Justice Integrity Project
A front page story in the Washington Post June 14 reported GOP insider support for Mitt Romney as a 2016 presidential contender.
Political writer Philip Rucker's story was headlined, At elite donor summit featuring 2016 GOP hopefuls, a longing for Romney to run again. The paper's print edition used as its headline, GOP summit on new ideas has one old one: Romney.
We have repeatedly predicted here that Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney will lead the GOP's presidential ticket in 2016 because the two represent the dynastic powers that run the country for more than the most likely potential rivals, who tend to be politicians without serious coalitions of a billionaires of long-standing teamwork committed to their success.
A ticket led by Bush with Romney as vice president is also a strong possibility. That would unite the strands of the Bush Wall Street-oil-CIA-New England-Texas-Florida power axis with the Mormon Church, the nation's fastest growing religion and a major financial powerhouse. Bush consiglieri Karl Rove, reared partly in Texas and Utah, is well-positioned to unite the factions and help orchestrate the kind of vote-counting and other campaign tactics that can create a winner.
Compared to that kind of team, the rest of a likely GOP field, including the high-profile New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will be exposed as a junior varsity when the games begin. A cartoon below predicts that moment by portraying the fall of the Humpty Dumpty.
Political insiders also understand that no GOP presidential ticket has been successful since 1972 without a Bush on it. The second spot might seem a come-down for Romney after two tries at the top spot.
But the White House has been a dream of some leaders of the Mormon Church ever since the Prophet Joseph Smith was assassinated during his presidential campaign in 1844. And even four-term New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (shown below) was willing to accept a vice presidency from 1974 to 1977 despite being a high-status heir of John D. Rockefeller, the richest person in American history, inflation-adjusted.
For public dissemination, conventional wisdom has been that Republicans are searching for fresh faces. But conventional wisdom is often wrong in such matters. Whether by intention or inadvertence, leading political pundits often fail to inform their audiences about the insider intrigues.
For a fresh view, my book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters devotes multiple chapters to the Bush and Romney families, along with their power centers. This was only in part a look backward. More important, it is today's world and could be tomorrow's.
Rucker's story helped illustrate that theme with its report on an "Ideas Summit" that Romney hosted in Park City, Utah. The Post reported the event was billed as "a passing of the torch to the Republican Party's would-be saviors."
Last week, Donald Trump gave a well-received speech to a sellout crowd at the National Press Club. But then he had to endure seemingly unfair coverage, especially from the club's in-house report.
The problem? The National Press Club news account in part denounced him as advocating a proven falsehood when he questioned facts surrounding President Obama's birthplace.
The club's news account included the author's opinion that Trump's views were "discredited." The report failed to include Trump's explanation. Separately, the Washington Post mocked Trump by cherry picking his comments to show that he is arrogant, while virtually ignoring his speech topic.
The billionaire entrepreneur can fend for himself, as he was only too glad to boast in his speech about his other battles.
What's relevant here is that his treatment illustrates how biased news can afflict even an honored guest. The Justice Integrity Project has repeatedly examined unfair news coverage as enabling other kinds of social problems.
Here is a brief account:
Trump, chairman and president of the Trump Organization, spoke May 27. His topic was "Building the Trump Brand," with a heavy focus on his successful bid to the federal government for rights to renovate the historic Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue into a major hotel. Ivanka Trump, executive vice president for development at the Trump Organization and Trump’s daughter, wielding major authority over the project. She attended also.
Donald Trump's other accomplishments that he discussed both in his talk and in Q&A included his creation of the hit television series “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” Other successes have included several best-selling books, including The Art of the Deal and How to Think Like a Billionaire.
This event was rather different than our normal legal fare at the Justice Integrity Project. My reason to attend was to invite former "Apprentice" star Omarosa Manigault, whom I had hired at the Wireless Communications Association as a summer intern. She had been a highly recommended doctoral student at Howard University before she began reality TV in 2004.
Two hundred friends and admirers of the late civic activist and historical researcher John P. Judge fostered his legacy during a memorial service May 31 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D), a next door neighbor and close friend, described Judge as an extraordinary truth-seeker in the spirit of the ancient Diogenes. Kucinich continued, "What better place for it than Washington, DC -- the capital of smoke and mirrors?"
Kucinich, 67, was a longtime member of the House until 2013 who said he often benefited from Judge's insights about why American democracy and the economy have deteriorated in recent decades. Kucinich said he intends to keep hundreds of emails from Judge on current and historic events. "One day, they'll be put to good use."
Other eloquent tributes followed. Judge died April 15 at age 66 following a stroke two months previously.
Speakers portrayed, sometimes using music or photos, how the Washington-reared only son of two doting Department of Defense employees embarked on a lifelong quest to explore the nation's "hidden history." The search began during his days as a student at University of Dayton beginning in 1965, just as the Vietnam War was ratcheting up.
