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Wild Exaggeration and Egregious Lies

By Kip Hansen | Watts Up With That? | May 6, 2021

The Covering Climate Now propaganda effort was “co-founded by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation in association with The Guardian and WNYC in 2019, CCNow’s 460-plus partners include some of the biggest names in news” with the stated purpose “to produce more informed and urgent climate stories, to make climate a part of every beat in the newsroom”. Their basic document, the CCNow Climate Emergency Statement, claims, in part, “… to preserve a livable planet, humanity must take action immediately. Failure to slash the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make the extraordinary heat, storms, wildfires, and ice melt of 2020 routine and could “render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable…”. To accomplish their goals, CCNow provides its partners with republishable stories from other partners (.pdf), editorial guidance, story writing ideas, a list of talking points labelled Climate Science 101 provided by Katharine Hayhoe.

Important Notice:  Call 911 immediately if you are choking or experiencing chest pains as a result of reading that last sentence – in Europe, dial 112 – in the UK, dial 112 or 999 – in Australia, 000 or 112.

CCNow also supplies NPR’s Climate Guide of mis- and dis-information on climate and their own “fact sheet“ [ sic ] “Who says it’s a climate emergency?” in addition to their list of ten  “Best Practices” for climate propagandists.

If this is your first time hearing about CCNow, please read my previous essays posted here at WUWT, most recently The Climate Propaganda Cabal and Turning Opinion into Science Fact. There are some earlier essays as well – here and here.

Last week, on April 27 2021, CCNow web site posted a list of Nine Pieces We Loved. One of those featured was:

How Warming Oceans Are Accelerating the Climate Crisis — Humans have locked in at least 20 feet of sea level rise—can we still fix it?” by Harold R. Wanless

On the upside, the article in The Nation is clearly and prominently marked:

Adapted from an article for the Florida Climate Reporting Network’s project “The Invading Sea,” this article is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My quick check of web search results show this article, one week old now, being re-posted or linked 16 times, before I stopped counting.

This article represents the “Big Lie” aspect of professional propaganda. Big Lies sell better, persuade people better than little nit-picky lies.

Here’s the bottom line Big Lie from this CCNow propaganda piece:

The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize. Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather—that much is widely understood. The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.

As oceans heat up, the water rises—in part because warm water expands, but also because the warmer waters have initiated a major melt of polar ice sheets. As a result, average sea levels around the world are now all but certain to rise by at least 20 to 30 feet. That’s enough to put large parts of many coastal cities, home to hundreds of millions of people, under water.

Let me point out, unnecessarily for many readers, that not a single phrase or sentence in the first paragraph is true. The second paragraph fares little better. But only because “warm water does rise”  — just not in the odd way Wanless says. [Technically, warming the water in the ocean causes expansion of the ocean’s water  —  the fact the ‘warmer water rises’ is not involved in this – it is the expansion that can lead to rising sea levels.] Nothing else in the second paragraph is true.

I am loathe to exaggerate, as this is what I am accusing CCNow and Wanless of doing, so let’s take a close look:

The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize.” There is no real physical climate emergency – there is only a shared opinion that there is a climate emergency. At best, the sentence is an unsupported opinion (being presented here as fact). It would be hard for the real climate situation to be bigger (worse) than some of the more bizarre activists and politicians (“we have nine years left” – John Kerry).

“Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather—that much is widely understood.” There is no scientific consensus that the Earth’s atmosphere has been “overheated”. Increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are believed to have caused a small amount of warming – but only that since the mid-1900s. Many think that that small warming and the CO2 that may have caused it are beneficial, including some of the smartest people in America. The real data on global heat waves, hurricanes, and extreme weather do not support the claim that the small warming experienced has “unleash[ed] punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather” – that is the climate activist’s preferred meme, not fact. More on the facts are available from the specialized pages on this web site and here. [Readers: Please supply links in comments to reliable graphs showing that the CCNow/Wanless claims are false.] Since this point is broadly contested by experts in wildfires, heat waves, hurricanes and extreme weather, it cannot be said to be “widely understood”.

“The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.” The oceans have not overheated – that is simply not true in any sense – it is difficult to even scientifically support that the oceans have warmed in any substantialclimatically important way.  Measuring ocean water temperature is an ongoing project and we have a very short time series of even moderately reliable data. It is madness to claim that the tiny amount (if any) of ocean water warming has “assur[ed] a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.”   

I will leave parsing the rest of second paragraph to readers. But let’s take a further look at the idea that sea levels are assured to rise “20 to 30 feet”.

Wanless states: But if seas rise 20 feet or more over the next 100 to 200 years—which is our current trajectory—the outlook is grim. In that scenario, there could be two feet of sea level rise by 2040, three feet by 2050, and much more to come.”

That link in there leads to “NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 083 — GLOBAL AND REGIONAL SEA LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS FOR THE UNITED STATES” [ .pdf ] which you will not be surprised says no such thing. The NOAA document does not say that the most extreme (RCP8.5) scenario is our current trajectory at all. And it does not, under any of the scenarios, predict 2 feet of sea level rise by 2040 or three feet by 2050, not even under RCP8.5 (a scenario which is now widely considered highly improbable to impossible).

Even under impossible RCP8.5 conditions, NOAA predicts only 16 inches (2040) and 25 inches (2050) [yellow highlight] – but in the real world, we saw only the 0.03m (30 mm) predicted for 2010 to 2020 for the very lowest scenario [blue highlight]. Wanless apparently gets his claimed our current trajectory to 20-30 feet from the lower right corner, highlighted in red, RCP8.5 at 2200.

Adding insult to injury, Wanless goes on to claim in his article that “Today, oceans are rising six mm a year (over two inches a decade), and this pace will continue to dramatically accelerate.” The only thing correct in this sentence is that 60mm is over two inches. Wanless’s link to a CSIRO page is broken but current sea level rise, according to NOAA:

Not 6 mm/yr, but 3.3 mm/yr, and level for the last two or three years. [source: https://climate.nasa.gov/ to see this graph select Sea Level from right hand bottom section of the graphic at the top of the page.]

You may ask, “How can any article with so many obvious, egregious errors – wild exaggerations, inaccuracies and falsehoods —  get published in The Nation?” That might be the wrong question. Better to ask, “How did it get published by the AGU in  EOS in its science news section?”

The answer is: The NationAGU and EOS are all partners of CCNow.

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) and its associated online magazine, EOS, have abandoned even the pretext of science and opted to join forces with the acknowledged propaganda effort, Covering Climate Now, with its anything-goes push to convince the world that there is a Climate Emergency so they will willingly give up fossil fuels. This example today shows that that effort extends to publishing wild exaggeration and egregious lies to forward The Message – propaganda’s Big Lie in play.

I honestly don’t know how it has come to this and am simultaneously saddened and outraged.

This has now gone far, far beyond the go-along-to-get-along mutual back-patting of climate alarmists at AGU meetings of the 1990’s. Where are the real scientists who are members of the AGU? How can they remain silent when EOS publishes such articles without even a disclaimer. Shame.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Role of the Left in the Cover-Up of the JFK Assassination

By John Simkin | November 26, 2012

Over the last few months I have been studying the media coverage of the assassination of JFK and the publication of the Warren Commission. It could be argued that the way the mainstream media accepted the official line is not very surprising given their record of recording political stories. However, what is striking is the way that the so-called Non-Communist Left (NCL) reported these events. These were people who controlled left of centre journals such as the Nation, New Republic and I.F. Stone Weekly. None of these journals were willing to question the idea that JFK had been killed by a lone gunman.

The only journal on the left that seemed to doubt the official interpretation of events was James Aronson, the editor of the National Guardian. In the first edition of the newspaper after the assassination, he used the headline: “The Assassination Mystery: Kennedy and Oswald Killings Puzzle the Nation”. Aronson could not understand why others on the left were not taking up a similar position.

In his book, Something to Guard: The Stormy Life of the National Guardian (1978), Aronson recalled that soon after the assassination he was contacted by a journalist working for the New York Times, who asked him if Oswald subscribed to the National Guardian. Aronson replied he could find no record of Oswald receiving the newspaper. Aronson took this opportunity to raise questions about the newspaper’s investigation into the assassination: “I took advantage of the call to air my doubts about the lone assassin theory being fixed in the public mind. What was the New York Times doing to validate or disapprove this theory?” The journalist replied “Look, Jim, you worked here and you know the answer: don’t look this way – they won’t do it.” (1)

Mark Lane was probably the first person to write a detailed article questioning the official story of the assassination. He later pointed out: “The obvious choice, I thought, was the Nation. Its editor, Carey McWilliams, was an acquaintance. He had often asked me to write a piece for him… McWilliams seemed pleased to hear from me and delighted when I told him I had written something I wished to give to the Nation. When he learned of the subject matter, however, his manner approached panic.” McWilliams told Lane: “We cannot take it. We don’t want it. I am sorry but we have decided not to touch that subject.” Lane got the same response from the editors of Fact who said the subject matter was too controversial. It was also rejected by The Reporter, Look, Life and the Saturday Evening Post. (2)

James Aronson “heard that a maverick New York lawyer named Mark Lane had done some careful leg and brain work to produce a thesis casting doubt on the lone-assassin theory – and even whether Oswald had actually been involved in the crime.” (3) Aronson contacted Lane who told him that the article had been rejected by thirteen publications. Aronson offered to publish the article. Lane told him that “I would send it to him but I would not authorize him to publish it. He asked why. I said that I was seeking a broader, non-political publisher and that if the piece originated on the left, the subject would likely never receive the debate that it required.”

