Friday, April 11, 2014

Beyond Environmentalism

We're all looking for some way to escape.  Some use religion, some use alcohol, some use television.  I don't judge, we all pick our poison, most of us have come up with a combination of various diversions to get through the monotony of the daily grind.  After 10 years of marriage, Mrs. Paulsen and I have discovered that our favorite method of escape is travel; our favorite means is the road trip.  We spent our 10th anniversary motoring through the central part of California, making stops on the coast in San Francisco, the bucolic rolling hillsides (and wineries) of Napa, even steeper hillsides in Nevada City and Grass Valley, underground detritus in Sacramento and relative flatness in Lodi.  We also stepped outside the state for the many methods of escape that Reno provides.  One of the best damn road trips ever.

One of the side benefits of escaping the confines of Los Angeles County was the opportunity to horde large amounts of plastic bags by simply making purchases at grocery stores.  We can't do that where we live anymore.  As of January 1 this year in LA County, all supermarkets are forbidden by law from providing free plastic bags.  Smaller markets and liquor stores will be forbidden starting July 1.  The reason we horde large amounts of plastic bags is that we have our own method for recycling them: every room in our house where we compile garbage, we have small containers lined with plastic bags to collect each week.  We've done this for over a decade now and it's saved us a lot of money.  So for selfish reasons, we're more than a bit chagrined about this development.

But besides that, I'm looking closer at this change as it plays it in real life and it seems to be the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the whole environmental movement.  I grew up here in the 70s, so I've seen the visual and physical proof (smog; what an awful memory) where changes on behalf of environmental concerns can be positive.  But whereas that change entailed top-down changes where the needs of the masses outweighed the cost of private commerce, now we see the reverse at play.  Back in the 70s, there were no free plastic bags in supermarkets, it was free paper bags that they packed groceries in.  Then in the 80s, there was a huge campaign against paper bags on behalf of environmental concerns; too much of our forests being cut down, unnecessary waste, etc.  So that was how free plastic bags in grocery stores in California came to be in the first place.  But now, according to the law, if you don't bring your own bags to the grocery store, you can buy, at 10 cent a pop, a paper bag.  That's just the letter of the law.  The reality is most stores I've been to in the county are selling plastic bags at the same price.  It's debatable, three months later, just how much cleaner our environment actually is.  While there might be less floating plastic bags that I have to worry about dodging so they don't stick to the bottom of my car, I've had to do quite a bit more dodging on foot avoiding excessive piles of dog shit that wasn't as much of a problem when people could pick them up with free plastic bags.

But those details really avoid the larger point at play: we're rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  This law barely makes a dent where the real issue plastic has on our environment is concerned: the Carbon Crisis.  That's my term for the twin threats of Peak Oil and Global Climate Change.  The politicians and corporate interests behind this law seem more concerned with the bottom line economically than whether this law actually reduces carbon consumption to any significant degree.  It doesn't address how our civilization has been put on a collision course with cataclysm at all.  If anything, it only highlights how accurate George Carlin was when he criticized this type of mentality over twenty years ago:



"I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths.  People trying to make the world safe for their Volvos.  Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don't care about the planet.  Not in the abstract they don’t.  Not in the abstract they don’t.  You know what they’re interested in?  A clean place to live.  Their own habitat.  They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced.  Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.  

Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet.  Nothing wrong with the planet.  The planet is fine!  The people are fucked!  Difference.  Difference.  The planet is fine.  Compared to the people, the planet is doing great!  It's been here 4 1/2 billion years.  Do you ever think about the arithmetic?  Planet has been here 4 1/2 billion years.  We've been here, what, 100,000 maybe 200,000?  And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over 200 years.  200 years versus 4 1/2 billion.  And we have the conceit to think that somehow we're a threat?  That somehow we're gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floatin' around the sun?

The planet has been through a lot worse than us.  Been through all kinds of things worse than us.  Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?  The planet isn’t going anywhere.  WE are!  We’re going away.  Pack your shit, folks.  We’re going away."



This is why we need to move beyond environmentalism, why it has failed as a movement.  Not that I have a problem with the self-interest that Carlin lambasts, just that for the most part, it has been narrow.  Climate Change is an existential threat!  I don't believe that environmentalists on the whole get this point.  We know that the right-wing Ditto-heads and their corporate masters don't or won't get this point and take pride in their denial.  But environmentalists, for all their good intentions that they're paving the road to hell with, don't get it either. Why?  Because existential threats necessitate revolutionary action to counter the threat.  And there is nothing revolutionary about environmentalism at this juncture at all!

They've become part of the system, deluding themselves into thinking, as I wrote on Rigorous Intuition, "that we can solve the Carbon Crisis Conundrum and still keep our high-tech Happy Motoring Society intact."  As I quoted in my last post from Michael Ruppert, "The planet is being destroyed all around us.  Using money to try to address that problem; it's shooting yourself in the foot."  But that's exactly the solution most environmentalists have been advocating since the time George Carlin was rolling his eyes at them.  We can't afford to abide by that solution anymore.

Why is the situation so dire?  I recently re-watched An Inconvenient Truth for the first time in years.  It's been eight years since that movie was released in theaters.  What I was looking for specifically, after finding out in my last post that the North Pole is warmer now than it has been in 140,000 years, was what Al Gore had to say about the melting of the polar ice caps.  About 44 minutes into the film, he said that thanks to global warming, we can look forward to ice-free summers in the Arctic sometime in the next 50 to 75 years.  Taking into account that his slide-show presentation was probably filmed sometime in late 2005, that would put his prediction somewhere within the years 2055 to 2080.

We already know in 2014 that this prediction was way, way off.  Most likely this is because the melting of polar ice was calculated and extrapolated over a linear time rate.  What we have witnessed since then is the Arctic ice cap melting at an exponential rate, which David Wasdell does an excellent job of explaining in this two-part video.  There have been a number of new predictions from reputable organizations that the North Pole will first experience an ice-free summer anywhere from as early as 2015 to as late as 2018.  I believe it will occur in the summer of 2016.  Why then?  Because that's when it is predicted to occur by the US Navy.  That's right, a study conducted not by some left-wing, socialist, granola-eating hippie collective, but by the Fucking Navy of the United Fucking States of America.  Are you paying attention now?!


http://ingienous.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/guy-mcpherson-sh.png

Here's what I want you to take away from reading this blog post: if during some summer within the next five years you turn on the news and see images of an ice-free Arctic, understand this is visual proof that the human race is fucked.  It's really that simple.  I'm quite sure that the news will try to soft-sell the real ramifications; depending on which channel you're watching, you may hear talking heads cluck about how it was only ice-free for a few days before it froze over again, or how this will be great for the global economy making summer shipping lanes more efficient.  I'm positive there will be a plethora of different distractions to obscure what this unprecedented event really means.  What does it really mean?  It means we can say with 100% certainty that we have fired the 'clathrate gun.'

The clathrate gun hypothesis is something I first found out about while listening to Guy McPherson present his research a couple months ago in Olympia, Washington.  He has stated his belief with "99% certainty" that as a result of industrial civilization, the clathrate gun was fired in 2007, a belief rooted in the scientific research of Malcolm Light on the Gulf Stream transport rate.  Basically the concept behind the clathrate gun is that a rise in Arctic sea temperature will trigger the sudden release of methane stored in clathrate compounds buried in seabeds and permafrost initiating runaway climate change.  Once the Arctic ice is gone, the solar energy that formerly went into heating up the ice will now be heating up the water.  The methane clathrates are located in shallow sea beds.  It logically follows that once the Arctic ice cap melts, runaway climate change via massive methane release is inevitable.

How bad could runaway climate change be?  Here's some perspective: we have already burned 226 gigatons of carbon dioxide since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  Just this greenhouse gas alone has driven atmospheric CO2 to 402ppm, the highest recorded concentration in 800,000 years!  Arctic Ocean methane is equivalent to anywhere between 1,000 to 10,000 gigatons.  Since only a minor increase in temperature is sufficient to trigger a methane release, a 50 gigaton "burp" of methane is highly possible at any time between 2015 and 2025.  Because methane is a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, that would have the strength of roughly 1,250 gigatons of carbon dioxide.  What would that translate to for an increase of global average temperature?  4 degrees C above baseline by 2030.  No humans have ever lived on Earth at 3.5 C above baseline (global average temperature at the start of the Industrial Revolution).  This doesn't mean we roast to death.  But even if the "burp" turns out to be a wet fart, at 2-3 C above baseline, we lose all ocean photoplankton and therefore most ocean life.  Perhaps this is what the IPCC is alluding to in their latest report when they said, “models based on current agricultural systems suggest large negative impacts on agricultural productivity and substantial risks to global food production and security.”  Translation: we may run out of food.

So what's my point?  Is this just a morbid personal exercise in facing mortality, perhaps exacerbated by the upcoming anniversary of my father's passing?  I can't discount that influence, but in a positive way - that I have more clarity and courage in areas I previously refused to explore.  Nobody can say for certain whether the prospect of runaway climate change means we will be one of the species to take an exit bow in this Sixth Great Extinction that is currently taking place without a runaway event.  But I think it's safe to say this is a situation beyond plastic bags, carbon footprints, or any of the other outer trappings of building a shiny new Green Economy right on top of the rotting vestiges of the old one.  Until environmentalism unites behind a plan to change the way money works so that our economic infrastructure represents energy instead of debt, change our modes of production so that carbon consumption is effectively eradicated, and find a way to decommision the 447 existing nuclear power plants within a decade so they don't melt down if civilization breaks down, the movement isn't part of the solution, it's part of the problem.  The problem is the System.  Saving humanity requires proactively de-industrializing civilization before a suicidal devolution does the job for us.  That means destroying the System.  Revolution.  You've heard the song before.



Oh...you want to see my plan?  That's a post for another day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

ClusterFukushima

 "The planet is being destroyed all around us.  Using money to try to address that problem; it's shooting yourself in the foot.  Evolve or perish, grow up or die.  An entirely new level of human consciousness is needed right now.  Or we're all dead.  Mankind openly descends into world of bloodshed without end.  Dog eat dog until everything is killed and the last man commits suicide or is poisoned, having all the toys and they mean nothing!

