Category Archives: Truth In Media Episodes

Truth In Media with Ben Swann

Truth in Media: 100 Years of the Federal Reserve

“The United States Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will start drawing down (i.e. “tapering”) its multibillion-dollar quantitative easing policies in 2014.
The Fed will begin tapering its $85 billion monthly purchases of Treasuries and Treasury mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each starting in January.”

100 years ago, this December, the United States Congress created a central bank today, we know it as the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States.  What most people don’t know is that the bank isn’t a federal entity and candidly, it really has nothing in reserves.

Is the Federal Reserve good for the United States?  Is it even possible to get rid of it?

The first step toward truth is to be informed.

10 years ago, virtually no American knew anything about the Federal Reserve Bank.  Most thought it was a government agency, an entity that helps to create and protect U.S. currency and our economy.  Then came along the national rise of a Congressman from Texas by the name of Ron Paul.

One of the most impressive things about the career of now retired Congressman Ron Paul was the national attention he drew to the Federal Reserve Bank.

It was Congressman Paul who made millions of Americans aware of a simple truth.  That the single entity with the most power and control over the U.S. dollar is not accountable to the American people.

So what exactly is the Federal Reserve?

To begin with, it is a private bank that serves as the exclusive bank of the U.S. government.  Though it was created by Congress, the Federal Reserve does not answer to Congress.  The President himself doesn’t have direct oversight.

So what else does the fed do?

The Fed regulates financial institutions, manages the nation’s money and has incredible influence over the economy.   The fed can raise and lower interest rates, in fact, they are the only entity able to do so.

That is very big deal because with that power, the fed is able to control the U.S. economy.  can cause the life savings of Americans to lose value through inflation, controls the value of your investments, and even impacts employment rates and manufacturing outputs.

An awful lot of power for an entity that has no accountability to the U.S. people.  so where did this central bank come from?

A writer by the name of G. Edward Griffin blew the modern lid off this story when he wrote a book called “The Creature from Jekyll island.”

He spoke to me via Skype.

Ben: For folks who don’t know the name, why is the book called “The Creature from Jekyll Island”?

Griffin: Sure, because there is a lot of significance to it. Many people think it’s just a tricky title to attract attention which frankly that’s some of the motive for doing that but Jekyll Island is a real island, Ben, as you well know, and it’s significant because it was on that island back in 1910 that the Federal Reserve was created. And that’s an interesting fact of history that why should something as important as the Federal Reserve system be created any place other than Washington D.C.

Ben: How did the meeting at Jekyll Island in 1910 become a central bank in 1913?

Griffin: Back in 1910 when all of this happened, there was a great deal of concern in Congress and among the American people about this concentration of financial power in  the hands of a small group of companies, financial centers, on Wall Street. The big banks, the big insurance companies, the brokerage houses and so forth. There was a clamor at that time for legislative reform, there’s that word that we hear so much about. What happened is that the banks decided that the public was going to get its reform one way or the other, so why should they just sit back and let it happen? They decided to take the lead in that parade and make sure that they provide the so-called reform. They were going to draft this legislation and of course, if it were known that they were the ones drafting the reform legislation, it wouldn’t sell too well. So there had to be a lot of secrecy about that particular period of history. Well what were they concealing? It wasn’t just, they weren’t concealing just the fact that they were the ones writing the legislation to control themselves but when you follow that thread you come to the realization was what they were doing is creating a cartel. You see these were competing banking companies within the industry and this was at the time of history when competition was being replaced by monopolies and cartels and this happened in spades as far as the banking industry is concerned. And on Jekyll Island they created a banking cartel to regulate itself, to set up its own rules, to offer it to the American people as though as it was some kind of banking reform and the stupid politicians in Washington accepted it and they passed this banking cartel agreement into law and they called it the Federal Reserve Act.

It was in 1913 that congress, in passing the “Federal Reserve Act”  violated the U.S. Constitution and essentially granted its power to create money to the Fed banks. Since 1913, the fed has ordered the printing of currency and then loaned it back to the government charging interest. The government levies income taxes to, among other things, pay the interest on the debt.

So when you take a dollar out of your pocket, look at what it says at the top.  This is a Federal Reserve Note, currency issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.
In 1964, that changed.  President John F Kennedy issued an Executive Order, 11110.  It gave the Treasury Department the explicit authority: “to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury.” This means that for every ounce of silver in the U.S. Treasury’s vault, the government could introduce new money into circulation based on the silver bullion physically held there.

These were United States Notes.  As a result, of that executive order, more than $4 billion in United States Notes were brought into circulation in $2 and $5 denominations. $10 and $20 United States Notes were never circulated but were being printed by the Treasury Department when Kennedy was assassinated.

After his assassination, The United States Note Project ceased.

Ben: To your knowledge, Mr. Griffin, is that Executive Order that was issued by President Kennedy still active today?

Griffin: The Executive Order is not still in existence. It went through several transitions. First it was absorbed into another Executive Order, it was consolidated into another order, and then finally it was repealed, I think Johnson himself got rid of it. But that’s really not the important question whether it’s still standing or not because it never did represent what many people thought it meant in my view. I checked into the allegation that President Kennedy had taken a stand against the bank and that he was going to put an end to the fiat money and go back to government issued notes. That’s the general idea and that therefore that’s the reason he was killed. Unfortunately or fortunately, whichever the case may be, the record really doesn’t support that at all. And every time I went to try and run down the origins of this myth as I call it, it just fizzled out unless somebody can give me some hard information that I haven’t yet seen. I think it’s just one of those urban myths that is popular.

So what has the Federal Reserve Bank been up to in the past few years?  As you probably know, the Fed has been holding interest rates at historically low rates.  Meanwhile, the Fed has been creating between $40 and $80 billion dollars a month in U.S. currency.  The name you have heard this by, quantitative easing.

The first round of Quantitative Easing came in late 2008 under President George W. Bush.  The Fed initiated purchases of $500 billion in mortgage backed securities in order to help resolve the housing crisis.  The Fed also cut the key interest rate to nearly 0%.  QE1

The economy didn’t improve, but banks sure got a lot of money.