Lane now took the article to James Wechsler, an editor of the New York Post. He also rejected it and said that Lane would never find a publisher and “urged him to forget about it”. Lane now told him about Aronson’s offer. Wechsler, according to Lane was “furious” when he heard this news. “Don’t let them publish it… They’ll turn it into a political issue.” (4)

By this time the article had been turned down by seventeen publications and so Lane decided to let Aronson publish the article in the National Guardian. The 10,000 word article, published on 19th December, 1963, was the longest story in its fifteen-year history. It was presented as a lawyer’s report to the Warren Commission and titled A Brief for Lee Harvey Oswald. Aronson argued in the introduction: “The Guardian’s publication of Lane’s brief presumes only one thing: a man’s innocence, under US. Law, unless or until proved guilty. It is the right of any accused. A presumption of innocence is the rock upon which American jurisprudence rests… We ask all our readers to study this document… Any information or analysis based on fact that can assist the Warren Commission is in the public interest – an interest which demands that everything possible be done to establish the facts in this case.” (5)

Aronson later admitted: “Few issues of the Guardian created such a stir. Anticipating greater interest we had increased the press run by 5,000, but an article in the New York Times about our story brought a heavy demand at the newsstands and dealers were calling for additional copies. Before the month was out we had orders for 50,000 reprints.” (6)

Aronson offered the article to both the United Press International and the Associated Press but both agencies rejected it. However, the article was published in several European countries and was discussed in most leading newspapers throughout the world. Some newspapers attempted to rubbish the article by describing it as “left-wing propaganda”. Bertrand Russell wrote to The Times complaining about this treatment: “Mr. Lane is no more a left-winger than was President Kennedy. He attempted to publish his evidence… in virtually every established American publication but was unsuccessful. Only the National Guardian was prepared to print his scrupulously documented material… I think it important that no unnecessary prejudice against this valuable work of Mr. Lane should be aroused, so that his data concerning a vital event may be viewed with an open mind by people of all political persuasions.”

At first the national press attempted to ignore Lane’s article. The only other publication in the United States that was willing to discuss the issue was the New Republic. In an article published on 21st December, 1963, Jack Minnis and Staughton Lynd, the authors of Seeds of Doubt: Some Questions about the Assassination, raised questions about five different categories of evidence in the case. Minnis was the research director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, while Lynd was a history professor at Spelman College. Both men were also left-wing activists who were involved with the civil rights and peace movements. (7) However, after the publication of this article the New Republic left the subject alone.

In January, 1964, Walter Winchell made a vicious attack on Mark Lane and the National Guardian in his regular newspaper column. He described the newspaper as “a virtual propaganda arm of the Soviet Union” and called Lane an “agitator” seeking to abolish the Un-American Activities Committee. (8)

It is not surprising that Winchell led the attack on Mark Lane. He was a vital figure in the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird. Carl Bernstein has argued in his article, CIA and the Media: “Joseph Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap.” (9)

Deborah Davis, was the first person to expose the workings of Operation Mockingbird in her book, Katharine the Great (1979), a biography of Katharine Graham of the Washington Post. She explained how journalists were controlled in times of crisis: “This practice, the old intelligence principle translated, contained the seeds of political blackmail: Once the newsman or his organization has been compromised, the politician can threaten to expose its lack of independence unless he (it) cooperates further. Many Mockingbirds have been faced with this choice.” (10)

The origins of this intelligence operation dates back to May, 1940, when the British Security Coordination (BSC) was established in the United States. According to William Boyd: “Churchill’s task, as he himself saw it, was clear: somehow, in some way, the great mass of the population of the US had to be persuaded that it was in their interests to join the war in Europe, that to sit on the sidelines was in some way un-American. And so British Security Coordination came into being… The aim was to change the minds of an entire population: to make the people of America think that joining the war in Europe was a ‘good thing’ and thereby free Roosevelt to act without fear of censure from Congress or at the polls in an election.” (11)

One of the first agents recruited by BSC was Allen Dulles, the future head of the CIA. Other agents from the media included: Walter Winchell, Drew Pearson, Walter Lippmann, William Allen White, Dorothy Thompson, Raymond Gram Swing, Edward Murrow, Vincent Sheean, Helen Kirkpatrick, Eric Sevareid, Edmond Taylor, Rex Stout, Edgar Ansel Mowrer and Whitelaw Reid. William Stephenson, the head of the BSC, also worked closely with editors and publishers who were supporters of American intervention into the Second World War. This included Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Henry Luce (Time Magazine and Life Magazine), Helen Rogers Reid (New York Herald Tribune), Barry Bingham (Louisville Courier-Journal), Paul C. Patterson (Baltimore Sun), Dorothy Schiff (New York Post) and Ralph Ingersoll (Picture Magazine). (12)

Franklin D. Roosevelt had assigned William Donovan to work closely with William Stephenson on BSC operations (they had in fact been close friends since the First World War). After the United States entered the war, Donovan became head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and he took over control of BSC’s media assets. After the war, the OSS was closed down but emerged two years later as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). (13)

In the 1950s Operation Mockingbird was primarily concerned with the dangers of communism. However, it remained in place to be used by the CIA in times of national emergency. The assassination of JFK fell into this category and was successfully employed to make sure that the media did not openly discuss the guilt or innocence of Lee Harvey Oswald. (14)

The shaping of the media by the CIA became public knowledge in April 1976 when the Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities was published. “In examining the CIA’s past and present use of the U.S. media, the Committee finds two reasons for concern. The first is the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. The second is the damage to the credibility and independence of a free press which may be caused by covert relationships with the U.S. journalists and media organizations.” (15)

However, in November, 1963, the public was completely unaware of Operation Mockingbird, and the media cover-up operation was very successful. Journalists who wanted to write about their doubts had to find media organisations in Europe to publish their work. In March, 1964, Thomas G. Buchanan began publishing articles about the assassination in the French newspaper, L’ Express. Buchanan claimed in the newspaper that the Warren Commission had discovered that Jack Ruby knew Lee Harvey Oswald. He argued that Ruby lent him money to pay back the State Department for the $435.71 the U.S. had loaned Oswald when he returned from the Soviet Union.

These articles caught the attention of Richard Helms of the CIA. He sent a memo to John McCone, Director of the CIA: “Buchanan’s thesis is that the assassination of President Kennedy was the product of a rightest plot in the United States. He alleges in his articles that the slain Dallas policeman, Tippett (sic) was part of the plot against President Kennedy.” Helms went onto inform McCone that a “competent” CIA informant had disclosed that a book by Buchanan on the assassination would be published by Secker and Warburg on 15th May 1964. (17) The company had a reputation for publishing left-wing but anti-communist books. This included books by George Orwell, C. L. R. James, Simone de Beauvoir, Rudolf Rocker and Günter Grass.

Helms informant was right and Buchanan’s book, Who Killed Kennedy? was published in May, 1964. Buchanan appears to have been the first writer to suggest that Lyndon B. Johnson and “Texas oil interests” were responsible for Kennedy’s death. Buchanan argues that the assassination was funded by a Texas oilman. He does not name him but later it emerged he was referring to Haroldson L. Hunt. (18)

In the book Buchanan claims that Kennedy was killed by two gunmen. One fired from the railroad bridge. Another fired from the Texas School Book Depository. According to Buchanan, Oswald was aware of the conspiracy but did not fire any shots. Oswald believed that J. D. Tippit was going to help him escape. However, his real job was to kill him “while resisting arrest”. Oswald, realized what was happening and fired first.

When Who Killed Kennedy? was eventually published in the United States, it was mainly ignored. However, Time Magazine reviewed it and made much of the fact that Buchanan was a former member of the American Communist Party. (44) The left-wing British journalist, Cedric Belfrage, who had co-founded the National Guardian but had been deported from the United States in 1955 after refusing to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), argued in the journal, Minority of One, that it was “irrelevant whether Buchanan was a former communist or a former Zen Buddhist”. Belfrage went on to state that what was important was Buchanan’s “common sense of the assassination and the American crisis it symbolizes”. (19)

Joachim Joesten, a freelance journalist, travelled to Dallas a few weeks after the assassination of Kennedy and spent four days there, interviewing witnesses and examining key locations. He came to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a lone gunman. However, he did think that he was involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. “I wish to make it absolutely clear that I believe Oswald innocent only as charged, but that he was involved with the conspirators in some way.” (20)

Joesten began work on his book, Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? Like other early authors who questioned the official version, Joesten was forced to get his book published in England (Merlin Press). Before the book was published, Joesten, who was in Hamburg, received a letter from J. Lee Rankin of the Warren Commission, requesting a copy of the book. In March 1964, the United States Embassy in West Germany requested a meeting.

John Kelin, the author of Praise from a Future Generation (2007), has pointed out: “All copies of Joesten’s book manuscript were with either publishers or literary agents, so he was unable to comply with Rankin’s request. But he did sit down with the embassy man, whom he identified only as Mr. Morris… They met at the American Consulate in Hamburg on March 21, 1964… The two men talked for about four hours, during which time Joesten told Morris anything he had learned – why he believed Oswald was innocent of killing President Kennedy and Officer Tippit, and who he thought was really responsible.” (21)

Joesten later recalled that Morris seemed “particularly concerned with the fact that I believed Oswald had been connected with both the Central Intelligence Agency and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Joesten also told Morris that he believed General Edwin Walker organised the assassination and that it “was a military-type operation with firing from both front and rear.” Joesten also speculated that Bernard Weissman was involved in the assassination. (22)

Joesten discovered that while he was in Hamburg FBI agents went to his home in New York City to interview his wife. “Since I had been located, I couldn’t help wondering if the FBI had simply used that excuse to enter my home, talk to my wife and, to put it plainly, snoop around.” The FBI agents recorded that Mrs. Joesten said her husband had returned from Dallas convinced of Oswald’s innocence. “Mrs. Joesten advised that she definitely feels that her husband is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”

Joesten’s book, Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy?, was published in the United States by Carl Marzani in July 1964. Marzani, a former member of the American Communist Party, had been imprisoned and blacklisted during the early 1950s and in order to survive went into publishing and established the company Marzani & Munsell. According to Marzani he specialised in books that upset the status quo. In the book Joesten claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Dallas Police Department and a group of right-wing Texas oil millionaires conspired to kill Kennedy. He openly accused Police Chief Jesse Curry of being one of the key figures in the assassination.

