Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The National Archives and the CIA Are Still Stonewalling JFK Researchers

With outrageously smug and Orwellian tactics, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Archives Records Administration refuse to release over 1,000 files relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. Which leads me to ask one question: Why? Why after 50 years do these government agencies resist all attempts for full disclosure? Their lack of transparency invites supposition and suspicion. It seems to me that there must be some dynamite in those files. But what is it? What could be so earth-shattering and incriminating that even 50 years after the fact the documents can’t be exposed to the public?

We can safely say, at the very least, that there is some cognitive dissonance going on here. The government’s official position for 50 years is that there was no conspiracy to be found in the murder of the 35th President. Oh sure, the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978 found that a conspiracy was likely, but the government, specifically the Justice Department and the FBI did not act on the Committee’s conclusions. And since that time, no President, no CIA official, no FBI head, no Congressional representative, no governmental agency of any sort has publicly asserted that anyone but Lee Harvey Oswald committed the crime. So if that’s true, why not release the remaining 1,000 files to the public. The answer is obvious. The files would contradict the government’s official position.

But let’s get real here. Anyone who has taken a hard look at the case already knows that the most powerful men and organizations in the country were involved in the plot to kill Kennedy. And most of them were connected in some way to the CIA. If the full truth were made public, the CIA might be destroyed by the virulent public backlash. So maybe it’s just a matter of survival for the spy agency.

Writing in today’s edition of OpEd News, JFK researcher Jim Lesar skewers the CIA and NARA: “NARA, deferring to the CIA, continues to refuse to release these records until 2017 -- if then. The present circumstances clearly warrant immediate release. This is an egregious violation of the JFK Act and the unanimous intent of Congress.

“These records are, almost without exception, more than 50 years old. Under President Obama's new executive order on national security classification, E.O.13526, nearly all information more than 50 years old is subject to automatic declassification and must be released. Yet the CIA and NARA continue to insist that these materials should continue to be withheld. I invited the National Archivist, Mr. David Ferreiro, to address this policy at [ the AARC--Assassination Archives and Research Center] conference on the Warren Report. He did not respond directly, but conveyed his decision to decline the invitation through a phone call to me by NARA's legal counsel Gary Stern.

“The NARA/CIA refusal to obey the law is egregious. The JFK Act was passed unanimously to get Kennedy assassination information to the public in a timely fashion, so the people could assess the controversies over JFK's death. The 50th anniversary is the perfect opportunity for NARA and the CIA to produce these withheld records and to stop violations of the JFK Act. Instead, NARA has reneged on its previous commitment to make these records available by the end of 2013.”

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

George Zimmerman is roaming Florida with impunity looking for another kill


The proliferation of “Stand-Your-Ground” statutes, now the law in most states, and the right-wing’s raging push to arm everyone have bred a new kind of animal—the guy who is armed to the teeth and looking for trouble. Open-carry bullies roam playgrounds, shopping malls, taverns, restaurants, ballfields, and churches without even being cited for disturbing the peace by police. Innocent citizens, cowering like children, refuse to press charges for fear of repercussion from the armed bullies. No better example of this madness exists than in Florida where, despite the lunatic right’s claim that the streets are safer, no one is safe from gun harassment. This is what the new Wild West of American gun lunacy has come to: accquitted murderer and self-appointed vigilante George Zimmerman is stalking, bullying and threatening, with impunity, anyone he chooses.

The latest Zimmerman victim is an unnamed man who was doing nothing more than driving next to Zimmerman on a Florida road. Zimmerman threatened to shoot and kill the driver during a road rage incident in Lake Mary and later showed up at the man's workplace, according to police.

Not surprisingly, the threatened driver declined to press charges, so Zimmerman was not arrested.

A local television station reported that, “Police said the man, whose name was not released, called police after a truck pulled up next to him and the driver yelled, ‘Why are you pointing a finger at me?’ Police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett said the man recognized the truck driver as Zimmerman. The man said Zimmerman then asked, ‘Do you know who I am?’ and threatened to kill him.” Reportedy Zimmerman’s exact words were, “I’ll fucking kill you.”

You may recall that Zimmerman, after being acquitted of murdering unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, was arrested for threatening his ex-wife with a gun. Subsequent to that, Zimmerman was also questioned by police for patrolling a Florida gun store without the consent of the gun store owner who reportedly said, “I didn’t okay it. I didn’t authorize it. I didn’t pay for it. I sent him a text message telling him not to come back to the store anymore.” Apparently even gun nuts don’t want him around. Nevertheless, Zimmerman told police at the time that the gun store owner gave Zimmerman permission to guard his store.

