Archives Searching

One of the best places to gain insight into how agencies such as the CIA actually work in real life is to take a close look at their documents.  Of course it would be naive to think that certain things are put on paper or that national security restrictions are going to allow you to see everything.  However the CIA is still a government agency and has to conduct day to day business as any other institution or large business does – which means regulations, directives, memorandum and reports.  It also means personnel files which you won’t see under normal circumstances and certain areas of operational files which cross over that line, including expense reports, travel authorizations etc.  Of course from time to time things do get filed in strange places, pulled when they really should not be and intermixed with reports and communications.  Rules are great but things happen, its similar to the use of crypts which became so extensive over time that people had to make notes on documents to keep track of who or what was being talked about – then those pages got filed and sometimes get released.

When there are Congressional or other major investigations, lots of documents get flushed out that the CIA and other agencies would prefer didn’t, and end up in collections such as the JFK records collection, which covers area far beyond what you might assume – the same is true for the HSCA collection.  Most of those documents end up at the National Archives, as do a certain level of documents from Agencies, those that are not destroyed under document retention guidelines.  There doe have to be some rules for records destitution, the continent would sink if all the pieces of paper generated by every agency had to be retained forever.

To assist in determining what is and what is not at NARA in regard to the JFK records, NARA fielded a search tool some years ago.  It didn’t cover everything there but it did allow you to search by some fairly high level criteria such as name and see some of what was in the collection, get a document number (RIF) and some basic header information on each document.  Then you could try to get the actual document from NARA or if you were lucky go search another source like the Mary Ferrell Foundation using the RIF and come up with the document online.

The good news is that process is now significantly improved thorough the work of Rex Bradford at the Foundation.  Rex, had developed a new search tool which in conjunction with a sweep of the NARA search data by Ramon Herrera allows you to search NARA, find a document and then immediately to to it if its available at the MFF database of over a million pages. It also allows you to do much more sophisticated searches than the original NARA tool.   This is a really significant advance in document access and you can read all about it at:


In addition, that page will provide you with some further insights into what actually is at NARA and what is going to appear during the much anticipated 2017 JFK records release.  This took should be very valuable in terms of what is upcoming, and even gives you some specifics on exactly what documents are anticipated to be released.  Hopefully you will check it out and give it a try; its the sort of thing that takes data mining to a whole new level.



RFK Interview Part 2

As with the other political assassinations of the 1960’s, there are a number of reasons why the murder of Robert Kennedy – and the conspiracy associated with it – are still relevant.  In this interview we begin by exploring those reasons and then move on to more specific subjects.  The first interview dealt with the indications of conspiracy, and the premise that Sirhan Sirhan was associated with other parties, and other shooters. In part 2 we begin with the fact that the attack at the Ambassador followed the stalking of RFK, and very possibly other attempts to kill him. However all indications are that the individuals involved were anything but experienced assassins, no more than Sirhan himself.  We proceed with that line of thought, discussing points of leverage over Sirhan and the question of his own knowledge – both before and during the shooting.  Finally we circle back to the polka dot dress girl, and the importance of her identification in confirming the motives behind the conspiracy. We do have a third RFK interview scheduled at the end of June, in it we will examine the question of motive and the possibility that both the LAPD and the FBI actually were on the trail of key suspects, at least for a time.



Book Update



There has been a good bit of interest in a Kindle version of Someone Would Have Talked.  We initially had a digital version available but certain formatting issues required it to be replaced – with Amazon that can be a protracted process.  After much work the publisher has now made a new and updated Kindle version available through Amazon:

…for reference in purchasing, the 2010 paperback version of Someone Would Have Talked is the most current and did have a good deal of new material added.  The new Kindle version is of the 2010 edition.


For those who have purchased – or may purchase – a copy of Surprise Attack, an abbreviated errata listing for the book is now available.  It seems that no matter how many editors are originally involved, a number of both factual and usage errors get into any work, especially ones over 500 pages long.  To my chagrin, Surprise Attack contains a couple of truly egregious errors such as an incredible (and wrong) speed for the V-2.  There are also issues of certain military ranks and command structures for a given time and date, acronyms and the standard punctuation, tense and other grammatical blunders. I can honestly say that when you are writing about 60 years of history it’s possible to lose track of what rank was held by an officer at a certain point in time or what specific name and acronym was applicable to a unit – it seems units change designations at least as quickly as officer change rank.

