How To Install A Strongman Without Even Trying

For anyone paying attention it should be clear that America’s first bona-fide dictator is on track to seize power with the help of the very establishment that claims to be distancing itself from the “threat to democracy.”

The GOP has gone to great lengths to reinforce the belief that Donald Trump is the anti-establishment candidate in an election cycle marked by anti-establishment fervor on both sides of the “aisle.” They’ve pretended to plot his demise while singing the praises of democracy and letting his competitors go down in flames.

The mainstream media, controlled by the CIA, has hammered the point home that Trump must be stopped, making him even more trustworthy to the groundswell of anti-establishment voters who mistrust the media

The mainstream media on the “left” has played up the inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s nomination in stark contrast to 2008 when they went all out to play up the inevitability of Barack Obama’s election. This has effectively tarnished Bernie Sanders’ image as a viable alternative to Clinton and left him with no path to the nomination.

As a result, Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination (over the sighs of the progressive base) and Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination (over the feigned objections of the Republican leadership).

And then …an October Surprise?

Yes, October would be the perfect time for the FBI to indict Hillary Clinton if they wanted Trump to seize power. That would leave the Democrats with an establishment candidate under indictment, a disillusioned base of Sanders supporters who may or may not be coaxed back into the fold and a sea of independents frustrated with the status quo. It would also leave Trump in a position to argue that Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the system and that the system itself is irrevocably broken.

With the media cautiously at his back (wouldn’t want to tarnish Trump’s anti-establishment cred), and a considerable dose of voter intimidation – is there anyone who thinks there won’t be voter intimidation this year? – and plenty of good old-fashioned electronic ballot rigging, it’s not hard to envision a scenario where Trump comes to power.

And the best part is, the American people would cheer him all the way as he disassembles the last vestiges of constitutional government and crushes dissent. And they’d keep on cheering, too.

If they knew what’s good for them.

serpent

Andrea Hackett is an activist, writer and anti-fascist researcher in Las Vegas. She may be contacted on twitter at @andrefed. Reprint by permission. 2014.

The Disgusting Truth About The CIA

For those who haven’t read the 525-page Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (aka the Torture Report), you might be better off. Even in its redacted, truncated form the document is a damning condemnation of the CIA. On every level it is a horror show, an abomination, an indefensible, thoroughly disgusting indictment of everyone who participated in, sanctioned or worked to obscure the CIA’s sadistic excesses (and President Obama not only pardoned everyone involved but worked tirelessly to redact the final document).

There can be no justification, no excuse, in this or any other universe, for the ghastly acts perpetrated by this horrific agency and it proves beyond a doubt that the CIA must be disbanded, that funding must be ended, and that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Here’s a few of the monstrous atrocities committed by those President Obama and George Bush call “patriots”:

               Authorized the use of insects for torture

Approved insects for torture

THE USE OF INSECTS

“On July 24, 2002, Attorney General [John Ashcroft] verbally approved the use of (10) interrogation techniques which included:

  • the attention grasp
  • walling [slamming detainees into a wall]
  • the facial hold
  • the facial slap
  • cramped confinement
  • wall standing
  • stress positions
  • sleep deprivation
  • the use of diapers(?) and
  • the use of insects.”

RECTAL HYDRATION

  • “At least five detainees were subjected to ‘rectal hydration’ or rectal feeding…”

TORTURING MENTALLY-CHALLENGED PEOPLE

  • “Nazir Ali [was] an intellectually challenged individual whose taped crying was used as leverage against a family member.”

LOCKING PEOPLE IN COFFINS

  • “Abu Zubaydah spent a total of 266 hours (11 days 2 hours) in a large (coffin size) confinement box and 29 hours in a small confinement box which had a width of 21 inches and a depth of 2.5 feet, and a height of 2.5 feet. CIA interrogators told [him] the only way he would leave the facility was in the coffin-shaped confinement box.”
  • “According to daily cables from [DETENTION SITE GREEN], Zybayadah ‘cried,’ ‘begged,’ pleaded,’ ‘whimpered'” during the CIA’s relentless torture which continued 24 hours a day.
  • “After the [torture], CIA personnel at the detention site concluded that [he] had been truthful and that he did not possess any new terrorist threat information.”

DETAINING PEOPLE FOR RANSOM

  • “Juma Gul was released with a payment of $ [redacted] and [other currency]”
  • “...[redated] and Bismullah [were] mistakenly arrested and [redacted] later released with $ [redacted] and told not to speak about his experience.”

SLAMMING HEADS INTO CONCRETE WALLS

  • “Interrogators place a rolled towel around [Abu Zubaydah]’s neck as a collar…(an interrogator later acknowledged the collar was used to slam [him] against a concrete wall).” This was part of an “aggressive interrogation phase” [torture] “on a near 24-hour basis” after he had been “in complete isolation for 47 days.”

KEEPING PEOPLE AWAKE FOR WEEKS, CHAINED IN A STANDING POSITION WITH TOES BARELY TOUCHING THE GROUND

  • chained“Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads”

That’s more than a week.

  • “Arsala Khan…suffered disturbing hallucinations after 56 hours of standing sleep deprivation, after which the CIA determined that he ‘does not appear to be the subject involved in…current plans or activities against U.S. personnel or facilities.'”
  • “Janat Gul…suffered ‘frightful’ hallucinations following sleep deprivation..about whom the chief of the detention facility wrote, ‘[t]here simply is no ‘smoking gun’ that we can refer to that would justify our continued holding of [Janat Gul] at a site such as [redacted]”
  • “One senior interrogator” (one of the “good men and women” Obama praised when he pardoned everyone for torture) “told the CIA OIG that “literally a detainee could go for weeks without anyone looking at him,’ and that his team found ‘one detainee who ‘as far as we could determine’ had been chained to a wall in a standing position for 17 days.'”

TORTURING PEOPLE IN ICE WATER

  • “The CIA placed detainees in ice water ‘baths.'”
  • “Abu Hudhaifa…was subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be”

FREEZING PEOPLE TO DEATH

  • Gul Rahmen was “shackled to the floor of his cell in a position that required [him] to rest on [a] bare concrete floor..wearing only a sweatshirt. The next day (if the CIA is to believed) the guards found [his] dead body. An internal CIA review and autopsy assessed Rahmen likely died from hypothermia.”
  • CIA Station in Country (Afghanistan) later recommended the “officers at [DETENTION SITE COBALT] and ALEC Station who recommended the use of EIT against Rahmen” get a $2,500 “cash award” for “consistently superior work.”

PERFORMING MOCK EXECUTIONS

  • “Later investigations of [DETENTION SITE COBALT]…by the CIA Inspector General and the Deputy Director of Operations…found the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques – and other coercive interrogation techniques – [were] more widespread than reported in…CIA cables…and included…mock executions.”

TORTURING DETAINEES WITH UNTREATED BULLET WOUNDS

  • Abu Zubaydah was tortured with a bullet wound because “the CIA instructed personnel that his interrogation would take ‘precedence‘ over his medical care, resulting in the deterioration” of that bullet wound.
  • He was kept in an “all white room that was lit 24 hours a day…not provided any amenities…[with] loud noise constantly fed into his cell..to develop a sense of ‘learned helplessness.’
Balaclava

Balaclava

“A cable described Abu Zabaydah’s cell as white with no natural lighting or windows, but with four halogen lights pointed into the cell. An air conditioner was also in the room. Security officers wore all black uniforms including boots, balaclavas and goggles to..prevent Zabaydah from ‘seeing the security guards as individuals who he may attempt to establish a relationship or dialog with.’ ..noise generators were used to enhance [his] ‘sense of hopelessness.”

A cable from OTS with the proposed strategy for torturing Zubaydah described the strategy as ‘[t]he deliberate manipulation of the environment…to cause psychological disorientation” and “the deliberate establishment of psychological dependence upon the interrogator.”

  • In a July 5, 2002 cable from the interrogation team to the CIA’s ALEC Station, the interrogators, tipping their hand that they knew damn well there was no way to defend their sadist actions, stated: “..we need to get  reasonable assurances that [Abu Zabaydah] will remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life.”
  • The Station replied: “There is fairly unanimous sentiment within HQS that [Abu Zabaydah] will never be placed in a situation where he has significant contact with others and/or has the opportunity to be released.”

EXTENDED ISOLATION AND FILTH

  • “CIA detainees at the COBALT Detention facility (Afghanistan) were kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud music and only a bucket for human waste.”

REGULAR BEATINGS

dungeon“…detainees at COBALT were subjected to what was described as a ‘rough takedown’ in which approximately five CIA agents would scream at a detainee, drag him outside his cell, cut his clothes off, and secure him with Mylar tape. The detainee would then be hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched.”

“According to [a] CIA interrogator, some of the detainees at [DETENTION SITE COBALT] ‘literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled.’ When the doors to their cells were opened ‘they cowered.'”

“The chief of interrogations, [redacted] told the CIA OIG that “[DETENTION SITE COBALT] is good for interrogations because it’s the closest thing he’s seen to a dungeon.”

  • Not surprisingly, “the full details of CIA interrogations [at COBALT] remain largely unknown as [the site] was later found to have not reported multiple uses of sleep deprivation, required standing, loud music, sensory deprivation, extended isolation, reduced quantity and quality of food, nudity and ‘rough treatment’ of CIA detainees.”

NEAR DROWNINGSwaterboarding

  • “Internal CIA records describe the waterboarding of Khalid Shaykh Mohammed as ‘a series of near drownings.'”
  • Waterboarding Abu Zubaydah resulted in “involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms” and “hysterical pleas.”
  • During one waterboarding torture, Zubarydah became “completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.”
  • He “remained unresponsive until medical intervention when he regained consciousness and expelled ‘copious amounts of liquid.'”

PERMANENT PSYCHOLOGICAL SCARS

  • “…multiple CIA detainees who were subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation methods and extended isolation exhibited psychological and behavioral issues including hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm or mutilation.”

* * * * *

THE MINDSET OF THESE MONSTERS?

Torture of Brinvilliers, 17th CenturyIf a person hasn’t given you the information you want after completely destroying them physically and psychologically, they probably don’t have the information.

DETENTION SITE GREEN: “Our goal was to reach the stage where we have broken any will or ability of subject to resist or deny providing us information…we additionally sought to bring subject to the point that we could confidently assess that he does not/not possess undisclosed…information.”

The exact mindset prevailed during the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Holocaust.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

The report goes to great lengths to avoid implicating former President Bush, claiming he wasn’t briefed until April 8, 2006 at which time he “expressed discomfort with the ‘image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper, and forced to go to the bathroom on himself.” Dick Cheney’s name is conspicuously absent.

The timeline presented by the report is as follows:

“On July 31, 2002, [Condoleezza] Rice informed DCI John McLaughlin that…she would not object to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques if the attorney general deemed them to be legal.”

“On August 2, 2002 the NSC legal adviser informed the DCI’s Chief of Staff that ‘Dr. Rice had been informed that there would be no briefing of the President on this matter’ but that the DCI had policy approval to employ the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.”

“Prior to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah in 2002, the CIA did not brief Secretary of State Colin Powell or Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld…on the techniques.”

“…a year later…senior CIA personnel believed the president had still not been briefed on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques”  (notice how the report makes no mention of Dick Cheney)

“In August 2003, DCI Tenet told the CIA Office of the Inspector General that ‘he had never spoken to the President regarding the detention and interrogation program…nor was he aware of whether the President had been briefed by his staff.'”

“In May, 2004, the CIA Inspector General Special Review included a recommendation for the DCI to ‘brief the President…'”

Tenet responded [by] noting only that ‘the DCI will determine whether and to what extent the President requires a briefing on the Program.'”

Given the standard operating procedure of compartmentalizing operations to maintain maximum deniability for higher ups, I’m not surprised at the report’s conclusion that GW Bush didn’t know about CIA torture until 2006. I’m also not surprised that Dick Cheney, who called for an international moratorium on torture reports when the study was released, isn’t mentioned. Both men should be tried for crimes against humanity for their role in this disgusting chapter of the American Empire.

WHAT THE REPORT MEANS

The report, if not followed by immediate action to rein in the CIA, is meaningless. It’s also nothing new to those who’ve been paying attention. Yet it should be a wake up call to all Americans. We are all ultimately responsible for the nightmare this agency has become and the horror it’s inflicted on the world. When the time comes for us to face the world’s wrath, each of us will have to answer for our culpability. Did we look the other way like the Germans we accused of complacency after World War II? Or did we take a stand?

The Nazis came to power with cash funneled to them by Prescott Bush and others. The CIA grew from the ashes of their destruction. The Agency and the Bush family profited greatly from their involvement with the Nazis. Now their vision of a Fourth Reich in America has been realized, replete with torture, militarized police, brownshirts and lawlessness.

