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Government Protects Criminals by Attacking Whistleblowers

George Washington's picture





 

It’s now obvious to everyone that – even though criminal fraud dominates Wall Street – the Obama administration refuses to prosecute white collar crime.

Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton each prosecuted financial crime more aggressively than Barack Obama.

Of course, the lack of a fair and even-handed legal system destroys prosperity and leads to the breakdown of society.

National security claims are also used to keep financial fraud secret (and people who protest runaway criminality by the big banks are targeted as terrorists).  And when those in the private sector blow the whistle on potential crimes, they are targeted also.

But it’s not like the government isn’t aggressively using the legal system … it’s just using it to silence the truth.

Specifically, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.

Government employees also goes out of their way to smear whistleblowers, threaten reporters who discuss whistleblower information and harass honest analysts.

Indeed, even high-level government employees are in danger. For example, after the head of the NSA’s spying program – William Binney – disclosed the fact that the U.S. was spying on everyone in the U.S. and storing the data forever, and that the U.S. was quickly becoming a totalitarian state, the Feds tried to scare him into shutting up:

[Numerous] FBI officers held a gun to Binney’s head as he stepped naked from the shower. He watched with his wife and youngest son as the FBI ransacked their home. Later Binney was separated from the rest of his family, and FBI officials pressured him to implicate one of the other complainants in criminal activity. During the raid, Binney attempted to report to FBI officials the crimes he had witnessed at NSA, in particular the NSA’s violation of the constitutional rights of all Americans. However, the FBI wasn’t interested in these disclosures. Instead, FBI officials seized Binney’s private computer, which to this day has not been returned despite the fact that he has not been charged with a crime.

Other NSA whistleblowers have also been subjected to armed raids and criminal prosecution.

After high-level CIA officer John Kiriakou blew the whistle on illegal CIA torture, the government prosecuted him for espionage.

Even the CIA director was targeted with extra-constitutional spying  and driven out of office.

In reality, the government is spying on Americans to crack down on dissent ... not to keep us safe.

And the top interrogation experts from U.S. military and intelligence services say that all torture is lousy at producing actionable intelligence, and the U.S. used Communist torture techniques specifically aimed at creating false confessions  in order to create a false justification for the Iraq war.  Indeed, torture doesn't prevent terrorism but rather creates new terrorists.

And the "bad guys" knew about torture long before Kiriakou blew the whistle.  As a top U.S. air force interrogator notes:

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

As such, it is clear that the point of prosecuting whistleblowers is to protect those in power, not protect our country ...

As former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald notes:

The permanent US national security state has used extreme secrecy to shield its actions from democratic accountability ever since its creation after World War II. But those secrecy powers were dramatically escalated in the name of 9/11 and the War on Terror, such that most of what the US government now does of any significance is completely hidden from public knowledge. Two recent events – the sentencing last week of CIA torture whistleblower John Kirikaou to 30 months in prison and the invasive investigation to find the New York Times’ source for its reporting on the US role in launching cyberwarfare at Iran – demonstrate how devoted the Obama administration is not only to maintaining, but increasing, these secrecy powers.

 

When WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables in 2010, government defenders were quick to insist that most of those documents were banal and uninteresting. And that’s true: most (though by no means all) of those cables contained nothing of significance. That, by itself, should have been a scandal. All of those documents were designated as “secret”, making it a crime for government officials to reveal their contents – despite how insignificant most of it was. That revealed how the US government reflexively – really automatically – hides anything and everything it does behind this wall of secrecy: they have made it a felony to reveal even the most inconsequential and pedestrian information about its actions.

 

This is why whistleblowing – or, if you prefer, unauthorized leaks of classified information – has become so vital to preserving any residual amounts of transparency. Given how subservient the federal judiciary is to government secrecy claims, it is not hyperbole to describe unauthorized leaks as the only real avenue remaining for learning about what the US government does – particularly for discovering the bad acts it commits. That is why the Obama administration is waging an unprecedented war against it – a war that continually escalates – and it is why it is so threatening.

