hidden forces behind the public face of the presidency

From Nov. 21, 2009

Last week the Consortium News posted a blog here; it got no attention, as many readers dislike cross-posts.  I found it really interesting.

Grit TV’s Laura Flanders had interviewed John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Hoodwinked!) and Russ Baker, journalist and contributor to The Nation, Vanity A recent Café Blog by the Consortium News garnered no recommends or comments.  Fair, the Washington Post, New York Times, Village Voice, The New Yorker, and Esquire.  He is the founder of WhoWhatWhenWhy.com, and author of Family Secrets, about the Bush Dynasty.

They’d discussed, among other subjects, the limitations to Presidents by the military, the CIA, FBI, and corporatocracy, global financial interests: resources, arms, and oil.  I’ve spent some time tracking down corroborating articles and books  as well as documentary evidence obtained by the National Archives as the result of their lawsuit against the CIA for documents in 1999, as well as Top Secret documents accidentally discovered in unlikely places.

There is general discomfort in this country that unseen players exert such enormous influence over our lives, national policy, war, elections, and finance.  As I listened to Perkins and Baker, I was reminded of various historical revisions to generally accepted modern historical accounts that most Americans have come to accept.  In economic pressures, they don’t claim “conspiracy;” they point out that the Players don’t agree to agendas, they just happen to agree on agendas.  It is the Military/CIA shadow agendas that most intrigue and worry me.

Baker named the modern Presidents who worked relatively well with the Pentagon and CIA:  Johnson, both Bushes, and Reagan, all of whom embraces covert ops and expanded wars; Clinton, he said, avoided confrontation, and focused mainly on domestic issues.


FDR experienced a failed coup in 1933 led largely the by DuPont and Morgan banking inner circles; it was stymied by General Smedley Butler, whom they invited to lead the effort.  Instead, Butler blew the whistle on the plot, and testified about it to the McCormack-Dickstein Committee, which later became the House Un-American Activities Committee.  The Committee failed to call to the stand any of the plotters except Gerald MacGuire, who had tried to recruit Butler, and the committee’s final report was an utter whitewash.  But Butler’s testimony was vindicated in 1967 by journalist John Spivak, who unearthed the committee’s internal reports, and wrote about them.

 http://www.liberalslikechrist.org/about/FDRcoup.html   (sources listed)

http://members.tripod.com/~american_almanac/morgan4.htm   fdr coups


Truman faced military insubordination, and when Eisenhower left office his final words warned of the danger of the Military Industrial Complex.  Eugene Jarecki’s fine film, Why We Fight, explores our wars by way of Ike’s warning as a springboard theory.


Russ Baker writes of Nixon’s skirmishes with the Pentagon and CIA on several fronts, and while researching for Family Secrets, found many ties to Nixon and George H.W. Bush that are not recorded elsewhere.  It is Baker’s belief that Poppy Bush helped bring down Nixon during Watergate, and that Nixon was well aware that there were moles and direct bugs in the White House funneling conversations to the Pentagon and CIA.  They apparently did not like Nixon negotiating an end to the Viet Nam war on his own.


*In the 1950s, the late Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, a high-ranking Pentagon official, was assigned by CIA Director Allen Dulles to help place Dulles’s officers under military cover throughout the federal government. As a result, Dulles not only knew what was happening before the president did, but had essentially infiltrated every corner of the president’s domain. One Nixon-era Republican Party official told me that in the early 1970s, there were intelligence officers everywhere, including the White House. Nixon was unaware of the true background of many of his trusted aides, particularly those who helped drive him from office. Remember Alexander Butterfield, the so-called “military liaison,” who told Congress about the White House taping system? Years later, Butterfield admitted to CIA connections.

In December 1971, Nixon learned of a military spy ring, the so-called Moorer-Radford operation, that was piping White House documents back to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Chiefs were wary of secret negotiations the president and Henry Kissinger were conducting with America’s enemies, including North Vietnam, China and the USSR, and decided to keep tabs on this intrusion upon their domain. Jimmy Carter came into office as revelations of CIA abuses made headlines. He tried to dismantle the agency’s dirty tricks office, but wound up instead a victim of it — and a one-term president.*

JFK was surrounded by Generals and CIA who hated him; he was often at war with CIA head Allen Dulles, and he finally fired him after the Bay of Pigs debacle and the attempts on Castro’s life.

