Jump to content
The Education Forum
Paul Rigby

'Arrogant' CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam by Richard Starnes, Washington Daily News, October 2, 1963

Recommended Posts

I wonder was this editing made any easier by Desmond FitzGerald's untimely Tennis Court oath in 1967?

Nat,

Interested in more on Fitzgerald's career and politics - suggestions welcome.

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul-- how about some more Starnes articles for Christmas. I have been moderately good.

For anyone who hasn't read these Starns articles PLEASE DO SO. I was astonished at the open reference to the division between the CIA and the military. Nothing quite like these primary sources to show how palpable the rift between the CIA and the administration was in 1963!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul-- how about some more Starnes articles for Christmas. I have been moderately good.

For anyone who hasn't read these Starns articles PLEASE DO SO. I was astonished at the open reference to the division between the CIA and the military. Nothing quite like these primary sources to show how palpable the rift between the CIA and the administration was in 1963!

The wish of New York's finest public educator must be gratified - in the battle for youthful hearts and minds, Nat, you're all we have! (Or so it sometimes seems...)

Here's Dick Starnes with an early piece on the newly emergent CIA line of defence that was to carry through to the late 1980s. Note the debut of the Angletonian "Monster Plot" nonsense:

The Washington Daily News, 11 October 1965, p.31

Undercover and Underhand

By Richard Starnes

The Central Intelligence Agency has undertaken a long term task in reconstructing its public image, a reflection which heretofore has swung between the extremes of sinister empire building and ordinary bureaucratic all-thumbsmanship.

The grand design is lovely in its simplicity: Criticism and critics are to be suppressed and/or discredited; and simultaneously the large espionage apparatus is to be presented in the best possible light.

There is, to be sure, nothing original in the CIA’s techniques. Any reporter bright enough and tough enough to cross the large and unlovely spy agency knows full well that he will be assailed and blackguarded in a disgracefully underhanded manner.

Two notable (and notably unmoved) victims of this technique are the authors of the best book to date on the CIA, “The Invisible Government.” The authors, David Wise and Thomas Ross, have lately experienced a renewed episode of this sort of shabby efflorescence.

A notoriously complaisant spokesman for such organisms as the CIA wrote recently that any other nation would have hanged of imprisoned the authors, which could lead only to the conclusion that economic reprisals are not the only fate the powerful spy agency would like to visit on reporters it deems wayward.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk even joined the attacks when he told a recent audience that “The Invisible Government” was being widely used by communist agents in Asia and Africa and that it was, moreover, replete with errors of fact.

The first charge may well be true but it is not true that the book is inaccurate. To my knowledge the CIA has failed to show that it contains any significant inaccuracies. As to its alleged use by communists, it should be pointed out that its authors have done what they could to avoid this by refusing to sanction translated editions in communist bloc nations.

Apart from the routine blackguarding of journalists who err, the CIA has lately undertaken a curious exercise in historical syllogism. In the last fortnight it has circulated in the House and Senate, and elsewhere in the Nation’s Capital, a document purporting to blueprint a master Soviet plan to “defame and discredit” the American spy apparatus. The CIA describes a “Bureau of Disinformation” established by the Russian KGB in 1959, and to it lays the major role in the CIA busting that is said to be afoot.

The question occurs why, if the vile conspiracy has been underway for six years, the CIA is only now warning our lawgivers of it: More important, of course, is the CIA’s heavy borrowing from the tarnished techniques made infamous by the late Joe McCarthy.

In his ultimate paranoia, Sen. McCarthy saw the hand of communist conspiracy in every breath of criticism directed at him. You were for him and all his wicked foolishness, or you were a slavering Bolshevik bent upon impressing American womanhood into vile servitude in Red Army brothels.

With some superficial refinements, this is the path upon which the CIA has apparently embarked. Communists are its critics, hence it is implicit that all its critics are communists. It is an error that apprentice logicians frequently commit, and it is a sad earnest of the CIA’s misunderstanding of the role of a government agency in a democracy.

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul-- how about some more Starnes articles for Christmas. I have been moderately good.

A second Christmas cracker for you, Nat, and this one with a distinctly local relevance. It’s a Starnes column from the autumn of 1965 on a rarely described, yet utterly crucial development, of the period: The CIA campaign to remake the Republican Party by destroying its liberal Eastern Establishment wing. Starnes saw the actions of William F. Buckley, Jr. – by whom he was “man-marked” by the Agency in the pages of Scripps-Howard in 1964 – as an attack on something even deeper (highlighted):

The Washington Daily New, 29 October 1965, p.25

The Picture in New York Is Negative

By Richard Starnes

It can be argued that no sane person cares what sort of government New York City finally collapses under, that its docile proles have long since forfeited their right to a municipal corporation with some elements of decency and efficiency.

New York haters (which includes most of the rest of the country) profess to feel this way already but it is a shortsighted view. If New York can’t be made to work, then our civilization is doomed, for New York is no more than an early example of the city-state mutation that is overtaking all of us.

For this reason it is important to watch the forthcoming election in the nation’s biggest city, however disagreeable the task may become. It is moreover most important to probe for some sensible rationale in the antics of one William F. Buckley Jr., for Buckley is the force that seems destined to deny New York its last chance for effective government.