Judge's late mother had been a Pentagon specialist in planning to fulfill the nation's personnel needs via the draft. One of Judge's disclosures was that his mother, Mary Cooley Judge, was instructed just three days after Kennedy assassination to revise upward the Pentagon's personnel needs for the Vietnam War-era draft under incoming President Lyndon Johnson.
In a 1992 speech at American University cable cast on C-SPAN's "JFK: Cinema as History," Judge recalled, "They [the Joint Chiefs of Staff] told her on Nov. 25, 1963 that the war in Vietnam would last for 10 years and that 57,000 Americans would die, and to figure that in."
Judge's major effort of recent years was leading the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA), which showcased serious alternatives to official accounts of the JFK assassination and such other notable deaths during the 1960s as those of Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Judge presided at COPA's 20th annual conference last November in Dallas, which I attended for three days along with 300 other researchers. The focus was on the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. The program's title was "50 Years is Enough! Free the Files, Find the Truth."
President Obama announced May 28 a major update of his foreign policy. But the mainstream media, as usual, failed to report context that would make the implications understandable to the general public.
In the president's commencement remarks at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he urged creation of a new $5 billion "Counter-terrorism Partnership Fund."
The money would go to unspecified purposes, which the president suggested might include rebels fighting Syria's government. That formulation underscores the open-ended nature of the slush fund because even the administration has not maintained that Syria's government, or "regime," poses a terrorism threat to the United States. Covert CIA and U.S. special forces have long secretly helped overthrow the current government, according to independent sources.
Seeking to strike a balance with a war-weary public, Obama also urged restraint in new commitments. That prompted the Washington Post editorial board and other hawks to protest that restraint would foster terrorism and undermine human rights.
Almost entirely missing from such mainstream analysis was a reminder that the U.S. Constitution requires that congress declare war. That requirement has been undermined through the years, including by gray areas of blanket congressional approvals (including in advance for actions), treaty obligations and United Nations-style consensus actions. But the constitution itself, the nation's fundamental law, has not been amended.
Besides the legitimacy of such war-making, mainstream media self-censorship represses two other elements required for informed debate of foreign policy: power relationships and secret funding.
- Hidden relationships. The media have persistently hidden parts of President Obama's biography, as well as spy agency ties of many other prominent decision-makers. Obama's first job after college in 1983 was with the CIA front company Business International Corp. The New York Times reported the company's background in 1977, quoting a co-founder as saying it had been a front company. This was in the wake of the Church Committee investigation of the CIA and its hidden operatives in the media. My in-depth look at the Obama-Dunham family background assembles evidence the future president and his family were worker bees in intelligence and related cover posts in business and non-profits. Obama's later work as a community organizer in the mid-1980s in Chicago fostered misleading perceptions of his political orientation, especially following reports of his involvement with radicals. But like most at the highest ranks of the political stage, he is playing a role, as I show in my book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters. Obama is one of many examples of controlled opposition in government. Voters receive little information on this background even regarding Obama, a two-term president.
- Secret Funding. The national security state organizing the nation's civic agenda around "Homeland Defense" and related defense contracting is deeply interwoven with the country's supposedly independent thought leadership, including the Washington Post, other major media, businesses, universities and other non-profit groups. One of many examples is Amazon.com's $600 million contract last fall to handle cloud computing for the CIA. Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos, an attendee at last year's Bilderberg Group annual meeting, bought the Post last year for $250 million. The Bezos joint control of the Post and Amazon.com (and the possibility of additional such government and corporate contracts for Amazon.com) are an obvious, ongoing conflict of interest. More generally, secret government funding and other hidden relationships often help sustain ostensibly non-government organizations (NGOs), private businesses and other entities, such as universities. The money is laundered by pass-throughs difficult to detect with specifics on short notice for news deadlines, but well-known by Washington insiders as standard procedure.
In sum, voters lack the means readily to learn certain kinds of vital information about current affairs. This is no accident. Many major United States institutions were modeled on counterparts in the United Kingdom devised more than a century ago to expand the British empire by fostering secret relationships among the elite. In the United States, financiers have created similar organizations that work together in ways ignored by the most prestigious public affairs commentators.
One illustration is the attendee list of this year's Bilderberg Group, which began its annual deliberations May 29 in Denmark. Organizers, bowing to public pressure, announced 120 attendees who are enrolled at the super-secret conference first organized in 1954 by the Rockefeller and Rothschild families, initially at the Bilderberg Hotel in a rural town in the Netherlands.
This year's public list includes the Western world's titans and enforcement agents who consent to be so identified. Usually some do not. As for their goals, no insiders, including the media billionaires attending, are likely to report on discussions.
CNN and Newsweek recently launched dubious tirades against what they called "conspiracy theories."
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal published U.N. Considers Reopening Probe into 1961 Crash that Killed Dag Hammarskjöld, a report that broached the possibility that the United States may have been involved in the death of the secretary-general, who is shown in a file photo.
