Podcast Show #16

The Boiling Frogs Presents Russ Baker

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Russ Baker discusses his book, Family of Secrets, the first complete historic portrait of the Bush dynasty, and provides us with an overview of how this dynasty shaped our politics. He tells us about the shadow government in the US, the real players, elites, and power centers within each president’s government, and the limitation on what and how much an American president can accomplish - considering the influence of these powerful and independent fiefdoms characterized by entrenched agendas and constant intrigue. Mr. Baker defines and explains the concept of Forensic Journalism, and talks about his nonprofit news organization WhoWhatWhy, the need for nonpartisan and independent journalism today, the current media landscape in the US, and more.

RussBaker Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of Family of Secrets- - the Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. He has written for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Village Voice and Esquire. He has served as a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review, and is the founder of WhoWhatWhy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization.

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  1. Dear Sibel. I have not had a chance to listen to this podcast yet, but I wanted to let you know about an article that I am sure will be of interest to you.

    FBI Linguist Guilty of Leaking Classified Documents to Blog

    At first glance this appears to be good news. But actually it seems that the person that was found guilty was actually attempting to blow the whistle on Representative Jane Harman.

  2. this is a wonderful book. Great work. cannot urge enough to read : it pertains to every part of the discussion to date. extraordinarily important information stream lighting up power-grid and secret government/privatization/ownership of principles controlling the facade of democracy. Mr Baker recognizes ‘deception resides at the very center of our national psyche’, and power owns the deception.[911] And the deception gets wrapped up in the flags of freedom and noble purpose pushed back onto the population already bruised into submission , so that nobody knows what the words mean anymore.Nor justice. Just how to pull the trigger when told. the psyche becomes psychotic.,
    Happy Christmas.

  3. Mr. Baker mentions the possibility that many of our leaders were ‘shaped on the way up’ and refers to Obama in particular. Here’s an interesting article from Wayne Madsen on some possible incidents in that regard. Basically one thing that’s known for sure is that Obama worked for Business International Corporation for a short period and BIC is known to sometime operate as a CIA front. Here’s John Pilger confirming that part of the story at least.

    As for the alternative media and the deep state, here is site that purports to investigate the money behind many of the alternative media sites. I found it about a year ago and still haven’t had a chance to really look into it. So I can’t vouch for it’s worth but it looks very interesting.

    As for 911 and the 911 commission at the very least I think we know that there was some discussion of invading Afghanistan prior to 911 and of course that was related to the failure of the pipeline deal with the Taliban. Here are just two examples of possible connections between interests that might be involved in behind-closed-door deals and the 911 commission. Jamie Goerlich sits on the board of Schwumberger, one of the biggest companies in the world supply engineering support to oil companies. And, more relevantly perhaps, Richard Ben Veniste worked for Mayer Brown Law Firm and was representing one of the two companies that were battling over the pipeline deal. An Argentinean company named Bridas had made a deal with the Taliban for the pipeline but they were tied up in US courts for about 10 years battling Unocal represented by Mayer Brown. Here’s a timeline of some of the goings on from ’92 to ’99. Not sure why it stops there.

  4. Beautiful Sibel… tell Peter that 9/11 IS that “opening.” If it was given the fair shake it should be… great show.

  5. Heh… figures he talks about 9/11 at the end. 🙂 Great show.

  6. the Farmer book review is another deflection by NYtimes “broken winging” us away from substantive 911 questions. What was the Energy source allowing FREE FALL through structure designed and overbuilt specifically NOT to. What fueled the molten pile for 3 weeks? What reduced the concrete to DUST. The connections between NIST and the nanothermite industry. Why #7wtc not mentioned in the report. Why all eye witness audio/written testimony’s of numerous explosions completely ignored in commission/NIST histories…Where is Barry Jennings? What was the E4B doing there? things Farmer doesn’t contemplate and the NYtimes doesn’t ask…well, who sits on the board? Whats a man to do?.I wonder has anyone actually asked GHWbush where he was on 9/11? I bet he forgets. 10 to 1 his carlyle stock didn’t suffer too badly that day.
    But more power to you Russ Baker and boiling frogs.[mine is cooked]. Again. Can’t say it enough.This is a powerful and inspired work. real bedrock stuff. alongside Al Martins the Conspirators and Daniel Hopsickers ‘Barry and the Boys’ a tie up of the blackweb, and when you,Russ, turn your eagle eyes and amazing investigative writing skills directly onto 911, I wanna pre-order !

