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Key Softpanorama Topics
|About||Contents||Top Updates||Top Visited|
|Bulletin||Selected Papers||Softpanorama Bookshelf||History|
|News||The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage||Recommended Links||Andrew Bacevich on the New American Militarism||Big Uncle is Watching You||Corporatism||American Exceptionalism|
|Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law||Neo-fashism||Military Bureaucracy and Military Incompetence||Nation under attack meme||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||Social Sites as intelligence collection tools|
|Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis||War Is a Racket||War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler||Ron Paul||Corporatism quotes||Humor||Etc|
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
may or may not coincide with the best interests of the American people. Think of the divergence
of interests, for example, between the grunts who are actually fighting this war, who have been
eating sand and spilling their blood in the desert, and
the power brokers who
fought like crazy to make the war happen and are profiteering from it every step of the way."
- Bob Herbert, "Spoils of War," The New York Times, April 10, 2003
If the ability to anticipate future dangers for the nation is the mark of a truly great president then Dwight D. Eisenhower is the greatest president of the XX century. Dwight Eisenhower's presidency is probably better remembered less for what he did than for what he said while heading for the exit. In a nationally televised address on January 17, 1961, only four days before John F. Kennedy's inaugural and three years from coup d'etat which brought military-industrial complex in full control of all branches of the government (JFK assassination).
Eisenhower warned of the dangers of "undue influence" exerted by the "military-industrial complex." In other word appearance on the scene a new and formidable political force represented by arm manufactures, intelligence agencies, Army brass and selected supplies industries (oil industry comes to mind). Due to presence of intelligence agencies in this combination this force it out of civilian control and represents "state within a state".
But the term is more then undue influences, it's actually about a gradual, but inevitable transition of power to MIC iether by stealth coup or open coup d'etat. And as soon as MIC came on political scene, it inevitably transforms the state into some variant of totalitarian state, such an "inverted totalitarism" or National Security State. It's not exactly "WAR IS PEACE. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength", but close enough. This this warning represents the historical importance of Eisenhower's farewell address. Here is the video of the address:
Eisenhower cautioned that maintaining a large, permanent military establishment was "new in the American experience," and suggested that an "engaged citizenry" offered the only effective defense against the "misplaced power" of the military-industrial lobby. But the problem with his warning was that it came too late: after the second World War to dismantle permanent military-intelligence establishment with links to armament industries and research institutions as well as multinationals interested in aggressive foreign policy that helps penetrate foreign markets (British Petrolium was the force behind 1953 Iranian coup d'état) was an impossible task. We can state, that the key result of the second World War was the establishment of the rule of military industrial complex. Here is a relevant quote from his famous speech:
Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.
Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.
Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.
But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.
The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.
It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.
Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.
The term MIC ("Military-Industrial Complex") is also closely related to the phenomena that is defined by the term corporatism and the term National Security State. In a way, this is just a more politically correct way to describe corporatism as a social system. The term corporatism is taunted by the link to Mussolini Italy and quite often is associated with the term "Italian fascism". As such this association instantly makes the discussion more emotional and defensive.
Like the term corporatism, the term "Military-Industrial Complex" is used to denote a mutation of state in which the dominant power belong to the large corporations allied with the government including but not limited to a political block between the military and the industrial producers of military equipment and their lobbyists in Congress. In a sense, the key result of WWII was that Nazi Germany and its allies lost, but corporatism as a political movement they represented, actually won.
Alliance of government (both Congress and presidential administration) and corporate interests is the defining feature of this new form of political regime. Eisenhower initially wrote "military-industrial-congressional complex" (the term, which is of course is more precise as corporatism is a marriage of state and large corporations, but also more divisive), but was moved by strong advice to omit "congressional." We can see his political abilities and instincts of this great president in action in his final speech. It became a hit and people sited it, without understanding the depth and the real meaning of the warning, as well as the nature of the danger: mutation of the state into corporatist national security state which completely excludes public from the political process.
The term is easily extended to any group of corporations for which a significant part of revenue comes from the government contracts or in other way is guaranteed by government, or which depend from the expansion of market by government force (especially foreign expansion). In this sense we can talk about financial complex as another candidate for close and dangerous alliance with government .
No matter what set of industries are the key members of the alliance with the government, the press is controlled by the same players. The net result is a super-aggressive (we are the dominant player and you suckers should not stand on our way), jingoistic foreign policy oriented on acquiring new and protecting old markets. In this sense one of the defining features of such a regime is seeking/protecting/opening foreign markets using direct military power (aka invasions) or threat of thereof. That's why, the USA foreign policy seems unchanged the last 60 years, regardless of who controls the executive, and or, the legislative branches of government.
On the other hand it can be viewed as an implementation of Military Keynesianism: a government economic policy in which the government devotes large amounts of spending to the military in an effort to increase economic growth and the speed of technological advancement (via dual use technologies). Many fundamental technologies such as computers, large scale integral circuits, Internet, GPS, etc are the net results of adoption and enhancement of former military-oriented technologies by the civilian sector.
As for aggressive foreign policy there is one important difference between "predator states" and fascist regimes: extreme, rabid nationalism is typical only for fascist regimes, but is not a defining feature of "predator states". But aggressive foreign policy is and that's why the term invented by Jamie Galbraith ( “the predator state”) in his book bearing that title aptly reflect the defining feature of such states. In other words aggressive foreign policy is an immanent feature of the regime -- such regimes are almost always are engaged in some kind of war. Related, but more narrow term is "disaster capitalism" introduced by Naomi Klein which explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Her Shock Doctrine book is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies were pushed through the throat of states in trouble, and prevailed through the brutal exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.
Of course, both the American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight Eisenhower made his farewell speech. See also The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet, spend more on armed forces than all other nations combined -- while going deeply into debt to do so. It also stations over 500,000 troops, and untold number of spies, contractors, consultants, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, we have almost hundred thousand people who are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The explicit purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible. Funny, but among other items Pentagon also maintains 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals (to make it more convenient to fly there), and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.
Statistics compiled by the Federation of American Scientists analyzed by Gore Vidal show 201 military operations initiated by the U.S. against others between the end of WWII and 9/11 - none of which directly resulted in the creation of a democracy. These included Iran (1953, 1979), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959-present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-73), Greece (1967-73), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979-present), El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (1980s), Iraq (1991-present), Panama (1989), Grenada (1983). (The Korean War is a notable positive exception.)
Per Johnson, Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA director Gates made it clear that U.S. aid to the mujaheddin began six months prior to the Soviet invasion, and helped to provoke it (with the direct goal of seeking Vietnam for Soviet troops). So the USA by-and-large created, organized and financed global Islamic fundamentalist forces, which at some point became less controllable from the former center.
A recent 'Newsweek' article also pointed out waste in the Pentagon - Secretary Gates estimates there are 30 levels between himself and line officers, and expects by 2020 for the U.S. to have 'only' 20X China's number of advanced stealth fighters; other researchers recently found 530 deputy assistant secretaries of defense, compared to 78 in 1960. See also Dismantling the Empire .
Despite the economic decline, of may be because of it, New Militarism is now pandemic, supported by both parties and aggressively used by Republican Party to maintain the unity of fragile coalition of rag tag groups (see Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians). Neo-conservative ideology still dominates foreign policy and its essence (spread of "liberal democracy" with a shadow goal of defending/promoting own geo-strategical interests and first of all access to cheap oil) is not that different from the old Soviets militarism, eager to spread or "defend" the blessings of "Scientific Socialism (Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles remember those attempts all too well).
While far from historic high (reached during World War II, when it represented 20% of the civilian workforce) US military still employs 2.2 million people, or about 2% of the civilian workforce. So they represent a society within a society. If we add Department of Energy and military contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, United Technologies. L-3 Communications, etc as well as servicing firms such as Halliburton/KBR/Blackwater/DynCorp we can add to this figure another million people. That means that all-in all at least three million US citizen directly or indirectly works for military-industrial complex. But what is more important that military-industrial complex spends up to 50% of all taxes:
In Fiscal Year 1999 the Department of Defense awarded $118 billion to contractors for goods and services. The "Big Three" in the defense industry -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon -- alone accounted for 26% of all defense contracts in FY'99.
In fiscal year 2003 the United States Government will spend on the military more than all the rest of the countries on Earth combined. Current expenditures are 437 billion and our past obligations are 339 billion, this equals 776 billion. 46% of our Taxes go to the Military Industrial Complex: http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm.This figure doesn't even begin to account for all of the off-budget, black projects, homeland security nor the 40+ billion the United States Government will spend on intelligence in 2003. -- Mark Elsis Lovearth, Jan. 8, 2002
Pentagon's Anual Top Ten Defense Contractors
Lockheed Martin Corp. $17.0 billion Boeing Co. $16.6 billion Northrop Grumman Corp. $8.7 billion Raytheon Co. $7.0 billion General Dynamics Corp. $7.0 billion United Technologies Corp. $3.6 billion Science Applications International Corp. $2.1 billion TRW Inc. $2.0 billion Health Net, Inc. $1.7 billion L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. $1.7 billion
Abstracting from the ideological bent, totalitarian regimes like USSR (or China) can be viewed as examples of MIC dominance in the form of merger military with the state, a variant of George Orwell's "doublespeak" future depicted in his novel "1984". And the dissolution of the USSR is directly related to the destruction of the USSR economy imposed by militarily industrial complex (see Are We Going Down Like the Soviets World). Although arm race with USA played significant role, Soviet military establishment overplayed its hand and killed the host. Collapse of communist ideology and emergence of neoliberalism was just a final strew that broke the camel back as KGB brass realized that it will be better off under capitalism and changed sides. Still, China, which uses the same bankrupt ideological doctrine with political life dominated by Communist Party, managed to survive and even economically prosper using strange mix of communism with neoliberalism in economics.
Sheldon Wolin, who taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present to Berkeley and Princeton graduate students, introduced the term "inverted totalitarism", which probably can be better called neo-bolshevism. This is an interesting, uniquely american variant of National Security state. He thinks that the latter is based on two forces:
Corporate power, which is in charge of managed democracy. Wolin argues, "The privatization
of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political
form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state.
It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture from a system in which
democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributing elements, to
one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist
programs are being systematically dismantled." This campaign has largely succeeded.
"Democracy represented a challenge to the status quo, today it has become adjusted to the status
The military-industrial complex, which is in charge of projecting power abroad (Empire building). The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion; the next closest national military budget is China's at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. Foreign military operations literally force democracy to change its nature: "In order to cope with the imperial contingencies of foreign war and occupation," according to Wolin:
"democracy will alter its character, not only by assuming new behaviors abroad (e.g., ruthlessness, indifference to suffering, disregard of local norms, the inequalities in ruling a subject population) but also by operating on revised, power-expansive assumptions at home.
It will, more often than not, try to manipulate the public rather than engage its members in deliberation. It will demand greater powers and broader discretion in their use ('state secrets'), a tighter control over society's resources, more summary methods of justice, and less patience for legalities, opposition, and clamor for socioeconomic reforms."
"Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology of advertising and the rule of "market forces" in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.
Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation.
Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl's classic film "Triumph of the Will" was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush's apparent landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq."
In short arrival on political scene of military industrial complex inevitably lead to its political dominance and establishing of some variant of National Security State with managed democracy which is promoted by subservient, corrupt and totally controlled media.
It a way it is so similar to the brand of totalitarism practiced in the late USSR that some call the USA USSA. It has the same strong "total surveillance" tendencies. It's bolshevism minus:
As Oscar Wilde's once noted: "The truth is seldom pure and never simple". Here is a relevant quote:
Inverted totalitalism is also different from classic "National Security State" although similarities are obvious. In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer identified seven characteristics of a National Security State :
Wolin writes, "Our thesis is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively 'strong democracy' instead of a 'failed' one." His understanding of democracy is classical but also populist, anti-elitist and only slightly represented in the Constitution of the United States. "Democracy," he writes, "is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs." It depends on the existence of a demos -- "a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all branches of public office." Wolin argues that to the extent the United States on occasion came close to genuine democracy, it was because its citizens struggled against and momentarily defeated the elitism that was written into the Constitution.
"No working man or ordinary farmer or shopkeeper," Wolin points out, "helped to write the Constitution." He argues, "The American political system was not born a democracy, but born with a bias against democracy. It was constructed by those who were either skeptical about democracy or hostile to it. Democratic advance proved to be slow, uphill, forever incomplete. The republic existed for three-quarters of a century before formal slavery was ended; another hundred years before black Americans were assured of their voting rights. Only in the twentieth century were women guaranteed the vote and trade unions the right to bargain collectively. In none of these instances has victory been complete: women still lack full equality, racism persists, and the destruction of the remnants of trade unions remains a goal of corporate strategies. Far from being innate, democracy in America has gone against the grain, against the very forms by which the political and economic power of the country has been and continues to be ordered." Wolin can easily control his enthusiasm for James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, and he sees the New Deal as perhaps the only period of American history in which rule by a true demos prevailed.
To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: "inverted totalitarianism," a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison -- 751 per 100,000 people -- of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has "emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions."
The genius of our inverted totalitarian system "lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed."
All those features were also typical for Bolsheviks regime in the USSR, so the term "neo-bolshevism" is also applicable.
New round of debates about military industrial complex was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA (see Big Uncle is Watching You) and 50th anniversary of JFK assassination and the key cue bono question about assassination:
Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, to investigate the illegal intelligence gathering by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after the Watergate incident. It also investigated the CIA and FBI conduct relating to the JFK assassination.
Numerous books about the assassination suggest that in case actions of government represent a threat to their interests, elements of military industrial complex can overthrow the United States government by force of arms and that's can well be one interpretation of events which happened on November 22, 1963. HSCA had found that there were at least 2 shooters. The circumstances of JFK assassination are so troubling and confusing that they create an impression of CIA coup d'Eetat. This impression is strengthened by the fact that the US intelligence communities actively deceived and stonewalled the JFK murder investigation. This possibility is explored in several books such as Coup d'Etat in America The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Alan J. Weberman, Michael Canfield and German book JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika. The reading of the former book suggests that some of the same forces the did Kennedy in also brought about the downfall of Nixon. Here is one Amazon review of the book:
The authors believe that two of the tramps arrested in Dealey Plaza that day were Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis, and that JFK was killed by the CIA and Cuban exiles angry over the Bay of Pigs. The assassination was then made to look like the work of Castro. "Members of a specially trained assassination squad called Operation Forty were briefed on their roles in the conspiracy. A CIA agent named Lee Harvey Oswald, who had a high 'expendability rating,' was chosen to play the role of 'patsy' in the killing...Oswald was led to believe he was part of a plot to assassinate Castro when in reality he was being set up as a pro-Castro scapegoat...But the officials of the Cuban consulate in Mexico City refused to issue Oswald a visa. If they had acted differently, and the visa had been found on Oswald's person after the assassination, most Americans would have been convinced that [he] was an agent of Fidel Castro...His CIA case officer ordered him to bring a rifle to the depository on the same day Kennedy was visiting Dallas and told him that there would be a message waiting for him somewhere in the building around 12:30 that day."
There were two men behind the grassy knoll and two phony SS men behind the TSBD. "Meanwhile, the killers, disguised as tramps, hid in some nearby boxcars..." Tippit was supposed to silence Oswald but Oswald shot him first; he then went to the Texas Theater so he would be arrested in front of lots of people to guarantee that he would be taken alive. Ruby was ordered by the mob to kill him.
