Being 70 years old and having grown up in a liberal family, politics and history have been always among my greatest interests. Those much younger than I would no doubt list 9/11 as the most traumatizing historical event of their lifetime. While 9/11 of course affected me greatly, no historical event in my life has affected me as much as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I believe that it traumatized my generation so extensively that most of us have not been able to fully believe in our country and its government since that tragic day and its aftermath. Most Americans alive today, who were born in 1960, or afterwards, have only second hand accounts of the total turbulence of the 60’s and the trauma experienced by those who lived through it. There is no doubt that 9/11 has traumatized this nation, but initially it drew most of us together, only to have that unity frittered away by the Bush Administration. The 60’s did that for my generation and that trauma led directly to our current political chaos and deep distrust of government as my generation took the reins of political power.
To most people growing up in the 50’s, on its surface America was the land of opportunity. The USA was a great democracy, unparalleled in human history in the prosperity of its citizens and its standing among nations. For many though, there were obvious cracks in this version of the America Myth. If you were a Black American you faced the viciousness of “Jim Crow” in the South and the barely more “genteel” racism pervading the rest of the country. People of Spanish speaking heritage also faced the status of second class citizenship. Native American’s were treated just as badly as they had been from the first European landing on the continent’s shores. Women were, with few exceptions, expected to be subservient to male expectations and were uniformly portrayed as being intellectually inferior. Homosexuals were viciously and violently persecuted. And so it went in 1950’s America. Some great white writers like Mailer, Kerouac, Steinbeck and many others were taking on the myth of the America Dream. African American writers like Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin were standing on the shoulders of their predecessors from the Harlem Renaissance, in exposing the oppression Black people faced. There was among many Americans a weariness of the canards of the Eisenhower Administration, the fear based militarism of the Cold War and a recognition that all was not well with a good portion of the population. There was also for many, a hope for purposefulness in their own lives, beyond marriage, house in the suburbs, new car and two kids.
Arriving on the scene, promising to revitalize the country, was JFK, a brilliant speaker, handsome man and charismatic leader. He won a close election against the unlikable Richard Nixon and proceeded to galvanize the nation with the dreams of his New Frontier. JFK also was the source of great enmity among the Washington Establishment. Seen as nouveau riche by the plutocracy, too idealistic and naive by the Defense, State Departments and CIA, hated by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, too “Nigra Friendly” for Southern racists and a threat to the “business as usual” Corporate status quo. He was murdered on a Friday Afternoon in 1963, as my University suspended activities and I sat with friends stunned with grief, listening to a car radio and puffing Marlboro’s. That day is etched permanently in my mind and the disturbing events that followed it throughout those turbulent 1960’s forever changed the way I viewed the world. Lee Harvey Oswald was improbably murdered on TV as I watched that Sunday; a flawed Warren Commission Report arrived filled with holes; the murder of Martin Luther King and then Bobby Kennedy; along with the prosecution of a vicious and illegal war; with all this my faith in American Democracy and exceptionalism faded into skeptical disbelief. Life for us ordinary citizens, however, still went on and pleasure, friends, lovers, spouses, families and careers took up most of our time and attention. Nevertheless, I devoured everything I could read about the JFK murder and indeed about the history taking place, as I lived my mundane life. Recently a book brought all those strange feelings back to the surface and provided a possible explanation why our world seems so much crazier these days.
The book I want to discuss is “Family of Secrets” subtitled “The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, And the Hidden History of The Last Fifty Years”. It is written by Russ Baker, an investigative journalist formerly of the New York Times. His excellent website is: http://whowhatwhy.com/. While George W. Bush was President, I and others kept referring to the Administration as “The Bush Crime Family”. Reading this book, if it gives the true picture, I didn’t know how accurate that appellation could be. This is a book of more than 500 pages of narrative and perhaps 100 more pages of notes and footnotes. Thus, it is far too large for me to provide more than a review and overview. To be honest I can’t do the book justice, simply because it provides a narrative that captures you into this sordid tale of a plutocratic American family and because knowing the outcomes of much it discusses, I found that I could only read it in spurts, so painful were its revelations. We must remember too that there is now yet another Bush running for President.
