Thursday, December 26, 2013

Iran-Contra: Lessons of History Ignored

December 24 marks the anniversary of an important historical event. On this day in 1992, then president George H.W. Bush gave pardons to six people who had been convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal. Read the whole NY Times article from that day:

The significance of this event has faded over the years, which is a shame because it is immensely relevant to today. According to Wikipedia, "In the end, fourteen administration officials were indicted, including then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.  Eleven convictions resulted, some of which were vacated on appeal. The rest of those indicted or convicted were all pardoned in the final days of the presidency of George H. W. Bush, who had been vice-president at the time of the affair."

Understanding the whole Iran-Contra affair is an essential step in grasping the true meaning, the what, the how and the why, of 9/11 and its aftermath. Iran-Contra is a unique historical moment in which you get a glimpse of the unaccountable secret powers that are really running the show, and what their intentions really are. From Iran-Contra you can follow the threads back to the 1960's and 70's, when the major players started assuming positions of power, and forward to the post-9/11 world, in which their desire for vast powers, wielded in secret with no accountability, was fulfilled beyond their wildest dreams.

Case in point : John Poindexter, Reagan's national security advisor.

According to the New York Times, "President Reagan's national security adviser from December 1985 to November 1986 was convicted on April 7, 1990, on five counts involving charges that he obstructed, conspired to obstruct and made false statements to Congress. He was sentenced June 11, 1990 to six months in prison. A Federal appeals panel threw out the convictions on Nov. 15, 1991, on the ground that Mr. Poindexter's testimony to Congress under immunity was improperly used against him."

So, Poindexter was convicted for his part in the coverup of the Iran-Contra affair, but managed to avoid serving any jail time. After eleven years of lying low, Poindexter re-surfaced in the wake of  9/11. In spite of being proven to be part of a group of power hungry liars and thieves who put their own interests ahead of the government and the American people, here he was in 2002, working for the Department of Defense. He was named to head the Information Awareness Office, from which he developed the concept of "total information awareness." According to Wikipedia, "This aimed to counter asymmetric threats (most notably, terrorist threats) by achieving total information awareness and thus aiding preemption; national security warning; and, national security decision making."

His work, when exposed, generated so much controversy and outrage that his office was shut down within a year. But it should be quite evident today that the idea of TIA did not go away. In fact "total information awareness" simply transitioned into the paradigm of "just collect it all" that we now know has became the primary method of operation for the NSA, and most likely other intelligence agencies, and even the police.

This article, from Foreign Policy magazine, is a remarkably clear expose on the connection.

This commentary from Glenn Greenwald discusses how Gen. Keith Alexander, who was picked to head the NSA in 2005, pushed hard for the "collect it all" paradigm.

In fact it seems clear that Alexander was placed in his position at NSA with a mandate to implement a program that had already been developed by Poindexter, three years before. Considering Alexander's history in intelligence, it should comes as no surprise that the torch would be passed to him.

And that is just pulling on one thread. I urge you to study Iran-Contra for yourself and start to see the many threads, or should we say tentacles, that extend from it. Wikipedia is a decent place to get started.

Bill Moyers' excellent documentary, "Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis," does an admirable job of explaining the story.

Another documentary, "Coverup: Behind The Iran-Contra Affair," goes a good bit further in exploring what the Iran-Contra hearings did not resolve: the extent to which our government's activities are controlled by a secret cabal, whose motives are completely contrary to what they publicly claim.

Want to go further? Count on James Corbett of to take you deep into the rabbit hole. His 2009 podcast, "Know Your History: Iran-Contra," is essential listening for anyone wanting to really look for deeper meaning behind the whole affair.

I cannot emphasis this enough: start with Iran-Contra, follow its threads, and you will start to see a much clearer picture of what is really going on in American government today.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Slippery Slope: The Authoritarian State

When is a police checkpoint not a checkpoint? When it is simply the police forcing you to pull over so that a private company can ask you to participate in a "survey," which happens to include the giving of your blood and saliva.

This is going on all over the country; for example:
Fort Worth TX:
Reading, PA:
St. Louis, MO:

It was initiated by a government agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Its supposed purpose is to gain statistical information about people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They hired a private company, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation to implement the survey, which then employs the services of local police. The police flag down cars at random and direct them to pull over. Then they are approached by the survey people, pressured to take part in the survey, and offered money for participating.

The issues with this are numerous, and all are disturbing. In spite of the process being explained as "voluntary," the mere presence of police, in uniform and with lights flashing, provides an air of authority and intimidation. Coupled with high pressure persuasion and money incentives, many citizens will go along without argument. And that's a shame because the very idea of a government agency collecting bodily fluids of innocent citizens is deeply disturbing.

If we have learned anything in the last few years, it is to be deeply skeptical and suspicious when a government agency tells you that it is not collecting information on citizens, or that the information it has collected is guaranteed to be anonymous and secure. Yeah, right.

But even if the motives of the NHTSA are exactly as they say, and even if the information collected by the PIRE is totally anonymous, programs like this have a way of expanding beyond their original mission parameters, i.e. "mission creep." Consider the possibility of one more catastrophic domestic terrorist incident occurring, resulting in checkpoints becoming every-day occurrences, and the submission of bodily fluids for DNA samples no longer voluntary but required. Consider the possibility of your picture being taken without your knowledge, or your license plate being recorded, and that info then being linked to the DNA from your saliva sample. Now you are indisputably identified and inserted into a national database. Now you can be tracked, your cellphone tapped, e-mail and internet activity recorded, bank and charge accounts hacked, etc. And they will be justified in doing it, simply by saying that you might be a terrorist, or a drug dealer.