Bertrand Russell's famous question about the Warren Commission's conclusions, "If, as we are told, Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?" was never answered.
That creates a distinct impression that intelligence services ("Big Intelligence") play a very important role in what is called MIC and are the core component of the modern National Security State. To the extent that instead of the term "media military industrial complex" we probably should use "media military intelligence industrial complex". As John Chuckman noted in his Nov 6, 2013 essay HOW AMERICA LEARNED TO PLAY GOD
The record of arrogance and abuse by security organizations, such as CIA or the FBI, is long and costly, filled with errors in judgment, abuse of power, incompetence, and immense dishonesty. Owing to the black magic of classified secrecy, much of the record involves projects about which we will never know, but even what we do know about is distressing enough. And I’m not sure that it can be any other way so long as you have Big Intelligence. Apart from Big Intelligence’s own propensity towards criminal or psychopathic behavior, one of the great ironies of Big Intelligence is that it will always agree to bend, to provide whatever suppressions and fabrications are requested by political leaders working towards the aims of the other great anti-democratic institutions, the military and the corporations. This became blindingly clear in the invasion of Iraq and, even before that, in the first Gulf War.
Among other things by access to "dirt" on politicians they provide powerful political filtering system so that none undesirable slips into important office:
America’s political system, honed and shaped over many decades, fits comfortably with these institutions. National elections are dominated by a two-party duopoly (being kept that way through countless institutional barriers deliberately created to maintain the status quo) , both these parties are dominated by huge flows of campaign contributions (contributions which form what economists call an effective barrier to entry against any third party seriously being able to compete), both parties embrace much the same policies except for some social issues of little interest to the establishment, and election campaigns are reduced to nothing more than gigantic advertising and marketing operations no different in nature to campaigns for two national brands of fast food or pop. It takes an extremely long time for a candidate to rise and be tested before being trusted with the huge amounts of money invested in an important campaign, and by that time he or she is a well-read book with no surprising chapters.
If for any reason this political filtering system fails, and someone slips through to an important office without having spent enough time to make them perfectly predictable, there still remains little chance of serious change on any important matter. The military-industrial-intelligence complex provides a molded space into which any newcomer absolutely must fit. Just imagine the immense pressures exerted by the mere presence of senior Pentagon brass gathered around a long polished oak table or a table surrounded by top corporate figures representing hundreds of billions in sales or representatives or a major lobbying group (and multi-million dollar financing source for the party). We see the recent example of popular hopes being crushed after the election of Obama, a man everyone on the planet hoped to see mend some of the ravages of George Bush and Dick Cheney. But the man who once sometimes wore sandals and bravely avoided a superfluous and rather silly flag pin on his lapel quickly was made to feel the crushing weight of institutional power, and he bent to every demand made on him, becoming indistinguishable from Bush. Of course, the last president who genuinely did challenge at least some of the great institutional powers, even to a modest extent, died in an ambush in Dallas.
|Bulletin||Latest||Past week||Past month||
|"All democracies turn into dictatorships - but
not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon
or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea... That's the issue
that I've been exploring: How did the Republic turn into the Empire ... and how does a democracy
become a dictatorship? "
Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas
November 18, 2013 | RT Op-Edge
Make no mistake: the 'American Dream' was mortally wounded alongside John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.
The President's unpunished murder was an 'open season' declaration on the elected leadership in the West. 'Robbed' of their 1962 Cuban nuclear war, the assassins were letting the whole world know who was 'The Daddy'.
Fifty years on we seem to be losing the same war for democratic control of our governments. Bankster robber barons and their Military Industrial Complex sidekicks are crawling all over the British cabinet. US Secretary of State John Kerry is still at it too. Despite being nominally a Democrat like JFK, he spends every waking hour in search of enemies, trying, by fair means and foul, to provoke war with Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
Perhaps he has a death wish? Perhaps it is Kerry's lying-in-a-coffin initiation into Yale University's Brotherhood of Death, the Skull and Bones Society, that blinds him to the likelihood his avarice will spark a global nuclear exchange with Russia? Just like the 1962 provocateurs, cut from the same cloth he doesn't give a damn.
US justice gets its boots on
The man who did the forensics and discovered most of the buried bodies in a trial that came within a whisker of nailing the JFK conspirators was former US Army officer and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. His investigation and 1988 book 'On the Trail of the Assassins' formed the rough draft for Oliver Stone's 1991 definitive film JFK.
Any treacherous TV station not showing JFK on the 50th anniversary should, I advise, be forever deleted from your channel list. It's unlikely any of the NATO zone TV documentaries rolling out over the 50th anniversary will come half as close to telling you what really happened as the Stone movie.
Instead we're being fed a propaganda diet of rancid red herrings, laced with insulting false trails while the graphic Zapruder film and a distraught Jackie Kennedy, as well as Jack Ruby shooting patsy-suspect Lee Harvey-Oswald in the stomach, sow the seeds of fear where they hurt.
Just as with more recent unexplained deaths of UK Secret Service men David Kelly in 2003 and Gareth Williams in 2010 the message of JFK's gruesome assassination is designed to fundamentally undermine the social fabric. The horror slips under the radar of consciousness to stamp into millions of psyches what, with impunity, the secret government can do.
For a refreshing taste of 'Garrison in the raw', listener-supported Oakland, California, radio outfit Guns and Butter's two-hour 1988 show 'The Assassination of JFK: The Garrison Interview' gets to the heart of the story. We hear, in Bonnie Faulkner’s and Andrew Phillips's production, the voice of history's unfortunate self-confessed patsy Lee Harvey Oswald as well as Oliver Stone.
Radio Station KPFA co-producer David Mendelsohn interviews Garrison nearly 20 years after the trial of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw, by which time further witnesses had crawled out of the woodwork, bringing with them further pieces of the jigsaw.
Garrison's disarming frankness and black humor make Guns and Butter's 25th anniversary production the benchmark documentary against which the entire 50th anniversary clutch can be judged. Evidence of the mainstream media's crippling influence that this classic documentary has still never been broadcast on national radio in the US or UK.
The 'we’ll-never-know' brigade
Mainstream media flunkies are paid well to tell us that because Oswald was shot we will never know what organization or individuals were behind Kennedy's assassination. I beg to differ. The CIA - set up by Allen Dulles, who did the dirty 1945 deals with the Nazis, and who JFK fired - killed the president.
Specifically-named individuals winkled out by Garrison are Cuban and New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello and two more with far right CIA links: Civil Air Patrol pilot David Ferrie and private investigator Guy Banister.
The CIA plot to upend US democracy couldn't have worked though without the support of the man who would replace Kennedy. After his inauguration, new President Lyndon B. Johnson immediately re-fired up the Vietnam & Cold War policies JFK had cooled.
Johnson gained financially too through his 'Suite 8F Group'. This has today grown to become the Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) Inc., one of the largest military contractors on the planet with $8 billion annual revenue.
The CIA's three central motives are pretty clear: Kennedy successfully stopped a nuclear war with the Soviet Union in 1962 that Strategic Air Command's General Curtis LeMay intended to win "...at any point the Soviet Union could have been obliterated without more than expectable losses on our side."
Kennedy blocked air support and other US military aid for the 1961 Bay of Pigs Cuban invasion attempt, leaving the hawks with egg on their faces. He was closing down one of the CIA's biggest slush fund operations, the Vietnam War. Cash was coming in aplenty from heroin trafficking in the Far East.
Echoes from the dawn of time?
Perhaps there was something archetypal and timeless about Kennedy's death. Former US Naval officer-turned-radio host William Cooper put it like this in 1996: "There was even a time in history when the king was a sacrificial king. Just like John F. Kennedy was in the Temple of the Sun known as Dealey Plaza."
Though this sounds far-fetched, Cooper is one of the few individuals who, on his 'Hour of the Time' short wave radio show in June 2001, publicly predicted a spectacular attack on America to be blamed on Osama Bin Laden. Five months later, after 9/11, Cooper was shot dead by the FBI, who had been trying to entrap him by posing as hoodlums outside his Arizona home.
The secret government
So who are this secret government that uses blackmail, character assassination and murder to shoot the messengers and direct those we elect to high office? They are the kind of furious cash unlimited networkers of the Council on Foreign Relations, Sun Valley, Davos, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg groups.
Welded into the Military Industrial Complex these lobbyists laugh in the face of cash-starved politicians as they play the power game of nations. They extend territory abroad while their political gofers roll out a domestic police state at home. Bankrolling them are the dynasties of the Rockefellers in the US and the Rothschilds across Europe.
What was US colonial independence really all about? Yes, money. The settlers quite rightly wanted to print their own in 1775 and England wasn't having it. As the documentary 'The Secret of Oz' explains, private US bankers went on to take that power off the American people in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 The United States is suffering under the exact same power now that they fought Britain to be free of.
William Cooper also said "Any general that ventures upon a battlefield without understanding the enemy is doomed to defeat." The Western political establishment needs a crash course right now in locking up banking fraudsters and how the state Treasury can take back control of money.
What would those who fought and died on the Allied side in World War II say if they could see how we and our leaders are letting Europe and America slip into the hands of the banksters?
Despite all the JFK TV propaganda though it is the Jim Garrisons, Bonnie Faulkners, David Mendelsohn's and Oliver Stones that will carry the day. Trust is waning in the West's mainstream media, particularly amongst the youngsters, and those old JFK lies are well past their sell by date.
Aug 21, 2013 | PressTV
On occasion of the publication of his latest book, “JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika” (“JFK: Coup d’état in America“), German author Mathias Broeckers has talked to The Global Research elaborating on his research into the crime.
“JFK had made definitive steps to end the Cold War. He had denied the involvement of the army in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which he had inherited from his predecessor, he had solved the missile crisis in Cuba through direct and secret contact with the Soviet-leader Khrushchev, he had ensured a nuclear test-stop with the Soviets, and he had ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam. All this against the will of the military, the CIA, and even against many members of his own administration,” Broeckers said.
Broeckers pointed out that many groups including the communists in Russia, China, Cuba, the Israelis because of “JFK’s dismissal of nukes in Israel,” and the Federal Reserve because of his idea for a new US dollar backed by silver, had motives to kill the president but “only the CIA and the military - and the FBI and the Johnson administration for the cover-up” had the means to carry out such an operation.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, several people who were stopped by the police showed “genuine looking Secret Service IDs,” but there were no real Secret Service men placed on the “grassy knoll” and the Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas where Kennedy was assassinated, the German journalist said.
“These IDs were fakes but the FBI and the Warren Commission didn’t investigate this at all. Only in the 80s it came out who was responsible for the printing of Secret Service IDs and passes at that time: it was the CIAs Technical Division, headed by Sydney Gottlieb of 'MK Ultra' fame.”
The fact that this “deception” was not investigated for so many years, immediately brings the FBI into a “top-position of suspects”, Broeckers noted.
The German author further said that a crucial point regarding the cover-up of the assassination is the false autopsy report. “The ARRB (Assassination Records Review Board) established beyond any doubt that the autopsy and X-rays, which are in the National Archives, were doctored.”
The fake autopsy and X-rays were conducted at the Bethseda military hospital and under the supervision of Curtis LeMay, the Joint Air Force chief and one of Kennedy’s “keenest enemies,” Broeckers added.
The faked documents “which were presented to every investigator since then, are a main reason why the crazy magic bullet theory could hold for so long. Only the military, where these pics and X-rays were taken, was able to arrange these fakes and place them in the archives.”
A strong motive for the CIA to want Kennedy out of the way, according to Broeckers, was that the former president sought to reform the spy agency.
“Since the CIA’s ‘father’ Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer and his brother John Foster ran the foreign policy, covert operations were a family business done by the Dulles Brothers and their clients on Wall Street. This is what JFK tried to finish and what marked him to death.”
The Associated Press reports that researchers are demanding the CIA to declassify documents detailing what the government knew about Kennedy’s accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, before the assassination.
Several hundred of the still-classified pages, according to AP, concern CIA operative “George Joannides, whose activities just before the assassination and, fascinatingly, during a government investigation years later, have tantalized researchers for years.”
Joannides left the CIA in 1979 and died in March 1990.
August 21, 2013
On occasion of the publication of his latest book, German author Mathias Broeckers talks about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, which he sees as a coup d’etat that was never rolled back.
Mathias Broeckers, born 1954, is a German investigative journalist and the author of more than ten books, most of them related to the topics of drugs, terrorism and deep politics. He works for the daily German newspaper TAZ and the webzine Telepolis. His latest book, “JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika” (“JFK: Coup d’Etat in America“), was published this August at Westend Verlag in Frankfurt, Germany.
Lars Schall: Mr. Broeckers, a writer who authors a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that does not follow the verdict of official history faces the problem of being condemned on an instant basis as a “conspiracy theorist” who engages in “conspiracy theories.” May I ask you at the beginning of this interview to explain to our readers that those critics – consciously or unconsciously – are acting exactly according to the “playbook” of the CIA?
Mathias Broeckers: In January 1967, shortly after Jim Garrison in New Orleans had started his prosecution of the CIA backgrounds of the murder, the CIA published a memo to all its stations, suggesting the use of the term “conspiracy theorists” for everyone criticizing the Warren Report findings. Until then the press and the public mostly used the term “assassination theories” when it came to alternative views of the “lone nut” Lee Harvey Oswald. But with this memo this changed and very soon “conspiracy theories” became what it is until today: a term to smear, denounce and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services. Before Edward Snowden anyone claiming a kind of total surveillance of internet and phone traffic would have been named a conspiracy nut; today everyone knows better.
LS: What do you see as the prime motive(s) to get Kennedy killed?
MB: To make a long story, which I elaborate in the book, short: JFK had made definitive steps to end the cold war. He had denied the involvement of the army in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which he had inherited from his predecessor, he had solved the missile crisis in Cuba through direct and secret contact with the Soviet-leader Khrushchev, he had ensured a nuclear test-stop with the Soviets, and he had ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam. All this against the will of the military, the CIA, and even against many members of his own administration.
LS: If one looks at the crime from the perspective of “motive, means, opportunity,” which groups are the most likely culprits? Some of the usual suspects may have had a motive, but neither the means nor the opportunity, right?
MB: Yes. This is a crucial point with many JFK theories. A lot of people had motives, be it the hardcore commies in Russia, China, Cuba, be it the Israelis because of JFKs dismissal of nukes in Israel, be it the Federal Reserve because of his idea for a new US dollar backed by silver, the mob because of his dismissal to invade Cuba to get their casinos and brothels back, the racist Southerners because of his engagement for civil rights… but no one of them had the means and opportunity for the murder and above all the means to cover it up over the years.
LS: Which party had the necessary components of “means and opportunity” available?
MB: Only the CIA and the military – and the FBI and the Johnson administration for the cover-up. A moment after the shootings, a policeman ran up to the grassy knoll, his gun pulled out, and stopped a man there, asking for his ID. The man showed a Secret Service card and the cop let him go. Several other men on Dealey Plaza also showed genuine looking Secret Service IDs when asked by cops – but there were no real Secret Service men placed on the knoll and the plaza this day.
These IDs were fakes but the FBI and the Warren Commission didn’t investigate this at all. Only in the 80s it came out who was responsible for the printing of Secret Service IDs and passes at that time: it was the CIAs Technical Division, headed by Sydney Gottlieb of “MK Ultra” fame. This fact alone rules out that the mob or the Russians, Cubans, Chinese or some other autonomous killers did this on their own bill. And even if these groups would have been able to fake genuine looking Secret Service IDs – the fact that this deception was not investigated, immediately brings Hoover’s FBI into a top-position of suspects.