When you believe you're already dead and you've got nothing to live for, you fight better than you've ever fought in your life!  When your back's to the wall.  That's the only time when humans actually choose to evolve, at the moment of death.  At the moment when we face our destruction.  That's when the greatest leaps in human consciousness and the leaps of human heart take place.

I'm tired!  I'm ready to die.  Great!  Bring it, I'm not afraid of death at all!  That'll be a big relief for me, that'll be graduation!  'God, I get to get out of this god-forsaken shit-hole!!!'...that I love more than anything else in the world.  The scout's knife is sharp on both edges.  It cuts in both directions."

-Michael C. Ruppert in Apocalypse, Man


About five years ago, one of my all-time favorite documentaries, Collapse, was filmed and released.  I wrote a blog entry about my experience viewing the movie opening night with a Question and Answer session afterward with the movie's subject, Michael Ruppert.  The overwhelming critical success (Roger Ebert gave it four stars, including a rare, "you owe it to yourself to see it," recommendation.) of this film gave Ruppert a platform from which he created a new website, CollapseNet.com, which started in 2010.  The website still operates, but Ruppert left a couple years later.  I really wasn't sure what had happened to him, or where he was.

Now there is a new documentary, currently showing on Vice's youtube channel in six parts titled Apocalypse, Man, that details what's up with Mike.  The first part begins with a basic catch-up that is quite startling in explaining why he left CollapseNet and where he is going:



"I could no longer function at a three-dimensional Cartesian analysis of what's going on in the world.  The only thing that was important to me was that I leave northern California and all my relations in that world clean.  I paid off everybody I could pay off.  I gave away what I could give away.  I made sure that I was walking away leaving the place better than it was when I found it.  And I had no place to go.  I was broke.  Absolutely broke.  I came here to die.  Or commit suicide.  So I came here with everything that I owned, including my dog Rags, and my vehicle.  This was the only place I had to go!  I had no money to get a place.  And, my good friend, my best friend Doug Lewis, who had been a bandmate of mine in New White Trash, from a band we formed in Venice, he had a bedroom and he had a bed, and he said, 'OK, you're coming here.'  So this was how I came to Crestone, I knew nothing about the place when I got here.  The path you're supposed to follow is the only one that's left open in front of you."

That path has lead Mike to the beautiful San Luis Valley of Colorado.  I find an appropriate symmetry to the fact that the man who created From The Wilderness, which operated out of the same LA gridlock where I currently reside, is now living in a natural setting that can truly be described as from the wilderness.  Apocalypse, Man shows him communing among Native Americans, conversing in a teepee.  He seems to have found a genuine place of happiness in his retirement.  As far as participating in the Infinite Growth Paradigm, Mike Ruppert has truly dropped out.

But he still remains tuned in.  He has not lost his point of view, his passion, his fury.  Each part of this documentary contains some explosive revelation or penetrating insight that is worthy of contemplation and reflection at a minimum, and if possible, revolutionary (or evolutionary) transformation if we have truly turned on what President Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."  I'll transcribe the portions of what Mike Ruppert says that truly made an impact on me:



From Part Two:

"But then, it's been known about Peak Oil that the world was gonna start running out of oil, crossing the bell curve, since the late 1940's when The Prophet, when the guy who discovered the system, the physicist M. King Hubbert, predicted it.  He was the Granddaddy.  So the techno-fix for Peak Oil was tar sands.  Well, what are tar sands doing?!  You've destroyed hundreds of millions of acres of boreal forests; the lungs of the planet in Canada!  You burn copious amounts of natural gas which we ran out of to boil water to wash tar sands.  Look at the net energy input for that.  You're burning natural gas, oil, coal, whatever to boil this water to wash the tar sands.  You wash out this super-sticky poisonous substance called bitumen out, which is not oil.  And then that has to be refined, and you destroy this most pristine boreal forest.  It's killing the wildlife, it's infected the water table, it passes through pipelines.  You know, the pipelines breaks and it destroys the ecosystems wherever its exposed.  

So, North America passed a gas cliff in 2002-2003.  Conventional natural gas, which is you just drill a well and burn it off.  So the techno-fix for running out of natural gas is fracking!  Oh great, now you can set your water faucet on fire!  You can poison yourself, give yourself cancer, you can send the poisons downstream and kill fish and destroy trees!  That's the techno-fix.  So people who are looking to techno-fixes for these problems are suicidal and they're deluded and they're stupid.

Holes are drilled deep into Mother Earth until it reaches a shale formation.  It's hard rock.  And what I found due to a patent that was issued to Halliburton; Dick Cheney?  They're shooting depleted uranium into Mother Earth to fracture the shale to liberate the gas.  And they are pouring horrendously toxic chemicals, benzine, many other chemicals down there to extract this natural gas.  Fracking also has been shown to cause earthquakes in Arkansas and Missouri.  It deeply disturbs Mother Earth; it's a desperate drive for energy.  Which shows that all of the leaders of the industrialized world who talk about growth and who are serving the IMF, the World Bank, the US dollar hegemony; an Infinite Growth Monetary Paradigm which is a pyramid scheme have absolutely no concern, a complete psychotic disconnect for our relationship with the planet.  Well, people are realizing that they're dying.  I mean, American citizens are standing up when they develop cancer, when their children develop open lesions and sores and leukemia and all kinds of neurological disorders as a result of being poisoned by fracking.


The police aren't arming themselves, they're being armed.  It's a giveaway.  And this came with the Patriot Act; it was totally, patently unconstitutional.  It's an absolute...that should have then prompted a revolution among the American people.  As I read the Patriot Act what I said was, 'Oh my God, Katie bar the door, this is the federal government taking over every police department in the country.'  All of a sudden these taps were open, all of this money started flowing into local police agencies.  But the deal was every police agency had to use a uniform government computer system the CIA and the FBI can get into.  It used to be that if I ran a sheriff's office out here the FBI couldn't get into my computer.  But now with the software techniques, the US government not only can get into any law enforcement agencies computers, they can shut them down!  Radio frequencies were synchronized, standardization of weapons and issues of all that was done with the intent to turn American police departments into a de facto Army.  With the same equipment, the same frequencies for the purpose of command and control, information control.  So that's pretty much been accomplished.  So that, as we reach the point that we're at now that everything is falling apart, you know, no county sheriff anywhere is going to turn down an armored vehicle.  But there are strings that come with all of that.  So we see Department of Homeland Security buying four million rounds of hollow point ammunition; handgun ammunition.  That's to shoot Americans!  And I  stay away from some of the very unfounded, hysterical right-wing conspiracies, but it's a very clear fact that the United States government has declared the American people to be the enemy."





From Part Three:

"Now, what's clear is, because the US has been the hegemonic alpha dog for so long, is that the world doesn't have a Plan B for if the United States fails.  But the United States of America needs to fail.  The US dollar needs to fail.  There is no hope for any of us unless that oppression, that straitjacket, that iron mask in which we are forced to live is removed.  We have to see that.

The US dollar is one of the major legs that must be broken down to change that consciousness about money.  It's like Chief Seattle said, "Not until you have killed the last fish and cut down the last tree and poisoned the last river will you discover that you cannot eat money."  

So now the dollar is collapsing.  The US empire is in retreat.  The world doesn't quite know what to do and this was discussed clearly when I went to Moscow in 2001 with the Ministry of Finance.  Consciousness has not evolved to the point where people realize that money is nothing.  It's not 'money is the root of all evil',  'the love of money is the root of all evil'; the belief that its power.  You know, here's the cruelest joke; and I can hear George Orwell and Terrence McKenna laughing their asses off.  (Ruppert pulls a dollar bill out of his wallet) What does it say on here: 'In God We Trust.'  This is God!  This is the God that's dying.  This is the fucking God that means nothing!  It's not clean air!  It's not fresh water!  

The world that we live in right fucking now, the hypnosis is going to break.  Because everybody is going to realize almost in a heartbeat what matters is: do you have food to eat?  Do you have unpolluted water that you can drink?  Do you have air that you can breathe?  Are you able to maintain your body temperature at night?  And at that point, the switches go on and mankind is faced with one of two choices.  That's it.  When the dollar goes, its going to be a very short period of time before it comes to that real fork in the road."  (Evolve or perish)





From Part Four:

"Where I am, with the prioritized threats facing humanity right now, there are only two.  One is Climate Collapse, the collapse of the jet stream, global warming, in which we know of an absolute scientific certainty that we have baked a four degree centigrade rise above baseline.  Baseline being the start of human industrial civilization; carbon emission.  And human life goes extinct after two degrees centigrade, it takes a longer period of time.  Four degrees, and now it looks more like five, with 25 positively reinforcing feedback loops, such as the melting of methane hydrates in the seabeds, or the thawing of arctic tundra in Siberia that produces columns of methane, a greenhouse gas 100 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide in its initial release than CO2.  The North Pole is now warmer than it has been in 140,000 years.  This is an irreversible trend; we've reached and crossed multiple tipping points with that.  Not all of the feedback loops are reversible. 

But I have a dear friend, Guy McPherson, who is a Professor Emeritus from the University of Arizona, who is a climate scientist, evolutionary biology, who is just an amazing guy, who walked a similar path: he walked away.  Who has compiled now irrefutable multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that we got four degrees cooked in and calculated showing human extinction by the year 2030.  The science is there; it's not being covered by mainstream.  We live in a world that's been taught to deny everything.  That's what's producing the bizarre weather all over the planet that we are seeing.  The jet stream is meandering and collapsing which is sucking arctic cold way too far south, but it happens in bands, so you have a biblical drought in one band and then you have torrential rainfalls in another as the jet stream gets weak.  

Climate collapse, climate chaos, what it does is it makes it impossible to do things like permaculture, which is one of the things that I love more than anything else.  Permaculture, one way of looking at it is thoughtful and protracted observation, but it implies that by observing and interacting with the land, doing permaculture on the land, learning how to harmonize all of the things in your ecosystem, that you're going to have a stable climate in which that observation has some value.  Climate collapse takes that away.  Plants cannot adapt, animals cannot adapt quickly enough.  We just had 100,000 head of cattle freeze to death in South Dakota.  Which was, they were grazing on summer pastures one day, they hadn't grown their winter coats yet, they were hit by a blizzard, they all froze to death.  There was not malfeasance on the part of ranchers who had lived there their whole lives, they couldn't adapt to the climate.  We had 20 something inches of rain in Boulder, Colorado, biblical flooding there not to far from here recently.  Plants cannot adapt that quickly to a changing climate.  And what people who are disconnected from the earth don't understand is if the animals die and the plants die, we die!  There are too many people who have been hypnotized into believing that their food actually comes from a grocery store.  It doesn't come from a grocery store!  It comes from Mother Earth!"



