10 August 2003
An international network of gangsters and criminals has taken over the world
The parallels between the Mafia and the US government are not surprising if one considers that both organisations have to operate outside the law in order to carry on their respective ‘business’.
- Both have to subvert, suborn, blackmail and threaten individuals, governments and business as part of their day-to-day operations.
- Both have to hide the real nature of their operations.
- Both employ their ‘capos,’ hitmen, private armies, money launderers, blackmailers, smuggling operations, corrupt lawyers and ‘legitimate’ business fronts.
- Both are immensely wealthy with family and business connections extending back several generations.
- Both have extensive connections with Big Business and governments on an international scale.
- Both operate with effective impunity from the law, whether local or foreign.
- Both insinuate their representatives into foreign governments, determine policies and try and make business environments safe for their operations.
- Both have succeeded in coopting millions of ordinary people into accepting the ‘normality’ of criminal activities as a part of everyday life.
- Both corrupt and destroy the lives of communities and entire cultures in the process of doing ‘business.’
- Both are utterly ruthless in the pursuit of profit.
- Both are intrinsic to the ‘American way of life.’
How, you may ask, have they managed to pull off such an operation right under our noses as it were? Fear and loathing would be the short answer. Fear of falling foul of them and the inculcation of loathing in any other mode of living. Creating the illusion that for all its faults, life US-style, is the best of all possible worlds.
USG Inc. employs two kinds of key operatives: ‘legitimate’ front men and women who produce the intellectual rationale for American business and who develop and manage the strategies needed to carry out its operations. All have attended the various ‘schools of scandal’ where they are taught the ‘tricks of the trade.’ All are paid dollops of dosh and afforded public approbation to ensure their allegiance to the cause.
The second type of operative does the dirty work of the Imperium; the less savoury aspects of the Organisation’s operations, where such things as ‘plausible deniability’ is required and, where necessary, they are expendable. These include the day-to-day managers of operations, scientists and technicians, the hitmen, spies, blackmailers, money-launderers, fraudsters, mercenaries and of course, the volunteer armies, the ‘enforcers.’ Rear Admiral John Poindexter falls broadly under this heading.
The Bush ‘Capos’
Poindexter, Armitage, Ledeen, North, Gates, Reich, Woolsey, McFarlane, are perhaps, the lesser known names of people who have snuck back into leading positions in the Bush administration. Although why there hasn’t been a loud cry of protest over the names North and Poindexter shows just how effective the state’s propaganda campaign has been in reducing the populace to a state of quivering terror that enables it to foist this rabble of gangsters and crooks onto them.
What they have in common is that all are recycled crusaders of the right from the Reagan era’s war on the people of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Angola and other points South. The context of their genesis is remarkably similar to that of today’s ‘war on terror’, only then (the early 1980s) the bulk of the war was being conducted against a rising tide of liberation struggles in ‘America’s backyard’, Central America. Wars, that for a number of reasons (chiefly, the ‘war on communism’) extended to Africa and the Middle East, most notably but not exclusively, Angola, Zaire, Libya, Afghanistan and Iran.
The other element that the two periods have in common is that both crusades followed Democratic administrations that on the surface at least, were more ‘progressive’, although realistic would be a better description. Reagan/Bush followed the Carter years, which itself was a reaction to the disastrous Nixon administration, that had produced a genuine crisis of confidence in the ruling elite, with its blatant flouting of the law, both national and international.
Many of the people who found a home in the Reagan government were themselves closely associated with the Nixon years, the war in South East Asia, on Cuba and of course, the war at home being waged against those who opposed US government policies. The Nixon years themselves were a reaction to the rising unrest in the cities following the successes of the civil rights movement and opposition to the War in Vietnam.
Faced with a rising awareness of the connection between the policies of the USG and the nature of the economic system led to extreme measures being taken, such as the assassination of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X; trumped up charges against members of the Black Panthers and the imprisonment of Angela Davis.
The common denominator that all of these periods have is the role of covert wars, money laundering, drugs, gunrunning, the subversion of foreign governments, invasions, involvement with criminal organisations such as the Mafia, the CIA, domestic spying and repression. The entire ball of wax being justified in one way or another as a threat to the ‘American way of life.’
The continuum of a policy that has its roots in the ‘war on communism’ is I suppose, not surprising, given how far back that war extends. What is of critical importance is how the US ruling elite has managed to disconnect the past from the present, in all the periods referred to.
