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  New Book on Reinhard Gehlen in the works
Posted by: Peter Lemkin - 17-05-2020, 07:14 AM - Forum: Players, organisations, and events of deep politics - Replies (12)

I will not be at liberty to give any more details other than to say that a definitive work on the life, times, intrigue, connections, and consequences of Reinhard Gehlen (concentrating on his end-of-War to end of life development of the BND, with the CIA's and other's help) is in the works. 

I likely will have a minor role in providing some leads and information to those already at work on this project. It is based on the efforts and work of Carl Oglesby. Carl had fought long and hard via FOIA and long legal battles to pry out and accumulate the largest number of US Govt. documents related to Gehlen as well as about those who made deals with him and his 'Org', putting him in the position to form the BND [basically the 'CIA' of first West Germany and now all of Germany].

Therefore, I wanted to make a new thread devoted to Gehlen, and post both some new things as well as to copy some posts from various older threads about him and things swirling around him and that resulted from his and his Org's work - and the information and often misinformation they fed their sponsors and 'friends' in other Western Intelligence circles. What were Gehlen's real motives and aims; what were the real consequences of his work after the War, up to his death and beyond, etc.

Please feel free and invited to post any other information, sources, resources you know about related to Gehlen and the Gehlen Org. - that became the BND. Here is the place to put any material or discussion on Gehlen. Better books, articles, videos, speeches and other materials are all welcome - along with your own thoughts.

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  Half-coup in Venezuela: The CIA Frames Trump
Posted by: Paul Rigby - 08-05-2020, 11:06 PM - Forum: Players, organisations, and events of deep politics - No Replies

Half-coup in Venezuela: The CIA Frames Trump


What could have prevented the Democrats from setting up a provocation in Venezuela designed to sink Trump’s approval rating or at least create conditions for another massive campaign to discredit him?

It was further revealed that the Caracas security services were well aware of the size of the sabotage, their disembarkation areas, weapons storage sites, etc. All were taken warm and without any, at least academic, resistance. At the same time, about a hundred more local opposition activists were arrested and about the same number managed to escape.

And another oddity – a pre-prepared ambush await the secretly disembarking mercenaries, while for several dozen well-known local opponents of the regime, the police do not have enough forces to cover everyone at once. There’s such impression that they were not very inspired to do it. Like saying let them run to the United States – there will be fewer problems from them than at home.

Another strange fact. Silvercorp Chief Executive Jordan Goudreau, who admitted with enviable speed his responsibility for preparing the putsch, previously held a significant position in the White House security service, and one of the mercenaries (Luke Denman) captured on Venezuelan territory served in Trump’s personal guard.

Since when are employees (even if former ones) of the personal protection of the current President sent on such tasks? They are, of course, well-trained guys, but their specialty is slightly different, not for long-term wandering in the jungle and ordinary terrorism. The United States is full of real professionals who can easily be hired for relatively little money to do such work. And the money is really small, because, according to the mercenaries themselves, the main stake was supposed to come from the new Venezuelan government that would have come to power as a result of the putsch.

Venezuela’s security services prevented a strange coup attempt. According to the official story, the American PMC Silvercorp, hired by someone, assembled two groups of mercenaries, a total of less than 20 people, and sent them to Venezuela on a mission, joining local insurgents, to start killing civilians and statesmen in order to destabilise the country and create conditions for an armed putsch.
Everything in this story is splendid. For starters, the militants arrived almost without weapons. They were waiting for them in caches on the territory of Venezuela. The arsenal “staggers” the imagination: pistols, shotguns, and some automatic rifles – this wouldn’t be enough even for a small group to go on a sensible hunt for a large animal. Meanwhile, after previous failed attempts, it became clear that the putschists would have to face a well-armed Venezuelan army, which has not yet been seen as disloyal to the government. By the way, if Venezuela had a serious opposition organisation in its armed forces, sending a dozen and a half mercenaries would have been unnecessary – they would have managed to organise the putsch themselves.

So, what do we have?

On the territory of the United States, under the vigilant supervision of the CIA and the FBI (and they could not help but know about the forthcoming action), a poorly trained group, gathered from the pine forest, gathers, which, with minimal funding, almost no weapons, and without hope of serious support inside Venezuela, plans to organise a coup. This is despite the fact that several significantly better prepared coup attempts have failed in recent years, including at least one involving a large enough group of local military personnel.
Venezuela’s security services are amazingly getting full information about the upcoming action. They only have to arrest essentially unarmed mercenaries at “X” hour without any problems and demonstrate to the whole world another aggressive idea of the United States. I have no doubt about the professionalism of the Venezuelan security services, but to obtain such complete information you have to have a “mole” either at the top of Silvercorp or (more likely) in the CIA.

At the same time, the US has not started a scandal about the leaking of classified information to foreign intelligence. The people who organised the operation have not yet been identified. But there is a direct link between President Trump and a group of mercenaries who have attempted an absolutely idiotic and harmful to both US interests and Trump’s own electoral campaign putsch attempt in Venezuela. Moreover, the stated intention to destabilise the situation in the country to kill someone (civilians and authorities sound too abstract and read like “kill the first person you meet”) allows Caracas to accuse Washington and Trump himself of encouraging state terrorism.

Even in their many attempts to overthrow Fidel Castro, the Americans did not behave so flagrantly. And Fidel was a significantly bigger pain in their ass than Maduro.
I don’t like conspiracy theories, but I have no other explanation for all the inconsistencies of the failed putsch story, except that it is an attempt to undermine Trump’s electoral position.

It is clear that it is not Venezuelan intelligence that invented the story of the putsch. The Democrats in the United States have an extremely poor electoral campaign. Their hopes that Trump’s position would be undermined by the coronavirus epidemic, which the US authorities are clearly not coping with, have not been justified. Trump’s PR may seem naive from the outside, but it is working.

Apparently, the president knows his voters well. He won the last electoral campaign on Twitter, despite the fact that his rival (Hillary Clinton) was supported by all the mainstream media of the United States and the collective West. And this time, his allegations against China, which allegedly “did not warn in time about the epidemic”, the WHO, which “made the wrong recommendations”, and Russia, which “carries out aggressive propaganda”, act on the fledgling minds of ordinary Americans. Behind Biden in popularity among voters by 4% in February, in April Trump already overtook him by 2%. And the Ukrainian dirt on Biden, collected and correctly legally registered by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, has not yet started to play its role at full capacity.

The election, of course, is still far and everything can change, but the fact that the Democrat campaign strategy was ineffective and needed to be adjusted was not in doubt. It is no secret that during his first three years in office, Trump never managed to clear out Democrat personnel at the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, and other departments and agencies. They have previously conducted operations inconsistent with the President and even contrary to his policies. What could have prevented them from setting up a provocation designed to sink Trump’s approval rating or at least create conditions for another massive campaign to discredit him?

Suppose the CIA hired a PMC for cheap money that is easy to link to Trump through its Chief Executive (his former employee). The task is simple – to setup a loud but failed operation to organise a putsch in Venezuela. For reliability, another former Trump guard was introduced into a group of mercenaries abandoned on Venezuelan territory, and information about all the details of the operation was leaked to Caracas, through controlled sources (in Latin America, everyone transmits and resells information to everyone, so it will not be so easy to track the source of the leak, with minimal conspiratorial measures).

It’s a win-win game. Even if Maduro suspects that the information was leaked to him on purpose, why should he refuse such a great opportunity to once again demonstrate to the world the aggressive and even terrorist (a plan to sequentially kill everyone to “destabilise the situation”) nature of US policy. It doesn’t matter to him who sets up who in Washington and how. In any case, this is no reason to stand idly by while a band of terrorists infiltrates Venezuelan territory. Caracas should have accepted the game offered to him anyway. After all, Venezuela is clearly a winner, and only Trump is the loser, but this is his personal problem.

Now we’ll look at the result. Democrat media immediately after the operation failed concentrated not on the sources of the leak of information to Venezuelan intelligence, but on the trails leading to Trump. The President has already had to deny any involvement in this adventure on several occasions.

Let’s see if any of the participants “remember” that he “heard” or was “told” that Trump was personally aware and approved the operation. It is impossible to verify these claims, but the attempt to impeach Trump, made by the Democrats in 2019, was based on exactly the same “evidence”, and they drank a lot of blood from the president and his team.

It must also be borne in mind that Americans are non-fussed about the forceful actions of their government abroad (even if they are illegal) if they succeed. But they become extremely nervous towards failures, believing that it is a blow to the “greatness of America”. Those responsible for such failures have a hard time.

I don’t think a single Venezuelan incident could seriously undermine Trump’s electoral position. But he’ll lose some points from it. And the campaign in the United States consists of a mass of such incidents. One side wins some, and the other side wins the others. 

Sometimes a critical mass of negativity is gained for one of the candidates and they lose the campaign by a “knockout” even before it ends. More often, victory is determined by “points” on voting day.

Let’s see how Trump will respond to his opponents, but so far the situation with the “strange putsch” is not in his favour.
Rostislav Ishchenko

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  Counterpunch, JFK and Vietnam
Posted by: Jim DiEugenio - 04-05-2020, 09:37 PM - Forum: JFK Assassination - No Replies

Well, they are at it again. I would have thought since Jeff Morley started writing for them they would change their tune.

But as long as they do this stuff, they create more work for me.

But I will be at it as long as they are at it.  I mean, today with all the stuff that is out there, I mean really.


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  The Wheaton Lead: An Exploration by Larry Hancock and David Boylan
Posted by: Peter Lemkin - 03-05-2020, 07:10 AM - Forum: JFK Assassination - Replies (2)

Top notch research here.....

The Wheaton Lead: An Exploration
by Larry Hancock and David Boylan, April 2020 [on the Marry Ferrell website https://www.maryferrell.org/pages/Essay_..._Lead.html
In support of the JFK Records Act of 1992, an independent agency - the Assassination Records Review Board - was formed, with the charter of locating and bringing into the national archives materials pertinent to the assassination of President John Kennedy. While the Board's primary focus was on unreleased government documents, it operated under the premise that assassination materials included both public and private materials - regardless of how they were labeled - which described, reported on, or interpreted the activities of persons or events related to the assassination itself as well as to subsequent inquiries.
The Board and its staff began work in October, 1994 and operated for four years. As part of its activities, Board staff held regional meetings to identify new sources of JFK materials, in particular those which might be held outside the primary agencies involved in the initial Warren Commission inquiry. Going beyond documents and written materials, its staff took testimony from individuals felt to hold relevant information - primarily from those with firsthand knowledge of events related to the assassination. Due to media visibility over the JFK Records Act and the Board's public meetings and work, a number of individuals privately contacted the Board with information they felt to be relevant to the Kennedy assassination. [ i ]
[Image: pict_wheaton_gene-wheaton.jpg]Gene Wheaton
One of those individuals, Gene Wheaton, approached the ARRB with a fax to its chairman John Tunheim on October 20, 1995. Wheaton indicated that he felt he might have information relevant to the Board's work. As part of that contact Wheaton provided a four page biography of himself, as well as a letter of commendation from President Richard Nixon for Wheaton's earlier anti-drug work during an assignment in Iran. Wheaton's career experience was in law enforcement and security operations, initially with police work and then service with both the Air Force Office of Special (criminal) Investigations and with the Army Counter Intelligence Division (criminal and narcotics investigations). Following military service he had obtained his Bachelors Degree in law enforcement, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. After obtaining his Masters he had moved into security consulting in the Middle East, working in Saudi Arabia, in Egypt (security design for the Cairo Airport) and as an advisor on security, police practices and anti-terrorism to the government of Iran. His work on counter-drug activities with Iranian law enforcement resulted in a special commendation from President Richard Nixon.
While in Iran he also worked as Director of Security for Rockwell International on its IBEX program, a project involving both photographic and communications intelligence surveillance and intelligence collections. [ ii ] Following his IBEX assignment, Wheaton did security consulting work with Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; his assignments included working for Bechtel Corporation in the development of the huge Jeddah airport project. Wheaton's biographical data - which has been confirmed - was impressive, not only in respect to law enforcement, but in terms of his experience in intelligence and security practices.
[Image: pict_wheaton_doc_ltr_15feb1995_thumb.png]
Gene Wheaton's follow-up
letter to the ARRB (click to view)
See all ARRB Wheaton docs

