Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Al-Hilli Conundrum

by Craig Murray

My post on the shootings in France has brought tens of thousands of people to this site – but not to read my dull contribution. People are coming to read the comments from other readers.

Today’s development of the bomb squad descending on the al-Hilli house does not in itself worry me enormously. You may recall the massive terror scare that was ramped up when some Muslim students in Manchester were found to own a bag of sugar.

In fact we have the opposite phenomenon today, with the spook-fed “security correspondents” on TV lining up to tell us it is probably just everyday household stuff. This deviation from the standard Islamophobic “Muslims = bombs” narrative is so startling it makes me wonder why the “move along, nothing to see here” line is being taken so quickly.

My own security services sources insist that al-Hilli was not a person of current interest to the UK intelligence agencies and was not involved in anything clandestine. I have no reason to disbelieve them. On the other hand, the limited and confusing information in the media is almost entirely from official sources. I find it very strange indeed how little attention has been paid to the murdered French cyclist, and how easily it is presumed he was just a passerby. Surely it is as likely he was the intended victim and the al-Hillis the accidental witnesses?

Full story...

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

America's Secret Wars Among Its Intelligence Agencies Since NSA's Inception

by Trowbridge H. Ford

Why Relations Despite the Scandals Didn't Change Much between Watergate and the 9/11 Bombings

The 9/11 attacks gave the FBI its biggest black eye in its history. While it had been starved of intelligence about the planned suicide bombing, and cut out of any response because of the belated disclosure of the spying by agent Robert Hanssen for the Soviets for fear that it would would somehow be leaked, the Bureau was still in the process of handing over the new leadership to Robert Mueller - delegating the domestic response to any such problems to the CIA which was most eager to regain the lead in the country's reponse to terrorism anywhere. Without any really important National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts of the messages the suicide bombers were exchanging in preparation for the attacks, the FBI had little chance of connecting the signal intelligence dots of what was afoot, especially since it had forced the retirement of its leading counterterrorist spook, John O'Neill.(1) The planned response was, consequently, most ham-fisted with fifteen unarmed CIA agents, under the direction of Soliticitor General Ted Olson's wife Barbara, it seems, trying to play copper with the 19 highjackers when they were dedicated to killing everyone they could, especially themselves. The only reason that the Bureau wasn't blamed more for the fiasco was because its causes were not easily discernable.(2)

The root of the problem went back to the NSA's near paranoia about anyone without a need to know, knowing of its very existence, much less its product, particularly since Director J. Edgar Hoover would not provide cover for its work. It had been that way since its inception, and it only got worse when it was caught out in the Watergate scandal, thanks to the investigation of Frank Church's Senate Intelligence Committee, that it had been eavesdropping illegally on private individuals through telecommunication companies for any information which might be relevant for it and any related agencies doing that work fully. "Pushed by Church," James Bamford has written in Body of Secrets, "the committee voted to make its report public - over NSA's vehement objections, and to the greatest displeasure of its Republican members." (p. 439) In the process, its Director, General Lew Allen was forced to resign, and the agency was obliged to live with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which made any such eavesdropping illegal, being now required to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court if it wanted to listen to the communications of American citizens and permanent residents within the United States.

Of course, this made NSA the Bureau's official master in domestic matters, as it was expected to get some kind of input from the Bureau before any domestic eavesdropping. This restriction was impossible for NSA to maintain, given its worldwide capability to tap micro-wave messages, and to eavesdrop on what was going on in foreign embassies when it came to American residents. While the problem only surfaced when important Americans were involved, it was responsible for an increased sense of paranoia within the agency, leading its leadership constantly to be concerned about possilble leaks. This was best illustrated when Vice Admiral Bobby Ray Inman was Director, going wild when the media, especially The New York Times, leaked information about Illinois Congressman Edward Derwinski being investiaged for tipping off Soiuth Korean officials that its top spook in New York was about to defect by NSA monitoring his calls to Seoul (ibid.,October 27, 1977 issue), and President Carter's brother, Billy, was working as a business agent for´Gadaffi's Libyan government, aka Billygate, in the same fashion. (Bamford, pp. 380-1)

To avoid such embarrassment and controversy, future Directors became even more secretive and most devious about what was going on. NSA Director Air Force
General Lincoln Faurer, Inman's successor, become so concerned about details leaking out about Reagan's covert government intruding into Swedish waters that he had Airman David Helmer defect to Stockholm in February 1984 so that there would be no paper trail about what his mission was. Hemler had a top secret clearance, and was stationed in Augsburg, Germany in its elite 6913 Electronic Security Squadron which knew all about signal intelligence communication in the Baltic, He told Swedish security what he apparently knew about what had been going on - what reinforced what statsminister Olof Palme's opponents, particularly Conservative Party leader Carl Bildt, had engaged in, especially sending the previous October a most provocative diplomatic note about it to Moscow. (3) Faurer added to the ruse by having John Lehman's US Navy send more attack submarines into the area to keep the ploy going.(4)

Whn Faurer learned, though, that the Reagan administration was serious about using it in a non-nuclear showdown with Moscow to end the Cold Warr at Sweden's expense, he resigned, only to be repaced by a more hard-line, covert operator, Army Lieutenant General William Odom. He had served as NSA Zbig Brzezinski's military assistant during the Carter administration, and was most noted for wanting to roll back Soviet power and influence across the board. Odom was obsessed by the potential leaking of NSA secrets by its personnel, earning the sobrique Captain Queeg among his subordinates, and even considered the President to be the biggest offender by divulging its secrets in covert operations.

Little wonder that when Ollie North wanted to do this in spades while working for Reagan NSA Bud McFarlane that Odom gave him what help he could to achieve the task.

Odom ordered John Wobensmith of its Information Systems Security Directorate to give North whatever help he needed, including two of its KY-40 scramblers.- what he did without North having to sign a receipt for having gotten them. The lap-top computers contained " encryption chips so that he and his fellow conspirators could communicate secretly via e-mail while traveling." (Bamford, p. 391) An additional benefit was that it would be carried on without NSA having a clue about what was happening. The lap-tops were the crucial component of North's "FLASH" communication network would get round all the red tape required by official institutions, and permit his operatives to do missions like capturing the Palestinian terrorists who killed Leon Klinghofer on board the Achille Lauro (5) to making Palme pay with his life for having stopped the transfer of arms for Tehran in exchange for the release of American hostages held by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Of course, when Palme was assassinated, but the Soviets were not shown to have apparently done it, thanks to Moscow having been tipped off about the set up by the spies it had developed, and the countermeausres it had taken against any surprises triggering the planned non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War, all kinds of considerations became sensitive, and then alarming when Iran-Contra began unravelling. It was then that Director Odom became particularly worried about using information NSA had about Libya's alleged bombing of La Belle Discothéque in West Berlin on April 5, 1986 for a retaliatory attack on Gaddafi's capital Tripoli for fear that it would lead to what had happened in Stockholm the previous February 28th. Then when the C-123 carrying arms for the Contras was shot down over Nicaragua in the fall, the concerns resulted in murders of dangerous participants or their being forgotten about, especially the spies still unrevealed, destruction of key evidence about the plots, and defusing damaging evidence by rendering its sources immune from prosecution - what required the most strenuous efforts by the NSA and others.

The strain was immediately demonstrated when North put the highest priority on destroying incriminating evidence. He was sheading all the evidence he could lay his hands on in his office and that of the National Security Council, only to have his former boss, McFarlane, remind him of an even more important chore: "I hope to daylights that someome has been purging the NSA files on this episode." (6) This problem was greatly complicated by the fact that NSA had not given North's people just two KY.40 scamblers but fifteen KL-43 encryption devices whose codes had been changed every month, and had recorded everything they transmitted.The prospect of retrieving all the devices, and discovering what was within them made the possibility of what had really gone on most remote. In addition, the PROF notes between North and the new NSA Admiral John Poindexter about the operation were destroyed, but they had been copied by the agency's computer system, and were ultimately discovered.

