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Click above, for articles in this issue.









Cocaine Politics: drugs, armies, & the CIA in Central America

by: Scott, Peter D. & Marshall, Jonathan

ISBN:  0520077814


"Cocaine Politics tells the sordid story of how elements  of our own government went to work with narcotics traffickers..."

Jonathan Winer, Kerry Subcommittee on Terrorism and Narcotics


"This important, explosive report forcefully argues that the 'war on drugs' is largely a sham, as the U.S. government is one of the world's largest drug pushers..."

Publisher's Weekly 


A compendium of research into the plague of drugs, by Peter Dale Scott, Professor of English Literature at the University of Berkeley, and Jonathan Marshall, Economics Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.  It examines the Iran-Contra period as well as the mantra of protection extended to drug traffickers by an international network of politicians.  









Secrets: a memoir of Vietnam & the Pentagon Papers

by: Daniel Ellsberg

ISBN: 0670030309


This is essentially a memoir and an insider's account reflecting  the pentagon during the the Johnson and Nixon administrations.  Ellsberg, who spent time at the Pentagon, the State Department and later as an employee of the Rand Corporation, witnessed first hand how lies were peddled to the American people establishing the rationale to start and then continue, a war in Vietnam.  The book details for us a period in Ellsberg's life, which begins with his conservative idealism and then progresses to his 'act of treason': when he makes copies of thousands of pages of 'secret' documents (the pentagon papers) that establish the pattern of deception concerning the war in Vietnam.  Some of the documents he handed to the New York Times.


"Daniel Ellsberg demonstrated enormous courage during a difficult and turbulent time in America's history, courage which undoubtedly saved American lives on the battlefield and helped to hold politicians accountable for mistakes they refused to admit.  His story reminds us that to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship is to always ask questions and demand the truth."  Senator John F. Kerry

  • "Fifteen years earlier one of my heroes was John Wayne, who had helped recruit me, and a lot of others, into the Marine Corps... Something had happened to me... my heroes had changed          (p. 262)
  • ...Since King's (Martin Luther King Jr.) death the only public figures who had been willing to say to the government, "get out," get all the way out, had been counterculture activists like Abbie Hoffman, radicals perceived as supporters of North Vietnam, and advocates of direct action and civil disobedience.  What they called for was ignored or discounted. (p. 279)"
  • "In the fall of 1969 I took responsibility, on my own initiative, of delivering to the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the information in the so-called Pentagon Papers... by this spring--two invasions later--after some nine thousand more Americans and several hundred thousand more Indochinese had died, I could only regret that I had not, at the same time, revealed this history to the American people through the newspapers, I have done so now... I acted at my own jeopardy... that includes personal consequences to me and my family; whatever these may be, they cannot after all be more serious than the ones that I, along with millions of Americans, have gladly risked before in serving this country.  This has been for me an act of hope and trust.  Hope that the truth will free us of this war.  Trust that informed Americans will direct their public servants to stop lying and to stop the killing and dying by Americans in Indochina." (p.408)

              Excerpts from the book.










Body of Secrets: anatomy of the ultra secret National Security Agency

by: James Bamford

ISBN: 0385499078


Published in 2000, Body of Secrets is a virtual 'encyclopedia' of U.S. intelligence operations under the guidance of the National Security Agency. It sheds light on a fictitious attack allegedly by the North Vietnamese on the U.S. spy ship Pueblo, which was later used as the rationale for waging war on Vietnam; on the downed U-2 flight of Francis Gary Powers-- a plane designed to insure the death of its pilot, should it ever be shot down; as well as the Israeli 1967 attack on the U.S. spy ship Liberty, that killed two thirds of its crew, 34 men.

Bamford further provides us with the substance behind the decades of U.S. government spying on its own citizens--Operation Minaret, and Operation Shamrock-- as well as other infamous operations.


  • "According to secret and long-hidden documents obtained for 'Body of Secrets', the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government. In the name of anticommunism, they proposed launching a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an ill conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba. Codenamed Operation Northwoods, the plan which had the written approval of the chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere.  People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked.  Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro,  thus giving... the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war." (p. 83)

             Excerpt from the book








Puzzle Palace: inside the NSA

by: James Bamford

ISBN: 0140067485


James Bamford, is a prior investigative producer for ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.  This was his first book on the NSA, 1982, it exposes the U.S. government listening posts around the world that capture every form of human generated communication activity on the planet.  It summarizes for us the myriad of activities that can be documented, concerning this little known agency of the U.S. government.


"The Puzzle Palace is a brilliant account of the use and abuse of technological espionage and of the frightening Orwellian potential of today's intelligence communities."

The New York Times Book Review

  • "Referencing the NSA's technology...Senator Frank Church concluded: 'At the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such [is] the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter.  There would be no place to hide.  If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately done, is within the reach of the government to know.  Such is the capability of this technology...  I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge.  I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss.  That is the abyss from which there is no return.' " (p.477)                                                                   

          Excerpt from the book







Secret History: the CIA's classified account of its operations in

Guatemala 1952-1954

Nick Cullather

ISBN: 0804733112


A sanitized version and narrative of an internal CIA document, created as a training tool, regarding Operation PBSUCCESS--a prior program of subversion used to destabilize the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1952-1954.  The training document detailed how to choose targets, how to wage undercover warfare.  Missing from this public edition, is the section entitled "A Study in Assassination".  This redacted section also included a list of Communists "to be eliminated" after the coup.


In fact, death squad activity in the 1980's followed the same rationale, the utilization of 'hit lists', and the death and disappearance of thousands of Guatemalans, which included teachers, priests, nuns, scientists, labor leaders and students.

  • "As early as January 1952, Directorate of Plans officers began drawing up lists of persons to 'eliminate' after a successful anti-communist coup." (p.141)
  • "...Guatemala has defied reason since 1954.  It still has the most regressive fiscal system and the most unequal land-ownership pattern in Latin America.  Its army victorious on the battlefield, has evolved into an all-powerful mafia, stretching its tentacles into drug trafficking, kidnapping and smuggling.  And its civilian presidents have shown no inclination to challenge the army and the upper class, to fight for social reform, or to clamp down on corruption. Today, Hungary is free.  Guatemala is still paying for American 'success'." Afterword (p. xxxii)                                    

              Excerpts from the book



Reviewed by V.S.


Posted  November  1, 2004

URL:                                    SM 2000-2011                                   


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