reprinted from Oliver Stone on JFK and the Unspeakablepublished July 23, 2009.
The murder of President Kennedy was a seminal event for me and for millions of Americans. It changed the course of history. It was a crushing blow to our country and to millions of people around the world. It put an abrupt end to a period of a misunderstood idealism, akin to the spirit of 1989 when the Soviet bloc to began to thaw and 2008, when our new American President was fairly elected.
Today, more than 45 years later, profound doubts persist about how President Kennedy was killed and why. My film JFK was a metaphor for all those doubts, suspicions and unanswered questions. Now an extraordinary new book offers the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance. That book is James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. It is a book that deserves the attention of all Americans; it is one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it.
The subtitle sums up Douglass’s purpose: Why He Died and Why it Matters. In his beautifully written and exhaustively researched treatment, Douglass lays out the “motive” for Kennedy’s assassination. Simply, he traces a process of steady conversion by Kennedy from his origins as a traditional Cold Warrior to his determination to pull the world back from the edge of destruction.
Many of these steps are well known, such as Kennedy’s disillusionment with the CIA after the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion, and his refusal to follow the reckless recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis. (This in itself was truly JFK’s shining moment in the sun. It is likely that any other president from LBJ on would have followed the path to a general nuclear war.) Then there was the Test Ban Treaty and JFK’s remarkable American University Speech where he spoke with empathy and compassion about the Soviet people, recognizing our common humanity, the fact that we all “inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”
But many of his steps remain unfamiliar: Kennedy’s back-channel dialogue with Khrushchev and their shared pursuit of common ground; his secret opening to dialogue with Fidel Castro (ongoing the very week of his assassination); and his determination to pull out of Vietnam after his probable re-election in 1964.
All of these steps caused him to be regarded as a virtual traitor by elements of the military-intelligence community. These were the forces that planned and carried out his assassination. Kennedy himself said, in 1962, after he read Seven Days in May, which is about a military coup in the United States, that if he had another Bay of Pigs, the same thing could happen to him. Well, he did have another “Bay of Pigs”; he had several. And I think Kennedy prophesied his own death with those words.
Why does it matter? The death of JFK remains a critical turning point in our history. Those who caused his death were targeting not just a man but a vision — a vision of peace. There is no calculating the consequences of his death for this country and for the world. Those consequences endure. To a large extent, the fate of our country and the future of the planet continue to be controlled by the shadowy forces of what Douglass calls “the Unspeakable.” Only by unmasking these forces and confronting the truth about our history can we restore the promise of democracy and lay claim to Kennedy’s vision of peace.
But don’t take my word for it. Read this extraordinary book and reach your own conclusions.
This is reprinted from counterpunch.org Where’s the Oil?
WHERE’S THE OIL? WHAT’S MISSING FROM WIKILEAKS
By CHARLOTTE DENNENT
Ever since the first WikiLeaks “dump” of classified documents began during the summer of this year, I’ve been looking for official documents that confirm what many serious — but often censored — journalists have known for a long time: that the war on terror is really just the latest stage in the Great Game for Oil.
I just went to WikiLeaks’ new website and typed in “oil” under its archived section on “Iraq and Afghan war logs.” I found numerous mentions of military attacks against oil installations (pipelines, refineries) on the first page of 320 pages of archived documents, but for some reason my computer froze when I tried to gain access to the remaining pages. As for the diplomatic cables, the archives do not reveal leaks of “Top Secret” documents — and that’s where the oil discussions are likely to happen. It’s possible there are some juicy documents in there that have been suppressed by the newspapers that WikiLeaks cooperated with. The establishment press has consistently under-reported if not suppressed the crucial oil aspect of the War on Terror on grounds of national security. I’ve provided some key documentation in my own book, The People v. Bush (Chelsea Green, 2010) which seems to have been totally blacklisted by the mainstream media and widely ignored by the alternative press as well. Perhaps we will get the really hot information when WikiLeaks begins releasing, as promised, its files on banks and multinational corporations which would presumably include communications with oil companies.
