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Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA

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Have people seen this new one. It seems well timed to place the Family Jewels in "historical Context" for a whole new "generation". Its really being pushed in big windows and I have seen it as high as 23 on Amazon. Hopefully some members will write a review with links to the forum in case the author makes any debateable assertions. ;) Since this is selling so well, it would be good if members got some reviews up pronto!


On a related note I asked a very Computer Savy friend of mine which would get more people to a given site on the internet:

a) being rated high up on the search engine lists on a name by name basis (eg Mary Pinchot Meyer) or

B) making links between sites with a lot of hits directly to this site, by emphasizing historical parallels with stuff about CIA opertions from history, as described

on Spartacus and Education Forum.

At first he said, it could work both ways, but then asked for more details on the nature of the site. Then he answered that the direct link on other sites would probably get the word out better. One opinion.

Speaking of which, are people familiar with this aspect of Amazon?


Sorry for that link, but it could be an efficient way of building bridges to the forum.

This is in addition to the reviews and comments on the reviews on the pages of each book.


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Here is the NYT review of this book by Tim Weiner.


I found this sentence at the end of Bechloss' review to be interesting, and perhaps, strategically vague:

" The most notorious muckraking C.I.A. books of the 1970s aspired to shatter the agency and make sure Americans never tried to create one again."

Of course he doesn't say which book was "notorious muckraking". Was it The Last Investigation? Are truth seekers supposed to aviod this decade all together?

Was it something in the water during these years. Never mind. for today's NYT all muckraking is inherently notorious.

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Tim Weiner seems to journalistically aiding JFK's trigger finger re: Fidel.

The Kennedy White House twice had ordered the CIA to create an assassination squad. Under very close questioning

by Senate investigators and a presidential commision in 1975, Richard Bissell said those orders had come from

national security advisor McGeorge Bundy and Bundy's aide Walt Rostow, and that the president's men 'would not have

given such encouragement unless they were confident that it would meet with the presidnt's approval. (p. 186)

If Wiener seems a bit too trusting of Bissell and his assumptions about those peacenicks in arms, Bundy and Rostow, wait till you see his sole footnote

for this assertion that Kennedy authorized the assassintion of Fidel:

"it would meet with the president's approval": The Question of whether president Kennedy authorized the

CIA to kill Castro can be answered, at least to my satisfaction. In 1975, Bissell testified to the presidential commision led by Vice-

President Nelson Rockefeller on the question of presidential authorization of assassinations by the CIA

Rockefeller questioned Bissell:

Q: Any assassination or assassination attempt woul have to have the highest approval?

A: That's correct.

Q: From the President?

A: That is correct.

Note how the main text starts with the assertion that Kennedy had authorized an assassination squad, then the footnote meant to support that transforms this into

"authorized the CIA to kill Castro, " which is in turn propped up by a much more generic "presidential authorization of assassinations by the CIA". And Bissel? Why whouldn't he be an objective source on this (professionally contorted) question? Hmmm.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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I expected this book to be one sided. But it is nothing short of a drive by shooting of the dead Kennedys. Everything is JFK's fault. There is no Mad Dog, no Lemnitzer, Helms cannot tell a lie, no accounts whatsoever of the Kennedy's two track policy with Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba. The press is objective, and in no ways pressuring Kennedy towards invading Cuba. In short pure fantacy. This book is aimed at people 39 and younger, who were not history majors, and have been steered away from older "muckraking" histories of the CIA by the X-files and 9/11.

Unfortunately thats a lot of people.

This book makes Seymour Hersh look like Gaeton Fonzi. This post from the Amazon website implies that its publication date was delibertately moved up

to go with the release of the costume jewelry.

" A reader of Amazon.com would know that the book was originally scheduled for release in August 2007 but was moved up to June to take advantage of the publicity and heightened interest in CIA history caused by the release of the "family jewels."

We will ignore this book at our own peril. Its now 45 on Amazon, and will undoubtedly be pushed for months. If we only denounce it on THIS site we our moating ourselves in, rather than inviting others into a truer and richer history of the CIA.

Weiner's book is a mind-crime. It makes Rosselli's oil drum seem like seem like death by natural causes. The fact that it pretends to be an attack on the "incompetence" of the CIA is a predictable disguise that any member or this forum will see through very quickly. I only hope their dissent is not confined to this forum, or too few people will hear it.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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The Kennedys don't come out of this book looking very good. Richard Helms does.

1. The Kennedys are described as by far the most violent with regard to Cuba. There is no mention of right wind Cuban groups acting on thier own. In

fact the CIA is often depicted as more cautious:

Bobby Kennedy kept calling in vain for commandos toblow up Cuba's powe plants, factories, and sugar mills in secret, Can CIA

actually hope to generate such strikes?" Harvey repleid that it would take two more years an another 100$ million to creat a force

capable of overthrowing Castro (p. 188)

2. On ZR-RIFLE Weiner trusts Helms and offers his moral meditations:

I once put the question to Helms personally: Did President Kennedy want Castro dead? "There is nothing on paper. of course, he said

evenly. But there is certainly no question in my mind that he did..... Helms thought political assassination in peacetime was a moral

aberation. But there were practical considerations as well. "If you become involved in the business of elimination foriegn leaders, and

it is considered by governemnts more frequently than one likes to admit, there is always the question of who comes next, " he observed.

'If you kill somone else's leaders, why shouldn't they kill yours?

Sure enough the only two possibilities Weiner mentions in reguard to the assassination Lone Nut, and Castro did it!

3. Weiner claims that on August 21, RFK asked McCone if the CIA could stage a phoney attack on the American militray base at Guatanamo Bay

as a pretext for an American invasion of Cuba: "McCone demurred, He told John Kennedy in private the next day that an invasion could ba fatal

mistake, He warned the president for the first time that the thought the Soviets might be installing medium range ballistic missiles in Cuba. If so

an American sneak attack might set off a nuclear war" (p.193)

Has anyone heard this warning made by McCone to JFK before? I realize that much is still debatable re the Kennedy's and Cuba, but Weiner depicts

the Kennedys as if they are the only one' advocating assassination and invasion!

4. Here is Weiner on "Project Mockingibrd":

The President told McCone to set up a domestic task force to stop the flow of secrets from the government to the newspapers.

The order violated the agency's charter, which specifically prohibits domestic spying. Long before Nixon created his 'plumbers'

unit of CIA veterans to stop news leaks, Kennedy used the agency to spy on Americans (p.193)

5. Weiner describes Helms as out of the loop on the Bay of Pigs invasion. Was he?

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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