Friday, October 27, 2006

US history of Military and state cover ups
Dick Cheney : Ultrahawk, Neocon, Traitor

Rogue President by Michael Carmichael

October 25, 2006

The president seems confused. After making a curious remark observing that the war in Iraq was placing a strain on the psyche of America, President Bush has become the primary focus of concerns about a strained psyche.

Last week, the president uttered more than one oracular pronouncement. First he acquiesced to the analogy that has been on everyone’s lips since well before the launch of the Iraq War – Does Iraq resemble Vietnam? In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, President Bush agreed that the Ramadan offensive in Iraq smacks of the Tet offensive of 1968.

Later in another interview – President Bush stunned America with his pronouncement that he had never said that the US would, “Stay the course,” in Iraq. After recovering several verbatim transcripts of the president’s use of the exact phraseology that he now believes he never uttered, American pundits are puzzled by this expanding enigma enveloping the president’s personal discourse. What will he say next?

That question was answered today, when President Bush addressed a small group at the White House with fifteen minutes of remarks during which he admitted he was now, “dissatisfied,” with American progress in Iraq. Apparently, the President is dissatisfied that no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) were discovered in Iraq. The loss of nearly 3,000 American lives and the disturbing growth in the insurgency now appear to be factors adding to the president’s dissatisfaction.

From that point in his White House talk, the President veered off into a rambling statement that quite simply defies definition. President Bush said that he would stay in Iraq until the, “job is done,” and, “we cannot allow our dissatisfaction to turn into disillusionment about our purpose in this war,” followed by an order aimed at the American people to disbelieve what he described as, “enemy propaganda.” From that mystifying turn of phrase, President Bush assured his audience in the White House, “I know the American people understand the stakes in Iraq. They want to win. They will support the war as long as they see a clear path to victory.”

From this melange of mystification, it is now perfectly clear that President Bush has not read the newspapers for the past seven days – neither is he aware of the latest polls from America’s heartland. The American people have lost confidence in his rogue presidency. Now, two out of three Americans believe that his presidency is a rapidly mushrooming disaster. By a two to one margin, American voters believe that the Democrats are better suited to deal with national security issues and terrorism than the Republicans. Why has nobody in the White House told the President that his policies in general - and his war in particular - are now unacceptable to the American people? Why is the president allowed to blather on and on about facts that fly in the face of reality?

America is a young nation, but an aging democracy. While America has suffered through rogue presidencies in its past: Pierce; Polk; Buchanan; Grant; McKinley; Harding; Coolidge; Hoover; Nixon and Reagan – it has never suffered quite as horribly; quite as tragically; quite as fatefully or quite as expensively as it is now suffering under the presidency of George W. Bush.

This conundrum affects President Bush most of all. From the president’s perspective, the world appears to be distorted as if he is witnessing events through a macabre prism twisting and contorting reality into a nightmarish illusion that defies his admittedly meagre powers to discern the true state of things.

Other commentators have written that President Bush and his family have taken every wrong fork in the path of American history since they came to power through the career of his grandfather, Prescott Bush. The wrong-headed attack on American history continued in a stark line through the career of President Bush’s father, George Herbert Walker Bush. But, in a sort of exponential surge of destiny, the honour of distorting American history into a lamentable caricature of its worst nightmares fell to the current President Bush.

Viewing this unravelling travesty, the elder generation of Bush loyalists have taken the extreme measure of stepping into the breech to seize the helm of the American ship of state to pilot her to safer, saner and hopefully more placid waters. Last week, the Bush family consigliore, James Baker, leaked a story about the findings of the Iraq Study Group. In their opinion, the war in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster, and a new policy is needed to extricate America from the quagmire. The presidential state of denial diagnosed by Robert Woodward, must be broken by the facing of certain home truths – America must leave Iraq.

That this story was leaked when it was – ie. two weeks before a crucial election - reveals the deep concerns of the Republican seniority over what appeared to be nothing less than a Bush-Cheney plan to launch World War W – by attacking Iran in the final days prior to the dreaded midterm elections in America.

When North Korea exploded her atomic device, that option – a new world war - could no longer be categorized as a rational alternative. While Bush and Cheney were prepared to wage one of their pre-emptive wars on Iran, they could not be allowed to take that step in the aftermath of North Korea going nuclear.

The equations of political algebra and diplomatic calculus had to be re-calibrated with the new factor of a nuclear regime in Pyongyang – and the embarrassing fact of the sweaty and itchy index finger of Kim Jong-Il now twitching and jerking on a nuclear trigger of his very own.

When Kim Jong-Il hit the streets of Dodge City to face off against George W. Bush, George W. Bush and his backers decided it was time to get out of Dodge.

Thanks to the policy of President Bush, post-Saddam Iraq is now being described as the, “most hellish place on earth.” Thanks to the policy of President Bush, nearly three-thousand American soldiers have lost their lives in the sands of Iraq. Thanks to the policy of President Bush, the American people have invested the better part of one trillion dollars into creating the hell of Zalmay Khalilzad’s Iraq. Thanks to the policy of President Bush we now know that the Interim Government of Ayad Allawi embezzled over eight-hundred million dollars during their relatively short time in office.

The polls in America predict a stunning change of power in the halls of Congress. Democrats are poised to return to the majority in the House of Representatives and to make gains in the Senate.

With Karl Rove’s hand poised over the election-stealing electronic voting machines fabricated by Republican corporations, the Office for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe, now the world’s pre-eminent authority on the fairness of elections, have announced their mission to supervise the American midterm elections. According to reports in Europe, the OSCE is keenly interested in the allegations of e-voting and election fraud in Bush’s America.

To distract the voters, Rove has launched a campaign to sell America on the vibrancy reported to have broken out in the US economy. Now that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is now hovering circa 10% above its level when Bush took office, Rove is calling it an economic miracle. Now that 6.6 million jobs have been created in the same period of time as it took Bill Clinton’s administration to create over 9 million jobs, Rove is attempting to sell the US economy to the voters as a triumph for Bush and the Republicans. Pity him, for Rove has little choice, now that Iraq has gone pear-shaped.

Bad as the situation in Iraq actually is, that does not mean that Bush and Rove will not try to brand their retreat as a victory. In their terms, a military defeat is always a victory as long as they were in command.

The walls are closing in on the presidency of George Walker Bush. His old enemy, Gerhard Schroder, has just launched his book decrying the Bush presidency. Schroder reported that meetings with President Bush bordered on the impossible as his sanctimonious staff repeatedly assured his guests that the president was a, “god-fearing” man. Needless to say, Shroder records that it was difficult to do business, to meet or to negotiate with such a head of state, one that clearly fancied himself to be a divine right monarch straight out of the pages of medieval history rather than the head of the world’s sole superpower.

Given the rapidly multiplying constellation of crises and criticisms hitting his presidency in its metaphorical face, President Bush has taken the extraordinary step of investing in a tract of private real estate. For the past week, the international press has been spellbound by reports that Jenna Bush, the president’s daughter, has negotiated a real estate transaction in upper Paraguay for a huge ranch even by Texas standards. Now international speculation presumes that the Bushes have taken the advice of their family’s consigliores to maintain a bolt-hole hideaway just in case of the eruption of problematic or discomforting political developments in their homeland.

From my undergraduate history of the Cold War, I seem to recall that after the Allied victory in World War Two, the northern reaches of Paraguay provided a refuge for Nazi war criminals – including Dr. Josef Mengele. A rogue Nazi, a rogue president – a refuge for rogues in the mists of Paraguay - is that a coincidence – or not?


Bush drops ’stay the course’ slogan as political mood sours - Takeover could come in a year, but more troops may go to Bagdhad, says US general

Bush admits dissatisfaction with Iraq situation

Bush faces calamity as swing voters flock to the Democrats

War effect chills the hearts of Republican Middle America - Will Ohio go Democrat?

US poll shows 58% believe Iraq was a mistake

US in Iraq: We’re out of here - America signals dramatic shift in strategy, saying Iraq will assume responsibility for security in ‘12 to 18 months’

US soldier to voice Iraq conflict opposition

We have turned Iraq into the most hellish place on Earth

Patrick Cockburn: From ‘mission accomplished’ to mission impossible for the Iraqis

Iraq: the people have their say. And it’s bad news for Tony Blair - 72 per cent predict that Iraq will descend into civil war if British and American troops withdraw - 61 per cent believe Britain’s experience in Iraq makes them less likely to support military intervention - 72 per cent say that Tony Blair’s support for George Bush calls into question his political judgement - 62 per cent believe that British troops should be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible - 72 per cent believe that the war in Iraq is unwinnable

Iraq war could be judged a disaster, Beckett admits

Iraq: voters want British troops home by end of year - Fresh pressure on Blair as public back calls for early withdrawal

‘Government stole $800m’

Iraq mayhem triggers hunt for exit strategy in US and UK / Foreign Office urges talks with Syria and Iran, as militia seize city left by British

The genteel revolt that is remaking US policy on Iraq / Republican veterans push for end to interventionist approach

Blair gives Iraq 12 months to be ready for handover - PM to meet Iraqi leaders in Downing St today - Former envoy warns that ‘only bad options’ remain

Disarm the militias and take control - White House issues demands to embattled PM - Sanctions threat if al-Maliki fails to meet timetable - Move reflects US frustration

‘Arrogant’ US has failed, says spin doctor

The week the war unravelled: Bush to have crisis meeting with generals to ‘refocus’ Iraq strategy

The Exodus: 1.6m Iraqis have fled their country since the war

Americans ‘desperate’ for way out - US plans ‘deadlines’ to accelerate withdrawal

Britain ‘risking defeat in Afghanistan’

How Iraq came home to haunt America - For months doubts over Iraq have risen along with the death toll. Last week a tipping point was reached as political leaders in Washington and London began openly to think the unthinkable: that the war was lost

Britain now No 1 al-Qaida target - anti-terror chiefs

America has finally taken on the grim reality of Iraq The US is radically rethinking its exit strategy, while Britain waits zombie-like for new instructions by Simon Jenkins

Bush acknowledges echoes of Vietnam in Iraq

Bush accepts Iraq-Vietnam war comparison

End of the culture war / Now the religious right has turned against the Republican Congress, the great revolution is over by Sidney Blumenthal

Space: America’s new war zone

US Plan for New Nuclear Weapons Advances By Walter Pincus / The Washington Post

Schröder causes a stir with controversial memoirs

Schröder settles old scores with Merkel and ‘God-fearing’ Bush

Paraguay in a spin about Bush’s alleged 100,000 acre hideaway

US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War? by Michel Chossudovsky

US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War?

by Michel Chossudovsky

October 24, 2006

There is a massive concentration of US naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Two US naval strike groups are deployed: USS Enterprise, and USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group. The naval strike groups have been assigned to fighting the "global war on terrorism."

