The Growing Threat of The Police State.

by Nick Giambruno

InternationalMan.com

Zero Hedge (September 01 2017)

Doug Casey, Jeff Thomas, and Nick Giambruno recently discussed a critical topic – the rise of a police state in the former “free” world.

Nick Giambruno: In my experience, the US has some of the most aggressive police in the world. I first noticed this when I started travelling many years ago.

I’ve also noticed that law-abiding citizens are more likely to encounter the police in the US. Both of these trends are accelerating.

What happened to “the boys in blue” – the friendly cop on the beat that everyone knew personally and trusted?

Doug Casey: The fact is that police forces throughout the US have been militarized. Every little town has a SWAT team, sometimes with armoured personnel carriers. All of the Praetorian style agencies on the federal level – the FBI, CIA, NSA, and over a dozen others like them – have become very aggressive. Every single day in the US, there are scores of confiscations of people’s bank accounts, and dozens having their doors broken down in the wee hours of the night. The ethos in the US really seems to be changing right before our very eyes, and I think it’s quite disturbing. It’s a harbinger, I’m afraid, of what’s to come.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, this change has certainly been more prevalent in the US than elsewhere. And I don’t doubt that the black combat uniforms are intentional. Psychologically, combat gear is very threatening. It serves only one purpose – aggression. And blue is the color of officialdom, whilst black is the colour of death. This, to me, was a very conscious change – maximum intimidation.

Nick Giambruno: Police training has also changed. The War on (some) Drugs and the so-called War on Terror have turbocharged police militarization. What are your thoughts?

Doug Casey: As a general rule, police are no longer trained as “peace officers”. They’re trained to be, and view themselves, as “law enforcement officers”. This is a very different thing. The police are a bigger threat to your property and your liberty, not to mention your life, than actual criminals.

I started writing about the militarization of American police back in the 1990s when it started happening in earnest. And it’s very disturbing because the way a soldier deals with the enemy is necessarily quite different from the way the police are supposed to deal with citizens.

The US has these numerous continuing wars around the world, so they wind up with lots of spare military equipment. And what to do with it? They bring it home and give it to the police because they think it might be helpful. And then, driving APCs and wearing body armour, the police get the wrong idea.

Furthermore, all the military vets – many of whom have extra Y chromosomes, as do most police generally – like the idea of wearing a uniform and like the idea of carrying a gun and giving and taking orders. They’re preferred hires for police forces. But they shouldn’t be because you inevitably pick up bad habits, and inappropriate skills, hanging out in a war zone.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, this is very clear. Not long ago, I saw a training video where recruits were lined up, being drilled – punching their fists in the air, shouting in unison, “I have the power! I have the power”, over and over. This is the antithesis of the helpful neighbourhood cop. It’s unquestionably Gestapo training and it’s borne out on the street. Police in the US, especially younger, recently-trained police, see the public as a threatening enemy and behave accordingly.

Nick Giambruno: So, what comes next?

Doug Casey: All these things compound upon the other. It’s a very bad trend. I see no reason why that trend is going to turn around. In fact, I expect it to accelerate, especially as the economy turns downhill and people become more restless and the Deep State feels that the plebs have to be kept under control. So, yeah, it’s a trend that’s been accelerating for several decades. And it’s going to keep accelerating until some type of a crisis blows it all up.

Jeff Thomas: The US government has consciously created a police state. Historically, whenever governments have done this, it was because they planned increased controls that they thought might incite rebellion. So the police state is created in advance to demonstrate that opposition to greater controls would be futile. We can, therefore, surmise that the controls that are on the way in the US are likely to be far more oppressive than at present.

Nick Giambruno: We’ve all travelled extensively. In fact, each of us currently lives abroad. In your experience, do other countries have the same ultra-aggressive police?

Jeff Thomas: Certainly, every country now has riot police, but in many countries, they’re only trotted out in an emergency. I tend to rate countries based upon the ongoing presence of police in riot gear. The more prevalent they are, the less likely I am to want to spend a lot of time there. In the two countries where I spend most of my time, the cop on the beat doesn’t even wear a side arm.

Doug Casey: Here in Argentina, as blowback to the excesses of the military government thirty years back, the police and military are reviled or simply ignored by the public, relegated to a far more appropriate role as night watchmen. There is a very limited and non-threatening police presence.

The average Argentine despises both the army and the police. This is a very good thing compared to, say, a country like Chile, where they actually love their army and police.

Jeff Thomas: Here’s an interesting point – I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Cuba over the years. This is a country that’s been characterized by the US government as oppressive in the extreme. But, even back in the early 1990s, I found the police there were, generally speaking, quite peaceable and even helpful. They carried pistols, but they could be talked to like anyone else. That’s still true today. It’s possible that even today, if you yelled, “Kill Raul”, you might be escorted off to the hoosegow, but otherwise, you feel safe around the police. I can’t say the same about New York, Paris, or London. There, you feel … unease in the presence of police.

Nick Giambruno: The US has many vague, overly broad laws criminalizing mundane activities. It’s impossible for anyone to comply 100% of the time.

Many people think only major crimes like robbery and murder are felonies. But that isn’t true. Politicians have criminalized many ordinary activities through an ever-expanding mountain of laws and regulations.

It’s not that hard to commit a felony. Many victimless “crimes” are felonies.

A study by civil liberty lawyer Harvey Silverglate found that the average American inadvertently commits three felonies a day.

Today, there are thousands of federal crimes. The number is constantly increasing.

It brings to mind the words of the great Roman historian Tacitus:

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.

On that note, civil asset forfeiture is one of the most corrupting practices. It allows government agencies to grab private property without warning … then dare you to prove they’ve made a mistake.

What are your thoughts?

Doug Casey: You can be accused of almost anything by the government and have your assets seized without due process. Every year there are billions of dollars that are seized by various government entities, including local police departments, who get to keep a percentage of the proceeds, so this is a very corrupting thing.

People forget that when the US was founded there were only three federal crimes, and they are listed in the Constitution: treason, counterfeiting, and piracy. Now it’s estimated there are over 5,000 federal crimes, and that number is constantly increasing. This is very disturbing. It’s becoming Kafkaesque.

All the repressive aspects of government – civil forfeitures are just one – have been growing and compounding for years. It’s not a conspiracy; it’s the natural progression of all living organisms. They all want to grow, exert more control over their environments, and become more powerful. The problem is that government has unusual powers, and no longer seems to have many limits. So you can expect this trend to accelerate.

I saw the other day the government steals more from the American people through confiscations than is lost outright to robberies and muggings. It’s been reported that in 2015 civil forfeitures exceeded the amount stolen by all robbers. It’s quite amazing and disturbing.

