Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #711 Interview (#1) with Russ Baker, Author of “Family of Secrets”

Side 1 | Side 2

Jour­nal­ist Russ Bak­er has authored Fam­i­ly of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, Amer­i­ca’s Invis­i­ble Gov­ern­ment and the Hid­den His­to­ry of the Last 50 Years–a poten­tial­ly deci­sive, mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional polit­i­cal his­to­ry and analy­sis of the Bush fam­i­ly. This first inter­view of six con­duct­ed with the author chron­i­cles the gen­e­sis of the Bush dynasty, high­light­ing the fam­i­ly’s busi­ness and polit­i­cal rela­tion­ships with pow­er­ful Wall Street inter­ests, the Har­ri­man busi­ness empire, in par­tic­u­lar. Russ Bak­er, Fam­i­ly of Secrets, and this series of six inter­views illus­trate and ana­lyze the net­works of pow­er­ful cor­po­rate and nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests that have man­i­fest­ed the Bush fam­i­ly and, in turn, been advanced by them.

Through­out the deal­ings of gen­er­a­tions of Bush­es, one finds the petro­le­um busi­ness, spy­craft and the syn­the­sis of pop­u­lar elec­toral pol­i­tics with covert oper­a­tions. Set­ting forth impor­tant episodes in the ascent of George H.W. (“Pop­py”) Bush, this pro­gram notes his pro­found involve­ment with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and the fun­da­men­tal, sym­bi­ot­ic rela­tion­ship between his busi­ness ven­tures and an appar­ent life­long career as an intel­li­gence offi­cer. After recount­ing Prescott Bush’s work for pow­er­ful invest­ment bank­ing firm Brown Broth­ers Har­ri­man, the pro­gram under­scores his son George’s involve­ment with intel­li­gence going back to his work for an ONI pho­to analy­sis unit dur­ing World War II. After the war, “Pop­py” (George H.W.) Bush uses fam­i­ly pro­fes­sion­al con­nec­tions to become estab­lished in Texas.

From work with oil drilling firm Dress­er Industries–headed by Har­ri­man crony and fel­low Yale “Bones­man” Hen­ry Neil Mal­lon–Pop­py moves on to head his own out­fit, Zap­a­ta Off­shore Petro­le­um. Launched with the aid of CIA vet­er­an Thomas Devine, Zap­a­ta appears to have been lit­tle more than an intel­li­gence front. Not prof­itable, Zap­a­ta encom­passed a range of oper­a­tions and ven­tures that appear to have advanced the inter­ests of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency and pow­er­ful eco­nom­ic forces it serves. Among the sig­nif­i­cant areas of involve­ment for Zap­a­ta was Latin Amer­i­ca, espe­cial­ly Cuba and the anti-Cas­tro efforts of the CIA.

Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance is Bak­er’s analy­sis of Pop­py’s behav­ior vis a vis the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy. At loss to explain his exact where­abouts and activ­i­ty at the time Pres­i­dent Kennedy was assas­si­nat­ed, the elder George Bush appears to have been involved with the assas­si­na­tion. Close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the intel­li­gence and cor­po­rate milieu that dis­patched JFK, Pop­py was cer­tain­ly in Dal­las the evening before the assas­si­na­tion and may very well have been there on the very day of the killing. His inabil­i­ty to account for his behav­ior on that fate­ful day and his evi­dent and sophis­ti­cat­ed efforts to obscure his tracks are sug­ges­tive of guilt.

Close to Richard Nixon through­out his polit­i­cal career, Pop­py Bush appears to have been piv­otal­ly involved with the intel­li­gence forces that delib­er­ate­ly oust­ed Nixon in the Water­gate affair, itself inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the events of 11/22/1963 and the Bay of Pigs milieu.

