by Mia Noweyno-Butt, CPW News Service
With the 2016 Democratic National Convention behind us and with Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine crowned the standard bearers for their party a close look at leading voices at the convention reveal, in concert with Hillary's acceptance speech, the belief that America is great because America is good. "How good is it?" I spoke with Nicaraguan priest, pastor and rector of the Church of the Sacred Shrine outside of Managua, Rev. Carlos Antonio Castenada.
"I was remembering that the Sears and Roebuck catalogue from the 1960's sold items of differing quality with three pictures and the caption 'good', 'better', and 'best'. The assumption was that the products were of increasing price and quality. I thought of that when Hillary said "America is great because America is good and then I remembered that during the Bill Clinton administration we had the sale of the Lincoln bedroom and the questions of payment of money for an audience with the President. There was the episode with Monica Lewinsky whose blue dress became a national scandal and since then there has been the email scandals number one and number two....I feel like I'm talking about bodily functions.....and that the Clintons are never far from the next scandal. Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, Chris Hedges, has argued in the strongest of terms that Bill Clinton and Hillary, too, are the handmaidens of the corporate rape and pillage of the U.S.. From your perspective are we in deep doo-doo?" I asked Castenada.
"I understand that feeling. My father had that feeling when I was younger on our small farm in Nicaragua when he was growing bananas that were hit with a blight. The nation's whole banana crop was about to be lost when we starting importing the heartier Chadwick banana from Indonesia and Vietnam. We reseeded the orchard and saved the business, but the little farmers were always in the shadow of guys like Anastosio Samoza and his U.S. business partners Neal and Linden Blue, the Yale University Skull & Bones business partners Samoza in Nicaragua and close friends of George Walker Bush. Neal and Linden's U.S. businesses included General Atomic that built uranium mines, nuclear power plants and weapons-grade depleted uranium products for Predator and Reaper drone projectiles as wells as armor for the top-secret M1-Abrams battle tanks," said Castenada.
Castenada recommended that I read the book Bananas: How United Fruit Changed the World by Peter Chapman. "My father was conflicted back then in the late 1960's and early 70's. He knew that we were importing the new Chadwick bananas stock at the same time in Indochina we were spraying Agent Orange as a defoliant on rice and banana crops," said Castenada noting that Chris Hedges was right to be concerned that the spraying of the banana crops with Agent Orange is nothing compared to the rapid effects of global warming brought on by the fossil fuel industry to which all of earth's non-enlightened industries are enslaved. "Dad started reading Smedley Butler's book War Is A Racket about his subjugation of Central American for Brown Brothers. Then when in 1979 that kind and decent U.S. President from Georgia. I can't remember his name."
"Jimmy Carter," I said.
"Yes," said Castenada, "Carter faced that bull shit.....excuse my language.....oil embargo that was as contrived as the Bay of Pigs or the Gulf of Tonkin Affair. The oil tankers were stacked up outside every U.S. port and even at both ends of the Panama Canal creating a politically deadly condition for Carter's Presidency who failed to act decisively and tells the people to tighten their belts. Well, that's always good advice except in the 2000-2008 bull-shit-caution-to-the-wind-conspired-housing bubble that was created by Bill Clinton's failure to veto the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 opening the doors of Main Street to the wolves of Wall Street that Hillary failed to mention in her acceptance speech or that Wall Street paid her top dollar for her speeches. Was that a big 'thank you' for Bill's in-action in 1999? The 2016 Democratic Convention is, by design, reaching back in history to before Clinton's door-opening to the Bush cabal of 2000-2008 and the continuation of the Bush bamboozle through Obama in a game of musical chairs. The DNC pulled from its black hat of rabbit tricks memories of the Iran hostage crisis back when Bill Stewart of ABC News showed up in Nicaragua having just come from Iran to investigate Anastosio Samoza and the whole thing was about to explode. Sure enough, Samoza who was working not with Carter and the Democrats whose President FDR had backed Samoza and whom FDR called "Samoza....an SOB, but he's our SOB" and Carter's future was grim," said Castenada.
"Bill Stewart was murdered by Samoza's National Guard just before the 1980 election of Reagan and Bush. That fueled a revolution, not in U.S. politics, but in Nicaragua. There was talk of an 'October Surprise' in October of 1980 whereby the Reagan-Bush camp had pulled a fast one on Carter. Were we aware of that at the time? That would come out later in a book by a Reagan aide titled October Surprise and it was reported that Salem Bin Laden had flown his BAC-111 as part of the 'October Surprise' team headed to Paris to put together the Iran-hostage-weapon-Contra deal. That made Salem Bin Laden, Osama's older brother and heir of Bin Laden fortune and businesses something of a liability to an increasingly paranoid George H.W. Bush as he headed into the 1988 Presidential election on the promise of no new taxes and a kinder, gentler nation. Salem died in an ultra-light plane crash at the Cibolo, Texas airport, Field of Dreams, owned by the father of the wife of the USAF General running the National Reconnaissance Office that stood down NORAD on 911. That stand-down was not unlike the FINCEN investigation into Saudi influence peddling that was 'stood-down' in 1992 going into the Bush and Clinton face-off for the Presidency when 'no new taxes' was haunting Bush and while his role in the S&L scandal, the dress rehearsal for the 2000-2008 financial raping led by Greenspan and GWB, was being uncovered in Texas by Houston Post reporter Peter Brewton. Brewton's book The Mafia, CIA and George Bush was published in 1992, the same year that the FINCEN for Financial Crimes Enforcement Network was being 'stood-down' because of what it would expose Saudi influence peddling in the U.S. that led eventually to 911 as evidenced by the 28 pages of the Official 911 Report. Brewton's book faced nearly insurmountable resistance. The 911 Official Report was overseen by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton who was also head of the October Surprise investigation of Congress before the 911 Commission," said Castenada.
