Member since: Mon Oct 8, 2007, 11:23 AM
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Number of posts: 2,343
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Apropos of nothing I just happened to be watching season 3 of Leverage on dvd. In the commentary on the season finale the producer mentions that the documentary Our Brand Is Crisis served as inspiration for that episode.
Posted by MinM | Wed Aug 13, 2014, 12:13 AM (1 replies)
Operation Sandwedge and more on the Bear Trap
Possible parallels between the plot to kill Jack Anderson and Chappaquiddick ..
Fresh Air (4 years ago) about journalist Jack Anderson:
Dave Davies: The scandal that brought Nixon down, the Watergate scandal, kind of left Anderson behind in some ways. I mean other reporters really took the lead on that as well as, of course, congressional investigators and federal prosecutors. But it was fascinating to read in your book that Anderson himself was almost way ahead of this story.
Mark Feldstein: Yes. Jack Anderson was ahead of the Watergate story in two respects. First, he exposed what was really the precursor to Watergate, which is known as the ITT scandal. This was a scandal where he got a smoking gun document from Dita Beard, the Washington lobbyist for ITT, one of the largest corporations, International Telephone and Telegraph, of its time, and he and his young leg man at the time, Brit Hume, who, of course, later became famous as an anchor man for Fox News, they broke this story in essence of how the Nixon administration took a bribe - or how the Republican Convention took a bribe, $400,000 was pledged by ITT, and in exchange they dropped antitrust action, watered down antitrust action, against ITT. And Anderson and Hume obtained the smoking gun document that proved it, which the lobbyist herself admitted it.
This threatened Nixon more than any of Anderson's national security secrets because it got to the heart of the corruption at the center of the Nixon re-election campaign. And Nixon's men went into overdrive trying to contain this scandal. They decided to plant false documents with Anderson, they plotted about breaking into his office, typing up documents on White House stationery on his typewriter, leaking it to him so that when he published it they could trace it to his typewriter and accuse him of forging documents. They, according to testimony I have in my book, concocted false photographs to put Anderson in photos to implicate him in wrongdoing. They engaged in all kinds of dirty tricks to try to stop Anderson from this - punish Anderson for this expose. And this was really the precursor to Watergate. And this was when they, you know, came up with a plot to actually assassinate Jack Anderson.
Dave Davies: Well, I wanted to talk about that, because after Nixon's re-election in 1972, they decided they really had to deal with Anderson. And the notion that there had been talk of assassinating Anderson, that was revealed a couple of decades ago. What did you learn about how serious an effort this was to kill him?
Mark Feldstein: The plot to assassinate Anderson turned out to have been much more serious than anyone realized. There are documents in the National Archives that have never been released before in which prosecutors discuss this, investigated this. And I got what amounted to a confession from one of the conspirators, Howard Hunt, the Watergate burglar, before his death in 2003, where he admitted for the first time what his co-conspirator, Gordon Liddy, had already admitted - that the two of them plotted to assassinate Anderson.
In fact, they went beyond merely plotting. They actually conducted surveillance of Anderson. They tailed him from his work spot, garage, to his house. They staked out his house. They looked at it for vulnerabilities, how they could break in, how they could plant poison in his aspirin bottle - that was one of the methods they discussed using. They talked about how they could spike his drink and they talked about smearing LSD on his steering wheel so that he would absorb it through his skin and die in a hallucination-crazed auto crash. They met with an agent from CIA who was a specialist in poisons.
They met just a block from the White House at the Hay-Adams Hotel on March 24th 1972, and they pumped this CIA operative - former CIA operative - for information about what kind of toxins, what kind of poisons would be best to use so it would not be discovered in an autopsy. So the plot to assassinate Jack Anderson that emanated from the Nixon White House was very real.
And it was ultimately called off because they decided instead that they needed Hunt and Liddy to break into the Watergate apartment complex and office building and that, of course, led to their arrest and the downfall of the regime...
BTW you should read / listen to the rest of that piece on Fresh Air. Reminds me of another great interview that Dave Davies conducted about the lack of accountability for the Wall Street Bankers.