So, under Bernanke, the fed was at it again.  The second round of Quantitative Easing was from November of 2010 until June of 2011.  The Federal Reserve went to work buying up $600 billion in U.S. Treasury Bonds to spur the economy.  But again, it didn’t work.

Part of the reason QE2 failed was because it wasn’t meant to spur the U.S. economy.  That $600 billion was given to foreign banks.  During the QE2 funding period cash reserves of foreign banks grew from $308 billion to $940 billion

In the fall of 2012, came the beginning of QE3, in this case, the Fed began purchasing mortgage backed securities and treasuries at a rate of $85 billion dollars a month.  What made this Quantitative Easing attempt different than others, there is no end to it.

In January of 2013 the Fed began what is called. QE4, an attempt to continue to purchase securities and hold interest rates down until the unemployment rate drops to below 6.5%.

In February of 2014, Janet Yellen will succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman and has already said that her priority is to continue these programs even longer than was originally anticipated. Yellen says that unemployment is a bigger problem than inflation so the for the Fed it will be business as usual.

What you need to know:  Is that in 1913, the original charter for the Federal Reserve Bank allowed it to exist for only 20 years.  In 1927, the Fed charter was renewed.

Some believe that on December 23rd, 2013, the Fed charter runs out.  That at the 100 year anniversary, the Fed will have to be renewed by Congress.  Others say that the Fed does not have to be renewed, that it is a permanent entity.  That happened they say in 1927 under the McFadden Act.

Whether that is true or not, here is something undeniable, in the 100 years that the federal reserve bank has been in existence, the U.S. dollar has lost 98% of its value.

The purpose of creating the Federal Reserve was to protect the dollar.  The Fed hasn’t done that.

The Federal Reserve Bank didn’t stop the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve Bank has done nothing to improve the so called great recession. In fact, some can make the argument that the fed policies under Alan Greenspan in the early 2000‘s and not only helped to create our current situation, but the Fed policies under Ben Bernanke have made the economy worse.

The bottom-line, the one entity that truly has the power to end the Fed is Congress, but if Congress were to do that then Congress would also have to be responsible for fulfilling its constitutionally mandated role to “to coin money” and “regulate the value thereof”.


Truth in Media: Vaccine Court and Autism

The claims that autism is caused by vaccines have been completely disproven, right? We have all heard that claim, maybe most famously by actress and model Jenny McCarthy.

But is the claim untrue? What if I told you that while HHS says there is no link between autism and vaccinations, the federal government has quietly awarded families of autistic children damages as a result of vaccine injuries?

The first step toward truth is to be informed.

The story we are talking about today is something that just doesn’t get attention from the mainstream media, and on the rare occasion when it does, the story is predictable. Scandal surrounding a doctor who claims autism and vaccines are linked. The bizarre parents who believe that their child has autism because of a vaccine, a claim clearly not based in science.

But is there more to this story than what the media has told you?

The real story behind vaccines begins in 1986.

That is because it was in 1986 when the U.S. Congress created National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Now that alone is worthy of a story, because what most Americans don’t know is that a family who has child injured by a vaccine, cannot simply sue the vaccine maker. Under this 1986 law, Congress took that power away from families and instead created a “vaccine court” if you will.

So what is the vaccine court? It is a Federal Claim’s court that deals specifically with vaccine cases where families can go for injury compensation if their child is injured by a vaccine.
The official name, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“VICP”). Of course, this program is seen as necessary because virtually every child who attends a pre-school, daycare or public or private school is required to be vaccinated.

So what’s the problem?

In 1986 when the VICP was first created vaccine makers were protected from lawsuit by the public. The VICP insulates vaccine manufacturers from liability and requires that petitioners bring their petitions solely against HHS. They may not sue manufacturers or healthcare practitioners. The rationale for this industry and professional protection was to ensure a stable childhood vaccine supply and to keep prices affordable.

The 1986 Law also permits the vaccine makers the right to not disclose known risks
to parents or guardians of those being vaccinated. Based on something called the “learned intermediary” doctrine, manufacturers bear no liability for giving, or failing to give, accurate or complete information to those vaccinated.

In exchange for being subject to the vaccine court, families of those injured would be compensated through an administrative process based on a table of presumptive vaccine injuries.

At its outset, 90% of claims were “on table.” But almost 30 years later, things are very different. Today, the vaccine schedule, meaning the list of vaccines offered to children has tripled, but the table of injuries has become much more restrictive, forcing 90% of petitioners into “off-table” litigation. And it gets worse. Because for families who believe that their children have been injured by vaccines, there are enormous roadblocks to overcome when seeking compensation for those injuries.

Mark Blaxill is the father of an autistic child. A child who he says has been injured by vaccines. Blaxill is part of a group called the Canary Party, a coalition of parents who are pushing for changes to the system through political means.

Blaxill: The Canary Party is a social movement that’s created to stand up for the victims of medical injuries, environmental toxins, industrial foods, the things that care causing these new health crises and epidemics that we are seeing.

Swann: Let’s talk about this issue of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program because most Americans, I would guess have no idea that this even exists.

Blaxill: Well, the thing that people should know about the VICP is that it is unlike any other product liability circumstance that any of us deal with on a regular basis. In 1986, Congress passed a law that gave a blanket exemption to pharmaceutical companies from any liability at all for any injury that their products, in this case vaccines, may cause to consumers and especially to children and infants. And what that did, was that put in place a liability shield on the pharmaceutical industry unlike any other pharmaceutical product categories so that if anything wrong happens to any recipient of the vaccine, what the family has to do is to, instead of just going to regular civil court with all the normal checks and balances and procedures and protections we see in the American legal system, they are forced to petition of government to recognize the injury to their child and to decide on whether or not they deserve an compensation.

So for parents, like Blaxill, why does he believe the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has failed?

That goes back to 2002 when nearly five thousand families filed petitions with the VICP claiming that vaccines had caused their children’s neurological disorder called “autism.”

According to the Pace Law Review, in an unprecedented proceeding, the VICP created and conducted the Omnibus Autism Proceeding that concluded in 2010. That means instead of taking the cases one at at time, they consolidated hearings for all these families. in the end, the VICP dismissed all the “test case” claims of vaccine-induced autism.

