Monday, December 03, 2018

Another Criminal Dies


Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in 1985

by Gaius Publius

George H.W. Bush's life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey.
     —Former president Barack Obama

Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened by the death of former President George H.W. Bush. His administration was marked by grace, civility, and social conscience.
     —Former president Jimmy Carter

Scouring the Web for comments on the death of George H.W. Bush turns up quite a bit of praise from luminaries as widely disparate as the Dalai Lama, Ellen DeGeneres and CIA director Gina Haspel. Mohammed bin Salman paid a visit to Bush senior and was welcomed warmly, spawning this tweet from the former president:

From lesser lights to greater, from murderers to comedians, the praise continues. 

As usual, the network of those who run the world we merely inhabit have nothing but respect for each other. And why not? They may pick each other off from time to time (both Saddam Hussein and Moamar Khaddafi, were once in high favor), but over the long haul, keeping each member of the ruling circle in a reverential spotlight keeps them all — keeps the circle itself — in reverence as well. Since they operate as a system, the system is honored each time its members, no matter how deadly, are honored as well. And the system sees that the system is always honored.

That's why Bernie Sanders and his new progressive colleagues in the House are so hated. They want to take that system apart. It's why Nancy Pelosi surrendered to the No Labels-financed "Problem Solvers" caucus rather than to those same new progressives and their agenda. The tiny system of people that run the world supports the tiny system of people that run the world, and always will.

For a truer perspective on who those people are and what they do, let's look not to the system's predictable, fawning self-praise, but at less propagandistic comments on the passing of one of its members, former CIA director, former vice president, and former president George H.W. Bush, a man who stood at the center of American power for most of his long adult life.

Again, this is just a sample of those comments on a sample of that life. A true deep dive into his sordid history would take a book.

George H.W. Bush, the CIA and a Case of State-Sponsored Terrorism

To pick just a single incident, this is from the late Robert Parry, writing in 2000 at Consortium News:
In early fall of 1976, after a Chilean government assassin had killed a Chilean dissident and an American woman with a car bomb in Washington, D.C., George H.W. Bush’s CIA leaked a false report clearing Chile’s military dictatorship and pointing the FBI in the wrong direction.

The bogus CIA assessment, spread through Newsweek magazine and other U.S. media outlets, was planted despite CIA’s now admitted awareness at the time that Chile was participating in Operation Condor, a cross-border campaign targeting political dissidents, and the CIA’s own suspicions that the Chilean junta was behind the terrorist bombing in Washington.

In a 21-page report to Congress on Sept. 18, 2000, the CIA officially acknowledged for the first time that the mastermind of the terrorist attack, Chilean intelligence chief Manuel Contreras, was a paid asset of the CIA.

The CIA report was issued almost 24 years to the day after the murders of former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and American co-worker Ronni Moffitt, who died on Sept. 21, 1976, when a remote-controlled bomb ripped apart Letelier’s car as they drove down Massachusetts Avenue, a stately section of Washington known as Embassy Row.
A foreign diplomat and a U.S. citizen are murdered in DC on Embassy Row. The deed is planned by Manuel Contreras, a CIA asset who was also simultaneously intelligence chief for the Pinochet government of Chile. And George H.W. Bush, as head of the CIA, performs the cover-up, going so far as to plant false stories among media assets (sorry, CIA-friendly journalists) in places like Newsweek, and going so far as to mislead the FBI in its own investigation.

This is the man Jimmy Carter praised for "grace, civility, and social conscience." Saying a man complicit in murder is gracious is like saying a mafia don is good to his family and kind to old people and animals. Bill Clinton's praise of Bush, "From the moment I met him ... I was struck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood," strikes just this note.

In the same article the word "assessment" appears, a word so enamored of the anti-Trump forces these days. Parry writes:
[T]he CIA – then under CIA Director George H.W. Bush – leaked for public consumption an assessment clearing the Chilean government’s feared intelligence service, DINA, which was then run by Contreras.
Bush "leaked for public consumption" an "assessment" knowingly filled with lies. The CIA has leaked many lying, secret "assessments" for public consumption; it's what they do. If we weren't so desperate to get rid of Donald Trump — and believe me, security-state people like George H.W. Bush are eagerly on board with that effort — we'd be nervous about what a leaked CIA assessment that immediately cast a shadow on an elected president, within a month of his election no less, might augur.

