Thursday, 24 December 2009

Glimpses of America's Man-Made Disasters - Part 16

by Trowbridge H. Ford

Angus Mackenzie's developing a brain tumor in December 1992, and then dying on Friday, May 13, 1994 - whatever the cause of the cancer, and his possible overuse of cellphones looks increasingly unlikely - was a black period not only for the aggressive 44-year-old journalist but also for American democracy. During the period when he was dying, a hiatus was created in his research which his survivors were unable to properly revive when they belatedly added to the finished manuscript. They worked on the assumption that Mackenzie was particularly interested in firing the spies - what Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes called for in a January 26, 1992 article in the San Francisco Examiner/Chronicle as a way of allegedly getting rid of the CIA - when Mackrenzie essentially wanted transparency in the conduct of American government. DCI Robert Gates, in giving orders to Agency employees to make it more popular with the public, had "...made it plain that CIA 'openness' did not mean the lessening of secrecy." (Angus Mackenzie, Secrets: The CIA's War at Home, p. 197)

Now there is a clear distinction between protecting secrets, and stopping spies. While counterintelligence agents focus on the latter, it usually is for protecting some kind of vital information, though it can just be to prevent dangerous blowback from opponents or just to protect an agency from embarrassing disclosures. In this case, Gates was clearly protecting information, particularly of a scientific nature that Danny Stillman had discovered for the Agency in his visits to China and Russia during 1990-1, and Thomas Reed has written about in The Nuclear Express. The visits had apparently shown that neither of them were really that far advanced in nuclear capability but this information was cooked up for domestic political and public consumption so that Congress was panicked into funding far more than America's bloated military-industrial state could possibly consume, resulting, among many other things, in the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) building itself a grand new headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia with $310 million of allocated but unspent funds. Stillman officially claimed that "... Chinese weapons technology is on a par with that of the United States" (p. 356), and that his December 1991 visit to Russia turned out to be an unsuccessful attempt to mask its past and ongoing stealing of American nuclear technology. (pp.42-3)

The biggest cause of the change in focus from protecting secrets to catching spies was caused by the difficulties surrounding Bill Clinton's unexpected election as President in November 1992. America's covert government had written off the Governor of Arkansas as a likely replacement of George H. W. Bush, given Clinton's serious involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal, especially his making available the services of Mena's International Regional Airport to the Agency's Evergreen International Aviation, Southern Air Transport, Vortex Aircraft Sales and Leasing and other carriers, but was panicked when it happened as he had promised to end the Agency during the election campaign, not only for vote catching purposes but also to cover up his role in its operations. To head off the Agency's possible demise, Gates gave him an unprecedented personal briefing in Little Rock in September 1992 about what it was doing - something they both had a mutual interest in keeping covered up - and continued on a regular basis as the Presidential Daily Brief in Little Rock, once he was elected.

For more on the crisis, see these links:

The arrangement that Clinton and CIA's new DCI R. James Woolsey reached was that they would work mutually to clean up their acts with as little contact as possible, while leaving the NRO to stew in its own juice. The primary threats were Special Counsel Lawrence Walsh's continuing efforts to prosecute high Reagan officials, especially the National Security Council's Oliver North, and the possible fallout from Peter Dale Scott's and Jonathan Marshall's Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America which was based upon John Kerry's Senate Subsommittee Report on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations shortly after George Bush became President, and was published in 1991 by the University of California Press, the same university press which would publish Mackenzie's manuscript. Clinton was afraid that the prosecution of North would lead to his revealing all, especially the former Governor's role in the Agency's use of Mena - what led Walsh to back off from prosecuting him after others had been pardoned by Bush - what the President-elect perfunctorily criticized. Fortunately for Clinton, the Scott and Marshal book neither mentioned him nor Mena, and nothing new was said about then Deputy Director of Operation Gates's role in the whole process.

The biggest problem for the Clintons was keeping secret all the dealings they had had with the Agency during Iran-Contra - what kept them preoccuppied while considering more routine matters, especially appointments, explaining partially why it was done so ham-handedly. The first task was to get rid of Bureau Director William Sessions who was involved in knitting the FBI and CIA together at the top rather than catching turncoats at the bottom during the "decade of the spy."When Sessions began having his agents look into the Agency's relationship at the bottom with Banco Lavoro Nazionale where the Agency's Aldrich 'Rick' Ames had desposited $111,000 of unexplained money from a Swiss bank account, as Mark Riebling wrote in Wedge (p. 443), Sessions became a marked man (p. 425), and soon he was gone because of alleged ethics violations. While the Bureau's investigations of so-called Iraq-Gate hurt Bush at the polls, it was time to get rid of Sessions when it was reported his reduction of its counter intelligence capability had led to the continued spying by Ames for Soviets which the Brueau had finally started investigating when the real problem then was Hillary's dealings with weapons firms like Teledyne which had been supplying Saddam with cluster bombs from cutouts like Chile's Cardoen - what Gates had denied at his confirmation hearings under oath as DCI.

Hillary soon took over the White House Travel Office for fear that its official employees would get wind of its most questionable transactions, especially the many money-laundering trips to Switzerland and elsewhere by deputy White House counsel Vince Foster who had been dragged in to "accelerate the process". (James B. Stewart, Blood Sport, p. 260) As 'Travelgate' developed, Foster became increasingly in the eye of the storm, particularly thanks to the media's, especially The Wall Street Journal's, pursuit of him. The prospect of congressional hearings over the messy business seemed increasingly inevitable despite the hiring of counsel David Gergen to stem the hostile publicity. Soon the WSJ was requesting Forter's photograph, and when he refused to provide it, the newspaper filed a succesful Freedom of Informtion Act request for it. Foster was so stressed that he even cancelled his trip to Arkansas to receive its Bar Association's 1993 Outstanding Lawyer of the Year award.

He felt like he was in a hopeless situation that he could do nothing about. As soon as he heard Sessions had been fired - replaced by former Bureau eager-beaver Louis Freeh rather than Clinton old friend Richard Stearns to stem criticism that the White House was politicizing it - Foster committed suicide the next day in Fort Marcy Park.

