Wednesday, December 27, 2006

NORTHWOODS III: NORTHWOODS 2001?

An informed citizenry being central to a working democracy, we were never informed of Northwoods; neither Lemnitzer nor McNamara burst Americans’ bubble by publicizing this in any way and it remained a dirty little secret at the time and for decades to come. The memo was in fact ordered destroyed and erased, but somehow one copy survived in an archive somewhere. It was finally declassified in the mid-1990s, apparently part of the post-Oliver Stone “JFK” conspiracy craze that forced Clinton’s hand to release a number of Kennedy-era secret papers.

In April 2001 this copy made it to the eyes of the public in the pages of the massive Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency. Its author James Bamford has worked for ABC World News Tonight as senior Washington Investigative Reporter, and had already written his groundbreaking The Puzzle Palace (1982), the first book published about the hitherto top-secret National Security Agency. Worried about the NSA’s unveiling to the eyes of the world, the Reagan administration initially blocked the book’s publication. But it was finally published and Bamford was in fact invited back for more, with Body of Secrets again primarily about the now less-secret NSA. The chapters are named after parts of the body, with the Northwoods-related chapter being “Fists.” Bamford included this JCS plot, not even part of the NSA anatomy, to illustrate tensions between Lemnitzer’s military plan for Cuba and the slicker approach of NSA and CIA-types, which was more favored by Kennedy.

So clearly the JCS had “quietly slipped over the edge,” but the sole existing evidence of that slippage, the one salvaged copy of Operation Northwoods, sat just as quietly for decades until April 2001, just five months before the September 11 attacks, offering a strangely-timed glimpse into the dark machinations of Lemnitzer’s Joint Chiefs.

Submitted for your approval (props to Serling): On the morning of September 11 2001, Vice-Chairman Richard Myers was standing-in as JCS Chairman, his boss having departed that very morning for pre-arranged business in Europe. Myers took the helm in the same post once held by Lemnitzer just as the day’s Joint Chiefs-NORAD war game “Vigilant Warrior,” and the first hijacking of the morning, began. As Mike Ruppert explains in his 2004 Crossing the Rubicon, it seems any war game with the word “warrior” attached involved “live-fly” planes, possibly drones, feigning hijack symptoms. Two days after this curious confluence of events, Myers was promoted to permanent JCS Chairman, as previously scheduled.

This doesn’t necessarily prove anything, but it’s interesting to note that McNamara and Rumsfeld are two very different people. And clearly, Myers will now be on board to defend the official story of 9/11. He found himself in a curious spot (an integral part of the chain of command in emergencies like 9/11) at a curious time (five months after Northwoods was first publicized and minutes before the attacks began). Thus whether he was involved with the operation or not, he may be the first to go down if the official story should collapse; so far he has done nothing to upset that official story.

But Northwoods proposed limited and tightly-controlled fake attacks, mostly in remote military installations, along the lines of a scaled-down Pearl Harbor. It did not promote multiple simultaneous fake attacks ranging over the northeastern U.S. mainland, nor planes flying into the military’s own headquarters, nor skyscrapers imploding and blanketing Manhattan in concrete and bone dust. Lemnitzer probably did not envision the “helpful” casualty lists to take seven to ten pages of U.S. papers, nor for the “wave of national indignation” to be of such tsunami proportions. Northwoods provides just a hint of Shadow 9/11 – bigger, uglier thinking and better technology would be required to pull off such a spectacular brand of inside job, and the stakes would have to be bigger than Cuba.

9/99 part II: THE RYAZAN INCIDENT

The deadly string of apartment block bombings could have been worse. Amid this climate of crisis, on September 22 at 9:15 pm, an alert citizen of Ryazan coming home from work watched three people load several large bags of powder from a mysteriously marked car into the basement of his apartment building. He called it in to local police, and the Interior Ministry's UVD division in Ryazan confirmed the worst fears – the bags were filled with the explosive Hexogen, which had taken out the other buildings, and connected to a timer set to spark at 5:30 am. They evacuated the building and defused the bomb without incident, and the near-miss was all the buzz on the morning of the 23rd. This time the car was seen, its passengers identifiable, and the hunt for suspects was on. By the 24th they were reported as cornered, their car found and arrests imminent. [1]

Curiously, new FSB chief Patrushev revealed on the 24th that the bags had contained only sugar and had been planted as a readiness drill to see if people would catch the next attack in time. It was perhaps a ill-advised in its timing, but it was only a drill, and they found the sugar and succeded splendidly. Give yourselves a pat on the back. Of course since the ‘drill’ was an FSB operation, the Chechen "terrorists" who unloaded the bags were actually just FSB employees and so went unmolested as the government closed its case. FSB spokesman Alexander Zdanovich led the media campaign to explain away the incident as the official inestigation confirmed the official story and the official suspects were dragged before a kangaroo court and convicted.

FSB officers went to the building the "drill" was run on: one woman said "several people from the FSB came to see us, led by a colonel. They apologized. They said that they hadn't known anything either." [2] But the FSB later rebuffed lawsuits by people who had heart attacks and suffered long-term stress from the scare. Officially, the Ryazan incident, first framed as a failed attack, has been largely erased. For example, the Wikipedia article sites the duration of the September bombing spree as two weeks - Sept. 4-16. Ryazan is thus not part of it.

On the 23rd, as it still looked like terrorism and with the first air raids commencing in Chechnya, PM Putin stated about the failed "attack:” “As for the events in Ryazan, I don't think there was any kind of failure involved. […] This is absolutely the correct response. No panic, no sympathy for the bandits. This is the mood for fighting them to the very end. Until we win. And we shall win.” [5] He knew by then to start hinting at a readiness drill, but to still keep it vague enough to appear as maybe-terrorism to feed the all-important war drive, which would partly bury the following day's FSB "admission" long enough to let it get obscured beneath the official investigation.