Does the concept of an American Praetorian Guard concern you? It does me.

George H.W. Bush and the Theft of the 1980 Election

The big enchilada in the George H.W. Bush story is the theft of the 1980 election and its aftermath, the Iran-Contra payoff and cover-up. The bones of the story, the original "October Surprise," go like this.

In 1980, when the Iranian hostage crisis was raging and Reagan and Bush were running against incumbent Jimmy Carter for the Oval Office, former CIA director Bush, future CIA director William Casey and others met at least three times with Iranian officials, including a meeting in Paris on October 19, and struck a deal with the Iranian government to extend the holding of 52 American hostages until after the election, thus denying Carter a diplomatic victory (and by the way, extending the suffering of those hostages).

In exchange, Bush and Casey promised that the Reagan administration would secretly sell arms to Iran through a cutout, Israel. Iran had just become involved in a major war with Iraq at the time and was desperate for arms.

Of course, because the arms sales were secret, the Reagan administration had money on its hands it had not gotten from Congress, and it decided to spend that money propping up the Contras, a brutal right-wing resistance army fighting the socialist (of course) Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

It's the secret support of the Contras (a name taken from the Spanish for counter-revolution), which was expressly forbidden by Congress in 1985 under the third Boland Amendment, that caused the story to unravel. The contra money was found, the Iranian arms sales were found, and the 1980 Reagan-Iran hostage deal was both widely suspected and widely feared.

Why feared? If a U.S. president had committed what many would call treason to gain office, what would the effect on the American people be? Would they ever trust elections — or worse, their leaders — again? Proof of Reagan and Bush's act was potentially destabilizing as, say, proof that elements of the CIA had murdered John Kennedy would have been.

Nixon and Treason

The U.S. had in fact faced this problem before — proof that a candidate had committed treason with a foreign government — when outgoing president Lyndon Johnson uncovered similar deeds ("treason" to use Johnson's word) by Richard Nixon during the 1968 presidential campaign, and declined to act on it, save to tell Senate minority leader Everett Dirksen to tell Richard Nixon to "cut it out," or words to that effect.

Proof of Nixon's treason didn't emerge until 2008, when the tape of the phone call itself was released and the accusation was later confirmed by conservative writer George Will. By then, of course, the whole affair was old news, something from the last generation's history, and could be reliably assumed to be ignored.

So here. Proof of every part of the October Surprise–Iran-Contra story emerged, though proof of the meeting between Bush, Casey and the Iranians in Paris was predictably contravened by a "secret alibi," yet that story is now widely and predictably ignored by all who praise him. 

Robert Parry and the October Surprise

Robert Parry was the primary reporter investigating the October Surprise connection to the breaking Iran-Contra story (emphasis added):
Though there were early rumors about a secret Republican deal with Iran, the October Surprise mystery didn’t gain much traction until the exposure of secret Iran-Contra arms shipments approved by Reagan to Iran in 1985-86. Suddenly, the notion that Reagan and his Vice President George H.W. Bush would lie about covert dealings with Iran didn’t seem so preposterous.

Essentially, the October Surprise question was whether Reagan’s secret contacts with Iran dated back to Campaign 1980, as a growing number of witnesses — from inside the governments of Iran, Israel, France and the United States — were alleging.

However, when Congress finally agreed to look into the October Surprise case in 1991-92, Republicans were determined to circle the wagons around the then-sitting President George H.W. Bush, who was facing a tough reelection fight against Democrat Bill Clinton.

Rather than welcome any truth-seeking, the Republicans and their media allies went on the attack claiming that the October Surprise case was a baseless “conspiracy theory.”
Elites "circling the wagons" to protect elites, even treasonous ones, is the theme of this piece. Eventually, Democrats and the media shied away from the story, leaving Parry essentially alone with his investigation (links in original):
Parry ... received the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984 for his work with the Associated Press on Iran-Contra, where he broke the story that the Central Intelligence Agency had provided an assassination manual to the Nicaraguan Contras (Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare). In mid-1985 he wrote the first article on Oliver North's involvement in the affair, and, together with Brian Barger, in late 1985 he broke the CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US scandal, helping to spark Senator John Kerry's interest in investigating Iran-Contra. The Associated Press had refused to publish the drug trafficking story, and only relented when its Spanish-language newswire service accidentally published a translation. Barger and Parry continued to press their investigation of North even as most of the media declined to follow it up, eventually publishing a story in mid-1986, based on 24 sources, which led to a Congressional committee asking questions of North. After North denied the allegations, Barger was pushed out of the Associated Press, and Parry was unable to publish any further follow-ups to the story until after Eugene Hasenfus' plane (Corporate Air Services HPF821) was shot down in Nicaragua in October 1986. After finding out that his boss had been "conferring with [Oliver] North on a regular basis", Parry left AP in 1987 to join Newsweek, which he left in 1990.

