Who Murdered Jamal Khashoggi: the Findings of Turkish Intelligence

Jamal Khashoggi: The Silencing of a Jounalist

Al Jazeera (2019)

Film Review

This documentary is a collation of Turkish intelligence findings in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Istanbul’s Saudi Consulate in October 2018. The evidence consists mainly of an audio recording of the murder (presumably Turkish intelligence had the Saudi Consulate bugged), forensic analysis of the Consulate interior, CCTV footage and interviews with a cab driver and a builder who constructed a massive incinerator outside the Saudi Consul’s home in April 2018. The documentary also features an exclusive interview with Hatice Congiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee, who was waiting for him outside the Consulate.

Based on the audio recording, where Khashoggi is heard to say, “Don’t cover my mouth – I have asthma and I can’t breathe,” Turkish Intelligence concludes the Saudi hit team put a plastic bag over his head and choked him. He is heard to struggle for seven minutes before he succumbs.

It would take fifteen days and massive international pressure before Saudi intelligence allowed Turkish police inside the Consulate to conduct a forensic analysis. They discovered the walls had been recently repainted. After removing the new paint, they discovered traces of Khashoggi’s blood and fingerprints belonging to the hit team.

At present, Turkish intelligence believes his body was dismembered inside the Consulate and packed into suitcases. Within hours of the murder, there is CCTV footage of hit team members arriving at the Saudi Consul’s home with the suitcases.

The most gruesome evidence comes from a builder commissioned to build an enormous incinerator in the Saudi Consul’s back garden in April 2018. This coincides with the date Khashoggi began visiting Istanbul to court Hatice Congiz, leading eventually to their engagement.

Khashoggi was visiting the Saudi Consul to obtain copies of his divorce decree. Under Turkish law, all foreigners must provide proof they are single to marry Turkish nationals.

 

 

 

 

Hidden History: Larbi Ben Mhidi, the Genius Behind the Algerian Revolution

The Algerian Revolution, Larbi Ben Mhidi

Al Jazeera (2019)

Film Review

This documentary explores the life and work of Larbi Ben Mhidi, legendary leader in the Algerian National Liberation Front (NLF), which in 1962 succeeding in winning Algerian independence.  In 1956, Ben Mhidi was hunted down and secretly assassinated by French military forces.

Ben Mhidi played a central role in plotting the strategy of the Algerian Revolution. When the NLF first launched their war of independence in November 1954, they were a guerilla band of 1200 rural fighters with 400 weapons. Through a strategic campaign of bombing attacks on police stations, military barracks, weapons depots and settlers homes – coupled with an 8-day general strike in 1967 – they mobilized enough support to fight the French to a stand-off in Algiers.

In the Battle of Algiers, which lasted a little over a year (1956-57), the French captured 2,400 NFL fighters and “disappeared” 4,000.

Who Killed Janis Joplin?

Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue

Directed by Amy Berg (2015)

Film Review

This documentary is a mushy, pop psychology version of the life of late blues singer Janis Joplin. It makes an unsuccessful (in my view) attempt to tie her alcohol, amphetamine and heroin abuse (and ultimate heroin overdose) to her troubled adolescence in conservative Arthur Texas. The film is based on interviews with her sister Laura, friends and band mates; letters to her family and vintage footage from her concerts and recording sessions.

Berg paints Joplin as a somewhat geeky outcast who participated in civil rights protests during her last three years of high school – leading to bullying and harassment by fellow students, many of whom belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. The filmmaker makes the case that her unhappy adolescence left a gaping hole in Joplin’s psyche that could only be filled by alcohol, drugs and promiscuous sex.

The film acknowledges that Joplin had been clean for nearly a year at the time of her  heroin overdose. It was during this period she recorded her biggest hit, Me and Bobby McGee, which signaled a totally new direction for her work.

What the film doesn’t mention is that several people close to Joplin (including her sister) suspected foul play in her alleged overdose, especially given the deaths of many of her contemporaries (activist rock stars) in similar circumstances. A book her sister Laura published in 2005 (Love, Janis IT Books), refers to persistent rumors  the CIA arranged her death.

The film also fails to mention that shortly before her death Joplin helped organize several huge anti-Vietnam War concerts for the peace movement. Or the FBI surveillance she experienced (like John Lennon). Or her 1974 affair with FBI operative Michel Raymond, who introduced her to amphetamines and encouraged her to use them regularly, leading to her amphetamine addiction. Or that members of the Grateful Dead introduced her to heroin to help her come down from speed. The Grateful Dead introduced many California rock musicians to heroin (as documented in a 1971 book, Living with the Dead, by their first manager Rock Scully).

