A Legacy of Horror

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On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, after hearing his brother had died at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Bobby Kennedy phoned CIA headquarters.  According to David Talbot in Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years . . .  

Bobby’s phone call to Langley on the afternoon of Nov. 22 was a stunning outburst.  Getting a ranking official on the phone–whose identity is still unknown–Kennedy confronted him in a voice vibrating with fury and pain. “Did your outfit have anything to do with this horror?” Kennedy erupted.

RFK summoned the CIA director himself, John McCone, to ask him the same question. McCone, who had replaced the legendary Allen Dulles after the old spymaster had walked the plank for the Bay of Pigs, swore that his agency was not involved.

Kennedy Brothers Pictures, Images and Photos Despite this denial, Bobby Kennedy knew McCone was just a figurehead, he knew what the CIA was capable of, he knew all too well how many coups and assassinations the CIA had been involved in, and continued to suspect that the CIA was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.    

In The Mother of All Coverups, David Talbot explains that Bobby Kennedy’s supportive public statements about the Warren Report “were obviously freighted with political and emotional, and perhaps even security concerns. But we have no doubt what his private opinion of the report was–as his biographer Evan Thomas wrote, Kennedy ‘regarded the Warren Commission as a public relations exercise to reassure the public.'”

RFK confided to close friends and advisers that as President, he would order a full investigation into his brother’s assassination.  His own death in a hail of assassin’s bullets prevented that, he was silenced, the truth was silenced.

It’s been said that the past is prologue.

It’s been said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

Maybe someday, Barack Obama will figure that out, maybe someday he’ll STFU about “looking forward” and enforce the rule of law so America won’t keep getting hit by one rightwing shitstorm after another.        

David Talbot, The Mother of All Coverups . . .

In 1967, the Washington Post quoted White House aide Marvin Watson as saying that President Johnson was “now convinced” Kennedy was the victim of a plot and “that the CIA had something to do with this plot.”  On a White House tape recording, President Nixon is heard telling aides that the Warren Report “was the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetuated.”

It was.  Until the 9/11 Commission Report.

9/11 Commission Report Pictures, Images and PhotosIn the aftermath of the Warren Commission Report, the powers-that-be in the political and media establishments praised it.  In the aftermath of the 9/11 Commission Report, the powers-that-be in the political and media establishments praised it.  


The Mother of All Coverups . . .

“J. Edgar Hoover ‘lied his eyes out” to the Warren Commission, as panel member Hale Boggs, the Louisiana congressman, memorably told an aide, pressuring and maneuvering the commission to reach a lone-assassin verdict.

But in private, Hoover told another story. The summer after the assassination, Hoover was relaxing at the Del Charro resort in California, which was owned by his friend, right-wing Texas oil tycoon Clint Murchison. Another Texas oil crony of Hoover’s, Billy Byars Sr. was also there. At one point, according to Anthony Summers, the invaluable prober of the dark side of American power, Byars’ teenage son, Billy Jr., got up his nerve to ask Hoover the question, “Do you think Lee Harvey Oswald did it?”

Hoover “stopped and looked at him for quite a long time. Then he said, ‘If I told you what I really know, it would be very dangerous to this country. Our whole political system could be disrupted.'”

If the American people would have been told that the CIA was involved in President Kennedy’s assassination, there would have been a disruption in Washington all right, no doubt about it.  It would have been very dangerous–to liars like J. Edgar Hoover, to the liars in the CIA and the Pentagon and Congress and the Johnson and Nixon Administrations.

That’s why the political and media establishments publicly praised the Warren Commission.  That’s why the political and media establishments publicly praised the 9/11 Commission.  Real progressives know that, but too many Americans don’t.  Power is all that matters to those Beltway assholes.  Their power. They don’t give a damn about the truth, they don’t give a damn about justice, they don’t give a damn how many people die, maintaining their power is all they care about.    

Pick an outrage.  Any outrage.  The response is always the same.  The political establishment trots out the same standard excuse.  A real investigation of 9/11 would have sucked all the air out of Washington.  Impeaching Bush and Cheney would have sucked all the air out of Washington. Single-payer health care reform would suck all the air out of Washington.  

Air?  What air?

They don’t breathe air in Washington, they breathe deceit and betrayal, they inhale and exhale it, they buy and sell it and call it governing.  Epicenters of deceit and betrayal pervade Washington, but the epicenter of all epicenters is the fucking CIA.      

How many horrors has the CIA been involved in?  How many horrors has the CIA been responsible for?   . . .

