Category Archives: Polical Assassinations
“We are, excuse my French, in deep shit today because of this head-in-the sand mentality”
I have always liked Jesse Ventura. His improbable election as Minnesota Governor has to be one of the greatest political stories of our time. Never mind the much more celebrated Republican gangster backed dirty takedown of California Governor Gray Davis that installed a tough guy movie stare by the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento That was a well plotted and extremely well executed coup against a sitting Governor. Jesse Ventura was legitimately elected and his bombastic and it was his outspoken, principled style of governance that made Ventura stand out. Well versed in flamboyant performances from his former careers as a wrestler and actor he went from politics to the punditry before MSNBC cancelled his show due to his opposition to the policies of the Bush-Cheney Axis of Evil. Ventura was shown the gate along with Phil Donahue as the nation was duped into following the plans of the Project For The New American Century and their hunger for global domination in the aftermath of the false flag ‘terrorist’ attacks of September 11, 2001 which have been used as the rationale to transform what was once “the land of the free and the home of the brave” into a militarist, fascist police state of cowards, rats and quislings.
Ventura has always been that which is most hated in the doomed lemming colony that is post-9/11America – an independent thinker not afraid to tell it like it is. Ventura is also a man whose patriotism can’t be impugned by the demagoguery of the chickenhawk neocon fascist filth that passes for purveyors of political discourse in this country because unlike the cowards with their multi-million dollar cable and radio media contracts he is a U.S. military veteran who served with honor in Vietnam. The buckets of sleaze typically used by the stooges in the pocket media that are used to electronically tar and feather anyone who has dared to either question the official government conspiracy theories or even worse, tell the truth about this long-ago rotted throughout system don’t apply to Jesse Ventura. Sure, there are the standard snide accusations by the bullshit artists who serve the oligarchy that he is crazy but his heroic service to the country while a member of the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team pretty much rules out the sort of cowardly brutality that brought down guys like Gary Webb or more recently the horrific mass bludgeoning of poor old Helen Thomas. It still sickens me to think of that courageous old woman whose flesh was picked from her aging bones from the vultures jackals in the state controlled media to the delight of all of the elite politico snobs whose tickets have been punched by their eagerness to kowtow to power while their morality has been checked at the door of one of those D.C. cocktail parties that they so enjoy. Ventura has gravitas and brass balls but it is still more than a wee bit amazing for a nationally known personality to actually get any play whatsoever by researching the cherished pejorative “conspiracy theories” and to be allowed to get away with it. Jesse Ventura not only pulls it off but has to the amazement of those of us who understand how the system really works actually has been increasing his visibility.
I am writing this piece to comment on American Conspiracies, the book that Ventura wrote along with Dick Russell that should be a shot across the bow of those responsible for all of the rottenness in this country since at least the day that President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in cold blood, like an animal in a public spectacle for daring to threaten the interests of the scum that actually run this place. Coming on the heels of his successful seven episode run of the Tru TV program Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura the book is an easily digested, wide ranging examination of a number of the more prominent and flagrant actions of the shadow government. By easily digested, I in no way intend to demean the actual writing as something less than intellectual, it’s just that when researching these sort of things (as I do) one runs into some very difficult data to break down, convoluted and deep texts that would overwhelm novices. Ventura’s book is not one of those tomes and it should be a valuable resource for all who question just how it is that the United States of America has become a fascist, war-crazed, corrupt and polluted empire of avarice, immorality and destitution in 2010. This book is a great jumping off point for more in depth research and should if nothing else be either a confirmation or an eye opener that something has gone seriously wrong here in the Homeland.
To excerpt from Ventura’s opening section:
Let’s start out by defining what a conspiracy is. My 2,347 – page Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary says: “a planning and acting together secretly, especially for an unlawful or harmful purpose, such as murder or treason.” Synonyms include plot, cabal, connivance, collusion. Hard to swallow? Thin of the Roman senators who knocked off Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. But I guess we’ve come a long way since then, right? Think Operation Northwoods, circa 1962. We’ll get to that in due course – Seven Days in May, that novel about a military takeover during the Kennedy years, wasn’t far off the mark.
In America, it is the ultimate heresy to dare to question the official line. There are always operatives and ambitions tools, lackeys and stooges eager to slap the “tin foil hatter” tag on those who dare to ask the forbidden questions. During the nearly five years of my time spent writing on co-called liberal and progressive blogs the condemnations were many and scornful by those who didn’t want to tolerate any questioning ofthe big lie of the American Reichstag Fire that was 9/11. To embrace such audacious forms of thought was feared and censored lest many of the sellouts ricked their chance to be associated with their Democrat party saviors as mouthpieces once they regained political power. I learned some things while writing and hanging with those people, you will be crucified for daring to speak on a number of subjects, one being the false flag event that took down the World Trade Center and implemented the always strong undercurrent of fascism in this society, another would be daring to question the intentions of our special friends in Israel, their complicity in domestic spying, the bullying, intimidation and harassment by the Israeli fifth column in America and the skewed media coverage of all things Israel here in America. I am going to leave that entire topic for another time but it sets off the now typical accusations of anti Semitism and blog-swarms and beatdowns are used as a standard tactic at most of the larger ‘left’ blogs. There are of course some exceptions but I have yet to have posted anywhere that the chilling effects of self-censorship aren’t felt. The inability to get the truth out in this flag-swaddled lemming colony is maddening futile and has driven many a good writer to walk away out of frustration. I did it for awhile and more notably the great Paul Craig Roberts, a true conservative and a principled man who chose loyalty to country over party and ideology during the early years of the Bushreich.
While there has been some great progress in getting out the truth (thank God that we still have the internet), the poisonous hydra that is the American gangster state continues to reconfigure, regenerate and counter any progress with disinformation, buying off those who are for sale with the lure of access and the prominence of being a house pet for the establishment in places like Howard Kurtz’s insipid Washington Post media notes column.Therefore it is easier to slander, harass, suppress and inevitably exile completely. Take for example the vaunted ‘liberal’ cyber Mecca that is Daily Kos, a brutal form of repression exists there and over the years a good many have been denounced with much savagery for essentially bringing up inconvenient topics that could alienate the deep-pocketed Democratic establishment talent scouts. I find Markos Moulitsas-Zuniga and his ilk to be about as left-wing as Stalin, not to single out his place alone but as the old saying goes, the baboon that climbs the highest tree tends to show more ass and just because McDonalds is the largest restaurant chain on the planet it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily good for you to eat there so to me it is a fitting analogy for most of the so-called “A list” liberal/progressive blogs. While there have been great strides made towards exposing the long-running criminality in this country since the advent of the internet, it is under siege and it is only a matter of time until this wonderful resource is censored as well. When the Orwellian foot stomping up and down on a human face inevitably comes to take away most of the internet it will be under the guise of national security as such crackdowns always are. The increasingly vile and treasonous Senator Joseph Lieberman and his cronies have been working tirelessly for years to justify the great suppression of discourse and learning that is necessary for the fascist cancer to reach the next stage, and that will be open tyranny. There is a Lieberman attempt to give whoever happens to be the president the power to use an internet “Kill Switch” and this must be fought no matter what the cost because when the ability to publish the truth is gone then hope will be gone as well. The technologies to suppress the internet along with the total surveillance society have already been beta-tested in China and the implemention is imminent here in Der Heimat.
But I digress…
American Consipracies, while far from being the comprehensive documentation of the longtime operation of the dark networks that are driving driving policy and that have existed in this land while operating out of open view is nonetheless offers a very good synopsis. The book covers the Banker Plot, the four 1960’s political assassinations that shook the country, Watergate and the CIA’s war on Nixon, mind control and the Jonestown massacre, the three stolen elections that ensured that the Bush family would openly rule over the country for 20 years, the complicity of the government or more appropriately elements of the government in the illegal narcotics trade, the big lie of 9/11, Wall Street’s rigged game and the ongoing transformation of the U.S. into a fascist dictatorship where no rights to privacy will be respected much less tolerated. I will elaborate on a few of these but due to space and time constraints as well as the overwhelming amount of material I will be unable to go into too much depth at this time on any specific chapter.
“I spent 33 years in the Marines. Most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”
– General Smedley D. Butler
No serious attempt to examine the modern American fascist state can omit the historical context that is necessary to adequately explain our current level of deterioration. Mr. Ventura comes out of the gate with that extremely important yet completely subverted piece of our history that is the plot to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his challenge of the establishment elite with his New Deal policies. Ventura cites Jules Archer’s book The Plot to Seize the White House as his introduction to this suppressed but vitally important tale. With many of the nation’s leading industrialists, finance oligarchs and the big business interests standing to lose much due to the policies of the traitor to his class, it became imperative to those whose foremost loyalty was to money rather than country take preemptive action. These were sort of men who so openly worshipped the fascist regime of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini that he was featured in a fawning article in Fortune Magazine. The wealthy elite had no problems in assisting Hitler either and the complicity of major American corporations and Wall Street bankers in building the Nazi war machine is well documented albeit not well known. The decision was made that Roosevelt be brought to heel and that the putsch (known as The Business Plot) be led by a well-respected military man who would have the credibility with the forces that would be assembled for a march on Washington and settled on General Smedley D. Butler. Butler’s popularity came from his years of service in the military where he was the most decorated Marine in American history as well as his support for the Bonus Army. Butler was approached but his loyalty to the concept of American democracy far outweighed any amount of money or power that the traitors could give to him. He gathered information on the plotters and blew the whistle on the whole thing. They had attempted to recruit the wrong man, Butler’s disillusionment with big money using the military to plunder resources and put down legitimate governments had driven him to write his famous tract War Is A Racket in which he proclaimed that:
“War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.”
While Butler’s honorable exposure of the planned coup busted up that particular component of the racket, he was dismissed and ridiculed by the sycophants and lackeys of power in the press. The Congressional panel that investigated the plot, The McCormack-Dickstein Commitee as is typical when there are threats to the establishment (Warren Commission, Kean Committee) pretty much whitewashed the entire matter while the plotters were let off the hook lest the real owners of America be exposed.
For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.
– President John F. Kennedy
On the Kennedy, King and Malcolm X assassinations, it is far too much to take any sort of an in-depth look at any of those extremely complex and societal altering events in this particular piece. Mr. Ventura does not provide any new information but does a service a service by challenging the official government conspiracy theories which are protected by a media firewall. It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of the state-sanctioned murders of these four men and the altering of the trajectory of history in their aftermath. It was these four killings that provided cleared the path for the rise of American fascism and the militarizing of society. With the festering wound that is the Vietnam war still influencing American politics and being used by a cynical network of operatives to rub salt into the never healed wounds of the embittered it must be noted that all four of these leaders posed a threat to the establishment in that they would end the war years and thousands of deaths much earlier than the blood barters and moneychangers would have desired.
When the country’s four most socially conscious, liberal and moral voices are all silenced within a span of several years that alone is evident of something much greater than the ludicrous “lone nut” assassin theories that are accepted at face value by a dumbed down, in denial nation rendered incapable of critical thinking and obsessed with fear and bling bling. Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, and James Earl Ray were patsies, just as certainly as the box-cutter armed Muslims who were allegedly able to board four jetliners on September 11, 2001, circumvent the national air defense system and fly the planes with such great skill, precision and dare-deviltry that even seasoned military veteran pilots would be in awe into their targets were. That Americans swallow this malarkey hook, line and sinker is indicative of the successful indoctrination programs in the educational system and the mass media in producing lemmings incapable of critical thinking; a reverse master race if you would, only one that perfectly serves the needs of the oligarchy and the Empire. The four assassinations, well-planned, impeccably carried out and successfully covered up are the raw essence of how this system of interlocking networks that serve powerful interests really works once the false veneer of star spangled, revisionist history myth of American exceptionalism is stripped away. Historically, this is the way that every Empire works, troublesome meddlers like the Kennedy’s and King are simply and expediently done away with and potentially dangerous rebels like X are put down like rabid dogs. It is no different here and no different today, only the means have changed. The Sixties assassinations were crude, much in the same way that the Nazis methods were crude, it is no longer necessary to engage in such ugly and barbaric forms of eliminationism when a simple campaign of character assassination can be conducted in a propagandized media. Troublemakers are eliminated much more efficiently courtesy of a myriad of sexual scandals that are broadcast by a media propaganda machine that would give Joseph Goebbels a hard-on. There is always the ability to manufacture dirt on those who threaten the system, a massive and unlawful high tech system of surveillance combined with the ages old trick of sexual seduction are a powerful combination and just as effective as a bullet through the brain minus the messy cleanups conducted by commissions put together to spackle a coat of whitewash over it all. And for the others, there are always the fortuitously convenient accidents (especially small plane crashes), heart attacks, strokes or other mishaps that ensure Joseph Stalin’s maxim that “death solves all problems, no man, no problem”.
“But what’s important in this whole thing is that our policy has always been consistent…”
Another chapter of American Conspiracies deals with a taboo but incredibly important subject and that is the long running involvement of the American establishment in the illegal drug trade. First and foremost the important thing to remember about the fake moral argument against drugs is entirely bogus in that in America the most socially damaging drug, alcohol is completely legal and available to everyone cheaply. Another extremely addictive and dangerous drug (at least in long term health care terms), nicotine is also legal and available to all. Of course the government is able to reap the benefits from taxing both of these drugs (in the case of the lung darts the taxes are skyrocketing and this is an extremely regressive form of taxation) so there is much hypocrisy in the illegality of marijuana, narcotics and other drugs. The dirty secret is that narcotics is a currency in the domain of the shadow government and the benefits of associated money laundering drug profits are big business to corrupt American banks. The entire war on drugs is as much a fraud as the phony war on terror and the benefits to the massive for profit prison system by enforcing draconian drug laws and militarizing police has created a mammoth industry in America to ensnare non-violent offenders, feed them into a carnivorous judicial system always looking for fresh meat, turn them into revenue streams for large corporations and allow for the big boys to profit by picking and choosing winners in the global drug trade.
Ventura speaks of the hypocrisy and wastefulness of the American drug war but also provides a bit of historical context on how the use of drugs has been used to generate profits for covert operations that can then be kept off of the books in a way to circumvent Congress. There is some mention of the historical fact that during World War II that the OSS (later to become the CIA) recruited gangsters and drug traffickers the likes of Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano with his Sicilian connections to assist in the war effort. The name of this effort was Operation Underworld and Jewish kingpin Meyer Lansky was also involved, this is notable due to Lansky’s ongoing involvement with the shadow government, up to and after his organizaton’s ouster from Cuba during the revolution that put Fidel Castro into power. An interesting name that is not only connected to Lansky but also to much of the seedier aspects of the intelligence-organized crime connections that had worked to use the illegal drug trade to finance what were ostensibly anti-Communist black operations but in reality were conducted for the benefit of the ruling class is a man named Paul Helliwell, another connected OSS old boy. Helliwell is notable for running air transport companies with connections to narcotic trafficking as well as a player in the anti-Castro cabal that included such other players as Howard Hunt, Ted Shackley and Thomas Clines.
The early alliances with Syndicate and global drug trafficking figures continued to metastasize throughout the system during the Vietnam war where many of the shadow government figures who had earlier worked on the Cuba project were sent. During the war the black ops specialists were integral figures in the Southeast Asian drug trade in the Golden Triangle. Ventura doesn’t spend much time on all of this which is completely understandable due to the convoluted and secretive nature of the networks. Some more in-depth resources that can be of use in researching this history is Alfred McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin, which is subtitled CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade and the works of Peter Dale Scott, both of whom are experts in the study of the geopolitical implications of the deep state interaction with the illegal drug trade and I would strongly recommend them to anyone who happens to read this and who is interested in following up on learning how things really work as well as integral looks as the real history of the American Empire.
Mr. Ventura briefly discusses some of this history including refrences to two of the more notorious drug laundering banks that were used by U.S. intelligence (notably CIA) for doing business, Nugan Hand Bank and BCCI. Probably the most flagrant abuses of the system to use illegal narcotics to fund black operations came during the administration of the sainted Ronald Reagan who presided over one of the dirtiest and most out of control gang of thugs in U.S. history. Not that the Gipper probably knew much of what was going on, with his notorious incuriosity, his long career as a corporate pitchman turned extreme right avatar and his training as an actor he was the perfect front for the likes of Vice President and longtime CIA operator George H.W. Bush and shadow government operatives including Lt. Colonel Oliver North, William Casey and Richard Secord. With Reagan already doddering and slipping between fantasy and reality (likely the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease) he was the textbook example of plausible deniability and his regime was filled with cowboys with no respect for the Constitution as well as an incubator for the neoconservatives who would play an integral part in the life changing event of 9/11.
Iran-Contra and Oliver North’s involvement in illegal arms and narcotics trafficking to finance a dirty war in Latin American where tens of thousands were tortured and slaughtered to protect the interests of a corrupt oligarchy by U.S. backed terrorist death squads (that Reagan referred to as “freedom fighters” and had the audacity to compare to the Founding Fathers) is what Ventura focuses on. The audacity of the Oliver North operation was at best a deliberate flouting of American ideals and at worst an example of the institutionalized sort of wanton criminality that has been allowed to poison our democratic system ever since the successful coup d’etat that was executed when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Iran-Contra was the blueprint for the post-9/11 world of lawlessness, fascism, propaganda, corruption and immorality that will eventually prove to be a terminal cancer of the American system. Once the lid was blown off of Iran-Contra by reporter Robert Parry (who now runs the outstanding Consortium News website) and Brian Barger there was outrage and numerous Reagan administration officials including Ollie North were charged and convicted with crimes. There was intense opposition from shadow government figures who would decades later prove to be instrumental in the undermining of America from within during the George W. Bush regime, in order to counter the exposure of the gross violations of the law exposed during Congressional investigations there was a Minority Report produced defending the Iran-Contra criminals by a certain Dick Cheney along with his longtime enforcer David Addington.
The long-term societal implications of North and company’s playing fast and loose with drugs and guns was manifested in the crack cocaine explosion which thanks to the work of the late investigative journalist Gary Webb with his legendary Dark Alliance series that ran in the San Jose Mercury News in 1996 was an offshoot of the support of the Contras. South Central Los Angeles street gangs and Columbian drug cartels were running an operation in which profits were channeled back to Reagan’s “freedom fighters”, which the CIA while not directly involved in the planning, control and distribution networks nonetheless protected the operation. The devastation wrought by the crack cocaine epidemic in America had a willing accomplice in the CIA and shadow government operations. Of course Webb had to be destroyed for even daring to write a story as potentially damning as this and destroyed he was, driven out of the profession and into disgrace by the full fury of a pocket media long manipulated by the CIA (see Operation Mockingbird and Carl Bernstein’s 1977 expose The CIA and the Media), primarily the Washington Post. Webb, his ability to earn a living and reputation savagely destroyed by embeds masquerading as jounalists eventually was driven to suicide – that is if it is possible to shoot oneself twice in the head with a .38 caliber revolver. As Ventura puts it:
Well, you’d think Gary Webb should have gotten a Pulitzer. Instead, he got torn apart by the big media. In page-one articles, the Washington Post, New York Times, and LA Times insisted that the Contra-cocaine smuggling was minor, and that Webb was targeting the poor CIA, when he’d never said that the CIS, per se, was arranging the drug deals, only that it was protecting the Contra dealers.
Note is also given to the interesting fact that much of the Contra connected drug smuggling was being done at a small airport in Mena, Arkansas while a certain Bill Clinton was in the Governor’s mansion (of course the establishment always takes care of it’s own – see Arlen “the magic bullet” Specter among others) and that when drug smuggler Barry Seal was gunned down by the Medellin cartel that he had then Vice President George H.W. Bush’s private phone number in his car. Also noted is the “good war” being conducted by the Democrats and President Barack Obama in Afghanistan is another extension of the octopus of corruption that encompasses the deep state and the global drug trade (see Peter Dale Scott’s Afghanistan: Heroin Ravaged State) and begs the question of WHY are we really there? Forget the hokum about fighting the evil terrorists and al CIAda, the profits from drug money laundering are essential to the system and to maintaining the financial oligarchy. See recent stories from The Guardian: Drug Money Saved Big Banks in Financial Crisis and Bloomberg: Banks Financing Mexico Drug Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal. I couldn’t agree more with Ventura when he states:
The hypocrisy of or federal drug policy has to be seen for what it is. When millions of dollars from illegal drug sales are bineg used to fund government agencies like the CIA and beign laundered through our leading banks, isn’t it time to rethink this situation?
