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[There are two new books rising up the Amazon best-seller list. Both have to do with the Kennedy assassinations of 1963 and 1968. Both take different perspectives and both offer clues to the critical thinker about how to understand and interpret contemporary history in a useful way (i.e. a way that helps us actually understand today and make decisions about tomorrow). While the assassinations are long over and will never be reopened in way that could bring the accountable to justice, they remain powerful teaching tools because of the immediate “grab” they make on the average American consciousness.
Understanding the assassinations at a deeper level helps us to better understand and analyze the tectonic forces that still govern our world today.
In taking a piercing look at Ultimate Sacrifice: John And Robert Kennedy, The Plan For A Coup In Cuba, And The Murder Of JFK by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann and American Theocracy: The Peril And Politics Of Radical Religion, Oil, And Borrowed Money In The Twenty-First Century, by Kevin Phillips, Carolyn Baker tells us which is the more reliable book and which should not be trusted.
That both books have appeared at roughly the same time also reminds us that the Mighty Wurlitzer of propaganda is always ready to throw a little mud in the water any time a little clarity starts to show itself. – MCR]
SHALLOW HISTORY vs. DEEP POLITICS AND THE COLLAPSE OF EMPIRE
Carolyn Baker, Ph.D.
© Copyright 2006, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.
March 24, 2006 1300 PST (FTW) - One of the most valuable gifts I and many readers of From The Wilderness have gained over the years is the idea of building a better map. Everything in corporate America teaches us to passively accept that whatever the U.S. government and its media stenographers tell us is irrefutably factual. The less importance the society has placed on critical, analytical thinking, the more its citizens have come to resemble baby birds, mouths so wide-open that their bodies are virtually obscured, eager to feed on the juicy worm-lies dispensed by those who have no map at all or whose map has been designed by the globalist power elite. As we learn more about how the world and the money works, our discernment refines, and we grow increasingly certain that if something looks like a snake, slithers like a snake, and coils like a snake, it probably is a snake.
Deep Politics is not only the first two words of a book title (Deep Politics And The Death Of JFK), by Peter Dale Scott, but as he explains, “all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged.” As an historian with a very different map than I had a decade ago, and with gratitude to Peter Dale Scott, Mike Ruppert, Catherine Austin Fitts, and many others, I have developed a healthier skepticism for what often gets called “history.” What I now know for sure is that we are at a unique place in the history of the human race, facing gargantuan challenges to life on planet Earth such as Peak Oil, climate change, and global economic collapse, not to mention the imminent collapse of the U.S. Empire.
With that in mind, I notice two very different works on modern history which are now well on their way to becoming best sellers, Ultimate Sacrifice: John And Robert Kennedy, The Plan For A Coup In Cuba, And The Murder Of JFK , by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, and American Theocracy: The Peril And Politics Of Radical Religion, Oil, And Borrowed Money In The Twenty-First Century, by Kevin Phillips. One author has a map with many folds, wrinkles, coffee stains, and most disturbing of all—erasures. The other has a crisp, clean, clear, insightful, and penetrating map that encompasses, rather than excludes.
Ultimate Sacrifice is authored by Lamar Waldron, whose writings heretofore have been largely in the areas of fiction and cartoons, and Thom Hartmann, progressive historian, Project Censored Award winner, talk show host on Air America, and author of a number of engaging works such as Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight. What most impressed me about Waldron and Hartmann’s 875-page tome was what it didn’t include. Essentially, the book endeavors to prove that John and Robert Kennedy were assassinated by organized crime because they had secretly planned a coup d’ etat in Cuba and because of their unwavering determination to destroy organized crime in America.