What makes Buckley run? Why is he so implacably determined to destroy the candidacy of John Lindsay? We can dismiss Mr. Buckley’s own apologia, which is largely pious doubletalk having to do with restoring the vestal purity of the Republican Party. The truth is far more complicated, and it is sad to speculate that Mr. Buckley himself is very likely unaware of it.

And yet, it is a truth that matches the facts of Mr. Buckley’s destructive candidacy, just as it matches the facts of Sen. Goldwater’s somewhat larger enterprise last year.

Sen. Goldwater, of course, did not want to win. Beyond that, he wanted to lose on as large a scale as possible. In his conscious mind, which rarely reaches a plateau suitable to cope with electronic gadgets for flag raising, Sen. Goldwater is horrified at such a suggestion. But it is true.

The fact is that the Goldwaters and Buckleys of this world, the Birchers and other such filberts, are united in a desperate attempt to prove that self-government will not work. They do not oppose Mr. Lindsay because he might not be a good major, but simply because they are terrified at the thought he might be a good one.

Their progenitors hated and feared FDR not because he couldn’t make the New Deal work, but for fear he would make it work. Sen. Goldwater probably never really understood what he was doing, but what he was doing was bending every effort toward destroying the two-party system, which is an essential ingredient of effective democratic government.

Mr. Buckley, an intellectual attitudinizer who poses as a right-wing Republican, is no such thing. He is a philosophical anarchist, dedicated in the present instance to proving that the people of New York are doltish swine who are incapable of ruling themselves. There is no better means of doing this than to assure that the sad, gray little man who is Mayor Wagner’s residual legatee is elected. If he succeeds (as he appears to be in some danger of doing) he will surely prove it, because the worn-out old hacks in the Democratic fold have spent two decades showing they are incompetent to deal with the city’s problems.

Mr. Lindsay is not the target. Mr. Buckley, like Sen. Goldwater before him, is persuaded that ordinary people are not capable of ordering their own affairs. The fight in New York is on this point and on this point only, and for that reason it is important to everyone in the nation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"in the battle for youthful hearts and minds, Nat, you're all we have! (Or so it sometimes seems...)"

--------------

May a gross of gods save us!

But take heart: if I recall correctly Jim Root is also works in our proud "institutions for the indoctrination of the young" (this Emersonian phrase comes from the 1973 Carnegie Report on US Education, which recommended an increased emphasis on Community Colleges as the cure for student radicalism at four year schools in the late 1960s)

Thanks Paul. Again, the contrast with today's seamless blending of the CIA with the rest of the Gov ( except when shown as I told you soing Bush) is striking. How much longer did Starnes survive such editorial frankness?

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
May a gross of gods save us!

There appears to be an endless supply, one supplemented daily.

"institutions for the indoctrination of the young" (this Emersonian phrase comes from the 1973 Carnegie Report on US Education, which recommended an increased emphasis on Community Colleges as the cure for student radicalism at four year schools in the late 1960s)

That was really the phrase employed? Goodness. How very Stalinist.

How much longer did Starnes survive such editorial frankness?

Thanks to Walker Stone, he survived John McCone's demand for his dismissal, but his reports from Saigon terminated the foreign jaunts. Can't have reporters reporting anything significant, now, can we? Where would it all end? An informed citizenry?

Have a happy and rewarding New Year,

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A sidebar on the question of Lodge and his role in Saigon in the period August-November 1963.

I thought it might be interesting to see what an identified CIA asset had to say about him more or less contemporaneously. One example was ready to hand, courtesy of Pan & Lyons’ Vietnam Crisis.

In that riveting tome, the authors offer an alleged verbatim extract from an interview with Nhu conducted by Suzanne Labin, the French “leftist” who enjoyed the somewhat surprising distinction of being permitted to address Pentagon high-fliers; and of having had at least one book - The Anthill: The Human Condition in Communist China - subsidised by the Agency through its best-known publishing arm, Praeger of New York, in 1960.

Labin attributes the following to Nhu: “His political views seemed to be dominated by the fashionable decrees of Linus Pauling in the New York Times, and the neutralist preachings of Walter Lippmann in the New York Herald-Tribune.” Labin goes on to offer the classic Agency line on Lodge’s role, as supposedly recounted unbidden by Nhu, that renowned master of colloquial English: “Lodge never stopped working against us, with the cocksureness that a representative of a colonial power might have evinced, thirty years ago toward protectorate…Lodge does not bother with the normal business of an Ambassador, which would be to galvanize and to strengthen the friendship between our two governments. No, his only care is to intrigue against the legal government to which he has been accredited.” (Stephen Pan & Daniel Lyons, SJ. Vietnam Crisis (NY: Twin Circle Books, 1967 edition, p.117), citing Suzann Labin. Vietnam: An Eyewitness Account (Springfield, VA: Crestwood Books ), 1964, pp.34-35.)

For a rare, welcome mention of Starnes, and much else besides of relevance to this thread, the following link/broadcast is of considerable interest.

The attempt to pin Diem’s death, and the sabotage of JFK’s withdrawal strategy, on Henry Cabot Lodge, would appear to be powerfully reinforced by Jim Douglass’ book, JFK and the Unspeakable.