While conspiracy theorists went wild over the death - thanks particularly to articles in The New York Times, and fumbling activities by the Bureau making it look like it might well have been murder - the White House not only encouraged such suspicions by unreliable claims, unexpected activities, and puzzling evasiveness but also took advantage of them. Of course, the prospect that everyone might believe that Foster did, in fact, commit suicide, was the last thing the Clintons wanted. Then when all kinds of claims were made about important witnesses of the suicide allegedly being silenced, Clinton critics - particularly former security chief Jerry Luther Parks who had been pressuring Foster and predicted his own murder after Foster killed himself; troublemaking lawyer Paul Wilcher who had been investigating activities at Mena and how it related to Iran-Contra; and nearly me who almost died several times the way Wilcher did - were taken care of, as I have explained in these articles:

Then the Agency complemented the process by getting rid of potential troublemakers, one way or another. On August 8, 1993, Freddie Woodruff, a long-time friend of the Ameses, was shot dead in the Republic of Georgia while he, the director of its intelligence service Eldar Guguladze, and two unidentified women were taking a sightseeing visit to Mount Kazbek. The Woodruffs had rented the Ameses' house on the Golf Course Island in Reston back in 1976 when Ames was transferred to NYC, and had remained close friends thereafter - what the Agency ignored when it wrote up an account of Rick's spying. (David Wise, Nightmover, p. 234) Woodruff was the CIA resident in Leningrad when the non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War occurred after the assassination of Olof Palme, and Woodruff knew more clearly than anyone else what was at stake - especially unexpected Soviet counterforce if the triggering had worked on Moscow - if the showdown had gone ahead. Woodruff could clearly have blown the Agency sky high it he had lived to testify in any trial. Woodruff's murder was written off by the Agency as merely a random act of violence.

To show that the Agency had Palme's unsolved assassination clearly on its mind, Viktor Gunnarsson, the most likely assassin of still unsolved Palme killing according to the Swedish public, was himself assassinated in North Carolina where he had sought refuge. His killing was certainly caused by at least two killers who managed somehow to remove the drugged, good-sized man from his apartment complex in Salisbury, and drive him, unconscious in the trunk of a car, 90 miles to Deep Gap where his body was disposed of - so well that it took six weeks for it finally to be found. Consequently, the plotters were obliged to murder the mother of Kay Weden, the leading suspect's former girl friend, former policeman L. C. Underwood, in the hope of making Gunnarsson's killing stick on him too. The successful prosecution was based on the assumption that if Underwood had killed Gunnarsson, then he might well have murdered Ms. Weden's mother, Mrs. Miller and the reverse. With hypothesizing like this, the state of North Carolina was able to incarcerate Underwood for life with no chance of parole.

For more on this, see this link:

With the Clinton administration's covert problems greatly reduced, Freeh's Bureau finally arrested KGB spy Ames in February 1994 because he no longer had potential witnesses who could provide extenuating circumstances for his spying for Moscow. While his colleagues made much of the spies he had betrayed, Viktor Cherkashin, his KGB recruiter, was much more to the point when he explained: "He is a humanitarian. How did he hurt your country? He didn't betray any of your secrets, he simply told us who were the traitors in our midst. I consider him a very fine fellow." (Quoted from Pete Earley, Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames, p. 350.) Of course, in saying this, Cherkashin was alluding to the secret plot to eliminate the USSR by a non-nuclear war, thanks to triggering it by the assassination of Olof Palme, and the spying by Stillman which disclosed that Russia was apparently still seeking world domination, thanks to spying for the Russians by PERSEUS aka Arthur Fielding and apparently MI5's Peter Wright et al., which Ames never allegedly mentioned to Moscow. It ultimately even denied that Ames was its spy.

To repay the KGB in kind, the Bureau then hired Robert Eringer to befriend Edward Lee Howard in Moscow, and render him back to the States to face the music, as Eringer has now been describing and posting the fruits of on his blog. Of, course Eringer did not explain it as an act of vengeance, as Howard had no mitigating circumstances like Ames - what would have led to his execution if successful. While Howard had deliberately been allowed to escape to Moscow before the non-nuclear showdown with the Soviets to give them a false sense of what was afoot, his disclosures to Moscow, especially the spying for the Agency by Adolf Tolkachev which kicked off the celebrated year of the spies - 1985, were worthless.

Of course, one would like to know why it took the Bureau so long to go after Howard, and why Eringer has waited so long to tell of his adventures and insights into spying with an agent that even the Agency didn't want. President Clinton's refusal to permit Howard's rendering from any European location showed that he wanted to let sleeping dogs lie, especially since the Bureau was rendering terrorists involved in the first bombing of the WTC.. Eringer's purpose apparently is to show how amateurish such agents are in deed and thought.

During all this messy clean up, the American intelligence community, especially the NRO, was keeping a most low profile, hoping that the revelations would only be about spies outed rather than secrets revealed. NRO Director Martin Faga released a few basic facts about the organization to still complaints about it performance until the construction of its new headquarters at Chantilly was revealed - reviving the concerns which had caused Judge William Webster to retire as DCI back in 1991. Webster had appointed the Dan Childs Study Group in March 1991 to review generally the intelligence community's performanace, and he was shocked when it reported in May about how the NRO operated, and how intelligence was managed in the DoD. While the DCI thought that the air attacks in preparation for the invasion had been greatly overdone, he was shocked by what these departments had done - an apparent allusion to the Iranian earthquake. "This extraordinary statement," the Agency's own history of his performance as DCI recorded, "seemingly reflected a perception that the DCI was not in charge of some important changes being undertaken within the community he putatively led." (CIA's The Work of a Nation: The Center of Intelligence, "William Webster: Transition to Post-War Era," Chapter Ten)

While this led to Webster's hasty departure, disclosure of the construction of the Chantilly facility led to Faga's. Jimmy Hill, the NRO's long-time serving Deputy Director, took over to help it weather the storm, and he certainly was needed, as trouble kept occurring. Its biggest problem was the murder of its security guard, Tina Ricca, while on duty for Vance International at the construction site of the alleged Rockwell International Building in Westfields on November 6, 1994. It was not only the front for the new NRO building but also showed that the diversifying aerospace company was busy in supplying it with its high-energy, chemical iodine laser (COIL) to shoot up anything on the ground, worth shaking up. Rockwell moved its headquarters repeatedly during this period, and in May 1994 it had been awarded two contracts to make the airborne laser system fully operational. For those who like vivid logos, its was a cobra, spitting deadly poison at a rising ICBM during the booster stage, and with the motto of "Peace Through Light" - light which had the power of a thermonuclear explosion.

