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War Spending Will Bankrupt America

by John W Whitehead

CounterPunch (February 16 2018)

 

Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? Do we need to spend more money on our military (about $600 billion this year) than the next seven countries combined? Do we need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000 reserves when the enemy at the moment – ISIS – numbers in the low tens of thousands? If so, it seems there’s something radically wrong with our strategy. Should 55% of the federal government’s discretionary spending go to the military and only three percent to transportation when the toll in American lives is far greater from failing infrastructure than from terrorism? Does California need nearly as many active military bases (31, according to militarybases.com) as it has University of California state university campuses (33)? And does the state need more active duty military personnel (168,000, according to Governing magazine) than public elementary school teachers (139,000)?

– Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times

 

Mark my words, America’s war spending will bankrupt the nation.

For that matter, America’s war spending has already bankrupted the nation to the tune of more than $20 trillion dollars.

Now the Trump Administration is pushing for a $4.4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2019 that would add $7 trillion to the already unsustainable federal deficit in order to sustain America’s military empire abroad and dramatically expand the police state here at home. Trump also wants American taxpayers to cover the cost of building that infamous border wall.

Truly, Trump may turn out to be, as policy analyst Stan Collender warned, “the biggest deficit- and debt-increasing president of all time”.

For those in need of a quick reminder:
 

A budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends and what it takes in. The national debt, also known as the public debt, is the result of the federal government borrowing money to cover years and years of budget deficits.

 

Right now, the US government is operating in the negative on every front: it’s spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily (from foreign governments and Social Security) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad.

This is how military empires fall and fail: by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death.

It happened in Rome. It’s happening again.

Not content to merely police the globe, in recent decades, America has gradually transformed its homeland into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone.

Since taking office, President Trump – much like his predecessors – has marched in lockstep with the military. Now Trump wants $716 billion to expand America’s military empire abroad and billions more to hire cops, build more prisons, and wage more profit-driven war-on-drugs cum war-on-terrorism cum war-on-crime programs that eat away at the Fourth Amendment while failing to make the country any safer.

Even the funds requested for infrastructure will do little to shore up the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, railways, highways, power grids, and dams.

No matter how you break it down, this is not a budget aimed at perfecting the Union, establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting general welfare, or securing the blessings of liberty for the American people.

No, this is a budget aimed at pandering to the powerful money interests (military, corporate, and security) that run the Deep State and hold the government in its clutches.

So much for Trump’s campaign promises to balance the budget and drain the swamps of corruption.

The glaring economic truth is that at the end of the day, it’s the military-industrial complex – and not the sick, the elderly, or the poor – that is pushing America towards bankruptcy.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than fifteen years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of US Treasury bonds by US-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan”.

The illicit merger of the armaments industry and the Pentagon that President Dwight D Eisenhower warned us against more than fifty years ago has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians, and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour) – and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars.

That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus US military bases spread around the globe.

Incredibly, although the US constitutes only five percent of the world’s population, America boasts almost fifty percent of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next nineteen biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all fifty states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

War is not cheap.

Although the federal government obscures so much about its defense spending that accurate figures are difficult to procure, we do know that since 2001, the US government has spent more than $1.8 trillion in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (that’s $8.3 million per hour).

That doesn’t include wars and military exercises waged around the globe, which are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

Mind you, these ongoing wars – riddled by corruption, graft, and bumbling incompetence – have done little to keep the country safe while enriching the military industrial complex – and private defense contractors – at taxpayer expense.

Just recently, for example, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending”.

Just consider the fact that it costs American taxpayers $2.1 million per year for each soldier deployed in Afghanistan.

Imagine what you could do with that money if it were spent on domestic needs here at home.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, not as long as the money interests in Washington keep calling the shots and profiting from the spoils of war.

War has become a huge money-making venture and America, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers. Not only does the US have the largest defense budget, it also ranks highest as the world’s largest arms exporter.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

For example, while erecting a security surveillance state in the US, the military-industrial complex has perpetuated a worldwide military empire with American troops stationed in 177 countries (over seventy of the countries worldwide).

In the process, billions have been spent erecting luxury military installations throughout the world.

For example, the US Embassy built in Iraq, dubbed “Fortress Baghdad”, covers 104 acres and boasts a “city within a city” that includes six apartment buildings, a Marine barracks, swimming pool, shops and fifteen-foot-thick walls. Camp Anaconda in Iraq, like many US military bases scattered across the globe, was structured to resemble a mini-city with pools, fast food restaurants, miniature golf courses, and movie theaters.

While most Americans can scarcely afford the cost of heating and cooling their own homes, the American government spends $20 billion annually just to provide air conditioning for military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In essence, what we’re doing is “we’re air conditioning the desert over there in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places”, noted retired brigadier general Steven Anderson, a former chief logistician for General David Petraeus in Iraq.

Think about that for a minute.

There’s a good reason why “bloated”, “corrupt”, and “inefficient” are among the words most commonly applied to the government, especially the Department of Defense and its contractors.

For instance, a study by the Government Accountability Office found that $70 billion worth of cost overruns by the Pentagon were caused by management failures. To put that in perspective, that equates to one and a half times the State Department’s entire $47 billion annual budget.

Fraud is rampant.

A government audit, for example, found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

* $71 for a metal pin that should cost just four cents;

* $644.75 for a gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51, more than a 5,100 percent increase in price;

* $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71, a 21,000 percent increase;

* $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for four cents, an increase of over 177,000 percent.

Price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire.

And if you think gas prices at home can get high, just consider what the American taxpayer is being forced to shell out overseas: once all the expenses of delivering gas to troops in the field are factored in, we’re paying between eighteen to thirty dollars per gallon for gas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Incredibly, despite reports of corruption, abuse and waste, the mega-corporations behind much of this ineptitude and corruption continue to be awarded military contracts worth billions of dollars.

The rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, but the one that remains constant is that those who run the government are feeding the appetite of the military-industrial complex.

What began in 2001 as part of an alleged effort to root out al Qaeda has turned into a goldmine for the military-industrial complex and its army of private contractors.

Just consider: the Pentagon in 2008 spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year.

Yet Congress and the White House want taxpayers to accept that the only way to reduce the nation’s ballooning deficit is by cutting “entitlement” programs such as Social Security and Medicare?

As Martin Luther King Jr recognized, under a military empire, war and its profiteering will always take precedence over the people’s basic human needs.

Simply put, we cannot afford to maintain our over-extended military empire.

A senior administration official involved in Afghanistan remarked:
 

Money is the new 800-pound gorilla. It shifts the debate from “Is the strategy working?” to “Can we afford this?” And when you view it that way, the scope of the mission that we have now is far, far less defensible.

 

Or as one commentator noted:
 

Foreclosing the future of our country should not be confused with defending it.

 

Inevitably, military empires collapse.

As Cullen Murphy, author of Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America (2008) and editor-at-large of Vanity Fair writes:

 

 

A millennium hence America will be hard to recognize. It may not exist as a nation-state in the form it does now – or even exist at all. Will the transitions ahead be gradual and peaceful or abrupt and catastrophic? Will our descendants be living productive lives in a society better than the one we inhabit now? Whatever happens, will valuable aspects of America’s legacy weave through the fabric of civilizations to come? Will historians someday have reason to ask, Did America really fall?

 

The problem we wrestle with is none other than a distorted American empire, complete with mega-corporations, security-industrial complexes, and a burgeoning military. And it has its sights set on absolute domination.

Eventually, however, all military empires fail.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:
 

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

 

I would suggest that what we have is a confluence of factors and influences that go beyond mere comparisons to Rome.

It is a union of Orwell’s 1984 (1949) with its shadowy, totalitarian government – that is, fascism, the union of government and corporate powers – and a total surveillance state with a military empire extended throughout the world.

As we have seen with the militarizing of the police, the growth of and reliance on militarism as the solution for our problems both domestically and abroad affects the basic principles upon which American society should operate.

We must keep in mind that a military empire will be ruled not by lofty ideals of equality and justice but by the power of the sword. Those in the military are primarily trained to conduct warfare, not preserve the peace.

Here’s the kicker, though: if the American empire falls and the American economy collapses – and with it the last vestiges of our constitutional republic – it will be the government and its trillion-dollar war budgets that are to blame.

Of course, the government has already anticipated this breakdown.

That’s why the government has transformed America into a war zone, turned the nation into a surveillance state, and labeled “we the people” as enemy combatants.

For years now, the government has worked with the military to prepare for widespread civil unrest brought about by “economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters”.

Having spent more than half a century exporting war to foreign lands, profiting from war, and creating a national economy seemingly dependent on the spoils of war, the war hawks long ago turned their profit-driven appetites on us, bringing home the spoils of war – the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, et cetera – and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (2015), this is how the police state wins and “we the people” lose.

More than fifty years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us not to let the profit-driven war machine endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

We failed to heed his warning.

As Eisenhower recognized in a speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on April 16 1953, the consequences of allowing the military-industrial complex to wage war, exhaust our resources and dictate our national priorities are beyond the grave:
 

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than thirty cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people … This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

 

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/16/war-spending-will-bankrupt-america/

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Categories: Uncategorized

The US is Executing a Global War Plan

by Finian Cunningham

Strategic Culture Foundation (February 18 2018)



Washington is moving inevitably on a global war plan. That’s the grim conclusion one has to draw from three unfolding war scenarios.

Ultimately, it’s about American imperialism trying to assert hegemony over the international order for the benefit of US capitalism. Russia and China are prime targets for this global assault.

The three unfolding war scenarios are seen in Syria, North Korea, and Ukraine. These are not disparate, disassociated conflicts. They are inter-related expressions of the American war plans. War plans which involve the moving of strategic military power into position.

Last week’s massacre of over 100 Syrian government forces by American warplanes near Deir ez-Zor was an audacious overt assault by the US on the Syrian state. The US, along with other Nato allies, have been up to now waging a seven-year proxy war for regime change against Russia’s ally, President Assad. The massacre last week was certainly not the first time that US forces, illegally present in Syria, have attacked the Syrian army. But it seems clearer than ever now that American forces are operating on the overt agenda for regime change. US troops are transparently acting like an occupation army, challenging Russia and its legally mandated support for the Syrian state.

