Monday, January 30, 2006

Who Better, Indeed?

Dr. Gary Aguilar is a longtime Kennedy assassination researcher. I have not read Joan Mellen's work myself, and took issue with her publicly on some parts of her book as she presented it at a conference in DC last fall. But the issues I challenged her on have nothing to do with the point Gary is making here. Mel Ayton's ridiculous stance is at issue, not Mellen's book, per se. I asked Gary if I could repost his article here, and he consented.

Mel Ayton is about to publish a book on the RFK case. I'm sure it will be as honest - or dishonest - as his previous work, which is why Gary's information here is important. Gary wields a pen like men of old used to wield a rapier, disarming his opposition with speed and precision. Enjoy! - LP

Who Better to Defend the CIA than the CIA?
Gary Aguilar, San Francisco

Among myriad ironies in Mel Ayton's review of "A Farewell to Justice," perhaps the greatest is Mel Ayton's offering author Max Holland's CIA-published work as an answer to Joan Mellen's exhaustive elucidation of the myriad CIA ties to the Kennedy case.

For example, Ayton trots out Holland's remarkable discovery that the sole reason Jim Garrison had for suspecting the CIA in the events in Dallas was because he'd been duped by fiendishly clever KGB dezinformatsiya planted in a Rome daily, Il Paese Sera. Ayton apparently has more faith in the theory than even its supposed author does. For Holland refused to defend it in a public debate with me last September in Washington, D.C. before a live audience and rolling C-SPAN cameras. [1] On why he might have chosen not to, one scarcely knows where to begin.

But perhaps it's worth starting with the fact that Holland's famous breakthrough isn't Holland's, something he has never disclosed (apparently even to Ayton), but was forced to admit when I confronted him during our debate. Steve Dorril was the first one to make "Holland's" argument in an article published by Lobster Magazine in 1983, something Ayton could have easily found in a simple search of the web. [2] "Holland's" discovery apparently next surfaced when Warren Commission defender, John McAdams, ran it in a 1999 newsgroup post, [3] two years before Holland presented it for the first time.

The "proof" Dorril, McAdams and Holland offered that Il Paese Sera was a communist conduit consisted mostly of testimony the CIA's Richard Helms delivered during a 1961 Senate appearance. [3] As this author has shown, Helms's sworn assertions during this 1961 Senate appearance are no more credible than the testimony he gave during another Senate hearing that led to his conviction and the page 1 New York Times headline, "Helms Is Fined $2,000 and Given Two-Year Suspended Prison Term--U.S. Judge Rebukes Ex-C.I.A. Head for Misleading (Senate) Panel." [4]

Without offering a shred of proof, Ayton recycles Holland's dubious claim that, "the (Il Paese Sera) articles were NOT (sic) already in the works long before Shaw's arrest, as Mellen claims - It was Shaw's arrest that prompted [Il Paese Sera to write] those stories." How Ayton knows that the articles "were NOT already in the works long before Shaw's arrest," he does not say. But had Ayton (or Holland) bothered to contact Il Paese Sera's editors, they would probably have told him what they have told others: that the six-part series had nothing to do with (and said nothing about) the KGB or the JFK assassination; that they had never heard of Jim Garrison when they assigned the story six months before [which was also six months before Garrison had charged Shaw]; and that they were astonished to see that Shaw might have any connection to the assassination.

Finally, echoing Holland, Ayton claims that the Italian articles were Garrison's sole reason for suspecting the Agency. If they really were the sole source of his seduction, one would have expected some contemporaneous evidence of it. But there is none.

