Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The End of an Era




Death may be an inevitable fact of life, but there are always ripples when a public figure sheds his or her mortal coil. Music fans the world over were especially distraught after 2016 seemingly claimed a musician for all seasons: David Bowie in the winter, Prince in the spring, Sandy Pearlman (the legendary Blue Oyster Cult producer/songwriter who was addressed before here) in the summer and Leonard Cohen departing during the fall.

Thus far 2017 seems to be marked by the deaths of major deep state players just as the American deep state itself is under its most intense scrutiny ever by the general public. February 17, 2017 witnessed the death of Douglas Coe, the longtime leader of the Christian fundamentalist network variously known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship" (covered at length on this blog before here). Emerging during the 1930s as a union busting organization, The Family would eventually achieve vast power in the American deep state and beyond. Every president since Eisenhower has attended its National Prayer Breakfast dutifully. Under the Trump regime, The Family has gained unprecedented power, with various key officials (including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Vice-President Mike Pence) claiming membership in this shadowy network.

longtime Family head Douglas Coe
Coe thus departed the earthly stage just as his longstanding ambition of control over the American political system was closer than ever of being an actuality. On the other end of spectrum, the notorious David Rockefeller died on March 20 (the first day of spring). No doubt many of the conspiratorial right have long wondered if this day would ever come. The 101 year old Rockefeller at times seemed immortal, leading to a host of wild theories to explain his longevity (including speculations that he is some type of reptilian alien, or that he subsisted on human blood, among many others). Others, such as Peter Beter, believed he had died long ago and has been replaced by a clone for decades. Still others no doubt question whether he has actually died, or merely retreated to some "Breakaway Civilization" where the elites have conquered death.

Regardless of where one falls concerning David Rockefeller's death (or lack therefore of), there is no doubt that his departure from the world stage will have profound ramifications. His death comes at a time when the global system that he, probably more than any other one individual, crafted is under an assault on various fronts and may not even survive till the end of the current decade.

But not only was David Rockefeller the chief architect of the current globalist system, he was also a key mediator during previous eras of crisis among the nation's elite. He came of age during such a period and later played a leading role in managing the un-declared civil war that unfolded among the nation's elite during the turbulent period that unfolded between 1960-1980.


FDR and the Fall of the House of Morgan

As to the former, I am of course referring to the election Franklin D. Roosevelt, which had profound implications for the power dynamics of the United States. Contrary to much of what you read on conspiracy blogs, FDR always had a rather strained relationship with the banking interests that comprise what Carroll Quigley referred to as the "Anglo-American Establishment" and what rogue historians such as Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould have dubbed the "traditional conservative establishment." This network included the Ivy Leagues, many of the major banking houses of Europe and America and a network of NGOs known as the "Round Table groups," the most notorious of which being the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

In the years leading up to FDR's election this network was firmly under the domination of the highly Anglophilic House of Morgan.
"In the 1920's this system of economic and political power formed a hierarchy headed by the Morgan interests and played a principal role both in political and business life. Morgan, operating on the international level in cooperation with his allies abroad, especially in England, influenced the events of history to degree which cannot be specified in detail but which certainly was tremendous. Nevertheless, the slow developments of business life which we have mentioned were making investment bankers like Morgan obsolete, and the deflationary financial policies on which these bankers insisted were laying the foundation of the economic collapse which ended their rule in general social disaster by 1940."
(Tragedy and Hope, Carroll Quigley, pg. 532)
J.P. Morgan
As indicated above, the policies favored by Morgan directly led to the Great Depression. And this in turn led to Roosevelt, who was initially elected by a coalition deeply opposed to the financial interests of Morgan and his ilk.
"The shift of the farm block, light industry, commercial interests (notably department stores), real estate, professional people, and mass, unskilled, labor to the Democratic Party in 1932 resulted in the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. The new administration sought to curtail the power of the two opposition and exploiting groups (bankers and heavy industry) and to reward and help the groups which had elected it... 
"The New Deal's actions against finance and heavy industry were chiefly aimed at preventing those two from ever repeating their actions of the 1920-1933 period...."
(Tragedy and Hope, Carroll Quigley, pg. 533)
FDR
Over the years, indications have emerged that opposition to FDR and the New Deal amongst the traditional conservative establishment was quite radical throughout the 1930s and that at least one coup was planned. This was of course the highly controversial Business Plot, first revealed to the public at large by the highly decorated General Smedley Butler in 1934. Reportedly this was not the only plot, however, and elements of the traditional conservative establishment close to the Morgan interests continued to plot FDR's removal all the way up to 1940.

This turmoil continued at least into Roosevelt's second term. But as war in Europe became inevitable, the Rockefellers appear to have buried the hatchet with FDR. However, FDR had no love lost of the Morgan interests and this was most beneficial to the Rockefeller faction.
"When Roosevelt first campaigned for president, he did attack 'money changers' and financial elites, but in truth he was only attacking a small segment of them – those associated with the bank of JP Morgan and its holding companies who had agents in the Federal Reserve, which mismanaged interest rate policy during the 1920s, which in turn helped create the stock market bubble that crashed in 1929. Roosevelt had the support of the Rockefeller family, which owned Chase Bank, and the bank's managers, who were rivals of JP Morgan..."
(The War State, Michael Swanson, pg. 50)
The Rockefellers, or at least those among the "Brothers Generation" (which included David), were among the more progressive members of the traditional conservative establishment, and as such were less offended by the New Deal than many of their contemporaries. It probably helped that there business interests would be little effected by the policies of the New Deal as well. What's more, they were also far less Anglophilic than the Morgan interests, and were thus not especially concerned with preserving the British Empire.

As such, the Rockefellers emerged as the most powerful dynasty in the United States after World War II and were also the driving force behind a far more American-centric foreign policy. They used their new found political capital to erect the IMF/World Bank structure that would dominate the world economic order throughout the Cold War and into the twenty-first century.


The Rise of the Trilateral Commission

This order was severely challenged by events that unfolded in the United States from roughly 1960 until 1980. Effectively an undeclared civil war broke out between the traditional conservative establishment and the emerging far right, which included elements of the old pre-WWII "isolationist" camp, the emerging neo-cons and Christian Right and especially the military-industrial complex.

The conflict had been building since the Kennedy administration and finally came to ahead in 1968 when the Council on Foreign Relations became divided among two competing camps: the traders and the Prussians. The latter ultimately broke with the traditional conservative establishment and rallied around the revived Committee on the Present Danger. (CPD). By the late 1970s the CPD was firmly aligned with the American Security Council (ASC), the most powerful think tank among the American far right throughout the Cold War.

Rockefeller himself had become disillusioned with the CFR by the late 1960s as well. He viewed its commitment to Containment Militarism as increasingly less relevant to the emerging world order. He also likely viewed the extremely Anglophilic nature of the CFR as alienating to key partners in Western Europe and Asia. This spurred him to found the Trilateral Commission in the early 1970s to bring a focus back to international trade, the longstanding obsession of the financial elite, and to further integrate the economies of the major capitalist powers.
"With the interlocking transformations in East-West, North-South, and United States-Japanese-Western European relations threatening collapse of Pax Americana and little to take its place but the shuttle diplomacy of a peripatetic Secretary of State, Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller brought together Wall Street investment bankers, multinational corporate directors, and members of the foreign-policy establishment identified with its liberal flank to develop a blueprint for a new world order. These elite figures were joined by their counterparts from Japan and Western Europe, hence the organization's christening as the Trilateral Commission. As one observer reported after an early meeting of the Commission, 'It was, in short, a remarkable cross-section of the interlocking establishments of the world's leading industrial nations.' Only four senators were extended membership in the elite group; one of these was Walter Mondale of Minnesota. One governor, Daniel Evans of Washington, was invited to participate as was one former governor, listed as James E. Carter Jr. of Georgia. Carter had recently appeared on the cover of Time's special issue on the 'New South' and was recommended for Trilateral membership by Time editor and Trilateralist Hedley Donovan.
"As noted above, Foreign Policy began its first issue with the proclamation that 'an era in American foreign policy which began in the late 1940's, has ended.' The same might be said of David Rockefeller and his Trilateral colleagues' view of the Council on Foreign Relations as an organization. It was bound to closely to the Cold War and Containment Militarism, a policy many of its members still insisted on trying to justify, as evident from the bitter debate within the Council over the lessons of Vietnam. The Trilateral Commission would start anew, incorporating the liberal wing of the Council on Foreign Relations but without the burden of the 'institutional memory,' to develop the kind of consensus that the Council had furnished for Containment Militarism in the Cold War years. This time, however, the consensus will be built around 'the management of interdependence' which a Trilateral position paper identified as 'the central problem of world order for the coming years' – as opposed to the containment of communism which had dominated elite thinking for the previous quarter century."
(Peddlers of Crisis, Jerry W. Sanders, pgs. 176-176)
the logo of the Trilateral Commission
It was against this backdrop that Rockefeller began his epic push for detente with the Soviet Union. It would unfold throughout the 1970s and would be perused by three different administrations via proxies such as Nixon National Security Advisor and later Ford Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's National Security Advisor.

While Rockefeller's actions would gain some traction in the mid-1970s, they ultimately collapsed by the end of the decade. The oil crisis that unfolded throughout that decade and had deeply unsettled various factions of the elite and any prospect of peace was dashed after the Iranian revolution.

This laid the foundation for the Reagan Revolution of 1980 that brought to power a foreign policy establishment dominated by far right think tanks such as the Committee on the Present Danger, the American Security Council and the Heritage Foundation. Rockefeller and his Trilateralists found themselves largely on the outside looking in, with a few exceptions such as Secretary of State George Schultz. Rockefeller was not especially resistant to this change of fortunes, however.

During the 1970s he had been involved with Le Cercle, a European network that is somewhat akin to the far right's answer to Bilderberg (noted before here). He eventually broke with the group over their radicalism, but was not entirely uncomfortable with some of the members. His brother Nelson had maintained similar contacts with the ASC for years as well.

