Monday, December 01, 2008

Our Culture of Life in Christian America

A rare teaching moment presented itself to me a few days ago of a coincidental nature, and I've been taught to take coincidences seriously.

I had immersed myself in a study of the history of Iran-Contra, and was beginning to find the sudden withdrawal from the public stage of the CIA's director, a bit too convenient for my newly acquired sensibilities. I keep a little file somewhere of Suicides, Involuntarily-Committed and I thought this one might be a prospect.

So I went to Google the director's name directly. But instead of putting in the name of William J. Casey, the CIA director from 1981 to 1987, as I intended, I mistakenly and purely unconsciously, put in a similar name---that of William Colby, also a director of the CIA, but from September 1973, to January 1976.

Quickly scanning down his Wikipedia entry, I simultaneously realized I was in the wrong decade at the same time I spotted talk of Colby's suspicious, unattended death in a boating accident, 15 feet offshore of his home in Rock Point, Maryland; with the big, bold, black letters of a header starring out at me THEORIES. I was like a baby gosling bonding with its mother, the gasoline-powered lawn mower.

I didn't really want to get into his story, which was interesting. Colby went from the Chief of Station in Saigon, in the early 60's, to his appointment by Richard Nixon, then the tumult of the Church and Pike Commission's period, to his replacement with George H. W. Bush, at the same time the Secretary of Defense, James Schlesinger, was replaced by Donald Rumsfeld, under authority of President Ford, but all of it advised by Henry Kissinger, if you catch my drift. I don't think that I could have kept my mouth shut with all of that simmering beneath my surface, but Colby didn't die until 20 years into his retirement, which was not good enough for a new fatalistic horrorism junky like myself.

So, for the good stuff on William Casey, I didn't bother with Wikipedia. I went straight to mainlining raw Spartacus Educational. Hail Charlton! Hail Tony!

Casey's death didn't disappoint the necrophiliacs in the Justice Department at least! An ugly state of affairs in Congress over the Iran-Contra affair, had led to a kind of "Abu Gharib" moment---you know the kind: where you just want to cut somebody's head off, to shut them all up and get everybody the hell off your back.

Wait a minute, that came later. I'm in a different wrong decade now. Here we just snip out of the nose a little brain tissue.

Casey was botching his preliminary interviews before the House Select Committee on Intelligence. On December, 16th, 1976. Casey was scheduled to testify before the committee, but the day before, his CIA physician, Dr. Arvel Tharp, went to visit him in his office. According to Tharp, while he was being examined, Casey suffered a seizure. He was taken to Georgetown University Hospital and was unable to appear before the committee. "Tharp told Casey he had a brain tumor and that he would have to endure an operation.

"Casey was not keen and asked if he could have radio therapy instead. However, Tharp was insistent that he needed surgery."

"Casey entered the operating room on 18th December. The tumor was removed but during the operation, brain cells were damaged and Casey lost his ability to speak. As his biographer, Joseph E. Persico, points out (The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey): "one school of rumors ran, the CIA or the NSC or the White House had arranged to have a piece of the brain removed from the man who knew the secrets." How did the other school run I wonder?

The silent Casey could then serve as the sacrificial scapegoat you could throw a kitchen sink into and he wouldn't peep---a useful buffer providing President Ronald Reagan with enough plausible deniablity to evade the scandal entirely.

Robert Gates then became acting director of the CIA, proving everything old is new again.

"Not keen indeed!" Is radio therapy anything like Rosemary Clooney?

What must it be like to work for an organization so fear based that you know you could rise to the very top, only to come into your office one day and be told, "Oops, sorry Charlie! No second opinions for you!"

Images of George Tenet being pinned with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George Bush in 2004 will always remain for me the absolute definition of the terms unctuous and oleaginous. If you ever hear me using those words, especially together, I hope you see what I see in my mind's eye.

If anything was conceptualized as a must-win scenario, it is 9/11. You are all under your highest level contracts. And its really cracking wide open, not to rub your faces in it.

I didn't make the world we live in, and I can't do anything else to change it beyond what I'm doing here. Since I can't judge my usefulness, or understand shades of efficacy, I'll just fly on a wing and a prayer. I intend to keep going. I'm even serene, with what keeps getting tossed up on my shores. But it is sick, really sick, and if the world knew about it, the world would put a stop to it at once.

Since ahead of all the Gods, the Greeks placed necessity, maybe the world will know--in time.

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