Whenever a police department confiscates things under these laws, they get to keep some percentage. It varies but can be 10, 20, 30, 50 percent of what’s confiscated, and they love it because the money goes to the local police department in question. They can use it for buying fun cop toys, or for buying further educational benefits, or whatever, for themselves. So, they’re profiting from this stuff as directly as the criminals do that steal things from citizens. It’s a total disaster.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, the US police now have the legal authority to become the modern version of the highwayman of old. But, today, it’s done with the assistance of a badge. Any authority can seize all your possessions, including the contents of your bank account, and simply absorb the proceeds into the department – legally. Although it can theoretically be contested, no one who’s just had all his money confiscated is going to be able to hire a lawyer. And this is no small-time scam. The take nationwide for civil asset forfeiture annually exceeds the total amount taken in burglaries by badgeless criminals.

Nick Giambruno: That brings us to the big question. Where will things go from here?

I doubt the police will tone down their current policies and practices. So, what will the police state look like in a few years?

Doug Casey: As I said earlier, the trend is accelerating. And the entire country is now polarized. Even more than it was in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It’s not just a difference of opinion; it’s a clash of worldviews. It’s increasingly impossible, even dangerous, for leftists and rightists, Trumpers and anti-Trumpers, to discuss politics. It’s – as hard as it may be to confront – the kind of atmosphere that precedes a civil war. I expect lots of violent confrontations between antagonistic groups in the years to come. The State will necessarily increase its police powers to deal with the problem. Perhaps they’ll even set up some new agency to deal with civil disturbances. And – like the TSA and every other national agency – it will become part of the firmament. And will find reasons for getting more money and power.

Jeff Thomas: I believe that, at some point, they’ll stage a series of false-flag events in which multiple killings will take place in public places in several states at roughly the same time. Maybe a church social in North Carolina, a daycare center in Chicago, a hospital in Nevada, and so on. The theme would be ordinary gathering places that everyone takes for granted as being safe. The attacks would be blamed on “domestic terrorists” and would be diverse enough to convince Americans that nowhere is safe from domestic terrorism and the government “has to do something”. After that, authorities will take action nationwide “to protect the public”. They’ll be above the law, and invasions will be considered unfortunate but necessary by the populace. It will be introduced as a “temporary emergency measure” but will become permanent. The US will be the leader in this policy, but the trend will be echoed in the EU and possibly elsewhere.

Nick Giambruno: Of course, someone living in the US or EU should plan to leave before that happens.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, that word, “before”, is the key word – one that many, many people overlook. Countless people have said, “Well, if it gets really bad, I’ll leave my home country for greener pastures”. Historically, this has proven to be a grave mistake. Once conditions are getting really serious, it often becomes illegal to exit without written permission. Additionally, if an exodus does begin, those countries that previously accepted expatriates suddenly pull in the welcome mat and lock the immigration doors. The time to implement an exit plan is prior to the implementation of intolerable controls. As to the US, that warning bell has already been rung.

Doug Casey: The most important first step is to get out of the danger zone.

Let’s list the steps, in order of importance.

1. Establish a financial account in a second country and transfer assets to it, immediately.

2. Purchase a crib in a suitable third country, somewhere you might enjoy whether in good times or bad.

3. Get moving toward an alternative citizenship in a fourth country; you don’t want to be stuck geographically, and you don’t want to live like a refugee.

4. Keep your eyes open for business and investment opportunities in those four countries, plus the other 225; you’ll greatly increase your perspective and your chances of success.

Where to go? In general, I would suggest you look most seriously at countries whose governments aren’t overly cozy with the US and whose people maintain an inbred suspicion of the police, the military, and the fiscal authorities. These criteria tilt the scales against past favourites like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK.

And one more piece of sage advice: stop thinking like your neighbours, which is to say stop thinking and acting like a serf. Most people – although they can be perfectly affable and even seem sensible – have the attitudes of medieval peasants that objected to going further than a day’s round-trip from their hut, for fear the stories of dragons that live over the hill might be true.

I’m not saying that you’ll make your fortune and find happiness by venturing out. But you’ll greatly increase your odds of doing so, greatly increase your security, and, I suspect, have a much more interesting time.

Let me end by reminding you what Rick Blaine, Bogart’s character in Casablanca, had to say in only a slightly different context. Appropriately, Rick was an early but also an archetypical international man. Let’s just imagine he’s talking about what will happen if you don’t effectively internationalize yourself, now. He said: “You may not regret it now, but you’ll regret it soon. And for the rest of your life.”

http://www.internationalman.com/articles/the-growing-threat-of-the-police-state

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-31/growing-threat-police-state

____

And see this: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-01/infuriating-police-arrest-duty-nurse-refusing-break-law

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What the Media isn’t Telling You…

… about North Korea’s Missile Tests

by Mike Whitney

CounterPunch (September 04 2017)

Here’s what the media isn’t telling you about North Korea’s recent missile tests.

Last Monday, the DPRK fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan’s Hokkaido Island. The missile landed in the waters beyond the island harming neither people nor property.

The media immediately condemned the test as a “bold and provocative act” that showed the North’s defiance of UN resolutions and “contempt for its neighbours”. President Trump sharply criticized the missile test saying:

Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.

What the media failed to mention was that, for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea, and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill) the regime. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused. The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime, and anywhere even right on their doorstep. It’s part of what makes the US exceptional. Check out this excerpt from an article at Fox News:

More than 3,500 American and Japanese troops kicked off a weeks-long joint military exercise Thursday against the backdrop of an increasingly belligerent North Korean regime. The exercise, known as Northern Viper 17, will take place on Hokkaido – Japan’s northernmost main island – and will last until August 28 …

“We are improving our readiness not only in the air but as a logistical support team”, Colonel R Scott Jobe, the 35th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. “We are in a prime location for contingency purposes and this exercise will only build upon our readiness in the case a real-world scenario occurs”. {1}

Monday’s missile test (which flew over Hokkaido Island) was conducted just hours after the war games ended. The message was clear: The North is not going to be publicly humiliated and slapped around without responding. Rather than show weakness, the North demonstrated that it was prepared to defend itself against foreign aggression. In other words, the test was NOT a “bold and provocative act” (as the media stated) but a modest and well thought-out response by a country that has experienced 64 years of relentless hectoring, sanctions, demonization, and sabre rattling by Washington. The North responded because Washington’s incitements required a response. End of story.

And the same is true of the three short-range ballistic missiles the North tested last week (two of which apparently fizzled out shortly after launching). These tests were a response to the three- week-long joint military drills in South Korea which involved 75,000 combat troops accompanied by hundreds of tanks, armoured vehicles, landing craft, heavy artillery, a full naval flotilla, and flyovers by squadrons of state of the art fighters and strategic bombers. Was the North supposed to sit on its hands while this menacing display of brute military force took place right under its nose?

