Monday, April 10, 2017

How Standard Oil and GM Stymied Los Angeles Public Transportation

Editorial note from Robert Paulsen:  This post is a synthesis of two earlier posts, Los Angeles and the Great Interstate Highway Conspiracy and Los Angeles and the Great Interstate Highway Conspiracy Part Two, for the purposes of creating a vlog pertaining to the subject.  Below is a link to the video and the transcript.

This is the Seattle Center Monorail, built for the Seattle World's Fair in 1962 and still operating today.  I've always wondered why this form of mass transit never caught on in Los Angeles where I'm from.  The truth is the Alweg Monorail Company, responsible for the Seattle and Disneyland's Monorail offered to build this sort of thing for Los Angeles in 1963.  What happened?

In the aftermath of gaining international recognition for their monorail at the 1962 Seattle Century 21 Exposition, the Alweg Monorail Company wanted to establish a major presence in the world of urban rail transit.  On June 4, 1963, the President of the Alweg Rapid Transit Systems, Sixten Holmquist wrote a letter to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of Los Angeles with an official proposal.  It stated, "We are pleased to submit this day a proposal to finance and construct an Alweg Monorail rapid transit system 43 miles in length, serving the San Fernando Valley, the Wilshire corridor, the San Bernardino corridor and downtown Los Angeles."  In specifying the financial details, in which the complete system amounted to $105,275,000, the proposal, which was also presented to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, stated, "this is a turn-key proposal in which a group will share risk, finance the construction, and turn over to MTA a completed and operating system to be repaid from MTA revenues."

So why didn't the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approve this proposal?  It was opposed by Standard Oil.  According to Kim Pedersen, a former Alweg engineer explained that there was initially a lot of excitement for the proposal.  But then political pressure from Standard Oil dampened their enthusiasm.  According to page 170 of American Society of Civil Engineers - Los Angeles Section, political pressure may also have come from General Motors against the project.  Famed author Ray Bradbury rallied against this pressure by stating, "A single transit line will not answer our problems; we must lay plans for a series of transportation systems that would allow us to move freely, once more, within our city.  The answer to all this is the monorail."  For all his objections, Bradbury was thrown out of the Board of Supervisors meeting.  Walt Disney also supported the monorail, but unfortunately their influence was unable to match Standard Oil and GM.
Standard Oil "Octopus"  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

But this wasn't the first time that Standard Oil and GM stymied public transportation in Los Angeles.  Their most infamous collusion is known as the Great American Streetcar Scandal.  Between 1938 and 1950, the transit systems in more than 25 cities were bought out by National City Lines (NCL) and replaced by GM buses.  Who controlled National City Lines?  Well, their list of investors included Firestone Tires, Phillips Petroleum, Mack Truck Company, Standard Oil and, at least since 1946 when American City Lines merged with NCL, General Motors.  Despite public opinion polls that, in Los Angeles for example, showed 88 percent of the public favoring expansion of the rail lines after World War II, NCL systematically shut down its streetcar systems until, by 1955, only a few remained.  L.A. had two popular trolley systems; the Pacific Electric "Red Cars" and the Los Angeles Railway "Yellow Cars."  While National City Lines owned only the Yellow Cars, because both systems were often used in conjunction by travelers and cutting service on one line made the other less convenient than automobiles, both systems failed and were dismantled.  While General Motors, Standard Oil and Firestone Tires may not have bought the Red Car just to destroy it, like the Judge Doom character played by Christopher Lloyd did in the final act of the 1988 movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the result was identical.

They didn't go down without a fight, however.  On April 9, 1947, nine corporations and seven individuals (comprising officers and directors of certain of the corporate defendants) were indicted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on two counts under the U.S. Sherman Antitrust Act. The charges were conspiracy to acquire control of a number of transit companies to form a transportation monopoly, and conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by the City Lines.  In 1948, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed lower court rulings and allowed the venue to be changed from Southern California to Northern Illinois.  In 1949, the defendants were acquitted on the first count of conspiring to monopolize transportation services, but they were found guilty on the second count of conspiring to monopolize the provision of parts and supplies to their subsidiary companies.  What was their penalty for this criminal conspiracy?  The companies were each fined $5,000, and the directors were each fined one dollar!  Amazingly, they had the audacity to appeal this slap on the wrist, but the verdicts were upheld in 1951. Pacific Electric "Red Cars" lined up for destruction  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Destroying the trolley system and replacing it with buses was only the first step. In order for private cars to become the dominant American transportation, they needed new roads to drive on.  GM helped create the  National Highway Users Conference, which became a powerful DC lobby group for interstate highways.  When GM President Charles Wilson became Secretary of Defense in 1953, he used his position to claim that a new road system was vital to U.S. security needs.  Backing him up in this regard was Federal Highway Administrator Francis DuPont, whose family was then the largest GM shareholder.  In 1956, Congress approved a bill introduced by Senator Albert Gore, Sr., the $25 billion Federal-Aid Highway Act.  Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks called it, "the greatest public works program in the history of the world."  That may or may not be true, but in Los Angeles, we call it "gridlock."

