police and intelligence officials, said they worry that the fusion centers do not have enough oversight and are not open enough with the public, in part because they operate under various state rules.

“Fusion centers have grown, really, off the radar screen of public accountability,” said Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonpartisan watchdog group in the District. “Congress and the state legislatures need to get a handle over what is going on at all these fusion centers.”

Fusion centers were formed in the wake of revelations that counterterrorism and law enforcement authorities missed or neglected evidence that the Sept. 11 attackers were in the United States while preparing to strike.

Because they are organized by the states, the centers have developed in different ways. Some are small operations focused on crime, while others are full-fledged criminal and counterterrorism operations. From 2004 to 2007, state and local governments received $254 million from the Department of Homeland Security in support of the centers, which are also supported by employees of the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. In some cases, they work with the U.S. Northern Command, the Pentagon operation involved in homeland security.

The centers have been criticized for being secretive, but authorities said that this is largely for security reasons. Activists want to know more about their activities, the kinds of information they collect and how the information is being used.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit in Virginia last month seeking the release of records about communication among state fusion center officials and the departments of Homeland Security and Justice. Marc Rotenberg, the privacy center’s executive director, said his group was responding to a proposed state law that would sharply limit access to records about the fusion centers’ activity.

Sue Reingold, deputy program manager in the Information Sharing Environment office, a federal operation with a mandate to improve information sharing, said state and local officials “must have access to a broad array of classified and unclassified information” to perform their mission. But Reingold said that an “important part of this is appropriate training and oversight that is well understood and transparent to the public.”

“Fusion centers are vital to state and local efforts to fight crime, including terrorism,” she said.

The list includes a wide variety of data resources along with software that finds patterns and displays links among people.

Most of the centers have subscriptions to Accurint, ChoicePoint’s Autotrack or LexisNexis. These information brokers are Web-based services that deliver instant access to billions of records on individuals’ homes, cars, phone numbers and other information.

Some of the centers link to records of currency transactions and almost 5 million suspicious-activity reports filed by financial institutions with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Massachusetts and other states rely on LocatePlus, an information broker that claims that it provides “the most comprehensive cell phone, unlisted and unpublished phone database in the industry.” The state also taps a private system called ClaimSearch that includes a “nationwide database that provides information on insurance claims, including vehicles, casualty claims and property claims,” the document said.

The center in Ohio has access, through authorized users, to an FBI “secret level repository,” the document said.

Rhode Island reported that it has access, also through the FBI, to “Top Secret resources” such as “Proton, which allows queries of CIA databases,” the document shows. Officials at the Rhode Island State Police, FBI and CIA declined to discuss the system and the kinds of information it contains.

In addition to databases run by Entersect, Maryland fusion center analysts have access to wage and property records, corporate charters, utility records and a host of government files, including criminal justice information and traffic tickets. Jason Luckenbaugh, the center’s chief of staff, acknowledged concern about the government’s ability to tap into new sources of information. But he said the databases enable analysts to fight crime and protect against terrorism, and help local authorities do the same. “We’re not trying to threaten them in any way,” he said.

© 2008 The Washington Post

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Another Torture Memo and Crystal Clear Evidence!

Not just torture, a program of torture

It is clear that Congress is willfully ignoring out and out, hard evidence that the president and others have committed war crimes. I realize that this is an election year, but then what year isn't anymore? It is past time that we addressed this horrendous issue or stand guilty along with Bush and company of war crimes .

Usually, the cover-up is worse than the crime, however not in this case, which makes the cover-up a high crime right along with the original crime.

Congress members had better get off their asses on this. This crime is a crime we cannot afford to try to sweep under the proverbial rug; not morally, not legally, not in any sense can we ignore this. If we do, we will deserve whatever we get, as the old Karmic winds of justice blow in our direction.

And blow they shall, before the next inauguration the winds will pick up speed. Before it is all over, what is to come will make Katrina look like a tropical depression.

Torture Memo Gave White House Broad Powers
Declassified Memo Outlined Justification for Interrogation Tactics, Presidential Authority

by Jason Ryan

The Justice Department’s newly declassified torture memo outlined the broad legal authority its lawyers gave to the Bush White House on matters of torture and presidential authority during times of war.0402 06

The March 14, 2003 memorandum, which has been replaced by later memos, provided legal guidance for military interrogations of alien unlawful combatants, and concluded that the president’s authority during wartime took precedence over the individual rights of enemies captured in the field.

The memo, released Tuesday, determined that amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which in part protect rights of individuals charged with crimes, do not apply equally to enemy combatants.

“The Fifth Amendment due process clause does not apply to the president’s conduct of a war,” the memo noted. It also asserted, “The detention of enemy combatants can in no sense be deemed ‘punishment’ for purposes of the Eighth Amendment,” which prohibits “cruel and unusual” forms of punishment.

“Unlike imprisonment pursuant to a criminal sanction, the detention of enemy combatants involves no sentence judicially imposed or legislatively required,” the memo said. “Accordingly the Eighth Amendment has no application here.”

The memo was drafted by John Yoo, who was at the time the deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. It was sent to William J. Haynes, then the general counsel at the Pentagon.

