I always wonder which conspiracy theories are allowed and which are publicly condemned. And which are ignored.
The grandest conspiracy theory, and the one most beaten back by Officialdom, is the JFK assassination. Even fifty years later most Americans believe there was some kind of conspiracy to kill Kennedy. But the official guardians of reality in the media continue to berate any rational discussion on it. The fact is, and has been known for decades, that someone was impersonating Oswald in Mexico City six weeks before the assassination, trying to connect Oswald to both the Soviet embassy and the Cuban consulate. There's pictures of the guy, who is definitely not the Oswald arrested for JFK's murder. Common sense says that someone impersonating a nobody (and trying to implicate him as part of a conspiracy with foreign enemies) who becomes a somebody six weeks later by allegedly assassinating the President indicates a conspiracy.
There have been plenty of 9/11 conspiracy theories, and anyone who doubts the official story has been branded mentally ill and/or somehow unpatriotic. But as noted here, there is plenty to question about the backgrounds of the hijackers and no discussion erupts in the mainstream media.
The most embraced conspiracy theory in the past fifty years has been Watergate, and by conspiracy I mean the accepted story, that Nixon conspired to spy on the Democrats and then tried to cover things up. It's worth noting that almost every player in the Watergate scandal was connected with our intelligence services, from the burglars (some of whom were wandering around in Dealey Plaza a decade earlier), to those who gave testimony, and even to the official historian of the event, Bob Woodward, who had top secret clearance working at the Pentagon only a few years prior to Watergate.
I bring this up because Seymour Hersh, famed for many investigative reporting coups, has just announced that the whole story surrounding the death of bin Laden was fake. Hersh said this in an interview with Britain's Guardian, which has been the home of Glenn Greenwald and the continuing Snowden saga.
Hersh's first coup was his investigation of My Lai, where he exposed Lieutenant Calley and the slaughter in a Vietnamese hamlet. But how complete was his expose? Most people came away from that story wringing their hands about man's inhumanity to man, or demonizing the individual Americans, like Calley, who were involved in the incident. But a fuller understanding of that incident can be found in Douglas Valentine's The Phoenix Program, which details this in the context of the secret war waged by the CIA in Vietnam. So years later the question should be did Seymour Hersh make full revelations of My Lai, or was he performing what has become known in intelligence circles as a "modified limited hangout", revealing as much as necessary while helping to cover up the bigger story, that the CIA was destroying hundreds of villages this very way during the Vietnam War? If the latter, then Hersh has been less an investigative reporter than a coverup artist for the CIA.
Hersh wrote a particularly bad book on JFK called The Dark Side of Camelot, filled with lots of hearsay and innuendo smearing JFK while ignoring facts pointing to the CIA's murder of Kennedy. This is not an uncommon occurance. Many reporters and writers who seem to be doing the CIA's handiwork have come out periodically with books about "the dark side" of John Kennedy while avoiding any blame for the CIA's role in his murder and coverup. (There are two fine essays, "The Media and the Assassination" and "The Posthumous Assassination of John F. Kennedy", about CIA assets obscuring government involvement in the JFK assassination and the periodical attacks on Kennedy. Both can be found in the book The Assassinations.)
Even if one concludes that Hersh has been a CIA asset over the years while acting to the world as an investigative reporter, why would he say that the whole Osama story was a fake? As is the case in these spy vs. spy media eruptions in the press, it always helps to ask the age-old question: "Cui bono?"
So who benefits from Hersh's story? (Note that I don't even address whether or not it's true. In the greater scheme of things it's unimportant if Osama died during that raid or died five years earlier. Osama's career as a boogeyman justifying American military involvement in Afghanistan were over.) I don't know, but I think that looking at the location of the story, in The Guardian, can provide clues. It's the same source as Greenwald and Snowden.
