russ-baker-family-of-secrets.thumbnail.jpgWhen George W. Bush (whom I’ll call W for this review, to distinguish from his father, Poppy) pushed to have the Supreme Court appoint him in 2000, I speculated to a friend about why W would pursue such an illegitimate Presidency. "I bet he’s got to take control to hide Poppy’s crimes." That’s where Russ Baker’s Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America starts, too: with W’s early efforts to bury Poppy’s records.

… early in his presidency, George W. Bush had sought to roll back reforms on America’s recent past. He seemed determined to lock the file drawers. But what did those file drawers contain? Could there be clues regarding the origins of George W. Bush’s most damaging policies–the rush to war in Iraq, officially sanctioned torture, CIA destruction of evidence, spying on Americans with the collusion of private corporations, head-in-the-sand dismissal of climate change, the subprime mortgage disaster, skyrocketing oil prices? Indeed their could. None of these developments looks so surprising when one considers the untold story of what came before.

In his effort to tell the story of the Bush dynasty (particularly those events Poppy would like to hide), Baker covers ground others–Kevin Phillips and Robert Parry, among others–have touched on. Yet Baker did a great deal of new investigative research into the guts of Poppy’s secrets. For example, Baker unpacks a November 29, 1963 J. Edgar Hoover memo noting that "George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency" had been briefed on FBI concerns that anti-Castro groups might respond to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy assassination by raiding Cuba.

[We have been] advised that the Department of State feels some misguided anti-Castro group might capitalize on the present situation and undertake an unauthorized raid against Cuba, believing that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy might herald a change in U.S. policy … [Our] sources know of no [such] plans … The substance of the foregoing information was orally furnished to Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency …

Later, Baker explores why George de Mohrenschildt–a key contact of Lee Harvey Oswald’s leading up to the assassination–would write Poppy during his tenure as CIA Director (and just months before de Mohrenschildt died).

I tried to write, stupidly and unsuccessfully, about Lee H. Oswald and must have angered a lot of people … Could you do something to remove the net around us? This will be my last request for help and I will not annoy you any more.

Baker also conducted interviews with key players in the Bush chronology, such as with the owner of an oil services company in Alaska that employed W during the summer of 1974, or the founder of Harken Energy.

By bringing these data points together in one book, Baker brings to light a lot more information about the ties the Bushes have to both licit and illicit networks of money, intelligence, and power.

That said, I don’t buy all his conclusions about those data points. Baker has clearly shown that Poppy was a key member of a large, largely secret, network of power, but he hasn’t proven what role Poppy (or others) played in that network. Simply showing the existence of the network, after all, doesn’t prove anything about the agency of individuals within it.

To be fair, Baker explains that "the research for this book, by definition, is a work in progress." It’s in that spirit that I found the book most valuable–an important contribution to a larger work in progress to expose the Bush family and their role in the global power structure.

In his conclusion, Baker describes a colleague joking that he should call the book, "Everything you thought you knew is wrong." It may or may not be–but certainly, there are details Baker exposes that ought to make you question whether what you know is right. Whether Baker ends up convincing you or not, reading this book should make you question much of what you know about the last half century of US history.

Update: Go to the website http://www.whowhatwhy.com/ to find out how to support this kind of investigative work.

195 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Russ Baker, Author of Family of Secrets

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Welcome Russ. I want to thank you for a very provocative book–and welcome you to FDL. I know a lot of our readers have been buzzing about this book.

BevW March 14th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Russ, Welcome to the Lake.

Emptywheel, Thank you for Hosting this Book Salon.

egregious March 14th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Welcome to firedoglake! Long time fan here.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:02 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 1

Marcy, thanks for inviting me. Looking forward to your questions.

Russ

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Russ, I’m curious now that the book has been out for a few months and Bush has been out of office for almost two months, what you think the biggest parallels with his father’s earlier spooky side are? For example, I keep thinking of Abramoff’s mobster side (the casino mob murder in FL) and his early ties to far right militant groups (in S African and Zimbabwe).

Looking back, what things W did do you think carry on the tradition of his father most directly?

dakine01 March 14th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Russ, welcome to FDL this afternoon.

I have not had a chance to read your book but from Marcy’s intro, I am intrigued by the association of Poppy Bush with the CIA, seemingly much earlier than I was aware of, which is the period when he was director.

Was he associated with the CIA earlier or was he just involved in trying to cover-up/clean-up their messes that came to light during the ’70s?

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I’m going to throw out another retrospective question for your too: how do you expect the collapse in our economy will affect this network of power? Obviously, Paulson made sure his cronies, particularly Goldman Sachs, got payouts from the federal govt. But given the widespread distrust of these networks, is there a chance their power will diminish?

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Hi Russ
thanks, Marcy, for hosting and for the great intro

Ok just starting off, George. H. W. Bush’s Zapata Offshore’s records from 1960 – 1966 were “inadvertently destroyed” right after George H. W. Bush became VP? How convenient.

BTW where was he the day Kennedy was shot?

BooRadley March 14th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Hi Russ, welcome to FireDogLake.

SaltinWound March 14th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Welcome! I’m enjoying your book and being forced to revisit my feelings about John Dean. You make a compelling case that his apparent openess about Watergate is actually an effort to spin the narrative, playing up Nixon’s role and playing down the CIA’s. What is the biggest question Dean has never answered about his role?

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:11 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 5

Firstly and foremostly, there is the broad pattern of indirection: saying one thing while meaning another. Very few policies were as stated, few were carried out for the reasons claimed. Begin with the Iraq war, because that is the huge one–one of the biggest cons in American history, self-interest of elites in the guise of protecting American security. Then, of course, the secrecy–hiding not just what W and Cheney were doing, but what his father did, via revisions to the presidential records act. And of course, as you point out, the many smarmy operatives. Remember Jeff Gannon, the phony reporter who tossed out the softball questions and turned out to have a background as a military man and gay hooker? If you think about these and so many more episodes, they come out of the CIA playbook his father used more discreetly.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:12 pm
In response to Elliott @ 8

That’s one of the really curious sides of the Kennedy story. Baker shows how Poppy was providing inaccurate info about when he was and was not in Dallas. And he also called in a tip to the FBI on one of the GOP volunteers in Houston–though the tip seems to have been baseless.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:12 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 6

Much of Family of Secrets documents an apparent close working relationship with the CIA, perhaps a formal one, that predates his CIA directorship in 1976 by 23 years, and wanders in and out of such key historical episodes as the JFK assassination and Watergate.

BooRadley March 14th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

digg is open

bmaz March 14th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

I am interested in knowing the extent of George HW Bush’s involvement with Cheney, Halliburton, Dresser Industies and the intentional plunging of WTC Building Number 7.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:16 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 7

Frankly, I doubt it. Obama gets credit for the huge amounts of money he raised from the public over the internet, but he also raised enormous sums from financiers. A lot of the usual suspects have had their people in the Obama camp from early on. As one source told me in my research for the book, it was standard procedure to spread intel operatives serving these interests and ensure they were well-placed in any and all White Houses.

Public outrage is good, but it tends to peter out quickly when things “get back to normal.”

