Monday, November 23, 2009

The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to the J.F.K. Assassination

Another November 22 passes, another anniversary of the assassination of J.F.K. It's been 46 years now and after having recently read Oswald and the CIA by John Newman, I decided to start something that Jeff Wells did regarding 9/11/01 and apply it to 11/22/63. This is just a starting point, strictly from Newman's book. But it's amazing how far the coincidences stretch!

We should not trust the claims of Gerald Patrick Hemming: that he met Oswald at the Cuban Consulate in Los Angeles in 1959 and gave Oswald documents while he was stationed at El Toro that year. A 1976 CIA internal memo clearly outed Hemming as a liar for claiming Agency affiliation when in fact there was none. That the same CIA memo stated that Hemming's "long-time cohort" Frank Sturgis of Watergate infamy "also has a long-time record of falsely claiming Agency affiliation" just shows that poseurs like each others company.

That both Richard Snyder and John McVicker at the American Embassy in Moscow thought on October 31, 1959 that Oswald might have been "tutored" before appearing at the Consulate to renounce his citizenship can be attributed to a simple error of judgment. We all know Oswald was a lone nut.

That Oswald threatened to reveal military secrets when he defected on October 31, 1959 yet the CIA delayed opening Oswald's 201 file until December 9, 1960 is proof of nothing more than an historical precedence for benign bureaucratic oversight at the Agency. After all, how else could the terrorists have pulled off the attacks of 9/11 without the CIA finding out beforehand?

That the CIA closed down U-2 operations at Atsugi Naval Air Station after Gary Powers was shot down, even though Powers didn't fly out of Atsugi, has no connection with any intelligence Oswald may have obtained while stationed there. Geez, don't you know what poor grades Oswald got in elementary school?

That the CIA told the HSCA probe in 1978 that Oswald's pre-201 Confidential files had been destroyed and that none of the files were classified any higher, yet both claims turned out to be false does not mean the CIA lied about Oswald. They either misspoke or misremembered.

That Snyder's dispatch on Oswald's threat to give the Soviets "something of special interest" is missing from the CI/SI files provided to the HSCA in 1978 and the CIA attributes the "Location of Original" to a 201 file (Snyder's) that did not exist at the time the original document was created is not suspicious at all, just a simple filing mistake.

That the CIA's Security Office launched a counterintelligence operation in the United States against the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) without the FBI's permission under the orders of future Watergate burglar James McCord just shows that sometimes a patriot can lose his footing.

That Oswald's FBI 105 New York file and his 100 Bureau file are not even listed in the National Archives is an example of how disorganized government bureaucracy can be.

That the FBI New York field office opened a 65-serial used exclusively for espionage cases on Oswald for a February 26, 1960 memo is an example of how cautious government bureaucracy can be. --- That they forgot to forward it to the CIA, well, nobody's consistent!

That Oswald's mother, Marguerite, also thought that her son might be a "secret agent" when he went to the Soviet Union can be dismissed as the ramblings of an overprotective mother.

That the Warren Commission failed to investigate Oswald's CIA files is not indicative of a cover-up, after all, if they had any CIA related questions all they had to do was ask member Allen Dulles, a former CIA DCI. They didn't need no stinkin' files!

That the Chief of SR/6, the "Soviet Realities" branch in the Soviet Russia Division stated that "we showed operational intelligence interest" in Oswald must be a misstatement. There is no proof the CIA used Oswald in an operational manner, so we can safely disregard all statements to the contrary.

That the CIA reported deleting Oswald from HT/LINGUAL coverage on March 15, 1960, then opened his mother's letter to him from July 8, 1961, then put him back on the list on August 7, 1961 does not indicate any malfeasance on the part of the CIA, just typical bureaucratic bungling.

That George deMohrenschildt, who befriended Oswald when he returned to America in 1962 was in frequent contact with the Dallas CIA Domestic Contacts Service Chief J. Gordon Shanklin and had close contact with a branch chief of the Soviet Russia Division, Nicholas M. Anikeeff, just shows what a wild nut Oswald was, mixing it up with the right-wing White Russian community.