Victor Perlo, reviewing the book in the New Times, commented that the book had been rejected by several publishers before Marzani accepted it. “The firm deserves credit for publishing and promoting the book, so that thousands of copies were sold in a short time, despite a blackout by commercial reviewers. Publisher-editor Carl Marzani edited the manuscript brilliantly… This reviewer approached the Joesten book with scepticism. Despite my low opinion of the Dallas police and the FBI, I’ve had enough experience to know that utterly senseless things do happen in America… But the Joesten book erased most of my scepticism.” (21)

The book was largely ignored by the mainstream media but was reviewed by Hugh Aynesworth in the Editor and Publisher. Aynesworth, a strong supporter of the lone gunman theory and a reporter with the Dallas Morning News, wrote: “Joesten, an ex-German who became a U.S. citizen in 1948… states that Oswald was an agent of both the FBI and the CIA (how’s that for a 24-year-old who couldn’t spell “wrist”?). It’s the same old tripe with some new flavouring.” Aynesworth uses the review to criticize Mark Lane: “Lane is the troublemaker who spent two days in Dallas in January on his investigation and now pretends to be an expert on all aspects of the weird tragedy.” (22)

Another left-wing foreign-born journalist in America was also taking a close interest in the case. Léo Sauvage, who was the political correspondent of Le Figaro, published an article on the assassination in Commentary Magazine in March 1964, where he suggested that there had been a cover-up. He pointed out that all the available evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald had “either been leaked or eagerly and even ruthlessly spelled out – whether true, half-true, or demonstrably false; whether pertinent, confused, or obviously irrelevant” by the Dallas Police. As early as 23rd November, 1963, Will Fritz of the Homicide Bureau proclaimed the case as “cinched” and the following day, only two hours after Jack Ruby “had disposed of Oswald in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters”, the case against him was declared “closed” by Police Chief Jesse Curry and by District Attorney Henry Wade. (23)

Sauvage was also amazed that by 3rd December, 1963, the FBI had leaked details of its report on the assassination to the media. This allowed the New York Journal American to headline the story with the words: “Oswald lone killer. FBI report to prove it”. Sauvage pointed out that “six days later the Justice Department, acting on instructions from the White House, delivered the now completed report directly” to the Warren Commission. Sauvage adds that on 10th December, the New York Times reported: “Oswald assassin beyond a doubt, FBI concludes. He acted alone and did not know Ruby, says report to Warren Inquiry Panel.”

Sauvage added: “Thus, after the press and television conviction of Lee Oswald in Dallas, a second press and television conviction took place in Washington. And just as the Dallas authorities had forced the hand of any jury that would have heard the Oswald case, so the FBI has forced the hand of the Warren Commission. With the help of all the mass media, Oswald’s guilt has now twice been sold to the public – despite the fact that no one had even so much as ventured to explain why a psychopathic regicide, acting (as we shall see) under circumstances that would make his capture inevitable, should renounce the ultimate satisfaction of glorying in his deed before the eyes of the world. I really do not see, therefore, why only those of us who are sceptical about the case against Oswald should await further information.”

John Kelin, the author of Praise from a Future Generation (2007) summed up Sauvage’s case against the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman: “Léo Sauvage raised a series of questions that, he declared, Oswald’s accusers should be forced to answer. Did Oswald have an alibi? Was the President’s throat wound one of entrance or of exit? Was Oswald a good enough rifleman to do what the authorities said he did? How many shots were fired? Why were no fingerprints found on the alleged assassination rifle? How come none of the theatre patrons who witnessed Oswald’s arrest came forward with impartial accounts of how he was taken into custody?” (24)

Norman Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary Magazine added his support to Sauvage’s article: “Is the possibility of a treasonous political conspiracy to be ruled out? Not the least fantastic aspect of this whole fantastic nightmare is the ease with which respectable opinion in America has arrived at the conclusion that such a possibility is absurd; in most other countries, what is regarded as absurd is the idea that the assassination could have been anything but a political murder.” (25) Sauvage’s article greatly impressed a large number of people, including the commissioning editor of Random House and on 11th March, 1964, he signed a contract with the publisher to develop his ideas on the assassination into a full-length book.

Criticism of the lone-gunman theory did not only come from the left. In April, 1963, the ultra-conservative, Revilo P. Oliver suggested in an article Marxmanship in Dallas, that appeared in American Opinion, that Kennedy was a victim of a communist conspiracy. He also used the article to attack Kennedy’s liberal views on civil rights and his closeness to “Martin Luther King and other criminals engaged in inciting race war.” (26)

The following month, the veteran right-winger, Martin Dies, former chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUCA), argued in the same journal that Kennedy had been a victim of a communist conspiracy. However, at this time he did not have all the evidence: “I hope to discuss the circumstances linking the Soviet Union with Oswald’s murder of the President. Naturally such evidence must be circumstantial and based upon the dogmatic pattern of Communist behaviour. The Communists are too clever to leave any trace of connection with Oswald.” (27) It would seem that at this time Dies was unaware that Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 and on his return had openly associated with left-wing groups such as the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Billy James Hargis, a member of the John Birch Society and a close friend of General Edwin Walker, who had been mentioned as a conspirator by Joachim Joesten in Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy?, also claimed a communist conspiracy had killed Kennedy. In his book, The Far Left (1964), he argued: “In spite of the absolute, indisputable evidence that Lee Oswald’s mind was moulded by Communist conspiracy propaganda, that his hatred was of the American free enterprise system and all it embraces, and that no one with even the remotest connection with what is considered to be the extreme right has any remote connection with the entire hideous affair… Do they really think the American people are that stupid? There is no doubt in my mind that the Communist assassin, Lee Oswald, intended to kill the President of the United States and disappear in the confused crowd, thus letting the conservative, anti-Communist element of Dallas take the blame. But it didn’t work. God is on the throne. He saw to it that Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended by a courageous Dallas policeman, Officer Tippit, who, in turn, gave his life for the cause of freedom in attempting to arrest the Communist assassin of the President.” (28)

Another figure on the right who published a book about the assassination of Kennedy in 1964 was James Evetts Haley. His book, A Texan Looks at Lyndon, blamed it on an old political enemy, Lyndon Baines Johnson. It was a best seller and it is claimed that in Texas only the Bible outsold Haley’s book that year. In the book Haley attempted to expose Johnson’s corrupt political activities. This included a detailed look at the relationship between Johnson and Billy Sol Estes. Haley pointed out that three men who could have provided evidence in court against Estes, George Krutilek, Harold Orr and Howard Pratt, all died of carbon monoxide poisoning from car engines. Haley also suggested that Johnson might have been responsible for the death of Kennedy: “Johnson wanted power and with all his knowledge of political strategy and his proven control of Congress, he could see wider horizons of power as Vice-President than as Senate Majority Leader. In effect, by presiding over the Senate, he could now conceive himself as virtually filling both high and important positions – and he was not far from wrong. Finally, as Victor Lasky pointed out, Johnson had nursed a lifetime dream to be President. As Majority leader he never could have made it. But as Vice-president fate could always intervene.” (29)

On 1st June 1964, The New York Times published a story by Anthony Lewis with the headline, “Panel to Reject Theories of Plot in Kennedy Death”. As Jerry Policoff has pointed out: “The story amounted to a detailed preview of the Warren Report three months before the commission completed taking testimony and nearly four months before the report was released.” (30)

The press almost universally supported the Warren Commission report. The New York Times said it was “a comprehensive and convincing account. The Washington Post commented that it was “deserving acceptance as the whole truth” and The Boston Herald suggested that the Warren Commission had provided a “tremendous service”.

What was even more damaging to those who believed that Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy was that the progressive press, led by Cary McWilliams, the editor of The Nation, also supported the conclusions of the report. The main bombshell came on 8th October, when I. F. Stone, who had virtually made a living criticising government documents, pointed out in I. F. Stone’s Weekly, that “I believe the Commission has done a first-rate job, on a level that does our country proud and is worthy of so tragic an event. I regard the case against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone killer of the President as conclusive.” (31) However, as John Kelin has pointed out, at the time Stone wrote this article: “the Warren Report had just been published and the twenty-six volumes of supporting evidence and testimony were still not available”. (32)

Stone then went on to criticise those who had argued that there had been a conspiracy. After attacking the work of Mark Lane he turned on Bertrand Russell, who he described as “my dear and revered friend”. He suggested that Russell had dismissed the conclusions of Warren Commission report without even reading it. This was completely untrue. As Russell’s assistant, Ralph Schoenman, later pointed out, he had been provided a copy of the report a week before its official release date. (33)

Stone then went onto to look at the two books that had already been published arguing that there had been a conspiracy: “The Joesten book is rubbish, and Carl Marzani – whom I defended against loose charges in the worst days of the witch hunt – ought to have had more sense of public responsibility than to publish it. Thomas G. Buchanan, another victim of witch hunt days, has gone in for similar rubbish in his book, Who Killed Kennedy? You couldn’t convict a chicken thief on the flimsy slap-together of surmise, half-fact and whole untruth in either book… All my adult life as a newspaperman I have been fighting, in defense of the Left and of a sane politics, against conspiracy theories of history, character assassination, guilt by association and demonology. Now I see elements of the Left using these same tactics in the controversy over the Kennedy assassination and the Warren Commission Report.”

