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Sunday, 14 June 2015

'Blizzard' of mayflies swarm bridge in Pennsylvania

© Blaine Shahan
Swarming Mayflies caused the closure of the Rt 462 bridge between Columbia and Wrightsville late Saturday.

The Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville reopened Sunday after mayflies forced its closure Saturday night, police said.

Thousands and thousands of mayflies swarmed the lights on the Route 462 bridge, died and fell to the road, causing three motorcycle crashes, a fire official said. The coating of dead mayflies (also called shadflies) was about an inch thick.

At 10:30 p.m., a motorist stopped at the Wrightsville Fire Department station and reported an eastbound motorcycle had crashed on the Wrightsville side of the bridge, Wrightsville Fire Chief Chad Livelsberger said. Firefighters encountered a surreal scene.

"It was like a blizzard in June, but instead of snow, it was mayflies," Livelsberger said. Dead mayflies about an inch thick covered a large section of the bridge.

"It was very slick, almost like ice," the chief said. "It was hard to stop, in the engine and the vehicles." Livelsberger's pickup truck skidded to a stop. "When you go to pull out, all your tires would do was spin."

The black mayflies are close to 2 inches long and a quarter-inch wide, Livelsberger said. "It looks like a meal worm with wings."

© Blaine Shahan
A fire police officer walks through swarming mayflies on the Rt. 462 bridge near the Wrightsville shore of the Susquehanna River late Saturday night. The bridge was closed between Columbia and Wrightsville after four motorcyle accidents.

While tending the motorcyclist, emergency responders saw another eastbound motorcycle crash onto its side at the slight bend in the road near the Wrightsville side of the bridge.

Columbia Borough Fire Chief Scott Ryno arrived and agreed with Livelsberger that dangerous conditions warranted closing the road, Livelsberger said.

"Visibility was zero for maybe a quarter mile (across the bridge) from the York County shore," he said. There were not as many mayflies on the Columbia side of the bridge, but enough to cause a third motorcycle crash close to the Columbia shore just before the road was shut down around 11 p.m.

Traffic crawled across the bridge before it was shut down amidst the mayflies invasion.

"They were getting in our mouth," he said. "We had to close our eyes. We had to swat them away. Even when we got back, it felt like bugs were crawling in you."

Mayflies flew in their shirts and holes in their vehicles, Livelsberger said. More than a hundred mayflies flew into his personal vehicle in the time it took him to open the door and get inside.

"We had to rip our radiators off" to clean the bugs out, he said.

A PennDOT crew used a street sweeper to clean the mayflies from the bridge, he said. Fire police reopened the road around midnight, after the swarm of mayflies began to wane.

Three men suffered minor road rashes in the motorcycle crashes and did not require medical transport, Livelsberger said. He believes all the wrecks were not serious enough to be reportable, but the motorcycles were damaged.

Livelsberger grew up in Wrightsville and has served as chief since 2012 and in other positions at the fire company since 1998.

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"I never saw anything like it," he said of Thursday night's mayflies invasion. Last year, mayflies piled up on the sidewalks along the bridge but "that did no justice to what we saw (Thursday night). I never saw the bridge get that covered with mayflies that it impaired people's driving."

Livelsberger did not know whether to expect a similar explosion of mayflies again in coming days. No special monitoring is planned, he said, but firefighters will be ready to respond to any reports the bugs are back.

West Hempfield Township police Officer Brad Rohrbaugh could not confirm how many accidents there were, saying Wrightsville police and Columbia Borough police also investigate crashes on the portions of the bridge stretching over land.

Those departments did not immediately return phone calls Sunday.

Livelsberger blamed the new type of lighting on the Route 462 bridge with attracting the mayflies. The bridge's new art deco lights were installed last year as part of a $2.1 million renovation project.

Experts explained the mayflies phenomenon last year.

The bugs hatch from the Susquehanna River and gravitate en masse to the lights.

For years, the bridge was lit by lights on long poles well above the decking. But the new lights, placed on where they were when the bridge opened in 1930, are only about 10 feet above the road surface.

© Blaine Shahan

That's like a magnet for emerging mayflies, who mate in large clouds. The males die promptly while the females lay their eggs and then also die.

There are reportedly more than 300 very similar looking species of mayflies in Pennsylvania.

The effort to restore the lights to their original appearance was a long effort headed by Rivertownes PA USA, a nonprofit group.

Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz last year said residents liked the historically correct new appearance of the bridge and boaters liked the lights because they could see rocks in the river while fishing at night.

The Doomsday Bunker For Billionaires

Two months ago we went inside the Fed's "doomsday" bunker: a 135,000 square foot facility built in 1969, and nestled inside Mount Pony, east of Culpeper, Virginia that housed some $4 billion in hard currency as well as the central hub of FedWire, the computer network which allows the nation’s banks to communicate and transfer funds.

It was meant to ensure that the US banking system could still function in the event there were still any banks left in the post-apocalyptic world, Culpeper Switch (officially the Federal Reserve System’s Communications and Records Center) was equipped with everything a Fed official would need to survive in the wake of a nuclear holocaust.

And yet, it was in a word, "spartan" even by 1970s standards. After all who wants to greet the post-nuclear holocaust world surrounded by sterile plastic, a Fed spreadsheet (which caused the nuclear holocaust in the first place) and all the cash in the world, especially since the only currency accepted is silver, gold and of course, lead (not to mention a bunker-full of voodoo economists).


Then along came Vivos, a company which specializes in creating the ultimate in luxurious Doomsday bunkers which, however, are not only for the world's richest, but also for those who Vivos founder, California entrepreneuer Robert Vicino, deems worthy: anyone can apply for a spot in the post-apocalypse world but only a select few will be admitted.

Until recently, the company's only community shelter product was Vivos Indiana, a shelter "strategically located in midwestern America", which the company describes as "one of the most fortified, nuclear hardened shelters within our network, located within a one-day drive from anywhere in the Midwest and the Eastern seaboard of America.  Built during the Cold War to withstand a 20 megaton blast, within just a few miles, this impervious underground complex accommodates up to 80 people, for a minimum of one year of fully autonomous survival, without needing to return to the surface."

Like a very comfortable 4-Star hotel, this massive shelter is tastefully and comfortably furnished and decorated, completely outfitted, fully stocked with food, toiletries, linens, medical supplies, a one year supply of fuel, a deep water well, NBC filtration systems, geothermal heating and cooling, bedroom suites, full size showers and bathrooms, a theater area, dining area, lounge area, exercise equipment, kennels, a garden area for fresh vegetables, laundry area, abundant storage areas, ATV's, bicycles, tools, a workshop, security devices; and, just about everything else that may be needed to ride out virtually any catastrophic event.  You only need to bring your personal clothing and medications.  We've thought of everything else! 

Far from any known nuclear targets, this shelter is also strategically located a safe distance away from the New Madrid fault line, the Mississippi River, and all oceans that might cause submersion as a result of a tsunami-type event.  The site is also surrounded by excellent farming, fishing, hunting and water resources.

As the images and video below show, the Vivos Indiana complex indeed has thought of not only every contingency but presents it in utmost luxury.

Below is the video Vivos has created to showcase its Genesis tour:

The company's marketing is solid, if somewhat morbid:

The Vivos network of underground shelters is very real. Watch this video tour of one of the massive shelters built to withstand a 20 megaton blast from just 2 miles. This is one of the smallest Vivos shelters, with accommodations for just 80 people for up to one year of autonomous underground survival. The largest provides shelter for over 2,000 people. At complete build out Vivos will save about 6,000 people - 1 in every 1 million people on Earth in these impervious shelters.

Something is coming. Vivos is prepared for all of the predicted risks, whenever they may occur. Vivos is the only co-ownership community shelter network on the planet. Limited space is still available for those that qualify. Members are now boarding. Don't be left on the other side of the door!

Some more snapshots of the Indiana facility:


Of course, greeing the post-doomsday sun in a 5-star hotel is not cheap. Here is the price list from the company's website.


Still, when it comes to billionaires, $35,000 is a joke. They would much rather spend a whole lot more just to stand out among their equally showy peers.

It is for them, as well as for Europe's billionaires, where should a Grexit indeed take place and things quickly escalate, culminating in a way that nobody can anticipate, that Vivos has just opened its second major ultra-luxury bunker: Vivos Europa One, dubbed "The Elite Shelter for the Privileged Few", which in addition to everything else even has what Vivos calls the "only private human DNA vault on Earth", which offers donors the opportunity to collocate their DNA not in just one place but two: in both the United States and Europe. "Both deep underground shelters offer virtually impervious protection in their hermetically sealed vaults." 

Whether stored for years, decades or more than a century, the Vivos Global Genome Vault pool will be a perpetual depository, preserving life on Earth as we know it.

Or rather, the DNA stored will be of those billionaires who are not only rich but megalomaniacal enough to believe they are worthy to be the template material of all future humans. Which means all of them.

And speaking of everything else, there is a lot. As the Mail reports, the Vivos Europa One shelter is located in Rothenstein, Germany and is one of the most fortified and massive underground survival shelters on Earth. Its 6000 inhabitants can live up to a year without leaving the luxury premises.

