Saturday, December 19, 2015

Phil Ochs and the "Crucifixion" of JFK

"And the night comes again to the circle studded sky
The stars settle slowly, in lonliness they lie
'Till the universe expodes as a falling star is raised
Planets are paralyzed, mountains are amazed
But they all glow brighter from the briliance of the blaze
With the speed of insanity, then he dies."

-Phil Ochs, "Crucifixion"

Phil Ochs is my all-time favorite singer-songwriter from the folk revival of the 1960s.  Nothing against Dylan, it's just that I'm a child of the 70's and 80's, so my perspective is colored by those times in which I got to know him as the rocker Bob Dylan, or Lucky Wilbury.  While I certainly appreciate how pivotal Dylan's folk period was for his time, Ochs appeals to me more on both a political and personal level.  I first got into his music around late 2002-early 2003, just as people were collectively waking up to the coalescing bullshit in the buildup to the Iraq War.  So many of his songs, such as "Cops of the World", "Is There Anybody Here", "The Power and the Glory" and "Pretty Smart on My Part" still have resonance and relevance now, even though he originally wrote them as, in his own words, "topical songs."  I found myself so connected with his music at the time, I even rewrote some of his lyrics in "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" to be even more topical during the 2004 election (not realizing Jello Biafra did the same thing in the 90's).  Though I've never played that version publicly, I did perform it for my Dad before he passed away, and he enjoyed it thoroughly.

Something I have found particularly fascinating the more I learn about Phil Ochs is the deep connection between him and the Kennedys.  To some degree, his career began because John F. Kennedy became President.  When Ochs was a student at Ohio State University in 1960, he became interested in folk music and left-wing politics, in no small part due to the influence of his roommate Jim Glover, who introduced him to folk music and taught him to play guitar.  In the documentary Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune, Glover talks about how he had a bet with Ochs that Nixon would beat Kennedy in the 1960 election.  When JFK won, Ochs' prize for winning the bet was Glover's guitar.  Ochs briefly formed a duo with Glover called The Singing Socialists, though according to what Glover told William E. Kelly Jr., Ochs grew worried after being confronted by an angry audience member asking if they were Communists and asked to change the name of the duo to The Sundowners.  Glover felt that this change "took all the fun out of it for me."  He left OSU in 1961 and moved to Greenwich Village where he met his future wife Jean Ray and formed the folk music duo Jim and Jean.  If that name sounds familiar, it might be because the Coen brothers movie Inside Llewyn Davis, which covered the Greenwich Village folk revival in 1961, featured a folk duo named Jim and Jean played respectively by Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan.

Glover has some reservations about the identical name of the Jim and Jean duo in Inside Llewyn Davis being a "coincidence."  While some allege the inspiration for the Llewyn Davis character played by Oscar Isaac who crashes in friend's apartments while pursuing a folk singing career in New York is Dave van Ronk, Glover says the house-crasher was actually Phil Ochs, who came to New York in 1962 to pursue his own career in folk music.  While crashing, Ochs met Jean's friend Alice Skinner.  Ochs and Skinner moved in together and married later that year when she became pregnant with their daughter Meeghan.  At their wedding, Jim Glover was the best man, Jean Ray was the bridesmaid and the wedding was witnessed by Bob Dylan's girlfriend Suze Rotolo, famously featured in the iconic cover of Dylan's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

During his career, Ochs wrote at least two songs about the assassination of JFK.  The first, which appeared on his second album I Ain't Marching Anymore, was "That Was the President."  Lyrically, it is a straightforward tribute to JFK.  The second song, "Crucifixion," is the more poetic and allegorical song.  Ochs acknowledged it was about JFK, but that it told a deeper more timeless story about the building up and tearing down of all rebels and reformers: "The Kennedy assassination, in a way, was destroying our best in some kind of ritual. People say they really love the reformer, they love the radical, but they want to see him killed. It's a certain part of the human psyche—the dark side of the human psyche."  When Ochs performed this song for Senator Robert F. Kennedy privately in March 1967, RFK cried when he realized the song was about his brother.

According to Jim Glover, there is a darker more clandestine story about the connection between Phil Ochs and the assassination of JFK. Glover claims that when they met after the assassination, Ochs told him that he had been in Dealey Plaza when JFK was murdered. Supposedly the reason for this goes back to their time at Ohio State University.  Both had been active in the ROTC at the time, which was compulsory.  Ochs, however, intimated that through his contacts there he became involved in a military intelligence program which included surveillance on campus.  Apparently he kept the association with the contacts as Ochs told Jim and Jean that there was a plot to kill JFK and that somehow the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was involved.  Glover said he would let Ochs know if he found out anything more, but then Jim and Jean left along with a tour bus of other folk acts to the South in the summer and fall of 1963, which is a story worth reading about in the link above.

They say they can't believe it, it's a sacreligious shame
Now, who would want to hurt such a hero of the game?
But you know I predicted it; I knew he had to fall
How did it happen? I hope his suffering was small.
Tell me every detail, for I've got to know it all,
And do you have a picture of the pain?

This prescience Ochs refers to in the song "Crucifixion" above not only extended to JFK and RFK, it's possible Ochs may have also been talking about himself.  While he was in Africa on a trip in 1973, Ochs was attacked and strangled by robbers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  Though he survived the attack, his vocal cords were permanently damaged.  Ochs believed the attack may have been arranged by government agents - perhaps the CIA.  To be fair, Ochs had grown increasingly paranoid by this time due to his bipolar condition.  The attack just exacerbated his problems.  His alcoholism grew more intense and in 1975 he began identifying himself as John Butler Train, claiming Train had murdered Ochs and carried a weapon at all times because he was convinced someone was trying to kill him.  Lethargic, feeling he was unable to write or sing anymore, Phil Ochs hanged himself on April 9, 1976.

Had he lived, he would have turned 75 today.  Happy birthday, Phil Ochs.  Rest In Peace.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday the 13th Paris Terror, the Assassination of JFK, Operation Gladio...and the Knights Templar?

Looking back on my entries here over the past eight years, while there are very few conspiracy-related subjects that I have an aversion to writing about, there is one area that I have avoided doing in-depth analysis on.  That would be the subject of secret societies.  Sure, if you run a search on this blog, you'll find entries where I'll either make a passing comment on Bilderberg or Skull and Bones, or I'll quote some other source that does.  But I've never made an effort to seriously research a secret society inside and out.  My reason, or excuse depending on your perspective, is that such an undertaking is beyond what I can verify to my own sense of satisfaction because - they're secret!  So usually I only feel comfortable talking about secret societies obliquely, rather than digging deeper into their history.

I'm not about to spell out a full history, but I'm going to dig a little deeper into the history of a secret society than usual on this post.  The reason is that there are two separate incidents I've been researching that, for different reasons, have bizarre connections with a secret society.  These incidents, both monumental historical events, are the assassination of JFK and the terror attacks in Paris last Friday.  The connections are due more to geography than any grand master plan: I've been researching aspects of the 'French Connection' theory regarding the JFK assassination and the November 13 Paris attacks, of course, took place in France.  But the secret society is one that has a very ancient history in France that beguiles the imagination - the Knights Templar.

Now for the brief history lesson, courtesy of The Temple and the Lodge by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, pages 41-55.  The Knights Templar began in 1118, supposedly to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land.  There may have been more ambitious designs from the beginning.  The Templars were said to have consisted of only nine knights until 1128, though their records show such prestigious additional recruits as Count Hugues de Champagne (whose vassal, Hugues de Payens, was the Templars first Grand Master) and Fulk, Comte d' Anjou, father of Geoffrey Plantagenet and grandfather of Henry II of England.  1128 was when the Council of Troyes gave them monastic rule, which essentially made them soldiers living as monks.  To quote page 43 directly:

From 1128 on, the Order expanded at an extraordinary pace, receiving not just a massive influx of recruits, but also immense donations of both money and property.  Within a year, they owned lands in France, England, Scotland, Spain and Portugal.  Within a decade, their possessions would extend into Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary and Constantinople.  In 1131, the king of Aragon bequeathed to them a third of his domains.  By the mid-twelfth century, the Temple had already begun to establish itself as the single most wealthy and powerful institution in Christendom, with the sole exception of the Papacy.