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Breaking Butterflies: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the Paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover

There is no doubt that later this summer, all forms of media print, TV, radio etc., will be awash with the memory, however hazy, of the 50th anniversary of the similarly media-driven Summer of Love.  Never mind that if you ask the residents of the epicenter of this event, the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, a great many of them will tell you that the real Summer of Love was 1965 and 1966, before Flower Children culture was appropriated and commercialized for consumption by mainstream America to become those dreaded dirty hippies.  The media got their kill for the establishment, and they won't pass up the opportunity to bask in the fifty year old glow of that victory when the chill of winter subsides.

But there is a different 50th anniversary I want to talk about.  Like the Summer of Love, this is filled with just as much drugs, sex and phenomenal rock music, but with enough paranoia, treachery and overkill in this drama to describe the event as a Winter of Discontent.  That would be the arrest and trial of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones for drug possession that began in February of 1967.  Part of what initiated this incident was the response of Mick Jagger to a News of the World story from February 5 that reported him consuming Benzedrine and sharing hash at Blaises, a London club.  Jagger was not even at the club when News of the World visited it (according to page 223 of Mick Jagger by Philip Norman, the Rolling Stone they most likely interviewed was Brian Jones), so he denounced the story as lies on a TV show broadcast that evening, then had a writ for libel served to the offending paper.  Mick and Keith decided to spend the following weekend with some friends at Keith's recently purchased cottage in the Sussex countryside to escape the London spotlight.  That might sound like a smart move, except for the fact that one of the "friends" they brought with them was a drug dealer with an attaché case full of LSD.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards  Photo courtesy of Flickr

The weekend began the evening of Friday, February 10, at Abbey Road studios where Mick Jagger, his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull and Keith Richards attended the Beatles recording the orchestral parts of the track "A Day in the Life," a Lennon/McCartney song that would be released later that year as the final track on their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The taping lasted until early Saturday morning, after which Keith and his guests for the weekend drove in convoy fifty miles away to his West Sussex cottage called Redlands.  After arriving, some enjoyed tripping on "Sunshine," a California-made variety of acid known to provide a more relaxing and tranquil trip than usual.  On Sunday morning, they enjoyed genuine sunshine with a brisk country walk through the woods.  When they returned they found two surprise guests, George Harrison and his wife, Pattie.  They left soon after though, as George found the atmosphere too low-key for him.

How ironic that at that time, around 5pm, a call was made to the West Sussex Regional Police Headquarters that a "riotous party" was going on at Redlands, including drug use.  The eighteen raiding police officers were surprised to find a rather mellow gathering settling down to watch a film on television.  They then searched each individual guest methodically for drugs.  Mick Jagger had four white amphetamine tablets in his jacket pocket confiscated.  Another guest, Robert Fraser, had confiscated what he told the police were insulin tablets, but were later tested to be heroin.  They also confiscated marijuana from a guest named David Snyderman, known as Acid King David.  Before leaving, they formally cautioned Keith Richards that if any of the items they confiscated proved to be illegal, he would face prosecution for letting them be used in his home.

The Rolling Stones  Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

There are a couple of myths associated with this infamous drug bust, likely perpetrated by the equally infamous News of the World.  One is that the police busted an orgy in progress.  This is false, spread mostly by innuendo surrounding the fact that Marianne Faithfull, after showering from the long country walk that afternoon, had wrapped herself in a fur rug from a bed that she was wearing when the police arrived.  When approached by a policewoman to be searched, she let the rug fall and shouted theatrically, "Search me!"  This made Mick Jagger beside himself with laughter.  The other related rumor is that Mick was discovered licking a Mars bar inserted into Marianne's holiest of holies.  A salacious rumor at the time, but one without a shred of evidence, aside from Keith admitting he probably had Mars bars in his home for guests with the munchies.

