Funny how they still to this very day try to make out that it was JFK's idea.
AUG 1960: Richard Bissell meets with Colonel Sheffield Edwards, director of the CIA's Office of Security, and discusses with him ways to eliminate or assassinate Fidel Castro. Edwards proposes that the job be done by assassins hand-picked by the American underworld, specifically syndicate interests who have been driven out of their Havana gambling casinos by the Castro regime. Bissell gives Edwards the go-ahead to proceed. Between August 1960, and April 1961, the CIA with the help of the Mafia pursues a series of plots to poison or shot Castro. The CIAs own internal report on these efforts states that these plots "were viewed by at least some of the participants as being merely one aspect of the over-all active effort to overthrow the regime that culminated in the Bay of Pigs." (CIA, Inspector General's Report on Efforts to Assassinate Fidel Castro, p. 3, 14)
Details on the actual sit-down, which to an amateur democratic detective interested in justice would seem like a lead worth pursuing:
Ever wonder about the sanity of America's leaders? Take a close look at perhaps the most bizarre plot in U.S. intelligence history
By Bryan Smith
(page 4 of 6)
By September 1960, the project was proceeding apace. Roselli would report directly to Maheu. The first step was a meeting in New York. There, at the Plaza Hotel, Maheu introduced Roselli to O'Connell. The agent wanted to cover up the participation of the CIA, so he pretended to be a man named Jim Olds who represented a group of wealthy industrialists eager to get rid of Castro so they could get back in business.
"We may know some people," Roselli said. Several weeks later, they all met at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. For years, the luxurious facility had served as the unofficial headquarters for Mafioso leaders seeking a base close to their gambling interests in Cuba. Now, it would be the staging area for the assassination plots.
At a meeting in one of the suites, Roselli introduced Maheu to two men: Sam Gold and a man Roselli referred to as Joe, who could serve as a courier to Cuba. By this time, Roselli was on to O'Connell. "I'm not kidding," Roselli told the agent one day. "I know who you work for. But I'm not going to ask you to confirm it."
Roselli may have figured out that he was dealing with the CIA, but neither Maheu nor O'Connell realized the rank of mobsters with whom they were dealing. That changed when Maheu picked up a copy of the Sunday newspaper supplement Parade, which carried an article laying out the FBI's ten most wanted criminals. Leading the list was Sam Giancana, a.k.a. "Mooney," a.k.a. "Momo," a.k.a. "Sam the Cigar," a Chicago godfather who was one of the most feared dons in the countryand the man who called himself Sam Gold. "Joe" was also on the list. His real name, however, was Santos Trafficantethe outfit's Florida and Cuba chieftain.
Maheu alerted O'Connell. "My God, look what we're involved with," Maheu said. O'Connell told his superiors. Questioned later before the 1975 U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (later nicknamed the Church Committee after its chairman, Frank Church, the Democratic senator from Idaho), O'Connell was asked whether there had ever been any discussion about asking two men on the FBI's most wanted list to carry out a hit on a foreign leader.
"Not with me there wasn't," O'Connell answered.
"And obviously no one said stopand you went ahead."
"Did it bother you at all?"
"No," O'Connell answered, "it didn't."
Yet, for some reason, the CIA continues to the present day to imply that it was Kennedy who did that.
Spies: Ex-CIA Agent In Raleigh Says Castro Knew About JFK Assassination Ahead Of Time
Former CIA agent and author Brian Latell in Raleigh
By The Raleigh Telegram
RALEIGH A noted former Central Intelligence Agency officer, author, and scholar who is intimately knowledgeable about Cuba and Fidel Castro, says he believes there is evidence that Castros government knew about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 ahead of time.
Robert Kennedy, as the Attorney General of the United States, was in charge of the operation, said Latell. Despite the United States best efforts, the operation was nonetheless penetrated by Cuban intelligence agents, said Latell.
Latell said there were two serious assassination attempts by the United States against Castro that even used members of the mafia to help, but both of them were obviously unsuccessful.
He also said that there was a plot by the United States to have Castro jabbed with a pen containing a syringe filled with a very effective poison. Latell said that he believes the experienced assassin who worked for Castro who originally agreed to the plan may have been a double agent. After meeting with a personal representative of Robert Kennedy in Paris, the man knew that the plan to assassinate Castro came from the highest levels of the government, including John F. and Robert Kennedy.
The plan was never carried out, as the man later defected to the United States, but with so many double agents working for Castro also pledging allegiance to the CIA, Latell said it was likely that the information got back to Havana that the Kennedy brothers endorsed that plot with the pen.
Yet, the Mighty Wurlitzer cough Shenon plays the false tune that Kennedy was the guy who wanted Castro dead.
What the Warren Commission Didnt Know
A member of the panel that investigated JFKs death now worries he was a victim of a massive cover-up.
By PHILIP SHENON
February 02, 2015
Slawson feels betrayed by several senior government officials, especially at the CIA, whom he says he trusted in 1964 to tell the truth. He is most angry with one manthen-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who assured the commission during the investigation that he knew of no evidence of a conspiracy in his brothers death. It is now clear, as I and others have reported, that Robert Kennedy withheld vital information from the investigation: While he publicly supported the commissions findings, Kennedys family and friends have confirmed in recent years that he was in fact harshly critical of the commission and believed that the investigation had missed evidence that might have pointed to a conspiracy.
What a bastard, Slawson says today of Robert Kennedy. This is a man I once had admiration for.
