Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fringe and COG Part II

Welcome to the second installment in this appendix to my ongoing "Fringe" series. For those of you just tuning in, here's a brief recap: "Fringe," now spanning eleven proper installments and one prior appendix, has been roughly based around the involvement of the far right in high weirdness. As to the latter, this has manifested in  variety of forms: UFOs, psi, "supersoldiers", Tesla weapons, human potential and so on. As for "far right," I have roughly examined this group through the prism of powerful, intelligence-connected "think tanks" such as the Committee on the Present Danger Mach I, the American Security Council (ASC) and the United States Global Strategy Council (USGSC).

This particular appendix was inspired by some curious comments Colonel John Alexander (whose ties to the far right and deep state high weirdness were noted before here and here) made in his UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities. As was noted in the first installment, Alexander claimed that a source had alleged to him that the infamous Majestic 12 (commonly referred to as MJ-12) had its origins in Continuity of Government (COG) operations begun by the US government during World War II.

In the brief examination of the origins of COG presented in that installment I noted that National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), which featured at least one infamous MJ-12 member and a host of other figures later linked to deep state forays into UFOs and consciousness manipulation, did in fact have its origins in the civil defense networks that transformed into COG planning during WWII. From there I noted the growth in totalitarianism within COG during the Cold War and the network's likely involvement in the Kennedy assassination and Watergate. The Kennedy assassination has of course been linked to the UFO question with varying degrees of credibility while at least one Watergate figure, James McCord, had ample dealings with COG and high weirdness.

Alexander's Source

While we're still in the late-1960s/early 1970s era, it would be an opportune time to address the man who likely provided Alexander with much of his information on COG. This would be terrorism guru Robert Kupperman, a longtime member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The CSIS is an extremely powerful, if little acknowledged, think tank that straddles the line between the Traditional Conservative Establishment and the far right. It's rosters has included such luminaries of the Rockefeller interests as Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Jay Rockefeller on the one hand while also embracing financiers of the far right as Ray L. Hunt (the present patriarch of the infamous Hunt family of Texas), Richard Mellon Scaife and H. Ross Perot II. On the whole, international finance, Texas oil and the US national security apparatus are well represented by the CSIS.

It also had close ties to the United States Global Strategy Council (USGSC), the extremely well-connected think tank Alexander used as a platform in his efforts to promote "nonlethal" weapons in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The infamous China hand Ray S. Cline played a key role in founding both the CSIS and the USGSC. Cline has been closely linked to many of the CIA's blackest projects while also maintaining extensive ties with the far right, most notably via the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) and the Unification Church (noted before here).

More recently the CSIS has gained enormous influence over Trump's foreign policy, as was noted before here and here. Keep this in mind dear reader as we shall return to the CSIS before this installment is finished. But for now, let us return to Kupperman. Here's a bit more background on his activities prior to joining the CSIS:
"Kupperman has been a terrorism specialist at CSIS since 1979. Before that he served for some dozen years in the federal government, first in the President's Office of Emergency Preparedness (1967-73), then as chief scientist and deputy assistant director for military and economic affairs at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1973-79). Kupperman worked on terrorism both for a Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism and for the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, and published Terrorism: Threat, Reality, Response with Darrell Trent in 1979. He also operated a private consulting firm, Robert Kupperman Associates, which served both private clients and the government... Kupperman advise the army on counterinsurgency, codirecting a seven-volume study, Strategic Requirements for the Army in the Year 2000, and producing a report, Low-Intensity Conflict, in 1983. The 1983 study sets forth a number of policy options for consideration by the army which Kupperman would describe as state terrorism if employed by a hostile power."
(The "Terrorism" Industry, Edward Herman & Gerry O'Sullivan, pgs. 153-154) 
Robert Kupperman
There's a lot to take in here. As was noted in the prior installment, the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) was one of the key agencies tasked with implementing COG during this era, serving as a kind of predecessor agency to FEMA. Kupperamn appears to have played a lead role in the OEP as his New York Time's obituary lists him as an assistant director of the agency during his tenure there. Kupperman also assisted in the initial implementation of FEMA and would continue to advise it for years to come. In other words, Kupperman had a decades-spanning association with COG planning.

As was also noted in the prior installment, Watergate bungler James McCord was also active in the OEP at the same time Kupperman was an assistant director there. Beyond this connection, there is another possible tie between the two: behavior modification experiments. As was noted before here, McCord had spent much of his CIA career operating out of the Office of Security (OS)'s Security Research Staff. This just happened to be the section of the CIA that oversaw Project ARTICHOKE and McCord was quite close to both General Paul Gaynor and Morse Allen, both of whom oversaw ARTICHOKE for years. McCord is also likely the man who "investigated" the death of Frank Olson for the OS.