If we can’t stop the beast, if this report becomes nothing more than a blip in the news cycle, we can surely decry our culpability, but we’re all surely doomed in the end.

serpent

Andrea Hackett is an activist, writer and anti-fascist researcher in Las Vegas. She may be contacted on twitter at @andrefed. Reprint by permission. 2014.

 

 

 

 

Five Year Outlook / 2015 – 2020

Every five years the Populist Review examines the prevailing macroeconomic factors and makes predictions based on our evaluations. Previous assessments have predicted the Wall Street crash of 2008, gold’s run-up to $1,000 an ounce and beyond, and the effect of TARP and other central bank bailouts. This time we also examine the geopolitical climate and make predictions based on current trajectories.

Warning! Very few publications attempt this. Making predictions can be very.. well, embarrassing. After all, no one has a crystal ball. Nevertheless, we at the Populist Review have enough faith in our prescient abilities to at least call them the way we see them. Another note: this report was prepared in October, 2014. So if you see inconsistencies (like the “prediction” that Republicans would sweep the election) bear in mind this was written before the election. Here goes:

THE CURRENT SITUATION – UNITED STATES

Interest Rates and Inflation

The Fed has kept interest rates at zero for five years in an effort to inflate the economy. Yet even at this level, GDP is only expected to grow at 2.2% this year, which isn’t enough to service the national debt. Inflation has also missed their mark of 2.0%. That means, despite the bailouts and three rounds of Quantitative Easing (QE), The Fed has failed to forestall the specter of deflation. Yet, despite their abysmal performance and a slowing global economy, The Fed has increased its predictions for growth to 3.0% based on the premise that consumer spending will increase with a drop in commodity prices. This at the same time Walmart slashed its sales forecast by 50%, citing weak consumer spending in the U.S.

Skyrocketing National Debt

The White House projects the national debt will reach $20 trillion by the end of the decade. That’s 140% of GDP. To put that in perspective, Greece – a country synonymous with hopeless debt and fiscal mismanagement – has a Debt-to-GDP ratio of 175%. The reason Greece is singled out for derision and not the U.S. is because the dollar is strong, in part because it’s still the foreign reserve currency of choice. Our economy is also backed by the Chinese whose prosperity is tied to the health of our consumer marketplace. So we have a sugar daddy who’s vested in keeping us solvent and a currency that looks good to investors because everyone other currency is in the toilet.

Fed-Induced Equity Bubble

The U.S. economy appears to be improving because The Fed has created an equity bubble through zero interest rates and its bond buyback (QE) program. An auto market bubble has also been created. The same banks that precipitated the housing crash by writing loans to sub-prime borrowers have been writing the same sub-prime loans for auto loans in the belief loans for lesser amounts have a greater likelihood of being repaid. In other words, the banks learned nothing from the 2008 housing crash and (because they weren’t allowed to fail) have been emboldened to write the exact same risky loans.

The Fed’s actions are analogous to inflating an old bicycle tire. The Fed slashed interest rates and added $4.4 trillion to its balance sheet through QE to inflate the economy (stimulate inflation). All they’ve succeeded in doing is create an equity bubble that’s been doubly supported by lax financial regulation, flat oil prices and leveraged purchases from hedge funds that hold $1.3 trillion in junk bonds. It’s made a lot of people on Wall Street rich and fueled the illusion of prosperity on Main Street (hence the auto bubble), but that illusion, fanned by ever-rosier corporate earnings and employment figures, is just that: an illusion. Neither hold up to realistic analysis.

Unemployment Closer to 15% and Headed Higher

Those ever-rosier employment figures that underpin higher stock prices place unemployment at 5.9%, but everyone knows that’s absurd. Payrolls are up. But many firms hire part time or contract labor with little or no commitment. These jobs can (and will) disappear as quickly as they appeared. Twenty-four states have right-to-work laws that let employers fire employees at any time, without cause or notice. 91 million Americans have given up looking for work. These would-be employees are never calculated when crowing about the unemployment rate. The only place they’re counted is the BLS’ Alternate Measures of Employment report. That report just clocked the unemployment rate at 11.5%.

Yet even 11.5% doesn’t count the people who were forced to retire because they had no income, work part time jobs but want full time, left the job market for school in the hopes of surviving on education grants, are on disability or SSI, or chose self-employment because they couldn’t find a job. When these people are counted the unemployment rate jumps to 15% or higher. The decline in BLS-calculated unemployment is entirely due to people dropping off their tallies.

Working two or more jobs is also commonplace as people scramble to make ends meet. Those who point to current job creation numbers as proof of a strengthening economy fail to take this into account. 250,000 jobs a month might seem like a solid number, but the numbers would have to be twice that or more to meet the current demand for employment. The fact is, unemployment and underemployment is as bad as ever and the bond market seems to agree.

Treasury Bond Yields

Yields on the long bond shot up on news of the decrease in unemployment then shot back down, a move that suggests investors thought twice after reading the statistics. The spread between 5 and 30-year treasury bonds has also decreased significantly, the opposite of what we should see in a recovery. It would appear that the future is not quite as rosy as government statisticians would have us believe, at least according to those who hold government debt.

Consumer Spending

Another bellwether cited as proof of a robust recovery is the return of consumer spending. Though it’s true consumer spending has reached new highs since the recession, that spending reflects a tendency toward malinvestment, not long-term debt. Car sales are up, but only because zero interest rates have spurred banks to make easy loans. Home sales are stagnant, except all-cash sales which account for more than 50% of all home sales. That’s not what’s needed to affect an economic recovery. The mean net worth of the bottom 50% has dropped by half, according to The Fed.

household wealthYet economists insist consumer spending is trending upward. But how? Baby boomers, the largest generation since World War II, have (are) retiring in record numbers. Many got burned in the market in 2008. Those who didn’t are far more protective of their nest egg, if they have one. 74% of all reverse mortgages written since the program began in 1989 were written in the last five years. These retirees aren’t ratcheting up their spending. If anything, they’re scaling back.

That leaves it to the young, working population to spur consumer spending. But many young people are saddled with student debt or have flat wages. They’re also seeing more deductions to pay for an aging population.

There isn’t one indicator that suggests consumer spending will increase in the next five years.

Lagging Home Sales Among Young People

Many young people who’ve seen their parents struggle with foreclosures and bankruptcy have an aversion to home ownership. Yet even without this aversion, they’d find it hard to achieve the American Dream. Student loan debt keeps many from qualifying for a mortgage, a situation that stands at odds with past recoveries. Every past economic recovery has been driven by an increase in housing starts that generated ancillary purchases of furniture, home improvement goods, and a long list of products and services . That isn’t the case today. Only 56% of student loan recipients are even making the payments on their student loans according to a Wall Street Journal article. That means nearly half of all student loan recipients have credit issues that would preclude them from getting a mortgage.

homeownershipWe see this in the inordinate number of homes bought with cash. These homes aren’t being bought by young families. They’re being bought by foreign investors and speculators flush with stock market riches.

So young families won’t be leading us out of the doldrums. And, as we have seen, the ballyhooed increase in home sales has been driven mainly by cash sales, a situation that puts all the more pressure on first-time home buyers.

The increase in housing starts is mainly attributable to multifamily dwellings. Young people are renting, not buying.

The Death of Retail

This new class of renters makes businesses that cater to home owners a poor investment. Retail anchor stores like Lowes, Home Depot, Dillons, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Sears and will continue to face pressure to consolidate their empires and/or close stores, placing more emphasis on online offerings. But even these retail giants will find it difficult to compete with the likes of Amazon.

This means there’s almost no chance of a comeback in retail office space. Shopping malls are dead. With no big anchor stores to lure shoppers, even well-heeled retailers are in trouble. Sbarro’s just closed 180 stores with plans to close a dozen more. Radio Shack is essentially out of business. The Gap closed 20% of its stores. Staples is closing 225 stores, 12% of its total. Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy protection. Office Depot and Office Max have merged. Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale are facing competitors like Forever 21 that offer low-cost, fast turnaround fashion.

Even big box retailers like Walmart and Target face uncertainty. The 3D printing revolution means a variety of products can be manufactured and sold by anyone with access to a 3D printer. Products that can be manufactured include home accessories, resin furniture, plastic toys, car parts, plastic hangars, prosthetics, even a Stradivarius! As 3D printers become more affordable and widespread, they’ll put more pressure on retailers that have the added burden of thin margins, labor costs and overhead. I believe big supply chain outlets like Walmart can weather the storm by offering contractual incentives for exclusive distribution. But such contracts will erode Chinese hegemony in the U.S. marketplace. That may have unforeseen consequences in the arrangement that allows us to thrive while drowning in debt.

Overvalued Tech Stocks

Amazon is trading at a whopping 462 times trailing earnings even as they posted the biggest quarterly net loss since 2003 . Netflix has a P/E ratio of 130. Adobe’s is 77. Facebook’s is 80. With a market cap of $200 billion, investors actually value Facebook more than Ford, Boeing and Starbucks …combined! These stocks are wildly over-valued. So are the salaries they pay their employees. When the correction comes, look for high-paying tech jobs to disappear en masse. $103,000yr for a Social Media Strategist in New York? $60,000yr for a blogger in San Jose?

The Coming Deflation

All this means that a drop in consumer sales is inevitable which will pressure firms to reduce prices and inventory and trim their workforce. This in turn will result in more layoffs which means less sales which means more layoffs. A vicious cycle. It also means reduced orders for imports, which will put pressure on overseas economies like Germany which is flirting with recession, and China which is seeing its slowest growth in decades. A change in fortunes for China may also put pressure on U.S. borrowing which in turn will put pressure on U.S. spending on social programs like Medicare and Social Security.

The Age of Entrepreneurship is Over

The entrepreneurial blitz of the last five years is over. Most successful ventures have been merged or bought outright by large corporations. Unsuccessful ventures, like the endless array of social media platforms that went nowhere, are gone. What happened was the stock market bubble. The entrepreneurial craze was driven by investors with no place to park their cash. They threw money at any venture with a pulse in the hopes it would become the next Pinterest. But as ventures became riskier, angels fled to the safety of equities where the profits were just as lucrative.

The Municipal Crises

The financial crises faced by states and municipalities is getting worse. With a disincentive to raise corporate taxes (especially if they’re trying to lure companies to their state), sales, property, and consumption taxes (and lotteries) have become the prime revenue-generators. Consumption taxes have risen the fastest: food, gasoline, liquor, tobacco, junk food and soft drinks. Taxes on vehicles and big ticket items like boats and mobile homes have risen, too. A list of taxes in the State of New York stretches to three scrollable webpages. All these taxes means less money in consumers’ pockets. With employers paying less for state and local services, municipalities have also increased employment taxes. That means even less money in the hands of employees and less consumer spending.

Privatization has continued unabated as municipalities sell anything that’s not nailed down (highways, bridges, aquifers, elk). Privatized probation has also grown, with private firms deputized to charge exorbitant fees to anyone who’s incarcerated. The incentive for states to jail their citizens is now greater than ever and every citizen convicted of a crime is another citizen who will find it very difficult to find employment. That means more unemployed Americans, less money for states to collect and more visas for foreign workers who send money back to their home countries. It also increases the cycle of crime as marginalized individuals seek alternative ways to support themselves.
Getting people off state-run assistance will continue to be a priority. That means increasing tax incentives to lure potential employers. But competition between states is getting fierce. Winning states often have little to show for their efforts than the hope of bilking future employees through increased taxes and the reduced burden of social assistance.

Politics

Americans are turned off by the political process as never before. That always spells doom for the party in charge. Obama has a 41.5% approval rating, far greater than his predecessor, but hardly enough to ensure a Democratic win in the midterms. Republicans think they have a chance to pick up seats by tying local candidates to his record as president. And they might be right. The electorate will probably ignore the fact that Congress’ approval rating (15%) is due to Republican obstructionism simply to show their disgust with the party in charge.

Military Spending

Military spending has more than doubled since 2001. It now eats up 22% of the national budget. This is extremely beneficial to firms like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, EADS, Finnmeccanica, L-3 Communications, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, BAE Systems, and United Technologies. But it does little to create jobs. U.S military spending is, in essence, welfare for the military-industrial complex, a revolving door that enriches the Pentagon and its military contractors at the expense of the nation. And as everything the government spends is spent with borrowed dollars, the cost is many times greater than the price tag.

This spending, by the greatest debtor nation on earth, is only possible because of China’s willingness to keep lending us money. And that all depends on their access to a lucrative consumer market. If DoD gets the $40 billion they want to fight ISIS (and when haven’t they gotten what they want?), military spending will eat up even more of the budget (see below).

defense

Immigration

Estimates on the number of people living in the United States illegally range from 12 million (on the Left) to 41 million people (on the right). The truth is probably somewhere in between (26.5 million).