Let me summarize the Baker book in this manner: The Bush Family, dating back to Senator Prescott Bush has aspired to not only great power, but great wealth. They have operated as both representative of and agents for the “elite” class of American families, who believe it is both their destiny and their duty to rule this country, through whatever means available. In the minds of this “elite” class they are beyond the restraints of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Legal System. At times this “elite” acted as both partners of and agents for, foreign interests and indeed see the aims of those interests identical to their own, such as the close Bush ties to the despotic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
When discussing specific Bush family member’s deeds, the highlights are as follows:
Sen. Prescott Bush: Co-conspirator in a plot to overthrow FDR. Financier of NAZI causes via a banking partnership with John Foster and Alan Dulles. Head of the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee approving/abetting CIA foreign assassinations.
President George (Poppy) H.W. Bush: High Level CIA Agent. Possible Conspirator in the JFK Assassination. Possible Conspirator in the Watergate Affair as a CIA plot to remove Richard Nixon. Major Conspirator and Impeller of the Iran/Contra Affair. Started the First Iraq War. Possible 9/11 conspirator.
George W. Bush: Possible role in 9/11. Creator of a War Against Iraq, Terror, etc., etc., etc. Approved torture as a viable intelligence method. Approved unconstitutional methods of surveillance of citizens. Bankrupted the country with tax cuts targeted to the “elite” and bailed out a corrupt banking system, with no strings attached.
Obviously, these are pretty heady and serious claims for an author to make. Russ Baker, from my view, backs up what he says with pristine documentation and with supplying the complex context of interlocking individuals. What I find the most amazing is how he shows that the Bush Family friendships and alliances go across party lines. There are specific individuals who are all intertwined with major events of our country’s history, which produces a convincing case for foul deeds and conspiracies, that could leave us all with a bitter view of the history we’ve been fed.
Let me provide my own possible schematic scenario for some of this thread of history:
- Eisenhower, astute in military politics, yet a novice in national politics is offered the Republican nomination and is elected President. His advisers help him choose the aforementioned John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State and his brother Alan as CIA Director, both closely aligned with Wall Street, oil interests and the CIA. These extreme cold warriors shape US foreign policy. Ike’s heart attack causes him to allow Richard Nixon to assume many Administration intelligence duties and foreign policy roles. With Nixon as its “case officer”, the invasion of Cuba is planned. Nixon unexpectedly loses the Presidency to JFK, who Nixon believes stole the election. As he leaves office Ike cautions Americans to “beware of the Military Industrial Complex” possibly referring to those who were part of his Administration.
- George H.W. (Poppy) Bush goes into the oil business as a novice, yet through his father’s connections establishes alliances with some of the biggest players in Texas oil. Establishes a company with two divisions. One is a CIA front and Bush travels the world presumably as a CIA operative, on purported oil business, even though many locations visited have little to do with oil.
- JFK reluctantly approves what becomes the “Bay of Pigs” operation, but refuses to back it up with a US invasion. Thereby gaining the enmity of the CIA and Foreign Policy Establishment. JFK’s experience with the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis leads him and his brother Attorney General RFK, to become suspicious of the Foreign Policy/Defense “Experts” within his administration and their advice. As the US involvement in Viet Nam starts to escalate, giving lie to the “Experts” advice he begins to contemplate withdrawal from Viet Nam. He is murdered 11/22/63. George (Poppy) Bush is in Dallas on that day, as was Nixon the night before.
- LBJ becomes President. Appoints the Warren Commission led by Alan Dulles, who was fired by JFK and hated him. LBJ and Poppy Bush, both were closely involved with Texas power firm Brown & Root Corporation, which had CIA ties and later became Haliburton. The Warren Commission Report focuses solely on Oswald, refuses to deal with inconsistencies of his history. Gerald Ford develops the “single bullet” theory. LBJ escalates the Viet Nam War pleasing the Defense/Foreign Policy “Experts”. Opposition to the war grows. Poppy Bush fails in bid to become Senator, becomes Congressman, still maintains covert CIA ties.