Slawson theorizes that that attorney general and the CIA worked together to hide information about Oswalds Mexico trip from the commission because they feared that the investigation might stumble onto the fact that JFKs administration had been trying, for years, sometimes with the help of the Mafia, to assassinate Castro. Mexico had been a staging area for the Castro plots. Public disclosure of the plots, Slawson says, could have derailed, if not destroyed, Robert Kennedys political career; he had led his brothers secret war against Castro and, as declassified documents would later show, was well aware of the Mafias involvement in the CIAs often harebrained schemes to murder the Cuban dictator. You cant distinguish between Bobby and the CIA on this, Slawson says. They were working hand in glove to hide information from us.
Although there is nothing in the public record to show that Robert Kennedy had specific evidence of a foreign conspiracy in his brothers death, I agree with Slawson that RFK and senior CIA officials threw the commission off the trail of witnesses and evidence that might have pointed to a conspiracy, especially in Mexico. Slawson also now suspectsbut admits again that he cannot provethat Chief Justice Earl Warren, who led the commission that bore his name, was an unwitting participant in the cover-up, agreeing with the CIA or RFK to make sure that the commission did not pursue certain evidence. Warren, he suspects, was given few details about why the commissions investigation had to be limited. He was probably just told that vital national interests were at stakethat certain lines of investigation in Mexico had to be curtained because they might inadvertently reveal sensitive U.S. spy operations.
That might explain what Slawson saw as Warrens most baffling decision during the investigationhis refusal to allow Slawson to interview a young Mexican woman who worked in the Cuban consulate in Mexico and who dealt face-to-face with Oswald on his visa application; declassified CIA records would later suggest that Oswald had a brief affair with the woman, who was herself a committed Socialist, and that she had introduced him to a network of other Castro supporters in Mexico. It was a different time, Slawson says. We were more naïve. Warren would have believed what he was told.
Why would CIA not want the Warren Commission, and the American public to which it reported, know the truth about its illegal assassination program?
JFK ordered withdrawal from Vietnam. LBJ reversed it four days after Dallas.
In National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263 JFK orders everybody out...
The 1,000 advisors were the beginning. All US military personnel were to be out of the country by the end of 1965, reported James K. Galbraith.
Then in NSAM 273, four days after the assassination in Dallas, LBJ changes the policy to stay and support South Vietnam in its "contest against the externally directed and supported Communist conspiracy."
That important part of the Vietnam story doesn't get repeated anywhere near enough, even on DU. Thank you, niyad for suggesting this as an OP.
They might notice how closely we all really are related.
It was Beauty killed the Beast.
Kennedy wanted to keep USA out of Vietnam.
JFK ordered withdrawal from Vietnam. LBJ reversed it four days after Dallas.
In National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263 JFK orders everybody out...
Then in NSAM 273...
Vietnam Withdrawal Plans
The 1990s saw the gaps in the declassified record on Vietnam filled inwith spring 1963 plans for the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces. An initial 1000 man pullout (of the approximately 17,000 stationed in Vietnam at that time) was initiated in October 1963, though it was diluted and rendered meaningless in the aftermath of Kennedy's death. The longer-range plans called for complete withdrawal of U. S. forces and a "Vietnamization" of the war, scheduled to happen largely after the 1964 elections.
The debate over whether withdrawal plans were underway in 1963 is now settled. What remains contentious is the "what if" scenario. What would Kennedy have done if he lived, given the worsening situation in Vietnam after the coup which resulted in the assassination of Vietnamese President Diem?
At the core of the debate is this question: Did President Kennedy really believe the rosy picture of the war effort being conveyed by his military advisors. Or was he onto the game, and instead couching his withdrawal plans in the language of optimism being fed to the White House?
The landmark book JFK and Vietnam asserted the latter, that Kennedy knew he was being deceived and played a deception game of his own, using the military's own rosy analysis as a justification for withdrawal. Newman's analysis, with its dark implications regarding JFK's murder, has been attacked from both mainstream sources and even those on the left. No less than Noam Chomsky devoted an entire book to disputing the thesis.
But declassifications since Newman's 1992 book have only served to buttress the thesis that the Vietnam withdrawal, kept under wraps to avoid a pre-election attack from the right, was Kennedy's plan regardless of the war's success. New releases have also brought into focus the chilling visions of the militarists of that erafour Presidents were advised to use nuclear weapons in Indochina. A recent book by David Kaiser, American Tragedy, shows a military hell bent on war in Asia.
CONTINUED with very important IMFO links:
That doesn't get repeated anywhere near enough, even on DU. Thank you, niyad!
If youve read Ayn Rand, you might recognize Judge Laurence H. Silberman as the Fountainhead for the American Police State. In her novel by that name, the lead character personifies architectural genius who radiates the inspiration that drives the individual to succeed past superhuman heights.
If you havent read Ayn Rand's novel, nor ever heard of the former senior federal appellate judge (Thanks, Ronnie!) and ambassador to Yugoslavia (Thanks, Jerry!), in addition to being in good company, youre not alone. Judge Silbermans flown under the media radar, as in scrutiny, for decades.
Those interested in the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy, the part of being well-informed and aware of what the government does in their name and with their money, especially, will want to know what the media leave out of history as it happens. The reason is what Michelle Goldberg and Salon.com found: Whenever there's a vast right-wing conspiracy, Judge Laurence Silberman keeps turning up. They are not kidding.
Judge Silberman made headlines this week with an Opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. He was shocked to discover that AP reporter Ron Fournier had the temerity to express out loud and in public that George W. Bush lied the United States of America into war with Iraq.
How disgusting is that? Not as disgusting as what Judge Silberman believes, evidently.
Didn't the AP review the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Silberman asked? Didn't Fournier hear CIA director George Tenet "famously" tell the president that the notion (Democratic word) or proposition (Republican word) that Iraq possessed WMD was a slam dunk"? Its a good bet a lot of WSJ readers and their employees have been phoning, texting, emailing and stalking Mr. Fournier this week to ask.