Ms. Ricca had been murdered for apparently helping disclose the NRO's runaway character to reporters like Stephen Aftergood - who had a piece in the August/September 1994 issue of Secrecy and Government Bulletin, entitled "Get Smarter, Demystify the NRO" - and threatening to tell more about its most cosy relation with Rockwell International as she moved to a position with it in Australia. According to her father, John Ricca - just days after President Clinton declassified the existence of the new NRO headquarters - his daughter was shot dead by one bullet at cross range, and it was not reported to her employer for well over two hours. "It gave the CIA plenty of time to destroy whatever evidence there was before the police got on the scene," Rocca told reporter Bonnie Hobbs of the Centre View. Rocca was particularly upset because the Fairfield County police were just treating it as a common homicide which had no connection with the NRO, and seemed to have been an insider killing which The Washington Post had not even reported. "If (the CIA) doesn't want Congress and the Ways and Means Committee to know what happened," Ricca complained, "they're surely not going to tell me - especially if they're involved in it." (Ibid., "The Tina Ricca Murder," November 8, 1994.) When Ricca tried to get some worker compensation of her murder, Virginia's Worker's Compensation Commission trivialized it by claiming that her death occurred in 1993, and was the result of "a work accident". (VWC File No. 171-16-86)

The murder - especially since it has never been solved - had the desired effect upon any other potential whistleblower since even Mackenzie's survivors did not make mention of it when completing his manuscript, though they did make mention of the scandal at the NRO in a footnote regarding its use of Special Access Programs (SAPs) in building the new headquarters with a minimum of oversight and "an exotic level of secrecy" (p. 196) - what the joint venture with Rockwell International fitted to a tee. Matters got even more confused after a Fund for Constitutional Government panel discussion at the Capitol of Mackenzie's book which was dominated by personnel working in the media, particularly the Post's Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus, when David Martin aka DCDave asked Woodward why nothing had appeared in his paper about Tina's murder, the reporter looked pained, and said reluctantly that he would look into the matter if Martin briefed him about its details. After Martin did so, and asked Woodward to inform him when something appeared, he said he would do so, but he never did, leading Martin to conclude that the whole panel, which also included James Bamford, was just a pack of bird dogs, working for the spooks.

By this time, the whole Intelligence Community furore over Iran-Contra. Iraq-Gate, and the NRO was starting to simmer down, and Stillman resumed his campaign to tell tales about Russia and China to keep up for the pressure on Congress for additional funding. He was so upset about PERSEUS's continued spying for the communists that he went to the FBI special agent in charge in Santa Fe with his evidence against the suspect who was becoming wealthy because of it - an apparent allusion to what Peter Wright was raking in from the sales of Spy Catcher. After the Bureau's leading counterintelligence expert had seen Stillman's files and supporting evidence against PERSEUS, he was soon on the trail of Wen Ho Lee at Los Alamos, as Stillman had clearly indicated that the spy was an Amerrican. (p. 38) He was suspected of having given Beijing American secrets about the W88 warhead of its latest thernonuclear bomb, and it was only in 2000 that the government admitted that it was all a terrible mistake, and allowed Lee to be released after pleading guilty to one charge of mishandling non-classified information about nuclear weapons.

Then this same Bureau expert on spying, it seems, was claiming that the Chinese had tried to recruit at both labs scientists to provide data about their development of the neutron bomb aka "Tiger Trap". This alleged spying had started in the late '70s and continued into the middle '80s when Beijing, it seems, had stolen secrets about warhead W70. In 1988, China tested successfully its own neutron bomb, and passed its secrets along to Pakistan. About the hurried process, Reed wrote: "During thte 1980s, the Chinese developed a neutron bomb after four failed attempts. They were unabashedly concerned about their 'northern neighbor', Russia, and they were quite open about the studies done to confirm the ability of enhanced radiation weapons to destroy mobile tank forces without obliterating their own countryside." (p. 231) Thanks to Stillnam's scaremoggering, Gwo-Bao Min, who had been fired from Lawrence Livermore for leaking classified material in the early '80s, the FBI continued its pursuit of him but it came up with nothing.

At other times, Stillman continued to spread disinformation about China's nuclear capability, as Reed duly recorded: "On September 25, 1992, the Chinese tested a new and quite sophisticated primary. The test employed diagnostics beyond any U. S. capability at the time." (p. 231)

During a 1994 visit to China, Stillman learned through his friendly discussions with Chinese counterparts that the president of the Chinese Institute of Atomic Energy " 'had been spending a lot of time with scientists from Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan trying to sell them scientific equipment'." (Quoted from p. 229.) Reed made it quite clear that Saddam was still working on getting the bomb, and seemed quite confident that he would do so, thanks to his continual tricking IAEA inspectors. "In May 2007, the Congressional Research Service (CRS)," Reed explained, thanks to all the disinformation that Stillman had supplied it, "published a bill of particulars.

Among other transgressions, that report noted that, immediately prior to the Iraqi Freedom War, China supplied Iraq with critically needed missile components

China also supplied Iraq with missile guidance software disguised as 'children's computer software.' " (p. 328)

Of course, this was the missing link that the Clinton adminsitration had long wanted to close the noose around Slobodan Milosevic's neck - connecting Russia and China to Saddam's alleged WMD via Serbia. While Moscow had allegedly given Milosevic the capability to make a bomb, and he had passed it along to Baghdad, China had long provided the missile components to make Saddam's WMD threats deadly serious to Israel and beyond. And when Clinton learned that China was providing information to frustrate his bombing of Serbian forces to make them withdraw from Kosovo, he flatened its embassy in Belgrade on May 8, 1999 for converting a three-day bombing sortie into a three-month campaign. Of course, Stillman and Reed, contrary to the Chinese hosts, acted as if they had had no role in the process when it was just the tip of the iceberg that they had essentially created.

For more on this, see this link:

Clinton was not satisfied with this result, though, going on to cause the earthquake in Ismit Turkey for the assistance that its Demirel-Ecevit government had given Milosevic about NATO's aerial bombardment. Washington had resumed interest in the possible use of lasers in causing earthquakes after Rockwell International had sold its Aerospace and Defense divisions to Boeing in December 1997, and Secretary of Defense William Cohen had prepared the public about the possibilities of such man-made disasters in a speech he delivered at the University of Georgia earlier in the year. The NRO's high-energy, chemical iodine laser satellite had an ideal target in the sandy, qanat infested territory around Ismit, and Washington just added to Turkey's problems by sending in warships and marines to prop up the isolated government when solid, across-the-board disaster reconstruction was needed.

The airborne laser had become the primary weapon in America's offensive arsenal.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Brussels gives CIA the power to search UK bank records

The CIA is to be given broad access to the bank records of millions of Britons under a European Union plan to fight terrorism.

The Brussels agreement, which will come into force in two months’ time, requires the 27 EU member states to grant requests for banking information made by the United States under its terrorist finance tracking programme.

