Michael Hasty: Paranoid shift


Richard Moore

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Paranoid shift
By Michael Hasty
Online Journal Contributing Writer
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January 10, 2004-Just before his death, James Jesus Angleton, the 
legendary chief of counterintelligence at the Central Intelligence 
Agency, was a bitter man. He felt betrayed by the people he had 
worked for all his life. In the end, he had come to realize that they 
were never really interested in American ideals of "freedom" and 
"democracy." They really only wanted "absolute power."

Angleton told author Joseph Trento that the reason he had gotten the 
counterintelligence job in the first place was by agreeing not to 
submit "sixty of Allen Dulles' closest friends" to a polygraph test 
concerning their business deals with the Nazis. In his end-of-life 
despair, Angleton assumed that he would see all his old companions 
again "in hell."

The transformation of James Jesus Angleton from an enthusiastic, Ivy 
League cold warrior, to a bitter old man, is an extreme example of a 
phenomenon I call a "paranoid shift." I recognize the phenomenon, 
because something similar happened to me.

Although I don't remember ever meeting James Jesus Angleton, I worked 
at the CIA myself as a low-level clerk as a teenager in the '60s. 
This was at the same time I was beginning to question the 
government's actions in Vietnam. In fact, my personal "paranoid 
shift" probably began with the disillusionment I felt when I realized 
that the story of American foreign policy was, at the very least, 
more complicated and darker than I had hitherto been led to believe.

But for most of the next 30 years, even though I was a radical, I 
nevertheless held faith in the basic integrity of a system where 
power ultimately resided in the people, and whereby if enough people 
got together and voted, real and fundamental change could happen.

What constitutes my personal paranoid shift is that I no longer 
believe this to be necessarily true.

In his book, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower," 
William Blum warns of how the media will make anything that smacks of 
"conspiracy theory" an immediate "object of ridicule." This prevents 
the media from ever having to investigate the many strange 
interconnections among the ruling class-for example, the relationship 
between the boards of directors of media giants, and the energy, 
banking and defense industries. These unmentionable topics are 
usually treated with what Blum calls "the media's most effective 
tool-silence." But in case somebody's asking questions, all you have 
to do is say, "conspiracy theory," and any allegation instantly 
becomes too frivolous to merit serious attention.

On the other hand, since my paranoid shift, whenever I hear the words 
"conspiracy theory" (which seems more often, lately) it usually means 
someone is getting too close to the truth.

Take September 11-which I identify as the date my paranoia actually 
shifted, though I didn't know it at the time.

Unless I'm paranoid, it doesn't make any sense at all that George W. 
Bush, commander-in-chief, sat in a second-grade classroom for 20 
minutes after he was informed that a second plane had hit the World 
Trade Center, listening to children read a story about a goat. Nor 
does it make sense that the Number 2 man, Dick Cheney-even knowing 
that "the commander" was on a mission in Florida-nevertheless sat at 
his desk in the White House, watching TV, until the Secret Service 
dragged him out by the armpits.

Unless I'm paranoid, it makes no sense that Defense Secretary Donald 
Rumsfeld sat at his desk until Flight 77 hit the Pentagon-well over 
an hour after the military had learned about the multiple hijacking 
in progress. It also makes no sense that the brand-new chairman of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff sat in a Senate office for two hours while 
the 9/11 attacks took place, after leaving explicit instructions that 
he not be disturbed-which he wasn't.

In other words, while the 9/11 attacks were occurring, the entire top 
of the chain of command of the most powerful military in the world 
sat at various desks, inert. Why weren't they in the "Situation 
Room?" Don't any of them ever watch "West Wing?"

In a sane world, this would be an object of major scandal. But here 
on this side of the paranoid shift, it's business as usual.

