Thursday, January 13, 2011

Case Open: Who Shot Gabrielle Giffords?

The apparent assassination attempt on Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords this past Saturday, January 8, has shocked and saddened all Americans of goodwill, including myself. It does not matter that Representative Giffords’ political affiliation differs from mine, or that I disagree with her on some very important issues. What matters is that I abhor such violence and hatred with every fiber of my being, and that this brutal attack on an innocent person deserves the most vigorous condemnation. I am keeping Mrs. Giffords and her family in my prayers, and I am also praying for her attacker who committed this savage act of terrorism.

According to media reports, on Saturday Mrs. Giffords was attending a political event in the parking lot of a Tucson shopping center when a young Arizonan man opened fire on the crowd, killing six people (including a federal judge, John Roll) and wounding fourteen others. Mrs. Giffords was among the wounded, having been shot in the head at point-blank range. Although suffering severe brain damage and remaining in critical condition in a hospital in Tucson, the 40-year-old congresswoman survives and appears likely to make at least a partial recovery.

The suspect in this shooting has been identified as a 22-year-old man by the name of Jared Lee Loughner. The U.S. government has charged him with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress and two other counts of attempted murder. FBI investigators have dug up several pieces of evidence pointing to Loughner’s guilt. One is an envelope in his house with the handwritten phrases “I planned ahead” and “My assassination” along with “Giffords” and what looks like Loughner’s signature. Another is a “rambling Internet manifesto” written under the name of Loughner. This is an incoherent piece of Neo-Nazi extremist drivel in which the author repeatedly praises Adolf Hitler, accuses our government of mind control and demands a new U.S. currency without the motto “In God We Trust.” The picture that emerges is of a mentally disturbed young radical who acted alone in attempting to assassinate Representative Giffords, egged on by a national climate of political frustration with Democrats.

This official account sounds plausible enough on the surface—much like the official account of the assassination of JFK. In that case, the suspect was Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old former U.S. Marine who had briefly defected to the Soviet Union. Oswald was arrested shortly after the shooting of President Kennedy in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas and charged with murdering the president the next day, but he insistently denied this charge. In 1964 when the Warren Commission, established by President Lyndon Johnson to look into the assassination of his predecessor, issued its official report on the matter, the conclusion was that in all likelihood Oswald acted alone.

In his 1991 bestselling book, Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK?, lawyer and investigative journalist Mark Lane offered a compelling challenge to the official government account of JFK’s death. He told how, in a Florida court case in which he was involved in 1985, veteran CIA agent E. Howard Hunt sued Spotlight magazine for an allegedly libelous article claiming that he was present in Dallas on November 22, 1963 and played a role in the assassination of President Kennedy. The magazine was found not guilty. Hunt had not acted alone but was part of a carefully orchestrated, super-secret plot to murder Kennedy and plant false evidence incriminating Oswald that involved half a dozen CIA operatives. Their reason for doing so was apparently to retaliate for the president’s determination to reform the Central Intelligence Agency and put a stop to the agency’s illegal activities around the world, such as the unsuccessful 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in which it attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro. Kennedy was also conducting successful negotiations with the Soviet Union, leveling off the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, and planning to withdraw all American troops from Vietnam by 1965. These developments clashed with the agenda of the U.S. political establishment at the time, dominated by hard-line anti-Communists, who insisted on military might and clandestine subversive activities to bring down the Soviet Union.

So what does all this have to do with the attack on Mrs. Giffords? As with the Kennedy assassination, the official story we are being served by our government and media about the attempt on the congresswoman may be a cover story, not the true story. A powerful government establishment engineered the Kennedy assassination, almost fifty years ago; it is possible that scheming forces within the Washington establishment of our own time may have orchestrated this new act of political violence.

Both the JFK assassination and the Giffords assault are acts of domestic terrorism. As defined in my book America’s Back-Door Enemy, terrorism is violence carried out with a political motivation. If our government establishment played some role in the attack on Representative Giffords, it may have had the following motivation for doing so: Cast the rising Republican Tea Party movement—which threatens the establishment power—as extremist, bigoted, and hateful, thereby weakening it and undermining its reputation. The Tea Party stands for traditional values, an end to abortion, lower taxes, smaller government, and fiscal responsibility—all of which are anathema to the Obama administration. The Washington establishment cannot stop the peaceful Republican revolution from taking over America, but it can at least attempt to frighten and discredit the movement and tarnish its image ahead of the presidential election next year.

The violent, godless and evil ideals ascribed to Jared Lee Loughner could not be further from those of the new American popular movement. It is peaceful, positive, upright, and God-fearing in its aims and in the means to achieve them. Violence against other human beings is destructive and wrong, no matter who carries it out.

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