Earl Wilson, 12 years old when he died in 1944, was buried in a cemetery on school grounds marked by random crosses.
In August 2013, in an article titled, "It Was Kind of Like Slavery," Mother Jones recounted the experiences of five former students who had returned to the notorious Florida School for Boys (a.k.a. Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys) to draw attention to the horrors they'd encountered on "the black side" of the once-segregated campus.
State officials shuttered the school in 2011 after more than 100 years of operation, and repeated, sustained allegations of abuse, sexual assault, and even murder. Before Dozier closed, a US Department of Justice investigation found ongoing "systemic, egregious, and dangerous practices" there.
Wilson, who was 12 when he died in 1944, is the first black child identified to date. The school was bad for most boys, but the situation was certainly worse for the black students, who were forced to perform grunt labor, for example, while the white kids were allowed to learn a vocation. According to USF, Wilson was one of nine students housed in a "small confinement cottage" known as the "sweat box." Several days after the boys were moved into the cottage, Wilson was allegedly killed by four of his fellow students.
In 2007, Jeffrey Scudder, a veteran information technology specialist at the Central Intelligence Agency, came across the archives of the agency's in-house magazine, Studies in Intelligence. The catch: They were classified. So Scudder filed a Freedom of Information Act request. And then things got messy. "I submitted a FOIA and it basically destroyed my entire career," he told the Washington Post.
As a profile of Scudder in the Post explains:
He was confronted by supervisors and accused of mishandling classified information while assembling his FOIA request. His house was raided by the FBI and his family's computers seized. Stripped of his job and his security clearance, Scudder said he agreed to retire last year after being told that if he refused, he risked losing much of his pension.
Now, in response to a lawsuit filed by Scudder, the CIA has declassified and released some of the hundreds of journal articles he's requested. Nearly 250 of them have been posted on the CIA's website. Published over four decades, they offer a fascinating peek at the history of US intelligence as well as the corporate culture of "the Company."
Here are 10 that grabbed our attention:
1."How We Are Perceived": "It came as a shock to learn that there seem still to be large numbers of well read and presumably intelligent US citizens who perceive that we are assassins, blackmailers, exploiters of sex and illicit drugs as well as the creators of our own foreign policy separate and distinct from that of the Department of State," a clandestine service member wrote in this essay from the winter of 1986. "How can it be that perceptions differ so radically from reality?"
Answer: Leaks to the press "together with some of our acknowledged missteps" had fed a trail of Soviet propaganda, which misinformed the American public. Even the State Department and military intelligence harbored "misperceptions" about the work of the CIA, the author continued, listing a half-page of apparent myths—which has not yet been declassified. "We have the option of keeping mum and allowing the misperceptions to grow, or of tackling them head-on. We have only ourselves to blame if we do nothing to set the record straight."
The president asked me who was responsible for the attacks. I said "Sir, I haven't seen any intelligence that would point to responsibility, so what I'm going to say is simply my personal view." The president told me he understood. I said two terrorist states were capable of conducting such a complex operation [REDACTED] I pointed out [REDACTED]; that neither had much to gain and both had plenty to lose from attacking the United States. Rather, I said the culprit was almost certainly a nonstate actor, adding that I had no doubt that the trail would lead to the doorstep of Bin Laden and al-Qa'ida.
3. "Leo Theremin—CIA Nemesis": Best known as the inventor of the eponymous instrument used to make UFO noises in B-movies, inventor Leo Theremin was also a Soviet spy. The "Russian Thomas Edison" survived the gulag to become a KGB researcher whose "very existence was a state secret." His biggest coup: Placing an ingenious bug inside a wooden replica of the Great Seal of the United States that was given to the American ambassador in Moscow in 1945. The hidden microphone was not found until 1960.
Not available on newstands: The CIA's Studies in Intelligence CIA
Everything's secret. I mean, I got an e-mail saying, "Merry Christmas." It carried a Top Secret NSA classification marking. The easy option is to classify everything. This is an Agency that for most of its existence was well served by not having a public image. When the nation felt its existence was threatened, it was willing to cut agencies like NSA quite a bit of slack. But as that threat perception decreases, there is a natural tendency to say, "Now, tell me again what those guys do?" And, therefore, the absence of a public image seems to be less useful today than it was 25 years ago. I don't think we can survive without a public image.
