Friday, October 29, 2010

Mass Assassinations Lie at the Heart of America's Military Strategy in the Muslim World

Mass Assassinations Lie at the Heart of America's Military Strategy in the Muslim World

Greatly expanded U.S. military Special Ops teams, U.S. drone strikes and private espionage networks run by former CIA assassins create a threat to our security.
by Fred Branfman 
August 24, 2010  |  "[General McChrystal says that] for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies." -- "The Runaway General," Rolling Stone, 6/22/10
One of the many innocent victims of drone attacks

The truth that many Americans find hard to take is that that mass U.S. assassination on a scale unequaled in world history lies at the heart of America's military strategy in the Muslim world, a policy both illegal and never seriously debated by Congress or the American people. Conducting assassination operations throughout the 1.3 billon-strong Muslim world will inevitably increase the murder of civilians and thus create exponentially more "enemies," as Gen. McChrystal suggests -- posing a major long-term threat to U.S. national security. This mass assassination program, sold as defending Americans, is actually endangering us all. Those responsible for it, primarily General Petraeus, are recklessly seeking short-term tactical advantage while making an enormous long-term strategic error that could lead to countless American deaths in the years and decades to come. General Petraeus must be replaced, and the U.S. military's policy of direct and mass assassination of Muslims ended.
The U.S. has conducted assassination programs in the Third World for decades, but the actual killing -- though directed and financed by the C.I.A. -- has been largely left to local paramilitary and police forces. This has now has changed dramatically.
What is unprecedented today is the vast number of Americans directly assassinating Muslims -- through greatly expanded U.S. military Special Operations teams, U.S. drone strikes and private espionage networks run by former CIA assassins and torturers. Most significant is the expanding geographic scope of their killing. While CENTCOM Commander from October 2008 until July 2010, General Petraeus received secret and unprecedented permission to unilaterally engage in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, former Russian Republics, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, the Horn of Africa, and wherever else he deems necessary.
Never before has a nation unleashed so many assassins in so many foreign nations around the world (9,000 Special Operations soldiers are based in Iraq and Afghanistan alone) as well as implemented a policy that can be best described as unprecedented, remote-control, large-scale "mechanized assassination."  As the N.Y. Times noted in December 2009: "For the first time in history, a civilian intelligence agency is using robots to carry out a military mission, selecting people for killing in a country where the United States is not officially at war."  
This combination of human and technological murder amounts to a worldwide “Assassination Inc.” that is unique in human affairs.
The increasing shift to direct U.S. assassination began on Petraeus's watch in Iraq,where targeted assassination was considered by many within the military to be more important than the "surge." The killing of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was considered a major triumph that significantly reduced the level of violence. As Bob Woodward reported in The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008:
"Beginning in about May 2006, the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence agencies launched a series of top secret operations that enabled them to locate, target and kill key individuals in extremist groups. A number of authoritative sources say these covert activities had a far-reaching effect on the violence and were very possibly the biggest factor in reducing it. Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) responsible for hunting al Qaeda in Iraq, (conducted) lightning-quick and sometimes concurrent operations When I later asked the president (Bush) about this, he offered a simple answer: 'JSOC is awesome.'" [Emphasis added.]
Woodward's finding that many "authoritative sources" believed assassination more important than the surge is buttressed by Petraeus' appointment of McChrystal to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal's major qualification for the post was clearly his perceived expertise in assassination while heading JSOC from 2003-'08 (where he also conducted extensive torture at "Camp Nama" at Baghdad International Airport, successfully excluding even the Red Cross).
Another key reason for the increased reliance on assassination is that Petraeus' announced counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan obviously cannot work. It is absurd to believe that the corrupt warlords and cronies who make up the "Afghan government" can be transformed into the viable entity upon which his strategy publicly claims to depend -- particularly within the next year which President Obama has set as a deadline before beginning to withdraw U.S. troops. Petraeus is instead largely relying on mass assassination to try and eliminate the Taliban, both within Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The centrality of assassination to U.S. war plans is revealed by the fact that it was at the heart of the Obama review of Afghan policy last fall. The dovish Biden position called for relying primarily on assassination, while the hawkish McChrystal stance embraced both assassination and more troops. No other options were seriously considered.
A third factor behind the shift to mass assassination is that Petraeus and the U.S. military are also determined to attack jihadi forces in nations where the U.S. is not at war, and which are not prepared to openly invite in U.S. forces. As the N.Y. Times reported on May 24, "General Petraeus (has argued) that troops need to operate beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to better fight militant groups."
 The most significant aspect of this new and expanded assassination policy is President Obama's authorizing clandestine U.S. military personnel to conduct it. The N.Y. Times has also reported:
In roughly a dozen countries -- from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics crippled by ethnic and religious strife -- the United States has significantly increased military and intelligence operations, pursuing the enemy using robotic drones and commando teams, paying contractors to spy and training local operatives to chase terrorists (Military) Special Operations troops under secret "Execute Orders" have conducted spying missions that were once the preserve of civilian intelligence agencies.
Particularly extraordinary is the fact that these vastly expanded military assassination teams are not subject to serious civilian control. As the N.Y. Times has also reported, Petraeus in September 2009 secretly expanded a worldwide force of assassins answerable only to the military, without oversight by not only Congress but the president himself:
The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents. The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa. Unlike covert actions undertaken by the C.I.A., such clandestine activity does not require the president's approval or regular reports to Congress. [Emphasis added]
Although sold to the American public and Congress as targeted, selective assassination aimed only at a handful of "high value" insurgent leaders, the program has in fact already expanded far beyond that. As personnel and aircraft devoted to assassination exponentially increase, so too do the numbers of people they murder, both "insurgents" and civilians.
Winning hearts and minds in North Waziristan, Pakistan
While it is reasonable to assume that expanding the number of Special Operations commandos to its present worldwide level of 13,000 will result in increasing assassinations, the secrecy of their operations makes it impossible to know how many they have murdered, how many of those are civilians, and the effectiveness of their operations. It is not known, for example, how many people U.S. military assassins murder directly, and how many they kill indirectly by identifying them for drone strikes. Much of their activity is conducted, for example, in North Waziristan in northwest Pakistan which, as the N.Y. Times reported on April 4 "is virtually sealed from the outside world." 
More information, however, has emerged about the parallel and unprecedented mass mechanized assassinations being carried out by the C.I.A. drone programs. It is clear that they have already expanded far beyond the official cover story of targeting only "high-level insurgent leaders," and are killing increasing numbers of people.
Bishop Oscar Romero: not forgotten
