Archives by month

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

“Two years ago the FBI focused on a suspect with a far-fetched scheme—right as it stopped tracking the Boston Marathon bomber.”

That’s the subhead of Trevor Aaronson’s latest piece at Mother Jones, entitled How the FBI in Boston May Have Pursued the Wrong “Terrorist”.

You might remember Trevor from our episode “The Terror Factory”, based on Trevor’s book of the same name.

In this episode, we cover a whole new story of informant mishandling, plus other examples of “Incompitude”, and cover a story on how Daimler A.G., the parent company of Mercedes Benz, will have to defend itself in front of the U.S. Supreme Court from allegations that its Argentina division collaborated with state security forces during the Dirty War of the 1970s.

About the guest:

Trevor_AaronsonTrevor Aaronson is author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism (Ig Publishing, January 2013). He is also co-director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Aaronson was a 2010-11 fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, where he produced an award-winning project about FBI counterterrorism operations for Mother Jones.

Previously, Aaronson was an investigative reporter and editor for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, where his stories ranged from local government investigations to reporting in Asia, Africa and South America. He was also formerly a staff writer for Miami New Times and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

A two-time finalist for the Livingston Awards for journalists under the age of 35, Aaronson has won more than two dozen national and regional awards, including the Molly Prize, the international Data Journalism Award and the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award.

Related links:

Daimler Supreme Court case

Mike on the Crier Report talking about operation Agent Scrub:

Share

SUBVERSIVES

The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power
“In 1977, The Daily Californian, Berkeley’s student paper, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents bearing on FBI surveillance in Berkeley during the 60’s and early 70’s. In 1981, Seth Rosenfeld, then a Daily Cal reporter, started reading those files that the FBI turned over. He published some initial reports. Later that year, having observed how many files were missing or blacked out (“I wondered whether the bureau was America’s biggest consumer of Magic Markers,” he writes), he filed an additional request for “any and all” records on former UC President Clark Kerr, former Free Speech Movement leader Mario Savio, and more than a hundred other individuals, organizations, and events. Five lawsuits, many more Magic Markers, and 30 years later, he had succeeded in retrieving more than 300,000 pages of records, a federal judge having ruled that the FBI had no legitimate law enforcement purpose in keeping them secret.”
-Todd Gitlin, FDL Book Salon

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Seth Rosenfeld, who spent 30 years researching and writing this groundbreaking book.

Subversives traces the FBI’s secret involvement with three iconic figures at Berkeley during the 1960s: the ambitious neophyte politician Ronald Reagan, the fierce but fragile radical Mario Savio, and the liberal university president Clark Kerr. Through these converging narratives, the award-winning investigative reporter Seth Rosenfeld tells a dramatic and disturbing story of FBI surveillance, illegal break-ins, infiltration, planted news stories, poison-pen letters, and secret detention lists. He reveals how the FBI’s covert operations—led by Reagan’s friend J. Edgar Hoover—helped ignite an era of protest, undermine the Democrats, and benefit Reagan personally and politically. At the same time, he vividly evokes the life of Berkeley in the early sixties—and shows how the university community, a site of the forward-looking idealism of the period, became a battleground in an epic struggle between the government and free citizens.

Part history, part biography, and part police procedural, Subversives reads like a true-crime mystery as it provides a fresh look at the legacy of the sixties, sheds new light on one of America’s most popular presidents, and tells a cautionary tale about the dangers of secrecy and unchecked power.

About the guest:

Seth Rosenfeld is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. He was an investigative reporter for the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle and has won the George Polk Award and other journalism honors.

Share

This Week – Support WBAI

Since 1996, we’ve been doing this for nothing.  We couldn’t have done it without WBAI.

Tonight, we feature some of our favorite guests and topics from over the past year.  While you may only listen to our show via the web – the show itself would not be possible were it not for WBAI-FM – Part of the Pacifica Radio network.

So please show your support for WBAI by sending them a donation below, or by visiting their website.  During the broadcast, you can also call 212-209-2950.

Info on the guests can be found below.

