President Trump nominated as labor secretary last month a former federal prosecutor suspected of covering up multiple scandals, including the alleged rape of underage girls in 1994 by billionaire pervert Jeffrey Epstein and Trump, who was Epstein’s friend and neighbor.

Alexander AcostaTrump picked former Bush administration prosecutor R. Alexander Acosta Feb. 16 to lead the Labor Department despite his multiple legal controversies involving sex predators, corrupt bankers and billionaire tax cheats. Their crimes largely escaped prosecution from Acosta and his law enforcement colleagues.

Most dramatic was Acosta’s confidential plea agreement in 2008 not to prosecute Epstein for operating what police described as massive sex trafficking ring that allegedly involved Trump in the rape of a 13-year-old in 1994, according to a recent lawsuit withdrawn last year.

In a virtually unprecedented concession to a defendant and his suspected accomplices, Acosta’s deal with Epstein forbade authorities from investigating his associates. These included Epstein's Palm Beach neighbor Trump, who was also a fellow wealthy socialite on Manhattan’s East Side.

Acosta's hands-off federal posture allowed state authorities in the joint federal-state case to arrange a sweetheart deal with the billionaire (shown in a mugshot) to serve 13 months of night incarceration. This special treatment was meted out despite massive police evidence that Epstein sexually abused scores of underage girls recruited from Palm Beach area junior high and high schools.

Jeffrey EpsteinCounty records show that the sentence was so light that Epstein was visited 67 times in his vacant wing of the minimum security Palm Beach County Stockade by Nadia Marcinkova. She was an assistant who police say helped wrangle teen masseuses for Epstein during his crime spree, and joined in what the New York Post described in 2009 as the “sordid sex play.”

More recently, a lawsuit filed last year in California and New York federal courts by a “Jane Doe” (later identified as a Katie Johnson), accused Trump and Epstein of raping her in New York City in 1994 when she was a 13-year-old runaway and aspiring model.

Trump allegedly then threatened her with death if she reported her multiple rapes or Trump’s threat that she would end up like “Maria,” another underage girl, age 12, who was said to have disappeared suddenly from their sex and “party” scene.

The suit was dropped last November because of alleged threats from unknown sources, according to attorney and legal commentator Lisa Bloom, who had authored Why The New Child Rape Case Filed Against Donald Trump Should Not Be Ignored.

Andrew PuzderAlthough the suit has a tangled history and was withdrawn in November Florida court recorts contain a far more credible and therefore important trove of evidence, which has important parallels in banking, political and other cases involving Acosta.

Trump representatives have dismissed the New York "Jane Doe" suit as baseless. Acosta and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer failed to respond to Justice Integrity Project requests for comment about Acosta.

Trump named Acosta as his nominee for labor secretary protecting the nation's workers soon after businessman Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination. Puzder (shown in a file photo) failed to win sufficient Senate support.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Acosta on March 22, postponed from March 15.

Epstein's problems arose publicly in 2005 after a Palm Beach mother claimed that Epstein paid $300 to her 14-year old daughter for sex. Palm Beach police developed leads from there. They suggested that Epstein and his accomplices had recruited scores of underage girls from local schools for massages often leading to sexual encounters.

But there’s always a difference of opinion in such matters, particularly when friends are involved.

“I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,'' Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. "He's a lot of fun to be with," continued Trump (shown in a graphic by ABananaPeeled.com, licensed under DCMA). "It is even said Trumpenstein monster (Image by ABananaPeeled.com licensed under DMCA)that he likes beautiful women as much as I do and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

Acosta’s backers can be expected to steer his confirmation as far away from Epstein and Trump as possible, and focus instead on the nominee’s career highlights and Hispanic background.

The Senate’s clubby traditions lend themselves to that kind of emphasis on the positive. So do the incentives of many special interest  advocacy organizations that focus their endorsements on ethnic identity, partisan politics and other narrow goals adapted to the go-along, get-along culture of Washington.

Part of that culture, more generally, is the reluctance of many organizations to dig deep into sexual and financial topics, especially when the majority party pushes a nomination for fast approval. Few take the time for expert witnesses, victims, and hard questions, as seems likely for Acosta Wednesday morning at his so-far fast-track nomination.

Even so, it may be that the particulars of Acosta's background could pique the interest of the public — if the public ever got a hint of it.

Just the Facts

This column begins a multi-part series that documents the horrific crimes and mind-boggling mysteries that Acosta and his colleagues helped cover-up while advancing their own careers under the slogan of "public service."

One path leads from Epstein to Trump to "Maria," alleged in the withdrawn "Jane Doe" lawsuit to have been  a 12-year-old sex victim who may have been murdered.

Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen (shown in a file photo), is a former Navy intelligence officer, NSA analyst and the author of 15 books along with large numbers of newspaper op-ed columns and guest appearances on radio shows. He is also one of the few reporters who apply "shoe leather" reporting and document study to, among other topics, naming the high-level names of the perpetrators suppressed sex scandals. He has been especially active in publishing reports about presidents, senators, and other top officials of both parties, including judges and prosecutors.

Madsen has his critics from left, right and mainstream, but also unique successes in this field. The latter include his exclusive three-part series in 2006 exposing the then-powerful GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert as a gay pedophile despite Hastert's devout Christian, anti-gay and "family values" public image.

Authorties filed charges two years ago against Hastert for murky reasons, later revealed to have involved his payment of millions of dollars in hush money in fear of revelation of his crimes and his hidden lifestyle already reported by Madsen. The former speaker, the longest-serving in Republican history, is now serving a long prison term. 

Madsen's columns in February about Trump on the investigative subscription service "The Wayne Madsen Report" (WMR) drew on the investigator's long study of the Epstein case and the problems that arise when blackmailers target top officials, often at vast costs to taxpayers or America's other interests, such as honest arms acquistion and foreign policy.

The reporter published his main column on Trump, Trump's Jane, Tiffany, and Joan Doe problem , on Feb. 8 even before Acosta's nomination. Madsen promptly followed up that nomination Feb. 17 with such other columns as Labor pick Acosta part of Epstein-Trump underage sex crime cover-up.

Madsen is one of the few watchdogs who dare pose a so-far unanswered question for Trump, Acosta and those U.S. senators who this week begin to weigh the Acosta nomination. The question?

"Where's Maria?"

Our series beginning today helps chart what we know of that mystery. But that search necessarily involves you and those others who might dare to demand answers without the niceties and obstacles of official Washington.

Some of the Senate's most famous players — including Republican champions of family values, Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Democrats Tim Kaine of Virginia and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — will be put to the test on the nomination beginning March 22.

How will they respond? How will their constituents respond?

Read more ...


 

Sunshine Week logo 2017

Federal judge John Tunheim, former chair of a congressionally appointed board to review secret documents, headlines a unique press conference March 16 about this year's deadline for disclosure of records about President Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

The JFK Records Act, approved unanimously by Congress in 1992, mandates the release by Oct. 26 of all U.S. government records related to the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Under Tunheim’s leadership, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) reviewed and released some four million pages of assassination-related material in the 1990s.

Johnn F. Kennedy Looking UpJudge Tunheim, now the chief federal judge for Minnesota, will speak at the National Press Club about the law as a milestone in open government legislation and about its provisions that mandate the release of some 3,600 still-secret JFK documents later this year on the 25th anniversary of the law’s passage.

John Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge for MinnesotaTunheim (shown in an official photo at right) will address the challenge of secrecy in a democracy at the news conference, which begins a high-level forum on the topic in Washington, DC.

In a 2013 Boston Globe column, he and former ARRB deputy chair Thomas E. Samoluk wrote that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) deceived House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) investigators by not disclosing the role of deceased CIA officer George Joannides in the events of 1963.

"It really was an example of treachery,” Judge Tunheim said in an interview. “If [the CIA] fooled us on that, they may have fooled us on other things."

After the press conference leading experts in history, intelligence, law and science will discuss the relevance of the still-withheld records to the JFK assassination story and to current issues, including the credibility of officials and media outlets, as measured by polls.

Read more ...

 

Sunshine Week logo 2017

 "JFK at 100: State of the Records"

News Conference and Forum

Speakers

1 p.m., Thursday, March 16, 2017
National Press Club, Zenger Room, Washington, DC

To mark the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's birth this spring, leaders in the JFK research community are convening at the National Press Dr. Cyril WechtClub during "Sunshine Week" March 16.

The purpose is to examine the past and current importance of the National Archives' scheduled release by next October of the final batch of declassified documents further illuminating President Kennedy's 1963 assassination. Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) has organized the news conference and forum in the spirit of Sunshine Week, celebrated by journalists nationally this week.

1 p.m. Andrew Kreig, CAPA board member and journalist, Welcome & Introduction of Dr. Cyril H. Wecht,

Dr. Cyril H. Wecht (shown above left), CAPA chairman, medical professor, world-renowned forensic pathologist, and author or co-author of more than 50 books, and former Allegheny County coroner for 20 years, Introduction of keynote speaker.