 

To understand the Obama White House’s obsession with punishing leaks – as evidenced by its historically unprecedented war on whistleblowers – just consider how virtually every significant revelation of the bad acts of the US government over the last decade came from this process. Unauthorized leaks are how we learned about the Bush administration’s use of torture, the NSA’s illegal eavesdropping on Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law, the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the secret network of CIA “black sites” beyond the reach of law or human rights monitoring, the targeting by Obama of a US citizen for assassination without due process, the re-definition of “militant” to mean “any military age male in a strike zone”, the video of a US Apache helicopter gunning down journalists and rescuers in Baghdad, the vastly under-counted civilians deaths caused by the war in Iraq, and the Obama administration’s campaign to pressure Germany and Spain to cease criminal investigations of the US torture regime.

 

In light of this, it should not be difficult to understand why the Obama administration is so fixated on intimidating whistleblowers and going far beyond any prior administration – including those of the secrecy-obsessed Richard Nixon and George W Bush – to plug all leaks. It’s because those methods are the only ones preventing the US government from doing whatever it wants in complete secrecy and without any accountability of any kind.

 

Silencing government sources is the key to disabling investigative journalism and a free press. That is why the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer told whistleblowing advocate Jesselyn Radack last April: “when our sources are prosecuted, the news-gathering process is criminalized, so it’s incumbent upon all journalists to speak up.”

 

Indeed, if you talk to leading investigative journalists they will tell you that the Obama war on whistleblowers has succeeded in intimidating not only journalists’ sources but also investigative journalists themselves. Just look at the way the DOJ has pursued and threatened with prison one of the most accomplished and institutionally protected investigative journalists in the country – James Risen – and it’s easy to see why the small amount of real journalism done in the US, most driven by unauthorized leaks, is being severely impeded. This morning’s Washington Post article on the DOJ’s email snooping to find the NYT’s Stuxnet source included this anonymous quote: “People are feeling less open to talking to reporters given this uptick. There is a definite chilling effect in government due to these investigations.”

 

For authoritarians who view assertions of government power as inherently valid and government claims as inherently true, none of this will be bothersome. Under that mentality, if the government decrees that something shall be secret, then it should be secret, and anyone who defies that dictate should be punished as a felon – or even a traitor. That view is typically accompanied by the belief that we can and should trust our leaders to be good and do good even if they exercise power in the dark, so that transparency is not only unnecessary but undesirable.

 

But the most basic precepts of human nature, political science, and the American founding teach that power exercised in the dark will be inevitably abused. Secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of power. That’s why those who wield political power are always driven to destroy methods of transparency. About this fact, Thomas Jefferson wrote in an 1804 letter to John Tyler [emphasis added]:

“Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”

About all that, Yale law professor David A Schultz observed: “For Jefferson, a free press was the tool of public criticism. It held public officials accountable, opening them up to the judgment of people who could decide whether the government was doing good or whether it had anything to hide. . . . A democratic and free society is dependent upon the media to inform.”

 

There should be no doubt that destroying this method of transparency – not protection of legitimate national security secrets- is the primary effect, and almost certainly the intent, of this unprecedented war on whistleblowers. Just consider the revelations that have prompted the Obama DOJ’s war on whistleblowers, whereby those who leak are not merely being prosecuted, but threatened with decades or even life in prison for “espionage” or “aiding the enemy”.

 

Does anyone believe it would be better if we remained ignorant about the massive waste, corruption and illegality plaguing the NSA’s secret domestic eavesdropping program (Thomas Drake); or the dangerously inept CIA effort to infiltrate the Iranian nuclear program but which ended up assisting that program (Jeffrey Sterling); or the overlooking of torture squads in Iraq, the gunning down of journalists and rescuers in Baghdad, or the pressure campaign to stop torture investigations in Spain and Germany (Bradley Manning); or the decision by Obama to wage cyberwar on Iran, which the Pentagon itself considers an act of war (current DOJ investigation)?