LS: One crucial point regarding the cover up of the crime is the false autopsy report – also in connection to “means and opportunity”. Please elaborate.
MB: The ARRB (Assassination Records Review Board) established beyond any doubt that the autopsy and x-rays, which are in the National Archives, were doctored. No mobster, bankster or Cuban would have been able to do this. These fakes were done at the Bethseda military hospital, where JFKs autopsy was supervised by Curtis LeMay, the Joint Air Force Chíef and one of JFKs keenest enemies. He was at a fishing vacation when the Dallas shooting happened and flew to Washington immediately – not for any military emergency but to sit in the autopsy room – and smoking a cigar! The faked pictures and x-rays, which were presented to every investigator since then, are a main reason why the crazy magic bullet theory could hold for so long. Only the military, where these pics and x-rays were taken, was able to arrange these fakes and place them in the archives.
LS: Another important point is the tampering with the so called “Zapruder film”. Why so?
MB: Also thanks to the ARRB there is a lot of evidence that the film was tampered with on the day after the assassination. However, even the existing “original” seems to show clearly a shot from the front, the grassy knoll – so the fake wasn’t perfect. That the Warren Commission was shown only a bad black/white copy indicates that the perpetrators were aware of that. That the Zapruder film was bought by the Time/Life publishers – and kept secret to the public for years; as the Nix-film bought by UPI and disappeared – indicates the guiltiness of the media in the cover-up.
LS: Coming back to the CIA, do you think that the CIA had separated itself from governmental oversight during the 1950s and 1960s, or would it be more correct to suggest that the Agency actually was a ploy of financial interests from the outset? Or more bluntly spoken: was democratic oversight ever intended?
MB: In general, democracy and intelligence services are antagonists; democracy depends on transparency and intelligence services on the opposite. So the democratic / congressional / governmental oversight is always a quite rotten compromise. The CIA’s camouflage from the beginning was that it is a service to gather intelligence – and centralize the intelligence gathering of the different other services – to keep the president informed. The main job of the CIA were and are covert operations, and because such operations depend on “plausible deniability,” it was usual from the beginning to inform the president – if at all – only minimally. Since the CIA’s “father” Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer and his brother John Foster ran the foreign policy, covert operations were a family business done by the Dulles-Brothers and their clients on Wall Street. This is what JFK tried to finish and what marked him to death.
LS: You´re citing investigative journalist Joseph Trento, saying about former CIA director Allen Dulles: “Dulles had decided not to leave the future of the Agency to Congress or the President.” What made Dulles powerful enough to risk such a decision?
MB: Dulles’ clients were bankers and big corporations, who were in big business with Nazi-Germany in the 30s and even during the war. Some of them, like Prescott Bush – George W.’s grandfather – were indicted for “dealing with the enemy”, and Allen Dulles, head of the OSS in Switzerland during the war, arranged a lot of these dealings. He arranged the secret integration of Nazi spy chief Reinhard Gehlen and some hundreds of his SS officers into the US army and the building-up of the CIA apparatus. Between 1945 when the OSS was dismantled and 1947 when the CIA was founded he did this privately – without any official position – from his office at the “Council on Foreign Relations.”
LS: Would it have been more appropriate if Dulles would have been interrogated with regard to Kennedy’s death, instead of having been the mastermind behind the Warren Commission?
MB: It’s a perfect irony, or better: huge cynism, by the puppet of Texas-oilmen, Lyndon B. Johnson, to have Dulles masterminding the Commission. But since it worked out so well they tried it again, this time unsuccessful, to have “Bloody Henry” Kissinger masterminding the 9/11 Commission. In my opinion Dulles is one of the main suspects in the Kennedy murder and should have been prosecuted immediately.
LS: How did both the CIA and the FBI mislead the Warren Commission in various ways?
MB: The result of the Commission was clear from the beginning, the Commission didn’t do any investigations at all, and it depended on the data given by the FBI. Hoover knew about the many fingerprints of the CIA in the case, he knew that they had brought up fake evidence of Oswald’s visits in Mexico to blame him as a communist – and concluded only two days after the shooting that there was only the lone shooter LHO.
Hoover hated the Kennedys, especially his boss Robert F Kennedy, and was the main evildoer in the framing of Oswald and the cover-up of the case. The CIA arranged the false evidence for what Peter Dale Scott (“Deep Politics and the Death of JFK”) called Phase 1 of the cover-up – the “communist”-connection, which enabled Johnson – screaming of the dangers of a nuclear war – to press the commission members to take part, and to make sure Phase 2 of the cover-up and the result of their pseudo-investigation: the deranged lone nut Oswald.
LS: One usual suspect in the “JFK conspiracy literature” is the mob. In your book you’re writing that it doesn’t always make sense to distinguish between organized crime and the CIA. How did you come to this conclusion?
MB: From the “Luciano Project” in 1943 – the help of the imprisoned mob-boss Lucky Luciano with the invasion of Sicily – the mob became the tool of choice for covert CIA-operations and generating black money from the drug business. Where ever the US-military set their boots in or the CIA is doing “regime changes,” drug money is essential for financing these operations, from South East Asia in the 60s till today in Afghanistan. And since Langley can’t sell the stuff directly over their counter, they need the mobsters to do this – and get its share to finance warlords / freedom fighters / terrorists…
LS: May I ask you to talk a bit in that regard about Permindex (Permanent Industrial Exposition), please?
MB: Permindex was a front-company for CIA, MI-6 and Mossad and a straw for their money-laundering and weapons-business. They worked together with Meyer Lansky’s bank in Switzerland, which was run by Tibor Rosenbaum, who did most of the weapons-business of the Mossad.
LS: Was Jim Garrison in general heading into the right direction?
MB: He was, because Clay Shaw, the owner of the New Orleans International Trade Mart and one of the directors of Permindex, was clearly working with the CIA. That’s why Garrison’s case was sabotaged by the Washington Establishment right from the beginning.
LS: Why is it remarkable that CIA had a 201 file on Lee Harvey Oswald?
MB: John Newman (“Oswald and the CIA”) has done remarkable research on how the CIA manipulated its files on Oswald and faked a 201 personal file to present it to the Warren Commission, showing that they had virtually nothing on him before 1962. This is clearly impossible after Oswald’s defection to the USSR in 1959. The most likely cause for this manipulation is that Oswald was part of the false defector program headed by JJ Angelton, the counterintelligence chief.
LS: You are arguing if Lee Harvey Oswald would have been indeed solely responsible for Kennedy’s death that the case would have been solved beyond a reasonable doubt. Why so?
MB: From all crimes, murder is the one with the most cases solved by courts. There would have been no need for all the cover-ups since 50 years, if LHO indeed was a lone nut.
LS: Moreover, you’re arguing that Oswald would have been acquitted of the charge of having killed Kennedy, if he would have survived. Why so?
MB: Even Gerald Posener, the author of “Case Closed” – the apology of the Warren Commission’s findings -, meanwhile is saying that. There is no hard evidence that Oswald was on the 5th floor when the shooting took place; there is no evidence that the “Mannlicher”-gun, that he had mail-ordered, was fired that day; there is no hard evidence that he killed Officer Tippit, because witnesses saw two men shooting at him… and so on. Oswald would have left the court room as a free man.
LS: Why was it necessary that Jack Ruby killed Oswald? And furthermore, did they know each other?
MB: They knew each other well, and since Oswald was an asset of FBI and CIA, he had to be silenced before he could talk.
LS: There was not just one plot to kill Kennedy in Dallas, but there was at least one more planned for a visit of Kennedy to Chicago, right?
MB: Yes, there was a plot planned in Chicago with clear parallels to what happened in Dallas – with an ex-Marine as the prepared patsy, who got a job on a high rise building on the route that the motorcade was planned to take some weeks before, and who had trained with exile-Cubans like Oswald. By chance the sharp-shooters were detected by an hotelier and the Chicago visit was cancelled.
LS: Why did JFK die on November 22, 1963?
MB: JFK had made a radical change while president, from a classic cold warrior to a policy of reconciliation and peace. He had made angry enemies in the military and the CIA and when he announced to end the cold war in his speech on June 10th 1963 he finally was marked to death.
LS: Can you tell us something about the role of the Secret Service and the U.S. military in the assassination?
MB: The Secret Service men were mostly Southerners, who deeply dismissed JFKs civil rights politics. They did a very lax security in Dallas and there is a probability that some of these men were sweetened to do so. The memories of Abraham Bolden, the first Afro-American brought to the Secret Service by JFK in 1961, tells that when he tried to contact the Warren Commission to talk about the supremacist, racist attitude of his colleagues, he was indicted by corrupted false witnesses and brought to prison.
The military played a crucial role in the false autopsy & x-ray-pictures made at the Bethseda hospital in Washington DC and the testimony of the doctors. General Curtis LeMay, Joint Chief of the Air Force and one of the harshest opponents of JFKs peace politics, was present in the autopsy room in Bethseda, smoking a cigar! I think his presence was not by chance.
The military intelligence also played a crucial role in Dallas – the first interviews of Marina Oswald was not by Dallas Police but by officers of the military intelligence, which also arranged a dubious translator for her testimonies, which helped to frame Oswald in the first place.
LS: Where did the funding for the coup come from?
MB: The Texas oilmen and billionaires H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison are the most probable financiers, even if there is no hard evidence for it. They paid for the ad in the Dallas paper the day before the visit, naming Kennedy a communist and a traitor. They hated JFK to the bones and they had LBJ in their pocket, their insurance that everything would be covered up properly.
LS: How many people lost their lives over the years related to the Kennedy assassination?
MB: A well-researched new book by Richard Belzer (“Hit List”) lists 1.400 persons with a connection to the murder and in the first three years after the assassination 33 of them came to death on unnatural causes. The probability that this happened by chance is 1: 137 billion.
LS: Was it basically the right-wing / fascist and racist mindset in the U.S. that won the coup d’etat on November 22, 1963?
MB: Yes. And in Dallas, Texas these right-wing fascists, who called themselves “patriots,” had a home game.
LS: What would the history of the “Cold War” have been if the nuclear arms race had ended in Kennedy’s second term? Would the Berlin Wall have come down sooner?
MB: After the nuclear test stop, JFK announced to his confidants that he would go to Moscow after the re-election to negotiate a peace treaty. In public he had already announced to stop the arms race in order to end the cold war. In a National Action Security Memorandum he had called for a co-operation with the Russians in space. After the exchange of secret letters with Khrushchev, which ended the missile crisis, he was on good terms with the Soviet leader, who in the Kremlin also had called for disarmament. The death of JFK encouraged the Soviet hardliners to get rid of him. With Kennedy alive, Khrushchev would have stood in power and the cold war could have been ended in the 60s.
LS: Why does the death of JFK still matter?
MB: It’s the most important crime in the second half of the 20th century, it is still unsolved and it marked in a way the end of the American Republic. Since then the financial-military-industrial complex rules and no president after JFK had the balls to challenge that. There is, in the words of Gore Vidal, “a one-party-system with two right-wings”; there are corporate media brainwashing the population 24/7 and propagating wars for global imperial dominance; there are covert operations all over the world to ensure this dominance – and this will go on and on as long the truth about the covert operation, the coup d’ état, against JFKs presidency is kept hidden.
LS: Thank you very much for taking your time, Mr. Broeckers!
Reprinted with permission from GlobalResearch.ca.
November 14, 2013 | Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
These are major long term wars each lasting two to three times as long as World War II. Forbes reports that one million US soldiers have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. RT reports that the cost of keeping each US soldier in Afghanistan has risen from $1.3 million per soldier to $2.1 million per soldier. Matthew J. Nasuti reports in the Kabul Press that it cost US taxpayers $50 million to kill one Taliban soldier. That means it cost $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban fighters. This is a war that can be won only at the cost of the total bankruptcy of the United States.
Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the current out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars is at least $6 trillion.
Published: November 8, 2013 | NTY
Two United States admirals, including the Navy’s chief intelligence officer, were stripped of their access to classified information on Friday after being implicated in a contracting scandal that federal prosecutors are investigating in San Diego.
The accusations against the two officers — Vice Adm. Ted Branch, the director of naval intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, the director of intelligence operations — signal a significant escalation in the investigation and show its widening impact on the Navy.
Admirals Branch and Loveless have been accused of “inappropriate conduct” in connection with the scandal, Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Navy’s chief of information, said in a statement Friday night. Investigators had so far named only midlevel Navy officers accused of accepting visits from prostitutes and lavish trips — and in one instance $100,000 in cash — from Leonard Francis, a Malaysian contractor.
Navy officials said the allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involved personal misconduct in accepting gifts or services from Mr. Francis, the nature of which could have exposed them to blackmail. But, the officials said, there was no sign at this point that the admirals had done anything for Mr. Francis that might lead to bribery charges against them.
Mr. Francis, chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, has been charged with bribing Navy officials to shift port calls for warships to ports where he could charge exorbitant fees.
Neither Admiral Branch, whose appointment required Senate approval, nor Admiral Loveless has been charged with a crime, and there is no indication that classified information was leaked, Admiral Kirby said. Both men have been put on leave, he said, but will keep their security clearances.
September 1, 2013
Swanson's overarching argument is that the war industry became established in WWII, and indelibly entrenched in policy during the Cold War. Today, the military-industrial complex is the most powerful special interest group, influencing foreign policy, the economy, and social issues. It calls into question the constitutionality of current government .
Though he introduces the concept of the military-industrial complex in Chapter 1, Swanson refers back to his definition many times throughout the book. This adds to the book's clarity because there is an easy-to-follow theme throughout the book. Rarely do I feel, "okay... why is all this in the book?" (which, to me, seems so common in long historical narratives)
Swanson makes the connection between war and "big government." I thought this was one of the most fascinating political theories in the book. He ties together the economic, political, and social implications of the militarization era. He highlights the CIA, the American government's own "secret society," as well as criminal negligence and government self-regulation as problems in government policy.
The second half of the book transitions to the rise of "national security" as a prop for government action, and concludes with an investigation of Cold War repercussions that extend into the 21st century. I feel that Swanson expertly highlights the similarities between the Cold War period and modern Middle East conflicts. For example, the national security issue remains relevant today, in context of September 11th and the Patriot Act. Swanson even extends his argument to the constitution, illustrating how as national security's threat to personal liberty.
The conclusion also offers an intelligent summation of the author's arguments and analysis. Swanson speaks to the insane fantasy land the federal government lives in as it attempts to "control a dynamic and changing world." At the same time, the "big government" squeezes the individual person, through ever increasing taxes, calling for personal sacrifice through our always-mobilized army, and the pressure our country places on other independent nations to adopt the same military-industrial complex.
This book was an enlightening and educational experience which positively influenced my political opinion. I highly recommend it for those who are curious about post-war history.
Jacob G. Hornberger (Future of Freedom Foundation, Fairfax, VA USA) on September 6, 2013
An Awesome Book on the Warfare State,
Of all the books I've read on the national-security state and the warfare state, this book ranks among the best. It provides an excellent introduction to the major problem that is facing the American people: the warfare-state, national-security state apparatus that was grafted onto our constitutional order after World War II. Swanson carefully explains how this fundamentally changed our constitutional order and our way of life as Americans, for the worse.
