The Mind Renewed: ISIS and the Strategy of Tension Corbett •

http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/2014/567-int064

http://www.corbettreport.com/interview-961-the-mind-renewed-isis-and-the-strategy-of-tension/

Interview 961 – The Mind Renewed: ISIS and the Strategy of Tension
Corbett • 10/26/2014

James Corbett, investigative journalist and host of The Corbett Report, joins us once again, this time for a detailed interview on the subject of ISIS.

How are we to understand ISIS? (IS? ISIL? AQI? JTJ? …?) Is it, as often presented, essentially a spontaneous grouping of violent jihadists with aspirations for a global caliphate? Or is it, in reality, a multi-faceted phenomenon, arising out of – and manipulated by – various religious, geopolitical and corporate interests, each with its own vested interests in promoting ongoing destabilisation of the Middle East?

Drawing upon his years of research into geopolitics, and sharing with us from an open-source investigation into ISIS at The Corbett Report, James analyses this bewildering corner of the Grand Chess Board and identifies likely Players to help us interpret the Moves as the deadly Game continues.

The Deep State and the Bias of Official History

by Peter Dale Scott

How do Wall Street, oil companies and the shadow government agencies like the CIA and NSA really shape the global political order?

That’s the question author Peter Dale Scott examines in his forthcoming book “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy,” due out on Nov. 12. Scott, a professor emeritus of English at Berkeley and former Canadian diplomat, is considered the father of “deep politics”—the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected.

In the “American Deep State,” Scott takes a compelling look at the facts lurking behind the official histories of events to uncover the real dynamics in play. In this exclusive excerpt—the first of several we will feature on WhoWhatWhy—he looks at the revolving door between Wall Street and the CIA, and what that demonstrates about where power truly resides. 

***

In the last decade it has become more and more obvious that we have in America today what the journalists have called… America’s “deep state.” (1)

This expansion of a two-level or dual state has been paralleled by two other dualities: the increasing resolution of American society into two classes—the “one percent” and the “ninety-nine percent”—and the bifurcation of the U.S. economy into two aspects: the domestic, still subject to some governmental regulation and taxation, and the international, relatively free from governmental controls. (2)

All three developments have affected and intensified each other—particularly since the Reagan Revolution of 1980, which saw American inequality of wealth cease to diminish and begin to increase. (3) Thus for example Wall Street—the incarnation of the “one percent”— played a significant role in creating the CIA after World War II, and three decades later the CIA and big oil played a significant role in realigning American politics for the Reagan Revolution.

There is an ambiguous symbiosis between two aspects of the American deep state:

  1. 1. The Beltway agencies of the shadow government, like the CIA and NSA, which have been instituted by the public state and now overshadow it, and
  2. 2.  The much older power of Wall Street, referring to the powerful banks and law firms located there.

Top-level Treasury officials, CIA officers, and Wall Street bankers and lawyers think much alike because of the “revolving door” by which they pass easily from private to public service and back.

But a much larger role for the private sector has come with the increased outsourcing of the government’s intelligence budget. Tim Shorrock revealed in 2007 that “about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends every year on . . . intelligence” is now outsourced to private intelligence contractors like Booz, Allen & Hamilton (now Booz Allen Hamilton) and SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation). (4)

The Overworld

I shall argue that in the 1950s, Wall Street was a dominating complex. It included not just banks and law firms but also the oil majors whose cartel arrangements were successfully defended against the U.S. government by the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, home to the Dulles brothers. This larger complex is what I mean by the Wall Street overworld.

There seems to be little difference in Allen Dulles’s influence whether he was a Wall Street lawyer or a CIA director. Although he did not formally join the CIA until November 1950, he was in Berlin before the start of the 1948 Berlin Blockade, “supervising the unleashing of anti-Soviet propaganda across Europe.” (5) In the early summer of 1948, he set up the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), in support of what became, by the early 1950s, “the largest CIA operation in Western Europe.” (6)

The CIA never abandoned its dependency on funds from outside its official budget to conduct its clandestine operations. In Southeast Asia in particular, its proprietary firm Sea Supply Inc. supplied an infrastructure for a drug traffic supporting a CIA-led paramilitary force, PARU. [Two CIA proprietaries, Sea Supply Inc. and Civil Air Transport (CAT) Inc. (later Air America), initially supplied the KMT 93rd Division in Burma that organized opium mule trains down to Thailand, where opium sales were still legal.

Later, when the USG officially distanced itself from the KMT drug army, the CIA organized an offensive and defensive paramilitary unit, PARU, inside the Thai Border Police (BPP). Like the BPP, PARU financed itself by seizing KMT opium and turning it in to the Thai Government, receiving a bounty payment of 12.5 percent of the retail value.] (7)

***

The CIA appears also to have acted in coordination with slush funds from various U.S. government contracts, ranging from the Howard Hughes organization to the foreign arms sales of U.S. defense corporations like Lockheed and Northrop. (8)

The international lawyers of Wall Street did not hide from each other their shared belief that they understood better than Washington the requirements for running the world.

This mentality exhibited itself in 1952, when Truman’s Justice Department sought to break up the cartel agreements whereby Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) and four other oil majors controlled global oil distribution. (The other four were Standard Oil Company of New York or Socony [later Mobil], Standard Oil of California [now Chevron], Gulf Oil, and Texaco. Together with Royal Dutch Shell and Anglo-Iranian, they comprised the so-called “Seven Sisters” of the cartel.)

Faced with a government order to hand over relevant documents, Exxon’s lawyer Arthur Dean at Sullivan and Cromwell, where Foster Dulles was senior partner, refused: “If it were not for the question of national security, we would be perfectly willing to face either a criminal or a civil suit. But this is the kind of information the Kremlin would love to get its hands on.” (9)

Overthrowing Iran

At this time the oil cartel was working closely with the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC, later BP) to prevent AIOC’s nationalization by Iran’s Premier Mossadeq [or Mosaddeq], by instituting, in May 1951, a successful boycott of Iranian oil exports. “In May 1951 the AIOC secured the backing of the other oil majors, who had every interest in discouraging nationalisation. . . . None of the large companies would touch Iranian oil; despite one or two picturesque episodes, the boycott held.” (10)

Mohammad Mossadeq

But Truman declined, despite a direct personal appeal from Churchill, to have the CIA participate in efforts to overthrow Mossadeq, and instead dispatched Averell Harriman to Tehran in a failed effort to negotiate a peaceful resolution of Mossadeq’s differences with London. (11)

All this changed with the election of Eisenhower in November 1952 (with considerable support from the oil industry), followed by the appointment of the Dulles brothers to be Secretary of State and head of CIA.

In November 1952 CIA officials began planning to involve the CIA in the efforts of MI6 and the oil companies in Iran (12)—although its notorious Operation TP/AJAX to overthrow Mossadeq was not finally approved by Eisenhower until July 22, 1953. (13)

Dr. Mossadeq entering court for his trial.

Nearly all recent accounts of Mossadeq’s overthrow treat it as a covert intelligence operation, with the oil cartel (when mentioned at all) playing a subservient role. However the chronology, and above all the belated approval from Eisenhower, suggest that it was CIA that came belatedly in 1953 to assist an earlier oil cartel operation, rather than vice versa.

In terms of the deep state, in 1951 the oil cartel or deep state initiated a process that the American public state only authorized two years later. Yet the inevitable bias in academic or archival historiography, working only with those primary sources that are publicly available, is to think of the Mossadeq tragedy as simply a “CIA coup.”

Footnotes

 1.          Mike Lofgren, “A Shadow Government Controls America,” Reader Supported News, February 22, 2014, http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22216 -a-shadow-government-controls.

2.           To take a single telling example, six of Sam Walton’s heirs are now reportedly wealthier than the bottom 30 percent of Americans, or 94.5 million people (Tim Worstall, “Six Waltons Have More Wealth Than the Bottom 30% of Americans,” Forbes, December 14, 2011, http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2011/12/14/six -waltons-have-more-wealth-than-the-bottom-30-of-americans/).

3.           See Kevin Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath (New York:     HarperCollins, 1991).

4.           Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 6.