Blaxill: The original intent of the VICP was to provide a no fault, generous, rapid program of compensating victims. Now what we have a is a cover up. And a situation in which the government is trying to say, these things which people think they have observed, not only are we going to discount it, we are going to treat it with prejudice. We are going to say…

Swann: That this person is trying to get over on the system, that they are gaming the system.

Blaxill: That they are gaming the system, they are trying to blame, they are trying to get money from the government and that’s just wrong.

But there is more… A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury finds that The VICP has compensated approximately 2,500 claims of vaccine injury since the inception of the program in 1986.

Since that time, despite the official ruling that there is no link between vaccines and autism, there have been at least 83 cases of autism among those compensated for vaccine-induced brain damage.

Swann: The last thing that I would ask you is that in terms of outcomes what are you all hoping for? Because this is really a fight for other families, a fight for an entire generation of Americans, is it not?

Blaxill: We are asking for justice because you have many, many injured children and families that are struggling and they deserve support. We’re asking for awareness of this crisis in this health system. We have the worst outcomes in the entire industrial world here in America. We have the highest cost healthcare system, the most interventionist healthcare system in terms of medication and vaccination. We have a dramatic disfunction and we need awareness of that, that we have a problem and we need to shine a light on that. And then we need change. We need fundamental renovation of our way of dealing with parental choice, with the rights of consumers, authority in the healthcare system. Who gets to choose and then we need to find ways to treat and heal all those injured children and now adults who are suffering from this system.

What you need to know

Is that on the Department of Health and Human services website is this statement:

“HHS has never concluded in any case that autism was caused by vaccination.”

Parents point out that while number and use of vaccines is skyrocketing, the number of autism cases is skyrocketing as well. But remember, correlation does not equal causation. Agencies like HHS will say that doctors and medical professionals are just better at recognizing autism than they used to be and that may be true. But as one parent told me, while public statements have been made that there is no research supporting the assertion that vaccines can cause autism, families point to dozens of studies that do find a link between vaccines and autism that public health officials do not share with the public. And that families would like to present in a civil court, before a jury, which believe is their right under the Constitution.

Did FBI Execute Friend of Boston Bombing Suspect During Interrogation?


Names you know… Dhovar Tsarnev  and Tamerlen Tsarnaev… Two young Chechen born brothers, raised in the United States, radicalized through the internet, and responsible for the deadly Boston Bombing attack.

That is the story media has told you but what about the story they have all but ignored? About another Chechen with a lesser known name. Who is Ibragim Todashev and why was he killed by the FBI during an interrogation over the Tsarnev brothers?

Today, you will hear from the widow of that man, and the questions she is still waiting to have answered.

The first step toward truth is to be informed.

As I said, it is a name most americans don’t know at all Ibragim Todashev.  A 34 year-old Chechen, living in Orlando, Florida and friend of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlen Tsarnev.

Here is the story.

On May 22nd of this year, FBI agents and Massachusetts state police officers showed up in Orlando florida to interview Todashev.

Before moving to Orlando, Todashev lived in Massachusetts.  He was a mixed martial arts fighter and through that sport, became friends with boston bombing suspect Tamerlen Tsarnev.
That was why, only weeks after the bombings, the FBI went to meet with Todashev. but it was during that interrogation when something went terribly wrong

According to a statement released by the FBI,

“The agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and other law enforcement personnel were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual. During the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained non-life threatening injuries.”

So what violent confrontation took place?  Media reports were all over the place on what happened.  The New York Times claimed that Todashev pulled a knife on the agent.  Other media claimed it was a samurai sword and then metal pole, some said a broom stick.  That is, until
the Washington Post was told by an unnamed law enforcement source that Todashev had neither a knife or gun, that he was completely unarmed but did lunge at the agent.

Who saw this happen?

Another important question.  Because according to the FBI, who is doing an internal investigation,  immediately prior to the killing, after hours of interrogation, all of the other interrogators withdrew and left the room, leaving the FBI agent who fired the shots alone with Todashev.

That agent, claims that Todashev was about to sign a confession to his involvement along with Tamerlen Tsarnev in an unsolved triple murder in Massachusetts and it was just before he was going to sign that confession that he attacked.

The ex-wife of Todashev spoke to me via Skype.

Ben:  “What do you make of the claim that all the agents left him and only the agent who killed Ibragim  remained in the room with him?”

Reni:  “We still don’t know what exactly happened, how many were in there when he was shot.  It is still not clear, they are not telling us anything.  So far we know it was three of them when they started the interrogation of them but who was in there when he was shot, we still don’t know.”

Aside from the very strange details surrounding an FBI agent left alone with a suspect, who then must defend himself and kill that suspect, are these details.

The agent who shot and killed Todashev, reportedly shot him 7 times including in the head and chest.  I say reportedly, because on July 8th, the autopsy report on Ibragim Toashev was finalized and ready for release.  According to the Orlando medical examiners office forensic records coordinator,

“The FBI has informed this office that the case is still under investigation and not to release this document.”

All of which is not only unusual, but the entire investigation so far has been surrounded by secrecy.  Another issue that the FBI has not even addressed is that while the claim was that Todashev attempted to attack the agent, friends and his ex-wife claim that Todashev was recovering from knee surgery.

Ben:  “You say that Ibragim was recovering from knee surgery, so what was the injury and how bad was that knee?”

Reni:  “He had done his surgery in the middle of march.  For a month and a half he was still on crutches.  He was still limping, he was still in pain and with a light touch to his knee, he would feel the pain. He was still in pain on the knee, he was still walking and limping on the knee.”

Ben:  “Is it true that he was on crutches at the time that he was killed?”

Reni:  “Not necessarily.  He was on them sometimes and when he would feel the pain he would go and get the crutches.”

Ben:  “Obviously it is speculation on your part but why do you believe that Ibragim was killed?”

Reni:  “He got 7 shots and one of them was the back of the head.  Clearly this was an execution.”

Ben:  “How do you know that one was to the back of the head?”

Reni:  “Because I saw the body.”

