Introducing Stark Realities with Brian McGlinchey, a Substack Newsletter

My journalism will now appear exclusively in an email newsletter format—and I hope you’ll join me

“Invigoratingly unorthodox perspectives for intellectually honest readers”

Stark Realities LogoHi, this is Brian McGlinchey—founder, editor and sole writer of 28Pages.org—announcing my move to a new writing platform: Stark Realities with Brian McGlinchey, a Substack email newsletter.

Stark Realities sets out to undermine official narratives, demolish conventional wisdom and expose fundamental myths across the political spectrum—with original reporting, deeply unorthodox policy arguments and excavations of key events buried by establishment media.

https://starkrealities.substack.com/

That same spirit inspired me to create 28Pages.org. While 28Pages.org began with a singular focus, Stark Realities will cover a broad range of foreign and domestic topics.

My first post, Why I’m Launching Stark Realities, includes a look back at my creation of 28Pages.org and some of the up-and-down experiences as an independent journalist here—including what it’s like to be a victim of Facebook’s algorithms. 

Q&A

What will Stark Realities cover? In addition to the War on Terror and foreign policy, expect insightful reporting and policy arguments on everything from current events and history to economics, public health policy, criminal justice, tax policy, the war on drugs, gun control, the Federal Reserve and more. You can learn more here

How do I sign up for Stark Realities? If you’re an email subscriber at 28Pages.org, you’ll automatically receive the free articles I write at Stark Realities. (You can unsubscribe whenever you’d like.) If not, you can sign up for Stark Realities here.

Is there more to Stark Realities than free content? Yes. After a while, some articles and features will only be available to subscribers. For $5 a month or $50 a year, subscribers get:

  • Every thought-provoking Stark Realities article, published about once a week
  • Full access to the growing Stark Realities archive
  • Discussion-thread conversations with your fellow subscribers and me
  • The satisfaction of supporting truly independent journalism

Why does Stark Realities have a paid-subscription tier? This newsletter marks my move to full-time journalism. While I did receive some contributions at 28Pages.org for which I’m very grateful, it was overwhelmingly a pro bono undertaking for me. 

Why did 28Pages.org go quiet? Largely because of Silicon Valley’s increasingly restrictive control of what people see and hear. 

As part of a broader drive to stamp out “misinformation,” Facebook aggressively reduced the visibility of my posts there to a tiny percentage of the thousands of followers who’d explicitly expressed their wish to see them. 

It didn’t matter that I adhered to the highest standards of journalism and had broken stories that were followed up on by major news organizations. In the eyes of Facebook, independent journalism is suspect and the New York Times is the gold standard—never mind that the Times was instrumental in misleading the public into believing false claims of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program. 

Facebook’s de facto banning was a major blow to my ability to reach my established audience, much less expand it. That, along with some uncertainty about what to do next with 28Pages.org—named for goal that had been accomplished—helps explain why my writing here stopped. 

Why is Stark Realities using an email newsletter format?  Newsletters let readers and independent journalists bypass social media gatekeepers and form direct connections. There’s no risk of working hard to build a social media following, only to have it neutralized by a black box algorithm or the whims of a nameless, faceless employee in a Silicon Valley cubicle. 

Newsletters are becoming an important weapon in the brewing revolt against censorship by Silicon Valley and restraints imposed on writers by corporate media outlets. Notably, Glenn Greenwald recently abandoned The Intercept and moved to Substack’s newsletter platform, which will also host Stark Realities.

How can I help Stark Realities succeed? Aside from purchasing a subscription, please spread awareness by:

  • Sharing this announcement with others who are familiar with 28Pages.org. Most of my readers don’t follow this site by email, and won’t hear this news unless you tell them.
  • Sharing the Stark Realities “about” page with others who enjoy independent journalism
  • Forwarding Stark Realities articles
  • Posting links on social media
  • Following @_starkrealities on Twitter

What will happen to 28Pages.org and its social media accounts? I’ll maintain the website so its more than 150 articles continue to serve as a resource. If you were following @28Pages on Twitter, you’re now following @_starkrealities, since I’ve changed the account name and username. The Facebook account has also been converted (for whatever that’s worth.) 


Thank you so much for following my work at 28Pages.org and especially for being a part of the successful campaign to release the 28 pages.

That campaign was well underway before 28Pages.org, and had more prominent leaders than me both in and out of government. However, I’m proud to have added my hands to the good side in a tug of war that pitted transparency advocates and 9/11 victims against the formidable national security establishment and its ally—not ours—Saudi Arabia.

Best wishes and I hope to see you at Stark Realities.

Sincerely,

Brian P. McGlinchey

“Brian McGlinchey is an absolutely outstanding reporter, with an enviable record in breaking stories and making waves” —Andrew Cockburn, Washington Editor, Harper’s Magazine
“By keeping the public informed, 28Pages.org was instrumental in our effort to get the 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 report released for the victims’ families.” —Thomas Massie, United States Congressman
“Brian McGlinchey is one of the most talented hell-raisers around” —James Bovard, Columnist, USA Today
Invigoratingly unorthodox perspectives for intellectually honest readers

DOJ Ignores Allegations of Saudi Lobbying Misconduct

U.S. military veterans say Qorvis Communications tricked them into unknowingly lobbying on behalf of Saudi Arabia

Campaign against law enabling 9/11 victims to sue kingdom used unregistered agents, failed to provide required disclosures

By Brian P. McGlinchey

In March 2017, a group of 9/11 families presented the Department of Justice with 17 pages of detailed allegations that Qorvis Communications had, on behalf of Saudi Arabia, conducted a lobbying campaign against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) characterized by extensive violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Continue reading

Senate, House Measures Urge Release of 9/11 Documents

Update: The Senate resolution has passed. Now, call your House representative and urge them to cosponsor H.Res.663.

By Brian P. McGlinchey

As the world marks the seventeenth anniversary of 9/11, legislators have introduced resolutions in both the House and Senate urging the broad declassification of U.S. government documents relating to the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

As with the successful drive to declassify 28 pages on Saudi government links to the 9/11 attacks, this latest effort has support on both sides of the aisle. Continue reading

Exclusive: FBI Told Former Agent Not to Help 9/11 Victims Build Case Against Saudi Arabia

Author of 9/11’s famed “Phoenix Memo” was told White House’s pursuit of warm relations with kingdom comes first

Former Senate intelligence chair Bob Graham calls FBI’s action “a fundamental assault on the principle of democracy”

By Brian P. McGlinchey

Kenneth Williams

A retired FBI counterterrorism agent with a notable role in the story of 9/11 says the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel told him not to cooperate with attorneys representing 9/11 victims in their suit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because it could harm U.S.-Saudi relations.

In an exclusive interview with 28Pages.org, Kenneth Williams, author of an ignored July 2001 memo warning that Osama bin Laden may be training pilots in the United States, explains why he has now decided to ignore the FBI’s instructions, Continue reading

Saudis, Ex-Spies and a DC Socialite: Highlights From Lobbying Firm’s Report to DOJ

Figure in vet lobbying scandal returns to collect another $79,000; Qorvis rubs elbows with secretive opposition research firm

By Brian P. McGlinchey

Lobbying and public relations firm Qorvis MSLGROUP has filed its latest semiannual disclosure forms with the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agent Registration Act office, covering the period from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

Qorvis plays a central role in the expansive Saudi effort to influence not only U.S. foreign policy and public opinion, but even the American judicial system. Here are some points of interest from the new filing, which Continue reading