War Games

Concurrent with ths concentration of US Naval power, the US is also involved in military exercises in the Persian Gulf, which consists in "interdicting ships in the Gulf carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles"

The exercise is taking place as the United States and other major powers are considering sanctions including possible interdiction of ships on North Korea, following a reported nuclear test, and on Iran, which has defied a U.N. Security Council mandate to stop enriching uranium.

The exercise, set for Oct. 31, is the 25th to be organized under the U.S.-led 66-member Proliferation Security Initiative and the first to be based in the Gulf near Bahrain, across from Iran, the officials said.
A senior U.S. official insisted the exercise is not aimed specifically at Iran, although it reinforces a U.S. strategy aimed at strengthening America’s ties with states in the Gulf, where Tehran and Washington are competing for influence"

(Defense News,

Tehran considers the US sponsored war games in the Persian Gulf, off the Iranian coastline as a provocation, which is intended to trigger a potential crisis and a situation of direct confrontation between US and Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf:

"Reports say the US-led naval exercises based near Bahrain will practise intercepting and searching ships carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles.

Iran's official news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official as describing the military manoeuvres as dangerous and suspicious.

Reports say the US-led naval exercises based near Bahrain will practise intercepting and searching ships carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles.

The Iranian foreign ministry official said the US-led exercises were not in line with the security and stability of the region. Instead, they are aimed at fomenting crises, he said." (quoted in BBC, 23 October 2006)

USS Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG 5) to arrive in Arabian Sea

The USS Boxer (LHD 4), --which is the flagship for the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG 5)-- which left Singapore on October 16, is scheduled to join the two other naval strikes groups. ESG 5 is comprised of USS Boxer, Bunker Hill, USS Dubuque (LPD 8), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Benfold (DDG 65), and USS Howard (DDG 83). ESG 5 also includes PHIBRON 5, the 15th MEU, Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WHEC 726).

“We are about to enter a part of the world that can be very dangerous,” said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW/SW) Jacques Beaver, Boxer’s flight deck ordnance chief. “We must be flexible and prepared to defend ourselves from any threats.”

Boxer has been preparing for the weapons upload for two months by completing required maintenance and electronic pre-checks. Checks ensure that the ship’s missile and launching systems are up to standard and safe to load with live ordnance.

“It has taken a lot of hard work for our people to get this done,” said Chief Fire Controlman (SW) William Lewis, combat systems, fire control division’s leading chief petty officer. “You cannot measure the importance of having these defenses guarding the lives of the Sailors and Marines in this strike group.”

BOXESG is comprised of USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), USS Dubuque (LPD 8), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Howard (DDG 83). The strike group also includes Amphibious Squadron 5, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WHEC 726) and Canadian Frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341).

BOXESG is currently conducting operations in support of the global war on terrorism while transiting to the Arabian
Gulf." (

USS Boxer

Canada is part of the Expeditonary Strike Group (ESG 5)

Canada is formally participating in this military deployment under the disguise of the "war on terrorism". The Canadian Navy has dispatched Frigate HMCS Ottawa, which is now an integral part of ESG 5, under US Command. It is worth noting that particular emphasis has been given to medical evacuations and combat medical support suggesting that a combat scenario could be envisaged.

Boxer and Ottawa, both operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, know that they can play a vital role to aid humanitarian assistance operations, medical evacuations or combat medical support that would rely heavily on the medical capabilities of the Boxer strike group. Cross training Sailors from ship to ship helps ensure the success of the strike group should BOXESG have to respond to any medical scenario, according to Richardson.

“Training is a necessary part of any evolution,” said Richardson. “Anytime you’re working with another nation, it’s important that we understand their capabilities just as much as they understand ours, so in the event anything occurs we know where our assets are.”

The cross training also fostered cooperation between the two allies which provided Verville and Boxer corpsmen a forum to learn about each other’s navies and each other’s culture." ( October 2006)

Dangerous Crossroads: Tonkin II?

"An incident" in the Persian Gulf could be used by the US as a pretext for war against Iran.

A war pretext incident, similar to "the Gulf of Tonkin Incident", which triggered the Vietnam war, could be used by US forces, with a view to justifying retaliatory military action against Iran.

In August 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed that North Vietnamese forces had attacked US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Tonkin incident, which had been manipulated, contributed to unleashing a full-fledged war against Vietnam:

"A phantom attack on two U.S. destroyers cruising the Gulf of Tonkin was staged by the Pentagon and the C.I.A. The bogus attack occurred early in August, 1964. That evening President Lyndon Johnson went on television giving the grim details of the non-attack. Later, however, it was revealed that navy commander James Stockdale flew cover over the Gulf of Tonkin that night. Stockdale disclosed that U.S. ships were firing at phantom targets—targets that didn’t exist. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident that drew the U.S. into the quagmire of Viet Nam simply didn’t happen. Johnson, as presidents so often do, lied to the American people. The result was the rapid passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which was the sole legal basis for the Viet Nam War. As a result of Johnson’s lie, three million Vietnamese people and fifty eight thousand U.S. soldiers died." (Charles Sullivan, Global Research, January 2006)

Revised and updated Oct 25, 2006. Note: Since this report was first published, we have been advised that several press reports concerning USS Eisenhower are incorrect. US military sources have confirmed that USS Eisenhower was in Naples on Oct 23.

We have made appropriate corrections.


Navy Personnel
Active Duty: 349,783

Officers: 51,979

Enlisted: 293,368

Midshipmen: 4,436
Ready Reserve: 131,802 [As of 30 September]

Selected Reserves: 70,500

Individual Ready Reserve: 61,302
Reserves currently mobilized: 5,996 [As of 18 October]
Personnel on deployment: 36,037
Navy Department Civilian Employees: 175,454

Ships and Submarines
Deployable Battle Force Ships: 280

Ships Underway (away from homeport): 133 ships (47% of total)

On deployment: 104 ships (37% of total)

Attack submarines underway
(away from homeport): 22 submarines (40%)

On deployment: 11 submarines (20%)
Ships Underway

USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) - Philippine Sea
USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - Persian Gulf
USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - Pacific Ocean
USS Dwight D.Eisenhower (CVN 69)- Mediterranean Sea
USS Ronald Reagan - Pacific Ocean

Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):
USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) - Persian Gulf
USS Nashville (LPD 13) - Persian Gulf
USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) - Persian Gulf

Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):
USS Boxer (LHD 4) - Indian Ocean
USS Dubuque (LPD 8) - Indian Ocean
USS Comstock (LSD 45) - Indian Ocean

Essex Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):
USS Essex (LHD 2) - South China Sea
USS Juneau (LPD 10) - South China Sea
USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) - South China Sea

Amphibious Warfare Ships:
USS Tarawa (LHA 1) - Pacific Ocean
USS Saipan (LHA 2) - Persian Gulf
USS Wasp (LHD 1) - port visit, Copenhagen, Denmark
USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Bataan (LHD 5) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Cleveland (LPD 7) - Pacific Ocean
USS Shreveport (LPD 12) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Ponce (LPD 15) - Atlantic Ocean
USS San Antonio (LPD 17) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Ashland (LSD 48) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) - Pacific Ocean

Aircraft (operational): 4000+

currently/or en route in/to Persian Gulf-Arabian Sea
(according to available information)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Conference On Presidential Powers And Stealth Immunity For BushCo by Lawrence R. Velvel - Dean, Massachusetts School of Law

As written of here in advance, on October 14th and 15th a conference on ever increasing presidential powers was held at the Massachusetts School of Law, in Andover (MSL), where this writer is Dean. The conference was even better than had been hoped. Many leading scholars in the field delivered speeches or remarks that ranged from the historically analytical to the spellbinding. At the end, this writer was supposed to deliver a summary of what was said, a summary of themes and future paths. But it could not be done. There was simply too much that had been said, too many ideas, both historical and future-oriented, that had been discussed or floated.

A true summary of the proceedings has to await the availability of DVDs of the proceedings or perhaps even the transcript of them. The possibility of a true summary is thus at least some weeks off. But it is possible even early on to list a few of the important ideas that surfaced, sometimes repeatedly. They would include:

The framers intended Congress, not the President, to be the powerful political branch. They greatly feared a powerful Executive. But the founders’ intent is at the opposite pole from what now exists.

Congress, contrary to what the founders believed would occur, does not protect its institutional prerogatives against Executive encroachments.

The commander-in-chief power was not intended by the framers to give the President the powers that Bush, Johnson and others have claimed (usurped under it).

The existence of a large standing army has been a major contributor -- possibly the major contributor -- to the growth of presidential power since 1950.

Executive secrecy has contributed to the President’s overwhelming power. Many of the reservations claimed in Bush’s signing statements are designed to foster Executive secrecy.

The number of oversight hearings held by Congress has declined. This too contributes to increasing presidential power.

The Executive has been engaged in manifold abuses of power.

It is crucial to find some ways to put more power into the hands of the minority in Congress. Perhaps there should be some American equivalent of the Prime Minister’s question time in the British Parliament. Or (better yet, I think) perhaps the minority in Congress should have subpoena power.