5.           Gordon Thomas, Secret Wars: One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6 (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2009), 98.

6.           Richard Aldrich, The Hidden Hand: Britain, America, and Cold War Secret Intelligence (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2001), 343. Dulles also chaired the executive committee of the companion National Committee for a Free Europe (behind the Iron Curtain), whose legal affairs were handled by Sullivan and Cromwell (Wilson D. Miscamble, George F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947–1950 [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992], 204).

7.             Scott, American War Machine, 65–67, 87–96.

8.             Norman Mailer, “A Harlot High and Low: Reconnoitering Through the Secret Government,” New York, August 16, 1976 (Hughes); Michael Schaller, Altered States: The United States and Japan Since the Occupation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 294 (Lockheed).

9.             Ovid Demaris, Dirty Business: The Corporate-Political Money-Power Game (New York: Avon, 1974), 213–14.

10.           J. P. D. Dunbabin, International Relations Since 1945: A History in Two Volumes, 
vol. 2, (London: Longman, 1994), 344. The boycott is denied without argumentation in Exxon’s corporate history (Bennett H. Wall et al., Growth in a Changing Environment: A History of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), Exxon Corporation, 1950–1975, vol. 4 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988), 476:

11.           Mostafa Elm, Oil, Power, and Principle: Iran’s Oil Nationalization and Its Aftermath (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1992), 198–99 (Churchill); Robert Moskin, American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2013), 627–28 (Harriman).

12.           William Roger Louis, “Britain and the Overthrow of Mossadeq,” in Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, eds., Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2004), 168. Cf. William R. Clark, Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2005), 125: “The Dulles brothers had already conceived a plot when Eisenhower became president in January 1953;” Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 83: “[In November 1952] “The CIA was setting out to depose [Mossadeq] without the imprimatur of the White House.”

13.           Scot Macdonald, Rolling the Iron Dice: Historical Analogies and Decisions to Use Military Force in Regional Contingencies (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000), 98. Cf. Richard H. Immerman, John Foster Dulles: Piety, Pragmatism, and Power in U.S. Foreign Policy (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1999), 67. Allen Dulles played a personal role in TP/AJAX, by flying to Italy and persuading the frightened Shah to return to Tehran.

- See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/10/26/the-deep-state-and-the-bias-of-official-history-2/#sthash.dztHi2cm.dpuf

Bid to Solve 9/11 Mystery Via NYC Ballot Ends After Court Ruling

Building 7 before it collapsed

An effort to put a new investigation into the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 up for vote in New York City won’t be on the November ballot, after a New York State Supreme Court judge upheld a ruling dismissing the proposed referendum.

The High-Rise Safety Initiative, which raised $350,000 and collected about 100,000 signatures to support its effort, decided not to appeal the decision by Judge Paul Wooten. Why? To keep open an avenue to try again at the next election in 2016, according to Ted Walter, the group’s executive director.

“We are going to take a little break, and try to evaluate whether we can redraft the petition to be successful in the future,” he told WhoWhatWhy.

The chances of winning on appeal now are slim and a loss now would foreclose an opportunity to counter the City’s use of a particular technicality to successfully scuttle this attempt, Walter said. That involved a finding that the High-Rise Safety Initiative’s proposed ballot measure was “merely advisory” and therefore not allowed. A special referee assigned to oversee the case (whose findings Judge Wooten upheld) also ruled that the group’s plan to finance the investigation wasn’t legally permissible.

That the High-Rise Safety Initiative made it this far should be considered against this fact: only two proposed referenda have made it to the ballot in New York City in the last 50 years. And neither of those cost money to implement, as the High-Rise Safety Initiative would have. New York City electoral laws are written such that it’s next to impossible to get any similar measures in front of voters.

In a few months, the High-Rise Safety Initiative will discuss whether to try again, considering three factors before proceeding, Walter said.

Those are: 1) Whether it can propose a plan to finance the investigation that can’t be challenged 2) Whether it can surmount the City’s legal argument that the proposed referendum is “merely advisory” and 3) If it can raise the minimum $300,000, especially now that this round in court has demonstrated just how long the odds against success are.

Until that happens, the question of how Building 7 collapsed so swiftly and uniformly will remain a baffling part of the story of 9/11 still unanswered by the official probe.

- See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/10/09/bid-to-solve-911-mystery-via-nyc-ballot-ends-after-court-ruling/#sthash.JcnEWD9K.dpuf

9/11 Activist Surrenders To Police After Camerons UN Speech

http://truthfrequencyradio.com/wow-91…A 9/11 British activist hands himself in to UK’s counter terrorism police following British Prime Ministers David Cameron’s speech at the UN General Assembly last week, Press TV reports.

In response to Cameron’s remarks equating people, who question 9/11 and 7/7 attacks in the US and UK as well as the West’s policy towards the Middle East, with Takfiri preachers who radicalize extremists, Nick Kollerstrom handed himself in.

“As the evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it. And we know what this world view is, the peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or the 7/7 London attacks were staged; the idea that Muslims are persecuted all over the world as a deliberate act of Western policy,” Cameron said while addressing the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25. Explaining his actions to the Press TV correspondent in London, Kollerstrom said, “David Cameron has redefined terrorism at the UN to include people, who believe that the London bombings involve government complicity, were to some degree arranged, which I certainly do believe, and I’ve published a book on the subject and also I believe the 9/11 was an inside job. I do think Islamic nations are being selectively targeted, it’s perfectly obvious, and if the police force are going by his directive what constitutes terrorism, it seems to me that they need to arrest me.”

The Press TV correspondent was present while Colestrom handed himself in.

“We want to report a possible terror threat, we’ve got a bit of evidence and wonder if we could come in and report it,” Kollerstrom said at Scotland Yard headquarters in London.

The British police refused to arrest Colestrom, but he said that Cameron’s definition of nonviolent extremism will lead to the arrest of many Muslims, who share his views, and described it as another example of racial profiling.

9/11 Activist Surrenders To Police After Camerons UN Speech Deemed Truthers as EXTREMISTS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TGgL6cAyKg

The Hidden Government Group Linking JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra and 9/11

Captains America Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, rigged to self-destruct. By Mr. Fish

Peter Dale Scott is considered the father of “Deep Politics”— the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected, appointed and career officials who come and go.

A Professor of English at Berkeley and a former Canadian diplomat, he is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the pivotal events of our country’s recent past, including Deep Politics and the Death of JFK ; Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina (War and Peace Library); The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America
and 
 American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (War and Peace Library)He is also a poet, whose long work, Coming to Jakarta: A Poem about Terror, was hailed as “the most important political poem to appear in the English language in a very long time,” by Robert Hass, Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. 

01Daniel Ellsberg said of his book Drugs, Oil and War, “It makes most academic and journalistic explanations of our past and current interventions read like government propaganda written for children.”

What follows is based on a recent Scott lecture entitled “The JFK Assassination and Other Deep Events”, and will be expanded on further in his next book, The American Deep Statedue out in November.

***

For some time now, I have been analyzing American history in the light of what I have called structural deep events: events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, or 9/11, which repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, are mysterious to begin with, are embedded in ongoing covert processes, have political consequences that enlarge covert government, and are subsequently covered up by systematic falsifications in the mainstream media and internal government records.

The more I study these deep events, the more I see suggestive similarities between them, increasing the possibility that they are not unrelated external intrusions on American history, but parts of an endemic process, sharing to some degree or other a common source.

 A deep state event seen from deep space. New York City, 9/11.  NASA Photo

For example, one factor linking Dallas, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11, has been the involvement in all four deep events of personnel involved in America’s highest-level emergency planning, known since the 1950s as Continuity of Government (COG) planning, or more colloquially inside the Pentagon as “the Doomsday Project.” A few of these actors may have been located at the top, as overseers of the secret COG system. Others – including some I shall talk about today – were located further down in its secret communications network.

