In a work written specifically for an American readership, Naughtie, a BBC journalist, chronicles how a politician, swept to power by a once Socialist party, forged an alliance with Bush and an administration in which neoconservatives have dominated foreign policy.
Naughtie, who knows the Labor Prime Minister very well, sees him as far from being Bush's poodle, as critics have dubbed Blair. Rather, Blair emerges as a man of strong convictions and deep religious faith who believes that force can be used for moral ends.
After 9/11, Blair shared Bush's sense of threat and a willingness to use force and never wavered in his support for military intervention in Iraq. But Blair also understood the European abhorrence of American unilateralism and sought to be a bridge between the two parties.
What has most attracted attention to the book, however, is its relation of an incident in which, in the run up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Secretary Powell, in a telephone conversation with Jack Straw, his British opposite number, described the neoconservatives in the Bush administration as "fucking crazies." Powell and Straw had become good friends during intense negotiations in 2002 that sought to create an international coalition for intervention in Iraq by way of the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Cheney, DefSec Rumsfeld and DDefSec Wolfowitz.
The offices of both Powell and Straw have vigorously denied the incident, but Naughtie stands by his account. (DKR) [WIN 13 September 2004]
Cdr. Michael K. Bohn (USN ret.) was director of the White House Situation Room in Reagan’s second term during which the Palestinian assault took place on the liner Achille Lauro with the murder of a wheel chair bound American, Leon Klinghoffer.
Bohn provides a case study of the highly complex forces underpinning both terrorist activities and responses to them. The result is a timely work providing valuable insights into the phenomenon that weighs so heavily on the present time. (DKR) [WIN 16 August 2004]
Abou Zahab and Olivier Roy argue that for Al-Qa’ida and other Islamist extremists the most important country these days is Pakistan. It is there, they believe, that the fate of the last jihadis, trained and inspired before 9/11, is being determined.
In their view, al-Qa’ida has undergone a Pakistanization rooted in two decades of cooperation between Islamist extremists and their followers and sympathizers in the Pakistani military and, especially the powerful Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate.
Abou Zahab, a French national specializing in Pakistan, and the eminent French scholar Roy argue that the Islamabad government and Islamist movements had common interests, notably in political control of Afghanistan and an Islamic revolution in Kashmir.
The result of Washington’s pressure on Pervez Musharraf is that Islamist radical groups such as Lashkar-e Jhangvi, Harakat al Mujaheddin al Alami and others are now trying to kill the Pakistani president while giving asylum to Qa’ida leaders and organizing attacks against Western and Indian targets.
Perhaps the most important point made in this short work is that, contrary to the widely held view, Islamist madrassas are not the principal breeding ground of Islamist fighters. Abou Zahab and Roy believe it is bad government schools and private English-language schools promising a modern education in exchange for religious indoctrination that are the main sources. Embracing jihad is a means of upward mobility for the youth of Pakistan’s desperate lower-middle classes. The family of a martyr acquires a privileged position in his town or village that often includes financial support. (DKR) [WIN 23 August 2004]
Clarke served Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton and for a while Bush 43 as a national security expert. His account of the failings, as he saw it, of the present administration became a best seller when it was first published in a hardcover edition last March. Now available in paperback, it sets out this insider’s views. He believes there is no sign the administration can make DHS work, attain coordination among national security agencies, or significantly reduce domestic vulnerabilities. But, he says, it has succeeded in dividing the nation by what he considers contorted legal doctrines. Not to mention the situation in Iraq.
Republicans with heart conditions are advised to abstain from reading this book. Democrats will require no encouragement to read it. (DKR) [WIN 20 September 2004]
White, professor at the UVA Law School, portrays Hiss as an unrepentant and lifelong liar. Hiss not only lived a lie as a State Department official in the secret employ of the Soviets, but also through decades of denial in the face of ever-mounting evidence to the contrary. Hiss found his raison d’ŕtre in the useless charade of seeking vindication. White argues that had Hiss not maintained his innocence, “he would have been just one other undercover agent who had lied, betrayed his country, and gotten caught.” In other words he would have been a mediocrity: an idea his wunderkind ego could not tolerate. But through persistent denial—and by encouraging unwitting supporters to champion his cause—Hiss was able to convince himself that the jig was not up, since his deceits continued to be believed in eloquently vocal quarters. Indeed, White writes that Hiss “tailor[ed his narrative of innocence] to suit the changing tastes of an elite segment of public opinion, from whom all of the information and perceptions about Hiss originated.” But now, he notes, even that elite sees the light, and Hiss stands convicted once more. With its incisive analysis and readability, this is a worthwhile addition to the vast Hiss literature. [WIN 16 February 2004]
On Aug. 19, 1953, Mohammad Mossadegh, the elected prime minister of Iran, was overthrown in a coup led by U.S. agents in a plan devised by the British Secret Service. The official and widely accepted American story was that this was a spontaneous popular uprising. Author Kinzer describes a different scenario. He shows the extreme reaction of the British when the Iranian parliament, in 1951, voted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., most of whose shares were owned by the British government. This nationalization was a response to Britain's adamant refusal to change its existing favorable concession. The British, despite their Labor government's nationalization of several British industries, refused to accept either a 50-50 profit sharing agreement or the compensated nationalization the Iranians offered. The British Secret Service thereupon planned Mossadegh's overthrow, but, with Harry S. Truman as president, the US refused to join the British.
When Dwight D. Eisenhower became president in 1953, he brought with him John Foster as secretary of state and Allen as head of the CIA. Both had big business backgrounds and thought Iran's nationalization threatened oil concessions everywhere. An alarming threat was presented to the American and British public -- that Iran's communist Tudeh Party was about to take over a strategic country bordering the Soviet Cold War foe, and that Mossadegh's moves were a threat to Western oil access.
Even before taking office, the Dulles brothers dealt with the British regarding Mossadegh's overthrow and soon convinced an initially doubtful Eisenhower. Winston Churchill and his Conservatives had defeated the Labor government and had launched an aggressive series of anti-Mossadegh operations that caused Iran to break diplomatic relations and expel all British subjects. Hence the British handed over to the Americans their coup plans and ties to Iranian operatives. Money was liberally distributed to Iranian agents, who handed out some of it to mobs under their control. With the support of the mob and some military, the coup succeeded, and the country's exiled monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah was reinstalled.
A new 1954 oil agreement retained nationalization in name only, with real power going to a consortium consisting of Anglo-Iranian, U.S. companies and a few international companies. Over the decades there was a reinstatement of nationalization, though, as long as it was under the shah, the U.S. did not worry and U.S. companies profited from oil distribution. The author tells the story in the context of questioning the long-term efficacy of US interventions abroad. (Reviewed by Professor Emeritus Nikki R. Keddie, UCLA, author of "Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution.") (Editor's Comment: Book not read, Keddie's review edited. Review included to provide perspective on background of Iran as the next probable target for US attention. In earlier days the threat was oil and communism; today it is oil and Islamic fundamentalism, In both cases it involves US access and control). (Jonkers) [WIN 11 July 2003]
ALLEN DULLES: MASTER OF SPIES, James Srodes
The book is based on a study of 10 years of al-Qaeda statements, audio tapes, videos and training manuals, extracting all references to tactics and targeting philosophy, resulting in assessments of eighteen classes of tactics and twenty-two classes of targets. It was found that a number of al-Qaeda terrorist attacks were forecast by their statements, as depicted in this short, substantive book, based on Arabic textual materials.
The ever-pressing need for more translation resources are repeatedly obvious. In Febraury 2002 the authors obtained an article by an al-Qaeda member addressing the importance of targeting oil tankers. This was followed eight months later by the attack on the LIMBURG off the coast of Yemen. Perhaps even more disturbing, the same article explores the ease with which a small nuclear device and nuclear material could be obtained in Russia due to poor security measures.
This is an Open Source book that can contribute to analysts involved in highly classified counter-terrorist activities, and is useful for counter-terrorist professionals at all levels of government. [WIN 11 July 2003]
ALTERNATIVE CAREERS IN SECRET OPERATIONS: Your Guide to a New Identity, Life and Career, Admiral William Studeman, USN (ret)
Flynn, a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that the difficulties that bureaucrats have in mastering new ways and politicians in funding them leaves America vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Flynn would like to see a Federal Homeland Security System that employs experts from the public and private sectors, is funded by fees charged for such things as handling containers and requires that critical infrastructure be covered by antiterrorist insurance. (DKR) [WIN 19 July 2004]
AMERICA'S ACHILLES HEEL: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack, Richard Falkenrath, Robert Newman and Bradley Thayer
AMERICA'S SPACE SENTINELS: DSP Satellites and National Security, Jeffrey Richelson
The story starts with Vietnam and ends before this year's invasion of Iraq. In a dozen episodes the author provides a thorough picture of what America's warriors have been up to since the 1975 evacuation of Saigon, without even considering covert operations and peacekeeping missions. Most of the activity took place in what used to be called the Near East, from Lebanon to Somalia to the Balkans, in addition to that traditional hunting ground for the US, the Caribbean. The author, a retired naval officer, shines when writing of operations and naval armaments, but the reviewer judged him a bit short on providing political context. The title, incidentally, derives from Secretary of War John Hay's ironic description of the 1898 war against Spain as a "splendid little war," one that fits well with both the recent (and ongoing) Afghanistan and Iraq wars. [WIN 18 July 2003]
Covers the plague of terror that arose in the wake of 9/11 -- and the relentless scientific manhunt to answer the question of who the anthrax killer was. [WIN 24 September 2003]
Despite the victory in Iraq, the world remains an unsafe place for Americans – and the US government unready to defend its people, say these two authors. They provide an account of America’s vulnerabilities – and a program they say that will defend the nation. Both are well-known Washington hardliners. [WIN 30 September 2003]
President Bush has identified Islamist revolutionaries as the heirs to fascism. "They have the same will to power, the same disdain for the individual, the same mad global ambitions. And they will be dealt with in just the same way. Like all fascists, the terrorists cannot be appeased: they must be defeated.''
Bush has got it right. Islamists seek the recreation of a long-gone, mythical past, an epigone of the totalitarian ideologies that arose in Europe in the last century. In this its nature is reminiscent of the Nazis combination of modern methods of acquiring and keeping power and their cult of a romanticized past; for example, the SS casting itself as a recreation of the medieval Teutonic Order. Ladan and Roya Boroumand, Iranian sisters who are both historians, note that, "The militant Islamists' aestheticization of death, glorification of armed force, worship of martyrdom, and faith in the propaganda of the deed' are all attributes of the Western far Right and some of the far Left in the last century."
Given the shortness of historical memory in America, Robert O. Paxton, a professor emeritus at Columbia University, has rendered us a service, and rendered it well, in providing a thorough history and analysis of the movement (or movements, if you prefer) that the Michel Aflaq drew on in dreaming up the Ba'ath socialist Party that produced the Hafiz regime in Syria and Saddam Husayn in Iraq.
Paxton recounts how the fascist parties were born, take root, come to power, govern and are destroyed. He deals mainly with Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany, but also with the lesser specimens of the Fascist disease as manifested in Britain, France, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and elsewhere. He is persuasive in arguing that political instability after the upheaval of World War I and the seizure of power by the expansionist-minded Bosheviks in Russia frightened the conservative European elites invited the fascists into government. Instead of declaring marshal law, King Vittorio Emmanuele III responded to Mussolini's March on Rome (in which Il Duce traveled by train to the capital) by making his prime minister. Hitler became German chancellor because the aristrocratic Franz von Papen, who thought he could control the Austrian upstart, contrived for him to do. It should be noted that the socially and religiously conservative bazaaris, the old commercial elite in Iran, provided vital support for the 1979 Islamic Revolution because they feared being overtaken by the corporate businesses favored by the modernizing Shah. [WIN 3 May 2004]
APOLLO'S WARRIORS, Col Michael Haas, USAF (ret)
Walzer has brought together articles he has published over the past 15 years that deal with the ethical dilemmas posed by military intervention.
He is no admirer of pacifists and is a critic of Leftist explanations of the origins of terrorism in what used to be called the Third World. He understands the need to take ethically charged risks in battle. (DKR) [WIN 2 August 2004]
Reed, Secretary of the Air Force under Reagan, sets forth the horrors of nuclear war and the important impact WWII events had on both sides -- US and Soviet -- to maintain the fragile peace. He gives a critical insider's view of Republican politics during those years [particularly of Nancy Reagan and others in the Reagan cabinet and White House] and his high regard for physicist Edward Teller and various uniformed personnel. -- showing that things turned out so well because neither side had trigger-prone participants. [WIN 16 February 2004]
The ATTACHES, Major General (ret) "Chuck" Scanlon
Gen. Zinni has figured frequently in recent days in the news media with the publication of Battle Ready and his harsh appraisal of the conditions in which U.S. intervention in Iraq has unfurled has been widely noted. His appraisal is that, “In the lead-up to the Iraq War and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption.” Zinni writes that he was moved to speak out by "false rationales presented as a justification; a flawed strategy; lack of planning; the unnecessary alienation of our allies; the underestimation of the task; the unnecessary distraction from real threats; and the unbearable strain dumped on our overstretched military." Zinni supports the views of Gen. Eric K. Shinseki (U.S. Army ret.), the former Army chief of staff, whose estimated that 300,000 troops would be needed in postwar Iraq. Shinseki was pilloried by the civilian leadership at the Pentagon for contradicting their belief that the job could be done in Iraq with less than half that number of troops.
