Justice Integrity Project
U.S. Limits Aid To Syrian Rebels As Radicals Seize Warehouses; Catholic Nun, Seymour Hersh Mount Criticism of U.S.
The United States and United Kingdom suspended aid to rebels in north Syria after Islamist radicals seized weapons warehouses from Western-backed forces.
The suspension of non-lethal aid "underlines a crisis" for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) leadership, Reuters reported, because the FSA needs international backing "to reinforce its credibility and to stop its fighters joining powerful al Qaida-backed Islamist militants who now dominate the war" against Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad.
Meanwhile, the prominent investigative reporter Seymour Hersh and Syria-based Catholic Mother Superior Agnes-Mariam, the latter touring the United States, delivered harsh criticism of Western officials, whom they say unduly favor the FSA and other rebels.
Hersh, at left, a New Yorker columnist writing for the London Review of Books, said President Obama "cherry-picked" U.S. intelligence to create a case that Assad's government killed innocent civilians with a gas attack last August 21.
The Obama administration's push to bomb Syria in September was halted only at the last moment by a last-minute deal brokered by Russia. Our Justice Integrity Project had reported problems with the administration narrative in a series of columns such as that Aug. 28 Show Proof To the Public on Syria and, the next month, Why Puppet Masters Need Presidents.
In a talk I attended Dec. 10 at the National Press Club, the Catholic mother superior, right, echoed Hersh's criticism and reiterated her longstanding calls for foreign powers to stop encouraging war in Syria, thereby causing devastating harm to the populace.
"You put the American people into becoming a part of war crimes," she said of her message, "not just one or two or three times, but in ongoing war crimes." The abbess is based at the Monastery of St. James the Mutilated in Qara, which she has fled. Now 61, she was born in Lebanon, but has lived in Syria for 19 years.
Such critics of Western news coverage are extremely rare following a coordinated push led by the United States, Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Arab monarchies to topple Assad, whose family has presided over a largely secular (non-religious), election-validated dictatorship for more than three decades. Hersh's column this week was rejected, for example, by his New Yorker and the Washington Post.
However, the battlefield advances by Gulf-backed radical Muslims -- including at the expense of the so-called moderates at FSA backed by the United States and Europeans -- has led to increasing scrutiny in the West of both the Aug. 21 fatal gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, and of the overall civil war.
At the same time, the Obama administration and its intelligence services are receiving criticism because of their global scandal over privacy violations by the National Security Agency and questions regarding the CIA's secret military activities. Those activities include the administration's drone killings in the Mideast of civilians and what some allege is complicity in smuggling radical fighters and weapons into Syria, including from Benghazi. That arms smuggling, almost never broached in the media, scenario is reported in my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters, and has been a theme of Frank Wolf, a senior Republican congressman from Virginia largely ignored by both parties in Washington and the media.
The Central Intelligence Agency implicated itself in the 1963 murder of President Kennedy and its ongoing cover-up, according to experts who have spoken out recently.
Former congressional investigator Robert Tanenbaum, above, said he and his boss quit the last official probe of JFK’s murder in 1978 because Congress was too frightened of the CIA’s power to permit a probe of the agency's suspicious actions.
Those actions included, he said, implicating Lee Harvey Oswald in a fictitious Communist plot against JFK. The CIA apparently concocted evidence in October 1963 that an Oswald imposter plotted with Soviet and Cuban embassy personnel in Mexico City to kill the president later in the year.
Tanenbaum -- a former top prosecutor in New York City, two-term mayor of Beverly Hills and now a best-selling crime novelist -- described why he and his boss, noted Philadelphia trial lawyer Richard Sprague, resigned from the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in disgust at the cover-up of the nation's most important murder of modern times.
Tanenbaum, shown above right, spoke eloquently on the topic during a recent conference about the assassination I that attended at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
C-SPAN cablecast his talk beginning Nov. 29 on what is now must-see TV for anyone who cares about modern public affairs or true-crime at the highest level of drama.
Today’s column – the ninth in our “JFK Murder Readers Guide” series – treats topics that should be part of any credible discussion of blame for Kennedy’s murder 50 years ago.
I am not trying to assert detailed, final conclusions. Evidence of murder complicity by members of an organization does not mean guilt at the top, of course. Similarly, those engaged in cover-up are not necessarily the perpetrators of a crime.
Those vital details are addressed in many official reports and some 2,000 books on the JFK murder, including more than a hundred in 2013 alone. Much work remains, most importantly regarding the serious implications for the Obama administration and today's public that I chronicle in my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters.
Instead of conclusions, I urge here only that readers who want seriously to consider the Warren Commission's findings get familiar with the eight topics below. The headlines are in bold if you have time to read only the headlines and not the explanatory material.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media and top government leaders typically duck each of these issues. They are thus able to remain almost entirely unified behind the Warren Commission’s findings, as evident in coverage of the murder's 50th anniversary this fall.
The general public seems to understand the self-censorship in the coverage. Polling has shown for many years that most Americans doubt the findings of the seven-member Warren Commission.
