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Digging into the coercion and propaganda of J. Edgar Hoover | City Pulse

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Digging into the coercion and propaganda of J. Edgar Hoover

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He was not a handsome man like some of the gangsters he pursued. He looked more like a snarling bulldog. We’re not sure what he looked like when he dressed in women's clothes, but we do know he had a way with words. As the nation’s top “Gangbuster,” a potent protector of the American way of life and the impenetrable firewall between the Red Menace, Nazis and democracy, J. Edgar Hoover served 42 years as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

During those years he wielded sweeping — and sometimes illegal — police powers, while leading a public relations team that was second to none. Above all he knew words mattered, especially to polish his image, which in the end may have been more important than fighting crime.

Marshall University associate professor Stephen M. Underhill covers that aspect of Hoover’s career in his new book “The Manufacture of Consent: J. Edgar Hoover and the Rhetorical Rise of the FBI.” The book, published by the Michigan State University Press, is part of its rhetoric and writing series.

Underhill readily admits his book is meant for the academic world, but it also will be enlightening to Hoover followers and to those who, during the anti-war, red scare and civil rights movements, thought they were under surveillance.

Hoover and his agency not only developed surveillance files on criminals but also his friends and enemies, and he often used the content of those files to coerce them to do his bidding. Numerous presidents used Hoover’s unique talents to investigate their enemies and build incriminating evidence on them about something unsavory they did, such as drug use, homosexuality or infidelity.

Underhill first became interested in the FBI and Hoover because his aunt was blacklisted during the Red Scare of the ’50s. “She had visited Russia and had enrolled in Russian language classes and she was blacklisted. She was a nurse and was unable to find a job until 1970,” he said.

Underhill said that after reviewing her FBI file, he discovered the Bureau had not seen her as a risk. “She was blacklisted because she pinged,” he said.

Fast-forward a few years, and Underhill is working at the National Archives as a student assistant making $15 an hour as the lead reference person for processing records relating to the FBI.

In 1994, a truckload of declassified FBI records relating to its propaganda activities arrived at the Archives. It was at a time he was looking around for a dissertation topic.

“After understanding what was in these records, I knew what I was going to do. I have to write about this but I am going to take my time,” he said. Following the rules in place at the time, he began using Freedom of Information Act requests to access the files. His inside position, however, did give him a leg up.

“There was a Wal-Mart-sized wall of files in boxes,” he said. Because he knew what was in the boxes he could make more specific requests. Requesting records through FOIA at the federal level can be very wonky because you have to know what’s there before you can ask for it, Underhill said.

Not surprisingly, before he left the Archives he discovered the FBI had purposely slowed down the time to process his requests. The Archives now prohibits requests from student workers.

Underhill shows how carefully Hoover and his team of public relations practitioners chose his words for public consumption,  how he used and abused media along and spread popular myths.

For example, he used words and metaphors to create images of wrong doers, aligning them with vermin, contagion and dope.

He also borrowed from the masculinity espoused by the old frontier in defending Americanism. In a speech he once said, “the vital test of Americanism is the revival of the pioneer spirit of our ancestors.”

The venomous speech he used with African-American and foreign-born was especially derogatory.

While doing this, Underhill said Hoover masked his sexuality with his own portrayal of masculinity and his choice of words. Who could doubt his courage and his virility if they listened to his speeches?

He also was a master showman perhaps influenced by one of his staff, who was once a clown and a PR person for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Tourists visiting the FBI headquarters in the ’50s were given a demonstration of a blazing 50 caliber Tommy gun and heard insider stories about gangsters, bootleggers, Nazis and commie spies the FBI had brought down.

Underhill said, “He was a genius, but an evil genius.”

The author now ponders what would the course of history be if we didn’t have Hoover. He asks, “Would there have been a Cold War?”

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Guest view: William Barr is destroying the DOJ - Opinion - Record-Courier

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In recent days, President Donald Trump has aimed his ire at the nation’s legal system. He has repeatedly attacked the forewoman of a jury that rendered a verdict against a longtime associate (Roger Stone); railed at a Democratic critic (House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff), goading his surrogates into demanding a federal investigation into Schiff; and urged two liberal Supreme Court justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor) to recuse themselves from cases involving him and his administration.

And, oh yes, in the midst of all this, Trump anointed himself the nation’s “chief law enforcement officer,” a title that the Constitution does not confer on him and which undermines the important tenet that law enforcement be insulated from politics.

And what has the person generally called the chief law enforcement officer — Attorney General William Barr — done about this? Well, a couple of weeks ago, Barr called on Trump to stop tweeting about pending cases. But since then, as Trump responded to this mild rebuke by defiantly ramping up his attacks, Barr has been mum.

When Barr was nominated, we were encouraged that he would add gravitas and stability to one of the most important posts in government. He had served in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and seemed far better qualified than Matthew Whitaker, who was occupying the job on an interim basis after Jeff Sessions was pushed out.

At Barr’s Senate confirmation hearing, he pledged “to provide the leadership necessary to protect the independence of this department.”

Barr has not lived up to that promise. In some respects, he has been more destructive than his predecessors: His pedigree has given him cover as he shreds the rule of law and promotes overly expansive views about executive power.

During his year on the job, the attorney general:

— Put a pro-Trump spin on the Mueller report, rushing to clear the president of attempting to obstruct justice despite substantial evidence to the contrary.

— Oversaw a department that took a nothing-to-see-here attitude toward a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s effort to shake down Ukraine’s government for dirt on a political rival.

— Reversed the decision of career prosecutors who were seeking a harsh sentence for Stone, a Trump confidante convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. Four prosecutors quit the case, and one left the Justice Department altogether.