But in the absence thus far (and correct me if I’m wrong) of any significant oil-related diplomatic and/or military analyses among the leaks, allow me to provide some declassified — but rarely seen — documents of my own, which were released to me by the CIA once I sued for my father’s papers under the Freedom of Information Act. They relate to his activities as one of America’s first master spies in the Middle East during World War II., but they are rich in insights for the modern era.
In fact, I begin with a reminder that one of the biggest diplomatic embarrassments of the 20th Century occurred when Russian Bolsheviks took power in the midst of World War I and promptly released to the press secret documents that revealed the true intentions of the Czar’s erstwhile European allies in the Middle East. The documents, part of the secret Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 (and named after the negotiators) reveal how the French and the British agreed to divvy up the former Ottoman Empire into British and French spheres of influence — despite promises of independence to the Arabs for helping to drive out the Turks. The agreement gave the two European powers, then secretly certain of victory, control of the territory and pipeline routes connecting the oil of Iraq to two key Mediterranean terminal points. The British would control the land bridge and pipeline route connecting Iraqi with Haifa, Palestine (now Israel). The French would control the pipeline route connecting Iraq with Tripoli, in Syria, (now Lebanon). Somehow, the British were able to keep enough of a lid on these revelations to complete their occupation of Jerusalem with the assistance of Arab troops, and to later incorporate this agreement into the French and British mandatory system that ruled over these regions after World War I. They got away with it then, but have been living with the ramifications ever since. Indeed, as I point out in the People v. Bush, Saddam Hussein’s resistance to the planned reconstruction of the Iraq-Haifa pipeline (closed in 1948) was a key motive for the Iraq war and his removal from power.
Fast forward to World War II. My father, the late Daniel C. Dennett, worked under diplomatic cover as U.S. cultural attaché in Lebanon for the Office of Strategic Services and later the Central Intelligence Group. He had been recruited because of his Harvard education in European History and Islam and his invaluable post-graduate education during the 1930s teaching English to Arabs at the American University of Beirut. In 1943, just prior to his departure for Beirut, he issued a warning to an audience of academics: “God help us if we ever send troops to the Middle East.” And yet, once immersed in his espionage work, he found himself having to play the Great Game for Oil. That same year, 1943, he wrote an “Analysis of Work” (which I later released to The Village Voice) where he wrote — thanks to the inattention of some CIA-redactor who missed this line — that the oil of Saudi Arabia was so important that it “must be controlled at all costs.” And when he said “all costs” he wasn’t kidding. He had been trained to anticipate a post-war “free for all” among America’s former WW II allies in their quest for Arab oil. His involvement in trying to secure the greatest oil reserves in the Middle East for the U.S. — the oil of Saudi Arabia — would cost him his life, as well as the lives of tens of millions of Arabs and Jews. But that is another story.
I never knew my father. He died under mysterious circumstances following a top secret mission to Saudi Arabia in 1947, when I was six weeks old. But I’ve done a lot of digging, and I invite you to go to the Voice article where you will find a World War II era government map that I obtained from the national archives in Maryland that says this: “World War II is largely a war by and for oil.”
The War on Terror: In a rare example of forthrightness, my own Gannett-owned newspaper, the Burlington Free Press, reprinted a New York Times piece two weeks after 9/11 that made this prophetic observation: “Beyond American determination to hit back against the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks, beyond the likelihood of longer, drawn out battled producing more civilian casualties in the months and years ahead, the hidden stakes in the war against terrorism can be summed up in a single word: oil.” It went on to point out that the war on terror coincided with “a map of the world’s principal energy sources in the 21st century” in the Middle East and Central Asia. “The defense of these energy resources — rather than a simple confrontation between Islam and the West — will be the primary flash point of global conflict for decades to come, say observers in the region.” I should point out that work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline (TAPI) is scheduled to begin soon, with its completion projected to be the same year as the revised deadline of US troop removal: 2014.