The Executive, and George Bush in particular, were hell-bent on using the recent act relating to habeas corpus and military tribunals as a vehicle for gaining immunity for the illegal torture that they had long authorized and perpetrated. It was generally felt that the clauses of the act providing such immunity were a serious blot on America.

One must listen to the Nixon tapes to really grasp how rotten a human being he was. (Speaking personally, one wonders how many decades it will take for America to wake up to the same realization about the second Bush).

The question of increasing Executive power is thought by some to be the most fraught and important issue facing the country. This is a point with which I agree, for reasons that will become clear below.
I believe this summary is reasonably accurate though very incomplete. A fuller summary, like access to the entire proceedings themselves, must await the preparation of DVDs of the conference, transcripts of it, and/or the publication of the proceedings in book form. The DVDs, which will not only be available as DVDs, but will also be put on the internet by MSL for viewing by computer and will be made downloadable by iPods, should be available in a matter of weeks. Transcripts, which will also be placed on line by MSL, will take a bit longer, and a book longer still. But these various means of modern communication will make the proceedings available in several ways for teachers, classes, and citizens who are interested in the subject of growing presidential power and want to know what some of the leading experts think.

One would especially hope that the materials will be used in colleges and universities. War, particularly long, protracted wars, are the most affective upon this nation of all human events. What the Civil War and World War II meant for the daily lives of millions of citizens should be known and immediately comprehensible to any American who knows any history (a qualification which, I gather, would exclude most citizens these days, which is disastrous for the nation). Even wars that are less cataclysmic, though nonetheless long and major, have the most serious effects. Perhaps I can do no better in this regard than quote the opening paragraph of a book I wrote 36 years ago about the Viet Nam War:

“Vietnam.” The very name is associated with crisis. For as even the least perceptive among us must know, the war in Vietnam has contributed a goodly share to several of the highly serious and deeply troubling crises which have been plaguing the United States. Most of the crises which have been caused or exacerbated by the war have been very noticeable to the public, and the war’s effect upon them has been no less noticeable. For example, it is difficult to escape knowing that America has faced serious economic problems, such as inflation and balance of payments difficulties, which have resulted at least partly from our vast war expenditures. Equally apparent is the fact that the war has fueled a generation gap which has pitted many of our young people against many of their elders: the contending groups are locked in mutual lack of understanding, mutual distrust, mutual dislike, and mutual immoderation. It has been only too obvious that energy and money which have been poured into the war might otherwise have been spent to combat the poverty and urban decay which so plainly threaten our cities. By this diminution of the efforts to combat poverty and decay, by leading many blacks to bitterly, and perhaps even rightly, believe that the white man is perfectly willing to let them die for America in Vietnam but is not terribly willing to let them have adequate jobs or schools or houses in America itself, and by raising other difficulties both practical and ideological, the war has clearly heaped fuel upon the fire of an obtrusive racial crisis. The climate for lessening explosive international tensions plainly has suffered because of the war. And, unfortunately, this list of examples does not exhaust the catalogue of highly noticeable crises to which the Vietnam war has made a high, noticeable contribution.

Even a war like Iraq which does not on an immediate level engage most Americans, a war whose burden falls on relatively few, a war which the President reprehensibly and for political purposes has “responded” to by telling people to go on living their lives in the ordinary way, creates havoc despite its lack of practical effect on most people. Our politics, our civil liberties, our now longstanding, well warranted disdain for government have all been worsened by the present botching by Bush.

Plainly, the causes, reasons for, and ways of avoiding and getting out of war are subjects which the colleges and universities of this country should study and teach. One of the most affective phenomena in getting our country into one war after another has been precisely the growth of presidential power that was discussed at the conference at MSL. Such growth is, for this reason as well as others, one of the crucial subjects for colleges and universities. Thus, to reiterate, one hopes that they will make use of what will soon be the wide availability of the materials from the conference held on October 14th and 15th.

* * * * *

The matter of the immunity provided to criminals in the recently enacted Military Commissions Act of 2006 raised especial ire at the conference. For the first time in American history, the Congress has provided immunity for the perpetrators of torture -- even murderers by torture -- and other horrible crimes, e.g., kidnapping even innocent people off the streets and delivering them to countries like Syria and Uzbekistan for torture.

The provision which immunizes this awful conduct, you know, did not receive nearly as much media coverage in advance as did the habeas corpus and military tribunal provisions of the bill. That, at least, is one man’s opinion, and in fact I think it received but little coverage. It basically was snuck in and enacted mainly by stealth - - not exclusively by stealth, but mainly by it. No doubt the stealth served the Executive’s purposes perfectly. For were it to have come extensively to public notice that for the first time the Congress was granting immunity to serious crimes, there might have been an outcry. Indeed, there almost surely would have been a vast outcry on the left and perhaps in the center as well, had most persons on the left and in the center known what was happening. (Maybe I am wrong but, as you can see from the foregoing remarks, my view is that there was relatively little public comprehension of what was occurring. This view seemed borne out even at the conference of experts on presidential power: even experts did not know what was going down.) Bush, having desired, authorized and known about torture from the beginning, and therefore being guilty of felonies under the domestic American law known as the Anti-Torture Statute, must have been perfectly delighted that the immunity provision was able to fly under the radar. One of the points made at the conference was that evil, like mushrooms, grows in the dark. Secrecy is, for certain, the handmaiden of evil. Flying under the radar is perhaps next best to enforced secrecy itself.

But now that the immunity provision has been enacted, just what does it mean. That is, exactly whom does it cover, and for what acts. I confess to not understanding it completely. It is written in lawyerese, with exceptions delimited by numerical references to other statutes entirely. The media seem generally to say the act gives immunity to the CIA but not the military. Maybe that’s right, although the wording would seem broad enough to cover the military and all other relevant persons too (unless the exceptions clause at the beginning of the relevant section means the military are not covered). But search me as to who’s covered. It would be nice if someone knowledgeable would explain exactly who is, who isn’t and why.

To given you more information of relevance, the Act says that (with exceptions that are unclear to me) “no court” “shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider” any action against the “United States or its agents relating to any aspect of the detention, transfer, treatment, trial, or conditions of confinement of an alien who is or was detained by the United States and has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.”

This language would not seem to give complete immunity to BushCo and his fellow cohorts in the Executive, as will be discussed below.

Let us start with something the language does not do. It does not say that what BushCo and his tribe of corporate henchmen authorized, desired and/or did is not a crime. Torture of persons abroad remains a felony under federal law, although the new Act removes the jurisdiction of courts to hear cases on the crime and has thus eliminated courts’ ability to punish perpetrators. For the layman it will doubtless be hard to grasp how there can be a crime when an act cannot be punished. Such legal absurdities are common; they occur, for example, when a statute of limitations has run, even on murder. Beyond this, there will remain, as we shall see, certain situations in which it seems the cohorts are chargeable with crimes and punishable -- and can be made defendants in civil actions too. As well, authorizing torture, as BushCo did -- and which led to murder -- of course remains an impeachable offense. “All” that is lacking in this regard is political will and native intelligence: Apparently it was no good for Bill Clinton to receive fellatio in the oval office -- which surely was a disgrace -- but it is alright for BushCo to authorize torture and murder there.

The statute also grants immunity only when the tortured person is an alien. Now, this may be of little practical import because most of the people we tortured were aliens. But perhaps not all. It is possible that a few people whom we tortured abroad were Americans. (Did we torture John Walker Lindh abroad? There are some who in effect claim so, I think.)

Then there is also the question of actions by states, or by individuals, under state laws if torture was authorized, conspired about, or committed within a given state. (The federal Anti-Torture Statute only applies to torture abroad; punishment of acts committed in the United States was, I have read, left to state laws against assault, battery and murder. No doubt the Executive cohorts and their lawyers would argue that, when Congress said that “no court” shall have jurisdiction to hear torture cases, it included state courts as well as federal ones. But whether this argument could withstand serious legal analysis is very questionable (for much the same reasons that a federal law overriding state “tort” laws against deliberate or negligent misconduct by manufacturers that injures or kills people -- the kind of law sought by big business’ tort lawyer shills -- is questionable). The founders of this country would never have dreamed that a federal law could override state laws against assault, battery and murder, and their view certainly ought to prevail here.

The question regarding state court actions is not in truth one of law. It is more a question of what state prosecutors and state courts would or would not do as a political matter. Practically speaking, it seems a safe bet that, at least today, state prosecutors would not act against American torturers and murderers, nor would state judges fail to find some reason, however spurious, to dismiss cases brought by the tortured or by heirs of the murdered. Whether or not all this will be equally true ten or twenty years from today – indeed, whether the federal immunity law will still be on the books ten or twenty years from now -- remains to be seen. For what people’s views will be when BushCo is long gone remains to be seen. There have been major turnarounds in view previously -- Massachusetts, Illinois, California (and perhaps some other states too, if memory serves) ultimately tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to assert state jurisdiction in order to put an end to the Viet Nam War, attempting this in the face of decades of belief that it could not be done. As the Attorney General of New York, Elliot Spitzer began bringing successful cases against Wall Street, cases of a type that had long been thought the exclusive province of the federal government. One never knows what people might be moved to do in future decades if moved to utter disgust, as they likely will be, by what BushCo did in the early years of the new century.

You know, it is possible that even today, and even in the federal courts, the BushCo wall is starting to crack. There is, of course, the deep, ever widening disgust with Bush’s incompetence and malperformance that is threatening the Republicans’ current hold on both houses of Congress. There is the media’s willingness to call BushCo the inept that he is -- and always was. (Recently one read two comments by Richard Cohen, in The Washington Post’s National Weekly Edition, that echoed points which have been made here for years: Citing the recent book by Bob [The Egomaniacal Bore] Woodward, as well as “everything else I’ve read about the 43rd president,” Cohen said it was “apparent” that Bush “had no accomplishment to his name that did not stem from primogeniture.” He also cited Bush’s “steadfast belief that his is a divine mission.”) And even the courts are not rolling over and playing dead quite so rapidly. Recently a number of federal judges, in addition to Anna Diggs Taylor, have refused to immediately and with no questions throw out cases challenging the electronic eavesdropping on the governmental claim that the publicly admitted eavesdropping is a state secret. The other judges don’t have Judge Taylor’s background, so their views have a more tentative, cautious, well-maybe-the-president-is-the-king quality to them, and maybe they will ultimately throw out the cases, but the fact remains that they did not dismiss them out of hand, as one would have thought likely.