Sources:
[1] Reynolds, Maura. “Ryazan Fears Darker Truth of Bombings.” The Moscow Times. January 18, 2000.
http://eng.terror99.ru/publications/013.htm
[2] “The Ryazan Story.” Excerpts from "Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within" by Yuri Felshtinsky and Alexander Litvinenko
http://eng.terror99.ru/publications/080.htm
[3] Borisova, Yevgenia. "No Proof Chechens Blew Up Buildings." Moscow Times. March 17, 2000. http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/4174.html
[4] See [3]
[5] See [2]

Saturday, December 16, 2006

2-27 II: THE REVOLUTION BURSTS INTO FLAMES

The Communists certainly would have liked to take over Germany, and some held high positions of power already there – among the country’s rank-and-file, party membership was growing as it did everywhere during the Depression, Capitalism’s darkest hour. While the actual nature of the threat posed is still unclear, it was not nearly as immediate as the Nazis wanted people to believe it was. Goebels wanted to crack down on the Communists and remove the Nazis’ main domestic power rival. As he noted in his diary, “we lay down the line for the fight against the Red Terror.” But the time was not yet ripe; “The Bolshevik attempt at Revolution must first burst into flames.” [1]

Then, just 28 days after Hitler was appointed chancellor, on the night of February 27, the Reichstag, the home of the parliamentary government, was gutted by a massive fire, and Germany would never be the same again. The Reichstag building was empty, in recess since December and awaiting reopening for the election. Hitler was dining with Goebbels when Goebbels (soon to be Propaganda minister) got a call – the Reichstag was on fire. Thinking it an exaggeration, he ignored it at first, but then followed up and found out it was for real. President Hindenburg was dining with Vice-Chancellor Franz Von Papen, just around the corner from the Reichstag at the exclusive Herrenklub and could actually see the glow from the fire. All raced to the scene. Goering was already there, shouting “this is a Communist crime against the new government! This is the beginning of the Communist Revolution! We must not wait a minute. We will show no mercy. Every Communist official must be shot, where he is found.” [2]
The Reichstag burning and the aftermath inside

At 9:15 PM smoke was seen pouring from the building, and ten minutes later, as the first firemen arrived on the scene, the fire was raging out of control. At 9:30 there was a “tremendous explosion” and the huge central chamber was filled with flames. The fire quickly raced out of control, and left standing only a gutted shell of the building. [3] The attack killed no one, but certainly provided a shocking symbol of destruction and national vulnerability that changed the tone of election week dramatically.

Marinus Van Der Lubbe. Picture and info from Wikipedia.
The act of arson was blamed at the time on a young Dutch Communist named Marinus van der Lubbe, arrested dazed and shirtless at the scene minutes after the police arrived. (he apparently used his shirt to start the fire) Wikipedia explains that the 23-year old Van Der Lubbe had “a history of taking responsibility for things he had not done” to spare others. He admitted to starting the massive fire by himself, with only his shirt and some gasoline. That one man was able to ignite such a powerful and explosive fire in the headquarters of the national government, under Goering’s nose but without inside help, seems unlikely. Nonetheless, the mentally ill Van Der Lubbe stubbornly insisted he and he alone was responsible. Ultimately the court proved subservient to the Nazis and the man was convicted, beheaded and buried in an unmarked grave.

But while they bought his admission, Nazi officials refused to believe Van Der Lubbe acted alone. This Goering and the others stressed; after all, this was the “beginning of the Communist Revolution,” so clearly he had to have supporters. A local branch of the Comintern (Communist International) was implicated as the conspiracy probe widened, though the Leipzig Supreme Court was able to establish no connection between the Comintern delegates and the actual crime. [4] But such minutiae escaped much of the German public, for whom the nature of the threat was obvious. The solution – the Nazi way – also became obvious to more people than ever as the March 5 election drew near. Either way, Hitler and his disciples decided, this time they would have their coveted majority. Either he would win, or they would go ahead with their coup.

With this contingency plan in mind, the Nazis played fast and loose with the political rhetoric. On March 3, just two days before the election Goering delivered a rousing campaign speech in which he promised the voters “my measures will not be crippled by any judicial thinking… I don’t have to worry about justice; my mission is only to destroy and exterminate, nothing more! …Certainly I shall use the power of the state and the police to the utmost, my dear Communists, so don’t draw any false conclusions; but the struggle to the death, in which my fist will grasp your necks, I shall lead with those down there – the Brownshirts.” [5] While this likely lost him some Communist votes, he probably had the Brownshirt vote locked up after that speech, and when the election came around, the National Socialist Party managed to take 52% of the seats.

Sources:
[1] Shirer, William. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York. Crest Books. 7th Printing. July 1965. Page 267. [2] Page 268.
[3], [4] Swigart, Soren. “The Reichstag Fire.” The World at War. http://worldatwar.net/event/reichstagsbrand/
[5] Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV. Document No. 1856-PS. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/document/nca_vol4/1856-ps.htm

Friday, December 15, 2006

12/7 part I: AMERICA AT A CROSSROADS

As the great ideological struggles of the mid-20th Century began to play themselves out in Europe, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression, and one had to look no farther than the nearest bread line to get the feeling the old system wasn’t working. But the disaffected nation seemed at cross-odds with itself as to what side, if any, it was on. The country was divided right and left, with growing sympathies towards Stalin and Hitler amid a shrinking but intensifying core of principled isolationists. Wall Street was enamored of the fascists - first Mussolini, then Hitler – and their promises to roll back the influence of Communism in Europe. Moral and material support flowed to the axis, mostly kept secret at the time. A Congressional Committee later uncovered the letters of Col. William Taylor from 1932-33, explaining “German political associations, like the Nazis and others, are nearly all armed with American [guns] The principal arms coming from America are Thompson submachine guns and revolvers. The number is great.” [1] These shipments were largely from Remington, and came at a time when the Weimer Republic was struggling for survival against the Nazis.

