Tuesday, March 5, 2019

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: REFLECTIONS ON PUTIN AS A LEADER AND ON THE WORLD SITUATION IN WHICH HE WORKS

John Chuckman


REFLECTIONS ON PUTIN AS A LEADER AND ON THE WORLD SITUATION IN WHICH HE WORKS




There is an immense amount of criticism of Putin, especially coming from America, most of it empty criticism which ignores realities and genuine analysis. For the more thoughtful, it represents only the stink and noise of propaganda, and not honest criticism in its true sense at all.

In politics, and especially in the direction of a country’s foreign affairs, there are certain behaviors and ideas and attitudes which mark out a person as exceptional. I think there can be no doubt, Putin is just such a person, and I am very much inclined to say, the preeminent one of our time. Frankly, compared with Putin’s skills, Donald Trump comes off as a noisy circus act, a sideshow carnival barker, and not an appealing one. He has an outsized impact in the world only because he represents the most powerful country on earth and has embraced all the prejudices and desires of its power establishment, not because of the skilfulness of his actions or the insight of his mind. Obama made a better public impression, but if you analyze his actions, you see a man of immense and unwarranted ego, a very secretive and unethical man, and a man who held no worthy ideals he promoted. He was superficial in many things. And he was completely compliant to the power establishment, leaving no mark of his own to speak of.

Putin is a man who advocates cooperation among states, who argues against exceptionalism, who wants his country to have peace so that it can grow and advance, a man lacking any frightening or tyrannical ideologies, a man who invariably refers to other countries abroad, even when they are being uncooperative, in respectful terms as “our partners,” a man who knows how to prioritize, as in defense spending, a man with a keen eye for talent who has some other exceptional people assisting him – men of the calibre of Lavrov or Shoygu, a man who supports worthy international organizations like the UN, a man who only reluctantly uses force but uses it effectively when required, a highly restrained man in almost everything he does, a man who loves his country and culture but does not try foisting them off on everyone else as we see almost continuously from American presidents, a man with a keen eye for developing trends and patterns in the world, a man with an eye, too, for the main chance, a man whose decisions are made calmly and in light of a lot of understanding. That’s quite a list.

The differences between recent American leaders, all truly mediocre, and Putin probably has something to do with the two counties’ relative situations over the last few decades. After all, if the support isn’t there for someone like Putin, you won’t get him. Russia’s huge Soviet empire collapsed in humiliation in 1991. The country was put through desperate straits, literally its own great depression with people begging or selling pathetic trinkets on the streets. And America made no real effort to assist. Indeed, quite the opposite, it kicked someone who was down and tried to shake all the loose change from his pockets. Out of Russia’s desperation came a man of remarkable skills, a rather obscure figure, but one who proved extremely popular and was obviously supported by enough powerful and important people to employ his skills for the county’s recovery and advance.

And he showed no weakness or flinching when dealing with some of the extremely wealthy men who in fact became wealthy by striping assets from the dying Soviet Union, men who then also used their wealth to challenge the country’s much-needed new leadership. He was, of course, excoriated in the United States, but to the best of my understanding, he did what was necessary for progress. The results are to be seen in a remarkably revitalized Russia. Everywhere, important projects are underway. New highways, new airports, major new bridges, new rail lines and subways, a new spaceport, new projects and cooperative efforts with a whole list of countries, new efforts in technology and science, and Russia has become the world’s largest exporter of wheat. Putin also has committed Russia to offering the world grain crops free of all GMOs and other contaminants, a very insightful effort to lock-in what have been growing premium markets for such products, even among Americans.

The military, which badly declined after the fall of the USSR, has been receiving new and remarkable weapons, the products of focused research efforts. New high-tech tanks, artillery, ships, and planes. In strategic weapons, Russia now produces several unprecedented ones, a great achievement which was done without spending unholy amounts of money, Russia’s military budget being less than a tenth that of the United States. Putin’s caution and pragmatism dictate that Russia’s first priority is to become as healthy as possibly, so it needs peace, for decades. Few Westerners appreciate the devastating impact of the USSR’s collapse, but even before that, the Soviet empire had its own slow debilitating impact. Russia’s economic system was not efficient and competitive. The effects of that over many years accumulated. The USSR always did maintain the ability to produce big engineering projects such as dams and space flight, but it always was sorely lacking in the small and refined things of life that an efficient economy automatically sees are provided.

The new strategic weapons are an unfortunate necessity, but the United States threatens Russia as perhaps never before with the expansion of NATO membership right to the Russian border, something breaking specific American promises of years back. And it has been running tanks all over Europe and then digging them in them right at the frontier just to make a point. It has deployed multiple-use covered missile launchers not far from the border which may as easily contain offensive intermediate-range ground-to-ground nuclear missiles as the defensive anti-missile missiles claimed to be their purpose. And it has torn up one of the most important nuclear-weapons treaties we had, the INF Treaty, pertaining to intermediate-range missiles. Intermediate-range nuclear missiles based in Europe give the United States the ability to strike Russia with little warning, their ten-minute flight path compares to a roughly thirty-minute flight path for an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) coming from America. These are extremely de-stabilizing, as are the counter-measures Russia felt it must take, Russian intermediate-range nuclear missile aimed at European centers. Everyone eventually recognized that, and that’s why the treaty was successfully completed. Europeans appreciated no longer becoming the immediate battlefield in a nuclear war.

But relations with the United States now have entered a new world, and it is not a brave one. America’s power establishment has assumed new goals and priorities, and in those, Russia is not viewed well, despite its new identity as a nation ready to participate and peacefully compete with everyone, a nation without the kind of extreme ideology communism was, a kind of secular religious faith. Despite its readiness to participate in all Western organizations and forums and discussions, it is viewed with a new hostility by America. It is arbitrarily regarded as an opponent, as an ongoing threat. As I discuss below, America, too, has been in kind of a decline, and the response of its leadership to that fact involves flexing its muscles and extracting concessions and privileges and exerting a new dominance in the world, a response not based in economic competition and diplomatic leadership, a response carrying a great deal of danger.

And, very importantly, its response is one that involves not only bypassing international organizations, but, in many cases, working hard to bend them to its purposes. There are many examples, but America’s treatment of the UN has been foremost. It has in the recent past refused for considerable periods to pay its treaty-obliged dues until it saw changes it unilaterally demanded. It has dropped out of some important agencies completely, most notably UNESCO. In general, it has intimidated an international organization into better accommodating American priorities, including very much imperial ones opposed to what the UN is supposed to be about. And it has used this intimidation and non-cooperativeness to influence the nature of leadership at the UN, the last few Secretaries-General being timid on very important matters and ineffective in general. That’s just the way America likes them to be now. A harsh Neocon like Madeleine Albright won her government-service spurs at the UN by engineering the departure of an unwanted Secretary-General.

Promoting coups is not a new activity for the United States. There is a long postwar record, including Iran’s democratic government in the 1950s, Guatemala’s democratic government in the 1950s, and Chile’s democratic government in 1973. But the recent coup in Ukraine represented something rather new, a very provocative activity right on a major Russian border. It was also against an elected government and in a country which shares with Russia a history and culture going back more than a thousand years to the predecessor state of Kievan Rus. Yes, there are resentments in Ukraine from the Soviet era, and those are what the United States exploited, but the country was democratically governed. In any event, staging a coup in a large bordering country is a very serious provocation. You can just imagine the violent American reaction to one in Mexico or Canada.

The new, post-coup government in Ukraine also made many provocative and plainly untrue statements. The ineffective, and frequently ridiculous, President Poroshenko kept telling Europeans that Russian troops and armor were invading his country. Only his brave army was holding the hordes back. He was literally that silly at times. Of course, none of it was ever true. American spy satellites would quickly detect any Russian movement, and they never did. In an effort to put the wild claims into perspective, treating them with the contempt they deserved, Putin once said that if he wanted to, he could be in Kiev in two weeks. Undoubtedly true, too. Well, the statement was taken completely out of context, treated as a threat by America’s always-faithful-to-the-narrative press. Journalism in the service of government policy – all of it, from the most elevated newspapers and broadcasters to the humblest. And I think that nicely illustrates the absurdity of events in Ukraine and the way they have been used.

The United States paid for the coup in Ukraine. We even know how much money it spent, five billion dollars, thanks to the overheard words of one of America’s most unpleasant former diplomats, Victoria Nuland. The idea was to threaten Russia with the long Ukrainian border being put into genuinely hostile hands. Never mind that the government driven from office with gunfire in the streets from paid thugs was democratically elected. Never mind that many of the groups with which the United States cooperated in this effort were right-wing extremists, a few of them resembling outright Nazis, complete with armbands and symbols and torchlight parades. And never mind that the government America installed was incompetent, not only sending Ukraine’s economy into a tailspin but promptly igniting a completely unnecessary civil war.