 

Like all of the Obama leak prosecutions – see here - none of those revelations resulted in any tangible harm, yet all revealed vital information about what our government was doing in secret. As long-time DC lawyer Abbe Lowell, who represents indicted whistleblower Stephen Kim, put it: what makes the Obama DOJ’s prosecutions historically unique is that they “don’t distinguish between bad people – people who spy for other governments, people who sell secrets for money – and people who are accused of having conversations and discussions”. Not only doesn’t it draw this distinction, but it is focused almost entirely on those who leak in order to expose wrongdoing and bring about transparency and accountability.

 

That is the primary impact of all of this. A Bloomberg report last October on this intimidation campaign summarized the objections this way: “the president’s crackdown chills dissent, curtails a free press and betrays Obama’s initial promise to ‘usher in a new era of open government.’”

 

The Obama administration does not dislike leaks of classified information. To the contrary, it is a prolific exploiter of exactly those types of leaks – when they can be used to propagandize the citizenry to glorify the president’s image as a tough guy, advance his political goals or produce a multi-million-dollar Hollywood film about his greatest conquest. Leaks are only objectionable when they undercut that propaganda by exposing government deceit, corruption and illegality.

 

***

 

As FAIR put it this week, whatever else is true: “The only person to do time for the CIA’s torture policies appears to be a guy who spoke publicly about them, not any of the people who did the actual torturing.”

Despite zero evidence of any harm from his disclosures, the federal judge presiding over his case – the reliably government-subservient US District Judge Leonie Brinkema – said she “would have given Kiriakou much more time if she could.” As usual, the only real criminals in the government are those who expose or condemn its wrongdoing.

 

Exactly the same happened with revelations by the New York Times of the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program. None of the officials who eavesdropped on Americans without the warrants required by law were prosecuted. The telecoms that illegally cooperated were retroactively immunized from all legal accountability by the US Congress. The only person to suffer recriminations from that scandal was Thomas Tamm, the mid-level DOJ official who discovered the program and told the New York Times about it, and then had his life ruined with vindictive investigations.

 

This Obama whistleblower war has nothing to do with national security. It has nothing to do with punishing those who harm the country with espionage or treason.

 

It has everything to do with destroying those who expose high-level government wrongdoing. It is particularly devoted to preserving the government’s ability to abuse its power in secret by intimidating and deterring future acts of whistleblowing and impeding investigative journalism. This Obama whistleblower war continues to escalate because it triggers no objections from Republicans (who always adore government secrecy) or Democrats (who always adore what Obama does), but most of all because it triggers so few objections from media outlets, which – at least in theory – suffer the most from what is being done.

And see this.

When the government acts like a “protection racket” – and pretends that the truth is too complicated or dangerous for the public to know – we’re in real trouble.

As Kiriakou points out:

President Obama just like president Bush has made a conscious decision to allow the torturers, to allow the people who conceived of the tortures and implemented the policy, to allow the people who destroyed the evidence of the torture and the attorneys who used specious legal analysis to approve of the torture to walk free.

 

***

 

In this post 9/11 atmosphere that we find ourselves in we have been losing our civil liberties incrementally over the last decade to the point where we don’t even realize how much of a police state the United States has become.Ten years ago the thought of the National Security Agency spying on American citizens and intercepting their emails would have been anathema to Americans and now it’s just a part of normal business.

 

The idea that our government would be using drone aircraft to assassinate American citizens who have never seen the inside of a courtroom, who have never been charged with a crime and have not had due process which is their constitutional right would have been unthinkable. And it is something now that happens every year, every so often, every few weeks, every few months and there is no public outrage. I think this is a very dangerous development.

 


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Mon, 02/04/2013 - 07:46 | Link to Comment MickV
MickV's picture

The corrupt useful idiot judiciary is trying to intimidate, with sanctions,  anyone who challenges the Usurper as to his eligibility as a natural born Citizen, and will allow no discovery of the records of the Usurper's birth and early life.

