Times They Are A Changin’

gaza protests

When I was very young, around five years old, I remember seeing a small group of people protesting Israel’s occupation of Palestine in Wayzata, Minnesota. That’s in the middle-northern part of the USA.

There were about 15 people holding signs outside an 80′s-chic, glassy office building. They were quiet with somber faces; back then I would have described them as angry or sad.

I remember this event vividly because of what happened next: a stylish lady with an entourage walked quickly past the protesters and, just before she slid away behind the glass doors, she shouted: “What’s this shit?”

As a five year old, I didn’t expect to hear that word come out of a lady who looked like she did. My mother told me the stylish woman was with the governor’s office.

The more I learned about what was going on in Israel and Palestine, the more sympathy I had with those quiet protesters. When our family moved to the Middle East, those feelings grew, because I saw that part of the world through my own eyes, not those of an American media organization. On our visits home it was difficult to listen to people sympathize with Israeli settlers or the Israeli government, because I knew better. I knew that these simple people, my people, were being lied to and manipulated. I knew they’d be more critical if they saw what was happening in the occupied territories for themselves. However, it was dangerous to talk in support of the Palestinians back then and I had the political acumen to watch what I said and to whom I said it.

High school in the U.K. was somewhat of a relief with regard to Palestine, because the Brits, while still politically oppressed, have retained some of their old skepticism and intelligence– in private, they knew they were being lied to. I don’t think that the Americans did.

In college, back in the US, I took part in a Palestinian support group which tried to counter some of the propaganda in the media by showcasing Palestinian art and literature. This got me targeted by Israeli students who claimed to be Israeli Defense Force (IDF). They would follow me and take my picture or make threats. They went for me in particular, probably because I’m a non-threatening White woman and was a reasonably convincing spokesperson, especially amongst Jewish students who had an open mind on the issue. (The harassment stopped when I found out the name of one of them, who was enrolled in the same business class I was. Not so brave in the sunlight.)

Although there was open intimidation on campus (which this high-profile East Coast university turned a blind eye to), things were changing. I still suffered discrimination from my professors when word got around that I was ‘pro-Palestine’, but more and more amongst the student body it was safe to say ‘This occupation is wrong” and “Not with my money”.

All that was a long time ago. Look what’s happening today. Demonstrations with thousands of people all over the world.

Now, in the USA, these demonstrations are being spun as acid-reflux from immigration policies. And certainly, Muslim immigrants are probably over-represented in the crowds. However, many of these thousands of protestors are not immigrants.  Even one thousand is a lot more than fifteen.

What’s the endgame, Israel? What’s the world going to look like when I’m sixty?

 

Time for me to eat crow?

'Member those stickers?

‘Member those stickers?

Regular readers know that I’ve supported Snowden very strongly over the past twelve months. Readers also know that I believe Tor is a US intelligence op designed to get ‘interesting’ targets to self-select for US surveillance.

Runa Sandvik, the patient Tor developer.

Runa Sandvik, the patient Tor developer.

Well, Runa Sandvik has now decided to tell the world that a few weeks prior to Snowden’s leaks, she met Snowden in Hawaii where he hosted a “Crypto Party” meet-up for her to promote Tor and for him to promote the (now disgraced) encryption software TrueCrypt. Sandvik doesn’t live in Hawaii, she *just happened* to be going on vacation there when Snowden emailed her asking for a bunch of Tor bumper-stickers. She then suggested that she could give a talk about Tor to Snowdens’ work buddies, which Snowden followed by offering to organize the “Crypto Party” for her visit. Twenty people showed up for the event.

Kevin Poulsen’s WIRED article, Snowden’s First Move Against the NSA was a Party in Hawaii, stresses that Snowden organized the little party and Sandvik was a serendipitous addition, but this is a misrepresentation if you read what Sandvik says carefully– it was more like a collaborative effort between the two. Although Sandvik has decided to talk, Snowden didn’t seem to want to contribute to Sandvik’s WIRED story.

(Through his lawyer, ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, Snowden declined to comment for this story).

Runa Sandvik is a Washington D.C.-based “technologist” journalist, who used to be a Tor developer and now is part of the  Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board , as is Kevin Poulsen, who wrote the WIRED article I’m quoting from. Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald sit on the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s board of directors, though it took the FPF over a month to get Snowden’s details up on their directors’ website after Daniel Ellsberg made the announcement that Snowden would join them. (FPF is a huge Tor supporter, surprise.)

According to Runa Sandvik, Snowden was a Tor activist before becoming internationally famous for his leaks. Not only did he organize an event to help educate people about Tor, but he also ran a couple of Tor exit nodes himself and tried to recruit other people at his work (NSA contractors?) to do the same.

You’ll remember that Tor exit nodes are the most sensitive nodes on the Tor network, because these nodes are where the encrypted information appears to come from just before it reaches its final destination. Exit nodes are Tor’s ‘Achilles’ heel’, because these exit nodes attract attention from ‘enemy’ intelligence and law enforcement. If these exit nodes stay running over a long period, then they’re signaling that they’re run by US/ US-aligned spooks, because no one else has the resources to deal with the day-to-day legal finagling necessary to keep their Tor host online. I explain that more fully here.

Spoiled Onions‘, the Swedish government’s not-so-subtle criticism of how their American partners are running Tor, focuses on how the Russians can use exit nodes to monitor the Tor network.

In short, you don’t run exit nodes unless 1) the US of A ultimately has your back or 2)  you’re very, very foolish. This is how the ‘Crypto Party’ went down, according to Sandvik:

Sandvik began by giving her usual Tor presentation, then Snowden stood in front of the white board and gave a 30- to 40-minute introduction to TrueCrypt, an open-source full disk encryption tool. He walked through the steps to encrypt a hard drive or a USB stick. “Then we did an impromptu joint presentation on how to set up and run a Tor relay,” Sandvik says. “He was definitely a really, really smart guy. There was nothing about Tor that he didn’t already know.”

Sandvik goes on to explain her dealings with Snowden further:

The roots of Snowden’s crypto party were put down on November 18, 2012, when he sent an e-mail to Sandvik, a rising star in privacy circles, who was then a key developer on the anonymous web surfing software Tor.

And…

In his e-mail, Snowden wrote that he personally ran one of the “major tor exits”–a 2 gbps server named “TheSignal”–and was trying to persuade some unnamed coworkers at his office to set up additional servers. He didn’t say where he worked. But he wanted to know if Sandvik could send him a stack of official Tor stickers. (In some post-leak photos of Snowden you can see the Tor sticker on the back of his laptop, next to the EFF sticker).

“He said he had been talking some of the more technical guys at work into setting up some additional fast servers, and figured some swag might incentivize them to do it sooner rather than later,” Sandvik says. “I later learned that he ran more than one Tor exit relay.”

Asher Wolf in typical 'technorati' avatar style.

Sexy nerd Asher Wolf in typical ‘technorati’ avatar style.

In Poulsen’s article, he suggests that Australia-based “crypto party movement” founder Asher Wolf was contacted, *by someone*, for help setting up ‘Snowden’s’ Crypto Party. Poulsen goes on to say that Snowden used the same Cincinnatus@lavabit email to contact Sandvik that he used to contact Greenwald two weeks later, and that Snowden gave Sandvik his real name and address using Cincinnatus@lavabit. Snowden then used ‘Cincinnatus’ to post on the public ‘Crypto Party’ wiki board!

Snowden used the address cincinnatus@lavabit.com — the same account he would use again less than two weeks later in his initial approach to journalist Glenn Greenwald. Snowden followed up by sending Sandvik his real name and street address in Hawaii, for the stickers.

And…

Snowden used the Cincinnatus name to organize the event, which he announced on the Crypto Party wiki, and through the Hi Capacity hacker collective, which hosted the gathering. Hi Capacity is a small hacker club that holds workshops on everything from the basics of soldering to using a 3D printer.

Er, so much for the super-spy tech wizard legend, Ed. Asher Wolf, the promoter-being-promoted by WIRED,  says this about her contact with *whoever* emailed her for tips:

In Melbourne, Wolf received an e-mail asking for advice on putting together the Oahu event. She offered some tips: Teach one tool at a time, keep it simple. “If I’d known it was someone from the NSA, I’d have gone and shot myself,” she says.

Yes, Asher Wolf, I’m sure you’d shoot yourself if it got out that you had *anything* to do with the NSA. We’ve got that in writing.

So you see, a.nolen readers, either I was wrong to lionize Snowden (probably the case) or Snowden was an unwitting dupe being used all along by US intelligence (less likely, I believe). So, this is a sad day of reckoning for your blogger. Snowden was and probably still is NSA/CIA. (Is there really a difference?)

A few things to think about going forward.

1) Why did Runa wait so long to talk?

Surprisingly, she [Runa Sandvik] was never contacted by the FBI–who would probably not find her cooperative anyway. “That puzzled me a bit,” she says. “His girlfriend was filming it–the whole thing was on film. But the video was never put online, I’m told because the audio was bad.”

Last week Glenn Greenwald published his book on Snowden, No Place To Hide, which revealed the Cincinnatus nickname for the first time, leading me and others to the Oahu crypto party post. It turns out Snowden sent his first anonymous e-mail to Greenwald just 11 days before the party. At the time of the event, he was still waiting for Greenwald to reply.

My thoughts: I’m not the only blogger to unmask Tor. Tor-Outing has gained critical mass. Perhaps Runa piped up now in a desperate attempt to save Tor as an intelligence asset by sprinkling it with Snowden’s pixie dust.

2) Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, who was lambasted for being an exotic dancer, seems to have got off pretty light, given that we now know she was more than a pretty face in the Snowden Saga. Watch this space.

3) Snowden’s leaks are damaging to US intelligence, yet Snowden and his helpers are *clearly* US intelligence agents. Why did they leak Snowden’s damaging information? Were they trying to cover up something more damaging? Is the real hero in the Snowden Saga someone we’ll never hear about, because Snowden successfully sucked up everyone’s attention with documents *that most of us will never see* ?

4) Russia and the US are cooperating over Snowden. If I can figure out that Snowden is, at best, being used by US intelligence, the Ruskies have done so looong ago. If they were acting against US interests, they could have blown Snowden’s cover by calling him a spy and sending him home. But they didn’t. If I were the Swedes, I’d reassess my relationship with Washington, pronto.

 

Either way, one less hero for my pantheon. :(

 

 

The Intercept glosses over eBay spying revelations, fails to disclose huge conflict of interest

anolen:

Glenn Greenwald stumbles trying to out do Jacob Appelbaum… Pierre, a better policy would admit the wrongdoing, then claim ‘The NSA Made Me Do It’. Incompetent. The centipede has died, but it hasn’t fallen over.

Originally posted on PandoDaily:

omidyarThere’s a fascinating, but largely overlooked, detail in Glenn Greenwald’s latest story for the Intercept, about the tools available to the UK intelligence services for spying on their own citizens.

Tucked away in a long list of capabilities is mention of:

A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay

eBay is only one of two companies mentioned by name in the list, the other being Skype which, of course, was previously owned by eBay.

There are a couple of things to note about the inclusion on the list of eBay and one of their former acquisitions. First, as Pando’s Mark Ames has previously reported, eBay has a long and proud history of working closely with law enforcement to provide access to users’ account data.

From its earliest days, eBay has operated a vast trans-national private police force which has overseen thousands of…

View original 384 more words

The Ambassadress

Safety pins never looked so good.

Safety pins never looked so good.

This is the final post of three on CIA head William Egan Colby and his dealings with the KGB. The first post, which deals with Colby’s KGB-connected media ‘leak’ team, is here. The second post, about why Colby leaked the ‘Jewels’ and My Lai, is here.

New readers should also know that Colby became involved in the SE Asian heroin trade during the 1960s, and continued to be involved (as general counsel to the drug-affiliated Nugan Hand Bank) until 1980, when a founder of Nugan Hand, Francis ‘Frank’ Nugan, was found dead next to Colby’s “calling card”.  It’s not certain that Colby ever left the drug trade, but he did leave the CIA in 1976.

Today I’m not going to talk about creepy media types or bureaucratic CIA politics. I’m not going to say anything more about Colby’s KGB dealings. Today I’m going to offer a partial explanation for why Colby made the unfortunate choices that he did:  why Colby thought he could get away with cooperating with the KGB; why he thought it was okay to hide from his crimes at the expense of the CIA or the Army; why he continued the drug-dealing… Colby thought he could get away with these things because the high-level Washington operators he hung out with were just as morally bankrupt and hypocritical as he was. ‘Depraved’ was Colby’s ‘normal’; his betrayals are exceptional, but not unusual amongst the type of people Colby ran with. What are the people Colby ran with like?