It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
I give kudos to Ventura for writing about the three stolen Presidential elections of the past three decades (one, the Reagan coronation was technically more of a manipulation) in detail, too many are in denial over the election fraud that has taken place in what is falsely pimped off as the world’s greatest democracy. While relegated to separate chapters, October Surprise: The First Stolen Election and The Stolen Elections of 2000, 2004 (and Almost 2008) the central theme is the disregard for the very concept of fair elections that is embodied in the fascist Republican party. Never has one American political party so exemplified an utter contempt for democracy, the Constitution, international law, economic fairness, human rights and even the most basic human dignity than the Republican party that rose to power with Reagan. It is vile, dispicable, racist, dishonest and corrupt in every manner and in 2010 with the ongoing obstructionism, the Stalinist purity purges and the virulent brand of Christian white nationalist supremacy has evolved into something every bit as dangerous as Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party. With the USA on the verge of economic and structural collapse due to years of Republican undermining of the pillars of a free society and the economic system that had once built the world’s greatest middle class the disease of fascism is only becoming more deeply embedded with each passing day and lacks only the imminent spark that will ignite the coming conflagration. The foaming at the mouth racist Tea Party movement, originally an honest libertarian concept that was thoroughly infiltrated and hijacked by the worst elements in America to become the de-facto brownshirts of the Republican party are growing ever closer to an outbreak of mass violence including vandalism, pogroms and hate crimes that will be reminiscent in every way to the Nazis. This is the way that the system operates, once the illegitimate Bushreich was forced by Constitutional limits to relinquish open power the shadow government that Cheney is an integral part of, left a stay-behind network, reminiscent of an American version of Operation Gladio. The mobilization of the remnants of the GOP base which has been radicalized by the right-wing propaganda colossus (primarly FOX News) and sanctioned by the corporate media and will be used to allow the fascist Republicans to seize power, either electorally or though subsequent and inevitable acts of violence that are a necessity to such an openly contemptous political party
But I digress….
The first stolen election that Ventura discusses is the 1980 October Surprise secret deal between Reagan and Bush operatives and the Iranian ayatollahs to thwart the reelection chances of Jimmy Carter by holding the American embassy hostages seized during the Islamic uprising that installed Khomeini into power. With the hostage drama playing out to mass media coverage since November 4, 1979 when the embassy was stormed and the Carter administration working desperately to negotiate their freedom which likely would have given him a second term and halted the Republican fascist insurrection it was determined that there would need to be a preemptive action. That preemptive action was the secret deal to hold onto the hostages, depriving Carter of a political victory and virtually ensuring that Reagan and Bush would seize power. While it has never been definitively proven (as most successful clandestine operations are never proven) there has been much investigation into what was in effect treason. There were a series of secretive meetings in Paris presided over by CIA operator and later director William Casey that culminated in the deal to ship military weaponry to Iran using Israel as a conduit if the hostages were held until after the 1980 elections. With none other than Poppy Bush signing off on the deal (denied vehemently but there are accounts as well as a 21 hour gap in his itinery per Secret Service logs) and ensuring that the ursuping of democracy through nefarious means would be pulled off the entire plan was pulled off with crackerjack effectiveness by the seasoned CIA pros.
So, the hostages were held onto a bit longer, Iran go their weaponry to use in their war against Iraq (another of those conflicts where the U.S. profits from arming both sides, notably by later supplying chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein) and the hostages were released to massive media fanfare within an hour or so of the swearing in of Ronald Reagan. While the spinners and debunkers of the Mockingbirds in the media have done with those who dare to question the October Surprise what they did to Gary Webb, those who asked the serious questions about the Kennedy assassination and later to those who would question 9/11 there have been credible accounts by credible sources that lay it all out. Former National Security Council member Gary Sick wrote a New York Times editorial entitled The Election Story of the Decade years after the fact and other investigative journalists have pursued the story with diligence but as with most dirty deeds that have occurred in America it has largely been relegated to be flushed down the memory hole. In an interesting note, the October Surprise has been linked as an integral piece to the INSLAW/PROMIS scandal and ‘suicided’ writer Danny Casolaro was investigating this very connection when his body was found in a West Virginia hotel room in 1991. INSLAW’s highly advanced PROMIS software was stolen by Reagan administration Justice Department officials and a guy named Earl Brian was allegedly allowed to profit off of a pirated version of the software as a reward for his role in the October Surprise. Ventura doesn’t get into any of this but it is a huge piece of the puzzle and reaches into the highest levels of governments both past and present. Perhaps it was too much or perhaps the trail of dead bodies of those who have previously tried to dig deeply into this nexus of evil that Casolaro named “The Octopus” is enough to discourage anybody from straying down that particular path.
The other chapter deals with the theft of the 2000 and 2004 elections that resulted in two terms for George W. Bush as U.S. President. While many liberals and especially Democrats are squeamish about calling a spade a spade and admit that both elections were rigged – it’s easier to just blame it all on Ralph Nader – and work to ensure that controls be put into place not only to prevent the theft of elections in the future but in also investigating and prosecuting the criminals associated with the schemes. I understand that it’s all party of the silly-assed mentality here in the world’s largest lemming colony to “look forward, not backwards” as our glorious leader Mr. Obama likes to insist but it is only another example of how the USA is no longer a land of laws, only impunity for well-connected criminals. Bill Clinton failed to hold George H.W. Bush and the rest of the devious Iran-Contra scum to account and Obama is doing his part in allowing the war criminals, thieves, murderers, torturers and pathological liars of the Bush-Cheney Axis of Evil to slither off into the darkness as well. That is the way that it works in America anymore, plain and simple.
Rather than rehash much of the material regarding the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004 there is plenty that has already been written on the subject, notably by investigative journalist Greg Palast who in his revelatory book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy exposed the massive vote suppression scheme in Florida where Secretary of State Katherine Harris’s office used private contractor DBT/ChoicePoint to conduct voter roll purges ostensibly under the pretense of cleaning up the voter roles to remove convicted felons. The work done by ChoicePoint however focused mostly on removing legally registered to vote blacks and Hispanics who traditionally vote Democrat from roles. Ventura uses the term “ethnic cleansing” when referring to this operation that would like professional gamblers paying off athletes to ‘shave points’ in order to keep the final margin close enough for the fix to be pulled off. Of course it also helped that George W. Bush’s brother Jeb just happened to be the Florida Governor at the time and that Bush family cousin John Ellis who conveniently happened to work for FOX News called the election for Bush in the wee wee hours of the morning on November 8, 2000, followed by the other networks in true lemminglike fashion. The fix was in, had been in and this is summed up in the words of the late, great Hunter S. Thompson:
“There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would Never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying — and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida. It was Nonsense, said the Candidate, Utter nonsense. . .Anybody who believed Bush had lost Florida was a Fool. The Media, all of them, were Liars & Dunces or treacherous whores trying to sabotage his victory. . . Here was the whole bloody Family laughing & hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world on National TV. The old man was the real tip-off. The leer on his face was almost frightening. It was like looking into the eyes of a tall hyena with a living sheep in its mouth. The sheep’s fate was sealed, and so was Al Gore’s.”
Once the perception that Bush had indeed beaten Gore was propagated then no matter how desperately that the Gore campaign tried to contest the results they would be decried as blowing sour grapes, or as the great bumper sticker sloganeers like Frank Luntz so effectively distill it down to being “Sore Loserman”. Despite the withering propaganda machine backing Bush there were still efforts to recount the vote in Florida but then the fascist Republcans began to send in the brownshirts. A manual recount in Miami-Dade County was shut down when dozens of angry shrieking white men descended en masse to hector, harass and intimidate the canvassers. It was spun in the corporate media as citizen outrage (much like the later Tea Bagger bunds that shut down town hall meetings last summer on behalf of vermin like Dick Armey) but later it was revealed that most if not all of them were GOP Congressional staffers and operatives, several frm Tom DeLay’s office. The recount was shut down by Katherine Harris and thrown into the corrupt pit of snakes that is the U.S. Supreme Court where power was formally awarded to George W. Bush and the New American Century had it’s first man on the white horse.
The 2004 election was similarly gamed in the state of Ohio, a good resource for this outside of Ventura’s book would be Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s piece Was the 2004 Election Stolen? , there were dirty tricks aplenty, malfunctioning (intentionally?) electronic voting machines and more “ethnic cleansing” with GOP provided “caging lists” that identified minority voters who could potentially be intimidated by thugs at the polling places. Ventura also alleges, as have others that Karl Rove and Company were hellbent on doing the same thing in 2008 but out of fear that they would get caught this time refrained from doing so. It is of great interest that a technical wizard for the Republicans, a guy named Mike Connell was being pressured by authorities over his role in Ohio during the 2004 elections and this likely spooked Rove. We’ll never know what Connell knew about stolen elections, he was killed when his private plane crashed in December 2008 – no man, no problem.
“A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.”
An act of catastrophic terrorism that killed thousands or tens of thousands of people and/or disrupted the necessities of life for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, would be a watershed event in America’s history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented for peacetime and undermine Americans’ fundamental sense of security within their own borders in a manner akin to the 1949 Soviet atomic bomb test, or perhaps even worse. Constitutional liberties would be challenged as the United States sought to protect itself from further attacks by pressing against allowable limits in surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and the use of deadly force. More violence would follow, either as other terrorists seek to imitate this great “success” or as the United States strikes out at those considered responsible. Like Pearl Harbor, such an event would divide our past and future into a “before” and “after.”
-Philip D. Zelikow (co-author of “Catastrophic Terrorism” and 9/11 Commission Executive Director)
Two of the final chapters of American Conspiracies, What Really Happened on September 11? and The Secret Plans to End American Democracy are really related and for the sake of brevity I will discuss them both at the same time. To begin with, the official government conspiracy theory on the ‘terrorist’ attacks of September 11, 2001 is hogwash. There is absolutely no way that 19 so-called Muslim fanatics could with the help of only box-cutters and GPS tracking devices successfully hijack four jetliners and carry out those highly effective attacks. The obvious number one hole in the official conspiracy theory, at least in MY opinion is that this would have been impossible, not only would the so-called amateurs have been unable to acquire such precision flying skills in small, independent flight schools but to do so without triggering any sort of intercept protocol is ludicrous. But this is America so anything is believed if the sheep and lemmings see it on TV. On TV Bruce Willis and a motley crew of oil patch roughnecks can be trained to be astronauts who will be able to successfully fly around the moon, reach the sufficient level of gravity defying inertia to overtake a mammoth planet destroyer sized asteroid hurtling towards Earth and then blow up the asteroid therefore saving the human race from extinction. In America that is accepted as reality as surely as the mythical and overhyped skills of the 19 ‘terrorists’ – in reality, real reality, it’s total bullshit.
There are more holes in the official government conspiracy theory of what really happened on September 11, 2001 than there are the reasoning capability of the average American right-winger. Not only were the 19 Muslim fanatics able to pull off their amazing feats of aerial attack but the accounts that the purportedly devout religious fanatics is in and of itself more total bullshit. There are accounts that these supposed holy warriors enjoyed getting drunk, snorting cocaine, hanging out in strip clubs and soliciting the services of prostitutes – this is hardly behavior that is conducive to being prepared to go to Allah. As with Lee Harvey Oswald and other patsies, there are already cover stories in place preparing to be rolled out to a traumatized populace, in a matter of days the names of all of the alleged hijackers were released along with a damning trail of evidence found in rental cars in the parking garages of Boston’s Logan airport and Washington’s Dulles airport containing such material as flight manuals, instructional videos on flying aircraft, Islamic prayer books, damning letters of intent/suicide notes and more box-cutters. There was also the ludicrous account of the ‘terrorist’ passport that survived the fiery inferno of the plane hitting the World Trade Center and was ‘found’ on the street below. There is WTC 7 and the failure to account for the 47 story buildings collapse as well as video that is very reminiscent of a controlled demolition, the frantic effort to remove all of the evidence of the collapsed WTC buildings and get it the hell out of the country, the nonsense about what really happened to United 93 and most importantly how not one of the planes was subject to normal procedures to intercept, re-route and as a last resort shoot down hijacked airliners. There is just no way to get into the real details of it all here, so massive is the evidence that contradicts the official story. Ventura does a good job of summing it up in a 21 page chapter but the contradictions are as voluminous as they are obvious.
As with the assassination of President Kennedy it is much simpler to wonder WHY instead of WHO or HOW. The very workings of the Deep State, the National Security State and the elements that have come to control it are what really need to be examined, for it is very obvious that when the works and ideologies of the neoconservatives, the PNAC group, the Military Industrial Complex and the oligarchy that 9/11 is more of an exercise in amoral ‘the ends justify the means’ thinking than in anything rooted in national security. The entire war on terror concept is something to sell to the rubes, an extension of Plato’s noble lie and the theories of men like Leo Strauss as embraced by the neocons and men like Zbiginew Brezinski, Henry Kissinger and the rest of the elite whose value systems and vision is more concerned with projection of the power of Imperial America, the securing of natural resources and access to strategic geopolitical regions have no qualms with the blood sacrifice of a few thousand pawns, slaves or as Herr Kissinger relishes in describing lesser beings than he as: “useless eaters”.
One of the great linquistic tricks of the professional shills and debunkers is to somehow twist an argument about a false flag event staged by rogue elements of the government into somehow being an accusation that the entire thing was known about and carried out by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Bush of course is an idiot, a spoiled child of privilege who just happened to be a convenient front man for the agents of the true powers in this country. Cheney of course would have been involved, that much is a near certainty given his history, his affiliations as well as his levels of access. It was Cheney who was in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center while Bush was rushed out of the Florida classroom and away from My Pet Goat to be flown around for hours while the emergency plans were implemented, these were critical hours in ensuring that all would go as planned. Excerpting from a 1969 Time Magazine article on Edward Luttwak’s Coup d’etat: A Practical Handbook entitled How To Seize a Country:
Unlike a revolutionary assault from the outside, Luttwak notes, a coup is an inside job, done by a government’s own members. It involves minimal manpower and bloodshed. As in judo, the secret is to use leverage and make a state overthrow itself. Bureaucracy facilitates this by severing the loyalties that once personally bound rulers and their servants. A modern bureaucrat follows impersonal orders; if his immediate boss is subverted, the bureaucrat tends to obey orders blindly, even orders designed to topple his own government. According to Luttwak, a coup requires three preconditions: 1) a highly centralized government with a seizable seat of power, 2) a passive people not likely to react to a takeover and 3) the assurance that no foreign power will intervene.
While 9/11 may not have been an actual coup d’etat, at least not in the context of an entire takeover of a state by a cabal of plotters, a military junta or a government in waiting it was the golden opportunity for a certain faction, a government within a government to assert their power and their vision for the future absent any form of resistance.
“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
In closing his book, Mr. Ventura gets to the current state of affairs in our terminally corrupted and rapidly closing society. Thanks to the pretense of the war on terror the United States is now in the final stages of completing what has been at least a half-century long usurping of the power of the people in order to use the state to best represent the privileged, well-moneyed fascists. The ‘terrorist’ attacks of 9/11 and the now set in stone forever justification to plunder the planet, kill inhabitants of those countries that don’t fall in line and implement the American Empire by military force that serves big banks and corporations is something that absent and unpredictable and catastrophic event will continue for at the rest of the lives of everyone who is reading this today.
The wars of the Bush-Cheney administration in Iraq and Afghanistan continue and in the case of Afghanistan has been escalated by Barack Obama and his administration. There is also an undeclared war in Pakistan as well as the looming threat of a ruinous war with Iran, goaded on by the right-wing lunatics in charge of the Israeli government as well as the resurgent neoconservatives who will soon be returned to power by the ingorant and short-sighted who are so easily duped. Economic troubles are continuing to worsen despite the establishment media’s propagand of the glorious recovery which in effect was nothing more than a rescue for the corrupt and greedy Wall Street gamblers whose schemes have been allowed to strip-mine this lemming colony for decades. With the economic malaise comes hopelessness and with hopelessness comes desperation, a populace already conditioned to hate each other by highly paid establishment demagogues will have no problem when the next ‘terrorist’ attack occurs, there will be no shortage of patsies nor of scapegoats and any resistance will be snuffed out by either the police state that is now in place courtesy of a decade of fear-mongering or by organized mobs turned loose with the sanctioning (unofficial of course) of those who will be running the state apparatus when the time comes.
The Bush-Cheney regime took full advantage of their opportunities to justify a creeping tyranny here in a place that in the aftermath of the American Reichstag Fire was renamed as “The Homeland”. For those who could have stood in the way of the rising fascist tide there were ruined careers as networks and newspapers began to fire reporters who were not sufficiently loyal to the new crusades. There were the neo-McCarthyist stigmas of not being sufficiently patriotic, attacks by vicious thugs in the right-wing propagandized media and for those who were in a position of power,there were letters laced with weapons grade anthrax. The horror and carnage of 9/11 were exploited by a virulently fascist Republican party to bludgeon highly traumatized Americans into an eerie sort of passive and non-inquisitive populace to support nationalism, jingoism, the worship of the military and most importantly the bloodlust to support the illegal invasions and occupations.
Accompanying the imperialist shock and awe blitzkrieg was an evisceration of the civil liberties, privacy rights, presumption of innocence and freedoms enjoyed in America by a surveillance/intelligence explosion all using the ‘terrorist’ attacks as a rationale. It was one that was sadly accepted by far too many, both without and within the cowardly and corrupted government. Ventura elaborates on a good deal of this in his final chapter including the acceptance and codifying of torture as national policy (I might add that this could not have been accomplished without the monumentally successful propaganda provided by such TV programs as the enormously popular 24 with ‘head crackin’ Jack Bauer), elimination of Habeas Corpus as well as the essential revocation of the Posse Comitatus Act. In addition to the erosion of the Constitution which was just a “goddamned piece of paper” according to one George W. Bush. The phony war on terror saw an explosion in private security (or more appropriately mercenary) contractor corporations such as Blackwater (Xe) and Triple Canopy among others that operated without any legitimate oversight. Blackwater would become especially notorious with the trigger happy goons that the company employed being involved in numerous murders of civilians in Iraq. CEO Erik Prince’s history as a ‘Christian’ zealot only contributed to the war of civilizations them that was being sold by the compromised media and resonated especially strongly with the dead-enders, haters and thugs that now have moved from the Republican base to the Tea Party.
Ventura also writes of some of the history of the shadow government in examining the history of FEMA and the connections to the Reagan administration, most notably the previously mentioned Oliver North and the REX 84 program that would have suspended the Constitution under the premise of an emergency response to an unknown incident (s) triggering widespread civil disorder. When you hear highly paid shills for fascism like Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann ranting insanely about concentration camps they are only acting as disinformation agents who minimize the existence of such facilities which there have been and continue to be plans for the roundup and imprisoning of dissidents, troublemakers and others that the establishment deems to be dangerous when the time comes. Can it happen here? It already has, go and read up on Manzanar or any of the other detention camps where tens of thousands of innocent Japanese American citizens were interned during World War II. REX 84 was just one of a host of contingency plans such as Cable Splicer and Operation Garden Plot. All such programs are functional parts of the shadow government or more formally known as the Continuity of Government (C.O.G.) programs that were put into place ostensibly as a way to maintain a functional command structure in the event of a Cold War era decapitation strike. In essence these programs served as a parallel command structure to the official government. The involvement of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld with C.O.G. is now well known and the existence of such an entity runs counter to anything even remotely resembling American ideals. There is much more in depth material on this entire subject than is possible to go into here and Ventura merely scratches the surface in his book.
The current state of the union with an ongoing looting spree by the Wall Street criminals with of course the full compliance of their whores in governement is a state of chaos and anger. Combine the destruction of the middle class by the moneychangers with environmental damage caused by the B.P. oil fountain at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico which has real potential to affect an already depleting food supply, mass structural unemployment, a failed legitimate political system and an addiction to war that knows no bounds and the future, as Leonard Cohen sang, is murder. Just as Obama and his corrupt and incompetent administration have done absolutely nothing to fix the economy for real people who are unable to shovel millions upon millions of dollars into lobbyists and political campaigns the real failure has been in allowing the worst abuses of his treasonous predecessor to go unchecked. With political cowardice, pervasive corruption and out of his now completely in over his head amateurism rapidly eroding whatever legitimacy that the terminally failed goverment has left it will be very soon that the berserkers will multiply and will emerge with a champion who will be as deserving of the title of the “new Hitler” as those who are regularly affixed with it out of necessity to launch unprovoked military attacks are not. The powers of the police state only continue to expand as do the tools of oppression that American lemmings are now being indoctrinated to accept. There are the new naked body scanners in the nation’s airports (likely coming soon to stadiums, shopping malls and public checkpoints near you), the imminent crackdown on freedom of speech and assembly, surveillance cameras multiplying exponentially, the continuing militarization of the police, programs like InfraGuard and TIPS, fusion centers, DNA databases and the coming implantable chips and devices that will be sued to suppress, control, track and eradicate freedom that are at the ready to be rolled out when the time comes…and it is coming very, very soon.