Reviewer DiEugenio regurgitates the old, and demonstrably untrue, line that Richardson, the CIA station-chief recalled as a direct consequence of Starnes’ astonishing coup prophecy despatch, was close to Diem at the time. (He showed it by advocating Diem’s overthrow!)

Rather more impressive is the material in Douglass’ book on the role of a CIA man in the Hue atrocity; and, most importantly of all, his insistence that Kennedy sought the same solution in Vietnam that he had brought about in Laos. This is an important truth for which one confidently anticipates a robust establishment response in defence of the agreed lie. Keep your eyes on the Washington Post and the NYT.

I look forward to reading it.

The link:

http://www.blackopradio.com/archives2008.html

Black Op Radio, Show #370

Original airdate: April 17, 2008

Topics: JFK Assassination Research

Interview Audio - Part Two - Jim DiEugenio

• Jim gives a review of the book "JFK and the Unspeakable" written by Jim Douglass

• Very well written and researched with very good sources

• Jim quotes a few paragraphs to show how JFK understood Cuban problems

• Castro's comments upon hearing of Kennedy's death

• Douglass agrees with Prouty that JFK was pulling out of Vietnam

• He gets there from a different direction

• Douglass contends that McNamara actually wanted to accelerate the Vietnam withdrawal

• This book puts you right in the action of the day

• Henry Cabot Lodge was not Kennedy's first choice

• JFK has many people pulling the rug out from under him

• Lodge gives Ngo Diem's location to Luc Conein... insuring The Diems' demise

• Jim calls this the best book in years on JFK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One man particularly resolved to keep the true role of the Cao Dai and the Hoa Hao in the “NLF” campaign against Diem firmly under wraps was George A. Carver, Jr. The son of missionary parents later to spend much time in China, Carver was talent-spotted at Yale, and reportedly joined the CIA in 1953. In the April 1965 edition of Foreign Affairs, he modestly set out to refashion Vietnamese history in the interests of CIA propaganda against Diem. Predictably, suppression of information was nine-tenths of the lie. The remaining tenth was pure euphemism: “The Cao Dai and the Hoa Hao have emerged from nearly a decade of political insignificance to play influential roles, particularly in the provinces where their adherents are concentrated”

Above, retrospective CIA whitewash. Below, contemporaneous, pre-assassination truth:

“Two religious sects, the Cao Dai and the Hoa Hao, both of which President Diem viciously betrayed after the Armistice, now have joined with the Viet Cong,"

Jerry A. Rose, “The Fading Strength of Vietnam,” The New Republic, 13 November 1961, as cited by Eric Norden, “The Hidden War, part II,” The Minority of One, April 1963, (Vol 4, issue 4), p.7.

The NLF = CIA pseudo-gang?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The attempt to pin Diem’s death, and the sabotage of JFK’s withdrawal strategy, on Henry Cabot Lodge, would appear to be powerfully reinforced by Jim Douglass’ book, JFK and the Unspeakable.

Reviewer DiEugenio regurgitates the old, and demonstrably untrue, line that Richardson, the CIA station-chief recalled as a direct consequence of Starnes’ astonishing coup prophecy despatch, was close to Diem at the time. (He showed it by advocating Diem’s overthrow!)

Rather more impressive is the material in Douglass’ book on the role of a CIA man in the Hue atrocity; and, most importantly of all, his insistence that Kennedy sought the same solution in Vietnam that he had brought about in Laos. This is an important truth for which one confidently anticipates a robust establishment response in defence of the agreed lie. Keep your eyes on the Washington Post and the NYT.

I look forward to reading it.

Douglass' book still not arrived, so, please, anyone who has got a copy, put me out of my misery - does he pick up on this extraordinary extract from Parmet?

Herbert S. Parmet. JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (NY: Penguin Books, 1984), pp.334-335:

The news of Kennedy’s death outraged Kennedy. General Taylor wrote that he “leaped to his feet and rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face which I have never seen before.”(43) George Smathers remembered that Jack Kennedy blamed the CIA, saying “I’ve got to do something about those bastards”; they should be stripped of their exorbitant power. (44) Mike Forrestal recalled called Kennedy’s reaction “both personal and religious,” and especially troubled by the implication that a Catholic President had participated in a plot to assassinate a coreligionist. (45) Every account of Kennedy’s response is in complete agreement. Until the very end he had hoped Diem’s life could be spared.

It has now become clear that however futile his efforts Kennedy tried to prevent the murder. He told Francis Cardinal Spellman that he had known in advance that the Vietnamese leader would probably be killed, but in the end he could not control the situation.(46) At least one attempt, and possibly three, came from a direct attempt to communicate with Diem by using a personal emissary, someone completely loyal to Jack Kennedy, someone totally without any obligation, his intimate friend, Torby Macdonald, the Massachusetts congressman.