Then there was all kinds of interecepts that NSA had normally collected from around the world. The fleet of attack submarines, especially the Parche, SSN-683, -which had been moving into position to sink Soviet hunter and boomer subs, once they started moving into launch position after the surprise assassination of Sweden's statsminster had occurred - had created a vast amount of communications which would become really troublesome if the real cause of Iran-Contra's illegalities came into focus. The double agents that the CIA had developed in the USSR during Operation Courtship to pin the set up on Moscow would become serious if any investigators suspected so. Also there was all the data which had been collected by the monitoring device that technician spy TAW had placed on the KGB communication center sourhqwar of Moscow, and what operation ABSORB disclosed about the movement of ICBMs along the Trans-Siberian railroad in preparation for a first strike upon America.(7)

Then Director Odom tried to pin the blame on Wobensmith for North's people having the KY-40 lap-tops. Wobensmith claimed that Odom was so positive about helping that he did noit even make North sign receipts when receiving them. Two years later, Wobensmith was suspended withouit pay for fifteen days by a NSA superior because of the oversight. and not instructing North how to properly use them, but an appeals board recommended that it be reversed and Webensmith reimbursed for his legal fees - what incensed Odom. "He believed that Wobensmith was responsible for casting the agency into the public spotlight, a rare and unforgiveable sin in NSA's secret city."(Bamford, p.391). As a result, he only received $1,229 for his legal fees, and was demoted in rank.

By scapegoating Wobensmith, Odom made it easier for the agency to keep Special Counsel Walsh investigating Iran-Contra at arms length. While Walsh was finally ablr to obtain over 100,000 pages of classified documents to begin trying defendants in the conspiracy, their success depended largely upon their use in the trail - what NSA General Counsel Elizzbeth Rinskopf doggedly opposed. "Her concern was not only the preveration of intelligence sources, but also the protection of her agency from embarrassment." (Bamford, p. 176) She insisted, for example, that McFarlane's message to North in his PROf notes, about wanting the NSA traffic files purged, be redacted. More important, Walsh had to resort to various expedients to hide NSA being the source of information most germane to successful prosecutions of the conspiracy and diversion charges in North's indictment, but Attorney General Richard Thornburgh refused to go along with the scheme.- what Bamford, by then the author of The Puzzle Palace about NSA, surprisingly explained on national TV was required to maintain its secret intelligence capability.

With NSA's role in Iran-Contra being effectively covered up, it was passed time for Odom to go, and he was replaced by Office of Naval Intelligence Director Vice Admiral William Studeman who was a soft-spoken copy of the former director.

In taking leave, though, Odom could not restrain himself from leaking more secret information by comparing .the Agency with his agency: "The CIA is good at stealing a memo off a prime minister's desk, but they're not much good at anything else." (Quoted from Body..., p. 474.) This was obviously a reference to stealing Palme's agenda in October 1985 for his scheduled meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in April 1986 - what allegedly included establishing a non-nuclear weapons zone in Scandinavia, and what was used by William Casey's CIA to justify his assassination. CIA resident in Stockholm Jennone Walker apparently got MI6 agent E. D.´Mack´' Falkirk in Oslo to steal the document.

The only problem with the theft was that it did not trigger a non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War at Palme's expense - that was achieved by the Anglo-American leaders with Gorbachev themselves after the set up fizzled out because of countermeasures that Moscow took for the intended surprise, thanks to its spies around Washington.

During the next decade after the collapse of the USSR, the struggle within America's intelligence community was plagued by ferreting out the spies, especially CIA's Aldrich 'Rick' Ames, a process so damaging that it almost ended the Agency's existence while the Bureau was increasingly taking the lead in fighting terrorism, even overseas, thanks to copper Louis Freeh becoming its Director, and the wake up call it had received because of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993. The impact on NSA was devastating because of the continuous reduction of its enormous size, and a peacetime mission in a growing world economiy, as Air Force Director General Kenneth Minihan discovered. The Bureau went wild on fishing trips with NSA intercepts to find foreign companies which were engaging in illegal activities at the expense of legitimate American business. While Minihan gave the impression that he was a great promoter of agency transparency, he ran a very tight organization.

While Miniham's replacement, Air Force Lieutenant General Michael Hayden, had great plans for reforming NSA so its operators and funders could be happier about its performance, everything was put on hold to clear the air until the 9/11 attacks surprised everyone - making a bad situation much worse. A cause of the delay was the most belated discovery that Bureau's Special Agent Robert Hanssen had been another spy like the Agency's Ames - what Director Freeh compounded by immediately resigning, leaving the FBI naked to its enemies.(8)

DCI George Tenet cut the Bureau out of having anything to do in subduing the suspected highjackers of the four planes while its agents in the field were increasingly having trouble connecting the dots in all its criminal investigations.(9) Moreover, the NSA did not accept Rick Taylor's recommendation about implementing his system called Thinthread which would allow it to see the head notes of foreign e-mails entering the States while the Brueau was forced by the FISA court to keep its data gathering more separated from its criminal investigations.(10)

The results would be the 9/11 disasters where both the failings of the Brureau and NSA would be paramount, but this time the FBI was more exposed in the fallout, and would resort to more drastic attempts to fix it, as we shall see in the concluding article.



1. For more, see this link:
2. For a more complete explanation, see Trowbridge H. Ford, "The Prelude: US Intelligence - 11 September 2001, Eye Spy magazine, Issue Eight 2002, pp. 26-33.
3. Svenska Dagbladet, April 27, 1983.
4. For more about this, see the awards that the US Navy's submarines received during 1984 and 198 in Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Blind's Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, p. 426.
5. Peteer Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America, pp. 140-1.
6. Quoted from Lawrence E. Walsh, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up, p. 8.
7. Pewte Earley, Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of aldrich Ames, pp. 117-8.
8. Ford, op. cit., p.26ff.
9. James Bamford, The Shawdow Facory: The Utra Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. p. 108ff.
19. Ibid., p. 44ff.

Friday, 17 August 2012

USA, Britain and France Will Stop At Nothing To Keep Russian Aviation Down

by Trowbridge H. Ford

When the Cold War ended, and the Soviet Union went belly up, Russia's industries had the greatest difficulties staying afloat. While it had many important ones in the defense field, the end of the East-West conflict while the Warsaw Treaty Organization was collapsing meant that they no longer had a captive market for their weapons, and. consequently, saw a serious decline in the size and scope of their sales. The best products were in military aircraft, and submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons which could interest hardly any civilian customers because they did not have the distances, needs and clientele of the former Soviet Union. They had little need for long-range military transports, and giant, allegedly unsinkable nuclear submarines like the Kursk as they had neither the territory nor the coastline for any such
purchases. The Russian defense esblishment could only hope for upgrading military hardware, especially jet fighters that countries had already bought, and repairing what little materiel remained.

Russian military equipment was the consequence of how it had developed into a world power. When thed Bolshevics look over from the Tsar, the country was a loosely- tied federation of states of essentially an agrarain nature which had a well educated elite, and incredible potential which was hardly developed. Stalin certainly recognized the basic problems when he gained power, and he soon took the most drastic steps to reduce its risks of being eliminated by anti-Soviet interests. In the process, an aeronautical interest, led by the promising designer Andrei Tupolev, was essentially reduced to the state's miliary requirments. By most draconian measures, Stalin tried to bridge the military gap between the USSR, and the West - what he had little resources for accomplishing except brute force.  The rural popuation was made to pay at barely subsistence wages for the development of the country's infrastructure, and the build up its military capability to defend itself from attack on a shoe-string basis.

The best evidence of this was shown in the nature of Soviet aviation. Moscow never really thought of developing a long-range bomber - the Spanish Civil War teaching it all the wrong lessons about modern warfare - and civil aviation suffered because of it sincr all the USSR's immediate enemies, the Poles, Germans, Baltics, and Scandinavians were close at hand. Even Soviet intelligence was much more interested in recruiting like-minded foreigners, and what their governments were planning on doing rather than how they planned to do it in terms of men and equipment. Stalin concentrateed upon the Soviets obtaining Western aviation technology openly rather than deveoping their own as he did not have that much trust in his scientists. As a result, Moscow was still well behind when the Germans finally attacked in 1941 - its fighters, dive and medium-range bombers, though incredibly great in number, were hardly a match for the Luftwaffe's latest creations.

The Soviets had not benefitted either by the alleged treason of Red Army's Chief of Armament's Marhal M. N. Tukhachevskii with the Nazis.Their joint testing of weapons contrary to the terms of the Versailles Treaty had given Moscow all the wrong ideas about what Berlin was planning. While Tukhachevskii was a big adovocate of developing rockets, his followers - i. e.,  Tupolev, Sergei Korolev, and Valentin Glushko - were the core of designers for Soviet aviation, and paid accordingly for their alleged disaffection.  (David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, p. 146) Korolev worked for Tupolev's design section of prisoner scientists after a spell in the Kolyma gulag. Tupolev was still in the dog house for having pushed the develoment of the TB-3 strategic bomber which had set some distance records but had proven of little value in Spain.