Chaired by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, the commission sought to reassure the public that guilt fell only on Oswald, whom they portrayed as a mentally unbalanced, pro-Marxist killer acting alone. The script followed the Justice Department's advice to the White House immediately after the killing, as indicated here, as well as the State Department's "Propaganda Notes" on Sept. 24, 1964 that provided secret guidance to insiders on how to mock critics of the Warren Commission.
The most trusted names in news continue now to stick to simple name-calling against critics, as evident in previous segments in this series and the overwhelming bulk of recent news coverage of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's murder.
In the spirit of the recent holiday, today's column gives thanks for a recent feast of ideas.
Also, I share instruction on civic reform from two can-do pathfinders who showed on a daily basis how to make a better world. They were my first boss, Hartford Courant Managing Editor Irving Kravsow, and longtime George Mason University Professor Michael Kelley, both recently deceased.
The Justice Integrity Project necessarily reports on scandal in public life. That's our mission. But we like to report occasionally on how reform can be achieved.
First comes assessment of problems.
The Atlantic Magazine and its two major partners posted last week a video link to their Fifth Annual Washington Ideas Forum, which convened 60 opinion leaders from across the political spectrum to discuss major issues and proposed solutions. I attended the sessions Nov. 13-14 at the Newseum, one of the magazine's partners along with the Aspen Institute.
The first substantive session, for example, featured U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, shown at right in the photo as he responded to a question from Atlantic Senior Editor James Fallows.
Froman made the case for free trade agreements focused on non-Chinese Pacific Rim nations amid persistent concerns that such agreements might hurt our nation's hard-won safety net, including environmental protection and minimum wages.
"Is it going to be a race 'to the top?'" Froman asked. "A race to the bottom [in terms of working and environmental conditions, etc.] is not a race we want, or that we think we can win."
Whatever one concludes, I recommend watching the sessions to see key figures make illuminating arguments.
My publication later this week of more revelations about Washington's power structure prompt me to share background about how our Project conducts such research.
The goal of revelations, compiled also in my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters, lead to civic reform.
President Kennedy was murdered at an ideal site for an ambush in Dallas.
On Nov. 22, 1963, the president's open-roof limousine was moving slowly on Elm Street toward a spot now marked by a "+," and shown here framed between the fence's pickets.
This eighth installment of our "JFK Murder Readers Guide" series portrays the scene from a perspective you may find novel. It is based on photos I took while attending conferences and ceremonies timed for the shooting's 50th anniversary last week.
The picket fence was at the right front as the president's limo proceeded toward the end of its ceremonial motorcade through downtown streets.
I measured 40 paces, a little more than 100 feet, from the picket fence to the spot of one of the wounds, reported as the first neck wound.
That distance is shorter than 80 meters to the sixth floor of the red-brick Texas Book Depository building at the rear of my photo at right. Another, fatal shot closer to the camera hit the president in his head.
A white "+" is faintly visible on the roadway just at the front of the light-colored car in the center lane of the photo at right.
The white marks are unofficial designations that reappear despite the ongoing efforts of the City of Dallas, most recently during the 50th anniversary commemoration, to remove markings apparently left by JFK supporters. The city also sought to ensure that no ticket-holders to the ceremony visibly supported any view but the Warren Commission's. News reports -- here for example -- hint at the censorship policy but seemed reluctant to describe it in blunt terms.
It is difficult to appreciate the city's effort to keep the pavement clean without recalling the drama of Act V of MacBeth. "Out, damned spot!" cried Lady MacBeth in Shakespeare's portrayal of official anguish over blood-letting.
The Warren Commission and its defenders insist that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting the president. They say he fired three shots from a cheap, bolt-action Italian rifle during a 8.3-second period using as a vantage point the square, far-right window on the sixth floor of the book warehouse. The warehouse, or "depository," is the lighter-colored red brick building at the center of the photo at right.
Yet more than half of the witnesses at the scene reported gunfire from the car's front or side at Dealey Plaza. Witnesses reporting at least one shot from the front included Texas Gov. John Connally. He was a World War II combat veteran used to gunfire, and was wounded in the Dallas shooting while riding with the president.
He and others reported gunfire from the slope (the "Grassy Knoll") at the left of my photo at right.
I shot the photos from a railroad overpass, another possible sniper site in front of the limo's route.
In the photo at right, the picket fence is just to the left of the trees and thus outside the view.
The past week's news coverage of President Kennedy's 1963 assassination provides a stark view of self-censorship by the nation's news media.
The vast majority of the nation's largest and most prestigious media stuck to the Warren Commission's 1964 "lone assassin" theory blaming Lee Harvey Oswald. This is according to my extensive but unscientific review for this seventh installment of the Justice Integrity Project's "JFK Assassination Readers Guide."
Thus, Dan Rather and his former CBS colleague Marvin Kalb agreed that Oswald was the sole killer at a forum on the topic sponsored by the National Press Club on Nov. 22.
Rather, at left in the adjoining photo by Noel St. John, anchors HDNet on cable after more than three decades at CBS News. His CBS work included his radio report from Dallas in 1963 breaking the news that Kennedy had died. Kalb, covering the State Department at the time for CBS, now teaches and offers a news discussion forum called The Kalb Report.
