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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What If The "Crash" Is as Rigged as Everything Else?

Take your pick--here's three good reasons to engineer a "crash" that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

There is an almost touching faith that markets are rigged when they loft higher, but unrigged when they crash. Who's to say this crash isn't rigged? A few things about this "crash" (11% decline from all time highs now qualifies as a "crash") don't pass the sniff test.

Exhibit 1: VIX volatility Index soars to "the world is ending" levels when the S&P 500 drops a relatively modest 11%. The VIX above 50 is historically associated with declines of 20% or more--double the current drop.

When the VIX spiked above 50 in 2008, the market ended up down 57%. Now that's a crash.

Exhibit 2: The VIX soared and the market cratered at the end of options expiration week (OEX), maximizing pain for the majority of punters. Generally speaking, OEX weeks are up. The exceptions are out of the blue lightning bolts such as the collapse of a major investment bank.

Was a modest devaluation in China's yuan really that unexpected, given the yuan's peg to the U.S. dollar which has risen 20% in the past year? Sorry, that doesn't pass the sniff test.

Exhibit 3: When the VIX spiked above 30 in October 2014, signaling panic, the Federal Reserve unleashed the Bullard Put, i.e. the Fed's willingness to unleash stimulus in the form of QE 4. Markets reversed sharply and the VIX collapsed.

Now the VIX tops 50 and the Federal Reserve issues an absurd statement that it doesn't respond to equity markets. Well then what was the Bullard Put in October, 2014? Mere coincidence? Sorry, that doesn't pass the sniff test.

Why would "somebody" engineer a mini-crash and send volatility to "the world is ending" levels? There are a couple of possibilities.

1. The Shock Doctrine. Naomi Klein's landmark study of how manufactured crises are used to justify further consolidation of power, 

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

, provides a blueprint for how financial crises set the stage for policies that extend the power of central and private banks and various state-private sector players.

A soaring VIX and sudden crash certainly softens up the system for the next policy squeeze.

2. A "crash" engineered to set up a buying opportunity for insiders. When easy gains get scarce, what better way to skim a quick 10% than engineer a "crash," scoop up shares dumped by panicked punters and momo-following HFT bots spooked by "the world is ending" VIX spike, and then reverse the "crash" with another round of happy talk?

3. Settling conflicts within the Deep State. I have covered the Deep State for years, in a variety of contexts--for example:

Without going into details that deserve a separate essay, we can speculate that key power centers with the Deep State have profoundly different views about Imperial priorities.

One nexus of power engineers a trumped-up financial crisis (i.e. a convenient "crash") to force the hand of opposing power centers. As I have speculated here before, the rising U.S. dollar is anathema to Wall Street and its apparatchiks, while a rising USD is the cat's meow to those with a longer and more strategic view of dollar hegemony.

Take your pick--here's three good reasons to engineer a "crash" that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

Feds Go Door-To-Door To Inform Gun Owners Rights Not Absolute

Thank God criminals follow laws – otherwise we might be in trouble. This has always been the traditional attitude of government in regards to gun restrictions.

It is important to note that everybody believes in gun rights. – It is just a question of who has those rights. So-called “gun-control supporters” don’t support the absence of guns in society, they support gun ownership being monopolized and centralized in the hands of the state and their enforcers(police).

By criminalizing individuals 2nd Amendment right to defend themselves, governemnt exempts itself from its own rules and faces no repercussions.

This is certainly the case in victim disarmament areas like school zones where only magical costumes and shinny badges grant one the legal right to carry a firearm – consequently making schools a prime target for mass shootings.

Government revels in the idea of asserting itself over the population – so it is no surprise that a joint initiative launched in New Orleans is doing just that as the ATF, New Orleans Police Department and the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office go door-to-door across the metro area informing gun owners that they have no rights in school zones.

“Federal law makes it an offense to possess a firearm within a 1,000 feet of a school,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, who joined in the ridiculous display of hubris, said. “So we wanted to get the word out to the community about this work.”

