My Dream Has Turned Into A Nightmare: We Leave The Last Word Today To The Reverend Martin Luther King

In May 1967, MLK did an interview with NBC’s Sander Vanocur.

In an extraordinary, wide-ranging conversation, King acknowledged the “soul searching,” and “agonizing moments” he’d gone through since his most famous speech. He told Vanocur the “old optimism” of the civil rights movement was “a little superficial” and now needed to be tempered with “a solid realism.” And just 11 months before his death, he spoke bluntly about what he called the “difficult days ahead.”

The full interview is below courtesy of lamh, who sent me the link.

Open thread!



I Have Been To The Mountaintop

I meant to post this last night, but there were enough other posts. Last night was the 50th anniversary of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr’s last speech. He was, of course, assassinated 50 years ago today. Before I post the video of the speech, as well as the transcript, I wanted to highlight LBJ’s response to the news of MLK’s assassination. President Johnson’s initial response was to immediately try to do something substantive for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was to head off potential violence.

During a meeting the following day, LBJ acknowledged the feelings of the protestors. “If I were a kid in Harlem. I know what I’d be thinking right now: I’d be thinking that the whites have declared open season on my people, and they’re going to pick us off one by one unless I get a gun and pick them off first.”

Just think about that statement for a moment. Fifty years ago, President Johnson was able to clearly, succinctly, and accurately enunciate the reality of race relations in the US. What is even more astounding is that for all the progress that has been made, we’re right back to a place where this statement could be made given how the current administration approaches these issues and in light of both the explosive growth of domestic white Christian extremist movements and the stark differences in how law enforcement relates to and treats white Americans versus Americans of color.

Here’s the full speech. The transcript is below the fold.

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Roseanne Barr Dressed As Hitler Baking Burnt Jew Cookies – I Did NAZI That Coming: So Much For That Roseanne Reboot!

Well that should just about do it for the Roseanne reboot! I can’t imagine ABC’s parent company Disney is going to be too thrilled that these pictures have resurfaced.

Apparently these have been bouncing around since 2009! From Jewish Journal:

Not too many people are laughing at Roseanne Barr’s portrayal of Hitler on the cover of Heeb magazine this month. Yet there she is: a real-life Jewish grandmother dressed as a “Nazi domestic goddess.” She even figured in the trademark Hitler mustache and swastika armband, and bakes a batch of “burnt Jew cookies,” you know, for emphasis. Extra TV did a segment on the cover last week calling it “not funny” and shaming the controversial choice. But Heeb publisher Josh Neuman defended it, saying the cover was meant as “satire” and not done for “shock value.”

OK, you mean to tell me putting a Jewish woman on the cover of a Jewish magazine costumed as the man who burnt Jews in ovens (while she burns things in ovens) has no shock value? Since we’re being a wee bit insensitive to the remaining Holocaust survivors and their children, let’s at least call a spade a spade here, folks.

But if you’re mad, don’t blame Heeb. It was Roseanne who wanted to be photographed as Hitler. According to the magazine, she has a theory “that she may in fact be the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler,” and thus requested to create a kind of Jewish Halloween nightmare in order to make a personal statement. Writer Oliver Noble accompanied Roseanne at the photo shoot and wrote about the strange atmosphere on set:

Noble wisely decided to go with the flow. He writes that he greeted Roseanne with a “Sieg Heil,” in honor of the shoot.

As the “Domestic Goddess” dons the famous moustache, transforming into “Domestic Goddess Hitler,” I notice that she’s beginning to have fun. She nails the Fuehrer’s facial expressions with twisted glee, and as she takes the burnt gingerbread “Jew Cookies” out of the oven it occurs to me that Barr may be the last celebrity utterly incapable of giving a fuck.

I’ve got a very dark and morbid sense of humor. And I don’t get all wrapped around the axle about things being tasteful or tasteless –  to each their own. I’m all for ridiculing Hitler and the actual NAZIs, but that’s not what this is.Even with the context they’re still disgusting! I’ve got nothing…

Stay frosty!

Open thread.



If You See Something, Say Something: Insider Threat Indicators For Recruitment

I did my required, annual insider threat training today. One bit of information stood out far more this year than it is ever had before.

Insider threat indicators:

Recruitment

  • Reportable indicators of recruitment include, but are not limited to:
  • Unreported request for critical assets1 outside official channels
  • Unreported or frequent foreign travel
  • Suspicious foreign contacts
  • Contact with an individual who is known to be, or is suspected of being, associated with foreign intelligence, security, or terrorism
  • Unreported offer of financial assistance, gifts, or favors by a foreign national or stranger: Beware of those bearing gifts

1 “Critical assets” are assets essential to an organization’s mission or to national security that, if exploited, could result in serious harm. They include: classified information; proprietary information; intellectual property; trade secrets; personnel security.

I just can’t quite put my finger on why this stood out at me more this year…

So remember: if you see something, say something!

Stay frosty!

Open thread.



Follow The Trail Of Dead Russian Bodies!