Ray Marcus, who was a devoted follower of I.F. Stone and had subscribed to his journal since its first edition in January 1953, was deeply shocked by this article. Marcus later recalled: “What was totally lacking in I. F. Stone’s comments was any evidence of the critical analysis he normally employed on assessing official statements.” On 8th October, 1964, Marcus wrote Stone a long letter outlining the flaws in the Warren Report. Marcus argued that in order to accept the Warren Commission’s lone-gunman scenario, one must accept fifteen points as true. These points were explained in an eight page letter. Marcus never received a reply. (34)

Another journalist considered to be on the left at the time was Walter Lippmann. In his syndicated column, Today and Tomorrow on 29th September, 1964, Lippmann wrote that he was convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in assassinating John F. Kennedy. He added there was “no ground on which any contemporary man, here or abroad, should question the verdict”. (35) However, he later told his friend, Ronald Steel, that he suspected that Kennedy had been killed as part of a conspiracy. (36)

The complete acceptance by the media of the Warren Report caused problems for those wishing to publish books advocating a conspiracy. Léo Sauvage, who had already signed a contract with Random House, to publish his book, The Oswald Affair – an Examination of the Contradictions and Omissions of the Warren Report, was to be disappointed. A month after the publication of the report, a senior editor at Random House, Jason Epstein, wrote to Sauvage cancelling the contract: “The problem is that the Warren Report has put the Oswald matter in a different light from what I expected, and I’m now convinced that any book which attempts to question Oswald’s guilt would be out of touch with reality and could not be taken seriously by responsible critics.” (37) No other publisher in the United States was willing to bring out the book and so like other opponents of the lone gunman theory, Sauvage was forced to go to Europe to have his book published.

It has been suggested that the critics of the lone-gunman theory were particularly hurt by the support for the Warren Report from left-wing journalists. In a debate that took place on 4th December, 1964, Beverly Hills High School, Abraham Wirin, chief counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in California and a much respected figure on the left for over 30 years, told the audience that he tried to make up his own mind on important issues, but in the case of the Warren Commission he relied on the opinions of people who he could trust: “I consider Carey McWilliams and The Nation, as an individual and a newspaper, respectively, whose judgment I respect. I do not consider Carey McWilliams or The Nation, a person or a newspaper, which would participate in a fraud, or would condone it.” Wirin pointed out The Nation had carried an article in support of the Warren Report and added: “now, that carries a lot of weight with me.”

Wirin then went onto to discuss I.F. Stone’s support for the Warren Report: “Now Mr. Stone, who has defended the rights of the Left, of Communists and others to fair treatment and freedom throughout his life – who is no apologist for any Rightest… Very rarely does Mr. Stone ever commend a government agency. Very rarely. As very rarely do I.” Wirin then said something very strange: “I say thank God for Earl Warren. He saved us from a pogrom. He saved our nation. God bless him for what he has done in establishing that Oswald was the lone assassin.” (38)

Mark Lane, who was involved in the debate with Abraham Wirin, has suggested a reason why the left was so keen to support the conclusions of the Warren Report. He discovered a document dated 20th January, 1964, where President Lyndon Johnson had asked Earl Warren to squelch rumours that “were circulating in this country and overseas”. He added that these rumours were so potentially explosive that if they were “not quenched, they could conceivably lead the country to war which could cost 40 million lives”. (39)

Lane suggests that this may be connected to the memo that deputy attorney Nicholas Katzenbach sent to Lyndon Johnson, through Bill Moyers, his press secretary, on 25th November, 1963. Katzenbach insisted that: “The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin, that he did not have confederates who are still at large, and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial. I think this objective may be satisfied by making public as soon as possible a complete and thorough FBI report on Oswald and the assassination.” (40)

Were the rumours that needed to be “quenched” the same as those circulated by Revilo P. Oliver, Martin Dies and Billy James Hargis in the days following the assassination? Lane argues in Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK? (1991): “The CIA had concluded that Oswald had acted alone; he had not involved others in his plans and no one had directed him. Warren was respectfully cautioned, however, that if the American people received the facts, surely they would demand, in the existing volatile atmosphere, still heaving with tragedy, and against the backdrop of an escalating cold war, that immediate action be taken against the Soviet Union and Cuba. Warren agreed. Under the circumstances, he was advised that since the fate of the world was now in his hands, it was imperative that the Oswald-Kostikov connection be suppressed.” (41) Is it possible that people like Walter Lippmann, I. F. Stone and Carey McWilliams had been told that the Soviets had been involved in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy and without their support a nuclear war could not be adverted?

Then we have those strange words of Abraham Wirin: “I say thank God for Earl Warren. He saved us from a pogrom. He saved our nation. God bless him for what he has done in establishing that Oswald was the lone assassin.” Why would Wirin use the word “pogrom”? Had key figures on the left such as I.F. Stone and Carey McWilliams been told that the conspiracy to kill Kennedy was in someway involved Jewish left-wingers? If that was the case, why would they be willing to believe such stories? It is indeed a strange puzzle. Maybe the answer lies in an article that had been written by Tom Braden that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on 20th May, 1967.

Braden, who had worked with Allen Dulles at the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the Second World War, was considered to be an expert in psychological warfare. When Dulles joined the CIA in December 1950 as Deputy Director of Operations one of his first acts was to recruit Braden as his assistant. Braden suggested to Allen Dulles that he should be allowed to establish the International Organizations Division (IOD) to counteract Soviet propaganda. Dulles agreed and Cord Meyer was appointed as his deputy. The IOD helped established anti-Communist front groups in Western Europe.

The IOD was dedicated to infiltrating academic, trade and political associations. The objective was to control potential radicals and to steer them to the right. Braden oversaw the funding of groups such as the National Student Association, the Congress of Cultural Freedom, Communications Workers of America, the American Newspaper Guild, the United Auto Workers, National Council of Churches, the African-American Institute and the National Educational Association.

Braden later admitted that the CIA was putting around $900,000 a year into the Congress of Cultural Freedom. Some of this money was used to publish its journal, Encounter. Braden and the IOD also worked closely with anti-Communist leaders of the trade union movement such as George Meany of the Congress for Industrial Organization and the American Federation of Labor. This was used to fight Communism in its own ranks. As Braden said: “The CIA could do exactly as it pleased. It could buy armies. It could buy bombs. It was one of the first worldwide multinationals.” (42)

This remained a highly secret operation but in 1966 stories began to appear in the New York Times suggesting that the CIA had been secretly funding left-wing groups. This in fact, was not a new claim. Joseph McCarthy had made similar accusations in 1953. He had been given this information by J. Edgar Hoover who had described the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) as “Wisner’s gang of weirdos”. In August, 1953, Richard Helms, Wisner’s deputy at the OPC, told Cord Meyer, who was Braden’s deputy at the International Organizations Division, that Joseph McCarthy and the FBI had accused him of being a communist. The FBI added to the smear by announcing it was unwilling to give Meyer “security clearance”. (43)

In September, 1953, Meyer was shown the FBI file against him. It included allegations that his wife, Mary Pinchot Meyer, was a former member of the American Labor Party. It also listed several people linked to Meyer who had “supported pro-Communist policies or have been associated with Communist front organizations or organizations pro-Communist in their sympathies.” The list included the publisher Cass Canfield, the president and chairman of Harper & Brothers. Canfield had first met Allen Dulles in 1940 when they were both working for the British Security Coordination (BSC), a highly secret British intelligence unit based in the United States set up with the approval of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination Canfield played an important role in stopping books criticising the Warren Commission being published. Canfield had indeed been receiving money from the CIA to help publish left-wing but anti-communist books. He was along with Jason Epstein of Random House, who had blocked the publication Léo Sauvage’s The Oswald Affair – an Examination of the Contradictions and Omissions of the Warren Report, a key figure in the CIA sponsored Congress of Cultural Freedom.

McCarthy’s assistant, Roy Cohn, argues in his book McCarthy (1968) that they had discovered that communist agents had infiltrated the CIA in 1953: “Our files contained allegations gathered from various sources indicating that the CIA had unwittingly hired a large numbers of double agents – individuals who, although working for the CIA, were actually communist agents whose mission was to plant inaccurate data…. We also wanted to investigate charges that the CIA had granted large subsidies to pro-Communist organizations.” Cohn complained that this proposed investigation was stopped on the orders of the White House. “Vice-President Nixon was assigned to the delicate job of blocking it… Nixon spoke at length, arguing that an open investigation would damage national security, harm our relations with our allies, and seriously affect CIA operations, which depended on total secrecy… Finally, the three subcommittee members, not opposed to the inquiry before they went to dinner, yielded to Nixon’s pressure. So, too, did McCarthy, and the investigation, which McCarthy told me interested him more than any other, was never launched.” (44)

Allen Dulles refused permission for the FBI to interrogate Frank Wisner and Cord Meyer and Hoover’s investigation also came to an end. McCarthy was in fact right when he said that the CIA was funding what he considered to be pro-communist organisations. He was wrong however in believing they had infiltrated the organisation. As Frances Stonor Saunders, the author of Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War? (1999) has pointed out it was the other way round. This has been confirmed by some members of the left who received funding from the CIA during this period. As Arthur Schlesinger later explained, the NCL was supported by leading establishment figures such as Chip Bohlen, Isaiah Berlin, Averell Harriman and George Kennan: “We all felt that democratic socialism was the most effective bulwark against totalitarianism. This became an undercurrent – or even undercover – theme of American foreign policy during the period.” (45)

It might seem strange that the non-communist left should be paid to write articles and books attacking the Soviet Union. After all they would have done that anyway. However, the important aspect of this policy was to compromise these left-wing writers by paying them money or by funding their organisations. It also put them in position where they could call on their help in times of crisis such as the assassination of John Kennedy. The support of the NCL was vitally important in the cover-up of the assassination.