Heightening international concerns are multiple reports that Russian military contractors were among the casualties in the US-led air strike near Deir ez-Zor last week.

Regarding North Korea, Washington is brazenly sabotaging diplomatic efforts underway between the respective Korean leaderships in Pyongyang and Seoul. While this inter-Korean dialogue has been picking up positive momentum, the US has all the while been positioning nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers in the region, along with at least three aircraft carriers. The B-2s are also reportedly armed with fourteen-tonne bunker-buster bombs – the largest non-nuclear warhead in the American arsenal, designed to destroy North Korean underground missile silos and “decapitate” the Pyongyang leadership of Kim Jong-un.

American vice-president Mike Pence, while attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea, opening last week, delivered a blunt war message. He said that the recent detente between North Korea and US ally South Korea will come to an end as “soon as the Olympic flame is extinguished” – when the games close later this month. This US policy of belligerence completely upends Russia and China’s efforts to facilitate inter-Korean peace diplomacy.

Meanwhile, the situation in Eastern Ukraine looks decidedly grim for an imminent US-led invasion of the breakaway Donbas region. Pentagon military inspectors have in the past week reportedly arrived along the Contact Zone that separates the US-backed Kiev regime forces and the pro-Russian separatists of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Donetsk’s military commander Eduard Basurin warned that the arrival of Pentagon and other Nato military advisors from Britain and Canada indicate that US-armed Kiev forces are readying for a renewed assault on the Donbas ethnic Russian population.

Even the normally complacent observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (“OSCE“), charged with monitoring a nominal ceasefire along the Contact Zone, have lately begun reporting serious advancement of heavy weapons by the Kiev forces – in violation of the 2015 Minsk Peace Accord.

If the US-led Kiev forces proceed with the anticipated offensive next month in Donbas there are real fears for extreme civilian casualties. Such “ethnic cleansing” of Russian people by Kiev regime forces that openly espouse Neo-Nazi ideology would most likely precipitate a large-scale intervention by Moscow as a matter of humanitarian defense. Perhaps that is what the US planners are wagering on, which can then be portrayed by the dutiful Western news media as “another Russian aggression”.

US-based political analyst Randy Martin says: “It is undeniable that Washington is on a war footing in three global scenarios. Preparation for war is in fact war.”

He added:
 

You have to also consider the latest Nuclear Posture Review published by the Pentagon earlier this month. The Pentagon is openly declaring that it views Russia and China as targets and that it is willing to use nuclear force to contest conventional wars and what the Pentagon deems to be asymmetric aggression.

 

Martin says that it is not clear at this stage what Washington wants exactly.

“It is of course all about seeking global domination which is long-consistent with American imperialism as expressed for example in the Wolfowitz Doctrine following the end of the Cold War”, says the analyst.
 

But what does Washington want specifically from Russia and China is the question. It is evidently using the threat of war and aggression as a lever. But it is not clear what would placate Washington. Perhaps regime change in Russia where President Putin is ousted by a deferential pro-Western figure. Perhaps Russia and China giving up their plans of Eurasian economic integration and abandoning their plans to drop the American dollar in trade relations.

 

One thing, however, seems abundantly clear. The US is embarking on a global war plan, as can be discerned from the grave developments unfolding in Syria, the Korean Peninsula, and Ukraine. Each scenario can be understood as a pressure point on Moscow or China to in some way acquiesce to American ambitions for global dominance.

To be sure, Washington is being reckless and criminal in its conduct, violating the UN Charter and countless other international laws. It is brazenly acting like a rogue regime without the slightest hint of shame.

Still, Russia and China are hardly likely to capitulate. Simply because the US ambition of unipolar hegemony is impossible to achieve. The post-Second World War order, which Washington was able to dominate for nearly seven decades, is becoming obsolete as the international order naturally transforms into a multipolar configuration.

When Washington accuses Moscow and Beijing of “trying to alter the international order to their advantage” what the American rulers are tacitly admitting is their anxiety that the days of US hegemony are on the wane. Russia and China are not doing anything illegitimate. It is simply a fact of historical evolution.

So, ultimately, Washington’s war plans are futile in what they are trying to achieve by criminal coercion. Those plans cannot reverse history. But, demonically, those plans could obliterate the future of the planet.

The world is again on a precipice as it was before on the eve of the First and Second World Wars. Capitalism, imperialism, and fascism are again center stage.

As analyst Randy Martin puts it:
 

The American rulers are coming out of the closet to show their true naked nature of wanting to wage war on the world. Their supremacist, militarist ideology is, incontrovertibly, fascism in action.

 

_____

Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal http://www.strategic-culture.org.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/02/18/us-is-executing-global-war-plan.html

Categories: Uncategorized

The Anti-Empire Report #155

by William Blum

https://williamblum.org (February 08 2018)

“Fake News” is Fake News

The people who created Facebook and Google must be smart. They’re billionaires, their companies are worth multi-multi billions, their programs are used by billions around the world.

But all these smart people, because of Congressional pressure, have swallowed the stories about “fake news”. Facebook hired a very large staff of people to read everything posted by users to weed out the fake stuff. That didn’t last too long at all before the company announced that it wasn’t “comfortable” deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a “world with so much division”. We all could have told them that, couldn’t we?

Facebook’s previous efforts to ask its users to determine the accuracy of news did not turn out any better. Last year, the company launched a feature that allowed users to flag news stories they felt were inaccurate. The experiment was shuttered after nine months.

“Fake news”, however, is not the problem. News found in the mainstream media is rarely fake; that is, actual lies made from whole cloth, totally manufactured. This was, however, a common practice of the CIA during the first Cold War. The Agency wrote editorials and phony news stories to be knowingly published by Latin American media with no indication of CIA authorship or CIA payment to the particular media. The propaganda value of such a “news” item might be multiplied by being picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America who would disseminate it through a CIA-owned news agency or a CIA-owned radio station. Some of these stories made their way back to the United States to be read or heard by unknowing North Americans. {1}

Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” in 2003 is another valid example of “fake news”, but like the CIA material, this was more a government invention than a media creation.

The main problem with the media today, as earlier, is what is left out of articles dealing with controversial issues. For example, the very common practice during the first Cold War of condemning the Soviet Union for taking over much of Eastern Europe after the Second World War. This takeover is certainly based on fact. But the condemnation is very much misapplied if no mention is made of the fact that Eastern Europe became communist because Hitler, with the approval of the West, used it as a highway to reach the Soviet Union to wipe out Bolshevism once and for all; the Russians in World Wars One and Two lost about forty million people because the West had twice used this highway to invade Russia. It should not be surprising that after World War Two the Soviets were determined to close down the highway. It was not simply “communist expansion”.

Or the case of Moammar Gaddafi. In the Western media, he is invariably referred to as “the Libyan dictator”. Period. And he certainly was a dictator. But he also did many marvelous things for the people of Libya (like the highest standard of living in Africa) and for the continent of Africa (like creating the African Union).

Or the case of Vladimir Putin. The Western media never tires of reminding its audience that Putin was once a KGB lieutenant colonel – wink, wink, we all know what that means, chuckle, chuckle. But do they ever remind us with a wink or chuckle that US President George H W Bush was once – not merely a CIA officer, but the fucking Director of the CIA!

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg now says: “We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective”; “broadly trusted” sources being those that are “affirmed by a significant cross-section of users”.

Right, a significant cross-section of users – Will that include me? Highly unlikely. Broadly trusted sources – Will that include media like my Anti-Empire Report? Just as unlikely. Anything close? Maybe a single token leftist website amongst a large list, I’d guess. And a single token rightist website. Zuckerberg and his ilk probably think that the likes of NBC, NPR, and CNN are very objective and are to be trusted when it comes to US foreign-policy issues or capitalism-vs-socialism issues.

On January 19 Google announced that it would cancel a two-month-old experiment, called Knowledge Panel, that informed its users that a news article had been disputed by “independent fact-checking organizations”. Conservatives had complained that the feature unfairly targeted a right-leaning outlet.

Imagine that. It’s almost like people have political biases. Both Facebook and Google are still experimenting, trying to find a solution that I do not think exists. My solution is to leave it as it is. There’s no automated way to remove bias or slant or judgment from writing or from those persons assigned to evaluate such. {2}

Fake News by Omission – the Haiti Example

“I’m happy to have a president that will bluntly speak the truth in negotiations”, Eric Prince commented on Breitbart News. “If the president says some places are shitholes, he’s accurate” {3}. Thus did Mr Eric Prince pay homage to Mr Donald Trump. Prince, of course, being the renowned founder of Blackwater, the private army which in September 2007 opened fire in a crowded square in Baghdad, killing seventeen Iraqi civilians and seriously wounding twenty more {4}.

Speaking of Haiti and other “shitholes”, Prince declared: “It’s a sad characterization of many of these places. It’s not based on race. It has nothing to do with race. It has to do with corrupt, incompetent governments that abuse their citizens, and that results in completely absent infrastructure to include open sewers, and unclean water, and crime. It’s everything we don’t want in America.”

Like the US media, Prince failed to point out that on two occasions in the recent past when Haiti had a decent government, led by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, which was motivated to improve conditions, the United States was instrumental in nullifying its effect. This was in addition to fully supporting the Duvalier dictatorship for nearly thirty years prior to Aristide.

Aristide, a reformist priest, was elected to the presidency in 1991 but was ousted eight months later in a military coup. The 1993 Clinton White House thus found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend – because of all their rhetoric about “democracy” – that they supported the democratically-elected Aristide’s return to power from his exile in the US. After delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that he would not help the poor at the expense of the rich – literally! – and that he would stick closely to free-market economics. This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving starvation wages, literally! If Aristide had thoughts about breaking the agreement forced upon him, he had only to look out his window – US troops were stationed in Haiti for the remainder of his term.