Years, even decades before 9/11, plans had been drawn up for American 
forces to take control of the oil interests of the Middle East, for 
various imperialist reasons. And these plans were only contingent 
upon "a catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor," 
to gain the majority support of the American public to set the plans 
into motion. When the opportunity presented itself, the guards looked 
the other way . . . and presto, the path to global domination was 

Simple, as long as the media played along. And there is voluminous 
evidence that the media play along. Number one on Project Censored's 
annual list of underreported stories in 2002 was the Project for a 
New American Century (now the infrastructure of the Bush Regime), 
whose report, published in 2000, contains the above "Pearl Harbor" 

Why is it so hard to believe serious people who have repeatedly 
warned us that powerful ruling elites are out to dominate "the 
masses?" Did we think Dwight Eisenhower was exaggerating when he 
warned of the extreme "danger" to democracy of "the military 
industrial complex?" Was Barry Goldwater just being a quaint 
old-fashioned John Bircher when he said that the Trilateral 
Commission was "David Rockefeller's latest scheme to take over the 
world, by taking over the government of the United States?" Were 
Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt or Joseph Kennedy just being class 
traitors when they talked about a small group of wealthy elites who 
operate as a hidden government behind the government? Especially 
after he died so mysteriously, why shouldn't we believe the late CIA 
Director William Colby, who bragged about how the CIA "owns everyone 
of any major significance in the major media?"

Why can't we believe James Jesus Angleton-a man staring eternal 
judgment in the face-when he says that the founders of the Cold War 
national security state were only interested in "absolute power?" 
Especially when the descendant of a very good friend of Allen Dulles 
now holds power in the White House.

Prescott Bush, the late, aristocratic senator from Connecticut, and 
grandfather of George W Bush, was not only a good friend of Allen 
Dulles, CIA director, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, 
and international business lawyer. He was also a client of Dulles' 
law firm. As such, he was the beneficiary of Dulles' miraculous 
ability to scrub the story of Bush's treasonous investments in the 
Third Reich out of the news media, where it might have interfered 
with Bush's political career . . . not to mention the presidential 
careers of his son and grandson.

Recently declassified US government documents, unearthed last October 
by investigative journalist John Buchanan at the New Hampshire 
Gazette, reveal that Prescott Bush's involvement in financing and 
arming the Nazis was more extensive than previously known. Not only 
was Bush managing director of the Union Banking Corporation, the 
American branch of Hitler's chief financier's banking network; but 
among the other companies where Bush was a director-and which were 
seized by the American government in 1942, under the Trading With the 
Enemy Act-were a shipping line which imported German spies; an energy 
company that supplied the Luftwaffe with high-ethyl fuel; and a steel 
company that employed Jewish slave labor from the Auschwitz 
concentration camp.

Like all the other Bush scandals that have been swept under the rug 
in the privatized censorship of the corporate media, these 
revelations have been largely ignored, with the exception of a single 
article in the Associated Press. And there are those, even on the 
left, who question the current relevance of this information.

But Prescott Bush's dealings with the Nazis do more than illustrate a 
family pattern of genteel treason and war profiteering-from George 
Senior's sale of TOW missiles to Iran at the same time he was selling 
biological and chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, to Junior's zany 
misadventures in crony capitalism in present-day Iraq.

More disturbing by far are the many eerie parallels between Adolph 
Hitler and George W. Bush:

A conservative, authoritarian style, with public appearances in 
military uniform (which no previous American president has ever done 
while in office). Government by secrecy, propaganda and deception. 
Open assaults on labor unions and workers' rights. Preemptive war and 
militant nationalism. Contempt for international law and treaties. 
Suspiciously convenient "terrorist" attacks, to justify a police 
state and the suspension of liberties. A carefully manufactured image 
of "The Leader," who's still just a "regular guy" and a "moderate." 
"Freedom" as the rationale for every action. Fantasy economic growth, 
based on unprecedented budget deficits and massive military spending.

And a cold, pragmatic ideology of fascism-including the violent 
suppression of dissent and other human rights; the use of torture, 
assassination and concentration camps; and most important, Benito 
Mussolini's preferred definition of "fascism" as "corporatism, 
because it binds together the interests of corporations and the 

By their fruits, you shall know them.

What perplexes me most is probably the same question that plagues 
most paranoiacs: why don't other people see these connections?

Oh, sure, there may be millions of us, lurking at websites like 
Online Journal, From the Wilderness, Center for Cooperative Research, 
and the Center for Research on Globalization, checking out right-wing 
conspiracists and the galaxy of 9/11 sites, and reading columnists 
like Chris Floyd at the Moscow Times, and Maureen Farrell at 
Buzzflash. But we know we are only a furtive minority, the human 
remnant among the pod people in the live-action, 21st-century version 
of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

And being paranoid, we have to figure out, with an answer that fits 
into our system, why more people don't see the connections we do. 
Fortunately, there are a number of possible explanations.