Swanson shows how the national-security state has become a permanent bureaucratized part of the U.S. government. He cites President Eisenhower's warning to the American people about the dangers that the military-industrial complex pose to our democratic processes. And he details the ever-growing tensions that existed between Eisenhower's successor, John Kennedy, and the national-security state establishment. His perspectives on the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis are among the best I've read.
While the book covers the period 1945-1963, in the final chapter Swanson shows the relevance of the war state to Americans today:
"Today the military-industrial complex is more powerful than ever and the war state has become a bloated fiscal nightmare intent to engage in seemingly endless and unwinnable wars until the end of time -- all on the basis of supposed threats that are even bigger exaggerations than the Soviet threat was ever portrayed to be during the Cold War. The problem is that if defense spending is not brought under control, eventually the size of the federal debt and the budget deficit will grow so large that the value of the US dollar will decline. It already has..."
"The promoters of the war state answer by claiming that it is all necessary for your own safety. But is it? In my view, our choice today is not one of safety or defense, because it really doesn't take much to defend the United States of America. Instead, our choice is between reducing military spending and creating a rational foreign policy or going bankrupt in order to maintain the power of the war state and its imperial policies that don't work and harm the national economy."
Best of all, this book, this book is oriented toward the educated layman, not the academic. As such, it is easily readable and easily understandable. It's about 400 pages long, and I read it in about three consecutive evenings.
Michael Swanson gets it. He sees what the embrace of the national-security state has done to our nation. Just like us here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, he's not willing to accept the notion that the warfare-state apparatus is a necessary part of the U.S. government. He clearly understands, in fact, that the freedom and future well-being of the American people lies in its dismantling.
Buy this book! It is a shining light in the dark times in which we live. Better yet, buy multiple copies for your family and friends!
John Ellis (Gainesville, VA USA) on September 10, 2013
Clear Powerful Informative,
Hard to put down, Swanson's account, well referenced, of the enormous and persistent military buildup since WW2 boggles the mind. It shows how we have simply swallowed the propaganda and how even presidents have been forced to follow suit, given the enormous profits and far reaching influence the armaments industry has had on Congress and on public opinion. Swanson first points out Eisenhower's stark warnings and how despite them, the buildup never ceased. Fighters as the F-22 Raptor with no clear combat mission costing over 120 million a copy are very hard to explain on any other grounds than profits. Truly, if the US ran out of enemies, it would have to invent them. ... ... ...
We are undergoing shocking threats to liberty we are already seeing by this militarization, even of our police forces, that have resulted from a constant war footing, the establishment and constant encroachment by Homeland Security and the paranoia that accompanies it.
... ... .... Local jurisdictions freely admit they are forced to using their police departments as cash cows, ticketing passing motorists for the most inane of infractions, not for safety, but for revenue, as Federal and local sources of money dry up. Swanson notes how the ability to keep money seized in stops for drug trafficking has resulted in corruption, planted evidence and phony arrests to justify the ends and how the ill fated drug war has created more self-serving monstrous bureaucracies and private prison companies increasingly desperate to perpetuate their own existence. I was an Air Force Flight surgeon on nuke-armed B-52's during the Cold War and I saw much of coming this head on.
This huge nuclear fleet, continuously airborne, was to be a WW3 deterrent on the cheap, helping to avoid having to maintain a huge standing army with its enormous costs, but the armaments industry, as Swanson points out, could not tolerate such a state. Swanson's knowledge of history and his gift of writing elevates him to the level of George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm) and Phillip Roth (Fahrenheit 451) in describing our devastating ruinous course, with a destiny of joining the historical wrecks of past democracies similarly destroyed by dystopian forces. We fail to read and heed this important, fully Pulitzer Prize quality work at our peril.
J. Quick (@ bookbitch.com) on September 2, 2013
A Must Read,
Don't let the title scare you away from this engaging narrative. (I have a very personal interest in this as a cousin gave up his Air Force career as the result of the stress of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He said he couldn't sleep thinking about all the people about to die.) The author knows his material and manages to present it in a very entertaining manner. Swanson makes a persuasive case that control of our country has effectively been ceded to a small power elite of individuals in business and government who report to no one and who guide the nation no matter which political party is in power. To support his argument Swanson uses previously unavailable information about the Cold War from the perspective of the Soviets. Swanson's research is detailed and authoritative. One particular interesting aspect is Swanson's tracing the connection from the US initial efforts to install the Shah of Iran to our current problems in that region. Whether or not you agree with Swanson's conclusions this should be a must-read for anyone interested in post World War-II international affairs, which should be everyone since all our lives are affected daily by the results of these actions.
Judy Schavrien on July 23, 2013The Downhill Slide of Democracy
Regarding the NSA scandal--what one might call the surveillance conspiracy--Jimmy Carter recently said in Der Spiegel (July 17, 2013) that "America has no functioning democracy at this moment." He has also praised Snowden's courage, hoping it would give the United States a salutary shakeup. When did the tipping point occur? When did democracy's downhill slide begin? According to Joseph McBride, playing journalistic and scholarly tour guide as he takes us Into the Nightmare, it began with the successful killing of JFK--and of Officer J.D. Tippit as well--on November 22, 1963, gaining momentum with a seemingly well-orchestrated coverup in the wake. Luckily, Professor McBride accomplishes an astonishing feat in offering his reinterpretation, one that profits from his three decades of diligent research on the topic and his interdisciplinary and encyclopedic ability to remember and arrange.
If you think Professor McBride is one of those crazy conspiracy theorists, be sure to read his chapter on the CIA's campaign, memos and all, to throw doubt on any who might come to question the Oswald-only version of the assassination, who might instead argue that there were a number of killers, e.g. Grassy Knoll marksmen as well. It is possible you will recognize, as you read the CIA memo, tag lines that hang out in your own or a friend's mind, the prefab objections to conspiracy theorists. On the other hand, Watergate, Iran/Contra, NSA may float to the surface of your mind and you may have to admit that conspiracies do happen. If they can happen from the governmental side, why not from the side of the assassins? Or were the two sides one and the same?
Some players include the CIA, the anti-Castro Cubans, big oil and the mafia: LBJ and even the elder Bush (Chapter 10) would have a fair amount to explain as well. The doubts regarding such players are by no means wildly raised, but very carefully, very systematically. "Paranoid" is one of the buzzwords the CIA had suggested for its campaign against conspiracy theorists: It is right there in the memo that McBride documents. But the McBride book gives not only evidence that confirms its theories but also that which disconfirms: good research.
I refer, in this case, to the evidence bearing on the Warren Commission report's "lone nut" version of the killings, with Oswald having been responsible for not only Kennedy's death and Governor Connally's injury--including using just one bullet that got them both, no less--but also for Officer Tippit's death en route to Oswald's own attempted escape. This book is, henceforth, a must-read for any with an ongoing interest in what remains an open case. That it does remain an open case is proven by the simple fact that the Warren Commission report, with Oswald as the "lone nut," has been later contradicted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations report, which finally concedes that two shooters must have been active.
McBride himself points out unique contributions as he goes along, the biggest one being his new and telling research on the J.D. Tippit death, research that begins to link Tippit with Ruby and the mafia, big oil, and the extreme right wing. It must be remembered as well, which McBride demonstrates, that, should LBJ have been involved in the JFK assassination, which is not proven, although there is documentation of his involvement in the coverup, he profited enormously from reversing JFK's intentions to gradually withdraw from Vietnam, since he owned substantial stock in Kellogg, Brown & Root, which had been absorbed in 1962 into Halliburton, both of which enjoyed a pile of non-competitive contracts for the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. With the death of JFK, LBJ also ducked a scandal about his own finances which would have burst upon the scene any minute. Oddly enough, then, solving the Tippit death accurately, rather than throwing that one on Oswald as well--who cried out when being led off "I'm just a patsy!"--is crucial.
Finally, McBride fashions this book of non-fiction, this history, as a Bildungsroman. The "Bildung" or education of an idealistic youth he tells in all its idiosyncracy: The author began as an ardent believer in Catholicism, America, and its free media, with two journalists for parents; he gradually lost that bloom of innocence, resisting along the way, and acquired the wound of experience; he tells the story so vividly that it becomes the American journey itself. Luckily, the wound does not prevent his own dogged progress, patriotic even or especially in its deeply skeptical approach. Blood, however, stains the pages. Without not only McBride's wakeup call but also the many other calls that are right now sounding, both about a political shadow government and even (cf. Catherine Austin Fitts) a financial shadow system as well, and without our actively heeding those calls, there will be, at home and abroad, more blood to come. Hannah Arendt has said (University of Chicago, lecture series, early `70's) that Americans at the founding wanted to be free from governing and concern with government rather than free to exert themselves in self-governing. This is a luxury we can no longer afford, perhaps could never afford. May it soon be said again, in a voice not of innocence but of experience, that America has a functioning democracy.
In 1963, and the idea that the President of the United States could be gunned down in broad daylight was almost unbelievable. In America men and women wept openly in the streets for their dead leader. But events soon began to unpick the original version of what happened. It turned out that the official report was little more than a crude government whitewash designed to hide the real truth. Even American Presidents admitted as much. President Nixon memorably confessed in private that the "Warren Report was the biggest hoax ever perpetuated" on the American public. It began to emerge that maybe Lee Harvey Oswald, the original "one nut gunman," may not have acted on his own; others were involved, too. That meant no "lone gunman," but a conspiracy. This book attempts to answer the big question: who really shot JFK? And, more important still, exactly why was he shot?
John Hughes-Wilson argues that the murder of John Kennedy was, like the murder of Julius Caesar 2,000 years before, nothing less than a bloody coup d’état by his political enemies, a conspiracy hell bent on removing a leader who was threatening the power and the money of the ruling establishment. Pointing the finger at Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, and the Mafia, John joins Jackie and Bobby Kennedy in their conclusion that the assassination of JFK was far more complex than a deranged attack by Lee Harvey Oswald, the 24-year-old ex-Marine.
Scott Greer on September 17, 2013This book will open your eyes to the case like no other work before
There have been endless works on the assassination of JFK and who was behind it. From a gang of hobos to angry Cuban expats, the list of possible conspirators is numerous and all theories have been covered to some extent. What hasn't been covered before is the larger context that the assassination took place in and how it is still relevant to our current political climate, until now with Jerome Corsi's new book Who Really Killed Kennedy?
Corsi's essential argument is that the plot to kill Kennedy was hatched by military and financial elites who were displeased with Kennedy's unwillingness to go along with their plans for a New World Order. Presenting new and overlooked evidence, Dr. Corsi argues his case with thorough documentation and persuasive analyses that offers an enlightening perspective for the reader.
His argument that it was powerful elements within the government and their allies in the military-industrial complex and financial institutions is also a more plausible theory than others that have been suggested due to the fact that they would've had the ability to cover up the conspiracy and they directly benefitted from the death of JFK. They were able to increase America's involvement in Vietnam and create the kind of military that would be able to protect their interests across the world. It offers a theory for why America would get involved in such conflicts as Iraq and Syria when there seems to be no vested interest for our country to get involved.
Whether you believe his theory or not, this book is an engaging read and offers a new perspective on the assassination that shocked a nation and changed the course of history. I recommend this book as it looks to be the best account of the assassination that has been published so far.
Steve Glass on September 17, 2013
The America of JFK is dead.
This is the book to understand the machinations that set in position dominoes that would fall, helping bring about the "End of History" Fukuyama wrote about.
Call it a New World Order or the Anglo-American Order, Dr. Corsi makes a convincing case the assassination of JFK was the final nail in the coffin of the old republic and the birth of something else.
Stephen Courts by October 16, 2013
I was skeptical of Corsi due to his character assassination of John Kerry, when Dubya was fricking AWOL and a pretend pilot. Avoiding Viet Nam by circumventing the draft through the Air National Guard. However Corsi has written a very good book that has new information and provocative chapters, like the Grassy Knoll with Sniper/Author Craig Roberts. There are a number of errors with dates and names which is inexcusable coming from a full time writer. He mixes up Epstein for Fonzi and has JFK giving a speech in 1970 and has Clay Shaw almost breaking the case when he meant Jim Garrison. The book could have used a proof reader with a little experience.
I was not swayed by the KGB defector who claimed Khrushchev was seeking revenge for the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not true. James Douglass has written a masterpiece in JFK & The Unspeakable, Why He Died & Why It Matters debunking this nonsense. This chapter Oswald, The KGB, And The Plots To Assassinate JFK IN Chicago And Tampa is accurate except for the Khrushchev part. Chicago and Tampa were real assassination attempts on President Kennedy. To my pleasant surprise Mr. Corsi gives full credit to one courageous Secret Service Agent who assisted in the Chicago attempt on November 2, 1963. That would of course be Abraham Bolden, who would suffer significantly for truth telling in 1964 after attempting to reach the "Johnson Commission" with information about the attempts on President Kennedy's life and the lax, at best, security surrounding him.
The chapter on the Roots Of The JFK Assassination - A Banana Republic, The CIA And The Mob is an excellent primer on the skullduggery of the CIA acting to protect the neo-colonial masters by Coup d'état's and assassinations. Very well written and researched, sowing the seeds of "how to" for future Coup's, including the execution of President Kennedy. Similarly the chapter on Cuba, Nixon & Watergate is full of excellent research. In all there are seven chapters and a conclusion and except for the former Romanian intelligence officer Ion Mihai Pacepa, the entire book is full of solid research. To his credit Corsi gives due recognition to the premier researchers such as Douglass, James DiEugenio, Mary Ferrell, Gaeton Fonzi and Russ Baker and others.
While he suspects George H.W. Bush (I do too), Nixon and of course LBJ and most importantly the Military and CIA (Dulles), he stops short of calling the execution "State Sponsored". In so many words he alludes to this, but Vincent Salandria called this as early as 1963-64 for what it was. It was and continues to be a State Sponsored Coup d'état directed at the highest level of the Military, "Intelligence" and Corporate leaders. I particularly liked the history (I have read it before) of the Dulles', George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush and their duplicitous and traitorous involvement in support of Hitler. The section on Reinhard Gehlen would be very fascinating if more people would READ and understand how Fascism was imported to the United States post World War 2. Most people are unfortunately like Allen Dulles said, not readers. This information would be an excellent avenue of informing Americans of how the Fourth Reich has come to our country.
I was at the end pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the book. I read it twice over about 4 days. I already knew a lot about the evidence, but did learn some things I was not up to speed on. This is a highly recommended book for both the experienced and the novice reader interested in how the United States has become what it is today, compared to what it might have been if JFK had served out his two terms. JFK's vision of self sufficient third world mineral wealthy countries and the new One World Government we now have is beautifully explained by Mr. Corsi. This is a book you will want to read a second time and maybe a third time. Get it and overlook the few errors and see the big picture. You will not be disappointed unless you believe LHO alone, without confederates, shot and killed President Kennedy. So my friends like SV Anderson/David Von Pein, Patrick Collins and other paid prostitutes of the CIA and MI-6 can save their emails rebutting this book. If you see a one or two star review for this book, it will have come from those type of paid disinformation specialists.
October 16, 2013
25 October 2013 | The Guardian
In the 1970s, Congressman Otis Pike of New York chaired a special congressional committee to investigate abuses by the American so-called "intelligence community" – the spies. After the investigation, Pike commented:
It took this investigation to convince me that I had always been told lies, to make me realize that I was tired of being told lies.
I'm tired of the spies telling lies, too.
Pike's investigation initiated one of the first congressional oversight debates for the vast and hidden collective of espionage agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA). Before the Pike Commission, Congress was kept in the dark about them – a tactic designed to thwart congressional deterrence of the sometimes illegal and often shocking activities carried out by the "intelligence community". Today, we are seeing a repeat of this professional voyeurism by our nation's spies, on an unprecedented and pervasive scale.