Little wonder that after the war, the Soviets were still playing catch-up, especially thanks to Western help of an official or covert nature, when it came to aviation. Again Moscow imitated Western technology with mixed results. For example, Stalin rejected People's Commissar A. I. Sakhurin's proposal that Soviet scientists should develop their own jets.  "On April 24, 1946 the Lak (Lavochin) -15  and the MiG-9 fighters, using Geeman JUMO-004 and BMW-003 jet engines," Holloway wrote, "made their first flight.  Shakhurin was soon replaced and sent to prison." (p. 147)    

The Mikoyan MiG-15 and the Yakolev-15 were even powered by Soviet modified Rolls-Royce Derwent and Nene engines - what allegedly produced this surprised response from the Soviet leader. - "What kind of fool would be willing to sell his secrets." (Quoted from p. 235.)

It was only during the 'fifties - while Stalin was disappearing from the scene - that Soviet aeronautical engineers were able to design and build the latest jet interceptors, the MiG-19 and the Yak-25.

The same problem plagued the design of a long-range bomber - the prerequisite for a viable international commercial aviation - as Stalin was always sticking his nose in it. The best one it had was the Tupolev Tu-4 - named in honor of the rehabilitated Tupolev - based upon captured American B-29s, and really obsolete by the time it appeared in any numbers. It had taken too long a time for Tupolev to find the right engine for it, the Mikulin AM-03. Piston engines, though, could just not produce enough speed to outrun enemy interceptors.

What was required was similar jet engines for the bombers, but Stalin was hooked on the idea of turbo jets which Tupolev would not accept, though the Soviet leader ordered him to do so but this time without any backing down. A four-engine turbojet bomber required too much fuel to be an effective long-range one. Stalin still got his way with V. M. Miasishchev building the plane (aka the "Bison" by NATO), but it never overcome its refueling problems. Ultimately, Tupolev too built his four-engine, turbopropeller bomber, the Tu-95 aka the "Bear" by NATO.

The biggest trouble with these planes wass that neither had a prospect of becoming a viable commercial airliner for the isolated USSR.  The "Bear" could fly at the speed of sound, and had a range of over 12,000 kilometers, but it only had a payload of 11 metric tons - hardly the making of a comericial airliner,.  The "Bison" was even faster, but it had a much shorter range, and could carry hardly more when it come to payload. It was only because nuclear devices became much lighter and versatile that the planes had even any military value.

It was about this time that the Soviet rocket scientists took over the main strategic needs of the country, and aviation, except for the building of better interceptors and cargo planes, became a backwater in the field.  The most amusing illustration of this occurred when Miasishchev claimed that his 201M bomber was really an intercontinental one since the refueling problem could be solved by having it land in Mexico after dropping its nukes rather than returning to the USSR. Khrushchev snapped back: "What do you think Mexico is - our mother-in-law? You rhink we can simply go calling any time we want? The Mexicans would never let us have the plane back." (Quoted from Khrushchev Remembers, p. 71.)

What little propect large Soviet planes had for either military or civilian purposes dried up essentially with détente - Moscow agreeing to the ABM Treaty and the Strategic Limitation Arms Treaties (SALT-1 and II)). By setting the number of strategic missiles a country could have, the number of strategic bombers it had too became essentially an unimportant issue.

While Bears and Bison took part in Moscow's traditional .May Day parades - showing their ability to deliver the bombs along with the massive missiles on display - they were considered irrelevant by the Reagan administration when it and Thatcher's government decided to end the Cold War with Moscow at Olof Palme's expense on February 28, 1986.  While the plan was to be kicked off by US and Nato submarines sinking Soviet boomers as they hurriedly went on station in reaction to the surprise, the National Reconnassiance Office's Keyhole radar satellite was to prevent any Soviet ICBMs from becoming airborne by destroying them while they were still on the ground being fueled. As for Soviet strategic bombers, they were to be deposed of, like the Wehrmacht accomplished in the opening days of Operation Barrbarossa, while still on the ground when Nato's Anchor Express Exercise was mopping up on the Kola peninsula what was left of Soviet resistance.  Fortunately, Soviet counterintelligence and countermeasures, the failure of the Space Shuttle Challenger to put the satellite into space, mutinies by the crucial Atlantic Fleet Commander Admiral Carl Trost, and avlanches in Norways' Vassdalen which killed many of its engineers prevented this all from happening.

For more, see this link:

Tupolev's son Alexei tried to bridge the gaps between Soviet aviation and the West by designing and building the Tu-144, a competitor of the British-French built Concorde, but it was sabotaged at the 1973 Le Bourget Air Show when it was taking off by an unannounced small plane, allegedly involved in photographing it, getting in its way. It forced the Tu-144 into a drastic maneuver to avoid a mid-air collision, but in swerving out of the way, it engaged in maneuvers which the plane could not withstand, breaking up and then exploding when it hit the ground, killing the crew, and seveeral people on the ground. Instead of becoming the Concorde's real competitor, it was soon cast aside by anyone interested.

For moe, see this link:

The sad state of Soviet aviation and international transport, especialty of a long-range nature, was well on display when the Berlin Wall came down and USSR finally collapsed. The only international carrier was Areoflot, and its fleet was almost totally made up of Boeing and Airbus planes, thanks considerably to the sabotaging of the the Tupolev Tu-144.  As Rodric Braithwaite noted in Across The Moscow River  when he returned to Russia as Britain's Ambassador:  "Moscow was a patently run-down city.  Apart from one huge placard high on the Moscow skyline which exhorted the citizens to 'FLY AEROFLOT' (an unnecessay injunction in a country with huge distances and only onr airline)..." (p. 46) Of course, all the old designers of planes  for limited travel were still around - e. g., Ilyushin, Irkut, and Sukhoi - but they did not have the resources and clientele to produce anything much better.

Moreover, conditions only became worse during the Boris Yeltsin years. The worst thing that happened was the 5th Congress of People's Deputies giving Yeltsin the power to rule by decree and to implement ecomomic reform in the fall of 1991 before a constitution had been adopted, and the state rebuilt. "It was Yeltsin," Lilia Shevtsova wrote in Russia: Lost in Transiltion, "who could not stop infighting among the elite, and handed power to his favorites, enabled dliques to help themselves to state property, and allowed Russia to drift back toward authoritarianism." (p. 32) The stealing was the price that Yeltsin had to pay to get re-elected as President. and once the oligarchs were in power, their "natural monopolies" were assisted in improverishing Russia by outside developers, IMF and World Bank credits, and NATO's enlragement.

LIttle wonder that the new President, Vladimir Putin, tried to regain control of its assets, organizations and potential.  While oligarchs like Boris Berezovski. Roman
Abramovich, and  Vladimir Potamin were being pushed aside, Putin appointed a new set of oligarchs to take back what was in Russia's national interest. "The creation of national champion companies is proceeding apace," Shevtsova wrote, "with Gazprom and Rosneft swallowing smaller companies, Aeroflot buying up regional airlines, and companies that design and construct aircraft (Sukhoy, Mig, Irkut, Tupolev, and IIlyushin) merging." (p. 123) To stop the continuing purchasing of Airbus and Boeing planes - what Aeroflot was still buying in quantity as late as the spring of 2007 - Sukhoi built and perfected Super Jet 100 in the hope of finally breaking the habit.

Foir more about the plane, see this link:

The possibilities of the Sukhoi plane at Burbank's Bob Hope Airport were obvious.  The airport, built by Boeing's holding company back in 1928, and maintained by Lockheed-Martin recently, needed an addition like the Super Jet 100 to its fleet of planes which used its runways often but with some risk because they were quite short, and had been the scene of too many accidents.  Also, the airport is having trouble expanding because of opposition by residents, and their complaints about its noise and emissions.  The performance of the Sukhoi plane seemed an ideal solution, if purchased by its ten or so carriers, to the complaints, and some of them were investigating possible purchases, once it was fully approved by the authorities on February 3, 2012.

What was developing could not have missed the attention of the resident FBI agent Steven Ivens who had worked for the Los Anglese Police Department in counterterrorism for many years before joining the Bureau three years ago in Burbank, especially since the airport had its own police force which needed to be informed about what was afoot, and what its feedback was.  Seems Ivens was well infomed about the airport's problems, and the potential that Sukhoi sales had in solving them. Ivens may have even heard about this from licensed pilot, and sales consultant Peter Adler who, though he lived in central California's Oakley, was often on the scene for flights and possible purchases. Adler was a most affable fellow who made friends most easily, and would talk their ears off about what he was doing.

Of course, Boeing was quite aware of what was going on, and took steps to stop it.  As Britain and France had helped it and themselves in the crash of the Tupolev Tu-144, it was now Washington's turn to put Russian aviation back in its place. Seems that the plane's air conditioning system was sabotaged, either to break down while in flight or start emitting smoke which would understandably alarm any potential buyers on a demonstration flight- what Adler was scheduled to do on May 9th for Indonesian Sriwinjaya Airlines as a pilot and consultant.