The resource sucking initiative is being sold as “just a friendly reminder” by local media outlets but startled homeowners answered their doors over the weekend to costumed storm-troopers and plain clothes agents informing them that federal gun laws penalize self-defense in school zones with minimum fines of $5,000 and up to five years in prison.“This is the second time we have focused on a school here in New Orleans East,” Polite said of the 7th District. “[The area has certainly] suffered from a lot of crime over a long period of time.”

Brilliant! What better way is there to ensure the safety of schools than by going to homes and telling everybody no one can legally defend themselves there?

Whereas a genuine market-based security service would reward individuals with lower insurance premiums who took the necessary steps to ensure their own safety, government thugs are happy to revoke your rights and tell you its for the safety of your children.

As Austrian economist Dr. Hans Hermann Hoppe points out in his essay State or Private Law Society:

While states are always and everywhere eager to disarm their populations and thus rob them of an essential means of self-defense, private-law societies are characterized by an unrestricted right to self-defense and hence by widespread private gun and weapon ownership. Just imagine a security producer who demanded of its prospective clients that they would first have to completely disarm themselves before it would be willing to defend the clients’ life and property. Correctly, everyone would think of this as a bad joke and refuse such on offer.

Freely financed insurance companies that demanded potential clients first hand over all of their means of self-defense as a prerequisite of protection would immediately arouse the utmost suspicion as to their true motives, and they would quickly go bankrupt. In their own best interest, insurance companies would reward armed clients, in particular those able to certify some level of training in the handling of arms, charging them lower premiums reflecting the lower risk that they represent. Just as insurers charge less if homeowners have an alarm system or a safe installed, so would a trained gun owner represent a lower insurance risk.

ATF spokesperson Constance Hester said the initiative is “a good time to meet the community on a lighter note.” – And what lighter note is there than informing the tax-slaves that they will be extorted and imprisoned for attempting to protect their loved ones?

“One of the things that is very important for the community is to know we want to not only be reactive, but proactive,” 

Hester propagandized

. “We also want to build a better relationship with the community.”

Despicable! This is beneath the dignity of a free people…

Cops Shoot Man 'Holding Rifle,' Turns Out To Be Car Jack

The Bakersfield Police Department said the man fatally shot last weekend by an officer appeared to have a rifle, which turned out to be a car jack.

Jason Lee Alderman, 29, was shot to death by an officer at a Subway restaurant.

According to the department, a two-officer patrol unit heard breaking glass during an unrelated investigation.

The broken glass was from the front door of the Subway, and a white BMW was backed up to the restaurant.

According to police, Alderman was seen behind the counter of the restaurant with something covering his head.

The police department said Alderman refused several orders to “drop the gun.”

Alderman “raised the object in the direction of the officers,” and officer Chad Garrett shot him.

Garrett is on paid vacation while the use-of-force is being reviewed.

The family of Alderman has retained the services of a high-profile Los Angeles attorney, Mark Geragos, who said in a news release on Tuesday that the officer’s use of force was “unnecessary and unlawful.”

Geragos is accusing Bakersfield police of a cover-up in Alderman’s shooting.

Geragos says Chad Garret, the officer that shot and killed Jason Alderman, was also involved in the shooting death of a BPD informant in 2013.

Jorge Ramirez, working as a police informant, was shot and killed by Bakersfield police during a traffic stop.

Ramirez was with the person he was helping BPD capture.

Geragos also represents the Ramirez family, as well as the family of James De La Rosa, who was killed by BPD in 2014.
The tragic death of Jason Alderman has followed the BPD script of disparagement of their victims, conflicting portrayals of what occurred, and BPD playing fast and loose with the evidence," Geragos said in a statement.
According to Geragos, the Alderman family was told by the Sheriff's Department that Jason was shot because he had his hands in his waistband.

They were also told that no other officers witnessed the shooting, and that there wasn’t any video footage.
"BPDs current version of the facts is at odds with what was originally told. Employees at the location state that, contrary to what BPD has stated, the video surveillance was rolling and captured the incident but that BPD immediately confiscated the footage," Geragos said.
The Geragos firm says they have begun their own investigation and ask anyone with information to call the firm at 213.625.3900.

