By Edward Curtin
Source: Intrepid Report
“There were incidents and accidents/there were hints and allegations.”—Paul Simon
Children love to trace, to connect the dots, to make connections, but often the connections they make frighten adults who try to ignore their points or offer some ridiculous circumlocutions. Maybe we adults are much like children in our desires to make connections, but the thought of it frightens us.
Suppose we could for a while calm those fears and concentrate long enough to trace through the dim glimmerings of a faded pattern a clarifying story that would jolt us into an awareness that could change our lives and society. I offer here an arc of history that you may consider tedious. Try patience. I could yell, I could scream, I could try all the classical argumentation and logic that comes “naturally” to me. I could be a wise guy, amuse you, try to provoke you, curse, sing a song, stomp my feet—even write post-modern gibberish. As Andre Vltchek says, it’s hard—I’m putting it nicely—to get through, to have an impact that counts. We desperately want to believe in a world where we really are children and BIG Daddy (apologies to Burl Ives) has told the truth. Obviously I have reached some stern conclusions, but I think the conclusions follow from the facts. See what you think.
- 1957, Massachusetts Senator John Kennedy delivers a Senate speech in support of the Algerian liberation movement, in support of African liberation generally, and against colonial imperialism. The speech causes an international uproar, and Kennedy is harshly attacked by Eisenhower, Nixon, John Foster Dulles, and even liberals such as Adlai Stevenson. He is praised in the third world.
- 1959, George H. W. Bush moves his oil company—Zapata Offshore—to Houston, Texas. One of Zapata’s drilling rigs, Scorpion, having been moved from the Gulf of Mexico the previous year, is now operating 54 miles north of Cuba
- 1960. On March 17, President Eisenhower approves the Bay of Pigs project.
- 1961. On January 17, in anticipation of Kennedy’s inauguration in three days, the Belgian government in complicity with the CIA assassinates Congolese nationalist leader Patrice Lumumba. On February 13, a devastated Kennedy receives a belated phone call informing him of Lumumba’s murder.
- 1961, April. More than a week before the CIA led Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba—code-named the Zapata Operation—the CIA discovers that the Soviets have learned the date of the invasion and informed Castro. Knowing the invasion is doomed in advance, the CIA Director Allen Dulles doesn’t tell Kennedy. When the invasion fails, the CIA blames JFK who angrily says he wants “to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” Kennedy fires Dulles.
- 1962. On June 13, Lee Harvey Oswald, ex-Marine and alleged traitor, returns from the Soviet Union with a loan from the State Department that also arranges for him, together with his Russian wife, to be met at the dock in Hoboken, New Jersey by Spas T. Raikin, an official of an anti-communist organization with extensive intelligence connections. Oswald soon moves to Dallas, Texas where, at the behest of the CIA, he is chaperoned around by CIA asset and George H. W. Bush’s old friend, George de Mohrenschildt.
- 1963, June 10. JFK delivers his famous American University address calling for an end to “a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.”
- 1963. On October 11, Kennedy issues National Security Action Memorandum 263 calling for the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops from Vietnam by the end of 1963 and all of them by the end of 1965.
- 1963, November 2. At the last minute JFK cancels his trip to Chicago to attend the Army-Air Force football game when it is learned that a four-man rifle team has plotted to assassinate him. The four are never charged or named, but an alienated ex-Marine scapegoat with CIA connections, Thomas Arthur Vallee, is arrested on a pretext. Vallee works in a building overlooking a dog-leg turn where JFK’s car was to pass.
- 1963, November 22. JFK is shot in Dallas on a dog-leg turn at 12:30 P.M. and dies at 1 P.M. At 1:38 P.M. Walter Cronkite makes the first public announcement of the president’s death. At 1:45 P.M. George H. W. Bush, who is in Tyler, Texas an hour and a half southeast of Dallas, telephones Houston FBI agent Graham W. Kitchel to inform him that he’s heard gossip that a Houston man, James Parrot, has been talking about killing Kennedy when he comes to Houston (JFK had been in Houston the day before). Parrot is questioned and deemed harmless. Bush tells the FBI agent that he’ll be going to Dallas in the evening, though he fails to mention that he was there the night before. At 1:50 PM the Dallas police arrest Lee Harvey Oswald in the Texas theatre and charge him with the murder of Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippett. A few minutes after Oswald’s arrest and his exit out the front door to waiting police cars, a second Oswald is arrested in the theatre and surreptitiously taken out the back door. Later in the day Oswald is charged with also killing President Kennedy from behind from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository. But the fatal shot to Kennedy’s head comes from the left front.