It will all be done under the premise of fear and the sales pitch will once again be that the American sheeple are going to need the government to keep them safe. Safety is understandable by those who have been terrorized for life by the state run media but there is also the unspoken need by many to use the powers of the police state to facilitate the roundup and eradication of those who are scapegoated like black and brown people, Muslims, gays and the intensely hated liberals. As Goering so eloquently put it, “it works the same in any country.”
In conclusion, Jesse Ventura gets so much of it right in American Conspiracies but the advanced state of decay has become so irreversible and deeply embedded into virtually every institution that a lot is left out. It was a bit disappointing that Ventura didn’t get to the assimilation of Nazi war criminals into the American intelligence services in the post WWII years under the guise of fighting communism, or the October Surprise related PROMIS software storyline that is the very nexus of the police state. The PROMIS software and it’s derivatives (notably Main Core) have been used to provide the state and it’s agents with the ability to use high-technology to conduct illegal surveillance, set up blackmail traps and manipulate financial markets, it is this ability to spy and control that is at the very heart of any dictatorship. Hopefully there will be a sequel or better yet ongoing efforts by others to circumvent the entire corporate, state-controlled, elitist media to get out the real truth.
– President John F. Kennedy
Secrecy is the slayer of liberty, it is the essence of which dictatorships are made, of which free societies are suffocated by and of which people are subjugated by. When that secrecy becomes institutionalized in the most powerful corridors of government then it is only a matter of time until that government becomes a weapon of the powerful to be used against the people. Today, in mid-2009 we here in the United States of America (or at least those of us who are awake) are bearing witness to the last vestiges of a once vibrant democracy slowly strangled to death by a deeply embedded culture of secrecy. There has been a hijacking of the intentions of the founders who envisioned a free people by a corrupt and immoral oligarchy and those who serve it. It is backed by the rise of a high-tech police state built on on our backs and enforced by Big Brother style surveillance, incessant propaganda and the vicious undercurrent of social manipulation in order to sow the seeds of hatred necessary for divisiveness and ignorance that are protection for the gangster state. Our last great leader, President John F. Kennedy once warned of the danger of secrecy in a 1961 speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association:
The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.
The early days were largely the work of a small cabal, a few rogue networks run by the real owners of America to implement a system that would serve their interests alone and to brutally put down challenges. They would count on the ability of the media and the lies to anesthetize the public at large, amuse them, distract them with emotional appeals, ball games, contests and triviality to provide distractions and to remove the necessary civic involvement for democracy to exist. Today, as we stumble about in a fog amidst the wreckage of the Bush years, the trap is almost closed, facilitated by that holiest of holies that is 9/11, jusfification for everything.
This is the story of the Octopus…
I am going to begin this installment where I left off with part three , the story of the strange dealings and murders at the Cabazon Indian Reservation in the California desert. Emmy award winning investigative reporter Nathan Baca of KESQ, a Palm Springs television station has just come out with his latest installment in the excellent series The Octopus Murders. The series developed out of a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department cold case squad investigation into the 1981 execution style murders of three people in a Rancho Mirage home and the swirling dark dealings that have been associated with those murders. Cabazon Indian tribe Vice Chairman Fred Alvarez had grown suspicious of shadowy government operatives and arms dealers using the reservation as a testing and development ground from which to profit through the supply of weapons to third world regimes, the type of countries in which the U.S. funded vicious thugs, death squads, assassinations, black ops and in which the American intelligence services such as the CIA played a hand in training the torturers and killers. The recent Honduran coup and the revelations that some of the leaders received training at Fort Benning’s notoriously vile School of the Americas puts this sort of destabilization (which was especially in vogue during the era of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush) back into the headlines albeit several layers below the ongoing Michael Jackson saturation coverage.
Fred Alvarez was going to blow the whistle on how Cabazon sovereign land was being used for nefarious purposes by national security state operatives and the contracting outfits (CIA fronts?) Wackenhut Corporation and Meridian Arms Company. When interests of this nature are threatened there is a long history of the ‘meddlers’ ending up dead (typically suicides, accidents or ‘heart attacks’) but the chances of Alvarez blowing up this particular operation which would prove to be huge and multi-faceted, a veritable nexus of clandestine activity during the Reagan years had to be halted with extreme prejudice. So on July 1, 1981 Alvarez along with two friends who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time were professionally executed. The names of the other victims were Patty Castro and Ralph Boger, just collateral damage to the ice cold killers, professionals when it came to protecting the interests of those they were hired by. But sometimes things like this come back to haunt, Mr. Boger’s daughter, Rachel Begley has tirelessly investigated the murder of her father (her website is Desertfae and she also maintains The Octopus Wiki) and the cold case investigation had worked it’s way through the system to the California Department of Justice – where it is now effectively stalled. These murders are the key to a dangerous Pandora’s box that if opened would implicate numerous top political figures, expose the way that the deep state really operates and offer a true glimpse behind the star spangled façade of false morality that America exists behind. It would also show that the PROMIS software, the legendary, highly advanced program that has been integral in the formation of the police state infrastructure was modified for espionage and profit on Cabazon Indian land. To say that this is the story of the century is not mere hyperbole, the trail of dead bodies over the years can attest to that and it is time that it be told.
Joseph Daniel Casolaro 1947-1991
II: Danny Casolaro and the Octopus
How much violence was there in Nazi Germany…before the old Germany, the center of theatre, opera, philosophy, poetry, psychology and medicine was destroyed? How many incidents took place that were not coincidental before it was called Fascism? What were the transitions? How many people? Was it when the first tailor disappeared? Or librarian? Or professor? Or when the first press was closed or the first song eliminated? Or when the first political science teacher was killed coming home on his bike? How many incidents happened that were perfectly normal until people woke up and said, ‘Hey, we’re in a police state!’
According to the book The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro by Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith casolaro had identified a core group of individuals operating within the national security apparatus and their influence in post WW II political history:
When it comes to the mysterious deaths related to this story, free lance investigative journalist Danny Casolaro, who was ‘suicided’ in a Martinsburg, West Virginia hotel room in August 1991 is the most notable for he was getting close to the truth. His body was found by a maid in the bathtub in a grisly blood-spattered bathroom, his wrists had been deeply slashed numerous times. In what is a discernable pattern, many of those who threaten the hidden power are found in hotel rooms, allegedly the victims of suicides even though as in Casolaro’s case the victim did not appear to friends, family and associates as being despondent or otherwise suicidal. In his case it was quite the opposite, Casolaro had been devoted to an investigation into a covert network of spooks, criminals and government officials that he had called ‘The Octopus.’ He had been working on a book and according to sources, had gone to West Virginia in pursuit of a final piece of evidence that would break the case. His files, which he carried everywhere, were missing when his body was discovered. Adding to the suspicious circumstances, the room where he was found was professionally cleaned preventing further investigation and the body was illegally embalmed before the family could claim his remains.
Casolaro had been putting together connections involving some of the most critical and dangerous elements of the deep state and he was threatening powerful interests. He had traced an ‘dirty old boy’ network of the OSS/CIA that had gotten together for profit in the aftermath of WW II. That critical period for the U.S. presented an unprecedented opportunity for some to profit from the military industrial complex (which has never been dismantled despite the ominous warnings from President Eisenhower in his farewell address) and the wave of anti-communist paranoia that would be used in order to justify the most extreme and immoral conduct by elements connected to the U.S. Government.
It is well documented that the CIA assimilated former Nazi war criminals into the ranks ostensibly to be used in the fight against the red menace but many of the scientists ended up participating in the darkest forms of research involving mind control techniques and the evolution of the American space/defense sector where they worked on weaponry. Rescued Nazis were also sent to South America where they would assist in supporting right-wing regimes to against the rise of popular movements that could threaten western business interests. In addition to the merger with some of the most foul remnants of Hitler’s Reich such as the Gehlen Org, the bogeyman of an international communist conspiracy also gave rise to networks of money laundering, drug trafficking and arms dealings that would make the business of the warfare state into a very lucrative trade. Corrupt insiders were able to play both ends against the middle and had no qualms about cutting deals with some of the most unsavory and violent types.
But I am getting ahead of myself so I digress…
Danny Casolaro had been able to find a common denominator, a thread that ran through some of the most prevalent schemes and scandals of the time. Iran-Contra, Reagan’s secret wars in Latin America, BCCI, The October Surprise, the INSLAW case and PROMIS and was set to visit Indio California and the Cabazon reservation. He was onto something and it was big enough to put the fear into some very serious people. Not only was he investigating ties between global arms dealers and government operatives tied to Iran-Contra (one of the greatest scandals of the 20th century in both audacity and magnitude one which is still not completely understood) but the very ascension of Reagan to the presidency (along with the true power that was George H.W. Bush) which was facilitated when a deal was cut to prolong the Iran hostage crisis until after Jimmy Carter was defeated. This is high treason of course, something that the Bushes and their ilk are intimately familiar with but the manipulation of the 1980 election could be viewed as a bloodless coup in that it brought the shadow government into the White House itself. Now another person of interest involved in the Iran hostages deal includes a figure named Earl Brian, an intimate of Reagan who was in on the Paris sessions to delay hostage release for political benefit. For a payment he was allegedly allowed to profit from the sale of the stolen version of INSLAW’s PROMIS software.
Brian’s Hadron Inc, in which he was allied with longtime Reagan crony Edwin Meese would be instrumental in the misappropriation, modification and subsequent sale of PROMIS to foreign governments. The entire sordid business of what was done is a proverbial snakepit without a bottom and it taps into many elements of the vast criminality that had infected the system. There is a very good reason for the trail of dead bodies (including Casolaro), wrecked careers, ginned up charges leading to imprisonment and disinformation that has orbited the PROMIS scandal.
The foreign governments included Israel which now has a massive intelligence and telecommunications infrastructure in place in the United States and it’s all legitimate. I am not going to get into this right now but for the sake of reference please see the following pieces by Gordon Thomas on PROMIS and the Mossad, Christopher Ketcham (whose article The Last Roundup was instumental in breaking the news on the Main Core database) on the ongoing programs of Israeli espionage – Trojan Horse and Breaking the Taboo on Israel’s Spying Efforts in the United States) as well as the following from James Bamford (author of The Shadow Factory) – a Democracy Now interview and the Haaretz article on Bamford Is Israel’s booming high-tech industry a branch of the Mossad?. It is no secret that Israel plays a major part in the PROMIS saga and that will be covered in the next part of this series in more depth.
Again, PROMIS plays an integral part in the subversion of the system itself in order to allow the relatively few with juice who are connected to profit obscenely due to its at the time highly advanced technological capabilities to implement it as a tool of control in order to engage in monitoring and spying on potential threats. In part one of this series I mentioned that according to a Wired Magazine piece entitled The INSLAW Octopus that none other than rogue Colonel Oliver North was using the PROMIS software to support his extra constitutional programs like REX 84:
Casolaro had been concentrating on the INSLAW case around the time of his demise. He had been receiving information from insiders within the intelligence community that would bring to light the use of PROMIS by the government. One source was a civilian employee of the NSA named Alan Standorf whose body was found in the back seat of his car in an airport parking lot, it was set up to look like he was the victim of a robbery. Sources say that he may have been providing Casolaro with proof that the NSA was using PROMIS but as with so many others who crossed paths with The Octopus he became collateral damage.
As to who ‘suicided’ Danny Casolaro and most importantly why, there may never be an answer. Casolaro had his fingers in too many pies and the nexus of evil that he was untangling was just too huge for the investigation to have ended any way but badly for him.
Lt. Col. Oliver North also may have been using the program. According to several intelligence community sources, PROMIS was in use at a 6,100-square-foot command center built on the sixth floor of the Justice Department. According to both a contractor who helped design the center and information disclosed during the Iran-Contra hearings, Oliver North had a similar, but smaller, White House operations room that was connected by computer link to the DOJ’s command center.
Using the computers in his command center, North tracked dissidents and potential troublemakers within the United States as part of a domestic emergency preparedness program, commissioned under Reagan’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to sources and published reports. Using PROMIS, sources point out, North could have drawn up lists of anyone ever arrested for a political protest, for example, or anyone who had ever refused to pay their taxes. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon’s enemies list or Sen. Joe McCarthy’s blacklist look downright crude. This operation was so sensitive that when Rep. Jack Brooks asked North about it during the Iran-Contra hearings, the hearing was immediately suspended pending an executive (secret) conference. When the hearings were reconvened, the issue of North’s FEMA dealings was dropped.
When researching the shadow government or Deep State it is amazing how so many of the same names keep popping up. One of those names belongs to Robert Booth Nichols, a longtime player who was recently back in the news. Mr. Nichols, who died under strange circumstances back in February was involved with the current financial crisis through Sam Israel, one of the thousands of Bernie Madoffs that have been using intricately structured financial instruments, shady hedge funds and offshore banking to destabilize America from within as though it were just another banana republic. The opaque, above the law, rigged games that have brought the country to the brink of ruination for the benefit of a corrupt oligarchy have working blueprints in CIA/shadow government fronts of the past such as BCCI and the Nugan Hand Bank and there is no reliable way of knowing just how much of the finance, insurance and real estate (F.I.R.E.) economy is derived from such shady organizations.
I would strongly suspect that the amount of money laundering, involvement with organized crime, narcotics and weapons dealing that is being currently conducted is stunning. Only the recent high profile cases like that of Alan Stanford who has been tied to such dirty activities as well as Madoff and Israel get the attention but they are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Without digressing too much I just want to point out that much of the post WW II intelligence apparatus including the cowboys who were at the heart of the original Octopus were directly tied to the Eastern establishment, Skull and Bones types from which the OSS/CIA was comprised of. This being said, it is only natural that such grand scale financial chicanery and speculation has come to dominate both the U.S. economy as well as the government itself which is so thoroughly intertwined with the pirates that the schemes of the Wall Street high rollers are preserved at the expense of the millions of lesser beings whose lives are being destroyed by the ongoing greed and the subsidizing of such by a system gone cancerous.
Now back to Robert Booth Nichols who prior to his death was involved in a complex financial scheme with Samuel Israel and Bayou Investments involving a fee of $10 million to be paid to Nichols for services rendered for assistance in the locating of a mysterious $250 billion U.S. treasury note that is secured by 2,500 metric tons of gold that sits in the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Israel, who after being convicted for large scale financial fraud faked his own suicide, allegedly jumping off of a bridge and leaving on the hood of his SUV traced in dust the words “Suicide is Painless” never was able to obtain the T-Note (which was sitting in a London Safe Deposit Company and has been seized) subsequently sued Nichols for get this, cheating him. Now here is the kicker, according to papers filed by Nichols the transaction was conducted under the premise of “matters of national interest” and according to a Bloomberg story (Bayou’s Israel Was Cheated in Scam Investigator Says) was vouched for by a member of the Bush family, John P. Ellis whose previous claim to fame was calling the rigged 2000 election for George W. Bush while working for FOX News. When doing an objective review of the myriad scandals and dirty deeds in America over the past 50 or so years it is astounding just how many times that a member of the Bush crime family is involved but more on them later.
Now what is of greater interest pertaining to Nichols is that he was deeply involved in the Cabazon Reservation activities as well as tied in to Danny Casolaro’s doomed investigation of The Octopus. Nichols had contributed much to Casolaro and he had previously worked as a partner of political prisoner Michael Riconosciuto on projects on weapons development at the Cabazon Indian Reservation and the ongoing activities there through the company Meridian Arms.
Riconosciuto was the technical wizard who performed the alteration of the PROMIS software on the reservation to include the “back door” feature that would go on to figure so prominently in the espionage activities that it was later used for – political and financial. With the activities at the reservation including weapons development, training of paramilitaries and money laundering it was a veritable spook nest and the use of sovereign Indian lands for unauthorized purposes is something that needs to be seriously investigated. Author Joel Bainerman, in his book The Crimes of a President referred to the reservation as a “CIA cutout”, with the revelations in Baca’s KESQ series that three other local Indian tribes were also being investigated in the Alvarez murders and the weapons testing activities at the Cabazon reservation the question is to what extent has this sort of piggybacking of black ops on sovereign land existed throughout the and for how long.
With Nichols being a connected guy he would be a hugely important source for Casolaro, or was he a disinformation agent? According to sources, Nichols and Casolaro spoke often and at length in the month before Casolaro’s demise. Nichols, it must be noted also allegedly had organized crime ties to the Gambino crime family as well as to the Japanese Yakuza. It has already been established that the CIA and Shadow Government had regularly worked with organized crime figures (see Operation Underworld) including those who had been burned by Castro’s takeover of Cuba. Again, the war against communism, Cuba in this case provided blanket justification for lawlessness, nefarious alliances and the deviation from accepted American ideals.With Nazi war criminals already on board with the CIA, ties with The Syndicate were consistent with the pattern. In this context, the question must be asked regarding Robert Booth Nichols and whether he was sanctioned as a contact with the organized crime elements on behalf of the establishment. It should be recognized that the mob played a part in forging the political careers of many an influential U.S. figures, Ronald Reagan and Richard M. Nixon to name a few. and, it would be naïve to not believe that many of our elected representatives are not just as much in the pockets of organized crime as they are with other interests that threaten the system as a whole. (I would recommend this piece as food for thought as it references a current influential politican who has been a party to much of the overt criminality of the past several years, primarily as an accomplice).
The presence of Robert Booth Nichols in the milieu surrounding Casolaro’s research as well as with Bayou Investments and the $250 billion treasury note is just another example of the interconnectivity between the underworld and the overworld. The financial aspects of this cannot be downplayed in the wake of the global meltdown that is largely due to the shadow banking system comprised of offshore banks largely exempt from U.S. laws, money laundering, pools of black money, narcotics/weapons dealing profits and speculative finance that have been a permanent fixture of the oligarchy’s financial matrix. Any legitimate investigation of power in the U.S. must include an analysis of intricate financial institutions, layered in Enron style subversion and patterned after CIA/Wall Street front companies expressly created for the purpose of funding off the books operations.
IV: Tentacles of the Octopus
“We will know that we have succeeded when everything the public believes is false.”
– William J. Casey
It must be understood that there has always been a powerful segment of this country that has been enamored with fascism as the perfect sort of government that would support the long-term evolution of capitalism itself. Fortune Magazine once featured a fawning cover story extolling the virtues of Benito Mussolini’s corporatist/fascist state in pre-WW II Italy and even Hitler had ardent admirers in America. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that the precursors to today’s Wall Street ruling elite were perfectly willing to do business with the Nazi regime as long as it was in their short term financial interests to do so. Let me be emphatic that this is NOT an attack on capitalism itself but rather on those who are able to use the system to advance their interests and agendas and to destroy any and all impediments and obstacles. I would like to opine that the system is fatally flawed and like communism, contains the seeds of its own demise, what is going on right now is a testament to that.
In order for the bastardized form of capitalism that exists today (largely through the machinations of those that I am addressing in this section) to continue to evolve it mush become much more authoritarian in nature, the early forms of fascism are too ostentatious for the more sophisticated era in which we now live so we need to look more to China as the current role model. For profit prisons, all encompassing surveillance, a militarized police state, compromised courts and above all the possibility of disappearance into a gulag system with no trial and the nearly codified indefinite detention along with torture must be a tool for which to exercise control over the dissenters and the rabble.
The conditions for the creation of the Octopus, or as Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty would refer to it, a Secret Team were set into motion with Harry S. Truman’s much maligned creation of the National Security State with the signing into law of the National Security Act of 1947. This set into up the post WW II world and allowed for the use of the intelligence services to be used to perpetuate their wartime stance into a permanent fixture of U.S. policy. The act also created the CIA although its original mandate would be expanded to include the anti-democratic functions that it has since become known for. In creating the CIA, the successor of the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS) there would be no end to the warfare state, only a redirection into clandestine and covert activities that would include destabilization of governments deemed ‘unfriendly’ to U.S. interests, propaganda, sabotage, training and support of paramilitary forces and above all snooping.
Being that the OSS largely grew out of the Eastern Establishment and the Skull and Bones types (from which it drew recruits) it would naturally serve the interests of Wall Street finance oligarchs, corporations, industrialists, oil barons and other moguls.It would also due to the very nature of secrecy under which it existed be a fertile ground for rogue elements, private CIA’s within the CIA so to speak.
