WILL PARRISH is due in Mendocino County Superior Court Thursday morning where, it appears, an announcement will be made that his case has been settled.
PARRISH was arrested last year after strapping himself to CalTrans equipment at the Willits Bypass project for 11 days to protest the destructive six-mile swathe CalTrans is cutting through Little Lake Valley east of Highway 101. His trial was set to begin Monday.
PARRISH and his legal team will hold a press conference following Parrish's 10:30 a.m. court hearing "to announce results of discussions between Mendocino County DA" and 32-year-old journalist. He is expected to appear with his attorney, Omar Figueroa, and Save Our Little Lake Valley representative Rosamond Crowder.
PARRISH had faced a possible eight-year sentence and $500,000 in restitution fines to Caltrans. We understand the deal to settle will require Parrish to do 100 days of community service and pay a small fine. No jail time will be imposed.
PARRISH WILL PLEAD guilty to two misdemeanor charges of "entering or remaining on property without the written permission of the owner or party in legal control of it." The judgment would be deferred for the two-year term of the agreement, which would also require Parrish to stay away from the bypass project "except for areas where the public is lawfully allowed to gather, and to not interfere with any equipment, agents or property having to do with the project, regardless of its location." The two misdemeanors would be converted to infractions at the end of the two years if Parrish follows those terms.
"From the beginning, the District Attorney's Office has attempted to allow free speech while minimizing the cost to the taxpayers by filing infractions," Mendocino County District Attorney's Office spokesman Mike Geniella said Wednesday.
GENIELLA said the DA's office had initially filed infractions against Parrish, not the misdemeanor charges he now faces. (Well, kind of. In fact, when Parrish rejected the infractions offer DA Eyster piled on a threat of a half million in fines and lots of jail time.)
THURSDAY'S hearing will be held in Judge Behnke's courtroom at 10:30 a.m.
THE LETTER to The Willits News from Susan Ross of Brooktrails featured in the letters section of the website is an accurate picture of both contemporary Willits and Ukiah, but the two towns — Jon Carroll in this morning's Chronicle describes Ukiah as “tired” — are the way they are because both were abandoned years ago by their money people. Right up until the middle 1950s, both towns' bourgeoisie cared about what their towns looked like, how they functioned. Then that civic spirit or whatever you want to call it was lost, and both places simply became places where you went every day to make some money, and both towns became a squalid six miles of unplanned, ragtag commerce, the kinds of places one dreaded to visit and hurried away from as soon as the necessary visit was concluded. Neither town is poor. There's lots of money in both places. What's missing is any interest by that money in reintroducing civic coherence. And we're into a third generation of people who never knew a time when the places they live were anything but ugly.
ON THE SUBJECT of Willits visuals, unlike Cloverdale, which really was improved by its bypass, Willits won't be much improved because the Willits Bypass will not have a Highway 20 on- and off-ramp, meaning large numbers of vehicles will still have to go more than halfway through town to get to and from Fort Bragg.
WILLITS also has the architectural gift that keeps on giving, a gift of our state court apparatus, the monstrous and now abandoned so-called justice center. It sits in the middle of Willits like a giant, malignant toad. That thing turned out not to be even structurally sound but who stood in its way? Our Superior Court is poised to impose another such monstrosity on Ukiah. Whatever a powerful entity wants to do to Willits or Ukiah, it just goes ahead and does it.