Now consider the ever increasing militarization and aggressiveness, coupled with recklessness and incompetence, that has become so typical of law enforcement in this country today:

The increasingly brazen violence of police in reacting to the most innocuous incidents has become prevalent, virtually normalized:

Join that with the vastly expanded technological capabilities that police departments have acquired as it trickles down from the military and national intelligence agencies, often paid for by grants from Dept. of Homeland Security. For example: the Indiana State Police recently spent $373,995 for a device that could allow authorities to capture cell phone data, and they won't tell anyone anything about it. Police officals say that such secrecy is essential to thwart terror attacks and fight crime. You got a problem with that?

This is a recipe for disaster: the total loss of civil liberties and the emergence of a modern police state.

Are we there yet? In the larger view of history, we are not anywhere near the catastrophic levels of say Germany or Russia in the early to mid-20th century. But we are also in a different era, in which the public has been conditioned, step by step over the last 12 years, to accept such a trend as necessary and even desirable. This is the modern way of achieving authoritarian rule: not through brute force, but more subtly, step by tiny step.

It takes a loud indignant public outcry to force such changes to be rolled back. And it can be done. But the struggle continues because those who have acquired power most certainly will not give up that power without a fight.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK and The Re-Writing of History

JFK was killed 50 years ago today.  Truth Dots notes the full-on united front presented by the mainstream media in countless newspaper and magazine articles, TV shows, books, etc, to declare that all "conspiracy theories" are to be left behind, once and for all. Oswald did it and he did it alone. That's all folks, you can pack up and go home.

It is true that many people are willing to jump to conclusions based on their own biases, hence many "conspiracy theories." That is why one must limit ones' attention to people who are actually doing genuine research, and who uncover actual evidence.  And there is an abundance of evidence, that Oswald did not act alone, that he is not the man the media portrays him to be, that government agencies were involved, and that these agencies and the media have been covering up and re-writing history for decades.  It is a tragedy and a travesty that has many precise parallels with 9/11 and its aftermath, and is a hard lesson to be learned.  Because we have been trained to forget about history except as the mainstream culture feeds it to us, we were inadequate to the task of recognizing 9/11 for what it was.

Here's a classic mainstream media tactic: provide us with a wise and witty commentator to focus on how one of the most ridiculous JFK conspiracies was de-bunked, with the clear message that it would be better to stay away from any and all such theories.  The intent and effect is to associate all JFK research with the most ridiculous theories, making it easy to dismiss and marginalize any JFK research that conflicts with the official story.


Here's an example of what is known as a "limited hangout," a public relations or propaganda technique that involves the release of previously hidden information in order to prevent a greater exposure of more important details.

It shows how far the mainstream media will go to dismiss JFK research.  Below is a link to an interview with Philip Shenon, author of the new book, "A Cruel and Shocking Act." Listen for how this guy is willing to make the public aware of damning evidence of corruption and coverup in the wake of JFK's assassination, yet jumps to his own conclusions, without any basis in the facts, that the reasons for all this were nothing more than incompetence, embarrassment, and the desire to "protect President Kennedy's legacy, to protect the privacy of the Kennedy family." This is shoddy journalism posing as hard-hitting investigative reporting, and again conveniently marginalizes genuine research by ignoring it, in favor of simply making up an alternate explanation that fits the conventional wisdom.

Note the title of this feature is "Botched Investigation Fuels Kennedy Conspiracy Theories." Again the way it is expressed is important. They are saying that it is understandable that the evidence being exposed would lead some people to have a "perception' of a conspiracy, but nevertheless you shouldn't think that way. Essentially the author is saying to legitimate researchers, "who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?"

News Flash: The Last Stand of the JFK Truthers
 Dallas plans to memorialize the fallen president on the 50th anniversary of his death, and the conspiracy theorists aren't invited.

Credible, meticulous research on the JFK assassination has been going on since the 1960's.  One of the greatest researchers is also one of the least known, Mae Brussell.  Has there been anyone since who has done such a thorough job of actually reading every edition of the Warren commission report, cross referencing it and following up on the information that it cited to support its conclusions?  She produced thousands of pages of research and hundreds of hours of recorded programs discussing her research and encouraging others to do their own.
She never asked for a penny and achieved no renown for her efforts.  She was simply a brilliant person who was also a passionate activist for truth.  Here's her first radio broadcast, all the way back in 1971.

Learn more about Mae and access the vast archive of her work at

If you're ready to dive in and do some JFK research, our good friends at have prepared the way for you with an outstanding portal to articles, videos and plenty of links and references.

Ready to go down the rabbit hole? Evidence of Revision is an amazing documentary, relying on a treasure trove of actual archival film footage from the times, to show how history was indeed being revised, even as the events were unfolding. Here's part 1:

Few have honored Mae Brussell's legacy as well as James Corbett of In this video he gives us a quick, concise summary of the mountain of evidence that indicates that Oswald was someone quite different than the official story. It is meant to give you a sense of the absurdity of it all, and it succeeds quite well.
Everything he refers to is referenced and linked on this page:


Jim Douglass, in his book JFK and the Unspeakable, has an interpretation of events to explain why JFK was murdered, and why it matters, that makes more sense to me than any other.  I think his ideas are worth pursuing further, as everything I have encountered so far supports his ideas. Here's an interview in which he summarizes his views.