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:17 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 13

I was really fascinated by the openness with which Neil Bergt, the Alaska International Industries owner whom W worked for in 1974, described the companies work on intell-related issues. From your book:

We did some spying for the CIA after Jimmy Carter went in, gutted the CIA, and almost ruined them. They came to people like me because they didn’t have any money, and by law they couldn’t be in some countries–Libya, for one.

Which makes it all the more fascinating that that summer of W’s life never really got any attention.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:18 pm
In response to bmaz @ 15

I cannot comment on the WTC, as I have not researched that subject, but certainly Poppy Bush and his circle were deeply involved with recruiting Cheney to run Halliburton–which owned the Bush family outfit, Dresser Industries.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:20 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 17

Indeed. That episode is as telling as any. It is hard to see that as anything but Poppy putting his eldest son through training in the “family business,” ie a firm cooperating with off the books intelligence operations.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:22 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 19

And while we’ve been outsourcing our intelligence for years, it has accelerated greatly under Bush. Who knew his summer job (and, seemingly, one of the first times he actually applied anything he learned at Harvard) was in outsourcing intell?

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:24 pm
In response to SaltinWound @ 10

There are so many questions Dean has never answered, in large part because the media and the academic gatekeepers don’t ask, blithely accepting the conventional wisdom. One such question would be this: why does he think that such an inexperienced and essentially unqualified person such as himself was fast-tracked into Nixon’s WHite House in the first place? I would also like to know who, if not him, was the principal organizer and advocate of the covert operations that brought Nixon down. And then there are the questions about all the intelligence ties of the folks who helped make Watergate such a big problem for Nixon.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Russ

Have you been following the discussions about what was and was no released from the Watergate tapes in the last few weeks?

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Hello, Russ,
I’m also wondering how the collapse of UBS and the international banking system will affect the Bush network. And, factoring in that W doesn’t have the gravitas that Poppy has, will the House of Bush start to crumble?

snoboysdrift March 14th, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Who originated the phrase “Bush crime family”? Was it Malloy, the radio talk show host??

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:25 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 22

Yes, indeed. An article clarifying and advancing the story will be published soon on the site of our nonprofit investigative reporting outfit, at http://www.whowhatwhy.com .

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

What a great topic and looking forward to reading this book. I read a while back “The Bush Tragedy” which focuses on the personal history of W, particularly with his father. Seems like Rove and Cheney exploited the Oedipal reaction formation of W, to induce him to take a tack they wanted, they would give him the Reagan choice or his father’s choice, and he would go against his presumed father’s-type choice. They played him.

But why did the father enable the son to win. For covering up? I thought it was family tribalism. Since Bush had that love/hate relationship with him. this is a whole new dimension.

But the Bush Tragedy did reveal daddy and baby bush bonded tightly over Bush and Rove’s swiftboating Dukakis.

But CIA must be a slippery slope for amoral and immoral activity for softspoken Bush Sr.

And all that Skull & Bones secrecy as a precursor.

And W’s literally “branding” Yale pledges in his fraternity, though Yale Daily News protested and he finally had to use cigarettes and not coathangers, not real branding irons. Maybe seemingly small and boys will be boys, but given the torture, rendition stuff… worth an acknowledgement.

And the Mason stuff, too?

Patriarchal male societies … power and competition and dark secrets.

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

umm
can you elaborate a little

Jeff Gannon, the phony reporter who tossed out the softball questions and turned out to have a background as a military man and gay hooker? If you think about these and so many more episodes, they come out of the CIA playbook his father used more discreetly.

are you suggesting the White House used Gannon to get a hold on others, or Gannon had a hold on someone in the White House?

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:26 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 25

That’s partly a response to this book, isn’t it?

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:28 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 23

As far as UBS goes, there is much more to the story. To get a sense of the crucial role that bank played in propping up so many troubling regimes, ie the South African apartheid government, be sure and read the Harken Energy chapter in Family of Secrets. Pretty much, all of these outfits change names, merge, split apart, issue mea culpas, and then continue on their merry way. Nothing will really change until there is more discussion of and understanding of the relationships and agendas that underpin these giant outfits.

Regarding W, I dont see him as indispensable to the continuation of the construct I outline in the book. There are other Bushes, certainly Jeb, who are well schooled in the game. And it certainly doesnt have to be a Bush at all.

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 2:28 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 26

sounded like Poppy was that way about his own father, Prescott

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:29 pm
In response to snoboysdrift @ 24

I’m not sure. I think I recall the term being used in articles or books from the early 90s.

SaltinWound March 14th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

How did Barbara Bush’s letter on the day of the Kennedy Assassination even qualify as an alibi for her husband’s whereabouts? Is her claim that the she made a hand written copy of a letter she also sent?

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

This is a rollicking good read for anyone, like me, who believes in the Bush Inc. conspiracy to steal America’s wealth from its people to benefit a few. Whether the disparate data add up to an all-powerful Bush family isn’t important, as the story of the individual threads leads in that direction. And for people like me, that makes for a fun book.

I have one quibble, Mr Baker — on page 404 you mention Doug Wead’s recollection of a conversation he had when W talked about his love of Mad magazine’s Spy vs Spy intrigues:

“He was talking about the subtlety of politics and how what meets the eye is so different from the political [reality]…”

Here’s my question: Spy vs Spy doesn’t really feature political subtlety; it’s really all about ratfucking. Was Wead pulling your leg, or was he burnishing, and whitewashing, a conversation he’d had with W — for your benefit?

Do you think Doug Wead, consummate marketeer, may have placed other distractions in your path?

Sara March 14th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Hi Russ,

Sorry to be late, but about 8AM this morning, SPRING ARRIVED IN MINNESOTA. and as with everyone else around here, dry roads are finally an invitation to go do all those errands you put off during the blizzards of the last two weeks.

Question when I catch my breath, and look at the state of the posts.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:32 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 26

I urge you to read Family of Secrets. I come to very different conclusions about the father-son relationship than these other books. While I don’t dispute that there was a bit of a competition between father and son, I think that has been deliberately hyped to obscure the truth: that the son was essentially a loyal soldier in the machine that his father long served. In the book, you will see examples of them working hard to persuade the public that father and son were estranged, to hide the hand of the father in some of the son’s controversies.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:32 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 29

I’d love to see an article on Jeb. He’s certainly got the ties with the Cuban folks. And he has done so much of the investing pension funds into his buddies’ businesses.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:33 pm
In response to Elliott @ 27

I’m just saying that this man’s presence in the White House was no accident. They had to know exactly who he was. What his “background” translated into, practically speaking, seems to me the subject, perhaps, of a future article or chapter in a future book.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:33 pm
In response to Sara @ 34

Sara

I was hoping you’d make it–I’ve love to see you get to the point you made on the thread a few weeks back about Baker’s Harken coverage.

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 2:34 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 29

I got to the Harken chapter – mind boggling how interconnected it all is. i’ve 120 pages to go. I’m just hoping that the younger generation can’t keep it together.

earlofhuntingdon March 14th, 2009 at 2:34 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 21

Like Cheney and the young neophytes recruited for the DOJ, like Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling, over-promoting tends to keep the executive who did it in charge of his acolyte, keeping advice and dissent within desired bounds. It didn’t work in the end with Dean, apparently, but the odds are in that method’s favor. Look at how little we’ve learned about the wrongdoing in the DOJ.