Former aides to John Ashcroft say the then-attorney general privately dubbed Yoo “Dr. Yes” for being so closely aligned with lawyers at the White House.

The memo also provided an argument in defense of government interrogators who used harsh tactics in their line of work.

Towards its conclusion, the document noted, “Finally, even if the criminal prohibitions outlined above applied, and an interrogation method might violate those prohibitions, necessity or self-defense could provide justifications for any criminal liability.”

Citing related opinions, the memo said the United States had a right to defend itself after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network. In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch’s constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions.”

“This national and international version of the right to self-defense could supplement and bolster the government defendant’s individual right.”

The memo also laid out a defense against the authority of the U.N. Convention Against Torture, or CAT. The 81-page memorandum noted, “Even if any nation had properly objected, that would mean only that there would be no provision prohibiting torture in effect between the United States and the objecting nation — effectively mooting the question whether an interrogation method violates the Torture Convention.”

“We conclude that the Bush administration’s understanding created a valid and effective reservation to CAT.”

The Justice Department still has not disclosed an additional February 2005 legal opinion, which was drafted after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took office. But previous interrogation memos, which have been released, include an Aug. 1, 2002 memorandum, which laid out standards and legal guidance for interrogation, including possible justification for torture.

The memo is known as the Bybee memo after Jay Bybee, who was at the time the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, though Yoo drafted much of the document.

Jack Goldsmith who headed OLC from October 2003 to July 2004, and worked at the Pentagon before coming to the department, has described many of the legal opinions, including the Bybee memo, as “flawed.”

In a 2007 interview with the PBS program “Frontline,” Goldsmith described the problems he had reviewing and standing by Yoo’s work.

“After I read these opinions I had a whole flurry of emotions,” he said. “My first one was disbelief that programs of this importance could be supported by legal opinions that were this flawed. My second was the realization that I would have a very, very hard time standing by these opinions if pressed. My third was the sinking feeling, what was I going to do if I was pressed about reaffirming these opinions or something required my decision related to these programs?”

“At that point I wasn’t sure,” Goldsmith said.

A Dec. 30, 2004 memorandum by former head of the Office of Legal Counsel Dan Levin replaced both memos.

Levin’s memo noted, “Torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., weighed in on the memo Tuesday. He said in a statement that the memo’s release is a “small step forward” in his quest for documents from the Bush administration, though he said there are still many documents the White House “continues to shield& even from members of Congress.”

“The memo they have declassified today reflects the expansive view of executive power that has been the hallmark of this administration,” Leahy said. “It is no wonder that this memo, like the now-infamous ‘Bybee memo,’ could not withstand scrutiny and had to be withdrawn. Like the ‘Bybee memo,’ this memo seeks to find ways to avoid legal restrictions and accountability on torture and threatens our country’s status as a beacon of human rights around the world.”

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dems "Mismanaging The Bordello During Gold Rush"

That's for Damned sure. This is the longest election "year" on record, at least in my life time. Clinton people want to remind us that Bill the nominee until June. What they don't seem to get is that we reached a year ago in elongated election season, which began the day after Kerry lost to the swiftboaters and other scumbags of the Rethugs other anti-Truth and Democracy squad.

Junior was a lame duck around the same time he made that ridiculous speech about having political capital. Did Karl convince him that he actually won that election or does the guy have more gumption than anyone in the entire world. Now he is a dead duck and McCrackers will be with him even before he is nominated, if and when the entire truth is told about the last 7 years.

I think it's fair to say that most Democratic voices of prominence publicly favor the bloodshed. Those still backing Hillary Clinton favor it because they must; it's the only possible route to victory, however obstructed, narrow and perilous for all that route may be. Those backing Barack Obama favor it publicly because they must not appear undemocratic; it's the best public relations route to victory, however determined that route already is.

To be sure, there are a few, such as Senator Pat Leahy, who have dared to utter trifles of common sense. But they are few indeed, and when they do suggest the obvious they are promptly intimidated into issuing retractions and clarifications -- mustn't hurt anyone's feelings, or for the good of the many, disabuse the few of their hopeless cause. That's the Democratic way: self-destruction through endless and high-minded bickering.

I wonder? Is it against the law to hang up on an ex-president?

And it's even fairer to say that virtually all conservative voices heartily endorse the Democratic approach. Why wouldn't they? After all, what could be more profitable than watching one's enemy scatter and expose its splintered flanks day after bloody day. So concurring conservative advice is simple, short, and pretty much superfluous: You go, girl -- and don't let anyone tell you different.

Is there a difference between an old fashion liberal Republican and a DLCer?

But there's always that rare and honest exception. In this case it is the New York Times' David Brooks, who, having already calculated Hillary's doomed odds in print, went on "Meet the Press" last weekend to splash even more frigidly honest water on the denial of Democratic faces.

Host Tim Russert first read to Brooks what Hillary had to say to the Washington Post the day before: "I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don't resolve it, we'll resolve it at the convention -- that's what credentials committees are for."