James McCord
Kupperman has no direct links to the Pentagon/CIA behavior modification programs, but he does appear to have been involved with the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) for years. And that is an organization with more than a few skeletons in the closet.

LEAA and Domestic Crack Downs During the Vietnam Era

The LEAA was initiated by the Nixon administration and highly regarded by said administration. Nominally it was intended to provide state and local law enforcement with federal funding, but for practical purposes it was used as a tool to militarize police forces while facilitating closer cooperation between them and the US intelligence community. LEAA would play a key role in domestic operations initiated by the CIA, FBI and the military intelligence services during the 1960s against dissident movements.
"The use of informants and provocateurs was part of a massive sub rosa campaign to subvert the forces of dissent in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Joining the FBI in this effort was an alphabet soup of federal agencies: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), the intelligence divisions of all the the military services, and numerous local police forces. Over a quarter of a million Americans were under 'active surveillance' during this period, and dossiers were kept on the lawful political activities and personal lives of millions more..."
(Acid Dreams, Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, pg. 224) 

Was this campaign to infiltrate dissident movements a part of COG? Most likely not, but as was noted in the prior installment, plans for mass detentions had already been in place as part of the civil defense and later COG planning as far back as the late 1930s. By the late 1960s, however, the military had stepped in and established its own plans for mass detentions of dissidents. Much of this work began in the early 1960s and was eventually rolled into what became known as Operation Garden Plot.
"... In 1968, acting on the recommendations of the hastily convened Kerner Commission, the Pentagon took unusual steps to combat civil disturbance. A plan and command, named Operation Garden Plot, was devised for 'DOD components [that is, U.S. armed forces] to respond to reasonable requests from the FBI for military resources for use in combating acts of terrorism.' Under this plan
Military intelligence – working with the FBI, local county and state police forces – undertook and directed a massive domestic intelligence-gathering operation.... 
Security forces ranging from Army troops to local police were trained to implement their contingency plans.
The Army task force that had designed this program took on a new home, the Directorate of Civil Disturbance Planning and Operations, and became a national coordinating center for these different efforts.
"The Army task force's transformation into the Directorate of Civil Disturbance Planning and Operations occurred during the massive rioting the broke out in black ghettos of nineteen cities after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968. The Directorate's headquarters was in the Pentagon's basement , known as 'the domestic war room.'
"In effect, plans and programs were being established to institutionalize martial law on a long-term or even permanent basis. A number of steps were taken towards eroding the prohibition, established in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1876 against the ongoing use of the army in civilian law enforcement.
"In 1970 this army program, code-named Garden Plot, was partially exposed by Senator Sam Ervin Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights. In 1975 journalist Ron Ridenour gave further revelations of one of Garden Plot's 'subplans – code name Cable Splicer, covering California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona, under the command of the Sixth Army. It is a plan that outlines extraordinary military procedures to stamp out unrest in this country. Developed in a series of California meetings from 1968 to 1972, Cable Splicer is a war plan that has adapted for domestic use procedures used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam.' The massive army intelligence program was supplemented at various stages by CIA, the Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service, and the National Security Administration."
(The Road to 9/11, Peter Dale Scott, pgs. 27-28)

Theoretically both of these programs were shuttered before Nixon was removed from office, but Garden Plot was officially activated in 1992 in the midst of the LA Riots. It would appear that Garden Plot and Cable Splicer were briefly suspended in the mid-1970s before being incorporated wholesale into FEMA COG planning beginning with the Carter administration and reaching an apex during the Reagan years.