- 1963. Two days later, Ruby kills Oswald, who claimed he was a patsy, in the Dallas police building. That same afternoon LBJ tells Henry Cabot Lodge that “I am not going to lose Vietnam.”
- 1963, November 29. LBJ announces the formation of the Warren Commission whose key member is Allen Dulles, the former CIA Director fired by Kennedy.
- 1963. On December 24, Johnson tells the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Just get me elected, and then you can have your war.”
- 1964, August. The fraudulent Tonkin Gulf Incidents and Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Johnson orders the bombing of North Vietnam. The Vietnam War starts in earnest.
- 1964 ,September. The Warren Commission findings are made public. Oswald is declared the lone assassin with the magic bullet explanation being the key.
- 1967. Martin Luther King delivers his Riverside Church speech—“A Time to Break Silence”—denouncing the Vietnam War and calling for opposition to it, while linking it to social and economic oppression at home.
- 1968, April 4. Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis. The authorities blame it on James Earl Ray, a petty criminal loner.
- 1968. On June 6 in Los Angeles, Senator Robert Kennedy. On the cusp of becoming the Democratic nominee for president, is assassinated. The accused lone assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, was standing in front and to the left of RFK. The autopsy shows Kennedy was killed by a bullet from behind and below that entered his head behind his right ear. Sirhan is subsequently convicted as the lone crazed gunman, despite many witnesses seeing a girl, in a polka dot dress, with a male companion, running down the back stairs of the hotel, shouting. “We shot him! We shot him! We shot Senator Kennedy.”
- 1972, June 17. Five CIA employees and veterans of the Bay of Pigs operation are arrested inside the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee. Together with H. Howard Hunt (CIA) and G. Gordon Liddy, they are later indicted. The burglars are caught by a security guard who notices that these skilled undercover operatives have taped locks open from the outside so that the tape is showing.
- The Watergate story is primarily reported by reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who work at the Washington Post under Editor Ben Bradlee. Woodward had earlier served in Naval Intelligence, as had Bradlee, while Bradlee and the Washington Post have deep ties to the CIA and intelligence communities.
- 1974, August 9. Nixon is forced to resign. He is the second president in eleven years to be removed from office. Gerald Ford, a former member of the Warren Commission assumes the presidency. Dick Cheney is named White House Chief of staff and Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.
- 1976, January 30. Having been nominated by Ford, George H. W. Bush assumes the directorship of the CIA, despite critics arguing that he has no intelligence experience. He serves in that capacity for 365 days.
- 1976. George de Mohrenschildt, Oswald’s CIA chaperone and George H. W. Bush’s old friend, writes a letter to CIA Director Bush begging for help “we are being followed everywhere. . . .”
- 1977, March 27. George de Mohrenschildt, about to be questioned by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, allegedly commits suicide in Florida.
- 1979, November 4. Fifty-two Americans are taken hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
- 1980. Ronald Reagan is elected president and George H. W. Bush, vice-president. It is later alleged that Bush, CIA officer Robert Gates, and CIA Director William Casey met secretly with Iranian officials in Paris before the election and made a secret deal to insure Reagan/Bush an election victory by not releasing the hostages before the vote. The hostages were subsequently released a few minutes after Reagan and Bush were sworn in on January 20, 1981.
- 1985-88. The Iran-Contra scandal plays out as it is discovered that the Reagan administration was secretly selling arms to Iran in exchange for hostages and using the proceeds to illegally arm the anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua in violation of the Boland amendment. Oliver North becomes the public face of the secret machinations while Reagan and Bush plead ignorance. Many are indicted, while Bush, when running for president in 1988, claims he was “out of the loop.”
- 1988, July 16. In the midst of the presidential campaign pitting Bush against Dukakis, the Nation magazine publishes an article by Joseph McBride, “The Man Who Wasn’t There, ‘George Bush,’ CIA Operative.” The article centers around a newly discovered memo from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, dated November 29, 1963, concerning the JFK assassination and an oral briefing the bureau had given on November 23 regarding the assassination to “Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency.” A Bush spokesman denies it was candidate Bush.
- 1988, July 3. The USS Vincennes shoots down in Iranian airspace civilian Iran Flight 655 killing 299, including 66 children. Vice President Bush says, “ I will never apologize for the U.S. I don’t care what the facts are . . . I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.”
- 1988. George H. W. Bush is elected president.
- 1990-91. President Bush attacks Iraq, called the Gulf War, public and congressional support for which is given a huge boost on the testimony of a nurse who claims she witnessed Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait City hospital grabbing babies out of incubators and throwing them on the floor to die. It is later discovered that the “nurse” in question was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States and that she hadn’t lived in Kuwait at the time. Her story had been hatched by the Hill and Knowlton public relations firm and was a lie—a successful lie.
