Mae Brussell Lives!

By Tom Cahill

November 26, 2003

    Mae Brussell was a progressive and the undisputed queen of conspiracy theorists. She was the age I am now (66) when she died of cancer in early October 1988. Included in her legacy were thirty-nine file cabinets full of raw data on everything from the assassination of JFK up to the atrocities and high crimes of the Reagan Administration. She was a tireless researcher, writer, lecturer and for the last seventeen years of her life, she had a radio show on some public stations. This was how I came to know of her and deeply admire her. I would cuss up a storm whenever my radio couldn't pick up her broadcast clearly enough.
    What drove Mae Brussell was the premise that "the United States is secretly run by powerful groups that will stop at nothing to maintain control," according to the Monterey (California) Herald, Oct. 4, 1988. Her work exposing the "shadow government," as it became known during the Iran-Contra investigations, started when Pres. Kennedy was assassinated, "especially when Oswald was shot," according to one of her daughters.
    My own suspicion about the murder of the century began the day before Oswald was shot when on black and white TV I saw a Dallas County deputy sheriff hold up the weapon the killer allegedly used to end the President's life. At the time, I owned a Mannlicher-Carcano carbine just like it and knew there was no way in the world it could have been used for such quick and accurate shots. As little as I knew about guns at the time, I knew by the price (I paid under $10) it was even dangerous to fire. Sure enough, in my research after the death of JFK, I learned this gun was the least accurate and most dangerous (to the shooters) of all small arms manufactured during WW II. Italian soldiers, who it was first issued to, called it the "humanitarian rifle" because so many blew up in the face of the shooters or missed targets. Sorry for the digression; we conspiracy "nuts" do get carried away from time to time.
    The good news is that Mae Brussell lives--through a website someone maintains of much of her work ( I discovered it searching for information about the CIA's campaign to "neutralize" the New Left in the Sixties and Seventies. You popular music lovers might be interested in this. In an essay titled "Operation Chaos" by Mae dated November 1976, she wrote, "American and British pop/rock music during the 60's created an art form that has been described as one of the most important cultural revolutions in history. Within a few years between 1968 and 1976, many of the most famous names associated with this early movement were dead."
    I was never a fan of this music but I did recognize many of the many names Mae cited like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Richard Farina. And I had known the cause of Jim Morrison's death in Paris was never discovered. The death three years later of his wife, Pamela, added to my suspicions. Then on Dec. 8, 1980 there was the murder of John Lennon under what has been described as "bizarre circumstances." Neither Abbie Hoffman nor his wife, Anita, were musicians, but I have my suspicions about their deaths too.
    With what we know now about the Central Intelligence Agency, it shouldn't be too much of a stretch of the imagination to believe the Agency considered these entertainers threats to the established order and had them "neutralized" for good. Just look at the stakes Uncle Sam has been playing with all these years. Just $1 billion is one t h o u s a n d million dollars. And of the six hundred billionaires in the world, half are American.
    As I wrote in my essay "JFK to Iraq" last September, "We did not just suddenly arrive here in 2003 with a criminally insane US administration playing master of the universe...The route has been a process called 'fascism' that began in earnest Nov. 22, 1963." I didn't mention it in that essay, but I believe one of the reasons JFK was assassinated was because he was determined to do away with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, the "activist" part of the "Company" responsible for assassinations, destabilizing countries and other "black ops" (clandestine operations). This work was never mandated by the CIA's charter of 1947. Even Pres. Harry Truman during whose administration the CIA was founded, one time referred to the Agency as the "Gestapo" and not just because of all the ex-Nazi intelligence operatives the Agency recruited immediately after WW II.
    The CIA's charter only provides for intelligence gathering abroad while the FBI's work is supposedly intelligence gathering within the USA. But during the Sixties and Seventies, both agencies worked inside the country targeting mostly non-violent activists for peace and civil rights. "Operation Chaos" was the CIA's program to destabilize the New Left and COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program) was the name of the FBI's goon squad. Although both agencies have Congressional oversight committees, they are in name only and a total waste of tax money.
    In the Eighties, under the weight of much evidence of wrongdoing by COINTELPRO, the FBI claimed to have disbanded the program and the then director promised to never do such illegal work again. Yet in May 1990, two "Earth First" environmentalists, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, were badly injured by a car bomb which the FBI was quick to claim was their own that detonated accidentally. It took Bari and Cherney twelve years to win a lawsuit against the FBI who many of us believe planted the bomb.
    Forgive me for digressing again. My purpose here is to introduce you to Mae Brussell via her website. Her work may be more relevant now than in her heyday. Like those of many other freedom fighters throughout history, the ghost of Mae Brussell will never rest till justice is served. And as Emile Zola wrote in J'Accuse, "Truth is on the march and nothing can stop it...When truth is buried in the earth, it accumulates there, and assumes so mighty an explosive power that, on the day it bursts forth, it hurls everything into the air."

The author of this commentary has been an activist more than forty years. He was an analyst in US Air Force intelligence in the Fifties and is now a member of Veterans For Peace. In the late Sixties in San Antonio, Texas, he published an underground newspaper called Inferno in Spanish and English. While jailed for civil disobedience in 1968, he was beaten, gang-raped and otherwise tortured, possibly set up by COINTELPRO, according to two memos in his FBI files. In 1983, Cahill rescued a derelict organization called Stop Prisoner Rape with which he is still associated. On Sept. 4, 2003, in the Oval Office, he witnessed President Bush sign into law the Prison Rape Elimination Act. He is a long-time member of the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies), Earth First and other groups. Earlier this year, he was a human shield in Baghdad during the bombing.