As with most plots though, things did not happen just as planned.  When the cabin started smoking up, the pilot asked immediately the air traffic controllers to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet, and they simply left the decision up to him.  He continued the flight plan at that attitude until the plane crashed into the volcano, Mount Salak - a notroious danger, and in an almost impenetrable environment - killing all 45 passengers on board.

When the full passenger manifest was released the next day, Agent Ivens, who had been becoming increasingly depressed about what might occur, was shocked to see that Adler was one of the victims.The news made Ivens recall some of the rumors that had been flying around about the demonstrations, and since Adler was an innocent American, Ivens decided to contact former Bureau agent Donald Sachtleben about what he thought about the alleged accident.  Sachtleben had a long history of investigating such incidents, going all the way back to the Unibomber's smoke bomb attacks on American carriers, and culminating with the 9/11 attacks in which thousands of Americans were needlessly killed.  They arranged to meet on the morning of May 11th to discuss the matter further.

The only trouble was that the National Security Agency (NSA) picked up the conversation, and its Special Collection Serivice (SPS) apparently arranged the fixing of the problem.  It is the continuing service that William King Harvey started for the CIA's Division D  to carry out assassinations, and the only real change is that it has much more sophisticated electronic equipment for locating targets. In this case, SPS agents seem to have kidnapped Ivens while on his way to meet Sachtleben, and then took him to the mountains nearby wher he was kept until he could be killed, and his body placed where it could finally be found - what occurred about three week ago.  Sachtleben, not knowing what had happened to Ivens, finally made his way back to Indianapolis where he was arrested by police when he returned home for possessing child pornography on his computers - what NSA had also located.

To put the icing on the cake, The Bureau and agents of the Diplomatic Service played a charade where stand-ins for Ivens and Sachtleben acted out a little scene for the benefit of the Russians'  Chief Consul in San Francisco Vladimir Vinokuro while he was staying in an LA hotel.  The stand-ins acted as if they were reporting a domestic act of terrorism in which the perpetrators were "all insane", and then the alleged Ivens ran off to the hills where the authorities were warning the public that he is armed, and possibly dangerous.

The stand-in for Sachtleben simply disappeared, along with all the evidence about what really happened to the Sukhoi Super Jet 100.      
For more about the incident, see this link but be careful about selecting fact for fancy:

Monday, 23 July 2012

Deserter David Hemler Helped 'False Flag' Plot To Sink USSR At Sweden's Expense

by Trowbridge H. Ford

When Social Democrat leaderr Olof Palme surprisingly regained power in the 1982 fall partliamentary elections, the Reagan administration in Washington immediattely tested his anti-communist feeling by having US and NATO submarines flood Swedish waterrsasround its naval base at Muskö to see how it would react, a secret plan to check Swedish anti--submarine warfare capability (Operation NOTVART) which the new statsminister had not been informed of. He had been portrayed in Anatoliy Golitsyn's New Lies for Old, a work by the famous double agent who the CIA and MI6 not only encouraged but also endorsed (See Editors' Foreword) about the alleged agent of influence who had used his subversive intentions to gain power under false pretences (p. 55ff, esp. p. 288), a suspicion which was long passed time to deterrmine the truth of. Palme was on the Reagan administration's watch list because of his continuing support of national liberation movements in Central America and Africa, and because of his support of a Nordic Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.  Despite the most serious concerns about Palme's trustworthiness, the statsminister came through the naval ordeal in flying colors.

Palme went along with the set-up, also known as the Hårsfjärden incident because of where it occurred, as if nothing was amiss. While it was still going on, Vice Admiral Per Rudberg, Chief of Sweden's Navy, appointed a service committee to determine what had actually happened, and come up with measures to make sure it didn't happen again. Two days later on October 15th, the Palme government appointed a Parliamnetary Commission under the leadership of Minister of Defence and former Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Anderson, and including leading politicians across the polittican spectrum to investigate the incident. To assist its inquiry, Vice Admiral Bro Stefenson, the Navy's Chief of Staff, and Sven Hellman of the Ministry of Defence were appointed as experts.

General Lennat Ljung, the Swedish Commander-in-Chief, announced their creation in most alarmiung terms:  "The investigation of the sea-floor continues. The barricades are still deployed. There has definately been one submarine, possibly several. No indication of nationality. Large amount of force used, even mines, which has never happened. Tough methods. I don't know any other country that has done this in peace-time." (Quoted from May 1983 notes that Palme's Secretary of State Ulf Larsson  took at high-level meetings.)

In December 1982, the naval inquiry, headed by Swedish Rear Adminal Gunnar Grandin, reported to the Navy Chief. It concluded that the Soviet bloc seemed to be responsible for it, thanks apparently to NATO's continuing checking of Sweden's national security reliability in light of Moscow's accidentally beaching one of its Whisky submarines on the rocks off the Swedish base at Karlskrona the year before Palme returned to office. (For more, see Chris Mosey, Cruel Awakening: Sweden and the Killing of Olof Palme, pp. 147-8.) The Grandin report put it this way:

"When it comes to nationality of the submarines, we know that the submarine incidnet in Karlskrona was Soviet.  A number of optical, hydrophonic and passive radar indications point, even in this case to submarines from the WTO ( Warsaw Treaty Organization). Some indications of received radar signals cannot exclude that submarines of other nationality (NATO) have been in the area outside where the incidents have occurred.  The reason for this has probably been to follow the acitivity." (CM/Grandin, appendix 2, 'Händelseförloppet'  Bilaga 2 i 'Granskning av ubåtsjaktverksamheten mot bakgrund av händelserna I Stockholms skärgård' )

On April 26, 1983, the Parliamentary Commission reported, making a stronger case against the WTO, particularly the USSR.  Six submarines had been involved, three of them midget ones, and given what had happened before, especially the 1981 incident, it concluded that they must be Soviet ones. "On this point the Commission confirms," it admitted, "that neither the sea floor investigations nor any other investigation has yielded proof in the form of objects found or otherwie which could bind a certain state to the violations." ( SOU (1983) 13,Att möta ubåtshotet - Ubåtskrängar och svensk säkerhetspolitik. Betäankande från ubåtsskyddscommissionen. Stockholm, 1983, p. 81)  Without any smoking guns, the Commission still concluded its narrative of what seemed to have been going on by pointing to the Soviet bloc.

The Commission report was too wishy-washy for its Chairman, Defence Minister Sven Anderson, who added falsely in a press conference the same day that a midget sub that escaped to the Soviet bloc on October ll may have been damaged. To bolster any fingers pointed toward Moscow, the Palme goverrment sent a protest to the USSR, stating that such intrusions were serious crimes against international law, adding that they were "...deliberate and illegal atttempts to investigate Swedish territorial waters. These activitie must be strongly condemded." (Svenska Dagbladet, April 27, 1983)  Palme made the protest public knowledge by talking about its content, and  delivery at a press conference . Stockholm recalled its ambassador to Moscow for consultation to underline its disapproval of what the Soviets were apparently doing

To keep the pressure on Moscow, certain suspicious submarine events occurred - thought to be WTO ones at the time, but which turned out later to either NATO ones or simple inventions. A month before the Commission reported, there were alarms at both naval bases at Karlskrona and Muskö that unknown subs were in surrounding territorial waters, but the hunts from nothing. Then the day after it reported, there was a Norwegian hunt for an alleged submarine in Hardangerfjord where depth charges and anti-submariine rockets were used to sink it or force it to the surface, but none was discovered. Then there was a submarine scare off Sundsvall the next day.  Two days later, an unknown sub was spotted in a fjord north of Göteborg on Sweden's west coast. The next day one was sighted south of that city but when it was forced to surface, it turned out to be West German.  While no Soviet bloc subs were found, the alarms created increasing, unprecedented anti-Soviet sentiment among the population.

It was still surprising, despire the politicised panic over the intrusions, that the government finally reacted to the clamor, and with more Defence Staff justification of it by sending another most caustic note, almost a provocation for war, to Moscow on October 10th.  Acoustic evidence, visual observations, signal intelligence aka sigint, and physical examination of the sea floor where the submarine activity was most intense all pointed to vessels of the Warsaw Pact being responsible. Claiming that it was just summarizing what the Parliamentary Commission had concluded, it filed in its blanks completely at Moscow's expense. 