I do want to state that the CIA is far from the only U.S. intelligence agency, there are many and too often they are lumped in with the CIA as it is the most prominent. There are at least sixteen separate intelligence agencies and those are only the ones that we know about and there is often collaboration with foreign intelligence to circumvent laws and ensure plausible deniability. The CIA though is unique in that it was created to serve as an enforcement arm for the Wall Street elite and the money power, its primary obligation is not to the United States itself but that element that exists in the shadows. I recommend reading: How the CIA Created a Ruling, Corporate Overclass in America for some very good examples.
The Wall Street cultivated OSSwas established in 1942 by the hated Franklin D. Roosevelt, a man whom the financial elite once tried to overthrow(see the Business Plot) to consolidate intelligence during the war. William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, a powerful member of the Eastern Establishment and a Wall Street lawyer would head it up. Other OSS luminaries with elite pedigrees would include Allen Dulles (of firm Sullivan and Cromwell, another Wall Street business that didn’t shy away from doing business with the Nazis) who would go on to play an integral role in the CIA as it developed. Dulles would be a key force in Operation Paperclip, the assimilation of Third Reich refugee war criminals into the CIA and sciences where their Nazi experience could be drawn upon to serve what would one day become The Homeland. Dulles, who would later become head of the CIA was unceremoniously forced out after the botched Bay of Pigs invasion by John F. Kennedy who was sufficiently aware of the dirty deeds of America’s unofficial terrorist organization would threaten to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds”. The accompanying blowback took care of Kennedy and in what should go down as one of the greatest conflicts of interest in American history Allan Dulles would go on to become a member of the Warren Commission ‘investigating’ the assassination and coming up with the crazed lone gunman conclusion.
It also should be recognized that the fight against Fidel Castro for his takeover and subsequent nationalization of Cuba’s resources as well as property ‘owned’ by U.S. interests including that of organized crime figures who operated casinos out of Havana represented opportunity. With the common interests of both the mob and U.S. oligarchs threatened it would provide a good excuse for the for the CIA and mob to join forces against Castro. The precedent for alliances with organized crime had already been set during the war and the CIA would welcome with open arms such notorious mobsters as Johnny Roselli, Sam Giancana, Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante, Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano and Meyer Lansky brokered by veteran operative Robert Maheu who would later go on to work for Howard Hughes in Las Vegas. The joint venture against Castro would allow the mob to get the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent with certain elements of the government and very likely would lead back to domestic black operations associated with the JFK assassination.
Now let me make it clear that I personally have an attitude of ambivalence towards mob and organized crime in general, it’s just another line of work as far as I am concerned. So with that out of the way what I do have a problem with are government bureaucrats, U.S. military and intelligence and elected officials crossing the line into where they become gangsters themselves by working with organized crime. This is a very important aspect in what has gone seriously wrong in America post WW II in that the lines were not only blurred but the shadow government and the mob (as well as international organized crime syndicates) actively joined forces, knowingly and willingly for an agenda that ran counter to long term American interests and the CIA was responsible for allowing this to happen.
But I digress….
The OSS was also a breeding ground for virulent right-wingers, military men and dyed in the wool fascists with axes to grind against the communist devils. One of these men was General Edward Lansdale, a serious reactionary who was involved in anti-Castro plotting and allegedly, according to some, notably L. Fletcher Prouty was in Dallas on the day of the Kennedy assassination (as were others including Richard M. Nixon and George H.W. Bush but more on that in the next section) where he was allegedly seen in the vicinity of the ‘three tramps’. Other prominent spooks from the OSS would include future CIA chiefs William Colby (also of the Phoenix Program) and William Casey whose tenure under Reagan would occur during the Iran-Contra period and intersect with the PROMIS software ordeal.
General Lansdale, as legend has it, was involved with gold taken from vanquished WW II enemies (see Yamashita’s Gold) and using it to provide funding for black operations. The illegal narcotics trade would also prove to be a useful source in providing operational money for secret wars and off the books operations. Lansdale’s work against the Castro regime would bring him into contact with Theodore Shackley aka The Blond Ghost out of the Miami JMWAVE headquarters [note that George Bush’s Zapata Corporation also allegedly had ties to this operation, likely a CIA front]. Ted Shackley would go on to turn up in an astounding number of scandals and shadow government operations over the years. Shackley was identified by Danny Casolaro as a part of the dirty old boy network that would become The Octopus so keep that in mind. When the work against Cuba was no longer a top priority with the Vietnam War ratcheting up, Shackley was sent to Southeast Asia where he was involved along with other anti-Castro operatives namely Felix Rodriguez, Thomas Clines and Edwin Wilson (among others) in CIA operations such as the Phoenix Program (note also that the aforementioned Earl Brian who was a benefactor of the illegal sales of PROMIS was associated with this fearsome assassination and torture venture as well), the Secret Team was now up and running in another war zone where their skills could be fully utilized. I also want to note that regarding the anti-Castro operation from which so many of these rogue operators sprang also produced the infamous E. Howard Hunt, a veteran spook who at least according to a deathbed ‘confession’ recording had inside knowledge of the Kennedy assassination (this from a Rolling Stone article The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt). Interestingly enough, Hunt would go on to be one of the Watergate burglars who Nixon feared was going to spill his guts about that “Bay of Pigs thing”. Hunt’s wife Dorothy would be killed in a suspicious plane crash which is described in Carl Oglesby’s book The Yankee and Cowboy War in chapter seven which is transcribed here. Hunt, like Shackley was suspected by Casolaro to be a member of The Octopus.
Once in Vietnam, the Shackley operation would draw in the next generation of shadow government figures including Richard Secord, Richard Armitage and Oliver North who would all turn up later during the ongoing operations of “The Enterprise” during Iran-Contra. North and Secord specifically would play key roles, augmented by key neocons within the bureaucracy such as Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, Michael Ledeen, John Poindexter and most importantly Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush. The Vietnam group that had coalesced around Shackley would also be involved in the Nugan Hand Bank, a conduit for dirty money (drugs, guns) that would be redirected to fund the secret off the books spook wars under the ideological cover of the battle against communist influence. The Nugan Hand Bank operated until 1980 when Frank Nugan, an Australian lawyer with more shady connections than the proverbial switchboard and under investigation for stock fraud was found dead in his Mercedes-Benz, the victim of what appeared to be a self inflicted gunshot wound, his wallet contained the business card of William Colby in his wallet. The other half of Nugan Hand was former Green Beret Michael Jon Hand whose special operations experience allegedly included a good amount of work in the Golden Triangle with the heroin trade. Hand disappeared and was never seen again after Nugan’s death.
The Nugan Hand bank with its extremely high rates of return, tax-free accounts and promises of anonymity was a model that would eventually be replicated and in today’s convoluted morass of offshore banking and fraudulent high finance there are likely thousands of smaller operations, of note is the recent scandal involving high rolling Texan investment guru Alan Stanford and his suspected involvement in money laundering for Mexican drug cartels. The system has become thoroughly polluted, corrupted and rigged in order to benefit the Wall Street oligarchy that was so instrumental in originally setting up the CIA. With the blueprint for such grand scale financial chicanery that was originally a big part of black ops monetary alchemy available and the entire system eventually honeycombed with the sort of illicit, amoral types that were all too willing to grab onto the teats of the anti-communist cash cow. With the Vietnam experience an ugly and tragic blight on the American consciousness, Nixon run out of Washington in disgrace and the ruling establishment hydra reconfiguring itself out of the ashes there would be a haven for The Octopus and its operatives within the shining palace of American renewal that would be erected as a temple for the soon to be annoited savior and heroic all-American warrior king Ronald Reagan.
..the Bush Family is so heavily connected and is so interwoven with this systemic fraud, they’re concerned about a cascade effect within the public. They don’t mind if one incident comes out that they can point to it as an isolated incident. What they’re concerned about is the public beginning to understand the level of corruption that exists within all agencies of government and the intricate connection the Bush family has had to this fraud over the decades.
-Al Martin (author of The Conspirators – Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider)
The involvement of a member of the Bush family, cousin John P. Ellis with Samuel Israel of Bayou Investments and the $250 billion treasury note referenced earlier is a continuation of the amazing and ongoing presence of the Bush dynasty in post WW II America politics. The Bushes are generational scoundrels and have served the most powerful interests of the American oligarchy since the early days of the Twentieth Century. There have been a few excellent books written about the family and of note are Webster Griffin Tarpley’s early and rather lurid tome that is entitled George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Kevin Phillips’ American Dynasty and an extremely interesting recent book that has been completely ignored by the corporatist media (other than a few hit pieces) Family Of Secrets by Russ Baker.
The Bush family runs like a poisonous serpent through the recent American history Their deep seated ties to the ruling oligarchy, the Ivy League Eastern Establishment and later the southern fried fascism of big oil, big religion and the sunbelt weapons colossus goes back for several generations. A good resource on the rise of the Bushes would be the aforementioned Kevin Phillips book which lays out the early history of these scoundrels. Further embellishment on the ill gotten gains, murky business dealings and political deviltry of the family can be found in the other two books. The early history of the Bushes is that of patriarchs Samuel P. Bush and the relation to gig oil, steel and munitions during the early period of the American Empire. Sam Bush was a big kahuna for a company called Buckeye Steel Castings, run by members of the Rockefeller family when they were tall in the saddle as some of the nation’s foremost Robber Barons. He would eventually rise to a position of prominence with the War Industries Board as director of the Small Arms, Ammunition and Ordnance Division prior to the U.S. entry into World War I. General Smedley D. Butler was absolutely correct when he famously proclaimed in his seminal tract that War Is A Racket (a statement bordering on heresy in the current militarist America) and it would prove to be a very lucrative one indeed for the Bush Family.
Another early member of the House of Bush was George Herbert Walker ‘Bert’ Bush, a high rolling banking establishment type whose ties to the upper crust of the financial oligarchy, such as the railroad and financial elite Harriman family (Brown Brothers Harriman) would allow for the early fortification of power for the later generations. Bert was a man who was able to parlay his connections and expertise in doing business with Russia and Germany post WW I and he would do much to ensure that Prescott, his son in law would get a primo position on Wall Street, with the lucrative business of the foreign clients who would later go on to infamy after they were armed by the money mongers whose only loyalty was to mammon, not country. It was under the stewardship of Prescott that the Bush family would take a darker turn. As a famous alumnus of the Yale secretive society Skull and Bones Dubya’s grandpa gained notoriety for being one of the Bonesmen who raided the grave of Indian warrior Geronimo and took his skull as a trophy.
It was the Skull and Bones pedigree that punched Prescott Bush’s ticket into the upper echelon of the American fascist club and while I am not going to into these secret societies here, many of which are mischaracterized as being satanic or occult oriented rather than what they truly are which is a bunch of rich pricks determined to keep the game rigged. Skull and Bones is well known for the influential and interconnected members who engage in bizarre initiation rituals and swear allegiance to each other as they work together to ensure that the status quo remains intact. It should be mentioned that both candidates in the 2004 Presidential election, George W. Bush and John Kerry (who ran the Kerry Commission that later would investigate – or as cynics would portend ‘cover up’ allegations of CIA involvement in drug trafficking associated with Iran-Contra) were from Skull and Bones. A look at the roster of alumni from this secret group alone shows the influence of a very small and selective oligarchy in America.
Prescott Bush followed the trajectory of his faulty moral compass (and the call of the fascist elements of his era) to work with Wall Steet interests in helping to build the Nazi war machine, reputedly as a money launderer for Hitler’s murderous regime through the Union Banking Corporation which served German magnate Fritz Thyssen the German industrialist known as “Hitler’s Angel” who was indispensable in providing the financial backing and carried clout that would create what was then the strongest military machine in the world as well as the most bellicose. While the Bush-Nazi links received no attention domestically in our neutered, corporatist media here is an article from The Guardian, How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power and here is a link to another piece by journalist John Buchanan that is entitled Bush Nazi Link Confirmed that was published in the New Hampshire Gazette. The Nazi skeleton is but one of a great number in the Bush family closets and potentially the most damning of all. The Union Banking Corporation would be shut down by FDR in 1942 under the Trading With the Enemy Act, just another reason for the American fascists to burn for revenge against Roosevelt and fuel the fire for their relentless crusade against New Deal policies that continues to this day.
Prescott Bush went on to be an extremely influential figure in U.S. politics in the post-war era, his son George H.W. Bush would cut his teeth in intelligence, dirty dealing and black ops as a matter of family heritage, the father would pass down the business to his spawn in the truly American fashion. Phillips pegs it dead on here in describing the Bush Crime Family as:
A great family (great as in power, not morality) that has bulit a base over the course of the Twentieth Century in the back corridors of the new military-industrial complex and in close association with the growing intelligence and national security establishment.
The father of the 41st President and the grandfather of the most overtly fascist and recently departed leader in U.S. history, George W. Bush burrowed deeply into the establishment. He became a Senator in 1952 and as legend has it helped to groom Richard M. Nixon for his rise as a tool of the establishment.
Prescott Bush and Dick Nixon
Nixon’s political career was formed by his run for a California Congressional seat where he was backed by big money power (post-WW II fascist elements)against incumbent Jerry Voorhis, a backer of the New Deal and a man who had run afoul of the oligarchy for his opposition to Standard Oil and a secret government drilling contract in the Elk Hills reserve that he had exposed before Congress. Voorhis was a marked man and was challenging Wall Street power at every opportunity, railing agains the “cancerous superstructure of monopolies and cartels”. It was Nixon who would perform the political hit on Voorhis, subjecting him to a withering onlsaught of red baiting propaganda, the sort that would become religion in the U.S. as the war against the unions and the middle class began in earnest. Nixon would later go on to play a big part in the poisonous culture wars that have so ill-served this country and which we can now see the wreckage of in our thoroughly corrupted, diseased political system and the new feudalism as exemplified by the massive redistribution of wealth to reinflate speculative capitalism and the big Wall Street banks.
Russ Baker does some very interesting analysis in his Family Of Secrets, especially in regard to George H.W. Bush (aka Poppy) who appears to have been a member of intelligence dating back to at least the 1950’s instead of when he was formally put in charge of the CIA in 1976. There is the very interesting story that Poppy is ‘unable’ to remember exactly where he was on the day of the JFK assassination (interestingly Nixon was in Dallas that day too) which in and of itself is odd, Baker makes the following statement in an interview:
I am very careful not to speculate. What I do is begin with the curious fact that G.H.W. Bush has said he could not remember where he was on November 22, 1963. That makes him just about the only adult alive at the time who has that memory defect.
Which in and of itself proves nothing but it is very unusual that Mr. Bush would not remember where he was, even more so when considering the existence of a memo from then FBI head J. Edgar Hoover on the Kennedy assassination dated 11/29/63 that specifically mentions a “Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency”. Bush and the CIA denied that they were the same person (another George Bush briefly worked for the CIA at the time, perhaps brought in as a cover) but there is the matter of Bush’s company the Zapata Corp. that has been linked to the CIA as a front, according to Baker the CIA helped Bush to establish this company. Note that during the Bay of Pigs, the code name for the invasion was Operation Zapata. During this particular period Bush would become familiar with some of the aforementioned anti-Cuban operatives such as Ted Shackley, E. Howard Hunt, Felix Rodriguez and an interesting figure by the name of Barry Seal. Seal, like many others would eventually turn up again in the milieu of drug dealers, gun runners and black operations that swirled around Iran-Contra when Bush was in the White House as Reagan’s V.P.
George H.W. Bush’s connections to many of the most shadowy figures and operations of the past half century as well as the criminal nature of his entire family make a strong argument that the ongoing destabilization of the United States by fascists has been aided greatly by the Bushes. I don’t have the time to go into every aspect (I’ll save it for the future) but the evolution of the Bush family from well connected servants of the early robber barons, to the arms trade, the Nazis and the smuggled out war criminals who would greatly aid and assimilate themselves into the intelligence services and the war against communism on through the JFK assassination, Vietnam, Iran Contra and ultimately the ruinous eight year reign of the Bush-Cheney regime have been instrumental in the fascist takeover of America.
An interesting footnote is the association of Bush’s son Neil to the brother of John W. Hinkley Jr., the disturbed young man who attempted to kill President Reagan. Neil Bush and Scott Hinkley had dinner plans the night after the botched assassination, interesting bit of happenstance or perhaps a postponement of a celebration? Assassination researcher John Judge made the following comment on this:
They knew each other socially quite well. The press said that they were to have dinner — Scott Hinkley and Neil Bush were to have dinner on March 31 1981. But they cancelled the dinner after the news of the shooting. The press said that that was ironic. It gives a new meaning to the word `irony’. Because if Robert Oswald, Lee Harvey’s older brother and Lynda Bird Johnson were going to have dinner the night of the JFK assassination, somebody would figure out it meant something.
One can never be too suspicious of such sort of things when they involve members of the Bush family. Hinckley the shooter had ties to World Vision, a right-wing organization that allegedly acted as a CIA front run by John W. Hinkley Sr. that worked in Central America. Rumors of mind control (manchurian candidates?) have surfaced in regard to World Vision but whatever activities surround it are like most of our history, concealed behind the veil of secrecy. Some credence can however be given to the CIA’s long history of mind control experiments (MKULTRA), the secret wars waged against leftist governments in the Southern Cone and the really creepy story that Mark David Chapman, the killer of the hated by the establishment John Lennon also had ties to World Vision.
I would strongly encourage everybody who has taken the time to read this to do your own research on the connections between the Bush family and the downward trajectory of this once great country into the fascist gangster state that it has become today and despite the disgraced rule of George W. Bush he was after all able to successfully eviscerate the Constitution during his time in office as well as to put into place the most formidable high-tech police state in the history of mankind. The economy has been destroyed, the privatization projects of the fascists are now a reality and with more states in financial distress along the lines of California there will soon be national fire sales of roads, infrastructure and landmarks to the descendants of the early Robber Barons whose power has been consolidated by insiders such as the Bush family beyond their wildest of dreams. The only things that the United States of America is now capable of producing is death, destruction, financial scams, for profit prisons, paranoia and a massive Big Brother style surveillance and repression apparatus that is the envy of all dictators.
And the Bush family isn’t finished yet, Jeb is coming soon. You can count on it.
Obama and Potemkin America 2009
Conclusion: The Octopus Ascendant
While it initially began with clandestine operations and murky, beneath the surface alliances The Octopus has become the underlying but inextricable operating system for the American capitalist empire as it exists today. It is the very kernal of all that we known and now has gone legit or perhaps more appropriately the system has descended to the level of corruption once the domain of rogue forces within. It has been a long and slow process, layered over the decades as the last vestiges of a free system where liberty is paramount has been leeched out leaving in its place a land that is America in name only, except that shingle has been replaced with one that says Homeland, a fitting legacy for the fascists who used the aftermath of WW II to mount their takeover. Now The Octopus is comprised of much more and it’s gone corporate, ponder how the following tentacles have become interconnected and now dominate our ever declining way of life:
1: Energy and Resources (Soon to include privatized food and water…got money? I sure hope so if you plan on any sort of a continued existence)
2: Banking and Finance (The recent financial crisis has allowed the most powerful of institutions to essentially take over the government so that tax dollars will be directed to shore up their bogus markets and Ponzi schemes)
3: Transportation and Infrastructure (Our airports have already been transformed into Soviet bloc style checkpoints, it’s all a matter of conditioning and time until all freedom of movement has been restricted entirely, the tracking chips are already being successfully sold as prevention against child abduction.)
4: Drugs (Pharmaceuticals are giving narcotics a run for their money and there will be no serious efforts at meaningful reform)
5: Munitons, Military Spending (Oceania always has and always will be at war)
6: Geopolitics (The coups, destabilizations, puppet dictatorships, torture and ethnic cleansings will go on, it’s all business as usual – for an intersting perspective see Tom Hayden’s piece from The Nation entitled Understanding the Long War)
7: Media (Would anything be possible without the wonderful complicity of the media. The CIA had it right with Operation Mockingbird, it would only be further refined over time with the rise of the right-wing, corporatist think tanks, the ginned up attack on the ‘liberal’ media and the rise of cable television, the corporatization and consolidation have built a propaganda machine that not even Goebbels cound have envisioned. The mass hypnosis that has narcotized an entire population through television has been an astounding boon for the fascists.)
8: Intelligence (The ‘terrorist’ attacks of 9/11 have legitimized the ubiquitous surveillance of the American people helped along by the technology of PROMIS and Main Core, our new forms of social control are already being beta tested by American corporations in China. See Naomi Klein’s piece on China’s All-Seeing Eye from Rolling Stone Magazine).
