Cryptome has just published some interesting material on how senior officials in the Gerald R. Ford administration confronted demands by the Church Committee to investigate the world of secret intelligence during the mid-1970s. The documents show how both presidents as well as senior administration officials, such as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (winner of a Nobel Peace Prize), plotted to hold back every possible detail of their frequently illegal activities. The Church Committee was formed in response to leaks of blatantly illegal and even criminal activities by the CIA, as well as in the wake of the Watergate scandal which brought down Nixon. There are some disturbing parallels to the current response to the WikiLeaks affair.
On February 20, Kissinger met with defense secretary James Schlesinger, CIA director William Colby, and assorted underlings to consider the problems confronting the administration. Interestingly, Kissinger invoked McCarthyism, as though red-baiting and the public’s right to know are pretty much the same thing: (more…)Tweet
After the latest major leak from WikiLeaks, everyone seemed very interested in the American government’s blatant overreaction, which even featured politicians demanding that Julian Assange be either detained or summarily executed. An aspect that most of the media, even the non-American media, seems to have missed is just why so many other governments were willing to go along with Washington’s immediate and unsuccessful attempt to censor the Internet and dig up dirt on Assange.
Of course the real story wasn’t (usually) about the American government, but about how other governments (including democratically elected ones) lied to their own publics about the extent to which they were secretly collaborating with the American government. A cable that’s getting plenty of press this week noted, for instance, that Turkey allowed the U.S. to use its Incirlik airbase for torture flights, which the Turkish government previously denied. The media has not been much concerned with another aspect of that cable: the role of American military and diplomatic officials in lobbying foreign governments on behalf of American defense contractors.Tweet
The Central Intelligence Agency’s increasingly desperate schemes to assassinate or at least embarrass Castro, from exploding cigars and Mafia hitmen to beard depilatories, are legend. What is less well-known are some of the same agency’s other various schemes to attack Castro, one of which is detailed by Jack Pfeiffer in his secret history of the Bay of Pigs (a copy of which was obtained by a Florida researcher).
This one isn’t as serious (or illegal) as the Pentagon’s subsequent NORTHWOODS plan, which proposed (among other things) what amounted to a campaign of domestic terrorism within the U.S. The CIA considered and rejected such plans as doctoring photos of Cuban aircraft to make it look as though the Castro government was painting them in U.S. Air Force colours (presumably for some nefarious purpose), or sending a “Billy Graham type” speaker around Latin America in a white plane to warn people of the dangers of revolutionary movements in their own countries.
Then, it came across something far better. This too was rejected by the chief mucky-mucks, but it still deserves to be reproduced in full as an indication of CIA thinking:Tweet
In the 1970s, CIA historian Jack Pfeiffer prepared a classified multi-volume history of CIA covert operations in Cuba, with special reference to the Bay of Pigs. Although the history as a whole is (or at least was) classified, one volume made its way out via the Kennedy Assassination papers, and was copied by professor David Barrett of Villanova University.
What Barrett acquired was Volume 3 of the Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, concerned with the pre-invasion covert operations of the CIA in Cuba. Unfortunately for readers it is divided into 18 separate PDFs, but all are still available. There are a number of important revelations in these files:Tweet