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 2:35 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 36

It never ceases to amaze me what little concern the public had in Bush Family investments, so much money so many conflicts of interest.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:35 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 28

Our nonprofit existed before the book came out. It is being relaunched, we hope, with public involvement and backing.

The issue about “Watergate scholar” Stanley Kutler was certainly raised in Family of Secrets: I called him to ask for his expertise on Watergate, and he volunteered how close friends he was with John Dean.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:36 pm
In response to Elliott @ 41

There wasn’t a blogosphere in 2000, and the media still wasn’t interested in this stuff by 2004. And the Rather takeout was very very effective.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:37 pm
In response to SaltinWound @ 32

Well, that’s a very good question that I evaluate in the book. How did it happen that she possessed a copy, so many years later, of a letter purportedly written to others on the day of JFK’s assassination?

bmaz March 14th, 2009 at 2:38 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 21

It is interesting that you mention how young, unqualified and inexperienced Dean was to be given such a prominent role in the Nixon white House; do you see any similarities between that and some of the attorney hires by W, such as John Yoo, Monica Goodling, etc?

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 2:38 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 35

… a loyal soldier in the machine that his father long served.

Do you think this ‘game’ is larger than Poppy and his coterie?

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Have you experienced direct pushback from the Bushes, or their operatives, regarding this book and your continued investigations?

Peterr March 14th, 2009 at 2:38 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 21

How do you come to your description of John Dean as “an inexperienced and essentially unqualified person” prior to his White House work? Per wiki:

He was a close friend of Barry Goldwater and his family.

He was subsequently [after receiving his JD from Georgetown University School of Law] employed as the chief minority counsel to the Republican members of the United States House Committee on the Judiciary. A National Commission on the Reform of Federal Criminal Law was created in 1967: Dean was appointed its associate director. He volunteered to write position papers on crime for Nixon’s presidential campaign in 1968. The following year he became an Associate Deputy at the office of the Attorney General of the United States in the Nixon administration and in July, 1970 became counsel to the president, after the previous holder of this post John Ehrlichman became the president’s chief domestic adviser.

With Chief minority counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Associate Deputy in the DOJ on his CV, it sounds like there was a certain amount of experience prior to the White House, and also the qualifications to back them up. All in all, it sounds like the career path of many White House staffers — a mix of party and campaign connections combined with service in lower-level government positions.

I’m not saying you’re wrong about the questions Dean has and hasn’t answered, but your flippant dismissal of his background seems out of place.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Probably not consequential. He may have been rambling a bit. The point is that W. was highly attuned to the uses and importance of deception.

wavpeac March 14th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I have not yet read your book, though it is on order. Did you find any evidence linking the bush crime family to a child pornography ring or to that very lucrative industry? Did any roads lead you in that direction or did you find the opposite that such accusations had absolutely no possible validity?

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 2:39 pm
In response to Elliott @ 30

Yes, and W modeled himself after a wild and woolly uncle he admired (who managed football teams iirc).

dakine01 March 14th, 2009 at 2:39 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 44

What? Didn’t everyone in the ’60s/’70s maintain carbon copies of all their letters as a CYA mechanism? /snark

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:40 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 36

I hope that http://www.whowhatwhy.com may tackle stories about Jeb and others in the family and extended circle. The problem is that these sorts of investigations are highly labor-intensive and expensive. Whether the public steps up and backs us will be a key factor in how much work we can do.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:41 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 46

Not a question directed at me, but I certainly do. Think of Cheney, after all, who definitely paralleled the Bushies, but who is a huge player–as competent as Poppy ever was–in his own right.

I was listening to John Perkins’ latest book when I was finishing this, and I think the Bushes are just the visible nominal though not functional head of what Perkins calls the corporatocracy.

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 2:41 pm
In response to Elliott @ 41

…so much money so many conflicts of interest.

and so many savings & loan failures that the taxpayer cleaned up!

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:42 pm
In response to bmaz @ 45

Interesting point. I do think it would be worthwhile to study the precise trajectory of all of these folks, something the mainstream media does little of. Often, the hire follows the objective–and then the obscure hire becomes the lightning rod for criticism, when he or she is simply the vehicle of a larger plan.

john in sacramento March 14th, 2009 at 2:43 pm
In response to SaltinWound @ 32

Is that in the book?

Interesting that I’ve read several times that couldn’t remember anything about what he was doing on the day of the assassination

Which would make him the only one

What were you doing on 911? What were you doing when Reagan was shot? It’s one of those seminal events that gets burned into your conscientiousness for everyone else. But he didn’t remember? … Right, sure Poppy

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:44 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 46

Oh, very much so. The larger story involves wealthy individuals and families that almost always stay out of the limelight–except, perhaps, when doing something philanthropic. The Bushes are simply facilitators.

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 2:45 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 49

I guess my larger question is, how did you evaluate your sources for this book, knowing that the Bush Family is very skilled in establishing distance, even disagreement, from people who are actually continuing to act on their behalf.

Your story of Poppy barely acknowledging someone as he exited an elevator, and other tales of operatives from whom they publicly set themselves apart, made me wonder if there were any efforts to deliberately create source “cut-outs” to mislead you.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

LOL

Chapter 4 starts:

George H. W. Bush may be one of the few Americans of his generation who cannot recall exactly where he was when John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

and then there’s Blackwater

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

My research convinced me that at least some presidents have very little control over the majority of hires, and that it is possible for parts of that process to be steered by others, who may not have the president’s best interests at heart. Certainly, that was the case with Nixon, who began his presidency as a somewhat isolated man without a large coterie.

Sara March 14th, 2009 at 2:47 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 42

I am still in the process of scanning, and partially reading myself back through my huge watergate library, trying to place Poppy in the midst of all the various strands of the huge thing that is Watergate. You posit him as the control — in CIA terms, the case manager, working first from the UN perch, and then as head of the RNC. It is a matter of looking at all the narratives that have become conventional wisdom and refashioning them so that Poppy is the hidden hand.

At one time I tracked a good deal of the “Townhouse” money under the assumption that most of it was used in building the “Southern Strategy” through Harry Dent of South Carolina — same Harry Dent who hired Karl Rove that summer of 72 to rove around the Southland and try to establish Republican Youth Groups on college campuses. Part of it also went to buy off George Wallace, and get him into Democratic Primaries — at least till he got shot. And since the arrival of W on the scene, it is interesting to put W who was hiding from the TANG in the Alabama Senate Race, in the midst of this. Much more too it obviously, but “Townhouse” was not really focused on in either the Ervin Committee or in the Impeachment investigation.

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Thank you also for the sunlight you shone on the Harken deal. Amazing that George Soros was part of that!

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

No. The usual approach is to be more oblique–and hope that the book just fizzles or gets lost in the mass of material out there. Other books have been halted prior to publication, but that just draws attention to the material contained therein.

