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Lone Gunman podcast: L. Fletcher Prouty a xxxx?


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Paul,

Lansdale officially retired on November 1st, but he had kind of  been drifting along ever since MONGOOSE was essentially retired which was after the Missile Crisis.  There really was nowhere for him to go. The writing was on the wall.  Kennedy was getting out of Vietnam, and by the summer of 1963, the so called secret war on Cuba was dissipated to pin pricks.  So both areas that he was working on, or hoped to work on, were now in eclipse.

As I wrote above, Nixon did call him back in 1969.  But by then, Ed saw that Vietnam was a real mess and a half.

I do admit though that the retirement date would have freed him to work on the ground level of the JFK case, and the fact he was in the area on that day is interesting.

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I tried to find the source of Lansdale's relationship with Daniel Ellsberg. One such article is found in Counterpunch on March 8, 2003 entitled “Will the Real Daniel Ellsberg Please Stand Up!” written by Douglas Valentine, who shares that:

In 1965, Ellsberg was assigned as a Pentagon observer to the CIA’s Revolutionary Development (RD) Program in South Vietnam. Here Ellsberg came under the influence of his mentor, CIA officer cum Air Force General Edward Lansdale. The mass murderer Graham Greene used as the model for Alden Pyle in “The Quiet American,” Lansdale was the architect of the CIA’s anti-terror strategy for winning the Vietnam War. When not engaged in typical RD Program “Civil Affairs” activities, such as helping the local Vietnamese build perimeter defenses around their villages, Ellsberg and his fellow RD advisors, under the tutelage of Lansdale, dressed in black pajamas and reportedly slipped into enemy areas at midnight to “snatch and snuff” the local Viet Cong cadre, sometimes making it appear as if the VC themselves had done the dirty deed, in what Lansdale euphemistically called “black propaganda” activities.

Ellsberg’s close friend, CIA officer Lucien Conein, was negotiating a “truce” with the Corsican gangsters who supplied South Vietnam’s top military officers and government officials with that most lucrative of black market commodities, heroin.

The House of Representatives launched deeper probes into CIA drug smuggling and the CIA’s Phoenix Program in early 1971, and, naturally, the CIA at this critical time took extensive countermeasures in a concerted effort to conceal these facts. What is relevant to the discrepancy is the that in June 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the aptly named Pentagon Papers, shifting blame for the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War from the CIA to the military, while distracting public attention from the investigations of the CIA’s Phoenix Program and the CIA’s involvement in drug smuggling.

Curiously, one can find articles published in the Liberty Conservative that criticize Stone's JFK movie, and attempt to paint Lansdale in a more conservative light (and JFK as the hawk and responsible for Diem's death).  Reads and smells like spin control - wash, rinse, repeat - to me. One such article appeared in March 2017 by writer Ron Capshaw:

But Lansdale was once again a lone moderate voice against the more hawkish Kennedy administration, this time around regarding JFK authorizing a coup against Diem, who the President feared was on the verge of normalizing relations with the North. He practically begged Kennedy official Robert McNamara not to support the coup, stating, “There’s a constitution in place… Please don’t destroy that when you’re trying to change the government.” Nevertheless, the coup went forward with the blessing of the United States, resulting, to the horror of Kennedy, the assassination of Diem by his own military officers. With the removal of Diem, who despite repressive policies did provide stability for the South, the U.S. was now tied to the health of the succeeding regimes, and the South never again had a stable government.

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Prouty's account of Chiang Kai Shek's picture omitted from the Teheran Conference has always been one of my favorite examples of how the narratives of history become revised and false. 

The encounter between Elliott Roosevelt and Stalin still remains by and large unknown and shocking. 

http://www.prouty.org/coment11.html 

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Gene:

in Ellsberg's book, he describes his meeting with Lansdale during the Johnson administration.  And he talks about Lansdale and his relationship with Diem. (Secrets, 98-125)

He says that he was aware of the relationship between Diem and Lansdale and says Ed really liked the guy.  And he implies that this helped blind him to Diem's serious shortcomings. 

Ellsberg then talks about his journey to Vietnam and his meetings with Jean Paul Vann. And it was there, with Vann that he saw that what America had tried to construct there was really camouflage for  a losing battle.

Remember, Halberstam and Sheehan later tried  to hide their earlier backing of Vann's ideas on direct American intervention in the war.  Because once it happened, it was clear that it would lead nowhere.  This is one reason why Kennedy wanted Halberstam shipped out of Vietnam. 