I see this planning group as one among many in what I have chosen to call the American deep state, along with agencies like the CIA and NSA, the private groups like Booz Allen Hamilton to which more than half of the US intelligence budget is outsourced, and finally the powerful banks and corporations whose views are well represented in the CIA and NSA. But if only one group among many, the COG planning group is also special, because of its control of and access to a communications channel, not under government control, that can reach deeply into the US social structure. I discuss these matters at some length in my next book, The American Deep State, due out in November.

03COG planning was originally authorized by Truman and Eisenhower as planning for a response to a crippling atomic attack that had decapitated government. In consequence its planning group contemplated extreme measures, including what Alfonso Chardy in 1987 called “suspension of the Constitution.” And yet in Iran-Contra its asset of a secret communications network, developed for the catastrophe of decapitation, was used instead to evade an official embargo on arms sales to Iran that dated back to 1979. My question today is whether the network could have been similarly misused in November 1963.

The Iran-contra misuse has been well-documented. Oliver North supervised the sale of arms to Iran by using his resources as the National Security Council action officer for COG planning, under cover of a “National Program Office” that was overseen by then Vice-President George H. W.  Bush. North and his superiors could thus use the COG emergency network, known then as Flashboard, for the arms sales to Iran that had to be concealed from other parts of the Washington bureaucracy as well as the public. So when North had to send emergency instructions for arms delivery to the US Embassy in Lisbon, instructions that directly contravened the embargo prohibiting such sales, he used the Flashboard network to avoid alerting the Ambassador and other unwitting personnel.

04The documented example of Iran-Contra allows me to explain what I am saying about the users of the COG network, and also what I am not saying. To begin with, I am not saying that a single “Secret Team” has for decades been using the COG network to manipulate the US Government from outside it. There is no evidence to suggest that North’s actions in Iran-Contra were known to any of his superiors other than CIA chief William Casey and probably George Bush. The point is that a very small group had access to a high-level secret network outside government review, in order to implement a program in opposition to government policy. They succumbed to the temptation to use this secure network that had been designed for other purposes. I have argued elsewhere that this secure network was used again on 9/11, to implement key orders for which the 9/11 Commission could find no records. Whether it was also used for illicit purposes is not known.

It is certain that the COG emergency network program survived North’s demise, and continued to be secretly developed for decades, at a cost of billions, and overseen by a team including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. It is relevant that the two men’s presence on the committee spanned three administrations – those of Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton — even though at one point under Clinton neither man held a position inside the U.S. government. Such continuity was essential for a group so secret that few records existed of its activities. And on 9/11 COG plans were officially implemented for the first time, by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the two men who had planned them for so many years.

Whether or not they knew about Iran-Contra, Cheney and Rumsfeld were on the COG planning committee at the time of Iran-Contra. There is no such obvious link between COG planning and Watergate, but the involvement of COG personnel in Watergate is nonetheless striking. James McCord, one of the Watergate burglars, was a member of a small Air Force Reserve unit in Washington attached to the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) that was assigned “to draw up lists of radicals and to develop contingency plans for censorship of the news media and U.S. mail in time of war.” His unit was part of the Wartime Information Security Program (WISP), which had responsibility for activating “contingency plans for imposing censorship on the press, the mails and all telecommunications (including government communications) [and] preventive detention of civilian ‘security risks,’ who would be placed in military ‘camps.’” In addition, John Dean, perhaps the central Watergate figure, had overseen secret COG activities when serving as the associate deputy attorney general.

05In the case of the JFK assassination, I wish to focus on two men who functioned as part of the communications network of the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP), the agency renamed in 1968 as the Office of Emergency Preparedness (to which McCord was attached), and renamed again in 1982 as the National Program Office (for which Oliver North was the action officer).

These two men (there are others) are Winston Lawson, the Secret Service advance man who from the lead car of the motorcade was in charge of the Secret Service radio channels operating in the motorcade; and Jack Crichton, the army intelligence reserve officer who with Deputy Dallas Police Chief George Lumpkin selected the Russian interpreter for Marina Oswald’s first (and falsified) FBI interview.

Lawson has drawn the critical attention of JFK researchers, both for dubious actions he took before and during the assassination, and also for false statements he made after it (some of them under oath). For example, Lawson reported after the assassination that motorcycles were deployed on “the right and left flanks of the President’s car” (17 WH 605). On the morning of November 22, however, the orders had been changed (3 WH 244), so that the motorcycles rode instead, as Lawson himself testified to the Warren Commission, “just back of the President’s car” (4 WH 338; cf. 21 WH 768-70). Captain Lawrence of the Dallas Police testified that that the proposed side escorts were redeployed to the rear on Lawson’s own instructions (7 WH 580-81; cf. 18 WH 809, 21 WH 571). This would appear to have left the President more vulnerable to a possible crossfire.

Early on November 22, at Love Field, Lawson installed, in what would become the lead car, the base radio whose frequencies were used by all Secret Service agents on the motorcade. This radio channel, operated by the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), was used for some key decisions before and after the assassination, yet its records, unlike those of the Dallas Police Department (DPD) Channels One and Two, were never made available to the Warren Commission, or any subsequent investigation. The tape was not withheld because it was irrelevant; on the contrary, it contained very significant information.

06The WHCA actually reports to this day on its website that the agency was “a key player in documenting the assassination of President Kennedy.” However it is not clear for whom this documentation was conducted, or why it was not made available to the Warren Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, or the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). It should have been.

For one thing, the WHCA tape, as Vincent Palamara has written, contains the “key” to the unresolved mystery of who, after the shooting, redirected the motorcade to Parkland hospital. The significance of this apparently straightforward command, about which there was much conflicting testimony, is heightened when we read repeated orders on the Dallas Police radio transcript to “cut all traffic for the ambulance going to Parkland code 3” (17 WH 395) – the ambulance in question having nothing to do with the president (whose shooting had not yet been announced on the DPD radio). In fact the ambulance had been dispatched about ten minutes before the assassination to pick someone from in front of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD), who was wrongly suspected of having suffered an epileptic seizure.

Lawson later reported to the Secret Service that he heard on his radio “that we should proceed to the nearest hospital.” He wrote also that he “requested Chief Curry to have the hospital contacted,” and then that “Our Lead Car assisted the motorcycles in escorting the President’s vehicle to Parkland Hospital” (17 WH 632), cf. 21 WH 580). In other words, after hearing something on the WHCA radio, Lawson helped ensure that the President’s limousine would follow the route already set up by the motorcycles for the epileptic. (In his very detailed Warren Commission testimony, Lawson said nothing about the route having already been cleared. On the contrary he testified that “we had to do some stopping of cars and holding our hands out the windows and blowing the sirens and horns to get through” (4 WH 354).

The WHCA radio channel used by Lawson and others communicated almost directly to the WHCA base at Mount Weather in Virginia, the base facility of the COG network. From there, Secret Service communications were relayed to the White House, via the

batteries of communications equipment connecting Mount Weather with the White House and “Raven Rock” — the underground Pentagon sixty miles north of Washington — as well as with almost every US military unit stationed around the globe.

Jack Crichton, head of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit of Dallas, was also part of this Mount Weather COG network. This was in his capacity as chief of intelligence for Dallas Civil Defense, which worked out of an underground Emergency Operating Center. As Russ Baker reports, “Because it was intended for ‘continuity of government’ operations during an attack, [the Center] was fully equipped with communications equipment.” In retrospect the Civil Defense Program is remembered derisively, for having advised schoolchildren, in the event of an atomic attack, to hide their heads under their desks.But in 1963 civil defense was one of the urgent responsibilities assigned to the Office of Emergency Planning, which is why Crichton, as much as Secret Service agent Lawson, could be in direct touch with the OEP’s emergency communications network at Mount Weather.

07Jack Crichton is of interest because he, along with DPD Deputy Chief George Lumpkin of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit, was responsible for choosing a Russian interpreter for Marina Oswald from the right-wing Russian community. This man was Ilya Mamantov, who translated for Marina Oswald at her first DPD interview on November 22. What she allegedly said in Russian at this interview was later used to bolster what I have called the “phase one” story, still promoted from some CIA sources, that Russia and/or Cuba were behind the assassination.

