The Brain

A brief history of the brain

by David Robson, New Scientist Magazine issue 2831, September 26, 2011.

<img title="Intelligent origins (Image: Burn Everything/Agency Rush)” src=”http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/mg21128311.800/mg21128311.800-1_300.jpg&#8221; alt=”Intelligent origins (Image: Burn Everything/Agency Rush)” />Intelligent origins (Image: Burn Everything/Agency Rush)

New Scientist tracks the evolution of our brain from its origin in ancient seas to its dramatic expansion in one ape – and asks why it is now shrinking

IT IS 30,000 years ago. A man enters a narrow cave in what is now the south of France. By the flickering light of a tallow lamp, he eases his way through to the furthest chamber. On one of the stone overhangs, he sketches in charcoal a picture of the head of a bison looming above a woman’s naked body.

In 1933, Pablo Picasso creates a strikingly similar image, called Minotaur Assaulting Girl.

That two artists, separated by 30 millennia, should produce such similar work seems astonishing. But perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Anatomically at least, our brains differ little from those of the people who painted the walls of the Chauvet cave all those years ago. Their art, part of the “creative explosion” of that time, is further evidence that they had brains just like ours.

How did we acquire our beautiful brains? How did the savage struggle for survival produce such an extraordinary object? This is a difficult question to answer, not least because brains do not fossilise. Thanks to the latest technologies, though, we can now trace the brain’s evolution in unprecedented detail, from a time before the very first nerve cells right up to the age of cave art and cubism.

The story of the brain begins in the ancient oceans, long before the first animals appeared. The single-celled organisms that swam or crawled in them may not have had brains, but they did have sophisticated ways of sensing and responding to their environment. “These mechanisms are maintained right through to the evolution of mammals,” says Seth Grant at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK. “That’s a very deep ancestry.”

The evolution of multicellular animals depended on cells being able to sense and respond to other cells – to work together. Sponges, for example, filter food from the water they pump through the channels in their bodies. They can slowly inflate and constrict these channels to expel any sediment and prevent them clogging up. These movements are triggered when cells detect chemical messengers like glutamate or GABA, pumped out by other cells in the sponge. These chemicals play a similar role in our brains today (Journal of Experimental Biology, vol 213, p 2310).

Releasing chemicals into the water is a very slow way of communicating with distant cells – it can take a good few minutes for a demosponge to inflate and close its channels. Glass sponges have a faster way: they shoot an electrical pulse across their body that makes all the flagellae that pump water through their bodies stop within a matter of seconds (Nature, vol 387, p 29).

This is possible because all living cells generate an electrical potential across their membranes by pumping out ions. Opening up channels that let ions flow freely across the membrane produces sudden changes in this potential. If nearby ion channels also open up in response, a kind of Mexican wave can travel along a cell’s surface at speeds of several metres a second. Since the cells in glass sponges are fused together, these impulses can travel across their entire bodies.

Deep roots

Recent studies have shown that many of the components needed to transmit electrical signals, and to release and detect chemical signals, are found in single-celled organisms known as choanoflagellates. That is significant because ancient choanoflagellates are thought to have given rise to animals around 850 million years ago.

So almost from the start, the cells within early animals had the potential to communicate with each other using electrical pulses and chemical signals. From there, it was not a big leap for some cells to become specialised for carrying messages.

These nerve cells evolved long, wire-like extensions – axons – for carrying electrical signals over long distances. They still pass signals on to other cells by releasing chemicals such as glutamate, but they do so where they meet them, at synapses. That means the chemicals only have to diffuse across a tiny gap, greatly speeding things up. And so, very early on, the nervous system was born.

The first neurons were probably connected in a diffuse network across the body (see diagram). This kind of structure, known as a nerve net, can still be seen in the quivering bodies of jellyfish and sea anemones.

But in other animals, groups of neurons began to appear – a central nervous system. This allowed information to be processed rather than merely relayed, enabling animals to move and respond to the environment in ever more sophisticated ways. The most specialised groups of neurons – the first brain-like structure – developed near the mouth and primitive eyes.

Our view of this momentous event is hazy. According to many biologists, it happened in a worm-like creature known as the urbilaterian (see diagram), the ancestor of most living animals including vertebrates, molluscs and insects. Strangely, though, some of its descendants, such as the acorn worm, lack this neuronal hub.

It is possible the urbilaterian never had a brain, and that it later evolved many times independently. Or it could be that the ancestors of the acorn worm had a primitive brain and lost it – which suggests the costs of building brains sometimes outweigh the benefits.

Either way, a central, brain-like structure was present in the ancestors of the vertebrates. These primitive, fish-like creatures probably resembled the living lancelet, a jawless filter-feeder. The brain of the lancelet barely stands out from the rest of the spinal cord, but specialised regions are apparent: the hindbrain controls its swimming movements, for instance, while the forebrain is involved in vision. “They are to vertebrates what a small country church is to Notre Dame cathedral – the basic architecture is there though they lack a lot of the complexity,” says Linda Holland at the University of California, San Diego.

Some of these fish-like filter feeders took to attaching themselves to rocks. The swimming larvae of sea squirts have a simple brain but once they settle down on a rock it degenerates and is absorbed into the body.

We would not be here, of course, if our ancestors had not kept swimming. And around 500 million years ago, things went wrong when one of them was reproducing, resulting in its entire genome getting duplicated. In fact, this happened not just once but twice.

These accidents paved the way for the evolution of more complex brains by providing plenty of spare genes that could evolve in different directions and take on new roles. “It’s like the time your parents bought you the biggest Lego kit – with loads of different components to use in different combinations,” says Grant. Among many other things, it enabled different brain regions to express different types of neurotransmitter, which in turn allowed more innovative behaviours to emerge.

As early fish struggled to find food and mates, and dodge predators, many of the core structures still found in our brains evolved: the optic tectum, involved in tracking moving objects with the eyes; the amygdala, which helps us to respond to fearful situations; parts of the limbic system, which gives us our feelings of reward and helps to lay down memories; and the basal ganglia, which control patterns of movements (see diagram).

Brainy mammals

By 360 million years ago, our ancestors had colonised the land, eventually giving rise to the first mammals about 200 million years ago. These creatures already had a small neocortex – extra layers of neural tissue on the surface of the brain responsible for the complexity and flexibility of mammalian behaviour. How and when did this crucial region evolve? That remains a mystery. Living amphibians and reptiles do not have a direct equivalent, and since their brains do not fill their entire skull cavity, fossils tell us little about the brains of our amphibian and reptilian ancestors.

What is clear is that the brain size of mammals increased relative to their bodies as they struggled to contend with the dinosaurs. By this point, the brain filled the skull, leaving impressions that provide tell-tale signs of the changes leading to this neural expansion.

Timothy Rowe at the University of Texas at Austin recently used CT scans to look at the brain cavities of fossils of two early mammal-like animals, Morganucodon andHadrocodium, both tiny, shrew-like creatures that fed on insects. This kind of study has only recently become feasible. “You could hold these fossils in your hands and know that they have answers about the evolution of the brain, but there was no way to get inside them non-destructively,” he says. “It’s only now that we can get inside their heads.”

Rowe’s scans revealed that the first big increases in size were in the olfactory bulb, suggesting mammals came to rely heavily on their noses to sniff out food. There were also big increases in the regions of the neocortex that map tactile sensations – probably the ruffling of hair in particular – which suggests the sense of touch was vital too (Science, vol 332, p 955). The findings fit in beautifully with the widely held idea that early mammals were nocturnal, hiding during the day and scurrying around in the undergrowth at night when there were fewer hungry dinosaurs running around.

After the dinosaurs were wiped out, about 65 million years ago, some of the mammals that survived took to the trees – the ancestors of the primates. Good eyesight helped them chase insects around trees, which led to an expansion of the visual part of the neocortex. The biggest mental challenge, however, may have been keeping track of their social lives.

If modern primates are anything to go by, their ancestors likely lived in groups. Mastering the social niceties of group living requires a lot of brain power. Robin Dunbar at the University of Oxford thinks this might explain the enormous expansion of the frontal regions of the primate neocortex, particularly in the apes. “You need more computing power to handle those relationships,” he says. Dunbar has shown there is a strong relationship between the size of primate groups, the frequency of their interactions with one another and the size of the frontal neocortex in various species.

Besides increasing in size, these frontal regions also became better connected, both within themselves, and to other parts of the brain that deal with sensory input and motor control. Such changes can even be seen in the individual neurons within these regions, which have evolved more input and output points.

All of which equipped the later primates with an extraordinary ability to integrate and process the information reaching their bodies, and then control their actions based on this kind of deliberative reasoning. Besides increasing their overall intelligence, this eventually leads to some kind of abstract thought: the more the brain processes incoming information, the more it starts to identify and search for overarching patterns that are a step away from the concrete, physical objects in front of the eyes.

Which brings us neatly to an ape that lived about 14 million years ago in Africa. It was a very smart ape but the brains of most of its descendants – orang-utans, gorillas and chimpanzees – do not appear to have changed greatly compared with the branch of its family that led to us. What made us different?

It used to be thought that moving out of the forests and taking to walking on two legs lead to the expansion of our brains. Fossil discoveries, however, show that millions of years after early hominids became bipedal, they still had small brains.

We can only speculate about why their brains began to grow bigger around 2.5 million years ago, but it is possible that serendipity played a part. In other primates, the “bite” muscle exerts a strong force across the whole of the skull, constraining its growth. In our forebears, this muscle was weakened by a single mutation, perhaps opening the way for the skull to expand. This mutation occurred around the same time as the first hominids with weaker jaws and bigger skulls and brains appeared (Nature, vol 428, p 415).

Once we got smart enough to innovate and adopt smarter lifestyles, a positive feedback effect may have kicked in, leading to further brain expansion. “If you want a big brain, you’ve got to feed it,” points out Todd Preuss of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

He thinks the development of tools to kill and butcher animals around 2 million years ago would have been essential for the expansion of the human brain, since meat is such a rich source of nutrients. A richer diet, in turn, would have opened the door to further brain growth.

Primatologist Richard Wrangham at Harvard University thinks that fire played a similar role by allowing us to get more nutrients from our food. Eating cooked food led to the shrinking of our guts, he suggests. Since gut tissue is expensive to grow and maintain, this loss would have freed up precious resources, again favouring further brain growth.

Mathematical models by Luke Rendell and colleagues at the University of St Andrews in the UK not only back the idea that cultural and genetic evolution can feed off each other, they suggest this can produce extremely strong selection pressures that lead to “runaway” evolution of certain traits. This type of feedback might have played a big role in our language skills. Once early humans started speaking, there would be strong selection for mutations that improved this ability, such as the famous FOXP2 gene, which enables the basal ganglia and the cerebellum to lay down the complex motor memories necessary for complex speech.

The overall picture is one of a virtuous cycle involving our diet, culture, technology, social relationships and genes. It led to the modern human brain coming into existence in Africa by about 200,000 years ago.

Evolution never stops, though. According to one recent study, the visual cortex has grown larger in people who migrated from Africa to northern latitudes, perhaps to help make up for the dimmer light up there (Biology LettersDOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0570).

Downhill from here

So why didn’t our brains get ever bigger? It may be because we reached a point at which the advantages of bigger brains started to be outweighed by the dangers of giving birth to children with big heads. Or it might have been a case of diminishing returns.

Our brains are pretty hungry, burning 20 per cent of our food at a rate of about 15 watts, and any further improvements would be increasingly demanding. Simon Laughlin at the University of Cambridge compares the brain to a sports car, which burns ever more fuel the faster it goes.

One way to speed up our brain, for instance, would be to evolve neurons that can fire more times per second. But to support a 10-fold increase in the “clock speed” of our neurons, our brain would need to burn energy at the same rate as Usain Bolt’s legs during a 100-metre sprint. The 10,000-calorie-a-day diet of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps would pale in comparison.

Not only did the growth in the size of our brains cease around 200,000 years ago, in the past 10,000 to 15,000 years the average size of the human brain compared with our body has shrunk by 3 or 4 per cent. Some see this as no cause for concern. Size, after all, isn’t everything, and it’s perfectly possible that the brain has simply evolved to make better use of less grey and white matter. That would seem to fit with some genetic studies, which suggest that our brain’s wiring is more efficient now than it was in the past.

Others, however, think this shrinkage is a sign of a slight decline in our general mental abilities. David Geary at the University of Missouri-Columbia, for one, believes that once complex societies developed, the less intelligent could survive on the backs of their smarter peers, whereas in the past, they would have died – or at least failed to find a mate.

This decline may well be continuing. Many studies have found that the more intelligent people are, the fewer children they tend to have. More than ever before, intellectual and economic success are not linked with having a bigger family. If it were, says Rendell, “Bill Gates would have 500 children.”

This evolutionary effect would result in a decline of about 0.8 IQ points per generation in the US if you exclude the effects of immigration, a 2010 study concluded (Intelligence, vol 38, p 220). However, nurture matters as well as nature: even if this genetic effect is real, it has been more than compensated for by improved healthcare and education, which led a steady rise in IQ during most of the 20th century.

Crystal-ball gazing is always a risky business, and we have no way of knowing the challenges that humanity will face over the next millennia. But if they change at all, it appears likely that our brains are going keep “devolving” – unless, of course, we step in and take charge.

The feathered apes

Would intelligent dinosaurs rule the world if a meteorite impact had not wiped out their kind?

We cannot answer that question, of course, but there is no doubt that dinosaurs had the potential to evolve into very smart animals. The proof is sitting in a tree near you.

Certain birds, particularly the crow family, have evolved complex behaviours that match the ingenuity of many primates. Tool use, deception, face recognition – you name it, they can do it. Why are some birds so brainy? Stig Walsh at the National Museums Scotland, thinks that foundations were laid in their dinosaur ancestors, which probably climbed around in trees before eventually taking to the air. This behaviour would have favoured the same abilities that evolved in the tree-climbing primates: excellent vision, motor coordination and balance, which came about through the expansion of the brain areas known as the optic tectum and the cerebellum.

To compete with other animals, these tree-climbing dinosaurs might have also begun to evolve new foraging strategies that needed more brain power, leading to the growth of the forebrain. There are plenty of fossils of dinosaurs, he says, whose brains already possess some of these enlarged structures.

So the ancestors of birds had relatively big brains compared with their body size, and their brains grew proportionately even bigger once they took to the air and evolved even more advanced behaviours. These abilities might have enabled them to survive the mass extinction that killed the other dinosaurs, Walsh says, since their ingenuity would have helped them to find new ways of foraging for food in the wake of the catastrophe.

Bird brains are structured in a very different way to mammalian ones. The mammalian lineage developed new outer layers, known as the neocortex, which birds lack. Despite this, it is likely that the enlarged frontal cortex of the mammals, and the enlarged forebrain of the birds, perform similar functions. “There’s been a convergence, along different routes,” says Walsh.

How smart could birds get? For all the tool-making talents of crows, a beak is clearly not as good for manipulating objects as the hands of primates. That may limit the development of bird brains, though some have speculated that the wings of ground-living birds could yet re-evolve grasping forelimbs.

David Robson is a features editor at New Scientist

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Prescott Bush’s Treason

How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power

Rumours of a link between the US first family and the Nazi war machine have circulated for decades. Now the Guardian can reveal how repercussions of events that culminated in action under the Trading with the Enemy Act are still being felt by today’s president

Ben Aris in Berlin and  in Washington, The Guardian, 25 September 2004

George Bush’s grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.

His business dealings, which continued until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.

The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator’s action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

The debate over Prescott Bush’s behaviour has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the “Bush/Nazi” connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis’ plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler’s rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.

Remarkably, little of Bush’s dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him. But now the multibillion dollar legal action for damages by two Holocaust survivors against the Bush family, and the imminent publication of three books on the subject are threatening to make Prescott Bush’s business history an uncomfortable issue for his grandson, George W, as he seeks re-election.

While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen’s US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.

Tantalising

Bush was also on the board of at least one of the companies that formed part of a multinational network of front companies to allow Thyssen to move assets around the world.

Thyssen owned the largest steel and coal company in Germany and grew rich from Hitler’s efforts to re-arm between the two world wars. One of the pillars in Thyssen’s international corporate web, UBC, worked exclusively for, and was owned by, a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands. More tantalising are Bush’s links to the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border. During the war, the company made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz. The ownership of CSSC changed hands several times in the 1930s, but documents from the US National Archive declassified last year link Bush to CSSC, although it is not clear if he and UBC were still involved in the company when Thyssen’s American assets were seized in 1942.

Three sets of archives spell out Prescott Bush’s involvement. All three are readily available, thanks to the efficient US archive system and a helpful and dedicated staff at both the Library of Congress in Washington and the National Archives at the University of Maryland.

The first set of files, the Harriman papers in the Library of Congress, show that Prescott Bush was a director and shareholder of a number of companies involved with Thyssen.

