It’s about damn time. What has it been, now…57 years?
“Lee Harvey Oswald was a KGB associate who was personally instructed by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to assassinate President Kennedy. Sometime shortly thereafter, the Soviets changed their minds, and Oswald was told to drop the plan. But Oswald, harboring a blinding love for all things USSR, refused.”
At least, so say the authors of Operation Dragon: Inside the Kremlin’s secret war against the United States, according to a write-up about the book in Monday’s New York Post.
“Well,” you may well say, “that assertion seems rather bold. What evidence do the authors have have to back it up?”
The Post says that the “authors claim that all the evidence needed to make their case is contained in the 26-volume Warren Commission Report, but that so much of it is ‘codified’ that no one understood its significance until now.
Clever fellows, these authors, to have deciphered that which so many others have failed for so long to perceive. Who might they be?
“Ambassador R. James Woolsey, who ran the CIA from 1993-1995 (and who, ironically, resigned abruptly during the scandal over Aldrich Ames, a CIA officer turned Russian double agent), and Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage service and the ‘highest-ranking intelligence official from an enemy country ever granted political asylum in the United States’ (Pacepa died of COVID earlier this month).”
In our current political climate, some unknown percentage of the population already believes that The Former Guy might have taken marching orders from a murderous ex-FSB goon. Now one of our ex-spy chiefs would have us believe that JFK was bumped off by a KGB plot gone wrong.
Maybe it’s good that it took so long for this book to come out. At this stage it can’t do much harm.
We can’t say we’re convinced, though. In fact, it sounds more like Woolsey’s ready for some rest. Does anyone have the number for Marla Grayson, Rosamund Pike’s character from I Care A Lot?
What is genuinely intriguing about Operation Dragon is its reference to Lee Harvey Oswald having “a clandestine meeting in Mexico City with his Soviet case officer, ‘comrade Kostin.’”
The authors, according to the Post, write that “Comrade Kostin,” real name Valery Kostikov, “belongs to the KGB’s Thirteenth Department for assassinations abroad.”
Actually, no. That Kostin/Kostakov link to the Thirteenth Department is a lie the CIA’s James Jesus Angleton told to J. Edgar Hoover. It’s been previously debunked, but apparently won’t die. It sells too many books.
Speaking of books, Jefferson Morley’s Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA puts Operation Dragon in quite an interesting light.
Winston Scott was the long-time CIA station chief in Mexico City in 1963. Author Morley worked on the book with Scott’s son Michael. Here’s the short version: Morley and Scott fils discovered plenty of evidence that James Jesus Angleton and David Atlee Phillips were running an operation in Mexico City, bypassing Scott, the station chief.
In the book’s afterword, Morley quotes Angleton saying, of the assassination, “A mansion has many rooms and there were many things going on.…I am not privy to who struck John.” David Atlee Phillips—a prime suspect for many assassination researchers—is quoted saying, “My final take on the assassination is that there was a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers.”
To all of which we can only add, that’s life for you—just one limited hangout after another.
Approximately How Doomed Are We?
We humans had some bracing climate news this fortnight. Species which can’t read were spared, of course.
On Monday, Gizmodo’s Molly Taft reported on the disturbing results of a subtle new study.
It has long been understood that fresh water streaming from the Greenland ice sheet into the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current [AMOC] has the effect of slowing down the Gulf Stream. This has been understood for so long that Roland Emmerich made a ridiculous Hollywood blockbuster extrapolating on that premise back in 2004.
Taft points to a study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—so, real journal, real scientists—which summarizes its findings thusly:
“Ongoing greenhouse gas emissions put elements of the Earth system at risk for crossing critical thresholds (tipping points), leading to abrupt irreversible climate change. … Here we show that increasing rates of change of ice melt can induce a collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation in a global ocean model, while no critical threshold in ice melt is crossed and slower increases to the same level of ice melt do not induce tipping. Moreover, the chaotic dynamics of the climate make such a collapse hard to predict. This shows that the safe operating space of the Earth system might be smaller than previously thought.”
In short, people have been primarily concerned about the volume of fresh water being added. It looks like the speed at which it’s being added matters, too—and maybe more.
So, that’s the rather vague, abstract bad news. What else is going on at the Doomsday Desk?
Michael Mann, whose “hockey stick graph” caused the right wingers to flip their wigs, posted a Twitter thread about AMOC on Thursday. He cites another new study published in Nature GeoScience which has found that:
“(AMOC)…redistributes heat on our planet and has a major impact on climate. Here, we compare a variety of published proxy records to reconstruct the evolution of the AMOC since about AD 400. A fairly consistent picture of the AMOC emerges: after a long and relatively stable period, there was an initial weakening starting in the nineteenth century, followed by a second, more rapid, decline in the mid-twentieth century, leading to the weakest state of the AMOC occurring in recent decades.”
Is it too late to become illiterate?
Free State Reject Gets Tough Sentence
We don’t often see fit to run press releases from the U.S. Attorney, but this came through on Wednesday….
“CONCORD—Christopher C. Cantwell, 40, of Keene, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after being convicted of extortion and threat charges by a federal jury in September, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.”
Yes, this would be Christopher Cantwell, the famous “Crying Nazi.” The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small.
“During four days of trial testimony, the jury was presented with evidence that Cantwell maintained an active online presence, including operating a website and an internet call-in program. Evidence at trial showed that Cantwell believed that members of an online group called the ‘Bowl Patrol’ had been harassing him online….”
Sadly, the work product of those wheels tends to be rather dull, too. Let’s cut to the chase.
Cantwell earned the name “Crying Nazi” in August, 2017, after the deadly Charlottesville, N.C. “Unite the Right” rally. He told Vice News that day that the murder of Heather Heyer was “more than justified,” but cried as he filmed a video of himself whining about his own legal problems. He also described, during the same video, making a desperate call for advice to a Keene police officer—a rather odd move for a self-described libertarian.
Perhaps it was that lack of commitment to principle which caused him to get kicked out of the Free State Project in 2012.
“Cantwell was convicted of one count of transmitting extortionate communications and one count of threatening to injure property or reputation,” the U.S. Attorney continued. “The jury found Cantwell not guilty of cyberstalking. Cantwell has been in custody since his arrest on January 23, 2020.”
The worst thing about that press release is that it missed the best part altogether. Hilary Sargent has that covered, though. She has been following the Cantwell saga at Nick R. Martin’s TheInformant.news.
“The ‘Crying Nazi’ cried during the hearing before U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro issued the sentence at an in-person hearing this morning in Concord, New Hampshire.”
Of course he did. He also snitched on a whole mess of other Nazis, which ought to make his next 41 months…interesting.
It took Chase Winovich about one day to find a rental apartment in Portsmouth. It didn’t take much effort, either. He just went on Twitter and declared his love for the town. People went nuts trying to help. Apparently when you play defensive end for the New England Patriots, everyone wants to be your friend. To get similarly rapid results, less-celebrated people must generally resort to offering huge wads of cash. People new to the area must first overcome a case of sticker shock, though. Who would’a thunk this mini-mansion would be priced at $1,800,000? It is, though—no foolin’.
“I Was A Slave, Even Here in New Hampshire”
The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire [BHTNH] has a challenging mission: reveal Black history that never was taught to a state whose citizens are 93 percent white.
Its latest presentation, “‘I was a slave, even here in New Hampshire’: The Concord Black Heritage Tour,” shows how well that can be done.
The 45-minute video presents sites and notable African Americans from Concord’s founding until recent times. It tells the story of the first meeting of the legislature in the new capital in 1782, at the Rev. Timothy Walker’s house and warehouse, where Governor, Governor’s Council, and legislature, were served by Prince, Violet, and Luce, enslaved in his household.
It includes stories of enslavement, emancipation, the underground railroad, abolitionism, and the visits of Frederick Douglass. In more recent times, the tour tells the story of renowned African American illustrator, Mel Bolden, and concludes with an interview with Sen. Melanie Levesque. The tour is part of BHTNH’s mission to expand statewide, and the video will be a resource for teachers and for community learning and discussion.
BHTNH board member, tour co-host and writer Sen. David Watters remarked, “African American history is New Hampshire history, and this is especially true in the capital city, since actions by the legislature determined the course of racial relations from the beginning.”
BHTNH Director JerriAnne Boggis said, “By reintroducing these stories of New Hampshire’s early Black citizens, we create a space for dialogues around race, diversity, and inclusion. These corrective narratives make it possible to decrease barriers of misunderstanding and decrease people’s racial anxiety.”
The video can be accessed now at https://youtu.be/WhNu6mWn4xI. Soon there will be a guide to resources to accompany the video.
The Flag Police were minding their own business—well, they were lurking on Twitter—and came across this shocking photo of a torn, tattered, ripped, and fouled flag, flying in blatant violation of 4 U.S.C. § 8, Respect for the Flag. It was posted by The Scent Guru [@Scentguru], and accompanied by this message: “When I was a kid, I was taught our flag had to be taken down & folded at the end of the day. On 2/23/20, I saw this torn & tired flag on a town property—for me, it was a symbol of how we were as a nation. I complained to the town & it was replaced. #LeadershipMatters #OurFlag.” Intrigued, naturally, the Flag Police made inquiries—and found a new friend. See “Meet The Scent Guru,” below.
Meet Ruth, The Scent Guru
Acting on behalf of the Flag Police, we requested permission from @Scentguru to reproduce the photo at left. Permission was promptly granted, and, what’s more, our faith in humanity is partially restored. @Scentguru wrote back:
“My name is Ruth Sutcliffe, and I live in Greenwich, Conn. I am a proud American with a lineage that goes back to the Revolutionary War (I’m a descendant of Miles Standish). When I was a child we were taught to take the flag in and fold it at the end of the day. (And remember the time when wearing or displaying the flag in the wrong way would create a scandal?)
“My ancestors fought for freedom of religion, speech and inclusion, so this past year has been terribly upsetting for me. When I saw this flag every day I took my walk, it just made me very sad. I contacted the Parks and Recreation Department more than once, and even offered them a flag we have in our house that is still folded in its box. The flag was change a few weeks later.
“I am a scent designer, and after a long career developing fragrance for all kinds of end-uses, from soaps and detergents to celebrity perfumes, I decided to develop Essential Awakenings® Smell & Memory kits for seniors living with dementia and MindScent® a multi-sensory kit for children with development and speech communication impairments such as autism.
“Since COVID-19 I am now selling my kits for Smell Training to people who have anosmia from the virus or other illnesses.
“With Kind Regards,
Working with the vexillological arm of the law enforcement community has always been rewarding, but meeting Ruth has been special. Readers, here is her URL: https://thescentgurugroup.com.
Pining for the Newsprint, 265/12
Once again we devote this space to a brief meditation on returning to our former physical presence on plain old newsprint.
Normally this practice is both soothing and envigorating. The way things have been going lately, though, we have to wonder: will there still be a Post Office to mail them?
We have been relying on the U.S. Post Office and its successors to deliver our newspaper to subscribers since Benjamin Franklin was still Postmaster and all those pretty French girls were just a twinkle in his roguish eye. Ol’ Ben has now had 74 successors. Never has there been one half so truculent as Louis DeJoy.
DeJoy has always seemed familiar, in a queasy-making kind of way. Today we realized why: he reminds us of M. Emmet Walsh playing Lorren Visser, in the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple—all that’s lacking is the charm.