— Reopened the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, undermining the work of career prosecutors. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017 but later — at a time when Trump was pressing the Justice Department to be nice to his friends and harsh on his foes — asked to withdraw his plea.

— Until very recently continued the highly problematic pursuit of former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who raised alarm bells about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Before Barr, there had been some highly suspect actions taken by Justice, including a meritless lawsuit brought against the merger of AT&T and Time Warner that appeared to be based on Trump’s antipathy toward Time Warner’s CNN unit.

But the political interference has ramped up under Barr’s tenure. His actions have shocked former Justice employees (more than 2,600 of whom signed a letter calling on Barr to resign after his intervention in the Stone case) and prompted alarm among federal judges.

Barr said this month that Trump’s tweets and other comments are making it impossible for him to do his job. But does the attorney general see that job as doing impartial justice or the president’s bidding? Barr’s effort to straddle that line is growing increasingly untenable.

— USA TODAY

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The FBI nabs four extremists for threatening journalists in Texas and other states

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In sifting signs of the times, one came through the other day like an alarm bell, the sort of horror that tells us just how dangerous things are becoming and how all people committed to a civil and just society must push back against the creeping darkness.

FBI agents arrested four suspects from four different states as part of a conspiracy “to threaten and intimidate journalists and activists,” according to the Justice Department.

The four targeted Jewish journalists and journalists of color, authorities allege. The threatening material they sent these journalists included Nazi symbols, images of Molotov cocktails and threats.

We live in a time when information, even the most basic facts, are in constant question. False information spreads like wildfire while the truth struggles to catch up.

Journalists who are tasked with sorting fact from fiction have too often become the first target of those who would obscure and even seek to destroy truth in the name of furthering their own will to power.

In this charged and dangerous environment, amplified in the poisonous echo chamber of social media, can anyone be surprised that extremists like those arrested this week single out journalists for attack and worse yet mix and mingle racism and anti-Semitism with their attack on the freedoms of press and speech?

In such a time, it is particularly dangerous to see the working press so persistently singled out for ridicule and diminishment.

These arrests are another opportunity for President Donald Trump to put aside his attacks on the free press and to support the work of journalists — even those whose reporting he disagrees with.

It is one thing to disagree. But planting the label fake news on basic reporting — something the president did 273 times last year — and standing by while supporters at rallies harangue and curse members of the press is not acceptable.

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It’s important to note that it is the Justice Department, under Trump, that is bringing the case against these alleged extremists — Kaleb Cole of Montgomery in Southeast Texas; Cameron Brandon Shea of Redmond, Wash.; Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe of Spring Hill, Fla.; and Johnny Roman Garza of Queen Creek, Ariz.

Everyone should be grateful for that.

But more should be done. Ideas shouldn’t be shouted down on campus just because they offer an opposing view. Free speech shouldn’t be squelched because it doesn’t fit an approved narrative. And leaders — starting with the president — should denounce efforts to undermine, intimidate and harm the press.

The founders understood just how critical a free and robust press is to the function of a democracy. But they didn’t love it, either.

George Washington, of all people, was the subject of brutal press coverage — much of it unfair and false in a way that wouldn’t stand up to modern standards of responsible news organizations. Even the great pamphleteer, Thomas Paine, turned on Washington in bitter response to Washington’s decision not to help free Paine from a French prison.

“Monopolies of every kind marked your administration almost in the moment of its commencement. The lands obtained by the revolution were lavished upon partisans; the interests of the disbanded soldier was sold to the speculator; injustice was acted under the pretence of faith; and the chief of the army became the patron of the fraud," Paine wrote.

Washington endured it all, knowing that a free Republic must have a free press.

Extremists would like to silence the American conversation. They would prefer a darkness where the only sounds were their own messages of hate and division and even violence.

Arresting and prosecuting people who would use violence to dominate our debates is essential to ensure the rule of law and the right to free expression. It’s the right step for the Justice Department to take.

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If it was accompanied by support from the bully pulpit, it would be all the more effective.

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Поздравление военнослужащим и ветеранам Сил специальных операций • Президент России

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Поздравление военнослужащим и ветеранам Сил специальных операций

Владимир Путин поздравил военнослужащих и ветеранов Сил специальных операций с профессиональным праздником.

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8:48 PM 2/27/2020 - Stolen hearse with a casket and woman's body inside is found! Mazel Tov! My humble attempt at interpretation: the alliance between the Israeli and the Russian Intelligence Services.

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Post Link: | <a href="https://fbinewsreview.blogspot.com/2020/02/848-pm-2272020-stolen-hearse-with.html" rel="nofollow">https://fbinewsreview.blogspot.com/2020/02/848-pm-2272020-stolen-hearse-with.html</a> | 
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This does look like Magendovid - the Hebrew Star of David with the shrewd and predatory looking Russian Bear inside, and the circled R sign on a side: "Registered", the Trademark. 

I think, that this picture might be the point of the message and the explanation, in my humble attempt at interpretation: the alliance between the Israeli and the Russian Intelligence Services, who are the inheritors, the descendants, the Necrophiliac Lovers, and the abductors - hijackers of the dead woman - the German Abwehr

Mazel Tov! Finally, you've got yourzelev-e-z ar-rezted-d!!!

M.N. | 8:48 PM 2/27/2020
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» mikenov on Twitter: stolen hearse with a casket and body inside - Google Search google.com/search?q=stole…
27/02/20 20:09 from TWEETS BY MIKENOV from mikenova (1 sites)
stolen hearse with a casket and body inside - Google Search google.com/search?q=stole… Posted by mikenov on Friday, February 28th, 2020 1:09am mikenov on Twitter 
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  1. Does he look like a very determined Russian (Jewish-Israeli) Necrophiliac?!
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SUV carrying corpse in casket stolen from East Pasadena church

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