As Edward Epstein has pointed out, during his twenty-six-page interview in Playboy Magazine's October 1967 issue, Garrison's most comprehensive review of his case that year, the D.A. ticked off eight reasons to suspect the CIA. None of them included Il Paese Sera or the subject of the articles, the still-mysterious Rome World Trade Center, Centro Mondiale Commerciale (CMC). [5] Nor did he even mention Clay Shaw, although perhaps because of the pending legal wrangle. [6] Moreover, Garrison wrote the foreword to Harold Weisberg's 1967-published book, entitled "Oswald in New Orleans--Case of Conspiracy with the CIA." (my emphasis) Despite the perfect opportunity, as with Playboy, Garrison again uttered not a word about Il Paese Sera, Shaw or the CMC. [7]

Finally, it is unhelpful for the central role Holland and Ayton have the Rome daily playing that Garrison never once cited or referred to those reports during the Shaw trial. Nor did he even use them as a basis for questioning Shaw. He never asked Shaw, for example, whether he had worked for CMC or for the CIA, both of which were the focus of all six stories. [8]

Ayton next rallied to the defense of a former Miami Herald reporter, Donald Bohning, who Mellen had described as "CIA linked." In response, Ayton quoted from a complaining email from the man: "(I) never took a cent from the CIA," Bohning apparently wrote, "and was outraged by the implication - along with the terms 'writer asset' and 'utilized' - Top editors at the [Miami] Herald were well aware - and approved - of my contacts with the CIA during the 1960s."

Tellingly, Ayton omits the most damning portion of Mellen's account. Even if money never changed hands, and Mellen nowhere suggests it did, Bohning's relationship with The Agency was far from the routine and casual relationship reporters have with government insiders. As Mellen points out, Bohning was apparently so useful to The Agency it gave him his own, unique cryptonym, "AMCARBON-3." Bohning "had received his Provisional Covert Security Approval as a CIA confidential informant on 8/21/67," Mellen wrote, "then Covert Security Approval itself on 11/14/67." And no less than the CIA's Deputy Director of Plans himself "approved the use of Bohning in the CIA's Cuban operations." [9]

For those who have forgotten Carl Bernstein's cautionary tale about the corrosive effect such relationships can have on credible and honest journalism [10], or the New York Times's Christmas week 1977 mea culpa for having compromised itself and its readers by engaging in similar unhealthy relationships with the CIA, a recent scandal is worth mention.
Judy Miller, the recently disgraced New York Times reporter, was such a darling of the Bush Administration and the military that she was granted a security clearance not unlike Bohning's. [11] Her bogus, prewar scare stories about the imminence of the Iraqi threat that the "leftist" New York Times published on the front page were a boon to the Neocons in the Bush Administration bent on manufacturing consent for war.

That Bohning's higher-ups at the Miami Herald knew and approved of his cozy relationship only compounds the impropriety. At least The New York Times' "top editors" publicly donned hair shirts and apologized to readers for betraying their trust. And not without reason. Bernstein documented that the problem wasn't the occasional tainting tie between the rare, lowly stringer and the CIA. It was the myriad, compromising arrangements between The Agency and the higher-ups in outfits such as CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The L. A. Times, etc. that really took the bark out of our press watchdogs. This is not to say Bohning was corrupt, but that Mellen's concern is well founded.

Ayton puts Holland in service of downplaying the links Mellen details between Clay Shaw and The Agency. "In reality, Clay Shaw had simply been one of thousands of businessmen who had once been a source for the CIA through its Domestic Contact Service - Shaw was a Kennedy supporter (and a) decorated war veteran."

Here, flag-waving is substituted for dealing with Mellen's great spadework on this interesting question. Ayton does not dispute that, as Mellen reported, Shaw had been cleared by the Agency for project QKENCHANT (which) authorized trusted CIA personnel for clearance to recruit or enlist 'civilians,' people not officially with the Agency, to discuss 'projects, activities and possible relationships.'" [p. 133]

If Ayton is right that Shaw's arrangement was unexceptional, and that "thousands" of other American businessmen had similarly been empowered by the CIA to "recruit or enlist 'civilians,'" there is no record of it. Moreover, the CIA called QKENCHANT an "operational project," not an intelligence-gathering project. And Shaw's records were kept in The Agency's "operational files," not with the "innocent" Domestic Contact files that housed the routine debriefings of 'simple' returning American businessmen.

