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Edward Lansdale


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#1 Sterling Seagrave

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 05:19 PM

It is an inescapable fact that from the beginning of the US occupation of Japan, General MacArthur, President Truman, John Foster Dulles, and others, knew all about the stolen treasure in Japan and the continuing extraordinary wealth of the Japanese elite, despite losing the war.

In an official report on the occupation prepared by MacArthur’s headquarters and published in 1950, there is a startling admission: “One of the spectacular tasks of the occupation dealt with collecting and putting under guard the great hoards of gold, silver, precious stones, foreign postage stamps, engraving plates, and all currency not legal in Japan.

Even though the bulk of this wealth was collected and placed under United States military custody by Japanese officials, undeclared caches of these treasures were known to exist.”

MacArthur’s staff knew, for example, of $2-billion in gold bullion that had been sunk in Tokyo Bay, later recovered. Another great fortune discovered by U.S. intelligence services in 1946 was $13-billion in war loot amassed by underworld godfather Kodama Yoshio who, as a ‘rear admiral’ in the Imperial Navy working with Golden Lily in China and Southeast Asia, was
in charge of plundering the Asian underworld and racketeers. He was also in charge of Japan’s wartime drug trade throughout Asia. Kodama specialized in looting platinum for his own hoard. As this was too heavy to airlift to Japan, Kodama also helped himself to the finest gems looted by his men, taking large bags of gems to Japan each time he flew back during the war.

After the war, to get out of Sugamo Prison and avoid prosecution for war crimes, Kodama gave over $100-million in US currency to the CIA. He was also, amazingly, put on General Willoughby’s payroll, and remained on the CIA payroll for the rest of his life, among other favors brokering the Lockheed aircraft deal that became a major scandal for Japan’s Liberal Demopcratic Party. Kodama personally financed the creation of the postwar political parties that merged into the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), strongly backed to this day by Washington.

Both Kodama and his underworld associate Sasakawa Ryiochi, were then involved with the CIA in joint recoveries of Japanese war-loot from the Philippines.

On September 2, 1945, after receiving official notice of Japan’s surrender, General Yamashita and his staff emerged from their mountain stronghold in the Kiangan Pocket on Luzon, and presented their swords to a group of U.S. Army officers led by Military Police Major A.S. ‘Jack’ Kenworthy, who took them to Bilibad Prison outside Manila. Because of gruesome atrocities committed earlier by Admiral Iwabuchi Kanji’s sailors and marines in the city of Manila (after Yamashita had ordered them to leave the city unharmed), the general was charged with war crimes. During his trial there was no mention
of war loot. But there was a hidden agenda.

Because it was not possible to torture General Yamashita physically without this becoming evident to his defense attorneys, members of his staff were tortured instead. His driver, Major Kojima Kashii, was given special attention. Since Yamashita had arrived from Manchuria in October 1944 to take over the defense of the Philippines, Kojima had driven him everywhere.

In charge of Kojima’s torture was a Filipino-American intelligence officer named Severino Garcia Diaz Santa Romana, a man of many names and personalities, whose friends called him ‘Santy’. He wanted Major Kojima to reveal each place to which he had taken Yamashita, where bullion and other treasure were hidden.

Supervising Santy was Captain Edward G. Lansdale, later one of America’s best-known Cold Warriors. In September 1945, Lansdale was 37 years old and utterly insignificant, only an advertising agency copywriter who had spent the war in San Francisco writing propaganda for the 0SS. In September 1945, chance entered Lansdale’s life in a big way when President
Truman ordered the OSS to close down. To preserve America’s intelligence assets, and his own personal network, OSS chief Donovan moved personnel to other government or military posts. Captain Lansdale was one of fifty office staff given a chance to transfer to U.S. Army G-2 in the Philippines.

There, Lansdale heard about Santy torturing General Yamashita’s driver, and joined the torture sessions as an observer and participant.

Early that October, Major Kojima broke down and led Lansdale and Santy to more than a dozen Golden Lily treasure vaults in the mountains north of Manila.

While Santy and his teams set to opening the rest of these vaults, Captain Lansdale flew to Tokyo to brief General MacArthur, then on to Washington to brief President Truman. After discussions with his cabinet, Truman decided to proceed with the recovery, but to keep it a state secret.

The treasure – gold, platinum, and barrels of loose gems – was combined with Axis loot recovered in Europe to create a worldwide covert political action fund to fight communism. This ‘black gold’ gave the Truman Administration access to virtually limitless unvouchered funds for covert operations. It also provided an asset base that was used by Washington to
reinforce the treasuries of its allies, to bribe political leaders, and to manipulate elections in foreign countries.

It was not Truman’s decision alone. The idea for a global political action fund based on war loot actually originated during the Roosevelt administration, with Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. During the war, Stimson had a braintrust thinking hard about Axis plunder and how it should be handled when peace came. As the tide turned against the Axis, it was
only a matter of time before treasure began to be recovered. Much of this war prize was in the form of gold looted by the Nazis from conquered countries and civilian victims. To eliminate any trace of original ownership, the Nazis had melted it down, and recast it as ingots hallmarked with the swastika and black eagle of the Reichsbank. There were other reasons why the gold was difficult to trace. Many of the original owners had died, and pre-war governments had ceased to exist. Eastern Europe was falling under the control of the Soviet Union, so returning gold looted there was out of the question.

Stimson’s special assistants on this topic were his deputies John J. McCloy and Robert Lovett, and consultant Robert B. Anderson, all clever men with outstanding careers in public service and banking. McCloy later became head of the World Bank, Lovett secretary of Defense, Anderson secretary of the Treasury. Their solution was to set up what is informally
called the Black Eagle Trust. The idea was first discussed with America’s allies in secret during July 1944, when forty-four nations met at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to plan the postwar world economy. (This was confirmed, in documents we obtained, by a number of high-level sources,including a CIA officer based in Manila, and former CIA Deputy Director Ray Cline, who knew of Santy’s recoveries in 1945. As recently as the 1990s, Cline continued to be involved in attempts to control Japanese war-gold still in the vaults of Citibank.)

After briefing President Truman and others in Washington, including McCloy, Lovett, and Stimson, Captain Lansdale returned to Tokyo in November 1945 with Robert B. Anderson. General MacArthur then accompanied Anderson and Lansdale on a covert flight to Manila, where they set out for a tour of the vaults Santy already had opened. In them, we were told, Anderson and MacArthur strolled down “row after row of gold bars stacked two meters tall”. From what they saw, it was evident that over a period of 50 years (1895-1945) Japan had looted many billions of dollars in treasure from all over Asia. A far longer period than Germany had to loot Europe. Over five decades, Japan had looted billions of dollars’ worth of gold, platinum, diamonds, and other treasure, from all over East and Southeast Asia. Much of this had reached Japan by sea, or overland from China through Korea. What was seen by Anderson and MacArthur was only some of the gold that had not reached Japan after 1943, when the US submarine blockade of the Home Islands became effective. From this it is obvious that what was looted by Japan on the Asian mainland from 1895-1943 had reached Japan and been tucked away there in what the US Army statement called “undeclared caches of these treasures ... known to exist” .

Far from being bankrupted by the war, Japan had been greatly enriched, and -- thanks to Washington’s intervention -- used this treasure to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, while its victims struggled on for decades.

The gold recovered in the Philippines was not put in Fort Knox to benefit American citizens. There has been no audit of Ft. Knox since 1950.

According to Ray Cline and others, between 1945 and 1947 the gold bullion recovered by Santy and Lansdale was discreetly moved by ship to 176 accounts at banks in 42 countries. The gold was trucked to warehouses at the U.S. Navy base in Subic Bay, or the U.S. Air Force base at Clark Field.