As far is known, there are no written records. It was completely secret. Mike Forrestal remembers briefing MacDonald for the trip.(47) Torbert Macdonald, Jr., recalls that his father told him about it.(48) The congressman’s widow is certain that he made at least three trips to Saigon for the President.(49) Torby’s closest friend during his final years, who desires to remain anonymous, has a photograph of him posing before the ancient temple at Angkor-Wat in Cambodia, indicating that he went through that country while travelling to South Vietnam as a private citizen.(50)

Macdonald himself explained why Kennedy sent him. The President had begun to develop personal sources of information from FBI men who were bypassing J. Edgar Hoover and going directly to him. Some CIA people were following a similar route and avoiding the Agency. By that time the President was learning. When he first came into office, he had been intimidated by the Pentagon and the CIA, but he had begun to find out how to get round them. When he heard that Big Minh and his group were planning to assassinate Diem, he wanted to make a direct contact. He was hesitant about using the embassy in Saigon because he could not trust his own people there. Nor did he have enough confidence in Lodge, who had maintained a distant relationship with Diem. Finally, there was no South Vietnamese he could trust. So he called on Torby, who then carried the President’s personal plea, which was to get rid of his brother and take refuge in the American embassy. As Macdonald later explained it, he told Diem: “They’re going to kill you. You’ve got to get out of there temporarily to seek sanctuary in the American embassy and you must get rid of your sister-in-law and your brother.” But Diem refused. “He just wouldn’t do it,” Macdonald reported to the President. “He’s too stubborn; just refuses to.”(51)

Notes:

(43) Taylor, Swords, p.301

(44) George Smathers, JFKL-OH (Don Wilson interview)

(45) Michael Forrestal, interview, February 17, 1981

(46) Blair Clark, interview, July 20, 1977

(47) Michael Forrestal, interview, February 15, 1981

(48) Torbert Macdonald, Jr., interview, August 6, 1979

(49) Phyllis Macdonald, interview, August 9, 1979

(50) Confidential interview, July 25, 1977

(51) Ibid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wilfred Burchett. The Furtive War: The United States in Vietnam and Laos (NY: International Publishers Co. Inc., 1963), p.216:

"..by April 1963 Washington was already making soundings - either directly or through British, French, Indian and other channels - for the kind of formula under which an "honorable" withdrawal could be negotiated. But as in Laos, Washington was seeking a formula which would provide gains through diplomacy or intrigue that could not be obtained on the battlefield. Thus the favorite formula being offered by Washington's agents in April 1963 was a form of "neutralization" of South Vietnam which would admit some NLF elements into a Diemist-type regime in the South (although without Diem himself), in exchange for "neutralization" of the North, guaranteed by the presence of some Diemists in the government of North Vietnam. Other variants, always including "neutralization" of the North, envision a coalition government in the South formed by Diemist elements on the Right, some members of the NLF on the Left, and some liberal Vietnamese exiles in Paris to provide the neutralist "filling". Again, Diem himself is to be excluded, as all but the most die-hard US diplomats agree he is impossible."

How well informed was Burchett during the period in question (the summer of 1963)? Very, as Gareth Porter confirmed in his 2005 Perils of Dominance:

“Immediately after receiving the offer of steps toward normalization from Nhu…the Political Bureau of the VWP met to decide on the outlines of a new initiative for negotiations with the Diem regime. The new peace proposal was conveyed through an interview with Ho Chi Minh by the Australian leftist journalist Wilfred Burchett that was published in Moscow’s New Times at the end of May. Ho told Burchett that a cease-fire ‘could presumably be arranged between Diemist forces and those of patriotic National Liberation Front of South Vietnam.’ He then addressed the political element of a settlement: ‘Conditions must be created in which the people of South Viet-Nam can freely elect a government of their own choice.’ North Vietnam would then negotiate with the new government to normalize trade, communications, and cultural relations. The United States would have to withdraw its military forces from the South, and the new government would have to withdraw its military forces from the South, and the new government in the South would renounce military bases and membership in military blocs.

Ho’s interview with Burchett was the most important interview on foreign policy granted by Ho in the decade since he had signaled the DRV’s readiness to begin peace negotiations with France in a December 1953 interview with the Swedish newspaper Expressen. The new peace proposal went considerably beyond the previous formula of a tripartite neutralist regime in making political concessions to Diem. By omitting the standard demand for the overthrow of Diem and by offering a cease-fire without conditions, Hanoi’s new negotiating position left open the possibility that Diem could remain in power during the organization of an election in the South…,”

Gareth Porter. Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005), p.125.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Today's World Report: Truce Moves Reported In Viet Nam," New York World-Telegram & Sun, (Friday), 25 October 1963, p.6: "LONDON - The government of South Vietnam and Communist North Viet Nam are apparently making exploratory contacts that could lead to a truce, diplomatic sources said. There was no official confirmation…Diplomatic sources said the current moves were believed to be aiming at some sort of truce arrangement with possible wider ramifications."

The above brief "filler" from the NYW-T & S was remarkably accurate:

“…Diem himself informed Dinh* in late September that he had agreed with the North on the outlines of a peace settlement that would include a cease-fire, the departure of all U.S. forces, the acceptance of NLF representatives into his government, and an election in which Communists could participate. Diem confirmed that Dinh would go to New Delhi in November to begin the negotiations. Once agreement was reached, Dinh was to inform Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru himself, who would immediately call a news conference to announce it. Nhu and Diem told Dinh that he was to conclude the negotiations as quickly as possible and even arranged for a code that would signify the completion of the negotiations, in the belief that U.S. intelligence would be monitoring the government’s cable traffic,”

Gareth Porter. Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005), pp.126-7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
________________________________________________

Assorted sources (key words: program pale horse)

"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat

on him was death, and hell followed with him". Revelation 6:7

Operation Phoenix was modeled on Project Pale Horse--a CIA-funded "black op"... that used Navy SEALs and Green Berets in Vietnam to lead indigenous teams of killers in detaining, torturing and murdering grassroots political leaders, and anybody else that the U.S. high command disliked. According to congressional investigations of Phoenix in the early 1970s, Vietnamese mercenaries and U.S. special operations forces selectively terminated more than 21,000 South Vietnamese civilians--so-called terrorist suspects--during the war. (Vietnamese sources state the number is more than 40,000. Basically it was shoot fist and then label victin as VC.)