In a little noticed information note released last week, the EU said it had agreed that Europeans would be compelled to release the information to the CIA “as a matter of urgency”. The records will be kept in a US database for five years before being deleted.

Critics say the system is “lopsided” because there is no reciprocal arrangement under which the UK authorities can easily access the bank accounts of US citizens in America.

Full story...

Glimpses of America's Man-Made Disasters (Part 15)

by Trowbridge H. Ford

If the United States hoped to keep its warfare state essenitally in tack, once the USSR actually collapsed, it would have to create a suitable replacement - what only seemed possible by stirring up the various Muslims in the Middle East. There was still a possibility as late as 1990 that the Soviets would still, somehow hang on, and just the right mixture of American force - laser beams from satellites, military action on the ground, and inaction elsewhere - could be used in Iraq, Iran, and Syria to do the trick. At least, Washington got off on the right foot by apparently causing the massive earthquake in northwestern Iran on June 20, 1990 - the damage of which guaranteed that the mullahs in Iran would not be helping Saddam in any way, once the shooting started in Iraq. Then the 'green light' that American Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie gave the Iraqi dictator in Baghdad a month later assured that he would bite off more than he could chew, once other Muslim leaders learned that he was retaking all of Kuwatt, not just its oil fields. Of course, the besting of Saddam could not include his acutal disappearance as that would open the floodgate to Iran's Shiites, explaining why the Iraqi dictator was able to give them a bloody nose after he had gotten his.

To stoke up panic in Washington against any serious reduction of its war-making capacity, Danny B. Stillman, Director of Los Alamos' Technical Intelligence Division, made a second trip to China in the autumn to report on the state of its nuclear weapons facilities. A trip could also determine Chinese reaction to what had happened in Iran. America's ambassador to Tehran had been former DCI Richard Helms who had been given the position as some kind of consolation for being one of the scapegoats in Watergate. While Helms was thought to be a trusted supporter of officials he served, especially the Shah, and China's moderates, more and more was coming out about his betrayals, especially of JFK. While in Tehran, William Shawcross wrote in the recently published The Shah's Last Ride, "...Helms was an enthusiastic supporter of the Shah's plans for rapid development and radical transformation of Iran." (p. 266) Then Helms had been connected to assassinations, attempted and successful, of Presidents Saddam Hussein, Kennedy, Castro and others. All of this became most relevant when the Tabas eathquake acted as the catalyst which triggered the Shah's downfall.

What could have especially concerned Beijing now were the cables that Jack Anderson, the controverisal Washington columnist, had published in 1979 from Ambassador Helms about the operations of Iran's feared secret police aka SAVAK at home and abroad. On November 7, 1976, Helms wired Henry Kissinger, President Ford's Secretary of State and NSA, that any American action against its agents in the States would be retaliated by Iranian officials against American ones in Iran. Soon after Jimmy Carter had been elected President, Helms cabled Washington that Tehran was most anxious to maintain its special relationship with the USA, and that no SAVAK agents were operating there. In early January 1977, the Shah warned Carter through Helms that any action against his agents in America would be reciprocated in kind by his agents in Iran. Under the circumstances, Carter decided to keep the risky relationship with SAVAK, explaining that "the intelligence which we received, particularly from our listening stations focused on the Soviet Union, was of such importance that we should continue the collaboration." (Quoted from ibid., p. 273)

Then, of course, the question would have been: why were there no warings of the Tabes earthquake and its probable consequences? Had the Carter administration consciously colluded in what the Soviets were doing to rid the Middle East of the Shah's Great Civilization? The U.S. State Department had remained complacent about even KGB warnings by Victor Kazakhov in the spring of 1978 during the Qom riots that there would be an uprising in Iran, and once it occurred with the capture of the bloated staff at its embassy in Tehran, the Carter administration was committed to simply washing its hands of any traces of the Shah. It all seemed to give support to suspicions of American betrayal when the President gave that too fulsome and most unexpected praise of the Shah during that New Year's Eve banquet for 1978 in Tehran. (For more, see Shawcross, p. 129ff.)

Little wonder Stillman described his second visit to China in the most alarming terms. About his meeting with Yu Min, the "father of the Chinese H-bomb", while acknowledging that he was an extremely talented scientist who did design its first thermonuclear bomb, Stillman still maintained that Yu just used the ideas of others, most from the West, concluding thus: "However, we believe he (Yu) did so with the assistance of key ideas from Fuchs, an incredible domestic computational capability, indicators from other nations' tests, access to an enormous library of Western publications, and the support of a vast array of intellectual talent, much of it trained in the West." (Reed and Stillman, The Nuclear Express, p. 128) This was certainly a tribute to China's ability to vacuum clean up all kinds of intelligence from others rather than of Yu himself.

When in 1999 the Chinese finally learned of how they had been spied upon by Stillman et al., and bitterly complained, Reed replied: "That is more bunk. During his ten visits to China, Stillman encourtered a vast vacuum cleaner, sucking up American technology and spying on its citizens to a degree that boggles the mind." (p. 233) During the trips to various sites, Chinese authorities allegedly spied on Stillman and his associates constantly and to the nth degreee. "While Stillman and his deputy were in Beijing," Reed recounted, "the Chinese made efforts to separate them from one of their traveling companions (Los Alamos Assocaite Director John C. Hopkins). It was a blatant attempt to discuss weapon design in private with a knowledgeable American. It is not likely those efforts succeeded." (p. 229) The Chinese, it seems, were so consumed with spying on the American visitors that they threw all social niceties to the winds. And if the Chinese were only such great thieves, especially of American technology, how were they so far ahead of America?

As for what Beijing had allegedly achieved through its spying, it was simply mind boggling. Stillman's party had only agreed to return to China a second time, it seems, if it was allowed to see the crown jewels of its nuclear achievements - its nuclear test site, the nuclear test diagnostics facility, and the prompt-burst reactor. When it visited Xian's Northwest Institute of Nuclear Technology, noted for its Stalinist architecture and condition, Reed recalled, "...all of these inconveniences were forgotten upon the visitors' arrival at the most sophisticated flash X-ray equipment they had ever seen: instrumentation to support implosion diagnostics and/or radiation-hardening tests."(p. 225) After seeing the FBR-2 reactor - what had allegedly superceded the FBR-l reactor fourteen years previously, and could blow up the whole lab if if left to its own devices - "the Americans were given a complete tour; at the end of the day, older and wiser, they moved on, over the same nearly impassabe roads, to their accomodations at Science City." (p. 227) China was a third world country when it came to its infrastructure, but the world's showcase when it came to its nuclear capability.