While their power had significant influence in the realm of the military and politics during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, their most lasting influence was probably in the realm of finance.  To quote pages 47-48:

In effect, the origins of modern banking can be attributed to the Order of the Temple.  At the peak of their power, the Templars handled much, if not most, of the available capital in Western Europe.  They pioneered the concept of credit facilities, as well as the allocation of credit for commercial development and expansion.  They performed, in fact, virtually all the functions of a twentieth-century merchant bank.

It was because of their wealth and resources that the Templars became a target in the beginning of the fourteenth century, at a time they had grown militarily weak, to a monarch of exceeding greed and ambition, King Philippe IV of France.  After compiling a catalog of charges from infiltrators and renegades, he conducted the equivalent of a secret police raid at dawn on October 13, 1307 to seize and place under arrest all Templars in France, place their preceptories under royal sequestration, and confiscate their goods.  It's possible many were tipped off; the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay burned many of their books and extant rules before escaping and Philippe never did find the 'treasure of the Templars' that was the main plot point of the movie National Treasure.  But there were numerous arrests and the wild confessions extracted from Templars through hideous torture included infanticide, abortion, homosexuality, spitting and ritualistically trampling on the cross and worship of a demonic power called 'Baphomet.'  They were officially dissolved by papal decree on March 22, 1312, without an official verdict on their guilt or innocence.  Jacques de Molay was captured and roasted to death over a slow fire on March 18, 1314 in Paris, France.

Yet the influence of the Knights Templar was so strong that even after the Order was abolished, they seemed to live on.  The Temple and the Lodge explores the historical links between the Templars and the Freemasons, but it goes beyond that.  To quote page 41:

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as we shall see, certain rites of Freemasonry assiduously sought to establish a pedigree dating back to the Templars.  At the same time, other, neo-Templar, organisations began to appear, similarly claiming a pedigree derived from the original Order.  Today, there are no fewer than five organisations in existence alleging one or another species of direct descent form the white-mantled warrior-monks of the Middle Ages.

It is through this neo-Templar lens that I recently found a connection with the assassination of JFK.  I had heard several months ago that there was a new book coming out by David Talbot titled The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government.  I was somewhat curious, any examination of the dark deeds of Allen Dulles requires a serious analysis of his role in the JFK assassination.  But the excerpts from that book on the WhoWhatWhy website that seemslikeadream on RI brought to my attention really piqued my interest.  It's worth reading the entire three part series of excerpts on the failed coup against French President Charles de Gaulle titled "JFK Assassination Plot Mirrored in 1961 France," but there were a couple sections in Part One that I found particularly revealing.

In panic-gripped Paris, reports of US involvement in the coup filled newspapers across the political spectrum. Geneviève Tabouis, a columnist for Paris-Jour, zeroed in directly on Dulles as the main culprit in an article headlined “The Strategy of Allen Dulles.”

Other news reports revealed that Jacques Soustelle — a former governor-general of Algeria who joined the Secret Army Organization (Organisation de l’Armée Secrète, or OAS), a notorious anti-de Gaulle terrorist group — had a luncheon meeting with Richard Bissell in Washington the previous December.

That name Soustelle was familiar to me. I ran a search through my blog and found that I had previously written about him in The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Operation Gladio and the Assassination of JFK. Apparently De Gaulle discovered that one of Sostelle's largest contributors was Ferenc Nagy, longtime asset of CIA Deputy Director of Plans Frank Wisner and President of Centro Mondiale Commerciale, who had on their board of directors another CIA asset (sorry, agent): Clay Shaw, indicted for the murder of JFK by Jim Garrison.

A couple other important points to remember: First, Richard Bissell, who replaced Wisner as the CIA's DDP when Wisner had a nervous breakdown in 1958, was one of three CIA bigwigs fired by President Kennedy for the failure at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, the other two being Deputy Director Charles Cabell and Director Allen Dulles.  Second, OAS, the terrorist group Jacques Soustelle had joined, was directly involved, according to Jonathan Kwitny and Daniele Ganser, with the French stay-behind army that was part of a scheme concocted by Allen Dulles and carried out by NATO known as Operation Gladio.

Since Operation Gladio is the brainchild of Allen Dulles, I really hope Talbot details as much of this as possible.  In the WhoWhatWhy excerpt, Talbot doesn't call out Gladio by name but refers to its alignment with the failed coup and names a supporter of particular interest:

De Gaulle was particularly determined to shut down the secret “stay-behind army” that Dulles had organized in France — a network of anti-Communist militants with access to buried arms caches who were originally recruited to resist a potential Soviet invasion but were now aligned with the rebellious generals and other groups plotting to overthrow French democracy.

De Gaulle ordered his young security adviser, Constantin Melnik, to shut down the murky, stay-behind network of fascists, spooks, and criminals, which Melnik agreed was “very dan- gerous for the security of France.”

But Melnik, who was trained at the RAND Corporation, a leading think tank for the US national security complex, was another admirer of Dulles, and the stay-behind under-ground continued to operate in France. Melnik — who was the son of a White Russian general and the grandson of Czar Nicolas II’s personal physician, who was executed along with the imperial family — was as passionately anti-Soviet as his US security colleagues.

Melnik has a much darker and fascinating history than what is indicated above. In addition to his Gladio ties, there is his connection with the Knights Templar of the Sovereign Order of the Solar Temple (OSTS). I'm highlighting the part pertaining to Melnik, but the whole article is great:

Constantin Melnik

Observers have noted that there are many parallels between the OTS and the original “Templar Order” in France, the OSTS. A leading member of the OSTS was Constantin Melnik, head of the then French external intelligence agency SDECE. Melnik conceived the so-called La Main Rouge (“the Red Hand”), a group of state-sponsored terrorists that specifically operated in the Algerian War in the 1950s. Several terrorist attacks were attributed to this organisation and seen as attacks against the French state, whereas they were actually committed by the state—a so-called false-flag operation.

Melnik has since admitted his responsibility in the creation of the fiction of the Red Hand, but he has denied any involvement in the Templar story. Instead, he has pointed the finger at the KGB! He claims that, in 1958, it sent over people to the area he lived in, dressed up as Templars, in an effort to discredit him! As he was later repeatedly seen at the OSTS headquarters in Villié Morgon, near Lyon, his claims regarding the KGB, even if true, do not change his personal and extensive involvement in the OSTS.

What Constantin Melnik does not dispute either is that he received his training from the Rand Corporation, a company whose principal customer is the Pentagon. He also accepts that it was François de Grossouvre who was instrumental in his return to France in 1983. De Grossouvre was the person in charge of Gladio in the Lyons region. Geoffroy d’Aumale and Jean-Pierre Faure, in their Guide de l’espionnage et du contre-espionnage (“Espionage and Counter-espionage Guide”), claim the same. De Grossouvre would later commit suicide inside his office in the Elysée Palace, the residence of the French president, though many believe that he was “suicided”.

Former members of the OSTS have noted that there definitely was a military aspect to the OSTS. Though there were mass gatherings of members in which apparently esoteric if not magical rituals were performed, there were also weekends of a slightly different nature. One member stated that on one such weekend, a group was taken to a secluded valley in which their guides began to show them extremely high-tech machine guns which definitely came from a military arsenal. They were asked to begin target practice, an offer which some of the OSTS members immediately declined and then most annulled their membership or let it expire. It therefore seems clear that the OSTS had always been, or at some point became, exposed to Gladio, and members were often unknowingly invited to begin to train as resistance fighters in the Gladio network.