  7. Great interview. Think of the Warren Commission Report as the model for the 9/11 Report as a “circumscribed” investigation. It also really shows Nixon as an even more tragic figure than originally thought. That said, when I look at the Kennedy assassination, for which I remember where I was. You have E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis captured on photographs as the “Two Bums” from the Grassy Knoll. Even Hunt’s son, St. John, who helped dispose of evidence from the Watergate burglary, saw the resemblance in his Rolling Stone interview here:


    as well as reference to Lucien Renard of the Corsican Mob as the Grassy Knoll gunman. The same Corsican mob used to break up Communist unions in France in the late 40’s.

    Baker is also correct in trying to see the larger structure of the deeo state, which I prefer to refer to as “The Cult Of Intelligence”,


    But, as he says, cui bono? If you look at the Bush family’s involvement in the use of governmental and military power to secure corporate economic activity, remember the firm the Prescott Bush worked for was Brown Brothers Harriman, the banking firm tied to the EJ Harriman/Union Pacific Railroad fortune. Then consider the landmark Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad case that officially enshrined “Corporate Personhood” within that historical context. It reminds me of that old WASP joke that goes:

    What do White Anglo-Saxon Protestants do instead of having sex?

    Rule the world.

    GHW Bush’s role as DCI was also key in minimizing the Cooper/Church Intelligence hearings damage to the CIA at a critical time, allowing the “realists” like former London Station chief, Miles Copeland, to work with Casey and the Reagan team to engineer their October Surprise in 1980.

  8. sorry. I meant Lucien Sarti:


  9. Handbanana says:

    i agree 911 would be a story the world has been waiting to be investigated. The recycled media wont even touch this story and cower when ever its brought up? why? no one knows this either. the media seems to be covering up alot of there involment as well. Why other countrys that know of the 911 cover up have stayed silent as well. instead of calling the US to the carpet is beyond me. Now obama is telling the lie in the face of the arab nation as well as the world, why arent we called out on this?

  10. My thanks to the three of you for a great interview. Russ,I look forward to reading Family of Secrets. Along those same lines, I would mention the book Legacy of Secrecy, The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (which also delves into the assassinations of RFK and MLK). This huge book by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann is just loaded with detail. The opening to view of the vast interlaced network of the same people working in all the intellegence organizations and finance is eye opening to say the least. After reading this one can never look at what is going on in the country and world the same way again. Thanks again!!!

  11. We need to keep peeling back the layers of the onion of deception. 9/11 is one such layer. There is more there, which obviously is being hidden as if what we told is the last layer. Not only is this completely inconsistent with fact, science, physics, logic and the rules of evidence it begs credulity that an operation of such complexity and precision could have been achieved by the lackeys we were told pulled this off, while our multi layered trillion dollar defense bumbled and faltered.

    Let’s peel back the 9/11 layer.

  12. Metem,

    Thanks for the links to the Gatekeeper articles, chart and so forth. This material is very thought provoking and a must read for Ms Edmonds.

    My own sense about the reason perhaps that 911 is not getting in the mainstream media or the “left media” is that even without going into the details, or the damning evidence, simple logic about the event reveals that if it wasn’t to 19 hijackers with boxcutter from the caves of South Asia, it most likely would be a conspiracy which is such a profound and “evil” nature that it would rip the society apart.

    How would the revelation, for example, that this was planned by the CIA under secret black budgets directed by someone in the administration… or some group outside the government such as the Bilderberg group? I am not alleging this or even suggesting these groups are involved, but I can’t come up with ANY conspiracy which would not tear this society apart, undermining the legitimacy of the government. Because at the very least it would represent a massive cover up and lock out by the media.

    This amounts to complete failure of these trusted institutions – government and media to serve and protect the people. Covering up mass murder of that level is a hard pill to swallow. And so it becomes inconceivable and the media, left right and center, and representative won’t go there.

    And … look at how many institutions have now benefited from the GWOT. Why kill the goose which laid the golden egg?

    Or from the left’s perspective… we have other fish to fry… as the saying fgoes.