According to U.S. Border Patrol statistics, the number of unaccompanied alien children apprehended along the Southwest border was 18,411 in 2010, 15,949 in 2011, 24,403 in 2012, 38,759 in 2013. Numbers aren’t available for 2014, but given the widely reported spike – and steady increase in preceding years – it’s a safe bet numbers are up. The total number of family units apprehended in 2014 in the southwest increased by 412% over last year.

Of those stopped at the borders, a majority have no identification. So it’s impossible to detect who is who. Few report to court within the proscribed 90 days and most disappear into immigrant communities when they’re released.

Ten states have issued special driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. Others are following suit. New York City offers free trips to the Bronx Zoo, the Met and Carnegie Hall. DHS offers free housing. College is now available to the undocumented children of illegal aliens and TSA allows illegal aliens to board flights without proper identification.

The point isn’t whether we should grant special rights to undocumented aliens, it’s that granting recognition to illegal aliens incentivizes émigrés to enter the U.S illegally. This means illegal immigration to the U.S. won’t end anytime soon. So it’s reasonable to assume that this influx of largely unskilled workers will continue to put downward pressure on wages. It also means cash-strapped municipalities will continue to have problems providing services. Schools have to juggle slashed budgets to deal with bloated numbers of kids. Public medical facilities (to the extent there’s any left) will have to scramble to provide health care. The nation’s highway system, virtually unchanged since the ‘50’s, is crumbling under the weight of additional traffic.

Of great interest is DoD’s recent decision to allow illegal aliens to serve in the military. We suspect this is a shrewd move to get illegal immigrants to fight American wars. If a path to citizenship is tied to military service, which we suspect it will be, what could these enlistees do? The specter of deportation would keep them from dissent and ensure their compliance with the most heinous acts.

Wages & Jobs

Wages are the crucial flaw in the argument for a sustained recovery. Wage growth has been almost flat since 2010 and lags far behind pre-recession levels. Higher paid tech jobs are largely underwritten by the high-flying valuation of tech stocks. If the value of these stocks decreases, layoffs could be imminent. An inordinate number of foreign workers have also been brought in on visas to fill those positions.

wage-growthAt a minimum job seekers today must have a college degree to have any hope of a job with a living wage. Even then, the bump in wages is offset by the prohibitive cost of college and interest on student loans. Those without degrees are left to compete with the influx of illegal aliens and economic forces that pit them against underpaid workers overseas.

Growing Trade Deficits with China

China’s growing trade deficit with the U.S. has eliminated nearly 3 million U.S. jobs since they entered W.T.O. including 2.3 million manufacturing jobs. The growing trade deficit has also lowered wages in the U.S. by pushing people out of high-paying manufacturing jobs and forcing them to compete with poorly paid Chinese workers (above).

Climate Change

climateClimate change is another major consideration. The Arctic ice cap is melting and the great glacier above Greenland is thinning, both with incredible speed. The oceans are more acidic. Their level is rising. Hurricanes and cyclones have become more powerful. The Amazon’s great rainforest is drying out on its margins. The great boreal forest of North America will be dead in a matter of years. More than half the species on earth are already extinct.

 

Water Shortage and Drought

The Colorado River is drying up. The water basin, which would normally replace it, has been sucked dry by thousands of wells . Two-thirds of the water lost in the last nine years went to wells. Unlike surface water, groundwater basins can take a century to replenish. To make matters worse, scientists at Cal Tech, U.C.-Irvine, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and NASA have calculated that federal officials allocated 30% more water than was actually available in recent years. That extra water came from the basin.

Estimates now say the river could be dry in as little as three years. That’s bad news for Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Los Angeles and San Diego which rely heavily on the river for water. It’s especially bad for Californians (who never implemented groundwater management rules) as they finish year three of the worst drought since 1159. And the drought may last decades or longer. Tree rings show 10-20 year droughts are common in California with one drought lasting an astounding 240 years!

nw-utilitiesThe Northwest gets 70% of its electricity from hydroelectric plants. Reduced snow packs and stream flows are reducing electrical capacity for the region at a time when the population is expanding.

In the Northwest, snow packs rather than reservoirs are the predominant way water is stored. It’s released by warming temperatures. Therefore, any variation in the warming and cooling season directly affects available water resources.

Agriculture, especially fruit (apple) production is currently being impacted by higher temperatures and attendant pest and disease attacks.

At present, average residential water prices per month (left) range from $26.50 in Vancouver to over $70.00 in Seattle. This could change in the future as the climate continues to warm.

Wildfires

With drought comes fire and wildfires in California, though not at historic levels, are noteworthy due to the increasing number of fires at low elevations (crown fires). Unlike mountain, or high elevation, fires, these fires alter the ecosystems they destroy. They’re also caused by people 95% of the time. So they can be reduced through education and public awareness. Fires are nothing new on the west coast, but they compound the problems California, lower Oregon and upper Nevada face in the coming five years.

Volcanoes and Earthquakes

Less predictable are volcanoes and earthquakes. A report just released by the State of Oregon says a major earthquake along the fault line off the Oregon Coast is a very real possibility. This would greatly impact, not only the coast, but far inland beyond Portland in the case of a major tsunami.

Mt. Rainier is said to be active again, as is Mt St. Helens. The caldera at Yellowstone is showing signs of being active, too. And though not necessarily indicative of an imminent eruption, there have been 141 quakes in the last 90 days in the Newberry Volcano area south of Bend, Oregon, 28 quakes around Mt. St. Helens and 21 quakes around Mt. Rainier.

Rising Sea Levels

Sea levels have risen more than at any time in the last 6,000 years, and there’s every reason to believe they will continue. The east coast is expected to see severe flooding events triple in the next 15 years with a tenfold increase over the next 30 years according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Both coasts could see a 1 ft. rise in sea levels by 2020. That would submerge Long Beach, reduce Miami Beach and Key Biscayne by 50%, submerge south Manhattan (the Battery) all the way up to West Street and Water Street on the either side and submerge most beaches on Long Island’s south shore.

Heat Waves

The Midwest is going through climate changes, too. Long, hot summers and mild winters have become the norm. Ticks and mosquitos spreading Lyme’s disease and West Nile virus are increasing in number. Ozone levels are increasing in the hot, stagnant air. Precipitation is coming in large, fast downpours, increasing flood risks. The last three decades have been the wettest on record for the Midwest. Wetter conditions make it more difficult for farmers to plant their crops. Higher temperatures stress livestock.
Temperatures in the Southwest are projected to rise by 8 degrees by the end of the century. Already snow packs are disappearing, resulting in reduced stream flows especially in the spring.

SUMMARY OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC SITUATION IN THE U.S. / 2014

• Since 2008 The Fed has used every tool at their disposal to reinflate the economy. They’ve succeeded in creating asset bubbles in the stock market and market for new car loans. They’ve failed to achieve their target of 2% inflation
• The national debt is on track to hit $20 trillion by 2020
• Real unemployment is 15% or higher
• Modest increases in home sales are driven by cash sales
• Cash sales increase the difficulty for first-time buyers
• Retiring baby boomers are down-sizing
• Young people are saddled with debt and stagnant wages
• 56% of student loan recipients aren’t even making the payments
• Paychecks deductions are increasing to pay for an aging population
• Malls are dying; retailers are going bankrupt
• 3D printing threatens big box retailers
• Tech stocks are wildly over-valued
• Prices are dropping due to lower consumer demand
• Lower prices mean layoffs which lead to less consumer demand
• Shifting consumer habits spell uncertainty for our running tab with China
• The age of entrepreneurship is over
• Municipalities’ financial crises are getting worse, not better
• Local taxes are increasing, putting further pressure on consumer spending
• Privatizing prisons and probation is leading to more incarcerations
• More incarcerations mean fewer employable people and more foreign visas
• States are competing for potential employers by waiving taxation
• Lower corporate and property taxes mean increased consumer taxes
• Increased consumer taxes mean less money to buy goods and services
• Less consumer spending means lower prices, layoffs, lower demand, vicious cycle
• Military spending saps 22% of the national budget, adds few jobs
• Not once indicator points to increased consumer spending in the next five years
• Wages are stagnant – high paying tech jobs are contingent on high-flying stock valuations
• Non-college workers must compete with dirt poor overseas wages
• China’s trade imbalance has erased 3 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
• The Colorado River is drying up and expected to be bone dry in three years
• California’s drought could last more than 20 years
• The entire Cascade range is becoming unstable with volcanos and earthquakes
• Rising sea levels threaten coastal areas on the east and west coast
• Midwest heat waves are impacting agriculture and livestock
• Increased heat and reduced stream flows spell trouble for the SW’s water supply
• The NW’s hydroelectric capacity is threatened by reduced stream flows, increased population

THE CURRENT SITUATION – EUROPE

Mired in Debt

The European Union owes €10,320,106,100,000. That’s 10.320 trillion euros. Nine of the European Union’s seventeen countries are in recession: Spain, France, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and Slovenia. Spain, Greece, Slovenia and Slovakia are already in deflation, as are Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria outside the Eurozone. Germany is flirting with recession as their export model falters with a slowing global economy. European factories are slashing prices. The IMF gives the EU a 30% chance of deflation. Twenty five European banks failed a recent stress test for not having enough capital to cover potential losses.

Quantitative Easing

Mario Draghi, head of the ECB, has announced his intention to expand the central bank’s balance sheet to €1 trillion in asset-backed bonds (QE-Lite) but resistance to Draghi has been palpable. Germany has gone so far as to take the ECB to court over the legality of Draghi’s actions in 2012 when he propped up the euro (successfully). Merkel has stated flatly that Germany will balance its budget without increased spending and that the ECB should not be allowed to buy sovereign debt.

Yet given the dire economic data coming out of the EU, an increase in the ECB’s current QE program is inevitable, with or without Merkel’s blessing. Lending is at abysmal levels. Banks are clogged with sovereign debt with practically no yields. At some point the ECB will have to start taking some of this debt on its balance sheets. However, many question Draghi’s ability to deliver on his promise to “do whatever it takes” to rescue the economy.
Exporting Deflation (The Global Hot Potato)

If Draghi prevails, it could be an opportunity to export Europe’s deflation to the U.S. who – we should remember – exported it first to Europe in the form of toxic mortgage-backed securities. That’s one reason I believe U.S. investors have been so jittery. The Fed can’t lower interest rates more than zero. So the only tool they have left is Quantitative Easing. If they’re unwilling, or unable, to fire up another round of QE, the ECB could increase their current QE and effectively devalue the euro, boost exports, and create the same frothy bubbles The Fed did in the U.S. It wouldn’t fix the problem. But it would export it to America. And that’s exactly what the Japanese have been doing for ten years.
I think this scenario will eventually prevail. If not, the EU as a whole could enter a very long period of deflation just like Japan’s “lost decade.”

Russia and The Ukraine

Adding to the EU’s economic woes are sanctions against Russia, Putin’s threat to cut off gas to Europe which gets 15% of its gas from Russia, and the C.I.A.’s warmongering in the region. All threaten Europe’s stability and safety. All put extra pressure on the EU.

THE CURRENT SITUATION – CHINA

Economic Growth

China’s economy is slowing. Current estimates peg Chinese economic growth at 4% which is a far cry from the halcyon days of 2007 when growth was greater than 14%. Investment and net exports have declined while consumption and wages rose. Reduced exports were offset by a reduction in construction. Inflation is at a 1.7%, a 5-year low, which has dire implications for the global economy as a whole, especially in light of the EU’s financial mess.

Slumping Real Estate Values

The real estate market accounts for 15% of China’s economy. They’ve just seen a four-month drop in property values which spurred the government to reduce mortgage rates and down payment requirements, and increase financing for cash-strapped developers. It also injected $500 billion of liquidity into the country’s five largest banks. But a glut of unsold homes still threaten the market. The housing downturn has dampened consumer spending and could have implications for iron and copper ore prices, too.

The Hong Kong Situation

Nearly two-third of mainland China’s foreign direct investment comes through Hong Kong. Chinese companies raise a significant part of their financing through the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. But recent protests threaten the city’s image as a paragon of democracy. At issue is the fact that Hong Kong’s ten richest men enjoy all the spoils of China’s annexation. Everyone else has seen stagnant wages and increased costs for housing and consumer goods. If things go badly in Hong Kong, which they seem to be, irreparable harm could be done to the city’s image as a democratic financial center, causing expatriates to flee. This is doubly troubling to China because they’ve been building a two-way link between Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets to give foreign investors their first direct link to shares in hundreds of mainland companies.
China, in true form, has been deadset against any reforms or even dialog. But that may be changing.

