JFK Lancer Conference Update

If you have not participated in a JFK Lancer conference, or if you have not done so recently, you definitely need to make it this year. As in prior years, our focus is always on new research and this year we will addressing the most recent studies and findings on not only the JFK assassination, but also the murders of RFK and MLK – material presented by the most active researchers still involved in all three cases.

After having been involved with the conferences for almost two decades, two things always strike me. First, it is truly amazing how far we have come in the years following the first generation researchers, themselves limited to the Warren Commission materials, and the plodding release of paper documents via FOIA and NARA requests. The amount of information now visible after decades of FOIA work, the JFK Records Act, the work of the ARRB, and ongoing NARA records releases is stunning. Beyond that, in the RFK and MLK assassinations, FOIA work as well as the archiving of researcher collections and deep data mining in both police and FBI files has produced leads which simply were not visible in the first decades.

This year’s presentations include:

Bill Kelly and Rex Bradford on the JFK document releases

David Mantik and Mike Chesser on the JFK X-Rays
and wound interpretation

John Orr with Larry Schnapf on new 3D trajectory
modeling in Dealey Plaza

John Hunt on LAPD obfuscation and the real RFK crime
scene evidence

Krishna Sheney on research access to the sixth floor
museum archives and oral histories

John Newman on Framing RFK in the Castro Assassination

Carmine Savastano on “Other Suspects” in the RFK
conspiracy
Larry Hancock on the Wheaton names and the Dallas
assault team

Bill Simpich on Dallas Police Department suspects

Russ Baker on Hiding the Proof / We Want the
Records

Jim Jenkins and William Law “At the Cold Shoulder
of History" - the Bethesda autopsy

Gary Murr  A Small Arms Dealer and the Death 
of a President

Stu Wexler      MLK – the real conspiracy

Hubert Clark and William Law “Betrayal;
A JFK Honor Guard Speaks”

Malcolm Blunt and Alan Dale "Tennent 'Pete' Bagley: A
                Remembrance”
John Newman   The Kennedy's, King, and the Race Issue

Aldo Mariotto   The Texas Trip – Johnson’s Agenda

Ralph Ganis  Otto Skorzeny and the JFK Assassination

This is a line up that that would be hard 
to match in terms of both scope and depth of
expertise. I only wish the first generation researchers
could have the opportunity to see the results
of their pioneering efforts. 

They can't be with us in Dallas this year, you can. I
hope to see a great many of us their with us this
November.   
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The Political Propagandists

I’m happy to be able to post Deb Galentine’s next piece on political warfare.  Its vitally important to understand how the various elements of social media are now being used as weapons, not to simply to create discord but more importantly to magnify it to the point of direct confrontation and even violence.

We have had years of warnings about the threats related to viruses, malware, hacks, etc. Now its time for a serious heads up in regard to the threats you encounter in the world of social media.

………………….

The Political Propagandists

Who are the “Political Propagandists” on social media that we keep hearing so much about today? Where do they live? Are they paid?  Who pays them?  What’s their goal?

These are the questions our government, our journalists, our intelligence agencies, and we ourselves have been grappling with since a concerted effort to undermine our nation’s democratic principles first surfaced for the USA via the 2016 election.  Even today, we don’t have all the answers to all the questions but our intelligence agencies appear to have come to a good understanding of the most dangerous and troubling aspects of interference in the election. What they have learned may be astonishing for many of us, but to the CIA— it’s familiar territory.

The United States has interfered in foreign elections since the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947. After WWII, our government determined that the United States would see to it that other governments would adhere to democratic principles— or at the very least, to principles that served U.S.A. interests even if it meant dealing with brutal dictators. In the 50’s, the CIA was instrumental in overthrowing governments (for example, Nicaragua & Iran) and supporting assassinations & violent coups in other countries around the globe to facilitate regime changes or to build nations more to our country’s liking.

To advance their efforts, CIA used a boatload of tools & techniques including political propaganda*— information composed of false or misleading messages meant to promote a specific political point of view. Propaganda requires a sender (the propagandist) and a receiver (the target— a pliable audience).  CIA propagandists sent their messages in myriad forms.  Before the Internet, they often used newspapers, both foreign and American.  Many American newspaper editors willingly cooperated with CIA Cold War efforts since the risk always included nuclear warfare; publishers and editors saw their cooperation as patriotic.  Foreign newspapers could be friendly assets, infiltrated, or tricked into reporting as needed.

CIA also employed the use of pamphlets and posters as well as radio and television messages all intricately laced with propaganda. They used any means available for getting their party line into the minds of their target audiences. They hired psychiatrists for myriad reasons including the construction of effective and appealing disinformation.  CIA targeted the citizens of whatever government they were attacking with this psychological warfare— along with their known enemies. Typically, CIA also targeted US citizens to gain national support for our government’s efforts.