Of course not. Imagine if Russia engaged in a similar operation over the border in Mexico while the Russian fleet conducted “live fire” drills three miles outside of San Francisco Bay. What do you think Trump’s reaction would be?

He’d blow those boats out of the water faster than you could say “Jackie Robinson”, right?

So why the double standard when it comes to North Korea? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

North Korea should be applauded for showing that it won’t be intimidated by the schoolyard bully. Kim knows that any confrontation with the US will end badly for the North, even so, he hasn’t caved in or allowed himself to be pushed around by the blustering, browbeating thugs in the White House. Booyah, Kim.

By the way, Trump’s response to Monday’s missile test was barely covered in the mainstream media, and for good reason. Here’s what happened two days later:

On Wednesday, a US-led flight-group of F-35B fighters, F-15 fighters, and B-1B bombers conducted military operations over a training range east of Seoul. The B-1B’s, which are low-altitude nuclear bombers, dropped their dummy-bombs on the site and then returned to their home base. The show of force was intended to send a message to Pyongyang that Washington is unhappy with the North’s ballistic missile testing project and is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the North if it fails to heed Washington’s diktats.

So Washington is prepared to nuke the North if they don’t straighten up and do as they are told?

It sure looks that way, but who really knows? In any event, Kim has no choice but to stand firm. If he shows any sign of weakness, he knows he’s going to end up like Saddam and Gaddafi. And that, of course, is what’s driving the hyperbolic rhetoric; the North wants to avoid the Gaddafi scenario at all cost. (BTW, the reason Kim has threatened to fire missiles at the waters surrounding Guam is that Guam is the home of Anderson Airforce Base which is the point-of-origin for the B-1B nuclear-capable bombers that have been making threatening flyovers on the Korean Peninsula for some time now. The North feels like it has to respond to that existential threat.)

Wouldn’t it help if the media mentioned that fact or does it better serve their agenda to make it look like Kim is barking mad by lashing out against the “totally innocent” United States, a country that only seeks to preserve the peace wherever it goes?

Give me a break!

It is so hard to find anything in the media that doesn’t reflect Washington’s bias and hostility. Surprisingly, there was a pretty decent article at CBS News last week written by a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia. It’s the only article I’ve found that accurately explains what’s really going on beyond the propaganda. Check it out:

Prior to President Trump’s inauguration, North Korea made it clear it was prepared to give the new US administration time to review the policy and come up with something better than President Obama’s. The only wrinkle was that if the US went full-steam ahead with its annual joint exercises with South Korea (especially if that were accompanied by more talk of “decapitation” and more flights of strategic bombers over the Korean peninsula), the North would react strongly.

In short, the US did, and the North reacted.

Behind-the-scenes contacts went up and down, but couldn’t get traction. In April, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un paraded new missiles as a warning, to no effect. The regime launched the new systems, one after another. Still, Washington’s approach didn’t change. {2}

Okay, so now we know the truth: The North gave it their best shot and came up snake-eyes, mainly because Washington doesn’t want to negotiate, they’d rather twist arms (Russia and China), tighten the embargo, and threaten war. That’s Trump’s solution. Here’s more from the same piece:

On July 4, after North Korea’s first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (“ICBM”) launch, Kim sent a public signal that the North could put the nuclear and missile programs “on the table” if the US changed its approach.

The US did not, so the North launched another ICBM, very deliberately deeming it a warning to the US that they were to be taken seriously. Still, more B-1 bombers flew over the Peninsula, and the UN Security Council passed new sanctions. {2}

So, the North was ready to do some serious horse-trading, but the US balked. Kim probably heard what a wheeler dealer Trump was and figured they could work something out. But it hasn’t happened. Trump has turned out to be a bigger bust than Obama, which is pretty bad. He not only refuses to negotiate but he also delivers bellicose threats almost every day. This isn’t what the North was expecting. They were expecting a “non-interventionist” leader who might be receptive to a trade-off.

The current situation has left Kim with no good options. He can either cave in and terminate his missile program altogether or increase the frequency of the tests and hope that they pave the way for negotiations. Kim chose the latter.

Did he make a bad choice?

Maybe.

Is it a rational choice?

Yes.

The North is betting that its nuclear weapons programs will be valuable bargaining chips in future negotiations with the United States. The North has no plan to nuke the west coast of the United States. That’s ridiculous! That doesn’t accomplish anything. What they want is to preserve their regime, procure security guarantees from Washington, lift the embargo, normalize relations with the South, extricate the US from the political affairs of the peninsula, and (hopefully) end the irritating and endlessly provocative 64-year US occupation. Yankee go home. Please.

Bottom line: The North is ready to deal. They want negotiations. They want to end the war. They want to put this whole nightmare behind them and get on with their lives. But Washington won’t let them because Washington likes the status quo. Washington wants to be a permanent feature in South Korea so it can encircle Russia and China with lethal missile systems and expand its geopolitical grip bringing the world closer to nuclear Armageddon.

That’s what Washington wants, and that’s why the crisis on the peninsula will continue to boil.

Links:

{1} http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/08/10/us-japanese-troops-begin-joint-military-exercise-amid-north-korea-threat.html

{2} https://www.cbsnews.com/news/analysis-pyongyangs-view-of-the-north-korea-u-s-crisis/

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/04/what-the-media-isnt-telling-you-about-north-koreas-missile-tests/

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Why We Can’t Pre-emptively Strike North Korea

North Would Turn South into a Desert

by Mac Slavo

via SHTFplan.com (August 31 2017)

Zero Hedge (August 31 2017)

Following North Korea’s recent missile test, which ominously flew over Japan, the specter of war with the hot-headed nation was raised once again.

As time goes on, it seems less and less likely that the Kim regime will back down from its nuclear program. All forms of diplomacy and appeasement have failed, and not even threats of war from the US seem to have an effect on the regime.

There’s a very good reason for that. North Korea knows something that the United States, the most powerful nation on the planet, would absolutely hate to admit. Our country is no position to engage in a preemptive strike on North Korea because any attack would result in unimaginable devastation. The days when Americans would tolerate massive war casualties over a short period of time are long gone, and North Korea knows it. There simply isn’t anything we can offer or threaten that will stop their nuclear program.

And that’s understandable once you know how much destruction North Korea could really bring {1} about if the Kim regime ever decided to let its military loose on South Korea.

If the current situation in East Asia is not resolved, a number of countries “will be living under a threat of a nuclear volcano erupting”, Russian diplomat and an expert in Asian studies, professor Georgy Toloraya told RT.com.

“Everyone understands perfectly well that for North Korea, if it initiates an aggressive strike, a military conflict will mean a complete and immediate destruction, because no one can deny the US military might”, Toloraya said.