Since retiring in September 2000 as Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, Zinni has been outspoken about his experience of the uses and abuses of the U.S. military. This work, part of Tom Clancy’s non-fiction series on commanders, includes dozens of pages of Zinni’s direct comments. The book begins with the 1998 Desert Fox attack on Saddam Husayn, coordinated by CENTCOM. Then it moves to the Philadelphia-born Zinni’s early years as a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam, his subsequent service on Okinawa, his time in Europe at the end of the Cold War and onto his work in the 1991 war against Iraq. He joined CENTCOM in time for the Somalia fiasco and speaks frankly about the failings there. As commander of CENTCOM, Zinni’s responsibilities took him to Pakistan and Central Asia and had him fencing with Saddam over weapons inspections. What makes the book important reading for a wide public is the 24-page closing section in which Zinni sets out his concern that his generation’s military legacy is under threat. (DKR) [WIN 31 May 2004]
In this book, Sullivan, a journalist who covered the Balkans in the 1990s, tells the amazing story of how a Kosovo Albanian who slipped illegally into the United States from Mexico, became a roof contractor in Brooklyn and proceeded to buy and deliver arms to the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Florin Krasniqi bought weapons at gun shows and took them on conventional flights to Albania from where they were forwarded to the Kosovars fighting off Serbian domination. To purchase Stinger missiles, Krasniqi, a Muslim, traveled to Pakistan. And back home in Brooklyn, Krasniqi got a great deal in uniforms from his Hasidim neighbors. Sullivan has written a book that is very funny, but also troubling. One would like to hope that the wheeling and dealing in weaponry Sullivan describes has become impossible since 9/11. [WIN 14 June 2004]
BETWEEN SERB AND ALBANIAN: A History of Kosovo, Miranda Vickers
BETWEEN SILK AND CYANIDE: A Codemaker's War, Leo Marks
Using the war in Iraq, Seib takes a close look at the relationship between news media and warfare. Seib takes up the rise of Arab television stations, particularly Al-Jazeera, that command vast publics, especially in the Arab world and that can be downright hostile to the Western presentation of events. He also deals with the growing importance of the Internet as a source of news and commentary and the portable satellite technology that allows direct, real-time reporting.
Journalists covering the war in Iraq came under increased pressure to sacrifice accuracy and depth for speed given the insatiable demands of television. Seib finds that American coverage of the war reflected the tension between the role of journalists in bolstering support for the troops and maintaining am independent, critical posture. Seib, who is a professor of journalism, brings to his discussion of these problems, a sharp analysis of embedding journalists, something he argues yields vivid but limited close-ups that risk missing the forest for the trees. Seib fears that the media's growing ability to capture the action is accompanied by a declining practice of in-depth reporting. He may be right as the shadow of "infotainment" appears to grow steadily larger. [WIN 3 May 2004]
BIOHAZARD: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World, Ken Alibek, with Stephen Handelman
Domaradskij, once a microbiologist in the Soviet Union in covert defense ops against offensive biological weapons, moved in 1970 to weapons development at Biopreparat, to develop new germ weapons. Now 80 years old, he explains his activities and purports to demonstrate the difficult decisions he had to make that forced him to shift from scientist “for the good” to death merchant. Better, say several reviewers, is Ken Alibek’s “Biopreparat in Biohazard” published last year, but WMD may still need to review this latest account. [WIN 30 September 2003]
The BLACK BOOK ON COMMUNISM, Stephane Courtois, Nicholas Werth, Jean-Louise Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek and Jean-Louis Margolin
BLACK HAWK DOWN: A STORY OF MODERN WAR, Mark Bowden
An account of how Farah happened on al-Qaeda’s diamond-smuggling operations while he was the Washington Post’s bureau chief in West Africa in 2001. Farah details the sequence of events that led to his now famous exposÚ of the Mephistophelian alliance between al-Qaeda and Liberia’s notorious former president Charles Taylor, and the summary rape and ruin of West Africa while Taylor orchestrated the inequitable trade of diamonds for uniforms, weapons and cars to perpetuate the nightmarish strife. However, this is not where the book ends—it’s where a new unsettling story begins. After Farah’s article ran in the Post, he and his family were forced to leave Africa for their own safety. On arriving home, Farah says, he was met by a bitter and embarrassed CIA determined to discredit him in order to cover the fact that they knew nothing about al-Qaeda’s involvement in West Africa. Over time, the CIA’s behavior led to the revelation of damning information about the United States’s entire network of intelligence agencies, rife with infighting, disorganization and lack of central control. Farah’s drum-tight presentation of evidence to substantiate his allegations will be difficult to dispute, and his stark and straightforward writing style makes this book hard to put down. [WIN 24 March 2004]
BRITISH MILITARY INTELLIGENCE IN THE PALESTINE CAMPAIGN, Yigal Sheffy
The appearance of a paperback edition of Bush vs the Beltway follows the success of the hardcover edition published last year. Mylroie is an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and has taught at Harvard and the U. S. Naval War College This controversial book is Mylroie's account of the story behind the buildup to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mylroie asserts that CIA and State Department factions falsely discredited intelligence about Saddam Husayn’s regime and considers the bureaucrats involved to have been cynical and self-serving, even at cost to national security.
As Mylroie sees it, the peace and prosperity the Clinton administration claimed was illusory with the administration failing to see and deal with a growing threat from Saddam's arms build-up after the 1991 Gulf War. She also dismisses as wrongheaded the notion of Islamist terrorist groups without any state backing and devotes a chapter to the tactics of deception and denial employed by the United States and Britain during World War II. Similar methods, she argues, could be employed to persuade governments that al-Qa'ida had no links to Saddam's Iraq. (DKR) [WIN 16 August 2004]
Representative Charlie Wilson, who is quoted to the effect that his power in the House of Representatives had come primarily “as a result of his work with the Israeli lobby,” apparently played a key role in supporting anti-Soviet guerillas in Afghanistan by fostering ties between Israel and Pakistan. Journalist Crile tells the story as a rollicking tale involving beautiful women (including those escorted by Wilson to and from Israel), clandestine arms deals involving unlikely partners, and involvement by the Congressman with CIA operative Gust Avrokotos operating in utter disregard for the rules.
Charlie Wilson himself ended up overseeing much of this eccentric weapons program for Pakistan out of his own congressional office, and it turned out to be a wild and remarkable success story. The Spanish mortar, for example, was designed to make it possible for the mujahideen to communicate directly with American navigation satellites to deliver repeated rounds within inches of their designated targets. The weapon’s name was purposefully misleading, chosen to conceal the fact that major portions of this “Spanish mortar” were being built by the Israelis. Milt Bearden, the station chief who would dominate the war’s later years, actually came to rely on the steady stream of crazy new weapons that kept coming on-line from this offbeat program. His strategy called for introducing a new weapon into the battle every three months or so, in order to bluff the Red Army into thinking their enemy was better armed and supported than it was.
"When the weapon was first used it wiped out an entire Spetsnaz outpost with a volley of perfect strikes. And as soon as Bearden learned from the CIA’s intercepts that the commander of the 40th Army had helicoptered to the scene, he knew that from that day on, the Soviets would have to factor in the possibility that the mujahideen had acquired some deadly targeting capability. For that reason alone, the weapon was a success even if never fired again. Bearden became so intoxicated with this kind of psychological warfare that he later developed plans to have a group of mujahideen shoot dead Russian soldiers with crossbows. To him, the vision of men who might kill you with a bow and arrow one day or with a satellite-guided mortar the next would be unnerving to any army.” (P-393).This is a best-seller. [WIN 21 June 2003]
James Lilley’s father went to work in Standard Oil’s China office in 1916. In the years that followed members of the Lilley family witnessed the tumultuous events of the twentieth century in various parts of Asia. James Lilley himself is 20-year veteran of the CIA who has served in posts throughout East Asia. Thus China Hands, due out in May, is informed by a remarkable personal and familial background in the area. He offers gripping accounts among other things of the agency’s operations in Laos, the war in Vietnam, and the Tiananmen massacre. He observed the last as ambassador to China from the vantage point of the U.S. Embassy, strafed by the Chinese. Written with his journalist son, this book will engross the attention of all readers with an interest in intelligence and U.S. policy in China. [WIN 5 April 2004]
CHINESE INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS, Nicholas Eftimiades
CHURCHILL AND THE SECRET SERVICE, David Stafford
While the first World War was still being fought, the British and the French arranged to divvy up the Ottoman Empire. When the dust had settled, the French got Syria and Lebanon and the British got Palestine, Trans-Jordan and three Ottoman provinces to the east that in 1921 were confected into the Kingdom of Iraq.
The British had a difficult time in Iraq with a determined Arab revolt, in which Sunni and Shi'i Muslims put aside their mutual hostility to fight a common enemy. There was trouble, too, with tribal leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan. British rule, to Whitehall’s consternation, could not be maintained with a reduced garrison and the cost of Iraq was prohibitive for a British Treasury depleted by the Great War. The upshot was a system of indirect rule for which Churchill was largely responsible.
Catherwood, a Cambridge University historian and adviser to Tony Blair, finds parallels between then and now and quotes Churchill's appraisal that Britain was spending a vast treasure “for the privilege of living on an ungrateful volcano out of which we are in no circumstances to get anything worth having.” Yet the British stayed on in Iraq until forced out in 1958 by the military coup that overthrew the monarchy and began a series of dictatorships that continued down to that of Saddam Husayn. During those four decades the British did get something worth having, Iraqi oil for their fleet and industry. And the Iraqis got what for many of them now seems in retrospect and for all its many faults, a silver, if not a golden, age. (DKR) [WIN 21 June 2004]
The CIA AND THE U-2 PROGRAM, 1954-1974, George W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenback
Kessler, an investigative reporter and author of several books about CIA and FBI, describes espionage activity in Iraq that supported the March invasion that toppled President Saddam Hussein. Kessler will be a luncheon keynote speaker at the AFIO Convention on 2 November to discuss his examination of how CIA silently aided America’s war on terrorism. [WIN 24 September 2003]
The CIA'S BLACK OPS: COVERT ACTION, FOREIGN POLICY AND DEMOCRACY, by John Jacob Nutter
CIA DRUG ALLEGATIONS BOOK, Ned Dolan
CIA AND THE VIETNAM POLICYMAKERS: Three Episodes 1962-1968, Harold P. Ford
Maybe the "perfect" book for anyone interested in working in the DO for the CIA. Aspiring DO applicants will be especially interested in what Gilligan has to say, not only because he was a career CIA case officer, but also because he was a DO recruiter. Especially valuable are two appendix sections titled, "tips to applicants" and "A day in the Life of a First-Tour Ops Officer." In addition to this virtually unique information and perspective, Gilligan's book offers some of the most detailed insights into the overall structure of the DO, its future challenges, and its most recent mishaps. As an experienced member of the Agency's Covert Action Staff, Gilligan also elaborates the Agency's pre-9/11 stratagems, and he offers some post-9/11 considerations. Overall, CIA LIFE offers what few -- if not no -- other Agency books do. [WIN 5 April 2004]
CLOAKS-AND-DAGGERS, moderated by Dr Rudolf Kies
Boville, a Spanish journalist, describes the complexities of the war between the United States and Latin America over cocaine. She sets out in detail its historical origins, the scientific data and economics involved and the social, legal, religious and environmental issues of the cocaine trade.
Boville finds that U.S. policies are threatening Latin America’s development and stability. Among the many topics she takes up is what she sees as the involvement of Coca Cola in the spread of cocaine use. (DKR) [WIN 20 September 2004]
The CODE BOOK, Simon Singh
If you are saddened by events over the last year that you see as having tarnished and weakened America’s place in the world, Ferguson may cheer you up. He is a Brit who is currently a professor at New York University and is regarded by many as the most impressive historian of his young generation.
Ferguson believes that the United States is indeed an empire but needs to learn better how to handle the responsibility. Ferguson asserts empires are as often a force for progress as a source of oppression. So he wants the imperial U.S. to prosper – for everybody’s sake. (DKR) [WIN 23 August 2004]
COMMUNISM, THE COLD WAR AND THE FBI CONNECTION, Herman Bly
When a Spanish judge pressed charges against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1998, the case broke an international code of silence on the fates of the tens of thousands of Latin Americans who were tortured and killed during more than a decade of dictatorship in Chile and neighboring countries. The United States agreed to Spain's request for 60,000 pages of secret files on Chile, including CIA operational files. Former NPR news managing editor Dinges (Our Man in Panama), who lived in Chile and was interrogated in a secret torture camp during the Pinochet dictatorship, pored through those files and reports on the story of Operation Condor, a Chilean-led conspiracy among six South American dictatorships to hunt down and eliminate leftist rebels and their sympathizers -- a murderous hunt that included the 1973 Washington, DC assassination of Chilean exile Orlando Letelier. Dinges describes a Secretary of State Kissinger presenting a public pro human rights stance, while behind closed doors, reassuring Latin America's dictators they have unimpeded U.S. support. The account is full of vivid stories: double agents, wet affairs, and cynical or burned out U.S. diplomats. Dinges's study is a cautionary tale for today's war on terror which shares a major anniversary with the 1973 Chilean coup that brought Pinochet to power: September 11. [WIN 24 February 2004]
It is commonplace these days to hear that no significant ties have been found connecting Saddam Husayn and Al-Qa’ida and that claims by the Bush administration that there was such a connection provided no real grounds for invading Iraq. Hayes argues that indeed there was such a connection and that it represented a real threat to the United States. He points to links between Iraq and the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, one of who appears to have been given asylum and support by Saddam after the attack. Iraqi intelligence documents, he shows, speak of a good relationship with Usama bin Ladin.