Asked about cooperation between intelligence agencies, Hayden's answer foreshadowed the intelligence failures behind 9/11 and the coming hunt for Osama bin Laden:
Without getting too much into some really sensitive stuff, let's think about conducting operations against a major international terrorist leader…Think about two agencies, for illustrative purposes, 35 miles apart, trying to marry the data to get the son of a gun. And each of them saying, "I'll give you my finished reporting, but not my tickets." You cannot tell me that's the correct approach in the first year of the 21st century. We're like two foreign potentates, negotiating a transfer of prisoners, and we're both wrapping ourselves around our own tradecraft.
5. "Interview with Erna Flegel": In 1981, future CIA chief Richard Helms spoke with a nurse who was stationed in Adolf Hitler's Berlin bunker as Nazi Germany collapsed in 1945. About her former employer, whom she was a "fanatical admirer," Flegel gushed, "When Hitler was in the room, he filled it entirely with his personality—you saw only him, aside from him nothing else existed. The fascinating thing about him was his eyes; up to the end, it was impossible to turn away from his eyes."
A redacted passage in an article about assassination planning in Guatemala. CIA
6."CIA and the Guatemala Assassination Proposals, 1952-1954": As this heavily-redacted article explains, later reviews of CIA activities in Guatemala in the 1950s turned up documents that had not been disclosed during earlier investigations into CIA assassination plots. What was in those rediscovered files? For example, while it was plotting the overthrow of "Communist" Jacobo Arbenz:
Discussions of assassination reached a high level within the Agency. Among those involved were [REDACTED] was present at least one meeting where the subject of assassination came up. DCI Allen Dulles and his special assistant, Richard Bissell, probably were also aware in general terms that assassination was under discussion. Beyond planning, some actual preparations were made. Some assassins were selected, training began, and tentative "hit lists" were drawn up.
"Yet," the article asserted, "no covert action plan involving assassinations of Guatemalans was ever approved or implemented."
7."Interrogation of an Alleged CIA Agent": This 1983 paper opens with the transcript of the questioning of a suspected American operative by a particularly indefatigable interrogator known as A.I.:
A.l.: Do you work for the American Central Intelligence Agency, Joe? Hardesty: Hell, no. A.l.: Why do you persist in lying to me? Hardesty: I am not lying. You have no right to treat me like this. A.l.: Of course not. Hardesty: Since you agree with me, may I go? A.l.: So you are not lying ... interesting. Hardesty: May I go now? A.l.: Who are your superiors at the CIA? Hardesty: I don't know what you are talking about. A.l.: You had better think about that statement before I make a record of it. Hardesty: Go to hell. A.l.: Why so hostile?
A.I. is short for Artificial Intelligence. The exchange actually took place between a human and a computer, indicating the agency's early interest in the kind of sophisticated computer learning that's since become increasingly commonplace.
8. "Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story [REDACTED]": This undated release, apparently from the late '90s, takes on the PR disaster spawned by San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb, who had accused the CIA of importing drugs into the United States in the '80s. Webb's claims were "alarming," and the agency was particularly stung by the allegation that it had worked to destroy the black community with illegal drugs. Fortunately, the Studies in Intelligence article explains, "a ground base of already productive relations with journalists" helped "prevent this story from becoming an unmitigated disaster." Hostile reporters attacked Webb's work and he eventually became a persona non grata in the newspaper world.
Ultimately, claims the article, part of the problem with the response to Webb's stories was a "societal shortcoming": "The CIA-drug story says a lot more about American society…that [sic] it does about either CIA or the media. We live in somewhat coarse and emotional times—when large numbers of Americans do not adhere to the same standards of logic, evidence, or even civil discourse as those practiced by members of the CIA community." In 1998, the agency partly vindicated Webb's reporting by admitting that it had had business relationships with major drug dealers. Jeremy Renner stars as the late Webb in a new movie, Kill the Messenger.
9."The Evolution of US Government Restrictions on Using and Exporting Encryption Technologies": During the Clinton administration, the government was powerless to stop the development of open-source encryption tools. This Studies in Intelligence article details the many failed official attempts to control the development and proliferation of encryption tools. In the face of opposition from researchers, the business community, and its own experts, the government eventually eased restrictions on the technology. But, as the author noted, spooks yearned for the golden age of electronic eavesdropping: "The US Government, and NSA in particular, would like to return to the Cold War era of complete government control over strong cryptography and skillful manipulation of the research and corporate communities."