For example, regarding visual sightings, it declared:  "All observations from the time of the Hårsfjården incident lead us to the conclusion that the submarines belong to the Warsaw Pact." (SOU 1995.Ubåtsfrågan, 1981-1994, Stockholm, 1995, p. 137)

About two sonar findings, it added:  "The conclusion is that in both these cases we are dealing with Warsaw Pact submarines. There it is possible to identify various sounds - i. e.,  identify the number of propellers." (Ibid.)

"Particular ciecumstrances," it explained about sigint, "make it possible to define even a single ship.  By taking the bearing of the signal, one can determine the position of a sender. It is also possible to get important information by listening to radio traffic between different ships or between a ship and its base." (Ibid., p. 138)

"The existence of the prints on the sea-floor," it added, "shows that the intruding submarines belong to the Warsaw Pact."

While Moscow had responded to the first note by declaring it an "unfriendly action", It said nothing about the second one, though it can hardly be doubted that it considered it little short of a declaration of war.

The real trouble for Sweden was that it was essentially untrue, as later inquiries after the Cold War ended showed. More important, in 1988, Pär Kettis, Director General of Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment aka FRA reported that it had no signal information about the Hårsfjården incident, so where did the Defence Staff get its sigint claims from?  Commander Björn Eklink, skipper of the spy ship Orion who was later removed from its command because of his gung-ho attitude about getting the Soviets, claimed that he was not surprised by the admission because he had never been informed that FRA  had anything incriminating Moscow. 

In short, it seemed that the Palme government had just endorsed leader-of-the-opposition and Parliamentary Commission member Carl Bildt's statement about the incidents:"I cannot think about anything in modern times that has been more serious." he concluded: "There is no doubt, (but we) cannot reveal everything." ("Rapport," STV2. April 26, 1983)

The only reason why Sweden was not directly punished for its provocation is because the United States, in deep trouble of its own then, adopted Sweden's cause as its own.  The Reagan administration immediately had its foreign policy thrown into the greatest disarray by the revolution in Grenada which overthrew Maurice Bishop's government, and then the killing of those 346 American servicemen, mostly Marines, in Lebanon four days later.  Washington would have been in better shape if the Presndet had been able to reconstruct his government when National Secuirty Advisor William Clark was obliged to go. (For more, see Lou Cannon, President Reagan, p. 372ff.) Instead of getting personnel changes which were in favor of better relations with Moscow, the President was stuck with one which wanted to stick it to the Soviets, explaining while the difficulties in Stockholm became opportunities for the new team.

The opportunities that Sweden provided for getting rid of the USSR some way would not last long - as Washington, despite its efforts to maintain that Moscow was in an aggressive, war-starting mood - had to be concerned that the truth about Hårsfjärden would start to leak out, especially since the Social Democrats, especially Palme, had not been duly informed about what the Defence Staff was falsely claiming,  Not all journalists accepted the official line. Anders Hasselbohm was writing Ubåtshotet - En kritish gtanskning av Härsfjårds-incidenten och ubåtsskyddskommissionens rapport which would soon be published in Stockholm by Prisma. Hasselbohm was getting disclosures, especially Norwegian acoustic and other visual evidence, by NATO officers about individual submarines in the hunt which were known to be Western ones - what greatly undermined the Parliamentary Commission report, and completely gutted the note to Moscow.

The biggest problem for Washington with these claims was that the Norwegian Commander-in-Chief, General Sven Hauge who was in Stockholm at the time of the incident, and had lent Stockholm its most advanced hydrophone capability in the hope of catching the Soviets red-handed, making intrusions into Swedish waters three weeks before (Operation NOTVARP), completely changed his tune after he heard the tapes - what America's National Secuirty Agency (NSA) got wind of. They confirmed what the leakers were claiming about NATO submarines - what the US Navy even confirmed after the Cold War was long over, and it was time to acknowledge the efforts of those involved.  The giving of the Navy Unit Commendation (NUC) to the Cavalla, SSN-684, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) to the Bergall, SSN-667, Guitarro, SSN- 665, Aspro, SSN-661, Groton, SSN-694, and Puffer-SSN-652, along with the midget submarine Turtle, DSV 3, showed that they were involved in some fashion in the incident. (Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, Appendix C, pp. 424-5, and p. 433)

To defuse the Hauge-Hasselbohm ticking bomb - what would ruin new NSA Robert 'Bud' McFarlane's 'false flag' operation to destroy the USSR in a non-nuclear war - Washington had to inform Stockholm that the Soviets were solely responsible for the Hårsfjäarden incident in a most convincing way. One would expect the National Undewater Reconnaissance Office (NURO) - the agency that DCI Richard Helms had created when Nixon became President to keep track of all the secrets that the Navy was collecting - but it had not been informed by Captain James Bradley's Office of Undersea Warfare (OUW) of the intrusions of Swedish waters, so getting.the NURO involved would just cause more problems. The OUW, while well informed about such secrets, was too well organized, and widespread for any deceptive mission succeeding without some kind of damaging blowback. (For more about it, see ibid., p. 117ff.)  Besides, allegedly ratting on a mission that it was most involved in would be most suspect to start with.

So NSA decided to do it.  Now its director was Air Force General Lincholn D. Faurer who had had a long career of carrying out its survellance missions.  "During the 1970s," James Bamford wrote in Body of Secrets, "Faurer served variously as director of intelligence for the Southern Command, Air Force deputy assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, vice director for production at the Defense Intelligence Agency, director of intelligence at the U.S. European Command, and deputy chairman of the NATO MIlitary Committee." (p. 387)  Faurer was known for his can-do attitude, and his obsession about secrecy while the agency was undergoing its largest expansion in history.  "Unlike Inman (his predecessor)," Bamford added, "Faurer was determined to keep out of the spotlight; he began rebuilding the agency's wall of anonymity."

To make up for the treachery that analyists William H. Martin and Bernon F.Mitchell committed by defecting to Moscow a quarter century before, Faurer apparently had David Helmer defect to Sweden on February 10, 1984, much like Lee Harvey Oswald had done when he went to the USSR, hunting for Soviet leaders. Hemler had volunteered for the Air Force, and had done well enough to become a member of its elite eavesdropping agency, the 6913 Electronic Secuirity Squadron, stationed in Augsburg, Germany.  General Faurer had become most involved in the unit's activity while serving in various Air Force intelligence capacities in Eiurope, and was looking for defectors to make up for NSA's increasingly limited human spying. When Faurer was preparing to retire early, he complained about the need of still more agents, stating that the role of computers in its operations had almost doubled since those earlier defections. (Bamofrd, p. 388)

While Hembler recently explained that his alleged desertion was caused by West Gerrmany's adoption of the installation of cruise missiles, the defection to Sweden was intended to prevent a nuclear conclusion to the Cold War, only a non-nuclear one which would lead to its capitulation was acceptable, as Joseph Nye had recommended in his Nuclear Ethics. Hemler's disclosures convinced Palme that the Defence Stall's claims about the 1982 incident were accurate, causing him to dismiss anything or anyone who claimed otherwise.  When Foreign Ministerr Lennart Bodström claimed the following year at a dinner attended by journalists who had not taken Hasselbohm's claims seriously that there had been apparently no intrusions, as its Navy claimed, of Swedish waters, he was saciked by the statsminister. (Mosey, p. 151)

The most disturbing event that occurred while Hemler was finding employment with the Swedish government, probably with either FRA or Säpo, was the murder of TV reporter for the Rapport program  Maureen 'Cats' Falck and her associate Lena Gräns after they had dinner in a south Stockholm restaurant in Novmeber 1984,  They were investigating the Iran-Contra shipment of arms and money to Tehran and central America, a process in which Swedish arms, especially from Bofors, were involved, and East Germany, particularly the port of Rostock, was the center of. It was the network that Ted 'Blond Ghost' Shackley had been assigned by Reagan to put together from Hamburg to help gain the release of American hosatages held by Iran. The reporters were apparently poisoned at the dinner, and their bodies were in a car which was driven into Stockholm's Hammerby Canal - which were discovered the following May.

While attempts to get to the bottom of her claim that they were on to 'something big' - what has proven fruitless despite attempts to prove that East Germany's Stasi killed them, as most of their research has disappeared - little attempt has been made, as the Russ Limbaugh's Executive Intelligence Review magazine noted in 1997, to determine what they meant when they claimed "...something which was going to happed in 1986." While, in retrospect, people predictably sited the Palme assassination, and it was, but not in the way they thought. When they were murdered, the plan still just called for some 'false flag' incident, like what happened in October 1982, and its exploitation..The delay was needed to get all the men, particularly the double agents in Operation Courtship, and materiel, especially a Keyhole radar satellite, in place to pull it off.