Ironically, Ayton ignores what even Max Holland has acknowledged: Shaw lied under oath in denying his association with the CIA. "Have you ever worked for the Central Intelligence Agency?" Shaw's own defense attorney F. Irvin Dymond asked him. "No, I have not," replied Shaw." [11] Against the interests of his own Agency, CIA director, Richard Helms, put the lie to that. Holland relates that Shaw had had an [at least] eight-year relationship with the CIA, sending The Agency information on 33 separate occasions that the CIA invariably graded as "of value" and "reliable." [12]

One might have expected that, if only for political reasons, a Warren Commission loyalist bent on diverting suspicion from the CIA and focusing it instead on Garrison would have avoided citing Holland's essay, "The Lie That Linked the CIA to the Kennedy Assassination." For that poorly conceived, anti-Garrison tirade was published by the CIA itself after his fellows at The Nation Magazine, where Holland works as a contributing editor, rejected the paper from their magazine. [13]

To undermine the important revelations of Thomas Edward Beckham, a House Select Committee witness Mellen features, Ayton describes him as a "semi-literate," implying that the memory of a poor reader could be safely ignored. During a visit to New Orleans, Mellen interviewed former House Select Committee investigator, L. J. Delsa, a murder investigator with more than 30 years experience working variously as a federal, state or local official. In an interview on December 7, 2005, Delsa opined that, on the basis of his personal knowledge, he believed that Beckham was a credible witness.

Similar problems mar the rest of Ayton's review. But at the end of the day, still standing are Mellen's demolitions of the myths that the CIA played no part in JFK's demise and that Oswald was a loner. And she has established quite convincingly that Clay Shaw's International Trade Mart in New Orleans was a hornet's nest of activity undoubtedly related to The Agency in ways known only to those with access to still-sealed files.

With what we've already learned from declassified files, it's no mystery why the government has remained so passionate about maintaining secrecy concerning JFK's demise. For it is information that has been painfully extracted from once-secret files over the past 41 years that has steadily eroded the fables upon which the Warren Commission built its case. Mellen's book has completed a demolition that Ayton's valiant efforts can't hope to stave off.

It's past time he understood that. For when keepers of the flickering flame have to resort to Agency-abetted disquisitions to defend The Agency's innocence, the gig is up and it's time to sent up a white flag.

Gary L. Aguilar, San Francisco

[1] The proposition, "Was Garrison Duped by the KGB?" was the subject of our debate held during a conference hosted by the Assassination Archives and Research Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, September 18, 2004 at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel. Holland was to have defended that proposition but did not. He chose instead to argue that Jim Garrison had "lied" when he said in his book, "On the Trail of the Assassins," that he'd not heard of the Il Paese Sera articles until after the Clay Shaw trial. While Holland established that Garrison had indeed seen the Il Paese Sera articles before trial, he was less convincing that Garrison's inaccurate statement was really a lie rather than a mistake. As noted in the text, Garrison never used any of the material in the articles during the trial, and his book was published 21 years after he'd seen them.

[2] Steve Dorril, Permindex: The International Trade in Disinformation. Lobster: the journal of parapolitics, intelligence and State Research, #3, 1983. On-line at: [Had Ayton but google-searched the obvious words, "Il Paese Sera, CMC," the second "hit" would have taken him directly to this article.]

[3] See:

In its entirety, John McAdams's newsgroup post read as follows:

From - Fri Oct 15 12:22:19 1999
From: (John McAdams)
Newsgroups: alt.assassination.jfk
Subject: IL PAESE SERA and Communist disinformation
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 17:19:56 GMT
Message-ID: <>
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.11/32.235
Lines: 79

From "Communist Forgeries," a Senate Internal Security
Sub-Committee hearing on 2 June 61, testimony of Richard Helms, pp.

In recent days we have seen an excellent example of how the Communists use the false news story. In late April rumors began to circulate in Europe, rumors
charging that the Algerian-based generals who had plotted the overthrow of President De Gaulle had enjoyed support from NATO, the Pentagon, or CIA. Although this fable could have been started by supporters of General Challe, it bears all the earmarks of having been invented within the bloc. In Western Europe this lie was first printed on the 23rd of April by a Rome daily called Il Paese.

Senator KEATING: Is Il Paese a Communist paper?

