George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarpley

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:31 am

PART 1 OF 3

Chapter XV- CIA DIRECTOR

In late 1975, as a result in particular of his role in Watergate, Bush's confirmation as CIA Director was not automatic. And though the debate at his confirmation was superficial, some senators, including in particular the late Frank Church of Idaho, made some observations about the dangers inherent in the Bush nomination that have turned out in retrospect to be useful.

The political scene on the homefront from which Bush had been so anxious to be absent during 1975 was the so-called "Year of Intelligence," in that it had been a year of intense scrutiny of the illegal activities and abuses of the intelligence community, including CIA domestic and covert operations. On December 22, 1974 the New York Times published the first of a series of articles by Seymour M. Hersh which relied on leaked reports of CIA activities assembled by Director James Rodney Schlesinger to expose alleged misdeeds by the agency.

It was widely recognized at the time that the Hersh articles were a self-exposure by the CIA that was designed to set the agenda for the Ford-appointed Rockefeller Commission, which was set up a few days later, on January 4, 1975. The Rockefeller Commission members included John T. Connor, C. Douglas Dillon, Erwin N. Griswold, Lane Kirkland, Lyman Lemnitzer, Ronald Reagan, and Edgar F. Shannon, Jr. The Rockefeller Commission was supposed to examine the malfeasance of the intelligence agencies and make recommendations about how they could be reorganized and reformed. In reality, the Rockefeller Commission proposals would reflect the transition from the structures of the cold war towards the growing totalitarian tendencies of the 1980's.

While the Rockefeller Commission was a tightly controlled vehicle of the Eastern Anglophile liberal establishment, Congressional investigating committees were empaneled during 1975 whose proceedings were somewhat less rigidly controlled. These included the Senate Intelligence Committee, known as the Church Committee, and the corresponding House committee, first chaired by Rep. Lucien Nedzi (who had previously chaired one of the principal Watergate-era probes) and then (after July) by Rep. Otis Pike. One example was the Pike Committee's issuance of a contempt of Congress citation against Henry Kissinger for his refusal to provide documentation of covert operations in November, 1975. Another was Church's role in leading the opposition to the Bush nomination.

The Church Committee launched an investigation of the use of covert operations for the purpose of assassinating foreign leaders. By the nature of things, this probe was lead to grapple with the problem of whether covert operations sanctioned to eliminate foreign leaders had been re-targeted against domestic political figures. The obvious case was the Kennedy assassination.

Church was especially diligent in attacking CIA covert operations, which Bush would be anxious to defend. The CIA's covert branch, Church thought, was a "self-serving apparatus." "It's a bureaucracy which feeds on itself, and those involved are constantly sitting around thinking up schemes for [foreign] intervention which will win them promotions and justify further additions to the staff...It self-generates interventions that otherwise never would be thought of, let alone authorized." [fn 1]

It will be seen that at the beginning of Bush's tenure at the CIA, the Congressional committees were on the offensive against the intelligence agencies. By the time that Bush departed Langley, the tables were turned, and it was the Congress which was the focus of scandals, including Koreagate. Soon thereafter, the Congress would undergo the assault of Abscam.

Preparation for what was to become the Halloween massacre began in the Ford White House during the summer of 1975. The Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan preserves a memo from Donald Rumsfeld to Ford dated July 10, 1975, which deals with an array of possible choices for CIA Director. Rumsfeld had polled a number of White House and administration officials and asked them to express preferences among "outsiders to the CIA." [fn 2]

Among the officials polled by Cheney was Henry Kissinger, who suggested C. Douglas Dillon, Howard Baker, Galvin, and Robert Roosa. Dick Cheney of the White House staff proposed Robert Bork, followed by Bush and Lee Iacocca. Nelson Rockefeller was also for C. Douglas Dillon, followed by Howard Baker, Conner, and James R. Schlesinger. Rumsfeld himself listed Bork, Dillon, Iacoca, Stanley Resor, and Walter Wriston, but not Bush. The only officials putting Bush on their "possible" lists other than Cheney were Jack O. Marsh, a White House counselor to Ford, and David Packard. When it came time for Rumsfeld to sum up the aggregate number of times each person was mentioned, minus one point for each time a person had been recommended against, the list was as follows:

Robert Bork [rejected in 1987 for the Supreme Court] White McGee Foster [John S. Foster of PFIAB, formerly of the Department of Defense] Dillon Resor Roosa Hauge.

It will be seen that Bush was not among the leading candidates, perhaps because his networks were convinced that he was going to make another attempt for the vice-presidency and that therefore the Commerce Department or some similar post would be more suitable. The summary profile of Bush sent to Ford by Rumsfeld found that Bush had "experience in government and diplomacy" and was "generally familiar with components of the intelligence community and their missions" while having management experience." Under "Cons" Rumsfeld noted: "RNC post lends undesirable political cast."

As we have seen, the CIA post was finally offered by Ford to Edward Bennett Williams, perhaps with an eye on building a bipartisan bridge towards a powerful faction of the intelligence community. But Williams did not want the job. Bush, originally slated for the Department of Commerce, was given the CIA appointment.

The announcement of Bush's nomination occasioned a storm of criticism, whose themes included the inadvisability of choosing a Watergate figure for such a sensitive post so soon after that scandal had finally begun to subside. References were made to Bush's receipt of financial largesse from Nixon's Townhouse fund and related operations. There was also the question of whether the domestic CIA apparatus would get mixed up in Bush's expected campaign for the vice presidency. These themes were developed in editorials during the month of November, 1976, while Bush was kept in Beijing by the requirements of preparing the Ford-Mao meetings of early December. To some degree, Bush was just hanging there and slowly, slowly twisting in the wind. The slow-witted Ford soon realized that he had been inept in summarily firing Colby, since Bush would have to remain in China for some weeks and then return to face confirmation hearings. Ford had to ask Colby to stay on in a caretaker capacity until Bush took office. The delay allowed opposition against Bush to crystallize to some degree, but his own network was also quick to spring to his defense.

Former CIA officer Tom Braden, writing in the Fort Lauderdale News, noted that the Bush appointment to the CIA looked bad, and looked bad at a time when public confidence in the CIA was so low that everything about the agency desperately needed to look good. Braden's column was entitled "George Bush, Bad Choice for CIA Job."

Roland Evans and Robert Novak, writing in the Washington Post, commented that "the Bush nomination is regarded by some intelligence experts as another grave morale deflator. They reason that any identified politician, no matter how resolved to be politically pure, would aggravate the CIA's credibility gap. Instead of an identified politician like Bush...what is needed, they feel, is a respected non-politician, perhaps from business or the academic world." Evans and Novak conceded that "not all experts agree. One former CIA official wants the CIA placed under political leadership capable of working closely with Congress. But even that distinctly minority position rebels against any Presidential scenario that looks to the CIA as possible stepping-stone to the Vice-Presidential nomination."

The Washington Post came out against Bush in an editorial entitled "The Bush Appointment." Here the reasoning was that this position "should not be regarded as a political parking spot," and that public confidence in the CIA had to be restored after the recent revelations of wrongdoing.

After a long-winded argument, George Will came to the conclusion that Ambassador Bush at the CIA would be "the wrong kind of guy at the wrong place at the worst possible time."

Senator Church viewed the Bush appointment in the context of a letter sent to him by Ford on October 31, 1975, demanding that the committee's report on US assassination plots against foreign leaders be kept secret. In Church's opinion, these two developments were part of a pattern, and amounted to a new stonewalling defense by what Church had called "the rogue elephant." Church issued a press statement in response to Ford's letter attempting to impose a blackout on the assassination report. "I am astonished that President Ford wants to suppress the committee's report on assassination and keep it concealed from the American people," said Church. Then, on November 3, Church was approached by reporters outside of his Senate hearing room and asked by Daniel Schorr about the firing of Colby and his likely replacement by Bush. Church responded with a voice that was trembling with anger. "There is no question in my mind but that concealment is the new order of the day," he said. "Hiding evil is the trademark of a totalitarian government." [fn 3]. Schorr said that he had never seen Church so upset.

The following day, November 4, Church read Leslie Gelb's column in the New York Times suggesting that Colby had been fired, among other things, "for not doing a good job containing the Congressional investigations." George Bush, Gelb thought, "would be able to go to Congress and ask for a grace period before pressing their investigations further. A Washington Star headline of this period summed up this argument: "CIA NEEDS BUSH'S PR TALENT." Church talked with his staff that day about what he saw as an ominous pattern of events. He told reporters: "First came the very determined administration effort to prevent any revelations concerning NSA, their stonewalling of public hearings. Then came the president's letter. Now comes the firing of Colby, Mr. Schlesinger, and the general belief that Secretary Kissinger is behind these latest developments." For Church, "clearly a pattern has emerged now to try and disrupt this [Senate Intelligence Committee] investigation. As far as I'm concerned, it won't be disrupted," said Church grimly.

One of Church's former aides, speech-writer Loch K. Johnson, describes how he worked with Church to prepare a speech scheduled for delivery on November 11, 1975 in which Church would stake out a position opposing the Bush nomination:

The nomination of George Bush to succeed Colby disturbed him and he wanted to wind up the speech by opposing the nomination. [...] He hoped to influence Senate opinion on the nomination on the eve of Armed Services Committee hearings to confirm Bush.

I rapidly jotted down notes as Church discussed the lines he would like to take against the nomination. "Once they used to give former national party chairmen [as Bush had been under President Nixon] postmaster generalships--the most political and least sensitive job in government," he said. "Now they have given this former party chairman the most sensitive and least political agency." Church wanted me to stress how Bush "might compromise the independence of the CIA--the agency could be politicized."

Some days later Church appeared on the CBS program Face the Nation, he was asked by George Herman if his opposition to Bush would mean that anyone with political experience would be a priori unacceptable for such a post? Church replied: "I think that whoever is chosen should be one who has demonstrated a capacity for independence, who has shown that he can stand up to the many pressures." Church hinted that Bush had never stood up for principle at the cost of political office. Moreover, "a man whose background is as partisan as a past chairman of the Republican party does serious damage to the agency and its intended purposes." [fn 4]

The Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones crowd counterattacked in favor of Bush, mobilizing some significant resources. One was none other than Leon Jaworski, the former Watergate special prosecutor. Jaworski's mission for the Bush network appears to have been to get the Townhouse and related Nixon slushfund issues off the table of the public debate and confirmation hearings. Jaworski, speaking at a convention of former FBI Special Agents meeting in Houston, defended Bush against charges that he had accepted illegal or improper payments from Nixon and CREEP operatives. "This was investigated by me when I served as Watergate special prosecutor. I found no involvement of George Bush and gave him full clearance. I hope that in the interest of fairness, the matter will not be bandied about unless something new has appeared on the horizon." Jaworski, who by then was back in Houston working for his law firm of Fulbright and Jaworski, sent a copy of the Houston Post article reporting this statement to Ford's White House counselor Philip Buchen. [fn 5]

Saul Kohler of the Newhouse News Service offered the Ford White House an all-purpose refutation of the arguments advanced by the opponents of Bush during November and into December. "And now," wrote Kohler, "President Ford is catching all sorts of heat from a lot of people for appointing Bush to the non-political sensitive CIA because he once served as Chairman of the Republican national Committee." How unfair, thought Kohler, "for of all the appointments Ford made last weekend, the nomination of Bush was the best." For one thing, "you'd have to go a long way to find a man with less guile than George Bush." Bush had been great at the RNC- "he managed to keep the RNC away from the expletive deleted of that dark chapter in American political history." "Not only did he keep the party apparatus clean, he kept his own image clean..." And then: "Was Cordell Hull less distinguished a Secretary of State because he had headed the Democratic National Committee?," and so forth. Kohler quoted a White House official commenting on the Bush nomination: "The gag line around here ever since The Boss announced George for the CIA is that spying is going to be a bore from now on because George is such a clean guy." [fn 6]

In the meantime, Bush got ready for his second meeting with Mao and prepared the documentation for his conflict of interest and background checks. In a letter to John C. Stennis, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which would hold the hearings on his nomination, Bush stated that his only organizational affiliations were as a trustee of Philips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and as a member of the Board of the Episcopal Church Foundation in New York City. In this letter, Bush refers to the "Bush Children Trust" he had created for his five children, and "funded by a diversified portfolio" which might put him into conflicts of interest. He told Stennis that if confirmed, he would resign as trustee of the Bush Children Fund and direct the other trustees to stop disclosing to him any details of the operations of the Bush Children Trust. Otherwise Bush said that he was not serving as officer, director, or partner of any corporation, although he had a lump-sum retirement benefit from Zapata Corporation in the amount of $40,000. According to his own account, he owned a home in Washington DC, his summer house at Kennebunkport, a small residential lot in Houston, plus some bank accounts and life insurance policies. He had a securities portfolio managed by T. Rowe Price in Baltimore, and he assured Stennis he would be willing to divest any shares that might pose conflict of interest problems. [fn 7]

Congressional reaction reaching the White House before Bush's hearings was not enthusiastic. Dick Cheney of the White House staff advised Ford to call Senator John Stennis on November 3, noting that Stennis "controls confirmation process for CIA and DOD." Ford replied shortly after, "I did." [fn 8] A few days later Ford had a telephone conversation with Senator Mike Mansfield, the Democratic majority leader, and one of his notations was "Geo Bush--for him but he must say no politics." [fn 9]

Negative mail from both houses of Congress was also coming in to the White House. On November 12, Ford received a singular note from GOP Congressman James M. Collins of Dallas, Texas. Collins wrote to Ford: "I hope you will reconsider the appointment of George Bush to the CIA. At this time it seems to me that it would be a greater service for the country for George to continue his service in China. He is not the right man for the CIA," wrote Collins, who had been willing to support Bush for the vice presidency back in 1974. "Yesterday," wrote Collins, "I sat next to my friend Dale Milford who is the only friendly Democrat on Pike's Committee. He strenuously questioned why Bush was being put in charge of the CIA. He likes George but he is convinced that the Liberals will contend from now to Doomsday that George is a partisan Republican voice. They are going to sing this song about Republican Chairmen and let the liberal press beat it out in headlines every day. I have heard this same story from many on the Hill who stand with you. Please use George in some other way. They are going to crucify him on this job and Senator Church will lead the procession. I hope you find an urgent need to keep Bush in China," wrote Collins, a Republican and a Texan, to Ford. [fn 10]

There was also a letter to Ford from Democratic Congressman Lucien Nedzi of Michigan, who had been the chairman of one of the principal House Watergate investigating committees. Nedzi wrote as follows:

The purpose of my letter is to express deep concern over the announced appointment of George Bush as the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

As Chairman of the Special Subcommittee on Intelligence of the House Armed Services Committee since 1971, I have had the obligation and opportunity to closely observe the CIA, the other intelligence agencies, the executive and legislative relationships of these agencies, and vice-versa. We are at a critical juncture.

After reassuring Ford that he had no personal animus against Bush, Nedzi went on:

However, his proposed appointment would bring with it inevitable complications for the intelligence community. Mr. Bush is a man with a recent partisan political past and a probable near-term partisan political future. This is a burden neither the Agency, nor the legislative oversight committee, nor the Executive should have to bear as the CIA enters perhaps the most difficult period of its history.

The Director of the CIA must be unfettered by any doubts as to his politics. He must be free of the appearance, as well as the substance, that he is acting, or not acting, with partisan political considerations in mind.

In my judgment, as one buffeted by the winds of the CIA controversy of the last few years, I agree that a man of stature is needed, but a non-political man.

Accordingly, I respectfully urge that you reconsider your appointment of Mr. Bush to this most sensitive of positions. [fn 11]

Senator William V. Roth of Delaware sent Bush a letter on November 20 which made a related point:

Dear George:

It is my deep conviction that the security of this nation depends upon an effective viable Central Intelligence Agency. This depends in part upon the intelligence agency being involved in no way in domestic politics, especially in the aftermath of Watergate. For that reason, I believe you have no choice but to withdraw your name unequivocally from consideration for the Vice Presidency, if you desire to become Director of the CIA. [...]

If Bush still wanted to pursue national office, wrote Roth, "then I believe the wise decision is for you to ask the President to withdraw your nomination for the CIA Directorship." [fn 12] Roth sent a copy of the same letter to Ford.

Through Jack Marsh at the White House, Bush also received a letter of advice from Tex McCrary, the New York television and radio personality who was also an eminence grise of Skull & Bones. "Old Tex" urged Bush to "hold a press conference in Peking while the President is there, or from Pearl Harbor on December 7, and take yourself out of the Vice Presidential sweepstakes for '76." McCrary's communication shows that he was a warm supporter of Bush's confirmation. [fn 13]

Within just a couple of days of making Bush's nomination public, the Ford White House was aware that it had a significant public relations problem. To get re-elected, Ford had to appear as a reformer, breaking decisively with the bad old days of Nixon and the Plumbers. But with the Bush nomination, Ford was putting a former party chairman and future candidate for national office at the head of the entire intelligence community. Ford's staff began to marshal attempted rebuttals for the attacks on Bush. On November 5, Jim Connor of Ford's staff had some trite boiler-plate inserted into Ford's Briefing Book in case he were asked if the advent of Bush represented a move to obstruct the Church and Pike committees. Ford was told to answer that he "has asked Director Colby to cooperate fully with the Committee" and "expects Ambassador Bush to do likewise once he becomes Director. As you are aware, the work of both the Church and Pike Committees is slated to wind up shortly." [fn 14] In case he were asked about Bush politicizing the CIA, Ford was to answer:" "I believe that Republicans and Democrats who know George Bush and have worked with him know that he does not let politics and partisanship interfere with the performance of public duty." That was a mouthful. "Nearly all of the men and women in this and preceding Administrations have had partisan identities and have held partisan party posts." "George Bush is a part of that American tradition and he will demonstrate this when he assumes his new duties."

But when Ford, in an appearance on a Sunday talk show, was asked if he were ready to exclude Bush as a possible vice-presidential candidate, he refused to do so, answering "I don't think people of talent ought to be excluded from any field of public service." At a press conference, Ford said, "I don't think he's eliminated from consideration by anybody, the delegates or the convention or myself.

In the meantime, Bush was in touch with the Ford White House about his impending return to Washington. On November 27 he wrote to Max L. Friedersdorf, an assistant to Ford: "We'll be back there in mid-December. It looks like I am walking into the midst of a real whirlwind, but all I know to do is to give it my all and be direct with the Committee." Then, penciled in by hand: "Max- I will be there in EOB on the 10th--Jennifer Fitzgerald with me now in China will be setting up a schedule for me a day or so in advance," and would Fridersdorf please cooperate with Bush's girl Friday. [fn 15]

Ford's lobbying operation went into high gear. Inside the White House, Max Friedersdorf wrote a memo to William Kendall on November 6, sending along the useful fact that "I understand that Senator Howard Baker is most anxious to assist in the confirmation of George Bush at the CIA." Mike Duval wrote to Jack Marsh on November 18 that "[Rep.] Sonny Montgomery (a close friend of Bush) should contact Senator Stennis." Duval also related his findings that "Senators McGee and Bellmon will be most supportive," while "Senator Stieger can advise you what House members would be most useful in talking to their own Senators, if that is needed." [fn 16] It was.

Bush's confirmation hearings got under way on December 15, 1975. Even judged by Bush's standards of today, they constitute a landmark exercise in sanctimonious hypocrisy so astounding as to defy comprehension. If Bush were ever to try an acting career, he might be best cast in the role of Moliere's Tartuffe.

Bush's sponsor was GOP Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, the ranking Republican on Senator John Stennis's Senate Armed Services Committee. Later, in 1988, it was to be Thurmond's political protege, Lee Atwater, cunning in the ways of the GOP "southern strategy," who ran Bush's presidential campaign. Thurmond unloaded a mawkish panegyric in favor of Bush: "I think all of this shows an interest on your part in humanity, in civic development, love of your country, and willingness to serve your fellow man." Could the aide writing that, even if it was Lee Atwater, have kept a straight face?

Bush's opening statement was also in the main a tissue of banality and cliches. He indicated his support for the Rockefeller Commission report without having mastered its contents in detail. He pointed out that he had attended Cabinet meetings from 1971 to 1974, without mentioning who the president was in those days. Everybody was waiting for this consummate pontificator to get to the issue of whether he was going to attempt the vice-presidency in 1976. Readers of Bush's propaganda biographies know that he never decides on his own to run for office, but always responds to the urging of his friends. Within those limits, his answer was that he was available for the second spot on the ticket. More remarkably, he indicated that he had a hereditary right to it--it was, as he said, his "birthright."

Would Bush accept a draft? "I cannot in all honesty tell you that I would not accept, and I do not think, gentlemen, that any American should be asked to say he would not accept, and to my knowledge, no one in the history of this Republic has been asked to renounce his political birthright as the price of confirmation for any office. And I can tell you that I will not seek any office while I hold the job of CIA Director. I will put politics wholly out of my sphere of activities." Even more, Bush argued, his willingness to serve at the CIA reflected his sense of noblesse oblige. Friends had asked him why he wanted to go to Langley at all, "with all the controversy swirling around the CIA, with its obvious barriers to political future?"

Magnanimously Bush replied to his own rhetorical question: "My answer is simple. First, the work is desperately important to the survival of this country, and to the survival of freedom around the world. And second, old fashioned as it may seem to some, it is my duty to serve my country. And I did not seek this job but I want to do it and I will do my very best." [fn 17]

Stennis responded with a joke that sounds eerie in retrospect: "If I though that you were seeking the Vice Presidential nomination or Presidential nomination by way of the route of being Director of the CIA, I would question you judgment most severely." There was laughter in the committee room.

Senators Goldwater and Stuart Symington made clear that they would give Bush a free ride not only out of deference to Ford, but also out of regard for the late Prescott Bush, with whom they had both started out in the Senate in 1952. Senator McIntyre was more demanding, and raised the issue of enemies' list operations, a notorious abuse of the Nixon (and subsequent) administrations:

"What if you get a call from the President, next July or August, saying 'George, I would like to see you.' You go in the White House. He takes you over in the corner and says, 'look, things are not going too well in my campaign. This Reagan is gaining on me all the time. Now, he is a movie star of some renown and has traveled with the fast set. He was a Hollywood star. I want you to get any dirt you can on this guy because I need it."

What would Bush do ? "I do not think that is difficult, sir," intoned Bush. "I would simply say that it gets back to character and it gets back to integrity; and furthermore, I cannot conceive of the incumbent doing that sort of thing. But if I were put into that kind of position where you had a clear moral issue, I would simply say "no," because you see I think, and maybe-- I have the advantages as everyone on this committee of 20-20 hindsight, that this agency must stay in the foreign intelligence business and must not harass American citizens, like in Operation Chaos, and that these kinds of things have no business in the foreign intelligence business." This was the same Bush whose 1980 campaign was heavily staffed by CIA veterans, some retired, some on active service and in flagrant violation of the Hatch Act. This is the vice-president who ran Iran-contra out of his own private office, and so forth.

Gary Hart also had a few questions. How did Bush feel about assassinations? Bush "found them morally offensive and I am pleased the President has made that position very, very clear to the Intelligence Committee..." How about "coups d'etat in various countries around the world," Hart wanted to know?

"You mean in the covert field," replied Bush. "Yes." "I would want to have full benefit of all the intelligence. I would want to have full benefit of how these matters were taking place but I cannot tell you, and I do not think I should, that there would never be any support for a coup d'etat; in other words, I cannot tell you I cannot conceive of a situation where I would not support such action." In retrospect, this was a moment of refreshing candor.

Gary Hart knew where at least one of Bush's bodies was buried:

Senator Hart: You raised the question of getting the CIA out of domestic areas totally. Let us hypothesize a situation where a President has stepped over the bounds. Let us say the FBI is investigating some people who are involved, and they go right to the White House. There is some possible CIA interest. The President calls you and says, I want you as Director of the CIA to call the Director of the FBI to tell him to call off this operation because it may jeopardize some CIA activities.

Mr. Bush. Well, generally speaking, and I think you are hypothecating a case without spelling it out in enough detail to know if there is any real legitimate foreign intelligence aspect... [...]

There it was: the smoking gun tape again, the notorious Bush-Lietdtke-Mosbacher-Pennzoil contribution to the CREEP again, the money that had been found in the pockets of Bernard Barker and the Plumbers after the Watergate break-in. But Hart did not mention it overtly, only in this oblique, Byzantine manner. Hart went on: "I am hypothesizing a case that actually happened in June, 1972. There might have been some tangential CIA interest in something in Mexico. Funds were laundered and so forth."

Mr. Bush. Using a 50-50 hindsight on that case, I hope I would have said the CIA is not going to get involved in that if we are talking about the same one.

Senator Hart. We are.

Senator Leahy. Are there others?

Bush was on the edge of having his entire Watergate past come out in the wash, but the liberal Democrats were already far too devoted to the one-party state to grill Bush seriously. In a few seconds, responding to another question from Hart, Bush was off the hook, droning on about plausible deniability, of all things: "...and though I understand the need for plausible deniability, I think it is extremely difficult."

In his next go-round, Hart asked Bush about the impact of the cutthroat atmosphere of the Cold War and its impact on American values. Bush responded: "I am not going to sit here and say we need to match ruthlessness with ruthlessness. I do feel we need a covert capability and I hope that it can minimize these problems that offend our Americans. We are living in a very complicated, difficult world." This note of support for covert operations would come up again and again. Indicative of Bush's thinking was his response to a query from Hart about whether he would support a US version of the British Official Secrets Act, which defines as a state secret any official information which has not been formally released to the public, with stiff criminal penalties for those who divulge or print it. In the era of FOIA, Bush did not hesitate: "Well, I understand that was one of the recommendations of the Rockefeller Commission. Certainly I would give it some serious attention." Which reeks of totalitarianism.

The next day, December 16, 1975, Church, appearing as a witness, delivered his phillipic against Bush. After citing evidence of widespread public concern about the renewed intrusion of the CIA in domestic politics under Bush, Church reviewed the situation:

So here we stand. Need we find or look to higher places than the Presidency and the nominee himself to confirm the fact that this door [of the Vice Presidency in 1976] is left open and that he remains under active consideration for the ticket in 1976? We stand in this position in the close wake of Watergate, and this committee has before it a candidate for Director of the CIA, a man of strong partisan political background and a beckoning political future. Under these circumstances I find the appointment astonishing. Now, as never before, the Director of the CIA must be completely above political suspicion. At the very least this committee, I believe, should insist that the nominee disavow any place on the 1976 Presidential ticket. [...] I believe that this committee should insist that the nominee disavow any place on the 1976 Presidential ticket. Otherwise his position as CIA Director would be hopelessly compromised. [...] Mr. Chairman, let us not make a travesty out of our efforts to reform the CIA. The Senate and the people we represent have the right to insist upon a Central Intelligence Agency which is politically neutral and totally professional. It is strange that I should have to come before this of all committees to make that argument.[...]
If Ambassador Bush wants to be Director of the CIA, he should seek that position. If he wants to be Vice President, then that ought to be his goal. It is wrong for him to want both positions, even in a Bicentennial year.

It was an argument that conceded far too much to Bush in the effort to be fair. Bush was incompetent for the post, and the argument should have ended there. Church's unwillingness to demand the unqualified rejection of such a nominee no matter what future goodies he was willing temporarily to renounce has cast long shadows over subsequent American history. But even so, Bush was in trouble. The other senators questioned Church. Thurmond was a bullying partisan for Bush, demanding that Church certify George for the GOP ticket in 1976, which Church was unwisely willing to do. Senator Tower wanted to know about Church's own presidential ambitions, and brought up that the press corps called the Senate Intelligence Committee the "Church for President" committee. Why didn't Church renounce his presidential ambitions so as to give his criticism more credibility? Goldwater spun out a mitigating defense of Bush. Church fought back with what we may consider the predecessor of the "wimp" argument, that Bush was always the yes-man of his patrons: if you were going to put a pol into Langley, he argued, "then I think that it ought to be a man who has demonstrated in his political career that he can and is willing to stand up and take the heat even where it courts the displeasure of his own President." "But I do not think that Mr. Bush's political record has been of that character."

Church was at his ironic best when he compared Bush to a recent chairman of the Democratic national Committee: "...if a Democrat were President, Mr. Larry O'Brien ought not to be nominated to be Director of the CIA. Of all times to do it, this is the worst, right at a time when it is obvious that public confidence needs to be restored in the professional, impartial, and nonpolitical character of the agency. So, we have the worst of all possible worlds." Church tellingly underlined that "Bush's birthright does not include being Director of the CIA. It includes the right to run for public office, to be sure, but that is quite a different matter than confirming him now for this particular position."

Church said he would under no circumstance vote for Bush, but that if the latter renounced the 76 ticket, he would refrain from attempting to canvass other votes against Bush. It was an ambiguous position.

While still reeling from Church's philippic, Bush also had to absorb a statement from Senator Culver, who announced that he also would vote against Bush.

Bush came back to the witness chair in an unmistakable whining mood. He was offended above all by the comparison of his august self to the upstart Larry O'Brien: "I think there is some difference in the qualifications," said Bush in a hyperthyroid rage. "Larry O'Brien did not serve in the Congress of the United States for 4 years. Larry O'Brien did not serve, with no partisanship, at the United Nations for 2 years. Larry O'Brien did not serve as the Chief of the US Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China." Not only Bush but his whole cursus honorum were insulted! "I will never apologize," said Bush a few second later, referring to his own record. Then Bush pulled out his "you must resign" letter to Nixon: "Now, I submit that for the record that that is demonstrable independence. I did not do it by calling the newspapers and saying, 'Look, I am having a press conference. Here is a sensational statement to make me, to separate me from a President in great agony.'"

Bush recovered somewhat under questioning by Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, a reliable ally. Senator Symington urged Bush to commit to serve at the CIA for at least two years; Bush was non-committal, but the pressure was becoming unbearable. After some sparring between Bush and Gary Hart, Henry Jackson of Washington came in for the first time. Jackson's constant refrain was that the maladroit and bumbling Ford had put Bush in a very awkward and unfair position by nominating him:

To be very candid about it, it seems to me that the President has put you in a very awkward position. The need here is really to save the CIA. I do not need to recite what the Agency has gone through. It has been a very rough period. And it seems to me that the judgment of the President in this matter is at best imposing a terrible burden on the CIA and on you. It raises a problem here of nominating someone, who is a potential candidate, for service of less than a year. This is what really troubles me because I have the highest regard and personal respect for your ability and above all, your integrity. Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that the President should assure this committee that he will not ask Ambassador Bush to be on the ticket.

Jackson, a former chairman of the Democratic national Committee, had turned down an offer from Nixon to be Secretary of Defense, and had cited his party post as a reason for declining. While George squirmed, Jackson kept repeating his litany that "Ambassador Bush is in an awkward position." Bush asked for the opportunity to reply, saying that he would make it "brief and strong." He began citing James Schlesinger serving a few months at the CIA before going on to the Pentagon, a lamentable comparison all around. With Bush red-faced and whining, knowing that the day was going very badly indeed, Stennis tried to put him out of his misery by ending the session. But even this was not vouchsafed to poor, tormented George. He still had to endure Senator Leahy explaining why he, too, would vote against the Bush nomination.

Bush whined in reply "Senator, I know you have arrived at your conclusion honestly and I would only say I think it is unfortunate that you can say I have the character and I have the integrity, the perception, but that the way it is looked at by somebody else overrides that." A candidate for the CIA was in mortal peril, but a public wimp was born.

Bush had been savaged in the hearings, and his nomination was now in grave danger of being rejected by the committee, and then by the full Senate. Later in the afternoon of November 16, a damage control party met at the White House to assess the situation for Ford. [fn 18] According to Patrick O'Donnell of Ford's Congressional Relations Office, the most Bush could hope for was a bare majority of 9 out of 16 votes on the Stennis committee. This represented the committee Republicans, plus Stennis, Harry Byrd of Virginia, and Stuart Symington. But that was paper thin, thought O'Donnell: "This gives is a bare majority and will, of course, lead to an active floor fight which will bring the rank and file Democrats together in a vote which will embarrass the President and badly tarnish, if not destroy, one of his brightest stars." O'Donnell was much concerned that Jackson had "called for the President to publicly remove George Bush from the vice presidential race." Senator Cannon had not attended the hearings, and was hard to judge. Senator McIntyre obviously had serious reservations, and Culver, Leahy, and Gary Hart were all sure to vote no. A possible additional Democratic vote for Bush was that of Sam Nunn of Georgia, whom O'Donnell described as "also very hesitant but strongly respects George and has stated that a favorable vote would only be because of the personal relationship." O'Donnell urge Ford to call both Cannon and Nunn.

LBJ had observed that Ford was so dull that he was incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. But now even Ford knew he was facing the shipwreck of one of his most politically sensitive nominations, important in his efforts to dissociate himself from the intelligence community mayhem of the recent past.

Ford was inclined to give the senators what they wanted, and exclude Bush a priori from the vice presidential contest. When Ford called George over to the Oval Office on December 18, he already had the text of a letter to Stennis announcing that Bush was summarily ruled off the ticket if Ford were the candidate (which was anything but certain). Ford showed Bush the letter. We do not know what whining may have been heard in the White House that day from a senatorial patrician deprived (for the moment) of his birthright. Ford could not yield; it would have thrown his entire election campaign into acute embarrassment just as he was trying to get it off the ground under the likes of Bo Callaway. When George saw that Ford was obdurate, he proposed that the letter be amended to make it look as if the initiative to rule him out as a running mate had originated with Bush. The fateful letter:

Dear Mr. Chairman:

As we both know, the nation must have a strong and effective foreign intelligence capability. Just over two weeks ago, on December 7 while in Pearl Harbor, I said that we must never drop our guard nor unilaterally dismantle our defenses. The Central Intelligence Agency is essential to maintaining our national security.

I nominated Ambassador George Bush to be CIA Director so we can now get on with appropriate decisions concerning the intelligence community. I need-- and the nation needs-- his leadership at CIA as we rebuild and strengthen the foreign intelligence community in a manner which earns the confidence of the American people.

Ambassador Bush and I agree that the Nation's immediate foreign intelligence needs must take precedence over other considerations and there should be continuity in his CIA leadership. Therefore, if Ambassador Bush is confirmed by the Senate as Director of Central Intelligence, I will not consider him as my Vice Presidential running mate in 1976.

He and I have discussed this in detail. In fact, he urged that I make this decision. This says something about the man and about his desire to do this job for the nation. [...]

On December 19, this letter was received by Stennis, who announced its contents to his committee. This committee promptly approved the Bush appointment by a vote of 12 to 4, with Gary Hart, Leahy, Culver, and McIntyre voting against him. Bush's name could now be sent to the floor, where a recrudescence of anti-Bush sentiment was not likely, but could not be ruled out.

Bush, true to form, sent a hand-written note to Kendall and O'Donnell on December 18. "You guys were great to me in all this whirlwind," wrote Bush. "Thank you for your help--and for your understanding. I have never been in one quite like this before and it helped to have a couple of guys who seemed to care and want to help. Thanks, men--Thank Max, [Friedersdorf] too -George" [fn 19]

But underneath his usual network-tending habits, Bush was now engulfed by a profound rage. He had fought to get elected to the Senate twice, in 1964 and 1970, and failed both times. He had tried for the vice presidency in 1968, in 1972, had been passed over by Nixon in late 1973 when Ford was chosen, in 1974, and was now out of the running in 1976. This was simply intolerable for a senatorial patrician, and that was indeed Bush's concept of his own "birthright."

Bush gave the lie to Aristotle's theory of the humors: neither blood nor phlegm nor black nor even the yellow bile of rage moved him, but hyperthyroid transports of a manic rage that went beyond the merely bilious. George Bush had already had enough of the Stennis Committee, enough of the Church Committee, enough of the Pike Committee. Years later, on the campaign trail in 1988, he vomited out his rage against his tormentors of 1975. Bush said that he had gone to the CIA "at a very difficult time. I went in there when it had been demoralized by the attacks of a bunch of little untutored squirts from Capitol Hill, going out there, looking at these confidential documents without one simple iota of concern for the legitimate national security interests of this country. And I stood up for the CIA then, and I stand up for it now. And defend it. So let the liberals wring their hands and consider it a liability. I consider it a strength."

But in 1975 there was no doubt that George Bush was in a towering rage. As Christmas approached, no visions of sugarplums danced in Bush's head. He dreamed of a single triumphant stroke that would send Church and all the rest of his tormentors reeling in dismay, and give the new CIA Director a dignified and perhaps triumphant inauguration.

Then, two days before Christmas, the CIA chief in Athens, Richard Welch was gunned down in front of his home by masked assassins as he returned home with his wife from a Christmas party. A group calling itself the "November 19 Organization" later claimed credit for the killing.

Certain networks immediately began to use the Welch assassination as a bludgeon against the Church and Pike committees. An example came from columnist Charles Bartlett writing in the old Washington Star: "The assassination of the CIA Station Chief, Richard Welch, in Athens is a direct consequence of the stagy hearings of the Church Committee. Spies traditionally function in a gray world of immunity from such crudities. But the Committee's prolonged focus on CIA activities in Greece left agents there exposed to random vengeance." [fn 20] Staffers of the Church committee pointed out that the Church committee had never said a word about Greece or mentioned the name of Welch.

CIA Director Colby first blamed the death of Welch on Counterspy magazine, which had published the name of Welch some months before. The next day Colby backed off, blaming a more general climate of hysteria regarding the CIA which had led to the assassination of Welch. In his book, Honorable Men, published some years later, Colby continued to attribute the killing to the "sensational and hysterical way the CIA investigations had been handled and trumpeted around the world."

The Ford White House resolved to exploit this tragic incident to the limit. Liberals raised a hue and cry in response. Les Aspin later recalled that "the air transport plane carrying [Welch's] body circled Andrews Air Force Base for three-quarters of an hour in order to land live on the 'Today' Show." Ford waived restrictions in order to allow interment at Arlington Cemetery. The funeral on January 7 was described by the Washington Post as "a show of pomp usually reserved for the nation's most renowned military heroes." Anthony Lewis of the New York Times described the funeral as "a political device" with ceremonies "being manipulated in order to arouse a political backlash against legitimate criticism." Norman Kempster in the Washington Star found that "only a few hours after the CIA's Athens station chief was gunned down in front of his home, the agency began a subtle campaign intended to persuade Americans that his death was the indirect result of congressional investigations and the direct result of an article in an obscure magazine." Here, in the words of a Washington Star headline, was "one CIA effort that worked."

Between Christmas and New Year's in Kennbunkport, looking forward to the decisive floor vote on his confirmation, Bush was at work tending and mobilizing key parts of his network. One of these was a certain Leo Cherne.

Leo Cherne is not a household word, but he has been a powerful figure in the US intelligence community over the period since World War II. Leo Cherne was to be one of Bush's most important allies when he was CIA Director and throughout Bush's subsequent career, so it is worth taking a moment to get to know Cherne better.

Cherne's parents were both printers who came to the US from Romania. In his youth he was a champion orator of the American Zionist Association, and he has remained a part of B'nai B'rith all his life. He was trained as an attorney, and he joined the Research Institute of America, a publisher of business books, in 1936. He claims to have helped to draft the army and navy industrial mobilization plans for World War II, and at the end of the war he was an economic advisor to Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Japan. During that time he worked for "the dismantling of the pervasive control over Japanese society which had been maintained by the Zaibnatsu families," [fn 21] and devised a new Japanese tax structure. Cherne built up a long association with the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Cherne was an ardent Zionist. He is typical to that extent of the so-called "neoconservatives" who have been prominent in government and policy circles under Reagan-Bush, and Bush. Cherne was the founder of the International Rescue Committee, which according to Cherne's own blurb "came into existence one week after Hitler came to power to assist those who would have to flee from Nazi Germany...In the years since, we have helped thousands of Jews who have fled from the Iron Curtain countries, all of them, and have worked to assist in the re-settlement of Jews in Europe and the United States who have left the Soviet Union."

Cherne's IRC was clearly a conduit for neo-Bukharinite operations between east and west in the Cold War, and it was also reputedly a CIA front organization. CIA funding for the IRC came through the J.M. Kaplan Fund, a known CIA conduit, and also through the Norman Foundation, according to Frank A. Cappell's Review of the News (March 17, 1976). IRC operations in Bangladesh included the conduiting of CIA money to groups of intellectuals. Capell noted that Cherne had "close ties to the leftist element in the CIA." Cherne was also on good terms with Sir Percy Craddock, the British intelligence coordinator, and Sir Leonard Hooper.

Cherne was a raving hawk during the Vietnam war, when he was associated with the as yet unreconstructed Kissinger clone Morton Halperin in the American Friends of Vietnam. Along with John Connally, Cherne was a co-chair of Democrats for Nixon in 1972. He had been a founding member of Herman Kahn's Hudson Institute, a school for Kissingerian Strangeloves, and has always been a leader of New York's Freedom House. Cherne was also big on Robert O. Anderson's National Commission on Coping with Interdependence and on Nelson Rockefeller's Third Century Corporation.

Cherne was a close friend of William Casey, who was working in the Nixon Administration as Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs in mid-1973. That was when Cherne was named to the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) by Nixon. On March 15, 1976, Cherne became the chairman of this body, which specializes in conduiting the demands of financier and related interests into the intelligence community. Cherne, as we will see, would be along with Bush a leading beneficiary of Ford's spring, 1976 intelligence re-organization.

To top it all off, Cherne has always been something of a megalomaniac. His self-serving RIA biographical sketch culminates: "Political scientist, economist, sculptor, lawyer, foreign affairs specialist-- any one and all of these descriptions fit Leo Cherne. A Renaissance man born in the 20th century, he is equally at home in fields of fine arts, public affairs, industry, economics, or foreign policy."

Bush's correspondence with Cherne leaves no doubt that theirs was a very special relationship. Cherne represented for Bush a strengthening of his links to the Zionist-neoconservative milieu, with options for backchanneling into the Soviet block. So on New Year's Eve Bush's thoughts, perhaps stimulated by his awareness of what help the Zionist lobby could give to his still embattled nomination, went out to Leo Cherne in one of his celebrated handwritten notes: "I read your testimony with keen interest and appreciation. I am really looking forward to meeting you and working with you in connection with your PFIAB chores. Have a wonderful 1976," Bush wrote.

January 1976 was not auspicious for Bush. He had to wait until almost the end of the month for his confirmation vote, hanging there, slowly twisting in the wind. In the meantime, the Pike Committee report was approaching completion, after months of probing and haggling, and was sent to the Government Printing Office on January 23, despite continuing arguments from the White House and from the GOP that the committee could not reveal confidential and secret material provided by the executive branch. On Sunday January 25, a copy of the report was leaked to Daniel Schorr of CBS News, and was exhibited on television that evening. The following morning, the New York Times published an extensive summary of the entire Pike Committee report, which this newspaper had also received.

Despite all this exposure, the House voted on January 29 that the Pike Committee report could not be released. A few days later it was published in full in the Village Voice, and CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr was held responsible for its appearance. The Pike Committee report attacked Henry Kissinger "whose comments," it said "are at variance with the facts." In the midst of his imperial regency over the United States, an unamused Kissinger responded that "we are facing a new version of McCarthyism." A few days later Kissinger said of the Pike Committee: "I think they have used classified information in a reckless way, and the version of covert operations they have leaked to the press has the cumulative effect of being totally untrue and damaging to the nation." [fn 22]

Thus, as Bush's confirmation vote approached, the Ford White House on the one hand and the Pike and Church committees on the other were close to "open political warfare," as the Washington Post put it at the time. One explanation of the leaking of the Pike report was offered by Otis Pike himself on February 11: "A copy was sent to the CIA. It would be to their advantage to leak it for publication." By now Ford was raving about mobilizing the FBI to find out how the report had been leaked.

On January 19, George Bush was present in the Executive Gallery of the House of Representatives, seated close to the unfortunate Betty Ford, for the President's State of the Union Address. This was a photo opportunity so that Ford's CIA candidate could get on television for a cameo appearance that might boost his standing on the eve of confirmation. The invitation was handled by Jim Connor of the White House staff, who duly received a hand-written note of thanks from the aspiring DCI.

Senate floor debate was underway on January 26, and Senator McIntyre lashed out at the Bush nomination as "an insensitive affront to the American people." The New Hampshire Democrat argued: "It is clearly evident that this collapse of confidence in the CIA was brought on not only by the exposure of CIA misdeeds, but by the painful realization that some of those misdeeds were encouraged by political leaders who sought not an intelligence advantage over a foreign adversary, but a political advantage over their domestic critics and the opposition party."

McIntyre went on: "And who can look at the history of political subordination of the CIA and expect the people to give an agency director so clearly identified with politics their full faith and confidence? To me it is a transparent absurdity that given the sensitivity of the issue, President Ford could not find another nominee of equal ability--and less suspect credentials--than the former national chairman of the president's political party."
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 2 OF 3

In further debate on the day of the vote, January 27, Senator Biden joined other Democrats in assailing Bush as "the wrong appointment for the wrong job at the wrong time." Church also continued his attack, branding Bush "an individual whose past record of political activism and partisan ties to the president contradict the very purpose of impartiality and objectivity for which the agency was created." Church appealed to the Senate to reject Bush, a man "too deeply embroiled in partisan politics and too intertwined with the political destiny of the president himself" to be able to lead the CIA. Goldwater, Tower, Percy, Howard Baker, and Clifford Case all spoke up for Bush. Bush's floor leader was Strom Thurmond, who supported Bush by attacking the Church and Pike Committees. "That is where the public concern lies, on disclosures which are tearing down the CIA," orated Thurmond, "not upon the selection of this highly competent man to repair the damage of this over-exposure."

Finally it came to a roll call and Bush passed by a vote of 64-27, with Lowell Weicker of Connecticut voting present. Those voting against Bush were: Abourezk, Biden, Bumpers, Church, Clark, Cranston, Culver, Durkin, Ford, Gary Hart, Philip Hart, Haskell, Helms [the lone GOP opponent], Huddleston, Inouye, Johnston, Kennedy, Leahy, Magnuson, McIntyre, Metcalf, Mondale, Morgan, Nelson, Proxmire, Stone, and Williams. Church's staff felt they had failed lamentably, having gotten only liberal Democrats and the single Republican vote of Jesse Helms. [fn 23. ]

It was the day after Bush's confirmation that the House Rules committee voted 9 to 7 to block the publication of the Pike Committee report. The issue then went to the full House on January 29, which voted, 146 to 124, that the Pike Committee must submit its report to censorship by the White House and thus by the CIA. At almost the same time, Senator Howard Baker joined Tower and Goldwater in opposing the principal final recommendation of the Church Committee, such as it was, the establishment of a permanent intelligence oversight committee.

Pike found that the attempt to censor his report had made "a complete travesty of the whole doctrine of separation of powers." In the view of a staffer of the Church committee, "all within two days, the House Intelligence Committee had ground to a halt, and the Senate Intelligence Committee had split asunder over the centerpiece of its recommendations. The White House must have rejoiced; the Welch death and leaks from the Pike committee report had produced, at last, a backlash against the congressional investigations." [fn 24]

Riding the crest of that wave of backlash was George Bush. The constellation of events around his confirmation prefigures the wretched state of Congress today: a rubber stamp parliament in a totalitarian state, incapable of overriding even one of Bush's 22 vetoes.