Prouty always suspected that there was something to the Lansdale/Ellsberg association.  I have never been able to support that.

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16 hours ago, Gene Kelly said:

In 1965, Ellsberg was assigned as a Pentagon observer to the CIA’s Revolutionary Development (RD) Program in South Vietnam. Here Ellsberg came under the influence of his mentor, CIA officer cum Air Force General Edward Lansdale. The mass murderer Graham Greene used as the model for Alden Pyle in “The Quiet American,” 

 

In fact Greene did not meet Lansdale until after completing much of the novel. According to Greene, the inspiration for the character of Pyle was Leo Hochstetter,

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16 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Gene:

in Ellsberg's book, he describes his meeting with Lansdale during the Johnson administration.  And he talks about Lansdale and his relationship with Diem. (Secrets, 98-125)

He says that he was aware of the relationship between Diem and Lansdale and says Ed really liked the guy.  And he implies that this helped blind him to Diem's serious shortcomings. 

Ellsberg then talks about his journey to Vietnam and his meetings with Jean Paul Vann. And it was there, with Vann that he saw that what America had tried to construct there was really camouflage a losing battle.

Remember, Halberstam and and Sheehan later tried  to hide their earlier backing of Vann's ideas on direct American intervention in the war.  Because once it happened, it was clear that it would lead nowhere.  This is one reason why Kennedy wanted Halberstam shipped out of Vietnam. 

Prouty always suspected that there was something to the Lansdale/Ellsberg association.  I have never been able to support that.

Jim,

James Galbraith asked two decades ago "Was Nhu in discussions with intermediaries for Ho Chi Minh, with the possibility that there might have been a deal between North and South to boot the Americans from Vietnam? It appears that he was. And had he succeeded, it would have saved infinite trouble."

https://bostonreview.net/archives/BR28.5/galbraith.html

Any deal between Diem and Ho which ended America's military involvement in Vietnam meant no later, wider Vietnam War. This, of course, was completely unacceptable to the hawks in both Saigon and Washington. The removal of Diem (coupled with the impossibility of his return, thanks to his assassination), made the larger Vietnam War possible.

Lansdale may have genuinely liked Diem, but ultimately Lansdale was an agent for those forces determined to have the Vietnam War.

 

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From my review of Burns/Novick:

Vann was shipped out of Vietnam in 1963 and served in the Pentagon as a procurement officer. He began to file formal reports complaining about how the war was being fought. These reports appealed to General Edward Lansdale because they clearly projected the fact that unless American ground troops were committed to Vietnam, Saigon would fall. (ibid, p. 319) As we have seen, this is the message Kennedy had listened to in November of 1961—and had rejected. Kennedy was aware of what Vann was doing. Both he and McNamara opposed the work of his acolyte Halberstam; Kennedy even asked the publisher of the Times to rotate him out of Saigon. (David Kaiser, American Tragedy, p. 261; Halberstam, p. 268)

But Edward Lansdale had been the first to advise Kennedy to insert combat troops into Vietnam. (Newman, p. 20) Sure enough, after Kennedy’s death, when Lansdale returned to the White House, he recommended sending Vann back to Vietnam. Vann did return in 1965, when Lyndon Johnson overturned Kennedy’s policy and committed tens of thousands of American combat troops to Saigon. (Kaiser, p. 384)

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I'm drawing from my personal experience with Halberstam, because I can't find the source of Abbie Hoffman calling "Best and the Brightest" his favorite book. Back in the 1980s when I was a classical music critic with the LA Times, I had a friend a few decades older than me who was a classical music buff and worked as a probation officer in Pasadena. He had an odd assortment of young men my age who were his close friends and had been at one time on probation. He was the one who not only told me that "Best and the Brightest" was Hoffman's favorite book, but that he thought Halberstam was the "greatest journalist of his generation."

When I finally read Halberstam, I knew I had been had, since it was yet another book trying to put down JFK and doing it implausibly. I wondered if this probation officer was on some secret mission to get and keep us young radicals in line.

I'm glad to know Vann was feeding Halberstam a very lopsided position on things, but I still think there was a concerted effort (probably led by the CIA) to destroy JFK's legacy; and Halberstam's book was used to help along this purpose.  

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I agree with that last statement.  In fact, Halberstam admitted as such in an interview I read.  