When the confiscated items were confirmed as illegal, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards received court summonses alleging offenses against the Dangerous Drugs Act on March 20, 1967.  Along with their art dealer friend Robert Fraser, they plead not guilty at a preliminary hearing on May 10.  The trial lasted three days.  The first day, June 27, the sole witness for the defense, Dr. Raymond Dixon Firth, stated he gave Mick verbal permission to take the amphetamine tablets and in his view, it was a legitimate prescription.  The judge, Leslie Block, who told fellow Sussex landowners in a speech a few months later that, "We did our best, your countrymen, my fellow magistrates and I, to cut these Stones down to size," instructed the jury not to regard his words as a prescription.  While they found him guilty in six minutes, Block deferred the sentence until after the trials of Robert Fraser and Keith Richards.  Then Fraser changed his plea to guilty in the hope of reducing his sentence.  Keith's trial took place over the next two days.  Judge Block then amplified the circus environment of the trial by allowing lurid details of the behavior of Marianne Faithfull (not so convincingly camouflaged as "Miss X") to be presented, then in summing-up instructed the jury to disregard it and pretend they never heard it.  They retired for an hour, then pronounced Keith guilty.  The judge sentenced Fraser to six months, Mick to three months and Keith to one year in prison.
Marianne Faithfull  Photo courtesy of Rate Your Music

The reaction to this obvious attempt to make an example of the Stones as a scapegoat for generation gap disdain was outrage.  The severity of the sentences for crimes which an ordinary first time offender might be expected to pay only a modest fine upset many fellow Brits sense of fair play.  This sense not only occurred among the Rolling Stones contemporaries such as the Who, who released cover versions of two Jagger-Richard songs, "The Last Time" and "Under My Thumb," as a protest during the trial with all proceeds going to charity, but also among older establishment voices.  On June 30, an appeals process began where with a 7,000 pound per person bail, Mick and Keith were released provided they surrendered their passports and agree not to leave the country before their full appeal was heard.

The next day, July 1, William Rees-Mogg, the editor of The Times, wrote a scathing indictment of the trial titled, "Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?"  The meaning of the phrase, originally coined by satirist Alexander Pope in 1735, is that subjecting a defenseless target to a brutal attack is as pointless as strapping a butterfly to a medieval torture rack.  The butterfly in this case was Jagger and Rees-Mogg made such an articulate case for why his treatment was an injustice that it helped accelerate the appeals process with Lord Chief Justice Parker intervening to hear Mick and Keith's appeal on July 31.  The result was that while Mick's conviction was upheld because the amphetamine found in his pocket, Stenamina, was illegal in England, his sentence was erased.  Keith did even better, having both his sentence and his conviction overturned.  The appeals court even censured Judge Block for allowing the titillating testimony about Marianne Faithfull to be presented in court when she wasn't even on trial.
Keith Richards with Acid King David   Photo courtesy of

Yet even with this near-full vindication, there was still the nagging question of who tipped off the police in the first place and why.  There were only two guests at Redlands who were under suspicion, Nicky Cramer and Acid King David.  After "Jagger's pet gangster" David Litvinoff and fellow London thug John Bindon declared Cramer innocent (after beating him to a pulp) that left the possible pool of informants at one with Acid King David, who fled England the day after the bust.  At the time, the party thought to have the greatest motive to see the Stones busted was the News of the World after Jagger had sued them for libel, which Keith had suggested in court that they used Acid King David as an agent provocateur.  But according to the real Acid King David, who dropped the last name Snyderman upon returning to the USA and was known as David Jove until he died in 2004, his real employer was much higher up the food chain.  As told in pages 264-265 of Mick Jagger by Philip Norman:

In fact, at Redlands just before the raid, he had come close to giving himself away when - his guard possibly lowered by drugs - he'd started talking enigmatically to Michael Cooper about spying and espionage, "the James Bond thing ... the whole CIA bit."  Three decades later in L.A., he confessed to Maggie Abbott that he'd been recruited by MI5 on behalf of America's Federal Bureau of Investigation, specifically an offshoot known as COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) set up by the FBI's director, J. Edgar Hoover, in the 1920s, to protect national security and maintain the existing social and political order.  For almost forty years, COINTELPRO operated against so-called subversive elements, from Communists and socialists and Soviet spies to the civil rights movement, black radicals, the campaign against the Vietnam War, and feminists, unhindered by any normal restraints of democracy or morality.  Its methods, for which it would finally be wound up by a horrified Senate investigation in 1971, included illegal surveillance, black propaganda, burglary, forgery, conspiracy, and harassment.