Ben:  “How do you know that it was an entry wound and not an exit wound for the bullet?”

Reni:  “I can’t tell, I’m not a professional but from what I see and the medical examiner in Orlando says that he had 7 shots, 1 in the back of the head.”

Ben:  “The medical examiner told you?”

Reni:  “Yes, they have told me from day one when I came to sign for the body and to take it.”

Ben:  “And he told you that he was shot in the back of the head?  Incredible.”

Reni:  “He said that he had 7 shots, 1 in the head, 3 in the heart, 1 in the liver and I believe that 1 was somewhere in the shoulder or in the arm.”

What you need to know, is that while the ACLU has requested an independent investigation in Florida and Massachusetts, both those requests have been rejected by law enforcement, saying that it would be inappropriate.

Meanwhile, CAIR in Florida is reporting that a friend of Todashev, was arrested in September and was denied a lawyer for 6 days.  That even though he repeatedly requested to speak with an attorney, the FBI agents allegedly responded, “That is not happening.”

CAIR-Florida Civil Rights Director Thania Diaz Clevenger said in a statement.

“It fits the pattern of abuse and troubling behavior by FBI agents beginning in the days prior to the killing of the unarmed Ibragim Todashev. One can only wonder if Mr. Todashev was denied his rights to legal council  during the questioning that ultimately resulted in his death.”

In addition, other Chechen friends of Todashev say they are being pressured by the FBI to spy on friends and neighbors.  The story here that media just won’t cover is the incredible secrecy surrounding this young man’s death, the fact that he was killed so brutally during an interrogation and to so many people its not even that big of a deal because he might be connected to a terrorist.

Exclusive: Government Program to Control Religious Thought?

Truth in Media: Government Program to Control Religious Thought?

Is the U.S. Government working on a program to…well…program the way you view religion?

A whistleblower who has worked on that program says yes and he wants you to know exactly what has been going on.

The first step towards truth is to be informed.

If I told you that the Defense Department was using taxpayer dollars to learn how to influence people with religious beliefs in order to control those beliefs, would it really surprise you?

Would you think that I am a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist?

Would you care if I told you that the program was aimed at controlling fundamentalist Muslims?

How about fundamentalist Christians?

Here’s the backstory. In 2012, Arizona State Universityʼs Center for Strategic Communication or CSC was awarded a $6.1 million dollar research grant by DARPA or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The goal of the project according to ASUʼs website is to “study the neurobiology of narrative comprehension, validate narrative theories and explore the connection between narrative and persuasion.”

A lot of technical talk there, so lets dig into the details.

The CSC program is actually about creating narratives. Using effective communication, largely video, to control the thought process of groups of people. And ultimately to be able to trigger narratives through magnetic stimulation. At its core, the program is focused on how to win the narrative against Muslim extremism. It’s a fairly interesting concept.

According to documents leaked to us, this project integrates insights from three mutually-informing theoretical terrains.
In short, the goal of the program is to combat and change religious narratives because of their role in “extremist behavior.” The whistleblower who revealed this program to us, worked for several years on the program. They asked not to be identified.

Ben: What were you told about the proposal as you began working through it?

Whistleblower: Yeah, I thought that it was benign. They told me it was about trying to figure outwhat parts of the brain are affected by narrative persuasion. Just to figure it out just for academic reasons. So we looked at narrative transportation which is basically how an individual is transported into a narrative, how they understand it…kind of like when you read a good book you get really enthralled with it.

At its core, the program attempts to map the brain to determine which portions of the brain allow you to accept a narrative presented to you. It’s called narrative theory.

Mapping this network will lead to a fuller understanding of the influence narrative has on memory, emotion, theory of mind, identity and persuasion, which in turn influence the decision to engage in political violence or join violent groups or support groups ideologically or financially.

You see, the project is focused on the belief that the reason Muslims in the Middle East are swayed to religious violence is not because of the reality of what is going on around them per se, but because they are believing a local or a regional narrative.

Ben: The local and regional narrative then is that the brain automatically assumes things because of a narrative we’ve been taught since our childhood, is that it?

Whistleblower: Right yeah that’s true. We call those master narratives. So in America we have this “rags to riches” master narrative where if you work really hard you can become successful and make a ton of money. So in the Middle East, they always use the example of the Pharaoh. That’s the master narrative that’s in the Qur’an, where there’s this corrupt leader that, you know, is really bad for society. And they use the example of Sadat who was assassinated. When
the assassin killed him, he said, “I have killed the Pharaoh, I have killed the Pharaoh.” So they assume that he was relying upon this Islamic master narrative to fuel his actions.

So how does the program change this? Again a lot of technical speak here so stay with me. But it’s broken into three phases.

Truth in Media: A Constitutional Republic Allows Us To Take Back Power From Government

It has been all of 10 weeks since Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor revealed the collection of information on hundreds of millions of Americans by the NSA.

10 weeks and the fallout for the NSA could be just the beginning thanks to what appears to be a growing push for restoring American liberty.

The first step towards truth is to be informed.

Since Edward Snowden revealed the collection of American phone and email records and conversations, there has been debate throughout the country, debate in the media, debate among politicians and debate among the public.

How much is too much?

Right now, members of Congress are considering 11 legislative measures that would on some level reign in the National Security Agency.

The proposals range from entirely defunding the NSA, to repealing or rolling back the bills that the NSA claim give them the power and authority to spy on Americans who have committed no crime. Remember, the NSA has claimed that the prism program is authorized by the FISA and Patriot Acts.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the author of the Patriot Act is one of those who wants the NSA brought into line. Sensenbrenner says that the way the NSA has interpreted the Patriot Act was never envisaged when it was passed.

But what Sensenbrenner now claims is necessary is for the NSA to be blocked from spying on Americans, and accessing phone and email records without a warrant and without some legal justification.

Congressman Sensenbrenner and the rest of Congress had their chance to move exactly that kind of control forward.

The Republican Congressman from Michigan, Justin Amash authored an amendment to the Defense appropriations bill just weeks ago.

It was called the Amash/Conyers Amendment, also called the Liberty Amendment and it attempted to ban the NSA from collecting the anonymous telephone and email records of Americans who are not under investigation for any crime.