CALTRANS says the Willits Bypass project used 4 million gallons of water last year for dust control and compaction, much of which came from a few local wells supplemented by treated wastewater from the City of Willits. This coming season, water usage for the project could be higher, as the season will be longer and cement requires much larger amounts of water. This information should be subject to public review. It’s “our water, our survival.” Some questioned the wisdom of using City “wastewater” — if sprayed on fields it recharges the underground aquifer, whereas used on the freeway, it mostly evaporates. And over-use of well water may impact other valley wells (including the City’s). Another issue with draw-down of wells is subsidence. In the San Joaquin Valley, some places have collapsed by 30 feet or more. A related concern was the impact of the 55,000 wick-drains installed in the wetlands on recharge of the valley’s underground aquifer as well their effect on nearby wells. A question was also raised about whether toxics may be leaching from fill dirt into the aquifer and streams. A final issue regarding the bypass project was whether the extensive use of Main St. for heavy trucks carrying fill through town may have caused damage to underground water mains. Mr. Melluish said mains are about 4 feet deep and are designed to withstand that kind of heavy traffic. The City has recently upgraded most of the old mains and has plans to replace the section north of Commercial to Casteel in the coming year. With an aging water system, however, underground leaks are a challenge – both in the City and Brooktrails. (Save Our Little Lake Valley)
SHERIFF ALLMAN told the Supervisors Tuesday he'll make pot-growing water thieves a priority this year. Sure, good. Get 'em, Sheriff. But what about the County's non-pot growing water thieves? Walk any stream in the County and you'll find everyone from people stealing water for pot gardens and grapes to individual back country households stealing water for their annual baths. And given that there might not be any water to steal by next fall if the drought continues, the Sheriff might be too busy breaking up neighborhood fights over water to get around to water diverters. It's easy to demonize a generally unpopular, and often largely mythical group like pot growers as the primary water villains, but they are far from the only people stealing water in Mendocino County.
SARGE, IT'S BEAUTIFUL OUT THERE - TOO BEAUTIFUL
by Jon Carroll
Am just back from Boonville in the heart of the Anderson Valley, inland from Mendocino and outland (if that's a word) from Cloverdale. The Anderson Valley is small and beautiful, almost a hidden treasure, although a lot of people know about it.
The town has some nightlife. There's the Boonville Hotel with its famous garden, a couple of roadside sip-and-go places, and (among other restaurants) Lauren's, where the locals go to eat and, the night I was there at least, play music for each other.
We were staying with friends, and the friends knew a lot of people at Lauren's, and everybody was talking about the drought. It's real right now in Boonville - the rivers are down, wells are drying up. Threats of water rationing seem ominous indeed if you're in the agriculture business.
Meanwhile, of course, the weather was beautiful, unseasonably warm but quite comfortable. We walked the dry, brittle earth above the town and looked at the brown hills on all sides. By this time of year, the hills should have started greening out.
But no - brown everywhere, and a fair number of sickly trees as the water table falls.
For us in the city, the drought is entirely a theoretical construct at this point, but it will become actual soon enough. Fewer showers! Shorter showers! Shower together!
And let your lawn die. I remember during the big drought in the middle '70s, when how well you were performing your civic duty was measured by how parched your gardens were. We ripped out our lawn a while ago, using ground cover instead, so we're ahead of the curve on that one.
Or maybe we're so far behind that the curve has caught up with us. That possibility can't be overlooked.
The suspicion we all have is that this is just the mildest of dress rehearsals for the climate conditions that will dominate the rest of our lives. Not that there won't be rainy years, there will, but they will come more infrequently. Certain assumptions about water use will have to be re-examined.
California is, alas, built on those assumptions. We're just going to keep growing and put in more water hookups in those furthest suburbs until the grid becomes stretched to the point where even a minor change in the assumptions is going to mean major reshuffling.
We're already beginning. The governor is intervening. Water will be moved by fiat for the greater good. Probably better to manage it than to let the free market take over. What if I couldn't afford drinking water? What if you couldn't? But still - what if the state decides you don't need all that water you've been using, and you've been conserving already, poor dear? What then?
Boonville boasts the Anderson Valley Advertiser, “America's Last Newspaper“ (its motto is “Peace to the Cottages; War on the Palaces” - this from a paper beloved by many in the palaces), which had a good article about the drought in last week's issue.
People in Mendocino are already paying for extra water deliveries. Lake Mendocino is low and getting lower. (Nicasio Reservoir, down near Point Reyes, is looking a little threadbare these days too). If this keeps up, the livelihood of the town is threatened.
Of course, if this really keeps up, all our livelihoods are threatened. We may have some darned hot summers too, and that's always something to make a Bay Area resident complain.
