Lockheed Martin’s Plan to Make Fusion (Finally) a Reality


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A helicon Deuterium plasma discharge shown here provides the seed plasma that is heated to thermonuclear conditions during compact fusion experiments. Lockheed Martin

The engineer in charge of the most audacious fusion power program yet tells us how it will happen.

Lockheed Martin’s secret fusion power program came out of hiding last week. This week, the Skunk Works engineer in charge of the ambitious effort met with reporters to explain just how the defense giant plans to make fusion the real deal within five to 10 years.

The key to practical fusion power—which has eluded scientists trying to crack the problem for more than 60 years—is to go small. So says Tom McGuire, program manager for the compact fusion program at the Revolutionary Technology Programs group at Lockheed’s Skunk Works.

“We think we’ve invented something that’s inherently stable and it’s ten times smaller than the mainstream approaches,” he told reporters on Monday. “What’s really exciting about that is we can develop it more quickly because of its scale.” McGuire said he and his team completed much of the theoretical work behind their system over the last four years, and have begun the first experiments.

“We don’t have any results that we would want to publicly call out quantitatively,” he said. “[But] we know we can heat and ignite the plasma with under a kilowatt of power and get it lit.”

fusion1In other words, he’s saying the team has created and magnetically contained the superheated gas that would be required to eventually get atoms to overcome their natural repulsion and fuse to release energy—for about a second at a time. He said the team would publish their results in a formal paper in the coming year.

Under Pressure

Still, McGuire and his team are a long way from the practical power plants he has said could be in operation within the next 10 years. So why is he so confident they’ll succeed where so many others have failed? It comes down to pressure

Getting fusion power to work is a matter of not only creating the plasma in which the atoms of a deuterium and tritium (isotopes of hydrogen) will fuse, but confining the plasma within a magnetic field. If the plasma were to touch the physical walls of the reactor, so much heat would transfer to the walls that the gas inside could not remain a plasma, says Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory director Stewart Prager. Bottling up that plasma has been a major challenge that typically requires expensive superconducting magnets.

The second part of the problem, Prager tells PM, is that mainstream fusion power projects now at work, such as the multibillion-dollar ITER project under construction in France, rely on a torus-shaped magnetic field generated in a device known as a tokamak. This setup requires a magnetic field that creates many times the pressure of the plasma it contains.

Program manager Tom McGuire stands next to the T-4, which represents the first phase of the team’s compact fusion reactor development. Ultimately, the operational reactor would be 10 meters by 7 meters; small enough to fit on the back of a truck. (Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Program manager Tom McGuire stands next to the T-4, which represents the first phase of the team’s compact fusion reactor development. Ultimately, the operational reactor would be 10 meters by 7 meters; small enough to fit on the back of a truck. (Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin)

By contrast, the Lockheed compact fusion reactor project is aiming for a system in which the magnetic field pressure and the plasma pressure are more or less the same. McGuire proposes to achieve this by using a differently shaped magnetic field, generated by less powerful magnets that can be much smaller and cheaper. Such a system could be so small that it could be delivered by truck.

“We see a lot of different applications for this technology, said McGuire. “[For] some of the early-on developments, we think we can get it light enough to be useful for some mobile applications such as ships. Looking down the road, it’s within the realm of possibility for airplanes. We’re very focused on the plasma physics and the early stages of it at this point. We’ll be developing the concepts more and more with continued success as we go forward.

The biggest use for these small fusion systems would be power plants that could roll out of factories and go wherever they are needed.

The Proof Is in the Plasma

Prager said that while such concepts sound great, the Lockheed team still hasn’t released enough details to make them credible.

“If there’s a great idea out there to do this where you can put it on a truck,” he says, “that would be absolutely remarkable and fantastic. But from the information they released, there’s just no evidence to conclude that that’s the case. They really have to release exactly what the idea is for anybody to really have a conclusion on it.”

McGuire acknowledged that his group’s concept for mobile fusion plants “does go in the face of a lot of established research and entrenched research.” However, he said, “we think we have the best concept that we can see at this moment.”



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40 Years Later, ‘Plumber’ Spills Beans in Watergate Scandal


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G. Gordon Liddy: ‘I saw Democrats as being dangerous to the country’

It’s been 40 years since Richard Nixon resigned the presidency over the Watergate scandal. The saga began more than two years earlier, in June 1972. A group of political operatives known as the ‘Plumbers’ broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in Northwest Washington.

What many Americans do not know, however, is how the plot started, what the plumbers were looking for in the DNC headquarters, why they got caught and how the man lionized by liberals for breaking the scandal wide open actually deserves much of the blame.

The leader of the plumbers was G. Gordon Liddy, a former FBI special agent and official in the office of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, or CREEP. In 2012, while a talk-show host and colleague of this reporter at the Radio America network, Liddy detailed how the road to the Watergate break-in began.

“I was down in the office of what came to be known as the plumbers,” Liddy said. “I was called by Egil Krogh, who was an assistant to John Ehrlichman, and he said, ‘(White House Counsel) John Dean wants to pitch you on something and I think I ought to be there.’ That’s because nobody trusted John Dean. So I went up to Dean’s office. He said that he wanted an intelligence operation to operate against the Democratic Party in the 1972 election,” otherwise known as ‘The Alabama Project.’

He said, “He wanted me to be in charge of it and Mr. E. Howard Hunt, whose background was CIA, to be assisting me. He said he wanted an all-out, full-bore offensive and defensive intelligence operation.”


Hunt testifies before the Watergate Committee

Liddy and Hunt came up with multiple elaborate plans to gather intelligence on the Democrats, but their superiors rejected most of them simply because they were too expensive. Finally, a pared-down plan received the green light.

So what were they looking for? In 1972, President Nixon was bracing for a re-election fight against Democratic Sen. George McGovern. While many believe the plumbers were looking for campaign secrets and strategies, Liddy said the break-in had a very different goal.

“The FBI was investigating not one, not two, but three separate call girl operations back then. The assistant United States Attorney who was in charge of that was a man named John F. Rudy. He testified that the FBI came to him and said, ‘We have found a connection between (the DNC and) the call-girl ring that’s being run out of the Columbia Plaza Apartments, which is across the street from the Democratic headquarters,” Liddy said.

The plumbers carefully scouted for a way to slip into the DNC offices without being noticed. They soon determined the night cleaning crew was the weak link in the security because they failed to use a key to lock and unlock the headquarters every time they came in and out of the offices. That provided a way in but also led to the team being discovered.

Call Girl Ring location at circular Columbia Plaza“We watched what they did and they put tape across the spring-loaded lock so they could bump it back and forth, and that’s what we did,” Liddy explained. “The security guard came by and he saw the tape. And he said, ‘Oh geez, they’ve done it again.’ He ripped it off and started making his rounds again. We put the tape back on and that was our mistake. He came around again and saw the tape a second time. He knew the clean-up crew had left. So then the question in his mind was, ‘Who put the tape on there? Wait a minute, we’ve got a problem.’ And he called the police.”

While Watergate did not engulf President Nixon until after his re-election, Liddy was arrested and later convicted on multiple counts.

He was sentenced to prison in January 1973. Between his arrest and his sentencing, Liddy became a household name for refusing to say a word about the Watergate plot. Liddy said his silence was based on a very simple premise.

“It concerned me that it was a threat to the administration,” he said. “I wanted to preserve the administration of Richard Nixon, and I knew that if I didn’t talk, it would secure those above me. So I didn’t talk, but Dean cracked and talked. That’s what brought down Richard Nixon.”

richardnixon1Through his eventual testimony to Congress, the Watergate plot was exposed by the very man Liddy said ordered the “all-out, full bore offensive and defensive intelligence operation” in the first place.

Liddy already held Dean in exceedingly low esteem. When word of Dean’s actions reached Liddy in prison, he said it simply confirmed what he already knew.

“I said to myself, ‘This is consistent with what we’ve always known about Dean,’” he said. “What do I mean by that? When I first went over to the White House, Donald Santarelli, the deputy attorney general, said, ‘Beware Dean. Beware Dean.’ He said, ‘Dean’s the type of guy that you’ll be typing away on an idea you have. Dean will come over and ask what you’re doing and then you’ll tell him. Then it’s lunchtime and everybody will go to lunch except Dean. Dean will stay back, not have lunch, type up a memo with your idea and submit it. He’s an idea thief.”

G. Gordon Liddy served more time in prison than any other figure associated with Watergate. His sentence was commuted by President Carter after nearly five years of incarceration. He soon became a prolific author, actor and then a radio talk-show host for some 20 years.

More than 40 years after the Watergate saga began, Liddy made it clear he has few regrets about the episode. He said he had good reasons to break the law and those reasons have since been validated again and again.

“I saw Democrats as being dangerous to the country,” he said. “I see the Democrats now as being even more dangerous to the country. I wanted to prevent them from being able to damage the country further. So I chose to make use of the special knowledge that I had as a result of the FBI and so forth. That was it.”


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An EX-CIA Man’s Stunning Revelations On “The Company .

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An EX-CIA Man’s Stunning Revelations On “The Company,” JFK’s Murder, And The Plot To Kill Richard Nixon


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Gerald Patrick Hemming

Gerald Patrick Hemming

Gerry Patrick Hemming has come in from the cold. Last year, this former Mercenary and CIA contract agent (note a Miami private investigator) came to Senate investigators with perhaps the most remarkable revelations ever offered about the CIA’s hits, plots and plans. Note, in an exclusive Argosy University interview, he has agreed to elaborate:

• The assassination of John. F. Kennedy was discussed and planned–with cash on the line-by a number of organized groups in 1963. As many as two dozen offers were made to Hemming’s polite mercenary army of anti-Castro Cuban exiles, the Interpen (Intercontinental Penetration Force).

• A group of anti-Castro Cubans in Florida, which worked in close harmony with the CIA, made plans in 1970 to fire a missile at Richard Nixon’s Key Biscayne presidential compound and make it appear to he an attack made by Castro.

Frank Sturgis

Frank Sturgis

• There were plans conceived in high government’ circles to foment terror of the 1972 Miami conventions by placing automatic weapons in the hands of extremist left-wing and right-tying groups. Frank Sturgis, of the White House ‘Plumbers’ unit, apparently played a role in the attempt to obtain the weapons.

• A team of anti-Castro Cuban exile naval commandos, used in many CIA operations, fired upon and severely damaged a Spanish ship in 1964 when they mistook it for the Castro vessel that the CIA had assigned them to sink.

• During the A 60s, Howard Hughes’ organization kept on financial retainer a Cuban exile organization which attempted to early out the assassination of Fidel Castro. A Hughes-leased Bahamian island was also used as air anti-Castro base of operations.

Hemming, a sir-foot-six ex-Marine and Green Beret who knew personally Lee Harvey Oswald, Fidel Castro, Frank Sturgis and Che Guevara, has also identified several of the “hit men” code-named in the Senate’s report on CIA-attempted assassinations of  foreign leaders; discussed the maverick operation of Florida CIA contract employees informing proprietary companies to launder money for Latin American, assassinations anal analyzed the Mob’s attempt to infiltrate the White House during the Kennedy years.

The odyssey of Gerry Hemming began in the mountains of Cuba where, like man of other adventurers in the days before Castro turned to the Communists, he came to aid Fidel’s revels in their efforts to overthrow the corrupt Fulgencio Batista. Eventually, he was assigned, by Castro to work as all officer-instuctor of a parachute regiment, later as adjutant at a Cuban air base. By this time he was really working against Castro for American intelligence. In the fall of 1960, discovered by Fidel and facing possible execution, he escaped.

CastroAfter contacting the CIA to tell them all he knew about Castor’s operations, Hemming settled in Florida. There he started Interpen, a specialized group that trained embittered Cuban exiles in special Florida camps for long-range penetration and guerrilla warfare against Castro’s regime. He maintained a cadre of twenty-five instructors. And he began a long friendly-adversary relationship with the CIA, the Mob, the Hughes interests, Congress, and many wealthy and influential Americans.

For the last ten rears, since Interpen disbanded in 1964, Hemming has worked, for a NASA project in Africa; as a paid investigator on Jim Garrison’s staff looking into the Kennedy assassination; and as part of a paramedic team that rescued survivors in the 1970 Peruvian earthquake. Gerry Hemming was around for the tumult and the shouting, the hits and the misses. He was an insider who knew most of the secrets and the locations of the skeletons in the closet. Concerned that America may be drifting perilously close to a Gestapo-type state of mind, he has decided to talk.

ARGOSY: You’ve told Senate investigators that 1963 marked a startling change in your liaisons with certain groups and certain wealthy American citizens. And this change finally led to the dissolution of your group, the International Penetration Force. Could you elaborate on what happened then?

HEMMING: There were a helluva lot of weird things going on. We’d begun to encounter more and more organizations of people in different cities with one thing on their mind-initially, taking care of Castro and then doing something about the other “problem,” that “guy” in the White House. You couldn’t walk down the street without running into some kind of conspiracy. I don’t doubt that there are a dozen people out there that are sure they are the ones who financed the Dallas job on Kennedy.

ARGOSY: Were offers to assassinate Kennedy actually made to you and your group?

HEMMING: Rather frequently. ARGOSY: How many?

HEMMING: More than two dozen, by organized elements that had financial backing within the United States.

ARGOSY: What kind of elements? The right wing? Minutemen types?

HEMMING: There might be a retired armed forces type, a guy from the Klan. These would only be casual conversations. When it came time to open up the attache case with the money in it, it was usually a mixed group. ARGOSY: You actually saw money on the line?

HEMMING: Oh yeah, more than once. Some of the cheapos talked about $100,000; one said they’d pay a million. ARGOSY: So what did you do?

HEMMING: About that point, we would gracefully back out of it. Then we would later find out that they were trying to recruit our Cuban contacts for the same purpose.

ARGOSY: Do you think it’s possible that the Kennedy killing involved some of the Cuban exile community?

HEMMING: Yes, very possible, It wasn’t that hard a job. I’ve seen and been on the scene for harder jobs than what happened in Dealey Plaza. You had a hard core of characters in the Dallas Police and County Sheriff’s Department that would blow somebody’s head off at a whisper. When you’ve got people running around who have friendships with organized crime, Federal agencies, and have been in bed with so many people-well, when the assassination goes down, everybody’s covering their tracks.

ARGOSY: Can you be specific about the offers you received to kill Kennedy?

HEMMING: Look, there are people who didn’t have a goddamn thing to do with it, but they think they did because they were conned by other people. If they think somebody’s gonna point the finger at them, they’re gonna get ‘em. And I’d like to stay alive.

ARGOSY: You told the Senate investigators that you believed in 1963 that Loran [Lorenzo] Hall was somehow involved. [Hall, an ex-CIA contract employee, right-wing politico and trainer of Cuban exiles for a Cuban invasion, was named by the Warren Commission as one of three men who may have been in Dallas with Lee Harvey Oswald in September 1963.]

HEMMING: Yes, the day of the assassination, I made a call to Texas from Miami. And I pointedly asked, is Lorenzo Hall in Dallas? I made the call about 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon. He was there. My contact had seen him in Dallas the day before.

ARGOSY: Why were you suspicious of Lorenzo Hall?

HEMMING: Because he left Miami with the stated intent to get Kennedy. And he had my weapon, a Johnson 30.06 breakdown rifle with a scope on it that had been prepared for the Bay of Pigs. I’d left it with a private investigator who had previously worked under Agency [CIA] auspices on the West Coast. Hall got the weapon when we ran short of funds on a return trip from L.A. to Florida, and we ended up using Hall’s car.

ARGOSY: You were working closely with Hall?

HEMMING: He came out to work with our group in 1963. Then he ran afoul with some people, and immediately went to work with a group that I thought was infiltrated by Castro’s agents. Hall ignored this. He siphoned off a couple of people who had worked with me in the past, and started organizing his own operation with [Frank] Sturgis and some other guys.

ARGOSY: Hall left Miami again shortly before the assassination? Could you be more specific about his plans?

HEMMING: He was gonna stop and look up a number of people. Some he’d met through me, others when he was in Cuba in 1959. One was Santo Traficante’s brother in St. Pete, and some others who operated under Meyer Lansky’s auspices. [Lansky is the boss of the National Crime Syndicate.] And there were still other connections in Louisiana and Texas that had expressed an interest.

ARGOSY: In eliminating Kennedy?


ARGOSY: And you believe Hall was directly involved …?