OUTLOOK FOR THE UNITED STATES

Increased Real Estate Prices

As we predicted in our last forecast, the carpetbaggers are here. Homes are being snapped up by foreign investors and rented to a generation locked out of the American Dream. That means prices are no longer tied to wages, they’re tied to rents. So what appears to be a bubble is actually a structural shift in the fundamentals. Home prices will continue to rise despite the coming stock market fall with high priced rental markets leading the way. Traditional homeowners will find it easier to sell their homes if they rent them first, demonstrating their potential to produce income. Condo and townhouse prices will also rise in the short term.

Debt-to-income ratios are limited to 28% of a loan applicant’s income with back end ratios limited to 36%. But not rents. Rents are market based. That means they can rise to whatever the market will bear. If rent equals 50% or more of an applicant’s income, there’s no constraints. Renters can enter into an agreement as long as they say they can meet the payments. This lays the groundwork for huge gains in home prices depending on the market. It also lays the groundwork for broken lease agreements. Walking away from leases will become as common as walking away from mortgages in the post-2008 environment.

The fever to buy real estate will reach bubble heights when cash pours from Wall Street following a market correction and when the “little guy” starts snapping up rental properties. This is when foreign investors will unwind their positions. It’ll be time to get out. Smart investors will know prices have exceeded the consumer’s ability to pay and will realize profits.

Decreased Home Ownership

Home ownership will fall drastically as banks shun all but the most credit-worthy borrowers. Politicians eager to ingratiate themselves with voters will cry foul. Banks will insist that onerous regulations instituted since 2008 make mortgages too costly to write for those with credit scores below 750. Congress will agree. A Republican-controlled government will eliminate all post-2008 banking regulations, but it won’t matter. The Fed under Janet Yellen will have stricter capital requirements for banks to avert a return to sub-prime lending. So even with no regulation, banks will still require hefty down payments from those with less than stellar credit to offset their capital requirements.

Stagnant wages, student loan defaults, the proliferation of cash-only sales, unemployment and large down payment requirements will all conspire to decrease the number of first time home buyers.

Increased Utility Prices

As rivers dry up and snow packs disappear water will grow scarcer. Water prices will skyrocket for cities like Las Vegas, San Diego, Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. They will also skyrocket for municipalities under bankruptcy protection as we’ve seen in Detroit. Vegas, which is insanely overbuilt, will be particularly hard hit. I look for Vegas to go the way of Atlantic City over the next five years.

States like Nevada and Arizona, which have yet to recover from the bust of ‘08, have a double-whammy, in that they consume large amounts of electricity for air conditioning. As heat waves become longer and more severe, this demand will run up against dwindling water supplies. It already is. This will only drive prices higher, reducing the region’s affordability. The ability to raise rents will be capped by persistent unemployment, traditionally low wages and increases in monopolized utility rates.

Reduced Consumer Spending

Rent and utilities will eat more and more household income as prices for both increase. Stagnant wages and increased layoffs will create even more pressure for consumers to rein in spending. I agree with Walmart’s assessment that consumer spending will drop nearly 50% in the coming years. I see no chance consumer spending will save us from deflation and even less chance the U.S. consumer market can or will carry a slowing global economy. There are currently 47 million Americans living in poverty, the highest number in two decades. That isn’t a recipe for increased consumer spending.

Another fallacy is the notion that falling gas prices will stimulate future consumer spending by increasing discretionary income. Prices are falling in large part because of reduced consumer demand. 15% of the population no longer commutes to work. Those who do, increasingly use hybrids, mopeds, bicycles or mass transit. Others work remotely.

Demand-side consumption has dropped because consumers don’t need as much gas or don’t have the money to pay for it. If they don’t have the money to pay for it, they don’t have discretionary income. If they need less gas, they’ve obviously taken steps to reduce their consumption. Such consumers aren’t inclined toward increased spending. They’re inclined toward searching out new ways to reduce expenses. Going forward, gasoline will be viewed as more of a discretionary expense as alternatives become cheaper and widespread.

Falling Commodity Prices

falling-commoditiesOn the supply side, there’s a global glut of oil. The U.S. is producing more oil than at any time in the last thirty years. Global economic woes have everyone pumping oil like crazy. With the glut in supply and major reductions in demand, I see nothing to alleviate downward pressure on prices. I look for oil to drop below $50 a barrel and expect gas station closures to be widespread.

Food on the other hand is a necessity. So prices have a natural floor. Consumers don’t put off food purchases in the hopes of lower prices (as some economists would have us believe). They change their habits. If orange juice becomes too expensive, they switch to fruit juice. If chocolate becomes too pricey, they do without.

A drop in commodity prices follows a drop in consumer demand which feeds on itself (deflation), and consumer demand is down everywhere. Central banks can’t stimulate consumer demand. They can only create asset bubbles which temporarily stimulate demand on the premise that things are improving. This causes malinvestment because people spend money they shouldn’t. When the bubble breaks, they realize they assumed too much debt and try to unwind their position. When everyone’s doing the same thing, prices tumble. This deleveraging is what we’ll see going forward.

Precious Metals

Inflation is nowhere in sight. Given The Fed’s failure to spur inflation to their modest target of 2%, I see no threat of inflation. Deflation (negative inflation) is the threat. So I don’t see the fundamentals in place for a run-up in precious metals. We’ll see a modest rally in the $200-$300 range when the market tanks. But this will be driven by safe haven buying and the mistaken view that metals provide shelter in a deflationary spiral. The underlying fundamentals – loss of faith in the greenback, threat of high inflation – will not be there.
Efforts to spur inflation will be even less successful with everyone playing the QE game. I see gold trending downward and the dollar’s strength increasing no matter how much money The Fed prints or how many bonds they buy. Falling prices equate to strengthening currencies. Regardless of why they fall, prices fall in relation to money. And with the global economy sinking under trillions in unpayable debts, money can only become more valuable.

Corporate Earnings

Higher corporate earnings have been used to justify greater and greater risk while those earnings have been buoyed by stock buybacks, refinancing and lower tax rates. Extending zero interest rates won’t help. Any debt that could be refinanced already has. Investors, alert to global deflation, have a reduced appetite for risk. Anyone who thinks P/E ratios in the tech sector are achievable is deluding themselves. The longest bull market in history cannot continue with a mere one-month, 700-point correction. Once the accounting tricks run out, earnings projections will drop. When they do, equity prices have nowhere to go but down.

If stocks fall to anywhere near their true valuation, tech and banking stocks in particular, margin calls from leveraged hedge funds will spark a massive selloff (as just happened). Hedge funds, currently leveraged at 2.6 times capital on hand, is not unusual. But unwinding those leveraged positions will exaggerate the downturn, which feeds on itself.
Companies with earnings tied to the U.S. consumer will be the hardest hit. Banks with exposure to toxic car loans, credit card companies with exposure to soured consumer loans, tech companies with insane valuations and consumer-driven earnings expectations, retail stocks, auto stocks, even online retailers will lead the pack south. I suspect we’ll see bank failures again, but I don’t see Yellen coming to the rescue with anything like TARP. She’s proven to be something of a Robin Hood on the side of the 99%. I don’t see The Fed under her tutelage thinking any bank is too big to fail.
Countries that are overly dependent on the U.S consumer can expect trouble, especially Germany whose export model is based on everyone else’s economy doing well.
In short, I don’t believe corporate earnings estimates. I think the numbers are fudged to ensure bonuses for managers and maintain high stock valuations. I also think the underlying fiction of an economic recovery and a U.S. consumer who will buoy sales long into the future is pure fiction.

Retail

I wouldn’t own retail stocks if you paid me. Brick and mortar stores, no matter how well they’re managed, haven’t got a prayer. Every economic force is gathered against them. I look for massive store closures in the next five years with the only survivors being warehouse outlets, discount stores and stores that sell products that can’t be effectively bought online. Stores in locations with captive consumers are exceptions like cruise ships or tourist destinations.

Walmart will close a huge number of stores and tweak supply chains to match reduced consumer demand. Target will go under. Best Buy will go under. Home depot will survive but they’ll be hard hit by the reduction in traditional homeowners. Their marketing focus will need to shift to property managers and investors prepping homes for resale. Look for their stock price to tumble.

Fast food restaurants are also in trouble, though less so. Lower consumer spending means less discretionary income which translates into reduced fast food sales. I see an overall reduction in fast food outlets nationwide. As malls and big box stores close, so will fast food outlets. Starbucks is in an especially poor position heading into deflation. There’s no way reduced consumer demand will support a Starbucks in every mall and on every corner. I look for an overall reduction in stores, beginning with outlets in malls and big box retailers.

The Fed

The Fed is out of ammunition and QE is ending this month (October, 2014). There’s a reluctance on the part of its members to add more debt to The Fed’s bloated balance sheet ($4.4 trillion) and they’re deluded into thinking the job market is improving. I suspect we’ll see a fourth round of QE in 2015.

But will a continuation of QE do anything but postpone a stock market crash? Deflationary winds are blowing at us from every direction. Japan has been using QE to effectively export their deflation for decades, debasing the yen, lowering exchange rates, and infuriating U.S. car manufacturers in the process. Europe will be “all in” by 2015. They have no choice. Sovereign debt has choked lending to a trickle. Merkel will have to capitulate. China has kept the yuan artificially low for years, flooding the U.S. with cheap products and transferring millions of manufacturing jobs to their shores. They’ve also embarked on their own stimulus measures. There’s no way the U.S. consumer can carry the global economy with the kind and number of jobs being created.

Once everyone’s using the same currency debasement strategy, protectionism will be the only chip left to play. I see Europe, Japan and China increasing their use of import tariffs and duties to protect their industries (thus their tax base). China will be especially aggressive and feel justified in the face of reduced U.S. imports and escalating U.S. debt. With each economy trying to pass the deflationary “Queen of Spades,” populism will gain traction.

Interest Rates

The Fed will postpone an interest rate hike indefinitely. There’s no way they want a strong dollar in the face of all this global currency debasement. Foreign capital is flowing into the dollar and dollar-denominated assets at a record pace as global investors search for a safe haven. Raising interest rates would only increase this flow and make our exports prohibitively expensive. I see a very low probability of an interest rate hike before after the 2016 election.

Republican Control

Republicans will win the House and the Senate. That means another two years of accusations, gridlock and Executive Orders. Jeb Bush will win the White House in 2016 (as planned in 2008 when Obama was ordained to continue Bush policies under a Democratic label). With Republicans in complete control of the government, the first hundred days will be hailed as a relief from years of stagnation. Bills that decimate social programs will sail through Congress.

I suspect the earliest retirement age for Social Security will be increased to 65 with full retirement upped to age 72, the age most Americans die. Food stamps and TANF benefits will be contingent on passing drug tests and having a job, an unlikely scenario for many on the bottom rung of society. That means increased crime, gangs, riots, police, random shootings, suicides and hunger.

Pell grants will no longer have mandatory funding. Funding levels will be decided by a Republican triumvirate that will slash, if not end, all funding. The long-term unemployed who chose school to avoid homelessness will be thrown out of college. Tens of thousands of college students will be dumped onto the streets to look for work with incomplete degrees. Higher education will be accessible only to the rich. Online education will be the option for everyone else. Those with online degrees won’t see the same bump in wages. A permanent caste system will evolve in the workplace with different wages for the same work.

I also look for revisions to the tax code with reductions in the Earned Income Tax Credit which now cost the federal government $55 billion per year and the Refundable Child Credit which costs $22.6 billion. The so-called “Death Tax” will be rescinded, leaving heirs to the 1%’s fortunes even wealthier than their parents. This will further widen income inequality making it even less likely the (middle class?) will spur growth assumptions.
The mortgage deduction will remain, but it will be increasingly meaningless as fewer Americans can meet the down payment and credit score requirements.

Contrived Terror Threat

I expect another contrived terror event to justify the elimination of all Bill of Rights protections and crack down on dissent while directing popular anger toward a foreign scapegoat (Russia?).

The Internet

Net neutrality will become analogous to the Golden Age of Television. Prices will soar for monopolized broadband. Harsh penalties will be enacted by Congress for “online terrorism” with vague language to chill online dissent. Several high profile cases will be prosecuted to show the government means business. This will break the back of organized dissent. The internet will assume its inevitable fate as a forum for shopping, chatting, streaming movies and music, swapping pet photos with your friends and reading the news.

Gangs, Police & Drug Crime

Federal agencies in cahoots with drug cartels have spawned a reluctance on the part of doctors to write prescriptions for painkillers. This will result in a spike in street drug use which, combined with increased unemployment and the elimination of social programs, will fan an explosion in gang activity.