Thanks to alleged Chinese spying on the Americans' conversations in their hotel rooms aka wall talk - contending "no test site tour, no remaining in China" (p. 226) -
the party was finally taken to the nuclear test site at Lop Nur and Malan. Reed contended that the Chinese hosts worked around the clock, setting up meetings at night to gain intelligence bits from their American guests while working by day to translate U.S. scientific publications into Mandarin so that the new information could be used by scientists at the site. They, unlike other nuclear proliferants, pushed having gigantic test sites because they knew the need of conducting giant experiments to become a first-rate nuclear power. "In contrast," Reed concluded, "the instrumentation of even the first Chinese nuclear test was sophisticated in the extreme. (p. 109) The whole time, Chinese counterintelligence, it seems, had been following them everywhere, and going over everything they had touched in the hope of finding intelligence-related drops to contacts in China. For good measure, the Chinese Ministry of State Security just happened to publish a new handbook for professional spying, Sources and Techniques of Obtaining National Defense Science and Technology Intelligence, and the American party were the "first lab rats..." (p. 232)

In explaining this most fullsome disclosure of Chinese nuclear secrets, Reed advanced all kind of ideas about why except the real one - i. e., their naiveté - why Beijing was not most suspicious about what was going on, especially the source of the recent Iranian earthquake. Certainly, Gorbachev's crumbling USSR was in no position to have done it despite the appearance that it served Moscow's interests. In February 1990, the Central Committee of the CPSU had announced the end of one party rule, and counterparts in the Baltics soon followed suit. Gorbachev, instead of ordering KGB Director Vladimir Kryuchkov to suppress the dissent, directed that it cooperate with Anglo-American agencies, and seek ways of boosting his foreign policy ambitions. Instead of the USSR seeking to oust the mullahs, it seemed much more likely that the Red Army marshals were going to overthrow their leader.

The Chinese communists had always underestimated American hostility to their regime's very existence, going all the way back to the Korean War. When Truman prevented a nuclear war by removing General MacArthur from command in Korea, and JFK allowed Beijing to settle its border disputes with India by force during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Chinese got the impression that Washington was becoming resigned to its existence, and even the recovery of Taiwan only seemed a matter of time - what was only strengthened by Washington's refusal to attack China in any way during the Vietnam War. Nixon's opening to Beijing was hopefully just a temporary expedient to help isolate the USSR by Chinese support of countries like Iran and Cambodia until the communist regime in Moscow was gone. With the end of the Cold War, China was now in the hot seat, as the devastating earthquake in Iran's northwest in June 1990 demonstrated. Instead of seeing this for what it was, China saw the period's benign neglect by Washington as signs of acceptance rather than just postponement of its fate.

Reed explained China's vast disclosure of its national security secrets to Stillman's party as the result of pride, deterence, an intelligence trick, and/or international confidence. Like Soviet scientists, according to Reed, Chinese ones felt underappreciated for their efforts, and wanted to show them off to the visiting Americans: "In their lives behind the iron or the bamboo curtains, those scientists recieved no recognition from their countrymen or from the international scientific community. (p. 221)
Then it could have been just to deter Americans from doing anything provocative - what a nuclear-armed Iran, North Korea, or Pakistan could exploit, thanks to Beijing's assistance, " long as that calamity was not directly attributable to Beijing." (p. 4) It could also have been to provoke American reaction to what they were shown in the hope of determining what it meant: "A raised eyebrow or a sudden scowl could confirm or discount a year's work." (p. 221) Reed concluded menacingly. "Maybe Chinese nuclear technology was no longer top secret," implying that Beijing was well-advanced in its replacement, especially space weapons, particularly lasers.

Stillman's reports about his two visits to China had the desired effect upon American policy-makers, especially President George H. W. Bush. He, as Reagan's Vice President, had been cranking up Washington's bureaucracies for this moment. Shortly after Reagan was re-elected, Bush was appointed chairman of the cabinet-level Task Force on Combating Terrorism. Its mandate was to make covert operations against America's enemies at home and abroad as secret as possible by preventing Congress, the media, whistleblowers, and interested citizens from learning much about them while appearing to be behaving as transparently as possible. It was an effort to re-establish covert operations to where they had been before Nixon's Plumbers ruined conditions with Watergate, especially the passage of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which put it on a collision course with the National Security Act. According to Angus Mackenzie in Secrets: The CIA's War at Home, the task force was to use alleged domestic terrorism - what was virtually non-existent - to justify essentially muzzling the whole country.

As Mackenzie explained, this required making it harder to get serious information from the government, getting the Bureau to pursue wholesale spying on peace groups like the Physicians for Social Responsibility, having the FBI largely exempted from disclosing secret counterintelligence and international terrorist files to public scrutiny and judicial review, tightening up secrecy contracts of government employees by having them sign various government forms and swearing to some secrecy oath, instructing federal employees to ignore laws that Congress had passed to the contrary, exempting agencies like the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Agency (NSA) from the purview of the FOIA, and the like. The prosecution of Samuel Loring Morison - what I discussed in the first article as essential for setting up Moscow for the non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War, what the Palme assassination was intended to trigger - "...laid the foundation for successful prosecution of U.S. journalists who have, in the opinion of the government, gone too far." (Quoted from Michael Pillsbury, former Reagan Assistant Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning, p. 180.)

More important, Mackenzie made it quite clear that CIA's Robert M. Gates, the Deputy Director for Counter Intelligence, was the leading light in this whole hypocritical process. Of course, this was when all kinds of agencies - e.g., the CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the national labs at Los Alamos and Livermore - were dreading serious cutbacks in their budgets. In May 1991, Gates was nominated to replace Judge William Webster as DCI. Gates had already failed to become DCI after William Casey fell ill back in 1987 because of the questions raised about his knowledge of the covert network that the NSC's Oliver North had developed for providing the catalyst, Palme's assassination, to the non-nuclear showdown with the Soviets. To still critics like Mel Goodman, the former division head of Soviet foreign policy, this time, Gates put on the hair shirt, as they say, for past failures, promising to do better this time, if confirmed. Gates was like former DCI Richard Helms, Mark Riebling explained in Wedge: The Secret War between the FBI and CIA, a "chameleon", willing to adapt to whatever his bosses required, whether they be hawks or pragmatic decision-makers. (pp. 411-2) This time a pragmatic hawk was required, given the growing uncertainly of the world situation, and how to proceed forward.