The second set of papers, which are in the National Archives, are contained in vesting order number 248 which records the seizure of the company assets. What these files show is that on October 20 1942 the alien property custodian seized the assets of the UBC, of which Prescott Bush was a director. Having gone through the books of the bank, further seizures were made against two affiliates, the Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation. By November, the Silesian-American Company, another of Prescott Bush’s ventures, had also been seized.

The third set of documents, also at the National Archives, are contained in the files on IG Farben, who was prosecuted for war crimes.

A report issued by the Office of Alien Property Custodian in 1942 stated of the companies that “since 1939, these (steel and mining) properties have been in possession of and have been operated by the German government and have undoubtedly been of considerable assistance to that country’s war effort”.

Prescott Bush, a 6ft 4in charmer with a rich singing voice, was the founder of the Bush political dynasty and was once considered a potential presidential candidate himself. Like his son, George, and grandson, George W, he went to Yale where he was, again like his descendants, a member of the secretive and influential Skull and Bones student society. He was an artillery captain in the first world war and married Dorothy Walker, the daughter of George Herbert Walker, in 1921.

In 1924, his father-in-law, a well-known St Louis investment banker, helped set him up in business in New York with Averill Harriman, the wealthy son of railroad magnate E H Harriman in New York, who had gone into banking.

One of the first jobs Walker gave Bush was to manage UBC. Bush was a founding member of the bank and the incorporation documents, which list him as one of seven directors, show he owned one share in UBC worth $125.

The bank was set up by Harriman and Bush’s father-in-law to provide a US bank for the Thyssens, Germany’s most powerful industrial family.

August Thyssen, the founder of the dynasty had been a major contributor to Germany’s first world war effort and in the 1920s, he and his sons Fritz and Heinrich established a network of overseas banks and companies so their assets and money could be whisked offshore if threatened again.

By the time Fritz Thyssen inherited the business empire in 1926, Germany’s economic recovery was faltering. After hearing Adolf Hitler speak, Thyssen became mesmerised by the young firebrand. He joined the Nazi party in December 1931 and admits backing Hitler in his autobiography, I Paid Hitler, when the National Socialists were still a radical fringe party. He stepped in several times to bail out the struggling party: in 1928 Thyssen had bought the Barlow Palace on Briennerstrasse, in Munich, which Hitler converted into the Brown House, the headquarters of the Nazi party. The money came from another Thyssen overseas institution, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvarrt in Rotterdam.

By the late 1930s, Brown Brothers Harriman, which claimed to be the world’s largest private investment bank, and UBC had bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, fuel, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany, both feeding and financing Hitler’s build-up to war.

Between 1931 and 1933 UBC bought more than $8m worth of gold, of which $3m was shipped abroad. According to documents seen by the Guardian, after UBC was set up it transferred $2m to BBH accounts and between 1924 and 1940 the assets of UBC hovered around $3m, dropping to $1m only on a few occasions.

In 1941, Thyssen fled Germany after falling out with Hitler but he was captured in France and detained for the remainder of the war.

There was nothing illegal in doing business with the Thyssens throughout the 1930s and many of America’s best-known business names invested heavily in the German economic recovery. However, everything changed after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Even then it could be argued that BBH was within its rights continuing business relations with the Thyssens until the end of 1941 as the US was still technically neutral until the attack on Pearl Harbor. The trouble started on July 30 1942 when the New York Herald-Tribune ran an article entitled “Hitler’s Angel Has $3m in US Bank”. UBC’s huge gold purchases had raised suspicions that the bank was in fact a “secret nest egg” hidden in New York for Thyssen and other Nazi bigwigs. The Alien Property Commission (APC) launched an investigation.

There is no dispute over the fact that the US government seized a string of assets controlled by BBH – including UBC and SAC – in the autumn of 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy act. What is in dispute is if Harriman, Walker and Bush did more than own these companies on paper.

Erwin May, a treasury attache and officer for the department of investigation in the APC, was assigned to look into UBC’s business. The first fact to emerge was that Roland Harriman, Prescott Bush and the other directors didn’t actually own their shares in UBC but merely held them on behalf of Bank voor Handel. Strangely, no one seemed to know who owned the Rotterdam-based bank, including UBC’s president.

May wrote in his report of August 16 1941: “Union Banking Corporation, incorporated August 4 1924, is wholly owned by the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. My investigation has produced no evidence as to the ownership of the Dutch bank. Mr Cornelis [sic] Lievense, president of UBC, claims no knowledge as to the ownership of the Bank voor Handel but believes it possible that Baron Heinrich Thyssen, brother of Fritz Thyssen, may own a substantial interest.”

May cleared the bank of holding a golden nest egg for the Nazi leaders but went on to describe a network of companies spreading out from UBC across Europe, America and Canada, and how money from voor Handel travelled to these companies through UBC.

By September May had traced the origins of the non-American board members and found that Dutchman HJ Kouwenhoven – who met with Harriman in 1924 to set up UBC – had several other jobs: in addition to being the managing director of voor Handel he was also the director of the August Thyssen bank in Berlin and a director of Fritz Thyssen’s Union Steel Works, the holding company that controlled Thyssen’s steel and coal mine empire in Germany.

Within a few weeks, Homer Jones, the chief of the APC investigation and research division sent a memo to the executive committee of APC recommending the US government vest UBC and its assets. Jones named the directors of the bank in the memo, including Prescott Bush’s name, and wrote: “Said stock is held by the above named individuals, however, solely as nominees for the Bank voor Handel, Rotterdam, Holland, which is owned by one or more of the Thyssen family, nationals of Germany and Hungary. The 4,000 shares hereinbefore set out are therefore beneficially owned and help for the interests of enemy nationals, and are vestible by the APC,” according to the memo from the National Archives seen by the Guardian.

Red-handed

Jones recommended that the assets be liquidated for the benefit of the government, but instead UBC was maintained intact and eventually returned to the American shareholders after the war. Some claim that Bush sold his share in UBC after the war for $1.5m – a huge amount of money at the time – but there is no documentary evidence to support this claim. No further action was ever taken nor was the investigation continued, despite the fact UBC was caught red-handed operating a American shell company for the Thyssen family eight months after America had entered the war and that this was the bank that had partly financed Hitler’s rise to power.

The most tantalising part of the story remains shrouded in mystery: the connection, if any, between Prescott Bush, Thyssen, Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC) and Auschwitz.

Thyssen’s partner in United Steel Works, which had coal mines and steel plants across the region, was Friedrich Flick, another steel magnate who also owned part of IG Farben, the powerful German chemical company.

Flick’s plants in Poland made heavy use of slave labour from the concentration camps in Poland. According to a New York Times article published in March 18 1934 Flick owned two-thirds of CSSC while “American interests” held the rest.

The US National Archive documents show that BBH’s involvement with CSSC was more than simply holding the shares in the mid-1930s. Bush’s friend and fellow “bonesman” Knight Woolley, another partner at BBH, wrote to Averill Harriman in January 1933 warning of problems with CSSC after the Poles started their drive to nationalise the plant. “The Consolidated Silesian Steel Company situation has become increasingly complicated, and I have accordingly brought in Sullivan and Cromwell, in order to be sure that our interests are protected,” wrote Knight. “After studying the situation Foster Dulles is insisting that their man in Berlin get into the picture and obtain the information which the directors here should have. You will recall that Foster is a director and he is particularly anxious to be certain that there is no liability attaching to the American directors.”

But the ownership of the CSSC between 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland and 1942 when the US government vested UBC and SAC is not clear.

“SAC held coal mines and definitely owned CSSC between 1934 and 1935, but when SAC was vested there was no trace of CSSC. All concrete evidence of its ownership disappears after 1935 and there are only a few traces in 1938 and 1939,” says Eva Schweitzer, the journalist and author whose book, America and the Holocaust, is published next month.

Silesia was quickly made part of the German Reich after the invasion, but while Polish factories were seized by the Nazis, those belonging to the still neutral Americans (and some other nationals) were treated more carefully as Hitler was still hoping to persuade the US to at least sit out the war as a neutral country. Schweitzer says American interests were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The Nazis bought some out, but not others.

The two Holocaust survivors suing the US government and the Bush family for a total of $40bn in compensation claim both materially benefited from Auschwitz slave labour during the second world war.

Kurt Julius Goldstein, 87, and Peter Gingold, 85, began a class action in America in 2001, but the case was thrown out by Judge Rosemary Collier on the grounds that the government cannot be held liable under the principle of “state sovereignty”.

Jan Lissmann, one of the lawyers for the survivors, said: “President Bush withdrew President Bill Clinton’s signature from the treaty [that founded the court] not only to protect Americans, but also to protect himself and his family.”

Lissmann argues that genocide-related cases are covered by international law, which does hold governments accountable for their actions. He claims the ruling was invalid as no hearing took place.

In their claims, Mr Goldstein and Mr Gingold, honorary chairman of the League of Anti-fascists, suggest the Americans were aware of what was happening at Auschwitz and should have bombed the camp.

The lawyers also filed a motion in The Hague asking for an opinion on whether state sovereignty is a valid reason for refusing to hear their case. A ruling is expected within a month.

The petition to The Hague states: “From April 1944 on, the American Air Force could have destroyed the camp with air raids, as well as the railway bridges and railway lines from Hungary to Auschwitz. The murder of about 400,000 Hungarian Holocaust victims could have been prevented.”

The case is built around a January 22 1944 executive order signed by President Franklin Roosevelt calling on the government to take all measures to rescue the European Jews. The lawyers claim the order was ignored because of pressure brought by a group of big American companies, including BBH, where Prescott Bush was a director.

Lissmann said: “If we have a positive ruling from the court it will cause [president] Bush huge problems and make him personally liable to pay compensation.”

The US government and the Bush family deny all the claims against them.

In addition to Eva Schweitzer’s book, two other books are about to be published that raise the subject of Prescott Bush’s business history. The author of the second book, to be published next year, John Loftus, is a former US attorney who prosecuted Nazi war criminals in the 70s. Now living in St Petersburg, Florida and earning his living as a security commentator for Fox News and ABC radio, Loftus is working on a novel which uses some of the material he has uncovered on Bush. Loftus stressed that what Prescott Bush was involved in was just what many other American and British businessmen were doing at the time.

“You can’t blame Bush for what his grandfather did any more than you can blame Jack Kennedy for what his father did – bought Nazi stocks – but what is important is the cover-up, how it could have gone on so successfully for half a century, and does that have implications for us today?” he said.

“This was the mechanism by which Hitler was funded to come to power, this was the mechanism by which the Third Reich’s defence industry was re-armed, this was the mechanism by which Nazi profits were repatriated back to the American owners, this was the mechanism by which investigations into the financial laundering of the Third Reich were blunted,” said Loftus, who is vice-chairman of the Holocaust Museum in St Petersburg.

“The Union Banking Corporation was a holding company for the Nazis, for Fritz Thyssen,” said Loftus. “At various times, the Bush family has tried to spin it, saying they were owned by a Dutch bank and it wasn’t until the Nazis took over Holland that they realised that now the Nazis controlled the apparent company and that is why the Bush supporters claim when the war was over they got their money back. Both the American treasury investigations and the intelligence investigations in Europe completely bely that, it’s absolute horseshit. They always knew who the ultimate beneficiaries were.”

“There is no one left alive who could be prosecuted but they did get away with it,” said Loftus. “As a former federal prosecutor, I would make a case for Prescott Bush, his father-in-law (George Walker) and Averill Harriman [to be prosecuted] for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They remained on the boards of these companies knowing that they were of financial benefit to the nation of Germany.”

Loftus said Prescott Bush must have been aware of what was happening in Germany at the time. “My take on him was that he was a not terribly successful in-law who did what Herbert Walker told him to. Walker and Harriman were the two evil geniuses, they didn’t care about the Nazis any more than they cared about their investments with the Bolsheviks.”

What is also at issue is how much money Bush made from his involvement. His supporters suggest that he had one token share. Loftus disputes this, citing sources in “the banking and intelligence communities” and suggesting that the Bush family, through George Herbert Walker and Prescott, got $1.5m out of the involvement. There is, however, no paper trail to this sum.

The third person going into print on the subject is John Buchanan, 54, a Miami-based magazine journalist who started examining the files while working on a screenplay. Last year, Buchanan published his findings in the venerable but small-circulation New Hampshire Gazette under the headline “Documents in National Archives Prove George Bush’s Grandfather Traded With the Nazis – Even After Pearl Harbor”. He expands on this in his book to be published next month – Fixing America: Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media and the Religious Right.

In the article, Buchanan, who has worked mainly in the trade and music press with a spell as a muckraking reporter in Miami, claimed that “the essential facts have appeared on the internet and in relatively obscure books but were dismissed by the media and Bush family as undocumented diatribes”.

Buchanan suffers from hypermania, a form of manic depression, and when he found himself rebuffed in his initial efforts to interest the media, he responded with a series of threats against the journalists and media outlets that had spurned him. The threats, contained in e-mails, suggested that he would expose the journalists as “traitors to the truth”.

Unsurprisingly, he soon had difficulty getting his calls returned. Most seriously, he faced aggravated stalking charges in Miami, in connection with a man with whom he had fallen out over the best way to publicise his findings. The charges were dropped last month.

Biography

Buchanan said he regretted his behaviour had damaged his credibility but his main aim was to secure publicity for the story. Both Loftus and Schweitzer say Buchanan has come up with previously undisclosed documentation.

The Bush family have largely responded with no comment to any reference to Prescott Bush. Brown Brothers Harriman also declined to comment.

The Bush family recently approved a flattering biography of Prescott Bush entitled Duty, Honour, Country by Mickey Herskowitz. The publishers, Rutledge Hill Press, promised the book would “deal honestly with Prescott Bush’s alleged business relationships with Nazi industrialists and other accusations”.

In fact, the allegations are dealt with in less than two pages. The book refers to the Herald-Tribune story by saying that “a person of less established ethics would have panicked … Bush and his partners at Brown Brothers Harriman informed the government regulators that the account, opened in the late 1930s, was ‘an unpaid courtesy for a client’ … Prescott Bush acted quickly and openly on behalf of the firm, served well by a reputation that had never been compromised. He made available all records and all documents. Viewed six decades later in the era of serial corporate scandals and shattered careers, he received what can be viewed as the ultimate clean bill.”

The Prescott Bush story has been condemned by both conservatives and some liberals as having nothing to do with the current president. It has also been suggested that Prescott Bush had little to do with Averill Harriman and that the two men opposed each other politically.

However, documents from the Harriman papers include a flattering wartime profile of Harriman in the New York Journal American and next to it in the files is a letter to the financial editor of that paper from Prescott Bush congratulating the paper for running the profile. He added that Harriman’s “performance and his whole attitude has been a source of inspiration and pride to his partners and his friends”.

The Anti-Defamation League in the US is supportive of Prescott Bush and the Bush family. In a statement last year they said that “rumours about the alleged Nazi ‘ties’ of the late Prescott Bush … have circulated widely through the internet in recent years. These charges are untenable and politically motivated … Prescott Bush was neither a Nazi nor a Nazi sympathiser.”

However, one of the country’s oldest Jewish publications, the Jewish Advocate, has aired the controversy in detail.

More than 60 years after Prescott Bush came briefly under scrutiny at the time of a faraway war, his grandson is facing a different kind of scrutiny but one underpinned by the same perception that, for some people, war can be a profitable business.

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Lock ‘Em Up, Dano

Welcome to Boston, Mr. Rumsfeld. You Are Under Arrest.

By Ralph Lopez, WarIsACrime.org, 20 September 2011

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been stripped of legal immunity for acts of torture against US citizens authorized while he was in office.   The 7th Circuit made the ruling in the case of two American contractors who were tortured by the US military in Iraq after uncovering a smuggling ring within an Iraqi security company.  The company was under contract to the Department of Defense.   The company was assisting Iraqi insurgent groups in the “mass acquisition” of American weapons.  The ruling comes as Rumsfeld begins his book tour with a visit to Boston on Wednesday, and as new, uncensored photos of Abu Ghraib spark fresh outrage across Internet.  Awareness is growing that Bush-era crimes went far beyond mere waterboarding.

Torture Room, Abu Ghraib

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters in 2004 of photos withheld by the Defense Department from Abu Ghraib, “The American public needs to understand, we’re talking about rape and murder here…We’re not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We’re talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges.”  And journalist Seymour Hersh says: “boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has.”

Rumsfeld resigned days before a criminal complaint was filed in Germany in which the American general who commanded the military police battalion at Abu Ghraib had promised to testify.  General Janis Karpinskiin an interview with Salon.com was asked: “Do you feel like Rumsfeld is at the heart of all of this and should be held completely accountable for what happened [at Abu Ghraib]?”

Karpinski answered: “Yes, absolutely.”  In the criminal complaint filed in Germany against Rumsfeld, Karpinskisubmitted 17 pages of testimony and offered to appear before the German prosecutor as a witness.  Congressman Kendrick Meek of Florida, who participated in the hearings on Abu Ghraib, said of Rumsfeld: “There was no way Rumsfeld didn’t know what was going on. He’s a guy who wants to know everything.”