"You have to remember that CBS botched the Ellington Field story of GWB's Texas Air National Guard memo scandal which also found CBS's star reporter, Lowell Bergman, mis-reporting that Salem had died in his BAC-111 jet and not the ultra-light that flew inexplicably into a high power line on take off," said Castenada noting that Salem had bought the Houston Gulf Manor Airport with the help of the Saudi royal banker and GWB's Texas Air National Guard roommate in Houston, James Bath, both on the board of the infamous Iran-Contra bank, BCCI, with Gulf Manor located not far from there CIA agent's Paul Helliwell and Guillermo Hernandez Cartaya lived. "That airport was razed after 911," said Castenada as we returned to his life in Nicaragua and Samoza's heavy handedness.
"Yes, and that was partially why I went into the ministry as I saw the Contra death squads that killed Bishop Romero and others become a persistent nightmare," said Castenada.
"You are aware that at last week's Democratic National Convention a key speaker was Anastasia Samoza who claimed that her parents were immigrants. Her mother from Ireland and her father from Nicaragua. She was speaking about Hillary's support of people with disabilities, but was......"
"Was there more going on there than that?" asked Castenada. "Of course, she is a great-grand daughter of the first Samoza dictator of Nicaragua. Their immigration to the U.S. was circuitous. After the murder of Bill Stewart, President Carter would not allow our ousted Dictator Samoza to enter the U.S. at Miami and so he was exiled to the Bahamas. After his death his widow moved to Miami and then Houston where both the Bay of Pigs CIA paymaster, Paul Helliwell, had a CIA cover-business.....an insurance company. It was also where the CIA's leading Cuban ex-patriot and terrorist, Guillermo Hernandez Cartaya, known to have blown up a Cuban airliner killing all onboard to kill just one, lived," said Castenada who is circumspect concerning Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech.
"As a pastor I have been where Hillary is. She said to her Wall Street friends that she is going to follow the money. In a way that's what our foreign policy did during the FDR friendship with Samoza's dictatorship in Nicaragua that led to Iran-Contra and the convictions of Caspar Weinberger, John Poindexter, Eliot Abrams and Oliver North. You remember that their issue was about taking U.S. weapons, selling them to Iran at inflated prices for their war against Iraq, using the excess proceeds to fund the Contra in Honduras to fight against the Sandinistas who were sick and tired of Samoza like Castro's followers had grown of their overseers in Cuba....Cubans having to suck dick....oh, there I go again.....forgive me....of the Carlos Trafficante and Meyer Lansky, the Italian and Jewish American mobsters who were running Cuba's economy. Then there was the CIA's other little kick-back scheme of dropping the guns and returning with cocaine.....the subject of Gary Webb's book Dark Alliance," said Castaneda who sees the inclusion of Anastasia Samoza at the DNC as both touching and sinister.
"What if Anastasia had laid out the whole history of her family and said....'see, the rain that falls on the just and unjust alike' and is as real as this wheelchair. Hillary sucks! Trump sucks! But if I had to choose between the lesser of two evils, which as an American citizen I do, I choose Hillary. At least she's a mother and a woman like Eva Peron," said Castenada.
"Meanwhile, Hillary says she....and I take that to mean the Clinton Foundation as well which has a history of receiving big donations from some of the world's most despotic personalities....not unlike Trump's Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort....'will follow the money.' Following money has been one aspect of my work as a priest, but believe me it is so much easier to minister to people with money than it is those who are very, very poor. Sitting in a luxury air-conditioned stateroom is preferable to visiting the sick and dying in their squalor, which may have been created, as with Anastasio Samoza, by the rich and powerful you are visiting. When you realize that the squalor is often created by the rich and powerful's lack of vision it's easy to become cynical and to hide the check stubs for your speaking engagements at Goldman-Sachs. You soon give much lip-service to your accomplishments and downplay your failures which everyone has and you become a caricature of a human-being....kind of like Hillary and Donald. You can even cut deals with the Devil forgetting that even Jesus said of those that called him 'good' responded....'good? Why call me good? There is one only one who is 'good' that is God.' You know that Bishop Romero and Bill Stewart understood after they had been shot to death that only God is good. In the face of death there is only you and God and you better damn fuckin'-well.....oops, there I go again.....hope he is good.....that he really is L-O-V-E like we've always heard. Death? We live with that all the time here and no one and no thing offers you lasting hope, but God. Is the U.S. 'great' because the U.S. is 'good' as Hillary said? That's political mumbo-jumbo," said Castenada. "Saying that what makes us great is our goodness is a bit of a stretch," said Castenada who has been reading the work of U.S. historian Lowell P. Wigglesworth for further proof that a nation and its people live by the myths it spins about itself and others.
I have become a firm believer that the secret of life was found by men like Einstein and Oppenheimer, Henry Van Ness Boynton and Smedley Darlington Butler and Theodore 'Ted' Westhusing and Pat Tillman and by soldiers like the Spanish conquistador, Cabeza de Vaca, long before them. The U.S. will have its first female leader which is good, but I am sure hoping that the Clinton's don't rent out the Lincoln bedroom again or that Trump, if he's elected, won't build Trump Towers next to the Washington Monument," said Castenada not mentioning walls or emails or NATO while playing his guitar and singing James Taylor's song The Secret of Life to a definitively Antonio Carlos Jobim tempo.