FDR Wanted Marines to Occupy The Chicago Tribune

View as PDF Chicago — Recent unprecedented disclosures of government malfeasance have forced Americans to confront unpleasant truths about the nature of our government. Americans do not trust the government – and in record numbers. It is understandable, and equally troubling, then, for Americans to come to expect opaqueness from a government that commonly flouts the U.S. Constitution andthe laws intended to bind its authority. We shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that the government is still fighting a seventy-four-year battle over transparency and the historical record, dating back to World War II.
Last week, the Obama administration’s efforts to maintain opacity received another healthy dose of sunlight after a panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to unseal grand jury records related to the journalism of a Chicago Tribune correspondent’s June 7, 1942 report that implied the government had broken Japan’s secret naval code.
The implications of these revelations are far-reaching, just as Taxpayer Education Foundation reported previously. In a December 2011 analysis of the extensive body of scholarship concerning FDR’s foreknowledge of the Japanese military’s naval codes and planned attack at Pearl Harbor, Taxpayer Education Foundation’s research director, Dennis Constant, wrote, “In September and October of 1940, Army and Navy cryptographers solved the principal Japanese government code, the Purple code, which was the major diplomatic code. The naval codes were a series of 29 separate operational codes. According to Stinnett, Japan used four of these codes to organize and dispatch her warships to Hawaii by radio. American cryptographers had solved each of the four by the fall of 1941, even though the Japanese were introducing minor variants every three months to foil cryptographers.”
“Taxpayers, regrettably, are forced to fund the government even when its policies are opposed to the interests of Americans and our liberty,” said Jared Labell, executive director of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “While it is clear that the government is naturally incentivized to over-classify information and maintain strict secrecy over its vast realm of perceived interests, Americans must demand transparency and support all efforts to pull back the curtain on the machinations of the government. Disclosures not only help clarify the historical record and provide further insights into past policies, but they are tremendous opportunities to learn how tax dollars are spent by the government and in pursuit of what ends.”
“These recent legal developments further threaten the government’s ability to act in complete secrecy without risk of exposure,” said Labell. “We aren’t certain of the precise revelations contained in thesealed grand jury testimony. The documents might further corroborate longtime claims made by numerous historiansimplicating FDR and his administration in failing to protect the American military personnel based at Pearl Harbor, although the Japanese naval codes were deciphered. The code-breaking revelations the following year in the Chicago Tribune did not please the administration, to say the least.”
“The Tribune’s tacit revelation of the code-breaking coup infuriated Washington. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to have Marines occupy Tribune Tower,” the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board wrote last Friday following the court’s decision to unseal the records due to high historical interest and the negligible need for secrecy in 2016.
desctruction“Under pressure from Roosevelt and Navy officials, a special prosecutor impaneled a federal grand jury here to consider espionage charges against reporter Stanley Johnston, managing editor J. Loy Maloney and the Tribune itself. The grand jurors decided not to indict. But for 74 years the testimony they heard from some 13 witnesses — including naval officers and staffers from the Tribune and two other newspapers that ran its story — has remained sealed.”
Department of Justice lawyers have fought this disclosure at every turn, because even though the circumstances surrounding Johnston’s story and naval code-breaking at the Battle of Midway are invaluable to the historical record, the true court battle is concerned with the question of under what exceptional circumstances are grand jury proceedings to be made public.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act of 1917 into law in June of that year, only a couple months after the United States entered World War I. The case against the Chicago Tribune, its managing editor, and its reporter, Stanley Johnston, is the only known attempt to charge journalists with violating the Espionage Act, although the panel eventually declined to indict.
The government has until September 29 to appeal to the full 7th Circuit Court, or opt to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court until mid-December 2016. Litigation director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Katie Townsend, summarized what’s at stake in this case that dates back nearly three quarters of a century, “The Tribune case speaks directly to a fundamental tension at the core of our democracy, involving the public’s right to know and the government’s duty to protect its citizens in time of war.”
“America, of course, isn’t a democracy, but it’s also barely a republic at this point. Chelsea Manning heroically liberated government records of the Baghdad airstrike Collateral Murder footage, Afghan and Iraq War logs, diplomatic cables, Guantanamo Bay files, and more. Edward Snowden disclosed National Security Agency documents while working as a contractor, revealing the government’s ubiquitous system of spying and surveillance of American citizens, foreign civilians and governments,” said Labell.
“Manning and Snowden merit our thanks for alerting the American public, not condemnation. Similarly, we don’t need to wait another 75 years to learn more about sealed testimony regarding a journalist, code-breaking, and our government’s actions during World War II. Taxpayers deserve to know.”
Founded in 1976, TUA is one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America.

