Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't Change the FOIA Rules!

Memo to Gen. Edward Lansdale (Director of the Pentagon's Office of Special Operations) dated June 6, 1962 on the use of a Cuban student front group in covert propaganda operations. It is believed this DRE group helped set up Lee Harvey Oswald - under the direction of CIA agent George Joannides- to take the fall for the 1963 Kennedy assassination. Under new proposed rules, obtaining such a memo might be impossible under the Freedom of Information Act.

"A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. “- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

The question of interest then, is whether our nation-government is afraid of its people? Why else re-configure the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in such a way to limit access to records and documents? According to press reports (Denver Post, 'Record Access Could Change', Oct. 25, p. 7A) a plan is afoot from the Dept. of Justice that would allow all federal agencies to tell people requesting certain national security or law enforcement files that the records do not exist - even when they do!

What? Have we entered the Newspeak, Orwellian world of the novel, 1984? Or, is the government now hiding so many secrets - such as about the real architects behind the JFK assassination (and which government agencies acted in concert with them) to carry out a coup d' etat in November, 1963- that extraordinary means must be employed for secrecy? Inquiring minds want to know.

Under current practice, for any given Freedom of Information Act request the government may withhold information and issue what is called a "Glomar denial" (named after the Glomar Explorer - built to recover a sunken Soviet sub in the 1970s- and the CIA's efforts to conceal the efforts and findings). This denial asserts the government "can neither affirm nor deny" the existence of the records.

But under the new proposal - part of a lengthy rule revision by the DOJ- agencies would be directed to "respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist". Hello! Anyone home? Anyone realize how much this will further erode government integrity, not to mention contribute to such a metastasis of conspiracy thinking and theories that people's heads will spin?

At least the ACLU in a response has it correct:

"We don't believe the statute allows the government to lie to FOIA requesters. "

The ACLU, along with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Openthe Goernment.org also aver that such a ridiculous move would "dramatically undermine government integrity by allowing a law designed for public access to government to be twisted."

But this is merely the latest attempt at massive stone walling to prevent citizens access to documents, since Bill Clinton, back in 1995, ordered declassification of nearly all government records. Some may not recall any of that, but fortunately I happened to save a lot of newspaper clippings from the period, realizing: a) how short the public memory can be, and b) how insidious PR can exploit that short memory to say whatever the hell the disinfo specialists want.

But according to one Baltimore Sun headline, March 5, 1997, p. 1A:


Many government files, including of the Kennedy assassination, "continued to remain under wraps, as agencies continue to ignore a Clinton Executive Order issued in 1995 . This has generated concerns that a 'culture of secrecy' is at work." The article goes on to report:

"The Pentagon and the CIA have largely ignored President Clinton's order to declassify millions of secret documents, perpetuating a 'culture of secrecy' that shields the government from accountability, according to a report released yesterday.

Clinton's Executive Order, which took effect last year, required automatic declassification of documents more than 25 years old by the year 2000. Eighty three percent of the information is held by the Defense Department and the CIA, the report said, the rest is at Energy and the State Department."

People alive at the time may recall that Clinton came in on a tide of demands for openness in government, and promised that he would effect such using Executive Orders if need be. This was especially crucial given how the Iran-Contra Conspiracy had already besmirched attitudes to governance and contributed to an ever increasing skepticism that government has any role for the public good.

The Sun article went on to note:

"The commission found that there are 1.5 billion documents more than 25 years old that are still classified, although more than half of them are excluded under a national security exemption order.

But so far the agencies have declassified only 57 million documents as of January, or about one tenth of what they agreed to release. Of the 166 million CIA documents more than a quarter-century old, 59 million are under review, and fewer than 20,000 have been released, as of January, the report said.

The Army is reviewing all of its 270million documents but has released none. At the Navy, there are 500 million documents, an uncertain number under review, and 33 million have been released.

The Fort Meade-based National Security Agency has 129 million documents, 53 million under review and has released 1.9 million. The FBI and the Energy Department obtained waivers from the automatic disclosure of documents 25 years or older in exchange for assurances that they would quickly review their unclassified records for release. But no FBI records have been released, and most of the Energy Department's records are withheld from public review under the Atomic Energy Act."