The CIA, of course, is no novice at assassination. Future CIA Director William Colby's Operation Phoenix program in South Vietnam gave South Vietnamese police quotas of the number of civilians to be murdered on a weekly and monthly basis, eventually killing 20-50,000 people. CIA operatives such as Latin American Station Chef Duane "Dewey" Clarridge also established, trained and operated local paramilitary and death squads throughout Central and Latin America that brutally tortured and murdered tens of thousands of civilians, most notably in El Salvador where CIA-trained and -directed killers murdered Archbishop Romero and countless other Salvadorans.
But the present CIA assassination program in Pakistan and elsewhere is different not only because it is Americans who are themselves the assassins, but because of the unprecedented act of conducting mechanized mass assassination from the air. The CIA, as Nick Turse has reported for TomDispatch.com, is exponentially increasing its drone assassination program:  "(Drone) Reapers flew 25,391 hours (in 2009). This year, the air force projects that the combined flight hours of all its drones will exceed 250,000 hours. More flight time will, undoubtedly, mean more killing." 
Not concerned about drones? Coming soon to your locale: this Microdrone is one of many kinds currently being manufactured to provide "police protection" for civilians across America, Europe and Asia.
There were already signs in 2009, when drone strikes were a fraction of what they are now, that they were striking large numbers of civilians and proving militarily and politically counterproductive. Most Pakistanis believe it is largely civilians who are being killed, and anti-American hatred is growing accordingly. A Gallup poll conducted in July 2009, based on 2,500 face-to-face interviews, found that "only 9 percent of Pakistanis supported the drone strikes." A Global Research study documented the drone murder of 123 civilians in January 2010 alone.
A particularly significant indication of the drone strikes' military ineffectiveness has come from Colonel David Kilcullen, a key Petraeus advisor in Iraq, who testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 23, 2009, that, "Since 2006, we've killed 14 senior Al Qaeda leaders using drone strikes; in the same time period, we've killed 700 Pakistani civilians in the same area. We need to call off the drones."
Kilcullen's testimony was ignored, however, and as drone strikes have not only been continued but exponentially increased, there are increasing signs that they have vastly increased the scope of the killing far beyond the claimed "high-level insurgent leaders." The N.Y. Times reported on Aug. 14:
[The CIA has] broadened its drone campaign beyond selective strikes against Qaeda leaders and now regularly obliterates suspected enemy compounds and logistics convoys, just as the military would grind down an enemy force.
The CIA received approval to target a wider range of targets in Pakistan's tribal areas, including low-level fighters whose identities may not be known, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. Former intelligence officials acknowledged that in many, if not most cases, the CIA had little information about the foot soldiers killed in the strikes.
What this means is clear: the CIA is assassinating an expanding number of "low-level" people, labeling them as "fighters," but has little if any idea of who they really are. The history of such mechanized campaigns from the air, such as Laos where I have studied the U.S. 1964-'73 air war intensively, is that increased warfare from the air inevitably becomes increasingly indiscriminate, destroying civilian and military targets alike. As the drone program continues to expand, it will inevitably wind up killing more civilians -- and, if McChrystal is right, exponentially create more people committed to killing Americans.
Numerous moral, legal and ethical objections have been raised to this program of mass assassination. Philip Alston, the United Nations special representative on extrajudicial executions, has stated that "this strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other states can have without doing grave damage to the rules designed to protect the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions."
The notion that a handful of U.S. military and CIA officials have the right to unilaterally and secretly murder anyone they choose in any nation on earth, without even outside knowledge let alone oversight, is deeply troubling to anyone with a conscience, belief in democracy, or respect for international law. It was precisely such behavior that made the Gestapo and Soviet secret police symbols of evil. Since the U.S. Congress has never reined in an Executive Branch that has routinely ignored international law since 1945, however, it is likely that the question of whether this program will be continued will be determined by its perceived effectiveness, not its morality. 
The evidence is mounting that U.S. assassinations are so ineffective they are actually strengthening anti-American forces in Pakistan. Bruce Reidel, a counterinsurgency expert who coordinated the Afghan review for President Obama, said: "The pressure we've put on (jihadist forces) in the past year has also drawn them together, meaning that the network of alliances is growing stronger not weaker."
Reidel's striking conclusion that jihadi forces in Pakistan are stronger after six years of drone airstrikes that the CIA claims are weakening them, is echoed by numerous other reports indicating that General Petraeus' strategy of using military force against Al Qaeda, Afghan and local insurgent forces in Pakistan has pushed them further east from isolated northwest areas into major cities like Karachi, where they operate freely and work together far more closely than before. The general's miscalculations regarding Pakistan are reason enough for him to be replaced.
In the long run, General Petraeus' strategy of expanding both ground and mechanized assassination throughout the 1.3 billion-strong Muslim world is likely to do the greatest disservice to his country's interests. It is true that U.S. leaders have used local forces to assassinate tens of thousands since 1945 and that while these programs were largely ineffectual, they did not lead to attacks on American soil.
But 9/11 has changed the calculus. It is clear that in today's wired and globalized world, marked by large-scale immigration, cheap telecommunications and airline travel, where crude technologies like car bombs or IEDs can be as easily detonated in New York as in Kandahar, and where America's enemies are growing increasingly technologically sophisticated even as nuclear weapons proliferate and become miniaturized, it is the height of folly to foment geometrically growing anti-American hatred in the volatile Muslim world.
A growing number of military and counterinsurgency experts support Colonel Kilcullen's belief that these assassination programs abroad are not protecting Americans at home. Both the "Underwear" and the "Times Square" bombers attributed their attempts to blow up Americans to their anger at the drone strikes. While Americans were saved by their incompetence, the U.S. may not be so lucky the next time, and the time after that. One thing is crystal clear: inflaming anti-American hatred throughout the Muslim world can only exponentially increase the numbers of those committed to killing Americans.
Such fears are increasing in Washington, as the N.Y. Times reported in the wake of the Times Square bombing:
A new, and disturbing, question is being raised in Washington: Have the stepped-up attacks in Pakistan -- notably the Predator drone strikes -- actually made Americans less safe? Are they inspiring more attacks on America than they prevent? As one American intelligence official said, "Those attacks (on two Pakistani Taliban leaders) have made it personal for the Pakistani Taliban -- so it's no wonder they are beginning to think about how they can strike back at targets here."
As General Petraeus and the U.S. military "make it personal" to increasing number of people throughout the Muslim world, they are recklessly sowing a whirlwind for which many of us, our children and grandchildren may well pay with our lives for decades to come.
It is difficult for most Americans to grasp the fact that their leaders' incompetence -- Republican and Democrat, civilian and military -- poses one of the single greatest threats to their own safety. But only when Americans do so will there be any hope of making America more secure in the dangerous years to come.
A clear place to begin protecting America is to abandon the assassination approach to war, ditch General Petraeus, end the military and CIA's focus on worldwide and mechanized mass assassination, and halt its reckless expansion of U.S. war-making into nuclear-armed Pakistan and so much more of the Muslim world.