Within the Gladio framework, the OTS begins to make more sense. If the OTS was part of the Gladio network, it would explain why it was led by Luc Jouret, a Belgian ex-military official with ties to Gladio. It explains the enormous sums of money that were transferred, and it explains what happened in the final days of the OTS. If the OTS was a Gladio cell, it seems that the French Ministry of the Interior had indeed infiltrated this cell and may have been responsible for neutralising it (for Gladio was controlled by the CIA and NATO, not the governments of the countries in which it operated). One means of neutralisation is to kill all members…

Gladio terror has morphed considerably over the decades.  I've previously detailed the evolution of Operation Gladio to Gladio Plan B; that the War on Terror is the next stage of the Gladio Strategy of Tension, which would make 9/11 an Operation Gladio false-flag operation on steroids.  Should the same designation be automatically bestowed on the Friday the 13th Paris terror attacks?  Before doing that, I think it's imperative to clarify just how I believe the relationship between Gladio B and terror facades such as al-Qaeda and ISIS works.  I don't believe that every single act of terror that ISIS takes credit for is a Gladio op.  Remember that ISIS operative in Garland, Texas who tried to ambush a draw-a-cartoon-of-Mohammed event with his roommate earlier this May that the police ended up killing?  Amateur hour.  No trace of Gladio coordination by my assessment.  I don't believe the vast majority of rank-and-file members of these terror groups comprehend whose pawn in which game they actually serve.  You've got the grunts enticed and/or coerced into helping their poor families by doing the true believers jihadi shit, which Lydia Wilson for The Nation did an excellent job of detailing interviewing ISIS prisoners.  Above them is the mid-level hardcore fundamentalist jihadis, who use whatever tactics are necessary to keep the grunts doing their job.  The top-level may be true believers or not, but that's where Gladio infiltration is essential for manipulating terrorist operations for maximum exploitation.  That's what's important to remember about their relationship: it's not about Gladio B operatives controlling everything ISIS does, it's about manipulating and facilitating the big terror attacks for the media to saturate and coerce your perception so that the Military-Industrial Complex can achieve whatever objective the terror attack was coordinated to obtain.

That said, the evidence that has been accrued within the last week is really starting to make the Friday the 13th Paris terror attacks look more and more like France's 9/11.  Just like 9/11, there were multiple warnings from intelligence agencies of various countries (Israel and Iraq, so far) that an attack was imminent.  Just as there were multiple-site terror exercises planned for New York City and Washington D.C. on or around 9/11, there was a multi-site exercise planned for the morning of November 13, 2015 in Paris, according to EMT and Charlie Hebdo chronicler Patrick Pelloux.  In the aftermath of 9/11, the Patriot Act (which was actually drafted prior to 9/11) was passed to increase surveillance on everyone and the military was given carte blanche.  France is reacting the same way to their 9/11, recently extending their state of emergency to three months, which basically makes France a police state until the end of February next year.

But there are three things in particular that from my perspective look like Gladio B fingerprints.  First, the phony passports.  Just as with 9/11, where a terrorist passport was magically found among the wreckage of the World Trade Center (not to mention the exploding plane that crashed into the WTC) completely intact, this time we have two Syrian passports found on the bodies of two of the Paris attackers.  Despite the uncritical acceptance by the Radical Establishment Media (REM) of this story at face value, there are multiple sources confirming these passports are fake.  One source makes an accurate assessment as to the reason why: to stigmatize Syrian refugees (that objective, among the American right-wing, is working like gangbusters).  The second source narrows down the where: most likely these phony passports were made in Turkey.  I've written multiple entries on the importance of Turkey in Gladio B operations.  Second, there is the bizarre story of "Sébastien" (no last name necessary, like some prima donna rock star) who claims he was ISIS's guide in the Bataclan, yet is an acclaimed hero in European REM who uncritically accept that story as well as his claim to have saved a pregnant woman hanging outside the building.  MacCruiskeen on RI has done a great job documenting the suspicious details and outright bullshit on display in this story.  The entire account reeks of psy-op, which is the hallmark of Gladio's Strategy of Tension.  Third, the claim that the Friday the 13th Paris terror attacks were planned in Belgium.  It's interesting to note that in addition to being "the capital of political Islam in continental Europe," Brussels, Belgium is also where NATO headquarters are located.  It's too bad that instead of focusing on the NATO aspect, as Gearoid O Colmain so brilliantly did, the REM focus on Belgium consists of calling Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the chief patsy of the Paris attacks the "chief architect."  Like the patsy before him whose pose he mimics, (thanks Joao), Abaaoud was conveniently killed.


So what's the connection with the Knight's Templar?  There isn't a direct connection so much as an esoteric connection.  The dates of most significant terror attacks are chosen deliberately in commemoration of some other significant event.  (The Oklahoma bombing on April 19, 1995 was chosen to coincide with the Waco siege of 1993, for example.)  I've yet to find major significance with the date of November 13 prior to this year.  I suppose it's possible the date was chosen to commemorate the truck bombing in Riyadh in 1995 that killed five Americans and two Indians, but I doubt it.   Perhaps the significance of the choice isn't rooted in November the 13th, but Friday the 13th.  The association of this date with terror is something rooted deeply in our culture.  It goes beyond the umpteen returns of Jason Voorhees in the popular Friday the 13th film franchise.  One of the earliest historical examples where this date had a significant impact is one of the darkest days in Templar history.  To quote page 54 from The Temple and the Lodge:

The Temple, it must be remembered, was, with the sole exception of the Papacy, the most important, most powerful, most prestigious, most apparently unshakable institution of its age.  At the time of Philippe's attack, it was nearly two centuries old and was regarded as one of the central pillars of Western Christendom.  For most of its contemporaries, it seemed as immutable, as durable, as permanent as the Church herself.  That such an edifice should be so summarily demolished rocked the foundation upon which rested the assumptions and beliefs of an epoch.  Thus, for example, Dante, in The Divine Comedy, expresses his shock and his sympathy for the persecuted 'White Mantles'.  Indeed, the superstition which holds Friday the 13th to be a day of misfortune is believed to stem from Philippe's initial raids on Friday, 13 October 1307.

It remains to be seen just how bad the current Friday the 13th attack will rock the foundation upon which the assumptions and beliefs of our epoch rest.

Friday, October 16, 2015

ISIS Is BS: It's Just the Latest Greatest Gladio Operation

They are not extinct, but for all practical intents and purposes, al-Qaeda has gone the way of VHS.  They had a great run, make no mistake, the dominance of al-Qaeda in the global terror market created some memorable moments that secured their place in the annals of terror history, but after two decades a change was overdue.  They peaked over a decade ago with 9/11, but even the "successful" attacks they pulled off afterward paled in comparison.  A new scarier face was needed.  Something more evil, more brutal, with a darker more all-encompassing vision, like a Bond villain meets the fundamentalist Islamic Borg.

Demand, meet the new Supply!  Like an Egregore the Military-Industrial Complex wished into existence, ISIS burst onto the scene as the shiny new Blu-ray DVD disc designed to make us forget all about those stodgy Bush-era VHS bad guys.  You thought al-Qaeda was scary when they beheaded their kidnap victims?  ISIS beheads even more and burn people to death in cages!  You thought hijacking planes and flying them into buildings was the apex of modern terror?  ISIS is carving a Caliphate out of Iraq and Syria, something the old analog al-Qaeda only dreamed of!  ISIS has grown in leaps and bounds beyond when I first wrote about them, so much so that now al-Qaeda members are bemoaning their fate in the dustbin of history to sympathetic Western journalists as ISIS sweeps them aside.  Out with the old, in with the new!

I'm not sure how many actually buy this sales pitch, but I sure don't.  ISIS is BS; on multiple levels.  On one level, our Radical Establishment Media is propagating a phony debate over the origins of how ISIS grew into the terror behemoth it appears to be.  It's phony not just because it makes it appears that the American contribution in creating and nurturing ISIS was some kind of horrible accident, but phony because it assigns the blame in typical binary bullshit: either Obama is to blame through the Libya "rathole" story broken by Seymour Hersh, or Dubya is to blame because if he hadn't invaded Iraq under false pretenses in 2003, ISIS never would have been created.

As with most high-quality, well-crafted, effective bullshit, these stories both have elements of truth in them.  It is true that prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Qaeda in Iraq, who subsequently renamed themselves ISIL, ISIS, Islamic State and who knows what else in the future, did not exist.  There is also ample documentation, particularly through the DIA, to support many aspects of Seymour Hersh's story regarding a covert network channeling weapons from Libya through southern Turkey across the Syrian border.  What is BS is the propagation of the myth that the President creates and controls such covert networks.  The myth is designed to keep the Deep State the unaddressed elephant in the living room while maintaining the charade that, for better or worse, our elected leaders run the show.