On Friday, January 30, Ford and Bush were joined at the CIA auditorium for Bush's swearing in ceremony before a large gathering of agency employees. Colby was also there: some said he had been fired primarily because Kissinger thought that he was divulging too much to the Congressional committees, but Kissinger later told Colby that the latter's stratagems had been correct. Colby opened the ceremony with a few brief words: "Mr. President, and Mr. Bush, I have the great honor to present you to an organization of dedicated professionals. Despite the turmoil and tumult of the last year, they continue to produce the best intelligence in the world." This was met by a burst of applause. [fn 25] Ford's line was: "We cannot improve this agency by destroying it." Bush promised to make "CIA an instrument of peace and an object of pride for all our people." Bush went on to say: "I will not turn my back from the past. We've learned a lot about what an intelligence agency must do to maintain the confidence of the people in an open society. But the emphasis will now be on the future. I'm determined to protect those things that must be kept secret. And I am more determined to protect those unselfish and patriotic people who with total dedication serve their country, often putting their lives on the line, only to have some people bent on destroying this agency expose their names." A number of senators were invited, with Stennis, Thurmond, Tower, Goldwater, Baker and Brooke leading the pack; others had been added by the White House after checking by telephone with Jennifer Fitzgerald.

Before proceeding, let us take a loom at Bush's team of associates at the CIA, since we will find them in many of his later political campaigns and office staffs.

When Bush became DCI, his principal deputy was General Vernon Walters, a former army lieutenant general. This is the same Gen. Vernon Walters who was mentioned by Haldeman and Nixon in the notorious "smoking gun" tape already discussed, but who of course denied that he ever did any of the things that Haldeman and Ehrlichman said that he had promised to do. Walters had been at the CIA as DDCI since May, 1972--a Nixon appointee who had been with Nixon when the then vice president's car was stoned in Caracas, Venezuela way back when. Ever since then Nixon had seen him as part of the old guard. Walters left to become a private consultant in July, 1976.

To replace Walters, Bush picked Enno Henry Knoche, who had joined CIA in 1953 as an intelligence analyst specializing in Far Eastern political and military affairs. Knoche came from the navy and knew Chinese. From 1962 to 1967 he had been the chief of the National Photographic Interpretation Center. In 1969, he had become deputy director of planning and budgeting, and chaired the internal CIA committee in charge of computerization. (This emphasis was reflected during the Bush tenure by heavy emphasis on satellites and SIGINT communications monitoring.) Knoche was then deputy director of the Office of Current Intelligence, which produces ongoing assessments of international events for the President and the NSC. After 1972, Knoche headed the Intelligence Directorate's Office of Strategic Research, charged with evaluating strategic threats to the US. In 1975, Knoche had been a special liaison between Colby and the Rockefeller Commission, as well as with the Church and Pike Committees. This was a very sensitive post, and Bush clearly looked to Knoche to help him deal with continuing challenges coming from the Congress. In the fall of 1975, Knoche had become the number two on Colby's staff for the coordination and management of the intelligence community. According to some, Knoche was to function as Bush's "Indian guide" through the secrets of Langley; he knew "where the bodies were buried." Otherwise, Knoche was known for his love of tennis.

Knoche was highly critical of Colby's policy of handing over limited amounts of classified material to the Pike and Church committees, while fighting to save the core of covert operations. Knoche told a group of friends during this period: "There is no counterintelligence any more." This implies a condemnation of the Congressional committees with whom Knoche had served as liaison, and can also be read as a lament for the ousting of James Jesus Angleton, chief of the CIA's Counterintelligence operations until 1975 and director of the mail-opening operation that had been exposed by various probers. [fn 26]

Here was a deputy who could protect Bush's flank with his Congressional tormentors, who would call Bush to the Hill more than fifty times during his approximately one year of CIA tenure. He would also appear to have had enough administrative experience to run things, shielding Bush from the defect that Governor Scranton had pointed out years before- the lack of administrative ability. Nevertheless, Woodward and Pincus [fn 27] portray the Knoche appointment as getting mixed reviews within the CIA, and quote Admiral Daniel J. Murphy's view that the Knoche nomination was "not popular." For Woodward and Pincus Knoche was "a personable, tennis-playing giant of a man."

The Admiral Daniel J. Murphy just mentioned was Bush's deputy director for the intelligence community, and later became Bush's chief of staff during his first term as vice president. Much later, in November, 1987, Murphy visited Panama in the company of South Korean businessman and intelligence operative Tongsun Park, and met with Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega. Murphy was later obliged to testify to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about his meeting with Noriega. Murphy claimed that he was only in Panama to "make a buck," but there are indications that he was carrying messages to Noriega from Bush. Tongsun Park, Murphy's ostensible business associate, will soon turn out to have been the central figure of the Koreagate scandal of 1976, a very important development on Bush's CIA watch. [fn 28]

Other names on the Bush flow chart included holdover Edward Proctor and then Bush appointee Sayre Stevens in the slot of Deputy Director for Intelligence; holdover Carl Duckett and then Bush appointee Leslie Dirks as Deputy Director for Science and Technology; John Blake, holdover as Deputy Director for Administration; and holdover William Nelson, followed by Bush appointee William Wells, Deputy Director for Operations .

William Wells as Deputy Director for Operations was a very significant choice. He was a career covert operations specialist who had graduated from Yale a few years before Bush. Wells soon acquired his own deputy, recommended by him and approved by Bush: this was the infamous Theodore Shackley, whose title thus became Associate Deputy Director for Covert Operations. Shackley later emerged as one of the central figures of the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980's. He is reputedly one of the dominant personalities of a CIA old boys' network known as The Enterprise, which was at the heart of Iran-contra and the other illegal covert operations of the Reagan-Bush years.

During the early 1960's, after the Bay of Pigs, Theodore Shackley had been the head of the CIA Miami Station during the years in which Operation Mongoose was at its peak. This was the Howard Hunt and Watergate Cubans crowd, circles familiar to Felix Rodriguez (Max Gomez), who in the 1980's supervised gun-running and drug-running out of Bush's vice presidential office.

Later, Shackley was reportedly the chief of the CIA station in Vientiane, Laos, between July 1966 and December 1968. Some time after that he moved on to become the CIA station chief in Saigon, where he had directed the implementation of the Civilian Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS) progra, better known as Operation Phoenix, a genocidal crime against humanity which killed tens of thousands of Vietnamese civilians because they were suspected of working for the Vietcong, or sometimes simply because they were able to read and write. As for Shackley, there are also reports that he worked for a time in the late 1960's in Rome, during the period when the CIA's GLADIO capabilities were being used to launch a wave of terrorism in that country. Such was the man that Bush chose to appoint to a position of responsibility in the CIA. Later, Shackley will turn up as a "speech writer" for Bush during the 1979-80 campaign.

Along with Shackley came his associate and former Miami station second in command, Thomas Clines, a partner of General Richard Secord and Albert Hakkim during the Iran-contra operation, convicted in September 1990 on four felony tax counts for not reporting his ill-gotten gains, and sentenced to 16 months in prison and a fine of $40,000.

During Bush's tenure Shackley's circles were mightily remoralized. In particular Ed Wilson, a veteran of Shackley's Miami station, now a retired CIA officer who worked closely with serving CIA personnel to organize gun running, sex operatives, and other activities, plied his trade undisturbed. The Wilson scandal, which had grown up on Bush's watch, would begin to explode only during the tenure of Stansfield Turner, under Carter.

Another career covert operations man, John Waller, became the Inspector General, the officer who was supposed to keep track of illegal operations. For legal advice, Bush turned first to holdover General Counsel Mitchell Rogovin, who had in December 1975 theorized that intelligence activities belonged to the "inherent powers" of the Presidency, and that no special Congressional legislation was required to permit such things as covert operations to go on. Later Bush appointed Anthony Lapham, Yale '58, as CIA General Counsel. Lapham was the scion of an old San Francisco banking family, and his brother was Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper's Magazine. Lapham would take a leading role in the CIA coverup of the Letelier assassination case. [fn 29]

Typical of the broad section of CIA officers who were delighted with their new boss from Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones was Cord Meyer, who had most recently been the station chief in London from 1973 on, a wild and wooly time in the tight little island, as we will see. Meyer, a covert action veteran and Watergate operative, writes at length in his autobiography about his enthusiasm for the Bush regime at CIA, which induced him to prolong his own career there:

I again seriously thought of retiring from the Agency but the new atmosphere in CIA's Langley headquarters changed my mind. George Bush had been appointed by President Ford to succeed Colby as DCI in January, and by the time of my return he had completely dispelled the fears that had been aroused by his former political connections. Having served in the Congress as a Republican representative from Texas and having recently been chairman of the Republican National Committee, he was initially viewed with suspicion as an ambitious politician who might try to use the Agency for partisan purposes. However, he quickly proved by his performance that he was prepared to put politics aside and to devote all his considerable ability and enthusiasm to restoring the morale of an institution that had been battered enough by successive investigations. Instead of reaching outside for defeated Republican candidates to fill key jobs, he chose from within the organization among men who had demonstrated their competence through long careers in intelligence work. He leaned over backward to protect the objectivity and independence of the Agency's estimates and to avoid slanting the results to fit some preconceived notion of what the President wanted to hear.
On the other hand, his close relationship to Ford [Bush was a regular tennis doubles partner with Ford] and the trust that the President obviously had in him gave Bush an access to the White House and an influence in the wider Washington bureaucracy that Colby had never enjoyed. Not only did morale improve as a result, but through Bush the Agency's views carried new weight and influence in the top reaches of the Ford Administration. In effect, I found on my return that the working environment at the Agency was far better than I had imagined it to be from my exposed position abroad and I determined to stay on for a period before retiring. Bush and "Hank" Knoche, the newly appointed deputy director, asked me to serve as a special assistant, and gave me as first assignment the task of reviewing the entire structure of the intelligence community to determine the adequacy of the arrangements for providing strategic warning against an attack on the United States and for handling major international crises. [fn 30]

This all sounds like a Bush campaign brochure, but it is typical of the intelligence community forces loyal to Bush; as for Cord Meyer, it may be that he developed the design for the Special Situation Group which Bush chaired from March, 1981 to January, 1989, through which Bush ran Iran-Contra and all of the other significant covert operations and coups of the entire Reagan era.

And what did other CIA officers, such as intelligence analysts, think of Bush? A common impression is that he was a superficial lightweight with no serious interest in intelligence. Deputy Director for Science and technology Carl Duckett, who was ousted by Bush after three months, commented that he "never saw George Bush feel he had to understand the depth of something....[he] is not a man tremendously dedicated to a cause or ideas. He's not fervent. He goes with the flow, looking for how it will play politically." According to Maurice Ernst, the head of the CIA's office of economic research from 1970 to 1980, "George Bush doesn't like to get into the middle of an intellectual debate...he liked to delegate it. I never really had a serious discussion with him on economics." Another former CIA aide to Bush who wanted to remain anonymous observed that "it was an approach remarkably similar to what a younger, more active Ronald Reagan might have done." Hans Heymann was Bush's National Intelligence Officer for Economics, and he remembers having been impressed by Bush's Phi Beta Kappa Yale degree in economics. As Heymann later recalled Bush's response, "He looked at me in horror and said, 'I don't remember a thing. It was so long ago, so I'm going to have to rely on you.'" [fn 31]

Other CIA employees remember Bush as a manager who would not grapple with concepts, but who rather saw himself as a problem solver and consensus builder who would try to resolve difficulties by getting people into a room to find a compromise basis of agreement. In reality, much of this was also a calculated pose. No one has ever accused Bush of profundity on any subject, except perhaps race hatred, but his disengaged stance appears as an elaborate deception to conceal his real views from the official chain of command.

In the meantime, the scuttlebut around Langley and the Pentagon was, according to a high CIA official, that "the CIA and DOD will love George Bush and Don Rumsfeld more than they hated or feared Bill Colby and Jim Schlesinger because neither will make any real waves." One writer summed up Bush's superficial public profile during this period as "not altogether incompetent." [fn 32]

During the first few weeks of Bush's tenure, the Ford administration was gripped by a "first strike" psychosis. This had nothing to do with the Soviet Union, but was rather Ford's desire to pre-empt any proposals for reform of the intelligence agencies coming out of the Pike or Church committees with a pseudo-reform of his own, premised on his own in-house study, the Rockefeller report, which recommended an increase of secrecy for covert operations and classified information. Since about the time of the Bush nomination, an interagency task force armed with the Rockefeller commission recommendations had been meeting under the chairmanship of Ford's counselor Jack O. Marsh. This was the Intelligence Coordinating Group, which included delegates of the intelligence agencies, plus NSC, OMB, and others. This group worked up a series of final recommendations that were given to Ford to study on his Christmas vacation in Vail, Colorado. At this point Ford was inclined to "go slow and work with Congress."

But on January 10 Marsh and the intelligence agency bosses met again with Ford, and the strategy began to shift towards pre-empting Congress. On January 30, Ford and Bush came back from their appearance at the CIA auditorium swearing in session and met with other officials in the Cabinet Room. Attending besides Ford and Bush were Secretary of State Kissinger, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Attorney General Levi, Jack Marsh, Phil Buchen, Brent Scowcroft, Mike Duval, and Peter Wallison representing Vice President Rockefeller, who was out of town that day. [fn 33] Here Ford presented his tentative conclusions for further discussion. The general line was to pre-empt the Congress, not to cooperate with it, to increase secrecy, and to increase authoritarian tendencies.

Ford scheduled a White House press conference for the evening of February 17. In an atmosphere of intense last-minute haggling over bureaucratic prerogative, Bush was careful to meet with Leo Cherne to consolidate his relations with both Cherne and PFIAB. Cherne's memo of February 6 shows that he asked Bush to "make sure that we on the board are not surprised." Cherne stressed the need to know as much as possible about changes in the Sino-Soviet relationship and the need to upgrade economic intelligence, which, he lamented, was becoming flabbier as the oil crisis and the accompanying shocks to the international monetary system receded. Cherne was for declassifying whatever could be declassified, a bureaucratic posture that could not go wrong. Cherne thought that the "Pike Commission has a poor staff, issued a dreadful final report, but it did in the course of its inquiry ask the right questions." These, Cherne told Bush, should be answered. Cherne also wanted to set up "non-punitive regular monitoring" to evaluate the successes and failures of the intelligence community. This proposal should be noted, for here we have the germinal idea for Team B, which Bush set up a few months later to evaluate the agency's record in judging the strategic intentions and capabilities of the USSR. [fn 34]

In his press conference of February 17, Ford scooped the Congress and touted his bureaucratic reshuffle of the intelligence agencies as the most sweeping reform and reorganization of the United States intelligence agencies since the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. "I will not be a party to the dismantling of the CIA or other intelligence agencies," he intoned. He repeated that the intelligence community had to function under the direction of the National Security Council as if that were something earth-shaking and new; from the perspective of Oliver North and Admiral Poindexter we can see in retrospect that it guaranteed nothing. A new NSC committee chaired by Bush was entrusted with the task of giving greater central coordination to the intelligence community as a whole. This committee was to consist of Bush, Kissinger clone William Hyland of the National Security Council Staff, and Robert Ellsworth, the assistant secretary of Defense for Intelligence. This committee was jointly to formulate the budget of the intelligence community and allocate its resources to the various tasks.
The 40 Committee, which had overseen covert operations, was now to be called the Operations Advisory Group, with its membership reshuffled to include Scowcroft of NSC, Kissinger, Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff George Brown, plus observers from the Attorney General and the Office of Management and Budget.

An innovation was the creation of the Intelligence Oversight Board (in addition to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board), which was chaired by Ambassador Robert D. Murphy, the old adversary of Charles deGaulle during World War II. The IOB was supposed to be a watchdog to prevent new abuses from coming out of the intelligence community. Also on this board were Stephen Ailes, who had been Undersecretary of Defense for Kennedy and Secretary of the Army for LBJ. The third figure on this IOB was Leo Cherne, who was soon to be promoted chairman of PFIAB as well. The increasingly complicit relationship of Cherne to Bush meant that all alleged oversight by the IOB was a mockery. The average age of the IOB was about 70, leading Carl Rowan to joke that it was a case of Rip Van Winkle guarding the CIA. None of the IOB members, Rowan pointed out, was young, poor, or black.

Believe it or not, Ford also wanted a version of the Official Secrets Act which we have seen Bush supporting: he called for "special legislation to guard critical intelligence secrets. This legislation would make it a crime for a government employee who has access to certain highly classified information to reveal that information improperly." Which would have made the Washington leak game rather more dicey than it is at present.

The Official Secrets Act would have to be passed by Congress, but most of the rest of what Ford announced was embodied in Executive Order 11905. Church thought that this was overreaching, since it amounted to changing some provisions of the National Security Act by presidential fiat. But this was now the new temper of the times.

As for the CIA, Executive Order 11905 authorized it "to conduct foreign counterintelligence activities...in the United States," which opened the door to many things. Apart from restrictions on physical searches and electronic bugging, it was still open season on Americans abroad. The FBI was promised the Levi guidelines, and other agencies would get charters written for them. In the interim, the power of the FBI to combat various "subversive" activities was reaffirmed. Political assassination was banned, but there were no limitations or regulations placed on covert operations, and there was nothing about measures to improve the intelligence and analytical product of the agencies.

In the view of the New York Times, the big winner was Bush: "From a management point of view, Mr. Ford tonight centralized more power in the hands of the Director of Central Intelligence than any had had since the creation of the CIA. The director has always been the nominal head of the intelligence community, but in fact has had little power over the other agencies, particularly the Department of Defense." Bush was now de facto intelligence czar. [fn 35]

Poor Ford was unable to realize that his interest was to be seen as a reformer, not as someone who wanted to re-impose secrecy. When he was asked if his Official Secrets Act could not be used to deter whistle-blowers on future bureaucratic abuses, Ford responded that all federal employees would be made to sign a statement pledging that they would not divulge classified information, and that they could expect draconian punishment if they ever did so.

Congressman Pike said that Ford's reorganization was bent "largely on preserving all of the secrets in the executive branch and very little on guaranteeing a lack of any further abuses." Church commented that what Ford was really after was "to give the CIA a bigger shield and a longer sword with which to stab about."

An incident of those days reveals something of what was going on. Daniel Schorr of CBS, whose name had popped up on the Nixon enemies' list during the Watergate hearings, had obtained a copy of the Pike Committe report and passed it on to the Village Voice. Schorr had attended Ford's press conference, and listened as Ford denounced the leaking of the Pike report. The next day, covering Capitol Hill, Schorr encountered Bush while the new CIA boss was on his way to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A wirephoto of an angry Bush gesticulating at Schorr wound up on the front page of the Washington Star under the headline: "Another Confrontation." With that, Schorr's twenty-year career with CBS was over, and he was soon to face a witchhunt by the House Ethics Committee. Other reporters soon caught on that under the new Bush regime, political opponents would be slammed. (Schorr later speculated about CIA links to CBS owner William Paley; there was no need to look any further than the fact that Harriman had helped to create CBS and that Prescott Bush had been a CBS director during the 1950's, giving the Bushman network a firm presence there.

During these days, the Department of Justice announced that it would not prosecute former CIA Director Richard Helms for his role in an illegal break-in at a photographic studio in Fairfax, Virginia during 1971. The rationale was from the National Security Act of 1947: "the director of central intelligence shall be responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure," even if it meant breaking the law to do it. Bush would become a past master of this "sources and methods" clause, which could be used to cover up almost anything.

The Church Committee was still functioning, and was looking into journalists controlled by the CIA, which some senators wanted to expose by name. On the same day as Ford's press conference, Senators Huddleston and Mathias drove out to Langley to confront Bush and demand that he divulge the names of these CIA media assets. The CIA was "not at liberty to reveal the names," Bush told the two senators. Instead, Bush offered documents that generally described the CIA's use of reporters and scholars over the years, but with no names. Senators Baker, Hart, and Mondale then called Bush and urged that the names be made public. Bush refused.

Bush pointed to his statement, made on February 12 as the first public act of his CIA career, removing all "full-time or part-time news correspondents accredited by any US news service, newspaper, periodicals, radio or TV network or station" from the CIA payroll. He also claimed that there were no clergymen or missionaries on the CIA payroll at all. As far as the journalists were concerned, in April the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities announced that they had already caught Bush lying, and that at least 25 journalists and reporters were still on the CIA payroll, and the CIA was determined to keep them there. Bush had quibbled on the word "accredited." This limited the purge to accredited correspondents issued news credentials. But this excluded free lance reporters, editors, news executives, and foreign news organizations at all levels. When dealing with Bush, it pays to read the fine print.

The Bush-Kissinger-Ford counteroffensive against the Congressional committees went forward. On March 5 the CIA leaked the story that the Pike Committee had lost more than 232 secret documents which had been turned over from the files of the executive branch. Pike said that this was another classic CIA provocation designed to discredit his committee, which had ceased its activity. Bush denied that he had engineered the leak: "The CIA did not do any such thing. Nothing of that nature at all," Bush told a reporter to whom he had placed a call to whine out his denial. "My whole purpose was to avoid an argument with him," said Bush, although he said that "Pike was the cause of this whole problem under great pressure."

In March Bush had to take action in the wake of the leaking of a CIA report showing that Israel had between 10 and 20 nuclear bombs; the report was published by Arthur Kranish, the editor of Science Trends Magazine. Church, who had Zionist lobby ties of his own and who was in the midst of a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, demanded an investigation: "Can you imagine how a leak of that kind would have been treated if it had come out of the Congress of the United States!" In retrospect, the report may have been some timely window-dressing for Israeli prowess in a Ford regime in which Israel's military value as an ally was hotly contested; a little later Gen. George Brown, the chairman of the joint chiefs, was quoted to be the effect that Israeli and its armed forces had "got to be considered a burden" for the United States.

In April, Bush told the American Society of Newspaper Editors that he was just back from a secret visit to three countries in Europe, which he refused to name, during which he conceded that he "might or might not" have met with Frank Sinatra. (Brother Jonathan Bush had said in February that Sinatra had offered his services to the new CIA boss.) Bush praised the CIA in his speech: "It is a fantastic reservoir of discipline in the CIA. Our personnel people say the quality of applications is up. This is an expression of confidence in the agency. Morale is A-one." There was speculation that Bush might have gone to Italy, where terrorist activity was increasing and the Italian Communist Party, profiting from the vogue of "Euro-communism," was rapidly increasing its vote share during 1975-76.

In May, FBI Director Clarence Kelley apologized to the American people for the abuses committed by his secret police. Kelley said that he was "truly sorry" for past abuses of power, all of which were neatly laid at the door of the deceased former director, J. Edgar Hoover. Bush, for his part, aggressively refused to apologize. Bush conceded that he felt "outrage" at the illegal CIA domestic operations of the Watergate era, but that "that's all I'm going to say about it...you can interpret it any way you want." Bush's line was that all abuses had already been halted under Colby by the latter's "administrative dictum," and that the issue now was the implementation of the Rockefeller Commission report, to which Bush once again pledged fealty. Bush had no comment on the Lockheed scandal, which had begun to destabilize the Japanese, German, Italian, and Netherlands governments. The advance of the Italian communists and the Panama canal treaties were all "policy questions for the White House" in his view. Although China was being rocked by the "democracy wall" movement and the first Tien An Men massacre of 1976, Bush, ever loyal to his Chinese communist cronies, found that all that did not add up to anything "dramatically different."

A visit to the Texas Breakfast Club on May 27 found Bush trying to burnish his image as a good guy by talking about the existential dilemmas of a good man in any imperfect world, while pleading for more covert operations all the time. "I know in a limited way there are conflicts of conscience," Bush told the breakfasters. "But we're not living in a particularly moral world. We're living in a world that's not pure black or pure white. We're living in a world where [the US] has to have a covert capability." On the other hand, Bush was "not unconcerned about the constitutional questions that the excesses of the past have raised." "I'm not going to defend the things that were done but I'm not going to dwell on them either." "I'm happy to say I think things are moving away from the more sensational revelations of the past," leaving the CIA as an institution "intact." Necessity, pontificated Bush, sometimes demands "compromise with the purity of moral decisions."

On June 3, the Houston Post touted Bush as a good vice presidential candidate after all, moderate and southern, no matter what Ford had promised to the senate to get Bush confirmed. Bush was mum.

A few days later Bush paid tribute to the Israeli Defense Forces, who had just rescued a group of hostages at Entebbe. Bush denigrated US capabilities in comparison with those of Israel, saying that the US could not match what Israel was able to do: "We do have a very important role in furnishing intelligence to policy makers and our friends on the movement of international terrorists, but to indicate that we have that kind of action capability--the answer is very frankly no." Bush said that his policy on this matter was to fight terrorism with better intelligence, for "the more the American people understand this, the more support the CIA will have." Yet, Bush was unable to stop a terrorist murder in Washington DC, despite the fact that he had personally received a telegram informing him that the assassins were coming to visit him-- scarcely a good example of using intelligence to fight terrorism.

By September, Bush could boast in public that he had won the immediate engagement: his adversaries in the Congressional investigating committees were defeated. "The CIA," Bush announced, "has weathered the storm." "The mood in Congress has changed," he crowed. "No one is campaigning against strong intelligence. The adversary thing, how we can ferret out corruption, has given way to the more serious question how we can have better intelligence."

As Bush never tired of repeating, that meant more covert operations. In the middle of October, Bush spoke once again on this matter to the Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association: "We would be stupid to give up covert operations and we are not going to do it as long as I have anything to say about it." Bush claimed that covert operations consumed only 2% of the entire CIA budget but that such operations were necessary because "not everybody is going to play by Marquis of Queensbury rules."

Such was the public profile of Bush's CIA tenure up until about the time of the November, 1976 elections. If this had been the whole story, then we might accept the usual talk about Bush's period of uneventful rebuilding and morale boosting while he was at Langley. We might share the conclusions of one author that "Bush was picked because he could be trusted to provide no surprises. Amiable and well-liked by old CIA hands, he sincerely believed in the agency and its mission. Bush soothed Congress, tried to restore confidence and morale and Langley, and avoided delving too deeply into the agency's darker recesses." [fn 36] Or, we might accept the following edifying summary: '[Bush] had a fundamental loyalty to the agency and its people even though he was an outsider. He was a man with a strong sense of obligation downward. Under him the people of the CIA soon realized that they were not going to be served up piecemeal. He probably did more for agency morale and standing in Congress than any DCI since Allen Dulles. Unlike Colby, who was loyal to the ideal of the CIA rather than to the people, Bush was committed to both. He was a genuine conservative in his politics and his approach, conveying no touch of originality, and was not a man to take initiatives. People knew exactly where they stood with him. He was a classic custodian, and it was this quality that Ford had recognized in him. For Bush being DCI was 'the best job in Washington.'" [fn 37] The spirit of the red Studebaker school of idolatry, we see, had followed Bush to Langley and thence into many standard histories of the CIA.

Reality looked different. The administration Bush served had Ford as its titular head, but most of the real power, especially in foreign affairs, was in the hands of Kissinger. Bush was more than willing to play along with the Kissinger agenda.

The first priority was to put an end to such episodes as contempt citations for Henry Kissinger. Thanks to the presence of Don Gregg as CIA station chief in Seoul, South Korea, that was easy to arrange. This was the same Don Gregg of the CIA who would later serve as Bush's national security advisor during the second vice presidential term, and who would manage decisive parts of the Iran-contra operations from Bush's own office. Gregg knew of an agent of the Korean CIA, Tongsun Park, who had for a number of years been making large payments to members of Congress, above all to Democratic members of the House of Representatives, in order to secure their support for legislation that was of interest to Park Chung Hee, the South Korean leader. It was therefore a simple matter to blow the lid off this story, causing a wave of hysteria among the literally hundreds of members of Congress who had attended parties organized by Tongsun Park, who had become the Perle Mesta of the 1970's when it came to entertaining Congressional bigwigs. Tongsun Park also had a stable of call girls available, and could provide other services. The US Ambassador to the Republic of Korea during this period was Richard Sneider.

The Koreagate headlines began to appear a few days after Bush had taken over at Langley. In February there was a story by Maxine Cheshire of the Washington Post reporting that the Department of Justice was investigating Congressmen Bob Leggett and Joseph Addabbo for allegedly accepting bribes from the Korean government. Both men were linked to Suzi Park Thomson, who had been hosting parties of the Korean Embassy. Later it turned out that Speaker of the House Carl Albert had kept Suzi Park Thomson on his payroll for all of the six years that he had been Speaker. Congressmen Hanna, Gallagher, Broomfield, Hugh Carey, and Lester Wolf were all implicated. The names of Tip O'Neill, Brademas, and McFall also came up. The New York Times estimated that as many as 115 Congressmen were involved.

In reality the number was much lower, but former Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski was brought back from Houston to become special prosecutor for this case as well. This underlined the press line that "the Democrats' Watergate" had finally arrived. It was embarrassing to the Bush CIA when Tongsun Park's official agency file disappeared for several months, and finally tuned up shorn of key information on the CIA officers who had been working most closely with Park. Eventually Congressman Hanna was convicted and sent to jail, while Congressman Otto Passman of Louisiana was acquitted, largely because he had had the presence of mind to secure a venue in his own state. A number of other congressmen quit, and it is thought that the principal reason for the decision by Democratic Speaker of the House Carl Albert to retire at the end of 1976 was the fact that he had been touched by the breath of this scandal, which would go into the chronicles as "Koreagate." With this, most of the Congress was brought to heel. We note in passing that when George Bush takes a step up the ladder in Washington, the Speaker of the House is likely to be ousted. Ask Jim Wright.

An interesting sidelight of Koreagate involves then Congressman Edward Derwinksi, today Bush's Secretary of Veteran's Affairs. An article in the Wall Street Journal during this period alleged that federal investigators suspected Derwinksi of informing the Korean CIA that one of their officers was about to defect to the US for the purpose of cooperating with the Koregate investigations. Derwinski denied the accusations, and he was never prosecuted. [fn 38]

With that, the Congress was terrorized and brought to heel. In this atmosphere, Bush moved to reach a secret foreign policy consensus with key Congressional leaders of both parties of the one-party state. According to two senior government officials involved, limited covert operations in such places as Angola were continued under the pretext that they were necessary for phasing out the earlier, larger, and more expensive operations. Bush's secret deal was especially successful with the post-Church Senate Intelligence Committee. Because of the climate of restoration that prevailed, a number of Democrats on this committee concluded that they must break off their aggressive inquiries ("the adversary thing") and make peace with Bush, according to reports of remarks by two senior members of the committee staff. The result was an interregnum during which the Senate committee would neither set specific reporting requirements, nor attempt to pass any binding legislation to restrict CIA covert and related activity. In return, Bush would pretend to make a few disclosures to create a veneer of cooperation. [fn 39] These 1976 deals set the stage for many of the foreign intelligence monstrosities of the Jimmy Carter era. Ever since, the pretense of Congressional oversight over the intelligence community has been a mockery.

One theatre of covert operations in which Bush became involved was Angola. Here a civil war had erupted in 1974 with the end of Portuguese colonial rule, pitting the US-backed UNITA of Jonas Savimbi and the FNLA of Holden Roberto against the Marxist MPLA. In December, 1975 the Senate passed the Clark Amendment, designed to cut off US funding for the military factions. The Clark Amendment passed the House, and a ban on CIA operations in Angola became law on February 9, 1976. The chief of the CIA Angola task force, John Stockwell, later wrote that after February 9, the CIA kept sending planeloads of weapons from Zaire to UNITA forces in Angola, despite the fact that this was now illegal. There were at least 22 of such flights. Also in February, the Bush CIA began making large cash payoffs "to anyone who had been associated with our side of the Angolan war." This meant that President Mobutu of Zaire got $2 million which he was supposed to give to pro-western guerilla factions; Mobutu simply kept the money, and the CIA's guerillas "were left starving," said Stockwell. The Congress found out about Bush's illegal largesse, and subjected him to a series of hostile committee hearings in which full disclosure was demanded. The House Appropriations Committee placed a team of auditors in CIA headquarters to review accounting on the Angola program, which was code named IAFEATURE. On March 12 Bush sent a cable to all CIA stations ordering that no funds be spent on IAFEATURE. One day later, an uninsured cargo plane was shot down inside Angola. Despite this ignominious conclusion, Bush ordered awards and commendations for the 100 CIA personnel who had worked on the program. [ fn 40]

During Bush's first months in Langley, the CIA under orders from Henry Kissinger launched a campaign of destabilization of Jamaica for the purpose of preventing the re-election of Prime Minister Michael Manley. This included a large-scale campaign to foment violence during the election, and large amounts of illegal arms were shipped into the island. $10 million was spent on the attempt to overthrow Manley, and at least three assassination attempts took place with the connivance of the CIA. [fn 41]

The Bush CIA also continued a program in Iran which went under the name of IBEX. This aimed at building and operating a $500 million electronic and photographic capability to cover the entire region, including parts of the USSR. On August 28, 1976, three Americans working on the project were assassinated in Teheran. According to a Washington Post account by Bob Woodward, a month before these killings the former CIA Director and then current US Ambassador to Iran, Richard Helms, sent Bush a note complaining about abuses connected with the project, and in particular demanding that Bush investigation corrupt practices which Helms suspected were involved with the project. Helms apparently wanted to be spared more embarrassment in case IBEX were to become the object of a new scandal. [fn 42]

During Bush's CIA tenure, the CIA was found to have conducted electronic surveillance against the representatives of Micronesia, a UN Trusteeship territory in the Pacific that had been administered by the United States, and which was then about to become independent. In a story by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post alleged that the CIA had been bugging the Micronesian government over a four year period with a view to acquiring details of their negotiating strategy in talks with the State Department concerning relations with the United States after independence. The CIA's rebuttal seems to have been that while it would indeed have been illegal to bug the Micronesians if they were US citizens, they were now foreigners, and such bugging had never been restricted.

During Bush's time at the CIA, a series of governments around the world were destabilized by the Lockheed bribery scandal, the greatest multinational scandal of the 1970's. This scandal grew out of hearings before a Senate subcommittee chaired by Frank Church, although separate from the Intelligence Committee mentioned above. A number of Lockheed executives testified that they had systematically bribed officials of allied governments to secure contracts the sale of their military aircraft. This system of unreported payments eventually implicated such figures as former Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, the leader of the most important faction in the Liberal Democratic Party, and Franz Josef Strauss, a former Federal German Defense Minister, Prime Minister of Bavaria, and the leader of the Christian Social Union, then a part of the opposition in the Bundestag in Bonn. Also implicated were a series of Italian Christian Democratic and Social Democratic political leaders, including the then Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, the President of the Italian Republic Giovanni Leone, and former Defense Ministers Mario Tanassi of the PSDI and Luigi Gui of the DC. In the Netherlands, Prince Bernhard, the consort of Queen Juliana, was implicated, and virtually no NATO country was spared. The Lockheed scandal, coming as it did out of a milieu full of military intelligence connections, was coherent with a long-term Anglo-American design of destabilizing and weakening allied governments and the political forces that constituted those governments.

Those who have witnessed the ghoulish public love affair between George Bush and the fascist "Iron Lady" of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher, may be interested in indications that CIA Director Bush helped to bring Mrs. Thatcher to power. At the beginning of Bush's tenure, the British Prime Minister was Harold Wilson of the Labor Party, who had won two general elections during 1974 and whose term would normally have ended in 1978. But Wilson was destabilized and forced out of office. Although his immediate successor was James Callaghan, also of the Labor Party, Callaghan's cabinet was merely the prelude to the advent of Thatcher, who would remain in power for more than 11 years, until late in 1990. [fn 43]

Bush's implication in the matter is beyond any doubt. Shortly after Bush had arrived at Langley, Prime Minister Wilson dispatched his close friend Lord Weidenfeld to the United States with a confidential letter to be given to Senator Hubert Humphrey. Wilson and Weidenfeld met on February 10, 1976. The letter enumerated the names of a number of MI-5 and MI-6 officers of whom Wilson was suspicious. Wilson's letter requested that Humphrey go to Bush and ask him whether the CIA knew anything about these British counter-intelligence and intelligence officers. Was it possible, Wilson wanted to know, that those named in the letter were actually working with or for the CIA? Were the British officials in league with a CIA faction that was carrying out electronic or other surveillance of Wilson, including in his office in 10 Downing Street? Implied was the further question: was the CIA part of an operation to destabilize Wilson and bring him down?

It is known that Bush took Wilson's letter quite seriously, so seriously that he flew to London to talk to Wilson and assured him that the CIA had not been responsible for any surveillance of the PM. But by the time Bush reached London, Wilson had already resigned in a surprise announcement made on March 16, 1976. What role had the CIA actually played?

The transition from Harold Wilson to Margaret Thatcher amounts to the replacement of Lord Victor Rothschild's favorite puppet politician of the 1960's with Lord Victor Rothschild's preferred choice for the 1980's. The pretext used to harass Wilson out of office was Wilson's well-known close ties to communists and to the Soviet block, but all of that had been well known back in 1964 when he had come to power for the first time. The pretext appears in all of its irony when we recall that Lord Victor Rothschild was himself the leading candidate to be named as the legendary "Fifth Man" of the KGB-SIS spy team of Philby, Maclean, Burgess, and Blunt.

A leading purveyor of the argument that Wilson was a Soviet asset was James Jesus Angleton, like Bush a Yale graduate. Angleton had been the counterintelligence director of the CIA until 1975, but he had not been very successful. Angleton had always been obsessed by the presence of high-level CIA moles in the US government and his own agency. Angleton was in touch with Peter Wright of MI-5. Wright was also bitterly opposed to Wilson, whom he characterized as a "Soviet-Zionist agent," which was perfectly accurate as far as it went. But again, all that had been clear back in 1964 and even much earlier. Wright had provided Chapman Pincher, a right-wing British journalist and also an asset of Lord Victor, with the material for the book Their Trade is Treachery, a "limited hangout" which provided many interesting facts about the Soviet penetration of British intelligence, but which was mainly designed to keep Lord Victor out of the spotlight. Later Wright's own book, Spycatcher, succeeded even better in protecting Lord Victor by becoming an international success de scandale that allowed Lord Victor to die a natural death without ever having been apprehended by British authorities. The crowning irony is that Philby's old pal Lord Victor, Wright, and the obsessive Angleton were all in a strange united front to vilify Wilson for his links to Soviet intelligence, which were of course massive but which had been well known all along.

The CIA's specific contributions to the destabilization of Wilson included the agency's sponsorship of a book written by a Czech defector named Josef Frolik. This tome accused John Stonehouse, the Postmaster General in Wilson's cabinet, of being an east bloc agent. Stonehouse later attempted to go underground in Australia after feigning suicide. Stonehouse was later found and brought back, although he still asserts his innocence of espionage charges. This affair, complete with a fugitive cabinet minister, was a colossal embarrassment to Wilson.

Wilson, as indicated, was convinced that he was being bugged, possibly with CIA participation. According to Chapman Pincher, "whether this surveillance extended to independent bugging by the CIA and NSA is unknown, although the CIA has denied it. Under the Anglo-American agreement dating back to 1947, there had long been an exchange of surveillance information, including cable and letter intercepts, but it is not impossible that the Americans agencies occasionally undertook activities denied, by writ or circumstances, to the British." [fn 44] In other words, it was easier for the Anglo-American establishment to have the CIA handle the bugging in London, since this was not illegal under the CIA's regulations. Was there reciprocity in this respect? Part of the destabilization of Wilson was run through Private Eye magazine. Another likely participant was Tory activist Airey Neave, who had wanted to replace former Prime Minister Edward Heath with Thatcher when Heath fell in 1974. Ultimately, Thatcher would be the leading beneficiary of the fall of Wilson.

Another government destabilized through the CIA during the same period was the Gough Whitlam Labor Party government of Australia. Whitlam threatened to deprive the CIA of its key Pine Gap electronic listening post after he discovered that the Australian intelligence services had been working with the CIA to bring down Allende. On November 8, 1975, with Bush's likely advent at the CIA already public knowledge, Theodore Shackley dispatched a telegram to the Australian intelligence services threatening to cut off all exchanges, hanging the Australians out to dry. On November 11, in a highly unusual action, the Royal Governor General dismissed Whitlam as Prime Minister, bringing Malcolm Frase and the conservatives back to power. When Whitlam's Labor Party majority in the lower house responded by voting no confidence in Fraser, the Royal Governor General dissolved the lower house and called a election. It was a coup ordered directly by Queen Elizabeth II, and carried out with Bush's help. In the background of this affair is the Nugan Hand bank, an Anglo-American intelligence proprietary involved with drug money laundering.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:33 am

PART 3 OF 3

One of the most spectacular scandals of Bush's tenure at the CIA was the assassination in Washington DC of the Chilean exile leader Orlando Letelier, who had been a minister in the government of Salvador Allende Gossens, who had been overthrown by Kissinger in 1973. Letelier along with Ronnie Moffitt of the Washington Institute for Policy Studies died on September 21, 1976 in the explosion of a car bomb on Sheridan Circle, in the heart of Washington's Embassy Row district along Massachusetts Avenue.

Relatively few cases of international terrorism have taken place on the territory of the United States, but this was certainly an exception. Bush's activities before and after this assassination amount to one of the most bizarre episodes in the annals of secret intelligence operations.

One of the assassins of Letelier was unquestionably one Michael Vernon Townley, a CIA agent who had worked for David Atlee Philips in Chile. After the overthrow of Allende and the advent of the Pinochet dictatorship, David Atlee Philips had become the director of the CIA's western hemisphere operations. In 1975 Phillips founded AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, which has supported George Bush in every campaign he has ever waged since that time. Townley, as a "former" CIA agent, had gone to work for the DINA, the Chilean secret police, and had been assigned by the DINA as its liaison man with a group called CORU. CORU was the acronym for Command of United Revolutionary Organizations, a united front of four anti-Castro Cuban organizations based primarily in the neighborhood of Miami called Little Havana. With CORU, we are back in the milieu of Miami anti-Castro Cubans whose political godfather George Bush had been since very early in the 1960's. CORU was at that time working together with the intelligence services of Chile's Pinochet, Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner, and Nicaragua's Somoza for operations against common enemies, including Chilean left-wing emigres and Castro assets. Soon after the foundation of CORU, bombs began to go off at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in New York.

During this period a Miami doctor named Orlando Bosch was arrested, allegedly because he had been planning to assassinate Henry Kissinger, and that ostensibly because of Kissinger's concessions to Castro. During the same period, the Chilean DINA was mounting its so-called Operation Condor, a plan to assassinate emigre opponents of the Pinochet dictatorship and its Milton Friedman, Chicago school economic policies. [fn 45]

It was under these circumstances that the US Ambassador to Chile, George Landau, sent a cable to the State Department with the singular request that two agents of the DINA be allowed to enter the United States with Paraguayan passports. One of these agents is likely to have been Townley. The cable also indicated that the two DINA agents also wanted to meet with Gen. Vernon Walters, the outgoing Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, and so the cable also went to Langley. Here the cable was read by Walters, and also passed into the hands of Director George Bush. Bush not only had this cable in his hands; Bush and Walters discussed the contents of the cable and what to do about it, including whether Walters ought to meet with the DINA agents. The cable also reached the desk of Henry Kissinger. One of Landau's questions appears to have been whether the mission of the DINA men had been approved in advance by Langley; his cable was accompanied by photocopies of the Paraguayan passports. (Later on, in 1980, Bush denied that he had ever seen this cable; he had not just been out of the loop, he claims; he had been in China. (The red Studebaker hacks, including Bush himself in his campaign autobiography, do not bother denying anything about the Letelier case; they simply omit it. [fn 46]

On August 4, on the basis of the conversations between Bush and Walters, the CIA sent a reply from Walters to Landau stating that the former "was unaware of the visit and that his Agency did not desire to have any contact with the Chileans." Landau responded by revoking the visas that he had already granted and telling the Immigration and Naturalization Service to put the two DINA men on their watch list to be picked up if they tried to enter the US. The two DINA men entered the US anyway on August 22, with no apparent difficulty. The DINA men reached Washington, and it is clear that they were hardly traveling incognito: they appear to have asked a Chilean embassy official call the CIA to repeat their request for a meeting. According to other reports, the DINA men met with New York Senator James Buckley, the brother of conservative columnist William Buckley of Skull and Bones. It is also said that the DINA men met with Frank Terpil, a close associate of Ed Wilson, and no stranger to the operations of the Shackley-Clines Enterprise. According to one such version, "Townley met with Frank Terpil one week before the Letelier murder, on the same day that he met with Senator James Buckley and aides in New York City. The explosives sent to the United States on Chilean airlines were to replace explosives supplied by Edwin Wilson, according to a source close to the office of Assistant US Attorney Lawrence Barcella." [fn 47] The bomb that killed Letelier and Moffitt was of the same type that the FBI believed that Ed Wilson was selling, with the same timer mechanism.

Bush therefore had plenty of warning that a DINA operation was about to take place in Washington, and it was no secret that it would be wetwork. As Dinges and Landau point out, when the DINA hitmen airrived in Washington they "alerted the CIA by having a Chilean embassy employee call General Walters' office at the CIA's Langley headquarters. It is quite beyond belief that the CIA is so lax in its counterespionage functions that it would simply have ignored a clandestine operation by a foreign intelligence service in Washington DC, or anywhere in the United States. It is equally implausible that Bush, Walters, Landau and other officials were unaware of the chain of international assassinations that had been attributed to DINA." [fn 48] One might say that Bush had been an accessory before the fact.

Bush's complicity deepens when we turn to the post-assassination coverup. The prosecutor in the Letelier-Moffitt murders was Assistant US Attorney Eugene M. Propper. Nine days after the assassinations, Propper was trying without success to get some cooperation from the CIA, since it was obvious enough to anyone that the Chilean regime was the prime suspect in the killing of one of its most prominent political opponents. The CIA had been crudely stonewalling Propper. He had even been unable to secure the requisite security clearance to see documents in the case. Then Propper received a telephone call from Stanley Pottinger, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Pottinger said that he had been in contact with members of the Institute for Policy Studies who had argued that the Civil Rights Division ought to take over the Letelier case because of its clear political implications. Propper argued that he should keep control of the case since the Protection of Foreign Officials Act gave him jurisdiction. Pottinger agreed that Propper was right, and that he ought to keep the case. When Pottinger offered to be of help in any possible way, Propper asked if Pottinger could expedite cooperation with the CIA.

As Propper later recounted this conversation:

Instant, warm confidence shot through the telephone line. The assistant attorney general replied that he happened to be a personal friend of the CIA director himself, George Bush. Pottinger called him "George." For him, the CIA Director was only a phone call away. Would Propper like an appointment? By that afternoon he, [an FBI agent working on the case], and Pottinger were scheduled for lunch with Director Bush at CIA headquarters on Monday. A Justice Department limousine would pick them up at noon. Propper whistled to himself. This was known in Washintgton as access. [fn 49]

At CIA headquarters, "Pottinger introduced Propper to Director Bush, and Bush introduced the two lawyers to Tony Lapham, his general counsel. Then, graciously, the Director said, 'Would you gentlemen care for some sherry?" An old butler in a white coat served sherry and cheese hors d'oeuvres. Then the group moved into the Director's private dining room, where an elegant table was laid on white linen."