As summarized by the FBI, Mamantov’s account of Marina’s Russian testimony was as follows:

MARINA OSWALD advised that LEE HARVEY OSWALD owned a rifle which he used in Russia about two years ago. She observed what she presumed to be the same rifle in a blanket in the garage at [Ruth Paine’s residence]…. MARINA OSWALD stated that on November 22, she had been shown a rifle in the Dallas Police Department…. She stated that it was a dark color like the one that she had seen, but she did not recall the sight.

These specific details – that Marina said she had seen a rifle that was dark and scopeless – were confirmed in an affidavit (signed by Marina and Mamantov, 24 WH 219) that was taken by DPD officer B.L. Senkel (24 WH 249). They were confirmed again by Ruth Paine, who witnessed the Mamantov interview, (3 WH 82). They were confirmed again the next night in an interview of Marina by the Secret Service, translated by Mamantov’s close friend Peter Gregory. But a Secret Service transcript of the interview reveals that the source of these details was Gregory, not Marina:

(Q) This gun, was it a rifle or a pistol or just what kind of a gun? Can she answer that?

(A) It was a gun

Mr. Gregory asked: Can you describe it?

NOTE: Subject said: I cannot describe it because a rifle to me like all rifles.

Gregory translation: She said she cannot describe it. It was sort of a dark rifle just like any other common rifle…

Subject in Russian: It was a hump (or elevation) but I never saw through the scope….

Gregory translation: She says there was an elevation on the rifle but there was no scope – no telescope.

We have to conclude not just that Gregory had falsified Marina’s testimony (“a rifle to me like all rifles”); but so probably had his friend Mamantov, who later testified no less than seven times to the Warren Commission that Marina had used the word “dark” to describe the gun. There were others in Dallas who claimed that Oswald’s gun indeed had been scopeless, until Oswald had a scope installed on it by Dallas gunsmith Dial Ryder. The Warren Report elaborately refuted this corroborated claim, and concluded that “the authenticity of the repair tag” used to support it was “subject to grave doubts.” (WR 317).

We can see here, what the Warren Commission did not wish to see, signs of a conspiracy to misrepresent Marina’s testimony, and possibly to link Oswald’s gun to a dark and scopeless rifle he had in the Soviet Union. Our concerns that Mamantov misrepresented her lead us to concerns about why two Army Intelligence Reserve officers from the 488th unit (Jack Crichton and Deputy DPD Chief George Lumpkin) selected Mamantov as her interpreter. Our concerns are increased when we see that B.L. Senkel, the DPD officer who took Marina’s suspect affidavit, was the partner of F.P. Turner, who collected the dubious rifle repair tag (24 WH 328), and that both men spent most of November 22 with DPD Deputy Chief Lumpkin. For example, they were with Lumpkin in the pilot car of the motorcade when Lumpkin was communicating with Winston Lawson in the lead car behind them.

I conclude that when we look at the conduct of the two men we know to have been parts of the COG emergency communications network in Dallas, we see patterns of sinister behavior that also involved others, or what we may call conspiratorial behavior. These concatenated efforts to implicate Oswald in a phase-one conspiracy narrative lead me to propose a hypothesis for which I have neither evidence nor an alternative explanation: namely, that someone on the WHCA network may have been the source for the important unexplained description on the Dallas Police tapes of a suspect who had exactly the false height and weight (5 feet 10 inches, 165 pounds) recorded for Oswald in his FBI and CIA files.

08Note that there are no other known sources ascribing this specific height and weight to Oswald. For example, when he was arrested and charged in Dallas that same day, Oswald was recorded as having a height of 5’9 ½ inches, and a weight of 131 pounds. The first reference to Oswald as 5’10”, 165 pounds, was that offered by Oswald’s mother Marguerite to FBI Agent Fain in May 1960, when Oswald himself was absent in Russia.

The DPD officer contributing the description on the Police Channel was Inspector Herbert Sawyer, who allegedly had heard it from someone outside the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) whom he could not identify or describe. The Warren Report said categorically that his source was Howard Brennan (WR 5), and that on the evening of November 22, Brennan “identified Oswald as the person in the lineup who bore the closest resemblance to the man in the window but he said that he was unable to make a positive identification” (WR 145). But there are many reasons to doubt this, starting with conflicts in Brennan’s own testimony (as Anthony Summers reported in Conspiracy, pp. 109-10) . And Ian Griggs has made a strong case that Brennan never saw Oswald in a line-up that evening. (There are police records placing Oswald in three line-ups that day, and corroborating witness reports of them; but there is no evidence whatever that Brennan attended any of the three.)

There is another strong reason to doubt that the source was Brennan. Brennan testified later to the Warren Commission that he saw his suspect in a window of the Texas School Book Depository, “standing up and leaning against the left window sill.” Pressed to describe how much of the suspect he saw, Brennan answered, “I could see probably his whole body, from his hips up. But at the time that he was firing the gun, a possibility from his belt up” (3 WH 144).

The awkwardness of Brennan’s language draws attention to the fundamental problem about the description. It is hard to imagine anyone giving a full height and weight estimate from seeing someone who was only partially visible in a window. So there are intrinsic grounds for believing the description must have come from another source. And when we see that the same description is found in Oswald’s FBI and CIA files — and nowhere else – there are reasons to suspect the source was from government secret files.

We have seen that there was interaction in Dallas between the WHCA and DPD radio channels, thanks to the WHCA portable radio that Lawson had installed in the lead car of the presidential motorcade. This radio in turn was in contact by police radio with the pilot car ahead of it, carrying Dallas Police Department (DPD) Deputy Chief Lumpkin of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit. At the same time, as noted above, it was in contact with the COG nerve center at Mount Weather, Virginia. And Mount Weather had the requisite secret communications to receive information from classified intelligence files, without other parts of the government being alerted.

Mount Weather COG Nerve Center

Permit me at this moment an instructive digression. It is by now well established that Kennedy in 1963 was concerned enough by “the threat of far-right treason” that he urgently persuaded Hollywood director John Frankenheimer “to turn [the novel] Seven Days in May into a movie.” In this book, to quote Wikipedia, a

charismatic superior officer, Air Force General James Mattoon Scott, intend[s] to stage a coup d’état …. According to the plan, an undisclosed Army combat unit known as ECOMCON (Emergency COMmunications CONtrol) will seize control of the country’s telephone, radio, and television networks, while the conspiracy directs the military and its allies in Congress and the media from “Mount Thunder” (a continuity of government base based on Mount Weather).

It is no secret also that in 1963 Kennedy had aroused major right-wing dissatisfaction, largely because of signs of his increasing rapprochement with the Soviet Union. The plot of the book and movie reflects the concern of liberals at the time about generals like General Edwin Walker, who had resigned in 1961 after Kennedy criticized his political activities in the Army. (Walker had given his troops John Birch Society literature, along with the names of right-wing candidates to vote for.) We can assume however that Kennedy had no firm evidence of a Mount Weather conspiracy: if he had, it is unlikely his response would have just been to sponsor a fictionalized movie.

It is important at this stage to point out that, although COG elements like Mount Weather were considered part of the Pentagon, the COG “government in waiting” was at no time under military control. On the contrary, President Eisenhower had ensured that it was broadly based at the top, so its planners included some of the nation’s top corporate leaders, like Frank Stanton of CBS. By all accounts of COG leadership in the decades after Reagan took office in 1981, this so-called “shadow government” still included CEOs of private corporations, like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, as well as three former CIA directors: Richard Helms, James Schlesinger, and George Bush.

Alfonso Chardy wrote in 1987 that the “virtual parallel government” empowering North to run Iran-Contra had also developed “a secret contingency plan that called for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the United States over to FEMA.” Subsequently North was questioned in the Iran-Contra Hearings about this charge, but was prevented by the Committee Chairman, Democratic Senator Inouye, from answering in a public session.

Later, investigating the powerful COG planning group, CNN called it “a hidden government [in the USA] about which you know nothing.” James Mann emphasized its hawkish continuity, unaffected by changes of presidency in the White House:

Cheney and Rumsfeld were, in a sense, a part of the permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, inhabitants of a world in which Presidents come and go, but America always keeps on fighting.”

