Archive for November, 2006

November 28th, 2006

Britain airs new photo evidence of CIA goons at RFK murder

Posted in JFK by ed

Thank god for the free press: The Guardian and Brit television last week — on the 43rd anniversary of JFK’s murder — aired new photo evidence of three CIA agents present at the Ambassador Hotel in LA when Robert Kennedy was shot there in 1968. (See the Guardian story posted as comment below.)

The three spooks are notorious and already part of the JFK literature:

– Dave Morales, a well known covert ops goon and kennedy-hater among the anti-castro cubanos in the CIA’s Miami station post Bay of Pigs. He was a protege of Barry Goldwater. Led the CIA ground troops in the overthrow of the Guatemala government in 1954. Led Bay of Pigs invaders on the beach in April 1961. And was then director of Operations (ie dirty work) in the CIA Miami station during Operation Mongoose (the harassment of Cuba post Bay of Pigs).

– George Joannides, head of the Miami station’s Psychological Operations (propaganda and similar in support of covert ops) in the early 60s, and, as such, something of a protege of E. Howard Hunt. (Hunt himself was, e.g, Psy Ops chief for the CIA overthow of the Arbenz government in Guatamala in 1954.)

– Gordon Campbell, who was deputy chief of station (to Ted Shackley) in the Miami CIA station circa 1962-63.

A. Captain Bradley E. Ayers, an Army Ranger detailed to train anti-Castro cubans working for the CIA in the early 60s, has much to say about all this — and says it clearly in his newly published book, The Zenith Secret.

Read all about it here.

Then proceed to:

B. There are a number of things to say about Joannides and the Miami station Psy Ops team of the Bay of Pigs era:

1. Hunt’s other well known underling in Psy Ops was David Atlee Phillips, who told a public hearing in the late 70s (audio tape is extant) that the CIA evidence placing Oswald at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City weeks before the JFK murder was bogus and there was no reason to think Oswald was in Mexico.

In the weeks after the murder, this supposed connection to the Soviet Union was primary to the argument (threaded from CIA to FBI to LBJ, Congress et al.) to squash the murder investigation, for fear that Oswald ties to Soviet Union might trigger popular cry for war.

2. When Richard Helms took over the CIA in 1966 he was handed a memo by James Jesus Angleton (CIA’s housekeeping/counterintel chief) reporting that the Company had a problem: Howard Hunt was in Dallas the day JFK was shot. This fact became public when the memo was unearthed during the House Select Committe on Assassinations (“HSCA”) investigation in the late 70s. (Read Mark Lane’s Plausible Denial. A real page-turner.)

3. Joannides in the early 60s was the case officer of the “DRE” anti-castro cubano student organization that Oswald hung around with, fought with once in the streets and, it seems, was trying to infiltrate as an FBI contract agent. (That Oswald was working for FBI during his last months was a fact the Warren Commission carefully investigated and repressed, as Gerald Ford relates in Portrait of the Assassin, his memoir of service on the Warren Commission.) DRE people are often cited in the literature as foot-soldiers in the JFK murder plot.

4. In the late 70s Joannides was attached to the staff of the HSCA (which was investigating the murders of JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King) as CIA liaison. As such his job was to help the HSCA research and communicate with CIA in support of the investigations.

But in 2003 the CIA was sued re Joannides under the Freedom of Information Act by a group (including the final lead counsel of the HSCA) angry that CIA had never told the HSCA that Joannides was directly and deeply involved in the Miami station world — including as case officer to DRE cubans suspected of involvement in JFK’s murder. (See article re this 2003 FOIA suit posted as a comment below.)

So. Strange no one has ever noticed Morales or Joannides in these films from the RFK murder before. But from the Guardian account, at least, the picture seems clear. Thank goodness old English liberties are still alive across the pond.

November 27th, 2006

Chaos Factor off the scale in Mideast

Posted in Mideast & Oil by ed

This NY Times piece today re the mideast and Washington seems almost a parody, but, alas, is true. (Posted below as a comment.)

When one combines the confusion in Washington and the turmoil from Lebanon to Iran, the Chaos factor seems off the scale.

No one knows who’s in charge of US foreign policy. Baker-Gates and Cheney-Bolton are 180 degrees apart (re “working with” Syria and Iran, to begin) and yet each team is actively out there hacking out arrangements and moulding publicity.

And the window of opportunity for unfettered action by Bush-Cheney is closing as the Dem congress of January approaches. Thus this interregnum seems particularly risky. Perle’s war of pacification in the mideast was never meant to be popular with the American people. There is still reason to think the Neo-cons will pursue it until entirely dragged from power. (See the NY Times discussion of Cheney’s trip to Saudia Arabia.)