10. Par-Faits (And Other Faits): In 1984, a Mr. [REDACTED] compiled quotations from Performance Appraisal Reports (PARs) over the years along with introductory quips. The subjects and supervisors quoted are also, mercifully, anonymous.
Almost flawless—so to speak: "His English is flawless, if not close to it." The clairvoyant case officer: " ... His operational reporting is often on time, often ahead of time." His eyes are clear but his prose is measured and smoke-watered: "With the perspective of twenty months of overview of his long march, rather than with the smoke-watered eyes of those who peer too closely into his campfire, I conclude that his pace has been measured." The hyperactive dog of a case officer: "…He is a man of constant motion—some of it unnecessary…he bloodhounds even the longest odds and opportunities." Although some may wonder: "All said and done, Mr. S. is human."
When it comes to putting your money where your mouth is, few organizations can match the sheer weight of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Longtime education benefactors, the couple has poured more than $200 million into the Common Core cause over the last several years. Below is the last few years' worth of individual grants.
Dan Page of the St. Louis County Police Department and CNN anchor Don Lemon moments before Page pushed Lemon and others during protests in Ferguson.
More controversial audio has surfaced from Dan Page, the St. Louis County Police officer who pushed CNN's Don Lemon in Ferguson on August 18 and was put on administrative leave after video surfaced of him talking about being "a killer," calling President Obama "undocumented," and disparaging Muslims.
The additional audio, found and highlighted on August 23 by left-wing advocacy and research group Political Research Associates, goes deeper into his beliefs that the United States is in danger of being folded into a one-world government after a series of orchestrated events, and that "99.9 percent" of sexual assault in the military is "bogus." The audio comes from interviews Page did in July with Rick Wiles on the TruNews radio show, an end-times and right-wing conspiracy-theory forum, and in May with the John Moore Radio Show.
On the Department of Homeland Security's definition of a terrorist:
If you follow DHS's, that's Department of Homeland Security, definition of a terrorist, and now this is their definition, this not mine. It is a Caucasian male 18-65, one who supports the second amendment, one who believes in the second coming of Jesus Christ, one that is against illegal immigration and is against homosexuality and has a definition of traditional marriage. That is their definition of a terrorist.
On a planned chain of events leading to a military takeover of the United States:
I've heard talk from very, very high sources that there is a timeline starting in 2015…you have to be very watchful of created, orchestrated events within the United States…so there's going action taken, I suspect within the continental United States and abroad, that's going to create such havoc worldwide that people are going to demand some form of protection from the federal government. That's what I suspect is coming. And this thing on the border right now with the illegals I think might be part of that.
On sexual assault in the military:
You've got Sen. Claire McCaskill right now beating the podium about assaults in the military and probably 99.9 percent of these things are bogus. One only need to look at a woman in a way that she feels uncomfortable and that's considered sexual assault in the military.
Rachel Tabachnick, the PRA fellow who pointed out this radio interview, notes that Page says the crisis with unaccompanied children and the wider scenario includes nuclear suitcase bombs, a planned North American Union, and, of course, further "demonization of Caucasian Christians."
"Page expresses his belief that the flood of immigrant children is a clandestine operation with the purpose of programming American citizens for the eventual rounding up and imprisonment of their own children," Tabachnick wrote.
Listen to the full audio from TruNews here:
Listen to the full audio from the John Moore Radio Show here:
On Tuesday, the City of Ferguson announced what seemed like a no-brainer: It would look into getting dashboard-mounted and wearable cameras for its police officers. The pledge—part of a litany of promises aimed to help the community "feel more connected to and demonstrate the transparency of city departments"—is really only a "commitment to raise funds." It's unclear what that means, exactly. Mayor James Knowles didn't respond to questions asking for specifics.
The concept seems simple enough, though. A petition asking for a "Mike Brown Law" that would require all state, county, and local police to wear cameras has gotten more than 123,000 signatures, and lotsofstories have come out in recent days discussing cameras as a solution to the mysteries of cases such Brown's recent killing by a Ferguson cop. Last August, a federal judge called for the NYPD to wear such cameras when she ruled that the department's stop-and-frisk policy violated people's constitutional rights.