Still, drought or no, it was nice to be in the country again. Each night before the moon came up, we'd go outside and stare at the sky. Orion! Good to see you again. You haven't aged a day. And Cassiopeia! The seven sisters. Look, there's Sirius, probably.
Later, walking on the moonwashed roads at night, we saw bone-white landscapes shimmering below us. There was always the smell of oak, and the unmistakable pungent odor of bay laurel. I can get darned sentimental about vistas.
Earlier, we had made a day trip to Ukiah because our friends had some business there - brief business, as it turned out. We walked around the town, made a few purchases at the bookstore. The town does not look that happy, but there are signs of life.
One such hopeful sign is Oco Time, an amazingly good Japanese restaurant in the heart of downtown Ukiah. Oco is also the name of a foodstuff, a Japanese pancake filled with noodles and other goodies, with a lovely sauce on top. It seemed like Japanese street food, with all the savory deliciousness that implies.
So if you're ever in Ukiah, or driving by, there's an oasis for you. Open for lunch and dinner most days. The restaurant comes with a complicated cosmology, with much talk of balancing forces and achieving tranquillity, and that makes the menu an absolutely zany adventure. Persevere - it's worth it.
The food at Lauren's is homey and yummy, and Lauren is friendly too.
She was a good deal frightened by this very sudden change, but she felt there was no time to be lost, as she was shrinking.
(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle.)
SCAPEGOATS FOR EVERYTHING
Editor and Coast residents,
Earlier this week I attended a public meeting where “the homeless people” were scapegoated for everything from littering to robbery to rape. It was disgusting to hear people berating the City for allowing such criminality, and ascribing it all to “those homeless people". This has become the Bogeyman of our time. “If you do this, the Bogeyman will get you, if you do that, the bogeyman will get your little granddaughter.” It is used as an excuse and fearmongering tactic for innumerable self-serving pronouncements. It's disgusting depersonalization of people who generally are just not wealthy enough to buy a place to live. Any why? Because there are not enough good jobs to go around, and there probably won't be any time soon.
Of course there are some bad apples, but that is true of every population. Having a home helps, ridicule does not.
The point is, what do we do about the homelessness that is growing by leaps and bounds in the land of the free?
1. the standard now is: make it illegal to sit, stand, sleep, loiter on any private property, OR ANY PUBLIC PLACE.
In other words: if you're homeless, you can't EXIST anywhere, just die.
2. there is a growing awareness that this is not just a problem of deadbeats, but of structural elimination of jobs, especially unskilled jobs now, but eventually many jobs will be done by done by computers or robots. Simple jobs are not coming back, there will never again be jobs for everyone.
3. Some municipalities will have to take the bull by the horns and FIND A WAY to house many poor people, whether or not they are gainfully employed. Take a look at the article below for a suggestion by the state of Utah, not a weepy liberal state by any means.
”Utah is Ending Homelessness by Giving People Homes
by Terrance Heath
In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78%, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015.
How did Utah accomplish this? Simple. Utah solved homelessness by giving people homes. In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of ER visits and jail says for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah’s Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but they keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah’s.”
It sounds like Utah borrowed a page from Homes Not Handcuffs, the 2009 report by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless. Using a 2004 survey and anecdotal evidence from activists, the report concluded that permanent housing for the homeless is cheaper than criminalization. Housing is not only more human, it’s economical.
This happened in a Republican state! Republicans in Congress would probably have required the homeless to take a drug test before getting an apartment, denied apartments to homeless people with criminal records, and evicted those who failed to become self-sufficient after five years or so. But Utah’s results show that even conservative states can solve problems like homelessness with decidedly progressive solutions.
Rixanne Wehren, Elk
JACK LONDON TO HIS 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, FEBRUARY 1914:
“All my life has been marked by what, in lack of any other term, I must call 'disgust.' When I grow or disinterested in anything, I experience a disgust which settles for me that thing forever. I turn the page down there and then. When a colt on the ranch, early in its training, shows that it is a kicker or a bucker or a bolter or a balker, I try patiently and for a long time to remove, by my training, such deleterious traits; and then at the end of a long time if I find that these vicious traits continue, suddenly there comes to me a disgust, and I say Let the colt go. Kill it, sell it, give it away. So far as I am concerned I am finished with the colt. Years ago I warned your mother that if I were denied the opportunity of forming you, sooner or later I would develop a disgust, and that I would turn down the page. If you should be dying, and should ask for me at your bedside, I should surely come; on the other hand, if I were dying, I should not care to have you at my bedside. A ruined colt is a ruined colt, and I do not like ruined colts.”