  13. @SanderO

    That may be part of the reason people don’t want to talk about 911 and the inconsistencies, but I’d be willing to bet that part of it is also the sheer number of details that have come out that might hint at something odd here or there and the simple fact that no matter how many details come out they all require massive speculation to bring them together under one explanation. It would take years of collaborative effort by cool-headed, impartial people to even come close to an explanation. But there’d never really be agreement. I mean look at the state of things regarding theories about the Kennedy assassination. In addition I have no doubt there’s a lot of COINTELPRO type stuff going on in the 911 movement. While I think it’s good that the issue continues to be discussed and investigated I’m not optimistic about it making a lot of difference in the long run in terms of public awareness and perceptions go. The only real benefit if any will be for those of us who are not still hypnotized the narrative fed by the mainstream media. For us the details of 911 occasionally throw light on the inner workings of the intelligence world and some of the connections there. For instance, I learned a huge amount about our connections to the ISI by researching 911.

    Anyway, like I said it’s good that it continues to be discussed but it’s also I think a good thing that a lot of people are moving on and trying to accomplish things in the here and now even if we’d still like to see more investigation of 911. Division of labor.

    Anyway, Off topic, I just came upon this:

    Israeli officials have been singing the praises of President Obama . . . for actions taken by his administration to bolster Israel’s qualitative military edge — an edge eroded, according to Israel, during the final year of the George W. Bush presidency.

    America’s commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge was codified directly into U.S. law via 2008 legislation backed by AIPAC. This legislation requires the president to report to Congress periodically on actions taken by the administration to ensure Israel’s advantage. A spokeswoman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee told the Forward that the White House provided its first report to Congress this past summer. The report was classified, and no information regarding its content has been released.

  14. On the topic of complex and discomforting news:

    Traditionally, we Americans will ignore the ill effects of our meddling outside of our borders.

    It is not that we will not understand or will not listen to bad news relating to our nation’s actions; it is that we cannot. To paraphrase (and probably plagiarize) others’ work, it is cognitive dissonance: we cannot “live the American dream” in the “greatest nation on earth” and at the same time acknowledge that our foreign policies are steeped in evil. We have to tune out else we go mad. The exception is when we are already angry with our masters.

    This is a great time to bring attention to our troublemaking abroad. We can accept the fact that Congress sells out to other nations’ interests when Congress colludes with the banking and insurance industries to the detriment of taxpayers. We find it easier to believe that we back Israel’s illegal occupation and oppression of Palestine while our own intelligence/law enforcement/national security behemoth manhandles our citizens. Wherever we see the US abusing others overseas, we see a similar injustice at home, and it is those parallels that allow us to pay attention.

    In an ironic twist, our own distress at home allows us to contemplate the truth that America’s policies earn the world’s enmity.

  15. Okay, but not in my neighborhood. Yes, Karl Rove is an apparatchik, but he also is a cancer. He does live in my neighborhood – sort of. Ever heard of the Redneck Riviera on Florida’s Forgotten Coast? Mosquitoes, alligators, Wood Storks, a scattered Muskogee Creek Indian home, and according to the University of Auburn – home of sightings of the extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Just south of the Choctawhatchee wilderness, homes are packed side by side linked by cypress boardwalks in a planned community. Benches are conveniently placed beside butterfly gardens. The coastal homes on the beachfront are ten thousand square foot ocean going works of concrete art. Karl lives in one of the smaller homes in the planned community. They start at a million and a half. 79 was a country road running down from Alabama. Now it is being four-laned. Yep, Don Siegelman was trying to slow progress. Good ole boys got Karl to work with them. Why they even got them a giant new international airport being built – cancer exhaust – breathe deep wild critters. You are in the overflight. Not to miss an important point, since this blog was discussing why not bring Rove to justice: well the other side of the coin lives nearby in the same community – James Carville. Go figure. When Jeb Bush’s real estate deals in South Florida crash causing the next economic Depression, why them boys got them some fine homes to live in.

  16. I just want to thank Mr. Baker (as well as BoilingFrogs for featuring him) most emphatically for this true journalism piece. If we had a million Russ Bakers doing this kind of work and the ability to reach the majority of folks this country would change overnight. I am sure of it.

    May you write many more sir.