Thanks to the diligent work of a reader, Bob Wanderer, an extended errata listing has been done for the book and will be provided to the editor.  An abbreviated version which also contains a few elaborations, answers some questions and hopefully will be handy to readers. is provided below.  Bob was a great help, I’ve already recommended him to one of my publishers for a future project.

MAD = Mutual Assured Destruction

VLF =   Very Low Frequency signals; used in submarine communications

EMP =  Electro Magnetic Pulse.  Given that lightening and other sources can produce such effects, the EMP referred to in the context of atomic detonations should be Nuclear EMP or NEMP

Page 1 – Japan invaded and annexed Manchuria from Korea in 1931, after its prior invasion and occupation of Korea in 1910

Page 47 – both references to aircraft should be to a C-47

Page 54 – the correct ballistic flight speed for a V-2 is 3,580 mph (5,760 km/h)

Page 81 – Atomic Energy Commissions on line 22 should be Commission’s

Page 121 –   on line 27 “rout“ is correct, not routed

Page 125 – President Truman, not Eisenhower, was advised of the suspected attack

Page 126 – The commander in Korea was General Matthew Ridgeway

Page 140 –  line  13 “absolute” authority rather than absolutely


Page 151 –  line 15 “burst” rather than bust


Page 164 – paragraph 2, Eisenhower was president in 1953, not Truman


Page 168 – up to five hundred in 1961, at the latest 1962


Page 168 – the bomber gap “had been essentially disproved” by U- 2 reconnaissance


Page 187 – paragraph 3, “posed” a decapitation threat, not posted


Page 201 – paragraph 2, “and determined that one pair”…


Page 205 – the U-2 targeted by radar was destroyed by a SAM missile, the pilot was killed


Page 210 – the acronym should be CINCSAC not CINSAC


Page 233 –  “existing guidelines were dangerous”


Page 237 – Hanford, Washington not Oregon


Page 248 –  A total exchange would have involved over 50,000 atomic weapons, however a

preemptive strike would likely have limited the exchange to something much less

since preemption would have targeted nuclear weapons systems


Page 262 – paragraph 2, preparations for the exercises had NOT been detected or reported


Page 295 – paragraph 1, presidents through Carter and Reagan (correct chronological order)


Page 304 – paragraph 1, National Security advisor Clarke (not Clark)


Page 306 – paragraph 3,  Ohio “Class” nuclear submarines


Page 378 – FEMA should be the Federal Emergency Management Agency


Page 382 – The UN building is near the location of the World Trade Center Towers,   some two

miles distant, rather than a few city blocks.  The October exercise referred to was in

October, 2000, prior to the 2001 attacks of the following year.


Page 408      The squawking assumed in the exercise was at a minimum the routine signal which

would have allowed tracking the aircraft; we have insufficient detail on the exercise

know if the “emergency” squawk pattern was assumed (transponder code 7777) but

it appears that the exercise assumed a “substantial” time to respond it seems likely

that the response was to some form of voice or electronic alert from the aircraft.



Page 436     Flight 62 was an American Airlines flight, from Paris to Miami – it made an

emergency landing in Boston after the abortive bombing incident.


Page 459     The Iran hostage crisis began in 1979 and ended on January, 1981


Page 472      The CIA military contract employees used M-4 assault weapons but according to

available information they were allowed to select their own personal type so what

mix of semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons was in use is unclear.


Page 484      Marine Corps Embassy Security Group (MCESG)


Page 484     The tankers were Marine Corps KC130J Super Hercules aircraft

RFK and Conspiracy

Many readers may have already seen my posts and essays on the murder of Robert Kennedy.  If so, you are familiar with my view that there is absolutely no doubt that there was a conspiracy involved with his death.  My conclusion comes from a considerable amount of time spent not only with the research of others but my own time in the LAPD and FBI files as well a other original materials in key archives. It includes issues ranging from the weaknesses in the LAPD investigation to the evidence for far too many shots to be from a single gun.  Once you get through all that, and become deeply familiar with the evidence, the witnesses and the chronology of events, you know there was conspiracy in play.  At that point, matters begin to hinge around a number of key witnesses to other parties than Sirhan – and the importance of the Polka Dot Dress girl.  Over the last few years Stu Wexler and I have spent a fair amount of time on a  search for that young women and continue to pursue confirmation of our identification.