Final Note: Duane 'Dewey' Clarridge: The True Face of U.S. Policy Toward the Muslim World
We'll intervene whenever we decide it's in our national security interest. And if you don't like it, lump it. Get used to it, world!" -- Duane Clarridge, interviewed by John Pilger in "The War on  Democracy"
As the N.Y. Times reported, Clarridge is presently advising CIA assassination efforts in Pakistan. ("Duane R. Clarridge, a profane former C.I.A. officer who ran operations in Central America and was indicted in the Iran-contra scandal, turned up this year helping run a Pentagon-financed private spying operation in Pakistan.") Watch an extraordinary three-minute video interview with Clarridge that reveals the true face of U.S. policy in the Muslim world.
Fred Branfman, the editor of “Voices From the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War” (Harper & Row, 1972), exposed the U.S. secret air war while living in Laos from 1967 to 1971.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

GORDON DUFF: WHEN WILL THE CRIMES OF 9/11 END?

GORDON DUFF: WHEN WILL THE CRIMES OF 9/11 END?
October 16, 2010 posted by Gordon Duff 

DISINFORMATION, SPYING, INTIMIDATION, THE BIGGEST COVER-UP IN AMERICAN HISTORY
By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor
9 years after 9/11, American drug production in Afghanistan has gone from zero to 92% of world output.  Calling the drug business there anything but “American” is a lie.  We don’t just “turn way,” we are in it up to our necks, maybe deeper.  Last week we learned that USAID, part of the Department of State, was supplying fertilizer for opium production.  Testimony that implicates every level of the American government in drug dealing, corruption and even complicity in terrorism has been ignored or suppressed for years.  The American government, in concert with the powerful Israel lobby, is working to silence citizen dissent, suppress “open source” information and control, not just the media but every form of human communication beyond the guarded whisper.

No police state in history is guilty of more.

In particular, I recently read the most recent additions to Dimitri  Khalezov’s book on 9/11.  Khalezov was a Russian “special weapons” officer.  This led his examination to look at applications of advanced technologies tied to the application of particle physics, fission and fusion weapons and “Star Wars” technology which he has a unique understanding of.  What was enjoyable was his non-dogmatic approach.  There are so many theories around regarding 9/11, with government paid “shills” coming up with a new and crazier version almost weekly.  For every pronouncement about Al Qaeda and hijackers the government makes overtly, they make ten pronouncements about space aliens and cosmic death rays on the internet.

We know they do it, they have been caught repeatedly.  These are the actions of a police state.

I am not ready to comprehensively discuss all the reasons that 9/11 is such a disgusting subject.  Suffice it to say that the naked lies the government has foisted on the public for so long are both irrational and patently insane.  This is where Khalezov shines.  He has a way of cutting through the manure.

It is funny to read a Russian discuss 9/11.  One area that we can deal with today and, perhaps, put one minor thing to rest is how the World Trade Center was built and why an aircraft, why 500 aircraft could never hurt it.  Oh, you say, the plane flew right through the building, passing through the thin glass windows and out the other side.

Yup, that’s how it seemed.

How Khalezov describes the outer walls of the WTC is though comparison with a World War II T-34 Russian Tank.  His point is that each of the beams that made up the outside of the building, spaced 3 feet apart, had four sides, each not only harder but thicker than the armor on a tank.  The analogies used by Khalezov were compelling.
His first point, of course, is that anti-tank rounds are never made of aluminum.  You don’t use aluminum knives. 

 Aluminum can’t cut steel.

We could go further:  Crashing a Boeing 767 into 20 massive 4 sided hardened steel girders, highly supported and interlaced, cutting through them and eventually bringing down the largest building in the world would be the equivalent of throwing a beer can at a garbage truck.

Want more?  Cutting a steel knife with a piece of cheese?

Derailing a freight train with a thrown marshmallow?  OK, that one is a bit much, but you get the picture.  Aircraft are made of lightweight and very thin aluminum.  The WTC had a massive outer wall of heavy steel, thick enough to armor a tank, a similar center structure around the core and a second wall for a plane to pass through.  No possible amount of aluminum in any shape or configuration at 400 miles per hour or 2000 miles per hour could pass through one steel beam much less dozens.

Pages are spent describing this point nobody has discussed other than Khalezov.  It is clear that Khalezov and David Ray Griffin don’t see “eye to eye” on the methods used to bring the building down.  In many ways, it is a shame that there is a more powerful need to deal with the science before we deal with the criminal intent, especially finding those responsible.  I respect both men for the work they have done and their disagreement is an honest one.  That both manage to disagree with each other and still humiliate the government’s fabrication is both curious and compelling.

On this point all are in agreement.  Khalezov is emphatic that the wildest possible conspiracy theory involves box cutters, hijackers and  a massive building “pancaking” to the ground in total free fall while enough steel to build a naval fleet turns into dust. No idiot could believe that, a “hare brained” lie that has proven to be assembled from planted witnesses, misquotes and total fabrications.

If even one of these things were a factor, it would be evidence of a criminal conspiracy.  That all are present, that and the massive government spy operation directed against those seeking the truth, an operation that takes up an entire department header by Cass Sonnenstein, with a title that unavoidably sounds like “Reichs Minister of Propaganda,” we can say “case closed.”  We can also say with some certainty, “No Muslims were harmed in the making of this picture.”

I don’t plan on going there but something haunts me.  Nobody has seen or heard from Osama bin Laden since 2001.  Benazir Bhutto says he was killed then.  Intelligence officials from several countries confirm this privately.  Yet we have a hundred thousand people looking for him, nearly 5,000 have died hunting him after his death was confirmed, as reliable sources tell us.

On the other hand, the “suicide hijackers” we claim were on the planes on 9/11 seem to be, not only alive, but are thinking of suing the networks for being refused entry into the country to go on talk shows.  How can we have dead hijackers kept out of the country because they are on terrorist watch lists?  Doesn’t that stop when you die?

What kind of place are we running here?

But, we are here to talk dissolving steel, magically plummeting buildings and government misconduct.  When the NIST stated that the WTC “pancaked” they misrepresented the amount of concrete in the upper stories.  There was nothing to collapse, only vertical steel, no huge concrete walls, no pillars made of concrete and only thin concrete floors.  They lied.

Almost all the concrete in the buildings is in the foundation, there is little in the upper floors.  They are steel.  It would be like dissolving several aircraft carriers and seeing them blow away with the wind, except this is exactly what we saw.  However, we have seen one other steel building, the Windsor Building, in Madrid, burn for 24 hours.  This building was nowhere as strong and burned, not one hour but for at least a day.