From Part Five:

"The second threat, which is more imminent, is Fukushima.  It is an unprecedented nuclear disaster.  March 11 of 2011, there was a Richter 9 earthquake off the coast of Fukushima, eastern Japan.  The massive earthquake caused major damage to the reactor buildings, but they survived to one degree or another intact, so that when the tsunami arrived after the earthquake, it was a big tsunami, like 40 feet, that went many, many miles inland.  Killed many tens of thousands of people, 10, 15,000 people, 20,000 people.

What the tsunami did was overwhelm the diesel generators that had been installed in a very low-lying spot close to the beach and drowned them.  So there was no electrical power supply to pump water.  Which made it inevitable that you were going to have meltdowns.  There was some heroic action on the part of the TEPCO staff who eventually decided to flood the reactors with seawater, which is very corrosive, it's not a good thing to do, you destroy the reactors, but what they did was they saved three small atom bomb explosions.  They prevented that for a short period of time. 

But then you had inevitably without power, meltdowns.  And the core reactors become super hot.  They melted through their containment vessels, out of the buildings, out of the structures, and melted into the earth.  Some of them, because they were in pressurized tight spaces, water will decompose, break down into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen, hydrogen being extremely explosive.  So you had a hydrogen explosion at Building Three, which just blew the top off, I think everyone has seen the film of that.  You also had explosions at One and Two.  What happened as a result of that, you had catastrophic releases of radiation into the upper atmosphere immediately, within days of the earthquake and tsunami. 

And what we are finding out now, and it's been covered up, covered up by the Japanese government, covered up by TEPCO, covered up by the United States government, it's been hidden: we have been bathed in radiation.  The northern hemisphere has, it's traveled the globe.  It's been detected heavily along the West Coast, where infant mortality soared in April and May, birth defects soared, leukemias have soared.  We now know the West Coast is being bathed in radiation, not only from the atmospheric release, but now, from what we've learned in the last few months, from the fact that TEPCO has been dumping three or four hundred tons of super-radioactive water into the ocean every day for two and a half years!  And those leaks are getting worse and the amounts of radiation being leaked are getting worse because the site itself is deteriorating, it's degenerating.  And Building Four is teetering, it's absolutely rickety.

There are six spent fuel pools at Fukushima.  The one that's suspended in this teetering, rickety building above what was Reactor Number Four, contains the radiation equivalent of 15,000 Hiroshima bombs!  If those fuel rods have an open air combustion, and they're very long and very heavy, like cigarettes in a pack, and the way they used to be removed is they would have a computer operating a crane to remove them very slowly so that they didn't contact, especially in open air, because that's when you get the disaster.  The cranes have been destroyed, the building is teetering, the computers that were there to run the cranes to make sure that you didn't get a contact have been destroyed.  They're going to have to be removed by hand within a couple of months, because everybody knows the building is going to fall over.  This is almost an impossible task and I'm seeing some tacit admissions, 'We don't know how to do this.'

But now everybody knows, it's out, that the ground underneath the reactors is turning into mud.  They've been pouring hundreds of thousands and millions of tons of water just in there trying to keep everything cool so that you didn't have another critical event.  But it's eroding the foundations and the land from underneath the building.  And that water's been pumping directly into the Pacific Ocean for two and a half years.  The plankton eat it; and then the krill eat the plankton, then something comes along and eats the krill, the small fish, the bigger fish, so by the time you get to a bluefin tuna eating what it eats, the radiation has been concentrated through four or five meals.  And 100% of the bluefin tuna that have been caught recently off the coast of California have tested positive for radiation.  Starfish are dissolving, mackerel are showing up with bleeding eyesockets and ulcerations, sockeye salmon are turning up with radiation, killer whales off the coast of Vancouver are losing their ability to vocalize, they're dying at an alarming rate.  The Pacific Ocean has been lethally poisoned, the northern Pacific.  But eventually the oceans will circulate it everywhere.

But Tokyo, electric power, the Japanese government has lost control.  The radiation now, currently, even without the fuel pool falling over, is so intense near Buildings One, Two and Three, Reactors One, Two and Three that it disables robots.  And there has been admitted that nobody has the technology to build a robot capable of withstanding those amounts of radiation to get close to it to do anything.  Radiation also turns metal extremely brittle, they've had a crane failure there.  There are two cooling towers that have already broken loose from moorings big enough that they could fall on Building Three or Building Four at any time.  And we expect that with typhoons or another earthquake.  So that radiation is already so intense that you really can't work on what's there, you can't contain it.  We don't know where the cores are, the cores could be hundreds of miles down below now.  They've passed water tables, nobody knows where they are. 

If Building Four falls, the whole site must be abandoned.  There's no debate about this!  Nobody disputes it under any circumstances.  Not the Japanese government, not TEPCO. If those rods go, then every other set of fuel rods has to be abandoned and they cannot be kept cooled and they will go.  The combined radiation from all that will be released if Building Four goes is 85 times the amount of Cesium alone that was released from Chernobyl.  Now you have a million deaths already from Chernobyl.  This is a human extinction event.  We are all dead if this happens.  It is a human apocalypse.  Not just to humans, but to all life on the planet.  Fukushima is not a Japanese problem, it is not a North American, it is a human problem, every human being, every living thing on the planet is at risk!"




From Part Six:

"There is going to be a die-off.  That is a balancing.  That cannot be averted.  I cannot offer some happy Pollyanna solution to that.  Love is the only vibration that's a higher vibration than fear.  Our physical reality is a product of our consciousness which is a product of what we carry in our hearts.  And if we carry fear in our hearts, to the point where the consciousness is one of fear, then all we would manifest would be more destruction.  The means to save, to resurrect, to make amends with, to reconcile with, to heal ourselves with Mother Earth and everything that lives here, will only become available to us once we realize that cooperation rather than competition, that love rather than fear is the only state of consciousness in which we can successfully live, and lo and behold, those are the ways our ancestors lived 40,000 years ago.  Those are the ways the Lakota lived on the plain, the way the Apache lived in the desert, the way they lived in South America, the way the indigenous people; they lived in a state of love and balance for everything.  But we are drunken humans on this mad addictive desire for another line of cocaine, another dose of cheap energy, another car, another joke, another...what?  Look at where it has brought us.

Now, now that all of human race stands at the brink of extinction, and we may die, life will go on, spirits gonna be fine, we're just gonna go to some other place.  I don't believe that death is an end, it's a door, you go through it.  You know, Crazy Horse, the great mystic, said, 'The spirit world's more real than this one.'  He wanted to spend more time there than here.  Cuz this place gets to be real hard sometimes.  But we stand at this most amazing moment, the end of the Fourth Sun.  There is an answer.  Now seven billion souls aren't going to make that.  I don't think, it would be nice, it might happen, I don't know what miracles lie out there.  But one thing that people on this planet are , it's really starting to sink in, is what we've been doing is not working.  What the whole human race has been doing.  Until you change the way money works, you change nothing.  You have to stop Infinite Growth.  

We can't feed anymore people, we can't fit anymore people on the planet.  Human population's still growing exponentially, although the die-off is pretty significant now, it's going to get a lot more pronounced.  But beyond all of that now, Fukushima and Climate Collapse have brought us to a place where we face the end of our species within 17 years!  At the outside, 2030-2040.  The only way if we wanna live and if we want children to live after us is to stop human industrial activity right now.  Otherwise, we're an alcoholic cocaine addict, heroin addict, sitting at a bar stool weighing 80 pounds, anemic, trying to convince ourselves that we look good, with AIDS and herpes and all these damn diseases, we're slamming booze down our throat, we're sticking a needle in our arm, we're snortin' the line, and we're committing suicide saying everything is under control.  It ain't!

So we are reaching a climax and some people would say, and I don't believe this at all, some people would say that Mother Earth is going to kill us like we were an infection.  I believe, and it's my experience even now, that Mother Earth, because we are of her, we are her children, we are created from her, what mother can not love her child, still loves us unconditionally and is begging us to wake up.

Somebody asked me to slow down on my Facebook page and remember the Everyday Man and I said, 'I gave up on the Everyday Human a long time ago.  Now I only serve the exceptional ones.  I serve the warriors, I serve the ones who are out there, who are the best of the best, and that makes us sharper together because nobody is as smart as all of us, I get feeds from all over the world, and I can really see and participate in this awakening that is taking place.  And it's one of those great dramas: will the awakening happen in time to make a difference?  And I don't know that it does make a difference and this is where I have come to just in the last two or three weeks looking at Climate Collapse and Fukushima.  Which is that - I think we are all dead.  But I'm utterly convinced that the state of mind we are in when we die will make all the difference in the universe as to where we find ourselves once we walk through the door!  You know, I firmly believe that the level of consciousness and love that we carry and we create and the people we surround ourselves with, what we hold in our hearts at the moment of our death makes all the difference in the world.

There are people who would lay down and die.  Well, that's not a warrior's path.  You know, just give up, just get loaded, just get stoned, just party, well that doesn't...you get tired of that real quick if you try it.  But it's what's in your heart, it's what you're doing, it's the warrior's way - you fight until the last minute!  One way or another, no matter what happens, there is a balancing that's coming, there is a balancing that is here, that it is now.  And what's left for us is to decide how we're going to face it.  And what's important.  But between climate chaos and Fukushima, there shouldn't be anything else that anybody, anywhere on the planet is concerned about.  Because unless those are dealt with, we're all dead anyway."



So what do I take away from all this?

First, on a strictly aesthetic level, I think VICE did an excellent job of editing this documentary.  It helps to have seen Collapse first, this almost plays as a sequel.  While I loved the title play on Apocalypse Now, you could also call this Collapse Part Two: Walk Away.  It not only updates the original in thematic content, but also illuminates Ruppert's personal evolution as well.  Hopefully in the future this documentary will also be available in one continuous edit, as opposed to the current six part format.