At the height of the Cold War the world, when it was Us versus Them, the scorecard was easier to decipher. But sabotaging US interests when they diverge from CIA interests get more complicated. One example was the CIA flying a U-2 over the Soviet Union, against Presidential orders, which sabotaged peace talks between the Soviet Union and the US at the end of the Eisenhower years. Another obvious example is the murder of JFK. On reflection it's pretty clear that elements within the CIA wanted to and did sabotage Nixon. After President Carter had his CIA Director put a number of loose cannons out to pasture there was full-fledged mutiny run against the President which has become known as The October Surprise, which begat Iran-contra. It's not surprising that over the next twelve years that former CIA Director George H. W. Bush was either President or Vice President.
So who benefits? I can definitely say who doesn't benefit. Obama. And Obama seems to have been the target of the Greenwald/Snowden revelations, never mind that our government intelligence apparatus has been spying on American citizens over the last sixty years (at least). The Echelon program, for example, has been in place since the nineties. The intrusive spy programs were put in place during the post-9/11 days under George W. Bush. Nevertheless, the tone and direction of Snowden's revelations points very much to President Obama. Likewise, if Obama oversaw the raid on Osama's compound, and it were all a lie, then Obama again gets the blame.
But notice that both things laid at Obama's feet were under the control of our intelligence services. To understand the dynamics of Washington DC one must understand that the CIA has had its own agenda, and has been very much in control of events, especially international events, since the U-2 incident. When a President is consonant with CIA goals it's smooth sailing. When a President isn't in sync with our intelligence interests, things get interesting.
Daniel Hopsicker has done a lot of good investigative work on 9/11. Here are some things you might have missed:
Before discussion about 9/11 was squeezed—in a pincer movement worthy of Hitler’s Panzer divisions—between the so-called “official story” and the subsequent campaign of disinformation that gave conspiracy a bad name, there were some promising avenues of investigation where definitive answers might still be possible.
Here are a few that remain at the top of my list. There are many others.
On the 12th anniversary of the Sept 11 attack there has still been no official investigation into the murders of almost 3000 people that day. The Joint Congressional Intelligence Committee investigation, which met in secret, delivered a report famously containing 28 blank pages.
And anyone looking to the 9/11 Commission for answers had already been disillusioned, even before they issued “findings,“ because they were charged only with identifying what might have been done differently to prevent a future attack.
The FBI’s ballyhooed 4000-man “largest investigation in history” lasted just a little more than three weeks, until someone—we still don’t know who—mailed letters sprinkled with anthrax, changing the focus of the FBI investigation.
Days later, in an order describing the investigation of the terrorist hijackings as "the most exhaustive in its history," FBI Agents were ordered to curtail their investigation of the Sept. 11 attack. Officials said Robert Mueller, newly-sworn in head of the FBI, believed that his agents had a broad understanding of the events of Sept. 11.
"The investigative staff has to be made to understand that we're not trying to solve a crime now," said one law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It was now time to move on."
The order was said to have met with resistance from FBI agents who believed that continued surveillance of suspects might turn up critical evidence to prove who orchestrated the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Before all the breathless talk about missiles and holograms and termites in the World Trade Center took center stage, there had still been a few promising avenues of investigation where definitive answers might be possible without resorting to stadium-sized white noise generators.
According to a flurry of stories between Sept 15 and 17 in the Washington Post, Newsweek, and Knight Ridder newspapers,as many as six of the terrorists, including ringleader Mohammed Atta, received training at U.S. military facilities.
"U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesday's terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990’s," Newsweek reported. Newsweek also reported that three of the hijackers received training at the Pensacola Naval Station in Florida.
"We always, always, always trained other countries' pilots,” a former Navy pilot told Newsweek about his years on the base. “When I was there two decades ago, it was Iranians. The Shah was in power. Whoever the country du jour is, that's whose pilots we train."
Florida Senator Bill Nelson, with an Air Force background, faxed an indignant note to Attorney General Ashcroft demanding to know if it were true. Several weeks later, I called Nelson’s office in Washington, hoping to learn more about thecountry du jour.