David Rockefeller (center left) with several other luminaries of the far right Le Cercle network that he later broke with, including Antoine Pinay (who I believe is on the far left) and the infamous Benoit de Bonvoisin (far right)
Rockefeller thus bided his time and waited for a more favorable political climate to emerge. The end of the Cold War brought about that change. The collapse of the Soviet Union and thus international communism shattered the Cold War consensus of the far right.  With the Soviet menace that had brought together the Old Right, neo-cons, the Christian right, libertarians and militarists gone, the internal disputes that had been on the back burner during the Cold War came to the surface in a series of divisions.

The path was thus clear for the Rockefeller project of Globalism, which at its heart sought to reduce the world to one giant free trade zone in which national governments were subservient to multinational corporations, was now free to proceed unopposed. The neo-cons, Christian right and to some extent the militarists would eventually form a new coalition that would bring Bush II to the White House in 2000, but the Rockefeller policy of globalization had become institutionalized by this point.


The New Global Chaos?

But in the second decade of the twenty first century, the longstanding assumptions concerning Globalization are under fire as never before. The national security state has grown vast and powerful during the War on Terror, far surpassing the not inconsiderate power it wielded during the Cold War. But increasingly this ascension threatens to turn to ash in the mouth of the Pentagon with the rise of the BRICS nations, but most especially China. Decades of free trade have made China wealthy and powerful while threatening the ability of the Pentagon to wage war against other major world powers (noted before here). What's more, there's the glacier size headache of dealing with technological espionage, with has thrived in the era of neo-liberalism. Those super secret weapons that Pentagon is reputed to have may not remain super secret for much longer.

And David Rockefeller is as responsible for this state of affairs as anyone. He and his close partner, Henry Kissinger, laid the foundation for the opening of the global to American corporations in the 1970s with their push for detente with the Soviet Union. As a result, Russia, China and many other formerly closed economies were opened up to extensive US investment during that decade, paving the way for the rise of the BRICS as major industrial powers in the next century.
"Nixon's and Kissinger's arrival in the White House in 1969 coincided with David Rockefeller's becoming CEO of the Chase Manhattan Bank. The Nixon-Kissinger foreign policy of detente was highly congruous with Rockefeller's push to internationalize Chase Manhattan banking operations. Thus in 1973 Chase became the first American bank to open an office in Moscow. A few months later, thanks to an invitation arranged by Kissinger, Rockefeller became the first U.S. banker to talk with Chinese Communist leaders in Beijing. Rockefeller also served as intermediary between the White House and other foreign leaders, such as Gamel Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat in Egypt, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and the leaders of Oman."
(The Road to 9/11, Peter Dale Scott, pg. 38)
Henry Kissinger
But now an ever growing number of the American elite are becoming disillusioned with these policies. For much of the past two decades the United States has been falling behind while our principal rivals are rapidly closing the gap. Throughout the 1990s and early 00s this was not especially concerning when China seemed committed to the New World Order. But with the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) China has effectively established its own global economic order as a direct challenge to US-dominated institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF.

It would seem that the Chinese elite are not content to play second fiddle to their counterparts in Europe and the US indefinitely and this, along with their massive military build up, are the first salvos in a quest for a new international order.

With such pressures coming to bare against the current globalist world order, Rockefeller's death couldn't have come at a worse time. For years he was the rallying point for the globalists of the United States and Europe. But with his death and the extreme age of his closet colleagues, there should be real questions arising as to how long this system can survive its founder's death. The great Institute for the Study of Globalization and Covert Politics already considered these implications several years ago, noting:
"One thing that should be taken into account is that the average age of the Rockefeller clique at the top of ISGP's Superclass Index is about 86. David Rockefeller is a solid century old, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger are in their 90s and a lot of their closest friends and proteges aren't lagging behind very far. There's no clear heir to David Rockefeller either, who, along with his family, built almost the complete worldwide network of NGOs in the post-World War II era. His son, Dr. Richard Rockefeller, died in a plane crash in 2014. While respected in the medical world, Dr. Richard Rockefeller had no influence in the world of business, politics, or think tanks. The same goes for David Rockefeller, Jr., or the rest of David Rockefeller's children (all daughters): they have been involved in various philanthropic projects, maybe a think tank here and there, but they have virtually no political influence and do not possess the vast riches anymore the Rockefeller family acquired in the late 19th and early 20th century through the oil business.
"Apart from David Rockefeller and Laurance Rockefeller, the only member of the Rockefeller family with any political influence heading into the 1990s was Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia's senator from 1985 to 2015, who served as vice chairman and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the years after 9/11. A son of David's brother, Nelson Rockefeller, Jay Rockefeller has been involved in a number of NGOs - including Bilderberg 1971-1972, the CFR, Alfalfa, Trilateral Commission, Japan Society and Asia Society - but his influence on national or international politics never even remotely compared to that of the Henry Kissinger-David Rockefeller duo. Jay is getting into his 80s, so chances are we won't be hearing much from him anymore. And while his son Justin has been active in the NGO world, this also has been at a rather low level, similar to the children of David Rockefeller. 
"Thus, it will be interesting to see how the liberal establishment, which for almost a century has had the Rockefeller family to rally around, will adapt to this new situation, especially in a world with dwindling national resources, a recalcitrant Russia, an emerging China, rapidly rising CO2 and methane levels, and other global challenges."
Jay Rockefeller
Thus, it would appear that the Rockefeller family is poised to fade away from the halls of power just as their long time rivals the Morgans did over half a century ago. And with globalism's longstanding "Rock of Ages" now gone, these challenges are only going to become more pronounced. It is likely that the infighting and fractures within the American elite will only become more extreme, which may lead to desperation as their status is threatened both from without (i.e. China and Russia) and within (primarily from the far right).

As such, the prospect of another major war was likely increased even more with Rockefeller's death. While he was able to maintain some semblance of order through sheer force of personality in the twenty-first century, the collapse of the post-WWII order was already inevitable and with it will come another era of chaos and instability. Rockefeller was a monstrous figure on any number of level to be sure, but he was also the product of a generation of elites that had witnessed modern warfare among superpowers first hand. As such, he and many of the elites of that generation seemed to realize that there was a line that should never be crossed.

Those now in the driver's seat do not appear to have such qualms. And that is most distressing.

some may even believe they are fulfilling prophecy...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Updated 3/17/17: Family Plots and the Collapse of Russiagate




A recent poll conducted by USA Today revealed that Americans have recently reached a consensus on two topics related to politics and the public sphere in general. The first is that we universally have an unfavorable view of virtually every individual and institution related to such things. We do not have a favorable view of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the Congress, the Republican or Democratic Parties, many prominent Congress people and especially the media.

So, as far as unity goes, we have that. 

But we may be closing in on a consensus concerning something else, as well: as far as politics go, the one individual Americans may be warming up to is Vice-President Mike Pence. Of these developments, USA Today noted:
"Vice President Pence stands alone.
"In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, Americans say they have mostly unfavorable impressions of just about everybody on a list of public figures and institutions — except, that is, for the vice president, who has become a familiar figure in interviews on Sunday TV shows and elsewhere as he explains and defends President Trump.
"Only Mike Pence scored a net positive rating, with 47% of those surveyed saying they had a generally favorable impression of him and 35% a mostly unfavorable one. The rest were undecided. That 11-point advantage sets him apart from everyone else on the survey, including his boss. Trump's favorable rating has improved a bit since our December poll, but it's still narrowly in negative territory: 45% favorable, 47% unfavorable."
Mike "Teflon" Pence
Its developments like these that have spurred me to start referring to Pence around the homestead as "Teflon." This moniker was originally selected due to the inability of any scandals surrounding the Trump White House to stick to Pence. As my girlfriend pointed out to me, this nickname is most apt in another sense as well: Teflon is highly toxic and poisonous, especially when things start to heat up.


A Curious Statement

And it would appear that things are certainly starting to heat up in certain circles that would prefer a Pence presidency to the current occupant of the West Wing. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange recently dropped some bombshell revelations in this regard on Twitter (where else). He stated:
" 'Clinton stated privately this month that she is quietly pushing for a Pence takeover. She stated that Pence is predictable hence defeatable,' Assange wrote. 
" 'Two IC officials close to Pence stated privately this month that they are planning on a Pence takeover. Did not state if Pence agrees,' he further added."
Julian Assange
As can be expected, Pence himself was quick to denounce, Assange's claims, stating:
" 'I would find all of that dialogue to be absurd and frankly offensive,' Pence told radio host Laura Ingraham. 'It is the greatest honor of my life to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with the 45th President of the United States. To see his leadership every day, to see the compassion that he has for the American people every day. I would dismiss that out of hand and tell you that I'm just, I'm so excited about the progress that we've been made strengthening this country, protecting this country, reviving this country's economy and all credit goes to President Donald Trump.' "
Equally predictable is the blogosphere's reaction. No doubt Byzantine narratives are being painstaking compiled to chart Hillary's emergence as the new president once Trump and Pence have been brushed aside.

I, however, believe Hillary's political fortunes are deader than the Wicked Witch of the West. It is far more likely that these developments are being driven by the Christian fundamentalist network variously known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship," a powerful if little acknowledged group with extensive ties to the US deep state. The Family has been considered in depth on this blog before.

The Family sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast which every president since Eisenhower has dutifully attended annually
As was noted before here, Mike Pence is himself a member of The Family, as are other key members of Trump's cabinet such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. What's more, there is a strong Christian fundamentalist current in Trump's cabinet that could easily fall in line behind the Family members if Trump and the current junta of generals is ousted.


