Sunday, August 4, 2013

Frank Church, RIP

Seven months before he was assassinated, President JFK at the National Press Club warned Americans of a Secret Government without accountability to the American people:
5:24 with transcript 

As Senator Church Boise contemporary James Jesus Angleton, head of CIA Counterintelligence and alleged Mossad Mole, testified:

"It is inconceivable," the appalled Angleton told Congress, "that a secret intelligence arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of the government.":

US intelligence presently consists of 17 organizations with Black classified budgets exceeding $75 Billion and little effective Congressional oversight: 

Meet the Press, "the longest running TV show in the world," today showed a brief old video of US Senator Frank Church as weak counterpoint to a vigorous defense of secret domestic espionage to fight terrorism and preserve the government military industrial complex:

We were thus inspired to review some of Idaho US Senator Frank Church's instructive highlights.

Senator Church was primarily known for heading the Church Committee, which investigated abuses in the U.S. intelligence agencies.

Frank Church was born and raised in Boise, ID, a small town in 1924, about the same time as the rise to fame of Ernest Hemingway, not too far from where Ernest Hemingway retired in Ketchum, ID near Sun Valley and took his life like his father before and seven other family members:

Both died young, Church at 59, Hemingway at 61. 

Both left their papers to Boise State University.

Frosty's family was conservative military. He admired an Idaho US Senator who served from 1907 to 1940. He won an American Legion speaking contest that paid four years at Stanford interrupted by the war.

He enlisted in the US Army during World War II, became a 90 day Officer Candidate School boy wonder and served as a military intelligence officer in the China-Burma-India theater.

Church survived cancer at an early age with a diagnosis of only a few months to live. This led him to reflect that "life itself is such a chancy proposition that the only way to live is by taking great chances."

He taught public speaking at the Boise Community College and became an active Democrat in Idaho, a Republican state.

After a closely contested primary election against a former Senator, Church handily defeated the Republican incumbent in the general election.

At the age of 32, Church became the fifth youngest member ever to sit in the U.S. Senate. 

Church was reelected three times (1962, 1968 and 1974), the only Democrat ever to win reelection to the U.S. Senate from Idaho. 

Upon entering the Senate in January 1957, Church made the mistake of voting on a measure against the wishes of Democratic Majority Leader, Lyndon Johnson. Johnson punished Church by all but ignoring him for the next six months.

Church managed to find his way into Johnson's good graces by providing key assistance in getting the Civil Rights Act of 1957 passed. 

LBJ was so grateful he made the young Idahoan a veritable protégé, rewarding him with plum assignments, such as a seat on the prestigious Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Recently declassified documents show the young veteran also challenged his mentor, behind closed doors, after the 1964 false flag incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, making this prescient warning: 

In a democracy you cannot expect the people, whose sons are being killed and who will be killed, to exercise their judgment if the truth is concealed from them."

Church was a key figure in American foreign policy during the 1970s. He served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1979 to 1981.

Church was one of the first senators to publicly oppose the Vietnam War in the 1960s, although he had supported the conflict earlier. 

He was the co-author of two legislative efforts to curtail the war: the Cooper-Church Amendment of 1970, and the Case-Church Amendment of 1973.

In September 1970, Church announced on television and in speeches across the country that "the doves had won:" 

"A negotiated peace and the withdrawal of American troops are now official policy."

Church argued that the opponents of the Vietnam War needed to prevent the corruption of the nation and its institutions.

To Church, the anti-war opposition was the "highest concept of patriotism — which is not the patriotism of conformity — but the patriotism of Senator Carl Schurz, a dissenter from an earlier period, who proclaimed": 

'Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right: when wrong, to be put right."

Church gained national prominence during his service in the Senate through his chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities from 1975 through 1976, more commonly known as the Church Committee.

The Church Committee conducted extensive hearings investigating extra-legal CIA and FBI intelligence-gathering and covert operations

The committee investigated CIA drug smuggling activities in the Golden Triangle and secret U.S.-backed wars in Third World countries.

Together with Senator Sam Ervin's committee inquiries, the Church Committee hearings laid the groundwork for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to tame a "rogue elephant out of control.":

The sad thing is that content from 110,000 pages of classified findings by the Senate Church Committee and House Pike Committee was allegedly leaked to the New York Times and Village Voice by flower children staff to allegedly compromise dedicated career intelligence agents who were subsequently jailed, interrogated, tortured and killed: 

Furthermore, they compromised the distinguished Silver Star Medal Director of the CIA, William Colby, who cooperated with the Senate Church Committee to reveal some of the "Family Jewels" to salvage the CIA future and reputation: 2:16

Colby refused to disclose the CIA budget to the House Pike Committee or to evaluate with them the efficacy of US Intel with respect to Intelligence failures on the "Yom Kippur 1973 Mideast war; the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam; the 1974 coup in Cyprus; the 1974 coup in Portugal; the 1974 testing of a nuclear device by India; and the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia." 

He refused to provide evidence on "10 years of covert action in general, as well as specific CIA actions with regard to the 1972 Italian elections, US covert aid to the Kurds in Iraq from 1972 to 1975, and US covert activities in Angola." 