JACK LONDON'S 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, JOAN, WROTE YEARS LATER:
“Even today, rereading his letter of February 24th, 1914, I am appalled by the relentless, calculating cruelty with which he wrote to me, his daughter, just turned thirteen. I rejected his rejection simply because I could not possibly accept it. Little by little, with the initiative on my side for each cautious easing of the tension, but with its immediate acceptance by Daddy, an affectionate correspondence was resumed. And yet, Daddy was different. Except on rare occasions, his old exuberance was gone. Fewer letters were exchanged than before, but they were loving letters, and when we were together, he expressed his love for us and his interest in what interested us in ways I shall never forget.”
THE ABOVE comes from a new London biography by Earle Labor published by Farrer, Straus and Giroux, and a highly recommended ava read.
MERCY! The Last Standing Boyfighter Submits to McGuire
by Hank Sims
Campaign over. Press release from Eric Lucan, former candidate for State Senate:
It has been an honor to stand as a State Senate candidate for the North Bay and North Coast. There is no district like ours in the state, and the conversations I’ve had with voters and community leaders have informed and inspired me.
I said at the outset that my service on the Novato City Council, and now as Mayor, would come first during the campaign – and I have kept that commitment.
Additionally, I have continued to work fulltime and commute daily. My career and position in business has given me an important perspective outside of politics, but the balancing act has become difficult. With increasing pressures on my time, I found it was possible to run a good campaign, but not the great campaign that this large district deserves and requires.
Therefore, I am bringing my campaign to a close. I want to extend an enormous thanks to those who supported me as endorsers, volunteers and contributors. More than 160 of you donated to the campaign in just a few months. I’m very grateful and proud of what we did together.
I also want to announce my endorsement for Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire. Over the last several months, I have been impressed with Mike’s track record, energy and his knowledge of issues in Marin County and through out this beautiful senate district. Even as we competed in the campaign, Mike was always gracious and open. We will be in good hands with Mike as our state senator. Please take a moment to visit his website, www.MikeMcGuireForSenate.com, and join me in supporting Mike’s campaign for State Senate.
Looking forward, there are many important issues to tackle this year on behalf of our North Bay communities. I’m excited and privileged to continue my service as Novato Mayor as you and I work together to strengthen our communities.
Once again, I’d like to express my gratitude for your continued support. It means a lot.
SMOKING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
by Jeff Costello
Night out at a free casino hotel room (long story). A feature of the trip was the new signs in the hotel, one in the bathroom and one at the smoking patio. I smoke tobacco and find the smell of pot smoke as unpleasant as some find cigarette or cigar smoke.
Neither can come close to diesel exhaust, but people these days do spend a lot of time and energy trying the restrict the behavior of others. Try and count the ways. Cigarette smokers have become “bad” people, pure and simple. In a perverted way I kind of relish this PC excess. At designated public smoking areas I feel at home with my fellow pariahs.
Marijuana tourism, by the way, is happening in Colorado, to the point where the Denver airport now has a pot dump station. Departing passengers are reminded that weed is still illegal back where they’re going, and smart fliers will ditch their stuff before boarding. I don’t know who thought of that one, but at $400/oz, someone has a pretty good scam going.
We’ve gone from “Hey, do you know where I can score some?” to four marijuana stores on a single block on S. Broadway in Denver. You can see them all from one spot on the street. In the next four blocks I counted at least nine more. A smoker can at least hope that supply-and-demand economics might reduce the price. Of course he can also entertain the Reaganesque fantasy of trickle-down economics. Or believe that “a rising tide floats all boats,” which ignores the fact that not everyone has a boat. But I suspect that pot is not the drug of choice for people on the bottom rungs of the social ladder.