Hillary and The Family

That Hillary would now join the fray on the side of Pence is hardly surprising as she has had dealings with The Family before.
"Hillary may well be God's beautiful child, but she's not a member of Coe's Family. Rather, I've been told at Ivanwald, she's a 'friend,' less elect than a member, but more chosen than the rest of us. A fellow traveler but not a sister. Her goals are not their goals; but when on occasion they coincide, Hillary and the Family can work together. Such collaborations, as much as the endeavors of true believers such as Brownback, are a measure of the mainstreaming of American fundamentalism. The theology of Jesus plus nothing is totalitarian in scope, but diplomatic in practice. It doesn't conquer; it infects, as Abram used to preach. Within the body politic, it doesn't confront ideas, it coexists with them, it cells multiplying by absorbing enemies rather than destroying them...
"In her memoir Living History, Hillary describes her first encounter with the Family. It was at a lunch organized on her behalf in February 1993 at the Cedars, 'an estate on the Potomac that serves as the headquarters for the National Prayer Breakfast and the prayer groups it has spawned around the world. Doug Coe, the longtime National Prayer Breakfast organizer, is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God.'..."
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pgs. 272-273) 
A few pages later Jeff Sharlet, the journalist who first exposed The Family and remains its leading authority, goes on to note:
"The Family wants to 'transcend' left and right with a faith that consumes politics, replacing fundamental differences with the unity to be found in submission to religious authority. Conservatives sit pretty in prayer and wait for liberals looking for 'common ground' to come to them in search of compromise. Hillary, Rob Schenck noted, became a regular visitor to the Family's C Street House in 2005. 'She needs that nucleus of energy that the Coe camp produces.' That summer, she appeared as part of the threesome that shocked old school fundamentalist: Bill, Hillary and Billy, live in New York for Graham's less crusade. Before tens of thousands, the patriarch of Christian conservatism said Bill 'ought to let his wife run the country.' Bonhomie and cheap blessing, maybe, but it was the kind of endorsement that Bill never won, despite Graham's custom of speaking sweet nothings to power." 
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pgs. 276-277) 
Hillary
Is this then an instance of Hillary and The Family finding "common ground"? No doubt Hillary and her backers are not thrilled with the prospect of a religious extremist like Pence securing the presidency, but they do not seem especially concerned with his longevity. Most bloggers will latch onto this confidence as further evidence of a return of the Hillabeast as being a fait accompli.

But recent history suggests that Hillary is not the best judge of such things. Consider these revelations in the wake of her defeat:
"Republican Donald Trump, a far-right demagogue who campaigned on a slew of bigoted, xenophobic policies, has won the 2016 presidential election in a shocking victory few people predicted.
"What was not often acknowledged in Trump’s heated race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, however, was how her campaign fueled his rise to power.
"An email recently released by the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks shows how the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party bear direct responsibility for propelling the bigoted billionaire to the White House.
"In its self-described 'pied piper' strategy, the Clinton campaign proposed intentionally cultivating extreme right-wing presidential candidates, hoping to turn them into the new 'mainstream of the Republican Party' in order to try to increase Clinton’s chances of winning."
Needless to say, this strategy did not work out especially well for Hillary and her backers. As such, her instincts about Pence being "defeatable" seem no less credible. And if the above-mentioned USA Today poll is any indication, Pence would presently crush Hillary in a general election in the kind of lopsided victory the MSM was projecting Hillary to have over Trump.

Thus, it is far more likely that this is yet another instance of Hillary's friend Doug Coe's Machiavellian manipulations to put one of his soldiers within a heartbeat of the presidency. And Hillary seems poised to do her part to remove that last remaining heartbeat, even if she is being driven by her own delusions.

Meanwhile Pence continues to do and say the right things. He's avoided any fallout from the numerous controversy's surrounding Trump and has contentiously rejected any presidential aspirations of his own. Every day the American public sees him as more and more "presidential." Doug Coe recently shed his mortal coil, but his lifelong ambition of putting a Family man in the Oval Office has never been more attainable. His followers may well believe they are witnessing prophecy unfolding before their eyes.

Douglas "Doug" Coe, 1928-2017


UPDATED 3/17/17: Russiagate Collapses

The back and forth continues with no end in sight. The opposition has hammered Trump relentlessly with the Russian allegations for months on end with little effect until the ousting of National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn on February 13 due to communications he had had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December of 2016. Flynn did not resign over any wrongdoing, but reportedly because he lied to Vice-President Mike Pence.

Flynn's departure was quickly followed by another body blow when Attorney General Jeff Sessions was accused of lying to Congress concerning contacts that he had had with the same Russian ambassador in 2016. Over the course of that year Sessions reportedly met twice with Mr. Kislyak as part of his functions as a US Senator. The Sessions matter is currently ongoing and he has rescued himself from any further investigations into Russian connections to the Trump campaign.

Just as Trump appeared to be facing the first real setbacks in his agenda, an effective counterattack has left the opposition a little dazed. It began when Mr. Trump brazenly accused Barrack Obama of wiretapping him in Trump Tower prior to the election of 2016. No doubt leveling such accusations against the sainted Obama ruffled more than a few feathers, but The New York Times had already done its part in letting the cat out of the bag:


This was not the only instance of the Grey Lady being sloppy of late, either. Consider musings such as these from March 1:
"But it wasn’t until after the election, and after more intelligence had come in, that the administration began to grasp the scope of the suspected tampering and concluded that one goal of the campaign was to help tip the election in Mr. Trump’s favor. In early December, Mr. Obama ordered the intelligence community to conduct a full assessment of the Russian campaign.
"In the weeks before the assessment was released in January, the intelligence community combed through databases for an array of communications and other information — some of which was months old by then — and began producing reports that showed there were contacts during the campaign between Trump associates and Russian officials." 
And as Wikileaks had already pointed out well over a year ago, the Obama White House has an extensive track record of bugging various heads of state and other VIPs. Really, the question isn't some much as to whether communications from Trump Tower were intercepted (the surely were) but if such actions were run-of-the-mill actions or if they were personally ordered by outgoing President Obama, or a combination of both.

Needless to say, this turned into a real black eye for the former president whose legacy has been carefully constructed by elements of the globalist hierarchy since prior to his election. Needless to say, it does not look good for the Anointed One, the champion of the Liberal Global Order or some such shit, to be bugging his political opponents.


As can be expected, both the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees have denied finding any evidence of Trump's allegations. The Hill notes:
"The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee has seen no evidence that the Obama administration 'wiretapped' Trump Tower, according to a brief statement issued Thursday. 
" 'Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,' Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said, providing no other details. 
"Burr joins a steady drumbeat of Republicans who have explicitly contracted President Trump's explosive claims that he was surveilled during the campaign.
"The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), also disavowed the claim on Wednesday, calling any literal interpretation of Trump's tweet 'wrong.'
" 'As I told you last week about the issue with the president talking about tapping Trump Tower, that evidence still remains the same, that we don't have any evidence that that took place,' Nunes told reporters."

Senator Richard Burr (top) and Representative Devin Nunes (bottom)
Despite the fact that evidence of wiretapping has been casually acknowledged by The New York Times on more than one occasion, it is hardly surprising that Congress is circling the wagon on this one. Further revelations could flush whatever remaining credibility the United States government ha left totally down the toilet.

But even with both parties denying Trump's allegations at the top of their respective lungs, the damage is done. The cover-up is only going to strengthen the support of Trump's backers while further damaging the credibility of the mainstream media in the eyes of the general public.

Nor were the wiretap allegations the only salvo fired off of late. There was also the Wikileaks Vault 7 revelations that further exposed the extent of CIA eavesdropping (naturally at a time when it is especially relevant). Some have gone so far as to argue that these revelations will totally exonerate Trump of any Russians ties as it is reputed the CIA has software that can make their own cyber attacks appear to be ones conducted by another state, such as Russian. Just how credible these particular claims are is debatable, however.

And of course there was the bombshell revelation noted above of Assange claiming that backers of Hillary Clinton in the intelligence community are conspiring to remove Trump and replace him with Mike Pence. That would be the same Mike Pence, as noted above, who reportedly forced the resignation of longtime military intelligence veteran General Michael Flynn, BTW. Payback is a bitch as the say and I don't think it is at all coincidental that Assange is airing Pence's dirty laundry.

General Michael Flynn
All of this is playing into the abrupt about-face telegraphed by the anti-Trump faction of the deep state in recent days concerning Russia. Effectively they are now acknowledging that there is no smoking gun about to be uncovered. The Intercept notes:
"Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.
"The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, 'In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.'
"But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to 'cast doubt' on 'allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.' 'On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,' he said, adding, 'There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.'
"Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive 'dossier' originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, 'doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.'
"Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. 'We had no evidence of such collusion,' Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20. 
"Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. 'There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,' BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.
"Moreover, 'several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.' One member told Watkins: 'I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.'
"What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made 'against interest.'
"Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun 'is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.' Smith added: 'It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.'..." 
Trump thus appears to have effectively parried this particular assault. Russiagate is collapsing upon its own absurdity, thanks in no small part to Trump's counterattack. While the MSM will continue to insist that Trump's wiretap allegations are baseless and that Wikileaks revelations are overblown, the reality is that Trump's opposition does not want the public looking to deeply into these topics. And they are surely willing to sacrifice the floundering Russiagate allegations to sue for a temporary reprieve.