The large native, Russian-speaking population (roughly 30% of the country) is completely dominant in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Those two regions partly turned the tables by seceding from Ukraine with its government which early-on worked to suppress historic Russian-language rights and carried on a lot of activities to make those with any Russian associations feel very unwelcome. It’s a deliberately provocative environment, and, as we all know from our press, not a day goes by in Washington without anti-Russian rhetoric and unsupported charges. While Washington greatly failed in this effort, it nevertheless succeeded in generating instability and hostility along a major Russian border. It also gained talking points with which to pressure NATO into some new arrangements.

In the case of Crimea, it is important to remember that it has been Russian since the time of Catherine the Great. It only was in recent history that Crimea became part of Ukraine, and that happened with the stroke of a pen, an administrative adjustment during the days of the USSR, the very USSR the people now running Ukraine so despise, rejecting almost everything ever done, except for the administrative transfer of Crimea apparently. Just one of those little ironies of history. The people who live in Crimea speak Russian, and they did not welcome the new Ukrainian government’s heavy-handed, nationalist, anti-Russian drive around Ukrainian language and culture, necessarily a narrow, claustrophobic effort since the late USSR was a multi-national and multi-lingual state, and given Crimea’s much longer-term history as part of Russia. Even during Crimea’s recent past as part of Ukraine, Russia continued to maintain, under lease, its major naval base at Sevastopol on the Black Sea, so the connections with Russia have been continuous.

In virtually every newspaper story you read and in places like Wikipedia on the Internet, you will see the word “annexation” used to describe Crimea’s relationship with Russia. It simply is not an accurate description, but its constant use is a very good measure of America’s ability to saturate media with its desired version of events. The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from an unfriendly new Ukraine, and they voted to petition Russia’s admitting them as part of the country. How can you call the results of free and open votes annexation? Well, only the same way you can tell the twice-elected President of Venezuela that he is not President and that another man, who did not even run in the election and administered the oath of office to himself, is the President. This is the kind of Alice-in-Wonderland stuff that comes as part of America’s new drive for dominance. It simply paints the roses red. What is claimed to have happened in Crimea provides the only support for charges of Russian aggression, the laying on of all kinds of sanctions, and running around all over Europe tearing up road surfaces with tanks. This is the atmosphere within which Putin must work, trying to maintain as many sound relationships with Europe as he can, and he actually has been quite successful. A number of prominent European politicians, especially retired ones who aren’t under the immediate pressures of politics and relations with America, have voiced support for Russia. Some have even visited Crimea by invitation and toured. And Russia’s major new gas pipeline into Europe, Nord Stream 2, proceeds despite constant American pressure against it. It is at this writing 70% complete. The Europeans cannot just abandon their long-term ally, the United States, even though I’m sure they understand the illusions and false claims of the current situation. The United States also retains considerable capacity to hurt Europe financially, so they rush into nothing, but I believe there can be no doubt that American words and actions have significantly weakened old and important relationships. No one likes being lied to, and they like even less having to pretend lies are truth.

Putin has been more cautious in the case of the secession of another Russian-speaking portion of Ukraine, an even larger one in population and in economic importance, the Eastern portion called Donbass. The people there declared two republics, Donetsk and Luhansk, and they petitioned to be admitted as part of Russia. But Russia does not officially recognize them although it has sent large volumes of aid as they were besieged by the new Ukrainian government. The government of Ukraine started a small civil war in the region. Russia supports the Minsk Accords, which it helped to write, accords to reunite the region with Ukraine but which require Ukraine to grant it a degree of constitutional autonomy to the region. This is a reasonable approach to ending the conflict, but it is not easy to implement. It is not something looked favorably upon by Ukraine’s right-wing extremists who push the government hard, having even threatened it at times. The entire business has been mired in difficulties from the start. Ukraine displayed remarkable military incompetence in this civil war against a much smaller opponent. It tried to increase the size of its forces with conscription in the West of Ukraine, but the number of no-shows and run-aways grew embarrassingly large. And, of course, none of this even needed to happen had the new government’s policies been sensible and fair in the first place. But you got no pressure from the United States over fairness. It is merely content to have caused a lot of difficulties on Russia’s border. And there is the matter of the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines’ Flight MH-17, which my study of the circumstances suggests unequivocally was an act by Ukraine, whether accidental or deliberate. The United States has pushed hard to have this blamed on Russia, so as to not discredit its installed Ukrainian government, but the facts, as we know them, simply do not support that conclusion. The United States has shamefully pressured a NATO member, Holland, not even a central party to the event, to conduct a long and tortoise-paced investigation of the crash. It has ignored key evidence, and all of its interim conclusions can readily be seen as couched in the kind of suggestive but inexact language criminal lawyers advise their clients to use in court. What we see in Ukraine, is government incompetence, almost uniformly in all its activities, and again there is no concern expressed by the United States about all the difficulties – economic, military, and social - its efforts have caused for the Ukrainian people.

Putin’s adroit handling of the coup in Ukraine, frustrating many of America’s aims without getting Russia involved in conflict, determined Washington to further stoke-up anti-Russian feeling in Europe. You must always remember that NATO does represent a vehicle for the peaceful American occupation of Europe, Europe being an important economic competitor and potentially a major world power. The obsolescence of the original arguments for NATO - the threat of the USSR and the massive Red Army, now both long passed into history - had the potential to see America eventually lose its occupying perch in Europe.

Russian-threat hype added force to recent efforts over the last decade and a half to have inconsequential new states admitted to NATO, some of them having the attraction of borders with Russia and lots of simmering old anti-Soviet hostilities. Certainly, countries like Estonia or Latvia bring neither military nor economic strength to the organization. Other small states, such as Slovenia or Slovakia or Montenegro just fill holes in the map of Europe, so NATO is a contiguous mass. The small states are in fact potentially a serious drag. But for America, they were attractive new members because they are so grateful about being asked “to play with the big boys.” Their votes as part of the organization effectively dilute the influence of the larger, older states, such as France or Germany, who sometimes disagree with the United States, and some of whom have been developing new relationships with modern Russia. The entire series of American activities in Europe after the disappearance of the USSR represents absolutely nothing constructive, indeed, quite the opposite.

As I mentioned, America, too, has been in a kind of decline, but absolutely nothing resembling what Russia experienced. America’s establishment has come to realize that over the last couple of decades it is in a relative decline. It went from producing, after WWII, about forty percent of what the world used to twenty-something percent, and all signs point to the trend continuing. America was waking-up from an extended fantasy – a period when fluffy notions like “the American Dream” were embraced as real, a period explained by the simple fact that after the war all of America’s serious competitors had been flattened. America was waking to a time when those competitors were coming back and a time when fierce new competitors were rising. The “Dream” part of the advertising slogan, “the American Dream,” became all too apparent.

During that period of unique prosperity and power following WWII, a good deal of America’s leadership became what people who have been given too much often tend to become, spoiled and corrupt, unable to make good decisions in many cases, indulging in god-like notions of the planet being run for their benefit, and always, steadily leaving behind their own people’s welfare for imperial concerns abroad. The entire ethic of the New Deal period evaporated, and by the 1990s, a Democratic President like Clinton could actually make a speech bragging about “ending welfare as we know it.”

The people who really run the country, its power establishment, fixed on a new strategy to address uncomfortable realities. That strategy involves using America’s still great military and financial power to dominate international affairs in a more obvious and palpable way than ever. Dominance became an openly-discussed theme, as it rarely was before, in the hope, over time, of squeezing concessions and advantages from others to regain or at least hold on to its global position. This is an openly aggressive posture that has been assumed. No more pretence of being a nice guy. And it was actively promoted by a new political faction in Washington, the Neocons, a group who share certain interests and see America’s use of power as serving those interests. They have been open advocates of using military force to get things you want, and they hold many important and influential posts. Perhaps their greatest common interest is the welfare of Israel, and they see an America perceived as aggressive best serving Israel’s security.

