Friday, October 26, 2012

Against Them and Colin Powell

One of the more astonishing revelations from Tegan Mathis’ Against Them is the allegation that Colin Powell was the assassin who shot Kennedy in the back from the Texas Book School Depository in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. But is there any truth to the story about Powell?
The short answer to the question is that much more research is required. The longer answer is that such a narrative about Colin Powell barely has enough basis in fact to justify the research – hanging on a threadbare tease of a rope.
For those who have not read the book or our review of it, Mathis decodes Lynne Cheney’s Executive Privilege, written in 1979, which tells the details about Watergate and the Kennedy assassination through the filter of a bad novel laden with clues which only certain cognoscenti would understand.
In decoding the clues, Mathis concluded that one character, Harold Stark, is a representation of Colin Powell. Stark was a protégé of Robert Boyston who represents Caspar Weinberger who was the Shadow Government vice president. This relationship became our point of departure in our attempt to validate the factual basis of Lynne Cheney’s story.
Keep in mind that we allow for the possibility that Cheney told fractured fairy tales or created a time bomb to confuse future historians who might get too close to the truth.
Starting in 1976, Cheney spent the next 3 years writing the book which saw publication in 1979. Perhaps her husband’s years in the political wilderness gave her time to whip up a bad novel, but it was also a time well before Watergate reached its half life and before many of the names to become big during the 1980s and beyond were of any prominence. Two of those names were Caspar Weinberger and Colin Powell.
Cheney’s book, although set in the future, is allegedly a retrospective look at the Nixon years, with special focus on 1971 – 74 – according to Mathis’ telling of it. During this time both Weinberger and Powell were indeed in the White House. Weinberger was a California man, as were his bosses Nixon and Reagan, who came to serve as Director of Office of Management and Budget from June 12, 1972 – February 1, 1973. Unless you are David Stockman, the position is usually an obscure mid level White House position.
At the same time, Colin Powell came to the White House as a Lieutenant Colonel in the White House Fellow program whose 1972 class term began in September and ran for a year. Weinberger would be promoted to Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (February 12, 1973 – August 8, 1975). But for the purposes of our analysis, the period of interest is their overlap at the White House where Powell was assigned to OMB.
Thus it is clear that Weinberger and Powell worked together in the White House as Mathis says Cheney says in her novel. But that period lasted a mere 5 months, a period of time which seems too scant to accomplish anything of substance as implied by the Mathis interpretation.
When Cheney began her book in 1976, Weinberger was out of the public eye while Powell was never in it. But his star was on the rise quite literally the same year of Executive Privilege’s publication in 1979 – the year he was made a Brigadier General. Weinberger was in California doing whatever former bureaucrats do there.
The point is this – Lynne Cheney knew a lot about two relatively obscure men – even by DC gossip standards – in 1976. It would be unusual for a White House Fellow to make any impression on a bureaucrat’s wife 4 – 7 years after his departure from the president’s mansion. Thus the events provide a thin patina of plausibility to Mathis' thesis.
From this we conclude that Cheney had excellent inside information and may well have socialized with the Powells – although to hear Mathis tell it, Cheney is an impenitent racist. Her access to recondite knowledge substantiates the authority from which she wrote and thus lends credence to the details she relates about the two men and their relationship.  But to interpolate this inside information into a true confession about the true unfolding of Watergate stretches credulity.
Given the relatively short period of time Weinberger and Powell were in the OMB, their close relationship which Cheney describes would require significant prior development.
The bigger problem with Weinberger being the sponsor of Watergate is its enormity and timing. We believe that the scandal was too large and complex to be the work of Weinberger and a ragtag group of bureaucrats in the White House. Where in God’s good name would a Director of OMB get the time and authority to orchestrate the Watergate assassination? It would require much more in Weinberger’s portfolio than we can possibly know.
The other problem with assigning responsibility to Weinberger is its improbability. OMB is generally not a power center, so we find it a bit absurd that the alleged Shadow Vice President would assume his Clark Kent persona under that guise.
What we know of the two men seems to preclude their collaboration or involvement with anything so grand as the Bush Crime Syndicate’s Watergate conspiracy.
As for Powell, other problems in the timeline emerge with respect to the Kennedy assassination. Specifically, we refer to his tour of duty in Vietnam from 1962 – 1963. The best evidence we were able to marshal shows Powell in Vietnam from December 25, 1962 to November 22/23, 1963, leaving little or no time to be in Dallas for a murder of the president.
This in no way exonerates Powell who was sent to Vietnam to whitewash My Lai and other civilian butcherings by the CIA and US Army.
If someone were to prove that Powell was in the TSBD window shooting at the president, he would need to show that Powell was in the Dallas on or prior to 12:30p on November 22, 1963. As of now, the best evidence fails to support Mathis’ interpretation of Cheney.
But that is a minimal standard since executing a complex operation of murdering the president would require significant training with the principals.
Assuming that we are correct about Powell, and assuming that Mathis is generally correct about the Cheney novel, then our alternative explanation of Executive Privilege as a fractured fairy tale or parlor game for certain cognoscenti makes sense.
Given Mathis' near anonymity it is quite possible that he is a spook on a disinformation campaign.
 Reference Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell." Karen De Young. New York: Vintage Books/Random House, 2007. 612 p. ISBN: 9781400075645. See pp. 51 and 67.
Colin Powell, A Biography." Richard Steins. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003. 133 p. ISBN: 031332266X. See p. 27.

My American Journey." Colin L. Powell. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003. 675 p. ISBN: 0345466411. See p. 104

Copyright 2012 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

On page 104 his 1995 autobiography (My American JourneyMy American Journey page 155) and was moved to the White House in 1972, evidently by Frank Carlucci (My American Journey).

Powell was in the game well before the Watergate break-in.

Anonymous said...

On page 104 his 1995 autobiography (My American Journey), Colin Powell says he first heard about the JFK assassination as he was sitting in an airport in Nashville, Tennessee, waiting for a flight to Birmingham, Alabama.

If you look at a map of the United States, you will see that Nashville, Tennessee and Dallas, Texas are roughly equidistant from Birmingham, Alabama. Consistent with Mathis' assertion, Powell very well may have been catching a flight from Dallas to Birmingham, instead of Nashville to Birmingham. Powell's timeline and "alibi" tend to bolster the Mathis case with precision.

As for Powell having a hand in the Watergate break-in, Mathis doesn't actually make that claim. Mathis merely says Powell had knowledge of the break-in, which he shared with the "Hoff" character.

Powell began working at the Pentagon in July of 1971 (My American Journey page 155) and was moved to the White House in 1972, evidently by Frank Carlucci (My American Journey).

Powell was in the game well before the Watergate break-in.

Tony Bonn said...

I don't claim to be doctrinaire or adamant of powell's innocence - just that i haven't been able to assemble enough evidence to support mathis.

regarding powell's time in the white house, i would like to see evidence that he circumvented the normally competitive process of gaining a white fellow berth. What does "evidently" by carlucci mean?

regarding dallas, i would like to see firmer evidence. there is some circumstantial evidence to place powell in dallas, including witnesses who saw a black man exit the rear of the tsbd. but that kind of "evidence" would be laughed out of court.

i also point out the logistical difficulties of placing powell at the scene of the crime of which the timing of his return from vietnam is paramount.

this is subject requiring further research, and i would love to see a tighter case made. until then, i take the cautious path.

interpreting history through the hermeneutic of a novel can put you on shaky ground.