Preference went to the U.S. Navy because of the weight of the bullion. Secrecy was vital. If the recovery of a huge mass of stolen gold became known, the market price of gold would plummet, and thousands of people would come forward to claim it, and Washington would be bogged down resolving ownership.

The secrecy surrounding these recoveries was total. Robert Anderson and CIA agent Paul Helliwell traveled all over the planet, setting up these black gold accounts, providing money for political action funds throughout the noncommunist world. In 1953, to reward him, President Eisenhower nominated Anderson to a Cabinet post as secretary of the Navy. The following year he rose to deputy secretary of Defense. During the second Eisenhower Administration, he became secretary of the Treasury, serving from 1957 to 1961. After that, Anderson resumed private life, but remained intimately involved with the CIA’s worldwide network of “black banks”, set up by Paul Helliwell. Eventually, this led to Anderson being involved in the scandal of BCCI, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a Pakistani bank with CIA ties.

No one made better use of the recoveries than Lansdale. For his role in enabling the Black Eagle Trust, Lansdale became the darling of the Dulles brothers and their Georgetown coven, which included key officials in the CIA during the years it was run by Allen Dulles. Writing to the U.S. Ambassador in Manila, Admiral Raymond Spruance, Allen Dulles called Lansdale “our mutual friend”. In the early 1950s, Allen Dulles gave Lansdale $5-million to finance CIA operations against the Huks, rural peasant farmers fighting for land-reform in the Philippines. When he sent Lansdale to Vietnam in 1954, Dulles told Eisenhower he was sending one of his “best men”. In the late 1950s, he was in and out of Tokyo on secret missions with a hand-picked team of Filipino assassins, assassinating leftists, liberals and progressives.

Lansdale was also close to Richard Nixon, and headed efforts to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Without exception, Lansdale’s Asian adventures were costly failures. But Washington’s effort to boost the LDP in Japan was a big success.

Long time Tokyo correspondent Robert Whiting described “a secret billion-dollar slush fund … equivalent to nearly 10 percent of Japan’s 1950 GNP. ... The Japanese government also sold [on the blackmarket] great stockpiles of gold, silver and copper …which they had concealed in early 1945 in anticipation of Japan’s defeat.”

#2 J. Raymond Carroll

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 08:19 PM

Wow, scintillating stuff. I hope you will be posting more on Lansale.

When he sent Lansdale to Vietnam in 1954, Dulles told Eisenhower he was sending one of his “best men”. In the late 1950s, he was in and out of Tokyo on secret missions with a hand-picked team of Filipino assassins, assassinating leftists, liberals and progressives.


I hope you will post more detail on these assassinations. Presumably these assassinations were ordered/approved by Dulles, but query whether anyone told Ike.

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 07:35 AM

In 1955 Graham Greene published "The Quiet American". The novel is set in Vietnam and involves the relationship between Thomas Fowler, the narrator and main character, is a veteran British journalist in his fifties, who has been covering the war in Vietnam for over two years and Alden Pyle, the “Quiet American” of the title. Pyle is working for the CIA and is based on Edward Lansdale. In the early 1950s Lansdale was in the Philippines working for President Elpidio Quirino as a member of the Joint United States Military Assistance Group, in an effort to destroy the Communist Hukbalahap resistance movement. Lansdale helped the Philippine Armed Forces develop psychological operations, civic actions, and the rehabilitation of Hukbalahap prisoners in projects such as EDCOR.

Greene had worked for the British Secret Service during the Second World War. Although a fairly successful novelist at the time, Greene was also employed by The Times and Le Figaro as a journalist. He spent a great deal of time reporting on the struggle against communism in Asia and between 1951 to 1954 spent a long period of time in Saigon. In 1953 Lansdale became a CIA advisor on special counter-guerrilla operations to French forces against the Viet Minh. Greene wrote "The Quiet American" between 1951 and 1954.

When the book was published in the United States in 1956 it was condemned as anti-American. Pyle (Lansdale) is portrayed as someone whose belief in the justice of American foreign policy allows him to ignore the appalling consequences of his actions. It was criticized by The New Yorker for portraying Americans as murderers, largely based on one scene in which a bomb explodes in a crowd of people. It is suggested that Pyle is behind the planting of the bomb.

In 1958 Joseph Mankewiecz directed a film of the "Quiet American". It has recently been revealled that Edward Lansdale persuaded Mankewiecz to change the script of the film. Pyle, played by Audie Murphy, now becomes the hero and it is Thomas Fowler (Michael Redgrave), who according to the critic Robbie Graham "is instead the man whose moral compass has gone awry". Greene disowned the film as a "propaganda film for America".

http://www.spartacus...OLDlansdale.htm

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 08:59 AM

I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but where are your references?

I really enjoyed reading your story, and it certainly has the ring of plausibility,
but if you don't cite any references, then it really just sounds like a bedtime story
(albeit a really good one).

Keep posting.


If you are talking about Sterling's posting all the references can be found in his book, Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold (2005)

http://www.amazon.co...r...7802&sr=1-2

If you are talking about my posting you need to see the following:

Jonathan Nashel's "Edward Lansdale's Cold War" (2004) and Norman Sherry's "Life of Graham Greene (1989):

http://www.amazon.co...=...p;x=18&y=17

Wikipedia makes the silly claim that Alden Pyle was not based on Edward Lansdale because the two men did not meet until after Greene started writing the book. Greene also pointed out that Pyle was not based on any one man. In the same way that Thomas Fowler was not Graham Greene. Pyle represented the CIA agents that Greene had encountered during his time in Vietnam. However, as he admits, he did not know at the time that Lansdale and the other Americans were CIA agents because they were posing as "Aid" workers.

http://www.amazon.co...e...8134&sr=1-5

On Hollywood and the CIA I suggest you read:

"Who Paid the Piper?: CIA and the Cultural Cold War" (2000) by Frances Stonor Saunders:

http://www.amazon.co...l...9015&sr=1-1

The subject is also covered in Hugh Wilford's "The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America" (2008):

http://www.amazon.co.../ref=pd_sim_b_2

I am looking forward to the publication of Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham book on the Hollywood and US Foreign Policy as it goes into some detail about the role of agents such as Edward Lansdale and films such as "The Quiet American".

#5 Gene Kelly

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 01:19 PM

Sterling:
Excellent posting... Lansdale is still a prime suspect (regarding JFK) in my book. His disappointment with not getting the promised posting in Vietnam (ambassador), the bungled Mongoose operation, the crazy Northwoods schemes and his intelligence affiliations with the Far east contingent of OSS/CIA are prime indicators of motive and means. Plus Prouty's allegations, especially that Lansdale's specialty was setting up elaborate psychological operations such as Dealey Plaza represented. Do you have some perspective about what Lansdale was doing in 1963 (purportedly retired) , and his Dallas logistics? He does seem to be the classic "ugly American".

Gene Kelly

#6 Al Fordiani

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:14 PM

Mr. Seagrave (or anyone else),

Fletcher Prouty insinuated that Lansdale's counter-insurgency against the Huks in the Phillipines was, at least in part, "make war," that is, a traveling war of phoney battles where one cadre of men play both sides using a combination of real and fake ammo. The purpose of the ruse was to create a hero among the populace, the commander who "won" battle after battle in the countryside. This hero(Magsaysay, if memory serves) then went on to win the presidency, thus putting someone in America/CIA pocket.

Is there is anyone out there who can shed any light on whether there is any truth to this story?

Edited by Al Fordiani, 18 November 2008 - 04:27 PM.