Most of the counterinsurgency Pathet Lao and VC infrastructure experts were in the "snuff and snatch" (assassination and kidnap) teams operating under the command (1962-1963) of John L. Lee, a CIA clandestine service field advisor, TDY (on loan) from the US Army.

A HALO-qualified Airborne Ranger and an "insurgent terrorist neutralization specialist," Lee had successfully trained, advised, and operationally commanded 3-5 man Black op "snuff and snatch" CIA counter-terror teams operating under the name of Project Pale Horse in the northeastern provinces of Laos between January 1962 and April 1963, when his "neutral civilian foreign aid worker" cover was compromised.

Project Pale Horse sidestepped the official U. S. Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation Program (ICEX), Lao, and GVN military chain of command, and had been running six years prior to the establishment of the "official" GVN Phoenix (Kế Hoạch Phụng Hoàng) program in Vietnam.

Lee's CIA Pale Horse counter-terror ops were so effective against advisors of the Soviet KGB First Chief Directorate, the Pathet Lao, and Red Chinese military advisors that the KGB director at the time, Vladimir Semichastniy, placed a $50,000 bounty in gold bullion for Lee's capture or confirmed assassination (allegedly referring to him as a "Pale Horse's Ass"). The bounty was rescinded after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Lee reported to William E. Colby from 1962 to 1963, and to John Richardson in 1963, respective CIA Chiefs of Station, Saigon Vietnam, CIA Director of Central Intelligence John McCone, Lt. Gen. Wm P. Yarborough, Cmdr. Special Warfare Center, Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Vietnam, in '82 Ex-Phoenix operative reveals that sometimes orders were given to kill U.S. military personnel* who were considered security risks. He suspects the orders came not from "division", but from a higher authority such as the CIA or the ONI. Covert Action Information Bulletin (now Covert Action Quarterly) summer 82 52.

Vietnam, 67-73 The Phoenix Program used the CIA's assassination squads, the former counter terror teams later called the provincial reconnaissance units (PRU). Technically they did not mark cadres for assassinations but in practice the pru's anticipated resistance in disputed areas and shot first. People taken prisoner were denounced in Saigon-held areas, picked up at checkpoints or captured in combat and later identified as VC. Sheehan, N. (1988), A Bright Shining Lie, 732.

Vietnam. Phung Hoang aka Phoenix Program quotas for units set by komer for all 242 districts. One result indiscriminate killing with every body labeled VCI. Powers, T. (1979), The Man Who Kept the Secrets, 181-2.

*Fragging by any other name smells just as foul...

Turns out CIA-organised and -funded pseudo-gangs - death squads - were at work, on a surprisingly large scale, from the very beginning:

“U.S. involvement in operations against civilian activists was not limited to military sweeps, however. Beginning in mid 1955, ‘Civic Action’ teams began to arrive in the wake of the occupying troops. The Civic Action Program was one of the main activities developed and supported by Lansdale’s SMM team. Conceived of originally by a former Viet Minh officer, Kieu Cong Cung, and using university-trained anti-Communist refugees from North Vietnam dressed in black pajamas, the program was further modified by Lansdale based on his experience in the Philippines. Rufus Phillips of Lansdale’s national security team helped write a training and operations program, and Lansdale got seed money from the CIA to support its start-up. The Civic Action Program was established in January 1955, and by May 1955, 1,400 cadres organized in mobile teams were already working in ten provinces that had been occupied by the army. Eventually there were 1,800 cadres in over 100 teams in the field…A Saigon newspaper’s account of the military’s pacification operation in the delta in 1956 confirmed that the troop’s were accompanied by black-clad Civic Action teams who were involved in countering ‘dissident activities’ in the former Viet Minh villages,”

Gareth Porter. Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 2005), pp.89-90.

PS Anyone know where John Dolva is these days? Is he well/busy/preoccupied with equally weighty matters?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
“The most important consequence of the Cold War remains the least discussed. How and why American democracy died lies beyond the scope of this introductory essay. It is enough to note that the CIA revolt against the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy – the single event which did more than any other to hasten its end – was, quite contrary to over forty years of censorship and deceit, both publicly anticipated and publicly opposed.

No American journalist worked more bravely to thwart the anticipated revolt than Scripps-Howard’s Richard Starnes. His ‘reward’ was effectively to become a non-person, not just in the work of mainstream fellow-journalists and historians, but also that of nominally oppositional Kennedy assassination writers. It could have been worse: John J. McCone, Director of Central Intelligence, sought his instant dismissal; while others within the agency doubtless had more drastic punishment in mind, almost certainly of the kind meted out to CBS’ George Polk fifteen years earlier.