Recently, the US House of Representatives voted on an amendment – offered by Representatives Justin Amash and John Conyers – that would have curbed the NSA's omnipresent and inescapable tactics. Despite furious lobbying by the intelligence industrial complex and its allies, and four hours of frantic and overwrought briefings by the NSA's General Keith Alexander, 205 of 422 Representatives voted for the amendment.
Though the amendment barely failed, the vote signaled a clear message to the NSA: we do not trust you. The vote also conveyed another, more subtle message: members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, "oversight" has become "overlook".
Despite being a member of Congress possessing security clearance, I've learned far more about government spying on me and my fellow citizens from reading media reports than I have from "intelligence" briefings. If the vote on the Amash-Conyers amendment is any indication, my colleagues feel the same way. In fact, one long-serving conservative Republican told me that he doesn't attend such briefings anymore, because, "they always lie".
Many of us worry that Congressional Intelligence Committees are more loyal to the "intelligence community" that they are tasked with policing, than to the Constitution. And the House Intelligence Committee isn't doing anything to assuage our concerns.
I've requested classified information, and further meetings with NSA officials. The House Intelligence Committee has refused to provide either. Supporters of the NSA's vast ubiquitous domestic spying operation assure the public that members of Congress can be briefed on these activities whenever they want. Senator Saxby Chambliss says all a member of Congress needs to do is ask for information, and he'll get it. Well I did ask, and the House Intelligence Committee said "no", repeatedly. And virtually every other member not on the Intelligence Committee gets the same treatment.
Recently, a member of the House Intelligence Committee was asked at a town hall meeting, by his constituents, why my requests for more information about these programs were being denied. This member argued that I don't have the necessary level of clearance to obtain access for classified information. That doesn't make any sense; every member is given the same level of clearance.
There is no legal justification for imparting secret knowledge about the NSA's domestic surveillance activities only to the 20 members of the House Intelligence Committee. Moreover, how can the remaining 415 of us do our job properly, when we're kept in the dark – or worse, misinformed?
Edward Snowden's revelations demonstrate that the members of Congress, who are asked to authorize these programs, are not privy to the same information provided to junior analysts at the NSA, and even private contractors who sell services to foreign governments. The only time that these intelligence committees disclose classified information to us, your elected representatives, is when it serves the purposes of the "intelligence community".
As the country continues to debate the supposed benefits of wall-to-wall spying programs on each and every American, without probable cause, the spies, "intelligence community" and Congressional Intelligence Committees have a choice: will they begin sharing comprehensive information about these activities, so that elected public officials have the opportunity to make informed decisions about whether such universal snooping is necessary, or constitutional?
Or will they continue to obstruct our efforts to understand these programs, and force us to rely on information provided by whistleblowers who undertake substantial risks to disseminate this information about violations of our freedom in an increasingly hostile environment? And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?
Representative Pike would probably say that rank-and-file representatives will never get the information we need from the House Intelligence Committee, because the spying industrial complex answers only to itself. After all, Pike, and many of the members of his special congressional committee, voted against forming it. As it is now constituted, the House Intelligence Committee will never decry, deny, or defy any spy. They see eye-to-eye, so they turn a blind eye. Which means that if we rely on them, we can kiss our liberty good-bye.BlueLightning
I suggest that you read Cyril Northcote Parkinson's essay on committees and how they work.
It appears in the book Parkinson's Law: The Pursuit of Progress.
That will explain why in any large committee only a few people ever really know what is happening and arrange all the significant decisions before every meeting.
I assume your advice is for readers because surely you'd not advise a seating, twice elected congressman to read a book on how committees work?
In case you didn't understand one of the main points of Grayson's article, all members of Congress have the same security clearance and committees are by law required to provide information when requested by any member. He was illegally denied such information.
Though the amendment barely failed, the vote signaled a clear message to the NSA: we do not trust you. The vote also conveyed another, more subtle message: members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, "oversight" has become "overlook".
I know this is meant to be reassuring, and I really do welcome push back, but with all due respect, this is a bit like saying of the bombing of Hiroshima: We hear there was a bit of a problem in Japan.
Crimes have been committed. Aggressive, grievous, unforgivable ones. Ones calculated to do long term damage. Ones that have eroded the world's trust in us (awoke to hear about Germany's fury over the revelation that Merkel was being tapped). It is long past time to be a bit concerned. The words "law" and "due process" and "international norms" mean nothing if the US gets to keep ignoring them with impunity. It is high time that there were calls for investigations with the full intent to follow through with serious consequences. Until that happens, Congress is not taking this seriously and is not doing its job.
Afaye -> AhBrightWings
Well said AhBrightWings!
Or will they continue to obstruct our efforts to understand these programs, and force us to rely on information provided by whistleblowers who undertake substantial risks to disseminate this information about violations of our freedom in an increasingly hostile environment? And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?
So you are effectively saying that Congress doesn't know anything. Doesn't this mean that a cabal of unelected people are running the US? If there's no effective oversight then it's a coup. Who do they answer to if not congress? If they can get away also with televised bare-faced lies to Congress and get away with it, then what's the point at all in having a Congress?
And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?
I think the reason is clear. These guys are part of a government takeover and they can't be removed. Even when they retire, they or their friends will be pulling the strings. Blackmail is the order of the day, and our republic, like the Roman republic before it, is just a empty shell.
"And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?"
And what exact actions are you taking to help push forward the prosecutions of these two, sir?
Are most members of Congress extremely naive, under some influence or just stupid? Have they forgotten the cautionary tale of Hoover, the historical examples of secret police/surveillance forces like the Stasi? What did they imagine would happen when they gave nearly unlimited power with virtually no oversight to spy agencies that were allowed to operate within the country and amass almost total knowledge of all telecommunications, both domestic and foreign? This might be expected of Obama, who came in with no knowledge of the banking, health, defence or "security" sectors, but members of Congress are not generally unexperienced rookies. Are a few lobbyist dollars really enough for these people to betray their country, to allow its democratic institutions to be undermined or subverted?
TyroneBHorneigh -> FatMike
"Are a few lobbyist dollars really enough for these people to betray their country, to allow its democratic institutions to be undermined or subverted?"
The short answer is the same as the long answer, YES.
This is very embarrassing for the USA. It has shown that your government is being manipulated in the same way as the politburo was in the USSR by the KGB.
Spying on allies for trade gain and intelligence will not be forgotten easily. You have a willing British government on your side, but only because they are thick and think the spying is all about counter-terrorism.
This is woeful. Woeful for western freedom and woeful for trust between nations.
@Alan Grayson -
"... every member [of Congress] is given the same level of clearance [to obtain access to classified information] ... There is no legal justification for imparting secret knowledge about the NSA's domestic surveillance activities only to the 20 members of the House Intelligence Committee."
The rationale is quite simple. As long as those 20 are uniquely privileged with "inside" information, their loyalty can be counted on as members of the NSA "club".
Allowing them SPECIAL access to club secrets flatters their pride as ESPECIALLY trustworthy, and SUPREMELY capable of understanding complex issues and technologies ... unlike Congress's "riff-raff" and "ignoramuses" in the "common herd".
Once securely in the fold, those 20 will protect the NSA's interests - and, of course, secrets - as jealously as they guard their own self-esteem.
You're quite right to "worry that Congressional oversight committees are more loyal to the 'intelligence community' that they are tasked with policing than to the Constitution".
That's indeed where their loyalty lies.
Good article Grayson and it's good to see that many senators are now awake to what Snowden has revealed.
The House Intelligence Committee is in fact doing the US more damage than it realises by not releasing data to any, and all senators. What their behaviour implies is that they have something serious to hide and don't want to be found out. Don't know what the rules are in the US, but surely these people can be removed from office if they are not assisting senators to do their jobs properly? Is it not America who continually spouted, transparency and openness? The House Intelligence Committee is part of America is it not? The committee is there to serve, not to be served.
As for Alexander and Clapper both have lied to congress, to the people of the US as well as those round the world. If they are allowed to get away with this, then how can any senator in either party, or the president stand for upholding the rule of law? it would also make it impossible for a judge to convict someone because the law has to be applicable to all, or else none at all.
The NSA have done great damage, it has no good reputation and it would seem the House Intelligence Committee are adding to that, by their very questionable behaviour and conduct.
Recall how even before the Snowden revelations when Senators Wyden and Udall were making subtle noises about how the NSA MAY have been overstepping its authority--Senator Udall's brother was discovered dead on a wilderness hiking trail. A warning shot across Udall's bow??
I would like to say, I think not. But in the current environment I would similarly say, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
thedongerneedfood -> TyroneBHorneigh
In its coverage of Hastings' death, the Canada Free Press noted:
It appears that Mr. Hastings made multiple contacts with sources directly associated with the illegal NSA domestic spying program, and either recently acquired materials and/or information about the extent of, the targets of, and the recipients of the information of domestic spying program.
"It is speculated that the latter information was of particular concern to as yet unidentified individuals holding positions of authority within the US Department of Defense and their subcontractors, as well as certain parties within the Executive branch of the United States government.
"Investigation and research suggests that Mr. Hastings might have obtained, or arranged to obtain, information pertaining to the role of a particular high-ranking officer within the US military overseeing the domestic aspects of the NSA project.
thedongerneedfood -> thedongerneedfood
"[..]In a world where American Presidents openly arrogate to themselves the right to kill people deemed enemies of the United States, all things suddenly become possible. When the basic right of habeas corpus can be denied to American citizens, based upon unproven allegations of their being threats to this country, isn’t it possible for those with the power to detain and to eliminate individuals, to make decisions as to someone’s existence doing harm to this country? Finally, doesn’t this unconstitutional expansion of powers give individuals with government connections the leeway to take revenge on those who expose them? While I’m not privy to knowledge of the actions of those in power and can claim no inside information, I certainly can speculate based on the experience of my lifetime. This then is my speculation about the death and life of Michael Hastings in the context of current life in these United States."
RT Op-EdgeAnnie Machon is a former intelligence officer for the UK's MI5, who resigned in 1996 to blow the whistle. She is now a writer, public speaker and a Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing.
The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing. In the face of righteous public wrath, the US administration is contorting itself to ensure that it does not lose its treasured data-mining capabilities: congressional hearings are held, the media is on the warpath, and senior securocrats are being forced to admit that they have lied about the efficacy of endemic surveillance in preventing terrorism.
Just this week General Alexander, the head of the NSA with a long track record of misleading lying to government, was forced to admit that the endemic surveillance programmes have only helped to foil a couple of terrorist plots. This is a big difference from the previous number of 54 that he was touting around.
Cue calls for the surveillance to be reined in, at least against Americans. In future such surveillance should be restricted to targeted individuals who are being actively investigated. Which is all well and good, but would still leave the rest of the global population living their lives under the baleful stare of the US panopticon. And if the capability continues to exist to watch the rest of the world, how can Americans be sure that the NSA et al won't stealthily go back to watching them once the scandal has died down - or just ask their best buddies in GCHQ to do their dirty work for them?
I'm sure that the UK's GCHQ will be happy to step into the breach. It is already partially funded by the NSA, to the tune of $100 million over the last few years; it has a long history of circumventing US constitutional rights to spy on US citizens (as foreigners), and then simply passing on this information to the grateful NSA, as we know from the old Echelon scandal; and it has far more legal leeway under British oversight laws. In fact, this is positively seen to be a selling point to the Americans from what we have seen in the Snowden disclosures.
GCHQ is absolutely correct in this assessment - the three primary UK intelligence agencies are the least accountable and most legally protected in any western democracy. Not only are they exempt from any real and meaningful oversight, they are also protected against disclosure by the draconian 1989 Official Secrets Act, designed specifically to criminalise whistleblowers, as well as having a raft of legislation to suppress media reporting should such disclosures emerge.
This might, indeed, be the reason that the UK media is not covering the Snowden disclosures more extensively - a self-censoring "D" Notice has been issued against the media, and The Guardian had its UK servers smashed up by the secret police. 1930s Germany, anyone?
Defenders of the status quo have already been out in force. Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is notionally responsible for GCHQ, said cosily that everything was legal and proportionate, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the current chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee in parliament last week staunchly declared that the ISC had investigated GCHQ and found that its data mining was all legal as it had ministerial approval.
Well that's all OK then. Go back to sleep, citizens of the UK.
What Hague and Rifkind neglected to say was that the ministerial warrantry system was designed to target individual suspects, not whole populations. Plus, as the Foreign secretary in charge of MI6 at the time of the illegal assassination plot against Gaddafi in 1996, Rifkind of all people should know that the spies are "economical with the truth".
In addition, as I've written before, many former top spies and police have admitted that they misled lied to the ISC. Sure, Rifkind has managed to acquire some new powers of oversight for the ISC, but they are still too little and 20 years too late.
This mirrors what has been going on in the US over the last few years, with senior intelligence official after senior official being caught out lying to congressional committees. While in the UK statements to the ISC have to date not been made under oath, statements made to the US Congress are - so why on earth are apparent perjurers like Clapper and Alexander even still in a job, let alone not being prosecuted?
It appears that the US is learning well from its former colonial master about all things official secrecy, up to and including illegal operations that can be hushed up with the nebulous and legally undefined concept of "national security", the use of fake intelligence to take us to war, and the persecution of whistleblowers.
Except the US has inevitably super-sized the war on whistleblowers. While in the UK we started out with the 1911 Official Secrets Act, under which traitors could be imprisoned for 14 years, in 1989 the law was amended to include whistleblowers - for which the penalty is 2 years on each charge.
The US, however, only has its hoary old Espionage Act dating back to 1917 and designed to prosecute traitors. With no updates and amendments, this is the act that is now rolled out to threaten modern whistleblowers working in the digital age. And the provisions can go as far as the death penalty.
President Obama and the US intelligence establishment are using this law to wage a war on whistleblowers. During his presidency he has tried to prosecute seven whistleblowers under this Espionage Act - more than all the previous presidents combined - and yet when real spies are caught, as in the case of the Russian Spy Ring in 2010, Obama was happy to cut a deal and send them home.
SOA/WHISC- not an issue of the past December 20, 2001
Jack Neslon-Pallmeyer's new book, School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization, brings the history and development of the School of the Americas, including its recent name change to The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, into perspective along with the developments of the global and national economies and militaries.
In a time when the role of the SOA/WHISC is being seriously and persistently challenged, the name change and other cosmetic alterations represent a need to continue to build and strengthen the thoughtfulness and articulation of the movement and voices that are calling for the school's closure. This book ties together many of the critical issues at play in the debate over the SOA/WHISC and puts it in the context of the role it has in the world today, as well as how it has developed and changed with the changing world and economy in which we all live. One of the key points stressed in this book is that the SOA/WHISC's role has never been stagnant or unaltered, but rather that it has and continues to change along with the goals of the United States foreign policy. The purpose and role that the SOA/WHISC fulfilled at its inception is not the same as the purpose it is serving today. The US foreign policy, beginning around the time the SOA was opened in Panama, has evolved throughout different stages, each trying to maintain a different balance between military and economic strategies and tactics to enforce and implement its goals:
- Beginning in a period of major military domination, the SOA was created at a time when military repression and power was the main way of enforcing and achieving the US foreign policy goals.