He also later tried to do all he could to disguise what he had done earlier and which he admitted to in his prior book, The Making of a Quagmire.

As Warren Hinckle once said, "The Best and the Brightest is one of the greatest bullxxxx books ever written."

 

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Doug Valentine raises suspicions about Ellsberg. One wonders about the true nature of the Pentagon Papers, the plumbers break-in of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office, Hunt's role and of course Watergate.  The implication (by Hougan) is to misdirect the attention/spotlight on the Pentagon for Vietnam, and away from the CIA's PHOENIX atrocities and drug capers. Then there's the close association of Lansdale with Ellsberg and Lucien Conein (plus Walt Rostow, Allen Dulles and Henry Cabot Lodge). Lansdale testified (and lied) before the Rockefeller Commission, giving up William Harvey.  Lansdale's public persona (painted in books) is that of a pacifist ... on face reflecting JFK's intent to keep forces out of Vietnam and against a military strategy.  He sidles up close/friendly to Diem, and yet he and Cabot Lodge conspire to have Diem assassinated ... a fate that JFK soon experiences.  Lansdale's later involvement in Vietnam "pacification" efforts (i.e. Project Phoenix) and his sponsorship by the Georgetown Set (or Dulles Coven) are difficult to ignore.   He was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Here are some good references on Lansdale:

  • Baier, A. (1989) “Edward Lansdale: The Image of the US in Vietnam” 
  • Bernstein, M. (2010) “Ed Lansdale’s Black Warfare in 1950s Vietnam”
  • Bonn, T. (April 2010) “General Edward Lansdale and the Murder of John Kennedy”. The American Chronicle
  • Nashel, J. (2005) “Edward Lansdale's Cold War”. Univ. of Mass.
  • Newman, J. (1992) “JFK and Vietnam” 
  • Seagrave, S. (November 2008) “Edward Lansdale” Education Forum Thread 

Back to this thread and Fletcher Prouty ... perhaps the AARB interview was to discredit him and minimize his allegations.  

Gene

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Ed Lansdale, the "pacifist" who used to joke about throwing Vietnamese guys out of helicopters.

Great references and commentaries, fellas.

They illustrate the disconnect between Prouty's observations about his long-time USAF colleague, Ed Lansdale, and other "biographical" narratives.

I trust Prouty.  Among other things, 1) he was involved in the formulation of JFK's NSAM 263 policy, and 2) he left the service after JFK was murdered. 

Two badges of honor there.

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On 10/28/2020 at 3:03 PM, W. Niederhut said:

Rob,

    Do you know the source for Prouty's claim here?

    This reminds me of the story where Prouty was accused of "lying" for saying that E. Howard Hunt told him that Butterfield was working for the CIA in the Nixon White House.

      I happen to believe that Prouty was telling the truth about what Hunt told him-- which, obviously, doesn't mean that HUNT was telling the truth!

Prouty had claimed Reich was the source of his info, and I seriously doubt Prouty had any dealings with Hunt personally. Hunt denied knowing him at all.

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4 hours ago, Rob Clark said:

Prouty had claimed Reich was the source of his info, and I seriously doubt Prouty had any dealings with Hunt personally. Hunt denied knowing him at all.

Rob,

      As a psychiatrist, I have a tendency to judge these guys on the basis of what I know about their personalities.

      My fellow Brown University alumnus, E. Howard Hunt, was a well known fabricator.  He wrote fictional narratives and engaged in black ops, frame ups, disguises, and the falsification of government records (e.g., blaming JFK for Diem's death, etc.)  As I recall, Hunt even lost a libel suit once about accusations that he was in Dallas on 11/22/63.  So, I tend to doubt Hunt's truthfulness, generally.

      Ed Lansdale was another master of black ops-- staging false flag guerilla warfare attacks and psy ops for Magsaysay-- and from Saigon Station.  If Prouty is correct, Lansdale used to joke about throwing guys out of helicopters.  Based on that, my impression is that Lansdale was a sociopath, like his boss, Allen Dulles.  (See The Devil's Chessboard for those details.)  And we know, for example, that Lansdale lied about Prouty's career assignments, including his involvement in the writing of the Maxwell/Taylor Report and CIA liaison services for the Joint Chiefs.