At this point, most Democrats dutifully genuflect and then cower into byzantine exegeses about the greater glory of democratic action, no matter how pointless. Remember, we mustn't step on anyone's sensibilities. But Mr. Brooks wasn't feeling delicately inclined Sunday morning, so he let Democrats have it with both barrels, and it deserves a refiring:

Credentials fight. Is this what the Democratic Party really wants?

What happened this week? Her approval ratings are now at their seven-year low. This has begun to hurt her, in particular, but it's begun to hurt the entire party. Barack Obama used to lead among independent votes against John McCain. Now, according to some polls, John McCain leads among independent voters. This is going to go on, and people are going to wonder, "Do we really trust these people to run the country?" Now, I still think it's a Democratic year, they still have the advantage, but we've spent the last six or seven years making -- the Republicans have been making it clear that they're chumps. We've forgotten how the Democratic Party can be chumps. And they're going to be bringing out the worst in each other and we're going to say, "Are these people going to really manage the entire health care system?" I mean, these people couldn't run a -- I was saying the other day, they couldn't run a bordello in a gold rush. So it's just going to bring out the worst of the party and diminish the prestige of the party and particularly the prestige of the two candidates.

When I heard that, in the background I also heard that chorus of angels that Hillary once mocked. But you will note it took a card-carrying member of the old chumps to warble the thundering truth to the new chumps. Not being imprisoned by any factional alliances among the suffering, Brooks could simply tell it like it is.

What's more, however, he told it like the electorate is beginning to see it -- and their vision couldn't be clearer.

The remaining Democratic contest isn't about democracy or "the issues," as we're lectured by some. Democracy already played out and now mathematics is doing the mop-up work, which Brooks, as noted, already noted in writing. As for genuine issues, when was the last time you heard one untrampled by the horse race? No, the blather about democracy and issues are mere canards -- justifications for prolonging the bloodshed and thereby keeping Hillary's coffin creaked open ever so slightly.

Nor was Brooks' point merely one of belittling the politics of desperation. It was far more incisive, for it got at the core of public confidence in the Democratic Party at large.

Why, indeed, should the public have faith in a party that promises, say, improved health care, when so many of that party's key negotiators -- now better known as superdelegates than congressional members -- can't even get together on declaring a futile political contest at an end in the interest of future solidarity? Do they inspire you with confidence? Pump you full of hope? Enlist your enthusiasm?

Or do they just look like a bunch of clowns?

And if you don't think that clownish image is settling in and metastasizing throughout the electorate -- and, as well, inflicting immutable damage on the party's presumptive nominee -- just take a look at the latest polling numbers. Then take a look at the numbers from a month ago; and then, finally, imagine what the numbers will look like three months from now, at which point a hefty chunk will have taken on a certain permanency of Democratic disaffection.

For personal questions or comments you can contact P.M. at


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Sean Hannity: Hate-monger Supremo

None of us watch Fox much.

I stopped watching in Dec 2001. Didn't watch very often before that. It only took one show for me to know who and what Hannity is. He is a frightened little man who could never lead other frightened little men in combat, but he can stir hatred and resentment on radio and TeeVee, as one frightened little man to another.

Max Blumenthal Probes Hannity's History With Talk Radio's 'Angry White Men' -- and Fanning the Flames of Racial Politics

I think what has happened with Jeremiah Wright is that, whatever you think of him, and however unfair the media has been to him, he has given the right a way to mobilize resentment against Barack Obama that they never had before ... [Wright] is presented as the quintessential angry black man that the right wing loves to incite hatred against. So Sean Hannity is running with this as far as he can.
-- Journalist Max Blumenthal

* * *

According to the Huffington Post, "Max Blumenthal is a Nation Institute Fellow whose work regularly appears in the Nation. A winner of the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Award, he is also a Research Fellow at Media Matters for America." But we know Max as a former night editor for and for his fearless work in taking on right-wing zealots -- religious and otherwise -- by going to their events and challenging them. He then writes up articles for the Nation and other publications or videotapes his encounters. His book, "Gomorrah: Inside the Republican Land of Sin," will be published by Nation/Basic books in July 2007.

Blumenthal is cutting quite a swath for himself in intrepid political journalism. In this interview, we talk with him about racism, Sean Hannity, and one of the alleged skeletons in Hannity's closet.

* * *

BuzzFlash: Max Blumenthal, you wrote a piece for The Nation, where many of your articles appear. This one was about the relationship between Sean Hannity and a man named Hal Turner. You point out the hypocrisy of Sean Hannity, who recently seems to be playing unending loops of Reverend Wright's excerpted statements on his program. Why did you write the article, and what did you find out?

Max Blumenthal: Well, I wrote the article in June 2005, and it's been almost completely ignored until now. I've been saying since then that the way to handle Sean Hannity, when he brings up the issue of race, as he so often does, is to confront him with his relationship with Hal Turner, who is one of the most vitriolic and vocal neo-Nazi personalities in the United States. Finally, Malik Shabazz, of all people, someone who said Jews were warned in advance of 9/11, confronted Sean Hannity on Hannity and Colmes about his relationship with Hal Turner. Hannity, as I predicted, went into contortions explaining this relationship, and had to be rescued by his stand-in co-host, because it destroyed his argument on race.