First on the list would have to be what Marshal McLuhan called the 
"cave art of the electronic age:" advertising. Joseph Goebbels, 
Hitler's Karl Rove, gave credit for most of his ideas on how to 
manipulate mass opinion to American commercial advertising, and to 
the then-new science of "public relations." But the public relations 
universe available to the corporate empire that rules the world today 
makes the Goebbels operation look primitive. The precision of 
communications technology and graphics; the century of research on 
human psychology and emotion; and the uniquely centralized control of 
triumphant post-Cold War monopoly capitalism, have combined to the 
point where "the manufacture of consent" can be set on automatic 

A second major reason people won't make the paranoid shift is that 
they are too fundamentally decent. They can't believe that the 
elected leaders of our country, the people they've been taught 
through 12 years of public school to admire and trust, are capable of 
sending young American soldiers to their deaths and slaughtering tens 
of thousands of innocent civilians, just to satisfy their 
greed-especially when they're so rich in the first place. Besides, 
America is good, and the media are liberal and overly critical.

Third, people don't want to look like fools. Being a "conspiracy 
theorist" is like being a creationist. The educated opinion of 
eminent experts on every TV and radio network is that any discussion 
of "oil" being a motivation for the US invasion of Iraq is just out 
of bounds, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy 
theorist." We can trust the integrity of our 'no-bid" contracting in 
Iraq, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist." Of 
course, people sometimes make mistakes, but our military and 
intelligence community did the best they could on and before 
September 11, and anybody who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy 

Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of JFK, and anyone who thinks 
otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist."

Perhaps the biggest hidden reason people don't make the paranoid 
shift is that knowledge brings responsibility. If we acknowledge that 
an inner circle of ruling elites controls the world's most powerful 
military and intelligence system; controls the international banking 
system; controls the most effective and far-reaching propaganda 
network in history; controls all three branches of government in the 
world's only superpower; and controls the technology that counts the 
people's votes, we might be then forced to conclude that we don't 
live in a particularly democratic system. And then voting and making 
contributions and trying to stay informed wouldn't be enough. Because 
then the duty of citizenship would go beyond serving as a loyal 
opposition, to serving as a "loyal resistance"-like the Republicans 
in the Spanish Civil War, except that in this case the resistance to 
fascism would be on the side of the national ideals, rather than the 
government; and a violent insurgency would not only play into the 
empire's hands, it would be doomed from the start.

Forming a nonviolent resistance movement, on the other hand, might 
mean forsaking some middle class comfort, and it would doubtless 
require a lot of work. It would mean educating ourselves and others 
about the nature of the truly apocalyptic beast we face. It would 
mean organizing at the most basic neighborhood level, face to face. 
(We cannot put our trust in the empire's technology.) It would mean 
reaching across turf lines and transcending single-issue politics, 
forming coalitions and sharing data and names and strategies, and 
applying energy at every level of government, local to global. It 
would also probably mean civil disobedience, at a time when the Bush 
regime is starting to classify that action as "terrorism." In the 
end, it may mean organizing a progressive confederacy to govern 
ourselves, just as our revolutionary founders formed the Continental 
Congress. It would mean being wise as serpents, and gentle as doves.

It would be a lot of work. It would also require critical mass. A 
paradigm shift.

But as a paranoid, I'm ready to join the resistance. And the main 
reason is I no longer think that the "conspiracy" is much of a 

That the US House of Representatives Select Committee on 
Assassinations concluded that the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy 
was "probably" the result of "a conspiracy," and that 70 percent of 
Americans agree with this conclusion, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the Bay of Pigs fiasco, "Operation Zapata," was organized by 
members of Skull and Bones, the ghoulish and powerful secret society 
at Yale University whose membership also included Prescott, George 
Herbert Walker and George W Bush; that two of the ships that carried 
the Cuban counterrevolutionaries to their appointment with absurdity 
were named the "Barbara" and the "Houston"-George HW Bush's city of 
residence at the time-and that the oil company Bush owned, then 
operating in the Caribbean area, was named "Zapata," is not "theory." 
It's fact.