Mr. HELMS: It is not a Communist paper, as such. We believe it to be a crypto-Communist paper but it is not like Unita, the large Communist daily in Rome. It purports to be an independent newspaper, but obviously it serves Communist ends. The story charged --

"It is not by chance that some people in Paris are accusing the American secret service headed by Allen Dulles f having participated in the plot of the four 'ultra' generals * * * Franco, Salazar, Allen Dulles are the figures who hide themselves behind the pronunciamentos of the 'ultras'; they are the pillars of an international
conspiracy that, basing itself on the Iberian dictatorships, on the residue of the most fierce and blind colonialism, on the intrigues of the C.I.A. * * * reacts furiously to the advance of progress and democracy * * *."

We found it interesting that Il Paese was the starting point for a lie that the Soviets spread around the world. This paper and its evening edition, Paese Sera, belong to a small group of journals published in the free world but used as outlets for disguised Soviet propaganda. These newspapers consistently release and replay anti-American, anti-Western, pro-Soviet bloc stories, distorted or wholly false. Mario Malloni, director of both Il Paese and Paese Sera, has been a member of the World Peace Council since 1958. The World Peace Council is a bloc-directed Communist front.

On the next day Pravda published in Moscow a long article about the generals' revolt.

Senator KEATING: May I interrupt there? Did Pravda pick it up as purportedly from Il Paese? Did they quote the other paper, the Italian paper, as the source of that information?

Mr. HELMS: Pravda did not cite Il Paese. But instead of having this originate in Moscow, where everybody would pinpoint it, they planted the story first in Italy and picked it up from Italy and this is the way it actually went out in point of time [sic].
This is important context for understanding the PAESE SERA articles that linked Clay Shaw (correctly) to CMC/Permindex, and connected CMC/Permindex (falsely) to support for the OAS attempts against De Gaulle, various fascist and Nazi forces, etc. The PAESE SERA stories were quickly picked up and repeated by leftist journals in France, Moscow, and Canada.

This by no means proves that the CMC/PERMINDEX stuff was a KGB disinformation operation. The left-wing journalists at the paper would have been happy to smear what they considered to be the "forces of capitalist imperialism" without any direct orders from Moscow. Indeed, Helms is only *inferring* that the earlier story about anti-De Gaulle generals was a KGB operation.

But this episode does put the 1967 articles on Shaw/Permindex into context. The articles were, in one way or another, motivated by a communist ideological agenda.


[4] * Anthony Marro. Helms Is Fined $2,000 and Given Two-Year Suspended Prison Term--U.S. Judge Rebukes Ex-C.I.A. Head for Misleading Panel. New York Times, 11/5/77, p.1.* See also: Gary Aguilar. Max Holland Rescues the Warren Commission and The Nation. Probe Magazine, Sept-Oct. 2000 (vol. 7 No.6) On-line* See also Richard Helms' obituary.

[5] In: The Assassination Chronicles--Inquest, Counterplot, and Legend by Edward J. Epstein. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1992, p. 250--263.

[6] Playboy interview of Jim Garrison is on-line at:, ff

[7] Harold Weisberg. Oswald in New Orleans--Case of Conspiracy with the C.I.A. New York: Canyon Books, 1967, p. 7--14.]

[8] See the text supported by footnotes 138 to 146 in the essay, "Max Holland Rescues the Warren Commission and the Nation" by Gary L. Aguilar. Probe Magazine, Sept-Oct. 2000 (vol. 7 No.6) On-line at:

[9] Joan Mellen. A Farewell to Justice. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2005, p. 253.

[10] Carl Bernstein. The CIA and the Media. Rolling Stone Magazine, 10/20/77. Excerpts available on line at:

[11] William E. Jackson, Jr.. The Mystery of Judy Miller's 'Security Clearance' Deepens. Editor & Publisher, 10/26/05. On-line.

[12] Max Holland. The Lie that Linked the CIA to the Kennedy Assassination. On-line at the CIA's website at:

[13] On condition I not disclose his identity, a former editor at The Nation told me that Holland's CIA-published article had been rejected by Holland's fellow editors. I asked Holland about the rejection in person at a Washington, D.C. JFK conference on November 19 2005. "Politics," he said, explained the rejection.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Finito, Alito!