So what will happen years from now, what people will think and do then, remains in the womb of time.

Then there is the point which one thinks the most important of all with regard to the wording of the immunity statute. The law says no court shall have jurisdiction to hear any action relating to the treatment of a past or present alien detainee who “has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.” This looks to me to possibly be a hole big enough through which to drive the proverbial truck.

Now, I don’t know any of this for certain, but aren’t there a lot of people who were detained, tortured or rendered for torture, and then released because ultimately considered to be innocent of any misconduct against the United States? Were these people ever “determined” “to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant”? If so “determined,” by whom, where and when? -- weren’t there in fact a lot of captives who never went before any tribunal? Or, if they did go before a tribunal, lots of them were found innocent, weren’t they? -- Otherwise why have they been released? Were all of them released because they all had suddenly become a threat no longer, even though they had once been properly determined to be enemy combatants? Why do I doubt this? The bottom line here is that it is entirely possible, it may even be very likely, that there are lots of people who were tortured and will still have a right to sue, despite the new immunity statute, because they were never properly determined to be enemy combatants and/or were even found innocent.

Perhaps Bush and company will claim that people were determined to be “properly detained as an enemy combatant” just because BushCo publicly said years ago that they were “enemy combatants” (although we now know that lots of these people never were combatants, but merely innocent guys who got swept up off the streets). Such a BushCo-ian claim would, of course, make a mockery of the statute’s apparent bow towards proper procedure. (In fact, the whole military tribunals aspect of the statute is a bow towards proper procedure.) In any event, we shall see what the BushCo people claim and what the courts do.

It is conceivably worth mentioning in this regard that the case of the Canadian whom we snatched and sent to Syria for torture (Arar) and the similar case of a fellow named Khaled El-Masri would seem to fit the situation. These guys were finally, in practical effect, declared innocent and released. Did somebody ever “determine” that they were “properly detained” as enemy combatants? If not, shouldn’t they be able to sue Bush and company for the torture they suffered, notwithstanding the immoral District Court decisions dismissing their cases?

* * * * *

As the reader can see, there is a fair amount about the statute that this writer does not understand. This is in part because of the way statutes are often written, and the way this one is certainly written. Instead of clearly stating what they mean, for example, statutes will, as this one does in several parts, obscurely say that some other statute is amended by substituting some new word for some other word in some section of the other statute. Or statutes will say that certain sections of some other statutes constitute exceptions to the new one. Or they will trick things up in some other way. It is all very confusing to the layman, and equally to a lawyer who does not know and does not have time to read and study all the other statutes and the particular sections of them referred to. One frankly wonders about the morality of this method of writing statutes, a method that seems designed as much to hide the ball as anything else. (Of course, lawyers will give you lots of reasons why these convoluted ways of writing statutes are the only possible methods -- which I doubt, which I, in fact, think plainly untrue.)

In any event, it would be useful for someone to write some plain, easily comprehensible, knowledgeable piece about what the immunity statute means -- who it applies to, whom it doesn’t apply to, and when. Right now some of this seems unclear -- and one wouldn’t be shocked if it had been deliberately kept unclear lest lots of people learn what was being done and react against it. But until I learn that my understanding of the statute is wrong for some reason or is incomplete -- both of which are entirely possible -- it will be this writer’s opinion that the statute has some loopholes which lawyers and some of their clients can use in an attack on Bush, the Yale flunk-out, the Winnetka wrestler, and others of the utter bums, the truly bad human beings, who have been running this country.

In one man’s judgment it is of the utmost necessity that this nation begins looking for leaders who are honest, smart, open minded, and moral, instead of being cohorts, thugs in suits, bums, like our current leaders. The Kissingers of this world (and we now have learned that the original Kissinger played a role in the current debacle as well as the last one), BushCo, the Winnetka wrestlers, the Yale flunk-outs -- none of these are honest or moral, maybe none of them are open minded, a couple are not even smart, and the one or two who are smart are evil – smart and evil being a truly awful combination. Americans probably don’t like to think about it -- instead we mostly like to think that any regular guy can do a good job -- but this country had better start looking to elect people who are honest, competent, smart and moral. Otherwise, we are just headed for ever more trouble.

Frankly, the need to elect much better people, especially to the highest offices, a need which is not often discussed, did not to my recollection obtain mention, except for one brief comment, even at the recent conference on presidential powers. That even such a conference would not consider this need is a measure of how far we have fallen in connection with the needed traits. It strikes me that this need, too, is something which should be the subject of inquiry, research and thought at colleges and universities.

Lawrence R. Velvel is the Dean of Massachusetts School of Law. He can be reached at
Video the Vote 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

George Bush is Hunting Hugo Chavez by Conn Hallinan

Conn Hallinan is a Foreign Policy In Focus ( columnist.

There are times when the tensions between Venezuela and the Bush administration seem closer to Commedia dell'arte than politics. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez compares President George W. Bush to the devil, right down to the smell of sulfur during a speech at the U.N. General Assembly. Homeland Security responds by strip-searching Nicolás Maduro Moros, Venezuela's foreign minister, at JFK airport. Venezuela seizes 176 pounds of frozen chicken on its way to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas.

But recent White House initiatives suggest that the administration has more than tit-for-tat in mind.

In late June, U.S. Southern Command, the arm of the U.S. military in Latin America, concluded that efforts by Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia to extend state control over their oil and gas reserves posed a threat to U.S. oil supplies. While Latin America produces only 8.4 percent of the world's oil output, it supplies 30 percent of the oil consumed in the United States.

“A re-emergence of state control of the energy sector will likely increase inefficiencies and, beyond an increase in short-term profits, will hamper efforts to increase long-term supplies and production,” the study concludes. In an interview with the Financial Times , Col. Joe Nunez, a professor of strategy at the U.S. Army War College, added an observation that ought to send a collective chill down the backs of the three countries named: “It is incumbent upon the Command to contemplate beyond strictly military matters.”

That one of the U.S. military's most powerful arms should find itself deep in the energy business should hardly come as a surprise. Four months after Bush took office, Vice President Dick Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group recommended that the administration “make energy security policy a priority of our trade and foreign policy.” The administration has faithfully followed that blueprint, using war and muscular diplomacy to corner U.S. energy supplies in the Middle East and Central Asia.

What most Americans don't know is that Venezuela's reserves are enormous. According to a department of energy estimate, they are considerably greater than Saudi Arabia's, and may be as high as 1.3 trillion barrels. Most Venezuelan oil is heavy and expensive to refine, but as long as oil stays above $50 a barrel—and few doubt it will go lower—it is an almost endless gold mine.

The bone the U.S. is picking with Hugo is not about bombast. It's about oil.

Shortly after Southern Command's report, the White House appointed J. Patrick Maher, a 32-year Central Intelligence Agency veteran, to head up a special task force for gathering intelligence on Venezuela and Cuba. The only other similar posts are for North Korea and Iran, members of the so-called “axis of evil” reportedly developing nuclear weapons. In a move that almost exactly parallels how intelligence was handled in the run up to the Iraq War, as “Mission Manager,” Maher will bypass the CIA and report directly to Bush.

Maher's appointment followed a full court press by a group of neoconservatives grouped around National Security Director John Negroponte, then-CIA chief Porter Goss, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and her deputy, Robert Zoellick.

The campaign against Chavez on the executive side is matched by a similar push in Congress. Senator Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently urged the Bush administration to adopt “contingency plans” in case of a disruption of oil supplies from Venezuela. In a July letter to Rice, the senator said that Venezuela has an “undue ability to impact USA security and our economy.” Lugar went on to warn that there was a “real risk” that Venezuela could “act in concert” with other countries and that “we have a responsibility to plan appropriate contingencies that protect the American people.”

The current campaign against Chavez is really Round Two in the White House's drive to unseat him. As Freedom of Information Act documents reveal, the Bush administration already tried to overthrow Chavez in an April 2002 coup.

Otto Reich, then assistant secretary of state for Western Hemispheric Affairs, met several times with coup leaders. Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, deputy secretary of defense for Western Hemispheric Affairs, met with military coup leader Gen. Lucas Romero Rincon. Cuban exile Reich and Pardo-Maurer were major players in the 1980s Contra war against Nicaragua. Pardo-Maurer was the Contras' most visible Washington spokesman back then and Reich was forced to resign from his job as head of public diplomacy in the Reagan administration's State Department for planting false stories in the U.S. media.

The CIA, through the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States Agency for International Development, bankrolled Chavez's opponents, and helped organize and support the strike by white collar oil workers and ships captains eight months after the coup collapsed.

Since then, the Bush administration has kept up a drumbeat of attacks. Rice warned that Chavez was “a major threat to the region.” U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared Chavez to Adolph Hitler. Zoellick told senators that Chavez was part of a new “creeping authoritarianism.” In March, a National Security Strategy document charged that Chavez was “undermining democracy.” At an October 2 meeting of Latin American defense ministers in Managua, Nicaragua, Gen. Bantz J. Craddock of the Southern Command called Chavez a “destabilizing” force in the region.

What really worries the U.S. is that Chavez is trying to diversify Venezuela's clientele. Venezuela is currently building a $335 million pipeline across Colombia in order to ship more oil to China, and is working on plans for a $20 billion natural gas pipeline through the Amazon and on to markets in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

China is pouring in billions to develop fields in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador to give it the inside corner on future resources. The “China connection” is one that concerns the Bush administration, not only because it siphons off oil that normally would go to the United States, but also because the White House sees China as a rival and has done its best to elbow Peking out of the Middle East and Central Asia.