Sally Shelton-Colby will serve as a.nolen’s ‘Ambassador to William Colby’s High-Level Washington D.C. Cronies and Surrounding Personalities’.

Carl Colby has called his stepmother a “coda” in his father’s life and Carl is right. Sally Shelton-Colby is a coda in William Colby’s life, but she’s an important coda. Sally was Bill’s choice of companion once he didn’t have to wear the mask of morality anymore: when his public career was done, when he didn’t need the image of a loving family, when the only thing left to him were lonely canoe trips and business meetings with criminals. You can tell a lot about people by who they choose to hang out with.

What type of person is our Ambassadress? Sally is a trusted servant of the American Empire, which means she’s a globally-minded capitalist who has *a lot* of socialist friends; friends who she uses  in whatever way will increase her power and prestige. Nothing is more important to Sally Shelton-Colby than Sally Shelton-Colby.

Bill Colby decided to risk working with his KGB media crew because he knew that many powerful people in Washington did such things and got away with it,  people like Sally Shelton, who were willing to cooperate with (or marry!) Soviet-affiliated power-brokers as long as there was something in it for them. There was no social opprobrium against such behavior amongst his set; the only problems came if the little people found out.

As I describe Sally’s connections, it’s worth bearing in mind that socialism has always been supported by America’s business elite because socialism promises vast, government-controlled riches. From Wall Street’s perspective, socialism in Washington D.C.  makes the US one big, juicy Aunt Millie. If you think Wall Street is wrong, consider what has happened to the first socialist country, Mexico.

Mexico brings us neatly back to Sally. It’s hard to find out much about her, but if you persist, you’ll be hit with this one piece of information again and again: “Sally Shelton-Colby used to be married to a Mexican Ambassador!” She tells this to everyone, every chance she gets. (I’m not kidding, google her and see for yourself!)

Although Sally tells everybody about her first hubby, she’s very, very careful to never give his name. (Don’t worry, I’ll fix that later! :) ) In 2011, she calls him “a Mexican ambassador“; in 2006, he’s just “a Mexican“; but her biggest bean-spill of all was in her 1991 interview with Charles Stuart Kennedy, where she relates the sordid story of their short relationship.

By the way, this is how Shelton-Colby starts that interview with Kennedy:

“I was born in San Antonio, Texas. My Mexican friends say I’m really Mexican, because I was born in tierra robada, stolen territory.”

So says the second wife of the man at the heart of US national security, 1973-76! That’s our problem in a nutshell, America.

But back to our main narrative– tell us more about the Mexican friend you married, Sally:

SHELTON-COLBY: During the period that I lived in Mexico, I had a very interesting experience, which really has, I would have to say, shaped the rest of my life and perhaps contributed in large part to my being named ambassador at a fairly young age. I married a Mexican politician,whom I had met at SAIS. My husband was very much involved in politics. He had worked for President Lopez Mateos.

KENNEDY: He was part of the PRI.

SHELTON-COLBY: Yes. His entire family was in politics. His father was a general in the Mexican Army. The marriage was unsuccessful, but from a professional point of view it was absolutely fascinating, because I had an experience which most foreigners don’t ever get to have, and that is, I had a bird’s eye view into the inner workings of the Mexican political system. Coming in and out of my parents-in-law’s house were many of the politicians who are in office today, as very young people at the time. We constantly had Mexican military officers in and out of the house, because of my father-in-law. And my husband’s family was a supernationalistic, anti-American family. Now this was very hard for me as a young woman who went there without speaking Spanish, although I had French and Italian, and I began to pick Spanish up very quickly. But it was very difficult.

It was really, really, really rough and perhaps contributed to the breakdown of the very brief marriage. But I learned Spanish quickly. I learned to understand the way Mexicans think about themselves and about the United States. Mexico has a very unique culture. Perhaps that could be said about most cultures, but Mexico is very special in many, many ways. And they have their hangups about the United States.

Background: PRI, the ‘Institutional Revolution Party‘,  is a member of the Socialist International; PRI has been Mexico’s ruling party for 71 years since 1929. They’re a party Wall Street can work with though, because they don’t have any trouble making room for crony capitalists. US-Mexican relations suffered under President Lopez Mateos (1958-64), who was Castro-aligned.

So what did a “supernationalistic, anti-American”, socialist Mexican princeling see in little blond Sally from Texas? I mean, it wasn’t just the hair, because he brought her home to live with his parents… This is where the story gets interesting, readers.

You see, Sally met Mr. Mexico at SAIS, that’s Johns Hopkins’  Washington D.C.-based international affairs school. However, at the time of their first meeting, their love wasn’t strong enough to do anything about. In fact, after meeting Mr. Mexico, Sally got on with her life. Shelton-Colby says she earned an “MA in international relations. And then I was offered a Fulbright to the Institut de Science, Politique, in Paris, and went off to Paris to do a project on Vietnam; as matter of fact, French-Vietnam relations since Dien Bien Phu.”

But suddenly, in the middle of her French studies,  Shelton-Colby “cut short” her Fulbright plans and left for Mexico because she *just had* to go cover for a professor there, even though she didn’t speak a lick of Spanish. In 1969 Sally left France to teach ‘Vietnam Right-Think’ to unappreciative students in Mexico City, where she *just happened* to reconnect with Mr. Mexico from SAIS and married him– a relationship that didn’t even last twelve months, but gave her inside intelligence on a *difficult* Mexican political family.

What brought these two lovebirds together? It couldn’t have been Sally’s American-ness; it couldn’t have been name-recognition; it couldn’t have been money. The one thing left that may have united our Texan and her princeling is socialism, even if only the cocktail variety. Frankly, at SAIS in the mid-Sixties, I wouldn’t be surprised if fashionable political views were what united them. Fashionable socialism was *probably* the hook, readers, but look to Shelton-Colby’s later career for the reason for her marriage.

After her fling with the princeling, Shelton-Colby says: “I left and came back to the United States, and was very fortunate to get a job, almost sight- unseen, with Senator Lloyd Bentsen.” Lloyd Bentsen is a Texas-based Clinton crony who helped push through the NAFTA trade agreement: a globalist’s dream-come-true, which has aggravated wealth disparities in the US and Mexico.

Sally quit teaching Mexicans about US Vietnam policy and returned to the US in 1971, the same year William Colby got outta Vietnam. I speculate, readers, that 1971 was the year Washington intelligentsia decided they’d gotten everything they could out of that ugly war.

I’ve canvassed some Mexican politics experts and it seems that Sally’s Mr. Mexico is probably Eduardo Jimenez Gonzalez, who was Mexico’s ambassador to Norway from 1975-77. From what I can find, he doesn’t seem like such a bad guy: he’s currently using his power and celebrity to protect his people from massive warrant-free government surveillance, thus working against his ex-wife’s masters’ desire for ‘total information awareness’. I wish more American princelings would have Mr. Gonzalez’s wisdom and bravery regarding personal privacy.

Ex-Mrs.-Gonzalez’s loyalty to Washington was repaid with the Ambassadorship of Barbados in 1979, a post Shelton-Colby held for two whole years under Carter. She was then made Vice President of Bankers Trust Co., where she was responsible for managing the bank’s political risk in developing countries during the third world debt crisis of the 1980s.

Shelton-Colby was so good at ‘managing third world debt’ that she pops up next at USAID, representing a collaborative effort with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):

USAID & SEC TO ADVISE EMERGING SECURITIES MARKETS ACROSS GLOBE UNDER NEW AGREEMENT SIGNED TODAY (Sept 2nd, 1997)
The U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have teamed-up to provide expert assistance to securities regulators in USAID countries through out the world. The program is USAID-funded and jointly administered under a five-year, $4 million inter-agency agreement signed today.

Technical assistance will be provided by SEC employees, principally to a country’s regulatory agency and its stock exchanges. USAID missions’ requests for SEC assistance will be coordinated through USAID’s Global Bureau, Office of Emerging Markets. (Press Rel. 97-71)

“Who better than the SEC and USAID to team up to export u.s. expertise in this area and protect the interests of the U.S. investor?” commented USAID Associate Administrator, Sally Shelton-Colby.

“The agreement is part of a continuing effort to use ‘in-house’ resources to support USAID’s economic growth agenda and foreign assistance objectives,” explained Russell Anderson, Director of USAID’s Office of Emerging Markets. Robert D. Strahota, Assistant Director in the SEC’s Office of International Affairs said, “This program reflects the SEC’s commitment to strengthening global securities markets and making them safer for both American and foreign investors.”
The agreement is modeled after a similar program with USAID in the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe. Under this program, the SEC has provided U.S. and overseas training to several hundred senior capital markets officials from this region.

Regular readers know what contempt I have for USAID and their fortune-hunting around the globe; my contempt doesn’t just stem for clumsy psy-ops like ZunZuneo, but from the crime they perpetrated against Russia and the other countries of the former USSR in the 1990s, when they assisted the Harvard Institute for International Developments’ creation of the oligarch class by cheating millions of regular people out of  their shares in previously nationalized companies, leaving most of Russia starving and freezing in the 1990s. The SEC should be ashamed to be involved with Shelton-Colby and her USAID team, especially since the press statement invokes USAID’s travesty in Russia. The press release doesn’t say which other emerging markets were to be ‘helped’ by the Shelton-Colby crew.

(USAID skeptics: James Jesus Angleton’s memo from Colby’s ‘Family Jewels’ leaks includes a document about how the CIA was training USAID workers, as well as James Schlesinger’s paper on how to use aid for political ends. Here’s the full documentation. Angleton included these documents because he thought they had “flap potential”.)

It appears as though Sally was working on the aforementioned SEC/USAID swindle when William Colby died in 1996 under mysterious circumstances– which isn’t unusual for a drug lord. But don’t think Mrs. Colby II is just about the dollars and cents!

Throughout her career, Shelton- Colby has supported benevolent organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Atlantic Council of the U.S and the Center for International Environmental Law. She’s also left her mark on academia…

What does  Shelton-Colby’s scholarly contribution look like? Take, for instance, her paper The Volcano Down Below  (June 1986 edition of Armed Forces Journal), which she co-authored with Marshall Lee Miller.  A Spanish-speaking scholar summarizes Shelton-Colby/Miller’s conclusions this way: the threat to Mexico’s stability lies less in the prospect of a revolution of the kind that happened in Nicaragua and Iran, than the probability of a populist demagog  rising to power within the system structure dominated by the PRI, as a result of years of deteriorating economic conditions.”

You’ll remember PRI as the Gonzalez Family party.

Shelton-Colby also participated in a sensitive ‘Track Two Diplomacy” mission to Cuba during the Reagan administration: the hope was that academics would succeed where real diplomats had failed.  After leaving sensitive USAID documents in her suitcase for Cuban intelligence to pilfer, Shelton-Colby and a feminist colleague were treated to an infamous Tropicana Club floor show by their communist hosts, which flapped American sensibilities. As author Howard Wiarda describes it:

The showgirls bump and grind, kick up their legs like the Rockettes and wear bananas and pineapples on their heads as if they were in some 1930s Bing Crosby- Carmen Miranda movie (“Flying Down to Rio”). The show was so old-fashioned, so corny, so counterrevolutionary that I thought it was hysterical in a campy sort of way. But our colleague, the radical feminist Helen Safa, was so offended by the performance that she could not restrain herself, and raised her voice to express her objections. In this case, the Cuban hosts behaved far better than the visiting American.

It seems every aspect of this ‘track two’ mission was planned with great competence. I find it incredible that Shelton-Colby would bring sensitive information with her to Cuba: could someone with her employment history really be so naive? She certainly wasn’t naive about intelligence matters when she made her career in the Gonzalez household. I believe, readers, that like her second husband, Shelton-Colby was willing to make deals with the enemy if she thought she could get something out of it.

I think I’ve given readers a taste of what kind of person Sally Shelton-Colby is, and by extension, what type of person William Egan Colby was. I do not believe careers like Shelton-Colby’s are uncommon in Washington, in fact, if you’re ‘in the loop’, I believe such careers are the norm. Therefore, I’m not surprised Colby felt reasonably secure working with the KGB against his agency enemies or continuing his Golden Triangle drug trade. I mean, he did get away with it, didn’t he?

Carl Colby interviewed Sally Shelton-Colby for The Man Nobody Knew, but he edited out all her footage: “She wasn’t forthcoming about any insights into his character,” Carl said. “The narrative ended. She’s just a coda.”