"In the wake of those reports we asked about the Pensacola Naval Air Station but we never got a definitive answer from the Justice Department," said a spokesman for Sen. Nelson. "We asked the FBI for an answer ‘if and when’ they could provide us one. Their response to date has been that they are trying to sort through something complicated and difficult."
The Senator had received no reply to his request. "Speaking for Senator Nelson," concluded the spokesman, "we still do not know if three of the terrorists trained at one time in Pensacola or not."
Knight Ridder newspapers reported that Mohamed Atta attended International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. Another terrorist, Abdulaziz Alomari, attended Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force base in Texas. And Saeed Alghamdi had been to the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey, California.
Official denial was swift, but strangely worded. "Some of the FBI suspects had names similar to those used by foreign alumni of U.S. military courses," said the Air Force in a statement. "However, discrepancies in their biographical data, such as birth dates 20 years off, indicate we are probably not talking about the same people."
"Probably not talking about the same people" does not quite strike the note of certitude we should expect in an investigation into the murder of 3000 more-or-less vaporized human beings. But it was enough for Newsweek, the Washington Post and Knight Ridder to all drop the story.
I didn’t drop the story. I'm funny that way. And several weeks later I reached a Major in the Air Force's Public Affairs Office. She was familiar with the question, she said, because she had read the initial Air Force denial to the media.
"Biographically, they're not the same people," she explained. "Some of the ages are twenty year off."
I told the Major I was only interested in Atta. Was she saying that the age of the Mohamed Atta who attended the Air Force's International Officer's School at Maxwell Air Force Base was different than the reported age of the terrorist Mohamed Atta?
Um, er, no, the Major admitted. Still, she persisted. "Mohamed is a very common name."
I offered that if the Registrar of the International Officer's School provided the name and address of the Mohamed Atta who had attended there, I would call and confirm that he was still alive, just to relieve the Air Force of that burden.
"I don't think you're going to get that information," the Major replied.
She was right. I didn’t.
Still, I pressed her again, probably to the point of rudeness, to provide a few specifics. And I was rewarded when she told me, in exasperation: “I do not have the authority to tell you who (which terrorists) attended which schools.”
It is hard to read this as anything but a back-handed confirmation that somewhere in the Defense Dept, even though she didn’t have the authority to release it, there exists a list with names of Sept. 11 terrorists who received training at U.S. military bases.
Gaining admittance to the International Officer’s School at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery would have required Atta to be extremely well-connected with a friendly Arab government.
I learned just how well-connected after finding the resume of an International Officer’s School graduate from the United Arab Emirates, Colonel and Staff Pilot Mohammed Ahmed Hamel Al Qubaisi, (shown in photo in recent posting as UAE Ambassador to Singapore) posted on the Internet.
Currently, his resume stated, he was a Defense Military Naval & Air Attaché at the United Arab Emirates embassy in Washington, after serving stints in his country’s Embassy & Security Division as Chief of Intelligence, and in the UAE’s Security Division/Air Force Intelligence & Security Directorate as Security Officer.
It’s safe to say that Mr. Al Qubaisi is pretty dialed-in in the UAE, and the furthermost thing from a terrorist. He’s a member of the Arab elite. It even looks like he’s a spook.
And so was Mohamed Atta.
Later I heard from the former wife of a CIA pilot who had worked on Maxwell Air Force Base. “I have a girlfriend who recognized Mohamed Atta when she saw his picture after the attack," she told us.
"She met him at a party at the Officer’s Club. And the reason she swears it was him here is because she didn’t just meet him and say hello. After she met him she went around and introduced him to the people with her. She knows it was him.”
She also said that Saudis were a highly visible presence at Mawell Air Force Base. “There were a lot of them living in an upscale complex in Montgomery. They were all gone the day after the attack.They had to get all of them out of here.”
I called them the “Magic Dutch Boys.” Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof, two Dutch nationals, purchased the two flight schools that trained three of the four terrorist pilots to fly at the tiny Venice Airport, which has an extensive history of CIA involvement,.