In 2004, with Aristide once again the elected president, the United States staged one of its most blatant coups ever. On February 28 2004, American military and diplomatic personnel arrived at Aristide’s home to inform him that his private American security agents must either leave immediately to return to the US or fight and die; that the remaining 25 of the American security agents hired by the Haitian government, who were to arrive the next day, had been blocked by the United States from coming; that foreign and Haitian rebels were nearby, heavily armed, determined and ready to kill thousands of people in a bloodbath. Aristide was pressured to sign a “letter of resignation” before he was flown into exile by the United States.

And then US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in the sincerest voice he could muster, told the world that Aristide “was not kidnaped. We did not force him onto the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly. And that’s the truth.” Powell sounded as sincere as he had sounded a year earlier when he gave the UN a detailed (albeit imaginary) inventory of the chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in Iraq, shortly before the US invasion.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was on record, by word and deed, as not being a great lover of globalization or capitalism. This was not the kind of man the imperial mafia wanted in charge of the Western Hemisphere’s assembly plant. It was only a matter of time before they took action. {5}

It should be noted that the United States also kept progressives out of power in El Salvador, another of Trump’s “shithole” countries {6}.

Liberals Today

On January 24 I went to the Washington, DC bookstore Politics & Prose to hear David Cay Johnston, author of It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America (2018). To my surprise, he repeatedly said negative things about Russia, and in the Q&A session I politely asked him about this. He did not take kindly to that and after a very brief exchange cut me off by asking for the next person in line to ask a question.

That was the end of our exchange. No one in the large audience came to my defense or followed up with a question in the same vein; that is, the author as cold warrior. The only person who spoke to me afterward had only this to say as he passed me by: “Putin kills people”. Putin had not been mentioned. I should have asked him: “Which government never kills anyone?”

Politics & Prose is a very liberal bookstore. (Amongst many authors of the left, I’ve spoken there twice.) Its patrons are largely liberal. But liberals these days are largely cold warriors it appears. Even though the great majority of them can’t stand Trump they have swallowed the anti-Russia line of his administration and the media, perhaps because of the belief that “Russian meddling” in the election led to dear Hillary’s defeat, the proof of which seems more non-existent with each passing day.

Sam Smith (who puts out the Progressive Review in Maine) has written about Hillary’s husband:

A major decline of progressive America occurred during the Clinton years as many liberals and their organizations accepted the presence of a Democratic president as an adequate substitute for the things liberals once believed in. Liberalism and a social democratic spirit painfully grown over the previous sixty years withered during the Clinton administration.

 

And shortly afterward came Barack Obama, not only a Democrat but an African-American, the perfect setup for a lot more withering, health care being a good example. The single-payer movement was regularly gaining momentum when Obama took office; it seemed like America was finally going to join the modern advanced world. But Mr O put a definitive end to that. Profit – even of the type Mr Trump idealizes – would still determine who is to live and who is to die, just like Jews intone during Rosh Hashanah.

Poor America. It can travel to other planets, create a military force powerful enough to conquer the world ten times over, invent the Internet and a thousand other things … but it can’t provide medical care for all its people.

Now, three of the richest men in the world, the heads of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase, which collectively employ more than a million people, have announced they are partnering to create an independent company aimed at reining in ever-increasing health-care costs for companies and employees alike. The three men will pursue this objective through a company whose initial focus will be on technology solutions that will provide US employees and their families with simplified, high-quality, and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost. Almost no details were made available on how they plan to do this, but I predict that whatever they do will fail. They have lots of models to emulate – in Canada, Europe, Cuba, and elsewhere – but to an American nostril, these examples all suffer from the same unpleasant odor, the smell of socialism.

I say this even though their announcement states that the new company will be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints” {7}. And Warren Buffet, head of Berkshire Hathaway, is cited on CNN as follows:

Warren Buffett says America is ready for single-payer health care. The billionaire investor tells PBS NewsHour that government-run health insurance “probably is the best system” because it would control escalating costs. “We are such a rich country. In a sense, we can afford to do it.” {8}

Of course, the US could have afforded to do it fifty years ago. I really hope that my cynicism is misplaced.

The Trump Bubble (Written Before the Market Crashed)

Repeatedly, President Trump and his supporters have bragged about the “booming” stock market, attributing it to the administration’s marvelous economic policies and the great public confidence in those policies. Like much of what comes out of the Donald’s mouth … this is simply nonsense.

The stock market is, and always has been, just a gambling casino, a glorified Las Vegas. Every day a bunch of people (gamblers) buy and/or sell one stock or another; sometimes they sell the same stock they bought the day before; or the hour before; or the minute before; the next day they may well do the exact reverse. All depending on the latest news headline, or what a corporation has done to elicit attention, or what a friend just told them, or a fortune teller, or that day’s horoscope, or just a good ol’ hunch. Or they make up a reason; anything to avoid thinking that they’re just pulling the lever of a slot machine.

And many people buy certain stocks because other people are buying it. This is what stock market analysts call a speculative bubble. Prick the confidence and the bubble bursts. “The stock market”, Naomi Klein has observed, “has the temperament of an overindulged two-year-old, who can throw one of its world-shaking tantrums”.

Walter Winchell, the 1960~1970s powerful and widely-syndicated gossip columnist of the New York Daily News, famously wrote that he lost his faith in the stock market when he saw that a stock could jump sharply in price simply because he happened to mention something related to the company in his column.

And all this occurs even when the stock market is operating in the supposedly honest way it was designed to operate. What are we to make of it when sophisticated investors devise a computer scam for instantaneous buying and selling, as has happened several times in recent years?

Yet President Trump and his fans would have us believe that the big jump in stock prices of the past year is testimony to his sterling leadership and oh-so-wise policies. What will they say when the market crashes? As Trump himself will crash.

Driverless Police Cars

Yes, that’s what they’re thinking of next. Among other things, these cars will be able to catch speeders and issue tickets. But here’s the real test of the system’s Artificial Intelligence – Can the police car be taught how to recognize a young black man, drive to within a few feet of him, and fire a gun at his head?

Notes:

{1} Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary (1974)

{2} The Washington Post (January 19, 20, 23, 25, 2018)

{3} Breitbart News radio program (January 12 2018)

{4} Wikipedia entry for Eric Prince

{5} William Blum, Killing Hope, chapters 22 and 55; Rogue State, pages 202-3, 219-20

{6} Killing Hope, chapter 54

{7} Business Wire (January 30 2018)

{8} CNNMoney, (June 28 2017)

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to williamblum.org is provided.

_____

William Blum is an author, historian, and US foreign policy critic. He is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War Two and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Books: https://williamblum.org/books

Essays and Speeches: https://williamblum.org/essays

About the Author: https://williamblum.org/about

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Categories: Uncategorized

Who Really Controls the World?

by Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran

Global Research (February 17 2018)

 

Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organised, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.

– Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States (1856~1924)

 

So you see, my dear Coningsby, that the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.

– Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister (1804~1881)

 

The advent of the industrial revolution, the invention of a banking system based on usury, and scientific and technological advancements during the past three centuries have had three major consequences. These have made the incredible concentration of wealth in a few hands possible, have led to the construction of increasingly deadly weapons culminating in weapons of mass destruction, and have made it possible to mold the minds of vast populations by application of scientific techniques through the media and control of the educational system.

The wealthiest families on planet earth call the shots in every major upheaval that they cause. Their sphere of activity extends over the entire globe, and even beyond, their ambition and greed for wealth and power knows no bounds, and for them, most of mankind is garbage – “human garbage”. It is also their target to depopulate the globe and maintain a much lower population compared to what we have now.

It was Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild (1840~1915) who once said:
 

I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the British Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.

 

What was true of the British Empire is equally true of the US Empire, controlled remotely by the London based Elite through the Federal Reserve System. Judged by its consequences, the Federal Reserve System is the greatest con job in human history.

It is sad and painful that man’s most beautiful construction, and the source of most power and wealth on earth, viz scientific knowledge – the most sublime, most powerful and most organised expression of man’s inherent gift of thought, wonder and awe – became a tool for subjugation of humanity, a very dangerous tool in the hands of a tiny group of men. These men “hire” the scientist and take away, as a matter of right, the power the scientist creates through his inventions. This power is then used for their own purposes, at immense human and material cost to mankind. The goal of this handful of men, the members of the wealthiest families on the planet, the Elite, is a New World Order, a One World Government, under their control.

Secrecy and anonymity are integral to the operations of the Elite as is absolute ruthlessness, deep deception, and the most sordid spying and blackmail. The Elite pitches nations against each other, and aims at the destruction of religion and other traditional values, creates chaos, deliberately spreads poverty and misery, and then usurps power placing its stooges in place. These families “buy while the blood is still flowing in the streets” (Rothschild dictum). Wars, “revolutions”, and assassinations are part of their tactics to destroy traditional civilization and traditional religions (as in Soviet Russia), amass wealth and power, eliminate opponents, and proceed relentlessly towards their avowed goal, generation after generation. They operate through covert and overt societies and organizations.

Professor Carroll Quigley wrote:
 

The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands to be able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in private meetings and conferences … The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury to all other economic groups.

 



Winston Churchill, who was eventually “bored by it all”, wrote around 1920:
 

From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, to those of Trotsky, Bela Kun, Rosa Luxembourg, and Emma Goldman, this world wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It played a definitely recognizable role in the tragedy of French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the nineteenth century, and now at last, this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads, and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.

 

The High Cabal Exposed by JFK

It was in the dark days of World War Two that Churchill referred to the existence of a “High Cabal” that had brought about unprecedented bloodshed in human history. Churchill is also said to have remarked about the Elite: “They have transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland into Russia …” (quoted by John Coleman in The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (2006). Who are ‘they’?

Consider the 1961 statement of US President John F Kennedy (“JFK“) before media personnel:
 

The word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society, and we are as a people, inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, secret oaths, and secret proceedings. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy, that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence. It depends on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published, its mistakes are buried, not headlined, and its dissenters are silenced, not praised, no expenditure is questioned, no secret revealed … I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people.