It is important to note that while Russia maintains excellent relations with Israel – Putin has been visited often by Israel’s Prime Minister - nevertheless, by virtue of its sheer size and geographical location and military power, Russia is seen as a barrier to America’s more unrestrained use of power. “Russia” is almost a dirty word for many of America’s Neocon faction and for many Israelis. Russia’s recent decisive assistance to Syria in fighting gangs of terrorists introduced and supported from outside was viewed about as negatively as is possible. That is war Israel wanted President Assad to lose, and it secretly gave a great deal of assistance to the terrorists. It was hoping to secure a permanent hold on the Golan, grab even another slice of Syria as a buffer for its illegal residents in Golan, all while seeing one of the region’s leaders it most dislikes eliminated. It worked closely in the effort with Saudi Arabia’s murderous Crown Prince, and America oversaw and encouraged all aspects of a dirty war to topple a legitimate government which has remained fairly popular with its people despite years of agonizing conflict and endless dishonest American claims about such matters as chemical weapons. Assad is seen as a defender of the rights of Syria’s diverse religious groups, including its many Christians.

So, there is a built-in powerful negative towards Russia in Washington power circles for which there is no clear possible remedy or correction, and, indeed, no matter how reasonably Putin behaves, his country faces this opposition. For some American politicians, and very notably Hillary Clinton, this has proved a handy tool, Clinton long having been a close-to fanatical supporter of Israeli interests. The fact has earned her a great deal of campaign funding and other support over the years. Clinton’s ego also just could not take the fact that she lost the election to the leader of “the deplorables,” as she once called Trump’s supporters, so in dark claims of Russian interference, supported by absolutely no proof whatsoever, she protects her ego. And long before election day, Clinton had a hand in exploiting attitudes about Russia in another way. She is known to have paid, at least in part, for the fraudulent Steele Dossier commissioned from an ex-British spy. It was used to try to discredit Trump over Russian connections.

This dislike for Russia by the Neocons and other boosters of resurgent American power really is what is at the heart of America’s current Russophobia obsession, not any threatening actions by Russia. It becomes a kind of vicious circle with new accusations piled on all the time by various actors each with their own motives, and it is clearly quite dangerous.

So, these are the positions of the two countries today, Russia having risen quite impressively from the depths under a remarkably able leader, extremely popular and well-supported by powerful elements of its society, versus America, now in a much different kind of decline than what Russia experienced, led by an establishment group with rather less-than-honorable intentions and with a political system virtually designed to produce no real leaders who might interfere with establishment plans.

Putin is further supported from the outside by the rising colossus of China, one of the great miracle stories of our time. In the past, the two countries have not always been friends, and America, in the time of Nixon, actually worked at playing one off against the other. But that is no more. The American establishment’s intentions for China are too clear. It is virtually reneging on many old promises such as those around Taiwan being an integral part of China, it is treating China as an unwanted competitor, accusing it of every nefarious activity you can think of to impede its economic progress and demanding trade concessions as though China had been an unfair competitor rather than just a new, more successful one. America is now attacking in every way possible - from questioning motives and methods to trying to generate opposition by participants – China’s unprecedented and magnificent global enterprise, the Silk Road Project, a project dwarfing the great canals of the past and destined to bring new prosperity to all participants through trade. It hardly represents a positive attitude to oppose and impede it.

Putin is exactly the kind of man to quickly recognize and embrace a project like that. Russia is also rushing to help China greatly increase its supply of natural gas from Siberia’s immense reserves in order to decrease its dependence on coal. The first great new pipeline is almost finished.

So, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, both highly intelligent leaders, have a great many weighty common interests in working together as never before. America’s new policies have been a driving force in bringing them together, and there is no reason to expect any diminishment of that force. Recent American international behavior requires others to accept what Putin likes to call America’s “exceptionalism,” its position first and above all other nations, its self-granted privilege of not having to play by the same rules as everyone else – its status of “the indispensable nation” as one of America’s more arrogant diplomats put it not very long ago – and it requires that from two major, proud, and ancient societies which cannot possibly grant it.

America’s dependence on its gigantic military and security establishment represents a serious long-term weakness in many ways, even though it provides the very foundation of the American establishment’s new strategy for dominance. Empires, after all, while benefiting the privileged segments of a society, are a drag on most of its citizens, depriving them of many benefits, including the simple, important benefit of good and caring national government. America spends more than ten times as much as Russia on its military. China, compared to not many years ago, has increased its military spending greatly, but for a country with such a huge economy, second only to the United States and likely to overtake it before long, it still spends less than a quarter of what the United States does. And America does not even have the money to pay for its atrociously large military. It borrows the money, and who do you think pays the stream of interest payments for those massive borrowings? You’d be right if you said all of its ordinary, tax-paying citizens without privileges. They also are “on the hook” for the ultimate negative economic consequences of all this debt and borrowing.

Of course, from a world perspective, America’s military represents an ongoing threat to peace and security, much the opposite of what is claimed for it inside the United States. Great standing armies have always represented threats, and here is the greatest standing army in history. Many historical analyses hold them largely responsible for such terrible conflicts as WWI (a war whose outcome made WWII inevitable also). When such power is at hand, the temptation to use it is constant, and its very presence distorts all attitudes and decisions. Many of America’s own Founders understood that, but it has been forgotten by the contemporary American establishment in its relentless pursuit of empire and influence.

Security expenses are hard to compare, so much is secretive, but the United States with its 17 separate national security agencies and such a vast enterprise as the NSA’s new archipelago of facilities stuffed with hi-tech gear and supercomputers which spy on and record every American plus others would put any other country out of the competition. Again, the demands of the American establishment utterly compromise the interests of the country’s own citizens at large. Indeed, now in security matters, ordinary Americans have been pretty much reduced to a herd, each with an identifying tag stapled to his ear.

Russia’s democracy may be quite imperfect, but America’s - what it had of one, it never from the beginning identified itself actually as a democracy - has been transformed into plutocracy with an elaborate window-dressing simulation of democracy, an arrangement in which the state’s resources are committed to its privileged class and the advance of empire. And, as I’ve written many times, you can have a decent country or you can have an empire, but you cannot have both.



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Thursday, May 24, 2018

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: WHAT TRUMP IS DOING IN JERUSALEM AND WHY HE IS DOING IT?



WHAT TRUMP IS DOING IN JERUSALEM AND WHY HE IS DOING IT?

John Chuckman

“‘Declaration of war’: Trump’s Jerusalem decision lights Middle East powder keg” - Russia Today


Trump does seem like a dangerous idiot suddenly and unexpectedly set loose on the world of international affairs, a world which normally assumes an appearance of restraint and order and careful words.

With virtually everything he touches, he resembles a big, ungainly child breaking things – International trade agreements, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Russia, and, now, Jerusalem.

He seems to enjoy creating new problems and tensions, he does it so much. It’s certainly a way to maintain yourself as the center of attention, much as with his stream of “tweets,” only notable for their ability to shock and surprise millions unused to such words from a man in high office.

Trump’s psychological make-up has something in it of the Oscar Wilde line about it being better to be talked about badly than not talked about at all.

Of course, there is only one explanation for this decision on moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.

It is not an act to promote peace in the region. It is not even an act in America’s own long-term interest. Quite the opposite, indeed. It goes against the cautions expressed by many statesmen. And Trump is not religious, neither Jewish nor a practicing Christian, so Jerusalem and efforts to push dusty old Biblical texts into contemporary world affairs mean nothing to him.

Netanyahu is known to have heavily lobbied for this move, over and over. And we know from the inadvertent testimony some years back of high-level witnesses – former Presidents Sarkozy of France and Obama of the United States - what a relentless, headache-inducing man Netanyahu can be. Obama opined to Sarkozy, during an accidental open-mic event, about having to deal with daily calls from him after Sarkozy had complained about having to deal with him.

Trump has most certainly been assured that there will be favorable reciprocity for his taking this action, and deals are what Trump likes. There simply can be no other motive for what he is doing. What form could that reciprocity take, apart from generous campaign contributions, which are perhaps less needed by billionaire Trump than most other candidates?

Trump is a man with a massive, unquenchable ego, and he is undoubtedly tired of being attacked in the press. He has had a terrible time with the press - the big national press, what the British used to call “the quality press,” both print and broadcast - where he has been treated in a relentlessly hostile manner.

It is not prejudice to observe, but simply a fact, that a large portion of America's high-end press and broadcasting is owned and managed by Jewish Americans.

And the practice of that press’s journalism always has been to treat Israel extremely favorably, whatever views, liberal or conservative, they may take of domestic American affairs. As just one example, the New York Times has long had the practice of submitting all stories concerning Israel to the official Israeli censor before publication, hardly the stuff of unbiased journalism.

So, it is probable that we will see a definite, but gradual, change in the tone of Trump's treatment by the press.

Any easing of the intense opposition to him, any effort to make him look more sensible and friendly and palatable, especially in the high-end press, can only ease the constant controversy under which he works and help his chances for re-election.