When Mohamed Atta and his terrorist cell left Hamburg and moved to Florida, Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard were in the middle of an aggressive European ‘marketing’ campaign, reported the local Venice Gondolier.
"The world is my working place," Dekkers boasted to the paper. His plans were so successful the makeup of the flight school had soon changed, and foreign nationals came to account for over 80 per cent of the students.
Yet Dekkers repeatedly stated Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi—the pilots who brought down the Word Trade Center—just "walked in" off the street into his school.
Dekker’s and Wally Hilliard’s flight schools (they had another 100 miles south in Naples, FL) were annually training four hundred foreign nationals, many if not most from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
Here's a rhetorical question: Does the CIA use foreign contractors to establish plausible deniability in covert operations?
But The New York Times never mentioned anything about it.
Prior to the Sept 11 attack press accounts of Dekkers’ business dealings revealed him to be a fast-talking con man. Afterwards, the hometown Venice Gondolier ran a headline saying he was no stranger to headlines.
"Huffman Aviation Inc. has had problems in the last few months with the city of Venice, Sarasota County and the state of Florida, but the school keeps flying," the paper reported.
Dekkers’ wasn’t paying his rent out at the airport.
"When Huffman Aviation paid three months of overdue rent last Friday, May 12th, company president Rudi Dekkers said the rent wouldn't be late again. "No, we won't have this any more," he said during an interview last Friday." A month later a headline read: “Huffman rent is late again.”
"Huffman Aviation Inc. is again on notice from the city to catch up on its rent payments or face eviction from the airport," the paper wrote on June 9th.
Nothing had changed by mid-July. "For the sixth straight month, Huffman Aviation Inc. has failed to pay its rent to the city on time."
Then, less than one month before 9/ 11, almost miraculously, Dekkers paid the rent.
While they received humiliating newspaper coverage for being deadbeats, Hilliard and Dekkers were launching a commuter airline. Planes and pilots for the venture, known as Florida Air, came from Richard Boehlke, a Gig Harbor, Washington man.
Boehlke was at the same time involved in the massive Mob bust-out in Portland, Oregon of Capital Consultants, a pension fund management company that lost $320 million dollars, much of it from the pension fund of the Laborers Union, called the biggest Mob-run union in America.
"Boehlke would do anything for money, he was so desperate," said an aviation executive who had witnessed Boehlke's descent. "I’m surprised he hasn’t skipped the country by now, what with all the trouble he’s gotten himself into farting around with those Mafia boys down in Portland."
A major recipient of the largesse of the busted-out Capital Consultants was Alvin Malnick, whom Readers Digest once called "Meyer Lansky’s heir as head of Organized Crime."
In “Welcome to TerrorLand” I dubbed him “Alvin of Arabia, because he moved to Saudi Arabia and converted to Islam while doing some business with the King.
There is also the little matter of the bust of Wally Hilliard's Lear jet with 43 lns of heroin in Orlando in late July of 2000, just a few weeks after Atta arrived to attend his flight school. The DEA Agents on the scene later went before a Federal Judge to make sure Hilliard didn't get his Learjet back by pleading he was an "innocent owner."
If you’re looking for connections between the 9/11 hijackers, drug traffickers, and international organized crime, you need look no further than Huffman Aviation.
Yet The New York Times never mentioned anything about it.
John Newman, who's written several books on the JFK assassination and Oswald, says that this is the Rosetta Stone. This is the clue that proves there was a conspiracy, and points a finger at who did it. Why? Because this man was photographed in Mexico City six weeks before the assassination. He was impersonating Lee Harvey Oswald, and was talking to people in both the Cuban consulate and the Soviet embassy, trying to arrange to travel to both places.
Six weeks before the assassination, nobody knew who Lee Harvey Oswald was. If someone were impersonating him and were trying to make it appear that Oswald was dealing with the Russians and Cubans, then who would benefit from making a nobody appear to be involved with America's two Cold War enemies?