But the most relevant story is the recently uncovered documentation about Jimmy Carter, Ronal Reagan, and the October Surprise. 

Still furious with Britain and America for meddling in Iranian affairs in order to secure rights to Iranian oil, and the CIA overthrow of popular Prime Minister Mossadeq in 1979 student demonstrators stormed the American Embassy and took hostage 52 Americans.  Carter hoped to have them freed in October 1980, before the Presidential election.  He and Reagan were in a fierce battle.  Unbeknownst to him, Reagan had loyalists (the October Surprise Group) within the CIA, through Reagan’s choice for V.P. George H.W. Bush and the Pentagon. They wanted Carter OUT;  Carter, still angry with the CIA and the Shah of Iran episode, fired many of their ranks in the Middle East, and tried to reign in their power.)


As a result of the focused OS intelligence effort, Reagan had informants at the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Council and in the White House Situation Room. This intelligence apparatus enabled Reagan to receive the “Top Secret – Eyes Only” documents regarding President Carter’s negotiations with Iran. When Reagan was asked how these Top Secret documents were found in his personal campaign file he answered “he didn’t know how they got there.” Reagan’s intelligence apparatus also explains why former Congressman David Stockman was able to boast on October 28, 1980 that he used a stolen copy of Carter’s briefing book to coach Reagan for a televised debate. The most important “Eyes Only” document Reagan’s network provided was on October 15, 1980, when classified information revealed Carter was about to have the hostages released. Reagan obtained this information from campaign strategist Richard Allen, future Reagan National Security Advisor. Allen said he obtained the information from reporter John Wallach, who obtained his information from Secretary of State Edmund Muskie.


 The group moved swiftly to make sure the hostages were not released, holding meetings with Iranians, and promising a wealth of arms to reward them.

 From  teachpeace.com: http://www.teachpeace.co/americaheldhostage.htm

Robert Parry’s book Secrecy and Privilege was published in 2004. Parry’s interview with Ari Ben-Menashe (Israeli military intelligence officer 1977-1987) for PBS Frontline and subsequently in testimony to Congress revealed that the now Secretary of Defense Gates was a key October Surprise operative. Ben-Menashe also revealed he and Gates attended a 1986 meeting with a Chilean arms manufacturer (Cardoen) who was supplying chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein. Ben-Menashe’s book, Profits of War, describes the Paris Ritz Hotel meeting that followed the October 15th Carter administration leak. At that meeting Gates, McFarlane, [William] Casey, and George H. W. Bush met with Iranian cleric Karrubi. French investigative reporter Claude Angeli confirmed the French secret service provided “cover” for this meeting between the Republicans and Iranians on the weekend of October 18-19. This meeting, by delaying the hostage release, effectively determined that Ronald Reagan would become the president of the United States.

The fact that Reagan insiders had arranged for Iran to keep the hostages an additional 76 days served to successfully shape the Iran Contra scandal investigations with the false perception that US weapons were shipped to Iran starting in 1985. Reagan initiated Iranian weapon shipments actually started in 1981. During the Iran Contra investigations, to explore Reagan’s pre-1985 conduct would have revealed to the American people that acts of treason successfully enabled Reagan to seize power.

In 1993 a House Task Force on the October Surprise concluded that there was no “credible evidence” over allegations of Republican sabotage if the Iranian hostage release.  The Commission (of which I had never even heard) Head Lee Hamilton (of the white-washed 9/11 Commission) was accepted by the media, thus written in stone.  Subsequently, leaks from foreign leaders began surfacing that disputed the Commission’s findings.  Robert Parry began a search for documentary evidence, and requested them from the House International Relations Committee; they agreed, and pointed to their location in the basement of the Rayburn Office Building.  In a remodeled Ladies Room, he found dusty boxes of related papers “under a broken tampon dispenser.”  They corroborated international reports of the Republican filthy tricks, and made a lie of the Commission’s findings.  Included were Secret and Top Secret reports, which he concludes were accidentally hastily boxed up at the end of the investigation.


