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Ollie North: hero, patriot…scientist? North has patents on three inventions: the Lightweight Ballistic Protective Device (a bulletproof vest), the Removable Ballistic Resistant Armor Seat Cover and Floor Mat, and the Ballistic Shield (demonstrated, in the patent application illustration, by a ringer for George Bush). These protective devices received patent approval in 1994-95, and North’s company, Guardian Technologies International of Dulles, Va., now sells them to both individuals and government agencies, touting itself as “The Life-Saving Company.” Lifesaving, maybe–money losing, definitely.

North took the company public in 1996, hoping investors would provide a boost. They didn’t. By April of this year, corporate records show that North’s salary had been slashed from $113,740 to $16,014. Although the company announced a “200 percent increase in first-quarter revenues” in May, a closer look shows that it still ran a net loss of more than $160,000 for the quarter.

The deal most responsible for keeping Guardian afloat is a contract from the General Services Administration for body armor and restraining equipment. And how would fans of the retired lieutenant colonel, who frequently lambastes “big-government bureaucrats,” feel about his relying on Uncle Sam to keep his company going? North was unavailable for comment.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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