Remember, we know from his own words, Trump relishes being regarded as “presidential,” even if he is so frequently incapable of behaving so. He likes dressing “white tie” even if his conversation resembles that of the manager of a small trailer park in Arizona on the Mexican border who sells XXX videos as a sideline.

Trump’s action, of course, means that any Democratic candidate in 2020 will be at a disadvantage publicity-wise, unless that candidate raises the Israel-Palestine stakes still higher. Which is always possible. Just consider the past words and acts of a number of Democratic candidates, as for example, Hillary Clinton, who was once recorded screeching insanely that she was ready wipe Iran, a country of about 80 million people, off the map.

This explains just one of the reasons Trump’s action is not in his country’s long-term interest. America has suffered a great deal already in a bidding war that way, a bidding war for press support and campaign funds, over the narrow interests of a small country which seems never to be able to live in peace with its neighbors and seems always to demand increasing levels of American support and subsidy.

Israel is a country which seems incapable of controlling its behavior, but it one also blessed with the extraordinary birthright resource of a large and successful and influential group of co-religionists in America plus an even larger population of Christian fundamentalists who regard the plain nightmare madness of the Book of Revelations as sacred text and promise.

Never mind what Trump’s act does for international affairs. The contemporary American view, and certainly the view of Trump, is that most of “those people” out there don’t count anyway, especially most of the Muslim world.

After all, America has spent the last decade and a half killing about two million of them, creating countless refugees, and literally destroying several countries. And the last year’s rhetoric from Trump and some of his supporters might well make you think America views Muslims as the just target of a new Holy Crusade.

Muslim refugees – who are the direct result of America’s destructive Mideast wars, wars conducted largely for Israel’s benefit – are frequently not written and spoken about in America as refugees, they are shamelessly regarded as undesirables, as security risks, as criminal elements. Such stuff flows daily like an open sewer from articles and reader comments in that part of Internet journalism which has served as Trump’s unqualified source of support, the Alt-right.

It, of course, plays right into the hands of Israeli politicians and lobbyists who relish anything which makes their aggressive, law-breaking efforts to seize still more of the property of others resemble some kind of worthy campaign against the forces of darkness.

I can only imagine what Trump’s reaction would be if a large group of Mexican migrants squatted on his beloved Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Rather than support them in their claim, he would most certainly strap on his six-shooter and help drive them off, undoubtedly driving them all the way to the Mexican border, shouting wildly the whole time.

NOTE: Less than a month later, Trump, in an interview with the New York Times at the Trump International Golf Club, said he believes members of the news media will cover him in a more favourable light in 2020. Surprise, surprise.

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN SAUDI ARABIA?



WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN SAUDI ARABIA?

John Chuckman


Trump Says Saudi Elites Caught In Anti-Corruption Probe Were ‘Milking’ Kingdom For Years

This is just nonsense from Trump.

Corruption is and has been everywhere in Saudi Arabia. How else could it be with all the countless billions changing hands in a fairly closed society?

So, it is easy for a guy like the new Crown Prince to glance around and conveniently find some corruption among people he wants to discredit anyway.

It may go beyond merely discrediting them to having hundreds of billions seized by the Crown Prince. Not a bad day’s work.

What is going on is a kind of coup against the old order by the new usurper Crown Prince. His recent appointment was by a King well known for his senility, and it suddenly and surprisingly upset the established order of succession and all kinds of extended family compacts.

We likely will never know what truly happened in this secretive kingdom. But we do know the abrupt changes created lots of enemies who needed attending to, and that seems to be what is happening.

And the enemies have no friends in Washington to whom they can appeal. The old order in Saudi Arabia suffered terribly in the wake of 9/11, and despite great efforts to pacify the US with new levels of cooperation, it is now being swept out.

Now, whatever is considered good for a hyper-aggressive United States is coincidentally good for its de facto colony in the Middle East.

Trump himself has already proved to be one of Israel’s best-ever American friends. Israel has long had great influence, but it possibly never had it so good as it does now, as with a UN Ambassador who speaks as though she were a joint appointment of Trump and Netanyahu. Trump’s only competitor in this regard would be Lyndon Johnson.

The US and Israel closely embrace the usurper because he has proven his dependability with bloody projects like making illegal war on Yemen. That war is exactly like the proxy war waged by mercenaries – ISIS and Al-Nusra et al - in Syria except that in this case it is the open work of a nation-state. And now he joins Israel in making threats on Lebanon.

In all the Neocon Wars in the Mideast, great effort has been made, one way or another, not to have Israel at center stage, to avoid having Israel appear as aggressor. But, in fact, without the influence of Israel, none of these terrible wars would have happened.

Yes, the Crown Prince will be a dependable component in the years-long American-Israeli project of creating a new Middle East. The Crown Prince is essentially Israel's man in Saudi Arabia, just as President el-Sisi is in Egypt. Israel is comfortable being surrounded by absolute governments, so long as they are absolute governments beholden to its patron, the United States.

Right now, the new Crown Prince is doing another bloody service for Israeli interests. The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, was called to come to Riyadh in the King’s name for some business, as it turned out on false pretenses. Hariri had his plane surrounded and he was effectively arrested upon landing. Just pure modern piracy. Later, and who knows after what threats, he announced his sudden and unexpected resignation as prime minister, and he remains in Saudi Arabia.

It just so happens, in very recent time, Netanyahu and some of his officials have made some very ugly noises against Lebanon and even staged a large-scale set of war games, including calling up reservists, clearly threatening the country.

Israel just cannot stand the idea of Hezbollah being part of the Lebanese government whereas a reasonable observer would say Lebanon had achieved a peaceful balance in governing a land of many diverse political and religious groups.

After all, it hasn’t been that long ago since Israel helped catapult Lebanon into a terrible, bloody civil war, and it did so with its own bloody and unwarranted invasion of the country. Hezbollah, an organization which has never been a true terrorist group no matter what Israel goes on about, came into its own by opposing Israel’s long-term, illegal occupation of Southern Lebanon.

They were only defending what is theirs, but they made Israel look very bad, and that is an unforgivable offence. So, here we have the new Saudi Crown Prince doing more dirty work on Israel’s behalf, much as with his war in Yemen where he bombs civilians regularly, saving Israel from having to act on its own to get what it wants in someone else’s country.

You see, if Israel itself actually had to do all the ugly deeds it wants done in the region, the world would see it with blinding clarity for the pariah state that it truly is, starting wars incessantly. Proxies – whether mercenary gangs like ISIS and Al-Nusra in Syria or tyrants like the new Saudi Crown Prince in Yemen and Lebanon - are the latest fashion statement from Tel Aviv.

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: REFLECTIONS ON HOW LITTLE IS REVEALED BY JUST-RELEASED JFK ASSASSINATION DOCUMENTS AND JUST SOME OF THE MANY REASONS WHY THERE HAD TO BE A CONSPIRACY



REFLECTIONS ON HOW LITTLE IS REVEALED BY JUST-RELEASED JFK ASSASSINATION DOCUMENTS AND JUST SOME OF THE MANY REASONS WHY THERE HAD TO BE A CONSPIRACY

John Chuckman



NOTE: PLEASE ALSO SEE MY LATER COMMENT ON AN IMPORTANT NEW PIECE OF INFORMATION, BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT WE HAVE RECEIVED AS IT CONTAINS OUR FIRST BITS OF TRUTH ABOUT THE ASSASSINATION FROM A GOVERNMENT SOURCE:
https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/john-chuckman-comment-the-first-genuine-information-in-the-kennedy-assassination-records-release-to-give-us-some-genuine-information-about-what-happened/



In the recent, and supposedly last, release of files pertaining to the Kennedy assassination, most of the corporate press did not dwell on the fact that the most important and secret files were kept from the public, but, of course, that was actually the big story.

Now, I say that not knowing just what was not released or indeed whether the unreleased files even contain any serious information. You see, in the world of state secrets, secrecy is often used to hide embarrassing incompetence or even criminality. The unreleased documents may be just as uninformative as much of what has been released. So much of what has been released over recent decades is of little hard value to the case. We may legitimately ask, why was a lot of this junk ever declared national secrets to be squirreled away for a half century and more?

I can’t answer that question, but exactly the same question may be asked about so very many things and activities pertaining to the assassination. Of course, it shouldn’t be that way, but it is, and that fact alone screams that important things always were, and still are, hidden. Are the key facts really that unbelievably sensitive? Are they even known?

The question might even be asked whether the authorities themselves ever really understood accurately what happened. The FBI and CIA not even knowing what happened might itself be a worthy state secret, reflecting on the sheer competence of these two massively-funded and often abusive security agencies. God knows, they both have long records of embarrassing and destructive failures at home and abroad.

