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MinM's Journal
MinM's Journal
February 14, 2015

White Paper on El Salvador

Jonathan Kwitny was one of the few, and perhaps the only, mainstream reporter(s) doing any real reporting on this part of the world.

Scott Simon of NPR on the other hand seems to have fallen into the Bill O'Reilly camp here .. along with most of the other mainstream reporters. I recall at the time that it sounded as though Simon was doing mostly solid reporting from that region.

Looking back at it now though and given what we now know really went (goes) on down there it's clear that the reporting from the likes of Jonathan Kwitny was the exception.
February 9, 2015

Daniel Schorr was fired by CBS over the Richard Welch case too ..

...On January 16, 1975 he held a White House luncheon for the editors of the NY Times. Someone asked why Ford had picked such a conservative and defense minded panel to make up the Rockefeller Commission (e.g. Ronald Reagan was a member). The president said he needed people who would not stray from the straight and narrow. If they did, they could stumble upon matters that might hurt the national interest. The editor asked "Like what?" Ford replied with, "Like assassinations!" (Schorr, p. 144) Ford added that this was off the record. But reporter Daniel Schorr deduced that since the Rockefeller Commission was investigating domestic matters, Ford must have meant American assassinations. (ibid) But later CIA Director William Colby effectively spun Ford's comment . He told Schorr that the CIA had run assassination plots abroad, but not in America. (ibid) This deftly neutralized Ford's slip. The committees would now look at CIA assassination plots against foreign leaders. In regards to the JFK case, the Church Committee would only investigate the performance of the intelligence agencies in investigating Kennedy's murder.

But even Colby was too much for Ford. He was deemed too open with congress. After all, when mobster Sam Giancana was murdered before testifying, Colby went out of his way to say the CIA had nothing to do with it. (ibid, p. 155) Colby was later fired for being too forthcoming. Ford picked George Bush to replace him. And as further signal of his new "get tough" policy, Ford made a young Dick Cheney his Chief of Staff, and moved Donald Rumsfeld into the Pentagon.

With all these elements in place, Ford decided to use the 1975 murder of a CIA officer as a way to squelch and smear any further investigation. Richard Welch was the CIA station chief in Athens. The CIA and Ford blamed his death on the fact that his name had been exposed by an American journal called Counterspy. In fact, the leftist rebel group who killed him had issued a communiqué beforehand that revealed they knew his name then. (Schorr, p. 191) In a classic case of political propaganda, Ford and the CIA pulled out all the stops in using Welch's funeral as psychological warfare against the committees. Welch's body was flown into Andrews Air Force Base. But the plane circled the base for 15 minutes to time the landing for the morning news shows. (ibid) Ford attended the chapel service. But the press was barred in order to suggest that they were to blame for Welch's murder. Colby issued a statement saying that Welch's death was the result of a "paranoiac attack on ... Americans serving their country." David Phillips was interviewed by CBS and said, American agents are in less danger today from the KGB than from the "moral primitives" who "condemn my label". (ibid) Welch's body was buried at Arlington with full military honors. His coffin was carried on the same horse-drawn caisson that carried President Kennedy's. Colby gave the flag draped over it to Welch's widow. As Schorr wrote, "This is the CIA's first secret agent to become a pubic national hero." (ibid)

It worked. Henry Kissinger jumped on the committees: "I think they have used classified information in a reckless way ... " (ibid p. 194) Both committees closed up shop shortly after. Ford and the CIA held veto power over what could be published. When Otis Pike defied that agreement, Congress bottled up his report. A copy was smuggled to Daniel Schorr. As he was arranging to have it released, his boss, Bill Paley, lunched with Bush. (ibid, p. 201) The Pike Report was published in a special issue of The Village Voice. Forgetting his own use of classified material for his Oswald book, Ford now proposed an FBI investigation to find out who gave the report to Schorr. (ibid, p. 208) After Paley's meeting with Director Bush, Schorr was taken off the air by CBS. After a two hour impromptu interrogation – during which he was not represented by counsel – Schorr was fired by the network. He was later investigated by the House but refused to reveal his source for the report...


William Colby stipulated to "foreign assassination plots"
February 8, 2015

Sports legend against the Iraq war and the death penalty and is for gay rights

A Man Of Substance

Which of this country's greatest sports legends is clenched-teeth
against the Iraq war and the death penalty and is for gay rights?

Bill Bradley? Jim Brown? Bill Walton? Try Dean Smith.

In today's scandal-dripping land of college basketball, couldn't
we all use a little Dean Smith? He wasn't just the winningest
coach in history, he was one of the cleanest. In 36 years at
North Carolina, he never had an NCAA violation. He was and is a
man who stands tall for what he believes--fans, talk show hosts
and his accountant be damned.