Lines outside some Denver pot stores are normal now, and the contradictions between that and the dominant culture here, well… as I’ve said before, everything is backwards, topsy-turvy now. Visit the northeast corner of Colorado, with its talk of secession and its fanaticism for guns, its equation of freedom, patriotism, even self-respect, with firearms. Lots of long hair on men, too. Seems to me these people hate the government for all the wrong reasons. They may smoke marijuana, I don’t know. Weed is no longer a cultural indicator of anything.
And if these redneck types do smoke, it sure hasn’t made them happy or groovy or mellow. In fact, these self-proclaimed “real” Americans are often just plain mean bastards. These are the people who, as the cliche goes, “vote against their own interests” in frustrated anger at gays, Mexicans and blacks, “welfare bums,” and the rest of the bogeymen right-wing mouths keep throwing in their faces. At a gas station/truck stop on I-25, my small car was dwarfed by oversized pickup trucks festooned with flag decals and pro-gun bumperstickers. For the first time since I lived in Manhattan in the late 60’s, I understood that here, it was best to avoid eye contact. A very strange feeling.
It has been pointed out that the 2014 Superbowl will be between teams from the two states with legalized “recreational” marijuana. Given the violent and militaristic nature of football, this might have been ironic not long ago. Not any more.
THERE IS A SHORTAGE of water in Anderson Valley this year, but there is no shortage of entertainment. On Saturday, February 15, the evening following Valentine’s Day, Rene Auberjonois and Howard Hesseman will be performing at the Grange. Impress your sweetheart by wining and dinning on Friday and enjoying professional entertainment on Saturday. The show is a benefit for the A. V. Education Foundation. Tickets are available at All That Good Stuff, Laughing Dog Bookstore, Lemons Market and Lauren’s, as well as at the door. Come at 7:00 for snacks, drinks and a chance to meet and greet the actors. The curtain goes up at 8:00. Don’t miss this chance to see these gifted actors perform here again. (— Dick Browning)
AFTER A DECADE spent busting meth and heroin dealers, high-ranking Drug Enforcement Administration official Patrick Moen has gone over to the dark side.
In November, the former federal employee quit his post as supervisory special agent in Oregon to take a job as managing director of compliance and senior counsel for Privateer Holdings – a Seattle-based marijuana investment firm.
Moen, 36, who says he relishes getting in on the ground floor of a burgeoning marijuana industry he was once sworn to annihilate, has added his name to a small but growing list of individuals with unlikely backgrounds who have joined or thrown their support behind state-sanctioned marijuana enterprises.
In Oregon, another former Portland-based DEA agent, Paul Schmidt, who retired from the agency in 2010, recently set up shop as a consultant to medical cannabis businesses after working as a state inspector of medical pot dispensaries in Colorado.
Last year, former Mexican president Vicente Fox visited Seattle to throw his support behind a pot firm fronted by former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively. The Seattle police department is weighing whether to allow officers to moonlight as security guards at pot shops slated to open later this year.
Moen, whose jump has been lambasted by his former boss at the DEA, said that even as his profile within the agency rose, he nursed a growing sense that the marijuana cases he worked, and the laws underpinning them, were wrongheaded.
Moen says he is working to foster a reputable pot industry that will hasten an end to the drug's prohibition and allow the DEA to sharpen its focus on drugs that are truly harmful.
‘I saw this as an amazing opportunity to be a part of the team that's helping to create this industry,’ Moen told Reuters. ‘I don't really feel like it's the other side.’
While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, some 20 states and Washington, D.C., allow for its medical use. In 2012, voters in Washington state and Colorado became the first to legalize adult recreational use of the drug.
Colorado and Washington state have fed the momentum for pot liberalization efforts elsewhere, with a legalization measure likely to go before Alaska voters in August and activists in Oregon collecting signatures to get a similar initiative on that state's November ballot.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced in August it wouldn't interfere with state efforts to regulate and tax marijuana provided they're able to meet a set of requirements that include keeping it away from children and restricting its flow into other states.