The Dangerous Lie That Bush Lied
Some journalists still peddle this canard as if it were fact. This is defamatory and could end up hurting the country.
By LAURENCE H. SILBERMAN
Wall Street Journal, Opinion, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015
In recent weeks, I have heard former Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier on Fox News twice asserting, quite offhandedly, that President George W. Bush lied us into war in Iraq.
I found this shocking....
The charge is dangerous because it can take on the air of historical factwith potentially dire consequences. I am reminded of a similarly baseless accusation that helped the Nazis come to power in Germany: that the German army had not really lost World War I, that the soldiers instead had been stabbed in the back by politicians.
Sometime in the future, perhaps long after most of us are gone, an American president may need to rely publicly on intelligence reports to support military action. It would be tragic if, at such a critical moment, the presidents credibility were undermined by memories of a false charge peddled by the likes of Ron Fournier.
Mr. Silberman, a senior federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.
[font color="purple"]Judge Silberman wants you to believe that even thinking "Bush lied" is tantamount to the treason that gave rise to Hitler and the NAZIs.[/font color] Now that is Rovian: Blame your opponent for what you're actually doing. And if you believe the truth, you're not just a liar or a conspiracy nut, you're a traitor.
So, when Judge Silberman compares people who call George W Bush out on his lies leading America into war, "NAZIs," it shows he knows of what he speaks. He was there for the BFEE -- the Bush Family Evil Empire, the War Party, the banksters and warmongers and traitors who go by the motto "Money trumps peace," the undemocratically, if not self-appointed, guardians of the Military Industrial Complex.
Details on the Judge's walk on the Dark Side from Michelle Goldberg, the author of "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism" and Salon.com:
The partisan mastermind in charge of Bushs intel probe
Whenever there's a vast right-wing conspiracy, Judge Laurence Silberman keeps turning up.
Salon.com, TUESDAY, FEB 10, 2004 03:06 PM EST
Judge Laurence Silberman, George Bushs nominee to co-chair the commission investigating U.S. intelligence on Iraq, knows quite a bit about the murky intersection between facts and ideology. The senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has been near the febrile center of the largest political scandals of the past two decades, from the rumored October surprise of 1980 and the Iran-contra trials to the character assassination of Anita Hill and the impeachment of President Clinton. Whenever right-wing conspiracies swing into action, Silberman is there.
A veteran of the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan administrations who is close to Vice President Dick Cheney, Silberman has a reputation as a fierce ideologue who doesnt let his judicial responsibilities get in the way of his Republican activism. David Brock, the repentant former right-wing journalist and Silberman protégé, describes his former mentor as an extreme partisan who seems to relish the political wars. Kevin Phillips, the former Nixon staffer who authored the recent The Bush Dynasty, said on NPR on Monday, In the past, Silberman has been more involved with coverups in the Middle East than with any attempts to unravel them. Ralph Neas, president of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, calls him the most partisan and most political federal judge in the country and says his appointment is stunning and disgraceful.
Silbermans panel, which is supposed to investigate U.S. intelligence on Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Afghanistan, wont report its findings until March 2005, long after the presidential election. Silberman will be balanced on it by other more moderate or more independent figures, including co-chair Charles Robb, a former Democratic senator and Virginia governor; Republican Sen. John McCain; and Judge Patricia Wald, Silbermans colleague on D.C. Circuit Court, a woman he is said to hate.
Yet Silbermans place at the head of the commission has already raised doubts about its credibility, given that Silberman has often behaved as if his paramount role as a federal judge is to protect Republicans, persecute Democrats and slander anyone who disagrees.
After working for Reagans election, Silberman was rewarded with an appointment to the D.C. Court of Appeals, the second most powerful court in the country. After the Iran-contra scandal, he was part of a three-judge panel that voted 2-to-1 to reverse Oliver Norths felony conviction. Voting with him was David Sentelle, a protégé of Jesse Helms who according to Brock named his daughter Reagan after the president who put him on the bench.
In his book Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up, Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, a Republican who served as deputy attorney general during the Dwight Eisenhower administration, described Silberman as aggressively hostile during oral arguments. Walsh wrote that he regretted not moving to disqualify him.
The year after he ruled North innocent, Silberman joined in the right-wing campaign to defame Anita Hill, who had accused Clarence Thomas, George H.W. Bushs nominee to the Supreme Court, of sexual harassment. It was during the attack on Hill that the Silbermans took Brock under their wing.
Brock met Silberman through his wife, Ricky Silberman, who had worked under Thomas at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and served as a source for a story Brock wrote about Thomas confirmation hearings.
In 1992, after Thomas had been confirmed, Brock began researching The Real Anita Hill, a savage assault on Hills character that Brock later apologized for. Laurence Silberman was a source for the book, feeding Brock gossip. Judge Silberman speculated that Hill was a lesbian, acting out, Brock wrote in Blinded by the Right. Besides, Silberman confided, Thomas would never have asked Hill for a date: Did I know she had bad breath?
Brocks Anita Hill book portrayed Judge Patricia Wald, Silbermans colleague on the D.C. Circuit Court, as a conspirator in the campaign against Thomas, as he wrote in Blinded by the Right. Of course it was none other than Judge Silberman who gave me the false information on his colleague Pat Wald, whom he hated with a passion, Brock wrote.