Gates's first serious act as DCI was to appoint a CIA Openness Task Force, headed by Joseph DeTrani, the Agency's Director of Public Affairs. "DeTrani was ordered to explore how the CIA could improve 'openness' and 'accessibility' through the use of the news media and by expanding relations with unviersities." (p. 184) The real purpose was to entice and/or entrap key players at the universties, in Congress, and in the news business from doing their jobs under the false impression that by taking them into its confidence, they were really helping in the war against terror - what would improve both their budgets and those of the American intelligence community. To help them in disinforming the public, the Agency would declassify information, especially for filmmakers seeking "accuracy" and "authenticity", to help inform the public about its successes, and to put failure in a better light. All of this was intended to make intelligence gathering more "...visible and understandable rather than strive for openness on specific substantive issues."(ibid.)

While this was going on, Stillman and Nerses Krikorian, a physicist at Los Alamos interested in stopping nuclear proliferation, paid a surprise visit to Russia in December 1991 - after the coup against Gorbachev had been successfully crushed the previous August, thanks particularly to NSA help about where the plotters, led by sidelined KBG Chief Vladimir Kryuchkov, were, and what they were doing - to discover alleged substance to kick start DeTrani's campaign. To set the Moscow scene properly for the disinformation-seeking Stillman, President Boris Yeltsin had Soviet Yuliy Khariton, the alleged unrecognized father of the Soviet atomic bomb, send for Stillman's services. Of course, Russia was flat on its back at the time, and Moscow was willing to say anything to gain Western support for its massive privatization program. Washington explained the trip as essential for Russia sorting out its nuclear legacy, and filling the niche left by the Soviet collapse with a new security framework that the West could live with. (Lilia Shevtsova, Russia: Lost in Transition, p.21)

Instead of achieving any kind of reasonable outcome with his Russian host, Stillman threw the book at him about its alleged ongoing spying - what certainly constituted a continuing threat to the West. Before Reed even recounted Stillman unloading on Khariton, he raised the existent of this phantom Soviet spy, PERSEUS aka Arthur Fielding, who was apparently still providing Moscow with American nuclear secrets from Los Alamos and beyond. Not only did Fielding and others supply Moscow with atomic secrets but also with everything regarding the " frontier of thermonuclear physics." (Op. cit., p. 39) While PERSEUS, as I stated earlier, is an vastly exaggerated American composite of what MI5's Peter Wright essentially did for the Soviets, it reduced the contribution of Soviets scientists, especially Igor Kurchatov and Andrei Sakarov, into essentially little more than Soviet cooks in laboratories. "We have to further conclude," Reed wrote, "that Khariton's 1991 invitation to Stillman and Krikorian was part of a campaign to mask the very extensive and continuing role of techmnical intelligence in the Soviet nuclear weapons program. The Soviet nuclear veteran wished to build a bogus wall a half-century in the past." (pp. 42-3)

Of course, this was manna from heaven for all the American scientists, media people and intelligence agencies, fearing cuts because of the end of the Cold War, as the trips showed that the cold wars had, it seems, only grown with the numbers participating, and the weapons involved. Of course, by this time SoD Gates had already put in place all of DeTrani's recommendations, except the one about him personally selling all the Agency's virtues to the public. Gates particularly wanted agency checks on key reporters and members of America's professoriate to make sure that they got out the good news without any embarrassing leaks or blowback. " 'Openness'," Mackenzie explained, "meant adopting a well-crafted publuc relations scheme aimed at the most important opinion makers in the nation." (p. 187) And Gates was certainly not disappointed when Andy Rooney, the doyen of CBS's Sixty Minutes, and exploiting Senator Daniel Moynihan's call for abolishing the CIA, wrote in an article, "A Lack of Intelligence:Fire the Spies," that its spies should be terminated, and it budget of $30 billion should be cut by 75% - what it was just trying to do, given especially input from Stillman.

Stillman's information, and that of others, had a dramatic impact upon congressional funding, so much so that it started to rise again in 1992, and has pretty much continued to do so ever since. The figure that Rooney used was highly deceptive as that amount was for essentially the whole intelligence community. The Agency only received about $3.1 billion, while the NRO received twice as much, and the NSA got $3.7 billion. The NRO had built up over $3 billion of appropriated but unspent funds, so much that it even built a huge new facility, costing $310 million out of its own pocket. More important, the NRO had the largest number of employees under Special Access Programs (SAPs) - "...supersecret program designed to minimize oversight and provide for an exotic level of secrecy." (p 196) The General Accounting Office estimated in 1985 that there were "about 5,000 to 6,000" federal employees having such contracts with private industry. If there were any Russian and Chinese spies still operating in the States, they would most likely be NRO employees.

On a much more somber note, Maczenie himself, who had been investigating such covert operations for fifteen years, came down with brain cancer about this time, dying on May 13, 1994. While it could have been naturally caused, especially given all his cell phone calls - a much suspected cause of such cancersm - in doing the research, it is also possible that it was the result of foul play. The Agency's Special Operations Group, what Helms started in 1967, and was first headed by Richard Ober, was still in business, and Gates's new program required something like this to get rid of persistent troublemakers. Mackenzie had even made the connection with its pursuit of Victor Marchetti, its campaign against Ramparts, and MHCHAOS, the domestic program for domestic spying of the highest order. "Ober confided," Mackenzie recounted, "that MHCHAOS files were going directly to John Dean at the White House, as even Dean was involved in the Watergate cover-up." (p. 55) And the Plumbers - led by 'Executive Action's William King Harvey - were connected to Dean, and all their operations, especially Arthur Bremer's assassination of former Alabama Governor George Wallace.

For more on this, see my article about Al 'Deep Throat' Haig on

In sum, the glimpses of the series are now becoming more like views, and what is seen looks more and more like a most complicated set of covert operations, as shall be seen even more clearly in due course.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Glimpses of America's Man-Made Disasters (Part 14)

by Trowbridge H. Ford

Washington's attempt to trigger a non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War in March 1986 did not fail because of a want of trying but because of Soviet countermeasures, thanks to the spying for Moscow by the Agency's Rick Ames, the Bureau's Robert Hanssen, and others. Their information alerted Moscow to the surprise. Alexander Litvinenko's railway security squad discovered the Toshiba container with all the sensors, and the Red Banner Fleet was placed on maximum alert against NATO's attack submarines trying to sink any Soviet boomers hastily going on station in the Barents and Black Seas in response to the shooting of Sweden's statsminister Olof Palme. Still, the Reagan administration went ahead with the showdown, though it had no KH-ll laser satellite to blow up any Soviet ICBMs if they started preparing for launch in response to the surprise because of the failure of the Space Shuttle Challenger to even achieve a successful liftoff, much less launch the laser satellite in space. Moreover, the Anglo-American conspirators knew nothing of the 82 nuclear-tipped SS-23 missile launchers in the USSR and East Germany - under the command of Soviet hawk, Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov - which would have been fired if the shooting started. (Mark Urban, UK Eyes Alpha: The Inside Story of British Intelligence, p. 290)