There was some polite conversation. Then, when finally called on to state his business, Propper said that the Letelier-Moffitt murders were more than likely political assassinations, and that the investigation would probably move outside the United States into the Agency's realm of foreign intelligence. Therefore, Propper wanted CIA cooperation in the form of reports from within Chile, reports on assassins, reports on foreign operatives entering the United States, and the like. He wanted anything he could get that might bear upon the murders.

If Bush had wanted to be candid, he could have informed Propper that he had been informed of the coming of the DINA team twice, once before they left South America and once when they had arrived in Washington. But Bush never volunteered this highly pertinent information. Instead, he went into a sophisticated stonewall routine:

"Look," said Bush, "I'm appalled by the bombing. Obviously we can't allow people to come right here into the capital and kill foreign diplomats and American citizens like this. It would be a hideous precedent. So, as Director, I want to help you. As an American citizen, I want to help. But, as director, I also know that the Agency can't help in a lot of situations like this. We've got some problems. Tony, tell him what they are."

Lapham's argument went like this, with Bush looking on:

The first problem is that every time we've tried to help Justice in the past, they've screwed us. They always promise us that if we give them this assistance of that assistance, they'll just use it for background, but the next thing we know, they're trying to make a witness out of our source. They're trying to put him in court. We can't attract and hold sources if they're afraid they'll get slapped into court.

"Well, that sounds legitimate to me," said Propper, "but I'm sure we can figure out a way to work around it."

"That's not all," said Lapham. "We got torn to pieces last year for domestic intelligence, so now everybody over here is gun-shy about reporting on Americans or any activities in this country. We can't do it. That's strictly out. The liberals don't like some things we do and the conservatives don't like others, and the way the rule book is now, we stay clean by keeping out of criminal stuff and domestic stuff. You've got a murder here in the states. That's both. That makes it tough."

"I see," said Propper. "But I can't believe there's not some way for you to get into this case. There has to be a way. If somebody comes into the country from overseas and assassinates people here in Washington, that's got to be your kind of work. They might do it again. Who else will stop it?"

"Sure," said Lapham. "That's a security matter. That's ours. But we don't know this is a security matter yet, and we'd have to investigate a crime to find out." [fn 50]

Notice the consummate Aristotelian obfuscation by Lapham, who is propounding a chicken and egg paradox of law and administration. Apart from such sophists, everyone knew that Pinochet was a prime suspect. Lapham and Propper finally agreed that they could handle the matter best through an exchange of letters between the CIA Director and Attorney General Levi. George Bush summed up: "If you two come up with something that Tony thinks will protect us, we'll be all right." The date was October 4, 1976.

Contrary to that pledge, Bush and the CIA began actively to sabotage Propper's investigation in public as well as behind the scenes. By Saturday the Washington Post was reporting many details of Propper's arrangement with the CIA. Even more interesting was the following item in the "Periscope" column of Newsweek magazine of October 11:

After studying FBI and other field investigations, the CIA has concluded that the Chilean secret police were not involved in the death of Orlando Letelier....The agency reached its decision because the bomb was too crude to be the work of experts and because the murder, coming while Chile's rulers were wooing US support, could only damage the Santiago regime."

According to the New York Times of October 12: *

[Ford Administration] intelligence officials said it appeared that the FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency had virtually ruled out the idea that Mr. Letelier was killed by agents of the Chilean military junta....[They] said they understood DINA was firmly under the control of the government of Gen. Augusto Pincohet and that killing Mr. Letelier could not have served the junta's purposes....The intelligence officials said a parallel investigation was pursuing the possibility that Mr. Letelier had been assassinated by Chilean left-wing extremists as a means of disrupting United States relations with the military junta.

On November 1. the Washington Post reported a leak from Bush personally:

CIA officials say...they believe that operatives of the present Chilean military junta did not take part in Letelier's killing. According to informed sources, CIA Director Bush expressed this view in a conversation last week with Secretary of State Kissinger, the sources said. What evidence the CIA has obtained to support this initial conclusion was not disclosed.

Most remarkably, Bush is reported to have flown to Miami on November 8 with the purpose or pretext of taking "a walking tour of little Havana." As author Donald Freed tells it, "Actually [Bush] met with the Miami FBI Special Agent in Charge Julius Matson and the chief of the anti-Castro terrorism squad. According to a source close to the meeting Bush warned the FBI against allowing the investigation to go any further than the lowest level Cubans." [fn 51]

In a meeting presided over by Pottinger, Propper was only able to get Lapham to agree that the Justice Department could ask the CIA to report any information on the Letelier murder that might relate to the security of the United States against foreign intervention. It was two years before any word of the July-August cables was divulged.

Ultimately some low-level Cubans were convicted in a trial that saw Townley cop a plea bargain and get off with a lighter sentence than the rest. Material about Townley under his various aliases strangely disappeared from the INS files, and records of the July-August cable traffic with Walters (and Bush) was expunged. No doubt that there had been obstruction of justice, no doubt there had been a cover-up.

On October 6, bombs destroyed a Cubana Airlines DC-8 flying from Kingston, Jamaica to Havana, killing 73 passengers and crew, including the Cuban national fencing team which was returning from Venezuela. Anonymous callers to newspapers and radio stations claimed responsibility for CORU and Operation Condor, while Fidel Castro immediately blamed the CIA. Venezuelan police arrested CORU leaders Orlando Bosch (freed from jail in the US) and Luis Posada Carriles, whom we will later see as an associate of Bush operative Felix Rodriguez in Iran-contra.

During 1976, Ed Wilson, officially retired, had been working with CIA officials on a project to deliver explosives, timers, weapons, and ultimately Redeye missles to Qaddafi of Libya. Wilson was receiving assistance from active duty CIA agents, including William Weisenburger and from Scientific Communications, a CIA front company. Wilson was working with Clines, who was still on the CIA payroll. CIA man Kevin Mulcahy had reported to Theodore Shackley about Wilson's activities, and Shackley had informed deputy director William Wells, who in turned had passed the hot potato on to Inspector General John Waller. The result of this round was a probe of Mulcahy's report under Thomas Cox of Wallers' staff, assisted by Thomas Clines, of all people. On the basis of this in-house investigation, Bush on September 17 decided to pass the entire case on to the FBI.

Another aspect of Wilson's skullduggery was reported to Clines by Rafael "Chi Chi" Quintero, another fixture of the Enterprise, who complained that Wilson was trying to recruit him for an assassination attempt against "Carlos," the fabled international terrorist. Years later Wilson was given a long jail sentence, while his sidekick Frank Terpil went underground. What is essential here is that under Bush's administration, the CIA and its associated Enterprise and other old boys networks began to run amok along paths that lead us towards the Iran-contra affair and the other great covert action secret wars of the 1980's and 1990's.

During the last days of the Ford Administration, Attorney General Edward Levi had occasion to assert that the CIA's policy of refusing to turn documents and other evidence over to the Justice Department "smacked of a Watergate cover-up." This was in connection with the prosecution of one Edwin Gibbons Moore, who was allegedly trying to sell secret papers to the Soviet Embassy. The Bush CIA had refused to turn over various documents germane to this strange case.

During the Reagan years, Bush was given a much-publicized assignment as head of the South Florida Task Force and related efforts that were billed as part of a "war on drugs." In 1975, President Ford had ordered the CIA to collect intelligence on narcotics trafficking overseas, and also to "covertly influence" foreign officials to help US anti-drug activities. How well did Bush carry out this critical part of his responsibilities?

Poorly, according to a Justice Department "Report on Inquiry into CIA-Related Electronic Surveillance Activities," which was compiled in 1976, but which has only partly come into the public domain. What emerges is a systematic pattern of coverup that recalls Lapham's spurious arguments in the Leletier case. Using the notorious stonewall that the first responsibility of the CIA was to shield its own "methods and sources" from being exposed, the agency expressed fear "that the confidentiality of CIA's overseas collection methods and sources would be in jeopardy should discovery proceedings require disclosure of the CIA's electronic surveillance activities." [fn 52] This caused "several narcotics investigations and or prosecutions...to be terminated."

It was during 1976 that Bush met the Panamanian leader Manuel Antonio Noriega. According to Don Gregg, this meeting took place on the edges of a luncheon conference with several other visiting Panamanian officials.

This all makes an impressive catalogue of debacles in the area of covert operations. But what about the intelligence product of the CIA, in particular the National Intelligence Estimates that are the centerpiece of the CIA's work. Here Bush was to oversee a maneuver markedly to enhance the influence of the pro-Zionist wing of the intelligence community.

As we have already seen, the idea of new procedures allegedly designed to evaluate the CIA's track record in intelligence analysis had been kicking around in Leo Cherne's PFIAB for some time. In June, 1976, Bush accepted a proposal from Leo Cherne to carry out an experiment in "competitive analysis" in the area of National Intelligence Estimates of Soviet air defenses, Soviet missile accuracy, and overall Soviet strategic objectives. Bush and Cherne decided to conduct the competitive analysis by commissioning two separate groups, each of which would present and argue for its own conclusions. On the one, Team A would be the CIA's own National Intelligence Officers and their staffs. But there would also be a separate Team B, a group of ostensibly independent outside experts.

The group leader of Team B was Harvard history professor Richard Pipes, who was working in the British Museum in London when he was appointed by Bush and Cherne. Pipes had enjoyed support for his work from the office of Senator Henry Jackson, which had been one of the principal incubators of a generation of whiz kids and think tankers whose entire strategic outlook revolved around the stated or unstated premise of the absolute primacy of supporting Israel in every imaginable excess or adventure, while frequently sacrificing vital US interests in the process.

The liaison between Pipes' Team B and Team A, the official CIA, was provided by John Paisley, who had earlier served as the liaison between Langley and the McCord-Hunt-Liddy Plumbers. In this sense Paisley served as the staff director of the Team A-Team B experiment. Pipes then began choosing the members of Team B. First he selected from a list provided by the CIA two military men, Lieutenant General John Vogt and Brigadier General Jasper Welch, Jr., both of the Air Force. Pipes the added seven additional members: Paul Nitze, Gen. Daniel Graham, the retiring head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Professor William van Cleave of the University of Southern California, former US Ambassador to Moscow Foy Kohler, Paul Wolfowitz of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Thomas Wolfe of the RAND Corporation, and Seymour Weiss, a former top State Department official. Two other choices by Pipes were rejected by Bush.

Team B began meeting during late August of 1976. Paisley and Don Suda provided Team B with the same raw intelligence being used by National Intelligence Officer Howard Stoertz's Team A. Team B's basic conclusion was that the Soviet military preparations were not exclusively defensive, but rather represented the attempt to acquire a first-strike capability that would allow the USSR to unleash and prevail in thermonuclear war. The US would face a window of vulnerability during the 1980's. But it is clear from Pipes' own discussion of the debate that Team B [fn 53] was less interested in the Soviet Union and its capabilities than in seizing hegemony in the intelligence and think tank community in preparation for seizing the key posts in the Republican administration that might follow Carter in 1980. Pipes was livid when, at the final Team A-Team B meeting, he was not allowed to sit at Bush's table for lunch. The argument in Team B quarters was that since the Soviets were turning aggressive once again, the US must do everything possible to strengthen the only staunch and reliable American ally in the Middle East or possibly anywhere in the world, Israel. This meant not just that Israel had to be financed without stint, but that Israel had to be brought into central America, the Far East, and Africa. There was even a design for a new NATO constructed around Israel, while junking the old NATO because it was absorbing vital US resources needed by Israel.

By contrast, Team B supporters like Richard Perle, who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense under Reagan, were later bitterly hostile to the Strategic Defense Initiative, which was plainly the only rational response to the Soviet buildup, which was very real indeed. The "window of vulnerability" argument had merit, but the policy conclusions favored by Team B had none, since their idea of responding to the Soviet threat was, once again, to subordinate everything to Israeli requirements.

Team A and Team B were supposed to be secret, but leaks appeared in the Boston Globe in October. Pipes was surprised to find an even more detailed account of Team B and its grim estimate of Soviet intent in the New York Times shortly after Christmas, but Paisley told him that Bush and CIA official Richard Lehman had already been leaking to the press, and urged Pipes to begin to offer some interviews of his own. [fn 54]

Typically enough, Bush appeared on Face the Nation early in the new year to say that he was "appalled" by the leaks of Team B's conclusions. Bush confessed that "outside expertise has enormous appeal to me." He refused to discuss the Team B conclusions themselves, but did say that he wanted to "gun down" speculation that the CIA had leaked a tough estimate of the USSR's military buildup in order to stop Carter from cutting the defense budget. That speculation "just couldn't be further from the truth," said Bush, who was thus caught lying neither for the first nor last time in his existence. As if by compulsive association, Bush went on: "That gets to the integrity of the process. And I am here to defend the integrity of the intelligence process. The CIA has great integrity. It would never take directions from a policymaker-- me or anybody else--in order to come up with conclusions to force a President-elect's hand or a President's hand," pontificated Bush with Olympian hypocrisy.

For his part, Henry Kissinger, within a year or two, in an interview with the London Economist, embraced key aspects of the Team B position.

Congress soon got into the act, and George Bush testified at a closed hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 18, 1977. It turned out that Team B and its "worst-case" scenario enjoyed strong support from Hubert Humphrey, Clifford Case, and Jacob Javits. Later it also became clear that Adlai Stevenson, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Subcommittee on Collection, Production, and Quality of Intelligence was also supportive of Team B, along with many other senators such as Moynihan and Wallop. Gary Hart was hostile, but Percy was open to dialogue with Team B.

After the Team B conclusions had been bruited around the world, Pipes became a leading member of the Committee on the Present Danger, where his fellow Team B veteran Paul Nitze was already ensconced, along with Eugene V. Rostow, Dean Rusk, Lane Kirkland, Max Kampelman, Richard Allen, David Packard, and Henry Fowler. About 30 members of the Committee on the Present danger went on to become high officials of the Reagan Administration.

Ronald Reagan himself embraced the "window of vulnerability" thesis, which worked as well for him as the bomber gap and missile gap arguments had worked in previous elections. When the Reagan Administration was being assembled, Bush and James Baker had a lot to say about who got what appointments. Bush was the founder of Team B, and that is the fundamental reason which such pro-Zionist neoconservatives as Max Kampelman, Richard Perle, Steven Bryen, Noel Koch, Paul Wolfowitz and Dov Zakem showed up in the Reagan Administration. For in one of his many ideological reincarnations, George Bush is also a neoconservative himself. What counted for Team B was to occupy the offices, and to dominate the debate. Team B greatly influenced the strategic assumptions and rhetoric of the first Reagan Administration; their one outstanding defeat was the launching of the SDI, and that was administered to them by LaRouche.

In a grim postlude to the Team B exercise, Bush's hand-picked staff director for the operation, John Paisley, the Soviet analyst (Paisley was the former deputy director of the CIA's Office of Strategic Research) and CIA liaison to the Plumbers, disappeared on September 24, 1978 while sailing on Chesapeake Bay in his sloop, the Brillig. Several days later a body was found floating in the bay in an advanced state of decomposition, and with a gun shot wound behind the left ear. The corpse was weighed down by two sets of ponderous diving belts. The body was four inches shorter than Paisley's own height, and Paisley's wife later asserted that the body found was not that of her husband. Despite all this, the body was positively identified as Paisley's, the death summarily ruled a suicide, and the body quickly cremated at a funeral home approved by the Office of Security. Paisley had been involved along with Angleton in the debriefing and managing of Soviet defectors like Nosenko and Nikolai Artamonov/"Shadrin," and various aspects of this case show that the Bush-Cherne Team B had not really ceased its operations after 1976-77, but had continued to function. Some have attempted to identify Paisley as Deep Throat. Others have suggested that he was a KGB mole. Either story, if true, might lead to highly embarrassing consequences for George Bush. [fn 55]

The Shadrin case just mentioned allows us to follow Bush a few steps further into the world of Soviet defectors, exchanges, kidnappings, murders, and other grisly rites of the cold war. Nicolai Artamonov alias Nick Shadrin was a Soviet naval officer who had defected to the west in the 1950's, and who worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency. There are indications that Shadrin was encouraged by his US handlers to let himself be contacted by the Soviets so that he could become a double agent. In December, 1975 Shadrin was sent to Vienna by the CIA, where he disappeared. According to some versions, he had been a Soviet agent all along, and went back to Moscow under the orders of the KGB. According to other versions, Shadrin was cynically delivered up by his CIA handlers to certain death at the hands of the KGB within the framework of a dirty operation to enhance the career of another KGB agent who had secretly gone to work for the CIA while remaining with the KGB. [fn 56]

The handling of defectors such as Shadrin represented that part of CIA operations where James Jesus Angleton spun his web, so were are moving through an obfuscated wilderness of mirrors in broaching this subject. But it seems well established that Bush acquired a personal role in the Shadrin affair through his deception of Shadrin's wife, Eva Shadrin, who was desperately seeking to find out what had happened to her husband. With the help of friends, Eva Shadrin appealed for assistance to Senators John Sparkman, and James Eastland, to Speaker of the House Carl Albert, to Pentagon officials and to PFIAB. On February 5, Mrs. Shadrin received a call from Brent Scowcroft saying that the case had been brought to his attention. The same day Gen. Vernon Walters called to say that Scowcroft was meeting with him at that very hour to see what could be done. Bush then appointed CIA Counterintelligence Chief George Kalaris to oversee cooperation with Mrs. Sadrin and her lawyer, Richard Copaken. Kalaris is accused in one published account of this story of having helped to delivered Shadrin into the hands of the KGB. Later, on October 8, 1976 Mrs. Shadrin and Copaken were received by Bush at Langley in a meeting also attended by Kalaris and former CIA employee Chester Cooper. Various possibilities for forcing an exchange of Shadrin were brought up by Mrs. Shadrin, but were ruled out by Bush. Bush also refused to say whether or not Shadrin was on a secret mission for the CIA. Bush did agree to set up a meeting for Mrs. Shadrin with President Ford.

On November 5, Ford received Mrs. Shadrin at the White House. Mrs. Shadrin recalled Ford as "cold and austere," a man whose "eyes seemed glazed over like a bullfrog's while I talked." Ford was unwilling to make any commitment on behalf of Shadrin. In the meantime, Bush had allowed Copaken to interview several CIA clandestine officers, including the last CIA contact to see Shadrin, one Cynthia Hausmann. This was considered a highly unusual favor by the DCI, even though Hausmann's cover had already been blown by Philip Agee. But in the end, Mrs. Shadrin concluded that her husband had been set up by the CIA, and that "she had been a fool to believe anything told her by George Bush...." [fn 57]

Related dimensions of Bush's intrigues at the CIA can only be hinted at. There is for example the case of Ralph Joseph Sigler, an army sergeant who worked as a double agent with the east bloc until he was found brutally murdered by electrocution in a motel in April, 1976. Among Sigler's belongings was a photograph of himself together with CIA Director Bush. [fn 58]

The question raised by these cases was almost universally dodged during the 1988 election campaign: "Do the American people really want to elect a former director of the CIA as their President," as Tom Wicker posed it in the New York Times of April 29, 1988. "That's hardly been discussed so far; but it seems obvious that a CIA chief might well be privy to the kind of 'black' secrets that could later make him-- as a public figure--subject to blackmail." Here is one area where we can be sure that we have only scratched the surface.

As he managed the formidable world-wide capabilities of the CIA during 1976, Bush was laying the groundwork for his personal advancement to higher office and greater power in the 1980's. As we have seen, there was some intermittent speculation during the year that, in spite of what Ford had promised the Senate, Bush might show up as Ford's running mate after all. But, at the Republican convention, Ford chose Kansas Senator Bob Dole for vice-president. If Ford had won the election, Bush would certainly have attempted to secure a further promotion, perhaps to Secretary of State, Defense, or Treasury as a springboard for a new presidential bid of his own in 1980. But if Carter won the election, Bush would attempt to raise the banner of the non-political status of the CIA in order to convince Carter to let him stay at Langley during the period 1977-81 as a "non-partisan" administrator.

Carter and Bush were not destined to get along. Carter wore the mask of the cult of Dionysius, demanding that the secrets of the inner temple be thrown open to the plebs for which he pretended to act as tribune. Bush wore the mask of the temple of Apollo, and argued in public for the sanctity of state secrets and the priority of covert operations while he secretly deployed his own irregular armies. Carter had implicitly attacked Bush during the early phases of the presidential campaign in an August 12 speech in which the Georgian had denigrated the Ford Administration as a "dumping ground for unsuccessful candidates, faithful political partisans, out-of-favor White House aides and representatives of the special interests." That day, Bush had traveled to Plains, Georgia to provide Carter with a five-hour intelligence briefing. Reporters asked Bush about Carter's comments, which elicited a fit of apoplexy from our hero: "That's very interesting," said Bush. We came down here to do a professional job. The President directed me to brief him on intelligence matters. Everything went very well." Carter backed off a day later, saying "I happen to think a lot of George Bush."

In the close 1976 election, Carter prevailed by vote fraud in New York, Ohio, and other states, but Ford was convinced by Nelson and Happy Rockefeller, as well as by his own distraught wife Betty, that he must concede in order to preserve the work of "healing" that he had accomplished since Watergate. Carter would therefore enter the White House.

Bush prepared to make his bid for continuity at the CIA. Shortly after the election, he was scheduled to journey to Plains to brief Carter once again with the help of his deputy Henry Knoche. Early in the morning Bush and Knoche stopped off at the Old Executive Office Building to talk to Budget Director Robert Lynn in order to secure a cash infusion for the CIA, which was facing a budgetary crunch. Bush then dropped in on Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, and also went into the Oval Office to talk to Ford.

The critical meeting with Carter went very badly indeed. Bush took Carter aside and argued that in 1960 and 1968, CIA Directors were retained during presidential transitions, and that it would make Carter look good if he did the same. Carter signaled that he wasn't interested. Then Bush lamely stammered that if Carter wanted his own man in Langley, Bush would be willing to resign. which is of course standard procedure for all agency heads when a new president takes office. Carter said that that was indeed exactly what he wanted, and that he would have his own new DCI ready by January 21, 1977. Bush and Knoche then briefed Carter and his people for some six hours. Carter insiders told the press that Bush's briefing had been a "disaster." "Jimmy just wasn't impressed with Bush," said a key Carter staffer. [fn 59]

Bush and Knoche then flew back to Washington, and on the plane Bush wrote a memo for Henry Kissinger describing his exchanges with Carter. At midnight, Bush drove to Kissinger's home and briefed him for an hour.

Knoche said later that he was mightily impressed by Bush's long day of meeting the budget director, the president, the vice president, the president-elect and the secretary of state, all on the same day, even if the result had been that Bush was fired. At Bush's 9:30 AM staff meeting in Langley the next day, Knoche and a group of other officials awarded Bush the Intelligence Medal of Merit. "It was a very touching day," said Knoche.

Carter first attempted to make Theodore Sorenson, the former Kennedy intimate, his new CIA Director. It soon became clear that certain circles were determined to block this nomination. The Sorenson nomination was soon torpedoed by a series of leaks, including revelations that Sorenson had been a conscientious objector during World War II, plus accusations that he had taken classified documents with him when he had left the government in 1964. Carter tried to get NATO General Bernard Rogers for the post, but finally had to settle for Navy Admiral Stansfield Turner from his own class at Annapolis.

An important internal CIA issue that arose during Turner's time in Langley was the question of personnel cuts, especially in the operations directorate. To understand Bush's influence on this topic, we must go back to the Watergate era.

During the Schlesinger-Colby period, about 2,000 CIA personnel, representing about 15% of the CIA manpower complement, were dismissed. The method of these firings appears to have been heavily influenced by Shackley and his faction, who argued that CIA personnel who were in danger of being exposed by Philip Agee should be preemptively terminated. There is therefore much reason to think that Shackley and Agee were in cahoots. This purge touched many important posts, which could then be filled by Shackley loyalists. A description of the process is offered by retired CIA agent Joseph Burkholder Smith, who served in the Western Hemisphere division:

A defensive operation was started immediately and every activity, agent, and officer was scrutinized to determine if Agee had already blown them or if he would write about them in his book. A Shackley henchman was installed as chief of operations [was this William Nelson?] and a cryptonym, the Agency's badge of security significance, was assigned to the task of getting rid of the division's operations and much of its office staff-- the pre-Shackley staff, some were quick to point out. They doubted whether so much destruction was necessary, especially since Shackley had a reputation for ruthlessness and for filling key jobs with his favorites.
Whether or not such a vast amount of house cleaning was really necessary, I could not decide. All I knew was that it was dismal work. [...]

Nevertheless, I was disturbed to have to dismiss so many loyal men and upset to have the defenses I kept putting up to try to salvage something of their old lives summarily dismissed by the Star Chamber conducting the purge in Washington. When Agee's book finally appeared, not one of the people I was ordered to fire was mentioned. [fn 60]

All of the CIA's divisions were purged, with justifications offered that ranged from the threat of denunciation by Agee to budget constraints to poor performance to the need to make room for new blood. Schlesinger, who fired 630 officers in five months, was said to be accompanied by bodyguards during this period for fear that some disgruntled covert warrior might exact a horrible revenge.

During Bush's tenure, the same William Nelson apparently mentioned by Smith seems to have suggested that the administrative purge had not gone far enough. In the spring of 1976, when he was about to be replaced by William Wells, Nelson again raised the issue of operations directorate personnel. "There were a lot of people in the DO [Directorate of Operations] who were marginal performers," said Nelson in a 1988 interview. "The low middle. We needed quality, not quantity. I told [Bush] that the lower 25 per cent should be identified and should be encouraged to seek other employment....I said we owed these people a lot but not a lifetime job. He [Bush] put it in his pocket and said he would think about it." [fn 61]

This new round of firings was relegated to Turner, who reportedly was told by Knoche on arriving at the CIA that the agency was "top-heavy." There was the case of Cord Meyer, Knoche said, who had too much rank for the work he was doing. As Turner later recalled, "It was at this point that I learned about a study the espionage [operations] branch itself had done on its personnel situation in mid 1976, while George Bush was DCI. It called for a reduction in the size of the branch by 1350 positions over a five-year period. No action had been taken. Bush had not rejected it, but neither had he faced up to it." [fn 62] Turner then proceeded to abolish 820 jobs, which he claims was accomplished through attrition. Other estimates of the Turner firings range between 820 and 2,800.

The plan Turner implemented was thus according to some the Nelson-Shackley-Bush plan. Certain activities of the intelligence community were being privatized and farmed out to such organisms as the National Endowment for Democracy and other such quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations of Project Democracy. Under Reagan, this privatization of intelligence operations and their increasing assignment to non-governmental organizations was made official through Executive Order 12333.

Otherwise, George Bush used his last days at the CIA for his lifelong pastime, servicing his network. On December 16, he appeared at an awards ceremony in the Bubble at Langley to present a medal to Juanita Moody of the National Security Agency Product Organization staff. [fn 63]

During his year at Langley, Bush was especially forthcoming towards Wall Street, above all towards the family firm. On at least one occasion, Bush gave an exclusive private briefing, including forecasts on the future development of the world energy market, for partners and executives of Brown Brothers, Harriman. Such an incident, it is superfluous to point out, entails the gravest questions of conflict of interest. On another occasion, Bush gave a similar briefing to the board of directors of the Chase Manhattan Bank. [fn 64]

As always, Bush had special attention for Leo Cherne, the source of so much of the policy he implemented at the CIA. On November 8, Bush had called Cherne's attention to a small item in US News and World Report which suggested that "US assessments have so underrated Russia's strategic buildup that a top-secret study is under way to decide whether to strip the CIA of responsibility for the estimates and give it to an independent office answerable directly to the President." Another leak on Team B! Bush told Cherne that "the attached is the kind of publicity that I am sure you would agree is very damaging. I really don't think there is much we can do about it at this point, but I worry about it."

Bush left Langley with Carter's inauguration, leaving Knoche to serve a couple of months as acting DCI. In early February Bush wrote again to Leo Cherne, with whom he was now on a first-name basis:

Thanks for that lovely letter you sent me on Feb. 2nd. I already miss our contacts a lot. I will be leaving for Houston a week from today. [...]
Should you get down that way it would be great to see you. I am joining a couple of Boards that will bring me East from time to time. I hope to keep up my interest in foreign affairs and in national politics. It is quite unclear at the moment how to do these things.

The past has been fantastic; but now I am determined to look to the future. I know it will be full of challenge. I hope it holds frequent contacts with Leo Cherne.

I will follow with interest the President's decisions on PFIAB. Holler if I can ever be of help to you. I value our friendship.

Sincerely, George [fn 65]

Carter abolished PFIAB and fired Cherne from the IOB. George Bush now turned to his family business of international banking.

_______________

Notes:

1. Nathan Miller, Spying for America, (New York, 1989), p. 399.

2. Gerald R. Ford Library, Richard B. Cheney Files, Box 5.

3. See Loch K. Johnson, A Season of Inquiry: The Senate Intelligence Investigation (University Press of Kentucky, 1985), pp. 108-109.

4. Johnson, A Season of Inquiry, pp. 115-116.

5. Gerald R. Ford Library, Philip Buchen Files, Box 24. Article is from Houston Post, November 8, 1975.

6. Newhouse News Service article by Saul Kohler, November, 1975, with letter from Ford's press secretary Ron Nessen, at Gerald R. Ford Library, William T. kendall Files, Box 7.

7. Letter from Bush to Stennis, December 12, 1975 in Ford Library, Philip W. Buchen Files, Box 37.

8. Ford Library, Presidential Handwriting File, Box 9.

9. Ford Library, Presidential Handwriting File, Box 9.

10. Collins to Ford, November 12, 1975, Ford Library, John O. Marsh Files, Box 1.

11. Nedzi to Ford, December 12, 1975, Ford Library, John O. Marsh Files, Box 1.

12. Roth to Bush, November 20, 1975, Ford Library, John O. Marsh Files, Box 1.

13. Ford Library, William T. Kendall Files, Box 7

14. Ford Library, William T. Kendall Files, Box 7.

15. Ford Library, William T. Kendall Files, Box 7.

16. Ford Library, William T. Kendall Files, Box 7.

17. US Senate, Committee on Armed Services, Nomination of George Bush to be Director of Central Intelligence, December 15-16, 1975, p. 10.

18. Memo of December 16, 1975 from O'Donnell to Marsh through Friedersdorf on the likely vote in the Stennis Senate Armed Services Committee. Ford Library, William T. Kendall Files, Box 7.

19. Ford Library, William T. Kendall Files, Box 7.

20. For an account of the exploitation of the Welch incident by the Ford Administration, see Loch K. Johnson, A Season of Inquiry (University Press of Kentucky, 1985), pp. 161-162.

21. Ford Library, Leo Cherne Papers, Box 8.

22. For an account of the leaking of the Pike Committee report and the situation in late January and February, 1976, see Daniel Schorr, Clearing the Air (Boston, 1977) especially pp. 179-207, and Loch K. Johnson, A Season of Inquiry, pp. 172-191.

23. A Season of Inquiry, p. 180.

24. A Season of Inquiry, p. 182.

25. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets (New York, 1987), p. 12.

26. William Colby, Honorable Men (New York, 1978), p. 452.

27. Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus, "At CIA, a Rebuilder 'Goes With the Flow,'" Washington Post, August 10, 1988. The biographical information on Knoche is also drawn from a 1-page summary in the Ford Library, William T. Kendall Files, Box 9.

28. On Murphy and Noriega, see Frank McNeil, War and Peace in Central America, (New York, Scribner), p. 278.

29. Cord Meyer, Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA (University Press of America, 1982), pp. 225-226.

30. See John Prados, Presidents' Secret Wars (New York, ), Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA (New York, 1987), and John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA (New York, 1987).

31. Washington Post, August 10, 1988.

32. William R. Corson, The Armies of Ignorance (New York, Dial Press), p. 446.

33. Ford Library, Philip W. Buchen Files, Box 2.

34. Memo by Leo Cherne, February 6, 1976, in Ford Library Leo Cherne Papers, Box 1.

35. For Ford's reorganization, see Loch K. Johnson, A Season of Inquiry, pp. 194-197, and New York Times, February 18, 1976.

36. For Koregate, see Robert B. Boettcher, Gifts of Deceit (New York, Holt Rinheart and Winston, 1980).

37. Nathan Miller, Spying For America: The Hidden History of US Intelligence (New York, Paragon House, 1989), pp. 402-403.

38. Ranelagh, The Agency, p. 632.

39. Scott Armstrong and Jeff Nason, "Company Man," Mother Jones, October, 1988.

40. John Stockwell, In Search of Enemies, (New York, 1978).

41. David Corn, "The Same Old Dirty Tricks," The Nation, August 23, 1988.

42. David Corn, "The Same Old Dirty Tricks," The Nation, August 23, 1988.

43. Chapman Pincher, The Spycatcher Affair (New York, 1988), p. 147.

44. For the CIA-Harold Wilson affair, see: David Leigh, The Wilson Plot (New York, 1988); Philip Knightley, The Second Oldest Profession (New York, Norton); Richard Deacon, The British Connection (London, Hamish Hamilton); and Chapman Pincher, The Spycatcher Affair (New York, 1988). Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior (New York, 1991) joins the red Studebaker school of historiography on Bush in the Angleton-Wilson affair.

45. Accounts of the Letelier Affairs include John Dinges and Saul Landau, Assassination on Embassy Row (New York, 1980); Donald Freed, Death in Washington (Westport, Connecticut, 1980), and Scott Armstrong and Jeff Nason, "Company Man," Mother Jones, October 1988.

46. See Armstrong and Nason, p. 43.

47. Freed, p. 174.

48. Dinges and Landau, p. 384.

49. Taylor Branch and Eugene M. Propper, Labyrinth (New York, 1982), p. 72.

50. Labyrinth, pp. 74-75.

51. Freed, Death in Washington, p. 174.

52. Jefferson Morley, "Bush's Drug Problem -- and Ours," The Nation, August 27, 1988.

53. Richard Pipes, "Team B: The Reality Behind the Myth," Commentary, October 1986.

55. Pipes, "Team B," Commentary, October, 1986, p. 34. Pipes makes clear that it was Bush and Richard Lehman who both leaked to David Binder of the New York Times. Lehman also encouraged Pipes to leak. The version offered by William R. Corson et al. in Widows (New York, 1989), namely that Paisley did the leaking, may also be true, but will not exonerate Bush. The authors of Widows are in grave danger of being banished to the red Studebaker school of coverup in that they ignore Pipes' account and its included fingering of Bush as the lead leaker.

55. See William R. Corson, Susan B. Trento, Joseph J. Trento, Widows.

56. See Willaim R. Corson et al., Widows, and Henry Hurt, Shadrin: The Spy Who Never Came Back.

57. Henry Hurt, Shadrin, p. 260.

58. Corson, Widows, p. 301.

59. Evans and Novak column, Houston Post, December 1, 1976. For the pro-Bush account of these events, see Nicholas King, George Bush, pp. 109-110.

60. Joseph Burkholder Smith, Portrait of a Cold Warrior (New York, Putnam), p. 12.

61. Washington Post, August 10, 1988.

62. Admiral Stansfield Turner, Secrecy and Democracy (Boston, 1985), p. 196.

63. James Bamford, The Puzzle Palace, p. 250.

64. Washington Post, August 10, 1988.

65. Ford Library, Leo Cherne Papers, Box
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 1 OF 3

Chapter XVI -- Campaign 1980

Le mercennarie et ausiliarie sono inutili e pericolose; e, se uno tiene lo stato suo fondato in sulle arme mercennarie, non sara' mai fermo ne' sicuro.

--Machiavelli, Il Principe


As we follow George Bush along the George Washington Parkway as he drives away from his Langley office in January, 1977, we enter an especially shadowy and inscrutable interlude in his career. During their superficial and dilatory 1988 inquiry into Bush's career, Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus did establish one typical phenomenon of Bush's activity between January, 1977 and his emergence as a presidential candidate: Bush kept key parts of his activity a secret from his own aides and office staff, even going so far as to manufacture alibis which would appear to have been inventions. Woodward and Pincus described a "mystery about Bush and the agency" which arose during the course of their interviews about the post-1977 period. "According to those involved in Bush's first political action committee, there were several occasions in 1978-79, when Bush was living in Houston and traveling the country in his first run for the presidency, that he set aside periods of up to 24 hours and told aides he had to fly to Washington for a secret meeting of former CIA Directors. Bush told his aides that he could not divulge his whereabouts, and that he would not be reachable."

The mystery described by Woodward and Pincus arose when other interviews cast grave doubt on the veracity of this cover story; "...according to former directors and other senior CIA officials, there were no meetings of former directors during that period, and Bush had no assignments of any kind from the CIA." Stansfield Turner commented that he "never knew former directors had meetings and there were none when I was there." Stephen Hart of Bush's staff told Woodward and Pincus that the keepers of Bush's schedule could "recall no CIA activity of any kind," but explained the absences as "personal time in Washington" for "tennis, visits with friends, and dinners." [fn 1] Such enigmas are typical of the 1977-1979 interlude in Bush's career.

Shortly after leaving Langley, Bush asserted his birthright as an international financier in the way he had indicated to his close friend Leo Cherne, that is to say by becoming a member of the board of directors of a large bank. On February 22, 1977 Robert H. Stewart III, the chairman of the holding company for First International Bankshares of Dallas, announced that Bush would become the chairman of the executive committee of First International Bank in Houston and would simultaneously become a director of First International Bankshares Ltd. of London, a merchant bank owned by First International Bankshares, Inc. Bush also became a director of First International Bankshares Inc., which was the holding company for the entire international group. Thus, less than two years before Margaret Thatcher came to power, Bush acquired the status of investment banker in the City of London, the home of the Eurodollar market and the home of British imperial financial circles in which such figures as Lord Victor Rothschild, Tiny Rowland, the Sultan of Brunei, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, and the Emir of Kuwait were at home. An annual fee of $75,000 as a "consultant" also sweetened this pot. During the 1988 campaign, Bush gave the implacable stonewall to any questions about the services he performed for the First International Bankshares group or about any other aspects of his business activities during the pre-1980 interlude. Interfirst was then the largest bank in Texas and was reportedly running speculation all over South America, China, and Europe.

Later, after the Reagan-Bush orgy of speculation and usury had ruined the Texas economy, the Texas commercial banks began to collapse into bankruptcy. First International of Dallas (or "Interfirst") merged with RepublicBank during 1987 to form First RepublicBank, which became the biggest commercial bank in Texas. Bankruptcy overtook the new colossus just a few months later, but federal regulators delayed their inevitable intervention until after the Texas primary in the spring of 1988 in order to avoid a potentially acute embarrassment for Bush. Once Bush had the nomination locked up, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation awarded the assets of First RepublicBank to the North Carolina National Bank in exchange for no payment whatsoever on the part of NCNC, which is reputedly a darling of the intelligence community.

During the heady days of Bush's directorship at Interfirst, the bank retained a law firm in which one Lawrence Gibbs was a partner. Two partners of Gibbs "joined three representatives of the energy department of Interfirst Bank on a trip to Peking, where they conducted a week-long seminar on financing the production of natural resources for the Oil and Gas Ministry of the People's Republic of China." [fn 2] This visit was made in the context of trips to China by Bush for the purpose of setting up a lucrative oil concession for J. Hugh Lietdkte of Pennzoil, Bush's old business partner. Gibbs, a clear Bush asset, was made Commissioner of Internal Revenue on August 4, 1986. Here he engineered the sweeheart deal for NCNB by decreeing $1.6 billion in tax breaks for this bank. This is typical of the massive favors and graft for pro-Bush financier interests at the expense of the taxpayer which are the hallmark of the Bush machine. Gibbs also approved IRS participation in the October 6, 1986 federal-state police raid against premises and persons associated with the political movement of Lyndon H. LaRouche in Leesburg, Virginia. This raid was a leading part of the Bush machine's long term effort to eliminate centers of political opposition to Bush's 1988 presidential bid. And LaRouche had been a key adversary of Bush dating back to the 1979-80 New Hampshire primary campaign, as we will shortly document.

Bush also joined the board of Purolator Oil Company in Rahway, New Jersey where his crony, Wall Street raider Nicholas Brady (later Bush's Secretary of the Treasury) was the chairman. Bush also joined the board of Eli Lilly & Co., a very large and very sinister pharmaceutical company. The third board Bush joined was that of Texas Gulf Inc. Bush's total 1977 rakeoff from the four companies with which he was involved was $112,000, according to Bush's 1977 tax return.

During this time, Bush became a director of Baylor Medical College, a trustee of Trinity Medical College in San Antonio, and a trustee of Philips Academy in Andover. He was also listed as an adjunct professor at Rice University.

Bush also found time line his pockets in a series of high-yield deals that begin to give us some flavor of what would later be described as the "financial excesses of the 1980's" in which Bush's circle was to play a decisive role.

A typical Bush venture of this period was Ponderosa Forest Apartments, a highly remunerative speculative play in real estate. Ponderosa bought up a 180-unit apartment complex near Houston that was in financial trouble, gentrified the interiors, and hiked the rents. Horace T. Ardinger, a Dallas real estate man who was among Bush's partners in this deal described the transaction as "a good tax gimmick...and a typical Texas joint venture offering." According to Bush's tax returns from 1977 through 1985, the Ponderosa partnership accrued to Bush a paper loss of $225,160 which allowed him to avoid payment of some $100,000 in federal taxes alone, plus a direct profit of over $14,000 and a capital gain of $217,278. This type of windfall represents precisely the form of real estate swindle that contributed to the Texas real estate and banking crisis of the mid-1980's. The deal illustrates one of the important ways in which the federal tax base has been eroded through real estate scams. We also see why it is no surprise that the one fiscal innovation which has earned Bush's sustained attention is the idea of a reduction in the capital gains tax to allow those who engage in swindles like these to pay an even smaller federal tax bite. It is also typical of the Bush style that Fred M. Zeder, the promoter of the Ponderosa deal, was made US Ambassador to the Marshall Island in the South Pacific by the Bush Administration after he had contributed over $30,000 to Bush's 1988 campaign.

In 1978, Bush crony and cabinet member Robert Mosbacher, a veteran of the Lietdtke-CREEP money transfers, devised a scheme to set up a partnership to buy some small barges to transport petroleum products. Bush invested $50,000 in this deal, which had netted him some $115,373 in income by 1988, when Bush's share had increased in value to $60,000. In 1988 it was forecast that this investment would continue to pay $20,000 per year for the foreseeable future. James Baker III also sank $50,000 into this deal, and has been rewarded by similar handsome payoffs. Mosbacher commented that this barge caper had turned out to be a "very, very good investment."

But Bush's main preoccupation during these years was to assemble a political machine with which he could bludgeon his way to power. After his numerous frustrations of the past, Bush was resolved to organize a campaign that would go far beyond the innocuous exercise of appealing for citizens' votes. If such a machine were actually to succeed in seizing power in Washington, tendencies towards the edification of an authoritarian police state with marked totalitarian tendencies would inevitably increase.

But first let us review some of Bush's public activities during the pre-campaign interlude. In April, 1978 Bush appeared along with E. Henry Knoche and William Colby at Senate hearings on proposed legislation to modify the methods by which Congress exercised oversight of the intelligence agencies. The bill being discussed had a provision to outlaw assassinations of foreign officials and to punish violations with life in prison. The measure would also have prohibited covert operations involving "torture," "the creation of epidemics of diseases," and "the creation of food or water shortages or floods." Bush and Knoche both objected to the ban on assassinations (which Colby accepted), and both were critical of the entire bill. Knoche said his fear was that if enacted the bill might create "a web woven so tight around the average intelligence officer that you're going to deaden his creativity."

Bush denounced the Senate bill for its "excessive" reporting requirements. "The Congress should be informed, fully informed, but it ought not to micro-manage the intelligence business," protested Bush. He was especially indignant about a provision that would have required notification of the House and Senate oversight committees every time a US intelligence agency wanted to stipulate an agreement with a foreign intelligence agency, or domestic security service. "I don't believe that kind of intimate disclosure is essential," said Bush. Bush was convinced that "some US sources are drying up because foreign services don't believe the US Congress can keep secrets." This, from the man who had leaked the Team B report to the New York Times, and then had gone on television to say that he was appalled.

Bush urged the senators to drop language in the bill that would have severed the DCI post from the CIA. Bush warned vehemently that an intelligence czar sitting in the White House "and separated from his CIA troops...would be virtually isolated. He needs the CIA as his principal source of support to be most effective. And the CIA needs its head to be the chief foreign intelligence adviser to the president." [fn 3]

A few months later he participated in a singular round table organized by the Washington Quarterly of the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies with none other than Michael Ledeen as moderator. (Ledeen, who vaunted intimate connections to Israeli intelligence, was later one of the central figures in the mid-1980's acceleration of US arms shipments to Iran.) In this round table, Bush was joined by former DCIs Richard Helms and William Colby as well as by Ray Cline.

According to Bush there was "an underlying feeling on the part of the American people that we must have clandestine services." Above all he regretted "that some of the thrust of the legislation before the Hill is still flogging CIA for something that was long corrected, or that never happened." Even Hollywood was against the CIA, Bush thought, "and you get movies and television programs and it has a very sinister kind of propagandistic overtone." Here Bush wanted to defend his own record: "I'll give you one example that happened on my watch: One of these rather ribald magazines described a purported destabilization effort against [Prime Minister Michael] Manley in Jamaica." "But," said Bush with that self-righteous whine, "it never happened. There wasn't any truth in it."

An important question came from Ledeen: "Is the agency penetrated?" Bush was ready to admit that it might be: "Nobody is saying that there's nothing." "How about double agents?" Ledeen wanted to know. "Well, obviously we've had double agents but that's not officers of the agency," was Bush's ambiguous reply. Bush went on:

The great Soviet agents were recruited when the Soviet represented something ideologically. When they represented antifascism. That's when they got people like Philby. But the fact is that we've just went [sic] through a period in which we had hundreds of thousands of our young people out screaming against their government. Now they were totally opposed to their government, but they weren't pro-Soviet.
Bush and Cline joined to praise the "benign covert political action" of the 1940's and 1950's by which the CIA sent US intellectuals to Europe to talk to the Europeans. "We essentially won that ideological battle," said Bush.[fn 4]

When Carter and Brzezinski played their treacherous China card in December, 1978, Bush was quick, despite his own miserable record on this issue, to launch a pre-election attack on Carter with an op-ed in the Washington Post. Bush harkened back to the day in December, 1975 (although Bush wrote October) when he, Ford, and Kissinger had sat down with Chairman Mao. From Mao's remarks that day, Bush says, it was clear that Red China was obsessed with the Soviet threat, and was willing to wait indefinitely for China to be reunited with Taiwan. Now Carter had broken diplomatic relations with Taiwan, begun the pullout of US forces, abrogated the US-Taiwan security treaty, and was winding down arms assistance to Taiwan. Bush was the man who had presided over the ejection of the Republic of China from the UN. It was a cheap shot for him to quote Peter Berger about the primieval principle of morality that "one must not deliver one's friends to their enemies." After Bush's support for Deng Xiao-ping after the 1989 Tein An Men massacre, the hypocrisy is even more obvious.