But in the 2016 election, the onslaught didn’t come from the CIA.  Malcolm Nance, US Intelligence operative with 36 years’ experience and an expert in Russian cyber warfare, stated on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (9/20/2018) that the citizens of the United States & our government were attacked as part of “a wide-ranging cyber warfare influence operation designed to break the American election process & to put Donald J. Trump into power. More than to just get Donald Trump into office (that was just one result that they wanted) … it was to break Hillary Clinton’s campaign, divide the Democratic Party, fundamentally change the American system of government, and push it away from where it was— a Democratic Constitutional Republic to what we’re leaning towards today— which is an Autocracy.”  Nance agrees with the rest of the US Intelligence community which maintains that Russia waged the attack against the United States under the direct orders of former KGB Agent & now President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

Russian operatives employed every available means of cyberwarfare including hacking into Senate and Congressional email accounts, the Pentagon’s computer systems, and the Democratic National Committee’s as well as the Republican National Committee’s computers and servers. They stole whatever they could find including research, software, cyber tools, documents and emails. Additionally, we now know that Russian hackers infiltrated voter databases in several states managing to go as deep as voter information.

Robert Mueller’s Indictment of 12 Russian Agents:

http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2018/images/07/13/gru.indictment.pdf

While most Americans demonstrate awareness that massive amount of evidence support our Intelligence agencies’ contentions that Russia attacked our most cherished institutions with cyber-warfare, only a small number of Americans appear to understand that Russia has been engaging in these kinds of activities for decades targeting all Western democracies before they attacked the United States.  Intelligence agencies in the UK, Denmark, Australia, & the US found evidence of Russian meddling in the elections of not only the USA, but also Ukraine, France, Mexico, Austria, Germany, the UK, Italy, Norway, Greece, Estonia, Finland— up to at least 27 countries since 1991.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/01/05/russia-has-been-meddling-in-foreign-elections-for-decades-has-it-made-a-difference/?utm_term=.b565c3aa809c

For trafficking propaganda, Russia focuses largely on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. These platforms comprise three of the largest targets for Russian disinformationists in their World-Wide Cyber War.  Information spreads like wildfires on these platforms, and it still to this day remains virtually unchecked.  The largely anonymous nature of social networks provides propagandists with the necessary hiding places from which to use their multiple fake identities with their fake locations.

The “Internet Research Agency” located at 55 Savushkina Street, St Petersburg, Russia bears the distinction of being the most well-known and publicized Russian propaganda outlet, or troll farm. The true location (IP addresses) of trolls working out of 55 Savushkina Street lie hidden behind proxy servers that workers turned on first before beginning work on their daily assigned tasks.  To be hired as Internet trolls, Russian workers needed to display strong written English language capabilities. They agreed to work 12 hour shifts so that Russian trolls would cover online communities 24 hours a day; the pay of around $800 a month made it seem worthwhile.

They worked in three to six member teams.  One team member would start a topic on a social media platform, another would then post a comment on the topic, the third would come along to start an argument, and so on.  Every day they were handed a series of tasks & topics to complete for each of their online identities. They learned to post several mundane comments about their daily lives to lend the appearance of real people. These posts would be interlaced with political propaganda & controversial memes which were either geared to influence political thinking against US political candidates or the US government or in favor of beautiful Russia or a Far-Right Wing candidate their wished to promote. The funding for Russia’s several propaganda outlets came from the Russian government.

Some sources indicate that thousands of propaganda bloggers worked from their homes in Russia but evidence of this is sketchy, so far.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/putin-kremlin-inside-russian-troll-house

 

Russian propaganda outlets also operated socialbots, “socbot,” or simply bots. Bots aren’t real people but real people do operate them to some extent; someone must program them and set them in motion.  The goal of Bots is to disrupt the free exchange of ideas— and they operate at remarkable speeds. Estimates of Bot activity on Twitter, which is the platform most useable by Bots, runs at about 15% of the total traffic volume, but confirmed statistics remain elusive. Bots can amplify Twitter hashtags, thereby convincing people that a topic is important.

Since the 2016 election, Twitter has become more proactive about disrupting & eliminating Bot activity. However, an ongoing problem for some Twitter users—the fast thinkers and typists— is that Twitter’s system sometimes mistakes speedy real people for Bots.  During the 2016 campaign season, Twitter suspended my daughter for 48 hours for that very reason; they picked up on the speed of her posts & judged that she had to be a Bot.

Cyborgs, humans who amplify their posts using software to automate posts, were all over Twitter and Facebook during the 2016 campaign and election and they are now ramping up their efforts once again— along with the trolls and the Bots— for the October US midterm elections.

The goal for the Russian trolls and the bots and the cyborgs and the bloggers remains the creation of chaos, division, and disharmony. They spread their propaganda 24/7 throughout the Internet using social media, websites, blogs— even via comments on news articles. They toss pieces of propaganda around the Internet anywhere and everywhere.  Once again, they are reaching fever pitch ahead of our midterm elections.