#7 John Simkin

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 04:30 PM

Sterling:
Excellent posting... Lansdale is still a prime suspect (regarding JFK) in my book. His disappointment with not getting the promised posting in Vietnam (ambassador), the bungled Mongoose operation, the crazy Northwoods schemes and his intelligence affiliations with the Far east contingent of OSS/CIA are prime indicators of motive and means. Plus Prouty's allegations, especially that Lansdale's specialty was setting up elaborate psychological operations such as Dealey Plaza represented. Do you have some perspective about what Lansdale was doing in 1963 (purportedly retired) , and his Dallas logistics? He does seem to be the classic "ugly American".

Gene Kelly



I disagree. There is no evidence that Lansdale was involved in the assassination of JFK. Nor did he have a motive. JFK was influenced by Lansdale’s views on Vietnam. That is why he would have pulled out the troops if he had won the 1964 election.

Lansdale was not sacked by JFK (although he did not intervene in the matter). It was Maxwell Taylor who arranged for Lansdale to have “early retirement”. The two men clashed about what should be done in Vietnam. Taylor took the view, as did virtually all the military top brass, that the war could be won by military power. Taylor and the Joint Chief of Staffs told JFK in the summer of 1963 that 40,000 US troops could clean up the Viet Cong threat in Vietnam and another 120,000 would be sufficient to cope with any possible North Vietnamese or Chinese intervention.

His advice on Cuba was that the CIA should work closely with exiles, particularly those with middle-class professions, who had opposed Batista and had then become disillusioned with Castro because of his betrayal of the democratic process. Lansdale was also opposed to the Bay of Pigs operation because he knew that it would not trigger a popular uprising against Castro. Although JFK was highly suspicious of the CIA, as a result of the quality of Lansdale’s advice, he selected him to become project leader of Operation Mongoose.

Lansdale had spent years studying the way Mao had taken power in China. He often quoted Mao of telling his guerrillas: “Buy and sell fairly. Return everything borrowed. Indemnify everything damaged. Do not bathe in view of women. Do not rob personal belongings of captives.” The purpose of such rules, according to Mao, was to create a good relationship between the army and its people. This was a strategy that had been adopted by the NLF. Lansdale believed that the US Army should adopt a similar approach. As Cecil B. Currey, the author of “Edward Lansdale: The Unquiet American” pointed out: “Lansdale was a dedicated anticommunist, conservative in his thoughts. Many people of like persuasion were neither as willing to study their enemy nor as open to adopting communist ideas to use a countervailing force. If for no other reason, the fact makes Lansdale stand out in bold relief to the majority of fellow military men who struggled on behalf of America in those intense years of the cold war.”

He argued against the overthrow of Diem. He told Robert McNamara that: “There’s a constitution in place… Please don’t destroy that when you’re trying to change the government. Remember there’s a vice president (Nguyen Ngoc Tho) who’s been elected and is now holding office. If anything happens to the president, he should replace him. Try to keep something sustained.” It was these views that got him removed from office. The pressure to remove Lansdale came from General Curtis LeMay and General Victor Krulak and other senior members of the military. As a result it was decided to abolish his post as assistant to the secretary of defence. He was not too upset because for some time McNamara had not been listening to Lansdale’s advice. His approach to foreign policy at once appealed to Kennedy and horrified the Joint Chiefs of Staff and politicians such as Dean Rusk.

It is true that Lansdale was strongly anti-communist, but he was not a right-winger. In fact, although he was a conservative on some issues, he was liberal on others. Unlike most of the military leaders in Vietnam, he was not a racist. He had a deep respect for the Vietnamese culture and realised that you could not win by imposing American rule on the country. His second wife, Patrocinio Yapcinco, was from the Philippines.

Out of office he continued to argue against LBJ’s decision to try and use military power to win the Vietnam War. When General William Westmoreland argued that: “We’re going to out-guerrilla the guerrilla and out-ambush the ambush… because we’re smarter, we have greater mobility and fire-power, we have more endurance and more to fight for… And we’ve got more guts.” Lansdale replied: “All actions in the war should be devised to attract and then make firm the allegiance of the people.” He added “we label our fight as helping the Vietnamese maintain their freedom” but when “we bomb their villages, with horrendous collateral damage in terms of both civilian property and lives… it might well provoke a man of good will to ask, just what freedom of what Vietnamese are we helping to maintain?”

Lansdale quoted Robert Taber (The War of the Flea): “There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbours resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert. Where these means cannot, for whatever reason, be used, the war is lost.” Lansdale thought this was the situation in Vietnam and wrote to a friend that if the solution was to “kill every last person in the enemy ranks” then he was “not only morally opposed” to this strategy but knew it was “humanly impossible”.

Lansdale added “No idea can be bombed or beaten to death. Military action alone is never enough.” He pointed out that since 1945 the Viet Minh had been willing to fight against the strength of both France and the United States in order to ensure success of their own. “Without a better idea, rebels will eventually win, for ideas are defeated only by better ideas.”

Lansdale was anti-communist because he really believed in democracy. Lansdale had been arguing since 1956 that the best way of dealing with the Viet Cong was to introduce free elections that included the rights of Chams, Khmers, Montagnards and other minorities to participate in voting. Lansdale said that he went into Vietnam as Tom Paine would have done. He was found of quoting Paine as saying: “Where liberty dwells not, there is my country.”

He also distanced himself from the Freedom Studies Center of the Institute for American Strategy when he discovered it was being run by the John Birch Society. He told a friend: “I refused to have anything more to do with it… That isn’t what our country is all about.” Lansdale considered himself a “conservative moderate” who was tolerant of all minorities.

Lansdale continued to advocate a non-military solution to Vietnam and in 1965, under orders from Lyndon Johnson, Henry Cabot Lodge, the new US ambassador in Saigon, put Lansdale in charge of the “pacification program” in the country. As Newsweek reported: “Lansdale is expected to push hard for a greater effort on the political and economic fronts of the war, while opposing the recent trend bombing and the burning of villages.”

One of those who served under him in this job was Daniel Ellsberg. The two men remained friends until the death of Lansdale. Ellsberg liked Lansdale because of his commitment to democracy. Ellsberg also agreed with Lansdale that the pacification program should be run by the Vietnamese. He argued that unless it was a Vietnam project it would never work. Lansdale knew that there was a deep xenophobia among Vietnamese. However, as he pointed out, he believed “Lyndon Johnson would have been just as xenophobic if Canadians or British or the French moved in force into the United States and took charge of his dreams for a great Society, told him what to do, and spread out by thousands throughout the nation to see that it got done.”

In February 1966 Lansdale was removed from his position in control of the pacification program. However, instead of giving the job to a Vietnamese, William Porter, was given the post. Lansdale was now appointed as a senior liaison officer, with no specific responsibilities.

Unlike most Americans in Vietnam, Lansdale believed it was essential for Vietnamese leaders to claim credit for any changes and reforms. His attitude aroused antagonism in the hearts of many within the U.S. bureaucracy who didn’t like the idea of allowing others to receive credit for successful programs – although they did not object to blaming Vietnamese leaders for projects that failed.

Most importantly, Lansdale thought that the military should be careful to avoid causing civilian casualties. As his biographer, Cecil Currey pointed out: “Lansdale was primarily concerned about the welfare of people. Such a stance made him anathema to those more concerned about search and destroy missions, agent orange, free fire zones, harassing and interdicting fires, and body counts.”

According to Lansdale “we lost the war at the Tet offensive”. The reason for this was that after this defeat American commanders lost the ability to discriminate between friend and foe. All Vietnamese were now “gooks”. Lansdale complained that commanders resorted more and more on artillery barrages that killed thousands of civilians.

