My name is Russ Baker. For more than two decades I have been an investigative journalist, doing what I believed journalists were supposed to do—seek the truth and publish nothing less. Over the years, however, I have learned how the media gatekeepers, both “mainstream” and “alternative,” will not allow the biggest, most disturbing revelations to see the light of day.
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Recent findings about the lineage of a mystifying green-blooded lizard, a toxin-resistant amphibian prevalent in the rainforests of New Guinea, may aid the development of new antiviral treatments. Famous for its glossy, emerald coating, the prasinohaema lizard is a type of skink, and bears an unsettling resemblance to the offspring of a snake and a frog. A group of scientists ventured into the jungles of New Guinea to harvest DNA samples from 52 species of skinks, including six green-blooded varieties.
The US Senate has confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director. Because three Republicans opposed her, some Democrats were needed to get the necessary votes. In the end, six of them voted with the rest of the GOP to confirm “Bloody Gina.” That’s some #Resistance. Haspel oversaw torture at a secret CIA prison in Thailand during the Bush administration, and was instrumental in the destruction of video tapes of the torture sessions.
Preparing for Mueller’s Long Haul (Reader Steve)We’re passing the one-year mark of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. This article details that, if history is our guide, the investigation has much, much longer to go.
Don’t Expect NAFTA Deal Before Midterms (Dan)
The recent Chinese investment in Donald Trump’s hotel project in Indonesia is just one in a long string of Chinese ventures across the globe. This deal, between a Chinese state-owned company and an Indonesian developer, falls under the umbrella of China’s One Belt One Road initiative.One Belt One Road is an ambitious effort to spread the country’s money and influence around the world.
Senate Votes to Overturn Ajit Pai’s Net Neutrality Repeal (Jimmy)
Incorrect translations, hard-to-find details, gibberish, or sometimes no information at all. That’s what many Spanish-speaking American voters encounter when searching for online voting materials in Spanish. In most cities, counties, and states across the nation, there is no federal requirement to present information in anything other than English.
Pierre Rabhi is a French writer, farmer, environmentalist, agroecologist, and the inventor of the compelling concept, Oasis in any place. At the age of five, I witnessed my father lose his livelihood as a blacksmith to the exploding coal mining industry in Algeria. The year was 1943 and civilization had arrived, with its complexity and immense powers of material attraction. Rather than hang up his hat, my father conformed to the opportunities that the new industry provided, working every day for the French occupiers who had discovered coal.
The Difficulty of Being an Anti-Trump Conservative (Reader Steve)Think it’s hard living in Trump’s America when you’re on the left? Try being against Trump while on the right. This article notes that if you’re a Republican journalist and against the President, you’re likely to be out of a job.
Trump’s Art of the Deal: Saving China’s ZTE (Dan)
Election integrity advocates have hailed a string of decisions this year that overturned gerrymandered state maps — most of them drawn up following a Republican wave in 2010. What no one is talking about is the agenda these illegally constituted majorities have enacted while in power. The unconstitutional maps may have been overturned — but these laws remain.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump raged over all the US jobs that he claimed had been lost to China, and said he would go with a program of “America First” when it came to trade deals with that country. Now we learn he is considering amending sanctions on Chinese phone maker ZTE because his proposed sanctions on the company would result in “too many lost jobs in China.”Well, by now, we are all accustomed to Trump contradicting his own promises. But this one is stranger than most. The reason?
In spite of a Senate hearing in which Gina Haspel repeatedly evaded tough questions about her views on torture, it appears that she will be confirmed as the new CIA director. Enough senators were apparently mollified by her qualified assurances that there will be no more “enhanced interrogation” at the spy agency on her watch.
Trump’s Friends Win by “Losing” (Reader Steve)By claiming “financial hardship” from state and government regulations, people like Carl Icahn, one of Trump’s close friends, keep the millions coming in.
Britain Apologizes for Role in Libyan Dissident’s CIA Nightmare (Dan)
To anyone even vaguely familiar with Donald Trump, the notion that he and his gang of grifters would drain the swamp instead of wallowing in it always seemed ridiculous. So it came as no surprise that several major corporations shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Michael Cohen in the hope that Trump’s fixer could grease the wheels a bit as they were trying to curry favor with his boss.