And it’s all tied up in the big, shiny, star-spangled package of EMPIRE.
The Obama administration has been a major disappointment in reigning in any of the power of the fascist state established by his predecessors, I seriously am beginning to think that he doesn’t care, nor do any of the Democrats who triumphantly retook the White House and the Congress – they are the insiders now and they control the cash spigots, and most importantly they have favors to pay back. Americans were promised change, here are a few of the changes that we have received to this point: a continuation of domestic spying, a bailout of the fraudulent financial system of Wall Street speculation, the Federal Reserve creating trillions of dollars out of nothing, apologies for torture (whoops – enhanced interrogation techniques – my bad), the failure to prosecute war criminals, a continuation of anti-labor practices, more secrecy (the suppression of the additonal Abu Ghraib photos), plans to censor the internet, the diabolical conflation of dissenters and extremists (terrorists) by the anti-American Department of Homeland Security and coming soon, the bait and switch of a public health care option that would only allow the filthy scoundrels in the insurance industry and the Wall Street profiteers to further enrich themselves while beggaring the population. And of course there are the wars, dealing in the death and devastation it is far too lucrative of a business to ever abandon and the swords that should long ago have been beaten back into plowshares are being honed to razor sharpness and pointed at the necks of all Americans who chose awareness and enlightenment over denial and acquiescence.
Face it, the same people who once glorified Benito Mussolini on the cover of Fortune Magazine for his wondrous corporatist state have won and we are their subjects, their slaves, their chattel and if you don’t like it you can go and live in a for profit prison or simply disappear without any possiblity of a trial for the rest of your life. As American capitalism and its excesses gradually mutated from the original petri dish of the post World War II era world, the corruption, the greed and the pathological need for the necessary control for it to exist on a grand scale has metastasized to the point where it has consumed all, instead of The Octopus a more fitting metaphor for all that has taken place is the 1950’s science fiction movie The Blob.
What happens now is no longer a matter of simply exposing the elements that set into motion the chain of events that are now reaching critical mass but in waging total war against the entire system itself through acts of civil disobedience and refusal to comply, I would caution those who are instigating for a full blown revolution, the rulers have bigger guns and more money than God, you are but ants to them and you will be squashed if you use violence to rebel. That is the only way that there will be a chance for survival now that the state has been weaponized against the people, equipped with a monstrous high technological surveillance system that morphed out of the theft of the PROMIS software and the police state infrastructure that grew out of the Reagan era programs such as Garden Plot, Cable Splicer and REX 84. The plans for the camps are ready if not the camps themselves…it has become fashionable to demonize those who now speak of them albeit ironic that the loudest of them never uttered a peep when George W. Bush was in charge of generating the pick-up lists.
But for the most part America sleeps. The coronation of Barack Obama, a product, a brand name and a triumph of modern public relations and marketing has provided the soothing balm for the raw sores on backs courtesy of the Bush administration. For a television addicted nation of sheep content to live on the world’s largest lemming farm he is their perfect leader, a reality television show president, crooning sweet words while his actions belie the rhetoric. The vast majority of the fools will still be watching American Idol when the jackboots kick in their doors.
Here is a very interesting piece that I ran across courtesy of conspiracy researcher Jim Fetzer on the Cheney death squads. Anyone who truly understands the nature of the deep state and especially Cheney and Rummy’s involvement with the Shadow Government through their avid participation in Continuity Of Government (COG) programs knows that this is no earth shaking revelation. Of course there are death squads operational in America, the number of conveniently suicided or otherwise dead in fortuitous accidents is far too long to list here. So without further adieu here is Fetzer’s piece:
By Jim Fetzer (via Op Ed News)
Madison, WI (OpEdNews) April 12, 2009 –The stunning revelation from our nation’s premiere investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, that Vice President Dick Cheney was running an “executive assassination ring” directly under his control and outside of the normal chain of command has raised the specter that the Vice President of the United States may have been murdering Americans. As a scholar who has invested a considerable effort in the investigation of the death of US Senator Paul Wellstone, this comes as no surprise. I and other experts with whom I have collaborated long since concluded that the crash that took his life and those of his wife, daughter, three aides and two pilots was brought about deliberately, where Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove are the principal suspects. Other cases in which assassination appears all too probable include those of NFL star Pat Tillman and of 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert.
According to Paul Joseph Watson, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) did not originate with Cheney but was founded in 1980, which suggests that it may have been initiated by our then-Vice President George H. W. Bush, a former Director of the CIA. It consists primarily of Delta Force soldiers and SEALs, who are stationed at Pope Air Force Base and at Fort Bragg, NC. According to Watson, this assassination unit is still active under President Obama. The very existence of an operation of this kind raises questions of the utmost seriousness about democracy in America. What has become of this country when the expression of your political convictions and the pursuit of what you think best for this nation runs the risk of bringing about your termination? When our elected officials, like Hitler and Stalin, have the power to decide whether we live or die depending on their whims, this country has ceased to be the home of the brave or the land of the free.
Outing an “Executive Assassination Ring”
The story broke on Minn Post.com (March 11, 2009), when Eric Black wrote of a “Great Conversations” even at the University of Minnesota, where, during the question and answer session, Hersh reported not only that the CIA has been “deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state” but that a special unit of our military called the JSOC was set up independently of the normal chain of command, reporting only to the Vice President and to neither the Joint Chiefs or even the Secretary of Defense:
Congress has no oversight of it,” Hersh explained. “It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on.… Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the Ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on in the name of all of us.”
If the only targets were foreign terrorists who were threatening to attack the United States, of course, many Americans might be sympathetic and even forgiving. But, after publishing ten news columns, co-authoring a book, and following up with an expert in extending the scope of my research about the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, it would not surprise me whatsoever that Dick Cheney deployed one of these JSOC teams to bring about his death.
The crucial consideration in evaluating alternative hypotheses in cases like these—such as accident or assassination—is calculating the probability of the evidence on the assumption that each of them is true and comparing their values. These are known as “likelihood” measures of evidential support, where the hypothesis that confers the highest probability on the evidence qualifies as the preferable hypothesis. When the available evidence “settles down” (that is, points in the same direction), then the preferable hypothesis is also acceptable as true, in the tentative and fallible fashion of science.
The Death of Sen. Paul Wellstone
The plane crash that took the life of Senator Paul Wellstone occurred on October 25, 2002, just ten days before the election that pitted him against former St. Paul Mayor, Norm Coleman. It was widely known in Washington that the Bush leadership had targeted Wellstone for elimination, although most would have assumed that was politically speaking rather than literally. One of the first to raise alarms was Michael Niman, a professor at Buffalo State College, who enumerated reasons why they wanted to get rid of him. In an early article, “Was Paul Wellstone Murdered?” (October 28, 2002), he explained that Wellstone was the only progressive in the US Senate and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration. No one knew of Cheney’s assassination unit, but the circumstances of his death raised suspicions on their own. Control of Congress hung in the balance, since Jim Jeffords (R-VT) had left the Republican Party and become an independent. There were 50 Democrats and 49 Republicans.
On the day of the crash, several signs suggested to me that something was not right. The crash had occurred at about 10:22 AM/CT, but the site was not discovered until 11 AM/CT by Gary Ulman, the Eveleth-Virginia Airport assistant manager, who then landed and picked up the local fire chief so they could fly over the crash site—which was in a wooded, swampy area—and figure out the best way to bring equipment to the scene. Remarkably, when Rick Wahlberg, the Sheriff of St. Louis Country arrived there at 1:30 PM/CT, he encountered members of the FBI’s Rapid Response Team from St. Paul, whom he knew personally, who told him that they had been there since noon. Christopher Bollyn, a reporter for American Free Press, noted in an article published on October 29, 2002, this was remarkable insofar as Gary Ulman had not notified them. Indeed, when I calculated the minimal time it would have taken to fly from St. Paul to Duluth, rent a car and drive to the crash scene, they had to have taken off at about 9:30 AM/CT, which was the same time the Senator’s plane had departed. It was very strange.
Moreover, after the plane crashed, even though the wings (which carry the fuel supply) had been sheared off by the surrounding trees and the tail had broken off (a common occurrence in plane crashes), the fuselage burned so intensely for seven hours the firemen were unable to extinguish it and the bodies would not be recovered until the following day. Nonetheless, an FBI spokesman, Paul McCabe, would announce that night that there were “no signs of terrorist involvement”. That struck me as rather odd, because terrorists are simply assailants with specific political motivation, who do not have special access to techniques for sabotaging aircraft. Since the cause of the crash was not yet known, how could the FBI have possibly known? It would be more than a year before the NTSB would announce its findings. According to its official report, the plane crashed because the pilots had lost track of their airspeed and allowed the plane to crash.
The plane, a King Air A-100, was akin to the Rolls-Royce of small aircraft and had an excellent maintenance record. While there had been many exaggerated reports about the weather—Wolf Blitzer, for example, attributed the crash to freezing rain and heavy snow—those of us in the vicinity knew that was not true. Indeed, a local TV-news anchorman, Denny Anderson, who was himself a pilot, spent much of the day correcting those false impressions. It turned out that other planes had landed there earlier in the day and that Ulman had had no hesitation in taking off to search for the plane when he noticed it was overdue. A pilot in the local vicinity, who had been out taking pictures across water in close proximity of the airport, sent them to me. It was clear by studying them that there was no rain, much less freezing rain. Indeed, the NTSB would eventually conduct simulations of the flight with pilots from Charter Aviation and, even though they had them fly abnormally slowly, they were unable to cause the plane to crash.
The NTSB Report
The NTSB pinned responsibility for the crash on the pilots. The principal pilot, Richard Conry, however, had some 5,200 hours of experience, an Air Transport Pilots certification–which is the highest civilian qualification short of astronaut—and had passed his FAA “flight check” just two days before the fatal flight. His co-pilot, Michael Guess, was not as highly qualified, but he was a competent pilot for a plane that did not require two. Indeed, one of the ironies of the FBI’s announcement is that Guess turned out to have known Zacharias Moussaoui, an accused 9/11 conspirator, whom he had met at the Pam Am International Flight Academic in Eagan, MN, where he had allegedly “inadvertently” allowed Moussaoui access to a computer program about flying a Boeing 747. So not only could the FBI not have known there was “no terrorist involvement” the evening of the crash but the co-pilot would turn out to have actually had contact with an alleged terrorist.
Several features of the crash caught my attention early on. Although there were two pilots, there had been no distress call. A loss of air speed brings with it a loss of altitude, and the plane had crashed two miles south of the airport, apparently flying on the wrong azimuth. I began to ask myself the probability that two pilots would neglect their air speed, their altitude, and their azimuth. If we assume that these are independent events that might happen, say, one time in a hundred—an absurdly high frequency—then for one pilot to neglect all three would be equal to 1/100 x 1/100 x 1/100 = 1/1,000,000 or one time in a million. And there had been two of them, where the probability that they would both neglect those factors was equal to 1/1,000,000 x 1/1,000,000, a very small number. And the plane was equipped with a loud warning alarm to alert them of any risk of stalling.
The more I investigated the case, the more peculiar it seemed. An odd cell-phone anomaly was reported to me, where the driver, passing just south of the airport en route to the funeral the senator had planned to attend, heard a loud wailing and war-belling sound, unlike anything he had heard before. I contracted an Australian colleague, John P. Costella, who has a Ph.D. in electromagnetism, and asked him if this could have been an effect of the use of a high-tech weapon, which could take out all the planes electronics, including its navigation system, communication system, and stall warning alarm. It would turn out that the props were on idle when it crashed, which the NTSB was unable to explain. A directed-energy weapon could not only have taken out the plane’s electronics, including its communications and navigation systems, but flipped the solenoids that control the pitch of the props and set them to “idle”. The more that I studied the case, the more it appeared that the plane was not under their control. They had apparently been unable to stop it.
By this time, I had published ten columns on the case in an alternative newspaper in Duluth, which had led a Native American scholar from Northern Arizona University to contact me and offer to be co-author if I were disposed to turn my research into a book. We had both learned of an incident shortly before the crash where veterans at a meeting in Wilmer, MN, had learned from Wellstone that he had been threatened by Cheney, who told him that, if he opposed the administration on Iraq, there would be “severe ramifications” for him personally and for the state of Minnesota, which I confirmed with veterans who were there. He (Wellstone) had gone ahead and made a speech opposing the invasion of Iraq, which he thought might end his political career. Instead, he surged ahead of Coleman and was running 6-8 points and gaining at the time of the crash. Rove’s hand-picked candidate was going to lose to Wellstone.
We announced the publication of AMERICAN ASSASSINATION (2004) at the National Press Club exactly two years after the crash. My co-author, Don “Four Arrows” Jacobs, and I observed that the official account of the crash had a vanishing probability and that the NTSB had only considered accident-compatible alternatives, but that if you considered the possible use of a small bomb, a gas canister or a high-tech, directed-energy device, then the latter would confer a high probability upon the evidence, including the lack of any distress call, the odd cell-phone anomaly, and reports I had confirmed that garage doors in the vicinity had opened spontaneously that morning. I flew John to Minnesota and we visited the crash scene together in 35 degree-below-zero weather, picking up pieces of debris, studying the damage to the trees, and making other observations. He and I would also review some 2,500 pages of official documents and studies on which the NSTB report was purportedly based, where its report ran only sixty pages.
John Costella made the remarkable discovery of an odd meteorological phenomenon in the atmosphere above the crash site, where clouds that were normally loaded with ice were filled with water instead. This would be otherwise inexplicable, since the heat from the intense fire would fall off as a function of distance from its location. But it would be a predictable effect of the use of a directed-energy weapon. We authored a report, “The NTSB Failed Wellstone”, summarizing our findings, which Michael Ruppert would publish in his “From the Wilderness” newsletter. Indeed, his own research would lead him to the same conclusion, as he explained in his CROSSING THE RUBICON (2004). Ruppert had even been contacted by someone in the business of assassinations (“wet work”), who told him that some reinvigorated old white guys were in charge, that they were nobody to screw around with, and that he could anticipate there would be other “strategic accidents” in the future.
My own inference is that this was a small-scale conspiracy, which might have involved as few as ten persons. The King Air A-100 is manufactured by Beechcraft, which is owned by Raytheon. A military-industrial colossus, this company also owns numerous patents for directed-energy weapons. I believe it could have been as simple a matter as a phone call from one of the directors of Charter Aviation to Dick Cheney, telling him that Wellstone would be aboard. After consultation with Rumsfeld and Rove, a phone call to Raytheon would provide the information necessary about the best way to take the plane down. A small team from the JSOC could be entrusted with the assignment, where the crucial problem would be to lure the plane into the kill zone, apparently by manipulating the on-board GPS system, which is completely under military control. I even discovered corroboration that this is how it was done, as I have explained in a one-hour video lecture about 25-30 minutes into the program.
The Death of Cpl. Pat Tillman
There are typical signs that something is wrong in the case of deaths that have political ramifications. These include obfuscation about the cause of the event, especially by creating a false “first impression”, which tends to stick in the minds of most Americans. In the Wellstone case, it was that the cause had been the weather. In the case of Pat Tillman, it was that he had been killed in a fire-fight in Afghanistan. Although I shall not discuss it with the same degree of detail, the Tillman death appears to bear the signs that this, too, was an assassination. An article on Tillman in Wikipedia, exclusively based upon public sources, provides ample indications of the blatancy with which political killings can take place and then be covered up, especially by assassins who were themselves members of the military. (To insure its availability, I have archived it here under “Assassination”.)
An NFL star who enlisted in the Army in May 2002, he apparently became disenchanted with the conduct of the war. He not only did not support President Bush for reelection, but encouraged others to vote for John Kerry. According to his mother, a friend of his had arranged for him to meet with Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus from MIT and one of our nation’s most respected public intellectuals, who, no doubt, could have launched him into prominent orbit as an outspoken opponent of the war. In my opinion, the prospect of having a macho, NFL-complement to Cindy Sheehan—one who might inspire the nation to reconsider our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan—would have been a powerful incentive for removing him from the public arena in the minds of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove. The use of these special operations military serving as an ‘assassination ring’ in this situation may very well have been irresistible.
According to Wikipedia’s entry about him, Tillman was redeployed to Afghanistan and, on April 22, 2004, he was killed. The Army initially claimed that he and his unit were hit by an ambush on a road outside a village not far from the Pakistan border. The Army Special Operations Command initially claimed that there was an exchange with hostile forces, but an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense concluded that his death was due to friendly fire “aggravated by the intensity of the firefight”. Another, more thorough investigation, concluded that hostile forces had not been involved in the firefight and that two allied groups fired on each other in confusion after a nearby explosive device was detonated. But it also makes these points:
* No evidence of enemy fire at the scene has ever been produced;
* The lieutenant general who withheld details of Tillman’s death from his parents for months told investigators “he had a bad memory, and could not recall details of his actions” on more than 70 occasions;
* According to The Washington Post, on May 4, 2005, the Army’s own investigators were aware that Tillman had been killed by being shot three times in the head;
* Army doctors told the investigators that these wounds suggested murder and urged them to launch a criminal investigation, which would not be pursued; and
* Army attorneys congratulated each other in emails for impeding criminal investigation as they concluded that Tillman’s death was the result of friendly fire, and that only administrative, or non-criminal, punishment was indicated.
Evidence and Likelihoods
When we consider the alternatives of accident or assassination in this case, we have to compare their likelihoods In relation to the available evidence. If Tillman had been killed accidentally, even by “friendly fire”, then what is the probability that no evidence of friendly fire would be produced, that the Lt. General would suffer 70 “memory lapses”, that the corporal would have been shot three times in the head, that honors would be bestowed upon him, that the doctors would have suspected he was murdered, and that Army attorneys would impede criminal investigations? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to conclude that something is very wrong here. The probability of these effects appears to be very high if he was deliberately taken out and very low if his death was accidental, friendly fire or not.
And there is more. On July 26, 2007, for example, the AP received official documents stating that the doctors who performed the autopsy suspected that Tillman was murdered. High ranking officers knew better at least four days before his nationally televised memorial service during which he “was lauded as a war hero for dying while engaging the enemy”. Members of Tillman’s unit burned his body armor and uniform. Tillman’s diary was never returned to his family, and its whereabouts are not publicly known. As a former Marine Corps commissioned officer, I affirm that this treatment of the personal property of a deceased is not proper procedure. The missing diary is especially striking, since diaries are legally admissible as evidence in courts of law and would have attested to his state of mind.
Some prominent news personalities have figured out that something seems to be wrong. On July 26, 2007, for example, Chris Matthews reported that Tillman’s death might have been a case of fragging (of the deliberate killing of a soldier by his comrades at arms) because the bullet holes were tight and neat, suggesting that he was shot at close range. Matthews based his speculation on a report from the doctors who investigated Tillman’s body. The following day the AP reported that a doctor who examined Tillman’s body after his death wrote, “The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described,” also noting that the wound entrances appeared as though he had been shot with an M16 rifle from less than 10 yards (9 m) away.” Even his mother, in her disturbing book, BOOTS ON THE GROUND BY DUSK (2008), has been shaken by the way the military has handled the death of her son.
The Official Finding
On March 26, 2007, the Pentagon released their report on the events surrounding Tillman’s death and cover-up. The report reads in part:
we emphasize that all investigators established the basic facts of CPL Tillman’s death — that it was caused by friendly fire, that the occupants of one vehicle in CPL Tillman’s platoon were responsible, and that circumstances on the ground caused those occupants to misidentify friendly forces as hostile. None of the investigations suggested that CPL Tillman’s death was anything other than accidental. Our review, as well as the investigation recently completed by Army CID, obtained no evidence contrary to those key findings.
The denial of contrary evidence appears to be contrived. If the doctors even suspected murder, if there were three shots to the head, and if they were tightly grouped and appeared to have been fired from close range by an M-16 from less than 10 yards away, the “friendly fire” scenario looks more and more like deliberate misinformation. Tillman is not the kind of man his fellow soldiers would frag. On the contrary, he is just the kind of guy—and football star, no less—his fellow soldiers would have respected and admired. He’s the kind of guy they would have written home about! Indeed, the article confirms that Tillman “was popular among his fellow soldiers and had no enemies”. They harbored no reason to murder him.