But the worst gangs will be the police. Armed to the teeth by DoD and DHS, I look for police to become similar to death squads. Disappearances will become more commonplace as dissidents are simply whisked off in the middle of the night. Martial law will become so common it’ll barely rate a headline. And Americans will cheer all the way as the last of their rights are rescinded.

World War

Outside of social issues, it no longer matters who occupies the White House or Congress. Both parties do whatever they’re told by the Pentagon, CIA and the families who control America . With economic war all but assured, global war can’t be far off.

We can’t attack China, even though we’d like to (and we have them surrounded), because they hold the purse strings. We’re already in Afghanistan (which we’ll never leave because the military controls the poppy fields). We’re already in Iraq, Syria, Kurdistan and everywhere else in the Middle East. So we’re in position to attack Iran. But it won’t happen. Iran’s position has been softening toward the West and even though the Republicans will want to play hardball to gain back their foreign policy cred, I suspect they’ll go along with Iran participating in some ridiculous NATO incursion, and Iran will do it just to prove sanctions should be lifted.

So if you leave out North Korea (and, of course, you should) the only logical target is Russia.

Republicans in the White House don’t usually wait to start major wars. So I look for a shooting war with Russia no later than 2017. That will solidify the need to crack down on dissidents in the U.S. It will also justify huge increases in the military budget and lift Wall Street (and oil) out of its doldrums. The smart money will be invested in oil and defense stocks before the 2016 elections.

Illegal aliens will swell the ranks of the armed services when Jeb Bush & Co. pass a path to citizenship for all who enlist. This will sway millions of Latino voters to the Republican Party with Democrats cast as the party that couldn’t deliver the “dream.” But the dream will become a nightmare for those involved in our war with Russia.

ECONOMIC FORECAST

• Interest rates will remain at zero for at least 18 months

• ECB will increase its balance sheet to include sovereign debt (QE), easing investor jitters

• Republicans will win both houses of Congress

• The stock market will reach new heights by the end of 2014

• Lackluster holiday sales will call high stock valuations into question

• A steep stock market decline will follow the release of holiday sales figures (Feb 2015?)

• The Fed will restart QE

• Investors will shift from the market to real estate as a new housing bubble grows

• Countries whose exports depend on a healthy U.S. consumer are in trouble

• Global markets will decline with a sobering look at U.S. consumer demand

• Countries will introduce new tariffs and duties to protect their industries

• Real estate prices will rise to meet the market’s tolerance for higher rents

• Home ownership will drop

• Lower stock valuations and reduced consumer demand mean price cutting

• As prices are cut, layoffs will follow, reducing consumer demand further

• Deflation talk will begin again as global QE efforts fail to kick start inflation

• Precious metals will drop as inflation is nowhere in sight

• The Fed will start aggressively pumping up the money supply but it won’t increase inflation

• Anger with Democrats will assure a Republican landslide (mandate)

• The stock market will recover with defense and financial stocks leading the charge

• Republicans will control all branches of government

• Armed with a mandate, social programs will be mercilessly cut

PREDICTIONS

• A contrived terror event will direct popular rage at Russia

• Oil and precious metals will rise

• Leaks and online dissent will be dealt with harshly; rights will be greatly curtailed

• A path to citizenship that includes military service will be quickly enacted

• NATO forces will move into the Ukraine from Poland and Romania

• Gazprom will cut gas to Europe causing widespread riots against the U.S.

• Iran will boosts gas sales to Europe as the U.S. lifts sanctions

• Georgia will join the EU and NATO; NATO will send in nuclear missiles and personnel

• NATO forces will take Crimea in the spring of 2018

• China will seize the Senaku Islands to test the new president (Bush)

• The U.S. will send carriers and bombers to the South China Sea, but the focus will remain Russia

• Believing their ABM systems in Eastern Europe can protect against retaliation, the U.S. will launch a Prompt Global Strike (PGS) against Russian targets, knocking out 30% of their nuclear capability

• The Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Georgia, with U.S. weaponry and acting on C.I.A. orders, will follow with simultaneous nuclear attacks on multiple Russian targets

• The Russians will shoot down many of the nuclear missiles, but Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibursk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Samar, Omsk and Kazan will be hit

• Russian “black hole” submarines (SLBMs with a range of 6,213 miles) off the east coast will respond by annihilating New York, Washington, Langley, VA, the Pentagon and key military installations up and down the east coast (these subs are currently undetectable)

• Missiles will also be launched against Kiev, Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz, Szczecin, Gdansk, Bucharest, Vilnius and Helsinki (all culpable in the attacks)

• The Chinese, who currently have a secret treaty with Russia, will set off an HEMP (high altitude electro-magnetic pulse) atomic bomb over Hawaii, Los Angeles and Seattle, knocking out their power grids; cyber attacks will follow to further disrupt military communications

• North Korea, on Chinese orders, will nuke Tokyo and Seoul, sending ground troops to retake South Korea

• With U.S. military communications in disarray, the Chinese navy will launch a 3-pronged attack into the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji , Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands to the south, Japan, Okinawa and to the north, the Marshall islands, Wake and Midway islands and Hawaii to the east

targeted-cities

• NATO forces in Europe will recollect to attack Russia, but conditions have changed

• The sky will be permanently dark from soot from the nuclear detonations; temperatures will fall below zero even during the day

• Nuclear fallout will drift from the east coast across the southeast and Midwest, from Los Angeles across the southwest, and from Seattle south

• The millions of dead will be joined every day by those dying of radiation poisoning, burns and starvation

• The Chinese navy will wait at sea until the worst of the fallout is over

• American hegemony will have ended in disaster; the planet will be plunged into a new Ice Age

• Many will survive, but the world will be very different by 2020

• Very few will make it the 80 years necessary to outlive the fallout

Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

serpent

Andrea Hackett is a researcher, freelance writer, economics buff and anti-fascist activist. She may be contacted via twitter @andreafed or by commenting to this blog. Reprint by permission only.

 

The Police State v. The Constitution

ferguson-military-pigsIn the past week, month, year, years we’ve witnessed the horrors of a police state that is now militarily armed and driven by the goals of a ruling class. Those goals include the systematic eradication of black citizens and the oppression of all who stand in their way. They serve the interests of the 1% in several ways:

  • they contain black communities where revolution could easily start
  • they keep the population divided by race
  • they flush out activists who threaten their Absolute Power
  • they demonstrate contempt for the Constitution
  • they demonstrate a willingness to disregard any law and all individual liberties
  • they send a message that they will not tolerate any challenge to their Authority

It’s clear to the world that our Government is no longer answerable to the people and has become despotic and tyrannical. The Founders encountered this dilemma in 1776. Their grievances, listed in the Declaration of Independence, have a familiar ring:

“…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

king-georgeIt lists abuses inflicted by the King of England:

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”

[King George refused to approve laws that benefitted the Colonists – today that would be refusing to pass laws that benefit those trampled by Wall Street or minimum wage laws or laws that strengthen our personal liberties]

“He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them”

[the Colonists’ laws could never get passed without the King’s approval which he never gave – today, partisan obstructionism is blamed for laws that never get passed, but it’s all theater; the King made the rules then; the 1% make the rules today]

“He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only”

[no law could be passed unless Colonists dissolved their own representative groups – we have no representative groups today; Occupy Wall Street was creating such groups when they were violently suppressed]

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

[the King established an expanding bureaucracy and oppressive police presence – that should sound familiar]

“He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.”

[the King kept “standing armies” in times of peace – like the militarized police, national guard troops, armed federal agents and other “standing armies” we encounter every day whose presence is loosely justified by vague wars invented by the state to strengthen its tyrannical grip]

 “He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.”

[the King removed the military from all effective civilian oversight – Truman did this when he forged all branches of the military into the CIA with no civilian oversight; examples of the CIA and Joint Chiefs operating “independent to the civil power” are so numerous it would take volumes to document]

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

[the King and Parliament just invented laws as they went along – that’s standard operating procedure today.. the Government at all levels creates its own laws as it sees fit, starting wars, entering into agreements with other nations and armies without civilian input, inventing new rules for the press when covering dissent, handing out billions in taxpayer-backed bailouts to Wall Street, ad nauseum]

“For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:  For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States”

[the Crown held mock trials for “armed troops” accused of murder and protected them from all punishment – this should sound painfully familiar to anyone who just witnessed the Grand Jury’s refusal to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown]

“He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.”

[instead of serving and protecting the people, the Crown assaulted the Colonists’ liberties and property, effectively declaring war on them – this too should sound painfully familiar in an age where police murder citizens almost every day, steal millions in cash and property through bogus “asset forfeiture” laws, operate outside the constitution with near impunity and incarcerate people at a rate unprecedented in human history]

“He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.”

[King George hired foreign mercenaries to fight the Colonists – today foreign mercenaries like International Services, Inc and Instinctive Shooting International are increasing used by local governments to supplement domestic police operations]

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

[the Colonists absolved themselves of all allegiance to the Crown, dissolved their connection with Britain, and established themselves as a free and independent nation]

declaration-indepenceRichard Henry Lee, my ancestor, put forth the above motion to declare independence from England. He also signed the Declaration of Independence and fought in the Revolutionary War.

I think he’d agree we’re at a crossroads.

The states, through their use of tyrannical “armed forces,” and the federal government, by arming those forces and taking no action to intervene against intolerable abuses, have effectively declared war on the people. As such, it’s important we stand united as we move forward in this dangerous chapter of American history.

This isn’t a black issue, even though black communities are being directly targeted. This isn’t a Ferguson issue, even though Ferguson is where the rage is centered. This is an issue of militarized police preying on American citizens without regard for the Constitution or civilian authority. In that context, this is most certainly a collective dilemma.

serpent

Andrea Lee Hackett is an author, researcher and anti-fascist activist currently living in Las Vegas. She may be contacted through her twitter account @andreafed or by comments to this blog. Reprint by permission.

The Most Diabolic Empire on Earth

diabolical

There has never been a more powerful evil loosed upon humanity. Its tentacles reach into every corner of the globe. Its wealth draws from the plunder of the ages and the take from a thousand forms of corruption. To underestimate it, is to acquiesce. To believe it can be stopped through protest or enlightenment, is to live a fool’s dream. It doesn’t play by the rules. Expediency is its only master. Its foot soldiers have no allegiance. They cannot be stopped by democratic means.

This evil has been called the Beast, the Hydra, the Octopus, a wild animal. It roams from Berlin to Dallas, Manila to Washington …Marseilles to Baghdad, Vatican City to Mogadishu …Rabat to Szymany, Bagram to Langley… always shape-shifting, always lurking in the shadows, the jungles, the rooftops, the hills, erasing its tracks, hiding in plain sight, mutating, replicating, metastacizing, its eyes and ears everywhere. “It’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” as Churchill once said of the U.S.S.R.

But it’s not Russia that poses this threat to mankind.

* * * * * * *

In his book In Search of Enemies, John Stockwell, former Chief of CIA Angola Task Force, describes the birth of the Central Intelligence Agency:

“The CIA’s authority to run covert operations was solely dependent on a vague phrase in the National Security Act of 1947 which read: ‘to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.’” [1] [2]

That vague phrase, signed into law by President Truman, has led to the deaths of millions of people over the last sixty-five years… deaths that were accurately characterized by author and former State Department official, Howard Blum, as the “American Holocaust.” [3] We can thank Truman for that. We can also thank him for handing our democracy to a military junta.

How exactly did we end up with Truman?

Truman was hand-picked by a group of anti-labor conspirators in top positions at the DNC at the 1944 convention. They knew, as everyone did, that FDR would probably die in office during his fourth term and that his successor would shape the post-war world. They were determined to prevent a continuation of FDR’s social and foreign policies by blocking the nomination of pro-labor, anti-fascist Henry Wallace – the guy at the center of FDR’s New Deal, the guy who started Food Stamps, the guy who started economic support for small farmers, the guy whose whole life was about economic fairness, the guy who actually had good things to say about Russia.

The conspirators were:

Edwin Pauley

Edwin Pauley, determined to stop Wallace

  • Edwin Pauley, Democratic Party Treasurer (and rich oil tycoon), who was actually a right wing mole who spied on the Roosevelt Administration and Democratic Party for Allen Dulles, helped Dulles smuggle Nazi loot out of post-war Germany, undid the harsh Nazi reparations established by FDR, helped Ronald Reagan get elected, rooted out “commies” at UC Berkeley [4] and had business dealings with GHW Bush’s Zapata Oil, a CIA front.