- However, economic tools and leverage, such as those achieved by the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank, began to gain momentum and strength as efficient ways of implementing foreign policy. The second stage of US foreign policy was thus a balance between the growing use of economic leverage and the lessening of the need for military repression.
- During the third stage that the SOA/WHISC functioned in, economic power implemented through the afore mentioned institutions and their programs (such as Structural Adjustment Programs), took the front line in US foreign policy. The decreasing role of the need for military and violent repression in this stage had a great impact. It threatened and concerned those in the military to seek ways to maintain the immense budget and importance of the military at a time when it was not really being used or was as necessary.
- This "military industrial complex" is another key issues at stake in Nelson-Pallmeyer's book, and plays a large role in the remilitarization that characterizes the fourth stage of US foreign policy. The SOA/WHISC's role in the present day is greatly founded on this remilitarization as an important tool in order to achieve the goals and stability desired by the US foreign policy.
The new name given to the SOA represents a face lift, as many refer to it, which attempts to make the goals of the SOA/WHISC seem worthy of the absurd amount of money the US government budget allots the military.
Nelson-Pallmeyer makes a point that the
" `any means necessary' foreign policy is possible when advocates are convinced that the means they employ, whether the torturer's hand or the banker's rules, are justified because they promote the common good or protect particular interests they represent" (98).
Changing the name of the SOA to WHISC, along with the other cosmetic curriculum changes, is attempting to do just this; to create a new image of the school that is one promoting `security cooperation' and human rights. As this book states, however, these changes do not represent any sense of remorse, accountability, or separation from the past policies and deeds that a truly new institution would need to be based on.
The impact of corporate-led globalization is another key issue in The School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization; and likewise, is a factor that plays into the remilitarization that characterizes stage four of US foreign policy. Although globalization, as stated by Nelson-Pallmeyer, is a reality, corporate-led globalization is not inevitable and is furthermore, undesirable. Corporate-led globalization undermines democracy, aggravates problems rooted in inequality, and is altogether destabilizing. This destabilization in turn becomes a reason for remilitarization, and a problem to be handled through military repression rather than systematic, economic, and global changes. Corporate-led globalization is not the beneficial development or progress that the myths make it out to be.
Finally, the debate and struggle around the SOA/WHISC is but a glimpse at the greater picture, the tip of an immense iceberg. Nelson-Pallmeyer states that "the SOA is a window through which US foreign policy can be seen clearly" (xvii). The struggle and movement to close the SOA/WHISC is also fighting against many of the greater issues at stake in our foreign policy and international involvement and is only one of many battles to be fought. Closure of the SOA/WHISC will not appease or end the movement, just allow it to move on to the next battle. Many of the aspects of the US foreign policy that break down the false image of the benevolent superpower are brought in to focus through connections and impacts on the SOA/WHISC. The SOA/WHISC is like a case study of the many components and factors of US foreign policy and its goals. In exposing oneself to the SOA/WHISC debate, history, and struggle, it is inevitable to come to some greater understanding of the US's involvement and true goals in its foreign policy and international affairs. This book is atriculate, thought provoking, and worth reading.
August 26, 2013 | The American Conservative
Fran MacadamThe President cannot resist the slouch towards war, for just the same reason he has failed to live up to the rest of his speechifying. It is the one he gave, as quoted in The Christian Century, for the failures to reform Wall Street’s rampant and aggravated banksterism: “I would have liked to, but it would have pissed off too many powerful people.”
With recidivist mendacity even more starkly shadowed against the truth in recent surveillance revelations, it seems in doubt that the first part of that excuse is fully true, though the latter assuredly is.
There is simply too much of a revenue stream for donorist elites to give up constant war. The rewards for elusive success are for them a risk-free investment, with losses socialized by the American people and benefits privatized for themselves.
A Syria ‘No-fly Zone’ and Just War Theoryby James Carden, July 01, 2013
Now that the White House has come to the conclusion that Bashar al-Assad has indeed employed chemical weapons on a small scale against the Syrian opposition, the questions over what to do next have taken on ever greater urgency. Speaking to CNN recently, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), said that "we should be able to establish a no-fly zone relatively easily." Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) also expressed his support for a no-fly zone, while House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) stated, “The United States should assist the Turks and our Arab League partners to create safe zones in Syria from which the U.S. and our allies can train, arm, and equip vetted opposition forces.” So as the pro-interventionist rhetoric heats up, it might be to our benefit to step back and consider whether or not committing an act of war against Syria, and that is precisely what establishing a no-fly zone would entail, would be justified under the tenets of Just War Theory.
The term ‘just war’ was first used by Augustine of Hippo in The City of God, and the concept was later refined and codified by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century. Just War Theory had, until the advent of the Bush Doctrine of preventive war in 2003, commonly served as the set of criteria which had to be met in order for a nation-state to morally justify the commencement of hostilities against another nation-state. It consists of 2 categories: Jus Ad Bellum (right to war) and Jus In Bello (law in war).
To meet the requirements of Jus Ad Bellum, 4 conditions must be met: Just Cause, Just Intention, Just Authority, and Last Resort. The question we need to answer, then, is: does the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels provide the U.S. with Just Cause that would allow it to commit an act of war against Syria? At no time since the commencement of hostilities between the parties within Syria in March 2011 has the Assad regime attacked either the U.S. or any of its allies, skirmishes on the Syrian/Turkish border notwithstanding. In order that the requirement of Just Cause be met, the U.S. would had to have been attacked (or was in actual imminent danger of being attacked) by the Assad regime. This has not happened, and so the justification for the establishment of a no-fly zone would not be met. As such, the requirement of Just Intention would also not be met because a nation-state cannot commence hostilities without a legitimate cause and still claim right intention.
What about the requirement of Just Authority? Let’s say hypothetically that Assad had in fact launched a direct attack on the U.S. or one of its allies. While the U.S. would then have cause to engage in hostilities against Syria, it would, in order to meet the requirement of Just Authority, have to do so with explicit authorization from the U.S. Senate. Unilateral acts of war initiated solely by the Executive (such as the Nixon administration’s secret bombing of Cambodia) are verboten under Just War theory.
The condition of Last Resort would only be met once every last peaceful option had been exhausted. We are clearly far from meeting the criterion of Last Resort as things stand right now; the US and Russia are working on convening a peace conference between the two sides in Geneva this July and there still, according to Middle East expert Dr. Vali Nasr, remain "powerful economic sanctions that the U.S. could use to cripple the Assad regime."
The category of Jus In Bello has mainly to do with the conduct of a war once joined and as such is somewhat less of a concern at this stage, but a few points might be worth making. Three conditions, those of Proportionality, Discrimination, and Responsibility must be met in order to satisfy the requirements of Jus In Bello. Taken together, they are intended to serve as safeguards against indiscriminate violence against noncombatants and disproportionate actions against enemy nation-states. The principles of Jus In Bello are enshrined in the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which, it never hurts to remind the war hawks in Congress, the U.S. is still a party to. If our recent history of Greater Middle Eastern interventions is any guide, we would be hard pressed to be able to honestly say to ourselves, or to the international community, that we possess the competence to fulfill any of these three conditions.
Writing at the dawn of the Cold War almost 60 years ago, the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr warned against ‘the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends.’ This is a lesson that has, I’m afraid to say, been lost on the most vocal proponents of war with Syria. If the United States proceeds to act on the recommendations of the interventionists without paying heed to the ancient and venerable tradition of Just War Theory then no good – despite the best of intentions – will come of the effort.
Until recently James Carden served as an Adviser to the Office of Russian Affairs at the State Department. He has contributed pieces on foreign affairs to The National Interest and The Moscow Times.
June 17th, 2013
When Edward Snowden, an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton - a military contractor based in McLean, Virginia - blew the whistle on the extent of U.S. global electronic surveillance, he unexpectedly shone a light on the world of contractors that consume some 70 percent of the $52 billion U.S. intelligence budget.
Some commentators have pounced on Snowden’s disclosures to denounce the role of private contractors in the world of government and national security, arguing that such work is best left to public servants. But their criticism misses the point.
It is no longer possible to determine the difference between employees of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the employees of companies such as Booz Allen, who have integrated to the extent that they slip from one role in industry to another in government, cross-promoting each other and self-dealing in ways that make the fabled revolving door redundant, if not completely disorienting.
Snowden, who was employed by Booz Allen as a contract systems administrator at the NSA’s Threat Operations Centre in Hawaii for three months, had worked for the CIA and Dell before getting his most recent job. But his rather obscure role pales in comparison to those of others.
Pushing for Expanded Surveillance
To best understand this tale, one must first turn to R. James Woolsey, a former director of CIA, who appeared before the U.S. Congress in the summer of 2004 to promote the idea of integrating U.S. domestic and foreign spying efforts to track “terrorists”.
One month later, he appeared on MSNBC television, where he spoke of the urgent need to create a new U.S. intelligence czar to help expand the post-9/11 national surveillance apparatus.
On neither occasion did Woolsey mention that he was employed as senior vice president for global strategic security at Booz Allen, a job he held from 2002 to 2008.
“The source of information about vulnerabilities of and potential attacks on the homeland will not be dominated by foreign intelligence, as was the case in the Cold War. The terrorists understood us well, and so they lived and planned where we did not spy (inside the U.S.),” said Woolsey in prepared remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security on June 24, 2004.
In a prescient suggestion of what Snowden would later reveal, Woolsey went on to discuss expanding surveillance to cover domestic, as well as foreign sources.
“One source will be our vulnerability assessments, based on our own judgments about weak links in our society’s networks that can be exploited by terrorists,” he said. “A second source will be domestic intelligence. How to deal with such information is an extraordinarily difficult issue in our free society.”
In late July 2004, Woolsey appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball”, a news-talk show hosted by Chris Matthews, and told Matthews that the federal government needed a new high-level office – a director of national intelligence – to straddle domestic and foreign intelligence. Until then, the director of the CIA served as the head of the entire U.S. intelligence community.
“The problem is that the intelligence community has grown so much since 1947, when the position of director of central intelligence was created, that it’s (become) impossible to do both jobs, running the CIA and managing the community,” he said.
Both these suggestions would lead to influential jobs and lucrative sources of income for Woolsey's employer and colleagues.
The Director of National Intelligence
Fast forward to 2007. Vice Admiral Michael McConnell (retired), Booz Allen’s then-senior vice president of policy, transformation, homeland security and intelligence analytics, was hired as the second czar of the new “Office of the Director of National Intelligence” which was coincidentally located just three kilometers from the company’s corporate headquarters.
Upon retiring as DNI, McConnell returned to Booz Allen in 2009, where he serves as vice chairman to this day. In August 2010, Lieutenant General James Clapper (retired), a former vice president for military intelligence at Booz Allen from 1997 to 1998, was hired as the fourth intelligence czar, a job he has held ever since. Indeed, one-time Booz Allen executives have filled the position five of the eight years of its existence.
When these two men took charge of the national-security state, they helped expand and privatize it as never before.
McConnell, for example, asked Congress to alter the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow the NSA to spy on foreigners without a warrant if they were using Internet technology that routed through the United States.
“The resulting changes in both law and legal interpretations (... and the) new technologies created a flood of new work for the intelligence agencies – and huge opportunities for companies like Booz Allen,” wrote David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in a profile of McConnell published in the New York Times this weekend.
Last week, Snowden revealed to the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald that the NSA had created a secret system called “Prism” that allowed the agency to spy on electronic data of ordinary citizens around the world, both within and outside the United States.
Snowden’s job at Booz Allen’s offices in Hawaii was to maintain the NSA’s information technology systems. While he did not specify his precise connection to Prism, he told the South China Morning Post newspaper that the NSA hacked “network backbones – like huge Internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one”.
Indeed Woolsey had argued in favor of such surveillance following the disclosure of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping by the New York Times in December 2005.
“Unlike the Cold War, our intelligence requirements are not just overseas,” he told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the NSA in February 2006. “Courts are not designed to deal with fast-moving battlefield electronic mapping in which an al Qaeda or a Hezbollah computer might be captured which contains a large number of email addresses and phone numbers which would have to be checked out very promptly.”
Propaganda PuppetsRoger Cressey, a senior vice president for cybersecurity and counter-terrorism at Booz Allen who is also a paid commentator for NBC News, went on air multiple times to explain how the government would pursue the Boston Marathon case in April 2013. “We always need to understand there are priority targets the counter-terrorism community is always looking at,” he told the TV station.
Cressey took a position “on one of the most controversial aspects of the government response to Boston that completely reflects the views of the government agencies – such as the FBI and the CIA – that their companies ultimately serve,” wrote Tim Shorrock, author of Spies for Hire, on Salon. “Their views, in turn, convinces NBC hosts of the wisdom of the policy, a stance which could easily sway an uncertain public about the legitimacy of the new face of state power that has emerged in the post-9/11 period. That is influence, yet it is not fully disclosed by NBC.”
This was not the first time that Cressey had been caught at this when speaking to NBC News. Cressey failed to disclose that his former employer – Good Harbor Consulting - had been paid for advice by the government of Yemen, when he went on air to criticize democracy protests in Yemen in March 2011. (Cressey has just been hired by Booz Allen at the time)
“What is not disclosed about Cressey in this segment where he scaremongers about a post-Saleh Yemen is that he has multiple conflicts of interest with the current regime there,” wrote Zaid Jilani of ThinkProgress at the time.
A Flood of New Contracts
Exactly what Booz Allen does for the NSA’s electronic surveillance system revealed by Snowden is classified, but one can make an educated guess from similar contracts it has in this field – a quarter of the company's $5.86 billion in annual income comes from intelligence agencies.
The NSA, for example, hired Booz Allen in 2001 in an advisory role on the five-billion-dollar Project Groundbreaker to rebuild and operate the agency’s “nonmission-critical” internal telephone and computer networking systems.
Booz Allen also won a chunk of the Pentagon’s infamous Total Information Awareness contract in 2001 to collect information on potential terrorists in America from phone records, credit card receipts and other databases – a controversial program defunded by Congress in 2003 but whose spirit survived in Prism and other initiatives disclosed by Snowden.
The CIA pays a Booz Allen team led by William Wansley, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, for “strategic and business planning” for its National Clandestine Service, which conducts covert operations and recruits foreign spies.
The company also provides a 120-person team, headed by a former U.S. Navy cryptology lieutenant commander and Booz Allen senior executive adviser Pamela Lentz, to support the National Reconnaissance Organization, the Pentagon agency that manages the nation’s military spy satellites.
In January, Booz Allen was one of 12 contractors to win a five-year contract with the Defense Intelligence Agency that could be worth up to $5.6 billion to focus on “computer network operations, emerging and disruptive technologies, and exercise and training activity”.
Last month, the U.S. Navy picked Booz Allen as part of a consortium to work on yet another billion-dollar project for “a new generation of intelligence, surveillance and combat operations”.
How does Booz Allen wins these contracts? Well, in addition to its connections with the DNI, the company boasts that half of its 25,000 employees are cleared for "top secret-sensitive compartmented intelligence" - one of the highest possible security ratings. (One third of the 1.4 million people with such clearances work for the private sector.)
A key figure at Booz Allen is Ralph Shrader, current chairman, CEO and president, who came to the company in 1974 after working at two telecommunications companies – RCA, where he served in the company’s government communications system division and Western Union, where he was national director of advanced systems planning.
In the 1970s, RCA and Western Union both took part in a secret surveillance program known as Minaret, where they agreed to give the NSA all their clients’ incoming and outgoing U.S. telephone calls and telegrams.
