Monday, May 07, 2007

There was a time when New Orleans actually had a zealous D.A.

I've been reading about the recent deathbed confession of E. Howard Hunt, the former C.I.A. agent who was implicated in the Watergate break in. He claims that he was involved in the conspiracy to kill J.F.K. Hunt said he was acting on orders from L.B.J. and a select group of former and then current C.I.A. conpirators who wanted Kennedy dead.

It reminded me of Jim Garrison's 1967 Playboy interview...I wanted to go re-read it to see if there were any connections to Hunt's confession. I didn't notice any glaring items, but I read these paragraphs and got chills down my spine. I had read the interview before, but it was a long time ago and I guess I just didn't notice this part. Garrison's ominous concerns in 1967 are closer to reality now than ever:

What worries me deeply, and I have seen it exemplified in this case, is that we in America are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto-fascist state. It will be a different kind of fascist state from the one of the Germans evolved; theirs grew out of depression and promised bread and work, while ours, curiously enough, seems to be emerging from prosperity. But in the final analysis, it's based on power and on the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state. Its origins can be traced in the tremendous war machine we've built since 1945, the "military-industrial complex" that Eisenhower vainly warned us about, which now dominates every aspect of our life. The power of the states and Congress has gradually been abandoned to the Executive Department, because of war conditions; and we've seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution.

In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can't spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can't look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won't be there. We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We're not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose-stepping off to work. But this isn't the test. The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same.

I've learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I've always had a kind of knee-jerk trust in my Government's basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make. But I've come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long once said, "Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism." I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.

Wow...."fascism will come to America in the name of national security." ...and Huey's, "Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism." Fo' true. I'm sure Huey and Garrison wouldn't be surprised the blueprint was named "The Patriot Act". We must accept the curtailing of our civil liberties in the name of national security or we're not "patriots". It should be called "The Patronizing Act".

And this "In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society." How ironic...democrats take Congress and try to end the war in Iraq, but the war marches on.


sl said...

Oh that is fucking brilliant. Thanks AZ, I'd never seen that before.

For a minute, I was afraid you were citing Connick as our zealous former DA. Whew. Guess which DA had almost three times as many 701 releases per year as Eddie Jordan? Yeah, that wouldn't make you very zealous now would it.

sl said...

Oh that is fucking brilliant. Fucking prescient. Thank you for that, I had never seen it before.

For a hot second, I was afraid you were going to cite Connick as our former zelous DA. Guess who had almost 3x as many 701 releases per year as Eddie Jordan? Yeah, that would mean you were definitely not very zealous. Interesting how Connick never got the heat that Jordan gets though. It's gotta be one or both of two things: Race, or the new terms of post-Katrina New Orleans politics.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody still think that we will get all of this changed by the vote? Are we still that naive? We thought that the 2004 vote would count -- but it didn't. Again. Are we still such lemmings -- or was Che correct?

Jason Brad Berry said...

He was correct.

Jason Brad Berry said...


Connick was zealous about his son's career, but not his job.

Sam Jasper said...

Che was absolutely correct.

That having been said, I was 9 when Kennedy was assassinated. I remember reading Garrison's book, Heritage of Stone sometime in my late teens or early 20's. I read it again sometime in my thirties. By that time, Garrison had been utterly reviled, turned into a total clown and basically anything he said was considered fringy nonsense.

Looking back on it now, while I have no doubt that Garrison was by all accounts a total alcoholic with other vices, it would seem that there was a concerted effort to discredit him on a monumental scale. I'm gonna have to go back and read that book again and look at what else Garrison had to say. He nailed the "system" in that quote.

Ashley, I'm not ready to give up the vote yet, but I must say that I am no longer naive enough to believe that that will change anything enough. I think we're going to have to find another way.

oyster said...

I wouldn't call Garrison "zealous" when it came to prosecuting the mob, but that's not really the point here, is it?

Thank you for this excerpt from the Playboy interview-- I'd heard about it, but had never read it before.

I had a post in the hopper on the VF article, but am sort of editing it way down. It's difficult to say much in regards to the JFK assassination because once you start talking about it, it's difficult to know where to stop. So I'll probably just cryptically imply some things, and try to get people to think for themselves.

Anonymous said...

This is what I have preached for years. It is exactly what I've observed, living all across America.

Rose Colored Glasses is correct: the system has to die in order for a new world to flower. (and by extension: those who believe and support the Constitution MUST be ready to take the reins and do what must be done.)

There is no other way out.

This situation sux big time considering our situation here in NOLA, but it's nothing we here can't deal with. We've lived in a state of semi-anarchy for generations. It's the rest of the country that has totally bought into the MIC poop that really worries me: they don't have the brains or the will to save themselves, and that will be their undoing.

Jason Brad Berry said...


It is a very deep and labyrinth cave...the JFK conspiracy. But the Hunt confession is certianly interesting...he was actually on the short list to be the director of the CIA, pre-Watergate. If LBJ was complicit in the conspiracy, which Hunt would be a pretty dark day for our country.

LAW70 said...

This is so deep. It really gives you something to think about. I am fascinated by history. Believe it or not, I work in Downtown Dallas just down the street from where JFK was assassinated. Each time I am on the street it amazes me how there are still people trying to piece it together as if it happened yesterday. By the way, I thought you were referring to Connick as well. Brother D, I LOVE the way you make me think! It makes me want to pull out the history books again!