Silberman was present to help Bush Jr Team steal Florida in 2000 in the form of 5-4 Clarence Thomas, whose Supreme Court nomination he helped steer past Anita Hill and the many people who said exactly what kind of crook the guy is. Silberman was present and accounted for helping Poppy Bush and Company escape justice during the Iran Contra Affair, as documented by Judge Lawrence Walsh. From the federal bench, he helped secure the NSA domestic spying op and made the torture at Abu Ghraib legal-like via his protégé John Yoo. So, it's almost understandable how he now wants to stop any talk by JOURNALISTS that Baby Doc Bush lied America into war on Iraq.
The guy symbolizes everything that's happened to destroy democracy and justice in America since 1980. Then former Ambassador Silberman participated in "the October Surprise" as an emissary of the Reagan camp in discussions with Iranian representatives at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington DC.
Here's what Robert Parry observed on Judge Silberman, in its entirety, thanks to DU's special arrangement with the author:
Neocon Judge's History of Cover-ups
Laurence Silberman, a U.S. Appeals Court judge and a longtime neoconservative operative part of what the Iran-Contra special prosecutor called the strategic reserves for convicted Reagan administration operatives in the 1980s is back playing a similar role for the Bush-43 administration.
by Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews.com, September 23, 2009
On Sept. 11, the eighth anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington, Silberman issued a 2-to-1 opinion dismissing a lawsuit against the private security firm, CACI International, brought by Iraqi victims of torture and other abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.
Silberman declared that CACI was immune from prosecution because its employees were responding to U.S. military commands. The immunity ruling blocked legal efforts by 212 Iraqis, who suffered directly at Abu Ghraib or were the widows of men who died, to exact some accountability from CACI employees who allegedly assisted in the torture of prisoners.
"During wartime, where a private service contractor is integrated into combatant activities over which the military retains command authority, a tort claim arising out of the contractor's engagement in such activities shall be preempted," Silberman wrote.
[font color="red"]But Silberman is not a dispassionate judge when it comes to the crimes of Republicans committed to advance the neocon cause.
In the 1980s, Silberman played behind-the-scenes roles in helping Ronald Reagan gain the White House; he helped formulate hard-line intelligence policies; he encouraged right-wing media attacks on liberals; and he protected the flanks of Reagans operatives who were caught breaking the law.
Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, a Republican himself, counted Silberman as one of "a powerful band of Republican (judicial) appointees (who) waited like the strategic reserves of an embattled army," determined to prevent any judgments against Reagans operatives who broke the law in the arms-for-hostage scandal.
In his 1997 memoir, Firewall, Walsh depicted Silberman as a leader of that partisan band, even recalling how Silberman had berated Judge George MacKinnon, also a Republican, who led the panel which had picked Walsh to be the special prosecutor.
"At a D.C. circuit conference, he (Silberman) had gotten into a shouting match about independent counsel with Judge George MacKinnon," Walsh wrote. "Silberman not only had hostile views but seemed to hold them in anger."
In 1990, after Walsh had secured a difficult conviction of former White House aide Oliver North for offenses stemming from the Iran-Contra scandal, Silberman teamed up with another right-wing judge, David Sentelle, to overturn Norths conviction in a sudden outburst of sympathy for defendant rights.[/font color]
Trashing Anita Hill
Less publicly, in 1991, Silberman also went to bat for the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas, working with right-wing operatives to destroy the reputation of Anita Hill, a former Thomas employee who testified about his crude sexual harassment.
Author David Brock, then a well-paid right-wing hatchet man who published what he later admitted were scurrilous attacks on Hill, described the support and encouragement he received from Silberman and Silbermans wife, Ricky. Even after Thomas had won Senate confirmation, Silberman still was pushing attack lines against Hill, Brock wrote in his book, Blinded by the Right.
While George H.W. Bushs White House slipped Brock a psychiatric opinion that Hill suffered from erotomania, Silberman met with Brock to suggest even more colorful criticism of Hill.
Silberman speculated that Hill was a lesbian acting out, Brock wrote. Besides, Silberman confided, Thomas would never have asked Hill for dates: She had bad breath.
After Brock published a book-length assault on Hill, called The Real Anita Hill, the Silbermans and other prominent conservatives joined a celebration at the Embassy Row Ritz-Carlton, Brock wrote, noting that also in attendance was Judge Sentelle.
But Silbermans anything-goes approach to promoting and protecting right-wing control of the government dated back even further, to his key role as a foreign-policy and intelligence adviser to Ronald Reagans 1980 campaign.
During Campaign 1980, Silberman was a senior figure in what was then a fast-rising neoconservative faction that saw Reagans victory and the defeat of President Jimmy Carter as vital to expand U.S. military power, to confront the Soviet Union aggressively and to relieve pressure on Israel for a peace deal with the Palestinians.
More than a decade later, congressional investigators discovered that Silberman was assigned to secretive Reagan campaign operations collecting intelligence on what President Carter was doing to secure the release of 52 American hostages then held in Iran.
On April 20, 1980, the Reagan campaign created a group of foreign policy experts known as the Iran Working Group. The operation was run by Richard Allen, Fred Ikle and Silberman, the congressional investigators discovered.
After Reagans nomination in July, his campaign merged with that of his vice presidential running mate, George H.W. Bush, who had enlisted many ex-CIA officers who were loyal to Bush as a former CIA director.
October Surprise Obsession
The general election campaign assembled a strategy team, known as the October Surprise Group, which was ordered to prepare for any last-minute foreign policy or defense-related event, including the release of the hostages, that might favorably impact President Carter in the November election, according to a House Task Force that in 1992 investigated allegations of Republican interference in Carters hostage negotiations.