That George Bush was the CIA director who kept the names of what were 
estimated to be hundreds of American journalists, considered to be 
CIA "assets," from the Church Committee, the US Senate Intelligence 
Committe chaired by Senator Frank Church that investigated the CIA in 
the 1970s; that a 1971 University of Michigan study concluded that, 
in America, the more TV you watched, the less you knew; and that a 
recent survey by international scholars found that Americans were the 
most "ignorant" of world affairs out of all the populations they 
studied, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the Council on Foreign Relations has a history of influence on 
official US government foreign policy; that the protection of US 
supplies of Middle East oil has been a central element of American 
foreign policy since the Second World War; and that global oil 
production has been in decline since its peak year, 2000, is not 
"theory." It's fact.

That, in the early 1970s, the newly-formed Trilateral Commission 
published a report which recommended that, in order for 
"globalization" to succeed, American manufacturing jobs had to be 
exported, and American wages had to decline, which is exactly what 
happened over the next three decades; and that, during that same 
period, the richest one percent of Americans doubled their share of 
the national wealth, is not "theory." It's fact.

That, beyond their quasi-public role as agents of the US Treasury 
Department, the Federal Reserve Banks are profit-making corporations, 
whose beneficiaries include some of America's wealthiest families; 
and that the United States has a virtual controlling interest in the 
World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade 
Organization, the three dominant global financial institutions, is 
not a "theory." It's fact.

That-whether it's heroin from Southeast Asia in the '60s and '70s, or 
cocaine from Central America and heroin from Afghanistan in the '80s, 
or cocaine from Colombia in the '90s, or heroin from Afghanistan 
today-no major CIA covert operation has ever lacked a drug smuggling 
component, and that the CIA has hired Nazis, fascists, drug dealers, 
arms smugglers, mass murderers, perverts, sadists, terrorists and the 
Mafia, is not "theory." It's fact.

That the international oil industry is the dominant player in the 
global economy; that the Bush family has a decades-long business 
relationship with the Saudi royal family, Saudi oil money, and the 
family of Osama bin Laden; that, as president, both George Bushes 
have favored the interests of oil companies over the public interest; 
that both George Bushes have personally profited financially from 
Middle East oil; and that American oil companies doubled their 
records for quarterly profits in the months just preceding the 
invasion of Iraq, is not "theory." It's fact.

That the 2000 presidential election was deliberately stolen; that the 
pro-Bush/anti-Gore bias in the corporate media had spiked markedly in 
the last three weeks of the campaign; that corporate media were then 
virtually silent about the Florida recount; and that the Bush 2000 
team had planned to challenge the legitimacy of the election if 
George W had won the popular, but lost the electoral vote-exactly 
what happened to Gore-is not "theory." It's fact.

That the intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was 
deceptively "cooked" by the Bush administration; that anybody paying 
attention to people like former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, 
knew before the invasion that the weapons were a hoax; and that 
American forces in Iraq today are applying the same brutal 
counterinsurgency tactics pioneered in Central America in the 1980s, 
under the direct supervision of then-Vice President George HW Bush, 
is not a "theory." It's fact.

That "Rebuilding America's Defenses," the Project for a New American 
Century's 2000 report, and "The Grand Chessboard," a book published a 
few years earlier by Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew 
Brzezinski, both recommended a more robust and imperial US military 
presence in the oil basin of the Middle East and the Caspian region; 
and that both also suggested that American public support for this 
energy crusade would depend on public response to a new "Pearl 
Harbor," is not "theory." It's fact.

That, in the 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously approved a 
plan called "Operation Northwoods," to stage terrorist attacks on 
American soil that could be used to justify an invasion of Cuba; and 
that there is currently an office in the Pentagon whose function is 
to instigate terrorist attacks that could be used to justify future 
strategically-desired military responses, is not a "theory." It's 

That neither the accusation by former British Environmental Minister 
Michael Meacher, Tony Blair's longest-serving cabinet minister, that 
George W Bush allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen to justify an oil 
war in the Middle East; nor the RICO lawsuit filed by 9/11 widow 
Ellen Mariani against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Council on 
Foreign Relations (among others), on the grounds that they conspired 
to let the attacks happen to cash in on the ensuing war profiteering, 
has captured the slightest attention from American corporate media is 
not a "theory." It's fact.