Iran 1953–the CIA overthrows Mohammed Mossadegh after he threatened to nationalize British oil and replaces him with the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, are as brutal as the Gestapo. Guatemala 1954–the CIA overthrows Jacob Arbenz and replaces him with a series of right-wing dictators who kill over 100,000 Guatemalans over the next 40 years.  Haiti 1959–the CIA helps “Papa Doc” Duvalier become dictator of Haiti, and 100,000 Haitians are killed.

Congo 1961–the CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. Dominican Republic 1963–the CIA overthrows Juan Bosch and installs a repressive, right-wing junta.  Indonesia 1965–the CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno and replaces him with General Suharto, who massacres between 500,000 to 1 million people.  

Cambodia 1970–the CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, which triggers the rise of the Khmer Rouge, who massacre millions of people.  Chile 1973–the CIA assassinates Salvador Allende and replaces him with Pinochet, who tortures and murders thousands of his own people.

Afghanistan 1979–the CIA supplies arms to fanatical Muslim extremists.  We all know how that turned out.  Iran Contra 1981–the CIA sells arms to Iran and uses the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.  Iraq 1991-2009–during the 1980’s the CIA provided Saddam Hussein with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing.  He attacked Iran, he attacked Kuwait, Bush 41 attacked him, Bush 43 attacked him, the ensuing carnage has claimed the lives of two million Iranian, Iraqi, and Kuwaiti men, women, and children.

Enough is enough . . .

Citing a “significant shift in the mood” of the electorate and elected officials, US Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) told the Newark Star-Ledger that there is now momentum for a full investigation into the CIA’s unreported assassination program.  “Holt said he believes the investigation, which he also called a review, should be as intense and comprehensive as the probe conducted more than 30 years ago–in the wake of the Watergate scandal–by a special committee headed by U.S. Sen. Frank Church, an Idaho Democrat.”

JFK said the CIA should be shattered into a thousand pieces and scattered to the four winds.  An intense and comprehensive investigation of the CIA would expose the horrific impact it has had on America and the world.   If the American people don’t demand that, if we don’t end this horror, if we don’t prosecute the war criminals and torturers who have inflicted so much suffering and death, the horror will go on, the consequences will intensify and escalate.  If the CIA isn’t shattered into a thousand pieces and scattered to the four winds, America will be.        


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    • Edger on July 17, 2009 at 02:54


    by Richard E. Sprague

    This book is not about assassinations, at least not solely about assassinations. It is not just another book about who murdered President Kennedy or how or why. It is a book about power, about who really controls the United States policies, especially foreign policies. It is a book about the process of control through the manipulation of the American presidency and the presidential election process. The objective of the book is to expose the clandestine, secret, tricky methods and weapons used for this manipulation, and to reveal the degree to which these have been hidden from the American public.

    Assassinations are only one of many techniques used in this control process. They have been important only in the sense that they are the ultimate method used in the control of the election process. Viewed in this way, an understanding of what happened to John or Robert Kennedy becomes more important because it leads to a total understanding of what has happened to our country, and to us, since 1960. But the important thing to understand is the control and the power and all of the clandestine methods put together.

    Chapter 2:

    The Power Control Group

    Chapter 15:

    The Select Committee on Assassinations, The Intelligence Community and The News Media

    Chapter 17:

    The Final Cover-Up: How The CIA Controlled The House Select Committee on Assassinations

  1. Pick an outrage.  Any outrage.  The response is always the same.  The political establishment trots out the same standard excuse.  A real investigation of 9/11 would have sucked all the air out of Washington.  Impeaching Bush and Cheney would have sucked all the air out of Washington. Single-payer health care reform would suck all the air out of Washington.  

    Air?  What air?

    They don’t breathe air in Washington, they breathe deceit and betrayal, they inhale and exhale it, they buy and sell it and call it governing.  


  2. The nature of the beast is that it can do so much good, or so much evil–and keep it all secret.  And when you stop and consider what they could do/may have actually done it is frightening.

  3. pass the LSD…

    excellent essay, Rusty, excellent.


    ANd I had just done reading the interview Glen Greenwald did today with Chuck Todd…

    GG: Let me ask you about that, then. If a president can find, as a president always will be able to find, some low-level functionary in the Justice Department — a John Yoo — to write a memo authorizing whatever it is the president wants to do, and to say that it’s legal, then you think the president ought to be immune from prosecution whenever he breaks the law, as long as he has a permission slip from the Justice Department?  I mean, that’s the argument that’s being made.  Don’t you think that’s extremely dangerous?