The “government’ runs a website at www.america.gov meant to “debunk” 9/11.  They refer to an article from Popular Science and a study done by the National Institute of Standards.  Few scientists will stand by any of this anymore, they are all either onboard with “9/11 Truth” or protecting their careers with silence.
When we talk about steel no plane could ever penetrate, the NIST does supply a nice photo, though.
My recommendation is to read the book, not because I agree with it or everything it says.  Simply read it because it provides many relevant points, and some clear warnings about how serious government interference has been in the process of finding the truth.

Every lie, every infiltrated group, every bit of ridiculous pseudo-science proves one thing.  

9/11 was an inside job and those responsible are still pulling the strings in America.
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About Gordon Duff: Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defense technologies or acting as diplomatic officer of UN humanitarian groups. Gordon Duff's articles are published around the world and translated into a number of languages. He is regularly on TV and radio, a popular and sometimes controversial guest.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

The War On Terror



The War On Terror
by Paul Craig Roberts, October 16, 2010
Does anyone remember the "cakewalk war" that would last six weeks, cost $50-$60 billion, and be paid for out of Iraqi oil revenues?  

 (Nov. 15, 2002, CBS: ...Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld...rejected concerns that a war would be a quagmire. "... it's [not] going to be a long, long, long battle of some kind... Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that..." )




Does anyone remember that White House economist Lawrence Lindsey was fired by Dubya because Lindsey estimated that the Iraq war could cost as much as $200 billion?  Lindsey was fired for over-estimating the cost of a war that, according to Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, has cost 15 times more than Lindsey estimated. And the US still has 50,000 troops in Iraq.  Does anyone remember that just prior to the US invasion of Iraq, the US government declared victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan? Does anyone remember that the reason Dubya gave for invading Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, weapons that the US government knew did not exist? Are Americans aware that the same neoconservatives who made these fantastic mistakes, or told these fabulous lies, are still in control of the government in Washington?
The "war on terror" is now in its tenth year.  What is it really all about?
The bottom line answer is that the "war on terror" is about creating real terrorists. The US government desperately needs real terrorists in order to justify its expansion of its wars against Muslim countries and to keep the American people sufficiently fearful that they continue to accept the police state that provides "security from terrorists," but not from the government that has discarded civil liberties. 
The US government creates terrorists by invading Muslim countries, wrecking  infrastructure and killing vast numbers of civilians. The US also creates terrorists by installing puppet governments to rule over Muslims and by using the puppet governments to murder and persecute citizens as is occurring on a vast scale in Pakistan today.
Neoconservatives used 9/11 to launch their plan for US world hegemony. Their plan fit with the interests of America’s ruling oligarchies. Wars are good for the profits of the military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned us in vain a half century ago.  American hegemony is good for the oil industry’s control over resources and resource flows. The transformation of the Middle East into a vast American puppet state serves well the Israel Lobby’s Zionist aspirations for Israeli territorial expansion.
Most Americans cannot see what is happening because of their conditioning.  Most Americans believe that their government is the best on earth, that it is morally motivated to help others and to do good, that it rushes aid to countries where there is famine and natural catastrophes. Most believe that their presidents tell the truth, except about their sexual affairs.
President Manuel Zelaya
The persistence of these delusions is extraordinary in the face of daily headlines that report US government bullying of, and interference with, virtually every country on earth. The US policy is to buy off, overthrow, or make war on leaders of other countries who represent their peoples’ interests instead of American interests. A recent victim was the president of Honduras who had the wild idea that the Honduran government should serve the Honduran people.
The American government was able to have the Honduran president discarded, because the Honduran military is trained and supplied by the US military. It is the same case in Pakistan, where the US government has the Pakistani government making war on its own people by invading tribal areas that the Americans consider to be friendly to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, "militants" and "terrorists." 
Earlier this year a deputy US Treasury secretary ordered Pakistan to raise taxes so that the Pakistani government could more effectively make war on its own citizens for the Americans. On October 14 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered Pakistan to again raise taxes or the US would withhold flood aid. Clinton pressured America’s European puppet states to do the same, expressing in the same breath that the US government was worried by British cuts in the military budget. God forbid that the hard-pressed British, still reeling from American financial fraud, don’t allocate enough money to fight America’s wars.
On Washington’s orders, the Pakistani government launched a military offensive against Pakistani citizens in the Swat Valley that killed large numbers of Pakistanis and drove millions of civilians from their homes. Last July the US instructed Pakistan to send its troops against the Pakistani residents of North Waziristan. On July 6, Jason Ditz reported on Antiwar.com that "at America’s behest, Pakistan has launched offensives against [the Pakistani provinces of] Swat Valley, Bajaur, South Waziristan, Orakzai, and Khyber."
A week later Israel’s US Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) called for escalating the Obama Administration’s policies of US airstrikes against Pakistan’s tribal areas. On September 30, the Pakistani newspaper, The Frontier Post, wrote that the American air strikes "are, plain and simple, a naked aggression against Pakistan." 
The US claims that its forces in Afghanistan have the right to cross into Pakistan in pursuit of "militants." Recently US helicopter gunships killed three Pakistani soldiers whom they mistook for Taliban.  Pakistan closed the main US supply route to Afghanistan until the Americans apologized.
Pakistan warned Washington against future attacks. However, US military officials, under pressure from Obama to show progress in the endless Afghan war, responded to Pakistan’s warning by calling for expanding the Afghan war into Pakistan.  On October 5 the Canadian journalist Eric Margolis wrote that "the US edges closer to invading Pakistan."
In his book, Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward reports that America’s puppet president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, believes that terrorist bombing attacks inside Pakistan for which the Taliban are blamed are in fact CIA operations designed to destabilize Pakistan and allow Washington to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. 
Obama's Wars, by Bob Woodward