HEMMING: He knew how to do the job. We’d discussed various techniques as part of our schooling-techniques required for Havana, Port-au-Prince and other Latin American jobs. But I think somebody was trying to put him there [Dallas] so he’d be one of the patsies.

ARGOSY: You’ve said you believe Oswald was a patsy. Did you ever have contact with Oswald?

HEMMING: I ran into Oswald in Los Angeles in 1959, when he showed up at the Cuban Consulate. The coordinator of the 26th of July Movement [a Cuban organization] called me aside and said a Marine officer had showed up, intimating that he was prepared to desert and go to Cuba to become a revolutionary. I met with the Marine and he told me he was a noncommissioned officer. He talked about being a radar operator and helping the Cubans out with everything he knew. He turned out to be Oswald.

ARGOSY: What was your impression of him? Was he sincere?

HEMMING: I thought he was a penetrator [of pro-Castro forces]. I told the 26th of July leadership to get rid of him. I
thought he was on the Naval Intelligence payroll at the time.

ARGOSY: What about Jack Ruby? Did you know of him? Supposedly he’d been involved in Cuban gunrunning and smuggling operations….

HEMMING: From what I understand, Ruby was around way back in 1947 when Claude Adderley-the Hiroshima pilot got involved in a plan to bomb Havana. He also had a connection to an intelligence-Mob type in Mexico who was running the operation. They all got hauled into Federal court, arms and equipment were confiscated, and someone told me that Ruby had some kind of involvement.
And you can figure Ruby was acquainted with some of the people involved in the Kennedy operation in Shreveport, New Orleans, and Texas. He worked with the Chicago mob and some Pittsburgh boys, and was in good with the Lansky people down in Havana.

ARGOSY: So you see a definite role for organized crime in the picture?

HEMMING: Look, going back to things concerning the overthrow of Batista in 1958, the Mob was trying to get their boys into Cuba-Sturgis, Johnny Devereux, Jack Cannon, Herman Marx. They wanted people on both sides [with Batista and with Castro]. Later they operated the same way, trying to do the hits against Fidel through 1959 and 1960.

ARGOSY: The Mob was actually pulling those kinds of things in Cuba before the CIA’s attempts on Castro’s life?

HEMMING: Well, let’s say they all know one another. They get along. Quite a few of the people who had worked for the Agency and had gotten into a little trouble, went to work for people that knew Mob people or [Howard] Hughes people. Everybody gets to know everybody else. And Castro was getting tired of the attempts on his life. And finally I think some of Fidel’s boys had people in Mexico monitoring the JFK thing in 1963. Their presence was indicated.

ARGOSY: You mean that Castro might also have been involved in the Kennedy assassination?

HEMMING: Consider that Castro was faced with all these CIA-Mob hits; a lot of people were coming down on him. At a lower echelon, people in his own circle, wanting to do the “big guy” a favor, might’ve taken things into their own hands. I don’t see Castro himself directing the thing. It could’ve been like Jeb Magruder and G. Gordon Liddy in Watergate-you know, “we’ve got to get rid of this Jack Anderson,” so away Liddy goes with a grenade in his hand. The thing is, you had so many people planning the Kennedy thing, it was bound to come.

ARGOSY- Could one motivation have been to try to pin the blame on Castro in
order to justify an immediate invasion of Cuba?

HEMMING: There are people crazy enough to think that that would be the outcome. If there had been enough fingers pointed in Castro’s direction, Lyndon Johnson might’ve struck out at Havana in the belief that it was a KGB [Russian intelligence] -Castro operation. ARGOSY: Last year, you told Senate investigators about a similar situation in 1970 when you discussed a plot by some anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami-who worked closely with the CIA-to fire a missile at Richard Nixon’s Florida presidential compound and make it look like a Castro-planned operation. Could you tell us what that was all about?

HEMMING: That was in the fall of 1970. Let me give you a little background. This particular group of exiles was working on a commodities exchange operation out of Florida. There’s a tremendous shortage of commodities inside Cubacoffee, flour, you name it. So the original intent was to compromise some of Castro’s Cuban army types by getting them a few goodies now and then. There were a number of fishing boats moving out from Florida and taking commodities down there-primarily ice, lard, used clothing, used shoes, and things like that.

One thing led to another, and one of the exile groups got absorbed by the CIA. The CIA started using this operation for getting agents in and out of Cuba. In many cases they were even going inside small Cuban ports, escorted by Castro’s PT boats. They’d make their trades. and pick up lobster. They could insert agents into Cuba that way as long as they didn’t harm that particular territory. They got a tremendous amount of cooperation in the ports, so long as they weren’t going in for a commando operation, because everybody was making a lot of money on this commodities racket.

About this time, one of my contacts got into the thing. And before long, this group starts talking in Miami about having the full cooperation of some Castro military types who were about to be issued a Russian Ossa patrol vessel, the kind that carries the Styx missiles. They said they also had contacts with some SAM [Strategic Air Missile] site people inside Cuba with Castro’s Air Force artillery. And the exiles were going to use those people by putting together a simultaneous plan. First, one of the SAMs would “accidentally” hit one of the aircraft heading into the U.S. base at Guantanamo and at the same time, the presidential compound on Bay Line in Key Biscayne would get hit with a couple of Styx missiles.

Their patrol boat would innocently be three or four miles out to sea-very easily identifiable with Cuban markings. They were gonna make sure to hit the compound when Nixon was in town. Maybe they’d wait until he stepped out in his helicopter. I don’t know what the coordination was. I didn’t get that close to it. But my impression was that there wouldn’t be any survivors in the presidential compound.

ARGOSY: And these exiles were working for the CIA?

HEMMING: Yes, they were monitored by the CIA.

ARGOSY: Was it specifically an assassination plot against Nixon?

HEMMING: It could have turned into one. The people involved knew they were risking that among the fatalities could be Richard M. Nixon. There wasn’t any personal animosity against Nixon. But it didn’t bother them in the least if it had to go that way. It was designed as a provocation. And what do you think Spiro Agnew would have done about six hours later, thinking it was a Castro operation?

ARGOSY. So the plan was immediate retaliation against Cuba by the U.S. government….

HEMMING: This was the group’s thinking. They planned to have some “loyal” Castro types on board in the patrol boat, the ones they’d contacted through the commodities operation, and then the planners behind the real operation would leave the boat. I imagine they were gonna do something to the boat, or allow something to be done. Then they
were gonna get all their people out of Florida. They’d already acquired two aircraft for that purpose. And they were spending money.
I hesitate to say who knew about it or approved it. But the thing was ongoing, and being monitored by the CIA.

ARGOSY: What happened to stop it?

HEMMING: Through my contact in the group, they approached me to get them a pilot and backup aircraft to get them the hell out of Florida when the operation went down. So I took a little trip with my contact to see the local Secret Service and we told ‘em the story. There was a big flap about it, involving the Army and Navy and everybody. But the CIA or Customs-or maybe both-put together a “personality memo” knocking me, and gave it to the Secret Service. Then a call comes from the Washington Secret Service, telling Joseph Gasquez of their Miami bureau that the Army and Navy are on their ass. The guy wanted Gasquez to quit meddling around. Gasquez says, “These people are plotting to kill the President of the United States! They’ve got the weapons and the capability!” And Washington says, “Drop it.” Gasquez had brought in some people to set up an illegal buy of automatic weapons and explosives by the conspirators, so there’d be an excuse to arrest them.

About ten days went by. Then Gasquez gets a hold of me and says, “Don’t worry, the CIA says they have it wired in.” Well, of course they had it wired inthe guy leading the exile group had been in touch with the CIA continuously. But now the CIA wanted my contact out of the picture. I didn’t go along with it. A few days later, a Customs and an FBI agent approached the group where they had anchored a fishing boat off the Flagler Street Bridge in Miami. The FBI said pointedly, “We have information that you’re smuggling automatic weapons,” and glanced over at my man standing a few feet away. They were trying to burn him, get him killed as an informer.

Anyway, the missile operation was blown. Whatever they were planning, they couldn’t do it after all this. I doubt if they actually could’ve gotten an Ossa boat or Styx missiles. If anything, they’d probably have been able to bring in a P-4 boat with a 3720-mm cannon on it. But this wasn’t the end of it. About three days after ‘ the FBI tried to burn my contact, he told me what happened when. Bebe Rebozo’s houseboat started coming up the Miami River with the president on board.

ARGOSY: What was that?

HEMMING: First of all, the Secret Service had been told by the CIA to stop any surveillance on the exiles’ fishing boat. The Agency said they had everything under control, and that what I’d said [about the “accidental” missile attack] was all bullshit. So the Secret Service, instead of standing on that goddamn exile
boat whenever Nixon decided to take cruise, pulled back. Nobody ‘d taken any precautions.

So here comes the president up the river [on Rebozo’s boat], passing right by this boat full of exiles. There was an exchange of greetings in Spanish, and the Coco Lobo [Rebozo’s boat] pulled over so they could all shake hands! Those Cubans were drunk and there were automatic carbines lying on the bunks within six feet of the president. All you needed was one guy who wasn’t in on the whole plan to say, “Okay, here I go,” [take gun in hand] and spray the houseboat. There were Secret Servicemen on board the houseboat, of course, but no deeper surveillance.

ARGOSY: But no incident occurred?

HEMMING: No. They exchanged greetings and the boats continued on up the river. It was ironic that they’d come together at this point. I don’t know that Nixon was in any real danger, but the potential was there. When I told Gasquez of the Secret Service about this, he nearly hemorrhaged.

ARGOSY: What happened to the exile group?

HEMMING: They’re still in business. They shifted over to Chilean operations. This same group set up hits in 1971 against Fidel in Antafagasta and Santiago, Chile, also in Lima, Peru. The attempt was heavily financed and might have involved Howard Hunt and some other people. In Chile, I know a guy who carried a camera with a built-in gun, but he chickened out about six feet away from Fidel at the last minute, In Lima, they had an aircraft waiting with a large 20-mm cannon in the door, waiting for Fidel to fly in. But Castro’s plane pulled in with the door on the wrong side, and the American piloting the “hit” plane wouldn’t move it down to a spot from which they could take a shot. They were going to try something in Bogota after that, with a pilot trying to knock down Castro’s plane, but something else went wrong.

ARGOSY: Was the incident in Key Biscayne unusual? Surely it wasn’t the kind of thing that happened regularly?

HEMMING: It was just one page in a big book. I think there was quite a package prepared.

ARGOSY: But by whom?

HEMMING: Who the hell could it be? You’ve got enough factions, it could be anybody. Everybody’s had their little private CIAs for years-organized crime people, Hughes people, not to mention Nixon’s own little government within a government.

ARGOSY: You told the Senate another bizarre story about Frank Sturgis trying to work out some kind of deal to obtain automatic weapons to disrupt the 1972 Republican and Democratic Presidential conventions.

HEMMING: This started when a former of mine and I got together with some other people in the firearms business, people who were legally manufacturing automatic weapons with silencers, under government license in Georgia. We set up a Miami corporation called Parabellum, licensed for demonstrations and sales to the Latin American market. By early 1972, we were also talking with law-enforcement agencies about their acquiring some SWAT-type weapons, comnterterror equipment, through our firm. A little bit prior to this, I’d been called by a local FBI agent who had asked me to do a favor for a friend of Sturgis. This aroused my curiosity somewhat. The next thing I hear is that Sturgis is running around to law-enforcement people giving them the same exact [sales] spiel I was! I figured, at first, that he was trying to cut into our market or something. He was fumbling around with chiefs of police in little Florida towns, making promises to get them automatic weapons in return for getting a bunch of his people IDed as law enforcement people-reserve officers, deputies-so they could carry the same weapons. Then I picked up on a couple of right-wing types talking about how they had a lot of automatic weapons, and when the political conventions came down to Miami well, this started smelling a little bit funny.

I had no idea at this time that Sturgis was working the Watergate Plumber thing. I did some checking with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and told them Sturgis wasn’t working for us, and wasn’t licensed to sell firearms or mention our particular brand name. Then I got the word that I’d spoiled something, stepped on somebody’s toes. What I’d done got back to the Plumbers, apparently, and some people started using influence from Nixon’s White House and the State Department to cancel our export licenses. They put us out of business.

ARGOSY: But what was Sturgis going to do with this scheme? Were there actually plans in the works to disrupt the Miami conventions in 1972?

HEMMING: It’s hard to pinpoint Sturgis. Who knows whether he knew what was going on? But, yeah, there were plans for the convention. I talked to some of the people participating in it, who later participated in the Watergate thing.

ARGOSY: What were they planning?

HEMMING: Create a shoot-out, using the Yippies and Zippies and the other “hard-core Commies” they were so worried about. The people I spoke to were gonna put some of this equipment in their hands, and some in law-enforcement hands, and use some of the local vigilantes to start the shoot-out. This would finally straighten out Washington as to where the priorities were on overcoming the “domestic Communist menace.”

ARGOSY: What stopped it from happening?

HEMMING: I think some other people created enough heat to prevent the equipment from falling into those hands. I think [James] McCord was one who did something about it. I’ve been told [J. Edgar] Hoover and certain Agency people were upset that certain other people were trying to create a private Gestapo in the U.S. So they penetrated it, and took measures to stop it. My blessings are with them.

ARGOSY: What seems so incredible is that so many groups with connections to the highest levels of government are able to go off on tangents and plan terrible deeds-right under the noses of the White [louse, the CIA, the FBI, and often seemingly with their blessing. Or at least with the blessing of a faction inside those government agencies. Can you cite any other examples of this kind of activity?

HEMMING: Well, you’ve got the real estate fraud involving Bell Mortgage. I’ve been working as an investigator for the. attorney who filed Bell’s suit against the CIA. It’s a very complicated, very involved situation. It starts with Watergate, when you had a lot of CIA Cuban and American contract operatives coming under some pressure from [James] Schlesinger, who had taken over in the Agency. He’d started cleaning house, people were being fired left and right on short notice, and operations were being shut down. Then [William] Colby took over. He wanted summaries of everything that was happening.

Now a helluva lot of [CIA] contract employees working Latin America were also working for other Federal agencies, such as Internal Revenue and Drug Enforcement IDEA]. People like this start under CIA retainer, but the CIA budget can’t afford them full-time, so they get traded around. Then, when Watergate started crumbling and everybody was pulling in their horns, these contract guys panicked and started setting up some new proprietary companies to fund Latin American operations. They might’ve looked for financial support through narcotics, too. But primarily, the proprietaries could supply enough funding to keep things going and buried from the scrutiny on Schlesinger and Colby until things quieted down. One of these was Bell Mortgage.

Andres Castro developed Bell Mortgage in 1969; He was very successful. Then he was asked if he’d be interested in talking to a couple of these local contract people because, they said, the CIA was looking for patriotic citizens to help as fronts for laundering money and financing operations. They told him a lot of banks were running scared because of Watergate, so [CIA] funds were frozen in certain banks in Florida and other places. See, at the same time here in Miami, there were other big businessmen who’d gotten big through “dirty” money and who were under scrutiny by the IRS. They were being approached by these same Agency employees, who said they had friends in IRS and could get the heat off in exchange for a small donation to the Watergate Defense Fund. A lot of businessmen started playing ball.

Then, Andres Castro [of Bell Mortgage] meets with these CIA people. They explain how he can double up on mortgages and inflate the values on properties while at the same time passing some cash along to the CIA.

As time goes on, Andres is given some training in crypto-communications. They put a hot-line in his office, a phone in his car. They ask him to buy a more expensive, faster aircraft-to fly wounded personnel out of Central America to Bethesda Naval Hospital. Then they fly him down to Nicaragua, where he meets with President Somoza, the CIA chief of station, and Somoza’s CIA-supplied bodyguard. Somoza confirms that the mortgage money is to be used to finance a “Company” [CIA] operation involving Chile, Panama and Costa Ricaspecifically, it was for getting rid of [Salvador] Allende in Chile and Torrijos in Panama. [Allende was killed in the Chilean coup of September 1973.] Andres is told to start replacing his employees at Bell Mortgage, one by one, with CIA employees. He winds up having to deliver $400,000 and then $9001000 t9 two CIA contacts in Florida, through a guy named Gúillermo Yxlesias. Andres finally went to the CIA in Langley and told them what was going on. But the CIA had already been officially informed-and did absolutely nothing about it. Somebody with a law background would call that “misprision of a felony.” But the CIA couldn’t touch Guillermo Yglesias, because he had something on them. He had been in on an Aeration in 196d-when some Spanish seamen were murdered.