And, it must be remembered that outfits like CIA always have fallback positions ready for major activities should the first story spring some unexpected leak. So, even if records were maintained of actual events - something which is not always certain going by CIA’s past record, as in the case of the coup in Guatemala against a democratic government, an event whose files could not be found at their scheduled release date - whatever is eventually released to the public may reflect a fallback narrative. The complexity of filing systems at a place like CIA permits some amazing antics, and no one from the outside is able to check. That of course is just one of the dangers of having such powerful, secret, and largely unaccountable agencies.

The facts of a murder case - no matter who the victim was, a rather simple murder actually if you believe the Warren Report, a murder by one disgruntled man with a rifle and no accomplices of any kind - should be public information in a free society. What possibly warrants secrecy in such a case? Nothing, of course. Yet we know we have had secrecy and still have it, massively so, and since the earliest days after the crime.

We still face a huge, impenetrable, blank wall, much resembling something from an ancient mysterious tomb, when it comes to this history-changing event.

If the assassination of an elected President can be effectively covered-up, what cannot? And a great many terrible events have happened in the United states since that crime. Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria plus many other bloody awful things that make little sense and have never been honestly explained to the people by government.

The press still is very fond of the term, "conspiracy theory," and it is easy to find articles weekly which employ it, but the term should always serve as a red flag for astute readers. It is said to have been coined by a CIA publicist/disinformation officer in 1967 as a way to express ridicule of those doubting the Warren Report, a document in fact riddled with errors and inconsistencies.

I've read some documents and summaries of documents recently released, and I have to say that many contain things which were already known. Other things were not known, but they include nothing of decisive importance. (SEE FOOTNOTE REGARDING THIS CLAIM)

We find in the released documents relative trivia like Hoover warning Dallas Police of an attempt on Oswald's life. A memo which of course could be interpreted as nothing but Hoover covering his behind, something he was very good at, having a great deal of experience doing it.

Hoover was always a suspicious character through the entire assassination events. First, it was his agency that did all the investigative work for the Warren Commission. His Agency that selected which witnesses would testify and which would not, the selection often seeming to show the most perverse inclination to the witness who an unbiassed observer might say was the least reliable.

And it was his Agency which browbeat many witnesses into amending details of what they witnessed and told a number in threatening terms not to divulge what they were saying. We also have witnesses who later discovered their words in the published Report had been altered from what they actually said.

And it is Hoover who early on named the guilty party as Oswald. He never offered any sound reason, always referring to Oswald along lines like “some lone nut communist.”

Hoover was of course aware of Oswald owing to Oswald’s having been a “defector.” And we even have an earlier memo of Hoover’s, never explained, about perhaps someone impersonating Oswald. It just hangs there in space with no context or explanation.

It should be mentioned, too, that Hoover loathed the Kennedys, both of them. I do not believe he was associated with the assassins – though some people very much do – but I think he privately rejoiced in Kennedy’s death. With the President gone, he would no longer be seriously subject to the demands of his formal boss, Attorney General Robert, a man he truly detested. And he would not be asked to retire because Lyndon Johnson loved him.

The investigation of the assassination was also the opportunity to once again preach his favorite official sermon about the extreme danger communists represented to America. He had pursued communists for decades, even at the cost of letting a genuine national threat, the Mafia, grow and prosper. It was said at one time that about thirty percent of the American Communist Party’s members were FBI agents or informants. And, quite simply, Hoover had no motive to relentlessly pursue the people who had actually improved his life as well as America’s, as he saw it.

The arrest of Oswald was one of the most bizarre and unexplained matters in the whole assassination saga. There was no reason at all for anyone to seek him. There was no basis for a suspicion. The only thing that was known not long after the assassination was that Oswald had left work, as did others. A description that went out on police radio was so generic as to be virtually useless in locating any specific person. And why would police converge on a movie theater away from downtown owing simply to call claiming a man had sneaked in without buying a ticket?

Why was Oswald at that movie theater? Almost certainly to meet someone he knew from the conspiracy, quite likely Jack Ruby. Ruby is very likely to have been the man who earlier shot Officer Tippet on the street. Oswald could not have made it there in time for that event, walking as he did from his boarding house. We have good timing testimony on that killing from several witnesses.

And Tippet was known as a shady cop in Dallas, with right wing associations. He was quite likely involved with the plotters in some minor way. Ruby shot him to silence him just as he may have been headed to the theater to meet and shoot Oswald, but all the sudden heavy police presence prevented him from doing so. He, of course, two days later shot Oswald while right in police custody in a supposedly high-security prisoner transfer.

The summaries of new documents just released I saw are so uninformative you have to ask yourself why the documents would ever have been classified in the first place.

They include things like the fact that Lyndon Johnson was once a member of the Klu Klux Klan in Texas. Wow, now there is a serious state secret. And a fact, considering all the other horrors of Johnson’s career – documented election rigging, massive financial corruption with people like Billy Sol Estes, foul behavior of every description, starting a massive pointless war in Vietnam, complicity in Israel’s 1967 War and its attack on an American spy ship – the KKK fact seems trivial.

Indeed, as was asked at the time of the assassination, why was any of it a matter of state security and secrecy if the murder was the work of one disgruntled man? Why were any documents ever made secret? And why are many still secret after this dump?

Oswald is said in one document to have spoken with a KGB agent, Valeriy Kostikov, from the KGB's directorate for assassination, in Mexico City? We already knew that story. You can find it in dozens of books.

The real question remains whether Oswald himself was, in fact, ever in Mexico City? It is just taken for granted by our press, as it pretty much was by the Warren Report.

The CIA covered the Soviet Embassy there with cameras and telephone intercepts 24 hours a day, yet when asked to produce photos and recordings of Oswald back for the early investigations, the CIA produced a photo of a total stranger, blindingly clearly not Oswald, and claimed any phone recordings had been routinely erased.

There is not one shred of solid evidence placing Oswald in Mexico City, although we know very well that someone resembling him was there, going between the Cuban and Russian Embassies and bringing a lot of attention to himself. Cuba? Russia? Early 1960s?

Why would anyone do that? The best guess is to have Oswald’s name associated with Cuba when the assassination occurred.

There were other efforts at such association during Oswald’s time in New Orleans. He worked passing out leaflets for the Fair Play for Cuba organization, even though he was never a proper member. Some of these leaflets were actually mistakenly stamped with the address of Guy Bannister Associates on Camp Street, Bannister being a retired fairly senior FBI Agent and a known advocate for right-wing causes.

His Agency was likely in part a front for CIA’s anti-Castro weapons acquisition and distribution. Remember, these were days of intense anti-Castro activity by CIA and its proxies like the various anti-Castro groups. A couple of witnesses saw Oswald at the office once or at another location with Bannister.

Oswald’s leaflets, when people filled out the form to support Fair Play for Cuba, simply provided Bannister and those working with him with lists of local Castro sympathizers. The effort of course further associated Oswald’s name with Cuba and with vaguely Marxist sympathies, something that was certainly an act.

Why would he desire to create all that attention? So that, after the assassination, the name Oswald would be firmly connected with those awful places, Russia and Cuba. And believe me, there is nothing in 1963 that the CIA wanted to see more than another invasion of Cuba. The Bay of Pigs invasion by a proxy army of trained refugees in 1961 had badly failed, and part of Kennedy’s agreement with Khrushchev, late 1962, to end the Cuban Missile Crisis included a promise not to invade Cuba. Those two events alone and their aftermath made Kennedy loathed at the CIA and by America’s Cuban refugee terrorist groups in places like New Orleans and Miami.

Another not widely-known fact which screams conspiracy were previous assassination plots against Kennedy, one in Chicago and one in Miami. The one in Chicago was planned remarkably along the same lines as Dallas. High-power rifles, elevated position, several shooters, and a patsy candidate. It was broken up, but the would-be assailants escaped. In Miami, the President’s trip was changed from a car to a helicopter in the face of serious threat information.

The people actually plotting the assassination wanted not only to get rid of a President they hated but they wanted the assassination itself to provide America with an irresistible cause for invading Cuba in force despite any previous understanding with the Russians. They were trying to “kill two birds with one stone.”

It should also always be borne in mind that Oswald himself had no known motive. He said more than once that he admired Kennedy. He was not really some wild-eyed Marxist either, despite pretenses. Indeed, the suggestion provided by his associations in New Orleans – as Guy Bannister - was that, if anything, he might have had right-wing sympathies. But there is reason not to believe even that. Oswald did work as an FBI informant, despite Hoover’s denial, and I believe that work would have been associated with the Kennedys’ efforts to clamp down on CIA and anti-Castro activities to improve relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba after the Missile Crisis.