Amash argues that the NSA is violating the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Both Republicans and Democrats got behind the Amash amendment but others did not and the amendment failed by a narrow margin of 217-205.

So you might ask…why didn’t more members of Congress get behind this amendment? One of those who did not is Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.

She stood against the amendment saying,

“We need to win the war on terror and defeat the goals and aims of Islamic jihad and for that reason I will be voting no on Representative Amash’s amendment,”

Amash argues that the NSA cannot legally seize a company such as Verizon’s phone records because it violates an individual’s privacy rights.

But Congresswoman Bachmann says that is not true. “There is no expectation of privacy,”

she says, technically, the government is requesting to see a business’s internal records, which is what the NSA does.
“Individuals do not own the records, the records do not belong to the individual,” but the phone company itself. “There’s no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy on right to the business records exception.”

But that point is debatable. The “government”, for instance, the IRS isn’t asking to see Verizon’s financials. In this case the NSA is demanding access to private information and despite what Congresswoman Bachmann says, that information is not Verizon’s alone. It is information that is gathered under a contract agreement with the customer and nothing in the terms of service agreement explicitly states that government agencies will be reviewing that personal information.

Interesting that Congresswoman Bachmann who believes that Obamacare is a huge intrusion into the private lives of Americans does not believe that Verizon customers have a right to privacy.

But what you need to know actually goes back to what Congressman Sensenbrenner said about the Patriot Act.

Remember, I told you that he claims he had no idea the Patriot Act would be used in this way by the NSA. Well that is the lesson that needs to come from all this.

The Patriot Act was rushed into law just after September 11th, 2001 as Congress threw its hands in the air and decided that safety was more important than liberty. Government agencies took a law that allowed the Constitution to be trampled and handed a blank check to government agencies. 12 years later, we’re surprised that the feds are abusing that power?
Some people say that once you give government a power they will never give it back and that is true. But that doesn’t mean that power can’t be taken back. That is the beauty of a constitutional republic.

Is Monsanto America’s Best Example of Crony Capitalism?


It is a name that Americans are hearing more and more, Monsanto.

An agriculture company that has become connected to the term GMO’s. So what is Monsanto? What exactly are GMO’s? and why are people so up in arms about a company that grows food?

And the big question, is Monsanto one of the best examples of America’s crony capitalist system?

The first step toward truth is to inform.

If the name Monsanto is not familiar to you, lets get you caught up.

According to Monsanto’s website,

“Monsanto is a sustainable agriculture company. We deliver agricultural products that support farmers all around the world. We are focused on empowering farmers—large and small—to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world’s natural resources such as water and energy. We do this with our leading seed brands in crops like corn, cotton, oilseeds and fruits and vegetables.”

Sounds pretty good.

In short, Monsanto is company that among other things, produces the herbicide roundup. But the controversy surrounding Monsanto begins with their development of genetically modified seeds or GMOs that are called “round up ready”. Round up ready crops are reportedly more resistant to weed killer and insects.

According to Natural News, a growing body of evidence does connect GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

According to professor John Fagan, an award winning geneticist:

“The process of genetic engineering always involves the risk of altering the genetics and cellular functioning of a food organism in unanticipated ways. These unanticipated alterations can result in (GMO) foods being allergenic, toxic, or reduced in nutritional value”. – Professor John Fagan, Maharishi University of Management, Iowa

Concerns like those have pushed millions worldwide into the streets to protest Monsanto and their GMOs. In May 2013, two million people in over 50 countries expressed outrage over a number of issues surrounding Monsanto.

The first issue with Monsanto is the safety of those GMOs. But there is more.
While there is growing concern over the safety of GMOs, the United States for all of the requirements placed on the food industry, requires no GMO food labeling.

Whether you agree or disagree on whether or not GMO’s are dangerous, 64 other countries require GMO labeling. Again, the United states does not. Could it be that most Americans just don’t care? Actually no. Despite the lack of political will on this issue, a poll, conducted earlier this year by The New York Times found that three-quarters of Americans are concerned about the number of genetically modified or engineered foods. What’s more, a staggering 93% support mandatory labeling of GMO foods.

So to recap, first, there is the concern over GMOs. Second the concerns over labeling and third, there is the issue of Monsanto holding a patent on all of its seeds.

Monsanto explains on their website the need for that patents saying,

“Monsanto patents many of the seed varieties we develop. Patents are necessary to ensure that we are paid for our products and for all the investments we put into developing these products. This is one of the basic reasons for patents. … Monsanto invests more than $2.6 million per day in research and development that ultimately benefits farmers and consumers. Without the protection of patents, this would not be possible.”
You see, when a farmer purchases these genetically modified seeds from Monsanto, they sign a signed a licensing agreement promising to use all the seed and not to use any regenerated seed for future.

So to recap… the issues with Monsanto, questions about the safety of GMOs are out there though we should be clear. there are those who argue that GMO’s are perfectly safe and no issues with consuming them. There are questions about labeling. Regardless of whether GMOs are good or bad shouldn’t the public have the right to know what they are putting in their bodies and have the right to consume or walk away? And questions about the ability of a corporation to be able to patent seeds, preventing farmers from replanting crops without paying a fee?

Ben Swann Monsanto Reality Check

What you need to know, is that all those questions may actually be secondary to this one, is the biggest problem with a company like Monsanto its relationship with government?

In the early 1990’s the FDA took a look at these genetically modified foods. There were a lot of concerns including tests that showed rats were developing stomach lesions from the Genetically modified tomatoes they were fed. According to Jeffery Smith at the Huffington Post, in memo after memo, these experts “described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens,”

So what changed? In 1994 the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service hired a new administrator, Mike Taylor.

Taylor had worked for the FDA in the 1970’s and then in the 1980’s he became a private sector lawyer for a firm that represented Monsanto.

In 1994 Taylor takes over the FSIS and remains in that post until 1996.
1996, GMO foods began showing up on plates in American homes.

After 1996 Mike Taylor goes back into the private sector and goes to work for Monsanto itself.

For the next 16 months he works directly for the company.