In response to his initial outreach to the ARRB, Wheaton was sent a standard form letter signed by John Tunheim, the ARRB Chairman, thanking him for his interest and advising a staff member would be in touch with him. A follow-up letter was sent to Wheaton by ARRB staff member Thomas Samoluk in early February 1995, and Wheaton responded in a two-page written fax, accompanied by a CV of the individual whom he wanted to offer as a potential source of information on the assassination. He noted that the individual had worked for him in the mid-1980s, and had been a close personal friend at that time. The individual had an earlier career as a senior CIA paramilitary officer (his wife was also a high level CIA employee). He had worked as an operations officer on the CIA's Cuba project as well as in follow-on anti-Castro activities - his work had involved infiltrations, sabotage and assassination. While working for Wheaton in air transportation/logistics sales related to the Nicaraguan Contra effort, the individual had introduced Wheaton to Cuban and American veterans of the CIA's anti-Castro operations.
Wheaton's two-page fax stated that the conversations he had heard suggested that the former CIA officer and one of his key Cuban operatives had knowledge of a conspiracy against JFK and of individuals involved in the murder of President Kennedy. When Wheaton had first become aware of that information, he offered to work with the two men to arrange for Congressional immunity for their information - they had adamantly rejected that idea. At that point Wheaton was not sharing the identity of the CIA officer with the ARRB, instead he requested a personal meeting to discuss his information.
[Image: pict_wheaton_doc_arrb_call_report_thumb.png]
ARRB Call Report of Anne Buttimer
to Wheaton (click to view)
See all ARRB Wheaton docs

Wheaton's information was confirmed in a return letter from Thomas Samoluk and shared within the ARRB; Samoluk raised the question of whether or not to assign a staff member to determine Wheaton's credibility and the value of his information. Based on that discussion, a staff member (Anne Buttimer) was assigned and in April 1995 conducted a telephone call with Wheaton. Buttimer's call report states that Wheaton was only willing to discuss limited information by telephone; he made it clear that he possessed no documents directly confirming a conspiracy, but would provide documents confirming his association with the CIA officer in question, as well as documents confirming the officer's background.
As context Wheaton summarized the Contra-era activities, during which he had obtained his information, as well as the Cubans who were involved with Oliver North's Nicaragua project - outlining their conversations during which the Kennedy assassination had been discussed. He also described their remarks that the "street level" Cuban exiles involved in the assassination considered Kennedy a traitor for his actions as the Bay of Pigs; they had killed him for that treachery. He also noted remarks that the people "above the Cubans" had motives beyond simple revenge. Wheaton offered his information to the Board but insisted that he not be personally involved or that his name be used, because at the time he had initially offered to work on immunity arrangements, his former associates had promised to destroy his reputation if he pursued taking the information to the authorities. He concluded the interview by reaffirming that he was only offering a lead, but could provide documentation confirming his association with the individuals and their backgrounds with the CIA.
It appears that at some point a personal meeting between Wheaton and Buttimer did occur; it is referenced in a follow-up letter from Buttimer which makes mention of their meeting on July 11, 1995 and Wheaton's provision of certain materials. The materials Wheaton provided included a photo of the passport of Carl Jenkins, a detailed resume of Jenkin's education and work history including a reference as Chief of Base for the Cuba Project during 1960-61 (that position involved selection and training of cadre, assignment of officers, maritime infiltration and operational management of small teams and agents). It also documented Jenkin's 1964-65 assignment as a Senior Operations Advisor for a "still-sensitive" CIA Cuba project. Other documents included Wheaton's letter of July 9, 1985 appointing Jenkins as the Washington D.C. liaison for National Air. At the time Wheaton was Vice President of National Air (an air transportation business with some 23 aircraft, National Air had officers in Washington D.C, California and Lexington, Kentucky), copies of Jenkin's business cards (including mail drop locations with appropriate business "covers"). The copy of Carl Jenkins business card contained a note naming various individuals with whom Jenkins had made connections for Wheaton, including Rafael (Chi Chi) Quintero, Nestor Pino, Bill Borde and Rob Owen.
Based on ARRB internal communications and records we know a good deal about what Wheaton offered and made available to the Board. However follow-up research by Stuart Wexler determined that the ARRB staff member with the most contact with Wheaton left the Board at the end of 1995. [ iii ] Following her departure no further Board contact was made with Wheaton. Frustrated, he made his own final outreach to the ARRB in March, 1998. In a fax to the Board, Wheaton reviewed his earlier contacts and the materials he had provided - including those passed on to Buttimer. He then inquired as to whether the Board had conducted any actions or inquiries with his lead. In response he was sent a standard form letter thanking him for his materials and assuring him all the leads provided to the Board had received careful review. That letter came not from ARRB staff but rather from the Press and Public Affairs Officer of the ARRB.
Wheaton's attempt to offer an assassination lead to the ARRB, similar to information which he had previously been willing to take to Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, was provided confidentially to a body created by the U.S. Congress, clearly not in any attempt to gain public visibility or profit for Wheaton. There is no indication that Wheaton tried to publicly promote the lead which he provided to the ARRB. We only know of Wheaton's approach to the ARRB and of the material he provided because of the public release of the ARRB's own documents.
Researcher Malcolm Blunt came across those documents while working in the records at the National Archives and brought them to the attention of one of the authors (Hancock). Hancock and Stuart Wexler were then able to locate CIA documents which fully corroborated Wheaton's description of Carl Jenkins as well as with one of the individuals - Rafael Quintero - noted by Wheaton as an associate of Jenkins in anti-Castro operations. Over time further research confirmed extensive details of the association of the two men as well as Jenkin's involvement in the anti-Castro activities and projects which Wheaton had briefly referenced.
It is important to note that Wheaton himself offered no information about the Kennedy assassination other than certain remarks he heard - remarks made in conversation among the men he was associating with during his Contra-era air transport sales efforts. Those remarks had been made while recalling old projects and individuals the men had worked with operationally in anti-Castro efforts for the CIA. The individuals involved and being discussed had either been trained by Carl Jenkins or were known to him through anti-Castro CIA projects.
Wheaton himself had assumed that the information he had provided to the ARRB would remain confidential. However information from his correspondence eventually allowed him to be located. With documents provided by Hancock, researcher William Law managed to locate Wheaton and inquire as to his approach to the ARRB, informing him that the documents he had provided them had actually been released to the public.
Wheaton was surprised but agreed to a personal conversation with Law. During that conversation he acknowledged his approach to the ARRB and confirmed he had submitted the documents shown him. He also agreed to a spontaneous request for a brief video interview by Law (as filmed by Mark Sobel). During that interview Wheaton remained consistent in refusing to suggest that he personally knew anything further about the assassination than the lead which he had offered the ARRB. He was however willing to expand on his own personal and business relationships with Jenkins and Quintero. His comments during that interview provide us with the only insight into his experience and his lead beyond the materials he had provided to the ARRB.

The Wheaton Interview

[Image: pict_wheaton_gene-wheaton-youtube.jpg]
Click to view the interview of Gene Wheaton on YouTube
In this interview with Wheaton, conducted by William Law and Mark Sobel, Wheaton opened up to a limited degree about what he had witnessed. The following quotes are excerpted from the interview [ iv ], which can be watched in its entirety by clicking the image above.
"Carl Jenkins was a retired high-level paramilitary specialist for the CIA.....He headed up the largest covert base in Laos during the secret CIA wars over there when the open war was going on in Vietnam.....[Jenkins] invited me to stay in their home.....In 1985 he [Jenkins] became my Washington representative when I took over as Vice President for a cargo airline called National Air.....I was like a brother to Carl.....Carl was the head recruiter and trainer of the Bay of Pigs invasion for the assassins and saboteurs that were going into Cuba for the pre-invasion to lay the groundwork for the Bay of Pigs.....He trained the 17, 18, 19 year old exiles and became their father figure.....Chi Chi Quintero became like a son to Carl.....He [Quintero] and two or three others, Felix Rodriguez, Nestor Pino, all went to Vietnam with him.....Chi Chi was a shooter. He was trained by I.W. Harper.....There was a CIA funded program to assassinate Castro and Carl was in charge of training the Cubans from Miami.....They were the ones that diverted the Castro assassination funds and training for their own agenda to snuff Kennedy.....They had a thing called a triangulation shooting team.....[Describing the Bay of Pigs and JFK backing off the air strike] They were furious and still are to this day.....And there was another clique above them.....they would reminisce about the past and what went wrong and what went right....."
As background to Wheaton's ARRB lead and the comments in his interview it is important to note that the Contra era conversations Wheaton heard significantly affected him, both in regard to his personal friendships with Jenkins and Quintero and by raising his concerns about rogue/illegal actions by CIA operations officers. The "war stories" and gossip had deeply troubled him - suggesting illegal arms deals as well as a pattern of CIA activities involving political assassination. In retrospect, certain of those rumors have proved to be quite correct, emerging in the Iran/Contra scandal. Others, involving rogue activities by CIA officer Theodore Shackley, were little more than gossip and remain questionable even though we can now confirm that both Shackley and Jenkins were indeed involved in both multiple efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro.
[Image: pict_wheaton_eugene-hasenfus.jpg]The 1986 shoot-down and capture of CIA pilot
Eugene Hasenfus broke the Iran-Contra story