Posted by MinM | Thu Aug 7, 2014, 11:27 AM (2 replies)
CIA front groups and by extension JFK .. Here's a recording of JFK telling Sargent Shriver not to let CIA infiltrate the Peace Corps
Title: Telephone Recordings: Dictation Belt 17B.1. Keeping CIA out of the Peace Corps (Item 17A.4 Continued)
Date(s) of Materials: 2 April 1963
Physical Description: item 1 on 1 dictation belt (2 minutes, 13 seconds)
Copyright Status: Public Domain
Description: The recording of this conversation begins on Dictation Belt 17A.4. Sound recording of part of a telephone conversation held on April 2, 1963, between President John F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, Director of the Peace Corps. They discuss speaking to Richard M. Helms about the suspicion that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is trying to place people in the Peace Corps. They also discuss facilitating the movement of members of the Peace Corps into the Foreign Service. Machine noise follows the conversation.
Transcript included. This sound recording was originally recorded on Dictation Belt 17B, which contains additional sound recording(s) following this one. To hear all of the recordings on the Dictation Belt, see Digital Identifier: JFKPOF-TPH-17B, Title: Telephone recordings: Dictation Belt 17B.
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
Shriver, Sargent (Robert Sargent), 1915-2011
Telephone Recordings .
Posted by MinM | Tue Aug 5, 2014, 10:42 AM (0 replies)
...Evan Thomas, the author of The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA (1995), argues that the Alsop brothers worked very closely with Frank Wisner, the first director of the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the CIA. He points out that he "considered his friends Joe and Stewart Alsop to be reliable purveyors of the company line in their columns". In 1953 the brothers helped out Edward Lansdale and the CIA in the Philippines: "Wisner actively courted the Alsops, along with a few other newsmen he regarded as suitable outlets. When Lansdale was manipulating electoral politics in the Philippines in 1953, Wisner asked Joe Alsop to write some columns warning the Filipinos not to steal the election from Magsaysay. Alsop was happy to comply, though he doubted his columns would have much impact on the Huks. After the West German counterintelligence chief, Otto John, defected to the Soviet Union in 1954, Wisner fed Alsop a story that the West German spymaster had been kidnapped by the KGB. Alsop dutifully printed the story, which may or may not have been true." ...
At the end of 1966, Desmond FitzGerald, Directorate for Plans, discovered that Ramparts, a left-wing publication, were planning to publish an article that the International Organizations Division had been secretly funding the National Student Association. FitzGerald ordered Edgar Applewhite to organize a campaign against the magazine. Applewhite later told Evan Thomas for his book, The Very Best Men: "I had all sorts of dirty tricks to hurt their circulation and financing. The people running Ramparts were vulnerable to blackmail. We had awful things in mind, some of which we carried off." This dirty tricks campaign failed to stop the magazine publishing this story in March, 1967. The article, written by Sol Stern, was entitled NSA and the CIA. As well as reporting CIA funding of the National Student Association it exposed the whole system of anti-Communist front organizations in Europe, Asia, and South America.
Stewart Alsop, who was now working for the Saturday Evening Post, asked Thomas Braden, the former head of the International Organizations Division (IOD) to write an article for the Saturday Evening Post in response to what Stern had written. The article, entitled, I'm Glad the CIA is Immoral , appeared on 20th May 1967. Braden defended the activities of the IOD unit of the CIA. Braden admitted that for more than 10 years, the CIA had subsidized Encounter through the Congress for Cultural Freedom - which it also funded - and that one of its staff was a CIA agent.
Hugh Wilford, the author of The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (2008) has argued: "It was a well-worn technique of the CIA to blow the cover of covert operations when they were no longer considered desirable or viable, and there were a number of reasons why, by April 1967, the Agency might have tired of its alliance with the non-communist left. For one, the NCL had become a far less reliable instrument of U.S. foreign policy than it had been a decade earlier. With their propensity for criticizing the war in Vietnam. ADA-style left-liberals such as the Reuther brothers were increasingly perceived in Washington as a hindrance rather a help in the prosecution of the Cold War." ...
Posted by MinM | Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:21 AM (1 replies)
Alsop is an interesting case that Bernstein brings up. In an otherwise excellent piece from NPR's On the Media that was posted previously, Alsop's brother Stewart is given a free pass for dubious reporting ..
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Journalism has been called the first draft of history, but what if that first draft is never corrected or if the mistakes persist, despite many subsequent drafts? President Bush harkened back to the peril we faced during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962 and how we were saved by the uncompromising resolve of an earlier leader, in order to justify our need to take preemptive action in Iraq. He was drawing on the first draft of history, the one that said John F. Kennedy went eyeball to eyeball with Nikita Khrushchev over Russian missiles in Cuba and that Khrushchev blinked and withdrew. :
JOHN F. KENNEDY: We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the course of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth. But neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.