In early 1933, just as Hitler’s “National Socialists” finally took over in Germany with their guns and thugs and engineered Reichstag fire, a new U.S. President, Franklin D, Roosevelt, was sworn-in. Upon entering office, Roosevelt established his Socialist-style New Deal, angering the financial establishment. Some factions on Wall Street and in the military with Fascist sympathies in fact allegedly plotted to overthrow FDR in 1934, but this was brought to light and led to a congressional investigation in November into what many called the “business plot” (more below). [2] 1934 was already the year of the “Merchants of Death,” the title both of a book blaming arms-makers for WWI, and the nickname for another Congressional investigation into the munitions industry in question for arming the Nazis and their allies. [3] Under the leadership Gerald Nye and with general counsel Alger Hiss, the committee was in operation through 1936, eventually finding that World War I was not engineered by the munitions industry. [4]

But still, Merchants of Death was soon joined by another pivotal book in redefining WWI: Brigadier General Smedley Butler’s 1935 War is a Racket (“the only one in which the profits arte reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives”). [5] The decorated WWI commander and reformed “racketeer for capitalism” insisted America should simply strengthen its defenses and stay out of the coming war in Europe. Butler, unlike many other isolationists, was not a Nazi sympathizer in any way, but an avowed leftist who believed in “taking Wall Street by the throat” to pay WWI soldiers’ bonus pay. [6] He had also been central in publicizing the alleged “Business Plot” against FDR, having curiously been invited to join it despite his known slant and big mouth.

The Congress seemed dispose to agree with Butler's and the public's sentiment; neutrality acts were passed from 1935-37 and isolationism reigned as Americans struggled to stay out of another engineered World War. But conflict just kept getting more inevitable as the Axis got stronger and bolder - with continued American aid. Munitions assistance was limited after 1934, but the Nazis were in power by then and fully capable of making their own excellent weapons. But financial assistance for Germany’s Third Reich continued from New York by, for example, Chase National Bank of Manhattan, as explained by Charles Higham in Trading with the Enemy (1983). Of course there was Henry Ford, the well-known Nazi supporter and anti-Semite who approved the construction of trucks to assist the German occupation in France through its French subsidiary Opel in 1940-41. [7] The crimes of the Rockefeller-owned Standard Oil of New Jersey in supporting the Reich are epic, assisting the German Army, Navy, and Air Force with their fuel and petrochemical needs through numerous arrangements. Higham summarized: “[T]he heartbreaking truth is that a number of financial and industrial figures of World War II and several members of the government served the cause of money before the cause of patriotism. While aiding the United States’ war effort, they also aided Nazi Germany’s.” [8]

DEHOMAG
Dehomag poster circa 1934 - "Oversight - with Hollerith punchcard machines"
A key technology that helped Nazi Germany be so ruthlessly efficient was provided by International Business Machines (IBM). As Edwin Black illustrated in his 2001 IBM and the Holocaust, the company’s German subsidiary Dehomag manufactured thousands of punch-card machines, proto-computers that greatly sped-up the Reich’s data processing. With full support from and handsome (if complicated) profits to IBM headquarters, Dehomag’s machines were used in everything from a race-based census to tracking materiel for warfare, to the movement of people to concentration camps and gas chambers. The 5-digit prisoner coding system for these machines was in fact the origin of the famous tattoos at Auschwitz. [9] IBM continues to base its own holocaust denials on the argument that Dehomag was no longer connected to IBM at the time, but the factual record Black presented indicates otherwise.

Of course eventuall Germany signed a mutual defense clause with Japan, then Japan was maneuvered into attacking the US, which was soon at war against the Third Reich and set to turning back its grip on Europe. The War triggered an immediate rush to build a mighty war machine on the shoulders of the once-villified “merchants of death” who were able to reform themselves by fighting the Nazis they’d helped build up, and were paid well for their services. It’s not necessarily that Smedley Butler was right and War is simply a racket engineered for profit, but if it were, this is about how it would be done: build up the Axis and withhold from the Allies in phase one, and once a crisis is reached, cut the Axis off (but only at the last possible moment) and start supplying the Allies as they gear up to move in on the worldwide battlefronts created by years of well supplied Axis aggression.

Sources:
[1] Tarpley, Webster G. and Anton Chaitkin. George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography. Chapter - II - The Hitler Project. Accessed online at: http://www.tarpley.net/bush2.htm
[2] Parfrey, Adam. “How a Military Hero Blew the whistle on Corporate Malfeasance.” Foreword to the 2003 Feral House edition of War is a Racket by Smedley D. Butler (1935) Pages 10-18.
[3] Phillips, Kevin. American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and Deceit in the House of Bush. New York. Viking Penguin. 2004. Page 259.
[4] “Nye Committee.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nye_Committee
[5] Butler, Smedley D. “War is a Racket.” 1935. Re-released under original title with additional material: Los Angeles. Feral House. 2003. Page 23
[6] See [2]. Page 8.
[7] Higham, Charles. Trading with the Enemy: an Expose of the Nazi-American Money plot, 1933-1949. New York, Delacorte Press, 1983. Second Printing.. Page xv.
[8] See [7]. Page xiii.
[9] Black, Edwin. “IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation.” Three Rivers Press. March 2002. Page 352.

Remember the Maine, Forget the Treachery

In 1895, revolutions broke out in both Cuba and the Philippines, then Spanish colonial possessions. The Spanish dispatched General Valeriano “Butcher” Weyler to take over Cuba and suppress the “Insurrectos.” Soon death squads, concentration camps and the like made headlines in the U.S. Both the sugar industry and humanitarian sentiment were upset by this instability, and calls for intervention grew. In 1896, the recently created Office of Naval Intelligence drafted a plan should war with Spain be ignited over these developing issues. The plan recommended simultaneously attacking Spanish colonial holdings in the Philippines and in the Caribbean. The conclusion, apparently, was that the U.S. would win handily and could easily seize these strategic possessions.