Smith is Abe Lincoln in a sports world of Stepford Jocks, where
speaking out on social issues is likened to a Class A felony,
where taking a stand is a good way to blow your car dealership
endorsement, where somebody pressed mute on the social
consciences of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

Take the Toni Smith issue. She's the Manhattanville College guard
who turned her back to the flag to protest what she calls the
"inequalities that are embedded into the American system." Dean
Smith would fight to the death to protect her right to do it.

"I'm sure it took a lot of courage," says Smith, who won 879
games at UNC. "Just as it took a lot of courage for Tommie Smith
and John Carlos to [make their gloved-fist protest against racism
in the U.S.] at the '68 Olympics." ...


RIP Dean Smith
Sports Illustrated ?@SInow: Dean Smith was our 1997 Sportsman of the Year. Read @alexander_wolff's feature story: http://on.si.com/16GJPiy

February 7, 2015

Nation Newman Nisman

Thanks for the heads up, Octafish.

It's interesting because The Nation has come out with a negative review ..

Tim Shorrock @TimothyS · Feb 5

"How Rory Kennedy’s ‘Last Days in Vietnam’ Distorts History." By @NickTurse in @thenation: http://bit.ly/1C3RHWd

Now this is nothing new for The Nation .. especially with regard to the Kennedys.

Although as that piece mentions The Nation has produced far more good than bad. A current example would be Greg Grandin's excellent piece on the assassination of Alberto Nisman.

BTW an excellent read on the origins of the Vietnam War comes from John Newman ..

James Douglass' book is another good one on Vietnam too.

Looking forward to Rory's film.
February 1, 2015

Bush's Iran/Argentina Terror Frame-Up

What a crazy case. Crazier yet when you consider the role played by Nisman as documented in this piece from The Nation seven years ago ..

article | posted January 18, 2008 (web only)

Bush's Iran/Argentina Terror Frame-Up

...Team Bush's latest tactic is to play up a thirteen-year-old accusation that Iran was responsible for the notorious Buenos Aires bombing that destroyed the city's Jewish Community Center, known as AMIA, killing eighty-six and injuring 300, in 1994. Unnamed senior Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal January 15 that the bombing in Argentina "serves as a model for how Tehran has used its overseas embassies and relationship with foreign militant groups, in particular Hezbollah, to strike at its enemies." ...

In September 2004, a Buenos Aires court acquitted Telleldin and the police officials who had been jailed years earlier, and in August 2005 Judge Galeano was impeached and removed from office. But Galeano's successors, prosecutors [font color=red]Alberto Nisman[/font] and Marcelo Martinez Burgos, pressed on, hoping to convince the world that they could identify Berro as the bomber. [font color=blue]They visited Detroit, Michigan, where they interviewed two brothers of Berro and obtained photos of Berro from them[/font]. They then turned to the only witness who claimed she had seen the white Trafic at the scene of the crime--Nicolasa Romero.

In November 2005, Nisman and Burgos announced that Romero had identified Berro from the Detroit photos as the same person she had seen just before the bombing. Romero, on the other hand, said she "could not be completely certain" that Berro was the man at the scene. In court testimony, in fact, she had said she had not recognized Berro from the first set of set of four photographs she had been shown or even from a second set. She finally saw some "similarity in the face" in one of the Berro photographs, but only after she was shown a police sketch based on her description after the bombing.

Bernazzani told me that the FBI team in Buenos Aires had discovered DNA evidence that was assumed to have come from the suicide bomber in an evidence locker, and Nisman took a DNA sample from one of Berro's brothers during his visit in September 2005. "I would assume, though I don't know, that once we got the brother's DNA, they compared them," he said. But Nisman claimed to a reporter in 2006 that samples had been contaminated. Significantly, the Argentine indictment of the Iranians makes no mention of the DNA evidence.

Despite a case against Iran that lacked credible forensic or eyewitness evidence and relied heavily on dubious intelligence and a discredited defector's testimony, Nisman and Burgos drafted their indictment against six former Iranian officials in 2006. However, the government of Néstor Kirchner displayed doubts about going forward with a legal case. According to the Forward newspaper, when American Jewish groups pressed Kirchner's wife, Christina, about the indictments at a UN General Assembly in New York in September 2006, she indicated that there was no firm date for any further judicial action against Iran. Yet the indictment was released the following month...


Although this backstory does fit in with the admonition from the op not to fall for the far right's version of events. Clearly there seems to be a case of political payback at work here .. among other things.

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