“However, if the US, attempts to solve this problem militarily it will also bring on a retaliatory strike by North Korea that would turn South Korea into a desert”, he warned, saying the North doesn’t even need nuclear weapons for that.

While Pyongyang’s artillery is able to reach Seoul, the entire territory of South Korea will also “be no good for life”, as Pyongyang’s missiles – even without nuclear warheads – might hit nuclear facilities in the South, he explained. He said there are some thirty such sites close to North Korea’s border.

Obviously, the destruction of nuclear facilities could have more of an impact than any other attack, by causing widespread radiation leaks. If anything, it could be more devastating than dropping a nuclear weapon, since the radioactive materials in these facilities often have a significantly longer half-life than what we see in atomic bombs.

It’s threats like that which make it clear that no military option is capable of reigning in North Korea. That’s a sentiment that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon expressed earlier this month {2}.

Contrary to Trump’s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said:

There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first thirty minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.

And let’s not forget that North Korea has one of the largest chemical weapon stockpiles in the world, and is suspected of maintaining a bio-weapons program since the 1960s. Given those possibilities, Bannon’s belief that North Korea could kill ten million people may be a gross understatement, and that doesn’t even consider the chances that war with North Korea could trigger another world war.

It’s time to accept the truth. We can bargain with the Kim regime, appease it, threaten it, and lay down sanctions on it, but nothing will actually stop that government from continuing its nuclear program without causing mass casualties. The only thing we can do is try to keep a lid on that country until their citizens rebel {3}, or until the Chinese decide that they’ve had enough with their ally.

Links:

{1} https://www.rt.com/op-edge/401383-military-conflict-korea-missile/

{2} http://prospect.org/article/steve-bannon-unrepentant

{3} http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/defector-reveals-the-biggest-threat-to-north-korea-more-cracks-are-appearing-in-the-regime_08222017

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/professor-explains-why-we-cant-preemptively-strike-north-korea-north-would-turn-south-korea-into-a-desert_08302017

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-31/professor-explains-why-we-cant-pre-emptively-strike-north-korea-north-would-turn-sou

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The slaughter in Myanmar: a Crime against Humanity

The Guardian

September 4th. 2017

The brutal, bloody, and ultimately pointless mistreatment of a Muslim minority shames Aung San Suu Kyi

The Rohingya are a Muslim people living in the north-west of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, which borders mainly Muslim Bangladesh. In Myanmar they are seen as Muslims, and in Bangladesh as foreigners. Neither country claims or even wants them. Neither will allow them citizenship, though these families have lived in Burma for centuries at least. Now the military in Myanmar will not even tolerate their existence, and in recent weeks the almost genocidal pressure on their villages has greatly increased, sending tens of thousands trying to flee across a guarded border into an uncertain future. The army appears to be trying to starve out the population from areas where the armed resistance is most active, sending an unprecedented flood of refugees across the border. It has blocked UN agencies from delivering food, water or medicine to the affected areas, leaving an estimated 250,000 people without regular access to food.

There is very little for the refugees if they do get out alive. The Bangladeshi authorities are extremely reluctant to recognise that they are fleeing from persecution, even if local people have responded with great generosity.

For years Myanmar government forces have descended on villages to slaughter or drive out their inhabitants. Amnesty International has accused the regime of crimes against humanity. One of Myanmar’s most influential Buddhist preachers, Ashin Wirathu, preaches compassion towards mosquitoes but death for Muslims. Although he has served time in prison for earlier sermons, he is now more popular than ever, and widely believed to have the support of the army, which ruled the country openly for years and is still a powerful force behind the scenes.

The persecution has, predictably, led to an armed resistance, which, just as predictably, has provoked greater repression and cruelty. The Buddha had something to say about such chains of violence and revenge but it appears that the Myanmar’s Buddhists would rather use chains as weapons, the way Hells Angels did, than be freed from them. This story would be tragic and an outrage to the conscience of the world if it ended there. But there is every chance it will not. There is no repression savage enough to empty the whole of Rakhine state of its inhabitants and finally crush the resistance. Neither can the armed resistance movement hope for any final victory. But it can hope to enlarge the scope of the conflict, and present it as a religious one in which Muslims are being persecuted for their faith. That is at least half true, but it is a destructive as well as a powerful narrative. It adds Myanmar to the long list of countries where Islam appears to be the religion of the persecuted and the outcast, and to frame the justification for their own violent and intolerant revenge. There are already insurgencies of that sort – all of them building on existing ethnic divides and antagonisms – in many parts of south-east Asia, from Thailand to the Philippines.

There is a horrible irony in the involvement here of Aung San Suu Kyi, who appeared to be bringing to Myanmar the message of universal human rights – which would transcend or at least set limits to the brutalities of the old world. The Nobel prize winner, who appeared for decades as the epitome of principled and unflinching defence of human rights, now appears as the unfeeling figurehead of a vicious regime.

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UK at centre of secret $3bn Azerbaijani money laundering and lobbying scheme

Exclusive: Leaked data reveals thousands of covert payments, including to European politicians and journalists

Some of the money went towards an international lobbying operation to deflect criticism of Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev.

The Guardian

Luke Harding, Caelainn Barrand Dina Nagapetyants

Monday 4 September 2017

Azerbaijan’s ruling elite operated a secret $2.9bn (£2.2bn) scheme to pay prominent Europeans, buy luxury goods and launder money through a network of opaque British companies, an investigation by the Guardian reveals.
Leaked data shows that the Azerbaijani leadership, accused of serial human rights abuses, systemic corruption and rigging elections, made more than 16,000 covert payments from 2012 to 2014.
Some of this money went to politicians and journalists, as part of an international lobbying operation to deflect criticism of Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, and to promote a positive image of his oil-rich country. There is no suggestion that all the recipients were aware of the original source of the money. It arrived via a disguised route.
But the revelations once again highlight the use of the lightly regulated British corporate landscape to move large sums of money around, beyond the purview of regulators and tax authorities. Seven million pounds was spent in Britain on luxury goods and private school fees.
The cash, contributed by an opaque array of paymasters in Azerbaijan and Russia, travelled to the British companies – all limited partnerships registered at Companies House in London – via the western financial system without raising red flags. One of Europe’s leading banks, Danske, processed the payments via its branch office in Estonia.
Danske Bank said “money laundering and other illegal practices” had taken place. It first noticed the irregular payments in 2014. Estonia’s financial regulator said systems designed to stop money laundering at the branch had failed.
The scheme has been nicknamed the Azerbaijani Laundromat. Confidential banking records were leaked to the Danish newspaper Berlingske and shared with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Guardian, and other media partners. The data covers a 30-month period. It may show the tip of an iceberg.
The politicians
The leaked bank records show multiple payments to several former members of the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly, Pace. One is Eduard Lintner, a German ex-MP and member of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats. Another is the Italian former chair of the centre-right group in Pace, Luca Volontè.
The payments came at a time when Azerbaijan was under fire for arresting human rights activists and journalists, and for holding rigged elections. The regime sought to blunt criticism from Europe and the US by allegedly bribing delegates in what has been called “caviar diplomacy”.
This intensive lobbying operation was so successful that Council of Europe members voted against a 2013 report critical of Azerbaijan.