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 2:48 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 54

ah, yes, the corporatocracy. The CIA was initially anti-communist – do you think they now serve these higher masters?

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:48 pm
In response to Elliott @ 41

Right. And not just the public. Family of Secrets is full of financial stories the press never got. Why? They certainly were all over Whitewater, which turned out to be about very little–especially in monetary gain.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:50 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 43

Glad you mentioned the Rather matter. That, and the real story of W’s military service, are the focus of several chapters. Amazing how the media were not able to definitively establish what happened, and how so many took the bait and went after Rather instead of Bush.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Yes, it is not only IN the book, but there are FOUR CHAPTERS of new information on the Kennedy Assassination, as relates to Poppy Bush and his circle.

rwcole March 14th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Welcome Mr. Baker.

I am VERY interested in the executive abilities (or lack thereof) of GW. It appears that he is a basic incompetent when it comes to organizing a group of people to competently perform complex functions effectively…

It appears that he can’t recruit, can’t problem solve, can’t set appropriate goals, can’t follow through on progress, and certainly can’t bring out the best in a group of intelligent players.

What is your opinion of his abilities after your study?

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Soros had no trouble manipulating the currencies to make a profit. I never thought of him as particularly altruistic. He’s a great boogeyman for the wingnuts tho.

earlofhuntingdon March 14th, 2009 at 2:53 pm
In response to Peterr @ 48

John Dean was 31 when Nixon hired by as WH Counsel, and 35 when he resigned. He had been on the Hill and at the DOJ before Nixon hired him to be WH Counsel.

For comparison, Kennedy’s Theodore Sorensen was as young. Chuck Colson, Dean’s predecessor, was 38, Leonard Garment, Dean’s successor, was 49. Gerland Morgan, one of Eisenhower’s Counsel, was 48.

By DC standards in the 1960’s, he was young and inexperienced for the White House Counsel’s slot. He lacked the juice for the job, not having been a lobbyist or in private practice long enough to represent the high and mighty. Nor, apparently did he have an independent income. He was a classic young turk technocrat, but with a considerable debt owing to Nixon for his appointment. Lucky for us that in the end, he was a better lawyer than loyalist.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Nope. I am very careful in how I work, as is any good investigative journalist. I also am not one of those who depends on leaks and tips–almost every source for the book was sought out by me, and many of them have not been closely associated with the family for some time.

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I lived in DC during Watergate, and I felt abject paranoia for no real reason – well, maybe being an anti-war demonstrator and pot-head had something to do with it, but it was overwhelming.
Did you feel the least bit uneasy researching this?

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 2:54 pm
In response to Sara @ 63

“Townhouse” was an early example of compromising candidates, by secretly donating to them, so they couldn’t deny your bidding later. The GOP, in my view, has become proficient in this, and therefore rife with compromised officeholders. There’s a reason there are so many high-level closeted gays in the GOP, for instance: don’t you think Lindsey Graham does what he’s told for a reason?

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 2:55 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 66

I think one of the things both Perkins and Baker’s book stress is that you can’t really draw the line between “official” CIA and close affiliates all that clearly. Some of the people involved in the JFK assassination were clearly people CIA had used to go after Castro–did that make them CIA? And the far right that funded Castro strikes is pretty similar to the far right that funded the Contras, which is not all that different from those that were supporting the INC. And hell, while we’re talking about it, let’s not forget that the CURRENT AG helped some rich white men get off for having funded right wing death squads in Colombia while serving on the Chiquita board. But what do you want a bet they got off because of the “help” they’ve been against the FARC and–more importantly–Chavez.

earlofhuntingdon March 14th, 2009 at 2:55 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 62

Reports of Cheney’s handling of the federal bureaucracy, on the other hand, suggest he had considerable influence over it, much of it outside of and subverting its chain of command and the normal policy-making process.

perris March 14th, 2009 at 2:56 pm

russ, is there anything in your book concerning the koch brothers, (the real force behind the neo-cons and the actual puppeteers of bush, krystol, cheney, the federalist society, the cato institute and much more)

for instancem, Koch Industries got the cost-plus contract from George W. Bush to keep the Strategic Petroleum Reserve topped off., among other mind boggling tid bits

if no referance in this book, might I suggest you add something to your next publication?

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 2:56 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 69

I remember reading a long time ago about Jackie Kennedy having cut the de Mohrenschmidts from her circle and wondering, “What does she know?” You did a great job a weaving a wonderful tapestry around old George. Thanks for that.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:56 pm
In response to Sara @ 63

Sara, the importance of the work done by people such as yourself cannot be overestimated. I am constantly impressed by the research and analysis of non-journalists in tackling these complex areas. And I welcome direct communication from any of you who have information or ideas, via the book website, http://www.familyofsecrets.com

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 2:58 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 66

If I may jump in, I dont think that the anti-communist cause can or should be separated from the financial interests at stake–in the book I talk about, for example, all of the sugar holdings of the Bushes and their friends lost to Castro’s revolution.

john in sacramento March 14th, 2009 at 2:59 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 53

I could be misremembering ;-) but I almost sure I’ve read somewhere that one of Prescott Bush’s brothers or cousins was an executive in charge of United Fruit’s operations in Cuba. Which could very well be a reason the CIA was so intent on pushing Operation Zapata (Bay of Pigs) taking into account UF’s involvement in Operation PBSuccess (Arbenz coup in Guatemala)

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:00 pm
In response to rwcole @ 70

I don’t entirely agree. The George W Bush Administration managed to completely move the center far to the right, and to leave Obama with a narrow range of options in areas ranging from foreign policy to the economy. In that sense, W stayed focused on the hidden “big picture.”

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:00 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 74

Yes, I did. Lost a lot of sleep in the process. I think i describe a little of this sensation in the book.

rwcole March 14th, 2009 at 3:01 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 83

Thanks- So do you think that Bush IS an effective executive (personally)?

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

What about W. and the Saudis… especially after 9/11 and how protective he was, jetting some out of FBI reach?

earlofhuntingdon March 14th, 2009 at 3:03 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 83

I think moving the “center” to the far right was Bush’s major success. If it were a goal post, the GOP are always playing in their red zone, while the Democrats are always playing well beyond field goal range.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:04 pm
In response to rwcole @ 85

He was effective in that he didnt get distracted, delegated, and focused on the public relations aspects of his job. How good he was at that is subject to debate, but he was good enough to get reelected.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:05 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 86

Read the two chapters on the Bushes and the Saudis– there is much more there than simply the plane flights out after 9/11. The financial construct running through Houston and a Bush family associate deserves attention.

perris March 14th, 2009 at 3:07 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 83

I don’t entirely agree. The George W Bush Administration managed to completely move the center far to the right,

I’ll argue that point, it was reagan that began the move, what bush did was move what was “reported” to be the center, the “reported” center has been on the wing for quite some time

in fact, progressive agenda is far closer to “center” the the media’s reported “center”

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Russ

I still hope Sara goes back to your work on Harken (as I said, she was talking about it in a thread a few weeks back). I found the work on Quasha particulary important.