 

Secret societies, secret oaths, secret proceedings, infiltration, subversion, intimidation – these are the words used by JFK!

On June 4 1963, JFK ordered the printing of Treasury dollar bills instead of Federal Reserve notes (Executive Order 11110). He also ordered that once these had been printed, the Federal Reserve notes would be withdrawn, and the Treasury bills put into circulation. A few months later (November 22 1963) he was killed in broad daylight in front of the whole world – his brains blown out. Upon assumption of power, his successor, President Lyndon Johnson, immediately reversed the order to switch to Treasury bills showing very clearly why JFK was murdered. Another order of JFK, to militarily disengage from the Far East by withdrawing US “advisors” from Vietnam, was also immediately reversed after his death. After the Cuban crisis JFK wanted peaceful non-confrontational coexistence with the Soviet Union and that meant no wars in the world. He knew the next war would be nuclear and there would be no winners.

The defense industry and the banks that make money from war belong to the Elite. The Elite subscribes to a dialectical Hegelian philosophy, as pointed out by Antony Sutton, under which they bring about “controlled conflict”. The two world wars were “controlled conflicts”! Their arrogance, their ceaseless energy, their focus, their utter disregard for human life, their ability to plan decades in advance, to act on that planning, and their continual success are staggering and faith-shaking.

Statements by men like Disraeli, Wilson, Churchill, JFK, and others should not leave any doubt in the mind of the reader about who controls the world. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wrote in November 1933 to Colonel Edward House: “The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the government since the days of Andrew Jackson”. It may be recalled that Andrew Jackson, US President from 1829 to 1837, was so enraged by the tactics of bankers (Rothschilds) that he said:
 

You are a den of vipers. I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out. If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system, there would be a revolution before morning.

 

Interlocking Structure of Elite Control

In his book Big Oil and Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families and Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics and Terror Network (2010), Dean Henderson states: “My queries to bank regulatory agencies regarding stock ownership in the top 25 US bank holding companies were given Freedom of Information Act status, before being denied on ‘national security’ grounds. This is ironic since many of the bank’s stockholders reside in Europe”. This is, on the face of it, quite astonishing but it goes to show the US government works not for the people but for the Elite. It also shows that secrecy is paramount in Elite affairs. No media outlet will raise this issue because the Elite owns the media. Secrecy is essential for Elite control – if the world finds out the truth about the wealth, thought, ideology, and activities of the Elite there would be a worldwide revolt against it. Henderson further states:
 

The Four Horsemen of Banking (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo) own the Four Horsemen of Oil (Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP Amoco, and Chevron Texaco); in tandem with other European and old money behemoths. But their monopoly over the global economy does not end at the edge of the oil patch. According to company 10K filings to the SEC, the Four Horsemen of Banking are among the top ten stockholders of virtually every Fortune 500 corporation.

 

It is well known that in 2009, of the top 100 largest economic entities of the world, 44 were corporations. The wealth of these families, which are among the top ten percent shareholders in each of these, is far in excess of national economies. In fact, total global GDP is around seventy trillion dollars. The Rothschild family wealth alone is estimated to be in the trillions of dollars. So is the case with the Rockefellers who were helped and provided money all along by the Rothschilds. The US has an annual GDP in the range of fourteen to fifteen trillion dollars. This pales into insignificance before the wealth of these trillionaires. With the US government and most European countries in debt to the Elite, there should be absolutely no doubt as to who owns the world and who controls it. To quote Eustace Mullins from his book The World Order (2016):
 

The Elites rule the US through their Foundations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Federal Reserve System with no serious challenges to their power. Expensive “political campaigns” are routinely conducted, with carefully screened candidates who are pledged to the program of the World Order. Should they deviate from the program, they would have an “accident”, be framed on a sex charge, or indicted in some financial irregularity.

 

The Elite members operate in absolute unison against public benefit, against a better life for mankind in which the individual is free to develop his or her innate creativity, a life free of war and bloodshed. James Forrestal, the first Secretary of Defence of the US, became aware of Elite intrigue and had, according to Jim Marrs, accumulated 3,000 pages of notes to be used for writing a book. He died in mysterious circumstances and was almost certainly murdered. His notes were taken away and a sanitized version made public after one year! Just before he died, almost fifteen months before the outbreak of the Korean War, he had revealed that American soldiers would die in Korea! Marrs quotes Forrestal: “These men are not incompetent or stupid. Consistency has never been a mark of stupidity. If they were merely stupid, they would occasionally make a mistake in our favor.” The Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the mother of all these, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, are bodies where decisions about the future of mankind are arrived at. Who set these up and control them? The “international bankers” of course.

In his book, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World (2011), Colonel Fletcher Prouty, who was the briefing officer to the President of the US from 1955 to 1963, writes about “an inner sanctum of a new religious order”. By the phrase Secret Team, he means a group of “security-cleared individuals in and out of government who receive secret intelligence data gathered by the CIA and the National Security Agency (“NSA“) and who react to those data”. He states: “The power of the Team derives from its vast intra-governmental undercover infrastructure and its direct relationship with great private industries, mutual funds, and investment houses, universities, and the news media, including foreign and domestic publishing houses”. He further adds: “All true members of the Team remain in the power center whether in office with the incumbent administration or out of office with the hard-core set. They simply rotate to and from official jobs and the business world or the pleasant haven of academe.”

Training the Young for Elite Membership

It is very remarkable as to how “they” are able to exercise control and how “they” always find people to carry out the job, and how is it “they” always make the “right” decision at the right time? This can only be possible if there exists a hidden program of inducting and training cadres mentally, ideologically, philosophically, psychologically, and ability-wise over prolonged periods of time and planting them in the centres of power of countries like the US, UK, et al. This training would begin at a young age in general. There must also be a method of continual appraisal, by small groups of very highly skilled men, of developing situations with “their” men who are planted throughout the major power centers of the world so that immediate “remedial” action, action that always favors Elite interests, can be taken. How does that happen?

It is in finding answers to these questions that the role of secret societies and their control of universities, particularly in the US, assumes deeper importance. The work done by men like Antony Sutton, John Coleman, Eustace Mullins, and others is groundbreaking. Mankind owes a debt to such scholars who suffer for truth but do not give in. Whenever you trace the money source of important initiatives designed to bring about major wars, lay down policies for the future, enhance control of the Elite over mankind, et cetera, you will invariably find them linked to the so-called banking families and their stooges operating out of Foundations.

In April 2008 I was among approximately 200 Vice Chancellors, Rectors, and Presidents of universities from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the US at a two day Higher Education Summit for Global Development, held at the US State Department in Washington DC. The Summit was addressed by five US Secretaries, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The real emphasis throughout the Summit was only on one thing – that universities in developing countries operate in partnership with foundations so that global problems could be solved! These are private foundations and the only way to understand this emphasis is to realize the US government is owned by those who own these foundations. As an aside, the inaugural address was delivered by the war criminal responsible for millions of deaths in Rwanda, trained in US military institutions, and awarded a doctorate – Dr Paul Kagame! The very first presentation was made by the CEO of the Agha Khan Foundation!

In a fascinating study of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones, Antony Sutton uncovered numerous aspects of profound importance about this one society. In his book America’s Secret Establishment – An Introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones (2004), Sutton points out there is a set of “Old Line American Families and New Wealth” that dominates The Order (of Skull & Bones) – the Whitney family, the Stimson family, the Bundy family, the Rockefeller family, the Harriman family, the Taft family, the Bush family, and so on. He also points out that there is a British connection:

The links between the Order and Britain go through Lazard Freres and the private merchant bankers. Notably, the British establishment also founded a University – Oxford University, and especially All Souls College at Oxford. The British element is called “The Group”. The Group links to the Jewish equivalent through the Rothschilds in Britain (Lord Rothschild was an original member of Rhodes’ “inner circle”). The Order in the US links to the Guggenheim, Schiff. and Warburg families … There is an Illuminati connection.

Every year fifteen young men, and very recently women, have been inducted into The Order from Yale students since 1832. Who selects them? A study of the career trajectories of many of those “chosen” shows how they rise to prominence in American life and how their peers ensure these men penetrate the very fabric of important US institutions. They are always there in key positions during war and peace, manipulating and watching ceaselessly.

The influence of the Elite families on the thought processes of nations is carried out through academic institutions and organizations, as well as the media. Sutton writes:
 

Among academic associations, the American Historical Association, the American Economic Association, the American Chemical Society, and the American Psychological Association were all started by members of The Order or persons close to The Order. These are key associations for the conditioning of society. The phenomenon of The Order as the FIRST on the scene is found especially among Foundations, although it appears that The Order keeps a continuing presence among Foundation Trustees … The FIRST Chairman of an influential but almost unknown organization established in 1910 was also a member of The Order. In 1920, Theodore Marburg founded the American Society for the Judicial Settlement of Disputes, but Marburg was only President. The FIRST Chairman was member William Howard Taft. The Society was the forerunner of the League to Enforce Peace, which developed into the League of Nations concept and ultimately the United Nations.

 

The United Nations is an instrument of the Elite designed to facilitate the setting up of One World Government under Elite control. The UN building stands on Rockefeller property.

Selecting Future Prime Ministers to Serve the New World Order

In his article, “Oxford University – The Illuminati Breeding Ground”, David Icke recounts an incident that demonstrates how these secret societies and groups, working for the Elite, select, train and plan to install their men in key positions. In 1940 a young man addressed a “study group” of the Labor Party in a room at University College Oxford. He stressed that he belonged to a secret group without a name which planned a “Marxist takeover” of Britain, Rhodesia, and South Africa by infiltrating the British Parliament and Civil Services. Since the British do not like extremists they dismiss their critics as ‘”right-wingers” while themselves posing as “moderates” (this seems like the anti-Semitism charge by the Anti-Defamation League (“ADL“), et al whenever Israel is criticised). The young man stated that he headed the political wing of that secret group and he expected to be made Prime Minister of Britain someday! The young man was Harold Wilson who became Prime Minister of Britain (1964~1970, 1974~1976)!