But Latin America is a different place than it was a decade ago when it was mired in debt, characterized by low growth, and beholden to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. When Rice told House members that the Bush administration was building a “united front” against Venezuela, it is likely to be a narrow front indeed.

Venezuela has helped bail Ecuador and Argentina out of debt, invested in projects in Bolivia, and is selling oil to Cuba at a deep discount. According to Greg Palast writing in The Progressive, Chavez has withdrawn $20 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserves, and “at the same time, lent or committed a like sum to Argentina, Ecuador, and other Latin American countries.”

Given Chavez's enormous popularity in his country and elsewhere in Latin America, it is hard to see what the White House can do about Venezuela's president. But that is not likely to discourage it from trying, and the people the administration has recruited to target him are just the kind of operatives who won't shy away from anything up to, and including, the unthinkable: assassination.

How the Bush Family Makes a Killing from George's Presidency

Halliburton scored almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: "Iraq was better than expected... Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good."

Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from Iraq's coffers, a country battered by civil war - but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good.

Very good certainly for Vice President Dick Cheney, who resigned from Halliburton in 2000 with a $33.7 million retirement package (not bad for roughly four years of work). In a stunning conflict of interest, Cheney still holds more than 400,000 stock options in the company. Why pursue diplomacy when you can rake in a personal fortune from war?

Yet Cheney isn't the only one who has benefited from the Bush administration's destructive policies. The Bush family has done quite nicely too. Just a few examples:

Bush Sr.

Bush's dad has strong connections to the Carlyle Group, a massive private equity investment firm whose Chairman Emeritus is Frank Carlucci, a former college roommate of Donald Rumsfeld's and former Defense Secretary under Ronald Reagan. Imagine the pull Carlucci has with today's White House...

But Carlucci has another secret weapon - Bush Sr. Amid conflict-of-interest allegations, the elder Bush resigned from the Carlyle Group in 2003, but reportedly remains on retainer, opening doors to lucrative profits in the Middle East and elsewhere. Bush Sr.'s specialty is Saudi Arabia; in fact, he was at a Carlyle investment conference with Osama bin Laden's estranged brother, Shafiq bin Laden, when the 9/11 attacks took place.

Carlyle specializes in military and security investments, and with Bush Jr. in office, the company's profits have soared; it received $677 million in contracts in 2002, then a whopping $2.1 billion in 2003. Carlyle's investors currently enjoy an equity capital pool of over 44 billion dollars.

In January 2006, Bush Sr. wrote China's Foreign Affairs Ministry that it would be "beneficial to the comprehensive development of Sino-US relations" if Beijing approved the sale of a Chinese bank to a consortium which included Carlyle. Bluntly put, Bush Sr. asked China to grant Carlyle a lucrative business deal or risk his son's wrath.

William H. T. "Bucky" Bush

George's "Uncle Bucky" joined the board of military contractor Engineered Support Systems Inc. (ESSI) in 2000 and perhaps not surprisingly, the value of the company's governmental contracts has strongly increased with Bush Jr. in office. Uncle Bucky earns monthly consulting fees as well as options to buy stock at favorable prices, and considering that ESSI's stock tripled two weeks after 9/11 then settled into comfy territory, it's safe to say that George's uncle is doing quite well. In fact, Bucky cashed out on 8,438 stock options in January 2005, earning himself a cool $450,000 in the process. As of 2005, he still owned options on 45,000 more shares of the company's stock and accrues more each year.

War is profitable for ESSI, or as an executive explained: "The increasing likelihood for a prolonged military involvement in Southwest Asia by U.S. forces well into 2006 has created a fertile environment for the type of support ... products and services that we offer."

But lest anyone conclude that Bucky has opened doors for the company, ESSI's vice-president of investor relations explained in 2005, "The fact his nephew is in the White House has absolutely nothing to do with Mr Bush being on our board or with our stock having gone up 1000 per cent in the past five years." Absolutely nothing at all.

Neil Mallon Bush

Neil rose to infamy in the 1980s as director of the Colorado-based Silverado Savings and Loan; after Silverado collapsed due to mismanagement and corruption, US taxpayers were stuck with the billion-dollar bailout, yet Neil managed to escape the crisis with a small fine and no jail time. It helps to have a dad as Vice President.

In 1993, Neil joined Bush Sr. in Kuwait to drum up business in the Middle East, and today, he makes a profit by helping companies cash in on the occupation of Iraq. For example, in late 2003, The Financial Times reported that Neil earned $60,000 per year through the Crest Investment Company, a private firm generating contracts in Iraq. Crest was headed by Jamal Daniel, a longtime Bush family contact, who was also on the advisory board of New Bridge Strategies, a company specifically set up "with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the U.S.-led war in Iraq."

In 2003, Neil's messy divorce proceedings revealed that he was to get $2 million in stock options from a Chinese semiconductor firm despite having limited education or business experience in that area; critics complained that the Chinese company was buying access to his brother, the president. Neil later testified that on repeated business trips to Asia, he'd had sex with women who showed up at his hotel rooms, presumably prostitutes hired by companies trying to curry favor with the White House.

Neil has also profited from George's disastrous No Child Left Behind educational policy. His company, Ignite! (partially owned by Bush Sr. and funded by Crest Investment) has been awarded with lucrative federal contracts to place its educational products in school districts across the country.

Marvin Pierce Bush

Marvin joined Bush Sr. and Neil on their Middle Eastern sales trip in 1993 and then made a mint in the investment banking business. He is a co-founder of Winston Partners, a private investment firm whose investments in military and security firms profit from Bush's "war on terror."

Having a sibling as president has helped Marvin in other ways, too. He is on the board of HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., which had insured parts of the World Trade Center; HCC benefited from the 9/11 insurance bailout legislation pushed through by brother George.

Marvin was also on the board of Securacom, a company which provided electronic security for both Dulles International Airport and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Marvin stepped down in 2000, but how intriguing that Bush's brother was so well connected to the security of two critical locations on that fateful day.

In short, the "results are very good" for the Bush dynasty, perhaps even "better than expected," thanks to George's stint in the Oval Office. Dad's still setting up international deals. Uncle Bucky's cashing in his stock options. Brothers Neil and Marvin are laughing all the way to the bank.

It's just the American people who have paid the ultimate price.

Action Ideas:

1. For more on war profiteering, head over to Halliburton Watch ( and Corp Watch ( Catch a screening of the new Robert Greenwald film titled: Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.

2. If you're searching for information on contemporary foreign policy issues, coupled with an opportunity to take positive action, check out Women's Action for New Directions ( The site offers in-depth coverage of Hot Topics, such as war and nuclear weapons, as well as fact sheets and other resources. Visit WAND's Take Action! center for petitions to sign and opportunities to contact Congress, the White House and the media about the peace and security issues you care about most.

Note: Originally published: October 25, 2006

The Next War (IRAN) By Daniel Ellsberg.

Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006. Originally from Harper's Magazine, October 2006. By Daniel Ellsberg.

A hidden crisis is under way. Many government insiders are aware of serious plans for war with Iran, but Congress and the public remain largely in the dark. The current situation is very like that of 1964, the year preceding our overt, open-ended escalation of the Vietnam War, and 2002, the year leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In both cases, if one or more conscientious insiders had closed the information gap with unauthorized disclosures to the public, a disastrous war might have been averted entirely.

My own failure to act, in time, to that effect in 1964 was pointed out to me by Wayne Morse thirty-five years ago. Morse had been one of only two U.S. senators to vote against the Tonkin Gulf resolution on August 7, 1964. He had believed, correctly, that President Lyndon Johnson would treat the resolution as a congressional declaration of war. His colleagues, however, accepted White House assurances that the president sought “no wider war” and had no intention of expanding hostilities without further consulting them. They believed that they were simply expressing bipartisan support for U.S. air attacks on North Vietnam three days earlier, which the president and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had told them were in “retaliation” for the “unequivocal,” “unprovoked” attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on U.S. destroyers “on routine patrol” in “international waters.”

Each of the assurances above had been false, a conscious lie. That they were lies, though, had only been revealed to the public seven years later with the publication of the Pentagon Papers, several thousand pages of top-secret documents on U.S. decision-making in Vietnam that I had released to the press. The very first installment, published by the New York Times on June 13, 1971, had proven the official account of the Tonkin Gulf episode to be a deliberate deception.

When we met in September, Morse had just heard me mention to an audience that all of that evidence of fraud had been in my own Pentagon safe at the time of the Tonkin Gulf vote. (By coincidence, I had started work as a special assistant to an assistant secretary of defense the day of the alleged attack—which had not, in fact, occurred at all.) After my talk, Morse, who had been a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1964, said to me, “If you had given those documents to me at the time, the Tonkin Gulf resolution would never have gotten out of committee. And if it had somehow been brought up on the floor of the Senate for a vote, it would never have passed.”

He was telling me, it seemed, that it had been in my power, seven years earlier, to avert the deaths so far of 50,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese, with many more to come. It was not something I was eager to hear. After all, I had just been indicted on what eventually were twelve federal felony counts, with a possible sentence of 115 years in prison, for releasing the Pentagon Papers to the public. I had consciously accepted that prospect in some small hope of shortening the war. Morse was saying that I had missed a real opportunity to prevent the war altogether.

My first reaction was that Morse had overestimated the significance of the Tonkin Gulf resolution and, therefore, the alleged consequences of my not blocking it in August. After all, I felt, Johnson would have found another occasion to get such a resolution passed, or gone ahead without one, even if someone had exposed the fraud in early August.