Supporters of the family are hosting a car wash to raise funds for Jason Alderman’s funeral expenses this Saturday, August 29th.  Join the event page on Facebook

What If Your Naked Eye Could See Wifi Signals?

I was reading earlier this morning about these parents suing their child’s boarding school in Massachusetts over their use of supposedly too strong wi-fi signals which they say are harming his health, causing nausea and nosebleeds. The parents claim that their 12-year-old son suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, a condition which is aggravated by electromagnetic radiation, even batteries. It’s what Michael McKean’s character in Better Call Saul believes is troubling him and there is even an entire town that is a wifi dead zone in West Virginia that has become a destination for EHS sufferers. Is Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome all in the head? Perhaps, but the jury is still out. Maybe some people are “allergic” to radiation. It’s not completely outside the realm of possibility.

In any case, anyone who is a hypochondriac (or paranoic) reading this is advised to stop now, because I don’t want to burden you with something new to fret about because Dutch artist Richard Vijgen has introduced a new app called “The Architecture of Radio” which utilizes various local data sources to visualize “hidden” communications networks in a specific location. “We are completely surrounded by an invisible system of data cables and radio signals from access points, cell towers and overhead satellites. Our digital lives depend on these very physical systems for communication, observation and navigation,” he says.

In order to show you cell phone signals, the Architecture of Radio app parses wireless tower locations via OpenCellID, a ground mind mapping of cell towers. It uses NASA and JPL’s Ephemeris software to zero in on the locations of in-orbit satellites. There are hidden signals all around us. We can’t see them, but they, in a manner of speaking, can “see” us.

For now the app with only work at a site-specific exhibit that will be on display at the ZKM Media Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany, from September 4th of this year all the way until next April. There are plans afoot to make the Architecture of Radio appavailable publicly later this year.


North Dakota Becomes First State to Legalize Drones Weaponized with Tasers, Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets & Sound Canons

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It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist. 

With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than lethal” weapons. House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way, but then a lobbyist representing law enforcement—tight with a booming drone industry—got his hands on it.

– From the Daily Beast article: First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist

You could see the writing on the walls years ago. In an increasingly authoritarian, lawless, surveillance state like America, it was always inevitable that drones would be weaponized. In North Dakota, this is now a reality.

Although I haven’t written much about domestic drones as of late, I published many articles on the topic several years ago. In the 2012 piece, Drones in America? They are Already Here…I warned:

Like with any new technology, drones can be put to good use or to evil use.  Just like nuclear power can harness energy or destroy humanity altogether, drones could do a lot of good, but the problem is that the government is clearly moving more and more towards a surveillance state so we must be extra careful.  Stay vigilant.

Apparently, North Dakotans weren’t particularly vigilant, and now the state has become the first in the nation to legalize weaponized drones; not a distinction they should be proud of. What started out as a bill to require police using drones for surveillance obtain warrants, turned into a law that puts tasers and tear gas on them. Go ‘Merica.

The Daily Beast reports:


It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist. 

With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than lethal” weapons. House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way, but then a lobbyist representing law enforcement—tight with a booming drone industry—got his hands on it.

The bill’s stated intent was to require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. In fact, the original draft of Rep. Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones. 

Then Bruce Burkett of North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association was allowed by the state house committee to amend HB 1328 and limit the prohibition only to lethal weapons. “Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are therefore permitted on police drones.

Even “less than lethal” weapons can kill though. At least 39 people have been killed by police Tasers in 2015 so far, according to The Guardian. 

And just in case you’re wondering why North Dakota rolled over so easily. The state is desperate for “economic growth,” even if that growth expands GDP via fascist panopticon surveillance.

Drones in North Dakota are a profitable enterprise in a state hit hard by the oil bust. Companies that market machines for agricultural and commercial use have been popping up in industrial parks on the outskirts of Grand Forks for the better part of the last three years. The university, one of the city’s largest employers, even offers a four-year degree in drones. The Air Force has partnered with the private sector to create a drone research and development park, too.

