Posts Tagged ‘Soviet Union’

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“Bridge of Spies: A Commentary”

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH      

November 2, 2015

Even though the previews indicated that the movie “Bridges of Spies” was going to be a rollicking good spy-exchange story, and even though I remember the “U-2 Incident” on which it is based pretty well, I had been planning not to see it.  I figured that it would be part of the gradual build-up underway in this country of anti-Russian sentiment that has been going on in the context of the current decline in U.S.-Russian relations.  Many U.S. persons have a very hazy knowledge of history and certainly some of them confuse modern-day Russia with the Soviet Union.

Indeed, I noted in a previous column that even a TV news correspondent, commenting on the recent Russian build-up in Syria, twice referred to the country as the “Soviet Union” before, on the third reference, naming it correctly.  So, a historical drama that concerns the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. could easily be confused by some viewers at least as representing what is currently going on between the U.S. and Russia.  (That at its base, quite unlike the U.S./U.S.S.R. conflict, it is what I have termed a “clash of capitalisms” is a matter that I have dealt with elsewhere.)

But, presently, Russia is increasingly described anywhere on a scale from “enemy” to “dangerous rival” to “a nation sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong.”  (Those references never seem to mention the U.S.’ 750 or so bases around the world nor the U.S. policies that have stimulated violence throughout the Muslim, especially Arab world.  But that is another story).  Russian President Putin generally receives bad media coverage here.  And there seems to be a general build-up of “Russia-is-bad” reporting.  And so, I thought to myself “this one has to be nothing more than a revival of Cold War propaganda, and I do not have to subject myself to that.”

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Well.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I went to see the movie because my wife, who usually doesn’t like movies with such subjects, was intrigued by it.  What a pleasant surprise of a film.  First of all, there are the Spielberg settings.  So authentic, whether in Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Berlin (East and West), or European cities standing in for Berlin.  Then there is the acting, starring that grand actor-with-great-range, Tom Hanks.  Terrific as an insurance lawyer — the movie doesn’t tell you that he was a counsel to the Office of Strategic Services during World War II (same name, but no relation to “Wild Bill” Donovan, the war-time commander of the O.S.S.), although it does mention that he was part of the prosecution team for the Nuremberg Trials — gradually drawn into becoming a spy-exchange negotiator.  Then there is Mark Rylance, last seen here as King Henry VIII’s hatchet man (literally) Thomas Cromwell in the TV series based on the Wolf Hall novels.  Whether or not the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel was actually as Rylance portrayed him, he certainly could have been.  A superb job.

Most important is the story and the way it is presented, focusing on Donovan, Abel, Francis Gary Powers (the U-2 pilot whose plane was shot down by the Soviet air defense system and who did not, contrary to orders, commit suicide before he could be captured), and the process of the exchange.  Although one knows, even without having any familiarity with the real story, what the outcome is going to be (what big budget film-maker is going to do a movie about a potential spy exchange that fails) the film still keeps you on the edge of your seat.

It is interesting note (at least it is for students of history like me) that several very important political-historical elements/events were left out. First it is made to appear that the spy plane flight by Francis Gary Powers was the first or one of the first of its kind.  Actually, the program had been underway off and on for several years. The Soviets knew about it but had no weapon that could reach the very high-flying U-2s until they had the one that brought down Powers.   Second, no mention was made of the Four Power Summit Peace Conference between the United States, Great Britain, France and the U.S.S.R. that was to have taken place in Paris in May, 1960.

That Summit was intended by both sides to attempt to continue and broaden the first post-World War II opening to “détente” between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers that had been made by Vice-President Richard Nixon’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1959 and the mutual national shows that took place that summer in New York City and Moscow.  (I was lucky enough to have attended the opening of the U.S. show in Moscow and although not knowing it at the time, I was on the other side of a wall in the U.S. model house when the famous “kitchen debate” took place between Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.) The U-2 incident took place just before the Summit was to start and that start quickly become its end.

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President Dwight D. Eisenhower did take public responsibility for the very embarrassing series of events.  However, it is thought in some quarters that the CIA spy-master Allen Dulles purposely arranged the Powers flight, without Eisenhower’s knowledge of that specific one and its timing, with the hope that it would be discovered or even brought down (and the U.S. knew that Soviet air defenses were steadily improving) so that the Summit would be sabotaged.  Dulles, along with his brother John Foster, who had been Eisenhower’s Secretary of State until his death in 1959, from the end of the World War II had at the top of his agenda the eventual destruction of the Soviet Union.  Four Power peace summits were not his cup of tea. And the “peaceful co-existence” that Khrushchev was aiming for (as was John F. Kennedy before he was murdered — see his not-so-famous “American University” speech of June, 1963) was viewed by the likes of Allen Dulles as poison.