As John Potash documents extensively in Drugs as Weapons Against Us (see MK-Ultra, LSD and the CIA War Against Musicians and Activists ), CIA MK-Ultra agents were aggressively pushing speed, heroin and LSD in the San Francisco rock scene in the sixties and early seventies.

The film can’t be embedded for copyright reasons but can be viewed free at the Maori TV website for the next 10 days: Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue

Why Castro and Che Guevara Split

 

 

 

Revolutionary Friends

Al Jazeera (2017)

Film Review

This is a documentary about Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and the 1959 Cuban Revolution. In addition to exploring the revolution’s early history, the filmmakers trace how Cuba came to rely on the Soviet Union for its economic survival – and how the Soviets forced Castro to exile Che from Cuba for political reasons.

After traveling extensively through South America, Che Guevara, deeply affected by the extreme poverty and exploitation he saw, was totally committed to “permanent revolution.”* In contrast Soviet leaders were committed to socialism in one country and “peaceful coexistence with the US.” They opposed Che’s guerilla activities in Africa and Latin America owing to the potential threat they posed to US-Soviet relations.

The most interesting part of the film reveals that the CIA initially supported Castro’s guerillas  with arms, funding and US volunteers because they viewed him as “easy to control.” It contains priceless footage of Castro denouncing communism (in English) to an American audience and calling for Cuban “representative democracy.”

In February 1959, the US initially recognizes Castro as Cuba’s new prime minister. A few months later, he appoints Che (an avowed Marxist) to head the Cuban national bank. The US responds by blocking all credit to Cuban banks. Castro retaliates by nationalizing Cuba’s American businesses. The US government, in turn, blocks all Cuban sugar imports.

Given that 90% of the Cuban economy is based on trade with the US, the country is on the verge of collapse. Castro is left with no choice but to ally himself with the USSR to trade Cuban sugar for oil and financial aid.

Under Soviet direction, Castro ends Che’s governmental role in 1963 and sends him on a series of foreign missions.After several speeches critical of Soviet leaders (for failing to support third world guerilla movements), Che angers them further by cultivating relations with China, just as the USSR and China are becoming estranged.

After an unsuccessful campaign with guerilla fighters in the Congo, Castro sends Che to Bolivia, where he and ten fighters who accompany him are stranded without weapons, food, medicine or support from the Bolivian Communist Party. On October 9, 1976, Che is wounded in a firefight with Bolivian security services. He is subsequently captured and executed.


*As envisioned by Leon Trotsky, this refers to a country’s continuing revolutionary progress being dependent on a continuing process of revolution in other countries.

This film can’t be embedded for copyright reasons. It can be viewed free until April 7 at the Al Jazeera website: Che Guevara Fidel Castro Revolutionary Friends

The Forgotten Black Settlers Who Helped Settle the American Midwest

The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers & the Struggle for Equality

Anna-Lisa Cox

Hatchette Book Group (2018)

Book Review

This is a fascinating book about the freed African American slaves who helped settle the Northwest Territory* and the vicious white backlash that deprived many of them of their farms and, in some cases, their lives. Interesting how the vital role of African Americans in settling the Midwestern United States has totally vanished from modern history books.

African American scholar and activist W.E.B. DuBois was the first to note, in 1906, the important role role of freed slaves in settling, defending and clearing the dense forests of the Northwest Territory.

The 1787 Northwest Ordinance both banned slavery throughout the Northwest Territory and allowed African Americans to vote in local and territorial elections.

Cox’s book traces the gradual prohibition of slavery in all northern states after the the trans-Atlantic slave trade ended in 1807 (except New Jersey, where slavery persisted until the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation). In nearly every case, legislation ending slavery followed on from favorable court rulings when slaves sued to win their freedom.

Cox also examines the pressures leading slaves, having purchased their freedom, to migrate to the Northwest Territory. Southern Blacks were fleeing the constant threat of whites kidnapping and re-enslaving them. Northern Blacks came to escape deadly mob violence (in which white mobs burned Blacks out of their homes, churches and schools) that plagued Northern cities with large African American populations.

The white backlash that eventually stripped Black Northwest Territory settlers of civil rights they had enjoyed for decades was driven by a number of factors: 1) the 1799-1815 Napoleonic Wars, during which France sought to reinstate slavery in all  its colonies, 2) the rabidly racist leadership of Ohio’s first governor William Henry Harrison (who unsuccessfully campaigned to make Ohio a slave state), President Andrew Jackson and his Vice-president Martin van Buren (who openly encouraged white mobs to attack Black farmers in Ohio and Indiana), and the outright greed of land developers who sought to profit from slave labor in converting Northwest and Louisiana Purchase territory into prime agricultural land.