And the final words go to the man himself. Here's JFK giving the commencement address to the graduating class at American University in 1963. Is this the sound of a politician planning to seek re-election, saying what he thinks will appeal to liberal voters, or is it a man who is genuinely turning away from the ambitions of the CIA, the military-industrial complex, and the other elites working behind the scenes to drive the country back to war and ruin?

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The End of the Illusion?

The farce and debacle that is our government has been put on display for all to see with this latest shutdown drama. Everyone seems to see it for what it is, everyone agrees that they're all bums and should be thrown out. And yet...

The shutdown drama has had one particular success: it has reinforced the persistent yet patently false notion that the only way to solve this problem is to choose a side and blame the other guy. As the shutdown lingers on, politicians pontificate and posture while the suffering of ordinary people increases. The polarization of American politics has reached a new high (low) as a result of this situation, foreshadowing what I predict will be the most virulent (and useless) political campaign season ever. For at least some of those involved, this was surely the intent all along.

Are we so naive to forget that government is a place where politicians, be they Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, come together to wallow in the corrupting slime of greed and power? Yet we keep returning to the idea that if it weren't for the other guy's political party, our problems will be solved. Don't we  know by now that these guys all go to the same golf courses, hang out with each other in their multi-million-dollar mansions, attend the same parties, make the real deals behind closed doors...and laugh at us.

And so two contradictory impulses try to co-exist. We rage at the incompetence and corruption that is obviously endemic to government, yet at the next election we grudgingly come back and vote for more of the same. Have we not, at long last, reached the point where we admit this is all a sham, and simply stop endorsing it?

But then comes the big question: then what? Trying to "solve" this problem does take us into some scary territory. Are we talking revolution, anarchism?

Truth Dots is not going there. When you have problems this huge, it seems even more clear that the solutions we must pursue are personal ones. In fact, an underlying point of this blog is this:

Exposing the rampant fraud, manipulation and deceptions that are foisted upon us by our leaders and institutions is just a first step. The next step is to realize that the biggest illusion is that any of this is more important than what's going on in your own heart and mind. A life of freedom and happiness comes from awakening one's own consciousness, not from forcing change on the world. And yet doing so can actually have profound implications for not just ourselves but everyone around us.

I have written about this in the past and will continue to do so.
Here's a post called "Rite of Passage," about the moment after you take the metaphorical red pill, awaken from the Matrix, and then have to decide, how do I respond?

Also please read "Together On The Journey," a post about two people, Arthur and Crystal, whose personal health crises led to powerful personal transformations. Both are now inspiring and helping others awaken to their own power to transform their lives.

The sheer absurdity of what goes on in the material world should be a signal to us, that there is more important business to attend to: the pursuit of our own awakening. Part of that awakening will indeed be an increased intellectual awareness of the illusions that permeate our culture and erode our freedoms. To respond to this is important, and to do so we must learn to apply all our critical thinking skills to the task of observing, interpreting and exposing what is real vs. what is a lie. We must use that knowledge to make an informed choice to reject anything that undermines our natural born right to live as free individuals.

But a greater teaching is always present, and we must come to know that life itself is the curriculum for learning this lesson: give up fear, anger, hate, resentment. Choose love, compassion, gratitude, humility and forgiveness. Welcome to the human race. It's time to start attending life-class.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Whither 9/11 Truth?

A big part of what got this blog started was a sense of alarm over the way that 9/11, the watershed event of our time, has led directly to more than a decade of deterioration of civil liberties and constitutional rights, massive increases of domestic surveillance, vast expansion of militarization of police, normalization of torture and indefinite detention, drone warfare, a procession of military ventures cutting a never-ending swath of death and destruction. The list of outrages is added to daily.

The line from 9/11 to this is uncontested. In a brilliant personal audio essay from 2011, Brett Veinotte of School Sucks podcast looks back to Sept. 10, 2001 and asks us to wonder if we could ever have imagined how the events of the next day would cause our lives to be so devastatingly changed for the worse.

Yet 9/11 itself remains an unsolved crime.

The 9/11 "truth" movement is in tatters, mired in endless debates over the way the towers were destroyed, or whether the hole in the Pentagon was big enough to have been made by a plane.There have been enough conflicting theories put forward to ensure that in mainstream public discourse, no serious discussion of who was really responsible for 9/11 can even get started.


The 9/11 Commission left us with the limited understanding that the largest, most expensive and most technologically advanced defense apparatus in the world failed due to sheer incompetency and negligence, at every level, by every person with any responsibility. Many people then covered up this failure to protect themselves from being embarrassed, discredited or charged with crimes. This is true as far as it goes, as amply outlined in this clip of Senator Mark Dayton. The first 12 minutes are absolutely essential to understanding 9/11 at this most basic level.

It is further essential to acknowledge that the vast scope of this failure is typically not scrutinized in the mainstream media narratives of 9/11. Instead, we are directed to respond in a purely emotional way, focusing on patriotism, on demonizing the evil terrorists, on remembering the victims, and on honoring the heroic individuals who paid the ultimate price to try to save lives in the aftermath of the attack. Of course, they should be honored and remembered with gratitude. But at the same time, we should all stand with the survivors and families of the fallen in expressing our outrage that not one single person was ever held up to be responsible for the intolerable negligence, incompetence and outright dereliction of duty that unquestionably allowed the attacks to happen. Again, Sen. Dayton's speech spells this out quite clearly, but it has been buried, excised from the public discourse.