And Major General Antonio Taguba, who led the official Army investigation into Abu Ghraib, said in his report:

“there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Abu Ghraib Prisoner Smeared with Feces

Amazingly, the two American contractors in the 7th Circuit decision were known by the military to be working undercover for the FBI, to whom they had reported witnessing the sale of U.S government munitions to Iraqi rebel groups.  The FBI in Iraq had vouched for Vance and Ertel numerous times before they nevertheless disappeared into military custody.  They were held at Camp Cropper in Iraq where the two were tortured, one for 97 days, and the other for six weeks.

In a puzzling and incriminating move, Camp Cropper base commander General John Gardner ordered Nathan Ertel released on May 17, 2006, while keeping Donald Vance in detention for another two months of torture.  By ordering the release of one man but not the other, Gardner revealed awareness of the situation but prolonged it at the same time.

It is unlikely that Gardner could act alone in a situation as sensitive as the illegal detention and torture of two Americans confirmed by the FBI to be working undercover in the national interest, to prevent American weapons and munitions from reaching the hands of insurgents, for the sole purpose of using them to kill American troops.  Vance and Ertel suggest he was acting on orders from the highest political level.

The forms of torture employed against the Americans included “techniques” which crop up frequently in descriptions of Iraqi and Afghan prisoner abuse at Bagram, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib.  They included “walling,” where the head is slammed repeatedly into a concrete wall, sleep deprivation to the point of psychosis by use of round-the-clock bright lights and harsh music at ear-splitting volume, in total isolation, for days, weeks or months at a time, and intolerable cold.

The 7th Circuit ruling is the latest in a growing number of legal actions involving hundreds of former prisoners and torture victims filed in courts around the world.  Criminal complaints have been filed against Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials in Germany, France, and Spain.  Former President Bush recently curbed travel to Switzerlanddue to fear of arrest following criminal complaints lodged in Geneva.  “He’s avoiding the handcuffs,” Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

And the Mayor of London threatened Bush with arrest for war crimes earlier this year should he ever set foot in his city, saying that were he to land in London to “flog his memoirs,” that “the real trouble — from the Bush point of view — is that he might never see Texas again.”

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief-of-Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson surmised on MSNBC earlier this year that soon, Saudi Arabia and Israel will be “the only two countries Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest will travel too.”

Abu Ghraib: Dog Bites

What would seem to make Rumsfeld’s situation more precarious is the number of credible, former officials and military officers who seem to be eager to testify against him, such as Col. Wilkerson and General Janis Karpinsky.

In a signed declaration in support of torture plaintiffs in a civil suit naming Rumsfeld in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Col. Wilkerson, one of Rumsfeld’s most vociferous critics,  stated: “I am willing to testify in person regarding the  content of this declaration, should that be necessary.”  That declaration, among other things, affirmed that a documentary on the chilling murder of a 22-year-old Afghan farmer and taxi driver in Afghanistan was “accurate.”  Wilkerson said earlier this year that in that case, and in the case of another murder at Bagram at about the same time, “authorization for the abuse went to the very top of the United States government.”

Dilawar

The young farmer’s name was Dilawar.  The New York Times reported on May 20, 2005:

“Four days before [his death,] on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Id al-Fitr, Mr. Dilawar set out from his tiny village of Yakubi in a prized new possession, a used Toyota sedan that his family bought for him a few weeks earlier to drive as a taxi.

On the day that he disappeared, Mr. Dilawar’s mother had asked him to gather his three sisters from their nearby villages and bring them home for the holiday. However, he needed gas money and decided instead to drive to the provincial capital, Khost, about 45 minutes away, to look for fares.”

Dilawar’s misfortune was to drive past the gate of an American base which had been hit by a rocket attack that morning.  Dilawar and his fares were arrested at a checkpoint by a warlord, who was later suspected of mounting the rocket attack himself, and then turning over randam captures like Dilawar in order to win trust.

The UK Guardian reports:

“Guards at Bagram routinely kneed prisoners in their thighs — a blow called a “peroneal strike”…Whenever a guard did this to Dilawar, he would cry out, “Allah! Allah!” Some guards apparently found this amusing, and would strike him repeatedly to show off the behavior to buddies.

One military policeman told investigators, “Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny. … It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes.””

Dilawar was shackled from the ceiling much of the time, with his feet barely able to touch the ground.  On the last day of his life, after 4 days at Bagram, an interpreter who was present said his legs were bouncing uncontrollably as he sat in a plastic chair. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.

The New York Times reported that on the last day of his life, four days after he was arrested:

“Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar’s face.

“Come on, drink!” the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. “Drink!”

At the interrogators’ behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

“Leave him up,” one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.”

The next time the prison medic saw Dilawar a few hours later, he was dead, his head lolled to one side and his body beginning to stiffen.  A coroner would testify that his legs “had basically been pulpified.” The Army coroner, Maj. Elizabeth Rouse, said: “I’ve seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus.” She testified that had he lived, Dilawar’s legs would have had to be amputated.

Despite the military’s false statement that Dilawar’s death was the result of “natural causes,” Maj. Rouse marked the death certificate as a “homicide” and arranged for the certificate to be delivered to the family.  The military was forced to retract the statement when a reporter for the New York Times, Carlotta Gall, tracked down Dilawar’s family in Afghanistan and was given a folded piece of paper by Dilawar’s brother.  It was the death certificate, which he couldn’t read, because it was in English.

The practice of forcing prisoners to stand for long periods of time, links Dilawar’s treatment to a memo which bears Rumsfeld’s own handwriting on that particular subject.  Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request, the memo may show how fairly benign-sounding authorizations for clear circumventions of the Geneva Conventions may have translated into gruesome practice on the battlefield.

The memo, which addresses keeping prisoners “standing” for up to four hours, is annotated with a note initialed by Rumfeld reading: “”I stand for 8–10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”  Not mentioned in writing anywhere is anything about accomplishing this by chaining prisoners to the ceiling.  There is evidence that, unable to support his weight on tiptoe for the days on end he was chained to the ceiling, Dilawars arms dislocated, and they flapped around uselessly when he was taken down for interrogation.  The National Catholic Reporter writes “They flapped like a bird’s broken wings”

Contradicting, on the record, a February 2003 statement by Rumfeld’s top commander in Afghnanistan at the time, General Daniel McNeill, that “we are not chaining people to the ceilings,” is Spc. Willie Brand, the only soldier disciplined in the death of Dilawar, with a reduction in rank.  Told of McNeill’s statement, Brand told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes: “Well, he’s lying.”  Brand said of his punishment: “I didn’t understand how they could do this after they had trained you to do this stuff and they turn around and say you’ve been bad”

Exhibit: A sketch by Sgt. Thomas V. Curtis, a former Reserve M.P. sergeant, showing how Dilawar was chained to the ceiling of his cell

Exhibit: Dilawar Death Certificate marked “homicide”

Exhibit: Rumsfeld Memo: “I stand 10 hours a day.  Why only 4?”

Dilawar’s daughter and her grandfather

Binyam, Genital-Slicing

Binyam Mohamed was seized by the Pakistani Forces in April 2002 and turned over to the Americans for a $5,000 bounty.  He was held for more than five years without charge or trial in Bagram Air Force Base, Guantánamo Bay, and third country “black” sites.

In his diary he describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. He writes:

“They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor’s scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face. But maybe I was going to be raped. Maybe they’d electrocute me. Maybe castrate me…

One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. “I told you I was going to teach you who’s the man,” [one] eventually said.

They cut all over my private parts. One of them said it would be better just to cut it off, as I would only breed terrorists. I asked for a doctor.”

I was in Morocco for 18 months. Once they began this, they would do it to me about once a month. One time I asked a guard: “What’s the point of this? I’ve got nothing I can say to them. I’ve told them everything I possibly could.”

“As far as I know, it’s just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you’ll have these scars and you’ll never forget. So you’ll always fear doing anything but what the US wants.”

Later, when a US airplane picked me up the following January, a female MP took pictures. She was one of the few Americans who ever showed me any sympathy. When she saw the injuries I had she gasped. They treated me and took more photos when I was in Kabul. Someone told me this was “to show Washington it’s healing”.

The obvious question for any prosecutor in Binyam’s case is: Who does “Washington” refer to?  Rumfeld?  Cheney?  Is it not in the national interest to uncover these most depraved of sadists at the highest level?  US Judge Gladys Kessler, in her findings on Binyam made in relation to a Guantanamo prisoner’s petition, found Binyam exceedingly credible.  She wrote:

“His genitals were mutilated. He was deprived of sleep and food. He was summarily transported from one foreign prison to another. Captors held him in stress positions for days at a time. He was forced to listen to piercingly loud music and the screams of other prisoners while locked in a pitch-black cell. All the while, he was forced to inculpate himself and others in plots to imperil Americans. The government does not dispute this evidence.”

Obama: Torturers’ Last Defense

The prospect of Rumsfeld in a courtroom cannot possibly be relished by the Obama administration, which has now cast itself as the last and staunchest defender of the embattled former officials, including John Yoo, Alberto Gonzalez, Judge Jay Bybee, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and others.  The administration employed an unprecedented twisting of arms in orer to keep evidence in a lawsuit which Binyam had filed in the UK suppressed, threatening an end of cooperation between the British MI5 and the CIA.  This even though the British judges whose hand was forced puzzled that the evidence “contained “no disclosure of sensitive intelligence matters.”  The judges suggested another reason for the secrecy requested by the Obama administration, that it might be “politically embarrassing.”

The Obama Justice Department’s active involvement in seeking the dismissal of the cases is by choice, as the statutory obligation of the US Attorney General to defend cases against public officials ends the day they leave office.  Indeed, the real significance of the recent court decisions, one by the 7th Circuit and the other a DC federal court, may be the clarification the common misconception that high officials are forever immune for crimes committed while in office, in the name of the state.  The misconception persists despite just a moment of thought telling one that if this were true, Hermann Goering, Augusto Pinochet, and Charles Taylor would never have been arrested, for they were all in office at the time they ordered atrocities, and they all invoked national security.

Judge Kessler’s findings point to yet another even more alarming aspect of the Bush-era crimes for which Rumsfeld is now being pursued for his part, if that is possible.  And that is the emerging evidence that the tortures perpetrated were not designed to protect national security at all, but to obtain false confessions in order to score propaganda points for the War on terror.

Andy Worthington writes that:

“As it happens, one of the confessions that was tortured out of Binyam is so ludicrous that it was soon dropped…The US authorities insisted that Padilla and Binyam had dinner with various high-up members of al-Qaeda the night before Padilla was to fly off to America. According to their theory the dinner party had to have been on the evening of 3 April in Karachi … Binyam was  meant to have dined with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Sheikh al-Libi, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Jose Padilla.” What made the scenario “absurd,” as [Binyam’s lawyer pointed out, was that “two of the conspirators were already in U.S. custody at the time — Abu Zubaydah was seized six days before, on 28 March 2002, and al-Libi had been held since November 2001.””

The charges against Binyam were dropped, after the prosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld, resigned. He told the BBC later that he had concerns at the repeated suppression of evidence that could prove prisoners’ innocence.

The litany of tortures alleged against Rumsfeld in the military prisons he ran could go on for some time.  The new photographic images from Abu Ghraib make it hard to conceive of how the methods of torture and dehumanization could have possibly served a national purpose.

The approved use of attack dogs, sexual humiliation, forced masturbation, and treatments which plumb the depths of human depravity are either documented in Rumsfeld’s own memos, or credibly reported on.

The UK Guardian writes:

“The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.

The techniques devised in the system, called R2I – resistance to interrogation – match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: “It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn’t know what they were doing.””

Torture Now Aimed at Americans

The worst of the worst is that Rumsfeld’s logic strikes directly at the foundations of our democracy and the legitimacy of the War on Terror.  The torture methods studied and adopted by the Bush administration were not new, but adopted from the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape program (SERE) which is taught to elite military units.  The program was developed during the Cold War, in response to North Korean, Chinese, and Soviet Bloc torture methods.  But the aim of those methods was never to obtain intelligence, but to elicit false confessions.  The Bush administration asked the military to “reverse engineer” the methods, i.e. figure out how to break down resistance to false confessions.

In the 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee report which indicted high-level Bush administration officials, including Rumsfeld, as bearing major responsibility for the torture at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, and Bagram, the Committee said:

“SERE instructors explained “Biderman’s Principles” – which were based on coercive methods used by the Chinese Communist dictatorship to elicit false confessions from U.S. POWs during the Korean War – and left with GTMO personnel a chart of those coercive techniques.”

The Biderman Principles were based on the work of Air Force Psychiatrist Albert Biderman, who wrote the landmark “Communist Attempts to Elecit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War,” on which SERE resistance was based.  Biderman wrote:

“The experiences of American Air Force prisoners of war in Korea who were pressured for false confessions, enabled us to compile an outline of methods of eliciting compliance, not much different, it turned out, from those reported by persons held by Communists of other nations.  I have prepared a chart showing a condensed version of this outline.”

The chart is a how-to for communist torturers interested only in false confessions for propaganda purposes, not intelligence.  It was the manual for, in Biderman’s words, “brainwashing.”  In the reference for Principle Number 7, “Degradation,” the chart explains:

“Makes Costs of Resistance Appear More Damaging to Self-Esteem than Capitulation; Reduces Prisoner to “Animal Level…Personal Hygiene Prevented; Filthy, Infested Surroundings; Demeaning Punishments; Insults and Taunts; Denial of Privacy”

Appallingly, this could explain that even photos such as those of feces-smeared prisoners at Abu Ghraib might not, as we would hope, be only the individual work of particularly demented guards, but part of systematic degradation authorized at the highest levels.

Exhibit: Abu Ghraib, Female POW

This could go far toward explaining why the Bush administration seemed so tone-deaf to intelligence professionals, including legendary CIA Director William Colby, who essentially told them they were doing it all wrong.  A startling level of consensus existed within the intelligence community that the way to produce good intelligence was to gain the trust of prisoners and to prove everything they had been told by their recruiters, about the cruelty and degeneracy of America, to be wrong.

But why would the administration care about what worked to produce intelligence, if the goal was never intelligence in the first place?  What the Ponzi scheme of either innocent men or low-level operatives incriminating each other  DID accomplish, was produce a framework of rapid successes and trophies in the new War on Terror.

And now, American contractors Vance and Ertel show, unless their are prosecutions, the law has effectively changed and they can do it to Americans. Jane Mayer in the New Yorker describes a new regime for prisoners which has become coldly methodical, quoting a report issued by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, titled “Secret Detentions and Illegal Transfers of Detainees.”  In the report on the CIA paramilitary Special Activities Division detainees were “taken to their cells by strong people who wore black outfits, masks that covered their whole faces, and dark visors over their eyes.”

Mayer writes that a former member of a C.I.A. transport team has described the “takeout” of prisoners as “a carefully choreographed twenty-minute routine, during which a suspect was hog-tied, stripped naked, photographed, hooded, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers, and transported by plane to a secret location.

A person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, referring to cavity searches and the frequent use of suppositories, likened the treatment to “sodomy.” He said, “It was used to absolutely strip the detainee of any dignity. It breaks down someone’s sense of impenetrability.”

Of course we have seen these images before, in the trial balloon treatment of Jose Padilla, the first American citizen arrested and declared “enemy combatant” in the first undeclared war without end.  The designation placed Padilla outside of his Bill of Rights as an American citizen even though he was arrested on American soil.  Padilla was kept in isolation and tortured for nearly 4 years before being released to a civilian trial, at which point according to his lawyer he was useless in his own defense, and exhibited fear and mistrust of everyone, complete docility, and a range of nervous facial tics.

Jose Padilla in Military Custody

He was convicted by a Miami jury and sentenced to 17 more years.  As of this writing, on Sept. 19, an appeals court has thrown out Padilla’s sentence as “too lenient” and has sent it back for reconsideration.

Rumsfeld’s avuncular “golly-gee, gee-whiz”  performances in public are legendary.  Randall M. Schmidt, the Air Force Lieutenant General appointed by the Army to investigate abuses at Guantanamo, and who recommended holding Rumsfeld protege and close associate General Geoffrey Miller “accountable” as the commander of Guantanamo, watched Rumfeld’s performance before a House Committee with some interest. “He was going, ‘My God! Did I authorize putting a bra and underwear on this guy’s head and telling him all his buddies knew he was a homosexual?’ ”

But General Taguba said of Rumsfeld: “Rummy did what we called ‘case law’ policy —- verbal and not in writing. What he’s really saying is that if this decision comes back to haunt me I’ll deny it.”

Taguba went on: “Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There’s no way he’s suffering from C.R.S.—Can’t Remember Shit.”