Wheaton's concerns about such Contra-era Nicaraguan activities led him to express his concerns to journalist Daniel Sheehan. Wheaton supported Sheehan's efforts to investigate rogue actions in Nicaragua, even writing an affidavit in support of an investigation. However Wheaton was embarrassed by the fact that his primary source for the information - Carl Jenkins - ultimately refused to support his affidavit, thus undermining Sheehan's claims. In his book on Theodore Shackley (Blond Ghost), David Corn calls out the specific assertions made against CIA officer Theodore Shackley as being nothing more than gossip, gossip inferring that "a rogue element in the U.S. government had engaged in a host of nefarious activities including assassination".
Certainly it is true that Wheaton himself had no firsthand information on such activities and was simply making inferences from things he had heard. It was also fair for Corn to assert the lack of actual facts linking Shackley to rogue activities. However with the information and documents that have surfaced over more recent decades it is also accurate to observe that CIA officers including Theodore Shackley, Tracy Barnes and Carl Jenkins certainly were associated with a variety of political assassination efforts - efforts not sanctioned or known to the highest levels of the American government, including the President or National Security Council. [ v ]
Beyond that, certain elements of Wheaton's "gossip" about rogue operations in Central American and Iran have also been historically substantiated. In fact the investigation of the Reagan/North era Contra activities and the Iran/Contra scandal (including information in Oliver North's notebooks) confirmed the involvement of several of the persons (including Rafael Quintero and Felix Rodriquez) which Wheaton had mentioned to Sheehan. [ vi ]
In regard to the JFK assassination, the remarks which Wheaton had heard and his commitment to his career in law enforcement led him to conclude that the proper thing to do would be to encourage his friends Jenkins and Quintero to take information on an assassination conspiracy to the authorities. He expressed that to them, offering to work at brokering an arrangement for immunity. Both men declined to participate, instead warning Wheaton that they would deny any information he himself might offer. While Wheaton and Quintero appear to have remained somewhat friendly (Quintero never actually refuted Wheaton's narrative, simply saying he might have misunderstood some aspects of the conversations), Carl Jenkins became far more hostile, denying everything and making bitter remarks against Wheaton.
In later years, concerned by the rumors he had heard of CIA clandestine operations and rogue actors, as well as the revelations in the Iran/Contra scandal, Wheaton continued to remain interested in and actively investigated other incidents which he felt to have been suspicious - and which might have involved CIA actors (sanctioned or otherwise). His interests ranged from the Arrow Air crash in 1980 to the Gander crash in 1985, both of which he suspected might have involved retaliation for clandestine CIA operations. In later years Wheaton pursued other investigations as a consultant, including the rumors of drug smuggling though Mena, Arkansas (smuggling which reportedly involved former CIA anti-Castro figures) and later the murder of Vince Foster.
While his work on those investigations remains controversial, the fact remains that until the JFK Records Act and the formation of the ARRB, Wheaton made no move to promote or tout his Kennedy assassination lead - and when he did approach the ARRB it was only to offer them a lead - and two names, Carl Jenkins and Rafael Quintero.
It is that - those names, and the concept that individuals involved in anti-Castro operations and in Castro assassination efforts were also involved in Kennedy's murder - that is the subject of this research paper.
Exploring the Wheaton Lead
One of the most fundamental challenges in JFK assassination research is dealing with third party sources who appear to provide insights into the origins and motive(s) of a conspiracy related to President Kennedy's murder. The starting point in evaluating the sources is obvious. First there must be independent documentation verifying that they were personally associating with the individuals they themselves name, at a point in time when they claim to have obtained the information. Second, their sources must be determined to have been in a position to have heard or otherwise obtained the information being described.
Beyond that, information which has been officially offered to law enforcement or official investigative bodies gains an additional level of credibility given that the source is not only exposing themselves to legal action but also demonstrating a personal risk by being on record with information which may become public.
Finally there are consistency checks on the information itself. One of the most important is whether any connections can be determined among the names related by the sources. If multiple separate sources independently provide names which can then be verified to actually have been connected in a historical context, the information rises to a higher level of credibility.
This paper has two goals. First it summarizes our efforts to investigate the Wheaton lead and apply rigorous vetting criteria. That involves an especially deep document dive into the CIA backgrounds of Carl Jenkins and Rafael Quintero. That has been a work in itself, simply because before Wheaton's surfacing of Jenkin's name virtually nothing was known about the major role he played in the initial Cuba Project under President Eisenhower, in association with Castro assassination efforts and his 1963 return to a key role in the highly secretive AMWORLD project. The extent of Quintero's involvement in those projects was also not known, nor was his later role in the Reagan era Contra covert action under Oliver North.
[Image: pict_wheaton_rafael-quintero.jpg]Rafael 'ChiChi' Quintero with
Manuel Artime and Ricardo Chavez

Beyond that the paper goes further - and deeper - than the attempt to direct inquiries towards Carl Jenkins and Rafael Quintero. That became possible as our initial research effort expanded into a study of Jenkin's and Quintero's own associations, during the Contra era where they were working with Wheaton, but much more importantly into their extensive anti-Castro activities of the Eisenhower/Kennedy administrations and the individuals with whom they were associated during those paramilitary operations. That research led us into a great deal of detail which appears to corroborate Wheaton's belief that Jenkins and Quintero (and other unnamed individuals likely present during the Contra era conversations) were indeed in the position to have heard the remarks which Wheaton described.
And in sum, the Wheaton lead lends considerable weight to a remark directly attributed to Wheaton's friend Rafael Quintero in Quintero's own obituary: [ vii ]
"If I were ever granted immunity, and compelled to testify about past actions, about Dallas and the Bay of Pigs, it would be the biggest scandal ever to rock the United States."
10/24/06 Independent: Rafael Quintero CIA Agent Sent after Castro.
Following the Lead
Wheaton related to the ARRB that in the mid-1990s he had heard conversations among individuals who commented on the motives and activities of participants in the murder of President Kennedy. The conversations involved former CIA operations (paramilitary) officers as well as Cuban exiles who had been involved in CIA activities for decades. At the time Wheaton was managing an air transport company and seeking business shipping materials to Central America in support of the Reagan-era covert North/Secord Contra warfare against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.
National Air Letterhead, Carl Jenkins.
Based on documents Wheaton supplied to the ARRB, we know that two of the men involved in the conversations were Carl Jenkins (CIA pseudonym James Zaboth), hired by Wheaton to lead his sales effort, and Rafael Quintero (CIA Crypt AMJAVA-4), a personal friend of Jenkins and one of the two Cuban exile field managers running Contra support operations in Central America for Oliver North and Richard Secord.
While Jenkins did not specifically name the other individuals involved in the conversations it seems likely that they included Felix Rodriquez (AMJOKE-1), the other Cuban exile logistics manager working along with Quintero for North/Secord. Luis Posada (AMCLEVE-15, CIFENCE-4, WKSCARLET-3) is another probable participant, brought into the Contra project by Felix Rodriquez and working with Contra supply logistics and transportation. Much less likely would have been the participation of Ricardo (Rene) Chavez, initially brought into Contra activities by JMWAVE CIA officer Tom Clines. [ viii ]
[Image: pict_wheaton_felix-rodriquez.jpg]Felix Rodriquez (left) with Rafael Quintero and
Manuel Guillot

Felix Rodriquez was literally a legend within the CIA and Cuban exile communities, one of a very few paramilitary officers to be publicly acknowledged as a CIA employee. We now know that he was also a key figure in a highly secret CIA effort to kill Fidel Castro in a sniper attack, prior to the Cuban exile landings at the Bay of Pigs beaches in Cuba. Released CIA operational and personnel documents provide a good deal of context on the anti-Castro operations of 1960-1964, specifically the roles played by Jenkins, Quintero, and Felix Rodriquez. In contrast Posada and Chavez had nothing like Rodriquez's experience, although Posada had trained at Fort Benning as had Rodriquez, and Chavez had been recruited into the same Artime/AMWORLD project of 1963/64 which Felix Rodriquez had also joined. Chavez's role was as a Swift boat driver and later head of the Maritime section as Major Chavez.
While Wheaton himself offered no names beyond those of Jenkins and Quintero, and no details of the conversations to which he was privy to during late night social sessions, the author's research offers the following speculation on those conversations, based on a deep dive into the history of the anti-Castro and Contra era associations of Jenkins and Quintero.
War Stories
It seems quite likely that the anti-Castro era names who would come up during the late night drinking/talk sessions Wheaton described would include not only men who had been operationally active with Jenkins, Quintero and Rodriquez during anti-Castro missions, but also names which would relate to their then-current Contra activities in Nicaragua. One name that would come up in respect to both would be that of one of the earliest Cuban exile volunteers to enter the Contra struggle in Nicaragua, Nestor "Tony" Izquierdo. Izquierdo (Brigade number 2586) had also been one of the earliest volunteers for the CIA anti-Castro project circa 1960.
[Image: pict_wheaton_izquierdo.jpg]Tony Izquierdo (right)
with Rodolfo Hernandez and Hal Feeney

He had escaped from Cuba via Mexico and shortly after his arrival in Miami had been recruited into a group being trained to go into Cuba as part of a covert effort to organize a successful resistance movement against the Castro regime. That effort evolved in the first major CIA Cuba Project and Izquierdo's skills earned him entry into parachute jump training. He became one of a select number of volunteers (including Felix Rodriquez and Rafael Quintero) who were infiltrated into Cuba prior to the 1961 Cuban Expeditionary Force landings. Izquierdo was successfully inserted into Cuba in a variety of missions.
While both Rodriquez and Quintero went into Cuba multiple times by boat, Izquierdo reportedly dropped onto the island in a very risky night parachute jump. Izquiredo was inside Cuba at the time of the Bay of Pigs landings but managed to work his way off the island following that disaster. It also appears that Izquierdo may have used the Navy base at Guantanamo during his missions and he was associated with Navy ONI officer Hal Feeney, Navy chief of intelligence at Guantanamo; Feeney is on record as supporting JMWAVE missions into Cuba and also consulted with CIA Miami Station staff including David Morales in planning anti-Castro activities.
The Night of the White Horse by CDR Harold Feeney, USN (Ret).
After making his way back to Florida Izquierdo became a regular CIA asset, part of the exile group used in ongoing CIA JMWAVE maritime infiltrations. He continued in that effort into 1963, participating in numerous maritime missions into Cuba - missions personally organized and led by Rip Robertson.
The Kennedy Vendetta by Taylor Branch and George Crile III
By early 1964 Izquierdo, along with Felix Rodriquez, had been recruited into a new and highly deniable offshore anti-Castro project designated as AMWORLD. As part of that project he was covertly exfiltrated out of the United States to Nicaragua. Later in 1964 Izquierdo was recruited by Rip Robertson for a very select paramilitary team sent into secret operations in the Congo. Following his time in the Congo, Izquierdo became involved with some of the most radical exile groups including CORU. Ultimately he became one of the earliest Cuban volunteers to go to Nicaragua to train Contra rebels to fight against the Sandinista regime. He was killed in 1979, during an air mission into Nicaragua.
Luis Posada, brought in to work on Contra logistics support operations by Quintero and Felix Rodriquez, had been associated with Izquierdo in one of the most violent and activist Cuban exile groups - CORU. Posada was one of the founders of CORU and was himself involved in multiple assassination efforts against Fidel Castro (working as a covert asset of CIA officer David Phillips) as well as in the mid-air time bomb attack on a civilian Cuban airliner.
[Image: pict_wheaton_rip-robertson2.jpg]William 'Rip' Robertson
Along with Izquierdo, another familiar figure most likely to have come up in the war stories heard by Wheaton would have been Rip Robertson (William "Rip" Robertson; CIA pseudonyms Irving Cadick and William Rutherford). Robertson was a key figure in the men's former missions, as well as in relation to Nicaragua. Robertson had been one of the early post-WW II CIA paramilitaries (as was Carl Jenkins) and had served in the CIA's first major covert regime change operation - PBSUCCESS, the Guatemala project which replaced the elected president of that nation in 1954. In PBSUCCESS Robertson served along with CIA officers David Phillips, David Morales and Henry Hecksher; later all would become deeply involved in the CIA efforts to oust Fidel Castro.
During PBSUCCESS, Robertson, known as a "cowboy" within CIA field operations, had become so close to Nicaraguan president Somoza that at Somoza's urging he had sent an airstrike against a neutral freighter off Guatemala, causing an international incident. That had so annoyed CIA headquarters that Robertson was essentially banned from CIA missions for several years, taking up residence in Nicaragua and starting his own business there.
[Image: pict_wheaton_rip-robertson.jpg]William 'Rip' Robertson (3rd from right) with
Cuban maritime mission team in 1962