Citizens Join Across Counties To Send A Message About Taxes

WOODSTOCK, IL – A small, but growing group of local citizens have joined forces to send a message to legislators and local officials about their taxes. The message is simple, “We can’t pay any more taxes than we already are and if you don’t do something serious to improve the situation, you will lose our votes.”
The movement grew out of a protest in McHenry County on June 13th where two people paid their taxes entirely in singles while a group of others gathered to voice their disgust about property taxes. The group has taken the name “Illinois Tax Revolution – Saving Illinois” and is organizing taxpayer rallies. So far, there are three rallies planned; one in McHenry County, another in Lake County and a third in downtown Chicago.
The group has drawn support from a growing number of activist organizations and local office candidates and encourages others to contact the organization to show their support.
“This is all about giving the overburdened taxpayer an opportunity to have their voices heard”, said Bob Anderson, Chairman of the Group’s Steering Committee.
“We hope that taxpayers and local officials will join us at the rallies in a gesture of solidarity and commitment to addressing the crippling problem of taxes in our communities,” said Bob. For those that cannot attend in person, the group offers “One-Page Petitions” that individuals can fill out and send back to the group. These will be brought to the rallies to represent those who cannot make it to the events.


About Illinois Tax Revolution

Saving Illinois

Born out of the devastating impact of taxes in this area, a small group organized to give a voice and a focal point to burdened taxpayers. Led by a small Steering Committee consisting of Bob Anderson, Dan Aylward, Steve Rooney, Joe Tirio and Rose Venegas, the group sought ways to help every taxpayer communicate with their community leaders on the subject of taxes and the impact on their lives.
Please direct press inquiries to:
Bob Anderson
(815) 653-7699 or (815) 653-9865

Bread and Circuses: The F-35 Buzzes Over Chicago

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CHICAGO — If the city of Chicago were a house, the State would have condemned it as blighted property long ago, bulldozing its rotten wood and crumbling concrete structure into a pile fit for a funeral pyre. Chicago hasn’t been condemned yet, despite the city’s abundance of bureaucrats, infamous history of government corruption and violence wrought upon its residents, and its atrocious financial standing. Chicago remains a dilapidated house, but one that’s on the verge of burning down in a self-inflicted economic arson fire.
With that in mind, the city will begin to close out the summer this weekend with the 58th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show on Saturday August 20th and Sunday August 21st along North Avenue Beach. Similar to the bread and circuses of empires past, Chicago annually distracts taxpayers with big, shiny objects to take their minds off of the political and economic failures of their government. This year’s event is no different, as festivities are draped in the flag and promoted heavily with food, drinks, and fun for the entire family. Among other participants and aircraft featured in the event, the centerpiece of the show this year is the rollout of the notorious F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
Corporate sponsors Shell and Boeing, as well as media outlets like WBBM Newsradio, ABC 7 television, and The Chicago Tribune, help underwrite the cost of the show, making it free for the public’s enjoyment. But don’t thank these sponsors for the free entertainment just yet, because nothing is free. When the F-35 is involved, rest assured that taxpayers are picking up the tab, one way or another.
Just a few weeks ago, Antiwar.com published my synopsis of the F-35 program – I’m Paying Taxes, But What Am I Buying? – which detailed the $400 billion jet’s beleaguered history of cost overruns, operational fiascoes, and the opportunity costs of maintaining a weapons system that’s projected to incinerate trillions of dollars from US taxpayers throughout the estimated duration of its production and deployment lifecycle.
The Straus Military Reform Project, part of the Project on Government Oversight’s Center for Defense Information, offers another detailed rundown of the most expensive weapons system in history. Readers are encouraged to become well-acquainted with the Department of Defense’s worst boondoggle, as the F-35 is a prime example of how the government misspends tax dollars at an alarming rate and with little to no accountability.
Unless a coalition of activists, taxpayers, and average folks from across the political spectrum demand accountability for this detrimental misallocation of resources, we will be no better off than those poor souls in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. As Orwell wrote, “War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea…” resources that were confiscated from taxpayers and funneled into lavish government programs, like those fabled Floating Fortresses in his seminal novel.
Chicago’s Air and Water Show comes just a little more than a week after it was announced that the Pentagon granted Lockheed Martin, the F-35’s manufacturer, an additional $1 billion of our taxes to make up for expenses associated with low-rate initial production costs incurred by the company. The joint program office obligated the funding by way of a pre-existing undefinitized contract action (UCA), but that’s not the end of the largesse. “The agreement has a not-to-exceed value of $5.37 billion, meaning that the government could use it to inject even more cash at a later date,” reported Defense News.
Previous to this newest round of corporate welfare handouts, Lockheed Martin CFO Bruce Tanner had said of the F-35’s production issues and cost overruns, “We will not be able to continue and have that level of cash outflow as a corporation. We simply don’t have that capacity. The Pentagon clearly knows that situation, and I’m optimistic that we are going to get cash soon.” Tanner’s optimism was logical. Of course the Pentagon would pay up.
Journalist John T. Flynn dispelled the myth of the supposedly positive aspects of military Keynesianism decades ago in his book, As We Go Marching, warning of “an economy supported by great streams of debt and an economy under complete control, with nearly all the planning agencies functioning with almost totalitarian power under a vast bureaucracy.”
Flynn’s thorough indictment of the New Deal-era warfare state and America’s lunge toward economic collectivism is as relevant today as it was then. Flynn emphasized that politicians, laborers, and businesses would sadly embrace imperialism and eventual economic ruin because of the perverse incentives of the warfare economy.
“Thus militarism is the one great glamorous public-works project upon which a variety of elements in the community can be brought into agreement,” Flynn wrote mournfully more than seventy years ago.
The 58th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show isn’t actually free. And if unable to stop boondoggles like the F-35, then neither are we.