Buzzfeed has the details on the service that retired MI6 senior intelligence officer Christopher Steele continues to provide. Right now an aide is trying to secure Senator Grassley’s twitter feed, another is trying to find a fainting couch for Senator Graham, and a third is hiding Congressman Gaetz car keys…

The FBI possesses a secret report asserting that Vladimir Putin’s former media czar was beaten to death by hired thugs in Washington, DC — directly contradicting the US government’s official finding that Mikhail Lesin died by accident.

The report, according to four sources who have read all or parts of it, was written by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who also wrote the famous dossier alleging that Russia had been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” Donald Trump. The bureau received his report while it was helping the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department investigate the Russian media baron’s death, the sources said.

FBI spokesperson Andrew Ames declined to confirm or deny the existence of the report and would not comment for this story. Steele’s business partner, Chris Burrows, declined to comment on behalf of Steele and their company, Orbis Business Intelligence.

The BuzzFeed News series also revealed new details about Lesin — including that he died on the eve of a scheduled meeting with US Justice Department officials. They had planned to interview Lesin about the inner workings of RT, the Kremlin-funded network that he founded.

Now BuzzFeed News has established:

  • Steele’s report says that Lesin was bludgeoned to death by enforcers working for an oligarch close to Putin, the four sources said.
  • The thugs had been instructed to beat Lesin, not kill him, but they went too far, the sources said Steele wrote.
  • Three of the sources said that the report described the killers as Russian state security agents moonlighting for the oligarch.
  • The Steele report is not the FBI’s only source for this account of Lesin’s death: Three other people, acting independently from Steele, said they also told the FBI that Lesin had been bludgeoned to death by enforcers working for the same oligarch named by Steele.

Much more at the link.

If Steele’s report, as well as the FBI’s other sources regarding Lesin’s death, are borne out, we will have a confirmed case of Russian wetwork on US soil. Specifically intended to prevent a potential confidential informant of providing significant counterintelligence information pertaining to Russia’s active measures to the FBI. That the death was unintentional because the Russian agents who administered the beating were bad at their jobs is actually inconsequential. While the result may provide Putin with some mild embarrassment that the Russian government will deny any involvement in, the deterrent effect is this the same: turn on Putin and you and/or your loved ones will be killed.

It is also going to cause a significant problem for whoever was involved in trying to cover it up. From the same Buzzfeed article:

But Steele’s report — the existence of which has never before been made public — adds to a mounting body of evidence that casts doubt on the official finding on Lesin’s death. “What I can tell you is that there isn’t a single person inside the bureau who believes this guy got drunk, fell down, and died,” an FBI agent told BuzzFeed News last year. “Everyone thinks he was whacked and that Putin or the Kremlin were behind it.”

In December, DC police released 58 pages of its case file on Lesin’s death. While many parts are blacked out, what was released says nothing about the blunt force injuries that killed Lesin — or even about him falling down, which is how he is supposed to have died.

Steele’s report on Lesin’s murder, and the Buzzfeed reporting about it, raise significant questions:

  1. Is the existing coroner’s report the product of shoddy forensic work or was a decision made to cover this up to lower the temperature between the US and Russia?
  2. If it was covered up to lower the temperature between the US and Russia, what, if any, more covert responses were taken?
  3. Who decided to create the cover story? And what was their real purpose in doing so?

Until we get answers to those questions, the revelations about this additional Steele report are interesting, but still only provide us with a partial understanding of the events surrounding Lesin’s murder, his autopsy, the investigation into his death, and the official accounting of those events.

Updated at 1:45 PM EDT

I just want to take a moment and add this portion of Buzzfeed’s reporting:

For his report to the FBI about Lesin, Steele gathered intelligence from high-level sources in Moscow, according to the two sources who read the whole report.

All four of the people who read Steele’s report said it pins Lesin’s murder on a professional relationship gone lethally awry. According to the report, they said, Lesin fell out with a powerful oligarch close to Putin. Wanting to intimidate Lesin, the oligarch then contracted with Russian state security agents to beat up Lesin, the report states, according to three of the sources. The goal was not to kill Lesin, all four sources said Steele wrote, but Lesin died from the attack.

The sources could not recall what, if anything, the report said about whether Putin knew of or sanctioned the attack.

Three other individuals, including a business associate of Lesin and two intelligence officials, told BuzzFeed News that they had independently given the FBI similar information: that Lesin had been bludgeoned to death by thugs operating on orders from the same oligarch Steele named.

I specifically want to highlight that three of Steele’s four high level sources indicate that the oligarch that Lesin crossed contracted with “Russian state security agents to beat up Lesin”. Given that the report indicates that the oligarch that Lesin had gotten crosswise with is close to Putin, and given how we know Putin runs Russia, it would be hard to believe that “Russian state security agents” that were contracted to do the op were doing so without Putin at least knowing about the operation, if not approving it.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.