In March 1897, President William McKinley was sworn in, replacing Grover Cleveland, who had vowed neutrality in the Cuban affair. McKinley was taunted by the war hawks in government, finance and the media for his own failure to go to war right away. But the gears kept turning at the Navy, under Secretary John Long and his assistant Secretary Theodore Roosevelt; by the end of June, the Navy had adopted the 1896 war plan. In August, Long went on vacation, leaving Roosevelt at the helm. President McKinley invited Teddy for at least two personal discussions, at which time the acting Secretary acquainted the President with the ONI’s suggestions. [1] McKinley was apparently impressed with both Teddy and the plan.

Lacking a pretext for such a war, someone in Navy leadership ordered the state-of-the-art battleship U.S.S. Maine to visit Havana Harbor in December. The mission of the Maine is not entirely clear – some sources say it was to evacuate Americans if war broke out, but others point out that the ship would have little room for evacuees, loaded as it was with tons of ammunition. As George J.A. O’Toole described it: “a friendly visit, the Americans blandly proclaimed; a welcome one, the Spanish replied with frigid propriety.” [2] The Maine’s appearance in late January 1898 was grudgingly accepted in Cuba; it moored for a few uneventful weeks until the night of February 15, when the ship was rocked by two powerful explosions, setting off the ammunition on board, and quickly sunk at a cost of about 260 sailors and officers dead.

After the explosion, the wreck of the U.S.S. Maine in 1900. Credit: Jackson, William Henry, photographer. "Wreck of the U.S.S. Maine." Detroit Publishing Company ca. 1900. Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920, Library of Congress.

The 2-15 blast was painted at the time as certain Spanish sabotage, ignoring that Spain had no hope of winning a war and no reason for starting one. Yet the “yellow press,” notably the Hearst papers, hyped-up the celebrated battleship’s destruction into a vicious war drive. The famous cry, of course, was “To Hell with Spain! Remember the Maine!” Some, like Samuel Clemens and Andrew Carnegie, were royally pissed at the nascent U.S. imperialism this “splendid little war” evidenced. But despite the protests, “Butcher” Weyler and the bloody sabotaging Spaniards were easily stopped.

The new American possession of the Philippines soon saw its own, larger butchery under the U.S. Army, and Hawaii was annexed as a coaling station to support the war in the Philippines. Puerto Rico has lobbied to become a state of the Union like Hawaii, but with no Pearl Harbor moment of their own, they languish in a semi-colonial status as a military firing range. Cuba’s fate was left complex, with independence so long as the U.S. Navy could maintain a toehold at Guantanamo Bay, which is still in use despite four decades of Castro’s rule, and has of course been back in the news lately as a “legal Black Hole” for the prisoners of WWIV.

As for the Spanish treachery that “started the game” at Havana Harbor and led to all of this, initial inquiries upheld the official story that the Maine was sunk with a submerged mine, presumably Spanish. In 1912 the ship was moved and sunk in the deeper sea, effectively burying the evidence. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the evidence was again dredged up by Admiral Rickover, whose commission decided the blast was probably caused by a coal-room fire, presumably an accident, that set off the ammunition aboard. This is now the generally accepted theory, but I would note that it was a well-timed accident that the Maine should blow up, of all times and places, right after it had docked in soon-to-be-enemy waters for murky reasons, allowing that two-year-old plan to go into effect to the great benefit of U.S. policy.

Theodore Roosevelt, who had sold the President on this plan, resigned his desk job soon after 2-15, going to Cuba and strenuously getting his picture taken on San Juan Hill with his much-publicized “Rough Riders.” As president McKinley rode his swift and profitable victory into a second term in the 1900 election, Teddy joined him as vice president, sworn-in in March 1901. After McKinley was gunned down by a crazed anarchist six months later, Teddy was speaking softly while carrying the big stick of the U.S. presidency with three and a half years ahead of him and no vice president to worry about.
---
Sources:
[1] O’Toole, G.J.A. "The Spanish War: An American Epic 1898." New York. WW Norton. 1989. Pages 100-102.
[2] See [1] O’Toole. Page 21.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

TRADING WITH THE ENEMY: BUSH FAMILY DEEP HISTORY

After the investigative rush of 1934-1936, probes into Nazi-connected activity sloughed-off - but that’s not to say the Nazi support sloughed-off any. But as war neared, Justice Department investigations into “German-connected companies” were re-established by the Roosevelt administration in mid-1941. These went into overdrive after the 12-7 attack and congressional passage of the Trading with the Enemy Act which came within weeks. It was not limited to arms-makers this time.

In March 1942 an additional special Senate committee started hearings on those doing business in Nazi Germany. Within the month, Kevin Phillips explains in American Dynasty, Stimson asked the President “to stop the investigations because they would interfere with companies engaged in the war effort.” The Senate committee apparently was stopped, but other investigations under the Trading with the Enemy Act were unaffected and rolled on. Phillips noted “none of this would have been happy news for Prescott Bush,” who was indeed ‘engaged in the war effort.’ [1]

Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, in their 1990 classic George Bush: the Unauthorized Biography, capture the irony of the situation seven months later. One of those investigations Stimson had been unable to prevent eventually nabbed his friend’s corporation.