But is it all true?  Well, Mike is always very meticulous about laying out the facts he collects from other sources.  So the real question is are the threats he spells out really that imminent?  I believe they are.  But that doesn't mean we should give up.  As we face the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that caused the disaster at Fukushima, Japan, it is important to understand the full nature of the ongoing and unresolved threat that humanity is confronted with there.  This is something that many major governments and major media outlets won't face, but it is being reported and we need to be aware.  Because this threat is potentially so immediate, and because the location of this threat is so focused, I believe the appropriate steps, while being hidden from the public, are being taken to contain and neutralize this threat.  Granted, my guts are probably glowing from all the radioactive Pacific Ocean seafood I've digested in the last three years, but hopefully the cinematic vividness of this situation will motivate authorities to prevent a human extinction event.  Time will tell whether these steps are enough.

That's about as far as my Pollyanna outlook extends.  I wish I could be as optimistic regarding Climate Collapse toward human existence as I am toward Fukushima, but I'm not.  I don't believe that humanity is capable of overcoming the threat we face there.  That's regardless of whether you accept the inevitability of a Near Term Extinction (NTE) event or not, although being familiar with the work of Ruppert's friend Guy McPherson (despite his fatalistic outlook, he has a wonderfully droll sense of humor; the title for this post came from a phrase I first heard from McPherson), I am starting to accept the possibility of a 2030-2040 homo sapien expiration date. (I'll have to do more research to verify just how much of a probability this possibility is.)  But it's not essential to accept to understand why humanity can't overcome this crisis.  As Ruppert explains at the beginnning of the documentary, civilization is committed to using money to solve the crisis of Global Warming.  Our entire economic infrastructure, whether capitalistic or socialistic, is predicated on Infinite Growth. Unless you change the way money works, you change nothing.  If human beings cannot survive a global climate 3.5 degrees Celsius above baseline, then the question isn't if civilization will collapse, but when.

But the lesson of Fukushima makes clear that as bad as things are with Climate Change, our nuclear industry has created a Catch-22 making things even more complicated.  Let's say we solve Fukushima, but there is an NTE connected with Global Warming that destroys civilization.  Certainly there could be some pockets of humanity that finds a way to grow food to keep the species alive.  But if civilization breaks down completely, what about all the other nuclear facilities in the world?  In order to avoid global nuclear meltdown which would commence in the absence of a functioning electrical grid, we must sustain civilization.  Yet in order to sustain civilization, we must continue the carbon consumption that has taken our climate to the edge of being inhospitable to human life.  What to do?

Something tells me this will be the predominant subject of the majority of my future posts.  Everything else at this point seems trivial by comparison.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Toxic Strains

The post that has so far received the greatest amount of comments so far, The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Operation Gladio and the Assassination of JFK, certainly deserves a follow-up post, my thanks to everyone who contributed.  Research by Mae Brussell was brought to my attention by Patrick Oomens indicating that there might be a more direct JFK assassination link to the DIA through the intelligence career of Lee Harvey Oswald himself!  Through the link Patrick provided, I was able to make a rough transcript of Brussell's research as provided in the 4-3-1972 broadcast with Paul Cogan for Dialogue.  My transcription starts about 20 minutes into the broadcast:



MAE BRUSSELL:  "Now in Volume 23 of the Commission hearings are some exhibits from the Marines sent to the Warren Commission that are published, these volumes I bought from the government printing office, and there's a long history of Lee Harvey Oswald's service in the Marines.  The subject they say is 'in accordance with the request of your memorandum of May 1964, "The Warren Commission: Wanted Information," that covers three categories.  A: the description of advanced or formal training which Oswald received while a member of the Marine Corp.  Now remember, when he wanted to be at 16, he wasn't accepted, so he went home and memorized the entire Marine manual, and when he was 17 he went back in.  Oswald attended Aviation Fundamental School, Naval Air Technical Training Center Naval Air stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, and during this period his course of instruction consisted essentially of the following: security of classified matter, US Marine Corp organization admissions and systems, Navy plotting, symbols and lectures, practical application of above, basic radar theory, equipment and safety measures, communication search and rescue procedures, air traffic procedures, map reading, weather aircraft recognition and combat information centers.  In May 1957 to June 1957, he went to Aircraft Control and Warning Operator Course at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi and his course of instruction was radar familiarization, operation of radar indicators, aircraft warning indicators, aircraft control and warning systems, electronic countermeasures, operation of aircraft, warning installations and familiarization courses in the organization of Marine aviation, Marine air support and control systems.  In 1957, he went to the Aviation Electronic School in Memphis, Tennessee, where he became incorporated in the Division Five of the FBI, the group that was responsible for the political assassinations; now this is one of the most...

PHIL COGAN:  (interrupting)  Now, now wait a minute, Mae.

BRUSSELL:  OK.  Volume...

COGAN:  Now I've got to say something.  In 1957...

BRUSSELL:  Aviation Electronic School in Memphis, Tennessee.  This has been one of the most secret training periods that he's gone into and I have documents for the southwest; you'll find this in Volume 23, 797, and anybody who's in Navy Intelligence can look up what the Aviation Electronic School consisted of in Memphis, Tennessee, in July 1957 that Oswald attended.

COGAN:  What did it consist of?

BRUSSELL:  This was a special department of Navy Intelligence.  Division Five of the FBI.  This was...

COGAN:  (interrupting)  Now the FBI is tied in with Navy Intelligence there?

BRUSSELL:  Yes, but in the assassination the FBI used agents from Navy Intelligence.  And if you look up this very, see, when you talk about Lee Harvey Oswald in the Warren Report, there's no mention of any of these skills that he learned.  And he is stationed at Atsugi Base, later where the U2 flights get their training and he's in Russia at the same time Gary Powers is flying over there.  Oswald went to the Soviet Union and his cover story was that he didn't like America and that he would give them all the information on our radar systems, and we routinely check them when he went there, but he had the mental capacity, which I'm going to show you, to understand, and the training to understand these systems.  You see, he's made out to look like a really sick boob floating around with no friends, no meaningful relationships, you see, his handwriting shows you that he's this loner, or egotistical; to say that Lee Harvey Oswald had no accomplices because he has those characteristics is so wrong.  And what I want to do is show his training.

COGAN:  I'm still interested in Division Five of the FBI.  Where's the documentation behind that?

BRUSSELL:  I'll bring the documentation of that.  I have a whole book on that that came from lawyers in the southwest.  This is the group that ties in with the space agencies and the political assassinations.  I can bring that in and do one whole show on that, if you like.

COGAN:  Well, that's kind of a heavy statement to make.  This school, the Aviation Electronics School in Memphis, Tennessee involved with Navy Intelligence is also directly tied in with Division Five of the FBI, what is Division Five of the FBI?

BRUSSELL:  Well, Division Five comes under Defense Intelligence Agency.  It's different than the CIA, and it's larger than the CIA and nobody is aware or talks about the Defense Intelligence Agency.  It began in screening people who are employed in space agencies or rocket factories or missiles, everybody employed in all these agencies has to be screened out and the intelligence apparatus of this particular Defense Intelligence Agency has more funds, more men and more power than the CIA.  And there are some books on the Defense Intelligence Agency; we hear a lot about watchdogs for the CIA and nobody's gone into this particular agency.

COGAN:  Is Division Five of the FBI referred to in any publications?

BRUSSELL:  (interrupting)  Common knowledge?  The people that have done the research, who have pinpointed the political assassination, refer to Division Five, the researchers point to it all the time.  But the way the intelligence system breaks down, if I say, 'Oswald was an agent of Navy Intelligence' you know, if you're in the service, how complicated the network is and which particular branch or vein or artery that he came from has to be pinpointed by the researchers eventually down to the modus operandi.  To just say, 'He's an agent' isn't enough, so I'm pinpointing him to this particular division.

COGAN:  Is this the first evidence that you have of Oswald's connection with a government intelligence agency?

BRUSSELL:  What do you mean?

COGAN:  Well, is this tie-in between Oswald, the Aviation Electronics School, and Division Five of the FBI, has he been associated with an intelligence operation before this time in July of '57?

BRUSSELL:  Well, the whole training that he got the minute he came into the Marines going off to Jacksonville, Florida, then Mississippi, and then down to Memphis indicates that he was always to be in intelligence."



While Brussell does have a tendency in her speaking style to stumble over some specifics, the content of her research is quite shocking.  But is it true?  I wanted to make sure, as I have not read that Oswald was an agent of ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) in any books on the JFK assassination, and I've read over a dozen.  As I mentioned in the comments section of the earlier JFK/DIA post, if Oswald worked for Naval Intelligence prior to 1961, that means the DIA definitely should have known of Oswald's intel activities before November 22, 1963. That's because after 1961, ONI would fall under the purview of the DIA. I find this possibility extremely intriguing, especially considering Guy Banister's connections with ONI.

However, it appears that the "whole book on that that came from lawyers in the southwest" Brussell is using as documentation is Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal by one man claiming to be a lawyer from the southwest, William Torbitt.  I read a couple chapters through online links, including one elaborating on how Oswald's recruitment into Division Five of the FBI was originally through David Ferrie in 1956.  While trying to verify the validity of Torbitt's research from others in the JFK assassination research community, I came across this entry:



William Torbitt is the pseudonymous author of Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal (1970). When the book was published the author claimed he was a lawyer working in the southwestern part of the United States.

During the Second World War he served in the United States Navy. After completing a law degree from the University of Texas he worked as a prosecuting attorney (1949-51). He admits that his clients includes people involved in committing political murder. He claims he has also represented people involved in the "financial dealings of organized crime in Texas".

In Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal Torbitt claims that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a "fascist cabal... who planned to lay the blame on honest right-wing conservatives, if their first ploy, to lay the blame on Oswald and the Communists, was not bought."

Torbitt argues that a Swiss Corporation named Permindex engineered the assassination. Also involved included Defense Industrial Security Command, organized by J. Edgar Hoover and William Sullivan. Torbitt claims that DISC agents included Clay Shaw, Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby with Louis M. Bloomfield of Montreal, Canada in charge.

According to the author Permindex was comprised of:

(1) Solidarists, an Eastern European exile organization.