But they are not the only ones using propaganda on the Internet.  Others who submit US propaganda— false or misleading political information designed to sway options in favor of the bearer— include the Alt-Right, White Supremacists, Nazis, 4-Channers, Republicans, Democrats, the RNC, the DNC, and sites masquerading as “news” sites. Even candidates and campaign workers engage in organized propaganda efforts from time to time.  Most of these groups have at some time or another utilized their own trolling efforts, bots, and cyborgs to agitate for and against various stances and certain candidates.  As such, we Americans must realize that when we engage in these activities, we become Putin’s warriors—facilitating his Cyber War— by creating more chaos, more division, and more hostilities from the inside.

So, how are we to know who to believe, who to trust, where to get the correct information, and how to avoid or stop the propaganda?  I’ll write about that next time.

______________________________

Adrian Chen wrote the definitive story on the Internet Research Agency for “The New York Times,” published 6/7/2015:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html

*Propaganda takes many forms beyond the political.  For example, advertisers use it all the time to try to get us to purchase their products. But for these purposes, I will be focusing on political propaganda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operation 40

 

While Deb prepares her next post in her series on internet  political warfare, I’m continuing to slog on with the development of two new monographs. I’ve also been working with Bill Simpich on the “crypt busting” exercise several of us are engaged in to add to the Mary Ferrell CIA crypt data.

https://www.maryferrell.org/php/cryptdb.php

Most recently we wrestled with Operation 40 – which while a CIA operation in support of the Cuba project, did not carry its own unique crypt. On the other hand, a variety of Cuban exile personnel recruited for the project did participate and crypts such as AMMOT, AMFAST and possibly even AMCHEER can be related to that operation.

Matters are further complicated due to the fact that certain of those personnel continued service with the CIA following the disaster at the Bay of Pigs.  In particular the AMOT personnel show up in the Cuban Intelligence service later established at JMWAVE and some AMOT’s were even assigned to work at a secondary station in Mexico City – a “virtual station” compartmentalized from the regular CIA station within the American embassy in the city.

If that were not confusing enough, there were undercurrents of secondary agendas within Operation 40 even during the formation of the Cuban Brigade. And in later years certain Operation 40 personnel went their own ways, becoming involved in drug smuggling and apparently in a certain amount of extortion and blackmail within the Cuban exile community – reportedly using stolen or copied personnel files assembled from counter intelligence activities performed in advance of the landings.

Officially the Operation 40 mission of the Brigade intelligence and security personal was to be assisting the consolidation and administration of liberated areas while neutralizing local communists, Castro regime cadre and other potential threats to a new civil government. In line with that mission “black lists” were developed in advance of the landings, identifying individuals of all stripes considered to be a threat.

However even before the Brigade left on its mission, rumors were circulating that leftists or socialist exile fighters and leaders were also to be neutralized (read imprisoned or executed) during the invasion. That concern was exacerbated by a series of training camp confrontations and conflicts between Brigade personnel.

All of which leaves us with an officially identifiable mission for Operation 40 but apparently some very real contemporary concerns that there were secondary intentions among some of its personnel, possibly even endorsed by certain of its CIA trainers and paramilitary advisors.

As the actual landings unraveled on the beaches, the majority of the personnel intended for the operation were unable to land and were returned to Florida. Some continued on in JMWAVE maritime missions, some were taken into the new JM/WAVE Cuban Intelligence Service supporting the ongoing Cuba projects and others ended up going their own ways.

Over the years certain of those “others” would add to the confusion and “Operation 40” began to be used by some writers as a generic term for all sorts of illegal and questionable acts by Cuban exiles, extending well through the 1960s and even the 1970’s.

Beyond Operation 40 and crypt work, for those interested, another of my recent interviews is now available on the internet.  It was a good, solid interview covering questions in regard to both the JFK and MLK assassinations.

https://ontheodd.com/the-jfk-assassination-update/

Political Propaganda

This is the first in a series of posts that Deb Galentine has offered to provide and it not only establishes the context for the series but provides a call to action. These are days in which we need to accept that there are facts within the current chaos but its our duty to discern them. That requires work, the last thing in the world anyone should be doing is re-posting or retweeting information without vetting it.  Active measures propaganda is a reality, from multiple sources – accept it, deal with it, denial of that fact is a form of surrender.  I’ll be continuing with interim posts on historically familiar subjects, leaving Deb to lead you through the social media warfare that has become part of daily life in the early 21st Century.

………………..

I offer sincere thanks and appreciation to Larry Hancock for this blog, for his books, and for his dedication to truth in history.  In this age of “Alternate Facts,” we depend on people like Larry who spend their lives digging for historical accuracy just as surely as we rely on our Free Press to accurately report current events every day.  Democracy requires truth, and truth dies in darkness.  Truth thrives in the light of free, logical, and rational thought, and the free exchange of ideas.

Some of the darkest days of our country occurred when our political system buried or obscured truth.  Consider the 1960’s and ’70’s during the Vietnam War when our governments’ guiding mantra became “Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Vietnamese People.”