“In October 1942, ten months after entering World War II, America was preparing its first assault against Nazi military forces. Prescott Bush was managing partner of Brown Brothers Harriman. His 18-year-old son George, the future U.S. President, had just begun training to become a naval pilot. On Oct. 20, 1942, the U.S. government ordered the seizure of Nazi German banking operations in New York City which were being conducted by Prescott Bush. '' [2]

The government took over the Union Banking Corporation (UBC), in which Bush was one of twelve directors. The original order from the alien properties custodian described UBC as “a New York corporation [...] all of which shares are held for the benefit of [...] members of the Thyssen family, [and] is property of nationals [...] of a designated enemy country. '' [3] This “Thyssen family” was in essence Fritz Thyssen, a politically important German steel baron, one of the top players in Germany’s military-industrial complex, and an ardent, two-decade Nazi supporter. He had published a book in 1941 called I Paid Hitler,” admitting he had been funding the Nazi party since late 1923. [4]

Prescott Bush
The Union Banking Corporation, according to Kevin Phillips, was in fact established on Thyssen’s behalf in 1924 by W. Averell Harriman and his partner George Herbert Walker. [5] The framework from which UBC was formed was W.A. Harriman & Co. (later part of Brown Brothers Harriman), a Wall Street investment and banking firm established in 1919. Walker’s son-in-law Prescott Bush, who, like Harriman, was a member of Skull and Bones, was brought in as a junior partner in 1926 and quickly rose in rank to partner. [6] (Note: George H. Walker, it should be noted, was not himself a “bonesman,” but his descendents would be, and Prescott’s son would soon carry the very name “George Herbert Walker” into the society’s ranks.)

Unlike Walker and Bush, Harriman was a Democrat, and had very, very high connections. He would somehow play a pivotal role in the War; President Roosevelt’s personal, unofficial, floating ambassador to Stalin’s Soviet Union and Churchill’s UK. From February 1941 and on, Harriman regularly hobnobbed with the allied leaders under instructions to report directly to the White House, bypassing normal diplomatic channels and Congressional approval. He maintained this special role throughout the war, attending all of the wartime conferences and twice going on missions to arrange increased aid to the Soviet Union. In October 1943 he got his first official appointment as ambassador to the USSR, just one year after the seizure of the Union Banking Corporation that had helped bankroll, among other things, the Nazi’s invasion of Russia. [7] Averell never left the board of Brown Brothers Harriman during this time, remaining a partner until 1946. [8] Yet he was apparently never mentioned in orders against the company’s subsidiaries, which finally had to be closed down by force nearly a year after America entered the war and nearly two years after Harriman himself had entered it.

Tarpley and Chaitkin list the shareholders of Union Banking Corporation mentioned in the October 1942 order. The majority shareholder was E. Roland Harriman, chairman and director of UBC and Averell’s brother. He held 3,991 shares. The authors explain “this is “Bunny” Harriman, described by Prescott Bush as a place holder who didn’t get much into banking affairs; Prescott managed his personal investments” Prescott himself, and all other shareholders besides “Bunny,” held only one token share apiece, presumably to allow them to sit in on decisions but limit their culpability. [9] And isn’t that the magic of a corporation anyway? The list also included two Dutch men (also with one share each) who managed the Nazi end of the business. (The Netherlands was at the time under German occupation.) It was these men’s Dutch bank that nominally “controlled” UBC and also handled Thyssen’s donations to the Nazi party. [10]

According to Kevin Phillips in American Dynasty, Brown Brothers Harriman-Nazi-connected property was seized during the course of late 1942, just as American forces were preparing for major combat in North Africa. These seizures started in August with the Hamburg-Amerika line, partly owned by a corporation controlled by Harriman and Walker. Then there was the seizure in October of UBC’s assets, which netted Bunny Harriman, Prescott Bush, and others as we’ve seen. In November, the last entity, the Silesian-American Corporation, was seized. [11] This was a holding company through which, Tarpley and Chaitkin explain, “the Harriman firms […] bought a one-third interest in the principal German-owned coal and zinc mines in Poland,” the other two-thirds of which were held by Friedrich Flick, another top Nazi industrialist who worked with Thyssen. [12]

The investigative report prior to the government crackdown explained the significance of Brown Brothers Harriman’s role: “Since September 1939, these properties have been in the possession of and have been operated by the German government and have undoubtedly been of considerable assistance to that country in its war effort.” [13]

For its part, the Union Banking Corp., which Prescott Bush had directed since 1934, eventually helped Thyssen finance what would become 30-50% of German national output for various materials (like pig iron, heavy plate armor, and explosives), which were used liberally in the conquest of Europe. [14] Like the others who helped create the formidable Nazi menace America would be forced to fight, Bush was not punished, but rather was rewarded. Prescott Bush somehow went on to be a U.S. Senator (R-CT), and his son a Senator (R-TX), CIA Director and U.S. President, his grandson a Governor (R-TX) and U.S. President… Somehow, what should have been a name that draws spittle to the lips was carried all the way to the White House where it seems intent on staying.

So anyway, the Union Banking Corporation continued operations into late 1941, as Pearl Harbor neared. Both Prescott’s business partner Averell Harriman and his friend Henry Stimson were working personally with FDR as he labored to provoke a Japanese attack and manage America’s entry into the War. It’s also worth noting that all three of these men, Stimson, Harriman, and Bush, shared the bond of secrecy that comes with induction into Skull and Bones. We can neither prove nor rule out that Prescott had, through either of these channels or elsewhere, learned by this time that 12/7 was about to happen under FDR’s provocations – and either way, the attack and America’s entry into the war eventually disrupted his profitable dealings with Thyssen. It can only be wondered what his son George knew or suspected or felt about Roosevelt’s decision as he enlisted to avenge the engineered attack and fight the allies of the man his father had helped get in power. Probably no hard feelings. Business was business after all.