However, with the start of the CIA Cuba project (JMARC/JMATE) Robertson was brought back into CIA activities - primarily because of his long and close personal relationship with President Somoza. Somewhat surprisingly given his past "cowboy" history, Robertson was designated as the key American liaison to Somoza for the first Cuba Project. Robertson coordinated all JMATE activities in Nicaragua and was effectively in control of establishing and operating the CIA strike base established at Porta Cabezas in Nicaragua (JMTIDE).
Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume II: Participation in the Conduct of Foreign Policy, Section II.C: "Rip Robertson's Excursion into Diplomacy"
Robertson was in Nicaragua from December, 1960 through mid-February 1961. He returned to Guatemala in April to sail with the Cuban Expeditionary Force and participate in the Bay of Pigs landings. He earned the respect of the Cuban volunteers by going ashore and fighting alongside them - against specific orders not to do so. His "hands on" reputation and his bond with the Cuban volunteers was enhanced by his personally leading maritime missions into Cuba for the CIA following the disaster at the Bay of Pigs. During those missions, he repeatedly violated standing orders; on one mission he directed his mission crew to conduct a machine gun attack on Che Guevara's residence. There was no CIA officer more respected and well regarded by Cuban anti-Castro fighters than Robertson, who always fought right along with them, regardless of orders.
Robertson died in Dallas in 1970 after overseas service in the Congo and Vietnam. Anecdotal stories, circa 1964 in the Congo, describe him as a separate source of information about the JFK attack in Dallas. He appears to have rather openly discussed the nature and motives for the assassination with his Cuban exile team in the Congo, a team which included several of his long time maritime mission personnel including Nestor Izquierdo.
[Image: pict_wheaton_william-pawley.jpg]William Pawley
Robertson is especially interesting to the JFK assassination given the missions he was involved with during the summer of 1963, including the TILT operation - a mission which violated a host of standard CIA security guidelines and involved a number of non-CIA authorized Cuban exiles, as well as civilians such as John Martino and former American ambassador William Pawley. The TILT mission (intended to obtain evidence that Russian missiles were still deployed inside Cuba) was approved by Western Hemisphere chief J.C. King, at the highest levels of the CIA - approved apparently without the knowledge of the Special Group, the NSC or RFK/JFK. If it had succeeded, the revelations would have been a tremendous political blow to the Kennedy administration. TILT included the participation of William Pawley, previously an American ambassador, earlier a secret Presidential liaison to the Batista regime and one of a very select group who had made an early, highly classified evaluation of American intelligence for President Eisenhower.
Rip Robertson and TILT
The TILT mission remains somewhat mysterious for many reasons, even though we do have documents on its origins and a detailed after action report from the operation's mission leader, Rip Robertson. Members of the DRE group floated rumors of missiles still being in Cuba during the winter of 1962. Following his release from a Cuban prison, that rumor was endorsed and promoted by John Martino through his media visibility and anti-Castro political contacts in Miami. The purported objective of the mission was to connect with a revolutionary group inside Cuba that was hiding four defecting Soviet missile technicians from Banes, Cuba.
[Image: pict_wheaton_operation-tilt.jpg]Participants in Operation TILT
The Russian technicians supposedly (according to the DRE sources) had remained in Cuba after the Soviet agreement to remove all missiles from the island. Supposedly, they were willing to provide statements and evidence that Soviet missiles - and possibly nuclear warheads - remained in Cuba. Arrangements were in put in place by William Pawley and Senate Internal Security committee chair James Eastland to immediately provide their information to Congressional and media sources in a manner that would have been highly damaging to the Kennedy Administration and JFK's upcoming election campaign.
What the available documents confirm is that the TILT mission was authorized at the level of the CIA's Western Hemisphere chief, J.C. King, and supported by Ted Shackley, the head of the JMWAVE station in Miami. It was approved and carried out at a point in time when all missions into Cuba required approval by the Special Group covert action oversight committee and Presidential concurrence. Yet there is no indication that TILT was communicated to the Special Group or approved by the president.
[Image: pict_wheaton_sforza.jpg]CIA veteran Tony Sforza
Besides Robertson, the CIA included experienced maritime paramilitary officers Rudy Enders and George "Mickey" Kappes. The CIA along with Anita Pawley secured "Max" as the translator. "Max" was CIA veteran Tony Sforza. Sforza was one of the CIA's principal agents in their stay behind network. This network remained in Cuba after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Another principal agent of this network was Emilio Rodriguez. Henry Hecksher originally recruited Rodriguez in Cuba in 1960. Emilio Rodriguez's brother Arnesto Rodriguez was an early acquaintance of Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans and referred Oswald to his friend Carlos Bringuier, head of the local DRE group. [ ix ]
The TILT mission itself involved a host of violations of standard CIA security practices, including the participation of a LIFE magazine photojournalist. In addition, it involved the personal participation of William Pawley, a former US Ambassador. Beyond his work as an ambassador, Pawley had been a consultant on national security and the organization of the CIA, submitted an Eyes Only secret report on the national intelligence to President Eisenhower. TILT also involved the participation of a number of non-CIA vetted Cuban exiles involved with Commandos-L (a proscribed exile military group at that point in time) and of John Martino, recently released from prison in Cuba and a highly visible critic of the Kennedy Administration policies on Cuba.
In Rip Robertson's after action report to Ted (Shackley)/Bob (Moore), Robertson opined that the "inventors" plan for TILT differed from KUBARK's (CIA) version. Essentially, the "inventors" real plan was to assassinate Fidel Castro, and the CIA fell for the fake Soviet defectors story. Bob Moore was Shackley's Deputy Chief of Station and handled the JMWAVE maritime operations. Grayston Lynch told HSCA staffers that Moore was Chief of Operations for the invasion Task Force (Bay of Pigs) as well as Deputy PM and Chief of Operations for JMWAVE at one point. [ x ]
10/61 cable from JMWAVE referencing Rocky Farnworth and Bob Moore. Both were JMWAVE paramilitary officers.
Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Vol II. Norman Imler and Robert Moore, PM Officers.
June 7, 1963 proposed timeline of Operation Tilt.
June 28, 1963 Telecom by Reuteman (Shackley) listing Cuban exiles that participated in Operation Tilt.
June 16, 1963 Rip Robertson's after action report to Ted Shackly and Bob Moore on Operation Tilt.
February 24, 1964 Shackley to Desmond Fitzgerald. Report on Operation Tilt. Mentions Cadick (Robertson) visiting John Martino September 1963.
While speculative, Rip Robertson may also have been the CIA officer who was described by Rolando Otero in his remarks to House Select Committee on Assassinations investigator Gaeton Fonzi. Otero stated that to his personal knowledge a CIA officer had been circulating among certain Cuban exiles in the late summer/early fall of 1963 - making remarks that the U.S. was abandoning its support of the Cuban exiles and its efforts to oust the Castro regime. Otero himself was a personal friend of Nestor Izquierdo; both were members of Cuban exile parachute group. Otero blamed radical Cuban exiles for the murder of President Kennedy and provided Fonzi with the name of a local Cuban exile who purportedly had a broader knowledge of those involved - Bernardo de Torres.
Beyond Otero and his information about a CIA officer spreading the word against the Kennedy Administration and JFK in Miami another Miami local became quite public in remarks that the effort against Castro was being abandoned - due to a secret Kennedy accommodation with Castro.
January 1964 essay by John Martino: Cuba and the Kennedy Assassination
[Image: pict_wheaton_john-martino.jpg]John Martino
While John Martino had aggressively and publicly tried to link Fidel Castro and Lee Oswald to a conspiracy against JFK in the weeks and months following the president's murder, decades later he admitted to close friends (shortly before his death) that he had been involved in a minor role in the conspiracy itself - including acting as a courier in trips to Dallas. He related his limited knowledge of both the plan for Dallas and the motives for those who were involved in the attack. His friends, first anonymously and then officially, relayed that information to the HSCA. In later years both his wife and his son confirmed that he had prior knowledge of the attack in Dallas and provided a limited amount of information as to whom he had been associating with in the period in which he had apparently become involved.
Martino independently supports other sources who described that the word had been spread among certain Cuban exiles in Miami that there was a secret JFK/Castro dialogue emerging. That fact can be confirmed by references which Martino made in speeches and writing, both prior to and following the assassination. He also admitted to the knowledge that Lee Oswald was being used in a relatively minor role in the conspiracy, pointing the attack on JFK towards Fidel Castro.
Speculation on Martino's sources, and who might have involved him in the conspiracy, seems to rest with individuals known to be Martino's most trusted associates in the September/October 1963 time frame. Certainly his most relevant anti-Castro activity, one quite surprising for a man his age, had been his personal participation in a Operation TILT, the highly secretive maritime mission into Cuba. Given mission leader Rip Robertson's operational role at JMWAVE, Martino would have been one of the few "outsiders" that Robertson would have been in contact with in the summer of 1963.
[Image: pict_wheaton_felipe-vidal.jpg]Felipe Vidal Santiago
Beyond contact during the period of the mission into Cuba, Martino's son related that Rip Robertson was a frequent visitor to the Martino home during much of 1963, another definite violation of CIA security protocols. Other visitors included Felipe Vidal and Frank Sturgis (Fiorini). Both men circulated at will through the Cuban exile community.
Although Vidal was not a major exile "political" figure, he was well respected for his bravery, commitment and naval experience. During 1963 Vidal was operationally involved in ongoing efforts to stage independent paramilitary missions into Cuba with Roy Hargraves and Bernardo de Torres. Hargraves was photographed preparing for independent and unsanctioned boat missions, in the company of Bernardo de Torres and Felipe Vidal. However both Vidal and Hargraves were independent actors with extremely limited resources and certainly with no support from the CIA.
FBI Interview of Felipe Vidal Santiago.
FBI Report on Felipe Vidal and Roy Hargraves, 3/9/65.
[Image: pict_wheaton_roy-hargraves.jpg]Roy Hargraves
Significantly, Vidal himself related that he was aware of the fact that JFK was about to betray the Cuban exiles once again, negotiating some sort of accommodation with Fidel Castro - an accommodation that would leave Castro in power and abandon the Cuban exiles. Vidal described himself as having devoted effort to spreading the word within the exile community that JFK was actually a threat to them. It is also a matter of FBI record that, like Martino, Vidal himself did travel to Dallas during the fall of 1963.
FBI Report on Felipe Vidal returning from Dallas visit with General Edwin Walker, 1/20/64.
In addition, Roy Hargraves was independently reported to the FBI as having known of and possibly as being involved in some fashion in a plot against JFK. Research has confirmed that Hargraves was the subject of the report to the FBI, and Hargraves himself confirmed (in a recorded interview with researcher Noel Twyman) that he and Vidal had been taken to Dallas in support of an action against the president.
FBI Report. Longer version of above.