Hayes faults the news media for a bias against accepting the reality of the Saddam-Qa’ida connection and points to media skepticism about a meeting in Prague, reported by Czech intelligence, between an Iraqi operative and Muhammad Atta, the 9/11 hijacker. He admits that this skepticism echoed assessments within the American Intelligence Community and is at pains to point out where information needs to be treated with caution.
Evidence is now accepted that there were meetings between senior Iraqi figures and al-Qa’ida representatives and connections between the Ba’ath regime and the Islamist terror organization Ansar al-Islam. Ansar was strongly influenced by al-Qa’ida. While nothing found so far amounts to a smoking gun, there are dots that when joined up point to a sinister Saddam-Qa’ida connection. By the time the Iraq war began, Hayes writes, the evidence of Iraqi links to al-Qa’ida was a veritable constellation of dots to be linked up. Nevertheless, there will be some readers who feel that Hayes has not quite convinced them. (DKR) [WIN 7 June 2004]
CONFESSION d'UN AGENT SOVIETIQUE, ╔ditions du Rocher
Major Western governments have been privatizing services once performed by their uniformed services, as described in P.W. Singer's book. Singer divides corporate participants in three categories, (1) Firms that provide combat-training and consulting, including participation in armed conflict, (2) Consultants who offer advice, but do not engage in combat, and (3) Support firms that offer non-lethal aid, such as mine-sweeping, maintenance, software, logistics and supply. The Defense Department understands how much faster and cheaper things can be done if they are contracted out. Private contractors are used in anti-drug operations in Colombia. Many security tasks in Iraq are already being done by private companies. US intervention in Liberia could be accomplished more easily if private contractor personnel augmented American combat forces. It goes without saying that all of this impacts on the Intelligence Community and its operations. (Jonkers) [WIN 25 July 2003]
COUNTERFEIT SPIES: Genuine or Bogus?, Nigel West
Cutler recounts his experiences as a member of the OSS’ X-2 counterintelligence unit during World War II and his postwar employment by the War Department’s Strategic Services Unit that later became the CIA.
Following the German surrender, Cutler was assigned to check on Allen Dulles’s sources inside Germany, known collectively as the Crown Jewels. Then, when the OSS was turned into the SSU, he moved to Berlin and set about gathering intel from former Nazis, work which led to his becoming chief of counterespionage.
Top priority for Cutler was to discover what the Soviets were up to from defectors and by turning their assets. Cutler sets out previously unpublished case histories of double agents in Berlin and gives details of recruitment, missions, methods and the fates that followed from success or failure. A remarkable account of espionage during the hot war and the beginning of the Cold War. (DKR) [WIN 27 September 2004]
"Lawyer/writer Fontana adds a new and credible ingredient to the international thriller: the role of big-time lawyers in the dirty work of arms smuggling and other nefarious deeds. As a lifelong thriller buff, I've found that credibility is essential to moving a story along. Fontana slyly hints that his story is based on an actual CIA operation aimed at bedeviling arms dealers, and the boys down at the pool hall tell me he is dead on-target. A splendid read." -- Joe Goulden, author The Super Lawyers and AFIO member. "Fontana discloses how the anti-terrorist war plays out in the real world of intelligence operatives and 21st century spycraft. The icing on the cake is Fontana's great writing talent, which wraps the whole shebang up in a sensitively told story of a man coming to terms with his place in a world that's more complicated than any cold warrior would like to admit." --Gus Russo, investigative reporter and author. "Murder, mayhem, Mystery skillfully woven into a compelling and timely story. The protagonist faces profound ethical choices, stark dangers and deep emotions as he navigates the murky waters of international business conspiracy." --Jim Barry, retired senior CIA analyst. [WIN 26 January 2004]
The CROWN JEWELS: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives, Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev
DAY OF DECEIT: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor, Robert B. Stinnett
Soviet master spy Walter G. Krivitsky was a small, dapper and very nervous man, who played a major role in Soviet espionage in the 1920s and 1930s and knew many of the most important spies embedded in European nations. He was also the first key Soviet defector to warn the West early on about the Stalin regime. He became friends with Whittaker Chambers, encouraging him to come forward and thus precipitating the Alger Hiss case. Krivitsky provided the British with clues that would certainly have unmasked the Philby spy group, but following his debriefing in London he was found out by Anthony Blunt, who warned Moscow. Krivitsky also had published a damning account of the sins of the Soviet regime in 1939, "In Stalin's Secret Service." He made the Soviet death list. Krivitsky told the New York Times, "If they ever try to prove that I took my own life, don't believe it." The Times used that quotation in a story when Krivitsky was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in a locked hotel room in the Bellevue Hotel near Washington's Union Station on Feb. 10, 1941. Washington police, after a cursory walk-through, dismissed the death as a suicide, sent the body to the morgue, and allowed the room to be cleaned. Arthur Koestler, a refugee from the communist system, speaking for many skeptics of the seemingly mysterious death of Walter Krivitsky which was deemed a "suicide" said "There's an old OGPU saying 'Any fool can commit a murder, but it takes an artist to commit a natural death.'
This book is not simply the final word on the Krivitsky mystery it is also a model of how exciting and thrilling true espionage history can be when events themselves are allowed to take over and be recounted by a master of the subject. The author, Gary Kern, spent ten years researching the book, and covers all original documents released by the British archives and the FBI in 2002-2003. It would appear to be a fascinating read. (Jonkers) [WIN 15 August 2003]
Holt is a lawyer and former deputy secretary of the Army who has compiled a massive account of the many operations conducted by the Allies to deceive the Axis during the Second World War. The best known of the operations in misleading the enemy was persuading the Germans that the Allies would certainly land in France but not where the Germans were led to expect. Holt tells the reader about many other successes, such as Operation Mincemeat that inspired the book and film about The Man Who Never Was. For scholars this work is a splendid compendium of information on the art of strategic deception. For the general public, it reads like a good spy thriller. (DKR) [WIN 12 January 2004]
DECISION FOR DISASTER: Betrayal at the Bay of Pigs, Grayston L. Lynch
A showcase for political and military genius, the Civil War was also a breeding ground for epic frauds, according to this engaging historical study of a great period con-artist. A New York City lawyer and Democratic hack, Charles Dunham found the wartime atmosphere of suspicion and hysteria a perfect climate for his talents as forger, propagandist and agent provocateur. Working (probably) with Union officials, Dunham invented a stable of fictional identities, some of whom fomented fake Confederate raids, sabotage operations and assassination plans, while others reported on these imaginary plots in Northern newspapers to arouse public ire and smear Copperhead opponents of the war. The network of false personas grew so complex that at one point Dunham offered a reward for his own capture and was duly arrested. At war’s end, his machinations grew murkier, as he set up a “School of Perjury” to provide phony witnesses, including his wife and brother-in-law, to investigators looking for evidence to incriminate Jefferson Davis in Lincoln’s assassination. When that scam landed him in prison, he started a new one offering fake proof of Andrew Johnson’s complicity in the murder to Radical Republicans trying to impeach the President. Although Dunham’s labyrinthine schemes can sometimes be eye-glazing, his skillful lying and sheer chutzpah make for entertaining reading. His main historical interest, though, lies in the immense number of false leads he generated to tantalize Lincoln conspiracy theorists. Journalism professor Cummings, author of Secret Craft: The Journalism of Edward Farrer, does a fine job of untangling fact from fiction. His thorough research and careful judgments throw a revealing light on many outstanding controversies in Civil War covert operations and Lincoln conspiracy studies. Photos. [WIN 24 March 2004]
Overy’s scholarly study looks at how the systems worked and differed in the two major totalitarian states that most threatened civilization in the last century. For example, the Nazis, for all the SS delusion of being the recreation of an aristocratic Order of Teutonic knights, came to increasingly appeal to workers for their support while the CPSU under Stalin, supposedly the international vanguard of the proletariat, relied more and more on middle-class technocrats. (DKR) [WIN 9 August 2004]
EDWARD LANSDALE: The Unquiet American, Cecil B Currey
ENDGAME, Scott Ritter
Thomas McInerney and Paul Vallely are both retired generals and pundits for Fox News -- and they both admire the way the Bush administration has been conducting the war on Islamist terrorism and especially its taste for regime change.
Terrorism will not be defeated by a law-enforcement paradigm of counterterrorism or the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, they assert. What has to be done is to go after state sponsors of terrorism, among them Iran, North Korea and Syria. Application of soft power to encourage democracy where it does not exist and using public diplomacy to get out the American message and foster Islamic moderation is all well and good, but when it comes down to it, regime change is what is needed. If the present regimes in North Korea and Syria wish to survive, they must end nuclear programs and stop supporting terrorism otherwise they should be invaded. Should the Islamist militants who regard the Saudi royal house as corrupt and insufficiently Muslim take over, well, then Saudi Arabia will have to be conquered. The authors grant that Iran is too big to be invaded, but embargoes and a naval blockade could to the trick.
Not only are they enthusiastic for military solutions, they support Donald Rumsfeld’s doctrine of light, mobile forces, backed by increased spending on the latest weaponry when in the eyes of some nothing has contributed more to the problems the United States faces in Iraq than the Secretary’s dismissal of the need for more, many more boots on the ground. To many with direct experience of the Middle East, the book smacks of an earlier, more innocent time that vanished when the present circumstances in Iraq gave the lie to self-deception in high places. (DKR) [WIN 24 May 2004]
EXPLOSION ABOARD THE IOWA, Richard L. Schwoebel
Conservative historian Buckley provides text to a timeline of the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, which went up in August 1961, and down in November 1989. Without right or left bias, Buckley tells the story of the Wall through vignettes of separated families, those who tried to escape to freedom and made it, and those who didn't [Le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy providing one of the best dramatizations of the latter]. "Buckley is at times funny, at times genuinely horrified by the Communist regime, and at times exultant over its fall. His lucid account celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit and the will to achieve freedom." -- Publisher's Weekly. [WIN 6 March 2004]
Robin, a professor of political science, has analyzed the political uses of fear and found it both a stimulant to economic growth and an excuse employed by regimes to justify repressive rule.
Robin develops his argument through discussions of Hobbes, Montesquieu, de Tocqueville and Arendt and concludes that fear underpins contemporary liberal theory. He points out the threats fear inspires in the workplace and elsewhere in ordinary life. Robin predicts that when the war on terror finally ends, we will find ourselves still living in fear. (DKR) [WIN 30 August 2004]
AFIO members will be well aware of the debates over the perceived merits and faults of the 9/11 Commission’s final report. They should also be aware that whatever the fault finding, it appears to have received universal praise for the quality of its writing. But Marc Reuel Gerecht, a former CIA officer now with the American Enterprise Institute, finds the report fails to offer effective solutions to problems. He admits, however, that it is well written, incisive, and, he believes, politically damning.
One reviewer went so far as to suggest it is not a stretch to compare the report to The Federalist Papers, in the sense that the book is designed to foster the debate by which the country will re-imagine itself through its bureaucracy. Others have said it reads like an engrossing novel. So what more promising read is available for a mere $10? (DKR) [WIN 23 August 2004]
Ullman is a former naval officer who writes about national security affairs for the Washington Times. In his new book he proposes a variety of things to do to win the war on terrorism, some important, others unconvincing.
On the plus side, he rightly urges that we admit that the war is not a general one on terror, but specifically a war against Islamist militants. As Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid, general manager of the Arabiya TV news channel, recently said, "It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims." This correctly indicates that we are not at war with the whole Islamic world. Rather we are fighting an enemy we share with those Muslims the Islamists find wanting and are seeking to conquer.
Ullman is less persuasive when he calls for more serious U.S. support for the Musharraf regime in Pakistan. It is true that there are many Pakistani jihadi who admire Usama bin Ladin and would like to see the end of Musharraf – and were they to succeed in replacing him, they would acquire a nuclear arsenal. The question is how the United States can strengthen Musharraf's position more than it already does. As Iraq has shown, there are limits on the effectiveness of foreign intervention on behalf of those judged to be the good guys under attack by the bad guys in Islamic societies.
As for Iraq, Ullman proposes international provision of economic and political aid, comparable in scope to the Marshall Plan. He is apparently blind to the profound disinclination in the industrialized world, the United States apart, to put money into Iraq which as yet shows no sign of becoming a secure country free of destabilizing violence and that offers few economic prospects to any country, other than the United States.