1:05 p.m. Keynote With Q&A

The Hon. John R. Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge for Minnesota and former chair of the congressionally-created Assassination Records Review Board John Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge for Minnesota(ARRB) (Shown at left)

1:40 p.m. Research News: Expected Findings From New Documents, Q&A on Current Implications

  • Jefferson Morley, FOIA litigation expert on JFK issues, JFKFacts.org editor, author ("Our Man in Mexico," and others), AlterNet Washington correspondent and former Washington Post reporter
  • James H. Lesar, J.D., FOIA litigation expert and president, Assassination Archives & Research Center
  • John M. Newman, Ph.D., author ("Countdown To Darkness," "JFK and Vietnam," and "Oswald and the CIA"), former Army intelligence officer and assistant to the National Security Agency director, and history professor at James Madison University and formerly at the University of Maryland

2:25 p.m. Break  

2:30 p.m. The Cold Facts From Forensic Evidence

  • Cyril H. Wecht, J.D., M.D., forensic pathologist, medical school professor, leader or former leader multiple medical and scientific professional societies, Allegheny County coroner for 20 years
Read more ...


The former government officials and other experts below are among those who have called for full release by the National Archives of still-classified records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Sunshine Week logo 2017The National Archives' release of an estimated 3,600 still-classified documents scheduled for Oct. 26, 2017 is anticipated as the final step of a process that Congress unanimously enacted by the JFK Records Act of 1992, and implemented by the Assassinations Record Review Board (ARRB), a five-person commission chaired by John Tunheim. On Sept. 30, 1998, it made its final report, passed unanimously and with recommendations excerpted below.

Assassinations Record Review Board (ARRB) Recommendations (1998) (Excerpted):

The Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board provides not only an opportunity to detail the extraordinary breadth and depth of the John Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge for MinnesotaBoard's work to identify and release the records of the tragic death of President John F. Kennedy, but also to reflect on the Board's shared experience in carrying out this mission and the meaning of its efforts for the much larger challenge of secrecy and accountability in the federal government.

The Review Board was created out of the broad public frustration that the federal government was hiding important information about the Kennedy assassination by placing its records beyond the reach of its citizens. Broad disagreement with the Warren Commission findings, explosive claims in the popular movie JFK, and continued deterioration of public confidence in government led to consensus that it was time to open the files.

—    The Hon. John R. Tunheim, ARRB chairman (currently Chief U.S. District Judge, Minnesota) and the other ARRB members: Henry F. Graff, Kermit L. Hall, William L. Joyce, and Anna K. Nelson. Details

Read more ...

 

A new book by Roger Stone and a lecture by his fellow Trump advisor Newt Gingrich this week provide revealing insights about the president and his recent actions.

Stone's book, The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated A Revolution, complements Gingrich's lecture this week at the Heritage Foundation in sharing information useful to Trump's friends and foes alike at this pivotal early stage of his presidency.

Jim DeMint with Newt Gingrich at Heritage Foundation Jan. 30, 2017 JIP photoThe book and lecture deliver for the most part highly positive portrayals of Trump.

"I have zero doubt that the man in charge of the Trump presidency is Trump," Gingrich said, for example. "And that will not change." The lecture series was sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, whose President Jim DeMint is shown in our Justice Integrity Project photo at the lectern Jan. 30 introducing Gingrich, who is standing at right awaiting his speaking turn.

These portrayals of Trump help provide valuable insight into his remarkable victory and his current controversies. That story cannot be understood in the traditional Republican vs. Democrat, right vs. left framework. Those simplistic divisions minimize the vast financial, cultural, religious, and other personal motivations in play for Trump, his backers, and their critics. 

Regular readers here know that we see Washington as a house of mirrors where well-financed puppet masters use an array of controlled officials, institutions and propaganda to achieve their goals with relatively superficial public scrutiny. The power brokers operate from such playbooks as Machiavelli's The Prince, a pamphlet first circulated in the early 1500s that showed rulers and their advisors how to gain power via ruthless methods, not piety.  

In such environments and with the stakes so high now, all information is valuable from insiders, even if much of it is advocacy and some is fragmentary.   

Roger Stone Making of the PresidentIn the preface of Stone's book, he describes how he met Trump in 1979 via Trump's powerful attorney Roy Cohn, the young real estate mogul's mentor and friend.

Most people don't know anything about these relationships.

Even fewer would know Stone's role as a fund raiser for the 1980 presidential campaign of California Gov. Ronald Reagan — or the precise identities of Cohn's oft-notorious clientele. Cohn's clients included Genovese leader Tony Salerno, the underboss of one of New York's major Mafia families and a top figure in the region's concrete supply business.

As Stone recounts: Cohn finished a meeting with Salerno and then heard Stone's fund-raising pitch on behalf of Reagan. Cohn then arranged an introductory meeting with his client Trump to help the Reagan campaign.

Stone puts a positive glow on the anecdote and proceeds to describe his close appreciation for Trump's talents.