But Bush had some other points to make against Carter. One was that when "black moderates in Rhodesia arranged with Prime Minister Ian Smith for the transfer of power and free elections, we [meaning Carter] threw in our lot with Marxist radicals."

Then there was the Middle East, where "the Israelis announced that they were prepared to accept a final plan drafted with American help. But when Egypt raised the ante, we modified our position to accept the new Egyptian proposals, and when the Israelis refused to go along, we publicly kicked them in the shins." Even the Carter of Camp David, who split the Arab front with a separate peace between Israel and Egypt, was not Zionist enough for Bush.

Apart from these public pronouncements, Bush was at work assembling a campaign machine.

One of the central figures of the Bush effort would be James Baker III, Bush's friend of ten years' standing. Baker's power base derived first of all from his family's Houston law firm, Baker & Botts, which was founded just after the end of the Civil War by defeated partisans of the Confederate cause. Judge Peter Gray and Walter Browne Botts established a law partnership in 1866, and this became Baker & Botts during the 1870's when James Baker (the great-grandfather of Bush's Secretary of State) joined the firm.

Baker & Botts founder Peter Gray had been Assistant Treasurer of the Confederate States of America and financial supervisor of the CSA's "Trans-Mississippi Department." Gray, acting on orders of Confederate Secretary of State Robert Toombs, financed the subversive work of Confederate general Albert Pike among the Indian tribes of the southwest. The close of the war in 1865 had found Pike hiding in Canada, and Toombs in exile in England. Pike was excluded from the general US amnesty for rebels because he was thought to have induced Indians to commit massacres and war crimes.

Pike and Toombs re-established the "Southern Jurisdiction" of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, of which Pike had been the leader in the slave states before the war of the rebellion. Pike's deputy, one Phillip C. Tucker, returned from Scottish Rite indoctrination in Great Britain to set up a Scottish rite lodge in Houston in the spring of 1867. Tucker designated Walter Browne Botts and his relative Benjamin Botts as the leaders of this new Scottish Rite lodge. [fn 5]

The policy of the Scottish Rite was to regroup unreconstructed Confederates to secure the disenfranchisement of black citizens and to promote Anglophile domination of finance and business. By the beginning of the twentieth century, there were two great powers dominating Texas: on the one hand, the railroad empire of E.H. Harriman, served by the law firm of Baker & Botts; and on the other, the British-trained political operative Colonel Edward M. House, the controller of President Woodrow Wilson. The close relation between Baker & Botts and the Harriman interests has remained in place down to the present. And since the time that Captain Baker founded the Texas Commerce Bank, the Baker family has helped the London-New York axis run the Texas banking system.

In 1901, the discovery of large oil deposits in Texas offered great promise for the future economic development of the state, but also attracted the Anglo-American oil cartel. The Baker family law firm in Texas, like the Bush and Dulles families in New York, was aligned with the Harriman-Rockefeller cartel. Robert S. Lovett, a Baker & Botts partner from 1882 on, later became the chairman of Harriman's Union Pacific Railroad and chief counsel to E.H. Harriman. The Bakers were prominent in supporting eugenics and utopian-feudalist social engineering.

Captain James A. Baker, so the story goes, the grandfather of the current boss of Foggy Bottom, solved the murder of his client William Marsh Rice and took control of Rice's huge estate. Baker used the money to start Rice University and became the chairman of the school's board of trustees. Baker sought to create a center of diffusion of racist eugenics, and for this purpose brought in Julian Huxley of the infamous British oligarchical family to found the biology program at Rice starting in 1912. [fn 6] Huxley was the vice president of the British Eugenics Society and actually helped to organize "race science" programs for the Nazi Interior Ministry, before becoming the founding Director General of UNESCO in 1946-48.

James A. Baker III was born April 28, 1930, in the fourth generation of his family's wealth. Baker holdings have included Exxon, Mobil, Atlantic Richfield, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of Indiana, Kerr-McGee, Merck, and Freeport Minerals. Baker also held stock in some large New York banks during the time that he was negotiating the Latin American debt crisis in his capacity as Secretary of the Treasury. [fn 7]

Baker grew up in patrician surroundings. His social profile has been described as "Tex-prep." Like his father, James III attended the Hill School near Philadelphia, and then went on to Princeton, where he was a member of Ivy Club, a traditional preserve of Eastern Anglophile Liberal Establishment oligarchs. Nancy Reagan was enchanted by Baker's sartorial elegance and smooth savoir-faire. Nancy liked Baker far more than she ever did Bush, and this was a key advantage for Bush-Baker during the factional struggles of the Reagan years.

Baker & Botts maintains an "anti-nepotism" policy, so James III became a boss of Houston's Andrews, Kurth, Campbell, & Jones law firm, a satellite of Baker & Botts. Baker's relation to Bush extends across both law firms: in 1977, Baker & Botts partner Blaine Kerr became president of Pennzoil, and in 1979, Baker & Botts partner B. J. Mackin became chairman of Zapata Corporation. Baker & Botts have always represented Zapata, and are often listed as counsel for Schlumberger, the oil services firm. James Baker and his Andrews, Kurth partners were the Houston attorneys for First International Bank of Houston when George Bush was chairman of the bank's executive committee.

During the 1980 campaign, Baker became the chairman of the Reagan-Bush campaign committee, while fellow Texan Bob Strauss was chairman of the Carter-Mondale campaign. But Baker and Strauss were at the very same time business partners in Herman Brothers, one of America's largest beer distributors. Bush Democrat Strauss later went to Moscow as Bush's ambassador to the USSR and later, to Russia.

In 1990, the New York Times offered a comparison of Bush and Baker, and sought to convey the impression that Baker was the far more devious of the duo:

When you sit across from the President, it is like holding an X-ray plate up to the light. You can see if he feels defensive or annoyed or amused. He is often distracted, toying with something on his desk. His thoughts start and stop and start again, as though he had call-waiting in his brain. There is a spontaneity and warmth about him.

When you sit across from Baker, it is like looking at a length of black silk. There is a stillness, as Baker holds you locked in his gaze and Southern comfort voice, occasionally flashing a rather wintry smile...He has a compelling presence, but he is such a fox that you feel the impulse to check your wallet when you leave his office. [fn 8]

Another leading Bush supporter was Ray Cline. During 1979 it was Ray Cline who had gone virtually public with a loose and informal but highly effective campaign network mainly composed of former intelligence officers. Cline had been the CIA Station Chief in Taiwan from 1958 to 1962. He had been Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1962 to 1966, and had then gone on to direct the intelligence gathering operation at the State Department. Cline became a de facto White House official during the first Bush Administration, and wrote the White House boiler plate entitled "National Security Strategy of the United States" under which the Gulf war was carried out.

Cline later said that his approach to Bush's 1979-80 primary campaign was to "organize something like one of my old CIA staffs." "I found there was a tremendous constituency for the CIA when everyone in Washington was still urinating all over it," commented Cline to the Washington Post of March 1, 1980. "It's panned out almost too good to be true. The country is waking up just in time for George's candidacy."

Heading up the Bush campaign muck-raking "research" staff was Stefan Halper, Ray Cline's son in law and a former official of the Nixon White House.

A member of Halper's staff was a CIA veteran named Robert Gambino. Gambino had held the sensitive post of director of the CIA's Office of Security. It will be recalled that the Office of Security constitutes the interface between Langley and state and local police departments all across the United States with whom it must cooperate to protect the security of CIA buildings and CIA personnel, as for example in cases in which these latter may run afoul of the law. The Office of Security is reputed to possess extensive files on the domestic activities of American citizens. David Aaron, Brzezinski's deputy at the Carter National Security Council, recalled that some high Carter officials were "upset" that Gambino had gone to work for the Bush camp. According to Aaron, "several [CIA] people took early retirement and went to work for Bush's so-called security staff. The thing that upset us, was that a guy who has been head of security for the CIA has been privy to a lot of dossiers, and the possibility of abuse was quite high, although we never heard of any occasion when Gambino called someone up and forced them to do something for the campaign." [fn 9]

Other high-level spooks active in the Bush campaign included Lt. General Sam V. Wilson and Lt. General Harold A. Aaron, both former directors of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Another enthusiastic Bushman was retired General Richard Stillwell, formerly the CIA's Chief of Covert Operations for the Far East. The former Deputy Director for Operations Theodore Shackley was also on board, reportedly as a speechwriter, but more likely for somewhat heavier work.

According to one estimate, at least 25 former intelligence officials worked directly for the Bush campaign. As Bill Peterson of the Washington Post wrote on March 1, 1980, "Simply put, no presidential campaign in recent memory--perhaps ever--has attracted as much support from the intelligence community as the campaign of former CIA Director George Bush."

Further intelligence veterans among the Bushmen were Daniel C. Arnold, the former CIA Station chief in Bangkok, Thailand, who retired early to join the campaign during 1979. Harry Webster, a former clandestine agent, became a member of Bush's paid staff for the Florida primary. CIA veteran Bruce Rounds was Bush's "director of operations" during the key New Hampshire primary. Also on board with the Bushmen was Jon R. Thomas, a former clandestine operative who had been listed as a State Department official during a tour of duty in Spain, and who later worked on terrorism and drug trafficking at the State Department. Andrew Falkiewicz, the former spokesman of the CIA in Langley, attended some of Bush's pre-campaign brainstorming sessions as a consultant on foreign policy matters. According to an unnamed former CIA deputy director for intelligence who allegedly talked to Rolling Stone magazine in March, 1980, "the Bush campaign is, I think, embarrassed by all the crazy spooks running around trying to help them." Another retired top spook told the Washington Post that "there is a very high level of support for George Bush among current and former CIA employees."

Some worried that all this intelligence community support might have damaging by-products for Bush. "I can see the headlines [now]," said one former clandestine officer during the primaries: "BUSH SPRINKLES CAMPAIGN WITH FORMER SPOOKS."

One leading bastion of the Bushmen was predictably David Atlee Philip's AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Jack Coakley was a former director and Bush's campaign coordinator for Virginia. He certified that at the AFIO annual meeting in the fall of 1979, he counted 190 "Bush for President" buttons among 240 delegates to the convention. [fn 10]

During the course of the 1984 Debategate investigation, a number of Bush campaign activists were depositioned about possible abuses in the course of this campaign. Most revealing was the sworn statement of Angelo Codevilla, a former naval intelligence officer who was a fixture for a number of years on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Under questioning by John Fitzgerald, who was acting as counsel for the House subcommittee chaired by Rep. Don Albosta, Codevilla responded:

I am aware that active duty agents of the Central Intelligence Agency worked for the George Bush primary campaign. However, I cannot now remember some of these persons and I am not at liberty to identify others by names or positions because to do so would compromise their cover. [fn 11]

But before signing this as an affidavit, Codevilla crossed out "am aware" to "have heard" in the first sentence. In the second sentence, he cancelled "identify others" and put in "discuss these rumors." Active intelligence community officers who might have worked for the Bush campaign while still drawing their federal payroll checks were likely to have been in violation the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity.

Baker was the obvious choice to be Bush's campaign manager. He had served Bush in this function in the failed senate campaign of 1970. During the Ford years, Baker had advanced to become Deputy Secretary of Commerce. Baker had been the manager of Ford's failed 1976 campaign. Bringing Baker into the Bush campaign meant that he could bring with him many of the Ford political operatives and much of the Ford political apparatus and volunteers in a number of states. In the 1978, Baker had attempted to get himself elected attorney general of Texas, but had been defeated. David Keene was political advisor. As always, no Bush campaign would be complete without Robert Mosbacher heading up the national finance operation. Mosbacher's experience, as we have seen, reached back to the Bill Lietdke conveyances to Maurice Stans of the CREEP in 1972. Teaming up with Mosbacher were Fred Bush in Houston and Jack Sloat in Washington.

With the help of Baker and Mosbacher, Bush began to set up political campaign committees that could be used to convoy quasi-legal "soft money" into his campaign coffers. This is the classic stratagem of setting up political action committees that are registered with the Federal Election Commission for the alleged purpose of channeling funds into the campaigns of deserving Republican (or Democratic) candidates. In reality, almost all of the money is used for the presidential candidate's own staff, office, mailings, travel, and related expenses. Bush's principal vehicle for this type of funding was called the Fund for Limited Government. During the first 6 months of 1987, this group collected $99,000 and spent $46,000, of which only $2,500 went to other candidates. The rest was in effect spent to finance Bush's campaign preparations. Bush had a second PAC called the Congressional Leadership Committee, with Senator Howard Baker and Congressman John Rhodes on the board, which did manage to dole out the princely sum of $500 to each of 21 GOP office-seekers.

The cash for the Fund for Limited Government came from 54 fat cat contributors, half of them in Texas, including Pennzoil, Haggar Slacks, McCormick Oil and Gas, Houston Oil and Minerals, and Texas Instruments. Money also came in from Exxon, McDonnell-Douglas, and Clairol cosmetics. [fn 12]

Despite the happy facade, Bush's campaign staff was plagued by turmoil and morale problems, leading to a high rate of turnover in key posts. One who has stayed on all along has been Jennifer Fitzgerald, a British woman born in 1932 who had been with Bush since at least Beijing. Fitzgerald later worked in Bush's vice-presidential office, first as appointments secretary, and later as executive assistant. According to some Washington wags, she controlled access to Bush in the same way that Martin Bormann controlled access to Hitler. According to Harry Hurt, among former Bush staffers "Fitzgerald gets vituperative reviews. She has been accused of bungling the 1980 presidential campaign by canceling Bush appearances at factory sites in favor of luncheon club speeches. Critics of her performance say she misrepresents staff scheduling requests and blocks access to her boss." "A number of the vice president's close friends worry that 'the Jennifer problem' --or the appearance of one-- may inhibit Bush's future political career. 'There's just something about her that makes him feel good,' says one trusted Bush confidant. 'I don't think it's sexual. I don't know what it is. But if Bush ever runs for president again, I think he's going to have to make a change on that score.'" [fn 13]

Bush formally announced his presidential candidacy on May 1, 1979. One of Bush's themes was the idea of a "Union of the English-Speaking Peoples." Bush was asked later in his campaign by a reporter to elaborate on this. Bush stated at that time that "the British are the best friend America has in the world today. I believe we can benefit greatly from much close collaboration in the economic, military, and political spheres. Sure I am an Anglophile. We should all be. Britain has never done anything bad to the United States." [fn 14]

Jules Witcover and Jack Germond, two experienced observers of presidential campaigns, observed that Bush's was the first campaign in history to have peaked before it ever started.

During the summer of 1979, Bush grappled with what has since been called "the Vision Thing." What could he tell the voters when he was asked why he wanted to be president? During that summer Bush invited experts on various areas of policy to come to Kennebunkport and give him the benefit of their views. Bush met with these experts from business, academia, and government in seminars three days a week from 9 to 5 over a period of six weeks. Many were invited to the family house at Walker's Point for lunch. In the evenings there were barbecues and cocktails on the ocean front.

It is an indication of the extraordinary intellectual aridity of George Bush that these blab sessions produced almost no identifiable policy ideas for Bush's 1980 campaign. Bush had wanted to avoid the fate of Ted Kennedy had been widely ridiculed when he had proven unable to respond to the question of why he wanted to be president. But Bush never developed an answer to this question either.

Or, more precisely, it was the imperative to avoid any identifiable idea content that emerged as Bush's strategy. For, just as much as Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, George Bush was one of the pioneers of the hollow, demagogic, television-based campaign style that had become dominant during the 1980's, greasing the skids to political atrophy and national decline.

Together with James Baker III, always the idea man of the Bush-Baker combo, the Bush campaign studied Jimmy Carter's success story of 1980. They knew they were starting with a "George Who?", virtually unknown to most voters. First of all, Bush would ape the Carter strategy of showing up in Iowa and New Hampshire early and offer, attempting to ingratiate himself with the little people by assiduous cultivation. Bush spent 27 days in Iowa before the caucuses there, and 54 days in New Hampshire.

During this period, Bush was overheard telling a New York Times reporter that he didn't want to "resist the Carter analogy." Bush readily admitted that he was "an elitist candidate." "If Carter could do it with no credentials, I can do it with fantastic credentials," Bush blurted out. He conceded that the fact that nobody knew anything about his "fantastic credentials" was a little discouraging. "But they will! They will!"

Thanks to Mosbacher's operation, the Bush campaign would advance on a cushion of money-- he spent $1.3 million for the Illinois primary alone. The biggest item would be media buys- above all television. This time Bush brought in Baltimore media expert Robert Goodman, who designed a series of television shorts that were described as "fast-moving, newsfilmlike portraits of an energetic, dynamic Bush creating excitement and moving through crowds, with an upbeat musical track behind him. Each of the advertisements used a slogan that attempted to capitalize on Bush's experience, while hitting Carter's wretched on-the-job performance and Ronald Reagan's inexperience on the national scene: 'George Bush,' the announcer intoned, 'a President we won't have to train.'" [fn 15] One of these shorts showed Bush talking about inflation to a group of approving factory workers. In another, Bush climbed out of a private plane at a small airport, surrounded by supporters with straw hats and placards and yelled "We're going all the way" to the accompaniment of applause and music Goodman hoped would sound "presidential." The inevitable footage of Bush getting fished out of the drink off Chichi Jima shootdown was also aired.

Network camera crews were offered repeated chances to film Bush while he was jogging. This was an oblique way of pointing out that Reagan would be 70 years old by the beginning of the primary season. "I'm up for the 1980's," was a favorite Bush quote for interviews. There were no attacks on Reagan; indeed Bush was seeking to come across as a moderate conservative, in order first to fend off the challenge of Sen. Howard Baker, who was also running, and to gain on Reagan.

In a rather slavish imitation of the Carter victory scenario, Bush also chose to imitate what had been called Carter's "fuzziness," or unwillingness to say anything of substance about issues. Bush was the unabashed demagogue, telling Diane Sawyer of CBS when he would finally talk about the issues: "if they can show me how it will get me more votes someplace, I'll be glad to do it."

Bush talked vaguely about tax cuts to spur business and investment; he was unhappy about the "decline in America's stature overseas" due to Carter; he was against excessive government regulation. Military aggression overseas has never been far below the surface of Bush's psyche; in 1979 he talked about the need to overcome the post-Vietnam guilt syndrome. He was, he proclaimed, "sick and tired of hearing people apologize for America." Bush was striving to appear as similar to Reagan, but more moderate in packaging, younger and more dynamic, and above all, a Winner.

But in the midst of Bush's summer, 1979 preparations for his presidential bid, there was one very serious moment of preparation that addressed the some real issues, albeit in a way virtually invisible from the campaign trail. This was a conference Bush attended at the Jonathan Institute in Jerusalem on July 2-5. Instead of mugging for the television cameras while eating hotdogs on the Fourth of July at a picnic in Iowa or New Hampshire, Bush journeyed to Israel for what was billed as the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism.

The Jonathan Institute had been founded earlier the same year by Benjamin Netanyahu, a young crazy of the Likud block, in memory of his brother Jonathan, who had been killed during the Israeli raid on Entebbe in 1976. The Jonathan Institute was a semi-covert propaganda operation and could only be defined as a branch of the Israeli government. The committee sponsoring this conference on terrorism was headed up by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, followed by Moshe Dayan and many other prominent Israeli politicians and generals.

The US delegation to the conference was divided according to partisan lines, but was generally united by sympathy for the ideas and outlook of the Bush-Cherne Team B. The Democratic delegation was led by the late Senator Henry Jackson of Washington. This group included civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, plus Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter of Commentary Magazine, two of the most militant and influential Zionist neoconservatives. Ben Wattenberg of the American Enterprise Institute was also on hand. Although the group that arrived with Scoop Jackson were supposedly Democrats, most of them would support Reagan-Bush in the November, 1980 election.

Then there was the GOP delegation, which was led by George Bush. Here were Bush activist Ray Cline, Major General George Keegan, a stalwart supporter of Team B, and Professor Richard Pipes of Harvard, the leader of Team B. Here were Senator John Danforth of Missouri and Brian Crozier, a "terrorism expert." Pseudo-intellectual columnist George Will ("Will the Shill") was also on hand, as was Rome-based journalist Claire Sterling, who had been active in covering up the role of Henry Kissinger in the 1978 assassination of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro, and who would later be blind to indications of an Anglo-American role in the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

International participation was also notable: Annie Kriegel and Jacques Soustelle of France, Lord Alun Chalfont, Paul Johnson, and Robert Moss of the United Kingdom, and many leading Israelis.

The keynote statement was made by Prime Minister Begin, who told the participants that they should spread through the world the main idea of the conference, which was that all terrorism in the world, whatever its origin, is controlled by the Soviet Union. Ray Cline made a major presentation, developing his theory that terrorism should not be seen as a spontaneous response to oppression by frustrated minorities, but rather only as the preferred tool of Soviet bloc subversion. For Cline, the great watershed was an alleged 1969 decision by the Poliburo in Moscow to use the Palestine Liberation Organization as the Kremlin's fifth column in the Middle East, and specifically to subsidize PLO terrorist attacks with money, training, and communications provided by the KGB. For Cline, the PLO, despite the fact that it enjoyed the support of the vast majority of Palestinians, was merely a synthetic tool of Soviet intelligence. It was a very convenient argument for Zionist hardliners.

Richard Pipes then drew on Russian history to illustrate the singular thesis that terrorism was a product of Russian history, and of no other history. "The roots of Soviet terrorism, indeed of modern terrorism," according to Pipes, "date back to 1879...It marks the beginning of that organization which is the source of all modern terrorist groups, whether they be named the Tupamaros, the Baader-Meinhof group, the Weathermen, Red Brigades or PLO. I refer you to the establishment in 1879 of a Congress in the small Russian town of Lipesk, of an organization known as Narodnaya Volya, or the People's Will."

There is no doubt that the KGB and its east bloc satellite agencies were massively involved in running terrorism, as former Soviet bloc archives opened after 1989 definitively show. But is it really true that terrorism was invented in Lipesk in 1879? And is terrorism really the absolute monopoly of the KGB? Did that include Menachem Begin, who blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem? Did it include other members of the Irgun and Stern gangs? Everyone present seems to have found good reasons for believing that the ludicrous thesis of the conference was true. For the Israelis, it was a new reason not to negotiate with the PLO, who could be classed as Soviet terrorist puppets. For the immediate needs of Bush's election-year demagogy, it was an argument that could be used against Carter's equally demagogic "human rights" sloganeering. More broadly, it could be used to allege a clear and present universal danger that made it mandatory to close the book once and for all on the old Church committee-Pike committee mentality. All the participants, from CIA, MI-6, SDECE, Mossad, and so on down the line could readily agree that only the KGB, and never they themselves ran terrorism. Hardly ever.

Begin had been a terrorist himself; Soustelle had been in the French OAS during the Algerian war where the SDECE had committed monumental crimes against humanity; Bush and Cline were godfathers of the Enterprise; the Mossad was reputed to have an agent on the Abu Nidal central committee, and also exercised influence over the Italian Red Brigades; while the chaps from MI-6 had the longest and bloodiest imperial records. But Ian Black wrote in the Jerusalem Post wrote that "the conference organizers expect the event to initiate a major anti-terrorist offensive." In Paris, the right-wing L'Aurore ran an article under the headline "Toujours le KGB," which praised the conference for having confirmed that when it comes to international terrorism, the Soviets pull all the strings. [fn 16]

There were skeptics, even in the US intelligence community, where Ray Cline's monomania was recognized. At the 1980 meeting of AFIO, Cline was criticized by Howard Bane, the former CIA station chief in Moscow, who suggested "We've got to get Cline off this Moscow control of terrorists. It's divisive. It's not true. There's not one single but of truth to it." A retired CIA officer named Harry Rostizke put in: "It's that far-right stuff, that's all. It's horseshit."

Nevertheless, the absurd thesis of the Jerusalem Conference was soon regurgitated by several new top officials of the Reagan Administration. In Alexander Haig's first news conference as Secretary of State on January 28, 1981, Haig thundered that the Kremlin was trying to "foster, support, and expand" terrorist activity worldwide through the "training, funding, and equipping" of terrorist armies. Haig made it official that "international terrorism will take the place of human rights" as the central international concern of the Reagan Administration. And that meant the KGB.

During 1978 and 1979, the Carter Administration deliberately toppled the Shah of Iran, and deliberately replaced him with Khomeini. The US had shipped arms to the Shah, and never stopped such shipments, despite the advent of Khomeini and the taking of US hostages. The continuity of the arms deliveries, sometimes mediated through Israel, would later lead into the Iran-contra affair. In the meantime Bush and his partners in the Israeli Mossad had sealed a pact and signaled it in public with a new ideological smoke-screen that, they hoped, would cover a new world-wide upsurge in covert operations during the 1980's.

On November 3, 1979, Bush bested Sen. Howard Baker in a "beauty contest" straw poll taken at the Maine Republican convention in Portland. Bush won by a paper-thin margin of 20 votes out of 1,336 cast, and Maine was really his home state, but the Brown Brothers, Harriman networks at the New York Times delivered a frontpage lead story with a subhead that read "Bush gaining stature as '80 contender."

Bush's biggest lift of the 1980 campaign came when he won a plurality in the January 21 Iowa caucuses, narrowly besting Reagan, who had not put any effort into the state. At this point the Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones media operation went into high gear. That same night Walter Cronkite told viewers: "George Bush has apparently done what he hoped to do, coming out of the pack as the principal challenger to front-runner Ronald Reagan."

In the interval between January 21 and the New Hampshire primary of February 26, the Eastern Liberal Establishment labored mightily to put George Bush into power as president that same year. The press hype in favor of Bush was overwhelming. Newsweek's cover featured a happy and smiling Bush talking with his supporters: "BUSH BREAKS OUT OF THE PACK," went the headline. Smaller pictures showed a scowling Senator Baker and a decidedly un-telegenic Reagan grimacing before a microphone. The Newsweek reporters played up Bush's plan to redo the Carter script from 1976, and went on to assert that Bush's triumph in Iowa "raised the serious possibility that he could accomplish on the Republican side this year what Carter did in 1976--parlay a well-tuned personal appetite for on-the-ground campaigning into a Long March to his party's Presidential nomination." So wrote the magazine controlled by the family money of Bush's old business associate Eugene Meyer, and Bush was appreciative; doubly so for the reference to his old friend Mao.

Time, which had been founded by Henry Luce of Skull and Bones, showed a huge, grinning Bush and a smaller, very cross Reagan, headlined: "BUSH SOARS." The leading polls, always doctored by the intelligence agencies and other interests, showed a Bush boom: Lou Harris found that whereas Reagan had led Bush into Iowa by 32-6 nationwide, Bush had pulled even with Reagan at 27-27 within 24 hours after the Iowa result had become known.

Savvy Republican operatives were reported to be flocking to the Bush bandwagon. Even seasoned observers stuck their necks out; Witcover and Germond wrote in their column of February 22 that "a rough consensus is taking shape among moderate Republican politicians that George Bush may achieve a commanding position within the next three weeks in the contest for the Republican nomination. And those with unresolved reservations about Bush are beginning to wonder privately if it is even possible to keep an alternative politically alive for the late primaries."

Robert Healy of the Boston Globe stuck his neck out even further for the neo-Harrimanite cause with a forecast that "even though he is still called leading candidate in some places, Reagan does not look like he'll be on the Presidential stage much longer." It was even possible, Healy gushed that Bush "will go through 1980...without losing an important Presidential primary." William Safire of the New York Times claimed that his contacts with Republican insiders across the country had yielded "a growing suspicion that Reagan may once again be bypassed for the historic role...a general feeling that he may be a man whose cause may triumph, but whose own time may never come." [fn 17]

NBC's Brokaw started calling Reagan the "former front-runner." Tom Petit of the same network was more direct: "I would like to suggest that Ronald Reagan is politically dead." Once again the choice of pictures made Bush look good, Reagan bad.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:34 am

PART 2 OF 3

The Eastern Liberal establishment had left no doubt who its darling was: Bush, and not Reagan. In their arrogance, the Olympians had once again committed the error of confusing their collective patrician whim with real processes ongoing in the real world. The New Hampshire primary was to prove a devastating setback for Bush, in spite of all the hype the Bushman networks were able to crank out. How did it happen?

George Bush was of course a life-long member of the Skull and Bones secret society of Yale University, through which he advanced towards the freemasonic upper reaches of the Anglo-American establishment, towards those exalted circles of London, New York, and Washington in which the transatlantic destiny of the self-styled Anglo-Saxon master race is elaborated. The entrees provided by Skull and Bones membership would always be, for Bush, the most vital ones. But, in addition to such exalted feudal brotherhoods as Skull and Bones, the Anglo-American Establishment also maintains a series of broader-based elite organizations whose function is to manifest the hegemonic Anglo-American policy line to the broader layers of the establishment, including bureaucrats, businessmen, bankers, journalists, professors, and other such assorted retainers and stewards of power.

George Bush had thus found it politic over the years to become a member of the New York Council on Foreign Relations. By 1979, Bush was a member of the board of the CFR, where he sat next to his old patron Henry Kissinger. The President of the CFR during this period was Kissinger clone Winston Lord of the traditional Skull and Bones family.

George was also a member of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco, which had been founded by Ambrose Bierce after the Civil War to cater to the Stanfords, Huntingtons, Crockers, Hopkins, and the other nouveau-riche tycoons that had emerged from the gold rush. The Bohemian Club made a summer outing every year to its camp at Bohemian Grove, a secluded, 2,700 acre stand of majestic redwoods about 75 miles from San Francisco. A sign over the gate advises: "Spiders Weave Not Here." Up to 1,600 members, with the occasional foreign guest like German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, gather in mid-summer for freemasonic ceremonies featuring the ritual interment of "dull care", cavort in women's panty hose in femme impersonatuer theatricals, or better yet frolic in the nude near the banks of the Russian River. Herbert Hoover was a devoted regular, Eisenhower and Allen Dulles made cold war speeches there; Nixon and Reagan had discussed prospects for the 1968 election; Bechtel was always big; and Henry Kissinger loved to pontificate, all at the Grove.

Then there was the Trilateral Commission, founded by David Rockefeller in 1973-74. One branch from North America, one branch from Europe, one branch from Japan, with the resulting organism a kind of policy forum aiming at an international consensus among financier factions, under overall Anglo-American domination. The Trilateral Commission emerged at the same time that the Rockefeller-Kissinger interests perpetrated the first oil hoax. Some of its first studies were devoted to the mechanics of imposing authoritarian-totalitarian forms of government in the US, Europe, and Japan to manage the austerity and economic decay that would be the results of Trilateral policies. The Carter Administration was very overtly a Trilateral Administration. Popular hatred of Carter and his crew made the Trilaterals an attractive target; their existence had been publicized by Lyndon LaRouche's newspaper New Solidarity during 1973-74 in the context of a highly effective anti-Rockefeller campaign. Reagan promised that he would change all that, but his government was also dominated by the Trilateraloids.

Bush was also a member of the Alibi Club, a society of Washington insiders who gather periodically to assert the primacy of oligarchism over such partisan or other divisions that have been concocted to divert the masses. Bush had also joined another Washington association, the Alfalfa Club, with much the same ethos and a slightly different cast of characters. Bush was clearly a joiner. Later, in 1990, he would accept a bid to join Britain's Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew's in Scotland as the ninth honorary member in the history of that august body. This was also a tribute to George Herbert Walker, a past president of the US Golf Association, and to Prescott Bush, who was also president of the USGA.

As we saw briefly during Bush's senate campaign, the combination of bankruptcy and arrogance which was the hallmark of Eastern Liberal Establishment rule over the United States generated resentments which could make membership in such organizations a distinct political liability. That the issue exploded in New Hampshire during the 1979-80 campaign in such a way as to wreck the Bush campaign was largely the merit of Lyndon LaRouche, who had launched an outsider bid in the Democratic primary.

LaRouche conducted a vigorous campaign in New Hampshire during late 1979, focusing on the need to put forward an economic policy to undo the devastation being wrought by the 22% prime rate being charged by many banks as a result of the high-interest and usury policies of Paul Volcker, whom Carter had made the head of the Federal Reserve. But in addition to contesting Carter, Ted Kennedy, and Jerry Brown on the Democratic side, LaRouche's also noticed George Bush, whom LaRouche correctly identified as a liberal Republican in the Theodore Roosevelt-House of Morgan "Bull Moose" tradition of 1912. LaRouche also noticed that a majority of the wealthy "blue-blood" families who dominated New Hampshire political life were Bush backers. These were the families who could-- and often did-- organize ballot-box fraud on a vast scale.

During late 1980, the LaRouche campaign began to call attention to Bush as a threat against which other candidates, Republicans and Democrats, ought to unite. LaRouche attacked Bush as the spokesman for "the folks who live on the hill," for petty oligarchs and bluebloods who think that it is up to them to dictate political decisions to the average citizen. These broadsides were the first to raise the issue of Bush's membership in David Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission and in the New York Council on Foreign Relations. Soon Bush's membership in the Trilateral Commission became for many voters a symbol of Bush's plutocratic and arrogant claim on high public office as some kind of a "birthright," quite independent of the judgment of the voters.

While on the hustings in New Hampshire, especially in the Connecticut River valley in the western part of the state, LaRouche observed the high correlation between preppy, liberal Republican blue-blood support for Bush and mental pathology. As LaRouche wrote, "In the course of campaigning in New Hampshire during 1979 and 1980, I have encountered minds, especially in western New Hampshire, who represent, in a decayed sort of way, exactly the treasonous outlook our patriotic forefathers combated more than a century or more ago. Naturally, since I am an American Whig by family ancestry stretching back into the early 19th century, born a New Hampshire Whig, and a Whig Democrat by profession today, the blue-blooded kooks of certain "respected" Connecticut River Valley families get my dander up."

LaRouche's principal charge was that George Bush was a "cult-ridden kook, and more besides." He cited Bush's membership in "the secret society which largely controls George Bush's personal destiny, the Russell Trust Association, otherwise known as 'Skull and Bones.'" "Understanding the importance of the Russell Trust Association in Bush's adult life will help the ordinary citizen to understand why one must place a question mark on Bush's political candidacy today. Is George Bush a 'Manchurian candidate' ?"

After noting that the wealth of many of the Skull and Bones families was derived from the British East India Company's trade in black slaves and in opium, LaRouche went on to discuss "How Yale Turned 'Gay:'"

Today, visiting Yale, one sees male students walking hand in hand, lovers, blatantly, on the streets. One does not permit one's boy children to visit certain of the residences on or around that campus. There have been too many incidents to be overlooked. One is reminded of the naked wrestling in the mud which initiates to the Yale Skull and Bones society practice. One thinks of 'Skull and Boneser' William F. Buckley's advocacy of the dangerous, mind-wrecking subnstance, marijuana, and of Buckley's recent, publicly expressed sympathies for sodomy between male public school teachers and students. [...]

As the anglophile commitments [of the blueblood families] deepened and decayed, the families reflected this in part by a growth of the incidence of "homosexuality" for which British public schools and universities are rightly notorious. Skull and Bones is a concentrated expression of that moral and intellectual degeneration.

LaRouche pointed out that the symbol of Skull and Bones is the skull and crossbones of the pirate Jolly Roger with "322" placed under the crossbones. The 322 is thought to refer to 322 BC, the year of the death of the Athenian orator Demosthenes, whom LaRouche identified as a traitor to Athens and an agent provocateur in the service of King Philip of Macedonia. The Skull and Bones ceremony of induction and initiation is modeled on the death and resurrection fetish of the cult of Osiris in ancient Egypt. LaRouche described the so-called "Persian model" of oligarchical rule sought by Skull and Bones: "The 'oligarchical' or 'Persian' model was what might be called today a 'neo-Malthusian' sort of 'One World' scheme. Science and technological progress were to be essentially crushed and most of the world turned back into labor-intensive, 'appropriate' technologies. By driving civilization back towards barbarism in that way, the sponsors of the 'oligarchical model' proposed to ensure the perpetuation of a kind of 'one world' rule by what we would term today a 'feudal landlord' class. To aid in bringing about that 'ONE WORLD ORDER,' the sponsors of the project utilized a variety of religious cults. Some of these cults were designed for the most illiterate strata of the population, and, at the other extreme, other cults were designed for the indoctrination and control of the ruling elite themselves. The cult-organization under the Roman Empire is an excellent example of what was intended."

LaRouche went on:

Skull and Bones is no mere fraternity, no special alumni association with added mumbo-jumbo. It is a very serious, very dedicated cult-conspiracy against the US Constitution. Like the Cambridge Apostles, the initiate to the Skull and Bones is a dedicated agent of British secret intelligence for life. The fifteen Yale recruits added each year function as a powerful secret intelligence association for life, penetrating into our nation's intelligence services as well as related high levels of national policy-making.
Representatives of the cult who have functioned in that way include Averell Harriman, Henry Luce, Henry Stimson, Justice Potter Stewart, McGeorge Bundy, Rev. William Sloane Coffin (who recruited William F. Buckley), William Bundy, J. Richardson Dilworth, and George Bush...and many more notables. The list of related Yalies in the history of the CIA accounts for many of the CIA's failures and ultimate destruction by the Kennedy machine, including the reason Yalie James Jesus Angleton failed to uncover H. "Kim" Philby's passing of CIA secrets to Moscow.

Now, the ordinary citizen should begin to realize how George Bush became a kook-cultist, and also how so incompetent a figure as Bush was appointed for a while Director of Central Intelligence for the CIA. [...]

On the record, the ordinary citizen who knew something of Bush's policies and sympathies would class him as a "Peking sympathizer," hence a Communist sympathizer." [...]

Focusing on Bush's links with the Maoist regime, LaRouche stressed the recent genocide in Cambodia:

The genocide of three out of seven million Cambodians by the Peking puppet regime of Pol Pot (1975-78) was done under the direction of battalions of Peking bureaucrats controlling every detail of the genocide--the worst genocide of the present century to date. This genocide, which was aimed especially against all merely literate Cambodians as well as professional strata, had the purpose of sending all of Southeast Asia back into a "dark age." That "dark age" policy is the policy of the present Peking regime. That is the regime which Kissinger, Bush and Brzezinski admire so much as an "ally." [...]

The leading circles of London have no difficulty in recognizing what "Peking Communism" is. It is their philosophy, their policy in a Chinese mandarin culture form. To the extent that Yalies of the Skull and Bones sort are brought into the same culture as their superiors in London, such Yalies, like Bush, also have deep affection for "Peking Communism."

Like Bush, who supports neo-Malthusian doctrines and zero-growth and anti-nuclear policies, the Peking rulers are dedicated to a "one world" order in which the population is halved over the next twenty years (i.e. genocide far greater than Hitler's), and most of the survivors are driven into barbarism and cultism under the rule of parasitical blue blood families of the sort represented in the membership of the Skull and Bones.

In that sense, Bush is to be viewed without quibble as a "Manchurian candidate." From the vantage point of the US Constitution and American System of technological progress and capital formation, Bush is in effect an agent of the same evil philosophies and policies as the rulers of Peking.
That, dear friends, is not mere opinion; that is hard fact. [fn 18]

This leaflet represented the most accurate and devastating personal and political indictment Bush had ever received in his career. It was clear that LaRouche had Bush's number. The linking of Bush with the Cambodian genocide is all the more surprising since most of the evidence on Bush's role was at that time not in the public domain. Other aspects of LaRouche's comments are prophetic: Bush's "deep affection" for Chinese communism was to become an international scandal when Bush maintained his solidarity with Deng Xiao-ping after the Tien An Men massacre of 1989. Oustanding is LaRouche's reference to the "One World Order" which the world began to wonder about as the "New World Order" in the late summer of 1990, during the buildup for Bush's Gulf war; LaRouche had identified the policy content of the term way back in 1980.

Bush' handlers were stunned, then enraged. No one had ever dared to stand up to George Bush and Skull and Bones like this before. The Bush entourage wanted revenge. A vote fraud to deprive LaRouche of virtually all the votes cast in the Democratic primary, and transfer as many of them as possible to the Bush column, would be the first installment. Bush is vindictive, and he would not forget this attack by LaRouche. Later Bush would dispatch Howard and Tucker, two agents provocateurs from Midland, Texas to try to infiltrate pro-LaRouche's political circles. From 1986 on, Bush would emerge as a principal sponsor of a judicial vendetta by the Department of Justice that would see LaRouche and several of his supporters twice indicted, and finally convicted on a series of trumped-up charges. One week after George Bush's inauguration as president, his most capable and determined opponent, Lyndon LaRouche, would be thrown into federal prison.

But in the New Hampshire of 1979-80, LaRouche's attacks on Bush brought into precise focus many aspects of Bush's personality that voters found profoundly distasteful. LaRouche's attack sent out a shock wave, which, as it advanced, detonated one turbulent assault on Bush after the other. The spell was broken; Bush was vulnerable.

One who was caught up in the turbulence was William Loeb, the opinionated curmudgeon of Pride's Crossing, Massachusetts who was the publisher of the Manchester Union-Leader, the most important newspaper in the state. Loeb had supported Reagan in 1976 and was for him again in 1980. Loeb might have dispersed his fire against all of Reagan's Republican rivals, including Howard Baker, Robert Dole, Phil Crane, John Anderson, John Connally, and Bush. It was the LaRouche campaign which demonstrated to Loeb long before the Iowa caucuses that Bush was the main rival to Reagan, and therefore the principal target. As a result, Loeb would launch a barrage of slashing attacks on Bush. The other GOP contenders would be virtually ignored by Loeb.

Loeb had assailed Ford as "Jerry the Jerk" in 1976; his attacks on Sen. Muskie reduced the latter to tears during the 1972 primary. Loeb began to play up the theme of Bush as a liberal, as a candidate controlled by the "internationalist" (or Kissinger) wing of the GOP and the Wall Street bankers, always soft on communism and always ready to undermine liberty through Big Government here at home. A February editorial by Loeb reacted to Bush's Iowa success with these warnings of vote fraud:

The Bush operation in Iowa had all the smell of a CIA covert operation....Strange aspects of the Iowa operation [included] a long, slow count and then the computers broke down at a very convenient point, with Bush having a six per cent bulge over Reagan...Will the elite nominate their man, or will we nominate Reagan? [fn 19]

For Loeb the most damning evidence was Bush's membership in the Trilateral Commission, the creature of David Rockefeller and the international bankers. Carter and his administration had been packed with Trilateral members; there were indications that the establishment choice of Carter to be the next US president had been made at a meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Kyodo, Japan, where Carter had been introduced by Gianni Agnelli of Italy's FIAT motor company.

Loeb simplified all that: "George Bush is a Liberal" was the title of his editorial published the day before the primary. Loeb flayed Bush as a "spoiled little rich kid who has been wet-nursed to succeed and now, packaged by David Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission, thinks he is entitled to the White House as his latest toy."

Shortly before the election Loeb ran a cartoon entitled "Silk Stocking Republicans," which showed Bush at a cocktail party with a cigarette and glass in hand. Bush and the other participants, all male, were wearing women's panty-hose. This was the message that Loeb had apparently gotten from Bush's body language.

Paid political ads began to appear in the Union-Leader sponsored by groups from all over the country, some helped along by John Sears of the Reagan campaign. One showed a drawing of Bush juxtaposed with a Mr. Peanut logo: "The same people who gave you Jimmy Carter want now to give you George Bush," read the headline. The text described a "coalition of liberals, multinational corporate executives, big-city bankers, and hungry power brokers" led by David Rockefeller whose "purpose is to control the American government, regardless of which political party--Democrat or Republican-- wins the presidency this coming November!" "The Trojan horse for this scheme," the ad went on, "is Connecticut-Yankee-turned-Texas oilman George Bush- the out-of-nowhere Republican who openly admits he is using the same "game-plan" developed for Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential nomination campaign." The ad went on to mention the Council on Foreign Relations and the "Rockefeller money" that was the lifeblood of Bush's effort. [fn 20]

On February 24, Loeb trotted out Gen. Danny Graham, part of Bush's Team B operation, to talk about "George Bush's weakness as the head of the CIA and his complete failure to estimate correctly the Soviet threat." Bush had "stacked" the Team A-Team B debate, Graham was now claiming. Brent Scowcroft, Lt. Gen. Sam Wilson and Ray Cline all rushed to Bush's defense. "Any inference that George was too soft in his analysis of the Soviet Union was just dead wrong," responded Cline. "George is probably more skeptical and concerned about Soviet behavior than anyone in town." "Baloney!" was Graham's rejoinder.

Loeb hyped a demand from the National Alliance of Senior Citizens that Bush repudiate and apologize for a remark that Social Security had "become largely a welfare program." Here Bush was scourged for his "insensitivity to the independence of Social Security recipients." Right underneath was another article from a Union-Leader special correspondent in New York City reporting that Bush's delegates had been thrown off the ballot there by the Board of Elections because Bush's petitions "were illegal."

While all this was going on, Bush was prating about his "momentum" with campaign statements that focused exclusively on technicalities rather than offering reasons why anybody should support Bush. Right after the Iowa victory, here was Bush: "Clearly, we're going to come out of here with momentum...We appear to have beaten both Connally and Baker very, very badly. The numbers look substantial. And they are going to have to get some momentum going, and I'm coming out of here with momentum." A few weeks later, Bush was still repeating the same gibberish. Bush told Bob Schieffer of CBS about his advantage for New Hampshire:

What we'll have, you see, is momentum. We will have forward "Big Mo" on our side, as they say in athletics.

Big Mo?

Yeah, Bush said. "Mo," momentum.

While campaigning, Bush was asked once again about the money he received from Nixon's 1970 Townhouse slush fund. Bush's stock reply was that his friend Jaworski had cleared him: "The answer came back, clean, clean, clean," said Bush.

By now the Reagan camp had caught on that something important was happening, something which could benefit Reagan enormously. First Reagan's crony Edwin Meese piped up in oblique reference to the Trilateral membership of some candidates, including Bush: "all these people come out of an international economic industrial organization with a pattern of thinking on world affairs" that led to a "softening on defense." That played well, and Reagan decided he would pick up the theme. On February 7, 1980 Reagan observed in a speech that 19 key members of the Carter Administration, including Carter, were members of the Trilateral Commission. According to Reagan, this influence had indeed led to a "softening on defense" because of the Trilateraloids' belief that business "should transcend, perhaps, the national defense." [fn 21] This made sense: Bush would later help enact NAFTA and GATT. Voters whose fathers remembered the complaint of a beaten Bonesman, Robert Taft, in 1952-- that every GOP presidential candidate since 1936 had been chosen by Chase bank and the Rockefellers-- found this touched a responsive chord.

Bush realized that he was faced with an ugly problem. He summarily resigned from both the Trilateral Commission and from the New York Council on Foreign Relations. But his situation in New Hampshire was desperate. His cover had been largely blown. He stopped talking about the "Big Mo" and began babbling that he was "the issues candidate." This was an error in demagogy, also because Bush had nothing to say. When he tried to grapple with issues, he immediately came under fire from the press. Newsweek now found his solutions "vague." The Washington Post reported that Bush "has been ill-prepared to respond to simple questions about basic issues as they arise. When he was asked about President Carter's new budget this week, his replies were vague and contradictory." The Wall Street Journal agreed that Bush's positions were "short on detail. In economics his spending and tax priorities remain fuzzy. In foreign policy, he hasn't made it at all clear how he envisions using American military power to advance economic and political interests."