“Winning hearts and minds”— making people think what governments need people to think— wasn’t a new idea in the ’60’s. In 1933, Adolph Hitler appointed Paul Joseph Goebbels his Reich Minister of Propaganda. Goebbels proved himself one of the greatest purveyors of biased and misleading political information. He controlled and censored all information outlets— books, film, literature, art, music, news— and he preached hate against all targeted groups, including Jews, Gypsies, Black people, Gays, millions of whom were exterminated. Still, Goebbels helped Hitler capture the hearts and minds of the German people who adored and supported Hitler and the pride he gifted them through his ethno-nationalism brand of governing.

After WWII and during the Cold War, our own government fought for the hearts and minds of We the People of the United States of America to fortify our nation against the doomsday weapon that our government created— the Nuclear Bomb. Our leaders devised a detailed and systematic program, overseen by psychiatrists and the newly-created CIA, to make Americans so fearful of the USSR (“The Red Menace”) and their possession of nuclear weapons that we would cheer the spending of millions upon millions of dollars to dot the US landscape with “defensive” nuclear warheads. School children learned the “duck and cover” routine and regularly practiced it to the tune of air raid sirens. Our government-produced propaganda gilded the effort by painting nuclear war as dangerous, but survivable.  https://youtu.be/IKqXu-5jw60

Families built fall-out shelters in backyards.  Those who couldn’t foot the bill for underground living lined their basement shelves with canned goods, water, and toilet paper in preparation for the sure-to-come nuclear winter. The US government regularly pumped black and white Civil Defense films to our televisions.  Their intent was to create fear. They succeeded.

A 1950’s Civil Defense film:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcTxipBP2Kk

Many of the children who grew up under the threat of the mushroom cloud learned not to expect to live past the age of thirty, especially when the Vietnam War saw the draft reinstituted.  This fear prompted the youth during the late 1960’s and early ‘70’s to develop a philosophy of “Tune In, Turn On, and Drop Out.” They had been so marinated in fear, cynicism, and disillusionment, many of them abandoned hope for tomorrow. Drugs helped them escape their fears, even if only temporarily.  Propaganda frequently produces unexpected negative consequences.

Winning the hearts and minds of the American people to spend massive amounts of money on excessive defense measures didn’t end in the ‘70’s.  President Ronald Reagan made exceptional use of the Hollywood-produced film “The Morning After” (1983) to bolster his propaganda about the enormous threat emanating from the USSR:  https://youtu.be/Iyy9n8r16hs

The movie intended to portray Nuclear War as an unwinnable and disastrous extreme. However, Reagan used the movie to advance his case for his Star Wars Defense Initiative meant to thwart a nuclear strike from the USSR by destroying their missiles in the air before reaching our country.

All around the globe, propaganda has served as a useful tool for those who desire to spin world views.  Nicaragua. 1986:  “The Sandinista Regime …has [pushed] its main propaganda themes:  The United States is a military aggressor, the opposition is illegitimate, and the Sandinistas are committed to political pluralism.” (“The Nicaraguan Externals Propaganda Apparatus: Diminishing Returns,” 1986.  An Intelligence Assessment, Central Intelligence Agency, Sanitized Release, 11/18/2011.  https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP97R00694R000600520001-7.pdf )

The perpetrators of propaganda leave the average person trying to decide who relays the facts— those identified as propagandists or those who point accusing fingers at so-called propagandists. In other words, “How do we know who tells us the truth?”

Sorting through today’s mind-boggling array of political propaganda makes everyone’s heads hurt.  Without all the information in hand, we sometimes find ourselves feeling as if we are wandering through dark mazes filled with racial nonsense, chaos, half-truths, disinformation and distrust. In defense, we carry our own shields of pre-conceived ideas and personal biases before us.

While we think we know what we believe, we may become confused. We begin to doubt who or what to believe.  We may distrust what we thought we knew.  Or, we may cling steadfastly to what we thought to be true, no matter what evidence we find presented to the contrary. We argue. Discussions grow contentious. We fight.  And we tend to fight and bicker a whole bunch on “Social Media”— the newest, latest, greatest tool of the most accomplished propagandists the world has ever produced.

The accomplished propagandists use active measures specifically designed to create the fighting, the division, and the chaos that we’ve all witnessed (or been a part of) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Their goal in these battles (infighting that they typically cause) remains winning our hearts and minds over to what they want us to believe; they want us to distrust what we believe to be true about ourselves, our country, our government and each other.

They want us to be afraid— afraid of each other, our government, the people next door.  They want us to be afraid of gun owners or so afraid that we believe we should purchase a gun. They want us to eventually become so confused and over-burdened by all the noise and hostility and fear and chaos that we cease to care. Being too much to cope with, we tune out to calm ourselves. We learn not to watch what’s going on in the news, in our government, our country, our cities, our churches, our schools, our streets, and maybe even our homes.

Once we reach that point, they win. Therefore, our number one tool remains— Resistance. We must do everything within our power to resist efforts to make us fearful, to doubt who we are and that in which we believe. We must resist believing that for which there are no verifiable facts.