Hal Turner is someone who hailed the fire-bombing of an apartment containing what he called "savage Negroes." He's called for the murder of immigrants. He posts bomb-making tips on his website, and he says, "I'm not a bomber. I create bombers." He's been investigated by the FBI in the killing of the family of Judge Joan Lefkow because he had posted death threats against her and called for her killing for her prosecution of Matthew Hale, the neo-Nazi leader. This is someone who Sean Hannity had allegedly fostered a friendship with, and whose career Sean Hannity promoted in a way. Sean Hannity actually allegedly counseled him on personal issues. So there's a lot Sean Hannity has to explain about his relationship with Hal Turner.

Hal Turner has been very forthright about it, saying on his personal website that Sean Hannity and he are both conservative Irish Catholic guys, and they have a lot of views in common on race. And he says in private Sean Hannity made no secret that he agreed with Hal Turner.

BuzzFlash: How does Hannity respond to this? It's clearly documented that Hal Turner did come on Hannity's WABC program on a number of occasions. And according to Hal Turner, he was given sort of the express line into the program, so that he could be on the air. How is Hannity responding to this?

Max Blumenthal: Hannity would like to ignore it. I don't think he wants to respond to it. But he brings on a lot of guests who he thinks he can browbeat on the issue of race because of their own, controversial and even racist views. I think these guests, if they go on, should do what Malik Shabazz did, and confront Sean Hannity about his relationship with Hal Turner. Sean Hannity doesn't have a convincing explanation for it, and it really undermines his whole argument that we should be living in a race-neutral society, and that he, in fact, is "color-blind."

You know, this isn't a superficial relationship. Sean Hannity got his radio show when he took over from Bob Grant at WABC. Bob Grant was sort of the original Hal Turner. He was a hysterical racist. During the nineties, he was sort of a popular figure in New York broadcasting. A lot of the backlash, kind of Giuliani-supporters, liked him. He was kind of below the radar promoting neo-Nazi groups like the National Alliance. He said, "I don't have a problem with the National Alliance." That's the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States. Grant insisted that Arabs were responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, when it actually was a follower of National Alliance founder, William Pierce, who was responsible. WABC came under a lot of pressure from the NAACP to dump Grant for his anti-black statements, like calling Haitian refugees subhuman infiltrators, and saying that the United States contained millions of sub-humanoid savages who would feel more at home around the sands of the Kalahari or the dry deserts of eastern Kenya, and so on and so on. The protests had a big effect. Finally, Grant was sort of on the ropes.

So along comes Hal Turner, who was a frequent caller to Bob Grant's show. He organized a huge pro-Bob Grant rally in Trenton, New Jersey, which turned into kind of a confabulation of the neo-Nazi movement. A lot of people from the white supremacist national movement showed up, and it kept Bob Grant on the air for two more years. But, finally, he did himself in and was replaced by Sean Hannity.

Sean Hannity inherited Hal Turner as a frequent caller. Hannity also credited Bob Grant as his mentor. Hannity says in his book, Let Freedom Ring, "I'd grown up listening to Bob Grant, one of the most entertaining hosts I'd ever heard."

Sean Hannity had had his own problems when he was a broadcaster at the University of Santa Barbara, which is a relatively liberal school in California. He claimed that he was ousted by the left-wing management there, but, in fact, he had repeatedly made vitriolic, homophobic statements on the air, claiming that homosexuality could be "corrected" and that it wasn't a biological phenomenon. So he was ousted. Then he did the right-wing radio circuit in the South, filling in for Neal Boortz, this broadcaster who said Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney looks like a ghetto slut. He's an open racist. Sean Hannity had kind of always been in the shadows of these racist figures. Now finally, he fills in for one of them on WABC, inheriting this big fan base of angry white males, including Hal Turner, who called himself Hal from North Bergen when he called in.

What Hannity did was kind of outsource a lot of his racism to Turner. He'd have Turner call in and bash black people, and Hannity wouldn't say anything. And his audience would get a big rise out of it. For example, in August 1998, Hal Turner reminded Hannity that if it wasn't for the graciousness of the white man, black people would still be swinging on trees in Africa. This is something that you would rebuke if you're Sean Hannity and you really are against racism. Instead, Hannity continued taking Hal Turner's calls. In fact, Sean Hannity promoted Hal Turner's candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, Hal Turner was a major Republican activist in New Jersey who had been the New Jersey coordinator for Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign. Sean Hannity had Hal Turner on to promote his candidacy on December 10, 1998, and to attack his presumptive opponent, Robert Menendez, as a left-wing nut.