We should not question the FBI's claim that it lost track of Oswald for two months, from April 24 to June 26, 1963 during his move to New Orleans despite the fact that Warren Commission Exhibit 793 shows Oswald sent a forwarding address to the Dallas post office in May 1963. Sometimes sneaky bastards like Oswald just get lucky.

That the FBI broke into the FPCC headquarters in New York on April 21, 1963, the exact date that Oswald's letter to the FPCC was postmarked there just shows that sometimes the Feds catch a lucky break.

That Oswald stamped the address 544 Camp Street on FPCC pamphlets does not mean he was acquainted with former FBI & ONI operator Guy Banister who rented out the same building for the Cuban Revolutionary Council. It was a big building!

That the HSCA could not verify the claims of Banister's longtime friend and secretary Delphine Roberts that Oswald came in the building looking for a job and on one occasion brought his wife Marina with him and that Banister "had become angry" with the building owner for Oswald's use of the 544 Camp Street stamp on his handbills probably means she is a goddamn liar seeking publicity.

That Oswald bought a stamp kit that permitted the user to manipulate the letters and numbers, then posted the wrong FPCC P.O. Box number, 30016 instead of 30061 through his AJ Hidell alias does not hint at a disinformation campaign to smoke out local Castro sympathizers, it just demonstrates Oswald was an idiot.

That the Church Committee has a flyer on file that Oswald handed out in New Orleans in June 1963 stamped "AJ Hidell P.O. Box 30016" and the Warren Commission example reputed to be that handbill not only lacks this stamp, but had a Canal Street handbill from August 1963 stamped "LH Oswald 4907 Magazine St" pasted in is inconsequential, the government just tried to make Oswald look neater than he was.

That a search of Banister's files after his death in 1964 by the Louisiana State Police indicated "Oswald's name was included among the main subjects of the file on the Fair Play for Cuba Committee", yet a partial index of his file compiled by Jim Garrison's investigators did not include Oswald or the FPCC is not suspicious, it just shows investigations can get messy sometimes.

That CIA asset William Gaudet, who claimed he knew about Oswald's distribution of literature before the assassination and saw Oswald on a street corner talking with Guy Banister, also was in front of Oswald at the New Orleans Mexican Consulate on September 17, 1963, is one of those freaky occurrences best not to dwell upon too deeply.

That the Gaudet piece is missing from the 544 Camp Street analysis in Volume X for the HSCA's work shows how difficult organizing committee research is.

That Oswald posed as an anti-Castro activist offering to fight and donate money to Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE) delegate Carlos Bringuier, then handed out pro-Castro literature on Canal Street not far from his store on August 9, 1963 does not illustrate cunning, just craziness.

That Bringuier, the New Orleans delegate of the DRE, partially funded by the CIA, knew DRE members busted in the FBI raid on the Lake Ponchartrain camp run by Gerald Patrick Hemming and was concerned about infiltration of his organization by the FBI or Communists, happened to be the guy Oswald played double agent with should be chalked up more to Oswald's dumb luck than a coordinated set-up.

That upon arrest for the Canal Street incident with Carlos Bringuier, Oswald had possession of a paper with the name Leo Setyaev, the Radio Moscow man who interviewed Oswald when he defected, probably just illustrates his yearning to be back in a Communist country.

That Oswald asked to be interviewed by an FBI agent while in jail in August 1963 is just another example of his lust for attention.

That Oswald, while at the Soviet Consulate in Mexico City on September 28, 1963, sobbed that he was being followed by the FBI and was afraid "they'll kill me" is not indicative of Oswald being a patsy in a conspiracy, just a paranoid nut.

That Oswald did not take the visa application forms the Soviets offered him then does not mean Oswald had given up on getting a visa, just that he was sloppy.