Drones are overwhelmingly seen as a good thing in North Dakota, which is perhaps why few noticed when HB 1328 passed with a clause allowing them to be armed with non-lethal weapons.

Because it’s imperative to national security that we make this, so much easier…

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Great work North Dakota. Let’s hope the rest of us aren’t so hopelessly stupid.

US Military Now Has Authority to “Capture and Punish” Journalists Who they Deem “Belligerent



Washington, D.C. — Newly adopted Department of Defense guidelines will allow military commanders to “punish journalists” and treat them as “unprivileged belligerents.”

The DoD’s 1,180 page Law of War Manual outlines provisions for military commanders to violate the rights of journalists who they disagree with in vaguely written legal speak.

According to the Associated Press:

The Law of War manual, updated to apply for the first time to all branches of the military, contains a vaguely worded provision that military commanders could interpret broadly, experts in military law and journalism say. Commanders could ask journalists to leave military bases or detain journalists for any number of perceived offenses.

“In general, journalists are civilians,” the 1,180 page manual says, but it adds that “journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents.”

A person deemed “unprivileged belligerent” is not entitled to the rights afforded by the Geneva Convention so a commander could restrict from certain coverage areas or even hold indefinitely without charges any reporter considered an “unprivileged belligerent.”

The manual allows for the stripping of due process and reporters who are deemed “belligerent” could be carted off to Gitmo and never heard from again.

The manual states that they are not ruling out torturing journalists either. According to the manual:

“Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying. A journalist who acts as a spy may be subject to security measures and punished if captured.”

If a person is suspected of being an enemy combatant, then that person should be treated as an enemy combatant. Adding in this vaguely written language that specifically mentions ‘journalists’ can only be interpreted as a means to silence dissent.

The Mainstream Media is already heavily controlled by state interests. Antiwar protesters are portrayed in a negative light while the horrid atrocities carried out by the US government overseas are completely blacked out.


If Americans were shown the violent reality of US-led drone attacks on villages across the Middle East in which innocent women and children were slaughtered by remotely fired Hellfire missiles, you can rest assured the support for the war would have been waning long before now.

The fact is that anyone who does show the public the reality of war is already treated as an enemy combatant. If you doubt this claim, simply look at how fast Wikileaks was attacked after releasing the video Collateral Murder.  The video showed a team of two US AH-64 Apache helicopters in Al-Amin al-Thaniyah, New Baghdad gunning down an unarmed Reuters reporter and children.

Instead of launching an investigation into more instances of collateral murder, Wikileaks was declared an enemy of the state and the US began attempts to extradite Julian Assange.

“I’m troubled by the label ‘unprivileged belligerents,’ which seems particularly hostile,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor in regards to the Law of War Manual. “It sounds much too easy to slap that label on a journalist if you don’t like their work, a convenient tool for those who want to fight wars without any outside scrutiny.”

With the scrutiny from mainstream media all but non-existent, measures like this manual could prove to be a damning blow to anyone who attempts to shed light on the atrocities committed by the US.

As the AP reports, prior to the manual’s release, its own journalists have already been detained or thrown out of embed arrangements for reporting on issues that were not in lockstep with the official narrative.

“At a time when international leadership on human rights and press freedom is most needed, the Pentagon has produced a self-serving document that is unfortunately helping to lower the bar,” wrote Frank Smyth, senior adviser for journalist security at the Committee to Protect Journalists.

America is quickly becoming the very thing that it supposedly stands against. As politicians pay lip service to ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty,’ Americans are being locked in cages for possessing a plant, innocent children are blown to bits by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and now the military says they can “punish” people for exposing it.

The next logical step for these tyrants is to begin rounding up and killing its dissenters. But that could never happen, not in the land of the free, right?


Virginia police say they found killer using license plate reader

This morning, the nation was horrified to discover that a Virginia local news reporter was shot dead, along with her cameraman, on live television. Hours later police released the name of the man they suspected as the killer. This afternoon, apparently after a police chase, the suspected killer shot himself and died.