But there is another level of BS that is uglier and raises disturbing possibilities along the lines of the old Hitler dictum: the bigger the lie, with heavy repetition, the more likely it will be believed.  Stories keep cropping up that make me doubt just what is and isn't real about the history of the "new" threat.  Like the New York Times story that the leader of ISIS back when they were al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, never existed and his audio-taped declarations were done by an actor.  Then there are the stories that are repeated, sometimes in the mainstream, other times on alternative websites, where the United States and Great Britain are caught sending weapons to ISIS.  The story in the Washington Post where retired Lt. General Thomas McInerney admitted that the U.S. helped build ISIS certainly had a headline that brought the big lie front and center:


The stories that really made my hair stand on end were the ones that wrote of ISIS reeking of being a NATO operation.  There was even an article in which Time admitted that ISIS was bringing arms and fighters in from NATO territory.  This, along with the earlier revelations involving the clandestine cooperation of Turkey reminded me of a revelation about Operation Gladio Plan B from Sibel Edmonds that I first quoted on this blog in Synopsizing Sibel Edmonds: The Evolution of Operation Gladio Part Six:

James Corbett: ...And on that note, we have an email in from Robert, who has a blog called where he is starting to synopsize our conversations and he's got Part One and Part Two up already and has done a good job of putting in some relevant links and explaining some of the characters and the details, so I will put the links to those blog posts in the show notes for this, and also Robert had a question, he said, "In Part Two, Sibel mentioned that the Pentagon doesn't call it Gladio B, but there is a designated section, a physical office that deals with Gladio operations.  Can she tell us what the actual name is, or has she been gagged from doing so on the grounds of State Secrets?"

Sibel Edmonds: Right, um, the FBI's file, because the name of the file itself wouldn't be even considered classified, it's the name of a file, the operation is considered the Operation Gladio Plan B.  With the Pentagon, I can't because it has not become public, and it is part of or under another division; and again that division if I were to name the division, people would be very familiar, and it will be say 'Why, that's an interesting place to put the Operation Gladio Plan B and the office there'.  I can tell you that the division is mainly international NATO officers, you're looking at lieutenant colonel and higher, and it has the only office that I know in the Pentagon with the highest number of Turkish officers, they're going to have both US citizenship and Turkish, but they're assigned to this Pentagon division.  Now it changes, every four or five years, some are stationed somewhere else, but if you look at it let's say during a certain period of time, the highest percentage are Turkish officers there, female and male.

Could ISIS be part of Operation Gladio Plan B?  That would be the logical conclusion, considering Edmonds has provided many colorful details about how al-Qaeda is part of Gladio B and ISIS is al-Qaeda's evil offspring.  There is more evidence of Turkish collaboration with ISIS regarding the sale of oil, including reports that they are buying oil stolen by ISIS at a price of $2 million a day (so is Israel, but that's a whole different elephant sitting the same living room, which AlicetheKurious from Rigorous Intuition brilliantly explains the history of).  The proof of a Turkey/ISIS alliance is so overwhelming, even Turkish-American host of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur made a great video concluding in a "Final Judgment" that Turkey was guilty of cooperating with ISIS.  Has Edmonds herself come to the conclusion that ISIS is part of Gladio B?  In an interview last year, she slyly referred to the attention shift from al-Qaeda to ISIS as a "brand change" for "marketing purposes", but she went into more detail in an interview last month with the snip below being especially revealing:

Silencing a Whistle-Blower, Gladio B and the Origins of ISIS. Sibel Edmonds

Global Research News Hour Episode 111: A Conversation with Sibel Edmonds

SE: I can give you a recent example, in fact my website or for short In 2011, months and months before Syria came in the headlines – anything about Syria was written on the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN – we broke a story based on my sources here in United States military but also in Turkey about the fact that special CIA/NATO forces in a NATO base in Turkey, which is in the southern portion of Turkey very close to the Syrian border, they were bringing in, in Turkey, the CIA/NATO Gladio unit, they were recruiting and bringing in people from northern Syria into these camps, part of the US air force base in southern Turkey. They were training them – military training –  they were arming them, and they were basically directing them towards create terror events inside Syria, not only against Assad, but also in various villages and regions against the people, against public.

When we broke this story and decided all this, nobody from the mainstream media even looked at it, in fact several of my sources, before approaching me at Boiling Frogs Post, they had gone with evidence, with documents, aerial pictures to some of the top publications such as the New York Times, but they did not print any of this, not because of lack of supporting documents, because at that point they were not ready in the United States to make Syria the real case, they were still in the midst of training and taking these people down, funneling them back into Syria. These are really pourus borders between Syria and Turkey. Then seven, eight months later suddenly Syria started entering the news headlines in the United States.

That was the training and beginning of the ISIS brand. It started as ISIL and then turned to ISIS and now for short IS. This was completed by design, it was created and the people who are part of the so called ISIS they were carefully selected, brought into the U.S. NATO base in Turkey, they were trained they were funnelled, and this is what they were told to do. They created a new brand and a new brand with purpose of replacing the old brand: Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda, after twelve years started to losing its oomph as a brand, this is no different than any kid of marketing strategy you would see from companies bringing in the same kind of product, but under a different brand and packaging to excite the buyers, purchasers, the consumers. This is the same kind of thing. With Al Qaeda weakening as a brand because after a while people get like, oh yeah it’s the same thing, Al Qaeda here, Al Qaeda there, they are inside the wells, they are in my backyard, they are in the outhouse. So they said this is the time to create another brand so they gave birth to this ISIS brand. Within two years this brand that never existed before, and if you go and look at the headlines you can Google ISIS and financial network, this ISIS brand became the richest terror organization on the planet with two plus billion dollars net worth.

Think about it, how does that happen? How can in two years some ferocious terror group get to form and they have all these guns all these bombs, and they have range rovers and they have jeeps, and they have all this sophisticated training, military and paramilitary training. They have two billion dollars plus. They have IT networks and they are the worlds scariest terror organization. That is the hallmark of Operation Gladio B. That is what they have been doing since the 1950’s and now with people getting likely to buy they types of brands and subscribe to these types of brands to them, they are being marketed to the consumers in the west. They are gobbling it up with the mainstream media about this ISIS. They even have uniform like looks with the special bandanas. They look like ninja turtles.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they got some help from Hollywood production consultants they have on their payroll and some really brilliant marketing experts to re-brand Al Qaeda come up with a brand new brand, replace the old brand, and in less than two, three years make it largest, the richest, the most ferocious, the most capable. As they did with Al Qaeda, today they are putting out this headline saying ISIS has access and capability in biological weapons, people can Google this. ISIS has ability and capability to utilize chemical weapons in attack. Now they are saying that they possibly have nuclear capabilities. Even if you look at the unbelievable organizations that fairly quickly became big, you would never see such marketing scheme that in two three years you could become that rich, two billion dollars plus net worth.

This all goes into the years and years, decades and decades, half a century of experience in creating these synthetically created terror brands, and give them the oomph to market it to the consumers here in the west.

Is there another source to corroborate Edmonds?  Surprisingly, I found an article that I originally cited two years ago on this blog.  Not only does this source show a Gladio connection through two neo-fascist Italian operatives, but it does so in 2005, one year before al-Qaeda in Iraq came into existence and even mentions one of the formative patsies, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who first brought the group into media prominence.  The last paragraph is particularly perceptive:

Reading Between the Lines: Gladio Ops Designed to Discredit the Iraqi Resistance

Posted in the database on Saturday, July 09th, 2005 @ 10:40:10 MST (325 views)
from Another Day in the Empire

It seems the corporate media reported on the Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr kidnap story in order to re-send the message that the CIA is in need of reform, as telegraphed in the wake of nine eleven by the Bush whitewash commission and the CIA’s freshly installed head, the neocon partisan Porter Goss. News stories over the last couple years portray the CIA as Maxwell Smart bunglers who allowed Osama to slip under the wire and fed bad intelligence to Bush and crew on Iraq, when in fact the bad intelligence (actually deliberately crafted propaganda) came from the Office of Special Plans and a handful of Iraqi “dissidents” such as Ahmed Chalabi, a Wolfowitz and Perle protégé and convicted embezzler.