      Conversely, Prouty seems like a genuinely decent guy, in my estimation.  He had a distinguished career in the USAF, and was consistently promoted to positions commensurate with his intellect and abilities.  To his credit, he was deeply disturbed by the murder of JFK and the reversal of JFK's mandate to end our military ops in Vietnam.

      Prouty may have been wrong about some details of his theories relating to JFK's assassination, but he doesn't come across as a sociopath, a xxxx, in my estimation.

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10 minutes ago, W. Niederhut said:

Rob,

      As a psychiatrist, I have a tendency to judge these guys on the basis of what I know about their personalities.

      My fellow Brown University alumnus, E. Howard Hunt, was a well known fabricator.  He wrote fictional narratives and engaged in black ops, frame ups, disguises, and the falsification of government records (e.g., blaming JFK for Diem's death, etc.)  As I recall, Hunt even lost a libel suit once about accusations that he was in Dallas on 11/22/63.  So, I tend to doubt Hunt's truthfulness, generally.

      Ed Lansdale was another master of black ops-- staging false flag guerilla warfare attacks and psy ops for Magsaysay-- and from Saigon Station.  If Prouty is correct, Lansdale used to joke about throwing guys out of helicopters.  Based on that, my impression is that Lansdale was a sociopath, like his boss, Allen Dulles.  (See The Devil's Chessboard for those details.)  And we know, for example, that Lansdale lied about Prouty's career assignments, including his involvement in the writing of the Maxwell/Taylor Report and CIA liaison services for the Joint Chiefs.

      Conversely, Prouty seems like a genuinely decent guy, in my estimation.  He had a distinguished career in the USAF, and was consistently promoted to positions commensurate with his intellect and abilities.  To his credit, he was deeply disturbed by the murder of JFK and the reversal of JFK's mandate to end our military ops in Vietnam.

      Prouty may have been wrong about some details of his theories relating to JFK's assassination, but he doesn't come across as a sociopath, a xxxx, in my estimation.

Totally agree.

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1 hour ago, W. Niederhut said:

Rob,

      As a psychiatrist, I have a tendency to judge these guys on the basis of what I know about their personalities.

      My fellow Brown University alumnus, E. Howard Hunt, was a well known fabricator.  He wrote fictional narratives and engaged in black ops, frame ups, disguises, and the falsification of government records (e.g., blaming JFK for Diem's death, etc.)  As I recall, Hunt even lost a libel suit once about accusations that he was in Dallas on 11/22/63.  So, I tend to doubt Hunt's truthfulness, generally.

      Ed Lansdale was another master of black ops-- staging false flag guerilla warfare attacks and psy ops for Magsaysay-- and from Saigon Station.  If Prouty is correct, Lansdale used to joke about throwing guys out of helicopters.  Based on that, my impression is that Lansdale was a sociopath, like his boss, Allen Dulles.  (See The Devil's Chessboard for those details.)  And we know, for example, that Lansdale lied about Prouty's career assignments, including his involvement in the writing of the Maxwell/Taylor Report and CIA liaison services for the Joint Chiefs.

      Conversely, Prouty seems like a genuinely decent guy, in my estimation.  He had a distinguished career in the USAF, and was consistently promoted to positions commensurate with his intellect and abilities.  To his credit, he was deeply disturbed by the murder of JFK and the reversal of JFK's mandate to end our military ops in Vietnam.

      Prouty may have been wrong about some details of his theories relating to JFK's assassination, but he doesn't come across as a sociopath, a xxxx, in my estimation.

I couldn't agree more. So much can be explained in psychology and analysis of the persons and their behaviours. We have Prouty, a guy who is either a masterful actor who comes across as completely genuine, he is potentially risking a lot speaking out and knowing how the machinations of power work, for what, his book sales? Living is always going to be far more valuable than those sales and revenue generated, as is not going through destruction of ones reputation, so you draw a conclusion that his motive must be different. Truth telling and guilt is a strong motivator, those of us with Judaeo Cristian values have been conditioned with that by our parents, church and school, it's hard to shake. The only other conclusion you can make is that Prouty is dumb, but, we know he isn't dumb because of the position he has ascended to in his career. I am basing my opinion on videos I have seen him speaking,  I have a copy of the secret team arriving Monday, i'll say more if it changes my opinion. 

In contrast, we know that some of the people he is implicating in wrongdoing have so many tells that they are ruthless, pathological believers in a corrupt system that values winning at all costs over integrity, honesty and justice. 

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