The likelihood of Oswald being impersonated briefly in Mexico parallels somebody resembling Oswald involved with a list of pre-assassination incidents in Dallas we know about. These ranged from a man acting bizarrely while test-driving a car with a salesman and claiming to be Oswald (Oswald himself could not drive) to a man making a spectacle of himself at a shooting range.

Everyone who has read at length on the subject knows there was a man resembling Oswald deliberately and showily doing various odd things around Dallas, there being many witnesses, to call attention to himself in the weeks before the assassination. Indeed, right in the Texas Book Depository, there was another employee named Billy Lovelady who greatly resembled Oswald, enough to often be confused with him. Indeed, Dallas Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig, a man whose various testimony suggests good observational ability, maintained that he thought he saw Oswald leave the Book Depository and jump into a light-colored station wagon which sped away. Oswald himself we know did not leave that way.

Of course, no serious assassin would ever do such things to call extreme attention to himself as someone did in Oswald’s name shortly before the assassination, and the set of events is just one of a number of things which strongly suggest conspiracy.

We still have no indication how Oswald learned to speak Russian in the United States while in the Marines, but we have evidence that he did so fluently although not always with good grammar, and he spoke it before his discharge and going off to the Soviet Union. The Warren Commission studiously avoided details of this tricky topic.

And how did a man who had threatened to tell the Soviets radar secrets about the U-2 spy plane he learned in the Marines, as Oswald very much did, get to return home without any controversy or penalties?

How did he get an early discharge from the Marines on the flimsiest of evidence of a compassionate problem with his mother, whom he left just two days after arriving from the Marines to take off on an elaborately-planned journey to Russia? Who planned that elaborate trip which reflected knowledge of the easiest location for entering the Soviet Union? Who paid his costs?

How did he manage to bring a Soviet wife, who spoke almost no English, with him when he returned to America in less than three years? In the early 1960s, with the “Reds are at the Gates” rage going on? Unbelievable.

And how did he manage to hit upon a group of White Russian emigres and Russian-speakers in Dallas, people who gave the couple all kinds of assistance? And several of those people had past associations with CIA although they weren’t employees. People like George de Mohrenschildt and Ruth Paine.

Why would White Russian (anti-communist)-associated people take any interest in a so-called Marxist just returned from having defected to the Soviet Union, and a young man of very humble means and origins when some of them were seriously connected? Mohrenschildt, for example, was a sophisticated aristocrat and was related to Jackie Kennedy.

I could make a long list of important facts screaming cover-ups and conspiracy, but I think one of the more important ones came to light recently, and not from these documents. It was from the Cuban refugee, CIA-trained terrorist Antonio Veciana of the violent anti-Castro group, Alpha 66, finally telling us the truth about a famous incident known to all researchers.

Veciana saw a contact of his, a man with the pseudonym Maurice Bishop, talking with Oswald before the assassination. In the past, he would never identify Bishop as the CIA’s David Atlee Phillips, but he finally has done so in his recent book. So here we have a quite senior CIA agent, David Atlee Phillips, meeting with Oswald before the assassination, identified by a man who worked closely with him, albeit under another name.

Again, during the meetings of the Warren Commission, there was an emergency meeting called about the discovery of an FBI informant number for Oswald as well as an uncashed voucher for $200. They simply dropped the whole matter with a self-serving letter from Hoover denying any connection.

We know Oswald had intelligence connections, but still apparently nothing is in this release of trivia.

This dump of bits of redacted papers it seems will add nothing of substance to our understanding, and that is what it clearly was meant to do. It has been done only to say, “See, we told you so.”

Saying CIA had no involvement in Kennedy's assassination is exactly like the claim, made a thousand times, that CIA had no role in the induced-terror imposed on Syria to topple its government, or, indeed, a long series of ugly coups and assassinations in a number of countries abroad.

In the first moments after the shooting, some police headed uphill on the Grassy Knoll. Many indications from sound to the way crowds moved and pointed suggested something had occurred there. One policeman ran up the slope and began searching behind the barriers with his gun drawn. He met a suited man who quickly offered an official-looking ID card for the Secret Service.

The policeman holstered his gun and didn’t pursue the direction he had been headed. Nor did he note the identity of the “agent.” The trouble with that brief episode is that the Secret Service is known not to have stationed any officers on the Grassy Knoll. It was, of course, a terrible error in their preparations for the motorcade, but it is nevertheless what they did. So, who was the suited man with the false Secret Service ID? And what was he doing there? And where would he obtain such an ID? I think we’re safe in saying he wasn’t Oswald.

The fake Secret Service agent may well have been a man seen by another witness briefly earlier. A man who could only communicate by sign language told a clear story of being on the overpass and noticing a man in a suit, just behind the wooden picket fence that stood along the top of the Grassy Knoll, holding something. He saw the man in the suit swing around and toss what he was holding to another man in work clothes, waiting nearby.

The man who caught what looked like a rifle quickly broke it into two parts, stashed them into his large open toolbox, and walked away. Just behind the Grassy Knoll with its picket fence then was a parking lot and extensive rail yards, just the kind of place for a workman with a tool box to disappear into. The official investigators chose to ignore this witness. Most people who ‘heard” a story like that from a witness speaking in sign language would take it very seriously. After all, in a sense it requires a great of extra effort for such a witness to give his testimony and I think that adds to its credibility.

Why was the immensely important evidence of the presidential limousine so quickly destroyed? The car was sent back to the manufacturer near Detroit to be rebuilt instead of being preserved for serious and extended forensic study. The interior was, of course, spattered with blood, but it also contained bits of bullets and marks from bullets, things which were very important evidence.

There were witnesses at the hospital, when the car was briefly parked in front to deliver the mortally-wounded president, who testified that there were both a bullet crease on the windshield’s chrome frame and a small hole in the windshield’s glass. Shouldn’t this have been preserved for close study and to reassure people that every detail was scrutinized? But it was not. Why? Even if the car was rebuilt, key pieces like the windshield or the rear interior could easily have been set aside, as were so many more trivial objects that found their way into the National Archives.

The most important single piece of evidence in the case, the Zapruder film, has its own remarkable story. The film was purchased from Abraham Zapruder, who happened to be standing on the concrete pergola along part of the Grassy Knoll taking home movies of the parade (just a note, his position was hidden by trees or shrubbery from the position further along the picket fence from which at least one assassin fired). His film was purchased by Life Magazine for what was then a very large amount of money. Actually, you might have thought it should have been seized by local police or FBI as evidence, but for some unknown reason, this single most important piece of evidence ended up in private commercial hands.

Apart from the police not seizing key evidence, what is wrong with that, you might ask? Well, it is just a fact that Henry Luce’s Time-Life publications in those days often worked with and served as covers for the CIA. Allen Dulles was part of Luce’s social circle. Luce himself wrote a famous article in the 1940s called “The American Century,” the title becoming a frequently-used expression, and he was an ardent supporter of the values we associate with the Washington establishment, especially with the CIA.

It is no secret that the Luce newsmagazines were considered as important keys on the CIA’s “mighty Wurlitzer,” as one former agent referred to the list of publications and writers that was regularly used in getting a story “out there” to the public.

The film was withheld from the general public for a long time. Why should that be? We even had Dan Rather on CBS Television do a little broadcast of what he saw when supposedly shown the film in private. His was a completely false description, as you may easily see for yourself (see FOOTNOTE). Why was that required, a deliberate false description broadcast by one of the most well-known men in American broadcasting? One can only be sure Rather did not just decide on his own to do this or that his broadcast had anything to do with Oswald, except to support the unproved notion that Oswald, supposedly behind the president on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository building, was the sole assassin, an idea that had been set in stone early by J. Edgar Hoover.

We have testimony that the film was delivered to a quickly-assembled group of specialists at CIA by hand. They worked into the wee hours to assemble a “story board” for some very high-level presentation. There’s nothing wrong with that, but at a later date, one of these technicians was shown what we now understand as the Zapruder film, and he said that it clearly was not the original film.

Importantly, the halo we now see above Kennedy’s head as a bullet struck was not on the original film. Instead there was a cone-shaped ejection from the rear of Kennedy’s head. That ejection would, of course, suggest a shot from the front, and it would also support other testimonies as that of a police outrider on his motorcycle being spattered with blood and brain tissue. That simply could not happen with a shot from where Oswald supposedly was.

The film, as we know it, has been altered. You see, we know an early copy of the film – three had been made – was delivered also to the CIA’s top photo lab in Rochester for work. This was a lab in which almost anything possible to do with film could be done. The world’s best equipment and top experts worked there. We do not know what was done, but considering the comment, above, of the technician who worked on what definitely was the original film, it would appear changes were made to a copy that resulted in the film we now see.