To keep Pakistan in line, the US government changed its position that the "Times Square Bombing" was the work of a "lone wolf." Attorney General Eric Holder switched the blame to the "Pakistani Taliban," and Secretary of State Clinton threatened Pakistan with "very serious consequences" for the unsuccessful Times Square bombing, which likely was a false flag operation aimed at Pakistan.
To further heighten tensions, on September 1 the eight members of a high-ranking Pakistani military delegation en route to a meeting in Tampa, Florida, with US Central Command, were rudely treated and detained as terrorist suspects at Washington DC’s Dulles Airport. 
For decades the US government has enabled repeated Israeli military aggression against Lebanon and now appears to be getting into gear for another Israeli assault on the former American protectorate. On October 14 the US government expressed its "outrage" that the Lebanese government had permitted a visit by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who is the focus of Washington’s intense demonization efforts. Israel’s representatives in the US Congress threatened to stop US military aid to Lebanon, forgetting that US Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) has had aid to Lebanon blocked since last August to punish Lebanon for a border clash with Israel. 
Perhaps the most telling headline of all is the October 14 report, "Somalia’s New American Prime Minister." An American has been installed as the Prime Minister of Somalia, an American puppet government in Mogadishu backed up by thousands of Ugandan troops paid by Washington.
This barely scratches the surface of Washington’s benevolence toward other countries and respect for their rights, borders, and lives of their citizens. 
Meanwhile, to silence the whistleblower website WikiLeaks and to prevent any more revelations of American war crimes, the "freedom and democracy" government in DC has closed down WikiLeaks’ donations by placing the company that collects its money on its "watch list" and by having the Australian puppet government blacklist WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks is now akin to a terrorist organization. The American government’s practice of silencing critics will spread across the Internet.
Remember, they hate us because we have freedom and democracy, First Amendment rights, habeas corpus, respect for human rights, and show justice and mercy to all.
Read more by Paul Craig Roberts
·         It Is Official: The US Is A Police State – September 24th, 2010
·         The True Cost of the War – September 2nd, 2010

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Friday, October 22, 2010

RFK: Outing the CIA at the Ambassador: Identifying the Players, and Plausible Denial



RFK: Outing the CIA at the Ambassador*
By Jim Fetzer
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Oct 18, 2010, 00:19 (Online Journal)
















In a recent article (“JFK and RFK: The Plots that Killed Them, The Patsies that Didn’t”), I cited the identifications of three officials of the CIA at the Ambassador Hotel when Bobby was shot, by Bradley Ayers, who knew all three, and by Wayne Smith, who knew one of them very well. Objections have been raised to these identifications by Jefferson Morely and David Talbot, who claim that they have disproven them. Their argument is based upon a fallacy known as “special pleading” by only citing part of the evidence, which does not satisfy the requirement of total evidence, which insists that reasoning be based upon all of the available relevant evidence.  Moreover, since they fail to identify the parties in question, they did not actually disprove Ayers and Smith but, at best, have only raised doubts about them.

As more and more of the witnesses’ testimony is taken into account and subjected to a systematic assessment, the strength of support for the identifications by Ayers and Smith becomes increasingly stronger and the evidence against weaker. Ironically, Shane O’Sulllivan, who was largely responsible for uncovering the evidence that the three officials of the CIA were at the Ambassador, eventually concluded that at least two of them were Bulova Watch Company employees. That inference is substantially overridden by the weight of the evidence, however, where the only mistake that he appears to have made was drawing the conclusion that he had initially been wrong.

Background

In my article on Voltaire.net, I reported that three prominent CIA officials -- George Joannides, David Sanchez Morales, and Gordon Campbell -- had been identified as present at the Ambassador.  Bradley Ayers, an Army captain assigned to the CIA at JM/Wave in Miami from May 1963 to December 1964, had met all three and ID’d two of them -- Morales and Campbell -- in a video from the Ambassador [1]. Gordon Campbell had even been Ayers’ case officer while he was working for the agency. 


Wayne Smith, who served as an ambassador with the Department of State from 1957-1982 with JFK’s Latin American Task Force, also knew Morales [2]. When he viewed the same footage as Ayers, he immediately recognized Morales. As he later told Shane O’Sullivan, “Bobby Kennedy is assassinated [and] David Morales is there? The two things have to be related” [3]. So they both confirmed the person in the video as Morales and they were both emphatic, as can be seen in Shane’s DVD [4].


Ayers and Smith both remarked upon his body language, his stance and his way of moving, where videos provide enormously more information for identifications than do single photographs, whether candid or staged [5] [6]. Brad explains in “RFK Must Die!” that the Joannides figure seemed familiar to him, but he could not ID him at the time. He subsequently told me over several conversations that he had seen him intermittently at JM/WAVE in professional matters and only later learned his name.
In July 1981, retired CIA undercover officer George Joannides (left) received the Distinguished Intelligence Medal for "exceptional achievement" ...[such as] concealing from JFK investigators his role...[re] Lee Harvey Oswald before President Kennedy was killed." Ref:  Photo Credit: CIA. More HERE
He was quite certain about his identification of Campbell, whom he knew extremely well. When I wrote in “JFK and RFK” that “Bradley Ayers, an Army captain assigned to the CIA at JM/Wave in Miami from May 1963 to December 1964, had met all three and identified them in film footage from the Ambassador,” I was basing my remark in part on knowledge I had acquired directly from him in relation to Joannides. One reason I wanted to publish this sequel, therefore, is to clarify this point but also to explain how much more evidence we have supporting his and Smith’s identifications.
  
Gordon Campbell


In their two-page article, “The BBC’s Flawed RFK Story,” David Talbot, the author of Brothers (2007), who is also the founder of Salon.com, and Jefferson Morley, who is a Washington journalist of some acclaim [7], however, insist that that Campbell died on September 19, 1962, which is very peculiar, since he served as Brad Ayers’ case officer from 1963-1964. They even post an alleged “death certificate” and also quote one Rudy Enders, a retired CIA official, who claims that he was present when Campbell died. They have published a photograph of the “alleged” Gordon Campbell from the Ambassador Hotel side-by-side with a copy of Campbell’s death certificate.


According to Talbot and Morley, he was “not the deputy station chief in the CIA’s Miami operation, as O’Sullivan reported. He was a yachtsman and Army colonel who served as a contract agent helping the agency ferry anti-Castro guerillas across the straits of Florida, according to Rudy Enders, a retired CIA officer, and two other people who knew him.”  He could not have been at Bobby’s assassination because he was, according to them, already dead. They provide no photo of “Gordon Campbell” and offer no response to O’Sullivan’s suggestion that the CIA might have used his name for another agent, since the use of aliases is common practice by the agency.

Is this Gordon Campbell (left,center) with George Joannides at the Ambassador?



The likelihood of Ayers being wrong about the identity of his own case officer at JM/WAVE is extremely low, while forging documents is among the CIA’s principal pastimes. Faking a death certificate for some “Gordon Campbell” would probably have been simpler than any other technique for coping with Ayers’ identification. Brad has one of the best memories for detail of anyone I have ever known and my guess is that it’s a fake. But, even if we were to take it at face value, the question would become, Who was the man with whom Brad Ayers worked from May 1963 to December 1964 whom he identified in the video footage from the Ambassador? We know the man in the photo cannot be someone who died in 1962. So who was he?

Other “disproofs”

Although Talbot and Morley claim, on the basis of six weeks of research, that they have disproven the identifications made by Brad Ayers and by Wayne Smith, their “disproof” of Brad’s identification of Campbell does not inspire confidence.  In a day and age of identify theft, their failure to pursue Shane’s suggestion raises serious questions about the integrity and intent of their “investigation.” Unlike Ayres and Smith, moreover, neither Talbot nor Morley knew Morales, Campbell or Joannides personally. They were therefore dependent on the information they were given by various sources, whose credibility they do not seem to have seriously assessed.

