Americans don’t trust “their” government

This is a revolutionary situation; or could be, if people stop to think about it.

Hence the slo-mo crackdown on the Internet, the crackpot propaganda tarring Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein as "Russian trolls," the militarization of police (who won't be giving up their AR-15s), and other signs of elite desperation.  


From the Pew Research Center, November, 2015:

Trust in government: 1958-2015

The public’s trust in the federal government continues to be at historically low levels. Only 19% of Americans today say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (3%) or “most of the time” (16%).

Trust - 1Fewer than three-in-ten Americans have expressed trust in the federal government in every major national poll conducted since July 2007 – the longest period of low trust in government in more than 50 years. In 1958, when the American National Election Study first asked this question, 73% said they could trust the government just about always or most of the time.

The erosion of public trust in government began in the 1960s. The share saying they could trust the federal government to do the right thing nearly always or most of the time reached an all-time high of 77% in 1964. Within a decade – a period that included the Vietnam War, civil unrest and the Watergate scandal – trust had fallen by more than half, to 36%. By the end of the 1970s, only about a quarter of Americans felt that they could trust the government at least most of the time.

Trust in government rebounded in the 1980s before falling in the early to mid-1990s. But as the economy boomed in the late 1990s, confidence in government increased. And in 2001, the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States transformed public attitudes on a range of issues – including trust in government.

In early October 2001, a month after the attacks, 60% said they could trust the government, roughly double the share earlier that year and the highest percentage expressing trust in government in more than 40 years. But the rise in government trust was short-lived – by the summer of 2002, the share saying they could trust the government had tumbled 22 percentage points.

Amid the war in Iraq and economic uncertainty at home, trust in government continued to decline. By July 2007, trust had fallen to 24%. Since then, the share saying they can trust the federal government has generally fluctuated in a narrow range, between 20% and 25%.



Where I’ve been

As longtime followers of News from Underground, you've surely noticed that my output dropped dramatically about 18 months ago, with only intermittent pieces since (though I've been more prolific recently). I'm writing now to tell you why this happened, and what I'm trying to do about it now. 

As some few of you know, I have been sick for several years—to be precise, since the summer of 2011, when I first noticed the symptoms of an illness that just kept on getting worse: physical fatigue, mental fog, numbness in the feet and hands, insomnia, blurred vision, and a range of other problems that suggested neurological disease. 

That's what I was told by specialists all over Manhattan, then at the Mayo Clinic, then at the Sophia Health Institute in Seattle (an "alternative" outfit). My medical travels also took me down to Cuba for a bout of plasmapheresis (which my latest neurologist prescribed, but which United Healthcare initially refused to cover, so I trekked down there, where it was cheaper); and, as well, I consulted several highly-recommended (and yet wholly useless) "healers" of all kinds. 

Thus I spent over six years seeking help, as my first several doctors (some in private practice, and others at Columbia Presbyterian, Cornell Weill, Mayo and Sophia) all told me that I have an idiopathic neurological disease (meaning they had no clue what it was), after which another neurologist (this one rather famous) told me that I have an autoimmune disease, but of unknown cause, requiring plasmapheresis and then IVIG—costly and increasingly debilitating therapies that only helped a little bit at first, and ultimately left me feeling worse, although he kept assuring me that if I stopped them I would end up in a wheelchair. 

So it was until late last summer (2017), when I reached out to a doctor (and old friend) with long experience at dealing with diseases that the US medical establishment largely dismisses; and she surmised that I have Lyme disease—although I'd been tested for it twice, with "negative" results. She referred me to a specialist in upstate New York. I traveled up to see him in September, he ran his many tests; and there is now no question that I do have Lyme disease after all—chronic, late-stage Lyme disease, affecting my central nervous system, and, in fact, the cause of that autoimmune illness for which I'd been treated, pointlessly, for two years. 

As daunting as it is, this diagnosis is, of course, good news, because I finally know what's ailing me (a recent spinal tap confirmed it beyond question), and am now undergoing treatment that's (very gradually) working—although that poses problems, too. For one thing, effective treatment of late Lyme often has the paradoxical effect of worsening your symptoms, as the die-off of those spirochetes releases further toxins (what's called a Herxheimer reaction), so that you need more help to get through that as well. 