Now one journalist is reporting that the police searching for the suspect found him by using an automated license plate reader. These devices, often mounted on top of police cars, take photographs of every license plate they pass by, and check those plate numbers against hot lists of people wanted by police. License plate readers also collect huge quantities of information about people suspected of no crime, creating massive databases containing the location histories of millions of ordinary people. Absent strict regulations requiring police to delete this information, license plate readers can be used to retroactively track the movements of every American driver, with no oversight or accountability.

In this case it appears as if the police added the suspect's name to the Virginia state police license plate reader hot list, and the machine alerted the officer to the presence of the suspect's car, jump-starting the police chase that ended with the suspect's suicide. That's a textbook success case for license plate readers, but I fear it will be used dishonestly to fight efforts to impose commonsense privacy rules.

If I was a betting person I would wager that license plate reader corporations and police departments nationwide will use this case to lobby against license plate tracking reforms. But doing so would fundamentally misrepresent the issues. Privacy advocates at the ACLU are not opposed to police using license plate readers to identify, in real time, people suspected of serious crimes like murder. The privacy bills supported by organizations like ours instead simply require police to delete non-derogatory information to ensure police aren't keeping detailed records of the movements of people suspected of no crimes.

You might soon hear police using this case as an example of why we cannot regulate license plate readers. But that's disingenuous. Privacy legislation like theLicense Plate Privacy Act, currently before the Massachusetts state legislature, would enable police to use the devices to find dangerous people while also preventing cops from keeping track of everyone else for no good reason. 

Literary Magazines for Socialists Funded by the CIA, Ranked


In May of 1967, a former CIA officer named Tom Braden published a confession in theSaturday Evening Post under the headline, “I’m glad the CIA is ‘immoral.’” Braden confirmed what journalists had begun to uncover over the previous year or so: The CIA had been responsible for secretly financing a large number of “civil society” groups, such as the National Student Association and many socialist European unions, in order to counter the efforts of parallel pro-Soviet organizations. “[I]n much of Europe in the 1950’s,” wrote Braden, “socialists, people who called themselves ‘left’—the very people whom many Americans thought no better than Communists—were about the only people who gave a damn about fighting Communism.”

The centerpiece of the CIA’s effort to organize the efforts of anti-Communist artists and intellectuals was the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Established in 1950 and headquartered in Paris, the CCF brought together prominent thinkers under the rubric of anti-totalitarianism. For the CIA, it was an opportunity to guarantee that anti-Communist ideas were not voiced only by reactionary speakers; most of the CCF’s members were liberals or socialists of the anti-Communist variety. With CIA personnel scattered throughout the leadership, including at the very top, the CCF ran lectures, conferences, concerts, and art galleries. It helped bring the Boston Symphony Orchestra to Europe in 1952, for example, as part of an effort to convince skeptical Europeans of American cultural sophistication and thus capacity for leadership in the bipolar world of the Cold War. By purchasing thousands of advance copies that it gave away for free, the CCF supported the publication of many of the era’s anti-Communist classics, such as Milovan Djilas’ The New Class. But its most impressive achievement was a stable of sophisticated literary and political magazines. The CCF’s flagship journal was the London-based Encounter, but it also publishedPreuves in France, Tempo Presente in Italy, Forum in Austria, Quadrant in Australia,Jiyu in Japan, and Cuadernos and Mundo Nuevo in Latin America, among many others.

Through the CCF, as well as by more direct means, the CIA became a major player in intellectual life during the Cold War—the closest thing that the U.S. government had to a Ministry of Culture. This left a complex legacy. During the Cold War, it was commonplace to draw the distinction between “totalitarian” and “free” societies by noting that only in the free ones could groups self-organize independently of the state. But many of the groups that made that argument—including the magazines on this left—were often covertly-sponsored instruments of state power, at least in part. Whether or not art and artists would have been more “revolutionary” in the absence of the CIA’s cultural work is a vexed question; what is clear is that that possibility was not a risk they were willing to run. And the magazines remain, giving off an occasional glitter amid the murk left behind by the intersection of power and self-interest. Here are seven of the best, ranked by an opaque and arbitrary combination of quality, impact, and level of CIA involvement.