According to Forbes, the bunker was "originally built by the Soviets during the Cold War, this shelter was a fortress for military equipment and munitions. After the DDR was merged with Germany, the German government inherited this relic and intended to use it for the same purpose of weapons storage. However, due to a law prohibiting the storage of ammunition near a major highway, the German Government soon realized they could not continue with their plans and decided to auction this 76 acre complex. A wealthy investor purchased the entire property, along with all of its improvements, both above and below ground."

That investor was Vivos' founder Robert Vicino whose "billionaire bunkers" are now on both continents, and who says “We are proud to bring this epic project forward in these increasingly dangerous times.”

The bunkers consists of a planned survival complex that is comparable to billionaire's mega-yacht or mansion - "but much bigger."

It boasts swimming pools, theaters, gyms, restaurants, custom apartments, outdoor space and helicopter service. And as one would expect, the bunker can withstand a nuclear blast, chemical agents, earthquakes, tsunamis, or another disaster. Unlike the Indiana complex where the cost is a relatively cheap $35,000 one time charge for adults, the Europea price list is still secret, although with the property valued at $1.1 billion, it is likely that the final price will be much higher. Underground shelter is currently in 'turnkey operational condition.'

Most importantly, in addition to paying a lot of money for the privilege of reserving a key for the luxurious doomsday bunker, residents will be accepted based on their 'skills' and 'talents.' It is unclear just which billionaire skills Vicinio deems critical for perpetuating humanity: being a legendary insider trader who pays off the government with Picasso painting, being the world's greatest crony capitalist, creating a criminal bank enterprise while scolding people for not being "rich enough", and so forth.

Some more details: the complex includes over 21,108 square meters (227,904 square feet) of secured, blast proof living areas and, an additional 4,079 square meters (43,906 square feet) of above-ground office and warehouse buildings, including a train servicing depot.

The typical chamber area is 5 meters wide (16.40 feet), by 6 meters tall (19.68 feet) and 85 meters (278.87 feet) long. Collectively there are over 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of continuous tunnel chambers (equivalent to 71 Boeing 747’s fuselages stretched end to end). All shelter areas are located behind 3 separate nuclear blast and radiation proof vehicle entrances, and a number of other passages for access by people only. Each of the three main tunnel entrances includes an outer security door system, followed by a 40 ton hydraulic truck access door with hardened steel rods which expand into the surrounding encasement, and a second set of massive steel doors providing an airtight seal shut, protecting against chemical, biological and gas intrusion.

The underground main traffic corridors are large enough to allow mechanical transportation of heavy equipment to almost any point within the complex.

Each family in the complex will be provided with a private 2,500-square-foot apartment, which they can design and build to their own specifications. They may decide to add a pool, a theater or a deluxe bathroom. They will also have access to a hospital area, several restaurants and a bakery.

Other common area amenities will include roadways, a wine cellar, prayer rooms, classrooms, a television station and a detention center.

Once each member’s private accommodations are completed, furnished and fully outfitted, their respective quarters will be locked and secured, limiting access to their families and staff prior to lockdown; while Vivos will operate and maintain all common areas (under and above-ground) pending a catastrophic event.

Members will arrive at their own discretion, prior to lockdown, landing their private planes at nearby airports. Vivos helicopters will then be deployed to rendezvous with each member group, and safely fly them back to the shelter compound, behind the sealed gates from the general public. Members will then enter the shelter and access their private quarters. Each family will pay a base amount for their respective living quarter’s area, along with their fair share of the ongoing stand-by costs for operational management, staffing, taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and restocking as needed.

In short: a complete turnkey operation that every zombie in the post-apocalypse world will desperately try to penetrate and feast on the inhabitants.

And now, without further ado, here is how the world's richest will live in the real world version of the Walking Dead:


With its rolling heels and stunning woodland, the village of Rothenstein looks like an unlikely location for the bunker


The survival bunker can apparently withstand a nuclear blast, chemical agents, earthquakes, tsunamis - and virtually any other disaster. Above, this photo shows a drive-thru blast-proof door at the complex, which will likely be available only to the super-rich.

The Rothenstein facility also boasts 43,906 square feet of above-ground space. Above, an outdoor power station

Vivos Europa One shelter also features its own railway and helicopter service, which picks up residents from nearby airports


Each family in the complex will be provided with a private 2,500-square-foot apartment. Above, a personnel entry door


The luxury shelter was originally built by the Soviets in the Cold War as a fortress for military equipment. Above, its engine room.


Underground, the bunker features countless tunnel chambers, each with their own security system and blast-proof doors


The personnel entry corridor inside the shelter contains an array of white hard hats, with steel pipes running across the ceiling


Water treatment plant: It also has its own self-contained water and power generation system, as well as climate and ventilation systems


This photo depicts 'typical living quarters' in the shelter. It remains unclear how much each family will have to pay


This photos shows a bedroom in the Vivos Europa One shelter, which is being dubbed the world's 'ultimate doomsday escape'


A dining room in the underground bunker


Residents can design and build their apartments to their own specifications.They may decide to add a theater (pictured) 


Other common area amenities will include roadways, a wine cellar and prayer rooms. Above, a theater 


The complex features all modern furnishings


Above, another living quarters


Alongside its catastrophe-proof features, the bunker will include a collection of zoological species and an artifact archive


Most importantly, the bunker in Rothenstein boasts 227,904 square feet of blast-proof living areas, including this planned pub

Psychopathic cop tases 13-yr-old child while choking him!

© Unkown

We have just received a deeply unsettling video of a police officer choking and shooting a child with a taser gun yesterday afternoon, Saturday June 13.

More details are coming out, and we do not have the victim's name yet, nor the officer's name, but we do know this happened in Fallbrook, California. A witness at the scene provided us the following information.

The child was 13-yrs-old (on the video other witnesses assume he's "15 or 16″ but our sources say he is in fact 13). He was riding on his skateboard with other young boys behind a shopping center, and there happened to be a patrol car parked nearby.

At some point an officer inside of the patrol car told the 13-yr-old child to "get in the car."

The child replied, "Why?"

The officer then warned, "You don't want to get dropped."

Witnesses say that at this point the child became scared and continued skating to a safe place away from the officer.

That is when the officer got out of his vehicle and began slugging the child on the back, according to witnesses.

The cop then "dropped" the child to the ground. At this point several witnesses pulled out their phones and began recording.

The cop can be seen in the video tackling and wrestling the child to the concrete.

But then the unthinkable happens. The video shows the cop locking the child in what appears to be a rear chokehold.

As the child is being choked from behind, the officer uses his free hand to bring his taser gun up to the child's back and shoot it into his spinal area. The child can be heard screaming, flipping around, and his legs can be seen firing up and down in pain.

The officer then shouts, "Put your f***ing hands behind your back!"

The child can be heard saying "I can't" while screaming.

The next tasering is even more horrendous. The cop literally has the child pinned down to the concrete, and begins tasing his back again. The child's body can be seen convulsing uncontrollably, his legs flinging up into the air backwards, suggestion serious cardiac problems at this point or possibly seizures.

The other witnesses are heard getting angry and pleading with the cop to stop the attack, saying "He's just a kid!"

The cop drags the child up and forces him into the patrol car — the child looks visibly injured or motionless. During the final moments of the scene, the officer still has his taser gun out and begins approaching the witnesses. The witnesses are heard asking a nearby citizen for help.

"It was scary," one of them told .

"We thought he was gonna start tasing us too."

The video then cuts out. The witness said that after the video ended, the cop went around to everybody and demanded their phones to delete the footage.

Fortunately, he was not able to delete all of it. One phone made it out with the footage, which is what you see below.

Other officers showed up, but according to witnesses, those officers did not know what had just occurred. The officer who did the tasing told them that his "arm was injured" as if he was the victim in all of this. He requested to be hauled away in an ambulance, apparently.

Warning: this video is graphic.

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Some of the most obnoxious things rich people have done recently


© Unknown
Lloyd Blankfein and the scowl that says it all.

Millionaires and billionaires have resumed their ostentatious and tin-eared ways.

After the dust cleared from the economic implosion of 2007-2008, being rich became briefly unpopular. Investment firm CEOs, Wall Street bankers and craven house flippers had crashed the economy, and as details of their Gatsby-esqe lifestyle surfaced—Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld, for instance, took a helicopter to work before his century-old firm collapsed—their conspicuous consumption turned insult to injury.

That didn't last long. Bank and corporate profits rebounded quickly, and with all but one banker getting off the legal hook, hardly anybody suffered any consequences for ruining the economy. Sure enough, millionaires and billionaires resumed their profligate, ostentatious and tin-eared ways, but whereas before the bubble burst these were badges of a surging economy, now they came off as self-parody. From arguing for a $2 wage to buying $150 million sculptures, here are the worst of the rich from the past seven years.

The most hubristic example comes in the form of the two entities suing the federal government for bailing them out during the financial crisis. As the reported this week, both former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg and the shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have seen suits once considered shots in the dark suddenly snag the eye of sympathetic judges, setting them up for an unexpected payday from the same entity that kept them from collapsing.

Greenberg oversaw AIG for decades as its chair and initiated many of the practices that left it dangling over its 2008 precipice, the same week Lehman Brothers collapsed. The government pumped an astonishing $85 billion into the bank—in exchange for 80% ownership.