All young men studying at Ivy League universities, and at others, must bear in mind they are being continually scrutinised by some of their professors with the intention of selecting from amongst them, those who will serve the Elite, and become part of a global network of interlocked covert and overt societies and organisations, working for the New World Order. Some of those already selected will be present among them, mingling with them and yet, in their heart, separated from them by a sense of belonging to a brotherhood with a mission that has been going on for a long time. These young men also know they will be rewarded by advancement in career and also that if they falter they could be killed!

Utter secrecy and absolute loyalty are essential to the continued success of this program. This is enforced through fear of murder or bankruptcy and through a cult which probably takes us back to the times of the pyramids and before. Philosophically “they” believe in Hegelian dialectics through which they justify bringing about horrible wars – euphemistically called “controlled conflict”. Their political ideology is “collectivism” whereby mankind has to be “managed” by a group of men, “them”, organized for the purpose – a hidden “dominant minority”. “They” believe that they know better than ordinary mortals. The Illuminati, the Freemasons, members of other known and unknown secret societies, all mesh together under the wealthiest cabal in human history to take a mesmerized, dormant, and battered mankind from one abyss to the next. Former MI6 agent John Coleman refers to a “Committee of 300” that controls and guides this vast subterranean human machinery.

In his book Memoirs, published in 2002, David Rockefeller, Sr stated that his family had been attacked by “ideological extremists” for “more than a century … Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as “internationalists” and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty.

_____

Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran is Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan and his book The Grand Deception – Corporate America and Perpetual War (2011) is available from http://www.amazon.co.uk. Professor Kamran’s website is http://www.mujahidkamran.com.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Copyright (c) Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran, Global Research, 2018

https://www.globalresearch.ca/who-really-controls-the-world/5445239

Categories: Uncategorized

The Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs

by Chris Hedges

Truthdig (February 11 2018)


Mr Fish / Truthdig

Oligarchic rule, as Aristotle pointed out, is a deviant form of government. Oligarchs care nothing for competency, intelligence, honesty, rationality, self-sacrifice, or the common good. They pervert, deform, and dismantle systems of power to serve their immediate interests, squandering the future for short-term personal gain. “The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments that rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one, of the few or of the many, are perversions”, Aristotle wrote. The classicist Peter L P Simpson calls these perversions the “sophistry of oligarchs”, meaning that once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent, and thoughtful responses to social, economic, and political problems are ignored to feed insatiable greed. The late stage of every civilization is characterized by the sophistry of oligarchs, who ravage the decaying carcass of the state.

These deviant forms of government are defined by common characteristics, most of which Aristotle understood. Oligarchs use power and ruling structures solely for personal advancement.

Oligarchs, though they speak of deconstructing the administrative state, actually increase deficits and the size and power of law enforcement and the military to protect their global business interests and ensure domestic social control. The parts of the state that serve the common good wither in the name of deregulation and austerity. The parts that promote the oligarchs’ power expand in the name of national security, economic growth, and law and order.

For example, the oligarchs educate their children in private schools and buy them admissions into elite universities (this is how a mediocre student like Jared Kushner went to Harvard and Donald Trump went to the University of Pennsylvania), so they see no need to fund good public education for the wider population. Oligarchs can pay teams of high-priced lawyers to bail them and their families out of legal trouble. There is no need, in their eyes, to provide funds for legal representation for the poor. When oligarchs do not fly on private jets, they fly in first class, so they permit airlines to fleece and abuse “economy” passengers. They do not use subways, buses, or trains, and they slash funds for the maintenance and improvement of these services. Oligarchs have private clinics and private doctors, so they do not want to pay for public health or Medicare. Oligarchs detest the press, which when it works shines a light on their corruption and mendacity, so they buy up and control systems of information and push their critics to the margins of society, something they will accelerate with the abolition of net neutrality.

Oligarchs do not vacation on public beaches or in public parks. They own their own land and estates, where we are not allowed. They see no reason to maintain or fund public parks or protect public land. They hand such land over to other oligarchs to exploit for profit. Oligarchs cynically view laws as mechanisms to legalize their fraud and plunder. They use their lobbyists in the legislative branch of government to author bills that increase and protect their wealth, through the avoidance of taxes and other means. Oligarchs do not allow free and fair elections. They use gerrymandering and campaign contributions to make sure other oligarchs are elected over and over to office. Many run unopposed.

Oligarchs look at regulations to protect the environment or the safety of workers as impediments to profit and abolish them. Oligarchs move industries to Mexico or China to increase their wealth while impoverishing American workers and leaving US cities in ruins. Oligarchs are philistines. They are deaf, dumb, and blind to great works of art, reveling in tawdry spectacles, patriotic kitsch, and mindless entertainment. They despise artists and intellectuals who promote virtues and self-criticism that conflict with the lust for power, celebrity, and wealth. Oligarchs always unleash wars on culture, attacking it as elitist, irrelevant, and immoral and cutting its funding. All social services and institutions, such as public housing programs, public parks, meals for the elderly, infrastructure projects, welfare, and Social Security, are viewed by oligarchs as a waste of money. These services are gutted or turned over to fellow oligarchs, who harvest them for profit until they are destroyed.

Oligarchs, who do not serve in the military and who ensure their children do not serve in the military, pretend to be great patriots. They attack those who oppose them as anti-American, traitors, or agents for a foreign power. They use the language of patriotism to stoke hatred against their critics and to justify their crimes. They see the world in black and white – those who are loyal to them and those who are the enemy. They extend this stunted belief system to foreign affairs. Diplomacy is abandoned for the crude threats and indiscriminate use of force that are the preferred forms of communication of all despots.

There is little dispute that we live in an oligarchic state. The wealthiest one percent of America’s families control forty percent of the nation’s wealth, a statistic similar to what is seen globally: The wealthiest one percent of the world’s population owns more than half of the world’s wealth. This wealth translates into political power. The political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern, after examining differences in public opinion across income groups on a wide variety of issues, concluded:
 

In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule – at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover … even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

 

Oligarchs accelerate social, political, cultural, and economic collapse. The unchecked plunder leads to systems breakdown. The refusal to protect natural resources or the economic engines that sustain the state, means that poverty becomes the norm and the natural world becomes a toxic wasteland. Basic institutions no longer work. Infrastructure is no longer reliable. Water, air, and soil are poisoned. The population is left uneducated, untrained, impoverished, oppressed by organs of internal security, and beset by despair. The state eventually goes bankrupt. Oligarchs respond to this steady deterioration by forcing workers to do more for less and launching self-destructive wars in the vain attempt to restore a lost golden age. They also insist, no matter how bad it gets, on maintaining their opulent and hedonistic lifestyles. They further tax the resources of the state, the ecosystem, and the population with suicidal demands. They flee from the looming chaos into their gated compounds, modern versions of Versailles or the Forbidden City. They lose touch with reality. In the end, they are overthrown or destroy the state itself. There is no institution left in America that can be called democratic, and thus there is no internal mechanism to prevent a descent into barbarity.

“The political role of corporate power, the corruption of the political and representative processes by the lobbying industry, the expansion of executive power at the expense of constitutional limitations, and the degradation of political dialogue promoted by the media are the basics of the system, not excrescences upon it”, the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin wrote in Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2008).
 

The system would remain in place even if the Democratic Party attained a majority; and should that circumstance arise, the system will set tight limits to unwelcome changes, as if foreshadowed in the timidity of the current Democratic proposals for reform. In the last analysis, the much-lauded stability and conservatism of the American system owe nothing to lofty ideals, and everything to the irrefutable fact that it is shot through with corruption and awash in contributions primarily from wealthy and corporate donors. When a minimum of a million dollars is required of House candidates and elected judges, and when patriotism is for the draft-free to extol and for the ordinary citizen to serve, in such times it is a simple act of bad faith to claim that politics-as-we-now-know-it can miraculously cure the evils which are essential to its very existence.

 

The longer we are ruled by oligarchs, the deadlier our predicament becomes, especially since the oligarchs refuse to address climate change, the greatest existential crisis to humankind. The oligarchs have many mechanisms, including wholesale surveillance, to keep us in check. They will stop at nothing to maintain the sophistry of their rule. History may not repeat itself, but it echoes. And if we don’t recognize these echoes and then revolt, we will be herded into the abattoirs that tyrannies set up at the end of their existence.

_____

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003), What Every Person Should Know About War (2003), and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2007). His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009).

Mr Fish, also known as Dwayne Booth, is a cartoonist who primarily creates for Truthdig.com and Harpers.com. Mr Fish’s work has also appeared nationally in the Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, Mother Jones magazine, The Advocate, Z Magazine, the Utne Reader, Slate.com, MSNBC.com and internationally for Information for Social Change, Internazionale, Umanita Nova and Novi list.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles and comments are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/deadly-rule-oligarchs/

Categories: Uncategorized

CIA and the Drug Business (Part Three of Three)

Special Report: The corrupt connections between US intelligence and drug enforcement go back more than seven decades as American spies and drug investigators routinely crossed paths and collaborated – with the interests of average citizens never high on the agenda.

by Douglas Valentine

Consortium News (September 10 2015)

The Cover-Up

Despite the flurry of investigations, Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, reconfirmed the CIA’s narcotic intelligence collection arrangement with DEA, and the CIA continued to have its way. Much of its success is attributed to Seymour Bolten, whose staff handled “all requests for files from the Church Committee”, which concluded that allegations of drug smuggling by CIA assets and proprietaries “lacked substance”.

The Rockefeller Commission likewise gave the CIA a clean bill of health, falsely stating that the Twofold inspections project was terminated in 1973. The Commission completely covered-up the existence of the operation unit hidden within the inspections program.

Ford did task the Justice Department to investigate “allegations of fraud, irregularity, and misconduct” in the DEA. The so-called DeFeo investigation lasted through July 1975 and included allegations that DEA officials had discussed killing Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. In March 1976, Deputy Attorney General Richard Thornburgh announced there were no findings to warrant criminal prosecutions.