This is strikingly similar to the Trayvon Martin killing, when Zimmerman, despite his claims to the contrary, was not acting in any official capacity as a security guard when patrolling the Florida housing complex where Martin lived.

Make no mistake, there are other George Zimmermans out there just waiting to pull the trigger. As long as we have “Stand Your Ground,” the NRA, and right-wing gun nuts we will all be in danger. The land of the free is now the land of the “freeloaders,” as in free to load, lock, and fire whenever they damn well choose.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Parents Let 9-Year-Old Fire Submachine Gun; What Could Go Wrong?

Just when I thought gun nuts had exhausted every stupid and dangerous thing they could do with their guns, there comes news of this: a nine-year-old girl, firing an Uzi, shot and killed a gun instructor on an Arizona firing range. Here's the article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch--

PHOENIX • A 9-year-old girl accidentally killed an instructor with an Uzi at an Arizona shooting range as her parents watched. Immediately after the shooting the girl said that she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder, according to police reports released Tuesday.

Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun's recoil and didn't immediately realize instructor Charles Vacca had been shot until one of his colleagues ran over to him.

The family, whose hometown hasn't been revealed by investigators, had taken a shuttle on Aug. 25 from Las Vegas about 60 miles south to the Last Stop range in White Hills, Ariz.
The report did not say why the family had gone to the range or why they let the girl handle the Uzi.

After arriving, the girl, her parents, sister and brother took a monster truck ride before heading out to the shooting range.

The girl's father was the first one in the party to handle a weapon. After he fired shots, Vacca instructed the girl on how to shoot the gun, showed her a shooting stance, and helped her fire a few rounds.

Then, he stepped back and let her hold the Uzi by herself. She fired the gun, and its recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, killing Vacca with a shot to the head, according to the report.

The girl dropped the Uzi, and Vacca fell to the ground. The girl ran toward her family, who huddled around her as she held her shoulder. Another instructor rushed over to help Vacca. The other children were then taken away from the range, according to the report.

The report describes the family as shaken by the accident.

Prosecutors are not filing charges in the case. Arizona's workplace safety agency is investigating the shooting-range death.

County prosecutors say the instructor was probably the most criminally negligent person involved in the accident for having allowed the child to hold the gun without enough training. They also said the parents and child weren't criminally culpable.
The girl's mother had video-recorded the accident on her phone.

"All right, go ahead and give me one shot," Vacca tells the girl in the video. He then cheers when she fires one round at the target.

"All right full auto," Vacca says. The video, which does not show the actual incident, ends with a series of shots being heard.

The shooting set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle a submachine gun.


It is hard to grasp what it is more shocking: the fact that idiotic parents would let a child handle a weapon of any kind, much less a submachine gun...or that the Arizona authorities are not filing charges. It is incomprehensible to me that this is not considered, at the very least, a case of negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter. The gun-nut parents should be locked up and never have the opportunity to wield firearms again...or let their children anywhere near firearms.

It is not shocking to me that this sort of accidental shooting happens every day in a country that not only condones but encourages widespread, indiscriminate gun possession and usage nearly everywhere people gather. It is the single sickest aspect of the right-wing bully culture that has reared its ugly head in 21st century America. And we on the left who do nothing about it are simply cowards. Meanwhile, more gun deaths occur in this country than in all other countries of the world combined.

I can already hear the NRA response to this incident. "This obviates the necessity for all children to have proper gun training in this country. If every nine-year-old knew how to handle a machine gun, this tragedy could have bee avoided." Yes, that's the logical solution--more guns in more children's hands. It certainly would gun makers profits soar. And, by the way, for those of you who are oblivious to gun makers' greed and callousness, that's the whole point of the more-guns-for-America propaganda: it's not about Second Amendment rights, or opposing government tyranny, or preparing for a civil war with the Kenyan President. It's about more money in the pockets of gun makers and their public relations firm--the National Rifle Association.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

St. Louis County Municipalities Prey On The Defenseless

Here in St. Louis one often hears the expression, "Ours is the biggest small town in America." What this means is that St. Louis is a provincial place composed of rigid strata of power divided by race and place. These starkly contrasting spheres are known to all. Staying in one's sphere is essential to one's well-being. But this, of course, is impractical when one must traverse many boundaries just to work, eat, live, play, and shop. There are hundreds of neighborhoods and municipalities in the region, and each has its own infrastructure of bylaws and expectations. North and West St. Louis County alone are mazes of tiny villages. Most of these villages have as their main sources of revenue fines paid by citizens, mostly non-resident minorities, for minor offenses like traffic offenses and such. Thus, police forces in these small pockets are always on the lookout for misdemeanor offenses by which they harass people, largely otherwise law-abiding African-Americans, to raise the money which provides for their own salaries. This leads to unnecessarily draconian and racist implementation of the law; just ask Nicole Bolden, St. Louis County resident and single black female. Her story is recounted in yesterday's Washington Post by investigative reporter Radley Balko. I have reprinted excerpts of it here. It is not insignificant that it took an outsider to lay bare what all St. Louisans already know. The passive, conservative local media would not dare to expose the truth.