These were the press organs that had mounted the hype for Bush a few weeks before. Now the real polls, the ones that are generally not published, showed Bush collapsing, and even media that would normally have been rabidly pro-Bush were obliged to distance themselves from him in order to defend their own "credibility," meaning their future ability to ply the citizens with lies and disorientation. Part of Reagan's support reflected a desire by voters to stick it to the media.

Bush was now running scared, sufficiently so as to entertain the prospect of a debate among candidates. One was held in Manchester, where Bush tried to bait Reagan about an ethnic joke the latter had told. "I was stiffed," explained Reagan, and went into his avuncular act while Bush squirmed.

John Sears of the Reagan campaign signaled to the Nashua Telegraph, a paper published in southern New Hampshire, that Reagan would accept a one-on-one debate with Bush. James Baker was gulled: he welcomed the idea because the debate format would establish Bush as the main alternative to Reagan. "We thought it was the best thing since sliced bread," said Baker. Bob Dole complained to the Federal Elections Commission about being excluded, and the Reagan camp suggested that the debate be paid for out of campaign funds, half by Reagan and half by Bush. Bush refused to pay, but Reagan pronounced himself willing to defray the entire cost. Thus it came to pass that a bilateral Bush-Reagan debate was scheduled for February 23 at a gymnasium in Nashua.

For many, this evening would provide the epiphany of George Bush, a moment when his personal essence was made manifest.

Bush propaganda has always tried to portray the Nashua Telegraph debate as some kind of ambush planned by Reagan's diabolical campaign manager, John Sears. Established facts include that the Nashua Telegraph owner, blueblood J. Herman Pouliot, and Telegraph editor John Breen, were both close personal friends of former Governor Hugh Gregg, who was Bush's campaign director in the state. Bush had met with Breen before the debate. Perhaps it was Bush who was trying to set some kind of a trap for Reagan.

On the night of February 23, the gymnasium was packed with more than 2400 people. Bush's crony Rep. Barber Conable (or "Barbarian Cannibal," later Bush's man at the World Bank) was there with a group of Congressmen for Bush. Then the excluded GOP candidates, John Anderson, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and Phil Crane all arrived and asked to meet with Reagan and Bush to discuss opening the debate up to them as well. (Connally, also a candidate, was in South Carolina.) Reagan agreed to meet with them and went backstage into a small office with the other candidates. He expressed a general willingness to let them join in. But Bush refused to talk to the other candidates, and sat on the stage waiting impatiently for the debate to begin. John Sears told Peter Teeley that Sears wanted to talk to Bush about the debate format. "It doesn't work that way," hissed the liberal Teeley, who sent James Baker to talk with Sears. Sears said it was time to have an open debate. Baker passed the buck to the Nashua Telegraph.

From the room behind the stage where the candidates were meeting, the Reagan people sent US Senator Gordon Humphrey out to urge Bush to come and confer with the rest of them. "If you don't come now," said Humphrey to Bush, "you're doing a disservice to party unity." Bush whined in reply: "Don't tell me about unifying the Republican Party! I've done more for this party than you'll ever do! I've worked too hard for this and they're not going to take it away from me!" In the back room, there was a proposal that Reagan, Baker, Dole, Anderson, and Crane should go on stage together and announce that Reagan would refuse to debate unless the others were included.

"Everyone seemed quite irritated with Bush, whom they viewed as acting like a spoiled child," wrote an aide to Anderson later. [fn 22] Bush refused to even acknowledge the presence of Dole, who had helped him get started as GOP chairman; of Anderson and Crane, former House colleagues; and of Howard Baker, who had helped him get confirmed at the CIA. George kept telling anybody who came close that he was sticking with the original rules.

The audience was cheering for the four excluded candidates, demanding that they be allowed to speak. Publisher Pouliot addressed the crowd. "This is getting to sound more like a boxing match. In the rear are four other candidates who have not been invited by the Nashua Telegraph," said Pouliot. He was roundly booed. "Get them chairs," cried a woman, and she was applauded. Bush kept staring straight ahead into space, and the hostility of the crowd was focusing more and more on him.

Reagan started to speak, motivating why the debate should be opened up. Editor Breen, a rubbery-looking hack with a bald pate and glasses, piped up: "Turn Mr. Reagan's microphone off." There was pandemonium. "You Hitler!" screamed a man in the front row right at Breen.

Reagan replied: "I'm paying for this microphone, Mr. Green." The crowd broke out in wild cheers. Bush still stared straight ahead in his temper tantrum. Reagan spoke on to ask that the others be included, saying that exclusion was unfair. But he was unsure of himself, looking to Nancy Reagan for a sign as to what he should do. At the end Reagan said he would prefer an open debate, but that he would accept the bilateral format if that were the only way.

With that the other candidates left the podium in a towering rage. "There'll be another day, George," growled Bob Dole.

Reagan and Bush then debated, and those who were still paying attention agreed that Bush was the loser. A staff member later told Bush, "The good news is that nobody paid any attention to the debate. The bad news is you lost that, too."

But most people's attention, and the camera teams, had shifted to a music room where the ejected hopefuls were uniformly slamming Bush. Anderson asserted that "Clearly the responsibility for this whole travesty rests with Mr. Bush." "He refused to even come back here and talk." Howard Baker called Bush's behavior "the most flagrant attempt to return to the closed door I've ever seen." Baker was beside himself: "The punkest political device I ever saw!" "He wants to be king, " raged Bob Dole. "I have never been treated this way in my life. Where do we live? Is this America? So far as George Bush is concerned he'd better find another Republican Party if he can't talk to those of us who come up here." "He didn't want us to debate. He can't provide leadership for the Republican Party with that attitude," Dole kept repeating.

Film footage of Reagan grabbing the microphone while Bush stewed in his temper tantrum was all over local and network television for the next 48 hours. It was the epiphany of a scoundrel.

Now the Bush damage control apparatus went into that mode it finds so congenial: lying. A radio commercial was prepared under orders from James Baker for New Hampshire stations: here an announcer, not Bush, intoned that "at no time did George Bush object to a full candidate forum. This accusation by the other candidates is without foundation whatsoever."

Walter Cronkite heard a whining voice from Houston Texas as he interviewed Bush on his new program: "I wanted to do what I agreed to do," said the whine. "I wanted to debate with Ronald Reagan."

Haynes Johnson of the Washington Post caught something of the moment: "It was Bush's own personal response to the controversy that destroyed him. The self-portrait of George Bush drawn these last few days before the balloting was singularly unattractive. Bush came over as a petulant politician, lacking grace and dignity, and complaining peevishly about being 'sandbagged' and 'ambushed' by all the other nasty politicians. He resembled nothing more than a spoiled child whose toy has been taken away." That was the talk of New Hampshire through the primary.

Bush's handlers were resigned; some of them knew it was all over. "What can I say? He choked up," said one. "George does not have a sense of theater," noted another.

The New Hampshire primary was a debacle for Bush. Reagan won 50% of the votes to George's 23%, with 13% for Baker and 10% for Anderson. Big Mo had proven to be fickle. [fn 23]

As for the old curmudgeon William Loeb, he was dead with two years.

Bush played out the string through the primaries, but he won only four states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Michigan) plus Puerto Rico. Reagan took 29. Even in Pennsylvania, where the Bushmen outspent Reagan by a colossal margin, Reagan managed to garner more delegates even though Bush got more votes.

Sometime during the spring of 1980, Bush began attacking Reagan for his "supply-side" economic policies. Bush may have thought he still had a chance to win the nomination, but in any case he coined the phrase "voodoo economics." Bush later claimed that the idea had come from his British-born press secretary, Peter Teeley. Later, when the time came to ingratiate himself with Reagan's following, Bush claimed that he had never used the offending term. But, in a speech made at Carnegie-Mellon University on April 10, 1980, he attacked Reagan for "a voodoo economic policy." He compared Reagan's approach to something which former Governor Jerry Brown of California, "Governor Moonbeam," might have concocted.

Bush was able to keep going after New Hampshire because Mosbacher's machinations had given him a post-New Hampshire war chest of $3 million. The Reagan camp had spent two thirds of their legal total expenditure of $18 million before the primaries had begun. This had proven effective, but it meant that in more than a dozen primaries, Reagan could afford no television purchases at all. This allowed Bush to move in and smother Reagan under a cascade of greenbacks in a few states, even though Reagan was on his way to the nomination. That was the story in Pennsylvania and Michigan. The important thing for Bush now was to outlast the other candidates and to build his credentials for the vice presidency, since that was what he was now running for.

One of Bush's friends did not desert him. When Bush came to Houston on April 28 for a lunch hour rally, he was introduced by former Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, a man devoted to his cause. Jaworski condemned Reagan as an "extremist whose over-the-counter simplistic remedies and shopworn platitudes of solutions trouble open-minded and informed voters." Jaworski assailed Carter as a "Democrat in despair," and called on the Texas voters "to pay no attention to the also-rans who marched to the altar of public opinion, wooing the voters with large campaign chests and who are now back home licking their wounds as rejected suitors." This was a veiled attack on Connally, who had spent $12 million getting one Arkansas delegate, dropped out, and endorsed Reagan. Jaworski's Watergate-era loyalties ran deep. [fn 24]

Bush still claimed that Texas was his home state, so he was obliged to make an effort there in advance of the May 3 primary. Here Bush spent about half a million dollars on television, while the Reaganauts were unable to buy time owing to their lack of money; Reagan had now reached his FEC spending ceiling. The secret society issue was as big in Texas as it had been in New Hampshire; during an appearance at the University of Texas Bush delivered a whining ultimatum to Reagan to order his campaign workers to "stop passing out insidious literature" questioning Bush's patriotism because of his membership in the Trilateral Commission, which Bush characterized as a group that sought to improve US relations with our closest allies. He wanted Reagan to repudiate the entire line of attack, which was still hurting the Bushmen badly. During a five-day plane-hopping blitz of the state, Bush came across as "cryptically hawkish".

Despite the lack of money for television, Reagan defeated Bush by 52% to 47% of the half a million votes cast. But because of the winner-take-all rule in individual precincts, Reagan took 61 delegates to Bush's 19. Bush's only areas of strength were in his old Houston liberal Republican enclave and in northwest Dallas. Reagan swept the rest, especially the rural areas. [fn 25 ]

The issue became acute among the Bushmen on May 20. This was the day Bush won in Michigan, but that Bush win was irrelevant because Reagan, by winning the Nebraska primary the same day, had acquired enough pledged delegates to acquire the arithmetical certainty of being nominated on the first ballot. In the tradition of Dink Stover at Yale, which says that one must not be a quitter, Bush made some noises about going on to Ohio and to California on the outside chance that Reagan might self-destruct through some horrendous gaffe, but this was merely histrionics. Bush allowed himself to be convinced that discretion was the better part of valor by David Keene and speechwriter (and later red Studebaker biographer) Vic Gold. His campaign was now $400,000 in debt, but Mosbacher later claimed to have wiped that slate clean within two months. Bush officially capitulated on May 26, 1980, and declared that he would support Reagan all the way to November. Reagan, campaigning that day at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, commended Bush's campaign and thanked him for his support.

All the money and organization had not sufficed. Bush now turned his entire attention to the quest for his "birthright," the vice presidency. This would be his fifth attempt to attain that office, and once again, despite the power of Bush's network, success was uncertain.

Inside the Reagan camp, one of Bush's greatest assets would be William Casey, who had been closely associated with the late Prescott Bush. Casey was to be Reagan's campaign manager for the 1980 elections. In 1962, Prescott and Casey had co-founded a think tank called the National Strategy Information Center in New York City, a forum where Wall Street lawyers like Casey could join hands with politicians from Prescott's wing of the Republican Party, financiers, and the intelligence community. The National Strategy Information Center provided material for a news agency called Forum World Features, a CIA proprietary that operated in London, and which was in liaison with the British Information Research Department, a cold-war propaganda unit set up by Christopher Mayhew of British intelligence with the approval of PM Clement Attlee. Forum World Features was part of the network that got into the act during the destabilization of Harold Wilson for the benefit of Margaret Thatcher. [fn 26]

This Prescott Bush-William Casey think tank promoted the creation of endowed chairs in strategic analysis, national intelligence, and the like on a number of campuses. The Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies, later the home of Kissinger, Ledeen, and a whole stable of ideologues of Anglo-American empire, was in part a result of the work of Casey and Prescott.

Casey was also an old friend of Leo Cherne. When Cherne was appointed to PFIAB in the summer of 1973, Casey, who was at that time Nixon's Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs, sent Cherne a warm note of congratulations telling how "delighted" he had been to get the official notice of Cherne's new post. [fn 27]

Casey was also a close associate of George Bush. During 1976, Ford appointed Casey to PFIAB, where Casey was an enthusiastic supporter of the Team B operation along with Bush and Cherne. George Bush and Casey would play decisive roles in the secret government operations of the Reagan years.

As the Republican convention gathered in Detroit in July, 1980, the problem was to convince Reagan of the inevitability of tapping Bush as his running mate. But Reagan did not want Bush. He had conceived an antipathy, even a hostility for George. One factor may have been British liberal Peter Teeley's line about Reagan's "voodoo economics." But the decisive factor was what Reagan had experienced personally from Bush during the Nashua Telegraph debate, which had left a lasting and highly derogatory impression.

According to one account of this phase, "ever since the episode in Nashua in February, Reagan had come to hold the preppy Yankee transplant in, as the late Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma used to say, minimum high regard. 'Reagan is a very gracious contestant,' one of his inner circle said, 'and he generally views his opponents with a good deal of respect. The thing he couldn't understand was Bush's conduct at the Nashua Telegraph debate. It imprinted with Reagan that Bush was a wimp. He remembered that night clearly when we had our vice-presidential discussions. He couldn't understand how a man could have sat there so passively. He felt it showed a lack of courage." And now that it was time to think about a running mate, the prospective presidential nominee gave a sympathetic ear to those who objected to Bush for reasons that ran, one of the group said later, from his behavior at Nashua to 'anit-Trilateralism'" According to this account, conservatives seeking to stop Bush at the convention were citing their suspicions about a "'conspiracy' backed by Rockefeller to gain control of the American government." [fn 28]

Drew Lewis was a leading Bushman submarine in the Reagan camp, telling the candidate that Bush could help him in electoral college megastates like Pennsylvania and Michigan where Ted Kennedy had demonstrated that Carter was vulnerable during the primaries. Lewis badgered Reagan with the prospect that if he waited too long, he would have to accept a politically neutral running mate in the way that Ford took Dole in 1976, which might end up costing him the election. According to Lewis, Reagan needed to broaden his base, and Bush was the most palatable and practical vehicle for doing so.

Much to his credit, Reagan resisted; "he told several staff members and advisers that he still harbored 'doubts' about Bush, based on Nashua. "If he can't stand up to that kind of pressure,' Reagan told one intimate, 'how could he stand up to the pressure of being president?' To another, he said: "I want to be very frank with you. I have strong reservations about George Bush. I'm concerned about turning the country over to him.'"

As the convention came closer, Reagan continued to be hounded by Bushmen from inside and outside his own campaign. A few days before the convention it began to dawn on Reagan that one alternative to the unpalatable Bush might be former President Gerald Ford, assuming the latter could be convinced to make the run. Two days before Reagan left for Detroit, according to one of his strategists, Reagan "came to the conclusion that it would be Bush, but he wasn't all that happy about it." [fn 29] But this was not yet the last word.

Casey, Meese, and Deaver sounded out Ford, who was reluctant but did not issue a categorical rejection. Stuart Spencer, Ford's 1976 campaign manager, reported to Reagan on his contacts with Ford. ''Ron,' Spencer said, 'Ford ain't gonna do it, and you're gonna pick Bush.' But judging from Reagan's reaction, Spencer recalled later, "There was no way he was going to pick Bush,' and the reason was simple: Reagan just didn't like the guy. "It was chemistry,' Spencer said. [fn 30]
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:35 am

PART 3 OF 3

Reagan now had to be ground down by an assortment of Eastern Liberal Establishment perception-mongers and political heavies. Much of the well-known process of negotiation between Reagan and Ford for the "Dream Ticket" of 1980 was simply a charade to disorient and demoralize Reagan while eating up the clock until the point was reached when Reagan would have no choice but to make the classic phone call to Bush. It is obvious that Reagan offered the Vice Presidency to Ford, and that the latter refused to accept it outright, but engaged in a process of negotiations ostensibly in order to establish the conditions under which he might, eventually, accept. [ fn 31] Casey called in Henry Kissinger and asked him to intercede with Ford. What then developed was a marathon of haggling in which Ford was represented by Kissinger, Alan Greenspan, Jack Marsh, and Bob Barrett. Reagan was represented by Casey, Meese, and perception-monger Richard Wirthlin. Dick Cheney, Ford's former chief of staff and now Bush's pro-genocide Secretary of Defense, also got into the act.

The strategy of Bush and Casey was to draw out the talks, running out the clock until Reagan would be forced to pick someone. Inside the negotiations, the Ford camp made demand after demand. Would Ford have a voice on foreign policy and defense? Would he be a member of the cabinet? Would he become the White House chief of staff? At the same time, leaks were made to the press about the negotiations and how sweeping constitutional issues were being haggled over in a classic smoke-filled room. These leaks became more and more embarrassing, making it easy to convince Reagan that his image was being tarnished, that he ought to call off the talks and pick Bush.

This complex strategy of intrigue culminated in Ford's notorious interview with Walter Cronkite, in which the CBS anchor man asked Ford if "It's got to be something like a co-presidency?" "That's something Governor Reagan really ought to consider," replied Ford, which was not what a serious vice presidential candidate might say, but did correspond rather well to what "Jerry the Jerk" would say if he wanted to embarrass Reagan and help Bush. As for Cronkite, was it possible that his coining of the term "co-presidency" was stimulated by someone from Prescott Bush's old circles at CBS?

Bombarded by the media now with the "co-president" thesis, Reagan began to see foreshadowings of a public relations debacle. Television reporters began to hype an imminent visit by Reagan and Ford to the convention to present the "Dream Ticket." Meese was dispatched to Kissinger to demand a straight answer from the Ford camp. "Kissinger told Meese that the Ford side might not be able to have an answer until the next morning, if then, because there were still many questions about how the arrangement might work." Reagan called Ford and asked for a prompt decision.

Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger concluded at this point: "Hey, we don't think this is going to work, and these guys are kind of stalling for time here." Nofziger suspected that Ford was trying to back Reagan into a corner, going down to the wire in a way that would oblige Reagan to take Ford and accept any conditions that Ford might choose to impose. But then Ford went to Reagan's hotel room to "give him my decision, and my decision is no." "As Ford left, Reagan wiped his brow and said, 'Now where the hell's George Bush?'" [fn 32] Reagan had been so fixated on his haggling with Ford that he had not done anything to develop vice presidential alternatives to Bush, and now it was too late.

The best indication that Ford had been working all along as an agent of Bush was provided by Ford himself to Germond and Witcover: "Ford, incidentally, told us after the election that one of his prime objectives at the convention had been 'to subtly help George Bush get the [vice-presidential] nomination.'" [fn 33]

Drew Lewis helped Reagan make the call that he found so distasteful. Reagan came on the line: "Hello, George, this is Ron Reagan. I'd like to go over to the convention and announce that you're my choice for vice president...if that's all right with you."

"I'd be honored, Governor."

Reagan was still reluctant. "George, is there anything at all ...about the platform or anything else...anything that might make you uncomfortable down the road?"

"Why, yes, sir," said Bush "I think you can say I support the platform --wholeheartedly."

Reagan now proceeded to the convention floor, where he would announce this choice of Bush. Knowing that this decision would alienate many of Reagan's ideological backers, the Reagan campaign leaked the news that Bush had been chosen to the media, so that it would quickly spread to the convention floor. They were seeking to cushion the blow, to avoid mass expressions of disgust when Bush's name was announced. Even as it was, there was much groaning and booing among the Reagan faithful.

In retrospect, the success of Bush's machinations at the 1980 convention can be seen to have had a very sinister precedent at the GOP convention held in Philadelphia just eighty years earlier. At that convention, William McKinley, one of the last of the Lincoln Republicans, was nominated for a second term.

The New York bankers, especially the House of Morgan, wanted Theodore Roosevelt for vice president, but McKinley and his chief political ally, Senator Marc Hanna, were adamant that they wanted no part of the infantile and megalomaniac New York governor. At one point Hanna exclaimed to a group of southern delegates, "Don't any of you realize that there's only one life between this madman and the White House!" Eventually McKinley's hand was forced by a group of New York delegates who were motivated primarily by their desire to get the unpopular and erratic Roosevelt out of the state at any cost. They told Hanna that unless Roosevelt were on the ticket, McKinley might loose the vital New York electoral votes. McKinley and Hanna capitulated, and Theodore Roosevelt joined the ticket. [fn 34]

Within one year, President McKinley was assassinated at Buffalo, and Theodore Roosevelt assumed power in the name of the fanatical and imbecilic Anglo-Saxon imperial strategy of world domination which helped to precipitate the First World War.

Did Bush's professed admiration for Theodore Roosevelt include a desire to seize the presidency via a similar path? The events of March, 1981 will give us cause to ponder.

As the Detroit convention cam to a close, the Reagan and Bush campaign staffs were merged, with James Baker assuming a prominent position in the Casey-run Reagan campaign. The Ray Cline, Halper, and Gambino operations were all continued. From this point on, Reagan's entourage would be heavily infiltrated by Bushmen.

The Reagan-Bush campaign, now chock full of Bush's Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones assets, now announced a campaign of espionage. This campaign told reporters that it was going to spy on the Carter regime.

Back in April, Carter had taken to live television at 7 AM one morning to announce some ephemeral progress in his efforts to secure the release of State Department officials and others from the US Embassy in Teheran that were being held as hostages by the Khomeini forces in Iran. This announcement was timed to coincide with Democratic primaries in Kansas and Wisconsin, in which Carter was able to overwhelm challenges from Teddy Kennedy and Jerry Brown. A memo from Richard Wirthlin to Casey and Reagan initiated a discussion of how the Carter gang might exploit the advantages of incumbency in order to influence the outcome of the election, perhaps by attempting to stampede the public by some dramatic event at the last minute, such as the freeing of the hostages in Teheran. Casey began to institute counter-measures even before the Detroit GOP convention.

During the convention, at a July 14 press conference, Casey told reporters of his concern that Carter might spring an "October surprise" in foreign or domestic policy on the eve of the November elections. He announced that he had set up what he called an "incumbency watch" to monitor Carter's activities and decisions. Casey explained that an "intelligence operation" directed against the Carter White House was functioning "already in germinal form." Ed Meese, who was with Casey at this press conference, added that the October surprise "could be anything from a summit conference on energy" or development in Latin America, or perhaps the imposition of "wage and price controls" on the domestic economy.

"We've talked about the October surprise and what the October surprise will be," said Casey. "I think it's immoral and improper."

The previous evening, in a television appearance, Reagan had suggested that "the Soviet Union is going to throw a few bones to Mr. Carter during this coming campaign to help him continue as president." [fn 35]

Although Casey and Meese had defined a broad range of possibilities for the October surprise, the most prominent of these was certainly the liberation of the American hostages in Iran. A poll showed that if the hostages were to be released during the period between October 18 and October 25, Carter could receive a 10% increase in popular vote on election day.

The "incumbency watch" set up by Casey, would go beyond surveillance and become a dirty tricks operation against Carter, including by attempting to block the liberation of the hostages before the November, 1980 election.

What follows was in essence a pitched battle between two fascist gangs, the Carter White House and the Bush-Casey forces. Out of this 1980 gang warfare, the post-1981 United States regime would emerge. In the event the temple of Apollo in New Haven defeated the temple of Dionysius in Plains, Georgia.

Carter and Brzezinski had deliberately toppled the Shah, deliberately installed Khomeini in power. This was an integral part of Brzezinski's "arc of crisis" geopolitical lunacy, another made-in-London artifact which called for the US to support the rise of Khomeini, and his personal brand of fanaticism, a militant heresy within Islam. US arms deliveries were made to Iran during the time of the Shah; during the short-lived Baktiar government at the end of the Shah's reign; and continuously after the advent of Khomeini. There are indications that the Carter regime connived with Khomeini to get the hostages taken in the first place; the existence of the hostages would allow Carter to continue arms deliveries and other vital forms of support for Khomeini under the pretext that he was doing it out of love for Khomeini, but in order to free the hostages. It was, in short, the same charade that was later acted out under Reagan.

A little-noted aspect of the Carter arms negotiations with Khomeini during the hostage crisis is the possible involvement of networks friendly to Bush. On December 7, 1979, less than two months after the hostages were seized, Assistant Secretary of State Harold Saunders was contacted by a certain Cyrus Hashemi, an Iranian arms dealer and agent of the Iranian SAVAK secret police. Hashemi proposed a deal to free the hostages, and submitted a memorandum calling for the removal of the ailing expatriate Shah from US territory; an apology by the US to the people of Iran for past US interference; the creation of a United Nations Commission; and the unfreezing of the Iranian financial assets seized by Carter and arms and spare parts deliveries by the US to Iran. All of this was summed up in a memorandum submitted to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. [fn 36]

The remarkable aspect of this encounter was that Cyrus Hashemi was accompanied by his lawyer, John Stanley Pottinger. The account of the 1976 Letelier case provided above has established that Pottinger was a close Bush collaborator. Pottinger, it will be recalled, had served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Nixon and Ford administrations between 1973 and 1977 after having directed the US Office of Civil Rights in the Justice Department between 1970 and 1973. Pottinger had also stayed on into the early Carter administration, serving as special assistant to the Attorney General from February to April, 1977. Pottinger had then joined the law firm of Tracy, Malin, and Pottinger of Washington, London, and Paris.

This same Pottinger was now the lawyer for gun-runner Cyrus Hashemi. Given Pottinger's proven relation to Bush, we may wonder whether Bush may have been informed of Hashemi's proposal and of the possible responses of the Carter administration. Bush may have known, for example, that during the Christmas season of 1979 one Captain Siavash Setoudeh, an Iranian naval officer and the former Iranian military attache before the breaking of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, was arranging arms deliveries to Khomeini out of a premises of the US Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia. If Bush had been in contact with Pottinger, he might have known something about the Carter offers for arms deliveries.

Relevant evidence that might help us to determine what Bush knew and when he knew it is still being withheld by the Bush regime . The FBI bugged Cyrus Hashemi's phone between October 1980 and January 1981, and many of the conversations that were recorded were between Hashemi and Bush's friend Pottinger. The FBI first claimed that these tapes were "lost," but now admits that it knows the location of some of them. Are they being withheld to protect Pottinger? Are they being withheld to protect Bush?

Other information on the intentions of the Khomeini regime may have reached Bush from his old friend and associate, Mitchell Rogovin, the former CIA General Counsel. During 1976, Rogovin had accompanied Bush on many trips to the Capitol to testify before Congressional committees; the two were known to be close. In the spring of 1980, Rogovin told the Carter administration that he had been approached by the Iranian-American arms dealer Houshang Lavi with an offer to start negotiations for the release of the hostages. Lavi claimed to be an emissary of Iranian president Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr; Rogovin at this time was working as the lawyer for the John Anderson GOP presidential campaign.

Bush's family friend Casey had also been in touch with Iranian representatives. Jamshid Hashemi, the brother of Cyrus Hashemi (who died under suspicious circumstances during 1986), has told Gary Sick that he met with William Casey at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC in March of 1980 to talk about the hostages. According to Jamshid Hashemi, "Casey quickly made clear that he wanted to prevent Jimmy Carter from gaining any political advantage from the hostage crisis. The Hashemis agreed to cooperate with Casey without the knowledge of the Carter Administration." [fn 37]

Casey's "intelligence operation" included the spying on the opposing candidate that has been routine in US political campaigns for decades, but went far beyond it. As journalists like Witcover and Germond knew during the course of the campaign, and as the 1984 Albosta committee "Debategate" investigation showed, Casey set up at least two October Surprise espionage groups.

The first of these watched the Carter White House, the Washington bureaucracy, and diplomatic and intelligence posts overseas. This group was headed by Reagan's principal foreign policy advisor and later NSC chairman Richard Allen. Allen was assisted by Fred Ickle and John Lehman, who later got top jobs in the Pentagon, and by Admiral Thomas Moorer. This group also included Robert McFarlane. Allen was in touch with some 120 foreign policy and national security experts sympathetic to the Reagan campaign. Casey helped Allen to interface with the Bush campaign network of retired and active duty assets in the intelligence community. This network reached into the Carter NSC, where Bush crony Don Gregg worked as the CIA liaison man, and into Carter's top-secret White House situation room.

During these very months there was a further influx of retired intelligence officers into the Reagan-Bush machine. According to Colonel Charlie Beckwith, who had led the abortive "Desert One" attempt to rescue the hostages during the spring of 1980, "The Carter Administration made a serious mistake. A lot of the old whores--guys with lots of street smarts and experience--left the agency." According to another CIA man, "Stan Turner fired the best CIA operatives over the hostage crisis. The firees agreed among themselves that they would remain in touch with one another and with their contacts and continue to operate more or less as independents." [fn 38]

Another October Surprise monitoring group was headed by Admiral Robert Garrick, who was assisted by Stephan Halper, Ray Cline's son in law. The task of this group was the physical surveillance of US military bases by on-the-ground observers, often retired and sometimes active duty military officers. Lookouts were posted to watch Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey (where weapons already bought and paid for by the Shah were stockpiled), and Norton and March Air Force bases in California.

Garrick, Casey, Meese, Wirthlin and other campaign officials met each morning in Falls Church. Virginia, just outside of Washington, to review intelligence gathered. Bush was certainly informed of these meetings. Did he also attend them?

This group soon became operational. It was clear that Khomeini was keeping the hostages to sell them to the highest bidder. Bush and Casey were not reticent about putting their own offer on the table.

Shortly after the GOP convention, Casey appears to have traveled to Europe for a meeting in Madrid in late July with Mehdi Karrubi, a leading Khomeini supporter, now the speaker of the Iranian Parliament. Jamshid Hashemi said that he and his late brother Cyrus were present at this meeting and at another one in Madrid during August which they say Casey also attended. The present government of Iran has declined to confirm, or deny this contact, saying that "the Islamic Government of Iran sees no benefit to involve itself in the matter."

Casey's whereabouts are officially unknown between July 26-27 and July 30. What is known is that as soon as Casey surfaced again in Washington on July 30, he reported back to vice presidential candidate George Bush in a dinner meeting held at the Alibi Club. It is certain from the evidence that there were negotiations with the Mullahs by the Reagan-Bush camp, and that Bush was heavily involved at every stage.

In early September, Bush's brother Prescott Bush became involved with a letter to James Baker in which he described his contacts with a certain Herbert Cohen, a consultant to the Carter Administration on Middle East matters. Cohen had promised to abort any possible Carter moves to "politicize" the hostage issue by openly denouncing any machinations that Carter might attempt. Prescott offered Baker a meeting with Cohen. Were it not for the power of the Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones networks, George's brother Prescott Bush might have become something like the Billy Carter of the 1980's.

In September-October 1980 there was a meeting at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington among Richard Allen, Bud McFarlane, Laurence Silberman of the Reagan-Bush campaign and a mysterious Iranian representative, thought to be an emissary of Iranian asset Hashemi Rafsanjani, an asset of US intelligence who was becoming one of the most powerful mullahs in Khomeini's entourage. The Iranian representative offered a deal whereby "he could get the hostages released directly to our campaign before the election," Silberman recalls. Allen has claimed that he cut this meeting short after twenty minutes. Allen, McFarlane, and Silberman (later named a federal judge) all failed to report this approach to the White House, the State Department, or other authorities.

On September 22, Iraq invaded Iran, starting a war that would last until the middle of 1988 and which would claim more than a million lives. The US intelligence estimate had been that Khomeini and the mullahs were in danger of losing power by the end of 1980 because of their incompetence, corruption, and benighted stupidity. US and other western intelligence agencies, especially the French, thereupon encouraged Iraq to attack Iran, offering the prospect of an easy victory. The easy victory" analysis was incorporated into a "secret" CIA report which was delivered to the Saudi Arabian government with the suggestion that it be leaked to Iraq. The real US estimate was that a war with Iraq would strengthen Khomeini against reformers who looked to President Bani-Sadr, and that the war emergency would assist in the imposition of a "new dark ages" regime in Iran. An added benefit was that Iran and Iraq as warring states would be forced vastly to increase their oil production, forcing down the oil price on the world market and thus providing the bankrupt US dollar with an important subsidy in terms of the dollar's ability to command basic commodities in the real world. Bani-Sadr spoke in this connection of "an oil crisis in reverse" as a result of the Iran-Iraq war.

President Bani-Sadr, who was later deposed in a coup d'etat by Khomeini, Rafsanjani, and Beheshti, has recalled that during this period Khomeini decided to bet on Reagan-Bush. "So what if Reagan wins," said Khomeini. "Nothing will really change since he and Carter are both enemies of Islam." [fn 39]

This was the time of the Reagan-Carter presidential debates, and Casey's operation had also yielded booty in this regard. Bush ally and then Congressman David Stockman boasted in Indiana in late October that he had used a "pilfered copy" of Carter's personal briefing book to coach Reagan prior to a debate.

Many sources agree that a conclusive series of meetings between Reagan-Bush and the Khomeini forces took place in Paris during the October 15-20 period, and there is little doubt that William Casey was present for these meetings. According to the account furnished by Richard Brenneke, there was a meeting at the Hotel Raphael in Paris at about noon on October 19, attended by George Bush, William Casey, Don Gregg, Manucher Gorbanifar and two unnamed Iranian officials. Brenneke says that there was a second meeting the same afternoon, with the same cast of characters, minus George Bush. Then there was a third meeting at the Hotel Florida the next day, October 20, this time attended by Casey, Gregg, Hashemi, Manucher Gorbanifar, Major Robert Benes of the French intelligence services, and one or two other persons.

According to Bani-Sadr, his reports show that the meetings took place, and were attended by Reagan-Bush representatives, Iranians loyal to Behesthi and Rafsanjani, and arms merchants like Cyrus Hashemi, Manucher Ghorbanifar, and Albert Hakim. Bani-Sadr's first reports from military officials in Iran specified that "Bush had met with a representative of Beheshti." Bani-Sadr later elaborated that his sources in Iran "inform me that Bush was in the discussions in Paris...that his name had been on the document. I have it in writing." [fn 40]

According to Gary Sick's collation of fifteen sources claiming knowledge of the Paris meeting, the Iranian side agreed not to release the hostages before the November 4 US election, and the Reagan-Bush side promised to deliver spare parts for military equipment through Israel.

Heinrich Rupp, a pilot who often worked for Casey, says that he flew a BAC-1-11 private jet from Washington National Airport via Gander, Newfoundland, to Le Bourget airport in Paris during the night of October 18-19, 1980, arriving in Paris at 10 AM in the morning of October 19, local time. He may also have stopped in one of the New York airports. Rupp has told journalists that although he is not sure exactly who flew in his plane, he 's "100% certain" that he saw William Casey on the tarmac of Le Bourget after his arrival. Rupp is also "98% certain" that he also saw George Bush at the same time and place. At other times Rupp has been "99.9%" certain that he saw Bush at Le Bourget that day.

According to Gary Sick, "at least five of the sources who say they were in Paris in connection with these meetings insist that George Bush was present for at least one meeting. Three of the sources say that they saw him there." [fn 41]

Bush has heatedly denied that he was in Paris at this time, and has said that he personally did not negotiate with Khomeini envoys. But he has generally avoided a blanket denial that the campaign of which he was a principal engaged in surreptitious dealings with the Khomeini mullahs.

Bush's alibi for October 18-October 19, 1980 has always appeared dubious. There is in fact a period of 21 or 22 hours in which his whereabouts cannot be conclusively proven. According to Bush's campaign records, he was in Philadelphia on October 18, and his last event of the day was a speech at Widener University in Delaware County that began at about 8:40 PM. After the speech, he was scheduled to fly to Washington; the next event on his schedule was an address to the Zionist Organization of America at the Capital Hilton Hotel in downtown Washington at 7 PM on October 19. In the meantime he would rest at his campaign residence at 4429 Lowell Street in Washington.

Bush staffer Peter Hart has claimed that Bush arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in the Maryland suburbs of Washington on the night of October 19 and then proceeded to his campaign residence. Secret Service records say that Bush landed at Washington National Airport in northern Virginia at 9:25 PM. The Secret Service records are themselves suspect in that they were filed 12 days later. (One thinks of the undated combat report of Bush's mission from the San Jacinto.) This is the same airport and about the same time mentioned by Rupp in his account of his departure for Paris.

There is some indication that a Bush double may have made an appearance at the Howard Johnson Motel in Cheshire, Pennsylvania where Bush was staying. According to the motel manager, Bush did not check out of his establishment until after 11 PM that night, which contradicts both Hart and the Secret Service records.

There are some Secret Service logs that indicate something about Bush visiting Chevy Chase Country Club in suburban Maryland between 10:30 AM and 11:56 AM on the morning of October 19, but this evidence is highly suspect. The records in question appear to have been filled out by an advance man from Bush's political staff, not a Secret Service agent. The documents are dated one week after the events in question. Parts of the documentation have been heavily censored and "redacted." An investigative journalist was unable to find anyone among the personnel of the country club who could confirm that Bush had been there, and there appear to be no files or records at the country club that could prove his presence.

Don Gregg has also attempted to provide his own alibi for October 18-19. This came in a trial in Portland, Oregon in April-May, 1990 in which the Bush regime had indicted Richard Brenneke for perjury allegedly committed in telling the story of the Paris meeting and Bush's presence to a federal judge in a Colorado trial in which Heinrich Rupp had been convicted for bank fraud in September, 1988. Gregg's story was that he had been at the beach in Delaware with his family during the period in question, and he produced some photographs he said were made during those days. Expert witness Bob Lynott, an experienced weatherman, refuted Gregg's testimony by showing that the weather conditions in Delaware that day did not match those shown by meteorological records. Gregg was discredited, and Brenneke was acquitted on the charge of perjury.

The Bushmen have also brought forward Gordon Crovitz of the Wall Street Journal with a log of Bush's activities on October 19 that includes a luncheon with former US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart of Skull and Bones. But Potter Stewart died in 1985.

Finally Secret Service logs show that Bush arrived at the Capitol Hilton to speak before the Zionist Association of America at either 7 PM or 8:12 PM, depending on which Secret Service records are consulted. [fn 42]

If Bush had flown to Paris by private or military jet and returned the same way, or if he had returned by the Concorde or some other type of commercial jetliner, there would have been ample time for him to proceed to Paris and participate in the consultations described. There is another intriguing possibility: during this same period of 24 hours, Iranian Prime Minister Ali Rajai, an adversary of Bani-Sadr and puppet of Khomeini, was in New York preparing to depart for Algiers after consultations at the United Nations. Rajai had refused all contact with the Carter, Muskie and other US officials, but he may have been more interested in meeting Bush or one of his representatives.

Between October 21 and October 23, Israel dispatched a planeload of much-needed F-4 Phantom jet spare parts it Iran in violation of the US arms boycott. Who in Washington had sanctioned these shipments? In Teheran, the US hostages were reportedly dispersed into a multitude of locations on October 22. Also on October 22, Prime Minister Rajai, back from New York and Algiers, announced that Iran wanted neither American spare parts nor American arms. The Iranian approach to the ongoing contacts with the Carter Administration now began to favor evasive delaying tactics. There were multiple indications that Khomeini had decided that Reagan-Bush was a better bet than Carter, and that Reagan-Bush had made the more generous offer.

Barbara Honegger, then an official of the Reagan-Bush campaign recalls that "on October 24th or 25th, an assistant to Stephan Halper's 'October Surprise' intelligence operation echoed William Casey's newfound confidence, boasting to the author in the operations center where [Reagan-Bush Iran watcher Michel] Smith worked that the campaign no longer needed to worry about an 'October surprise' because 'Dick [Allen] cut a deal." [fn 43]

On October 27, Bush campaigned in Pittsburgh, where he addressed a gathering of labor leaders. His theme that day was Iranian attempt to "manipulate" the outcome of the US election through the exertion of "last-minute leverage" involving the hostages. "It's no secret that the Iranians do not want to see Ronald Reagan elected President," Bush lied. "They want to play a hand in the election-- with our 52 hostages as the 52 cards in their negotiating deck." It was a "cool, cynical, unconscionable ploy" by the Khomeini regime. Bush asserted that it was "fair to ask how come right now there's talk of releasing them [the hostages] after nearly a year." His implication was that Carter was the one with the dirty deal. Bush concluded that he wanted the hostages "out as soon as possible...We want them home and we'll worry about who to blame later." [fn 44]

During the first week of December, Executive Intelligence Review reported that Henry Kissinger "held a series of meetings during the week of November 12 in Paris with representatives of Ayatollah Beheshti, leader of the fundamentalist clergy in Iran." "Top level intelligence sources in Reagan's inner circle confirmed Kissinger's unreported talks with the Iranian mullahs, but stressed that the Kissinger initiative was totally unauthorized by the president-elect." According to EIR, "it appears that the pattern of cooperation between the Khomeini people and circles nominally in Reagan's camp began approximately six to eight weeks ago, at the height of President Carter's efforts to secure an arms-for-hostages deal with Teheran. Carter's failure to secure the deal, which a number of observers believe cost him the November 4 election, apparently resulted from an intervention in Teheran by pro-Reagan British circles and the Kissinger faction." [fn 45] These revelations from EIR are the first mention in the public record of the scandal which has come over the years to be known as the October surprise.

The hostages were not released before the November election, which Reagan won convincingly. That night, according to Roland Perry, Bush said to Reagan, "You're in like a burglar." Khomeini kept the hostages imprisoned until January 20, the day of the Reagan-Bush inauguration, and let the hostage plane take off just as Reagan and Bush were taking their oaths of office.

Whether George Bush was personally present in Paris, or at other meetings with Iranian representatives where the hostage and arms questions were on the agenda, has yet to be conclusively proven. Here a thorough and intrusive Congressional investigation of the Carter and Reagan machinations in this regard is long overdue. Such a probe might also shed light on the origins of the Iran-Iraq war, which set the stage for the more recent Gulf crisis. But, quite apart from questions regarding George Bush's presence at this or that meeting, there can be no doubt that both the Carter regime and the Reagan-Bush campaign were actively involved in dealings with the Khomeini regime concerning the hostages and concerning the timing of their possible release. In the case of the Reagan-Bush Iran connection, there is reason to believe that federal crimes under the Logan Act and other applicable laws may have taken place.

George Bush had now grasped the interim prize that had eluded him since 1968: after more than a dozen years of effort, he had now become the Vice President of the United States.

_______________

Notes:

1. Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus, "At CIA, a Rebuilder 'Goes With the Flow,'" Washington Post, August 10, 1988.

2. For Bush's business dealings of 1977-79, see Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus, "Doing Well With Help From Family, Friends," Washington Post, August 11, 1988.

3. Washington Post, April 6, 1978.

4. Washington Post, November 12, 1978.

5. Albert Pike to Robert Toombs, May 20, 1861 in The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1881), Series I, Volume III, pp. 580-1. See also James David Carter, History of the Supreme Council, 330 (Mother Council of the World), Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction, USA, 1861-1891 (Washington: The Supreme Council, 330, 1967), pp. 5-24, and James David Carter (editor), The First Century of Scottish Rite Masonry in Texas: 1867-1967 (Texas Scottish Rite Bodies, 1967), pp. 32-33, 42.

6. Fredericka Meiners, (Houston: Rice University, 1982).

7. Ronald Brownstein and Nina Easton, Reagan's Ruling Class (New York: Pantheon Books, 1983), p. 650.

8. New York Times Magazine, May 6, 1990, pp. 34-37.

9. Joe Conason, "Company Man," Village Voice, October , 1988.

10. Bob Callahan, "Agents for Bush," Covert Action Information Bulletin, Number 33 (Winter, 1990), p. 5 ff.

11. Joe Conason, "Company Man," Village Voice, October , 1988.

12. Harris Worcester, "Travels with Bush and Connally," Texas Observer, September 22, 1978.

13. Harry Hurt III, "George Bush, Plucky Lad," Texas Monthly, June 1983, p. 206.

14. L. Wolfe, "King George VII Campaigns in New Hampshire, New Solidarity, January 8, 1980.

15. Jeff Greenfield, The Real Campaign (New York, 1982), pp. 36-37.

16. For the Jerusalem Conference, see: Edward S. Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan, The Terrorism Industry (New York, Pantheon), passim; Jonathan Marshall et al., The Iran Contra Connection (Boston, 1987); Bob Callahan, "Agents for Bush," Covert Action Information Bulletin, Number 33 (Winter, 1990), p. 6; Edward S. Herman and Frank Brodhead, The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection, pp. 68-69.

7. See Greenfield, The Real Campaign, pp. 40-41.

18. See Lyndon LaRouche, "Is Republican George Bush a 'Manchurian Candidate'?, issued by Citizens for LaRouche, Manchester, New Hampshire, January 12, 1980.

19. Quoted in Greenfield, p. 44.

20. Manchester Union Leader, February 24, 1980.

21. Sidney Blumenthal, The Rise of the Counter-establishment (New York, 1988), pp. 82-83.

22. Mark Bisnow, Diary of a Dark Horse: The 1980 Anderson Presidential Campaign (Southern Illinois University Press, 1983), p. 136.

23. For the Nashua Telegraph Debate, see: Greenfield, The Real Campaign, p. 44 ff.; Mark Bisnow, Diary of a Dark Horse, p. 134 ff.; Jules Witcover and Jack Germond, Blue Smoke and Mirrors (New York, 1981), p. 116 ff.

24. Washington Post, April 29, 1980.

25. Texas Observer, May 23, 1980.

26. David Leigh, The Wilson Plot, passim.

27. Letter from Casey to Cherne, July 10, 1973, Ford Library, Leo Cherne Papers, Box 1.

28. Germond and Witcover, Blue Smoke and Mirrors, p. 169.

29. Germond and Witcover, p. 170.

30. Germond and Witcover, p. 171.

31. The best testimony on this is Reagan's own response to a question from Witcover and Germond. Asked if "it was true that he was trying to get President Ford to run with him," Reagan promptly responded, "Oh, sure. That would be the best." See Germond and Witcover, p. 178.

32. Germond and Witcover, p. 187.

33. Germond and Witcover, p. 188.

34. See Henry Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt, A Biography (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1931), p. 223.

35. Washington Star, July 15, 1980.

36. See Executive Intelligence Review, Project Democracy: The "Parallel Government" Behind the Iran-contra affair (Washington, 1987), pp. 88-101.

37. Gary Sick, "The Election Story of the Decade," New York Times, April 15, 1991.

38. Abbie Hoffman and Jonathan Silvers, "An Election Held Hostage" Playboy, October 1988.

39. Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, My Turn to Speak (New York, 1991), p. 33.