Whoever occupies the White House next year, the Europeans are more than likely to continue to consider that the United States, as they see it, having broken Iraq, bears the responsibility for repairing it.
Newt Gingrich contributes a foreword and Wesley Clark an afterword. (DKR) [WIN 27 September 2004]
Matthew is the nephew of Zbigniew Brzezinski and a contributor to the New York Times Magazine. He finds that the homeland antiterrorist effort has lost its drive while a revitalized U.S. intelligence Community has yet to emerge.
Brzezinski posits a United States in 2008 where a student and his colleagues are under surveillance by radio and are considered guilty until proven innocent. Terrorist attack response drills show high levels of U.S. lack of preparation, he warns. Brzezinski’s writing reflects his solid abilities as a journalist and the high intelligence found in other members of his family. (DKR) [WIN 19 July 2004]
Mahoney’s book charges the USG with treasonous dealing with countries that assist terrorists and asserts that the Washington was responsible for the rise of the Taliban when it assisted Islamists in their resistance to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Others would put the blame for the latter more on Washington’s disengagement from Afghan affairs once the Russians were gone and on its indifference to the struggles between warlords that followed and paved the way for the Taliban takeover. Lindh, captured among a group of Taliban and al-Qa’ida fighters in Afghanistan, was at first threatened with being tried as a traitor. But he never went to trial and instead struck a plea bargain that sent him to prison for 20 years. The court also imposed a gag order barring him from talking about his experience. Mahoney’s main thrust is that the Justice Department halted Lindh’s trial out of fear for what might become known. Readers may find Mahoney’s arguments less than convincing. (DKR) [WIN 21 June 2004]
Coll is a Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post journalist who covered Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992. The publisher says he covers in this work the long and deep U.S. involvement America has had in that region. [WIN 15 October 2003]
GIDEON'S SPIES: The Secret History of the Mossad, Gordon Thomas
Mahmood Mamdani, an East African of Indian Muslim descent and a professor of government at Columbia University, gives an account of the worst case of blowback in the last quarter century.
In an anti-Soviet Cold War ploy, the CIA in what Mamdani calls its biggest covert operation ever, financed and armed jihadis fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan to the tune of approximately $3 billion. In so doing, he believes, the Reagan administration rescued right-wing Islamism from a historical cul-de-sac.
The Afghans and a flood of foreign Muslims, able to join the fray thanks to the United States, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, succeeded in forcing the Russians out the country and helping the Soviet Union along to its grave.
The success of the Afghan and ‘Afghan Arab’ warriors also gave rise to an Islamist international, now attacking Western interests around the world. Although the United States did not assist Usama bin Ladin, it participated in creating a matrix of militant Islamism that favored the growth of al-Qa’ida -- with the results Americans became universally aware of on 9/11.
Mamdani argues that the religiously founded war against the Soviets led to a concentration of violence within non-state actors, such as al-Qa’ida. While religiously based militant bodies such as Hamas and Lebanese Hizballah had existed for years, they had nothing like neither the reach nor the vast ambition, to revive a universal caliphate, of the new networks.
Despite a Leftist slant, Mamdani’s book is a useful reminder of the origins of the harmful unintended consequences of the anti-Soviet struggle on the Arab and Islamic worlds and the West, origins too often ignored. (DKR) [WIN 30 August 2004]
The GRAND STRATEGY OF PHILIP II, Geoffrey Parker
Hitz, a former CIA inspector general, provides a clear-sighted overview of 20th-century espionage. Now at Princeton University, his book grew out of a seminar in which works of spy fiction were compared to actual intelligence operations. The result is a singularly informative work that starts with Kipling, Conrad, Maugham and down to le CarrÚ and other contemporaries. He concludes that real espionage cases are more bizarre than the fictional accounts.
Hitz recounts that according to former DCI Robert Gates, and a renowned case officer, Dwight "Dewey" Clarridge, there was no significant recruitments of Soviet spies during their many years of service and that those Soviets who did become assets were all walk-ins, all of whom were initially suspected of being provocateurs. An extremely valuable asset, Oleg Penkovsky, spent months trying to convince the agency he was for real. The Russians, on the other hand, gave a ready welcome to Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. While the West was cautious about using sexual favors to recruit assets, the Communist bloc used women operatives as honey traps, girls to catch men and men to catch women. (DKR) [EBBN August 2004]
Yes, not a new phenomena. Mayor shows that ancient civilizations had considerable working knowledge of chemistry and natural poisons and she describes how animals, flammables, and poisons were used on the battlefields -- often with gruesome descriptions of immense animal cruelty. Pigs being covered with pitch, set on fire, and forced to stampede into approaching troops, being only one of several. [WIN 30 September 2003]
Briody uses his considerable investigative skills to rake up a good deal of mud about the Halliburton Corp. and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, both of which acquired vast no-bid contracts for work in Iraq but also been caught in less than scrupulous conduct. Briody, who recounts the rise of the two companies from the oil fields of west Texas to the corridors of power in Washington, asserts that they bought politicians and manipulated the contracting process while raking in record profits.
The post–Cold War Pentagon has become enamored of outsourcing tasks previously undertaken by the military. Briody places Vice President Cheney, CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, at the heart of this shift back when he was Defense secretary in the cabinet of Bush Senior. Despite poor editing that has left the book repetitive in places, Briody comes across as casting much needed light on how public need, private profit and the conduct of war interact in the present-day United States. [WIN 10 May 2004]
Adams reported for The Washington Post on the arrest of an Algerian, Abdel Ghani Meskini, and an FBI investigation into a millennium terrorist plot in which a car full of explosives was to have been driven across the Canadian border near Seattle and detonated at Los Angeles International Airport.
Drawing on what she learned from her reporting, she has written a novel that explores the lives of illegal Algerian immigrants, who include criminals and Islamist terrorists, and FBI agents. The protagonist is the young Aziz Arkoun who has fled to Boston in 1999 as a stowaway to escape the violence of the Islamist insurgency in Algeria and the brutality and corruption of the country's regime. His neighbors in Boston are mostly secularized Muslims who drink, go to clubs, get involved with women and regard the call to jihad with contempt.
When the Algerian community attracts the attention of the bureau, the agents dealing with the investigation are woefully incapable of understanding the Arabic-speaking world they are looking into. The result is that they put together an almost wholly inaccurate picture of what is going on. This in turn results in small fry being caught while the big fish get away.
Adams has set down a vivid account of a culture that far too few of us understand. (DKR) [WIN 7 September 2004]
Fox News Channel's John Gibson goes after what he sees as the many Arabs who have a mindless hatred of the United States, Germans who take an addictive pleasure in anti-Americanism, Brits who hate themselves for not hating Americans enough and French who live in an anti-American nation. His main point is that other countries did not understand American feelings after 9/11 and so did not support the invasion of Iraq. Gibson reduces differences over matters of high policy to intense emotional dislike, springing from fear and envy or to irrational tribal antagonisms that are displayed in sports activities. All in all, a superficial, ranting attempt to deal with real and serious problems. For an enlightening study of European attitudes towards to the United States, Robert Kagan's Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order may be recommended; for Arab attitudes, Bernard Lewis' What went wrong? (DKR) [WIN 3 May 2004]
The HAUNTED WOOD: Soviet Espionage in America -- the Stalin Era, Allen Weinstein & Alexander Vassiliev
HEADQUARTERS GERMANY, Hans Klaus and Andreas Robert
HE WHO DARES: Recollections of Service in the SAS, SBS and MI5, David Sutherland
Frankel is a former executive editor of the New York Times and his book is what one would expect from such a person. JFK is portrayed as the undeniable hero in the confrontation with Khrushchev and the United States and the Soviet Union are considered to have never truly been on the edge of war. Frankel's lessons learnt from the crisis are offered as sobering lessons for leading the war against Islamist jihadis. (DKR)
HITLER: The Pathology of Evil, George Victor
Kater, a historian of the Nazis, has produced a story of past evil that is also resonant with insights into the indoctrination employed by militant Islamists today.
Drawing on letters, diaries and the testimony of Hitler Youth veterans, Kater concludes that the authoritarian nature of the Nazi regime and its racist ideology was combined with a sense of community that made this paramilitary organization appealing to adolescents, searching for certitudes.
Where Nazi militaristic values were in conflict with German family values, the Hitler Youth tended to be the winner. Much the same phenomenon is discernible in current reports of Muslim families that appear genuinely shocked to find their young offspring have become involved in murderous activities, including suicide attacks. (DKR) [WIN 30 August 2004]
Reviewers in Publisher's Weekly have called this rushed-to-print work a "jumbled but valuable set of accounts of crucial operations in the Iraq war." The 78-yo author focuses on his findings with the Special Forces [being a former one] during visits he made in 2002 to Iraq to observe Task Force VIKING's actions with Kurdish forces, and TF DAGGER's activities in southern Iraq. The book will garner greatest interest in his account of the 4th infantry battalion's operations in Tikrit -- Saddam's hometown -- and ends with Saddam's capture. It has many descriptions of the major players active in Iraq and how special operations are carried out in this atmosphere. (DKR) [WIN 9 August 2004]
Rick Atkinson, who covered the Iraq war for The Washington Post, is the son of an army officer and is a military historian as well as a journalist. He was with Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division during the push to Baghdad. That is when he learned he had won a Pulitzer Prize for 'An Army at Dawn,' his history of the North African campaign during World War II. He has written a vivid and well-informed book about the 101st and Petraeus in Iraq that is in keeping with such credentials.
The soldiers of the 101st, he writes, ''took hardship in stride and refused to let bloodlust, cynicism or other despoilers of good armies cheat them of their battle honors.” Petraeus, the son of a Dutch sea captain who took refuge in the United States during World War II, is remarkably tough. Atkinson rightly depicts him as a man of heroic stature. As the general has said of himself, he is outside the norm. The 101st’s accomplishments under his command after the collapse of Saddam Husayn’s regime are among the most successful the occupation forces have achieved. It is not surprising that having only just returned from Iraq, he is being sent back, according to Pentagon scuttlebutt, as chief of the Office of Military Cooperation. In that capacity he will oversee the organization and training of all the new Iraqi military and security forces.
Petraeus will be at the very heart of the conduct of coalition policy in the short time left before the transfer back to the Iraqis on June 30 of sovereignty over their country.
Despite the weaknesses of the Iraqi forces during the war, which lacked among many other things an air force, the 101st faced stiff resistance from some of the enemy that held out in several urban areas south of Baghdad and in attacks on coalition supply lines. Still, it needed less than half the number of the forces that fought the 1991 Gulf War to defeat the Iraqi this time. But it was a different picture once the major combat was over. As both then Army chief of staff Gen. Erik Shinseki and former Army secretary Thomas White said in the run up to the war -- and to the fury of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz -- several hundred thousand troops would be needed. Atkinson points out that contrary to the expectations of the Pentagon civilian leadership, there were 130,000 overstretched U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2003, with another 30,000 in Kuwait, rather than the mere 30,000 total they had predicted for the end of summer.
Atkinson says he came to understand that ''victory in a global war against terrorism meant, at best, containing rather than vanquishing the enemy.'' U.S. forces, he writes, will for the foreseeable future be caught up in fights that are 'small, sequential, expeditionary and bottomless. [WIN 5 April 2004]
Nothing in recent years has changed the world of international relations and national security more than developments in the means of communications. This is the premise advanced by Lt. Cdr. Armistead, USN. His book demonstrates how modern means of communication have affected the delivery of critical information and influential content that shape perceptions, manage opinions, and control behavior. The electronic revolution includes a transcendence of the old psychological operations conducted by national governments. Thus low-cost high technology allows non-governmental organizations and rogue elements, such as terrorist groups, to put across their views as well as enabling cyberattacks on computer networks and infrastructure.
Armistead’s book fills an important gap in IO literature by analyzing the military, technological, and psychological aspects of information operations and as such serves as a textbook for military IO professionals. The general reader, too, has much to learn from this work about how IO has affected foreign policy, military operations, and government organization in recent years. (DKR) [WIN 7 June 2004]
INSIDE STALIN'S KREMLIN: An Eyewitness Account of Brutality, Duplicity and Intrigue, Peter S. Deriabin with Joseph C. Evans
Last July, the conservative newsman Robert Novak exposed Valerie Plame, wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, as a covert CIA operative. Novak attributed the disclosure to senior Bush administration officials.
How Novak obtained the information about Mrs. Wilson has become a serious legal matter. It is, after all, a federal offense to disclose the identity of a CIA covert operative. In December, after a preliminary three-month inquiry by the Justice Department and the F.B.I., AG Ashcroft referred the matter to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago. Fitzgerald has conducted a grand jury investigation as a special counsel but no one has been charged.
Mrs. Wilson’s outing came a few days after the New York Times published an article by Wilson that questioned whether the administration had manipulated intelligence to support going to war with Iraq. Wilson also suggested a report he drew up in 2002 had been buried. The report cast doubt on a claim that Niger had supplied Iraq with raw uranium ore in the previous decade. President Bush referred to that claim in his 2003 State of the Union address.