If that was as bad as it gets, it would be bad enough. But even this admission of failure is only a distraction from a genuine understanding of our government's actions on 9/11. Fortunately. outside the mainstream, this discussion is very much alive, and with good reason. Credible, sturdy research has been going on for years now, developing into a body of evidence that clearly indicates that the functioning of our government and our national defense were subverted and degraded from the inside, before, during and after the attacks. This evidence is powerful enough that in a fair and just world, a criminal investigation would be launched immediately, targeting specific individuals in various departments of the U.S. government and military.

The research being done on this is detailed, meticulous and thorough. It does not require us to make conclusions about the existence of a conspiracy or its motives, although history gives us ample reason for suspicion.
Ref: Operation Northwoods:

It is merely to show that contrary to virtually all mainstream narratives, a criminal investigation is indeed warranted, into the involvement of people in our own government in the perpetration of the 9/11 attacks.


For diligent, thorough and tireless research, one need look no further than James Corbett of  His personal awakening to the lies and distortions in the official 9/11 narrative was the direct impetus for him to begin his journey from school teacher to one of the best independent investigators around. On this 12th anniversary he has produced a must-see one-hour video podcast, annotated with tons of links and references:
as well as a supplementary article with even more notes and links:

Corbett's November 2012 presentation on the activities of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney on the morning of 9/11 is mind blowing, especially when one sees how it is merely the tip of the iceberg:

Corbett himself credits the work of Kevin Ryan, a meticulous researcher with an inside connection to 9/11. According to his blog:
Kevin is a chemistry laboratory manager.  Through his work as Site Manager for the environmental testing division of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), he began to investigate the tragedy of September 11th, 2001.  Ryan was fired by UL, in 2004, for publicly asking questions about UL’s testing of the structural materials used to construct the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings as well as UL’s involvement in the WTC investigation being conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Again, becoming aware of the problems with the official story led Kevin to becoming a dedicated researcher. His blog, contains numerous highly detailed research articles. He sees the pieces of a puzzle, all scattered on the ground, and does the hard work of picking up each piece, examining what its purpose is and where it came from, and then seeing how it connects to other pieces. The result, over and over,  is at odds with the official story, and offers credible evidence of criminal activity from within our government and military. His new book is Another Nineteen: Investigating Legitimate 9/11 Suspects.

Another amazing resource is the 9/11 Information Center
a huge online compendium of documents, news articles, videos and other resources regarding 9/11. This is part of a larger effort by Fred Burks and the website team to gather easily verifiable information on many important issues that are too often hidden or marginalized. Their purpose is to help build a better understanding of what is really happening in the world, in order to move forward with helping to make a better world. I applaud them and encourage you to check out the entire amazing WantToKnow site:


At this point, why bother? We should just shrug and move on, right? Who is naive enough to think that anyone with any authority cares enough to take the risk of exposing the secret workings of power in this country? The truth of 9/11 will fade into the conspiracy dustbin of history, along with the Kennedy assassination, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Iran-Contra, and so many others. Or perhaps, in another 20 years or so, the information will be gradually leaked out to verify it all, long after anyone could possibly be held accountable or brought to justice.

But we support the work of people like Corbett, Ryan and Burks, because the ideals of equal justice for all are critical to the survival of our society; if our government won't stand up for them, we must do so as individuals. A continuing trend of apathy only emboldens political leadership to further embrace the corrupting power of their positions, to engage in even more secret manipulations and authoritarian policies. We are already living in a nightmarish scenario that is a cross between Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. We can't just live in apathetic acquiescence of such a state of affairs.

Why bother? When we are confronted by events and actions that clearly violate our personal standards of morality or ethical principles, we must speak up. It is not a question of being in the right, or even being victorious in the struggle. One does not always do something based on probability of success, but because it is the only way to be faithful to one's own conscience. You can't force anyone else to agree with you, but you can be true to yourself.

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Obama vs. King: Shameless Hypocrisy

The events of this week have made it easy to see the utter and total hypocrisy of President Obama, as he once again tries to associate himself with Martin Luther King, while at the same time going against everything King stood for. Obama gladly inserted himself into this week's 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, the one in 1963 where King made his most well known speech. Behind the scenes, Obama was making plans to rain cruise missiles down on Syria.

Obama enjoys being the beneficiary of King's civil rights legacy, but he has no real respect for King. He clumsily quotes King, incorrectly and out of context, to improve his own image. In 2009, Obama was bizarrely given a Nobel Peace Prize after only being in office a few months. In an even more bizarre twist, during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech (for which he had done literally nothing to deserve), Obama both cited King as an influence and utterly repudiated him in the same speech. Obama was a hypocrite then and he's a hypocrite now, as he continues to shamelessly pander to King's legacy while preparing to make war on Syria.

The rationale and justifications for this rush to war are themselves shamelessly hypocritical, and I believe should be fiercely opposed, as I discussed on my previous blog post,
"Beating The Drums Of War Again."

What I am calling Obama out for is doing what so many others have tried to do: to somehow pretend that Martin Luther King's positions on civil rights and economic justice can be separated from his position against war and violence. King made this quite clear in speech after speech that they are inextricably linked. To act otherwise is to demean and diminish his legacy.

I wrote about this more in depth in a post back in 2011,
"Pentagon Celebrates Martin Luther King Day?"