Thus this healing process is a very slow one—and expensive. Working under hostile scrutiny by the government, which holds that there is no such thing as chronic Lyme, the best Lyme specialists don't take insurance, since they don't want their patients' records on the Internet, to be mischievously eyeballed by the state; and so their care costs thousands over time. 

And so, to pay for both my doctor's ongoing treatment and the many tests he's run, I had to turn to certain friends who could afford to help me, and who very generously did. But dealing with late Lyme disease takes more than such a doctor's care, and more than the antibiotics he prescribes. At least in my case (as my doctor agrees), it also takes a complex daily regimen of herbs and other supplements, as well as various holistic remedies that certainly aren't covered by insurance (e.g., constitutional hydrotherapy, deep-tissue massage, infrared sauna, and other non-traditional recourses). 

At first I thought that I could cover such expenses, for a while at least, with United Healthcare's partial reimbursement for my doctor's care; but United has (so far) refused to reimburse me anything—even though they'd readily covered all my plasmapheresis and IVIG treatments, which did me no good whatsoever, whereas this much cheaper treatment has been helping me. (I appealed this decision, was denied, and have now appealed again.) 

I wish I didn't have to go into such boring detail vis-a-vis my own predicament. I would much rather be providing you, as usual, with urgent news that we're not getting from the US press, on matters vastly more important than my health and finances. But in order to get back to that important work, I must get well; and in order to do that, I need whatever help you can provide, either by donating on your own, or by reaching out to others able to contribute something. 

One might donate to me directly via PayPal (, or through the NFU website ( using the "donate" button on the lower right. If you're old-school, on the other hand, and so prefer to send a check through the post office, please email me, and I'll send you my terrestrial address. (And if anyone should to want to make a larger, tax- deductible donation, s/he should email me for further information.) 

In any case, whatever you can do will be appreciated more than I can say. Thank you for at least considering this request; and thanks to everyone for reading News from Underground.

Mark Crispin Miller

Caveat orator

In the United States today, you're free to say, or teach, or publish anything you want, except the truth about it.


Labelling Dissenting Media As ‘Fake News’ Is The Same As Telling Us That Our Grievances Are Imaginary

by Caitlin Johnstone

The political establishment’s attempt to regain control of the narrative by tarring all dissenting media as ‘fake news’ is the largest gaslighting attempt in American history.

I’d like to tell you a story, dear reader. It’s a very naughty story, one we’re not meant to tell. This is an Officially Unapproved Story, so don’t tell the people in charge, okay? Let me fluff your pillow. Are you comfy? Good.

Up until very recently, the politicians of the U.S. government were the sole custodians of which stories get told to the American people, and which don’t. They’re in charge of what gets printed in textbooks and taught in schools, and the media consolidation made possible by 1996’s Telecommunications Act means that 90% of U.S. media is controlled by just six corporations, making the pervasive collusion and cronyism between political parties and members of the press as revealed by WikiLeaks exponentially easier to pull off.

Then people started getting internet access, and started sharing different stories. Unapproved stories. The political establishment didn’t even know how to talk about it at first; George W. Bush famously referred to rumors being circulated on “the internets” about what was happening with the Iraq war.

By 2016, “the internets” became so widely accessed that they determined the outcome of the election for the most powerful political office on planet Earth. A self-proclaimed democratic socialist nearly overthrew the candidacy of the anointed heir to the Clinton dynasty whom the establishment had already agreed it was going to forcibly install to the throne. They were able to beat him back using every dirty, underhanded trick in the book, but it was hard, and they got sloppy. And they got caught.

And those darn internets struck again. WikiLeaks began releasing material showing how the heir to the Clinton dynasty was being propped up by insanely corrupt forces, and how the will of the American people was being intentionally subverted and manipulated by the political establishment and its collaboration with those six powerful media giants, who in typical neoliberal fashion have been enjoying an abundance of tax breaks, deregulations and legislative loopholes in return for their collaboration. Those leaked documents began circulating on the internets, and people began connecting bits of information and noticing other major plot holes in the Officially Approved Story about what exactly is happening in America in 2016. By the time election day rolled around, there were too many people telling naughty, unapproved stories for the anointed queen to take the throne. She lost.

But 2016 also brought an answer to the question of how to deal with this perplexing problem of the internets. Russian hackers were blamed for the WikiLeaks releases, and Russian-made propaganda was blamed for Clinton’s loss. When people started pointing to signs that a child sex trafficking ring may be operating under the supervision of these same unfathomably corrupt, lying politicians, this was cited as more evidence that this whole internets thing has gotten completely out of control. And thus all Unapproved Stories were officially labeled “fake news”.