Shelton-Colby’s career shows her to be  an unprincipled, disingenuous, ugly person, but she is the person who William Colby chose to spend the rest of his life with. Shelton-Colby is an important coda to the Bill Colby story, and nobody’s going to understand Colby without accepting that a woman like Sally Shelton appealed to him.

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of gaining wisdom is accepting that, sometimes,  people who we really want to be noble and good just aren’t.

Why is Lloyd Shearer a Family Jewel? *UPDATE*

This is the second in a series of (what will be) three posts on William E. Colby’s cooperation with the KGB. This post will assume knowledge of a few things:

1) Colby’s role in discrediting James Jesus Angleton, and removing him from the CIA through a number of means, one of which was leaking damaging information about Angleton to Seymour Hersh. Colby had almost all of Angleton’s counterintelligence files burned. If you are unfamiliar with this, please read my post Dirty Jobs.

2) Colby’s use of Alfred McCoy’s book The Politics of Heroin to deflect criticism from Colby’s involvement in the SE Asian heroin trade onto ‘the CIA in general’, and how Colby used Seymour Hersh and David Obst to promote McCoy’s book in the press. If you are unfamiliar with this, please read my post Managed Opposition.

3) David Obst’s connection with the KGB through Lloyd Shearer and his son, Derek. David Obst was the agent for most journalists who leaked CIA secrets in the 1970s, including Seymour Hersh, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Brit Hume and Rand employee Daniel Ellsberg. If you need more info: Did William Colby Help the KGB?

If you’ve read all that and are still with me, thank you.:)  I will now look at what Colby leaked during his tenure as the CIA’s Executive Director and Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). (I’ll look at the information flow represented by the purple arrow on the diagram below.)

That purple arrow represents the second of four points which, I believe, point to Colby’s cooperation with the KGB: 1) David Obst’s KGB connection, 2) Colby’s gratuitous leaking during his CIA career, 3)  Sally Shelton-Colby’s funny pink friends and 4) the fact that Colby’s heroin business didn’t stop with the fall of Saigon or the end of his CIA career.

CHOS2 Colby leaksHere is a list, in chronological order, of the leaks I believe Colby made to Seymour Hersh and his manager David Obst.

1) Colby *PROBABLY* leaked details around the ‘My Lai Massacre’ in 1969.

2) Colby *PROBABLY* orchestrated the leaking of the CIA’s involvement with heroin smuggling in 1971, which ultimately resulted in Hersh’s scoop for the New York Times and McCoy’s landmark study The Politics of Heroin. (See my post Managed Opposition.)

3) Colby *DEFINITELY* confirmed (at least) Angleton’s HT LINGUAL and CHAOS programs on December 20, 1974. (Angleton thought Colby was the original leak too, see Tom Mangold’s Cold Warrior.)  Colby *DEFINITELY* leaked  information on “dozens” of  other CIA ‘Family Jewels’ in 1974: Bill Colby was “the leaker at the top”, in the words of his son Carl. For an idea of what else Colby gave Hersh, read Hersh’s Dec. 22nd 1974 NYT story.

I believe, readers, that Colby was responsible for three major leaks from the CIA during the years 1969-74, all of which where leaked through the Hersh/Obst pairing. I will explain the first and last of these leaks in today’s post.

Why would Colby leak My Lai?

The 1969 My Lai scoop is what made Seymour Hersh’s name as a journalist, and according to David Obst, Hersh’s My Lai story was the first time the pair worked together. Colby’s crack media team was formed for the My Lai scoop.

How did Hersh hear about My Lai? From what I can find, Hersh is supposed to have got a ‘tip‘ in 1969 to interview U.S. Army Lieut. William L.Calley, which lead to the discovery of the ‘My Lai Massacre’. Who could have given this tip?** Consider that in 1969 Colby was the CIA’s top man in the Far East and he was just about to leave for an important D.C. post. He knew he’d have to white-wash his heroin dealings, but there was his ugly Phoenix Program too, where the CIA assisted in torture and assassinations which ended up killing something like 30,000 suspected Viet Cong.   As head of Far Eastern intel, Colby would have known about My Lai, which was already being investigated and prosecuted by the US Army when Seymour Hersh leaked it. (See David Obst’s autobiography Too Good To Be Forgotten, p.164.) Perhaps Colby thought it would be better if nasty, violent stuff was *publicly* pinned on the Army first, rather than on his own CIA ops? Today, I’d say more Americans know about My Lai than the Phoenix program, even though Phoenix killed sixty times as many people.

The My Lai incident caused widespread revulsion in the USA; imagine what it would have done to William Colby’s Washington career if it got out that something sixty times worse was directly attributable to him. Colby would have gained a lot by leaking My Lai information to Hersh/Obst at the time that it was leaked, and looking backward,  Colby’s modus operandi throughout his career was to leak through Hersh/Obst. If the shoe fits.

Not only did Colby have reason to hide the Phoenix Program, but he was acutely aware of his reasons. I can say that with certainty, because of the last, and most unusual, of William Colby’s  ‘CIA Family Jewels’ leaks five years after the Mai Lai scoop in ’69. The last of Colby’s ‘jewels’ leakage is a series of letters between Colby and Derek’s dad, Lloyd Shearer, the gossip columnist.

Why are these letters part of the ‘Family Jewels’? In 1972, Shearer wrote in his Personality Parade column that the CIA used assassinations as a political tool as part of the Phoenix Program, which upset Colby terribly. Colby wrote Lloyd a letter in an attempt to white-wash Phoenix and pressure Lloyd into writing a retraction. An *astounding* correspondence ensued… which Colby entered into his famous ‘Family Jewels’ leaks!

Colby’s 1969 My Lai leak has a direct connection with his 1974  ‘jewel’ leaks via his letters to Lloyd Shearer. Colby had to protect Phoenix in 1969, then again in 1972. I’ll look at the ‘jewel’ leaks next.

 

Why is Lloyd Shearer a Family Jewel…

The ‘CIA Family Jewels’ are a series of reports that DCI James Schlesinger asked the other CIA directors to prepare for him in 1973. The Jewels stank of rear-guard from day one: Schlesinger held his post for about six months, and during that short time one of his priorities was to make sure nothing with “flap potential” could be pinned to him. If Schlesinger was concerned about the agency, he would have discretely asked each director for sensitive information during face-to-face meetings. Instead, he armed a paper bomb…

… which fell into the lap of his replacement, the KGB-connected William Egan Colby. What we know as the ‘Jewels’ are a selection of heavily redacted reports that Colby chose to leak from Schlesinger’s original collection, with some ‘updates’ that Colby requested. Colby’s ‘Family Jewels’ are a dishonest collection of documents designed to smear Colby’s CIA enemies, cover his own scandals and provide  some useful information to Colby’s KGB partners. A redacted set of the ‘Jewels’ wasn’t declassified until 2007.

First the small fry: there is very little information on the juicy topics that the press continually harps on, such as spying on Black radicals or political conventions, John Lennon’s political donations, mind-control, etc. There’s only enough detail on who was targeted to make newsworthy soundbites, which I think was Colby’s intention. The majority of information that is given about these juicy topics centers around in-house aspects, like  who got copies of the questionable program’s findings, or whose department was involved in the program.

What is notable about these juicy tidbits, is that they almost invariably show the CIA targeting liberals. As readers are aware, starting at the end of WWII the CIA battled with the KGB for the hearts of the political left, (read Francis Stonor Saunder’s The CIA and the Cultural Cold War.) Colby’s selected leaks played into the lie that the CIA is a conservative institution which tries to undermine the Left. Colby’s ‘jewel’ selection was a boon to his KGB buddies, because these ‘jewels’ sowed distrust between the agency and the Left, which in turned strengthened the Soviet/Communist appeal to liberals.

The CIA is not a conservative organization– far, far from it. As Carl Colby says in his interview with Q&A’s Brian Lamb:

LAMB: By the way, what was – from what you can remember, what were his [William Colby's] politics?

COLBY: You know it’s funny you say what were his politics. I would say he was an FDR liberal. He was JFK kind of incarnate. He was extremely active, obviously in World War II. He drank the milk of FDR. He believed in – he was a Democratic activist I would say, labor lawyer, truly. Conducting sort of activist rallies, and supporting down-trodden workers – seriously – and I think going into the CIA I think a lot of people were from Yale and especially all the Ivy Leaguers; they were pretty liberal. And they were liberal like JFK was liberal.

If you don’t believe Carl Colby about the CIA’s overarching political leanings, consider that the agency was set up by FDR and his cronies, or this rarely-quoted extract from the ‘jewels’ themselves:

CHAOS Broe

Page 327/703 from the 2007 Family Jewels declassification, in a memo about Angleton’s CHAOS program, from Inspector General William V. Broe to William Colby. Operation CHAOS spied on student anti-war activists.

What about the documents which provide more than sound-bites? Colby’s  in-depth ‘jewels’ focused  on his CIA and political enemies. Many of these more in-depth documents were damaging to James Angleton; former DCI John McCone and the White House. Colby hated Angleton because Angleton investigated Colby’s KGB ties in Vietnam; I know that Colby was afraid of Richard Nixon; I do not know about Colby’s relationship to McCone. I suspect that Colby had a bone to pick with whoever was running the agency’s ‘aliases’ (fake ID’s) department and the program which equipped/trained domestic police too. It’s clear from some of the reports that various directors were clued into what Colby wanted them to say, and of course, *nobody* was worried that any drug trafficking connections might come out…

Interestingly, some of the ‘jewel’ reports are accompanied by special notes from Colby himself. For instance, this one about CIA cooperation with the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), code-named PROJECT TWO-FOLD:

Check out points two and three.

Check out paragraphs two and three.

What does Colby deign to tell us?

'Let's stop looking for corruption, but keep staffing our guys in foreign ops."

“Let’s stop looking for corruption, but keep staffing our guys in foreign narc ops.” – William Egan Colby

So says the SE Asian drug kingpin!

I think I’ve given you a taste of what 97% of the 703 pages that make up the ‘CIA Family Jewels’ are about. The remaining few pages, those dealing with the weird correspondence between Colby and Hollywood gossip-monger Lloyd Shearer are what I’ll end with now.

The Colby/Lloyd Shearer letters are the only instance of extended non-government correspondence in the ‘jewels’ and they even contain hand-written notes from Colby, as he frantically planned his first letter to Shearer in a desperate attempt to white-wash the Phoenix Project. Note that Colby had *probably* first tried to hide Phoenix behind My Lai three years earlier, when he began working with Lloyd Shearer’s protégé Obst. So it’s likely Lloyd Shearer knew about Colby’s arrangement with Obst when he first published the Pheonix Program comment in his column.

I’ve arranged these Colby/Shearer letters in chronological order on their own page, so that you can read the originals as they appear in the 2007 release of the ‘Jewels’. I’m including the text of the letters below.

This is the news item that freaked Colby out:

From Lloyd Shearer's Personality Parade column.

From Lloyd Shearer’s Personality Parade column.

This clip prompted Colby to write Shearer a letter, which Colby asked Angus Thuermers, George Carver, General White, CIA General Counsel and a department called DD/P to review before sending to Lloyd Shearer.

CS 1

Lloyd Shearer’s reply…

CS 2Colby fires back…

CS 3To which Shearer gives this *shocking* reply…

CS 4

The ‘Angus’ Shearer mentions is likely Angus Thuermer, who reviewed Colby’s first letter.

After that, Colby sends out this internal CIA note:

CS 5Isn’t it incredible that a gossip columnist could treat the executive director of the CIA with such disrespect? I suggest the reason for Lloyd’s attitude was that he knew perfectly well what the relationship was between his protégé Obst and Colby, and therefore felt he had power over Colby. By Colby’s reaction to Lloyd, I’d say Lloyd’s feelings were well-founded.

It was very aggressive for Lloyd Shearer to bring up the names of Victor Marchetti (co-author with David Obst’s *probable* roomie John Marks of the book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence)  and Jack Anderson (who first reported the Castro assassination attempts). Both Anderson and Marchetti were being secretly watched by the CIA at the time Shearer was writing because of their connection to leaked CIA information. Shearer is effectively saying to Colby: “Be careful, my contacts are better than you think and I’m onto you.”