But I've digressed enough for the time being. Back to LEAA. In addition to its use in domestic surveillance and subversion, it was also used a conduit for MK-ULTRA experiments.
"... Largest of all the supporters of behavior modification was the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) which, under the Department of Justice, funded hundreds of behavior modification experiments. All the above agencies were named in secret CIA documents as those who provided research 'cover' for MKULTRA."
(Operation Mind Control, Walter Bowart, pg. 108)
Little is known about the actual MK-ULTRA experiments LEAA actually sponsored, but one project that never got off the ground and likely related to MK-ULTRA is quite horrifying. It involves none other than long time CIA contract psychiatrist and frequent MK-ULTRA participant Dr. Louis Jolyon "Jolly" West. Jolly West is perhaps best known for his "treatment" of Lee Harvey Oswald assassin Jack Ruby and for managing to kill an adult elephant with LSD (seriously). One of his more chilling proposals was the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. It was to be based in California and received vigorous support from then-governor Ronald Reagan in the early 1970s.
"West is probably most notorious for proposing in 1972 to then California Governor Ronald Reagan the creation of the Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence, to be built on a remote abandoned missile test site in the Santa Monica Mountains. Among his earliest recruits were Leonard Rubenstein – formally a top aide to Dr. David Ewen Cameron – as well as two South American doctors who had also worked for Cameron –one to the shock room and the other to run the psychosurgery suite. At the time, the two were employed at 'detention centers' in Paraguay and Chile, which is a nice way of saying that they were working at torture/interrogation centers run by Nazi exile communities. 
"Also recruited by West was Dr. Frank Ervin, one of a trio of Harvard psychosurgeons who had not long before proposed lobotomy as the solution to urban 'rioting.' The center was to work in conjunction with California law enforcement and had secured large grants from the US Law Enforcement Assistance Administration and the National Institute of Mental Health (these two organizations had forged a close alliance in 1970 with the encouragement of the Nixon Administration, with both of them heavily involved in funding MK-ULTRA projects). There were to be psychologists, physicians and sociologists on board – mostly recruited from among West disciples at the Neuropsychiatric Institute – as well as lawyers, police officers, probation officers and clergymen.
"The goal of the center was to identify 'predelinquents' and treat them before their 'deviance' and supposed propensity for violence could be manifest. The team believed that predelinquents could be identified on the basis of several factors: socioeconomic status (poor), age (young), ethnicity (black), and sex (males). Treatments under consideration included electroshock, chemical castration, experimental drug therapy, and psychosurgery – better known as lobotomy (the 'surgical' destruction of the frontal lobes of the brain)."
(Understanding the F-word, David McGowan, pgs. 207-208)
Louis Jolyon "Jolly" West
Mercifully, this project never got off the ground, but it goes to show that the LEAA may have been used for some very disturbing experiments. I have been unable to determine if Robert Kupperman was active with the LEAA during the MK-ULTRA era, but certainly he seems plugged into the black heart of the deep state and may well have favored "experimental" treatments for budding terrorists.

This is especially interesting in the context of James McCord's involvement in the Office of Emergency Preparedness during the same time Kupperman was an assistant director there. As noted above, McCord likely had had extensive dealings in Project ARTICHOKE during his time with the CIA's Office of Security. And keep in mind, ARTICHOKE went well beyond "mere" behavior modification and also encompassed the first forays of the Pentagon and CIA into psi research and may even have included Andrija Puharich's seances to contact "The Nine," alleged nonhuman intellgiences that existed out of time and space (noted before here and here, respectively).

All of this raises some very curious questions as to what exactly was going on with OEP during this era. Unfortunately, very little attention has been paid to the activities of this particular organization or the possible ties between COG planning and the CIA/Pentagon consciousness experiments.

What can be said, however, is that Watergate provided a brief reprieve to these dealings that lasted until the late 1970s. With the ascension of the Reagan administration, COG planning returned with a vengeance.


COG planning was once again exposed, if ever so gingerly, in Establishment publications during the 1980s. As with the initial revelations during the 1970s, it is possible that at least some elements of the Traditional Conservative Establishment were becoming a little nervous about what was being rolled out. Certainly normal people in the streets should have (should remain) positively terrified. Consider:
"The plans for what journalist James Bamford has called the 'secret government' of COG had been slowly developing, chiefly but not only under Republican administrations, since the 1950s... a major step was the creation in 1979 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). But FEMA's emergency planning was radically politicized under President Reagan. By 1984, in the words of journalist Ross Gelbspan, 'Lt. Col. Oliver North was working with officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency... to draw up a secret contingency plan to surveil political dissenters and to arrange for the detention of hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens in case of an unspecified national emergency. The plan, part of which was code-named Rex 84, called for the suspension of the Constitution under a number of scenarios, including a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua.... But in addition to groups opposing United States policies in Central America, the FEMA plan reportedly included environmental activists, opponents of nuclear energy and refugee assistance activists.'
"Earlier, Governor Reagan in California had authorized the development of a counterinsurgency plan (known as Cable Splicer) and exercises to deal with such crises, in conjunction with the U.S. Sixth Army and the Pentagon (Operation Garden Plot). The cadres developing Cable Splicer (headed by Louis Giuffrida), were with Reagan's elevation to the presidency transferred into FEMA. As head of FEMA, Giuffrida pursued plans for massive detention of dissidents; these became so extreme that even Reagan's attorney general, William French Smith, raised objections.
"As developed in the mid-1980s by Oliver North in the White House, the plans called for not just the surveillance but also the potential detention of large numbers of American citizens. During the Iran-Contra hearings North was asked by congressman Jack Brooks about his work on 'a contingency plan in the event of emergency, that would suspend the American Constitution.' The chairman, Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, ruled that this was a 'highly sensitive and classified matter,' not to be dealt with in an open hearing. This dramatic exchange was virtually ignored by the establishment media.
"In the wake of Brooks's question in Congress, the public was told how attorney general William French Smith, in an August 1984 letter to the NSC chair Robert McFarlane, had written that FEMA's proposed executive order 'exceeds its proper function as a coordinating agency for emergency preparedness.' To this day it is usually reported that 'Smith's objections apparently killed the draft executive order.' But the authorizing National Security Decision Directive (NSDD 55 of September 14, 1982, on 'Enduring National Leadership') continued in effect for a decade. It was augmented by President Reagan on September 16, 1985, with National Security Decision Directive 188 (NSDD 188, 'Government Coordination for National Security Emergency Preparedness'). The directives were part of a series, augmented by additional executive orders, that authorized ongoing 'continuity planning.'
"Some of the highest-level planning for COG was conducted by a parallel extragovernmental group. This parallel structure, operating outside normal government channels, included the head of G.D Searle & Co., Donald Rumsfeld, and then congressman from Wyoming Dick Cheney. Overall responsibility for the program, hidden under the innocuously named National Program Office, was assigned to Vice President George H. W. Bush, with 'Lt. Col. Oliver North... as the National Security Council action officer."
(The Road to 9/11, Peter Dale Scott, pgs. 183-184)