It's that last part Greenberg objects to, arguing the government "diluted" shares of the stock before seizing it in what amounted to a punishment of shareholders, a penalty not imposed on other bailout recipients. Greenberg considers that stock his property, and he wants $23 billion worth of it back.

The U.S. government can barely believe its ears. AIG was days from bankruptcy when the feds injected it with a life-saving infusion of cash. Further, it was AIG that had asked for the government intervention, and had agreed to the stock as a trade. Greenberg, who was kicked out of the company in 2005 but still owned a good deal of that stock, doesn't care: he thinks the government bullied him and his shareholders in 2008 in saving his company, and the 90-year-old wants revenge.

Major shareholders for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, meanwhile, have sued the government for post-bailout profits on the public/private hybrid mortgage financers. The government put the failing mortgage giants into a conservatorship in 2008 and pumped almost $200 billion into them. Along the way it created "preferred shares," some of which went to the government, and others of which were sold at a massive discount to private traders.

But the government's plan was always to phase out the companies, which essentially federalized risk in exchange for private profit. In the meantime, having sold the shares at a discount, the Treasury has been keeping most of the profit, not entirely out of line given that it saved the company in the first place. But while efforts to replace the companies have stalled, shares have risen almost 1400%, and the shareholders now argue that the Treasury's keeping of the profits amounts to a Fifth Amendment violation.

The judge looks to be buying it, no pun intended. As a result, investors are gobbling up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stock in anticipation of Greenberg's win, with one market watcher calling it "the most interesting risk-reward that I am aware of in the capital markets right now." That's bust to boom in seven years, thanks to the government its shareholders are now suing.

Those demanding the government give back the money are an evolution from the more standard post-crash line that the government actually precipitated the crisis, despite the banks' criminal (and unpunished) behavior.

Fuld, in his first public appearance since the collapse of Lehman Brothers made him a national pariah, actually blamed lack of oversight on his own industry for some of the mess (a lack of oversight Lehman very much took advantage of in the mid-aughts) while reserving the lion's share of the blame for the Federal Reserve, which he argued triggered the crisis with its control of interest rates. In Fuld's formulation, Lehman Brothers was actually a victim, either of government regulation or lack thereof.

Some have gone so far as to argue that the regulations, watered down though they are, put in place since the collapse will actually cause the next crisis, as Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman argued in the this week. Schwarzman, an equity advisor worth billions and with a thing for lavish birthday parties, is especially troubled by the Volcker Rule, which prohibits banks from making speculative trades with customers' funds, one of the most reckless practices that contributed to the economic collapse.

According to Schwarzman, this rule is unnecessary, as banks have regained their strength (as if that were the problem the first time around) and moreover will cause banks to hoard liquidity, denying it for loans and triggering a downward spiral. Thus, the only way to stop the next financial disaster is to repeal the main rules put in place to prevent it—the same rules that Fuld bemoaned caused the last meltdown.

These are the rich who want the rules to change for themselves. A number of them are also running around telling the rest of us that we need to make do with less or else some vague economic catastrophe awaits us. (The idea that the rich might make do with left is always spoken of as shadow socialism.)

So it was with Gina Rinehart, an Aussie who inherited an $18 billion mining fortune, who implied that if the poor wanted more jobs they needed to start matching the developing world's wages of $2/day. "The evidence is inarguable that Australia is becoming too expensive and too uncompetitive to do export-oriented business," Rinehart said in 2012. "Africans want to work, and its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day. Such statistics make me worry for this country's future." If Rinehart recognized that Australia's working class making $440/year might have some impact on her country's economy as well, she didn't show it.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was less worried about workers' wages than how long they'd be earning them, telling CBS News in 2012 that the retirement age needed to be raised to fix entitlements because "we" can't afford them. Raising the retirement age is a common solution aired by think tankers and columnists, all of whom have easy, low-stress jobs they can comfortably continue past the age of sixty-five. It's a much different story for the rest of the world that is often rundown by decades of physical labor. That many have to work even longer because their retirements were injured by the financial collapse was apparently not something that bothered Blankfein.

Plutocrats are even invading the delivery room. In a now-infamous (and disputed) anecdote from an Elon Musk biography, a former worker said Musk scolded him for missing a company to-do to be present at the birth of his child. According to the employee Musk told him it was "no excuse," adding, "you need to figure out where your priorities are." (Musk denies having said this.) Apparently making do with less includes family births.

Then there's the increasingly lavish ways plutocrats find to spend their excessive wealth. Steven Cohen, a Connecticut hedge fund manager worth billions of dollars, was revealed this week as the mystery purchaser of "Pointing Man," an Alberto Giacometti bronze statue bought from Christie's last month for $141 million, making it the most expensive sculpture ever sold. (In 2006, David Geffen sold a Jackson Pollack for $140 million, one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.) Cohen, in true plutocrat form, recently settled the Security and Exchange Commission for insider trading, paying almost $2 billion in fines.

"Pointing Man" is not even Cohen's most ridiculous possession. That award will have to go to Romeo the pig, a gigantic hog who, lest you were feeling successful in life, had his own room in Cohen's mansion. Romeo was of a piece with Cohen's interest in fashion, as one rumor had it that "the pig had a tattoo on his face and that he appeared to be a walking piece of art." Feel bad for Romeo, as he was dispatched to a vegan farm for being too ornery. Maybe next time he should settle for $2/day.

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Invasion of the blob? Giant purple sea slugs slime California beaches

© Morgan Dill
Giant sea slugs called sea hares have been washing up in some East Bay beaches in unusual numbers this summer.

Alameda -- A giant purple blob from the sea -- a slug -- is invading East Bay beaches and waterways this summer to the wonder and curiosity of beach combers and naturalists.

It's no danger to people -- unlike the tar-like in the classic 1958 science-fiction movie about an alien goo that devours everything in its path. These California sea hares are harmless plant eaters, but their big size and unusual abundance this year is turning heads at the shorelines at Crab Cove in Alameda and Miller Knox Regional Park in Richmond, and also Lake Merritt in Oakland and Tomales Bay in Marin County. One Alameda beach visitor called police to report he had spotted a human heart sprawled in the sand.

Nope, he was told, it was just a California sea hare likely washing onto East Bay beaches, tide pools and inlets more often this year because of unusually warm water hugging the California coast.

"We are getting calls from the public asking what the heck is this big weird purple blob," said Carolyn Jones, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Regional Park District. "It's native to our area. It's not endangered, but they are rarely seen other than an occasional one here or there." Officials have no precise count, but dozens have been seen on some beaches at the same time, and two dozen were spotted last month in an inlet to Lake Merritt in Oakland. The first ones were spotted last fall, but more have been seen in May and June -- including ones that captured the crowd's attention last weekend at an annual sand castle building contest at Crown Beach in Alameda.

© Ken-ichi Ueda
Giant sea slugs called sea hares have begun appearing in Lake Merritt in Oakland.

The slugs can reach 15 pounds or more and 30 inches in length, although the ones in the East Bay are smaller -- about the size of a large fist, croissant, or, for that matter, a heart. They are called sea hares because their thick antennae resemble rabbit ears.

They wash up along beaches or sand flats after laying their eggs and dying, naturalists say.

The boom of sea hares may be related to warmer temperatures near coastal waters, said Morgan Dill, a naturalist at the Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda.

"We can't say for sure why we're seeing so many, but the Bay temperatures are definitely warmer this year," Dill said.

The warm coastal waters also are linked to the appearance of a small pink slug called Hopkin's rose nudibranch in Northern California waters this year, said Terry Gosliner, senior curator at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The small slug is typically found much farther south of the Bay Area.

© Morgan Dill
Giant sea slugs called sea hares have been washing up in some East Bay beaches in unusual numbers this summer. This is a mass of sea hare eggs.

"We're seeing more of these kinds of warming events, and I suspect it may be part of long-term global change," Gosliner said. "These are signals."

He said the abundance of sea hares also may be related to a periodic population boom in the mollusks.

In Oakland, local resident Joel Peter was stoked last month to see about 22 sea hares moving through in a canal into Lake Merritt.

He said he believes Oakland helped open up the sea slugs path to the lake with a canal widening that increased tidal flows into the lake from San Francisco Bay.

"I had never seen one before, and then all of a sudden there were 22 of them with these brilliant colors," Peter said. "They really caught my eye."

Raccoon realizes it is not a rock or log

© Richard Jones
Raccoon stands on top of gator.

Ocala, Florida —A Palatka man said he snapped a picture of a raccoon on top of an alligator in the Ocala National Forest Sunday morning.

Richard Jones said he and his family were walking along the Oaklawaha River watching alligators when his son walked through some palm fronds to get a good picture.

Jones said his son must have startled the raccoon, which stumbled toward the water and hopped on top of the gator that was nearby. Jones was able to quickly take the unique photo before the raccoon scurried back on land.

"I snapped a lucky picture right when the gator slipped into the water and before the raccoon jumped off and scurried away. Without the context you'd think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river. Pretty amazing," Jones said in an email. "Definitely the photo of a lifetime."

Raccoon realizes this is not a rock or log

© Richard Jones
Raccoon stands on top of gator.

Ocala, Florida —A Palatka man said he snapped a picture of a raccoon on top of an alligator in the Ocala National Forest Sunday morning.

Richard Jones said he and his family were walking along the Oaklawaha River watching alligators when his son walked through some palm fronds to get a good picture.