Such admiration prompted Stone to encourage Trump to run for president beginning in the late 1980s. Stone was an advisor early in Trump's 2016 campaign but left in mid-2015 to publish hard-hitting books attacking first the Clintons and then the Bush family. His books combined in rare fashion reporting, scholarship, and partisan insider opinion, as reflected in their two titles: The Clintons' War on Women and Jeb! and the Bush Crime Family.

What's happening in the nation's capital across the board is too important and complex for normal commentary. Today's column summarizes key points of the Stone and Gringrich commentaries. These are amplified below by an extensive appendix of links to the Stone book, Gingrich lectures about Trump, and recent major news developments.

(I explored these themes during an hour-long interview Feb. 1 on The Phil Mikan Show in Connecticut, which broadcasts over WLIS-AM and WMRD-AM.)

Trump's methods and goals have created global headlines since his inauguration Jan. 20. To begin this overview, we start with the Gingrich lecture at the Heritage Foundation headquarters overlooking the U.S. Senate buildings in the nation's capital.

Read more ...


Researchers into the causes of President Kennedy's assassination and the 9/11 attacks hold an advantage over most others in deciphering news about national security intrigues that rely on dubious evidence.

Students of those crimes have by now detected so much media self-censorship or exaggeration in reports about those attacks that it’s relatively easy for them to discern similar patterns in treatments of other high-stakes issues.

Democratic and Republican Campaigns DecodedOne is the current alarm by U.S. officials and mass media over “fake news,” particularly as applied to propaganda involving 2016 election results.

Aside from Donald Trump and his supporters applying the term "fake news" to political reporting and commentary they don't like, the term is being applied primarily to independent websites — some of which are indeed outright frauds. National Public Radio's Laura Sydell reported one example last fall in We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned. Some of these sites performing political disinformation masquerade as satire sites.

But other independent outlets being smeared as "fake" should be regarded as alternative media. Of varying credibility, they sometimes stumble, sometimes serve up propaganda — and sometimes play a bold, vital role challenging conventional wisdom regarding such historically important events as the 9/11 attacks and assassination of President Kennedy.

Hillary Clinton Madam President Newsweek coverWe focus below on several recent stories that expose credibility problems with Newsweek, its former owner the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CBS News, and the New York Times. These examples — including a remarkable screw-up by Newsweek in distributing copies of a magazine showing Hillary Clinton as our elected "Madam President" — help illustrate the credibility gap that mainstream outlets are inflicting on themselves, whether they admit it or not in their crusades against alternative outlets.

The analysis below comes in the midst of the mainstream media's harsh, sudden, and seemingly relentless campaign currently against "fake news." We provide today's column as balance because many of the attacks resemble such previous and now-discredited campaigns as the CIA-driven Operation Mockingbird, in which the nation's 40 major news organizations combined to suppress inconvenient news during the 1950s and 1960s. The CIA's Frank Wisner and Washington Post publisher Philip Graham jointly operated the program, which was exposed in the 1979 book Katharine the Great by Deborah Davis.

The current allegations against Russia, including of hacking U.S. election-related sites and blackmailing GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, are beyond the scope of today's column. This editor attended a hard-hitting lecture on that topic Jan. 17 by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who delivered one of her last major speeches at the Atlantic Council's headquarters overlooking the Russian Ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C.

Power's claims that a conspiracy exists to promote fake news and hacking is a topic for another day, particularly because the complexities are intertwined with the role of U.S. government propaganda and disinformation. That inevitably points to important but complex and secretive machinations, including those suggested by her husband Cass Sunstein, a top Obama White House regulator in the Office of Management and Budget during the first term. (Sunstein, center, is shown with Power in a White House photo during her 2013 swearing in officiated by Vice President Joe Biden.)

Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein White House PhotoSunstein suggested as a Harvard Law professor in 2008 and then in his 2014 book Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas that the government hire professors and journalists as secret government operatives. Those operatives, he said, could use such professional disguise to disrupt research into such "dangerous ideas" as research that questions the government's account of 9/11 attacks. That is itself a dangerous idea, as Glenn Greenwald has noted in Obama confidant’s spine-chilling proposal.

Also a topic for another day is background on the latest developments in studies related to President Kennedy's assassination and 9/11 research. We have published an ongoing Readers Guide To JFK Assassination, and separately reported a comprehensive overview of 9/11 research in Experts Reject Planes, Fire As Cause For 9/11 WTC Collapses. The latter covered the historic Justice in Focus conference organized by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth in New York City on the occasion of the 15th anniversary last September of the attacks.

Today's analysis focuses instead on exploring shocking shortcomings in basic research recently by several of our most prestigious news outlets coupled with a disturbing reluctance on their part to concede the scope of their credibility problems.

Read more ...