Over the summer, Moen arranged to meet Privateer Chief Executive Officer Brendan Kennedy in a Portland coffee shop, where he gave Kennedy his DEA business card before passing him an envelope.
Kennedy feared it contained a subpoena but was relieved to instead find enclosed a copy of Moen's resume, the CEO said.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Moen began his career in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff with the Erie County Sheriff's Office while working on his Bachelor's degree in political science an criminal justice.
He had spent four years serving as a police officer in Amherst, New York, before enrolling in University of Connecticut School of Law.
In 2003, Moen was recruited as a DEA agent based out of New York, where he remained for eight years before he was promoted to a supervisory position in Oregon. That is his career with the federal drug enforcement agency came to an end last year.
Colorado this month allowed stores to begin selling weed, a step that is months away in Washington state. These developments, coupled with Moen's own evolving views, made a once unfathomable career shift a possibility, he said.
Among his current assignments, Moen is helping Privateer avoid legal pitfalls as it pushes into the cultivation of medical weed in Canada - a significant leap for a firm that has until recently invested solely in enterprises on the fringes of the marijuana trade.
The pay and benefits of his new job are ‘close to a wash’ with his previous position, Moen says, but include stock options in a company aiming to become an industry cornerstone.
Moen's value to Privateer likely will come in guiding the company on how to steer clear of activities that raise red flags with federal authorities, said Hilary Bricken, a Seattle-based marijuana business lawyer.
‘It's extremely ironic,’ she said. ‘You go from cracking skulls to supporting the very effort that you once vowed to entirely destroy.’
Seattle-based DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes, the top-ranking DEA official in the Pacific Northwest, called Moen's career change an act of abandonment.
‘It is disappointing when law enforcement officers, sworn to uphold the laws of the United States with honor, courage and integrity, abandon their commitment to work in an industry involved in trafficking marijuana,’ Barnes told Reuters in a statement.
Underscoring the divide between the DEA and an emerging pot industry sanctioned by states, the agency's chief of operations, James Capra, on Wednesday denounced the movement toward ending pot prohibition at a U.S. Senate hearing as ‘reckless and irresponsible.’
But Moen said not all his former colleagues have reacted negatively to his move.
‘I've gotten a lot of support from former colleagues,’ Moen said. ‘I wasn't sure how guys were going to react and it's been really great.
ROBERT M. GATES -- WAR IS A BUSINESS AND BUSINESS IS GOOD
"All About Money,” on KZYX returns to the air on Friday, January 24, 2014, at 9 a.m., Pacific Time, with another show in our series, “War is a Business, and Business Is Good.” We'll give listeners new insights and information about Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Gates's new memoir, “Duty", is controversial, at best.
Our guests are Melvin Goodman and Robert Parry. We are also trying to get Daniel Ellsberg to call into the show. (We'll know soon.)
Our broadcasts may be heard at 88.1, 90.7, and 91.5 FM in the Counties of Mendocino, Humboldt, Lake, and Sonoma in northern California.
We also stream live from the web at www.kzyx.org
Shows may also be archived at the KZYX website and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX).
Robert Gates was the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Gates also served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council. Under President George H. W. Bush, Gates was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
In the opinion of his critics, Gates is the guy who is responsible for the decline and fall of the CIA. It used to be that intelligence work was an honorable profession, like the military. Spies and soldiers used to be heroes. They fought real enemies in real wars, like the Nazis in WWII. They served our country.
But ever since Gates started to manipulate, and even falsify, intelligence to meet the political objectives of the White House, starting with the Iran-Contra Scandal during the Reagan Administration, and leading up to the big lie of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq during the Bush Administration, the intelligence community has been mistrusted. The military played along with the gag, and now, the military, too, is similarly mistrusted.
The losers from all the lies? The United States.
The only winners from all the lies? You guessed it. The defense industry. The intelligence industry.
More than a decade after 9/11, the United States still fights the exorbitantly expensive, over-hyped, often make-believe, so-called “war on terror,” which did not start, but which wildly escalated on 9/11. It is a war without end. It is a war declared on a phantom and ubiquitous enemy. Our enemy is nowhere and everywhere.