Jones said his son must have startled the raccoon, which stumbled toward the water and hopped on top of the gator that was nearby. Jones was able to quickly take the unique photo before the raccoon scurried back on land.

"I snapped a lucky picture right when the gator slipped into the water and before the raccoon jumped off and scurried away. Without the context you'd think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river. Pretty amazing," Jones said in an email. "Definitely the photo of a lifetime."

75-year-old Texas woman recieves ridiculous arrest warrant for tall grass; four children come to the rescue


© Screengrab/KWTX

Had it not been for the help of four young brothers, a 75-year-old Texas woman could have ended up in handcuffs already. Why? Because the grass in her field was overgrown.

After seeing a news report that the city of Riesel had issued an arrest warrant for Gerry Suttle because she never received a court summons for her grass, missed her hearing and got a bench warrant, Blaine Reynolds and his brothers leaped into action in an effort to keep her out of jail.

"It's a summer day, we don't have season passes yet to Hawaiian Falls," Blaine Reynolds, one of the boys, told local station KWTX on Wednesday. What else could we do but go out and help some people."

The station reports that the boys' good deed inspired neighbors to step in and help mow Suttle's lawn. But even the neighborhood effort couldn't keep the city off the elderly woman's back.

On Thursday, she received another summons to appear before a judge concerning her lawn, the station reports.

"Just leave me alone," Suttle told KWTX. "I've lived here 59 years. I don't know how much longer I've got to live here."

She's due in court June 16.

"It is very heartbreaking to see that someone that I didn't even know came out and spent two hours in the sun doing what we thought the city wanted done and then them turn around and say 'no,'" Suttle told CBS News.

But keeping Suttle out of the grips of city officials has now become a community effort.

"I'd do it for her a second time, or a third time," Blaine Reynolds told CBS News. "Anything to keep that lady from having to go to court."

Overgrown lawns seem to be a big deal in Texas. Rick Yoes, a 58-year-old Grand Prairie resident, spent two nights in jail earlier this year over the condition of his lawn, WFAA reports.

But Suttle said she's ready to fight the city if she must. According to The Free Thought Project, she had some choice words for Riesel city officials.

"Straighten their act up. Read the state laws, before bailing off into something stupid,"

American Conservative magazine: Why the U.S. needs endless war, not victory

© Sputnik/ Vladimir Pirogov
Freedom and democracy is a warm gun.

America doesn't "win" its wars, because winning a war is secondary to other goals in our war making. Winning or losing has little immediate consequence for the United States, because the wars we start, Wars of Choice, are not of vital national interest; losing doesn't mean getting invaded or our cities being destroyed. The following are some of the interests Washington has in , reasons for our unending wars.

1) War sustains the (very) profitable log-rolling contracts for supplies in key congressional districts, grants for university faculties to study strategy, new funding for new weapons. During wartime who dares question almost any Pentagon cost "to defend America?"

2) Continued conflict postpones hard decisions about cutting defense spending such as closing surplus bases, cutting duplicate systems, and focusing on waste. See 16 Ways to Cut Defense. Shakespeare put it well, advising a king to have lots of foreign wars in order to have tranquility at home.

3) Starting wars is the historic way for kings (and presidents) to gain popularity and avoid doing tough domestic reforms for problems that cry out for solutions. War lets them be postponed. Think of George W. Bush winning election on promises to balance the budget, have health care reform, reform our bankrupt social security commitments, tackle the EPA, take on the teachers' unions, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and such. Instead, with war, all those issues were swept aside. He won his re-election by having even bigger deficit warfare/welfare spending and increasing the national debt by trillions.

4) Private "contractors" profit from continuing crises. They don't get paid in peacetime like ordinary soldiers, rather profiting from war, or at least from America having more enemies to guard against. In Iraq and Afghanistan we had hundreds of thousands of them, very well paid (often former military) and now largely in lesser-paid jobs.

5) Washington's community prospers. Think tank intellectuals get lots of TV exposure and lectures, new funding produces new jobs and government grants and trips to the excitement of battlefields, or at least to comfy headquarters, to study the "enemy." Congressmen get more TV time; critics can be condemned for hurting the war effort or even aiding the enemy. Everyone feels important. Heritage Foundation interns were recruited to help administer Iraq, and while not every war produces jobs even for interns, money flows everywhere.

6) Cable TV gets more viewers (e.g. more advertising revenue). Instead of interminable, boring coverage of the same old event, think of CNN's repeated coverage of the disappeared Malaysian airliner for weeks, wars are exciting and gain 24-hour coverage and viewers.

7) Military careers. Our Army and Navy are designed for past wars where soldiers and sailors were mostly identically trained to be able to fill identical slots for fallen comrades or sunken ships. Officer careers were based upon well-rounded experience and commands. Third world wars are different. In nations without a rule of law everything is based upon personal relationships with tribal and military leaders. The British and Roman empires sent out staffers to spend a lifetime gaining confidences and studying different tribes, religions, and local issues. For America, every officer has dozens behind him wanting to get some "war" experience on their resumes. So officers rarely stay longer than a year on any battlefield posting, barely enough time to learn the area and gain the confidence of local leaders, much less learn their languages. Long, interminable wars allow for many more officers to get "their tickets punched," as the saying goes.

8) We can't absorb many casualties, so to minimize them we bomb and obliterate whole villages and towns (think Fallujah), creating a constant supply of new enemies. If winning was really important we would have to absorb many more casualties and station many more troops for many more years to occupy and pacify the conquered (liberated) nations. Instead we just fight on for years without end.

9) Few Americans want to spend lifetimes studying tribes, religions, and customs in obscure, boring, and uncomfortable regions of the world. The British Empire was heavily staffed by poor Scots and Irish who could find few jobs at home. America does not have that problem facing the skilled, educated elites capable of administering far-flung possessions.

10) Our Congress is more concerned with appearances than winning. Political grandstanding, appearing tough, and pandering to local constituencies are the main objectives for most of them. Think of Iran, where no peace agreement acceptable to Iran and our European allies is likely to gain Congressional approval. Another unending war is more likely and could easily expand to blowing up oil and gas resources all over the Persian Gulf.

11) Our internal security establishment, costing hundreds of billions, needs threats. Think of how often the FBI provides fake bombs and weapons to wannabe terrorist young macho males dreaming of acting out their fantasies. Unending wars fulfill this need. If America actually "won," many of their (well paid) jobs would be superfluous.

12) We are very vulnerable to false flag operations and paid foreign propaganda. Various foreign nations or rebel interests want us to bomb and/or invade their local enemies. Our recent attack on Libya was based on false information, spread by our allies. Saudi Arabia wants us to destroy Iran, Turkey wanted us to attack Assad in Syria, Israeli (and neocon) hawks wanted us to "rip apart" Iraq. Kuwait's sheiks paid millions for a PR campaign for America to attack Iraq the first time, and so on.

We could "win" if we followed Sun Tzu and learned from history and from the advice of our founding fathers. But, as stated above, we don't really want to win; too many Americans benefit from unending wars.

We are not the first empire to confront this problem. However, in the past such unending wars were limited by their costs. But America can always, so far, borrow the money from foreigners. Think though how the Chinese, who have loaned us much of the money, benefit from America eventually weakening itself from continually bashing our heads against religious fanatics, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents and making enemies of much of the Muslim world. As Rand Paul commented, it was American war hawks who created ISIS and much of the chaos in the Middle East. Yet we don't really lose wars either. As retired Marine four-star General Mattis says, America doesn't lose wars, it just loses interest and withdraws from fighting them.

Ideas to limit Washington's profligacy of interventions are beginning to break through into the media, though. Fareed Zakaria supported Rand Paul, writing that he was "forcing Republicans and many Democrats to defend what has become a lazy, smug consensus in favor of an ever-expanding national security state." The very respected Peggy Noonan now writes that "we spend too much on the military which not only adds to our debt, but guarantees that our weapons will be used." She quotes policy expert Ian Bremmer—"Policy makers will find uses for them to justify their expense which will implicate us in crises that are none of our business."

Increase in cosmic rays

For the past month, solar activity has been low. The last big burst of solar activity happened on May 5th when an X2-class solar flare erupted from the sun's eastern limb. Since then ... quiet. To investigate the effect of low solar activity on the atmosphere, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been launching helium balloons at ~weekly intervals. Equipped with X-ray and gamma-ray sensors, the balloons measure ionizing radiation all the way from ground level to the stratosphere. Here are the results:

© SpaceWeather.com

During the past month of low solar activity, ionizing radiation in the stratosphere has increased by 10%. This may seem counterintuitive, but there is a simple explanation: The radiation we measure is dominated by cosmic rays--a mix of subatomic particles, X-rays and gamma-rays that come from outside the solar system. Explosions on the sun (especially CMEs) tend to push these cosmic rays away from Earth. During the past month, however, there have been relatively few CMEs. Fewer CMEs means more cosmic rays. Yin-yang.

Cosmic rays are an important form of space weather. They matter to anyone who steps foot on an airplane. According to NASA, a 100,000 mile frequent flier will absorb a dose of radiation equivalent to 10 chest X-rays--all from cosmic rays. Cosmic rays have also been linked to cloud cover, lightning, and they may play some role in climate change.