Years later, though, the thought hit me: What if I had told Congress and the public, later in the fall of 1964, the whole truth about what was coming, with all the documents I had acquired in my job by September, October, or November? Not just, as Morse had suggested, the contents of a few files on the events surrounding the Tonkin Gulf incident—all that I had in early August—but the drawerfuls of critical working papers, memos, estimates, and detailed escalation options revealing the evolving plans of the Johnson Administration for a wider war, expected to commence soon after the election. In short, what if I had put out before the end of the year, whether before or after the November election, all of the classified papers from that period that I did eventually disclose in 1971?

Had I done so, the public and Congress would have learned that Johnson’s campaign theme, “we seek no wider war,” was a hoax. They would have learned, in fact, that the Johnson Administration had been heading in secret toward essentially the same policy of expanded war that his presidential rival, Senator Barry Goldwater, openly advocated—a policy that the voters overwhelmingly repudiated at the polls.

I would have been indicted then, as I was seven years later, and probably imprisoned. But America would have been at peace during those years. It was only with that reflection, perhaps a decade after the carnage finally ended, that I recognized Morse had been right about my personal share of responsibility for the whole war.

Not just mine alone. Any one of a hundred officials—some of whom foresaw the whole catastrophe—could have told the hidden truth to Congress, with documents. Instead, our silence made us all accomplices in the ensuing slaughter.

* * *

The run-up to the 1964 Tonkin Gulf resolution was almost exactly parallel to the run-up to the 2002 Iraq war resolution.

In both cases, the president and his top Cabinet officers consciously deceived Congress and the public about a supposed short-run threat in order to justify and win support for carrying out preexisting offensive plans against a country that was not a near-term danger to the United States. In both cases, the deception was essential to the political feasibility of the program precisely because expert opinion inside the government foresaw costs, dangers, and low prospects of success that would have doomed the project politically if there had been truly informed public discussion beforehand. And in both cases, that necessary deception could not have succeeded without the obedient silence of hundreds of insiders who knew full well both the deception and the folly of acting upon it.

One insider aware of the Iraq plans, and knowledgeable about the inevitably disastrous result of executing those plans, was Richard Clarke, chief of counterterrorism for George W. Bush and adviser to three presidents before him. He had spent September 11, 2001, in the White House, coordinating the nation’s response to the attacks. He reports in his memoir, Against All Enemies, discovering the next morning, to his amazement, that most discussions there were about attacking Iraq.

Clarke told Bush and Rumsfeld that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, or with its perpetrator, Al Qaeda. As Clarke said to Secretary of State Colin Powell that afternoon, “Having been attacked by al Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response”—which Rumsfeld was already urging—“would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.”

Actually, Clarke foresaw that it would be much worse than that. Attacking Iraq not only would be a crippling distraction from the task of pursuing the real enemy but would in fact aid that enemy: “Nothing America could have done would have provided al Qaeda and its new generation of cloned groups a better recruitment device than our unprovoked invasion of an oil-rich Arab country.”

I single out Clarke—by all accounts among the best of the best of public servants—only because of his unique role in counterterrorism and because, thanks to his illuminating 2004 memoir, we know his thoughts at that time, and, in particular, the intensity of his anguish and frustration. Such a memoir allows us, as we read each new revelation, to ask a simple question: What difference might it have made to events if he had told us this at the time?

Clarke was not, of course, the only one who could have told us, or told Congress. We know from other accounts that both of his key judgments—the absence of linkage between Al Qaeda and Saddam and his correct prediction that “attacking Iraq would actually make America less secure and strengthen the broader radical Islamic terrorist movement”—were shared by many professionals in the CIA, the State Department, and the military.

Yet neither of these crucial, expert conclusions was made available to Congress or the public, by Clarke or anyone else, in the eighteen-month run-up to the war. Even as they heard the president lead the country to the opposite, false impressions, toward what these officials saw as a disastrous, unjustified war, they felt obliged to keep their silence.

Costly as their silence was to their country and its victims, I feel I know their mind-set. I had long prized my own identity as a keeper of the president’s secrets. In 1964 it never even occurred to me to break the many secrecy agreements I had signed, in the Marines, at the Rand Corporation, in the Pentagon. Although I already knew the Vietnam War was a mistake and based on lies, my loyalties then were to the secretary of defense and the president (and to my promises of secrecy, on which my own career as a president’s man depended). I’m not proud that it took me years of war to awaken to the higher loyalties owed by every government official to the rule of law, to our soldiers in harm’s way, to our fellow citizens, and, explicitly, to the Constitution, which every one of us had sworn an oath “to support and uphold.”

It took me that long to recognize that the secrecy agreements we had signed frequently conflicted with our oath to uphold the Constitution. That conflict arose almost daily, unnoticed by me or other officials, whenever we were secretly aware that the president or other executive officers were lying to or misleading Congress. In giving priority, in effect, to my promise of secrecy—ignoring my constitutional obligation—I was no worse or better than any of my Vietnam-era colleagues, or those who later saw the Iraq war approaching and failed to warn anyone outside the executive branch.

Ironically, Clarke told Vanity Fair in 2004 that in his own youth he had ardently protested “the complete folly” of the Vietnam War and that he “wanted to get involved in national security in 1973 as a career so that Vietnam didn’t happen again.” He is left today with a sense of failure:

It’s an arrogant thing to think, Could I have ever stopped another Vietnam? But it really filled me with frustration that when I saw Iraq coming I wasn’t able to do anything. After having spent thirty years in national security and having been in some senior-level positions you would think that I might be able to have some influence, some tiny influence. But I couldn’t have any.
But it was not too arrogant, I believe, for Clarke to aspire to stop this second Vietnam personally. He actually had a good chance to do so, throughout 2002, the same one Senator Morse had pointed out to me.

Instead of writing a memoir to be cleared for publication in 2004, a year after Iraq had been invaded, Clarke could have made his knowledge of the war to come, and its danger to our security, public before the war. He could have supported his testimony with hundreds of files of documents from his office safe and computer, to which he then still had access. He could have given these to both the media and the then Democratic-controlled Senate.

“If I had criticized the president to the press as a special assistant” in the summer of 2002, Clarke told Larry King in March 2004, “I would have been fired within an hour.” That is undoubtedly true. But should that be the last word on that course? To be sure, virtually all bureaucrats would agree with him, as he told King, that his

only responsible options at that point were either to resign quietly or to “spin” for the White House to the press, as he did. But that is just the working norm I mean to question here.

His unperceived alternative, I wish to suggest, was precisely to court being fired for telling the truth to the public, with documentary evidence, in the summer of 2002. For doing that, Clarke would not only have lost his job, his clearance, and his career as an executive official; he would almost surely have been prosecuted, and he might have gone to prison. But the controversy that ensued would not have been about hindsight and blame. It would have been about whether war on Iraq would make the United States safer, and whether it was otherwise justified.

That debate did not occur in 2002—just as a real debate about war in Vietnam did not occur in 1964—thanks to the disciplined reticence of Clarke and many others. Whatever his personal fate, which might have been severe, his disclosures would have come before the war. Perhaps, instead of it.

* * *

We face today a crisis similar to those of 1964 and 2002, a crisis hidden once again from the public and most of Congress. Articles by Seymour Hersh and others have revealed that, as in both those earlier cases, the president has secretly directed the completion, though not yet execution, of military operational plans—not merely hypothetical “contingency plans” but constantly updated plans, with movement of forces and high states of readiness, for prompt implementation on command—for attacking a country that, unless attacked itself, poses no threat to the United States: in this case, Iran.

According to these reports, many high-level officers and government officials are convinced that our president will attempt to bring about regime change in Iran by air attack; that he and his vice president have long been no less committed, secretly, to doing so than they were to attacking Iraq; and that his secretary of defense is as madly optimistic about the prospects for fast, cheap military success there as he was in Iraq.

Even more ominously, Philip Giraldi, a former CIA official, reported in The American Conservative a year ago that Vice President Cheney’s office had directed contingency planning for “a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons” and that “several senior Air Force officers” involved in the planning were “appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objection.”

Several of Hersh’s sources have confirmed both the detailed operational planning for use of nuclear weapons against deep underground Iranian installations and military resistance to this prospect, which led several senior officials to consider resigning. Hersh notes that opposition by the Joint Chiefs in April led to White House withdrawal of the “nuclear option”—for now, I would say. The operational plans remain in existence, to be drawn upon for a “decisive” blow if the president deems it necessary.

Many of these sources regard the planned massive air attack—with or without nuclear weapons—as almost sure to be catastrophic for the Middle East, the position of the United States in the world, our troops in Iraq, the world economy, and U.S. domestic security. Thus they are as deeply concerned about these prospects as many other insiders were in the year before the Iraq invasion. That is why, unlike in the lead-up to Vietnam or Iraq, some insiders are leaking to reporters. But since these disclosures—so far without documents and without attribution—have not evidently had enough credibility to raise public alarm, the question is whether such officials have yet reached the limit of their responsibilities to our country.

Assuming Hersh’s so-far anonymous sources mean what they say—that this is, as one puts it, “a juggernaut that has to be stopped”—I believe it is time for one or more of them to go beyond fragmentary leaks unaccompanied by documents. That means doing what no other active official or consultant has ever done in a timely way: what neither Richard Clarke nor I nor anyone else thought of doing until we were no longer officials, no longer had access to current documents, after bombs had fallen and thousands had died, years into a war. It means going outside executive channels, as officials with contemporary access, to expose the president’s lies and oppose his war policy publicly before the war, with unequivocal evidence from inside.

Simply resigning in silence does not meet moral or political responsibilities of officials rightly “appalled” by the thrust of secret policy. I hope that one or more such persons will make the sober decision—accepting sacrifice of clearance and career, and risk of prison—to disclose comprehensive files that convey, irrefutably, official, secret estimates of costs and prospects and dangers of the military plans being considered. What needs disclosure is the full internal controversy, the secret critiques as well as the arguments and claims of advocates of war and nuclear “options”—the Pentagon Papers of the Middle East. But unlike in 1971, the ongoing secret debate should be made available before our war in the region expands to include Iran, before the sixty-one-year moratorium on nuclear war is ended violently, to give our democracy a chance to foreclose either of those catastrophes.