What  Colby inadvertently admitted by leaking his  own correspondence is that after writing to Lloyd, Colby realized Lloyd Shearer could be dangerous to him, probably because of the Obst-Derek Shearer-KGB connection. The letters show Colby realized it was unwise to push Old Man Shearer further. I don’t think Colby intended to reveal this, I believe Colby thought that no one would give Lloyd’s letters context by talking like David Obst has, so Colby’s KGB media connection would remain secret. I think that when Colby included this *very odd* Jewel in the bunch, he thought he was giving himself the chance to white-wash the Phoenix Program more fully– to say all the little niceties his lawyers advised him not to say the first time. (That’s why he included his hand-written notes.)

When we practice to deceive… we reveal our KGB!

Tune in next week, when I talk about the witch Colby left his real family for!

 

P.S. To be absolutely clear, the Colby-Shearer correspondence I’ve documented above is a correspondence between the two men highlighted in purple on my flow chart:

CHOS2 Flow Jewels

** A kind reader just informed me that Seymour Hersh has stated that the My Lai ‘tip’ came from Geoffrey Cowan, the son of former CBS television network president Louis G. Cowan. This doesn’t change my opinion that Colby was the ultimate source of the My Lai leak, because there’s nothing in Cowan’s background which makes it natural for him to have knowledge about an on-going Army investigation… unless, of course, somebody called his dad asking for the best way to present certain information to the American public! Cowan’s involvement does provide an interesting insight into the mechanics of how, I believe, Colby covered himself on the Project Phoenix issue. Thank you!

Did William Colby Help the KGB? *UPDATE*

William Colby with this first wife and children.

William Colby with this first wife, Barbara, and their children.

About a week ago, I wrote a post titled Managed Opposition which described how CIA director William Colby used Alfred McCoy and his book, The Politics of Heroin, to deflect attention away from Colby’s own heroin dealing. Colby worked with Seymour Hersh and a guy called David Obst to promote McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin in the media.

Since then, I’ve read Obst’s autobiography; watched Carl Colby’s documentary on his dad The Man Nobody Knew; re-read the 2007 declassified version of the CIA’s  ‘Family Jewels‘; and done a little digging on Ambassador Sally Shelton-Colby.

I was ready to write a post with a  screaming headline, such as: “If You Didn’t Believe Colby was KGB after Angleton , Wait ‘Till You Hear This…

I was primed to write such a post, because I’ve hit on a few more things which *suggest* Colby was helping the Russians.  These things are 1) David Obst’s KGB connection; 2) Colby’s gratuitous leaking during his CIA career; 3)  Sally Shelton-Colby’s funny pink friends; and 4) the fact that Colby’s heroin business didn’t stop with the fall of Saigon or the end of his CIA career. (Who kept supplying Colby’s network, eh?)

I didn’t write a post screaming ‘KGB’, because I realized that there’s a little more going on here than ‘Colby is a Double Agent’. To call Colby a ‘double agent’ would imply that he had loyalty to the Russians. Colby had loyalty to no one: he regularly gave information which damaged the CIA to his KGB-assisted media team so that Colby could protect himself or take down his enemies inside the CIA. Colby was an unprincipled man who did anything for power, irrespective of the consequences to his family, the CIA or the USA.

So, as I explain David Obst’s KGB ties and how Obst and Seymour Hersh were (consciously) ran as Colby’s media-spinning operation, I ask readers to recognize that Colby *probably was* a Russian agent, but also that he would have worked with Mossad, the Cubans, the Chinese… anybody who was useful to him at the time. Colby was a much, much worse type of traitor than merely a ‘double agent’.

David Obst: William Colby’s Weakest Link

David Obst first came to my attention through Alfred McCoy. In McCoy’s preface to the 1991 edition of The Politics of Heroin, he says Obst offered to find him a publisher when ‘the CIA’ started to complain about McCoy’s work. When McCoy ended up not needing another publisher, Obst leaked McCoy’s story to Seymour Hersh, who wrote a very cautious article about how ‘The CIA doesn’t want you to read this book!’. You can imagine what that did for sales.

The point is, David Obst was the midwife who birthed the CIA heroin scandal into the public consciousness. In fact, David Obst spent most of the seventies birthing CIA scandals into the public consciousness. Seymour Hersh says it best:

“Whether it be My Lai, Watergate, The Pentagon Papers, or any of the other tumultuous events of that era, Obst seems to be in the middle of it.”

Obst was the ‘manager’ who helped these scandal-stories get placed in the right newspapers and on the right television shows. In addition to being an agent for Seymour Hersh (My Lai reporter); Daniel Ellsberg (The Pentagon Papers leaker); Brit Hume (targeted journalist in the CIA ‘Family Jewels’) and Carl Berstein/Bob Woodward (Watergate Scandal reporters); Obst *makes a strong suggestion* that he was roomies with John Marks, the guy who made the CIA’s MKUltra/ LSD program famous with books like The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. Obst really does have a connection with  every CIA disclosure during the tumultuous seventies.

What Obst won’t tell you, is that the information for some of his big scoops came directly from the head of the CIA himself, Bill Colby. Carl Colby, in an interview with Q&A’s Brian Lamb , says this:

LAMB: Quick clip [From Carl's documentary on his father William Colby]. Only 30 seconds with Seymour Hersh, ask you why you talked to him . VIDEO BEGINS [Hersh] I did learn from people inside the agency that there had been these documents called the family jewels and I had your father’s one number and I called him. He did see me and he didn’t lie to me. What he did was, if I said there was at least 120 cases of wire breaking, or wire tapping of American citizens in our country to the law, in America, he said my number is only 63; it was a question of numbers. He did not back away from the question of wrongdoing and so that’s one hell of a story. VIDEO ENDS

LAMB: The fellow that broke the My Lai story.

COLBY: Seymour Hersh says a little bit more than what you might even imagine by what he just said. If you trace back to what he said, he said he was pivotal to the publishing of that story. So my father was the source in some ways for that story.

LAMB: The leaker.

COLBY: The leaker at the top. Now, you might say, my God, why would he do that? I think my father was doing what he said he was going to do. Is that he was going to keep the good secrets and let out the bad secrets.

The Colby Clan are a study in self-righteousness and denial; I’m sure Carl will insist papa’s work for Nugan Hand was motivated by the greater good too. What’s important about that quote is that it shows how much discretion Bill Colby had in what he chose to release through the ‘Family Jewels’. Many intelligence-types felt Colby gave out unnecessary information– General Walters, is one example. From Carl’s documentary:

When the Church Committee got rolling, he [Colby] began to reveal things about the history of the agency that did not have to be revealed at that time. And at one of the morning sessions, General Walters, who was his deputy,  said to him, “Well Bill, I’m a Catholic too. And I believe that it is enough to go to the confessional, and to tell one’s sins in the confessional. One doesn’t have to do that before Congressional committees.” [Colby wore his Catholic faith on his sleeve. -- a.nolen]

I will come back to what and how much Colby leaked later, but for now I’d like to point out that Obst was the man who placed what Colby leaked through Hersh.

So Obst was a lucky man, wasn’t he? How does somebody get a sweet deal like Obst’s connection with William Colby?

David Obst's book about himself.

David Obst’s book about himself, which he had Derek Shearer look over before publishing in 1998.

Obst’s career was nurtured by the Shearer family, who Obst describes as “not only a different class from everyone I’d ever known (they didn’t have milk cartons or ketchup bottles on the table at dinner), but they had a different mind-set as well”. Obst, the future-Revolutionary, was an unabashed social-climber in his teens! During his youthful trips to the Shearers’ Xanadu Obst absorbed their world-view.

The patriarch of the Shearer family, Lloyd, was a Hollywood gossip monger and influence peddler who, according to Obst, entertained “astronauts, movie stars, artists, and politicians. All tried to ingratiate themselves so they could get mentioned in the paper”. Lloyd’s son Derek became Obst’s friend, eventually introducing Obst to close pal Bill Clinton.

Lloyd Shearer's gossip column, which he wrote under the name Walter Scott. Classy.

Lloyd Shearer’s gossip column, which he wrote under the name Walter Scott. Classy.

What help, exactly, did the Shearers provide David Obst? This is what Obst tells us:

1) Lloyd Shearer lead Obst to study in China, where he recorded testimonies from Christian missionaries who were in China during WWII. (Missionaries have always been a valuable third-party source of intel for Western powers, though Obst claims he was working for academic purposes only.)

2) Lloyd Shearer got Obst and his son Derek press passes so that Obst could cover the Yippie riots/ 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and jump-start his news career.

3) Derek Shearer provided Obst with a place to stay while Obst began his working relationship with Seymour Hersh in Washington D.C.

Whenever David Obst needed something, a Shearer was there to give it to him. Despite this, Obst never gives Derek’s last name in his autobiography, and never names Lloyd at all. Neither Shearer is listed in the autobiography’s index, even though they have their own chapter in Obst’s book! (I had to work Derek’s last name out from who his sister married.) Is Obst ashamed of his Shearer connection? If not, why obscure the men to whom he owes his career?

David Obst has one very good reason to be nervous about his connection to Derek Shearer. Derek Shearer brought a scandal to the Clinton Administration when it came out that Derek, Clinton’s Ambassador to Finland, has deep ties to the infamous Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Derek Shearer today.

Derek Shearer today.

IPS is not just a think tank which promotes socialist/Marxist viewpoints; it is an organization that actively cultivates KGB contacts and is used by the KGB to recruit spies. IPS hosted ex-CIA agent and Soviet tool Philip Agee’s publication Counterspy, which outed Athens’ CIA station chief Richard L. Welch who was subsequently murdered. This information on IPS’s KGB connections is provided by Dutch journalist Emerson Vermaat here, where he also lists his sources. Vermaat’s homepage is here.

David Obst’s silence about Derek Shearer adds weight to Vermaat’s claims; Obst’s silence about Lloyd Shearer suggests the KGB connection goes even further back. (Obst does mention in his autobiography that ‘some guy in his commune’ wanted to donate Obst’s money from the Ellsberg/’Pentagon Papers’ leaks to IPS, p.186.)

What did Derek do for IPS? It’s hard to say, because after the blow-up around his Ambassadorship, he tried to distance himself from the institute. (He doesn’t mention IPS in his Occidental College bio.) However, here’s one description of his work for IPS  which I found on ProgressiveCities.org:

The Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies emerged in the 1970s when a few, then dozens and hundreds of activists who had come from the student, anti-war, civl rights and neighborhood movements began to seek office in state and local governments in the 1970s. The actual beginning came when Lee Webb, who had been national secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society, began working on legislation in Vermont and found others with similar interests in other parts of the nation. Webb found grant moneys, connected with Derek Shearer and others, worked within the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and by 1975 Webb and Shearer committed to traveling the nation to collect examples of legislation, policy papers and ideas, which they eventually published in “Readers,” for national conferences, while IPS volunteer staffer Barbara Bick produced a quarterly newsletter.

Gramscian enough for you? ;) The Conference in question featured luminaries like Barney Frank. IPS was founded by Wall Street banker and FDR crony John Jay McCloy using money from Sears heir Philip Stern, banker James Warburg and the Samuel Rubin Foundation. Where’s Wondergood!?

Recap: William Colby’s crack-team of CIA leakers, Seymour Hersh and Daniel Obst, had one foot in the CIA and one foot in the KGB, thanks to Obst’s patron the Shearers. Derek Shearer was a prominent employee of a KGB feeder-pool and by 1998, Obst knew he had to distance himself from Derek. Obst’s silence about Lloyd Shearer suggests Lloyd had unsavory connections as well. Could Colby, the head of the CIA, be unaware of whose company he was keeping? I don’t think so, I think Colby just didn’t care.

David Obst is a loud, self-important ass. Luckily for me, and for anyone interested on how Colby worked with the KGB,  Obst is also fond of name-dropping: Derek’s sister– Brooke– married Strobe Talbott, who has a Wikipedia entry containing his wife’s maiden name. (Though I’m sure that wasn’t the case back when Obst published is autobiography in 1998!) Ever feel old, David?

Tune in next week when I ask “What are the CIA’s Family Jewels, and why is Lloyd Shearer one of them?” Also, “Was Colby the ultimate source of Hersh’s My Lai leak?”

 

In response to a  reader request, I’ve drawn a flow chart of the relations between William Colby, Seymour Hersh, David Obst and the Shearer Duo.

Colby Hearsh Obst Seymour Flow

The People Vs. Bob Guccione

In the final chapter of Prof. Alfred McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin, he gives a brief description of the Nugan Hand Bank Scandal. Nugan Hand was an Cayman Islands bank that was intimately involved in the heroin trade during the 1970s; Nugan Hand appears to have taken over as ‘the CIA’s banker’ after Castle Bank & Trust of Nassau was compromised in 1973 by an IRS investigation. (The CIA quashed the investigation for ‘national security’ reasons!! But, the damage had been done…)

Castle Bank’s successor, Nugan Hand,  was headed by ex-military types, including a smattering of men from the CIA, like retired director William Colby, who served as the bank’s legal counsel for a time and whose “calling card” was found with the body of Frank Nugan in 1980.