If the sun remains quiet, cosmic rays could increase even more. Stay tuned for updates from the stratosphere.

Absurd ordinance would ban smoking in downtown Providence, Rhode Island


© Jeff Nickerson/Wikimedia Commons
Burnside Park

You can already get a ticket if you smoke in Burnside Park or any other city park in Providence. That ordinance was passed six months ago. Next up -- if it passes -- all downtown public spaces.

Businessman and former Mayor Joe Paolino walks the street that rings the south end of Kennedy Plaza, pointing out the discarded cigarette butts that litter the area. In fairness, the ashtrays were removed he says to discourage smoking. But more importantly, it's the secondhand smoke.

"I don't think that the secondhand smoke is healthy for anybody that has to breathe that smoke. And I think we can clean up our city at the same time," Paolino said.

Some agree. Even some smokers. Mark Brier was smoking in Kennedy Plaza when I asked where he would go to smoke if he couldn't smoke outside downtown.

"I'd go to another city. They're getting too expensive anyway," he said.

Frank LaTorre of Riverside would like to see the ordinance passed by saying, "Does someone have a right to put that kind of carcinogen into the air?" I asked him, "What about car exhaust?" He said, "It's a problem too. We're trying to deal with that as well. But you can't do everything. But I think in terms of secondhand smoke, that it's an incredible health hazard."

Some do not agree, like Kelly Masterson of North Providence.

"Just because it's Kennedy Plaza that's where people (smoke)," said said.

She said it's absurd that people who pass by can smell it.

Brandon Cooke of Wakefield is not a fan.

"We live in America, should have a right to freedoms. I mean, maybe they should make smoking sections," he said.

Christina Murphy of Whitesboro, New York, stopping by in Providence on a trip back from Northern New England with a friend, said they both love the city.

"I don't support smoking, that's just my opinion. but I think you should be able to smoke outside the park area," Murphy said.

This particular ordinance, that admittedly would be hard to enforce, only includes downtown outdoor public space, not Federal Hill, Thayer, Wickenden, or any other neighborhood.

"Providence will be at the cutting edge of cities nationally and we'll be probably the first capital city in america to try to get this passed in this downtown, which I think will just be great," Paolino said.

Already three cities in Colorado have outdoor smoking bans, as does Mobile, Alabama; Burlington, Vermont; Burbank, California; and parts of New York and Los Angeles.

DDT: The gift that keeps on giving?



The DDT manufactured back in Rachel Carson's day, recent reports indicate, is still killing robins and other birds. The Velsicol Corporation that produced it is the company that threatened Rachel Carson with a lawsuit if she dared to publish her environmental health classic, , in 1962. Carson ignored the threats and helped spark the modern environmental movement. Velsicol continued to manufacture DDT, dieldrin, and other nasty pesticides now banned until they closed and were later taken over by the EPA in 1981.

The Velsicol legacy today is a series of toxic Superfund sites, in and around St. Louis, Michigan, north of Lansing, that are still killing robins over fifty years after Recent findings from the EPA covered in a new report from Environmental Health News show that a nearby elementary school and neighborhood homes have levels of DDT harmful to birds. And they may also pose health risks to children. Although EPA sampling to date has not found levels in playing fields that are considered harmful to kids, some neighbors' yards have shown amounts of DDT that are hazardous to humans. Erring on the side of caution, the EPA is digging up the fields at St. Louis' TS Nurnberger Middle School and removing its DDT-contaminated dirt.

Significantly, the EPA only monitored the elementary school fields after continued pressure from activist community groups. Environmental Health News quotes Jane Keon, secretary of the Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force, who said there was major flooding about 20 years ago, which left the school athletic fields under seven feet of water, depositing contaminated sediment from the nearby Pine River.

"We all assumed there was DDT on that field," Keon said. "We kept telling the EPA that they should test there."

Velsicol's legacy also consists of toxic residues throughout surrounding neighborhoods of other chemicals like the PBBs used as flame retardants in pajamas. All in all, to date, some 25,000 tons of dirt have been removed in residential areas alone, with another 18,000 tons still to come.

What is of most concern, however, is that no comprehensive human health studies have yet to be carried out for the residents in and around Velsicol and the Pine River watershed.

Clearly, citizens of the entire area still face significant environmental health risks despite clean ups over the years and some improvements in the rates of animal and bird deaths. In addition to robins, Rachel Carson was most prophetic in about the health effects from DDT and other toxins on people. These include effects on fertility, immunity, hormones and brain development -- with children and fetuses at higher risk.

What may be most significant of all about the findings of bird and human health risks from the Velsicol chemical legacy, however, is it relevance to contemporary debate over pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Thousands of new pesticides and other potentially toxic chemicals are manufactured each year. Given constant conservative attacks on the EPA and limits on its funding, most new chemicals are not even tested. And, like the Velsicol Corporation before them, a number of today's chemical manufacturers still strenuously oppose any serious regulation or control.

And, as if to honor the toxic legacy of Velsicol, they continue to attack and attempt to discredit Rachel Carson more than fifty years after her death. Chemical polluters understand the lasting danger to them from the accuracy and prophetic nature of Carson's scientific warnings about pesticides and the persuasive power of her writing. They hope to discredit, or at least tarnish, her science and, by association, all environmentalists. But the dead robins and human health hazards caused by DDT still found near the old Velsicol site in Michigan are clear evidence that the manufacturers have been wrong and that was right.

Racist Walmart throws four black men out of store for 'walking too slow,' one arrested

Since the advent of smartphones, America has become a laundromat - all its unmentionables are showing and people are beginning to talk now that all the cotton and lace is visible. Much the way smartphones have allowed the common practice of police brutality to be witnessed nationally and thereby condemned, so we are able to do the same with racism.

Though thankfully no one was killed in the video below now circulating social media, it is nonetheless disturbing and repulsive to witness thanks to those very same smartphones, not to mention the foresight of the fella to begin filming the incident in the first place. Somehow, coupled with the climate of endless murders of unarmed black folks by (typically) white cops, this video of a group of four black men being kicked out of a Pensacola, Florida, Walmart for "walking too slow" rounds out the reality and broader picture of systemic racism in the United States.

MTO SHOCK VIDEO: Walmart CALLS POLICE On Black Men Shopping . . One Man Was ARRESTED . . . Because Officer Says He 'Shopped Too Slowly'!! (This MUST Stop - #BlackLivesMatter#) - FULL STORY - bit.ly/1L2Epge
Posted by Mediatakeout on Friday, June 12, 2015

You don't have to be killed in the streets by the police for no reason in order to experience racism. It comes in many shapes, forms, and in nearly any degree. In this case, one man was even arrested for maintaining his right to continue shopping, having committed no crimes or behaved in a manner that would justify the store's request that he leave. Officers also threw his phone to the ground and broke the screen even though the man never resisted or struggled in the slightest while handcuffed.

The incident began after the four men had been in the store "a few minutes," according MediaTakeOut. One of the men, later revealed to have been in a car accident recently, drove one of the store's electric carts. Apparently, however, the store's manager felt the men were "taking too long," and rather than approaching them, himself, to voice his bigotry to their faces, he called the police on them instead, seeking to have them removed from the store.

The video clearly shows the men remaining calm, though somewhat indignant, as most anyone would be in such a situation. In response to being told to leave the store by a police officer, one man can be heard saying, "F*ck you," and good for him. He and the folks in his party are then met with a barrage of profanity and intimidation to leave the store. One of them is eventually accused of "showing his ass," which more than likely is simply a reference to sagging. All the men, naturally respond that no one was "showing their ass" and that they would not leave the store. In response, they are then threatened with arrest if they do not immediately leave.

Facing arrest, the men start slowly making their way toward the front of the store, arguing in disbelief the entire time, insisting that they were still going to purchase the few goods they'd picked up on their way out.

They were not successful, however, as the man driving the electric cart was placed in handcuffs, arrested and ushered outside by one officer as his friends followed him, pleading with the cop that arresting the man was unnecessary, stating over and again, "We don't need this!"

A second cop shows up then, also white, and shoos the arrestee's friends away, ushering them off into the parking lot to enter their vehicle and leave the premises while their friend is being arrested for nothing more than insisting on his right to shop in a public business.

As the men back off toward their car, still grumbling about the absurdity of it all, one of them yelled out:

"This is so racist!"

Unbelievably, the second cop on the scene yelled back:

"Yeah, it is! Take off! TAKE OFF!"

Later that same cop told the men as he stood waiting for them to get in their car and leave that it didn't matter what their argument against it was, Walmart had called and told him they wanted the men removed from the store and that's what he needed to do.

It is currently unknown what charges the man arrested has received, possibly trespassing, or possibly none at all. Perhaps they just wanted to get rid of him for the night and ran him through the mill only to let him loose. The system works in mysterious ways.

What clear, however, is that the entire scene and arrest was unjust, unless of course something occurred off camera before the filming started, though judging by the calm demeanor of the men and the shifty, lame accusations for kicking them out, that scenario seems highly unlikely.

And that's, racism, folks. Part of it. That's one example, and now, just like police brutality, we can start filming it for the world to see. In forcing America to look at itself, it becomes harder to deny the reality and compels us to improve ourselves. Through improving ourselves we improve our nation. This can be applied to anything. Sexism, domestic violence - you name it. Document injustice and let the world see all that cotton and lace spinning around in our communities every day if only to help folks see that no matter how much they like to avoid the subject, those unmentionables still very much exist.