He told a friend that: “I don’t believe this is a government that can win the hearts and minds of the people.” Lansdale resigned and returned to the United States in June 1968.

Lansdale argued that the current strategy in Vietnam was not working. “I’m afraid that we’re being taught some savage lessons about a type of warfare that the next generation or so of Americans will have to face up to on other continents as on this one.” This is why he was very critical of US involvement in El Salvador in the 1980s and if he had been alive today, would have opposed the invasion of Iraq and the sending of troops into Afghanistan.

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:10 PM

The claim that Lansdale was not Pyle continues to pushed by the media, including Wikipedia. While it is true that Greene admitted that he never had the "misfortune to meet" Lansdale, the two men did know a lot about each other. Lansdale recalls that in 1954 he had dinner with Peg and Tilman Durdin at the Continental Hotel in Saigon. Greene was also there having a meal with several French officers. Lansdale claims that after he and the Durdins were leaving, Greene said something in French to his companions and the men began booing him.

Lansdale definitely thought that Pyle was based on him. He told a friend that in the novel "Pyle was close to Trinh Minh Thé, the guerrilla leader, and also had a dog that went with him everywhere - and I was the only American close to Trinh Minh Thé and my poodle Pierre went everything with me."

In the book Pyle is sent to Vietnam by his government, ostensibly as a member of the American Economic Mission, but that assignment was only a cover for his real role as a CIA agent. According to one critic "Pyle was the embodiment of well-meaning American-style politics, and he blundered through the intrigue, treachery, and confusion of Vietnamese politics, leaving a trail of blood and suffering behind him." As Fowler points out in the novel, Pyle was attempting to "win the East for Democracy". However, according to Fowler, what the people of Vietnam really wanted was "enough rice" to eat. What is more: "They don't want to be shot at. They want one day to be much the same as another. They don't want our white skins around telling them what they want."

#9 Linda Minor

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 03:53 PM

...Stimson’s special assistants on this topic were his deputies John J. McCloy and Robert Lovett, and consultant Robert B. Anderson, all clever men with outstanding careers in public service and banking. McCloy later became head of the World Bank, Lovett secretary of Defense, Anderson secretary of the Treasury. Their solution was to set up what is informally
called the Black Eagle Trust. The idea was first discussed with America’s allies in secret during July 1944, when forty-four nations met at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to plan the postwar world economy. (This was confirmed, in documents we obtained, by a number of high-level sources,including a CIA officer based in Manila, and former CIA Deputy Director Ray Cline, who knew of Santy’s recoveries in 1945. As recently as the 1990s, Cline continued to be involved in attempts to control Japanese war-gold still in the vaults of Citibank.)

After briefing President Truman and others in Washington, including McCloy, Lovett, and Stimson, Captain Lansdale returned to Tokyo in November 1945 with Robert B. Anderson. General MacArthur then accompanied Anderson and Lansdale on a covert flight to Manila, where they set out for a tour of the vaults Santy already had opened. In them, we were told, Anderson and MacArthur strolled down “row after row of gold bars stacked two meters tall”. From what they saw, it was evident that over a period of 50 years (1895-1945) Japan had looted many billions of dollars in treasure from all over Asia. A far longer period than Germany had to loot Europe. Over five decades, Japan had looted billions of dollars’ worth of gold, platinum, diamonds, and other treasure, from all over East and Southeast Asia. Much of this had reached Japan by sea, or overland from China through Korea. What was seen by Anderson and MacArthur was only some of the gold that had not reached Japan after 1943, when the US submarine blockade of the Home Islands became effective. From this it is obvious that what was looted by Japan on the Asian mainland from 1895-1943 had reached Japan and been tucked away there in what the US Army statement called “undeclared caches of these treasures ... known to exist” .


Sterling,
I studied your books several years ago, primarily because of my interest in the Texan Robert B. Anderson. Do you have any theories about who he really was--or who he represented--and why he was chosen to go with Lansdale to the Philippines? Any thoughts at all about his role?

#10 Sterling Seagrave

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:54 PM

...Stimson’s special assistants on this topic were his deputies John J. McCloy and Robert Lovett, and consultant Robert B. Anderson, all clever men with outstanding careers in public service and banking. McCloy later became head of the World Bank, Lovett secretary of Defense, Anderson secretary of the Treasury. Their solution was to set up what is informally
called the Black Eagle Trust. The idea was first discussed with America’s allies in secret during July 1944, when forty-four nations met at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to plan the postwar world economy. (This was confirmed, in documents we obtained, by a number of high-level sources,including a CIA officer based in Manila, and former CIA Deputy Director Ray Cline, who knew of Santy’s recoveries in 1945. As recently as the 1990s, Cline continued to be involved in attempts to control Japanese war-gold still in the vaults of Citibank.)

After briefing President Truman and others in Washington, including McCloy, Lovett, and Stimson, Captain Lansdale returned to Tokyo in November 1945 with Robert B. Anderson. General MacArthur then accompanied Anderson and Lansdale on a covert flight to Manila, where they set out for a tour of the vaults Santy already had opened. In them, we were told, Anderson and MacArthur strolled down “row after row of gold bars stacked two meters tall”. From what they saw, it was evident that over a period of 50 years (1895-1945) Japan had looted many billions of dollars in treasure from all over Asia. A far longer period than Germany had to loot Europe. Over five decades, Japan had looted billions of dollars’ worth of gold, platinum, diamonds, and other treasure, from all over East and Southeast Asia. Much of this had reached Japan by sea, or overland from China through Korea. What was seen by Anderson and MacArthur was only some of the gold that had not reached Japan after 1943, when the US submarine blockade of the Home Islands became effective. From this it is obvious that what was looted by Japan on the Asian mainland from 1895-1943 had reached Japan and been tucked away there in what the US Army statement called “undeclared caches of these treasures ... known to exist” .


Sterling,
I studied your books several years ago, primarily because of my interest in the Texan Robert B. Anderson. Do you have any theories about who he really was--or who he represented--and why he was chosen to go with Lansdale to the Philippines? Any thoughts at all about his role?



#11 Sterling Seagrave

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 11:27 PM

Linda ~

I've given a lot of thought to who were really the patrons of Robert Anderson, McCloy, Lovett, Stimson, the Dulles brothers, and others. In some cases, particularly the Dulles brothers and McCloy, they did not begin life as patricians. In one way or the other, they came from outside the magic circle, and initially became the servants of patricians. In their cases the patrons were the senior Rockefellers, the senior Harrimans, the senior Mellons, and the like. They became their gofers, if you will. As Kissinger was of the Rockefellers. You can see this from their early years, as they were on their way up the ladder. Between WW1 and WW2 the Dulles brothers were essentially carrying out tasks for their patrons in Europe, with one foot in Wall Street. Many of their activities were, of course, financial -- but with great political impact. In the case of Anderson the links (at least in Texas) are less clear, although it could have been any number of patricians including the Rockefellers. In any event, just knowing who their patrons were does not provide the kind of evidence one craves to have of how they were directed to do this or that. We know much more about this cause-and-effect with the Dulles brothers, thanks to recent books examining their activities in Europe, especially viz-a-viz German bankers. It is less easy to see who actually pushed the buttons of Clark Clifford over those many years. After a certain point, such men may simply go on autopilot. Like Rupert Murdoch after his tight friendship with the Agency station chief in Canberra caused Murdoch to vault out of oblivion onto the world stage with incredibly deep pockets to buy an extraordinary range of media. In a case like Murdoch's a point is reached where the monster no longer needs frequent contact with Dr. Frankenstein. The man becomes the mission. It would be great to know more about this. But when a senior TIME Inc editor finally worked up the courage to do a book on the Oppenheimers, the result was predictably cautious. Too bad!