And what about the cost of keeping all these files hidden and away from public view or disclosure?

"The commission found a costly security apparatus through which about 3 million people in both government and industry can keep these documents under lock and key. It cost the government and defense contractors $5.6 billion in 1995 to protect national security information"

Continuing with the earlier Sun article:

"The report says that the classification system is governed by a series of executive orders and that almost anyone with a stamp can determine what is secret. Although new management techniques have served to reduce what is classified, there were still 3.6 milli new classifications of information in 1995, the report said"

Exacerbating this 'culture of secrecy' is an absolute contempt for the rule of law within the Agency. As George C. Herring observed ('Snowed in by the CIA', Harpers, Sept. 1997, p. 17):

"In addition, the CIA's response to a 1995 Executive Order requiring agencies to meet minimum levels of declassification was less than reassuring. I can still vividly recall a display projected on a screen during the February meeting that measured unreleased agency documents in terms of the height of several Washington Monuments. We were told that of the 165 million pages of pre-1975 agency records, the CIA would seek exemptions from declassification for 106 million - roughly 64% of the total."

Among those documents, perhaps the most critical ones in history of American governance, are the CIA files to do with CIA handler and station chief George Joannides, over 1963. We already know, those of us who are researchers in the JFK assassination community, that a process was in place by early 1963 to paint Lee Oswald as some pro-Castro extremist- to set him up to take the fall for the Kennedy hit.. We know that this was likely orchestrated by George Joannides in conjunction with the DRE (Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil or Revolutionary Cuban Student Directorate) to manufacture incidents such as the altercation with Carlos Bringuier on New Orleans' Canal Street in the summer of 1963, that would later put Oswald in a suspicious light.

We also know Gen. Edward Lansdale received memos, arguably through channels set up by Agent Joannides, on covert and overt actions to take using the DRE group. (See e.g. the portion shown obtained under FOIA requests with other documents portraying how the CIA attempted to use false attacks on American ships and interests in Cuba to foment a war with Castro.) See e.g


Arguably, NONE of this material would be obtainable under the new provisions!

What is the advantage of keeping Americans collectively in the dark? The short answer is control: control of perceptions and hence, control of consciousness. In a way, one can regard it as an extended form of public relations but with active denial of key information the basis, as opposed to misinformation.

As author Winn Schwartau (Information Warfare) notes, by its nature - 'information warfare' does not recognize the implicit and authentic existence of an independent 'truth'. All that exists in the Information Warrior's lexicon is perception and his job, first and foremost, is to control the perceptions of information consumers - wherever they may be.

Sadly, the prime effect of doing this is to engender a massive false consciousness in the majority of people. This false consciousness keeps them slaves to the system which can then succeed in keeping people down via secrecy. Why? Perhaps because the system is not a genuine participatory democracy but something else. Maybe a corporotacracy that merely uses the votes of citizens to empower itself over time.

Think about this in terms of what the Overclass seeks to do, call it "the Primary Directive". Blind people to how their system of governance actually works . Part of this "blinding" must be secrecy in release of information about how government has acted in the past. Past is prologue, after all.

This is most important. Once this is done, the PR Overclass and its media enablers can forge a mythology, i.e. participatory democracy, then peddle it over and over again, to make people believe this is actually how the existent system works. If this is what they believe, and it's embedded in their consciousness - creating a FALSE concsiousness - they won't challenge it!

As Maxine Baca-Zinn and D. Stanlye Eitzen note (p. 371, 'In Conflict and Order', 1991):

"The most important component of a democratic model is that the representatives, because they are elected by the people, are responsive to the wishes of the people. This model, however, does not conform to reality. The United States is undemocratic in many very important ways. The people, although they do vote for their representatives every few years, are really quite powerless.

For example who makes the really important decisions about war and peace, economic policies and foreign policy? The people certainly do not. The record shows that many times the American people have been deceived when the object was to conceal clandestine illegal operations, mistakes, undemocratic practices and the like."

The above lays out the basic template, and why we won't see an end to extreme secrecy- or excuses for such- anytime soon. The existence of the Overclass itself, and its massive funding system that bypasses citizens' interests and welfare is dependent on it! Not to mention the nefarious connection of recent "wars"- occupations to mobile capital!

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