  17. thank you so much for this very educational site and forum. i am trying to help spread the word. see following at truthout blog: Mon, 12/21/2009 – 02:43 — lynn in lubec (not verified)
    re: linda from deerfield; and what does your friend SAY (the gist of it) in these belligerant moments? i find myself constantly checking my own outbursts (oftentimes online to family, which doesn’t make for smooth relations, even going so far as to remove certain loved ones from my email lists so as not to be tempted to harangue them. i’ve been on the wagon for awhile but just fell off again while sending my dad a a group forward mentioning my “new, favorite website, sibel edmond’s boiling frogs”, home of the irate minority (a sam adams expression). she is a very patriotic, former fbi whistleblower, called by the aclu “the most gagged person in america. she and co-host peter b. collins each week have a guest interview with some very interesting person who is seldom given a chance to speak out in a mainstream forum. (often the discussion turns to WHY!!!) i urge you all to check out the site and find yourselves listening each friday for their new guest-often fellow whistleblowers, authors, former intelligence community insiders. and the blog comments are always informed, intelligent and riveting, like much of this one. thanks to all. i’ve saved many of the comments….(and, no, i don’t work for the nsa!!!!) in my subject line i dubbed this “excellent stuff” to wrap presents by? my dad responded that if he followed my advice, the results would not be very pretty! he cannot decide whether my”anti-establishment” forwards or those of his conservative friends who send him rush limbaugh stuff(whom he calls “the most divisive man in america”) are more offensive. so much for trying to speak to those not already “in the choir.” i’m sure some of them think i, too, believe i have a corner on the truth and think they are misinformed/duped and naive. in many respects they are right to think that. i believe most americans who never seek alternative news to have their heads in the sand, either willfully or naively. in truth, though, why should we “pick on” the stalwart, patriotic, trusting 84 year old veterans? (even though, at patriotsquestion911.org, scores of the highly-credentialled questioners of the official 911 story are retired, fairly elderly looking folks. the point is, probably, they could not afford to speak out with impunity until they were no longer beholden to the govt or big business (be it military, industrial, or media). it’s “our.my” own generation–cheney, bush, other neo-cons, largely to blame….well…i guess the cia’s been around since truman, so we don’t have to take ALL the blame. but our poor kids and grandkids are going to have to live under this oiligarchy run by wall street, or worse, if we don’t discover amongst us the new tom paines and paul reveres who can reteach us the “good old- fashioned constitutional values for which our forefathers fought and died. seems as though the media OUGHT to provide that forum and keep a check on the powerful, NOT be their voice. i , too, need help in dealing with this problem of how to share this info, “storming the bastille of words “as australian documentarian jon pilger says is necessary. telling you and most of my email list about about the bravest woman in america, sibel edmonds, is my major attempt today. lynn in lubec

  18. Konstantin says:

    My comment on the ‘Updates & Weekly Round Up for December 19’ address this post as much as the other


  19. Sibel and Peter’s interview with Russ was very interesting hit on several point that interested me greatly:

    1. Their mutual characterization of the media, and even some alternative/web media in not addressing the heart of the issue behind a wide variety of ‘symptom problems’ rings very true.

    The types of what I call ‘astro-web faux alt-media’ are very notable now on the web — notably in Huffington, and many of its lesser copycats, who clutter the bandwidth of internet with merely what appears as an ‘edgier version of MSM’ — but is the same distraction and deception repackaged.

    2. The issue of ‘complexity’ which they all mentioned can be cleared up and peoples’ attention focused if the single cause is addressed rather than hundreds of needlessly complex ‘symptom issues’ like; health care, civil justice, war in Iraq, war in Afpak, war in yemen, war coming to Iran, Global Warming, Wall Street corruption, deficits, spying, tortureeconomic inequality, police state, big pharma, big insurance, sub-prime, civil rights, hedge funds, private equity pirates, dirty funding for elections, gun control, foreign policy, national security state, and saving the whales.

    All of these noisy symptoms are caused by the same singular, seminal tumor — EMPIRE. Focusing of Empire makes things far less complex and all average people can understand the single problem of Empire which causes all these disjointed, distractive, and needlessly complex delaying symptoms.

    Plus, all our individual and group solidarity can be focused against the cancerous tumor that cases all these symptoms rather than being divided and conquered by a hundred different complex symptoms of the same cancer.

    3. All three voices agreed that there is fear or intimidation in the media and political circles in addressing issues that would confront the the ‘power structure’ which Russ alludes to — whether called the ‘shadow government’, the MIC, power-elite, etc.

    There is very little discussion, debate and focus today on the seminal cause, Empire, and tons of wasted effort on all the symptoms that it causes.

    Simply searching the content of articles on supposedly alternative web sites (and the comments on blogs) quickly reveals that the subject (and word) ‘Empire’ rarely occurs. In fact, it is the most taboo term that can be used, all traditional media (even supposedly liberal NYT) avoids discussion of Empire like the plague, and even supposedly progressive alt-web media steers away from such discussion if a poster brings it up (which is seldom).