Robert Parry is the conscience of our nation. He's consistently got his eye on the most important ball. Tonight, his post opens with this clarion call:
With the fate of the U.S. Constitution in the balance, it’s hard to believe there’s no senator prepared to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whose theories on the “unitary executive” could spell the end of the American democratic Republic.
The Democrats are worried about appearing obstructionist. They'd rather play nice than protect our republic! I've never been so disillusioned with my own party as I am right now. They don't get it. They don't see what's at stake. I suspect a few do, but aren't bold enough to speak the truth.

As Parry writes,
A meeting of the Democratic caucus on Jan. 18 to discuss Alito drew only about two dozen senators out of a total of 45. The caucus consensus reportedly was to cast a “strategic” – or a symbolic – vote against Alito so they could say “we-told-you-so” when he makes bad rulings in the future. [See NYT, Jan.19, 2006]

But it’s unclear why voters would want to reward Democrats for making only a meaningless gesture against Alito, rather than fighting hard to keep him off the court. An extended battle also would give them a chance to make their case about why they see Alito as a threat to the U.S. Constitution.

A filibuster could give voters time, too, to learn what Alito and Bush have in mind for the country under the theory of the “unitary executive.” If after a tough fight the Democrats lose, they could then say they did their best and the voters would know what was at stake.
Losing, however, might not be the end result. A swing in public opinion is certainly possible if even one senator takes the floor to wage an old-fashioned, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” filibuster in defense of the most fundamental principles of the American democratic experiment.

A filibuster could touch a public nerve if it concentrates on protecting the Founding Fathers’ framework of checks and balances, the Bill of Rights, and the rule of law – all designed specifically to prevent an abusive Executive from gaining dictatorial powers.

Secondarily, the filibuster could explain to the American people the need for courage in the face of danger, especially at a time when some political leaders are exploiting fear to stampede the public into trading freedom for security.
So what can we do? We need to hit the phones and not let up. Call your senators and tell them they represent YOU, and YOU want them to filibuster.

I keep wondering, where is Howard Dean? Where is his bluntness now? We've never needed it more!

My last hope resides in Senator Boxer. She said she would be willing to filibuster if she felt Alito would overturn Roe v. Wade. I think he's set to overturn something far more important than that - the constitution itself. He's made no secret of his feeling that the president should have more authority. But as Al Gore said so appropriately last week, our founding fathers took great pains to ensure our country was governed by the laws, not men.

How dare the Democrats sit back and watch our Democracy disappear into the sunset?

I have done all I can. I've called my Senators and written them. I've talked to everyone I know about this. Have you done all you could?

We have been in a slow-motion coup since 1963. Carter and Clinton slowed the progress, but did not reverse it. The coup is nearly complete. Now it's up to us. We do get the government we deserve. If you don't want to live under a covert (and someday, overt) dictatorship, speak now, while you still can.

If ever there was a time to filibuster, it is now. There's never been more at stake. Filibuster yourself on your blogs. Truly, there is no issue bigger than preserving our democracy. Two things threaten that- Alito, and Electronic Voting. All other issues are a distant second after those two. If our court starts changing the laws of the land, our Republic is lost. If our vote no longer matters, the Republic is lost.

I think it was H.G. Wells who said "History is a race between education and castrophe." Education is losing.

Please do all you can. We have only each other in this.

George Bush's Whim Reverses Cuban Policy

I just came across this story in the San Jose Mercury from Friday. Evidently, the Bush regime's goal of clamping down on Cuba lost a little ground. Turns out George W. Bush is a fan of baseball, and so he's allowing a Cuban team to come to America to compete in the World Baseball Classic, a true world series.

For years, activitists have tried to loosen restrictions against trade with Cuba. The very arguments that allowed us to trade with China have been ignored when it comes to Castro. Both are communist countries. But we NEED China, and we don't need Cuba. And then there's that personal issue. Bush's friend Felix Rodriguez, a CIA officer, has tried to kill Castro for years, and was present at the murder of Che Guevara, the young doctor-cum-revolutionary who dedicated his life to improving the lives of the poor throughout the Americas. The Bushes have claimed victory in Presidential politics on the back of anti-Castro Cubans.