That post includes a YouTube clip of an amazing appearance by Dr. King on the Mike Douglas show in 1967,  in which he endures unfriendly, confrontational challenges from Douglas and his other guest. King keeps his cool and takes the high road, making brilliant points as he lays out his anti-war position.

Above all, one must always return to this stunning speech MLK gave in 1967.

Absorb what is said, and then decide whether it is time to take your stand against the senseless violence that Obama is about to inflict on not just Syria, but all of us.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beating The Drums Of War Again

For twelve years now, we've been conditioned to accept that we're in a state of perpetual war. So is it really much of a surprise to hear the war drums beating again, this time for Syria?

Granted, Assad is a very bad guy, and his government has been one of terrible repression and unconscionable violence against its citizens. But there's always more to the story. Unfortunately, you'll have trouble gleaning the bigger picture from our political leaders and the U.S. news media. Propaganda abounds, its purpose being to obscure the finer points in favor of gross generalities and misconceptions, all presented with intent to provoke anger and fear, which in turn will result in support for military action. Critical analysis by media "journalists" is almost non-existent. What investigative reporting that exists is being systematically stifled by an Obama administration bent on crushing dissent of any kind, through its merciless campaign to criminalize whistleblowing. 

It is becoming more true than ever that the only information we get about government activities will be coming from official government sources. But that’s OK,  they never lie, right? Oh, wait...


Here's a peek into the way this works. Last week, Fox News Sunday brought on two congressmen, a Republican and a Democrat, to help the public get used to the idea that U.S. military action in Syria is coming.

Republican Senator Corker assured the public that he is certain the Syrian government is indeed responsible for the latest chemical weapons attack, based on his careful analysis of…social media.  Hey that's good enough for me. Who needs an actual investigation?  He also assures us that "we will respond in a surgical way." This of course means cruise missiles, as the other congressman later explains. But hey, so as long as it's surgical, OK?  Nothing could go wrong with that.  He gives a blanket endorsement to the "opposition," and encourages our training of them to be upgraded from covert to "industrial strength."

Host Chris Wallace doesn't question or challenge a single word. In fact he actually admonishes Corker for suggesting that the president wait two weeks until Congress comes back to get approval for military action.  In truth, Wallace is throwing a softball to Corker so Corker can reluctantly admit the president may just have to go ahead without Congress. Oh darn.

This leads to Wallace bringing on Rep. Engel, a Democrat, who takes his cue to increase the urgency factor, saying two times in one minute: "We have to move and we have to move quickly." He thinks the president should go ahead and "get started," and Congress can just show up later and approve it.

Obviously this is what this little pre-scripted show has been leading up to: a bi-partisan expression of support for the president's decision, already made, to act unilaterally to attack Syria, based on insufficient evidence and with zero acknowledgment of conflicting views, and zero interest in considering the deeper context of the situation. Now picture this scenario being repeated in every major distribution TV network, newspaper and magazine.

The real action is behind the scenes, orchestrated in secret by the CIA and their ilk. In front of the cameras, we hear the same hypocritical rhetoric, over and over again, justifying the inflicting of violence on one Middle Eastern country after another. It's almost like they're going down a list...

Just say no. Say no to a course of action that can only lead to the deaths of more Middle Eastern civilians by American hands; a course of action which will most likely lead to the deaths of American soldiers. Don't force any more soldiers' families to sing patriotic songs in order to justify the deaths of their sons and daughters for something that has nothing at all to do with our freedom or security, and everything to do with the self-serving agendas of a privileged few.


Just say no when the government claims it is acting on "humanitarian" grounds. Nothing could be further from the truth, or more hypocritical. The United States has no high ground of humanitarian virtue to stand on, and any attempt to do so must be understood as an attempt to deceive and deflect attention from actual agendas. Do we really need to recite the bloody facts of recent history? Perhaps we do:

1960's, Vietnam - the U.S. deliberately used one of the most toxic chemicals ever created, Agent Orange, a "defoliant," at such high levels that it became a de facto chemical weapon, resulting in the death and maiming of almost a million people, with severe disabling health effects on survivors and horrible birth defects afflicting hundreds of thousands more, including our own soldiers.

1980's, Iraq -  U.S. approved the sale of anthrax, bubonic plague, etc, to Iraq, and later provided Iraq with intelligence support for its campaign to use chemical weapons against Iran, and its own people.

2000's, Afghanistan and Iraq - U.S. used napalm, cluster bombs, white phosphorus and depleted uranium, universally understood to be intolerably cruel and brutal weapons, causing devastating impact on civilian populations.

Is it unfair to blame our current leaders for the sins of the past? Perhaps, or perhaps the past informs us of the necessity to understand just how callous and inhumane our own government can be, and how easily they will lie about it. The past teaches us that we must be highly suspicious and distrustful when our leaders claim to be acting out of benevolent and humanitarian causes.


The U.S is supporting Syrian "rebel" groups that oppose the Assad "regime," even though many of the rebels have openly aligned with Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a.  Al Nusra Front, the most radical and violent group of the rebel coalition, and known to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Al Nusra is a designated terrorist organization. Sounds awfully familiar.


Secretary of State Kerry decisively condemned the Syrian government for the latest attack, even though proof of responsibility has not yet been established. Many other government officials have been rolled out to talk to the press, saying the exact same thing.

This completely ignores a mounting body of evidence that the rebels are also in possession of chemical weapons. A U.N. inspector has already stated that pretty conclusively, back in June:

The mainstream media are lining up to cheer-lead the push, just as they did in the rush to war with Iraq. Again. isn't this all too damn familiar?