As readers of my "Fringe" series are aware, Donald Rumsfeld was active in the hawkish think tank the United States Global Strategy Council (USGSC) at the same time as Colonel John Alexander was using it as a platform to lobby for "nonlethal" weapons. Eventually nonlethals would receive there first official endorsement during the Bush I administration from Richard Cheney's Defense Department (which also green-lighted Garden Plot during the 1992 LA Riots). Cheney and Rumseld of course had a longstanding friendship and political alliance dating back to the Ford administration. Reportedly the relationship was somewhat frayed during this point after Cheney refused to back Rumsfeld's 1988 presidential bid, but it would seem Rummy still had some sway over the Secretary of Defense.

Prior to signing on with the USGSC Alexander had worked with Los Alamos National Laboratory in developing nonlethal weapons. As was noted in the "Fringe" series, Los Alamos also had a longstanding connection to UFOs. Curiously, Los Alamos appears to have become involved with FEMA at some point in the 1980s in developing what would later fall under the rubric of nonlethal weapons.
"The Los Alamos National Laboratory also offered services to FEMA in the area of counterterrorism. In a report entitled Los Alamos Technical Capabilities: Concepts for Assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Its Various Missions, the laboratory placed a number of projects at the agency's disposal, among them 'technologies to identify stressed individuals at a distance without their knowledge; technology to enhance or degrade human performance, to trace personnel, and to identify individuals according to their genetic "protein mutations." From the R&D platter, FEMA could have selected rapid entry and breaching technology or capabilities in using microwave radiation to stun, kill or create perceptual distortions in "mammalian organisms." ' According to the report, such technologies could be developed in minimal time because they were based upon capabilities already known."
(The "Terrorism" Industry, Edward Herman & Gerry O'Sullivan, pg. 59)

The microwave technologies sound very much like certain nonlethal concepts developed by Alexander and company. One can't help but wonder if Alexander's work with Los Alamos in the late 1980s was not spurred at least in part by FEMA's demands for new methods of crowd control. But moving along.

While the participation of Rumsfeld and Cheney as "team leaders" in the COG exercises during the 1980s is well known at this point, the involvement of another major deep state player as a team leader is far less remarked upon.
"...The Reagan Administration assigned personnel to three teams, each named for a color, such as red and blue. Each team included an experienced leader, who could operate as a new White House chief of staff. The obvious candidates were people who had already served at a high level in the executive branch, preferably with experience in the national security apparatus. This was where Cheney and Rumsfeld came in since they had previously served as White House chief of staff in the Ford administration. Besides Cheney and Rumsfeld, who were regulars, other team leaders over the years included James Woolsey, later the director of Central Intelligence, and Kenneth Duberstein, who worked for a time as Reagan's real-life White House chief of staff."
(Rise of the Vulcans, James Mann, pg. 140)
As I'm sure many regular readers are aware, James Woolsey is one of the most well-connected deep state players out there. Check out the great Institute for the Study of Globalization and Covert Politics to see just how well-connected, but suffice to say, he's involved with nearly a hundred think tanks and has remained an enormously influential voice in US foreign policy for decades now. While he's frequently rejected the label, Woolsey is effectively the most powerful neo-con active today. He most recently backed Donald Trump for the presidency, only to break with Trump shortly after the Orange One took office.