Sources:
[1] Phillips, Kevin. “American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.” New York. Viking. 2004. Page 39.
[2] Tarpley, Webster G. and Anton Chaitkin. George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography. Chapter - II - The Hitler Project. Accessed online at: http://www.tarpley.net/bush2.htm
[3] See [2].
[4] See [2].
[5] See [1]. Page 180.
[6] “Prescott Bush.” Wikipedia. Accessed September 28, 2005 at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prescott_S._Bush
[7] “W. Averell Harriman.” The Reader’s Companion to American History. Houghton Mifflin. Accessed September 27, 2005 at: http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/rcah/html/ah_040400_harrimanwave.htm
[8] Truman Presidential Museum and Library. “Profile of W. Averell Harriman.” Accessed September 28, 2005 at: http://www.trumanlibrary.org/profile/viewpro.php?pid=87
[9] See [2].
[10] See [1]. Page 180.
[11] See [1]. Page 39.
[12], [13], [14], See [2].

Sunday, December 10, 2006

FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES

THE STINNETT-BUSH LINK

As I read Robert Stinnett’s book and its methodical deconstruction of the Pearl Harbor myth, I remember being struck with the strange perfection and fullness of the argument I was reading. I wondered a few times how Stinnett had had such luck in securing these documents through FOIA requests when so many others had tried and failed. How was he allowed to be the one to unmask this darkest of American secrets?

A possible clue presented itself in the front of the book – his only other work to date was called "George Bush: His World War II Years." Curious, I bought a copy. The book was a laudatory account featuring extensive coverage of Bush’s famous survival after being shot-down twice by the Japanese. Stinnett secured access to numerous journal entries and personal photographs from Bush, which he crammed into his picture-filled pages. How did Stinnett get such unprecedented access to Bush’s records? One clue is right on the cover - the book was first released in a limited edition for the 1992 Republican National Convention, where Bush was running for his second term as President against Bill Clinton.

Day of Deceit’s author, Robert Stinnett, reminiscing with President George H.W. Bush in the White House, November 1990 (from a White House photo by Dave Valdez)
Stinnett and Bush go way back, in fact – back to Pearl Harbor. Both men were drawn into military service fresh out of high school by news of the Japanese attack. Both enlisted in the US Navy as aviators, both were assigned to the same aerial photo school, both served together on the USS San Jacinto of the Pacific Fleet from late 1943 to November 1944, in the same air group. [1] Though they apparently hadn't talked in decades, Stinnett approached Bush as the book was finished. He later opened the biopic with Bush's response letter dated October 17, 1990:

“Dear Bob, I was pleased to receive your letter and look forward to seeing your book. Those of us who served in Air Group fifty-one will re-live many memories of those days because of your wonderful efforts. My thanks. Thanks again for writing. Warm regards. Sincerely, George Bush.”

"ROBERT B. STINNETT served in the United States Navy under Lieutenant George Bush from 1942 to 1946, where he earned ten battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. He worked as a photographer and a journalist for the Oakland Tribune until 1986, after which he resigned as a full-time employee to devote himself to this book. He is a consultant on the Pacific War for the BBC and Asahi and NHK Television in Japan. He divides his time between Oakland and Hawaii." - bio from a site by Jim Stinnett:
http://www.pearlharbor41.com/3.htm
A few weeks later, the two met in the Oval Office and reminisced, bush getting to handle an old camera from his aerial photgraphy days. It was at this meeting on November 17 that Bush, along with Chief of Staff John Sununu and National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, got to look at the book. [2] The oversized pages dwell extensively on September 2 1944, the day Bush was shot down over the strategically important island of Chichi Jima. The episode earned him a flying cross and minor war hero status. Stinnett also addressed Bush’s most famous remark about Pearl Harbor, from his 1988 presidential campaign. On September 7, 1988, he had said:

“Today, you remember - I wonder how many Americans remember - today is Pearl Harbor Day. Forty-seven years ago to this very day we were hit and hit hard at Pearl Harbor… Did I say September 7th? Sorry about that. December 7th.” [3]

Actually he said “today” and “this very day,” which is even stranger. He was widely ridiculed for the gaffe, but as Stinnett points out, that was close to the date of his “personal Pearl Harbor,” making this a masked references to his own heroism. [4] Bush later joked about his blunder, making the comment at one speech “you ought to vote for me. I knew about Pearl Harbor three months before it happened.” [5]

In fact, he may well have. While he was only seventeen at the time of 12/7, there may have been interesting discussions around the Skull and Bones family dinner table. Recall Secretary of War Stimson’s November 1941 order “the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act,” revealed in Day of Deceit - clearly he was in on the provocation plan. Stinnett’s Bush book noted that Stimson was in fact a “powerful family friend” of the Bushes. The Yale graduate also shared membership in the secretive but powerful Skull and Bones society with Prescott – George’s turn to join had yet to come.

So we know that by no later than November 1941 Stimson and perhaps his friend Prescott Bush knew Pearl Harbor was set up –It can’t be ruled out that this was mentioned or hinted at to the young George Bush before war came. But whatever he knew, Stinnett explained that George was determination to “avenge the day of infamy.” He faced resistance: “his father, Prescott bush, and powerful family friend Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson wanted him to go on to college, but their persuasive arguments could not deter George from going to war.” [6]

Nor could the family's business dealings with a top Nazi industrialist, an infraction which cost fater Prescott his director's seat at the Union Banking Corp. Anyway, between aerial photography and getting shot down, George met his Navy buddy Bob Stinnett, in the Pacific for the same reason as he, to avenge 12/7. Stinnett then went on to look into this FDR conspiracy theory years later. He dug deeper than anyone else, and hit pay dirt like no one else has. Did these two men discuss Pearl Harbor in depth during or after their service together? Or when they met in the Oval Office? And if so, who broached the subject first? It seems possible, although this is only idle speculation, that Stinnett was in fact a filter for Bush dropping this bomb for his own purposes, which would not be entirely clear. Revenge seems unlikely, since the Bush family’s temporary sacrifices during World War II were well repaid in the decades after. Whatever the motive, I find it curious that only Stinnett could have written this masterpiece – a man who had first met George Bush and later leveraged this connection with his 1990 biopic.

