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Infiltrators, saboteurs and fifth-columnists


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Historians and the world’s citizenry in general owe a debt of gratitude to John Simkin for creating the J. F. Kennedy Assassination and Watergate sections on Spartacus. The contributions of material and information by Forum members have created a treasure trove that will be mined for years to come.

So valuable have the Kennedy Assassination and Watergate archives become in disseminating this information on a world-wide basis that the Forum’s members need to face the real possibility that the Forum may soon be targeted for some form of annihilation or destruction, if it is not already.

On this past Monday I attended a special event in Houston sponsored by Pacifica radio station KPFT at which Greg Palast of the BBC and The Guardian newspaper spoke. Palast is the author of Armed Madhouse, which last week hit the New York Times Best-Seller list, and of a previous best-seller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

KPFT in Houston is one of five Pacifica non-commercial radio stations in the United States, situated in major cities, whose daily public affairs programming is a constant thorn in the side of the authoritarian Powers That Be who control all three branches of the government and most of the mass media in the U.S. today.

At the reception preceding the Palast lecture to a packed auditorium audience, one of the KPFT directors recounted to me how over the years the Powers That Be have sent infiltrators, saboteurs, and fifth-columnists into the Pacifica community in an attempt to take it over or at a minimum neutralize its effectiveness. These Trojan horse efforts have been repulsed successfully by the mobilization of more than a million listeners, volunteers and financial contributors who make possible the on-going educational and non-profit work of Pacifica.

A similar effort in my opinion is or soon will be mounted against the Forum. Members of the Kennedy Assassination and Watergate sections of the Forum should be on guard to spot those who join our ranks whose motivation is to end the effectiveness of the Forum as a group effort in gathering and posting valuable information.

Among the tell-tale signs of these infiltrators, saboteurs and fifth-columnists are unbridled, unwarranted, unprovoked and vicious attacks on other forum members and the postings of so-called “information” that is essentially mis-information or trivia designed to affect adversely the Forum’s credibility.

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"Among the tell-tale signs of these infiltrators, saboteurs and fifth-columnists are unbridled, unwarranted, unprovoked and vicious attacks on other forum members and the postings of so-called “information” that is essentially mis-information or trivia designed to affect adversely the Forum’s credibility."

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Dictionary

Find definitions for:

fifth' col'umn

1. a group of people who act traitorously and subversively out of a secret sympathy with an enemy of their country.

2. (originally) Franco sympathizers in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War: so called in allusion to a statement in 1936 that the insurgents had four columns marching on Madrid and a fifth column of sympathizers in the city ready to rise and betray it.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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The real "fifth column"

While conservative pundits whine about treacherous lefty intellectuals, a real group of far-right traitors may be striking at America from within.

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By Joe Conason

Nov. 1, 2001 |

The war against the Taliban and the al Qaida, a single enemy with two names, is not only a just war, but a war that bears some striking parallels to the last great conflict between democracy and fascism. Among those haunting similarities is the apparent presence within the borders of the United States of enemy sympathizers and potential agents -- with the important difference that this time, the "ifth column" may be responsible for acts of terror as well as propaganda.

The real fifth column is not, as some overwrought writers have suggested, represented by miniscule anti-war demonstrations or the handful of academics scribbling anti-American screeds. Such misguided people are of little consequence today and few, if any, of them has demonstrated a propensity for violence. Their right to dissent must be respected and protected.

The true domestic threat is posed instead by an unknown number of organizations and individuals on the farthest fringes of the right, with ideologies that echo Nazism and rap sheets that include every crime from bank robberies to bombings. Having repeatedly declared their determination to overthrow the United States Government and exterminate the "racially impure," these outfits hailed the September 11 attacks as the opening salvo in a conflagration they hope will engulf us.

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Issues: War on Terror

Connecting the Dots – Conjuring Fifth Columns

Col. Daniel Smith, USA, Ret.

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3/24/2004

Sometimes public and congressional outrage has an effect. First the White House and then Speaker Dennis Hastert refused to allow a 60 day extension for the commission investigating why no one in the U.S. intelligence community “connected the dots” before September 11, 2001. Both quickly retreated when their stance became public.

The commission may well find that reports, properly shared, could have enabled analysts to connect the dots and prevent that awful day. It might also have recommendations for improving inter-agency communication beyond those already implemented so that a similar day can be avoided. What is also needed from the panel but may not be forthcoming is a clear caution against “connecting” the dots when there are no dots to connect. (The process is analogous to “seeing” the many constellations in the night sky by drawing together individual stars to form a mythic figure or geometrical shape.)

Given U.S. history, such a caution would be most timely.