Cheney and Rumsfeld in 1974

Going one step further, Andrew Cockburn quoted a Pentagon source to support a claim that a COG planning group under Clinton was now for the first time staffed “almost exclusively with Republican hawks.” In the words of his source, “You could say this was a secret government-in-waiting. The Clinton administration was extraordinarily inattentive, [they had] no idea what was going on.”

The Pentagon official’s description of COG planners as a “secret government-in-waiting” under Clinton (which still included both Cheney and Rumsfeld) is very close to the standard definition of a cabal, as a group of persons secretly united to bring about a change or overthrow of government. A very similar situation existed under Jimmy Carter, when some of those who would later figure in Iran-Contra (notably George H.W. Bush and Theodore Shackley) worked with chiefs of foreign intelligence services (the so-called Safari Club) “to start working with [former DCI Richard] Helms [then U.S. Ambassador to Iran] and his most trusted operatives outside of Congressional and even Agency purview.” This group began by backing guerrilla forces in Africa (notably UNITA of Jonas Savimbi in Angola), which they knew would not be backed by the CIA under William Colby or Stansfield Turner.

But some of these figures, notably Alexandre de Marenches of the French spy agency SDECE, became involved with Casey, Bush, Shackley, and others in a 1980 plot – the so-called Republican “October Surprise” – to prevent the reelection of Jimmy Carter. The essence of this plot was to frustrate Carter’s efforts to repatriate the hostages seized in the U.S. Tehran Embassy, by negotiating a Republican deal with the Iranians that would be more to their liking. (The hostages in fact were returned hours after Reagan took office in 1981.)

This Republican hostage plot in 1980 deserves to be counted as a fifth structural deep event in recent US history. Unquestionably the illicit contacts with Iran established by the October Surprise Group in 1980 became, as Alfonso Chardy wrote, the “genesis” of the Iran-Contra arms deals overseen by the COG/ Mount Weather planners in 1984-86.

In an important interview with journalist Robert Parry, the veteran CIA officer Miles Copeland claimed that a “CIA within the CIA” inspired the 1980 plot, having concluded by 1980 that Jimmy Carter (in Copeland’s words) “had to be removed from the presidency for the good of the country.” Copeland made it clear to Parry that he shared this view that Carter “represented a grave threat to the nation,” and former Mossad agent Ari Ben-Menashe told Parry that Copeland himself was in fact “the conceptual father” of the 1980 arms-for-hostages deal, and had “brokered [the] Republican cooperation with Israel.” And Copeland, together with his client Adnan Khashoggi whom he advised, went on with Shackley to help launch the 1984-85 Iranian arms deals as well.

However, just as Knebel in Seven Days may have overestimated the military component in the COG Mount Weather

Peter Dale Scott, Russ Baker, David Talbot, Daniel Ellsberg, Jefferson Morley at a recent lunch

leadership, so Copeland may have dwelt too exclusively on the CIA component behind the October Surprise Group. In The Road to 9/11, I suggested that this CIA network overlapped with a so-called “Project Alpha,” working at the time for David Rockefeller and the Chase Manhattan Bank on Iran issues, which was chaired by the veteran establishment figure John J. McCloy.

I will conclude by again quoting James Mann’s dictum that the Mount Weather COG leadership constitutes a “permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, … a world in which Presidents come and go, but America always keeps on fighting.” And I would like this audience to investigate whether elements of this enduring leadership, with its ever-changing mix of CIA veterans and civilian leaders, may have constituted “a secret government-in-waiting,” not just under Clinton in the 1990s, not just under Carter in 1980, but also under Kennedy in November 1963.

 

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014 [forthcoming]). 1.

[2] For a partial list of anomalies between the JFK assassination and 9/11, see Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (New York: Skyhorse, 2013), 341-96.

[3] Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 6.

[4] Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987, http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=9877: “Some of President Reagan’s top advisers have operated a virtual parallel government outside the traditional Cabinet departments and agencies almost from the day Reagan took office, congressional investigators and administration officials have concluded.”

[5] Iran-Contra Committee Counsel Arthur Liman, questioning Oliver North, “had North repeat his testimony that the diversion was Casey’s idea” (Arthur Liman, Lawyer: a life of counsel and controversy [New York: Public Affairs, 1998], 341).

[6] James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the abuse of America’s intelligence agencies (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 72.

[7] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 213-14, 219-29.

[8] Bamford, A Pretext for War, 71-81.

[9] Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All the President’s Men (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 23.

[10] Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (New York: Random House, 1984), 16. For more on WISP, see David Wise, The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power (New York: Random House, 1973), 134-37.

[11] John Dean, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush (New York: Little Brown, 2004), 120. In addition Howard Baker, in 1973 the ranking Republican member of the Senate Committee that investigated Watergate, was later  part of the COG secret leadership (CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991).

[12] James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), 142.

[13] Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 9, p.106 (or 9 WH 106) ; Scott, Deep Politics, 275-76; Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009), 119-22.

[14] “White House Communications Agency,” Signal Corps Regimental History, http://signal150.army.mil/white_house_communications_agency.html.

[15] In the 1990s the WHCA supplied statements to the ARRB concerning communications between Dallas and Washington on November 22 (NARA #172-10001-10002 to NARA #172-10000-10008).  The Assassination Records Review Board also attempted to obtain from the WHCA the unedited original tapes of conversations from Air Force One on the return trip from Dallas, November 22, 1963. (Edited and condensed versions of these tapes had been available since the 1970s from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas.) The attempt was unsuccessful: “The Review Board’s repeated written and oral inquiries of the White House Communications Agency did not bear fruit. The WHCA could not produce any records that illuminated the provenance of the edited tapes.” See Assassinations Records Review Board: Final Report, chapter 6, Part 1, 116, http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/review-board/report/chapter-06-part1.pdf.

[16] 17 WH 394-95, 23 WH 841; 17 WH 368, 395; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 273-74, 278. The alleged epileptic walked away from the ambulance after it arrived at Highland (Warren Commission Document 1245, 6-10).

[17] Statement of Special Agent Winston E. Lawson [to Secret Service],” 17 WH 632; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 278.

[18] Richard Pollock, “The Mysterious Mountain,” The Progressive, March, 1976; cf. “Mount Weather’s ‘Government-in-Waiting,’” http://www.serendipity.li/jsmill/mt_weather.htm.

[19] Russ Baker, Family of Secrets, 121.

[20] Dee Garrison , Bracing for Armageddon: Why Civil Defense Never Worked

(New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 46.

[21] Warren Commission Exhibit 1778, 23 WH 383-84.

[22] Commission Document 344 – SS Howard Tape Copy of 01 Dec 1963, p. 23.

[23] Lee Harvey Oswald fingerprint card, 17 WH 308. The heaviest Oswald actually weighed was 150 pounds, when he left the Marines in 1959 (19 WH 584, 595).

[24] FBI report by Special Agent Fain, dated May 12, 1960, 17 WH 706. In the same report Marguerite named Oswald’s father as “Edward Lee Oswald.” His actual name was Robert Edward Lee Oswald (WR 669-70).

[25] Testimony of Inspector Herbert Sawyer, 6 WH 321-22:  “I remember that he was a white man and that he wasn’t young and he wasn’t old.” Cf. Dallas Police Channel Two Tape at 12:25 PM (23 WH 916).

[26] Ian Griggs, “Did Howard Leslie Brennan Really Attend an Identification Lineup?”

http://spot.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_issues/28th_Issue/id_draft.html.

[27] Statement of Secret Service Winston Lawson, 17 WH 630: “I checked with Chief Curry as to location of Lead Car [at  Love Field] and had WHCA portable radio put in and checked.”

[28] “The lead car was in radio contact with the pilot car by police radio, and with the Presidential limousine by Secret Service portable radios” (Pamela McElwain-Brown, “The Presidential Lincoln Continental SS-100-X,” Dealey Plaza Echo, Volume 3, Issue 2, 23, http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=16241&relPageId=27). Cf. Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 272-75 (Lumpkin).