Originally referred to as the Gang of Ten, the Task Force report said the October Surprise Group consisted of Allen, Ikle, Charles M. Kupperman, Thomas H. Moorer, Eugene V. Rostow, William R. Van Cleave, John R. Lehman Jr., Robert G. Neumann, Seymour Weiss and Silberman.
While that reference made it into the Task Forces final report in January 1993, another part was deleted, which said: According to members of the October Surprise group, the following individuals also participated in meetings although they were not considered members of the group: Michael Ledeen, Richard Stillwell, William Middendorf, Richard Perle, General Louis Walt and Admiral James Holloway.
Deleted from the final report also was a section of the draft describing how the ex-CIA personnel who had worked for Bushs campaign became the nucleus of the Republican intelligence operation that monitored Carters Iran-hostage negotiations for the Reagan-Bush team.
The Reagan-Bush campaign maintained a 24-hour Operations Center, which monitored press wires and reports, gave daily press briefings and maintained telephone and telefax contact with the candidates plane, the draft report read. Many of the staff members were former CIA employees who had previously worked on the Bush campaign or were otherwise loyal to George Bush. (I discovered the unpublished portions of Task Forces report when I gain access to its files in late 1994.)
Another deletion involved a Sept. 16, 1980, meeting ordered by Reagans campaign director William Casey, who had become obsessed over the possibility of Carter pulling off an October Surprise release of the hostages.
On that date, Casey met with senior campaign officials Edwin Meese, Bill Timmons and Richard Allen about the Persian Gulf Project, according to an unpublished section of the House Task Force report and Allens notes. Two other participants at the meeting, according to Allens notes, were Michael Ledeen and Noel Koch.
That same day, Irans acting foreign minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh was quoted as citing Republican interference on the hostages. Reagan, supported by [former Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger and others, has no intention of resolving the problem, Ghotbzadeh said. They will do everything in their power to block it.
Exactly what the Reagan-Bush October Surprise team did remains something of a historical mystery.
About two dozen witnesses including former Iranian officials and international intelligence figures have claimed the Republican contacts undercut Carters hostage negotiations, though others insist that the initiatives were simply ways to gather information about Carters desperate bid to free the hostages before the election. (For the most thorough account of the October Surprise case, see Robert Parrys Secrecy & Privilege.)
The LEnfant Plaza Mystery
One of the many unanswered questions about the October Surprise mystery revolved around a meeting involving Laurence Silberman and an Iranian emissary at the LEnfant Plaza Hotel in Washington in September or early October 1980.
Years later, an Iranian arms dealer named Houshang Lavi claimed to be the emissary who met with Silberman, Allen and Robert McFarlane, who was then an aide to Sen. John Tower, R-Texas. Lavi said the meeting on Oct. 2 dealt with the possibility of trading arms to Iran for release of the hostages and was arranged by Silberman.
Silberman, Allen and McFarlane acknowledged that a meeting happened, but they insisted they had no recollection of the emissarys name nor who he was.
In 1990, I interviewed a testy Richard Allen about the meeting for a PBS Frontline documentary. Allen said he reluctantly went to the meeting, which he said was proposed by McFarlane. Allen said he took along Silberman as a witness.
So Larry Silberman and I got on the subway and we went down to the LEnfant Plaza Hotel where I met McFarlane and there were many people milling about. We sat at a table in the lobby. It was around the lunch hour. I was introduced to this very obscure character whose name I cannot recall.
The individual who was either an Egyptian or an Iranian or could have been an Iranian living in Egypt and his idea was that he had the capacity to intervene, to deliver the hostages to the Reagan forces. Now, I took that at first to mean that he was able to deliver the hostages to Ronald Reagan, candidate for the presidency of the United States, which was absolutely lunatic. And I said so. I believe I said, or Larry did, we have one President at a time. Thats the way it is.
So this fellow continued with his conversation. I was incredulous that McFarlane would have ever brought a guy like this or placed any credibility in a guy like this. Just absolutely incredulous, and so was Larry Silberman. This meeting lasted maybe 20 minutes, 25 minutes. So thats it. Theres no need to continue this meeting.
Larry and I walked out. And I remember Larry saying, Boy, you better write a memorandum about this. This is really spaceship stuff. And it, of course, set my opinion very firmly about Bud McFarlane for having brought this person to me in the first place.
Allen described the emissary as stocky and swarthy, dark-complected, but otherwise non-descript. Allen added that the man looked like a person from somewhere on the Mediterranean littoral. How about that?
Allen said this Egyptian or Iranian must have given a name at the time, must have. But Allen couldnt recall it. He also said he made no effort to check out the mans position or background before agreeing to the meeting.
Did you ask McFarlane, who is this guy? I asked Allen.
I dont recall having asked him, no, Allen responded.
I guess I dont understand why you wouldnt say, Is this guy an Iranian, is he someone youve known for a while? I pressed.
Well, gee, Im sorry that you dont understand, Allen lashed back. I really feel badly for you. Its really too bad you dont understand. But thats your problem, not mine.
But wouldnt you normally ask that kind of background question?
Not necessarily, Allen said. McFarlane wanted me to meet a guy and this guy was going to talk about the hostages. I met plenty of people during that period of time who wanted to talk to me about the hostages. This was no different from anybody else I would meet on this subject.
It obviously turned out to be different from most people youve met on the subject, I interjected.
Oh, it turned out to be because this guy is the centerpiece of some sort of great conspiracy web that has been spun, Allen snapped.
Well, were there many people who offered to deliver the hostages to Ronald Reagan? I asked.
No, this one was particularly different, but I didnt know that before I went to the meeting, you understand.
Did you ask McFarlane what on earth this guy was going to propose?
I dont think I did in advance, no.