Sources:
[1]Biography of Robert Stinnett. Pearl Harbor 1941. Accessed December 28, 2004 at: http://www.pearlharbor41.com/biography.htm
[2] Stinnett, Robert B. "George Bush, his World war II Years." Special Limited Edition, Republican National Convention. Houston, Texas, August 1992. Washington. Brassey’s (U.S.) Inc.. 1992. Page 208.
[3] “George Herbert Walker Bush.” Rotten.com. Accessed December 28, 2004 at: http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/presidents/george-hw-bush/
[4] See [2]. Page ix.
[5] 1988: The Issueless Wonder. Accessed December 28, 2004 at: http://www.kennesaw.edu/pols/3380/pres/1988.html
[6] See [2]. page 10.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

NORTHWOODS II: SPECIAL DISTRIBUTION - THE PLAN

Before all this could come about, there was at least one more major development regarding Cuba that brings us to the central thread of this book. Bamford wrote “although no one in Congress could have known at the time, Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs had quietly slipped over the edge.” [1] They were not through with Cuba - one plan had failed, theirs had not yet been tried. They even had a plan to win public support for this war at all costs, and it was called “Operation Northwoods.” Like the CIA’s Bay of Pigs plan, the roots of Northwoods go back to the twilight of Eisenhower’s term. On January 3, Eisenhower told Lemnitzer and others that, as Bamford explains, “he would move against Castro before [Kennedy’s] inauguration if only the Cubans gave him a really good excuse.” [2] It didn’t happen in time for Eisenhower, but on the 19th, the day before Kennedy was sworn in, new Joint Chiefs chairman Lemnitzer gave his approval to a proposal that would eventually morph into this sinister plan to provide that “really good excuse.” [3]

The origin of the name “Northwoods” is not clear, but is possibly a reference to the London suburb of Northwood, home of the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ), the British equivalent of the JCS, possibly indicating a British connection or inspiration. In March 1962, Operation Northwoods was completed, and Lemnitzer signed off on it. The “special distribution” document opened:

”As requested by Chief of Operations, Cuba project, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are to indicate brief but precise description of pretexts which they consider would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.” [4]


Wikipedia article on Northwoods

Destabilizing or toppling Castro’s regime and the re-subduction of Cuba was still American policy in general, and Northwoods itself was part of a larger, Kennedy-supported “Cuba Project.” But this report went beyond the pale, promoting harassment and a threatening posture to elicit an attack “since,” the memo states, “it would seem desirable to use legitimate provocation as the basis for US military intervention.” [5] But of course Cuba was not Japan, and Castro was not Tojo, and so the report focused more on the backup plans. These were more cynical than anything FDR or Arthur McCollum, the author of his Japan provocation policy, would have dreamed up - if Cuba failed to be provoked into a “mistake,” the JCS proposed providing a pretext themselves in a false flag operation and blaming Cuba for it.

They suggested what they candidly described as a “remember the Maine” incident, the sinking of a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay to be blamed on Castro. Mock attacks on U.S. bases by friendly Cubans dressed as Castro forces, the planting of “plastic bombs” in Miami, Washington, and elsewhere, and even the sinking of a boatload of Cuban refugees (“real or simulated”) were mentioned. In fact, a little death would be useful - the report noted that “casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.” [6] While they never planned to shoot him down themselves, Northwoods did suggest that, should John Glenn’s space capsule accidentally crash as he attempted the first American orbit of the earth, this could be blamed on Cuba as well. [7]

In all, Northwoods offered dozens of variations on the theme, but the ones regarding aircraft bear a look here. For what it’s worth, all these are neatly contained in pages nine to eleven (that is, 9-11). These received extra attention perhaps because they did not involve deaths at all, simply high-tech aerial acrobats and cynical trickery. Point six, for example, mentions use of “an F-86, properly painted” to simulate a Cuban MIG (Soviet-made) fighter jet, and that “reasonable copies of the MIG could be produced from US resources in about three months.” It mentioned that the “destruction of U.S. military drone aircraft” by these MIG replicas could look convincingly like a Cuban attack. Keep in mind that drone means remote-controlled and pilotless.

Point eight is especially interesting and elaborate. Here is an extended citation (emphasis mine throughout):

“It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner en route from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama, or Venezuela. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba. The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday or any grouping of persons with a common interest to support chartering a non-scheduled flight.

a. An aircraft at Elgin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA proprietary organization in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with the selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual registered aircraft would then be converted to a drone.

b. Take off times of the drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida. From the rendezvous point the passenger carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into an auxiliary field at Elgin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba, the drone will begin transmitting the international distress frequency a “MAY DAY” message stating he is under attack by Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by destruction of the aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow ICAO radio stations in the Western Hemisphere to tell the US what has happened to the aircraft instead of the US trying to “sell” the incident.”

Points seven and nine also deal with such aircraft-related deceit. These three pages contain several elements of “silly” 9-11 conspiracy theories, even some of the ones I don’t necessarily buy:

- Destruction of remote control drone jets
- Aircraft “rendezvous,” crossing paths to confuse radar and swap drones for manned flights
- Aliases, false paint jobs, and CIA “proprietary companies” to allow pilots, passengers and planes to “disappear”
- Training missions as cover
- Planted evidence of a nonexistent attack
- Manipulated flight data and radio transmissions
- Remote controlled explosives

All of these were presented as real possibilities in a real and proven JCS-sponsored conspiracy. No theory here. The plan suggested the provocations occur “within the time frame of the next few months” and closed with the recommendation that the entire deal be carried out by the Joint Chiefs themselves. [8] After reviewing the memo, Lemnitzer signed it and pitched it to Kennedy’s military representative, General Maxwell Taylor, on March 13, 1962. What exactly happened during the meeting is unknown, but it only took three days for President Kennedy to inform Lemnitzer that the game was over; there was no longer a possibility of overt U.S. force against Cuba. Still the Joint Chiefs persisted, insisting to Defense Secretary McNamara that the war needed to begin soon. McNamara responded by rejecting nearly everything they sent his way. [9]