How St. Louis County, Missouri profits from poverty
By Radley Balko
Washington Post
September 3 at 1:30 PM

On March 20th in the St. Louis County town of Florissant, someone made an illegal U-turn in front of Nicole Bolden. The 32-year-old black single mother hit her brakes, but couldn’t avoid a collision. Bolden wasn’t at fault for the accident, and wanted to continue on her way. The other motorist insisted on calling the police, as per the law. When the officer showed up, Bolden filled with dread.

“He was really nice and polite at first,” Bolden says. “But once he ran my name, he got real mean with me. He told me I was going to jail. I had my 3-year-old and my one-and-a-half year old with me. I asked him about my kids. He said I had better find someone to come and get them, because he was taking me in.” The Florissant officer arrested and cuffed Bolden in front of her children. Her kids remained with another officer until Bolden’s mother and sister could come pick them up.

The officer found that Bolden had four arrest warrants in three separate jurisdictions: the towns of Florissant and Hazelwood in St. Louis County, and the town of Foristell in St. Charles County. All of the warrants were for failure to appear in court for traffic violations. Bolden hadn’t appeared in court because she didn’t have the money. A couple of those fines were for speeding, one was for failure to wear her seatbelt, and most of the rest were for what defense attorneys in the St. Louis area have come to call “poverty violations” — driving with a suspended license, expired plates, expired registration, and a failure to provide proof of insurance...

The Florissant officer first took Bolden to the jail in that town, where Bolden posted a couple hundred dollars bond and was released at around midnight. She was next taken to Hazelwood and held at the jail there until she could post a second bond. That was another couple hundred dollars. She wasn’t released from her cell there until around 5 pm the next day. Exhausted, stressed, and still worried about what her kids had seen, she was finally taken to the St. Charles County jail for the outstanding warrant in Foristell...

...By the time Bolden got to St. Charles County, it had been well over 36 hours since the accident. “I hadn’t slept,” she says. “I was still in my same clothes. I was starting to lose my mind.” That’s when she says a police officer told her that if she couldn’t post bond, they’d keep her in jail until May. “I just freaked out,” she says. “I said, ‘What about my babies? Who is going to take care of my babies?” She says the officer just shrugged.

“It’s different inside those walls,” Bolden says. “They treat you like you don’t have any emotions. I know I have a heavy foot. I have kids. I have to work to support them. I’ve also been taking classes. So I’m late a lot. And when I’m late, I speed. But I’m still a human being...”

…this was Bolden's second arrest, and since Foristell's municipal court was in session only once every two weeks, she would remain in jail.

The Foristell warrant stemmed from a speeding ticket in 2011. As mentioned before, Bolden didn’t show up in court because she didn’t have the money to pay it, and feared they’d put her jail. It’s a common and unfortunate misconception among St. Louis County residents, especially those who don’t have an attorney to tell them otherwise. A town can’t put you in jail for lacking the money to pay a fine. But you can be jailed not appearing in court to tell the judge you can’t pay — and fined again for not showing up. After twice failing to appear for the Foristell ticket, Bolden showed up, was able to get the warrant removed, and set up a payment plan with the court. But she says that a few months later, she was a couple days late with her payment. She say she called to notify the clerk, who told her not to worry. Instead, the town hit her with another warrant — the same warrant for which she was jailed in March...

...Bolden’s bond was set at $1,700. No one she knew had that kind of money. Bolden broke down; she cried, she screamed, and she swore. She was given a psychological evaluation, and then put on suicide watch. She finds that memory particularly humiliating. Bolden would remain in jail for two weeks, until Foristell’s next municipal court session. She wouldn’t let her children come visit her. “I didn’t want them to see me like that,” she says. “I didn’t want them to think it was normal, that it was okay for one of us to be in jail. I missed them so much. But I wasn’t going to let them see me like that.”

We're told that while Bolden was in jail "...she missed a job interview. She fell behind in her paralegal studies. When she finally got her day in court… '...I was sad, and I was mad,' she says. 'I smelled bad. I was handcuffed. I missed my kids. I didn’t feel like a person anymore.'"