The saga of the Bush clan, as well as the evo­lu­tion of the pow­er elite struc­ture to which they belong, have imprint­ed that fam­i­ly with cer­tain his­tor­i­cal and polit­i­cal “themes”–themes that can be clear­ly iden­ti­fied in the nature and lega­cy of the polit­i­cal career of George W. Bush. Read a Mini-Review of the Book.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Analy­sis of the use of the rhetor­i­cal cliche “con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry” to active­ly sup­press dis­cus­sion of clan­des­tine oper­a­tions; syn­op­sis of key ele­ments of the “Old Boy Net­work” and East­ern Estab­lish­ment; Hen­ry Neil Mal­lon’s involve­ment with intel­li­gence and nation­al mat­ters; Mal­lon’s close rela­tion­ship with CIA direc­tor and Sul­li­van and Cromwell asso­ciate Allen Dulles; Dulles’s pedi­gree in the Wall Street and intel­li­gence estab­lish­ment; Pop­py Bush’s rela­tion­ship to Oswald intel­li­gence babysit­ter George De Mohren­schildt; Pop­py’s use of a memo to the FBI to pro­vide him­self with a con­ve­nient cov­er for his activ­i­ties on 11/22/1963; the evo­lu­tion of Dress­er Indus­tries into Hal­libur­ton (head­ed for a time by Dick Cheney, polit­i­cal crony of both Pop­py and Dubya); syn­op­sis of the close polit­i­cal rela­tion­ship between LBJ and Pop­py; Pop­py’s selec­tion of Judge Manuel Bra­vo, a close LBJ asso­ciate, to head Zap­a­ta Off­shore Petro­le­um’s (land­locked) Medellin, Colum­bia office; the role of Hal­libur­ton the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon blowout in the Gulf of Mex­i­co; the pro­fes­sion­al and his­tor­i­cal links between the Bush fam­i­ly and the Gam­mells, a pow­er­ful Scot­tish bank­ing fam­i­ly who are, in turn, close­ly con­nect­ed to the milieu of for­mer British PM Tony Blair and BP; the role of the milieu of nar­cotics-smug­gling and intel­li­gence-con­nect­ed banks to the pro­fes­sion­al ascent of the younger George Bush; George W. Bush’s dec­la­ra­tion to a Texas in jour­nal­ist that if affored the oppor­tu­ni­ty, he intend­ed to invade Iraq.


4 comments for “FTR #711 Interview (#1) with Russ Baker, Author of “Family of Secrets””

  1. Your last show about the bush fam­i­ly was very inter­est­ing. Par­tic­u­lar­ly if its true that H.W.Bush can not recall where he was when the Pres­i­dent Kennedy was assas­si­nat­ed. ( I was read­ing about Sirhan Sirhan and was stunned to find out that the judge in his case went by the name of Her­bert V. Walk­er,) I was won­der­ing can there be any con­nec­tion between this judge and this famous Bush crime fam­i­ly.

    Posted by Allen | June 27, 2010, 4:42 pm
  2. Russ Bak­er is the kind of jour­nal­ist work­ing in the field of polit­i­cal con­spir­a­cies (Deep Social-Polit­i­cal Net­work­ing) who reminds of Peter Dale Scott, the late Gary Webb, and Kevin Phillips, all of whom use sub­stan­tive doc­u­men­ta­tion to sup­port the grotesque diag­no­sis that all is not well in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal cul­ture and has not been for a long time. That plu­to­crats are deeply con­nect­ed, and that they use ambi­tious pla­toons of mer­i­to­crats (Chom­sky’s New Man­darins) and the plain naive to car­ry out their vio­lent strate­gies appears all too true.

    Posted by J. Edward Tipre | July 1, 2010, 1:05 pm
  3. Thank you so much for all of your work, Dave Emory, and for the pod­casts, which is about the only way I can catch up with your work. Is there any chance you could post #‘s 711–716? I am read­ing Russ Bak­er’s Fam­i­ly of Secrets, just lis­tened to #730, and would real­ly like to hear the rest of the inter­views with Bak­er. His sen­ti­ments at the end of #730, about how learn­ing who is real­ly run­ning things helps us to live hap­pi­er lives (I would say it releas­es us from the matrix), is a sen­ti­ment I have tried to com­mu­ni­cate to oth­ers, and have giv­en up on. Most peo­ple want to stay in the matrix, sad­ly.