Under the circumstances, the prevention of the shooting showdown turning into armeggedon rested almost entirely with how the Red Banner Fleet conducted its countermeasures underwater against Anglo-American provocations. US Navy Chief of Naval Operation Admiral James Watkins had announced a few days before the Stockholm shooting that any Soviet aggressive action in this regard would result in NATO attack submarines responding within a few minutes by sinking their boomers wherever they were discovered. The awards that the US Navy gave many of its submarines taking part in this hunt are well documented in Appendix C that Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew provided in Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, pp. 426-7. Glimpses of the struggles were also provided by them in the text (pp. 366-8), and Greg Vistica added more in the Fall from Glory: The Men Who Sank the U.S.Navy (p.214ff.), especially the fallout that Admiral Carl Trost's mutinies in the operations caused. (pp. 221-5) When no suspect for blaming the shooting of the statsminister on the Soviets was found, Moscow set up Lybia as the convenient fallguy for the trouble it caused by supplying the aggressive Provisional IRA with weapons for a tet-offensive in Northern Ireland by making it look as if Gadaffi's men had been behind of La Belle Discotheque bombing in West Berlin, killing two people, including a US Army sergeant, and wounding 230 others. (For more on the set up, see Christopher Andrew, For the President's Eyes Only, p. 482ff., though noting that the spin doctor never sees anything sinister and conspiratorial in what Washington does.)

These harrowing troubles made both Moscow and particularly Washington desirous of settling their outstanding differences by diplomacy rather than wars, provocations, and conspiracies though the Soviet leader went out of his way to inform the Reagan administration of how reckless it had been in attempting them. When the two sides met in Washington in December 1987 to sign the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, eliminating all imtermediate nuclear weapons - what had been proposed in 1983 without success, and made Soviet officials, especially the KGB's FCD Vladimir Kryuchkov, assume that Washington was planning a first strike - the Soviet leader brought along the now KGB head to prove that he had not been sceptical of his previous claims. During the discussions, Gorbachev volunteered the existence of the 82 SS-23s which the Brits and Yanks had overlooked in the USSR and East Germany, Mark Urban concluding nonchalantly that "...they could have been castrophophic in the event of war." (p. 290) For good measure, the US government's trial of the US Navy's John Walker spy ring - just the tip of what Moscow had uncovered about the first strike - in the Federal District Court of Northern California in September 1986 resulted in the Admiral Willaim Studeman, the Chief of Naval Intelligence, admitting that it might well have had "...powerful war-winning implications for the Soviet side." (Quoted from Sontag and Drew, p. 353.)

All this showed how dangerous East-West relations still were, and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) continued its efforts to put a laser-equipped KH-II satellite in space, finally achieving so in 1988. But by then, it seemed increasingly clear that its chances of winning the Cold War by force were diminishing by the day as Gorbachev proceeded by pulling the rug from under its Warsaw Pact by refusing to intervene in the internal disputes of its members. Two START treaties were agreed to, making serious cuts in their nuclear arsenals, and agreeing not to aim their weapons at one another. "In 1989," Hugh Gusterson wrote in Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War, "the U.S. government gutted Livermore's free electron program, stripping $37 million from the laboratory's budget, and began a series of sharp cuts in its X-ray laser program as well. In 1990 the lab was forced to close down R Program, its X-ray laser design division." (p. 227) It seemed like the end of an era - a fork in the road, as Gusterson stated - where both national laboratories might have their days numbered as the designers, testers, producers, and maintainers of nuclear arsenals.

This possible outcome was a wake-up call for Danny B. Stillman, the intelligence director at the Los Alamos laboratory where nuclear weapons had been vigorously developed since the beginning of the Manhattan Project. Stillman decided to make an in-depth survey of what America's potential enemies, especially now China, had accomplished in the whole field, and what they were planning for the future in the hope of keeping everything going at the national laboratories. It was in June 1988 when he set up the plan by getting Professor Yang Fujia, one of six Chinese scientists attending a meeting of the American Physical Society at Los Alamos, to allow him and possibly others to see the unknown Chinese test site at Dujiangyan where its prompt-burst reactor was located. "Just send me a copy of your résumé," the naive Fujia replied, "and tell me what other nuclear weapon facilities in China you would like to visit." (Quoted from Reed and Stillman, The Nuclear Express, p. 221.) Of course, Stillman wanted to see everything, and the innocent Chinese obliged, agreeing to his ten unprecedented visits which resulted in Washington learning everything it wanted to know about Chinese achievements - what Reed tried to make out was simply the other way round, Beijing wanting to let the West know just how clever it had been all along.

It was still awhile before Stillman made his first visit to China - after the dust and blood had settled and had been swept away from the suppression of the student protests at Beijing's Tiananmen Square, and the USSR had itself imploded - but he was soon taken in April 1990 to where he most wanted to go, the area around Chengdu where Mianyang, Zitong, Science City, and the all important Dujiangyan were located. The first question that Stillman obviously asked about these facilities, though Reed never mentioned it, was why had Beijing chosen such a difficult area - one known for its raging waters, and difficult mountains - for the center of its nuclear weapons industry, and the Chinese answer was surely to get as well away from Soviet threats as possible. Undoubtedly, the Chinese said quite a bit about what had happened at Tangshan in July 1976 - what confirmed what Air Force Secretary and NRO Director Reed had realized back then. Moreover, Beijing at the time had most friendly relations with Iran's Shah, hoping that they would result in a Chinese-Iran, anti-Soviet bloc, backed by the Americans. Beijing had obviously built a vast, underground complex with the idea of making it invulnerable to nuclear attacks in order to avoid some kind of disaster which led to the demise of not only its 'Gang of Four' but also Iran's Shah.