In 2009 returns to the public sector now leading the food side of the FDA.

In fairness, Mike Taylor says he is not Monsanto’s man. That claims that he is bought and paid for could not be further from the truth.

In fairness, I don’t know if that is true or not. What I do know is that regardless of whether or not its true the revolving door of government and private sector and the advantages big corporations have in the system is undeniable.

Monsanto’s influence over food supply is troubling. Their ability to seemingly prevent GMO labeling also troubling. Their connections with people like Mike Taylor who have the ability to control what does and does not show up on our families tables, sure smells like crony capitalism

and that is Reality Check.

Learn more:

More Americans Are “Rethinking” 9/11?

Did you know that a 3rd building fell on 9-11?  That bill board is today over Times Square.  It was placed there through donations to a campaign called Rethink 9/11.

In fact, that group has placed posters and signs across the world, from Australia, to Canada, from San Francisco to right here in New York City.

So what is Rethink 9/11?  Wouldn’t only a fringe group of people would still question 9/11?  Perhaps not, because today we will tell you about new polling that shows a majority of those polled either question the official 9/11 story or don’t believe it at all.  Is that possible?

The first step toward truth, is to be informed.

Here in New York City, today at the site of the 9/11 Memorial, promises to never forget what happened the morning of September 11th, 2001.  But never forgetting doesn’t mean that you don’t rethink what you have been told.

Rethink 911 is the first ever global 9/11 anniversary campaign. Sponsored by a coalition of more than 40 organizations, ReThink911 is placing ads in 11 major cities around the world this September 2013.

But what is there to rethink? According to a group called Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, you need to start by rethinking the third building that fell that day.

Building 7,  behind me.   That rectangular building is the new building 7.  It stands a little smaller but in the same place where the original World Trade Center 7 once stood.

To be fair, the collapse of building 7 has long been the claims of conspiracy theorists. In 2008, the National Institute of Standards and Technology or (NIST) released its long-awaited report on the collapse of World Trade Center 7.  The lead investigator Shyam Sunder told journalists,  “WTC 7 collapsed because of fires fueled by office furnishings. It did not collapse from explosives or from diesel fuel fires.”

But that claim has been taken on by that rapidly growing group known as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Rethink 911

Today, more than 2,000 progressional architects and engineers from around the world have joined together to say that the NIST claim that Building 7 came down because of office fires is not only untrue, it is not possible.  That no skyscraper in history has ever come down that way.

That the way Building 7 fell was without the building tipping or rocking and that in order to fall like this, a building could only come down IF all the internal columns supporting building were to give way at the same time.

Engineering is a technical field but most of us would know this as a controlled demolition.

To better understand the claims of AE for 9/11 Truth, I talked with Tony Szamboti, a mechanical design engineer with 27 years of experience in the aerospace and communications industries and one of the 2,000 engineers calling for an a new, independent investigation of the collapse of Building 7 and the World Trade Center towers.

Swann:  “So you look at this image of the building falling, again NIST says that its office fires that have caused this.  You say.. ‘give me another example?’”

Szamboti:  “There is no other example.”

Swann:  “No other example in the world?”

Szamboti: “They have no other example,”
Swann:  “So this has never happened?  This would be the first building in the world to come down this way?”

Szamboti: “And they say that.  They say that thermal expansion caused it.  What I say caused it and you can cut this out or leave it in, but I think they took out the core columns for 8 full stories, and that pulled in the exterior.  When you have controlled demotion, and when take the core out, you pull in exterior and it comes down.  When you take out 8 stories it all comes in.”

Swann:  “What happens if you leave half of them?  If it is not a controlled demolition and you have a failure of some columns?”

Szamboti: “Then you have a partial collapse.”

And there is another issue of how NIST says Building 7 came down.  The say it was normal office fires.  The technical explanation is that floor beams expanded because of heat and ultimately pushed a single column, column 79 off of its seating.  That, NIST says, caused the entire collapse of the building.  But what NIST told the public in 2008 was the reason these columns were pushed loose is because they were unrestrained.

What was discovered last year in 2012 after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was granted, that claim was not true, that the columns were not unrestrained.  In fact there were 3,896 shear studs holding those columns in place.

Szamboti: “One is, the beams could not expand far enough and if they could expand enough, those stiffeners would stop that girder from falling off.  They were bonded.”

Swann: “But for the person that say, so you have so disagreements on some technical things.”

Szamboti: “No, no, its much more than that, it can’t happen to start.  It would be sorta like me saying, I can put something thats a half inch wide and if i push it a half inch it will fall off this rail and thats not true.  Thats what they’re saying, its that simple.”

There is something else Tony is passionate about.  The claim by NIST in 2008 was that not only that building 7 came down as as the result of office fires but that the north tower fell down because of something called “deceleration”.  Simply put, when you use a hammer to strike a nail, the force used does two things, it drives the nail downward but a certain moment pushes the hammer upward.

When you watch the video of the north tower coming down, Tony says there is no moment of impact where the burning top of the tower creates impact against the rest of building.  Instead it all just free falls.  Without that impact, the top of the tower could not have cause the rest of the building to collapse.

Szamboti: “What a legitimate investigation would have done would be to have interrogated anyone who had access to those interiors.  I’m not talking about office people, (I’m talking about) security people, contractors, those types of people.  That has never been done, that has never been done. I think our government is responsible to do that but we would want it to be above board.  I don’t think the investigations we have had so far have been above board.”

So that is the professional challenge to the official story.   Only a controlled demolition could have brought the building down and again, during the government investigation the evidence of explosive materials or a demolition was ruled out, not because the evidence didn’t exist, but because the inspectors didn’t bother to look for it.

How do families of 9/11 victims feel about this?  Are they insulted by this campaign?  Some may be but others are the ones supporting it.

Bob McIlvaine lost his son on 9/11.

McIlvaine:  “Bobbie had just started Merrill Lynch two or three weeks before 9/11.  Bobbie was VP of media relations, he was going to be writer and he was writing for a PR firm and their only client was Merrill Lynch and they loved his writing so much that they hired him.  That day Merrill Lynch was holding a training on the 106 floor of the north tower.  No one was able to get a hold of Bobbie.  The tower was hit.  We weren’t that worried because we knew he worked at Merrill Lynch.  150 people called him that morning.  No one ever got a response.”