He may have been killed by a member of the armed forces, which could have been obscured by the use of the phrase, “friendly fire”, but it would not have been by his comrades in arms. Interestingly, there are reports of snipers in a second group of troops that encountered Pat’s squad shortly before an explosive device went off and the shooting started. This looks like an idea situation in which a designated assassin, who was a member of this second group, could have used the chaotic conditions created by the detonation of a distracting explosive device to take out a man who could have become an outspoken opponent of the war, especially if the members of this ring are military. In my opinion, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove would not have let his opposition to the war become public knowledge. His death does not appear to have been an accident.
The Death of a 9/11 Activist
The plane crash that took the life of 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert troubled me because of its striking similarities to the crash that took the life of Paul Wellstone. The plane, a Bombardier Q400, was an excellent commuter carrier with a 74-passenger capacity. Like the King Air A-100, it had no history of mechanical problems. Philip Trenary, the head of the Pinnacle Airlines that operated the plane, stated, “It’s an aircraft that’s had flawless service.” Reports of the weather appear to have been greatly exaggerated, where the plane, like the King Air A-100, was equipped with sophisticated de-icing equipment. Moreover—and this is especially notable—there was no distress call from the plane. According to an early report, Flight 3407 came straight down out of the sky, killing 50 persons, including Eckert.
There have been several stories about the crash in The New York Times, for example, including “Crew Reported ‘Significant Ice Buildup’ Before Crash” (February 14, 2009), “In Plane Crash, Loss of Momentum Still a Mystery” (February 15, 2009), and “Recreating a Plane Crash” (February 19 2009), where Matthew L. Wald offers speculation that the crew might have “overreacted” to a computerized flight-control system “trying to protect the aircraft from flying too slowly, going into a stall and crashing”.
Unfortunately, there are a number of disturbing signs that what we are being told does not add up. Consider the alleged ice-buildup. That report seems to be contradicted by the transcript of the final communications, as What Really Happened has highlighted, which has been compounded by another exaggerated report about the ice build-up in The New York Times. A very difference impression comes from Last moments of Buffalo Flight 3407, Webmaster’s Commentary, What Really Happened, on February 13, 2009 (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/) as follows:
Read the transcript of the final communications from Colgan Flight 3407 in Buffalo.
No mention of ice being a problem for aircraft.
There is a brief incidental mention that there is an area of icing, but it is clear that nobody sees this as a problem. No mention of any problems at all.
3407 is there one moment, then gone the next.
Now, look at this line from the transcript:
17:40 – Delta 1998: Uh negative, Delta 1998, we’re just in the bottoms and nothing on the TKs …
Listening to the tape, it sounds like what the pilot of 1998 said was
“… nothing on the TCAS.”
TCAS (pronounced T-cass) stands for Traffic Collision Avoidance System, which sends out a lower power non-directional radar pulse and listens for any aircraft transponders in the vicinity in order to warn pilots of close approaching aircraft.
So, what the pilot of Delta 1998 is saying is that at the time Air Traffic Control asked him to look for a Dash-8 [Bombardier] at 2300 [feet altitude], 3407’s radar transponders had quit working.
One final note:
If the Air Traffic Controller is telling the pilot of Delta 1998 to look at 2300 feet altitude for the Dash 8, then that means the last altitude reading returned to the ATC was 2300 feet.
Air Traffic Radar never received a return showing a loss of altitude, which strongly suggests that the aircraft’s entire avionics (aircraft electronic control) system quit working while the plane was still half a mile in the air.
Now this suggests to me that the reason there was no distress call is that the aircraft’s entire avionics system quit working while the plane was still half a mile in the air. What could possibly explain this? There are several disturbing parallels with the Wellstone crash: the plane was an excellent aircraft, very forgiving, with sophisticated equipment, including for de-icing; the weather reports have exaggerated conditions, which were actually rather mild, where other planes had had no problems coping with them on their approach into Buffalo; and both of the pilots were well-qualified. I am also struck that Beverly Eckert, a 9/11 widow, was aboard the plane. The situations here, including political motivation, appear to be parallel.
Why Beverly Might Matter
She was a prominent 9/11 activist whose husband had died that day in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. She had actually met with none other than President Barack Obama shortly before flying back to Buffalo to honor her late husband’s birthday. She was a member of “The Jersey Girls”, four 9/11 widows, whose efforts to promote an investigation of 9/11 made a crucial contribution to the creation of the commission, which President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had opposed. It is no exaggeration to observe that Cheney and the Neo-Cons—to this day—fear more than anything else a bona-fide, objective investigation into 9/11 (motive). Because Obama kept Robert Gates on as Secretary of Defense, no doubt, lingering elements of Cheney’s operation, including members of the assassination ring, almost certainly still exercise influence within the Pentagon (means), where, as in the case of Wellstone, this flight could very well have offered the perfect occasion to take her out of the equation (opportunity).
The argument has been made that Beverly was not committed to 9/11 as “an inside job”, which may have made her all the more threatening. For a woman whose husband was killed on 9/11, who had refused to take the government’s proffered compensation—widely regarded as “hush money” in the 9/11 movement—her insistence upon further investigation of the case would have been alarming to those who were involved. Bush and Cheney were adamantly opposed to any investigation and, when they were forced to create a commission of inquiry, they did their best to manage it from within. In fact, Mike Ruppert’s book, CROSSING THE RUBICON (2004) makes a powerful case for the inference that Bush had placed Cheney in control of the 9/11 attack. While Henry Kissinger’s appointment as Executive Director was thwarted, that of Philip Zelikow was not, even though his self-described area of expertise is neither science nor history but the creation and maintenance of public myths. (Since these entries are subject to alteration, I have archved the original to which I refer here.)
He thus appears to have been perfect for the task he was assigned, since THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT (2004) has been refuted on virtually very significant count. The buildings were designed to withstand even multiple impacts of commercial aircraft, the fires burner neither long enough nor hot enough to cause the steel to weaken, much less melt. The towers were destroyed from the top down, largely turned into very fine dust in just 10 seconds apiece, which is nearly the speed of free fall, even though, from the 80th floor down in the South Tower and the 96th in the North, they were both stone cold steel. The method by means of which this was done remains a matter of intense debate, but there are indications that, among other means, explosives and incendiary devices were employed. Public discussion of 9/11 is something they desperately want to suppress, since it has been the justification for the “War on Terror”, including the attacks upon Iraq and Afghanistan, restrictions upon civil liberties, and all the rest.
Where Things Stand
Use of plane crashes to take out your political opponents offers a virtually “fool proof” method. Unless the Attorney General declares a crash site to be a crime scene, the NTSB is restricted to the investigation of only accident-compatible alternatives, such as that the plane, the pilots, or the weather were responsible for the crash. Indeed, an even more peculiar policy of the NSTB is that its “official reports” are not admissible evidence in courts of law [49 USC 1441(e)]. The procedure, therefore, is simple. Take out your opponent using a plane crash, have a complicit or compliant Attorney General decline to declare it a “crime scene”, and the only recourse for the NTSB is to investigate it as an accident. That is what happened in the case of Paul Wellstone and will undoubtedly be followed in the case of Beverly Eckert. If Ruppert is right—and I believe that he is—then the murder of 50 more Americans to protect himself would have been “small potatoes” for Cheney.
While the evidence concerning Wellstone establishes his death as an assassination beyond a reasonable doubt, the same cannot yet be said about Eckert. There are reports that she was heading on to Chicago to meet with Federal Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald with new evidence related to 9/11 and that Russian satellites detected (what is described as) a “low level” electromagnetic emanating from an area near the eastern part of Lake Erie shortly before the plane plunged to the ground. The probability that a reliable airplane with qualified pilots would lose its capacity to communicate and fall to the ground absent a precipitating cause appears to be negligible. Indeed, the recent death via plane crash of Mike Connell, an IT wizard who appears to have been in a position to have stolen elections for Bush, occurred at a time the attorneys who were deposing him thought he was about to “spill the beans”.
Even though this assassination unit does not appear to have originated with Cheney, it appears all too probable that these groups or sub-units within it have been the cover for “wet work”, including assassinations and unofficial acts of terrorism, since their inception. In the case of Senator Paul Wellstone, no alternative to assassination can explain the evidence. In the case of Cpl. Pat Tillman the only alternative would appear to be that the Army, knowing he had been killed by “friendly fire”, wanted to capitalize upon his death for the sake of recruiting, a motive that can be subsumed by the assassination alternative. The phrase “friendly fire” is a euphemism for “an American soldier”, who appears to have committed this killing. I expect additional evidence to clarify the death of the 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert, but there is a discernable pattern here. In relation to the question with which we began, therefore, “Has Cheney been murdering Americans?”, the research I have reviewed suggests that the answer, alas!, appears to be an unequivocal “Yes!”
Professor Fetzer’s website is at: www.d.umn.edu/~jfetzer/
“I don’t say this to my people. They’d think I’m nuts. I think the CIA killed Dorothy Hunt”
Time, July 8, 1974
One workday morning in the capital, early in October 1972, McCord got a call from Gerald Alch, his CREEP-appointed attorney of that moment. Alch said he had important news to convey, could they meet for lunch. When they met, says McCord, Alch’s opening words were, “I have just come from Bittman’s office [White House attorney William Bittman]. Nobody gets up on that (witness) stand during trial. In return, they will get executive clemency, money while in prison and rehabilitation afterwards.” Alch assured McCord that this was a good deal under the circumstances. “Nobody,” he repeated, “gets up on that stand.”
Alch then asked McCord, “Why aren’t you taking the money from Mrs.Hunt?” In McCord’s account of Watergate, A Piece of Tape, from which I borrow this dialogue, he writes, “I went over my concerns that the whole business had the appearance of a control mechanism to keep the men quiet prior to the Nixon election by the use of money as a weapon and tool. Between that concern and the surveillance I had experienced on the 19th of September, I had decided to take no further money in order to be completely free to pursue whatever course of action my conscience dictated without being obliged.”
McCord says Alch “berated” him for taking this stand, then popped a question which McCord found “rather unusual in the wording and context.” Said Alch, “Just what would it take for you to turn state’s evidence?” McCord says Alch’s tone and manner made it clear that he was not sponsoring this alternative. It was “as though he were feeling me out for someone else.” McCord told Alch that he would follow his own course of action. Alch, he notes, “fell silent at that statement.”
MACHO BARKER: The next day I got a call. “Do you recognize my voice?” And I said yes. It was Dorothy Hunt. She told me to go to Miami and stay in the airport and meet the next flight of the same line. I made sure that Dorothy was not being followed, and then we went to my home. She said, “From now on I will be your contact,” and it was quite evident that the Dorothy that I had known had a split personality, because for the first time she used operational terms that Howard and I had always used. She said n ot to trust Rothblatt too much, that she didn’t like him. She said to start figuring out how much assistance we would need. Up to this time, we had not any at all. She said remember the spirit of the old organization – that if you are caught by the enemy, two things will be done: (1) every effort will be made to rescue you, and (2) all expenses and your family will be taken care of. Even today, the families of those who were lost at the Bay of Pigs are being aided, and that is something you expect on a mission.
Late October 1972. Dorothy Hunt called Colson’s office in an agitated voice demanding to speak to Colson, who declined. By Colson’s later account she was “upset at the interruption of payments from Nixon associates to Watergate defendants.”
November 15. Colson met with Nixon, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman in the Laurel Lodge presidential office at Camp David to play a tape of Hunt expounding his blackmail threat. That same afternoon, Dean flew to New York with this tape to play it for Stams and Mitchell, meeting in safe rooms at the Metropolitan Club. A week later, Hunt called Colson in order to have it recorded that “…we are protecting the guys who are actually responsible…and of course that is a continuing requirement, but at the same time, it is a two-way street….”
Late November. McCord: “In addition, Mrs. E. Howard Hunt, on or about November 30, 1972, in a personal conversation with me, stated that E. Howard Hunt had just dictated a three-page letter with Hunt’s attorney, William O. Bittman, had to read to Kenneth Parkinson, the attorney for the Committee to Re-elect the President, in which letter Hunt purportedly threatened to ‘blow the White House out of the water.’ Mrs. Hunt at this point in her conversation with me also repeated the statement which she too had made before, which was that E. Howard Hunt had information which would impeach the president.”
December 2 (Saturday). The president met at Key Biscayne with Colson and Rebozo to discuss the growing blackmail threat. Dorothy Hunt in Washington meanwhile was hounding Colson’s secretary, Joan Hall, with phone calls about “the problem.” She demanded that Hall get the word to Colson to get the word to Nixon “to get something done about it.”
Mitchell was ultimately reached, and he reached for Dean. Mitchell told Dean to use some White House cash to get the Hunt situation settled down. Haldeman came into the picture as well as their implicit electronic audience. His function indeed forces him in his ceremonial innocence (pretend ignorance) to teach the Nixon-person how to be the Nixon-president before an unseen listening audience which they both pretend not to notice.
Dean continues with a precise summary and an understated suggestion which manages to say to Nixon the man that he certainly must employ his own special resources in this flight to prop up the presidency. Though Dean always talks to the mask of Nixon-president, he still has his sense of limits, as though carelessly, laid across Nixon’s private parts. Thus the poignancy of Dean’s next speech:
DEAN: …. So what are the soft spots on this? Well, first of all, there is the problem of the continued blackmail which will not only go on now, but it will go on while these people are in prison, and it will compound the obstruction of justice situation. It will cost money. It is dangerous. People around here are not pros at this sort of thing. This is the sort of thing Mafia people can do ….
Now the dialogue unwinds, constantly returning to the question of Hunt.
NIXON: Your major guy to keep under control is Hunt?
DEAN: That is right….
NIXON: ….the vulnerable points being, the first vulnerable points would be obvious. That would be one of the defendants, either Hunt, because he is most vulnerable in my opinion, might blow the whistle and his price is pretty high….
…You can’t keep it out if Hunt talks….
…I think Hunt knows a hell of a lot more….
…You have no choice on Hunt….
And finally, breaking at last into a hole utterance:
…But my point is, do you ever have any choice on Hunt? That is the point. No matter what we do here now, John, whatever he wants if he doesn’t get it – immunity, etc., he is going to blow the whistle.
Then this cabalistic exchange at a later meeting the same day in which Haldeman and Ehrlichman sail in over Dean’s head:
DEAN:…Hunt has now sent a blackmail request directly to the White House.
NIXON: Who did he send it to? You?
NIXON: Or to me?
DEAN: Your counsel.
HALDEMAN: That is the interesting kind of thing, there is something there that may blow it all up that way and everything starts going in a whole new direction.
EHRLICHMAN: The he would hurt the Eastern Asian Defense. [?] Right there. That is blackmail.
The FBI and the Crash
The criticism of the official pilot-error theory of the Hunt crash has been overwhelmingly identified with Sherman Skolnick, a Chicago-based private investigator, and his colleague, companion, and bodyguard, Alex Bottos, who has a murky background and claims former FBI, CIA and narcotics connections. Skolnick and Bottos are a pungent Dickensian pair. Skolnick has been confined from birth to a wheelchair. He is intense, loud, overbearing, quick, suspicious, sometimes merry, all upper torso and arms, boisterous, gnomic-faced. Bottos is more somber and sepulchral. He says he was at Opalaka in 1960-61 with Hunt on the Bay of Pigs campaign. He carries a pistol and is fond of flashing it. He dresses with old-fashioned nattiness and polishes to a high gloss both his black hair and black patent leather loafers. Skolnick and Bottos have seen each other through great controversies. They project an ominous, swirling, shadowy atmosphere, Skolnick wheeling and challenging, Bottos in a tailored flak jacket brooding on collapse.
The instrument of their collaboration is Skolnick’s Citizens Committee ot Clean Up the Courts. Their most spectacular hit so far – until United flight 553 – was Chicago’s once-immaculate liberal, Governor Otto Kerner, whom they discovered and exposed in a race-track payoff scheme. Skolnick and Bottos have also helped put away several Illinois Supreme Court judges on corruption counts.
Skolnick was instantaneous in charging that the crash of United flight 533 was the result of sabotage and that there was a big Watergate connection. IN the weeks immediately following the crash, he claims to have received a flood of information from protected inside sources supporting him in this belief. He also tried to make that information public, thus to generate a controversy and a demand for a new investigation of the crash.
In the furor of claim and counterclaim that followed, Skolnick’s voice often reached an intensity that many found hysterical. Anyone who disagreed with him about anything (your author included) he denounced as a secret agent of the CIA. The controversy over his personality came to interfuse with the controversy over the crash. He made it easy for his detractors to ridicule him for rampant paranoia and to ignore his specific claims as wild raving.
Yet in the instances in which the dispute has been resolved by a subsequent factual disclosure, Skolnick’s contentions have been substantially borne out. The question of FBI involvement in the crash investigation is the perfect case in point.
The Boeing 737 had barely hit, said Skolnick, before the crash site was aswarm with large numbers (he sometimes said “carloads”, sometimes “200,” sometimes “dozens”) of “federal people” who shouldered Chicago police and firemen asise and kept to themselves why and on what authority they were doing so. When I first encountered the array of Skolnick’s arguments about the crash, I dismissed this particular item – the 200 FBI agents prowling the wreckage within moments of the crash – as an improbable piece of melodramatic adornment. In my original summary of Skolnick’s case in the Boston Phoenix (May 15, 1973), I left the point out altogether, concentrating on what I regarded as his more impressive arguments.
But then came the disclosure, as a result of Skolnick’s agitation in Washington, of the two letters which I reprint in their entirety below. The first is from the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, John Reed, to acting FBI Director William Ruckelshaus. The second is Ruckelshaus’s reply. The NTSB is a putatively independent branch of the Department of Transportation with responsibility for investigating all accidents involving commercial airliners. It investigated the crash of United 533. The NTSB chairman’s letter is dated June 5, 1973.
Dear Mr. Ruckelshaus:
As you may know, the National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the aircraft accident of the United Air Lines Boeing 737, at Midway Airport, Chicago, on December 8, 1972. Our investigative team assigned to this accident discovered on the day following the accident that several FBI agents had taken a number of non-typical actions relating to this accident within the first few hours following the accident.
Included were: for the first time in the memory of our staff, an FBI agent went to the control tower and listened to the tower tapes before our investigators had done so; and for the first time to our knowledge, in connection with an aircraft accident, an FBI agent interviewed witnesses to the crash, including flight attendants on the aircraft prior to the NTSB interviews. As I am sure you can understand, these actions, particularly with respect to this flight on which Mrs. E. Howard Hunt was killed, have raised innumerable questions in the minds of those with legitimate interests in ascertaining the cause of this accident. Included among those who have asked questions, for example, is the Government Activities Subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee. On the basis of informal discussions with the staff of the Committee, it is likely that questions as to what specific actions were taken by the FBI in connection with this aircraft accident, and why such actions were taken, will come up in a public overhearing at which the NTSB will appear and which is now scheduled for June 13, 1973.
In order to be fully responsive to the Committee, as well as to be fully informed ourselves about all aspects of this accident so as to assure the complete accuracy of our determination of the probable cause, we would appreciate being advised of all the details with respect to the FBI activities in connection with this accident. We would like to have, for example, the following information: the purpose of the FBI investigation, the reasons for the early response and unusual FBI actions in this case, the number of FBI personnel involved, all investigative actions taken by the agents and the times they took such actions (including the time the first FBI agents arrived on the scene), and copies of all reports and records made by the agents in connection with their investigations (we already have copies of 26 FBI interview reports; any other documents should be provided, therefore).
While we have initiated action at the staff level between our agency and yours to effect better liaison and avoid engaging in efforts which may be I conflict in the future, we have determined that some formal arrangement – in the nature of an intra-agency memorandum of agreement of understanding, for instance – would seem appropriate. It would clearly delineate our respective statutory responsibilities and set forth procedures to eliminate any future conflicts. We would therefore appreciate it if you would designate, at your earliest convenience, an official with whom we may discuss this matter and with the authority to negotiate such a formal agreement with the Safety Board.
In the interim, however we would like to receive, in advance of the scheduled June 13, 1973, public oversight hearing, the specific information concerning the actions of the FBI in connection with the Midway accident and the reasons therefore, in order to enable us to be as fully responsive as possible to the House Subcommittee.
(Original signed by John H. Reed, Chairman)
FBI Director Ruckelshaus answered on June 11, 1973.
Dear Mr. Reed:
Your letter dated June 5, 1973, concerning the FBI’s investigation into the crash of a United Air Lines Boeing 737 at Midway Airport, Chicago, Illinois, on December 8, 1972 has been received.