Indeed, one of the most glaring inadequacies of Morley and Talbot’s article is that they also minimize the number of persons who identified Morales, Joannides, and Campbell. They mention exactly four sources for these identifications, each of whom they acknowledge as having identified exactly one of the three men in the footage from the Ambassador. In their piece, they acknowledge the following identifications:

  • Wayne Smith identified one of them as David Morales
  • David Rabern identified the same person as Morales
  • Brad Ayers identified one of them as Gordon Campbell
  • Ed Lopez identified one of them as George Joannides 
But Brad had also identified Morales, and David Rabern, a professional investigator, who was present at the Ambassador, had personally observed Campbell interacting with Morales, even though he did not know either man by name. Footage shows Campbell interacting with Joannides, as “RFK Must Die!” records [9]. Shane noticed three others -- presumably, subordinates -- who were interacting with them. Thus, a list of identifications, at the very least, should obviously also include these additions:

  • Brad Ayers identified another man as David Morales
  • Rabern observed Morales interacting with Campbell
  • Footage shows Campbell interacting with Joannides 
Remarkably, Rabern told Shane that he had also observed the man others identified as Campbell in and around the LA Police Department “probably half a dozen times” prior to the assassination of RFK, usually in the company of two other men and a woman, as Shane reports in Who Killed Bobby? [10] (page 441), which raises obvious questions about collusion between the CIA and the LAPD in Bobby’s death.

Who killed Bobby?


Talbot and Morley not only suppress Ayers’ identification of Morales, but they also ignore two other witnesses, Dan Hardway (page 458) and Tom Polgar (page 459), who also identified Joannides, lending further support to Ed Lopez’ identification:

  • Dan Hardway identified one of them as George Joannides
  • Tom Polgar identified the same man as George Joannides 
Hardway and Lopez were congressional investigators for the House Select Committee on Assassinations [HSCA] and Polgar had been Joannides' CIA station chief in Saigon. After initially confirming his identity, according to Talbot, Polgar later decided he had been wrong. Given how well Polgar knew Joannides, however, it is difficult to imagine why he would have withdrawn his identification -- unless he had been pressured to do so.  


Talbot discounts Polgar in a note to O’Sullivan, but his identification seems more credible than his denial. Moreover, when Joannides’ daughters were asked if their father was in the videos, they responded with, “No comment!” (page 447), which suggests that they, too, recognized their father. If it wasn’t him, after all, surely they would have simply asserted, “No!” That they did not deny the ID should also have been reported:

  • Joannides’ daughters did not deny the identification 
And Robert Walton (page 436), who had been Morales’ lawyer in the 1970s, and Ruben Carbajal (pages 426-427), who had been his best friend since childhood, reported that David Morales himself had implied he was involved, which counts as further, albeit indirect, evidence that at least he, among the three, had been there:

  • Robert Walton reported Morales had said he was there
  • Rube Carbajal partially supported what Walton reported 
Carbajal confirmed Walton’s statement that Morales had told them, “Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn’t we?,” while speaking of JFK, and told Shane that the “we” referred to the CIA (page 427). 

But while Walton reported that Morales added, “I was in Los Angeles when we got Bobby,” to whom Morales also refers as “the little bastard” (page 438) -- a claim which previously appeared in Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason [11] (page 471) -- Carbajal, as O’Sullivan phrases it, “had gotten used to Morale’s involvement in Dallas, but he wasn’t ready to finger [his friend] for another Kennedy assassination” (page 427). Bradley Ayers, who got to know Carbajal well in the course of his investigations, also believed he knew far more than he was telling.  


And there is more. In his video, “RFK Must Die!” Shane also interviews “Chilo” Borja who confirmed the identity of George Joannides. We must therefore add his name:

  • “Chilo” Borja identified another as George Joannides 
Instead of the original list from Talbot and Morley, which included four witnesses making one identification apiece (two of whom, Smith and Rabern, identified the same person, Morales), there turn out to be seven witnesses who directly identify them, where Smith, Rabern, and Ayers identify Morales (which Walton and Carbajal indirectly confirm); Lopez, Hardway, Polgar, and Borja identify Joannides (which is an identification his own daughters did not deny); while Ayers identified Campbell, Rabern personally observed Campbell and Morales interacting, and Rabern, rather cryptically, tells Shane that he believes Campbell is still alive -- without elaborating.

DiEugenio’s defense

If the evidence that supports the IDs of Morales, Joannides, and Campbell at the Ambassador is actually much stronger than Talbot and Morely acknowledged, the evidence to the contrary appears to be much weaker than others have claimed. On “The Education Forum,” for example, Jim DiEugenio, who with Lisa Pease co-edited The Assassinations (2003) [David Talbot : Gordon Campbell, 19 August 2010], advances various arguments intended to support Talbot and Morley, where I shall comment on (1) the reliability of photographic identifications; (2) the significance of his family’s rejection of the identity of Morales and of a second family’s affirmation of an alternative identification in place of Campbell’s; and (3) the plausibility of the presence of CIA officials at the hotel, even though it was possible -- even probable -- that they would be photographed there.

(1) On photographic Identifications


First, DiEugenio reports what Anthony Summers, author of Conspiracy, said, when this story first broke, which is that photographic identifications are very “iffy.”  Unless you have a very good close up shot, and preferably also full shots for height and weight comparisons, they (Summers and DiEugenio) would rather stay away from them. And he mentions several examples involving E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, Charles Harrelson, Lucien Conein, and Joseph Milteer that he assumes demonstrate false identifications based upon photographs. But at least three of the five IDs (Harrelson, Conein, and Milteer) appear to have been correct, when the evidence is pursued far enough. These conflicts are often resolvable, as I have found myself.


On The Deep Politics Forum, for example, I pursued the identification of Lucien Conein in comparison with an alternative, Robert Adams, whose credentials were bolstered by means of a faux plaque given to him for appearing in a photograph in Dealey Plaza. Not only did a comparison by Jack White establish a closer degree of resemblance to Conein than to Richards, but the plaque includes a news clipping congratulating him for appearing in this image taken on “Thursday, 23 November 1963”!  The weight of the evidence shifts perceptibly when you discover that the arguments for one candidate are shoddy, while those for the other are not. CIA documents proving that Conein was not in town at the time to provide an alibi are easy to produce. And the same is true for other ops working for the government.