On the gullibility (or cowardice) of big-name “skeptics” like Richard Dawkins



Why do self-styled “skeptics” believe in their own brand of miracles?

by Petra Liverani

I find it such an interesting phenomenon that of all the self-styled skeptics I have corresponded with or whose opinions are aired online, every single one swallows the miracles, told to us by NIST, of the three high rise steel frame building collapses on 9/11 being caused by fire when the evidence clearly shows that the collapses were caused by controlled demolition. Moreover, the $5,000 10-point Occam’s Razor challenge on the cause of collapse of the third building, WTC-7, that I’ve issued personally to a significant number of these self-styled skeptics, has been very loudly ignored.
As Australian politician, Pauline Hanson, infamously said when asked if she were xenophobic, “Please explain”.
Please explain why it is that the most prolific scholar – by far – on 9/11 is a Christian and Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, David Ray Griffin, and why this scholar, highly-esteemed within and without his own academic field, does not swallow the collapse-by-fire miracles? He has written over 10 books on the subject of 9/11, his latest being Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World. He has also recently authored and co-authored two books on climate change. So he’s on the same page as most of the self-styled skeptics (in no way referring to the so-called climate skeptics, of course) with climate change but not with 9/11.

Roy Cohn is snickering in hell (along with Dr. Goebbels)

This perky thug became a State Department mouthpiece under Donald Trump.

‘Oh, you’re from Russian media? Next question!’ US State Dept snubs journalists during briefing
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert’s refusal to take questions from Russian TV raised eyebrows, even among US journalists, who took to their Russian colleagues’ defense after Nauert implied they are Kremlin agents.

Nauert went on an ill-mannered tirade against the Russian media when she responded to a question from Rossya 1 TV journalist Aleksandr Khristenko during a policy briefing on Thursday. Khristenko asked about the prospects of the US and Russia cooperating on nuclear non-proliferation in light of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks during the state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

In the address, Putin unveiled the newest additions to Russia’s nuclear deterrents, including the next-generation Sarmat ICBM that is capable of attacking across the South and North Pole as well as the yet-unnamed nuclear cruise missiles. The speech incorporated videos, which showed missile test launches and a simulation of their trajectory to demonstrate the nearly unlimited range of the ICBMs. The videos did not show the moment of impact or presumable targets of a nuclear-powered strike.

Nauert had no doubts that the simulation was an attack on America. “It’s certainly concerning to see your government, your country, to put together that kind of video that shows the Russian government attacking the United States, that’s certainly a concern of us, and I don’t think that it’s very constructive, nor it’s responsible,” she said, answering Khristenko.

Then, another journalist from Russia’s Channel One pointed out that the two missiles shown in the simulation videos were actually sent in different directions and nothing suggests they were aimed at the US.


“Liberals” channeling the Joint Chiefs of Staff, c. 1963

Putin's speech has many "liberals" foaming at the mouth over his threatening us, and "starting a new arms race."

Somehow this "new arms race" bears no relation to the one Obama started in 2016 (when he launched the trillion-dollar "modernization" of the US nuclear arsenal*), and that was lately ramped up by the lunatic revision of the US nuclear posture (which now justifies a nuclear first strike in response to a[n imaginary] cyber-attack).    

For the last few days, on Facebook, I've been busily unfriending these ferocious idiots, and wondering if anyone in Washington is not among them. 


*Some pertinent items from the memory hole:


Special Report: In modernizing nuclear arsenal, U.S. stokes new arms …

Nov 21, 2017 – Within 16 months of his inauguration, the United States and Russia negotiated the NewStrategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as New START, meant to …. Obama advisers and outside arms-control specialists, is that the modernization destabilized the U.S.-Russia status quo, setting off a new arms race.


Obama Is About To Launch A New Nuclear Arms Race. There’s a …

Jan 18, 2016 – Despite his anti-nuclear words, the president is about to cave to the nuclear arms priesthood. … Obama Is About To Launch A New Nuclear Arms Race. … Obama declared in 2013, only needs to maintain a force of 1,000 deployed strategic warheads, instead of the 1,550 it is allowed under New START.