That now Secretary of Defense Bob Gates was a key conspirator in the October Surprise treason is chilling.  If President Obama is treading carefully as Russ Baker claims, it may be a small wonder:

Obama seems to understand his narrow range of movement, and to be carefully picking his fights. He retained many of Bush’s top military brass, and even Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who himself had served as a CIA director for Bush’s father. He has trod very carefully with the spy agency and has declined to aggressively investigate Bush administration wrongdoing on torture and wiretapping. Obama’s campaign rhetoric about disengaging from Iraq seems a long time ago, and the war in Afghanistan is taking on the hues of permanency.

The old boys’ network is very much in place, and it is hard at work to force Obama’s hand, a la Vietnam. Witness the leaking of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s supposedly “confidential report” calling for escalation in Afghanistan. The leak was, not surprisingly, to the reliable Bob Woodward. The reporter was himself in Naval Intelligence shortly before he went to work at the Washington Post, where he soon built a career around leaks from the military and spy establishment.* The White House was furious at the McChrystal release. But what could it do? Presidents come and go, and the security folks have ways to hasten the latter.

* It makes you wonder if Mark Felt really were Deepthroat, doesn’t it?  And remember Bob Woodward’s full access to Bush for his biography?

5 responses to “hidden forces behind the public face of the presidency

  1. Absolutely stunning the research you did for this, wendy. Journalism at its finest.

    This morning I picked up an ‘old’ newspaper destined for the canary cage. Feb, 2013. A profile sketch of Obama looking CoC, letters to the editor commenting on second inauguration and ‘challenges to come.’ Very disheartening the total incomprehension evidenced by these letters. How far, how very far, we have not come. I suppose the Journal has left out any sane commentary – the closest I could find was one headed “Tackle climate, please.” Made very good points until this last:

    “Now is the time for P— Obama to secure his legacy as a climate leader.”

    ‘Secure his legacy?’ – Oh, they must have meant the one he’d made such a great start on in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The Albuquerque Journal’s idea of ‘fair and balanced’. They end the page with another similar, this time from the clergy:

    “…P— Obama confirmed that people of faith are called to be good stewards of creation…”

    Oh, he confirmed that, did he? My eye he did.

    [Point of clarification: I don’t use the honorific for this man, so those dashes you see are as close as I get in a quotation; my insertion there.]

    Thank you for so precisely documenting the challenges any man or woman faces as she or he assumes the presidency. My advice to the next one: Just Say NO.

    • The Presidency is one of those jobs, the wags say, for which desire should automatically disqualify one, although i forget the other two (and they made sense).

      i had such a good time putting this together back in 2009, and the comments brought so many other stories i hadn’t known. it was early in O’s reign, and i still had a modicum of hope, though after he chose his cabinet, my crest had seriously fallen.

      those are some seriously deluded comments at this point in time, ay yi yi!

      i just pasted in the whole word document, so it’s all pretty raw and all. i left the link on one of ef beall’s posts, after scanning the comments and seeing the word ‘conspiracy’ used in various contexts. it was way too late in the thread for anyone to have grabbed the link for later reading, but the post proved how much we may have suspected…was so, and how much we were told that simply wasn’t so.

      i’m relatively unaware of revised versions of much US history, and am sorta shocked by much of it.

  2. realitychecker1

    Excellent fucking diary, Wendy, very impressive to see the work you put into it. Having read it, I just can’t imagine how any wild-eyed extremists could ever think that some of these people should be rendered lifeless. I mean, really, all their lives are precious.

    • Sentient beings may not all be equal, lol. I wish i’d kept the comments as well, but they’re always awkward to paste in. (hell, i wish i could remember some of the other little-known histories they’d brought.)

      i still have a few more fdl ones to load into this place; i’d totally forgotten the wildfire live-blog ones.

      hope you had a better day today, darlin’.

  3. thank you both so very much; it was a pleasure to write, research; the comments at the time were stellar. i’ll be back later; need a bit of sleep before a repairman arrives, and i was trying to finish my current post before then. when? before i slept, lol. i’ll post it when i wake up. additions, corrections, will be appreciated. as ever., i won’t have read what i wrote, lol.

    love you you both.

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