In 1976, Congresswoman Bella Abzug submitted questions to new Director of Central Intelligence (“DCI“) George H W Bush, about the CIA’s central role in international drug trafficking. Bush’s response was to cite a 1954 agreement with the Justice Department gave the CIA the right to block prosecution or keep its crimes secret in the name of national security.

In its report, the Abzug Committee said: “It was ironic that the CIA should be given responsibility of narcotic intelligence, particularly since they are supporting the prime movers”.

The Mansfield Amendment of 1976 sought to curtail the DEA’s extra-legal activities abroad by prohibiting agents from kidnapping or conducting unilateral actions without the consent of the host government. The CIA, of course, was exempt and continued to sabotage DEA cases against its movers, while further tightening its stranglehold on the DEA’s enforcement and intelligence capabilities.

In 1977, the DEA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement sent a memo, co-signed by the six enforcement division chiefs, to DEA chief Peter Bensinger. As the memo stated, “All were unanimous in their belief that present CIA programs were likely to cause serious future problems for DEA, both foreign and domestic”.

They specifically cited controlled deliveries enabled by CIA electronic surveillance and the fact that the CIA “will not respond positively to any discovery motion”. They complained that “Many of the subjects who appear in these CIA-promoted or -controlled surveillances regularly travel to the United States in furtherance of their trafficking activities”. The “de facto immunity” from prosecution enabled the CIA assets to “operate much more openly and effectively”.

But then DEA chief Peter Bensinger suffered the CIA at the expense of America’s citizens and the DEA’s integrity. Under Bensinger, the DEA created its CENTAC program to target drug trafficking organization worldwide through the early 1980s. But the CIA subverted the CENTAC: as its director, Dennis Dayle famously said, “The major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA”.

Murder and Mayhem

DEACON 1 inherited BUNCIN’s anti-Castro Cuban assets from Brigade 2506, which the CIA organized to invade Cuba in 1960. Controlled by Nixon’s secret political police, these CIA assets, operating under DEA cover, had parallel assignments involving “extremist groups and terrorism, and information of a political nature”.

Noriega and Moises Torrijos in Panama were targets, as was fugitive financier and Nixon campaign contributor Robert Vesco in Costa Rica, who was suspected of being a middleman in drug and money-laundering operations of value to the CIA.

DEACON 1’s problems began when overt agent Bill Logay charged that covert agent Bob Medell’s anti-Castro Cuban assets had penetrated the DEA on behalf of the Trafficante organization. DEACON 1 secretary Cecelia Plicet fanned the flames by claiming that Conein and Medell were using Principal Agent Tabraue to circumvent the DEA.

In what amounted to an endless succession of controlled deliveries, Tabraue was financing loads of cocaine and using DEACON 1’s Cuban assets to smuggle them into the US. Plicet said that Medell and Conein worked for “the other side” and wanted the DEA to fail. These accusations prompted an investigation, after which Logay was reassigned to inspections and Medell was reassigned and replaced by Gary Mattocks, an NIO member of the Dirty Dozen.

According to Mattocks, Shackley helped Colby set up DEASOG and brought in “his” people, including Tom Clines, whom Shackley placed in charge of the CIA’s Caribbean operations. Clines, like Shackley and Bolten, knew all the exile Cuban terrorists and traffickers on the DEASOG payroll. CIA officer Vernon Goertz worked for Clines in Caracas as part of the CIA’s parallel mechanism under DEASOG cover.

As cover for his DEACON 1 activities, Mattocks set up a front company designed to improve relations between Cuban and American businessmen. Meanwhile, through the CIA, he recruited members of the Artime organization including Watergate burglars Rolando Martinez and Bernard Barker, as well as Che Guevara’s murderer, Felix Rodriguez. These anti-Castro terrorists were allegedly part of an Operation 40 assassination squad that Shackley and Clines employed for private as well as professional purposes.

In late 1974, DEACON 1 crashed and burned when interrogator Robert Simon’s daughter was murdered in a drive-by shooting by crazed anti-Castro Cubans. Simon at the time was managing the CIA’s drug database and had linked the exile Cuban drug traffickers with “a foreign terrorist organization”. As Mattocks explained, “It got bad after the Brigaders found out Simon was after them”.

None of the CIA’s terrorists, however, were ever arrested. Instead, Conein issued a directive prohibiting DEACON 1 assets from reporting on domestic political affairs or terrorist activities and the tragedy was swept under the carpet for reasons of national security.

DEACON 1 unceremoniously ended in 1975 after Agent Fred Dick was assigned to head the DEA’s Caribbean Basin Group. In that capacity, Dick visited the DEACON 1 safe house and found, in his words, “a clandestine CIA unit using miscreants from Bay of Pigs, guys who were blowing up planes”. Dick hit the ceiling and in August 1975 DEACON I was terminated.

No new DEACONs were initiated and the others quietly ran their course. Undeterred, the CIA redeployed its anti-Castro Cuban miscreant assets, some of whom established the terror organization CORU in 1977. Others would go to work for Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, a key National Security Council aide under President Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra drug and terror network.

Conein’s IGO was disbanded in 1976 after a grand jury sought DEACON I intelligence regarding several drug busts. But CIA acquired intelligence cannot be used in prosecutions, and the CIA refused to identify its assets in court, with the result that 27 prosecutions were dismissed on national security grounds.

Gary Mattocks was thereafter unwelcomed in the DEA. But his patron Ted Shackley had become DCI George Bush’s assistant deputy director for operations and Shackley kindly rehired Mattocks into the CIA and assigned him to the CIA’s narcotics unit in Peru.

At the time, Santiago Ocampo was purchasing cocaine in Peru and his partner Matta Ballesteros was flying it to the usual Cuban miscreants in Miami. One of the receivers, Francisco Chanes, an erstwhile DEACON asset, owned two seafood companies that would soon allegedly come to serve as fronts in Oliver North’s Contra supply network, receiving and distributing tons of Contra cocaine.

Mattocks himself soon joined the Contra support operation as Eden Pastrora’s case officer. In that capacity, Mattocks was present in 1984 when CIA officers handed pilot Barry Seal a camera and told him to take photographs of Sandinista official Federico Vaughn loading bags of cocaine onto Seal’s plane. A DEA “special employee”, Seal was running drugs for Jorge Ochoa Vasquez and purportedly using Nicaragua as a transit point for his deliveries.

North asked DEA officials to instruct Seal, who was returning to Ochoa with $1.5 million, to deliver the cash to the Contras, according to a 1988 House Judiciary subcommittee report. When the DEA officials refused, North leaked a blurry photo, purportedly of Vaughn, to the right-wing Washington Times in a ploy to discredit Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

So, for the Reagan administration’s political purposes, North blew the DEA’s biggest case at the time, and the DEA did nothing about it, even though DEA Administrator Jack Lawn said in testimony before the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime that leaking the photo “severely jeopardized the lives” of agents.

The circle was squared in 1989 when the CIA instructed Gary Mattocks to testify as a defense witness at the trial of DEACON 1 Principal Agent Gabriel Tabraue. Although Tabraue had earned $75 million from drug trafficking, while working as a CIA and DEA asset, the judge declared a mistrial based on Mattocks’s testimony. Tabraue was released. Some people inferred that President George H W Bush had personally ordered Mattocks to dynamite the case.

The CIA’s use of the DEA to employ terrorists would continue apace. For example, in 1981, DEA Agent Dick Salmi recruited Roberto Cabrillo, a drug smuggling member of CORU, an organization of murderous Cuban exiles formed by drug smuggler Frank Castro and Luis Posada while George Bush was DCI.

The DEA arrested Castro in 1981, but the CIA engineered his release and hired him to establish a Contra training camp in the Florida Everglades. Posada reportedly managed resupply and drug shipments for the Contras in El Salvador, in cahoots with Felix Rodriguez. Charged in Venezuela with blowing up a Cuban airliner and killing 73 people in 1976, Posada was shielded from extradition by George W Bush in the mid-2000s.

Having been politically castrated by the CIA, DEA officials merely warned its CORU assets to stop bombing people in the US. It could maim and kill people anywhere else, just not here in the sacred homeland. By then, Salmi noted, the Justice Department had a special “grey-mail section” to fix cases involving CIA terrorists and drug dealers.

The Hoax

DCI William Webster formed the CIA’s Counter-Narcotics Center (“CNC“) in 1988. Staffed by over 100 agents, it ostensibly became the springboard for the covert penetration of, and paramilitary operations against, top traffickers protected by high-tech security firms, lawyers, and well-armed private armies.

The CNC brought together, under CIA control, every federal agency involved in the drug wars. Former CIA officer and erstwhile Twofold member, Terry Burke, then serving as the DEA’s Deputy for Operations, was allowed to send one liaison officer to the CNC.

The CNC quickly showed its true colors. In late 1990, Customs agents in Miami seized a ton of pure cocaine from Venezuela. To their surprise, a Venezuelan undercover agent said the CIA had approved the delivery. DEA Administrator Robert Bonner ordered an investigation and discovered that the CIA had, in fact, shipped the load from its warehouse in Venezuela.

The “controlled deliveries” were managed by CIA officer Mark McFarlin, a veteran of Reagan’s terror campaign in El Salvador. Bonner wanted to indict McFarlin but was prevented from doing so because Venezuela was in the process of fighting off a rebellion led by leftist Hugo Chavez. This same scenario has been playing out in Afghanistan for the last 15 years, largely through the DEA’s Special Operations Division (“SOD”), which provides cover for CIA operations worldwide.

The ultimate and inevitable result of American imperialism, the SOD job is not simply to “create a crime”, as freewheeling FBN agents did in the old days, but to “recreate a crime” so it is prosecutable, despite whatever extra-legal methods were employed to obtain the evidence before it is passed along to law enforcement agencies so they can make arrests without revealing what prompted their suspicions.

Reuters reported in 2013, “The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.”

The utilization of information from the SOD, which operates out of a secret location in Virginia, “cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function”, according to an internal document cited by Reuters, which added that agents are specifically directed “to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors, and courtroom testimony”.