By 1967, COINTELPRO had switched its focus to the subversive effects of rock music on America's young, particularly the kind coming from Britain, most particularly the kind played by the Rolling Stones.  Getting two Stones busted for drug possession would ensure they were denied visas for any further U.S. tours in the foreseeable future.  Britain's security services had been more than happy to assist in the thwarting of these public menaces.  And once they were nailed - so Snyderman had been led to understand - the next ones on the hit list would be the Beatles.

On page 435, Norman quotes a former FBI operative saying, "J. Edgar Hoover hated Jagger probably more than any other pop-cultural figure of his generation."  There certainly are numerous incidents throughout history where Hoover's legendary paranoia drove him to great lengths to nail the perceived offender of his own warped sense of justice.  But what happened fifty years ago certainly qualifies as one of the most colorful and bizarre examples.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Countdown to Trumpstag: Entering the Endgame, Swelling the Shock Doctrine

"With the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which have become costly guerilla conflicts, and with the exposure of the Bush administration's deceptions about 9/11 and the threats posed by Saddam Hussein, we have seen the seeds for new conflicts being planted in West Africa, Venezuela, and Columbia, as well as in the Far East, Indonesia and Korea.  In each of these places, there are reserves of oil and gas or strategic transit routes that can help to meet supply needs for whoever controls them.

The Endgame for all this struggle is China, whose oil imports were recently predicted by the Japan Times to increase by 500% before the year 2030."

-Michael C. Ruppert from The Truth and Lies of 9-11 Introduction filmed in 2004

The interregnum of infamy is coming to a close.  With the presidential election of 2016 now officially stolen, there have been numerous pieces written about the numerous ways this transition clearly delineates the end of Obamanation and the start of Abomination.  Pieces about the repeal of Obamacare, the building of "The Wall" and mass deportation of undocumented immigrants.  Pieces about the ban on Muslim immigration to the US and registry for Muslims in the US.  Pieces about domestic policy that try to demonize Trump as something 'other' than a conservative Republican, as the ill-fated Clinton campaign tried to do, but which inevitably, from my perspective, illustrate him as just the inevitable hypocritical Tea Party poster child for government mismanagement at the highest level in the name of a political temper tantrum summed up in a two word mantra: "no compromise."
Donald J. Trump  Photo credit: Flickr

This is not going to be one of those pieces.  My focus will be on foreign policy.  Sure, there's plenty of columns out there on Trump's foreign policy, covering the upcoming 'tearing up' of the Iran nuclear deal, making nice with Russia and "bomb the shit out of ISIS."  But not many cover the situation from the American Judas perspective: documenting the Deep State and other conspiracies through consciousness of the Carbon Crisis.  I've already presented a hypothesis prior to the general election that the overworld might consider President Trump a useful tool to facilitate a transition of Operation Gladio B under NATO control to an Operation Gladio C that decentralizes NATO responsibility (as recently as January 15 he called them "obsolete")and privatizes wherever possible to obscure accountability.  Anyone familiar with history knows that wherever Operation Gladio goes, false flag attacks follow.  And there have certainly been no shortage of columns exploring the possibility of a 'Reichstag fire' event during Trump's time in office.  Where I hope to be different in my exploration of a 'Trumpstag' event requires revisiting an old subject the overworld pimping privatization would prefer we all forget about: Peak Oil.