Miller was the general deployed by Rumfeld to “Gitmo-ize” Abu Ghraib in 2003 after Rumfeld had determined they were being too “soft” on prisoners.  He said famously in one memo “you have to treat them like dogs.”  General Karpinski questioned the fall of Charles Graner and Lyndie England as the main focus of low-level “bad apple” abuse in the Abu Ghraib investigations.  “Did Lyndie England deploy with a dog leash?” she asks.

Exhibit: Dog deployed at Abu Ghraib, mentally-ill prisoner

Abu Ghraib prisoner in “restraint” chair, screaming “Allah!!”

Rumfeld’s worry now is the doctrine of Universal Jusrisdiction, as well as ordinary common law.  The veil of immunity stripped in civil cases would seem to free the hand of any prosecutor who determines there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed based on available evidence.  A grand jury’s bar for opening a prosecution is minimal.  It has been said “a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.”  Rumsfeld, and the evidence against him, would certainly seem to pass this test.

The name Dilawar translates to English roughly as “Braveheart.”  Let us pray he had one to endure the manner of death.  But the more spiritual may believe that somehow it had a purpose, to shock the world and begin the toppling of unimaginable evil among us.  Dilawar represented the poorest of the poor and most powerless, wanting only to pick up his three sisters, as his mother had told him to, for the holiday.  The question now is whether Amerians will finally draw a line, as the case against Rumsfeld falls into place and becomes legally bulletproof.

As Rumfeld continues his book tour and people like Dilawar are remembered, it is not beyond the pale that an ambitious prosecutor, whether local, state, or federal, might sense the advantage.  It is perhaps unlikely, but not inconceivable, that upon landing at Logan International Airport on Wed., Sept. 21st, or similarly anywhere he travels thereafter, Rumsfeld could be greeted with the words: “Welcome to Boston, Mr. Secretary.  You are under arrest.”

Massachusetts District Attorneys Who Can Indict Rumsfeld, Please Email them this post and call them.

County
Name
Address
Berkshire     District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter
Berkshire     Elected November 2006
Berkshire     OFFICE ADDRESS:     P.O. Box 973
Berkshire     888 Purchase Street
Berkshire     New Bedford, MA 02741
Berkshire     PHONE:     (508) 997-0711
Berkshire     FAX:     (508) 997-0396
Berkshire     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.bristolda.com
Berkshire     Acushnet, Attleborough, Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleborough, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport

Bristol     District Attorney David F. Capeless
Bristol     Appointed March 2004
Bristol     Elected November 2004
Bristol     OFFICE ADDRESS:     7 North Street
Bristol     P.O. Box 1969
Bristol     Pittsfield, MA 01202-1969
Bristol     PHONE:     (413) 443-5951
Bristol     FAX:     (413) 499-6349
Bristol     Internet Address:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Bristol     Adams, Alford, Becket, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Dalton, Egremont, Florida, Great Barrington, Hancock, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Ashford, New Marlborough, North Adams, Otis, Peru, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, Windsor

Cape & Islands     District Attorney Michael O’Keefe
Cape & Islands     Elected November 2002
Cape & Islands     OFFICE ADDRESS:     P.O.Box 455
Cape & Islands     3231 Main Street
Cape & Islands     Barnstable, MA 02630
Cape & Islands     PHONE:     (508) 362-8113
Cape & Islands     FAX:     (508) 362-8221
Cape & Islands     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Cape & Islands     Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head), Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Chilmark, Dennis, Eastham, Edgartown, Falmouth, Gosnold, Harwich, Mashpee, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Tisbury, Truro, Wellfleet, West Tisbury, Yarmouth

Essex     District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett
Essex     Elected November 2002
Essex     OFFICE ADDRESS:     Ten Federal Street
Essex     Salem, MA 01970
Essex     PHONE:     (978) 745-6610
Essex     FAX:     (978) 741-4971
Essex     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Essex     Amesbury, Andover, Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groveland, Hamilton, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, West Newbury

Hampden     District Attorney Mark Mastroianni
Hampden     Elected 2010
Hampden     OFFICE ADDRESS:     Hall of Justice
Hampden     50 State Street
Hampden     Springfield, MA 01103
Hampden     PHONE:     (413) 747-1000
Hampden     FAX:     (413) 781-4745
Hampden     Agawam, Blandford, Brimfield, Chester, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Granville, Hampden, Holland, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Montgomery, Palmer, Russell, Southwick, Springfield, Tolland, Wales, West Springfield, Westfield, Wilbraham

Middlesex     District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr.
Middlesex     Elected November 2006
Middlesex     OFFICE ADDRESS:     15 Commonwealth Avenue
Middlesex     Woburn, MA 01801
Middlesex     PHONE:     (781) 897-8300
Middlesex     FAX:     ((781) 897-8301
Middlesex     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.middlesexda.com
Middlesex     Acton, Arlington, Ashby, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Pepperell, Reading, Sherborn, Shirley, Somerville, Stoneham, Stow, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn

Norfolk     District Attorney Michael Morrissey
Norfolk     Elected 2010
Norfolk     OFFICE ADDRESS:     45 Shawmut Ave.
Norfolk     Canton, MA 02021
Norfolk     PHONE:     (781) 830-4800
Norfolk     FAX:     (781) 830-4801
Norfolk     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Norfolk     Avon, Braintree, Brookline, Canton, Cohasset, Dedham, Dover, Foxborough, Franklin, Holbrook, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Milton, Needham, Norfolk, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Wellesley, Westwood, Weymouth, Wrentham

Northwestern     District Attorney David Sullivan
Northwestern     Elected 2010
Northwestern     HAMPSHIRE OFFICE ADDRESS:     One Gleason Plaza
Northwestern     Northampton, MA 01060
Northwestern     PHONE:     (413) 586-9225
Northwestern     FAX:     (413) 584-3635
Northwestern     FRANKLIN OFFICE ADDRESS:     13 Conway Street
Northwestern     Greenfield, MA 01301
Northwestern     PHONE:     (413) 774-3186
Northwestern     FAX:     (413) 773-3278
Northwestern     WEBSITE:
Northwestern     http://www.mass.gov/da/northwestern
Northwestern     Amherst, Ashfield, Athol, Belchertown, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Chesterfield, Colrain, Conway, Cummington, Deerfield, Easthampton, Erving, Gill, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Hawley, Heath, Huntington, Leverett, Leyden, Middlefield, Monroe, Montague, New Salem, Northampton, Northfield, Orange, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Sunderland, Ware, Warwick, Wendell, Westhampton, Whately, Williamsburg, Worthington

Plymouth     District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz
Plymouth     Appointed November 2001
Plymouth     Elected November 2002
Plymouth     OFFICE ADDRESS:     32 Belmont Street
Plymouth     Brockton, MA 02303
Plymouth     PHONE:     (508) 584-8120
Plymouth     FAX:     (508) 586-3578
Plymouth     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Plymouth     Abington, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Lakeville, Marion, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Middleborough, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, Rockland, Scituate, Wareham, West Bridgewater, Whitman

Suffolk     District Attorney Daniel F. Conley
Suffolk     Appointed January 2002
Suffolk     Elected November 2002
Suffolk     OFFICE ADDRESS:     One Bulfinch Place
Suffolk     Boston, MA 02114
Suffolk     PHONE:     (617) 619-4000
Suffolk     FAX:     (617) 619-4009
Suffolk     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.mass.gov/…
Suffolk     Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop    

Worcester     District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.
Worcester     Elected November 2006
Worcester     OFFICE ADDRESS:     Courthouse – Room 220
Worcester     2 Main Street
Worcester     Worcester, MA 01608
Worcester     PHONE:     (508) 755-8601
Worcester     FAX:     (508) 831-9899
Worcester     INTERNET ADDRESS:     http://www.worcesterda.com

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A Patsy Speaks

THE LAST WORDS OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD

Compiled by Mae Brussell

the following is taken from The People’s Almanac #2,
by David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace, Bantam Books, 1978, pp. 47-52.

Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone in shooting Pres. John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, or did he conspire with others? Was he serving as an agent of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, himself the target of American assassins? Or in squeezing the trigger of his carbine was he undertaking some super “dirty trick” for a CIA anxious to rid itself of a president whose faith in the “company” had evaporated in the wake of the Bay of Pigs fiasco? Or was he representing a group of Cuban exiles, the Teamsters Union, the Mafia? Indeed, was it Lee Harvey Oswald at all who killed JFK? Or was there a double impersonating Oswald? These questions continue to nag many people more than a decade and a half after that dreadful day in Dallas, in spite of the 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits served up by the Warren Commission, the congressional investigations, the release of heretofore classified FBI documents.

Almost everyone, it seems, has been heard from on the Kennedy assassination and on Lee Harvey Oswald’s guilt or innocence, except one person — Lee Harvey Oswald himself. From the time of Oswald’s arrest to his own assassination at the hands of Jack Ruby, no formal transcript or record was kept of statements made by the alleged killer. It was said that no tape recordings were made of Oswald’s remarks, and many notes taken of his statements were destroyed.

Determined to learn Oswald’s last words, his only testimony, “The People’s Almanac” assigned one of the leading authorities on the Kennedy assassination, Mae Brussell, to compile every known statement or remark made by Oswald between his arrest and death. The quotes, edited for space and clarity, are based on the recollections of a variety of witnesses present at different times and are not verbatim transcripts. “After 14 years of research on the JFK assassination,” Mae Brussell concludes, “I am of the opinion that Lee Harvey Oswald was telling the truth about his role in the assassination during these interrogations.”

12:30 P.M., CST, NOV. 22, 1963
Pres. John F. Kennedy Assassinated

12:33 P.M.

          Lee Harvey Oswald left work, entered a bus, and said, “Transfer, please.”

12:40 – 12:45 P.M.

          Oswald got off the bus, entered a cab, and said, “May I have this cab?” A woman approached, wanting a cab, and Oswald said, “I will let you have this one. . . . 500 North Beckley Street [instructions to William Whaley, driver of another cab]. . . . This will be fine.” Oswald departed cab and walked a few blocks.

1:15 P.M.   Officer J. D. Tippit Murdered

1:45 P.M.   Arrest at the Texas Theater

          “This is it” or “Well, it’s all over now.” Oswald arrested. (Patrolman M. N. McDonald heard these remarks. Other officers who were at the scene did not hear them.) “I don’t know why you are treating me like this. The only thing I have done is carry a pistol into a movie. . . . I don’t see why you handcuffed me. . . . Why should I hide my face? I haven’t done anything to be ashamed of. . . . I want a lawyer. . . . I am not resisting arrest. . . . I didn’t kill anybody. . . . I haven’t shot anybody. . . . I protest this police brutality. . . . I fought back there, but I know I wasn’t supposed to be carrying a gun. . . . What is this all about?”

2:00 – 2:15 P.M.   Drive to Police Dept.

          “What is this all about? . . . I know my rights. . . . A police officer has been killed? . . . I hear they burn for murder. Well, they say it just takes a second to die. . . . All I did was carry a gun. . . . No, Hidell is not my real name. . . . I have been in the Marine Corps, have a dishonorable discharge, and went to Russia. . . . I had some trouble with police in New Orleans for passing out pro-Castro literature. . . . Why are you treating me this way? . . . I am not being handled right. . . . I demand my rights.”

2:15 P.M.   Taken into Police Dept.

2:15 – 2:20 P.M.

          “Talked to” by officers Guy F. Rose and Richard S. Stovall. No notes.

2:25 – 4:04 P.M.   Interrogation of Oswald, Office of Capt Will Fritz

          “My name is Lee Harvey Oswald. . . . I work at the Texas School Book Depository Building. . . . I lived in Minsk and in Moscow. . . . I worked in a factory. . . . I liked everything over there except the weather. . . . I have a wife and some children. . . . My residence is 1026 North Beckley, Dallas, Tex.” Oswald recognized FBI agent James Hosty and said, “You have been at my home two or three times talking to my wife. I don’t appreciate your coming out there when I was not there. . . . I was never in Mexico City. I have been in Tijuana. . . . Please take the handcuffs from behind me, behind my back. . . . I observed a rifle in the Texas School Book Depository where I work, on Nov. 20, 1963. . . . Mr. Roy Truly, the supervisor, displayed the rifle to individuals in his office on the first floor. . . . I never owned a rifle myself. . . . I resided in the Soviet Union for three years, where I have many friends and relatives of my wife. . . . I was secretary of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans a few months ago. . . .

While in the Marines, I received an award for marksmanship as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. . . . While living on Beckley Street, I used the name 0. H. Lee. . . . I was present in the Texas School Book Depository Building, I have been employed there since Oct. 15, 1963. . . . As a laborer, I have access to the entire building. . . . My usual place of work is on the first floor. However, I frequently use the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh floors to get books. I was on all floors this morning. . . . Because of all the confusion, I figured there would be no work performed that afternoon so I decided to go home. . . . I changed my clothing and went to a movie. . . . I carried a pistol with me to the movie because I felt like it, for no other reason. . . . I fought the Dallas Police who arrested me in the movie theater where I received a cut and a bump. . . . I didn’t shoot Pres. John F. Kennedy or Officer J. D. Tippit. . . . An officer struck me, causing the marks on my left eye, after I had struck him. . . . I just had them in there,” when asked why he had bullets in his pocket.

3:54 P.M.

          NBC newsman Bill Ryan announced on national television that “Lee Oswald seems to be the prime suspect in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.”

4:45 P.M.   At a Lineup for Helen Markham, Witness to Tippit Murder

          “It isn’t right to put me in line with these teenagers. . . . You know what you are doing, and you are trying to railroad me. . . . I want my lawyer. . . . You are doing me an injustice by putting me out there dressed different than these other men. . . . I am out there, the only one with a bruise on his head. . . . I don t believe the lineup is fair, and I desire to put on a jacket similar to those worn by some of the other individuals in the lineup. . . . All of you have a shirt on, and I have a T-shirt on. I want a shirt or something. . . . This T-shirt is unfair.”

4:45 – 6:30 P.M.   Second Interrogation of Oswald, Captain Fritz’s Office

          “When I left the Texas School Book Depository, I went to my room, where I changed my trousers, got a pistol, and went to a picture show. . . . You know how boys do when they have a gun, they carry it. . . . Yes, I had written the Russian Embassy. (On Nov. 9, 1963, Oswald had written to the Russian Embassy that FBI agent James Hosty was making some kind of deals with Marina, and he didn’t trust “the notorious FBI.”) . . . Mr. Hosty, you have been accosting my wife. You mistreated her on two different occasions when you talked with her. . . . I know you. Well, he threatened her. He practically told her she would have to go back to Russia. You know, I can’t use a phone. . . . I want that attorney in New York, Mr. Abt. I don’t know him personally but I know about a case that he handled some years ago, where he represented the people who had violated the Smith Act, [which made it illegal to teach or advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. government] . . . I don’t know him personally, but that is the attorney I want. . . . If I can’t get him, then I may get the American Civil Liberties Union to send me an attorney.”

“I went to school in New York and in Fort Worth, Tex. . . . After getting into the Marines, I finished my high school education. . . . I support the Castro revolution. . . . My landlady didn’t understand my name correctly, so it was her idea to call me 0. H. Lee. . . . I want to talk with Mr. Abt, a New York attorney. . . . The only package I brought to work was my lunch. . . . I never had a card to the Communist party. . . . I am a Marxist, but not a Leninist-Marxist. . . . I bought a pistol in Fort Worth several months ago. . . . I refuse to tell you where the pistol was purchased. . . . I never ordered any guns. . . . I am not malcontent. Nothing irritated me about the President.” When Capt. Will Fritz asked Oswald, “Do you believe in a deity?” Oswald replied, “I don’t care to discuss that.” “How can I afford a rifle on the Book Depository salary of $1.25 an hour? . . . John Kennedy had a nice family. . . .” (Sheriff Roger Craig saw Oswald enter a white station wagon 15 minutes after the assassination. Oswald confirmed this in Captain Fritz’s office. A man impersonating Oswald in Dallas just prior to the assassination could have been on the bus and in the taxicab.) “That station wagon belongs to Mrs. Ruth Paine. Don’t try to tie her into this. She had nothing to do with it. I told you people I did. . . . Everybody will know who I am now.”

“Can I get an attorney?. . . I have not been given the opportunity to have counsel. . . . As I said, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee has definitely been investigated, that is very true. . . . The results of that investigation were zero. The Fair Play for Cuba Committee is not now on the attorney general’s subversive list.”

6:30 P.M.   Lineup for Witnesses Cecil J. McWatters, Sam Guinyard, and Ted Callaway

          “I didn’t shoot anyone,” Oswald yelled in the halls to reporters. . . . “I want to get in touch with a lawyer, Mr. Abt, in New York City. . . . I never killed anybody.”

7:10 P.M.   Arraignment: State of Texas v. Lee Harvey Oswald for Murder with Malice of Officer J. D. Tippit of the Dallas Police Dept.