Meanwhile, after absolutely blasting the Gaza with a tank army the past weeks, Israel over the weekend announced withdrawal and Olmert in headlines everywhere today is said to be offering Peace and Statehood and all sorts of other goodies to the Palestinians. It’s the most ludicrous theater — like a comic fast-motion Keaton film. Hard not to think this abrupt shutdown of the Gaza offensive has something to do with accelerating plans re Iraq and Iran.

Given al-Sadr’s ultimatum, Iraq seems primed to explode when Bush meets Maliki in Jordan in midweek (returning from emergency NATO conference on escalating fighting in Afghanistan). Will the meeting be cancelled — citing concerns for the President’s safety? No sign of that yet.

If Bush keeps the meeting, all pretense of government in Iraq will cease as the shia abandon the government. (Yet see how, on this topic, the NYT article concludes. Ironic pretense. No mention of al Sadr’s ultimatum.)

Sending Bush to the meeting, then, seems a provocation. Why is he going? What possibly can be accomplished re Iraqi security by such a tea-time fly-by photo-op meeting? Are the Cheney/Neo-cons (having put ducks in line best they could during Cheney’s visit to Saudi Arabia) looking to trigger a violent Shia reaction, a larger disaster in Iraq that would justify US participation in the attack on Iran?

Here’s a responsible-sounding overview on global terrorism. By a Russian in Moscow.

China and Russia (managing partners of the SCO) are in the catbird seat, and can be counted on to behave as responsibly as possible. But the US cannot. And at a certain point opportunities for behaving responsibly dissolve, ala the guns of August 1914. Buy oil and gold?

November 25th, 2006

Cheney in Saudi Arabia — seems war with Iran’s comink

Posted in Geopolitics, Mideast & Oil by ed

Cheney just flew to Saudia Arabia, spoke for two hours with the saudi king, then flew back.
See the Assoc Press story copied below — which was on the AP wire four hours ago but now … I can’t find.

No official comment as to what was discussed. Backgrounder saudi source paints it as little more than a general agreement that they wish things were better in Iraq. Nonsense.

Meanwhile Bush is bouncing from his moronic performance in asia into Jordan (this coming Weds) to meet the Iraqi prime minister.

While al Sadr (the shia leader in Baghdad) has already given Washington an ultimatum — saying his group will leave the unity government if the Bush-Maliki meeting in fact takes place.

While Baghdad in the past three days has gone up in flames.

While Bolton yesterday tells BBC that Syria-Iran are responsible for Gemayel’s assassination and that the Jim Baker show re Syria might have to be shutdown.

And while Moscow yesterday announces it has already shipped high-tech missiles to Iran to help it defend its nuclear facilities against air attack.

While the dollar on Thurs and Friday crashes, something China could do with a bat of an eyelash, to send a warning like that of Moscow’s re the missiles.

So. Perhaps the Israeli (American) war with Iran that Perle began to sell in 1995 is about to break open, before the Dems take control of Congress. Using the speculative spin on Gemayel’s murder as part of the casus bellum propaganda package.

In any case, there is no way Cheney flies to speak with the saudi king unless something thunderous is in the air.

November 25, 2006
Cheney Arrives for Talks in Saudi Arabia
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 1:55 p.m. ET

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Vice President Dick Cheney sought Saudi help on Saturday in dealing with Iraq’s spiraling violence and other regional trouble spots where U.S. policy is on the line: Iran, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Cheney’s visit with King Abdullah was brief, lasting only a few hours before he flew back to Washington, but it underlined the two allies’ concerns over upheavals across the Middle East, which many Arabs blame on U.S. policies.

In a sign of the urgency of the U.S. concern, President Bush is scheduled to meet with Iraq’s prime minister in the Jordanian capital Wednesday and Thursday to discuss security matters.

The unusual succession of visits by the two U.S. leaders was planned before outbursts of violence this week dramatically worsened the situation in two countries of key American interest — Iraq and Lebanon.

On Tuesday, an anti-Syrian Lebanese politician was gunned down in Beirut, highlighting the fragility of the U.S.-backed government and heightening tensions between that country’s pro- and anti-Syrian forces.

Two days later in Iraq, suspected Sunni insurgents set off a series of car bombs that killed more than 200 people in a Shiite district of Baghdad, fueling an upsurge in the retaliatory sectarian slayings that threaten to tear the nation apart.

The meeting at Yamama Palace likely focused on both conflicts, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian front, which stands at a key crossroads amid attempts to form a new Palestinian government and get peace negotiations going.

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment on the discussions and Saudi officials were not available.

Before the meeting, a Saudi official said Cheney was expected to ask oil-rich Saudi Arabia to use its considerable influence with Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority to promote reconciliation with Iraqi Shiites and Kurds. Sunni insurgents have staged some of the bloodiest attacks on U.S. troops and Shiites.