Operational Names
Given their lack of direct association with CIA paramilitary operations, it seems unlikely that names such as Otero, Martino, Vidal or Hargraves would have come up during the conversations referred to by Gene Wheaton. However there are other names operationally associated with Felix Rodriquez, Rafael Quintero and Carl Jenkins that very likely might have surfaced during anti-Castro "war stories". In fact one of the few items of detail remarked on by Wheaton gives us a lead to such names. In later years, following his Contra era activities, Wheaton became acquainted with a journalist, Paul Hoven, and mentioned his experience with Jenkins and Quintero. Hoven has commented that Wheaton was circumspect and offered no extended details, but that he did comment that the people who carried out the attack on JFK had been Cuban exile volunteers who had been trained at a base in the south-east of Mexico. They had been trained to carry out assassinations, and ultimately those skills had been transferred from Cuban operations (with Fidel Castro as a likely target) to President Kennedy. [ xi ]
At the time neither Wheaton nor Hoven could have known that there was a group of very special Cuban exile volunteers that had indeed been trained - not inside south-east Mexico itself, but across the border in Guatemala. The training that those individuals received was quite special and it elevated them into unique missions against Cuba - both before and after the disaster at the Bay of Pigs. Several of those men were especially close to Cuban exile leader Manuel Artime, both before the Bay of Pigs and in a new Artime project which developed during 1963, a project under the oversight of Carl Jenkins and Rafael Quintero.
[Image: pict_wheaton_artime-jfk.jpg]Cuban exile leader Manual Artime (center)
with President Kennedy

Manuel Artime Busa (crypt AMBIDDY-1) had been one of the Cuban exiles meeting with Senator John Kennedy as early as the Democratic Convention in July 1960; he became well acquainted with his brother Robert Kennedy. Artime became one of the more well-known Cuban exile political figures. Known widely inside Cuba for his anti-Batista activities, he became a highly symbolic figure in the American anti-Castro efforts. While the CIA would ultimately back away from the idea that a wide scale uprising against Castro was part of the plan for sending the Cuban Expeditionary Force on to the island at the Bay of Pigs, we now know that to be false. In fact, we know that their plans involved sending Artime into Cuba in advance, with special groups of pathfinders and scouts, to link up with active resistance groups on the island. A number of the personnel used in those infiltration teams, taken from the CIA's Guatemala camp, were as of January still under the command of Carl Jenkins. Others were taken from maritime operations teams (AMHAZE) which had been established at bases in the Florida Keys. One handpicked three-man infiltration team (Jorge Sotus, Carlos Hernandez and Jorge Giraud) staged out of Ramrod Key. [ xii ]
CIA Telecom by Zaboth (Carl Jenkins) listing Artime's infiltration team, 1/23/61.
Operational Cable, "Discussion to Arrange Reception Oriente", JMWAVE, March 20 1961.
Beyond that there is strong reason to speculate that putting Artime and a total of four special teams into Cuba, in an operation approved directly by the CIA Director, was part of an initiative to assassinate Fidel Castro and trigger a general uprising which would have been climaxed by the arrival of the Cuban Expeditionary Force.
[Image: pict_wheaton_cryptdb.png]
The MFF's Cryptonym Project contains details on
hundreds of 'crypts' used in Cuban operations and
other CIA activities

Under orders from CIA Director Helms, Artime and two special Cuban exile teams were sent under extremely high and compartmentalized security from Guatemala to Florida in early February, 1961. Seven team members were to personally accompany Artime. Members of the seven-man team included Nestor Izquierdo and Raul Villaverde. In addition, a separate three-man team traveled on the same transport aircraft, carefully isolated from Artime and his team. The three-man team was headed by Emilio Adolfo Rivero Caro (AMPANIC-7). Their goal was to deliver arms, blow up a central power plant and possibly assassinate Castro. Other members of Rivero's team were Jose Pujals Mederos (AMCOAX-1) and Alfredo Izaguirre Revoi (AMPUG-1). Izaguirre had previously plotted an assassination attempt of the Castro brothers after meeting with General Maxwell Taylor. This plot was most likely controlled by Commander Hal Feeney. Related documents suggest that prior to the actual mission teams proceeding into Cuba, Artime was to receive a special CIA headquarters briefing.
CIA Telecom concerning Artime's infiltration team. AMHAZE, 2/7/61.
CIA Telecom concerning Artime's team. Eduardo (Howard Hunt) is impressed with security, 2/6/61.
CIA Telecom. BRAND only has arms for 50 men. Will blow up the central heating plant and possibly attempt on Fidel, 4/5/61.
CIA memo for the record by John Peters (Glen "Rocky" Farnsworth).
The Hidden Castro Assassination Plots - Bill Simpich
Beyond that we know of other covert military efforts to assassinate Castro. Projects again involving names becoming increasingly well known - Felix Rodriguez, Rafael Quintero and Carl Jenkins.
Castro Assassination Operations
We are far from having the full details of the extremely secret CIA paramilitary initiative which targeted Fidel Castro for assassination in early 1961. It is even unclear to what extent the heads of the Cuba Project and the CIA Director himself were informed as to the operational details of its various efforts. As with many areas of the overall Cuba Project, deniability and compartmentalization appears to have overruled effective communications and operational coordination. The best we can do is to detail some of the episodes now known to have occurred.
During the first three months of 1961 at least three different military missions were planned. Those missions targeted Cuban leaders and specifically Fidel Castro. They appear to have been inserted within a broader range of missions intended to contact on-island resistance groups in an effort to encourage sabotage and guerilla actions in support of the upcoming landings of the Cuban Expeditionary Force. One mission (possibly planned under the cover of "Pathfinder" operations in advance of the landings) was intended to carry out an attack on Fidel Castro at a location near the Bay of Pigs resort where he routinely vacationed. It appears that plan may have included details of Castro's personal travel and activities, including information from sources previously close to Castro inside Cuba such as Frank Sturgis (aka Fiorini). Prior to his departure from Cuba Sturgis had offered to personally carry out a lethal attack on Castro, however the CIA had declined his offer at that point in time. Sturgis's name appears in one January 20, 1961 report which includes a reference to "Pathfinder".
[Image: pict_wheaton_jmwave.jpg]The CIA's JMWAVE facility,
at what is now the site of the Miami Zoo

A second plan - known to Carl Jenkins, if not directly managed by him - did go operational; it involved the insertion of personnel who were to carry out a well-planned sniper attack on Fidel Castro at his retreat on Varadero Beach, east of Havana. The mission was supported with maps and annotated drawings of the Varadero (formerly DuPont-owned) Estate. Those materials were prepared from aerial and possibly satellite photo imagery processed by the imagery staff assigned to JMWAVE. We only know about these two assassination projects because certain of the WAVE personnel were later transferred to the National Photo Imagery Center (NPIC) and they provided information to the Church Committee investigating assassinations. The very limited records which describe the two plans were submitted to the Church Committee by managers at NPIC; they included statements from some eight personnel who had worked on projects related to attacks on Castro.
According to Edward Cates, the chief of the Image Exploitation Group at NPIC, "a number of our photo interpreters [8 individuals] supported Carl Jenkins of the DD/P (Deputy Directorate of Plans) concerning a plan to assassinate Castro at the DuPont Varadero Beach Estate, east of Havana. Castro was known to frequent the estate and the plan was to use a high powered rifle in the attempt. The photo interpretation support was restricted to providing annotated photographs and line drawings of the estate."
Edward Cates Memo for the Record regarding interviews with NPIC photointerpreters.
It appears that the CIA may have performed its own internal investigation of those missions in the mid-1970s. Two memoranda from June and August, 1975 record the statement of a Cuban CIA officer (in 1961 a contract employee) that he participated in three abortive Cuban infiltration missions, including an effort to land him near Varadero Beach. The objective of that mission was a long range rifle attack on Fidel Castro. One of the memos mentions the names of two Cubans involved in the mission, "Felix" and "Segundo". Based on this information, it appears that Carl Jenkins may have been transferred out of Guatemala to manage a number of covert infiltration missions, involving at least one which involved Felix Rodriquez and a sniper attack on Fidel Castro.
[Image: pict_wheaton_segundo-borges.jpg]Segundo Borges
The "Segundo" mentioned in the CIA document is Segundo BORGES Ransola. Felix Rodriquez verified Segundo's identity and role in the Castro assassination project in an interview many years later - stating that both he and Segundo trained in Panama and then were asked to volunteer for the infiltrations. Rodriquez noted that both he and Segundo were only 19 years old when they entered training in the Panama camp and then were prepared and sent on special missions into Cuba prior to the Bay of Pigs. In the summer of 1963, Segundo Borges joined Manual Artime for a recruiting trip to Fort Benning, Georgia. The stated goal was to recruit men for a new combat effort based out of offshore camps. Although Borges was initially identified as one of Artime's aides at the "Nicaraguan Revolutionary Training Camp" his real role was leader of the AMWORLD maritime infiltration team. [ xiii ] During a November, 1963 recruiting visit to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Borges reportedly told trainees that Artime had money to buy arms and ships and many places where he could establish a training base.
Felix Rodriguez interview.
FBI Report. Artime and Segundo Borges go to Ft. Benning to recruit.
[Image: pict_wheaton_tejana3.jpg]The Tejana III, a yacht used for CIA operations
A CIA memo also discloses that the boat used for the special mission into Cuba, the "yacht", had aborted one insertion due to engine problems. That observation, when combined with information in related documents, allows us to identify the yacht as the Tejana III and the individual named Felix as Felix Rodriquez. CIA documents record the missions of the Tejana III, which began in late February, 1961 and ended in early April. The Tejana made four trips into Cuba during that period, carrying infiltration personnel and supplies for on island groups intended to support the planned uprising. Some 27 personnel and 60 tons of supplies were covertly transported into Cuba. It appears that Felix Rodriquez was sent in on a one-man mission in early April, a mission which was forced to abort due to an engine problem with the Tejana III. [ xiv ]
A separate CIA document, the debriefing of Felix Rodriquez prior to his separation from the CIA in 1976 (and a very unusual authorization for the public disclosure of his CIA service), records his own statement that in December 1960 he had volunteered to kill Fidel Castro, stating that it was the only solution to the Cuban problem. He also stated that he had been supplied with a special sniper weapon for missions into Cuba and that he and another CIA Cuban had made three missions into Cuba. [ xv ]
Rodriquez did not identify the CIA officer who had given them the assignments or state any details on the missions. In his own biography, Rodriquez provides more detail on the assassination plan, describing a German bolt action sniper rifle with a telescopic sight. The rifle itself was pre-sighted according to the specifics of the mission, based on the exact location in which Castro was to be attacked.
While we have a good level of detail on the abortive sniper attack involving Felix Rodriquez, the earlier mission - apparently scheduled for March - remains far more mysterious. However, we do know that Richard Helms himself approved the transportation and staging of four different teams that apparently were scheduled for missions in the March time frame, missions which either aborted or failed. One of the teams would have involved Manuel Artime, another a special three-man mission which ultimately failed in a major sabotage attempt on the Havana power system - as well as the planned assassination of Castro. While characterized to the Church Committee as a rogue operation, that effort clearly was sanctioned and involved a three-man team sent out of Guatemala by Carl Jenkins.
At the same time, another team consisting of 7 exile personnel and two deniable team leaders was also sent out of Guatemala. Interestingly, one of the team leaders may have been one of the Russian defectors who had been used for Cuban exile military training in both Panama and Guatemala. That possibility is indicated by the fact that a CIA document indicates him as associated with AEDEPOT. The AE crypt can be shown to be used for Soviet Union sources, in particular defectors and agents.
Rockefeller Commission document on Cuban Operations 1959-61.
2/6/61 CIA Memo AMHAZE. AMBIDDY-1 (Artime) Team at Wave.
CIA Telecom correcting previous list of Artime's team. AEDEPOT team leader, 2/8/61.
4/5/61 CIA Commo from JRIMM.
For reference, it should also be noted that the CIA's efforts to use Havana casino connections to poison Fidel Castro did not get underway before March 1961. The first effort failed and a second effort was hurriedly put together in early April, immediately prior to the dispatch of the Cuban Expeditionary Force. That effort aborted because the conduit for the poison, Tony Varona, was sequestered along with other exile political leaders immediately before Brigade 2506 sailed from Guatemala. President Eisenhower's initial timeframe for putting exile forces into Cuba would have inserted them prior to the November, 1960 elections. When that failed he requested that the CIA carry out an operation in December. However, the CIA's plan had changed so dramatically over time that even the basic missions in support of an internal uprising in Cuba - much less the actual elimination of Fidel Castro - were not operational prior to January, 1960.
Other Names
By this point the names - Carl Jenkins, Rafael Quintero and very likely Felix Rodriquez - directly related to Gene Wheaton and the war stories he was privy to are becoming familiar. However those three individuals were also operationally associated with a number of other persons of interest in regard to the stories being told, from the earliest covert operations against Cuba and Fidel Castro to the newest CIA project which was coming into being in the fall of 1963 at the time of the attack on JFK. Given their operational history, their demonstrated skills, and the possibility that one or more of their names might have been included in the conversations between Jenkins, Quintero, and Rodriquez, it seems worthwhile to turn our attention to those names, and to the activities of those individuals in 1963.
[Image: pict_wheaton_amworld-memo.png]

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  Jim DiEugenio Reviews The House of Kennedy
Posted by: Jim DiEugenio - 26-04-2020, 06:50 PM - Forum: JFK Assassination - No Replies

And its a real bad one.  Nothing but MSM tabloid BS in which one would never know about JFK;s intent to withdraw from Vietnam, because the book never mentions Vietnam in relation to JFK.  Its. cheap tabloid version that also upholds the official stories about he lone assassins and goes beyond that in certain ways as I point out.  Unless you want to get stupid, avoid this trash compactor like the plague.