Donate $30 (No premium, WBAI membership included)

Favorite Show
Donate $50 (No premium, WBAI membership included)

Favorite Show
Donate $100 (No premium, WBAI membership included)

Favorite Show
Clicking on a Donate button below takes you to Paypal. Any credit card can be used, you do NOT need to have a Paypal account. WBAI never learns your credit card number from Paypal. We don’t even know which credit card you use.
Any donation of $25 or more automatically makes you a member of WBAI. Members of WBAI are entitled to vote in the WBAI elections. Pacifica bylaws require hardcopy ballots for these elections to be mailed out, thus, we need a mailing address. Thus, for donations that include WBAI membership, Paypal will ask for your mailing address and will pass that along to WBAI. Donations of $20 do not qualify for WBAI membership, so we have configured Paypal not to ask for your mailing address in this case. In either case, as noted above, WBAI never knows your credit card number, or even which credit was used, only Paypal does.

Tonight’s guests:

Bill Conroy has worked as a reporter or editor for the past eighteen years at newspapers in Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota and Texas.

His investigative reporting over the past five years has focused on corruption and discrimination within federal law enforcement agencies.

He is also a journalist for Narco News. His investigative pieces, particularly those on the House of Death, have made him our most-favored guest.


Stephan Salisbury is the senior cultural writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has been a reporter for three decades.

He has won numerous awards for his work and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize as part of an Inquirer investigative team looking into local election fraud.

He is author of the recently published Mohamed’s Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland published by Nation Books.


Howard Bloom, a Visiting Scholar at New York University, is founder of the International Paleopsychology Project, executive editor of the New Paradigm book series, a founding board member of the Epic of Evolution Society, and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, The International Society of Human Ethology, and the Academy of Political Science. He has been featured in every edition of Who’s Who in Science and Engineering since the publication’s inception.


Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, an internationally recognized expert on intelligence, is the President and CEO of the Intelligence & Security Academy, LLC, a national security education, training and consulting company.

From 2002-2005, Dr. Lowenthal served as the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production and also as the Vice Chairman for Evaluation on the National Intelligence Council. Prior to these duties, he served as Counselor to the Director of Central Intelligence. Dr. Lowenthal was the staff director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 104th Congress (1995-97), where he directed the committee’s study on the future of the Intelligence Community, IC21: The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century. He also served in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), as both an office director and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and has been the Senior Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

Dr. Lowenthal has written extensively on intelligence and national security issues, including five books and over 90 articles or studies. His most recent book, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (Congressional Quarterly Press, 4th ed., 2009), has become the standard college and graduate school textbook on the subject. He has also written a fantasy novel, Crispan Magicker, published in 1978. Dr. Lowenthal is a frequent public commentator on intelligence issues. He has appeared on each of the major networks, the Lehrer Newshour and Charlie Rose; his op-eds have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Dr. Lowenthal received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He joined the adjunct faculty of the Johns Hopkins University in 2008, after 14 years as an adjunct at Columbia University. He is the Executive Director of the International Association for Intelligence Education and a Chairman Emeritus of the Intelligence Committee for AFCEA.

In 2005, Dr. Lowenthal was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Intelligence Community’s highest award. In 2006, he received AFCEA’s Distinguished Service Award for service to the Intelligence Community. In 1988, Dr. Lowenthal was the Grand Champion on Jeopardy!, the television quiz show.


Photo by Charles Miller

LESLIE KEAN is an independent investigative journalist with a background in freelance writing and radio broadcasting. She has contributed articles to dozens of publications here and abroad including the Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Providence Journal, International Herald Tribune, Globe and Mail, Sydney Morning Herald, Bangkok Post, The Nation, and The Journal for Scientific Exploration. Her stories have been syndicated through Knight Ridder/Tribune, Scripps-Howard, New York Times wire service, Pacific News Service, and the National Publishers Association. While spending many years reporting on Burma, she co-authored Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity (Aperture, 1994) and she has contributed essays for a number of anthologies published between 1998 and 2009. Her freelance journalism has been supported by grants from numerous foundations including the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, The Fund for Investigative Journalism, and the Nation Institute.

Kean was also a producer and on-air host for a daily investigative news program on KPFA radio, a Pacifica station in California. She began covering the UFO subject in 2000 with a feature story in the Boston Globe, and followed with additional mainstream stories. In 2002, she co-founded the Coalition for Freedom of Information (CFi), an independent alliance advocating for greater government openness on information about UFOs, and for responsible coverage by the media based on a rational and credible approach. As director of the CFi, she was the plaintiff in a successful, five-year Freedom of Information Act federal lawsuit against NASA. In 2007, she co-organized a landmark Washington DC international press conference on official UFO investigations, which received media coverage around the world.