    Posted by bikegata | December 27, 2011, 9:22 pm
  4. Sul­li­van & Cromwell: the go-to New York law firm for banks fac­ing reg­u­la­to­ry scruti­ny. Classy:

    Exclu­sive: Reg­u­la­tors irate at NY action against Stan­Chart

    By Car­rick Mol­lenkamp and Emi­ly Flit­ter and Karen Freifeld

    NEW YORK/LONDON | Wed Aug 8, 2012 12:41am EDT

    (Reuters) — The Trea­sury Depart­ment and Fed­er­al Reserve were blind­sided and angered by New York’s bank­ing reg­u­la­tor’s deci­sion to launch an explo­sive attack on Stan­dard Char­tered Plc over $250 bil­lion in alleged mon­ey laun­der­ing trans­ac­tions tied to Iran, sources famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion said.

    By going it alone through the order he issued on Mon­day, Ben­jamin Lawsky, head of the recent­ly cre­at­ed New York State Depart­ment of Finan­cial Ser­vices, also com­pli­cates talks between the Trea­sury and Lon­don-based Stan­dard Char­tered to set­tle claims over the trans­ac­tions, sev­er­al of the sources said.

    Lawsky’s stun­ning move, which includ­ed releas­ing embar­rass­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions and details of the bank’s alleged defi­ance of U.S. sanc­tions against Iran, is rewrit­ing the play­book on how for­eign banks set­tle cas­es involv­ing the pro­cess­ing of shad­owy funds tied to sanc­tioned coun­tries. In the past, such cas­es have usu­al­ly been set­tled through nego­ti­a­tion — with pub­lic sham­ing kept to a min­i­mum.

    In his order, Lawsky said Stan­dard Char­tered’s deal­ings exposed the U.S. bank­ing sys­tem to ter­ror­ists, drug traf­fick­ers and cor­rupt states.

    But the upset expressed by some fed­er­al offi­cials, who were giv­en vir­tu­al­ly no notice of the New York move, may pro­vide ammu­ni­tion for Stan­dard Char­tered to por­tray the alle­ga­tions as com­ing from a rel­a­tive­ly new and over-zeal­ous reg­u­la­tor.

    But, giv­en the con­tent of the order — which described Stan­dard Char­tered as a “rogue insti­tu­tion” that “schemed” with the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment and hid from law enforce­ment offi­cials some 60,000 secret trans­ac­tions over near­ly 10 years — the bank may need to come up with a strong defense.



    Stan­dard Char­tered, which sought the advice of one of New York’s top law firms, had hoped that com­ing clean and turn­ing over inter­nal records to fed­er­al reg­u­la­tors would yield a set­tle­ment, sources said.

    Those records also were turned over to New York’s bank reg­u­la­tor, which last year was com­bined with an insur­ance agency to cre­ate the new finan­cial watch­dog head­ed by Lawsky, a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor and aide to New York Gov­er­nor Andrew Cuo­mo.

    Lawsky’s aim, accord­ing to the sources, was to cast more light on a bank’s alleged trans­gres­sions. His agency, these peo­ple said, was­n’t inter­est­ed in a qui­et pact of the sort reached by fed­er­al author­i­ties in recent years.

    In 2010, for exam­ple, Bar­clays Plc paid $298 mil­lion in a set­tle­ment with reg­u­la­tors includ­ing the Trea­sury Depart­men­t’s sanc­tions reg­u­la­tor and the Man­hat­tan dis­trict attor­ney’s office. The bank, in set­tle­ment doc­u­ments, said it coop­er­at­ed in the probe.

    Bar­clays, like Stan­dard Char­tered, was advised by Sul­li­van & Cromwell, known as the go-to New York law firm for banks fac­ing reg­u­la­to­ry scruti­ny. The Bar­clays set­tle­ment, while receiv­ing news cov­er­age, was a fair­ly bland doc­u­ment that list­ed the bank’s trans­ac­tions but few insid­er details, such as emails. Oth­er banks, includ­ing Cred­it Suisse and ING, have set­tled in much the same way with U.S. reg­u­la­tors.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 8, 2012, 6:32 pm

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