But beyond his extensive connections and influence over foreign policy, Woolsey is also a major player in the UFO question. Grant Cameron even goes so far as to label Woolsey as one of fourteen "Magicians" within the US intelligence community tasked with managing the UFO issue. Of Woolsey ties to the UFO question, he goes on to note:
"James Woolsey and his wife Susan had a daylight UFO sighting in the late 1960s in New Hampshire. He is, therefore, an experiencer because when someone sees a UFO (as is clearly shown by abduction reports are not seen when they are operating), they are a part of what the UFO intelligence is doing. The sighting, therefore, was probably not random been intended, and Woolsey may have a mission...
"Woolsey asked for meeting with Dr. Steven Greer in 1993 to discuss the UFO situation. After a three-hour conversation in December on the subject, Woolsey initiated both an unclassified and a classified review of CIA files on UFOs. The unclassified files ended up being summarized in an article titled 'CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90: A Die-Hard Issue' published in the CIA's Studies in Intelligence.
"Although Woolsey denied any interest in what Greer was saying, his wife attended a special briefing that Greer set up for members of Congress in the spring of 1997, where he gathered together about a dozen military witnesses of UFO events.
"Woolsey was also part of a disclosure initiative in 1998 where the population would get prepared for a world 'where it was known that aliens were among us.'
"Woolsey, it is believed, was involved in the briefing of George Bush. Although the media reports that he has left the Trump intelligence team, I'm told he, is still active and is helping to brief Trump on the UFO issue."
(Managing Magic, Grant Cameron, pgs. 302-303)
James Woolsey
Its also interesting to note that both Woolsey and Rumsfeld had a decades-spanning association with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). According James Mann (a CSIS fellow) in Rise of the Vulcans, Rumsfeld was involved in the CSIS from practically the founding, presumably along with Ray S. Cline. As was noted above, Cline and Rummy would end up in the closely-linked United States Global Strategy Council in the late 1980s with Colonel John Alexander and his nonlethal weapon crusade.

Curiously, the CSIS appears to have contributed exercises that were closely related to COG in the 1980s as well.
"A few months after the inauguration, Donald Rumsfeld was invited to play the role of president of the United States in an exercise devised by a Washington think tank. In this scenario, 'President' Rumsfeld was intent on securing congressional approval to go to war. 'I don't care what you tell them,' he barked at White House chief of staff Ed Markey, 'just go over to Capitol Hill and make them do it, and make sure there are no constraints.'
" 'It was an exercise devised by the Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS] to study the functioning of the War Powers Act,' recalled Markey, a liberal Democratic congressman from Massachusetts...
"By all accounts 'President' Rumsfeld played his role in that 1989 exercise for CSIS with great gusto, raging at the obdurate Congress and deploying the 'White House spokesman' (played by the venerable broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr) to maneuver the press into supporting his martial position. But this Washington exercise was a comparatively lighthearted affair compared Rumsfeld's role in games that were far more elaborate, and deeply secret..."
(Rumsfeld, Andrew Cockburn, pg. 84)
While this exercise was not technically a part of COG, it dealt with the issue of establishing a chain of command in the wake of a nuclear strike to launch a counter strike, a topic which COG planners were endlessly vexed by during the 1980s. One can't help but wonder if the CSIS's advisement went beyond these non-classified exercises.

Offutt Air Force Base

I hesitate to include this last piece of information as it comes from a not-especially credible source, but I find it curious the allegations have rarely been linked to the 1980s COG exercises. It involves the notorious Franklin Scandal, an alleged pedophile ring run by Larry E. King, a Nebraska state representative and Republican activist, during the late 1980s. The ring allegedly had national reach, and was also reputed to be tied up in Iran-Contra (which eventually ensnared Oliver North, a key figure in 1980s COG planning, as noted above)and the Craig Spence scandal, among other intrigues. 