    Pa Watson

    Pa Watson

  • Maj. Gen. Edwin M. (Pa) Watson, FDR’s Appointments Secretary who ensured a steady stream of Wallace-hating visitors and kept Wallace supporters from seeing the president
  • Robert Hannagan, chairman of the Democratic National Committee who was instrumental in getting Truman elected in Missouri

 

  • Oscar R. Jack Ewing, Vice Chair, Democratic Party
  • Charles Michelson, Publicity Director, Democratic Party
  • George Allen, National Secretary, Democratic Party
  • Frank Walker, Postmaster General, US
  • Edward Kelly, Mayor of Chicago

They all wanted a successor who would take the country in a different direction – a much different direction – a pro-business, anti-labor, anti-Soviet direction. And they weren’t alone. J. Edgar Hoover, who Wallace described in his diary entry of Dec. 19, 1944 as “on his way toward becoming a kind of American Himmler,” [5] was out to sink him. So were Lord Halifax, Britain’s ambassador to the United States, and Winston Churchill who went ballistic when he read a pamphlet Wallace wrote that extolled the virtues of alllowing India (and other nations) to decide their own fate.

Averill Harriman, George Marshall, Harry Truman, Dean Acheson (courtest tarpley.net)

Averill Harriman, George Marshall, Harry Truman, Dean Acheson (courtest tarpley.net)

With such powerful enemies, Wallace never stood a chance. Truman became FDR’s running mate in ’44, suceeded him in ’45 and ultimately conceded civilian rule to the military-industrial complex during his four years in office. Generations that followed would never know an America at peace. To them it would seem as if the whole world had gone mad. Like Wallace, they too would never have a chance. By 1946, Truman had fired Wallace and most of FDR’s “New Dealers.” [6] The new deal from that point would be the eradication of every right accrued since the American Revolution.

Stockwell continues:

“In 1975 Clark Clifford testified that the drafters of [the National Security Act of 1947] intended only to give the president authority to undertake operations in rare instances that the national security was truly threatened [emphasis mine].[7]

“In fact, the CIA used the vaguely-worded charter to launch thousands of covert actions in every corner of the world. Most of them had dubious justification in terms of the United States security”. [8] 

Dubious indeed. A military unhinged from civilian oversight and compartmentalized to abet maximum deniability is a shadow government. JFK understood that and tried to stop the agency in 1961. Congressman Leo Ryan did the same in the ’70’s.

“The Hughes-Ryan Amendment to the National Assistance Act of 1974 required that no funds [emphasis mine] be expended by or on behalf of the CIA for operations abroad, other than activities designed to obtain necessary intelligence…” (Stockwell, 44)

Congressman Leo Ryan

Congressman Leo Ryan

Ryan’s amendment cut to the heart of the CIA’s little game of replacing democracies with dictators for American business interests. It also expressly banned the CIA from engaging in covert military operations unless they were first approved by the president and Congress. In other words, it did pretty much the same thing JFK set out to do after the Bay of Pigs.

Not surprisingly, Congressman Ryan met with the same fate. He was gunned down on the tarmac of the Guyana Airport in 1978 during a mission to see if Jonestown really was a CIA mind-control operation as he suspected.

It clearly was.

The “congregation” at the camp were treated like prisoners at Dachau. They were worked 18 hours a day ( “Arbeit macht frei” ). They were fed rancid, rotting food. They were subjected to brutal PsychOps techniques like “sermons” blasted 24 hours a day to all areas of the camp. Armed guards patrolled the perimeters. Children were encouraged to rat on their parents. Dissidents were brutally punished in front of the whole camp. Meticulous medical records were kept on every “parishoner.” Physical exams were performed daily (yet painful procedures were performed without anesthesia).

This wasn’t a religious cult. It was a ghastly experiment on a mass scale, the very type that shocked the world when Nazi attrocities came to light in 1945; the very type that shocked the world when the CIA’s experiments on unwitting victims were exposed in 1976 during testimony to the Church Committee, testimony in which the agency insisted their MKULTRA program had been terminated in 1963.

Joseph Holsinger, Congressman Ryan’s aide, put the pieces together after the congressman’s murder when he received an essay from a Berkeley psychologist alerting him that “…the CIA had shifted its programs from public institution [sic] to private cult groups including the People’s Temple rather than terminating MKULTRA experiments.” [9]

That meant the CIA had stopped farming recruits from jails, state hospitals and college campuses for their mind control experiments and switched to religious cults. It also meant that if Congressman Ryan blew the whistle on Jonestown, they’d be exposed as violating Ryan’s amendment and their own testimony that MKULTRA had been terminated in 1963. There was only one thing to to do: get rid of the congressman and any evidence that could link the CIA to the camp, including the “congregation.” [10]

And the clean-up crew was already on it.

According to U.S. Air Force Colonel, L. Fletcher Prouty, who worked closely with the CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) for many years, the JCS  “had prepared air shipments of hundreds of body bags. Within hours, they began to shuttle them down to Georgetown, the main city. They couldn’t possibly have done that without prior knowledge that it was going to happen. It shows that there was prior planning.” [11] [12]

He continues: “The JCS wouldn’t have moved at all on their own. They didn’t give a damn about Jonestown.” 

I’d have to agree. Why on earth would the top military brass in the United States give a damn that 900 people of color died in a jungle in Guyana? I mean, really.

Richard Helms

Richard Helms

Five years earlier, in 1973, then-DCI Richard Helms ordered all records pertaining to MKULTRA destroyed, ostensibly (and he had the audacity to tell this to the Church Committee) “so that anybody who assisted us in the past would not be subject to…questions…” He was never indicted though he was convicted of lying to Congress in 1977. [13]

The inability to get evidence and clear message sent by Ryan’s murder (not to mention JFK’s assassination ten years earlier) put an end to any further attempts to rein in the agency. From 1978 forward, no serious challenge to CIA autonomy would be mounted by any governmental body or representative. Even the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed under President Clinton 24 years later, which compelled the agency to release documents regarding its collusion with the Nazis, was heavily resisted.

The CIA, as Nixon realized too late, was beyond the control of the Executive Branch or any other branch of government. The “wild animal” was loose and there was no way to get it back in the cage.

The number of murders that can be laid at the CIA’s feet, directly or indirectly, is staggering. Millions have been tortured, raped, assassinated, disappeared or otherwise terrorized by, or because of, the CIA. Their numbers increase every day.

What follows is a timeline of the “rare instances” in which the CIA. carried out covert operations“from time to time” as directed by the NSA. It’s far from complete. But as we review, let’s raise a toast to President Truman who handed the world’s greatest democracy to a military junta that revived the Third Reich, and the “Greatest Generation,” who collectively cheered as the junta imposed its will at home and abroad.

* * * * *

1945 – OPERATION PAPERCLIP: Dubbed for the paperclips used to clip phony records over the real ones, Operation Paperclip is a massive rescue mission undertaken by the OSS, precursor to the CIA, to save Nazi butchers from the noose. Klaus Barbie, Otto von Bolschwing, Otto Skorzeny and Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s top S.S. Intelligence officer for East Europe, are among the thousands of Nazi butchers whisked to safety in the West. Gehlen is paid huge sums of money to reassemble his Nazi spy network and spy on the Soviets. Bound by ODESSA, he feeds bogus information to the Allies and works tirelessly to reunify his beloved S.S. Thousands of Nazis emigrate to the U.S. with papers provided by the JOIC and jobs provided by the military-industrial complex. The effect is the “Nazification” of a nation already led by fascist-friendly war profiteers.

unspeakable-experiments

1945 – MKULTRA: Among the Nazis who emigrate to America are dozens of doctors and pyschiatrists who performed ghastly experiments on concentration camp prisoners during the war. To keep their skills honed, military intelligence allows them to continue their experiments on unwitting Americans and other unfortunates. The experiments will include the administration of LSD and other mind-altering drugs, paralyzing drugs, drugs that cause permanent brain damage, permanent damage to the hearing or comprehension, amnesia, confusion over long periods, the use of physical force, shock, torture, sleep deprivation and more. The program will be kept secret for thirty years.

1946 – NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE AUTHORITY – Truman, in an overt snub to his charge to protect the Constitution, issues an Executive Order (Directive on Coordination of Foreign Intelligence Activities) which establishes a National Intelligence Authority without any democratic or congressional oversight. This forms a “Central Intelligence Group” which establishes the C.I.A.

It’s charter states: “No police, law enforcement or internal security functions shall be exercised under this directive” and “nothing herein shall be construed to authorize the making of investigations inside the continental limits of the United States and its possessions, except as provided by law and Presidential directives [emphasis mine].”

Jul 26, 1947 – NATIONAL SECURITY ACT OF 1947 – Truman approves the National Security Act of 1947 which creates a National Military Establishment. This “desired unification of the services” concentrates all branches of the military into a single unit… the most powerful conglomerate on earth. Fourteen years later, President Eisenhower will warn of its threat to domestic liberty.

April 1, 1947 – GREECE – Truman issues a statement bereaving the death of King George II of Greece and assures them of our “interest in the welfare of our gallant ally.”

Truman announces the Truman Doctrine

Truman announces the Truman Doctrine

That welfare comes a month later in the form of Executive Order 9857: An Act to Provide for Assistance to Greece and Turkey, otherwise known as the Truman Doctrine, signed at the request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under cover of the United Nations. It purports to create the “conditions for peace” in Greece by providing aid through the auspices of the State Department and the Secretaries of War and Navy. But providing aid through emissaries backed by the full power of the U.S. military has clear implications.

The Greeks reluctantly back an iron-fisted dictator. The illegal intervention into their affairs sets the stage for innumerable CIA interventions as hawks in Washington back one notorious leader after another.

1948 OFFICE OF POLICY COORDINATION – Emboldened by its vague charter (and complete lack of public oversight), the CIA creates a covert action wing, Office of Policy Coordination, using funds diverted from the Marshall Plan. This innocent-sounding unit is headed by Wall Street lawyer and OSS cold warrior, Frank Wisner. Its charter is top secret, and for good reason. Its responsibilities go way past anything envisioned by Truman (bless his heart). They include “propaganda, economic warfare, preventative direct action including sabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures, subversion against hostile states including assistance to underground resistance groups and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened [emphasis mine] countries of the free world.”

The monster stretches its claws.

1948 – ITALY – The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy when it appears Italian voters will elect communists. They buy votes, broadcast propaganda, threaten and beat up opposition leaders, infiltrate and disrupt communist organizations. The communists are defeated.

1949 – SYRIA – The CIA orchestrates a coup in Syria led by Army Chief of Staff, Husni al-Za-im who approves a Trans-Arabian Pipeline to transfer oil from Saudi Arabia to Mediterranean ports. He’s deposed four months later.

1949RADIO FREE EUROPE – The CIA creates Radio Free Europe, its first major propaganda outlet. Over the next thirty years Radio Free Europe broadcasts such blatant lies it becomes a crime at one point to publish transcripts of its broadcasts inside the United States!

But the agency will soon put an end to that.

Frank Wisner

Frank Wisner

1949 – OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD – Operation Mockingbird, the first domestic covert operation (and clear violation of the CIA’s charter), is established by DCI Allen Dulles (the guy who gifted a Swiss chalet to Hitler’s spymaster) and Frank Wisner who sells the operation as a way to monitor foreign news organizations. But its real purpose becomes clear when he taps Phil Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, to recruit  American news organizations and journalists to disseminate CIA propaganda in the United States. Wisner later calls the operation his “Mighty Wurlitzer” (after the pipe organ) insinuating that he can press any key and make fictitious stories sing from American news outlets. [14]

If you’re looking for the moment America’s mainstream media became puppets for the CIA, look no further.

Under Graham, The Washington Post becomes a major propaganda outlet for the agency. Even JFK’s pal, Ben Bradley, goes along with the scheme. In no time the CIA has ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, the Associated Press, United Press International (UPI), Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and many others in their back pocket. According to CIA testimony, “at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists became CIA assets.” [15]

The dawn of fair and balanced reporting has arrived.

Allen Dulles recruits a young Cord Meyer to spy on his progressive ex-wife Mary Pinchon Meyer in Georgetown. Mary, a hippie before her time, is all about peace and love, and belongs to a wide variety of liberal groups who she entertains at her Georgetown studio. She becomes one of JFK’s mistresses, smokes marijuana and is rumored to have done LSD with the president. [16]

Dulles wants Meyer to help Wisner with Operation Mockingbird. In her book, Katherine The Great, Deborah Davis claims Meyer was “the principal operative of Mockingbird.” [17]

1949 – CIA INTELLIGENCE ACT OF 1949 – The Central Intelligence Act of 1949 becomes law. Among its provisions is PL-110 which permits the agency to circumvent immigration law in certain circumstances but specifically limits the number of illegal aliens (Nazis) they can admit under the guise of national security:

“Whenever the Director [CIA], the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Immigration shall determine that the admission of a particular alien into the United States for permanent residence is in the interest of national security…such alien and his immediate family shall be admitted to the United States for permanent residency without regard to their inadmissability …provided that the number of aliens and members of their immediate families …in no case exceeds one hundred persons [emphasis mine].