You have to go to alternative outlets like Common Dreams to find intelligent, well-informed analysis and commentary providing views contrary to the official line.

Sadly, their audience is tiny in comparison to the huge reach of of the mass media.


I know the implication here is provocative: that the rebels, having chemical weapons capability of their own,  would launch an attack that would kill their own people and allow it to be blamed on the Assad government, in order to provoke the U.S and NATO to enter the conflict on the opposition side.  There is the further implication that the U.S. supported this.  Is that too unthinkable, too conspiracy-ish?  Well again, history reminds us of the horrible, tragic consequences if we fail to be suspicious of dramatic events that lead to urgent calls for U.S. "intervention"…

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Those who cannot remember the past..."

"...are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

It's a tired old saying, isn't it. But the fact is it speaks to the heart of the mess our society is in today: a tragic, pervasive lack of awareness about own history and how it relates to the events of today.

Forty-nine years ago today, on Aug. 7, 1964. U.S President Lyndon Johnson easily persuaded Congress to pass the "Gulf of Tonkin" resolution, giving the president broad powers to use military force against North Vietnam. This was in response to reports only five days previous, that American ships had been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, off the coast of North Vietnam. The mainstream media carried the stories provided to them by the government, and the drumbeat for war was pounded. Congress approved the resolution almost unanimously after a mere 10 hours of consideration. The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

The problem? The story of the attack presented to the public, and to Congress, was false, and top leadership knew it at the time. Read the Wikipedia entry for an introduction to how this happened.

Here's a good quick summary, with commentary by Robert MacNamara, who was secretary of Defense at the time. After reading the Wikipedia, you can see how, all these years later, he is still deliberately obscuring key facts.

The resulting escalation in Vietnam went on for nine more years. It resulted in over 50,000 American troops dead, over 2 million dead Vietnamese, and finally, withdrawal with none of the ostensible objectives being achieved.

Starting to sound familiar? This clip makes the connections for you:

The media has always been a participant in this game, willing to be used to propagate the official line, not bothering to fact-check. The always reliable James Corbett of provides a thorough and meticulously prepared reminder of how this has happened time and again.

Let's throw something else into the mix: Operation Northwoods. From ABC News:
In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
And of course Wikipedia has an entry about it:

Here's a brief clip about it:

If this still sounds too conspiracy theory for you, follow this link
for articles, interviews and links to the declassified documents. (Thanks again to for being such a valuable resource.)

The relevance for us today should be obvious and simple. Based on what is now public knowledge about our government's past actions, we have the right, perhaps even a duty, to regard the words and deeds of our leaders today with intense scrutiny, distrust and suspicion. With history as a guide, it is not hard to see why we think it so likely that we are being misled every step of the way, by people who are pursuing their own self-serving agendas, unrestrained by any ethical boundaries whatsoever. And history also shows us that if we don't reject the lies and demand the truth, the results are certain to be tragic, destructive and futile.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Against Their Will


A new book, Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America, is a thoroughly researched study on a topic that is not really new or even truly secret: the use of human subjects for medical experimentation, against their will and often even unwittingly, by the U.S. government in the mid-20th century. There has already been much documentation on the subject; here is a link, from the excellent website resource,  to a summary of stories that are in the public domain, reported by mainstream sources, about our government, military and intelligence establishments using human beings as unwilling research subjects in gruesome "scientific" medical studies:

The difference this time is the focus on children as the victims of horrible, unethical experimentation by doctors and scientists from America's most prestigious hospitals and universities, with the full support and participation of the CIA and other U.S. government agencies. No exaggeration, no conspiracy theories; it is simply a matter of historical record.

What exactly are we talking about? It is really too sickening to go into detail about it. The blurb from includes this brief description:
They were drafted as "volunteers" to test vaccines, doused with ringworm, subjected to electric shock, and given lobotomies. They were also fed radioactive isotopes and exposed to chemical warfare agents.
And that barely scratches the surface.


The context is important to the understanding of this, and why it is relevant today. This activity is known to have exploded and flourished during the Cold War, especially in the late 1040's - early 1950's, when fear of Communism was used to justify a wave of deeply unethical and criminal activity by our government.

In addition, at that time period in the middle of the 20th century, the concept of "eugenics" was still a powerful force behind a lot of scientific and medical activity. What is eugenics? Let's start with a simple online dictionary definition:
"the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)"
In case you're not getting the point, here's this helpful line from Wikipedia:
Early proponents of eugenics believed that, through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution.  They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws; and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and "immoral."
Link to the full entry:

The Wiki article is disturbing but essential to begin to understand the scope of the eugenics movement in the it rose to prominence in the early 20th century. Lest you think this was just some small fringe group of radical nutcases, the article makes clear that this movement was populated by a large swath of the scientific community, funded by the biggest corporate foundations like Rockefeller and Carnegie, and codified into law in the form of segregation, immigration restrictions, and the most hideous of all, compulsory sterilization enforced by law in 30 states. Only after Hitler was revealed to have carried eugenics to its most horrifying extreme did the movement fade in the U.S., but it didn't go away. During the Cold War era of the late 40's and 50's, the fear of Communism was hyped up to a level of hysteria that made it possible to revive the blatantly inhuman concept of eugenics, in order to justify the abuse of not just racial and ethnic minorities but also mentally challenged, physically disabled, sick and poor children. Again, just history.