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  In order to survive, humanity must end capitalism!
Posted by: Peter Lemkin - 26-04-2020, 12:57 PM - Forum: Political, Governmental, and Economic Systems and Strategies - No Replies

To end inequality [built in]; to become in harmoney with Nature and not try to be the master of it [later built in]; to be able to enjoy life for all, let alone for ourselves - and for more......to not end the human race's existance very soon....and take most of the species with us - capitalism [especially as it is structured today] must end and FAST! Lee Camp is no flaming radical...but he penned this recently in reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic World of today.......and I couldn't agree more. I will have more to say on the subject soon, with more detailed analysis and proofs of this tautology.....

Speaking Heresy – Lee Camp, Consortium News
But let’s cut to the chase — and I’m sorry if the next statement upsets you — but in order to stop climate change and create a sustainable world, it requires the end of capitalism. I know I’m not “allowed” to say that. Saying such a thing would be heresy on one of the corporate media dog-and-pony bullshit infotainment hours. If I spoke that unholy fact on CNN or Fox News or CBS or NPR, a tranquilizer dart would immediately hit me in the neck, and they’d cut to a commercial while my lifeless body was dragged off.
But let’s take our intellectual honesty out for a spin, shall we? As Guardian columnist George Monbiot said, “Capitalism has three innate characteristics that drive us towards destruction… firstly, that it generates and relies upon perpetual growth.”
Endless growth on a planet with finite resources. Such a thing is physically impossible, no more scientifically feasible than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touching his toes. The reason we’re now in the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression is because capitalism requires nonstop growth, much like cancer. Also, like cancer, it grows until it murders the host body. And during this pandemic shutdown, it’s not getting the growth it screams out for. During this brief respite, many parts of capitalism are benign.
The second problem is “…the idea that our right to own natural wealth equates to the amount of money that we’ve got in the bank or we can borrow. So, you can take as much natural wealth away from other people as you like.”
You can buy all the land, water, and air you want — even as others die from starvation or thirst. It means that no matter what environmentalists do to try to mitigate climate change, the richest corporations in the world can easily undo it by buying and polluting ever more. It also means the biggest sociopaths in the room (the world?) have the most impact.
The third characteristic is the one that really ensures that people go along with capitalism, the idea that everyone can pursue — and can expect to find — private luxury.”

But of course, that’s impossible. If everyone lived the way the top 1 percent live, then the planet would collapse quickly, and in fact it’s crumbling anyway, right now, because of the resources used and the refuse discarded by a small percentage of humanity. …Sure, I admit I like to keep my private jet air-conditioned to a nice 58 degrees F on the hottest days of summer and stocked full of rare endangered fish filets. Not for me – for my five dogs who are bathed in only the freshest spring water shipped in from Alaska. BUT, I recycle the filet packaging. So, I think I do my part.
The cold truth is 90 percent of humanity will never enjoy anywhere near the soft luscious luxury that envelopes the richest among us. In fact, the World Bank says that nearly half of the world lives on less than $5.50 a day. (Not enough for even one fresh Alaskan salmon filet for your dog.)
As our planet disintegrates under the weight of consumption and greed, most people are trapped in extreme poverty. And that’s how the system of capitalism is designed. No mistake. No whoopsy. No boo-boo. It’s by design. Slightly altering capitalism will not change this reality, just as tilting a gun in a different direction does not make it a pony.
If we take away the false promises of capitalism and just say to people, “Private luxury is only for a few humans. You will never have it and won’t even have the chance at getting it” – if we admit that – then the entire justification for capitalism evaporates.
I’m not saying I have all the answers, but the pandemic shutdown has shown us the problem. It has revealed what the world looks like without as much pollution, without the chaos and roar of mostly meaningless “work” performed by the exploited, using materials stolen from the abused, for the benefit of the pampered and oblivious.

Another world is possible, and we’ve just gotten a glimpse of it.

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  The CIA and the Book Depository
Posted by: Jim DiEugenio - 21-04-2020, 02:00 AM - Forum: JFK Assassination - No Replies

William Weston's latest revision of his essay on the Glaze Letters.

Which the HSCA did not follow up on.


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  Dylan Avery's new 9/11 documentary - SEVEN.
Posted by: Anthony Thorne - 21-04-2020, 01:31 AM - Forum: 911 - No Replies

LOOSE CHANGE director Dylan Avery has a new film on WTC7 coming out this year.


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  The Rise of Neo-Feudalism in USA
Posted by: Peter Lemkin - 20-04-2020, 05:17 AM - Forum: Political, Governmental, and Economic Systems and Strategies - No Replies

[Image: Neo-Feudalism_Web.jpg?cb=415f9a1a76b072b...c848&w=200] Illustrations by Robert Meganck
The Rise of Neo-Feudalism
The private capture of entire legal systems by corporate America goes far beyond neoliberalism. It evokes the private fiefdoms of the Middle Ages.
by Robert Kuttner, Katherine V. Stone
April 8, 2020

The history of the modern democratic state can be understood as a story of shifting authority and lawmaking, first from private potentates to sovereign monarchs, and then to publicly accountable democracies. Today, this centuries-long democratizing trend is rapidly being reversed. Western democracies are not simply embracing neoliberalism in the sense of deregulating the economy. Elites are pursuing something aptly described as a new form of feudalism, in which entire realms of public law, public property, due process, and citizen rights revert to unaccountable control by private business.
The system of finance, once supervised by bank regulatory agencies and the Securities and Exchange Commission, has been delegated to private realms of law. The financial collapse of 2008 is best understood as the seizure, corruption, and abuse of entire domains of regulation and jurisprudence. Laws to protect workers and consumers, reflecting 70 years of struggle to expand rights, are now erased by compulsory arbitration regimes. Trade law permits similar private tribunals to overturn or sidestep public regulation. Tech platform monopolies have created a proprietary regime where they can crush competitors and invade consumer privacy by means of onerous terms, often buried in online “terms of service” provisions. The unity of common scientific inquiry has been balkanized by confidentiality agreements and abuses of patents, as scientific knowledge comes to be “owned” by private entities. Companies like Monsanto, manipulating intellectual property and trade law, prevent farmers from following the ancient practice of keeping seeds for the next planting season. This is not deregulation or neoliberalism. It is legally sanctioned private jurisprudence—neo-feudalism.
The Brief Era of the Democratic Commons
For part of the 20th century, the democratic state served as a counterweight to the concentrated power that flowed to concentrated wealth in a capitalist economy. Laws helped workers offset the power of employers, protected small investors from the schemes of bankers and brokers, gave some countervailing power to tenants against landlords, and added consumer safeguards to constrain abuses of manufacturers and retailers. All of this has been thrown into reverse—not just by the more visible forms of deregulation, but by the creation of entirely private realms of property and law.
It is easy to miss what has been occurring, because the age-old elements of private law, such as contracts and torts, have long coexisted with public law and regulation. Contention between public law and private power is a very old story. What is new and alarming is the displacement of entire areas of public law by private commercial interests and the resurrection of abusive forms of private law.
Not only did the 20th-century state expand democratic public law. Acting through the courts, the state intervened to police private contracts and protect weaker parties from abuse by the powerful. Twentieth-century courts moved away from the formalist contract law of the late 19th century, which was characterized by rigid contract interpretation and deference to the principle of caveat emptor. In its place, 20th-century judicial interpretation and enforcement of contracts emphasized fairness between the parties. Using such doctrines as unconscionability, duress, and impracticability, courts in the 20th century refused to enforce contracts between parties with vastly unequal resources, knowledge, or bargaining power when they found agreements to be oppressive, coercive, grossly one-sided, misleading, or blatantly unfair.
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For example, courts refused to enforce loans to consumers with excessive interest rates; consumer contracts that disclaimed standard warranties; employment contracts with broad covenants not to compete; contracts between mining companies and farmers to sell family homesteads for a pittance; and leases with draconian liquidated-damage clauses for minor tenant infractions. Moreover, the courts scrutinized the process of contract formation for real, as opposed to fictitious, consent. In a similar vein, the Uniform Commercial Code, drafted by legal-realist scholar Karl Llewellyn in 1952 and subsequently adopted in all 50 states, expanded the doctrine of good faith in commercial contracting and adopted “commercial reasonableness” as the standard for interpreting contractual ambiguities.
The trend in contract law took a U-turn in the 1980s, as the law and economics movement began to permeate the judiciary. The new “efficiency” theory of contract law held that all contracts should be enforced, notwithstanding either deception or vast power inequalities between the parties. Thus the capture of public law and the reversion to one-sided private law reinforced each other, creating vast pools of proprietary power.
The extreme privatization of jurisprudence overlaps the privatization of public services, but it is more sinister. When a public service such as a voucher school, a park, a highway, or an entire town (such as Disney’s town of Celebration) is privatized, it alters the cost, quality, and distribution of the service, and also reduces public accountability. Voucher schools are able to manipulate admissions, avoid costly special-needs kids, and have their own legal and disciplinary procedures, which are supervised only very loosely by the state, if at all. Public prisons, already replete with abhorrent conditions, have become much worse as private, for-profit entities, with even less opportunity for redress.