Now that the corporate media has performed it assigned task—float another CIA as butterfingers story—the Nasr kidnap story will be allowed to more or less evaporate in standard fashion, dropped from the news cycle and more or less ignored to death, although the Associated Press is reporting the Italian government is in denial mode over accusations it knew all about the kidnapping of the Egyptian cleric in 2003. As for Gaetano Saya and Riccardo Sindoca, the two Gladio neofascists who ran a “parallel'’ anti-terrorism police force, and are apparently connected to the Nasr kidnap case (according to prosecutors in Genoa and Milan), this story has disappeared almost entirely (a Google News search this morning returns four results, three originating in Italy and one with the Guardian in Britain). 

However, if one reads between the lines, certain troublesome details emerge. For instance, as reported by the New Hampshire Union Leader, “Rome newspaper La Repubblica quoted the former head of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, as saying the CIA received authorization from Italy’s secret service, SISMI, before the [Nasr kidnap] operation.” Checking out the easily researched background of SISMI we learn the spook organization “has long been notorious for far right, even neo-fascist, leanings. According to Italian judicial investigators, SISMI was deeply involved in numerous plots against Italy’s democratic government, including the 1980 Bologna train station terrorist bombing that left 85 dead and 200 injured,” Canadian journalist Eric S. Margolis reported last summer. “Senior SISMI officers were in cahoots with celebrated swindler Roberto Calvi, the neo-fascist P2 Masonic Lodge, other extreme rightist groups trying to destabilize Italy, the Washington neocon operative, Michael Ledeen, and the Iran-Contra conspirators.” In short, SISMI is neck-deep in Gladio operations. As Margolis reports, the American liaison is none other than Michael Ledeen, an “influential” neocon with direct input into the Bush administration. Margolis continues:

SISMI works hand in glove with US, British and Israeli intelligence. In the 1960’s and 70’s, SISMI reportedly carried out numerous operations for CIA, including bugging the Vatican, the Italian president’s palace, and foreign embassies. 


It is now becoming increasingly obvious the governments of Italy and the United States are collaborating in a Gladio-type operation and the kidnapping of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, a former CIA asset, was conducted to keep him from revealing more about the operation. For instance, as the Boston Globe reported on June 27, Nasr “was involved with Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish Islamic group in northern Iraq that the United States said had ties with Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda, and, according to an Italian law enforcement official, the cleric was “involved in an organization that sent people to training camps in Kurdistan… [and] was involved in preparing false documents and passports for sending people in Iraq, [perhaps] to train for bomb attacks.” It should be noted that Mullah Krekar, the leader of Ansar al-Islam, told al-Hayat newspaper in 2003 he had “a meeting with a CIA representative and someone from the American army in the town of Sulaymaniya (Iraqi Kurdistan) at the end of 2000. They asked us to collaborate with them,” an offer Krekar said he refused. It is also interesting to note that Ansar al-Islam supported Jund al-Shams (Soldiers of the Levant), according to American intelligence officials quoted by Jeffery Goldberg and Christopher Allbritton, former AP and New York Daily News reporter. “Jund al-Shams is controlled by a man named Mussa’ab al-Zarqawi,” Allbritton quotes Goldberg, writing for the New Yorker.

Of course, apologists will dismiss the above as paranoia, and offer the corporate media take on events: Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr worked undercover for the CIA and he was kidnapped because he had gone over to the dark side. Maybe. However, this does not explain why Saya and Sindoca, intimately connected to Operation Gladio, according to Italian prosecutors, were involved in the kidnapping. Gladio specialized in penetrating left-wing organizations and turning such into terrorist outfits. Is it possible SISMI, DSSA, and U.S. military intelligence (run out of Rumsfeld’s refashioned Pentagon) are penetrating Islamic organizations in Iraq and turning them into terrorist organizations designed to discredit the Iraqi resistance? If so, we should not expect the corporate media to make such (admittedly speculative) connections. Such is left up to us “conspiracy kooks” submerged within the blogosphere, reading between the lines, and understanding history and the murderous skullduggery of the state. 

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Breaking Bernie: 21st Century Rat-Fucking

Deep Throat: What's the topic for tonight?
Bob Woodward: Rat-fucking.
Deep Throat: [lights a cigarette] In my day it was called double-cross. In simple context, it means infiltration of the Democrats.

What a difference a few months makes.  When I wrote about the state of the presidential race previously, I did not anticipate two events.  First, I did not foresee the Republican Party primary race being hijacked by a reality TV star.  Lord knows how long Donald Trump will keep sucking up all the oxygen from the rest of the personality-challenged GOP field, but with a personal bankroll nearly eleven figures large (insert your own Spinal Tap joke), the answer appears to be: as long as he goddamn pleases, so suck it, losers!  Second, it appears that I was wrong when I placed Senator Bernie Sanders "in the same camp as Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and anyone else who wants to throw their hat in the ring: next in line in case Hillary Clinton is photographed abusing an endangered species or in bed with anyone other than Bill."

Sanders clearly is not in the same camp; clearly the man has more campaign savvy than the grassroots-left favorite single-digit polling Kucinich, which I thought he was.  Though it is still very, very early, he is currently polling ahead of  Clinton 44-37 in the pivotal early voting primary state of New Hampshire.  He regularly draws crowds in the tens of thousands, whereas the rest of the candidates struggle to regularly draw crowds in the thousands, with the exception of The Donald, who still exaggerates the size of his crowds to try to keep up with Bernie.  Momentum is clearly on Senator Sanders' side.  When Bernie speaks, his popularity grows.

There's no such thing as a perfect candidate (philosophically, I think perfect is an imperfect concept), especially in the corrupt unsustainable system we're currently saddled with.  Bernie's not about to address what truly ails civilization by changing the way money works so that it's no longer predicated on the debt machine of fiat currency, fractional reserves and compound interest and instead is representative of energy, both the human energy that we produce through our labor and the planet's energy that we utilize.  But Bernie has multiple planks in his platform that does address changing the way money is distributed in a significant manner.  Reinstating Glass-Steagall, breaking up banks that are "too big to fail," taxing Wall Street speculation, ending offshore tax havens and subsidies to Big Business, and fixing the tax code to alleviate systemic inequalities would be a monumental shake-up of the status quo, perhaps the most serious threat since Robert F. Kennedy's run in 1968.

It is for this reason that I don't believe the system will allow him to win.  Not just because of what he stands for, other people have run for the White House on a similar platform, but because of how many people he is reaching.  Rather than wait for Sanders to accrue a significant number of delegates so that he has bargaining power at the Democratic Convention in July at Philadelphia, I believe that powerful interests that stand the most to lose from a Sanders administration will work early to try to sabotage his campaign, which on a personal level would sadly make my vote for him in the California primary on June 7 a moot point.  For those who find the possibility of such a 'conspiracy' far-fetched, I would point you to the quote at the top of the page and remind you that the movie All the President's Men was based on a true story.

I would also like to point out the possibility of a rat-fucking trial balloon being floated this past weekend.  During an event in Seattle, activists from #BlackLivesMatter commandeered the stage.  They urged the crowd to "join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions."  Which is kind of strange, considering Sanders was already confronted with this issue at Netroots Nation and in response asked #BlackLivesMatter activist Symone Sanders to be his press secretary when he met her three weeks ago.  They refused to let anyone else, including Bernie, take the mike so eventually the organizer of the event declared it was over.