(2) American Council of Christian Churches led by Haroldson L. Hunt.

(3) Free Cuba Committee headed by Carlos Prio Socarras.

(4) The Syndicate headed by Clifford Jones, ex-lieutenant governor of Nevada. This group also included Bobby Baker, George Smathers, Roy Cohn, Fred Black and Lewis McWillie.

(5) Security Division of NASA headed by Wernher von Braun.

According to Torbitt, others involved in the assassination included Lyndon Johnson, Walter Jenkins, Fred Korth, John Connolly, William Seymour, Robert McKeown, Sergio Arcacha Smith, Lee Harvey Oswald, Ruth Paine, Micael Paine, Gordon Novel, and Clint Murchison. For example, he claims that Seymour impersonated Oswald in the School Book Depository and killed J. D. Tippit.

Torbitt adds that the "anti-Castro Cuban part of the plan was to tie the Castro regime into the murder of Kennedy and thus to have the U. S. military give all service to the overthrow of Castro".

In his book Who Shot JFK? (2002) Robin Ramsay argues that Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal was an attempt by the Central Intelligence Agency to link the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. "Torbitt took Garrison's inquiry into the ClA's links to the assassination and converted them into a story about the FBI's responsibility for the assassination. (This, in my view, tells us that the author/s of Torbitt were working for the CIA, trying to diminish the 'Garrison effect.')" (emphasis added)

Torbitt also argues that J. Edgar Hoover and Louis M. Bloomfield planned the execution of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. He names Albert Osborne as the man who organized these two assassinations.

What do members think of Torbitt's book?

You can read the full manuscript here:

http://www.parascope...196/torbitt.htm



Ramsay is not the only author who considers Torbitt a suspicious source.  So does Jim DiEugenio and Seamus Coogan of Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination (CTKA), who consider the "Torbitt document" CIA disinformation.  So does the author of Crossfire, Jim Marrs, who verified Torbitt's real name as David Copeland.  I don't blame Brussell for believing the source at the time, much of what is written runs parallel to information uncovered through the Garrison investigation.  But as there is no other source for corroboration of the Division Five/DIA angle, this revelation is unverifiable.

Now there are elements in Brussell's account that are verifiable.  Where she quotes from Volume 23 in the Warren Commission Exhibits, we are getting a documented account of Oswald's training that, in Brussell's words, "indicates that he was always to be in intelligence."  Could Oswald have been working for multiple intelligence agencies?  As David Krall commented in the previous JFK/DIA post, "hi-level assassinations...are NEVER (!)the result of the planning of or from one segment/element or from one dept. of an agency."  According to Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much, not only was Oswald an informant for the FBI, but was also an INS customs agent, in addition to his intelligence work for the CIA corroborated by Richard Case Nagell.

But what of Volume 23's documentation of Oswald's training at Aviation Electronics School in Memphis in July 1957?  Does this prove Oswald was an ONI agent?  Well, that depends on which Oswald you're talking about.  While I haven't read the entire book (I certainly hope to soon), I read an excerpt from The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcolm X that indicates the phenomenon of Oswald doubles that I have written about it earlier posts may have started at the beginning of Oswald's military career.  From page 109:


After boot camp and ITR (Infantry Training Regiment), "Lee Oswald" left for Jacksonville, Florida.  According to the Warren Commission, Lee attended Aviation Fundamentals School.  But Allen Felde (WC Exhibit 1962) said he and Oswald attended an A & P School in Jacksonville, which is a mechanics school, quite different from a beginning course in Aviation Fundamentals.  Again, two different Oswalds: "Lee" attended Aviation Fundamentals School; "Harvey" attended A & P School with Allen Felde in the spring of 1957.  Oswald's Marine records show his attendance at Aviation Fundamentals School but fail to note anything about A & P School.

"Lee Oswald" attended Radar School in Biloxi, Mississippi in June 1957, transferred to El Toro, California in July and left for Japan in August.  During this time - June and July 1957 - Allen Felde and "Harvey Oswald" attended an Aviation Electronics School in Memphis, Tennessee.  Felde remembered Oswald constantly discussing politics and Communism (once again, "Harvey" is promoting Communism).  Marine records show "Lee Oswald's" attendance at Radar School in Biloxi, but contain no reference to Aviation Electronics school or any assignment in Memphis.  "Harvey" was last seen by Felde in September 1957, a time when "Lee Oswald" was already in Japan.



Sounds like another case of truth being stranger than fiction.  In the case of "William Torbitt", it is fiction in the clever disguise of fiction.  It's a textbook example of disinformation at its finest: incorporate as much truth as possible into a narrative that ultimately misdirects attention from the real guilty party.  It is the most toxic strain of disinformation because while it may reveal amazing new facts, once the source is discredited, anything associated with it has the appearance of being tainted.



Speaking of toxic strains...



http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/philip%20seymour%20hoffman2.jpg
Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014


Just want to shift topics for a moment to say how stunned I was to hear about Philip Seymour Hoffman's tragic death at age 46.  It truly was a jaw-dropping moment to read the news about his overdose.  More details are coming out now that there were 70 bags of heroin found in his apartment, including five used bags, presumably of heroin.  The latest report is that the police believe the heroin Hoffman used was not a toxic strain mixed with fentanyl that was responsible for a number of deaths on the East Coast.  But we won't know for certain until we get the official autopsy results.

There are conspiracy rumors (I won't call them theories as it's all hypothetical speculation at this point) around his death that Scientologists are responsible.  This is due to his role in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, where he plays a character loosely based on L. Ron Hubbard in a portrayal that is not very flattering where cult leaders are concerned, as shown in this scene:



What is fueling the conspiracy speculation is that the actor playing John More in the scene above, Christopher Evan Welch, died two months ago at age 48.  Now, my intuition is telling me this is probably just a coincidence, that like the recent tragic death of Paul Walker, any conspiracy rumors will wither away due to lack of evidence.  After all, Welch's death was due to lung cancer.  Then again, that's how Jack Ruby died, and he believed he had been injected with cancer cells.

But ultimately I included this story in this post because of how sad it is to lose, as one of my best friends put it, one of the best actors of his - or any - generation.  R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman, you will be missed.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cleansing and Evil

As we wave goodbye to 2013 and move into 2014, there is a specific meme that cropped up within the past year that seems appropriate to invoke: cleanse.  Apparently it's a dieting term popularized at places like bonappetit.com and wholeliving.com; Dr. Oz has his own Detox Cleanse, even Seth Rogen lampooned the phenomenon in the opening scenes of This Is The End before lapsing into a cheeseburger/marijuana binge.  Personally, if you want to rid something from your diet/lifestyle, I prefer the old meme purge, but my guess is that this term is passe due to its vomit connotations.  Cleansing has a much more antiseptic sound, that is, if you're willing to overlook the genocide connotations.

But since our pop culture is currently willing to overlook those connotations, I'm willing to engage in my own cleanse to start the new year.  There certainly is quite a bit of cleansing to do after Christmas, and I'm not just referring to a gut swelling with my wife's spectacular rum cake.  I'm talking about an emotional, mental and spiritual cleansing from the commercialization of the holiday.  Don't get me wrong, I love and engage wholeheartedly in the culture, pageantry, songs and TV shows celebrating the event.  But there were moments I could do without, moments that screamed overkill.  One was the Hollywood Christmas Parade.  I love a good parade, but if you have to cut away from the parade every 5 seconds to a musical act, particularly someone as over-the-hill as Billy Ray Cyrus, that's not good.  It's cringe-worthy to the point of acid reflux; in the same way as those Honda holiday commercials desperately trying to revive Michael Bolton's career.

What a nice piece of subconscious synchronicity that I chose to start my New Year's Cleanse by selecting a CD playlist (yeah, I don't do ipod, I'm 80s old-school that way) consisting of voices designed to do just that with Bill Hicks' Rant in E Minor as the initial choice.  When Bill Hicks recorded this, he knew he had pancreatic cancer, but used his "final" performance as a means to a joke:

"Well folks, this is kind of a sentimental evening for me … this is my final performance ever I’ll ever do. No biggie, no, no, no, no, no hard feelings, No sour grapes whatsoever. I’ve been doing this sixteen years, enjoyed every second of it - every plane flight, every delay, every cancelled flight, every lost luggage, living in hotel rooms, every broken relationship, playing the Comedy Pouch in Possum Ridge, Arkansas, every fucking year. It’s been great don’t get me wrong.

But the fact of the matter is, the reason I’m gonna quit performing is I finally got my own TV show coming out next fall on CBS. So- thank you. I know. Its not a talk show. Dear God, thank you, thank Jesus, thank Buddha, thank Mohammed, thank Allah, thank Krishna, thank every fucking god in the book. No it’s not a talk show; it’s a half-hour weekly show that I will host, entitled ‘Lets Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus’.

So ya’ll be tuning in? Cool, it’s a fairly self-explanatory plot. Each week we let the hounds of hell loose and we chase that jar-head, no talent, cracker asshole all over the globe … ‘till I finally catch that fruity little pony tail of his in the back, pull him to his knees, put a shot-gun in his mouth like a big black cock of death and we’ll be back in ‘95 with ‘Lets Hunt and Kill Michael Bolton’. So …

Thank you very much. I’m just trying to rid the world of all these fevered egos that are tainting our collective unconscious and making us pay a higher cosmic price than we can imagine."

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Arts/Arts_/Pictures/2009/1/30/1233312456553/Bill-Hicks-001.jpg




So what does it say about the fate, the destiny of our culture where almost 20 years after the death of Bill Hicks, the two "fevered egos" he singled out are still polluting my holiday season?!  Time to rehash the time-worn cliche "only the good die young"?  Hicks, of course, spoke of the larger truth: "All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration ... we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves."  There is no such thing as death.  That truth might be comforting from a religious point of view or challenging from a scientific point of view.  I'll cover both points of view more in depth later, but for now, I'd like to try a more socially philosophical approach: if there's no such thing as death, why is murder evil?

It scares the living fuck out of me to write this, tears are welling up as I type, but I've recently had a personal experience staring murder in the face.  Up close, I looked a murderer in the face.  I saw his cold, restless eyes, his agitated, aggressive demeanor.  He was no more than two feet away from me.  It could just as easily have been me that he chose as his victim.  I know he was looking at me at one point.  Then he walked away into a sea of people about 10 feet in front of me.  Moments later, I noticed that sea of people part in shock and horror and I watched a man bleed to death in front of me.