7. The New Leader

The New Leader was founded in the nineteen twenties as a voice for American socialism, but by the dawn of the Cold War, it focused incessantly on establishing the totalitarian and imperialist character of the Soviet Union. During The New Leader’s heyday in the late forties and early fifties, its editor was Sol Levitas. The New Leader’s relationship with the CIA wasn’t always easy; the CIA actually thought that Levitas’s anti-Communism was too ferocious, unrelenting, and “conservative.” The New Leaderargued consistently that Soviet society was totalitarian in nature and Communism everywhere was controlled by the Kremlin, while the CIA wanted a more moderate and “sophisticated” voice that would appeal to the European left. In spite of its strident anti-Communism, The New Leader remained progressive in the context of U.S. domestic politics; it was one of the first publications to publish Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.


6. Der Monat

Der Monat (“The Month”) was a German magazine founded in 1948 by New Yorker Melvin Lasky; the magazinewas his attempt to put his desired politics of “cultural freedom” into action. The year before, Lasky had caused a stir at the First German Writers’ Congress when he brought up the persecution and suppression of writers in Russia. He argued that those in the West should have sympathy for Russian writers, who had to continually worry about secret police actions and that shifting party doctrine might brand them overnight as “decadent counterrevolutionary tools of reaction.” Originally published under the authority of the U.S. military government in divided Germany, it became an important template for the magazines of the Congress for Cultural Freedom and was later incorporated into that network. Many have suspected Lasky himself of being a CIA agent, he denied it to the death.


Der Monat published the work of Theodor Adorno, Arthur Koestler, Hannah Arendt, Heinrich Böll, and Thomas Mann.


5. Kenyon Review

Probably the finest literary magazine in American history, the Kenyon Review was founded by John Crowe Ransom in 1939. The intellectuals and CIA officers who ran the Congress for Cultural Freedom loved Ransom, and used him and his literary networks to locate promising students and literary friends that it could recruit to work for it. Even Ransom’s technique of “New Criticism,” seen as a quintessentially conservative Cold War form of analysis because it eschewed examination of the social and political context of literary works, has sometimes been compared to the work of espionage, by which careful reading can unearth hidden plans and meanings.

A partial list of the nearly insuperable roster of the Kenyon Review’s authors includes Robert Lowell, T.S. Eliot, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Pynchon, Nadine Gordimer, Randall Jarrell, and Joyce Carol Oates. It, as well as others, including the Hudson Review, the Sewannee Review, Poetry, Daedalus, Partisan Review, and The Journal of the History of Ideas, had hundreds and even thousands of copies purchased for distribution abroad by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and sometimes received grants more directly. This was significant help for a small magazine; Kenyon Reviewhad to close for a decade beginning in 1969, just a few years after revelations of CIA involvement forced such support to be discontinued. Robie Macauley, who had been recruited by the CIA some years earlier, succeeded Ransom as editor of the Kenyon Review.

Paris Review4. Paris Review

Of all the publications on this list, the Paris Review may be the one with the weakest connection to the CIA. Like theKenyon Review, the Paris Reviewis one of the twentieth century’s finest literary magazines. Edited by George Plimpton, it published the likes of Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett, Philip Roth, V.S. Naipaul, Jack Kerouac, Donald Barthelme, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jonathan Franzen. Peter Matthiessen, one of the co-founders of the Paris Review, had been recruited into the CIA and the magazine initially served as part of his cover. But he maintained that the connections ended there, and that the Paris Review was certainly not a part of the Congress for Cultural Freedom. For a 2012 article published in Salon, however, Joel Whitney examined the archives of the Review and found a deeper-than-acknowledged relationship with the CCF and, therefore, the CIA. Some of this was inevitable: They shared a Parisian milieu and had common interests. But the record clearly shows that the Paris Review benefited financially from selling article reprints to CCF magazines. This was far from the CCF’s direct participation in management of Der Monat or Encounter, but the Paris Review did derive some benefit from the CIA, and there is circumstantial evidence that this affected the choices of authors for its interview series. In a way, the Paris Review case shows how difficult it was for “apolitical” highbrow literary periodicals to get through that period of the Cold War without some form of interaction with the CIA.