The CIA sent Wilson to Niger to investigate the claim and he concluded that it was false. The C.I.A. told him it had become involved because Vice President Cheney had asked whether there was any truth to the reports about Iraq's interest in Niger's uranium, Wilson writes. The White House has maintained that Cheney did not learn about Wilson's trip until the Times article appeared.
Wilson writes that he believes Cheney's chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby, and Bush's political mentor, Karl Rove, were key figures in orchestrating attacks against him. Libby, he suggests, was quite possibly the person who exposed his wife's identity. He also believes that Elliott Abrams, who was involved in the Iran-contra affair during the Reagan presidency and who now works in the National Security Council, may also have been involved.
Wilson sees two likely motives for the leak. One is revenge, the other a wish to discourage other intelligence officials from speaking up. It was, Wilson writes in a passage characteristic of his dislike of the Bush administration, "the first salvo from an administration desperate to prevent the complete unraveling of the fabric of lies, distortions and misinformation that it had woven and fed the world to justify its war."
Some readers are likely to find the most interesting parts of the book are those where Wilson describes his youth and then various overseas postings, including that of being the acting U.S. ambassador in Iraq in the run up to the 1991 war on that country. Wilson writes grippingly about getting Americans out of the country before the fighting began and in holding his own with Saddam Husayn. (Cameron LC, DKR) [WIN 10 May 2004]
In his new book, Flynn, author of Why the Left Hates America, targets what he calls intellectual morons, clever folk turned stupid by letting ideology do their thinking.
Flynn presents a number of case histories that illustrate the disorder. They include Herbert Marcuse, Margaret Sanger, W.E.B. Du Bois, Michel Foucault, Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal. As well as the Lefties, he also has criticism for such distinctly non-Lefties as Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss.
Flynn provides a useful corrective to sloppy and sentimental thinkers who have made their mark at dinner parties in Georgetown and beyond. (DKR) [WIN 7 September 2004]
On 11 July 1995 the Bosnian Serbs captured the enclave Srebrenica. Thousands were executed. Claims were made that Western Intelligence agencies had foreknowledge of the attack and atrocities. Was it an intelligence failure? This book tries to answer this question, presenting as much detail as possible of the intelligence efforts by the various Western (and indigenous) services in Bosnia. The author, a Professor at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), was granted access to the classified archives of the Dutch services and also to still-classified UN archives. Foreign intelligence services gave him confidential briefings. He also interviewed more than one hundred intelligence officials from various countries. This book, unread by the editor, is of potential interest as a non-parochial view of intelligence centered on a landmark atrocity. (Jonkers) [WIN 27 June 2003]
Keegan provides series of case studies in the operational significance of intelligence, ranging from Admiral Nelson's successful pursuit of the French fleet in 1805 Shenandoah Valley campaign, to the employment of electronic intelligence in the naval operations of WWI and its extension and refinement during WWII. Expanding his analysis, Keegan discusses intelligence aspects of the German invasion of Crete, the U.S. victory at Midway and the defeat of the U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. A chapter focuses on the importance of human intelligence in providing information on the Nazi V-weapons, and his discussion concludes with a comparison of the difference between a Cold War in which central targets of intelligence gathering were susceptible to concrete, scientific methods, and more recent targets that -- lacking form and organization -- require penetration through understanding. This last leads Keegan to conclude that intelligence data does not guarantee success. The outcomes of war, Keegan believes, are not determined by intelligence, but as a result of fighting. [WIN 21 November 2003]
INTELLIGENCE: From Secrets to Policy, Mark M. Lowenthal
Mackey is a nom de guerre for a former interrogator at military prisons in Afghanistan. His job was to extract the secrets held by suspected Taliban and al-Qa’ida members. He and Miller, a journalist, relate the mind games and battles of will with their often very tough prisoners in a book replete with the lore of interrogation.
The authors also record the squalid conditions of the prison camps and the lack of skill often displayed by U.S. interrogators. They criticize the CIA for being, in their view arrogant, inept and incompetent.
Mackey insists his unit never violated the Geneva Conventions. The book was vetted by the DoD. (DKR) [WIN 2 August 2004]
INVESTIGATOR'S INTERNET RESOURCE GUIDE, David Vine
Sir John, Britain’s most prominent military historian, has no doubts that driving Saddam Husayn from power was justified on practical and moral grounds. Keegan makes the point that Saddam brought about his own downfall by his refusal to satisfy the demands of an increasingly angered international community. His account of the military campaign is divided into chapters on American and British efforts with praise for commanders of both forces with particular praise for the U.S. mastery of mechanized maneuver war. (DKR) [WIN 24 May 2004]
ISRAELI BOMB, Avner Cohen
KAPITALIZM: Russia's Struggle to Free Its Economy, Rose Bradley
The KISSINGER TRANSCRIPTS: The Top Secret Talks with Beijing and Moscow, edited by William Burr
Two miles off Long Island -- 85 miles from New York City -- sits Plum Island. On this island is a US government biological research center which studies exotic and virulent diseases: African swine fever, Rift Valley fever, foot-and-mouth disease and West Nile virus. From declassified files and interviews, New York lawyer Michael Carroll argues that the island is dangerously insecure, and suggests that Plum Island is unprepared for accidents or terrorist actions. He also asks if there might be a connection between Lyme disease and Plum Island research, since the initial outbreak of the disease in 1975 occurred in Old Lyme, CT, close to Plum Island. West Nile virus also appeared close to the Island. Carroll offers descriptions of the dangers inherent in studying deadly viruses that could race through human populations, disrupt the food supply or cripple industries and our economy --dangers heightened by the absence of real island security. The author recognizes that it is crucial the US have laboratories like USAMRID [United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease] in Frederick, MD and Plum Island, and provides suggestions on how to make the research lab safer. [WIN 16 February 2004]
Ignatieff is a Canadian descended from a prominent Russian family. Count Paul Ignatieff was the last Minister of Education under Czar Nicholas II. Michael is an acute commentator on historical and current affairs, a man of liberal inclination in a rare combination with a sense of the ethics of consequences rather than the more typically liberal ethics of intentions. He is Professor of the Practice of Human Rights at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
In this work, which originated in the Gifford Lectures delivered at Edinburgh University in 20003, Ignatieff traces the history of terrorism and counter-terrorism from the nihilists of Czarist Russia and the militias of Weimar Germany to the IRA and the threat posed by al-Qa'ida.
The Abu Ghraib scandal has made us aware of the opposing demands faced by those whose task is to gather intelligence while still respecting the human decency that is a core value of liberal democracy. Ignatieff argues that the use of force, far from undermining such a political order, is necessary to its survival. But the use of force, he also believes, must be measured; there cannot be a simple approval of the use of torture. His position is that while we may need to kill in the struggle against Islamist terrorism, we must never pretend that doing so is anything better than a lesser evil. (DKR) [7 September 2004]
Of interest to intelligence bibliophiles is the author’s examination of Lincoln’s dealings with his spies. Also provides a look at his general and admirals, his controversial Secretary of War Henry Stanton, his idiosyncratic confidant, Secretary of the Navy Gidion Wells, and his dealings with manufacturers such as Samuel Colt. [WIN 30 September 2003]
LOST CRUSADE: America's Secret Cambodian Mercenaries, Peter Scott
A MAN OF INTELLIGENCE: Memoirs of War, Peace, and the CIA, General Charles P. Cabell, edited by Charles A. Cabell
The MASTER OF DISGUISE: My Secret Life in the CIA, Antonio Mendez
Ross was chief U.S. negotiator for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the first President Bush, then President Clinton. He records the wheeling and dealing on all sides, the labor that goes into preparing any statement or gesture, and the one-step-forward, two-steps-back approach that characterized his ultimately ill-fated efforts from 1988 to 2001. Reading the Missing Peace makes one understand why Bush II began his administration by keeping his distance from the dispute in the Levant. (DKR) [WIN 26 July 2004]
As 25 year veteran Operations Officer (and AFIO member), Estes has created an "accurate portrayal of the CIA in action during the Cold War, and a story seldom told of the lives of case officers in the Clandestine Service." Estes' The Mission develops around the story of Ivan Kolev -- a CIA asset recruited to become double agent in the Bulgarian Intelligence Service, and in doing so develops "haunting characters enmeshed in a web of international significance [that] create an intriguing first novel. Mr. Estes knows all the aspects of the spy game and how it reacts to success or failure." Anyone looking for a quick and compelling story, while interested in Agency operations as well as the cold war/Balkan environment, might consider The Mission. [WIN 5 April 2004]
West will be known to many with an interest in twentieth century espionage; he has written prolifically about it. In his latest book, he calls on recently declassified information from both Soviet and U.S. archives to piece together the Russians efforts to acquire the secrets of the Allies’ development of the atom bomb and especially their effort in the United States.
West painstakingly reconstructs the warren of espionage networks set up by the NKVD and its successor, the KGB, in the United States, beginning in the 1930s and continuing through World War II. The players are a myriad of shadowy characters that it has taken decades for investigators to track down and some of who will probably never the identified.
At the heart of West’s story lie the Venona files, declassified by the United States in the 1990s. West has written before about these files that provided the Soviet code names for British and American spies in the service of the Kremlin. But Mortal Crimes paints a much larger canvas that encompasses successes and failures on both sides. Among the failures was that of the FBI to comprehend as quickly as they might have the large scale of Soviet espionage on the West Coast. It was a failure that West sees as the result of the U.S. Army refusing to take the bureau into its confidence about the work being done at Los Alamos. What could be more relevant to the present day debate on reforming the Intelligence Community than this story of close holding secrets by one government agency from others? [WIN 31 May 2004]
The NEW FACE OF WAR, Robert Chandler (Colonel, USAF ret)
A founding dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Allison asserts that the United States remains vulnerable to a nuclear terrorist attack. Once terrorists get hold of a nuclear bomb, its use against an American target may be nearly impossible to prevent, given the inadequacies of present security measures.
The way to eliminate the threat from nuclear terrorism is through an international order in which there is no insecure nuclear material, no new facilities for processing uranium or enriching plutonium and no new nuclear states. Such policies, Allison believes, do not stretch beyond the achievable, if pursued with a mix of quid pro quos and intimidation in an international context of negotiation. A U.S. foreign policy that is humble, he argues, will facilitate creating a worldwide alliance against nuclear terrorism. It will also help in acquiring the intelligence needed to cope with would be nuclear terrorists. (DKR) [WIN 19 July 2004]
Goldensohn was a U.S. Army psychiatrist assigned to the Nuremberg trials in 1946. His experience with the Nazi war criminals was a kind of confirmation before the fact of what Hannah Arendt later called the banality of evil in her account of another Nazi criminal, Adolph Eichman.
Goldensohn sought motivations in the defendants’ childhoods for their monstrous behavior as adults. He found little to go on, just as he found that most of them were ordinary people who had seized opportunities to improve their situation in the world. Few showed any repentance and tended to blame the failure of Hitler to deliver his thousand-year Reich on betrayal of Nazi ideals. (DKR) [WIN 16 August 2004]
Gary Rosen, writing in Books of the Times on March 17, reminds us, as do the authors of this volume, that suicide attacks on American targets were carried out by young men who were hardly strangers to the West. University educated and relatively well to do, most of them were quite worldly, but that very worldliness led them to despise the United States, to see Americans as corrupters, comfort-loving cowards, spiritual eunuchs. Boarding the planes that they would turn into deadly missiles, they embraced the prospect of martyrdom in a holy cause.
But these particular suicide pilots were kamikazes, what the Japanese called Tokkotai, or special attack forces, writes Rosen who is managing editor of the monthly Commentary. For Buruma and Margalit, the parallels with 9/11 are not accidental. As they see it, imperial Japan and al-Qaeda are variations on one historically tenacious, deeply anti-liberal theme. Occidentalism, as they call it, is not a full-blown ideology but rather a cluster of prejudices: a way of demonizing and inciting violence against the bourgeois West. It is the shared parlance of Maoists and Nazis, Baathists and the Khmer Rouge, 19th-century Slavophiles and today's jihadis. And paradoxically, it too, they argue, is a creature of the West, the bastard child of Enlightenment rationalism and freedom.
Buruma, who is a distinguished observer of Asia, and Margalit, a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, trace the often surprising pathways by which exposure to the West has been transformed into hatred of Western societies. The most valuable contribution Occidentalism makes, however, is to set out in detail its ugly lexicon. As the authors show, the fiercest opponents of bourgeois democracy have diverged much more in the alternatives they propose -- rule by the Volk, the vanguard, the community of true believers -- than in the images and metaphors they use to describe their common enemy. To the Occidentalist imagination, the modern West comes to life as a collection of weak, complacent merchants, slaves to comfort who know nothing of self-sacrifice; or as a cold, mechanical, ruthlessly efficient mind, crushing every higher ideal in the name of commercial and technological advance. In the eyes of the Occidentalist, the modern West is a problem whose only remedy lies in the redemptive power of revolutionary violence.