Why then did the CIA start leaking information about their funding of the NCL in 1966? The reason is that most of these sponsored journalists refused to support the government policy on Vietnam. In the case of Stone, he found it to his financial advantage to oppose the policy. Stone had barely 20,000 subscribers to I.F. Weekly before the outbreak of the war. By 1969 he had over 70,000. (46)

The story of CIA funding of Non-Communist Left journalists and organizations was fully broken in the press by a small-left-wing journal, Ramparts. The editor, Warren Hinckle, met a man by the name of Michael Wood, in January 1967, at the New York’s Algonquin Hotel. The meeting had been arranged by a public relations executive Marc Stone (the brother of I.F. Stone). Wood told Hinckle that the National Student Association (NSA) was receiving funding from the CIA. At first Hinkle thought he was being set-up. Why was the story not taken to I.F. Stone? (47)

However, after further research, Hinckle was convinced that the CIA had infiltrated the Non-Communist Left: “While the ADA-types and the Arthur Schlesinger model liberal kewpie dolls battled fascism by protecting their right flank with domestic Red-baiting and Cold War one-upmanship, the Ivy League delinquents who fled to the CIA – liberal lawyers, businessmen, academics, games-playing craftsmen – hatched a master plan of Germanic ambition that entailed nothing less than clandestine political control of the international operations of all important American professional and cultural organisations: journalists, educators, jurists, businessmen, et al. The standing CIA subsidy to the National Student Association was but one slice of a very complex pie.” Hinckle even had doubts about publishing the story. Sol Stern, who was writing the article for Ramparts, “advanced the intriguing contention that such a disclosure would be damaging to the enlightened men of the liberal internationalistic wing of the CIA who were willing to provide clandestine money to domestic progressive causes.” (48)

Hinckle did go ahead with the story and took full-page advertisements in the Tuesday editions of the New York Times and Washington Post: “In its March issue, Ramparts magazine will document how the CIA has infiltrated and subverted the world of American student leaders, over the past fifteen years.” For its exposé of the CIA, Ramparts received the George Polk Memorial Award for Excellence in Journalism and was praised for its “explosive revival of the great muckraking tradition.”

On 20th May 1967 Thomas Braden, the former head of the CIA’s International Organizations Division, that had been funding the NSA, wrote an article that was published in the Saturday Evening Post entitled, I’m Glad the CIA is Immoral Braden admitted that for more than 10 years, the CIA had subsidized progressive magazines such as Encounter through the Congress for Cultural Freedom – which it also funded – and that one of its staff was a CIA agent. He also admitted that he had paid money to left-wing trade union leaders such as Walter Reuther, Jay Lovestone, David Dubinsky and Irving Brown. (49)

According to Frances Stonor Saunders, the author of Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War? (1999): “The effect of Braden’s article was to sink the CIA’s covert association with the Non-Communist Left once and for all.” (50) Braden later admitted that the article had been commissioned by CIA asset, Stewart Alsop. (51) But why had the CIA decided to expose their agents in 1967. Was it because they were refusing to support government policy in Vietnam?

John Hunt, a CIA agent who worked very closely with Braden at the International Organizations Division, pointed out in a revealing interview: “Tom Braden was a company man… if he was really acting independently, would have had much to fear. My belief is that he was an instrument down the line somewhere of those who wanted to get rid of the NCL (Non-Communist Left). Don’t look for a lone gunman – that’s mad, just as it is with the Kennedy assassination… I do believe there was an operational decision to blow the Congress and the other programs out of the water.” (52)

By this time of course those figures on the Non-Communist Left such as I.F. Stone and Carey McWilliams knew they had been fooled by the CIA in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. However, all they could do was to keep their heads down and pretend it had not happened. Warren Hinkle admitted that as editor of Ramparts in November 1963, he had been reluctant to get involved in investigating the Kennedy assassination. Until he took up the case in 1967 he had left it up to the “amateurs”. He added the “nationwide grass-roots reinvestigation of the Kennedy assassination was an extraordinary phenomenon of an extraordinary decade”. (53)

A more detailed account of the way the media covered the JFK assassination can be found in my introduction of my ebook on the assassination.

http://www.amazon.co…53582406&sr=1-4

Notes

1. James Aronson and Cedric Belfrage, Something to Guard: The Stormy Life of the National Guardian (1978) page 296

2. Mark Lane, Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK? (1991) page 19

3. James Aronson and Cedric Belfrage, Something to Guard: The Stormy Life of the National Guardian (1978) page 297

4. Mark Lane, Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK? (1991) page 20

5. James Aronson, National Guardian (19th December, 1963)

6. Mark Lane, The National Guardian (19th December, 1963)

7. Jack Minnis and Staughton Lind, Seeds of Doubt: Some Questions about the Assassination, New Republic (21st December, 1963)

8. Quoted by James Aronson and Cedric Belfrage, Something to Guard: The Stormy Life of the National Guardian (1978) page 298

9. Carl Bernstein, CIA and the Media, Rolling Stone Magazine (20th October, 1977)

10. Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great (1979) page 190

11. William Boyd, The Guardian (19th August, 2006)

12. At the end of the Second World War the files of British Security Coordination were packed onto semitrilers and transported to Camp X in Canada. Stephenson wanted to have some record of the activities of the agency, “To provide a record which would be available for reference should future need arise for secret activities and security measures for the kind it describes.” He recruited former BSC agents, Roald Dahl, H. Montgomery Hyde, Giles Playfair, Gilbert Highet and Tom Hill, to write the book. Stephenson told Dahl: “We don’t dare to do it in the United States, we have to do it on British territory.” Dahl commented: “He pulled a lot over Hoover… He pulled a few things over the White House, too, now and again. I wrote a little bit but eventually I called Bill and told him that it’s an historian’s job… This famous history of the BSC through the war in New York was written by Tom Hill and a few other agents.” Only twenty copies of the book were printed. Ten went into a safe in Montreal and ten went to Stephenson for distribution. The report was eventually published in 1998 as British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940-45.

Other books that contain interesting information on the work of the British Security Coordination include: Jennet Conant, The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington (2008), Thomas E. Mahl, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44 (1998), Nicholas J. Cull, Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American Neutrality (1996) and Bill Macdonald, The True Intrepid: Sir William Stephenson and the Unknown Agents (2001).

13. Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities (April, 1976)

14. ARRB Record Number 180-100092-10352

15. Thomas G. Buchanan, Who Killed Kennedy? (1964)

16. Time Magazine (12th June, 1964)

17. Cederic Belfrage, The Minority of One (October, 1964)

18. Joachim Joesten, Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? (1964) page 11

19. John Kelin, Praise from a Future Generation (2007) page 169

20. CE 2709, Warren Commission Vol.26 pages 79-84

21. Victor Perlo, New Times (September 1964)

22. Hugh Aynesworth, Editor and Publisher (1st August, 1964)

23. Léo Sauvage, Commentary Magazine (March, 1964)

24. John Kelin, Praise from a Future Generation (2007) page 179

25. Norman Podhoretz, Commentary Magazine (March, 1964)

26. Revilo P. Oliver, Marxmanship in Dallas, American Opinion (February, 1964)

27. Martin Dies, Assassination and its Aftermath, American Opinion (March, 1964)

28. Billy James Hargis, Far Left (1964) page 146

29. James Evetts Haley. A Texan Looks at Lyndon (1964) page 199

30. Jerry Policoff, The Media and the Murder of John Kennedy, New Times (8th August, 1975). Included in Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond – A Guide to Cover-Ups and Investigations (1976)

31. I. F. Stone, I. F. Stone’s Weekly (5th October, 1964)

32. John Kelin, Praise from a Future Generation (2007) page 182

33. John Kelin, interview with Ralph Schoenman (14th August, 2000)

34. Ray Marcus, letter to I. F. Stone (8th October, 1964)

35. Walter Lippmann, Today and Tomorrow (29th September, 1964)

36. Ronald Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (1999) page 543

37. Jason Epstein, letter to Léo Sauvage (4th November, 1964)

38. Abraham L. Wirin, speech, Beverly Hills High School (4th December, 1964)

39. Mark Lane, Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK? (1991) page 51

40. Nicholas Katzenbach, memo to Bill Moyers (25th November, 1963)

41. Mark Lane, Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK? (1991) page 53

42. Tom Braden, interview included in the Granada Television program, World in Action: The Rise and Fall of the CIA (June, 1975)

(43) Cord Meyer, Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA (1980) pages 60-84

(44) Roy Cohn, McCarthy (1968) pages 63-65

(45) Arthur Schlesinger quoted by Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War? (1999) page 63

(46) D. D. Guttenplan, American Radical: The Life and Times of I.F. Stone (2011) page 432

(47) Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (2008) page 239

(48) Warren Hinckle, If you have a Lemon, Make Lemonade (1973) pages 172-179

(49) Tom Braden, Saturday Evening Post (20th May, 1967)

(50) Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War? (1999) page 398

(51) Tom Braden, interviewed by Frances Stonor Saunders (August 1996)

(52) John Hunt, interviewed by Frances Stonor Saunders (July 1997)

(53) Warren Hinckle, If you have a Lemon, Make Lemonade (1973) page 204

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Classic Hoax of Homeric Proportions

By Prof. Tony Hall | American Herald Tribune | July 22, 2016

The Kevin Barrett-Chomsky Dispute in Historical Perspective – Fifth part of the series titled “9/11 and the Zionist Question” – Read the fourth part here.

larry silverstein and 7WTC 0a38a

In his presentation at the Left Forum, Kevin Barrett acknowledged his intellectual debt to the work of Barrie Zwicker, one of Canada’s most accomplished and experienced investigative journalists. Barrett and Zwicker concur that Noam Chomsky’s nonsensical interventions on 9/11 constitute an important part— indeed, perhaps the single most instrumental part— of the 9/11 cover up. If Chomsky’s adoring fans had been treated with respect and truth rather than with duplicity and lies, they might have joined together in a timely and effective way to get to the bottom of the 9/11 deception and to demand some legal and political accountability for the fraud.