One of the individuals alleged to have been part of this ring was Paul Bonacci. Bonacci is easily the least credible witness to emerge from Franklin, having a long criminal history, extensive substance abuse problems and having changed his story multiple times. What's more, this account comes John DeCamp, a former CIA officer who participated in the Phoenix Program before going on to serve as Nebraska state senator. Needless to say, the following should be taken with a heaping grain of salt. 
"Paul has told investigators that the ring which plunged him into Satanism was centered at Offutt U.S. Air Force Base near Omaha; and that he was taken to Offutt to be sexually victimized by a babysitter's boyfriend when he was about three years old, around 1970. Offutt is the headquarters for the Strategic Air Command, and has had a cadre of thousands of intelligence personnel.
"At Offutt, and later at other military installations, Paul says this ring 'trained' him by tortures, heavy drugging, and sexual degradation, while instructing him in military arts including assassination. In fact, his personal knowledge in these realms can scarcely be accounted for other than by crediting the indictments he has made. 
"Larry King, FBI agent Gary Wahl, Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, and former Omaha Police Chief Robert Wadman have all been reported as collaborators with this Satanic military-based ring. King reportedly told Paul's captors at Offutt, 'He's young – but you trained him good.' A member of Nebraska's Concerned Parents group reported hearing from two North Omaha witnesses that 'King used to send limos down to Offutt Air Base to pick up CIA agents for parties.' Larry King reported his own adoring relationship to late CIA director William Casey in a Sept. 7, 1988, interview in the Omaha publication Metropolitan."
(The Franklin Cover-Up, John DeCamp, pg. 327)
Larry E. King
According to DeCamp, Bonacci also alleged that one of the men who abused him at Offutt was Colonel Michael Aquino, who was briefly addressed in part nine of the "Fringe" series. Aquino, a military intelligence officer who at one time was a member of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan until he broke away and founded his own Temple of Set, has been linked to any number of sensational allegations over the years, most notably the Presidio child care scandal. While I've always been rather dubious of many of the claims surrounding Aquino, who may have been a member of the far right American Security Council (ASC) during the 1980s and more recently hooked up with Colonel John Alexander as part of the powerful Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFOI).

Colonel Michael Aquino
There are some interesting connections to the 1980s COG exercises here. One is of course Offutt Air Force Base itself, which then housed the Strategic Air Command. In the event of a nuclear attack on the United States, Offutt would have no doubt played a key role and is equipped with extensive COG facilities. On the day of 9/11, George W. Bush was brought Offutt for a time after COG protocols were initiated.

Curiously billionaire Warren Buffett, the so-called "Oracle of Ohama," happened to be there as well. Buffett had reportedly been an early backer of King's in Nebraska. In some accounts, he was also alleged to have participated in the pedophile ring. But moving along.

Offutt would have surely been used during the 1980s COG exercises and apparently James Woolsey, one of the COG "team leaders," was employed at Offutt from 1987-1988, right in the midst of the Franklin scandal. Woolsey would later go on work with Colonel Michael Aquino's old boss and co-author the infamous "From PSYOP to Mind War," General Paul Vallely in the ASC-spinoff the Center for Security Policy (CSP). The CSP, along with the CSIS, are two of the most powerful think tanks active in the Trump administration (the CSP's influence was noted here). And of course Woolsey and Rumsfeld were active in the CSIS at the same time Rummy was involved in the United States Global Strategy Council with Aquino's future friend, John Alexander. And Alexander would later forge ties with longtime CSIS member Robert Kupperman, his potential source for the COG-Majestic 12 allegations, during the late 1980s when all of this was unfolding.

Given the incestuous nature of all the players, I can't totally discount Bonacci's claims concerning Offutt. Clearly some strange things were going on with COG planning during the 1980s and there are certainly hints that some of the key players in said activities were also involved in CIA/Pentagon behavior modification experiments.


And so concludes this current appendix. In a future installment of the "Fringe" series, I'll pick up the COG threads going into the 1990s and 00s as many of these same individuals would return with a vengeance in the Bush II years. This would seemingly coincide with a vigorous return of high weirdness to the deep state. But that's a story for another time. Until then dear readers, stay tuned.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Orange Alone

Is this the end? I'm always reluctant to write off the Orange One --every time you think he's finally torpedoed himself for good, he manages to come back. Its been this way for decades now.

But there's no question the past few days have been rough for The Donald. Trump's business allies are abandoning him in droves and Congressional Republicans are becoming more emboldened in their attacks in the wake of Charlottesville. And now word comes that Trump's infamous Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon has either resigned or been dismissed by White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly, depending upon whom one believes.

While the Left is ecstatic over Bannon's ouster, there will likely now be no one left to moderate Trump's foreign policy. By and large Bannon appears to have been the only real dove left in the Trump administration. He has of course long favored detente with Russia, but he also opposed strikes on Syria as well increasing troop levels in Afghanistan and more recently had come out against further escalating tensions with North Korea and Venezuela.