There are more details to this story that I can't go into right now.  I'll probably wait until the conclusion of the investigation and, hopefully, the trial before I divulge things like time, place and names.  All I can do right now is recount my subjective experience of murder: this is the face of evil.  It is a face devoid of empathy and as lucky as I feel to have stared in the face of evil and survived, I feel hollow and sick because I do have empathy.  Even if there's no such thing as death, every person has the right to have that subjective experience of consciousness we call human existence on their own terms.

I've written about murder on this blog before; the murder of JFK, the murder of thousands on 9/11, the murder of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in Iraq.  Now that I've experienced murder up close and personal, you know what I think of it?  It's chickenshit.  That's my honest, gut reaction.  I can't think of anything more cowardly than killing someone and then running away to avoid responsibility.  The only thing morally worse than that is being sanctimonious enough to try to justify the act.  There is no justification for injustice.  And that is why murder is evil.

Interestingly, I don't believe that truth negates the larger philosophical points Bill Hicks made throughout his stand-up career.  Hicks was always a stalwart for standing up to injustice, calling out the hypocrisy of government and calling out the murderers regardless of party or ideological stripes.  He explained why on Rant in E Minor: “I’ll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. ‘I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.’ ‘I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.’ ‘Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding out both puppets!’ ‘Shut up! Go back to bed, America.’”  Both Bush and Clinton were targets of his righteous condemnation where acts of evil are concerned.

http://bdnpull.bangorpublishing.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/1279229991_6ae4.jpg



Some intriguing synchronicities have cropped up in my life regarding the subject of evil.  My younger sister in Oregon, who happens to be a born-again Christian, mailed a gift to me, a book titled Epic by John Eldridge.  This book compares the Bible to a number of other cinematic epics: The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Matrix.  It breaks down roughly into four acts: The "once upon a time" beginning where we are introduced to goodness, the entrance of evil, the battle for the heart and, finally, the kingdom restored.  Did this book reflect reality as I see it?  In large brushstrokes, yes.  For the sake of clarity, where religion is concerned, I think that every religion has its values and shortcomings.  That's the point I tried to get across in my stand-up comedy: all religions have value to the extent that they engender love and have shortcomings to the extent that they engender hate.

If there is one thing this book made me think about that might make me change my routine, it is the importance of the heart in spiritual matters.  I still believe what I said is true that if, as a Christian, you really want to practice what you preach, don't accept Jesus into your heart, accept him into your head.  In other words, commit the teachings and actions of Christ to memory and apply them to daily living if you truly strive to be Christ-like.  Otherwise you run the risk of becoming, as Barbara Lee put it, "the evil that we deplore."  But you shouldn't forget about your heart.  Instead, you allow the Holy Spirit into your heart.  I believe if you let the Holy Spirit guide your heart, your deeds will be borne out of empathy and compassion instead of apathy and sanctimony.  And I do believe in the Holy Spirit, as it is known in Christian religion, or Great Spirit, as it is known in Native American religion.  Different cultures express the same concept in different ways; I believe it is important to respect all cultural understandings of the spiritual dimension.

Speaking of dimensions, the other intriguing synchronicity was reading and participating in a thread on Rigorous Intuition started by slimmouse titled Food for "the Gods"? about extra-dimensional entities.  If extra-dimensional entities exist, are they good?  Are they evil?  Rather than approach the subject by imagining fictional scenarios, I decided to approach it via scientific theory: quantum mechanics.  Within the study of theoretical physics, there is an extension of string theory called M-theory, which posits that there are 11 dimensions of spacetime.  (Yes Nigel, this one does go to eleven!)  What sort of entities might exist within these dimensions?  A poster named Nordic put a couple links on the thread that suggests an answer: we do.  First, here is a link discussing the intriguing theory of biocentrism:

Quantum physics proves that death is an illusion

Is death an illusion?

Most scientists would probably say that the concept of an afterlife is either nonsense, or at the very least unprovable.

Yet one expert claims he has evidence to confirm an existence beyond the grave – and it lies in quantum physics.

Professor Robert Lanza claims the theory of biocentrism teaches that death as we know it is an illusion created by our consciousness.
death is an illusion 1
Robert Lanza claims the theory of biocentrism says death is an illusion. He said life creates the universe, and not the other way around. This means space and time don’t exist in the linear fashion we think it does.
He uses the famous double-split experiment to illustrate his point. And if space and time aren’t linear, then death can’t exist in ‘any real sense’ either.
‘We think life is just the activity of carbon and an admixture of molecules – we live a while and then rot into the ground,’ said the scientist on his website.

Lanza, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, continued that as humans we believe in death because ‘we’ve been taught we die’, or more specifically, our consciousness associates life with bodies and we know that bodies die.

His theory of biocentrism, however, explains that death may not be as terminal as we think it is.

Biocentrism is classed as the theory of everything and comes from the Greek for ‘life centre’.

It is the believe that life and biology are central to reality and that life creates the universe, not the other way round.

This suggests a person’s consciousness determines the shape and size of objects in the universe.

Lanza uses the example of the way we perceive the world around us. A person sees a blue sky, and is told that the colour they are seeing is blue, but the cells in a person’s brain could be changed to make the sky look green or red.
LANZA’S THEORY OF BIOCENTRISM AND THE AFTERLIFE  
Biocentrism is classed as the Theory of Everything and comes from the Greek for ‘life centre’.

It is the belief that life and biology are central to reality and that life creates the universe, not the other way round. 

Lanza uses the example of the way we perceive the world around us.

A person sees a blue sky, and is told that the colour they are seeing is blue, but the cells in a person’s brain could be changed to make the sky look green or red. 

Our consciousness makes sense of the world, and can be altered to change this interpretation.
death is an illusion 3
By looking at the universe from a biocentric’s point of view, this also means space and time don’t behave in the hard and fast ways our consciousness tell us it does.

In summary, space and time are ‘simply tools of our mind.’

Once this theory about space and time being mental constructs is accepted, it means death and the idea of immortality exist in a world without spatial or linear boundaries.

Theoretical physicists believe that there is infinite number of universes with different variations of people, and situations taking place, simultaneously.

Lanza added that everything which can possibly happen is occurring at some point across these multiverses and this means death can’t exist in ‘any real sense’ either. 
Lanza, instead, said that when we die our life becomes a ‘perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse.’


Wow, sounds like science and religion are one and the same!  Or to use a more current pop culture reference from the movie Thor, science and magic are "one and the same thing."  (Although Thor speaks of nine realms, not eleven)  But what I find particularly moving is this possible eyewitness account.  This is coming from Roger Ebert's wife regarding the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic's departure from this dimension:

The one thing people might be surprised about—Roger said that he didn't know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: "This is all an elaborate hoax." I asked him, "What's a hoax?" And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn't visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can't even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.



Perhaps that's all "death" is: a gateway to the Infinite.  A connection with the multiplicity of dimensions within our universe.  (Or could it be the universality of dimensions within the multiverse?)  But it's not the only gateway.  Which brings us back to Bill Hicks.  Long before he took the permanent gateway on February 26, 1994, Hicks found another way to experience it, which he talked about on Rant in E Minor:


"Three weeks ago two of my friends and I went to a ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas, and took what Terence McKenna calls "a heroic dose." Five dried grams. Let me tell you, our third eye was squeegeed quite cleanly. Wow! And I'm glad they're against the law, 'cause you know what happened when I took 'em? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours, going "My God, I love everything." The heavens parted, God looked down and rained gifts of forgiveness onto my being, healing me on every level, psychically, physically, emotionally. And I realized our true nature is spirit, not body, that we are eternal beings, and God's love is unconditional and there's nothing we can ever do to change that. It is only our illusion that we are separate from God, or that we are alone. In fact the reality is we are one with God and He loves us. Now, if that isn't a hazard to this country... Do you see my point? How are we gonna keep building nuclear weapons, you know what I mean? What's gonna happen to the arms industry when we realize we're all one. Ha ha ha ha ha! It's gonna fuck up the economy! The economy that's fake anyway! Ha ha ha! Which would be a real bummer. You know. You can see why the government's cracking down on idea of feeling unconditional love."




Maybe that's why they call them magic mushrooms!  Not that I need mushrooms, but after the horror I've experienced confronting evil this week, I need good comedy.  I need good music.  Not to distract me from reality, but to clarify it.  Bill Hicks, Phil Ochs, George Carlin, John Lennon, Richard Pryor, Elliott Smith, Lenny Bruce, Paul Simon, Arthur Lee, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, George Harrison.  To illuminate, to comfort, to heal.  What you pop culture addicts call Cleansing.  Bring it on.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The DIA and the Joseph Wilson "workup"

Some of the fascinating details within the hidden history I tried to shine a light on in my last post on the JFK assasssination made me wonder what other sinister moments in history the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) used a guiding hand to influence.  One of the largest motivating factors that lead me to create this blog was the outing of Valerie Plame.  It shouldn't have surprised me, but digging into the brouhaha that preceded her blown cover - the infamous "16 words" in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address and Plame's husband Ambassador Joseph Wilson calling BS on Bush's Niger yellowcake claim - it looks like the DIA played a role behind the scenes in attacking the messenger.  I must credit eriposte at The Left Coaster for such a well-written and well-researched piece.  I hope it doesn't fall down the memory hole like so many great Wilson/Plame articles during that time, but in case it does, here it is:

Monday :: May 8, 2006

Uranium from Africa: The Wilson "workup" and the March 8, 2003 DIA memo


by eriposte One of the intriguing parts of the uranium from Africa/Wilson/Plame story that seems to have disappeared into the background is this:
[Russert Reading From Book]: After my appearance on CNN in early March 2003, when I first asserted that the U.S. government knew more about the Niger uranium matter than it was letting on, I am told by a source close to the House Judiciary Committee that the Office of the Vice President--either the vice president himself or, more likely, his chief of staff, Lewis ('Scooter') Libby, chaired a meeting at which a decision was made to a 'workup' on me. As I understand it, this meant they were going to take a closer look at who I was and what my agenda might be. The immediate effect of the workup, I am told by a member of the press, citing White House sources, was a long harangue against the two of us within the White House walls. Over a period of several months, Libby evidently seized opportunities to rail openly against me as an '[expletive] playboy' who went on a boondoggle 'arranged by his CIA wife'--and was a Democratic Gore supporter to boot."