[29] David Talbot, Brothers: the hidden history of the Kennedy years (New York: Free Press, 2007), 148.

[30] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_in_May.

[31] Jonathan M. Schoenwald, A time for choosing: the rise of modern American conservatism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), .

[32] Hope Yen, “Eisenhower Letters Reveal Doomsday Plan: Citizens Tapped to Take Over in Case of Attack,” AP, Deseret News, March 21, 2004, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595050502/Eisenhower-letters-reveal-doomsday-plan.html?pg=all.

[33] CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991.

[34] Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987, http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=9877: “Some of President Reagan’s top advisers have operated a virtual parallel government outside the traditional Cabinet departments and agencies almost from the day Reagan took office, congressional investigators and administration officials have concluded.”

[35] Iran-Contra Committee Counsel Arthur Liman, questioning Oliver North, “had North repeat his testimony that the diversion was Casey’s idea” (Arthur Liman, Lawyer: a life of counsel and controversy [New York: Public Affairs, 1998], 341). Cf. The “October Surprise” allegations and the circumstances surrounding the release of the American hostages held in Iran: report of the Special Counsel to Senator Terry Sanford and Senator James M. Jeffords of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Volume 4, p. 33 (October Surprise Group).

[36] CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991.

[37] James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans, 145.

[38] Andrew Cockburn, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy (New York: Scribner, 2007), 88.

[39] Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to terror: the rogue CIA and the legacy of America’s private intelligence network (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005), 61.

[40] Piero Gleijeses, Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, [2013]), 66-68; Elaine Windrich, “The Laboratory of Hate: The Role of Clandestine Radio in the Angolan War,” International Journal of Cultural Studies 3(2), 2000.

[41] Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987, http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=9877: “The group, led by campaign foreign policy adviser Richard Allen, was founded out of concern Carter might pull off an “October surprise” such as a last-minute deal for the release of the hostages before the Nov. 4 election. One of the group’s first acts was a meeting with a man claiming to represent Iran who offered to release the hostages to Reagan.

Allen — Reagan’s first national security adviser— and another campaign aide, Laurence Silberman, told The Herald in April of the meeting. they said McFarlane, then a Senate Armed Services Committee aide, arranged and attended it. McFarlane later became Reagan’s national security adviser and played a key role in the Iran-contra affair. Allen and Silberman said they rejected the offer to release the hostages to Reagan.” [The Iranian was Houshang Lavi, and after Lavi’s death Robert Parry confirmed from Lavi’s diary that the meeting did take place].

[42] Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987, http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=9877.

[43] “America’s False History Allows the Powerful to Commit Crimes Without Consequence,” Mark Karlin Interview of Robert Parry, January 15, 2013, Truthout Interview, http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/13904-americas-false-history-allows-the-powerful-to-commit-crimes-without-consequence.

[44] Robert Parry, Trick or Treason, 175.

[45] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America

(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 81-83, 88. A key figure was CIA veteran and Copeland friend Archibald Roosevelt, in 1980 a Carter foe and also  employee of the Chase Manhattan Bank.

[46] Mann, Rise of the Vulcans, 145.

- See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/10/05/the-hidden-government-group-linking-jfk-watergate-iran-contra-and-911/#sthash.3mqs7sxw.dpuf

BOSTON UPDATE: FBI War on Marathon Bombing Witnesses Continues

The FBI’s apparent message to Tsarnaev’s defense team

The Boston Marathon bombing is much more important than has been acknowledged, principally because it is the major domestic national security event since 9-11 and has played a major role in expanding the power of the security state. For that reason, WhoWhatWhy is continuing to investigate troubling aspects of this story and the establishment media treatment of it. So even as it slips from the headlines, we will be exploring new elements of the story regularly as the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev approaches. 

***

 

Since the Boston Marathon bombing a year and a half ago, the FBI appears to be intimidating, harassing, and silencing friends and acquaintances of the Tsarnaev brothers. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers have noticed it too—they’re having trouble getting anyone to talk to them, recent court papers reveal.

In what WhoWhatWhy previously described as the FBI’s “war on witnesses”, the Bureau seems to be employing a scorched earth strategy of destroying anything that might be of use to the “enemy.”

On August 29, Tsarnaev’s lawyers filed a motion requesting a continuance for more time to prepare their defense, noting the fact that they were given only half the median preparation time that federal courts have allowed over the past decade for defendants on trial for their lives. (The judge did grant a two-month delay while refusing the defense request to move the trial out of Boston.)

The lawyers cited “outpaced requirements” in building a proper defense for their client: (1) the international nature of the investigation—including language and geographic barriers, (2) the large amount of evidence that has to be scrutinized, and most tellingly, (3) the climate of intimidation and fear created by the FBI’s investigative efforts since the bombing. They write:

Domestic defense mitigation investigation has been conducted amid a growing atmosphere of anxiety and agitation generated by highly-publicized arrests, indictments, prosecutions, deportations (and, in one instance, the FBI killing) of members of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s peer groups.

Most news reports brush over that last part. As if shooting to death an unarmed man involved in this case—as an FBI agent did to Tamerlan’s friend Ibragim Todashev—is not relevant to the difficulties the defense team has had in getting witnesses to talk to them. But even less extreme events are enough to silence potential witnesses, such as the mysterious closing of their bank accounts.

 The father of Ibragim Todashev displays end result of FBI interview.

Prosecutors resisted this and an earlier attempt to have the trial delayed. The victims have a right to see justice done—swiftly, the thinking goes.

The victims and their families certainly deserve justice for this horrible atrocity. True justice should include a full accounting—something a hurried, one-sided investigation is not likely to produce. And of course Boston and the American public deserve, and need, the truth, whatever it may be.

Yet a close read of the motion document reveals FBI activities that seem more of an effort to conceal than to illuminate.

The FBI’s March to the Sea

Tsarnaev’s defense team makes reference to the most troubling—and most anxiety-producing—action by the FBI since the bombing: the shooting to death of Tamerlan’s friend, Todashev. (See our earlier story on the head-scratching circumstances surrounding that shooting, including the questionable history of the agent who pulled the trigger.)

Some of the FBI’s aggressive tactics described in the defense document look like outright intimidation. For instance, individuals “with lawful immigration status have been detained for hours and required to surrender their electronic devices upon re-entry to the United States.”

And take a look at this excerpt:

“The investigation has been further hampered by aggressive FBI follow-up tracking and questioning of potential witnesses, as well as by the unrelenting attention of the news media.”

It is one thing to be aggressively tracking and questioning individuals suspected of committing crimes, but to be doing this to presumably innocent witnesses reeks of intimidation. Witness intimidation is a tactic ordinarily associated with mafia or drug cartel defendants.

Notably, this “tracking” must have been brought to the attention of defense lawyers by witnesses themselves, indicating overt surveillance: “We’re watching you.”

Then, farther down in the document:

“These difficult circumstances are compounded by a continuing pattern of aggressive FBI re-interviewing of potential witnesses — on occasion within hours of an attempted contact by defense investigator [emphasis added].”

Within hours of an attempted contact by defense investigator? Is the defense team being watched too? (We reached out to Tsarnaev’s defense team hoping they could expand on that, but have not yet had a response.)

1It wouldn’t be the first time the FBI was caught spying on defense lawyers in a high-profile terrorism case. Lawyers for accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed allege that the FBI has been surveilling  them.

Whether legal counsel are being watched directly or simply getting caught up in the surveillance of Tsarnaev’s acquaintances, the effect is the same: the feds know who is talking to whom, and when.

That’s a Nice Immigration Status You Got There…

Witnesses who are not U.S. citizens—which describes the majority of Tsarnaev’s friends, family, and many in the local Muslim community—are particularly vulnerable to law enforcement manipulation. The threat of deportation is a clear and present danger to these individuals, “regardless of whether criminal charges are ever brought or proven against them,” Tsarnaev’s lawyers wrote.

2Indeed, a handful of people loosely connected to the Tsarnaevs have already been deported, or had deportation proceedings initiated against them, despite having nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombing. These include:

-   Konstantin Morozov: friend of Tamerlan, arrested and jailed pending deportation reportedly after refusing to wear a wire for the FBI as the Bureau sought information on one of Tamerlan’s Chechen friends.