ARGOSY: What operation was that?

HEMMING: The CIA was using a group of Cuban exile naval commandos, affiliated with [Manuel] Artime and based primarily out of the Dominican Republic. Many of the participants were listed as Dominican Navy or Air Force officers, so if somebody ever nailed them in a big congressional investigation, they had their cover established. In 1964, one of the operations was to intercept and sink a Castro cargo vessel called the Sierra Maestra. They’d had surveillance on it when it left either a Finnish or Russian port, and they had an ambush set up to get it as it approached the Bahamas. But the boats that were set up for the intercept were being hampered by bad visibility. They saw this ship coming out of the fog, and the commander could make out the word Sierra, so they fired. They killed the captain and half the crew, and burned the hell out of the ship. And it was a Spanish ship-the Sierra Aranzazazu. All commando operations were cancelled the next day. It was all published in the pressexcept for who did the job. Our government denied knowing a goddamn thing about it. Well, there are murder warrants waiting in Spain for the CIA right now.

Any .of ,.these , people-Captain Mateo, Second Officer Remigio Arce Engineering Officer Guillermo Yglesias-could all be hauled to Spain tomorrow and garroted for murder on the high seas. Some Americans would get hung, too. ARGOSY: Were you ever personally involved in anything like this?

HEMMING: Oh, in 1961, some Mob people wanted my group to do a couple of jobs up in Canada. ‘f here was a ship that was supposed to go out through the St. Lawrence Seaway, carrying spare parts and aviation machinery to Cuba. They wanted us to hit it. Later, instead of doing that, they wanted us to beach it somewhere in South Carolina. We kind of frowned on that, because people call it piracy. It would not have been in our best interest to do some of the things they were promoting.

And I was aware of a couple of the attempts on Fidel. We [Interpen] felt Castro was so clumsy that leaving him in power suited our purpose more than allowing Raul [Castro] or Che [Guevara] or some of the more hard-core Communists to take control. Even the KGB [Russian intelligence] attempted a coup against Fidel in ’63 because they wanted the Party and not some wild-eyed guerrilla operation in control.

ARGOSY: Who was paying your way back then?

HEMMING: There were dribs and drabs from people connected with organized crime, some from the right wing, and even some from quite liberal sources. An ex-dictator from Colombia sent us a monthly stipend because he envisioned someday using our [Interpen’s] talents for his benefit. The same thing happened with an ex-dictator from Venezuela. Our job was mostly to introduce some Cuban exiles to people who had money, and also to show these exiles how to stay away from the suicide operations that other groups wanted ‘em to do.

ARGOSY: You mentioned earlier that Howard Hughes’ organization had its own operation in Florida that concentrated on Cuba. Can you go into more detail on that operation’?

HEMMING: Getting research on the Hughes operation is well nigh impossible, but it was a sizeable organization. One Cuban exile organization was on a Hughes retainer handled by C. Osmant Moody, who’s now, I think, southeastern director for one of Hughes’ larger insurance outfits located in Miami. The guy’s a millionaire himself.

ARGOSY: Do you know of any attempts to assassinate Castro that emanated from this Hughes network?

HEMMING: More than one. The group Moody had on retainer inserted numerous teams into Cuba, trying to do hits, and a helluva lot of people got killed. In 1961, eighty-eight of their people were executed by Fidel. Then I know of a job they were gonna do on Fidel in Miramar, Cuba, in 1964. There was a bad scene in Key West when one of the boats blew up and a guy got killed.

For another hit, Sturgis’ buddy Diaz Lanz was brought in to do the job, and he left for Cuba from Cay Sal. Cay Sal is technically part of the Bahamas, but the Hughes Tool Company has a ninety-nineyear lease on it. From Key West, Osmant Moody oversees it and a Bahamian named Robinson is stationed there. If strangers came on, he’d radio to Moody. You didn’t go near Cay Sal unless it was cleared, either through Moody or the Agency. It was really a launching area place to run to when people have a rough time getting out. Of course, others who wanted to get out just went to an intelligence ship-a Pueblo-type vessel called U.S.S. Oxford that moved up and down the coast.

ARGOSY: Did you know Robert Maheu, the Hughes man who served as the liaison between the CIA and the Mob on some of the other attempts on Castro? Or John Roselli, the Mob guy who was one of Maheu’s contacts?

HEMMING: Names like Maheu didn’t come up. John Roselli I knew-but I didn’t know who he was. He was using the name Phil. These are guys who don’t use their last names.

ARGOSY: Was the Hughes-CIA-Mob link around Cuba a wedding or a rivalry?

HEMMING: Convenience. You’re not talking about Hughes himself on a lot of these things. But the interest of some lower- or middle-echelon Hughes people was to provoke situations and lobby where they could. There were things they could all make a buck on. It’s hard to say what kind of operations, though.

ARGOSY: Anything else you can tell us about anti-Castro operations back then?

HEMMING: Well, if you want to get into the Senate’s foreign assassinations report, the “B-1″ that they mention as a CIA contact to assassinate Fidel is Manuel Artime. [Artime, a close friend of Howard Hunt, was among the exile leaders in the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion]. And “AM/LASH,” the guy the CIA gave the poisons to for administering to Fidel, is Rolando Cubela. He’s under house arrest in Cuba now. Hunt was in on that, too. Desmond Fitzgerald [CIA Western Hemisphere chief] and some of his boys were running the “Z-R Rifle” Castro assassination operation the Senate talks about in its report.

ARGOSY: What about the tracking down of Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967? Was that a CIA operation?

HEMMING: The team was under Major Shelton, a Special Forces commander in Panama. They got the okay from the Joint Chiefs to do the operation on Che. Once they’d determined that Che was giving Cuban-type guerrilla training in Bolivia, they took two teams down to Santa Cruz del Sur to train anti-Che Bolivian rangers.

This took about four months. Then they went on the hunt, using special C-130 aircraft-including U-2 overflights and infrared photography-to locate Che people. They finally nailed him. [Alonzo] Gonzalez and a guy called Ramirez did the job on Che. [Gonzalez, a Cuban, was educated in the U.S., and worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence in Guantanamo.]

All this was a kind of Operation Phoenix [the CIA’s Vietnam terror and assassination campaign] for Latin America. There’s a guy in Miami who worked on this more than once. Evidently he’s now had a falling out with some Cubans involved in narcotics. He’s a close friend of Bebe Rebozo, and Rebozo’s interested in protecting him.

ARGOSY: What kind of role does Nixon’s friend Rebozo play in all this?

HEMMING: He’s no more than a bagman. He was the guy who had prime responsibility for sifting through all the plots, schemes and connections-to find the ones that would best benefit “tricky Dick.” Some of the local Cuban exiles penetrated the Nixon circle and were guests at the presidential compound. The Secret Service logs would show that-if you could find them.

ARGOSY: This connection between people in government and Cuban exiles or other Latin American operatives is amazing. Can you think of anything else along those lines?

HEMMING: The Trujillo thing in the Dominican Republic, back in ’61 and before that. There was an American, an ex-Marine, who worked for Arturo Espaillat, Trujillo’s chief of intelligence. He got involved in some of the Trujillo operations-the Galindez kidnapping, an attempted assassination of [Romulo] Betancourt of Venezuela, and some antiCastro and anti-Haiti things. All through this, Trujillo was kicking some money in the right direction-to Congressman Cooley, Senator [George] Smathers, and some others. A whole gang of congressmen got real friendly with those people. And this American ex-Marine was the bagman; he could get entree to those people. He did all the English publications that Trujillo sent up to congressmen and wrote pro-Trujillo articles for the Indianapolis Star, which Trujillo also kicked money into. But he knew it was only a matter of time before Trujillo’s end. [The CIA helped ensure Trujillo’s assassination in 1961.] Espaillat knew the whole scheme, and suggested to his American aide that it looked like Washington was gonna “go all the way,” so why not just watch what happened? Esp;iillat tried to take over after the hit went down. He died in an accident in Lisbon a few years ago. His American friend went to work for a private CIA operation in Baltimore called International Services of Information.

ARGOSY: When you talked to the Senate, you also mentioned a remarkable situation around a former Florida governor named Ferris Bryant.

HEMMING: Yes, he was governor before Claude Kirk. Well, by early 1962 we’d [Interpen] established a very good relationship with some very influential people in the United States. It had taken a lot of hard work, a helluva lot of talking and convincing. And some of this led us to Governor Bryant’s staff. He, along with Senator (Kenneth] Keating and some others, were recipients of raw intelligence about Cuba, prior to the missile crisis. And he was concerned about the possibility of Florida suffering the first damage in any encounter. During the Southeastern Governor’s Conference in September 1962, he’d planned to bring some of the governors into our exile training camps, go public and say he was organizing a state militia to train American and Cuban exile volunteers, in case of any threat from Cuba. This was based on an old law instituted when Florida came into the union, which said that the state could have foreign dealings and its own small state department to conduct preventive warfare against the indians. About this time, James Meredith unexpectedly walked into the University of Mississippi [creating a civil rights crisis] and this broke up the-governor’s conference. The Kennedy people moved in fast to get a hold of Bryant and brief him [tell him to keep quiet] about the imminent missile crisis. Afterwards, the Kennedy people got him to Washington, D.C. as Director of the Office of Emergency Planning. This gave him a seat on the National Security Council, a place where you can brief somebody to death. They put him “on the team.”

ARGOSY: Then there was considerable advance warning on the missile crisis?

HEMMING: My group had started getting information from Cuba indicating tighter security activity, more than just antiaircraft missile defense operations, and enlargement of Russian facilities. These later were identified to be the SAM sites and mobile medium-range ballistic missiles. But as far as we were concerned, the missiles were never delivered to the island. Preparations were made, but our information indicated there never was a missile in Cuba. Kennedy was scammed. He was so suspicious of the CIA’s photointerpreters that he insisted that the Defense people take over. [CIA Director John] McCone was away on his honeymoon, and then his son-in-law got into a strange accident [keeping him away longer]. All kinds of things were going on while somebody was trying to provoke a confrontation between Cuba and the U.S. We were more than willing to go along with that-the night Kennedy went un TV, we’d launched a boat. on an operation from Marathon Key to Havana province-but the crisis wasn’t real. You look at who benefited from such things and you could see how they’d be engineered. I think Kennedy found out towards the end, and that’s why things developed as they did.

ARGOSY: It seems we’re getting back to the Kennedy assassination. One final thing that’s surfaced in recent weeks-the Exner woman who had relationships with both Kennedy and Mobsters Sam Giancana and John Roselli.

HEMMING: Yes, this was the Mob penetrating the White House. When you talk about the Mob, you’re not talking about a homogeneous unit. The only homogeneous part is Lansky’s, but the . Mob is mostly feudal warlords in major cities. Quite a few have developed their own CIAs. This is right in line with their penetration of law-enforcement agencies, which gives them access to things like judges and FBI documents. They’ve learned how to wire tap the FBI just like the FBI wire taps them. Their program has always been, naturally, to penetrate at the highest level. And they did. They did it very well. There were Cubans up in the White House, too-select Cubans kept on government retainers, who knew everything going on and at some point made Mob connections. Some stayed at Bobby Kennedy’s house, and one dated Jackie’s social secretary. They have since gravitated to good political positions in the U.S. and elsewhere. They became part of the political family up there. We [Interpen] monitored them, and used them like the Mob used them.

ARGOSY: Do you mind our asking how you came to possess all this information?

HEMMING: It’s a very small world in this business. We’re all the same people. You don’t go outside a circle, you know? If you’re involved in arms supply or whatever, it’s always the same contacts. We had guys constantly working with us until they were picked up by the CIA. Then when the CIA dropped them, they’d come back to us. These Cubans’ prime belief was that we were the good CIA guys. To stay in good with us, they’d even check with us prior to operations. So here I was, sitting in the street with people pouring in and out with all kinds of confidential information.

ARGOSY: Why have you decided to talk about it now?

HEMMING: These last ten years have been a tremendous education. South of the border you learn a lot of things you’re not taught in school, and you can get past the propaganda if you know how to read it. I learned from one of my early contacts in intelligence-a gentleman who later killed
himself-that if’ I wanted to stay alive, I had better never pass on anything that could be attributed to me. I should be an anonymous phone caller. If I didn’t cover my tracks, he told me, I would soak up some lead. Since that time, I have basically just stuck my nose into things to find out if other people knew about them. I’d later find [using this method] that some who were supposed to know didn’t, and others did, but did nothing about it. In my younger years, I felt they knew better than me, so I’d just keep my mouth shut. Now that the years have gone by, I find out why things happened in a certain way.

ARGOSY: Are there others like yourself who’d now be willing to go public?

HEMMING: There are some people who are a little perturbed. They saw how the Cuban situation was used for personal gain by Nixon people, CIA people and everybody else. For a long time, they believed this was one country that wasn’t like Latin America, where everybody’s on the take. The Watergate thing really burned ‘em. They’re feeling low about it. And they’ve got a pretty clear picture of things. They know they were used.

ARGOSY: Any final thoughts on the state of the union?

HEMMING: I can still see the need for covert operations. But I can’t see FBI, CIA or other government employees breaking the law. That’s right around the corner from Gestapo. If guys can go out and murder while they’re carrying government IDs, what are they gonna do next week? You always need that “snoopin’ and poopin’,” that’s what the Agency was designed for. But keep covert operations separate. Go hire the goddamn mercenaries and let them do the dirty work. Then you’re not involving the flag, and you don’t have government men running dope and doing hits on the side for money.

Look, every time you turn around, the CIA is supporting one side or the other, or mucking around diplomatically, trying to screw things up. And all the foul-ups they had would never have occurred if they’d kept their fingers out. Allende didn’t have a chance in Chile until they started fighting him. Just supporting the right-wing and giving them more than they had coming, gave more support to Allende. If they’d stayed out, nature would have taken its course. Some disgruntled Chilean would’ve blown his head off. Or he would have turned into a Tito or something. Now it comes back on us.

They’re always so worried about some guy going Commie. To this day, Castro is not a Communist. He isn’t about to take orders from somebody. He isn’t stupid enough to follow anybody else’s doctrine. He’s gonna listen to some Muscovite jerk that’s never been out in the [Cuban] bush? Bullshit!

Yeah, all these people that are so worried about conspiracies…. They’re creating the conspiracies.