Lintner stood down as an MP in 2010, but remained a firm supporter of Azerbaijan. He founded the Society for the Promotion of German-Azerbaijani Relations in Berlin, which received €819,500 (£755,000). One €61,000 payment was made two weeks after Lintner returned to Berlin from a trip to Azerbaijanwhere he monitored the country’s 2013 presidential election. He said the poll was up to “German standards” – in direct contrast to official election observers who found “significant problems”.
Lintner says he received the money for his society, did not personally benefit, and was not an MP or Council of Europe member at the time. An Azerbaijani NGO paid for his election trip, he says. He says he has no knowledge of the original source of the payments received.
Details of cash given to Volontè emerged in 2016 and caused outrage. He received more than €2m in instalments via his Italian-based Novae Terrae foundation. Prosecutors in Milan have indicted him for money laundering and corruption.
Volontè denies wrongdoing. He is seeking to have the case thrown out.
The data also shows money being paid via the British companies to Kalin Mitrev, a Bulgarian appointed last year to the board of the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Mitrev received at least €425,000 for private consulting work from a local Azeri company, Avuar Co. He acknowledges the payments and says they were for legitimate business consultancy. He denies all knowledge of the conduit used to execute them or the original source of the funds.
“All the income, generated by activities in different countries, was duly reported and taxed in my country of residence, Bulgaria,” Mitrev said. His consultancy work stopped when he joined the London bank, he said.
The revelation that her husband consulted for an Azeri company might prove awkward for Mitrev’s wife, Irina Bokova, who is the director general of Unesco. Bokova has bestowed one of Unesco’s highest honours, the Mozart Medal on Azerbaijan’s first lady and vice-president, Mehriban Aliyeva. She also hosted a photo exhibition at Unesco’s headquarters in Paris, entitled Azerbaijan – A Land of Tolerance. The Heydar Aliyev foundation organised the event.
Asked by the Guardian whether there was a conflict between her husband’s work and her UN role, she strongly denied this, saying she had no knowledge of her husband’s business affairs. “As a director general of a UN agency, my duty is to develop sound working relations with all members of the organisation in conformity with the policies set by member states. Azerbaijan is not an exception in this respect.”
“I am immensely proud of my determined pursuit of the mandate of Unesco, including in the area of human rights, freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.”
The lobbyists
Large sums from the scheme were spent on lobbying. In 2014 Eckart Sager, a former CNN producer based in London, received nearly €2m from the British companies. His PR company is linked to articles that promote the Azerbaijani government and its views. One piece denies wrongdoing by Baku in the Volontè case. Sager did not comment.
Another beneficiary is a London-based Azeri, Jovdat Guliyev, who received 25 payments totalling almost £400,000. Guliyev is a member of the Anglo-Azerbaijani Society, a lobby group co-chaired by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord German. Guliyev did not respond to repeated messages asking him for a comment.
The British connection
The four firms at the centre of the Azerbaijani Laundromat were all limited partnerships registered in the UK. They were: Metastar Invest, based at a service address in Birmingham; Hilux Services and Polux Management, set up in Glasgow; and LCM Alliance, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Their corporate “partners” are anonymous tax haven entities based in the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles and Belize.
L Burke Files, an international financial investigator, said these company structures were “purposefully opaque”. Foreign criminals used Scottish limited partnerships, or SLPs, he said. In June the government announced SLPs would have to name their significant owners, or pay fines, amid evidence of growing fraud.
“No one suspects Scotland. It’s never been on the Financial Action Task Force(FATF) list of non-compliant countries,” Files said. “If you are going to launder money it’s probably best not to run it between Russia, Malta and the Cayman Islands. Does Scotland raise a red flag in your mind? No.”
All four British companies are named as payment channels in the Italian prosecution case against Volontè. They have since been dissolved.
Luxury services
The banking data shows that the Azerbaijani fund was used for a wide variety of purposes. More than $2.9bn went to companies, with about $50m paid out to individuals. Many beneficiaries were retail and service firms in western Europe. In all probability, they would have been unaware of the origins of the payments they were receiving.
Some of the 200 money transfers to the UK concerned education. In 2014 £89,800 was transferred to Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, a private boarding school in York. The school would not identify the pupil or pupils involved or comment.
There were payments to the tuition college Bellerbys and to the ICS international school in London. Bellerbys said it was investigating. The data suggests there were a number of relatively modest bursaries to regime-connected Azerbaijani students studying in Britain, as well as rental deposits on upmarket London flats. Other purchases included designer dresses, luxury cars and legal fees. There is no suggestion the UK recipients should have known about the provenance of the money.
Azerbaijan’s ruling family is not directly named. But the evidence of a connection is overwhelming. Large sums come via the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan. This is the largest bank in an oil-wealthy country, and yet earlier this summer it filed for bankruptcy protection in New York. The defence and emergency situations ministries in Baku all chip in cash.
The scheme was used to pay for the government’s incidental expenses including the medical bills of Yaqub Eyyubov, Azerbaijan’s first deputy prime minister. There were separate payments to Eyyubov’s son Emin, Azerbaijan’s EU ambassador, and to the president’s press secretary, Azer Gasimov.
Business partners of the US president, Donald Trump, in a project to build a luxury Trump Tower in Baku also appear in the Laundromat scheme.
The hotel’s local developer was Anar Mammadov, the billionaire son of Azerbaijan’s ex-transport minister Ziya Mammadov. At the time the scheme operated, the Mammadovs were one of the country’s most powerful and wealthy families. The Mammadovs’ Baghlan holding company is linked to Laundromat transactions.
Anar Mammadov posts a picture of himself with Ivanka Trump after her father’s US election win
In 2012 the Trump Organisation signed a deal with the Mammadovs to build a 33-floor, 130-metre-high “ultra-modern” skyscraper. In October 2014 Ivanka Trump toured Trump Tower Baku, posting photos of the unfinished building on her Instagram account. The hotel never opened. Trump has since cut his connection with the project. The Laundromat scheme does not link to Trump but raises questions about his choice of business partners.
The paymasters
It is not entirely clear where the money used in the scheme comes from. The Russian government paid $29.4m into the Laundromat via its main weapons company, Rosoboronexport. Several transactions link to another $20bn money-laundering scheme, which operated out of Moscow between 2010 and 2014. The scheme, the Global Laundromat, was exposed in March by the OCCRP, Novaya Gazeta and the Guardian.
A mysterious private firm in Baku, Baktelekom MMC, pays in more than $1.4bn. The firm is what fraud experts call a doppelganger entity. It sounds like the state telecoms firm with the same name but bears no relation to it. It doesn’t have a website. Its function is unclear. According to the OCCRP, Baktelekom MMC is linked to Mehriban Aliyeva. In January the company was let off a $17.4m tax bill.
The Danish bank Danske said it had not been good enough at monitoring suspicious transactions at its Estonian branch. The bank has since “tightened procedures and controls” and “terminated relationships” with some customers.
“We will not accept Danske being exploited for money laundering or other criminal purposes. We will do everything to prevent it from happening again,” it said.
Madis Reimand, the head of Estonia’s financial intelligence unit, said his office had come across the suspicious Azerbaijani cash flows in 2013 while analysing a separate case. “From there we followed the tracks,” he said. “We tried to cooperate with the source country in order to ascertain where the money came from. This, however, didn’t work out.”
Reimand said Estonia’s financial supervisory authority had identified what had gone wrong and taken steps to prevent similar fraud in the future.