Michael C. Ruppert, author of Crossing the Rubicon  Photo credit: Wikipedia

I happen to concur with the late Michael Ruppert, whom I quoted earlier, that one of the motives for the Gladio B attacks on September 11, 2001 was Peak Oil.  Contrary to what pundits have proclaimed, Peak Oil is not "dead"; it never was a question of if, but when it would occur.  "Maestro" Dick Cheney certainly didn't have a crystal ball to foresee how technological improvements in hydraulic fracking could forestall its imminence when, as CEO of Halliburton in 1999, he demonstrated his knowledge of Peak Oil in a speech at the London Institute of Petroleum.  I don't claim to have a crystal ball either as to whether a peak in total liquid fuel global production (the real Peak Oil, not just light sweet crude) will happen before the end of the decade, or in the 20s or 30s.  But it is axiomatic that unless there is massive global deindustrialization (highly unlikely) or massive global depopulation (scarily likely), it will happen before the end of the century.  No other liquid fuel on the planet comes close to the energy density or energy return on energy invested as oil.  So control of these resources is paramount; not just in securing supplies where they are produced but securing access to transport them for consumption.  More on that later.

I think if we want to try to understand why a new 9/11 could occur, it also helps to look back and understand the economic motives behind the original 9/11.  Not September 11, 2001, but September 11, 1973.  That was the day that General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile in a violent coup.  He rolled out firing tanks into the streets and had fighter jets assault government buildings.  Allende was killed and his cabinet rounded and locked up.  About 13,500 civilians were arrested in the days that followed and imprisoned, many sent to the two main football stadiums in Chile where hundreds were tortured and murdered, including popular folk singer Victor Jara.  In all, more than 3,200 were disappeared or executed, 80,000 imprisoned and 200,000 fled Chile to avoid political persecution.  While much has been written about the assistance that Pinochet received from the CIA, ITT and Henry Kissinger, there is a deeper economic examination by Naomi Klein in her well-researched and compelling book The Shock Doctrine which shows collaboration between the military and a small group of neo-liberal privatization extremists called the Chicago Boys, who were disciples of laissez-faire economist Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.  From page 86:

For a time, the coup planning proceeded on two distinct tracks: the military plotted the extermination of Allende and his supporters while the economists plotted the extermination of their ideas.  As momentum built for a violent solution, a dialogue was opened between the two camps, with Roberto Kelly, a businessman associated with the CIA-financed newspaper El Mercurio, acting as the go-between.  Through Kelly, the Chicago Boys sent a five-page summary of their economic program to the navy admiral in charge.  The navy gave the nod, and from then on the Chicago Boys worked frantically to have their program ready by the time of the coup.

Their five-hundred-page bible - a detailed economic program that would guide the junta from its earliest days - came to be known in Chile as "The Brick."  According to a later U.S. Senate Committee, "CIA collaborators were involved in preparing an initial overall economic plan which has served as the basis for the Junta's most important economic decisions.64  Eight of the ten principal authors of "The Brick" had studied economics at the University of Chicago.65

While I used the word 'neo-liberal' above to describe this economic approach, I think it's important to point out, considering how often the words 'liberal' and 'conservative' are used as labels to describe political polar opposites, that neo-liberals and neo-conservatives are really the same team in terms of the expansion of the Military-Industrial Complex into what Klein terms the "disaster capitalism complex."  Whether it's the Friedmanite Chicago Boys sweeping across the governments of the Southern Cone in the 70s in which 100,000 to 150,000 were tortured and tens of thousands killed to protect the "free" market, or the IMF and World Bank offering aid with major strings attached to Poland and South Africa in the 90s, it all turns out the same in each country: a crisis is used (or manufactured) as a pretext for economic restructuring predicated on massive privatization and eradicating the public sector, resulting in a permanent underclass of anywhere from 25 to 60 percent of the population and the rich becoming super-rich.  Exacerbating this Dickensian disconnect in the 21st century are the multi-national corporations profiting off this arrangement: heavy construction, high-tech security, arms dealers, private health care companies treating wounded soldiers, the oil and gas sector, and defense contractors.  This paradigm is designed to avoid being voted out of existence.  Designating it neo-con or neo-lib obfuscates its real nature: corporatist.  As Klein writes on page 105:

Corporatism, or "corporativism," originally referred to Mussolini's model of a police state run as an alliance of the three major power sources in society - government, businesses and trade unions - all collaborating to guarantee order in the name of nationalism.  What Chile pioneered under Pinochet was an evolution of corporatism: a mutually supporting alliance between a police state and large corporations, joining forces to wage all-out war on the third power sector - the workers - thereby drastically increasing the alliance's share of the national wealth.