Now, I want to make a point about #BlackLivesMatter: I like and respect them in almost the same way that I like and respect #OccupyWallStreet.  Both activist groups have a powerful message and invigorating tools for mobilizing their constituencies.  It's just as important to wake Americans up to the reality that black Americans are being killed by police at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow era lynchings as it is to wake Americans up to the reality that 1% of the American population owns 48% of the wealth.  But the problem with both organizations that limit their potential for revolutionary change is that they are both very decentralized, leaderless groups.  As someone who participated in the Los Angeles chapter of #OWS outside City Hall, I witnessed first-hand activists sharing space with "libertarians" supporting Ron Paul.  (Frankly, I don't see how you can call yourself a libertarian and support denying a woman the right to have control over her own uterus, but I digress.)  I've also read about other #OWS chapters having participation from Oathkeepers, Larouchites and the American Nazi Party.  In other words, this type of organization is ripe for infiltration by parties intent on subverting it for less than honorable purposes.

My suspicion that this infiltration scenario might have happened to the Seattle chapter of #BlackLivesMatter began when I found out that the Facebook page that the two #BLM activists, Marissa Jenae Johnson and Mara Willaford were steering media toward did not exist until the day of the rally.  Also troubling was the admission on her personal Facebook page that Johnson used to be a Sarah Palin supporter and still calls herself a "radical Christian."  But what really stood out for me is that Johnson is also a member of a group operating within #BLM called Outside Agitators 206.  The '206' presumably refers to Seattle's area code.

But what specifically does Outside Agitators 206 stand for?  Well, here is a public statement that doesn't appear to hold the same goals as the larger #BLM movement.  This is the relevant text of that statement:

To succeed, the Black Lives Matter Movement must transform the politics of Black America. By definition, that means declaring war on the Democratic Party, and forcing Black politicians and activists to choose between the Party and the people’s struggle.

As usual, the Democrats will try to make Black people more angry at the terminally racist Republican Party than at the police and local administration of their (typically) Democrat-run city. Hillary Clinton is already making noises of empathy with Blacks suffering under the urban police state. However, the Black Lives Matter movement has no institutional stake in the victory of either party, but is, in fact, locked in mortal political struggle with other Black people in the Democratic Party. These Black Democrats will insist on a truce, a cessation of agitation against national or local Democrats, until after the election.

In a recent interview, at about the 29 minute mark, Johnson seems to echo this sentiment by stating, "We actually need to keep pushing people to dismantle the system."  The larger question then is are these the genuine sentiments of quasi-anarchists or the underhanded machinations of agent provocateurs?  Actually, it could be a combination of both: genuinely committed activists being manipulated by operatives with a vastly different agenda.  The answer may lie in the quest that Deep Throat gave to Bob Woodward in All the President's Men: follow the money.  Are there any powerful interests that stand to lose billions during a Sanders administration connected with Outside Agitators 206?  I'd like to thank alwyn from Rigorous Intuition (and Project Willow for posting the image) for posting what friend Lassiter Jones found through a traceroute of their IP address and a check of the ownership on which revealed it was owned by Merck and Co.



Most attempts that I've seen at debunking are inconclusive.  A poster at posted this, then someone said the arin whois server shows the IP address "is registered to and has been registered to Amazon Web Services" and that the Merck image is "fake information."  (Apparently, this self-styled 'debunker' either thinks that is a fraudulent website or that person really didn't do very thorough research.)  But another poster showed that through, that while the ownership is currently Amazon, Merck previously owned the IP as of April 22, 2015.  So that's at least two different sources making a similar claim.

So the big question is: when did Outside Agitators 206 begin hosting through this IP address?  Unfortunately, because I'm unable to verify their dns registration information, which is private, the question cannot be answered satisfactorily.  True, Outside Agitators does have a calendar posting events from January 2015, (thanks to nadinbrzezinski from Democratic Underground for that find) but it's possible any data on their site could have been manipulated at a later date.  Bottom line: I can't see the fire.  But there's a whole lot of smoke that makes me suspicious.  My suspicion is centered on the fact that as one of the largest companies in the Pharmaceutical-Industrial Complex, Merck and Co. certainly would have a vested interest in making sure that Senator Sanders, who has single-payer health care as one of the major planks of his platform, has no chance of winning.  Then again, two years ago Amazon landed a $600 million contract to build an entire cloud computing system for the CIA.  Pick your poison.  If the concept of the government utilizing a private corporation, particularly one dealing with web services, to target an individual that they consider a threat seems unlikely, please remember the revelations from Edward Snowden regarding the wonderful cooperation between the NSA, DIA and CIA and Booz Allen Hamilton, Yahoo, Google, etc., ad nauseum.

Just to clarify, because I'm unclear of the point of origin of all this smoke, and because, as I've stated my commitment to clarifying the difference between theory and hypothesis, I'm currently listing this story as a conspiracy hypothesis.  But for those who find the possibility that an organization fighting for the rights of black people could be infiltrated and subverted ludicrous, I would like to point to a time in history, the 1960s, where that actually occurred under an FBI program called COINTELPRO.  MinM from Democratic Underground and Rigorous Intuition brought these observations to my attention in an exchange between the great Lisa Pease from Probe Magazine and and Marcy Wheeler from on Twitter:

Disrupting speaking events and meetings was one of the top 3 COINTELPRO activities, per this from the Church Comm.

Listing of some COINTELPRO techniques, from the Church Committee report

FBI efforts to prevent anti-war groups (and speakers like Bernie?) from speaking:

Ultimately, if this was indeed a rat-fucking trial balloon, it appears that Bernie has popped it with aplomb.  In addition to the hiring of Press Secretary Symone Sanders from #BlackLivesMatter that I mentioned before, Senator Sanders has come up with a new "racial justice platform" that won him praise from several prominent voices in the #BLM movement.  But in no way does this mean that he or anyone in his campaign should let their guard down.  There are a number of different tactics anyone seeking to derail his run have at their disposal.  Considering what a passionate speaker he is, my guess is that the top tactic to smear him will be to play a dirty trick aimed at making him look "unstable."  A good historical example within a presidential campaign would be the one referred to in All the President's Men: the Canuck letter.

In January 1972, Senator Edmund Muskie had won the Iowa primary and had a huge lead in New Hampshire.  Then on February 24, 1972, two weeks before the New Hampshire primary, the Manchester Union Leader published a letter implying that Muskie held a prejudice against Americans of French-Canadian descent.  Three days before the primary on March 4, Muskie delivered a passionate speech on the steps of the Union Leader offices calling the publisher a liar.  The media had a field day reporting this as "the crying speech" even though Muskie claimed it was not tears but snowflakes melting on his face.  Though he did end up narrowly winning the primary on March 7, the perception of Muskie as emotionally unstable lead to a defection toward George McGovern, who lost the election to Richard Nixon by a spectacular margin.  In October 1972, FBI investigators included the Canuck letter as part of the dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by CREEP (Committee to Re-Elect the President) against Democrats revealed by the Watergate break-in.

One big difference between now and then is that Muskie was targeted to make way for McGovern who was perceived to be "socialist" because they knew America couldn't elect someone with that label during the Cold War.  Now the Democratic-socialist Sanders will be targeted because socialism isn't the boogeyman it used to be; 47% of Americans in a recent Gallup poll said they would vote for a socialist.  But one thing that hasn't changed is the Radical Establishment Media's propensity to malign a presidential candidate as being "unstable."  The Fourth Estate doesn't even need a rat-fucking conspiracy to do that.  Remember the Dean Scream?

I remember.  It was January 19, 2004.  Howard Dean had just finished third in the Iowa primary.  It was disappointing, particularly since his poll numbers the month before showed he had a huge lead.  So Dean gave a passionate speech to rouse his supporters and keep their spirits high heading to New Hampshire, where he currently was polling in first.  It was amazing how the corporate media crucified him, particularly CNN, which showed his climactic “YEARGH!” over and over, almost in a loop, as the talking heads clucked about his presumed emotional instability.  It had a predictable effect: Dean lost New Hampshire and was no longer a serious contender for the nomination.