          “I insist upon my constitutional rights. . . . The way you are treating me, I might as well be in Russia. . . . I was not granted my request to put on a jacket similar to those worn by other individuals in some previous lineups.”

7:50 P.M.   Lineup for Witness J. D. Davis

          “I have been dressed differently than the other three. . . . Don’t you know the difference? I still have on the same clothes I was arrested in. The other two were prisoners, already in jail.” Seth Kantor, reporter, heard Oswald yell, “I am only a patsy.”

7:55 P.M.   Third Interrogation, Captain Fritz’s Office

          “I think I have talked long enough. I don’t have anything else to say. . . . What started out to be a short interrogation turned out to be rather lengthy. . . . I don’t care to talk anymore. . . . I am waiting for someone to come forward to give me legal assistance. . . . It wasn’t actually true as to how I got home. I took a bus, but due to a traffic jam, I left the bus and got a taxicab, by which means I actually arrived at my residence.”

8:55 P.M.   Fingerprints, Identification Paraffin Tests — All in Fritz’s Office

          “I will not sign the fingerprint card until I talk to my attorney. [Oswald’s name is on the card anyway.] . . . What are you trying to prove with this paraffin test, that I fired a gun? . . . You are wasting your time. I don’t know anything about what you are accusing me.”

11:00 – 11:20 P.M.   “Talked To” by Police Officer John Adamcik and FBI Agent M. Clements

          “I was in Russia two years and liked it in Russia. . . . I am 5 ft. 9 in., weigh 140 lb., have brown hair, blue-gray eyes, and have no tattoos or permanent scars.”

(Oswald had mastoidectomy scars and left upper-arm scars, both noted in Marine records. “Warren Report,” pp. 614-618, lists information from Oswald obtained during this interview about members of his family, past employment, past residences.)

11:20 – 11:25 P.M.   Lineup for Press Conference; Jack Ruby Present

          When newsmen asked Oswald about his black eye, he answered, “A cop hit me.” When asked about the earlier arraignment, Oswald said “Well, I was questioned by Judge Johnston. However, I protested at that time that I was not allowed legal representation during that very short and sweet hearing. I really don’t know what the situation is about. Nobody has told me anything except that I am accused of murdering a policeman. I know nothing more than that, and I do request someone to come forward to give me legal assistance.” When asked, “Did you kill the President?” Oswald replied, “No. I have not been charged with that. In fact, nobody has said that to me yet. The first thing I heard about it was when the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question. . . . I did not do it. I did not do it. . . . I did not shoot anyone.”

12:23 A.M., NOV. 23, 1963   Placed in Jail Cell

12:35 A.M.   Released by Jailer

          Oswald complained, “This is the third set of fingerprints, photographs being taken.”

1:10 A.M.   Back in Jail Cell

1:35 A.M.   Arraignment: State of Texas v. Lee Harvey Oswald for the Murder with Malice of John F. Kennedy

          “Well, sir, I guess this is the trial. . . . I want to contact my lawyer, Mr. Abt, in New York City. I would like to have this gentleman. He is with the American Civil Liberties Union.” (John J. Abt now in private practice in New York, was the general counsel for the Senate Sub-Committee on Civil Liberties from 1935-1937, and later served as legal adviser for the Progressive party from 1948-1951. Mr. Abt has never been a member of the ACLU.)

10:30 A.M.-1:10 P.M.   Interrogation, Capt. Will Fritz’s Office

          “I said I wanted to contact Attorney Abt, New York. He defended the Smith Act cases in 1949, 1950, but I don’t know his address, except that it is in New York. . . . I never owned a rifle. . . . Michael Paine owned a car, Ruth Paine owned two cars. . . . Robert Oswald, my brother, lives in Fort Worth. He and the Paines were closest friends in town. . . . The FBI has thoroughly interrogated me at various other times. . . . They have used their hard and soft approach to me, and they use the buddy system. . . . I am familiar with all types of questioning and have no intention of making any statements. . . . In the past three weeks the FBI has talked to my wife. They were abusive and impolite. They frightened my wife, and I consider their activities obnoxious.”

(When arrested, Oswald had FBI Agent James Hosty’s home phone and office phone numbers and car license number in his possession.)

“I was arrested in New Orleans for disturbing the peace and paid a $10 fine for demonstrating for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. I had a fight with some anti-Castro refugees and they were released while I was fined. . . . I refuse to take a polygraph. It has always been my practice not to agree to take a polygraph . . . The FBI has overstepped their bounds in using various tactics in interviewing me. . . . I didn’t shoot John Kennedy. . . . I didn’t even know Gov. John Connally had been shot. . . . I don’t own a rifle. . . . I didn’t tell Buell Wesley Frazier anything about bringing back some curtain rods. . . . My wife lives with Mrs. Ruth Paine. She [Mrs. Paine] was learning Russian. They needed help with the young baby, so it made a nice arrangement for both of them. . . . I don’t know Mrs. Paine very well, but Mr. Paine and his wife were separated a great deal of the time.”

(Michael Paine worked at Bell Aerospace as a scientific engineer. His boss, Walter Dornberger, was a Nazi war criminal. The first call, the “tipoff,” on Oswald, came from Bell Aerospace.)

“The garage at the Paines’ house has some seabags that have a lot of my personal belongings. I left them after coming back from New Orleans in September. . . . The name Alek Hidell was picked up while working in New Orleans in the Fair Play for Cuba organization. . . . I speak Russian, correspond with people in Russia, and receive newspapers from Russia. . . . I don’t own a rifle at all. . . . I did have a small rifle some years in the past. You can’t buy a rifle in Russia, you can only buy shotguns. I had a shotgun in Russia and hunted some while there. I didn’t bring the rifle from New Orleans. . . . I am not a member of the Communist party. . . . I belong to the Civil Liberties Union. . . . I did carry a package to the Texas School Book Depository. I carried my lunch, a sandwich and fruit, which I made at Paine’s house. . . . I had nothing personal against John Kennedy.”

1:10 – 1:30 P.M.   Lee Harvey Oswald Visited by Mother, Marguerite Oswald, and Wife, Marina Oswald

          (To his Mother.) “No, there is nothing you can do. Everything is fine. I know my rights, and I will have an attorney. I already requested to get in touch with Attorney Abt, I think is his name. Don’t worry about a thing.”
(To his Wife.) “Oh, no, they have not been beating me. They are treating me fine. . . . You’re not to worry about that. Did you bring June and Rachel? . . . Of course we can speak about absolutely anything at all. . . . It’s a mistake. I’m not guilty. There are people who will help me. There is a lawyer in New York on whom I am counting for help. . . . Don’t cry. There is nothing to cry about. Try not to think about it. . . . Everything is going to be all right. If they ask you anything, you have a right not to answer. You have a right to refuse. Do you understand? . . . You are not to worry. You have friends. They’ll help you. If it comes to that, you can ask the Red Cross for help. You mustn’t worry about me. Kiss Junie and Rachel for me. I love you. . . . Be sure to buy shoes for June.”

2:15 P.M.   Lineup for Witnesses William W. Scoggins and William Whaley

          “I refuse to answer questions. I have my T-shirt on, the other men are dressed differently. . . . Everybody’s got a shirt and everything, and I’ve got a T-shirt on. . . . This is unfair.”

3:30 – 3:40 P.M.   Robert Oswald, Brother, in Ten-Minute Visit

          “I cannot or would not say anything, because the line is apparently tapped. [They were talking through telephones.] . . . I got these bruises in the theater. They haven’t bothered me since. They are treating me all right. . . . What do you think of the baby? Well, it was a girl, and I wanted a boy, but you know how that goes. . . . I don’t know what is going on. I just don’t know what they are talking about. . . . Don’t believe all the so-called evidence.” When Robert Oswald looked into Lee’s eyes for some clue, Lee said to him, “Brother, you won’t find anything there. . . . My friends will take care of Marina and the two children.” When Robert Oswald stated that he didn’t believe the Paines were friends of Lee’s, he answered back, “Yes, they are. . . . Junie needs a new pair of shoes.”

(Robert Oswald told the Warren Commission, “To me his answers were mechanical, and I was not talking to the Lee I knew.”)

3:40 P.M.   Lee Harvey Oswald Calls Mrs. Ruth Paine

          “This is Lee. Would you please call John Abt in New York for me after 6:00 P.M. The number for his office is ___________, and his residence is _______________ . . . . Thank you for your concern.”

5:30 – 5:35 P.M.   Visit with H. Louis Nichols, President of the Dallas Bar Association

          “Well, I really don’t know what this is all about, that I have been kept incarcerated and kept incommunicado. . . . Do you know a lawyer in New York named John Abt? I believe in New York City. I would like to have him represent me. That is the man I would like. Do you know any lawyers who are members of the American Civil Liberties Union? I am a member of that organization, and I would like to have somebody who is a member of that organization represent me.” Mr. Nichols offered to help find a lawyer, but Oswald said, “No, not now. You might come back next week, and if I don’t get some of these other people to assist me, I might ask you to get somebody to represent me.”

6:00 – 6:30 P.M.   Interrogation, Captain Fritz’s Office

          “In time I will be able to show you that this is not my picture, but I don’t want to answer any more questions. . . . I will not discuss this photograph [which was used on the cover of Feb. 21, 1964 Life magazine] without advice of an attorney. . . . There was another rifle in the building. I have seen it. Warren Caster had two rifles, a 30.06 Mauser and a .22 for his son. . . . That picture is not mine, but the face is mine. The picture has been made by superimposing my face. The other part of the picture is not me at all, and I have never seen this picture before. I understand photography real well, and that, in time, I will be able to show you that is not my picture and that it has been made by someone else. . . . It was entirely possible that the Police Dept. has superimposed this part of the photograph over the body of someone else. . . . The Dallas Police were the culprits. . . . The small picture was reduced from the larger one, made by some persons unknown to me. . . . Since I have been photographed at City Hall, with people taking my picture while being transferred from the office to the jail door, someone has been able to get a picture of my face, and with that, they have made this picture. . . . I never kept a rifle at Mrs. Paine’s garage at Irving, Tex. . . . We had no visitors at our apartment on North Beckley. . . . I have no receipts for purchase of any gun, and I have never ordered any guns. I do not own a rifle, never possessed a rifle. . . . I will not say who wrote A. J. Hidell on my Selective Service card. [It was later confirmed that Marina Oswald wrote in the name Hidell.] . . . I will not tell you the purpose of carrying the card or the use I made of it. . . . The address book in my possession has the names of Russian immigrants in Dallas, Tex., whom I have visited.”

9:30 P.M.   Lee Harvey Oswald Calls His Wife, Marina, at Mrs. Paine’s Home

          “Marina, please. Would you try to locate her?” (Marina had moved.)

10:00 P.M.   Office of Captain Fritz

          “Life is better for the colored people in Russia than it is in the U.S.”

9:30 – 11:15 A.M., SUNDAY MORNING, NOV. 24,1963   Interrogation in Capt. Will Fritz’s Office

          “After the assassination, a policeman or some man came rushing into the School Book Depository Building and said, `Where is your telephone?’ He showed me some kind of credential and identified himself, so he might not have been a police officer. . . . `Right there,’ I answered, pointing to the phone. . . . `Yes, I can eat lunch with you,’ I told my co-worker, `but I can’t go right now. You go and take the elevator, but send the elevator back up.’ [The elevator in the building was broken.] . . . After all this commotion started, I just went downstairs and started to see what it was all about. A police officer and my superintendent of the place stepped up and told officers that I am one of the employees in the building. . . . If you ask me about the shooting of Tippit, I don’t know what you are talking about. . . . The only thing I am here for is because I popped a policeman in the nose in the theater on Jefferson Avenue, which I readily admit I did, because I was protecting myself. . . . I learned about the job vacancy at the Texas School Book Depository from people in Mrs. Paine’s neighborhood. . . . I visited my wife Thursday night, Nov. 21, whereas I normally visited her over the weekend, because Mrs. Paine was giving a party for the children on the weekend. They were having a houseful of neighborhood children. I didn’t want to be around at such a time. . . . Therefore, my weekly visit was on Thursday night instead of on the weekend. . . . It didn’t cost much to go to Mexico. It cost me some $26, a small, ridiculous amount to eat, and another ridiculous small amount to stay all night. . . . I went to the Mexican Embassy to try to get this permission to go to Russia by way of Cuba. . . . I went to the Mexican Consulate in Mexico City. I went to the Russian Embassy to go to Russia by way of Cuba. They told me to come back in `thirty days.’ . . . I don’t recall the shape, it may have been a small sack, or a large sack; you don’t always find one that just fits your sandwiches. . . . The sack was in the car, beside me, on my lap, as it always is. . . . I didn’t get it crushed. It was not on the back seat. Mr. Frazier must have been mistaken or else thinking about the other time when he picked me up. . . . The Fair Play for Cuba Committee was a loosely organized thing and we had no officers. Probably you can call me the secretary of it because I did collect money. [Oswald was the only member in New Orleans.] . . . In New York City they have a well-organized, or a better, organization. . . . No, not at all: I didn’t intend to organize here in Dallas; I was too busy trying to get a job. . . . If anyone else was entitled to get mail in P.O. Box 6525 at the Terminal Annex in New Orleans, the answer is no. . . . The rental application said Fair Play for Cuba Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union. Maybe I put them on there. . . . It is possible that on rare occasions I may have handed one of the keys to my wife to get my mail, but certainly nobody else. . . . I never ordered a rifle under the name of Hidell, Oswald, or any other name. . . . I never permitted anyone else to order a rifle to be received in this box. . . . I never ordered any rifle by mail order or bought any money order for the purpose of paying for such a rifle. . . . I didn’t own any rifle. I have not practiced or shot with a rifle. . . . I subscribe to two publications from Russia, one being a hometown paper published in Minsk, where I met and married my wife. . . . We moved around so much that it was more practical to simply rent post office boxes and have mail forwarded from one box to the next rather than going through the process of furnishing changes of address to the publishers. . . . Marina Oswald and A. J. Hidell were listed under the caption of persons entitled to receive mail through my box in New Orleans. . . . I don’t recall anything about the A. J. Hidell being on the post office card. . . . I presume you have reference to a map I had in my room with some X’s on it. I have no automobile. I have no means of conveyance. I have to walk from where I am going most of the time. I had my applications with the Texas Employment Commission. They furnished me names and addresses of places that had openings like I might fill, and neighborhood people had furnished me information on jobs I might get. . . . I was seeking a job, and I would put these markings on this map so I could plan my itinerary around with less walking. Each one of these X’s represented a place where I went and interviewed for a job. . . . You can check each one of them out if you want to. . . . The X on the intersection of Elm and Houston is the location of the Texas School Book Depository. I did go there and interview for a job. In fact, I got the job there. That is all the map amounts to. [Ruth Paine later stated she had marked Lee’s map.] . . . What religion am I? I have no faith, I suppose you mean, in the Bible. I have read the Bible. It is fair reading, but not very interesting. As a matter of fact, I am a student of philosophy and I don’t consider the Bible as even a reasonable or intelligent philosophy. I don’t think of it. . . . I told you I haven’t shot a rifle since the Marines, possibly a small bore, maybe a .22, but not anything larger since I have left the Marine Corps. . . . I never received a package sent to me through the mailbox in Dallas, Box No. 2915, under the name of Alek Hidell, absolutely not. . . . Maybe my wife, but I couldn’t say for sure whether my wife ever got this mail, but it is possible she could have.” Oswald was told that an attorney offered to assist him, and he answered, “I don’t particularly want him, but I will take him if I can’t do any better, and will contact him at a later date. . . . I have been a student of Marxism since the age of 14. . . . American people will soon forget the President was shot, but I didn’t shoot him. . . . Since the President was killed, someone else would take his place, perhaps Vice-President Johnson. His views about Cuba would probably be largely the same as those of President Kennedy. . . . I never lived on Neely Street. These people are mistaken about visiting there, because I never lived there. . . . It might not be proper to answer further questions, because what I say might be construed in a different light than what I actually meant it to be. . . . When the head of any government dies, or is killed, there is always a second in command who would take over. . . . I did not kill President Kennedy or Officer Tippit. If you want me to cop out to hitting or pleading guilty to hitting a cop in the mouth when I was arrested, yeah, I plead guilty to that. But I do deny shooting both the President and Tippit.”

11:10 A.M.   Preparation for Oswald’s Transfer to County Jail

          “I would like to have a shirt from clothing that was brought to the office to wear over the T-shirt I am wearing. . . . I prefer wearing a black Ivy League-type shirt, which might be a little warmer. I don’t want a hat. . . . I will just take one of those sweaters, the black one.”

11:15 A.M.   Inspector Thomas J. Kelley, U.S. Secret Service, Has Final Conversation with Lee Harvey Oswald

          Kelley approached Oswald, out of the hearing of others, except perhaps Captain Fritz’s men, and said that as a Secret Service agent, he was anxious to talk with him as soon as he secured counsel, because Oswald was charged with the assassination of the President but had denied it. Oswald said, “I will be glad to discuss this proposition with my attorney, and that after I talk with one, we could either discuss it with him or discuss it with my attorney, if the attorney thinks it is a wise thing to do, but at the present time I have nothing more to say to you.”