- War Protest Movement keeps growing, while Martin Luther King is morphing the Civil Rights Movement into a general movement for economic justice and against the War. CIA and FBI institute COINTELPRO. MLK assassinated as he begins to speak out more against the Viet Nam War. RFK assassinated after he wins the California Democratic Primary and becomes likely Presidential nominee. Democratic Convention riots lead to Hubert Humphrey nomination. Nixon ekes out Presidency in 1968 election.
- Nixon further escalates Viet Nam War. He names Poppy Bush Ambassador to China despite lack of qualification. Nixon/Kissinger cut “Experts” out of Foreign Policy and negotiate détente with China, decried by Defense/CIA/”Experts who are all “Cold Warriors”. “Plumbers” unit formed in White House, members all tied to CIA and Poppy Bush. Amateurishly bungled Watergate Burglary performed by intelligence professionals. Nixon reelected but Watergate becomes big deal. Bob Woodward, with past CIA ties, begins investigation with Carl Bernstein. Woodward gains information from “Deep Throat” that is damning. John Dean, who also has ties to Poppy Bush blabs to Congress. Andrew Jaworski, an old friend of Poppy Bush, becomes Special Prosecutor after Cox fired. Poppy Bush becomes head of Republican Party. Poppy Bush advises Nixon to resign for the good of the Party. Gerald Ford becomes President and surprises Poppy Bush by not naming Poppy Bush Vice President. Ford pardons Nixon before full charges are brought and so many details lost as the investigation stops.
Having only superficially summarized some of the details from Family of Secrets I will stop here in 1976 because this would become far too long a post were I to continue my summarizing up to the present day, as in the book. My lack of detail is necessary because the connections made by the book are so intricate as to defy retelling in as short a space as I’m allowed. Here is Russ Baker himself speaking on these matters:http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/02/12/russ-baker-on-deep-history-and-little-known-origins-of-current-problems/
Here also is a direct quote from Russ Baker talking about why as we’ve passed the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s murder there is so little talk as to the strange circumstances surrounding it:
In any case, none of the films that Hollywood seems willing to tackle touch on what the great, great mass of careful investigation, research and scholarship has shown over the years—the extremely high likelihood that JFK’s death was a covert operation engineered by exactly the kinds of people whose profession was to displace leaders and carry out military-precision operations under cover. (My own book, Family of Secrets, has four chapters of new, abundantly documented and heavily footnoted material on the Kennedy assassination, including the answer to why George H.W. Bush cannot remember where he was on Nov. 22, 1963—and there are many other fine books, both recent vintage and released over the years, which carefully lay out enough evidence to settle the matter to all but the most closed-minded. Examples here, here, and here.)
Nearly half a century after the death of a President, who took bold steps against abuses by the one percent of the one percent, we are still in denial about how and why he died. Our leading institutions and individuals are not only scared to talk about the truth, but glad to cynically profit from tired lies and evasions. http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/01/23/the-deaths-of-jfk-rfk%E2%80%94and-the-silence-of-the-lambs/
My own view of the history Russ Baker reveals is that it seems plausible. It explains so many of the inconsistencies most people see in our history, but either ignore, or at a loss to explain. While all of this information is rather glum, there is some hope to be derived from it. The Bush Family may well be plotters and executors of plots, but they are not omnipotent. G.H.W. Bush would not have been a one-term President if that were the case. I’ve said before, that my belief is that our country is run by a loosely connected oligarchy, from which the only redeeming feature is their own internal battles for power and the egos behind those struggles. Please understand though, that because the JFK murder takes up a good part of my meanderings here, that it is but the tip of an iceberg concealed below its apparent surface, a conspiracy of violence and greed that makes a mockery of America’s Constitution and its values. Some other links that I recommend to you to assist in your contextualizing this information: