Review: JFK and the Unspeakable–Why He Died & Why It Matters

6 Star Top 10%, Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), History, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Security (Including Immigration), Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Stake in the Heart of National Security State

September 28, 2009
James W. Douglas

The premise is that JFK went against the national security establishment, notably the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the military-industrial complex, and was assassinated by deliberate plan of the CIA, with Richard Helms, David Atlee Philips, David Sanchez Morales, and Desmond Fitzgerald specifically culpable for high crimes of treason.

As with 9/11 and the documented culpability of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Larry Silverstein, and Rudy Gulliani, there is insufficient proof in this book for conviction, but it is more than ample to demand a very intrusive and comprehensive investigation of the CIA, the Secret Service, and the FBI. I *want* to believe Helms when he says CIA did nothing not ordered by a President.  However, if the premise of this book is proven, CIA should be abolished, its HQS demolished, and salt plowed into the earth at Langley.

The book's most positive account is of the back-channel dialog JFK developed with Khrushchev, Castro, and the Pope, dialog that not only defused the confrontations of the time, but also ended the Cold War. The theology of peace, the role of Monk Thomas Merton, the role of Norman Cousins (author of The Pathology of Power – A Challenge to Human Freedom and Safety), the role of the Pope and Pacem in Terris, and the strength JFK drew from a single meeting with Quakers are moving. This is in many ways a resurrection of JFK and both an epitaph worthy of his unsung accomplishments, and a call to arms for achieving closure–truth and reconciliation–with respect to his assassination by US Government personnel committing treason.

Continue reading “Review: JFK and the Unspeakable–Why He Died & Why It Matters”

Journal: How Many CIA’s and How Threatening is the CIA to the Lives of Leon Panetta and Barack Obama?

Analysis, Budgets & Funding, Government, Leadership-Integrity, Methods & Process, Peace Intelligence, Policies, Policy, Reform, Strategy, Strategy-Holistic Coherence, Threats, Threats
Robert Steele
Robert Steele

We were surprised this morning to learn that Ray McGovern, a CIA veteran whose credibility we respect, is saying that Leon Panetta and Barack Obama may be treating CIA with kid gloves for fear of being assassinated by the “insider” CIA that itself fears criminal prosecution for the death of over 100 detainees in CIA custody.  Food for thought.  Read McGovern's thoughts at The Media Consortium, “Ray McGovern Warns of ‘Two CIA's.'”

There are two sides to this matter.  How many CIA's?  Does CIA assassinate U.S. citizens including leaders?

Continue reading “Journal: How Many CIA's and How Threatening is the CIA to the Lives of Leon Panetta and Barack Obama?”

Review: A Look over My Shoulder–A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency

5 Star, Biography & Memoirs, Intelligence (Government/Secret)

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Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Bland, But Priceless Collection of Gems,

May 24, 2003
Richard Helms
Richard Helms is, after Allen Dulles, arguably the most significant US spymaster and intelligence manager in history. It is a fortunate circumstance that he overcame his reluctance to publish anything at all, and worked with the trusted William Hood, whose own books are remarkable, to put before the public a most useful memoire.

Below are a few of the gems that I find worth noting, and for which I recommend the book as a unique record:

1) Puts forward elegant argument for permissive & necessary secrecy in the best interests of the public
2) Defends the CIA culture as highly disciplined–he is persuasive in stating that only Presidents can order covert actions, and that CIA does only the President's direct bidding.
3) Makes it clear in passing, not intentionally, that his experience as both a journalist and businessman were essential to his ultimate success as a spymaster and manager of complex intelligence endeavors–this suggests that one reason there is “no bench” at CIA today is because all the senior managers have been raised as cattle destined to be veal: as young entry on duty people, brought up within the bureaucracy, not knowing how to scrounge sources or meet payroll…
4) Compellingly discusses the fact that intelligence without counterintelligence is almost irrelevant if not counterproductive, but then glosses over some of the most glaring counterintelligence failures in the history of the CIA–interestingly, he defends James Angleton and places the blame for mistreating Nosenko squarterly on the Soviet Division leadership in the Directorate of Operations.
5) Points out that it was Human Intelligence (HUMINT), not Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), that first found the Soviet missiles in Cuba.
6) He confirms the Directorate of Intelligence and the analysis it does, as the “essence” of intelligence, relegating clandestine and technical intelligence to support functions rather than driving functions. This is most important, in that neither clandestine nor technical collectors are truly responsive to the needs of all-source analysts, in part because systems are designed, and agents are recruited, without regard to what is actually needed.
7) He tells a great story on Laos, essentially noting that 200 CIA paramilitary officers, and money, and the indigenous population, where able to keep 5 North Vietnamese divisions bogged down, and kept Laos more or less free for a decade
8) In the same story on Laos, he explains U.S. Department of Defense incapacity in unconventional or behind the lines war by noting that their officers kept arriving “with knapsacks full of doctrine”.
9) In recounting some of CIA's technical successes, he notes casually that persistence is a virtue–there were *thirteen* satellite failures before the 14th CORONA effort finally achieved its objectives.
10) He gives Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) much higher marks at a user and leader of intelligence, such that we wondered why Christopher Andrew, the noted author on US Presidents and intelligence, did not include LBJ is his “four who got it” (Washington, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Bush Senior).
11) He confirms, carefully and directly, that the Israeli attacks on the USS Liberty were deliberate and with fore-knowledge that the USS Liberty was a US vessel flying the US flag on US official business.
12) He expresses concern, in recounting the mistakes in Chile, over the lack of understanding by President Nixon and Henry Kissinger (who writes the Foreword to this book) of the time lags involved in clandestine operations and covert actions.
13) In summary, he ends with pride, noting that all that CIA did not only reduced fear, it saved tens of billions of dollars in defense expenditures that would have been either defeated by the Soviets, or were unnecessary. There can be no question, in light of this account, but that CIA has more than “paid the rent”, and for all its trials and tribulations, provides the US taxpayer with a better return on investment than they get from any other part of the US Government, and certainly vastly more bang for the buck that they get from the US Department of Defense.

Richard Helms is a one-of-a-kind, and this memoire should be read by every intellience professional, and anyone who wishes to understand how honorable men can thrive in the black world of clandestine and covert operations. RIP.

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