I’m talking about Castle Bank and Nugan Hand today because during the 1973 IRS investigation, an ‘informant’ was able to photograph Castle Bank’s client list. Along with the usual suspects, like mafia figures Morris Dalitz, Morris Kleinman and Samuel Tucker, were two notable pornographers: Hugh Hefner of Playboy, and Robert Guccione of Penthouse.

The CIA's Soft Porn King.

The CIA’s Soft Porn King.

The CIA's Hard Porn King.

The CIA’s Hard Porn King.

Why were these two famous pornographers piggy-backing on banking interests vital to US ‘national security’? Why were they pooling their money with cash used by the CIA for “clandestine operations against Cuba and for other covert intelligence operations”?

What are the national security implications of porn?

Before readers laugh at this question, I will remind them that in most parts of the world pornography is outlawed– or at least frowned upon– as being a social evil. Beijing banned pornography in 1949. The Soviet Union banned it also; people born in the USSR will tell you what a shock it was to see smut pour in along with the American dollars.  Sharia law prohibits porn; Christian teaching does the same. So what’s up? Are all these governments/ religious leaders just anti-free-speech? Is everybody else stupid?

To answer that, I’m going to give you a quote from the Marquis de Sade, who was not just a pornographer and psychopath, but a leading political thinker of the French Revolution who was given a judgeship after 1789.

De Sade liked to throw political philosophy in with his porn. In Philosophy in the Bedroom, de Sade explains how pornography is useful in a republic:

The transgressions we are considering in this second class of man’s duties toward his fellows include actions for whose undertaking libertinage may be the cause; among those which are pointed to as particularly incompatible with approved behavior are prostitution, incest, rape and sodomy. We surely must not for one moment doubt that all those known as moral crimes, that is to say, all acts of the sort to which those we have just cited belong, are of total inconsequence under a government whose sole duty consists in preserving, by whatever may be the means, the form essential to its continuance: there you have a republican government’s unique morality. Well, the republic being permanently menaced from the outside by the despots surrounding it, the means to its preservation cannot be imagined as moral means, for the republic will preserve itself only by war, and nothing is less moral than war. I ask how one will be able to demonstrate that in a state rendered immoral by its obligations, it is essential that the individual be moral? I will go further: it is a very good thing he is not. The Greek lawgivers perfectly appreciated the capital necessity of corrupting the member citizens in order that, their moral dissolution coming into conflict with the establishment and its values, there would result the insurrection that is always indispensable to a political system of perfect happiness which, like republican government, must necessarily excite the hatred and envy of all its foreign neighbors.

Porn is indispensable to our ‘freedoms’, which despots ‘hate’. Sound familiar? De Sade explains further:

Lycurgus and Solon, fully convinced that immodesty’s results are to keep the citizen in the immoral state indispensable to the mechanics of republican government, obliged girls to exhibit themselves naked at the theater. [Footnote: It has been said the intention of these legislators was, by dulling the passion men experienced for a naked girl, to render more active the one men sometimes experience for their own sex. These sages caused to be shown that for which they wanted there to be disgust, and to be hidden what they thought inclined to inspire sweeter desires; in either case, did they not strive after the objective we have just mentioned? One sees that they sensed the need of immorality in republican matters.] Rome imitated the example: at the games of Flora they danced naked; the greater par of pagan mysteries were celebrated thus; among some peoples, nudity even passed for a virtue.

De Sade was a bit confused with his sources, the lawgiving he’s talking about comes from Philemon, who is quoted in Athenaeus, Deipnosophists XIII: Concerning Women, 25, which you can read here. Philemon does not say the same thing de Sade says; Philemon does say that women displayed naked and prostituted help the state by burning off young men’s excess energy. In other words, omnipresent sex keeps men passive.

Perhaps the CIA does feel pornography is a matter of national security: after all, we don’t want all those under- and unemployed young men thinking about government corruption…

The CIA's Soft Porn King today.

The CIA’s Soft Porn King today.

The CIA's Hard Porn King today.

The CIA’s Hard Porn King today. He’s dead. Freak liposuction accident?

Bearing in mind the centuries-old understanding of the political effects of pornography, let’s turn our attention to Castle Bank’s porn kings:

Hugh Hefner, whose magazine published stories by British spy Roald Dahl*, is an Army veteran; homosexual rights advocate; and a self-professed champion of  free speech. Hefner could be credited with bringing porn ‘mainstream’ in the Anglo-American world.

Hefner’s image has recently been tarnished by allegations that he is a drug-pushing control freak; that the fabled Playboy mansion is like a grubby, ‘no-tell’ motel; and that, according to former playmates Jill Ann Spaulding and Victoria Zdrok, Hefner needs to watch gay male porn to maintain his chemically-assisted erection.  In fact, the Playboy Mansion sounds a lot like Bryan Singer’s Hollywood (gay) pedophile ring.

Does the CIA feel Hefner’s enterprise is money well spent? Clearly, what Hugh sells isn’t very close to his heart; perhaps de Sade was on to something.

Robert Guccione set up Penthouse in direct ‘competition’ with Playboy; Penthouse took a more explicit ‘hard-core’ angle, going as far as to feature fetish stuff like urination and ‘facials’. The magazine has a knack for getting nude photos of women ‘before they’re famous’, such as Madonna and Vanessa Williams, and has even exploited underage girls, like Traci Lords.

Penthouse was first published in England, not America, and gave CIA asset Seymour Hersh a platform to ‘leak’ a handful of government scandals. (Presumably clearing them with William Colby first!) Guccione has been lauded by such venerable institutions as Brandeis University for his reporting through Penthouse.

Guccione also gave American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, her start in publishing– because of her innate ability? Probably not: Anna’s father was the editor of London’s Evening Standard, so Guccione’s help was likely a business favor to her old man. Never the less, Anna has given unflinching support to America’s current Commander-In-Chief. Also money well spent?

In conclusion, before anyone gets too teary-eyed about freedom of speech champions like Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione, let’s stop and think about where the money comes from.

 "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

“And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

 

*For readers interested in weird espionage ‘coincidences’, Hugh Hefner published Roald Dahl’s twisted story, The Last Act, which is about a vicious, misogynist womanizer who gets his high school flame to commit suicide after her husband’s untimely death. The disturbing thing about The Last Act is how much Dahl– an ‘illegal’ spy and womanizer himself– identifies with the psychopath.

One of MI5′s successes against the Soviets was the apprehension of ‘illegal’ agent Gordon Arnold Lonsdale, whose real name was Konon Trofimovich Molody. Molody had a wife and children in Russia, but he was a profligate womanizer who cultivated the image of a wealthy bon vivant. The MI5 codename for Molody was ‘Last Act’. Aren’t these guys cool?!

Managed Opposition

Prof. Alfred McCoy during one of many CIA-related media appearances.

Prof. Alfred McCoy during one of many CIA-related media appearances.

I woke up last night with the name ‘McCoy’ rolling around in my head. I tried to dismiss my sleeplessness as redux from the previous post about Leonard McCoy and William Colby, Dirty Jobs, but that nagging feeling just wouldn’t go away. Then I remembered that Colby was associated with another, entirely different McCoy. Alfred W. McCoy.

In 1972, Alfred W. McCoy finished writing a book titled The Politics of Heroin, which was an exposé of CIA complicity with heroin trafficking in the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam War (1959-75). A book on this topic should also have been an exposé of Colby, who had been heading up CIA Saigon operations on and off since 1959*. Instead, McCoy’s book mentions Colby a grand total of nine times, mostly in connection to quotes from Colby’s writing. (And I’m working from 1991 Politics of Heroin extended edition– 600 pages!)

McCoy began researching The Politics of Heroin in 1971, the year Colby returned to Washington D.C. to be Executive Director of the CIA and to begin Angleton’s unwinding. It’s *incredible*, readers, that McCoy should begin writing his magnum opus on CIA heroin connections at the same time the man ultimately responsible for those connections assumed an important Washington position. It’s even more incredible that McCoy’s CIA heroin exposé makes so little mention of the man at the heart of Far Eastern CIA operations.

CIA Director William Colby.

CIA Director William Colby.

A little too incredible. I suggest, readers, that Alfred McCoy’s work is managed opposition to William Colby, the media-friendly CIA leader. My suspicions (mostly) stem from information McCoy provides in the preface to the 1991 edition of his book, where he names the people who lead him to his heroin research and who helped him publish the book, despite CIA ‘disapproval’.

McCoy, as a lowly graduate student, was given extraordinary access to intelligence personalities; McCoy was given inside information from at least one CIA publishing front; and during his media-friendly ‘squabble’  with the CIA prior to publication (the best type of hype), McCoy was helped by William Colby’s journalist confidante, Seymour Hersh AND Washington literary-agent-cum-fixer, David Obst. Too many friends in high places, Prof. McCoy.

I don’t think McCoy’s book is a noble exposé of the CIA’s crimes; I think the CIA director William Colby knew that some of his heroin-related activities were going to get out and The Politics of Heroin was Colby’s damage control strategy. Sort of like Greenwald, Poitras and Gellman are the NSA’s damage control strategy for the Snowden leaks.

Let me flesh out what McCoy actually says in his preface. His heroin research started when he was a second-year graduate student at Yale. Alfred McCoy had the *deucedly good luck* to score an interview with the former head of French Intelligence for Indochina, General Maurice Belleux, who just happened to let it slip that the CIA was involved in selling Golden Triangle opium. Sacrebleu! Colby had inherited the heroin businesses that funded General Belleux’s operations back in Indochine.

Why would a French general spill the beans on CIA Executive Director Colby? Belleux’s interview with McCoy happened 10 years after a major rift between the French and American intelligence services; a rift which is attributed to fallout from the search for Soviet spies in France, nick-named ‘the Sapphire Network’. In 1962 James Angleton, along with his official contact with French intelligence services Philippe de Vosjoli, and the support of the majority of men in President Kennedy’s cabinet, told French Intellegence that they had a number of high-level Soviet infiltrations based on information from Anatoliy Golitsyn. The French rebuffed the information, turned viciously on de Vosjoli and no significant Soviet spies were outed. The event set many French officials against Angleton; Angleton suspected that any serious investigation into Golitsyn’s claims had been thwarted by Soviet-friendly insiders. De Vosjoli’s career was ruined and he fled to Mexico with American assistance.

De Vosjoli had cut his teeth working for French Intelligence in Indochina prior to 1951, so he would have been either a colleague or a subordinate to General Belleux. It would be great to know what state the General’s career was in after the ‘Sapphire’ blow up, but I do know that in 1956 he headed the “French Security Services of the National Defense and Armed Forces“, and by the time the 62-year old retired general spoke to McCoy, he no longer held a position in intelligence, but was heading up a helicopter company in France. (Not hiding in Mexico.)

I suspect that General Belleux heard from old Indochina friends that Colby was going to be ‘made’; Belleux knew Colby had serious image-laundering to do (CIA drug dealing was hardly a secret in Vietnam– it’s what all head honchos do there); and Belleux knew that Colby had an axe to grind with Angleton, so the general was happy to provide a favor. Somebody put General Belleux in touch with an obscure American grad student called Alfred. Strike one, Prof. McCoy.

But it wasn’t just the upper echelons of French Intelligence that opened up to young Alfred McCoy. Allen Ginsberg, beat poet and media darling, turned up on McCoy’s doorstep with a “carton containing years’ worth of unpublished dispatches from Time Life correspondents that documented the involvement of America’s Asian allies in the opium traffic”. Time-Life is a publishing constellation owned by the husband of Clare Boothe Luce, Roald Dahl’s lover/target and black ops aficionado. Carl Bernstein, of Rolling Stone, is famous for outing the Time-Life organization’s cooperation with the CIA. The cooperation included providing working-cover for CIA agents and even funding operations. (Readers will remember that Rolling Stone is no stranger to the intelligence community either!)

Recap: McCoy started writing The Politics of Heroin when Allen Ginsberg tuned up with pre-written notes supplied by a CIA media front. Strike Two.

When McCoy’s publisher Harper & Row warned the CIA about McCoy’s immanent book, Seymour Hersh (then with The New York Times) suddenly appeared on the scene and was granted interviews with Harper & Row staff, so that he could write this article which preempted The Politics of Heroin’s publication:

C.I.A. AIDES ASSAIL ASIA DRUG CHARGE; Agency Fights Reports That It Ignored Heroin Traffic Among Allies of U.S. C.I.A. Aides Fight Reports That Agency Ignored Southeast Asian Heroin Traffic

WASHINGTON, July 21 -The Central Intelligence Agency has begun a public battle against accusations that it knew of but failed to stem the heroin traffic of United States allies in Southeast Asia.

Note Hersh’s use of ‘failed to stem the heroin traffic’ rather than the more accurate ‘was complicit with’ or ‘participates in the heroin traffic’. (As of publication, I was unable to access the full article from the NYT’s rickety archives– they say it’s lost. Will update if there’s news.) Hersh was covering for his buddy William Colby at the CIA; Hersh had been tipped off to McCoy’s book by David Obst, the shadowy Washington literary agent and fixer– but more on Obst later.

Colby and Seymour Hersh buddies? Could it be true? Readers will remember that last Sunday I quoted Seymour Hersh from Tom Mangold’s Cold Warrior:

 “After talking to Angleton, I then called Colby up to tell him that I thought this man was totally off the reservation– that, in essence, he was totally crazy.”

This conversation took place in 1974, two years after Seymour Hersh’s ‘breaking story’ about the CIA and heroin. Hersh was such good buddies with Colby that he felt comfortable calling the DCI up to b*tch about another CIA big-wig. In fact, Tom Mangold documents how Colby leaked damaging information about Angleton to Hersh, and how Hersh would clear stories with Colby before their publication!

The next day, December 18 [1974], Seymour Hersh, then the top investigative reporter for the New York Times, phoned Colby and told him, “I have a story bigger than My Lai.” (Hersh had earlier won a Pulizter Prize for uncovering that massacre of unarmed Vietnamese civilians by American GIs.) Colby owed Hersh a favor because the reporter had withheld publication of a sensitive story at his request earlier that year, so the DCI agreed to meet him in his office to discuss this latest scoop.

That’s journalistic impartiality for you! The question isn’t whether Hersh was in bed with Colby, but if that cozy relationship was in place during the twelve months prior, when Hersh was beating the drum for Colby’s CYA expose of  what *the CIA as a whole* was doing in the Golden Triangle. I think it’s reasonable to assume the relationship was.

Recap: Colby’s buddy Hersh helped to promote McCoy’s book which obscured Colby’s role in the Indochina-drug-dealing. Strike three!

McCoy had a very public tussle with *the CIA as a whole* about his book in the New York Review of Books. In 1990 Colby would use the NYRB  again to defend his own writing about the Vietnam War.

Any good historian will know by now that Alfred McCoy is ‘out’. McCoy’s book is managed opposition to Colby and the CIA’s use of the East Asian drug trade. Colby was known as a media-friendly intelligence director; McCoy’s book is part of Colby’s strategy of managing the media to white-wash his corrupt– grotesque– past.

Readers will remember that the only reason any of this heroin trafficking came to light was because heroin addiction had suddenly become rampant amongst American GIs. Colby’s actions are no better than those of the Russians who sold arms to be used against their own men in Afghanistan. Colby was a twisted puppy.

There’s one more scrap of information from McCoy’s preface that I’d like to explore: David Obst. When the CIA initially threatened to quash The Politics of Heroin’s publication, David Obst appeared to give McCoy an alternative publisher:

A month later, Knowlton [Winthorp Knowlton, Harper & Row president] gave me an ultimatum: If I did not agree to a CIA review of the manuscript, Harper & Row would refuse to publish my book. I spent almost twenty-four hours struggling with the dilemma. My friend David Obst , a freelance literary agent in Washington, put me in touch with Hal Dutton of the publishing house E.P. Dutton, who was, David said, very upset by Harper’s decision to grant the CIA prior review of any manuscript. Dutton was willing to publish the book but warned that editorial work and legal batters with Harper & Row could mean a delay of six months.

Rather than slow the publication of timely material, I worked out a compromise with Harper & Row. We created a procedure fo submitting the manuscript to the CIA for prior review in a way that would preserve some semblance of editorial integrity.

Tipped off to a potential story by our mutual friend David Obst, Seymour Hersh, recently hired as an investigative reporter for the New York Times, interviewed Harper’s staff and published his expose of the CIA’s attempt to suppress the book on page 1 of the New York Times. Over the next week,  The Washington Post ran an editorial attacking the CIA’s infringement of freedom of the press and NBC’s Chronolog program televised an hour-long report by Garrick Utley on the agency’s complicity in the Laotian drug trade.

David Obst seems to be all things to all people, and right at the heart of the valuable media frenzy surrounding McCoy’s book.  Who is David Obst?

According to Luke Ford’s interview with David’s wife, Lynda:

Lynda attended Pomona College, in Claremont, California. Then she became a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at Columbia University. She met literary agent David Obst who represented Watergate journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. They had an affair and later married.

David got Jann Wenner to allow Lynda to put together an anthology called The Sixties for Rolling Stone Press. David next got the New York Times Magazine’s editor Ed Klein to meet her and hire her.

Obst edited a cover story in the summer of 1977 called “The New Tycoons of Hollywood.”

“I had a wonderful run as an editor of the New York Times Magazine,” Obst writes.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent in 2007:

He [David Obst] has written a book, Too Good to Be Forgotten: Changing America in the ‘60s and ‘70s, that brings together his experiences as a literary agent for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein during and after Watergate with his role in the publication of the Pentagon Papers and his assistance in bringing the My Lai massacre to light.

[Leaking The Pentagon Papers made Daniel Ellsberg famous; he now parties with Laura Poitras and other CIA assets at The Freedom of the Press Foundation.]

So, David made a habit of working with people whose job was to tell the public about Washington scandals through elite media channels.

David Obst, doing what he's best at.

David Obst, doing what he’s best at.

David was cozy to Rolling Stone, a magazine which I believe breaks bad news the safest way possible for the US governmentRolling Stone is where Carl Bernstein broke the news of *other journalists’* CIA connections– wouldn’t it be funny if Berstein’s guiding-light, Obst, was working for Colby and the CIA himself? Obst’s work with McCoy was very useful to William Colby.

As an interesting side-note, while David was busy ‘outing’ notorious CIA drug deals in far-off Asia, he made a career out of promoting drug culture in the USA. From The Uncool Exclusive Interview with Cameron Crowe, author of Fast Times at Ridgemont High:

David Obst was a publisher who used to work at Rolling Stone and split off to work on book packaging. He’s the one who called me up and said, ‘Do you want to write a book about high school?’ There was a backstory, I think, between Jann Wenner and David Obst where they had discussed a series of articles for Rolling Stone based on high school.  So I was never sure if the project would be a book for Obst, or a series of articles for Jann… or both.  I just loved the idea of writing about another kind of rock and roll – the kind that happens in the lives of real people.  Real teenagers.  And I did see something fascinating almost immediately – kids were becoming adults, burdened with financial and sexual responsibilities, years earlier than their parents ever had.  It was the great vanishing adolescence.  That was the beginning of Fast Times.

Did William Colby always feel the same way about McCoy’s book? I don’t think so. The Vietnam heroin scandal broke open again in the 1990s, prompting Colby to write a letter to the editors of the New York Review of Books. In reply to Colby, Jonathan Mirsky says:

But the CIA’s involvement in this traffic was widely known in the Sixties and Seventies, and was amply documented in Alfred McCoy’s book The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (Harper and Row, 1972), which I cited in my article, referring in particular to the chapter on the drug trade in Laos. In his letter Colby ignores McCoy’s evidence, which led to this conclusion:

American diplomats and secret agents have been involved in the narcotics traffic at three levels: (1) coincidental complicity by allying with groups actively engaged in the drug traffic; (2) abetting the traffic by covering up for known heroin traffickers and condoning their involvement; (3) and active engagement in the transport of opium and heroin. It is ironic, to say the least, that America’s heroin plague is of its own making. [p. 14]

Perhaps after several years of being the head of the CIA Colby felt differently about pushing blame for his heroin dealing off on ‘the CIA in general’. After all, as head of the organization, the public now saw Colby as ‘the CIA’. Perhaps in 1990, Colby wished his 1972 exercise in ass-covering would just go away.

1976  Time cover featuring Colby.

September 30th, 1974 TIME cover featuring Colby.

One year after Colby’s 1990 NYRB letter, McCoy decided to publish an expanded version of his 1972 book, which he describes as “moving beyond exposé to explanation”. McCoy’s updated book has copious information on all the other drug dealers in East Asia, not just Colby the CIA.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Perhaps none of this matters, because Colby died of a suspicious heart attack a while ago. Alfred McCoy now holds a very pleasant professorship in the sheltered college town of Madison, WI. What? Were you expecting McCoy to have  a job at the Rand Corporation, like Daniel Ellsberg?

 

*For those of you interested in William Colby’s Far Eastern adventures: Colby was the CIA’s deputy chief, then chief of the Saigon station from 1959-62; after that he moved to Washington D.C. to be the CIA’s Far Eastern Division Chief. In 1968 Colby was about to become chief of the Soviet Division– the division that had Angleton so worried– but President Johnson (protégé of Charles Marsh, the BSC collaborator and friend of Roald Dahl) sent him back to Vietnam, to replace Robert Komer and take over the U.S./South Vietnamese rural pacification effort. Colby stayed in Vietnam until 1971, when he was brought back to be Executive Director of the CIA (and quashed investigations into his dealings with a GRU agent in Saigon!)

 

Dirty Jobs

David Robarge, the CIA's chief 'historian'.

David Robarge, the CIA’s chief ‘historian’.

I don’t envy academic gate-keepers: their job is to cover up really big lies, which is almost always impossible. In fact, in their attempt to mislead the public, they often hoist themselves on their own petard, which is exactly what CIA historian David Robarge did when he called Tom Mangold’s Cold Warrior: “the most factually detailed, thoroughly researched study of Angleton.”

Cold Warrior is factually detailed, the problem for Robarge is that most of the facts run against the CIA’s official interpretation of Angleton’s career. The facts given in Cold Warrior suggest that Angleton was, in fact, on to something when he spoke about a ‘Monster Plot’ of deep Soviet penetration into the CIA. Far from showing Angleton to be a completely incompetent boob, Mangold’s book gives evidence of Angleton’s counterintelligence insights, insights which ought to look pretty damn smart to the post-Snowden CIA:

 When the computer age dawned over Langley, Anglton rejected the idea of computerizing his files. He was fearful that information technology would allow his staff’s precious secrets to be distributed to terminals throughout the CIA building.

I’ve spoken with someone who worked on installing Langley’s current computer system, and like any competent IT expert, they know computers are designed to replicate information quickly and will therefore always be a liability for spies– no matter how many system admins are fired.

But Angleton’s IT insights are not the crux of what I want to talk about today. Tom Mangold’s book is, on the surface, a hatchet-job against Angleton’s career and personality. The facts Mangold uses to back his claims do not support the conclusions he draws. As part of this deception, Mangold relies  heavily on the testimony of three men who were tasked with bringing Angleton down and burning his files: William Colby, George Kalaris and Leonard McCoy.

Burning Angleton’s files on Soviet penetration of the CIA and other American institutions was a really weird thing for the CIA to do. For an exploration of this topic, please see my post Jesus, Jimmy!, which explains why CIA leadership are still interested in shepherding the public’s perception of Angleton.

But back to Colby, Kalaris and McCoy. Mangold’s attitude towards these three men, and to post-Angleton CIA leadership, is fawning and largely uncritical. However the information Mangold gives us about the trio, when viewed dispassionately, suggests that Colby was probably a KGB asset and had a long standing feud with Angleton; it suggests McCoy had reason to hate Angleton for stymieing his career (McCoy was part of the CIA’s distrusted Soviet Division); and it also suggests that Kalaris was ignorant of Washington politics and had a stagnant career in a  South American backwater before the Angleton take-down. Colby’s three big sources have their own reasons for distorting Angleton’s legacy.

History, as Cleveland Cram well knows, is written by the victors.

I’ll let Mangold’s own words make my point that these three men are untrustworthy.  As background, William Colby served in the OSS (which was ripe with Soviet plants) in Italy alongside Angleton. Colby became chief of the CIA’s Far East Division, where he actively frustrated Angleton’s counterintelligence efforts, ostensibly to protect his own turf.

Mangold on Colby’s KGB ties:

During the Vietnam era, Angleton even went so far as to harbor doubts about Colby’s loyalty, suspicions that were raised after Colby had become the subject of an Angleton-directed security investigation.