-   Tatiana Gruzdeva: girlfriend of Ibragim Todashev, deported after speaking with Boston Magazine about the circumstances surrounding her boyfriend’s death.

  • Tatiana-Gruzdeva

    -   Ashurmamad Miraliev: friend of Ibragim Todashev, was reportedly denied a request for an attorney while interrogated by FBI for over six hours, and transferred to an immigration detention center where deportation proceedings were initiated.

  • Ashurmamad Miraliev

    -   Khusen Taramov: friend of Ibragim Todashev, denied reentry to the United States after visiting Chechnya, despite having a Green Card.

    Khusen Taramov

    Why hasn’t Boston’s “liberal” media made more noise about this? Arguably, the most newsworthy portion of Tsarnaev’s motion for continuance—potential witness intimidation—has been glossed over or ignored in most mainstream media accounts.

    The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations reached out to the media and the public to expose the intimidation and harassment of Todashev’s friends and associates—and got a fair amount press coverage by their local media. The same cannot be said for the Boston area press.

    Have they, albeit indirectly, been intimidated, too? The Boston media has historically had a close relationship with law enforcement, and when it ever so slightly challenged the police, found its usual (and needed) sources shut down.

    However, if ever there was a moment for the local press to do the right thing, this is surely it.

- See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/10/02/boston-update-fbi-war-on-marathon-bombing-witnesses-continues/#sthash.ctVI0bw4.dpuf

Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11? Part 10 and 11

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Written by Frances T. Shure

Part 10: Terror Management Theory

and

Part 11: Systems Justification Theory

© by Frances T. Shure, 2014

911-experts-shureFrances T. Shure, M.A., L.P.C. Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?” The resulting essay, being presented here as a series, is a synthesis of both academic research and clinical observations.

In answering the question in the title of this essay, the August segment, Part 9, reported on the interface between brain research and the study of moral psychology, and how this research demonstrates that some moral convictions are innate and thus hardwired in the human nervous system. Additionally, we learned that some of these innate brain structures make it difficult for 9/11 Truth activists to present their evidence, as well as for listeners to receive this evidence openly.

We continue Ms. Shure’s analysis in October with a dual offering — Part 10: Terror Management Theory, and Part 11: Systems Justification Theory. They examine, respectively, how the fear of our own death and the need to feel good about the cultural system in which we live create resistance to the evidence presented by 9/11 skeptics.

Part 10: Terror Management Theory

terror-mngt-theory-articleTerror Management Theory postulates that whenever we are introduced to information that reminds us of death — such as simply the mention of 9/11 — our anxiety increases, since we are reminded of our own inevitable death. This anxiety is called “mortality salience.” Studies show that our behavior immediately becomes more defensive when we are reminded of death. In turn, we become increasingly insecure. This normally causes us to show increased preference for members of our own group (the “in group”) over out-group members; to show more “consensus bias,” or favoritism toward those who hold beliefs similar to our own; and to develop “compensatory conviction,” an inflated faith in our personal worldview, such as a bias toward our own country and religion.

Therefore, when we skeptics try to educate people about 9/11, we provoke anxiety in our listeners since, unconsciously, we are reminding them of their own death. More defensive behaviors then ensue.

In addition, if our listeners view us as members of a minority group, they usually resist what we are saying — at least initially. If, on the other hand, they view us as members of the majority group, they are more likely to accept our information. In other words, people like to be on the winning side, or in the middle of the bell curve, as we saw in Part 6: Conformity.

As of this writing, skeptics of the official account of 9/11 are generally viewed as holding a minority opinion, but this need not remain the case. The good news is that research shows that information coming from a perceived minority group, although initially resisted, often exerts a hidden or delayed impact. When listeners hear dissenting views repeated, those views become more familiar. Thus, resistant individuals, when interviewed later, often show shifts in favor of the new information.1

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer intuitively understood this delayed impact when he wrote,

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Those of us who are doing the difficult work of advancing 9/11 Truth should keep this delayed impact in mind. If we continue to sow the seeds of the idea that we have been lied to about 9/11, they will germinate and grow in time. But let us do our sowing with documented facts, calmness, and compassion. This is the approach most likely to nourish the growth of 9/11 Truth.

Now, we look at Systems Justification Theory, which overlaps Terror Management Theory.

Part 11: Systems Justification Theory

Social psychologists have recognized for some time that, owing to a need for stability and order, people engage in behaviors that reinforce their self-esteem (ego-justification) and that promote a positive image of the group with which they identify (group-justification).

Systems Justification Theory goes a step further, postulating that people have an additional motive for maintaining stability and order: They feel the need to defend the status quo of the larger social systems with which they identify (systems-justification). In some cases, this need to justify a social system can trump one’s own self-interest and group interest. For example, women who receive less pay for work that is equal to the work of men may justify this inequality by declaring — and believing — that they do not deserve equal pay.

In other words, people want to feel good about the cultural systems in which they live. This applies not only to advantaged groups, but also to disadvantaged groups — even when the prevailing cultural system directly opposes the interests of these disadvantaged groups.

When it comes to the challenge of receiving evidence indicating that our government lied to us about 9/11 — and indeed, when this information points toward the culpability of elements within our own government — a person’s strong need for normalcy, stability, and order may be triggered. This need can overpower his or her need to know the truth.

As behavioral neuroscientist Laurie Manwell states:

It is not surprising, therefore, that when confronted with the inconsistencies of the events of September 11, 2001 — for example, conflicts between information widely reported by the mainstream media, government, and 9/11 Commission and dissimilar information presented by less-well-known alternative media, dissenting experts, scholars, and whistleblowers — many people initially react by aggressively defending the official story, even to the point of fabricating arguments to support their beliefs.2

We all recall the flag waving that began immediately after 9/11. We may also recall Dan Rather’s statement to the BBC about journalists’ fear of being “necklaced” if they asked hard questions about why the U.S. government was militarily invading Iraq. His statements are an especially clear insight into systems justification to maintain the status quo:

And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tyre [British for “tire”] of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions, and to continue to bore in on the tough questions so often. And again, I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism…. What we are talking about here — whether one wants to recognize it or not, or call it by its proper name or not — is a form of self-censorship. It starts with a feeling of patriotism within oneself. It carries through with a certain knowledge that the country as a whole — and for all the right reasons — felt and continues to feel this surge of patriotism within themselves. And one finds oneself saying: “I know the right question, but you know what? This is not exactly the right time to ask it”….I worry that patriotism run amok will trample the very values that the country seeks to defend….3

Many skeptics of the official 9/11 account can remember being reviled and chastised as “un-American” for questioning the official story of 9/11 in the first few years after those devastating attacks. Such epithets as “blasphemous!” “nut case!” “unethical!” and “insulting to the families!” were often hurled in anger and ridicule at 9/11 Truth activists, especially in the earlier days of our movement. The most predominant term used to shame and censure the messenger was — and remains — “conspiracy theorist!”4

According to Systems Justification Theory, the fear and emotional disequilibrium resulting from the 9/11 and anthrax incidents5 stimulated the human need to defend the status-quo worldview of our democratic republic, and to reject — or vehemently attempt to censor — information that conflicted with the official story. It was a fear-filled time for our country. Many citizens, instead of questioning either the official accounts of 9/11 or the ensuing wars, became fervently “patriotic.” They supported the Bush administration’s official account about 9/11 and aligned themselves with the beat of that administration’s war drums.

A curious and disturbing twist to the impulse to “justify” our system was demonstrated by an acquaintance of mine who had finally decided that 9/11 was indeed an “inside job.” He confided to me, “I can see that 9/11 was an inside job, was done by our government. After you look at 20 hours of videos and read a book or two, this becomes obvious. But I think our government had to do it. It’s like Pearl Harbor. We had to get into World War II because of the Nazis, so the deception [by the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration] that caused Pearl Harbor was necessary. With 9/11, the Saudis were getting out of line, and since we need them [for their oil], we had to show them what we could do if they got out of line. So by attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, we showed them — and everyone — what could happen to them if they got out of line.”