Dick Starnes, currently reading Jim Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable, is another year more mature today. Happy birthday, friend, and thank you for a body of extraordinary work. The following column reamins as fresh and relevant as the day it was published:

New York World-Telegram & Sun, 26 November 1963, p.23

Where Violence Rings

The United States, with its unswerving dedication to violence and its cherished tradition of over-reacting, can look forward to the next months only with misgivings.

No man alive can guess how deeply the fabric of the nation has been wounded by the Byzantine horror of assassination compounded by assassination, of murder heaped upon murder. But it is foolhardy to assume that all will soon be as it was before. Indecency took the country by the throat in a raw, too-rich too-soon Texas city, and none can say what the ending will be.

Our credentials as a civilized people stand suspect before the world, of course, but the real depth of the disaster that has befallen us cannot yet be measured. In the 188th year, the republic has fallen upon unspeakably evil days, and great mischief is abroad the land. It remains to be seen whether more convulsions will rack us before it is over.

History warns us not to be optimistic on this score. We are not a mature people. When deeply hurt, we lash out; when troubled and afraid we too often seek comfort in wild excesses that remain to haunt us through history. Assailed by privation and hardship in a savage land, we slew innocent women as witches. Insane with rage at the murder of Lincoln, we fastened the vengeful Reconstruction on the South, and in doing so insured that the terrible wounds of the Civil War would fester and sicken us for a century and more.

Our initial response to the infant threat of Bolshevism was the disgrace of the Palmer raids, which made a mockery of civil rights and human decency in the winter of 1919-20. And what adult among us cannot remember the sorry episode that we customarily reduce to the convenient historical shorthand of McCarthyism? Joe McCarthy was in the van, and deserves to be memorialized in the name we give that time of trial, but behind him was an army of lip-movers, the get of witch burners and rack manipulators since the dawn of time. Americans were never able to understand the horror with which civilized nations viewed that dismal epoch; Americans knew (or thought they knew) that the hysteria was typical of us. Other people wondered and worried that it might well be typical.

We are still the children of the generations that wrested the land from savages in bloody combat. We waste our finest young men on foreign beaches and in alien jungles, we kill our families by the tens of thousands on our highways, we sell soap and celebrate violence simultaneously on the great medium for mass hypnosis that television has become, we educate our children in brutal games of cops and robbers and we don’t tell them until too late that it is not always the bad guys that get killed.

John Kennedy is a symbol of this profligate waste of our most valuable national treasure. He was not, as some would now have us believe, a household god. He was a man with all the vanity and frailty of all men, but he was uniquely a man whom the nation and the world could ill afford to waste so wantonly.

No more could we afford the grisly, bizarre sequel in Dallas. What manner of people have we become, that the wretched assassin could not be spared even long enough to get the due process that John Kennedy and so many other American men have died for?

Have the base instincts of revenge and hate imprisoned us beyond any hope of rescue? Have we embarked upon the dark sea of violence and despair that has engulfed so many civilizations that have gone before?

If we have, then heaven help our poor children. And if there remains time to turn back and retrace our way to humanity, compassion and decency, let us make the turning now. John Kennedy was cruelly taken in the summer of his life; if the foul act is to be given meaning, then it must become a signal for the moral regeneration of all the people of America.

May American historians and journalists yet find the courage and integrity to "rediscover" such work.

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The New York World-Telegram & Sun, Tuesday, 24 December 1963, p.13

Truman and the CIA

By Richard Starnes

The murmuring chorus of Americans who are deeply concerned with the growing power and headlong wilfulness of the Central Intelligence Agency has been joined by former President Truman.

Mr. Truman must be accounted an expert witness in this matter, because it was under his administration that the CIA came into being. In a copyrighted article he wrote recently that the CIA had strayed wide of the purposes for which he had organized it.

"It has," he wrote, "become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas."

For writing substantially the same thing from South Viet Nam last fall, this reporter was (and still is) subjected to a calculated behind-the-scenes campaign of opprobrium at the hands of the CIA. So, indeed, has the United States' ambassador to Saigon been subjected to the same sort of behind-the-hand attack, on the theory that he was the source of my account of the CIA's heedless bureaucratic arrogance in Saigon.

Mr. Lodge, it is now charged by CIA apologists, destroyed the effectiveness of one of the CIA's most skilful agents. It is also charged that this reporter violated a gentleman's agreement in naming the agent.

Both charges are false, meaching and disingenuous.

The name of the agent, hurriedly summoned home from Saigon within 24 hours of my account of his stewardship of the huge spook operations, was John Richardson. In my several conversations with Ambassador Lodge, Richardson's name never passed between us.

It was, indeed, not necessary for any wayfaring journals to go to any such exalted figures to descry the activities of the CIA's station chief in Saigon. Richardson, a frequent visitor at the presidential palace and a close adviser to the devious and powerful Ngo Dinh Nhu, was widely known in the Vietnamese capital. Until Mr. Lodge replaced Frederick Nolting as ambassador, most knowledgeable Americans and sophisticated Vietnamese regarded Richardson as the most powerful foreigner in Viet Nam.