11:21 A.M. Lee Harvey Oswald Was Fatally Wounded by Jack Ruby

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Death of Japan

Hiroshima to Fukushima, Finishing the Job

A Time for the Kill

by Bob Nichols, VeteransToday.com, August 18th, 2011

(San Francisco) Two 10,000 lb (4,545 kg) uranium poison gas “dirty” bombs with small nuclear  dispersion devises set Japan on the road to extinction on August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

A row of six modified and enlarged US Navy submarine reactors pioneered by US Navy Admiral Hyman Rickover and manufactured by the US based General Electric Corp (GE) finished the kill March 11, 2011. Thanks to the US Navy designed and GE built atomic reactors, the Japanese people are dying, the country of Japan is no more and the land is permanently uninhabitable.

IAEA team inspects Fuku damage May 11 2011 AP

IAEA team inspects Fuku damage May 11 2011 AP

Lethal nuclear vapors created by the destroyed Navy/GE reactors and thousands of tons of garbaged and burning old reactor cores are spreading invisible radioactive death and sickness all over the world.

What’s more: the atomic reactors spilled their burning guts into the basements and there is evidence the melted reactor cores are still “reacting” 160 days out. Shutting them down is mostly just plain impossible. The burning, radioactive gates of hell are still open wide. Breathe deep everyone. Breathe your own poisoned Fuku tainted air.

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR)

The best measure of population growth or shrinkage is a country’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR). It is, simply put, the average number of children women have in a society over their child bearing years. Two kids per woman is the “replacement value” for one woman and one male. Two kids per woman means the man and woman replace themselves and the next generation will be the same size as their preceding generation.

The higher the TFR number, the more the population will grow and expand. On the other hand, a TFR number below 2 kids per woman means the population is shrinking for the next generation. Nuclear weaponeers who know about these things say it is impossible for a society to recover, or grow again, with a TFR below 1.3 kids per woman. In short, that society is doomed. Japan’s TFR plummeted to 1.2 since the detonation of the two 10,000 lb sperm and ovary destroying uranium poison gas bombs in August, 1945.

The so-called “Atomic Bomb” development and deployment was under the control of the Radiological Warfare Committee (RWC) of the US Department of War. The WWII RWC had the same members as the WWI Poison Gas Committee. They were, of course, doing the same job, with the same people. For WWII that job expanded to include the Manhattan Project. It was all about the development of advanced weapons. That was about 70 years ago and the frenzied work pace has never stopped or slowed.

The US War Department and American society’s leaders were big on using creepy poison gas to exterminate those who needed to be exterminated. In a cost effective manner, of course. After all, it is a big planet.

Using atomized radioactive particles that last for ever to poison and contaminate the land and all the people in and around target countries was their idea and they loved it. They thought it was the best idea they had had since WWI – or so they thought.

The rest of the world had gone through a big re-think on the messy subject of poison gas and its use. Other countries were dead set against the use of poison gas. The other countries even went so far as to make poison gas use a War Crime.

This was inconvenient, to say the least, for the US War Department’s Poison Gas Committee, now just a bunch of thuggish war criminals, instead of high society dandies. So, the War Department and the leaders of American society on the powerful Poison Gas Committee changed the name of the Poison Gas Committee to the Radiological Warfare Committee. Boom, problem solved.

Thus, suitably camouflaged with a few words to fool the weak minded, the Poison Gas Committee continued on its lethal mission. The Committee decided a big uranium poison gas bomb to contaminate whole countries, control wildly breeding populations and lower the IQ of the lesser classes (read this as coloured, with a “u”) of society, thereby making them suitable for employment as low paid, disposable workers was the perfect solution to intractable problems in the world.

Jim Conant, President of Harvard University, was just the kind of visionary high society killer who would deliver the Manhattan Project’s uranium poison gas bombs just in time to kick start the slaughter of millions.

Thanks to Jim’s hard work on the RW Committee Japan’s TFR (Total Fertility Rate) would plummet after the atomic bombing. This was primarily because of a fine layer of uranium gas and dust that covered Japan in August, 1945. Uranium gas warfare destroyed Japan’s human breeding capacity, just as uranium was known to do.

Finishing the Job, a Time for a Kill

Friday, March 11, 2011 was the day the country of Japan officially died. A human baby’s gestation period in its mother is normally 270 days. Two hundred and seventy days from conception to delivery as a full term, normal infant boy or girl.

The 270th day from March 11, 2011 is December 5, 2011. I predict a bloody December as many normal peoples’ hopes for a healthy kid are shattered beyond all recognition by a Fukushima Daiichi crop of monster, deformed, crazed or dead kids. The gruesome harvest of dead babies and fetuses in the womb, has already started.

December, 2011 will not be good month for expectant mothers-to-be. Tiny bits of radioactive uranium isotopes in the phosphate rich sperm and eggs of humans will be the exact cause. Fukushima originated uranium isotopes make a bee line to human sources of phosphates, the one mineral with a natural affinity to uranium isotopes. Phosphates are in human brains, bones, gonads and mitochondrial DNA, among other structures.

Frightened governments and their hunkered down spokesmen will lie like dogs to still the as yet unsuspecting Normal people and Normals who are starting to catch on that something has gone way wrong.

The coming Fuku Kid Disaster and Fuku Kill Off

First and foremost will be the ever nasty New York Times (NYT.) When it comes to something really, vitally important to all our futures, our families and friends, we can always count on the NYT to lie through their teeth for the nuclear industry criminals and mass murderers. That is nothing new for the Times, they always have.

 

Sept 1945 Pulitzer Prize winning Lie in NYT No Radiation in Hiroshima

Sept 1945 Pulitzer Prize winning Lie in NYT No Radiation in Hiroshima

What’s more, the dominant owners of the NYT, the Sultzberger family, like it that way. The family has had a slash and burn radiation policy ever since Hiroshima in 1945. No Lie was too Big, in fact, the Bigger and more Bizarre the better. Germany’s WWII Fuhrer Adolph Hitler may have coined the concept “The Big Lie;” but, the New York Times spun it out to a degree that would make even Hitler proud.

The Radiation Warfare Committee controlled Manhattan Project to build the Atomic Bomb got its name from its organizer, the Manhattan Engineering District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Sultzbergers’ NY Times was only too eager to help the fledgling CIA and the US War Department lie about the nuke bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan that incinerated hundreds of thousands of people. Many were literally vaporized into nothingness.

The Big Lie Lives On with the NY Times

A few weeks after the atomic bombing, Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett managed to sneak into occupied Japan and nuked Nagasaki in spite of US Army General Douglas MacArthur’s prohibition. Burchett, an experienced war correspondent, was utterly stunned at the extent of the other worldly devastation and killing of the Atomic Bomb.

Mr. Burchett coined the term “Atomic Plague” which then swept around the world on a wave of revulsion at what the Americans had done. Diplomats and other people politically or militarily in-the-know knew the Japanese were eager to surrender and that President Truman lied in his bull shit speech about the Atomic Bomb “saving American lives” that would be forfeit if the US were to invade Japan.

The six devastated US Navy/GE reactors at Fukushima Daiichi finished the Kill Truman ordered 65 years, 7 months, and 6 days later on March 11, 2011.

Sayonara, Japan, you are history.

“Who’s Next?”

Good question. There are 438 big reactors, just stationary nuclear weapons really, in the world. 104 big nuke reactors are in America and many, like the Fuku reactors,  are by the sea due to the exorbitant, one billion gallons a day water demand of the reactors. Even the inland reactors are exquisitely vulnerable to becoming another Fukushima. If any lose electricity and off site feeds, a Fuku type meltdown is guaranteed.

The people in the Japanese NHK TV video below live in Northern Japan. They must evacuate and many are dying. Many won’t leave, preferring Denial as the better course to reality and Evacuation. After all, you can’t see, feel, hear or taste radiation as it liquefies your insides.

Any of us could be next. Dying in adult diapers praying for morphine is not a good way to check out.

The US Military and probably Russia’s Military, the former Soviet Union, possess weapons that can accomplish this kind of devastation. They should, at least the US has devoted billions to controlling what the DOD calls “earth processes” for 60 years. That would be your basic hurricanes, tornadoes, rain, drought, earthquakes, tsunamis, rogue waves and volcanoes.

Even a medium sized tropical storm, not even big enough to be a hurricane or typhoon, contains as much energy as 10,000 Hiroshima sized Atomic Bombs. If the War Department, later renamed to the Department of Defense to confuse the do-gooders, could control the weather or “Earth Processes” they would control the world. That’s the long held dream of Psychos and control freaks everywhere.

Is the DOD responsible for all so-called “natural” disasters? Of course not, that is silly; and, the DOD has the perfect built in deniability. They can just shrug their shoulders and say “It’s just the weather” or the classic one for these Psycho monsters “It’s an Act of God!”

During the known nuclear weapons detonation era the US exploded some 1,300 nuclear weapons, Russia about 800 and the other nuclear powers trailed way behind. Did you ever wonder why the supposedly super smart Americans took 1,300 nuke detonations to get the nuke weapons right and the Chinese only a few dozen? The Israelis have more than 400 nukes and did it with zero detonations.

What is the story here? Maybe the Manhattan Project physicists and scientists were up to something else – something bigger than the Bomb.

It appears from all available declassified evidence, including former US Secretary of Defense Cohen, and many US Congressional hearings as well as scuttlebutt around the Nuclear Weapons Labs that the Earth itself is, in fact, the biggest weapon of all. That is the ultimate Control over Planet Earth. And that, my friends, is exactly the plan of the US Military and political leadership.

But, don’t take my word for it. Research it yourself. There’s a world of info out there, “Go For It.”

[End]

Copyright by Bob Nichols August 18, 2011. All rights reserved. Distribute with credit and all Notes and Sources. Reach Bob Nichols at duweapons@gmail.com

Notes and Sources.

Nucléaire / Nuclear : Collaborating to create a radioactive fallout contamination map

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVzX3gAxp58&feature=player_embedded  A NHK Television of Japan production showing independent scientists as they construct a radiation map of Northern Japan, including the Evacuation Zone around the six trashed nuclear power plants at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan.

This video is a response video of the respected nuclear authority Prof Kodama of the UIniversity of Tokyo. Prof. Kodama Angry about Japanese Gov.’s Gross Negligence (Part 2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDlEOmcALwQ&feature=watch_response_rev

Tokyo: 230,000 becquerels per square meter of Cesium on athletic field in Koto — 6 times as high as limit set for radiation control zones, June 9, 2011.

1,500 tons of radioactive sludge cannot be buried – NHK News, July 29, 2011.

Highest levels of radiation since March 11 detected at Fukushima nuclear reactors, August 09, 2011.

Duration calculation results. From and including: Friday, March 11, 2011 To and including: Tuesday, August 17, 2011. It is 160 days from the start date to the end date, end date included. Or 5 months, 6 days including the end date.

From and including: Monday, August 6, 1945 To and including: Friday, March 11, 2011 It is 23,959 days from the start date to the end date, end date included. Or 65 years, 7 months, 6 days including the end date.

Tweets from Japan: “When we wash their hair, it comes off in a clump — It is really scary,” August 13th, 2011 at 06:30 AM

Tweets from a nurse (my very good guess from her tweets) in a large hospital in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture on August 10:

[Translation:]

Increasing number of patients with unexplainable decrease in white blood cells, headache, nausea. They are diagnosed for existing illness and undergo treatment, but they don’t respond to the treatment at all. I’ve seen those cases in my hospital. I’m not saying they are all because of the radiation exposure, but I’m telling you what I’m seeing.

[Translation:]

When we wash their hair, it comes off in a clump. It is really scary. The doctor says, “I really wonder why the white blood cell count is down…” Doctor, don’t be so relaxed about it. There is going to be more and more people who don’t respond to treatment.

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are plotted visually and audibly on a world map.
http://www.ctbto.org/specials/1945-1998-by-isao-hashimoto/)

“1945 to 1998″ by ISAO HASHIMOTO.

About “1945-1998″ ©2003

“This piece of work is a bird’s eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second.  No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier.  The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted.  I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world.”

Contact the artist:

Should you have any query regarding this artwork, please contact  e-mail address below:
hashi123@amy.hi-ho.ne.jp
* The number excludes both tests by North Korea (October 2006 and May 2009).

“Having laid out this rather bleak story, I do want to end with a quote from Wilfred Burchett, who along with Hersey and a few others, showed what the media was capable of doing when it sided with humanity rather than with official narratives and nuclear glory: As Burchett put it, “In visiting Hiroshima, I felt that I was seeing in the last days of [World War 2] what would be the fate of hundreds of cities in a [World War 3]. If that does not make a journalist want to shape history in the right direction, what does?”

http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2007/04/21_mohan_nuclearism_and_the_legacy.htm

Copyright by Bob Nichols August 18, 2011. All rights reserved. Distribute with credit and all Notes and Sources. Reach Bob Nichols at duweapons@gmail.com

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Presidential Material

Jon Stewart and the Burden of History

He’s not so funny anymore, and it’s not only because he’s come to take himself seriously. It’s because in the Obama era, we’re starting to see the price of refusing to stand for anything.

By Tom Junod, Esquire Magazine, October 2011

Jon Stewart

Tim O’Brien

Published in the October 2011 issue, on sale any day now

They gather under the tall Jon Stewart. They gather under the Jon Stewart who takes up the whole side of a building on Eleventh Avenue in Manhattan and is about three stories high. They gather under the Jon Stewart who has his hands clasped, his chin lifted, his eyes narrowed, his lips drawn in a tight line. They gather under the Jon Stewart who is professionally skeptical and won’t take any bullshit. They gather under the Jon Stewart who is imitating a self-serious news anchor and who, while imitating a self-serious news anchor, has this message: “For Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, go one block down and take a right.” They gather under the Jon Stewart who is funny and who, with his dark backswept hair set off by graying temples, is a few years younger than the Jon Stewart of today.

They are mostly young themselves, college kids who sit on the sweltering summer sidewalk when they’re not pressed against the stanchions that have been set up to organize ticket holders waiting to see The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. They are not all young, however, and the oldest among them seem genuinely surprised when this gavone in a black Daily Show T-shirt comes out to the sidewalk and begins, like, yelling at them — when he tells them they’ll have to submit to a TSA-like screening before they go inside, that if they get caught using their cell phones, their cell phones will be taken away, and that they won’t be able to use the bathroom once they’re in the studio. “I guess they have to screen for conservatives,” says one guy who’s come all the way from California, trim and gray-haired, wearing a T-shirt and chinos.

“But conservatives are so much better at taking orders than we are,” says his wife, before changing her mind in light of the impasse over the debt ceiling. “Well, some of them. I wish the ones in Congress were better at it…”

In fact, everybody on line is accomplished at taking orders and being civilized and compliant. They understand that somebody who takes the stands that Jon Stewart takes — who, in the words of the gray-haired guy, “is not afraid to piss people off, especially powerful people” — needs tight security. They are quiet and docile as they are corralled into manageable little groups, which is why it’s weird that they keep getting hectored about their cell phones and their bladders until the studio doors finally open and a thick-necked woman with short hair and big red-framed eyeglasses that look like a souvenir from her work as an extra with The Rocky Horror Picture Showemerges with one last warning. “All right,” she says, “this is a comedy show, so we want to keep it light. But if we catch you fucking up, we will take your shit. All right? If we catch you using your cell phones, we will take them away. This is private property. So if we catch you taking a picture of the studio, even on the way out, we will take your camera and delete your photos. Got that? All right, now go in and have a great time…”

And they do, they do. They file in very quietly, into the pulsating blue studio that’s a reasonable facsimile of the studios over at Fox News, and nobody says how strange it is that the spiel you hear before you’re allowed to see Jon Stewart just happens to be exactly the same spiel you hear before you’re allowed to walk through the barbed-wire gates of —

Well, Gitmo.

Jon Stewart The Daily Show

Ethan Miller/Comedy Central/Getty Images

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we are happy to have as our guest Jon Stewart. We all know Jon — he’s the comedian and media critic who for the last ten years has pretty much decided who’s a dick and who’s a douchebag in our politics and in our culture, all without ever himself coming across as a dick or a d —

Wait a second (hand to imaginary earpiece) — excuse me, folks. What’s that? What about the Chris Wallace interview?

Well, what about it? Okay, so a few months ago, Stewart went to Fox News and gave an interview to the Fredo of the twenty-four-hour news cycle, Chris Wallace. Of course he did. That’s why we love him — that’s why he’s been able to transform himself from late-night comedian to liberal conscience. He does what nobody else does. He goes into the lion’s den and does that thing — that Jon Stewart truth-to-power thing. He manages to be the voice of reason while still being funny, manages to be sharply critical while still being affable, manages to be…

Wait. He wasn’t funny? He wasn’t affable? He kind of spoke power to truth when Wallace dared to point out that Stewart seems to crave political influence? He sort of pulled rank on Wallace, and was smug and condescending without bothering to be funny at all? He even started saying, “Are you suggesting that you and I are the same?…” in the same tone he would have used if Wallace had gotten a little schmutz on Stewart’s shirt?

O-kay. Well, Stewart had his reasons, I’m sure. After all, he’s really not the same as Wallace, is he? I mean, Stewart’s the coolest guy in the room, any room, by definition, while Chris Wallace wouldn’t look cool next to the guys in hats riding little cars at a Shriner’s Convention. He’s the very embodiment of the self-important yet dim-witted — or is that dim-witted yet self-important? — media creature whom Stewart has made a living schooling over the last tumultuous decade. So if Jon Stewart can’t be smug and contemptuous and superior with Chris Wallace, who can he be smug and contemptuous and superior with? It’s not like he came right out and said he’s betterthan Chris Wallace…

Oh. Wait. He sorta did? He said, “What I do is much harder than what you do”? But just last year didn’t he tell Rachel Maddow that what he did was less honorable than what she did? Ah, well, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little talk-show hosts. It’s not like he started comparing himself to, like, Mark Twain or someone like that…

No! He did that too? He actually asked Wallace, “What am I at my highest aspiration? Who am I? Am I Edward R. Murrow or Mark Twain?” And then he told Wallace: “I’ve existed in this country forever. There have been people like me who have satirized the political process… I’ve existed forever. The box that I exist in has always been around.”

Come on! He did not say that! He’s Jon Stewart, for God’s sake. And Jon Stewart did not go onFox News Sunday and say that He Is Music, and He Writes the Songs…

He was pretty damned smart. He was pretty damned funny. And in the wake of 9/11 he did something amazing: He taught America how to make jokes — hell, how to laugh, even with a mass grave still smoldering in downtown New York and America just beginning to embark on the series of insanely unexamined moral misadventures that persist to this day. He’d taken over The Daily Show from Craig Kilborn in 1999, and by 2004 the language he crafted night after night with correspondents like Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert — the language of “fake news” and “truthiness” — had become strangely reassuring, especially to a generation that got its news from TV fearmongers and Internet hysterics rather than from the responsible drudges and drones of daily newspapers. Kids who couldn’t sleep at night worrying that their president was a bad guyand that their country was doing bad things could now rest easy knowing that their president was just a dick, and that their country, while stupid, was still essentially innocent. It was like you could get upset about what was going on but still live your life, because there was Jon Stewart right before bedtime, showing you how to get upset entertainingly, how to give a shit without having to do anything about it. He denied having a message — admitting to a “point of view” but not an “agenda” — but of course he did, and it was this: that life goes on, and that politics may change but stupid always stays the same. He had a great long-suffering mug that could have gotten laughs in silent movies, but underneath the sad eyes with the dark circles he was an optimist, and by saying incessantly that he was just a comedian, that he was just trying to make people laugh, he was giving not just himself but also his audience exactly what they needed most: anout.

But now let’s roll the clip of him on Crossfire in 2004. No, not that one — not the one everybody’s seen already, of him calling bow-tied conservative cohost Tucker Carlson a dick. The clip that we want is the clip of him before the show, talking to the guy who’s ostensibly on his side, the liberal in the old Crossfire equation, Paul Begala. Stewart was in the makeup room. (“You don’t want to see him without makeup,” says one of his former employees. “He’s not just sallow, he’s the color of a manhole cover.”) Begala dropped by for a little ice-breaking, and also “because Stewart had done something for the troops and I wanted to thank him,” Begala says now. “And I remember thinking: He’s really nervous. And it struck me as kind of weird, because he was the host of his own show, and was much more experienced at this kind of thing than I was.”

What Begala didn’t know, of course, was that Stewart was nervous in the way that Michael Corleone was nervous when he walked out of the bathroom of the Italian restaurant with more than his dick in his hand. He’s a great reflexive comic who’s made his living reacting — or appearing to react while scripting his reactions — on The Daily Show, but on this day, he, Jon Stewart, had Something to Say. “I thought he was going to push his clever book that had just come out,” Begala says. “But he wanted to be more serious. He came out and started tearing into us. It was funny and pointed, and it was great TV before the whole thing got derailed and the name-calling started.”

We’ve all seen the clip a few million times… Well, millions of us have seen it a few times, making the video of Jon Stewart’s guest appearance on CNN’s Crossfire one of the most transmittedvideos of all time — indeed, one of the inspirations behind the creation of YouTube. And so we’re all familiar with some of the greatest hits: Stewart calling Begala and Carlson … [pause] partisan hacks, Stewart telling Begala and Carlson that they’re…[pause] hurting the country, Stewart pleading with Begala and Carlson to … [pause] please stop. Was he kidding? No, he was not — as Carlson remembers, he was “totally sincere, and in full flower.” And that’s what makes it funny, at least at first, until Carlson, flinching and desperate, with his voice an octave higher than when he started, says, “I thought you were going to be funny,” and Stewart looks at him with dead, we’re-all-part-of-the-same-hypocrisy eyes and says, “No. I’m not going to be your monkey.”

So there it is: No jokes for you. And the crowd erupts, thinking that he’s made the ultimate sacrifice — for them.

Jon Stewart

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Now look at him. It’s seven years later, and he’s aged like a president. He’s been graying for years, but now he’s gone gray, and a transformation seems to have taken place. He’s forty-eight years old. He has a wife and two young kids whose lives he worries about missing because he stays so late and works so hard. Last year, when he did that thing, that Jon Stewart thing, thatrally in Washington, D. C., he looked like he was starting to, like, fill out — his suit looked a little small on him as he made his big valedictory speech — but now he’s gaunt, and his face is sort of bladelike, collecting itself around the charcoal axis of his eyes, nose, and mouth. Still, he’s jacked. The whole studio is. You don’t have any choice at The Daily Show. For one thing, the music gets louder and louder as you wait before finally reminding you where Stewart’s from with a climactic rendition of Born to Run. For another, there’s a tummler, a warm-up guy who bounds around telling you that you might laugh to yourself while watching Jon Stewart at home, you might smile and chuckle at the aperçus, you might silently congratulate yourself for getting the jokes, but you’re not at home anymore, and here you have a responsibility — you’re the laugh track. “Do you want to be on TV! Do you want to meet Jon Stewart! Then you better get loud…”

And now here he is. The man did stand-up for years, and in the studio you can actually see it on him, because whereas on television he clings to his desk like it’s an iron lung (former writers say that you know a bit is doomed if it requires him to get up from behind it), here he actually stands up and goes out to the audience to answer questions. And he’s a kibitzer — it’s not Plato’sSymposium, folks. The first question is “What’s your daily routine?” and Stewart answers as he’s been answering since Destiny’s Child was together: “Jazzercise.” The second question is “Which one of the animals on my T-shirt would you like to be?” and Stewart responds with a question of his own: “Is there a correct answer to that?” And even when a young woman with short hair and glasses and a faded cause on her T-shirt asks if “our greatest media critic” has actually had an impact on the way the media does business, he instantaneously cocks his chin, sucks in his cheeks, and narrows his eyes until he looks like a wizened version of the man whose image is emblazoned on the wall outside; then he deepens his voice confidentially and says, “Well, look who’s carrying the NPR tote bag.” Of course, he denies having an impact — “the satirist depends on shame, and everyone knows that our culture has become shameless” — but when somebody calls out, “But you killed Crossfire!” he says, “No, I didn’t. Crossfire was already dead…”

And there it is again, that denial of power upon which his power depends. It’s strange, isn’t it: One of the fastest and most instinctive wits in America feeling it necessary to go on explaining himself again and again; a man who lives to clarify resorting to loophole; the irrepressible truth-teller insisting on something that not one person of the two hundred watching his show in the studio — never mind the millions who will watch on television — can possibly believe.

Jon Stewart

(Obama) Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images; (O’Reilly) Peter Kramer/AP Photo

He is only one man, after all. It may even be said — if we may say so — that he is just a man. May we? We may, because that’s how Stewart likes it. But we all know that some men become more than men by how they respond to their times. Such a man is Jon Stewart. He has stepped up. He might have started out as a great comedian, but when he saw that the times were no laughing matter, he became also a great man. He transformed himself, and so was himself transformed. Even as the media and politicians he mocked so relentlessly lost their moral compass, he found his. He saw wrong and tried to right it; saw suffering and tried to heal it; saw war and tried to stop it; saw his old friend Anthony Weiner’s penis and tried to make jokes about it…

Sorry. It’s just that when you’re talking about Jon Stewart, you’re never just talking about Jon Stewart. You’re invoking the Jon Stewart narrative — the collective fantasy about Jon Stewart — and it leads to all sorts of inappropriate historical comparisons. You can even play the Jon Stewart Game, in which you start telling his story and see how long it takes you to compare him to someone he should feel really uncomfortable being compared to. See, he really is just a man, and a man from New Jersey at that. The township he’s from, Lawrence, is right between Princeton and Trenton — right at the intersection of smart and tough. He’s always been a ballsy little guy, with a feeling for the little guy. Before he started doing stand-up, he used to tend bar at a joint with a steel door and no windows, in the back of a liquor store on the Trenton side; you see that place, you know that here’s a guy used to living by his wits. So he moved to New York — where else is a guy like that gonna go? Now he’s a real New Yorker, which means he doesn’t take any bullshit and at the same time bullshit doesn’t bother him, depending on the circumstance. But when Congress started jacking those 9/11 first responders around, stalling on the bill that promised them benefits: That bothered him. So he found his opportunity and took his shot, started telling preposterous old biddies like Mitch McConnell to just pass the fucking thing. And they passed it, last December. And you know what he got in return, from all the grateful firemen in New York? A birthday party for one of his kids in the firehouse in his neighborhood in New York, with a birthday cake in the shape of a fire truck. And you know what else he got? A story in The New York Times that compared him to Edward R. Murrow…

See? It never takes long, when you play the Jon Stewart Game. But hey, it’s not his fault. He saw the Edward R. Murrow thing in the Times, was smart enough to say “What the…?” He made sure to remind us that he’s a comedian, for crying out loud. He makes funny faces and fart jokes. But here’s the thing: When he protests that he’s a comedian, he’s not escaping from the collective fantasy. He’s feeding it. The collective fantasy, you see, is not just about Jon Stewart, it’s about America, especially liberal America, and its need for redeemers to rise out of its ranks. Jon Stewart’s just a comedian the way gunslingers in old westerns are really peaceable sodbusters who hate all that bloodshed and all that killin’ but finally have to strap on them six-guns and march on into town. Heck, he’d go back to telling jokes if he could, but he can’t, not with hired guns like Tucker Carlson and Jim Cramer around…

Stewart interviewed Cramer in 2009, a few months after the financial collapse that the bellicose CNBC swami claimed never to have seen coming. Stewart found footage of him encouraging the very kinds of manipulation and cynical double-dealing blamed for the crisis, and showed it to him. The resulting interview was as pivotal to Stewart’s rise to the position of national conscience as his beatdown of Carlson and Begala on Crossfire, but it made Stewart and some of his writers uncomfortable, because once again they were being praised for the wrong things. He was and is uneasy with the interviews on The Daily Show, anyway — he can’t control them like he can control the comedy, and a grand jury watching them would definitely have enough evidence to indict him on charges of journalism. But the Cramer interview led his audiences to expect blood, when that’s not what he’s about, dammit. He didn’t have anything against Cramer, but Cramer tried to submitto Stewart, and his submission only elicited a coliseum roar from the studio audience. The interview ended with Cramer curled up like a guy who just didn’t want to get Tasered again.

Because Stewart was out to make the poor bastard recant. He said, “Maybe we could remove the ‘financial expert’ and ‘In Cramer We Trust’ [from Cramer’s promo] … and I could go back to making fart noises and funny faces.” Cramer was unable to bleat out anything more than a weirdly grateful “Okay!” He even offered Stewart his hand. But my Bubbe has a colorful expression for what Stewart was offering, and it’s this:

Bullshit.

Stewart isn’t just being a bully here. He is being disingenuous, and he knows it. Worse, he’s tapping into the collective fantasy without knowing it. He’s the gunslinger saying he’s going back to the farm while at the same time putting notches in his belt. More precisely, he’s the presumptive Edward R. Murrow saying that he’ll go back to comedy once he cleans up journalism. But he can’t go back. He can’t go back to the pleasures of fart jokes and funny faces — the pleasures of comedy — because he’s experienced the higher pleasure of preaching to weirdly defenseless stiffs like Jim Cramer. He’s saying once again that he’s outgrown comedy and is no longer a comedian. But he’s not saying what he actually is, because then he’d be judged. And Jon Stewart, to a degree unique in the culture, exists outside the realm of judgment.

Jon Stewart

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Was Jon Stewart being a dick when he was subjecting Jim Cramer to enhanced interrogation? Sure he was. He was also being a dick when he called Tucker Carlson a dick, and when he was preaching to Chris Wallace. But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. What matters is that even when Stewart’s a dick, he is never the dick. It is Stewart’s unique talent for coming across as decent and well-meaning when he’s bullying and hectoring and self-righteous. And this is because his talent is not just for comedy and not just for media criticism or truth-telling; it’s for being — for remaining — likable.

Now, you have to understand Jon Stewart is just like everybody else: He can be a dick. His father took off when he was a kid, leaving a hole in his heart approximately the old man’s shoe size. He’s damaged and is capable of doing damage in return, especially in close quarters. There are plenty of Daily Show staffers, present and former, who love and revere their boss for his difficult brilliance. There are also plenty — mostly on the former side — who have been, well, fucked up by him and his need to dominate. When he arrived at The Daily Show in 1999, its humor was goofy and improvisational, based on the interplay between the fake-news host and the fake-news correspondents and dependent on whimsy and happenstance. But Stewart knew what he wanted right away, and it wasn’t that. He wanted the show to be more competitive, almost in a news-gathering sense, and he wanted it to have a point of view, which happened to be his own. There are writers and producers from the first five years of the show, both male and female, who are described as “battered wives”; hell, there are people who used to work for him who are scared to talk about him because they’re scared of not being able to work again. And before he pushed out the show’s cocreator, he notoriously threw a newspaper at her in a story meeting and then, according to a staffer, apologized to her later with the words “Sorry, that was the bad Jon — I try not to let him out…”

We don’t have the clip for that. And that’s because it’s not the point — not of Jon Stewart, and certainly not of his comedy. The point of Stewart’s comedy, even before it became political, was that it was the comedy of a smart-ass from Jersey who knows he can be a dick but who is striving for decency, even when he’s being funny … or, hell, by being funny. “The genius of Jon’s comedy is its vulnerability,” says Wendy Liebman, the comic who opened for Stewart right before he started doing his first talk show at MTV in 1993. “He lets you in. And so you wind up empowering him so that he can empower you.” He has always been able to get the audience on his side. Sure, there’s a bad Jon. He’s human, ain’t he? But he’s also a guy who’s very clearly trying to do the right thing, who’s trying to live up to the best iteration of himself, who wants to be more or less what he’s become. He’s a child of divorce who’s become a devoted husband, a doting dad, and a slave to two pit bulls. He’s a vulnerable guy who’s become amazingly …

Invulnerable. Unassailable. Unimpeachable. The most sacred of liberalism’s sacred cows. The man whom a certain percentage of the country doesn’t just agree with but agrees on, more than they agree on anything, more than they agree on health care or President Obama. He protests, often, that he “doesn’t have a constituency”; what he does have, though, is a consensus, a presumption of unanimity anytime he walks into a room, unless that room is the greenroom at Fox News. Bill Maher is an atheist; Jon Stewart is a humanist, and by his humanism he’s become the strangest of things, the influential comedian, the admired comedian, the eminent comedian, the comedian who feels it necessary, always, to disavow his power. He’s been saying for ten years that he’s just a guy in the back of the classroom throwing spitballs; but he never gets spitballs thrown at him in return. He mocks without being mocked; he parodies without being parodied. It’s not that he can’t be; there are guys on Jon Stewart’s staff who do a wicked Jon Stewart. But in all the years he’s been doing The Daily Show — in all the years he’s been scribbling on that notepad, closing that mouth around his fist in spasms of mock feeling, and emitting that Olympian whinny — he’s never been parodied on Saturday Night Live. Why? Because according to Jim Downey, the longtime SNL writer who last year wrote the great Keith Olbermann parody for Ben Affleck, “you can only parody comedians when they’re not funny. Jon’s funny. Plus, we all like him.”

And there it is: Funny! Likable! Smart! And therefore the one indispensable figure of the cultural and political Left, the love child of the Boss and Tina Fey. Like a lot of other comedians, he makes a living making fun of people; unlike a lot of others, if he makes fun of you … well, you should be so lucky that such a nice man as Jon Stewart is making fun of you. And so when he made fun of Willie Geist on Morning Joe — a great bit that focused on Geist’s face while Mark Halperin was apologizing for calling the president “a dick” — Geist had no choice but to call the mockery “brilliant.” “You just have to throw up your hands and go with it,” Geist says. “You definitely don’t want to trade with him.”

And if you do? Well, he made fun of Rick Sanchez, the erstwhile CNN anchor, so relentlessly that Sanchez, he just couldn’t take it no more. He called Stewart “a bigot” in an interview, and when the interviewer reminded him that Stewart is Jewish, said, “Very powerless people. He’s such a minority…” He got fired the next day. But here’s the thing: Sanchez, in an e-mail, says that Stewart called him and said, “Sanchez, I made fun of you because you’re the one I liked.” And then in his speech at the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington, Stewart made sure to say that Sanchez was a victim not of himself or of, well, Jon Stewart, but of the media’s insatiable need for conflict. So in his e-mail Sanchez wrote this: “I think Jon Stewart is misunderstood by a lot of people, and I say that as someone who misunderstood him myself. There aren’t two Jon Stewarts. There isn’t a ‘real’ Jon Stewart and another hiding behind comedy… It’s all the same person. It’s all Jon Stewart. And it’s all real…If anything, Jon is consistent. He’s an equal-opportunity omedian and satirist who has a simple, unified message and focus: He is opposed to extremes. He’s opposed to the extremes that exist in our political system, culture, and discourse. He’s opposed to extreme positions, statements, and policies. He’s opposed to extreme politicians and pundits…”

With all due respect: Rick Sanchez was destroyed by Jon Stewart. He just got his comeback gigdoing color commentary for the football team at Florida International University. He lost his job and his career. He doesn’t have to say that he’s the dick and express his gratitude to Stewart for reeducating him. He’d even be forgiven for being pissed off. But he’s bigger than that, because Stewart’s bigger than that — because Jon Stewart is a good man trying to be better…no, a good man trying to be better by making us all better.

“When I tell people that I used to work for Jon, the thing they ask, all the time, is ‘Oh, is he nice?'” says Stacey Grenrock Woods, a former Daily Show correspondent who is now Esquire’s venerable sex columnist. “Now, I would never think of Jon Stewart as ‘nice.’ He’s a comedian, and comedians aren’t always particularly nice people. But these people look so hopeful, and it’s obviously really important to them. So I always say, ‘Yes, he’s very nice.’ And they always say, ‘Oh, thank God. I don’t know what I’d do if he wasn’t.’ ”

Jon Stewart

Virginia Sherwood/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/AP Images

Of course, he doesparody himself sometimes. Last year, with Rachel Maddow, he even parodied himself parodying himself. It was pretty brilliant — Stewart and Maddow against a black background, in solemn imitation of Stewart’s own appearance with Charlie Rose…

Wait a second. Run that clip again. You mean … that wasn’t self-parody? You mean even when he made gentle fun of himself for being pompous, he really was being pompous, like a fighter who starts shaking his head right after he gets tagged, thereby proving that he is what he says he’s not? You mean he wasn’t even kidding around when he explained the Rally to Restore Sanity to Maddow by saying that “in twelve years, I’d earned a moment to tell people who I was”…?

Okay, then: He’s being sincere. But what is he saying here? How has he earned his moment? And why does he want it? He’s always gotten pissed off when people say he’s “just” a comedian and that he “just” tells jokes; they never say that musicians “just” sing songs or that writers “just” write stories. They’re not just jokes; they’re him, and that’s what has made The Daily Showmatter. That’s what has made Jon Stewart matter. So why does he suddenly feel the need to reveal the “real” Jon Stewart so acutely that he organizes a rally in Washington, D. C., for that very purpose?

Because make no mistake: That’s why the Rally to Restore Sanity took place. Sure, it was an answer to the rally that Stewart’s right-wing counterpart Glenn Beck organized on the Mall two months earlier just as surely as “Sweet Home Alabama” was an answer to “Southern Man.” And sure, it was held on October 30, 2010, three days before the midterm elections that would decide whether we’d have a presidency or a lingering hostage crisis. And sure, two hundred thousand people showed up. So it had the appearance of a political rally, the appearance of an event that meant something. And it did, it did — to Jon Stewart.

He even gave a speech, as Jon Stewart. Not as Jon Stewart the comedian but as the Jon Stewart his viewers discern beneath the comedy; not as the Jon Stewart who can be mercilessly funny but as the Jon Stewart who looks like such a nice man. He had conceived of the Rally to Restore Sanity as an extension of The Daily Show — as a translation of The Daily Show into the form of “the rally,” in the same way that his books are a translation of The Daily Show into the form of “the book.” It would be another parody, but with the participation of a cheering throng wearing funny hats and carrying funny signs. It was supposed to be a joke … except that it didn’t feel like a joke on the day it happened. There were so many people, and they didn’t “believe” in him in a high-concept way — they believed in him in the same way that Beck’s multitudes believed in Beck. They wanted something from him. For years, he had clung to what he calls the “text” of The Daily Show — the rigorous maintenance of “false authority.” Well, now they wanted the subtext. They wanted the authority he exercised to be genuine. They wanted to give him exactly what he thought he’d earned — his moment

And so he took it. He even changed clothes. All day long, he’d worn a sweatshirt and a red-white-and-blue warm-up jacket emblazoned with stars and stripes. Now he put on a suit and a tie and stepped out of — and forever into — the collective fantasy. You see, it was all true. He wasn’t “patriotic”; he was patriotic. He wasn’t “serious”; he was serious — indeed, a comedian whose biggest moments were all serious, from the speech he gave after 9/11 to his appearance onCrossfire to his interview with Jim Cramer. He was also smart. He was also sincere. And most important, he was nice. He didn’t make fun of Rick Sanchez; he said that Rick Sanchez had been victimized by the media’s need for constant conflict. He didn’t attack Republicans for their extremism; he said that both parties were equally to blame. And he articulated a conciliatory vision of America rooted in his experience as a Jersey boy who grew up to be a New York man — a vision of America rooted in his experience of watching four lanes of traffic winnowed into two at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. The cars have to take turns, he said — “one from the left, one from the right, concession by concession, ‘You go, then I’ll go, you go, then I’ll go’ … and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey.”

Did he do what he wanted to do? Did he come out and say who he really was? You’re damn right he did — he was like a guy at a karaoke bar singing that Goo Goo Dolls song on his girlfriend’s birthday. That’s why he was giddy afterward, at the press conference he gave with the rally’s cohost, Stephen Colbert. And that’s why he was so surprised when Christiane Amanpour asked if he and Colbert “accept” the notion that they were now “players in our civil society.” Players? Didn’t she get it? Didn’t anyone? Three days before a crucial election, Jon Stewart had stood in America’s most symbolic public space and given a speech to two hundred thousand people. The speech wasn’t about his need to be a player or his need for power or his need for influence. It wasn’t about getting out the vote or telling people to vote in a certain way. It was about Jon Stewart — about his need for another kind of out. For years, his out had been his comedy. Now it was his sincerity — his evenhandedness, his ability to rise above politics, his goodness. And three days later, when the side he didn’t even say was his side was routed in the midterms, he pretty much proved his point. He was no player. He had no political power. He’d proven he was beyond all that by presiding over the biggest celebration of political powerlessness in American history.

Jon Stewart

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“Welcome to The Daily Show. Good show tonight… Our guest tonight is NPR’s Juan Williams… [hand to imaginary earpiece] Really? He’s not there anymore? Well, I’ll definitely ask him about that…”

Oh, well: another night, another show about Fox News. It’s been like that, over at The Daily Show, ever since Obama was elected. Stewart just doesn’t have the material he used to have when George W. Bush was in power, nor the nightly foil. (Audience members still ask him to “do Bush” during the introductory Q&A.) He’s been accused of making halfhearted jokes about Obama in an attempt to keep the show ideologically balanced, but that’s not the problem, not really; the problem is that Democrats, with their perpetual disarray, are not as funny as Republicans, with their reality-bending unity, and that Stewart is left to nurse what is probably the most potent comedy killer of all: disappointment. According to one former writer, the creative atmosphere at The Daily Showhas gotten “doomier” since it became clear that Obama wasn’t going to fulfill his promise — and that Jon Stewart was not in a position either to help or to savage him. “You can see the strain in his interviews,” the writer says. “It used to be, ‘Hey, we’re a comedy show.’ Now it’s, ‘What we do is so hard.’ And it is hard. One of the reasons I finally left is that we were running out of targets. I was like, ‘Do we really want to make fun of Fox & Friends again? Really?'”

Indeed, there are days when Stewart himself says, “No Fox today — let’s go after a more elusive target.” But then, Fox is always there, and Stewart has formed a symbiotic relationship with it. He goes on O’Reilly’s show, O’Reilly goes on his; he devotes a broadcast to a parody of Beck’s farewell from Fox, Beck complains on his last show that Stewart is only funny because he employs so many writers. In fact, Stewart gives Fox’s hosts something to complain about — confirmation that the media is “biased” and the game rigged against them — but Fox gives Stewart a reason to exist, and he’s been obsessed with Roger Ailes ever since he went to O’Reilly’s studio and was summoned into Ailes’s office. He stayed an hour and came out a freaked-out admirer, like the crazy newscaster in Network once Ned Beatty got through with him. It wasn’t just that Ailes asked him, right off the bat, “How are your kids?” and then berated him for hating conservatives; it wasn’t even that both men are intensely concerned about what people think of them and have no qualms about trying to influence how they’re portrayed. It’s that Ailes is all about power and so has accepted the obligation that Stewart has proudly refused. You want to know the difference between the Left and the Right in America? The Right has Roger Ailes, and the Left has Jon Stewart; the Right has an evil genius, while the Left contents itself with a genius of perceived non-evil.

And yet a man can dream, can’t he, and on the evening he has Juan Williams on his show, he does that thing again, that Jon Stewart thing, of saying who he really is, and what he really wants, and his vision for America. Oh, he takes a few stabs at comedy, but the debt-ceiling controversy is about as funny as a joke in Farsi, and by the time Williams comes out, Stewart is ready to do some talking about journalism. Williams is pushing a new book, Muzzled, about the experience of getting canned from NPR for saying that he was afraid of Muslims on Fox, and after Stewart makes another tote-bag joke and gently tries to get Williams to admit that Fox hired him at least in part to score points against NPR, there isn’t a lot of the surprise that Stewart both fears and prizes in his interviews … until he asks Williams to stay for a while after the show ends, so they can talk. Stewart, you see, has something he wants to talk about. More precisely, he has an idea, and he wants to run it by Juan Williams.

“If somebody wanted to start a twenty-four-hour news network that would focus on corruption and governance as opposed to the politics of it, do you think that that would have a chance to be successful and change the way debate occurs in the States? The same sort of relentlessness, energy, and passion that Fox pours into being the conservative counterweight — imagine that being poured toward better government or anticorruption… Boy, it would be an interesting thing to be: a Roger Ailes of veracity.”

Really. Straight up. No shit. That’s the vision and that’s the dream. And that’s where the Foxification of Jon Stewart comes to some weird alternate-universe fruition. In his mind, he’s always been the Roger Ailes of veracity, but on a dinky scale. He’d like to take it to a bigger one. Here’s a guy who goes to work in a building whose entrance has the words “Abandon News, All Ye Who Enter Here” inscribed on the lintel, who spends his waking hours criticizing journalists and at the same time rejecting journalistic responsibilities … and who dreams of being the president of a nonideological twenty-four-hour news network. It’s crazy and it’s touching, as even he must know, for no sooner does he allow himself to dream it than he hears a voice in his head whispering, “Stay in your lane, boy. Stay in your lane.” But he’s forty-eight years old, with a wife and two kids; his father left home when he was eleven and has apparently never attended any of his gigs as a comedian. He has always benefited from the collective fantasy. But the fantasy of being the Roger Ailes of veracity is not collective — it’s his and his alone.

He hasn’t really aged like a president. He’s aged like the president. They are close to the same age — they are both terminal baby boomers whose identification with their generation consists of listening to old-school music and remembering when basketball players wore really tight shorts and tube socks — and they both benefited from the same collective fantasy. They are both cool and smart, and they both gained moral authority by seeming to rise up in answer to our terrible times … and yet somehow they have both ended up as political figures who insist that they are above the troublesome fractiousness of politics. Jon Stewart likes President Obama personally but is disappointed in him. Well, who isn’t? Even Obama is disappointed with Obama. Indeed, it’s Stewart’s disappointment with Obama that solidifies his status as the Obama of comedy. He might not win his battles, he might not even fight them, but damn, he’s admired for his evenhandedness. And on the night he had Juan Williams as his guest, he told one joke about Obama for every joke he told about John Boehner, as if they were cars making their way into the Lincoln Tunnel.

Was he funny? Well, there is a sound that comedians know is always there, waiting for them. It’s not laughter. Nor is it the sound of booing or catcalls. It goes like this: Whooooo … and American audiences make it to signal not that they find a joke funny but that they get it and agree with it. Comedians fear it, because they know it’s easy to get. They know that it’s the end of something and the beginning of something else — the end of comedy and the beginning of “humor,” in which they get no more laughs but bask in the applause of the audiences whose prejudices they flatter.

Jon Stewart has made a career of avoiding “Whooo” humor. He has flattered the prejudices of his audience, but he has always been funny, and he has always made them laugh. At the Juan Williams taping, however, at least half of Stewart’s jokes elicited the sound of Whooo! instead of the sound of laughter. He’s been able to concentrate his comedy into a kind of shorthand — a pause, or a raised eyebrow, is often all that is necessary now — but a stranger not cued to laugh could be forgiven for not laughing, indeed for thinking that what was going on in front of him was not comedy at all but rather high-toned journalism with a sense of humor. Which might be how Jon Stewart wants it by now. But outside the building there’s still a giant version of him standing with clasped hands, and he looks ready to take the piss out of anyone, including the gray-haired man inside, talking seriously to a Fox News analyst about starting a network something like Fox, without the laughs.

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Where’s Them Nukes?

Missing: Tons of US-Supplied Nuclear Weapons Material

By Adam Weinstein, MotherJones.com, September 13, 2011

The United States cannot fully account for more than 16,000 kilograms tons of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium that it has shipped to 27 “friendly” countries in recent decades, and it lacks any coherent policy to track down the materials, a Government Accountability Office report concluded late last week. In fact, according to auditors, the country’s atomic accounting is so shoddy that the International Atomic Energy Agency—the same agency sent to search for Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction—could potentially find the United States in violation of its international anti-proliferation treaty obligations. Even as it has fretted about Iranian nuclear proliferation and alleged Iraqi purchases of yellowcake uranium from Africa, the United States has lost track of enough fissile material to make hundreds of nuclear warhead cores.

At issue are bilateral agreements the US holds with 27 nations, from France to Taiwan, for the transfer of American nuclear materials—fuel, reactors, and reactor components—for “peaceful civilian purposes.” (It’s even conceivable, though not easily determined, that US material may have been present at the Marcoule nuclear plant in France where an explosion killed one worker Monday.) Although the United States has a database, the Nuclear Materials Management and Safeguard System, to track the transfers, the GAO found that the ’50s-era system is more or less useless today: Most of the bilateral export agreements give the US no official power to supervise what happens with the uranium, plutonium, and other materials they fork over. Hence much of the material leaves American sight, and officials simply take the other nations’ word that the stuff has ended up in a civilian reactor.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversee the export of nuclear material to US allies for use in atomic power plants, “do not have a comprehensive, detailed, current inventory of U.S. nuclear material—including weapon-usable material such as highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium—overseas,” the GAO report said. Worse still, on the rare occasions when State Department inspectors gained access to the allies’ stockpiles of American radioactive products, all the way up to last year, “U.S. teams found that countries met international security guidelines approximately 50 percent of the time.”

That’s just for the countries that US inspectors actually visited—in other words, the countries that probably pose the smallest concern. “[T]he agencies have not systematically visited countries believed to be holding the highest proliferation risk quantities of U.S. nuclear material, or systematically revisited facilities not meeting international physical security guidelines in a timely manner,” the GAO stated.

That could be a major violation of America’s international treaty obligations. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which the United States signed, requires that nuclear export agreements “should commit parties to establish and maintain a system of accounting for nuclear material, with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses,” the GAO report said.

The DOE’s beleaguered atomic security arm, the National Nuclear Security Administration,issued an official response accusing the GAO of “errors in fact and judgment” in its report. “NNSA is working with other partners to secure weapons-usable nuclear materials in additional parts of the world and to strengthen security at civil nuclear and radiological facilities,” wrote NNSA associate administrator Kenneth Powers. “We recognize that further work is needed and we are working with our partners to improve international security.”

Adam Weinstein is Mother Jones’ national security reporter. For more of his stories, click hereor follow him on Twitter. Get Adam Weinstein’s RSS feed.

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