While I can certainly visualize Trumpstag being used as a pretext for just this sort of war on workers in the USA, I can also see the gaping hole in the analogy: Trump won't be starting a violent coup to seize power, he's already got it.  But there's another country that underwent the "Pinochet option" in a reverse manner.  I'm talking about what happened to Russia under Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s.  As the Russian president, he first gained international attention in August 1991 when, in response to a group from the Communist old guard in tanks threatening to bomb the Russian parliament building called the White House in a bid to stop democratization, Yeltsin stood on one of the tanks amid a crowd of pro-democracy protestors denouncing them.  When the tanks retreated, Yeltsin was a hero for democracy.  Four months later, Yeltsin formed an alliance with two other Soviet republics to dissolve the Soviet Union.  Yeltsin then tried to institute a 'Chicago School' economic program lifting price controls.  The average Russian consumed 40% less in 1992 than in 1991 and a third of the population fell below the poverty line.  When parliament brought forth a budget bill in 1993 to try to slow down the Shock Doctrine, the IMF leaked to the press that it would rescind a $1.5 billion loan.
Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The day after the IMF leak, Yeltsin initiated the first step of the "Pinochet option" by issuing decree 1400, which abolished the constitution and dissolved parliament.  Two days later, a special session of parliament voted 636-2 to impeach Yeltsin for this decree, which would be the equivalent of the U.S. president unilaterally dissolving Congress.  Though Russia's Constitutional Court ruled Yeltsin's behavior unconstitutional, President Clinton backed Yeltsin and Congress voted to give Yeltsin $2.5 billion in aid.  Pro-democracy protesters demonstrated for two weeks, once again surrounding the White House parliament building.  Only this time, instead of defending the building as he did two years earlier, Yeltsin did the opposite: on October 4, 1993, Yeltsin ordered a reluctant army to storm the Russian White House and set it on fire!  Approximately 500 people were killed and almost 1,000 wounded in the worst violence Moscow had seen since 1917.  As Klein summed it up on page 289 of The Shock Doctrine:

But Russia wasn't a repeat of Chile - it was Chile in reverse order: Pinochet staged a coup, dissolved the institutions of democracy and then imposed shock therapy; Yeltsin imposed shock therapy in a democracy, then could defend it only by dissolving democracy and staging a coup.  Both scenarios earned enthusiastic support from the West.

The postscript to this tyranny was a law-making binge that entrenched a corrupt casino capitalism in Russia during the 90s.  It made their market highly speculative and thus highly vulnerable: when the Asian financial crisis of 1998 hit, the Russian economy tanked.  Yeltsin's approval rating dropped to six percent and his alcoholism made him increasingly dysfunctional.  What turned this disastrous situation around?  Another shock, this time in the form of a false flag attack on Russian soil.  In September 1999, four apartment buildings were blown up in the middle of the night, killing almost three hundred people.  Newly appointed prime minister Vladimir Putin placed the blame on Chechen rebels trained by Osama bin Laden and launched air strikes on Chechnya later that month.  While Putin has never allowed a formal investigation into the apartment bombings, independent research into these attacks, as well as a flimsy excuse for a "training exercise" that implicated the FSB that Putin previously headed, prove the attacks were an inside job.  Sadly, the job worked as Russians rallied around the KGB veteran Putin to protect them from terror.  On December 31, 1999, several oligarchs engineered a quiet handover of the presidency from Yeltsin to Putin, no elections necessary.
Vladimir Putin  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

On the subject of Putin, let's explore him a little more deeply in the context of recent events, the first event being the US presidential election of 2016.  I have already published pieces with multiple sources to back up my claims that the DNC stole the primaries for Clinton and the GOP stole the general election for Trump.  It was a slick trick that put Hillary in the same position that Robert Shaw's character Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting was in when Paul Newman beat him at poker with a deck switch: "What was I supposed to do - call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?"  Of course, it's too much to ask our Justice Department (there's a glaring misnomer) to investigate to what extent software corruption stole the general election for Trump or for Clinton in the primaries to verify that the management of our fake democracy is a perennial shell game. So instead we got a feel-good donation-driven request for a hand recount - but even that paltry bread crumb posed too much of a threat to the Deep State. Rather than having the headline across the media be that the recount was stopped, that story was buried with bipartisan approval so that we could, yet again, demonize Russia. That's not to say there is absolutely no truth in this bipartisan-approved, REM-friendly story - just that it is a convenient distraction so the sheeple will stop focusing on how elections are actually stolen in this country and look at how it might possibly have been stolen but which, upon closer, time-wasting examination, will at best prove an attempt to influence the election as opposed to direct theft. It's not that Putin didn't have the motive - he certainly preferred Trump to Clinton. It's not that he didn't have the means - Russian computer hackers do exist whether you believe they hacked the DNC (and RNC) or not. But how could Putin have had the opportunity to steal the general election when it was already being stolen by the GOP and the machinery they've had in place for over a decade now? Say what you will about Putin - he's not dumb enough to try to steal something if he saw it was already being stolen for him by someone else!