While serving in Saigon, Colby had casually met a French medical doctor on three or four social occasions. According to the CIA’s book of rules, a station chief like Colby should have reported all substantive meetings with potentially useful foreigners, but he appears not have done so in this case. He had been unaware at the time that the Frenchman was suspected of being a Soviet GRU agent. Later, the CIA picked up some of the doctor’s incriminating radio transmissions from Vietnam. Years later, the doctor was caught in Paris by French security officials passing intelligence documents to his GRU case officer.

Colby quashed the investigation of his meetings with the French GRU agent after he became Executive Director-Comptroller of the CIA. At best, Colby was incompetent and sloppy– but you know what I think– Colby was recruited by the GRU in Saigon. Colby later became Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).

Mangold describes McCoy as, “a young Soviet Division reports officer who later rose to become deputy chief of the Counterintelligence Staff after Angleton.” From bête noire to deputy fox in the counterintelligence hen-house at Angleton’s expense!

Finally, Mangold on George Kalaris’ background: “George Kalaris could not have been more neutral to the Angleton controversies had he come from halfway up the Amazon– which, in effect he did.” Mangold adds this tidbit about Kalaris’ early career: “In the course of a notable career in the clandestine side of the house, he [Kalaris] became one of Colby’s trusted Far East specialists.” Kalaris may have been an ignorant castaway in Brazil, but was definitely not “neutral”!

It always amazes me how American ‘experts’ can switch regions of ‘expertise’ from one side of the globe to another at the drop of a hat. (This isn’t just a CIA-proper phenomenon, but a think-tank and academic problem too. Hmmm.) Something went wrong for Colby’s boy in the Far East: Kalaris was shunted off to Brazil before being called to Washington D.C. for Angleton’s undoing. Kalaris orchestrated the burning of Angleton’s files and oversaw the creation of Angleton’s  ‘official history’ at the CIA.

So these three men are Mangold’s primary sources,  a.nolen readers. It’s impossible for Mangold to completely sweep their biases under the rug; he tries to deflect criticism of his analysis by mentioning these biases and finding excuses why they don’t matter– a common trick that didn’t work on this reader.

While the characters of Kalaris, McCoy and Colby are fascinating, I am particularly interested in what Mangold accuses Angleton of doing, because these accusations shed light on Colby, and his superiors’, motives.

According to Mangold and his sources, Angleton was doing unprofessional work that didn’t follow acceptable business practice. Specifically, Angleton was using data from the 1920s and 1930s to try to ‘catch spies’ in the 1960s. He came up with theories that didn’t make sense to any of his superiors, THEREFORE the files which Angleton believed supported these theories had to be immediately burned, with a new, official history of Angleton’s research created to replace them. The lack of Soviet agents who were caught is evidence of Angleton’s incompetence. So says Mangold.

I don’t believe that story and I can use Mangold’s own evidence to counter it.

First of all, it wasn’t Angleton’s job to ‘catch’ spies. His job was to monitor them, as described by Mangold: “His [Angleton's] department was expected to collect information and to monitor clandestine operations aimed at disrupting and neutralizing the Soviet intelligence services.”

‘No spies being caught under Angleton’s watch,’ is only evidence of a lack of political will from his superiors, like James Schlesinger, to act on the information Angleton presented to them. It doesn’t necessarily mean Angleton was giving bad information– and we’ll never know if he was, because his files were burned by his replacement.

An anonymous source gives Mangold this description of how CIA leadership reacted when they found out about Angleton’s ‘Monster Plot’ investigations: “My God, if we had only known this was going on, we could have stopped it years ago. We just didn’t know; the seventh floor didn’t pay close attention to what Angleton was doing.”

This means, anolen.com readers, that CIA brass hired Angleton then pretty much ignored him, and everything he was doing, for twenty years. I believe ‘The Seventh Floor’ was so remiss because Angleton was hired to be a fig-leaf, someone to show Congress and to convince representatives that the sprawling CIA tumor was actually acting in the nation’s interests. ‘The Seventh Floor’ chose Angleton because they believed he wasn’t good enough to sniff out their conflicting loyalties. They didn’t see Angleton as a threat; therefore he was ignorable. You can find my reasoning here.

As a corollary to the ‘Floor Seven Didn’t Know’ story, Mangold belabors his point that Angleton’s superiors, the men Angleton reported Soviet-spy-evidence to, ‘just didn’t understand any of Angleton’s ramblings’. (Yet Angleton stayed on staff 20 years!)

For instance, Mangold quotes James Schlesinger:

“Listening to him was like looking at an Impressionist painting,” Schlesinger explains. “Jim’s mind was devious and allusive, and his conclusions were woven in a quite flimsy manner. His long briefings would wander on, and although he was attempting to convey a great deal, it was always smoke, hints, and bizarre allegations… if it had gone on much longer, and I had stayed, I would have seen there was nothing behind the curtain and I would have moved him.”

Uh, okay James, whatever you say. Colby’s press source Seymour Hersh (a Michael Hastings predecessor?) tells it this way:

“After talking to Angleton, I then called Colby up to tell him that I thought his man was totally off the reservation– that, in essence, he was totally crazy.”

If that wasn’t enough, lefty Mangold brings out the big guns: George H. Bush.

The following day, the future President of the United States telephoned George Kalaris to tell him about the meeting [with Angleton]. “Geroge, I listened very carefully to Jim Angleton yesterday, ” Bush said frankly.  “But I’m afraid I couldn’t really understand what he was talking about. It all sounded very complicated.”

And of course, Mangold’s readers are inundated by a barrage of  “Crazy! Incompetent! Nonsense!” from Kalaris, Colby and McCoy.

Personally, I don’t see what’s so hard to understand about the ‘Monster Plot’:  ‘At least one CIA division, and dozens of public figures, have been infiltrated/recruited by the Soviets.’  We now know from the Venona files that the OSS, the CIA’s feeder-pool, was heavily infiltrated by Soviets. Since the 1970s, a lot of information has come out about celebrities and politicians who worked with Soviet agents; enough information to make authors like M. Stanton Evans question if McCarthy wasn’t too tame in his red hunts.

But Angleton’s insights were just too hard for Schlesinger, Bush, Colby, etc. to get their heads around. (Though they understood the Monster Plot well enough to know that Angleton’s work had to be burned!)

In reality, ‘The Seventh Floor’ understood what Angleton was on to so well that no dissent was tolerated once Angleton had been removed:

“Virtually everyone volunteered damaging appraisals of Angleton’s work. There was near unanimity that Colby had made the correct decision to fire him. Many officers said that Angleton’s retirement was the best thing that could have happened to the agency’s counterintelligence program.

Finally– this is the most interesting bit– Mangold says Angleton was incompetent in his research methods:

According to former CIA general counsel Lawrence Houston, “Jim’s [Angleton's] staff spent too much time reviewing old historical cases which had little relevance to current affairs. They would go over and over old cases like ‘The Trust’ and Rote Kapelle. They spent weeks and months on it.  To me it seemed like a waste of time.”

And…

Critics of Angleton’s methodology say that both he and Rocca wasted enormous quantities of time studying the gospels of prewar Soviet intelligence operations at the very moment that the KGB had shifted the style and emphasis of its operations against the West. Leonard McCoy points out that “The Trust” was largely irrelevant to the counterintelligence work of the 1960s because it had existed in a “totally different KGB and a totally different world.” He explains: “This was a world in the 1920s and early 1930s in which there were one and a half million refuees from the Soviet Union, and it was easly enough for Soviet officials to penetrate and manipulate a large group like that. No such group existed by the 1950s…”

Kim Philby, the rogue British spy who Angleton is criticized for not seeing through, had been recruited by the Soviets in the 1930s. He wasn’t outed until the 1960s. Angleton’s historical methods were not foolish, they were smart.

Here’s the thing about the 1920s and 1930s: the political climate in the US was such that influential Soviet sympathizers could be open about their allegiance. Much publicly-available– and vetted– information on likely Soviet agents exists from this period. Investigations surrounding Rote Kappelle and ‘The Trust’ are two notable sources, HOWEVER, The Lusk Report and the Palmer Raids are two even more likely sources for Angleton to have used. (Mangold is careful not to mention these *highly probable* sources.)

The Lusk Report and the Palmer Raids were the result of the US Department of Justice’s efforts to undermine foreign spies’ political machinations through the labor movement. The Palmer Raids were dragnet raids on suspected Soviet front operations, and while some Americans’ rights were violated, the raids broke up Trotsky’s henchman Ludwig Martens’ US spy networks. Being an outspoken American, I’m glad this happened on balance, because neither Trotsky, Lenin nor Stalin had any respect for anyone’s rights and Palmer had strong reasons to suspect certain East Coast labor organizations of being Bolshevik fronts. (Not all labor organizations were raided.)

The fall out from the Palmer Raids is interesting, because many prominent people in the Woodrow Wilson administration spoke out on behalf of the socialist ‘victims’. Famous names like Felix Frankfurter, Roscoe Pound, Ernst Freund joined forces with the newly-flegded ACLU to lambast Palmer, and even Harvard professor Zechariah Chafee jumped on the bandwagon. Assistant Secretary of Labor Louis Freeland Post  canceled more than 2,000  of Palmer’s warrants as being illegal. In effect, The Wilson Administration came down on the side of Martens, though Palmer had disrupted operations enough to prevent a Bolshevik Revolution happening on American soil– for the time being.

The Wilson Administration’s actions are only surprising if you haven’t read Anthony Sutton’s Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, in which Sutton documents the close working relationship between investment bankers, mining magnates and Lenin’s regime. This collaboration was better known at the time than it is now.

Wall_Street_and_Bolsheviks

The political backlash from Wilson’s administration became so vicious that Attorney General Palmer’s career was ruined; but his second-in-command, J. Edgar Hoover, had his career made. (Readers will remember that Hoover worked with Stephenson and FDR to set up what became the CIA. Hoover was an expert in manipulating Congress and undermining political opposition to the Executive Branch.)

Angleton would have gleaned a lot of useful information from reading about who opposed Palmer in Wilson’s cabinet, then looking into which other careers were fostered by these ‘broad-minded’ men.

Regular readers will know that I’m not adverse to historical revisionism. Having read Mangold’s book, this is what I think really went on with Angleton:

At some time during Angleton’s twenty-year tenure, perhaps after the Philby incident, Angleton realized there was a strong pro-Soviet current running through the Anglophile circles he was used to. This current was culturally alien to him and it didn’t sit well. The open secret of Soviet sympathies amongst some of the UK and the USA’s most well-heeled and powerful citizens looked more sinister to Angleton than it originally had back in the 1920s. Angleton’s buddies from Cambridge University had been recruited in the 1930s and were only just being outed as spies. Quietly, Angleton began to open files and pay more attention to dinner talk. He began to check the public record for powerful people who spoke out in support of known soviet agents like Ludwig Martens in the 1920s and 1930s, back when Philby was recruited.

Angleton’s inquiries lead him to suspect people close to the White House and CIA leadership. Angleton uncovered Soviet spy networks that had been in place since the OSS, and a rash of informants at the CIA’s Soviet Division. Angleton’s discoveries were so pervasive that he started to distrust the entire CIA structure, and began to segregate his files from those of the rest of the organization. None of Angleton’s activities raised red flags with CIA leadership because the leadership wasn’t paying attention to their stooge in counterintelligence.

When Angleton began to talk to his superiors, testing the water with names of 30 world leaders suspected of working with the Soviets, his superiors showed no political will to pursue Angleton’s claims. Men like James Schlesinger didn’t respect Angleton enough to take what he was doing seriously, until something happened, and they realized Angleton had information that was deadly to them. Suddenly Angleton was  ‘crazy’, his records had to be burned, and he would be sent as a sacrifice to the Church Committee. The CIA’s history would need to be rewritten by Colby and Kalaris through the Cram Report, something career-minded CIA professionals accept as gospel.

Now, I’m not claiming that everything Angleton did was smart. I’m not saying that Angleton was completely right or that he didn’t have emotional problems. I’m not saying Anatoliy Golitsyn wasn’t a troublemaker. I’m not saying that there weren’t serious cultural problems in Angleton’s counterintelligence division.

In fact, in light of all the ‘intelligence community’ pundits who have screamed “KGB!” since the beginning of Snowden’s revelations, I find this quote from Angleton about the Church Committee quite amusing:

The former Counterintelligence chief turned up at Langley sweaty, tired, and deeply distraught. As he calmed down, Angleton began to explain to Elder in quiet and measured tones that he had uncovered a “diabolical plot”.