But this movie did not require a full treatment of the history in order to make its primary point, which was not, much to my surprise, to paint the Soviet Union in a bad light.  (The German Democratic Republic — East Germany — not so good, but that’s another matter.)  Rather, in my view it had two major points to make.  First, that in the 1950s and 60s in this country there were honorable men, like James B. Donovan the real-life attorney portrayed by Tom Hanks, who firmly believed in the Constitution and the rule of law, even for foreign spies.  (And Donovan’s law firm was what was called a “white shoe” firm, generally conservative and generally Republican.  But there were plenty of Republicans in those days, like the ones who brought down the rabidly red-baiting Senator Joe McCarthy, who the Tea Party/so-called “Freedom Caucus” in the House of Representatives today would be calling “Reds.”)

Second, the movie makes a very John le Carre-like point.  Secret service agents on both sides are generally not nice people (unless, of course, they are Jimmy Cagney in “13 Rue Madeline”).  Spying corrupts (although the Russian spy, “Rudolf Abel,” is portrayed as someone just doing his job), whether they are “ours” or “theirs.”  Neither the CIA guys, nor the KGB guys, nor the Stasi (East German secret police) come across particularly well.  And so while it does have plenty of greater or lesser villains, on both sides, it does have one hero, and that is a classic Honorable Man, James B. Donovan.   He fought the Nazis, and then, before he got involved in the spy-exchange drama, he fought for the U.S. Constitution and the rights it, on paper at least, provides for everyone within the borders of the United States.  What a difference between Republicans like Donovan and Republicans like Cheney and the ilk he has so successfully fostered within his party.

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I have no idea whether humans have ever set foot on the moon or not, and that’s the position I’ve stuck to for a while now.  It is, of course, Richard Millhouse Nixon’s government that claimed this success, specifically Nixon’s military (NASA is part of the Air Force, if you don’t know that).  This was the very same Air Force bombing Laos and Cambodia around that time in secret, more wars of aggression hidden from the American public as if that was simply business as usual.  Do we believe everything “Tricky” Dicky tells us, children?

Very strange evidence has come out over the years, and a number of films exploited this evidence and made a widespread controversy over it.  I don’t claim to know which evidence outweighs the others, but something does seem a little odd about this coup de grâce against the Soviets in 1969.

Let’s be absolutely clear.  Americans allegedly went to the moon for one reason, and one reason only: to stick an American flag on the surface before the Soviets could stick a hammer and sickle on the moon’s surface.  This was about a symbolic conquest, a photo op, a propaganda ploy to impress the world’s citizens.  There was no scientific motivation.  They weren’t out to save the world or help anyone in particular.  President Kennedy publicly challenged them to get to the moon by the end of the 60’s, and so failure to do so was seen as unacceptable by the establishment.  This was a penis measurement contest and nothing more, and that Saturn 5 stands pretty damned tall.  The “space race” was a very real and public competition between the two empires, with the populations of the world deciding which empire to favor.  This is the Cold War, and it was the main motivator for all such activities.

Now some have claimed that third party monitoring stations around the world concluded that transmissions did emanate from the moon during the mission.  Okay.  That’s one kind of evidence, not sure if it’s true or not, but it too could certainly be relayed – bounced back from an unmanned lunar satellite.  No?  That is what satellites do, their Raison d’être.  The question is not whether the Astronauts went up into orbit.  The question is whether they themselves took the big journey down to the moon’s surface, jumped around, got back in, blasted off and linked up with a second module in lunar orbit and then aimed the whole contraption back at the earth and had enough fuel and supplies to survive the return journey, all perfectly executed without a snag or else they were dead.

Now, politically speaking, such a risk is borderline unthinkable.  Three dead American Astronauts would have a very different political connotation globally than three gloriously successful American Astronauts.  Thus, this type of risk assessment cannot fail to have been the focus of these decisions.  To ignore this gargantuan risk to America’s public image is not realistic, and would be irrational.  Brand America went to the moon, and the space ship and pressure suits featured little flags, as all official American endeavors consistently do.

You can go down an endless (and quite hostile) rabbit hole looking into this stuff.  The nasty so-called “debunkers” pride themselves on their arrogance, aggression and smarmy self-confidence.  They love when the other side makes an error, but they tend to ignore other matters, like the below video evidence.  That kind of hostility is purposed and in the service of intimidation.  It seeks to squash subjects and render them verboten, the same “conspiracy theory” dismissal that is always trotted out, as it is much more convenient than trying to answer a point for which one has no response.

Rest assured that the most brilliant minds were involved, with unlimited spigots of cash to make this moon mission.  Whether they chickened out and went for the fake version is probably more entertainment than crucial history now.  If faked, then the first job would be to fool their own people, the many thousands who weren’t in on the deception, and who vehemently believe it was all on the level.  One group, who had to be in on it, if hoaxed, was the Astronauts themselves.  These men appear anything but triumphant in their post-mission interviews; see the second Youtube part below.