fail

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The New World Chaos




A little over a month ago the great Christopher Knowles of The Secret Sun made the highly perceptive observation that Donald J. Trump is bringing what Canadian journalist Naomi Klein dubbed "the Shock Doctrine" home. For decades Americans have been able to kick back and watch from the comfort of their own sofas as our nation's security services have subverted, toppled and blown countless foreign nations "back to the stone age." Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Every so often, the mainstream media has a lucid moment (albeit an occurrence that happens with less and less frequency every day) and it would appear that in a few corners the wisdom of Mr. Knowles' observation is beginning to set in. To wit, The Raw Story actually managed a coherent piece in this vein a few days ago that warrants comment. It begins:
"When the U.S. military invaded Iraq 14 years ago, in March 2003, it ignited a rebellion with its incompetent and harsh rule. Its response was to dub the resistance 'anti-Iraqi forces.' It was a brazen bit of propaganda, even by Pentagon standards...
"The target of the propaganda was not the Iraqi people. They frequently expressed more support for attacks by overwhelmingly Iraqi guerrilla groups on American forces than support for the U.S. occupation. The target was Americans, many of whom willingly swallowed the absurdity that the Iraqi resistance, and not the Americans, were 'foreigners, outside agitators, viruses newly burrowed into Iraq’s body politic,' as one pundit put it. 
"This nugget of history is newly relevant. It is key to understanding how Donald Trump is bringing the 'war on terror' home. Like the tumultuous Iraq occupation, Trump is weaponizing chaos. His goals are similar, too—consolidating autocratic rule and radically reshaping society.
"This strategy is evident in Trump’s America-First worldview: Every threat is foreign and everything foreign is a threat, whether undocumented immigrants, radical Islamic Terrorism, steel, industry, missiles, drugs, or 'bad ones.' They are all that stands in the way of 'A new chapter of American greatness.' 
"His method is simple, which is what makes him so dangerous. Like U.S. generals in Iraq who defined who was a real Iraqi or not, based on their subservience to the occupation, Trump splits the nation into real Americans and those who are threats."
Let us pause here. The notion that Trump is "weaponizing chaos" is apt and I shall return to it in a moment, but I must correct an early error the author of this piece makes. While the article compares Trump's tactics at several points to those of American generals in Iraq, it leaves the impression ultimately that Trump and these generals are separate entities. But this is hardly accurate, for many of these generals are now effectively running Trump's presidency.


An Update on Those Generals

As was noted before here, Trump's National Security Council, arguably the most powerful policy making body in the executive branch, is now almost totally dominated by a generation of generals radicalized on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Frequently the mainstream media has rallied around these figures, proclaiming them "moderates" in the face of alleged radicals in the Trump administration personified by Steven Bannon (who is himself a former Navy officer that served for over half a decade), and expressing optimism that they will "restrain" Trump. 

The poster boy for these alleged warrior-scholars is none other than General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, the Secretary of Defense. High hopes have been placed upon Mattis, which is probably why the fact that he has already brought the United States to the brink of war with another Islamic country has received little play. The Intercept notes:
"Did you know that the Trump administration almost went to war with Iran at the start of February?
"Perhaps you were distracted by Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser or by President Trump’s online jihad against Nordstrom. Or maybe you missed the story because the New York Times bizarrely buried it in the midst of a long piece on the turmoil and chaos inside the National Security Council. Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to the paper, had wanted the U.S. Navy to 'intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen. … But the ship was in international waters in the Arabian Sea, according to two officials. Mr. Mattis ultimately decided to set the operation aside, at least for now. White House officials said that was because news of the impending operation leaked.'
"Get that? It was only thanks to what Mattis’s commander in chief has called 'illegal leaks' that the operation was (at least temporarily) set aside and military action between the United States and Iran was averted...
"The defense secretary has been lauded by politicians and pundits alike: the 'scholar-warrior' (New York Daily News) and 'most revered Marine in a generation' (Marine Corps Times) with 'the potential to act as a restraint' (New York Times) on an impulsive commander in chief as he is 'the anti-Trump' (Politico) and therefore 'good news for global order' (Wall Street Journal). 
"So why would a retired Marine Corps general such as Mattis be willing to provoke a conflict with Tehran over a single ship? The fact is that Mattis, too, is obsessed with Iran. He has hyperbolically called the Islamic Republic 'the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East' and — in a Trump-esque descent into the world of conspiracy theories — suggested Tehran is working with ISIS. 'Iran is not an enemy of ISIS,' Mattis declaimed in 2016, because 'the one country in the Middle East that has not been attacked' by ISIS 'is Iran. That is more than happenstance, I’m sure.'..
"Mousavian is puzzled by the defense secretary’s hawkishness: 'He is one of the most experienced U.S. generals and he knows … the consequences of confrontation with Iran would be tenfold what the U.S. experienced in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.'
"Mattis has, in fact, been tied to some of the worst war crimes of the Iraq invasion. It was he who gave the order to attack the village of Mukaradeeb in April 2004 — a decision he would later admit took him only 30 seconds to approve — which killed 42 civilians, including 13 children, who were attending a wedding there. 'I don’t have to apologize for the conduct of my men,' he told reporters. 
"Six months later, in November 2004, it was Mattis who planned the Marine assault on Fallujah that reduced that city to rubble, forced 200,000 residents from their homes, and resulted, according to the Red Cross, in at least 800 civilian deaths."

And so goes the "restraint" Mattis will allegedly bring to the Trump administration. In addition to this incident, it was also displayed last month during the highly controversial raid in Yemen that left one Navy SEAL dead (in addition to multiple women and children). And this is likely only the beginning, as Mattis may soon have the authority to bypass Trump on numerous military decisions. The Daily Beast reports:
"The White House is considering delegating more authority to the Pentagon to greenlight anti-terrorist operations like the SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen that cost the life of a Navy SEAL, multiple U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast. It's part of an effort to step up the war on the so-called Islamic State.
"President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants his defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, to have a freer hand to launch time-sensitive missions quickly, ending what U.S. officials say could be a long approval process under President Barack Obama that critics claimed stalled some missions by hours or days.
"In declared war zones, U.S. commanders have the authority to make such calls, but outside such war zones, in ungoverned or unstable places like Somalia, Libya, or Yemen, it can take permissions all the way up to the Oval Office to launch a drone strike or a special-operations team.
"Trump’s subsequent defense of the Yemen raid, and discussion of accelerating other counterterrorist operations, shows his White House will be less risk averse to the possibility of U.S.—or civilian—casualties, unlike the Obama White House, which military officials say was extremely cautious to the point of frustrating some military commanders and counterterrorist operators...
"Trump officials believe loosening the permissions process can help turn up the heat against ISIS—and counterterrorist-focused agencies like the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are lining up new targets in anticipation of more numerous and more rapid approvals.
"One model being considered is pre-delegating authority to Mattis on extremely sensitive operations like hostage rescues; for raids or drone strikes against pre-approved targets, that authority could be pushed much further down the chain of command—all the way down to the three-star general who runs JSOC. If his teams spot a target that’s already on the White House approved high-value target list, the elite force will be able to move into action, informing the national-security apparatus of the operation but not having to wait for permission."
Thus it would seem that Mattis is not the only one in line for unprecedented power to conduct covert operations --the authority of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in this regard appears poised to greatly increase as well. This is hardly surprising. As was noted before here, the JSOC appears to have emerged as a major player within the new Trump regime. General Michael Flynn, Trump's former National Security Advisor, was a JSOC veteran and head of its intelligence branch for several years before going on to direct the DIA.


His replacement, General H.R. McMaster, does not have ties as strong, but he is apparently a protege (thank you From France!) of General David Petraeus, who has worked very closely with the JSOC over the years. As Director of the CIA, Petraeus attempted to transfer some the authority traditionally held by the CIA concerning covert operations to the JSOC.

There have been no overt attacks on the powers of the CIA as yet, but here we find that the JSOC may have broad ranging powers to approve their own operations under Trump. It would seem then that the JSOC's influence still remains strong in the Trump administration, even when key backers of the JSOC such as Flynn, Patraeus and Blackwater's Erik Prince are not actually a part of the administration.


The New Defense Build Up

This is but one instance of the military men who currently dominate Trump's administration flexing their muscle. Another such example was Trump's proposed defense budget. Of it, The Intercept notes:
"The U.S. government already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military — more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia.
"On Monday, the White House said it would request $54 billion more in military spending for next year. That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it’s more than 80 percent of Russia’s entire military budget in 2015.
"If Congress were to follow Trump’s blueprint, the U.S. military budget could account for nearly 40 percent of global military spending next year. The U.S. would be outspending Russia by a margin of greater than 9 to 1."
In a prior post, I had speculated that the rise of McMaster as Trump's NSA likely signaled a push to build up conventional US forces and this does indeed appear to be the rational behind the administration's desire to increase the United States' already bloated defense budget by over $50 billion. Reuters reports:
"The White House will send federal departments a budget proposal on Monday containing the defense spending increase President Donald Trump promised, financed partly by cuts to the U.S. State Department, Environmental Protection Agency and other non-defense programs, two officials familiar with the proposal said.
"One of the officials said Trump's request for the Pentagon included more money for shipbuilding, military aircraft and establishing 'a more robust presence in key international waterways and chokepoints' such as the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea."

The last point is consistent with my belief that the Trump administration, despite the steeped up anti-Russian posturing in recent weeks, still remains more concerned with China than any other nation as a major threat to US hegemony. While Russian will no doubt be used as cudgel to force Congressional Democrats to agree to increases in defense spending, it would appear that the real objective behind this defense build up is putting the US on war footing for China.

It is also interesting that Trump proposes to pay for this increased defense spending by cutting funding for the State Department. The Reuters article cited above went on to note that these proposed cuts are quite deep, stating: "A second official said the State Department's budget could be cut by as much as 30 percent, which would force a major restructuring of the department and elimination of programs."

It is highly unlikely that Trump will manage to push through cuts this deep to State. Congressional Republicans are already threatening to oppose such actions. But the fact that these proposals are even being thrown out there indicates that the divide between the Pentagon and the State Department (noted before here) is still ongoing. The military is clearly in the driver's seat at this point and they're using their leverage to stick it to their rivals in State at every turn. Even if the cuts are ultimately taken off the table, State's bureaucracy will still have to invest the resources into opposing such cuts.