 

http://obamafailedeverify.blogspot.com/

https://secure.piryx.com/donate/ZSBbZAAV/Linda-Jordan/defensefund

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 14:48 | Link to Comment blindman
blindman's picture

01 February 2013
Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts - The Failure to Reform
""But there is a sort of 'Ok guys, you're mad, but how are you going to stop me' mentality at the top."
Robert Johnson
Audacious oligarchy.

This will not end well.

And a preview of Matt Taibbi and Bill Moyers discussing Why We Can't Let the Banks Off the Hook.
Ignoring such pervasive white collar crimes, which are still ongoing by the way, creates a climate of extreme moral hazard, festering corruption, and teaches felony by example.

I think they give Obama, the regulators, and the Congress far to much credit in ignoring these crimes 'for the good of the system.' It is all about careerism, the credibility trap, and going along to get along.

They cannot reform the system because they are the system, and the political and financial elite are doing just fine with the system the way that it is, thank you very much. They do not want things to change." jca
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http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/
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comment: criminals protect criminals (accomplice): see revolving door as
this relates to complicity. fold together. hmmm
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accomplice (n.) 1580s (earlier complice, late 15c.), from Old French complice "a confederate," from Late Latin complicem (nom. complex) "partner, confederate," from Latin complicare "fold together" (see complicate). With parasitic a- on model of accomplish, etc., or perhaps by assimilation of indefinite article in phrase a complice.
complicity (n.) 1650s, from French complicité, from Old French complice "accomplice, comrade, companion" (14c.), from Late Latin complicem, accusative of complex "partner, confederate," from Latin complicare "to fold together" (see complicate; also cf. accomplice).
.
govern (v.) late 13c., from Old French governer (11c., Modern French gouverner) "govern," from Latin gubernare "to direct, rule, guide, govern" (cf. Spanish gobernar, Italian governare), originally "to steer," a nautical borrowing from Greek kybernan "to steer or pilot a ship, direct" (the root of cybernetics). The -k- to -g- sound shift is perhaps via the medium of Etruscan. Related: Governed; governing.
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so who is steering the ship anyway? and what ship, who's ship? who's "state"
are we talking about?
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whistleblower (n.) in the figurative sense, by 1970, American English, from whistle (as something sounded in an alert) + agent noun from blow (v.1). Earlier in U.S. sports slang sense "referee."
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is telling the truth the new whisleblowing? i know telling the truth is
something that is either required or presumed to hold certain employment
and to make statements in legal proceedings, they have an oath just in case
someone might innocently think they can say anything that comes to their
imagination. if the government, or steering mechanism, is prosecuting the
truth tellers then the steering will likely be, well, just as it is,
hijacked by the cronies to direct the ship of state right into the rocks,
which is where they want it ; at that point there is no one to prosecute
the collusion and the "government" in the abstract has become the patsy.
no one will ask why the guy who told the truth and was actually doing his
job was the one to be prosecuted for something while all his associates
and co-workers said nothing and refused to uphold their responsibility
to deal in and tell the truth. so, to be safe, tell the truth but stay
away from the whistles. ?

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 14:19 | Link to Comment Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

Just put a graph up showing the S&L cost vs how many went to jail and compare it to a graph showing the current shit cost vs who went to jail.

 

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 13:45 | Link to Comment lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

Red Pill.

We are living in a complete fascist/marxist police state. All news is propaganda. Entire industries have been nationalized. Peoples' wealth has been confiscated by the police state to fund their masters, the central bank cartel. The indonesian has crafted all the EOs needed to take complete control as Hitler did in Germany.  The final steps  are the complete confiscation of private property and remaining wealth of the People. This will follow the forced confiscation of all firearms through EO.

High profile journalists and special forces operators have been assassinated by the Regime. This will continue. At some point within the not-distant future, an event or series of events will be used to proclaim enactment of the EOs and the real wholesale killing/imprisonment of Americans will begin. This is a simple fact of history. No people or nation are immune.