At the same time, these guys were allegedly talking off air during commercial breaks. Turner posted this on a Google discussion forum. Hannity called Turner from his job at Fox News to continue a conversation they'd been having while he was at ABC. Apparently Sean Hannity had been sent an e-mail by someone who didn't like Hal Turner, thought he was an extremist, possibly dangerous, and told him that Hal Turner had a long history of cocaine abuse and had been involved with cocaine dealers. Not only that, but that he had sort of had homosexual relationships, which was, hypocrisy, because Hal Turner was a vitriolic homophobe. And Hal Turner confessed this on a Google discussion forum. He said, I've done things I'm not proud of, and had dark times in my life, and these experiences have shaped the way I live today -- the "right"way. He said that Hannity laughed and commented that he knew the feeling. And he said that these kinds of chats with Hannity were not unusual, and that they usually happened when they were on commercial breaks.

Afterwards, when Sean Hannity got his big break in television, and got his show, "Hannity and Colmes," he allegedly brought Hal Turner's young son onto the set, and they got to hang out backstage.

BuzzFlash: Now for the record, Max, I'm reading an exchange which was one of the usual Fox circuses. Here's this guy, Shabazz, who claims that he's leading a black panther party that's supporting Obama, but Obama doesn't want the endorsement and never sought it. Of course, it becomes a cause celebre on Fox, even though this is all part of the circus of Fox. Suddenly Shabazz confronts him on his relationship to Turner. Hannity says that man was banned from my radio show ten years ago, and that the accusation of a relationship is an absolute lie. So Hannity is denying this. Other than Turner's allegations that they had a relationship, what is there to base the allegation on? Do we have tapes of these ABC radio conversations from the late Nineties?

Max Blumenthal: I acquired transcripts of them from someone who had monitored these shows, who was involved in opposing Bob Grant, and then later, in opposing Sean Hannity -- Bill Jenkins, who is from an anti-racist group based in New Jersey called One People's Project. Hal Turner has confirmed for his part that all of these conversations took place, and Sean Hannity hasn't denied them. Sean Hannity had banned Hal Turner from the show in 1998, but he also allegedly took Hal Turner after that onto the set of Fox News, and let him backstage to hang out at "Hannity and Colmes." So he's being disingenuous.

Their relationship kind of collapsed after Hal Turner tried to get the endorsement of the New Jersey state Republican Party in 2000. Instead, they endorsed his primary challenger, Theresa de Leon, who was a dark-skinned Latino woman. Hal Turner basically went bezerk and denounced the Republican Party. He said, I'd never judged people on their race, not prior to that point. To paraphrase his resentment, "And there I was on the receiving end in America -- the decision that I wasn't good enough because I was a white male." So he became the persecuted white male, and swung to the far shores of the right and embraced the neo-Nazi movement that he'd always quietly associated with, and that Sean Hannity had known that he quietly associated with. But he became a liability to Sean Hannity, and the two kind of split then, after 2000.

BuzzFlash: I'd like to go back to Bob Grant for a moment. Apparently, Bob Grant wasn't kicked off the air for his racial statements. He was kicked off the air because of something related to claiming that AIDS was a fantasy, or some homophobic statement, basically. It wasn't the race issue. And he was replaced by Sean Hannity, who is in some ways more acceptable. I mean, Bob Grant was an older guy with a toupee. Sean Hannity comes in -- clean-cut, Catholic school student, smooth style, unctuous, wrapping himself in the flag. Not as crude as Bob Grant. Not as David Duke as Bob Grant in terms of his language, but basically selling the same package, which is racism.

At the website FAIR, which is a media watchdog group, in the way Media Matters is, it says that when Bob Grant was the king of WABC, he referred to black church-goers as "screaming savages." He advocated eugenics, promoting the Bob Grant "mandatory sterilization" program. Then we see Sean Hannity walking in, and subsequently getting on Fox, and becoming the spokesperson for the new right wing. His godfather is really Bob Grant, a raving racist. Sean Hannity is just selling it in a more unctuous, sugar-coated form.

Max Blumenthal: Right. I think Sean Hannity learned his lesson at the University of Santa Barbara. He also watched closely as Bob Grant amassed this massive base of angry white males, and was driven off the air by civil rights groups and had all his advertisements pulled. Sean Hannity realized that there really is what Bill Clinton called this thing of darkness, this undercurrent of racism and hatred in American society, that's waiting to be tapped into. At the same time, if you want to have a national profile, you have to tap into it through codes, and you have to do it in a subtle way, not the way Bob Grant, who was an older man who didn't understand new media, did it. If you want to be an open racist, you're going to wind up like Hal Turner, on short-wave radio, sort of on the fringes. So Sean Hannity's been really artful about it. He managed to cast himself as "color-blind" -- which is really a subtle conservative way of opposing affirmative action and denying it. He's clever. And Alan Colmes was his foil, if not his doormat, which gives him a little bit of credibility, too. So he has the perfect format for this.

I think what has happened with Jeremiah Wright is that, whatever you think of him, and however unfair the media has been to him, he has given the right a way to mobilize resentment against Barack Obama that they never had before, because he does have a long relationship with Barack Obama. He has been extremely important in Barack Obama's ascendancy. He is presented as the quintessential angry black man that the right wing loves to incite hatred against. So Sean Hannity is running with this as far as he can. He doesn't have to say anything. All he has to do is put up an image of the angry black man, and say this contradicts everything Barack Obama has said about unity and hope. And his fans go wild.