Equally surprisingly, another male acquaintance told me quite frankly, “I think we have a great country. As long as my family is fine and we can live the lifestyle we have, the truth is, I don’t really care what happened on 9/11 — even if parts of our government did it.”

The same attitude, although about a different issue, was displayed by a physician acquaintance who supports neoliberal economic policies, including “structural adjustments” — the sale or removal of public assets and resources such as tax-funded health care and education — in order to pay down debts owed to the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. Since the draconian debts incurred by the governmental leaders and owed to these lenders are paid from a combination of workers’ taxes, cuts in social spending, and the sale of national industries and natural resources for pennies on the dollar, such neoliberal policies further impoverish the already economically disadvantaged working classes, resulting in the further enrichment of the few foreign investors in the country.6

In other words, these policies further widen the gap between the rich and the poor. I asked this physician, “Don’t you think we can prosper and live well without our prosperity being won upon the backs of others?” Without a moment’s hesitation, without even an apology, he answered, “No, absolutely not.”

Although this frank acknowledgment and support of the brutality of “Empire” can be shocking, surely the same attitude was held by many Roman, British, Dutch, and Spanish citizens who gained, often royally, from their respective country’s imperial exploits in different eras.7 Why would Americans of today be any less willfully myopic? Why would we have any less of a sense of entitlement or, for whatever unanalyzed reason, feel any less strongly that we deserve the prosperity brought to us by the weapons of our “Empire”?

Justification of our imperial system may reside, consciously or unconsciously, within the psyches of more Americans than we would like to believe. I suspect that many United States citizens, whether they have clearly thought about it or not, have the underlying attitude, “Let the boys in the back room do our dirty work for us, but, please, spare me the details — especially of the suffering that the dirty work brings to others. I just want to be able to enjoy my American way of life.”

We are addressing U.S. citizens here, but the attitude of superiority and entitlement can be found in all countries (and individuals) that act imperially. This attitude could well be another source of the “I don’t want to know” syndrome being analyzed in this essay.

We gain some understanding of how dangerous this all-too-human tendency to justify our social system can be when we consider the silence in the 1930s of the “good Germans” who saw their neighbors being forcibly taken away. They had heard about the concentration camps, but would not speak up — justifying to themselves, perhaps, that “our system is essentially good and therefore could not be that evil.” This justification, in turn, caused them to rationalize that their governmental leaders must know more than they themselves did, and that their government therefore must be doing what was best for them and the country. In other words, they were justifying their social system and, as a result, trusting the boys in the backroom.8

It is this very same tendency to become silent — or worse — that we are attempting to understand here, independently of the historical context.

Looking back on Americans’ negative reactions toward 9/11 skeptics, and considering as well how people justify imperial violence to preserve their affluent lifestyle, we may wonder if there is any hope for humanity. Fortunately, though, during certain points in history, such as the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements, consciousness has been observed to rise — perhaps expanding under a society’s radar for quite some time, until it finally breaks through an invisible psychological barrier. Then change occurs, often in spite of apparently overwhelming odds.

Even with the corporate-owned media abdicating its responsibility to ask the tough questions about 9/11 and about the ensuing wars, grassroots activists have nevertheless spread knowledge of the evidence that points to a very different accounting of 9/11. The word gets out through books, online articles, DVDs, radio interviews, podcasts, websites, blogs, conferences, academic research papers, and peer-reviewed journals. This 9/11 activism and other events, such as the 2005 leak and publication of the Downing Street memo, have revealed the lies told by the Bush administration. The result has been an erosion of the airtight official story of 9/11 and the executive branch’s other pretexts for war.

According to Systems Justification Theory, when the collective worldview erodes enough, people’s defense of the status quo weakens in response, and there is increasing support for an emerging worldview.9

This is borne out by a Scripps Howard poll in 2006, which found that 36% of Americans consider it “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that government officials either allowed the 9/11 attacks to be carried out or carried out the attacks themselves.10 As Lev Grossman reports in Time magazine, “Thirty-six percent adds up to a lot of people. This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality.”11

We again see the eroding of the official 9/11 account in an Angus-Reid poll that compared responses in 2002 and 2006: The poll found that in 2002, 21% of Americans believed the government was telling the truth about prior knowledge of the events of 9/11, but in 2006 only 16% believed this.12 In recalling the Diffusion of Innovations studies in Part 2, this 16% brings to mind the “Laggards,” the folks who will never change their attitudes.

Finally, from observation in the field, 9/11 Truth activists report that, while there are still many Americans who know very little about the evidence that we present, there is currently much less hostility toward our attempts to educate the public. In fact, for the last few years at the People’s Fair in Denver, we have noted much curiosity about this issue, as well as profuse gratitude for our persistent educational efforts.

According to Laurie Manwell’s analysis,

…citizen trust in the current political system is moving toward a tipping-point phenomenon that threatens to change the status quo: Questions about the motives of the Bush administration post-9/11 are translating into questions about the complicity of U.S. officials in the events of 9/11, which could have future repercussions on democracy in America.13

Let’s hope, for the sake of our nation and the world, that this scholar’s analysis is accurate.

In our next installment, we will shift to another theory about why good people become silent about 9/11. The question in Part 12, Signal Detection Theory, will be: “Are they receiving our message, or is there too much noise for them to hear it?”

Editor’s note: Electronic sources in the footnotes have been archived. If they can no longer be found by a search on the Internet, readers desiring a copy may contact Frances Shure [ Here ].

Continued with Part 12: Signal Detection Theory.


[1] Zakary L. Tormala, Victoria L. DeSensi, and Richard E. Petty, “Resisting Persuasion by Illegitimate Means: A Metacognitive Perspective on Minority Influence,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 33 (2007): 354–367; this research was found in:

Laurie Manwell, Ph.D. Candidate, Behavioural Neuroscience and Toxicology, University of Guelph, “Faulty Towers of Belief: Part I, Demolishing the Iconic Psychological Barriers to 9/11 Truth,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, article here.

Also relevant is Laurie Manwell’s presentation at the 2011 Toronto Hearings, where she addressed Terror Management Theory in the Q&A session here.

[2] Laurie Manwell, “In Denial of Democracy: Social Psychological Implications for Public Discourse on State Crimes Against Democracy Post-9/11,” American Behavioral Scientist 53, no. 6 (February 2010).

[3] Dan Rather’s statement here.

[4] Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America (University of Texas Press, 2013). DeHaven-Smith analyzes the history of the development of the derogatory nature of the term “conspiracy theory,” tracing it to a CIA propaganda campaign to discredit doubters of the Warren Commission’s report.

[5] Graeme MacQueen, The 2001 Antrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy (Clarity Press, September 1, 2014). See interview with Dr. Graeme MacQueen on the anthrax attacks here.

Also, Lance deHaven-Smith records how false flag operations often occur in clusters in his ground-breaking book, Conspiracy Theory in America (University of Texas Press, 2013).

[6] John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Plume, 2005). Perkins’s groundbreaking book exposes the realpolitik behind the debt incurred by third-world countries.

[7] For a list of the world’s largest empires and their territorial and economic gains, see here.

[8] This discussion brings to mind David Ray Griffin’s excellent lecture, “9/11 and Nationalist Faith“; see transcript here.

[9] J. T. Jost, J Pietrzak, I. Liviatan, A. N. Mandisodza, and J. L. Napier, “System Justification as Conscious and Nonconscious Goal Pursuit,” in Handbook of Motivation Science, eds. J. Y. Shah and W. L. Gardner (New York: Guilford, 2008), 591–605; this material can be found in Manwell, “In Denial of Democracy.”

[10] http://www.911truth.org/articleforprinting.php?story=20060802215417462

[11] Lev Grossman, “Why the 9/11 Conspiracies Won’t Go Away,” Time, September 3, 2006; see site here. For a critique of Grossman’s article, see http://911review.com/reviews/time/markup/conspiracytheories.html.

[12] Americans Question Bush; for more polls, see here.

[13] Manwell, “In Denial of Democracy.”