- 1991, May 19. A few weeks after filming had begun on Oliver Stone’s movie, JFK, the Washington Post’s national security reporter George Lardner, Jr., writes a scathing review of the film based on a stolen copy of the first draft of the screenplay.
- 1991, December 20. Stone’s film, JFK, is released.
- 1991,0n December 24, President Bush grants pardons to six former members of the Reagan/Bush administration facing prosecution in the Iran-Contra scandal.
- 1993-2000. President Bill Clinton bombs Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Sudan . . . killing untold numbers of people, while maintaining economic sanctions on Iraq.
- 1996, May 12. On CBS’s Sixty Minutes, Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albrecht says that the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children as a result of the sanctions are worth it.
- 1997. The Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative enterprise, three of whose signatories are Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Jeb Bush, is launched. Among other things, they call for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Ten signees of the statement of principles go on to serve in the George W. Bush administration.
- 1999. On April 26, CIA headquarters was named the George Bush Center for Intelligence in honor of former president George H.W. Bush who served as CIA Director for 357 days.
- 1999. A jury in Memphis, Tennessee returns a verdict in a civil trial brought by Martin Luther King’s family concluding that King was killed, not by James Earl Ray, but by a conspiracy involving agencies of the U. S. government and the Memphis police.
- 2000, September. The Project for the New American Century releases a position paper, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” stating that the United States will not be able to enforce its will on Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan and maintain a Pax Americana “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” The paper introduces a new word to refer to the United States of America—“the homeland.”
- 2000, November. George W. Bush is elected president after a disputed ballot count and the intervention of the Supreme Court. Dick Cheney becomes vice-president and Donald Rumsfeld is named secretary of defense.
- 2001, May 1. George W. Bush gives a major foreign policy speech at the National Defense University and says that the U.S.A. must be willing to “rethink the unthinkable,” giving public notice that the U. S. planned to withdraw from the ABM treaty. He warns against “weapons of mass destruction” and “weapons of terror” in the hands of rogue actors. The speech closely follows the reasoning of the PNAC paper of the previous year in urging an aggressive foreign policy. Cheney and Rumsfeld are in the audience.
- 2001, June 22-23. Exercise Dark Winter takes place at Andrews Air Force base. The scenario involves anonymous threatening letters sent to mainstream media. The letters threaten more letters to come with anthrax. Judith Miller, author of Germs, and a notoriously deceptive Iraq war hawk for The New York Times, participates, playing Judith Miller of the New York Times.
- 2001, September 11. The terrorist attacks in NYC and Washington, D.C. occur. The media immediately starts referring to them as another Pearl Harbor, a new Pearl Harbor. CBS News reports that before going to bed at night George W. Bush wrote in his diary, “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.” The site of the Twin Towers is first referred to as “ground zero,” a nuclear war term, by Mark Walsh, identified as a freelancer for Fox News by the Fox News interviewer on the street of lower Manhattan. Presciently anticipating the official explanation for the buildings collapse, Walsh adds that the towers obviously collapsed “mostly due to structural failure since the fires were too intense.”
- 2001, September 12. The New York Times headlines a story: “Personal Accounts of a Morning Rush that Became the Unthinkable.” Another headline under the byline of future editor Bill Keller, Iraq war hawk, reads, “America’s Emergency Line: 9/11.” The endless emergency and war on terror begin. Henceforth, for the first time in American history, a very important day is referred to by numbers, not by name—an emergency phone number.
- 2001, September 22. Tom Ridge is named director of the newly created Homeland Security and becomes in charge of politically motivated terror alerts.
- 2001 September-October. Real and fake anthrax attacks occur. A sham investigation follows with the FBI eventually accusing government scientist Bruce Ivins on little to no evidence, resulting in Ivins alleged suicide.
- 2001. Throughout the first three weeks of October the major media use the word “unthinkable” repetitively, echoing its association with nuclear war, just as the World Trade Center site is similarly referred to as “ground zero,” another nuclear term. A phony “anthrax” letter containing a harmless white powder, postmarked in St. Petersburg, Florida. On September 20, is sent to Tom Brokaw of NBC. The letter, not made public until October 22, after the media’s repeated use of the word “unthinkable,” begins: “The Unthinkabel” Sample Of How It Will Look. Judith Miller of the New York Times receives an anthrax threat letter also sent from St. Petersburg.
- 2001, October 7. The U.S.A attacks Afghanistan.
- 2001 October 27. The Patriot Act is passed.