The Chinese, who do intend to go to the moon, will probably set the record straight at that time.  Perhaps if commercial, independent third parties send missions, we may get corroboration that isn’t suspect.

It’s amazing how people expect the government to lie, except when it comes to sacred events, pseudo-religious moments like this moon business, the JFK slaughter and 9/11, among others.  Then, every utterance from these proven liars is taken at face value and cherished as Gospel.

So, what “evidence” am I referring to specifically?

This video, the filmmakers claim, is directly from NASA and was mislabeled.  It was not intended to be released to the public – ever –  and it appears to be genuine Apollo 11 footage.

But what are they doing exactly???

 

 

I saw one video that claimed it is “impossible” to make such a fakery in “low orbit.”  The man making it ignored the above evidence of them actually doing it however.  This impossibility was allegedly proven by taking footage from the International Space Station, which moves too quickly to keep a single spot on earth stationary for that long.

Well, the exact altitude would be unknown to the public at present.  But more relevant, they actually were inside a spaceship capable of traveling to the moon and back.  That means that they were in a spaceship fully capable of parking in orbit over a single spot and maintaining that position.  Just because other orbiting bodies move in a particular way and velocity, doesn’t mean other craft cannot maneuver differently.  (Duh.)

 

And transcript, by Rob Kall / OpedNews.

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The other point I’ve been making for a decade about offshore production is not free trade, it’s labor arbitrage; and that all tradable goods and services can be moved offshore. So that you can very easily have a permanent unemployment rate of 25% or 35% percent or even higher, because the only jobs that can’t be offshored require hands-on performance: like going to the dentist, or getting your hair cut, or being served in a restaurant by a waitress, or in a bar by a bartender.

“When one side runs with it too far it becomes abusive, it becomes too much regulation, and then it becomes too little regulation. So keeping the balance requires sensibility, intelligence, and not ideologies. If the people are committed to ideologies and are operating ideologically, then it always gets out of balance.”

 

“Conspiracy Theory”: Foundations of a Weaponized Term
Subtle and Deceptive Tactics to Discredit Truth in Media and Research
Prof. James F. Tracy

The editorial “gatekeepers” of America operate as if directed by our own Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA put forth their propaganda strategy in the wake of public outrage over the murder of president John F. Kennedy and the subsequent cover-up and fabrications of the (bi-partisan) Warren Commission.

The similarly bi-partisan 9/11 Commission was also a controlled, censored, rigged exercise in obfuscation whose own co-chairman Lee Hamilton admitted on Canadian television, that the commission was “set up to fail.” And fail they did, but that does not prompt a real independent investigation of the 9/11 attacks, the role of “foreign governments” (Senator Bob Graham), or the role of the CIA itself, who helped to hide the “San Diego cell” hijackers from domestic law enforcement for 16 months prior to the attacks.

Here is how the CIA directs editors to respond to the “conspiracy theories” it found problematic, vis a vis JFK:

CIA Document #1035-960
RE: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report

“Presumably as a result of the increasing challenge to the Warren Commission’s report, a public opinion poll recently indicated that 46% of the American public did not think that Oswald acted alone, while more than half of those polled thought that the Commission had left some questions unresolved.”

“This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization.”

“Just because of the standing of the Commissioners, efforts to impugn their rectitude and wisdom tend to cast doubt on the whole leadership of American society.”

“Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization [CIA], for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us.”

“To discuss the publicity problem with [?] and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors), pointing out that the Warren Commission made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists.”

“b. To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.

So, there you have it, the CIA domestic propaganda playbook.

Operation Mockingbird is relevant here.

THE CIA AND THE MEDIA
Carl Bernstein, Rolling Stone, Oct. 20 1977

One last point on the JFK matter–

That memo contains a whopper of a lie. See if you catch it:

“e. Oswald would not have been any sensible person’s choice for a co-conspirator. He was a “loner,” mixed up, of questionable reliability and an unknown quantity to any professional intelligence service.”

An unknown quantity?

The man who defected to the Soviet Union, married a Russian girl, and was allowed to emigrate back to the United States without issue?

Unknown to intelligence?

Can they seriously type that with a straight face?

“I’m just a patsy.” -Lee Harvey Oswald in custody


  
Jim Garrison’s investigation and subsequent trial, which is the basis of the Oliver Stone film JFK, showed that Oswald was working for FBI and investigating the CIA’s Cuban terrorists in Louisiana. This is more plausible than the claim of document 1035-960, that Oswald was an “unknown quantity to any professional intelligence service.” That claim doesn’t pass the laugh test.

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BBC: A Life in Pictures (1h28m)