If the Soviets had had such an impact on the power struggles within China and Iran with their laser satellites, Stillman reasoned, why couldn't Washington do the same with regimes it wanted to change the leadership of, especially now Iraq and Iran, given the continuing trouble it was having with Saddam Hussein. Saddam had been the Soviets' biggest ally in the Middle East after it agreed to the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Baghdad in April 1973. Up until then, Iraq's biggest opponent had been Iran's Shah who had been seeking Saddam's assassination, stoking up trouble with Iraq's Kurds, and bottling up Iraq's oil exports through the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. (For more on this, see Con Coughlin, Saddam: The Secret Life, p. 79ff.) The Iraqi dictator had even funded Iran's mullahs in the hope of overthrowing his Iranian counterpart while there had been bloody clashes in 1977 in the city of Najaf, the home of the exiled Iranian Shiite leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, resulting in the arrest and execution of eight Iraqi clerics. "More than two thousand Shiites were arrested," Coughlin added, "and an estimated two hundred thousand were expelled to Iran by Saddam on the grounds that they were non-Iraqis." (p. 148)

It was quite obvious that Saddam was pilling on the troubles for the beleaguered Shah in the hope that Iran's fractured civil society would revolt, and Moscow was most happy to help out, though Pelling and Dill somehow ignored this most obvious man-made earthquake in their previously noted article, " *Natural' disasters as catalysts of political action." On September 16, 1978, Tabas-e-Golshan, the oasis town in Iran's eastern Khorassan Province, experienced the largest recorded earthquake in the country's history, 7.7 on the Richter scale. It was a repeat of what the Soviets had done two years earlier in Tangshan, but because of Tabas's extensive qanat system of underground reservoirs, it was even more powerful. There were no foreshocks, but the expected anomalies in animal behavior, plus a predicted lunar eclipse which impended the rescue operation. The earthquake destroyed 85% of its housing and inhabitants (11,000 out of 13,000). "The earthquake," A Preliminary Field Report stated, "was preceded by a strong roaring noise described as like the firing noise of fifty cannons by many survivors in Tabas and in the adjoining villages." (p. 2) Only a few seconds later, the earthquake occurred. It was felt as far away as Tehran, and over an area of 1,130,00 square kilometers. It "...destroyed," the report concluded, "over 15,000 housing units, and thirty qanats (underground water canals) in the epicentral region." (p. 1)

The political timing of the earthquake showed that it was Soviet-made, and for Saddam's benefit. In William Shawcross's The Shah's Last Ride: The Fate of an Ally, the earthquake was seen as the event which sealed the Shah's fate in Iran as it descended into chaos. The regime had become a powderkeg because of the way the Shah corruptly ruled while its inhabitants suffered more and more deprivation. Then it was struck by two hammer blows - 1) the August fire in an Abadan cinema which killed 400 people, and his troops opening fire on demonstrators in Tehran's Jaleh Square, killing and wounding hundreds, and 2) the devastating earthquake. The Shah only visited the airport where the rescue effort was being mounted while eveyone else, especially mullahs, was still trying to rescue those still buried. "He stood around, stiff, resplendent, and uncomfortable," Shawcross concluded, "in the brilliant plumage of a field marshal's uniform. Then he flew out again. In terms of identfying himself with the people's suffering, it was a disaster." (p. 21) Then Saddam expelled Khomeini from Iraq at the Shah's request, and his Empress Farah, in an alleged attempt to shore up the Shah's collapsing regime, was invited to Baghdad to royally celebrate the tenth anniversary of Algiers Agreement over the Shatt-al-Arab waterway.

By the following February, the Shah and his Empress were gone for good from Tehran.

These insights by Stillman's Chinese hosts about the Tabas earthquake were just what Washington wanted to hear as the showdown with Saddam loomed. By this time, the destructive Iran-Iraq war had been stopped, though no peace treaty had been agreed to, and Saddam hoped to mend fences with Tehran's new President, the liberal, elected Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, so that Iran would not be used as a front in any Western showdown with Baghdad. Ayatollah Khomeini had died in June 1989, and Tehran itsefl was feeling its way towards better relations with its regional neighbors as a more independent, nationalist one rather than a spreader of Pan-Islamism. Now Saddam was willing to go back to the humiliating conditions about the waterway which had been settled with the Shah in the 1975 Algiers Agreement just to save his own skin.

To cut the ground from under Saddam's feet, thanks to input from Stillman about the 1978 earthquake in the Shah's Iran, the NRO hastily arranged the June 21, 1990 earthquake in Iran's northwestern area closest to Iraq. "The Rudbar-Tarom earthquake, the largest in the country to affect an urban area in Persia," according to Manuel Berberian's article, "100years; 126,000 death," in the Encyclopaedia Iranica, "killed 40,000 people, injured 60,000, and left more than 500,000 homeless. The earthquake destroyed three towns (Rudbar, Manjil, and Lowshan) and 700 villages and damaged another 300 villages in Gilan and Zanjan provinces of northwest Persia, southwest of the Caspian sea." Of course, Presiden Rafsanjani led the rescue effort, even accepting aid from the United States - what the New York Times duly noted as " of the biggest signs of cooperation between Tehran and Washington in years" - though more hard-line mullahs wanted nothing from America.

The cause of the earthquake which again had no warning foreshocks - another one which Pelling and Dill somehow missed - seems to have been the magma-like effect that the laser beams had on the fragmented, complex system of surface faults whích had not previously been considered active, and the collapse of qanats and wells in the surrounding small towns and isolated villages which no one suspected, and only discovered the destruction of days later. The seismologists only had the shock waves and the destruction wrought to make up their explanations with, and they seem like just convenient goobledygook. Martin C. Faga - the NRO's tenth Director, noted for putting together in integrated satellites the various capabilities that the CIA, DOD, and US Navy possessed about imagery, signals and communication lasers - who had taken over in September 1989 was well prepared to do the job, once Stillman identified what had to be hit with the new capability. Little wonder that Faga then became known as the grest discloser who brought the NRO allegedly 'out of the black', and became a principal architect of its role in the 21st century while serving on the Jeremiah Panel at the end of the 1990s.

Reassured about Iranian neutrality in any Gulf War because of the massive troubles caused by the earthquake, Saddam now tried to take advantage of the 'green light' that American ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, had given the Iraqi dictator at a July 25th meeting at the Presidential Palace about his plans regarding Kuwait - what turned out to be a buzzsaw when he took advantage of it. (For more, see Coughlin, p.250ff.)

Little wonder that Robert Gates, who became Pappy Bush's DCI a little bit later, and is now Obama's Secretary of Defense, complimented "Stillman's ability to adapt the latest advances in science to solve unmanageable problems and to analyze foreign technologies made him an invaluable asset to the Intelligence Community." (back of the dustjacket for The Nuclear Express) The latest advances in science are in lasers; Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and China are the biggest problems confronting America; and Stillman was the principal analyst in determining what the Soviets, Chinese, and others were doing with their nuclear weapons - what only caused Washington more problems.

Perhaps in future, Gates will be more careful about observing his own order about DoD employees keeping quiet when it comes to such matters.