The role of the media is of course, central to this process. Imagine for example, that the Mafia owned the major organs of the press which peddled the line that ‘individual entrepeneurship was the bedrock of the democratic way of life.’ And of course, in a way they do, though it’s called ‘entertainment’ instead of ‘news.’ The romanticising of the Godfather, a story of a poor boy who made it, is one of the enduring myths of American propaganda.
The upshot is that a giant con-job has been carried out on US citizens and the world that has to be revealed, not as some ‘aberration’ that is the result of the actions of individuals, but which is part and parcel of the imperialist strategy to dominate the world on behalf of the corporate elite that it serves.
In turn, exposing how the US and its allies have managed to maintain the fiction of ‘freedom’ whilst at the same time operating as an international criminal gang is central to opposing the Imperium. Exposing the current ‘rehabilitation’ of the gang of crooks and criminals that Bush has brought back into his administration reveals the historical links between policies that share a common objective; imposing the will of capital not only on the world but also on the American people. It reveals the desperate nature of capitalism in this current period, that it can no longer trust in the voluntary support of its citizens in the pursuit of profit.
Total Awareness of John Poindexter
Consider for example, the case of Rear Admiral John Poindexter, the man hired by Bush to spy on citizens with his ‘Total Information Awareness Program’, a moniker that should be applied to Poindexter himself. A convicted felon pardoned by Bush Senior, architect of the Iran-contra scandal, a capo of Nixon, Reagan and now the Bush administrations. Even the most cursory examination of this man’s life reveals the inner workings of USG Inc. That it relies totally, not only on army of highly skilled technocrats, but technocrats who are as corrupt (and corrupted) as those they serve, illustrates the true nature of a system that has no scruples, no limits, except those that are imposed on it. A government which knows no shame, that is brazen in its application of power.
This is the man “whose memo instituting a disinformation campaign against Libya’s Col. Muammar Qaddafi caused false information to be fed to the Wall Street Journal that was defended as “authoritative” by Reagan White House spokesman Larry Speakes. That incident occasioned the resignation of State Department spokesman Bernard Kalb.” (Slate 25/02/02)
Relegated to relative obscurity following his ignominous fall from grace for his role in the illegal war against Nicaragua, the Iran-contra scandal and his involvement in the biggest banking crash in history, the BCCI; he reappears at a critical juncture in the ‘war on terror’ and effectively, picks up where he left off back in 1987, virtually without missing a beat.
Poindexter is no loose cannon, he’s not a member of some secret cabal. He’s a long-time and loyal employee of USG Inc. And he is one of hundreds if not thousands of people who execute the instructions of the ‘management.’
A brief biography
After a long career in the Navy principally as a nuclear scientist, Poindexter joined the Reagan administration as Deputy National Security Advisor working under National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane.
“The United States invaded Grenada less than a week after Poindexter became Deputy National Security Adviser. On October 24, 1983, on the eve of that invasion, White House spokesman Larry Speakes was asked by CBS News whether US Marines were landing on Grenada. Mr. Speakes responded that the suggestion was “preposterous”. Speakes’ response, of course, was untrue. Later it would turn out that his response was based on “guidance” from DNSA Poindexter…. On December 4, 1985 Poindexter was appointed to follow Robert McFarlane as National Security Advisor, at the age of 49. At the time of his promotion to NSA, Poindexter was also promoted to the naval rank of Admiral.
He remained National Security Advisor until his dismissal following the breaking of the Iran-Contra story just under a year later. He was forced to resign from the National Security Council on November 25, 1986. During his time at the NSC, Poindexter briefed President Reagan on matters of national security every morning.
Mr. Poindexter led the project known as Iran-Contra to sell arms for hostages in the Middle East and divert the profits to Contra rebels. This project has been criticized by Congress by resolution and investigated by Congress. The sale of weapons to Iran was illegal, as was the transfer of funds to the Contra rebels. The funding of the Contra anticommunist rebels in Nicaragua was specifically prohibited by the Boland Amendment, a law passed by Congress and signed by the President. The Costa Rican government also accused Mr. Poindexter of being involved in cocaine trafficking to raise further funds for the Contra rebels, but this has never been proved. Poindexter has always maintained that, as he told Congress in 1987, “I wanted the President to have some deniability so that he would be protected,” and so he never asked President Reagan for authorization for Iran-Contra.
When news of the Iran-Contra scandal broke Mr. Poindexter embarked on a mission to conceal evidence of the arms sales, the transfer of funds to the Contras and the President’s involvement in these actions.