About that Chaos

But let us return now to the notion that Trump is "weaponizing chaos." Consider the following observations from the article that opened this piece:
"On day five in office, Trump signed executive orders that criminalize 11 million undocumented immigrants, making all of them a priority for deportation. He then widened the scope of immigration raids and empowered border agents to be more aggressive, such that they are now reportedly 'looking really hard for reasons to deny, instead of reasons to admit' foreign visitors. He proposed lower standards for immigration police, potentially unleashing 'rogue elements.' Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice has vowed to pull back on consent decree with police departments, in effect endorsing police brutality. Trump plans to increase private detention facilities for asylum-seekers to 20,000 beds and has issued a new Muslim ban. He is ratcheting up tensions with Iran, escalating the brutal U.S.-Saudi war on Yemen, and demanding a $54 billion increase in military spending.
"These moves, along with attacks on civil society, comprise a plan to divide America along sectarian lines of race, religion, and politics as the Pentagon did in Iraq. But it’s not just what he is doing; it’s how he does it. Trump has a 'year zero' approach to governance, like the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. 
"Trump wants to wipe history clean, creating a regime of chaos. Stephen Bannon, his chief strategist, says as much: 'It’s going to get worse' and 'every day it is going to be a fight [for the] deconstruction of the administrative state.' Emboldening frontline police, border agents, and soldiers is Trump’s version of shock and awe. He is sowing fear and chaos and circumventing traditional chains of command. It’s similar to how he uses social media and conspiratorial news to win followers by bypassing and disorienting experts, media, and opinion-makers. 
"It is disorder by design, even if a specific act like the first version of the Muslim ban backfired. As shambolic as the Trump White House is, his state of constant meltdown benefits him. The more outrageous a falsehood the better, whether claiming more than 3 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote or that Obama wiretapped his phones during the election. When opponents castigate Trump for a 'destructive' act that 'discredits our democracy' they miss the point. He wields lies and chaos as a battering ram against anything in his way: the press, civil liberties, the judiciary, federal agencies, science, basic reality."

What this otherwise fine article from Raw Story fails to address is that it isn't just the Trump White House contributing to this chaos, but the Democratic Party and the mainstream media itself. Whether is is intentional or not is debatable, but their approach to opposing Trump is only furthering his agenda. Rather than pointing out legitimate abuses of power, the Democrats and the MSM have chosen to stoke the fires of neo-McCarthyism, peddling their own outrageous conspiracy theories and particular brand of xenophobia and warmongering. The great Glenn Greenwald nicely sums up this state of affairs in his recent article on The Intercept:
"I’ve been asked often why I’ve written so much against the prevailing sentiments on Russia and Trump. It’s not just because this obsessive narrative distracts from Trump’s genuinely consequential actions or from the need to find an effective vessel for activism against ├╝ber-right-wing nationalism. It’s not just because it’s driven by ugly and historically familiar anti-Rusisan xenophobia, nor because it dangerously ratchets up tensions between two nuclear-armed, traditionally hostile countries. Those things are all true, but that’s not the main impetus.
"Above all else, it’s because it’s an offensive assault on reason. This kind of deranged discourse is an attack on basic journalistic integrity, on any minimal obligation to ensure that one’s claims are based in evidence rather than desire, fantasy, and herd-enforced delusions. And it’s emanating from the most established and mainstream precincts of U.S. political and media elites, who have processed the severe disorientation and loss of position they feel from Trump’s shock election not by doing the work to patiently formulate cogent, effective strategies against him, but rather by desperately latching onto online 'dot-connecting' charlatans and spewing the most unhinged Birther-level conspiracies that require a complete abandonment of basic principles of rationality and skepticism...
"...Totally fraudulent stories about Russia are published on the internet. Those who do it – including the leading media outlets and their journalists – receive endless benefits: exploding follower counts on social media, gushing praise from their peers, media appearances, profitable traffic for their sites. But then when the stories fall apart and are debunked, as they so often are, the debunking is shared by virtually nobody, and there is zero accountability or cost to their reputations because their false stories were peddled for a Good Cause.
"The most obscenely transparent charlatans and grifters have built a huge social media following over the last year by feeding Democrats an endless stream of increasingly unhinged, insane conspiracy theories about Trump and Russia. That Trump is a Manchurian Candidate recruited by old Soviet leaders and installed in the White House as a 30-year-plan – or that any critics of Democrats are on the payroll of Putin – are completely acceptable theories which many of the Democrats’ most beloved commentators endorse literally on a daily basis.
"Part of it is exciting: they get to center themselves as intrepidly uncovering an international Moscow-led plot to infiltrate the U.S. Part of it is self-excusing: it explains why Democrats have failed without having to confront the party’s fundamental corruption. Part of it is personally enriching: just as was true of the Clinton years, these conspiracies have created a whole stable of new media stars, and the crazier they are, the bigger their following will be.
"But whatever the motives, what’s most damaging is how mainstreamed it’s all become. These are the same circles which endlessly rail against misleading reports from Fox News and right-wing radio, and the dangers of Fake News. And yet – in the name of stopping Trump and winning the New Cold War – they are the most enthusiastic disseminators of exactly what they denounce.
"The most ironic part of it all is that they are achieving exactly the opposite of what they convinced their followers they are doing: they are strengthening Trump, not weakening him, by poisoning and corroding all of the institutions that – if they had any credibility – could effectively check him."
Indeed. Or more precisely, its strengthening the Pentagon forces dominating Trump's cabinet. As opposition to Russia and Putin continue to dominate the headlines, the Democrats are putting themselves in a position where opposing the militarization of the civilian government and the perpetual war footing the US has been put on will be all but impossible. While they may draw a few concessions on social programs and prevent deep cuts to State, Congressional Democrats will do little to oppose the defense ramp up.

And both the media and the "opposition party" will ultimately further the "us against them" narrative via the endless McCarthyism while real assaults on a host of civil rights will continue to be downplayed. Witness the recent bombshell revelations by Wikileaks concerning the CIA's vast cyber arsenal struggling to keep pace with the endless Russian conspiracy theories the mainstream dutifully continues to parrot without question. It would appear that some are even trying to frame the Wikileaks CIA revelations as some type of conspiracy on Trump's part, no doubt to prevent the Agency from further exposing his nefarious Russian plots.

The fabled expression "Nothing is true, everything is permitted" may be more true now than at any other time in modern history. Let that sink in for a moment and the contempt the sheer scale of what Trump has accomplished.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fringe: The Strange and Terrible History of the Far Right and High Weirdness Part VIII




Welcome to the eight installment in my epic examination of the involvement of the far right in "high weirdness." Over the course of this series I have used "high weirdness" as a catchall for a host of arcane topics ranging from psi, psychedelics, UFOs, human potential and the occult. As for the far right, I have largely examined them through the lens of think tanks closely aligned to the American military-industrial complex such as the Committee on the Present Danger Mach I (CPD) and the infamous American Security Council (ASC). 

With the first installment of this series I briefly considered the bizarre Sikh temple shooting of 2012, the high weirdness of the 2016 US presidential election and the differences between the far right and the traditional conservative establishment centered around the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the like. Part two moved on to the origins of the military-industrial complex, which resided with a clique of middle managers brought into government by Bonesman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson and the merging technocratic class personified by Vannevar Bush

The third installment traced the merger of the military-industrial complex and the far right to a clique of military officers who had served under/along side General Douglas MacArthur in either Pacific Theater of World War II or Korea. "Coincidentally," many of these military officers would play a key role in establishing the American Security Council as well frequently turning up in the literature concerning the Roswell incident. Part four expanded upon the ties of the ASC and these military officers to Roswell, as well as my theory concerning what really happened. 

Part five delved into the extensive overlap between the ASC and the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), for years the premier civilian UFO organization. The sixth installment moved along to the ASC's role in distributing the Hangar 18 mythos/disinformation as well as the role it played in publishing the early works Jacques Vallee, J. Allen Hynek and other UFOlogy who developed rather arcane and mystical takes on the phenomenon.

famed UFOlogists J. Allen Hynek (left) and Jacques Vallee (right)
The seventh installment was a bit of a departure. Up to this point I had primarily been concerned with UFOlogy and the involvement of the far right in such things via think tanks like the ASC. But with part seven I considered the far right's influence on the human potential movement via Werner Erhard and his notorious est sessions. There it was noted that one of Erhard's greatest influences was the mysterious businessman known as William Penn Patrick. Prior to becoming involved in the human potential movement Patrick had been deeply active in far right politics and the ASC network. His Leadership Dynamics, which likely had a considerable influence on Erhard, may well have been a behavior modification experiment he was carrying out for unknown backers.



Eugenics and UFOs

After digressing into the bizarre pursuits of Patrick with the prior installment I would once again like to consider the activities of the ASC, or at least one particular member, in the same time frame (late 1960s/early 1970s). This individual was one Stefan T. Possony, a major deep state player who does not receive remotely as much attention as his nefarious career warrants. 