BuzzFlash: Sometimes we forget that really Fox built an acceptable packaging upon a foundation of racist talk-show hosts who were the original exploiters of the working class displacement, and job anxiety due to jobs shifting overseas, at a time when there was busing, and affirmative action was reaching its peak in the Seventies. In Chicago, there Howard Miller was a host. There was almost one in every city. Sometimes we think this is a relatively new phenomenon. But really what we've got is a smoother-talking, car salesman version of an old phenomenon that is socially acceptable to television, because Hannity's image is the clean-cut guy on television, kind of the guy next door. He seems very earnest, but he's selling the same package of goods as Bob Grant was selling. Would you agree with that?

Max Blumenthal: I would agree with that. And also, he's added the toxic combination of illicit sex to what Grant was selling. It's really race and illicit sex - sort of like what Eliot Spitzer was doing, or what's going on in the clubs where your children may be hanging out in. You know, Sean Hannity went to the Bunny Ranch, which is this legal whorehouse in Las Vegas. It was one of the most lurid segments I've ever seen on Fox News, with close-up shots of all of these prostitutes' body parts, with cheap porn music playing, and Sean Hannity kind of making his way through this whorehouse, being groped on by all these prostitutes. And he's telling them, I think there's a better life for you. Maybe you can get out of this job and get a decent profession -- trying to appear as the good Catholic boy.

So I called up Dennis Hof, who is basically the pimp, the head of the Bunny Ranch. And I said, "What was Sean Hannity like there?" He said, "Oh, we have guys like Sean Hannity come through here all the time. They always try to "save" our girls. And some of our girls have college educations. They like this job and the independence it gives them. So we call Sean Hannity Captain Save-A-Hooker."

And I started thinking -- "Captain Save-A-Hooker" -- who does that remind me of? And I thought of Travis Bickle, the protagonist of the movie Taxi Driver, played by Robert DeNiro. I think Taxi Driver is the perfect reflection of the kind of character that Sean Hannity is trying to reach out to with his really sophisticated media techniques -- someone who is really lonely and dislocated, and surrounded by unfamiliar ethnic groups that he really resents. He is desperate for companionship, and at the end of Taxi Driver, what does Travis Bickle try to do? He tries to save the hooker -- the perfect portrayal of the right-wing backlasher. He has all this resentment, but it's really coming from a position of weakness.

Fox News perfected this formula which reaches out to this kind of people. It's really disturbing, because, when you're coming from a position of weakness, and you're desperate, and you become consumed with resentment, you tend to react in really destructive ways. I think if Barack Obama is elected, they've incited a lot of hatred that I think is potentially dangerous. The same thing with Hillary Clinton and what they've done against her. They've turned on Obama, because he's in the lead. But they've incited sexist hatred against Hillary for years.

BuzzFlash: Well, we are talking about the angry white male here, so it would follow that they would be both sexist and racist.

Max Blumenthal: Absolutely.

BuzzFlash: What you mentioned about Sean Hannity is in a way about having it both ways -- presenting and denouncing lurid sexuality. Of course, this is Fox.

Max Blumenthal: There's a video produced by Robert Greenwald that I think everyone should see. All he did was collect clips of all the lurid sexuality on Fox News, and put it together in a video. That video is banned from the website Digg because it was considered too pornographic, although all it consisted of was footage from Fox News.

BuzzFlash: Stephanie Miller, the progressive talk-show host, does a right-wing roundup every morning of what they've said. It's amazing. And Bill O'Reilly, as you were saying about Sean Hannity, is consumed with showing sex that he deplores, but lingering on it for great lengths of time with very vivid photographs.

Max Blumenthal: Bill O'Reilly is the unhinged version of Sean Hannity. This is the guy who's a complete wreck psychologically.

BuzzFlash: For both of them, their primary audience is the white male who feels somehow the world has collapsed around him. We've got uppity women like Hillary Clinton, and we've got uppity blacks like Barack Obama. Basically, our instincts as humans is that we want the power that we have. The white male's power has now been shared with women and minorities, and the angry white males are resentful and furious about this.

Sean Hannity defines patriotism and being a loyal American as upholding the white male power structure. On the other hand, if you're a white male, you kind of like this T and A stuff. So Hannity and Bill O'Reilly both indulge in showing pictures that are quite graphic and sexual, and denouncing them. But it's pretty clear they're showing them for titillation.

Max Blumenthal: Well, if you're watching these shows, you're allowed to sort of be titillated by it, as long as you know that you will never be able to touch those breasts because you're busy watching Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. So why not resent the celebrities and all the "latte liberals" and the hip-hop stars who get to touch those breasts? Why not hate them instead, since you can't do this? It's all about resentment and weakness.

BuzzFlash: And it's about "them." The Fox Television Network, in particular, is built around "us against them," meaning white Americans against the Islamic faith, the terrorists, the Muslims, the immigrants, the Mexicans, the blacks, the women who don't fall in line.