Bin Laden is dead, yet we continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the war on terror.
We fight this war, because war is the engine of the American economy. It has been that way ever since President Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial-congressional complex in his last speech from the White House in January, 1961.
War is a business, and business is good.
On Friday's show we'll take a look at are particularly interested in the the intelligence industry's budget -- particularly contractors to whom much intelligence work is outsourced. We are interested in knowing what the American people may, or may not, be getting for all that money.
The United States intelligence budget , of course, comprises all the funding for the 16 agencies of the United States Intelligence Community. These agencies and other programs fit into one of the intelligence budget’s two components, the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). As with other parts of the federal budget, the US intelligence budget runs according to the Fiscal Year (FY), not the calendar year. Before government finances are spent on intelligence, the funds must first be authorized and appropriated by committees in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
Pursuant to a suggestion by 9/11 Commission, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released the top line amount given to the NIP for fiscal year 2009 as $49.8 billion. In FY2010, the NIP budget was $53.1 billion and the MIP budget $27 billion, amounting to a total of $80 billion.
As a footnote, in 2007, it was revealed that 70% of the intelligence budget went to defense contracting companies. A few years ago on our show, we had Tim Shorrock who confirmed these outsourcing numbers, as did another guest, Ray McGovern.
One can only guess what the escalation in budgets were for FY2011, FY2012, and FY2013. That's where we need to talk to our guests, Melvin Goodman and Robert Parry.
Back to Gates -- Gates, as CIA director, along with Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was part of the team who conjured up the lie of “weapons of mass delusion". This lie led us into two unwinnable wars in Iraq, and it led us into a third unwinnable war in Afghanistan. These three wars both lost us friends among the few allies we had in Europe and made us lots of new enemies in the Islamic world.
Viewed as an “army of occupation", the presence of American military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated a whole new generation of Islamic insurgents to fight us, and fight to the death with a suicidal fanaticism.
All of these blunders were based on a lie. We now know there never were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Gates, Cheney, and Rumsfeld always knew the truth. But President Bush needed a pretext for war, and he got it up with Gates leading the way.
Bush needed a lie to keep the engine of war humming.
So, is Robert Gates really the wise, “forthright, impassioned” policy insider, as one New York Times book reviewer tells its readers, and is Gates's new book “Duty” really one of the “best Washington memoirs,” as another New York Times book reviewer claims?
The Economist hails Gates's book as “incendiary” in his comments about the leaders he worked with, including Bush. The Economist goes on to say that Gates was full of “almost- debilitating grief” over the men and women who died under his watch. Gates even said in a recent interview on CNN that he wanted to be buried in Section 60 of Arlington Cemetery, where many of the Americans who die in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried.
Sentimental baloney? I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but who knows with Bob Gates. The truth is a slippery thing.
If Gates felt anything -- anything at all -- for the thousands of American soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, then why did he lie about weapons of mass destruction in the first place? Why did he needlessly send our soldiers into harm's way in Iraq? And what about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians who were also killed and wounded?
And why lie, too, that these wars were ever winnable?
It begs the question: Is Gates the ultimate Washington policy hypocrite?
A professional liar?
A true public servant?
Is Gates, the adviser to presidents and defense secretaries, before becoming defense secretary himself, really the main culprit in the sad, sad scenario of sending Americans into three tragic wars, knowing fully the futility of the war effort, and knowing fully the falsehood of the intelligence that led us into the first war?
Maybe more lies.
Even before Iraq and Afghanistan, Gates may have lied.
In his book, Gates says he was taken by surprise by the fall of the Soviet Union. He either lied, or else was quite witless with data, about the fall of the Soviet Union.
Again, one wonders why? Did Gates have a hidden agenda? What was it? Was his real agenda in being so clueless about the fall of the Soviet Union really to perpetuate the Cold War and, in so doing, support his buddies in the trillion-dollar nuclear weapons industry.
And what may have been Gates's biggest lie?
In the opinion of many of his critics, probably Iran-Contra.