In return, Saudi Arabia wants the U.S. to help rein in Iraq’s Shiite militias, which have been blamed for sectarian attacks that have killed thousands, said the official, who agreed to discuss the meeting only if not quoted by name because of the sensitivity of the talks.

On Lebanon, the Saudi official said the kingdom wants to ensure there are no cracks in support for the U.S.-backed government, which is opposed by groups allied with Syria and Iran. Saudi Arabia has strong links to the anti-Syrian bloc dominating Lebanon’s Cabinet and parliament.

The official said Saudi Arabia hopes Washington will not snub any Palestinian government that emerges from talks between the militants of Hamas and the more moderate Fatah faction. The U.S. and other nations have shunned the current government led by Hamas, which has refused to recognize Israel and renounce violence against the Jewish state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, is trying to work out a new unity government with Hamas, but Arabs hope the U.S. will be flexible with how much Hamas must moderate to allow a resumption of the peace process with U.S. ally Israel.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries on the Persian Gulf are also deeply concerned over the West’s confrontation with Iran over that nation’s suspect nuclear program.

Gulf countries worry about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran and its attempts to expand its influence in the Middle East. But they also fear the West’s attempt to force Iran to rein in its program could bring Iranian reprisals.

(End AP story)

November 25th, 2006

2006 Elections results

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

Someone asked for thoughts about the local election results. The ghost in my machine generated an Auto-Response:

I’m glad Eliot Spitzer won as New York governor. Finally dispensing with the lap puppet Pataki.

Spitzer is a powerful moral force, already hated by Wall Street muscleheads for his piecework prosecution (as state attorney general) of their routinely corrupt business practices. I imagine he will begin to get the Cuomo treatment. We’ll see how he holds up.

(“Cuomo treatment?” Mario Cuomo, by means that remain mysterious but likely to my mind, was blackmailed out of politics as his time to run for president approached — told that if he tried to run for president something awful would be revealed/done. He quietly conceded and left public life.)

I’m a bit proud of Schumer, for having led the Dems’ nationwide campaign for retaking the Senate. I wish he had the guts to criticize Israel, but I suppose that’s too much to ask. (Not that it matters much at this point; the lamps have gone out. It did matter in 2003, when he supported the Iraq war with zest.) Re domestic policy he’s pretty good, I think.

And I’m glad Hillary won with such a huge margin. I would gladly see her sworn in as president in 2009. But the damage that will be done to discourse and the standards of civil life as a result of her candidacy will be so … damaging that it might be in the national interest that she not run. (?) Of course she will.

I’m certainly relieved by the elections. It’s an echo (albeit faint) of November 1992, when Clinton’s victory seemed an exorcism performed on the body politic. Ding dong, the seeming insanity of Reaganism is dead.

But that was premature. And now it seems we know better. The mask was pulled off in 2000. Frank Zappa’s curtain torn from the back of Democracy Theater to reveal the brick wall.

I don’t expect the trends that took shape in US politics and society during the 80s (only to flourish under baby Bush) to turn around in my lifetime. Insofar as electoral integrity, as a brake on the relentless devolving greed of the ruling class (for lack of a better word) was ever a reality in my lifetime, I feel we’ve all failed, and don’t see how the power can be reclaimed.

And the global movement toward war, which the american Likud Lobby and Oil Mafia led out of the gates post Soviet collapse — the embrace of war as a “legitimate” policy and philosophy, expressed not only by the Pentagon planners and the headlines but by the glee of teenagers who go directly from video games to killing real people with high tech gizmos laughing all the way and getting it on tape — this embrace of war seems not an echo but a much louder report of what was underway in the world precisely 100 years ago. I don’t expect to hear it diminish in my life, except by catastrophe on the order of the world wars.

(100 years ago: The young German Nation bursting its buttons to prove its mettle. Witty Futurists lavishing love on the Machine. Japanese militarists, springing out of nowhere with a modern navy, defeating Russia at Port Arthur. Spencerite “Survival of the Fittest” weightlifters spouting greed and genetics worldwide …)

My father and perhaps my best friend the past twenty years each died this year. I’m sure it clouds my heart. Nevertheless the facts of the public world seem clearly written on the wall. Perhaps the best one can do in such a world is Look Away (Freud’s phrase mistranslated into English as “repress”) as long as one can, take care of loved ones as best one can, and the Devil take the 97 of 100 hindmost. Pat each other on the head and the ass as newspapers juxtapose headlines reporting hundreds dead in Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day and “Black Friday” battles of American consumers, once citizens, waiting in the dark before Toys R Us.

November 2nd, 2006

NORAD Officer: Cheney took over months before 9/11

Interesting testimony from, of course, radio.