Review: Shooting the Truth–The Rise of American Political Documentaries

6 Star Top 10%, 9-11 Truth Books & DVDs, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atlases & State of the World, Atrocities & Genocide, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Censorship & Denial of Access, Communications, Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Culture, DVD - Light, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, History, Impeachment & Treason, Information Society, Iraq, Justice (Failure, Reform), Media, Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Both a Tour of Substance, and an Eye Opener for Book People

July 29, 2010

James McEnteer

This is a 6 Star and Beyond book and is so categorized at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where one can browse all 1600+ of my non-fiction reviews sorted into 98 categories and easily found with keywords–I’ve tried for years to get Amazon to give us this functionality and finally created it for my own work.

I was so impressed, so engaged, so absolutely educated by this author that I spent no less than four hours, and it might be as much as six, creating a table of all 120 films that he mentioned, with the directors, the year of release, and hot links. The complete list with hot links is at Phi Beta Iota, and should have been an appendix–I certainly give the list to the author should he wish to post it anywhere.

A few highlights, followed by the complete table of 120 films:

Review: The CIA in Iran–The 1953 Coup and the Origins of the US-Iran Divide

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Country/Regional, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Intelligence (Government/Secret), Misinformation & Propaganda, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Account of Unethical Incompetence Triumphant

July 26, 2010

Christopher J. Petherick

I strongly recommend that this book (or my review) be read in conjunction with its counterpart for Guatemala, Secret History: The CIA’s Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954 (or my review).

I’ve been a clandestine case officer (C/O) with three tours in Latin America, including one in the 1980’s chasing terrorists, and while at the time I thought I was the Cold War equivalent of a Jesuit priest, I now see it all as terribly unethical, largely insane, and totally not worth the money, the risk, or the collateral damage.

Both books provide easy-to-read and still very relevant history on how the arrogance of the US, unconstrained by US ignorance, had led to surprisingly successful regime change operations despite a host of errors.

This particular book is published by a deeply anti-Zionist press, but the tone, while being churlish, is not so over-bearing as to be distracting. The book does achieve its objective: explain in no uncertain terms why Iran today despises the roots of its UK-US relations and the pillaging that was done by those two nations of its oil. See also Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush for the other half of the story.

Some of the highlights:

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Review: Secret History–The CIA’s Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Corruption, Country/Regional, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Crime (Organized, Transnational), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, History, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Justice (Failure, Reform), Misinformation & Propaganda, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal “Primary” Source Relevant Today
July 26, 2010

Nick Cullather

This is the original, Stanford has also just produced a new version, Secret History: The CIA’s Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala 1952-1954. I bought this used and not only loved the speed of delivery, but the notes from the previous owner.

My next review will cover The CIA in Iran: The 1953 Coup and the Origins of the US-Iran Trade. The two “successes” would both be condemned by history, but more pointedly, led to the CIA misadventures in Cuba, Chile, the Philippines, Viet-Nam, and so on.

There is a great deal in this book that I was not aware of, and that is with 294 reviews tagged Intelligence (Government/Secret)at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, all leading back to their Amazon page.

In a nutshell, PBSUCCESS was a stunningly inept widely known endeavor penetrated across multiple points by the Guatemalan government, which succeeded only because the Army lost its nerve and deposed their own elected President. Especially new to me were the US Navy blockage of the Guatemalan ports (one on each coast), and the failure of CIA-trained “saboteurs” to derail the shipment of arms from the port to the capital city that the President was able to procure despite a global US embargo on arms for Guatemala.

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Review (Guest): Bureaucracy–What Government Agencies Do And Why They Do It

5 Star, Budget Process & Politics, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Government), Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Diplomacy, Economics, Education (General), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Environment (Problems), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Force Structure (Military), Information Operations, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Justice (Failure, Reform), Leadership, Military & Pentagon Power, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Religion & Politics of Religion, Science & Politics of Science, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Security (Including Immigration), Strategy, Survival & Sustainment, True Cost & Toxicity, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

James Wilson (Author)

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive Guide To Government Bureaucracy, January 1, 2002
By Tansu Demir (Springfield, IL) – See all my review

This book is really a “comprehensive” (in the literal meaning of the word), clearly written, richly supported by concrete cases (mostly, federal agencies) guide about government bureaucracy mainly in the United States. From introduction to the end, Wilson clearly and convincingly demonstrates the reasons what the government agencies do and why they do that in the way they do.

The book is organized into six parts: Organizations, Operators, Managers, Executives, Context, and Change. In the first part, Wilson’s thesis is simply that organization matters. Organization must be in accordance with the objectives of the agency. In the second part, the author examines the operators’ behavior (say, street-level bureaucrats) and how their culture is shaped by the imperatives of the situation they encounter in a daily basis. The third part deals with the issues peculiar to managers of public agencies. In this part, attention is focused upon the constraints that put the mangers in a stalemate (see chapter 7, this chapter is completely insightful!!). The fourth part is devoted to the Executives. This part clearly illustrates why the executives of government agencies compete with other departments and which strategies are used in the process of competition and/or cooperation (especially see the 10th chapter about Turf, insightful!!). In the fifth part, Wilson focuses on the context in which public agencies do their business (Congress, Presidents and Courts). In the last part, Wilson summarizes the problems and examines alternative solutions (the market alternatives to the bureaucracy) and concludes with reasonable and “little” propositions.

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