Stu and I had the opportunity to talk with Chuck Ochelli about all this last week for some two hours.  That conversation would be a good introduction for anyone not familiar with the subject.  We hope to continue the discussion this week, with particular attention to the girl and her two young male companions.

If you are new to the subject or want a refresher,  you might want to check out the recent interview:



Roy Hargraves and Dallas in Nov 63

Over the decades we have come to learn a good deal about the actual conspiracy that murdered President Kennedy.  We have very credible information on the people who went to Dallas in November, 1963, who those individuals were personally connected to in independent anti-Castro operations and we know a great deal about their hatred for the President and their view that he was both a traitor and an ongoing national security risk.  Yet over 50 years later there is still broad debate about the conspiracy and a lack of focus on those most directly involved.

I suspect part of the reason for that lack of focus is a failure to truly appreciate what we have learned, and to grasp its internal consistency and independent corroboration.  That understanding takes a great amount of study. And it involves a considerable understanding context, of fully knowing the related social networks – all in all what might simply be dismissed as minutia.  It is an effort which involves slogging – and that is clearly not as much fun as internet browsing  (sorry, sarcasm disclosure).  And its not a grand story of a terrible, complex conspiracy.

Instead its a story of a relatively small group of individuals, almost all of whom considered themselves to be patriots acting in the best interest of their native country, whether it was Cuba or the United States.  It’s  a scenario I lay out in obnoxious detail in Someone Would Have Talked and in a much more focused fashion in NEXUS.  But for those who have not read those works, or who might not feel like digging into them without some incentive, I offer you Roy Hargraves.

Roy Hargraves, a man who was independently reported to the FBI in early 1964 as a suspect in the attack on the President, a man who volunteered to help Jim Garrison and along with Bernardo de Torres helped poison Garrison’s investigation of the Cuban exile community. A man who, in the presence of his lawyer, years later admitted going to Dallas and building a bomb which did not have to be used.  He admitted to a great many other things as well, but cautiously, under guidance.  Among the things he acknowledged was the presence of his very good friend Felipe Vidal Santiago in Dallas – another fact which had first been registered in FBI reports back in 1963.

Hargraves represents a good entry point into understanding the actual nature of the conspiracy and the attack on JFK.  And for a brief introduction, I offer the following interview done a couple of days ago, I hope you find it interesting if you have the time to listen.


Mary Ferrell Foundation Resources

Hopefully most readers are familiar with the Mary Ferrell Foundation – but perhaps only as a documents archive.  Certainly the foundation’s web site does contain over a million pages of actual documents relating to the assassinations and related investigations of the 1960’s and 1960’s.  It has an extremely good search function and as part of the search will show you not only documents and sources but related books and articles on your search item.  I suspect a number of folks think of it as totally focused on JFK but its far broader than that as you can quickly see by scanning the home page and finding the major areas include MLK, RFK and other major events of the period.

The home page also introduces you to a wealth of essays, articles and interviews on the site – including my own. and in particular my book length essays on the RFK assassination.

Currently and for the next year, a major focus of the Foundation and of the site is the exploration of what sets of documents have been released, where the holes are and what seems to have disappeared along the way. That applies not only to government agency documents but also to the work of the various investigations such as that of the Church Committee.  If you want to stay current on what is going to be released in 2017, what is being reclassified, denied or apparently been lost the site is not only a very good place to start but one you should visit periodically.

Beyond that, one of the major areas of Foundation research at the moment has to do with interpreting documents, in particular CIA documents.  A of individuals has been at work researching CIA cryptonyms and  publishing the results of that research.  You can find new releases and a guide to the entire set of research at:

If you really want to learn some American history, as well as how the CIA has actually carried out its missions, the way to jump head first into it is to begin wading through the cryptonyms, it will give you a true sense for the types of activities they have engaged in, who they work with and how they carry out that work.  And I assure  you its a lot different than you find represented in a great deal of popular fiction and action novels. There is a lot more bureaucracy, an obsessive concern over deniability, a constant concern over internal security and far more “political” action and manipulation than there is covert and paramilitary action.  That’s there too, enough for me to do over 400 pages in Shadow Warfare, but that’s only one branch of the Agency and only one area of their missions.  The crypts give you a much broader view.