Such experienced commentators with first-hand experience merit respect for their views, of course. But what's notable about so many discussions by them at recent events, on television and in print is how rarely, if ever, they address the specifics of conflicting evidence.
Instead, they tend to ignore or dismiss others views as "conspiracy theory" -- a term specifically recommended to opinion leaders in the 1960s by secret U.S. government memos, labeled "Propaganda Notes." To be clear, we now know that such persuasion was being applied to a few top owners, chairmen and publishers of news organizations, not to working reporters at the Dan Rather level. But press lords and broadcasting titans have ways of implementing their views, as reflected in my first book, Spiked and other research, via a few editors who can be trusted to implement policy without providing specifics to staff.
Much like the major media players, significant numbers of left-of-center media fell in line also this past month with conventional wisdom sneering at so-called "conspiracy theories" that are endorsed by large majorities of the public, according to polls.
As nearly always, our top political leaders undertook symbolic gestures with soaring rhetoric regarding the nation's loss from JFK's death. But virtually none of them comment on the substance of the mysteries that linger from the nation's greatest murder mystery of the past century.
In the White House photo at left, the Obamas and Clintons thus participated in a ceremony Nov. 20 at President Kennedy's grave in Arlington National Ceremony. The capital's Washington Monument is visible in the background. Official photos such as this have prompted a rare protest from the White House press corps, whose jobs are endangered by taxpayer-funded "news."
Meanwhile, iconoclastic writers with few distribution channels continue to publish books and articles blaming the JFK assassination on the CIA, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and sinister forces that included other Kennedy opponents or hirelings. Suspects include Texas oil plutocrats, the Mafia, and anti-Castro extremists.
Those gaining the most sales traction with such views included authors Dr. Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone, each a longtime conservative.
Their muckraking attacks on the CIA, its patrons and allies (including allies at the top levels of the media) break with traditional support by conservatives for intelligence agencies. We are seeing a fissure between traditional conservatives of the Pat Buchanan/Pat Robertson wing and the imperialist "New World Order" of neo-cons and the Bush-Cheney families.
Strange though the claims of a conspiracy to kill JFK might seem, my research has found significant support for its themes, as amplified below in a survey of recent commentary.
On a trip to Dallas from Nov. 21 to 24, for example, I sampled four conferences or ceremonies focused on the Kennedy death. I met a number of experts who made compelling arguments that their views are ignored by media and government alike, no matter what their proof or first-hand experience. These included former government officials, physicians, scientists, authors, journalists, and friends of Oswald.
To varying degrees, they argue that the fatal shots came from the front, that evidence was faked in advance, and that Oswald was a "patsy" because he was a CIA and FBI informant under longstanding orders to do what he was told. Most important, they said the mainstream media's failure to examine the evidence represents professional cowardice and a danger to democracy.
Nov. 19 marked the formal launch of the hardcover, updated edition of my new book, Presidential Puppetry, the first in print with an overview of the Obama Administration’s second term. The book reveals many unreported or under-reported stories about major topics, as illustrated here in a serialization beginning next week.
The book kickoff coincided with a remarkable forum that included seven prominent authors, investigative reporters and archivists. They described their own major findings on such issues as the JFK assassination, election fraud, and privacy invasions caused by government spy agencies.
Those speakers who are experts on the JFK death summarized extensive evidence that the Warren Commission's key findings were wrong. Author Dan Moldea, author of the new book Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer, continued his longstanding argument that organized crime triggermen were implicated.
Dr. Jerome Corsi, author of the new Who Really Killed Kennedy and a two-time author of No. 1 best-sellers on the New York Times list, said Kennedy's killing was a coup d'etat led by the CIA. Corsi said his documentation of the CIA's role is compatible with the concept of mob hitmen, a CIA plot to frame Lee Harvey Oswald as a patsy, and a cover-up at the minimum by President Lyndon B. Johnson, JFK's successor.
James Lesar, president of the nation's largest private archive of relevant JFK books, films and documents, said the Assassination Archives Resource Center (AARC) is making major advances to help the public investigate unanswered questions about the murder. It has assembled, for example, more than a million pages on one disc, for example.
The Justice Integrity Project helped organize the wide-ranging forum, which was entitled “White House Mysteries and Media.” The title reflects the importance of the White House/Executive Branch in our government system. Also, it underscores the mainstream media's at times flawed role in covering the forum topics, which included the psychology of recent presidents, election fraud, and secret surveillance of the public.
In my talk, I introduced Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters as a true-life mystery book about the nation’s leading political families. The Obama, Romney, Bush, Clinton, and the Washington Post's Graham-Meyer family are the book's central figures. I showed how important information about the families remains largely hidden, in part because many in the major news media confine their reporting to conventional wisdom and lack economic incentives to expose the deepest secrets of those in government and their powerful private sector backers.
My intention, I said, has been to dig deeper and thereby provide the public with a Rosetta Stone for current DC political standoffs and strategies. The book leads readers step-by-step through political controversies regarding major issues, including austerity, budgets, national security, privacy, and press freedom.