What also was unusual about this meeting was what Allen and Silberman did not do afterwards. Though Allen said that he and Silberman recognized the sensitivity of the approach, neither of Reagans foreign policy advisers contacted the Carter administration or reported the offer to law enforcement.
It also defied logic that seasoned operatives like Allen and Silberman would have agreed to a meeting with an emissary from a hostile power without having done some due-diligence about who the person was and what his bona fides were.
Iranian arms dealer Lavi later claimed to be the mysterious emissary. And government documents revealed that Lavi made a similar approach to the independent presidential campaign of John Anderson, although Andersons campaign unlike Allen and Silberman promptly informed the CIA and State Department.
For his part, Silberman denied any substantive discussion with the mysterious emissary but refused to discuss the meeting in any detail. He did insist that he was out of town on Oct. 2, the date cited by Lavi, but Silberman wouldnt provide a list of dates when he was in Washington during the fall of 1980.
Though purportedly having arranged the meeting, McFarlare also insisted that he couldnt recall the identity of the emissary.
Later, when a Senate panel conducted a brief inquiry into whether the Republicans interfered with Carters hostage negotiations, a truculent Allen testified and brought along a memo that he claimed represented his contemporaneous recollections of the LEnfant Plaza meeting.
However, the memo, dated Sept. 10, 1980, flatly contradicted the previous accounts from Allen, Silberman and McFarlane. It described a meeting arranged by Mike Butler, another Tower aide, with McFarlane only joining in later as the pair told Allen about a meeting they had had with a Mr. A.A. Mohammed, a Malaysian who operated out of Singapore.
This afternoon, by mutual agreement, I met with Messrs. Mohammed, Butler and McFarlane. I also took Larry Silberman along to the meeting, Allen wrote in the memo.
According to the memo, Mohammed presented a scheme for returning the Shah of Irans son to the country as a figurehead monarch which would be accompanied by a release of the U.S. hostages. Though skeptical of the plan, both Larry and I indicated that we would be pleased to hear whatever additional news Mr. Mohammed might be able to turn up, and I suggested that that information be communicated via a secure channel, the memo read.
Nearly every important detail was different both in how the meeting was arranged and its contents. Gone was the proposal to release the hostages to candidate Reagan, gone was the abrupt cutoff, gone was the Iranian or Egyptian some guy from the Mediterranean littoral replaced by a Malaysian businessman whose comments were welcomed along with future contacts via a secure channel. The memo didnt even mention the LEnfant Plaza Hotel, nor was McFarlane the organizer.
A reasonable conclusion might be that Allens memo was about an entirely different meeting, which would suggest that Republican contacts with Iranian emissaries were more numerous than previously admitted and that Silberman was more of a regular player.
Also, Silberman, McFarlane and Butler when questioned by the House Task Force investigating the issue in 1992 disputed Allens new version of the LEnfant Plaza tale. They claimed no recollection of the A.A. Mohammed discussion.
Nevertheless, the House Task Force, in its determination to turn the page on the complex October Surprise issue, accepted Allens memo as the final answer to the LEnfant Plaza question and pressed ahead with a broader rejection of any wrongdoing by Republicans even though that required concealing a host of incriminating documents. [See Secrecy & Privilege.]
The House Task Force also turned a blind eye to another tantalizing clue related to the LEnfant Plaza mystery. Lavis lawyer, former CIA counsel Mitchell Rogovin, provided me a page of his notes from that time period.
Rogovin, who was an adviser to the John Anderson campaign, wrote on his calendar entry for Sept. 29, 1980, a summary of Lavis plan to trade weapons for the hostages. After that, Rogovin recorded a telephone contact with senior CIA official John McMahon to discuss Lavis plan and to schedule a face-to-face meeting with a CIA representative on Oct. 2.
The next entry, however, was stunning. It read, Larry Silberman still very nervous/will recommend against us this P.M. I said $250,000 he said why even bother.
When I called Rogovin about this notation, he said it related to a loan that the Anderson campaign was seeking from Crocker National Bank where Silberman served as legal counsel. The note meant that Silberman was planning to advise the bank officers against the loan, Rogovin said.
I asked Rogovin if he might have mentioned Lavis hostage plan to Silberman, who was in the curious position of being a senior Reagan adviser and weighing in on a loan to an independent campaign that was viewed as siphoning off votes from Carter. (Crocker did extend a line of credit to Anderson.)
There was no discussion of the Lavi proposal, Rogovin insisted. But Rogovin acknowledged that Silberman was a friend from the Ford administration where both men had worked on intelligence issues, Rogovin from the CIA and Silberman at the Justice Department. Later, Rogovin and Silberman became next-door neighbors and bought a boat together.
In a normal investigation, such coincidences would strain credulity, especially given Lavis claim that he took part in a meeting with Republicans at the LEnfant Plaza on Oct. 2, the same day that he talked with a CIA representative. Lavi also claimed that Silberman had arranged the meeting, which would make sense given Rogovins personal ties to Silberman.
However, as on a host of other compelling leads, the House Task Force chose to look the other way.
On Nov. 4, 1980, with Carter unable to free the hostages and Americans humiliated by the year-long ordeal with Iran, Ronald Reagan won the presidency in a landslide.
For his loyal service in the campaign, the neoconservative Silberman was put in charge of the transition teams intelligence section. The team prepared a report attacking the CIAs analytical division for noting growing weaknesses in the Soviet Union, a position despised by the neocons because it undercut their case for a costly expansion of the Pentagons budget.
Silbermans transition team accused the CIAs Directorate of Intelligence of an abject failure to foresee a supposedly massive Soviet buildup of strategic weapons and the wholesale failure to comprehend the sophistication of Soviet propaganda.
