Obama’s Gulf Commission: Distortion, Obstruction and Whitewash Assured – by Stephen Lendman
The Deepwater Horizon site is a crime scene. But instead of demanding prosecutions for culpable industry and Interior Department officials, Obama announced a commission to assuage public concern and anger, suppress vital truths, and obstruct justice, America’s customary response to major government and corporate crimes – to wit, the notorious Warren, 9/11, and Space Shuttle Challenger Commissions. More about them below.
Crime Scene in the Gulf
On May 19, a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Media Center release headlined, “BP Can’t Be Left in Charge of Gulf Coast Crime Scene,” saying:
On May 19, its President and CEO, Larry Schweiger, told the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee that “The federal government should immediately take over all environmental monitoring, testing, and public safety protection from BP. Too much information is now in the hands of BP’s many lawyers and too little is being disclosed to the public….The Gulf of Mexico is a crime scene and the perpetrator cannot be left in charge of assessing the damage.”
He also urged lawmakers hold oil companies and other corporations accountable and “to create a path that takes us truly beyond petroleum.” Along with local agencies and residents, NWF is monitoring the damage and cleanup efforts in partnership with Louisiana’s Wildlife Federation, its state affiliate and Coastal Louisiana office.
On May 16, the Socialist Party USA called BP’s spill “a Crime not a Disaster,” saying:
BP “is no stranger to corporate crime.” Neither is Halliburton, its co-conspirator, notorious for its history of war profiteering, partnering in government corruption, benefitting from sweetheart deals and kickbacks, being on the take for decades, and profiting from hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, at least since the 1960s – stolen the way Wall Street commits fraud and gets “reform” legislation passed to legitimize it.
So does Big Oil, including BP, through regulatory laxity and Washington’s quashed efforts to hold company officials culpable for criminality, no matter how convincing the evidence to prove it.
On May 19, Jason Leopold’s Truthout.org’s article headlined, “How Bush’s DOJ Killed a Criminal Probe Into BP That Threatened to Net Top Officials,” saying:
Scott West “was the (EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division) special agent-in-charge (of) probing alleged crimes committed by BP and the company’s senior officials in connection with a March 2006 pipeline rupture at the company’s Prudhoe Bay (Alaska) operations….that spilled more than 200,000 gallons of oil across two acres of frozen tundra” – second only in severity to the state’s 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster from which affected residents haven’t recovered.
After exhaustively investigating BP, West learned enough to warrant felony charges, but Bush officials blocked him by shutting him down – the same way Obama obstructs prosecutions of culpable Wall Street executives and pressured passage of legislation to protect them. Expect BP to get off again along with complicit Interior Department officials.
At issue in Alaska was a preventable pipeline rupture, West learning that, for months, senior BP officials ignored warnings of its inevitability, failed to inspect corrosion evidence for eight years, and retaliated against employees urging it – one of many examples of the company’s worst safety and environmental record in the industry, but with no price to pay, it persists.
In March 2006, after the pipeline burst, it went undetected for nearly a week because equipment on hand malfunctioned. West and his team worked with FBI, DOJ, and Alaska officials to get the facts. BP officials were found culpable – anonymous whistleblowers naming former president and CEO John Browne and then production and exploration division head, Tony Haywood, current BP CEO who succeeded Browne.
No matter. The entire incident was obstructed, whitewashed, and shut down. No criminal charges followed, and Haywood became BP’s head on May 1, 2007. In 2009, Edinburgh University even awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science degree, mindless of his criminal record.
He also belongs to the Bilderberg Group – the notorious exclusive club whose members include heads of state, international bankers, important corporate chieftains, and other influential figures (around 80 of the world’s most powerful) whose priorities include one-world government, centralized control, permanent wars, no democracy, and a classless society of rulers and serfs with no middle class. Add another as well – the right to plunder and pollute for profit.
In October 2007, through its political connections, BP arranged a package settlement (amounting to a slap on the wrist) for all its major crimes. It also pled guilty to its March 2005 Texas City, TX refinery fire and explosion, killing 15 and injuring over 170 others, securing a deferred prosecution agreement resulting in minor fines for a company its size. Then in November 2007, it pled guilty in Alaskan federal court, and was sentenced to three years probation.
Despite clear evidence of criminal culpability, no prosecutions followed. Top officials are still sheltered in Britain and America, free to plunder, pollute for profit, and get away with the worst environmental crime in history because complicit government officials let them.
Gulf Whitewash Commission
On May 22, Obama announced the creation of seven-member commission, headed by former Senator and Governor Bob Graham (D. FL) and William K. Reilly, former EPA administrator under GHW Bush, to investigate the Gulf disaster and report back within six months. Most likely it will be after the November mid-term elections when media attention subsides, refocuses elsewhere, perhaps on the new Congress and approaching holiday season.
Instead of prosecuting culpable government and industry offenders, more lies, deceit and coverup are coming, the customary investigatory commission mandate to suppress truths too disturbing to reveal, letting mega-criminals again get off.