Quote:For part of the 20th century, the democratic state served as a counterweight to the concentrated power that owed to concentrated wealth in a capitalist economy. That role has been reversed as private potentates have captured the state.
[Image: NeoFeud_Court.jpg?cb=9fc25e8d2e081672634...7b1c&w=640]

The carving up of public law and property into proprietary domains is the new tragedy of the commons. The environmental tragedy, at least in principle, is amenable to public regulation that applies to all players. In the new tragedy, public regulation is precluded because law has been sundered from the democratic commons, in a manner that evokes the original tragedy of the commons—the English enclosure movement of the 17th and 18th centuries—in which lands that had been cultivated by the peasantry since time immemorial were carved up into commercial properties by local lords, with the blessing and legal protection of the Crown.
In some respects, the new feudalism is even more lopsided than the original, in that historic feudalism had some forms of reciprocal obligation between lord, vassal, and serf; between king and aristocrat; Church and Crown; and between apprentice, tradesman, and master. For all of its absolutism, feudalism had aspects of what J.K. Galbraith, describing capitalism at the apex of the mixed economy, was to call “countervailing power.” Neo-feudalism is a one-way seizure of private power and law by elites.
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From Feudalism to Democracy—and Back
The historic movement from feudalism to the modern state and then to political democracy began in the late Middle Ages and the early modern era. Feudal lords had massive landholdings wherein their word was law. They maintained their own military forces, and operated feudal courts to resolve disputes. These quasi-states had understandings (and sometimes clashes) with monarchies and with the Church. Feudal lords had plenary authority over their domains, although they themselves were subject to the higher authority of the monarch and the Church. During the heyday of feudalism, most contract questions, property disputes, criminal matters, domestic relations, inheritance, and other matters affecting ordinary folks were handled in the local courts. In principle, serfs had some customary rights, but masters ruled.
The feudal system arose in response to the anarchy and vacuum of sovereignty left in Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire and the ebb and flow of invaders from the east, north, and south—Huns, Goths, Arabs, Norsemen, and others. Some monarchies were potent, others weak; but as long as a feudal lord was a faithful vassal of the king, he was sovereign in his own realm. For nearly a thousand years, there was a four-way contention for power among kings, feudal lords, the Church, and the rising imperatives of commerce, with the monarchy gradually gaining sovereignty.
In the late Middle Ages, commerce among different principalities was governed by a transnational body of customary commercial law known as the lex mercatoria. Commercial disputes were resolved by private tribunals created by the commercial community according to the norms of the merchant community itself. The results were recognized by monarchies. This system made it possible for a product to pass from country to country with the property rights of the owner recognized by other merchants and sovereigns. The slave trade was part of this commercial system, and it could only function thanks to this symbiosis between traders and kings, in which ownership rights to a chattel were recognized by monarchies.
By the end of the 18th century, these struggles for primacy had been largely resolved in favor of the state. This came to be known by scholars as the Westphalian system, after the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War by giving the king the right to dictate the religion of his subjects. Nation-states gained more and more authority over realms previously governed by feudal lords, including the power to define and protect property rights, maintain a military and judicial system, and regulate commerce, labor, the professions, finance, trade, and domestic relations. The state gained a monopoly on the legal use of force. A post-feudal aristocracy still existed, but the monarch became increasingly sovereign. Yet the bias in favor of economic elites persisted.
There followed another century of struggle to make the state democratic. Despite the democratizing trends, some feudal remnants remained well into the modern era. For example, until the early 20th century, under the English doctrine of primogeniture and the device of the entail, property owners were required to keep their estates intact and leave them to a single heir. In the U.S., supposedly “born free” of feudal heritage, many feudal doctrines from the common law of England were nonetheless incorporated into Britain’s North American colonies. In the U.S. as well as Britain, the doctrine of coverture effectively made wives the property of husbands. In much of the West, there were still property requirements for the franchise, left over from the aristocratic era.
Throughout the 19th century, employers in the U.S. retained quasi-feudal rights over their workers through the operation of two common-law doctrines—the “entire contract” doctrine, which provided that workers who left an employer mid-contract had no right to be paid for any work they had performed, and the tort of enticement, which enabled employers to prevent their workers from departing their establishment to work for someone else. However, with the rise of commercial principles in the late 19th century, some individualistic approaches emerged. For example, the at-will rule that emerged in the 1880s gave individual laborers the right to quit their employment with impunity—and gave employers the right to fire workers for any reason, or for no reason. And, in the area of industrial accidents, no matter how egregious an employer’s negligence, courts reasoned that the worker had freely contracted to accept the risk and therefore had no recourse. Thus, in the case of labor law as well as other areas of commercial law, both the feudal remnants and the evolving modern market system favored the property owner.
IN THE UNITED STATES, the democratization of the modern state was realized in the economic realm only in the 20th century, as new citizen and worker protections were enacted by Congress and upheld by courts. In the 20th century, government acted to balance the commercial interests of emerging companies and industries against a broader public interest. Railroads, radio, television, electric utilities, civil aviation, telephones—all sectors with actual or potential monopoly abuses—were subject to public law after many had attempted to install regimes of private law relying on coercive market power. Railroads, which had operated like feudal baronies, dictating terms of commerce for shippers and destroying rivals, became subjected to public rate-making. In the telephone industry, the dominant Bell System had sought to make and enforce rules to crush or capture potential competitors, but it came to be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. So did the emerging radio industry, dominated by one company, RCA, which had sought to rule the airwaves. In all of these cases, the democratic state intervened both to supplant areas of private law with public regulation and to assure that systems of private law had some balance and accountability that would protect the economically weak from the economically strong.
The law became more procedurally transparent as well as more substantively egalitarian. The Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (APA) created an orderly and transparent process for regulatory agencies to make rules and to ensure greater citizen participation in the rule-making process. The APA also imposed restrictions on ex parte contracts between the regulated entities and the regulators, and prohibited conflicts of interest in many other respects. Thus, the gains for democracy were both procedural and substantive.
The high watermark of the democratized legal and policy regime was the 1960s and 1970s, when numerous consumer and environmental laws were enacted, unions represented almost one worker in three, and courts defended citizen rights.
Beginning in the 1980s, power shifted again. Entire domains were handed back to private entities that were empowered to exercise quasi-state functions and create their own proprietary systems of law.
These developments have been described in mainstream policy discourse as “deregulation” and “privatization,” but those terms are misleading. The term “deregulation” suggests a reversion to a pre-existing system of nonregulation, a realm in which state authority is absent. But this is a fantasy. There is no pre-legal, law-free realm. There is always regulation, albeit sometimes invisible and private, and hence unaccountable.
Similarly, the term “privatization” is misleading. The term suggests a neutral transfer of governmental functions to the private domain for the sake of efficiency. But privatization invariably has distributional as well as civic consequences, since it changes the structure of costs and benefits and obscures public accountability. Privatized water and highway systems raise costs to users. Public parks are generally free; privatized ones charge. The privatized entity can avoid public obligations such as due process, transparency, and nondiscrimination requirements.
Outsourcing of public functions, which gained ground beginning in the 1980s, brought with it outsourcing of jurisprudence. Private prisons turn a quintessentially public function—incarceration for criminal actions—into a profit-making venture with minimal public accountability. In private “voucher schools” (financed by public funds), a private entity makes the rules. Gated residential communities, such as Disney’s Celebration, are privately controlled municipalities that make and enforce their own laws. Private mercenary armies, such as Blackwater (now rebranded as Academi), are hired by the Pentagon so that their “soldiers” will be less accountable for what might otherwise be war crimes. Eminent domain, the inherent public prerogative to claim private property for a public purpose, has been commandeered by private developers. And courts—the ultimate embodiment of law in a democracy—have been privatized by the vast expansion of compulsory arbitration.
Neo-Feudalism and the Financial Collapse of 2008 
Under the system of financial regulation created in the New Deal, commercial banks were strictly supervised under one regulatory regime, while the issuance and sale of securities were tightly governed under another. In exchange for federal deposit insurance and/or membership in the Federal Reserve System, commercial banks had to abide by reserve requirements, conflict-of-interest strictures, and regular supervisory examinations. Their ability to merge or open branches was limited. The interest they could pay on deposits was regulated. They were not permitted to turn loans into securities. This regulatory regime was designed to ensure both safety and soundness of the system as a whole, as well as protection of investors, savers, and borrowers.
From the New Deal to the 1980s, investment bankers, retail stockbrokers, and issuers of stock were governed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Publicly traded stocks were subject to extensive disclosures and prohibitions against insider trading and other abuses such as over-leveraging, self-dealing, and deceptive marketing and pricing, which had led to the Great Crash of 1929. There were no derivatives, no private equity, no complex securitization, no pyramid schemes, no off–balance sheet assets, and above all no opaque system of private law. The system was simple enough for supervisors to comprehend and thus to regulate.
In a parallel process of public invention and regulation, the New Deal created and governed a new system of mortgage finance. A new home loan bank system backstopped the (mostly nonprofit) savings and loan sector. The government invented the long-term, self-amortizing mortgage. A new agency, the FHA, insured these mortgages so that ordinary people could acquire homes with low down payments. Yet another public agency, FNMA, used Treasury bond financing to purchase mortgages and replenish the capacity of banks and thrift institutions to make more loans. Still another new agency, the Home Owners Loan Corporation, helped refinance mortgages for borrowers at risk of foreclosure. The entire system was closely supervised and scandal-free.
Quote:Franklin Roosevelt’s original alphabet soup of new public agencies has mutated into a toxic stew of self-regulatory and self-interested organizations run by and for regulated industries. It is one giant conflict of interest.
[Image: NeoFeud_Rx.jpg?cb=85940d195aecbb58a6f596...5ea0&w=640]

The important point is that this entire post-Depression architecture of financial structure and regulation was publicly created and subject to public scrutiny. It existed for the benefit of the broad citizenry, not for the profit of industry insiders. Even transactions and contracts that were ostensibly private, such as the sale of stocks and bonds, were subject to public rules. This system worked well. Not only did it protect ordinary investors, savers, mortgagors, and the economy as a whole; the financial part of the economy supplied plenty of capital to the real economy during the long postwar boom.
As the distribution of political power shifted in the 1970s and 1980s, the financial industry began reprivatizing systems of law and finance. They invented new strategies of financial speculation to which regulators gave their blessing. Leverage buyout artists began acquiring entire companies using almost none of their own money, with the target company’s stock as collateral. In the new, pro-market environment, regulators concluded that this was legal.
The LBO business mutated into private equity, in which trillions of dollars of transactions were outside the system of securities regulation on the premise that these were not public offerings of shares. What had been a very small loophole in the structure of New Deal securities law metastasized into a largely unregulated multitrillion-dollar industry. Complex layers of derivatives securities were invented, in which immense and largely hidden multiples of leverage were possible. When some regulators expressed an interest in taking a closer look, a Congress newly beholden to the financial industry acted in 2000 to expressly prohibit regulation of derivatives, either as insurance, securities, or as gambling.
In the same period, public agencies delegated regulation to regulated industries via more than a dozen industry-controlled entities known as self-regulatory organizations (SROS). The original self-regulatory organization was the New York Stock Exchange, created in 1792. Prior to the New Deal, the Stock Exchange functioned as a private club, and its failure to enforce transparent and fair dealing had vast consequences for the public well-being when markets periodically crashed. 
From the inception of securities regulation in 1933, there was bitter contention over how much enforcement would be the direct province of the new sec and how much would be delegated to the privately operated stock exchange. It is a testament to the residual power of capital that even at the nadir of its disgrace, the New York Stock Exchange won many of these initial skirmishes, setting an unfortunate pattern to be exploited once FDR was gone. Against the wishes of the sec’s original architects, the stock exchange was permitted to supervise many of its own activities with the sec relegated to watchdog, supervising at one remove. In 1939, the sec allowed the first explicitly recognized SRO, the National Association of Securities Dealers, to govern the system of over-the-counter (off-exchange) stock trades. This was just the beginning of a vast reversion.
After Wall Street invented financial derivatives in the 1980s, the whole field of derivatives creation and trading came to be governed by rules established by the industry trade association, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA). At its simplest level, a financial derivative is analogous to an insurance policy against a bond or other security failing to pay back interest or principal. But ISDA, not a government agency, gets to decide how derivatives work and under what circumstances that obligation must be paid. This is neo-feudalism, par excellence. The democratic state plays no role whatever, except to bless the privatized realm of law.
In the area of accounting standards, the sec expressly delegated monitoring and enforcement to the industry trade association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). When self-regulation failed and accounting frauds led to the Enron scandal and kindred abuses, Congress restored some direct regulatory standards via the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. However, that same legislation created a new body, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), that enabled industry self-regulation to persist in a different form. PCAOB was created as a dot-org, not a government entity. Its president is paid over $670,000 a year. It is dominated by the Big Four accounting firms. The sec delegated a great deal of regulatory enforcement to it, as well as to another industry private association, FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (which used to go under its original and more accurate name, the National Association of Securities Dealers). By definition, the self-interest of securities dealers is not identical to that of the investing public.
SIFMA, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, is a lobbying and trade association. But with the approval of the government, SIFMA also sets the regulatory standards for repos (overnight loans) and money-market and securities lending transactions through its “master templates.” There are similar industry groups that “regulate” the terms of municipal bond underwriting and sales (the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board); the terms for creation and trading of futures (the National Futures Association); as well as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
All of these industry self-regulatory bodies have their own systems of jurisprudence, far less transparent or committed to the public interest than the direct public regulation of the New Deal schema. Roosevelt’s original alphabet soup of new public agencies has mutated into a toxic stew of self-regulatory and self-interested organizations. It is one giant conflict of interest.
Private Jurisprudence and the Mortgage Collapse 
The subprime collapse of the early 2000s was the direct result of the invention of new toxic financial products and private systems of law. Loan originators created new categories of mortgages in which the borrowers’ rates would explode after a few years, and marketed them aggressively to unsuspecting homebuyers who could not afford them. Deceptive mortgage products such as “pick-a-pay” had low nominal interest rates, while the true interest costs were added to the principal. Others had low teaser rates that rose dramatically after a few years. The mortgages in turn were sold to investment bankers who packaged them into securities that, through the alchemy of private credit rating agencies, were given triple-A ratings.
When investment bankers devised pyramids of asset-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations, they needed complex private legal and financing systems. The government basically got out of the way and let the bankers run the show and write the rules as private contracts, even though a variety of existing laws and principles of sound banking were violated. The credit rating agencies that rewarded the securities based on exploding mortgages with triple-A ratings were essentially unregulated.
Quote:Compulsory arbitration moves consumer and employment disputes from the courts to a rigged process of private systems of adjudication, depriving workers and consumers of statutory rights that they achieved in the 1960s and ’70s.
[Image: NeoFeud_Prop.jpg?cb=9ddcbb79aaa58296a401...c4b5&w=640]