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Out of Control….

The Washington War Making Machine

by Phil Butler

New Eastern Outlook (August 24 2017)


Do you trust Trump enough to allow him to start a nuclear war “on an assumption”?

The alleged Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) leaks and the so-called “Russiagate” are a hoax concocted to perpetuate crisis, and nothing more. Most people sense this, but cannot effectively argue with the massive propaganda machine drumming in every American ear. The most powerful country in the world is now a runaway war-making machine. Here’s a new and sentient look at the supposed Russian election meddling.

Washington is “off the reservation” since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 race for president. The government of the United States is now making policy and law based on what groups of elites want, and not on what is best for the American people. Most of my friends in the US will not even argue this point. We’ve always known that politicians lie, only now have the lies threatened the foundations of liberty. Presenting no tangible evidence whatsoever to the American people, US legislatures ask the people to take on faith allegations that affect billions of people around the world. Corporate, government, and foreign interest corroborate without any shred of proof. If we had not overused the spooky “Big Brother is Watching” message these last few years, then this Orwellian reality could at least have a moniker. The sequence of recent events should have peaked our interest, but they have not. Trump goes to Europe and meets Putin. Immediately afterward Congress is whop ped over the head {1} by the Israeli lobby (“AIPAC”) to draft and vote a law lumping Russia in with North Korea and Iran. All the while concrete evidence is withheld from the American people and contravening evidence is ignored. Some even say the presidency has been usurped, and the crisis machine stampedes onward. Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev said:

Trump’s administration has demonstrated total impotence by surrendering its executive authority to Congress in the most humiliating way.

We should feel as if we are caught on a hamster wheel right now, but somehow the masses move on in numb apathy. The Nation reports on a group of former US intelligence officials saying the hack of the DNC’s computers in 2016 was an inside job, and the mainstream deconstructs. The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or VIPS, said there was an insider leak that occurred thanks to someone with access to a DNC computer. Quoting author Patrick Lawrence:

The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

In short, we accepted the lies and the liars are further emboldened. What else do liars on a mission for themselves do? Authoritative discourse is being shunned in favor of wild speculation and malicious machination. Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi {2} characterizes {3} the whole Russiagate affair and the new Red Scare as “an ongoing freakout” for anyone truly in the know about Russia. His report unmasks the hysterical mind melt surrounding these issues citing people like former DNC chair Donna Brazile tweeting {4} this week, “The Communists are dictating the terms of the debate”. Excuse me, but are American’s really dumber than bread? “The Communists?” Taibbi’s story brings up the likes of Vladimir Potanin, Boris Berezovsky, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, which in turn reveals the true motivations behind all the anti-Putin and anti-Russia narrative – financial skullduggery. And we all know it by now. Russiagate is just another part of the globalist battle plan for chipping away at mother Russia for her wealth. But back to cases with no evidence.

In the case against Russia, the world has on the one hand professional liars, AIPAC puppets, military industrial complex pawns, and the same military geniuses that swore Weapons of Mass Destruction existed in Iraq. This side has produced nothing but some drummed-up story that the Romanian hacker “Guccifer 2.0” hacked the election. On the other side there are researchers a plenty including William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Centre; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. The latter group, who are joined by the likes of Robert Parry and a cadre of independent investigative journalists, have presented compelling arguments that have never been addressed by Washington. For Parry’s part, this report contains all that is needed to understand the situation. I quote from the letter VIPS sent to President Trump, which was shared by Parry on Consortiumnews {5} concerning a request for proof sent to President Barack Obama:
Addressing this point at his last press conference (January 18), he described “the conclusions of the intelligence community” as “not conclusive”, even though the Intelligence Community Assessment of January 6 expressed “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the DNC … to WikiLeaks”.
Obviously, this was an effort by the outgoing president to excuse himself should proof against Russiagate be uncovered. In the letter to President Trump, the former spooks of VIPS also warn of CIA and NSA capabilities of astounding capability. Significant in this section of the letter, and from the WikiLeaks Vault 7 revelations, was something called Marble Framework, which is a digital development apparently suppressed by The New York Times and other media. The Marble Framework is a secret anti-forensic Marble Framework, which is basically an obfuscator or a packer used to hide the true source of CIA malware. So, what WikiLeaks revealed about Marble is essentially the CIA framework for framing the Russians or anyone for the agency’s own clandestine efforts. Short version, the CIA probably used Marble to implicate Putin and Russia and nobody in “owned media” broke the story properly. Furthermore, when the news did surface legislators ignored it just as if they were invol ved in the frame-up.

For the full story on the US intelligence community’s efforts and capability, this Hacker News {6} story provides a wealth of information. What significant here is the fact that Russia has been implicated with no substantial evidence, while there is a mountain of hard proof showing the US intelligence community (and perhaps even the executive branch) have hacked the truth worldwide. In a familiar “pot calling the kettle black” narrative, Washington seems caught on its own “rat wheel” that is spinning out of control. Unbridled Washington politicians would not be so devastating if their capability to destroy us all were not so apparent. I recall a Counterpunch article by Andrew Lavine about all this recently in which the author recollects just how freaky US intelligence operations can be. With regard to US hacking capability and willingness, Lavine recalls:

The best-known example occurred some ten years ago when the United States and Israel introduced the Stuxnet virus into Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, destroying roughly a fifth of that country’s nuclear centrifuges by causing them to spin out of control.

Nuclear facilities set to “critical” by the Americans at the behest of the Israelis? Like I said, America is a runaway war-making machine. And only Americans can stop it.