Swann:  “But if he worked at Merrill Lynch why was he in the north tower?”

McIlvaine:   “Well, this is what we are guessing because Merrill Lynch was sponsoring a seminar on the 106 floor that day.”

For Bob the most shocking thing about his son’s death, unlike most 9/11 families, Bob was able to recover parts of his son for burial and he actually received a cause of death from the coroner.

McIlvaine:  “I got up to the morgue, talked to the doctor who examined him. He gave me the pictures, he asked me if I wanted to see the actual pictures and i didn’t want to see it.  I felt bad about it.   But no matter how you look at it, he got hit by a sudden force.  He was impacted by something, yeah, a force, the top of his head was taken out.  His right arm was blown off and his body had lacerations.  If he had been on the 106 floor, we would have heard from him because a lot of people would have been calling out on the 106 floor.

But part of that autopsy reveled that Bobbie was not killed by being burned.  In fact, the burns he received came after he had died.

McIlvaine:  “So post-mortum means that he had burns after he died.  I can say with confidence that Bobbie died, and I can say with confidence before the planes hit.   So the point is, the planes had nothing to do with his death and I could prove that in a court of law pretty easily.  And therefore if the planes had nothing to with his death, who killed him?”

The claims being made by Bob and Tony are compelling but the question we must ask, where is the American public on this issue?  A newly commissioned poll on this very subject finds that 12 years after the 9/11 attacks, there is growing skepticism in the public.

According to that poll, 38% of Americans have doubts about the official account of 9/11 and 10% do not believe it at all.  That is compared to only a minority of those polled, 40% who are completely satisfied.

But there is more. Because when you start asking questions about Building 7, the public is even more skeptical.  46% suspect or are sure it was controlled demolition, compared to 28% who say it was fires (the official story), and 27% who don’t know.  And of those polled, the largest group, 41% support a new investigation of Building 7’s collapse, compared to 22% who opposed.

What you need to know, is that the idea that we rethink 9/11 some would call unpatriotic, others would call conspiratorial, but increasingly, those folks are now in the minority.

How far we come in 12 years.

But regardless of how you feel about this campaign, rethinking 9/11 is about more than just what happened in 2001.  Over the last 12 years, we have watched just about every single constitutional liberty afforded to Americans taken away as a result of our “war on terror”.  We have watched our government take away our right to speech, due process, freedom from search and seizure, the right to privacy of your person or papers, all taken away in the name of security.  We can argue about whether that quest for security has made us more secure but what is beyond argument is that we are certainly less free. Despite all the rights that have been taken away, at least one right that still remains… the right to question who took those rights, how and why.

And that is Reality Check.



Obamacare Navigators Won’t Have To Pass Background Checks

It is called the Federal Data Hub.  Massive amounts of information gathered on every American and shared between government agencies.  Agencies ranging from the the IRS to the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.  The best part there is no opting out.

So who all has access to this information and the bigger question does private information even exist anymore?

The step toward truth is to inform.

There is as we speak an army of new federal government employees being hired by the department of Health and Human Services.  Why does HHS need all these new employees? The answer is simple, the massive new healthcare law,  The Affordable Care Act is behind schedule and the Feds need to start signing Americans up for the health care exchanges as quickly as possible.

So what kind of information is going to be collected?

When individuals sign up for federal insurance exchanges, they are required to enter their personal information into a new Federal Data Hub. We are talking about information like medical records, Social Security numbers, tax information, and bank account information.  This is done by allowing seven government agencies, including the IRS, Department of Justice, Social Security Administration and others, to share and verify information in order to determine eligibility for an insurance subsidy.

In short, basically everything about you will be shared among multiple agencies.  Remember, no actually agency can see or access any information, people working in those agencies do.  So who, specifically, will be able to access this information?

They are called Navigators.  Men and women who are being hired to work for between $20 and $48 dollars an hour.  Sounds like specialized work that will required highly trained individuals, but, not so much.  The requirements to become one of these navigators do not even include a high school diploma.  And even though these navigators will have access to just about every piece of personal information on Americans enrolled in this exchange, they are not even required to pass a background check.

That is what the house committee on oversight and government reform has been told by HHS.

Navigators will only have to take a 20 to 30 hour online course about how the 1,200 page ACA works.

Interestingly, there is another role of these navigators that deserves a mention.  There is more to the role of the Navigators than just signing Americans up for the healthcare exchange.

These Navigators will also be responsible for registering Americans to vote. According to People’s World Magazine in California,

“California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen is designating the state’s new Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. That means Covered California will be incorporating voter registration into every transaction – online, in-person and by phone – it has with consumers.”

So, to be clear these Navigators will have access to every bit of your personal and financial information, federal employees who haven’t even been given so much as a background check.

Of course, HHS says you have nothing to worry about.  Marilyn Tavenner the head of HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services testified before Congress saying,

“I want to assure you and all Americans that, when they fill out their [health-insurance] marketplace applications, they can trust the information they’re providing is protected,”

But how would any American know that?  Even with background checks how can Americans trust that a Federal Data Hub that involves the gathering and consolidation of so much information not be attacked by hackers or compromised by those inside the departments?

We don’t know what will happen but we do have evidence of how some other expansive government agencies with even less intrusion into your life are functioning.  An audit by the Government Accountability Office of the Transportation Security Administration points out major problems in that agency. That includes TSA agents accused of taking bribes from drug traffickers in Los Angeles or 56 cases alleging theft since 2010 including a 2011 incident involving a screener at Orlando International Airport who pleaded guilty to stealing more than 80 laptops and other electronic devices valued at $80,000.

In all, there were 426 cases of neglect of duty and 384 cases of ethical violations like bribery or credit-card abuse.  Then there are the agents who are caught sleeping on the job but the biggest problem here isn’t even the behavior of the agents.  According to the GAO Half of workers accused of sleeping on the job received less than the lowest penalty called for by agency policies. In all, the GAO found over 9,600 cases of misconduct in an agency that only has the power to allow you to get on an airplane.