Dr. Sarah Kendzior, expert on Russia, authoritarian regimes and their use of the Internet in undermining public trust and manipulating the media, wrote an important essay shortly after the 2016 election. I urge you to read it and consider doing as she recommends to remain strong and alert.   https://thecorrespondent.com/5696/were-heading-into-dark-times-this-is-how-to-be-your-own-light-in-the-age-of-trump/1611114266432-e23ea1a6

Today’s propagandists have embraced and improved upon Joseph Goebbels’ techniques. They use the Internet in previously inconceivable ways. They’re crafty. Difficult to detect. Persuasive. And they can be quite charming.

So, you might want to know “Who are They?”

“They” are what I’ll write about with my next posting.

Reviews

Next week Creating Chaos will begin shipping as a trade paperback, both from Amazon and into book distribution, so that it can be ordered from any bookstore.

Up to now it has had only limited reviews but in the interest of transparency I’m going to share them, with a few comments.

First off, one of my friends who is very much involved with contemporary politics was an early reader and described it in two words…”its scary!”.  I thought that was pretty accurate, I constantly had a similar reaction when researching the book.

The next review came up on goodreads and it wasn’t very favorable – you can read it here.

The reviewer felt there was simply too much of the Cold War era before it moved into contemporary matters…it was too backward looking and not enough forward looking.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39795757-creating-chaos

Why am I sharing a negative review on my own blog you ask? 

Because it is true that the book has a lot of Cold War history in it, the point being that one of its major themes is that current events reflect a major role reversal between the US and Russia – a role reversal that is being totally missed in all the media coverage of current political events and all the erudite news show commentary.

Its the simple point is that Russia (read Putin) studied American political warfare tactics and has made them his own – executing them far more successfully than the US did.  While I apparently failed in not setting that up clearly enough in the introduction to the book, its vitally important to the overall story and to contemporary events.

And now the first professional publishing industry review is up, from Kirkus. Kirkus is known for being quite clinical in their reviews and they bring a certain amount of fear and trembling to authors. As an illustration, their review of Shadow Warfare described my writing as “grim and yet trenchant”. Their Creating Chaos review may be found at:


https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/larry-hancock/creating-chaos/

I rather liked it and thought it was quite accurate – and then I got to the last line, which summed up my exposition of Russian political warfare against the West and specifically America.  The reviewer’s conclusion was that although some might find the charges startling, my presentation of them was both balanced and matter- of-fact. Which is great, love it.

But then it concluded that the book was so far from being sensational that my prose and tone were “plodding”.  Well OK, I admit to being obsessively factual, I think it goes back to a graduate history course I took – the professor was adamant that he was grading on facts and analysis, not prose.  I’m blaming it on the curse of higher education. This is why I don’t get calls from the media, clearly I’m not news talk show material – but I used to be fun at parties, honest.

However I do think that is about the fullest disclosure you are going to get from any author on their newest book

Beyond that, and in respect to the goodreads review, I’ve invited my friend Deb Galentine to do some guest articles for this blog. Deb has done some wonderful research on the most contemporary, real life,  tactics being used in social media warfare – both by Russian actors and by our own domestic political groups.

She’s the sort of person that gets tweeted by Russian oligarchs and their girlfriends, which means she is very current and very insightful.  And much more lively, I’m looking forward to her articles – and  you should be as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Lancer Conference

Well folks its time to plan for traveling to Dallas this November.  JFK Lancer will be hosting its annual November in Dallas program on November 16-18.

This year the agenda will include presentations on three of the major political assassinations of the 1960s – JFK, MLK and RFK.  We will have specialists presenting on each and I’ll join in on a couple as well.

The conference will feature names well known to many of you, including authors John Newman, Russ Baker, William Law, Bill Simpich and Stuart Wexler.

An extensive discussion of the JFK X-rays will be conducted by medical professions Mike Chesser and David Mantik, with participation by autopsy witness Jim Jenkins.

Jim, assisted by William Law, will also introduce his own, brand new book.

John Hunt, known for his obsessively detailed research into the LAPD investigation of the murder of Robert Kennedy, will present on his findings and discuss his own upcoming (and long awaited) book.  I’ve read John’s manuscript and I assure you its something you don’t want to miss.

Bill Simpich will be presenting on a subject other than Mexico City, focusing on his more recent research on the Dallas Police – I will join him in a question and answer session based on my own research and on the work of George O’Toole among others.

Gary Murr will bring us some of his own unique research – with a presentation titled:  A Small Arms Dealer and the Death of a President

In addition John Orr will be joining us from the CAPA event that week, to discuss the most recent 3D trajectory modeling project in the Plaza.

That is only a partial list of presenters and speakers, I’m holding back a few as a surprise and we will also introduce a few new researchers to our community.

As for myself, I will be presenting my ongoing research (and hopefully my partner David Boylan will be able to join me) on the “Wheaton names”.

I hope that all sounds interesting, I’ll be posting more as we move towards December.  Certainly I’d urge everyone interested in any of the political assassinations to join us, we go to great lengths to make the speakers accessible to the audience and they are always very cooperative in that.