It seems that the reporters got wind of the mission somehow, and were asking around about it. It is possible that they learned of it from Hemler, but it is just as likely that they learned of it from CIA agents like Rodney 'Rod' Carlson or even Rick Ames himself. They were in the process of putting together the agents who were to catch the Soviets flat-footed over some surprise. Just when Hemler was defecting to Sweden, Ames, whose career crashing, was given the top job in Carlson's Counter Intelligence Group, head of its Soviet branch. (For more, see David Wise's Nightmover, p. 94ff.)  It was while Ames was investigating what the moles in Soviet intelligence were doing for Operation Courtship that he decided to become a spy for Moscow, and word of the 'false flag' operation leaked increasingly to treacherous members of Sweden's military, thanks to the Agency's newest claim that Palme was in the process of pulling off a coup himself.

The assassination of the statsminister was now the first 'false flag' operation, making it look like Soviet spy Stig Bergling had done it while on compassionate leave to get married,  the second would be Navy Secretary John Lehman, Jr.'s attack submarines sinking all the Soviet boomers which went on station because of the surprise in Stockholm, and NATO's Anchor Express Exercise being dragooned into taking out the Soviet forces around the bases and in the air over the Kilo Peninsula.
Palme had become the target after he most belatedly learned of the plotting by the Anglo-Americans when they tried to slip those 80 HAWK missiles through Sweden on Novewmber 17, 1985 on their way to Iran, but stopping them just increased the risks of President Reagan being impeached and removed from office because of his illegal findings.

Palme even removed the gung-ho Björn Elkind from command of the most important spy ship Orion in the Baltic, as Britain's HMS Challenger was not available, but plans had moved by then far beyond any simple change stopping the juggernaut.

Of course, Hemler survived the fiasco, as no one even wanted to acknowledge his existence, much less what he had helped happen. It was only now that it is starting to leak out, after 28 years, but it doesn't seem that much more will be heard about the deserter/defector, much less why. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Watergate, Larry O'Brien's Files, and the Mysterious Death of LBJ

by Trowbridge H. Ford

While the Plumbers' attempted assassination on May 15, 1972 of former Alabama Governor George Wallace assured President Nixon's re-election in the November poll, it just increased the danger of their conspiracies being discovered during the trial of suspected assassin Arthur Bremer, some conspirator or person in the know turning whistleblower, or the deceased FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover - who they had apparently dispatched earlier to clear the way for the killing of the potentially most dangerous third-party candidate - having made some arrangement for their exposure if something like this happened, especially irrefutable evidence from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) that it had been recording LBJ's telepone messages at his Texas ranch about ending the war in Vietnam at the height of the 1968 presidential cmapaign.  The White House and the Plumbers from the NRO, in sum, had to do everything they could to eliminate all suspicion that they had the motive, capability, and opportunity to kill the troublesome Southerner.

The NRO was still officially an even more evanescent agency than its parent, the National Secuirty Agency (NSA) aka No Such Agency.  It was only during Robert McNamara's tenure at the Pentagon that it even got a toe-hold on what it designed, produced, and used for gatherring signal intelligence, thanks to the SoD getting a director, like Alexander Flax, he could work with. Until then, as his successor John McLucas told the Defense Acquisition History Project on June 5, 2001, and shortly before he died, there had been such competition between it and the Air Force about how to produce planes and satellites, and such a circulation of leadership between government employment and the military-industrial complex because of congressional limitations on conflict of interest that the NRO was directed operationally by little more than uniformed personnel among its ranks who could order missions that NSA approved of.

The best example of this was when Brigadier Jack Ledford apparently wanted a U-2 surveillance flight iover Cuba to see if Castro was establishing a Soviet military presence on the island. .When the new NSA Director, Vice Admiral Lawrence Hugh (Jack) Frost, heard about it, he gave Ledford and other covert operrators a dressing down in typical inter-service rivalry fashion which no one else apprecited, as James Bamford has quoted in Body of Secrets: " 'I saw him chew out Frank Raven, Bill Ray (senior NSA officials), and some Air Force brigadier general in a briefing,' said Robert D. Farley, a former NSA historian. 'Just the finger-on-the-chest bit.' " (.p. 96) Frost's replacement, Air Force Lieutenant General Gordon Blake, learned the lesson all too well, though, when it came for aerial reconnaissance over the island during the Missile Crisis itself and its settlement, as the fate of downed U-2 pilots Major Rudolf Anderson and Captain Joe Glenn Hyde, Jr. indicated..

Little wonder that McNamara replaced Blake at NSA after he had organizaed a united service effort to take the fight to the North Vietnamese to insure LBJ's election with Army General Marshall Carter taking his place, and Dr. McLucas becoming the Air Force undersecretary to manage the NRO's procurement of weapons, and operations..He got the agency to move beyond the cost-plus and fixed contract way of getting them, with suppliers having to pay back whatever they had received if the weapon did not prove capable, and reliable as they had claimed. Then the NRO returned to first building prototypes for the components of the Rhyoline satellites which the aerospace firm TRW was producing for it rather than just dream up something, like the Air Force was doing with a trial-and-error approach, in the hope that they worked. The pains-taking process of building complicated satellites was carried out at its M-4 facility in Redondo Beach, California, and the first one was put in geosynchronous orbit above Boreno, and its take was download to a facility at Australia's Pine Bluff in 1970. (For more, see  Bamford, p. 367ff.)

The process became even smoother when former Congressman Melvin Laird became SoD, and David Packard, CEO of the giant electronics firm, joined him as deputy. For more, see this link:

To persuade Wallace that the White House had had nothing to do with the eavesdropping which almost cost him his life, Nixon arranged for political affairs assistant Harry Dent to visit Wallace in the hospital in Maryland, and Nixon's personal physician William Lukash to check on his current condition.  To make sure that such concern was not considered politically intrusive, Senator Strom Thurmond was contacted to make sure that it was approved, and Nixon Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman was instructed to see what Wallace wanted, to "see if we can make a deal with him."  (The Haldeman Diaries, June 12, 1972, p. 470)  Nixon worked on Reverend Billy Graham to make sure that the wounded Wallace stayed within the Democratic Party after its convention, making sure that he did not play the spoiler, and elect Senator McGovern even if it required a $750,000 payoff for his staff.

To seal Wallace's assurance that he would not run, former Texas Governor and Treasury Secretary John B. Connally paid Wallace a visit still in hospital.  Of course, Connally was an ideal choice, having himself been injured as presidential timber when he was almost assassinated when JFK was gunned down in Dallas.  To pressure Wallace still further, he contended that he was thinking of mounting a presidential campaign himself, and was desirous of hiring some of Wallace's staff if he wasn't. Wallace said to wait until the American Party convention occurred, as some kind of miracle might occur to make him change his mind.  "John was convinced that this is the most significant day in the campaign," Haldeman concluded, "because Wallace is not going to run." (Ibid., July 25, 1972, p. 486) 

Bremer's trial was expedited because the White House took over the investigation of the crime from Maryland officials, and saw to his prosecution as quickly as possible - before even Wallace's ultimate state of health was determined.  Hours after the attempted assassination, Nixon took the unprecedented step of calling Assistant FBI Director Mark Felt for apparently the only time, softening him up to work the White House's will by expressing the hope that Bremer had been "worked over pretty good" when he had been apprehended. Then the President told Felt that he didn't want the murder inquiry extended by any slip-ups, as had occurred in the JFK assassination, and had caused them to become a national preoccupation.  "We'll take care of that," Felt reassured Nixon, as was reported by the AP in 2005 year, and puts to rest the claim that he was the whistle-blowing "Deep Throat".  (For more on the real "Deep Throat", see my two articles about Al Haig in my archive.)

And Bremer's court-appointed counsel, Benjamin Lipsitz, completely compromised his defense by introducting his alleged 137-page diary to help establish his irresponsible "schizophrenic" character, what began with him writing that he was setting out to assassinate either Nixon or Wallace - what rendered the President innocent of anything.  With the President off the hook as being behind the attempted murder, the court made short work of the defense, especially since the expert witnesses were evenly divided over Bremer's mental state, resulting in his being given a 63-year sentence.  While it was reduced ten years in an unsuccessful appeal of the verdict, the Bureau belatedly investigated the crime for another eight years - resulting in the 26-volume WalShot file which only added suspicions of a White House conspiracy, and the dying Wallace in 1996 endorsed.

While all this prevented any dangerous blowback from Wallace's shooting, it did nothing to solve the question of what the Bureau's deceased Director knew about Plumber operations - what had apparently led to his murder - and what measures he might have taken to guarantee their disclosure in case anything happened to him.  After all, most people have a lawyer, even if one is only to make up the terms of a will, and see to its execution after death, and Hoover, being such an important, controversial figure for so long, undoubtedly had one. 