This had frequently put Bannon at odds with the clique of generals --led by Kelly, Secretary of Defense James "Mad Dog" Mattis and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster, who have frequently favored a more interventionist approach to these various hot spots. But Bannon, despite his ties to Goldman Sachs, had frequently pissed off the Goldman clique in the Trump White House as well with his stances on illegal immigration, China, and even tax policy.

Bannon's removal leaves Trump in a very precarious position. The factions left in the White House now that the nationalist elements have largely been driven out (in no small part by McMaster and now Kelly) --the Generals, the Goldman clique, and The Family/Christian fundamentalists around Vice-President Mike Pence --have no love or loyalty for Trump. At this point Trump's only real hope is to keep the Pentagon happy and Kelly's ascension to Chief of Staff appears to have left the military firmly in control of the White House. But as Trump become more untenable, the Pentagon's hand will surely be forced sooner rather than latter.

However, as the Financial Times recently noted, the Orange One's removal will likely do little to quell the growing domestic unrest in these United States. The possibility certainly exists that recent incidents such as the Battle of Berkeley, the 2017 Congressional baseball shooting and now Charlottesville will be remembered as the opening salvos in a civil war.

This makes the possibility of a world war all the more likely, as such an external threat is probably the only thing left that could unite the country at this point. And this has real barring on whether Trump stays or goes.

When all is said and done, the Pentagon appears to be in the driver's seat at this point. As such, the question becomes: who do they want to fight a world war with? Its no secret that the military has become increasingly disillusioned with civilian management of various war efforts in recent years. The Generals' Revolt of 2006 was the most striking recent instance of this, but there was ample chaffing in the Obama Administration as well. Trump's NSA, General H.R. McMaster, wrote a celebrated account of the Vietnam War in which he effectively blamed the Joint Chiefs of Staff for not demanding that the civilian government allow them to fight the war the way they felt it needed to be fought. Really, this has been an ongoing issue with the Pentagon since Truman removed MacArthur from command in Korea.

The major appeal Trump appears to have for the Pentagon is his willingness to unshackle the brass. Certainly the Pentagon would not enjoy the kind of authority they now possess under a Hillary presidency or even Pence one in which political considerations would surely trump military strategy (har har). While the Pentagon may be willing to tolerate this state of affairs against a Third World nation with marginal military capabilities (so long as the defense budgets continue to swell, at least), Russia and/or China are another league all together. In such circumstances, the Pentagon would surely prefer to play for keeps rather than fretting over "nation building."

But how much longer can Trump survive? While I have no doubt that the Orange One has another ace or two up his sleeve, people are clearly beginning to distance themselves from the administration. The wagons are being circled and as the Orange One becomes more embattled, the possibility looms that he and/or his handlers will do something rash. In this sense at least the loss of Bannon, the only member of Trump's entire staff whose foreign policy ideas may not have left the world in ruins, is tremendous. Bannon's ouster is clearly meant to drive a wedge between Trump and his fanatical backers, but I suspect this will blow up dramatically.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Cry Havoc...

It seems like everyday the mask comes off a little further. After years of chaffing under civilian control, the Pentagon finally got one of their own atop the DoD when The Donald appointed General James "Mad Dog" Mattis to Secretary of Defense. Since then, an increasing degree of presidential control over the military has flowed to Mag Dog and the military officers fighting for American global hegemony. The results thus far have been spectacular. Trump's administration is already on pace to surpass the amount of civilian causalities generated during the entire Obama administration in a single year.

Elsewhere, the military is feeling emboldened enough to openly declare the American empire, while also warning of its collapse. And the Pentagon's solution? As predictable as you would imagine:
"This is a war, then, between US-led capitalist globalization, and anyone who resists it. And to win it, the document puts forward a combination of strategies: consolidating the US intelligence complex and using it more ruthlessly; intensifying mass surveillance and propaganda to manipulate US and global popular opinion; expanding US military power and reach to ensure access to 'strategic regions, markets, and resources.' "
It is also interesting that this study, produced by the US Army War College, received ample assistance from several neocon-leaning think tanks, most notable the Georgetown-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). As I've noted before here and here, this powerful and little remarked upon think tank appears to be playing a guiding role in Trump's foreign policy, so you can be sure this report was taken very seriously within the current National Security Council.