RUSSERT: You're saying that in March the White House started talking about you and your "CIA wife"?

AMB. WILSON: That's my understanding from not just that one particular source but corroborated by other sources and offered actually by other sources from different walks of life, that after I appeared on CNN and said I thought the government knew more about this Niger business than was letting on, there was this meeting at which it was decided to run an intelligence collection operation against me, which led to the learning of my wife's identity and her employment.
In this post, I discuss a DIA report from March 2003 that may be pertinent to Wilson's observation. For clarity, I've separated this post into a few sections. (Note that all emphasis in quoted portions is mine.)
1. Additional background on Wilson's "workup" claim
2. The March 8, 2003 DIA memo
3. The significance of the March 8, 2003 DIA memo
4. Did the DIA get "corrected" by the IC?
5. Summary and Conclusions

1. Additional background on Wilson's "workup" claim As Emptywheel observed:
...[Wilson's] story comes not just from someone with ties to the House Judiciary Committee. In his book, Wilson describes a similar story coming from "a respected reporter close to the subsequent inquiry into the later disclosure of Valerie's status." (326)
So, Wilson has cited two or more sources backing up the claim that a "workup" on him was initiated soon after his early March 2003 CNN appearance. An article by Jason Leopold in Truthout claimed that some current and/or former Bush administration officials corroborated this, but a Vanity Fair article said the following regarding Wilson's claim: "An official in Cheney's office says, "That is false."" (I guess it all depends on the meaning of "That".)

As Jeralyn at Talk Left points out, the relevant date of Wilson's appearance appears to be March 8, 2003 (partial transcript) - and during that appearance he was quite critical of the U.S. Government's use of the forgeries and the absurd explanation given by a U.S. Government (USG) official to the Washington Post that "we fell for it". Wilson also said that "I think it's safe to say that the U.S. government should have or did know that this report was a fake before Dr. ElBaradei mentioned it". That was of course quite accurate since the USG knew a lot more about the bogus nature of the forgeries than they let on at that time - so it would be quite surprising if the Bush-Cheney administration didn't even bother to take a look at who Wilson was after his CNN interview.

What fascinates me about this story is the same thing that Emptywheel was after. For example, Condi Rice was on the record claiming she first heard of Wilson's trip only in June 2003 (which is doubly strange considering that the CIA did send their summary of Wilson's trip to the White House back in March 2002, although Wilson's name may not have been mentioned at that time). There's also Tricky Dick II's infamous statement from September 2003: "I don't know who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back...I have no idea who hired him". So, here's what I am curious about:
When exactly did senior administration officials in the Bush White House first learn about Wilson and his trip to Niger?
I've emphasized the "and" in my question deliberately because I want to know when they knew about Wilson and the fact that he made the trip to Niger in early 2002 (it is possible that in 2002 they knew that some unnamed individual went to Niger). Here's one possible approach to try and answer the question - find out more about the contents of the March 8, 2003 DIA memo, the events within the Bush administration that led to this memo being written and what happened after the memo's release.
Let me explain why I say that.


2. The March 8, 2003 DIA memo In the midst of the disinformation campaign launched by the Bush administration regarding Wilson's trip to Niger, one of the least discussed aspects of the uranium story has been the fact that prior to the Bush SOTU none of the US IC reports cited in the SSCI Report used the Wilson trip as "evidence" to support the uranium from Africa claim. The main reason for this is obvious from even a cursory reading of the SSCI Report which (superficially and misleadingly) discussed the CIA's intel report of March 8, 2002 that was based on Wilson's trip. Contrary to the usual right-wing talking points, Wilson's trip did not provide any credible support for the uranium allegation (in fact, if you read Wilson's reporting carefully, it made a pretty strong case that the allegation that Iraq had sought and/or bought uranium from Niger was bunk). As the SSCI Report noted (page 46):
(U) IC analysts had a fairly consistent response to the intelligence report based on the former ambassador's trip in that no one believed it added a great deal of new information to the Iraq-Niger uranium story. An INR analyst said when he saw the report he believed that it corroborated the INR's position, but said that the "report could be read in different ways." He said the report was credible, but did not give it a lot of attention because he was busy with other things.
(U) DIA and CIA analysts said that when they saw the intelligence report they did not believe that it supplied much new information and did not think that it clarified the story on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal. They did not find Nigerien denials that they had discussed uranium sales with Iraq as very surprising because they had no expectation that Niger would admit to such an agreement if it did exist. The analysts did, however, find it interesting that the former Nigerien Prime Minister said an Iraqi delegation had visited Niger for what he believed was to discuss uranium sales.
(U) Because CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue, they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers. For the same reason, CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President's previous questions about the issue.
[NOTE: Among other problems, the last sentence in the above passage in the SSCI Report is a bit misleading. After all, in page 43 of the SSCI report, it is mentioned that: "The report was widely distributed in routine channels" - and a Knight Ridder story by Jonathan Landay indicated that the CIA did send their summary of Wilson's trip to the White House on March 9, 2002 - even if they did not specifically brief it directly to the POTUS or VP.]
Let's also recall what George Tenet pointed out in his spin-statement released on 11 July 2003:
Because this report, in our view, did not resolve whether Iraq was or was not seeking uranium from abroad, it was given a normal and wide distribution, but we did not brief it to the President, Vice-President or other senior Administration officials.
The bottom line is that when the March 8, 2002 CIA report on Wilson's trip was issued it was not considered credible evidence for the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. Both CIA and DIA analysts directly confirmed this to the SSCI. It should therefore not be a surprise that Wilson's trip was not used in the NIE as being part of the basis for the uranium allegation. It was also not used in the British White paper (especially since the CIA evidently did not discuss Wilson's trip with the UK at that time). In other words, the Bush administration's (mis)use of the Wilson trip in summer 2003 was purely aimed at fabricating a fake, after-the-fact justification for the false uranium claim.
Which naturally brings us to the question of when senior administration officials in the Bush White House first learnt about Wilson and his trip to Niger.
Considering Wilson's March 8, 2003 CNN interview may have been a thorn in the eyes of the White House:
  • It is rather interesting that a March 8, 2003 DIA memo dug up the CIA report on Wilson's trip from a year earlier and dishonestly tried to peddle that as somehow supporting the uranium claim (after the Niger documents had been shown to be bogus).
  • It is even more interesting that this is the *only* known DIA report that portrayed Wilson's trip as somehow supporting the uranium allegation [All DIA reports discussed in the SSCI Report and dated prior to and subsequent to the March 8, 2003 DIA memo did not use Wilson's trip to support the uranium claim. See the SSCI Report - page 38 (Feb 12, 2002), page 48 (Sep 2002), page 64 (Jan 24, 2003) and page 71 (June 12, 2003)]
Let's look at this in some more detail.