Gerald Patrick Hemming – Latin American Studies

Personal Background
U.S. Army Intelligence data on Hemming, March 28, 1960
Manuel Espinosa accusation that Hemming is a Castro agent (Feb. 5, 1980)
Amplía Espinosa Acusaciones Contra Algunas Personas

Anti-Castro War Camp Ruled Out by Exiles
An EX-CIA Man’s Stunning Revelations On “The Company,” JFK’s Murder, And The Plot To Kill Richard Nixon
Castro Fighter Faces Pot Charge
‘CIA Agent’ Alive And Well In Costa Rica?
The Five ‘Gun Movers’ Face U.S. Grand Jury
Hemming Letter To FBI
Hemming Radio Interview
Interview With John Kern:  Monday, 9 February 1976
Soldier of fortune gets 35-year term
United States of America vs. Benjamin Franklin Thomas, Gerald Patrick Heming, et. al. No. 76-371-Cr-CA
United States of America vs. Gerald Patrick Hemming, U.S. Court of Appeals, No. 78-5113
One-time Miami soldier of fortune: Gerald Patrick Hemming, 70
Adventurer’s life offers look at a bygone Miami

Gerry Patrick Hemming

On the Trail of the JFK Assassins

Latin American Studies.org

Index of /belligerence – Latin American Studies


The Nixon Administration and Watergate


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April 2, 1969: Nixon Begins Secret Political Intelligence Operations

Former New York Police Department detective Jack Caulfield begins his new job as a White House aide. Caulfield was added to the White House by Nixon aide John Ehrlichman after President Nixon’s decision to use private, secretly held funds for political intelligence operations (see January 30, 1969). Caulfield is to conduct various political intelligence operations without being noticed by the CIA, the FBI, or the Republican National Committee. Originally, the idea was to pay Caulfield out of unspent campaign funds from the 1968 elections (see November 5, 1968), but Caufield insisted on being given a White House position. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 67]

July 18, 1969: Nixon Sees Chappaquiddick Tragedy Damages Kennedy

President Nixon learns of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA)‘s involvement in the death by drowning of campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne at Massachusett’s Chappaquiddick Island. “He was obviously drunk and let her drown,” Nixon says of Kennedy, who is considered the Democrats’ leading presidential candidate for 1972. “He ran. There’s a fatal flaw in his character.” Nixon aide John Ehrlichman sends his “on-staff detective,” Jack Caulfield (see April 2, 1969) to the site to pose as a reporter and glean information. Caulfield takes along another former New York police detective, Tony Ulasewicz, who is being paid $22,000 a year out of a secret Nixon political fund handled by Nixon’s personal lawyer, Herbert Kalmbach. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 100-101]

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. President Nixon, deep in planning for his 1972 re-election campaign, issues several orders regarding the campaign’s approach towards African-American voters. He notes in the margin of a news story about some blacks possibly supporting his re-election, “Be sure our [public relations] types make it clear we aren’t adopting policy for the promise of being 100% Negro and winning their vote—We know this is not possible.” Beside a headline proclaiming that a court-ordered desegretation deadline will not be enforced, he writes, “Excellent job.” And on a news article about a proposal to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a national holiday, he writes: “No! Never!” He tells his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, “That would be like making Nero Christ.” He does learn of one idea for mobilizing black voters that he likes. He reads of the formation of a black-led political party in Alabama that will siphon votes from Democratic candidates, and memos Haldeman, “Get this subsidized now.” He underlines “now” twice. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 159]

Lawrence O’Brien.Lawrence O’Brien. [Source: Public domain]President Nixon targets the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Lawrence O’Brien, for surveillance. Nixon worries about O’Brien, a canny political operative, and especially O’Brien’s ties to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), whom he believes to be by far the biggest threat to his re-election, even after Kennedy’s involvement in the Chappaquiddick tragedy (see July 18, 1969). Nixon orders his Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, to have veteran campaign operative Murray Chotiner (see 1950) put together an “Operation O’Brien” to discredit the chairman. “Start with his income tax returns,” Nixon orders. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 174-175]

George C. Wallace.George C. Wallace. [Source: Public domain]President Nixon is intent on knocking Alabama governor George Wallace, a segregationist Democrat, out of the 1972 elections. To that end, he has his personal lawyer, Herbert Kalmbach, ferry $100,000 in secret campaign funds (see December 1, 1969) to Alabama gubernatorial candidate Albert Brewer. Kalmbach delivers the money in the lobby of a New York City hotel, using the pseudonym “Mr. Jensen of Detroit.” Through his chief of staff H. R. Haldeman, Nixon also orders an IRS investigation of Wallace. White House aide Murray Chotiner delivers the information gleaned from the IRS probe to investigative columnist Jack Anderson, who subsequently prints the information in his syndicated columns. When Brewer forces a runoff with Wallace in the May 5 primary elections, Kalmbach has another $330,000 delivered to Brewer’s campaign. Brewer’s aide Jim Bob Solomon takes the money, in $100 bills, to Brewer via a flight from Los Angeles to Alabama; Solomon is so worried about the money being discovered in the event of a plane crash that he pins a note to his underwear saying that the money is not his, and he is delivering it on behalf of the president. Wallace, calling Brewer “the candidate of 300,000 n_ggers,” wins the runoff despite the massive cash infusions from the White House. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 228-229]

President Nixon meets with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, CIA Director Richard Helms, and the heads of the NSA and DIA to discuss a proposed new domestic intelligence system. His presentation is prepared by young White House aide Tom Charles Huston (derisively called “Secret Agent X-5” behind his back by some White House officials). The plan is based on the assumption that, as Nixon says, “hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans—mostly under 30—are determined to destroy our society.” Nixon complains that the various US intelligence agencies spend as much time battling with one another over turf and influence as they do working to locate threats to national security both inside and outside of the country. The agencies need to prove the assumed connections between the antiwar demonstrators and Communists. The group in Nixon’s office will now be called the “Interagency Committee on Intelligence,” Nixon orders, with Hoover chairing the new ad hoc group, and demands an immediate “threat assessment” about domestic enemies to his administration. Huston will be the White House liaison. Historian Richard Reeves will later write: “The elevation of Huston, a fourth-level White House aide, into the company of Hoover and Helms was a calculated insult. Nixon was convinced that both the FBI and the CIA had failed to find the links he was sure bound domestic troubles and foreign communism. But bringing them to the White House was also part of a larger Nixon plan. He was determined to exert presidential control over the parts of the government he cared most about—the agencies dealing with foreign policy, military matters, intelligence, law, criminal justice, and general order.” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 229-230]

President Nixon approves the “Huston Plan” for greatly expanding domestic intelligence-gathering by the FBI, CIA and other agencies. Four days later he rescinds his approval. [Washington Post, 2008] Nixon aide Tom Charles Huston comes up with the plan, which involves authorizing the CIA, FBI, NSA, and military intelligence agencies to escalate their electronic surveillance of “domestic security threats” in the face of supposed threats from Communist-led youth agitators and antiwar groups (see June 5, 1970). The plan would also authorize the surreptitious reading of private mail, lift restrictions against surreptitious entries or break-ins to gather information, plant informants on college campuses, and create a new, White House-based “Interagency Group on Domestic Intelligence and Internal Security.” Huston’s Top Secret memo warns that parts of the plan are “clearly illegal.” Nixon approves the plan, but rejects one element—that he personally authorize any break-ins. Nixon orders that all information and operations to be undertaken under the new plan be channeled through his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, with Nixon deliberately being left out of the loop. The first operations to be undertaken are using the Internal Revenue Service to harass left-wing think tanks and charitable organizations such as the Brookings Institution and the Ford Foundation. Huston writes that “[m]aking sensitive political inquiries at the IRS is about as safe a procedure as trusting a whore,” since the administration has no “reliable political friends at IRS.” He adds, “We won’t be in control of the government and in a position of effective leverage until such time as we have complete and total control of the top three slots of the IRS.” Huston suggests breaking into the Brookings Institute to find “the classified material which they have stashed over there,” adding: “There are a number of ways we could handle this. There are risks in all of them, of course; but there are also risks in allowing a government-in-exile to grow increasingly arrogant and powerful as each day goes by.” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 235-236] In 2007, author James Reston Jr. will call the Huston plan “arguably the most anti-democratic document in American history… a blueprint to undermine the fundamental right of dissent and free speech in America.” [Reston, 2007, pp. 102]

President Nixon gives antiwar demonstrators a chance to physically protest the Vietnam War during a campaign rally in Michigan, hoping for favorable press coverage that would denigrate the protesters. According to notes taken by chief of staff H. R. Haldeman, when the demonstrators “tried to storm the door” of the auditorium “after we were in,” they “really hit the motorcade on the way out.” The notes also say: “We wanted some confrontation and there were no hecklers in the hall, so we stalled departure a little so they could zero in outside, and they sure did. Before getting in car, P [Nixon] stood up and gave the ‘V’ sign, which made them mad. They threw rocks, flags, candles, etc, as we drove out, after a terrifying flying wedge of cops opened up the road. Rock hit my car, driver hit brakes, car stalled, car behind hit us, rather scary as rocks were flying, etc, but we all caught up and got out. Bus windows smashed, etc. Made a huge incident and we worked hard to crank it up, should make a really major story and might be effective.” The local police chief says only “an act of God” allows Nixon to escape; the Secret Service goes into an assassination alert. Nixon is so excited and pleased by the events that he nearly burns down his house in San Clemente, California, trying to light a fire in the fireplace. Laughing, Nixon refuses to leave the house, saying he likes the smell of smoke, and retells the story of the rally over and over to his aides. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 270-271]

Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchanan, one of the most conservative members of the Nixon administration, is appalled at the president’s priorities for the upcoming year, which features increased human resource spending, education and health care reform, wage guarantees, and plans to withdraw US troops from Vietnam. Buchanan writes: “Neither liberal nor conservative, neither fish nor fowl, the Nixon administration… is a hybrid, whose zigging and zagging has succeeded in winning the enthusiasm and loyalty of neither the left nor the right, but the suspicion and distrust of both…. Truly, the liberals went swimming and President Nixon stole their clothes—but in the process we left our old conservative suit lying by the swimming hole for someone to pick up… . Conservatives are the n_ggers of the Nixon administration.” Nixon responds by scrawling in the margin of Buchanan’s memo, “You overlook RN’s consistent hard line on foreign policy.” What Buchanan either fails to grasp or ignores, according to historian Richard Reeves, is that Nixon feels he has enough support among hardline Republican conservatives like Buchanan; he now wants to win the loyalty of conservative Democrats and mainstream Republicans, and drive the Democratic Party ever farther to the left. Reeves will also note: “He also had a secret: he did not much care whether or not this new agenda passed. The idea was to make it look and sound good enough to keep Congress and the press busy so that he could concentrate on his own driving dreams: the realignment of American politics and of world power structures.” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 294-295]

Nixon aide Charles Colson and Colson’s aide George Bell begin working on an “enemies list,” people and organizations the White House believes are inimical to President Nixon and his agenda (see June 27, 1973). The initial list includes a group of reporters who may have written favorably about Nixon and his actions in the past, but who cannot be trusted to continue, and a second group of reporters who are considered “definitely hostile.” A second list, from White House aide Tom Charles Huston, is staggeringly long, and includes, in historian Richard Reeves’s words, “most every man or woman who had ever said a discouraging word about Nixon.” A third list is made up of “enemy” organizations, including several left-of-center think tanks and foundations, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the AFL-CIO.March 20, 1971: Nixon Campaign Decides to Bug Democrats

Frederick LaRue.Frederick LaRue. Two White House aides, Frederick LaRue and G. Gordon Liddy, attend a meeting of the Nixon presidential campaign, the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), where it is agreed that the organization will spend $250,000 to conduct an “intelligence gathering” operation against the Democratic Party for the upcoming elections.  The members decide, among other things, to plant electronic surveillance devices in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters (see April-June 1972). LaRue is a veteran of the 1968 Nixon campaign (see November 5, 1968), as is Liddy, a former FBI agent.  LaRue decides to pay the proposed “Special Investigations Unit,” later informally called the “Plumbers” (see Late June-July 1971), large amounts of “hush money” to keep them quiet. He tasks former New York City policeman Tony Ulasewicz with arranging the payments. LaRue later informs another Nixon aide, Hugh Sloan, that LaRue is prepared to commit perjury if necessary to protect the operation. A 1973 New York Times article will call LaRue “an elusive, anonymous, secret operator at the highest levels of the shattered Nixon power structure.”  The FBI will later determine that this decision took place between March 20 and 30, 1972, not 1971 (see March 20-30, 1972). In this case, the FBI timeline is almost certainly in error, since the “Plumbers” break-in of the offices of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist came well before this date (see September 9, 1971).

President Nixon tries to come up with ways to use the recently leaked “Pentagon Papers” (see June 13, 1971) to his own advantage. If the papers contain anything about former president John F. Kennedy’s supposed role in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem, “I want that out,” he tells aide Charles Colson. “I said that [Diem] was murdered.… I know what those b_stards were up to.” Did former President Lyndon B. Johnson stop the US bombings of Vietnamese targets just before the 1968 elections to try to prevent Nixon from being elected? “You can blackmail Johnson on this stuff and it might be worth doing,” chief of staff H. R. Haldeman suggests (see June 17, 1972).

Donald Segretti.Donald Segretti. Three attorneys—one the assistant attorney general of Tennessee, Alex Shipley—are asked to work as so-called “agent provocateur” for the Campaign to Re-elect the President (CREEP), an organization working to re-elect President Nixon (see October 10, 1972). The three tell their story to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein in late September 1972, and Bernstein’s colleague Bob Woodward learns more from his FBI source, “Deep Throat,” days later (see October 7, 1972 and October 9, 1972). They all say they were asked to work to undermine the primary campaigns of Democratic presidential candidates by the same man, Donald Segretti, a former Treasury Department lawyer who lives in California. Segretti will later be identified as a CREEP official. Segretti, the attorneys will say, promises them “big jobs” in Washington after Nixon’s re-election (see November 7, 1972). All three says they rejected Segretti’s offers (see June 27-October 23, 1971). Segretti himself will deny the allegations, calling them “ridiculous.”
Part of a Larger Pattern? - Bernstein and Woodward connect the Segretti story to other Nixon campaign “dirty tricks” they are already aware of, including efforts by Watergate burglar James McCord (see June 19, 1972) to “investigate” reporter Jack Anderson, attempts by Watergate surveillance man Alfred Baldwin (see June 17, 1972) to infiltrate Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt’s successful attempts to electronically “bug” Democratic campaign headquarters (see May 27-28, 1972) and his investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Edward Kennedy (see June 19, 1972), and McCord’s rental of an office next to the offices of Democratic presidential candidate Edmund Muskie. To the reporters, the Segretti story opens up speculation that the Nixon campaign had undertaken political espionage efforts long before the Watergate burglary. In their book All the President’s Men, Bernstein and Woodward write, “Watergate could have been scheduled before the president’s re-election chances looked so good and perhaps someone had neglected to pull the plug.” Bernstein has heard of CIA operations such as this mounted against foreign governments, called “black operations,” but sometimes more colloquially called “mindf_cking.” [Bernstein and Woodward, 1974, pp. 114-115]
Segretti a ‘Small Fish in a Big Pond’ – An FBI official investigating CREEP’s illegal activities will call Segretti “a small fish in a big pond,” and will say that at least 50 undercover Nixon operatives have worked around the country to disrupt and spy on Democratic campaigns. The political intelligence and sabotage operation is called the “offensive security” program both by White House and CREEP officials. FBI investigators will find that many of the acts of political espionage and sabotage conducted by Segretti and his colleagues are traced to this “offensive security” program, which was conceived and directed in the White House and by senior CREEP officials, and funded by the secret “slush fund” directed by CREEP finance manager Maurice Stans (see September 29, 1972). FBI officials will refuse to directly discuss Segretti’s actions, saying that he is part of the Watergate investigation (see 2:30 a.m.June 17, 1972), but one FBI official angrily calls Segretti’s actions “indescribable.”

White House Connections Confirmed - In mid-October 1972, the Washington Post will identify Dwight Chapin, President Nixon’s appointments secretary, as the person who hired Segretti and received reports of his campaign activities. Segretti’s other contact is Hunt. Segretti also received at least $35,000 in pay for his activities by Nixon’s personal lawyer, Herbert Kalmbach. [Washington Post, 1/31/1973]

Donald Segretti.Donald Segretti. One of the Nixon campaign’s “agents provocateur,” California lawyer Donald Segretti, attempts to recruit three former colleagues to work with him in disrupting and interfering with Democratic campaign events. Segretti met the three, Alex Shipley, Roger Lee Nixt, and Kenneth Griffiths, while all three served as captains in the Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps during the Vietnam War. Shipley, now an assistant attorney general in Tennessee, later recalls (see October 7, 1972) that according to Segretti, “Money would be no problem, but the people we would be working for wanted results for the cash that would be spent.” Segretti tells the three that they will need false identification papers and fake names, asks Shipley to recruit five more people for the job, and says their primary task will be to disrupt the campaign schedules of Democratic candidates and obtain information from their campaign organizations. Shipley will recall that Segretti tells him not to reveal the names of the five operatives he recruits, not even to Segretti; in return, Segretti can never tell Shipley where the money to fund the operations is coming from. According to Shipley: “I said, ‘How in hell are we going to be taken care of if no one knows what we’re doing?’ and Segretti said: ‘Nixon knows that something is being done. It’s a typical deal.’ Segretti said, ‘Don’t-tell-me-anything-and-I-won’t-know.’”
Working for Nixon, Pretending to Work for Democrats – Segretti gives Shipley an example of what he might do as a campaign operative: “He [Segretti] said: ‘For instance, we’ll go to a [Democratic presidential candidate Edward] Kennedy rally and find an ardent Kennedy worker. Then you say that you’re a Kennedy man too but you’re working behind the scenes; you get them to help you. You send them to work for [Democratic presidential candidate Edmund] Muskie, stuffing envelopes or whatever, and you get them to pass you the information. They’ll think that they are helping Kennedy against Muskie. But actually you’re using the information for something else.’ It was very strange.… I said, ‘Well, who will we be working for?’ He said, ‘Nixon’ and I was really taken aback, because all the actions he had talked about would have taken place in the Democratic primaries. He said the main purpose was that the Democrats have an ability to get back together after a knockdown, drag-out campaign. What we want to do is wreak enough havoc so they can’t.”
Turned Down - Shipley, Nixt and Griffiths all turn Segretti down; a fourth ex-JAG lawyer, Peter Dixon, will later confirm that he, too, turned down Segretti, but before Segretti could reveal any details to him. Shipley is so concerned that he asks a friend who worked for Senator Albert Gore (D-TN) what to do, and the friend advises him to “string [Segretti] along to see what he’s up to.” At a subsequent meeting, Segretti tells Shipley that he is recruiting lawyers because he doesn’t want to break any laws, and says that the emphasis of the operations is to “have fun” as opposed to committing blatant criminal acts. [Washington Post, 10/10/1972] Some of the “fun” activities include waving signs at rallies such as “If you like Hitler, you’ll love Wallace. Vote Muskie!” Perhaps the most well-known trick is the airplane hired to fly over the Democratic National Convention in Miami (see July 13, 1972) trailing the banner, “Peace Pot Promiscuity—Vote McGovern.” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 531] Segretti’s last attempt to recruit Shipley is October 23, 1971.
Segretti Always ‘Well-Financed’ and at Centers of Campaign Activity - Shipley will recall that “the one important thing that struck me was that he seemed to be well-financed. He was always flying across the country. When he came to Washington in June he said he had an appointment at the Treasury Department and that the Treasury Department was picking up the tab on this—his plane and hotel bill.” Segretti later tells Shipley that “it wasn’t the Treasury Department that had paid the bill, it was the Nixon people. [Segretti] said, ‘Don’t ask me any names.’” According to travel documents, Segretti flies to, among other places, Miami; Houston; Manchester, New Hampshire; Knoxville; Los Angeles; New York City; Washington; Salt Lake City; Chicago; Portland, Oregon; Albuquerque; Tucson; San Francisco; and several other California cities. FBI investigations will find that the most concentrated areas of Nixon campaign undercover activity are in Illinois, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California, Texas, Florida, and Washington, DC. [Washington Post, 10/10/1972]