Registration and conference hotel rates are both available now at this link:

http://jfklancer.com/Dallas2018/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disruption vs. Fragmentation

 

I’ve recently had the chance to do a couple of interviews on Creating Chaos, one rather tightly focused with focused with Joy LaClaire on Forthright Radio and one much more far ranging on the Ochelli Effect. You can find each interview at the links below.

https://forthright.media/2018/08/15/larry-hancock-creating-chaos-covert-political-warfare-from-truman-to-putin-carey-gillam-289-million-monsanto-glyphosate-cancer-damages-verdict/

https://ochelli.com/creating-more-chaos/

An area of discussion which emerged during each was the subject of “election meddling”, which actually is only one of a number of “tools” which are brought into play in political warfare.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of our current American political jousting, that topic has pretty much subsumed what should be a much broader dialog. It has also provided an “out” for those who would prefer to ignore what is really going on – that out is simply to remark the U.S. has meddled in other nations elections over the decades so obviously its only reasonable that other nations (insert nation of choice, actually Russia but China, North Korea or even Iran if you would prefer to divert attention from Russia).

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/19/politics/bolton-nk-election-meddling/index.html

Such a diversion also has the advantage of making it all about “election meddling” which is only a part of the political warfare Russian actors began circa 2013 (began against the U.S. that is); they had begun testing and refining the practices years earlier against Chechnya, then against former Soviet Republics and against British media well before they began to tackle the U.S.

But that’s a long story, the way I attempted (probably poorly) to deal with the meddling issue in the interviews was to illustrate the difference between political warfare “fragmentation” campaigns (which are really an effort to “contain” an adversary) and electoral disruption.

Fragmentation actions (primarily involving psychological warfare and propaganda) are brought into play when one nation moves to “contain” an adversary that it feels is threatening its influence, whether economic or political. Perhaps the best large scale example of containment during the early Cold War was the containment campaign the U.S. launched against virtually all the new Soviet republics that has been established in Eastern Europe.

The great fear was that those republics were simply the “tip of spear” and that their political influence had to be blunted and their attention turned inwards – by sowing political discord, exacerbating religious and ethnic differences and highlighting corruption and favoritism in the new ruling regimes. The tools available for such campaigns were largely limited to short wave radio and massive leafleting via propaganda balloons.

The fragmentation tools available to contemporary Russian actors are exponentially more targeted and more effective, given the global internet, social media and population analytics it’s now possible to disseminate exactly the message even small but  volatile segments of the public actually want to hear.

By piggy backing on highly emotional issues, group fragmentation can be accelerated – on occasion to actual violence. Political parties and elections are only one venue for fragmentation – religion, race, and social class, ethnic differences, even geography can be brought into play (and already has been).  It’s all about turning the adversary inward, diverting national attention and reducing its foreign relations activities in contested areas.

But while understating the full nature of the Russian political warfare initiative  is important, its backstory is equally so. Putin and the Russian leadership were clearly responding to what they felt was western “meddling” in their region of historical sovereignty – meddling in the form of official American and European electoral democracy initiatives, as well as with similar initiatives by private actors (NGO’s; non-government entities).

Of course from the Western perspective, supporting and enabling free and open elections isn’t really meddling.  Training an inexperience electorate on how to do poll watching, exit polling, how to do pre-election surveys to estimate popular opinion…not meddling. Funding for alternative media, non-government radio stations, TV stations, newspapers, even the simply funding of printing presses and leaflets…not, meddling, just enabling democracy. Training campaign workers in electioneering, political advertising, and the use of electronic media for campaign organization – just standard practice in the west.

But it was not standard practice in nations that had been single party states for four or five decades, with the ruling parties in charge of the election apparatus itself, as well as the media used for reporting results.  States with “elected” officials routinely put in place by 90% or more of the tallied votes. Introducing western democratic election practices was absolutely disruptive, and frightening for the long established power structures – how could they perceive it as anything other than meddling?  And when parties and people who had been tied politically to Moscow for decades began to consistently lose, naturally it was seen as threatening.

The underlying reality is that democracy itself is disruptive, destabilizing to long term power structures. Its messy, often nasty and culturally challenging.  And a good many cultures are not especially receptive to it. That is one reason Putin has been so clear in his statements – differentiating Russia from the West, stating that America and the West are making a mistake in thinking that because Russians look like them, they are indeed like them. He sees that as a fundamental misunderstanding of Russian culture.  As far as Russia is concerned, he may just be right, at least for the present.

So…election meddling can indeed go both ways, however in my view the political warfare that we have been seeing coming our way is something much broader, much more orchestrated, much more targeted and much more divisive. Its full blown “containment”, something the US has indeed tried in the past – with little success. Its surprising so many of our legislators seem blind to it (or unwilling to acknowledge it) when its coming our way…

Nuking Charleston

I’ll get back to my post on “Names” shortly, it’s a research effort still in progress at the moment, but I do want to recommend some background reading for those interested and I will do so in a follow on post.

But for those that might have started reading Creating Chaos, I’d like to bring up a point I discuss towards the end of that book – a point which has to do with the personal aspects of “enabling” political warfare. I mention in the book that during the last couple of years of the Obama Administration I began to receive a rapidly growing number of forwarded emails from personal friends…emails that were all pretty obviously well-crafted political messaging in the traditional style of professional disinformation – a little truth, a lot of spin and a great deal of emotional “loading”.

They were all based on purported news stories, which on even basic search and fact checking revealed them for exactly what they were – yet when I took the trouble to write back to my email friends and advise them of that (even providing factual sources) I determined that even when they agreed, they simply did not want to expose themselves by pushing back against their own email sources.

At the time I found it frustrating but assumed that the sources were political and it was ground work for the upcoming presidential elections.  It now appears that was quite naïve and chances are I was seeing some of the very first evidence of the political warfare machine that was being cranked up to fragment and create discord within the American public.

The current investigations of Russian political warfare are not going back that far so there likely won’t be any solid documentation – in Creating Chaos I begin my real studies of that interference in 2014. Still, the following article reminded me of both a personal experience and suggests that the effort was underway at least a year earlier.

My experience began with a relative, who knows I write about national security and military operations, advising me of a plot I might have missed. A plot clearly showing the depth of evil within the Obama Administration and its covert efforts to install martial law in the United States to perpetuate itself.

Now I hear some of these things every now and then (my relatives were talking about burying guns so the government would not seize them back during the Eisenhower Administration). But this was pretty ambitious, the word was that Obama had tried to stage an atomic strike as an excuse for imposing military rule over the country – or at least the southern states. Certain high ranking officers had opposed him and they had been fired as a result.

In case you didn’t hear it at the time, check the following link for details:

http://warisboring.com/did-obama-try-to-nuke-south-carolina/

As ridiculous as it might sound, some real research had gone into the story and there were facts – at least about the dismissal of the officers. Upon investigation it was easy to deconstruct (as the article above does) in a few minutes of research but it did indicate that some effort had gone into the story.  And I have to say I’m afraid the facts probably didn’t convince my relative; the key to success in such political warfare is to feed your message to a receptive audience. That makes countering it virtually impossible in most instances. You can’t easily “write over” what someone was receptive to and then actually heard in a purported news story.

In Creating Chaos I discuss how such things work and how 21st Century technology and social networking on the internet has made such long time practices far more dangerous. In doing so I provide a goodly number of examples taken from Facebook, YouTube and anonymous sites such as 4Chan – and its even more unrestrained and sensational spin offs such as 8chan. Even a limited study of online political warfare reveals that vehicles such as Twitter can be exceptionally fertile tools for information warfare in all its most nasty forms.

At this point in time we have moved into a place where the normal constraints of free speech are being tested. There is an old saying out here where I live – “Speak your piece but have a fast horse handy” – but social convention, peer pressure and other tactics don’t work that will with instantaneous (and anonymous) global communications. Sort of like deciding to yell “fire” in a crowded theater – things happen to fast, people get hurt. And of course yelling fire in a crowded theater brings to mind Alex Jones:

https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/10/media/infowars-twitter-alex-jones/index.html

We are all going to face the same personal struggles that Facebook and Twitter face in the commercial media space (which is where they are, whether Twitter admits it or not). The question you need to ask about your online and social media communications is whether you are addressing the problem or not. And as we used to say back in the 60’s, “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”.

 

The Names

One of the constants in the discussion of the JFK assassination is the desire for names. Names of those who knew of a conspiracy before the attack, names heard afterwards, the names of the organizers, of those who went to Dallas for the ambush. And of course names have emerged over fifty plus years. Perhaps most importantly, names were even given to official bodies dealing with the assassination.

The challenges in dealing with names are many.  It’s as critical to vet the credibility of the sources as it is to explore the names themselves, not just to verify that they are of real people but to test whether they make sense in terms of an “operational context” – in other words can they be associated with each other, do their common motives make sense and in particular do they actually have any recorded history with each other or with what we have learned about the nature of the actual attack on President Kennedy in Dallas.

Most recently, during the tenure of the ARRB, a source confidentially brought names of individuals to the attention of that body – assuming that they would be investigated and certainly assuming that they (and he) would never be disclosed to the public. Those assumptions proved to be wrong, the ARRB paid virtually no attention to the names or to him as a source, and the materials he submitted were disclosed in the public release of ARRB documents.