In August 1990, PBS' Frontline asked Parry to work on the October Surprise conspiracy theory, leading to Parry making several documentaries for the program, broadcast in 1991 and 1992. He continued to pursue it after a Congressional investigation had concluded the story was untrue, turning his Frontline research into a book published in 1993, and in 1994 he unearthed "a treasure-trove of government documents" supporting the theory, "showing that the [Congressional] task force suppressed incriminating CIA testimony and excluded evidence of big-money links between wealthy Republicans and Carter's Iranian intermediary, Cyrus Hashemi". In 1996, Salon wrote about his work on the theory, saying that "his continuing quest to unearth the facts of the alleged October Surprise has made him persona non grata among those who worship at the altar of conventional wisdom."
But this is not a piece about Robert Parry. It's a piece about George H.W. Bush.

Was George Bush in Paris in October 1980?

Evidence points to the presence of the future vice-president in Paris for the October meeting. Among others, the pilot of the plane that conveyed the participants places him there:
Russbacher [the pilot] states that Bush, while in Paris, met with Hashemi Rafsanjani, the second in command to the Ayatollah and now the president of Iran, and Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian businessman who was extremely powerful. Arrangements were apparently made to pay Iran $40 million to delay the release of hostages in order to thwart President Jimmy Carter's re-election bid. The $40 million was the beginning of terms that created the Iran-Contra scandal that is now being reopened by Congress.

Russbacher is concerned for his life, but feels that the other pilots will now come forward in a new Congressional investigation.
From the article, Russbacher was also "a member of the Office of Naval Intelligence and worked with the Central Intelligence Agency." Now note this:
[Russbacher] indicates that there is a growing division within the Central Intelligence Agency. "There is no one higher than the CIA, but there are groups within the company (term used by insiders for the CIA) that are very, very strong. And the group or clique that I belonged to, in my opinion, was probably the strongest but there are other factions that are at war with themselves," Russbacher states."You have these groups that are answerable to no one. Well, they are answerable to one man, on top, and he doesn't seem to care how the problems are resolved, just as long as they are taken care of." The man Russbacher is referring to is President Bush.
The only contrary evidence that Bush was not in Paris on October 19, the date in question, was a "secret alibi witness" whose name wasn't released until 2011, after the witness was safely dead. Secret witnesses, of course, can't be interviewed and their evidence tested by the press. 

In 1992, when the story was raging, Bush publicly and angrily demanded that he be cleared. "Bowing to those pressures ... Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana, chairman of the House investigative task force, agreed to a curious bargain in which he and a few senior investigators were shown the destination of Bush’s supposed afternoon trip on Oct. 19, 1980, but with the proviso that they never interview anyone who was there or disclose any names. So, without verifying Bush’s alibi, the House task force cleared Bush of going to Paris."

Note the role of a Democrat in covering for Bush.

The "secret alibi witness" was, of course, a Bush family friend who had worked many times with Bush and had in fact been saved by Bush when the Watergate scandal threatened to take him down. More on this part of the story can be found here: "Taking a Bush Secret to the Grave".

So whom do you trust? Ex-CIA chief George H.W. Bush and the witness whose name he worked for decades to keep secret, or the rest of the evidence to the contrary? Elites assert the former in public statements, whatever they privately believe. The rest of us move on with our lives. Thus does the system that rules us retain its power.

Bush's Sins Are Many

Bush's sins are many and great. As head of the CIA in the late 1970s, he "actively supported Operation Condor operations and right-wing military dictatorships in Latin America." This means he was an accomplice to a great many murders. In the 1980 election campaign, he committed treason against the U.S. constitution by treating with an enemy and interfering with the negotiations of the elected president.