Possony was an Austrian emigre that arrived in the United States around 1941 after fleeing the Nazis in Austria, Czechoslovakia and finally France. Despite his opposition to Nazism, he appears to have been quite comfortable with many of the party's tenets. Possony embraced a form of nationalism and eugenics and attacked the US's efforts to integrate African Americans during the Cold War years on the basis of their intellectual inferiority. He also denounced the dismantlement of Colonialism on this basis as well. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Shortly after arriving in the United States, Possony found himself employed simultaneously by Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies and the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). After the war he also became an intelligence adviser to the Air Force and likely the CIA as well. He was apparently a co-founder of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), a think tank long linked to the CIA and which has recently reemerged as a critic of "fake news." The FPRI also played a key role in establishing the ASC and the military-industrial complex on the whole. And Possony was right in the center of things.
"Although the ASC began as an antilabor operation with support from Sears... and other businesses, it soon became involved in foreign policy issues. It cosponsored a series of annual meetings from 1955 to 1961 called National Military-Industrial Conferences in which elements of the Pentagon, National Security Council, and organizations linked to the CIA discussed cold war strategy with leaders of many large corporations, such as United Fruit, Standard Oil, Honeywell, U.S. Steel, and of course, Sears Roebuck. Robert Wood was the key organizer of these events. One conference 'cooperating organization' was the CIA-linked Foreign Policy Research Institute.
"The Institute's foreign policy thesis during this period was spelled out in a book, A Forward Strategy for America by Robert Strausz-Hupe, William R. Kintner, and Stefan T. Possony. In discussing nuclear-option scenarios in a hypothetical expanding U.S.-Soviet conflict, the book makes the following statement:
Even at a moment when the United States faces defeat because, for example, Europe, Asia and Africa have fallen to communist domination, a sudden nuclear attack against the Soviet Union could at least avenge the disaster and deprive the opponent of the ultimate triumph. While such a reversal at the last moment almost certainly would result in severe American casualties, it might still nullify all previous Soviet conquests.
(Old Nazis, New Right, and the Republican Party, Russ Bellant, pgs. 33-35)

Having the weapons capability to destroy the planet many times over would become a major obsession of Possony's, as we shall see. As might be expected, the ASC liked what they saw in Possony's thesis and he would officially become a member of the ASC's National Strategy Committee in 1962. This association would last for decades. 

A little before Possony's propaganda efforts for the military-industrial complex began in earnest, he became involved in the UFO question. In early 1953 Possony participated in the infamous Robertson Panel, a CIA-Pentagon committee that debated the UFO question for several days before recommending a massive disinformation campaign concerning UFOs. Also present was J. Allen Hynek, who as noted in part six also has indirect links to the ASC. The CIA was largely represented by personnel from the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI), which was also deeply involved in Project ARTICHOKE during this time. 

The OSI was headed by H. Marshall Chadwell, a close associate of Vannever Bush who had worked with him in the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) during WWII. Howard P. Robertson, who headed the panel and gave it its name, had also worked with Bush and Chadwell in the NDRC. As was noted in part two, Bush played a key role in establishing the military-industrial complex. He would become an unabashed cheerleader of it with the Committee on the Present Danger Mach I, members of which later join alliances with the ASC by the late 1970s. Possony, an academic who ended up working in Ivy League circles after the war, appears to be one of the earliest links between Bush's technocrats and the far right. Interestingly, Possony would go on to work closely with another Bush lieutenant, Edward Teller, in the ASC. But more on that later.

Edward Teller (left) and his former boss in the NDRC, Vannevar Bush (right)
Possony's involvement in UFOs appears to have predated even the Robinson Panel, however. During the early 1950s he apparently ran a "Special Study Group" out of the office of General John Samford, then-director of Air Force Intelligence. Samford would eventually become the head of the National Security Agency in 1956 and would hold the post until his retirement in 1960. Project Blue Book was initiated during his time directing Air Force Intelligence. As such, he is often mentioned in UFO literature.

The "Special Study Group" is one of the most enigmatic UFO study groups from this era. Very little is known about, though it appears Possony was representing the Special Study Group when he appeared before the Robertson Panel. Here are some more details:
"Although not well documented, there are just enough fragments of information to make it legitimate at least to mention another Pentagon figure and his activities around this period. This man was Stefan Possony, and he ran a 'Special Study Group' right inside General Samford's office. This group was quite involved with UFOs. What was this all about? How could a special study group be going on in the highest office of the Air Force Intelligence?...
"In 1951 Possony was regularly involved at very high levels the intelligence community. Late in that year, he was in General Samford's office as the brain trust behind something called the Special Study Group. The exact purpose of the group is not known for certain, but it may have been exactly as stated in a Memorandum for Record (anonymously written by Possony or Lt. Col. E Sterling, the military chief) of April 29, 1952. This is an astonishing memorandum of 5 1/2 pages entirely about Special Study Group thinking and why Sterling and Possony should go to Europe to assess certain possible threats to national security.
"The memo states that the Air Force is pursuing technology at an accelerating pace and the Soviets will be doing so as well. The main area of unpredictability is not the weapons themselves but the types and effectiveness of their delivery systems. Because of the pace of advances, we cannot be sure of where the Soviets are. Then it says this:
The Special Study Group has undertaken a comprehensive study of Russian capabilities in the field of advanced aerial delivery systems, the strategic implications, and probable timetables as to development and operational availability. As an important side product, it is hoped that some much needed light can be shed on the vexing 'flying saucer' problem. 
"The text goes on to enumerate the technologies that Sterling and Possony would investigate. The list included 'flying saucers,' and addressed them specifically:
In connection with flying saucers, the Group is attempting to develop a proper framework for fruitful analysis. The Air Force cannot assume that flying saucers are of non-terrestrial origin, and hence, they could be Soviet.
"The rest of the memorandum was an extended set of reasons why the working hypothesis that the saucers were a nascent Soviet delivery system must not be ignored. In the narrative, one case example was utilized to make the argument that, whereas the behavior of the objects was beyond U.S. capability, it was not beyond theoretical capability, and therefore could have been an advanced terrestrially produced device. This argument was based on the sightings reported to Commander McLaughlin by Charles Moore and the General Mills balloon team. Possony used this case study with explicit faith in the reality of its details, including the velocity estimates at slightly greater than gravitational escape velocity, which he found significant. Possony and Sterling believed such sources were not from outer space, based on the testimony of astronomers that indicated that the astronomers would have seen the objects coming.
"Possony and Sterling returned from Europe in about five weeks and had become convinced that the discs were not Soviet, after all. Possony, however remained interested in the phenomenon. He, according to Ruppelt, attended many relevant Pentagon meetings and always severely challenged persons dismissive of the reality of the incidents. He asked his civilian assisting, Les Rosenweig, to bring together materials for desktop studies on topics such as the possible propulsion systems used by the disks, and potential methods to contact him. Possony often put ideas in Major Fournet's ear and may have played a role in his 'motion study' of flying disc maneuverability, from which Fournet concluded that the flight capabilities of UFOs were well beyond terrestrial technology..."
(UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry, Michael Swords & Robert Powell, pgs. 150-152)
 

possibly Stefan T. Possony
On the whole then Possony appears to have been deeply involved in the UFO question at high levels of the intelligence community from very early on. As was noted above, Possony found himself recruited into the Ivy League and the ONI shortly after moving to the United States and by the late 1940s was also working for Air Force Intelligence. By at least the mid-1950s he had likely been recruited into the CIA, as evidenced by his work with FPRI. By the end of the decade he was actively working with the ASC in the National Military-Industrial Conferences, and would officially join the National Stratgegy Committee in 1962. There he would have found himself in the company of numerous "former" high ranking military officers with a keen interest in UFOs, many of whom have been linked to Roswell. Possony surely would have felt right at home after his time in the "Special Study Group."



MRU

But UFOs may not have been Possony's only brush with high weirdness. Much of the following information is highly speculative, but I thought it was compelling enough to warrant inclusion here. It is alleged that at some point in the mid-1970s Possony became involved with a curious New York-based outfit known as Mankind Research Unlimited (MRU). MRU apparently began as a subsidiary of Systems Consultants Inc (SCI), a defense contractor that allegedly received much of its funding from the Navy, in 1966. By 1973 MRU had apparently severed its ties to SCI, though this has been hotly debated.

MRU and its potential ties to the CIA were first exposed in 1980 by A.J. Weberman in an article entitled "Mind Control: The Story of Mankind Research Unlimited, Inc" (which can be found here) that initially appeared in an issue of Covert Action Information Bulletin. Weberman is a highly controversial researcher and much of the information concerning MRU is based upon his initial expose. Thus, everything one encounters concerning MRU should be taken with a heaping grain of salt.