The personal risks of doing this are very great. Yet they are not as great as the risks of bodies and lives we are asking daily of over 130,000 young Americans—with many yet to join them—in an unjust war. Our country has urgent need for comparable courage, moral and civil courage, from its public servants. They owe us the truth before the next war begins.

This is The Next War, originally from October 2006, published Thursday, October 19, 2006. It is part of Features, which is part of

Enron’s Enablers (George W. & George H.W. Bush) Go Unpunished by Robert Scheer

No, I’m not thrilled over Jeffrey Skilling getting 24 years in prison for his role in the Enron scandal. While he and fellow Enron honcho Kenneth Lay were clearly guilty as charged, the handling of this case by the Bush Justice Department is a functional coverup of the Bush family’s role in enabling these crimes.

The thousands of Enron employees who lost their jobs, as well as $2 billion in pension money and $60 billion in share value, deserve better. By focusing on narrowly drawn criminal charges and the public’s wrath against Skilling and his late partner in crime—“Kenny Boy” Lay, as President Bush referred to his onetime chief campaign benefactor—the culpability of the president’s family in this sordid saga is being whitewashed.

How convenient to close the book without considering the ties between the Enron perps and those in two Bush presidencies whose actions enabled these hustlers. The Enron crooks would never have been more than petty thieves were it not for the political support they received from their fellow Texas oil buddies. They knew that, and they paid for it: Over the years, Lay and Enron gave the Bush family politicians $3 million in contributions, as well as lending the campaigning George W. a jet on at least eight occasions.

They did so because, without the deregulation of the energy industry pushed by the first President Bush, Enron would have remained a minor company without the capacity to swindle. At the time, Lay wrote a column supporting the elder Bush’s reelection by praising him as “the energy president” because “just six months after George Bush became president, he directed ... the most ambitious and sweeping energy plan ever proposed.”

Specifically, Enron benefited mightily from a key ruling by Wendy Gramm, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under George H.W. Bush, permitting Enron to trade in highly profitable energy derivatives. A mere five weeks after rendering that ruling, Gramm, the wife of then-Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), abruptly resigned to join the Enron board of directors, where she served on the company’s now-infamous see-no-evil audit committee. Secretary of State James Baker and Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher also rushed to work for Enron after their White House tenures.

Dubya first got involved with Enron’s Lay when they both worked on his daddy’s campaign, and the relationship flowered during his years as the governor of Texas. There is, in fact, a long paper trail of “Dear Ken” and “Dear George” exchanges that have come to light, thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests. The correspondence exposes the active support given by Bush to Enron’s expansion into markets ranging from Uzbekistan to Pennsylvania. As Lay wrote to Bush in a letter dated Oct. 7, 1997: “I very much appreciated your call to Gov. Tom Ridge a few days ago. I am certain that will have a positive impact on the way he and others view our proposal.”

In payback for Bush’s support, Lay became a Bush “pioneer” fundraiser, dumping in more than $2 million in contributions from himself and Enron executive funds. Lay’s influence with Bush extended well into the first year of the Bush administration, when Bush stonewalled California while it was being extorted through a manufactured “power crisis” by Enron and other energy companies to buy energy at grossly inflated prices.

The Enron boss also became a principal architect of the new Bush energy policy in the months before his downfall, completely undermining the spirit of democracy. In fact, the public has still been denied access to the six secret conversations Lay had with Vice President Dick Cheney when the vice president was quarterbacking the Bush administration’s response to the California energy crisis, which saw the prosperous state preposterously hit by rolling blackouts. Lay provided Cheney with a key memo opposing price caps that would have mightily aided California consumers.

Lay also played a major role in the dismissal of Curtis Hebert Jr. as Federal Energy Commission chairman. Hebert was too independent for Enron’s taste, while his replacement was far more amenable to the company’s agenda.

Without the specific energy policies pursued through two Bush presidencies, Skilling and Lay would have remained two-bit Texas hustlers going nowhere fast. But thanks to their presidential sponsors, who in turn received lavish campaign contributions, the biggest corporate swindle in U.S. history was allowed to unfold.

Why were the dots between the Enron swindlers and their government sponsors never connected by a Bush Justice Department that seemed more interested in containing the damage than exploring the true ramifications of this case? Getting to the bottom of this story is one compelling reason to hope that the Democrats gain control in this election of at least one branch of Congress, thus permitting a serious investigation of the political machinations behind the Enron swindle.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

‘Dynasty of Death’ (Part 2) by Schuyler Ebbets

When John F. Kennedy inherited the responsibility of the presidency he also inherited the wars that banking and the military industrial complex were heavily invested in promoting and profiting from. Presidents Truman and Eisenhower had subsidized the French war against Vietnam under the auspices of the Marshall Plan from 1948 to 1952, giving France five billion two hundred million dollars in military aid. By 1954, the U.S. was paying approximately 80% of all French war costs.


In 1951 the Rockefeller Foundation had created a study group comprised of members from the Council on Foreign Relations and England's Royal Institute on International Affairs. The panel concluded that there should be a British-American takeover of Vietnam as soon as possible. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles one of the CFR founders and his brother, CIA Director Allen Dulles and many others immediately championed the council's goals.
Vietnam had fought against the French occupation since 1884. By 1947 Vietnam was considered a valuable colony to be exploited by both French and American interests. In the countryside, peasants struggled under heavy taxes and high rents. In corporate factories, coalmines, and rubber plantations the people labored under abysmal conditions barely able to survive. The Vietnamese people rose up against the poverty and enslavement imposed upon them and fought the powerful French Foreign Legion, which was funded by America, and in 1954 the Vietnamese people took back their country. With the ejection of the French, the Geneva Agreements were signed on July 21,1954, officially ending the hostilities in Indochina. The agreement prohibited foreign troops and arms from entering Vietnam, and stipulated that free Democratic elections were to be held in 1956, allowing the people of Vietnam to determine their country's future.

South Vietnam's corrupt Prime Minister Diem was completely opposed to the Geneva Agreements, and the elections. CIA research had proven that if free democratic elections were held, Diem would lose and Vietnam would become a unified country. France and America would loose their slave colony and the profitable Vietnam War venture would end. The Dulles brothers urged Eisenhower to intervene militarily, and invade Vietnam, but Eisenhower refused.

The potential for arms production profits in an Asian country divided by civil war were staggering, particularly if the war could be made to last twenty years or more. Allen Dulles acting independently from President Eisenhower, with the support of Clarence Dillon's son Douglas, Averell Harriman, Prescott Bush and many others sent 675 covert military operatives into Vietnam headed by Air Force officer Edward Lansdale. Their mission was to help Diem stop fair and democratic elections and to prevent the establishment of a united Vietnam. The National Security Council's planning board assured Diem that if hostilities resulted, United States' armed forces would help him oppose the North Vietnamese. With the backing of America, the dictatorial Diem claimed that his government had never signed the Geneva Agreements and was not bound by them, and he promptly cancelled the elections. In 1958 Civil War started, and within two years guerrilla war erupted throughout Southern Vietnam. Diem asked Washington for assistance which resulted in yet another profitable war for America's military industrialists.

Dean Rusk (Secretary of State) and Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense) hounded Kennedy into sending 10,000 Special Forces troops to Vietnam between 1961 and 1962. Kennedy was privately and publicly against the Vietnam War created by the military industrial complex. He didn't buy into their manufactured propaganda about the worldwide communist menace. Kennedy said, "I can not justify sending American boys half-way around the world to fight communism when it exists just south of Florida in Cuba." Kennedy stressed that Diem needed to win the hearts and minds of his people in the struggle against communism. Kennedy said, "I don't think that unless a greater effort is made by the Government to win the popular support that the war can be won out there. In the final analysis, it is their war. They are the ones who have to win it or lose it". Kennedy knew that only with all of the South Vietnamese people fully behind him could Diem hope to defeat the North.

Diem ignored Kennedy's advice and behaved like a dictator and his heavy-handed tactics continuously eroded the support of his people. America's ten thousand soldiers and a constant rain of bombs proved to be inconsequential in the effort to suppress the Vietnamese population. Allen Dulles, Dean Rusk, and Robert McNamara kept the truth about the deteriorating Vietnam situation hidden from Kennedy. The military industrial power structure surrounding Kennedy would only say that the war was going exactly as planned, that the Vietnamese people were being liberated, and that they liked Prime Minister Diem. Kennedy had reasons to doubt their word, as he had caught Allen Dulles covertly attempting to train a second group of Cuban exiles for another Cuban invasion. Kennedy had sent FBI agents in to destroy Dulles's training camps and confiscate the weapons, letting the matter end there.

Kennedy no longer trusted the Dulles brothers, Rusk, McNamara or Dean Acheson, his so-called Democratic foreign policy advisor, or for that matter, most of the people in the corrupt government he had inherited. Kennedy decided that he needed to monitor the Vietnam War and the men conducting it more closely. He formed a panel, appointing Allen Dulles and others to keep him apprised on a constant basis as to the status of the war.

On March 13, 1962, the Northwoods document was brought to Kennedy's attention. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Allen Dulles had drawn up a plan to launch a series of terrorist attacks within the United States, combined with a media blitz blaming Cuba for the attacks. They believed this would frighten the American public into overwhelmingly supporting a second invasion of Cuba. The Northwoods plan called for Pentagon and CIA paramilitary forces to sink ships, hijack airliners and bomb buildings. When Kennedy heard of their plan, he was furious. The corrupt military industrial power structure within the American government knew no bounds, not even the lives of their own countrymen mattered in their quest for power and profit. Kennedy removed CIA director Allen Dulles, deputy director Richard Bissell and General Lyman Lemnitzer, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for their parts in the plan. Within weeks Prescott Bush who had close dealings with these individuals, chose to retire prematurely from politics for supposed health reasons.