Even in cases like those DiEugenio cites, it may be possible to sort things out. We are not dealing with staged photographs here but with videotape, which shows the parties in question moving, talking, and interacting, where their images were only discovered after extended study. When you have experts like Ayers and Smith who knew them personally over extended periods of time, the situation is not comparable to the situation Summers described, where you might even want to have front and side photos for comparison. Nothing about the identifications by Ayers and Smith, who remain confident of them to this very day, seems “iffy.” Quite the opposite. 


(2) The role of the families


DiEugenio claims that eight persons said it was not David Morales in the video from the Ambassador without bothering to take into account whether they might have had motives for denying the identity. They even include his daughters!  I can’t imagine anyone who would have a stronger motive for denying that the man in the footage was their father! He cites Luis Fernandez and Manuel Chavez, who worked with Morales, but are also not credible. Fernandez, for example, says “definitely that is not Dave Morales” when many others who knew him well have said the opposite.

O’Sullivan reports that Fernandez said there were differences between them: “This person seems taller, more slender and lighter color. David was fat, round faced and darker complexion, like a true Mexican Indian, whereas those of the man in the DVD are of an African-American” (page 456). The disadvantage of those like DiEugenio and O’Sullivan is that they did not know Morales and were not in position to know. I didn’t know him, either, but the testimony of serious men like Bradley Ayers, Wayne Smith, and David Rabern surely overrides it, not to mention that he had told others he was there when they got “the little bastard”! Sullivan claims that he was 5’10” tall (on page 426), but Brad has written that Morales was at least 6’ tall, which is consistent with images at the Ambassador and nickname of “El Indio” (“The” Indian).
Morales: "El Indio"


When Tom Clines, one of Morales’ closest associates at the agency, says both “It looks like him but it’s not him” (page 450), then a definitive rejection, like that of Fernandez, is not a reasonable response. Shane observes about Clines, who tries to minimize Ayers’ competence on the ground that he wasn’t at JM/WAVE “very long,” when he was there for more than a year and a half, and Ed Wilson, who also did not identify him in a 1959 photo, both appeared to have motives to protect Morales that Ayers and Smith did not. (Brad has also told me that Clines once remarked to him that Campbell had returned to Canada after the breakup of JM/WAVE.)

DiEugenio also buys O’Sullivan’s report that the person Brad identified as Campbell was actually “Michael Roman” and that Joannides was “Frank Owens,” two Bulova Watch executives who are supposed to have been mistaken for CIA officials. When shown images from the Ambassador, however, the Roman family was actually quite equivocal. On page 473 of Who Killed Bobby?, for example, we learn that Roman’s son himself initially wasn’t at all sure it was his father and that one of his daughters also questioned his appearance. The one photo of Roman that appears toward the end of “RFK Must Die,” moreover, does not look like to me like the Ambassador man: too much hair and the shape of his face is different. Their interest in hanging around after the assassination is not behavior that we would expect from Bulova executives.

(3) The plausibility of their presence

DiEugenio also suggests that, in an operation like this, “you would not have CIA higher ups in plain view of still cameras and motion picture cameras. It makes no sense, and this is what I told Talbot at the beginning. Further, Joannides was not an action officer. He is a desk guy who was in Athens at the time.” But this is one of those cases where his gullibility is showing. How could he possibly know? The CIA, after all, specializes in plausible deniability, which can be implemented effortlessly by the creation of fake documents and phony records. It is extremely painful to read that Jim DiEugenio would so naively accept an easily fabricated CIA alibi like this.
Similar sentiments were expressed by his co-editor, Lisa Pease, who even wrote in her blog that she could not believe the CIA would send those who were involved in his brother’s murder to assassinate Bobby. But since Bobby had said he intended to reopen the JFK investigation, their self-interest would have been great. In response to Brad’s Ambassador identifications, she suggests that he has been seeing things that he wants to see in his desire to solve the case. She says she has met Brad and that she thinks he has to have been “gullible to join up with the CIA and think they were the good guys, right?” But, as someone who has known Brad for 15 years, I cannot think of anyone I have ever known I regard as less gullible than Brad Ayers.

Lisa might want to consider that, from their point of view as agents of assassination who harbored a visceral hatred for Bobby, they would have wanted to be there. Like the “familiar faces” at the corner of Houston and Main on 22 November 1963, these men find events like these self-affirming -- not unlike the adrenaline rush that they may have experienced as their targets were taken out. Amoral killers such as David Morales took pride in their work at a brute, animalistic level. He was present when Che Guevara was killed and reputedly severed his head from his body and kicked it away to insure there would be no stories of Che’s “survival.” They were there to guarantee nothing went wrong with their plan to kill a man who threatened them.
Jim DiEugenio: Black Op Radio Photo
Weighing the evidence


The kind of a priori thought about evidence displayed by DiEugenio, especially, has shaken my confidence in his ability to think things through. No one would think those who were responsible for framing Lee Oswald would plant a weapon that could not have fired the bullets that killed JFK, either. But it happened.  We have to follow the evidence where it leads and not confine ourselves to our own subjective expectations.  When Shane O’Sullivan concludes the men identified as “Gordon Campbell” and as “George Joannides” were salesmen for Bulova Watch Company, moreover, he appears to be deceiving himself based upon flimsy evidence. Since Campbell was interacting with Morales, was Morales a Bulova Watch man, too? He visited the family of one of those men but simply takes their word for the identification of the other. He was taken in.

When I asked Brad whether it might have been possible for the CIA to fabricate a family to identifying Michael Roman as the man he had identified at the Ambassador to discount the possibility that it was Gordon Campbell, it was a question for which the answer was obvious: “Of course!” That would be child’s play for the agency, yet it appears to be a possibility lying beyond the realm of DiEugenio’s imagination. The son and daughter weren’t sure the man at the Ambassador was their father. That should have signaled to Shane that, if there was this much uncertainty from his son and one of his daughters, the probability that this really was their father was low.

Conclusions in a case of this kind are going to be probable rather than definitive, but the weight of the evidence favors Ayers and Smith’s identifications. As in the case of Lucien Conien, the evidence supporting them is strong, while that for Robert Adams is weak. Most importantly, what is the probability of the presence of Bulova Watch Company executives who strongly resemble these CIA officials who are present at the location of the assassination of RFK, just as he has claimed victory in a primary that was expected to catapult him to the nomination of his party for president? The probability has to be extremely low, especially when you consider that Morales was interacting with Campbell and that Campbell in turn was interacting with Joannides.

James Richards, who is an expert on the CIA, observed during a conversation that those three were the ones most likely to be present if an assassination had been in the works. It is not only unsurprising that they would be there, but the arrogance of the agency is such that it doesn’t seem to care who knows, as long as the general public does not catch on. Thus, a group of CIA officials was captured in photographs at the intersection of Main and Houston during the assassination of JFK in Dealey Plaza, as most students of his death are aware. If you exercise nearly absolute control over law enforcement authorities, including the police and the sheriff’s departments, the Secret Service, and even the FBI, the fear of exposure is nil.