Yet, in reading biographies of him, one cannot find the name of any lawyer he could have trusted enough to have made him his own counsel - only the names of ones he hated, and tried to discredit with the help of other lawyers.  For example, Hoover used good friend and New York attorney Morris L. Ernst in this capacity to protect his and the Bureau's reputation against Max Lowenthal's proposed exposé of the FBI, but he, as Curt Gentry wrote in a footnote in J. Edgar Hoover, "objected, more than once, to Ernst characterizing himself as his 'personal attorney'." (p. 233) 

Hoover's personal attorney when he died was apparently Lawrence O'Brien, an employee of the Hughes Tool Company, and now the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) whose offices were in the Watergate.  Of course, both Nixon and Hoover had various relationships with the reclusive airplane, and film maker. The President and Felt had to worry that the former Director knew more than just brother Donald Nixon's dealings with Hughes regarding financial and sexual irregularities, and that Hoover had passed the information to White House "enemies"  - what the Assistant Director had superficially covered up.  Now the fear allegedly was that the Cuban security service was passing information to the DNC about  Nixon's attempts, with Hughes's help, to assassinate the Cuban leader - the blowback from which resulted in JFK's murder, and which LBJ would be in an ideal position to exploit.   

Besides, O'Brien, as LBJ's Postmaster General, had crossed the Director right after the Dallas assassination, as no one else had, in his dealing with former agent and now Connecticut Senator Thomas Dodd, exposing the Bureau's interception of a letter that a disgruntled staff assistant had sent to muckracker Jack Anderson, only for Hoover to find out that Dodd was hoping to replace him at the Bureau. Until then, Hoover had been making sure that the Bureau did nothing to uncover Dodd's criminal ways.   "It was the unpardonable sin," Gentry concluded. (p. 592)  O'Brien, on the other hand, gained the Director's good graces.

O'Brien had the closest relation possible with the eccentric billionaire and his company. In 1953, Hughes had turned over all his stock in the company to the Hughes Medical Company, a tax-exempt charity registered in Delaware which carried on medical research.  In 1968, when Congress was considering ending such exemptions, Hughes political operator Robert Maheu, who knew all about William King Harvey's assassination plots against Castro and others, hired O'Brien to make sure that this didn't happen, and O'Brien secured its continued exemption. This was when the Hughes empire was deeply involved in secret programs for the government, especially Senior Vice President at the Aircraft Company Tony Iorillo's plan to design and build a gyrostat satellite for the NRO (Explorer 50) - lifting their size limitation, complexity and capabilities. (For details, see Bamford, pp. 343-6.)

As Bamford described, despite the satellite's capability, its messages just at this time from Firebase Sarge in Vietnam were completely ignored by NSA when the North Vietnamese build-up, north of the DMZ, occurred during January and February, 1972. NSA was too busy extending the satellite network that the NRO was constructing over the globe to read what was its take.On March 30th,  the North Vietnamese attacked, and staged the biggest victory over American and South Vietnamese forces since the Tet-offensive back in 1968.  This Easter offensive left no trace of either the Explorer system, or the defeat on the battlefield with the American public. "The war was over," Bamford concluded, "and the United States had lost." (p. 346)

John Mitchell, now chairman of the Campaign to Re-Elect the President, and his chief adviser, Frederick LaRue, were so afriad of O'Brien's potential to cause trouble in this environment that they ordered a break-in, and bugging of the DNC at the Watergate on March 20, 1972 - what had to be postponed until both Hoover and Wallace were put out of the way, as I have already explained.  They were particularly interested in finding out if O'Brien had somehow gotten vital information from Hoover, especially NRO documents about Nixon's "November Surprise" in the 1968 election, the Plumbers' composition and operations, the destruction of the Explorer system monitoring the DMZ in Vietnam, and the unexpected presence of the Secret Service agents in Bremer's apartment when Bureau agents, thanks to Felt's direction, arrived.  It was suspected that O'Brien was still receiving similar information - what could constitute a Democratic "November Surprise" in the upcoming presidential election, resulting in an instruction also to tap his telephone and to bug his office.

The results were two break-ins of the DNC, the first one on Sunday, May 28th, and the second on June 17th, after several, it seems, false starts - what might well have been invented after the burglars were arrested to give the false impression of how unprofessional the operation had been from the outset. (For more on this, see Fred Emery, Watergate, p. 118ff.)  The trouble with the first break-in was that its one successful tap was not on a phone being used by O'Brien. Furthermore, the CRP was no longer interested in current party activities but what the DNC, as J. Gordon Liddy later explained, "...had of a derogartory nature about us, not for us to get something on him. (Quoted from Emery, p. 125.  Italics Liddy's) 

Of course, the best source of such information would be Hoover's own files or copies of them - what the Plumbers went back in the hope of photographing three weeks later. "They want everything in the files," former CIA security agent James McCord explained to an incredulous Howard Hunt, the mission's operational chief who had put together the forged documents (code name GEMSTONE), implicating JFK in the assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem. 

While the new mission planned to take pictures of 1,800 documents in files in the office on 50 rolls of film - what required having a key somehow to Secretary to the the Director of the State Chairman Ida "Maxie" Wells' desk where all the necessary file cabinet keys were kept. They were to photograph incriminating evidence the DNC had regarding Nixon - e.g., the Director's file of infra-red photos that the CIA had engaged MI6 to take in Hong Kong when alleged alleged Red Chinese spy Marianna Liu visited Nixon's bedroom, the recorded messages of South Vietnam's "November Surprise" which torpedoed Humphrey's election, the defeat there which NRO's Explorer system had recorded, etc.  

The Plumber mission was deliberately sabotaged by McCord failing to remove the tapes from doors down to the garage-level entrance he used to re-enter the complex, fearing apparently that a successful operation would so reveal misdoings by the Agency that the White House would be bound to take drastic action against it. Of course, this reason had to be covered up in all accounts by all kinds of bogus claims - Hoover was just protecting disclosure of his homosexuality rather than that at the White House, the Agency was protecting itself for having arranged on its own for Hughes to build the Glomar Explorer to raise a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine (Project Jennifer), the DNC was protecting itself against disclosure of a sex ring John W. Dean's bride-to-be was helping run from it to blackmail politicians, especially Republicans, etc. 

The arrest of the five burglars - followed shortly thereafter by those of Hunt, Liddy and lookout Alfred Baldwin - made what they were trying to photograph hardly a concern at all.  The White House was most eager just to dismiss it as an ill-conceived rogue operation, and when it couldn't, it tried to get the Bureau to just stick to the suspects, and the Agency to provide a national security cover against it being exposed while behind the scenes it attempted to secure the silence in various ways of those accused, and others involved, particularly Plumber secretary Kathleen Chenow.  If she started talking to the Bureau, all the White House plots risked being exposed. 

Dean, the President's counsel, was responsible for keeping the cover up under control, especially her. (See Emery, p. 201)  The basic details of the cover-ups were contained in the June 20th tape of the conversation between Nixon and Haldeman in the EOB - what became known ultimately as the "181/2-minute gap" and "the smoking gun" when, in fact, the whole discussion had been erased. "The conclusion was," Nixon's Chief of Staff wrote in his diaries, "that we've got to hope that the FBI doesn't go beyond what's necessary in developing evidence and that we can keep a lid on that, as well as keeping all the characters involved from getting carried away with unnecessary testimony." (p. 473)

For the Oval Office, the immediate problems were to get John Mitchell to give up being CRP Chairman, O'Brien to give up any thoughts of helping torpedo somehow Nixon's re-election, and Vice President Spira Agnew to step aside so that former Treasury Secretary John B. Connally could take his place on the Republican ticket - what would render any SIGINT intelligence about them or had by them as benign as possible. Lookout Baldwin had indicated to his lawyers that he was willing to go after Mitchell, and while he didn't have the evidence to prove his case, it was feared that O'Brien did, especially since he issued a statement stating that the break-in "raised the ugliest question about the integrity of the political porcess that I have encountered in a quarter century of political activity."  (Quoted from Emery, p. 159.)

To force Mitchell's resignation, his wife Martha, who was campaigning for the President's re-election, started speaking out wildly about her husband, claiming Nixon's henchmen Erlichman and Haldeman had called her husband at the crack of dawn in California to inform him of the arrests. Then she made hysterical calls to the famous UP White House reporter, Helen Thomas, claiming that her husband was involved in Watergate, and that she was going to kick him out of the house "...if John didn't get out of politics..." - a conversation she terminated by pulling the phone line out of the wall.  Bob Woodward paid a visit to her Essex House apartment in NYC to get an exclusive interview in which she stated she was writing a book about the "dirty politics" which were required to get statesmen like Nixon elected.  Because of Martha's erratic behavior - conveniently assumed to be the result of her growing alcoholism - Mitchell resigned at the end of June.