#12 Sterling Seagrave

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 11:31 PM

I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but where are your references?

I really enjoyed reading your story, and it certainly has the ring of plausibility,
but if you don't cite any references, then it really just sounds like a bedtime story
(albeit a really good one).

Keep posting.


Try reading Mr. Seagrave's books - they are heavily documented. He was just giving a brief outline of one aspect of what they contain. No bedtime story, rather the sad story of [part] of our secret history.

Sterling, what was Lansdale doing, where was he based, and actively working with in the period just before and during 1963? I ask because many of us believe he might have been in Dallas for the assassination. Even Prouty thought so. So many of the spooks we know (and don't love) seem to have gotten their start in the secret intrigue at the end of and just after the Second World War. The connection between finance/great wealth and intelligence is so little appreciated. I think of the CIA and the other minions of intelligence as the military for the ultra-rich. How well-off did Landsdale himself become, being involved in all that gold and money? Thanks.



#13 Gene Kelly

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 04:33 AM

Sterling:
Excellent posting... Lansdale is still a prime suspect (regarding JFK) in my book. His disappointment with not getting the promised posting in Vietnam (ambassador), the bungled Mongoose operation, the crazy Northwoods schemes and his intelligence affiliations with the Far east contingent of OSS/CIA are prime indicators of motive and means. Plus Prouty's allegations, especially that Lansdale's specialty was setting up elaborate psychological operations such as Dealey Plaza represented. Do you have some perspective about what Lansdale was doing in 1963 (purportedly retired) , and his Dallas logistics? He does seem to be the classic "ugly American".

Gene Kelly



I disagree. There is no evidence that Lansdale was involved in the assassination of JFK. Nor did he have a motive. JFK was influenced by Lansdale’s views on Vietnam. That is why he would have pulled out the troops if he had won the 1964 election.

Lansdale was not sacked by JFK (although he did not intervene in the matter). It was Maxwell Taylor who arranged for Lansdale to have “early retirement”. The two men clashed about what should be done in Vietnam. Taylor took the view, as did virtually all the military top brass, that the war could be won by military power. Taylor and the Joint Chief of Staffs told JFK in the summer of 1963 that 40,000 US troops could clean up the Viet Cong threat in Vietnam and another 120,000 would be sufficient to cope with any possible North Vietnamese or Chinese intervention.

His advice on Cuba was that the CIA should work closely with exiles, particularly those with middle-class professions, who had opposed Batista and had then become disillusioned with Castro because of his betrayal of the democratic process. Lansdale was also opposed to the Bay of Pigs operation because he knew that it would not trigger a popular uprising against Castro. Although JFK was highly suspicious of the CIA, as a result of the quality of Lansdale’s advice, he selected him to become project leader of Operation Mongoose.

Lansdale had spent years studying the way Mao had taken power in China. He often quoted Mao of telling his guerrillas: “Buy and sell fairly. Return everything borrowed. Indemnify everything damaged. Do not bathe in view of women. Do not rob personal belongings of captives.” The purpose of such rules, according to Mao, was to create a good relationship between the army and its people. This was a strategy that had been adopted by the NLF. Lansdale believed that the US Army should adopt a similar approach. As Cecil B. Currey, the author of “Edward Lansdale: The Unquiet American” pointed out: “Lansdale was a dedicated anticommunist, conservative in his thoughts. Many people of like persuasion were neither as willing to study their enemy nor as open to adopting communist ideas to use a countervailing force. If for no other reason, the fact makes Lansdale stand out in bold relief to the majority of fellow military men who struggled on behalf of America in those intense years of the cold war.”

He argued against the overthrow of Diem. He told Robert McNamara that: “There’s a constitution in place… Please don’t destroy that when you’re trying to change the government. Remember there’s a vice president (Nguyen Ngoc Tho) who’s been elected and is now holding office. If anything happens to the president, he should replace him. Try to keep something sustained.” It was these views that got him removed from office. The pressure to remove Lansdale came from General Curtis LeMay and General Victor Krulak and other senior members of the military. As a result it was decided to abolish his post as assistant to the secretary of defence. He was not too upset because for some time McNamara had not been listening to Lansdale’s advice. His approach to foreign policy at once appealed to Kennedy and horrified the Joint Chiefs of Staff and politicians such as Dean Rusk.

It is true that Lansdale was strongly anti-communist, but he was not a right-winger. In fact, although he was a conservative on some issues, he was liberal on others. Unlike most of the military leaders in Vietnam, he was not a racist. He had a deep respect for the Vietnamese culture and realised that you could not win by imposing American rule on the country. His second wife, Patrocinio Yapcinco, was from the Philippines.

Out of office he continued to argue against LBJ’s decision to try and use military power to win the Vietnam War. When General William Westmoreland argued that: “We’re going to out-guerrilla the guerrilla and out-ambush the ambush… because we’re smarter, we have greater mobility and fire-power, we have more endurance and more to fight for… And we’ve got more guts.” Lansdale replied: “All actions in the war should be devised to attract and then make firm the allegiance of the people.” He added “we label our fight as helping the Vietnamese maintain their freedom” but when “we bomb their villages, with horrendous collateral damage in terms of both civilian property and lives… it might well provoke a man of good will to ask, just what freedom of what Vietnamese are we helping to maintain?”

Lansdale quoted Robert Taber (The War of the Flea): “There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbours resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert. Where these means cannot, for whatever reason, be used, the war is lost.” Lansdale thought this was the situation in Vietnam and wrote to a friend that if the solution was to “kill every last person in the enemy ranks” then he was “not only morally opposed” to this strategy but knew it was “humanly impossible”.

Lansdale added “No idea can be bombed or beaten to death. Military action alone is never enough.” He pointed out that since 1945 the Viet Minh had been willing to fight against the strength of both France and the United States in order to ensure success of their own. “Without a better idea, rebels will eventually win, for ideas are defeated only by better ideas.”

Lansdale was anti-communist because he really believed in democracy. Lansdale had been arguing since 1956 that the best way of dealing with the Viet Cong was to introduce free elections that included the rights of Chams, Khmers, Montagnards and other minorities to participate in voting. Lansdale said that he went into Vietnam as Tom Paine would have done. He was found of quoting Paine as saying: “Where liberty dwells not, there is my country.”

He also distanced himself from the Freedom Studies Center of the Institute for American Strategy when he discovered it was being run by the John Birch Society. He told a friend: “I refused to have anything more to do with it… That isn’t what our country is all about.” Lansdale considered himself a “conservative moderate” who was tolerant of all minorities.

Lansdale continued to advocate a non-military solution to Vietnam and in 1965, under orders from Lyndon Johnson, Henry Cabot Lodge, the new US ambassador in Saigon, put Lansdale in charge of the “pacification program” in the country. As Newsweek reported: “Lansdale is expected to push hard for a greater effort on the political and economic fronts of the war, while opposing the recent trend bombing and the burning of villages.”

One of those who served under him in this job was Daniel Ellsberg. The two men remained friends until the death of Lansdale. Ellsberg liked Lansdale because of his commitment to democracy. Ellsberg also agreed with Lansdale that the pacification program should be run by the Vietnamese. He argued that unless it was a Vietnam project it would never work. Lansdale knew that there was a deep xenophobia among Vietnamese. However, as he pointed out, he believed “Lyndon Johnson would have been just as xenophobic if Canadians or British or the French moved in force into the United States and took charge of his dreams for a great Society, told him what to do, and spread out by thousands throughout the nation to see that it got done.”