'Drugs, Oil and War' - The hidden government group

Peter Dale Scott is considered the father of "Deep Politics"— the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected, appointed and career officials who come and go. A Professor of English at Berkeley and a former Canadian diplomat, he is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the pivotal events of our country's recent past. Daniel Ellsberg said of his book Drugs, Oil and War, "It makes most academic and journalistic explanations of our past and current interventions read like government propaganda written for children." What follows is based on a recent Scott lecture entitled "The JFK Assassination and Other Deep Events".


© Unknown
Mount Weather entrance.

For some time now, I have been analyzing American history in the light of what I have called structural deep events: events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, or 9/11, which repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, are mysterious to begin with, are embedded in ongoing covert processes, have political consequences that enlarge covert government, and are subsequently covered up by systematic falsifications in the mainstream media and internal government records. [1]

The more I study these deep events, the more I see suggestive similarities between them, increasing the possibility that they are not unrelated external intrusions on American history, but parts of an endemic process, sharing to some degree or other a common source. [2]

For example, one factor linking Dallas, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11, has been the involvement in all four deep events of personnel involved in America's highest-level emergency planning, known since the 1950s as Continuity of Government (COG) planning, or more colloquially inside the Pentagon as "the Doomsday Project." A few of these actors may have been located at the top, as overseers of the secret COG system. Others - including some I shall talk about today - were located further down in its secret communications network.

I see this planning group as one among many in what I have chosen to call the American deep state, along with agencies like the CIA and NSA, the private groups like Booz Allen Hamilton to which more than half of the US intelligence budget is outsourced, [3] and finally the powerful banks and corporations whose views are well represented in the CIA and NSA. But if only one group among many, the COG planning group is also special, because of its control of and access to a communications channel, not under government control, that can reach deeply into the US social structure. I discuss these matters at some length in my next book, The American Deep State, due out in November.

COG planning was originally authorized by Truman and Eisenhower as planning for a response to a crippling atomic attack that had decapitated government. In consequence its planning group contemplated extreme measures, including what Alfonso Chardy in 1987 called "suspension of the Constitution." [4] And yet in Iran-Contra its asset of a secret communications network, developed for the catastrophe of decapitation, was used instead to evade an official embargo on arms sales to Iran that dated back to 1979. My question today is whether the network could have been similarly misused in November 1963.

The Iran-contra misuse has been well-documented. Oliver North supervised the sale of arms to Iran by using his resources as the National Security Council action officer for COG planning, under cover of a "National Program Office" that was overseen by then Vice-President George H. W. Bush. [5] North and his superiors could thus use the COG emergency network, known then as Flashboard, for the arms sales to Iran that had to be concealed from other parts of the Washington bureaucracy as well as the public. So when North had to send emergency instructions for arms delivery to the US Embassy in Lisbon, instructions that directly contravened the embargo prohibiting such sales, he used the Flashboard network to avoid alerting the Ambassador and other unwitting personnel.

The documented example of Iran-Contra allows me to explain what I am saying about the users of the COG network, and also what I am not saying. To begin with, I am not saying that a single "Secret Team" has for decades been using the COG network to manipulate the US Government from outside it. There is no evidence to suggest that North's actions in Iran-Contra were known to any of his superiors other than CIA chief William Casey and probably George Bush. The point is that a very small group had access to a high-level secret network outside government review, in order to implement a program in opposition to government policy. They succumbed to the temptation to use this secure network that had been designed for other purposes. I have argued elsewhere that this secure network was used again on 9/11, to implement key orders for which the 9/11 Commission could find no records. [6] Whether it was also used for illicit purposes is not known.

It is certain that the COG emergency network program survived North's demise, and continued to be secretly developed for decades, at a cost of billions, and overseen by a team including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. It is relevant that the two men's presence on the committee spanned three administrations - those of Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton — even though at one point under Clinton neither man held a position inside the U.S. government. Such continuity was essential for a group so secret that few records existed of its activities. And on 9/11 COG plans were officially implemented for the first time, by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the two men who had planned them for so many years. [7]

Whether or not they knew about Iran-Contra, Cheney and Rumsfeld were on the COG planning committee at the time of Iran-Contra. There is no such obvious link between COG planning and Watergate, but the involvement of COG personnel in Watergate is nonetheless striking. James McCord, one of the Watergate burglars, was a member of a small Air Force Reserve unit in Washington attached to the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) that was assigned "to draw up lists of radicals and to develop contingency plans for censorship of the news media and U.S. mail in time of war." [8] His unit was part of the Wartime Information Security Program (WISP), which had responsibility for activating "contingency plans for imposing censorship on the press, the mails and all telecommunications (including government communications) [and] preventive detention of civilian 'security risks,' who would be placed in military 'camps.'" [9] In addition, John Dean, perhaps the central Watergate figure, had overseen secret COG activities when serving as the associate deputy attorney general. [10]


© UPI/File

In the case of the JFK assassination, I wish to focus on two men who functioned as part of the communications network of the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP), the agency renamed in 1968 as the Office of Emergency Preparedness (to which McCord was attached), and renamed again in 1982 as the National Program Office (for which Oliver North was the action officer). [11]

These two men (there are others) are Winston Lawson, the Secret Service advance man who from the lead car of the motorcade was in charge of the Secret Service radio channels operating in the motorcade; and Jack Crichton, the army intelligence reserve officer who with Deputy Dallas Police Chief George Lumpkin selected the Russian interpreter for Marina Oswald's first (and falsified) FBI interview. [12]

Lawson has drawn the critical attention of JFK researchers, both for dubious actions he took before and during the assassination, and also for false statements he made after it (some of them under oath). For example, Lawson reported after the assassination that motorcycles were deployed on "the right and left flanks of the President's car" (17 WH 605). On the morning of November 22, however, the orders had been changed (3 WH 244), so that the motorcycles rode instead, as Lawson himself testified to the Warren Commission, "just back of the President's car" (4 WH 338; cf. 21 WH 768-70). Captain Lawrence of the Dallas Police testified that that the proposed side escorts were redeployed to the rear on Lawson's own instructions (7 WH 580-81; cf. 18 WH 809, 21 WH 571). This would appear to have left the President more vulnerable to a possible crossfire.

Early on November 22, at Love Field, Lawson installed, in what would become the lead car, the base radio whose frequencies were used by all Secret Service agents on the motorcade. This radio channel, operated by the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), was used for some key decisions before and after the assassination, yet its records, unlike those of the Dallas Police Department (DPD) Channels One and Two, were never made available to the Warren Commission, or any subsequent investigation. The tape was not withheld because it was irrelevant; on the contrary, it contained very significant information.

The WHCA actually reports to this day on its website that the agency was "a key player in documenting the assassination of President Kennedy." [13] However it is not clear for whom this documentation was conducted, or why it was not made available to the Warren Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, or the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). [14] It should have been.

For one thing, the WHCA tape, as Vincent Palamara has written, contains the "key" to the unresolved mystery of who, after the shooting, redirected the motorcade to Parkland hospital. The significance of this apparently straightforward command, about which there was much conflicting testimony, is heightened when we read repeated orders on the Dallas Police radio transcript to "cut all traffic for the ambulance going to Parkland code 3" (17 WH 395) - the ambulance in question having nothing to do with the president (whose shooting had not yet been announced on the DPD radio). In fact the ambulance had been dispatched about ten minutes before the assassination to pick someone from in front of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD), who was wrongly suspected of having suffered an epileptic seizure. [15]

Lawson later reported to the Secret Service that he heard on his radio "that we should proceed to the nearest hospital." He wrote also that he "requested Chief Curry to have the hospital contacted," and then that "Our Lead Car assisted the motorcycles in escorting the President's vehicle to Parkland Hospital" (17 WH 632), cf. 21 WH 580). [16] In other words, after hearing something on the WHCA radio, Lawson helped ensure that the President's limousine would follow the route already set up by the motorcycles for the epileptic. (In his very detailed Warren Commission testimony, Lawson said nothing about the route having already been cleared. On the contrary he testified that "we had to do some stopping of cars and holding our hands out the windows and blowing the sirens and horns to get through" (4 WH 354).

The WHCA radio channel used by Lawson and others communicated almost directly to the WHCA base at Mount Weather in Virginia, the base facility of the COG network. From there, Secret Service communications were relayed to the White House, via the batteries of communications equipment connecting Mount Weather with the White House and "Raven Rock" — the underground Pentagon sixty miles north of Washington — as well as with almost every US military unit stationed around the globe. [17]

Jack Crichton, head of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit of Dallas, was also part of this Mount Weather COG network. This was in his capacity as chief of intelligence for Dallas Civil Defense, which worked out of an underground Emergency Operating Center. As Russ Baker reports, "Because it was intended for 'continuity of government' operations during an attack, [the Center] was fully equipped with communications equipment." [18] In retrospect the Civil Defense Program is remembered derisively, for having advised schoolchildren, in the event of an atomic attack, to hide their heads under their desks. [19] But in 1963 civil defense was one of the urgent responsibilities assigned to the Office of Emergency Planning, which is why Crichton, as much as Secret Service agent Lawson, could be in direct touch with the OEP's emergency communications network at Mount Weather.