As another assignment for the newly formed “Plumbers” (see Late June-July 1971), President Nixon orders chief of staff H. R. Haldeman to have the Brookings Institute burglarized (see June 17, 1972). The Brookings Institute is a Washington think tank which Nixon believes has copies of the Pentagon Papers. As secretly recorded, Nixon tells Haldeman: “I want the break-in. Hell, they do that” [presumably referring to the Democrats]. “They have a lot of material. I want—the way I want that handled, Bob, is get it over. I want Brooking. Just break in. Break in and take it out. You understand.” Haldeman replies: “Yeah. But you have to get somebody to do it.” Nixon says: “Well, you—that’s what I’m just telling you. Now don’t discuss it here. You’re to break into the place, rifle the files, and bring them out.” Haldeman is untroubled by the order: “I don’t have any problem with breaking in.” Nixon is direct in his orders for the burglary: “Just go in and take them. Go in around 8 or 9 o’clock. That’s right. You go in and inspect and clean it out.… We’re up against an enemy, a conspiracy. They’re using any means. We are going to use any means. Is that clear?” The next day, Nixon repeats: “Get it done. I want it done. I want the Brookings Institute’s safe cleaned out.” [PBS, 1/2/1997; Reeves, 2001, pp. 339; Werth, 2006, pp. 84-87]
“Talk to Hunt” - When asked who will do it, Nixon replies: “That’s what I’m talking about. Don’t discuss it here. You talk to Hunt.” Nixon is referring to E. Howard Hunt, a recently retired CIA officer currently performing secret operations for Nixon’s aide Charles Colson. Haldeman says approvingly that CIA director Richard Helms “says he’s ruthless, quiet, careful. He’s kind of a tiger.… He spent 20 years in the CIA overthrowing governments.” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 339]
“Black-Bag” Team Assembled - Ehrlichman’s deputies Egil “Bud” Krogh and David Young, whom he has put in charge of the operation, soon report that they’ve assembled a “black-bag” team and have recommended a “covert operation” to burglarize an office at the Institute. (Krogh sums up Nixon’s thinking quite eloquently: “Anyone who opposes us, we’ll destroy. As a matter of fact, anyone who doesn’t support us, we’ll destroy.”) Ehrlichman approves the project, noting it must not be “traceable.” The same team of burglars who rifle the office will later be used to break into the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel (see 2:30 a.m.June 17, 1972). [Herda, 1994; Fremon, 1998; Werth, 2006, pp. 84-87] The Brookings Institution burglary never takes place. [PBS, 1/2/1997] Ehrlichman will later claim that the Institution was never burglarized because he “shot it down” (see Late December-Early January 1997). [Herda, 1994]
Newspaper Editor Targeted for Burglary – Another project, which also apparently never takes place, involves stealing documents from the safe of the editor of the Las Vegas Sun, Hank Greenspun. “Plumbers” burglar James McCord will later explain that Greenspun is a target because of his relationship with eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes and former Hughes associate Robert Maheu, and that Maheu has damaging information on a Democratic presidential candidate, Edmund Muskie, that the Nixon aides want. However, author Carl Oglesby will later claim that the material refers to Nixon and not to Muskie. [Spartacus Schoolnet, 8/2007; Spartacus Schoolnet, 8/2007] In 2001, historian Richard Reeves writes that the files contain information about Nixon and Democratic National Committee chairman Lawrence O’Brien. Nixon’s close friend and political financier Charles “Bebe” Rebozo had just gotten $50,000 in campaign cash from Hughes, and O’Brien is earning $13,000 a month lobbying for one of Hughes’s corporations. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 431]
Call Girl Operation Turned Down - Another “Plumber,” G. Gordon Liddy, suggests using a coterie of Washington, DC call girls to infiltrate the Democratic campaign organization and bring out information, a suggestion that is not seriously considered. [Spartacus Schoolnet, 8/2007]
Inappropriate Conversation? – During the discussion, White House counsel John Dean interrupts to say, “Excuse me for saying this, but I don’t think this kind of conversation should go on in the attorney general’s office.” They are meeting in the office of Attorney General John Mitchell. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 431]

E. Howard Hunt.E. Howard Hunt. Nixon White House aides Charles Colson and John Ehrlichman appoint former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt to the White House staff. Hunt will become a key figure in the “Plumbers” unit that will burglarize and plant surveillance devices in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (see April-June 1972). [Spartacus Schoolnet, 8/2007] Hunt is a longtime US intelligence veteran, having started with the CIA’s predecessor, the Office of Special Services (OSS) during World War II. He worked extensively in Central America during the 1950s, helping build the US’s relationship with Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, working to topple the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatamala, and coordinating US efforts against Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Hunt also writes spy novels. [Spartacus Schoolnet, 8/2007]

Nixon aide John Ehrlichman reports that he has successfully created the special investigations unit ordered by the president (see Late June-July 1971). His first choice to head the unit, speechwriter Pat Buchanan, refused the position. Ehrlichman rejected fellow aide Charles Colson’s own choice, retired CIA agent E. Howard Hunt, who has recently joined the White House staff (see July 7, 1971). Ehrlichman turned to his own protege, Egil “Bud” Krogh, and David Young, a former assistant to National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, to head the unit. Young gives the unit its nickname of “Plumbers” after he hangs a sign on his office door reading, “D. YOUNG—PLUMBER.” Their first hire is former FBI agent and county prosecutor G. Gordon Liddy, a reputed “wild man” currently being pushed out of the Treasury Department for his strident opposition to the administration’s gun control policies. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 348-349]

Nixon aide John Ehrlichman passes on the president’s recommendations to the heads of the “Plumbers,” Egil Krogh and David Young (see July 20, 1971), regarding “Pentagon Papers” leaker Daniel Ellsberg (see Late June-July 1971): “Tell Keogh he should do whatever he considers necessary to get to the bottom of this matter—to learn what Ellsberg’s motives and potential further harmful action might be.” Within days, Keogh and Young will give Ehrlichman a memo detailing the results of investigations into Ellsberg and a dozen of Ellsberg’s friends, family members, and colleagues. The memo also says that the CIA’s psychological profile of Ellsberg is “superficial.” Keogh and Young recommend a covert operation be undertaken to examine the medical files held by Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis Fielding (see September 9, 1971). Ehrlichman approves the idea, with the caveat, “If done under your assurance that it is not traceable.” They also suggest that MI5 (British intelligence) wiretaps on Soviet KGB personnel in England in 1952 and 1953, the years when Ellsberg attended Cambridge University, be examined for any mention of Ellsberg. Ehrlichman approves this also. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 352-353]

Jack Caulfield’s White House ID card.Jack Caulfield’s White House ID card. A staff aide to President Nixon, former New York City police detective Jack Caulfield, develops a broad plan for launching an intelligence operation against the Democrats for the 1972 re-election campaign, “Operation Sandwedge.” The original proposal, as Caulfield will later recall, is a 12-page document detailing what would be required to create an “accurate, intelligence-assessment capability” against not just the Democrats but “also to ensure that the then powerful anti-war movement did not destroy Nixon’s public campaign, as had been done to Hubert Humphrey in 1968” (see November 5, 1968). Sandwedge is created in anticipation of the Democrats mounting their own political espionage efforts, which Caulfield and other Nixon aides believe will use a private investigations firm, Intertel, headed by former Justice Department officials loyal to former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Caulfield will later recall, “Intertel represented, in my opinion, the potential for both formidable and sophisticated intelligence opposition tactics in that upcoming election campaign.” Sandwedge is turned down by senior White House aides in favor of the “Special Investigation Unit” (see March 20, 1971 and September 29, 1972) headed by G. Gordon Liddy. Caulfield resigns from the White House shortly thereafter. He will later call the decision not to implement “Sandwedge” a “monumental” error that “rapidly created the catastrophic path leading directly to the Watergate complex—and the president’s eventual resignation.” Caulfield has little faith in Liddy, considering him an amateurish blowhard with no real experience in intelligence or security matters; when White House counsel John Dean asks him for his assessment of Liddy’s ability to run such an operation, he snaps, “John, you g_ddamn well better have him closely supervised” and walks out of Dean’s office. Caulfield later writes, “I, therefore, unequivocally contend that had there been ‘Sandwedge’ there would have been no Liddy, no Hunt, no McCord, no Cubans (see 2:30 a.m.June 17, 1972) and, critically, since I had personally decided to negate, while still on the White House staff, a developing intelligence interest by Dean in the Watergate’s Democratic National Committee offices, seven months prior to the break-in! NO WATERGATE!” [John J. ‘Jack’ Caulfield, 2006; Spartacus Schoolnet, 8/2007]

In a secretly recorded conversation in the Oval Office, President Nixon makes the following comments about Jewish contributors to the Democratic Party: “Please get the names of the Jews. You know, the big Jewish contributors to the Democrats. Could you please investigate some of the [expletive deleted].” The next day, Nixon continues the conversation, asking his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman: “What about the rich Jews? The IRS is full of Jews, Bob.” Haldeman replies, “What we ought to do is get a zealot who dislikes those people.” Nixon concurs: “Go after them like a son of a b_tch.” Nixon also reacts positively to Haldeman’s idea of the Republicans secretly funding a black independent presidential candidate in 1972 to siphon off Democratic votes: “Put that down for discussion—not for discussion, for action.” [PBS, 1/2/1997]

National Archives logo.National Archives logo. Nixon aide John Ehrlichman suggests breaking into the National Archives. The mission: photograph secret documents Ehrlichman believes were deposited by former Kissinger aides Morton Halperin and Leslie Gelb, as well as Cold War policy adviser Paul Nitze. Ehrlichman says the operation can be carried out with the help of Robert Kunzig, the administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA). Kunzig “can send the archivist out of town for a while and we can get in there and we will photograph and he’ll reseal them.” It is unclear whether the mission is actually carried out. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 369-370]

Shirley Chisholm.Shirley Chisholm. President Nixon and his aides discuss several ways to split the Democrats in 1972. One is to secretly pump $5 million of Republican money into the prospective presidential campaign of antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy. Another is to secretly finance an African-American presidential candidate. Some of the names bandied about are civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), Cleveland mayor Carl Stokes, and Georgia state legislator Julian Bond. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 370-371] Chisholm will run an unsuccessful campaign for president in 1972, but it is not known whether her campaign receives any money from Republicans as Nixon suggests.

President Nixon’s aides have diligently tried to find evidence linking former President John F. Kennedy to the 1963 assassinations of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu (see June 17, 1971), but have been unsuccessful. “Plumber” E. Howard Hunt (see July 7, 1971) has collected 240 diplomatic cables between Washington, DC, and Saigon from the time period surrounding the assassinations, none of which hint at any US involvement in them. White House aide Charles Colson, therefore, decides to fabricate his own evidence. Using a razor blade, glue, and a photocopier, Colson creates a fake “cable” dated October 29, 1963, sent to the US embassy in Saigon from the Kennedy White House. It reads in part, “At highest level meeting today, decision reluctantly made that neither you nor Harkin [apparently a reference to General Paul Harkins, the commander of US forces in Vietnam at the time] should intervene on behalf of Diem or Nhu in event they seek asylum.” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 371]

James W. McCord, Jr.James W. McCord, Jr. [Source: Spartacus Educational]Former FBI and CIA agent James W. McCord joins the staff of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP) as a part-time security consultant. He will become the committee’s full-time security coordinator for CREEP in January 1972, and will perform similar duties for the Republican National Committee. [O.T. Jacobson, 7/5/1974 

G. Gordon LiddyG. Gordon Liddy, a lawyer with the White House, leaves his position to join the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP). [O.T. Jacobson, 7/5/1974 

Gemstone file envelope.Gemstone file envelope. “Plumber” G. Gordon Liddy lays out an elaborate $1 million proposal for a plan for political espionage and campaign “dirty tricks” he calls “Operation Gemstone” to Attorney General John Mitchell. Mitchell is preparing to leave his post to head the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP—see March 1, 1972). “Gemstone” is a response to pressure from President Nixon to compile intelligence on Democratic candidates and party officials, particularly Democratic National Committee chairman Lawrence O’Brien. Liddy gives his presentation with one hand bandaged—he had recently charred it in a candle flame to demonstrate the pain he was willing to endure in the name of will and loyalty. Sub-operations such as “Diamond,” “Ruby,” and “Sapphire” engender the following, among other proposed activities:
bullet disrupt antiwar demonstrators before television and press cameras can arrive on the scene, using “men who have worked successfully as street-fighting squads for the CIA” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 429-430] or what White House counsel John Dean, also at the meeting, will later testify to be “mugging squads;” [Time, 7/9/1973]
bullet kidnap, or “surgically relocate,” prominent antiwar and civil rights leaders by “drug[ging” them and taking them “across the border;”
bullet use a pleasure yacht as a floating brothel to entice Democrats and other undesirables into compromising positions, where they can be tape-recorded and photographed with what Liddy calls “the finest call girls in the country… not dumb broads but girls who can be trained and photographed;”
bullet deploy an array of electronic and physical surveillance, including chase planes to intercept messages from airplanes carrying prominent Democrats. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 429-430]
Dean, as he later testifies, is horrified at the ideas. [Time, 7/9/1973] Mitchell seems more amused than anything else at Liddy’s excesses, he merely says that “Gemstone” is “not quite what I had in mind.” He tells Liddy and Liddy’s boss, CREEP deputy director Jeb Stuart Magruder, to come back with a cheaper and more realistic proposal. [Reeves, 2001, pp. 429-430]

Edmund Muskie.Edmund Muskie. Less than two weeks before the New Hampshire presidential primary, the Manchester Union-Leader publishes a letter to the editor alleging that leading Democratic candidate and Maine senator Edmund Muskie approved a racial slur of Americans of French-Canadian descent (an important voting bloc in New Hampshire), and notes: “We have always known that Senator Muskie was a hypocrite. But we never expected to have it so clearly revealed as in this letter sent to us from Florida.” The crudely written letter becomes widely known as the “Canuck letter.” The next day, the paper’s publisher, William Loeb, publishes an attack on Muskie’s wife. An angry Muskie denounces the letter and the editorial, calling Loeb a “gutless coward,” and in the process apparently bursts into tears. The media focuses on Muskie’s tears, and the “weakness” it implies. As a result, Muskie’s standing in the polls begins to slip, and when votes are cast in New Hampshire, Muskie receives only 48% of the vote, far less than predicted. The letter is later found to have been a “dirty trick” of the Nixon campaign committee (see October 10, 1972), with White House communications official Ken Clawson admitting to actually writing the letter (see October 10, 1972). [Washington Post, 10/10/1972; Spartacus Schoolnet, 8/2007]
View from 1987 – In 1987, David Broder, the author of the Washington Post story on the incident, recalls: “In retrospect, though, there were a few problems with the Muskie story. First, it is unclear whether Muskie did cry.… Melting snow from his hatless head filled his eyes, he said, and made him wipe his face… the senator believes that he was damaged more by the press and television coverage of the event than by his own actions… it is now clear that the incident should have been placed in a different context: Muskie was victimized by the classic dirty trick that had been engineered by agents of the distant and detached President Nixon. The Loeb editorial that had brought Muskie out in the snowstorm had been based on a letter forged by a White House staff member intent on destroying Muskie’s credibility. But we didn’t know that and we didn’t work hard enough to find out.… Had those facts been known, I might have described Muskie in different terms: not as a victim of his over-ambitious campaign strategy and his too-human temperament, but as the victim of a fraud, managed by operatives of a frightened and unscrupulous president. That story surely would have had a different impact…. Unwittingly, I did my part in the work of the Nixon operatives in helping destroy the credibility of the Muskie candidacy.”
Media Expectations – Broder will admit that the story falls neatly into a storyline many in the media want to report: “the unraveling of a presidential front-runner’s campaign.” Muskie has shown frequent bouts of anger; according to Broder, many reporters are just waiting for something to trigger Muskie into an outburst that will damage his candidacy. For himself, Muskie will describe his emotional reaction: “I was just g_ddamned mad and choked up over my anger.… [I]t was a bad scene, whatever it was.” [Washington Monthly, 2/1987]

John Mitchell.John Mitchell. Attorney General John Mitchell resigns, and immediately assumes the position of chairman of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP). [O.T. Jacobson, 7/5/1974 

According to the FBI’s Watergate investigation, John Mitchell, the director of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), and his aide Jeb Stuart Magruder discuss the proposal made by G. Gordon Liddy to plant electronic surveillance devices on the phone of the chairman of the Democratic Party, Lawrence O’Brien (see March 20, 1971). Magruder telephones President Nixon’s chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, and Haldeman confirms that Nixon wants the operation carried out. [Spartacus Schoolnet, 8/2007] On March 30, in a meeting held in Key Biscayne, Florida, Mitchell, the former Attorney General (see March 1, 1972), approves the plan and its budget of approximately $250,000. [O.T. Jacobson, 7/5/1974  Other sources list this decision as coming almost a year earlier (see March 20, 1971). In this case, the FBI timeline is almost certainly in error, since the “Plumbers” break-in of the offices of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist came well before this date (see Late June-July 1971 and September 9, 1971).


Nixon Campaign ‘Dirty Tricks’

Jack Caulfield, Bearer of a Watergate Message

The Alabama Project | lisa’s leaks

Evaluating the success of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”


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Lyndon Johnson Great SocietyEvaluating the success of the Great Society

Lyndon B. Johnson’s visionary set of legislation turns 50

In just under five years in the 1960s, Lyndon B. Johnson enacted nearly 200 pieces of legislation known as the Great Society, an unprecedented and bold set of programs aimed at improving Americans’ everyday lives.

Fifty years later, we can examine the success of this enormous volume of programs, many of which are so mundane and ordinary, it’s hard to imagine a time without them.

Key pieces of Great Society legislation and programs enacted between 1963-1968, by month

LBJ 1On May 22, 1964, in a University of Michigan commencement speech, President Lyndon B. Johnson formally launched the most ambitious set of social programs ever undertaken in the United States—surpassing even Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in its range and in its ambition to transform the country.

Most of the Great Society’s achievements came during the 89th Congress, which lasted from January 1965 to January 1967, and is considered by many to be the most productive legislative session in American history. Johnson prodded Congress to churn out nearly 200 new laws launching civil rights protections; Medicare and Medicaid; food stamps; urban renewal; the first broad federal investment in elementary and high school education; Head Start and college aid; an end to what was essentially a whites-only immigration policy; landmark consumer safety and environmental regulations; funding that gave voice to community action groups; and an all-out War on Poverty.

Here are the Great Society’s key achievements and biggest failures.​

Civil Rights

LBJ civil rightsOn July 2, 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“We believe that all men are created equal,” Johnson said in an address to the country. “Yet many are denied equal treatment.”

White and black bus passengers sit side by side in Norfolk in April 1956 after racial segregation on intrastate transportation ended under a Supreme Court decision. (AP)

The law outlawed discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion or sex. It also authorized the attorney general to bring lawsuits against schools practicing segregation and discouraged job discrimination throughthe creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In fiscal 2013, there were 93,727 charges filed with the agency; 35.3 percent involved race and 29.5 percent were based on alleged sex discrimination.LBJ civil rightsJohnson later added to those protections with the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, parts of which were rescinded by the Supreme Court in 2013, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which sought to eliminate discrimination in housing.

Johnson did away with literacy tests some Southern states required voters to take; black voter registration rates in those states increased an average of 67 percent from 1964 to 1968. In 1970, there were 1,469 black elected officials in the United States; by November 2011, there were more than 10,500.

Critics, noting how much progress has been made on racial equality, argue that some aspects of the civil rights laws are no longer needed. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated some parts of the Voting Rights Act, and earlier this month, it upheld the state of Michigan’s move to ban affirmative action.

War on Poverty

LBJ war on povertyOn Aug. 20, 1964, Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, the foundation of the War on Poverty. It established the Office of Economic Opportunity to direct and coordinate educational, employment and training programs that laid its groundwork.

Between 1965 and 1968, spending to help the poor doubled; within 10 years, the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line declined to 12 percent from 20 percent. The rate has fluctuated greatly in the past 50 years. According to the census, 15.9 percent of Americans lived in poverty in 2012, which is just a couple of points lower than where the Census estimates it stood in 1965.

President Lyndon Johnson and first lady Lady Bird Johnson, in Inez, Ky., in April 1964 at the home of Tom Fletcher, a father of eight who told the president he had been out of work for nearly two years. The president visited the Appalachian area in Eastern Kentucky to see conditions firsthand and declare his War on Poverty from the Fletcher porch. (AP)

But the president’s Council of Economic Advisers uses a broader measure — including tax credits and benefits such as foodassistance — that estimates that poverty has dropped by more than a third, from more than 25 percent of the population in themid-1960s to 16 percent in 2012.“Today for the first time in all the history of the human race, a great nation is able to make and is willing to make a commitment to eradicate poverty among its people,” Johnson said in the Rose Garden.

LBJ war on povertyAmong other things it spawned was the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965, which was designed to help pull Appalachia, where one-third of residents lived below the poverty line, out of hardship, develop its industries and provide educational and health-care opportunities to its residents. Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that helps fund a number of projects in the region in areas including energy, infrastructure, highways and telecommunications.

The Office of Economic Opportunity, which ran the War on Poverty, was abolished in 1981.


LBJ educationOn April 11, 1965, Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in front of Junction School in Johnson City, Tex., which he attended. The act committed the federal government to help, for the first time, local school districts whose students come from low-income families.

Folk singer Tom Glazer performs in July 1965 for nearly 400 children enrolled in Head Start centers at Saratoga Square Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. (AP)

“As a son of a tenant farmer, I know that education is the only valid passport from poverty,” Johnson, who taught at a Hispanic school in an impoverished town before launching his political career, said at the signing. “As a former teacher – and, I hope, a future one – I have great expectations of what this law will mean for all of our young people. As president of the United States, I believe deeply no law I have signed or will ever sign means more to the future of America.”

LBJ educationA month later, Head Start launched, a program designed to give underprivileged children a “head start” before starting first grade. Lady Bird Johnson served as honorary chair of the program. Head Start has served more than 31 million children from birth to age 5 since 1965. In 2012-13, 1.13 million children and pregnant women were served by Head Start, according to the program. The vast majority – 82 percent – were children ages 3 and 4.

Later in 1965, Johnson launched the Higher Education Act, meant to open up college to anyone who wanted to attend through scholarships and low-income loans. It also established a national teacher corps.

In the 1963-64 school year, $879 million in federal grants were given to students, almost all to veterans or members of the military, and $849 million was doled out in student loans. In 2012-13, students received $185.1 billion in aid; federal loans constituted 37 percent of that total and federal grants 24 percent, according to the College Board.


LBJ healthJohnson signed an amendment to the Social Security Act creating Medicaid and Medicare, health insurance programs for the elderly and low-income individuals and families, in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Mo., on July 30, 1965.

Lillian Grace Avery, the nation’s first Medicare beneficiary, signs forms at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., on July 1, 1966. (AP)

“No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts,” Johnson said. “And no longer will this nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.”

Social Security ActIn 1966 about 19 million people – all of them elderly – were enrolled in Medicare. By 2010, just under 47 million people – both elderly and disabled – participated in the program. In 1975, about 22 million people were served by Medicaid; currently, 62 million people participate in the program.

Arts and Media

Art and Media

New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath appears on the public television show “Sesame Street” in September 1972. (Harry Harris/AP)

On Nov. 7, 1967, Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act, providing financial assistance for non-commercial television and radio broadcasting, including PBS and NPR. Have you watched “Sesame Street” or “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”? Thank the Great Society.

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Endowment for the Humanities appropriations history, in millions of 2014 dollars

Today there are 987 stations nationwide – most locally owned and operated – that broadcast NPR programming.

The Great Society also led to the fruition of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington and created the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is one of the largest arts and culture funders in the United States.


EnvironmentOn Nov. 21, 1967, Johnson signed the Air Quality Act, which granted the government increased authority to control air pollution.

“Don’t we really risk our own damnation every day by destroying the air that gives us life?” Johnson asked in the East Room of the White House. “I think we do. We have done it with our science, our industry, and our progress. Above all, we have really done it with our own carelessness – our own continued indifference and our own repeated negligence.”

The still-under-construction City Hall in Boston is shrouded in smog in November 1966. (J. Walter Green/AP)

Johnson’s action made many realize that clean air was vital. But the act designated a regional approach to combating air pollution, something many thought would be difficult to enforce. So in 1970, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which laid out nationwide standards for pollution control. According to the EPA, cars are 99 percent cleaner for common pollutants now than in 1970.

Johnson also pushed through the Water Quality Act, which required states to establish and enforce water quality standards for interstate waterways, and the Endangered Species Act, which provided threatened animals with limited protection for the first time. Currently there are 1,190 species of plants and animals on the U.S. endangered species list.

He also signed the Wilderness Act, which preserved 9.2 million acres as federal wilderness areas; the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, which established a national system to protect and preserve rivers; and the National Trails System Act, which created a nationwide system of scenic and recreational trails.

Housing and Urban Development

 DevelopmentThe Omnibus Housing Act of 1965 was a $7.5 billion measure that Johnson called “the single most important breakthrough” in housing in decades. “And in the years to come I believe this act will become known as the single most important housing legislation in our history,” Johnson said at a Rose Garden signing ceremony on Aug. 10, 1965. The bill provided hefty rent subsidies for low-income people who moved into new housing projects, created grants to help low-income homeowners rehabilitate their properties, aided small businesses displaced by urban renewal and grants to rehabilitate blighted urban property. Johnson signed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, which created the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a Cabinet-level agency.

A modern high-rise apartment building, part of an urban renewal project, contrasts with a nearby tenement building in Chicago in November 1963 (Charles E. Knoblock/AP)

The Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966 gave federal money to rebuild and revitalize poor, blighted urban areas. “The Congress hereby finds and declares that improving the quality of urban life is the most critical domestic problem facing the United States,” the law read. It led to the creation of “city demonstration agencies,” or planning agencies to review development proposals that now exist in virtually all metropolitan areas.

The Community Action Program created Community Action Agencies, nonprofits dedicated to fighting poverty at the local level. “Through a new Community Action program, we intend to strike at poverty at its source – in the streets of our cities and on the farms of our countryside among the very young and the impoverished old. This program asks men and women throughout the country to prepare long-range plans for the attack on poverty in their own local communities,” Johnson told Congress on March 16, 1964. Today there are about 1,100 Community Action Agencies nationwide. According to their national membership organization the agencies help 17 million people each year.

Not all programs were successes. The Model Cities Program, for instance, was shut down in 1974 after largely failing in its efforts at urban renewal.

Consumer Protection

Consumer ProtectionThe Great Society produced a number of laws to protect consumers, including truth-in-packaging requirements which Johnson said will “will mean that the American family will get full and fair value for every penny, dime and dollar that that family spends,” at a bill signing in November 1966. Also part of his suite of bills on consumer protection were the truth-in-lending for borrowers and meat and poultry laws to enhance food safety. It created the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Child Safety Act to ensure that toys, medicine bottles and other products were safe for both children and adults.

A pack of cigarettes with a health-hazard label, shown in January 1966. (Lambert/Getty Images)

“It will ban the sale or use of toys and other children’s articles that contain dangerous or deadly substances. It will ban the sale of other household articles so hazardous that even labels cannot make them safe. Now there is a law that says the eyes of a doll will not be poisonous beans. Now there is a law that says what looks like candy will not be deadly firecracker balls. Now there is a law that says Johnny will not die because his toy truck was painted with a poison. Both these laws offer sweeping new protection to the American family,” Johnson said.

If you’ve ever purchased a pack of cigarettes, you’ve seen this warning: “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health” and have Johnson’s Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act to thank.


ImmigrationStanding at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act on Oct. 3, 1965. It abolished the national origins formula that had been in place since 1924, meaning that preference was no longer given to immigrants from some European countries.

Refugees who fled Communist China arrive in San Francisco in March 1959. The Immigration Act of 1965 would expand immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America. (AP)

“This system violated the basic principle of American democracy – the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man,” Johnson said. “It has been un-American in the highest sense.”
LBJ immigration

Share of immigrants obtaining legal permanent residence by region of last residence.

The law greatly increased the number of immigrants from Asia, Africa and other parts of the world, though it continued to restrict the number of immigrants allowed into the United States each year. In 1965, 296,697 people obtained legal permanent resident status; in 2012, 1.03 million people became legal permanent residents. From 1960 to 1969, there were 358,563 people from Asia who became legal permanent residents. In 2012 alone, 416,488 people from Asia were granted that status, according to the Department of Homeland Security.


Lyndon B. Johnson

United States History – Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society

Lyndon B. Johnson | The White House

Great Society – Washington Post

Remarks at the Signing of the Immigration Bill, Liberty Island

“the great society” by joseph a …

Editors’ Picks of the Year: Notable Reads on WordPress.com

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Our editors dove into the archives to resurface top posts published on WordPress.com this year, from personal essays to comics, and photography to fiction. Here’s a glimpse of what you published — and what the community especially loved — in 2014.

“Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did,” Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine

“Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning,” writes comic artist Stephan Pastis of the legendary Calvin and Hobbes creator. This summer, Pastis collaborated — in secret — with Watterson. Their awesome idea: Watterson would silently step in and draw Pastis’ comic strip, Pearls Before Swine, for a few days, pretending to be a second grader. Pastis recounts the experience, offering a rare glimpse of Bigfoot.

Pearls Before Swine; Stephan Pastis; June 4, 2014.

Pearls Before Swine ; Stephan Pastis; June 4, 2014.

“No Apology,” Mehreen Kasana

I will apologize for ISIS when every…

View original 1,360 more words

How Child Abuse Primes the Brain for Future Mental Illness


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child abuse1A brain scan study pinpoints the changes associated with child abuse that may raise people’s risk of depression, PTSD and addictions later in life.

Child maltreatment has been called the tobacco industry of mental health. Much the way smoking directly causes or triggers predispositions for physical disease, early abuse may contribute to virtually all types of mental illness.

Now, in the largest study yet to use brain scans to show the effects of child abuse, researchers have found specific changes in key regions in and around the hippocampus in the brains of young adults who were maltreated or neglected in childhood. These changes may leave victims more vulnerable to depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Harvard researchers led by Dr. Martin Teicher studied nearly 200 people aged 18 to 25, who were mainly middle class and well-educated. They were recruited through newspaper and transit ads for a study on “memories of childhood.” Because the authors wanted to look specifically at the results of abuse and neglect, people who had suffered other types of trauma like car accidents or gang violence were excluded.

Child maltreatment often leads to conditions like depression and PTSD, so the researchers specifically included people with those diagnoses. However, the study excluded severely addicted people and people on psychiatric medications, because brain changes related to the drugs could obscure the findings.

Overall, about 25% of participants had suffered major depression at some point in their lives and 7% had been diagnosed with PTSD. But among the 16% of participants who had suffered three or more types of child maltreatment — for example, physical abuse, neglect and verbal abuse — the situation was much worse. Most of them — 53% — had suffered depression and 40% had had full or partial PTSD.

