The Iron Triangle: inside the Carlyle Group

by: Dan Briody, 2003

ISBN: 0471660620


"Dwight D. Eisenhower, upon leaving the office of President in 1961, warned future generations against the dangers of a "military-industrial complex," and the "grave implications" of the conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry." The wisdom of these comments has clearly been lost in the forty years since Ike left office.  And the first step towards turning things around is understanding how we got here.  No single company can illustrate that progression better than the Carlyle Group, a business founded on a tax scheme in 1987 that has grown up to be what its own marketing literature once called 'a vast interlocking global network.' The company does business at the confluence of the war on terrorism and corporate responsibility.  It is a world that few of us can even imagine, full of clandestine meetings, quid pro quo deals, bitter ironies, and petty jealousies.  And the cast of characters includes some of the most famous and powerful men in the world. This is today's America.  This is the Carlyle Group."


Excerpt from the book, Prologue xxviii


Carlyle is massive and still in its infancy, the company was founded just 16 years ago, but yet has produced profits in the billions. The book explores the company's rise and the cast of characters that have made it possible. All employees are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements, insulating the company with a shroud of mystery, but Briody does have some success in shining a light on the ties between Carlyle and high power politicians and foreign governments. Some of the men who either hold, or have held, membership in Carlyle, include James Baker, Frank Carlucci (formerly in the CIA, alleged architect behind Pinochet's rise and coup, and Patrice Lumumba's fall) , George H. W. Bush, John Major, J.W. Marriott, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, and Arthur Levitt, among others. 


The author briefly comments on Carlyle's attempts to derail his book by using some 'scorched earth tactics.' The little Briody exposes is worth reading. 

The book documents some of the wheeling 'n dealing, common behind the doors of a company averse to public scrutiny.  Of late, Carlyle's presence has been felt in Iraq, read Naomi Klein's recent investigative report, and make sure to watch the online documentary




   The Invisible Government: the CIA & U.S. Intelligence

by: Wise, David & Ross, Thomas

published 1964 & 1974 without ISBN


A classic book, it was the first serious detailed study of the CIA and American Intelligence operations ever done. As the book was being prepared for publishing, the CIA and the U.S. government attempted to suppress it and even have its contents altered, both attempts failed.  The authors were nearly prosecuted under the espionage laws for writing the book.  It covers CIA activity in Guatemala, Laos, Vietnam, Cuba's Bay of Pigs, the Gary Powers U-2 incident, as well as various black-ops radio initiatives like Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Swan, and the developing technology of spy satellites.  This was a ground breaking book that helped lift the veil of secrecy and led the way for other investigative works into the realm of intelligence, such as James Bamford's Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets both examinations of the NSA.  Historically, Invisible Government a concept coined by David Wise, sheds light on the development of a massive military-industrial complex that was just beginning to rise, in the late 1950's.


"The primary concern of the men who drafted the Declaration of Independence was the consent of the governed.  By the mid-twentieth century, under the pressures of the Cold War, the primary concern of the nation's leaders had become the survival of the governed.


The Invisible Government emerged in the aftermath of World War II as one of the instruments designed to insure national survival.  But because it was hidden, because it operated outside of  the normal Constitutional  checks and balances, it posed a potential threat to the very system it was designed to protect... p.351


The secret intelligence machinery of the government can never be totally reconciled with the traditions of a free republic.  But in a time of Cold War the solution lies not in dismantling this machinery but in bringing it under greater control.  The resultant danger of exposure is far less than the danger of secret power.  If we err as a society, let it be on the side of control.  'It should be remembered,' Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1819, 'that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also.' " p.358

       Excerpts from the book


Who Becomes a Terrorist and WHY

U.S. government report, published 1999

ISBN: 1585747548


"The shocking 1999 U.S. government study that predicted who would terrorize the United States and how they would do it.  It describes in detail each of the leading terrorists and terrorist groups around the world and proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the United States intelligence community and the President were fully aware of the specific kinds of risks that existed and still failed to take appropriate precautions.  Here, for the first time, the American public can read what the government knew before September 11, 2001 and learn the details about who wants to harm the United States and the American people and why."

Lyons Press, back cover



Preparing America's Foreign Policy for the 21st Century

ed: Boren & Perkins, Univ of Oklahoma, (writings from the 1997 Conference)

ISBN: 0806131233


In 1997 a select group of analysts, academicians, bureaucrats, a virtual who's who from the intelligence community, State Department and Pentagon met for a conference set on defining American foreign policy for the 21st Century.  The discussions confronted a 'new world' and how an American presence should be defined in it.  The essays are rich in analyses, providing rationales for molding pragmatic scenarios. The employment of military force, covert use of intelligence, economic and trade priorities were all topics of discussion.  Ukraine was defined as an important theatre of influence to contain renewed Russian superpower development.  Must be read, in order to appreciate how many of the developments in the world today may have been orchestrated behind the scenes by covert intelligence operations.

"...what are the threats over the horizon ? What are the new challenges ? What are the broader social, economic, and political movements which are already transforming this world and creating new demands for another generation of students, scholars, analysts and spies ?"  Stephen Sloan, p.172





30 Satires

by: Lewis Lapham, 2003

ISBN: 1565848462


Lewis Lapham, editor of Harper's Magazine delivers 30 satirical essays in the spirit of Mark Twain, reducing events of American society to absurdity. Provides many a good hearted laugh, at times amid a sense of sadness.


"The supreme law of the consumer society holds that nobody has enough, and America's sustained prosperity follows from a sense of unassuaged emptiness and perpetual discontent.  The doctrine of rugged individualism presupposes an insatiable appetite ("Be All You Can Be," "You Can Have It All") and whenever the economy runs into sufficiently serious trouble, the authorities in New York and Washington prescribe the same remedy--place enough cash in the hands of the American consumers, and they will stampede through the world's markets like a herd of famished buffalo, setting in motion the happy sequence of events that leads to more spending, more investment, more confidence, more traffic deaths, more missiles, more amphetamines." from Asset Management, Gluttony p.137


"...the attributes of a successful president:

Selfishness and a cold egoism.  A willingness to sacrifice other people's interests to one's own.  Also a talent for dissimulation, a capacity to endure boredom and to turn one's back on the unlucky or unsuccessful.  Better the man who can order the incineration of cities with a cozy smile than the man who worries about the death of whales." from Potomac Fever, p. 178


"The republic of American letters is invariably  in a state of anarchy.  Without a canon of common texts or cultural references, without standards, lacking even one critic whose judgment pretends to the weight of authority, barely literate and always receptive to a bribe, the administration of the nation's literary affairs falls naturally into the hands of touts and thieves.  The American public doesn't look to the arts--whether painting or drama or literature--for answers to questions that it considers important.  It is an opening night that it considers important.  It is an opening night crowd, astonished by celebrity and opulent spectacle, willing to applaud whatever the merchants in New York and Los Angeles distribute under the labels of culture."

from Sky Writing, p. 93


"Whether humor saves the reader or the country, I have no way of knowing and cannot say, but for the writer of the pages in this book, it's the door left open in the wall of cant and the way out of the fog of lies.  Laughter cannot help but breathe the air of freedom, by its nature deaf to the voices of indoctrination or command, and I trust the joke to strike more nearly at the truth than the sermon, the sales pitch or the State of the Union address.  Satire makes alliance with the spirit of dissent and arms the writer with the hope of a possible escape from his own stupidity and fear.  Any reader who finds in these inventions something of the same happy prospect will have put them to their intended use." Author's Note



Reviewed by V.S.


Posted  December  1, 2004

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