Bolden's story is not untypical of the African-American experience of living in St. Louis County, where justice and punishment are meted out unevenly. If you are in the upper strata, and white, you are unlikely to experience what Bolden did.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Holocaust Survivor and Ferguson Protestor Knows Fascist Tactics When She Sees Them

Of all the disgraceful acts committed by St. Louis area cops after the murder of Michael Brown, one of the most reprehensible was the arrest of 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein. Hedy was peacefully protesting Darren Wilson's senseless slaughter of Brown when suddenly, for no apparent reason, she was handcuffed by police. Did the cops really think that an unarmed 90-year-old woman presented a threat to them? Did they suspect her of domestic terrorism? What exactly were the cops thinking? Hedy says they never told her why she was arrested.

The incident evoked powerfully painful memories for Hedy. Born and raised in Germany, she recalls the Nazi reign of terror in the 1930s directed at Jewish families like hers. Her father was arrested on Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, when SS officers and Nazi sympathizers rampaged through the streets, ransacking and demolishing Jewish homes and businesses on November 9, 1938. The sound of shattering glass gave the nefarious night its shameful name. Much like the Gestapo, St. Louis-area cops unlawfully terrorized and accosted innocent citizens. The parallel incidents, separated by 75 years and 6,000 miles, reverberated in Hedy's consciousness. But unlike then, when as a small child she was forced to endure the death of her father in Dachau, today she is fighting back. She has hired a lawyer and will demand justice in a St. Louis courtroom. Her protest itself was an act of defiance and hope. She is fighting against the same fascist tactics which devastated her childhood.

The "good" citizens of St. Louis have responded to Hedy's bravery by sending her hate mail. That's right, the same right-wing radicals who have donated half a million dollars to killer-cop Darren Wilson have filled her inbox with anti-Semitic rants and vile threats. To be fair, Hedy says she has also received notes of praise and encouragement. But it makes one wonder how, in 2014, so many decades after the Holocaust, there are still so many demented and depraved individuals running around in America, where they are free to spew hate and give violent vent to their uncontained rage.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Michael Brown Case Prompts Generous Giving By St. Louisans...To The Killer Cop

One of the most horrifying sidebars to the senseless murder of unarmed Ferguson teen Michael Brown is the money that has come pouring in, apparently from racist St. Louisans, to an all-purpose slush fund for Ferguson cop Darren Wilson. St. Louis television station KSDK reports that, as of today, the "Support Officer Darren Wilson" fund has raised a quarter of a million dollars. Moreover, according to KSDK reporter Lisa Zeigman, fund organizers are transferring the money to something called "Shield of Hope," an "authorized" charitable foundation, so that future donations will be tax deductible. Huh? It is one thing to contribute to a murderer's defense fund; it is quite another to make those contributions tax deductible. Can you imagine the outcry if the roles were reversed? If a black man had gunned down a white cop, the Tea Partiers would be gathering on the White House lawn with pitchforks and nooses should the government declare that contributions to the black man’s defense fund could be tax write-offs.

KSDK is also reporting that “all funds received will be donated to Officer Darren Wilson to cover potential legal fees, and relocation and living expenses of both Officer Wilson and his immediate family.” Not only do St. Louisans (and all other right-wing nutjob non-St. Louisans) have no objection to Wilson slaughtering a defenseless kid, they are making it profitable for the cop to have done so. It turns out that murdering African Americans can be a good career move for white St. Louis-area cops.

This should stun and stupefy you. But if you’re from St. Louis, you are probably not shocked at all. Having lived in the segregated neighborhoods of the St. Louis area all my life, I am quite familiar with the white-racist rage that simmers just beneath the area’s placid veneer. For decades it has been barely suppressed by a live-and-let-live attitude (as long as they don’t live by us). Now, though, it has exposed its ugly caped head in the most blatant way imaginable. What those who contribute to the killer cop’s bank account are really saying is this: “I don’t care if it’s murder; just send the message to the black community that we have the power of life-and-death over you, so stay in your place.”

Why would any rational person make out Wilson to be the aggrieved party in this case? What did he do to warrant this outpouring of community support? Do white, conservative St. Louisans automatically back the cops no matter what they do? Do they not have a social conscience? I wonder if donations would have accrued tenfold if Officer Wilson had machine-gunned an entire church full of African Americans. Maybe contributions would have soared into the millions. Apparently white cops can kill with impunity in St. Louis; it not only pleases the white citizenry, but it is a financially lucrative enterprise for the police.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Writer Makes Connection Between Drug Traffickers and JFK Killers; More Proof Of A Massive Plot


I am utterly convinced, and always will be, that JFK’s murder resulted from a massive conspiracy which involved the CIA, Lyndon Johnson, Texas oil billionaires, elements of the Mafia, and military personnel including some of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Some ridicule this notion, saying that such a plot involving these groups which, on the surface, seem to have little in common. It would have been an unwieldy proposition, say the cynics, made more difficult by the need for secrecy among and within these various groups.