The source was Gene Wheaton, the names were those of a long time CIA paramilitary officer and a well-known anti-Castro fighter. Thanks to documents on the MFF site, a basic verification of his information was possible and in the end he was shown his own documents and asked for comments in an interview conducted by my friend William Law. After many years that interview is now on line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DPT9Oc0lsU

I’ve written and presented at length on Wheaton and his experience with the ARRB so I won’t belabor that here. What is most significant is that the names Wheaton provided were not of the conspiracy participants themselves, but of individuals who quite confidentially discussed knowing that people they had worked with and trained had been involved in the attack on JFK. Given that the two men known to Wheaton refused to talk further, we are left with the research challenge of determining the names of individuals who would fit the profile given to us by the remarks heard by Wheaton. And that requires an in depth understanding of the assignments and activities individuals involved in anti-Castro operations during the period of 1960-1963. Initially that seemed like an impossible task, however with much plodding, grunt level work over the years – and some striking new documents finds by my friend David Boylan – we are at the point where we now have that detail.

Equally importantly, that research has disclosed that the names which surface in the Wheaton research have connections to information provided earlier to the HSCA. HSCA sources and investigators surfaced information from John Martino and Rolando Otero, both of whom held secondary knowledge about the attack in Dallas, information which they could only have obtained from individuals deep within the conspiracy. And as it turns out, our newest research discloses a number of connections between the names which emerge from all three sources – Wheaton, Martino and Otero.

Beyond the names themselves, the history of the individuals who emerge from the sources and the research reveals a level of covert operational association over several years. It shows a group of individuals involved in high risk missions involving paramilitary operations – including extremely well planned and organized sniper attacks – and the commonality of commitment and risk taking that would be necessary to a conspiracy to murder a President. And it demonstrates that those individuals could well have had the degree of mutual trust, solidarity and confidence in each other to come together in such a task. All of which is surprising because certain of their associations were completely unknown, even as recently as a couple of years ago.

Putting these connections and associations together is an ongoing task but we now have the data, organizing and presenting it in a structured form (which extensive citation) is the real challenge. And for those interested, that will first surface in my presentation at the JFK Lancer conference in November.

http://jfklancer.com/Dallas2018/index.html

I hope to see many of you there.

Creating Chaos is Here!

Well chaos has been here a for a couple of years but I’m actually talking about my book Creating Chaos / Covert Political Warfare from Truman to Putin.  And yes authors are allowed to use exclamation marks when their books actually make it into print…

I did my first interview on Creating Chaos a couple of days ago – some two hours’ worth – and immediately learned how challenging it is going to be to really present the content of a book that covers decades but which also has extensive contemporary commentary. It’s far too easy to get sucked into what is going on in the news every day and how that relates to the techniques of political warfare covered in the book, as well as the backstory of those current events.  A backstory that actually began in 2004 and evolved somewhat slowly over a full decade.

While talking about the book will no doubt be an ongoing challenge,  what I can do is give you some more detailed information about the book – now that I have the first version of the print copies in hand – and let  you get a feel for it yourselves.

First, the book is coming out in two “generations”.  The first generation, which became available in July, was direct from the publisher (OR Books).  The EBook version is $10 and a softcover print on demand (POD) book ($18).  The POD edition is about two thirds the size of a standard trade paperback that you would find in a book store or library.

http://www.orbooks.com/catalog/creating-chaos-by-larry-hancock/

This size book is really very portable and I was a bit surprised by how “readable” it was (being old and all small print is not my friend).  The print is quite a good size, the contrast on the page is good and both the end notes and the index are quite readable (which is sometimes an issue even in trade paperback and hard cover editions).

Sometime in September a second generation, press printed trade paperback will be available on Amazon and bookstores should be able to order copies through Publishers Group West. I’ve now received early copies of the press print book, which has a more polished cover, higher quality paper and is physically a bit larger. Because of the press printing the type/page contrast is sharper (OK, that’s probably “too much information” but authors obsess over such things).

https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Chaos-Covert-Political-Warfare/dp/1944869875/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Now to what is actually in the book.  First off the book itself is 393 pages, proving that I can write something at least a little shorter than 500/600 pages.  It has over 40 pages of end notes, which should be enough citations for pretty much anyone. And the index is some 17 pages, with a host of names which will be new to most readers.

As to contents, here are the Chapter Titles:

Chapter One: The Games of Queens, Kings and Presidents

Chapter Two:  Going Dark

Chapter Three:  Containment

Chapter Four:  Political Action

Chapter Five:   Regime Change

Chapter Six:  Hybrid Warfare

Chapter Seven:  Active Measures

Chapter Eight:   Privatization

Chapter Nine:   Role Reversals

Chapter Ten:  Sovereignty Issues

Chapter Eleven:  Pushing Back

Chapter Twelve:  Beachheads

Chapter Thirteen:   Shaping

Chapter Fourteen:  Fragmentation

Chapter Fifteen:   Consequences

As you can see, I try to address both the tactics and practices of covert political warfare.  Along the way I present a model which addresses its scaling and evolution from one state to the next.  I’ve worked quite hard to make it a balanced presentation, beginning with the practices of the British and Russian Empires, moving through examples from the Cold War for both the United States and the Soviet Union and finally stepping into how roles have reversed in the 21st Century, probing deeply into contemporary events and the new technologies available to the old practices.

So, that’s it for now. I will move on to other subjects, hopefully returning when a few readers have delved into the book and have things to discuss.