Well, nobody if Lee Harvey Oswald continued to be a nobody. But who would gain if they knew that Oswald would be fingered as the assassin of President Kennedy?
At this point it doesn't matter whether Oswald killed JFK or was part of a group of assassins or, as he put it after he was arrested, he was a patsy. Six weeks before the assassination someone knew that JFK would be killed and that Oswald would be blamed.
Well, who took the picture of this Oswald impersonator?
The CIA. The CIA had cameras and took photos of who went in and out of the Cuban consulate and the Soviet embassy.
I've often wondered why the CIA would let this picture surface. Mistake, eh?
I. The Rosetta Stone
The Assassination Records Review Board finished its search more than a year ago—a search for records relating to the murder of a president thirty-six years ago. Surprisingly, the passage of time has not managed to erode or cover over all of the important evidence. On the contrary, the work of the Review Board has uncovered important new leads in the case. I will leave medical and ballistic forensics to others. I will confine myself to document forensics, an area for which the work of the board had been nothing less than spectacular. More specifically, I will confine myself to the documentary record concerning Lee Harvey Oswald’s 1963 visit to Mexico City.
In 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) completed its work, including a report on Oswald’s activities in Mexico written by Eddie Lopez and Dan Hardway. Our first glimpses of their report began shortly after the 1993 passage of the JFK Records Act. Not even all the redactions of those early versions could hide the seminal discoveries in that work. While Lopez couched his words in careful language, he suggested that Oswald might have been impersonated while he was in Mexico City just weeks before the assassination. Lopez was more forthright when I interviewed him about this in 1995. Armed with more CIA documents and the first Russian commentary (Nechiporenko’s book, Passport to Assassination), I went further in my own Oswald and the CIA (Carroll & Graf: 1995) in advancing the argument that Oswald was impersonated in the Mexican capitol. Specifically, someone pretending to be Oswald made a series of telephone calls between 28 September and 1 October, allegedly to and from the Cuban and Soviet consulates in Mexico City.
I concluded then, that, based on the content of the CIA Mexico City telephone transcripts alone, the speaker purporting to be Oswald was probably an impostor. I will not repeat my lengthy discussion here, other than to summarize it in this way: the speaker’s words were incongruous with the experiences we can be reasonably certain Oswald underwent. For reasons still obscure, the CIA has lied consistently for these past several decades about the tapes from which those transcripts were made. The Agency concocted the story that the tapes were routinely destroyed before the assassination. It is perhaps true that some tapes were destroyed before the assassination. But Lopez uncovered FBI documents containing detailed accounts of how two of the tapes were listened to after the assassination by FBI agents familiar with Oswald’s voice.
More evidence would come in time. Shortly after the passage of the JFK Records Act, the public gained access to a telephone transcript the day after the assassination in which FBI Director Hoover informs President Johnson that it is not Oswald’s voice on the tapes. The Review Board diligently followed these leads and settled the matter when they found CIA documents in which the Agencyitselfexplicitly states that some of the tapes were reviewed after the assassination. The CIA’s continued silence on the matter of the tapes stands, like a giant beacon, pointing the way forward to the investigator. The impersonation of Oswald in Mexico by someone who drew attention to an Oswald connection to a KGB assassination officer may prove to be the Rosetta stone of this case.
Before going further, I once again pay tribute to Peter Dale Scott, who wrote of these matters as early as 1995, advancing his "Phase I-Phase II hypothesis" on largely deaf ears. I will not repeat his lengthy discussion here, other than to summarize it in this way: In Phase I, immediately after the assassination, previously planted evidence of a Cuban/Kremlin plot surfaced in Oswald’s files; this, in turn, precipitated Phase II, in which a lone-nut cover-up was erected to prevent a nuclear war.
In Oswald and the CIA, I deliberately steered clear of the conspiracy-anti-conspiracy vortex in order to set out some of the facts concerning Oswald’s pre-assassination files. Since then, the cumulative weight of the evidence uncovered by the Review Board has led me to the conclusion that the Oswald impersonation can best be explained in terms of a plot to murder the president. I remain open to other interpretations and fresh analyses by fellow researchers, and I understand that new evidence could corroborate or undermine this hypothesis. What follows is a first stab at explaining, in a short and simple way, how those plotting the president’s murder may have left their fingerprints in the files.