Rose finds Occidentalism fails to draw any serious practical conclusion from its tale of cross-contamination, the spread of bad ideas. Buruma and Margalit's portrait of the West's enemies, they insist, is not meant to serve as ammunition in a global war against terrorism. What is so glaringly absent from this work, says Rosen, is any notion of how our Western ideas, if not our arms, might be used to counter the violence and propaganda of the Occidentalists. [WIN 29 March 2004]
ONCE AN EAGLE, Anton Myrer
Robb explores the conflicts between filmmakers and the Pentagon when the military are asked to provide everything from locations to Black Hawk helicopters. He relates how in "Top Gun", Tom Cruise was not allowed to have a love interest in an enlisted woman; she was changed into a civilian. The Marine Corps obliged producers to cut a scene from "Windtalkers" that showed a leatherneck prying gold teeth out of dead Japanese. In "The Perfect Storm," the crew of a sinking boat is rescued by the Air National Guard, not the Coast Guard as happens in real life. Robb reports that the Pentagon even went so far as to have military elements written into the Disney television series, The Mickey Mouse Club. The intention, it seems, was to get kids to want to join up when they grew up. Does Hollywood have to make such deals? Robb points out that "Forrest Gump," "An Officer and a Gentleman," and "Platoon" were all made without military assistance. [WIN 12 April 2004]
There are been several books on the history of the OSS and the novel "Q-style" inventions used during covert operations, but O'Donnell does it here with great story-telling ability and a number of new insights, no doubt based on waves of files finally declassified in the past few years. From secret messages to exploding cigars, a slew of OSS operatives tell what it was like running missions before the era of high-tech: no satellites, cellphones, computers, or pure-as-snow operatives facing oversight at home. The good ol' days. Hardened criminals were recruited to black bag embassies, and the French who fled to North Africa and England were often brought into service. Women agents used womenly charms -- all of them -- to furtively obtain codes or mission plans while an exhausted lover slept, and these women were rewarded minus the double-standard tsk-tsk of today. There was wooden-leg encumbered Virginia Hall, who arranged constant sabotage missions against the Gestapo, to the seductress "Cynthia" using sabotage of another sort. Psyops against the Germans spread rumors of disease, defeat, and desperation. O'Donnell wraps it up with a chapter on the unusual weapons -- including umbrella pistols and exploding baseballs. [WIN 16 February 2004]
Randal is an astute journalist with long experience of the Middle East. His earlier work, After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness? (1999) is a powerful account of the travails of the Iraqi Kurds and an important source for understanding the present situation in Iraq. In his new study, he places the Qa’ida leader in the context of events in the Islamic world that he records with a sharp eye. Among other things, Randal sets out the blowback from Clinton’s bombings in Sudan and Afghanistan that failed to kill UBL and resulted in many Muslims believing Allah had protected him, thus greatly enhancing his reputation. (DKR) [WIN 26 July 2004]
Johnson, a member of Princeton’s Society of Fellows, asks, “Does a human tendency toward overconfidence lead us into wars when a more realistic assessment might keep the peace?” His answer is, more often than not, yes.
Johnson sees this overconfidence as coming out of humankind’s evolutionary past and finds it to be an integral part of the human psyche. In a chapter that takes up the Iraq war, he finds it was the result of that overconfidence. (DKR) [WIN 20 September 2004]
It would be easy to take Kolb's story as fiction in which only the names are real, names such as Muhammad Ali and Daniel Ortega. Kolb, however, is said really to be wanted in India in connection with a plot against a former prime minister. It lends credibility to his narration of international intrigue.
Kolb tells us he is the son of a Cold War intel operative and grew up in Japan and Germany before being recruited by the famed Miles Copeland. After recounting how he was trained in spycraft, he goes on to relate many an amazing tale. Don't wait for sources to confirm, just read and enjoy. (DKR) [WIN 27 September 2004]
(Now available in Audio --- Read by Jason Priestly, Audio Renaissance, abridged, four CDs, 5 hours, $29.95). Priestley reads the work in a gruff and cocky voice better suited to another kind of tale than this one of corporate espionage. Nevertheless, the listener will hear a good yarn about how a low-level minion at a telecom giant is blackmailed into being a mole inside his company’s biggest competitor. He takes on the task after appropriating unauthorized funds to give an old friend a retirement party. Once in place at the competitor, Adam Cassidy comes to have great respect for the corporation’s founder, leaving him a divided soul. Priestley’s voice sounds the right age for the 26-year-old Cassidy, but fails to match the fast pace of Finder’s writing and fails to get across the tone of a small guy who has been put through the mill. Fortunately, Paranoia should be available in print from your bookstore. (Elizabeth B., DKR) [WIN 26 April 2004]
This book offers a behind-the-scenes account of how a handful of former members of the German Army General Staff, under the watchful eye of Critchfield and others in U.S. Intelligence, planned a German postwar national security system. Known as "Mr. Marshall," Critchfield was the career CIA operations officer in charge of the secret compound in Bavaria Germany, where Reinhard Gehlen and Adolf Heusinger worked with their staffs to put in place a new intelligence and defense apparatus. Critchfield's gripping eight-year chronicle of creating these organizations, as Germany moved from enemy to ally, exposes readers to a new perspective on postwar development. [WIN 24 September 2003]
Barnett, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, argues in his forthcoming work that terrorism and globalization have combined to end the model of war between nation states that developed in the centuries following the Thirty Year War, ended by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. The present century, he believes, will see the states of the world falling into one of two categories. One is a “Functioning Core” of economically developed, politically stable states integrated into global systems, The other is a “Non-Integrating Gap” comprised of Andean South America, the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and much of southwest Asia. Threats to international security are most likely to come out of the “gap” until, if and when, they become part of the core that has been integrated by globalism. So Barnett proposes that the U.S. armed force be divided into two parts: one to conduct quick strikes to suppress hostile governments and non-government entities. The other part would be responsible for helping the “gap” countries make it into the “core,” something that seems very like “national building.” Doubtless the situation the coalition now confronts in Iraq would have been happier had the latter type of force been available and on the ground there in adequate numbers.
Barnett does not believe his proposal implies making the United States’ a global policeman or creating an American empire. Rather the use of military power in the ways he suggests would merely reflect the role of the United States as the promoter of globalism and a concomitant need to prevent instability. To some such reasoning will seem precisely a justification for an American imperium. Be that as it may, Barnett’s globalism, which is rooted in free trade and a belief in the power of reasonable concern for material prosperity and stability, ignores the turbulent, hate-driven religious-nationalist sentiments that are currently the chief source of danger to the interests of the United States and other members of the “core.” [WIN 5 April 2004]
The PENTUM MISSION, Joe Fontana
Janine M. Brookner (Carolina Academic Press), discusses the obstacles she says CIA employees face in pursuing cases against an agency where personnel records are classified. Ms. Brookner, who once had (and won) her own legal dispute with CIA, argues that CIA and other intelligence agencies hold an unfair legal advantage in workplace disputes. Lawyers representing employees must obtain security clearances to read and discuss personnel files and related documents. But they must receive those clearances from the CIA -- giving the agency inordinate control over the lawyers representing their employees. [WIN 24 February 2004]
PHOTO FAKERY: A History of Deception and Manipulation, Dino Brugioni
Woodward, the veteran Washington Post assistant managing editor, gives the reader a remarkable, step by step account of the run up to the war in Iraq. Woodward, sometimes perturbing, reports how planning for the war began in November 2001 in the wake of 9/11.
Bush, Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove and Paul Wolfowitz, Woodward tells us, believed in an American mission to export democracy and to have the world see America as a strong and determined power. Colin Powell emerges as a pragmatic, warning voice among what Larry Wilkerson, Powell’s chief of staff at State, has dismissively called utopians.
Woodward, who conducted exhaustive research in writing this book, gives a chilling account of the CIA relying on faulty information on Iraq’s WMD and its manipulation of questionable intelligence to make the case for war. Plan of Action, understandably, reached the top of the best-seller list. (DKR) [WIN 17 May 2004]
Mead, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, believes that unrestrained global capitalism and a more robust American imperium are inevitable. In his book, to be published later this month, Mead supports unilateralism and pre-emptive war, but also calls for greater attention to be given to the “sticky,” “sweet” and hegemonic aspects of American power in the war on terrorism. These terms are Mead’s development of Joseph Nye’s concept of hard and soft power. Mead divides hard power into two
categories: sharp, that is military, and sticky or economic power. Soft power divides between sweet or cultural influence and hegemonic, the totality of the United States’ agenda-setting power. In making his case, Mead provides useful insights into changes that distinguish the recent past from the likely future. Referring to the automobile magnate, he writes of a “Fordist” bureaucratic welfare state in the last century and in this one individualistic “millennial capitalism,” rooted in Jacksonian rebellion against the professional classes that have administered American from the New Deal on. As always, Mead is at the very least intellectually stimulating. [WIN 12 April 2004]
WIN readers will know Bamford as the author of two well-received works, The Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets, that dealt with the NSA. In A Pretext for War he is once again concerned with the NSA as well as other parts of the Intelligence Community.
Bamford shows in meticulous detail and with fresh insights how 9/11 aircraft were hijacked, along with the failure to check al-Qa’ida's operation. Along the way, Bamford makes clear how unprepared and ill equipped the U.S. defense systems were to cope with attacks. An example of these unhappy conditions noted by Bamford was that DCI Tenet did not learn of the 9/11 attacks until the second aircraft had slammed into the World Trade Center.
Many readers are likely to find that the gravamen of this book comes in its last part. There, Bamford delivers a harsh judgment on the handful of individuals who dominated Bush Administration’s policy on Iraq. Not surprisingly, they include Richard Perle, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz and Undersecretary Policy Feith. Neoconservatives all, Bamford charges them with manipulating the CIA, DIA and the NSA in their determination to find pretexts for overthrowing Saddam Husayn, something they began thinking about doing long before 9/11. Indeed, Bamford traces the origins of the Bush Administration’s policy on toppling Saddam back to a plan devised by Perle, Feith and a senior State department adviser, David Wormser, when they were advising Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the mid-1990s. Netanyahu rejected the plan.
Bamford believes that Bush, who he makes clear he dislikes, was determined to pay back Saddam for the latter’s attempt to kill Bush's father and that this played a part in the decision to invade Iraq. The Administration’s absorption with Iraq, and its sympathies for Israel, blinded it, Bamford argues, to the rage in the Arab world over the Palestinians treatment at the hands of U.S.-backed Israel. That rage was further intensified by the invasion of Iraq and continues to undermine Washington’s position both with the Arab street and ‘friendly’ regional leaders, concerned about their ability to continue to keep their people under control. That is a situation most glaringly obvious at the moment in Saudi Arabia and, beyond the Arab world, in Pakistan. (DKR) [WIN 14 June 2004]
PSYCHOLOGY OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS, Richards J. Heuer, Jr.
When Col. Hughes-Wilson, then a captain in a British infantry regiment, was posted to the Intelligence Corps, he wanted to read a general history of the role of intelligence in warfare, but could not find one. So, now retired, he has written one.
He opens with the story, from Herodotus, of Histiaeus, an Ionian prince, held captive by the Persians, who tattooed a message on a slave’s scalp, let the slave’s hair grow, and then sent him to Ionia with the verbal message that his head was to be shaved again. The result was a major war.
He goes on to show how George Washington used deception as deftly as Churchill’s staff did in the war against Hitler. Napoleon would claim his strategic insight brought him victories that in fact were the result of work by his intelligence staff. Then there was Julius Silber, at ease in both English and German. Employed by the postal censorship in London for most of the First World War, he regularly passed information to Germany, covered by
his own ‘Passed by Censor’ stamp. He was never detected.
Taking up the present, Hughes-Wilson explores how current Western intelligence efforts have developed. (DKR) [WIN 26 July 2004]
Twenty years ago, eight American-trained Israeli pilots set off on a mission that seemed suicidal: fly 1000K below radar, take out Saddam’s nuclear reactor, and fly back – all on one tank of fuel. They made it, and now Claire gives the full, white-knuckle story. [WIN 30 September 2003]
At the time of World War I when governments were increasingly transmitting message by radio, Herbert Yardley set up and ran the first U.S. agency to intercept foreign messages and break codes. By the time he died in 1958, aged 69, Yardley had made a good number of enemies but left an influential legacy of intelligence gathering. In David Kahn, a well-known intelligence scholar, Yardley has found first biographer. Kahn considers his subject, "the most colorful and controversial figure in American intelligence."
Yardley came to Washington in 1914 from the Midwest to become a clerk at the State Department and so was introduced to diplomatic cables and codes. Wondering why the United States did not have an agency of its own to read and decipher foreign messages, he set out to become a cryptographer. In April 1917, he persuaded the U.S. Army to set up such an agency and was given a commission, eventually attaining the rank of major. At the age of 28, he was running MI-8, the section of military intelligence that dealt with cryptography.
At the end of the war, Yardley next persuaded the Army, and the State Department, to support a permanent Cipher Bureau that came to be known as the American Black Chamber. In 1929, however, Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson uttered his famous words, "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail" and closed down the bureau. Out of a job and with his income from property dealing dried up by the Depression, Yardley wrote a book to make some money.
As well as his personal experience, he drew on numerous documents he had retained illegally and when The American Black Chamber, as the book was titled, appeared in 1931, it created a sensation. In the years that followed, he sold "Yardleygrams" to magazines, wrote pulp spy fiction, made and marketed secret ink, had a radio show and spent time in Hollywood, ran a restaurant in Washington and was hired as a codebreaker by China and Canada.