But putting aside the fact that footage from a dashboard or chest-worn camera may not have negated what we're seeing in Ferguson—where racial tension has been brewing for years, the result of a variety of factors—deploying such cameras isn't necessarily the straightforward fix some observers make it out to be.
"Independent research on body-worn camera technology is urgently needed," wrote Michael White, a professor at Arizona State University and the author of a Justice Department-commissioned report on body-worn technology studies published earlier this year. "Most of the claims made by advocates and critics of the technology remain untested."
"I think body cameras are definitely a net good," says David Harris, a law professor and police behavior expert at the University of Pittsburgh. "They are one of the most prominent technologies to come along in a long time in terms of accountability, evidence gathering, [and] in terms of, frankly, changing behavior on either side of the camera. Nothing is a silver bullet, but this has the potential to be a substantial advance."
Harris, who consults for law enforcement agencies on the side, points to a study by police in Rialto, California. After introducing body-worn video cameras in February 2012, that department reported an 88 percent reduction over the previous year in complaints against officers—and the use of force by its officers fell by nearly 60 percent. A separate British study of one small police department looked at data collected in 2005 and 2006 and found a 14 percent drop in citizen complaints in the six months after cameras were introduced compared to same six-month period of the previous year.
White's paper concludes, however, that the data on why such drops occur is far from conclusive. In addition, police forces looking to adopt the technology must wade through a maze of legal, ethical, and resource issues before deploying it widely. For instance, a dozen states require two-party consent for recording oral communications. In those places, police would likely need a legislative exemption or other workaround to use the devices.
In specific cases, the cameras can provide valuable insights, Harris notes. Consider this video of a homeless man killed by Albuquerque police in March. (The officers were never charged.)
"In situations like that, the evidence is really, really strong," Harris says. "It won't do that in every case, and one camera doesn't necessarily give you an unbiased picture. But boy, it tells us a lot of things we don't know when cameras aren't there." It's worth noting that the release of the Albuquerque video may be the exception rather than the rule: Police can claim that such videos are not part of the public record (as they have in San Diego), or, due to the nature of the footage, never release them publicly.
The technology, moreover, isn't worth much if a police officer fails to use it. That's what happened on August 11, two days after Michael Brown was shot. A New Orleans cop shot another unarmed black man while trying to take him into custody. Armand Bennet, 26, had a bullet graze his forehead deep enough that it landed him in intensive care for four days and required staples to treat, according to his attorney, Nandi Campbell.
The officer, Lisa Lewis, had apparently shut off her camera prior to the encounter. Lewis' attorney says it was because her shift was about to end. "Her shift ended at 2 [a.m.] and this happened at 1:15," counters Campbell, who adds that the conflicting accounts of the shooting—Bennet and his brother claim that Lewis shot at Bennet a second time as he tried to flee—differed greatly. "This is a discrepancy that could be alleviated by her activating her body camera," Campbell says.
"Everybody has recording ability…and they're going to be asking when a case gets to the jury, 'Where’s the recording?'"
As it stands, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at least 60 percent of local police departments use dashboard cameras. It's unclear exactly how many use wearable ones. "I can't quantify it, and wouldn't try," Harris said. "We're just at the beginning stage. This is technology that's really in its infancy as far as adoption." Wearable cameras—ranging in price from about $100 to $1,000—are cheaper than their dashboard-mounted cousins, which can cost several thousand dollars each. In addition to the Rialto Police, departments in Arizona, California,Colorado, and New Mexico—not to mention Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC, are using or testing the systems.
Harris recommends that departments using the technology require its use with all citizen interactions. If the camera isn't used, there had better be a good reason, such as technical failure or a situation in which the officer has to react too fast to turn it on. "If neither is the case, a good excuse or a technological breakdown, then you have a presumption that what the officer says should be viewed skeptically, and the presumption that [the suspect] is telling the truth," he says.
Harris adds that it's only a matter of time before these things are everywhere; he estimates about five years. "I think this will become standard," he says. "Everybody has recording ability in their phones, they record things all the time, and they're going to be asking when a case gets to the jury, 'Where's the recording?'"