What you have here is a perfect example of the muddy waters of human motivation, where genuine commitment to a mission, perceived as important and virtuous, coexists with a ruthless detachment and a lust for power and control, unrestricted by any sense of ethics or morality. I wrote a blog post on that subject I hope you'll go back and check out, called "True Believers and Manipulators:"

I'm sure many of the players involved in the experimentation on children were motivated by a passionate belief that extreme measures were necessary to save us from the even worse fate of being overrun by a Communist military dictatorship. That belief, and the fear and paranoia it generated, made it easy for them to put their faith in a junk science that assured them it was OK to experiment on these kids because they were genetically inferior. Meanwhile, others were just happy to take government or foundation money for their universities, hospitals and labs.

But all of them were manipulated by those who organized, funded and directed this activity, who themselves held irrational and conflicting motivations. I quote myself here, from my other blog post:
Mark Crispin Miller, in his introduction to a recent reprint of Edward Bernays Propaganda, points to an answer, as he discusses the dual nature of the minds of demagogues such as Hitler, Mussolini, McCarthy and others.  While on the one hand, they appear to be radically committed to their mission, on the other they are detached and manipulative.  Miller proposes that it is actually both - they are "fanatical and cynical at once, neither wholly in control nor wholly ecstatic.  Such agitators work within a certain mental borderland, where one can never clearly see conviction as distinct from calculation.  Indeed, that inner murkiness appears itself to be the very source or basis of the mass manipulator's enigmatic power, and so we cannot comprehend it through schematic dualistic formulas."

Many will often dismiss warnings about the slippery slope we are currently on in the U.S.: warnings like the constant invocations of national security being used to justify endless military actions abroad, increasing militarization of the police at home, increasing government surveillance of the public, increasing operation of government in secret, etc, all promoted by nationalistic propaganda pretending to be news. I have written about this several times now:

So I ask you: is the propaganda, the misinformation, the stirring up of fear and paranoia posing as patriotism any different today than it was then? Are government leaders any less prone to the corrupting influence of money and power? Is one's racial or ethnic identity or economic status any less of a factor in one's being considered an equal member of society? Are scientific and medical institutions any less interested in cashing in on the expansion of government programs driven by fear and paranoia? Are corporations any less ruthless than they were before in their pursuit of economic enrichment at any price? Are the elites in the upper echelons of government and finance any less disdainful of the other 99.99% of humans in this world?

The book Against Their Will provides its own answer to that question by exposing the fact that the experimentation on children never actually stopped, it has just been moved off-shore, away from prying eyes. As one reviewer on Amazon says:
If you thought that at the beginning of the 21st century things like the ones described before stopped, you are wrong.  As the authors point out, American institutions have been replaced by China, India, Tunisia and Nigeria as sites for Phase One drug studies.  Drug firms now travel to "places where regulation is virtually nonexistent, the FDA does not reach, and the mistakes can end up in pauper's graves."
So since the answer to all the above questions is so obviously no, then why shouldn't we be concerned, no, disturbed, no make that outraged, at the direction our society is going?


It is not pleasant to have to look upon the dark side of human nature; much easier to look away, avoid the issue, and live in willful ignorance, especially when the evil is found to be embedded in our most revered cultural institutions: government, science, medicine. But such knowledge is inescapable. Indeed, awareness of the past, and putting current events in the context of history, are necessary steps on the path to a more peaceful and compassionate future. So don't run and hide; look it in the eye. Weep, puke, rage if you have to. It is a rite of passage. Let it propel you forward into doing whatever you can do to shift the balance of power in the "real" world from fear over to love.

I have offered my thoughts on this before, and will continue to do so. Please read my posts, "The Absence of the Light," and "Solutions," for my perspectives on the crucial importance of bringing love, compassion, humility and forgiveness into our lives, as a serious, practical approach to countering the negative influences in the world.

This is where our true power lies, and we must learn to wake up to it, own it, and use it. As I said in Absence of the Light:
And to anyone who finds this naive or can see no practical value in focusing on these concepts, we must thank them and continue on our way.  We have seen countless examples, time after time, how the actions of one person can make a difference to many others.  The simple act of extending humble generosity, compassion and forgiveness to another can have powerfully positive ramifications.
As I also suggested in that blog, it is the children that often end up being the ones who show us the way. We have so much to learn from them. We should sign up for the course.

Links to reviews and commentaries on the book:

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Boston: Further Along The Wrong Path

The aftermath of the Boston bombing is playing out in the manner of a genuine tragedy - the kind where the tragic end is foreseeable, preventable, but is not foreseen, not prevented. In the last decade we have taken many steps along the wrong path, even though its end point is known and feared. Now we have taken a few big ones.


As always, the media gave us a minute by minute account of every false lead, every wrong turn, every politically motivated leak, every racist or ethnic innuendo, every bit of useless guesswork, surmise and supposition put forth by supposed experts in regard to what motivated the Boston bombers. And yet as far as the public is concerned, the story has coalesced very quickly into one predictable conclusion: Muslim extremists.

There are just a couple problems with going down that road. First, there are already cracks in the case that show prior FBI knowledge of the Boston suspects. As reported in the Wall Street Journal:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of the Russian government, but didn't find evidence of suspicious activity and closed the case, an FBI official said Friday...