My contention is, despite the incredulity of such a plot, it in fact happened that way because that is where the evidence leads. Over the years, as information leaked out, my position has been proven right. Now comes even more proof that the CIA, Texas oil and the Mafia colluded in other criminal activities.
In an August 2014 article in Mad Cow Press, writer Daniel Hopsicker reports that, “A six-year long investigation into the drug trafficking operation in St Petersburg Florida that was exposed when two planes were busted in the Yucatan carrying a total of 10 tons of cocaine revealed the planes had all been ‘parked,’ or ‘sheep-dipped,’ in the names of straw owners to conceal the CIA’s involvement.

“The composition of this group of straw owners, composed of a fascinating collection of people with often interlocking connections through various other enterprises, says a lot about the circles the CIA runs in. Among the few who lent their names to the registration of more than one of these CIA planes is the granddaughter of Texas oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, who back in the 1930’s was known as the richest man in America. Hunt’s other singular distinction is having been accused by Russian newspaper Pravda of being behind the JFK assassination.

“The investigation uncovered incontrovertible, if unsurprising, proof of involvement in the operation by the Mob (in this case, the Chicago Outfit) by Texas oil interests, Saudi financiers, and, of course, the CIA.”

Hopsicker goes on to explain how the CIA tries to hide evidence of its involvement in the drug trade by using “front” organizations to conceal ownership of “mule” planes:
“An almost-always accurate test for picking a sheep-dipped CIA plane out of a line-up: Check out the previous owners. Why? Because when the CIA needs a specific make of plane, they don’t thumb through the 'Planes for Sale' ads in Trade-A-Plane magazine.

"They find the needed plane among the Agency’s own vast inventory. (Remember: the CIA at one time fielded the largest airline on the planet.) Once they’ve found the plane they want, they will very often sell it back and forth a few times between a few of the Agencies’ thousands of off-the-shelf dummy front companies to throw anyone snooping around off the scent.”

The listed owner of one of the planes used in drug-trafficking ring based in St. Petersburg, Florida, turns out to be owned by Alinda Hill Wickert, granddaughter of H.L. Hunt. Who was H.L. Hunt? Only one of the richest men in the world from the mid-1930s until his death in 1974. An avowed JFK hater and right-wing extremist, he made his fortune in oil, and subsequently moved to Dallas where, it can be stated without exaggeration, he owned everything that moved—from the police force to the local politicians and everything in between. That included Lyndon Johnson, whose mistress once hear Hunt admit that he was “the richest man in the world” and could do any damn thing he wanted to do.

His hatred of Jack Kennedy dated back to the Democratic convention in Los Angles in 1960 where Kennedy beat Hunt’s candidate, LBJ, for the presidential nomination.

Hopsicker puts it this way: “In 1963, Dallas billionaire H.L. Hunt poured millions into a ceaseless anti-Kennedy radio campaign; it was the dawn of extremist radio in the nation. Hunt’s program, ‘Life Line,’ reached 10 million listeners a day with scorching attacks against Kennedy.

“Hunt also controlled a vast private intelligence network, that included the John Birch Society.

“Hunt’s son purchased a full-page ad in the Dallas newspaper the day JFK arrived, accusing the President of betraying the Constitution. A leaflet appeared all over town that accused JFK of treason.

“Immediately after the JFK assassination H. L. Hunt was rushed to the airport and taken out of the country by the FBI. Supposedly, they’d received notice of a plot to kill him. But instead of protective custody, they moved Hunt to a secret destination in Mexico.

“Lyndon Johnson’s former mistress, Madeleine Duncan Brown, told author Robert Gaylon Ross prior to her death in 2002 that Johnson was involved in the murder of JFK. The plot that had its origins in the 1960 Democratic Convention.”

Hopsicker has supplied a piece of the JFK assassination plot that heretofore has baffled investigators. How did such disparate and powerful groups collude? How could such a massive plot succeed when the participants seemed so unallied and wildly divergent. Well here’s how. The conspirators had two very strong motivations in common—they were accustomed to getting what they wanted (power and wealth) by any means necessary…even illegal means; and they hated JFK.

To read more of the Hopsicker article, go to http://www.madcowprod.com/2014/08/19

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