Max Blumenthal: Sam Francis,who was sort of the brains behind Pat Buchanan and behind the white nationalist movement, called it the sandwich strategy. He described the working class, the producer class, as being squeezed between the elitist cosmopolitan one-worlders from above -- the corporatists, the people that Lou Dobbs denounces -- and sort of the brown huddled masses who are open to communist opinions from below. They're being squeezed out of existence by the collusion of the one-worlder elitists and the dark-skinned masses. This is the narrative that you hear every day on Fox News and that you also hear on Lou Dobbs and on right-wing radio. And it all comes down to white victimhood.

BuzzFlash: Isn't that ironic, because what we're hearing is that Hillary Clinton is a victim. Barack Obama's minister claims that blacks are victims. White males who follow Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh or Bob Grant are saying, in essence, we've been victimized by these people. We're victims. Our power has been taken away from us. Jobs have been taken away from us. And it's all by "them."

I want to commend your work, though. You're one of the few people who goes right into the center of these right-wing conclaves. You've confronted Ann Coulter at CPAC, and you've gone and done video work at many of these conferences. You just call these people up or attend the events and ask the questions. And you're to be commended, along with News Hounds, and Robert Greenwald, for following Fox, which is really a propaganda network. But isn't this really sort of again socially palatable demagoguery? Fox News loops the Jeremiah Wright tape, or an Osama bin Laden tape, all the time. Is it emotionally playing and toying with the audience?

Max Blumenthal: They're emotionally conditioning the audience and generating sort of Pavlovian responses. Fox News and Sean Hannity's producers are playing to sentiments that are already there, for whatever reason. And his audience was a ready-made audience that had been established since before the days of Bob Grant. We can never forget that he inherited Bob Grant's audience, so he has an audience that has strong racial animus.

If you look at how Keith Olbermann has been conditioning his audience against Hillary Clinton, you know, his audience typically opposes racism. So he paints Hillary Clinton as a racist. Sean Hannity is doing the mirror inverse -- painting Barack Obama as the racist. These guys are successful because they know how to exploit the sentiments and the deep, dark resentments of their viewers. And there's something about TV that's so public, because you're seeing everyone's private life exposed. All these public figures are exposed, and they're torn naked on the TV. But at the same time, it's so private because you can watch it in your home by yourself, or listen to right-wing radio in your car by yourself on the way to work. And you can feel however you want, and you can react however you want. And no one can see.

And this is how you prepare yourself for the day on your way to work, and get yourself going. It's how you close out your day -- with Hannity and Colmes before you go to bed. It becomes a really sort of sadistic rhythm for a lot of people. And it inspires their political passions on both sides. I think it contributes to a really poisonous discourse that we're having. Until we see that all of us are victimizing each other, then I don't think we're going to get past this. And people like Sean Hannity are going to continue to get rich while their audiences continue to get poorer and poorer, and get angrier and angrier.

BuzzFlash: Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel are an odd couple to be sure, a right winger and kind of a regular democratic guy who was Mondale's campaign manager. They wrote a book together called Common Ground, in which they referred to Sean Hannity as the leader of the pack among the bottom-feeders of political polarizers. They describe polarizers as those who "make money by keeping politics inflamed in order to sell books, maintain readership, sustain writings, fill speaking schedules or sell tickets." Some people forget that people like Hannity and Coulter and others charge forty-fifty thousand dollars a speech. They are multi-millionaires at this point. Sean Hannity makes himself out to be a spokesman for the regular American, the regular guy. He's a multi, multi millionaire at this point. The man's in a private jet whenever he has a speaking engagement. He won't even go first class. This is a guy who is virtually in the Donald Trump category in terms of travel style and lifestyle. Yet he paints himself as sort of a lunch bucket guy with a sportcoat or a suit on.

Max Blumenthal: Right.

BuzzFlash: Do you think he is the huckster first, or the believer in this first? Or is he the believer in the demagoguery and the racism and the sexism, and he's also the huckster, so he's got the perfect combination to make him a multi-millionaire?

Max Blumenthal: Definitely Sean Hannity's a huckster. But as far as his views on social issues, I think we have to judge people by their behavior. I don't know of anything he's done that is contradicting his views, although one caller recently called up and said he was having an adulterous affair, and Sean Hannity said he knew what it was like before sort of correcting himself.

BuzzFlash: He knew what it was like?

Max Blumenthal: He knew what it was like to have an adulterous affair, before sort of correcting himself. Sean Hannity's a performer. But at the same time, he's definitely an exploiter. But there's no evidence that he has contradicted any of the views he's espoused in public in any way that Bill O'Reilly has, or Michael Savage, whose real name is Michael Weiner. Weiner's become one of the biggest gay-bashers in the United States, but he used to be a homosexual in San Francisco who bragged about having a gay relationship with a black man, and he ran in beatnik circles before he reinvented himself. These people are the real frauds, in my opinion, because there's a massive gulf between their private lives and their public personas, and they're bamboozling everyone by portraying themselves as culture warriors.

BuzzFlash: Hannity was in a film a few years back, which was done by some young filmmakers in Utah, called This Divided State.

Max Blumenthal: Yes.