In February 1966 Lansdale was removed from his position in control of the pacification program. However, instead of giving the job to a Vietnamese, William Porter, was given the post. Lansdale was now appointed as a senior liaison officer, with no specific responsibilities.

Unlike most Americans in Vietnam, Lansdale believed it was essential for Vietnamese leaders to claim credit for any changes and reforms. His attitude aroused antagonism in the hearts of many within the U.S. bureaucracy who didn’t like the idea of allowing others to receive credit for successful programs – although they did not object to blaming Vietnamese leaders for projects that failed.

Most importantly, Lansdale thought that the military should be careful to avoid causing civilian casualties. As his biographer, Cecil Currey pointed out: “Lansdale was primarily concerned about the welfare of people. Such a stance made him anathema to those more concerned about search and destroy missions, agent orange, free fire zones, harassing and interdicting fires, and body counts.”

According to Lansdale “we lost the war at the Tet offensive”. The reason for this was that after this defeat American commanders lost the ability to discriminate between friend and foe. All Vietnamese were now “gooks”. Lansdale complained that commanders resorted more and more on artillery barrages that killed thousands of civilians.

He told a friend that: “I don’t believe this is a government that can win the hearts and minds of the people.” Lansdale resigned and returned to the United States in June 1968.

Lansdale argued that the current strategy in Vietnam was not working. “I’m afraid that we’re being taught some savage lessons about a type of warfare that the next generation or so of Americans will have to face up to on other continents as on this one.” This is why he was very critical of US involvement in El Salvador in the 1980s and if he had been alive today, would have opposed the invasion of Iraq and the sending of troops into Afghanistan.


John:
Thank you for that perspective on Lansdale; he was a unique warrior. But he was still CIA, and his affiliations cause me to be suspicious. Perhaps I'm influenced by Prouty's allegations. I think it was Dean Rusk who mistrusted Lansdale, and influenced his unsuccessful ambassador quest. My instincts still don't allow me to paint him as a friend or ally of JFK. And his specialty (in PsyOps) was the elaborate drama and scripted misdirection, such as we see occur in Dealey Plaza. So, he remains on my short list...

Gene

#14 Jack White

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 06:27 AM

Sterling:
Excellent posting... Lansdale is still a prime suspect (regarding JFK) in my book. His disappointment with not getting the promised posting in Vietnam (ambassador), the bungled Mongoose operation, the crazy Northwoods schemes and his intelligence affiliations with the Far east contingent of OSS/CIA are prime indicators of motive and means. Plus Prouty's allegations, especially that Lansdale's specialty was setting up elaborate psychological operations such as Dealey Plaza represented. Do you have some perspective about what Lansdale was doing in 1963 (purportedly retired) , and his Dallas logistics? He does seem to be the classic "ugly American".

Gene Kelly



I disagree. There is no evidence that Lansdale was involved in the assassination of JFK. Nor did he have a motive. JFK was influenced by Lansdale’s views on Vietnam. That is why he would have pulled out the troops if he had won the 1964 election.

Lansdale was not sacked by JFK (although he did not intervene in the matter). It was Maxwell Taylor who arranged for Lansdale to have “early retirement”. The two men clashed about what should be done in Vietnam. Taylor took the view, as did virtually all the military top brass, that the war could be won by military power. Taylor and the Joint Chief of Staffs told JFK in the summer of 1963 that 40,000 US troops could clean up the Viet Cong threat in Vietnam and another 120,000 would be sufficient to cope with any possible North Vietnamese or Chinese intervention.

His advice on Cuba was that the CIA should work closely with exiles, particularly those with middle-class professions, who had opposed Batista and had then become disillusioned with Castro because of his betrayal of the democratic process. Lansdale was also opposed to the Bay of Pigs operation because he knew that it would not trigger a popular uprising against Castro. Although JFK was highly suspicious of the CIA, as a result of the quality of Lansdale’s advice, he selected him to become project leader of Operation Mongoose.

Lansdale had spent years studying the way Mao had taken power in China. He often quoted Mao of telling his guerrillas: “Buy and sell fairly. Return everything borrowed. Indemnify everything damaged. Do not bathe in view of women. Do not rob personal belongings of captives.” The purpose of such rules, according to Mao, was to create a good relationship between the army and its people. This was a strategy that had been adopted by the NLF. Lansdale believed that the US Army should adopt a similar approach. As Cecil B. Currey, the author of “Edward Lansdale: The Unquiet American” pointed out: “Lansdale was a dedicated anticommunist, conservative in his thoughts. Many people of like persuasion were neither as willing to study their enemy nor as open to adopting communist ideas to use a countervailing force. If for no other reason, the fact makes Lansdale stand out in bold relief to the majority of fellow military men who struggled on behalf of America in those intense years of the cold war.”

He argued against the overthrow of Diem. He told Robert McNamara that: “There’s a constitution in place… Please don’t destroy that when you’re trying to change the government. Remember there’s a vice president (Nguyen Ngoc Tho) who’s been elected and is now holding office. If anything happens to the president, he should replace him. Try to keep something sustained.” It was these views that got him removed from office. The pressure to remove Lansdale came from General Curtis LeMay and General Victor Krulak and other senior members of the military. As a result it was decided to abolish his post as assistant to the secretary of defence. He was not too upset because for some time McNamara had not been listening to Lansdale’s advice. His approach to foreign policy at once appealed to Kennedy and horrified the Joint Chiefs of Staff and politicians such as Dean Rusk.

It is true that Lansdale was strongly anti-communist, but he was not a right-winger. In fact, although he was a conservative on some issues, he was liberal on others. Unlike most of the military leaders in Vietnam, he was not a racist. He had a deep respect for the Vietnamese culture and realised that you could not win by imposing American rule on the country. His second wife, Patrocinio Yapcinco, was from the Philippines.

Out of office he continued to argue against LBJ’s decision to try and use military power to win the Vietnam War. When General William Westmoreland argued that: “We’re going to out-guerrilla the guerrilla and out-ambush the ambush… because we’re smarter, we have greater mobility and fire-power, we have more endurance and more to fight for… And we’ve got more guts.” Lansdale replied: “All actions in the war should be devised to attract and then make firm the allegiance of the people.” He added “we label our fight as helping the Vietnamese maintain their freedom” but when “we bomb their villages, with horrendous collateral damage in terms of both civilian property and lives… it might well provoke a man of good will to ask, just what freedom of what Vietnamese are we helping to maintain?”

Lansdale quoted Robert Taber (The War of the Flea): “There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbours resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert. Where these means cannot, for whatever reason, be used, the war is lost.” Lansdale thought this was the situation in Vietnam and wrote to a friend that if the solution was to “kill every last person in the enemy ranks” then he was “not only morally opposed” to this strategy but knew it was “humanly impossible”.

Lansdale added “No idea can be bombed or beaten to death. Military action alone is never enough.” He pointed out that since 1945 the Viet Minh had been willing to fight against the strength of both France and the United States in order to ensure success of their own. “Without a better idea, rebels will eventually win, for ideas are defeated only by better ideas.”

Lansdale was anti-communist because he really believed in democracy. Lansdale had been arguing since 1956 that the best way of dealing with the Viet Cong was to introduce free elections that included the rights of Chams, Khmers, Montagnards and other minorities to participate in voting. Lansdale said that he went into Vietnam as Tom Paine would have done. He was found of quoting Paine as saying: “Where liberty dwells not, there is my country.”

He also distanced himself from the Freedom Studies Center of the Institute for American Strategy when he discovered it was being run by the John Birch Society. He told a friend: “I refused to have anything more to do with it… That isn’t what our country is all about.” Lansdale considered himself a “conservative moderate” who was tolerant of all minorities.