BOB GARFIELD: Major players in the Cuban Missile Crisis, including then presidential speech writer Ted Sorensen and former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, have tried in recent years to correct the record of those events, but the national myth seems pretty much unshakable. Fred Kaplan, Slate columnist and, incidentally, Brooke’s husband, has examined all the declassified material related to that crisis as it’s emerged over the years. We asked him to take us through the various drafts of the Cuba showdown.
FRED KAPLAN: The basic scenario came from an article published shortly after the crisis by Stewart Alsop who was a very establishment columnist of the day who got the information from aides to Kennedy in the White House who were authorized by Kennedy to give him this account. Eyeball to eyeball with the Russians, crazy generals, on one hand, wanting us to bomb the missiles right away, lunatic doves like Stevenson, on the other, wanting to negotiate their way out of it from the beginning and, you know, smart guys like Kennedy and McNamara and Bundy navigating a, a cool and calm course through the thickets and ending us up safe to shore.
BOB GARFIELD: That's a heroic and reassuring recounting of the events, and it's certainly not the first nor the last time that a journalist has run with leaked information, but do you think Alsop had any way to know that the story he was writing did not, in fact, reflect the events as we now know them?
FRED KAPLAN: No, I don't think he had any way of knowing that. This is what people told him and he certainly wasn't privy to any of the inside stuff going on. And, in fact, this was confirmed in the second draft of history, the memoirs written by two of what could be called the palace historians, Arthur Schlesinger and Ted Sorensen, Sorensen being Kennedy's speechwriter at the time who was present at all of the — what they called the ex-con meetings, the meetings of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council which got together for the 13 Days and deliberated what to do. And this basically told the same story, though with more detail...
Posted by MinM | Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:16 AM (1 replies)
JFK probably would have lived longer had he not tried to push so hard for peace. Then again if he had not pushed back against those who had a death wish for the world there never would have been events like this speech for others to aspire..
Of course the same was probably true for many brave souls throughout history. Just in the past fifty years since Kennedy we've had Martin Luther King Jr., Anwar Sadat, Yatzhik Rabin, and Benazir Bhutto just to name a few.
Posted by MinM | Wed Jul 30, 2014, 11:32 PM (1 replies)
The Gray Man:
‘Shadow Warrior,’ by Randall B. Woods
By EVAN THOMAS
Published: May 3, 2013
William E. Colby, right, with another former director of central intelligence, George H. W. Bush, in 1978.
During the Vietnam War, Bill Colby of the Central Intelligence Agency ran the Phoenix program, which set out to “neutralize” the Viet Cong by capturing or killing them. In 1972, when Colby came home to a nation that had turned against the war, his face began appearing around Washington on “Wanted” posters. He was jeered on the street and peppered with death threats. Every day at 5 a.m., he was awakened at home by the same crank caller, accosting him as a murderer and a war criminal. Colby did not bother to get his home number changed. Instead, he began to use the predawn call as an alarm clock...
In “Shadow Warrior,” we get the occasional glimpse of emotion. When one of his young sons began arguing with him about the morality of the Vietnam War, Colby became “red-faced,” the son recalled, and “shouted that war was brutal — it brutalized everyone who came into contact with it — but sometimes there was no alternative. He himself, he admitted, had killed men in war, even with his bare hands.” But such moments of self-revelation are fleeting. Mostly Colby presented himself as Galahad in a fallen world, a modest knight to be sure, but bent on finding the grail amid sin and corruption. “He was a man who could distinguish between illusion and reality,” Woods, a professor of history at the University of Arkansas, writes. “Or so he convinced himself.”
In 1954, President Eisenhower commissioned Gen. James Doolittle to write a secret report on the state of American intelligence. Faced with an “implacable enemy,” the report found, the West would have, in effect, to fight fire with fire. Fair play was out: dirty tricks were in.
The realpolitik of the cold war raised an ancient philosophical question: If you adopt the underhanded tactics of the enemy, if you stoop to his level, do you become like him? Colby does not seem to have been troubled by the problem. He did not become a drunk or turn half-mad like so many spies and spy chasers of that tortured time, most notably James Jesus Angleton, the head of counterintelligence, who was Colby’s antagonist at the C.I.A. Colby was always rather a Boy Scout (indeed, he led a Boy Scout troop when he was at home on the weekends, and worshiped at the Church of the Little Flower). ...