These failures are of such enormity, the transition report said, that they cannot help but suggest to any objective observer that the agency itself is compromised to an unprecedented extent and that its paralysis is attributable to causes more sinister than incompetence.
In other words, Silbermans transition team was implying that CIA analysts who didnt toe the neoconservative line must be Soviet agents. Even anti-Soviet hardliners like the CIAs Robert Gates recognized the impact that the incoming administrations hostility had on the CIA analysts.
That the Reaganites saw their arrival as a hostile takeover was apparent in the most extraordinary transition period of my career, Gates wrote in his memoir, From the Shadows. The reaction inside the Agency to this litany of failure and incompetence from the transition team was a mix of resentment and anger, dread and personal insecurity.
Amid rumors that the transition team wanted to purge several hundred top analysts, career officials feared for their jobs, especially those considered responsible for assessing the Soviet Union as a declining power rapidly falling behind the West in technology and economics.
According to some intelligence sources, Silberman expected to get the job of CIA director and flew into a rage when Reagan gave the job to his campaign director William Casey, who also was tied to the October Surprise operations. (The U.S. hostages in Iran were released immediately upon Ronald Reagan taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, 1981.)
Silbermans consolation prize was to be named a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, where he helped frustrate the Iran-Contra investigation by overturning Oliver Norths conviction in 1990 and to this day is a defender of the neocons foreign policy -- as witnessed by his Sept. 11, 2009, ruling blocking civil lawsuits against U.S. government contractors implicated in torturing Iraqis.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
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SOURCE w.links: https://consortiumnews.com/2009/092209.html
The BFEE was infuriated by reporting that exposed their criminality. Cant have that come out, especially if one is part of the Secret Government doing all that illegal stuff. So, they found a reporter who was more in tune with their thinking, one Steven Emerson.
After promptly printing the same crapola in every rightwing rag that would touch it, Emerson managed to smear Robert Parry, Capt. Gary Sick, USN (ret.), Barbara Honegger and a whole bunch more good people who told the truth about what we now know was way past happenstance and coincidence and in the realm of enemy action cough Secret Government.
Like an amateur, though, Emerson didnt count on Parry holding the trump card in the Journalism game. Its called the truth.
Investigators of alleged Iran deal face smears, legal threats
By John Canham-Clyne
FAIR.org, Nov. 1, 1993
The debate over the "October Surprise" has embroiled some of the country's most prominent journalists--none more deeply then Robert Parry and Steve Emerson. In the latest skirmish, Emerson has threatened to sue Parry--and Parry has produced documents showing that Emerson made false statements in his efforts to discredit Parry's reporting.
As previously reported in Extra!, Emerson for nearly two years has vigorously tried to debunk the "October Surprise," the allegation that the 1980 Reagan campaign cut a deal with Iran to keep U.S. hostages until after the election. Following publication of a House Foreign Affairs Committee Task Force report on the allegations, Emerson picked up the assault in an 8-page article for the inaugural issue (3/93) of the American Journalism Review (formerly Washington Journalism Review).
Assuming the role of media critic, Emerson covered much the same ground he had covered in an earlier New Republic article (11/18/91) and several Wall Street Journal op-eds. Essentially, Emerson repeated the Task Force's (and his own) conclusion that all the sources for the October Surprise are "fabricators."
Like his earlier work, Emerson's AJR piece was filled with personal slams against Parry, former Carter administration official Gary Sick and reporters Craig Unger and Martin Killian. In AJR, Emerson used a quote from former CIA officer and Village Voice reporter Frank Snepp to accuse Parry and Killian of "massaging sources to manufacture information." In the Wall Street Journal (1/14/93), Emerson even suggested that Congress confiscate the earnings from Sick's book October Surprise, to help defray the cost of the Task Force investigation.
According to Bob Parry and the Secret Service, however, it is Emerson who manufactures information.
Emerson has made similarly undocumented attacks on the work of Gary Sick. When Sick wrote to the New Republic (12/31/91) to complain that Emerson and Jesse Furman attacked his book without reading it, even though it was due to be published the next week, he was mocked in response: "As for telling the truth, we have counted at least 300 flat assertions that are factually incorrect (in Sick's book)." Sick's repeated requests to both Emerson and to the New Republic to produce this list have been met with silence.
But consider if Emerson applied the standards he uses for October Surprise sources to himself. What would he say about someone who proffered false information, threatened to sue someone who challenged that information, and when presented with incontrovertible proof, refused to apologize, instead resorting to further smears?
Still, those who know me realize I dont think everyone named Bush is in the BFEE, nor is every crony benefitting from the BFEE all-bad. Same holds for Judge Silberman. He is a complicated fellow who does what he does out of patriotism, it is said by his those who know him personally. What Im questioning are his associations with people who trample the Constitution (called Traitors by Adlai Stevenson, Jr.) and actions on behalf of the Military Industrial Complex.
Heres why I say Silbermans not all bad: He was called on to read through J Edgar Hoovers secret and confidential files after the FBI director went to become part of the Great Fingerprint File in the Sky. His verdict? Take the Hoov's name off the FBI Headquarters building:
Removing J. Edgar's Name
By Robert Novak
December 1, 2005
WASHINGTON -- On Halloween night, crusty conservative Judge Laurence H. Silberman had a scary tale to tell fellow right-wingers gathered for dinner at Washington's University Club. He told in more detail than ever before how J. Edgar Hoover as FBI director "allowed -- even offered -- the Bureau to be used by presidents for nakedly political purposes." He called for the director's name to be removed from the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington.