Lansdale continued to advocate a non-military solution to Vietnam and in 1965, under orders from Lyndon Johnson, Henry Cabot Lodge, the new US ambassador in Saigon, put Lansdale in charge of the “pacification program” in the country. As Newsweek reported: “Lansdale is expected to push hard for a greater effort on the political and economic fronts of the war, while opposing the recent trend bombing and the burning of villages.”

One of those who served under him in this job was Daniel Ellsberg. The two men remained friends until the death of Lansdale. Ellsberg liked Lansdale because of his commitment to democracy. Ellsberg also agreed with Lansdale that the pacification program should be run by the Vietnamese. He argued that unless it was a Vietnam project it would never work. Lansdale knew that there was a deep xenophobia among Vietnamese. However, as he pointed out, he believed “Lyndon Johnson would have been just as xenophobic if Canadians or British or the French moved in force into the United States and took charge of his dreams for a great Society, told him what to do, and spread out by thousands throughout the nation to see that it got done.”

In February 1966 Lansdale was removed from his position in control of the pacification program. However, instead of giving the job to a Vietnamese, William Porter, was given the post. Lansdale was now appointed as a senior liaison officer, with no specific responsibilities.

Unlike most Americans in Vietnam, Lansdale believed it was essential for Vietnamese leaders to claim credit for any changes and reforms. His attitude aroused antagonism in the hearts of many within the U.S. bureaucracy who didn’t like the idea of allowing others to receive credit for successful programs – although they did not object to blaming Vietnamese leaders for projects that failed.

Most importantly, Lansdale thought that the military should be careful to avoid causing civilian casualties. As his biographer, Cecil Currey pointed out: “Lansdale was primarily concerned about the welfare of people. Such a stance made him anathema to those more concerned about search and destroy missions, agent orange, free fire zones, harassing and interdicting fires, and body counts.”

According to Lansdale “we lost the war at the Tet offensive”. The reason for this was that after this defeat American commanders lost the ability to discriminate between friend and foe. All Vietnamese were now “gooks”. Lansdale complained that commanders resorted more and more on artillery barrages that killed thousands of civilians.

He told a friend that: “I don’t believe this is a government that can win the hearts and minds of the people.” Lansdale resigned and returned to the United States in June 1968.

Lansdale argued that the current strategy in Vietnam was not working. “I’m afraid that we’re being taught some savage lessons about a type of warfare that the next generation or so of Americans will have to face up to on other continents as on this one.” This is why he was very critical of US involvement in El Salvador in the 1980s and if he had been alive today, would have opposed the invasion of Iraq and the sending of troops into Afghanistan.


John:
Thank you for that perspective on Lansdale; he was a unique warrior. But he was still CIA, and his affiliations cause me to be suspicious. Perhaps I'm influenced by Prouty's allegations. I think it was Dean Rusk who mistrusted Lansdale, and influenced his unsuccessful ambassador quest. My instincts still don't allow me to paint him as a friend or ally of JFK. And his specialty (in PsyOps) was the elaborate drama and scripted misdirection, such as we see occur in Dealey Plaza. So, he remains on my short list...

Gene


I talked with Fletch several times about Lansdale. He shared an office with Lansdale for many
years in Washington. I have no doubt that his identification of Lansdale in the tramp photo
is accurate. If Lansdale was in Dealey Plaza, maybe Professor Simkin will be kind enough
to explain this coincidence to us.

Jack

#15 Sterling Seagrave

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:53 AM

Sterling:
Excellent posting... Lansdale is still a prime suspect (regarding JFK) in my book. His disappointment with not getting the promised posting in Vietnam (ambassador), the bungled Mongoose operation, the crazy Northwoods schemes and his intelligence affiliations with the Far east contingent of OSS/CIA are prime indicators of motive and means. Plus Prouty's allegations, especially that Lansdale's specialty was setting up elaborate psychological operations such as Dealey Plaza represented. Do you have some perspective about what Lansdale was doing in 1963 (purportedly retired) , and his Dallas logistics? He does seem to be the classic "ugly American".

Gene Kelly



I disagree. There is no evidence that Lansdale was involved in the assassination of JFK. Nor did he have a motive. JFK was influenced by Lansdale’s views on Vietnam. That is why he would have pulled out the troops if he had won the 1964 election.

Lansdale was not sacked by JFK (although he did not intervene in the matter). It was Maxwell Taylor who arranged for Lansdale to have “early retirement”. The two men clashed about what should be done in Vietnam. Taylor took the view, as did virtually all the military top brass, that the war could be won by military power. Taylor and the Joint Chief of Staffs told JFK in the summer of 1963 that 40,000 US troops could clean up the Viet Cong threat in Vietnam and another 120,000 would be sufficient to cope with any possible North Vietnamese or Chinese intervention.

His advice on Cuba was that the CIA should work closely with exiles, particularly those with middle-class professions, who had opposed Batista and had then become disillusioned with Castro because of his betrayal of the democratic process. Lansdale was also opposed to the Bay of Pigs operation because he knew that it would not trigger a popular uprising against Castro. Although JFK was highly suspicious of the CIA, as a result of the quality of Lansdale’s advice, he selected him to become project leader of Operation Mongoose.

Lansdale had spent years studying the way Mao had taken power in China. He often quoted Mao of telling his guerrillas: “Buy and sell fairly. Return everything borrowed. Indemnify everything damaged. Do not bathe in view of women. Do not rob personal belongings of captives.” The purpose of such rules, according to Mao, was to create a good relationship between the army and its people. This was a strategy that had been adopted by the NLF. Lansdale believed that the US Army should adopt a similar approach. As Cecil B. Currey, the author of “Edward Lansdale: The Unquiet American” pointed out: “Lansdale was a dedicated anticommunist, conservative in his thoughts. Many people of like persuasion were neither as willing to study their enemy nor as open to adopting communist ideas to use a countervailing force. If for no other reason, the fact makes Lansdale stand out in bold relief to the majority of fellow military men who struggled on behalf of America in those intense years of the cold war.”

He argued against the overthrow of Diem. He told Robert McNamara that: “There’s a constitution in place… Please don’t destroy that when you’re trying to change the government. Remember there’s a vice president (Nguyen Ngoc Tho) who’s been elected and is now holding office. If anything happens to the president, he should replace him. Try to keep something sustained.” It was these views that got him removed from office. The pressure to remove Lansdale came from General Curtis LeMay and General Victor Krulak and other senior members of the military. As a result it was decided to abolish his post as assistant to the secretary of defence. He was not too upset because for some time McNamara had not been listening to Lansdale’s advice. His approach to foreign policy at once appealed to Kennedy and horrified the Joint Chiefs of Staff and politicians such as Dean Rusk.

It is true that Lansdale was strongly anti-communist, but he was not a right-winger. In fact, although he was a conservative on some issues, he was liberal on others. Unlike most of the military leaders in Vietnam, he was not a racist. He had a deep respect for the Vietnamese culture and realised that you could not win by imposing American rule on the country. His second wife, Patrocinio Yapcinco, was from the Philippines.

Out of office he continued to argue against LBJ’s decision to try and use military power to win the Vietnam War. When General William Westmoreland argued that: “We’re going to out-guerrilla the guerrilla and out-ambush the ambush… because we’re smarter, we have greater mobility and fire-power, we have more endurance and more to fight for… And we’ve got more guts.” Lansdale replied: “All actions in the war should be devised to attract and then make firm the allegiance of the people.” He added “we label our fight as helping the Vietnamese maintain their freedom” but when “we bomb their villages, with horrendous collateral damage in terms of both civilian property and lives… it might well provoke a man of good will to ask, just what freedom of what Vietnamese are we helping to maintain?”