Links:

{1} https://journal-neo.org/2017/08/04/how-donald-trump-threw-peace-and-prosperity-under-an-aipac-bus/

{2} https://www.rollingstone.com/contributor/matt-taibbi

{3} https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-what-does-russiagate-look-like-to-russians-w493462

{4} https://twitter.com/donnabrazile/status/887331637998096384

{5} https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/

{6} https://thehackernews.com/2017/03/cia-marble-framework.html

_____

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.

https://journal-neo.org/2017/08/24/out-of-control-the-washington-war-making-machine/

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The Devil’s Chessboard (Part Three)

Dealing with Inconvenient Facts, CIA Style

by David Talbot

https://whowhatwhy.org (October 14 2015)


CIA floor seal Photo credit: CIA.GOV

No one can possibly understand the precarious state of American democracy today without scrutinizing the often secret path the country was taken on by those in power from the 1950s to the present.

Among the elemental figures in forging that path was Allen Dulles.

He was the most powerful, and, it appears – the most sinister – director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Given that outfit’s history, that’s some accomplishment.

Dulles’s job, simply put, was to hijack the US government to benefit the wealthy.

Studying how this worked is a worthwhile pursuit. That’s why we decided to excerpt a few parts of David Talbot’s new Dulles biography, The Devil’s Chessboard (2015).

In part one of our excerpts, we looked at indications that Lee Harvey Oswald was no rogue “lone nut” but in fact a man with strong connections to the American national security apparatus. We also looked at Allen Dulles’s highly suspicious behavior around the time of the assassination – a time when he was ostensibly in retirement, having been fired two years earlier by President Kennedy. And we saw how determined Dulles was in advancing the notion that Oswald had been Kennedy’s killer, and had acted alone.

In part two, we focused on the Warren Commission, the body “above suspicion” that was supposed to investigate Kennedy’s death and report its findings to the public. We see the irrepressible Allen Dulles, who should by almost any standard have been considered a possible suspect for a role in the assassination, instead appointed to the Commission. And we see how he became the leading figure in guiding the “probe”, along with a network of individuals whose loyalties were clearly to him and to the American establishment, but certainly not to the truth – or to the late President.

Below, in part three, we are treated to a detailed account of the Warren Commission’s “investigation” as the fraud that it was. Complete with leaks to influence public opinion, cooperative news organizations and journalists, cover-up artists and the odd person of conscience, this charade deserves much more attention because it shows the extent to which we are manipulated – and others forced to go along to get along. There’s one commission staffer with a conscience, but he gets a pretty clear warning to back off.

– WhoWhatWhy Introduction by Russ Baker

Third part of compressed excerpt of Chapter 20, “For the Good of the Country” from
The Devil’s Chessboard. Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of the American Secret Government (2015).

Weaving Two Separate Webs of Deceit

Despite the chronic tensions between the CIA and FBI, Hoover proved a useful partner of the spy agency during the JFK inquiry. The FBI chief knew that his organization had its own secrets to hide related to the assassination, including its contacts with Oswald.

Furthermore, taking its cues from the CIA, the bureau had dropped Oswald from its watch list just weeks before the assassination. An angry Hoover would later mete out punishment for errors such as this, quietly disciplining seventeen of his agents. But the FBI director was desperate to avoid public censure, and he fully supported the Commission’s lone-gunman story line.

Angleton, who had a good back-channel relationship with the FBI, made sure that the two agencies stayed on the same page throughout the Warren inquest, meeting regularly with Bureau contacts such as William Sullivan and Sam Papich.

Angleton and his team also provided ongoing support and advice to Dulles. On a Saturday afternoon in March 1964, Ray Rocca – Angleton’s right-hand man ever since their days together in Rome – met with Dulles at his home to mull over a particularly dicey issue with which the commission was grappling.
?

David Phillips – a man whose career was nurtured by Helms – had been spotted meeting with Oswald in Dallas. But when Helms was sworn in, he simply lied. There was no evidence of agency contact with Oswald, he testified.

How could the panel dispel persistent rumors that the CIA was somehow a “sponsor” of Oswald’s actions? The story had broken in the press the previous month, when Marguerite Oswald declared that her son was a secret agent for the CIA who was “set up to take the blame” for the Kennedy assassination.

Rankin had obligingly suggested that Dulles be given the job of clearing the CIA by reviewing all of the relevant agency documents that were provided to the commission. But even Dulles thought this smacked too much of an inside job. Instead, after conferring with Rocca, Dulles proposed that he simply provide a statement to the commission swearing – as Rocca put it in his report back to Dick Helms – “that as far as he could remember he had never had any knowledge of Oswald at any time prior to the date of the assassination”.

But Senator Cooper thought the allegations that Oswald was some kind of government agent were too serious to simply be dispelled by written statements. During a Warren Commission executive session in April, he proposed that the heads of the CIA and FBI be put under oath and questioned by the panel. It was a highly awkward suggestion, as Dulles pointed out.

“I might have a little problem on that – having been [CIA] director until November 1961”. There was a simple solution, however: put his successor, John McCone, on the witness stand. That was fine with Dulles, because – as he knew – McCone remained an agency outsider, despite his title, and was not privy to its deepest secrets.

When McCone appeared before the Warren Commission, he brought along Helms, his chief of clandestine operations. As McCone was well aware, Helms was the man who knew where all the bodies were buried, and he deferred to his number two man more than once during his testimony. Conveniently ignorant of the CIA’s involvement with Oswald, McCone was able to emphatically deny any agency connection to the accused assassin. “The agency never contacted him, interviewed him, talked with him, or received or solicited any reports or information from him”, McCone assured the commission.

Ask Helms? “The Man Who Kept the Secrets”?

It was trickier when Helms was asked the same questions. He knew about the extensive documentary record that Angleton’s department had amassed on Oswald. He was aware of how the agency had monitored the defector during his exploits in Dallas, New Orleans, and Mexico City.

David Phillips – a man whose career was nurtured by Helms – had been spotted meeting with Oswald in Dallas. But when Helms was sworn in, he simply lied. There was no evidence of agency contact with Oswald, he testified. Had the agency provided the commission with all the information it had on Oswald, Rankin asked him. “We have – all”, Helms replied, though he knew the files that he had handed over were thoroughly purged.

Helms was “the man who kept the secrets”, in the words of his biographer, Thomas Powers. Commission staff attorney Howard Willens politely called him “one of the most fluent and self-confident government officials I ever met”. Helms was the sort of man who could tell lies with consummate ease. It would eventually win him a felony conviction, and he wore it like a badge of courage. When one was defending the nation, Helms would lecture the senators who pestered him late in his career, one must be granted a certain latitude.