Jack Crichton is of interest because he, along with DPD Deputy Chief George Lumpkin of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit, was responsible for choosing a Russian interpreter for Marina Oswald from the right-wing Russian community. This man was Ilya Mamantov, who translated for Marina Oswald at her first DPD interview on November 22. What she allegedly said in Russian at this interview was later used to bolster what I have called the "phase one" story, still promoted from some CIA sources, that Russia and/or Cuba were behind the assassination.

As summarized by the FBI, Mamantov's account of Marina's Russian testimony was as follows:

MARINA OSWALD advised that LEE HARVEY OSWALD owned a rifle which he used in Russia about two years ago. She observed what she presumed to be the same rifle in a blanket in the garage at [Ruth Paine's residence].... MARINA OSWALD stated that on November 22, she had been shown a rifle in the Dallas Police Department.... She stated that it was a dark color like the one that she had seen, but she did not recall the sight. [20]

These specific details - that Marina said she had seen a rifle that was dark and scopeless - were confirmed in an affidavit (signed by Marina and Mamantov, 24 WH 219) that was taken by DPD officer B.L. Senkel (24 WH 249). They were confirmed again by Ruth Paine, who witnessed the Mamantov interview, (3 WH 82). They were confirmed again the next night in an interview of Marina by the Secret Service, translated by Mamantov's close friend Peter Gregory. But a Secret Service transcript of the interview reveals that the source of these details was Gregory, not Marina:

(Q) This gun, was it a rifle or a pistol or just what kind of a gun? Can she answer that?

(A) It was a gun

Mr. Gregory asked: Can you describe it?

NOTE: Subject said: I cannot describe it because a rifle to me like all rifles.

Gregory translation: She said she cannot describe it. It was sort of a dark rifle just like any other common rifle...

Subject in Russian: It was a hump (or elevation) but I never saw through the scope....

Gregory translation: She says there was an elevation on the rifle but there was no scope - no telescope. [21]

We have to conclude not just that Gregory had falsified Marina's testimony ("a rifle to me like all rifles"); but so probably had his friend Mamantov, who later testified no less than seven times to the Warren Commission that Marina had used the word "dark" to describe the gun. There were others in Dallas who claimed that Oswald's gun indeed had been scopeless, until Oswald had a scope installed on it by Dallas gunsmith Dial Ryder. The Warren Report elaborately refuted this corroborated claim, and concluded that "the authenticity of the repair tag" used to support it was "subject to grave doubts." (WR 317).

We can see here, what the Warren Commission did not wish to see, signs of a conspiracy to misrepresent Marina's testimony, and possibly to link Oswald's gun to a dark and scopeless rifle he had in the Soviet Union. Our concerns that Mamantov misrepresented her lead us to concerns about why two Army Intelligence Reserve officers from the 488th unit (Jack Crichton and Deputy DPD Chief George Lumpkin) selected Mamantov as her interpreter. Our concerns are increased when we see that B.L. Senkel, the DPD officer who took Marina's suspect affidavit, was the partner of F.P. Turner, who collected the dubious rifle repair tag (24 WH 328), and that both men spent most of November 22 with DPD Deputy Chief Lumpkin. For example, they were with Lumpkin in the pilot car of the motorcade when Lumpkin was communicating with Winston Lawson in the lead car behind them.

I conclude that when we look at the conduct of the two men we know to have been parts of the COG emergency communications network in Dallas, we see patterns of sinister behavior that also involved others, or what we may call conspiratorial behavior. These concatenated efforts to implicate Oswald in a phase-one conspiracy narrative lead me to propose a hypothesis for which I have neither evidence nor an alternative explanation: namely, that someone on the WHCA network may have been the source for the important unexplained description on the Dallas Police tapes of a suspect who had exactly the false height and weight (5 feet 10 inches, 165 pounds) recorded for Oswald in his FBI and CIA files.

08Note that there are no other known sources ascribing this specific height and weight to Oswald. For example, when he was arrested and charged in Dallas that same day, Oswald was recorded as having a height of 5'9 ½ inches, and a weight of 131 pounds. [22] The first reference to Oswald as 5'10", 165 pounds, was that offered by Oswald's mother Marguerite to FBI Agent Fain in May 1960, when Oswald himself was absent in Russia. [23]

The DPD officer contributing the description on the Police Channel was Inspector Herbert Sawyer, who allegedly had heard it from someone outside the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) whom he could not identify or describe. [24] The Warren Report said categorically that his source was Howard Brennan (WR 5), and that on the evening of November 22, Brennan "identified Oswald as the person in the lineup who bore the closest resemblance to the man in the window but he said that he was unable to make a positive identification" (WR 145). But there are many reasons to doubt this, starting with conflicts in Brennan's own testimony (as Anthony Summers reported in Conspiracy, pp. 109-10) . And Ian Griggs has made a strong case that Brennan never saw Oswald in a line-up that evening. (There are police records placing Oswald in three line-ups that day, and corroborating witness reports of them; but there is no evidence whatever that Brennan attended any of the three.) [25]

There is another strong reason to doubt that the source was Brennan. Brennan testified later to the Warren Commission that he saw his suspect in a window of the Texas School Book Depository, "standing up and leaning against the left window sill." Pressed to describe how much of the suspect he saw, Brennan answered, "I could see probably his whole body, from his hips up. But at the time that he was firing the gun, a possibility from his belt up" (3 WH 144).

The awkwardness of Brennan's language draws attention to the fundamental problem about the description. It is hard to imagine anyone giving a full height and weight estimate from seeing someone who was only partially visible in a window. So there are intrinsic grounds for believing the description must have come from another source. And when we see that the same description is found in Oswald's FBI and CIA files — and nowhere else - there are reasons to suspect the source was from government secret files.

We have seen that there was interaction in Dallas between the WHCA and DPD radio channels, thanks to the WHCA portable radio that Lawson had installed in the lead car of the presidential motorcade. [26] This radio in turn was in contact by police radio with the pilot car ahead of it, carrying Dallas Police Department (DPD) Deputy Chief Lumpkin of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit. [27] At the same time, as noted above, it was in contact with the COG nerve center at Mount Weather, Virginia. And Mount Weather had the requisite secret communications to receive information from classified intelligence files, without other parts of the government being alerted.

Permit me at this moment an instructive digression. It is by now well established that Kennedy in 1963 was concerned enough by "the threat of far-right treason" that he urgently persuaded Hollywood director John Frankenheimer "to turn [the novel] Seven Days in May into a movie." [28] In this book, a charismatic superior officer, Air Force General James Mattoon Scott, intend[s] to stage a coup d'├ętat .... According to the plan, an undisclosed Army combat unit known as ECOMCON (Emergency COMmunications CONtrol) will seize control of the country's telephone, radio, and television networks, while the conspiracy directs the military and its allies in Congress and the media from "Mount Thunder" (a continuity of government base based on Mount Weather).

It is no secret also that in 1963 Kennedy had aroused major right-wing dissatisfaction, largely because of signs of his increasing rapprochement with the Soviet Union. The plot of the book and movie reflects the concern of liberals at the time about generals like General Edwin Walker, who had resigned in 1961 after Kennedy criticized his political activities in the Army. (Walker had given his troops John Birch Society literature, along with the names of right-wing candidates to vote for.) [29] We can assume however that Kennedy had no firm evidence of a Mount Weather conspiracy: if he had, it is unlikely his response would have just been to sponsor a fictionalized movie.

It is important at this stage to point out that, although COG elements like Mount Weather were considered part of the Pentagon, the COG "government in waiting" was at no time under military control. On the contrary, President Eisenhower had ensured that it was broadly based at the top, so its planners included some of the nation's top corporate leaders, like Frank Stanton of CBS. [30] By all accounts of COG leadership in the decades after Reagan took office in 1981, this so-called "shadow government" still included CEOs of private corporations, like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, as well as three former CIA directors: Richard Helms, [31] James Schlesinger, and George Bush.

Alfonso Chardy wrote in 1987 that the "virtual parallel government" empowering North to run Iran-Contra had also developed "a secret contingency plan that called for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the United States over to FEMA." [32] Subsequently North was questioned in the Iran-Contra Hearings about this charge, but was prevented by the Committee Chairman, Democratic Senator Inouye, from answering in a public session.