Kennedy realized that the CIA was a focal point of corporate war planning, from which emanated a secret agenda that threatened the security and freedom of the American people. He said, "I will shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the winds". Kennedy intended to do battle with a terrible evil and take America back from the military industrial complex and those who financed it. He began by founding a panel that would investigate the CIA's numerous crimes. He put a damper on the breadth and scope of the CIA, limiting their ability to act under National Security Memorandum 55.

With the CIA temporarily under control he turned his attention to the task of gathering real information on the war by sending McNamara and Taylor, two aides he trusted, to Vietnam. Based on their memo entitled, Report of McNamara-Taylor Mission to South Vietnam, Kennedy decided that America needed to withdraw immediately from the unwinnable and immoral Vietnam War. Kennedy personally helped draft the final version of a report wherein it stated; "The Defense Department should announce in the very near future presently prepared plans to withdraw 1000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963." Kennedy soon issued National Security Action Memorandum 263, and forty pages in the Gravel Pentagon Papers that were devoted to the withdrawal plan. With this new Memorandum Kennedy began to implement the removal of U.S. forces from Vietnam.

Many individuals in the U.S. government were CFR members, an organization that was openly pushing the Vietnam War, and these same people had close ties to the privately owned Federal Reserve banking system, a chief financial promoter and profiteer of war. Kennedy intended to stop the Vietnam War and all future wars waged for profit by America. He intended to regain control of the American people's government and their country by cutting off the military industrial complex and Federal Reserve banking system's money supply.

Kennedy launched his brilliant attack using the Constitution, which states "Congress shall have the Power to Coin Money and Regulate the Value." Kennedy stopped the Federal Reserve banking system from printing money and lending it to the government at interest by signing Executive Order 11,110 on June 4, 1963. The order called for the issuance of $4,292,893,815 (4.3 trillion) in United States Notes through the U.S. treasury rather than the Federal Reserve banking system. He also signed a bill backing the one and two-dollar bills with gold which added strength to the new government issued currency. Kennedy's comptroller James J. Saxon, encouraged broader investment and lending powers for banks that were not part of the Federal Reserve system. He also encouraged these non-Fed banks to deal directly with and underwrite state and local financial institutions. By taking the capital investments away from the Federal Reserve banks, Kennedy would break them up and destroy them.

It was at this time that the corrupt politicos and CFR members, representatives of organizations who stood to profit most from the Vietnam War and loose the most from the Federal Reserve deconstruction revealed themselves publicly as a group against President Kennedy. They were all considered the pillars of right wing American establishment and their protests and accusations became more bellicose after initial troop withdrawal plans were announced on November 16, 1963. The Council on Foreign Relations, the Morgan and Rockefeller interests and the CIA had been extensively intertwined for years in promoting the Vietnam War and other wars, and their motives were the same.

Kennedy was facing the fight of his young life against a group of wealthy powerful bankers and industrialists who had their representatives deeply implanted within American Government and business. The names of some of these people and the organizations they represented were:

• Nelson Rockefeller - New York Governor
• David Rockefeller - Chase Manhattan Bank president, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission
• Douglas Dillon - Kennedy's Treasury Secretary and CFR member
• The Wall Street Journal
• Fortune Magazine editor Charles J. V. Murphy
• Dean Rusk - Secretary of State and Iron Mountain panel member
• Robert McNamara - Secretary of Defense until 1968, and later President of the World Bank (an adjunct of the United Nations and CFR)
• McGeorge Bundy - National Security Advisor and Iron Mountain panel member
• William Bundy - editor of the CFR's Foreign Affairs
• Averill Harriman - director of the Mutual Security Agency, and chief of the Anglo-American military alliance.
• Henry Cabot Lodge - U.S. Ambassador to Saigon
• The Joint Chiefs of Staff
• John J. McCloy - Assistant Secretary of War (WWII) and Kennedy advisor
• Cyrus Vance - Secretary of the Army
• Walt Rostow - State Department's Policy Planning Council and LBJ's National Security Advisor
• Dean Acheson - Truman Secretary of State and Democratic foreign policy advisor

Prime Minister Diem was loosing control of South Vietnam and growing impatient with the American war. He had begun negotiations with Ho Chi Minh, leader of the North, which unlike the Vietnamese election could not be prevented or rigged. A potential unification might occur quickly. The Vietnam War moneymaking engine was in grave danger from both the actions of Diem and Kennedy. The military industrial complex had their cadre Henry Cabot Lodge conveniently positioned within the US State Department and the Kennedy administration as a Vietnam War advisor and U.S. Ambassador to Saigon. Lodge made secret arrangements with CIA operatives in Vietnam to have Diem assassinated on November 2, 1963. Kennedy had not authorized such an order and after Diem's assassination he immediately instituted an investigation to find out who was responsible.

Ten days later on November 12, 1963 Kennedy publicly stated, in a speech delivered to hundreds of students and teachers at Columbia University; "The high office of the President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American people's freedom, and before I leave office, I must inform the citizens of this plight."

Eight days later on November 20, 1963 Vietnam War advisor Walt Whitman Rostow was somehow granted a personal meeting with Kennedy to attempt to sell him on the Vietnam War with a plan he called "a well-reasoned case for a gradual escalation". Kennedy had already rejected a similar plan to escalate the war in 1961, he had publicly announced his own plan of withdrawal from the war, but the corrupt power structure wouldn't accept it. The meeting was Kennedy's last chance. Within days of rejecting Rostow's transparent plan for war, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who had alone dared to stand against the military industrial complex and the Federal Reserve banking system, was murdered in Dallas, Texas at 12:30 p.m. CST on November 22, 1963, in a bloody "coup d'état", only twenty days after Diem.

On that day America ceased to be a democracy of, by, and for the people. From that day forward the leaders of the American government have only been the willing puppets of corporations and an international banking cartel that profits from war.

The day after Kennedy's brutal murder, the 23rd of November 1963, CIA director John McCone personally delivered the pre-prepared National Security Memorandum #278 to the White House. The handlers of newly installed President Lyndon B. Johnson needed to modify the policy lines of peace pursued by Kennedy. Classified document #278, reversed John Kennedy's decision to de-escalate the war in Vietnam by negating Security Action Memorandum 263, and the Gravel Pentagon Papers. The issuance of Memorandum 278 gave the Central Intelligence Agency immediate funding and approval to sharply escalate the Vietnam conflict into a full-scale war.

On November 29, 1963 Johnson created the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. Publicly he directed the Commission to evaluate all the facts and circumstances surrounding the assassination and the subsequent killing of the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. It had been prearranged among members of the commission, those with connections to the industrial and banking cartel, that there would only be one conclusion, Oswald must be seen as the lone assassin. Incredibly, Allen Dulles, the man who hated Kennedy for not backing his Bay of Pigs fiasco, and for stopping his Northwoods plan, and dismissing him as head of the CIA, was appointed to the Warren commission to preview all evidence gathered by the CIA and FBI and determine what the other commission members would be allowed to see!

Some of the information that Dulles may have prevented the other commission members from seeing was a couple of internal FBI memos from J. Edgar Hoover’s office, which raise far more questions than they answer. The first memo dated 1:45 PM November 22, (an hour and fifteen minutes after Kennedy’s murder) states that: “Mr. GEORGE H.W. BUSH, President of the Zapata Off-shore Drilling Company, Houston, Texas, residence 5525 Briar, Houston, furnished the following information to writer by long distance telephone call from Tyler, Texas. (approximately 90 miles from Dallas where Kennedy was murdered, a fast one hour drive) BUSH stated that he wanted to be kept confidential, but wanted to furnish hearsay that he recalled hearing in recent weeks, the day and source unknown. He stated that one JAMES PARROTT has been talking of killing the President when he comes to Houston.”

The other memo states that: “An informant who has furnished reliable information in the past and who is close to a small pro-Castro group in Miami has advised that these individuals are afraid that the assassination of the President may result in strong repressive measures being taken against them and, although pro-Castro in their feelings, regret the assassination. The substance of the following information was orally furnished by George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency and Captain William Edwards of the Defense Intelligence Agency on November 23, 1963" (the day after Kennedy’s Murder)

George H.W. Bush made his temporary exit from the CIA, soon after the Kennedy murder, and in 1964 ran as a Goldwater Republican for Congress, campaigning against the 'Civil Rights Act' and the 'Nuclear Test Ban Treaty'. He stated in his campaign speeches that America should arm Cuban exiles and aid them in the overthrow of Castro. He denounced the United Nations and said the Democrats were "too soft" on Vietnam. He recommended that South Vietnam be given nuclear weapons to use against North Vietnam. Although Bush had powerful backers like, 'Oil Men for Bush', who agreed with his apocalyptic visions, the American voters were not yet ready for Bush's brand of fascist extremism and he lost the election.

In 1966 Bush ventured forth again as a political candidate, toning down the apocalyptic rhetoric. He ran as a moderate Republican and was elected to the first of two terms in the House of Representatives from the 7th District of Texas. In 1970 Bush lost a Senate race to Lloyd Bentsen. It was not the end of his political career, but rather the redirection of it. A recognized soldier among the corporate military industrial elite, he was destined for a position of power when the time was right and when America had been dragged far enough to the right. In the interim, his wealthy friends kept him busy working behind the scenes in a number of appointments: UN Ambassador for Nixon in 1971, GOP national chair in 1973, and special envoy to China in 1974.

On January 27, 1973, in spite of American saturation bombings during the peace talks, the United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the National Liberation Front's provisional revolutionary government signed a peace agreement. The treaty stipulated the immediate end of hostilities and the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops. The US involvement in the Vietnam 'slaughter for profit war' had lasted 25 years and resulted in 3,000,000 Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans killed. $570 billion taxpayer dollars were consumed in the war, generating obscene profits for the Federal Reserve banking system and the military industrial complex.

"Dynasty of Death" (Part 1)

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© Copyright October 10, 2006 by Schuyler Ebbets. This article is posted on Permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this credit is attached and the title remains unchanged.