It is nonsense to say that Lodge destroyed Richardson's value as a CIA agent. In Saigon, Richardson was as clandestine as a calliope with a full head of steam. It is, moreover, a libel to allege (as high CIA officials have alleged) that this reporter violated an agreement to shield Richardson's identity. In all my assiduous inquiries about the man, never once was it suggested that there was an agreement to keep his identity secret. If there had been any such agreement, I would, of course, have respected it even though it would have been plainly absurd in view of Richardson's notoriety.

This is, unfortunately, more than a parochial dispute between a reporter and a writhing, unlovely bureaucracy. The President of the United States himself has been misled by the CIA mythology regarding just how and by whom Richardson's utility as chief resident spook was destroyed. Neither Lodge nor any journalist cast Richardson in his role in Saigon. If CIA chief John McCone really believes that his man in Saigon was compromised by my dispatches (and presumably he does believe this or he would not have planted and cultivated the tale as thoroughly as he has) then he does not know what is going on in the huge, bumbling apparatus he nominally leads.

Mr. Truman knows whereof he speaks. Wise in the ways of malignant bureaucracy, he knows that unfettered and unaccountable power such as is vested in the CIA is bound to feed upon itself until it poses a threat to the very free institutions it was founded to safeguard. No man alive knows the enormous power that is now vested in the CIA, nor the wealth it dispenses, nor the policy it makes. Most people in government would be appalled if they knew that already the CIA has overflowed its huge new headquarters building in McLean, Va., but it is fact that it has done.

There is far, far too much about the CIA that is unknown to far too many Americans. We will, occasionally and from time to time, twang this same sackbut. It is not a pretty tune it plays, but it is an important one.

Truman’s attack on the CIA in the Washington Post of 22 December 1963 was sure to prove a source of profound irritation to a murderous bureaucracy that believed itself above both criticism and the law. Dulles was still scratching vigorously four months later, even as he engrossed himself in the finer points of intimidating a Dallas doctor. Here’s the sequence in order:

A week after the publication of Truman’s attack, the Washington Post rubbed editorial salt into the wound:

“Truman and the CIA,” 28 December 1963, p.A8:

Former President Truman speaks with unique authority about the CIA inasmuch as the agency was organized in his Administration. When he writes, as he did in this newspaper last Sunday, that there “is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position” we can rightly sight up and take notice. Mr. Truman is concerned that the agency’s operational functions have gotten out of hand. So are many Americans.

The President makes perfectly clear that a central intelligence agency was an urgent requirement when the CIA was formed. The Chief Executive is virtually blanketed by intelligence documents from many existing agencies. He needs a central organization charged with the duty of assembling various estimates and presenting the facts without the tincture of special pleading. The intelligence reports of the various armed services obviously must reflect, consciously or unconsciously, the institutional bias of services with their own policies to defend.

The trouble is that over the years the CIA had become increasingly entangled in its own operations. It has seemed less an objective interpreter of events than a rival policy arm with a very sharp axe to grind. As Mr. Truman remarks:

“I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassments that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue – and a subject for enemy cold war propaganda.”

President Truman emphasizes his confidence in the patriotism and ability of CIA officials. That is not in dispute. What is at issue is the wisdom of combining within the CIA functions that should be separate. Moreover, there is real doubt whether any arm of the United States Government should be involved in subversion of another government. Experience suggests that this is an area in which Americans do not excel. Morality suggests that it drains this country’s professed principles of meaning when a shadowy arm of the Government appears to practice the same subversion that we condemn in others.

Francis J. Gavin, “Politics, Power, and U.S. Policy in Iran, 1950-1953,” Journal of Cold War Studies, Winter 1999, (Vol. 1, No 1), pp.88-89:

Note 130:

Some of the mythology concerning cover operations may have come from Truman himself. In 1963, a review of a book by Allen Dulles called The Cult of Intelligence appeared in the Washington Post, with Truman listed as the reviewer. Although generally favourable, the review called for the CIA to get out of the covert operations business. Dulles wrote a letter to Truman reminding him that it was under Truman’s guidance that such operations began:

“You will also recall that about a year after the Truman Doctrine declaration of April [March] 1947, you were also the first to take stock of the fact that the Communist subversive threat could not be met solely by the overt type of assistance which you were able to render the beleaguered countries of Greece and Turkey. This peril was evidenced by events early in 1948, with the take-over of Czechoslovakia by secret subversion, the Communist threat to Italian independence in the elections of 1948, and the communizing of Poland, Hungary and the other ‘Satellite’ countries. It was then, in June 1948, that you, through National Security Council action, approved the organization within CIA of a new office to carry out covert operations directed against secret Communist subversion…The administration which followed your own, re-affirmed the need for this type of activity. While the charter that you initially gave the CIA in this field has been slightly modified over the years by NSC action, it remains substantially as you had approved it. It was during ‘Beedle’ Smith’s directorship and again under your directive that the responsibility of the Director of Central Intelligence for covert operations was established, subject of course to the high policy guidance it has always had and to which its has faithfully adhered, despite newspaper reports to the contrary.”

Allen Dulles to the Honorable Harry S. Truman, 7 January 1964, in USNA, RG 263, History Source Collection, NN3-263-94-010, Box 18, File HS/HC, Folder 3.

Dulles then arranged a private meeting with Truman, which is described in the memo.