But the Pentagon is not the force feeling emboldened by The Orange One. The private military sector also has an ambitious vision as well (hat tip to Andrew):
"Here’s a crazy idea floating around Washington these days, outlandish even by today’s outlandish standards: The United States should hire a mercenary army to 'fix' Afghanistan, a country where we’ve been at war since 2001, spending billions along the way. The big idea here is that they could extricate U.S. soldiers from this quagmire, and somehow solve it. 
"Not surprisingly, the private-military industry is behind this proposal. Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private military company Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, each see a role for themselves in this future. Their proposal was offered at the request of Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, according to people briefed on the conversations.
"It could get worse. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Prince laid out a plan whereby the fighting force would be led by an American viceroy who would report directly to Trump. Modeled after General Douglas MacArthur, who ruled Japan after World War II, the viceroy would consolidate all American power in a single person. His mission: Do whatever it takes to pacify Afghanistan. No more backseat driving of the war from pesky bureaucrats in Washington, or restrictive rules of engagement imposed on soldiers. An American viceroy with a privatized fighting force would make trains run on time in Afghanistan—if they had trains."
Blackwater co-founder Erik Prince
Well, it would seem that even Bannon and Kushner can agree upon an "East India Company solution" for Afghanistan. And it is quite possible Trump himself would like to found an out for this quagmire. Reportedly the Orange One and the Pentagon are at a stalemate over Afghanistan, with Mattis growing increasingly frustrated with Trump's inability to announce a strategy on the now 16-year-long war while Trump views of all the options the Pentagon has presented him with as bad ones.

In other words, its becoming a real headache for both sides and pawning Afghanistan off to an American viceroy and private mercenary armies may ultimately be seen as the simplest solution. Trump would have the viceroy providing him some degree of protection for the inevitable disaster this policy will bring about while the Pentagon will be able to free up several thousand troops for more pressing matters, such as an attack on North Korea.

And hey, there's already a movie outlining this option, so neither side has to be especially creative.

While this may nominally seem like a blow to the Pentagon, the ongoing White House game of thrones tells a different story.

Over the past few weeks the blood has been flowing. It began with the appointment of Anthony "Mooch"Scaramucci to the post of White House Communications Director. On the same day Mooch took office, the much maligned Sean Spicer resigned as White House Press Secretary. Then, a week later, Mooch drove out White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus after accusing him of leaks to a reporter for The New Yorker.

Scaramucci also took some shots at infamous White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon, indicating he was the next potential target. But when the ax fell next, it fell on Mooch himself. On the last day of July Mooch was removed from his post, after only ten days on the job, by General John Kelly, the new incoming White House Chief of Staff. Reportedly the order came from the Orange One himself, but how much control he actually has of the White House at this point is debatable, as we shall see.

Sean Spicer (top) and Reince Priebus (bottom)
First though, let us consider the backgrounds of those ousted. Priebus is largely a creature of the RNC and was widely seen as Trump's line to the party bureaucracy and the Congress. However, the relationship between Trump and his backers and the RNC has always been tenuous at best and in recent months appears to be totally breaking down. Priebus' removal was likely welcomed by all factions at play in the Trump White House.

Spicer, while much despised by the MSM, may have caused more waves. Spicer has been been a Navy reserve officer since 1999 and presently holds the rank of Commander. As recently as 2016, he was assigned  to the Joint Chiefs of Staff's naval reserve contingent in Washington, months before Trump took office. Given the staggering amount of military officers in key posts in the Trump administration, this probably didn't go over well.

But not only did the military see one of its own removed, it also had to contend with a former Goldman Sachs banker and Council on Foreign Relations members having direct access to Trump. Despite the excitement Mooch caused among Trump backers, Scaramucci was very much a part of the internationalist network that is behind the opposition to Trump.

Trump's presidency is largely a result of the Pentagon and especially the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the ousting of Mooch reeks of the Pentagon closing ranks around their boy. But even more curious, however, are reports that have come out in the wake on Scaramucci's firing indicating the full extent to which the military is dominating Trump's presidency. Consider the following from the AP:
"Mattis and Kelly also agreed in the earliest weeks of Trump's presidency that one of them should remain in the United States at all times to keep tabs on the orders rapidly emerging from the White House, according to a person familiar with the discussions. The official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the administration's internal dynamics."

"Mad Dog" Mattis (top) and Kelly (bottom)
Effectively then either General Mattis or General Kelly is remaining in the United States at all times to monitor (and potentially to censor) the orders coming out of he White House. And this is unfolding all the while General H.R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor, is working diligently to drum Trump backers out of the National Security Council.

The message seems to be clear: conservative Trump backers (much as the progressive Obama backers before them) will have some degree of influence over domestic policy but the Pentagon (unlike in virtually all prior administrations) is firmly in command of foreign policy. As it stands, the military clearly dominates the NSC and now it controls the day-to-day operations of the White House as well. And with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly on the verge of resigning, its quite possible all major foreign policy posts in the Trump administration will be held by someone whose spent a good chunk of their life wearing as US military uniform by the end of the year.

Tillerson's successor?