"In my view," Silberman said, "it is as if the Defense Department were named for Aaron Burr. Liberals and conservatives should unite to support legislation to accomplish this repudiation of a very sad chapter in American history." That concluded his speech, but it was not followed by overwhelming applause. Nor was there volunteered support for his mission.
Instructed by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 to report on secret files kept by Hoover (who died in 1972), Silberman told the Irregulars: "It was the single worst experience of my long governmental service." He said Hoover ordered special agents to report "privately to him any bits of dirt on political figures such as Martin Luther King and their families." Silberman said Hoover used this as "subtle blackmail to ensure his and the Bureau's power," adding: "I intend to take to my grave nasty bits of information on various political figures -- some still active."
Even worse than "dirt collection," Silberman continued, was Hoover's offering of Bureau files to presidents. He exempted only Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower from this use of FBI files, but said, "Lyndon Johnson was the most demanding."
During the 1968 campaign, Silberman said Johnson ordered FBI surveillance on Republican vice presidential candidate Spiro Agnew, not about the bribery that eventually drove him out of office but to check whether he was in contact with South Vietnam's government. He said LBJ also used the FBI to spy on Democrats, including his aide Richard Goodwin, whom he inherited from President John F. Kennedy but suspected was too close to Robert F. Kennedy.
"I think it would be appropriate to introduce all new [FBI] recruits to the nature of the secret and confidential files of J. Edgar Hoover," Silberman concluded. "And in that connection this country -- and the Bureau -- would be well served if Hoover's name was removed from the Bureau's building."
Its almost understandable to see why Silberman is mad at those odd people like me who say Bush lied America into war. Hes good at the Inventing Reality game and thinks others are, too. But, were not. We really are angry because we can think for ourselves. And we can remember, no matter how much rot Corporate McPravda spews out via the airwaves or prints by the forestfull.
One important bit of "Lost History" that I remember quite vividly is that while Donald Regan, David Stockman, James Baker, Ed Meese and their chums were shepherding Trickle Down through Congress; Silberman, Richard Diamonds Allen, Bill Casey, and George Herbert Walker Bush were busy working behind the scenes to get America going whole-hog into a new Cold War with the USSR, picking up Brzezinskis Holy War on the Soviets occupying Afghanistan and taking coughing up Ronnie Regan and Edwdard Teller's Star Wars program.
The Team-B (cough Cap Weinberger cough Robert Gates) approach was so good at it and the assorted requisite bribery of Congress (cough Duke Cunningham), corruption of the military procurement process (cough for whistleblower Bunnatine Greenhouse), and seret government agencies (cough Dusty Foggo) that its become accepted belief that the only way for Americas economy to prosper is through war (cough Tyler Cowen).
Mainstream media and the tee vee show punditry were not amused, however. So, the American people and those who care about Justice and Democracy and the Republic were left in the dark. And thats exactly where Silberman and the War Party want us.
Happy Valentine's, DU!
And when someone with big money invests in a politician, that politician is going to try to make that big money someone happy.
Ask Bill and Phil how that works, Gramm's [font color="green"]UBS Vice Chairman[/font color] home page separates the punters from the players.
It's a Buy-Partisan Who's Who:
President William J. Clinton
President George W. Bush
Robert J. McCann
John V. Miller
Paula D. Polito
One of my attorney chums doesn't like to see his name on any committee list, non-profit letterhead, or political campaign literature. Doesn't want to give people or big money the wrong idea.
These folks and the inevitable candidate from the ol' club, it seems to me, are past caring.
Some of why DUers and ALL voters should care about Phil Gramm.
FWIW: The fact the nation's "news media" don't bother mentioning any of this should be of concern.
"Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda." Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951
BTW: You never did answer why you prefer to mock me over wanting to fight fascism.
By Jonathan Chait
NYMag, Feb. 9, 2015
As America hurtles toward a potential Bush-versus-Clinton dynastic rematch, no Democratic loyalists have yet come forward to insist that Bill Clinton was in fact speaking the truth when he denied having sexual relations with that woman. There is, however, a continual submerged effort to deny that George W. Bushs administration misled the country into the Iraq War. Today, The Wall Street Journal op-ed page has Republican judge Laurence Silberman fiercely insisting that the Bush administration did not lie, and that the claim it lied is itself a calumny.
Silbermans argument is a simplistic one aimed at confusing those who have already forgotten the basic sequence of events. Silberman argues that a bipartisan commission, which he co-chaired, investigated the matter, and found that the Bush administration was victimized by faulty intelligence. Our WMD commission ultimately determined that the intelligence community was dead wrong about Saddams weapons, concludes Silberman. So, yes, mistakes happen, but intelligence failures happen, and the Bush administration cannot be blamed for dishonesty.
Silberman does not mention that the commission he chaired did not even investigate whether the Bush administration manipulated intelligence. Senate Republicans refused to allow the commission to investigate this matter, fearing it would harm Bushs reelection prospects. Indeed, Silberman himself wrote in the report at the time, Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry.
Incredibly, Silbermans op-ed does not mention the Phase II report at all. Silberman simply asserts that his committee, which was specifically instructed not to investigate whether Bush manipulated intelligence, did not find that Bush manipulated intelligence, and presents this as the final word.
It is hard to believe that Silberman expects such a crude exercise in propaganda to actually succeed. His intention appears to be slightly more indirect: to turn the demonstrable fact that the Bush administration deliberately misled the public into, at the very least, a partisan dispute that journalists cannot repeat without fear of being accused of bias. Silberman shrewdly selects as his target Ron Fournier, the apotheosis of the journalistic ethos that the truth lies halfway between the competing claims of the two parties at any given moment.
SOURCE: US News & World Report Aug 18, 2006 via Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_Silberman
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