The indonesian's masters would preferably accept the victory of the police state over the People. They will be willing to settle for a collapse of the Republic within the context of a revolution and splintering of the Union. Once the Republic is under total police state control or wrecked by revolt, the US will no longer stand in the way of the Globalist's aim of a single monetary and governing unit.

Germans in the mid 1930s had no idea what their country would look like in 1945. If you would have told them the end result in 1935, they would have laughed at you. We know what happened, here in the present day.

The same forces which backed the national socialists in Germany are backing the current Regime in Washington.

Americans, in their collective hubris and the entertainment distractions of the mass media, are going to have to suffer as the German people did. We are on a logarithmic curve towards destruction. Each man must begin to decide for himself how he will counter this ongoing totalitarian trend.

Keep working, GW. Eventually, the interwebs will be shut down or restricted. You must continue to inform until comms are cut. The Internet is the single greatest achievement since the Printing Press. I have been studying its (P Press)  effects by reading numerous history books, including the socialist HG Wells. He was honest enough to state facts and then let the reader know his own philosophy as an aside. The interwebs are far more dangerous than the printing press. The key to "Freedom" is the unfettered access to Information.

Keep Stackin'

Thanks for places like ZH, until we are silenced!

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 13:31 | Link to Comment Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch's picture

I think there is no public outcry because all trust in US institutions and corporations is gone. It is clear that US representatives do not listen to their constituents beyond special interests lobbyists and the acceptance of their bribes (campaign contributions).

I think it is clear to the public that the current Government does not represent a Constitutional Republic and that any protest will either be ignored or prosecuted as terrorism.

There is a general sense that the Republic is gone, which is what the Oligarchy wants understood.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 13:29 | Link to Comment Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch's picture

I think there is no public outcry because all trust in US institutions and corporations is gone. It is clear that US representatives do not listen to their constituents beyond special interests lobbyist and the acceptance of their bribes campaign contributions.

I think it is clear to the public that the current Government does not represent a Constitutional Republic and that any protest will either be ignored or prosecuted as terrorism.

There is a general sense that the Republic is gone, which is what the Oligarchy wants understood.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:56 | Link to Comment joego1
joego1's picture

These days it does not seem to matter what sort of dirt gets exposed about the government all we can expect is just the gentle bleeting of the sheep in the pasture.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:52 | Link to Comment koncaswatch
koncaswatch's picture

GW, the fact that you point out the truth just made you a likely candidate for the label of "terrorist".

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:39 | Link to Comment Melson Nandela
Melson Nandela's picture

At least the ruling President here is a former Russian Oligarch who contents himself collecting Giraffes and building a spaceship overlooking Tbilisi. and then lets us enjoy inexpensive and high quality red wine, khinkali, and sashlik. Bankers here don´t even charge to use the ATMs.

"Better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven".  "Space Seed" or "Wrath of Khan 1"

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:33 | Link to Comment The Miser
The Miser's picture

I was told, second hand, that a media person in DC said that the media in D.C. has to clear all stories through the White House. I wonder if the MSM is in the same boat. With this article, it may be true. Just wondering. MSM made no issue about Bengazzi.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:20 | Link to Comment tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

as disturbing as this report is, i hope that no one is naive enough to be surprised. soetoro is an indonesian citizen - most likely born in kenya - who was selected by the rockefeller axis of evil c. 1990 to be the future president of the united states....he is a criminal as is eric holder....soetoro is a complete lie and fraud. therefore he will do all he can - as fulfilling orders from his bosses - to destroy truth and justice....the man is pure wickedness.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 18:32 | Link to Comment Tic tock
Tic tock's picture

I really cannot reconcile how you equate the publicly-acceptable masque of Obama with the US Central Administration - do you actually think the president has any real power whatsoever?