A deadly air-war between Iran and Israel erupted shortly after President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.
The Dog Whistle in Your Smartphone (Russ)Researchers in the US and China have proven that hidden commands can be sent to your smartphone — without your knowing.
Republicans’ October Surprise: A Moderate Immigration Deal? (Reader Steve)
Globalization has created a true global middle class, brought millions out of poverty, reduced the price of goods, and created remarkable economic benefits. As an economic system, it has worked exactly as promised. On the other hand, globalism, as a political idea, has been a dismal failure.
5 Times That Gina Haspel Refused To Answer a Yes or No Question (Jimmy)
Police and government surveillance of the residents of Chicago is already so infamous nationally that software developers a few years ago created an interactive game, Watch Dogs, which invites clever gamers to evade and escape the digital surveillance of state authorities there.
On the day President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the CIA, Gina Haspel, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee — and was questioned about her role in the US torture program — it bears remembering that nobody associated with the agency was ever held to account for this war crime.
Solving Silicon Valley’s Transit Problem (Reader Steve)
In the summer of 1975, congressional staffer Loch Johnson was searching through classified papers at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, when he came across something he couldn’t believe — a covert plan by the US military to deploy biological weapons against Cuba. This was more than Johnson was bargaining for, even though he was at the archive looking for files related to covert actions directed against Cuba.
Ex-CIA Official Says Some Torture Videotapes May Still Exist (Jimmy)
While Democrats, Republicans, and the intelligence community are all warning about potential Russian meddling in the November midterm elections, ordinary citizens face even greater obstacles to exercising their vote. WhoWhatWhy spoke to voting rights and election integrity experts about the broad range of threats to voting access.
Actors Were Paid to Support Entergy’s Power Plant at New Orleans City Council Meetings (Jimmy)
Electronic voting hasn’t guaranteed fairness in elections so far. But digital-scanning technology has the potential to increase transparency in elections — if election officials flip the right switches. Digital scanners capture images of each paper ballot cast and use the images to count results. The machines can preserve the images, providing a quick and easy way to verify election results.
Here is something that doesn’t get said enough: Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America, seemingly can’t stop lying. It’s not that people don’t know. Everybody knows. Still, the media usually skirts around the subject that Trump is a huge liar.
Add to Facebook’s ballooning list of coming attractions, all pivoted around the hope of making the world “more connected,” an inevitable but tactless offering: virtual romance. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at a conference on Tuesday that the company will be launching a dating feature that matches users with compatible strangers — people they’re not already connected with.
The Green Berets Are Secretly Helping Saudis Fight Yemen Rebels (Jimmy)The author writes, “About a dozen Green Berets came to Saudi Arabia’s shared border in December to help the kingdom’s troops fight Yemeni rebels who ‘pose no direct threat to the United States,’ the New York Times reports.”
The Super PAC Scam Game (Dan)
The Middle East has been a seething cauldron of conflict since 1918. Twice in the 20th century, in 1967 and 1973, it almost became a flashpoint for nuclear war. The region has always been a chessboard where great powers play out their strategies.In today’s Syria, it’s the US vs. Russia vs. Jihadists plus Saudi Arabia vs. Israel plus Turkey vs. the Kurds, not to mention Iran and Syria vs. the rebels.
“David’s Bookshelf” is a new feature for WhoWhatWhy readers. David Wineberg, popular for his insightful and entertaining reviews online, will present new works of nonfiction and offer his thoughts and commentary on these books, whose topics we believe will be of interest to many of our readers. The views expressed in these reviews reflect those of the author and not necessarily those of WhoWhatWhy.
IMF: Saudi Arabia Needs Oil at $85 (Jeff C.)
President Donald Trump likes to stress the need for a border wall to keep out gangs, “bad hombres,” and drugs coming to the US from Mexico. While the benefits of a physical wall are in doubt, probably few people would disagree that the US would be better off without importing narcotics, cartel members, and gang violence. But did you ever wonder what Mexico gets from its big neighbor to the north that it would rather do without? Because the US does not just export Coca-Cola and fast food restaurants.