The Warren Commission Whitewash
After Jack Kennedy’s November 22, 1963 assassination, Lyndon Johnson established the Warren Commission a week later on November 29. On September 24, 1964, it delivered its 888-page report, publicly released three days later, concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone – a bald face lie later evidence revealed. Afterwards, the Commission published 26 volumes of supporting documents, including testimonies or depositions of 552 witnesses and over 3,100 exhibits – its usual matrix of distortions and omissions to conceal the truth.
All records are in the National Archives, including unpublished portions to remain sealed for 75 years until 2039, no longer applicable under the 1966 Freedom of Information Act and 1992 JFK Records Act. By the late 1990s, nearly all records were released except ones with tax return information available with redactions. By 2017, everything is scheduled to be released, but nothing revealed will change the official story.
The Commission’s seven members included:
— Chief Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren
— Senator Richard Russell (D. GA)
— Senator John Sherman Cooper (R. KY)
— Representative Hale Boggs (D. LA)
— Representative Gerald Ford (D. MI)
— Allen Dulles, former CIA director, and
— John J. MCloy, former World Bank president
The Commission’s job was coverup, Earl Warren explaining:
“….there may be some things that would involve security. This would be preserved but not made public” to assure disturbing truths remain hidden.
The Commission took testimony in secret, later publishing sanitized versions after the Warren Report. It prompted critics like Sylvia Meagher, in her landmark book titled, “Accessories After the Fact,” to rebut its findings, largely based on published material. It excluded everything deemed sensitive in calling Oswald the lone assassin, a conclusion very much in dispute today.
Former retired Air Force colonel, author, banker, and CIA critic Leroy Fletcher Prouty (1917 – 2001) called the
Commission’s report “trash (as) part of the conspiracy (to) cover and obfuscate the crime….”
Peter Dale Scott coined the phrase “deep politics” by which he means that “in every culture and society there are facts which tend to be suppressed, because of the social and psychological costs of not doing so.” In other words, covert criminal acts – unaccountable, lawless, and self-serving that hide disturbing truths about JFK’s assassination, 9/11, and other secrets powerful interests won’t reveal.
In his November 18, 2006 Dallas talk on insights from the Kennedy assassination and 9/11, Scott noted “the ability of the government to establish a guilty party or parties immediately, and the press and media consumption of that product to the exclusion of all other possibilities.”
The Warren and 9/11 Commissions’ jobs were “to validate what was already decided by the FBI on the day(s) in question. In Oswald’s case, FBI and CIA documents described him as five feet, ten inches, weighing 165 pounds. But it contradicted the actual height and weight of the man picked up and charged being slightly shorter and weighing 140 pounds.”
“It appears someone had already decided who was going to be charged before the police found Oswald in the Texas Theater.” He was also named within 15 minutes of the crime, impossible to know that soon, so clearly the official story looked bogus.
Scott also noted the “astounding” parallel to 9/11, citing Richard Clarke, White House director for counterterrorism. The 9/11 Commission ignored his book, “Against All Enemies,” because it differs “in many important respects” from the official account; namely, that “at 9:59 am on September 11, which is the time when the second tower collapses, the North Tower, the FBI already had a list of the alleged hijackers.”
It’s especially extraordinary because the FBI claims “it doesn’t do much intelligence in the field of terrorism.” It handles criminal investigations after it occurs. “And even more astonishingly, if we believe the 9/11 Report (which of course on this point I do not believe), NORAD, which was searching for the highjacked planes, wasn’t aware that Flight 93 had been hijacked until 10:08, which is nine minutes later.”
Scott covered much more in his talk, including a common denominator between 1963 and 9/11, the similarities between the two events, their “internal continuity of content.” Where were key people in each case? What were they doing? Who was giving orders? Why was it concealed? Why were key records withheld from the commissions? Why were White House Communications Agency regulars unaware of an operating back channel? What role did the Secret Service play? What’s the connection to drugs trafficking?
What was the hidden agenda? Was Lee Harvey Oswald a double-agent “trying to infiltrate the Dallas Cuban refugee group?” Was he associated with anti-Kennedy Cubans like Alpha 66, used operationally by military intelligence? Was he declared the lone assassin to protect someone or something bigger? Did a similar scheme repeat on 9/11? Why did the 9/11 Report say much about the alleged 19 hijackers without noting suspicions about who they really were?
Both Commissions knew where “they had to end up; because it had been pre-defined for them. They already knew….The truth about the predesignated culprit or culprits is unpursuable because he/they were part of an operation too embarrassing to disclose.”
According to Jim Marrs in his book titled, “Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy,” a memo from Cartha DeLoach, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s close aid, revealed that then Congressman Gerald Ford may have been the Bureau’s informant on the Warren Commission. He also had close CIA ties.
It was later revealed that he not only reported secretly to Hoover, but in declassified files, admitted that he instructed the Commission to move Kennedy’s back wound up several inches – a crucial decision because its lower location disproved the single gunman theory.
In addition, a new edition of the Commission’s report titled, “A Presidential Legacy and the Warren Commission,” said the investigation put “certain classified and potentially damaging operations in danger of being exposed.” As a result, the CIA hid or “destroy(ed) some information, which can easily be misinterpreted as collusion in JFK’s assassination.”