3. Partisan Review

Partisan Review was, for a few short years, one of the finest magazines produced. In the late thirties and early forties, when it was funded primarily by the painter George Morris, it was controlled by an avant-garde group of “literary Trotskyists” interested in fusing cultural modernism with political anti-Stalinism. Delmore Schwarz’s well-known short story, “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” was published there in 1937—and that issue alone contains work by Wallace Stevens, Edmund Wilson, James T. Farrell, Pablo Picasso, James Agee, Mary McCarthy, and Dwight Macdonald. George Orwell was another frequent contributor, and Partisan Review was first to publish many classic essays of criticism, including Clement Greenberg’s “Avant Garde and Kitsch,” and Susan Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp.’” The magazine, like so many, peaked early in its publication history. By the time that it received CIA support in the nineteen fifties, it had lost some of its initial energy, and its politics were growing increasingly “neoconservative,” although it continued on as a “little magazine” until 2003. (Boston University has made every issue of Partisan Review fully available online.)



2. Encounter

London-based Encounter was considered the crown jewel of the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s publishing program. Created in 1953, Encounter was edited by Irving Kristol and later, Melvin Lasky, while the literary pages were for many years curated by the poet Stephen Spender. It regularly published both British and American writers, including Isaiah Berlin, Mary McCarthy, Hugh Trevor-Roper, W.H. Auden, Daniel Bell, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Bertrand Russell, Stuart Hampshire, and John Kenneth Galbraith. It is often credited with helping shift the British intellectual scene away from socialism and towards an “Atlantic,” pro-U.S. outlook. Edward Shils worked out his ideas of “The End of Ideology” in its pages; C.P. Snow published his essay on the “two cultures” of the natural sciences and the humanities there; and it published Nancy Mitford’s “The English Aristocracy,” the classic essay about “U and non-U” describing differences in pronunciation between British classes. It also helped introduce English readers to authors like Jorge Luis Borges, and frequently featured the witty and erudite anti-Communism of Leszek Kolakowski. (See his “How to be a Conservative-Liberal Socialist”—the founding document of what he describes as “the Mighty International that will never exist,” for a reasonable distillation of the magazine’s ideology.)Encounter’s strength was such that it survived the CIA scandals of the late sixties and continued publishing on its own into the early nineties. The entire run of Encounter isfully available online.


1. Mundo Nuevo

The Congress for Cultural Freedom’s programs were not limited to Europe, and in the mid-sixties, it was trying to shift its Latin American operation from one that was ineffectively fighting the relatively unimportant pro-Soviet Communist parties of the region to one that would subtly undermine the appeal of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. It closed one magazine, Cuadernos, in 1965, and launched Mundo Nuevo a year later to try to appeal to more left-wing writers. The initial director ofMundo Nuevo, the Uruguayan Emir Rodríguez Monegal, insisted that he was trying to broker peace in the Cultural Cold War and have an honest dialogue about art and politics in Cuba.

Like other magazines affiliated with the Congress for Cultural Freedom, Mundo Nuevopublished essays critical of U.S. policy in Latin America and Vietnam. Its usefulness, from the U.S. government’s point of view, consisted in its defense of the responsibility of the artist as an independent critic of power, rather than part of a the machinery of revolutionary social transformation. Cuban intellectuals noted the magazine’s ties to the CCF and refused to participate; nonetheless, in its first few issues, Mundo Nuevo was an extraordinary success. Pablo Neruda, the Communist poet who only a few years earlier had been the subject of a CCF campaign to undermine his candidacy for the Nobel Prize, contributed several poems. There are interviews with Carlos Fuentes and Jorge Luis Borges, and fiction that would be foundational to the “boom” in Latin American letters from José Donoso and Guillermo Cabrera Infante. Most surprisingly, it published an early excerpt from the still unpublished One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez. García Márquez, later famous for his close friendship with Fidel Castro, regretted his contribution when connections to the CIA were soon revealed. Nonetheless, José Donoso, in his memoir of the boom in Latin American literature, wrote that Mundo Nuevo was the “voice of Latin American literature of its time,” and at the center of a major phenomenon in world literature. 