But politics be damned. The MLB put this together, and George likes baseball. So the Cubans can come play. While I support bringing Cubans to America to play, this is yet another example of George Bush molding the law to his personal agenda. He hates Castro. He's done all he can to tighten economic sanctions. And he won't let them profit from this visit. But hey, if there's a chance to watch a really great game of ball, he's there. He's not even consistent with his own politics.

I'm having trouble comprehending why Democrats are still so hell-bent on playing "fair" and acting politely as this administration becomes more and more of a dictatorship every day. This seems like an innocent story, but under the surface, it has more sinister implications. Our founding fathers wanted the country to be governed by the rule of law. But increasingly, we're governed by the whim of Bush.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Al Gore Makes History Today

Did you catch Al Gore's historic speech today?

Joined by former Congressman Bob Barr, a Republican, Al Gore talked of our constitutional crisis, with Bush using the threat of terrorism to put himself above the law. As Gore said,
A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."
According to Raw Story, the speech received multiple standing ovations.

Where is our Republican Guard, as in guardians of the Republic? Where are the people who claim to love the constitution even as Bush shreds it, hour by hour? With Alito poised for confirmation, who will keep the growing dictatorship at bay?

Jim Garrison, the New Orleans District Attorney whose prosecution of Clay Shaw was thwarted by the CIA, among others, left us this warning, thirty-nine years ago. It is a sad commentary on our media that the only place where you could find intelligent discourse on this matter was in a porn magazine. Garrison knew what he was talking about. He had served in World War II, had seen the horrors of Dachau, and knew what fascism did to a people. He had a talent for pattern recognition, which made him not only a good prosecutor, but a good observer of where our country has been headed ever since the assassination of President Kennedy:
What worries me deeply, and I have seen it exemplified in this case, is that we in America are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto-fascist state. It will be a different kind of fascist state from the one of the Germans evolved; theirs grew out of depression and promised bread and work, while ours, curiously enough, seems to be emerging from prosperity. But in the final analysis, it's based on power and on the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state. Its origins can be traced in the tremendous war machine we've built since 1945, the "military-industrial complex" that Eisenhower vainly warned us about, which now dominates every aspect of our life. The power of the states and Congress has gradually been abandoned to the Executive Department, because of war conditions; and we've seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution.

In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can't spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can't look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won't be there. We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We're not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose-stepping off to work. But this isn't the test. The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same.

I've learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I've always had a kind of knee-jerk trust in my Government's basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make. But I've come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long once said, "Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism." I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.

Use your voice, the one you can still use without getting arrested, as loudly as you can. Use it intelligently and forcefully, aggressively and compassionately. USE IT TODAY.

Tomorrow, it may be too late.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Vietnam, Again

No time to say much, but Robert Parry has an excellent piece about a TRUE American hero who tried to save lives during a horrible event in Vietnam:
In one of the darkest moments of modern American history – on March 16, 1968, in the Vietnamese village of My Lai – Thompson landed his helicopter between rampaging U.S. soldiers and a group of terrified Vietnamese villagers to save their lives.
I've often wondered if Sy Hersh's big scoop on the My Lai massacre, one that pretty much made his career, wasn't really a cover-up of the much larger and more tragic story of Operation Phoenix, a CIA program to assassinate Viet Cong, suspected Viet Cong, and innocent civilians who might be aiding Viet Cong. Truly a tragedy, and something maybe someday I'll find time to blog about.

On a related note, driving home today from work I heard a most eloquent voice telling how the America that never was must be, of how the truth about Vietnam was now "incandescently clear", a man who said those who told him to stop talking about Vietnam never knew him. The voice was that of the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, in his famous anti-Vietnam war speech, given a year to the day before he was assassinated.

Next Monday is Martin Luther King day. In his time, MLK was often on TV, as was Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy. Today, such voices, even though they exist, have no platform in the MSM. We lost so much more than great leaders and hope in 1968. We lost our values. I hope in my lifetime this country dares find them again. We will not survive without them.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Bloggers are to blame???