Obama’s Russian Rationale for $1 Trillion Nuke Plan Signals New …

Feb 23, 2016 – The Obama administration has historically insisted that its massive $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program does not represent a return to Cold War-era nuclear rivalry between Russia and the United States. The hugely expensive undertaking, which calls for a slew of new cruise missiles, ICBMs, …


A New Arms Race Threatens to Bring the U.S. and Russia Back to the …

The new Russian “dirty” H-bomb is the latest move in a new arms race that could bring Russia and America back to the nuclear brink. … The Obama administration is planning to spend over $1 trillion in the next 30 years on an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines to replace those built …


President Obama signs defense bill that could spur new space-based …

Dec 23, 2016 – President Obama signs law that shakes the foundations of U.S. nuclear defense policy.

Obama Is About to Launch a New Nuclear Arms Race. There's a Better ...

Jan 18, 2016 - The United States is on the cusp of launching an unnecessary, expensive, and potentially dangerous plan to modernize its strategic nuclear forces, helping stimulate what is being called a “newnuclear arms race.” Before Washington starts down this path, it needs to step back and ask, “How much is ...

So? If it costs MORE to screw the poor, why not??

One of many stories that the US press should be reporting—i.e., about Trump's policies, rather than his gross, pro-wrestling style. 


The stupidity of Trumpcare: Government will spend $33 billion more to cover 8.9 million fewer Americans, as premiums soar

What “freedom of speech” isn’t

“Freedom of speech” is just that. It does not mean “freedom to say whatever I agree with.”



When schools support gun-control protests, are they silencing students with alternative points of view?

By Jonathan Zimmerman

I’m a citizen, and I’m a strong supporter of gun control. Since the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland, Fla., I’ve also been strongly supportive of the students who have walked out of school to demand stricter regulations of firearms.
But I’m an educator, too, and my job is to prepare future citizens. So I need to make sure that I don’t impose my views about guns on my students, who should always remain free to decide this issue on their own.
That’s the fine line that our schools and universities need to walk amid the spate of recent student walkouts. We should encourage students to express their opinions in whatever way they choose. But we must also avoid endorsing any particular set of views, which could inhibit student expression of contrary ones.
Witness the recent statements of support from several universities, vowing not to penalize admissions candidates who are disciplined for protest activity at their high schools. The statements came in response to a threat by a Houston-area school district, which warned that students who walked out of school — or “disrupted” it in any way — would be suspended for three days.
That’s an absurdly draconian policy, antithetical to our best traditions of democracy, and I’m proud of our universities for challenging it. But I also worry that their statements reveal a bias toward my own side of the gun debate, which poses its own threat to democratic norms and — especially to democratic education.
At Brown University, for example, the admissions office tweeted out a note that the school is a “socially conscious, intellectually independent campus where freedom of expression is fundamentally important.” But the second part of the tweet left little doubt that some kinds of expression were more socially conscious than others: “You can be assured that peaceful, responsible protests against gun violence will not negatively impact decisions on admission to Brown.”
So, would pro-gun voices receive the same solicitude from the Brown admissions office? Perhaps so. But it’s clear that Brown is taking a side on the gun issue, which can only alienate applicants or students who find themselves on the other one.
Ditto for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, which issued its own reassuring tweet to high school demonstrators. “If you participate in peaceful protests against gun violence and receive school discipline for walking out … we won’t hold it against you,” admissions officials wrote.
Again, that’s all fine and good — so long as people of a different opinion get the same consideration. The tweet is hardly reassuring on those grounds; to the contrary, it implies that UMass backs gun-control advocates over their opponents.
Here you might reply, so what? After all, schools and universities are charged with keeping students safe. Why shouldn’t they throw their political weight behind gun control and the students who are demanding it?
Here’s why: Because Americans differ, deeply and fundamentally, about guns. If a school endorses one side of that debate over the other, it will necessarily constrict the debate inside its own walls. You can’t teach people how to discuss a question if it has already been answered.
And that kind of indoctrination harms all of us, no matter what we think about guns. Advocates for stricter regulations will be less able to defend their position if they don’t confront another point of view. And pro-gun students might not be able to express their views at all.
At last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, several students reported that they felt stigmatized or muzzled because of their attitudes about guns. “’I’m on the ‘wrong’ side,’” said one 17-year-old student from Maryland. At his high school, he added, he was denounced for “supporting killers” because of his beliefs about the Second Amendment.
“It’s so upsetting to hear them say you’re either for gun control or dead kids,” said a recent high-school graduate from California, commenting on a common refrain at recent student walkouts. “It’s like the feeling when you get bullied in high school because you believe something different.”
And that’s what we all need to guard against, as the gun battle in our schools heats up. Of course we need to provide assurances for the student protesters, who should be free to express themselves however they wish. But we have to make sure that pro-gun voices are heard and protected, too.
Most of all, we need to ensure that students and teachers alike remain free to say what they think. That clearly wasn’t the case for Cherry Hill East history instructor Timothy Locke, who was placed on administrative leave after telling his class that he feared that a mass shooting could happen at the school.
Of course it could. It could happen anywhere. And that’s precisely why we need a full and free debate in our classrooms, which are supposed to teach us how to converse across our differences. Anything less will do violence to our democracy, all in the guise of purging gun violence from our schools.
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author (with Emily Robertson) of “The Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American Schools” (University of Chicago Press).