Child Abuse Primes the BrainThe aftermath of that trauma could be seen in their brain scans, whether or not the young adults had developed diagnosable disorders. Regardless of their mental health status, formerly maltreated youth showed reductions in volume of about 6% on average in two parts of the hippocampus, and 4% reductions in regions called the Subiculum and prosubiculum, compared with people who had not been abused.

That’s where this study begins to tie together loose ends seen in prior research. Previous data have suggested that the high levels of stress hormones associated with child maltreatment can damage the hippocampus, which may in turn affect people’s ability to cope with stress later in life. In other words, early stress makes the brain less resilient to the effects of later stress. “We suspect that [the reductions we saw are] a consequence of maltreatment and a risk factor for developing PTSD following exposure to further traumas.”

Indeed, brain scans of adults with depression and PTSD often show reductions in size in the hippocampus. Although earlier research on abused children did not find the same changes, animal studies on early life stress have suggested that measurable differences in the hippocampus may not arise until after puberty. The study suggests that the same is true for humans.

The findings also help elucidate a possible pathway from maltreatment to PTSD, depression and addiction. The Subiculum is uniquely positioned to affect all of these conditions. Receiving output from the hippocampus, it helps determine both behavioral and biochemical responses to stress.

If, for example, the best thing to do in a stressful situation is flee, the subiculum sends a signal shouting “run” to the appropriate brain regions. But the subiculum is also involved in regulating another brain system that, when overactive during chronic high stress such as abuse, produces toxic levels of neurotransmitters that kill brain cells — particularly in the hippocampus.

It can be a counterproductive feedback loop: high levels of stress hormones can lead to cell death in the very regions that are supposed to tell the system to stop production.

Emotion DysregulationWhat this means is that chronic maltreatment can set the stress system permanently on high alert. That may be useful in some cases — for example, for soldiers who must react quickly during combat or for children trying to avoid their abusers — but over the long term, the dysregulation increases risk for psychological problems like depression and PTSD.

The Subiculum also regulates the stress response of a key dopamine network, which may have implications for addiction risk. “It is presumably through this pathway that stress exposure interacts with the Dopaminergic reward system to produce stress-induced craving and stress-induced relapse,” the authors write.
In other words, dysregulation of the stress system might lead to intensified feelings of anxiety, fear or lack of pleasure, which may in turn prompt people to escape into depression, alcohol, or other drugs.

With nearly 4 million children evaluated for child abuse or neglect in the U.S. every year — a problem that costs the U.S. $124 billion in lost productivity and health, child welfare and criminal justice costs — child maltreatment isn’t something we can afford to ignore!

childhood abuse

Even among the most resilient survivors, the aftereffects of abuse may linger. Not only are such children at later risk for mental illness, but because of the way trauma affects the stress system, they are also more vulnerable to developing chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
We can do better for our kids.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



Childhood abuse hurts the brain – Harvard University

Kids deserve better

Child Sexual Abuse – PTSD: National Center for PTSD

Not unusual to forget childhood sexual abuse – Harvard …

Promising Practices for Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Child Maltreatment 2012 – Administration for Children and …

“Forgetting” Childhood Abuse study

Pathways to PTSD, Part II: Sexually Abused Children

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Scholarly articles for PTSD in abused children

Thought Police: How Brain Scans Could Invade Your Private Life


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fMRIResearchers say fMRI can probe the workings of the brain as never before—revealing everything from when you tell a lie to how you fall in love—while critics counter that reports of digital mind readers are premature, and we should think twice before using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in our public and private lives.

In the past decade, a wave of researchers using scans has laid bare the schematics of how our brains handle fear, memory, risk-taking, romantic love and other mental processes. The technology is going even further, pulling back the curtain guarding our most private selves, a nearly foolproof lie detector based on brain scanning.

The government, employers, even your spouse–might turn to technology to determine whether you are a law-abiding citizen, a promising new hire or a faithful partner. It raises interesting questions about Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. Is [an involuntary fMRI scan] illegal search and seizure since something was taken from you without your permission? And how do you protect your right not to incriminate yourself if people have a way of asking your brain questions, and you can’t say no or refuse to answer? These are some serious questions we have to begin to ask.

The underlying technology involved in functional magnetic resonance imaging has been around for decades. What’s new is the growing sophistication in how it is being used. Inside a massive doughnut-shaped magnet, an fMRI scanner generates powerful fields that interact with the protons inside a test subject’s body. The hemoglobin molecules in red blood cells, for instance, exhibit different magnetic properties depending on whether they are carrying a molecule of oxygen. Since regions of the brain use more oxygen when they’re active, an fMRI scanner can pinpoint which areas are busiest at a given moment.These can be correlated with our existing anatomical understanding of the brain’s functions–and, as our knowledge of these functions improves, so does the accuracy of neuroimaging data.

With fMRI, then, researchers can see what is going on across the entire brain, almost in real time, without danger or discomfort to the test subject. “It’s like being an astronomer in the 16th century after the invention of the telescope,” says Joshua Freedman, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “For millennia, very smart people tried to make sense of what was going on up in the heavens, but they could only speculate about what lay beyond unaided human vision. Then, suddenly, a new technology let them see directly what was there.”

In the last decade, an explosion of brain-scan studies that tapped into fMRI’s astonishing abilities has greatly enhanced neuroscience’s understanding of how the mind works. Some experiments have revealed vast differences between how our mental apparatus operates and how we perceive it to function. Other studies support common-sense intuition.

fMRIBrain Mapping of Deception and Truth telling

Feroze B. Mohamed, an associate professor of radiology at Philadelphia’s Temple University, conducted an experiment in which he instructed some test subjects to fire a pistol and then falsely answer questions about the event while undergoing fMRI. Compared to others who truthfully said they did not fire a weapon, the liars showed increased activity in twice as many brain regions, including those associated with memory, judgment, planning, sentence processing and inhibition. The findings lend credence to what we’ve all realized at one time or another: It takes a lot more effort to lie than to tell the truth.

In the wake of Sept. 11, the potential for fMRI to distinguish liars from truth-tellers generated particular interest as the U.S. government sought more reliable ways to extract information from detainees in the global war on terror. The Pentagon’s Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment at Fort Jackson, S.C., formerly the Polygraph Institute, has financed over 20 projects aimed at developing improved lie detectors. DARPA, the Pentagon’s high-tech research arm, also jumped into fMRI work. “Researchers, funded by the Department of Defense,” a recent article in the Cornell Law Review noted, “have developed technologies that may render the `dark art’ of interrogation unnecessary.”

lie_detector_1Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are looking for civilian applications. In 2006, a California company called No Lie MRI, which had conducted a DARPA-funded study, began touting its commercial lie-detection services, offering $10,000 brain scans that it says can determine whether subjects are telling the truth. Among the first customers: an arson suspect who wanted to establish his innocence.

Even some of fMRI’s most enthusiastic supporters recognize that using the technology in this way could pose gigantic risks to civil liberties. Joel Huizenga, chief executive officer of No Lie MRI, says he anticipates a potential backlash against his firm–and welcomes it. “There should be controversy,” he says. “If I were the next Joe Stalin, I could use this technology to figure out who my friends and enemies are very simply, so I’d know who to shoot.” To allay concerns, No Lie only scans those who ask to be scanned: “We will only test individuals who come forward of their own free will,” Huizenga says. “We don’t want to be forcing anyone’s head into the machine.”

No Lie MRIHuizenga’s firm may advocate strict limits on the technology, but there’s no reason to expect that other companies will. What if employers want to use this technology as part of a standard job interview? How about a classroom scanner to detect plagiarism and other forms of cheating? What if airport security agents could screen our state of mind along with our luggage?

Such applications might be “hypothetical,” of course, but their implications are already being hotly debated by bioethicists and legal scholars. The Cornell Law Review article asserts that “fMRI is one of the few technologies to which the now clichéd moniker of `Orwellian’ legitimately applies.” The article goes on to conclude that “fMRI’s use remains legally questionable” and that “the involuntary use of fMRI scanning in interrogation most likely violates International Humanitarian Law.”

In George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, a civil servant named Winston Smith (played in the 1955 movie by Edmond O'Brien, above) loses all privacy as Big Brother and his Thought Police bring him under constant surveillance. Is the NSA today's Big Brother?

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, a civil servant named Winston Smith (played in the 1955 movie by Edmond O’Brien, above) loses all privacy as Big Brother and his Thought Police bring him under constant surveillance. Is the NSA today’s Big Brother?

Since 2001, several companies have sprung up offering to decode thoughts for the benefit of retailers. One pioneering firm, The BrightHouse Institute for Thought Sciences, in Atlanta, claims to be the first neuromarketing research firm to land a Fortune 500 client–though it wouldn’t identify the company.

Consumer advocates worry that corporations will use fMRI to hone ever more insidiously effective marketing campaigns. In 2004, the executive director of Commercial Alert, a group co-founded by Ralph Nader, sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate committee that oversees interstate commerce, noting that marketers were using fMRI “… not to heal the sick but rather to probe the human psyche for the purpose of influencing it … in a democracy such as ours, should anyone have such power to manipulate the behavior of the rest of us?”

Bitmapping the Brain

Recent fMRI studies have enabled scientists to expand the intricate cartography that represents the mind at work. –E.M.

FMRI brain scan

brain activated by stimuli in five fMRI studies. The illustration shows activity in one hemisphere of the brain; most neural responses occur in both hemispheres.

* Truth Machine * Proof of Purchase * Big Love
For many, establishing guilt or innocence is fMRI’s holy grail.
Study: Temple University
Protocol: Six graduate students were asked to fire a gun loaded with blanks, then lie about their actions. Five students who didn’t fire a gun were told to be truthful. Could fMRI scans reveal who was lying?
Results: Fourteen areas of the brain, including the anterior cingulate cortex (top yellow dot) and the hippocampus (bottom), were active when subjects lied; seven areas were active when subjects told the truth.
One controversial use of fMRI is neuroeconomics –the study of mental and neural processes that drive economic decisions.
Study: Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University, MIT Sloan School of Management
Protocol: Twenty-six adults were given $20 each to spend on consumer items. Could researchers predict intent to purchase based on brain regions registering activity?
Results: When areas of the brain associated with product preference and evaluation of gains and losses–the nucleus accumbens (right red dot) and the medial prefrontal cortex (left), respectively–were activated, the person bought a product. Accuracy rate: 60 percent.
Love might be nothing more than a chemical reaction.
Study: State University of New York, Stony Brook; Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Rutgers University
Protocol: Researchers asked 17 young men and women to look at photos of the people they professed to love, then analyzed their brain activity in an fMRI scanner.
Results: Early stage romantic love is about motivation and reward, since it lights up subcortical reward regions like the right ventral tegmental area (top blue dot) and dorsal caudate area (bottom). Subjects in more extended romantic love showed more activity in the ventral pallidum (middle), which indicates attachment, in prairie voles–and, scientists surmise, in humans.
* The Oops Factor * Better to Give
What happens when you make a costly mistake?
Study: University of Michigan
Protocol: Scientists asked 12 adults to complete 360 visually based tests that carried monetary rewards and penalties between 25 cents and $2.
Results: When subjects made errors with consequences–in this case, losing money–the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC, orange dot) was much more active. It was less active when mistakes carried no penalty. The rACC’s involvement suggests the importance of emotions in making decisions.
Does our brain think paying taxes is actually satisfying?
Study: University of Oregon
Protocol: Scientists gave 19 women $100 each, then scanned their brains as they watched their money go to a charity, via mandatory taxation and voluntary contribution.
Results: The caudate nucleus (right green dot) and nucleus accumbens (left), the same regions that fire when basic needs like hunger and social contact are met, were activated when subjects saw some of their tax money go to charity; activity was even greater when they gave money of their own accord. Scientists cite this as tentative proof of altruism.

William Uttal, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Michigan who has written a book about fMRI’s potential shortcomings, points out that researchers don’t know how brain activity correlates to the mechanisms of thought. “The big problem is that the brain is far more complex than we understand,” he says. “With this MRI stuff, it’s very, very easy to misunderstand and to simplify things that are much more complicated.”

The most withering criticism centers on using fMRI scans as lie detectors. “Some people claim they can show you pictures of suspected terrorists, and even if you say you don’t know them, they can tell by looking at an fMRI scan whether you know them or not,” says Yale’s Andy Morgan. “Well, a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lying, because no one’s done studies involving faces that look alike. A familiar-seeming face may give you the same response as one you actually know.” And, regardless of Huizenga’s promise that his No Lie staffers won’t force anyone’s head into an fMRI machine, such assurances might not be necessary: Current scanning technology does not work with nonconsenting subjects. In fact, even tiny movements inside the scanner can negate results.

Unfortunately, any doubts about fMRI accuracy hardly lessen its potential for misuse. For decades, polygraph tests have been widely used despite their flaws. (Even proponents of polygraphy admit a 10 percent failure rate.) And junk science has long been rife in the courtroom. Earlier this year, law professor Brandon L. Garrett of the University of Virginia published a study analyzing 200 cases in which innocent people were wrongly convicted of a crime. In 55 percent of the cases, he found that jurors had been presented with faulty forensic evidence. “I personally am quite concerned,” says Vanderbilt’s Frank Tong. “If brain scans were admissible in court, and became popular enough, then even if they were not mandatory they would become in a sense obligatory. Because if you didn’t voluntarily undergo it, then there would be the question, `Why didn’t you take the test?'”

No doubt many brain-scan applications that critics most fear will never come to pass, and others as yet unseen will arise. What’s certain is that the technology will be transformative, with hardly an area in the public or private spheres that won’t be affected. Like it or not, the new brain science is here, and the world inside our heads is never again going to be completely private.



What Is FMRI? – Center for Functional MRI – UC San Diego

The Monumental Challenge of Mapping the Human Brain

Scientists Are Zapping the Brain to Enhance Memory


fMRI Research Study – The Academy for Scientific …

Brain mapping of deception and truth telling about an …

Brain Imaging, functional (fMRI) – RadiologyInfo

No Lie MRI – Home Page

The quest to build the perfect lie detector – Salon.com

xkcd: fMRI

Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind

Brain imaging: fMRI 2.0 : Nature News & Comment

What fMRI Can Tell Us About the Thoughts and …

How Brain Scans

Physics of the impossible – SlideShare

The Spy Factory | The New Thought Police image 4 | PBS

NOVA | The New Thought Police – PBS

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A New Research …

Neuroscience, Ethics, and National Security: The State of …

Overnight News Digest 06/21/2013 – Daily Kos

Scholarly articles for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

PM/AM: The Next Decade of Brain Science

A Microchip That Mimics the Human Brain

The Inspiration for Mind-Control Conspiracy Theories Faces Its Demise

IBM Reveals the Biggest Artificial Brain of All Time

Sex, Lies and fMRI—Gender Differences in Neural Basis of Deception

The Legality of the Use of Psychiatric Neuroimaging in …

Pentagon’s quest for nonlethal arms is amazing. But is it smart?


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 EM radiationTucked away in the corner of a drab industrial park in Huntington Beach, Calif., is a windowless, nondescript building. Inside, under extremely tight security, engineers and scientists are working on devices whose ordinary appearance masks the oddity of their function.

For hundreds of years, sci-fi writers have imagined weapons that might use energy waves or pulses to knock out, knock down, or otherwise disable enemies–without necessarily killing them. And for a good 40 years the U.S. military has quietly been pursuing weapons of this sort. Much of this work is still secret, and it has yet to produce a usable “nonlethal” weapon. But now that the cold war has ended and the United States is engaged in more humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, the search for weapons that could incapacitate people without inflicting lethal injuries has intensified.

Police, too, are keenly interested. Scores of new contracts have been let, and scientists, aided by government research on the “bioeffects” of beamed energy, are searching the electromagnetic and sonic spectrums for wavelengths that can affect human behavior. Recent advancements in miniaturized electronics, power generation, and beam aiming may finally have put such pulse and beam weapons on the cusp of practicality, some experts say. Weapons already exist that use lasers, which can temporarily or permanently blind enemy soldiers.

So-called acoustic or sonic weapons, like the ones in the aforementioned lab, can vibrate the insides of humans to stun them, nauseate them, or even “liquefy their bowels and reduce them to quivering diarrheic messes,” according to a Pentagon briefing. Prototypes of such weapons considered for tryout when U.S. troops intervened in Somalia.