If you have not visited the Mary Ferrell Foundation, take a look.  You can dig deeply into a great many areas and I can promise you it will be closer to reality than spending your time on YouTube…



Sources, News and Fact Checking


One of the ongoing problems we all face in dealing with contemporary history (where sources can come forward or be questioned years or decades after the fact) is the issue of memory vs. reality. I’ve posted about that issue and it’s a challenging one – especially when the sources start telling us things we really want to hear, things they did not say to anyone at the time, offer to official investigations (even anonymously) or record in any way prior appearing  with new and explosive information.

I noted a series of posts the other day in which the release of James Files was being discussed.  The most striking comment was one person saying that Files sounded sincere and they would believe him until it was conclusively proved he was making false statements. OK, but that is a matter of belief, of faith and a personal decision and needs to be accepted for what it is and no more.

What is becoming more of a concern to me is that more and more elements of the media are also sliding into news which either factually suspect or presented with little background or context. In some instances that appears to be just part of an overall trend in the news media, which has  re-positioned itself as a combination of “reality TV” and as entertainment (same thing with the Weather if you look closely).  I first sensed we were entering a sea change when CNN came up with the “Situation Room” format….essentially saying to the audience that this is not just news, its “participation” and anything and everything can be made into a crisis or situation.

Worse yet, the exponential increase in the number of news outlets on cable/satellite and on the internet has combined with talk radio and blogging to create a demand for content which is really not news, it’s simply grist for editorial, most often with a pretty obvious agenda. Those outlets are on the air so frequently that they constantly need new content and are constantly on the lookout for content that “fits”.  They want it so much that they increasingly accept it with no vetting of sources or any real fact checking – even to the extent of not vetting their own on screen analysts.  Fox got burned just last week for long term use of a military/national security specialist whose background was a good deal less than what Fox was touting –  and the discrepancies were not that hard to find.

The last couple of weeks brought us a dramatic example of this rush to news in the national story about Ted Cruz’s father being linked to Lee Oswald and the JFK assassination.  I’m not going into that here, it’s been widely deconstructed since it was based in nothing more than some highly problematic opinions by two facial recognition “specialists” who then became pretty defensive about even their own remarks on the identification.  It’s not clear how the story was generated, it is clear that it was promoted for political purposes.  And sadly one of the main bloggers promoting it appears to have committed suicide.

Of course if you follow his death down the right internet trails that in itself will reveal a conspiracy and actually verify the original Cruz story (uh, that was sarcasm, just to be clear).

And this week I ran across the following on Fox News:

The story first focuses on an unnamed source (we don’t know his unit, his rank or most important his career specialty or his base of assignment).  We are told his remarks are in regard to aircraft on the flight line at Aviano Air Base in Italy….

The source said: “I definitely believe that our aircraft could have taken off and gotten there in a timely manner, maybe three hours at the most, in order to at least stop that second mortar attack … and basically save lives that day.”

The story about a failure to deploy aircraft then transitions to Mike, described as a former team sergeant for a military anti-terror quick reaction force, once known as the CIF…

“For some reason they were all shut down, and I think it leads back to a policymaker somewhere because nobody in the military is going to shut down an operation,” he said. On the night of the attack, Mike was at Delta Force headquarters in the U.S. monitoring the events as they happened.

And if you can’t guess the political implications of the story – which appeared to gain little traction other than at Fox – you can read it for yourself.

The thing is that the average reader is simply presented with no context and no real facts which would allow them to evaluate either the man from Aviano or Mike as to their credibility, or perhaps most importantly for the value of their observations. Having researched Benghazi in considerable detail – and written about it in Surprise Attack – I can tell you that both the activities at Aviano and Special Forces headquarters were examined in great detail by lots of people including Congressional Committees desperately seeking evidence of exactly the sort of failure to respond that the Fox article pursues with these two new sources.

Those investigations left few stones un-turned, we have the details of the teams that were assembled and dispatched, we have the details of the air units and weaponry at Aviano and exactly why the decision was made not to send fighter bombers to Libya. We even know the command structure in that decision and the fact that for most of the night that command was aware of the embassy in Benghazi but not of the CIA operation being conducted out of the annex. If anyone is interested in all that it’s available in numerous sources and summarized in my chapter on Benghazi.  Email me if you want to chat about it. Perhaps the most discouraging fact is that there are some serious lessons to be learned from the attack and changes that were made afterwards – but since the media doesn’t cover those sorts of stories it’s hard to tell if those changes are still in effect, or have been funded in the current budgets.