Have you ever thought about that in context of the Filipino spy “discovered” in Cheney’s office? It seemed at the time that no one much cared that a spy had been caught dealing top secret docs to Arroyo’s opponents.

snoboysdrift March 14th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Any relation at all between the Hindenberg Air Ship fire at Lakehurst N.J. in May 1937 and Prescott Bush’s merry band of pro Nazis??

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 3:08 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 89

Jim Bath seems to be a pivotal character in the Bush saga: providing a no-physical-too backup for W, funding Harken and other ventures, etc. Did he visit Washington when W was president? I don’t remember seeing his name anywhere, unlike Ken Lay and Don Evans, for instance.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Did you read the book? It’s hard to see, considering all of those facts, that Dean was not put onto a track toward Watergate by others. Consider what he was doing beforehand, who advocated for him, and so on. Its not just about age, but about WHY he ended up where he was.

wavpeac March 14th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

I am from Omaha nebraska and lived here during the Franklin scandal which involved a credit union, theft, mismanagement and accusations of child sexual abuse and a child pornography ring, with links to the bush family. The story died, and many called it a hoax. However because it involved the banking industry, a black republican who moved quickly through the ranks and sang at the national republican convention, as well as at least 5 suicides associated…I wondered if you ran into any information that would make people reconsider the “hoax” theory regarding this case? I worked in the mental health field and at the hospital where the child abuse allegations began.

RevBev March 14th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

The whole picture is scary and reviling. I wonder if you think any of these sub-texts contribute to Obama’s reluctance to go after the crimes of W and his colleagues?

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:10 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 52

Snark or no snark, it is interesting that Poppy could not remember where he was on Nov 22, then Barbara suddenly surfaces a letter she wrote on that very day, actually chronicling the assassination as it was being reported, and noting that she was traveling with Poppy at the time. Worth rereading this sequence a few times–fascinating stuff.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

So the speculation is that George H. Bush may have protected individuals and CIA elements that were involved in the JFK assassination?

George H Bush was actively involved in the preparation and financing of Bay of Pigs invasion, as a high ranking CIA official, (made acquaintance with the now notorious CIA agent and Iran Contra operative Felix Rodriguez).

In 1976, George H.W. Bush appointed CIA director by president and former Warren Commission member Gerald Ford at the exact time probes of the CIA into the assassination plots to kill Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy. Bush appoints his old friend from Bay of Pigs, Theodore Shackley, as his deputy director for Special Operations. Investigations are heavily stonewalled by the CIA, holding back crucial documents and witnesses.

Rumor that LBJ said the “CIA and oilboys” assassinated Kennedy. (He told his mistress allegedly.) OILBOYS????

FWIW got above off http://www.jfkmurdersolved.com/bush.htm

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:12 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 91

haven’t looked at that, will try and do so.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Not that I know of. Jim has very carefully kept his distance all these years.

Siun March 14th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Wow .. thank you Russ for joining us and Emptywheel for hosting … I’m certainly intrigued now and ordering a copy!

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:15 pm
In response to wavpeac @ 95

I have not looked into this story. (btw, there are many many claims out there, and I focused on the fact trail that evolved logically and organically–most of what is in Family of Secrets will not rehash allegations debated elsewhere, but introduce fresh material.)

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:16 pm
In response to RevBev @ 96

I think that neither Obama nor anyone else who has to function on a daily basis in Washington can start questioning whether the entire structure is termite-ridden.

plunger March 14th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Russ:

Thanks for your contribution to revealing the truth of the GHW Bush / CIA conspiracy.

As I understand it, he virtually owns/ controls the CIA, and by extension, the DEA – as a protection racket for what has become the world’s largest drug operation.

As for the Dresser/Halliburton connection to Cheney, it is a fact that the WTC represented the largest asbestos liability on earth for Dresser, and by extension, Halliburton (thanks to Cheney’s acquisition of Dresser when CEO of HAL).

Cheney ran the operation on 9/11. It was arson, and insurance fraud.

GW included the issue in his State of the Union speech in 2005.

“To make our economy stronger and more competitive, America must reward, not punish, the efforts and dreams of entrepreneurs. Small business is the path of advancement, especially for women and minorities, so we must free small businesses from needless regulation and protect honest job-creators from junk lawsuits. (Applause.) Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back by irresponsible class-actions and frivolous asbestos claims — and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year.”

The provision of no-bid contracts for HAL’s services in the Middle East was pure quid pro quo (payola) for Cheney/HAL’s service to the Bush family on 9/11.

http://plungerspeaks.blogspot.com

http://oxdown.firedoglake.com/diary/3820

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:17 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 98

Very little speculation. Hundreds of new facts I came upon in my research. You can read it and decide for yourself what may have been going on .

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:17 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 103

They got down with dogs… they got up with fleas… Bushco… starting way back apparently.. Prescotty elitism or not.

Thanks, Russ…eager to read.

frandor55 March 14th, 2009 at 3:18 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 76

A connecting thread between the JFK assassination and Iran Contra is the sanctioned drug smuggling networks. Sanctioned meaning being allowed to operate with FBI/ CIA knowledge.

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 3:18 pm
In response to RevBev @ 96

re Obama perhaps being intimidated – AND Panetta backing off a bit – i would be. Russ’ book shows how Poppy and his CIA buds took down Nixon because he was looking into the particulars of JFK’s murder.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

And the media had to close its eyes quite tightly with all this swirling about. More embitterment with our 4th estate.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:19 pm
In response to Elliott @ 8

I address these previously reported factors and, I think, move the ball forward quite a bit.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 3:19 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 102

Is that why you don’t look closely at the allegations that Poppy worked with the Iranians to hold the hostages until Reagan’s inauguration? You point to Gary Sick’s and Parry’s work, but don’t really get deeply into the allegations.

I only ask because when you put their work together with the work you’ve done, particularly, on the JFK assassination, the whole becomes that much more troubling.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:20 pm
In response to frandor55 @ 107

To be sure, tolerance of drug operations by operatives and allied interests has been a consistent theme. Whether it is drugs, or gold, or other precious commodities, money is money and operations cost plenty.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

During the preparations of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, pressure is applied to Texan Bill Lord not to testify for the committee. Bill Lord was a fellow marine and roommate of Lee Harvey Oswald on a ship voyage to France. Lord expresses his concern in a letter to president Carter. He writes that Oswald was connected to the FBI and CIA and concludes that the CIA and the FBI are complicit in JFK’s death and the coup d’etat that occurred on 11/22/1963. He also states that one of the Midland, TX politicians applying pressure to him, was Mr. George W. Bush junior . This letter to President Carter was declassified some years ago.

again from http://www.jfkmurdersolved.com/bush.htm

pokums March 14th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

I know there’s been plenty of competition in recent years, but to me, Poppy’s “I was out of the loop (heh heh)” wrt Iran/Contra has always been the most immediately obvious example of presidential/vp lying ever.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:23 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 111

I don’t get into those areas simply because there were limits to my time, and I had to make some choices. I won’t simply incorporate the allegations of others without independent verification–this is a cornerstone of credible journalism–and these areas are so sprawling and complex that they would have added years to the five I put into Family of Secrets.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 3:23 pm
In response to frandor55 @ 107

LOL

A close friend who used to do an unreal amount of drugs stumbled onto a party in 1987 or early 1988 with more and purer coke than he’d ever seen in his life.