Lansdale quoted Robert Taber (The War of the Flea): “There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbours resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert. Where these means cannot, for whatever reason, be used, the war is lost.” Lansdale thought this was the situation in Vietnam and wrote to a friend that if the solution was to “kill every last person in the enemy ranks” then he was “not only morally opposed” to this strategy but knew it was “humanly impossible”.

Lansdale added “No idea can be bombed or beaten to death. Military action alone is never enough.” He pointed out that since 1945 the Viet Minh had been willing to fight against the strength of both France and the United States in order to ensure success of their own. “Without a better idea, rebels will eventually win, for ideas are defeated only by better ideas.”

Lansdale was anti-communist because he really believed in democracy. Lansdale had been arguing since 1956 that the best way of dealing with the Viet Cong was to introduce free elections that included the rights of Chams, Khmers, Montagnards and other minorities to participate in voting. Lansdale said that he went into Vietnam as Tom Paine would have done. He was found of quoting Paine as saying: “Where liberty dwells not, there is my country.”

He also distanced himself from the Freedom Studies Center of the Institute for American Strategy when he discovered it was being run by the John Birch Society. He told a friend: “I refused to have anything more to do with it… That isn’t what our country is all about.” Lansdale considered himself a “conservative moderate” who was tolerant of all minorities.

Lansdale continued to advocate a non-military solution to Vietnam and in 1965, under orders from Lyndon Johnson, Henry Cabot Lodge, the new US ambassador in Saigon, put Lansdale in charge of the “pacification program” in the country. As Newsweek reported: “Lansdale is expected to push hard for a greater effort on the political and economic fronts of the war, while opposing the recent trend bombing and the burning of villages.”

One of those who served under him in this job was Daniel Ellsberg. The two men remained friends until the death of Lansdale. Ellsberg liked Lansdale because of his commitment to democracy. Ellsberg also agreed with Lansdale that the pacification program should be run by the Vietnamese. He argued that unless it was a Vietnam project it would never work. Lansdale knew that there was a deep xenophobia among Vietnamese. However, as he pointed out, he believed “Lyndon Johnson would have been just as xenophobic if Canadians or British or the French moved in force into the United States and took charge of his dreams for a great Society, told him what to do, and spread out by thousands throughout the nation to see that it got done.”

In February 1966 Lansdale was removed from his position in control of the pacification program. However, instead of giving the job to a Vietnamese, William Porter, was given the post. Lansdale was now appointed as a senior liaison officer, with no specific responsibilities.

Unlike most Americans in Vietnam, Lansdale believed it was essential for Vietnamese leaders to claim credit for any changes and reforms. His attitude aroused antagonism in the hearts of many within the U.S. bureaucracy who didn’t like the idea of allowing others to receive credit for successful programs – although they did not object to blaming Vietnamese leaders for projects that failed.

Most importantly, Lansdale thought that the military should be careful to avoid causing civilian casualties. As his biographer, Cecil Currey pointed out: “Lansdale was primarily concerned about the welfare of people. Such a stance made him anathema to those more concerned about search and destroy missions, agent orange, free fire zones, harassing and interdicting fires, and body counts.”

According to Lansdale “we lost the war at the Tet offensive”. The reason for this was that after this defeat American commanders lost the ability to discriminate between friend and foe. All Vietnamese were now “gooks”. Lansdale complained that commanders resorted more and more on artillery barrages that killed thousands of civilians.

He told a friend that: “I don’t believe this is a government that can win the hearts and minds of the people.” Lansdale resigned and returned to the United States in June 1968.

Lansdale argued that the current strategy in Vietnam was not working. “I’m afraid that we’re being taught some savage lessons about a type of warfare that the next generation or so of Americans will have to face up to on other continents as on this one.” This is why he was very critical of US involvement in El Salvador in the 1980s and if he had been alive today, would have opposed the invasion of Iraq and the sending of troops into Afghanistan.


John:
Thank you for that perspective on Lansdale; he was a unique warrior. But he was still CIA, and his affiliations cause me to be suspicious. Perhaps I'm influenced by Prouty's allegations. I think it was Dean Rusk who mistrusted Lansdale, and influenced his unsuccessful ambassador quest. My instincts still don't allow me to paint him as a friend or ally of JFK. And his specialty (in PsyOps) was the elaborate drama and scripted misdirection, such as we see occur in Dealey Plaza. So, he remains on my short list...

Gene


I talked with Fletch several times about Lansdale. He shared an office with Lansdale for many
years in Washington. I have no doubt that his identification of Lansdale in the tramp photo
is accurate. If Lansdale was in Dealey Plaza, maybe Professor Simkin will be kind enough
to explain this coincidence to us.

Jack



I think it's very useful that John Simkin posted his take on Lansdale as a "good guy" because that gives some balance to an otherwise reptilian personna. Later today I will post some material on Lansdale's activities in Luzon 1945-1954 viz-a-viz the Huks, which is informed by a recent Pentagon analysis of what Lansdale, Bohannan, and Valeriano actually did (as opposed to what they professed to be doing). This is one of the best things about Grahame Greene's portrayal of Pyle in The Quiet American, by characterizing him as a sort of evangelical missionary who did evil by doing good. I had the same experience with Ted Shackley who projected the image of an extraordinary good guy while doing unbelievably vile things. (If anybody tops Lansdale, it's Shackley, the White Vampire.) I had childhood friends in Asia who as adults worked in Black Ops for Shackley in Vientiane and Saigon, and who totally believed in the evangelical image. But this is the crux of the problem. Americans see themselves as evangelicals, when they are often actually political pederasts sodding the rest of the world, like priests driving the fear of god into choir-boys. One wishes they would stop inflicting their dubious blessings on the rest of humanity. The price is far too high. /// As to Fletch and Dealey Plaza, Fletch knew the real Lansdale from 1945 on to the bitter end, and if Fletch says Lansdale was in Dealey Plaza, that's uniquely persuasive to me. Dallas was like a fraternity picnic for so may people, we may never unscramble who all were there. I knew Lansdale fairly well, and spent a lot of time with Bohannan, a professional killer who executed Lansdale's instructions in Manila and Saigon, but I never actually met Valeriano (the psychopathic killer) face to face. It was Valeriano's team of hitmen who snuffed a number of prominent leftists and other dissenters in Japan, and quite a few in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and -- of course -- the Philippines. These were the guys who tortured Laurel at Malacanang Palace, while trying to force Laurel to give up the codes and original docs he had as a partner of "Santy" (Santa Romana) in the recovery and distribution of the war loot recovered by Santy and Lansdale in Luzon. They tore out Laurel's fingernails, cut off his genitals, ripped out his left eyeball, and (when Laurel finally admitted that he had made his wife his beneficiary) they dragged him half dead before a priest to marry him to a Marcos family member so they could attempt to claim she was his heir. This was all done to oblige the US Treasury and the Fed to pay off on billions of dollars in bonds and notes. I have personally examined those documents in the originals, and have on CD a forensic study of their validity carried out by the University of Catalonia in Spain. If these were good guys, and evangelicals, I'd really like to have somebody explain to me how I can distinguish them from real "bad guys". The only distinction I can discover is that real "bad guys" do not pretend to be "good guys". A footnote: Lansdale was personally obsessed -- as only an old advertising man can be obsessed -- with umbrellas and the Eye of Ra (the right eye of Ra is the "evil eye" although Lansdale often used the left eye which is the benign or feminine). It was Lansdale who set up the channel known as "The Umbrella Organization" to move the war loot all over the world; so it says a lot for Fletch to identify Lansdale as the bum who then raised and opened an umbrella at Dealey Plaza.

Sterling




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