How can Bernie guard against such an array of forces whose interests run contrary to his platform?  I wish there was a more comprehensive answer beyond just staying vigilant against campaign sabotage.  There is no doubt in my mind that there will be concerted efforts, whether legal or not, to break Bernie and scatter his supporters.  How he responds and deals with such efforts will be the key to his success or failure.  I hope I'm wrong, I'm certainly rooting for him to weather the storm on the horizon.  If he does, I sure hope the Secret Service has his back.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road - A Carbon Crisis Allegory with Review by Guest Blogger Don Crandall

There have been a number of movies that I've wanted to review over the years that I felt could be deconstructed through the prism of Peak Oil awareness.  Previously I did write a blog post attempting to do that.  As my understanding of the interrelationship between Peak Oil and Global Warming increased to where I now refer to both as the Carbon Crisis, I became aware of just how disastrous this ongoing event could potentially become.  One of the more extreme apocalyptic scenarios would be if global warming affects our ability to grow food combined with oil depletion destroying our economy, civilization could collapse.  With the collapse of civilization, we face a severe nuclear threat, either intentionally (nuclear war) or accidentally (nuclear meltdown).

But no deconstruction is necessary where the Mad Max movies are concerned.  Since its inception with George Miller's 1979 classic Mad Max, we are set in a world teetering on the edge of collapse.  The only thing standing in the way of total lawlessness is one good cop, Max Rockatansky.  But when his best friend, his wife and his baby are murdered, Max goes over the edge in his quest to get revenge against an ultra-violent motorcycle gang led by the vicious Toecutter.  When we next see Max in the 1981 sequel The Road Warrior, what had been a civilization nearing total social breakdown is now a civilization no longer.  Why did this happen?  The opening narration paints a very vivid picture:

Narrator: My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos... ruined dreams... this wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called "Max." To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time... when the world was powered by the black fuel... and the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now... swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war, and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They'd built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men. On the roads it was a white line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed... men like Max... the warrior Max. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything... and became a shell of a man... a burnt-out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past, a man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again.

Sounds a lot like the Carbon Crisis with perhaps a bit of nuclear war?  This is the background for the milieu of Mad Max, which continued in 1985 with Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.  The whole trilogy is an allegory for our darkest fears about where the Carbon Crisis is collectively taking us.  I always felt that out of all the trilogy series of movies that came out around the 1980s (Star Wars, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones), Mad Max was the darkest and grittiest.  When I found out that after 30 years a new sequel was coming out, I was curious but felt a bit cautious about getting too excited.  I've been burned before by some legendary names: Steven Spielberg, who single handedly coined a "jump the shark" colloquialism for movie series with "nuke the fridge" through his resurrection of the Indiana Jones franchise with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and George Lucas, who did an entire prequel trilogy for Star Wars that is inferior to the original trilogy on every conceivable level.

Fortunately, Mad Max: Fury Road does not disappoint.  I'll let my friend Don Crandall guest blog the review, as his words reflect my feelings:

I have hope for the future of cinema again.  This film is lovingly made for old school (or is it old fart?) movie fans like me, and is done "80's style" in many ways. It's a return to the greatness that made me want to write scripts & move to Hollywood when I was a kid. By "80's style," I mean it's not the ADD generation's churned out, CGI heavy, tell-don't-show, even-good-movies-have-plot-holes-today kinda piece. There's none of that here (well, there is the one scene in the nuclear storm that's CGI, but it looks beautiful.) I was struck hard with a nostalgia that I haven't felt since the 80's, and for some scenes I had to contain giggling like a giddy child. It's cinematic bliss.

Writer / director George Miller returns to the Mad Max world without missing a beat, unlike others (Lucas, Spielberg, etc) who have botched their own franchises lately. Many reviewers never saw the original 3 films, but they still love this flick, so you don't need to see the old ones. I'd liken it to James Bond, where we now have a new lead actor, and everything's been updated just enough, but it's still a continuation. I'd say the Mad Max films did for modern action & car chase movies what Star Wars did for Sci Fi, and it's so refreshing to now have another worthy film in the canon, perfect in every way.

I am sensing that very young people may have trouble with the throwback film techniques that today's films have sadly abandoned, things like: establishing tracking shots, long continuous takes to pull the viewer into the scene, action servicing the story instead of being tossed in, practical special effects with next to no CGI, naturally unfolding narrative instead of piles of exposition, no forced humor, etc. I had lost hope I'd ever see these long missed techniques in a big summer movie, but here it is, and it's been sorely missed. Many reviewers are saying it's as if 70 year old veteran George Miller is telling filmmakers like Michael Bay, "This is how it's done, Son."

About all this "feminism propaganda" talk... Is it feminist? You bet, and that's a good thing. We're talking Sarah Connor from T2, Ripley from Aliens iconic stuff here. Are all men evil in the film, and all women good? Mostly, but that didn't bother me (and it's kinda true, sadly.) You can get that I'm plugging Charlize here, who is the real star of the film. As terrific as Tom Hardy is as Max, Charlize as Furiosa is even better. The film does start out pretty sexist toward women, then slowly redeems itself, and does a 180 (pun intended,) and becomes a superb piece about action heroines (yes, plural.) Hint, hint, take your lady friend to this one!

The car chases and "vehicular action" are the best ever filmed. Truly, the best. And I'll stress "filmed," not cooked up in cyberspace CGI. There's more action in this one film than all 3 of the other Mad Max's put together. One reviewer stated, "It makes Fast & the Furious look like a Hot Wheels commercial." Is it one long car chase like everyone says? Not a continuous one, but it is an overall pursuit storyline (like Han & Leia's story half in Empire'.) Of course George Miller knows the audience needs a few breathers, and here's where the story & character development the Oscar caliber director and stars shine. Here's also where anyone younger than 30 might shuffle in their seats, as witness by our friend Eric. I've always considered the Mad Max films the "art house" version of a "grind house" movie, and they're clearly foreign films. This new one is in perfect sync with the others.

Fury Road's over the top, bat shit insane in many ways, from the relentless, jaw dropping stunts and car action to the "world building" of costumes, sets, props, etc. But it doesn't overwhelm you or make you car sick, because you'll savor every shot on screen, every performance, and that wonderful score by Junkie XL (I know, WTF is up with that name?) Many reviewers have used the word "beautiful" to describe the chaos and insanity on screen, and that's accurate. Like the (at least first two) other Max films, this one's a work of art, lovingly crafted, long gestated (I guess the closest thing we've had to this opus in a while is Avatar.)

For the first time in ten or more years, I can proudly say I honestly loved a film with zero reservations, found zero plot holes, was completely immersed without the distraction of CGI, and best of all, felt like a kid again for 2 good hours.

To Don's review, I only want to add my observations I shared with him earlier regarding the allegorical perspective:

I saw it in beautiful 2D and from my perspective, this was a Road Warrior movie, taking place either sometime right before or right after chronologically.  There was definitely a similarity in tone with both Road Warrior and Fury Road right from the beginning; both have a similar narrative exposition.  I think I may have even liked the Fury Road expository material a little better as it really went into details that made it clear that this movie is a cautionary tale of a post-Peak Oil, post-global warming, post-nuclear war world.  All three crises come sequentially: first Peak Oil, ("Oil Wars") then global warming ("running out of water"? "Water Wars"? Must be pretty hot!) and then the nuclear coup de grace ("thermonuclear skirmish").

What's great, what's truly timeless about these movies, is that they will always be futuristic.  Always, that is, unless the horrifying fiction becomes our reality.  If that were to occur, there would be no more movies in what's left of society, storytelling would revert back to oral traditions.  What shape would oral traditions of storytelling revert to in a Western culture that has revered moviemaking for the last century?  The plots and characters may evolve into the myths that shape the new culture in a society struggling to survive.  In other words, Mad Max could become the Odysseus of a dystopian reality.  How does that thought strike you?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rockefeller Road: Paved With Good Intentions

The good die young.  It's a cliche repeated thousands of times throughout the ages to memorialize the exit of important or beloved people who leave us too soon.  But if it's true, is the reverse true of those who stay far too long?  Check out this murderer's row of imperial blowhards yet to kick the bucket: President George H. W. Bush just turned 91 today, Henry Kissinger is 92, Andrew Marshall, the "Yoda" of the RAND Corporation whose proteges include Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, is 93, George Schultz is 94, and Licio Gelli, Grandmaster of the P2 Lodge behind the Banco Ambrosiano scandal and Operation Gladio's "strategy of tension" in Italy, and an original "Black Shirt" fascist who was a liaison between Mussolini's government and the Third Reich, is 96 years old.