- 2001, December 4. George W. Bush says when he was outside the classroom in Florida on September 11, he “had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. . . .” Problem: No one saw the first plane hit the North Tower since it wasn’t televised live. Much later a tape someone had made was shown on television.
- 2002, October 2. At the Cincinnati Museum Center President Bush gives a speech linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks and says that “we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” He urges the disarming of Iraq.
- 2002-10. Regular color-coded terrorist alerts.
- 2003, February. Secretary of State Colin Powell gives false testimony at the U.N., asserting that Iraq possesses chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction and must be confronted.
- 2003, March. The U. S. attacks Iraq based on lies.
- 2003-8. Bush wages war on Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Homeland “security” leads to indefinite detention, black sites, torture, spying on Americans, the loss of constitutional rights, etc.
- 2007, February 10. Barack Obama, having been a U.S. Senator for 2 years, 1 month, announces he is running for president.
- 2008, September. An international financial meltdown occurs. The government claims it was unforeseen. The Bush administration bails out the big banks and financial institutions.
- 2008, November. A seriously inexperienced Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, comes out of nowhere to be elected president on a populist platform of “hope” and “change.” He receives more backing from Wall Street than his Republican rival. Liberals and progressives go wild for joy. Hope and change is proclaimed.
- 2009. Lawrence Summers, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, takes up his position as head of Obama’s economic team. Timothy Geithner, former head of the New York Federal Reserve, whose father, Peter Geithner, oversaw the Ford Foundation’s programs in Indonesia developed by Obama’s mother, becomes secretary of the Treasury. And Robert Gates, former CIA Director and George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense continues in that position for Obama.
- 2009, March. Obama meets with the CEOs of fifteen big banks and tells them that “my administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. . . . I’m not out there to go after you. I’m protecting you.”
- 2009. Obama intensifies the war on Afghanistan.
- 2009, October 9. Obama is given the Nobel Peace Prize.
- 2009, December. Obama sends 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan, saying this “will bring this war to a successful conclusion.”
- 2010. Obama vows to carry forward the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans.
- 2010 and ongoing. Obama chooses his drone war kill list every Tuesday; says the killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki “is an easy one.”
- 2011. Obama and partners attack Libya and brutally kill Muammar Gaddafi. Libya descends into chaos.
- 2009 and ongoing. Obama attacks Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, etc. Does nothing to stop the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians. Supports and arms terrorists in Syria and other countries. Engineers a coup d’etat in Ukraine and supports neo-Nazi forces attacking eastern Ukraine. Encircles Russia with NATO troops and military exercises. Starts a new Cold War. Maintains military commissions and indefinite detention. Prosecutes more whistleblowers than all previous American presidents combined, but does not prosecute any banksters or torturers. Charges Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, Jeffrey Sterling, Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou, et al of violating the 1917 Espionage Act. Acquiesces in the military coup against the democratically elected leader of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi and his subsequent imprisonment. Spies on Americans and other countries. Maintains a national state of emergency and the Patriot Act with minor adjustments. Prosecutes “the war on terror” initiated by George W. Bush. Rules over a technological, computerized war of killing all over the globe and a technological, computerized spying apparatus here at home. And does all this and more with a smile.
It should be clear from this small portion of events over the years that there is a connecting link, that there is a bloody thread running through them connecting key players and the obvious ongoing presence of a secret structure that recruits its team to maintain this oppressive system. To see it should be gutsy child’s play. It is not an issue of either/or; we can’t explain how we have come to this terrifying situation of rule by a murderous, militarized national security apparatus serving the wealthy elites by concentrating on either individuals or structures. People such as Barack Obama, the Bushes, et al don’t emerge from thin air (though in Obama’s case it seems that way, and some have speculated on his CIA links). These people grow out of a system that has cultivated and nurtured them. They become spokesmen for the secretive and powerful monied forces some call the Deep State. (The scholar Peter Dale Scott sees a hidden link between the JFK assassination, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11.) Spokesmen, yes, but executive spokesmen; they are not innocent victims; they are free executioners. People and ongoing structures are intertwined. Individuals count, but so do structures. We are now living within a structure of non-stop and almost total propaganda that individuals, with the help of alternative structures of communication such as alternative media, can penetrate and understand, but only if they are willing to trudge through history that will allow for context and the connecting of dots. In the end, it takes desire and work. Many individuals concluding alike can lead to change. Connect and be outraged.
The psychiatrist Allen Wheelis once wrote a brilliant little book, called How People Change. His “childish” conclusion was that they change because they want to. Simple but true.
Edward Curtin is a sociologist and writer who teaches at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and has published widely.