3. The significance of the March 8, 2003 DIA memo The SSCI Report says (pages 69-70):
On March 8, 2003, the DIA provided an info memo (TS-99-177-03) to the Secretary of Defense in response to a March 8, 2003 Washington Post article, "Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake." The memo said, "we believe the IAEA is dismissing attempted Iraqi yellowcake purchases, largely based upon a single set of unverified documents concerning a contract between Niger and Iraq for the supply of 'pure uranium.' The [memo added that the] USG ha[d] not shared other [information] with the IAEA that suggested a Nigerien uranium deal with Iraq." The other intelligence referenced in the memo is the CIA intelligence report on the former ambassador's trip, which described the Nigerien Prime Minister's belief that an Iraqi delegation was interested in uranium, the Navy report from November 2002 which said uranium destined for Iraq was being stored in a warehouse in Cotonou, Benin, and a fax from late 2001 found in the possession of a Somali businessman which described arrangements for shipping unidentified commodities in an amount that appeared similar to the amount in the Iraq Niger yellowcake deal. The fax, however, did not mention uranium, Iraq, or Niger.
One thing that immediately becomes obvious about this DIA memo is its breathtaking dishonesty.
First, the memo refers to Wilson's trip as having provided supporting evidence for the uranium claim, which, as I have discussed in Section 2 was plainly false. Specifically, Wilson's trip was never previously considered by the DIA (or the rest of the IC) to constitute credible evidence for the uranium allegation. Additionally, the SSCI Report indicates that other DIA reports prior to this one (including the one from September 2002 that was used for the uranium allegations in the NIE) did not offer the Wilson trip as supporting evidence for the uranium claim - i.e., this was a post-facto, fake justification from the DIA after the so-called evidence for the uranium claim was shown to be bogus.
Second, the DIA memo claimed that the "USG ha[d] not shared other [information] with the IAEA that suggested a Nigerien uranium deal with Iraq", and Wilson's trip was claimed to be one such piece of information. This is categorically false and somewhat revealing. Here's why. The SSCI Report makes it clear (pages 67-68) that the USG did mention the CIA report on Wilson's trip when it sent the Niger forgeries to the IAEA:
On February 4, 2003, the U.S. Government passed electronic copies of the Iraq-Niger documents to [DELETED] the IAEA. Because the Director of the IAEA's INVO was in New York at the time, the U.S. Government also provided the documents to him in New York. Included with the documents were the U.S. Government talking points which stated, [DELETED] of reporting suggest Iraq has attempted to acquire uranium from Niger. We cannot confirm these reports and have questions regarding some specific claims. Nonetheless, we are concerned that these reports may indicate Baghdad has attempted to secure an unreported source of uranium yellowcake for a nuclear weapons program." The [DELETED] of reporting mentioned refer to the original CIA intelligence reports from the foreign government service and the CIA intelligence report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger. [SENTENCE DELETED]. [SENTENCE DELETED].
So, either the DIA did not bother to check what the USG sent to the IAEA (which is quite possible) or they knew it and lied about it. If the DIA did not know about what the USG wrote to the IAEA, that would increase the possibility that the DIA dug up the report about Wilson's trip after Wilson's CNN interview which also mentioned the Washington Post article. Moreover, Wilson's trip report certainly provided no evidence for a "Nigerien uranium deal with Iraq" as the DIA memo claimed. This goes back to the "sought" v. "bought" word game hoax that I am discussing in an ongoing series. (There is the separate issue of the USG citing the CIA report on Wilson's trip in their memo to the IAEA, which is a travesty in itself considering that the CIA, the State Department and the DIA never considered Wilson's trip as providing credible evidence for the uranium allegation).
Third, the "Navy report from November 2002 which said uranium destined for Iraq was being stored in a warehouse in Cotonou, Benin" was, if anything, only evidence that Iraq had already bought uranium from Niger, not evidence that supported a claim that Iraq had only sought uranium from Niger. Not to mention, this so-called "evidence" was fake and as of January 27, 2003, the French had already confirmed to the CIA that the alleged uranium was destined for France and not Iraq.
Fourth, the "fax from late 2001" that was cited in the DIA memo did not mention uranium, Iraq or Niger! Only in the world of the Bush White House would some alleged document that did not mention Iraq, Niger or uranium, be considered "evidence" for a claim that Iraq had sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa (Niger).
To summarize, this March 8, 2003 DIA memo was interesting because:
  • It showed how the DIA served as a useful stovepipe for Rumsfeld and the White House to propagate outright falsehoods and transparently bogus claims that the rest of the IC did not consider credible
  • It showed that the DIA, evidently for the first time, falsely cited Wilson's trip as supporting the uranium allegation, and this raised the possibility that this information was dug up after Wilson's CNN appearance
Even if this memo did not dig up Wilson's trip report after his appearance on CNN, the significance of the memo cannot be understated. After all, those who are following this scandal closely will recall that it was allegedly after reading the February 12, 2002 DIA report on Niger uranium that the Vice President "asked" for the CIA's analysis on the uranium allegation (p. 38, SSCI Report). So, it is a reasonable assumption that in the aftermath of the IAEA calling the US "evidence" on Niger fake, the Vice President (who later revealed his contempt for the IAEA's overall response) and/or his senior staff must have become aware of the contents of the first DIA report released on March 8, 2003 partly in response to the IAEA's declaration. Of course, this doesn't mean they read it on the same day. It is also possible they were briefed on its contents on or after March 8, 2003.
The point is this: is it merely a coincidence that on the very day Joseph Wilson gave an interview on CNN in which he criticized the Bush administration on the forged Niger evidence and suggested that they knew more than they were letting on, that the DIA would prepare a memo that included information about his 2002 Niger trip? Information that the DIA never used in any known earlier reporting of theirs to support the uranium claim? Is it unrealistic to think that the Office of the Vice President would have been briefed on, or otherwise made aware of, the contents of this memo - which could have led them to raise more questions on this additional "evidence" cited in the memo (which would have revealed more about Wilson and the origins of his trip)? I don't think so.
Now, I admit that I have no knowledge of whether this March 8, 2003 DIA memo specifically mentioned Wilson's name - but that is one of the reasons why it would be good to see this memo declassified to verify whether it did. If it did reveal his name, then a confirmation of the recipients of the memo (outside of the Secretary of Defense) and the people who were made aware of its contents would reveal whether this constituted independent evidence for the White House's early knowledge of Wilson and his trip. Even if Wilson's name was not revealed in this March 2003 DIA memo, the memo provided the White House with so-called 'other evidence' for the uranium claim outside of the Niger forgeries and they would surely have followed up on it to find out more. It is implausible to think that the White House (including Cheney), facing a PR nightmare, would not try to dredge up everything they could get their hands on in an attempt to fight back.


4. Did the DIA get "corrected" by the IC? There's an interesting footnote to the DIA's behavior based on the next memo from the DIA that the SSCI Report discusses.
The SSCI report notes that (page 71):
On June 12, 2003, the DIA sent an information memorandum to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in response to questions about Iraq's nuclear program. The memo said, "while the Intelligence Committee agrees that documents the IAEA reviewed were likely 'fake,' other unconfirmed reporting suggested that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium and yellowcake from African nations after 1998. " The other reporting mentioned was the Navy report from November 2002, which said uranium destined for Iraq was being stored in a warehouse in Cotonou, Benin.
Note that this DIA report had conspicuously dropped Wilson's trip from its supporting "evidence". [It nevertheless maintained the fake uranium allegation mentioned in the Navy report].
Why? Perhaps because of this (SSCI Report, page 71):
On April 5, 2003, the NIC issued a Sense of the Community Memorandum (SOCM), (Niger: No Recent Uranium Sales to Iraq, NIC SOCM 2001 12.) The SOCM said, "we judge it highly unlikely that Niamey has sold uranium yellowcake to Baghdad in recent years. The IC agrees with the IAEA assessment that key documents purported showing a recent Iraq-Niger sales accord are a fabrication. We judge that other reports from 2002 - one alleging warehousing of yellowcake for shipment to Iraq, a second alleging a 1999 visit by an Iraqi delegation to Niamey - do not constitute credible evidence of a recent or impending sale."
Of course that did not stop the Bush administration (including Scooter Libby and others) from dishonestly peddling Wilson's trip report in June 2003 and beyond, as somehow supporting the uranium allegation.


5. Summary and Conclusions Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson has stated on more than one occasion that shortly after an interview he gave to CNN in early March 2003, where he criticized the Bush administration's use of the forged Niger documents and questioned the veracity of their explanation, a "workup" on him was initiated within the administration - likely in the Office of the Vice President. Anonymous sources mentioned by Wilson (and in an article) appear to support this allegation - one which the Vice President's office has issued a vague denial on. In this post, I highlight the possibility that the circumstances surrounding the release of a DIA memo dated March 8, 2003 might shed significant light on Wilson's claim and potentially open up an additional avenue of investigation into when the Bush administration first became aware of Wilson and the origins of his trip to Niger.
To understand the significance of the March 8, 2003 DIA memo, we should keep in mind that when a CIA report was issued on Wilson's trip exactly one year prior to this DIA memo, the CIA report and Wilson's findings were not considered credible evidence for the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. Both CIA and DIA analysts directly confirmed this to the SSCI. It is therefore not a surprise that Wilson's trip was not used in the NIE as being part of the basis for the uranium allegation. It was also not used in the British White paper (especially since the CIA evidently did not discuss Wilson's trip with the UK at that time). In other words, the Bush administration's (mis)use of the Wilson trip in summer 2003 was purely aimed at fabricating a fake, after-the-fact justification for the false uranium claim.
On March 8, 2003, Joseph Wilson was interviewed on CNN and he was quite critical of the U.S. Government's use of the forgeries and the absurd explanation given by a U.S. Government official to the Washington Post that "we fell for it". Wilson also said that "I think it's safe to say that the U.S. government should have or did know that this report was a fake before Dr. ElBaradei mentioned it". That was of course quite accurate - the U.S. Government knew a lot more about the bogus nature of the forgeries than they let on at that time - so it would be quite surprising if the Bush-Cheney administration didn't even bother to take a look at who Wilson was.
Since Wilson's March 8, 2003 CNN interview may have been a thorn in the eyes of the White House:
  • It is rather interesting that a March 8, 2003 DIA memo dug up the report on Wilson's trip from a year earlier and dishonestly tried to peddle that as somehow supporting the uranium claim (after the Niger documents had been shown to be bogus).
  • It is even more interesting that this is the *only* known DIA report that portrayed Wilson's trip as somehow supporting the uranium allegation [All DIA reports discussed in the SSCI Report and dated prior to and subsequent to the March 8, 2003 DIA memo did not use Wilson's trip to support the uranium claim.]
The March 8, 2003 DIA memo was interesting in how it revealed the DIA to be a useful stovepipe for Rumsfeld and the White House to propagate outright falsehoods and transparently bogus claims that the rest of the IC did not consider credible. More importantly though, it showed that the DIA, evidently for the first time cited Wilson's trip as supporting the uranium allegation, thereby raising the possibility that this was dug up after Wilson's CNN appearance.
Even if this memo did not dig up Wilson's trip report after his appearance on CNN, the significance of the memo cannot be understated. After all, those who are following this scandal closely will recall that it was after reading the February 12, 2002 DIA report on Niger uranium that the Vice President "asked" for the CIA's analysis on the uranium allegation. So, it is a reasonable assumption that in the aftermath of the IAEA calling the US "evidence" on Niger fake, the Vice President (who later revealed his contempt for the IAEA's overall response) and/or his senior staff must have become aware of the contents of the first DIA report released on March 8, 2003 partly in response to the IAEA's declaration. (Of course, the memo may have been read, briefed and/or discussed on or after March 8, 2003.)
Is it merely a coincidence that on the very day Joseph Wilson gave an interview on CNN in which he criticized the Bush administration on the forged Niger evidence and suggested that they knew more than they were letting on, that the DIA would prepare a memo that included information about his 2002 Niger trip? Information that the DIA never used in any known earlier reporting of theirs to support the uranium claim? Is it unrealistic to think that the Office of the Vice President would have been briefed on, or otherwise made aware of, the contents of this memo - which could have led them to raise more questions on this additional "evidence" cited in the memo (which would have revealed more about Wilson and the origins of his trip)? I don't think so.
As of today, we do not know whether this March 8, 2003 DIA memo specifically mentioned Wilson's name - but that is one of the reasons why it would be good to see this memo declassified to verify whether it did. If it did reveal his name, then a confirmation of the recipients of the memo (outside of the Secretary of Defense) and the people who were made aware of its contents would reveal whether this constituted independent evidence for the White House's early knowledge of Wilson and his trip. Even if Wilson's name was not revealed in this March 2003 DIA memo, the memo provided the White House with so-called 'other evidence' for the uranium claim outside of the Niger forgeries and they would surely have followed up on it to find out more. It is implausible to think that the White House (including Cheney), facing a PR nightmare, would not try to dredge up everything they could get their hands on in an attempt to fight back. I therefore urge all reporters covering the Plame case find out more about the contents of the March 8, 2003 DIA memo, the events within the Bush administration that led to this memo being written and what happened after the memo's release.



I have to wonder if the DIA's motive could possibly have something to do with protecting Operation Gladio Plan B operatives?  Or is this all just further proof of Bush administration arm-twisting to get every government department on board with their justification for war by any means necessary?  History will be the ultimate judge.