II. Puzzles and Pieces
Since Oswald would have no reason to arrange for his own impersonation, there are three possibilities concerning the purpose of this impersonation: it was only part of a legitimate intelligence operation; it was only part of a conspiratorial plot; or, the third alternative which combines both: it was part of a legitimate intelligence operation manipulated by a plotter or plotters. These are three distinct puzzles. Into which one do the pieces fit most easily?
For the purposes of this discussion I will reject the proposition that it was only part of a crude conspiratorial plot, carried out by schemers unfamiliar with the inner-workings of the U.S. intelligence community. By exposing themselves to such intense U.S. intelligence scrutiny, the conspirators would have put themselves at unacceptable risk and raised the chances that Oswald would not be in the Texas School Book Depository when the president’s motorcade drove by. Thus we are left with two puzzles: an intelligence operation or a legitimate operation manipulated by plotters. Before deciding, let us examine the characteristics of some of the more unique-looking pieces.
The weirdest, most gangly piece is the 28 September phone transcript. In addition to the Oswald impersonator, there are two more speakers on this one. The phone call is between the Cuban Consulate and the Soviet Embassy at a time when no one was in the Cuban Consulate and the Soviets were in the middle of preparing a report to KGB HQ on Oswald’s activities. The FBI confirmed that the Oswald character was played by someone else. Another speaker in this transcript, the secretary in the Cuban Consulate, Silvia Duran, had to have been impersonated if, as she and her colleagues have repeatedly claimed and testified, the Cuban consulate was closed at the time of the telephone call.
This only leaves one other person, the man allegedly in the Soviet Embassy. If he is truly in the Soviet Embassy, then one could advance the argument that this was some sort of CIA penetration operation. If the Soviet man, too, was impersonated, then there was no legitimate intelligence operation even though it was probably designed to look like one. We should bear in mind that the CIA has never publicly claimed these phone calls were part of any intelligence operation and the Russians have no recollection of such a call. In fact, at the very time this phone call was supposed to have been made to the Soviet Embassy, the three staff members with whom Oswald had visited for an hour were still in the building and in the process of assembling all of the details for a cable to KGB Central in Moscow. It is frustrating that, in 1999, when Boris Yeltsin handed over KGB files on Oswald to President Clinton, they did not include the Soviet Embassy cables that were sent at the time of this bogus 3-person telephone call. Those contemporaneous cables could provide corroboration for the later Soviet (Nechiporenko- Kostikov) account.
The second puzzle piece is the 1 October telephone transcript, wherein the Oswald impersonator mentions a meeting with Valery Kostikov—a man known to the CIA as the chief of KGB assassination operations for the entire Western hemisphere. In fact, according to CIA cables and Kostikov himself, the real Oswald did meet Kostikov in Mexico. What, then, was the purpose of this impersonation? When we hold this second piece side-by-side with the first piece, we are drawn to the possibility of a plot to murder the president, an integral part of which was planting—in CIA channels—evidence of an international communist conspiracy.
The third piece is a missing transcript. We know there was a 30 September tape because of the recollection of the CIA translator who transcribed it. Her name is Mrs. Tarasoff and she remembers not only transcribing it but also the fact that the Oswald voice was the same as the 28 September voice—in other words the same Oswald impostor. This piece is all the more unique because Mrs. Tarasoff remembers the Oswald character asked the Soviets for money to help him defect, once again, to the Soviet Union.
Finally, this piece has another side to it as well: it concerns what a CIA officer at the Mexico City station had to say about it. His name was David Atlee Phillips and, in sworn testimony to the HSCA, he backed up Mrs. Tarasoff’s claim about the tape and the request for money to assist in another defection to the Soviet Union. But the Phillips story has another twist. The day before his sworn testimony, Phillips told a different, more provocative version to Ron Kessler of the Washington Post. He told Kessler that on this tape Oswald asked for money in exchange for information. Why was this crucial transcript destroyed? What motivated Phillips to tell two different stories about this piece in less than 24 hours?