Turns out it was a Bush nephew. So long as he stayed out of the news Poppy’s spooks kept him in coke.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Well, anyone who claims — George H. — he can’t remember exactly where he was when Kennedy was shot… that is pretty suspicious! Ever hear anyone else not remember?

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:25 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 108

See also what happened to Carter. And don’t believe that Ford was doing whatever he wanted when he sacked his team and brought in Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Poppy at CIA.

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Can we presume that Doug Wead’s tapes are still in the double-keyed safe deposit box in Washington? And did he provide any more details about “rumors about [W]’s sex life”?

PJEvans March 14th, 2009 at 3:25 pm
In response to plunger @ 104

Ah, the resident conspiracy theorist.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:26 pm
In response to pokums @ 114

Then you will be intrigued by Bob Woodward’s explanation to me of why Poppy is barely mentioned in his book on the secret wars of the Reagan administration–Woodward himself was happy to repeat the “out of the loop” line.

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 3:27 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 113

libbyliberal, any connection to Sirhan Sirhan by these guys?

wavpeac March 14th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

At the time of the Franklin Credit Union Scandal, I couldn’t fathom that the stories involving poppy could be true. It seemed too hard to believe…but after all that has happened in the last 8 years, the books about Bush…it just seems much more plausible that there was something to the allegations especially in light of the fact that the main investigator said to have received evidence on his trip to chicago would have a plane crash on his way home. That five other people including two siblings of the ones who made accusations committed suicide. I have wondered why there has never been any more investigation on this case…but for the fact that it centered in Omaha Nebraska. (we are a mainstay for the republican party however).

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:28 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 117

That claim was a large part of my decision to drill down into the JFK story–I had never intended to include anything on it–and the result was four chapters of new material and a whole different way of understanding the recent history of this country.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:28 pm
In response to Elliott @ 122

Now that’s a provocative question. The family of covert operatives? Strange but close Bush bedfellows. After this thread… I wouldn’t reject the suspicion.

RevBev March 14th, 2009 at 3:31 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 113

The ultimate insult & epiphany that the little w could bring down JFK. Dear God. It reminds me of Mrs. Kennedy’s lament that the killer was just “some little Communist.”

earlofhuntingdon March 14th, 2009 at 3:33 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 117

No one older than six could forget where they were when JFK was shot. Poppy, rumor has it, was in Dallas on the day or thereabouts. So, no, his claim that he “can’t recall” lacks a certain, je ne sais quoi.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:33 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 125

If you’re interested in this topic, consider MK ULTRA and other documented secret government programs to create the equivalent of Manchurian Candidates. Also look carefully at how de Mohrenschildt died, purportedly of his own hand, at a very sensitive moment. Chapter 12.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:33 pm
In response to RevBev @ 126

Certainly less than six degrees of separation between Bush Sr. and Jr. and some ruthless tragic happenings. Flash on Woodward discovering HH Hunt’s number among the Watergate burglars. These guys got down and dirty.

Which Mrs. Kennedy… Rose or J.?

SanderO March 14th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

There are photos of GWB in Dallas on the day of the assassination.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

So, Russ, before we lose you–where are you taking this research now?

john in sacramento March 14th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Marcy said

For example, Baker unpacks a November 29, 1963 J. Edgar Hoover memo noting that “George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency” had been briefed on FBI concerns that anti-Castro groups might respond to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy assassination by raiding Cuba.

Here’s that memo

And looking for that, I found this memo from the FBI that I’d forgotten about where George Bush of Zapata Petroleum warns about a mysterious student named James Parrot who allegedly claims he was going to assassinate Kennedy. And in which Poppy coincidentally says he’s going to Dallas and he’s staying until 11-23-63

Of course he couldn’t remember where he was. Sure

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Guess you have not read the book LOL

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I thought you did a swell job describing the Bush Alibi Procedure, whether in OldBar’s travelogue letter the day of JFK’s assassination or W’s dental exam and date in Alabama. I learned a lot reading those reports, and will be on the lookout for that fact pattern in the future: the innocuous and seemingly out-of-place occurrence that provides background for an entire tissue of lies. Thanks for that.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

That’s the one I referenced above–the tip that Poppy called in. Baker hunts down who Parrot and why Poppy might have called in that tip.

plunger March 14th, 2009 at 3:37 pm
In response to PJEvans @ 120

Wouldn’t you be inclined to agree at this point that reality has finally caught up with theory where conspiracy is concerned?

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:37 pm
In response to SanderO @ 130

There are photos circulating of someone who looks something like GHWB and appears to be standing by the school book depository, but I am unaware of any corroboration of the origins of the photo. Very important to check out all documents and photos and verify their credibility.

RevBev March 14th, 2009 at 3:37 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 129

J…with regret that provocation wasn’t something more significant like civil rights, etc.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:37 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 128

I will. Thank you. What a consciousness raising with the levels of secrecy emanating from our “democratic” (HAH!) leaders. The moneyed cronyism, the secret society cronyism, the oil profiteering … all lead to amorality. And once your desensitized in the land of assassination and rendition … what horrors can happen, be perpetrated … even to your own nationally beloved countrymen.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Glad you found those interesting. We certainly do all need to scrutinize seemingly exculpatory material more skeptically.

Cliff105 March 14th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Russ, thanks for coming!

Tarpley & Chaitkin (George Bush: the Unauthorized Biography) wrote this concerning the split between Bush and his business partners — the Liedtkes — over the direction of Zapata Oil in the late-50’s:

http://www.tarpley.net/bush8.htm

Bush, Walker and the New York investors wanted to push forward into the offshore drilling and drilling services business, while the Liedtkes and the Tulsa group wanted to concentrate on acquiring oil in the ground and natural gas deposits.

I’m curious about the “drilling service business.”

In addition to servicing his own drilling platforms, did GHWB service other off shore drilling operations, to the best of your knowledge?

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:40 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 131

Marcy, there are so many things I would like to follow up on.

For now, my focus is on making http://www.whowhatwhy.com a viable outlet for groundbreaking investigative journalism in the coming year, to convince enough people to make monthly contributions so it succeeds, and then to do some of this work in the form of articles and perhaps a book.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:43 pm
In response to Cliff105 @ 141

I have come to the conclusion that the story about Bush and the Liedtkes falling out is false. I think the intent was always to use the oil companies as intelligence cover.

Regarding the drilling platforms, look at their locations, and at Poppy’s outsized global travel in support of what was a very modest business.

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 3:43 pm

We’ve been ‘lulled.’ Bread and circuses and consumerism.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:44 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 128

George H.W. Bush failed to disclose his friendship with George De Mohrenschildt, a renowned oil geologist and Lee Harvey Oswald’s best friend in Dallas. They knew each other since 1942, probably even longer, because in 1939 he went to work for Humble Oil, a company founded by Prescott Bush. In 1977, when De Mohrenschildt is located by investigators of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, who want to interview him, he allegedly commits suicide the following day.