In order to make the system of high-volume mortgage securitization work, the financiers had to devise an end run around a property-recording system that has been in place in America since before the Revolution. The banks invented a private database that tracked transfers of title to the property, called Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS). MERS was basically a shell company, wholly owned by major banks, designed to enable the securitization industry to evade recording fees incurred when banks transferred mortgages multiple times.
Rather than using the traditional system of transferring and recording property and mortgage liens with the local recorders of deeds, the MERS system listed itself as the mortgagee of record. Banks could make unlimited transactions inside MERS; the recorder of deeds would only know about the original sale.
At the height of the housing bubble, most of the existing mortgages in the United States listed MERS as the mortgagee. But this mass tax evasion scheme was susceptible to widespread database errors that proved disastrous when the whole subprime system blew up. MERS would either try to claim standing over mortgages it had no financial interest in, or would make an after-the-fact assignment to a trustee, which violated the rules governing securitization. MERS designated thousands of low-level mortgage industry workers “vice presidents” of the company, and they would sign the unlawful transfers of mortgage in MERS’s name.
This phony paper was used as evidence in several million foreclosure cases. Many families lost their homes based on fraudulent documents from a shell company that was at best a legal fiction. A handful of judges threw out foreclosure proceedings on the premise that the deed had been fraudulently recorded by a shell system or there was no record of the loan in the first place, but most foreclosures stood. The industry’s creation of a proprietary fiefdom of law—a private property records system created with no public debate or legislative approval—was richly rewarded. MERS still exists.
The Invasion of Arbitration 
Another emblematic case of neo-feudalism is the use of compulsory arbitration to move consumer and employment disputes from the public courts to a rigged process of private systems of adjudication. This privatization of justice deprives workers and consumers of the benefits of many of the statutory rights that they achieved in the 1960s and ’70s. It is the result of new, radical judicial interpretations of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).
The FAA was enacted in 1925 at the behest of the business community, which wanted to bolster trade associations by giving them the ability to compel their members to submit disputes to arbitration rather than to the courts. But since the 1980s, the Supreme Court has ruled that the statute could be used by corporations to require arbitration in virtually all settings. Companies began inserting arbitration clauses in their employment and consumer contracts. By the 2000s, large corporations made arbitration mandatory for most employment discrimination disputes, federal and state wage and hour disputes, disputes over alleged violations of state employment protective laws, consumer breach of warranty claims, allegations of consumer fraud, and most other cases involving workers and consumers.
With the approval of the courts, corporations now require arbitration for allegations of lethal negligence by nursing homes, allegations of identity theft, instances of sexual assault of students by teachers in private schools, claims of antitrust conspiracies by large corporations against small businesses, and efforts by on-demand workers to obtain fair working conditions. The corporation picks the arbitrator and defines the rules of the proceedings. It can insist on limited discovery and impose confidentiality gags so that plaintiffs with similar cases cannot share evidence or information about the outcome of their cases. It can also exclude certain types of evidence in advance, and limit the types of remedies a successful claimant can recover. It is common to also impose fee-sharing so that an employee or a consumer has to pay a significant sum just to have their case heard.
In a recent trend, some employers require the losing party to pay all of the cost of an arbitration—typically several thousands or tens of thousands of dollars—as well as the winning party’s attorney fees. These clauses are designed to discourage workers and consumers from asserting claims altogether. When disputes go to arbitration and an award is issued, the losing party has virtually no right to appeal.
Moreover, arbitration proceedings lack the due process protections we expect of courts. An arbitration hearing has no transparency—there is almost never a transcript of the proceeding; there is often no written opinion; and there is seldom a public record that reveals the names of the parties, the nature of the dispute, or the outcome. Hence large corporations, who as repeat players have amassed experience with many different arbitrators and seen many similar cases, have a substantial advantage.
Arbitration has seriously undermined workers’ and consumers’ rights to use class actions. With class action suits, individuals with common claims—such as Walmart workers who were denied legally mandated overtime payments—are able to consolidate their claims, obtain a lawyer, and get into court. In the 1990s and early 2000s, employment-related class actions proliferated; some corporations were forced to pay multimillion-dollar awards.
But in 2011, the Supreme Court gave its blessing to arbitration provisions that ban the use of class actions, either in court or in an arbitration proceeding. The case involved tens of thousands of consumers, each of whom had been cheated out of approximately $30 by AT&T. Without the vehicle of the class action, such a large number of small-value claims would never be pursued in any tribunal, giving corporations a license to cheat customers with impunity. Today, the vast majority of arbitration clauses written by corporations include a class action ban.
Private Arbitration Regimes in Trade Law 
Since the 1980s, major trade agreements have included a device known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement. This first came about in the case of trade deals between European multinational corporations and former colonies with weak or corrupt systems of law. The U.S. government copied this formula in bilateral trade deals to protect U.S. investors from expropriation. Before they risked their money, American investors wanted some assurance that in the event of disputes, a relatively impartial tribunal would be the judge. Thus were born investor-state panels that could supersede local law. This made a certain amount of sense in the case of trading partners with underdeveloped systems of law. But beginning with the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993 (NAFTA), investor-state panels were empowered to override federal and state courts in cases of disputes between private corporations and government regulations in advanced democracies, in this case the U.S. and Canada, as well as Mexico.
Under NAFTA, a U.S. corporation with operations in Canada or Mexico can bring suit before a special NAFTA panel alleging that a labor or environmental or financial regulation violates the trade agreement because it operates as an indirect barrier to trade. Not only does the investor-state provision of NAFTA allow for end runs around national and state courts; the review panels have none of the strictures against conflicts of interest or the discovery provisions of regular courts. Under NAFTA, arbitration panels have required governments to pay corporations about $500 billion in damages because national or state health, safety, labor, financial, or environmental laws supposedly infringed on trade freedoms.
Some critics of NAFTA were surprised and heartened when the investor-state dispute resolution provision of NAFTA was revised in the renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement of 2020. But industry did not resist all that strenuously because the investor-state provision lives on in the 2019 EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which expressly permits corporate end runs around law to special investor-state panels. So a U.S. corporation with operations in Canada or Europe can use ceta to bring a complaint before such a panel. Investor-state options also survive in dozens of other bilateral trade deals to which the U.S. is a party. A variation of the process of corporate end run around national law is possible under the World Trade Organization’s rules.
Silicon Valley as a Giant Fiefdom 
One of the startling trends of recent decades has been the success of the giant tech monopolies at creating their own proprietary systems of law and insulating themselves from public regulation. While citizens are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by constitutional constraints on government surveillance, the tech giants know far more about us, often with our “consent,” than the government does. The giant tech industry has fought off efforts to regulate its use of personal data. Instead, companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon have invented their own jurisprudence, hidden in obscure terms of service, to govern the consent of users to the commercial use of personal data.
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The tech monopolies have also succeeded in creating a proprietary legal regime to govern their relationship with their actual or potential commercial competitors, and they have stacked the deck in favor of the house. Amazon, for example, has agreements with 2.5 million third-party sellers, who use its site to market their products. These agreements are devised by Amazon for its own advantage, often at cost to outside vendors who are both users of Amazon’s platform and rivals who compete with Amazon’s own offerings. By playing the role of both platform provider and competitor, Amazon is able to engage in strategic pricing and marketing, courtesy of its superior access to consumer buying data. Sellers must also pay a basic subscription fee, referral charges, and additional fees if Amazon provides fulfillment and delivery. And of course, Amazon requires all of its independent sellers to sign the now-familiar arbitration clause, requiring submission of disputes to an arbitrator selected by Amazon. Most of this ought to be illegal, but it isn’t.
Instead of being the creation of Amazon’s private law, fair ground rules should be set by some neutral regulatory agency. Critics have suggested a variety of reforms to limit the market power of giant tech monopolies and the resulting abuses. These include the application of common carrier principles, privacy rules, and the enforcement of antitrust laws. Under common carrier principles, Amazon would either be a platform or a vendor, but not both. But so far, the large platform companies have succeeded in fending off these reforms by means of a combination of raw political power and a sly appeal to libertarian values.
Private Law in the Drug Industry
Like Big Tech, the pharmaceutical industry is a fortress of privatized law—despite the fact that most drug breakthroughs are ultimately financed by you, the American taxpayer, either through NIH grants or through elevated health insurance premiums. The big drug companies have succeeded in manipulating patent law to their advantage, to the point where independent innovators who have new ideas that would lower consumer prices are often silenced by industry lawsuits and confidentiality agreements. The industry has also succeeded in jacking up prices of drugs long in the public domain by devising “new” variants that add little value, obtaining monopoly protection for these “improvements” from the patent office, and then strong-arming medical systems into using the more expensive substitute. The industry also keeps well-established and cheap drugs artificially scarce and expensive by driving out generic producers or merging and carving up markets so that even many drugs that are off-patent have only one producer.
How is all this possible? In the absence of countervailing public regulation, the industry simply makes up its own private law, using its market power to increase profits and insulate itself from either competition or government supervision. It is a law unto itself. The more powerful the industry is, the more allies it has in Congress to make sure that the FDA stays narcotized under Democrats and Republicans alike.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY today is under assault on multiple fronts. The autocratic incursions of the Trump administration are only the most urgent and immediate. But the private capture of public regulatory law is more long-term and more insidious. If we are to get our democracy back, once we oust Trump we need to begin to reclaim public law from neo-feudalism.
The ultra-libertarian Friedrich Hayek warned that too much state intervention would deprive the citizenry of cherished rights and liberties. With unintended irony, he titled his treatise The Road to Serfdom. Hayek had it backwards. Today’s road to serfdom is corporate.

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  Author of 'Chaos' Tom O'Neill on Joe Rogan
Posted by: Ivan De Mey - 18-04-2020, 10:18 PM - Forum: Books - No Replies

Joe Rogan talks with Tom O'Neill, the author of Chaos, about Charles Manson, the CIA, Bugliosi, Jack Ruby, Arlen Spector and lots more. Good stuff.

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