The FBI has primary investigative jurisdiction in connection with the Destruction of Aircraft or Motor Vehicles (DAMV) Statute, Title 18, Section 32, U.S. Code, which pertains to the willful damaging, destroying or disabling of any civil aircraft in interstate, overseas or foreign air commerce. In addition, Congress specifically designated the FBI to handle investigations under the Crime Aboard Aircraft (CAA) Statute, Title 49, Section 1472, U.S. Code, pertaining, among other things, to aircraft piracy, interference with flight crew members and certain specified crimes aboard aircraft in flight, including assault, murder, manslaughter and attempts to commit murder or manslaughter.
FBI investigation of the December 8, 1972, United Air Lines crash was instituted to determine if a violation of the DAMV or CAA Statutes had occurred and for no other reason. The fact that Mrs. E. Howard Hunt was aboard the plane was unknown to the FBI at the time our investigation was instituted.
It has been longstanding FBI policy to immediately proceed to the scene of an airplane crash for the purpose of developing any information indicating a possible Federal violation within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI. In all such instances liaison is immediately established with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) personnel upon their arrival at the scene.
Approximately 50 FBI Agents responded to the crash scene, the first ones arriving within 45 minutes of the crash. FBI Agents did interview witnesses to the crash, including flight attendants. Special Agent (SA) Robert E. Hartz proceeded to the Midway Airport tower shortly after the crash to determine if tower personnel could shed any light as to the reason of the crash. ON arriving at the tower, SA Hartz identified himself as an FBI Agent and explained the reason for his presence. He was invited by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel at the tower to listen to the recording made at the tower of the conversation between the tower and United Air Lines Flight 553. At no time did SA Hartz request to be allowed to listen to the tapes, SA Hartz identified a sound as being that of the stall indicator on the aircraft. The FAA agreed that SA Hartz was right and immediately notified FAA Headquarters at Washington, D.C.
The FBI’s investigation in the matter was terminated within 20 hours of the accident and on December 11, 1972, Mr. William L. Lamb, NTSB, was furnished with copies of the complete FBI investigation pertaining to the crash after it was determined there was apparently no violation of the DAMV or CAA Statutes.
In order to avoid the possibility of any misunderstanding concerning our respective agencies’ responsibilities and to insture continuing effective liaison between the NTSB and the GBI, I have designated SA Richard F. Bates, Section Chief, Criminal Section, General Investigative Division, FBI Headquarters, Washington, D.C., telephone number 324-2281, to represent the FBI concerning any matters of mutual interest.
William D. Ruckelshaus
Based on the facts agreed upon by both sides, it is at least apparent from these letters that the FBI was all over Dorthy Hunt at the time of the crash, despite Ruckelshaus’s protest that Dorothy Hunt’s presence on 553 was “unknown to the FBI at that time.” There is no obvious way such a large response as fifty agents within the hour could have been generated from a standing start as of the moment of the crash itself. The closest FBI office is forty minutes from the crash site and there are never fifty agents available at once without warning. It is tradition that FBI agents do not gather in offices waiting for calls but stay in the field. When a really obvious intelligence agent, Hungarian Freedom Fighter Lazlo Hadek, died in a crash the next summer at Boston’s Logan Airport, leaving a trail of secret NATO nuclear documents strewn down the center of the runway, the FBI was barely able to get a solitary agent to the scene on the same day as the wreck. That this same FBI could get fifty agents to the scene of the Chicago crash within an hout is to my mind an interesting piece of information. How could the FBI have done this if it had not had Dorothy Hunt’s airplane, for whatever reason, under full company-scale surveillance before the crash ever happened? And why might the FBI have been doing that?
Note in this connection that it was specifically the airplane itself that was being followed, and not the person of Dorothy Hunt. That is, no FBI agent was aboard the plane. If the FBI was tailing Dorothy Hunt, why was she not being followed on the plane? Was it that her flight was too sudden? But it was delayed on the ground for fifteen minutes. Michelle Clark of CBS, who was on the same flight, knew she was going to be on it and may have been her companion in the first-class cabin. The Hunts took enough time at the airport to buy $250,000 worth of flight insurance.
Ruckelshaus does not meet Reed’s main questions. He reads the book with a straight face as though Reed had asked him what were the statutory grounds of the FBI intervention instead of why, suddenly, this time and no other time, and so massively, and hence with such a semblance of advance contrivance, were these grounds taken up and acted upon. One understands that the FBI will always be able to demonstrate a rudimentary legal basis for whatever it takes in its head to do. What we wan to know is where these whims and fancies bubble up from.
We wonder finally what in the world made the FBI think 553’s crash might have been a case of “willful disabling of a civil aircraft,” or of “crimes aboard the aircreft in flight, including assault, murder and manslaughter?” Not that any of this necessarily happened or did not but the FBI does not usually behave as if it might have. Does it? How does Ruckelshaus account fro this, especially in view of his assertion that the FBI acted with no knowledge of Dorothy Hunt’s presence? What was the chain-of-command activity and what were the reasons that so many FBI agents waiting to move when the plane came down?
The Plumbers and the Crash
The White House also responded immediately to the crash. Nixon moved Egil Krogh, Alex Butterfield, and Dwight Chapin, three of his remaining special agents, to positions of vantage around the crash investigation.
Krough was the organizer of the Nixon White House’s Special Investigative Unit, the “Room 16” group. Chapin was a key Haldeman aide who recruited and directed Segretti in his sabotage and espionage tasks. Butterfield, who so airily exposed the White House secret taping system on Friday, July 13, was a Haldeman man from UCLA, where their wives were sorority roommates. He has an Air Force background and some of his biographies say he flew with the Blue Angels. He served Nixon as White House liaison with the CIA.
There is how these agents were deployed in the days following the December 8 crash.
On Saturday, December 9, 1972, Krough was suddenly made an undersecretary of the Department of Transportation, the DOT being the seat of larger bureaucratic responsibility for the crash investigation. There was no prior announcement of this appointment. There was no explanation of why it had to be implemented the same day it was announced, a Saturday, not normally a business day in Washington. Once installed in the DOT, Krough proceeded to pressure the NTSB to speed up its reports and restrain its criticism of DOT or face “discipline.”
Ten days later, on December 19, Butterfield was appointed administrator of the Federal Aviatioin Administration, the parent body of the actual technical-investigation arm, the Bureau of Aviation Safety. Butterfield’s appointment was delayed to March because of a provision prohibiting any military or retired military officer from holding the position Nixon wanted to move him into. As when General Alexander Haig joined Kissinger’s National Security Council later, Butterfield had to resign his commission temporarily.
Early in January, Chapin left the White House behind a story that he was being drummed out because of his role in the activities of CREEP. He soon joined the staff of United Air Lines Chicago office as a “director of market planning.” He was present every day at the NTSB public hearings into the 553 crash that opened on February 28, 1973, in Chicago. He spent some of his time fending off Skolnick and Bottos and some of it intimidating the media with licensing threats.
Then there is the matter of Richard Spears.
In May 1973 stories reached the Senate Commerce Committee, overseer of the NTSB, that “officials of the White House or the Department of Transportation were trying to improperly influence members of the [Safety] Board in the pursuit of their lawful duties.” On May 3, Charman Warren Magnusen (D-Wash.) asked Chairman Reed to respond to these stories.
On May 9, exposed as a Plumber in the Fielding burglary, Krogh resigned his post as number two man in the DOT.
Magnussen’s inquiry motivated Reed and the Senate Commerce Committee to convene the sessions of May 21 and 23. These sessions were attended only by Senator Howard Cannon (D.-Nev.), although Senator Frank Moss (D.-Utah) submitted two questions to each witness remotely suggesting a suspicion of sabotage. But the most important development at these hearings was the clash between a Nixon appointee to the NTSB, General Manager Richard Spears, and the director of the Bureau of Aviation Safety, C.O. Miller.
Spears became a “consultant” to the NTSB in January 1971 shortly after the end of the term of Senator George Murphy (R.-Cal.), whom he formerly served as administrative assistant. Spears moved in as the head of the NTSB after a Nixon-inspired change in the regulations created the position of “NTSB general manager” and defined it as a political-patronage job. Spears had no former experience in the field of aviation safety, a specialized technical field.
According to Miller, Spears immediately began trying to run the NTSB. A quarrel developed between them. It boiled up in February 1973 just as the NTSB hearings into the Hunt crash were opening in Chicago. As BAS director, Miller was the boss of the technician, William Lamb, who would oversee the entire program of investigation, analysis and report on the crash of 553.
Late in February, Miller took off from his normal duties to attend a sixty-day Federal Executives Institute. When he was safely out of the building, Spears replaced him in the BAS directorship and let it out that his duties would be different upon return. Before Miller could return to challenge this personally, Spears himself rewrote the NTSB’s definition of “probably cause” of a crash, directed NTSB investigators to make fewer safety recommendations, and called for quicker completion of investigations and reports on all projects, including the 553 crash.
Miller returned for confrontation in April. He testified that Spears told him, “I have got orders from the only people that hire and fire me to become chief operating officer of the NTSB.” Asked by Senator Cannon how he interpreted this, Miller said he thought it meant that Spears “had some knowledge of some power base in the executive branch. One of the very serious impacts on the effectiveness of our Bureau, in my opinion, has been the use of this reference to outside power to, in a sense intimidate the people who perhaps are a little more concerned about their jobs than I am, to get things done without question.”
Miller’s appeal to the full NTSB was successful. He was restored to his former position as BAS director. Somewhat later, however, he began complaining of heart trouble and was obliged to retire.
What are we to make of Nixon’s evidently intense interest in the crash of the Hunt plane? FBI men intervening so quickly at company-level force; the three secret Nixon agents fanning out to positions of control around the crash investigation; Spears going to the report-writing center, cutting directly into the 553 investigation: What might all this mean?
This brings us to the detailed technical analysis of the NTSB report on the crash. It is a boggy and noxious area to explore because in entails necessarily technical exposition. At the same time, it is in the technical areas that our institutions have found strength before, so let us plunge ahead.
The Analysis of the Crash
We briefly and tersely dismissed Sherman Skolnick’s claims. We investigated thoroughly and found not a shred of evidence indicating the Dorothy Hunt plane was sabotaged.
September 23, 1974
The technical questions of fact and interpretation in the crash of United 553, for better or worse, have taken from in the course of a polemic set in train by Skolnick’s early accusations of sabotage and cover-up. In this section, we will take up several particular questions emerging from this polemic.
We begin with the question of cyanide poisoning not because it is the strongest of Skolnick’s claims – indeed it is much the weakest – or because it is the most important, which it is not, but because it is the question on which Skolnick’s critics have concentrated most of their fire.
Then we will move to consider the more substantial technical doubts about the precise mechanisms of the crash, most of which involve questions also first articulated in some form by Skolnick.
Finally we will take up the theory of the crash developed by the NTSB and advanced in their final report, “Aircraft Accident Report 73-16, United Airlines, Inc., Boeing 737, N9031U, Chicago-Midway Airport, Chicago, Illinois, December 8, 1972,” dated August 29, 1973.
The Question of Cyanide
James Walsh, administrative assistant to the Cook County coroner, told James Brady of New York magazine, “We found seven bodies which contained enough cyanide to kill them. We are not saying cyanide killed them, but that there was enough of it to have done so.
Brady notes that Walsh refused to say whether or not the pilot’s body contained cyanide. But Skolnick had already unearthed FAA technical exhibit No. 6A, docket No. SA-435, entitled “Human Factors Group Chairman’s Factual Report,” by C. Hayden LeRoy. Page 8 of this exhibit contains in its entirety a typewritten table introduced by the words, “Federal Aviation Administration, Civil Aeromedical Institute, Aviation Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, examined specimens from three aircraft occupants. Results were as follows.” Among other things, the table shows that the three whose bodies were examined by the Civil Aeromedical Institute were Captain Whitehouse, Flight Officer W.O. Coble, and a first-class passenger otherwise unidentified. (According to NTSB spokesman Slattery, Dorothy Hunt was flying in the first-class cabin forward, just behind the cockpit.) By the item, “Cyanide (Conway Diffusion, NaOH),” the value entered for Captain Whitehouse is 3.9 micrograms per milliliter. In the columns for Coble and the first-class passenger there are hyphens indicating that the test for cyanide was not carried out on them.
What does it mean that Whitehouse had 3.9 micrograms per milliliter of cyanide in him? For the record, let us first note that the NTSB had some trouble in establishing that figure. The Chicago coroner’s office reported to begin with that Whitehouse’s blood showed cyanide in the amount of 0.211 milligrams per milliliter, an extremely high tamount which by itself would establish a prima facie case of foul play.
There are a few problems with this simplification, however.
Dr. Smith proceeded to analyze a blood specimen from the pilot (but not the others) to see how much cyanide actually was present, and the value he came up with was not “an innocuous” 0.211 micrograms per milliliter, which is the value arrived at by assuming that there was an error in the placing of the decimal point. Rather, it is the 3.9 micrograms per milliliter value we found in Exhibit 6A. That value, in the first place, does not bear our the Chicago coroners’ guess that their assumed error was in the decimal; there is still a difference of a whole magnitude between their adjusted value of 0.2 micrograms per milliliter and Dr. Smith’s new value of 3.9 micrograms per milliliter. And in the second place, 3.9 micrograms per milliliter is not an innocuous level, a fact which even Dorfman concedes indirectly when he notes that this “is the highest blood cyanide reading [Dr. Smith] has ever recorded in a crash victim.”
Dorfman continues: “A research toxicologist I consulted confirmed that while a concentration of 3.9 micrograms is more than enough to kill, it is quite possible – depending on the concentration of cyanide gas in the air and the physical condition of the victim – to inhale that much before death occurs.
Very well, but observe how far this shifts the grounds of the argument. A moment before, we were being told that the pilot died a normal cyanide death, period. Now we are only being told that it is not absurd on the facts to speculate that he did.
The NTSB report states (pg 13) that “elevated hydrogen cyanide levels were found in the captain and in six fatalities in the crash,” but it says nothing of the new record poor Whitehouse set and does not pause to tell us what these “elevated levels” were, even though it notes (p. 14) that “smoke inhalation with carbon monoxide asphyxia and blood cyanide accumulation” was finally determined to have been the cause of the captain’s death. It merely explains that the plastics used extensively in the cabins of commercial airliners give off hydrogen cyanide as a gas when burned.
The crash was indeed followed by an intense fire in the center section, mainly in the first-class cabin where Dorothy Hunt and Michelle Clark were traveling. But there was little fire in the captain’s half of the cockpit, possibly because the nose and cockpit section broke off from the cabin and split in half. The NTSB report states (p. 12): “The left side of the cockpit and the left forward entry door were relatively intact. The captain’s seat was intact and sustained only minor fire damage.” And in any case, not to be too elementary, the possibility of a crash-normal cyanide gas poisoning would hardly cancel out the possibility of a non-crash-normal cyanide gas poisoning (as with a canister delivery mechanism). The existence of a convenient explanation (as in the use of potassium and cortisone as poisons) is actually the leading advantage of such a method.
It is certainly true, as Dorfman says, that Skolnick goes beyond the evidence in a self-discrediting way in claiming that the shadows like the above demonstrate intentional poisoning in the 553 crash. Here Skolnick seems at his most lurid, turning, in Dorfman’s words, every “assumption” into a “conclusion,” every “hunch” into a “fact”.
Still, Skolnick’s informed misses teach us more of the truth of Watergate power politics than the baseless reassurances Dorfman prefers. That is because, first, Skolnick’s overall conception of what goes into politics, wheat constitutes it, what comes out, is currently rooted in real experience. So even wandering at his most hysterical through dismal swamp, as perhaps with the cyanide question (and perhaps not), Skolnick still makes more sense and does more good teaching than those who use modest rhetoric to tell us there is nothing wrong. Something in fact may be quite wrong, the wrong may be of Satanic magnitude, and there is no way the standard statistic-ridden, political-sociology models employed in conventional federal-academic discourse can even focus the structured character of what is wrong. These models, these assumptions, give us a lone madman here and a lone madman there, as though our time’s violent assault on presidential figures were the purest contingency, purest acts of God, unstructured, random events lying outside the events constitutive of “politics” proper and of no greater interest to the “political scientist” than the normal airplane accident or normal heart attack.
Finally, as inadequately supported as it no doubt is, Skolnick’s assertion about 553 and cyanide poisoning still ought not to be dismissed altogether. A palpable residue of doubt remains, partly because the authorities have seemed so anxious to shut the question up, but also partly because these are not bare, naked allegations. In view of the extreme political sensitivity of Dorothy Hunt’s death, it might appear to the trusting among us that the public officials responsible would bend over backwards to follow every shadow of doubt all the way through to the end. What had they to fear? As it was, the very day after the crash, even as Plumber Krogh was being scrambled to the number two spot at the Department of Transportation over the FAA and NTSB, the official voices began their choral chant that there was no possibility of sabotage,” not a shred of evidence,” and let slip no chance to heap more vituperation on Skolnick. The FBI was saying no sabotage within twenty hours of the crash, before it was even announced to the public that Dorothy Hunt was among the victims, and NTSB spokesmen were saying it early in May at a moment when the analysis of the data had barely begun. There is too much intensity in this, too much head-shaking. Too much protest betokens fear of some discovery. It reeks of cover-up whether it is one or not.
In view of the report of the Cook County coroners and Dr. Smith’s own results in the retest of the captain’s blood, for example, why did Dr. Smith and the NTSB not press to examine the other seven or ten or twelve bodies said to contain “elevated levels” of cyanide? In view of the queer behavior of the FBI, why was not every angle looked into, every doubt openly faced, before the curtains started being closed on the play?
I have been nagging some version of this question, or it me, through many passages of this book: why the cover-up? A paragraph from the short-lived polemic that flared up between Dorfman and me in the Nation contains what may be a hint of an answer. Dorfman wrote:
I do not disbelieve in conspiracies. I have helped uncover a few myself. My quarrel is not even with Oglesby’s own treatment of the December crash, which he suggests has been carefully hedged about with distinctions between what is known and what needs to be known. Rather, I take issue with, and he defends, a style of political thinking [i.e. Skolnick’s] which turns assumptions into conclusions and hunches into facts, which are in turn [note:] broadcast to an increasingly receptive public content that, since the forces at work are not only beyond their reach but omnipotent, there is nothing they can or need do about public problems.
In other words, gentle reader, it is you despair that Dorfman fears. If you come to think that such theories as the sabotage theory of the Hunt crash are not crazy on facts, and that such things can actually happen and the offender not be caught, then your faith in politics will wither and die, and where shall we all be then.
To this I answer, first, that there is no point in trying to set preconditions on the truth. Either the airplane was sabotaged or it was not, just as John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and George Wallace either were or were not attacked by conspiracies acting behind cover stories of lone, mad, diary-writing gunmen. And either we can do something about this or we cannot. Nothing whatever is served by hiding from the question. If we cannot, then indeed the age of politics is behind us and we are the creature of new millennium.
Second, Skolnick’s track record does not entitle his detractor to such airy contempt. Dorfman may be unable to muffle a boast about helping to “uncover a few” conspiracies himself (he is too modest to remind us what they were), but Skolnick is something else. We have already noted his major works: the bust of some half-dozen federal and other judges in Illinois and Indiana, including three members of the Illinois Supreme Court, and the exposure of Kerner in 1969.
Finally, something in the turn of Dorfman’s last phrase in the above passage reminds me again that what academic liberals are typically so worried about is not the lapse of people’s faith in politics so much as the lapse of their faith in the politics of the current system. But it is the power and invisibility of that system’s demonstrated current corruption that threatens political demoralization, not the fact that a handful of people with virtually no resources are trying to expose it, analyze it, name it, and raise in public forums the question of direct political action to do something about it. To Dorfman I say, if that is what we are really talking about, preserving the people’s faith in a corrupt political system, I know I am not the only democratic-minded patriot who will say, let it bleed.
Skolnick and others have raised much more substantial questions about the actual mechanisms of the crash of United 553: that the in-flight recorders were stolen from the wreckage, that the altimeter was sabotaged, that the runway system at Midway was used irregularly on this landing, that an electronic landing aid was unaccountably switched off at a crucial moment, and that the crew failed even to take not of, much less to act on, the actuation of a cockpit stall-warning signal designed expressly to be imperative.
The Flight Recorders: The Boeing 737 caries two data-recording systems, both designed to survive crashes of much greater violence than that of 553. In the shock test, each package must withstand the blow of a five-hundred-pound steel bar dropped from ten feet. This is because their only purpose is to help crash investigators determine as absolutely as possible the cause or causes of a crash.