    CT: That could be dangerous, but let me tell you this: Is it healthy for our reputation around the world – and this I think is that we have TO do what other countries do more often than not, so-called democracies that struggle with their democracy, and sit there and always PUT the previous administration on trial – you don’t think that we start having retributions on this going forward?

    Look, I am no way excusing torture. I’m not excusing torture, and I bristle at the attack when it comes on this specific issue.  But I think the political reality in this, and, I understand where you’re coming from, you’re just saying, just because something’s politically tough doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.  That’s, I don’t disagree with you from 30,000 feet. And that is an idealistic view of this thing.  Then you have the realistic view of how this town works, and what would happen, and is it good for our reputation around the world if we’re essentially putting on trial the previous administration? We would look at another country doing that, and say, geez, boy, this is–

    “Tool” is right.

  4. Speaking of JFK, etc–just saw this at TPM: Report:  CIA Assassination Program Could Operate Anywhere–Even Inside US:  (emphasis mine)

    Since the news broke (sub. req.) at the start of the week that CIA director Leon Panetta had pulled the plug on a secret program to assassinate or capture al Qaeda leaders, we’ve been raising questions about one key aspect of the story. In particular, what was it about the program that was so shocking that Dick Cheney reportedly ordered it kept secret from Congress, Panetta quashed it as soon as he heard about it, and Congressional Democrats risked being painted as soft on terror by shrieking about being kept in the dark?

    We may have gotten a good piece of the answer here: The Washington Post reports today on how the program had been revived and then put on hold several times since 2001. But it also says, referring to the “presidential finding” with which President Bush authorized the program in 2001:


    The finding imposed no geographical limitations on the agency’s actions, and intelligence officials have said that they were not obliged to notify Congress of each operation envisaged under the directive.

    Zachary Roth of TPM goes on to say:

    “No geographical limitations” presumably means that operations could potentially be carried out in countries, friendly or unfriendly, that are far from any war zone — including even the US itself. And it seems likely that they would be carried out without notifying the foreign country in question.

    Lots of food for thought here.  

  5. The CIA kinda’ reminds me of the “drone” planes we fly here and there over Afghanistan, Pakistan, and who knows where else.  All “shadowy!”

    The CIA needs to be plunged into oblivion.  That’s what!  How can we go about trying to maintain any kind of law or order, when we have a “rogue” unit dispersing itself anywhere and everywhere, doing their thing and the rest of us are left guessing as to what REALLY happened and the truth of it all.  Yet, I feel the CIA serves, in so many ways, for those in our government at their behest, to do whatever is requested.

    Reality is, that we have a government that slowly, but surely has “grown” beyond our grasps, hence, we search for ways to “crack” the system.

    Disgusting stuff, Rusty — understatement!

    Thanks for this, Rusty!

  6. background to JFK’s murder.  The only correction would be “real progressives”, I guess, because if some of the progressives on dkos saw this they might have a different reaction.  I’m convinced now, as are very very many.  And more are added each day, so maybe there’s hope.  

    • Inky99 on July 17, 2009 at 06:33

    The Kennedys didn’t fare too well.  Just to threaten the CIA gets you offed.

    I’m starting to realized that the President of the United States has no more power running the country than the President of the Student Body in High School had running the school.

    Ya know?

    • Inky99 on July 17, 2009 at 06:35

    on the front page of every blog on the internet.

    And then in the op-ed pages of every major paper.

    And so on ….

  7. Why do the babies starve

    When there’s enough food to feed the world

    Why when there’re so many of us

    Are there people still alone

    Why are the missiles called peace keepers

    When they’re aimed to kill

    Why is a woman still not safe

    When she’s in her home

    Love is hate

    War is peace

    No is yes

    And we’re all free

    But somebody’s gonna have to answer

    The time is coming soon

    Amidst all these questions and contradictions

    There’re some who seek the truth

    But somebody’s gonna have to answer

    The time is coming soon

    When the blind remove their blinders

    And the speechless speak the truth

    • dkmich on July 17, 2009 at 12:10

    it has been obvious that this country is no longer ours. Stolen elections, torture, unjustified wars, redistribution of all the wealth up, and no change anywhere in our march to the eve of destruction – no matter what.  Maybe the wingnuts are right about Armageddon.  

  8. Some of the characters most likely involved in the JFK assassination show up again in Watergate then in Iran-Contra, some from Iran Contra show up as possible involvement in 9/11..(Cheney among others).

    Tentacles of the Octopus have reached out over decades.

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