That one hour later, 'Oswald' called the Soviets from the Cuban Embassy, which was supposed to be closed on Saturdays, to tell them he had gone to the Cubans to ask for his address, does not indicate the Oswald making this call was an imposter, only that Oswald was very sloppy.

That there were at least two other calls to the Soviet Consulate between September 28 and October 1, 1963 in which 'Oswald' spoke "terrible, hardly recognizable Russian" is not proof of an imposter, just that Oswald's Russian, in spite of being married to a Russian, had gotten rusty since leaving the Soviet Union in June 1962.

That the Cuban Consulate worker Silvia Duran, who supposedly made the call with Oswald to the Soviet Consulate on Saturday, September 28, even though the Cuban Consulate is closed on Saturdays, said Oswald "never called again" after his Friday visit must mean she's a lying slut because after Oswald was murdered, the Mexican police arrested her, beat her and got her to admit she had an affair with Oswald.

That a transcriber told the HSCA that a tape "marked as urgent" by the CIA from Monday, September 30 featuring the same 'Oswald' from September 28 and October 1 with an offer of information for money was transcribed by her but can no longer be found means she's either mistaken or it got accidentally misfiled 15 years ago, nothing sneaky.

That a six foot balding man, bearing no resemblance to Oswald, entered and left the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City on September 28 at the same time 'Oswald' was making a call, got his picture in the Warren Commission listed as Oswald doesn't make him an imposter, Oswald probably just sneaked out the back door and cut the Warren Commission some slack! Compiling 26 volumes of evidence is hard work!

That J. Edgar Hoover told President Johnson on November 23, 1963 that "a second person was using Oswald's name" was just a simple mistake similar to Hoover telling Bobby Kennedy on November 22 that Oswald had been to Cuba and since the tapes were never recovered we should assume it was Oswald on every call.

That the CIA told the Warren Commission they didn't know Oswald visited the Cuban Consulate until after the assassination, which Station Chief Win Scott laughingly debunked in his manuscript Foul Foe, was probably done as indicated by Dick Helms, to protect sources, nothing more.

That Ann Goodpasture, lauded by David Atlee Phillips as "the case officer who was responsible for the identification of Lee Harvey Oswald in his dealings with the Cuban Embassy in Mexico", was connected to Staff D, a super-secret CIA component within which was hidden ZR/RIFLE, the Agency's assassination program, is just another one of those colorful chance occurrences that people who want to pin a conspiracy on the CIA would find fascinating.

That the Soviet Embassy official Oswald met with in Mexico City, Valery Kostikov, was part of the KGB's notorious Department 13, which handled assassinations, is just another one of those colorful chance occurrences that people who want to pin a conspiracy on the KGB would find fascinating.

That in addition to his 201 file, the CIA started a 100-300-11 file on Oswald's FPCC activities that was stripped clean of the Oswald reports maintained in it during the eight weeks before the President's murder does not mean the Agency had an increased operational interest in Oswald prior to the murder, just sloppy CIA accounting.

That the omission of Oswald's Cuban activities from his 201 file lowered his profile resulting in an FBI removal from their Security Index one month prior to the assassination is just a tragic series of errors that left a lone nut free to act out.

That the FBI agent who took Oswald off the espionage watch list, Marvin Gheesling, has never been deposed and asked why he removed Oswald from the list is inconsequential. Hoover censured him for his mistake! Case closed.

That shortly after Oswald's murder on November 24, 1963, Hoover wrote, "The thing I am concerned about, and so is Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin" does not mean he wanted conflicting evidence covered up, it's just that Hoover knew already that there would be no conflicting evidence.

That the following day, Deputy Attorney General Katzenbach prepared a memo for the White House directing that "speculation" about Oswald be "cut off" and that the executive branch of government use "editorial license" handling the Oswald case was not a request for a cover-up, just a heads-up about being careful to report the facts.