The year before he died, he brought out another book, The Education of a Poker Player. It is considered a classic of its kind. Yardley was accused of treason, which he hotly denied. Indeed he was not a traitor, he did not sell secrets. But he did betray the government's trust by publishing The American Black Chamber. (Washington Post, DKR) [WIN 26 January 2004]
Post WWII hysteria actually began in aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, says Morgan. With the Palmer raids in 1919, the American struggle against communism began in earnest, through the Dies Committee in the 1930s, and HUAAC post-WWII. Hoover carried it forward in the 1960s and 1970s at FBI. Morgan warns that Ashcroft might be introducing another round of McCarthyism through our war on Islamic terrorism. Or is this more from those who want security, but no locks on any of the doors? Probably the latter. [WIN 5 December 2003]
If there were an official Donald H. Rumsfeld Admiration Society, Scarborough would be a leading candidate for its president. The Washington Times Pentagon reporter has written a paean to the Secretary of Defense that all but paints a big “S” on his chest. To Scarborough’s credit, though, he makes his opinion immediately clear: “History will surely judge [Rumsfeld] one of America’s most important defense leaders,” he writes in the introduction. Nevertheless, Scarborough casts a revealing eye on “Rummy’s” campaign to make the Pentagon heel to his foreign policies. The book is full of juicy tidbits -- most of them in the first two chapters -- gleaned from classified documents. For instance, a full six months before asking the United Nations to endorse the use of force in Iraq, Scarborough writes, President Bush signed a secret National Security Directive establishing the goals and objectives for going to war with the country. Scarborough also relates how a top secret military unit code-named “Grey Fox” contributed to the assassination of Al Qaeda planner Qaed Senyan al Harthi by turning on his satellite phone without his knowledge and exposing his position in a convoy speeding across the Yemini desert. Other anecdotes serve to emphasize Rumsfeld’s “preference for military, special forces solutions to law enforcement scenarios.” A later chapter is devoted to his skills as a manager. “In assessing Rumsfeld, clichÚs work,” Scarborough writes. “His life is an ‘all-American story.’ He does not ‘suffer fools gladly.’ And, Donald H. Rumsfeld is ‘the right man at the right time.’” Readers already convinced of Rumsfeld’s talents as a leader will enjoy this enthusiastic book, but those looking for a balanced assessment of the Defense Secretary’s job performance may prefer James Mann’s level-headed study The Rise of the Vulcans. [WIN 17 March 2004]
This is an eminently readable survey of America's small wars, an almost incessant enterprise from the Revolution onward (putting to rest the notion of a democracy as non-violent or inherently peaceful), written by Wall Street Journal editor Boot. As the merits and limitations of the US taking on the role of an imperial police force are increasingly debated, it is useful to recall that this is not the first time America has attempted to do so. Interestingly, the US marines were the service of choice for the great majority of these conflicts. (It resulted in a USMC "Small Wars Manual" published in 1941, that might have been usefully read in Vietnam and still applicable.) Boot covers both the successes and some of the darker aspects (charges of war crimes, use of torture to extract information, and troop mutinies). What makes the book timely are the tie-ins the author provides between wars of the past and the realities of the present. Issues such as exit strategies, expected casualties, the difficulties of working with local allies, and the complexities of state building, are not things the US is facing for the first time. Well written, timely and provocative, and well worth reading. [WIN 18 July 2003]
SECRECY, Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Plaster has written a powerful memoir of the Studies and Observations Group, a Green Beret unit specializing in secret reconnaissance forays into Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War. He recalls his own and his comrades’ exploits leading eight-man teams of local people behind North Vietnamese lines to scout, sabotage transport, and take prisoners along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The book is full of stirring war stories and, away from hostile territory, lively accounts of the commandos hard-partying and their solidarity against more decorous officers. Nor does Plaster omit the somber mourning rituals for comrades killed in action. In fact, SOG reconnaissance teams were often enough found and attacked by the North Vietnamese with little to show for their efforts and the casualties they took. (DKR) [WIN 10 May 2004]
Geoffrey Pidgeon tells the story of MI6 Section VIII, the communications division of the Secret Intelligence Service, set up in 1938, only a year before World War II began. No British radio traffic was more important during the war than that handled by Section VIII, headed by Brig. Richard Gambier-Parry.
Pidgeon, a participant in the wireless activities he describes, recounts the work of agents in British embassies and German occupied territories and includes and account of Winston Churchill’s personal wireless operation as well as an Afrika Corps soldier operating an Enigma machines at Field Marshal Rommel’s headquarters in the desert. Other accounts concern the ‘Black Propaganda’ beamed to the enemy and how ULTRA military traffic was deliver to Allied commanders in the field who included Montgomery, Patton, Bradley, Spaatz, and others.
Personal tales by those who were part of this most secret of units abound in the book. The technical side of the operation is dealt with without being allowed to dominate this book that Nigel West --a highly regarded specialist in British intelligence services and author of books on MI6, MI5 and GCHQ-- calls The Secret Wireless War a splendid publication that has impressively assembled information about Section VIII. "It really is a very important contribution to the literature and gave me great pleasure when reading it," says West. [WIN 26 April 2004]
SECURITY STUDIES FOR THE 21st CENTURY, edited by Richard Shultz
Cucully, a former Pentagon official and Fox News commentator, is more interested in the good twin, South Korea, than the bad twin to the north, although he lists its interminable offenses to its neighbors and its own people. So he gives over much of this book to a critical evaluation of the south, particularly during the Park dictatorship of the 1960s and 1970s.
This was the period in which the state-directed economic development of a capitalist system turned South Korea into one of the Asian tigers and at the same time, he believes, prepared the way for the country’s present democratic system. He makes no secret of what he considers Jimmy Carter’s inept carping about Seoul’s human rights record and Carter’s conduct on a ‘peace mission’ to Pyongyang in 1994. (DKR) [WIN 13 September 2004]
SILENT RUNNING: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine, James F. Calvert (VADM, USN ret)
SISTERHOOD OF SPIES: The Women of the OSS, Elizabeth McIntosh
Baer, a former CIA case officer with assignments in the Middle East, detests Saudi Arabia, as is made clear by title of this book. It is filled with tales of meetings of Washington power brokers with Saudi princes, wealthy Saudis carousing their way through Europe ("Saudi Arabia spends a staggering percentage of its GDP on sex," or underwriting the US budget by "spreading their money everywhere, like manure on a winter's field." According to Baer, Saudi Arabia has become "a breathtakingly irrational state - a place that spawns global terrorism even as it succumbs to an ancient and deeply seated isolationism, a kingdom led by a royal family that can't get out of the way of its own greed." Nevertheless, in the final analysis Baer concludes that the devil we know is better than the alternative. He derides as utter nonsense proposals to encourage democratization in Saudi Arabia, nor does he think that Americans will someday wean themselves from dependency on Saudi oil. "Like it or not, the US and Saudi Arabia are joined at the hip. Its future is our future." This appears to be a book of mixed virtues, but certainly filled with facts as well as assertions and sweeping generalizations, of educational and entertainment value as additional background and context for intelligence on the Middle East. (Jonkers) [WIN 21 June 2003]
Joseph Nye Jr. is Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and was an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration. If the next incumbent of the White House is a Democrat, it is likely that Nye’s voice will be one of the most influential in forming foreign policy. Hence the interest of his book. Nye describes the Bush administration as capable in its exercise of “hard” military and economic power but blind to the uses of “soft” power, “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion.”
Such policy is implemented, Nye says, by taking care to build up sympathetic public opinion and credibility abroad by cultivating good relations with allies, providing economic aid and promoting cultural exchanges. The idea is to project an image of the United States in keeping with its oft-repeated declarations of support for democracy and human rights.
The Bush administration’s unilateralism and indifference to the sensibilities of its allies has resulted in an unprecedented fall in support for the United States within the international community with the result that Washington, overstretched militarily and economically, is left virtually alone to rebuild Iraq. What is needed, Nye says, is a return to the employment of both hard and soft power that held the Western alliance together during the Cold War. [WIN 5 April 2004]
Moore provides examples of intelligence successes, failure, and inadequacies, showing that the events of nearly sixty years ago provides lessons equally valid today. But have we learned these lessons? Moore profiles the history and operations of America’s first effective, all-source, joint military intelligence agency known as JICPOA [Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas]. JICPOA is credited with providing Adm. Nimitz with intelligence needed to win the Pacific War. He shreds out differences between faulty versus effective intelligence and the integration of intelligence and operational plans -- pertinent to today’s military ops against terrorism. “We will never learn the right lessons and take the appropriate corrective measures if our default reaction is simply to cry ‘intelligence failure.’” -- BG Michael Ennis, USMC.
"Spy" works continue to tumble from publishers. And a wonderful surprise read among this spring's crop is David Alvarez's 'Spies in the Vatican.' A California professor, Dr. Alvarez drew heavily upon Vatican archives accumulated by a Jesuit priest, Father Robert Graham, before Rome snatched them back into secrecy. No matter. Dr. Alvarez convincingly establishes that the Vatican's intelligence service, rather than making the Pope "the best informed of the world's leaders," as some statesmen have claimed, was no such thing. Previous historians and unwitting diplomats created the myth. "It is...as if a group of ornithologists sat about discussing the merits of a magnificent bird....without anyone having actually observed the bird, discovered a nest, learned its call, or run across the smallest feather."
For one thing, the Vatican's "intelligence service" relied heavily upon ill-trained priests whose primary role when assigned abroad was reporting on internal church affairs. Papal nuncios serving abroad rarely got beyond the capital and confined their contacts to "officials in the host country's foreign ministry, colleagues in the local diplomatic corps, and bishops of the local Catholic church." Encounters with businessmen, scholars and military men were rare. One ranking Vatican official was so disgusted that he scrawled words such as "imbecile!" on reports, and stormed, "People always say the diplomacy of the Holy See is the first in the world. If ours is the first, I'd like to see the second."
Dr. Alvarez graciously excuses the Vatican's operatives, noting that they were" committed primarily to the propagation of a particular faith" and saw themselves "as priests rather than intelligence operatives...Priests could no more by spies than they could be warriors." As an intelligence camp-follower, I relish the occasional authentic debunking book, and such is what Dr. Alvarez has provided. (Reviewed by Jospeh Goulden, WashTimes 29 June03) [WIN 4 July 2003]
SPIES WITHOUT CLOAKS: The KGB's Successors, Amy Knight
SPY BOOK: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ESPIONAGE, Norman Polmar & Thomas B Allen
These experts show how one can bring spying techniques into your workplace, using tactics similar to some of those used by CIA and KGB agents. [WIN 24 September 2003]
SPY HUNTER: Inside the FBI Investigation of the Walker Espionage Case, Robert W. Hunter
Despite the somewhat misleading use of the word "game" in the title, is accurately described by Christopher Andrews as "the best up-to-date- survey of British intelligence." Although unconventional in approach, it covers a great deal more about British intelligence than classic espionage, as the author traces the history of British intelligence from Elizabethan times to the present, including MI6 operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. This paperback edition is a completely revised and updated version of New Cloak and Old Dagger, published in 1996 by Victor Gollancz. Among much other material, there are separate chapters on MI 5, MI 6, GCHQ and Military Intelligence. The one criticism to be made is the lack of notes on sources, an omission which the author ascribes to a trade-off insisted upon by the publisher in order to produce the paperback edition. [WIN 6 March 2004]
SPYMASTERS: Ten CIA Officers in Their Own Words, ed. by Ralph E. Weber
STALKING THE VIETCONG: Inside Operation Phoenix - A Personal Account, Colonel (ret) Stuart A. Herrington
STASI: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police, John O. Koehler
A unique collection of autobiographical stories of life overseas as the daughter of a CIA officer (and longtime AFIO member). Surviving eleven years of living in Europe and Southeast Asia, Leigh Rogers captures the reader's attention with entertaining, witty and insightful accounts of the adventures and "sticky situations" she and her family experienced. "I was a teenager when I found out what my father 'really' did for a living. I finally discovered the truth when I overheard my mother asking my father whether our 'phones were being tapped.' I could not believe my ears! Did she just ask if our phones were tapped? My father answered, 'Yes, I'm afraid so.'" Unbeknownst to Rogers until she turned 14, her father was a covert CIA officer. Her family spent five years in Austria during the Cold War, three years in Laos (Vientiane) while the Vietnam conflict raged on and three years in France while the Cold War slowly ended. The family led a nomadic lifestyle but one filled with excitement, ups & downs, drama and comedy. Our world grows smaller every day with the incredible advances in technology. What better way to remember the past and learn about different cultures than with a book dedicated to sharing this history. This 184-page gift book -some 50 short stories- is beautifully designed with some scattered photos of places and friends. [WIN 12 December 2003]
A compilation of State, Local and Federal guidelines on recognition and modes of response to a variety of chemical, biological or nuclear agents. Categories for each substance includes: color, odor, onset of action; personal protection; signs and symptoms; Incubation period; how spread; how transmitted; duration of illness; death rate; how manufactured; where it is naturally found; mode of action; and treatment options. Includes brief chapter on how to stock and maintain a personal CBN shelter. While much of this material can be found on the Internet, the convenience and clean organization of this small handbook make it a useful addition to law enforcement, first responder, and personal reference collections. Prof. Gowen is an AFIO Academic Associate member. [WIN 4 July 2003]
The SWORD AND THE SHIELD: The Mitrokhin Archive, Christopher Andrews and Vitaly Mitrokhin
Stafford recreates for the reader the fears and expectations of those who on the eve of the invasion of German-held France on 6 June 1944. His cast includes Eisenhower, Churchill, de Gaulle and Hitler, but also many ordinary Americans, a Canadian soldier, members of the Norwegian and French resistance and double agent of Spanish origin. (DKR) [WIN 24 May 2004]
Hillman is a Jungian psychoanalyst who firmly believes that human kind love war. For him, war is an archetypal impulse and an authentic religious phenomenon, a worship of Mars. War is an implacable force, a primary element of the human condition, and what he calls a beautiful horror. As evidence, Hillman cites various memoirs and letters written in the heat of battle that reveal in the fighters a sense of such beauty and of their god-like invincibility. For those far from the battlefield, there is an appetite for viewing war whether real or on film that is akin to a taste for pornography, making voyeurs of us all. Christianity, Hillman says, is a warrior religion, something that not many Christians, clerics or laymen, are likely to agree with. He is least convincing when he suggests that the impulse to war can be checked by devotion to beauty as represented by Venus. [WIN 12 April 2004]
After setting the stage, Dr. Friedman, a noted naval strategist and author, takes a chapter to sketch the beginning -- the Russian war in Afghanistan. It tore up the country's political system, in which tribal chiefs and religious men ruled, and social cohesion was ensured by precedence. The chiefs met in the loya dirga to determine national policy. In wartime, however, leadership devolved on capability in battle, which fed tribal ambitions and made it difficult to agree on a national government. Moreover, the Soviets discovered that many of the Afghan leaders could be rented, though not bought (as both the Taliban and the US did later).