In an interview with the Financial Times in 1998, Shrader noted that the most relevant background for his new position of chief executive at Booz Allen was his experience working for telecommunications clients and doing classified military work for the US government.
Caught for Shoddy WorkHow much value for money is the government getting? A review of some of Booz Allen's public contracts suggests that much of this work has been of poor quality.
In February 2012, the U.S. Air Force suspended Booz Allen from seeking government contracts after it discovered that Joselito Meneses, a former deputy chief of information technology for the air force, had given Booz Allen a hard drive with confidential information about a competitor's contracting on the first day that he went to work for the company in San Antonio, Texas.
"Booz Allen did not uncover indications and signals of broader systemic ethical issues within the firm," wrote the U.S. Air Force legal counsel. "These events caused the Air Force to have serious concerns regarding the responsibility of Booz Allen, specifically, its San Antonio office, including its business integrity and honesty, compliance with government contracting requirements, and the adequacy of its ethics program."
It should be noted that Booz Allen reacted swiftly to the government investigation of the conflict of interest. In April that year, the Air Force lifted the suspension – but only after Booz Allen had accepted responsibility for the incident and fired Meneses, as well as agreeing to pay the air force $65,000 and reinforce the firm's ethics policy.
Not everybody was convinced about the new regime. "Unethical behavior brought on by the revolving door created problems for Booz Allen, but now the revolving door may have come to the rescue," wrote Scott Amey of the Project on Government Oversight, noting that noting that Del Eulberg, vice-president of the Booz Allen's San Antonio office had served as chief engineer in the Air Force.
"It couldn't hurt having (former Air Force people). Booz is likely exhaling a sigh of relief as it has received billions of dollars in air force contracts over the years."
That very month, Booz Allen was hired to build a $10 million "Enhanced Secured Network" (ESN) for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. An audit of the project released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office this past February showed that it was full of holes.
The ESN “left software and systems put in place misconfigured—even failing to take advantage of all the features of the malware protection the commission had selected, leaving its workstations still vulnerable to attack,” wrote Sean Gallagher, a computer reporter at ArsTechnica.
Booz Allen has also admitted to overbilling the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) "employees at higher job categories than would have been justified by their experience, inflating their monthly hours and submitting excessive billing at their off-site rate." The company repaid the government $325,000 in May 2009 to settle the charges.
Nor was this the first time Booz Allen had been caught overbilling. In 2006, the company was one of four consulting firms that settled with the U.S. Department of Justice for fiddling expenses on an industrial scale. Booz Allen's share of the $15 million settlement of a lawsuit under the False Claims Act was more than $3.3 million.
Incidentally, both the NASA and the Air Force incidents were brought to light by a company whistleblower who informed the government.
Investigate Booz Allen, Not Edward Snowden
When Snowden revealed the extent of the U.S. national surveillance program earlier this month, he was denounced immediately by Booz Allen and their former associates who called for an investigation of his leaks.
"For me, it is literally – not figuratively – literally gut-wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities," Clapper told NBC News's Andrea Mitchell. "This is someone who, for whatever reason, has chosen to violate a sacred trust for this country. I think we all feel profoundly offended by that.""News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," Booz Allen said in a press statement.
Yet instead of shooting the messenger, Edward Snowden, it might be worth investigating Shrader and his company's core values in the same way that the CIA and NSA were scrutinized for Minaret in the 1970s by the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Frank Church of Idaho in 1975.
Congress would also do well to investigate Clapper, Booz Allen's other famous former employee, for possible perjury when he replied: "No, sir" to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon in March, when asked: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
* Excerpts of this piece appeared on the Guardian's Comment is Free and Inter Press Service. Jim Lobe contributed research.
From its origins as a management consulting firm, Booz Allen has quietly grown into a government-wide contracting behemoth, fed by ballooning post-Sept. 11 intelligence budgets and Washington’s increasing reliance on outsourcing. With 24,500 employees and 99% of its revenues from the federal government, its growth in the last decade has been stunning (and until very recently with little to no knowledge from the main street that it even exists).Via Bloomberg BusinessWeek,
In 1940, a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy began to think about what a war with Germany would look like. The admirals worried in particular about the Kriegsmarine’s fleet of U-boats, which were preying on Allied shipping and proving impossible to find, much less sink. Stymied, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox turned to Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton, a consulting firm in Chicago whose best-known clients were Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) and Montgomery Ward.
The firm had effectively invented management consulting, deploying whiz kids from top schools as analysts and acumen-for-hire to corporate clients. Working with the Navy’s own planners, Booz consultants developed a special sensor system that could track the U-boats’ brief-burst radio communications and helped design an attack strategy around it. With its aid, the Allies by war’s end had sunk or crippled most of the German submarine fleet.
That project was the start of a long collaboration. As the Cold War set in, intensified, thawed, and was supplanted by global terrorism in the minds of national security strategists, the firm, now called Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), focused more and more on government work. In 2008 it split off its less lucrative commercial consulting arm - under the name Booz & Co. - and became a pure government contractor, publicly traded and majority-owned by private equity firm Carlyle Group (CG).
In the fiscal year ended in March 2013, Booz Allen Hamilton reported $5.76 billion in revenue, 99 percent of which came from government contracts, and $219 million in net income. Almost a quarter of its revenue - $1.3 billion - was from major U.S. intelligence agencies. Along with competitors such as Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), CACI, and BAE Systems (BAESY), the McLean (Va.)-based firm is a prime beneficiary of an explosion in government spending on intelligence contractors over the past decade. About 70 percent of the 2013 U.S. intelligence budget is contracted out, according to a Bloomberg Industries analysis; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says almost a fifth of intelligence personnel work in the private sector.
It’s safe to say that most Americans, if they’d heard of Booz Allen at all, had no idea how huge a role it plays in the U.S. intelligence infrastructure. They do now.
Indeed Rand. These greedy corporate bloodsucking bastards hate us for our freedoms. Meanwhile Obama is now sending weapons direct to Al-qaeda terrorists and cannibals. See the irony in all this? WHat do the loyal Republicans say about the corporate interests who suck Washington dry?
Yes. Every day it becomes more apparant that 9/11 created one of the most profitable industries since WW2. Anti-terrorism.
War is never accidental. It is always carefully manufactured.
- Larry Dallas, 2013
Dwight Eisenhower was SOOOOO right.
Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired, signifies a theft from those that are hungry and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. --Dwight D. Eisenhower
When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing: Dwight David Eisenhower
All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing: Dwight Eisenhower
If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. ”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
As it says - and I always suspected - nobody, not even the President, has a handle let alone control, of this out-of-control 4th branch of government.
The only real solution is for the elected government to send in a fleet of bulldozers and demolish the whole lot and arrest every last unelected power-broker.
in other words 9/11 was the best thing ever to happen for Booz and its buddies.........hmmmmm?
One must always ask "Cui bono" when considering the dark side of the universe. After all war IS a racket.
you're not going to believe this but ..
NBC used to produce a game show called 21. this was back in the nine-teen and 50s.
wait. that's not the amazing part.
the show was *fixed*! scripted!
wait. that's not the amazing part.
NBC's evening news department somehow had No Idea that the quiz show was faked.
wait. that's not the amazing part.
congress passed a law.
It shall be unlawful for any person, with intent to deceive the listening or viewing public—
(1) To supply to any contestant in a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill any special and secret assistance whereby the outcome of such contest will be in whole or in part prearranged or predetermined.
wait. that's not the amazing part.
we are all contestants in a purportedly bona fide contest, but the outcome is in whole or in part pre-arranged
wait. that's not the amazing part.
nobody is prosecuting the perpetrators!
but wait. that's not the amazing part.
nobody seems to mind.
Funny,... nothings really changed in the world's geopolitical sense?
The USSR is fast aligning itself with annex'd satellite nations! China is now a super-power in its own right! Japan is the same ole,.. old infighting hostile nation of nationalist? India has growing pains as always... what's news!
Africa is still a colonial household for Europe? Germany has unified and still a worry-wart for the British 'Grey-Poupon!? The UK is still the entire planets grandfather with one foot in the grave? The ME is going back in time and rethinking its future without Emir's! Afghanistan is still triumphant-- the empire destroyer?
France is as always a pussy`cunt... as in retarded 'FrenchFry'd!!!
South America likes where it's at post US colonialization, and Mexico has taken back California?! Lastly, the USSA has accepted the grandiose privilege of adding a well deserved acronym "S" as in world 'S'saviour... Nought!!!
BAH is now just a (somewhat) better-paid extension of the government given the government will take almost anyone as a federal employee regardless of (lack of) skill level. As the government hires more incompetents as government employees to swell the ranks of the Democratic Party, er, I mean government staff ... what do you need then?
More contractors to do the real work that your government welfare babies, er I mean government employees, aren't capable of doing themselves. This is how government incompetence breeds more government incompetence, cost, and waste.
Daniel Hudson, Ridgefield, CT
An excellent example of how we get drawn into the military option. No matter how disastrously Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan turn out to be for us, there are never any real consequences to those who suck us in.
Those who ought to exercise a proper caution lose their courage fearing that they will get blamed for the human costs of civil wars in other countries while knowing that as long as they show proper machismo there will be little criticism of their sending fellow citizens (younger ones) to become casualties in futile endeavors in foreign lands.
P BrandMemphis, TN
Dear Mr. Keller,
Go read Andrew Bacevich's "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism". If that doesn't change your mind, read his other books on American interventionism and militarism. Finally, if that doesn't change your mind, then volunteer yourself and your children to fight in Syria.
If you want to help us "get over" Iraq perhaps you should go there and work as a volunteer in the Shite slums of Bagdad to make it into a Jeffersonian democracy. Good luck with that.
oneill.gw, Silver Spring Md.
Are your kids in the military Keller. Would you be okay if a relative or dear friend was killed in action there? I doubt it
Bob Brown, NYC
I can't agree with much of what you write. Nor do I think we should act militarily.
1. We all tend to make excuses for people we like. The president didn't say the use of gas would "raise the stakes." He said it's a red line.
2. You wrote that we should have intervened a year ago before the rise of the Jihadists. But that the president was busy with other things -winding down the war in Afghanistan, Ohio, etc. Mr. Keller, if anyone on the planet should know how to multitask, it's the POTUS. And if he's busy, he's supposed to delegate to a proper person for the heavy lifting. I wonder if you would be so forgiving if a politician you disdained acted in the same way.
3. You write that we should send missiles to take out Assad's airforce. Why? All of the reports state that the Salafists are in the vanguard and probably a majority of the rebel fighters. If the rebels win, they will go on a mass killing spree of Alawites, and maybe other minorities. There is a reason that Syria's minorities have not joined the fight. They know what awaits them if the rebels win. So, if you're a member of a Syrian minority (30%), or a modern educated woman, you sure don't want a rebel victory.
4. You write that the US should take the lead and we'll have allies this time. Why take the lead? Perhaps Britain or France should. France is currently fighting Jihadists in Mali, a former French colony. Let's remember, the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 gave France the mandate for Syria
July 15, 2011 | Antiwar.com
In a free economy, the banks that invested trillions in risky mortgages and other fool’s gold would have taken the hit. Instead, however, what happened is that the American taxpayers took the hit, paid the bill, and cleaned up their mess – and were condemned to suffer record unemployment, massive foreclosures, and the kind of despair that kills the soul.
How did this happen? There are two versions of this little immorality tale, one coming from the "left" and the other from the "right" (the scare-quotes are there for a reason, which I’ll get to in a moment or two).
The "left" version goes something like this:
The evil capitalists, in league with their bought-and-paid for cronies in government, destroyed and looted the economy until there was nothing left to steal. Then, when their grasping hands had reached the very bottom of the treasure chest, they dialed 911 and the emergency team (otherwise known as the US Congress) came to their rescue, doling out trillions to the looters and leaving the rest of America to pay the bill.
The "right" version goes something like the following:
Politically connected Wall Streeters, in league with their bought-and-paid-for cronies in government, destroyed and looted the economy until there was nothing left to steal. Then, when their grasping hands had reached the very bottom of the treasure chest, they dialed BIG-GOV-HELP and the feds showed up with the cash.
The first thing one notices about these two analyses, taken side by side, is their similarity: yes, the "left" blames the free market, and the "right" blames Big Government, but when you get past the blame game their descriptions of what actually happened look like veritable twins. And as much as I agree with the "right" about their proposed solution – a radical cut in government spending – it is the "left" that has the most accurate analysis of who’s to blame.
It is, of course, the big banks – the recipients of bailout loot, the ones who profited (and continue to profit) from the economic catastrophe that has befallen us.
During the 1930s, the so-called Red Decade, no leftist agitprop was complete without a cartoon rendering of the top-hatted capitalist with his foot planted firmly on the throat of the proletariat (usually depicted as a muscular-but-passive male in chains). That imagery, while crude, is largely correct – an astonishing statement, I know, coming from an avowed libertarian and "reactionary," no less. Yet my leftist pals, and others with a superficial knowledge of libertarianism, will be even more surprised that the founder of the modern libertarian movement, also an avowed (and proud) "reactionary," agreed with me (or, rather, I with him):
"Businessmen or manufacturers can either be genuine free enterprisers or statists; they can either make their way on the free market or seek special government favors and privileges. They choose according to their individual preferences and values. But bankers are inherently inclined toward statism.
"Commercial bankers, engaged as they are in unsound fractional reserve credit, are, in the free market, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Hence they are always reaching for government aid and bailout.
"Investment bankers do much of their business underwriting government bonds, in the United States and abroad. Therefore, they have a vested interest in promoting deficits and in forcing taxpayers to redeem government debt. Both sets of bankers, then, tend to be tied in with government policy, and try to influence and control government actions in domestic and foreign affairs."
That’s Murray N. Rothbard, the great libertarian theorist and economist, in his classic monograph Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy. If you want a lesson in the real motivations behind our foreign policy of global intervention, starting at the very dawn of the American empire, you have only to read this fascinating treatise. The essence of it is this: the very rich have stayed very rich in what would otherwise be a dynamic and ever-changing economic free-for-all by securing government favors, enjoying state-granted monopolies, and using the US military as their private security guards. Conservatives who read Rothbard’s short book will never look at the Panama Canal issue in the same light again. Lefties will come away from it marveling at how closely the libertarian Rothbard comes to echoing the old Marxist aphorism that the government is the "executive committee of the capitalist class."
Rothbard’s account of the course of American foreign policy as the history of contention between the Morgan interests, the Rockefellers, and the various banking "families," who dealt primarily in buying and selling government bonds, is fascinating stuff, and it illuminates a theme common to both left and right commentators: that the elites are manipulating the policy levers to ensure their own economic interests unto eternity.
In normal times, political movements are centered around elaborate ideologies, complex narratives that purport to explain what is wrong and how to fix it. They have their heroes, and their villains, their creation myths and their dystopian visions of a dark future in store if we don’t heed their call to revolution (or restoration, depending on whether they’re hailing from the "left" or the "right").
You may have noticed, however, that these are not normal times: we’re in a crisis of epic proportions, not only an economic crisis but also a cultural meltdown in which our social institutions are collapsing, and with them longstanding social norms. In such times, ideological categories tend to break down, and we’ve seen this especially in the foreign policy realm, where both the "extreme" right and the "extreme" left are calling for what the elites deride as "isolationism." On the domestic front, too, the "right" and "left" views of what’s wrong with the country are remarkably alike, as demonstrated above. Conservatives and lefties may have different solutions, but they have, I would argue, a common enemy: the banksters.