One is the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), a super-quality but otherwise ordinary tape recorder system wired through a network of microphones to tape a whole range of cockpit sounds – the distinctly different clicks, chimes, rattles, horns, and whirrs of the controls – besides every word of cabin conversation and any signals incoming from outside the aircraft, as from a tower, another airplane, or an electronic beacon on the ground. In other words, it is designed to record the total acoustical signal environment of the crew. This record of the cockpit acoustical environment is so sensitive that General Electric engineers, working with a tape that had been badly damaged (see below), were nevertheless able to reconstruct from its acoustical data precise thrust settings, left and right, for each of the 737’s two tail-mounted jet engines, right up to the moment of impact.
The other is the Flight Data Recorder (FDR). It is by far the more important of the two from the standpoint of technical crash analysis. The FDR keeps a continuous graph-paper trace on the stat of the aircraft’s nerve center, the Central Air Data Computer, mounted with the FDR in the tail because that is the safest part of the aircraft. The FDR records such parameters as air speed, barometric (coarse) altitude, transponder (fine) altitude, and aircraft roll and pitch angles, and it also records instrument presentations to the crew in order that errors in instrumentation can be discriminated from errors in sensing or servomechanization or the like.
The critical points in connection with the CVR and the DRR are threefold:
First, the NTSB did not recover these instruments from the crash, even though its technical team was already in the field early Saturday morning. News accounts at the time said that both recorders were turned over to the NTSB team by James McConaugh, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, who actually held a little ceremony of handover to which he invited a handful of newspeople. No one asked, however, what the Department of Streets and Sanitation was doing with these instruments. They could not have simply tumbled into the street. The NTSB report tells us in fact that the nose and the tail sections of the aircraft suffered relatively little damage. News accounts incuriously note that the two recorders “had been recovered from the wreckage.” They do not pry into such questions as: By whom where they recovered, and in what way, and under what power and authority, whether by streets and Sanitation people or others?
What would Streets and Sanitation people know about extracting these recorders from a still-burning wreckage? Not that they could know nothing, but what did they know? In the immediate aftermath of a horrifying mid-afternoon plane crash in the heart of a residential neighborhood, when there were survivors still screaming in the wreckage, why would Streets and Sanitation people be in such a hurry to save the flight-data recorders? Not that there could be no innocuous explanation for this, but what is it? And if Streets and Sanitation gog the recorders from the FBI agents also present, as seems likely, then the question is: Why was Pat Gray’s FBI so hot to get its hands on the technical instruments needed for a precise reconstruction of the crash?
The second critical point bears on the state of the Cockpit Voice Recorder. A Dwight Chapin-inspired Chicago news story from the March NTSB hearings in Chicago ran as follows:
“United Air Line investigative committee members are suggesting that hydraulic pump failures may have contributed to the crash. They point out that the Cockpit Voice Recorder was filled with hydraulic oil when recovered from the wreckage, and some four days were required in the laboratory to clean the tape sufficiently for it to be played back to Safety Board listeners.
There is no mention of this oil, however in the NTSB’s final report, or of any need to treat the CVR tape in any way whatsoever, never mind for four days, before unnamed minds accounted it fit to be heard by the NTSB investigators.
The report reads, ‘Although the CVR showed evidence of extreme fire and heat damage, the entire tape was recovered with only moderate damage to a non pertinent area” (p.8); although another passage tells us that the normally high fidelity “CVR tape contained a high-level background noise which tended to mask meaningful frequency data.” (p.16); and in another context (p.8) notes without explanation that there were “variances” of up to six seconds in the “times of identical events recorded by Air Traffic Control sources [ground based] and the CVR.” The transcript of the last eight minutes of the CVR tape, printed in the NTSB report as Appendix F, shows fourteen “unidentified voice” entries and ten “unintelligibles,” ever so reminiscent of those other transcripts boiled in oil.
Or was Haig’s Sinister Force at Chicago, too?
The third critical point involves the all-important Flight Data Recorder, the one mounted in the tail near the Air Data Computer. The FDR shows that the crew did not get a suggestion of any FDR failure until about eight minutes later than that, and that up until about five minutes before the crash, the circuit and tape functions were still indicating positive.
Without exploring this side canyon, the NTSB report nevertheless acknowledges the importance of the simultaneous loss of capability in both recording systems at once: “The absence of FDR information, the [inherent] imprecision of the data, and the high ambient noise level of the CVR recording preclude a precise determination of the nature and tempo of events during the 60 seconds from the call for the final descent check until impact” (p.26)
The altimeters. Skolnick claimed shortly after the crash that the flight instrument actually sabotaged on 553 was the altimeter. He said his information from an FAA source inside the investigation was that the diaphragm of a barometric-pressure-sensing device had a pinprick in it. The NTSB established that the pilot’s altimeter had no such pinprick and showed that the copilot’s instrument was smashed too badly in the crash for a positive determination to be made.
There the NTSB laid the matter to rest and proceeded with its own reconstruction. In the course of this reconstruction, however, it appeared that there were indeed serious technical peculiarities in the performance of the altimeter system as a whole.
There are actually two independent altitude measuring and display systems on the Boeing 737, one for the pilot and one for the copilot. Each system begins with a barometric-pressure-sensing device mounted outside the aircraft on “independent Pilot-static probes which have no common connections.” The signals from each sensor go to one of two Central Air Data Computers (CADC) which continue the parallel redundancy of the system. Each CADC then supplies inputs to identical and independent altitude indicators, one at the pilot’s instrument console and the other at the copilot’s.
Indeed, the altitude-measuring system’s only catastrophic failure is the situation in which both the pilot’s altimeter and the copilot’s altimeter fail or malfunction in precisely the same way, in precisely the same magnitude, at precisely the same time. I am not a mathematician and will not try to compute the probability that these three conditions will ever be met in actual performance, but one’s inner ear says that the chance would be low, all the more so because of the unsurpassed reliability performance record of the Boeing 737. The only wreck this model ever had was the wreck it got into a mile and a half short of Midway.
What do you know, these three conditions appear nevertheless to have been met in the case of the crash of 553. “Both CADC units were capable of normal operation,” reads the NTSB report (p. 24), “but their altitude synchros, as recovered, showed an altitude higher than that of the crash site. The altitude differences, which could have been transmitted from the [independent] CADC units to the captain’s and first officer’s servo altimeters, were 157 feet and 103 feet, respectively.”
These are not trivial errors in either altimeter by itself, and it is putting it mildly to say that they are not trivial when they occur in the two independent systems at once.
Runway Utilization: Midway is an old airport with few of the modern electronic instrumentation systems which jet flight has come to depend on. One of its runways, however, runway 13R, is longer than the others and better equipped for jets. It has an electronic glidescope, a system that automatically tells the captain whether he is descending at the right altitude and rate throughout the whole length of the initial approach. Wind not being a factor (a light 4-6 knots at the time of the crash), it is the runway normally assigned to the few airline jets that still land at Midway instead of O’Hare. Use of this runway is all the more appropriate under conditions of low overcast, as on December 8, when the ceiling was about five-hundred feet.
The question of when and why flight 553 was reassigned to runway 31L, which is shorter and lacks a glidescope, is lost in the confusion of the lost “approach clearance,” that is, the word given, or in this case not given, by O’Hare tower (which handles all the graffic circulating around Chicago) and Midway’s story was never told. The whole question of O’Hare’s hand-off of 553 to the Midway tower is muddy with irregularities.
Related to the evident uncertainty in the cockpit of 553 about the landing procedure is the question of the light private plane, a two-prop Aero-Commander, that landed just ahead of 553 on Runway 31L. The more appropriate runway for such a small plane was 31R, which parallels 31L. Indeed, at one point the CVR transcript shows that Midway considered having the Aero-Commander go to that runway, but then changed its mind.
Less than twelve seconds later, with no communications intervening, the Midway tower sent its next and last message to 553: “United five fifty-three, execute a missed approach, make a left turn to a heading of – one eight zero, climb to two thousand.”
Nineteen-and-a-half seconds later came the crash. There were no future communications between the tower and 553 either way. The reason Midway gave for the wave-off was that 553 was going too fast and the distance between it and the Aero-Commander had closed to an unsafe margin. ON its first approach to the runway, 9VS had been well ahead of 553, some three miles. Unaccountably, its pilot requested a missed approach clearance from Midway tower and was given permission to pull up, circle, and come back for another try, all without giving place to 553 coming in behind it out of its holding pattern. The reason for the Aero-Commander’s missed-apporach request is not given in the NTSB report.
The Kedzie Outer Marker: Skolnick’s original claim was that the Kedzie Localizer/Outer Marker was turned off as 553 passed over it. This is a vertical electronic beam emitted by a transmitter located on Kedzie Avenue, 3.3 miles from the runway, on direct line with runway 31L. Especially in overcast conditions, it is needed to ensure that landing aircraft are headed in properly toward the runway.
The NTSB report ignores Skolnick’s assertions and puts a good face on the performance of the Outer Marker. The CVR transcript shows the Kedzie beacon tones sounding just after 553’s approach is handed over from O’Hare to Midway tower, a little less than two minutes before the crash. No irregularities are noted, and in its only remote approach to the point, the report says only (p.7) that “all navigational facilities associated with this approach procedure were flight-tested by the FAA immediately after the accident and wer found to be operating within prescribed tolerances. None of the flights using the localizer before or after the accident reported any problems.”
One must have access to the part of the CVR transcript not published with the NTSB final report to know of the following snatch of dialogue from the cockpit:
“Is Kedzie Localizer off – off the air, is that it?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Is Kedzie Localizer off the air? There’s an inbound, ah, there’s an in-bound on 31.”
As to the significance of the shut-off of the Kedzie Outer Marker, the NTSB report scatters fragments of the answer throughout its pages and never brings them together so that the meaning can come out clearly. On page 9 it tells us that 553 crashed “1/4 mile to the right of the localizer approach course.”
From the report in Appendix D, we learn that the magnetic heading of the path of the wreckage across three city blocks, hence the heading of the aircraft at impact, was 340 degrees.
From Appendix E we learn that the magnetic heading of runway 31L was 312 degrees. Thus, a little more than a mile-and-a-half after it had crossed the suddenly turned-off Kedzie beacon, in spite of the fact that its crew was turning 553 left for the missed-approach exercise in the moments just before impact, it was still a quarter-mile off course to the right on a magnetic heading in error by 28 degrees. This is precisely the kind of error that the electronic marker system is installed to prevent.
The Stickshaker: The eeriest technical oddity about this crash is the behavior of the flight crew when the stickshaker went off.
The stickshaker is a no-uncertain-terms warning device installed in the cockpit expressly to warn the flight crew if the airplane is ever in danger of going into a stall. It is operated by the Air Data Computer, which constantly monitors and reflects upon the airplane’s total flight state, including the airspeed, engine thrust, and aerodynamic configuration. By aerodynamic configuration is meant the positions of the variety of movable surfaces on the wings and tail – tabs, flaps, spoilers, landing gear, etc. – that affect the drag and lift of the airplane while moving through the airstream. Under some combinations of airspeed, thrust, and aerodynamic configuration, drag exceeds left, the nose spools up, and the aircraft stalls. If a stall happens at a high altitude, the plane will go into a spin; if at a low altitude, as with 553, it will crash tail first.
The stall is thus an eventuality not to be trifled with, and the designers of the super-safe Boeing 737 make it as unlikely an event as they can, partly by building into the crew’s control system a stall-warning device designed for absolute infallibility.
The warning system has two parts. One is a noisemaker in the roof of the cockpit. Its alarm is described as sounding something like a rattlesnake but louder. It is made to sound as alarming as possible, since its purpose is to get the crew to do something. The other part of the stall-warning system, from which the over-all system gets its name of “stickshaker,” is a mechanism for actually shaking the flight controls in the pilot’s and copilot’s hands. It produces something like the jerking felt in the steering wheel of a car when load exceeds power and the engine begins to lug, except that the stickshaker action is purposely mor eintense.
Commercial airline pilots say the stickshaker warning system should b ehard and felt only during training flights. “The sound of the shaker,” says the NTSB’s chief investigator, William Lamb, “should trigger an immediate alarm” in the crew.
The fact is that in the case of 553 it produced no apparent reaction whatsoever, though it came on twenty seconds before the crash and stayed on all the way to the end. The transcript of the well-oiled, well-cleaned CVR tape has it that two seconds after the stickshaker alarm went off, and unidentified voice in the cockpit spoke “two to three hurried words at very low amplitude and masked by noise of the stickshaker” (p. 52): the stickshaker went off simultaneously with the word “execute” in Midway tower’s abrupt command, “United five fifty-three , execute a missed approach.” Six seconds later, Flight Officer Coble “was almost languid” (NTSB report, Appendix F) in response to the tower’s command to “make a left turn to a heading of – one eight zero, climb to two thousand.” “Okay,”
Coble radios the tower, “left turn to one eight zero – left turn, okay?” A preliminary NTSB statement said, “The inquiry, which is far from concluded, has found that the final words of the plane crew showed no concern or alarm about the planned landing” and that “no vocal or other indication was received from United’s three-man flight crew that an emergency had developed onboard. Instead, the voice of Second Officer E.J. Elder [the final NTSB report assigns this speech to Coble] was almost languid as he responded to Midway tower’s instruction to ‘take it around again, you are too close to the Aero-Commander ahead.’” (This last language, incidentally – about being too close to the Aero-Commander – is quoted here in the NTSB statement as though it were the actual language of the tower, but no such words can be found in the CVR transcript or Appendix F.)
The stickshaker warning signal that was not evidently noted by the crew of 553 was not noted by tower personnel either until (in the story Ruckelshaus told Reed) FBI Special Agent Robert E. Hartz “proceeded to the Midway Airport tower shortly after the crash to determine if tower personnel could shed any light as to the reason for the crash….After listening to the [tower’s] tapes, SA Hartz identified a sound as being that of the stall indicator on the aircreft. The FAA agreed that SA Hartz was right and immediately notified FAA headquarters at Washington D.C.”
How is this to be explained? What chance is there that the sound of the stickshaker was electronically imposed on the tapes by some Startrekish internal device as the “de-gaussing gun” with which Charles Colson once considered erasing the White House tapes from a position beyond the White House grounds? I do not know if an instrument that can do that exists, but we know for a fact that the CVR tape transcript published in the NTSB report gives not the slightest indication of any vocal or operational reaction by any of the three flight crew members to the activation of a warning system designed to be irresistible. That intrigues me. If I had been the NTSB and known that the tapes had been in the possession of the Nixon-Gray FBI and Shicago Streets and Sanitation and/or others for twenty hours, I should hav einquired further into it.
The NTSB did not. But then, Krogh and Spears and Butterfield were telling them to hurry.
To sum up the is much, I am saying that we face serious technical doubts in six areas connected with the crash of this airplane:
1: The elevated levels of cyanide shown in the pilot’s body and at least six others aboard the flight.
2: The fate of the flight recorders, including:
a) the missing fourteen minutes of the FDR record;
b) the oil-pollution and “special treatment’ to which the CVR tape was subjected for four days and the garbled nature of its final input to the investigation;
c) the irregular way these vital instruments came into the hands of the NTSB though Streets and Sanitation.
3: The parallel and common errors occurring simultaneously in the captain’s altimeter system and the copilot’s altimeter system, physically independent of each other.
4: The irregular utilization of the runways.
5: The malfunction of the Kedzie Outer Marker on an apparently exclusive-to-553 basis, leading 553 a quarter-mile astray inside a mile and a half.
6: The apparent failure of the crew to respond in any way to the activation of the stickshaker stall-warning system.
I am not saying that these technical doubts cannot possibly be resolved in innocuous ways or that they constitute by themselves a proof of the sabotage theory of the plane crash. I am saying only that they have not yet been resolved, innocuously or not. In the Appendis to this book, I argue further that the NTSB’s technical explanation of the crash, a “pilot-error” theory, is based on assumptions contradicted by the NTSB’s own technical findings. What remains to be seen is whether a more likely reconstruction of the event can be put together.
The Sabotage Theory
I have mentioned Skolnick’s bodyguard and companion Alex Bottos. Following is ann outline of the story he tells of the Hunt crash.
In September 1971, Bottos and other Skolnick associates quietly began investigating records of the Lake County Coroner’s Office in connection with a number of mysterious deaths of people figuring in one way or another in court actions pending in Hammond, Chicago, and Omaha against former executives of Northern Natural Gas Company and an assortment of public officials in Hammond and East Chicago.
This is the same Northern Natural whose lawyers Blodgett and Krueger will bring the so-called Mitchell documents aboard United 553 a year and a half later.
Northern Natural had been accused of a basic big-utilities bribery scheme involving the regional price structure and the seduction of pliant officials in a variety of levers-of-power positions. The indictment was originally to have been drawn in June of 1972. It was delayed by the stir created by new Skolnick-Bottos disclosures to the effect that the case had precipitated a string of cover-up crimes including murder and the falsification of death records. By September, when the information was that the documents finally brought $5 million on the underworld market.
As Bottos saw it, this meant that the Sarelli mob had something to do with the 553 crash. The way he pieced the story together, a group which Bottos occasionally follows General Haig in calling “the Sinister White House Force” was strongly desirous that several passengers aboard 553 not reach Chicago alive: Dorothy Hunt, because of her involvement in the blackmail operation; Michelle Clark of CBS, because she could put Dorothy Hunt on the gib stage; Krueger and Blodgett, because they had the Mitchell documents, part of the Huntmail. Because of the short time in which the technically difficult job had to be contracted for and carried out, the Sinister Force betook itself to the Syndicate group with the greatest technological capability of carrying it out, the Sarelli group. The hit group then employed a technique classically indicated for do-or-die situations, the use of double cutouts, i.e., of a number of independent hit-men each acting in ignorance of the others to get rid of the same people. The kill mechanisms employed overlapped and produced the overkill of 553. Bottos claimed also the elements of the FBI and other federal agencies were involved.
The 553 investigation was meantime heating up on its own burner and Skolnick and Bottos, pressing their views where they could were demanding, but not winning, a chance to present evidence at the NTSB public hearings.
On March 1 Skolnick presented the NTSB Board of Inquiry chairperson, Isobel Burgess, with a letter outlining his claims and requesting an opportunity to present them in a regular public session. Burgess rejected this petition on the spot without comment or explanation.
On March 2, Skolnick denounced the hearings as “a sham and a pretense” and filed suit against Burgess in the Cook County District Court.
On March 5, Bottos was suddenly taken prisoner by federal marshals acting on the order of another Chicago federal judge.
Without formal charges, hearing, or trial, Bottos was spirited away for sixty days of “mental observation” at the Federal Medical Facility in Springfield, Missouri, a prison-hospital long reckoned by the cognoscenti to be the main high-technology dungeon of the high-technology state, a “Clockwork Orange” subcellar. Bottos was released without harm after about forty days owing to the intervention of the Northwest Indiana Crime Commission, a citizen’s watch agency connected with Skolkick. By this time, however, the Sarelli case had gone by and he had not given his testimony.
Bottos is convinced that it was to keep him from testifying in the Sarelli trial that he was taken off to Springfield. A point cited against him in the “mental observation” period, in fact, was that he had been pushing so irrationally hard to be heard as a witness in that case. Davidson and Roller wanted him out of the picture, he came to believe, because they were protecting the Sarelli-White House link in the 553 crash.
This was only obliquely denied by Peter Vaira, Davidson’s successor as head of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Strike Force in Chicago. Vaira told me in a telephone interview in late September 1974 (before all the CIA stories broke). “We did not put Alex on the stand because once he gets started, God almighty, he’d be all over the place. He talks about the CIA, the Bay of Pigs, all kind of weird stuff. Says he knew Howard Hunt at the Bay of Pigs. We figured the jury’s got enough problems. So we used the agent who listened into Alex’s conversations.”
The result even so was convictions for Sarelli and Chiodo. But as Vaira added sadly, “Unfortunately for us, they both got quick probation. I’d have thought they’d have done time. They got a lot of money.”
One of course lacks the means to evaluate the Skolnick-Bottos version of events from a distance; no doubt it is lurid and frightening. It goes beyond the image-frame of normal politics and so gives us an unwelcome, vertiginous sense of suddenly not understanding politics anymore. The act imputed is indeed so monstrous tha the imputation itself seems a monstrous act. Would this Sinister Force of ours really kill so many innocent people to protect itself? Would it actually do that? In the time of Mai Lai? Secret wars? Allende? Dallas? Memphis? Los Angeles? Laurel? Fred Hampton’s bedroom in Chicago? The Audubon Ballroom in Harlem? The road to Selma? Jackson State? Kent State? Watergate?