BuzzFlash: They showed where Michael Moore spoke, and it was a very interesting film about this community and the school, and the conflict that developed over having a liberal speaker, who was "balanced out" by a conservative speaker. I found Hannity's appearance in the auditorium, packed with probably five thousand, eight thousand people, quite intriguing. He picks out someone in the audience. He said, is there a liberal here? And someone raised their hand. It almost seemed like a plant -- I don't know if it was. But he did this creepy, scary, effective job of using this person as a foil for everything that's wrong in America. He was so smooth and oleaginous about it that it was absolutely scary to me that this guy certainly has the skill. His skill is almost like that of a magician. He used almost every logical fallacy one could think of, but in a way that was convincing.

I found it frightening because he was tremendously effective at what he did. There was no logic to it. In fact, it was all nonsense. But he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew the tricks of the trade. And it was using illogic in a magical sort of way to make him and those people feel that they were the true patriots, and this liberal in the audience was a fool, while saying, of course, I respect you, and I'm sure you're a decent person. You're just misled -- horribly misled. Is there any way to defang someone like Sean Hannity?

Max Blumenthal: Well, the best way is to point to personal hypocrisy, and to the fact that there is another Sean Hannity. Since you brought up that movie, I think it's really one of the most vivid portrayals of Sean Hannity in action, and how he can incite resentment so masterfully. It also shows Michael Moore to be a really classy person. He greets the crowd and he says, I respect you, whether you're Republican or Democrat, because you're children of God to me.

Sean Hannity comes out attacking Michael Moore in a personal way, and it shows incredible contrast between these two cultural icons, one of whom represents the right, and one represents the left. But the best way to confront Sean Hannity, I think, has been demonstrated to be to point out his relationship with Hal Turner. That shows that there's another Sean Hannity, that there's another alter ego that's wrong, and racist, and crude, and isn't scripted, and is just like his audience -- hateful, resentful, and coming from a position of weakness.

BuzzFlash: He's working with that so-called Freedom Alliance that Oliver North is affiliated with.

Max Blumenthal: Right, and I think that is another point that can be used to undermine Sean Hannity's narrative, because he is taking in a lot of money at these rallies, and he's giving it to an organization of a convicted felon. When you look at the tax filings of Freedom Alliance, much of that money isn't going to the troops. It's going to supposed "administrative costs" for Oliver North. It's paying Oliver North. It's paying his staff. And it's going into a black hole. So Hannity is exploiting the troops, as well, and this is another point to use against him. And the organization that I had mentioned before -- One People's Project -- has actually organized a campaign to boycott Sean Hannity merchandise because he's using his merchandise to covertly fund Oliver North.

BuzzFlash: Max, thank you very much for the insights on Sean Hannity and the right-wing hate radio, and best of luck to you.

Max Blumenthal: Thank you.

BuzzFlash Interview conducted by Mark Karlin.

* * *


Hannity's Soul-Mate of Hate (Max Blumenthal/The Nation)

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Why Do We Believe One Huge Government Lie Right After Another?

Why do we constantly choose to believe the most unbelievable story of all; usually the official one?

Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once citizens acknowledge that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, citizens have to choose what they will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Sirhan Didn't Kill RFK?

So, who did?

The same people who were behind the assassination of JFK, also had Bobbie murdered. Bobby had always suspected that the mafia and/or anti-Castro Cubans/CIA rogues involved in the Bay of Pigs were behind the assassination of his brother. He knew, too, that he would never truly get to the bottom of it unless he was in the Oval. The arm chair assassins knew it too. They could not allow Bobby Kennedy any where near the White House, from where he could gather information and connect the dots with what he already knew.

Oswald and Sirhan, just a couple of patsies.....

Forty years after Democratic rising star Robert F. Kennedy was killed at a Los Angeles hotel during his presidential run, new evidence suggests the man serving a life sentence for his murder did not fire the shots that killed the charismatic senator.

Forensic scientists met at a conference in Connecticut this week to discuss their independent findings that cast serious doubt on the Kennedy assassination. Sirhan Sirhan is serving a life sentence in Kennedy's death, but the conference presenters argue he could not have fired the fatal shot that killed Kennedy.

One investigator, Dr. Robert Joling, has studied the Kennedy assassination for nearly four decades. He determined the fatal shot came from behind Kennedy, while Sirhan was four to six feet in front of the senator and never got close enough to shoot him from behind, an NBC affiliate reports.

Analysis by another forensics engineer, Philip Van Praag, of a Canadian journalists tape recording, known as the Pruszynski recording, determined that 13 shots were fired while Kennedy was killed, although Sirhan's gun only held eight bullets, according to the NBC reporter. This suggests that a second shooter was involved in the assassination.

Van Praag's analysis led him to conclude that a second gun that was fired matched a type owned by one of the security guards in Kennedy's entourage.

"When that security guard was asked about owning that gun at first he admitted, 'Yes I owned that kind of gun but I got rid of it two months before the assassination.'" correspondent Amy Parmenter said on MSNBC Wednesday. "It turns out upon further investigation, in fact, he did not get rid of that gun until five months after the shooting. Of course, you can see where we're going with this. ... That security guard, was in fact behind Senator Kennedy when the fatal shot was fired."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.