Within months, Lemnitzer would be denied another term as chairman and transferred to another job. This was not much of a demotion – he was named Commander of U.S. forces in Europe in November 1962 and was appointed Supreme Allied Commander of NATO the following January. [10] He retired from the military in 1969, and in 1975 was selected by President Ford to serve on the Rockefeller Commission, looking into Rockefeller-connected, illegal CIA projects (like the MK Ultra mind control experiments) overseen by his old partner Allen Dulles at the CIA. [11]

But as for Lemnitzer’s own illegal activities - was Northwoods a unique example, or are such “special distribution” recommendations actually common? The report noted on page four “it is assumed that there will be similar submissions from other agencies and that these inputs will be used as a basis for developing a time-phased plan.” [12] It appears that even as far as this “Cuba Project” was concerned, Northwoods was not alone, and they probably knew this from previous experience - its uniqueness therefore may lie not its existence but in its eventual publication.

In fact Bamford notes Northwoods as a precedent for events to come. On the subject of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the August 1964 alleged attack by North Vietnamese forces on American ships that led to direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, he wrote:

“In light of the Operation Northwoods documents, it is clear that deceiving the public and trumping up wars for Americans to fight and die in was standard, approved policy at the highest levels of the Pentagon. […] One needs only replace “Guanantanamo Bay” with “Tonkin Gulf,” and “Cuba” with “North Vietnam.” The Gulf of Tonkin incident may or may not have been stage-managed, but the senior Pentagon leadership at the time was clearly capable of such deceit.” [13]

Bamford described Northwoods as “what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.” [14] But that’s not to stay it didn’t have stiff competition, nor that other nations at other times have not trumped the JCS, nor that the U.S. itself hasn’t trumped this in the period after the book’s release. To act like Lemnitzer and his people invented such cynical thinking is disingenuous – such deceit is standard operating procedure for politicians and leaders worldwide and throughout history. But this report shatters the belief that America is somehow different, protected by a bubble of Democracy.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

9/99 part I: PUTIN'S GODSEND

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
During the latter phase of the Cold War, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was a loyal patriot and Party member, a dedicated KGB agent stationed in East Germany. Charged with recruiting spies to steal NATO secrets, his tenure there only ended with East Germany itself. He then went back to Russia and later resigned his KGB post to protest the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev, casting his lot with the premier’s reforms and thus the future. A devout atheist all during the Soviet years, after the Union fell he promptly adopted Russian Orthodox Catholicism. This was not politics but divine intervention; he and his illicit but meaningless aluminum crucifix together survived a small fire sometime in the early 1990s, clearly a miraculous sign.

He adapted himself in other ways, serving quietly and efficiently in the Post-Communist government of his hometown, St. Petersburg, promoting international relations and foreign investment. In 1996 the promising technocrat was summoned to Moscow to serve in the national government. After two years of proving himself at various posts in Yeltsin’s second administration, Putin took the lofty appointment of director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB, for Federal'naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti), successor to the Russian KGB, which had fallen on hard times.

After helping revive the FSB, in 1999 he added another job title to his resume - head of the Security Council, an office of the President’s that “drafts policy proposals on defending the vital interests of individuals, society and the state against internal or external threats.” Putin worked diligently to keep Russians safe, drafting proposals on how to deal with, for example, the problem of Chechnya (at the time de facto independent after the First Chechen War of 1994-96), while overseeing the FSB’s efforts to prevent, for example, Chechen terrorism. He had to resign both posts, on Yeltsin’s orders, with Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev taking his place at FSB. He was not being sacked, of course, but promoted to head his own government; on August 9, Putin switched over to the Kremlin to become Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. But as the fifth prime minister in a year-and-a-half of economic and political chaos, his chances of political survival seemed slim.

But then something happened - Just as Putin was being sworn in, Muslim militants from Chechnya invaded the neighboring region of Dagestan (on Russia’s Caspian coast) and less than a month after he left it, the FSB proved unable to prevent the war from coming home. A wave of sophisticated, powerful bomb attacks rocked Russia; the worst were apartment bombings in Moscow on September 9 (9/9/99) on Guryanov Street, killing 94, and on Kashirskoye Shosse on the 13th, killing 119. Along with an earlier bombing on the 4th in Dagestan (at Buinaksk, which also suffered a second bombing on the 13th) and a later one on the 16th at Volgodonsk, just over 300 lives were terminated beneath concrete slabs as they slept and many thousands were injured or emotionally traumatized. A nation of millions was shocked and enraged; it was Russia’s mini-9/11, but with no exact date it became known as 9/99 for the month and year of the attacks.

Yeltsin and Putin solidified their power base by taking a firm and simple stand – bombs began falling on Chechnya on September 23, a week after the Volgodonsk attack and the day of a foiled sixth bombing at Ryazan (later deemed a training mission when it was revealed that FSB personnell were responsible). The ground invasion of the southern republic began on the last day of September, a fierce renewal of the previous war set to re-claim Chachnya for Moscow and gave Putin a support base as a hard line defender of Russians from terror, boosting his popularity immensely.

While not formally associated with any party, he was supported by the newly formed Edinstvo (unity) party, which won the most seats in the Duma elections of December 1999. Yeltsin, in failing health and falling popularity, saw that the leadership was strong and had the support of the new Duma, and so stepped down and appointed Putin Acting President on December 31, 1999. Once confirmed by election in March 2000, Putin officially became the second President of the Post-Soviet Russian Federation, a remarkably swift rise to power to announce a very interesting turn of the century.