The Taliban were seen in the US at the time as conservative but honest. Americans might not find their social customs appealing, but they were seen as adapted to a conservative Muslim country. The Taliban badly needed reliable troops. Al Qaeda offered a solution. Osama's Arabs could be counted on to fight, not only the Russians, but Ahmed Shah Mahsood. They formed the 055 brigade, which became the only effective force in the Taliban army, and the only one capable of night fighting. In the end, with all neighboring countries and others (US, Saudi Arabia etc.) intruding on the war, the Soviets lost, but Afghanistan's infrastructure was destroyed. Grazing country was ruined by landmines. Only the poppy remained as a cash crop, and the country became a major source of heroin for Europe (Later the Taliban received a large subsidy from the US to block poppy cultivation; today, poppy's have regained their importance and exports are in full swing). Aside from military support, bin Laden provided the Taliban with much of the cash it needed, and thus Afghanistan became the center of bin-Laden's pan-Islamic movement.
Dr Friedman's book is a rich source on the complex interplay of history, policy and technology. While bin Laden was forming his terror international, the US military was engaged in developing a new kind of war fighting, described as the "Revolution in Military Affairs" or 'Network-Centric Warfare'. Friedman examines its impact in Afghanistan to destroy the terrorist home base. He posits that the 9/11 attacks were intended to inspire a wider movement in the Muslim world that would lead to a pan-Muslim empire, and argues that it failed because of determined US action. This is a wide-ranging, broadly argued, informative book -- with the only regret that it was completed before the recent US invasion of Iraq in 2003. It would have made a good fit. (Jonkers) [WIN 22 August 2003]
This pictorial history covers the German subversion networks in the Eastern U.S. during the years leading up to the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, and of daring German U-boat intelligence operations and subsequent FBI round-ups and trials of German would-be spies as America moved into WWII and dealt with its aftermath. It is a full dossier of text, photographs, letters, manuscripts, newspaper accounts, court transcripts, interviews, and other evidentiary materials, pulled together by authors/historians Cohen and DeNevi, and joined by former CIA and NSA intelligence officer Richard Gay. They stitch together secret files and photographs to explain several German covert operations, such as Operation Pastorius -- were eight Nazi (special operations) saboteurs in 1942 turned up on Long Island, New York and St. Augustine, Florida beaches, having arrived by submarines at night, and Operation Magpie -- a daring 1944 nighttime incursion by a U-boat off the coast of Maine -- with German agents infiltrating local towns. Earlier portions of the book present the extensive numbers of German and German-American sympathizers in the U.S. during the 1930s and early 1940s -- the German-American Bund being the most famous. The authors conclude that "These stories should be a reminder to every reader that the same dangers that existed in 1941-45 are with us today and Americans should not let their guard down." Richard Gay serves as Assistant to the President of AFIO for Historic Projects, and is a member of the New England AFIO Chapter. (EAB) [WIN 27 June 2003]
THROUGH THE EYES OF THE ENEMY: The Autobiography of Stanislav Lunev, Stanislav Lunev with Ira Winkler
Col. Boyne, a former director of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, has compiled an impressive collection of military writing over the past five years. The contributions range from a history of Adm. Andrew Foote’s on an anti-slavery patrol in the mid-1800s to Stephen Flynn’s recommendation that the Coast Guard be put in charge of Homeland Security. WMD are considered in "The Looming Biological Warfare Storm" and "The Emerging Biocruise Threat."
Serious students of military affairs will find much that is rewarding in this volume. (DKR) [WIN 9 August 2004]
TOP SECRET INTRANET, Frederick Thomas Martin
Sale covered terrorism and counterintelligence for UPI. He provides full case studies of Benedict Arnold, John Wilkes Booth, Elizabeth Bentley, Whittaker Chambers, John Walker and Bob Hanssen, and includes some lesser-known traitors to make other points. In each instance he points to psychological defects as causative. While ideology might have played a role in some betrayals, in most cases it centered on ego and money. [WIN 5 December 2003]
Craig seeks to show that Harry Dexter White, who spied for the Soviets, was at the same time an honorable man. In the Venona decrypts (See How the Soviets Stole the Atom Bomb in WIN #18-04 dtd 31 May 2004), White, who was second only to Secretary Henry Morgenthau at the Treasury during World War II, is mentioned in 15 messages between the KGB station in the United States and Moscow.
Craig's book is likely to strike at least some readers as intellectually dishonest. He asserts that White did not knowingly hire Communists and always had the best interests of the American government in mind. In fact, when White was in charge of the Treasury’s Division of Monetary Research from 1936 to 1939, it was full of Soviet agents. As Sen. William Jenner wrote after 1953 hearings on subversion in government departments, White hired party members and promoted them. Craig also omits the testimony before the Jenner committee by Morganthau’s speechwriter, Jonathan Mitchell that White had tried to persuade him that the Soviets had developed a system that would supplant capitalism and Christianity. As a result of White’s intervention, the Soviet Union was provided at its insistence with a set of plates for printing U.S. devised occupation marks. Washington subsequently had to redeem $380 million worth of these run off by Moscow. Craig ignores this and other mischief wrought by White.
According to Craig, White saw no dichotomy in being a full-time member of FDR’s establishment and at the same time serving the Soviet regime. In Moscow, White was seen as one of the KGB’s most valuable assets in the United States. White died of natural causes in 1948, never having had to face a court of law for what he did. Some may agree that publication of Craig’s whitewash by what has been thought of as a reputable university press raises troubling questions about the intellectual integrity of at least parts of American academia. (DKR) [WIN 7 June 2004]
UNDERCOVER TALES OF WORLD WAR II, William B. Breuer
Hollander, editor of this collection of essays by political scientists, foreign policy experts and other scholars, writes in his introduction that anti-Americanism, currently at an all time high around the world, arises from a deep-seated, emotional predisposition rather than rational criticism of the United States.
In general agreement with this perspective, the contributors to Understanding Anti-Americanism examine the many skeins of such sentiments in their cultural contexts. France, for Anthony Daniels, is an anxious former leading colonial power that feels threatened by the invasion of Anglo-Saxon, meaning American, culture. Among German anti-Americans, Michael Freund discerns the influence of 19th and 20th century German philosophers.
Patrick Clawson and Barry Rubin argue that Middle Eastern anti-Americanism is a form of blaming others for the failures of Arab nationalism rather than something arising from U.S. foreign policy, and especially American support for Israel. David Brooks, Mark Falcoff and Walter D. Connor see a sense of failure, bitterness, and envy in their pieces on Latin American and Russian anti-Americanism. Closer to home, the book deals with the history of the Communist Party U.S.A. as well as Canadian and American feminists.
For some this collection will be persuasive. Certainly blaming the prosperous and powerful ‘other’ for the failures of one’s own society is a powerful factor in anti-Americanism. But so are the effects of American policy. There is a tendency, very noticeable in Washington, to believe that if we can just explain, and the other guys just listen, we can make ourselves understood and loved. Unfortunately for us, we are judged not by what we say, but by what we do. The same Arab kids who love our pop culture, hate us for what we are doing in their lands. (DKR) [WIN 17 May 2004]
VENONA: DECODING SOVIET ESPIONAGE IN AMERICA, John Earl Haynes Harvey Klehr
The VENONA SECRETS, Eric Breindel, Herbert Rom & Herbert Romerstein
LÚvy, one of France’s best known intellectuals, has taken as his subject marginal but cruel conflicts in which the Western public has tended to take relatively little interest. He mixes eyewitness accounts of war in Angola, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Colombia and Sudan with philosophical comments on genocide, terrorism and history. LÚvy explores the culture of each war zone. He tells us about his meetings with a young Tamil woman, prepared to be a suicide bomber, and a worried Communist militant leader in Colombia. In Sudan, he describes the ghost towns left behind by a war that first erupted in 1955. Burundi is described as a scene of total desolation. LÚvy goes on to recount his intellectual progress from youthful Maoist activism, expounding his views on Hegelian views of history, the philosophy of ruins, nostalgia for war and its dehumanizing effects, the role of journalism and so on. He brings in Nietzsche, Sartre, and Foucault and other philosophies as well as drawing on novels and films. Some readers will be enchanted by LÚvy’s elegant style; others may find the writing less than profound. [WIN 12 April 2004]
In May 1940, the Soviet army led 25,000 Polish Army officers into Katyn Forest in eastern Poland and murdered them. The Russians’ intention was to wipe out as best they could the educated and politically mature classes from which the officers were drawn and thus remove patriotic cadre who could be expected to oppose a restoration of Russian imperial control over Poland. Just that followed five years later in the wake of the Yalta agreements between Stalin, FDR and Churchill.
Adamczyk’s father was one of those who died at Katyn and in this work he tells what his family endured in the forced exile imposed by the Soviet authorities in that area of Poland they occupied under an agreement with Nazi Germany. Adamczyk’s family were sent 3,000-miles in horrendous conditions to the wastes of Kazakhstan, then part of the Soviet Union, where food was scarce for the local people, let alone the exiled Poles. Thanks to the determination of his mother, the family, like a good number of Poles, made their way to the part of Iran then occupied by the British. There his mother died of exhaustion.
Some of the Poles sent to Kazakhstan stayed on and in Poland today efforts are being made to receive repatriate these and their children born in Central Asia and to help them assimilate again into their ancestral land.
Adamczyk draws vivid sketches of the Russians and their brutality, the dirt poor but generous Kazakhs, and well turned out Americans moving through a world of misery. His book is a worthy memorial to those thousands of Poles whose lives embodied the words of their national anthem, “Poland is not yet lost while we live.” (DKR) [WIN 7 June 2004]
Clark, former supreme allied commander in Europe, and current Presidential aspirant, challenges Bush administration strategy for going to war with Iraq. He sees flawed pre- and post-war planning siphoning off of vital American resources for a bottomless war on terror. He outlines how the US lost credibility. A sound book muddled at times by need to criticize administration for political points. [WIN 5 December 2003]
In 1940 Churchill created the Special Operations Executive [SOE] to thwart Germans in Europe through subversion. The SOE's women operatives were active in France and Italy, where they served as couriers and wireless operators. They lived -- and died -- as underground agents of the SOE. Some were engaged in the French Resistance and, despite the risk of capture, torture and death at hands of the Gestapo, these women worked to disrupt the enemy through distributing arms and explosives, assisting with the escape efforts of captured servicemen, and providing reliable intelligence to the Allied central military command. [WIN 15 October 2003]
WORLD HISTORY OF ESPIONAGE: Agents, Systems, Operations, Janusz Pielkalkiewicz
The YEAR OF THE RAT: How Bill Clinton Compromised US Security for Chinese Cash, Edward Timberlake and William Triplett
Those WIN readers old enough to have read You're Stepping on My Cloak and Dagger when it first came out in 1957 may wish to buy a copy of this new edition to replace their lost one or to give to younger folk who have not had the good fortune to have read it. An OSS veteran and AFIO member, Hall grew up in a Navy family in Annapolis. In this book that sold 50,000 copies when it first appeared, Hall has many a witty observation to make about the goings on he took part in during the Second World War. No wonder it became a cult book for those involved in the spy game. (DKR) [WIN 14 June 2004]