Later, investigating the powerful COG planning group, CNN called it "a hidden government [in the USA] about which you know nothing." [33] James Mann emphasized its hawkish continuity, unaffected by changes of presidency in the White House:

Cheney and Rumsfeld were, in a sense, a part of the permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, inhabitants of a world in which Presidents come and go, but America always keeps on fighting." [34]

Going one step further, Andrew Cockburn quoted a Pentagon source to support a claim that a COG planning group under Clinton was now for the first time staffed "almost exclusively with Republican hawks." In the words of his source, "You could say this was a secret government-in-waiting. The Clinton administration was extraordinarily inattentive, [they had] no idea what was going on." [35]

The Pentagon official's description of COG planners as a "secret government-in-waiting" under Clinton (which still included both Cheney and Rumsfeld) is very close to the standard definition of a cabal, as a group of persons secretly united to bring about a change or overthrow of government. A very similar situation existed under Jimmy Carter, when some of those who would later figure in Iran-Contra (notably George H.W. Bush and Theodore Shackley) worked with chiefs of foreign intelligence services (the so-called Safari Club) "to start working with [former DCI Richard] Helms [then U.S. Ambassador to Iran] and his most trusted operatives outside of Congressional and even Agency purview." [36] This group began by backing guerrilla forces in Africa (notably UNITA of Jonas Savimbi in Angola), which they knew would not be backed by the CIA under William Colby or Stansfield Turner. [37]

But some of these figures, notably Alexandre de Marenches of the French spy agency SDECE, became involved with Casey, Bush, Shackley, and others in a 1980 plot - the so-called Republican "October Surprise" - to prevent the reelection of Jimmy Carter. The essence of this plot was to frustrate Carter's efforts to repatriate the hostages seized in the U.S. Tehran Embassy, by negotiating a Republican deal with the Iranians that would be more to their liking. (The hostages in fact were returned hours after Reagan took office in 1981.) [38]

This Republican hostage plot in 1980 deserves to be counted as a fifth structural deep event in recent US history. Unquestionably the illicit contacts with Iran established by the October Surprise Group in 1980 became, as Alfonso Chardy wrote, the "genesis" of the Iran-Contra arms deals overseen by the COG/ Mount Weather planners in 1984-86. [39]

In an important interview with journalist Robert Parry, the veteran CIA officer Miles Copeland claimed that a "CIA within the CIA" inspired the 1980 plot, having concluded by 1980 that Jimmy Carter (in Copeland's words) "had to be removed from the presidency for the good of the country." [40] Copeland made it clear to Parry that he shared this view that Carter "represented a grave threat to the nation," and former Mossad agent Ari Ben-Menashe told Parry that Copeland himself was in fact "the conceptual father" of the 1980 arms-for-hostages deal, and had "brokered [the] Republican cooperation with Israel." [41] And Copeland, together with his client Adnan Khashoggi whom he advised, went on with Shackley to help launch the 1984-85 Iranian arms deals as well.

However, just as Knebel in Seven Days may have overestimated the military component in the COG Mount Weather leadership, so Copeland may have dwelt too exclusively on the CIA component behind the October Surprise Group. In The Road to 9/11, I suggested that this CIA network overlapped with a so-called "Project Alpha," working at the time for David Rockefeller and the Chase Manhattan Bank on Iran issues, which was chaired by the veteran establishment figure John J. McCloy. [42]

I will conclude by again quoting James Mann's dictum that the Mount Weather COG leadership constitutes a "permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, ... a world in which Presidents come and go, but America always keeps on fighting." [43] And I would like this audience to investigate whether elements of this enduring leadership, with its ever-changing mix of CIA veterans and civilian leaders, may have constituted "a secret government-in-waiting," not just under Clinton in the 1990s, not just under Carter in 1980, but also under Kennedy in November 1963.

[1] Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014 [forthcoming]).

[2] For a partial list of anomalies between the JFK assassination and 9/11, see Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (New York: Skyhorse, 2013), 341-96.

[3] Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 6.

[4] Alfonso Chardy, "Reagan Aides and the Secret Government," Miami Herald, July 5, 1987: "Some of President Reagan's top advisers have operated a virtual parallel government outside the traditional Cabinet departments and agencies almost from the day Reagan took office, congressional investigators and administration officials have concluded."

[5] James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the abuse of America's intelligence agencies (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 72.

[6] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 213-14, 219-29.

[7] Bamford, A Pretext for War, 71-81.

[8] Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All the President's Men (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 23.

[9] Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (New York: Random House, 1984), 16. For more on WISP, see David Wise, The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power (New York: Random House, 1973), 134-37.

[10] John Dean, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush (New York: Little Brown, 2004), 120. In addition Howard Baker, in 1973 the ranking Republican member of the Senate Committee that investigated Watergate, was later part of the COG secret leadership (CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991).

[11] James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), 142.

[12] Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 9, p.106 (or 9 WH 106) ; Scott, Deep Politics, 275-76; Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009), 119-22.

[13] "White House Communications Agency," Signal Corps Regimental History.

[14] In the 1990s the WHCA supplied statements to the ARRB concerning communications between Dallas and Washington on November 22 (NARA #172-10001-10002 to NARA #172-10000-10008). The Assassination Records Review Board also attempted to obtain from the WHCA the unedited original tapes of conversations from Air Force One on the return trip from Dallas, November 22, 1963. (Edited and condensed versions of these tapes had been available since the 1970s from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas.) The attempt was unsuccessful: "The Review Board's repeated written and oral inquiries of the White House Communications Agency did not bear fruit. The WHCA could not produce any records that illuminated the provenance of the edited tapes." See Assassinations Records Review Board: Final Report, chapter 6, Part 1, 116.

[15] 17 WH 394-95, 23 WH 841; 17 WH 368, 395; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 273-74, 278. The alleged epileptic walked away from the ambulance after it arrived at Highland (Warren Commission Document 1245, 6-10).

[16] Statement of Special Agent Winston E. Lawson [to Secret Service]," 17 WH 632; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 278.

[17] Richard Pollock, "The Mysterious Mountain," The Progressive, March, 1976; cf. "Mount Weather's 'Government-in-Waiting,'".

[18] Russ Baker, Family of Secrets, 121.

[19] Dee Garrison, Bracing for Armageddon: Why Civil Defense Never Worked (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 46.

[20] Warren Commission Exhibit 1778, 23 WH 383-84.

[21] Commission Document 344 - SS Howard Tape Copy of 01 Dec 1963, p. 23.

[22] Lee Harvey Oswald fingerprint card, 17 WH 308. The heaviest Oswald actually weighed was 150 pounds, when he left the Marines in 1959 (19 WH 584, 595).

[23] FBI report by Special Agent Fain, dated May 12, 1960, 17 WH 706. In the same report Marguerite named Oswald's father as "Edward Lee Oswald." His actual name was Robert Edward Lee Oswald (WR 669-70).

[24] Testimony of Inspector Herbert Sawyer, 6 WH 321-22: "I remember that he was a white man and that he wasn't young and he wasn't old." Cf. Dallas Police Channel Two Tape at 12:25 PM (23 WH 916).

[25] Ian Griggs, "Did Howard Leslie Brennan Really Attend an Identification Lineup?".

[26] Statement of Secret Service Winston Lawson, 17 WH 630: "I checked with Chief Curry as to location of Lead Car [at Love Field] and had WHCA portable radio put in and checked."

[27] "The lead car was in radio contact with the pilot car by police radio, and with the Presidential limousine by Secret Service portable radios" (Pamela McElwain-Brown, "The Presidential Lincoln Continental SS-100-X," Dealey Plaza Echo, Volume 3, Issue 2, 23). Cf. Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 272-75 (Lumpkin).

[28] David Talbot, Brothers: the hidden history of the Kennedy years (New York: Free Press, 2007), 148.

[29] Jonathan M. Schoenwald, A time for choosing: the rise of modern American conservatism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), .

[30] Hope Yen, "Eisenhower Letters Reveal Doomsday Plan: Citizens Tapped to Take Over in Case of Attack," AP, March 21, 2004.

[31] CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991.

[32] Alfonso Chardy, "Reagan Aides and the Secret Government," Miami Herald, July 5, 1987: "Some of President Reagan's top advisers have operated a virtual parallel government outside the traditional Cabinet departments and agencies almost from the day Reagan took office, congressional investigators and administration officials have concluded."

[33] CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991.

[34] James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans, 145.

[35] Andrew Cockburn, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy (New York: Scribner, 2007), 88.

[36] Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to terror: the rogue CIA and the legacy of America's private intelligence network (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005), 61.

[37] Piero Gleijeses, Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, [2013]), 66-68; Elaine Windrich, "The Laboratory of Hate: The Role of Clandestine Radio in the Angolan War," International Journal of Cultural Studies 3(2), 2000.

[38] Alfonso Chardy, "Reagan Aides and the Secret Government," Miami Herald, July 5, 1987: "The group, led by campaign foreign policy adviser Richard Allen, was founded out of concern Carter might pull off an "October surprise" such as a last-minute deal for the release of the hostages before the Nov. 4 election. One of the group's first acts was a meeting with a man claiming to represent Iran who offered to release the hostages to Reagan.
Allen — Reagan's first national security adviser— and another campaign aide, Laurence Silberman, told The Herald in April of the meeting. they said McFarlane, then a Senate Armed Services Committee aide, arranged and attended it. McFarlane later became Reagan's national security adviser and played a key role in the Iran-contra affair. Allen and Silberman said they rejected the offer to release the hostages to Reagan." [The Iranian was Houshang Lavi, and after Lavi's death Robert Parry confirmed from Lavi's diary that the meeting did take place].

[39] Alfonso Chardy, "Reagan Aides and the Secret Government," Miami Herald, July 5, 1987.

[40] "America's False History Allows the Powerful to Commit Crimes Without Consequence," Mark Karlin Interview of Robert Parry, January 15, 2013, Truthout Interview.

[41] Robert Parry, Trick or Treason, 175.

[42] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 81-83, 88. A key figure was CIA veteran and Copeland friend Archibald Roosevelt, in 1980 a Carter foe and also employee of the Chase Manhattan Bank.

[43] Mann, Rise of the Vulcans, 145.

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