Family spokeswoman, Penny Circle, confirmed that the former president approved the text, and he, in fact, said publicly in late 2006 before he died that the CIA destroyed or hid critical secrets related to the killing. He also suggested the possibility of a “conspiracy,” a discrete way of admitting there was one. The Commission’s conclusions, of course, were rubbish to hide the sordid truth, too disturbing to reveal.
The 9/11 Commission
David Ray Griffin has done extraordinary research on 9/11, including in his book titled, “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions,” what he calls “a 571-page lie.”
In it, and subsequent articles and lectures, he presented clear evidence of the coverup, in one talk saying:
“It would seem, therefore, that the first chapter of the 9/11 Commission Report is one long lie. As I have shown elsewhere, moreover, that is true of the report as a whole….This conclusion has, of course, frightening implications, because it is hard to imagine why the Commission would have engaged in such deceit except to cover up the fact that the attacks of 9/11 were orchestrated by forces within our own government, including our armed forces. And if that is the case, then our country is in even worse shape than already evident through the Downing Street Memos, which revealed that the administration had fixed the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq.”
In another talk, he said, based on exhaustive research:
The facts “suggest that there is no escape from the frightening conclusion that 9/11 was engineered by members of the Bush administration and its Pentagon.”
Why so? To further American imperialism by attacking and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq and threatening all Eurasia. Bush administration officials repeatedly called 9/11 an opportunity “to refashion the world,” Donald Rumsfeld’s words.
Griffin also quoted law professor Burns Weston saying:
We now have “a disparity between the official 9/11 ‘spin’ and independently researched 9/11 facts so glaring as to suggest the possibility of a constitutional crisis unlike anything our country has ever known.”
Professor James Fetzer co-founded Scholars for 9/11 Truth (911scholars.org) that is unequivocal in debunking the official 9/11 story, the bogus Commission findings, and ongoing War on Terror.
Around 1,200 architectural and engineering professionals and about 8,200 supporters, including A & E students – members of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth – debunk the 9/11 Commission’s conclusions and demand “a truly independent investigation.”
These and other dedicated groups and individuals offer convincing evidence that the official 9/11 story about the defining event of our time is a lie.
Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident Whitewash
On January 28, 1986, Challenger’s 10th mission broke apart 73 seconds after launch, killing its seven-member crew. In response, the Reagan administration established the 13-member Rogers Commission, named for its chairman, William P. Rogers, former Nixon Secretary of State.
At the time, Richard C. Cook was the lead NASA resource analyst for solid rocket boosters, and wrote much on what happened in the aftermath, debunking the official story, including in his book titled, “Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age.”
He explained that six months prior to the accident, he wrote a memo warning of “catastrophic failure, based on meetings with headquarters engineers.” NASA ignored him, then relied on the Rogers Commission to deflect criticism by an orchestrated coverup. In other words, standard operating procedure like the other examples above.
NASA launched Challenger despite known solid rocket booster joint flaws, serious enough to cause disaster. After the Reagan administration declared the Space Transportation System operational in 1982, missions followed as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative’s militarization of space.
The Rogers Commission concealed the mission’s purpose, lied about NASA’s ignorance of joint flaws, and denied that it succumbed to political pressure to produce what, in fact, was a bogus account of what happened. Subsequently, everything made public “originated with whistleblowers who defied their organizations to speak out.” Among them was Richard Cook.
Some Final Comments
Examples like the above ones are meta-events, hidden history obscured by bogus official accounts that substitute for real truths about what’s on-going in the country, and America’s longstanding agenda – a common thread to the present, involving militarism, homeland repression, and business over public interests because of a government-corporate cabal, making presidential assassinations, homeland attacks, and environmental disasters possible and permissible.
Now a new commission will investigate the greatest environmental disaster in memory, the result of criminal negligence on the part of government and industry officials, followed by an orchestrated campaign of lies, deceit and coverup, calling it an accident, when, in fact, it’s a crime, and the affected area a crime scene.
What to expect? What else, months of investigation producing more lies, distortion, omissions, false conclusions, and coverup to deflect blame from where it belongs, to let criminal negligence go unpunished, to pass off the greatest environmental crime in history as an unfortunate accident we’ve learned from in hopes it won’t be repeated.
As long as Washington lets dangerous practices continue, they will, perhaps next time more serious than now, especially offshore. The Center for Biological Diversity asks “Are Oil Spills Inevitable? Yes – as long as offshore oil drilling exists….no technology” is fail-safe.
For years, industry and government officials lied about the risks. “BP refused to even consider the effects of a catastrophic leak in its drilling plan because it said the likelihood was too remote to imagine.” The Interior Department went along, approving the operation with no environmental review. Criminal liability is the issue. Guilty parties should be held accountable, but expect the usual whitewash ahead, the Gulf commission presenting its findings months from now when other headlines have long replaced today’s. Except for the many affected, will anyone notice, care, and say it aloud enough to be heard?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.