That the FBI has completely exonerated-though never identified-the 
speculators who purchased, a few days before the attacks (through a 
bank whose previous director is now the CIA executive director), an 
unusual number of "put" options, and who made millions betting that 
the stocks in American and United Airlines would crash, is not a 
"theory." It's fact.

That the US intelligence community received numerous warnings, from 
multiple sources, throughout the summer of 2001, that a major 
terrorist attack on American interests was imminent; that, according 
to the chair of the "independent" 9/11 commission, the attacks "could 
have and should have been prevented," and according to a Senate 
Intelligence Committee member, "All the dots were connected;" that 
the White House has verified George W Bush's personal knowledge, as 
of August 6, 2001, that these terrorist attacks might be domestic and 
might involve hijacked airliners; that, in the summer of 2001, at the 
insistence of the American Secret Service, anti-aircraft ordnance was 
installed around the city of Genoa, Italy, to defend against a 
possible terrorist suicide attack, by aircraft, against George W 
Bush, who was attending the economic summit there; and that George W 
Bush has nevertheless regaled audiences with his first thought upon 
seeing the "first" plane hit the World Trade Center, which was: "What 
a terrible pilot," is not "theory." It's fact.

That, on the morning of September 11, 2001: standard procedures and 
policies at the nation's air defense and aviation bureaucracies were 
ignored, and communications were delayed; the black boxes of the 
planes that hit the WTC were destroyed, but hijacker Mohammed Atta's 
passport was found in pristine condition; high-ranking Pentagon 
officers had cancelled their commercial flight plans for that 
morning; George H.W. Bush was meeting in Washington with 
representatives of Osama bin Laden's family, and other investors in 
the world's largest private equity firm, the Carlyle Group; the CIA 
was conducting a previously-scheduled mock exercise of an airliner 
hitting the Pentagon; the chairs of both the House and Senate 
Intelligence Committees were having breakfast with the chief of 
Pakistan's intelligence agency, who resigned a week later on 
suspicion of involvement in the 9/11 attacks; and the 
commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States sat in a 
second grade classroom for 20 minutes after hearing that a second 
plane had struck the towers, listening to children read a story about 
a goat, is not "theoretical." These are facts.

That the Bush administration has desperately fought every attempt to 
independently investigate the events of 9/11, is not a "theory."

Nor, finally, is it in any way a "theory" that the one, single name 
that can be directly linked to the Third Reich, the US military 
industrial complex, Skull and Bones, Eastern Establishment good ol' 
boys, the Illuminati, Big Texas Oil, the Bay of Pigs, the Miami 
Cubans, the Mafia, the FBI, the JFK assassination, the New World 
Order, Watergate, the Republican National Committee, Eastern European 
fascists, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral 
Commission, the United Nations, CIA headquarters, the October 
Surprise, the Iran/Contra scandal, Inslaw, the Christic Institute, 
Manuel Noriega, drug-running "freedom fighters" and death squads, 
Iraqgate, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, the blood of 
innocents, the savings and loan crash, the Bank of Credit and 
Commerce International, the "Octopus," the "Enterprise," the Afghan 
mujaheddin, the War on Drugs, Mena (Arkansas), Whitewater, Sun Myung 
Moon, the Carlyle Group, Osama bin Laden and the Saudi royal family, 
David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, and the presidency and 
vice-presidency of the United States, is: George Herbert Walker Bush.

"Theory?" To the contrary.

It is a well-documented, tragic and-especially if you're 
paranoid-terrifying fact.

Michael Hasty is a writer, activist, musician, carpenter and farmer. 
His award-winning column, "Thinking Locally," appeared for seven 
years in the Hampshire Review, West Virginia's oldest newspaper. His 
writing has also appeared in the Highlands Voice, the Washington 
Peace Letter, the Takoma Park Newsletter, the German magazine 
Generational Justice, and the Washington Post; and at the websites 
Common Dreams and Democrats.com. In January 1989, he was the media 
spokesperson for the counter-inaugural coalition at George Bush's 
Counter-Inaugural Banquet, which fed hundreds of DC's homeless in 
front of Union Station, where the official inaugural dinner was being 

Permission to reprint is granted, provided it includes this 
autobiographical note, and credit for first publication to Online 

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