Share

The Capture of Whitey Bulger

After 16 years on the lam, James “Whitey” Bulger – a notorious Irish mobster from Boston, who was number 2 on the FBI’s most-wanted list for over 14 years – has finally been captured by the FBI.

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with noted author Richard Stratton, who has not only researched and written about Bulger, but actually met the man face-to-face when Bulger acted to save Richard from a Mafia hit contract. We’ll talk about Bulger’s history, his turning of FBI agents, the methods used to bring him in, whether or not he’s responsible for a whole string of armed robberies as the infamous “geezer bandit” in Orange County, California…and what secrets he still may have to tell about a thoroughly corrupt FBI that aided him in murdering his rivals.

About the guest:

Richard Stratton is the author of the underground cult classic novel, Smack Goddess. He was a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1970.

In 1982 he was convicted of conspiracy to import marijuana and hashish and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. He wrote Smack Goddess while incarcerated. He also became a jailhouse lawyer, had his sentence vacated and was released after serving eight years.

In 1989 he was awarded first prize for short fiction in the PEN American Prison Writing contest.

His work has been published in Story Magazine, Rolling Stone, High Times, Spin, Newsweek, Penthouse, Esquire and a number of literary quarterlies. He formerly edited Fortune News, the newspaper of the Fortune Society, a non-profit organization which aids prisoners and ex-offenders and advocates for criminal justice reform.

He worked as a producer and creative consultant on a number of HBO productions including Prisoners of the War on Drugs, The Execution Machine: Texas Death Row, Thug Life in D.C. and the dramatic prison series, Oz. He is qualified as an expert witness in state and federal courts in the areas of prison violence and prison culture, and has testified in capital prison murder cases in Texas, Oklahoma, Utah and California. He co-wrote and produced Slam, the movie, and co-edited Slam, the book. He is co-producer and co-writer of the feature film Whiteboys, and Executive Producer and show runner for Street Time, a dramatic television series.

Richard’s most recent novel is “Altered States of America.”, and his Piece “Super Rat” – about Whitey Bulger, was featured in the February 2009 issue of Playboy magazine. He has many works on his slate at the present time. One of which is the film Dog Eat Dog based on the novel by Eddie Bunker. Richard is the director and the screenplay writer. He resides in New York with his wife Antoinette and their son Ivan and his stepdaughter, Bianca. He has three children from a former marriage, Maxx, Dash and Sasha.

Share

Intelligence

Tonight, we have an in-depth discussion about intelligence, training and recruitment of intelligence agents – in both analysis and operations – and the crucial subject of human intelligence.

Joining Mike and Mark is Dr. Mark Lowenthal – someone who has not only worked in the intelligence community, but in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 104th Congress (1995-97).

Dr. Lowenthal is the author of Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy – which details how the intelligence community’s history, structure, procedures, and functions affect policy decisions. With his friendly prose, he demystifies a complicated and complex process. Rich with examples and anecdotes, Intelligence also includes bolded key terms, an acronym list, suggested readings and websites, and a list of major intelligence reviews or proposals.

The fourth edition highlights many crucial recent developments in reforms, ethics, and transnational issues, including:

-the actual implementation of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) reforms and their successes and strains;
-the ongoing legal, operational, and ethical issues raised by the war against terrorism;
-the growth of transnational issues, such as WMD;
-fresh coverage of analytic standards and analytic transformation;
-more in-depth explanation of geospatial, signal, and human intelligence;
-a new discussion of the lessons of 9/11;
– and, the growing politicization of intelligence in the United States, specifically through the declassified use of National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs).

It’s a fascinating conversation about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.

About the guest:

Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, an internationally recognized expert on intelligence, is the President and CEO of the Intelligence & Security Academy, LLC, a national security education, training and consulting company.

