December 14th – Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. On an all-new, 4 hour episode of This is Hell!, Chuck Mertz sees shadowy figures everywhere he turns, and it’s not just his weird eyesight problem. You don’t need vision to see corporations spying on activists and bungling CIA missions. At least they aren’t lying about Syria’s sarin – the president can handle that himself.

Listen to the full show:






Seymour Hersh: “Again, I don’t know – but I know that you don’t begin an investigation by deciding you know the end.”

Someone used sarin gas in an attack near Damascus this summer. That was good enough for the president to mount a case against Bashar al-Asaad, but not good enough for a sceptical intelligence community. Sound familiar? In his London Review of Books piece Whose Sarin?, Seymour Hersh reveals who didn’t care about knowing what and when. He talks with Chuck about what we know happened on the ground in Syria (and what we don’t,) what happened in the press in America, and 50+ years of dubious pre-war intelligence

Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author. You know who Seymour Hersh is.

Gary Ruskin: “From public interest to consumer, environmental to anti-war, pesticide reform, social justice, animal rights, gun control groups, nursing home reform groups – all these types of groups have been targeted with corporate espionage.”

We are being spied on. That’s part of life now. We can assume that someone somewhere is gathering data about our communications. We can assume that someone is the government, but then we might be wrong, especially if you have a problem with something a company in doing. Because corporations are now teaming up with former and current government intelligence to spy on the activities of American non-profits and activists. Gary Ruskin just released the chilling 54-page report Spooky Business: A New Report on Corporate Espionage Against Non-profits. The PDF of the full report is here.

Gary Ruskin is Director of the Center for Corporate Policy, a non-profit “working to curb corporate abuses and make corporations publicly accountable.”

Pratap Chatterjee: “Is the CIA really very competent at this? Is Global Response Staff competent at this? Or, just like the torture and extraordingary rendition and drone strikes – they are actually kind of clueless.”

The Jason Bourne movies work because they’re movies, and movies aren’t real. Matt Damon can’t actually shoot people from his car on a high speed chase down the wrong way of the street. Neither can the CIA recruited private contractor who actually did that in real life. Pratap Chatterjee covers the new batch of for-profit warriors fighting, and screwing up, conflicts overseas in Hollywood Without the Happy Ending: How the CIA Bungled the War on Terror for TomDispatch.

Pratap Chatterjee is executive director of CorpWatch and a board member of Amnesty International USA. His most recent book is Halliburton’s Army.

David Skalinder: “There’s a slightly more cynical reason why journalist write about all this pap – they want to sell some newspapers.”

According to Our Man in London, British journalists love covering two things – television and pedophiles. 2013 gave them both in one story, as television presenter Jimmy Savile’s crimes came to light after his death. David Skalinder covers how that was covered and uncovers why the bias and shallowness built into the media’s audience.

David Skalinder dreams of an agile and compelling ideology of the left; but that’s a quiet beat, so he usually reports on the nimble American right, the lumbering institutional left, and the confused frustration of everybody else on both sides of the Atlantic.

Greg Palast: “The Wall Street Journal said Nelson Mandela was the first elected black president of South Africa. Actually, no white president of South Africa was ever elected. If you don’t count 90% of the people – WHO ARE BLACK – you’re not elected!”

Greg Palast put a metaphorical pith helmet over his literal fedora and went big game hunting. His target – the elusive (and relatively non-threatened) financial vulture. From the Congo to darkest New York City, he’s tracked the crooked elites feasting on the remains of the nations wealth in his new film Vultures and Vote Rustlers. You can see the trailer here. He calls in to talk about the media’s new Mandela Barbie, who the Koch brothers turn to for advice, and the men stuffing Chris Christie with cash.

Greg Palast is a serial investigative reporter who gets arrested, gets drunk, gets laid, gets all fucked-up in ways too numerous and embarrassing to enumerate, but ultimately GETS THE FACTS.

Laura Carlsen: “What we’re seeing is a wholesale move towards free market economics at a time when much of Latin America and parts of the rest of the world are turning away from it.”

We’re almost at year 20 of NAFTA and day one of Mexico’s de-nationalization of its oil resources. According to Laura Carlsen, we know how bad the former has been for average Mexicans, and we can be pretty sure the latter won’t be much better. Laura wrote about the trade agreement’s two decade legacy in her post Under NAFTA, Mexico Suffered, and the United States Felt Its Pain in the New York Times Opinion Pages section What We’ve Learned from NAFTA.

Laura Carlsen is the director of the Americas program at the Center for International Policy.

Jeff Dorchen: “If the miscreants on Wall Street spent their time making furniture, they would not have been machinating the destruction of the economy. But who is to say many of them weren’t handy around the house?”

A motorcycle mechanic throws Jeff Dorchen off his zen. In this self-assembled Moment of Truth, shop classes turn into computer labs, furniture prevents financial ruin, mystery men see politicization everywhere or somewhere, font appears indistinguishable from background, Hannah Arendt proves herself right again and moral clarity is gained amidst the grease stains.

According to his contacts on LinkedIn, Jeff Dorchen can do just about anything. He’s a visual artist, songwriter/musician, actor, essayist, poet, playwright and screenwriter.


Producers Theron Humiston and Richard Norwood reenact a Glenn Greenwald / Sibel Edmonds Twitter beef – super weird.






  • pamann

    David Skalinder – the reason ‘we’ make the arrested person’s name public is
    so people are not disappeared, so we know who the government has so we can
    fight for their release

  • http://thisishell.net Chuck Mertz

    That’s a good point. I thought David meant not that the ‘detained’ should have their name kept private, but the charged who are freed. There is a line of distinction there that is necessary, however.

  • Whut$

    I like the rainbro better, dudebro.

  • http://www.thisishell.com/ Alexander Jerri

    This is the only time I’ll allow myself to use “bro” on this website. LET ME ENJOY IT!

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