40. Barbara Honegger, October Surprise , p. 59.

41. Gary Sick, New York Times, April 15, 1991.

42. For an exhaustive analysis of Bush's alibi, see Barbara Honegger, October Surprise (New York, 1989), p. 98 ff.

43. Barbara Honegger, October Surprise, p. 58.

44. Washington Post, October 28, 1980.

45. Executive Intelligence Review, December 2, 1980.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

Postby admin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:36 am

PART 1 OF 2

Chapter XVII -- The Attempted Coup D'Etat of March 30, 1991

"Bizarre happenstance, a weird coincidence"
--Bush spokeswoman Shirley M. Green, March 31, 1981

cui prodest scelus, is fecit
--Seneca, first century AD


For Bush, the vice presidency was not an end in itself, but merely another stage in the ascent towards the pinnacle of the federal bureaucracy, the White House. With the help of his Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones network, Bush had now reached the point where but a single human life stood between him and the presidency.

Ronald Reagan was 70 years old when he took office, the oldest man ever to be inaugurated as president. His mind wandered; long fits of slumber crept over his cognitive faculties. On some days he may have kept bankers' hours with his papers and briefing books and meetings in the Oval Office, but he needed a long nap most afternoons and became distraught if he could not have one. His custom was to delegate all administrative decisions to the cabinet members, to the executive departments and agencies. Policy questions were delegated to the White House staff, who prepared the options and then guided Reagan's decisions among the pre-defined options. This was the staff that composed not just Reagan's speeches, but the script of his entire life: for normally every word that Reagan spoke in meetings and conferences, every line down to and including "Good morning, Senator," every word was typed on three by five file cards from which the Reagan would read.

Foreign leaders like the cunning Francois Mitterrand professed shock over Reagan's refusal to depart from the vaguest generalities in response to impromptu questions; Mitterrand had attempted to invite Reagan to a private tete-a-tete, but he had been overruled by Reagan's staff. French Foreign Minister Cheysson lamented that the exchanges had been "shallow." When asked for decisions in the National Security Council, Reagan would often respond with his favorite story about black welfare mothers chiseling the government out of money; aides would then interpret that as approval of the options they were putting forward.

But sometimes Reagan was capable of lucidity, and even of inspired greatness, in the way a thunderstorm can momentarily illuminate a darkling countryside; these moments often involved direct personal impressions or feelings. Reagan's instinctive contempt for Bush after the Nashua Telegraph debate was one of his better moments. Reagan's greatest moment of conceptual clarity came in his television speech of March 23, 1983 on the Strategic Defense Initiative, a concept that had been drummed into the Washington bureaucracy through the indefatigable efforts of Lyndon LaRouche and a few others. The idea of defending against nuclear missiles, of not accepting mutually assured destruction, and of using such a program as a science driver for rapid technological renewal was something Reagan permanently grasped and held onto even under intense pressure in Hofdie House in Reykjavik in October, 1986 during the summit with Gorbachov. In addition, during the early years of Reagan's first term, there were enough Reaganite loyalists, typified by William Clark, in the administration to cause much trouble for the Bushmen. But as the years went by, the few men like Clark that Reagan had brought with him from California would be ground up by endless bureaucratic warfare, and their replacements, like McFarlane at the NSC, would come more and more from the ranks of the Kissingerians. Unfortunately Reagan never developed a plan to make the SDI an irreversible political and budgetary reality, and this critical shortcoming grew out of Reagan's failed economic policies, which never substantially departed from Carter's.

But apart from rare moments like the SDI, Reagan tended to drift. Don Regan called it "the guesswork presidency;" for Al Haig, frustrated in his own lust for power, it was government by an all-powerful staff. Who were the staff? At first it was thought that Reagan would take most of his advice from his old friend Edwin Meese, his close associate from California days, loyal and devoted to Reagan, and sporting his Adam Smith tie. But it was soon evident that the White House was really run by a troika: Meese, Michael Deaver, and James Baker III, Bush's man.

Deaver's specialty was demagogic image-mongering. Deaver's images were made for television; they were edifying symbols without content, and took advantage of the fact that Reagan so perfectly embodied the national ideology of the Americans that most of them could not help liking him; he was the ideal figurehead. Deaver had another important job, for Reagan, as everybody knows, was uxorious: Nancy Reagan, the narrow-minded, vain, petty starlet was the one the president called "Mommy." Nancy was the mamba of the White House, the social-climbing arriviste of capital society, an evil-tongued presence on a thousand telephones a week complaining about the indignities she thought she was subjected to, always obsessed by public opinion and making Ronnie look good in the most ephemeral short term. Deaver was like a eunuch of the Topkapi harem, responsible for managing the humors of the sultan's leading odalisque.

Nancy was a potential problem for Bush; she did not like him; perhaps she sensed that he was organizing a putsch against Ronnie. "He's a nice man and very capable. But he's no Ronnie. He comes across as a 'wimp.' I don't think he can make it. He's a nice man, but his image is against him. It isn't macho enough." [fn 1] So spoke Nancy Reagan to her astrologer, Joan Quigley, in the White House in April, 1985. That could have been a very serious problem indeed, and that was where James Baker came in.

If Deaver played the eunuch for Nancy, Baker was to impersonate her squire and champion. In Nancy's provincial view, Baker was a sartorially elegant, old money aristocrat and charmer. His assignment for the Bush machine was to ingratiate himself with the adolescent old lady with flattery and schmooze, and Nancy appears to have been entranced by Baker's Princeton Ivy Club veneer --those ties! Those suits!

Deaver gravitated by instinct towards Baker; Deaver tells us in his memoirs that he was a supporter of Bush for vice president at the Detroit convention. This meant that Baker-Deaver became the dominant force over Ron and over Nancy; George Bush, in other words, already had an edge in the bureaucratic infighting.

Thus it was that White House press secretary James Brady could say in early March, 1981: "Bush is functioning much like a co-president. George is involved in all the national security stuff because of his special background as CIA director. All the budget working groups he was there, the economic working groups, the Cabinet meetings. He is included in almost all the meetings." [fn 2]

Even before the inauguration, James Baker had told a group of experienced Republican political operatives in Houston that Reagan was only interested in the public and symbolic aspects of the presidency, and that he had asked the Bush people to come in and take over the actual running of day to day government affairs. That was, of course, the self-interested view of the Bushmen. There were reports in the Bush camp that Reagan would quit after a year or two and let Bush entrench himself as the incumbent before the 1984 election. Later, after 1984, there were even more frequent rumors that Reagan would resign in favor of Bush. It did not happen, showing that Reagan was not the pushover that the Bushmen liked to pretend.

During the first months of the Reagan Administration, Bush found himself locked in a power struggle with Gen. Alexander Haig, whom Reagan had appointed to be Secretary of State. Haig was a real threat to the Bushmen. Haig was first of all a Kissinger clone with credentials to rival Bush's own; Haig had worked on Henry's staff during the Nixon years; he had been the White House chief of staff who had eased Nixon out the door with no trial, but with an imminent pardon. Haig's gifts of intrigue were considerable. And Haig was just as devoted to the Zionist neoconservatives as Bush was, with powerful ties in the direction of the Anti-Defamation League. It was, altogether, a challenge not to be taken lightly. Haig thought that he had been a rival to Bush for the vice-presidency at the Detroit convention, and perhaps he had been.

Inexorably, the Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones networks went into action against Haig. The idea was to paint him as a power-hungry megalomaniac bent on dominating the administration of the weak figurehead Reagan. This would then be supplemented by a vicious campaign of leaking by Baker and Deaver designed to play Reagan against Haig and vice-versa, until the rival to Bush could be eliminated.

The wrecking operation against Haig started during his confirmation hearings, during which he had to answer more questions about Watergate than Bush had faced in 1975, when the facts were much more recent. Senator Tsongas was wired in: Tsongas, motivating his negative vote against Haig's confirmation, told the nominee: "You are going to dominate this administration, if I may say so. You are by far the strongest personality that's going to be in there." [fn 3]

Three weeks into the new administration, Haig concluded that "someone in the White House staff was attempting to communicate with me through the press," by a process of constant leakage, including leakage of the contents of secret diplomatic papers. Haig protested to Meese, NSC chief Richard Allen, Baker, and Bush. Shortly thereafter, Haig noted that "Baker's messengers sent rumors of my imminent departure or dismissal murmuring through the press." Soon "'a senior presidential aide' was quoted in a syndicated column as saying, 'We will get this man [Haig] under control.'" [fn 4] It took a long time for Baker and Bush to drive Haig out of the administration. Ultimately it was Haig's attempted mediation of the Malvinas crisis in April, 1982 that weakened Haig to the point that he could be finished off. His fall was specifically determined by his action in giving Ariel Sharon a secret carte blanche for the Israeli government to invade Lebanon, including the city of Beirut. Reagan was justifiably enraged. Shortly before his ouster, Haig got a report of a White House meeting during which Baker was reported to have said, "Haig is going to go, and quickly, and we are going to make it happen." [fn 5]

Haig's principal bureaucratic ploy during the first weeks of the Reagan administration was his submission to Reagan on the day of his inauguration of a draft executive order to organize the National Security Council and interagency tasks forces, including the crisis staffs, according to Haig's wishes. Haig refers to this document as National Security Decision Directive 1 (NSDD 1), and laments that it was never signed in its original form, and that no comparable directive for structuring the NSC interagency groups was signed for over a year. Ultimately a document called NSDD 2 would be signed, formalizing the establishment of a Special Situation Group (SSG) crisis management staff chaired by Bush. Haig's draft would have made the Secretary of State the Chairman of the SSG crisis staff in conformity with Haig's demand to be recognized as Reagan's "vicar of foreign policy." This was unacceptable to Bush, who made sure with the help of Baker and probably also Deaver that Haig's draft of NSDD 1 would never be signed.

Haig writes about this bureaucratic struggle as the battle for the IG's (Interagency Groups) and SIG's (Special or Senior Interagency Groups), generally populated by undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and deputy assistant secretaries within the NSC framework. As Haig points out, these Kissingerian structures are the locus of much real power, especially under a weak president like Reagan. Haig notes that "in organizational terms, the key to the system is the substructure of SIG's and IG's in which the fundamentals of policy (domestic and foreign) are decided. On instructions from the President, the IG's (as I will call the whole lot, for the sake of convenience), can summon up all the human and informational resources of the federal government, study specific issues, and develop policy options and recommendations. [...] IG chairmanships are parceled out to State and other departments and agencies according to their interests and their influence. As Kissinger, that canny veteran of marches and countermarches in the faculty of Harvard University, recognized, he who controls the key IG's controls the flow of options to the President and, therefore, to a degree, controls policy." [fn 6]

The struggle between Haig and Bush culminated towards the end of Reagan's first hundred days in office. Haig was chafing because the White House staff, meaning Baker, was denying him access to the president. Haig's NSDD 1 had still not been signed. The, on Sunday, March 22, Haig's attention was called to an elaborate leak to reporter Martin Schram that had appeared that day in the Washington Post under the headline "WHITE HOUSE REVAMPS TOP POLICY ROLES; Bush to Head Crisis Management." Haig's attention was drawn to the following paragraphs:

Partly in an effort to bring harmony to the Reagan high command, it has been decided that Vice President George Bush will be placed in charge of a new structure for national security crisis management, according to senior presidential assistants. This assignment will amount to an unprecedented role for a vice president in modern times. In the Carter administration, the crisis management structure was chaired by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser. [...]

On a broader, policy-making level, senior White House officials were unhappy with what they felt to be ill-timed and ill-considered actions by Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. that placed the brightest spotlight on El Salvador at a time when the administration was trying to focus maximum attention on Reagan's economic proposals. [...]

Bush's stature, by virtue of job title and experience, was cited as the reason that he was chosen to chair meetings in the Situation Room in time of crisis. Principal officials involved in crisis management will be the secretaries of state and defense, the Central Intelligence Agency director, the national security adviser, Meese, and Baker, officials said, adding that the structure has not been fully devised nor the presidential directive written.

Reagan officials emphasized that Bush, a former director of the CIA and former United Nations Ambassador, would be able to preserve White House control over crisis management without irritating Haig, who they stressed was probably the most experienced and able of all other officials who could serve in that function.

"The reason for this [choice of Bush] is that the secretary of state might wish he were chairing the crisis management structure," said one Reagan official, "but it is pretty hard to argue with the vice president being in charge." [fn 7]

Lower down on the page was a smaller article entitled "Anatomy of a Washington Rumor," to which we will return.

Haig says that he called Ed Meese at the White House to check the truth of this report, and that Meese replied that there was no truth to it. Haig went to see Reagan at the White House. Reagan was concerned about the leak, and reassured Haig: "I want you to know that the story in the Post is a fabrication. It means that George would sit in for me in the NSC in my absence, and that's all it means. It doesn't affect your authority in any way." Haig also says that he received a further call from Reagan assuring him that his authority was not to be diminished in the slightest.

But later the same afternoon, White House press secretary James Brady read the following statement to the press:

I am confirming today the President's decision to have the Vice President chair the Administration's "crisis management" team, as a part of the National Security Council system....President Reagan's choice of the Vice President was guided in large measure by the fact that management of crises has traditionally--and appropriately-- been done in the White House. [fn 8]

Haig says he then drew up his letter of resignation, but hesitated to sign it. He called Bush to complain: "The American people can't be served by this. It's an impossible situation for you and me to be in. Of course, you chair the NSC in the President's absence. We didn't need to say it. This is all mischief. Why the hell did they do this without discussing it with me." Haig went on: "I have been dealt with duplicitously, George. The President has been used. I need a public reaffirmation of my role or I can't stay here." Can it be that Haig was so naive that he did not realize that Bush was his ruthless rival and the source of many of his problems? Haig undoubtedly knew, but chose not to say so in memoirs written after he had been defeated. For Haig also knew that Bush was vindictive. Haig does note that he was convinced that Meese was not part of the cabal out to get him. Haig had further conversations with Reagan during these days, which often seemed to have cleared up the confusion, but which in retrospect were never conclusive. In the meantime, George Bush had seized control of the Special Situation Group, which would take control of the Executive Branch in time of crisis or national emergency. It was a superb starting point for a coup d'etat.

The other article in the Washington Post of Sunday, March 22 was also a harbinger of things soon to come. This piece was entitled "Anatomy of a Washington Rumor," and the rumor it traced was that "Vice President George Bush had been nicked by a bullet in a predawn shooting outside a townhouse somewhere on Capitol Hill." According to this story, the source of the rumor in question was a young woman artist living on Capitol Hill who had rushed into the street on the evening of February 22 when she heard the sound of a traffic accident near her home. There she was met a by a police officer whom she had met previously, on the occasion of the murder a few weeks earlier of a young Supreme Court Librarian in the same spot. According to the woman artist, the policeman told her: "The vice president was shot today." When the woman artist tried to check on this story with the news media, the article alleged, the rumor took on a life of its own and became an inchoate news story, with Jack Anderson and others trying to verify it.

Vice President Bush was reportedly very angry when he was told about the rumor: "Peter Teeley, the vice president's press secretary, told Bush of the inquiries. The vice president was incredulous and was as angry as Teeley had ever seen him. 'Jesus, this is the craziest thing I have ever heard,' he said. Bush though the whole thing was silly. 'You should call Barbara,' he told Teeley, ' and let her know what this is all about." Why would Bush be so angry about a spurious report?

As reporters dug deeper into the alleged shooting, one asked a Secret Service contact if there had been any recent shooting incidents monitored by his agency. "The answer came back. On March 8, as a motorcade drove west on Canal Road, officers had heard a 'popping sound' from a 'steep, rocky cliff' on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. But it had been President Reagan's motorcade, not Bush's. And the noises never proved to be gunfire." [fn 9] Had there been an attempt to assassinate Reagan, or to intimidate him? In any case Senator Howard Baker, the GOP majority leader at that time, was overheard making jokes about the allegedly discredited Rumor at a weekend party, and this was duly noted in the Washington Post of March 25.

In the midst of the Bush-Baker cabal's relentless drive to seize control over the Reagan administration, John Warnock Hinckley Jr. carried out his attempt to assassinate President Reagan on the afternoon of March 30, 1981. George Bush was visiting Texas that day. Bush was flying from Fort Worth to Austin in his Air Force Two Boeing 707. In Fort Worth, Bush had unveiled a plaque at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the old Hotel Texas, designating it as a national historic site. This was the hotel, coincidentally, in which John F. Kennedy had spent the last night of his life, before going on to Dallas the next day, November 22, 1963. Here was a sinister symbolism!

In Austin Bush was scheduled to deliver an address to a joint session of the Texas state legislature. It was Al Haig who called Bush in the clear and told him that the President had been shot, while forwarding the details of Reagan's condition, insofar as they were known, by scrambler as a classified message. Haig was in touch with James Baker III, who was close to Reagan at George Washington University hospital. Bush's man in the White House situation room was Admiral Dan Murphy, who was standing right next to Haig. Bush agreed with Haig's estimate that he ought to return to Washington at once. But first his plane needed to be refueled, so it landed at Carswell Air Force Base near Austin.

Refueling took about forty minutes; during this time Bush talked on board the plane with Texas Governor William Clements, his wife, Rita, and Texas Secretary of State George Strake. Texas Congressman Jim Wright was also travelling on Bush's plane that day, as were Congressmen Bill Archer of Houston and Jim Collins of Dallas. Bush's top aide Chase Untermeyer was also with the party on Air Force Two. [fn 10]

Bush says that his flight from Carswell to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington took about two and one half hours, and that he arrived at Andrews at abouit 6:40 PM. Bush says he was told by Ed Meese that the operation to remove the bullet that had struck Reagan was a success, and that the president was likely to survive. Bush's customary procedure was to land at Andrews and then take a helicopter to the vice presidential residence, the Naval Observatory on Massachusetts Avenue. His aides Ed Pollard and John Matheny suggested that he would save time by going by helicopter directly to the White House south lawn, where he could arrive in time to be shown on the 7 PM Eastern time evening news broadcasts. Bush makes much oif the fact that he refused to do this, allegedly on the symbolic grounds that "Only the President lands on the south lawn."

Back at the White House, the principal cabinet officers had assembled in the situation room and had been running a crisis management committee during the afternoon. Haig says he was at first adamant that a conspiracy, if discovered, should be ruthlessly exposed: "It was essential that we get the facts and publish them quickly. Rumor must not be allowed to breed on this tragedy. Remembering the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, I said to Woody Goldberg, 'No matter what the truth is about this shooting, the American people must know it." [fn 11] But the truth has never been established.

Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger's memoir of that afternoon reminds us of two highly relevant facts. The first is that a "NORAD [North American Air Defense Command] exercise with a simulated incoming missile attack had been planned for the next day." Weinberger agreed with General David Jones, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that this exercise should be cancelled. [fn 12]

Weinberger also recalls that the group in the Situation Room was informed by James Baker that "there had been a FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Administration] exercise scheduled for the next day on presidential succession, with the general title 'Nine Lives.' By an immediate consensus, it was agreed that exercise should also be cancelled." [fn 13]

As Weinberger further recalls, "at almost exactly 7:00, the Vice President came to the Situation Room and very calmly assumed the chair at the head of the table." [fn 14] According to Weinberger, the first item discussed was the need for someone to sign the Dairy Price Support Bill the next day so as to reassure the public. Bush asked Weinberger for a report on the status of US forces, which Weinberger furnished.

Another eyewitness of these transactions was Don Regan, whom the Tower Board later made the fall-guy for Bush's Iran-contra escapades. Regan records that "the Vice President arrived with Ed Meese, who had met him when he landed to fill him in on the details. George asked for a condition report: 1) on the President; 2) on the other wounded; 3) on the assailant; 4) on the international scene. [...] After the reports were given and it was determined that there were no international complications and no domestic conspiracy, it was decided that the US government would carry on business as usual. The Vice President would go on TV from the White House to reassure the nation and to demonstrate that he was in charge." [fn 15]

As Weinberger recounts the same moments: "[Attorney General Bill French Smith] then reported that all FBI reports concurred with the information I had received; that the shooting was a completely isolated incident and that the assassin, John Hinckley, with a previous record in Nashville, seemed to be a 'Bremmer' type, a reference to the attempted assassin of George Wallace." [fn 16]

Those who were not watching carefully here may have missed the fact that just a few minutes after George Bush had walked into the room, he had presided over the sweeping under the rug of the decisive question regarding Hinckley and his actions: was Hinckley a part of a conspiracy, domestic or international? Not more than five hours after the attempt to kill Reagan, on the basis of the most fragmentary early reports, before Hinckley had been properly questioned, and before a full investigation had been carried out, a group of cabinet officers chaired by George Bush had ruled out a priori any conspiracy. Haig, whose memoirs talk most about the possibility of a conspiracy, does not seem to have objected to this incredible decision.

From that moment on, "no conspiracy" became the official doctrine of the US regime, for the moment a Bush regime, and the most massive efforts were undertaken to stifle any suggestion to the contrary. The iron curtain came down on the truth about Hinckley.

What was the truth of the matter? The Roman common sense of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (who had seen so many of Nero's intrigues, and who would eventually fall victim to one of them) would have dictated that the person who would have profited most from Reagan's death be scrutinized as the prime suspect. That was obviously Bush, since Bush would have assumed the presidency if Reagan had succumbed to his wounds. The same idea was summed up by an eighth grade student at the Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC who told teachers on March 31: "It is a plot by Vice President Bush to get into power. If Bush becomes President, the CIA would be in charge of the country." The pupils at this school had been asked for their views of the Hinckley assassination attempt of the previous day. [fn 17]

Curiously enough, press accounts emerging over the next few days provided a compelling prima facie case that there had been a conspiracy around the Hinckley attentat, and that the conspiracy had included members of Bush's immediate family. Most of the overt facts were not disputed, but were actually confirmed by Bush and his son Neil.

On Tuesday, March 31 the Houston Post published a copyrighted story under the headline: "BUSH'S SON WAS TO DINE WITH SUSPECT'S BROTHER, by Arthur Wiese and Margaret Downing." The lead paragraph read as follows:

Scott Hinckley, the brother of John Hinckley Jr., who is charged with shooting President Reagan and three others, was to have been a dinner guest Tuesday night at the home of Neil Bush, son of Vice President George Bush, The Houston Post has learned.

ccording to the article, Neil Bush had admitted on Monday, March 30 that he was personally acquainted with Scott Hinckley, having met with him on one occasion in the recent past. Neil Bush also stated that he knew the Hinckley family, and referred to large monetary contributions made by the Hinckleys to the Bush 1980 presidential campaign. Neil Bush and Scott Hinckley both lived in Denver at this time. Scott Hinckley was the vice president of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation, and Neil Bush was employed as a land man for Standard Oil of Indiana. John W. Hinckley Jr., the would-be assassin, lived on and off with his parents in Evergreen, Colorado, not far from Denver.

Neil Bush was reached for comment on Monday, March 30, and was asked if, in addition to Scott Hinckley, he also knew John W. Hinckley Jr., the would-be killer. "I have no idea," said Neil Bush. "I don't recognize any pictures of him. I just wish I could see a better picture of him."

Sharon Bush, Neil's wife, was also asked about her acquaintance with the Hinckley family. "I don't even know the brother," she replied, suggesting that Scott Hinckley was coming to dinner as the date of a woman whom Sharon did know. "From what I know and have heard, they [the Hinckleys] are a very nice family...and have given a lot of money to the Bush campaign. I understand he [John W. Hinckley Jr.] was just the renegade brother in the family. They must feel awful."

It also proved necessary for Bush's office to deny that the vice-president was familiar with the "Hinckley-Bush connection." Bush's press secretary, the British-born Peter Teeley, said when asked to comment: "I don't know a damn thing about it. I was talking to someone earlier tonight, and I couldn't even remember his [Hinckley's] name. All I know is what you're telling me." Teeley denied that Bush had revealed that he knew Hinckley or the Hinckley family when he first heard the assassin's name; the vice president "made no mention of it whatsoever." Bush, repeated Teeley, "certainly didn't indicate anything like that."

Chase Untermeyer of Bush's staff, who had been with him throughout the day, put in that in his recollection Bush had not been told the assailant's name through the time that Bush reached the Naval Observatory in Washington on his way to the White House.

On April 1, 1981, the Rocky Mountain News of Denver carried an account of a press conference given the previous day in Denver by Neil Bush. During most of the day on March 31, Neil Bush had refused to answer phone calls from the media, referring them to the vice presidential press office in Washington. But then he appeared in front of the Amoco Building at East 17th Avenue and Broadway in Denver, saying that he was willing to meet the media once, but then wanted to "leave it at that." As it turned out, his wishes were to be scrupulously respected, at least until the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal got out of hand some years later.

The Rocky Mountain News article signed by Charles Roos carried Neil Bush's confirmation that if the assassination had not happened, Scott Hinckley would have been present at a dinner party at Neil Bush's home that very same night. According to Neil, Scott Hinckley had come to the home of Neil and Sharon Bush on January 23, 1981 to be present along with about 30 other guests at a surprise birthday party for Neil, who had turned 26 one day earlier. Scott Hinckley had come "through a close friend who brought him," according to this version, and this same close female friend was scheduled to come to dinner along with Scott Hinckley on that last night of March, 1981.

"My wife set up a surprise party for me, and it truly was a surprise, and it was an honor for me at that time to meet Scott Hinckley," said Neil Bush to reporters. "He is a good and decent man. I have no regrets whatsoever in saying Scott Hinckley can be considered a friend of mine. To have had one meeting doesn't make the best of friends, but I have no regrets in saying I do know him."

Neil Bush told the reporters that he had never met John W. Hinckley, Jr., the gunman, nor his father, John W. Hinckley, president and chairman of the board of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation of Denver. But Neil Bush also added that he would be interested in meeting the elder Hinckley: "I would like [to meet him]. I'm trying to learn the oil business, and he's in the oil business. I probably could learn something from Mr. Hinckley.

Neil Bush then announced that he wanted to "set straight" certain inaccuracies that had appeared the previous day in the Houston Post about the relations between the Bush and Hinckley families. The first was his own wife Sharon's reference to the large contributions from the Hinckleys to the Bush campaign. Neil asserted that the 1980 Bush campaign records showed no money whatever coming in from any of the Hinckleys. All that could be found, he argued, was a contribution to that "great Republican," John Connally.

The other issue the Houston Post had raised regarded the 1978 period, when George W. Bush of Midland, Texas, Neil's oldest brother, had run for Congress in Texas' 19th Congressional district. At that time Neil Bush had worked for George W. Bush as his campaign manager, and in this connection Neil had lived in Lubbock, Texas during most of the year. This raised the question of whether Neil might have been in touch with gunman John W. Hinckley during that year of 1978, since gunman Hinckley had lived in Lubbock from 1974 through 1980, when he was an intermittent student at Texas Tech University there. Neil Bush ruled out any contact between the Bush family and gunman John W. Hinckley in Lubbock during that time.

The previous day, elder son George W. Bush had been far less categorical about never having met gunman Hinckley. He had stated to the press: "It's certainly conceivable that I met him or might have been introduced to him." "I don't recognize his face from the brief, kind of distorted thing they had on TV, and the name doesn't ring any bells. I know he wasn't on our staff. I could check our volunteer rolls." But now Neil was adamant: there had been no contact.

Neil was a chip off the old block, and could not resist some hypocritical posturing at the end of the press conference: "Let me say that my heart goes out--as does the heart of every American--to the people suffering in this tragedy." He mentioned Reagan, Brady, the wounded Secret Service agent and District of Columbia policeman. "And the Hinckley family, for the tremendous pain they must be suffering now." And finally: "I only ask now that we can try to put this behind us and move forward in dealing with the problems."

Neil Bush's confirmation of his relations with Scott Hinckley was matched by a parallel confirmation from the Executive Office of the Vice President. This appeared in The Houston Post, April 1, 1981 under the headline "VICE PRESIDENT CONFIRMS HIS SON WAS TO HAVE HOSTED HINCKLEY BROTHER" by Post Washington Bureau Chief Arthur Wiese. Here the second-string press secretary, Shirley Green, was doing the talking. "I've spoken to Neil," she said, "and he says they never saw [Scott] Hinckley again [after the birthday party]. They kept saying 'we've got to get together,' but they never made any plans until tonight." Contradicting Neil Bush's remarks, Ms. Green asserted that Neil Bush knew Scott Hinckley "only slightly."

Shirley Green described the Tuesday night dinner appointment as "a bizarre happenstance, a weird occurrence."

Later in the day Bush spokesman Peter Teeley surfaced to deny any campaign donations from the Hinckley clan to the Bush campaign. When asked why Sharon Bush and Neil Bush had made reference to large political contributions from the Hinckleys to the Bush campaign, Teeley responded, "I don't have the vaguest idea." "We've gone through our files," said Teeley, "and we have absolutely no information that he [John W. Hinckley Sr.] or anybody in the family were contributors, supporters, anything."

A summary of this material was made generally available through the Associated Press, which published the following short note on March 31:

The family of the man charged with trying to assassinate President Reagan is acquainted with the family of Vice President George Bush and had made large contributions to his political campaign....Scott Hinckley, brother of John W. Hinckley Jr. who allegedly shot at Reagan, was to have dined tonight in Denver at the home of Neil Bush, one of the Vice President's sons....The Houston Post said it was unable to reach Scott Hinckley, vice president of his father's Denver-based firm, Vanderbilt Energy Corp., for comment. Neil Bush lives in Denver, where he works for Standard Oil Co. of Indiana. In 1978, Neil Bush served as campaign manager for his brother, George W. Bush, the Vice President's eldest son, who made an unsuccessful bid for Congress. Neil lived in Lubbock, Texas, throughout much of 1978, where John Hinckley lived from 1974 through 1980.

It is not known how many newspapers chose to print this AP dispatch; it would appear that the Washington Post for one did not do so. The electronic media also do not appear to have devoted much attention to this story. Once the cabinet had decided that there had been no conspiracy, all such facts were irrelevant anyway. There is no record of Neil Bush, George W. Bush, or Vice President George H.W. Bush ever having been questioned by the FBI in regard to the contacts described. They never appeared before a grand jury or a Congressional investigating committee. No special prosecutor was ever appointed. Which is another way of saying that by March, 1981, the United States government had degenerated into total lawlessness, with special exemptions for the now ruling Bush family. Government by laws had dissolved.

The media were not interested in the dinner date of Neil Bush and Scott Hinckley, but they were very interested indeed in the soap opera of what had gone on in the Situation Room in the White House during the afternoon of March 30. Since the media had been looking for ways to go after Haig for weeks, they simply continued this line into their coverage of the White House scene that afternoon. Haig had appeared before the television cameras to say:

Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State, in that order, and should the President decide that he wants to transfer the helm he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.

This led to an immense hue and cry, mightily stoked by the Bush networks, on the theme that Haig wanted to usurp the presidential succession. More than this garbled statement by Haig, Bush was certain to have been disturbed by Haig's refusal a few seconds later to rule out conspiracy a priori :

Q: Any additional measures being taken --was this a conspiracy or was this a....

Haig: We have no indication of anything like that now, and we are not going to say a word on that subject until the situation clarifies itself. [fn 18 ]

But when Bush returned, the cabinet soon decided otherwise.

The "I'm in control here" story on Haig was made into the Leitmotif for his sacking, which was still a year in the future. Reagan's own ghostwritten biography published the year after he left office gives some idea what Baker and Deaver fed the confused and wounded president about what had gone during his absence:

On the day I was shot, George Bush was out of town and Haig immediately came to the White House and claimed he was in charge of the country. Even after the vice-president was back in Washington, I was told he maintained that he, not George, should be in charge. I didn't know about this when it was going on. But I heard later that the rest of the cabinet was furious. They said he acted as if he thought he had the right to sit in the Oval office and believed it was his constitutional right to take over-- a position without any legal basis. [fn 19]

This fantastic account finds no support in the Regan or Weinberger memoirs, but is a fair sample of the Bushman line.

What did interest the media very much was the story of John W. Hinckley Jr.'s obsession with the actress Jodie Foster, who had played the role of a teenage prostitute in the 1976 movie Taxi Driver. The prostitute is befriended by a taxi driver, Travis Bickle, who threatens to kill a senator who is running for president in order to win the love of the girl. Young John Hinckley had imitated the habits and mannerisms of Travis Bickle.

When John Hinckley Jr. had left his hotel room in Washington DC on his way to shoot Reagan, he had left behind a letter to Jodie Foster:

Dear Jodie,

There is a definite possibility that I will be killed in my attempt to get Reagan. It is for this reason that I am writing you this letter now. As you well know by now, I love you very much. The past seven months I have left you dozens of poems, letters, and messages in the faint hope you would develop an interest in me. [...] Jodie, I'm asking you to please look into your heart and at least give me the chance with this historical deed to gain your respect and love.

I love you forever.

[signed] John Hinckley [fn 20]

In 1980, Jodie Foster was enrolled at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, as an undergraduate. Hinckley spent three weeks in September, 1980 in a New Haven hotel, according to the New York Daily News. In early October he spent several days in New Haven, this time at the Colony Inn motel. Two bartenders in a bar near the Yale campus recalled Hinckley as having bragged about his relationship with Jodie Foster. Hinckley had been arrested by airport authorities in Nashville, Tennessee on October 9, 1980 for carrying three guns, and was quickly released. Reagan had been in Nashville on October 7, and Carter arrived there on October 9. The firearms charge on the same day that the President was coming to town should have landed Hinckley on the Secret Service watch list of potential presidential assassins, but the FBI apparently neglected to transmit the information to the Secret Service.

In February 1981, Hinckley was again near the Yale campus. During this time, Hinckley claimed that he was in contact with Jodie Foster by mail and telephone. Jodie Foster had indeed received a series of letters and notes from Hinckley, which she had passed on to her college dean. The dean allegedly gave the letters to the New Haven police, who supposedly gave them to the FBI. Nevertheless, nothing was done to restrain Hinckley, who had a record of psychiatric treatment. Hinckley had been buying guns in various locations across the United States. Was Hinckley a Manchurian candidate, brainwashed to carry out his role as an assassin? Was a network operating through the various law enforcement agencies responsible for the failure to restrain Hinckley or to put him under special surveillance?
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 2 OF 2

The FBI soon officially rubber-stamped the order promulgated by the cabinet that no conspiracy be found: "there was no conspiracy and Hinckley acted alone," said the bureau. Hinckley's parents' memoir refers to some notes penciled notes by Hinckley which were found during a search of his cell and which "could sound bad." These notes "described an imaginary conspiracy--either with the political left or the political right [...] to assassinate the President." Hinckley's lawyers from Edward Bennett Williams's law firm said that the notes were too absurd to be taken seriously, and they have been suppressed. [fn 21]

In July 1985, the FBI was compelled to release some details of its investigation of Hinckley under the Freedom of Information Act. No explanation was offered of how it was determined that Hinckley had acted alone, and the names of all witnesses were censored. According to a wire service account, "the file made no mention of papers seized from Hinckley's prison cell at Butner, North Carolina, which reportedly made reference to a conspiracy. Those writings were ruled inadmissible by the trial judge and never made public." [fn 22] The FBI has refused to release 22 pages of documents concerning Hinckley's "associates and organizations," 22 pages about his personal finances, and 37 pages about his personality and character. The Williams and Connolly defense team argued that Hinckley was insane, controlled by his obsession with Jodie Foster. The jury accepted this version, and in July, 1982, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was remanded to St. Elizabeth's mental hospital where he remains to this day with no fixed term to serve; his mental condition is periodically reviewed by his doctors.

The other aspect of the case that would have merited more careful scrutiny was the relation of John W. Hinckley Sr., the gunman's father, to the US intelligence community. The line in the press right after the assassination attempt was that "the father of John Hinckley is a devout Christian who did work in Africa." Some papers also included the fact that John W. Hinckley Sr. had also worked with World Vision, beginning in 1976. World Vision describes itself as the largest "international Christian relief and development agency" active in the third world. It is officially a joint activity of the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches.

"Jack" Hinckley, as the gunman's father was frequently called, during the 1970's became a close associate of Robert Ainsworth, the director of US Ministries for World Vision, Inc. Jack Hinckley's profile was that of a born again Christian. Jack Hinckley and Ainsworth traveled together to the Sahel region of Africa, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Even before joining World Vision, Jack Hinckley had carried on "relief work" in Guatemala. "Jack and I became very close," Ainsworth said. "Jack was a successful businessman. On occasion he would ask us to pray for his son. It's not that Jack felt that John would do something bad, just that John had no direction, John had not found himself."

World Vision is one of the notorious non-governmental organizations that function as a de facto arm of US intelligence under current arrangements. Robert Ainsworth's pedigree is impressive: he was a foreign area analyst for the US Department; an advisor in Vietnam during the war there; and chaired an international committee involved in the negotiation of the Chemical and Bacteriological Warfare Treaty of 1973.

The largest contributor to World Vision is the US State Department Agency for International Development (AID), whose program is frankly genocide. Pax Christi, the Catholic human rights organization, has accused World Vision of functioning as a "Trojan horse for US foreign policy." The entire milieu is thus redolent of the US intelligence agencies.

Reagan went into a long convalescence, first in the hospital and then at his ranch in California. Even when Reagan was pronounced fully recovered, he was even more detached than before, even more absent, even more dependent on his long afternoon nap. Nancy Reagan, crazed by fear and unable to comprehend the forces that had been at work behind the assassination attempt, vastly increased her reliance on the astrological advice of her resident clairvoyant, Joan Quigley. Through this channel, the Occult Bureau of British intelligence acquired an awesome capability of manipulation over the Reagan Presidency, which could often be mobilized in favor of Bush. This was all the more true since Nancy Reagan's obsession was always her image, what the press was saying about her and how she looked in the media. Nancy appealed to her astrologer to secure her a better press image. Since the controlled press could be calibrated from day to day by the Bush networks, Nancy Reagan found herself in the grip of a many-leveled inside-outside operation whose true nature she was too shallow to suspect.

As Ms. Quigley has written, she was as resident astrologer of Reagan's court of miracles "responsible for timing all press conferences, most speeches, the State of the Union addresses, the takeoffs and landings of Air Force One. I picked the time of Ronald Reagan's debate with Carter and the two debates with Walter Mondale; all extended trips abroad as well as the shorter trips and one-day excursions, the announcement that Reagan would run for a second term, briefings for all summits except Moscow, although I selected the time to begin the Moscow trip. [...] I re-created Nancy's image, defused Bitburg, erected a chart for the INF treaty. [...] I exposed the President as little as possible to the public and the media from January to August 1987, to protect him from both the physical and political dangers I foresaw. I was heavily involved in what happened in the relations between the superpowers, changing Ronald Reagan's "Evil Empire" attitude, so that he went to Geneva prepared to meet a different kind of Russian leader and one he could convince of doing things our way. Improved relations, glasnost and perestroika may, in some small measure, have come out of this." [fn 23]

Bush took up the duties of the presidency, all the while elaborately denying, in his self-deprecating way, that he had in fact taken control: "He campaigned as 'a President we won't need to train' -- and for two weeks now, George Bush has stepped smoothly into his limited role as surrogate president....The first stand-in greeted visiting dignitaries, announced Reagan's proposed relaxation of auto emission standards, met with Congressional leaders....His duties now include an early briefing with Reagan aides Edwin Meese, James Baker, and Michael Deaver, a meeting with Congressional liaison Max Friedersdorf and a full briefing from national security adviser Richard Allen." [fn 24] During the time that Reagan was convalescing, the president was even less interested than usual in detailed briefings about government operations. Bush's visits to the chief executive were thus reduced to the merest courtesy calls, after which Bush was free to do what he wanted. "Bush has even limited his visits with Reagan. 'I just stop in for a minute or two,' Bush says. 'I think it's better not to overload the circuits.'"

Bush's key man was James Baker III, White House chief of staff and the leading court favorite of Nancy Reagan. During this period Deaver was a wholly controlled appendage of Baker and would remain one for as long as he was useful to the designs of the Bushmen. Among Baker, Deaver, and the astrologer, Nancy Reagan could also be manipulated into substantial subservience to Bush's designs.

And Baker and Deaver were not the only Bushmen in the White House. There were also Bush campaign veterans David Gergen and Jay Moorhead. In the cabinet, one Bush loyalist was Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge, who was flanked by his Assistant Secretary, Fred Bush (allegedly not a member of the Bush family). The Bushmen were strong in the sub-cabinet: here were Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs John Holdridge, who had served Bush on his Beijing mission staff and during the 1975 Pol Pot caper in Beijing; and Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Affairs Richard Fairbanks; with these two in Foggy Bottom, Haig's days were numbered. At the Pentagon was Henry E. Catto, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs; Catto would later by rewarded by Bush with an appointment as US Ambassador to the Court of St. James in London, the post that Foreign Service Officers spend their lives striving to attain. Bush was also strong among the agencies: his pal William H. Draper III, scion of the racist Draper clan, was the chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank. Loret Miller Ruppe, Bush's campaign chairman in Michigan, was Director of the Peace Corps.

At the Treasury, Bush's cousin John Walker would be assistant secretary for enforcement. When the BCCI scandal exploded in the media during 1991, William von Raab, the former director of the US Customs, complained loudly that, during Reagan's second term, his efforts to "go after" BCCI had been frustrated by reticence at the Treasury Department. By this time James Baker III was secretary of the Treasury, and Bush's kissing cousin John Walker was an official who would have had the primary responsibility for the intensity of such investigations.

At the Pentagon, Caspar Weinberger's Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia, Richard Armitage, was no stranger to the circles of Shackley and Clines. Weinberger had extravagant praise in his Pentagon memoirs for "Rich" Armitage, "who served the Department and me with extraordinary fidelity and skill and unparalleled knowledge and good humor during all the time I was in office." [fn 25] Bush's staff numbered slightly less than sixty during the early spring of 1981. He often operated out of a small office in the West Wing of the White House where he liked to spend time because it was "in the traffic pattern," but his staff was principally located in the Old Executive Office Building. Here Bush sat at a mammoth mahogany desk which had been used in 1903 by his lifetime ego ideal, the archetypal liberal Republican extravagant, Theodore Roosevelt. Bush also kept an office at the Senate. Some of the leading Bush operatives were:

Bush's chief of staff was Admiral Daniel J. Murphy, who had represented Bush in the Situation Room until the vice president had returned from Texas. Murphy had served Melvin Laird and Elliot Richardson when they commanded the Pentagon under Nixon; he had commanded the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean during the 1973 Middle East War. Murphy habitually accompanied Bush to attend Reagan's national security briefing each morning in the Oval Office, a ritual that was conducted by Richard Allen as long as he lasted, and attended by Baker and Deaver, plus Haig, until he too was ousted.

The deputy chief of staff was Richard N. Bond, a younger political operative who had worked in the offices of liberal Republicans like William Green of New York and Sen. Charles Mathias of Maryland. He had managed Bush's winning efforts in the Iowa caucuses and in the Connecticut primary.

Bush's executive assistant and special assignments man was Charles G. "Chase" Untermeyer, who had graduated from Harvard, worked as a newspaper reporter and served between 1977 and 1980 as a GOP member of the Texas House of Representatives for the silk stocking Republican 83rd district in Houston, where James Baker, John Connolly, and Leon Jaworski own homes.

Bush's general counsel was C. Boyden Gray, a Harvard-educated lawyer who had worked as a partner for the Washington powerbroker law firm of Wilmer, Cutler, and Pickering, where he was specialized in antitrust litigation and representing businessmen's groups like the Business Roundtable and the American Mining Congress. Gray's family were plutocrats from North Carolina who had sponsored the forced sterilization programs described above. Gray's father, Gordon Gray, had served as chief of the National Security Council during the Eisenhower administration, and had authored the overall document under which the very extensive covert operations of the Eisenhower years had been carried out. "Boy" Gray took an important part in Bush's Task Force on Regulatory Relief, which was billed as an effort to "cut federal red tape," but which in reality furthered the highly destructive process of deregulation in many critical areas of business and finance. Boy Gray's family had profited immensely from the merger of their family firm, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, with the National Biscuit Company to form RJR-Nabisco. They would profit astronomically from the leveraged buy-out of RJR-Nabisco by the Wall Street firm of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts, a swindle that was facilitated by the new regulatory climate that Boy Gray had himself helped to create.

Bush's assistant for domestic affairs was Thaddeus Garrett, Jr., the highest ranking black on Bush's staff and an ordained minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Garrett had served Vice President Nelson Rockefeller in the same capacity in 1975-76, and had worked as a Congressional aide to Reps. William Ayres (R-Ohio) and Shirley Chisholm (D-NY).

Bush's assistant for national security affairs was Nancy Bearg Dyke, who had been principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower resources and military administration in the Carter Administration. Dyke was a veteran of the State Department, the NSC, the Senate Armed Services Committee staff, and the Congressional Budget office.

Bush's executive assistant for Congressional relations was Robert V. Thompson, who had served as Bush's assistant during the presidential campaign. Thompson was from the Tulsa of the Liedtke and Kravis families, where he had founded three companies dealing with commodity speculation, oil rigs, and refrigerator rentals.

Bush's legislative assistant was Susan E. Alvarado, former legislative assistant to the then Senate Minority Whip Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Bush's press secretary was Peter Teeley, who had been born in Great Britain and had later lived in Detroit. Teeley had worked for GOP Senators Jake Javits of New York and Robert Griffin of Michigan, and he was considered very much a liberal. Teeley had also been Communications Director for the Republican National Committee.

Bush's deputy press secretary was Shirley M. Green, whom we have seen in action during the March, 1981 attempted coup d'etat. Green had worked at the Texas GOP headquarters in Austin, and had coordinated the Bush for President effort in Texas and Arkansas.

Bush's appointments secretary was the inevitable Jennifer Fitzgerald, who had been his executive assistant during the CIA days in Langley. Fitzgerald had worked as a special aide of former Yale President Kingman Brewster when he was US Ambassador to London. She was a veteran of the White House staffs of the Nixon and Ford years. Jennifer Fitzgerald has remained with Bush over the years, and her presence has given rise to much gossip.

Bush's director of administration was Susan Cockrell, who had worked in vice presidential national security and foreign affairs staffs since 1974, serving Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, and Walter Mondale before Bush.

Bush's advance man was Michael Farley, a former Arizona insurance agent and broker who had worked for Ford in 1976 and for Bush during the 1979-80 campaign.

Bush's trip director was Joseph W. Hagin, a former operative for the Bush campaign in Florida and Iowa. After the Detroit convention, Hagin traveled full time with Bush. [fn 26]

After Reagan had recovered, Bush customarily arrived at his office in the Old Executive Office Building at about 7:30 each morning for his own national security briefing and a staff meeting. Then Bush and Murphy would go over to the Oval Office, less than a hundred yards away, to sit in on Reagan's national security briefing. During the rest of the day, depending on the requirements of intrigue and manipulation, Bush was free to float between OEOB and West Wing, often gravitating back towards his own staff at the end of the day.

Bush had a standing invitation to sit on all cabinet meetings and other executive activities, and Baker was always there to make sure he knew what was going on. Bush was a part of every session of the National Security Council. Bush also possessed guaranteed access to Reagan, in case he ever needed that: each Thursday Reagan and Bush would have lunch alone together in the Oval Office.