That's just from one book. I'm sure that if others explored the evidence from other researchers that conflicted with the official story, there would be a much longer list. So, for anyone who wishes to do just that, as Jeff Wells would say, happy coincidenting!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When Technology Fails, Don't Panic

A Movie Review of Collapse

It was Friday the 13th, but I felt luck would be on my side. Everything was perfectly prepared for my viewing of Collapse at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood at 7:30pm and the Q&A with Mike Ruppert after the show. Full tank of gas, list of questions written (just in case one or more were answered prior to my asking), microcassette recorder with a fresh battery to record the Q&A session and my copy of Ruppert's latest book, A Presidential Energy Policy, keeping my fingers crossed that I might get an autograph.

Yes, I knew what to expect as far as the content of the movie was concerned. Being a resident of L.A., common sense should have told me that my hopes to leave downtown at 5:45pm and reach West Hollywood so that I had enough time to eat dinner without wolfing it down would be dashed to hell. As I hit the onramp for the 101 North, the veritable tidal wave of red brake lights prompted an inner voice in my head to say, "This is Friday Night Gridlock. Be happy if you catch the opening credits". The irony was not lost on me that rush hour might prevent me from seeing a movie about how our overconsumption of finite resources through an economic infrastructure predicated on infinite growth would lead to a collapse of this paradigm. Reaching the Sunset 5 at 6:40pm, I had to wonder if Americans would one day be nostalgic for the days when it took 55 minutes to travel 8.38 miles.

Needless to say, I caught the opening credits and everything else. My high hopes were not disappointed: on an artistic level this is the best documentary on Peak Oil I've seen yet. Stylistically, what director Chris Smith has done is given this film, and by extension its subject matter, the sense of immediacy that it deserves. Title cards announcing what subject area would be focused on were in stark black and white. The score is one of the most evocative I've heard in any movie this year; mysterious and dark, moody and foreboding. What really sets this film apart from the rest is its editing. The first sustained cut to a completely black screen is jarring. My reactions jumped from, "Is this intentional-Did the projector malfunction-Did the electricity go out-Are we witnessing Collapse for real?" Experiencing this along with scenes where we see the cinematographer slate in front of the camera all help give this film the sense of "This is happening NOW. Pay attention! Collapse could occur at any moment".

As an adaptation of the book A Presidential Energy Policy, Smith does a marvelous job of keeping the nearly 90 minute interview focused within that framework. We get the explanation of Peak Oil (oil production follows a bell curve, peak is the halfway point where decline becomes permanent), geopolitical factors (Saudi offshore drilling, NEPDG), petroleum over-dependence (food production, pharmaceuticals), worthless alternatives (ethanol, clean coal), and worthwhile alternatives (localization). What keeps it from being an academic exercise is the personality of Michael Ruppert. In spite of the grim subject matter, there is an irrepressible spirit illuminating the map of this terrain. He can be very funny (the pregnant pause before the punchline that, "ethanol is......a joke" is almost professional comic timing), very passionate (the defense of his life's work being too important to "walk away" in spite of the adversity ranging from death threats to office sabotage is especially moving) and very straightforward (those who panic during the collapse, i.e. run to the hills, will probably be the first to perish).

Above all, he has a gift for taking complex subjects like economics and geopolitics and breaking them down into simple but vivid explanations that anyone can grasp. By the time he's done detailing the basics of fiat currency, fractional reserve banking and compound interest, you know in the moment before he says it that this system equates to a large scale pyramid scheme. But there is a clear emotional component that comes with this comprehension: anger. Probably the loudest positive reaction from the audience came when after detailing what the National Energy Policy Development Group headed by Dick Cheney in 2001 prior to September 11 went through to keep their records secret, including an ex parte duck-hunting trip with non-recused Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Ruppert hypothesizes exactly what an enraged American public would do to Cheney and company if the truth behind those records came out. Let's just say there was a 'throaty' approval from the viewing public at my screening.