The following information was primarily written by Iona Miller, whose credibility should also be questioned. However, she does appear to be in contact with former employees of MRU, which is more than numerous others who have explored this topic have managed. On MRU and its mysterious director, Dr. Carl W. Schleicher, Miller notes:
"Mankind Research Unlimited, Inc. (MRU, and the later nonprofit Foundation, MRF) was a much less publicized eastcoast thinktank like Stanford Research Institute (SRI). MRU was purchased from parent company SCI on August 13, 1973 to become an independent company with its own Board operating through the Director's lifetime. Located in the Washington, D.C. area, it operated from the early 1970s to 1999. Like SRI, many strange phenomena were investigated and developed there, often at government expense. 
"MRU’s Director, Carl W. Schleicher, Ph.D. has been accused, along with Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, of being the mind control mad-genius behind MK Ultra and the ‘Manchurian Candidate’ in both Feral Press (Constantine, 1995) and by A.J. Weberman (1) online. Called the 'Father of the Cyborg,' in CIA Mind Control Operations in the USA, Schleicher heartily denied it to his death in 1999. He was preparing to sue Weberman for theft of MRU files and false allegations, according to close associates.  
"All research was conducted on a 'need to know' basis. No one seems able to make a coherent story of it, though rumors about connections of Director Schleicher to MK Ultra run rampant. What is known is he had ten active years of military service (1955-1966) for the Navy as a 'war games expert,' and spy in Europe.
"Sources say he was stationed for a time on the electronic intelligence ship,USS Liberty. He retired shortly before the SigInt ship was mysteriously attacked in the 1967 Six-Day War. He then went into 'exotic areas of knowledge' with a mandate to 'peek discretely into the unknown'. He avoided marriage, saying, 'My mission is different.' He always claimed his mission was 'humanitarian.'
"Schleicher attended the Naval Academy, worked overseas in operations research, and spoke six languages, then went into war games, publishing in The Journal of Electronic Warfare. An interest in dowsing got him into the paranormal - but not dowsing for water – dowsing for Vietcong in tunnels in Khe Sanh for the Marines. This led to a meeting with Ostrander and Schroeder, authors of Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, and the game was afoot. He accepted their unfiltered pile of Soviet research and paid $5000 for translations. 
"Schleicher had a gruff military personality. His cohorts included former OSS, CIA and military intelligence officers, physicians, psychologists, scientists, anti-gravity investigators, healers, chemists, psychics, dowsers, and remote viewers. MRU developed a low-frequency electronic device that 'interferes with insects' antennae. But, in typical Schleicher fashion, he tersely declined explanation with a pat answer, 'I can say no more.'..
"MRU's capability and experience is divided into four fields, including biophysics -- Biological Effects of Magnetic Fields,' 'Research in Magneto-fluid Dynamics,' 'Planetary Electro-Hydro-Dynamics' and 'Geo-pathic Efforts on Living Organisms.' The latter focuses on the induction of illness by altering the magnetic nature of the geography. MRU first researched the area of Biological Effects of Magnetic Fields focusing on the induction of illness by altering the magnetic nature of the geography.  
"Mankind Research Unlimited distributed a CIA directive, summarized in a brochure on the 'Cybernetic Technique'. It discussed the Agency's development of a 'means by which information in modest rate can be fed to humans utilizing other senses than sight or hearing. 'The Cybernetic Technique,' based on Eastern European research,' involves beaming information to individual nerve cells. The purpose, the directive states, is the enhancement of mental and physical performance. To protect MK Ultra, the CIA subcontracted research and development to universities, prisons, private laboratories and hospitals...  
"This inside source discredits accusations of Schleicher working for either the CIA or The Aviary, infamous UFO debukers.He says MRF was associated with Rockefeller Foundation and NSA, producing several books for them. Recent admissions (2) about covert mind control experiments have come from Naval Intelligence. Approval authority is now required for all 'severe or unusual intrusions, either physical or psychological, on human subjects (such as consciousness-altering drugs or mind control techniques),' implying they had done so in the past." 
Carl W. Schleicher
Funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and the NSA (and possibly the Navy, whom Schleicher apparently kept in the loop) makes for an interesting combination. As I noted before here, it seems probable that the Rockefeller family did provide funding for MK-Ultra. But the presence of the NSA and Navy also indicate military interest and these forces have not always seen eye to eye with the Rockefeller interests. Possony's presence here indicates that the ASC and their allies were also monitoring these developments. Reportedly other military men were also involved, but most of  the high profile members came from the type of Ivy League backgrounds the Rockefellers love to recruit from.

In addition to Possony, some other curious characters have been linked to MRU include: Christopher Bird, Stanley Krippner and Berthold E. Schwarz, among others. Bird was a writer and anthropologist while both Krippner and Schwarz were psychologists. Unsurprisingly, all three men harbored a keen interest in telepathy.

Bird was even a co-author of The Secret Life of Plants, which addressed the consciousness of vegetation. He was also an authority on dowsing, and is considered to be the premier America authority on it in the second half of the twentieth century. Schwarz had a longstanding interest in UFOlogy, and was highly regarded in the field. He appears to have had a much more esoteric take on the phenomenon that seems to be more in line with ideas of Jacques Vallee.


Krippner was a major advocate of LSD, and was also one of the leading parapsychologist in these United States at the onset of the 1960s counterculture. He performed psi experiments as part of the so-called "Dream Laboratory" that predated both MRU and the more well known research at SRI.
"In his work at the Dream Laboratory at Maimonides Medical Center, Montague Ullman, along with psychologist Stanley Krippner and researcher Charles Honorton, produced compelling evidence that accurate precognitive information can also be obtained in dreams. In their study, volunteers were asked to spend eight consecutive nights at the sleep laboratory, and each night they were asked to try to dream about a picture that would be chosen at random the next day and shown to them. Ullman and his colleagues hoped to get one success out of eight, but found that some subjects could score as many as five 'hits' out of eight."
(Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot, pg. 206)
Stanley Krippner
Like Schwarz, Krippner also appears to have a keen interest in UFOs. The same is almost surely true of Bird as well. And, as was noted above, Possony was deeply involved in the UFO question for almost two decades prior to the founding of MRU.

Unsurprisingly, Possony does not appear to be the only one of these associates with deep state ties either. Christopher Bird has acknowledged that he was employee of the CIA during the 1950s, but it is likely this connection never ended. Curiously, Peter Tompkins, who he co-wrote Secret Life... with Bird, had been an OSS agent during WWII. Bird was also reputedly a member of convicted murderer Ira Einhorn's "psychic mafia."
"... the 'Mind Over Matter' conference that Einhorn organized on the Penn campus in late January 1977. It was one of several gatherings of the psychic mafia that Ira midwifed. The key players were all in attendance. Andrija Puharich, the ringmaster of the paranormal, speaking about the Space Kids. Chris Bird, an expert in odd corners of the paranormal with reputed CIA connections, talking about dowsing, as well as the biological implications dealt with in his best-selling book, The Secret Life of Plants. Tom Bearden, a retired Air Force colonel whose raucous self-published The Excalibur Briefing postulated a grand alternative view of reality, 'a theory of biofields which unites mental phenomena with physics.' The theory also encompassed UFOs and cattle mutilations." 
(The Unicorn's Secret, Steven Levy, pgs. 189-190) 
Christopher Bird
Andrija Puharich is figure regular readers of this blog should be well aware of. He reputedly channeled beings known as "The Nine," later alleged to be an extraterrestrial intelligence, during the early 1950s as part of a seance with possible deep state implications. He was also a scientist used by Project ARTICHOKE and his initial channeling of The Nine may have been a part of the project (as was noted before here). ARTICHOKE was overseen by the CIA's Office of Security, which had numerous ties to the far right and especially the American Security Council (as was noted before here).

Colonel Thomas Bearden, a close associate of Puharich's, was also reputed to have been a member of MRU, but I have been unable to reliably conform this. Still, Bearden may provide some insights into why Possony, a political strategist rather than a psychologist or scientist (unlike the bulk of the other figures involved in MRU), became involved with MRU. The thing Puharich, Bearden, Bird, Possony and longtime MRU director Carl W. Schleicher (and likely Krippner and Schwarz) all seem to have in common is a keen interest in Tesla technology. A lot of MRU's research seems to have involved electromagnetism and was based upon Tesla's theories concerning it.

In some accounts, this is said to be the force behind telepathy.
"Roughly speaking, the conventional picture of electromagnetism is shown by Bearden to be incomplete. Electromagnetism is 'nested' in dimensions deeper than the 3-D world. It arises from supersensible realms of existence or hyperspaces which Bearden refers to as 'nested levels of the virtual state.' The vacuum of space is actually a plenum, according to modern physics. Using the scalar electromagnetic wave, which is prior to the vector electromagnetic wave that produces electromagnetic fields, Bearden says, the vacuum of space itself can be engineered. He shows in quantum physical terms that energy may be produced directly at a distant site or extracted from it, without energy transmission through space. Essentially, beams of pure potential may be deliberately produced and intersected at a distance to cause effects. Thus, the entire range of extra-sensory and psychokinetic phenomena now appear to have an elegant explanation, albeit one which requires a radical modification of classical physics."
(Psychic Warfare, Appendix I, John White, pgs. 217-218)
Colonel Thomas Bearden
This theoretical form of electromagnetism, typically depicted as some type of extremely low frequency (ELF) wave, is also believed to be what powers UFOs in such circles. But the "psychic mafia" was not alone in these conclusions. Likely Bircher Peter Beter (one of the first researchers to link UFOs to the ASC), briefly addressed in part five, was also adamant about the prospect of UFOs being powered by electromagnetism by the late 1970s as well.

But beyond this, electromagnetism is also believed to be capable of producing some extremely terrible weapons. And it would appear that this is what lay behind Possony's interest in such things, if articles he wrote such as "Scientific Advances Hold Dramatic Prospects for Psy-Strat" and "The Tesla Connection" for Defense & Foreign Affairs during the early 1980s are any indication.

And that brings us to one of the longstanding obsessions of the ASC.


Space: The Final Defense Contract? 

In 1965 an interesting book was published entitled Strike From Space. It dealt with the alleged growing threat of Soviet space-based weapons, and would be one of the first serious tracts bemoaning the gap in such defenses. By the late 1970s, any number of conservative pundits (and even a few members of the "psychic mafia") would join the chorus, pointing to the mythical Soviet advances in a host of futuristic weapons systems. But the first formal salvo appears to have been fired here and it was penned by the recently deceased Dame of Malta Phyllis Schlafly (whose funeral Trump attended) and Admiral Chester Ward, a long time luminary of the American Security Council.