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 07:49 | Link to Comment MickV
MickV's picture

The point is that he is not eligible-- thus there is no law and no constitution, since the executor of the law, i.e the President, is illegally holding the office---- The criminals in government and banking know this, and act with impunity. DUH

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:23 | Link to Comment Element
Element's picture

 

 

What this is, is the US govt continually doing ultra exploitative dumb and oppressive things, that lose the hearts-and-minds of the population. Once lost it stays lost, so they then seek to avoid the obvious reality that they are the actual cause of this, and call it "radicalization", the same word they used to describe the process in violently oppressed or occupied foreign countries, like Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq and Afghanistan, etc., and occasionally to a lesser extent in objecting occupied allied states.

But now the same thing is occurring to the US govt - but within the USSA itself.

The violent occupier has nowhere left to bug-out to, so is cornering itself, thus threatens to lash out at and is actually arranging extra-judicial internal spying, kidnap, torture and murder. Its descending so fast now into an open extra-constitutional lawlessness. They can pump fictional market indexes all they want but the wheels are coming off anyway and the economic motor is already lunching its bottom-end.

ah ... continuity of govt ... what a noble endeavor.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 11:34 | Link to Comment q99x2
q99x2's picture

Well whoever heard of a gang that rewarded whistleblowers?

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 11:17 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

Great article GW.

I will say again, if one were trying to destroy the rule of law and the peoples faith in it, what would be done different, apart from what has transpired?

From the very beginning we saw it. An ironclad open & shut case of voter intimidation not prosecuted. Why? Purely political and racial motivation. So egregious that two DOJ attorney's stepped away from their positions (Adams & Coates) one, Coates a former ACLU attorney.

It has become so completely banana-republic-in-your-face-farcical over the last four years that Executive Privilege is now extended to stop an investigation into international gun smuggling (by top government officials) who are the very ones calling for domestic gun control laws be passed here...lol.

And the irony is completely lost on the lap dog media.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:30 | Link to Comment Element
Element's picture

 

 

And the irony is completely lost on the lap dog media.

No it isn't mate, they're owners are complicit and the editors and producers know it, it's just the old wheel-within-a-wheel system-of-systems orchestration.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:24 | Link to Comment chunga
chunga's picture

Totally fucking crazy.

I can hear the TV in the other room sometimes and I sit here and read Zero Hedge.

It's like an entirely seperate universe that reminds me of the TV watching scenes in "V for Vendetta".

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 06:54 | Link to Comment Clashfan
Clashfan's picture

Thanks for what you do, GW. I see few other ZH pieces, if any, that will tell truth at this level.

I should probably be a regular participant on your blog instead of here. This I am steadily learning.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 05:18 | Link to Comment e-recep
e-recep's picture

yawn, yesteryear's news.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 01:55 | Link to Comment One World Mafia
One World Mafia's picture

Rigged voting is killing us.

Sun, 02/03/2013 - 12:55 | Link to Comment cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

No real choice - a fake 'dual party' system that locks out any competition while both parties serve TPTB, THAT is what's killing us.

 

You can fiught all you want about God Gays and Guns (though it now looks like the latter has reched the 'no debate' stage).  You can fight over matters where government should have no real place but God forbid you talk about holding people accountable for real crimes.......     crickets.    

 

I suspect Obama was a construct - a created 'brand' to keep any real progressive in the Democratic Party from raising real issues.  Obama was ther to preach 'Hope and Change' - to absorbe any 'dissatisfaction' that had arisen in response to W's excesses.  Hillary was expected to get the Democratic nomination (and was willing enough to ply ball) but managed to blow it - leaving Obama with the nomination (and lots of unanswerable questions). I'd wonder a lot more about his maternal grandparent's links to the Company (and Mom's involvement with AID in Indonesia when the US was undermining the government there) than 'citizenship issues'.  Seems like every Pres after Carter is owned by the Company.  Clinton's scandal wasn't Whitewater but Mena AK - and the Bushes are neck deep.    Look at how any 'ouitsider' is marginalized - Perot, Ron Paul, Feingold and Kucinich.....   

 

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