My only quibble with the film is that I wish Smith had used more clips from Ruppert's lectures in 2005 to illustrate his veracity. There are clips shown from Denial Stops Here that highlight his economic predictions in a general manner. But there were far more specific predictions, such as the fall of General Motors, as well as how the economic collapse would be tied into oil prices peaking. As Ruppert put it in one lecture in my former hometown of Ashland, Oregon at the Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library, "I have seen a completely new term creep into the lexicon around Peak Oil and it just came out of the blue: it's called Demand Destruction. How do you destroy demand for oil? (listens to audience response) No. You collapse the economy. People who are out of work, unemployed and starving don't drive cars, they don't take vacations, they don't borrow money, they don't buy second cars, they don't fly on airplanes! Demand Destruction." Perhaps better selection of lecture clips might have helped avoid some confusion over whether Ruppert answered Smith's question, "What about human ingenuity?" Some critics felt he didn't answer that question. I felt the response was quite clear ("No amount of technology, no amount of human ingenuity can overturn the laws of physics and the laws of the universe."), but it's possible my understanding is enhanced within the context of Ruppert positing a so-called best-case techno-scenario to illustrate how human ingenuity cannot overcome how vast our over-reliance on fossil fuels for the variety of needs industrial society requires for growth: "So let's assume tomorrow that we had a whole new source of energy: cold fusion. Which would solve all the world's prob- well, it wouldn't solve the fertilizer problem, it wouldn't solve the pesticide problem, or the plastic problem..."

Bottom line: our infinite growth paradigm is not sustainable within our finite sphere. This is one of the book's most salient points and it is to Smith's credit that he allows Ruppert to drive that point home vividly in the movie. It is a scary point because of its revolutionary nature, but by the end of the film we understand that the end of the paradigm is not a death sentence for humanity. It is an opportunity for humanity to reevaluate what is truly important, what we value most deeply. The revolution we face is a revolution of thought, where we face a transformation that will affect every aspect of our lives. To drive that point home, Ruppert mentions that every major religion will have to address this and evolve if they are going to remain relevant to humanity. Which part of humanity survives the paradigm shift is dependent on how receptive we are to this civilization-altering switch. Ruppert analogizes this on a societal level to the sinking of the Titanic: there are those frozen with fear, those proactive enough to get lifeboats ready and those so deep in denial they go back to the bar for a drink. But Ruppert also analogizes this on a personal level with the story of the 100th Monkey: an island of monkeys were provided by scientists with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. One monkey discovers washing the potato removes the sandy taste. One by one, from friends to family, the washing is taught until by the time the 100th monkey learns, the washing behavior instantly spreads to all monkeys everywhere. By the end of the movie, whether you agree him or not, I don't see how you can't admire Ruppert for his tenacity, emotional openness and concern for humanity in his quest for his own 100th monkey.

The lights came up at the end of the credits. Nobody moved. Moments later, Michael Ruppert came down the aisle and stood in front of a microphone, greeted by rousing applause. During his 30 minute Q&A session, he was engaging, funny, receptive toward all questions positive and negative, and at the end I must commend him for doing a wonderful job of crowd control so that the next group could see their screening. He also had two pieces positive news: 1. His rent was paid through December, (the movie mentioned he was having trouble paying his rent) 2. The book would be re-released as Confronting Collapse and would be published by Chelsea Green Publishing hopefully in December. I was one of the first people to ask a question. Since one of the questions I wanted to ask had already been answered by him within the film, (Q: What should be done about the Federal Reserve? A: The Fed will go bankrupt.) I had this question prepared that I asked:

My question concerns two recent events: your economic warning last month of a run on the dollar and the senior IEA whistleblowers who told The Guardian the IEA has been fudging their numbers under US influence; that Peak is NOW not in the future. I'm wondering if you think there will be mainstream media confirmation of Peak Oil orchestrated to coincide with the dollar run to give the Financial Elite a pretext for profiting off our Great Depression again, or will Official Denial continue past the peak when the lights are going out as long as there is a publicly acceptable boogeyman or scapegoat?