The Left’s most influential guru, however, discouraged his obedient flock from trying to sort out 9/11 truth from the instrumentalized fiction embedded in the 9/11 fable. As the Trojan horse within the progressives’ main camps, Chomsky moved decisively and deliberately to discourage independent investigations into a classic hoax of Homeric proportions.

In New York Dr. Barrett underlined the pivotal role of Noam Chomsky as a primary agent of the 9/11 cover up. In making his point the martyred former professor referred to Building 7. WTC 7 is the third World Trade Center skyscraper in New York to be downed on 9/11 in a controlled demolition. Lucky Larry Silverstein’s World Trade Center 7 was not hit by any jet. Nevertheless, this 47-story steel-frame skyscraper collapsed almost instantly into its own footprint late in the afternoon of September 11 twenty minutes after its destruction had been announced on the BBC.

Said Barrett, “In November of 2001, if Chomsky had not chosen to feed us such a diet of bull shit, but instead had eloquently pushed the whole Left towards just looking at Building 7 and then drawing the obvious conclusions, I think we’d be living in a very different and vastly better world.”

Why did Noam Chomsky intervene so quickly, aggressively and unrelentingly to persuade his admirers, including many teachers, politicians, jurists and journalists, to put aside their own critical faculties in evaluating the substance of what actually transpired in the most transformative event of the twenty-first century? Why did Chomsky rush into print his book of November 2001 to declare “the initial conclusions about 9/11 are presumably correct,” and to reassure that there would be no major “long-term restriction of rights” or “government censorship” flowing from the debacle?

In his 2006 volume entitled, Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-Up of 9/11, Barrie Zwicker devotes a chapter to “The Shame of Noam Chomsky and the Gatekeepers of the Left.” (pages 179-224) This seminal chapter was accompanied by a series of short documentaries by Snowshoe Productions now published on You Tube by Yoryvrah. Zwicker explains that he was once “a fan, a protégé and a booster” of Noam Chomsky. In these print and video publications, Zwicker describes how prior to 9/11 he voraciously read many of Chomsky’s books. The investigative reporter and teacher included a number of Chomsky’s articles in the curriculum of the journalism courses he taught at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Zwicker corresponded with his former role model on a collegial basis. There exists public acknowledgment of Zwicker’s contribution to the gestation process of Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky’s 1992 co-authored book accompanied by a documentary film project. The Canadian journalist interviewed Chomsky twice, once in the 1990s and the second time in Hamilton Ontario in 2002. In the second interview Chomsky responded dismissively to Zwicker’s questions on 9/11. The visiting scholar referred to critiques of the official narrative of 9/11 as “conspiracy theories.”

Chomsky’s flippant reference to a notoriously engineered meme, namely his mention of “conspiracy theories,” amounts to the purposeful deployment of a tactic aimed at blocking critical and thoughtful exchange. Chomsky’s resort to this overworked cliché caused Zwicker to begin the process of re-evaluating the work of the MIT professor. By using without irony the uncontextualized term “conspiracy theorist”, Chomsky signaled his unwillingness to engage in open-minded dialogue on a difficult yet vital topic. Chomsky’s refusal to engage in honest evidence-based discussion about 9/11 alerted Zwicker that his US guest could sometimes be “intellectually dishonest.” Zwicker would subsequently learn that Chomsky was not above resorting to cheap “put down phrases” and “bizarre non-sequiturs.”

Both Zwicker and Barrett are far from alone in noticing that Chomsky defends both the government narrative of 9/11 as well as the now-discredited government myth that a sole gunman acting independently killed former US President John F. Kennedy. When pressed to provide clarification on both positions Chomsky notoriously resorts to rhetorical dismissals like “Who cares?” or “What does it matter?” Of course it matters a great deal who did 9/11 and who killed Kennedy. A conclusive and honest answer to both questions would reveal much about how we are governed and who is really in control.

In Towers of Deception, Zwicker deals not only with America’s most highly-publicized professor, but also with many foundation-funded alternative media that followed Chomsky’s lead in avoiding honest critical analysis of the originating events of the 9/11 Wars.

Among the Left Gatekeeper institutions Zwicker identifies are Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, Michael Albert’s Z Magazine, David Corn’s The Nation and many other venues including The Progressive, Mother Jones and South End Press. In summing up his commentary on “The Shame of Noam Chomsky,” Zwicker observed, “When he is not appearing to undermine the American Empire, which is the main thing he does, [Chomsky] is buttressing it by undermining the most effective and therefore dangerous foe the Empire faces—the conscious Left.”

Zwicker asks:

How many could imagine that the person warning you is one of the most perilous against whom you’ll need to defend yourself? That he is the fire marshal who wires your house to burn down, the lifeguard who drowns you, the doctor with a disarming bedside manner who administers a fatal injection? If Noam Chomsky did not exist, the diaboligarchy would have to invent him. To the New World Order, he is worth 50 armored divisions. (page 224)

Zwicker’s comparison of Chomsky to a very large grouping of military units is striking and apt given what we now know. Ironically Chomsky made his name and fame drawing attention to the role of propaganda in manufacturing consent for war and contemporary colonization. Disinfo agent Michael Shermer has replicated this strategy of seeming to expose the very tactic he utilizes to advance the interests of power.

https://www.amazon.ca/MANUFACTURING-CONSENT-Mark-Achbar/dp/1551640023

A disingenuous TV professor with a penchant for misrepresenting his limited academic credentials, Shermer is editor of the deep-state funded Skeptic Magazine that is anything but skeptical when it comes to addressing the lies and crimes of 9/11.

You will read “Inside Job? Inside What?” in the next part.

August 5, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dirty Wars and Self-Indulgence

By Douglas Valentine | Dissident Voice | June 7, 2013

Let me begin with some background not covered in the film.  Dirty War derives from “La Salle Guerre”, the term the French applied to their counter-terror campaign in Algeria, circa 1954-1961. Algeria wanted independence, and France resisted.

Like subject people everywhere, the Algerians were badly outgunned and resorted to guerrilla tactics including “selective terrorism,” a hallmark of the Viet Minh, who fought the French until 1954, when America claimed Vietnam as its rightful property. Viet Minh tactics were derived largely from Mao’s precepts for fighting a People’s War.

Selective terrorism meant the murder of low-ranking officials – collaborators – who worked closely with the people; policemen, mailmen, teachers, etc. The murders were gruesome – a bullet in the belly or a grenade lobbed into a café – designed to achieve maximum publicity and demonstrate to the people the power of the nationalists to strike crippling blows against their oppressors.

Whether the Great White Fathers are French or American or English, they agree that putting down a People’s War means torturing and slaughtering the people – despite the fact that most people are not engaged in terrorism or guerrilla action and have no blood on their hands.

As John Stockwell taught us years ago, Dirty War means destabilizing a targeted nation through covert methods, the type the CIA has practiced around the world for 66 years.  Destabilizing means “hiring agents to tear apart the social and economic fabric of the country.

“What we’re talking about is going in and deliberately creating conditions where the farmer can’t get his produce to market; where children can’t go to school; where women are terrified inside their homes as well as outside; where government administered programs grind to a complete halt; where the hospitals are treating wounded people instead of sick people; where international capital is scared away and the country goes bankrupt.”

Economic warfare – strangling nations like Cuba, Iraq and Iran in Medieval fashion – is a type of Dirty Warfare beloved by the Great White Fathers who control the world’s finances. Though no less deadly than atomic bombs, or firebombing Dresden, it is easier to sell to the bourgeoisie.

You’ll hear no mention of this in Scahill’s film, nor will you hear any references to Phil Agee, or the countless others who have explained Dirty War to each generation of Americans since World War Two.

You will not hear about psychological warfare, the essence of Dirty War.

America’s first was terror guru was Ed Lansdale, the advertising executive who made Levi’s blue jeans a national craze in the 1930’s.   He applied his sales skills to propaganda in the OSS and after WW II, concocted a new generation of psywar tactics as an agent of the Office of Policy Coordination assigned to the Philippines under military cover.  Lansdale’s bottomless black bag of dirty tricks included a “skull squadron” death squad that roamed the countryside, torturing and murdering Communist terrorists.

One of Lansdale’s counter-terror “psywar” tactics was to string a captured Communist guerrilla upside down from a tree, stab him in the neck with a stiletto, and drain his blood. The terrorized Commies fled the area and the terrified villagers, who believed in vampires, begged the government for protection.

Lansdale referred to his sadism as “low humor,” an excuse borrowed liberally by American officialdom during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Lansdale formalized “black propaganda” practices to vilify the Communists: one of his Filipino commando units would dress as rebels and commit atrocities, and then another unit would arrive with cameras to record the staged scenes and chase the “terrorists” away.

Lansdale brought his black propaganda and passion for atrocity to Saigon in 1954, along with a goon squad of Filipino mercenaries packaged as “Freedom Company.”

Under Lansdale’s guidance, Freedom Company sent Vietnamese commandoes into North Vietnam, under cover as relief workers, to activate stay-behind agent nets and conduct all manner of sabotage and subversion.  Disinformation was a Lansdale specialty, and his agents spread lurid tales of Vietminh soldiers’ disemboweling pregnant Catholic women, castrating priests, and sticking bamboo slivers in the ears of children so they could not hear the Word of God.

In the South, with the help of the American media, Lansdale re-branded the heroic Vietminh as the beastly Viet Cong.