But there is another recent event concerning Putin that I think provides even deeper insight into the machinations of the Deep State and how geopolitical imperatives look to shape up in the future.  That event is the Syrian Civil War.  I think it should be clear by now what happened there in light of the recent ceasefire: Putin checkmated the West.  Despite all attempts to outmaneuver those supporting the Assad government, including assisting rebels aligned with ISIS, Putin's intervention put the Deep State in a bind where the only way to undermine him would be through direct armed conflict, nuclear power vs. nuclear power.  Is that avenue a legitimate consideration by the Deep State?  It's important to point out, especially because they are so powerful, that the CIA is not a monolith, the FBI is not a monolith, NATO is not a monolith and our military is not a monolith.  By extension, I think it's safe to say the Deep State is not a monolith either; there are factions competing for direction in all of these powerful groups.  Some of those factions are still hanging on to the confrontation with Russia; those factions by and large supported Clinton for president.  The other factions, many of which supported Trump, saw the writing on the wall that change was in the wind, that a more economically inviting challenger for global primacy was waiting in the wings.  The prospect of World War III to the overworld exists only as a method of last resort in their Shock Doctrine, when all other avenues for commanding control of resources have been exhausted and profits can no longer be maximized.

Fiery Cross Reef, Spratly Islands, South China Sea  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

That more economically inviting challenger is China.  Is the Endgame that Michael Ruppert warned us about over a decade ago approaching?  There are a couple of highly indicative factors that we might be entering the initial phase.  One factor is the dispute over islands in the South China Sea.  Foreign Policy had a excellent examination of why this geographical area is so important.  These paragraphs are particularly informative:

The South China Sea joins the Southeast Asian states with the Western Pacific, functioning as the throat of global sea routes. Here is the center of maritime Eurasia, punctuated by the straits of Malacca, Sunda, Lombok, and Makassar. More than half the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through these choke points, and a third of all maritime traffic. The oil transported through the Strait of Malacca from the Indian Ocean, en route to East Asia through the South China Sea, is more than six times the amount that passes through the Suez Canal and 17 times the amount that transits the Panama Canal. Roughly two-thirds of South Korea’s energy supplies, nearly 60 percent of Japan’s and Taiwan’s energy supplies, and about 80 percent of China’s crude-oil imports come through the South China Sea. What’s more, the South China Sea has proven oil reserves of 7 billion barrels and an estimated 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, a potentially huge bounty. 

It is not only location and energy reserves that promise to give the South China Sea critical geostrategic importance, but also the coldblooded territorial disputes that have long surrounded these waters. Several disputes concern the Spratly Islands, a mini-archipelago in the South China Sea’s southeastern part. Vietnam, Taiwan, and China each claim all or most of the South China Sea, as well as all of the Spratly and Paracel island groups. In particular, Beijing asserts a historical line: It lays claim to the heart of the South China Sea in a grand loop (widely known as the "cow’s tongue") from China’s Hainan Island at the South China Sea’s northern end all the way south 1,200 miles to near Singapore and Malaysia. 

The result is that all nine states that touch the South China Sea are more or less arrayed against China and therefore dependent on the United States for diplomatic and military support. These conflicting claims are likely to become even more acute as Asia’s spiraling energy demands — energy consumption is expected to double by 2030, with China accounting for half that growth — make the South China Sea the ever more central guarantor of the region’s economic strength. Already, the South China Sea has increasingly become an armed camp, as the claimants build up and modernize their navies, even as the scramble for islands and reefs in recent decades is mostly over. China has so far confiscated 12 geographical features, Taiwan one, Vietnam 25, the Philippines eight, and Malaysia five.