At heart, the “liberal” New York Times is closer to Ayn Rand than it is to Bernie Sanders

Top NYT Editor: ‘We Are Pro-Capitalism, the Times Is in Favor of Capitalism’

By Yves Smith

Yves here. I know a prominent journalist at the Times who was dressed down by an immediate superior for allegedly harboring left-wing, pro-Sanders views, as if that were a bad thing…when that isn’t even the case. The writer is question is an “obey the rules, damnit” sort, and is about as leftie as, say, Republican Shiela Bair. So the pressure at the Times to hew to an increasingly right wing line is overt.

And if the Times is in favor of capitalism, why don’t they love Trump? He’s a caricature of a capitalist on steroids (well, maybe Viagra….)

By Adam Johnson, a contributing analyst at FAIR and contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJohnsonNYC. Originally published at FAIR

Media criticism is, more often than not, a practice of inference: seeing patterns and inferring from those patterns the political make-up of media. Occasionally, however, decision-makers from major media outlets come right out and openly declare their ideology. This is what New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet—likely the most influential gatekeeper in all of media—did when he told Times staffers in a closed-door meeting last December that the paper of record was “pro-capitalism.”

A recording of this meeting (originally called because of internal pushback on the right-wing shift in the Times‘ opinion section) was obtained by the Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg (2/27/18). In it, Bennet tells his nervous coworkers that the Times is, above all, a capitalist publication:

I think we are pro-capitalism. The New York Times is in favor of capitalism because it has been the greatest engine of, it’s been the greatest anti-poverty program and engine of progress that we’ve seen.

This is a massively controversial claim Bennet just tossed out there, because he believes it not to be one—but rather a self-evidently true axiom. Without even litigating the dubious idea capitalism is “the greatest anti-poverty program and engine of progress” the world has ever seen (what economic system, one may wonder, does Bennet think animated slavery and colonial exploitation?), the fact that one of the most influential people in media views it as an uncontroversial statement of fact is very telling.

The most pernicious ideology of our media class, as FAIR has noted time and again, is the belief they don’t have an ideology; the belief that the American ruling class and its media auxiliaries have reached the End of History, that capitalism is a non-negotiable good, and the job of media curators is to manage how best to implement this good. That there could be another way of looking at things, or that these assumptions should be challenged on a fundamental level, is tantamount to Flat-Eartherism or Holocaust denial.

An equally telling section of the transcript is when an unidentified New York Times staffer asks why the point of view of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran a strong second in the 2016 Democratic primaries and is one of the most popular active politicians in the country, didn’t have any representation in their opinion selection:

During the election, you had no strong advocate for Bernie Sanders, or any of those positions. And so I guess, in the more recent months, in your attempts to find those voices, where have you been looking, what types of people have you been looking for, and how are you trying to get a more diverse group of people regularly writing in the op-ed section?

What follows is a totally incoherent non-answer:

I think we need, and you know, I’m sorry if I’m going to talk in code a little bit here, but I’m not talking about ideology necessarily. I’m talking about identity, as well. What columnists do, you know, again, highly intellectually honest, highly entertaining, highly interesting writers who have a lot to say — hard to find those people from the get-go. What a columnist is is a trusted voice in your ear that helps you process, kind of, the world in real time, right? Through a particular lens. And there are a number of lenses we’re missing right now, I think. And a lot of those are, it’s gender and it’s identity, you know, as well as ideology.