Agents are told to use “parallel construction” to build their cases without reference to SOD’s tips which may come from sensitive “intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants, and a massive database of telephone records”, Reuters reported.

Citing a former federal agent, Reuters reported that SOD operators would tell law enforcement officials in the US to be at a certain place at a certain time and to look for a certain vehicle which would then be stopped and searched on some pretext. “After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said”, Reuters reported.

An anonymous senior DEA official told Reuters that this “parallel construction” approach is “decades old, a bedrock concept” for law enforcement. The SOD’s approach follows Twofold techniques and Bolten’s parallel mechanism from the early 1970s.

To put it simply, lying to frame defendants, which has always been unstated policy, is now official policy: no longer considered corruption, it is how your government manages the judicial system on behalf of the rich political elite.

As outlined in this article, the process tracks back to Nixon, the formation of the BNDD, and the creation of a secret political police force out of the White House. As Agent Bowman Taylor caustically observed, “I used to think we were fighting the drug business, but after they formed the BNDD, I realized we were feeding it”.

The corruption was first “collateral” as a function of national security performed by the CIA in secret but has now become “integral”, the essence of empire run amok.

_____

Douglas Valentine is author of The Phoenix Program (2000), which is available through Amazon, as well as The Strength of the Wolf (2004) and the new book Strength of the Pack (2009). His Web sites are http://www.douglasvalentine.com/index.html, http://www.members.authorsguild.net/valentine/, and http://trineday.com/paypal_store/product_pages/Strength_of_the_Pack.html

Copyright (c) 2018 Consortiumnews. All Rights Reserved.

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/09/10/cia-and-the-drug-business/

Categories: Uncategorized

CIA and the Drug Business (Part Two of Three)

Special Report: The corrupt connections between US intelligence and drug enforcement go back more than seven decades as American spies and drug investigators routinely crossed paths and collaborated – with the interests of average citizens never high on the agenda.

by Douglas Valentine

Consortium News (September 10 2015)

In September 1971, the Heroin Committee was reorganized as the Cabinet Committee for International Narcotics Control (“CCINC“) under Secretary of State William Rogers. CCINC’s mandate was to “set policies which relate international considerations to domestic considerations”. By 1975, its budget amounted to $875 million, and the war on drugs had become a most profitable industry.

Concurrently, the CIA formed a unilateral drug unit in its operations division under Seymour Bolten. Known as the Special Assistant to the Director for the Coordination of Narcotics, Bolten directed CIA division and station chiefs in unilateral drug control operations. In doing this, Bolten worked closely with Ted Shackley, who in 1972 was appointed head of the CIA’s Western Hemisphere Division. Bolten and Shackley had worked together in post-war Germany, as well as in anti-Castro Cubans operations in the early 1960s. Their collaboration would grease federal drug law enforcement’s skid into oblivion.

“Bolten screwed us”, BNDD’s Latin American division chief Jerry Strickler said emphatically. “And so did Shackley”.

Bolten “screwed” the BNDD, and the American judicial system, by setting up a “parallel mechanism” based on a computerized register of international drug traffickers and a CIA-staffed communications crew that intercepted calls from drug traffickers inside the US to their accomplices around the world. The International Narcotics Information Network (“INIS“) was modeled on a computerized management information system Shackley had used to terrorize the underground resistance in South Vietnam.

Bolten’s staff also “re-tooled” dozens of CIA officers and slipped them into the BNDD. Several went to Lou Conein at the SIO for clandestine, highly illegal operations.

Factions within the CIA and military were opposed to Bolten’s parallel mechanism, but CIA Executive Director William Colby supported Bolten’s plan to preempt the BNDD and use its agents and informants for unilateral CIA purposes. The White House also supported the plan for political purposes related to Watergate. Top BNDD officials who resisted were expunged; those who cooperated were rewarded.

Bureau of Narcotics Covert Intelligence Network

In September 1972, Director of Central Intelligence (“DCI“) Helms (then immersed in Watergate intrigues) told BNDD Director Ingersoll that the CIA had prepared files on specific drug traffickers in Miami, the Florida Keys, and the Caribbean. Helms said the CIA would provide Ingersoll with assets to pursue the traffickers and develop information on targets of opportunity. The CIA would also provide operational, technical, and financial support.

The result was the Bureau of Narcotics Covert Intelligence Network (“BUNCIN“) whose methodology reflected Tripodi’s Medusa Plan and included “provocations, inducement to desertion, creating confusion, and apprehension”.

Some BUNCIN intelligence activities were directed against “senior foreign government officials” and were “blamed on other government agencies or even on the intelligence services of other nations”. Other BUNCIN activities were directed against American civic and political groups.

BNDD officials managed BUNCIN’s legal activities, while Conein at the SIO managed its political and CIA aspects. According to Conein’s administrative deputy, Rich Kobakoff, “BUNCIN was an experiment in how to finesse the law. The end product was intelligence, not seizures or arrests”. CIA officers Robert Medell and William Logay were selected to manage BUNCIN.

A Bay of Pigs veteran born in Cuba, Medell was initially assigned to the Twofold program. Medell was BUNCIN’s “covert” agent and recruited its principal agents. All of his assets had previously worked for the CIA, and all believed they were working for it again.

Medell started running agents in March 1973 with the stated goal of penetrating the Trafficante organization. To this end, the BNDD’s Enforcement Chief, Andy Tartaglino, introduced Medell to Sal Caneba, a retired Mafioso who had been in business with Trafficante in the 1950s. Caneba in one day identified the head of the Cuban side of the Trafficante family, as well as its organizational structure.

But the CIA refused to allow the BNDD to pursue the investigation, because it had employed Trafficante in its assassination attempts against Fidel Castro, and because Trafficante’s Operation 40 associates were performing similar functions for the CIA around the world.

Medell’s Principal Agent was Bay of Pigs veteran Guillermo Tabraue, whom the CIA paid $1,400 a week. While receiving this princely sum, Tabraue participated in the “Alvarez-Cruz” drug smuggling ring.

Medell also recruited agents from Manuel Artime’s anti-Castro Cuban organization. Former CIA officer and White House “Plumber” Howard Hunt, notably, had been Artime’s case officer for years, and many members of Artime’s organization had worked for Ted Shackley while Shackley was the CIA’s station chief in Miami.

Bill Logay was the “overt” agent assigned to the BUNCIN office in Miami. Logay had been Shackley’s bodyguard in Saigon in 1969. From 1970~1971, Logay had served as a special police liaison and drug coordinator in Saigon’s Precinct 5. Logay was also asked to join Twofold but claims to have refused.

Medell’s and Logay’s reports were hand delivered to BNDD headquarters via the Defense Department’s classified courier service. The Defense Department was in charge of emergency planning and provided BUNCIN agents with special communications equipment. The CIA supplied BUNCIN’s assets with forged IDs that enabled them to work for foreign governments, including Panama, Venezuela, and Costa Rica.

Like Twofold, BUNCIN had two agendas. One, according to Chief Inspector Fuller, “was told” and had a narcotics mission. The other provided cover for the Plumbers. Orders for the domestic political facet emanated from the White House and passed through Conein to “Plumber” Gordon Liddy and his “Operation Gemstone” squad of exile Cuban terrorists from the Artime organization.

Enforcement chief Tartaglino was unhappy with the arrangement and gave Agent Ralph Frias the job of screening anti-Castro Cubans sent by the White House to the BNDD. Frias was assigned to International Affairs chief George Belk. When Nixon’s White House chief of staff H R “Bob” Haldeman sent over three Cubans, Frias interviewed them and realized they were “plants”. Those three were not hired, but, Frias lamented, many others were successfully infiltrated inside the BNDD and other federal agencies.

Under BUNCIN cover, CIA anti-Castro assets reportedly kidnapped and assassinated people in Colombia and Mexico. BUNCIN’s White House sponsors also sent CIA anti-Castro Cuban assets to gather dirt on Democratic politicians in Key West. With BUNCIN, federal drug law enforcement sank to new lows of political repression and corruption.

Novo Yardley

The Nixon White House introduced the “operations by committee” management method to ensure control over its illegal drug operations. But as agencies involved in drug law enforcement pooled resources, the BNDD’s mission was diluted and diminished.

And, as the preeminent agency in the federal government, the CIA not only separated itself from the BNDD as part of Bolten’s parallel mechanism, it rode off into the sunset on the BNDD’s horse. For example, at their introductory meeting in Mexico City in 1972, Ted Shackley told Latin American division chief Strickler to hand over all BNDD files, informant lists, and cable traffic.

According to Strickler, “Bad things happened”. The worst abuse was that the CIA allowed drug shipments into the US without telling the BNDD. “Individual stations allowed this”, SIO Director John Warner confirmed.

In so far as evidence acquired by CIA electronic surveillance is inadmissible in court, the CIA was able to protect its controlled deliveries into the US merely by monitoring them. Numerous investigations had to be terminated as a result. Likewise, dozens of prosecutions were dismissed on national security grounds due to the participation of CIA assets operating around the world.

Strickler knew which CIA people were guilty of sabotaging cases in Latin America and wanted to indict them. And so, at Bolten’s insistence, Strickler was reassigned. Meanwhile, CIA assets from Bolten’s unilateral drug unit were kidnapping and assassinating traffickers as part of Operation Twofold.

BNDD Director Ingersoll confirmed the existence of this covert facet of Twofold. Its purpose, he said, was to put people in deep cover in the US to develop intelligence on drug trafficking, particularly from South America. The regional directors weren’t aware of it. Ingersoll said he got approval from Attorney General John Mitchell and passed the operation on to John Bartels, the first administrator of the DEA. He said the unit did not operate inside the US, which is why he thought it was legal.

Ingersoll added that he was surprised that no one from the Rockefeller Commission asked him about it.

Joseph DiGennaro’s entry into the covert facet of Operation Twofold began when a family friend, who knew CIA officer Jim Ludlum, suggested that he apply for a job with the BNDD. Then working as a stockbroker in New York, DiGennaro met Fuller in August 1971 in Washington. Fuller gave DiGennaro the code name Novo Yardley, based on his posting in New York, and as a play on the name of the famous codebreaker.