They probably exceed that number the day after Nuremberg.

It goes on hold the CIA completely unaccountable for its expenses: “The sums made available to the Agency may be expended without regard to the provisions of law and regulations relating to the expenditure of Government funds.”

Gen. Walter Bedel Smith

Gen. Walter Bedel Smith

1950 – PROJECT BLUEBIRD – Project Bluebird is approved by DCI Gen. Walter Bedel Smith to research “unconventional interrogation techniques” using drugs and hypnosis. (Church)

1951 – ARTICHOKE – Project Bluebird is renamed ARTICHOKE to reflect the new operational status of the program. In-house experiments and on-call medical personnel are formalized to assist with “interrogation”. America will become familiar with this process many years later when waterboarding and simliar tortures are exposed at the agency under the GW Bush Administration.

The agency creates real-life Manchurian Candidates: “subjects clearly demonstrated they can pass from a fully awake state to a deep H [hypnotic] controlled state via the telephone” (CIA document 190684, 1-4). Seventeen years later a confused Sirhan Sirhan will find a smoking gun in his hand with no recollection of having just shot Robert Kennedy. For forty years, teams of psychologists will use every tool to help him recall the crime, but he never will.

1952 – MKNAOMI – The Army agrees to let SOD (Special Operations Division) at Fort Detrick teach the CIA. how to develop, test and maintain biological agents and delivery systems. The CIA.’s Technical Services Division (TSD) will manage all stockpiles.

1952 – GUATEMALA – Guatemala’s democratically elected president, Jacob Arbenz, has the audacity to suggest Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company return some of the land they stole from the peasants since they aren’t using it. Truman approves the first plan to topple him. Sec’y of State Dean Acheson talks him out of it (Blum, Killing Hope).

1953 – MKULTRA – Less than two months after taking office, Allen Dulles, Gen. Smith’s replacement, approves MKULTRA, submitted by Richard Helms to study the “use of biological and chemical materials in altering human behavior” (Church, 391). Helms chooses Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, Chief of Technical Operations at the Technical Services Division, to head the experiments, a real life Dr Mengali (Thomas, 63). Gotlieb uses Nazi scientists whose state-of-the-art mind control techniques were perfected in concentration camps to create robot assassins he program is highly compartmentalized and funding is obscured to protect the identities of the medical monsters drawn from universities, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, state and federal institutions and private research organizations to experiment on human subjects. The methods of torture are expanded under the program to include “radiation, electroshock…harrassment substances, and paramilitary devices and materials.” (Church, 420).

The agency elicits the aid of the Bureau of Narcotics. The FBN uses the program to obtain information it never could have obtained using legal means. Drug addicts are rewarded with their drug of choice for becoming guinea pigs. Informers are given LSD as a  “truth serum.” At the C.I.A.’s behest, the FBN begins administering drugs “in operational situations” (i.e., to unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens) with the help of their own, Charles Siragusa, who will later run the mind control program. [18]

Why not? He’s got all the good drugs.

1953 – MKDELTA is established to perform tests on unwitting citizens in foreign countries, often prisoners of foreign intelligence or security organizations. According to findings by the Church Committee, “there were no attempts to secure approval for the most controversial aspects of these programs from the executive branch or Congress.”

And why should they? By 1953 the military has no need to ask permission for anything. Americans are fed the myth that we defeated the Nazis, and the Wurlitzer keeps playing. Endless movies and television programs, endless documentaries, talk shows and books (even today) perpetuate the myth. And everything’s fine. We can go back to sleep and nothing’s changed. Nothing to see here, folks. Nothing to see.

But there is something to see, something terrifying. In colleges and universities across the country (often with the full knowledge of deans) the CIA’s MKULTRA program is torturing unwitting citizens with sleep deprivation, sexual abuse, isolation, verbal abuse, hypnosis, and drug experiments. In later years it will become apparent that MKULTRA is far more widespread than anyone knows. American citizens will learn that funding, in part, comes from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations (two foundations inextricably linked to CIA crimes).

But these “enhanced interrogation techniques” won’t become known until 1975 and won’t become an issue for another sixty years. Even then, the Wurlizter will shake its finger, remind everyone that “we don’t torture,” and Americans will go back to whatever they were doing. CIA torture chambers will proliferate around the globe and torture will be codified in the U.S. Army Field Manual.

1953 – GUATEMALA – Newly elected President Eisenhower resurrects the plan to topple Arbenz in Guatemala. In the meantime, outgoing CIA Director William Bedel Smith maneuvers for a high-paying gig with United Fruit (Blum, Killing Hope).

Shah-and-Ike1953 – IRAN – The CIA overthrows the democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup when he (briefly) nationalizes British Oil. The coup is led by CIA operative, Kermitt Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson. They instill the Shah whose secret police, SAVAK, becomes as feared and brutal as the Gestapo. Millions are killed or disappear in a reign of terror.

When the Shah is toppled twenty-six years later, Americans will be outraged as American flags are burned in Tehran. A wave of  Wurlitzer-inspired nationalism will sweep the nation.

1953 – OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD – Dulles takes control of Mockingbird. Journalists in the CIA’s pocket include Joseph Alsop (syndicated in over 300 newspapers), Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (NY Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times).

James Jesus Angleton

James Jesus Angleton

1954 – James Jesus Angelton, possibly the creepiest character in U.S. post-war history, becomes the CIA’s Counter Intelligence Chief. In Oliver Stone’s film Nixon, Richard Helms (Sam Witherspoon) is portrayed as obsessed with orchids, but it’s Angleton who’s the genius at growing orchids. Church Committee staffer, Loch Johnson, will also find he has a genius for evading questions:

“Questioning him ..was like trying to find a new planet through an earthbound telescope: it took constant probing, a sensitivity for nuance, and a willingness to endure vast oceans of silence.” – Loch Johnson

Angleton will describe his job as a counter-intelligence officer as constructing a “wilderness of mirrors” in which the opponent is forever lost and confused. [19]  In nine years, Angleton will orchestrate a cover up of JFK’s assassination, constructing a “wilderness of mirrors” that has historians debating facts even to this day.

1954 – INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS DIVISION – Cord Meyer becomes head of the CIA’s International Organizations Division.

E. Howard Hunt will later implicate Meyer in the conspiracy to assassinate JFK. The agency will offer Hunt to the Church Committee as a sacrifice instead of Meyer. They know Hunt was in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 with two other “hobos.” They know he can’t produce an alibi. The “wilderness of mirrors” still at work decades later.

1954 – NSC5412 “National Security Council Directive on Covert Operations”  is approved under Eisenhower. It defines covert operations as: “all activities conducted pursuant to this directive which are so planned and executed that any U.S. Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the U.S.Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them.”

Policies are codified for all covert operations.

To oversee the CIA, and prevent its becoming a “fourth service,” NSC5412 establishes the 5412 Committee or Special Group with members from the JCS, DoD, State Department, NSA, CIA and focal points from each armed service who approve funding and all clandestine operations. Each member reports back to their respective principals and votes as they dictate. So the committee becomes a rubber stamp. The CIA learns to game the system by ensuring focals are loyal to the agency first. This tips the scales in their favor, gets projects approved, shifts responsibility onto focals and keeps activities under wraps by using friendly members as conduits to high level officials.

1954 – SOUTHEAST ASIA – A large covert program is launched in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. The program will become so large that an overt invasion will be needed by 1965. By then, there’ll be a president who doesn’t mind breaking the law by sending overt troops to bail out failed covert actions.

arbenz1954 – GUATEMALA – DCI Allen Dulles, who owns a good part of United Fruit Co. and who’s made a fortune off the labor of Central American plantation slaves, tasks Deputy Director Richard Bissell with developing a plan to depose the democratically-elected president, Jacob Arbenz, in a full-on military coup. Weapons are distributed to rebels who are then trained in sabotage and demolition. “Soviet marked weapons” are planted to justify an invasion. Eisenhower orders “suspicious foreign flag vessels” bound for Guatemala to be stopped on the high seas (an act of war and a clear violation of international law). Bribes are offered to Guatemalan military leaders, even Arbenz. The CIA and USIA distribute thousands of leaflets calling for an insurrection and plant news stories in foreign papers, picked up by Guatemalan news sources (Blum, Killing Hope). All this to protect the business interests of United Fruit Company.

Bissell, with E. Howard Hunt at his side, succeeds in replacing Arbenz with a series of right wing despots who kill more than 100,000 Guatemalans over the next forty years.

1955 – In May, 1955 the Army approves testing LSD on American soliders in “field stations” (Church, 419). The Army Chief of Staff issues a memorandum authorizing the tests.The plan is supposedly submitted to the Secretary of the Army (civilian) a year later, but there’s “no evidence that he either reviewed or approved” it. Another slap in the face to civilian rule.

Subsequent testing under Materials Testing Program EA 1729  will continue under the same (military) authorization. Civilian government won’t weigh in on the utter disregard for protocal until the Church Committee hearings twenty years later.

1956 – HUNGARY – Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khrushchev’s Secret Speech in which he denounces Stalin. It also suggests that American aid will be forthcoming if the Hungarians rise up and fight. But it’s a funny thing about aid. Sometimes it never quite gets where it’s going. And that’s just what happens in Hungary. The aid never quite arrives and the Hungarian revolt fails pitifully which (I might add) opens the door for the Soviets to launch a major invasion and kill 7,000 – 30,000 Hungarians.

Ooops.

1954/1958 – VIETNAM – CIA officer, Edward Lansdale (the infamous “General Y” in Oliver Stone’s JFK) spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam. He employs every dirty trick in the book, but it just isn’t working. So the CIA heads south to “protect” the South Vietnamese from their communist neighbor. Their protection comes in the form of a puppet regime led by Ngo Dinh Diema tyrant who the South Vietnamese know wants nothing to do with democracy, land reform or poverty reduction.

His atrocities will become so well known he’ll become a complete embarrassment to the Kennedy Administration. JFK will come under increasing pressure to “do” something… send advisors, anything. But Kennedy will refuse to escalate the situation. When he’s assassinated, Lyndon Johnson will approve an all-out military assault.

1957/1973 – LAOS – During this sixteen year span, the CIA executes about one coup a year in an attempt to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. But Pathet Lao, a popular group on the left, manages to retain enough popular support to be included in any coalition government. So, the CIA creates a secret army of Asian mercenaries (Armee Clandestine) to attack them. But nothing seems to work. So the CIA turns to Nixon, who they have plenty of dirt on.

Nixon authorizes a bombing campaign of unprecedented scale. “Bomb them back to the Stone Age!” he says. More bombs are dropped on Laos than were dropped in the entire Second World War. A quarter of all Laotians become refugees. Many flee to caves.

Meanwhile, Americans back home are spoon-fed a diet of nationalism and “domino theories” from CIA think tanks and the “Wurlitzer News.” They throw bricks at anti-war protesters and castigate liberals as unpatriotic, a label that will propel Ronald Reagan into the White House years later.

1958 – Sukarno – Indonesia – The CIA supports 42,000 anti-Sukarno rebels who are defeated by General Nasution of the loyal Indonesian army.

1959 – The CIA helps “Papa Doc” Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the “Tinton Mahouts” who terrorize the population with machetes. Over 100,000 Haitians are butchered during Duvalier’s reign of terror. Yet the Wurlitzer never echoes their cries.

1960 – Project Mongoose, headed by Edward Lansdale, is approved by Eisenhower to topple Castro. Ike makes it clear that the covert operation will get no support from active duty military. He also understands the operation to be limited in scope, certainly not a full-scale Normandy-style invasion.

Lansdale suggests in a memo: “Gangster elements might prove the best recruitment potential for actions [murders] against police G-2 [intelligence] officials. CW [Chemical Warfare] agents should be fully considered.” He employs Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante, Meyer Lansky, and Lucky Luciano.

The CIA begins training 300 Cuban exiles in Panama and Guatemala for a limited guerrila operations against Castro, but they ramp up their operation to 1,300 Cuban exiles for an all-out amphibious attack with air strikes and everything during Eisenhower’s “lame duck” session. After all, Nixon will be elected…

But Nixon isn’t elected. JFK is briefed on the operation the day after he takes office and given two possible plans:

Plan #1) by CIA Deputy Director Richard “I toppled Arbenz” Bissell envisions a popular uprising as the invasion beings

Plan #2) by Thomas “Who the hell am I?” Mann, JFK’s Asst. Sec’y of State for Inter-American Affairs pretty much laughs at Bissell’s suggestion that a measly force of 1,300 exiles will spark a mass uprising.

