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    Founded   April  2000



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National Insecurity

ed. by Craig Eisendrath

ISBN: 1566397448




"This book should be required reading by all congressional committees concerned with intelligence policy, surveillance, and appropriations, and by all Americans." Sen. Tom Harkin, Foreword, 1999


When this book was written, the Cold War had been over for ten years and no country threatened this nation's existence, yet, we still spent billions of dollars on covert action and espionage. Even during the Cold War, when intelligence was seen as a matter of life and death, our system served us badly. It provided unreliable information (leading, among other things, to a grossly inflated military budget) as it supported corrupt regimes around the world, promoted the drug trade, and repeatedly violated foreign and domestic laws. And worse, proceed in a shroud of secrecy, it paid no price for its mistakes, but instead grew larger and more insulated and in drastic need of reform.

Ten prominent experts describe, from an insider perspective, what went wrong with U.S. intelligence and what needs to be done to fix it. Drawing on their experience in government administration, research, and the foreign service, they propose a radical rethinking of the United States' intelligence needs in the post-Cold War world. In addition, they offer a coherent and unified plan for reform that can protect U.S. Security while upholding the values of our democratic system.  Many of those recommendations resonate today as predictors of the intelligence failures that helped create the conditions for 9-11.

The contributors include Roger Hilsman, former Assistant Secretary of State, advisor to President Kennedy, and author of The Cuban Missile Crisis; Melvin A. Goodman, former division chief and senior analyst at the CIA's Office of Soviet Affairs; Robert E. White, former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay and president of the Center for International Policy; Robert V. Keeley, former ambassador to Greece, Zimbabwe, and Mauritius; Jack A. Blum, chief investigator for Senator Church's Senate Foreign Relations Committee and for the Senate investigation of the Iran-Contra scandal; Kate Doyle, analyst at the National Security Archive; Alfred W. McCoy, author of The Politics of Heroin; Robert Dreyfuss, a journalist who publishes regularly on intelligence matters; Richard A. Stubbing, who for twenty years handled the intelligence budget for the Office of Management and Budget; Pat M. Holt, former chief of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and author of Secret Intelligence and Public Policy; and the editor.

"What the Central Intelligence Agency has bequeathed to our relations with Central America and the Caribbean is a string of embarassing failures against inconsequential targets.  From the overthrow of the government of Guatemala to the Iran-Contra fiasco of the 1980's, the CIA not only violated solemn treaties but allied us with the most violent, reactionary elements of Latin American society.  In carrying out these operations, the CIA subverted American values at home as well as abroad... Such policies were pursued without adequate safeguards of accountability that characterize a democracy." (Robert White p. 45)


"Official intelligence dealings with criminals, especially criminals who are involved in activity on U.S. territory, raise very difficult questions. Who performs the cost-benefit analysis ? Who has the authority to waive the enforcement of criminal laws ?  Does the government have responsibility for the effect of the sanctioned criminal activity ?" (Jack Blum, p. 88)














Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

by: Gore Vidal, 2002

ISBN: 156025405x



Gore Vidal is an icon in American Letters.  He is without doubt a giant of American literature.  In biting satire and dry wit, with the polish of a master essayist, Vidal dissects for us the current state of affairs of American politics.  'Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace' is a compilation of essays that has a common thread--the loss of civil liberty and the rise of theocracy, and oligarchy.  It also includes essays regarding the Timothy McVeigh case.

"...our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own.  That our ruling junta might have seriously provoked McVeigh and Osama was never dealt with.  We consumers don't need to be told the why of anything.  Certainly those of us who are  in the why-business have a difficult time in getting through the corporate sponsored American media, so I thought it useful to describe here the various provocations on our side that drove both bin Laden and McVeigh to such terrible acts."












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 in 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 (former CIA, alleged architect behind Pinochet's rise, 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 using some 'scorched earth tactics,' and what he has exposed 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


















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. 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 examination into the NSA.  Historically, it sheds light on the development of a massive military-industrial complex that was just beginning to rise.


"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 the American presence should be defined in it.  The essays are rich in analyses, providing rationales for molding positive 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













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








Rights of Man

by: Thomas Paine

ISBN: 1853264679


Paine participated in both the American and French Revolutions.  Remembered as a fiery pamphleteer, whose Common Cause did more for the American cause than many armed rebellions.  Born in England in extreme poverty he immigrated to America where he rose to literary prominence.  In the Rights of Man he argues that man has intrinsic rights independent of society, sovereignty resides in the individual rather than in a 'moneyed and propertied' class. He argues most eloquently for the individual's right to assert his freedom in the face of tyranny.  


A man well ahead of his times, he labored to enlighten people to his vision of a just society which included; universal suffrage, abolitionism, agrarian reform, equality, citizen rights to petition, Republican democratic government, and separation of Church and State. He was seen as too radical for his times.


"When it shall be said in any country in the world my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want; the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness: When these things can be said, then may that country boast its Constitution and its Government."  from The Rights of Man




Last Updated  August 17, 2005

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