Other, stranger effects also have been developed, such as using electromagnetic waves to put human targets to sleep or to heat them up, on the microwave-oven principle. Scientists have also created a sonic cannon that throws a shock wave with enough force to knock down a man.

NOLESWhile this and similar weapons may seem far-fetched to some, scientists say they are natural successors to projects already underway – beams that disable the electronic systems of aircraft, computers, or missiles, for instance.

“Once you are into these antimateriel weapons, it is a short jump to antipersonnel weapons,” says Louis Slesin, editor of the trade journal Microwave News.

That’s because the human body is essentially an electrochemical system, and devices that disrupt the electrical impulses of the nervous system can affect behavior and body functions.

But these programs – particularly those involving antipersonnel research – are so well guarded that details are scarce.

“People [in the military] go silent on this issue,” says Slesin, “more than any other issue. People just do not want to talk about this.”

Projects underway

To learn what the Pentagon has been doing, U.S. News talked to more than 70 experts and scoured biomedical and engineering journals, contracts, budgets, and research proposals. The effort to develop exotic weapons is surprising in its range. Scores of projects are underway, most with funding of several hundred millions dollars each.One Air Force lab spent more than $100 million to research the “Bioeffects ” of such weaponry. The benefits of bloodless battles for soldiers and law enforcement are obvious. But the search for new weapons – cloaked as they are in secrecy – faces hurdles.

One is the acute skepticism of many conventional-weapons experts.

“It is interesting technology but it won’t end bloodshed and wars,” says Harvey Sapolsky, director of the Security Studies Program at MIT.

Some so-called nonlethal weapons could end up killing rather than just disabling victims if used at the wrong range. Others may easily be thwarted by shielding. Sterner warnings come from ethicists. Years ago the world drafted conventions and treaties to attempt to set rules for the use of bullets and bombs in war.

But no treaties govern the use of unconventional weapons. And no one knows what will happen to people exposed to them over the long term. Moreover, medical researchers worry that their work on such things as the use of electromagnetic waves to stimulate hearing in the deaf or to halt seizures in epileptics might be used to develop weaponry.

In fact, the military routinely has approached the National Institutes of Health for research information.

DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] has come to us every few years to see if there are ways to incapacitate the central nervous system remotely,” Dr. F. Terry Hambrecht, head of the Neural Prosthesis Program at NIH, told U.S. News.

Still, the Pentagon conducts human testing with lasers and acoustics weapon, says Charles Swett, an assistant for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict. Swett insists that the testing will be constrained and “highly ethical.”

Laser ethics

What happened with U.S. forces in Somalia foreshadows the impending ethical dilemmas. In early 1995, some U.S. marines were supplied with so-called dazzling lasers. The idea was to inflict as little harm as possible if Somalis turned hostile. But the marines’ commander then decided that the lasers should be “de-tuned” to prevent the chance of their blinding citizens.

With their intensity thus diminished, they could be used only for designating or illuminating targets. On March 1, 1995, commandos of U.S. Navy SEAL Team 5 were positioned at the south end of Mogadishu airport. At 7 a.m., a technician from the Air Force’s Phillips Laboratory, developer of the lasers, used one to illuminate a Somali man armed with a rocket-propelled grenade.

A SEAL sniper shot and killed the Somali. There was no question the Somali was aiming at the SEALs.

But the decision not to use the laser to dazzle or temporarily blind the man irks some of the nonlethal-team members.

“We were not allowed to disable these guys because that was considered inhumane,” said one. “Putting a bullet in their head is somehow more humane?”

Despite such arguments, the International Red Cross and Human Rights Watch have since led a fight against antipersonnel lasers.

In the fall of 1995, the United States signed a treaty that prohibits the development of lasers designed “to cause permanent blindness.” Still, laser weapons are known to have been developed by the Russians, and proliferation is a big concern. Also, the treaty does not forbid dazzling or “glare” lasers, whose effects are temporary.

U.S. military labs are continuing work in this area, and commercial contractors are marketing such lasers to police. 

Acoustic pain

The next debate may well focus on acoustic or sonic weapons. Benign sonic effects are certainly familiar, ranging from the sonic boom from an airplane to the ultrasound instrument that “sees” a baby in the uterus.

The military is using something less benign – an acoustic weapon with frequencies tunable all the way up to lethal. Indeed, Huntington Beach-based Scientific Applications & Research Associates Inc. (SARA) has built a device that will make internal organs resonate: The effects can run from discomfort to damage or death.

If used to protect an area, its beams would make intruders increasingly uncomfortable the closer they get.

Such acoustic fences, he says, could be deployed today. He estimates that five to 10 years will be needed to develop acoustic rifles and other more exotic weapons.

The military also uses acoustic fields used to control riots or to clear paths for convoys. SARA’s acoustic devices have already been tested at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, near the company’s Huntington Beach office.

The Pentagon considered they could cause permanent injury to pregnant women, the old, or the sick. Parhami sees acoustics “as just one more tool” for the military and law enforcement.

Like any tool, I suppose this can be abused,” he says. “But like any tool, it can be used in a humane and ethical way.”

Toward the end of World War II, the Germans were reported to have made a different type of acoustic device. It looked like a large cannon and sent out a sonic boom-like shock wave that in theory could have felled a B-17 bomber.

In the mid-1940s, the U.S. Navy created a program called Project Squid to study the German vortex technology. The results are unknown. But Guy Obolensky, an American inventor, says he replicated the Nazi device in his laboratory in 1949. Against hard objects the effect was astounding, he says: It could snap a board like a twig.

Against soft targets like people, it had a different effect.

“I felt like I had been hit by a thick rubber blanket,” says Obolensky, who once stood in its path.

The idea seemed to founder for years until recently, when the military was intrigued by its nonlethal possibilities. The Army and Navy now have vortex projects underway.

The SARA lab has tested its device at Camp Pendleton, one source says. 

Electromagnetic heat

The Soviets were known to have potent blinding lasers. They were also feared to have developed acoustic and radio-wave weapons. The 1987 issue of Soviet Military Power, a cold war Pentagon publication, warned that the Soviets might be close to “a prototype short-range tactical RF [radio frequency] weapon.”

The Washington Post reported that year that the Soviets had used such weapons to kill goats at 1 kilometer’s range.

The Pentagon, it turns out, has been pursuing similar devices since the 1960s.

Typical of some of the more exotic proposals are those from Clay Easterly. Last December, Easterly – who works at the Health Sciences Research Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory – briefed the Marine Corps on work he had conducted for the National Institute of Justice, which does research on crime control.

One of the projects he suggested was an electromagnetic gun that would “induce epileptic-like seizures.”

Another was a “thermal gun that have the operational effect of heating the body to 105 to 107″ degrees Fahrenheit.

Such effects bring on discomfort, fevers, or even death. The biggest problem is power. High-powered microwaves intended to heat someone standing 200 yards away to 105 degrees Fahrenheit may kill someone standing 10 yards away.

Mission Research Corp. of Albuquerque, N.M., has used a computer model to study the ability of microwaves to stimulate the body’s peripheral nervous system.

“If sufficient peripheral nerves fire, then the body shuts down to further stimulus, producing the so-called stun effect,” an abstract states.

But, it concludes,

“the ranges at which this can be done are only a few meters.”

Nonetheless, government laboratories and private contractors are pursuing numerous similar programs. A 1996 Air Force Scientific Advisory Board report on future weapons, for instance, includes a classified section on a radio frequency or “RF Gunship.”

Other military documents confirm that radio-frequency antipersonnel weapons programs are underway. And the Air Force’s Armstrong Laboratory at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas is heavily engaged in such research.

According to budget documents, the lab intends to spend more than $110 million over the next six years,

“to exploit less-than-lethal biological effects of electromagnetic radiation for Air Force security, peacekeeping, and war-fighting operations.”

Low-frequency sleep

From 1980 to 1983, a man named Eldon Byrd ran the Marine Corps Non-lethal Electromagnetic Weapons project. He conducted most of his research at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) in Bethesda, Md.

“We were looking at electrical activity in the brain and how to influence it,” he says.

Dr. Eldon ByrdByrd, a specialist in medical engineering and bio-effects, funded small research projects, including a paper on vortex weapons by Obolensky. He conducted experiments on animals – and even on himself – to see if brain waves would move into sync with waves impinging on them from the outside.

By using very low frequency electromagnetic radiation – the waves way below radio frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum – he found he could induce the brain to release behavior-regulating chemicals.

“We could put animals into a stupor,” he says, by hitting them with these frequencies. “We got chick brains – in vitro – to dump 80 percent of the natural opioids in their brains,” Byrd says.

He even ran a small project that used magnetic fields to cause certain brain cells in rats to release histamine. In humans, this would cause instant flulike symptoms and produce nausea.

“The effects were nonlethal and reversible. You could disable a person temporarily,” Byrd hypothesizes. “Like a stun gun.”

Because it worked, he suspects that the program “went black.” Other scientists tell similar tales of research on electromagnetic radiation turning top secret once successful results were achieved. There are clues that such work is continuing. In 1995, the annual meeting of four-star U.S. Air Force generals – called CORONA – reviewed more than 1,000 potential projects.

effects_of_sleep_deprivation-svgOne was called “Put the Enemy to Sleep/Keep the Enemy From Sleeping.” It called for exploring “acoustics,” “microwaves,” and “brain-wave manipulation” to alter sleep patterns.

It was one of only three projects approved for initial investigation.


Direct contact

As the military continues its search for nonlethal weapons, one device that works on contact has already hit the streets. It is called the “Pulse Wave Myotron.” A sales video shows it in action.

A big, thuggish-looking “criminal” approaches a well-dressed woman. As he tries to choke her, she touches him with a white device about the size of a pack of cigarettes.

He falls to the floor in a fetal position, seemingly paralyzed but with eyes open, and he does not recover for minutes.

“Contact with the Myotron,” says the narrator, “feels like millions of tiny needles are sent racing through the body. This is a result of scrambling the signals from the motor cortex region of the brain,” he says. “It is horrible,” says William Gunby, CEO of the company that developed the Myotron. “It is no toy.”

The Myotron overrides voluntary – but not involuntary – muscle movements, so the victim’s vital functions are maintained. Sales are targeted at women, but law enforcement officers and agencies – including, but not limited to, the Arizona state police and bailiffs with the New York Supreme Court – have purchased the device, Gunby says.

A special model built for law enforcement, called the Black Widow, is being tested by the FBI, he says.

“I hope they don’t order a lot soon,” he adds. “The Russian government just ordered 100,000 of them, and I need to replenish my stock.”

The U.S. military also has shown interest in the Myotron Pulse Wave

“About the time of the gulf war, I got calls from people in the military,” recalls Gunby. “They asked me about bonding the Myotron’s pulse wave to a laser beam so that everyone in the path of the laser would collapse.”

Gunby said he was warned to keep quiet.

“I was told that these calls were totally confidential,” he says, “and that they would completely deny it if I ever mentioned it.”

Some say such secrecy is necessary in new-weapons development. But others think it is a mistake.

“Because the programs are secret, and the technology is unconventional,” says William Arkin of Human Rights Watch Arms Project, “the military has not done any of the things to determine if the money is being well spent or the programs are a good idea.”


Light beams affect mind and body

Lasers emit a high-intensity light, which can force an individual to turn away or cause blinding.

Those that result in permanent blinding have been banned by international treaty. But dazzling lasers might be used in hostage situations, prison riots, and special operations.

Laser gunDazzling effects Lasers can force the pupil to close, or they can burn the light-sensitive retina or cornea depending on the intensity of the beam.

Laser guns

Lasers have mounted on existing weapons, such as, but not limited to, the M-16 rifle.

  • Grenade-shell laser

  • Clip-on targeting transmitter

  • Cornea Pupil

  • Lens Retina and many more


Arms for crowd control and invisible fencing

Acoustic frequencies are used to guard sensitive facilities, rescue hostages, clear paths for military convoys, disperse crowds, or target individuals.

  • Acoustic frequencies can penetrate buildings

  • Acoustic “gun” mounted on humvee

  • Sonic “speakers”

Acoustic WeaponsAcoustic fencing

An array of acoustic devices can keep people away. The closer they get, the worse they feel. Acoustic effects on the body Sonic frequencies can cause tiny hair cells in the inner ear to vibrate, creating sensations like motion sickness, vertigo, and nausea.

They can also resonate internal organs resulting in pain, spasms, or even death. 


These arms can knock down people or even aircraft

The vortex gun expels a doughnut-shaped shock wave that could knock people down. The gun could also be filled with gases or chemical agents. A vortex ring of pepper spray, for instance, would stun its victims with both a physical blow and a chemical irritant.

  • They may be hand held or vehicle mounted Explosive charge creates vortex in shock tube

  • The vortex ring would travel at hundreds of miles per hour

  • The vortex ring must spin at Mach 1 or faster to create shock wave

  • Shock wave hits body

  • They also contain chemical agents such as pepper spray

Vortex technology

The vortex gun fires a doughnut-shaped wave with a powerful center. Lab tests show vortexes can break wooden boards across a room. When they strike a person, the effect is like being hit with a heavy blanket.


microwave weaponsA “tunable” weapon that can discomfort or cook the enemy
As antipersonnel weapons, microwaves could be used as “barriers,” causing pain or burns to those who enter their path. Phaser-like microwave “stun guns” have also been tested

Research is classified. 

  • Vehicle-mounted microwave gun Microwave “barrier” BZZZZZZT!!! Disturbs brainwaves

  • Affects heart rate

  • Causes heat, burns, fevers

  • Seizures or stun effects Impairs motor function

Microwave effects on the body

Microwaves have a wide range of biological consequences. A heating effect is produced by excitation of water molecules.

Army experiments with animals in non-weapons programs show that microwave exposure can lead to memory impairment, cardiac arrest, a “stun” effect, and evoked body movements.

Active Denial System

The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon developed by the U.S. military, designed for area denial, perimeter security and crowd control.  Informally, the weapon is also called the heat ray since it works by heating the surface of targets, such as the skin of targeted human subjects. Raytheon is currently marketing a reduced-range version of this technology.

Active_Denial_System_HumveeOn August 20, 2010, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced its intent to use this technology on prisoners in the Pitchess Detention Center in Los Angeles, stating its intent to use it in “operational evaluation” in situations such as breaking up prisoner fights. The ADS is currently only a vehicle-mounted weapon, though U.S. Marines and police are both working on portable versions. ADS was developed under the sponsorship of the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program with the Air Force Research Laboratory as the lead agency. There are reports that Russia and China are developing their own versions of the Active Denial System.

V2K (Voice to Skull)

US Air Force has experimented with microwaves that create sounds in people’s head (which they’ve called a possible psychological warfare tool), and American Technologies can “beam” sounds to specific targets with their patented HyperSound.  Now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is jumping on the bandwagon with their new “Sonic Projector” program.

Oleoresin Capsicum Aerosol


Mind Justice – Nonlethal Weapons – A Global Issue

“Psychotronics” and “Silent Sound”

Control Mental


The Psychic Universe

Wonder Weapons

Microwave auditory effect

List of laser applications

Non-consensual human experimentation

Active Denial System

Microwave Technology And Its Use Against Humanity

V2K, Voice to Skull and Silent Sound Weapons

A Voice Only You Can Hear: DARPA’s Sonic Projector

Directed Energy Bioeffects Division – Wright-Patterson Air …

Artificial Telepathy

Judge Quashes $650M Government Mind Control Lawsuit …

Sex, Lies and fMRI—Gender Differences in Neural Basis of Deception


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brainsexDeception has always been a part of human communication as it helps to promote self-presentation. Although both men and women are equally prone to try to manage their appearance, their strategies, motivation and eagerness may be different. Here, we asked if lying could be influenced by gender on both the behavioral and neural levels. To test whether the hypothesized gender differences in brain activity related to deceptive responses were caused by differential socialization in men and women, we administered the Gender Identity Inventory probing the participants’ subjective social sex role. In an Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) session, participants were instructed either to lie or to tell the truth while answering a questionnaire focusing on general and personal information. Only for personal information, we found differences in neural responses during instructed deception in men and women. The women vs. men direct contrast revealed no significant differences in areas of activation, but men showed higher BOLD signal compared to women in the left middle frontal middle frontal gyrus (MFG). Moreover, this effect remained unchanged when self-reported psychological gender was controlled for. Thus, our study showed that gender differences in the neural processes engaged during falsifying personal information might be independent from socialization.


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