Gates says he was “surprised” by the Iran-Contra scandal. Yet, Gates may have personally orchestrated Iran-Contra during the Reagan Administration. Was he was the point man? The go-to guy?
Gates is, however, consistent about one thing: His advice to the White House was consistently what the President wanted to hear. Whatever Presidents wanted to hear, Gates would say it. It could be the truth. Or it could be half-lies. Or it could be outright lies. It probably didn't matter to Gates, as long as the President was happy.
It begs the question, why did Gates write his memoirs now? For revenge? Money? For confessing his own culpability and guilt over the sins of Iraq and Afghanistan? Or -- a real possibility -- narcissistic image-cleansing?
Joining me on January 24 at KZYX are my guests, Melvin Goodman and Robert Parry. Maybe Daniel Ellsberg will call in, too. They know the answers to these questions and more. They know how Bob Gates manipulated intelligence data to meet White House political objectives in “service” to his country. They know why eight presidents sought his so-called service.
They may know the extent of Gates's deadly lies.
They know the real Bob Gates.
Again, to his critics, Gates is a sycophant, A people-pleaser, if your “people” happen to be the military-industrial-congressional complex crowd. Gates is a pleaser of Presidents. He is a shameless hypocrite who can tell the worst lies -- lies that cost lives, many lives -- and Gates made a career of doing exactly that.
Those are Gates's critics speaking.
Will the real Bob Gates please stand up.
Meet him, on Friday, January 24, at 9 a.m., Pacific Time, at KZYX.
Melvin Goodman, director of the National Security Project at the Center for International Policy, was an analyst at the CIA for 24 years. His most recent book is National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. He just wrote the piece “Robert Gates’s Narcissistic 'Duty',” which states: “I have known Bob Gates for nearly 50 years, working with him for more than a decade; working for him for five years; and testifying against him before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1991… I have some warnings about the author as well as the leading lights of the mainstream media…who believe that Gates made major contributions to the national security policy of the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"There are several things that need to be understood regarding Gates's career at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, and the Department of Defense. First of all, Gates has been a sycophant in all his leadership positions, catering to the policy interests of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft at the NSC; William Casey at the CIA; and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
"Gates catered to the right-wing ideology of Bill Casey in the 1980s, playing a major role in the politicization of intelligence and dangerous crossing the line of policy advocacy in private memorandum to the CIA director. For the most part, Gates has been a windsock when it came to policy decisions and typically supported his masters. ...” [Goodman was also recently featured on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release “Debate on Disclosure as Petition Spotlights $600 Million Ties Binding Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post and the CIA."]
Robert Parry just wrote the piece “Robert Gates Double-Crosses Obama,” which states: “As Barack Obama is staggered by a back-stabbing memoir from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the president can’t say that some people didn’t warn him about the risk of bringing a political opportunist like Gates into his inner circle on national security.
”On Nov. 13, 2008, I posted a story at Consortiumnews.com entitled “The Danger of Keeping Robert Gates,” which said:
"If Obama does keep Gates on, the new president will be employing someone who embodies many of the worst elements of U.S. national security policy over the past three decades, including responsibility for what Obama himself has fingered as a chief concern, “politicized intelligence.”
"I cited a book by former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman, Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA, which identified Gates as the chief action officer for the Reagan administration’s drive to tailor intelligence reporting to fit White House political desires.
"But Gates’s nefarious roles in national security scandals went much deeper than that, despite his undeniable PR skills in shaping his image as a dedicated public servant who has earned Official Washington’s near-universal regard as a modern-day Wise Man.
“… it’s how Gates began his meteoric rise in the U.S. intelligence community during the Reagan years that has remained most cloaked in mystery. As a young CIA official in 1980, Gates was implicated in secret maneuvers to sabotage President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 U.S. hostages then held in Iran, a failure by Carter that doomed his reelection.”
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for the Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. He is founder of Consortiumnews.com and author most recently of America’s Stolen Narrative.
THE CHALLENGE to KZYX's FCC license spearheaded by KZYX Board member/programmer John Sakowicz has been picked up as an AP wire story and appears in today's San Jose Mercury News: