Saturday, December 01, 2018

Poppy's secrets

Yes, I've been away -- again. It's hard to write a political blog, or even to keep up with current events, when the very sight of the president makes one want to vomit. That's no hyperbole: I have come to dread watching the news because even the briefest shot of Trump's hideous mug has an emetic effect.

I never had that reaction toward George Herbert Walker Bush, who died last night at the age of 94. But now that he has passed (finally, a news story has knocked the Orange Oaf out of the headlines!), we should offer a corrective to the annoying plaudits now flooding MSNBC and CNN.

Yes, the elder Bush was smarter and more cautious than his son. And when compared to despicable Donnie -- well, there is no comparison; DT is a visitor from a loathsome new universe. The best thing I can say for Poppy Bush is that he was hated by the Alex Jonesians, the neo-Birchers, and others within what we now call the Alt Right. A bad man looks better when he has enemies who are even worse.

But in the final analysis, GHWB was a rotter. Liberals should not allow the spirit of nil nisi bonum to blind us to the spirit of veritas vincit.

One could write a book about Bush's many sins. In this essay, I'll focus on just one of those sins: The car-bomb assassination in Washington DC of exiled Chilean leader Orlando Letelier, enemy to the fascist usurper Augusto Pinochet. The bomb also killed Ronni Moffit (25) of the Institute for Policy Studies. This double murder took place on September 21, 1976, while George Bush was Director of the CIA.

(You probably won't hear any mention of this event from Bush's far-right enemies. In their sick worldview, Pinochet was one of the good guys. Back in the day, the right also concocted many absurd conspiracy theories about the Institute for Policy Studies.)

It should never be forgotten that the CIA had destroyed Chilean democracy, handing power over to the murderous Pinochet. If you want to learn more, check out Death in Washington by Donald Freed and Fred Landis. The book is hard to find these days, but worth the effort.

We now know that the Letelier hit was orchestrated by DINA, the Chilean secret police. The actual perpetrator was an American operative named Michael Vernon Townley, an experienced CIA hit man who (allegedly) did the Letelier hit as a freelance job. The FBI eventually made a case against Townley, who served all of 62 months. He received immunity from further prosecution and is now living under witness protection. A disgusting outcome for a disgusting man. (Many Townley-watchers believe that he also killed Pablo Neruda, a famed anti-Pinochet writer and poet.)

Townley almost got away with the Letelier murder, because CIA Director George H.W. Bush did everything he could to cover up the crime. Writer John Dinges, in his book The Condor Years, established that the CIA knew from the start that Pinochet had ordered the assassination of Letelier. From Wikipedia:
According to Dinges, documents released in 1999 and 2000 establish that "the CIA had inside intelligence about the assassination alliance at least two months before Letelier was killed, but failed to act to stop the plans." The intelligence was about Condor's plans to kill prominent exiles outside of Latin America, but did not specify Letelier was the target. It also knew about an Uruguayan attempt to kill U.S. Congressman Edward Koch, which then-CIA director George H.W. Bush warned him about only after Orlando Letelier's murder [3] .

Kenneth Maxwell points out that U.S. policymakers were aware not only of Operation Condor in general, but in particular "that a Chilean assassination team had been planning to enter the United States."
During the investigation into the car bombing, someone found -- or, as I suspect, concocted -- documents linking Letelier to Eastern Bloc intelligence agencies. These documents were selectively leaked to Jack Anderson (who functioned as a CIA asset in the 1970s) and to the team of Evans and Novak. (You will recall Robert Novak's shameful behavior during the Plame affair.)

How many times have we seen that kind of propaganda barrage? After an assassination, the right's first reaction is always "We didn't do it" -- followed by "And even if we did, the bastard deserved it." Before the car bombing, a private CIA assessment had described Letelier as a "reasonable, mature democrat." If he were a communist, he would have been easily dismissed, and thus probably would have been left alone.

Pinochet and his fellow South American dictators had formulated Operation Condor, a plan to murder all opponents to fascism in the regime. Condor formally came into existence on January 30, 1976, the same day Bush became DCI. There is ample evidence that Condor received copious aid from the CIA during this period.

From Assassination on Embassy Row, by Saul Landau and John Dinges:
One thing is clear: DINA chief Manuel Contreras would have called off the assassination mission if the CIA or State Department had expressed their displeasure to the Chilean government. An intelligence officer familiar with the case said that any warning would have been sufficient to cause the assassination to be scuttled. Whatever Walters and Bush did – if anything – the DINA mission proceeded. But the question remains: Could their murders have been prevented?

One the investigation of the murders was under way, why did it take so long? DId Bush, Walters, [Ambassador George W.] Landau and others who by then had become informed of the Chilean undercover activity come forward immediately and disclose what they knew? The assassination occurred on September 21, 1976. The indictments were returned on August 1, 1978. Yet the evidence that led to the identification of Michael Townley and his expulsion from Chile in April 1978 was already in the hands of high United States officials weeks before the assassination.
After the bombing, the Chilean government denied responsibility, as one might expect. Manuel Contrares, the head of DINA, suggested that the the Chilean left had murdered Letelier in order to create a martyr.

And George H.W. Bush did everything in his power to spread this lie.
But Bush's CIA chose to accept Contreras's denials and even began leaking information that pointed away from the real killers. Newsweek's Periscope reported in the magazine's Oct. 11, 1976, issue that "the Chilean secret police were not involved." The [Central Intelligence] agency reached its decision because the bomb was too crude to be the work of experts and because the murder, coming while Chile's rulers were wooing U.S. support, could only damage the Santiago regime." Similar stories ran in other newspapers, including the New York Times.
Two weeks after the Letelier murder, Bush's CIA spread disinformation about the bombing of Cubana Airlies DC-8, a mass murder perpetrated by two CIA-trained anti-Castro killers named Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada.
On Nov. 1, 1976, the Washington Post cited CIA officials in reporting that "operatives of the present Chilean military Junta did not take part in Letelier's killing." The Post added that "CIA Director Bush expressed this view in a conversation late last week with Secretary of State Kissinger."
I believe that Bush should be considered a co-conspirator in the Letelier/Moffit murder. At the very least, he lied about the true authorship of that crime, just as he lied about the airliner bombing.

As noted above, Poppy Bush had much red on his ledger. I have directed your attention to but one of his sins. As CIA agent Miles Copeland once said of Bush: "He's one covert motherfucker."

Then again: Not that covert. Much remains hidden, but much is known -- too much to ignore, even on the occasion of the man's passing. We should not tolerate the plaudits and praises now filling the airwaves on MSNBC and CNN. And we shouldn't let the conspiracy-crazed ravings of the anti-Bush right blind us to the man's actual misdeeds.

Nil nisi bonum?
In the words of Dana Cavey (as Bush): Nah gah dah-ah. Bush lied about Orlando Letelier after Letelier's death. Why should I not now tell the truth about Bush?

Added note: This is hilarious.
In QAnon land, they believe that Bush 41 died some time ago, but they only announced it yesterday so coverage of his passing and funeral will drown out Q-related news they hope will come out next week. As always, the big QAnon revelations will allegedly be known [Next Week].
The QAnon qrazies believe that James Comey signaled his knowledge of this plot when he tweeted about the death of his dog Benji. Of course! It's all so obvious! You have read between the lines, people!


Mr Mike said...

The kindest thing one could say is everybody in Washington was of the opinion that the ends justified the means in the fight against Communism. Things haven't really changed in the intervening years as evidenced by Washington's support of Saudi Arabia's Murder bin Salman.
Until Americans get as proactive as the gas tax rioters in Paris our foreign policy won't change.

margie said...

Glad you are okay Joseph.
I heard someone describe him as having a beautiful soul, and I thought, the director of CIA can't have a beautiful soul.
I have a co-worker like GHWB. He is very good at coming across as nice, considerate, helpful and easy going. On the inside he is petty, selfish, opinioted and he will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat.

Citizen K said...

Years ago, after the JFK movie, I read Prouty's book about the assassination of JFK. Prouty is supposedly "X", the informant who met with Jim Garrison. If I recall correctly, Prouty had dug up a little conspiracy involving then CIA agent "Bush" whom Prouty mused about having a part in the assassination. That agent had signed a CIA memo related to the assassination. Of course, GHWB wasn't on the record as involved with the CIA until 1976. I think there was a luxury boat named "Lady Bird" sailing around Cuba in those days too, per Prouty. Hadn't thought about any of this for years.

OTE admin said...

Amazing how the media likes to make revisionist history. GHWB was anything but honorable. He had his fingerprints all over the Iranian hostage thing--the "October Surprise"--and he hired the despicable Lee Atwater to smear Michael Dukakis. No wonder Jeb and GWB turned out the way did. The rotten apples never fall far from the rotten tree.

LA Fisher said...

Bush's activities around the JFK assassination have also been called into question. Mark Lane's book, Plausible Deniability, enumerated those misdeeds.

Alessandro Machi said...

It really doesn't matter that much, but I heard from a relatively reliable source that Mr. Bush did have a young mistress.

OTE admin said...

Alessandro, according to Joe Conason, in an article he wrote for the defunct Spy magazine, Bush had several rumored extramarital affairs including one with an aide of his, Jennifer Fitzgerald. Rumors of adultery have surrounded him for years.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the money quote about Ms. Ftzgerald's work, was that she had, "served George HW Bush in a number of positions".