Possony would join the fray in 1970 and would continue to sound the alarm for well over a decade. Eventually he would become one of the chief architects of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), more commonly referred to as "Star Wars." The great Institute for the Study of Globalization and Covert Politics (ISGP) provides an excellent run down of the ASC's Possony-driven march towards the weaponization of space:
"One of the most important aspects of the conservative establishment has been its support for space-based weapons. The U.S. effort to develop these type of arms goes back to a 1970 book entitled The Strategy of Technology: Winning the Decisive War. The book was written by Pentagon strategist Dr. Stefan T. Possony. In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Possony was invited to join the national strategy committee of the ASC, together with Edward Teller. Both men would serve on the board for more than two decades. 
"Possony's book was very popular among hawkish Pentagon officers and became  required reading at the Air War College and the National War College. It advocated for the development of a defense program that would be too high-tech and costly for other nations to reproduce or counter without collapsing their economy. Two important projects that grew out of this economy were Strategic Defense Initiative and the stealth program. The latter was developed by companies as Lockheed and Northrop, both corporations with membership in the American Security Council but with little representation on any of the council’s boards. With Strategic Defense Initiative it is somewhat different.
"The principal lobbying firm for SDI, or Star Wars, was High Frontier, set up in 1981 by General Daniel Graham, a member of the national strategy committee of the ASC. His deputy at High Frontier became General Robert C. Richardson III, another member of the strategy committee. General James Abrahamson, a member of the ASC and a visitor of Le Cercle, was director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization from 1984 to 1989. Another prominent ASC member was Karl R. Bendetsen, chairman of the SDI Panel for Reagan at the Heritage Foundation from 1980 to 1984. His deputy was General Graham. Edward Teller was also part of the study group. In late 1981 the group began to split over the type of designs that should be supported. General Graham and his High Frontier group wanted to built a system with 'off the shelf' components. Other members pushed for more complicated systems that would require much more research: rail guns, particle beam weapons, chemical lasers, etc. The father of the hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller, further complicated matters by insisting 'on the inclusion of third-generation weapons powered by nuclear bombs'. Teller's idea of the nuclear X-ray laser was to detonate nuclear weapons in space in order to power 'up to 100,000 separate laser beams at 100,000 targets in space'. [104] This estimation seems to have been a bit of an overstatement. The project was canceled after inconclusive test results. Outside experts were of the opinion that the nuclear explosion would only be able to power a few dozen lasers at most. Many also thought it to be more practical and ethical to go with the non-nuclear option.
"Bendetsen and his camp that pushed for more exotic weapons, like lasers, railguns and particle beam weapons (Gen. Keegan actually tried to convince members of government that the Russians already had these weapons), were the favorites of Reagan, but it was Graham's Brilliant Pebbles system that was ultimately seen as the most practical of all SDI systems. Brilliant Pebbles relied on space-based pods filled with small missiles that would take out enemy ICBMs. The missiles didn't have any active warheads - kinetic energy was enough to destroy the targets. However, the program was eventually canceled in 1994 under the Clinton administration, which saw these systems as unnecessarily expensive and potentially destabilizing. It is only in modern times that the United States has been looking again for potentially interesting space-based weapons systems."

It has of course long been insisted that some of the more exotic weapons proposed by Teller and the like were in fact developed in private. UFOlogist in particular fixated upon SDI and there was much speculation as to whether it was actually designed to protect the United States not from the Soviet Union, but an extraterrestrial power. In 1997 Colonel Philip J. Corso would go to great lengths in linking SDI to an alleged EBE threat. Corso, who was addressed in part four, was not a member of the ASC per se, but he was an initiate of the mysterious secret society known as the Sovereign Order of Saint John, which in turn a part of the ASC-sponsored Coalition for Peace Through Strength (noted before here).

But in addition to UFOs, Corso would also link SDI to Tesla weapons:
"For over fifty years, now, the war against UFOs has continued as we tried to defend ourselves against their intrusions. The Hughes hunter-killer satellites of the 1970s were our first step in applying a planetary defense system that held any real threat against EBEs. When, late in the 1970s, we realized that a directed-energy weapon and high-energy laser were even more effective than exploding satellites, our defensive ability was enhanced even further. We recognized that by applying both the technology we found at Roswell and Tesla's vision of a particle beam to our own antisatellite missiles and laser targeting equipment, we could achieve the rapid aim/rapid fire capability that these type of defenses demanded. But we were still playing cover-up games even though the Russians were now finally acknowledging that maybe cooperation between the superpowers was called for to meet a common threat.
"In the 1980s, both President Reagan and Chairman Gorbachev recognize the need for cooperation against a common enemy. While neither officially owned up to the threat of EBEs and alien hostilities, both acknowledge that if the United States and the Soviet Union could lay aside their differences and participate in a shared policy to defend the space around the earth, then both superpowers would benefit. For his part, President Reagan pushed hard for the rapid development and deployment of a space-based defense technology to defend the planet. Called the Strategic Defense Initiative, and derisively dubbed 'Star Wars' by the press, the SDI was described in 1985 in President Reagan's own words as 'a defense shield that won't hurt people but will knock down nuclear weapons before they can hurt people.'
"Briefly, the Strategic Defense Initiative was described by the White House and the military as a space-based defense system to protect the United States from an all-out nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. It would include satellites that could detect the massive nuclear launch within seconds, orbiting lasers to destroy the first wave of missiles, laser-equipped submarines that could defend against the next round of attacks, and a ground-based missile system providing the last line of defense. In addition, the SDI also included what I thought was the best of its weapons, a missile-launched kinetic energy beam weapon that locked onto incoming warheads or low-orbiting space vehicles and knocked out their electronics with a particle beam. The elegant aspect to the kinetic energy beam weapon was that you couldn't really defend against it. Lasers, even high-energy lasers, had their shortcomings in that once a laser beam bounced off the surface, the surrounding energy envelope protected the surface from subsequent pulses. You either knocked out your target right away or shielded against subsequent hits. But with a particle-beam weapon, you penetrated the surface, just like microwaving a piece of meat, destroyed its electronics to render it useless, and then broken apart or melded it from within.
"Amidst the warnings that the SDI wouldn't work, was a giant unscientific gamble and a corporate giveaway, couldn't provide the massive shield against nuclear missiles, would violate the ABM treaty President Johnson had negotiated with the Russians, and was a giant waste of the taxpayers money, guess what? 
"It worked!
"We didn't have to shoot down thousands of Soviet incoming warheads, and the Soviets never really cared about the ABM treaty in the first place because they knew they weren't going to launch a first strike and neither would we. We both knew who the real targets of the SDI were, and it wasn't a bunch of ICBM warheads. It was the UFOs, alien spacecraft thinking themselves invulnerable and invisible as they soared around the edges of our atmosphere, swooping down at will to destroy our communications with EMP bursts, buzz our spacecrafts, colonize our lunar surface, mutilate cattle in their own horrendous biological experiments, and even abduct human beings for their medical tests and hybridization of their species. And what was worse, we had to let them do it because we had no weapons to defend ourselves."
(The Day After Roswell, Philip J. Corso & William J. Birnes, pgs. 290-292)

At least, presumably, till the SDI was functional, despite widespread claims that the more exotic weapons such as those particle beams were never developed. As was indicated above by Corso, in most accounts these particular brand of death rays said to be based upon concepts developed by Tesla.
"In the 1930s Tesla announced other bizarre and terrible weapons: a death ray, a weapon to destroy hundreds or even thousands of aircraft at hundreds of miles range, and his ultimate weapon to end all war – the Tesla shield, which nothing could penetrate. However, by this time no one any longer paid any real attention to the forgotten great genius. Tesla died in 1943 without ever revealing the secret of these great weapons and inventions.
"Unfortunately, today the Soviet Union has long since discovered and weaponized the Tesla scalar wave effects. Here we only have time to detail the most powerful of these frightening Tesla weapons – which Brezhnev undoubtedly was referring to in 1975 when the Soviet side at the SALT talks suddenly suggested limiting the development of new weapons 'more frightening than the mind of man had imagined.' One of these weapons is the Tesla howitzer recently completed at the Saryshagan missile range and presently considered to be either a high energy laser or a particle beam weapon..."
(Psychic Warfare, "Tesla's Secrets and the New Soviet Superweapons," Thomas Bearden, pg. 178) 
Those alleged Soviet supwerweapons shall be addressed in just a moment, but an overview of these claims is warranted here. Particle beams on the whole had come a common staple of this type of conspiracy literature by the 1990s. Peter Beter had been railing against them since at least the late 1970s. In his narrative, the Soviets had developed highly advanced particle beam weapons by this time that were deployed first via satellites, and then upon a moon base. American had originally set up a moon base in the early 1960s (a claim Corso also made) with the idea of establishing our own beam weapons there. The Soviets were one step ahead of us, however, and launched a sneak attack with their own particle beam weapons as well as electromagnetic-powered UFOs that easily over powered US space-based weapons. After the conquest of space, the Soviets then began their stealth conquest of America...

Peter Beter
As incredible as all of this sounds, General George Keegan, the head of Air Force Intelligence in the mid-1970s and a luminary of the American Security Council after his retirement, warned about Soviet particle beam weapons for years. His first proclamations came in a sensation account given to Aviation Week and Space Technology in 1977 and he would continue to beat the drum throughout the creation of the SDI. Stefan Possony himself soon got into the act and also began to bemoan the growing particle beam gap between the US and the USSR.

General George Keegan
But it does not appear to have been the far right alone that feared the particle beam gap. While the above-mentioned Andrija Puharich and his close associate Colonel Thomas Bearden were more concerned about other US-USSR gaps in Tesla technology, they couldn't resist dredging out the particle beam boogie man to frighten New Agers on occasion as well. The above account of Soviet particle beam weapons was pinned by Bearden and widely promoted by both here and Puharich during this era.

On the whole one is struck by the degree of paranoia present on both the far right and fringe left concerning particle beams and other such technologies during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The United States was perpetually depicted as falling behind the super weapons race, creating a climate of apocalyptic dread that made something like the final version of the Strategic Defense Initiative sound perfectly reasonable in contrast.

In the twenty-first century, with the USSR long confined to the dustbin of history, this all sounds perfectly ludicrous. By the climate of fear nourished by such claims made those Congressional dollars flow like water into a host of arcane of weapons research. So while the particle beam gap was surely an elaborate propaganda campaign, it may have been crucial in the eventual creation of such weapons. There have of course been rumors for years (including from the scientist who claims to have provided the designs) that HAARP was an offshoot of SDI advances in Tesla technology. All of this is highly, highly speculative, and I have long dismissed many of the claims surround HAARP, but am deeply unnerved by the decades-spanning obsession of many luminaries of the far right in developing such things.

the HAARP facility in Alaska
Perhaps it was all in fact one elaborate boondoggle for the defense industry. The ASC was, after all, a lobby group for the military-industrial complex and its patrons were no doubt well rewarded for its Herculean efforts in legitimizing Star Wars. But it is truly chilling to think that this is the best case scenario.

And with that I shall wrap things up for now. We shall consider these alleged super technologies again, but in the next installment I shall address some of the other curious pursuits and characters that latched onto the ASC network in the 1980s. Stay tuned.