Lansdale’s greatest innovation, still used today, was to conduct all manner of espionage and terror under cover of “civic action.”  As a way of attacking Viet Minh agents in the South, Lansdale launched “Operation Brotherhood,” a Filipino paramedical team patterned on the typical Special Forces A team. With CIA money, Operation Brotherhood built medical dispensaries that the CIA used as cover for terror operations, as depicted in the book and movie The Quiet American.

Levis never went out of fashion, nor did Lansdale’s dirty tricks. Think Saddam Hussein killing babies in their incubators. Such disinformation invariably works on an American public looking for any excuse to rationalize its urge for racist genocide.

Think Argo and Zero Dark Thirty and every Rambo and Bruce Willis films.

Only Americans were fooled by the propaganda, and the Vietnamese quickly caught on.  So the CIA in 1956 launched the Denunciation of Communists campaign, which compelled the Vietnamese people to inform on Commies or get tortured and murdered.  The campaign was managed by CIA agents who could arrest, confiscate land from, and execute Communists and their sympathizers on the CIA’s master list. In determining who was a Communist, the CIA used a three-part classification system: A for dangerous party members, B for less dangerous party members, and C for loyal citizens.

As happened later in the Phoenix program, the threat of an A or B classification was used to extort innocent civilians, while category A and B offenders were put to work building houses and offices for CIA officers and their lackeys. And, of course, the puppet Vietnamese President used his CIA created, funded and trained security forces to eliminate his political rivals.

As Lansdale confessed, “it became a repressive tool to liquidate any opponent.”

“This development was political,” Lansdale observes. “My first inkling came when several families appeared at my house one morning to tell me about the arrest at midnight of their men-folk, all of whom were political figures. The arrests had a strange aspect to them, having come when the city was asleep and being made by heavily armed men who were identified as ‘special police’.”

Lansdale complained, but he was told that a “U.S. policy decision had been made. We Americans were to give what assistance we could to the building of a strong nationalistic party that would support Diem. Since Diem was now the elected president, he needed to have his own party.”

How We Got To Scahill’s Dirty War

By 1962, as the US expanded its Dirty Wars in the Far East and South America, the military replaced its Office of Special Operations with an up-dated Special Assistant for Counter-insurgency and Special Activities (SACSA).  SACSA assigned unconventional warfare forces to the CIA and regular army commanders, who initially resisted.

The development of psychological warfare and special operations is explained in Michael McClintock’s Instruments of Statecraft. For the CIA politics behind it, see Burton Hersh’s The Old Boys.

In 1965 Lansdale went back to Vietnam to run the Revolutionary Development Cadre Program as the CIA’s “second station” with a staff of CIA officers, Green Beanies, and Daniel Ellsberg. Vietnam was a laboratory and the CIA was experimenting with Pacification, aka “the Other War.”

In 1967, the CIA created the Phoenix program to coordinate everyone in its Dirty War.  Phoenix combined existing counterinsurgency programs in a concerted effort to neutralize the civilians running the shadow government.  Neutralize means to kill, capture, or make to defect.  Central to Phoenix was that it targeted civilians. “By analogy,” said Ogden Reid, a member of a congressional committee investigating Phoenix in 1971, “if the Union had had a Phoenix program during the Civil War, its targets would have been civilians like Jefferson Davis or the mayor of Macon, Georgia.”

Under Phoenix, due process was nonexistent.  South Vietnamese civilians whose names appeared on CIA blacklists were kidnapped, tortured, detained without trial, or murdered on the word of an informer. Phoenix managers imposed a quota of 1,800 neutralizations per month on the saps running the program in the field, opening it up to abuses by corrupt security officers, policemen, politicians, and racketeers. One CIA officer described Phoenix as, “A very good blackmail scheme for the central government. `If you don’t do what I want, you’re VC.”‘

Because Phoenix assassinations (totaling 25,000+) were often conducted at night while its victims were home sleeping, Phoenix proponents describe the program as a “scalpel” designed to replace the “bludgeon” of My Lai-style search and destroy operations, air strikes, and artillery barrages that indiscriminately wiped out entire villages and did little to “win the hearts and minds” of the people.  But that was just propaganda and Phoenix was, among other things, an instrument of counter-terror – the psywar tactic in which enemy agents were brutally murdered along with their families and neighbors as a means of terrorizing the people into a state of submission. Such horrendous acts were, for propaganda purposes, often made to look as if they had been committed by the enemy.

This practice is at the heart of the film I will be reviewing.

As noted, conventional soldiers hated Phoenix. General Bruce Palmer, commander of the U.S. Ninth Infantry Division in 1968, objected to the “involuntary assignment of U.S. Army officers to the program. I don’t believe that people in uniform,” he said, “who are pledged to abide by the Geneva Conventions, should be put in the position of having to break those laws of warfare.”

Palmer’s was such a charming sentiment.  By 2004, Obama advisor Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, in an article for Small Wars Journal, was calling for a “global Phoenix Program.”  Tom Hayden wrote an article for The Nation about Kilcullen in 2008 titled “Reviving Vietnam War Tactics”.

Fact is, Phoenix never went out of fashion.  As McClintock notes, “Counterinsurgency and indeed all aspects of special warfare doctrine had developed a reasonable level of political sophistication by the mid-1970s, acknowledging the necessity of combining military and civil initiatives.”

By 1975 SACSA had expired, the nation had internalized its humiliating defeat in Vietnam, and the CIA, wounded by the Church Committee hearings, went underground. The age of counter-terror began.  Central and South America were the new laboratories.   The CIA forged secret alliances with proxy nations like Israel and Taiwan, whose agents taught Latin American landowners how to organize criminals into death squads which murdered and terrorized labor leaders, Human Rights activists, and all other enemies of the Great White Fathers.

To compensate for the reduction in size of its paramilitary Special Operations Division, the CIA formed its Office of Terrorism. Meanwhile, the military branches beefed up their terror capabilities, all of which glommed together in December 1980 in the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).  Steve Emerson chronicles this development in detail in Secret Warriors (1988).

JSOC’s mission, conducted on the Phoenix model with the CIA, is identifying and destroying terrorists and terror cells worldwide. Paramilitary personnel are often exchanged between JSOC and CIA.

By the early 1980s, CIA and military veterans of the Phoenix program were running counter-insurgency and counter-terror ops worldwide.

General Paul Gorman, who commanded U.S. forces in Central America in the mid-1980′s, defined this advanced form of Dirty War as “a form of warfare repugnant to Americans, a conflict which involves innocents, in which non-combatant casualties may be an explicit object.”  (Toledo Blade 1 Jan 1987)

All of which brings me to my review.

Dirty Wars

Dirty Wars is a post-modern film by Jeremy Scahill, about himself, starring himself in many poses.

The film owes more to Sergio Leone and Kathryn Bigelow than Constantinos Gavras. Scahill certainly is no Leslie Cockburn: there is no Tony Poe telling how the CIA facilitates heroin shipments; no Richard Secord suing him for unraveling the financial intrigues of the CIA’s secret operators. The CIA is rarely mentioned.

There is no reference to the Guerra Sucia in Argentina.

Scahill is no Franz Fallon documenting the devastating psychological effects of racism on society. There are no cameos by Jean-Paul Sartre advocating violent retribution on Hollywood, no mingling with the Taliban in their caves as they conspire against their Yankee oppressors at the Sundance Film Festival.

We get the first taste of his self-indulgent idiocy when he says it is “hard to tell” when the Dirty War began. He does tell us, however, that he is on the “front lines” of the war on terror.

Scahill (hereafter JS) brags that he wasn’t going to find the front lines in Kabul, although he could have, if he knew where to look. Instead he just looks around furtively on his way to the scene of a war crime. We see a close-up of his face.

The endless close-ups artfully convey the feeling that our hero is utterly alone, on some mythic journey of self-discovery, without a film crew or interpreters. There is no evidence that anyone went to Gardez to make sure everyone was waiting and not toiling in the fields or tending the flocks, or whatever they do. And we’ll never find out what the victims do. The stage isn’t big enough for JS and anyone else.

This is a major theme throughout the story – JS is doing all this alone and the isolation preys on him. He bears this heavy burden alone, with many soulless looks.

Initially, there is no mention that journalist Jerome Starkey reported what happened in Gardez. JS is too busy establishing himself as the courageous super-sleuth. As we drive along the road, he reminds us how much danger he is in.  Two journalists were kidnapped here, he says. This area is “beyond” NATO control. He must get in and out before nightfall or the Taliban will surely kill him like the Capitalist dog he is.

In my drinking days, we referred to this type of behavior as grandiosity. Telling everyone how you defied death, so the guys would talk about your exploits in the bars, and the girls would fall at your feet. For JS, this formula is working – a visit to his Facebook page reveals scores of “Millennial girls” wringing their hands and fretting for his safety as he strides across America’s secret battlefields in search of the truth. His carefully crafted Wiki bio furthers the legend.

Using the material gathered by Starkey (whom he eventually acknowledges), JS shows that in February 2010, American soldiers murdered five people in Gardez, including two pregnant women, and tried to cover it up by digging the bullets out of the targeted man’s body. He interviews the surviving family members. They weep. Violin music plays.  They seem more like props than human beings.

JS ingenuously asks various Afghan and American officials, why the cover-up? The officials suggest that the targeted man was working for the Taliban – and if you play that double-game, you risk your family and friends. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tells JS they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. He says there will be no investigation.

Cut to Capitol Hill where, by his own account, JS has greatness thrust upon him. “It is imperative,” he tells Chairman John Conyers, “that Congress investigates this shadow war to examine its legality.”

What, one wonders, was Conyers thinking? Forty-two years earlier, after hearing testimony from Bart Osborn and Michael Uhl about the Phoenix program, Conyers and three other U.S. representatives stated their belief that “The people of these United States … have deliberately imposed on the Vietnamese people a system of justice which admittedly denies due process of law …. In so doing, we appear to have violated the 1949 Geneva Convention for the protection of civilian peoples.”