After DiGennaro obtained the required clearances, he was told that he and several other recruits were being “spun-off” from Twofold into the CIA’s “operational” unit. The background check took fourteen months, during which time he received intensive combat and trade-craft training.

In October 1972 he was sent to New York City and assigned to an enforcement group as a cover. His paychecks came from BNDD funds, but the program was reimbursed by the CIA through the Bureau of Mines. The program was authorized by the “appropriate” Congressional committee.

DiGennaro’s unit was managed by the CIA’s Special Operations Division in conjunction with the military, which provided assets within foreign military services to keep ex-filtration routes (air corridors and roads) open. The military cleared airspace when captured suspects were brought into the US. DiGennaro spent most of his time in South America, but the unit operated worldwide. The CIA unit numbered about forty men, including experts in printing, forgery, maritime operations, and telecommunications.

DiGennaro would check with Fuller and take sick time or annual leave to go on missions. There were lots of missions. As his BNDD group supervisor in New York said, “Joey was never in the office”.

The job was tracking down, kidnapping, and, if they resisted, killing drug traffickers. Kidnapped targets were incapacitated by drugs and dumped in the US. As DEA Agent Gerry Carey recalled, “We’d get a call that there was ‘a present’ waiting for us on the corner of 116th Street and Sixth Avenue. We’d go there and find some guy, who’d been indicted in the Eastern District of New York, handcuffed to a telephone pole. We’d take him to a safe house for questioning and, if possible, turn him into an informer. Sometimes we’d have him in custody for months. But what did he know?”

If you’re a Corsican drug dealer in Argentina, and men with police credentials arrest you, how do you know it’s a CIA operation? DiGennaro’s last operation in 1977 involved the recovery of a satellite that had fallen into a drug dealer’s hands. Such was the extent of the CIA’s “parallel mechanism”.

The Dirty Dozen

With the formation of the Drug Enforcement Administration in July 1973, BUNCIN was renamed the DEA Clandestine Operations Network (“DEACON 1“). A number of additional DEACONs were developed through Special Field Intelligence Programs (“SFIP“). As an extension of BUNCIN, DEACON 1 developed intelligence on traffickers in Costa Rica, Ohio, and New Jersey; politicians in Florida; terrorists and gun runners; the sale of boats and helicopters to Cuba; and the Trafficante organization.

Under DEA chief John Bartels, administrative control fell under Enforcement Chief George Belk and his Special Projects assistant Philip Smith. Through Belk and Smith, the Office of Special Projects had become a major facet of Bolten’s parallel mechanism. It housed the DEA’s air wing (staffed largely by CIA officers), conducted “research programs” with the CIA, provided technical aids and documentation to agents, and handled fugitive searches.

As part of DEACON 1, Smith sent covert agent Bob Medell “to Caracas or Bogota to develop a network of agents”. As Smith noted in a memorandum, reimbursement for Medell “is being made in backchannel fashion to CIA under payments to other agencies and is not counted as a position against us”.

Thoroughly suborned by Bolten and the CIA, DEA Administrator Bartels established a priority on foreign clandestine narcotics collection. And when Belk proposed a special operations group in intelligence, Bartels immediately approved it. In March 1974, Belk assigned the group to Lou Conein.

As chief of the Intelligence Group/Operations (“IGO“), Conein administered the DEA Special Operations Group (“DEASOG“), SFIP and National Intelligence Officers (“NIO“) programs. The chain of command, however, was “unclear” and while Medell reported administratively to Smith, Conein managed operations through a separate chain of command reaching to William Colby, who had risen to the rank of CIA Director concurrent with the formation of the DEA.

Conein had worked for Colby for many years in Vietnam, for through Colby he hired a “dirty dozen” CIA officers to staff DEASOG. As NIOs (not regular gun-toting DEA agents), the DEASOG officers did not buy narcotics or appear in court but instead used standard CIA operating procedures to recruit assets and set up agent networks for the long-range collection of intelligence on trafficking groups. They had no connection to the DEA and were housed in a safe house outside headquarters in downtown Washington, DC.

The first DEASOG recruits were CIA officers Elias P Chavez and Nicholas Zapata. Both had paramilitary and drug control experience in Laos. Colby’s personnel assistant Jack Mathews had been Chavez’s case officer at the Long Thien base, where General Vang Pao ran his secret drug-smuggling army under Ted Shackley’s auspices from 1966~1968.

A group of eight CIA officers followed: Wesley Dyckman, a Chinese linguist with service in Vietnam, was assigned to San Francisco. Louis J Davis, a veteran of Vietnam and Laos, was assigned to the Chicago Regional Intelligence Unit. Christopher Thompson from the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam went to San Antonio. Hugh E Murray, veteran of Pakse and Bolivia (where he participated in the capture of Che Guevara), was sent to Tucson. Thomas D McPhaul had worked with Conein in Vietnam and was sent to Dallas. Thomas L Briggs, a veteran of Laos and a friend of Shackley’s, went to Mexico. Vernon J Goertz, a Shackley friend who had participated in the Allende coup, went to Venezuela. David A Scherman, a Conein friend and former manager of the CIA’s interrogation center in Da Nang, was sent to sunny San Diego.

Gary Mattocks, who ran CIA counter-terror teams in Vietnam’s Delta, and interrogator Robert Simon were the eleventh and twelfth members. Terry Baldwin, Barry Carew, and Joseph Lagattuta joined later.

According to Davis, Conein created DEASOG specifically to do Phoenix program-style jobs overseas: the type where a paramilitary officer breaks into a trafficker’s house, takes his drugs, and slits his throat. The NIOs were to operate overseas where they would target traffickers the police couldn’t reach, like a prime minister’s son or the police chief in Acapulco if he was the local drug boss. If they couldn’t assassinate the target, they would bomb his labs or use psychological warfare to make him look like he was a DEA informant, so his own people would kill him.

The DEASOG people “would be breaking the law”, Davis observed, “but they didn’t have arrest powers overseas anyway”.

Conein envisioned fifty NIOs operating worldwide by 1977. But a slew of Watergate-related scandals forced the DEA to curtail its NIO program and reorganize its covert operations staff and functions in ways that have corrupted federal drug law enforcement beyond repair.

Assassination Scandals

The first scandal focused on DEACON 3, which targeted the Aviles-Perez organization in Mexico. Eli Chavez, Nick Zapata, and Barry Carew were the NIOs assigned.

A veteran CIA officer who spoke Spanish, Carew had served as a special police adviser in Saigon before joining the BNDD. Carew was assigned as Conein’s Latin American desk officer and managed Chavez and Zapata (aka “the Mexican Assassin”) in Mexico. According to Chavez, a White House Task Force under Howard Hunt had started the DEACON 3 case. The Taskforce provided photographs of the Aviles Perez compound in Mexico, from whence truckloads of marijuana were shipped to the US

Funds were allotted in February 1974, at which point Chavez and Zapata traveled to Mexico City as representatives of the North American Alarm and Fire Systems Company. In Mazatlán, they met with Carew, who stayed at a fancy hotel and played tennis every day, while Chavez and Zapata, whom Conein referred to as “pepper-bellies”, fumed in a flea-bag motel.

An informant arranged for Chavez, posing as a buyer, to meet Perez. A deal was struck, but DEA chief John Bartels made the mistake of instructing Chavez to brief the DEA’s regional director in Mexico City before making “the buy”.

At this meeting, the DEACON 3 agents presented their operational plan. But when the subject of “neutralizing” Perez came up, analyst Joan Banister took this to mean assassination. Bannister reported her suspicions to DEA headquarters, where the anti-CIA faction leaked her report to Washington Post columnist Jack Anderson.

Anderson’s allegation that the DEA was providing cover for a CIA assassination unit included revelations that the Senate had investigated IGO chief Conein for shopping around for assassination devices, like exploding ashtrays and telephones. Conein managed to keep his job, but the trail led to his comrade from the OSS, Mitch Werbell.

A deniable asset Conein used for parallel operations, Werbell had tried to sell several thousand silenced machine pistols to DEACON 1 target Robert Vesco, then living in Costa Rica surrounded by drug trafficking Cuban exiles in the Trafficante organization. Trafficante was also, at the time, living in Costa Rica as a guest of President Figueres whose son had purchased weapons from Werbell and used them to arm a death squad he formed with DEACON 1 asset Carlos Rumbault, a notorious anti-Castro Cuban terrorist and fugitive drug smuggler.

Meanwhile, in February 1974, DEA Agent Anthony Triponi, a former Green Beret and member of Operation Twofold, was admitted to Saint Luke’s Hospital in New York “suffering from hypertension”. DEA inspectors found Triponi in the psychiatric ward, distraught because he had broken his “cover” and now his “special code” would have to be changed.

Thinking he was insane, the DEA inspectors called former chief inspector Patrick Fuller in California, just to be sure. As it turned out, everything Triponi had said about Twofold was true! The incredulous DEA inspectors called the CIA and were stunned when they were told: “If you release the story, we will destroy you”.

By 1975, Congress and the Justice Department were investigating the DEA’s relations with the CIA. In the process, they stumbled on, among other things, plots to assassinate Torrijos and Noriega in Panama, as well as Tripodi’s Medusa Program.

In a draft report, one DEA inspector described Medusa as follows: “Topics considered as options included psychological terror tactics, substitution of placebos to discredit traffickers, use of incendiaries to destroy conversion laboratories, and disinformation to cause internal warfare between drug trafficking organizations; other methods under consideration involved blackmail, use of psychopharmacological techniques, bribery, and even terminal sanctions.

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Douglas Valentine is author of The Phoenix Program (2000), which is available through Amazon, as well as The Strength of the Wolf (2004) and the new book Strength of the Pack (2009). His Web sites are http://www.douglasvalentine.com/index.html, http://www.members.authorsguild.net/valentine/, and http://trineday.com/paypal_store/product_pages/Strength_of_the_Pack.html

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https://consortiumnews.com/2015/09/10/cia-and-the-drug-business/

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