This characterization of the banking industry as the moral equivalent of gangsters has its proponents on both sides of the political spectrum, and today that ideological convergence is all but complete, with only "centrists" and self-described pragmatists dissenting. What rightists and leftists have in common, in short, is a very powerful enemy – and that’s all a mass political movement needs to get going.
In normal times, this wouldn’t be enough: but, as I said above, these most assuredly aren’t normal times. The crisis lends urgency to a process that has been developing – unfolding, if you will – for quite some time, and that is the evolution of a political movement that openly disdains the "left" and "right" labels, and homes in on the main danger to liberty and peace on earth: the state-privileged banking system that is now foreclosing on America.
This issue is not an abstraction: we see it being played out on the battlefield of the debt ceiling debate. Because, after all, who will lose and who will win if the debt ceiling isn’t raised? The losers will be the bankers who buy and sell government bonds, i.e. those who finance the War Machine that is today devastating much of the world. My leftie friends might protest that these bonds also finance Social Security payments, and I would answer that they need to grow a spine: President Obama’s threat that Social Security checks may not go out after the August deadline is, like everything out that comes out of his mouth, a lie. The government has the money to pay on those checks: this is just his way of playing havoc with the lives of American citizens, a less violent but nonetheless just as evil version of the havoc he plays with the lives of Afghans, Pakistanis, and Libyans every day.
This isn’t about Social Security checks: it’s about an attempt to reinflate the bubble of American empire, which has been sagging of late, and keep the government printing presses rolling. For the US government, unlike a private entity, can print its way out of debt – or, these days, by simply adding a few zeroes to the figures on a computer screen. A central bank, owned by "private" individuals, controls this process: it is called the Federal Reserve. And the Fed has been the instrument of the banksters from its very inception [.pdf], at the turn of the 19th century – not coincidentally, roughly the time America embarked on its course of overseas empire.
There is a price to be paid, however, for this orgy of money-printing: the degradation, or cheapening, of the dollar. Most of us suffer on account of this policy: the only beneficiaries are those who receive those dollars first, before it trickles down to the rest of us. The very first to receive them are, of course, the bankers, but there’s another class of business types who benefit, and those are the exporters, whose products are suddenly competitive with cheaper foreign goods. This has been a major driving force behind US foreign policy, as Rothbard points out:
"The great turning point of American foreign policy came in the early 1890s, during the second Cleveland Administration. It was then that the U.S. turned sharply and permanently from a foreign policy of peace and non-intervention to an aggressive program of economic and political expansion abroad. At the heart of the new policy were America’s leading bankers, eager to use the country’s growing economic strength to subsidize and force-feed export markets and investment outlets that they would finance, as well as to guarantee Third World government bonds. The major focus of aggressive expansion in the 1890s was Latin America, and the principal Enemy to be dislodged was Great Britain, which had dominated foreign investments in that vast region.
"In a notable series of articles in 1894, Bankers’ Magazine set the agenda for the remainder of the decade. Its conclusion: if ‘we could wrest the South American markets from Germany and England and permanently hold them, this would be indeed a conquest worth perhaps a heavy sacrifice.’
"Long-time Morgan associate Richard Olney heeded the call, as Secretary of State from 1895 to 1897, setting the U.S. on the road to Empire. After leaving the State Department, he publicly summarized the policy he had pursued. The old isolationism heralded by George Washington’s Farewell Address is over, he thundered. The time has now arrived, Olney declared, when ‘it behooves us to accept the commanding position… among the Power of the earth.’ And, ‘the present crying need of our commercial interests,’ he added, ‘is more markets and larger markets’ for American products, especially in Latin America.’"
The face of the Enemy has long since changed, and Britain is our partner in a vast mercantilist enterprise, but the mechanics and motivation behind US foreign policy remain very much the same. You’ll note that the Libyan "rebels," for example, set up a Central Bank right off the bat, even before ensuring their military victory over Gadhafi – and who do you think is going to be selling (and buying) those Libyan "government" bonds? It sure as heck won’t be Joe Sixpack: it’s the same Wall Streeters who issued an ultimatum to the Tea Party, via Moody’s, that they’ll either vote to raise the debt ceiling or face the consequences.
But what are those consequences – and who will feel their impact the most?
It’s the bankers who will take the biggest hit if US bonds are downgraded: the investment bankers, who invested in such a dodgy enterprise as the US government, whose "full faith and credit" isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. In a free market, these losers would pay the full price of their bad business decisions – in our crony-capitalist system, however, they win.
They win because they have the US government behind them — and because their strategy of degrading the dollar will reap mega-profits from American exporters, whose overseas operations they are funding. The "China market," and the rest of the vast undeveloped stretches of the earth that have yet to develop a taste for iPads and Lady Gaga, all this and more will be open to them as long as the dollar continues to fall.
That this will cripple the buying power of the average American, and raise the specter of hyper-inflation, matters not one whit of difference to the corporate and political elites that control our destiny: for with the realization of their vision of a World Central Bank, in which a new global currency controlled by them can be printed to suit their needs, they will be set free from all earthly constraints, or so they believe.
With America as the world policeman and the world banker – in alliance with our European satellites – the Washington elite can extend their rule over the entire earth. It’s true we won’t have much to show for it, here in America: with the dollar destroyed, we’ll lose our economic primacy, and be subsumed into what George Herbert Walker Bush called the "New World Order." Burdened with defending the corporate profits of the big banks and exporters abroad, and also with bailing them out on the home front when their self-created bubbles burst, the American people will see a dramatic drop in their standard of living – our sacrifice to the gods of "internationalism." That’s what they mean when they praise the new "globalized" economy.
Yet the American people don’t want to be sacrificed, either to corporate gods or some desiccated idol of internationalism, and they are getting increasingly angry – and increasing savvy when it comes to identifying the source of their troubles.
This brings us to the prospects for a left-right alliance, both short term and in the long run. In the immediate future, the US budget crisis could be considerably alleviated if we would simply end the wars started by George W. Bush and vigorously pursued by his successor. Aside from that, how many troops do we still have in Europe – more than half a century after World War II? How many in Korea – long after the Korean war? Getting rid of all this would no doubt provide enough savings to ensure that those Social Security checks go out – but that’s a bargain Obama will never make.
All those dollars, shipped overseas, enrich the military-industrial complex and their friends, the exporters – and drain the very life blood out of the rest of us. Opposition to this policy ought to be the basis of a left-right alliance, a movement to bring America home and put America first.
In the long term, there is the basis for a more comprehensive alliance: the de-privileging of the banking sector, which cemented its rule with the establishment of the Federal Reserve. That, however, is a topic too complex to be adequately covered in a single column, and so I’ll just leave open the intriguing possibility.
"Left" and "right" mean nothing in the current context: the real division is between government-privileged plutocrats and the rest of us. What you have to ask yourself is this: which side are you on?
01/22/2013 | Tyler Durden
On occasion, truth is stranger than fiction; and in the somewhat surreal world in which we now inhabit, The Onion's perfect parody of where we are headed could have been lifted from any mainstream media front-page with little questioning from the majority of Americans. For your reading pleasure, the 62-year-old with a gun that is the last man standing between the American people and full-scale totalitarian government takeover.
Tyler Durden on 01/23/2013 - 13:04
Define irony? Here is one, or rather two, tries. Back in the 1970s, it was none other than the US that armed the Taliban "freedom fighters" fighting against the USSR in the Soviet-Afghanistan war, only to see these same freedom fighters eventually and furiously turn against the same US that provided them with arms and money, with what ended up being very catastrophic consequences, culminating with September 11. Fast forward some 30 years and it is again the US which, under the guise of dreams and hopes of democracy and the end of a "dictatorial reign of terror", armed local insurgents in the Libyan war of "liberation" to overthrow the existing regime (and in the process liberate just a bit of Libya's oil) - the same Libya where shortly thereafter these same insurgents rose against their former sponsor, and killed the US ambassador in what has now become an epic foreign policy Snafu. But it doesn't end there as according to Russia, it is the same US weapons that were provided to these Libyan "freedom fighters" that are now being used in what is rapidly becoming a war in Mali, involving not only assorted French regiments, but extensive US flip flops and boots on the ground. "This will be a time bomb for decades ahead."
02.08.13 | Wired.com
Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died.
That updated data (.pdf) comes from a new Congressional Research Service report into military casualty statistics that can sometimes be difficult to find — and even more difficult for American society to fully appreciate. It almost certainly understates the extent of the costs of war.
Start with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Counting since 2001 across the U.S. military services, 129,731 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with the disorder since 2001. The vast majority of those, nearly 104,000, have come from deployed personnel.
But that’s the tip of the PTSD iceberg, since not all — and perhaps not even most — PTSD cases are diagnosed. The former vice chief of staff of the Army, retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, has proposed dropping the “D” from PTSD so as not to stigmatize those who suffer from it — and, perhaps, encourage more veterans to seek diagnosis and treatment for it. (Not all veterans advocates agree with Chiarelli.)
2013/01/29 | nytimes
Senator Hagel, you have said that no president in 20 years – since George H. W. Bush – has fully exercised his powers over the military in his role as commander in chief. Why is that? How can civilian commanders reassert their constitutional authority over the uniformed military?
You call yourself an Eisenhower Republican. Ike famously warned Americans about the political and economic costs of “the military-industrial complex.” Do you see that threat today? If so, how do you define it? Is there a single major weapons system in the American arsenal that you would eliminate on the basis of its cost and effectiveness?
Can you rein in the generals and their spending? Is the future to be feared or seized in Afghanistan and Iran?
President Obama has said: “War is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.” By that standard, how do you judge the American military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade?
Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
Military-industrial complex - Wikipedia
War Is A Racket - Major General Smedley Butler.
Military-industrial complex - Disinfopedia
Military Industrial Complex
"In the councils of government, we must guard against
the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military- industrial complex." President Dwight D. Eisenhower Farewell Address, January 17, 1961
"A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.", U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen
Return of the 'military-industrial complex' csmonitor.com
The Avalon Project Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
Captain America- Superhero of the Military-Industrial Complex
World Policy Journal - World Policy Institute
The military-media complex by Daniel Schorr
Those who wish to learn more about the workings of government deceptions may find the following books useful:
Munitions of the Mind: A history of propaganda from the ancient world to the present day by Philip M. Taylor
The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth Maker by Philip Knightly.
PR! A Social History of Spin by Stuart Ewen
Secrecy by Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Secrets: The CIA's War at Home by Angus Mackenzie
The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA played America by Hugh Wilford
Secret Science: Federal Control of American Science and Technology by Herbert N. Foerstel
Deception: The invisible war between the KGB and the CIA by Edward Jay Epstein
Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War by John R. Macarthur
The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian
Towers of Deception: The media cover-up of 9/11 by Barrie Zwicker
Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown
The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters by Frances Stonor Saunders
Deception in World War II by Charles Cruickshank
It is civilian demand for PCs, cell phones, high-tech cars and smart appliances that has made precision bomb components as cheap and disposable as bullets.The U.S. armaments industry today looks more the way it did when Dwight Eisenhower entered West Point in 1911 than it did 50 years later, when, in a farewell speech, he famously warned Americans to beware the "military-industrial complex."
Until World War II, Eisenhower reflected, the U.S. had no real weapons industry--"American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well." By 1961, however, the U.S. had formed "a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions," overseen by a huge work force "directly engaged in the defense establishment." This development implicated "our toil, resources and livelihood." At stake was "the very structure of our society."
Both halves of Eisenhower's dark vision are now rapidly fading into history. It takes far fewer people to fight and direct wars today than it did even a decade ago. That's because the speed and power of the front-line soldier have been so greatly amplified by smart weapons and smart delivery systems, and because accurate information now moves so easily up the chain of command. Our distant wars are now fought, once again, by the few, the band of brothers, while most of the rest of us lie abed, watching their progress on CNN.
The center of gravity of defense manufacturing has shifted decisively back into the civilian sector, as well. Large contractors still assemble the guidance system and explosive in a smart bomb and the complex mix of steel and silicon that makes up a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. But the components that account for much of the cost and all of the astounding precision and agility of the new weapons--powerful chips, together with the countless layers of software that make them function--are manufactured by the same companies that build microprocessors for PCs and amplifiers for cell phones. It is the huge civilian demand for PCs, digital assistants, cell phones, high-tech cars and smart appliances that has made these components as cheap and disposable as bullets.
This isn't to say that the technology moves only in one direction. Integrated circuits emerged from aerospace programs in the 1960s; gallium arsenide semiconductor amplifiers that make possible the compact, cheap cell phone were pioneered by TRW for defense purposes a decade ago. The indium phosphide, gallium nitride and silicon carbide power chips that will land in consumer electronics a decade hence are being developed today in R&D programs funded by the military.
As a part-time partner in a small venture capital firm, I have visited dozens of innovative startups that have developed new semiconductors, lasers, sensors and power-control systems under Department of Defense auspices and are now ready to begin moving their products into civilian markets. These technologies invariably started out too difficult, esoteric and expensive to be of interest to anyone but the military. The military couldn't afford them, either, but for the fact that successful information and power technologies invariably make the transition into the civilian sector, where mass production leads down the cost curve.
For volume production the military and its main contractors are now firmly committed to buying parts off the commercial shelf whenever they can. Smart weapons are mostly built from civilian components, suitably packaged and hardened for the battlefield.
Thus the military-industrial complex now consists of two relatively thin bookends to our enormous, civilian, high-tech economy.
- Military R&D programs push the leading-edge development of power semiconductors, software and sensors, a decade or so out ahead of Intel, Motorola or DaimlerChrysler, then encourage the migration of successful technologies out into the civilian sector as quickly as possible.
- Military contractors end up buying back the same technology at mass-production prices, embedding it in every vehicle, weapon and projectile on the battlefield.
"Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry," Eisenhower warned in 1961, "can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
That was perhaps true in 1961. Today, however, it is our liberty, our routine, peaceful purchases and pursuits that support the huge industrial base on which the arms manufacturers completely depend. Unconsciously, and without ever setting out to do so, our civilian sector gave our soldiers the tools they needed to bring this war to its mercifully quick conclusion.
Peter Huber, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, is the author of Hard Green: Saving the Environment From the Environmentalists and the Digital Power Report. Find past columns at www.forbes.com/huber.
It's amazing how powerful satire and sarcasm is. Colbert over here and Bird and Fortune across the pond. Pretending to agree with neocons to tear them to shreds. It's just delicious.
Cable news giant Fox News Channel said today that a possible war with Iran would cost only a "minimal" change in on-air graphics, but warned against the much steeper costs of creating graphics for a fight with North Korea.
Dirk Slauson, a spokesman for Fox, said that many of the existing graphics used for "Showdown: Iraq" could be easily and inexpensively retooled for a potential "Showdown: Iran."
"In many cases, all that's needed is changing one letter," Mr. Slauson said.
Many images from Operation Iraqi Freedom could also be used for Operation Iranian Freedom, Mr. Slauson said, since both Iraq and Iran are "extremely sandy places."
And President Bush's speeches warning about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq could be easily re-dubbed to insert the word "Iran," Mr. Slauson added, saving the network untold millions in sound trucks, microphones and cameras.
While extremely upbeat on the possible cost savings of a potential war with Iran, the Fox spokesman was far less sanguine about the U.S. entering into an armed conflict with North Korea.
"With North Korea, you're talking about building graphics from scratch, basically, which costs a fortune," Mr. Slauson said. "That's the nightmare scenario.""
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