“The Church Committee has opened up the CIA to a frontal assault by the KGB,” he said. “This is the KGB’s chance to go for the jugular. The whole plan is being masterminded by Kim Philby in Moscow. The KGB’s only object in the world is to destroy me and the agency. The committee is serving as the unwitting instrument of the KGB.”

Clearly, Angleton was capable of the same tunnel-vision as his sucessors are today.

However, if you have access to enough information, perhaps you don’t have to be very smart or balanced to realize that something is wrong at the CIA. I ask readers not to look to Angleton’s character for proof of vast Soviet infiltration, but to look to the reactions of Angleton’s enemies at the CIA. Forty years later and the CIA is still protecting traitors who feared Angleton.

Tom Mangold’s book, the CIA’s favorite Angleton book, does more to uncover the ‘Monster Plot’ than Angleton could ever have hoped to do in his lifetime. I encourage the public, and CIA employees, to read Cold Warrior and ask themselves if this is an organization they want to have access to their health records, financial records and personal communications.

 

P.S. Why Tom Mangold? Tom is a product of the BBC, an organization that was set up by the same people who set up the British Security Coordinate (BSC)– the BBC and BSC were both set up by Bill Stephenson and his supporters. The BSC worked with the OSS, which became the CIA. So you could say that the BBC and the CIA were birthed from the same mother.

P.P.S. If you’d like to learn more about why J. Edgar Hoover was the darling of America’s anti-democratic elite, and how he undermined ‘undesirable’ — not illegal– grass-roots political movements on the left and right, read The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover’s FBI, by William C Sullivan. This book explains why it’s toxic to have PRISM-like dragnet surveillance systems in a democracy: the controllers of such a system will use it to persecute their opposition, not the nation’s enemies.

What Happened to National Geographic?

I remember being six years old and crawling through my great-grandparents’ cramped attic. They had three shelves filled with yellow and white National Geographic magazines dating back to the 1960s. My mother said great-grandpa was saving them because they might be worth something someday, but I think the real reason was that the magazines were so beautiful, and so educational, that it just felt wrong to throw them out. That’s what National Geographic used to be: classy, informative, artistic– a quality publication, albeit lefty in the most well-heeled way possible.

Once upon a time, readers. The magazine is still pretty, but now the writing is superficial and invariably politically correct. The real travesty, however, is something called ‘Nat Geo’, the National Geographic Society’s television channel.

Nat Geo’s program When Aliens Attack just popped up on my Netflix menu. I’m focusing on this program today because it is sensationalist pseudo-science that encompasses several suspicious trends in American ‘educational’ programming.These trends are 1) recruiting for the US military 2) talking up US military dominance 3) reinforcing the idea that the US federal government is the only legitimate American government 4) planting the idea that citizens can’t trust each other, they can only count on the government in an emergency and 5) promoting the UN as the only organization which can legitimately speak for the world (with US approval).

You can watch When Aliens Attack for free using the link above. For those of you who don’t have 90 minutes to waste, I’m going to briefly describe the documentary. The overarching premise:

“This is not science fiction, it’s science.  And experts from Stephen Hawking, to NASA, to the Pentagon say they [aliens] may not come in peace.” – When Aliens Attack narrator.

“Some say that Alien invasion is considered a real threat by everyone form the US, to the UN to the UK.” – When Aliens Attack narrator.

Everybody who matters, according to When Aliens Attack, believes the possibility of an alien invasion is worth your time and Nat Geo has a battery of ‘experts’ to convince you too, including:

- Seth Shostak, of the SETI Institute.

- Nick Pope, Former Executive Officer with UK Ministry of Defense: “With 21 years at the Ministry of Defense, I’ve clearly gained an insight into how we would fight an alien invasion.”

- LTC Brian De Toy, Director of Defense Studies at West Point.

- Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist from Cambridge University.

- Paul Springer, Strategy expert from the US Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College, who tells us this: “In the case of a global invader, depending on the situation, the United States has a multitude of plans. We have war-gamed out every scenario imaginable.”

Of course, details are classified. But have no fear, because the narrator tells us: “There is one government scientist who has developed his own plans for an alien invasion.”

Dr. Travis Taylor has written his own paper on what we should do when aliens attack, Motive Based Classifications of Extra Terrestrials. He’s also co-authored a book, Alien Invasion: How to Defend Earth, available on Amazon.com. Here’s his photo.

when aliens attack tango

Your call: military strategist or tango dancer?

Dr. Taylor describes his research:

“I was working on a project for the Intelligence Community [There they are again!- anolen.com] on how to fight an asymmetric war. And we got thinking about is it likely that we ever would be invaded by aliens? And we decided that it’s very likely. And that we needed a plan.”

Here is where things get scary. Dr. Travis Taylor is a physicist and Defense Department Engineer. He’s also a Senior Army Research Scientist, who has worked on cutting edge weapons and developed ‘Next-Generation’ armor systems for troops in Iraq. Dr. Taylor has top secret and above clearance at the US Army Missile Command.

When he’s not playing with weapons or being a trusted military insider, Taylor’s self-promoting via alien invasions. Yeah. The co-author of Dr. Taylor’s book is Bob Boan, a defense intelligence consultant and aerospace analyst. Somehow, Taylor and Boan got the inside track at Nat Geo to promote their hobby.

So according to Nat Geo, a military scientist and a defense consultant, what happens when the aliens first make contact? They want to talk to the UN, of course!

“The closest thing we have to an Alien Ambassador is the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs.”

Former US diplomat and space policy adviser Michael Michaud, who “helped create the UN plan for alien contact”, explains:

“The International Academy of Astronautics developed a draft protocol for communicating with a species that might be detected. And these documents were presented to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in the year 2000.”

This draft protocol is titled Declaration of Principles Concerning Activities Following the Detection of Extraterrestrial Intelligence. In the documentary, this protocol document is shown to have nine points, the eighth of which reads:

8. Response to signals: In the case of the confirmed detection of a signal, signatories to this declaration will not respond without first seeking guidance and consent of a broadly  representative international body such as the United Nations.

(SETI provides a copy of these points, with the ‘United Nations’ language moved around a bit.)

The people allowed to talk to the aliens first will be the “leaders of the world’s most prominent nations,” like Barack Obama, and their message will be broadcast in “the most widely spoken languages in the world: English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Hindi”.

However, says the documentary, our enemies [pan to a Pakistani-looking man in traditional garb] will frustrate efforts, and well-meaning ham radio enthusiasts may garble the legitimate US government message with their own broadcasts.

Of course, the aliens are predatory and technologically advanced. “There is no necessary connection between science being advanced and moral or ethical behavior”, says Michael Michaud, while pointing to Hitler’s Germany and the Nazis. A montage of US military prowess follows, plugging everything from “rail guns” to US Cyber Command. (That’s sooo 2011!)

According to Dr. Taylor, the Pentagon– the “world leader on asymmetric warfare”– will use guerrilla techniques that they learned from the Mujahideen and enemy fighters in Iraq to fight the aliens. (So I guess all that money wasn’t wasted!)

What do the aliens want? The best that Nat Geo and Dr. Taylor can come up with is that the aliens are actually machines who want to steal our proteins and chlorophyll– you know, that green stuff in plants. My cold, dead hands!

What happens after the first alien offensive? Civilization collapses and people turn on each other like in The Road. But all hope is not lost! Humanity eventually rallies around American values to fight the intruders, and in the long-standing tradition of American television, a rainbow coalition of apocalypse survivors bands together, rallying around the words of Barack Hussein, the only legitimate overlord.

As diverse as the survivors will undoubtedly be, according to When Aliens Attack, these are the guys who sacrifice themselves as living biological weapons to save what’s left of the White House.

The "biological suicide bombers" and "living germ warfare units.

The “biological suicide bombers” and “living germ warfare units”.

And these are the “suicide warriors” who take one for the United States Government humanity.

"Suicide Warriors"

“Suicide Warriors”

Of course, Washington we win in the end, thanks to the “suicide warriors” and lots of latex balloons.

So there you have it, When Aliens Attack.

What happened to the National Geographic Society? I don’t want to give the impression that I think strategic planning is foolish, or even that other life in space is impossible, but this ‘documentary’ is a fairy-story laced with politics, not a thoughtful look at war-gaming or scientific analysis. This show is pseudo-science, propaganda and a cheap recruiting drive. What happened to the respectable society that produced great-grandpa’s magazines?

Nat Geo, the National Geographic Society’s namesake television channel, is headquartered in Washington D.C. and is majority owned by 21st Century Fox, a Murdoch company. Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-American business magnate, is a typical globalist operator. The producers of the documentary are Louis C. Tarantino and Douglas J. Cohen, who create a lot of low-quality militaristic and Bible-minded programming through their production company Flight 33 . Given that fundamentalist Christians are well represented in the US military and that the US military is the enforcement arm of globalist business interests, it’s not hard to see cynical propaganda motives in Mr. Cohen and Mr. Tarantino’s choice of projects.

But dirty private money isn’t the only poison. Readers may recall the ugly news story last year about the NSA claiming not to be able to search their own emails. Justin Elliott elucidates:

I [Justin Elliott] filed a request last week for emails between NSA employees and employees of the National Geographic Channel over a specific time period. The TV station had aired a friendly documentary on the NSA and I want to better understand the agency’s public-relations efforts.

A few days after filing the request, Blacker called, asking me to narrow my request since the FOIA office can search emails only “person by person,” rather than in bulk. The NSA has more than 30,000 employees.

I reached out to the NSA press office seeking more information but got no response.

Is The National Geographic Channel in a propaganda partnership with the US Intelligence Community? Given that Nat Geo regularly airs programs like Inside Shock and Awe, Camp Leatherneck, Iraq’s Guns for Hire, 21 Days to Baghdad, Inside the U.S. Secret Service and Inside American Power: The Pentagon… I’d say Nat Geo collaboration with the US Intelligence Community is quite likely. I don’t believe it’s far-fetched to speculate that spooks see propaganda value in speaking through a venerable, ‘sciency’, American institution like the National Geographic Society.

I don’t think that Nat Geo is alone in its collaboration. Nat Geo’s main programming competitors, Discovery Channel and History Channel, carry much the same pseudo-science programming. They even carry the same militaristic, religious and political bents. Consider these comparisons:

The Discovery Channel, controlled by the Newhouse publishing family, is based out of Silver Springs Maryland (a Washington D.C. suburb.) Discovery has a sister-channel that runs programs glorifying the military: American Heroes Channel. Discovery is good for ‘ghost shows’ in particular, as well as programs on obscure religious themes like Jesus’ lost tomb.  Discovery recently got in trouble for airing a show titled Megalodon: the Monster Shark Lives which made the sensationalist, and incorrect, assertion that this prehistoric creature was still alive. While Megalodon stands out for its dishonesty, much Discovery programming follows the same lines.

The History Channel, joint owned by the Hearst Corporation and Disney, is based out of New York City (of which D.C. is a suburb ;) ). History has a sister-channel that runs programs glorifying the military: Military History. History is also known for its paranormal and Biblical programming. History has been criticized for airing many sensationalist, pseudo-scientific, lurid programs.

It’s funny that this troika of television content providers should all follow a similar strategy, but catch this: In 2008, ‘The History Channel’ changed its name to ‘History’, just like ‘The Discovery Channel’ changed its name to ‘Discovery’ a decade earlier. It’s almost as if Murdoch, Hearst and Disney are gradually realizing what J.D. Rockefeller knew all along: competition is a sin.

I’ll finish this post with an observation: these sensationalist, military-minded programs may appeal to a segment of the public who are not very critical. These shows certainly put off thinking people and reinforce the idea that the military is full of idiots. Seeing as warfare is increasingly high tech, and intelligent recruits are therefore a necessity, it may be stupid for institutions like West Point and the US Army to give their ‘experts’ free rein with the media.

Not that US television is the only place where Army brass’ judgement fails. Remember how Army leadership allowed a British documentary crew to film Bowe Bergdahl’s screw-up unit? Or those foolish, loud-mouth Army officers who complained about Obama to Michael Hastings and ruined Stanley McChrystal’s career? It’s almost like Army leadership wants bad PR…

 

P.S. I’ve ripped on another American standard-bearer, The Smithsonian Institution, in my post on their program dealing with The Amityville Horror, a cheap documentary which I believe carries a political agenda: to encourage ‘feelings of powerlessness’ in uncritical viewers. If I had to name one organization with the same standing as The National Geographic Society, it would be the Smithsonian. Seems as though they’ve both been prostituted, which is a tragedy for the nation.