Whistleblower States that Cambridge Analytica, Subsidiary of British Defence Contractor to the Ministry of Defence and US DOD, Was a Bridging Node to the Russians

This was a joint appearance event, including Q&A, held today in London. A lot of important news was made:

Chris Wylie’s answer here, if it is borne out, clearly places Cambridge Analytica, a subsidiary of the defense and intelligence contractor SCL, doing work for Russian interests. This is noteworthy for two different, but equally important reasons. The first is that it provides some of the first direct evidence, by direct statement of one of the principles and founders of Cambridge Analytica as a subsidiary of SCL, that Cambridge Analytica had concrete, for profit ties to Russia. Making it a bridging node in the network of groups, people, and organizations involved in the US 2014 and 2016 elections and the Russians. The second is that a subsidiary of SCL, which is essentially a private, for contract intelligence company, was doing work for Russian interests at the same time that the parent company was doing work for the British Ministry of Defence and the US DOD.

I’ve been a defense contractor off and on for over a decade. This included doing what is essentially a niche form of  intelligence work for the US Army. I have also served on two different term appointments as a senior civil servant under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. One of my biggest concerns as a national security professional has always been about the privatization of intelligence work. I’ve had the pleasure of working for an excellent, small defense contractor (who I’m currently still with) that appreciates professional ethics, providing quality work for the governmental client, and has my back. This was also the case for the not for profit sponsoring agent for my Intergovernmental Personnel Appointment. Unfortunately, I’ve also worked for a terrible business development unit (BDU) of a very large multinational defense and intelligence contractor that, through hard experience, I trust to do what is best for their bottom line to the exclusion of all else – including the right thing. So I can say I’ve experienced the best and worst of the contractor world. Having a subsidiary of a defense and intelligence contractor that is doing political intelligence work for Russian interests at the same time that the parent company is doing intelligence and/or intelligence related work for the MOD, the DOD, and NATO should be raising red flags in DC, London, and Brussels. Given what we know of how Nix and his partners conduct business, national security and counterintelligence professionals in the US, the UK, and at NATO HQ should be very, very, very concerned that whatever they were paying SCL to do has managed to make its way to Cambridge Analytica’s Russian clients.

Other important news was also made at this event about Steve Bannon, Robert Mercer, and their interest in the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and Brexit:

You’ll notice that Andrew Breitbart’s “politics is downstream of culture” concept was in play here.

Finally, some absolutely revolting news was also broken at this event pertaining to Shahmir Sanni. If there is any justice left in Her Majesty’s kingdom, it will be the end of Theresa May’s political career, as well as the two lowlifes on her staff responsible for outing Sanni and placing his family in Pakistan in jeopardy:

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A Few Thoughts On The New National Security Advisor

John Bolton is basically Frank Burns from M*A*S*H* with more offensive facial hair. Bolton’s appointment to be the next Assistant to the President – National Security Advisor (APNSA or National Security Advisor for short) is the most recent dog to catch the car within this administration. He has now finally wormed himself into a key position very close to a US president, but like the dog with his teeth locked firmly onto the car’s bumper he has only two choices: he either has to let go or he has to sink his teeth in, hold on for dear life, and pray he doesn’t get dragged to death and/or run over. He’s an unguided, self directing weapon of mass destruction. He will cause so much chaos and confusion that he will actually wind up defeating himself. He will ultimately self destruct.

What pissed the President off about LTG McMaster is that he actually did the job the right way and took his duties and responsibilities seriously. Bolton couldn’t care less about the Interagency and Interagency process. If Secretary Mattis and Gen (ret) Kelly couldn’t get along with LTG McMaster, which, I think, was partially because they’re 4 stars and he’s only a 3 star, yet he was the national-security and foreign policy gatekeeper, they’re definitely not going to get along with Bolton. He will so degrade and destroy the process that the President won’t be able to achieve anything in terms of national security and foreign policy. Remember, the US economy is about to be overrun by the Chinese in the coming trade war. Do you really think Bolton has any idea how to manage the Interagency process to minimize the damage to the US economy? Not a chance.

Bolton is also a terrible supervisor and manager. The personnel on the National Security staff that are not detailed from the various agencies and departments within the government, as in the people that McMaster hired directly and work for the Executive Office of the President, will begin to leave quickly. Those actual detailed from the various agencies to the National Security Staff will ask for their assignments to be ended early and because of his reputation there won’t be volunteers to replace them. So the National Security Staff will atrophy, which will negatively impact the ability of the President’s national security and foreign policy initiatives. And despite a long history of being wrong on almost every national security and foreign policy issue, Bolton thinks everyone else is stupid and wrong. So he will ignore, if not actively piss off, Secretary Mattis, Gen Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the Joint Chiefs themselves, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, Director of National Intelligence, all of their deputies, etc. It is very difficult to conduct national security and foreign policy after you’ve alienated everyone involved in the national security and foreign policy process. Is is equally difficult to conduct national security and foreign policy without a functioning process, which is why the process we have now was created.

I’m not trying to minimize what is definitely a sub-optimal choice. Bolton’s appointment as AP-NSA will definitely make things more chaotic in the White House, while reinforcing the President’s worse instincts about negotiations as zero-sum exercises and cycling willy nilly from being bellicose and threatening to accommodating. But mark my words, it’s not sub-optimal just because Bolton is an always wrong, belligerent, double A type authoritarian (kiss up, kick down). Rather it is sub-optimal because Bolton is going to self destruct, because that’s who and what Bolton is. He can’t help himself.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.