When I spoke to The Village Voice in 2007 about my research into America’s hidden oil history, I noted that “It’s hard enough to get documents from the CIA, but post-9/11, it’s 10 times more difficult. I am concerned that there is an effort to secretize our history.” It’s precisely for this reason that I appreciate what WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange has been doing, and understand why his website quotes TIME Magazine as saying WikiLeaks “could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.” Like FOIA, the ability of WikiLeaks to act as a watchdog over government abuses will depend largely on whether an engaged public succeeds in protecting it — and the internet in general — from retaliatory actions by embarrassed governments. Meanwhile, I look forward to the next batch of releases, while at the same time expecting that the most revealing documents of the post-911 era are likely to remain under wraps for a long time.
Charlotte Dennett is an author and attorney who specializes in FOIA litigation. She is the author of The People v Bush: One Lawyer’s Campaign to Bring the President to Justice and The National Grassroots Movement She Encounters Along the Way (Chelsea Green, 2010) and Thy Will Be Done: the Conquest of the Amazon with Gerard Colby (HarperCollins).
This week, Judy Woodruff of PBS interviewed Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stephen Hadley, former national security advisers for presidents Carter and Bush. The subject of the interview was Wikileaks.
Such interviews seldom reveal much, though Brzezinski is one of the most controversial figures of our times, tied to endless conspiracies and rumored to head many of the secret societies tasked with maintaining the New World Order. The interview is available in full at PBS. For the most part, Hadley offers little or nothing of substance, much as when he served as national security adviser to President George W. Bush. Brzezinski, however, is another beast entirely.
The interview is edited, with little exception, as monologue by Brzezinski.
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: But I think the most serious issues are not those which are getting the headlines right now. Who cares if Berlusconi is described as a clown. Most Italians agree with that. Who cares if Putin is described as an alpha dog? He probably is flattered by it.
The real issue is, who is feeding Wikipedia on this issue — Wiki — Wiki — WikiLeaks on this issue? They’re getting a lot of information which seems trivial, inconsequential, but some of it seems surprisingly pointed. …The very pointed references to Arab leaders could have as their objective undermining their political credibility at home, because this kind of public identification of their hostility towards Iran could actually play against them at home.
It’s, rather, a question of whether WikiLeaks are being manipulated by interested parties that want to either complicate our relationship with other governments or want to undermine some governments, because some of these items that are being emphasized and have surfaced are very pointed.
And I wonder whether, in fact, there aren’t some operations internationally, intelligence services, that are feeding stuff to WikiLeaks, because it is a unique opportunity to embarrass us, to embarrass our position, but also to undermine our relations with particular governments.
For example, leaving aside the personal gossip about Sarkozy or Berlusconi or Putin, the business about the Turks is clearly calculated in terms of its potential impact on disrupting the American-Turkish relationship….the top leaders, Erdogan and Davutoglu and so forth, are using some really, really, very sharp language.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But this is 250 — it’s a quarter-of-a-million documents.
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Precisely.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How easy would it be to seed this to make sure that it was slanted a certain way?
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Seeding — seeding it is very easy. I have no doubt that WikiLeaks is getting a lot of the stuff from sort of relatively unimportant sources, like the one that perhaps is identified on the air. But it may be getting stuff at the same time from interested intelligence parties who want to manipulate the process and achieve certain very specific objectives.
STEPHEN HADLEY : The — what we know or what has been said publicly is it looks like a data dump through a pretty junior-level person. So, in terms of that material, it looks like a data dump. Generally, in Washington, I have had the rule that, if there are two explanations, one is conspiracy and one is incompetence, you ought to go with incompetence. You will be right 90 percent of the time.
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: But, Steve, the other foreign intelligence services don’t have to wait for me to make that suggestion. I think they can think of it themselves, particularly after the first instance.