Disturbing Phone Call from a Spook

It was David Slawson, a thirty-two-year-old attorney on leave from a Denver corporate law firm, who was given the unenviable job of dealing with the CIA as part of the Warren Commission’s conspiracy research team. Rankin had told Slawson to rule out no one – “not even the CIA”.

If he did discover evidence of agency involvement, the young lawyer nervously joked, he would be found dead of a premature heart attack. But Rocca, the veteran counterintelligence agent assigned to babysit the commission, made sure nothing turned up. “I came to like and trust [Rocca]”, said the young staff attorney, who found himself dazzled by his first exposure to a spy world he had only seen in movies. “He was very intelligent and tried in every way, to be honest and helpful”. Slawson was equally gullible when evaluating Dulles, whom he dismissed as old and feeble – precisely the aging schoolmaster act that the spymaster liked to put over on people.

Years later, as the Church Committee began to reveal the darker side of the CIA, Slawson came to suspect that Rocca had not been so “honest” with him after all. In a frank interview with The New York Times in February 1975, Slawson suggested that the CIA had withheld important information from the Warren Commission, and he endorsed the growing campaign to reopen the Kennedy investigation.

Slawson was the first Warren Commission attorney to publicly question whether the panel had been misled by the CIA and FBI (he would later be joined by Rankin himself) – and the news story caused a stir in Washington.

Several days after the article ran, Slawson – who by then was teaching law at the University of Southern California – got a disturbing phone call from James Angleton. After some initial pleasantries, the spook got around to business. He wanted Slawson to know that he was friendly with the president of USC, and he wanted to make sure that Slawson was going to “remain a friend” of the CIA.

Manufacturing a Motive for Oswald

His new job on the commission gave Dulles an opportunity to connect with old friends, such as … British novelist Rebecca West. In March, Dulles wrote West, beseeching her to draw on her fertile imagination to come up with possible motives for Oswald’s crime. The commission was so baffled by the question that Warren even suggested leaving that part of the report blank.

“I wish sometime you would sit down and write me a line as to why you think Lee Oswald did the dastardly deed”, Dulles wrote the novelist in March, as if discussing the plot of a whodunit. “All I can tell you is that there is not one iota of evidence that he had any personal vindictiveness against the man Kennedy”.

Meanwhile, the following month, Mary relayed a news report about Mark Lane to Dulles, informing her old lover in high dudgeon that Lane had apparently told a conference of lawyers in Budapest “that the killers – plural – of JFK were still at large … even I am amazed that Lane has the temerity to go to Budapest and shoot off his mouth in that fashion. I regard him as insane – but nevertheless, I do hope the FBI has its eye on him”.

Dulles and McCloy, in fact, were very concerned about European public opinion regarding the Kennedy assassination, and they urged the commission to closely monitor both Lane and Thomas G Buchanan, a Paris-based American journalist who had written the first JFK conspiracy book, Who Killed Kennedy? (1964) – an advance copy of which was airmailed to Dulles from the CIA station in London, where it was published …

Earl Warren was obsessed with press coverage of the inquiry and agonized over press leaks, including a May report by Anthony Lewis in The New York Times – midway through the panel’s work – that the inquiry was set to “unequivocally reject theories that the assassination was the work of some kind of conspiracy”.

Warren was very upset by the premature news report, which suggested that the commission had rushed to judgment before hearing all the evidence. The leak was clearly intended to counter the publicity being generated by authors like Lane and Buchanan.

While the commission frantically attempted to determine the source of such leaks, the answer was sitting in their midst. The two most active leakers were Ford and Dulles. It was Ford who kept the FBI constantly informed, enabling Hoover to feed the press with bureau-friendly stories about the inquest. And Dulles used the CIA’s own network of media assets to spin Warren Commission coverage.

A Likely Story about Robert Oswald

The New York Times was a favorite Dulles receptacle. In February, the Times had run another leaked story – also bylined by Lewis – that clearly led back to Dulles. Lewis reported that Robert Oswald, the accused assassin’s brother, had testified that he suspected Lee was a Soviet agent. As the commission hunted the source of the leak, a staff attorney suggested that the Times reporter might have overheard a dinner table conversation that he and Dulles had with Robert Oswald at a Washington restaurant – a highly unlikely scenario that nonetheless provided Dulles with the fig leaf of a cover story …

Blame the Victim

There was a smug coziness to the entire Warren investigation. It was a clubby affair. When Treasury Secretary Dillon finally appeared before the commission in early September – less than three weeks before its final report was delivered to the president – he was warmly greeted by Dulles as “Doug”. Dillon was treated to a kid-gloves examination by the commission, even though there were troubling questions left unanswered about the Secret Service’s behavior in Dallas, where Kennedy’s protection had mysteriously melted away.

Led by Willens, the commission staff had tried for months before Dillon’s appearance to obtain Secret Service records related to the assassination. Willens believed that “the Secret Service appeared to be neither alert nor careful in protecting the president”.

This was a delicate way of characterizing what was a criminally negligent performance by the service entrusted with the president’s safety. The buildings surrounding Dealey Plaza and its shadowy corners were not swept and secured by the Secret Service in advance of Kennedy’s motorcade.

There were no agents riding on the flanks of his limousine. And when sniper fire erupted, only one agent – Clint Hill – performed his duty by sprinting toward the president’s vehicle and leaping onto the rear. It was an outrageous display of professional incompetence, one that made Robert Kennedy immediately suspect that the presidential guard was involved in the plot against his brother.

But Dillon stonewalled Willens’s efforts to pry loose Secret Service records, and when the commission staff persisted, the Treasury secretary huddled with his old friend, Jack McCloy, and then appealed to President Johnson himself. “Dillon was a very shrewd guy”, Willens marveled late in his life. “I still can’t believe he involved President Johnson in this”.

Instead of being grilled by the commission about why he had withheld records and why his agency was missing in action in Dallas, Dillon was allowed to make a case for why his budget should be beefed up. If the Secret Service was given more money, staff, and authority, Senator Cooper helpfully asked, would it be possible to offer the president better protection in the future? “Yes, I think [we] could”, Dillon replied brightly.

If any blame was assigned in the death of the president during Dillon’s gentle interrogation, it was placed on the victim himself. Soon after the assassination, Dillon and others began circulating the false story that Kennedy preferred his Secret Service guards to ride behind him in motorcades, instead of on the side rails of his limousine, and that Kennedy had also requested the Dallas police motorcycle squadron to hang back – so the crowds in Dallas could enjoy an unobstructed view of the glamorous first couple. This clever piece of disinformation had the insidious effect of absolving the Secret Service and indicting Kennedy, implying that his vanity was his downfall …

https://whowhatwhy.org/2015/10/14/new-book-on-cia-master-plotter-dulles-sneak-peek-part-3/

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