In addition to Scott’s work, two extremely important works on the JFK assassination are Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty’s work, JFK, The CIA, Vietnam And The Plot To Assassinate John F. Kennedy and Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy. Both Prouty and Marrs address the deep political involvement of the counter-coalition of individuals at the highest levels of government who benefited from the death of JFK. Prouty’s book, which was taken out of print until it was republished for the fortieth anniversary of the JFK assassination in 2003, incessantly exposes the network of players in government who had unmistakable motivation for eliminating JFK as a result of his determination to dramatically curtail the powers of the Central Intelligence Agency and his National Security Action Memo #263 which would have begun scaling down the Vietnam War. Prouty’s credibility has always been impeccable—a top-level Pentagon insider, familiar with a number of individuals who had extraordinary motives, means, and opportunities to eliminate a president who stood between themselves and the perpetuation of the military-industrial complex and the preservation of the powers the CIA had acquired from the National Security Act Of 1947 which created it. Marrs is careful to include in his book the famous quote by JFK about wanting to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.1 Marrs focuses heavily on two players in the JFK assassination: Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover. One thing the two shared in common was their hatred of the Kennedys. As Scott notes in Deep Politics with reference to a number of Washington power-elite, including Johnson and Hoover: “Their status in Washington, threatened by the Kennedys, was clearly consolidated in the days after the assassination.”2 Scott, Prouty, and Marrs reveal who these individuals were or probably were; Waldron and Hartmann are woefully silent on this issue.
While Peter Dale Scott’s material is incorporated on several occasions into Ultimate Sacrifice, the authors do not address the concept of deep politics and certainly do not employ it in their research. Scott is referenced only in relation to mafia connections with the assassination of JFK, and absolutely no mention is made of Prouty’s work. Perhaps the authors consider it trivial since Prouty was a key advisor to Oliver Stone when he made the move “JFK” in 1992—a film that critics began panning well before its release. Stone also wrote the foreword for Prouty’s 2003 book, and well, you know, anything connected with Hollywood can’t be historically accurate and could only be “conspiracy theory.” Nevertheless, my students of twentieth-century U.S. history always watch that priceless ten-minute dialog in the movie between Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) and Prouty (Donald Sutherland) where Prouty lays out the entire assassination plot. Just trivial Hollywood-izing of history? Read the same spiel by Prouty in his own book, and decide for yourself.
Why is this important almost 43 years after the assassination of JFK? Because failing to understand and implement deep politics in researching the assassinations invariably results in a fragmented understanding of them and the momentous historical tipping points they signified. The assassination of Bobby Kennedy in 1968 came almost exactly two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. As From The Wilderness has written, the U.S. was deeply entrenched in Vietnam in 1968, and Martin Luther King, Jr. had just sealed his own death warrant by speaking out against the war. The antiwar movement and its lead candidate, Bobby Kennedy, were the frontrunners, having been out of political life for some time on a profound spiritual journey that dramatically altered his psyche and his world view. Had he lived, he would have no doubt won the presidency, and the Vietnam War would have ended. As President, he would have most assuredly ordered a full-scale investigation of his brother’s assassination, which he pledged to do while running for the office. The continuation of the Vietnam War as a result of both Kennedys being murdered, the removal of obstructions to the hegemony of the CIA, and the preservation of the military-industrial complex were enormous bonanzas of power and profit for those who had the most to gain from the events in Dallas (1963) and Los Angeles (1968).
Ultimate Sacrifice focuses almost entirely on the role of the mafia in the assassination of JFK. While it is a virtual certainty that organized crime was involved, a more discriminating map encompasses the roles of other key players in government and their motives. Scott clarifies that:
It is at this high level [of government] that we find those who benefited from the assassination. In the end, the assassination did not stop those most commonly accused of it, such as Carlos Marcello, from eventually going to jail.3
The next question might be: Who benefits from an impressive 875 pages, with hundreds of footnotes that highlight the role of organized crime figures who are almost all deceased and which fail to examine relationships between the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon, and top-level weapons contractors with intractable motivation to escalate, rather than diminish, the Vietnam War? A more incisive historical map will invariably reveal connections between the creation of the CIA, its involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering before, during, and after the Vietnam War; the creation of the military-industrial complex as an indispensable lynchpin of the U.S. economy; and the ongoing participation of organized crime (decades after the Kennedy assassinations) in concert with the federal government to steal 4 trillion dollars using fraud and kabuki accounting techniques by way of governmental database control.
Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy is in my opinion, somewhat incorrectly titled because the section on radical religion is sandwiched between the sections on oil and borrowed money. Nevertheless, it offers a comprehensive map which the New York Times beautifully defines:
What makes this book powerful in spite of the familiarity of many of its arguments is his rare gift for looking broadly and structurally at social and political change. By describing a series of major transformations, by demonstrating the relationships among them and by discussing them with passionate restraint, Phillips has created a harrowing picture of national danger that no American reader will welcome, but that none should ignore.4
I was sorry to see the omission of Catherine Austin Fitts’ name from this book because Phillips wisely included it in his 2004 American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, And The Politics Of Deceit In The House Of Bush. Since he devotes three chapters to debt and other economic issues, I found this omission somewhat perplexing. However, Phillips isn’t in denial about living in an empire and references Mike Ruppert’s Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline Of The American Empire At The End Of The Age Of Oil and Richard Heinberg’s The Party's Over in his opening chapter, “Fuel And National Power.” Echoing Rubicon, Phillips cites The Grand Chessboard, by Zbigniew Brzezinski, as one of the first pieces of strategic planning for U.S. conquest of the last remaining drops of oil on the planet. In addition, in a section called “The Real Map Of Iraq,” he alludes to the machinations of Dick Cheney’s 2001 Energy Task Force which resulted in what he calls all-out “U.S. petro-imperialism,” but unlike Rubicon, Phillips does not analyze the event in depth nor address its connections with September 11, 2001.
So while small portions of American Theocracy appear vacuous, Phillips’ ability to connect the dots between Peak Oil and global economic collapse, and the utility of apocalyptic religion to those invested in disguising and profiting from both is remarkable—especially for someone who has for decades identified himself as a Conservative Republican. He holds no illusions that the United States is on a suicide trajectory, cruising for collapse, and ties together his three major concerns in the book by concluding that “The potential interaction between the end-times electorate, inept pursuit of Persian Gulf oil, Washington’s multiple deceptions, and the credit and financial crisis that could follow a substantial liquidation by foreign holders of U.S. bonds is the stuff of nightmares.”5
As the jacket of American Theocracy states:
The Bush coalition has resulted in a dearth of candor and serious strategy—a paralysis of policy and a government unable to govern. If left unchecked, the same forces will bring a preacher-ridden, debt-bloated, energy-crippled America to its knees.
What Phillips does not address is the criminal empire that the United States has become by way of the symbiosis between government and fraudulent financial systems. For this we must be informed by the in-depth research found in Crossing The Rubicon and the recent six-part series by Catherine Austin Fitts on Dillon Read And The Aristocracy Of Prison Profits.
In a recent article, America's Blinders, by progressive historian, Howard Zinn, he opens with this stunning comment: “Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled?” His answer is simply: A total ignorance of history.
I would only add that in order to acquire a discriminating awareness of history, it must be analyzed from the perspective of deep politics. From that vantage point, as Peter Dale Scott notes, “the unsolved assassination(s) is a symptom of something wrong today, not just in 1963, but in the heart of the society in which we live.”6 Early in his book, Scott states that the need “to deny ugly facts about our civilization is a universal one. Through writing poetry I have come to accept its presence in myself.”7 Does this mean that having a judicious, discerning map ultimately reveals as much about ourselves as the world around us? If so, perhaps that is why so few people have one or wish to exert the energy to acquire one. The deep politics of external history invariably connect us with the deep politics of our own psyches, in which case, is it not much easier to write and study shallow history?
Carolyn Baker, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor of history and author of a forthcoming book, U.S. HISTORY UNCENSORED: What Your High School Textbook Didn’t Tell You.
1 Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, New York: Carol and Graf Publishers, Inc., 2003, p. 181.
2 Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics And The Death Of JFK, University Of California Press, 1996, p. 222.
3 Deep Politics, p. 222.
4 “Clear And Present Dangers”, New York Times Review Of American Theocracy, March 19, 2006.
5 American Theocracy, Preface, xii.
6 Deep Politics, p. 6