Poindexter immediately convened meetings of those “in the loop” about Iran-Contra and began “laying out a false version of events” that would be told to the public and Congressional investigators. It is alleged that he burned the one document linking President Reagan to the illegal transactions — a Covert Action Finding signed by Reagan himself. According to some this Covert Action Finding was signed only after Poindexter began Iran-Contra.
Poindexter and Colonel Oliver North deleted more than 5,000 e-mail messages [o]n White House servers having to do with the sale of weapons. Unfortunately for Mr. Poindexter and Mr. North, they failed to delete e-mails from the backup tapes….
Once the Iran-Contra scandal became public, and after Poindexter had deleted the 5,000 e-mails from White House computers, he was called to testify before Congress.
In order to prevent him from utilizing the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, Poindexter was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony. During his testimony Poindexter told Congressional investigators that he “could not recall” events he was questioned about 184 times.
Mr. Poindexter was indicted on March 16, 1988 on seven federal felony charges stemming from the Iran-Contra scandal. The counts included participating in a criminal conspiracy with Colonel Oliver North, Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord (Ret.) and Albert Hakim; conspiring to obstruct official inquiries and proceedings; two counts of obstructing Congress; and two counts of false statements to Congress….
Poindexter was convicted of all five counts on April 7, 1990. Mr. Poindexter was convicted of criminal conspiracy with Colonel Oliver North, Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord (Ret.) and Albert Hakim (obstruction of congressional inquiries and proceedings, false statements, falsification, destruction and removal of documents); two counts of obstruction of Congress and two counts of false statements.
US District Judge Harold H. Greene sentenced Poindexter to six months in prison on each count, served concurrently. On November 15, 1991, a three judge appeals panel overturned Poindexter’s convictions on the grounds that his testimony before Congress — which was given under immunity — may have influenced the testimony of witnesses against him. The US Government appealed the overturning of his conviction to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
Mr. Poindexter’s statement about his actions was simple: “I made a very deliberate decision not to tell the president so that I could insulate him from the decision and provide some future deniability for the president if it ever leaked out.”
In 1989, even as Poindexter was facing multiple felony counts in Federal court, his wife became an Episcopal priest. ” – Source: http://www.warblogging.com/tia/poindexter.php
What is amazing about Poindexter, is that in all likelihood in almost any other country, this man wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a position of authority, let alone be put charge of an Orwellian programme of domestic surveillance. Yet this is what Ari Fleischer, Bush’s spokesman had to say about Poindexter’s appointment as head of the ‘Information Awareness’ programme on Feb 25, 2002 when the media (reluctantly) questioned his fitness for the position:
Q: Ari, why would this administration choose a man for counterterrorism who is so associated with the dark side of the Iran Contra scandal, Admiral Poindexter?
MR. FLEISCHER: When you say, choose him for counterterrorism, can you be more specific?
Q: He’s in the Pentagon, he’s been appointed head of DARPA, which is a counterterrorist office, developing plans, demonstrations with information.
MR. FLEISCHER: I’m not aware of any appointment.
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me just say about Admiral Poindexter, Admiral Poindexter is somebody who this administration thinks is an outstanding American and an outstanding citizen who has done a very good job in what he has done for our country, serving in the military.
Q: How can you say that, when he told Colonel North to lie?
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, I think your views on Iran Contra are well-known, but the President does believe that Admiral Poindexter served —
Q: It isn’t my view, this is the prosecutor for the United States.
MR. FLEISCHER: I understand. The President thinks that Admiral Poindexter has served our nation very well.
MR. FLEISCHER: That’s the President’s thoughts.
Q: Do you know his record?
MR. FLEISCHER: I’m sure you will inform me.
Q: I don’t have to, all you have to do is look it up.
The brazen nature of USG Inc is revealed in this short exchange, when Bush says he thinks Poindexter has served his nation well, and of course, Bush is absolutely correct, except we need to exchange the word nation with class.
For more on the Total Information Awareness project see:
How a $10 million budget turned into $245 million: http://www.epic.org/events/tia_briefing/
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), wants to know “why DoD resources are being spent on research for domestic law enforcement,” See: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/gr112202.html
Questioned about the whole matter on November 18, Secretary Rumsfeld told Americans not to worry. “I haven’t been briefed on it [TIA]; I’m not knowledgeable about it. Anyone who is concerned ought not be. Anyone with any concern ought to be able to sleep well tonight. Nothing terrible is going to happen.” See: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html
See also “A One-Way Information Highway: The homeland security bill shows a government that wants to learn more and divulge less”: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/4589307.htm
See also: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1102/112502h1.htm
“Big Brother Will Be Watching America,”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,845777,00.htmland
Some of the other players in the events outlined above, Oliver North, Robert Gates, Richard Armitage, Michael Ledeen and Otto Reich, just to mention the most publicly exposed people in the illegal operations during the Reagan years, are now ALL in the employ of Bush the Smaller. An analysis of these peoples’ past reveals a similar trajectory as servants of USG Inc. I have identified some of the connections elsewhere.