His testimony, JS tells us, “throws him into the public arena,” ever so reluctantly. He revisits his Blackwater testimony and shows pictures of himself with numerous celebrities on TV.

B-takes of Scahill walking among the common folk in Brooklyn, plotting his next move.  Haunted by the horror of Gardez, he files FOIA requests and discovers that William McRaven is head of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He’s stunned. He’s been a national security reporter for over a decade, and he’s never heard of JSOC before.  It’s covert. The story has been hidden in the shadows, he says.

This was the turning point of the film for me. For a National Security correspondent, this is an admission akin to a botanist saying he’d never heard of flowers. It’s an admission that fairly sums up the sorry state of reporting in America today. Has JS ever read a book?

JS discovers that Gardez is not an isolated incident, and that JSOC rampages across Afghanistan with “unprecedented authority.” He talks to a former JSOC soldier about its activities in Iraq, where it had hit lists and conducted night raids. This revelation, and the fact that McRaven took responsibility for Gardez, leads JS to conclude that JSOC is responsible for Gardez. It certainly wasn’t Congress, which according to JS, has no control over JSOC. JSOC money comes from rich donors.

JS learns that JSOC is not only in Afghanistan, but that it operates worldwide, and that its hit lists get bigger all the time. And we hear, for the first time, the catchy phrase, “the world is a battlefield.”

At this point JS decides, with the help of The Nation brain trust, to investigate JSOC in Yemen where CIA drones are wiping out people by the score.

B-take of JS sipping tea thoughtfully. He’s going to talk to the most powerful man in South Yemen. We view the scene of a drone strike: 46 killed, including five pregnant women. A woman in a black veil says her entire family, save one daughter, were wiped out. Violin music. But there’s no cover-up here. In fact, Obama personally kept the journalist in prison who reported the strike.

What will Obama do to JS?

Once again, we fear for JS. Luckily he lives to talk to Rachel Maddow and Morning Joe. The greatness thrust upon him forces him onto TV shows everywhere. There he is with Amy Goodman!

More close-ups. We count the pores on his nose, the hairs in his eyebrows. We feel the fear. He gets a strange call. Someone tells him JSOC tortures people without telling the CIA or regular army, which are too busy torturing people to care.

As he studies the hit lists, he comes across radical America Muslim, Anwar al-Awlaki. After talking to Tony Schaffer, he realizes JSOC targets Muslims and that is why, along with the US invasion of Iraq, Awlaki is pissed off. Awlaki is an American but is inciting people to revolution in Yemen, so Yemen allows the CIA to kill him.

Note – the CIA is mentioned maybe twice in the film. Apparently it is so covert it escaped his notice.

We see JS in an exotic location. An airplane lands. JS is back in the USA. He’s been traumatized by what he’s seen. He tells anyone who will listen that the US cannot kill its way to peace, as if peace is the objective. The war on terror, he concludes, is creating enemies, which of course is the objective.

Before the American people can rally to JS’s clarion call, Obama sends some guys to kill Osama bin Laden. This is too much of a coincidence to ignore. Was it done to subvert his investigation? In any event, McRaven and JSOC are now heroes. He meets a knowledgeable person who tells him the Dirty War will go on forever. He tells us about signature strikes that kill people randomly (but not that the CIA conducts them) and that the war on terror is out of control.

Pictures of JS pointing to countries on a map where JSOC operates. He decides to visit Somalia, where JSOC is snatching bodies and taking them to ships in the Arabian Sea, and outsourcing its Dirty War to mercenaries. He visits mercenaries wearing camo fatigues. There are no other journalists here, it is too dangerous. Someone hands JS a flak jacket.  Someone tells him they bury traitors alive. The tension soars. He’s surrounded by armed men. There’s a gunshot. He ducks behind sandbags.

We wonder who arranged for JS to meet these guys? Where did he get an interpreter? What’s the quid pro quo?

JS goes to a hospital morgue and look at a mutilated body. After which he wants to go home. But he learns that Awlaki’s son has been killed and reluctantly he returns to Yemen.

I liked this part of the film. It seemed genuine. We see home videos of Awlaki’s son doing youthful happy things. JS tries to understand why the US would deliberately kill a 16 year old kid? Which is a good question. Perhaps America is ruled by a murderous Cult of Death.

We see pictures of young girls smiling, and we revert back to the contrived scenes and monologue that drag the documentary down into gratuitous self-promotion. JS says he never had any idea where the story would lead, as if all this happened magically, like a rabbit pulled out of a hat.

The film ends and I wonder what he could have produced if he hadn’t melodramatized and spent so much time and film on close-ups. I wonder what he could have done if he’d read a few history books.

Ultimately, the film is so devoid of historical context, and so contrived, as to render it a work of art, rather than political commentary. And as art, it is pure self-indulgence.

And in this sense, it is a perfect slice of modern American life.

Douglas Valentine can be reached at dougvalentine77@gmail.com

June 8, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Nation defends John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for the CIA

By Joseph Kishore  | WSWS | January 26, 2013

The Nation magazine is home to a particularly odious group of journalists. The “left” publication speaks on behalf of a privileged layer of the upper middle class, deeply complacent, lacking political principles and more and more integrated into the military and political establishment.

Even by these standards, a column penned by the Nation ’s Robert Dreyfuss January 22, “Brennan at the CIA Might Surprise Us,” stands out. Dreyfuss is no casual commentator. He is the Nation’s chief foreign policy correspondent. The article thus presents the magazine’s more or less official position in defense of John Brennan, nominated by President Barack Obama to head the CIA.

As Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, Brennan played the principal role in vastly expanding the administration’s drone assassination program. He oversaw the development of the “disposition matrix” to permanently institutionalize the practice of extrajudicial murder—disposing of human beings—in the name of the “war on terror.”

Before serving under Obama, Brennan was the director of the National Counterterrorism Center in the Bush administration, where he was implicated in torture and illegal domestic spying. In sum, this is a man with a great deal of blood on his hands.

This is Obama’s second attempt to nominate Brennan for the top post in America’s spy network. When the president first tried to do so in 2009, the nomination came under criticism from his liberal supporters. Brennan eventually withdrew his nomination.

This time around, there has been much less criticism. The Democratic Party and its milieu have moved even farther to the right over the past four years. Some voices have been raised, however, including from a few liberal commentators cited by Dreyfuss. The Nation responds by offering its services as a lawyer for Brennan and the Obama administration.

“Were you a terrorist or member of Al Qaeda, you wouldn’t want to meet John Brennan in a dark alley,” Dreyfuss begins. “He’s an Irish tough guy, and he doesn’t apologize for wanting to obliterate Al Qaeda. For four years, as Obama’s top adviser on counterterrorism, that’s been his job… Often innocents have died.”

“But Brennan may surprise us.”

In the end, the massacre of thousands of civilians by US drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries is of little concern to Dreyfuss. “Maybe, just maybe, John Brennan won’t be a bad CIA director,” he writes. What, one might ask, is a good CIA director? The notion that the Nation might take a principled stand in opposition to the American government’s chief spying and dirty tricks agency does not cross Dreyfuss’s mind.

The article resorts to lawyerly sophistry. There are “widespread accusations, not necessarily accurate, that he [Brennan] supported torture during the George W. Bush administration.” He “may or may not have objected to the use of waterboarding and other violent techniques.” To claim that he is “a supporter of torture,” is “an accusation without proof.”

Really? Brennan is on record as declaring in 2007, “There has been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the [CIA] has, in fact, used against the real hard-core terrorists. It has saved lives.” We must “take every possible measure” against those “determined to destroy our nation,” he declared in another interview given at that time.

As for drones, Dreyfuss goes on, “it’s a mixed bag.” He boasts that “on several occasions, I met and interviewed Brennan.” In these discussions, the Nation assures its readers, Brennan came off as a principled man, even “left,” animated by a belief that “the military is the wrong instrument in fighting terrorism.” He quotes an article in the Washington Post portraying Brennan as guided by a “moral compass” in his selection of drone targets.

Parroting the line of the Obama administration, Dreyfuss insists that Brennan has sought “to limit, not expand, drone warfare.” This can only be taken as an endorsement of the “disposition matrix.”

Dreyfuss refers to claims that Brennan has lied about the impact of the administration’s drone killing, asserting that it has not killed any civilians. However, Dreyfuss observes, “Brennan made clear that he was talking about a specific stretch of time” of about a year—suggesting by implication that the hundreds of people killed during this period all deserved to die. The administration automatically categorizes any adult-aged male it happens to kill as a “terrorist.”

If this defense does not suffice, Dreyfuss has another one prepared. “To be sure,” he writes, “as the White House’s counterterrorism chief and as a spokesman for the administration, Brennan has no choice but to defend the administration’s policy of carrying out a global drone warfare program.” Brennan, after all, was just following orders.

The attitude of Dreyfuss and the Nation magazine toward basic democratic rights is summed up in the comment’s treatment of the administration’s policy of assassinating US citizens. Mention of this violation of fundamental constitutional principles is confined to the final paragraphs, in which Dreyfuss notes that “Senator Ron Wyden says he wants answers about the administration’s legal justification for killing American citizens via drone attacks.”

The confirmation hearings next month, Dreyfuss assures us, “should be seen as an opportunity to get answers to all these questions, on the record.”

This is an obvious fraud. Dreyfuss is well aware that the administration has adamantly refused to make available its pseudo-legal justifications for assassinating American citizens, successfully blocking in court efforts to force it to do so.

Dreyfuss personifies a social layer that, through the mechanism of the Obama administration, has reconciled itself to imperialism, becoming in fact one of the most adamant supporters of American aggression. There is nothing remotely left-wing about these forces. They are capable of supporting and defending any crime.

  • Brennan (alethonews.wordpress.com)

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 22 Comments