(again http://www.jfkmurdersolved.com/bush.htm)

Wow …. and the press went after the Vince Foster suicide.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 3:45 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 142

Added a link to the post so those who read this post later will see it.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 3:45 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 143

What do you make of the reported oil discoveries off Cuba in the last year? I thought the locations of Poppy’s sites was pretty funny–but now they’re claiming to have found oil…

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:46 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 146

There is much, much more there. Please do set aside time to read the whole tangled story of George de Mohrenschildt and his relation to Poppy Bush, intelligence and oil barons.

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Welcome Russ. I would say the Bush Family & Friends, Inc. have been running their own Secret Society behind the backs of Americans for a long time. Heck, if Dick Cheney could have his own secret assassination squads then there’s no reason why H.W. didn’t, especially considering his position at the CIA years ago.

Thanks so much for writing this book!

RevBev March 14th, 2009 at 3:48 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 146

What would it take to review the bidding, the entire story, on JFK? There are still some around, but not for alot longer, I would guess.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:48 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 148

Actually, Family of Secrets has some important revelations about oil and Cuba that have not gotten much attention since publication, including the fact that a consortium of powerful companies, together with Poppy’s friend and Oswald handler de Mohrenschildt had rights to drill in millions of acres in Cuba that disappeared when Castro took over. It will be interesting to see how much oil is there after all. And to wonder whether even in Cuba, oil played a hidden role in policy.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Time for Oliver Stone to make a sequel to JFK and throw in a sequal to the W movie while he’s at it.

whitewidow March 14th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I just want to thank Mr. Baker and emptywheel for the fascinating discussion.

You have convinced me to buy the book, and I would urge everyone to check out the website Mr.Baker mentions. With the downfall of established newspapers, progressives may have an opportunity to fund real investigative reporting, which I think may be a better use of our money than funding campaigns. Those types of efforts, along with what Jane and Glenn are doing with issue ads against Blue Dogs, etc. may be the best way to help progressive causes.

A person could spend a lifetime digging into Bush family crimes and barely scratch the surface. Thanks for illuminating some of their mode of operating.

I hope Obama has hand-picked his Secret Service detail./s (sort of)

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:50 pm
In response to KayInMaine @ 150

With all the attention last few days on the claims about Cheney’s alleged assassination squads, I am waiting to see whether anyone will raise these larger questions. ie, when are assassinations deemed acceptable means to an end, and when not?

BillWalker March 14th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Have you researched the connection between the anthrax attacks and 9/11? The anthrax attacks were predicted by Jerome Hauer, who was the head of the security firm in charge of the WTC. This is also the guy who hired O’Neil, the FBI head of the bin Laden Unit.

Hauer was also in charge of the city emergency response center in Building 7, and he was also a demolitions expert.

Bush’s Carlyle Group was perfectly positioned for the anthrax attacks, and made a ton of money from it. Bush was also in the basement with Cheney on the morning of 9/11.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:52 pm
In response to libbyliberal @ 153

If any of you know Stone or other Hollywood types who have tackled JFK/Nixon/Etc over the years, it would be interesting to find out if they have yet had a chance to read Family of Secrets and what they make of it.

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 3:52 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 12

There’s a picture of H.W. Bush outside the Texas book depository right after JFK was assassinated:

http://www.tomflocco.com/Docs/…..kDepo2.jpg

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:54 pm
In response to BillWalker @ 156

It seems to me that most of the very strange stories of recent vintage, including the anthrax attacks, have not been well researched by skilled investigative journalists. Personally, I would enjoy nothing more than going down those paths, but frankly, I cannot do it alone. I need a growing team, public support, etc.

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

I really admire your undertaking, and continuing, this work. Especially since such work gets branded so quickly as within the sphere of deviance, “conspiracy theory,” something so many of our elites have a vested interest in doing. Your work (although sometimes a little too heavy on the “perhaps this is a coincidence, but…” formulation) proves that leads can be followed and documented despite powerful forces arrayed on the side of darkness.

I don’t know if we’ll ever have a complete understanding of the people and events your book covers, but this work illuminates and, frankly, entertains. I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve said to me, as the economy has crumbled and W slunk away, “I always thought you were blustering about their criminality, but it is true! They are crooks.”

This book is more ammunition for those arguments. Thanks.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:55 pm
In response to KayInMaine @ 158

Well, perhaps. But where is this picture from? We have to be careful before accepting documents of uncertain provenance.

Suzanne March 14th, 2009 at 3:55 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 142

i’ve bookmarked your site and will be checking it regularly. i’m going to buy your book after reading this book salon.

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 3:55 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 155

Russ, as soon as I heard about Cheney’s assassination squad(s), I wondered if Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was connected, because one day she’s saying who killed Osama bin Laden and then a few weeks later she’s being shot…pretty much at point blank by a guy who looks very CIA-ish:

http://www.news.com.au/common/…..756,00.jpg

http://www.apnaavenue.com/wp-c…..-thumb.jpg

Could be. I have no idea. I’m sure Dick Cheney didn’t keep any records of his Shadow Government anyway, so we’ll never know.

libbyliberal March 14th, 2009 at 3:56 pm
In response to RevBev @ 151

9/11 definitely replaced the JFK assassination in the nation’s conspiracy focus. But it reawakens quickly, doesn’t it. Don’t think I got what “review the bidding” means. Nailing the truth?

This stuff is hard to take in. You don’t want to believe that such conspiracies can exist.

The same way I am sure the criminality of torture and the black sites and assassinations have been executed without attention until now, and the outrage hasn’t brought about US commitment to stop.

Also, no one ever brings up the subject of women being tortured. Again, too repellent for the average consciousnesses but obviously it is happening. The national consciousness can handle so much … and the citizens of the dark side get away with so much.

BevW March 14th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

As we come to the end of this lively Book Salon,

Russ, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and the Bush Family.

Emptywheel, Thank you for Hosting this Book Salon.

Everyone, if you haven’t bought Russ’s book yet, here is a link.

Thanks all.

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 3:57 pm
In response to Russ Baker @ 161

It’s been floating around the Internet for years. There is another wide shot of this photo showing Bush looking up and pointing too. We should question the photos, but my gut tells me they are the genuine article.

BillWalker March 14th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I’ll do my best to assist you Russ. Start with “The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group” if you haven’t read it.
There is also a Ziocon link to these events that is interwoven with the Bush/Cheneys.

emptywheel March 14th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Russ

I need to run off–but thanks for a very provocative book and an interesting chat.

Russ Baker March 14th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Well, as we are approaching the end of this session, I’d like to thank Firedoglake, Marcy, Bev and all for making this possible, and for all of you for your perceptive questions and comments. This kind of forum is extremely rare, and certainly crucial as major news programs simply ignore all of this. Hope we can do another chat sometime.

Russ

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 4:00 pm
In response to BevW @ 165

Thanks so much Russ, emptywheel,
and as always, Bev.

a great discussion.

Cliff105 March 14th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I don’t think it’s ever been alleged that there was a falling out, per se, between Bush and the Liedtkes. It is a fact, is it not, that Zapata Oil split in two, with the Tulsa group taking the oil acquisition end and Bush and the New Yorkers taking Zapata Off-shore?