This resulted in a "knockdown Constitutional struggle" between the Congressional and Executive Branch over control of covert Intel:

The Pike Committee heard from Congressman Michael Harrington and Harvard law professor Roger Fisher, both of whom called for the outlawing of all covert action; former National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, who opposed covert action in peacetime; and historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who claimed that the CIA was indeed "a rogue elephant" and who suggested that "the only remedy was to impose strict executive and legislative oversight and drastically cut the intelligence budget as the ways to curb covert actions.": 

Colby was removed as DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) by President Ford and Henry Kissinger, along with James Schlesinger, Defense Secretary, in the Halloween Massacre, replaced by future President HW Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who later played a large part in the Weapons of Mass Destruction government conspiracy theory for the Iraq invasion. 

Some even said Colby, the author of covert political assassinations, was outed as a KGB mole with information on the JFK assassination and then assassinated:

The solid recommendations the Pike Committee made for improving Congressional and executive oversight of the IC (Intelligence Community) and for strengthening the DCI's (Director of Central Intelligence) command and control authorities were overlooked in the commotion surrounding the leaking of the committee's report to the press. 

In addition to its recommendations for prohibiting assassinations, opening the IC budget, allowing GAO (Government Accounting Office) audits of the CIA, and introducing stricter oversight of covert actions, the committee's number-one recommendation, like the Church Committee's, was the establishment of a Standing Committee on Intelligence. 

Unlike its Senate counterpart, the House committee would have jurisdiction over all legislation and oversight functions relating to all US agencies and departments engaged in foreign or domestic intelligence. It would have exclusive jurisdiction over budget authorization for all intelligence activities and for all covert actions.

The Pike Committee also proposed to vest this committee with subpoena power and the right to release any information or documents in its possession or control. 

Coupled with this last recommendation was an additional section that recommended criminal sanctions for the unauthorized disclosure of information tending to identify any US intelligence officer.

We saw how that worked out with CIA, DOJ, FBI and NSA surveillance of US Rep Jane Harmon making a deal with AIPAC and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove outing CIA operative Valerie Plame because her husband found evidence opposing their claims: 2:09  

Daniel Ellsberg quoted Senator Church as speaking of the NSA as follows: 

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

Church was a strong progressive and environmental legislator.

He played a major role in the creation of the nation's system of protected wilderness areas in the 1960s. 

In 1964, Church was the floor sponsor of the national Wilderness Act

In 1968, he sponsored the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and gained passage of a ten-year moratorium on federal plans to transfer water from the Pacific Northwest to California.

Working with other members of Congress from northwestern states, Church helped establish the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area along the Oregon-Idaho border, which protected the gorge from dam building. 

He was also the primary proponent in the establishment of the Sawtooth Wilderness & National Recreation Area in central Idaho in 1972. 

Church also was instrumental in the creation of Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness in 1980, including the old Idaho Primitive Area, the Salmon River Breaks Primitive Area and additional lands.

At 2.36 million acres (9,550 km²), over 3,600 square miles (9,300 km2), River of No Return is the largest wilderness area in the nation outside of Alaska.

It was renamed the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in 1984, shortly after the diagnosis of his pancreatic cancer. Idaho Senator Jim McClure introduced the measure in the Senate in late February, and President Reagan signed the act on March 14, less than four weeks before his death on 7 April 1984.

Frank Church was considered a progressive (remarkable considering that he represented one of the most conservative states in the nation). 

He, in 1979, was the first in Congress to disclose and protest the presence of Soviet combat troops in Cuba. According to the Christian Science Monitor, this stance somewhat disarmed his opponent's charge in the 1980 campaign that Church's performance on the Foreign Relations Committee had helped to weaken the US militarily.

In late 1975 and early 1976, a sub-committee of the U.S. Senate led by Church concluded that members of the Lockheed board had paid members of friendly governments to guarantee contracts for military aircraft in a series of illegal bribes and contributions made by Lockheed officials from the late 1950s to the 1970s. 

In 1976, it was publicly revealed that Lockheed had paid $22 million in bribes to foreign officials in the process of negotiating the sale of aircraft including the F-104 Starfighter, the so-called "Deal of the Century".

Senator Church also sponsored the "conscience clause", which prohibited the government from requiring church-affiliated hospitals to perform abortions.

Church remains the only Idahoan to win a major-party presidential primary election against Jimmy Carter.

As of 2013, Church was the last Democrat to serve in the U.S. Senate from Idaho.

Senator Church was stunned by what the Church Committee learned about the immense operations and electronic monitoring capabilities of the National Security Agency (NSA), an agency whose existence was unknown to most Americans at the time.

Church stated in 1975: "That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide."

He is widely quoted as also stating regarding the NSA: 

"I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge... I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

Commentators including U.S. Constitutional lawyer and columnist Glenn Greenwald praised Church for his prescient warning regarding this turning around by the NSA to monitor the American people, arguing that the NSA undertook such a turning in the years after the September 11 Attacks.

Ladies and gentleman, it is time for We the People to rise up and exercise our sovereign dominion over public servants who have abused our trust.

It is not too late to restore Constitutional government that serves the people instead of special interests

The alternative is to just roll over, stay asleep and give up our Constitutional protections.

To paraphrase one of our campaign volunteers, "$20 from a million people is better than $20 Million from one special interest."

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