Each Tuesday, Bush attended the weekly meeting of GOP committee chairmen presided over by Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker at the Senate. Then Bush would stay on the Hill for the weekly luncheon of the Republican Policy Committee hosted by Sen. John Tower of Texas. Before and after these weekly events, there was time for meetings with individual senators. Bush also cultivated his older House networks, including through paddleball workouts in the House gymnasium.

Prescott's old friend William Casey was beginning to work his deviltry at Langley, and kept in close touch with Bush. Reports of personality conflicts between Bush and Casey are the most transparent disinformation.

The result was a machine capable of steering many of the decisions of the Reagan Administration. At this point, Bush was not looking for a great deal of publicity; he didn't need it. "Bush himself reacted with sensitivity to the amount of publicity he received while performing as a presidential surrogate while Reagan was recovering from his gunshot wound. When the President returned to his work schedule, Bush asked his staff to cut back on scheduling him for interviews. "He thought he should lower his profile for a while,' an aide explained."

Problems might have come from the oversight functions of the Congress, but the Congress was now in the process of being destroyed as a Constitutional force. Senator Harris Williams of New Jersey was now on trial on charges resulting from the FBI's illegal "Abscam" entrapment operations. Williams' forced resignation from the Senate, after a number of Congressmen had been convicted on the same manufactured charges, would complete the subordination of Congress to police state controls.

Problems might have come from the Director of the National Security Council, but here the job had been downgraded: Richard Allen reported not to Reagan, but to Meese. Allen would in any case soon be ousted from office because he had accepted some watches from Japanese visitors. Allen would be followed in quick succession by William Clark, Bud McFarlane, John Poindexter, Frank Carlucci, and Colin Powell- a new NSC director a bit more than once a year. For Bush, the dangerous one had been Clark; the rest were quite prepared to go with the Kissinger line. In any case, this merry-go-round at the NSC meant that no serious challenge could emerge against Bush from this quarter.

It took more than a year to finish off Al Haig. The final opportunity came during the Malvinas (or Falklands) war in the spring of 1982. When Thatcher made clear that she was intent on waging war against Argentina, Haig flew to London and assured her that there would be no new Suez, that the US would back Britain in the end. But Haig insisted on posing in public as an honest broker, mediating between Britain and Argentina, and made proposals that involved concessions which enraged Thatcher. Haig also called Lord Carrington a "duplicitous bastard." Bush and Baker used the failure of Haig's shuttle diplomacy in the Malvinas crisis to prepare the final bureaucratic coup de grace. Haig was replaced by George Shultz, a Bechtel executive and Nixon cabinet retread.

The loudest squawking in public about Bush's formidable behind the scenes power during the Reagan years came from the old "New Right" alumni of the Young Americans for Freedom during the Goldwater era. One gathers that these personages were miffed at the idea that George's networks were grabbing plum jobs which the old YAFers regarded as their eminent domain. One of these was Terry Dolan of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, who spoke in 1982 of the "Bushization of the Reagan Administration." (Dolan later died of AIDS.) The right-wing direct mail fundraiser Richard Viguerie asserted that "this is a Bush administration, not a Reagan administration."

The right-wing concern was summed up by Witcover and Germond: "George Bush is playing possum, acting the amenable helpmate to Reagan while insidiously planting his agents in key positions in the administration-- especially in the White House-- and, more recently, in the Republican National Committee." [fn 27]

These circles pointed to the ascendancy of James Baker in the White House, the influence of David Gergen as White House director of communications, the position of Richard Darman (from the Eliot Richardson stable) as Baker's deputy, and the dominance of Rich Bond, Bush's chief of staff, as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee. Some were also worried about the power of David Stockman, the austerity ideologue of the early Reagan Office of Management and Budget and close Bush ally. "Bush has been more effective in getting his people placed in the administration than Reagan has," complained Paul Weyrich of the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress. "There was a tremendous power vacuum and Baker's moved into it, but Baker has used it to get Bush people into key places...Bush has an ideal situation. He goes around the country collecting due bills by expressing support of Reagan, meanwhile putting his people in place." These circles were very concerned by the frequent rumors that Reagan might renounce a race for a second term in what Viguerie called an "LBJ scenario," with Reagan dropping out during the primary season. These hopes never panned out, but the "Baker-Bush connection" enraged the right wingers for years.

In public, Bush worked on his Task Force for Regulatory Relief, a good way to curry favor with the legions of greed in Wall Street and Beverly Hills who were looking for the Reagan administration to fulfill their hopes. After the French elections, it was Bush who was dispatched to France to meet the new French President Francois "Tonton" Mitterrand of the Grand Orient freemasonry. Bush and Mitterrand had mutual friends in the Schlumberger interests of Jean and Monique de Menil of Houston; Bush began building a special relationship with Tonton Mitterrand that included very cordial Franco-American summits at Kennebunkport and St. Martin during 1989. For Tonton, close ties with Bush were essential for undoing the heritage of General de Gaulle, who had insisted on French national independence and sovereignty. With the Bush-Mitterrand axis, those forces were strengthened who wanted France to become again what she had been in the shameful adventure of Suez in 1956: an auxiliary to the Anglo-Americans.

Bush also had a special interest in the Atlanta murders of black children, which were reaching their peak during the first months of 1981. On February 8, 1981, Bush announced that the federal government would provide special assistance to the Atlanta Police Department in investigating the murders. On February 22, a federal task force focused on Atlanta was created, and on March 15 George and Barbara journeyed to Atlanta to meet with the families of some of the victims. These murders were clearly connected to satanic cults operating in the Atlanta area.

Bush became heavily engaged on this front. His office "aggressively and publicly" pursued his assignment of coordinating federal assistance to Atlanta. Admiral Murphy and staffer Thaddeus Garrett helped to arrange a series of grants from various agencies and set up a task force on the ground in Atlanta under the leadership of Charles Rinkevich, a regional official of the Justice Department. Garrett gave himself credit for expediting $3.8 million to support the investigation of the Atlanta murders and to provide "support and protective supervision" for the terror-stricken residents of the area.

Naturally: an alumnus of Skull and Bones knew all about satanism.

Forty-four days after the attempted assassination of Reagan, there followed the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II during a general audience in St. Peter's Square in Rome. During those 44 days, Bush had been running the US government. It was as if a new and malignant evil had erupted onto the world stage, and was asserting its presence with an unprecedented violence and terror. Bush was certainly involved in the attempt to cover up the true authors of the attentat of St. Peter's Square. An accessory before the fact in the attempt to slay the pontiff appears to have been Bush's old cohort Frank Terpil, who had been one of the instructors who had trained Mehmet Ali Agca, who had fired on the pope.

After a lengthy investigation, the Italian investigative magistrate Ilario Martella in December 1982 issued seven arrest warrants in the case, five against Turks and two against Bulgarians. Ultimate responsibility for the attempt on the Pope's life belonged to Yuri Andropov of the Soviet KGB. On March 1, 1990, Viktor Ivanovich Sheymov, a KGB officer who had defected to the west, revealed at a press conference in Washington DC that as early as 1979, shortly after Karol Woityla became Pope, the KGB had been instructed through an order signed by Yuri Andropov to gather all possible information on how to get "physically close to the Pope. [fn 28]

According to one study of these events, during the second week of August, 1980, when the agitation of the Polish trade union Solidarnosc was at its height, the Pope had dispatched a special emissary to Moscow with a personal letter for Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev. The Pope's message warned the Soviet dictator that if the Red Army were to invade Poland, as then seemed imminent, the Pope would fly to Warsaw and lead the resistance. It is very likely that shortly after this the Soviets gave the order to eliminate Pope John Paul II. [fn 29]

With the Vatican supporting Judge Martella in his campaign to expose the true background of Ali Agca's assault, it appeared that the Bulgarian connection, and with it the Andropov-KGB connection, might soon be exposed. But in the meantime, Brezhnev had died, and had been succeeded by the sick and elderly Konstantin Chernenko. Bush was already in the "you die, we fly" business, representing Reagan at all important state funerals, and carrying on the summit diplomacy that belongs to such occasions. Bush attended Brezhnev's funeral, and conferred at length with Yuri Andropov. Chernenko was a transitional figure, and the Anglo-American elites were looking to KGB boss Andropov as a desirable successor with whom a new series of condominium deals at the expense of peoples and nations all over the planet might be consummated. For the sake of the condominium, it was imperative that the hit against the Pope not be pinned on Moscow. There was also the scandal that would result if it turned out that US assets had also been involved within the framework of derivative assassination networks.

During the first days of 1983, Bush lodged an urgent request with Monsignor Pio Laghi, the apostolic pro-nuncio in Washington, in which Bush asked for an immediate private audience with the Pope. By February 8, Bush was in Rome. According to reliable reports, during the private audience Bush "suggested that John Paul should not pursue quite so energetically his own interest in the plot." [fn 30]

Bush's personal intervention had the effect of supplementing and accelerating a US intelligence operation that was already in motion to sabotage and discredit Judge Martella and his investigation. On May 13, 1983, the second anniversary of the attempt on the Pope's life, Vassily Dimitrov, the first secretary of the Bulgarian Embassy in Rome, expressed his gratitude: "Thanks to the CIA, I feel as if I were born again!"

Bush consistently expressed skepticism on Bulgarian support for Agca. On December 20, 1982, responding to the Martella indictments, Bush told the Christian Science Monitor: "Maybe I speak defensively as a former head of the CIA, but leave out the operational side of the KGB-- the naughty things they allegedly do: Here's a man, Andropov, who has had access to a tremendous amount of intelligence over the years. In my judgment, he would be less apt to misread the intentions of the USA. That offers potential. And the other side of that is that he's tough, and he appears to have solidified his leadership position."

According to one study, the German foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, believed at this time that "a common link between the CIA and the Bulgarians" existed. [fn 31]

Martella was convinced that Agca had been sent into action by Sergei Antonov, a Bulgarian working in Rome. According to author Gordon Thomas, Martella was aware that the White House, and Bush specifically, were determined to sabotage the exposure of this connection. Martella brought Agca and Antonov together, and Agca identified Antonov in a line-up. Agca also described the interior of Antonov's apartment in Rome. "Later, Martella told his staff that the CIA or anyone else can spread as much disinformation as they like; he is satisfied that Agca is telling the truth about knowing Antonov." [fn 32] Later US intelligence networks would redouble these sabotage efforts with some success. Agca was made to appear a lunatic, and two key Buglarian witnesses changed their testimony. A campaign of leaks was also mounted. In a bizarre but significant episode, even New York Senator Al Damato got into the act. Damato alleged that he had heard about the Pope's letter warning Brezhnev about invading Poland while he was visiting the Vatican during early 1981: as the New York Times reported on February 9, 1983, "Damato says he informed the CIA about the letter and identified his source in the Vatican when he returned to the US from a 1981 trip to Rome." Later, Damato was told that the Rome CIA station had never heard anything from Langley about his report of the Pope's letter. "I gave them important information and they clearly never followed it up," complained Damato to reporters.

In February, 1983, Damato visited Rome once again on a fact-finding mission in connection with the Agca plot. He asked the US Embassy in Rome to set up appointments for him with Italian political leaders and law enforcement officials, but his visit was sabotaged by US Ambassador Maxwell Raab. The day before Damato was scheduled to leave Washington, he found that he had no meetings set up in Rome. Then an Italian-speaking member of the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who was familiar with the Agca investigation and who was scheduled to accompany Damato to Rome, informed the senator that he would not make the trip. Damato told the press that this last-minute cancellation was due to pressure from the CIA.

Much to Damato's irritation, it turned out that George Bush personally had been responsible for a rather thorough sabotage of his trip. Damato showed the Rome press "a telegram from the American Ambassador in Rome urging him to postpone the visit because the embassy was preoccupied with an overlapping appearance by Vice President Bush," as the New York Times reported. This was Bush's mission to warn the Pope not to pursue the Bulgarian connection. Damato said he was shocked that no one on the CIA staff in Rome had been assigned to track the Agca investigation.

The CIA station chief in Rome during the early 1980's was William Mulligan, a close associate of former CIA deputy assistant director for operations Theodore Shackley. Shackley, as we have seen, was a part of the Bush for President campaign of 1980.

Mehmet Ali Agca received training in the use of explosives, firearms, and other subjects from the "former" CIA agent Frank Terpil. Terpil was known to Agca as "Major Frank," and the training appears to have taken place in Syria and in Libya.

Agca's identification of Terpil had been very precise and detailed on Major Frank and on the training program. Terpil himself granted a television interview, which was incorporated into a telecast on his activities and entitled "The Most Dangerous Man in the World," during which Terpil described in some detail how he had trained Agca. Shortly after this, Terpil left his apartment in Beirut, accompanied by three unidentified men, and disappeared. Terpil and Ed Wilson had gone to Libya and begun a program of terrorist training at about the time that George Bush became the CIA director. Wilson was indicted for supplying explosives to Libya, for conspiring to assassinate one of Qaddafi's opponents in Egypt, and for recruiting former US pilots and Green Berets to work for Qaddafi. Wilson was later lured back to the US and jailed. Terpil presumably continues to operate, if he is still alive. Was Terpil actually a triple agent?

What further relation might George Bush have had to the attempt to take the life of the Pope? As we have seen, the Bush family had carried on an obsessive vendetta against the Vatican over decades. In the family tradition, it was Catholic opponents of birth control and genocide, including Roman Catholic prelates, who were held responsible for the defeat of Prescott Bush in the 1950 election, when his involvement with the genocide lobby had received effective and timely exposure. We have seen how Bush personally nursed this grudge, hysterically recounting the story to his colleagues in the House of Representatives. We have seen Bush's enraged response to Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, which attacked the racist heart of the Bush family creed. We will later see Bush attacking the political activities of Jesuits in central America. We will see Bush ordering violent demonstrators in Panama City to storm the Papal nunziatura. In all of this the freemason Bush shares the obsession of the Anglo-American elite, who are committed to destroying the papacy as one of the few institutions in the world that has dared to resist their Malthusian proposition that the central problem of humanity is overpopulation.

Freemason George Bush allegedly possesses important connections to some of the more sinister currents of continental European masonry. Unconfirmed published reports have linked George Bush to the Propaganda Due or P-2 masonic lodge of Rome, Italy, as well as to the Comite Montecarlo. Barbara Honegger, in her book October Surprise, cites her mysterious informant "Y", who claims that the notorious Italian political fixer Francesco Pazienza told him that George Bush was even made an honorary member of the P-2 lodge by that lodge's venerable grand master, the notorious Licio Gelli. Gelli is also reported by informed sources to have worked energetically to promote Bush's 1980 presidential candidacy.

Some see Bush's alleged connections to Licio Gelli's P-2 lodge as relevant to the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme on February 28, 1986. According to Barbara Honegger's mysterious informant "Y", on February 25, 1986, just a few days before Palme was killed, Licio Gelli, who was then in Brazil, sent a message to Philip Guarino, a former official of the Republican National Committee telling him that "the Swedish tree will be felled," along with a request to "tell our good friend Bush." [fn 33] Palme, at the time of his death, was aware of the participation of Swedish arms companies in weapons deliveries to the Khomeini regime within the framework of what later became known as Iran-contra.

On July 2, 1990, the first program (Tg-1) of RAI Television, the Italian government-sponsored network, broadcast an interview by journalist Ennio Remondino with Ibrahim Razin and Richard Brennecke, a former US intelligence agent who has become well known in connection with his allegations concerning the 1980 October Surprise. Here Razin repeated the account of the message from Gelli to Guarino and Bush just summarized. Brennecke added that US intelligence agencies provided the P-2 lodge with funding in the amount of $10 million per month for gun-running, drug-running, and destabilization. In the wake of this telecast, President Francesco Cossiga, the psychologically unstable Italian chief of state, demanded that Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti investigate these charges. Cossiga was indignant that both the US government and George Bush had been accused of these heinous crimes. Andreotti's investigation was a superficial one and certainly did not disprove any of the charges, leaving the matter hanging. [fn 34]

_______________

Notes:

1. Joan Quigley, "What Does Joan Say" (New York, 1990), p. 112.

2. Clay F. Richards, "George Bush: 'co-president' in the Reagan administration" United Press International, March 10, 1981.

3. Alexander Haig, Caveat (New York, 1984), p. 54.

4. Haig, Caveat, p. 115.

5. Haig, Caveat, p. 302.

6. Haig, Caveat, p. 60.

7. Washington Post, March 22, 1981.

8. Haig, Caveat, pp. 144-145.

9. Washington Post, March 22, 1981.

10. The Daily Texan, March 31, 1981.

11. Haig, Caveat, p. 151.

12. Caspar Weinberger, Fighting for Peace (New York, 1990), p. 91.

13. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, p. 93.

14. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, p. 94.

15. Donald T. Regan, For the Record (New York, 1988), p. 168.

16. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, p. 95.

17. Washington Post, April 1, 1981.

18. Haig, Caveat, p. 160.

19. Ronald Reagan, An American Life (New York, 1990), p. 271.

20. Jack and JoAnn Hinckley, Breaking Points (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1985), p. 169.

21. Breaking Points, p. 215.

22. Judy Hasson, United Press International, July 31, 1985.

23. Joan Quigley, What Does Joan Say? (New York, 1990), p. 12.

24. Newsweek, April 20, 1981, p. 29.

25. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, pp. 230-231.

26. For Bush's staff see "George Bush--Keeping His Profile Low So He Can Keep His Influence High," National Journal, June 20, 1981, p. 1096 ff.; and Arthur Wiese, "The Bush Team," Houston Post, April 1, 1981.

27. Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, "Why Do Conservatives Hate Bush?", The Washingtonian, April 1982.

28. Washington Post, March 2, 1990.

29. See Gordon Thomas, Pontiff (New York, 1983).

30. Gordon Thomas, Averting Armageddon (New York, 1984), p. 74.

31. Averting Armageddon, p. 268.

32. Averting Armageddon, p. 75.

33. Barbara Honegger, October Surprise (New York: Tudor Publishing, 1989), p. 240. Many are the names that have been attributed to informant "Y," including Ibrahim Razin, Racine, Oswald Le Winter, Oscar LeWinter, and George Cave, who was supposedly once a CIA employee specializing in Iranian affairs.

34. See Corriere della Sera and La Stampa, July 24, 1990.
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 1 OF 3

Chapter XVIII -- Iran-Contra

"What pleases the prince has the force of law.''
-- Roman law

"As long as the police carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally.''
-- Gestapo officer Werner Best [fn1]


We cannot provide here a complete overview of the Iran-Contra affair. We shall attempt, rather, to give an account of George Bush's decisive, central role in those events, which occurred during his vice-presidency and spilled over into his presidency. The principal elements of scandal in Iran-Contra may be reduced to the following points:

1) the secret arming of the Khomeini regime in Iran by the U.S. government, during an official U.S.-decreed arms embargo against Iran, while the U.S. publicly denounced the recipients of its secret deliveries as terrorists and kidnappers -- a policy initiated under the Jimmy Carter presidency and accelerated by the Reagan-Bush administration;

2) the Reagan-Bush administration's secret arming of its "Contras'' for war against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, while such aid was explicitly prohibited under U.S. law;

3) the use of communist and terrorist enemies -- often armed directly by the Anglo-Americans -- to justify a police state and covert, oligarchical rule at home;

4) paying for and protecting the gun-running projects with drug-smuggling, embezzlement, theft by diversion from authorized U.S. programs, and the "silencing'' of both opponents and knowledgeable participants in the schemes; and

5) the continual, routine perjury and deception of the public by government officials pretending to have no knowledge of these activities; and the routine acquiescence in that deception by Congressmen too frightened to oppose it.

When the scandal broke, in late 1986 and early 1987, George Bush maintained that he knew nothing about these illegal activities; that other government officials involved in them had kept him in the dark; that he had attended no important meetings where these subjects were under discussion. Since that time, many once-classified documents have come to light, which suggest that Bush organized and supervised many, or most, of the criminal aspects of the Iran-Contra adventures. The most significant events relevant to George Bush's role are presented here in the format of a chronology. At the end of the chronology, parts of the testimony of George Bush's loyal assistant Donald Gregg will be provided, to allow for a comparison of the documented events with the Bush camp's account of things. Over the time period covered, the reader will observe the emergence of new structures in the U.S. government:

The "Special Situation Group,'' together with its subordinate "Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group'' (May 14, 1982).

The "Crisis Management Center'' (February 1983).

The "Terrorist Incident Working Group'' (April 3, 1984).

The "Task Force on Combating Terrorism'' (or simply Terrorism Task Force) (July 1985).

The "Operations Sub-Group'' (January 20, 1986). These were among the official, secret structures of the U.S. government created from 1982 through 1986. Other structures, whose existence has not yet come to light, may also have been created -- or may have persisted from an earlier time. Nothing of this is to be found in the United States Constitution. All of these structures revolved around the secret command role of the then-Vice President, George Bush. The propaganda given out to justify these changes in government has stressed the need for secrecy to carry out necessary covert acts against enemies of the nation (or of its leaders). Certainly, a military command will act secretly in war, and will protect secrets of its vulnerable capabilities. But the Bush apparatus, within and behind the government, was formed to carry out covert policies: to make war when the constitutional government had decided not to make war; to support enemies of the nation (terrorists and drug-runners) who are the friends or agents of the secret government. In the period of the chronology, there are a number of meetings of public officials -- secret meetings. Who really made the policies, which were then well or poorly executed by the covert action structure? By looking at the scant information that has come to light on these meetings, we may reach some conclusions about who advocated certain policy choices; but we have not then learned much about the actual origin of the policies that were being carried out. This is the rule of an oligarchy whose members are unknown to the public, an oligarchy which is bound by no known laws.

January 20, 1981: Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as U.S. President.

March 25, 1981: Vice President George Bush was named the leader of the United States "crisis management'' staff, "as a part of the National Security Council system.''

March 30, 1981: The new President was shot in an attempted assassination. He survived his wounds, so Vice President Bush did not succeed to the presidency.

May 14, 1982: Bush's position as chief of all covert action and de facto head of U.S. intelligence -- in a sense, the acting President -- was formalized in a secret memorandum. The memo explained that "National Security Decision Directive 3, Crisis Management, establishes the Special Situation Group (SSG), chaired by the Vice President. The SSG is charged ... with formulating plans in anticipation of crises.'' It is most astonishing that, in all of the reports, articles and books about the Iran-Contra covert actions, the existence of Bush's SSG has received no significant attention. Yet its importance in the management of those covert actions is obvious and unmistakable, as soon as an investigative light is thrown upon it. The memo in question also announced the birth of another organization, the Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), which was to work as an intelligence-gathering agency for Bush and his SSG. This new subordinate group, consisting of representatives of Vice President Bush, National Security Council (NSC) staff members, the CIA, the military and the State Department, was to "meet periodically in the White House Situation Room.... '' They were to identify areas of potential crisis and "[p]resent ... plans and policy options to the SSG'' under Chairman Bush. And they were to provide to Bush and his assistants, "as crises develop, alternative plans,'' "action/options'' and "coordinated implementation plans'' to resolve the "crises.'' Finally, the subordinate group was to give to Chairman Bush and his assistants "recommended security, cover, and media plans that will enhance the likelihood of successful execution.'' It was announced that the CPPG would meet for the first time on May 20, 1982, and that agencies were to "provide the name of their CPPG representative to Oliver North, NSC staff....'' The memo was signed "for the President'' by Reagan's national security adviser, William P. Clark. It was declassified during the congressional Iran-Contra hearings. [fn2 ] Gregg, Rodriguez and North Join the Bush Team

August 1982: Vice President Bush hired Donald P. Gregg as his principal adviser on national security affairs. Gregg now officially retired from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Donald Gregg brought along into the Vice President's office his old relationship with mid-level CIA assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez. Gregg had been Rodriguez's boss in Vietnam. Donald Gregg worked under Bush in Washington from 1976 -- when Bush was CIA Director -- through the later 1970s, when the Bush clique was at war with President Carter and his CIA Director, Stansfield Turner. Gregg was detailed to work at the National Security Council between 1979 and 1982. From 1976 right up through that NSC assignment, CIA officer Gregg saw CIA agent Rodriguez regularly. Both men were intensely loyal to Bush. [fn3] Their continuing collaboration was crucial to Vice President Bush's organization of covert action. Rodriguez was now to operate out of the Vice President's office.

December 21, 1982: The first "Boland Amendment'' became law: "None of the funds provided in this Act [the Defense Appropriations Bill] may be used by the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Defense to furnish military equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military activities, to any group or individual ... for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua.'' "Boland I,'' as it was called, remained in effect until Oct. 3, 1984, when it was superseded by a stronger prohibition known as "Boland II.'' [fn4 ]

February 1983: Fawn Hall joined Oliver North as his assistant. Ms. Hall reported that she worked with North on the development of a secret "Crisis Management Center.'' Lt. Colonel North, an employee of the National Security Council, is seen here managing a new structure within the Bush-directed SSG/CPPG arrangements of 1981-82. [fn5 ]

March 3, 1983: In the spring of 1983, the National Security Council established an office of "Public Diplomacy'' to propagandize in favor of and run cover for the Iran-Contra operations, and to coordinate published attacks on opponents of the program. Former CIA Director of Propaganda Walter Raymond was put in charge of the effort. The unit was to work with domestic and international news media, as well as private foundations. The Bush family-affiliated Smith Richardson Foundation was part of a National Security Council "private donors' steering committee'' charged with coordinating this propaganda effort. A March 3, 1983 memorandum from Walter Raymond to then-NSC Director William Clark, provided details of the program:

"As you will remember you and I briefly mentioned to the President when we briefed him on the N[ational] S[ecurity] D[ecision] D[irective] on public diplomacy that we would like to get together with some potential donors at a later date....

"To accomplish these objectives Charlie [United States Information Agency Director Charles Z. Wick] has had two lengthy meetings with a group of people representing the private sector. This group had included principally program directors rather than funders. The group was largely pulled together by Frank Barnett, Dan McMichael (Dick [Richard Mellon] Scaife's man), Mike Joyce (Olin Foundation), Les Lenkowsky (Smith Richardson Foundation) plus Leonard Sussman and Leo Cherne of Freedom House. A number of others including Roy Godson have also participated.'' [Everything above in parentheses is in the original]. [fn6 ]

Elsewhere, Raymond described Cherne and Godson as the coordinators of this group. Frank Barnett was the director of the Bush family's National Strategy Information Center, for which Godson was the Washington, D.C. director. Barnett had been the project director of the Smith Richardson Foundation prior to being assigned to that post. The Smith Richardson Foundation has sunk millions of dollars into the Iran-Contra projects. Some Smith Richardson grantees, receiving money since the establishment of the National Security Council's "private steering committee'' (according to the foundation's annual reports) include the following:

Dennis King, to write the book "Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism", used as the basis for arguments against LaRouche and his associates by federal and state prosecutors around the country. (See the LaRouche section at the end of this chapter.)

Freedom House. This was formed by Leo Cherne, business partner of CIA Director William Casey. Cherne oversaw Walter Raymond's "private donor's committee.''

National Strategy Information Center, founded in 1962 by Casey, Cherne and the Bush family (see Chapter 4). Thus, when an item appeared in a daily newspaper, supporting the Contras, or attacking their opponents -- calling them "extremists,'' etc. -- it is likely to have been planted by the U.S. government, by the George Bush-NSC "private donors''' apparatus.

March 17, 1983: Professional assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez met with Bush aide Donald P. Gregg, officially and secretly, at the White House. Gregg then recommended to National Security Council adviser Robert "Bud'' McFarlane a plan for El Salvador-based military attacks on a target area of Central American nations including Nicaragua. Gregg's March 17, 1983 memo to McFarlane said: "The attached plan, written in March of last year, grew out of two experiences: "--Anti-Vietcong operations run under my direction in III Corps Vietnam from 1970-1972. These operations [see below], based on ... a small elite force ... produced very favorable results." -- Rudy Enders, who is now in charge of what is left of the paramilitary capability of the CIA, went to El Salvador in 1981 to do a survey and develop plans for effective anti-guerrilla operations. He came back and endorsed the attached plan. (I should add that Enders and Felix Rodriguez, who wrote the attached plan, both worked for me in Vietnam and carried out the actual operations outlined above.) "This plan encountered opposition and skepticism from the U.S. military.... "I believe the plan can work based on my experience in Vietnam....'' Three years later, Bush agent Rodriguez would be publicly exposed as the supervisor of the covert Central American network illegally supplying arms to the Contras; that exposure of Rodriguez would begin the explosive public phase of the "Iran-Contra scandal.'' Rodriguez's uncle had been Cuba's public works minister under Fulgencio Batista, and his family fled Castro's 1959 revolution. Felix Rodriguez joined the CIA, and was posted to the CIA's notorious Miami Station in the early 1960s. The Ted Shackley-E. Howard Hunt organization there, assisted by Meyer Lansky's and Santos Trafficante's mafiosi, trained Rodriguez and other Cubans in the arts of murder and sabotage. Rodriguez and his fellow CIA trainees took part in numerous terror raids against Castro's Cuba. Felix Rodriguez recounted his early adventures in gun-running under false pretexts in a ghost-written book, Shadow Warrior:

Just around the time President Kennedy was assassinated, I left for Central America. I spent almost two years in Nicaragua, running the communications network for [our enterprise].... [O]ur arms cache was in Costa Rica. The funding for the project came from the CIA, but the money's origin was hidden through the use of a cover corporation, a company called Maritima BAM, which was [Manuel] Artim's initials spelled backwards. Periodically, deposits of hundreds of thousands of dollars would be made in Maritima BAM's accounts, and disbursed by Cuban corporation officers. The U.S. government had the deniability it wanted; we got the money we needed.... In fact, what we did in Nicaragua twenty-five years ago has some pretty close parallels to the Contra operation today. [fn8 ]


Rodriguez followed his CIA boss Ted Shackley to Southeast Asia in 1970. Shackley and Donald Gregg put Rodriguez into the huge assassination and dope business which Shackley and his colleagues ran during the Indochina war; this bunch became the heart of the "Enterprise'' that went into action 15 to 20 years later in Iran-Contra. Shackley funded opium-growing Meo tribesmen in murder, and used the dope proceeds in turn to fund his hit squads. He formed the Military Assistance Group-Special Operations Group (MAG-SOG) political murder unit; Gen. John K. Singlaub was a commander of MAG-SOG; Oliver North and Richard Secord were officers of the unit. By 1971, the Shackley group had killed about 100,000 civilians in Southeast Asia as part of the CIA's Operation Phoenix. After Vietnam, Felix Rodriguez went back to Latin American CIA operations, while other parts of the Shackley organization went on to drug-selling and gun-running in the Middle East. By 1983, both the Mideast Shackley group and the self-styled "Shadow Warrior,'' Felix Rodriguez, were attached to the shadow commander-in-chief, George Bush.

May 25, 1983: Secretary of State George Shultz wrote a memorandum for President Reagan, trying to stop George Bush from running Central American operations for the U.S. government. Shultz included a draft National Security Decision Directive for the President to sign, and an organizational chart ("Proposed Structure'') showing Shultz's proposal for the line of authority -- from the President and his NSC, through Secretary of State Shultz and his assistant secretary, down to an interagency group. The last line of the Shultz memo says bluntly what role is reserved for the Bush-supervised CPPG: "The Crisis Pre-Planning Group is relieved of its assignments in this area.'' Back came a memorandum for The Honorable George P. Shultz, on a White House letterhead but bearing no signature, saying no to Shultz: "The institutional arrangements established in NSDD-2 are, I believe, appropriate to fulfill [our national security requirements in Central America]....'' With the put-down is a chart headlined "NSDD-2 Structure for Central America.'' At the top is the President; just below is a complex of Bush's SSG and CPPG as managers of the NSC; then below that is the Secretary of State, and below him various agencies and interagency groups. [fn9 ]

July 12, 1983: Kenneth De Graffenreid, new manager of the Intelligence Directorate of the National Security Council, sent a secret memo to George Bush's aide, Admiral Daniel Murphy:

" ... Bud McFarlane has asked that I meet with you today, if possible, to review procedures for obtaining the Vice President's comments and concurrence on all N[ational] S[ecurity] C[ouncil] P[lanning G[roup] covert action and MONs.'' [fn10 ]

The Bush Regency in Action

October 20, 1983: The U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island-nation of Grenada was decided upon in a secret meeting of the metagovernment -- the National Security State -- under the leadership of George Bush. National Security Council operative Constantine Menges, a stalwart participant in these events, described the action for posterity:

My job that afternoon was to write the background memorandum that would be used by the vice president, who in his role as "crisis manager'' would chair this first NSC meeting on the [Grenada] issue.... [F]ortunately I had help from Oliver North, who in his nearly three years with NSC had become expert in the memo formats and formal procedures. After the morning CPPG meeting, North had begun to get interested in Grenada.... Shortly before 6:00 P.M., the participants began to arrive: Vice President Bush, [Secretary of Defense Caspar] Weinberger, [Attorney General Edwin] Meese, J[oint] C[hiefs of] S[taff] Chairman General Vessey, acting CIA Director McMahon, [State Dept. officer Lawrence] Eagleburger, ... North and myself. We all went to the Situation Room in the White House. President Reagan was traveling, as were [CIA Director] Bill Casey and Jeane Kirkpatrick.... Vice President Bush sat in the president's chair.


Menges continued:

"... A factual update was the first order of business. Then the discussion moved to the availability of military forces and how long it would take to ready them. The objective, right from the beginning, was to plan a rescue [of American students detained on Grenada] that would guarantee quick success, but with a minimum of casualties....'' "The first suggested presidential decision was to prepare for possible military action by shifting navy ships, which were taking a marine unit to rotate forces in Lebanon, plus other naval units, toward Grenada. "Secrecy was imperative.... As part of this plan, there would be no change in the schedule of the top man. President Reagan ... would travel to Augusta, Georgia, for a golf weekend. Secretary of State Shultz would go too....'' Work now proceeded on detailed action plans, under the guidance of the Vice President's Special Situation Group. "Late Friday afternoon [Oct. 21] ... the CPPG ... [met] in room 208.... Now the tone of our discussions had shifted from whether we would act to how this could be accomplished.... ''[The] most secure means [were to] be used to order U.S. ships to change course ... toward Grenada. Nevertheless, ABC news had learned about this and was broadcasting it.''


Thus, the course of action decided upon without the President was "leaked'' to the news media, and became a fait-accompli. Menges's memo continues:

It pleased me to see that now our government was working as a team.... That evening Ollie North and I worked together ... writing the background and decision memoranda. Early in the evening [NSC officer Admiral John] Poindexter reviewed our first draft and made a few minor revisions. Then the Grenada memoranda were sent to the President, Shultz and McFarlane at the golf course in Georgia.... Shortly before 9:00 A.M. [Oct. 22], members of the foreign policy cabinet [sic!] began arriving at the White House -- all out of sight of reporters. The participants included Weinberger, Vessey, and Fred Ikle from Defense; Eagleburger and Motley from State; McMahon and an operations officer from CIA; and Poindexter, North and myself from NSC. Vice President Bush chaired the Washington group. All participants were escorted to room 208, which many had never seen before. The vice president sat at one end of the long table and Poindexter at the other, with speaker phones positioned so that everyone could hear President Reagan, Shultz, and McFarlane. The meeting began with an overview and an update.... There were animated discussions.... The conclusion was that by early Tuesday, October 25, the United States and allied forces would be in a position to initiate military action.... The only legal authority on Grenada was the governor general, Sir Paul N. Scoon, ... a Grenadan citizen appointed by the British crown.... Ingeniously, he had smuggled out a request for external help in restoring law and order.... The detailed hour-by-hour plan was circulated to everyone at the meeting. There was also a short discussion of the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to get approval of Congress if he intends to deploy U.S. troops in combat for more than sixty days. There was little question that U.S. combat forces would be out before that time.... The president had participated and asked questions over the speaker phone; he made his decision. The U.S. would answer the call from our Caribbean neighbors. We would assure the safety of our citizens. [fn11 ]


Clearly, there was no perceived need to follow the U.S. Constitution and leave the question of whether to make war up to the Congress. After all, President Reagan had concurred, from the golf course, with Acting President Bush's decision in the matter. And the British nominee in the target country had requested Mr. Bush's help!

November 3, 1983: Bush aide Donald Gregg met with Felix Rodriguez to discuss "the general situation in Central America.'' [fn12]

December 1983: Oliver North accompanied Vice President Bush to El Salvador as his assistant. Bush met with Salvadoran army commanders. North helped Bush prepare a speech, in which he publicly called upon them to end their support for the use of "death squads.'' North later testified that Bush's speech "was one of the bravest things I've seen for anybody [sic].'' [fn13 ]

Attack from Jupiter

January 1 through March 1984: The Wall Street Journal of March 6, 1985 gave a deromanticized version of certain aquatic adventures in Central America:

Armed speedboats and a helicopter launched from a Central Intelligence Agency "mother ship'' attacked Nicaragua's Pacific port, Puerto Sandino on a moonless New Year's night in 1984. A week later the speedboats returned to mine the oil terminal. Over the next three months, they laid more than 30 mines in Puerto Sandino and also in the harbors at Corinto and El Bluff. In air and sea raids on coastal positions, Americans flew -- and fired from -- an armed helicopter that accompanied the U.S.-financed Latino force, while a CIA plane provided sophisticated reconaissance guidance for the nighttime attacks. The operation, outlined in a classified CIA document, marked the peak of U.S. involvement in the four-year guerrilla war in Nicaragua. More than any single event, it solidified congressional opposition to the covert war, and in the year since then, no new money has been approved beyond the last CIA checks drawn early [in the] summer [of 1984].... CIA paramilitary officers were upset by the ineffectiveness of the Contras.... As the insurgency force grew ... during 1983 ... the CIA began to use the guerrilla army as a cover for its own small "Latino'' force.... [The] most celebrated attack, by armed speedboats, came Oct. 11, 1983, against oil facilities at Corinto. Three days later, an underwater pipeline at Puerto Sandino was sabotaged by Latino [sic] frogmen. The message wasn't lost on Exxon Corp.'s Esso unit [formerly Standard Oil of New Jersey], and the international giant informed the Sandinista government that it would no longer provide tankers for transporting oil to Nicaragua. The CIA's success in scaring off a major shipper fit well into its mining strategy.... The mother ship used in the mining operation is described by sources as a private chartered vessel with a configuration similar to an oil-field service and towing ship with a long, flat stern section where helicopters could land....

The reader may have already surmised that Vice President Bush (with his background in "oilfield service'' and his control of a "top-level committee of the National Security Council'') sat in his Washington office and planned these brilliant schemes. But such a guess is probably incorrect -- it is off by about 800 miles. On Jupiter Island, Florida, where the Bush family has had a seasonal residence for the past several decades (see Chapter 4) is the headquarters of Continental Shelf Associates, Inc. (CSA). [fn14 ]

This company describes itself as "an environmental consulting firm specializing in applied marine science and technology ... founded in 1970.... The main office ... is located in Jupiter, Florida, approximately 75 miles north of Miami. ''CSA has `` Offshore and Onshore divisions.'' It lists among its clients Exxon Company, U.S.A.; Military Sealift Command; Pennzoil Company; U.S. Department of Defense/Army Corps of Engineers; and other oil companies and government agencies. CSA's main advertised concern is with underwater engineering, often involving oil or nuclear facilities. It has many "classified'' projects. It employs the world's most sophisticated subsurface vehicles and monitoring equipment. The founder and chief executive of CSA is Robert "Stretch'' Stevens. A former lieutenant commander in naval special operations, Stevens has been a close associate of CIA officer Theodore Shackley, and of Bush agent Felix Rodriguez since the early 1960s, when Stevens served as a boat captain in the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and through the Vietnam War. During the period 1982-85, CSA was contracted by the U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA, to carry out coastal and on-the-ground reconnaissance and logistical support work in the eastern Mediterranean in support of the U.S. Marine deployment into Lebanon; and coastal mapping and reconnaissance of the Caribbean island of Grenada prior to the October 1983 U.S. military action. Beginning in approximately the autumn of 1983, CSA was employed to design and execute a program for the mining of several Nicaraguan harbors. After the U.S. Senate restricted such activities to non-U.S. personnel only, CSA trained "Latin American nationals'' at a facility located on El Bravo Island off the eastern coast of Nicaragua. Acta Non Verba (Deeds Not Words) is a "subsidiary'' of CSA, incorporated in 1986 and located at the identical Jupiter address. Rudy Enders, the head of the CIA's paramilitary section -- and deployed by George Bush aide Donald Gregg -- is a minority owner of Acta Non Verba (ANV). ANV's own tough-talking promotional literature says that it concentrates on "counter-terrorist activities in the maritime environment.'' A very high-level retired CIA officer, whose private interview was used in preparation for this book, described this "Fish Farm'' in the following more realistic terms: "Assassination operations and training company controlled by Ted Shackley, under the cover of a private corporation with a regular board of directors, stockholders, etc., located in Florida. They covertly bring in Haitian and Southeast Asian boat people as recruits, as well as Koreans, Cubans, and Americans. They hire out assassinations and intelligence services to governments, corporations, and individuals, and also use them for covering or implementing 'Fish Farm' projects/activities.'' The upshot of the attack from Jupiter -- the mining of Nicaragua's harbors -- was that the Congress got angry enough to pass the "Boland II'' amendment, re-tightening the laws against this public-private warfare (see entry for Oct. 3, 1984).

April 3, 1984: Another subcommittee of the Bush terrorism apparatus was formed, as President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 138. The new "Terrorist Incident Working Group'' reported to Bush's Special Situation Group. The TIWG geared up government agencies to support militant counterterrorism assaults, on the Israeli model. [fn15]

"How Can Anyone Object?''

June 25, 1984: The National Security Planning Group, including Reagan, Bush and other top officials, met secretly in the White House situation room at 2:00 P.M. They discussed whether to risk seeking "third-country aid'' to the Contras, to get around the congressional ban enacted Dec. 21, 1982. George Bush spoke in favor, according to minutes of the meeting. Bush said, "How can anyone object to the U.S. encouraging third parties to provide help to the anti-Sandinistas under the [intelligence] finding. The only problem that might come up is if the United States were to promise to give these third parties something in return so that some people might interpret this as some kind of an exchange '' [emphasis added]. Warning that this would be illegal, Secretary of State Shultz said: "I would like to get money for the contras also, but another lawyer [then-Treasury Secretary] Jim Baker said if we go out and try to get money from third countries, it is an impeachable offense.'' CIA Director Casey reminded Shultz that "Jim Baker changed his mind [and now supported the circumvention]....'' NSC adviser Robert McFarlane cautioned, "I propose that there be no authority for anyone to seek third party support for the anti-Sandinistas until we have the information we need, and I certainly hope none of this discussion will be made public in any way.'' President Ronald Reagan then closed the meeting with a warning against anyone leaking the fact they were considering how to circumvent the law: "If such a story gets out, we'll all be hanging by our thumbs in front of the White House until we find out who did it.'' In March of the following year, Bush personally arranged the transfer of funds to the Contras by the Honduran government, assuring them they would receive compensating U.S. aid. The minutes of this meeting, originally marked "secret,'' were released five years later, at Oliver North's trial in the spring of 1989. [fn16 ]

October 3, 1984: Congress enacted a new version of the earlier attempt to outlaw the U.S. secret war in Central America. This "Boland II'' amendment was designed to prevent any conceivable form of deceit by the covert action apparatus: "During fiscal year 1985, no funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose or which would have the effect of supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual.'' This law was effective from October 3, 1984, to December 5, 1985, when it was superceded by various aid-limitation laws which, taken together, were referred to as "Boland III.' [fn17]

November 1, 1984: Felix Rodriguez's partner, Gerard Latchinian, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Latchinian was then tried and convicted of smuggling $10.3 million in cocaine into the United States. The dope was to finance the murder and overthrow of the President of Honduras, Roberto Suazo Cordova. Latchinian was sentenced to a 30-year prison term.

On Nov. 10, 1983, a year before the arrest, Felix Rodriguez had filed the annual registration with Florida's secretary of state on behalf of Latchinian's and Rodriguez's joint enterprise, "Giro Aviation Corp.'' [fn18]

December 21, 1984: Felix Rodriguez met in the office of the Vice President with Bush adviser Donald Gregg. Immediately after this meeting, Rodriguez met with Oliver North, supposedly for the first time in his life. But Bush's adviser strenuously denied to investigators that he "introduced'' his CIA employee to North. [fn19]

January 18, 1985 (Friday): Felix Rodriguez met with Ramon Milian Rodriguez (not known to be a relative of Felix), accountant and money launderer, who had moved $1.5 billion for the Medellin cocaine cartel. Milian testified before a Senate investigation of the Contras' drug-smuggling, that more than a year earlier he had granted Felix's request and given $10 million from the cocaine cartel to Felix for the Contras.

Milian Rodriguez was interviewed in his prison cell in Butner, North Carolina, by investigative journalist Martha Honey. He said Felix Rodriguez had offered that "in exchange for money for the Contra cause he would use his influence in high places to get the [Cocaine] cartel U.S. 'good will'.... Frankly, one of the selling points was that he could talk directly to Bush. The issue of good will wasn't something that was going to go through 27 bureaucratic hands. It was something that was directly between him and Bush.'' Ramon Milian Rodriguez was a Republican contributor, who had partied by invitation at the 1981 Reagan-Bush inauguration ceremonies. He had been arrested aboard a Panama-bound private jet by federal agents in May 1983, while carrying over $5 million in cash. According to Felix Rodriguez, Milian was seeking a way out of the narcotics charges when he met with Felix on January 18, 1985. This meeting remained secret until two years later, when Felix Rodriguez had become notorious in the Iran-Contra scandal. The Miami Herald broke the story on June 30, 1987. Felix Rodriguez at first denied ever meeting with Ramon Milian Rodriguez. But then a new story was worked out with various agencies. Felix "remembered'' the Jan. 18, 1985 meeting, claimed he had "said nothing'' during it, and "remembered'' that he had filed documents with the FBI and CIA telling them about the meeting just afterwards. [fn20]

January 22, 1985 (Tuesday): George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez in the Executive Office Building. The agenda may have included the results of the meeting five days before with Medellin cocaine cartel representative Milian Rodriguez.

Felix's ghost writer doesn't tell us what was said, only that Felix was "able to show [Bush] some of the photos from my album. The honor of being with the Vice President ... was overwhelming. Mr. Bush was easy to talk to, and he was interested in my stories.'' [fn21]

Late January, 1985: George Bush's office officially organized contacts through the State Department for Felix Rodriguez to operate in Central America from a base in El Salvador, in a false "private'' capacity. The U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Thomas Pickering, then cabled to Gen. Paul F. Gorman, commander of the U.S. Army Southern Command: "Rodriguez has high-level contacts at the White House, DOS [State Dept] and DOD [Defense Department], some of whom are strongly supporting his use in El Salvador.