While Trump made a number of statements during the presidential campaign indicating that under his administration there might be a trade war with China, his actions during the interregnum have only increased the tension of that prospect.  Most prominent, of course, was the controversial call from Trump to the president of Taiwan in December.  But the inflammation of tension comes not just from Trump himself, but from his cabinet picks.  During his confirmation hearing before Congress, Trump's pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (the former CEO of ExxonMobil whose selection is probably the best evidence Putin has dirt on Trump, considering Tillerson received the Order of Friendship, one of the highest awards Russia gives to foreign citizens, from Putin in 2013 for negotiating an offshore oil exploration partnership with Exxon and Rosneft that would be worth half a trillion dollars if not for Obama's sanctions on Russia) declared that China's activity in the South China Sea islands is "extremely worrisome" and that "we're going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also not going to be allowed."

Another factor that we might be entering the initial phase of the Endgame is terrorism.  The connection with China is through the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), a group also called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and is predominately comprised of ethnic Uyghurs from China's Xinjiang province.  Like most Islamic jihadist movements, they have roots in Operation Gladio Plan B.  I stumbled upon these roots four years ago in Synopsizing Sibel Edmonds: The Evolution of Operation Gladio Part One:

Edmonds also lists another big player in the Gladio B network, Yusuf Turani.  Turani was actually given US citizenship in 1997 and called the President of Turkestan in absentia.  Again, Turkestan is an area of West China known as the Xinjiang province.

It should be noted that Yusuf Turani's picture is prominently displayed in the "Sibel Edmonds' State Secrets Privilege Gallery" related to her case.  Given this connection, it should not be surprising that TIP joined the global jihadist movement of the Caliphate in 2013 and have been fighting in the northwest part of Syria.  One of their biggest allies in aid and training has been Turkey, or more specifically, the NATO-sponsored Grey Wolves of Turkey.  In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Grey Wolves set up training camps for youths from Turkic language groups in Central Asia, including Uyghur.  They provided material support and commando training for the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM).

But while the ostensible purpose for such a terror group within the auspices of Gladio might be to encourage separatism to create a buffer region to isolate China from Central Asia, such a precarious arrangement might also be used, in the hands of a skilled propagandist, to place the blame for their actions on the government of China.  This might explain why the government of Turkey was quick to spread the story that the prime suspect in the New Year's Eve attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul is a Uyghur.  More indicative of the propagandistic sleight-of-hand needed to pull off this sort of switcheroo on par with the Saddam/al-Qaeda alignment that the neo-cons alleged in the buildup to war with Iraq is the recent statement by Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Trump's pick for National Security Adviser, that China is allied with "radical Islamists."  While I certainly am wary of the influence such bellicose rhetoric can have coming from the cabinet, I don't consider Flynn to be the skilled propagandist.  That designation would go to the co-writer of the book Flynn wrote in July titled “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.”  That propagandist is Michael Ledeen.
Michael Ledeen, author of Universal Fascism  Photo credit:

Ledeen's lifetime career of propaganda has been explored in numerous posts on this blog.  The most comprehensive one is American Judas 2nd Edition: INVESTIGATE CHENEY & UNRAVEL THE CABAL.  Highlights: Ledeen is the conduit of the Niger yellowcake forgery the Bush administration used to buttress their case to go to war against Iraq in 2003.  He was involved in the early stages of the Iran/Contra scandal.  Finally, but most important in light of the subject of this post, he was allegedly tied to the Italian P2 Masonic Lodge, a violent right wing group that was involved in a number of terrorists attacks in Italy in the 1970s and the 1980s.  P2 was involved with Operation Gladio in those attacks known as the Strategy of Tension, a false-flag campaign where P2 organized terror attacks to blame on left-wing groups.  As Josh Marshall said in a recent column on the Ledeen-Flynn partnership, "Basically, if you see an idea and it looks sensible but find out Ledeen is involved, it's definitely not sensible and is in fact probably some harebrained plan half crazy, half evil that you want nothing to do with. When Ledeen's involved, there's always trouble...Seriously, if Flynn's in with Ledeen, he's trouble."

As I said before, I don't claim to have a crystal ball.  I don't know if Trumpstag will happen this year or next, or what exact form it will take.   The only certainty I have that the event is coming is that the motives of the principal actors who stand to profit the most are all too clear.