Admittedly I’m rambling a bit, but my real message here is that everyone certainly will reach their own conclusions, opinions and beliefs on such events.  Fine.  But the media – well what at one time was called the news media, now it’s just the media – either needs to return to its roots in fact checking and true investigative journalism or we need to be a lot more cautious and critical about what it sends our way as news.

Surprise Attack interview

Over the past year or so I’ve done a serious of lengthy interviews with Brent Holland.  Brent allocates and hour to two hours for the interviews so it gives the time to go into a level of detail that is normally missing in interviews – and the time for some far ranging discussion.  Brent has had some difficulty in keeping the interviews up on YouTube due to certain of its content guidelines – some of their reviewers don’t like controversial content and of course that’s pretty much all that I write about.  They also have some qualms about going into subjects with associated violence and of course that’s a little hard to avoid when you write about assassination, covert action, special operations, gray warfare and surprise attacks.

In any event, for the moment at least, the interviews are up so I thought I would post a new link every few days, allowing time for questions for anyone who has not seen the interviews or read the books.  The first one up is my focused on my newest work, Surprise Attack….which deals with preparedness, command and control and the effectiveness of the military response beginning with Pearl Harbor, moving on through various Cold War incidents such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Tonkin Gulf, the Liberty and Pueblo attacks and on though 9/11 to Benghazi. It ends with some lessons learned and some speculation in regard to current affairs and contemporary Russia.  Unfortunately some of that speculation has come far closer to the mark than I would have liked.

I think its also fair to say that there are some interesting lessons in regard to what is most desirable in a Commander in Chief, certainly a relevant subject in an election  year.

So, take a listen and either post or email questions as you prefer; hope  you enjoy the discussion.  Brent’s a lively host.





2016 JFK Lancer Conference

Almost everyone with any interest in the assassination of President Kennedy is aware of the fact that the initial investigation of that crime as well as a series of follow-on inquires has created an immense body of government documents.   Some people feel that the government actually determined the true nature of a conspiracy in the assassination and that information is withheld in documents – or at least documents suggestive of a conspiracy are still being withheld.

Concerns over “withheld” government documents are so great that as recently as the 1990’s a special body, the Assassination Records Review Board was created, with the expressed purpose of locating records that might be missing, obtaining them and making them available through the National Archives. It’s fair to say that tens of thousands of documents have been made available to researchers over the past decade and there is much anticipation of a “final” release of JFK records by the National Archives in 2017.

Exactly what that release is going to consist of has actually been announced and researchers are already digging into that listing, even though the documents themselves are not yet available.  However those eager for access to additional information have to deal with the fact that agencies can still withhold documents on the basis of national security and can also designate documents at the National Archives to be either redacted (meaning that portions of the document are blacked out) or withheld in full.

In anticipation of the 2017 release, JFK Lancer is holding its 20th research conference in Dallas this November   The conference will be devoted to preparing attendees to deal with the body of data that is already available as well as the information that will be forthcoming in 2017.  Both experienced researchers and newcomers to the events of November 22, 1963 have to deal with an almost overwhelming amount of information available though many sources, many of which are credible and some of which most certainly are not.

The 2016 conference will focus on research techniques that have been proven to work, offering attendees the personal experiences of a group of long time researchers, as well as those recently entering the quest to understand the murder of President Kennedy.  My own presentation will deal with the difficulties in assessing purported “insider” sources – and the type of work that is necessary to separate reality from fiction in historical research.

For those interested in the subject or wish to register for the conference, you can find further details at the link below, I’m happy to respond to questions here or, as usual, you can email me.


Deep Money / Dark Money

Deep (or dark, your choice) money has once again come briefly into view, the subject of global news attention for at least a few days in the Panama Papers scandal.  If you were away from the news for a time an internet search will give you the basics, this time the news is centered on the customers of a very low profile law firm in Central America – Mossack Fonseca. Mossack Fonseca specializes in the use of shell companies and blind trust accounts to effectively obscure the movement of money and to shield its ownership from those who don’t want their names associated with it. The firm uses the international banking services of firms such as Commerzbank, HSBC and Societe Generale.  The banks themselves simply make their services available without too much concern other than effectively moving money from account to account and location to location.