So where am I looking? I’m asking, I’m asking you guys. You know, send me names, please. You know, if there are people that you’re reading that you think belong in the New York Times. You know, please. I always, when I was at The Atlantic, I always kept a list of Atlantic writers who didn’t work for The Atlantic, just who felt like — I was at The Atlantic magazine before I came back to the Times, and there was a particular kind of, not that dissimilar from the kind of people we’re looking for now, with voice. And I could see them on other platforms, and they just didn’t know that they were Atlantic people yet, but they were.

And I don’t have as good a list now as I did then. It might be my own failing. Earlier I blamed the environment for that. But I’m taking nominations. I’ve been…. If I could, this is what I would be spending 90 percent of my time on. Because hiring in general, and I’m sure you guys feel this, too, is the most important thing that we do. Like, that’s the most important editing we do, is picking the people. After that, you know, you ideally cut them loose to do their thing. In reality, I’m spending a small percentage of my time on this. So I would love help. So please send your nominations my way.

The thought of hiring a staff columnist sympathetic to Sanders had clearly never occurred to Bennet. Because—as his own comments indicate—the prima facie beauty and virtue of capitalism is an indisputable truth, one someone partial to Sanders’ brand of verbal class war would likely challenge

Instead, as FAIR (4/20/176/20/17) noted of the New York Times last year, the so-called liberal media drifts further and further right even as the Democratic Party base grows more and more progressive. On the dubious altar of “ideological diversity,” the Times seeks out right-wing provocateurs like Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss—those who have mastered the careerist trick of being offensive without ever being subversive—but Bennet mysteriously can’t find anyone further left than anti-Sanders partisan Paul Krugman.

“Ideological diversity” at the Times has time and again meant augmenting their pro-Israel, pro-capitalist, pro-bombing liberals with pro-Israel, pro-capitalism, pro-bombing conservatives. This is the scope of discourse at the paper of record, and one now openly acknowledged by its top opinion shaper.


Two on the dark history of the FBI

The FBI’s War on Black-Owned Bookstores 

At the height of the Black Power movement, the Bureau focused on the unlikeliest of public enemies: black independent booksellers.

By Joshua Clark Davis

In the spring of 1968, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover announced to his agents that COINTELPRO, the counter-intelligence program established in 1956 to combat communists, should focus on preventing the rise of a “Black ‘messiah’” who sought to “unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement.” The program, Hoover insisted, should target figures as ideologically diverse as the Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), Martin Luther King Jr., and Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

Just a few months later, in October 1968, Hoover penned another memo warning of the urgent menace of a growing Black Power movement, but this time the director focused on the unlikeliest of public enemies: black independent booksellers.

In a one-page directive, Hoover noted with alarm a recent “increase in the establishment of black extremist bookstores which represent propaganda outlets for revolutionary and hate publications and culture centers for extremism.” The director ordered each Bureau office to “locate and identify black extremist and/or African-type bookstores in its territory and open separate discreet investigations on each to determine if it is extremist in nature.” Each investigation was to “determine the identities of the owners; whether it is a front for any group or foreign interest; whether individuals affiliated with the store engage in extremist activities; the number, type, and source of books and material on sale; the store’s financial condition; its clientele; and whether it is used as a headquarters or meeting place.”



A Threat of the First Magnitude

Sometime in the late fall/early winter of 1962, a document began circulating among members of the Communist Party USA based in the Chicago area, titled “Whither the Party of Lenin.” It was signed “The Ad Hoc Committee for Scientific Socialist Line.” This was not the work of factionally inclined CP comrades, but rather something springing from the counter-intelligence imagination of the FBI.


The untold story of the FBI informants who penetrated the upper reaches of organizations such as the Communist Party, USA, the Black Panther Party, the Revolutionary Union and other groups labeled threats to the internal security of the United States.

A Threat of the First Magnitude tells the story of the FBI’s fake Maoist organization and the informants they used to penetrate the highest levels of the Communist Party USA, the Black Panther Party, the Revolutionary Union and other groups labelled threats to the internal security of the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.

As once again the FBI is thrust into the spotlight of US politics, A Threat of a First Magnitude offers a view of the historic inner-workings of the Bureau’s counterintelligence operations — from generating “fake news” and the utilization of “sensitive intelligence methods” to the handling of “reliable sources” — that matches or exceeds the sophistication of any contenders.