...U.S.  counterterrorism officials have in recent years intensified warnings about the homegrown threat, though the threat has gotten less public attention because most of those plots, with the exception of the 2009 Ft.  Hood shooting in Texas, have been disrupted or botched.
What the article fails to mention is how so many of those "homegrown" plots have been enabled, supplied and even created by the FBI through various undercover "sting" operations. So if you want to say that Muslim extremists were behind the Boston bombing, then it would be naive not to be suspicious about FBI involvement in the incident. Here's some links to help understand this totally screwed up situation:

For a no-holds-barred commentary with extensive documentation on this, I suggest you read and watch James Corbett's well researched and fully referenced recent piece, "The FBI Fosters, Funds and Equips American Terrorists:"


But let's just say for the sake of argument that the perpetrators were indeed Muslim extremists, acting on their own initiative, determined to attack and hurt Americans. If we agree to that, we immediately become trapped in a closed loop in which the only terms of discussion are in the form of extreme jingoism and propaganda. Any attempt at trying to understand to the attackers' motivations as human beings is met with immediate condemnation. (Just ask Tom Brokaw.) And heaven forbid one pursue the perfectly natural desire to compare the suffering of the Boston victims to the victims of violence elsewhere in the world. And don't even think of opening a discussion about the suffering inflicted on innocent Muslim civilians by our own country's military actions. Politicians and media must stay on point: The terrorists (read "Muslims") hate us for our freedoms. They are vile sub-humans who can't be reasoned with. They don't deserve any rights. They should be tortured until they reveal what they know, then they should be killed.

This is shallow, ignorant, heartless and irrational thinking, and should be unacceptable in public discourse. The fact that it actually is mainstream says volumes about how difficult to impossible it is to have a rational exchange of views on this subject. I must admit I am repeatedly astounded at how people who characterize themselves as Christians and/or patriotic Americans will so easily dismiss the values of both their faith and the Constitution when it comes to dealing with Muslims oops, I mean "terrorists."

Jon Stewart has done his usual fine job of thoroughly deconstructing this kind of talk. Honestly, it's like shooting fish in a barrel to ridicule Fox News, because they make such an easy target of themselves. But it is worth doing when such despicable talk goes beyond cable TV and enters the public discourse.


Another reason it is perilous to blame the Boston attack on Muslim extremists is you have to reckon with the long sordid history of the U.S.involvement in strategic alliances with Muslim extremists, including the very Chechens who are now the newest terror boogeyman. As a result, we have to at least consider the possibility that the Chechens are being set up to be convenient fall guys; or that the attack is blowback resulting from the inevitable failure of such alliances. For an excellent analysis, read this article by former FBI agent and famed whistle blower Collen Rowley:

And here's some background from the Guardian, from 2004, entitled "The Chechens' American Friends - The Washington neocons' commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own"


If the facts about the Boston perpetrators and their motivations are now understood as complicated and murky, it seems clear that there have been some definite winners as a result of the Boston attacks.

With almost 12 years gone since 9/11, there have been many steps taken down the road of turning our society into one in which citizens have become acclimated to massive increases in surveillance, increasing operation of government in secrecy, a continual state of external warfare, and increasing militarization of internal law enforcement. We have seen a whole new version of the military-industrial-complex arise: the military-corporate-government-intelligence complex, as documented in the Washington Post's series Top Secret America.

Now, thanks to the attacks in Boston, we see that the public is ready to go a few more steps. Here's what was accomplished, all under the pretext of finding one bad guy:
  • Precedent established: locked down an entire big city; achieved universal compliance without it even being mandatory.
  • Precedent established: house to house warrant-less searches by fully armed SWAT teams backed up by military style armored vehicles.  Homes invaded, entire families rousted and ejected from their own homes for hours. The intimidation factor ensured that even if one wanted to complain, one would certainly think better of it.
  • Universal public support for police action, even after the lockdown and neighborhood searches failed to produce a result. Suspect was found after the lockdown/search action was called off, by a citizen who went out to look at his boat. In fact, the massive manhunt had somehow skipped this street, even though it was within their designated search perimeter. Nevertheless, citizens unanimously praised the police, and when the suspect was finally caught, crowds chanted "USA, USA."
  • In light of events, Boston police commissioner Ed Davis called for the city to acquire drones. Little doubt he will get what he wants. Local paper the Boston Herald clarified the inevitability in an editorial entitled "Bring On The Drones:"
"...surveillance drones can be a useful tool for law enforcement, and like it or not they’re coming to a city near you. It is important that their use be restrained, with proper oversight to prevent abuse. But in an emergency situation, there may be no more useful tool."
  • New York mayor Bloomberg took the opportunity in a press conference to tell New Yorkers: 
“But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
Anyone with a differing view is given one sentence of coverage, and marginalized as a "civil liberties advocate" or someone with "privacy concerns."

The mainstream media did their part to make sure everyone got the message. For example, the day after the attack, Tom Brokaw helpfully explained that "beginning tomorrow morning, early, there are going to be much tougher security considerations, all across the country, however exhausted we may be by them. We're going to have to learn to live with them, get along, and go forward and not let them bring us to our knees."

And a CBS reporter, gushing with admiration for the cop caught on camera delivering milk to a stranded family, expressed remarkable understanding, saying, "as a mom, I know what that can be like, you know, you're in lockdown, the kids are miserable, you don't have any milk..." Sure, anyone can relate to that...

The only public figure that I know of that has been willing to speak out critically about this is Ron Paul, who published a very provocative essay on the subject. Is he just trying to make headlines, or is he perhaps sincerely trying to get people to consider the question, "who benefits?"

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