From 2002-2005, Dr. Lowenthal served as the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production and also as the Vice Chairman for Evaluation on the National Intelligence Council.  Prior to these duties, he served as Counselor to the Director of Central Intelligence.  Dr. Lowenthal was the staff director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 104th Congress (1995-97), where he directed the committee’s study on the future of the Intelligence Community, IC21: The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century.  He also served in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), as both an office director and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and has been the Senior Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

Dr. Lowenthal has written extensively on intelligence and national security issues, including five books and over 90 articles or studies.  His most recent book, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (Congressional Quarterly Press, 4th ed., 2009), has become the standard college and graduate school textbook on the subject.  He has also written a fantasy novel, Crispan Magicker, published in 1978.  Dr. Lowenthal is a frequent public commentator on intelligence issues.  He has appeared on each of the major networks, the Lehrer Newshour and Charlie Rose; his op-eds have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Dr. Lowenthal received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University.  He joined the adjunct faculty of the Johns Hopkins University in 2008, after 14 years as an adjunct at Columbia University.  He is the Executive Director of the International Association for Intelligence Education and a Chairman Emeritus of the Intelligence Committee for AFCEA.

In 2005, Dr. Lowenthal was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Intelligence Community’s highest award.  In 2006, he received AFCEA’s Distinguished Service Award for service to the Intelligence Community.  In 1988, Dr. Lowenthal was the Grand Champion on Jeopardy!, the television quiz show.

Links:
A Secret Life” – book referred to by Dr. Lowenthal in the broadcast.

Dr. Lowenthal’s appearances on Charlie Rose

 

Share

The Infiltrator, Part 2

My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks
Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel.

Robert Mazur spent five years undercover infiltrating the criminal hierarchy of Colombia’s drug cartels. The dirty bankers and businessmen he befriended-some of whom still shape power across the globe- knew him as Bob Musella, a wealthy, mob-connected big shot living the good life.

Together they partied in $1,000-per-night hotel suites, drank bottles of the world’s finest champagne, drove Rolls-Royce convertibles, and flew in private jets. But under Mazur’s Armani suits and in his Renwick briefcase, recorders whirred quitely, capturing the damning evidence of their crimes.

Then, at a staged wedding, he led a dramatic takedown that shook the underworld In the end, more than eighty men and women were charged worldwide.

Operation C-Chase became one of the most successful undercover operations in the history of U.S. law enforcement, and evidence gathered during the bust proved critical to the conviction of General Manuel Noriega.

Tonight, Mike and Mark talk with Rober Mazur about this amazing story, and the life that led to it.

This video gives a good indication of just HOW big this case was:


About the Guest:

Robert Mazur served for 27 years as a federal special agent for the IRS, the Customs Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Now the president of Chase and Associates, an agency that advises law firms and public companies on banking protocols and risk assessment, he lives in Florida with his family.

Share

The Infiltrator, Part 1

My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks
Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel.

Robert Mazur spent five years undercover infiltrating the criminal hierarchy of Colombia’s drug cartels. The dirty bankers and businessmen he befriended-some of whom still shape power across the globe- knew him as Bob Musella, a wealthy, mob-connected big shot living the good life.

Together they partied in $1,000-per-night hotel suites, drank bottles of the world’s finest champagne, drove Rolls-Royce convertibles, and flew in private jets. But under Mazur’s Armani suits and in his Renwick briefcase, recorders whirred quitely, capturing the damning evidence of their crimes.

Then, at a staged wedding, he led a dramatic takedown that shook the underworld In the end, more than eighty men and women were charged worldwide.

Operation C-Chase became one of the most successful undercover operations in the history of U.S. law enforcement, and evidence gathered during the bust proved critical to the conviction of General Manuel Noriega.

Tonight, Mike and Mark talk with Rober Mazur about this amazing story, and the life that led to it.

This video gives a good indication of just HOW big this case was:


About the Guest:

Robert Mazur served for 27 years as a federal special agent for the IRS, the Customs Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Now the president of Chase and Associates, an agency that advises law firms and public companies on banking protocols and risk assessment, he lives in Florida with his family.

Share

Some Prior Guests

David Moorhouse

Ray McGovern

Dr. Rick Nuccio

Renee Boje

Daniel Ellsberg

Richard Stratton

Gerard Colby

Greg Palast

Dennis Dayle

Ralph McGeehee

Stan Goff

Mark Levine

Vincent Bugliosi

J.H. Hatfield

Siobhan Reynolds

Charles Bowden

Katherine Gun

Bob Parry

Sandy Gonzalez

Sibel Edmonds

Ellen Mariani

Peter Lance

Senator Bob Graham

Cele Castillo

Tosh Plumlee

Donald Bains

Will Northrop

Aukai Collin

John Loftus

Joyce Reilly Von Kliest

Kelly O' Meara

John P. Flannery

Bill Conroy

Sander Hicks

Paul Williams