Graphic: Visual of Global Military Expenditures


How did the US propel itself so far ahead, to the point that it could, alone, comprise about half of global military spending?

Professor of history at Cornell University: “The idea that the commodification and suffering and forced labor of African-Americans is what made the United States powerful and rich is not an idea that people necessarily are happy to hear. Yet it is the truth.” 

Even divided in half, the two halves of the US would still be tied for the lead in global military spending, 89 billion dollars each ahead of the number two spender, China. 

Also notice how North Korea’s spending is represented by a pin-prick dot above South Korea, and that Iran’s budget is not high enough even to be given a number on the chart (it was under 10 billion in 2009). 

It would take 16 billion dollars to clean up the un-exploded bombs the US left in Laos, which continue to kill thousands of people, mostly children. But the US won’t pay it. 


Latest Revelation – Lois Lerner Used a Second Personal Email for IRS Business Under the Name “Toby Miles”

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It’s not just Hillary who has problems when it comes to mixing personal email addresses with official government business. We know know that conservative and tea party-targeting former head of the IRS’  Exempted Organizations division, Lois Lerner, used not just one, but two personal email addresses. The latest one discovered wasunder the name “Toby Miles.”

The Washington Times reports:

Lois Lerner had yet another personal email account used to conduct some IRS business, the tax agency confirmed in a new court filing late Monday that further complicates the administration’s efforts to be transparent about Ms. Lerner’s actions during the tea party targeting scandal.

The admission came in an open-records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has sued to get a look at emails Ms. Lerner sent during the targeting.

IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas told the court that as the agency was putting together a set of documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, it realized Ms. Lerner had used yet another email account, in addition to her official one and another personal one already known to the agency.

“In addition to emails to or from an email account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner‘ or ‘Lois Home,’ some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated ‘Toby Miles,’” Mr. Klimas told Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is hearing the case.

It is unclear who Toby Miles is, but Mr. Klimas said the IRS has concluded that was “a personal email account used by Lerner.”

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said it was stunning the agency was just now admitting the existence of the address.

The use of secret or extra email accounts has bedeviled the Obama administration, which is has tried to fend off a slew of lawsuits involving former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her top aides, the White House’s top science adviser, top Environmental Protection Agency officials and the IRS.

At the time of the referral in April 2014, the committee linked the Toby Miles address to Ms. Lerner’s husband, Michael R. Miles, but said, “The source of the name ‘Toby‘ is not known.”

It appears stories about Hillary and Lerner email shadiness could keep the news cycle going for a solid couple of months on its own. Recall some of the recent revelations from scouring their emails:

Lois Lerner Emails Released – She Exclaimed: “Lincoln Should Have Let the South Go…”

Released Hillary Clinton Emails Reveal…She Was Reading a Book on How to Delete Emails

Fortunately for them, if you’re a government bureaucrat you never go to jail:

In the wake of the scandal Ms. Lerner retired from the agency. She declined to testify to Congress, citing her right against self-incrimination, but also said she did not break the law.

The Obama administration has declined to pursue the contempt of Congress case that the House brought against her.

The House Ways and Means Committee also approved a criminal referral asking the Justice Department to look into Ms. Lerner’s conduct, but its status is not clear.

Mr. Obama has said the problems at the IRS stemmed from bad laws and lack of funding, not from political bias, and a bipartisan report from the Senate Finance Committee could not reach any firm conclusions about the extent of targeting.

Must be nice.

For related articles, see:

Least Transparent Ever – IRS Used “Wholly Separate” Instant Messaging System to Hide Communications

How the IRS and Department of Homeland Security are Expanding Undercover Work (IRS Agents Can Even Pose as Clergy)