Technically it’s all a process which had its roots in international banking during the two World Wars, when various corporations determined it would be profitable to conduct business with nations who were at war with their own governments – but wished to avoid governmental scrutiny or public outcry while in search of possible short term, highly profitable business opportunities. Those transactions set the stage for “financial deniability” in the twentieth century.

Following World War II, and during the early decades of the Cold War, a new form of deep money operations came into play, driven largely for the need provide “political deniability” for covert government operations. If you have Shadow Warfare, you find this phase of deep money described in detail in the chapter on “Evolution of a Covert Warfare Infrastructure” and further detailed in a following chapter, “Autonomous and Deniable”. We also discuss the roots of that practice, illustrated by the actions of President Roosevelt in covertly funding a program to provide both defensive and offensive air forces to China – with the intent of preemptively striking Japan.

The lesson to be learned from the early covert operations, especially those in SE Asia, is not only how deep money really works, but how quickly certain of the front and shell companies – and the banking infrastructure put in place to move money through them – were taken over by criminal elements.  The lawyers who put the infrastructure in place proved aggressive in marketing its capabilities to a wide variety of customers, asking few questions along the way. Their Boards of Directors generally asked even fewer questions. Within a short period of time drug money from the Golden Triangle, skim money from Las Vegas and Havana and yet more drug money from New York, Florida and the Gulf states were flowing through the same deep conduits, sometimes even within the certain of the more autonomous shell companies the CIA was using for its own tasks.  The CIA’s surrogates often became quite skilled at using the same deep money practices for their own profit.  In fact, by time of the Contra activities, the CIA actually had to establish an “understanding” with the Justice Department to allow it to remain involved with Contra leaders who were  doing drug business on the side – without reporting them to DEA as the CIA was obligated to do by law.

Today both the CIA and and operational units within joint counter terror task forces find themselves still facing  the reality that the people they need to use/support in their mission are sometimes more than ready to make and engage in illegal activities on the side, once again turning to dark money transactions.  It’s a fact of life, it comes with the territory and its naive to think you can do regime building or collect information on terror groups with their own darn money networks without occasionally enabling such transactions. On the other hand, it’s not nearly as stupid (a little attitude showing) as shipping tons of American cash into Iraq, loaded on pallets.  It would be interesting to compare the amount of actual dollars lost to fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan to the dark money activities of the locals being supported in regime and nation building. Not likely to happen though.

Back to Panama Papers and today’s large scale deep/dark money trends.  What appears most significant to me is not how Mossack Fonseca was gaming the financial system but rather that most of their customers appear to have been politically connected individuals using their services to shield questionable internal financial activities within their own nations (Mr. Putin and his friends come to the fore, as do individuals from China, Iceland, Syria).  Some twenty-nine Forbes-listed billionaires have been named in Mossack Fonseca transactions. No doubt further investigation will uncover drug money and possibly even artifact money, the latter having become really big business following the massive archeological thievery in Iraq and Syria.  But primarily its a matter of individuals with a lot of political reach and/or financial clout hiding their money making from their national media and, of course, from taxation.

So, with the end of the Cold War (well the first Cold War, let’s call it CWI for short) deep financial transactions are no longer primarily a tool for covert military and political operations.  Now the American government just ships cash overseas to fund regime building and military missions. Nothing covert about that. Now the dark money techniques and infrastructures originally built to provide national deniability, quickly penetrated for use in shielding criminal activities, have now become largely devoted to simply protecting ultra-rich individuals and global corporations from paying taxes.

Putting it all in perspective, there seems to be something of a political message in all this.  We used to follow the money to dig into the covert side of international relations.  Now it seems that it’s become much more personal, that in itself suggests some interesting political implications. Almost as interesting as tracking the political contributions and potential legislative manipulation carried out by those same individuals and corporations.  At the moment Supreme Court rulings have left us in a state where those investigations are much more challenging. But who knows, perhaps “anonymous” will turn their attention to the arena of campaign donations?

I also can’t fail to mention the irony in all this – that tools and techniques originally developed for government covert action are now being turned against governments world wide to seriously gut those government’s own tax collections.