It is suspected in many quarters that Zapata Off-shore was a CIA connected drug smuggling operation, so I’m curious if they also serviced other off-shore platforms.

May I also suggest looking at the deMohrenschildt visit to WU/BRINY as the initiation of a drug deal.

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Fascinating stuff, Russ! Thanks. Can’t wait to read all the comments here. ;-)

Elliott March 14th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

oh and don’t forget the freeing of Posada Carriles, the bomber of the Cuban plane

Petro March 14th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

This is an awesome thread.

Teddy Partridge March 14th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Thanks, Russ, Marcy, and Bev!

Great chat, everyone.

RevBev March 14th, 2009 at 4:05 pm
In response to KayInMaine @ 158

And he can’t remember where he was? Maybe the photo will refresh his memory? Is it known who took it?

egregious March 14th, 2009 at 4:06 pm

A very great honor to have you here today, and yes, please do come back.

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Russ, please do drop into the comments anytime you have anything you want to say! we are here 24/7

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 4:18 pm
In response to RevBev @ 176

Yep, as Russ points out….George H.W. Bush was the only guy on the planet who had no idea where he was on the day JFK was assassinated, even though there’s a picture of him standing in front of the Texas Book Depository with the police all around him, because JFK was just assassinated! Spit.

Have I mentioned how much I despise the Bush Family?

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

RevBev, I don’t know who took the photo. I can research it. Wouldn’t it be absolutely hysterical if it was found in the archives, you know, the documents that George W. Bush wanted to protect from public viewing? Bah hahahahahaha! I would love that if that is the case. ;-)

wagonjak March 14th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

WOW….I’m going to bed tonight much more afraid then I was last night…maybe sheep led to slaughter don’t want to know about their impending end…sure seems that way in America these days…

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

RevBev and KayinMaine – in the first 40 pages of the book, both Poppy and Babs are shown making cast iron alibis – Poppy was in Dallas in the am but flew out just before the shooting.

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Ha. Looks like it was taken by intelligence operatives and given to Tom Flocco by intelligence expert Thomas Heneghan:

http://www.tomflocco.com/fs/Fb…..ushJfk.htm

I can’t verify this, but man!, the photo appears to be genuine.

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 4:35 pm
In response to Kathryn in MA @ 182

Well, what do you know! Ole George H.W. Bush did the same thing on the morning of 9/11/01 too! His first rememberence of the morning was he was in a meeting with one of the bin Ladens of the Carlyle Group, but then when Americans gasped, he changed his story to:

*drum roll*

“I was stuck on the tarmac for hours like other great Americans were that day” (paraphrasing)

Tah dah!

Spit.

Kathryn in MA March 14th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

We did have a silent coup here. i for one, was amazed there was a transfer of power. But then i got scared again re all the above mentioned assassinations.

pdaly March 14th, 2009 at 5:59 pm
In response to KayInMaine @ 184

Agreed, but it makes one wonder then why all the sobbing from Bush senior. His boy succeeded afterall.

Sorry to have missed this interesting book salon. I was busy reading upthread, but by the time I arrived here everyone had already moved on.

KayInMaine March 14th, 2009 at 6:21 pm
In response to pdaly @ 186

I would say he’s a typical old guy who has the time now to look back on his life. He’s most likely embarrassed & shamed by what he’s done and how his legacy has lived on in his children. He’s very fragile emotionally and I’ve never chalked it up as him being sincere. He’s just like the murderer who gets caught and is suddenly all apologetic and crying for mercy.

He and his wife have hurt America and I’ve never been fooled by their persona. In fact, most people who live near them down in Kennebunkport, Maine aren’t fooled by them either. Most don’t like them as neighbors.

NewsNag March 14th, 2009 at 6:40 pm
In response to Sara @ 63

George W’s Alabama Air National Guard unit was an intelligence wing (spying), its Phantom jets retrofitted with cameras and used for reconnaisance missions in Vietnam and elsewhere. Also, a small plain-clothes contingent from that Guard unit is said to have been in Memphis at and around the time MLK was killed (though W wasn’t around yet in those days, but just sayin’).

Also, Fortunate Son, the W biography, says W worked for a Houston man (wish I remembered his name), who ran an “agricultural” company, and W said he scouted locations for “greenhouses” in Latin America for this company. This was prior to W’s working in Alaska, and by the way the Alaskan employer was a different person than the one owning the “agricultural” company.

Regarding Mr. George Bush of the CIA in that 1963 memo re J. Edgar Hoover, that particular memo has been widely known for decades. And for those who didn’t know about it, another helpful piece of information is that Poppy Bush’s oil services company in 1962 (again, not remembering its name) owned two ships, the Barbara and the Houston, that were used on loan as supply ships during the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

All of this is on-the-record information. It’s good fodder, no?

BillWalker March 14th, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Zapata. Here’s a great documentary about the Bush/JFK connection. Pretty thorough.
http://video.google.com/videop…..#038;hl=en

Sara March 14th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

EW — sorry I got knocked out of the conversation. Just after I posted my question at 63, Firedoglake refused to load me in as “logged on” — I probably attempted ten versions of “recycle” — two total new bootings, and I could not get beyond comment 62 (just before mine) and could not stay logged on after clicking extended remarks, etc. In otherwords, posting put me into a loop that neither allowed me to read further, nor to post. Tis now past midnight, and if this posts it seems sanity has returned to cyberland.

NewsNag March 15th, 2009 at 1:01 am
In response to PJEvans @ 120

plunger, just because he knows more than you do doesn’t make him a conspiracy theorist.

tpfleming March 15th, 2009 at 2:58 am

Baker’s book has been met with deafening silence by the mainstream media. This is probably a good thing, since he would be smeared as a kook or indicted as a sensationalist liar. I, for one, think he should be lauded for his bravery.

Tim Fleming
http://www.eloquentbooks.com/MurderOfAnAmericanNazi.html
http://leftlooking.blogspot.com

Sinead March 15th, 2009 at 5:07 am

Just for the record, Jeff Gannon was NEVER in the military. It was just another lie.

I’m a vet and I can’t stand chickenhawks like Gannon who pretend to have been in the service because in their eyes it somehow makes them seem more “manly.”

Gannon was a fake reporter AND a fake Marine.

It concerns me that Mr. Baker would make a comment about Gannon having been a vet when it’s been known for years that he wasn’t. I hope the rest of the book is better researched. I definitely consider the Bush family to be a criminal if not downright psychopathic one, but this tidbit makes me more likely to be skeptical about Mr. Baker’s other claims.

Sinead March 15th, 2009 at 5:09 am
In response to Russ Baker @ 11

See my comment (#193) – Gannon was NOT a vet. He was just another chickenhawk lying about military service he never performed.

RevBev March 15th, 2009 at 7:03 am
In response to KayInMaine @ 180

Yep…but not really surprising. That early action by W was totally conspicuous and self-serving. I have mentioned to my daughter a number of times that I recall exactly where I was when I heard that extention announcement….not even subtle.

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post