Assessing the players


If we weigh the evidence using likelihood measures, where the likelihood of an hypothesis h is equal to the probability of the evidence e, if hypothesis h were true, then the likelihood that those who were present at the Ambassador were Morales, Campbell, and Joannides appears to be very high. The evidence cited to weaken that hypothesis, including the rejections by close friends and family, is more readily explained by the desire to cover up than to establishing the truth. The likelihood they were actually Bulova executives who happened to resemble them is extremely low. Those with the least axes to grind support the identifications, while those with the most at stake deny them. There is a pattern here that none of us should ignore.

My take on the participants varies from case to case. Jim DiEugenio and Lisa Pease have done good work, especially in authoring many of the articles they brought together in THE ASSASSINATIONS. But it seems to me that they lost their way in dealing with this case. They were far too willing to engage in a priori reasoning, where their intuitions (or appeals to “common sense”) are unreliable and unworthy of belief. DiEugeio and Pease would do better to track the evidence more closely and follow it where it leads. I am sorry to say that this is not either of their best work.

Shane O’Sullivan, I think, was simply overwhelmed by the criticism he received for his efforts to expose the truth. He confronted the kind of retaliation that many of us have encountered, where powerful mechanisms are in place to suppress the truth, especially in a situation with the potential of this one -- within our visually-oriented culture -- to expose CIA complicity. It had to be thwarted, at all costs. What Shane takes to be the most persuasive indication that his counterpart at the Ambassador was not Morales was the description of alleged differences between Morales and the Ambassador man from Luis Fernandez. But he was not justified in assuming that Luis was not dissembling. Luis appears to have been doing his best to protect his friend.

Like Jefferson Morley and David Talbot, Shane O’Sullivan did not know any of them. The weight of the evidence from those who weren’t shading their testimony strongly suggests he was being misled. That he fumbled the ball over “Roman” and “Owens,” moreover, is difficult to deny. Recall that Rabern told Shane he had also observed the man others identified as Campbell in and around the LAPD “probably half a dozen times” as Shane reports in Who Killed Bobby? [10] (page 441). But, on page 454, he also observes (in relation to his DVD, “RFK Must Die”) that, “At 12:47, ‘Morales’ emerged from the pantry [where Bobby had been shot at 12:15] and walked into the ballroom among a group of police officers.” At 1:03, ‘Morales’ is observed comparing notes with someone who looks like a plainclothes detective, though, according to the LAPD, no police were present at the time RFK was shot. If Joannides, Campbell and Morales were Bulova executives, they did not act as if they were Bulova executives.
Jefferson Morley: NY Times photo, 2009

Concluding reflections


The strength of the case for the identifications of Morales, Campbell, and Joannides can be seen in the presentations on the BBC program that Talbot and Morley dispute. In “CIA Agents killed Robert Kennedy -- Part 1” on YouTube [11], for example, Brad Ayers identifies both Morales and Campbell and Wayne Smith identifies Morales. In “Part 2” [12], David Rabern identifies Morales and Ed Lopez identifies Joannides. These IDs, as I have explained, are supported by those of many others, including even (indirectly) by Morales himself, where the evidence against them is weak. The CIA had the motive, the means, and the opportunity to remove a threat it feared -- and it took it. What is there not to understand? The rest is just smoke and mirrors.

Rabern asks why CIA involvement was never pursued but, as I observed in [13] my earlier article, the LAPD officials assigned to handle the investigation had ties to the CIA! So it was a nice “closed loop” where the agency was in control. O’Sullivan has written to me that he remains convinced that “Gordon Campbell” was in fact Michael D. Roman, in spite of the points I made about the family’s equivocal identifications. But, if Shane is right, then logic requires that we conclude that Campbell and Roman are one and the same, where his life as a Bulova Watch Company executive was his cover, where even he (page 470) acknowledges that that may have been the case.

The conduct of David Talbot and Jefferson Morley, by comparison, appears to be far more serious. They have repeatedly minimized both the strength and variety of the evidence supporting these identifications. They have exaggerated the weight of the evidence against them, even including the claim to have disproven them, when they did no such thing. They did not even attempt to identify those whom they claimed had been mistaken for them. Such doubts as they have raised, in my opinion, are overcome by the weight of the evidence, where their cavalier treatment of Brad’s identification of Campbell was especially egregious and irresponsible. They adopt a highly self-congratulatory attitude about “bad JFK stories driving out good ones.” But there is nothing about their performance that warrants any pats upon their backs.

As most students of JFK are aware, Joannides was even brought out of retirement to coordinate interaction between the CIA and the HSCA when it took up the case in 1977-78. The agency has refused to grant access to his files even when the ARRB was entitled to have them. In my view, the conduct of Talbot and Morley has been inexcusable to the extent that one could reasonably infer that they were suppressing evidence. The most appropriate response they could make to offset that impression would be to acknowledge that, given the evidence presented here, they were clearly wrong, and thus remove the cloud of uncertainty that obfuscates the clarity of truth.

As I previously explained (“JFK and RFK: The Plots that Killed Them, The Patsies that Didn’t”), the LAPD officers assigned to handle the investigation of Bobby’s death had ties to the CIA. They badgered witnesses who did not conform to the “official account.” The most probable killer, Thane Eugene Cesar, had worked with companies that also had links to the agency. The hypnotist, William Joseph Bryan, was on the radio suggesting that the assassin was probably “mind controlled” even before Sirhan had been identified as a suspect. Bryan later boasted to several hookers that he worked for the CIA and had hypnotized him. Given the weight of the evidence, there is scant room for doubt that Sirhan was a “patsy” set up by the CIA.

Special thanks to Brad Ayers, Shane O’Sullivan, and Kenneth Watson for feedback.


References
[1] Bradley Ayers, The Zenith Secret, Vox Pop, 2006.
[2] Shane O’Sullivan, Who Killed Bobby?, Sterling Publishing, 2008
[3] Ibid.
[4] Shane O’Sullivan, RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy, DVD (2007).
[5] David S├ínchez Morales, Spartacus Educational.
[6] Bradley Ayers, Spartacus Educational.
[7] Jefferson Morley and David Talbot, “The BBC’s Flawed RFK Story,” The Mary Ferrell Archives (July 2007).
[8] Jefferson Morley, Spartacus Educational.
[9] O’Sullivan, RFK Must Die.
[10] O’Sullivan, Who Killed Bobby?


Jim Fetzer, McKnight Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota Duluth, has chaired or co-chaired four national conferences on the death of JFK and has published three books about it. 
He co-edits assassinationresearch.com with John P. Costella.