"It would be in our best interests that Mr. Rodriguez confer with you personally prior to coming to El Salvador. I have some obvious concerns about this arrangement....'' Felix Rodriguez flew to Panama to speak to General Gorman. They discussed his covert aid to the Contras "since the early eighties.'' Rodriguez, by George Bush's story the private, volunteer helper of the Contras, flew from Panama to El Salvador on General Gorman's personal C-12 airplane. General Gorman also sent a confidential cable to Ambassador Pickering and Col. James Steele, U.S. military liaison man with the Contra resupply operation in El Salvador: "I have just met here with Felix Rodriguez, [deleted, probably "CIA''] pensioner from Miami. Born in Cuba, a veteran of guerrilla operations [several lines deleted].... "He is operating as a private citizen, but his acquaintanceship with the V[ice] P[resident] is real enough, going back to the latter's days as D[irector of] C[entral] I[ntelligence]." "Rodriguez' primary commitment to the region is in [deleted] where he wants to assist the FDN [Contras military forces]. I told him that the FDN deserved his priority.... He will want to fly with the E[l] S[alvador] A[ir] F[orce] to establish his credibility, but that ... seems to me both unnecessary and unwise....'' [fn23]

February 7, 1985: The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), subordinate to Chairman Bush of the Special Situation Group (SSG), met to discuss means to circumvent the Boland amendment's ban on aid to the Contras. They agreed on a "Presidential letter'' to be sent to President Suazo of Honduras, "to provide several enticements to Honduras in exchange for its continued support of the Nicaraguan Resistance. These enticements included expedited delivery of military supplies ordered by Honduras, a phased release of withheld economic assistance (ESF) funds, and other support.'' The preceding was the admission of the United States government in the 1989 Oliver North trial -- number 51 in a series of "stipulations'' that was given to the court to avoid having to release classified documents.

February 12, 1985: The government admissions in the North trial continued:

" ... North proposed that McFarlane send a memo [to top officials on] the recommendation of the CPPG [the Bush-supervised body, often chaired by Bush adviser Don Gregg].... The memo stated that this part of the message [to the Honduran president] should not be contained in a written document but should be delivered verbally by a discreet emissary.'' [This was to be George Bush himself -- see March 16, 1985.] Honduras would be given increased aid, to be diverted to the Contras, so as to deceive Congress and the American population. [fn24]

February 15, 1985 (Friday): After Rodriguez had arrived in El Salvador and had begun setting up the central resupply depot for the Contras -- at Ilopango Airbase -- Ambassador Thomas Pickering sent an "Eyes Only'' cable to the State Department on his conversation with Rodriguez. Pickering's cable bore the postscript, "Please brief Don Gregg in the V.P.'s office for me.'' [fn25]

February 19, 1985 (Tuesday): Felix Rodriguez met with Bush's staff in the vice-presidential offices in the Executive Office Building, briefing them on the progress of his mission.

Over the next two years, Rodriguez met frequently with Bush staff members in Washington and in Central America, often jointly with CIA and other officials, and conferred with Bush's staff by telephone countless times. [fn26]

March 15-16, 1985 (Friday and Saturday): George Bush and Felix Rodriguez were in Central America on their common project.
On Friday, Rodriguez supervised delivery in Honduras of military supplies for the FDN Contras whose main base was there in Honduras.

On Saturday, George Bush met with Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova. Bush told Suazo that the Reagan-Bush administration was expediting delivery of more than $110 million in economic and military aid to Suazo's government. This was the "quid pro quo'': a bribe for Suazo's support for the U.S. mercenary force, and a transfer through Honduras of the Contra military supplies, which had been directly prohibited by the Congress.

Government as Counterterror

June 14, 1985: " Shiite Muslim terrorists'' hijacked an Athens-to-Rome airliner. One American was killed, 39 Americans were held hostage and released June 30.

July 1985: Vice President George Bush was designated by President Reagan to lead the Task Force on Combating Terrorism (or Terrorism Task Force). Bush's task force was a means to sharply concentrate the powers of government into the hands of the Bush clique, for such policies as the Iran-Contra armaments schemes. The Terrorism Task Force had the following cast of characters:

GEORGE BUSH, U.S. Vice President: CHAIRMAN

Admiral James L. Holloway III: Executive assistant to Chairman Bush

Craig Coy: Bush's deputy assistant under Holloway

Vice Admiral John Poindexter: Senior NSC representative to Chairman Bush

Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North: Day-to-day NSC representative to George Bush

Amiram Nir: Counterterror adviser to Israeli Premier Shimon Peres

Lt. Col. Robert Earl: Staff member

Terry Arnold: Principal consultant

Charles E. Allen, CIA officer: Senior Review Group

Robert Oakley, Director, State Dept. Counter Terrorism Office: Senior Review Group

Noel Koch, Deputy to Asst. Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage: Senior Review Group

Lt. Gen. John Moellering, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Senior Review Group

Oliver "Buck'' Revell, FBI executive: Senior Review Group

This was the first known official contact of the Israeli Nir with the U.S. government in the Iran-Contra affair. In the future, Nir would serve as the main Israeli agent in the covert arms-for-hostages negotiations with Iran, alongside such other well-known U.S. participants as Oliver North and Robert McFarlane. The Terrorism Task Force organization, as we shall see, was a permanent affair. [fn27]

August 8, 1985: George Bush met with the National Security Planning Group in the residence section of the White House. Spurring on their deliberations on the terrorism problem, a car bomb had blown up that day at a U.S. air base in Germany, with 22 American casualties.

The officials discussed shipment of U.S.-made arms to Iran through Israel -- to replenish Israeli stocks of TOW missiles and to permit Israel to sell arms to Iran.

According to testimony by Robert McFarlane, the transfer was supported by George Bush, Casey and Donald Regan, and opposed by Shultz and Weinberger. [fn28]


August 18, 1985: Luis Posada Carriles escaped from prison in Venezuela, where he was being held for the terrorist murder of 73 persons. Using forged documents falsely identifying him as a Venezuelan named "Ramon Medina,'' Posada flew to Central America. Within a few weeks, Felix Rodriguez assigned him to supervise the Bush office's Contra resupply operations being run from the El Salvador air base. Posada personally ran the safe-houses used for the CIA flight crews. Rodriguez explained the arrangement in his book: "Because of my relationship with [El Salvador Air Force] Gen. Bustillo, I was able to pave the way for [the operations attributed to Oliver] North to use the facilities at Ilopango [El Salvador air force base].... I found someone to manage the Salvadorian-based resupply operation on a day-to-day basis. They knew that person as Ramon Medina. I knew him by his real name: Luis Posada Carriles.... I first [sic!] met Posada in 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia, where we went through basic training together ... as U.S. Army second lieutenants.... '' Rodriguez neglects to explain that agent Posada Carilles was originally recruited and trained by the same CIA murder operation, "JM/WAVE'' in Miami, as was Rodriguez himself. Felix continues: "In the sixties, he reportedly went to work for DISIP, the Venezuelan intelligence service, and rose to considerable power within its ranks. It was rumored that he held one of the top half-dozen jobs in the organization.... After the midair bombing of a Cubana airliner on October 6, 1976, in which seventy-three people were killed, Posada was charged with planning the attack and was thrown in prison.... Posada was confined in prison for more than nine years.... '' [fn29]

September 10, 1985: George Bush's national security adviser, Donald Gregg, met at 4:30 P.M. with Oliver North and Col. James Steele, the U.S. military official in El Salvador who oversaw flights of cargo going to the Contras from various points in Central America. They discussed information given to one or more of them by arms dealer Mario DelAmico, supplier to the Contras. According to the entry in Oliver North's notebook, they discussed particularities of the supply flights, and the operations of FDN commander Enrique Bermudez.

Elsewhere in the diary pages for that day, Colonel North noted that DelAmico had procured a certain 1,000 munitions items for the Contras. [fn30]

November 1985 (ca. American Thanksgiving Day): George Bush sent Oliver North a note, with thanks for "your dedication and tireless work with the hostage thing and with Central America.'' [fn31]

December 1985: Congress passed new laws limiting U.S. aid to the Contras. The CIA, the Defense Department, and "any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities'' were prohibited from providing armaments to the Contras. The CIA was permitted to provide communications equipment and training. "Humanitarian'' aid was allowed. These laws, known together as "Boland III,'' were in effect from December 4, 1985 to October 17, 1986.

December 18, 1985: CIA official Charles E. Allen, a member of George Bush's Terrorism Task Force, wrote an update on the arms-for-hostages dealings with Iran. Allen's memo was a debriefing of an unnamed member of the group of U.S. government officials participating in the arms negotiations with the Iranians. The unnamed U.S. official (from the context, probably NSC terrorism consultant Michael Ledeen) is referred to in Allen's memo as "Subject''. Allen wrote: "[Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Hashemi] Rafsanjani ... believes Vice President George Bush is orchestrating the U.S. initiative with Iran. In fact, according to Subject, Rafsanjani believes that Bush is the most powerful man in the U.S. because in addition to being Vice President, he was once Director of CIA '' [fn32]

December 1985-January 1986: George Bush completed his official study of terrorism in December 1985. John Poindexter now directed Oliver North to go back to work with Amiram Nir. Amiram Nir came to Washington and met with Oliver North. He told U.S. officials that the Iranians had promised to free all hostages in exchange for more arms. Reportedly after this Nir visit, in an atmosphere of constant terrorism and rumors of terrorism, President Reagan was persuaded of the necessity of revving up the arms shipments to Iran. [fn33]

December 27, 1985: Terrorists bombed Rome and Vienna airports, killing 20 people, including five Americans. The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), supervised by Bush's office and reporting to Bush, blamed Libyans for the attack and began planning for a military strike on Libya. Yet an unpublished CIA analysis and the Israelis both acknowledged that the Abu Nidal group (in effect, the Israeli Mossad agency) carried out the attacks. [fn34]

Bush's CPPG later organized the U.S. bombing of Libya, which occurred in mid-April 1986.

December 31, 1985 (Tuesday): Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi told Paris-based CIA agent Bernard Veillot that Vice President Bush was backing arms sales to Iran, and that official U.S. approval for private sales to Iran, amounting to $2 billion, was "going to be signed by Mr. Bush and [U.S. Marine Corps commandant] Gen. [Paul X.] Kelley on Friday.'' [fn35]

Loudly and publicly exposed in the midst of Iran arms deals, Veillot was indicted by the U.S. Then the charges were quietly dropped, and Veillot went underground. A few months later Hashemi died suddenly of "leukemia.'' [fn36]

January 2, 1986 (Thursday): Israeli counterterrorism chief Amiram Nir met with North and Poindexter in Washington. The Bush report on terrorism had now been issued within the government but was not yet published. Bush's report was urging that a counterterrorism coordinator be named for the entire U.S. government -- and Oliver North was the one man intended for that slot.

At this meeting, Nir proposed specifically that prisoners held by Israeli-controlled Lebanese, and 3,000 American TOW missiles, be exchanged for U.S. hostages held by Iran. Other discussions between Nir and Bush's nominee involved the supposedly new idea that the Iranians be overcharged for the weapons shipped to them, and the surplus funds be diverted to the Contras. [fn37]

January 6, 1986 (Monday): President Reagan met with George Bush, Donald Regan, McFarlane and Poindexter. The President was handed a draft "Presidential Finding'' that called for shipping arms to Iran through Israel. The President signed this document, drafted following the discussions with Amiram Nir. The draft consciously violated the National Security Act which had established the Central Intelligence Agency, requiring notification of Congress. But Bush joined in urging President Reagan to sign this "finding'': "I hereby find that the following operation in a foreign country ... is important to the national security of the United States, and due to its extreme sensitivity and security risks, I determine it is essential to limit prior notice, and direct the Director of Central Intelligence to refrain from reporting this finding to the Congress as provided in Section 501 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, until I otherwise direct'' [emphasis added]. " ... The US G[overnment] will act to facilitate efforts by third parties and third countries to establish contacts with moderate elements within and outside the Government of Iran by providing these elements with arms, equipment and related materiel in order to enhance the credibility of these elements....'' Of course, Bush, Casey and their Israeli allies had never sought to bolster "moderate elements'' in Iran, but overthrew them at every opportunity -- beginning with President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr. [fn38]

January 7, 1986: President Reagan and Vice President Bush met at the White House with several other administration officials. There was an argument over new proposals by Amiram Nir and Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar to swap arms for hostages.

Secretary of State George Shultz later told the Tower Commission that George Bush supported the arms-for-hostages deal at this meeting, as did President Reagan, Casey, Meese, Regan and Poindexter. Shultz reported that he himself and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger both opposed further arms shipments. [fn39]

January 9, 1986: Lt. Col. Oliver North complained, in his notebook, that "Felix [Rodriguez]'' has been "talking too much about the V[ice] P[resident] connection.'' [fn49]

January 15, 1986: CIA and Mossad employee Richard Brenneke wrote a letter to Vice President Bush giving full details, alerting Bush about his own work on behalf of the CIA in illegal -- but U.S. government-sanctioned -- sales of arms to Iran. [fn41]

Mid-January, 1986: George Bush and Oliver North worked together on the illegal plan.

Later, at North's trial, the Bush administration -- portraying Colonel North as the master strategist in the case! -- stipulated that North "prepared talking points for a meeting between Admiral Poindexter, Vice-President Bush, and [the new] Honduran President [Jose Simon] Azcona. North recommended that Admiral Poindexter and Vice-President Bush tell President Azcona of the need for Honduras to work with the U.S. government on increasing regional involvement with and support for the Resistance. Poindexter and Bush were also to raise the subject of better U.S. government support for the states bordering Nicaragua.' 'That is, Honduras, which of course " borders on Nicaragua,'' was to get more U.S. aid and was to pass some of it through to the Contras. In preparation for the January 1986 Bush-Azcona meeting, the U.S. State Department sent to Bush adviser Donald Gregg a memorandum, which "alerted Gregg that Azcona would insist on receiving clear economic and social benefits from its [Honduras's] cooperation with the United States.'' [fn42] Two months after the January Bush-Azcona meeting, President Reagan asked Congress for $20 million in emergency aid to Honduras, needed to repel a cross-border raid by Nicaraguan forces against Contra camps. Congress voted the "emergency'' expenditure.

January 17, 1986: George Bush met with President Reagan, John Poindexter, Donald Regan, and NSC staff member Donald Fortier to review the final version of the January 7 arms-to-Iran draft. With the encouragement of Bush, and the absence of opponents to the scheme, President Reagan signed the authorization to arm the Khomeini regime with missiles, and keep the facts of this scheme from congressional oversight committees. This was the reality of the Bush "counterstrategy'' to terrorism, for whose implementation his Terrorism Task Force was just then creating the covert mechanism. The official story about this meeting -- given in the Tower Commission Report -- is as follows: "[T]he proposal to shift to direct U.S. arms sales to Iran ... was considered by the president at a meeting on January 17 which only the Vice President, Mr. Regan, Mr. Fortier, and VADM Poindexter attended. Thereafter, the only senior-level review the Iran initiative received was during one or another of the President's daily national security briefings. These were routinely attended only by the President, the Vice President, Mr. Regan, and VADM Poindexter. There was no subsequent collective consideration of the Iran initiative by the NSC principals before it became public 11 months later....

Because of the obsession with secrecy, interagency consideration of the initiative was limited to the cabinet level. With the exception of the NSC staff and, after January 17, 1986, a handful of CIA officials, the rest of the executive departments and agencies were largely excluded.

"The National Security Act also requires notification of Congress of covert intelligence activities. If not done in advance, notification must be 'in timely fashion.' The Presidential Finding of January 17 directed that congressional notification be withheld, and this decision appears to have never been reconsidered.'' [fn43]
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Re: George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarp

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PART 2 OF 3

January 18, 1986: Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was directed to prepare the transfer of 4,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the CIA, which was to ship them to Khomeini's Iran. Bypassing normal channels for covert shipments, he elected to have his senior military assistant, Lt. Gen. Colin L. Powell, handle the arrangements for the arms transfer. [fn44]

January 19-21, 1986: George Bush's deputy national security aide, Col. Samuel Watson, worked with Felix Rodriguez in El Salvador, and met with Col. James Steele, the U.S. military liaison officer with the covert Contra resupply organization in El Salvador. [fn45]

Bush Sets Up North as Counterterrorism Boss -- and "Fall Guy''

January 20, 1986: Following the recommendations of an as yet unofficial report of the George Bush Terrorism Task Force, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 207.

The unofficial Bush report, the official Bush report released in February, and the Bush-organized NSDD 207, together put forward Oliver North as "Mr. Iran-Contra.'' North became the nominal, up-front coordinator of the administration's counterterrorism program, hiding as best he could Bush's hand in these matters. He was given a secret office and staff (the Office to Combat Terrorism), separate from regular NSC staff members. George Bush now reassigned his Terrorism Task Force employees, Craig Coy and Robert Earl, to do the daily work of the North secret office. The Bush men spent the next year working on Iran arms sales: Earl devoted one-quarter to one-half of his time on Iran and Contra support operations; Coy "knew everything'' about Project Democracy. North traveled much of the time. Earl and Coy were at this time officially attached to the Crisis Management Center, which North worked on in 1983. FBI Assistant Director Revell, often George Bush's "hit man'' against Bush's domestic opponents, partially disclosed this shell game in a letter to Sen. David Boren (D-Ok.), explaining the FBI's contacts with North:

At the time [April 1986], North was the NSC official charged by the President with the coordination of our national counterterrorist program. He was responsible for working closely with designated lead agencies and was responsible for participating in all interagency groups, maintaining the national programming documents, assisting in the coordination of research and development in relation to counterterrorism, facilitating the development of response options and overseeing the implementation of the Vice President's Terrorism Task Force recommendations. This description of Col. North's position is set forth in the public report of the Vice President's Task Force on Combating Terrorism, February 1986. There is an even more detailed and comprehensive description of Col. North's position in the classified National Security Decision Directive #207 issued by the President on January 20, 1986. [fn47]

The Bush Terrorism Task Force, having completed its official work, had simply made itself into a renamed, permanent, covert agency. Its new name was Operations Sub-Group (OSG). In this transformation, CIA Contra-handler Duane Clarridge had been added to the Task Force to form the "OSG,'' which included North, Poindexter, Charles Allen, Robert Oakley, Noel Koch, General Moellering and "Buck'' Revell. According to the Oliver North diaries, even before this final phase of the Bush-North apparatus there were at least 14 meetings between North and the Bush Task Force's senior members Holloway, Oakley and Allen, its principal consultant Terry Arnold, and its staff men Robert Earl and Craig Coy. The North diaries from July 1985 through January 1986, show one meeting with President Reagan, and four meetings with Vice President Bush: either the two alone, North with Bush and Amiram Nir, or North with Bush and Donald Gregg. The Bush counterterrorism apparatus had its own communications channels, and a global antiterrorist computer network called Flashboard outside of all constitutional government arrangements. Those opposed to the arming of terrorists, including cabinet members, had no access to these communications. [fn48] This apparatus had responsibility for Iran arms sales; the private funding of the Contras, from contributions, theft, dope-running; the "public diplomacy'' of Project Democracy to back these efforts; and counterintelligence against other government agencies and against domestic opponents of the policy. [fn49]

January 28, 1986: George Bush met with Oliver North and FDN Contra Political Director Adolfo Calero in the Old Executive Office Building. [fn50] North and Calero would work together to protect George Bush when the Contra supply effort blew apart in October 1986.

January 31, 1986: Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi was told by a French arms agent that "[a]n assistant of the vice president's going to be in Germany ... and the indication is very clear that the transaction can go forward'' referring to George Bush's supposed approval of the private arms sale to Iran. [fn51]

February 6, 1986: Responding to the January 15 letter from Richard Brenneke, Bush aide Lt. Col. E. Douglas Menarczik wrote to Brenneke: "The U.S. government will not permit or participate in the provision of war materiel to Iran and will prosecute any such efforts by U.S. citizens to the fullest extent of the law.'' [fn52]

February 7, 1986: Samuel M. Evans, a representative of Saudi and Israeli arms dealers, told Cyrus Hashemi that "[t]he green light now finally has been given [for the private sale of arms to Iran], that Bush is in favor, Shultz against, but nevertheless they are willing to proceed.'' [fn53]

February 25, 1986: Richard Brenneke wrote again to Bush's office, to Lt. Col. Menarczik, documenting a secret project for U.S. arms sales to Iran going on since 1984.

Brenneke later said publicly that early in 1986, he called Menarczik to warn that he had learned that the U.S. planned to buy weapons for the Contras with money from Iran arms sales. Menarczik reportedly said, "We will look into it.'' Menarczik claimed not to have "any specific recollection of telephone conversations with'' Brenneke. [fn54]

Late February, 1986: Vice President George Bush issued the public report of his Terrorism Task Force. In his introduction to the report, Bush asserted: "Our Task Force was briefed by more than 25 government agencies ... traveled to embassies and military commands throughout the world.... Our conclusion: ... We firmly oppose terrorism in all forms and wherever it takes place.... We will make no concessions to terrorists.'' [fn55]

March 1986: According to a sworn statement of pilot Michael Tolliver, Felix Rodriguez had met him in July 1985. Now Rodriguez instructed Tolliver to go to Miami International Airport. Tolliver picked up a DC-6 aircraft and a crew, and flew the plane to a Contra base in Honduras. There Tolliver watched the unloading of 14 tons of military supplies, and the loading of 12 and 2/3 tons of marijuana. Following his instructions from Rodriguez, Tolliver flew the dope to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The next day Rodriguez paid Tolliver $75,000.

Tolliver says that another of the flights he performed for Rodriguez carried cocaine on the return trip to the U.S.A. He made a series of arms deliveries from Miami into the air base at Agucate, Honduras. He was paid in cash by Rodriguez and his old Miami CIA colleague, Rafael "Chi Chi'' Quintero. In another circuit of flights, Tolliver and his crew flew between Miami and El Salvador's Ilopango air base. Tolliver said that Rodriguez and Quintero "instructed me where to go and who to see.'' While making these flights, he "could go by any route available without any interference from any agency. We didn't need a stamp of approval from Customs or anybody....'' [fn57] With reference to the covert arms shipments out of Miami, George Bush's son Jeb said: "Sure, there's a pretty good chance that arms were shipped, but does that break any law? I'm not sure it's illegal. The Neutrality Act is a completely untested notion, established in the 1800s.'' [fn58]


Smuggling Missiles and Reporting to the Boss

Trafficking in lethal weapons without government authorization is always a tricky business for covert operators. But when the operatives are smuggling weapons in a particular traffic which the U.S. Congress has expressly prohibited, a good deal of criminal expertise and certain crucial contacts are required for success. And when the smugglers report to the Vice President, who wishes his role to remain concealed, the whole thing can become very sticky -- or even ludicrous to the point of low comedy.

March 26, 1986: Oliver North sent a message to Robert McFarlane about his efforts to procure missiles for the Contras, and to circumvent many U.S. laws, as well as the customs services and police forces of several nations. The most important component of such transactions, aside from the purchase money, was a falsified document showing the supposed recipient of the arms, the end-user certificate (EUC). In the message he wrote, North said that "we have'' an EUC; that is, a false document has been acquired for this arms sale: " [W]e are trying to find a way to get 10 BLOWPIPE launchers and 20 missiles from [a South American country] ... thru the Short Bros. Rep.... Short Bros., the mfgr. of the BLOWPIPE, is willing to arrange the deal, conduct the training and even send U.K. 'tech. reps' ... if we can close the arrangement. Dick Secord has already paid 10% down on the delivery and we have a [country deleted] EUC which is acceptable to [that South American country].'' [fn59] Now, since this particular illegal sale somehow came to light in the Iran-Contra scandal, another participant in this one deal decided not to bother hiding his own part in it. Thus, we are able to see how Colonel North got his false certificate.

April 20, 1986: Felix Rodriguez met in San Salvador with Oliver North and Enrique Bermudez, the Contras' military commander. Rodriguez informs us of the following in his own, ghost-written book:

"Shortly before that April 20 meeting, Rafael Quintero had asked me to impose upon my good relations with the Salvadoran military to obtain 'end-user' certificates made out to Lake Resources, which he told me was a Chilean company....'' [fn60]

The plan was to acquire false end-user certificates from his contacts in the Salvadoran armed forces for Blowpipe ground-to-air missiles supposedly being shipped into El Salvador. The missiles would then be illegally diverted to the Contras in Honduras and Nicaragua. Rodriguez continues, with self-puffery: "The Salvadorans complied with my request, and in turn I supplied the certificates, handing them over personally to Richard Secord at that April 20 meeting.'' [fn61] While arranging the forgery for the munitions sale, Rodriguez was in touch with the George Bush staff back in his home office. On April 16, four days before the Rodriguez-North missile meeting, Bush national security adviser Donald Gregg asked his staff to put a meeting with Rodriguez on George Bush's calendar. Gregg said the purpose of the White House meeting would be "to brief the Vice President on the war in El Salvador and resupply of the Contras.'' The meeting was arranged for 11:30 A.M. on May 1. [fn62] Due its explicitly stated purpose -- clandestine weapons trafficking in an undeclared war against the rigid congressional prohibition -- the planned meeting was to become one of the most notorious of the Iran-Contra scandal.

April 30, 1986 (Wednesday): Felix Rodriguez met in Washington with Bush aide Col. Sam Watson.

The following reminder message was sent to George Bush:

Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President
Event: Meeting with Felix Rodriguez
Date: Thursday, May 1, 1986
Time: 11:30-11:45 a.m. -- West Wing
From: Don Gregg

I. PURPOSE

Felix Rodriguez, a counterinsurgency expert who is visiting from El Salvador, will provide a briefing on the status of the war in El Salvador and resupply of the Contras.

III. [sic] PARTICIPANTS

The Vice President Felix Rodriguez
Craig Fuller
Don Gregg
Sam Watson

IV. MEDIA COVERAGE

Staff photographer. [i.e. internal-use photographs, no media coverage] [fn63]


May 1, 1986: Vice President Bush and his staff met in the White House with Felix Rodriguez, Oliver North, financier Nicholas Brady, and the new U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr.

At this meeting it was decided that "private citizen'' Felix Rodriguez would continue his work in Central America. [fn64]

May 16, 1986: George Bush met with President Reagan, and with cabinet members and other officials in the full National Security Planning Group. They discussed the urgent need to raise more money for the Contras to continue the anti-Sandinista war.

The participants decided to seek support for the Contras from nations ("third countries'') which were not directly involved in the Central American conflict. As a result of this initiative, George Bush's former business partners, the Sultan of Brunei, donated $10 million to the Contras. But after being deposited in secret Swiss bank accounts, the money was "lost.'' [fn65]

May 20, 1986: George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez and El Salvador Air Force commander Gen. Juan Rafael Bustillo at a large reception in Miami on Cuban independence day. [fn66]

May 29, 1986: George Bush, President Reagan, Donald Regan and John Poindexter met to hear from McFarlane and North on their latest arms-for-hostages negotiations with Iranian officials and Amiram Nir in Teheran, Iran. The two reported their arrangement with the Khomeini regime to establish a secure covert communications network between the two "enemy'' governments. [fn67]

July 10, 1986: Eugene Hasenfus, whose successful parachute landing would explode the Iran-Contra scandal into world headlines three months later, flew from Miami to El Salvador. He had just been hired to work for "Southern Air Transport,'' a CIA front company for which Hasenfus worked previously in the Indochina War. Within a few days he was introduced to "Max Gomez'' -- the pseudonym of Felix Rodriguez -- as "one of the Cuban coordinators of the company.'' Rodriguez ("Gomez'') took him to the Ilopango air base security office where he and others hired with him were given identity cards. He now began work as a cargo handler on flights carrying military supplies to Contra soldiers inside Nicaragua. [fn68]

July 29, 1986: George Bush met in Jerusalem with Terrorism Task Force member Amiram Nir, the manager of Israel's participation in the arms-for-hostages schemes. Bush did not want this meeting known about. The Vice President told his chief of staff, Craig Fuller, to send his notes of the meeting only to Oliver North -- not to President Reagan, or to anyone else.

Craig Fuller's memorandum said, in part:

1. SUMMARY. Mr. Nir indicated that he had briefed Prime Minister Peres and had been asked to brief the V[ice] P[resident] by his White House contacts. He described the details of the efforts from last year through the current period to gain the release of the U.S. hostages. He reviewed what had been learned which was essentially that the radical group was the group that could deliver. He reviewed the issues to be considered -- namely that there needed to be ad [sic] decision as to whether the items requested would be delivered in separate shipments or whether we would continue to press for the release of the hostages prior to delivering the items in an amount agreed to previously.

2. The VP's 25 minute meeting was arranged after Mr. Nir called Craig Fuller and requested the meeting and after it was discussed with the VP by Fuller and North....

14. Nir described some of the lessons learned: 'We are dealing with the most radical elements.... They can deliver ... that's for sure.... [W]e've learned they can deliver and the moderates can't .... [fn69]

July 30, 1986: The day after his Jerusalem summit with Amiram Nir, Vice President Bush conferred with Oliver North. This meeting with North was never acknowledged by Bush until the North diaries were released in May 1990.

Early September, 1986: Retired Army Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub sent a memo to Oliver North on the Contra resupply effort under Felix Rodriguez. Singlaub warned North that Rodriguez was boasting about having "daily contact'' with George Bush's office. According to Singlaub, this could "damage President Reagan and the Republican Party.'' [fn70]

The Scandal Breaks -- On George Bush

October 5, 1986: A C-123k cargo aircraft left El Salvador's Ilopango air base at 9:30 A.M., carrying "10,000 pounds of small arms and ammunition, consisting mainly of AK rifles and AK ammunition, hand grenades, jungle boots.'' It was scheduled to make air drops to Contra soldiers in Nicaragua. The flight had been organized by elements of the CIA, the Defense Department, and the National Security Council, coordinated by the Office of Vice President George Bush. At that time, such arms resupply was prohibited under U.S. law -- prohibited by legislation which had been written to prevent precisely that type of flight. The aircraft headed south along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, turned east over Costa Rica, then headed up north into Nicaraguan air space. As it descended toward the point at which it was to drop the cargo, the plane was hit in the right engine and wing by a ground-to-air missile. The wing burst into flames and broke up. Cargo handler Eugene Hasenfus jumped out the left cargo door and opened his parachute. The other three crew members died in the crash. Meanwhile, Felix Rodriguez made a single telephone call -- to the office of Vice President George Bush. He told Bush aide Samuel Watson that the C-123k aircraft was missing and was possibly down.

October 6, 1986: Eugene Hasenfus, armed only with a pistol, took refuge in a small hut on a jungle hilltop inside Nicaragua. He was soon surrounded by Sandinista soldiers and gave himself up. [fn73] Felix Rodriguez called George Bush's aide Sam Watson again. Watson now notified the White House Situation Room and the National Security Council staff about the missing aircraft.

Oliver North was immediately dispatched to El Salvador to prevent publicity over the event, and to arrange death benefits for the crew. [fn74]

After the shoot-down, several elaborate attempts were made by government agencies to provide false explanations for the origin of the aircraft.

A later press account, appearing on May 15, 1989, after Bush was safely installed as President, exposed one such attempted coverup:

Official: Contras Lied to Protect VP Bush
By Alfonso Chardy, Knight-Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Nicaraguan rebels falsely assumed responsibility for an arms-laden plane downed over Nicaragua in 1986 in an effort to shield then-Vice President George Bush from the controversy that soon blossomed into the Iran-Contra scandal, a senior Contra official said in early May 1989. According to the Contra official, who requested anonymity but has direct knowledge of the events, a Contra spokesman, Bosco Matamoros [official FDN representative in Washington, D.C.], was ordered by [FDN Political Director] Adolfo Calero to claim ownership of the downed aircraft, even though the plane belonged to Oliver North's secret Contra supply network.... Calero called (Matamoros) and said, "Take responsibility for the Hasenfus plane because we need to take the heat off the vice president,'' the Contra source said.... The senior Contra official said that shortly after Calero talked to Matamoros, Matamoros called a reporter for the New York Times and "leaked'' the bogus claim of responsibility. The Times ran a story about the claim on its front page. [fn75]

October 7, 1986: Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tx.) called for a congressional investigation of the Nicaraguan air crash, and the crash of a Southern Air Transport plane in Texas, to see if they were part of a covert CIA operation to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.

October 9, 1986: At a news conference in Nicaragua, captured U.S. crew member Eugene Hasenfus exposed Felix Rodriguez, alias "Max Gomez,'' as the head of an international supply system for the Contras. The explosive, public phase of the Iran-Contra scandal had begun.

October 11, 1986: The Washington Post ran two headlines side-by-side: "Captured American Flyer to be Tried in Nicaragua'' and "Bush is Linked to Head of Contra Aid Network.'' The Post reported:

Gomez has said that he met with Bush twice and has been operating in Nicaragua with the Vice President's knowledge and approval, the sources said....


Asked about these matters, a spokesman for Bush, Marlin Fitzwater, said: "Neither the vice president nor anyone on his staff is directing or coordinating an operation in Central America.'' ...

The San Francisco Examiner, which earlier this week linked [Bush adviser Donald] Gregg to Gomez, reported that Gomez maintains daily contact with Bush's office....

[M]embers of Congress said yesterday they wanted to investigate the administration's conduct further. And ... several said that their focus had shifted from the CIA to the White House....

[T]he Sunday crash will be among events covered by a [Senate] Foreign Relations Committee probe into allegations that the contras may have been involved in drug-running and abuse of U.S. aid funds, [Senator Richard G.] Lugar said....

The Customs Service said yesterday it is investigating whether the downed plane may have carried guns out of Miami, which would violate federal restrictions on arms exports and other laws, including the Neutrality Act, which bars U.S. citizens from working to overthrow governments not at war with the United States....

Hasenfus told reporters in Nicaragua the plane had flown out of Miami. [fn76]

George Bush's career was now on the line. News media throughout the world broke the story of the Hasenfus capture, and of the crewman's fingering of Bush and his underlings Rodriguez and Posada Carriles. Bush was now besieged by inquiries from around the world, as to how and why he was directing the gun-running into Latin America. Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina, George Bush described Max Gomez/Rodriguez as "a patriot.'' The Vice President denied that he himself was directing the illegal operations to supply the Contras: "To say I'm running the operation ... it's absolutely untrue.'' Bush said of Rodriguez: "I know what he was doing in El Salvador, and I strongly support it, as does the president of El Salvador, Mr. Napoleon Duarte, and as does the chief of the armed forces in El Salvador, because this man, an expert in counterinsurgency, was down there helping them put down a communist-led revolution [i.e. in El Salvador, not Nicaragua]. '' [fn77]

Two days later, Gen. Adolfo Blandon, armed forces chief of staff in El Salvador, denied Bush's contention that Felix Rodriguez worked for his country's military forces: "This intrigues me. It would have to be authorized [by our] joint chiefs of staff [and] the government.'' He said such authorization had not been given. [fn78]

October 12, 1986: Eugene Hasenfus, the U.S. airman downed in Nicaragua, gave and signed an affidavit in which it was stated: "About Max Gomez [Felix Rodriguez], Hasenfus says that he was the head Cuban coordinator for the company and that he works for the CIA and that he is a very close friend of the Vice-President of the United States, George Bush.... Max Gomez, after receiving his orders was the one who had to ... [say] where the air drops would be taking place.

About Ramon Medina [escaped airplane bomber Luis Posada Carriles], Hasenfus says that he was also a CIA agent and that he did the 'small work' because Max Gomez was the 'senior man.' He says that Ramon took care of the rent of the houses, the maids, the food, transportation and drivers, and also, coordination of the fuel for the aircraft, etc.'' [emphasis in the original]. His cover being blown, and knowing he was still wanted in Venezuela for blowing up an airliner and killing 73 persons, Posada Carriles now "vanished'' and went underground. [fn80]


October 19, 1986: Eugene Hasenfus, interviewed in Nicaragua by Mike Wallace on the CBS television program "60 Minutes,'' said that Vice President Bush was well aware of the covert arms supply operation. He felt the Reagan-Bush administration was "backing this 100 percent.'' Wallace asked Hasenfus why he thought that Gomez/Rodriguez and the other managers of the covert arms resupply "had the blessing of Vice President Bush.'' Hasenfus replied, "They had his knowledge that he was working [on it] and what was happening, and whoever controlled this whole organization -- which I do not know -- Mr. Gomez, Mr. Bush, I believe a lot of these other people. They know how this is being run. I do not.'' [fn81]

Iran-Contra Characters Fall In and Out

November 3, 1986: The Lebanese newspaper Al-Shiraa revealed that the U.S. government was secretly dealing arms to the Khomeini regime. This was three weeks after the Eugene Hasenfus expose of George Bush made world headlines. Yet the Bush administration and its retainers have since decided that the Iran-Contra affair "began'' with the Al-Shiraa story!

November 22, 1986: President Reagan sent a message, through Vice President George Bush, to Secretary of State George Shultz, along the lines of "Support me or get off my team.'' [fn82]

December 18, 1986: CIA Director William Casey, a close ally of George Bush who knew everything from the inside, was operated on for a "brain tumor'' and lost the power of speech. That same day, associates of Vice President George Bush said that Bush believed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan should resign, but claim Bush had not yet broached the issue with the President. Donald Regan said that he had no intention of quitting. [fn83]

February 2, 1987: CIA Director William Casey resigned. He soon died, literally without ever talking.

February 9, 1987: Former National Security Director Robert McFarlane, a principal figure in the Reagan-Bush administration's covert operations, attempted suicide by taking an overdose of drugs. McFarlane survived.

February 26, 1987 (Thursday): The President's Special Review Board, commonly known as the Tower Commission, issued its report. The commission heavily blamed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan for the "chaos that descended upon the White House'' in the Iran-Contra affair. The Commission hardly mentioned Vice President George Bush except to praise him for his "vigorous reaffirmation of U.S. opposition to terrorism in all forms''!
The afternoon the Tower Commission report came out, George Bush summoned Donald Regan to his office. Bush said the President wanted to know what his plans were about resigning. Donald Regan blasted the President: "What's the matter -- isn't he man enough to ask me that question?'' Bush expressed sympathy. Donald Regan said he would leave in four days. [fn84]

February 27, 1987 (Friday): Cable News Network televised a leaked report that Donald Regan had already been replaced as White House chief of staff. After submitting a one-sentence letter of resignation, Donald Regan said, "There's been a deliberate leak, and it's been done to humiliate me.'' [fn85]

George Bush, when President, rewarded the commission's chairman, Texas Senator John Tower, by appointing him U.S. Secretary of Defense. Tower was asked by a reporter at the National Press Club, whether his nomination was a "payoff'' for the "clean bill of health'' he gave Bush. Tower responded that "the commission was made up of three people, Brent Scowcroft and [Senator] Ed Muskie in addition to myself, that would be sort of impugning the integrity of Brent Scowcroft and Ed Muskie.... We found nothing to implicate the Vice President.... I wonder what kind of payoff they're going to get?'' [fn86] President Bush appointed Brent Scowcroft his chief national security adviser. But the Senate refused to confirm Tower. Tower then wrote a book and began to talk about the injustice done to him. He died April 5, 1991 in a plane crash.


March 8, 1987: In light of the Iran-Contra scandal, President Reagan called on George Bush to reconvene his Terrorism Task Force to evaluate the current program!

June 2, 1987: Bush summarized his findings in a press release: "[O]ur current policy as articulated in the Task Force report is sound, effective, and fully in accord with our democratic principles, and national ideals of freedom.'' [fn87]

November 13, 1987: The designated congressional committees filed their joint report on the Iran-Contra affair. Wyoming Representative Richard Cheney, the senior Republican member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, helped steer the joint committees to an impotent result. George Bush was totally exonerated, and was hardly mentioned.

George Bush, when President, rewarded Dick Cheney by appointing him U.S. Secretary of Defense, after the Senate refused to confirm John Tower.


The Mortification of the U.S. Congress

January 20, 1989: George Bush was inaugurated President of the United States.

May 12, 1989: President Bush's nomination of Donald Gregg to be U.S. ambassador to Korea was considered in hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Gregg was now famous in Washington as Bush's day-to-day controller of the criminal gun-running into Central America. Before the Gregg hearings began, both Republican and Democratic Senators on the committee tried to get President Bush to withdraw the Gregg nomination. This was to save them the embarrassment of confirming Gregg, knowing they were too intimidated to stop him.

What follows are excerpts from the typed transcript of the Gregg hearings. The transcript has never been reproduced, it has not been printed, and it will not be published by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is evidently embarrassed by its contents. [fn88]

Gregg: [As] his national security adviser [for] six and a half years ... I worked closely with the Vice President keeping him informed as best I could on matters of foreign policy, defense, and intelligence.... Traveling with the Vice President as I did ... [in] a great variety of missions to more than 65 countries.... [After Vietnam] I did not see [Felix Rodriguez] until the early eighties where he would drop into Washington sporadically ... we remained friends.... So, some of those contacts would have been [1979-1982] when I was at the White House at the NSC.

Sen. Sarbanes: And Felix would come to see you there?

Gregg: No, at my home.... [Then] he brought me in '83 the plan which I have already discussed with Senator Cranston.... [At that point] I was working for the Vice President ... [which I began in] August 1982.

Sen. Sarbanes: In December of 1984 he came to see you with the idea of going to El Salvador. You ... cleared it with the Vice President?

Gregg: ... I just said, "My friend Felix, who was a remarkable former agency employee ... wants to go down and help with El Salvador. And I am going to introduce him to [State Department personnel] and see if he can sell himself to those men,'' and the Vice President said fine.

Gregg: Felix went down there about the first of March [1985]. Before he went ... I introduced him to the Vice President ... and the Vice President was struck by his character and wished him well in El Salvador.

Sen. Sarbanes: So before he went down, you undertook to introduce him to the Vice President.... Why did you do that?

Gregg: Well, the Vice President had always spoken very highly and enthusiastically of his career [!], or his one-year as DCI [Director of Central Intelligence]. I had gone out with him to the agency just after I joined him in '82 and I saw the tremendous response he got there and he got quite choked up about it and as we drove back in the car he said, you know, that is the best job I have ever had before I became Vice President. So here it was, as I said probably the most extraordinary CIA comrade I had known, who was going down to help in a country that I knew that the Vice President was interested in.... The Vice President was interested in the progress of the Contras. There were two occasions on which he asked me, how are they doing and I, on one occasion went to a CIA officer who was knowledgeable and got a run-down on how they were doing from that and sent it to the Vice President and he sent it back with no comment. On another occasion, he asked me again, how are they doing, and I went -- I drew a memo up, I think on the basis of a conversation with North. Again, he returned that with no comment. So he was interested in the Contras as an instrument of putting pressure on the Sandinistas. But what I said we had never discussed was the intricacies, or who was supplying what to whom....

Sen. Simon: Let me read another section from Senator Cranston's statement. I believe the record suggests the following happened: After Boland II was signed in October 1984 [outlawing all U.S. aid to the Contras], you and certain others in the White House were encouraged to secure military aid for the Contras through unorthodox channels. Your career training in establishing secrecy and deniability for covert operations, your decades-old friendship for Felix Rodriguez, apparently led you to believe you could serve the national interest by sponsoring a freelance covert operation out of the Vice President's office. What is your response to that statement?

Gregg: Well, I think it is a rather full-blown conspiracy theory. That was not what I was doing.... I was involved in helping the Vice President's task force on antiterrorist measures write their report. But normally I had no operational responsibilities....

Sen. Simon: When did you first find out the law was being violated?

Gregg: By the law, do you mean the Boland amendment?

Sen. Simon: That is correct.

Gregg: I guess my knowledge of that sort of came at me piecemeal after Hasenfus had been shot down [Oct. 5, 1986] and there were various revelations that came out....

Sen. Simon: So what you are telling us, you found out about the law being violated the same time the rest of us found out the law was being violated?

Gregg: Yes, sir....

Sen. Cranston: From February 1985 to August 1986, you have acknowledged that you spoke to Rodriguez many, many times on the telephone. Let me quote from your sworn deposition to the Iran-Contra Committee: "Felix called me quite often and frequently it was what I would call sort of combat catharsis. He used to do the same thing in Vietnam. He would come back from an operation in which some people had been lost and he would tell me about it.'' Now, is it still your testimony that Rodriguez never mentioned his deep involvement in Contra supply activities during any of these phone conversations?

Gregg: That is my testimony.

Sen. Cranston: Is it still your testimony that prior to Aug. 8th, 1986, Rodriguez never mentioned the status of his Contra resupply efforts during his numerous face-to-face meetings with you in Washington?

Gregg: Never.

Sen. Cranston: Is it still your testimony that Rodriguez did not mention the status of his Contra resupply efforts in the very meetings that were convened according to two memos bearing your name, for Rodriguez to "brief the Vice President on the status of the war in El Salvador and efforts to resupply the Contras''?

Gregg: There was no intention to discuss resupply of the Contras and everyone at that meeting, including former Senator Nick Brady have testified that it was not discussed.

Sen. Cranston: As you know, it is difficult to reconcile those statements about what happened in the meeting with the statement and memos from you that the agenda was ... two things, one of them being efforts to resupply the Contras....

Gregg: Those memos first surfaced to my attention in December of 1986, when we undertook our first document search of the Vice President's office. They hit me rather hard because by that time I had put the pieces together of what had been going on and I realized the implications of that agenda item. I did not shred the documents. I did not hide it.... [T]his is the worst thing I have found and here it is, and I cannot really explain it.... I have a speculative explanation which I would like to put forward if you would be interested.

Sen. Cranston: Fine.

Gregg: Again, turning to Felix [Rodriguez]'s book ... Felix makes the following quote.... [By the way the book] is going to be published in October of this year. The text has been cleared by CIA and it is now with the publishers. I was given an advance copy.... This is the quote, sir: " ... I had no qualms about calling [Sam Watson] or Don [Gregg] when I thought they could help run interference with the Pentagon to speed up deliveries of spare chopper parts.'' That means helicopters. "I must have made many such calls during the spring of 1986. Without operating Hughes 500 helicopters it was impossible to carry out my strategy against the [El Salvadoran] insurgents....'' [There are] then documented steps that Colonel Watson had taken with the Pentagon to try to get spare parts expedited for El Salvador.... So my construction is this, sir. I recall that in the meeting with the Vice President the question of spare parts for the helicopters in El Salvador was discussed and so that I think what the agenda item on the two memos is, is a garbled reference to something like resupply of the copters, instead of resupply of the Contras [emphasis added]. [At this point there was laughter and whistling in the hearing room. Afterwards, Gregg told reporters ,"I don't know how it went over, but it was the best I could do.'']

Sen. Sarbanes: How did the scheduling proposal of April 16, 1986 and the briefing memorandum of April 30th take place?

Gregg: They were prepared by my assistant, Mrs. Byrne, acting on advice from Colonel Watson. She signed my initials, but those are not my initials. I did not see the documents until December 1986, when I called them to the attention of the House Intelligence Committee.... And if, you know, if you do not -- if my speculation does not hold up, I have to refer you to a memorandum that I turned over to the Iran-Contra Committee on the 14th of May 1987, which --

Sen. Sarbanes: I am looking at that memorandum now.

Gregg: Okay. That has been my explanation up until now.

Sen. Sarbanes: But you are now providing a different explanation?

Gregg: It is the only one -- I have been thinking about these documents for over two years, and it is the only thing that I can come up with that would come close to explaining that agenda item -- given the fact that there was no intention of discussing resupply to the Contras. That resupply of the Contras was not discussed, according to the testimony of everyone who was in the meeting....''
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