There are a great many more such serious issues left totally unresolved today, the kind of issues which should not be unresolved with the most ordinary murder, let alone the murder of a president. Perhaps the greatest set of issues is around the President’s autopsy. There is a huge set of issues here, and I won’t go through them all. Several entire books have been written on the topic, including the very important “Best Evidence” by David Lifton. I’ll mention only a few glaring matters.

In the Zapruder film, we see President Kennedy, his car emerging from behind a freeway sign, grasping at his throat with both hands. Clearly, even in the altered film we have - and there is reason to believe that this emergence-from-behind-the-sign sequence was also altered - Kennedy was hit by a bullet in the throat. The emergency medical people attending him – all experienced, very senior people – later described the wound as a small puncture wound just above the knot of his necktie, a puncture wound with bullets invariably indicating an entrance wound. A tracheotomy was performed - involving two tiny slits (about two centimeters long) on the sides of the wound – to accommodate the insertion of a tube for emergency breathing.

Now at some point in time later, autopsy photos of the President were taken by someone and distributed to the press. Some of them are strange and mysterious photos, poorly lighted, not always well focused, and in black-and-white – not at all to the standard of official autopsy photos of the time. The most striking one is of Kennedy on his back with his eyes still open. There is a sizable gash in the center of his throat, big enough to almost resemble someone having started to try slashing his throat. This was what the official autopsy doctors and technicians saw, and it bears no resemblance to what was described in Dallas. This strange wound ended-up being called an exit wound for a bullet which entered Kennedy from behind – in other words, the direction of the bullet making it was reversed.

The official autopsy notes, which of course in a murder case becomes an important legal document, were destroyed later and burned by the doctor writing his report. He wrote fresh ones, and we have often been given the silly excuse (silly certainly when it comes to matters like an autopsy) that this was because the original notes had blood on them. This destruction was an illegal act.

Of course, legality played very little role in how the President’s body was treated. We know that local officials in Dallas demanded that the body be autopsied there, as required by law, and a literal fight broke out with the Secret Service drawing guns to wheel the body away. The body was flown to Washington along with Mrs. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Even its treatment then is seriously in doubt with many bits of evidence suggesting it was not even in the coffin brought along with Mrs. Kennedy to the autopsy hospital. Instead it appears to have been delivered in the rear in a kind of cheap shipping coffin.

The importance of this lies in the fact that we have testimonies that the President’s body, when received for formal autopsy, had already had some medical work done on it. The technician receiving and opening the shipping case has described what he found which you can read in Lifton’s book.

Further, and very importantly, two FBI agents who attended the autopsy made notes which became an official record apart from the doctor’s report. Two riveting small items are in that FBI write-up. The first involves the agents’ description, before the autopsy was started, of the body as having had some “surgery about the head.” We are given no details. The second is a tiny mention of receiving a “missile” removed from the President by one of the doctors. Again, no details. Was this missile the bullet that we believe entered Kennedy’s neck from the front?

We don’t know exactly what happened to the President’s body in being moved from Dallas to Washington. Was his body ever in the casket with Mrs. Kennedy and President Johnson? Had it been sent off separately for the quickest possible receipt in Washington? Or was it surreptitiously removed aboard the plane? The fact is that work was done on the body by someone somewhere in Washington before the official autopsy seems beyond dispute. The autopsy proper, an event with a number of generals and admirals and big suits standing in the room as witnesses, must have been a very bizarre event. Why were they necessary?

Why was the autopsy even held in a military facility with military doctors and many high-ranking military men watching and even sometimes telling the doctors what to do, as one of the doctors related years later? The military autopsy doctors did not compare in expertise to the pathologist in a large American city like Dallas where shootings are frequent. But of course, military doctors follow orders.

Another intriguing and unexplained event involving the trip back to Washington was Lyndon Johnson’s insistence on being sworn into office. We’ve all seen the photos taken inside the plane. Poor Mrs. Kennedy had to stand there in a confined space, still in her blood-spattered clothes, watching the man she knew her husband distrusted being sworn into office. It was all completely unnecessary. Was Johnson subjecting the Kennedy family to some kind of degradation ceremony? It was possible with this unbelievably crude man, a man who, as President in the White House, is known for behaviors like talking to reporters while sitting on the toilet and once, in response to a question about why America was in Vietnam, unzipping his pants and pulling out his penis, saying something like, “See, this is why.”

Of course, once Johnson was sworn into office and had possession of the “best evidence,” Kennedy’s body, a fundamental division in post-assassination events occurred. Attention in many respects shifted to Washington rather than remaining where it should have been, the scene of the crime in Dallas. Johnson could, with the cooperation of people like the admired and admiring J. Edgar Hoover, direct the way events unfolded, and he very much did. Bobby Kennedy’s authority was imperceptibly, to outsiders, reduced to that of a token office holder. Within a week, the Warren Commission was appointed, a commission whose job was twisted badly from the beginning.

Earl Warren did not want to serve as Chairman of the Commission, but Johnson used a suggestive and threatening line, delivered in a theatrical tone of voice, to convince him otherwise, a line he used on many people at the time. It went something like, “If you knew what I know, the lives of tens of millions could be at risk in these events.” Well, what responsible high official could turn down an appeal put in those terms? It was a complete lie of course, but it had not been that long since the Cuban Missile Crisis, and memories of those truly frightening events were fresh.

The terms establishing the Warren Commission virtually guaranteed its failure. Most importantly, the FBI did all the investigation, Hoover’s FBI, that is. Hoover, the man who extraordinarily-early had said they had their man in Oswald. Also, behind the scenes there was Johnson’s often repeated, “If you knew what I know, the lives of tens of millions could be at risk in these events.” So, it was essential that findings be established quickly to avoid some vaguely-forecast catastrophe. Since Hoover considered that they already had their man, it was only necessary to collect a big pile of tidbits supporting that conclusion, and that is precisely what was done.

Those who are familiar with the Warren Report understand that it is just one long prosecutor’s brief. It is not an objective effort in the least. Indeed, at times it goes so far out of its way to be unfair, it is embarrassing to an honest mind. None of the Commission’s activities reflected the standard rules of courts with arguments and evidence from both sides. In essence, it is a document which cast aside all principles of normal justice and fair procedure to declare a dead man guilty of murder with a carefully-selected pile of exhibits and witnesses, that man having no proper representation even in the proceedings, and certainly no other person or group was even considered worthy of investigation.

Why was it necessary to do things in that fashion? If you wanted to find the truth, you would never proceed that way, but it is just what you would do if you wanted to get a story “out there,” and out there with an impressive shelf-full of books which resemble the client-confidence props you see in every lawyer’s office. The twenty-six volumes of “evidence” published after the 889-page report were so carelessly assembled that no index was provided. Imagine, publishing the equivalent of a huge encyclopedia of photos and transcripts and exhibits with no way of finding anything? And as all researchers know, the way in which these were thrown together, literally in a jumble, makes an index even more necessary. It did serve, though, to slow mightily all efforts for independent checking of the report’s claims. You see, even though exhibits and witnesses were carefully selected and many witnesses were guided as what to say by FBI agents, the vast pile does contain some interesting information, a good deal of it suggesting the Commission’s conclusions were often not well-considered and even deceptive.

There are many anecdotes demonstrating the “agenda” of the Commission and that of its investigative arm, the FBI, but my favorite one is when the Chairman, Earl Warren, visited Jack Ruby in his Dallas cell, Ruby having killed Oswald on national television and in the police station. Ruby literally told Warren that if he wanted him to talk about the truth, he must take him to Washington. He strongly suggested that events hadn’t been as they appeared. He pretty close to begged Warren, saying it was not safe in Dallas for him to talk.

This was all said in Ruby’s usual gangster-like, twisted and garbled speech, but what he was saying couldn’t be clearer. And who could doubt the matter of safety with a police department riddled with corruption and dark secrets, some of whose members clearly had assisted Ruby in his tasks and some of whose members had so badly handled pieces of evidence that they became legally useless?

Warren told Ruby that that would not be possible. Why would that be? Who would have argued with the Commission Chairman and former Chief Justice if he said that is what he wanted to do to secure vital information? No one, of course. So much for Warren’s battle for truth.