As a way to understand such varied messages, I urge readers to evaluate evidence with an open mind -- and regard with special suspicion those commentators who slant their coverage with the loaded smear words "conspiracy theory" without citing specific evidence.
No one has time to investigate everything without preconceptions. For efficiency, we rely in part on slanted commentary by our favorite sources. But if the stakes are high and we want to be honest we should admit (at least to ourselves) that our preliminary conclusions should be subject to change based on new data.
My suggestions follow the spirit of the Justice Integrity Project's JFK Assassination "Readers Guide" last fall. That 11-part series began with a catalog of books, archives, reports and videos. Then it proceeded to assess various theories of President Kennedy's 1963 murder.
By now, we know from declassified documents that the CIA undertook a massive secret campaign to smear critics of the Warren Commission with the label "conspiracy theorist."
The campaign used members of mainstream media friendly to the CIA, for example, to discredit New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, shown below in a photo by Lynn Pelham. Garrison was prosecuting New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw in what Garrison alleged was a conspiracy to murder Kennedy. Shaw, an OSS liaison to high-ranking British officials during World War II, founded a major regional trade mart in New Orleans shortly after the war. Garrison alleged that Shaw met with rightist opponents of JFK to plan the death.
A 50-page CIA memo, known as "CIA Dispatch 1035-960," instructed agents to contact their media contacts and disparage those, like Garrison, criticizing the Warren Commission findings that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK and acted alone. The 1967 document is here in the original, and here in reformatted text of its summary.
Minutes of CIA meeting that same year indicated fear that Garrison would win a conviction.
But a jury promptly acquitted Shaw following more than a dozen deaths (including suicide) of potential witnesses and an intense smear campaign against Garrison by the national media. NBC News hired former high-ranking Justice Department official Walter Sheridan, who had been an early recruit to the super-secret NSA in the 1950s. Publicly an investigative reporter, Sheridan was involved also in operational efforts to undermine Garrison.
More generally, Operation Mockingbird was the CIA's secret program to plant stories in the nation's most prestigious news outlets.
"With this [CIA] memo and the CIA’s influence in the media," author Peter Janney wrote in a guest column on our site last fall, "the concept of 'conspiracy theorist' was engendered and infused into our political lexicon and became what it is today: a term to smear, denounce, ridicule, and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services."
Janney, whose late father Wistar Janney had been a high-ranking CIA executive, continued: "People who want to pretend that conspiracies don’t exist -- when in fact they are among the most common modus operandi of significant historical change throughout the world and in our country -- become furious when their naive illusion is challenged."
After that background, let's look at more recent uses of the term by the mainstream media to discredit those who suggest government complicity in notorious events.
Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner May 19 used his first Washington, DC public appearance following his resignation to defend his decision making and that of the rest of the Obama administration.
Geithner, launching his memoir Stress Test, responded to a question from the DC-based magazine Politico on why he and his Obama colleagues seemed to treat bankers better than homeowners after the 2008 economic collapse during the last months of the Bush presidency.
"This was a classic financial panic," Geithner recalled of the new administration's bailout responses after Obama's election in 2008. "You are in the cockpit and the plane's on fire. Are you going to negotiate conditions, or try to land the plane safely?"
My analysis of Geithner and his colleagues in Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters is that they served as water-carriers for Wall Street's oligarchs.
But this is Geithner's turn at bat to make his case, including with his 580-page new memoir, subtitled, Reflections on Financial Crises.
The scene was the inaugural "Playbook" luncheon hosted by Politico Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen and Chief Economic Correspondent Ben White. The locale was the Hamilton, a restaurant complex just a stone's throw from Geithner's former headquarters at the Treasury Department, which nearly adjoins the White House.
Timothy Franz Geithner, who turns 52 in August, was the nation's 75th Treasury secretary from 2009 to 2013. Previously, he had been president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 to 2009. He is now president and managing director at Warburg Pincus, a Wall Street private equity firm that boasts of $45 billion in investments since its founding in 1966 from a merger.
Geithner comes from a well-connected family with his mother's roots extending back to the Mayflower landing.
His family also had ties to the Ford Motor Company and Ford Foundation, as well as a little-known tie to the Obama family: His father, Ford Foundation Asia Director Peter Geithner, supervised for a time Ann Dunham, Obama's mother, while she was a grantee for a Ford Foundation micro-finance program in Indonesia.
Geithner mentions "the odd family coincidence" in his memoir as something he and the president discussed in passing during their first meeting in October 2008 to discuss the financial crisis, amid rumors that Geithner might be a prospective Treasury nominee. Geither treats the matter in one sentence as a minor curiosity.
He thus leaves unspoken any deeper disclosures behind this previously little-reported relationship. That is like many other chapters of the Dunham-Obama family story, obscured by lost or secreted official records, following the upheavals occurring in Indonesia and nearby South Asian regions during the years following the West-inspired 1960s coup against Indonesia Prime Minister Sukarno.