This is where technology failed me. I had my microcassette recorder on record with a new battery, but perhaps since this piece of equipment is a relic from the Clinton administration, Ruppert's response sounds like it is recorded underwater. From memory, he didn't answer directly but addressed the question from the perspective of how the mainstream media has shifted their focus on the film from the message to the man. The mainstream media is trying to make it look like he is the only one out there spreading the message of Peak Oil when that just isn't the case. He mentioned those who supported him, Jenna Orkin and Stan Goff. He mentioned his correct prediction record as being at an .800 average. The point, I believe, is that Official Denial will continue even if the truth is spelled out in bold caps. So ignore the drinkers at the bar and find a lifeboat!

My overwhelming impression of the crowd that night was an atmosphere of positive connection. It was wonderful to reach out and share with complete strangers after the show. One of the more interesting crowd reactions was when in response to a question, Ruppert mentioned two politicians he considers his friends, Ron Paul and Cynthia McKinney. It seemed like half the crowd cheered when he said Ron Paul and the other half cheered when he said Cynthia McKinney, yet the good vibes made the crowd seem united in Green-Libertarian (Ruppertarian?) solidarity. When the Q&A session was over, I was fortunate enough to shake Mike Ruppert's hand and he was gracious enough to autograph my copy of A Presidential Energy Policy, now a "collector's item". I couldn't leave the theater completely, viewers were gathered outside sharing their thoughts and feelings. One of the viewers I met was someone who posts on Mike Ruppert's blog as Oregon Survivor who traveled from Oregon to see this screening. It was invigorating sharing our thoughts, opinions and experiences. He and his wife are good people and I wish them both the best.

But as soon as I got to the parking garage, technology failed me again. Apparently I stayed parked beyond my validated time and owed $4.50. No biggie as far as L.A. rates go. The problem is that there was no security guard at the gate and the machine couldn't read my credit card. It took another 10 minutes to find a gate with a security guard who would accept cash. I turned out of the parking lot onto another sea of red brake lights on Sunset Boulevard. Checking my rearview mirror, I was startled to find my vision completely blocked by my unlocked trunk. The inner voice in my head, with reassuring familiarity, said, "Don't panic". I pulled out into the flat center median, stopped, put the emergency lights on, got out, shut the trunk and as I got back in the car, noticed my seat belt was wrapped around a lever near my feet that opens the trunk. Unwrapping the seat belt, I rolled my eyes and breathed a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

American Judas Rebooted

It has been 6 months since my last entry. Admittedly, it has been depressing to realize that nothing significant has changed where Justice in America is concerned. Sibel Edmonds can now talk the talk, but Larry Franklin can't walk the walk. Not the perp walk, anyway. As far as Sibel Edmonds' talk is concerned, it brings to mind the philosophical question about a tree falling in the woods. If Sibel Edmonds talks, and MSM doesn't cover it, does it matter? I'll write more about that later.

But I regret that my feelings on these matters have caused my writing to slip. I want to commit to writing at least one entry a week. We'll see if I can keep to that standard. American Judas needs a focus that goes beyond administrations, just as deep politics always does. The faces change, but as far as I can see in this country, the Deep State has remained the same.

However, any investigation into these matters need to take into account the twin crises we face in Global Climate Change and Peak Oil. These crises are basically flip sides of the same coin: a global scenario of permanently declining resources, which besides oil include gas, water etc. ad nauseum, against a growing population in a system (Global Capitalism) whose health is predicated on infinite growth. Something's got to give. And I intend to document as much as I can.

More than that, I want to personalize this. These civilization changing events affect everyone, but unless I provide my personal perspective, I run the risk that it ends up sounding depersonalized. Documenting this decline need not be drudgery. I'm a big movie fan, so if my weekly blog entries end up being movie reviews deconstructed through the prism of Peak Oil, so be it. I'll start that way with my next entry, a review of Collapse, which I bought a ticket for this Friday, November 13 at the Sunset 5. Michael Ruppert will be doing a Q&A session, so I'll try to come up with a good question. Hopefully, that will be a good start to get this blog back on schedule.