Another interesting side note is that the late Michael Hastings makes a passing reference to the Phoenix Program in his posthumously published novel The Last Magazine.
William Colby stipulated to "foreign assassination plots"
Posted by MinM | Wed Jul 23, 2014, 11:41 PM (1 replies)
Given that good journalism tends to be in the eye of the beholder and views on what qualifies tends to differ wildly (even within the DU 'family').
It's worth noting that Gary Webb, who was once widely denounced, will now be immortalized on film:
Posted by MinM | Tue Jul 22, 2014, 11:48 AM (16 replies)
Jesse Katz admits that attacking journalist Gary Webb's CIA-cocaine expose ruined Webb's life
By Nick Schou Thursday, May 30 2013
Nine years after investigative reporter Gary Webb committed suicide, Jesse Katz, a former Los Angeles Times reporter who played a leading role in ruining the controversial journalist's career, has publicly apologized — just weeks before shooting begins in Atlanta on Kill the Messenger, a film expected to reinstate Webb's reputation as an award-winning journalist dragged through the mud by disdainful, competing media outlets.
Webb made history, then quickly fell from grace, with his 20,000-word 1996 investigation, "Dark Alliance," in which the San Jose Mercury News reported that crack cocaine was being peddled in L.A.'s black ghettos to fund a CIA-backed proxy war carried out by contra rebels in Nicaragua...
No journalist played a more central role in the effort to obscure the facts Webb reported than former L.A. Times reporter Katz. But on May 22, Katz, who has penned a Los Angeles magazine story hitting newsstands now that resurfaces the Gary Webb episode, essentially apologized, on KPCC-FM 89.3's AirTalk With Larry Mantle.
Katz was discussing "Freeway Rick Is Dreaming" in the July 2013 issue of Los Angeles magazine, in which he profiles Ricky Ross, the notorious crack-cocaine dealer with whom Katz has a long, tortured relationship. In 1994, shortly after Ross got out of prison for coke trafficking, Katz wrote that Ross was the mastermind of America's crack-cocaine epidemic, at his peak pushing half a million rocks a day.
"If there was one outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles' streets with mass-marketed cocaine, his name was 'Freeway' Rick," Katz's 1994 L.A. Times article claimed. "Ross did more than anyone else to democratize it, boosting volume, slashing prices and spreading disease on a scale never before conceived."
But Webb's 1996 Mercury News series exposed a startling fact: Ross' mentor and chief supplier, who helped him climb to the top of the crack trade, was Nicaraguan exile Oscar Danilo Blandón Reyes. Blandón belonged to one of Nicaragua's most prominent political families and was a major backer of the "contras" — a rebel movement secretly created by the CIA to overthrow the leftist Sandinista rebels...
SOS .. some of the same treatment that Gary Webb received. At least posthumously Gary Webb is getting some belated accolades ..
Keep up the good fight Octafish.
Posted by MinM | Tue Jul 22, 2014, 09:28 AM (0 replies)
The son of the 35th president was 38-years-old when his plane was lost at sea
Fifteen years ago Wednesday, a shocked nation grieved as the Kennedy family lost another one of their own. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., 38, died in a plane crash with his wife and sister-in-law on July 16, 1999.
“He was lost on that troubled night, but we will always wake for him, so that his time, which was not doubled but cut in half, will live forever in our memory and in our beguiled and broken hearts,” then-Sen. Ted Kennedy said in a eulogy for his nephew, an American icon turned magazine editor. Kennedy outlived his nephew by 10 years, passing away in 2009 after nearly a half-century in the U.S. Senate.
In that same eulogy, Kennedy praised the “lifelong mutual admiration society” shared between JFK Jr. and his sister Caroline, who now serves as the United State ambassador to Japan.
Kennedy was often asked whether he would further the political legacy of his father, who died when his son was only two years old. JFK Jr. once said of his father, “He inspired a lot of hope and created a sense of possibility, and then the possibility was cut short and never realized.”
Read TIME’s special 1999 cover story marking JFK Jr.’s death here.
Posted by MinM | Wed Jul 16, 2014, 10:36 AM (9 replies)