As president, he betrayed the trust of Mikhail Gorbachev, promising that after the unification of Germany, NATO would not move "one inch forward." NATO has since moved several inches forward... much so that Trump's questioning of NATO during the 2016 campaign counts as one of his own great sins. War with Russia is the course we're on today, and this is one of the causes, that U.S. leaders have wanted this conflict to continue since the Soviet Union fell. Elites protecting elites.

In 1990, the Bush administration led Saddam Hussein, a U.S. ally, to believe that it wouldn't interfere if Iraq punished Kuwait for "slant-drilling" and other offenses by invading Kuwait. Before the Iraqi invasion, April Glaspie, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told Saddam Hussein, "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait." Saddam invaded Kuwait. Then the U.S. invaded Iraq.

The strongest impetus for signing the NAFTA treaty prior to 1992 was George H.W. Bush, after which Bill Clinton campaigned for, and ultimately passed the treaty as well. 

In 1992, outgoing President Bush pardoned those in his inner circle who were convicted of crimes in the Iran-Contra scandal. All this with no mention of the vile Willie Horton campaign ads, or the vile elevation of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For all this he is much honored. And every honor he is accorded as a public figure honors the criminals and murderers who hold power over a globalized establishment. Keep this in mind the next time your own favorite elected says of a similar person, "Too bad he died. He was a good man."


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At 11:05 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

He was a criminal in the 91 Gulf War one of my fellow teachers who was in the Army was sent to Iraq to go after Saddam only to find out it was nothing but a pack of lies just to protect their Oil he's retired now i'll never forget it.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger hester said...

Thanks for writing this.

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All quite true, of course. More could be said as well.

But under the meme of lesser-evilism, it is also true that bush41 was less horrible than all Rs after Eisenhower and less horrible than any democrap after Carter.

So... I suppose we'll be treated to the occasional bush41 quote as we've been treated to those of Will, Boot and WDR here on this "progressive" site... because he's less horrible than trump.

And the rightward creep/gallop shall continue apace.

After all, what FUCKING CHOICE do we non-Nazis have except to continue? Right DWT?

Any blue will do! amen!

At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because the criminality meme(s) have been normalized by all admins since bush41, each passing of one criminal is preceded by the nurturing of dozens if not hundreds more.

criminality does pay in this era in this cluster fuck of a shithole.

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Yes, Bush senior was abominable in many ways but what a great veneer he had! We are all about veneer, not what is really underneath. Iran contra anyone? Bush gave some nice pardons at the last minute, to hide it all and protect himself. He was treasonous as well with his underhanded diplomatic efforts against Congress. But he had manners! And those ex Presidents stick together like glue. I cringe when I see Bill Clinton yukking it up with the Bushes. Can't wait to hear how wonderful Bush junior was at his funeral.

Trump has absolutely nothing going. Nothing. Certainly not even manners.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Hone has already decided that bush41 is now laudable because he's not as bad as trump.

perfect lesser-evilism lesson.

At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done, GP.

Playing the role of Cassandra so I don't have to. I appreciate it.

At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rep. Lee Hamilton was a DINO. He never met a Republican whose boots he wouldn't lick.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

May he burn in Hell, right next to John McCain. Hey fellas, save a spot for Obama. He'll be down soon enough.

At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will say ONE thing in obamanation's favor. He never started anything his predecessors didn't. He only assumed control where they left off, especially "missions" that were planned yet not initiated.

Very OT, but the thought just struck me. The meaning of "mission" as used currently differs greatly from what it did in the time of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Yet both achieved the same results: the destruction of the original inhabitants and their societies allowing for the imposition of a new one under threat of violence.

At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another national politician biting the dust that the average American could care less about! Jimmy Carter is next. How will 'we' 'reflect' on him?

At 10:57 PM, Anonymous zeeman said...

Just another national politician biting the dust that the average American could care less about! Jimmy Carter is next. How will 'we' 'reflect' on him?

At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carter may have been somewhat ineffective as president, you could argue he also committed similar crimes while in office. But he did try to wake us up wrt oil vs. renewables.

But he lived an exemplary life after. While everyone after him, at best, chased great wealth after.

I'll take Carter every day and thrice on sunday.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger ChristopherJ said...

Thanks GP. Even here in Australia, the media has idolised him. Can't bear to watch. We know what you are risking to tell the truth.


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