In World War I, the targets were the 2.3 million “hyphenated” German-American immigrants, plus the second and third generations born in the United States. German books and newspapers were burned, German music was banned. In the category of the ridiculous, akin to last year’s renaming of French fries as “freedom fries,” people stopped eating sauerkraut. Fearing for their safety, many German-Americans changed their names (e.g., Schmidt to Smith), stopped speaking German, or stopped celebrating cultural holidays.

At the start of World War II, President Roosevelt issued three directives declaring Japanese, Italian, and German nationals “enemy aliens” subject to internment or exclusion from extensive parts of the U.S. declared as military areas, particularly on the West Coast. While large numbers of Japanese-Americans were interned and even more forced from their homes, “enemy aliens” of European descent were also caught in the frenzy.

During the inter-war period but more so in the first decades after 1945, there were real dots to connect. “Communists” and their “sympathizers” (as distinct from the Communist Party USA, which was said to have more undercover FBI agents in it than ideologues) were the “enemy within” that could destroy democracy by infiltrating government agencies, betraying U.S. agents, stealing secrets, and undermining policy.

In the post-September 11, 2001 world, amid all the dire warnings by government about al Qaeda “sleeper cells” scattered across the U.S. and the mass detentions, arrests, and deportations of “Middle Easterners,” Washington has seized upon–and has been seized by–the spectre of a “fifth column” waiting to wreak havoc when ordered to strike. Yet so far, the evidence–the “connecting of the dots”–for the existence of a plan and the structure to carry it out seems limited largely to a few misguided men who traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan for “training,” Muslim chaplains in the military, and peace advocates opposed to the war in Iraq.

(The term “fifth column” usually is traced to the 1936-39 Spanish civil war when a Nationalist general marching on Madrid with four columns of soldiers spoke of another “column” of supporters already in the city awaiting orders to create chaos from within.)

What is equally troublesome is the appearance of the same mentality in other countries, which tends to reinforce the mindset in U.S. agencies. In Britain, which has a “special” intelligence relationship with the U.S., the internal security service (MI5) reportedly is expanding by nearly a 1,000 agents. Its budget is the only one in the British intelligence services that will increase beyond the rate of inflation.

In Iraq, the U.S.-appointed Governing Council debated and then refused to reverse a 1950 decision that Jews, of all Iraqis exiled or forced to leave, could not return and regain their Iraqi citizenship. The New York Times reported the rationale–all too familiar–given by one council member: “as long as there is a state of war [in Palestine], then we should not allow the Jews to return.”

In short, sometimes “connecting the dots” is the worst choice available, and not only for individuals and groups that might be adversely affected. A nation whose politicians and partisans conjure non-existent dangers from non-existent “dots” risk dissipating resources and energy searching for ephemeral constellations of their own making. The world has enough real nightmares; it doesn’t need phantoms.

This analysis was prepared by Col. Dan Smith, U.S. Army (Ret). Smith, a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran, is FCNL's Senior Fellow on Military Affairs. For more background and analysis by Col. Smith, click here.

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"At the start of World War II, President Roosevelt issued three directives declaring Japanese, Italian, and German nationals “enemy aliens” subject to internment or exclusion from extensive parts of the U.S. declared as military areas, particularly on the West Coast. While large numbers of Japanese-Americans were interned and even more forced from their homes, “enemy aliens” of European descent were also caught in the frenzy."

at the start of worldwar two, America First and other right wing groups, and individulas like Lindbergh, Ford, Ingals pushed peace at home, coexistence, isolationism, nazism and street thuggery. Pearl Harbor thoroughly swung the US into supporting war. (Fifth collumnists?)

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Ted Sorensen in "Kennedy" (p4 2 43 and others) discusses this. While Joe drifted to some extent onto Fords 'peace ship' he was progressive in some things, not least in child rearing, believing strongly in freedom of thought. Kennedy had a good grasp of the differences between himself and his fathers conservatism.

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But by all means, prove me wrong by asking the questions yourself with all the courtly grace and charm that you've already demonstrated, and by getting actual, substantive, responsive answers from the now Sphinxlike Mssrs. Baldwin and Caddy. If you do, I vow to acknowledge it here.

I am quoting myself because I made a vow, and I'm sticking to it: Pat Speer indeed did prove me wrong, to my utter delight, and has diplomatically asked of Mr. Caddy, in the Watergate forum (in a thread Mr. Caddy started there calling for bouncers to carry me to the curb), one of the questions I earlier had raised.

Although no actual, substantive, responsive answer has yet been forthcoming, I believe that this is the happiest I have ever been over being shown to be wrong in my much-too-long life, and so I take my old beat up hat off in a long, sweeping bow of deference to Mr. Speer.

Ashton Gray

Edited by Ashton Gray
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at the start of worldwar two, America First and other right wing groups, and individulas like Lindbergh, Ford, Ingals pushed peace at home, coexistence, isolationism, nazism and street thuggery.

And Joe Kennedy.

Let's not forget Prescott Bush. Hmmmmm?

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