I read on Firedoglake of responses to Franklin Foer's plea at TNR for the left to stop attacking the mainstream lest we aid the right wing in our efforts.


Bloggers are the problem???

This got my blood boiling, and I fired off this response.

-----Original Message-----
To: ''

Subject: When the Mainstream Media is worth defending...

…the Mainstream Bloggers will defend it. I read your post and was just flabbergasted. You want to blame BLOGGERS for the loss of credibility of the New York Times? Bloggers didn’t hire Judy Miller. Bloggers didn’t beg the Times to sit on the NSA spying story for a year.
Meanwhile, please show me when the Times or the rest of the MSM told us the truth about something that really, REALLY mattered?

  • When did the MSM tell us there were no WMD in Iraq? After it was too late to act responsibly on that information.
  • When did the MSM tell us about Peak Oil and the implications for a society entirely dependent on oil? They haven’t.
  • When did the MSM tell us about the dangers of electronic voting? Still waiting. (As a computer programmer I can assure you this is a stolen election waiting to happen, if it hasn’t happened already.)
  • When did the MSM admit that Iran-Contra wasn’t just a wild conspiracy? When Hasenfus fell from a plane and the AP accidentally let that story slip through a foreign bureau.
  • When did the MSM tell us that the hijackings on 9/11 coincided with pre-planned war games the US was running that included LIVE HIJACKINGS? Still waiting.
  • When did the MSM tell us who profited by selling short on the airlines? The 9/11 Commission found that out and said go back to sleep America, it was just a coincidence. Give the people the information and let them decide. When the press starts treating its readers like grown-ups deserving of grown-up information, it will earn back some of the respect it has deservedly lost. When the press stops acting as an official part of government, they’ll stand a chance.
  • When did the MSM tell us Nixon was a crook? Long after they had assured us that Watergate was just a “third-rate burglary.” And don’t get me started on Woodward and Bernstein. Woodward is and has always been a tool of the establishment who was led to the story by people in high places bent on bringing Nixon down.
  • When did the MSM tell us that Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy? Not even after the House Select Committee on Assassinations hired not one but two acoustical firms which both confirmed at least four shots in Dealey Plaza – one too many for the lone shooter scenario – with one of those shots being from the grassy knoll. Yet ABC dares tell us, 40 years later, that Oswald acted alone. How can they do this? By omitting years worth of solid evidence to the contrary.

And you wonder why so few people trust the MSM?

Thank goodness for the Internet. Hey, I really appreciate the quality WRITING in the New York Times. I just miss quality INFORMATION. NPR commentators have lovely voices. But they aren’t covering the important stories either. Ditto the WP, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the other grand papers of our time, including The New Republic (which, as you probably don’t know because the MSM never told you, was created with the express purpose of gradually leading the left to a more empire-friendly viewpoint. That story is told in Tragedy and Hope, a massive volume written by Clinton’s idol Carroll Quigley.)

The NSA has a program called Echelon that enables the tapping of every electronic communication made on the planet. But why do I have to hear about that from the Canadian press? Now that the NSA’s spying is in the news, this would be a great time to discuss whether Americans approve of an agency of unelected officials having access to our most private communications. (The Village Voice thought so, and gave it coverage, predictably, by one of the few real reporters in the country, Jason Vest. Where was the Times? The Post? The other Times? Your magazine?)

I can’t watch TV news anymore. Who cares about the latest robbery or shooting? Has that EVER effected your life personally? Have you ever been spared some dangerous incident by watching a 20 minute car chase on TV, as us Los Angelenos are subjected to weekly?

I want the MSM to tell us how best to adjust to skyrocketing oil prices. I want to hear about new technologies I should be supporting because they will extend life on this planet. I want to hear about the true history of this country, and the real reasons the terrorists hate us. I want the press to hold the government’s feet to the fire every time anyone opens their mouth, be they a Democrat or a Republican. I want important information. I’m angry because it’s so hard to find in the MSM.

Don’t tell me I’m supporting the right wing by criticizing the MSM. Supporting shallow reporting, misinformation, and cover-ups does no one any good.

What this country needs is a big healthy dose of truth, right up the MSM.