    But EMPIRE is the singular, signal, and seminal key to all our problems — and, in fact, I was a bit surprised and disappointed that between them, Russ, Peter and Sibel did not happen to bring up the point of Empire either.

    4. IN the recent past nothing could be said, or even whispered, about this Empire because it guilefully controls our country by hiding behind the façade of its two-party ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy, and saying anything of that sort would surely disabuse us of our pride in our supposed ‘American exceptionalism’, not to mention questioning the motives of the former nation-state that we still call America.

    So, neoliberal defenders, apologists, or propagandists can not maintain political correctness by going around and debating the uncomfortable reality that the American people sometimes experience ‘blowback’ from the periphery of an Empire which jabs the ‘tip of its spear’ in the faces of those ‘others’, and does so in our name, despite the fact that we do not know its name as Empire.

    Neocons also have to avoid the discussion of anything to do with Empire because — while they are masters of ‘fear’ propaganda — they are fearful themselves that Americans might be less fearful of those ‘others’ if they became aware of a greater fear right here in River City. In fact, good, old fashioned, honest, poor/working/middle-class Americans might predictably become un-hinged (or worse) if they even suspected that they were living in the belly of a well disguised Empire rather than the warm heart of their democratic Republic.

    Neither the neolibs nor neocons, are going to open the Pandora’s Box of discussing or debating whether America, our country, has morphed into Empire.

    Fortunately, in an increasing number of places that polite people don’t talk about, and which the media never reports, editorializes, nor prints op-eds about, there are people, serious people; political-economists, social philosophers, ex-journalists, humanists, and even religious people who do discuss and debate what’s going on in America. It’s just that these serious discussions are beyond the media — either the traditional print media or the supposedly alternative media.

    This very open and candid public discourse and debate is no longer limited to reading supposedly radical leftists like Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, Gabriel Kolko, etc, nor supposedly radical right libertarians like Justin Rainmondo, Jacob Hornberger, Ron Paul, and Paul Craig Roberts.

    If there were only three books to be read and absorbed to get real insight, if not fair and balancediness, on the state of our former democratic nation-state I would recommend theologian and former NYT journalist Christopher Hedges’ “Empire of Illusion”, former West Point Army officer and BU professor of international relations Andrew Bacevich’s “The Limits of Power”, and the late CIA agent, Yale chaplain, and ‘Skull and Bones’ fellow member to both Bush presidents Rev. William Sloan Coffin’s “Credo”.

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine

  20. Another great interview choice. I would have hoped though that you guys would have read more of Baker’s book on the Bushes; it would have made for some really interesting connections with your own experiences, and above all, familiarizing yourselves with Baker’s investigations into the deeper workings of Watergate would have made for some really spicy questions for the Ellsberg interview.

  21. Oooops, my last post should be called Stupidgate. I mixed up Ellsberg with John Dean, who worked for Nixon during the Watergate scandal and wrote a book called “Worse than Watergate” about our last president. He’s come across as a whistleblower of sorts in the traditional accounts of the Watergate scandal, but Baker’s investigation and insights question his role. It’s fascinating stuff, because our heroes at the Washington Post Woodward and Bernstein are looked at in a little more detail too, which makes the story a whole lot more interesting. If you guys interviewed John Dean, this would be THE book to read to prepare for it.

  22. Castillonis says:

    Many people will probably not finish Russ Baker’s fantastic book because it is so long and dense. This book has a huge payoff in your ability to better understand major events in our recent history. Russ repeatedly utilizes a writing pattern to provide all of the objective information about relationships between people, motives, etc that support an argument. It can take some time to arrive at the argument and you may become frustrated with your ability to remember all of the names. It would be beneficial to provide diagrams / graphs that show these relationships.
    If you do happen to read the entire section on Nixon and Watergate, you will find that John Dean is the ambitious person who instigates the breakin, suggests a payoff to Hunt et Al, pushes Haldeman and Nixon into entrapment (“smoking gun” which is taken out of context). Dean’s quick rise to this position as well as others such as Woodward are very suspicious. You really need to read this part of the book to understand as I cannot explain this in a few words. Dean ends up being the gatekeeper and has sued authors two times. Again, it takes some discipline to read Russ’ long and dense book, but it will completely transform the way you think of recent events. A very high return on your time and effort. Thanks Russ for your arduous efforts, courage and integrity, you have created a truly seminal work that should be read by all.

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