This third piece not only reinforces the likelihood that the plotters were seeking to ensure CIA sources would reveal a link between Oswald and the Soviets, but also invites us to ask questions about David Phillips. Indeed, one might ask, in view of the foregoing, what was Phillips doing during Oswald’s visit and the subsequent exchange of cables with CIA HQ concerning Oswald’s activities in Mexico?
One of the most important books on the JFK assassination is Harvey and Lee, by John Armstrong. It's out of print and will cost you around $200 used on the internet.
But today's your lucky day. Armstrong has posted his book as a .pdf file online, and you can download it to your computer. Just go here. It's over a thousand pages, and well worth the time to read it. Find out what happened to your country fifty years ago.
This is not a hard one to figure out. How stupid do you have to be?
A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.
The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, provided exclusively to TPM, showed an eye-popping divide among Republicans in the Bayou State when it comes to accountability for the government's post-Katrina blunders.
Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren't sure who to blame.
Bush was criticized heavily when he did not immediately return to Washington from his vacation in Texas after the storm had reached landfall. The government was also slow to provide relief aid and Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), admitted in a televised interview that he learned that many of the storm's victims at the New Orleans Convention Center were without food and water well after the situation had been reported in the press.
Brown's handling of the response ultimately led to his resignation, but Bush offered an infamous endorsement of the FEMA chief only days before he stepped down.
"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," Bush said.
Remember the friary where they found Richard III? It was under a parking lot in Leicester. Well, they found a stone coffin there and they're not sure who's in it. It could be Peter Swynsfeld, or William of Nottingham. Or it could be Sir William de Moton of Peckleton. We've been wondering where Sir William went.
Archaeologists are set to lift the lid on a stone coffin discovered at the site of the English friary where Richard III's remains were found.
Excavators suspect the tomb — billed as the only intact stone coffin found in Leicester — may contain the skeleton of a medieval knight or one of the high-status friars thought to have been buried at the church.
Richard III, the last king of the House of York, ruled England from 1483 to 1485, when was killed in battle during the War of Roses, an English civil war. He received a hasty burial at the Grey Friars monastery in Leicester as his defeater, Henry Tudor, ascended to the throne. Grey Friars was destroyed in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation, and its ruins became somewhat lost to history. [Photos: The Discovery of Richard III]
A dig beneath a parking lot in Leicester last summer revealed the remains of Grey Friars and a battle-ravaged skeleton later confirmed to be that of Richard III. Excavators also found a handful of other graves, including this coffin, which the researchers think was put in the ground more than 100 years before Richard's burial.
This month, the team from the University of Leicester started a fresh excavation at the site. Now in their final week of digging, the researchers plan to open the coffin in the days ahead.
They think it might contain the remains of the knight Sir William de Moton of Peckleton, who died between 1356 and 1362, or one of two heads of the Grey Friars order in England, Peter Swynsfeld or William of Nottingham.
"Stone coffins are unusual in Leicester — and this is the first time we have found a fully intact stone coffin during all our excavations of medieval sites in the city," site director Mathew Morris, of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), said in a statement. "I am excited that it appears to be intact.
What worries me deeply, and I have seen it exemplified in this case, is that we in America are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto–fascist state. It will be a different kind of fascist state from the one of the Germans evolved; theirs grew out of depression and promised bread and work, while ours, curiously enough, seems to be emerging from prosperity.
But in the final analysis, it’s based on power and on the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state. Its origins can be traced in the tremendous war machine we’ve built since 1945, the “military–industrial complex” that Eisenhower vainly warned us about, which now dominates every aspect of our life. The power of the states and Congress has gradually been abandoned to the Executive Department, because of war conditions; and we’ve seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution. In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society.