What you need to know is that when it comes to the National Data Hub, there is a bigger question here than just one of whether or not HHS navigators might be overstepping their role by  registering voters with this personal information.  A bigger question than whether or not the information compiled in this data hub is susceptible to fraud, or corrupt workers.

The most important question, does personal or private information exist anymore?  Chances are the feds would say no.  After all, we know the NSA believes they have the right to read your emails and listen to your phone calls.  So why wouldn’t they have the right to any and all of your private information? Even your banking information.  The federal apparatus that is nearly complete is telling you that you don’t have the right to withhold anything about yourself and your life from government.

But that is simply not true.

The rights to privacy are all but gone in America today.  Consider this, you do not belong to the state.  Your money, your business, your private correspondence and conversations, your identity belongs to you and you alone.  Those in power know it but the population has forgotten it.  It is time that we remember.

And that is full disclosure.

Exclusive: NSA Using Copyright Claims To Crush Free Speech?

Update: Dan McCall tells that it is no longer just the NSA that is claiming trademark infringement. He has now had any of his shirts with DHS parodies also removed from the Zazzle marketplace. DHS is also claiming the that parodies infringe on their trademark. McCall is talking with attorneys and may take the issue to court.

Ben Swann Truth in Media

Episode 3

NSA Using Copyright Claims To Crush Free Speech?


Can a government agency block criticism by claiming copyright infringement? Sounds a bit ridiculous but it is happening.  The NSA is effectively stopping one small business owner from criticism, claiming that by using its name he has infringed on their copyright.

Can they do that?

The first step toward truth is to be informed.

This is a story I had a hard time believing until I looked into it for myself.  Here is the backstory.

Dan McCall is the owner of a company that makes snarky t-shirts.  The company is called Liberty Maniacs. Liberty Maniacs carry a number of t-shirts dealing with lack of privacy and the growing police state.  They sell on a site called

None of it has been a problem—until Liberty Maniacs released a shirt called “The NSA.”

The image looks like the NSA logo but has a motto that is clearly a pun—“Peeping while you are sleeping”—followed by the phrase “The NSA, the only part of government that actually listens.”

Shortly after the shirt went online, pulled the shirt from its website, sending this message: “Thank you for publishing products on Zazzle.

Unfortunately, it appears that your product, The NSA, contains content that is in conflict with one or more of our acceptable content guidelines. We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly.

“Policy Notes: Design contains an image or text that may infringe on intellectual property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and we will be removing your product from Zazzle’s Marketplace due to infringement claims.”

Dan McCall, the owner of Liberty Maniacs spoke with me via Skype and says there were multiple items dealing with the NSA that were pulled down from Zazzle.

“In terms of shirts, two, and then maybe four or five bumper stickers.  Basically anything remotely relating to the NSA was taken down.  So I’m not sure if that was subsequently a blanket policy that Zazzle themselves put up because they don’t want to deal with the hassle and they didn’t want to spend time interpreting each thing knowing they would run into problems or if they were plugged into NSA legal and they were watching things as they go,” says McCall.

So to be clear, McCall was using the NSA logo, the NSA claimed copyright infringement and pulled the content down.

In fairness, what McCall was doing does use the official logo of a government agency.  Can anyone just use that logo?  Actually, yes.  According to both the Electronic Freedom Foundation and the American Bar Association, “parody is recognized as a type of fair use, like other commentary and criticism, and courts recognize that a parody must often take recognizable elements from the work it comments upon.

Courts do distinguish parody from satire. Parody copies from the object it mocks…”

You can’t claim copyright infringement if your logo or image is used as part of a parody.  So the next question, is this logo a parody?

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, a parody “is the use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works. Like other forms of comment or criticism, parody can provide social benefit, by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one.”

“According to the [U.S. Supreme] Court, a parody is the ‘use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works.’ Id. at 580. Like other forms of comment or criticism, parody can provide social benefit, ‘by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one.’ Id.” –Juli Wilson Marshall, Nicholas J. Siciliano, Latham & Watkins LLP

McCall says, “I tried to visually take the most obvious direction at pointing at them that I could. It was their logo.  I just tried to adulterate it a little bit and put a few jabs in there and that will be it. So it wasn’t a huge design coup and it did the job basically.”

Now, what might be the most interesting twist in this entire story is that while the NSA is claiming copyright infringement against McCall for his parody, the NSA itself is facing accusations of true copyright infringement.

Take a look at this image.  This is the official NSA logo for the Prism program. Prism is, of course, the program that deals with NSA spying via email and phone records.

According to reports from England, the Prism image used here is being used without permission.

Adam Hart Davis is a well-known BBC presenter and the image belongs to him.  Here is the Davis pic.  As you can see, the NSA image is just Davis’ picture flipped upside down.  Adam’s son, Damon, who wrote about this in the Register Newspaper, claims that the image is free for use, but a donation is requested and, at minimum, use of the image requires a link to his photo gallery and acknowledgement, none of which he has received from the NSA.

What you need to know is that because the work put out by Liberty Maniacs is clearly a parody, it is not copyright infringement.  That is the easiest part of this story.

But the bigger issue here is the issue of free speech. It is a first amendment issue. McCall sees it that way as well.

“First amendment issues affect everybody and it specifically affects everybody who is expressing themselves—any artist, whether on the right or on the left or in the middle or whatever side.  If you are not allowed to express yourself artistically or in many other ways, we have taken a turn for the worse,” says McCall.

Bottom line, there is no gray area here.  But the NSA is a very powerful government agency. They don’t need a gray area or even to be right to get companies like to cooperate.

This is why Internet piracy bills like SOPA and PIPA and CISPA are so dangerous.  If those bills become law, all the feds have to do is claim copyright infringement to shut down an entire site.  They don’t have to be right.

Dan McCall’s story is just a taste of what happens when government agencies decide they will enforce laws but not be subject to them.

And that is Reality Check.





NSA’s Criminal Activity


Click Here For The Full Transcript Of This Episode
Here you will find links, images and video that pertains to this
week’s Full Disclosure.

Read for yourself, Patriot Act section 215:


Patriot Act