O'Brien, instead of getting the inquiry he demanded about the break-in, was subjected to a wide-ranging criminal investigation, and political attacks while the White House continued to manage its cover-up of Plumber operations.The Justice Department and the IRS started a criminal inquiry into his possible tax evasion on the Howard Hughes yearly retainer - what was serious enough to scare him off from being Senator George McGovern's Vice Presidential candidate. 

Besides, LBJ was unwilling to endorse McGovern because he thought he was all wrong about Vietnam, promising to work behind the scenes to help Nixon's re-election.  Ultimately, the pursuit of O'Brien on unpaid taxes for $190,000 from Hughes would turn out to be a "dry hole", as Ehlichman reported in September - as he was cleared in an IRS audit - but the threat had been good enough to move him out of the picture, as he obviously did not want a detailed scrutiny of his finances.

Getting rid of Agnew was a more difficult matter, as he was Vice President, and the only real successor to Nixon was Connally, though he did not think that he could follow the President by becoming Spiro's successor. Besides, Agnew was the vital connection to the Mafia, and able to mobilize Democrats for Nixon by his bitter attacks on McGovern, though bringing his own psychological soundness into question in the process.  Frank Sinatra, leader of Hollywood's Rat Pack who had just arranged Mafioso Angelo DeCarlo's early release from prison and pardon through Agnew by giving John Dean $100,000 in cash as an "unrecorded contribution", and another $50,000 to the CRP, was most unhappy with having to deal with Connally now in such matters - what was resolved by having the singer lead a celebrity reception at the Residence.

More important, Agnew had been responsible for the appointment of Chalres C. Richey, a Democrat, as a federal judge whose ex-parte statements about the $1,000,000 civil-damage action the DNC had initiated against the CRP's Maurice Stans for the break-in, and whose pushing for a plea-bargain settlement of a Mann Act prosecution of Phillip Bailley proved most beneficial to the White House. Richey"...told Roemer," counsel for the RNC, Dean told Nixon,"he thought Maury (Stans) ought to file a counter libel action." (Quoted from Silent Coup, 226.)  The criminal prosecution of Bailley similarly got nowhere when the judge said to the parties that it was in the interest of all to settle the action without further inquiry. The only party whose interest was served by the settlement was John Dean's as Bailley, as his address book showed, was helping run a prostitution ring out of the DNC to get dirt on its politicians with the help of Dean's wife-to-be, Maureen Biner.

In sum, nothing was done to get rid of Agnew until the prosecution of the Plumbers, and Nixon's re-election was successfully negotiated.  Of course, the coup de grace to the Democrats had been National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger's apparently arranging a successful conclusion to the Vietnam War. The settlement was essentially what LBJ had negotiated back in 1968, though this time there was no trouble, it seemed, from President Thieu after Kissinger went to Saigon to get him to go along.  "We'd have everything done by the end of the year," Kissinger told Nixon, DNSA Haig, and Haldeman on October 12th. 

Unfortunately, the NSA did not even reach a settlement, much less its implementation by year's end - as Thieu was increasingly objecting to what was being proposed - inducing Nixon to appoint Agnew to force him to agree: "He is to convince Thieu as leader of the hawks," Haldeman wrote in his diaries, "that there will be no support for him unless he goes along." (p. 553)  

To soften up the North Vietnamese to accept the plan too, Nixon authorized B-52 raids on the North, and the reseeding of Haiphong Harbor with mines. After four weeks of devastating raids, reminiscent of Operation Arc Light carried out after the Tonkin Gulf incidents, the North Vietnamese and South Vietnam's President were forced to settle.  Of course, the bombing campaign put the NRO under the greatest strain to gather satellite intelligence of targets through its station at Pine Gap - what risked causing a political rupture with Australia's government if exposed  

Haldeman put the result of  Vice President's mission this way in the January 23rd entry: "Thieu had finally capitulated a few days before."  Agnew was so pleased with his negotiating skills that he requested a meeting with the wary Nixon during which he proposed to ..."take a trip to Egypt to visit Sadat, and see if he could try and untangle something on the Middle East." The incredulous President explained it all to Agnew wanting to rebuild his image.

Agnew had given Thieu the same aim when he strong-armed him into accepting the terms of the proposed settlement, as he apparently did try to improve his image in America in a way the White House least expected - telling LBJ how he had been persuaded by the current Vice President not to take the terms Johnson was proposing four years earlier.  Dean had already called for hard evidence to prove that LBJ had ordered the FBI to bug Nixon's plane during the 1968 campaign to counter the fallout from the Watergate convictions, and when the former President heard that the Bureau's former executive Cartha 'Deke' De Loach was looking into the matter, "...LBJ got very hot, and called Deke, and said to him that if the Nixon people are going to play with this, that he would release (deleted material - national security), saying that our side was asking that certain things be done." (Haldeman, January 12, 1973, p. 567)  De Loach, Haldeman added, took this as a direct threat.

While De Loach indicated that LBJ had called for bugging Nixon's plane - a request he claimed the Bureau declined - and a check of Mrs. Anna Chennault phone calls, and a tap put on her phone, LBJ obviously had other ideas, and planned to come to Washington to make his case among disgrunted Democrats. "Mitchell," Haldeman added, "also said he was meeting with O'Brien today, and will make reference to this whole thing in that meeting and see what he can smoke out."

Undoubtedly, the former Attorney General was looking for confirmation that LBJ had the NRO's goods on Nixon's meddling - his "November Surprise" back in 1968 - and had confided documents and Thieu's testimony in the DNC Chairman about it all. It was all shaping as a most unprecedented inaugural for Nixon.  (For more on this, see the January 11, 1973 tape of the conversation in the Oval Office between Nixon and Haldeman in Stanley I. Kutler, ed. Abuse of Power, pp. 202-4 - noting in passing that it is not followed by another taped recording for three weeks, the biggest gap of all.)

Former President Johnson died on the plane while making his way back from Washington on January 22nd, apparently victim of a heart attack, reminiscent of how Hoover had died.  Of course, he could have died from the angina he was suffering from, popping nitroglcerin pills often to keep the pain manageable, though the trip itself - what he felt impelled to make to rebuild his reputation - killed him. The actual cause of death we will never know, as there was no autopsy, as in Hoover's case

There is still alarming evidence that he did not die a natural death.  Johnson's trip back to Texas had been supervised by White House Dr. Walter Tkasch, a physician noted for giving the patient what he wanted, and a good friend of the Agency's Dr. Sidney Gottlieb who was currently running its ORD program, the successor to MK-ULTRA. (For more on this, see the article about DCI Richard Helms.) In 1968, ORD people set up a joint program with the Army Chemical Corps (Project OFTEN) to study the effects of various drugs on living creatures.It hoped to discover, John Marks quoted a researcher saying in The Search for the 'Manchurian Candidate', "a compound that could simulate a heart attack or a stroke in the targeted individual." (p. 227)

Was LBJ that targeted individual?  Marks certainly made it sound so when he added this about the just sacked DCI because of his failure to provide Agency cover for the Watergate:  "In January 1973, just as Richard Helms was leaving the Agency and James Schlesinger was coming in, Project OFTEN was abruptly canceled."

Some other unlikely changes, or just coincidences, included Laird - the elected official best known for stating the politicians have to live longer with their consciences than with their constituents - resigned hurriedly just a week about LBJ died. Laird had joined Nixon in getting Thieu to reject his intended surprise to help Humphrey win the November 1968 presidential election, and he knew that Johnson's survivors had the goods on his drity work, so his sudden departure from the Washington scene reduced the need of exposing it.

To replace him, Nixon quickly got Elliot Richardson - the Secretary of Health, Education, and Environment, and who went on to became Attorney Generral just four months later when the Watergate scandal was really heating up - in the Pentagon office, and the move seemed like another convenient means of a cover up.  Richardson, as we shall see, was involved in seeing if dilantin, a pill that Nixon was taking for his depression, could be approved for general public consumption for almost anything  by the department.

Then when Scheslinger moved from the Agency to the  Pentagon for more house cleaning, he made McLucus Secretary of the Air Force, the first undersecretary to be so advanced, so that he could explain whatever the NRO had been doing which required some public explaining.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind are the tapes it had amassed about the details of the formerr President's sudden death when he was taken back to his Texas ranch on Air Force One, and arranging a cover up there with Lady Bird about what had happened - one so successful that the public still believes that he died while having a long sojourn there!