They're all young bucks compared to David Rockefeller.  Son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., the only child of original oil monopolist John D. Rockefeller Sr. who lived to be 97, David just turned 100 today.  Among his many accomplishments in a century of life on this planet, David is probably most well known for being the chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation and one of the founders of the Trilateral Commission.  Perhaps you might be familiar with these quotes that have been splashed across the internet over the years:

That last quote is reportedly something he said at a Bilderberg conference in 1991.  Since all Bilderberg conferences are conducted in secret, it is impossible to authenticate.  But as someone who joined the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as their youngest director in 1949, who is the founder and honorary chairman of such policy groups as Americas Society, Council of the Americas and the previously mentioned Trilateral Commission, and the only member of the Member Advisory Group for Bilderberg Meetings, it certainly fits within the character of the first quote.  And that quote is authenticated; it is from Rockefeller's own Memoirs that he wrote in 2002 on page 405.

I suppose it is too easy to read those words of being "proud of" "conspiring" "to build a more integrated global political and economic structure; one world, if you will" as the glib arrogance of an evil overlord who sees himself above reproach.  It's certainly something I've been guilty of in the past with many of the other names I mentioned above, it's way too easy to look at the Machiavellian misdeeds of Kissinger or Gelli for example, stamp it as evil and cluck away with moral indignation.  But the reality is much more complex.  With some exceptions, they usually don't see themselves, or the actions that they take, as being evil at all.  They not only see themselves as good people (or when feeling particularly proud, exceptional people) but view their own plans and actions within a visionary or even missionary context.

To understand David Rockefeller in this context, it is important to understand his brother Nelson Rockefeller.  I highly recommend reading Thy Will Be Done The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil by Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennett* for a more thorough comprehension of the phenomenon, particularly how the Rockefeller family worked with actual missionaries William Cameron Townsend and his Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) to pacify tribes where the Rockefellers were attempting to develop the economies of Latin American countries.  Both brothers really were the figurative Twin Towers of globalist nation-building during the mid-20th century.  Perhaps it should be no surprise then that both brothers were responsible for building the actual Twin Towers, the World Trade Center; according to PBS, New Yorkers nicknamed both towers David and Nelson.  To some degree, Nelson was the giant in the political sphere and David was his herculean counterpart in the economic sphere, though on many occasions those roles would overlap.  In the case of Latin America, it might be helpful to consider Nelson as the Coordinator and David as the Facilitator.

During World War II, Nelson was head of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA).  It was essentially a propaganda department that would saturate Latin America with news and feature stories by expanding shortwave broadcasting facilities to Latin America, producing newsreels, political cartoons and films featuring American culture with a positive spin.  The hidden economic agenda was to draw Latin America into the economic matrix of the war-supplies programs being run by corporate leaders.  After World War II, he brought his brother David into a broader development plan for Latin America.  As senior vice president of Chase National Bank in 1948, David convinced his uncle, Chase National Chairman Winthrop Aldrich, to found a Latin American Department with David at the helm.  Targeting countries that might be soft on communism, David and Nelson selected two for special treatment: Venezuela for its oil and Brazil for its size and natural resources.

Part of the plan for "development" of its natural resources involved deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, hauling away lumber to be replaced by cattle ranches.  Another part included exploration, exploitation and refining of oil.  The Rockefeller efforts in this arena began producing results by the 1950s; the CIA became involved in a broad front of covert action as Latin America emerged as an area of the Cold War.  Both Rockefeller brothers had extensive CIA connections: David, through associations with Richard Helms and Allen Dulles, whose brother John Foster was an in-law of the Rockefeller family, and Nelson, through chairing the Special Group, which oversaw such CIA activity as spying on American citizens at home, instigation of coups in Iran and Guatemala, and expansion of MKULTRA mind control experiments for programming assassins, among many other reprehensible activities.  The Rockefeller efforts produced more results by the 1960s; in 1964, President Joao Goulart was overthrown in a coup after advocating the nationalization of Brazil's mineral resources and replaced with a military dictatorship.  The CIA's pointman on this coup was Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division J.C. King, who worked with Nelson at CIAA during the 1940s.  King, as CEO of the Amazon Natural Drug Company, scoured the rainforest for samples of poisons and hallucinogenic flora and fauna for potential profits in agricultural, medical and pharmaceutical industries, as well as specimens for MKULTRA mind control experiments.

In the wake of this coup, as well as instability in other Latin American countries that made them ripe for corporate profits, David Rockefeller stepped up his leadership.  In 1965, he became chairman of the finance committee for the National Committee for the Alliance for Progress, chairman of Business Group on Latin America and the International Executive Services Committee.  After reporting to President Johnson on his trip to Rio to understand the financial needs of the Brazilian junta's development plans, Johnson appointed David in April 1965 to a special review panel on AID (which often fronts CIA activities) called the General Advisory Committee on Foreign Assistance Programs.  This AID review panel gave the Rockefellers strong influence on policy deliberations, along with David's founding of the Council of the Americas, which united more than 200 corporations with more than 80% of U.S. investments in Latin America into a common business front.  David used the CFR's influential magazine Foreign Affairs to explain what was happening: the "emphasis on economic development" was restoring the confidence of companies considering investments in Latin America through the removal of tariff protections for local industries and agriculture replaced with free trade in a hemispheric community.  Free trade would spur "modernization, diversification and expansion of agriculture" based not on redistribution of land to the peasants who worked it, but on the transformation of landed estates into capital intensive commercial farms using modern machinery and fertilizers for purposes such as a "scientific program of seeding, feeding and breeding" cattle.

So what was the end result of all this "development"?  One result was genocide.  More than $62 million worth of Indian property were stolen throughout the decade of the 1960s.  Attacks by outsiders using everything from poisoned food to clothing infected with smallpox resulted in deaths of men, women, and children ranging anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000.  Another result that continues to this day is the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.  This ongoing destruction, which is visible from space, is destroying the origin of 25% of all pharmaceuticals that benefit the world, as well as much of the world's species of plants and animals and whole groups of people.  To understand the full importance of this, I'll quote from Thy Will Be Done on page 822-823:

The source of much of the world's oxygen lies within the 1 million square miles of the Amazon basin: almost two-thirds of the trees on the planet.  Yet, despite this role as as the lung of the earth, much of the Amazon rain forest is being burned down and turned into the source of dangerous increases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  In 1992 Canadian investigators reported that Brazil's rain forest alone was being burned at a rate of an acre every minute; every thirty seconds, an area the size of a football field was being destroyed by fire; every year, the equivalent of one-half the size of California was being devoured by flames.

Whatever the actual rate of destruction, most observers agree that the gases released into the upper atmosphere are creating a greenhouse effect, allowing the sun's rays to enter and preventing heating from escaping.  Soil protected for centuries by the forest's 200-foot-high canopy is now exposed to the sun and increasing doses of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.  Its fertility has declined, often leaving a sun-baked wasteland and prompting still further slashing and burning of virgin forest.  Fortunes are being made, but not by small farmers or would-be settlers.

That was written in the 90s.  How are things 20 years later?  The Amazon rainforest has degraded to the point where it is losing the ability to regulate the climate.  Depending on which study you consult, "the lung of the earth" may only be around for a matter of decades, not centuries.

Whoever said "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" really had no idea how destructive that path could be until Rockefeller Road was paved.

*Footnote: Not only do I have admiration for Charlotte Dennett for the wonderful book she wrote, but also for being the only nominee to date to run for public office with the platform of prosecuting the Bush administration for murder as detailed by the late great Vincent Bugliosi in his book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder when she ran for Attorney General in the state of Vermont in 2008.  As I wrote in a previous blog entry, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Bugliosi and receiving his autograph on my copy of that book.  I know it must have troubled him that more public officials weren't taking that template that he crafted and running with it.  That Charlotte Dennett wasn't elected is a loss of justice for everyone.