FOR DAN RATHER’S EARLY DISHONEST DESCRIPTION OF THE ZAPRUDER FILM PLUS THE ACTUAL FILM ITSELF AS WE NOW KNOW IT, SEE:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/john-chuckman-comment-old-phony-and-cia-shill-dan-rather-cited-second-time-recently-against-trump-fake-news-from-one-of-the-corporate-presss-old-experts-in-fakery-the-record-on-the-zapruder-fil/

FOOTNOTE CONCERNING FBI MEMO OF 1964 BY MANNING C. CLEMENTS:

Some might say that my assertion that there is little new in the latest batch of released documents is wrong, pointing to the FBI Memo sent by Manning C Clements in 1964, and reporting the words of one Oren Potito in Florida. That memo is only eyebrow-raising for those who have not studied the assassination. The bullet hole in the windshield of Kennedy’s limousine has been known about for years, and it is discussed in a number of books.

As far as the memo’s mentioning Kennedy’s throat wound being from the front, the entire expert emergency staff treating Kennedy said that to the public in 1963, although every effort was made over the years to contradict their words and to disguise evidence. The real original purpose of this memo appears to have been to label both Jack Ruby and Oswald as communists, a completely false assertion. It seems also to almost suggest a fallback position from Hoover’s early absolute insistence that only Oswald was the killer and that he was a communist. No matter how many did it, in a word, they had to be communists.


OTHER JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAYS ON THE TOPIC OF JOHN KENNEDY'S ASSASSINATION:


FORTY YEARS OF LIES

https://chuckmanotherchoiceofwordsessaysonly.blogspot.ca/2018/05/john-chuckman-essay-forty-years-of-lies.html


LINCOLN WAS WRONG, THE EASE OF FOOLING MOST OF THE PEOPLE MOST OF THE TIME

https://chuckmanotherchoiceofwordsessaysonly.blogspot.ca/2018/05/john-chuckman-essay-lincoln-was-wrong.html

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: TWO STATES OR ONE STATE? THE STARK REALITY IS THAT BOTH SOLUTIONS ARE IMPOSSIBLE UNLESS IMPOSED FROM OUTSIDE, AND JUST WHERE DO WE SEE ANY PROSPECT FOR THAT?


TWO STATES OR ONE STATE?

THE STARK REALITY IS THAT BOTH SOLUTIONS ARE IMPOSSIBLE UNLESS IMPOSED FROM OUTSIDE, AND JUST WHERE DO WE SEE ANY PROSPECT FOR THAT?


John Chuckman

Israel has created a terrible problem which it is incapable of solving. That is why it has always been the case that the United States must pretty much dictate a solution, but it is unable to do so, paralyzed as it is by the heavy influence of Israel and America’s own apologists and lobbyists.

Trump's suggestion of a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is welcomed by some because Israel's settler policy is said to have made two states impossible, as it was most certainly intended to do. However, a little reflection on hard facts makes it clear that a one-state solution is just as impossible.

A single-state solution would be acceptable to all reasonable minds, but you only have to follow the news to know that Israel contains a good many unreasonable minds. Its early advocates and founders were, quite simply, fanatics, and its policies and attitudes were shaped by that fanaticism.

The Israeli establishment could simply not accept a Palestinian population with equal rights and the franchise as part of Israel. They could not do so because they have embraced an almost mystical concept of Israel as "the Jewish state." Of course, the de facto reality of today’s combined population of Israel and its occupied territories is that Palestinians, who importantly include not just Muslims but many Christians, are already about half of the total.

And there are physical realities forming huge barriers against a single state, things of which many people are not aware. Very importantly, fertility rates in Arab populations are considerably higher than in the European Ashkenazi population which forms Israel’s elite. That has nothing to do with ethnic characteristics. It is a result of much lower levels of affluence influencing the behavior of people having children. It is a universal reality we see.

That’s why Arabic populations are such relatively young populations with a high proportion of children. When Israel bombs a place like Gaza or Lebanon, as it does periodically, it always kills many hundreds of children because they make a big share of the population. An advanced country like Japan has low fertility and traditionally is averse to much migration. It faces a future with an aging and declining population.

All older European and North American countries have fertility rates too low to replace their otherwise declining populations. America or France or Israel or similar states simply do not have enough babies to replace their populations. That’s a fundamental reality of advanced, affluent society. People with rich, demanding lives do not have large numbers of children, anywhere, knowing, as they do, that the few they do have will almost certainly survive and will better thrive with more concentrated resources.

That’s the real reason behind most countries’ immigration policies, not generosity or kindness. But, of course, Israel has a serious problem with immigration, too. As the “Jewish state” it is open to only one category of migrant, and that category of people makes a tiny fraction of the world’s population. Further, most of that tiny fraction live in comfortable, affluent places, far more desirable to live in than Israel – places like America, Canada, Australia, Britain, France, etc.

A single-state Israel would combine low fertility Europeans with higher fertility Arabic people, thus creating a long-term trajectory for a minority-Jewish state, a reality which would be repellent to all conservative Jews and many others, in light of the founding notion of Israel as a refuge from believed widespread anti-Semitism, plus the vaguely-defined but emotionally-loaded notion of a “Jewish state,” and, still further, the biblical myths of God’s having given the land exclusively to Jews.

You simply cannot make rational sense out of that bundle of attitudes and prejudices, yet you cannot get a rational solution to a massive problem otherwise, a problem, it should be noted, of Israel’s own deliberate making in the Six Day War. Likely, when Israel’s leadership started that war, they calculated that Palestinians would come to feel so miserable under occupation that they’d just pick up and leave over time. Moshe Dayan, one of the architects of the war, actually spoke along those very lines of keeping the Palestinians miserable so they would leave. But their calculations were wrong. Most people, anywhere, do not pick-up and leave their native place. Otherwise the world would a constant whirlwind of migrations.

Although Israel does not discuss the relative population growth rate situation in public, authorities and experts there are keenly aware of the reality. It is difficult to imagine them ever embracing a single state for this reason. When you found a state on ideology and myths, as Israel was founded, you very soon bump up against some unhappy realities.

So, if there is not to be a Palestinian state, what are Israel’s other options? There seem to be only two.

One is to deport all or most Palestinians, an ugly idea which is probably also unworkable, although it has very much seriously been discussed among educated Israelis periodically. Apart from the Nazi-like connotations around such an act, who, on earth, is going to take literally millions of people from Israel? In the past, Israeli ideologues have seriously suggested both the country of Jordan and parts of Egypt contiguous with Israel as possibilities.

Can any realistic person believe those states stand ready to take millions of people in? No, of course not, but that hasn’t stopped the ideologues of Israel from going back to the idea again and again. Of course, there is the pure ethical problem of moving millions against their wills and seizing all their property, but ethics have never featured large in Israel’s policies from the beginning.

The other solution is to re-create apartheid South Africa’s Bantustans, little enclaves of land with often undesirable characteristics into which you crowd all the people that you don’t want and declare that these are their new countries. We see this already in Israel, notably in Gaza, which really is a giant refugee camp much resembling a concentration camp with high fences and automated machine-gun towers surrounding it, the residents being permitted almost no freedom of movement or even economic activity, as for example Gaza’s fishermen being fired on by Israeli gunboats if they stray even slightly beyond tight boundaries in the sea.

The world would not long tolerate that approach no matter how much influence the United States might unfairly exert. After all, for a long time, the United States protected and cooperated with apartheid South Africa, always regarding it as an important bulwark against communism, anti-communism being the fervent secular religion of the day in America. This was so much the case that it even overlooked what it absolutely had to know about, apartheid South Africa’s acquisition of a small arsenal of nuclear weapons with the assistance of Israel, Israel always being keen to keep good access to South Africa’s mineral wealth.

Clearly, those two options are not solutions. Realities absolutely demand either a legitimate two-state solution - which Israel’s leaders have never truly accepted while giving it time-buying lip-service - or a one-state solution which is probably even more unacceptable to Israel’s leaders and much of its population, guaranteeing, as it does, the eventual minority status of Jews.

Israel has itself created a terrible problem which it is incapable of solving. That is why it has always been the case that the United States must pretty much dictate a solution, but it is unable to do so, paralyzed as it is by the heavy influence of Israel and America’s own apologists and lobbyists.

So, in effect, the world just goes around and around on this terrible problem, never doing anything decisive. The macabre dance of Israel and the United States we’ve had for decades yields today’s de facto reality of Israel as nothing more but nothing less than a protected American colony in the Middle East, one in which all kinds of international norms and laws are completely suspended, one where millions live with no rights and no citizenship. But, after all, colonies have never been places where the rule of law and human rights prevail, have they? Never.

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: REFLECTIONS ON PUTIN AS A LEADER AND ON THE WORLD SITUATION IN WHICH HE WORKS

John Chuckman REFLECTIONS ON PUTIN AS A LEADER AND ON THE WORLD SITUATION IN WHICH HE WORKS There is an immense amount of criticism ...