“I reviewed the various covert steps which had been taken under his authority in suppressing the Huk rebellion in the Philippines, of the problems we had faced during the Italian election in 1948…I then showed him the article in The Washington Post of December 22, 1963, which I suggested seemed to me to be a misrepresentation of his position. I pointed out the number of National Security Actions which…he had taken which dealt with covert operations by the CIA. He studied attentively the Post story and seemed quite astounded by it. In fact, he said that this was all wrong…At no time did Mr. Truman express other than complete agreement with the viewpoint I expressed and several times said he would see what he could do about it…He was highly disturbed at The Washington Post article.*

Dulles came to the reasonable conclusion that the review article attributed to Truman had been written by someone else.

Memo for Mr. Lawrence R. Houston, General Counsel, from A. W. Dulles, 21 April 1964, in USNA, RG263, History Source Collection, NN3-263-94-010, Box 18, File HS/HC, Folder 3.

*Dulles had evidently developed a taste for this sort of thing during the period in question:

http://www.jfk-assassination.com/warren/wch/vol3/page377.php

Monday, 30 March 1964:

Mr. Dulles: I suggest, Mr. Specter, if you feel it is feasible, you send to the doctor the accounts of his press conference or conferences. And possibly, if you are willing, sir, you could send us a letter, send to the Commission a letter, pointing out the various points in these press conferences where you are inaccurately quoted, so we can have that as a matter of record. Is that feasible?

Dr. Perry: That is, sir. Would you prefer that each clipping be edited individually or a general statement?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No American journalist worked more bravely to thwart the anticipated revolt than Scripps-Howard’s Richard Starnes. His ‘reward’ was effectively to become a non-person, not just in the work of mainstream fellow-journalists and historians, but also that of nominally oppositional Kennedy assassination writers. It could have been worse: John J. McCone, Director of Central Intelligence, sought his instant dismissal; while others within the agency doubtless had more drastic punishment in mind, almost certainly of the kind meted out to CBS’ George Polk fifteen years earlier.

Always judge a man by his enemies and critics. Starnes ruffled another important set of establishment feathers with the following column:

The New York World-Telegram & Sun, Tuesday, December 3, 1963, p.25

Truth Won't Out

By Richard Starnes

Realism instructs us to expect little from the special commission created by President Johnson to investigate the death of his predecessor.

No member of the commission has any competence as investigator, nor does any have access to a disinterested investigative staff. The commission will be almost wholly dependent upon the facts made available to it by the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dallas Police Department.

In a sense, of course, the special commission is investigating the role played by each of these agencies, and it is manifestly naïve to expect these cops to bear witness against themselves or, indeed, each other.

Any reporter who has wasted a portion of his young life in a hick police station thinks he knows exactly how Rubenstein, the squalid impresario of skin shows, gained access to the Dallas Municipal Building where he apparently shot and killed the man who apparently shot and killed President Kennedy. (If you contend there are too many apparentlys in that sentence, my reply is that there are too many apparentlys in the murders that took place in Dallas.)

Ruby probably had a press pass issued by the Dallas cops. Every reporter has known police buffs of the stripe of Rubenstein, and the sleazy breed invariably prizes possession of a press card.

But is anyone foolish enough to expect the Dallas Police Department to step before Chief Justice Warren and say, yes, your worship, we did give Rubenstein a press pass to which he was not entitled and he did use it to gain access to the basement where he performed the gallant act of gut-shooting a manacled prisoner?

If you believe the Dallas police will ever give up the truth about how Rubenstein got a clear shot at Oswald you will believe anything, possibly including the solemn assertion that Rubenstein was not paying off any officials for the privilege of skirting the law in operating his peltorama.

In their extravagant outpourings of grief over the death of their young President, the American people have largely overlooked the disgraceful failure of the Secret Service. We are assured that these hard-nosed federal cops could not possibly check every window along the parade route, and no one is moved to ask why they couldn't. The building from which the assassination of Mr. Kennedy is said to have taken place was a prime stake-out for a sniper, since the President's automobile had to slow for a turn beneath its windows.

Will the Secret Service candidly explain to the special commission why Oswald was permitted to rest patiently on his hunkers gnawing a chicken bone, a rifle beside him, in one of perhaps a dozen choice locations for a bushwhacker?

Again, little has been made of the fact that the President was shot not once, but twice. The autopsy findings on Mr. Kennedy have not been made public, and may never be, but suppose the first wound was not mortal? Then the lax protection that permitted a second bullet to strike home becomes a great historical scandal. Will Mr. Justice Warren and his colleagues ever know the truth of this, and if they do learn it, will they publish it?

Will the presence on the panel of Allen Dulles, erstwhile headmaster of the Central Intelligence Agency, assure us that the truth of Oswald's sojourn in the Soviet Union will ever be known? The Russians suggest they suspected him of being a spy. Can any realistic person believe any tentacle of the nation's elephantine espionage apparatus will own up to ever having Oswald on its payroll?

Can we expect the FBI to explain why Oswald was not under close surveillance? How many would-be defectors to Russia did they have to watch that day in Dallas when the President's widely-heralded visit was schedule.

Here's one John J. McCloy expressing his irritation with the above at the 5 Dec 1963 Warren Commission Executive Session:

http://history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/...X1205_0041a.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×