But without the almost total complicity of the major organs of propaganda, it would be impossible to maintain the fiction that they ‘serve their nation well.’ One might well ask, how is it possible that such an enormous confidence trick can be maintained from generation to generation?
In part of course, this question is answered through the continuity maintained by employing people such as Poindexter. It helps explain just why USG Inc. is prepared to risk exposure in continuing to utilise the skills and experience of people like Poindexter. But by and large, they can be confident that the media will do no more than perform a perfunctory challenge of the ruling elite’s policies. Having discharged their ‘obligation’ in no more than name, the more important function of peddling USG Inc’s agenda can be pursued.
Occasionally however, the ruling elite, confident in its ability to maintain the lie, oversteps the mark. For example, the current, embarrassing revelation made by secretary of defence Rumsfeld reveals the historical connection between the current US administration and the crimes of past US administrations.
What goes around, comes around
Under the heading, “Rumsfeld confirms Iran-Contra meeting’, we read that the man at the centre of the ‘Arms for hostage deal’, Manucher Ghorbanifar, an international arms dealer, had a meeting with members of the Office of Special plans in connection with ‘regime change’ in Iran. According to reports, Ghorbanifar, in exchange for money, offered to put US officials in contact with ‘moderates’ in Iran. Predictably, the Bush administration tried to downplay the meeting by dissing Ghorbanifar as a man who could not be trusted,
“From those encounters, Ghorbanifar earned a reputation in the intelligence community as a liar. In 1984, the CIA issued a “burn notice” on Ghorbanifar, recommending that no U.S. agency deal with him.
“The CIA had concluded, after past interaction with Ghorbanifar, that he could not be trusted to act in anyone’s interest but his own,” an independent counsel’s report on the Iran-Contra affair said.”
But if this is so, why did the meeting take place? The issue of whether or not Ghorbanifar is to be trusted, is rich coming from the likes of Rumsfeld and Douglas Feith, one of the other officials involved in the meeting. That the Bush administration maintains connections to individuals like Ghorbanifar reveals that nothing has changed. That Ghorbanifar is a crook should come as no surprise to anyone, nor should the fact that the Bush administration is prepared to deal with him. Also implicit in the story is the idea that the State Department was left ‘out of the loop’,
“State Department officials, speaking on condition that they not be identified, said that the meeting between the Pentagon officials – who work for Undersecretary for Defense Policy Douglas Feith – took place without the knowledge of Secretary of State Colin Powell.
“”I think a lot of people in this building were blindsided,” said a State Department official, asking not to be identified.””
So was this another so-called private deal in the mould of the original Iran-contra operation? Or is this yet another case of ‘plausible deniability?’ As Poindexter informed us, “I wanted the President to have some deniability so that he would be protected.” Note that the source as per usual for ‘leaks’ of this kind, asked not to be identified. The piece ends by telling us that,
“Feith’s Office of Special Plans has been under congressional scrutiny for alleged lapses in post-war planning in Iraq, for relying heavily on intelligence of questionable value from Iraqi exiles and for allegedly manipulating intelligence to bolster the case for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.”
So the idea is planted, that some kind of ‘secret cabal’ is responsible for the Iraqi debacle, the intention being to deflect criticism from the US state machine as a whole. Note the emphasis (now that it’s a done deal) on ‘intelligence of questionable value’ much of which was used as the rationale for the invasion. Yet this didn’t stop the media from using this ‘questionable intelligence’ in the run-up to the war.
The media as a news ‘Godfather’
What we can be assured of, is that the media will not make the relevant connections between the crimes of past administrations and those of the present. And where it is impossible to avoid these connections, they will be relegated to the ‘fantasies’ of ‘conspiritorialists’ or simply downplayed or ignored. Ghorbanifar is ‘just a crook’ and not to be trusted. The fact that the Bush administration is dealing with crooks raises not a single eyebrow.
Instead, a narrative akin to the story presented to us in the ‘Godfather’ will be unrolled, with each new ‘instalment’ reinforcing the fantasy of the ruling elite, not as an unscrupulous bunch of murderers and crooks, but as people protecting the American dream.