What Mann doesn’t realize is that Bissell’s plan doesn’t actually expect an uprising. Bissell knows it’s insane to expect a force of 1,300 exiles to overwhelm Castro’s 20,000 troops, even with covert air support. Bissell’s plan relies on overt military assistance, without actually saying so. He’s betting the farm that the inexperienced president will cave and send active duty military equipment and personnel if (when) the exile forces get into trouble.

Kennedy senses this and makes it clear he can’t and won’t send overt military assistance under any condition. He even sends an aide to the guerilla camp in Nicaragua to make sure the exiles know that no overt military assistance will be forthcoming.

But Bissell doesn’t believe it.

The JCS approves Bissell’s plan using (only) covert Cuban assets. JFK approves the landing plan which includes a crucial pre-dawn air strike by covert (Cuban exile) pilots flying B-26 bombers from Nicaragua. The landing is set for April 17, 1961 (D-Day).

Kennedy authorizes the first covert (Cuban exile) air strikes on (D-2) April 15, 1961. He authorizes the second covert (Cuban exile) air strikes on (D-1) April 16, 1961. That evening, Special Assistant to the President, George McBundy, calls Bissell to relay JFK’s order that the next morning’s air strikes be cancelled “until they can launched from an air strip on the beachhead.” Bissell goes apeshit. He asks Defense Secretary, Dean Rusk, to reconsider, but Rusk quotes JFK saying “they’re not vital.”

At this point, Bissell has two choices: call off the invasion or invade without the air strikes. He knows the mission will fail without those air strikes. So he goes ahead anyway. Why? Because his whole plan has always been to get the president to break the law and commit active duty military to prevent 1,300 Cuban exiles from being slaughtered.

Unfortunately, that slaughter is the only part of Bissell’s plan that’s actually working on D-Day. The popular revolt never materializes. Castro quickly surrounds them. No one bothers to tell the invading force there’s 80 miles of swamp between them and their escape route to the mountains. They’re infiltrated by Castro spies. The CIA plan is a complete and utter failure.

Bissell implores JFK to send help. “Let me take two jets and shoot down the enemy aircraft.” But Kennedy stands firm.

A government document surfaced in 2005 that confirmed the CIA expectation that the Bay of Pigs invasion would fail without direct American military support. The intelligence memorandum, dated November 15, 1960, concluded that an invasion would be “unachievable, except as joint Agency/DOD action” which means Bissell clearly knew his merry band of Cuban exiles didn’t stand a chance.

Yet the fact that Bissell & Co. bet the lives of 1,300 Cuban exiles and lost only fuels their hatred for Kennedy. Hawks at the Pentagon and CIA fume over their “betrayal.” They’re not going to take the hit for this one. It’s Kennedy’s fault. He isn’t up to the job. He’s too young, too inexperienced, too liberal. Cuban expats are whipped into an anti-Kennedy frenzy, not realizing they were played for cannon fodder by the CIA. Dangerous right wing cabalists like H.L. Hunt (with a direct line to J Edgar Hoover) rail against the president.

The mob is furious. Their casinos are gone. The president they thought was bought and paid for has turned on them. What’s more, the president’s brother is now doing what J. Edgar Hoover promised would never happen: he’s fighting organized crime, which has grown to alarming proportions under Hoover’s protection.

No one at the CIA questions the legality (or morality) of invading countries and murdering their citizens and democratically-elected officials. No one questions the ethics of waging a covert operation you know won’t work in the hope that a commander-in-chief will send in the Marines. They simply know that Kennedy “left our guys on the beach” and that’s that.

But Kennedy doesn’t get mad. He gets even. He puts his brother in charge of all covert operations in April. Then, to prevent us all from the criminal empire we now face, he fires the entire CIA top brass. All three of them! Bissell, Gen. Charles Cabell (left) and the head honcho himself, Allen Dulles! I mean… this is unprecedented. Unthinkable! By far the coolest, and most sensible, thing a president has ever done (and the only sane move for a civilian government interested in survival).

Dulles is untouchable. He’s one of the most powerful men in America, far more powerful than JFK. Bissell is untouchable. Cabell is untouchable. They’re all made men, tolerating the Executive Branch, not taking orders from it. And here’s this new young president firing their asses!

It’s now clear to the CIA that they’re in a fight for survival.

And they are.

June 28, 1961 – JFK issues National Security Action Memorandum No. 55 which states: “I regard the Joint Chiefs of Staff as my principal military advisor responsible for initiating advice to me and for responding to requests for advice. I expect their advice to come to me direct and unfiltered.” 

[read: From now on I don’t need the CIA. I have the Joint Chiefs of Staff]

June 28, 1961 – JFK issues NSAM #56 “Evaluation of Paramilitary Requirements” which states: “It is important that we anticipate now our possible future requirements in the field of unconventional warfare and paramilitary operations. A first step would be to inventory the paramilitary assests we have in the United States Armed Forces, consider various areas in the world where the implementation of our policy may require indigenous para-military forces, and thus arrive at a determination of the goals which we should set in this field. Having determined the assets and the possible requirements, it would then become a matter of developing a plan to meet the deficit.”

[read: get me a list of everything we can use in the future to replace the CIA.]

June 28, 1961 – JFK issues NSAM #57 “Responsibility for Paramilitary Operations” which states: “The Special Group (5412 Committee) will perform the functions assigned in the recommendation to the Strategic Resources Group…. In order to conduct paramilitary operations with maximum effectiveness and flexibility within the context of the Cold War, it is recommended that current directives and procedures be modified to affect the following: Any proposed paramilitary operation in the concept stage will be presented to the Strategic Resources Group for initial consideration and for approval as necessary by the President. Thereafter, the SRG will assign primary responsibility for planning, for interdepartmental coordination and for execution to the Task Force, department or individual best qualified to carry forward the operation to success, and will indicate supporting responsibilities. Under this principle, the Department of Defense will normally receive responsibility for overt paramilitary operations. Where such an operation is to be wholly covert or disavowable, it may be assigned to CIA, provided that it is within the normal capabilities of the agency. Any large paramilitary operation wholly or partly covert which requires significant numbers of militarily trained personnel, amounts of military equipment which exceed normal CIA-controlled stocks and/or military experience of a kind and level peculiar to the Armed Services is properly the primary responsibility of the Department of Defense with the CIA in a supporting role.”

[read: we’re changing the rules.. from now on DoD is in charge and mayyyybe they’ll need the CIA.’s help]

Right there the president’s fate is sealed. And I might add, our fate as well as it’s our last chance to rein in the wild animal before it takes over. But it’s already too late. JFK does the right thing, and shame on the Cuban exile community for not seeing how the CIA played them, but he’s alone in a pack of wolves (and “wolves” is being gratuitous).

1963 – By 1963, the shadow government is a murky conglomerate of political fanatics, oil barons, Nazi butchers, spy masters, retired and active military, organized crime bosses, assassins, agent provocateurs, whack jobs, mercenaries, political operatives, diabolical masterminds, expatriates, anti-communist zealots, Italian, Spanish and East European fascists, Czarist Russians, Nazi sympathizers, French drug traffickers, mafiosos, French and Italian fascists, ex-members of General MacArthur’s intelligence apparatus in The Far East, Green Berets, drug smugglers, drug addicts, gun runners, corporate bosses, cross dressers, double agents, serial killers … and god knows what else.

It’s already the most dangerous criminal empire ever assembled, more powerful than any nation, any law, any elected official, answerable to no civilian authority; loosely bound by an insatiable lust for money, power and dominion in a milieu of ever-shifting allegiances.

William Harvey

William Harvey

Americans, sitting by their Wultizers, respond to this present menace by standing in line for James Bond films. They never see the grotesque figures who carry out the most despicable crimes in their name. They never see the hideous face of their new rulers …and they certainly never see the guy the CIA considers the real James Bond (left). They see Sean Connery in a tux chasing comic book villains with a girl on each arm.

No wonder Wisner was so proud of his Wurlitzer.

 

Then again, no matter how bad things get, you can always find something good to say about anything …and the good thing to say about the CIA in 1963 is that they’ve got this assassination business down pat. They’re so good at it their plans can be used in almost any situation.

And it just so happens they have a “situation” in America.

(to be continued)

serpent

Andrea Hackett is a writer and anti-fascist activist. Comments are always welcome and may also be directed to @andreafed. Reprint by permission only.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Stockwell, John. In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story. W. W. Norton. 1984. pg. 44. Footnote.

[2]  Select Committee on Intelligence United States Senate. 1978. pg. 26. – Clark Clifford, a key author of the Act, admitted the vague nature of the C.I.A.’s charter when the committee took up intelligence reform in 1978. “With three decades of experience, we know better what we want from our intelligence operations and what to guard against.” 

[3] Blum, William. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II. Monroe, Maine. Common Courage Press, 1995.

[4] Rosenfeld, Seth. Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2012.

[5] “Henry Wallace Diary Unsealed” The Evening News, Nov. 20, 1975

[6] Tarpley, Webster G. British Coup d’Etat in Washington, April 12, 1945: How The Harriman Gang Started The Cold War. October, 1995. Web.

[7] Acacia, John. Clark Clifford: The Wise Man of Washington. The University Press of Kentucky. 2009. Yet Clifford argued against prohibiting “political assassination, torture, germ warfare, and the violent overthrow of democratic government[s]” which he saw as “demeaning” to the intelligence community.

[8] Church Committee Report, April 26, 1976

[9] Meyers, Michael. Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?

[10] Howe, Bridget S. If The West Fails…Westbow Press. 2011. pg 79.

[11] Prouty, L. Fletcher.

[12] In his article on CIA. involvement in Jonestown dated Sep. 27, 1980, Jack Anderson, perhaps the most well known investigative journalist at the time, broke the news that “Joe Hollister, Ryan’s top aide who arranged the trip …got a call from [Lee Francis at] the White House on the day of Ryan’s murder [who] reported accurately the number of persons killed and, according to Hollister, said his information was based on ‘a CIA report from the scene.'”

[13] Helms, Cynthia. An Intriguing Life: A Memoir of War, Washington and Marriage to an American Spymaster. Rowman & Littlefield. 2012. In trying to exonerate her husband, Cynthia Helms defines the very quagmire that ensues when an agency declares itself above the law: “[He] faced a moral dilemma because of his two conflicting oaths: the one he had taken when joining the CIA, and the other he took when he swore to tell the truth to the committee.”

[14] Wilford, Hugh. The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America. First Harvard University Press.

[15] Rolling Stone Magazine. 1977. Article cited by the NY Times in 2013 as having revealed the extent of the CIA operation.

[16] Janney, Peter. Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision of World Peace. Skyhorse Publishing.

[17] Davis, Deborah. Katherine The Great. New York City, NY. Sheridan Square Press. 1991. Print.

[18] The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs, Douglas Valentine (Verso Books, 2004)

[19] Holzman, Michael Howard. James Jesus Angleton, The C.I.A. and the Craft of Counter-Intelliegence. Boston, MA. University of Massachusetts Press. pg. 21

Works Cited

Thomas, Marshall. Monarch: The New Phoenix Program.

[4]

[4] In his article on CIA. involvement in Jonestown dated Sep. 27, 1980, Jack Anderson, perhaps the most well known investigative journalist at the time, broke the news that “Joe Hollister, Ryan’s top aide who arranged the trip …got a call from [Lee Francis at] the White House on the day of Ryan’s murder [who] reported accurately the number of persons killed and, according to Hollister, said his information was based on ‘a CIA report from the scene.'”

America’s Devil’s Island

guantanamo_Bay_021914

As we wait for a watered-down, redacted report of C.I.A. attrocities, it might do well to review what we already know. If it takes the agency three months to redact a report on their global torture, it’s pretty clear we don’t know enough.

The C.I.A.’s secret detention facilities were authorized in a 12-page memo sent by George W. Bush to the Director of the C.I.A., George J. Tenet, through the National Security Council (NSC) on September 17, 2001, just six days after the highly suspicious demolition of the World Trade Center.[1] That memo authorized the C.I.A. to detain “terrorists” and set up detention facilities outside the U.S.[2] A second document, drawn up in secret by Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal team, was signed by then-President G.W. Bush on the evening of November 17, 2001. That document stripped any suspect “accused” of foreign terrorism access “to any court, civilian or military, domestic or foreign.” It went on to state that suspects “could be confined indefinitely without charges and would be tried, if at all, in ‘closed military tribunals’.”[3]

Either document would have been enough to convict Dick Cheney and George W. Bush of treason in a real court of law. Taken together, they’re damning violations of the Constitution, any number of international agreements (including the Geneva Convention) and a collective violation of their oaths of office. In a true democracy  both Bush and Cheney would be in jail if not fitted for a hangman’s noose.

Yet Obama gave them a pass. Continue reading