In the end, all Northwest Territory states (except Wisconsin) enacted Black Code Laws that required African American settlers to post $500 bond – which they forfeited if white farmers attacked them. As each of them achieved statehood, their new state constitutions stripped Black settlers of their right to vote and their right to testify against whites in court. The latter made it impossible to convict whites for mob violence. Eventually Indiana, Ohio and Illinois banned all new immigration of Black settlers.

The 1850 Fugitive Slave Law and 1857 (Supreme Court) Dred Scott decision made life for freed slaves in the Northwest Territory even more precarious. The former made it possible for whites to kidnap free African Americans in the North and sell them into slavery in the South. The latter decreed that no person of African descent could ever be considered a US citizen.


*The Northwest Territory encompassed most British pre-war colonial territory west of the Appalachians, north of the Ohio River and south of the Canadian border  – ie the modern day states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and the eastern part of Minnesota.

 

 

Hidden History: The 1893 US Invasion of Hawaii

The Betrayal of Liliuokalani: Last Queen of Hawaii 1838-1917

By Helena G Allen

Mutual Publishing (1982)

Book Review

This comprehensive biography of the last Queen of Hawaii, deposed during an 1893 US invasion, is based mainly on her diary and other writings. It reveals that the sovereignty of Hawaii had largely been usurped by foreign missionaries, adventurers and sugar entrepreneurs well before Liliuokalani’s birth in 1838.

Hawaii became a constitutional monarchy in 1852, with voting for the national legislature was limited to male property owners. Although native Hawaiians retained the throne until Liliuokalani was formally deposed in 1893, Hawaiian monarchs had no standing military nor ability to limit haole* immigration, ongoing seizure of their lands nor tax the enormously lucrative haole sugar plantations.

When Queen Liliuokalani ascended the thrown in 1891, haole members of the legislature had been plotting the overthrow of the monarchy for two years.

In 1893, haole of US origin residing in Honolulu organized a coup against the Queen. To assist them, they prevailed on US appointed minister to Hawaii John L Stevens to call in 162 marines from the USS Boston.

When he learned of the coup and the marine intrusion, outgoing president Benjamin Harrison requested Hawaii’s new Provisional Government hold a plebiscite. Aware that 90% of the country’s population supported the Queen’s restoration, the latter refused.

On March 1, 1893 incoming president Grover Cleveland ordered the marines to withdraw and replaced Stevens with James Henderson Blount, whom he ordered to restore Liliuokalani to her throne.

When Blount failed to do, so a group of native Hawaiians launched an armed uprising. The Provisional Government responded by declaring martial law. Although Liliuokalani denied any knowledge of the rebellion, she was arrested and convicted of “misprision.”**

Following her 20-month imprisonment, she made repeated trips to the US to advocate for the human rights of native Hawaiians.

The US would formally annex Hawaii in 1898 where they declared war on Spain and invaded the Philippines. In 1900, Hawaii officially became a US territory.


*A term used to refer to “white” residents of Hawaii who are not descendants of native Hawaiians.

**A term in English law referring to neglect in preventing or reporting a felony or treason by a non-accessory.

 

 

 

The 9/11 Omission Report

The 9/11 Omission Report – What the Commission Didn’t Report

John Judge (2005)

Film Review

This 2005 presentation by late assassination John Judge focuses on numerous deliberate errors and omissions in the 2004 9/11 Commission Report.

Judge is best known for his investigation into the Jonestown massacre – see Jonestown: The Strange Connection to the Murder of Martin Luther King. He was also a protege of late assassination researcher Mae Brussell (see Mae Brussell: Forgotten Superhero).

As a grassroots organizer, he co-founded The Coalition on Political Assassinations. The latter was pivotal in forcing the Clinton administration to release classified JFK assassination documents during the 1990s. After 9/11, he helped found the 9/11 Citizens’ Commission, forced the Bush administration to remove Henry Kissinger from the 9/11 Commission and helped bring its blatant cover-up role to public attention.

In 2005, he had particular concerns about the failure of the Air Force to scramble fighter jets to intercept the hijacked planes (ie follow standard protocol), as well as the absence of any Arab names on any of the flight manifests. It also bothered him that 7 of the 19 alleged suicide hijackers were still alive.

As with most of Judge’s presentations, his experience growing up with a mother who worked in the Pentagon, amidst CIA families in Washington DC, adds significant depth to his perspective. Like his mentor, Mae Brussell, he likes to point out the involvement of presumed 9-11 co-conspirators in prior covert operations, such as Watergate and Irangate.

I found the last segment of this presentation, in which Judge discusses the racist and genocidal nature of the War on Terror, the most interesting. Already in 2005, Judge was talking about fascism and genocide being an inevitable result of post-industrial capitalism. He ends his talk by predicting that genocide will be inevitable as automation reduces the capitalists’ need for workers. He also predicts the global elite will employ racial identification to determine which populations to eliminate first.