News you may have missed #782 (history edition)

John A. McConeBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►Did US DCI McCone authorize CIA assassinations? By the CIA’s own admission, we do know the Agency was involved in attempts to kill or overthrow several Third World leaders during the Cold War. But the doctrine of plausible deniability meant there is no paper trail identifying those who ordered such operations. Evidence is reasonably clear that Allen W. Dulles, who served as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) for nearly nine years, sanctioned them. But what about John A. McCone (pictured), whom Kennedy appointed as DCI in 1961? Is it possible that the CIA carried out assassination plots without his approval or even in the face of his disapproval? Newly discovered notes from a cryptic telephone call McCone made to Secretary of State Dean Rusk on August 21, 1962, support the claim that, while McCone opposed any open discussion of assassination proposals, he did not oppose the efforts as a matter of principle.
►►Ronald Reagan was FBI informant (Note: this is not new information, but it helps to refresh one’s memory from time to time). In the early stages of the Cold War, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover feared a ‘Kremlin-controlled conspiracy’ to infiltrate Hollywood and use the world’s largest producer of motion pictures to manipulate public opinion against America. In 1945, Ronald Reagan, then an actor, passed along some political gossip of special interest to Hoover. Eventually, Reagan served as an informer in the Bureau’s investigation of alleged communist infiltration of the radio and television industry. He was listed as “Confidential Informant T-36”. Agents described him as “reliable”.
►►Senior Black Panther member was FBI informant. Prominent 1960s Black Panther Party member Richard Masato Aoki, who gave the Black Panthers some of their first firearms and weapons training, was an undercover FBI informer in California, a former agent and FBI report reveal. Aoki’s role inside the Black Panthers was discovered by Seth Rosenfeld while researching his book Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power, which was published today by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Aoki’s life in the Black Panthers was documented in a 2009 film, Aoki and a 2012 biography titled Samurai Among Panthers. Neither mentioned his work with the FBI. Rosenfeld said Aoki had contended in a 2007 interview it wasn’t true he was an informant, but added: “people change. It is complex. Layer upon layer”.

News you may have missed #624

Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout

►►Russia angry at Viktor Bout’s US guilty verdict. Moscow has reacted angrily to the guilty verdict handed down to Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout by a court in the United States. Bout, a former Soviet military intelligence (GRU) officer, was arrested in a sting operation in Bangkok, Thailand, in March of 2008. At the time of his arrest, he and his two collaborators were negotiating a complex weapons deal with two informants posing as representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America’s largest leftist paramilitary group.
►►Symposium examined Reagan’s use of intelligence. The CIA released more than 200 declassified documents it prepared for US President Ronald Reagan during a symposium last week at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The CIA conference, entitled “Ronald Reagan, Intelligence, and the End of the Cold War“, included a discussion by American and Soviet former spies.
►►Suspected Chinese spy loses bid to rejoin Canada civil service. Haiyan Zhang, worked as a senior communications analyst with the Privy Council Office in Ottawa. She was fired when Canada’s spy agency questioned her “loyalty to Canada” over suspicion she was spying for China. Now she has lost her fight to return to the civil service.

Israel abducts American survivor of USS Liberty bombing onboard Gaza flotilla

USS Liberty

USS Liberty

Among nine US citizens abducted in international waters by Israeli troops on Monday was a survivor of the attack on the USS Liberty, an American intelligence ship that was napalm-bombed by the Israeli Air Force in 1967. US Navy veteran Joe Miduras, of Corpus Christi, Texas, was among the nearly 700 civilians from 40 different countries, who were illegally abducted by the Israeli Defense Forces following a bloody raid on the Gaza  Freedom Flotilla on May 31. The 67-year old veteran was a soldier onboard the Liberty, an unarmed US National Security Agency communications surveillance vessel, when it was napalm-bombed in international waters by Israeli jets during the fourth day of the 1967 Six-Day War. Although the ship did not sink, Israeli jets machine-gunned the Liberty lifeboats carrying American servicemen, ultimately killing 34 and seriously injuring over 150 US crew members. Read more of this post

Comment: Declassified documents shed light on closing Cold War stages

The National Security Archive has posted a brief analysis of declassified documents relating to the last official meeting between Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan. The meeting, which took place at Governor’s Island, New York, in December 1988, was also attended by then US President-Elect George Bush, Sr. The released documents consist of three separate batches, namely previously secret high-level Soviet memoranda, CIA reports and estimates, as well as detailed transcripts of the meeting. According to the report’s editors, Soviet memoranda reveal that at the time of the meeting “Gorbachev was prepared for rapid arms control progress leading towards nuclear abolition”. The extent of the Soviet leader’s commitment stunned even the CIA, whose estimates had not anticipated such massive unilateral offer to disarm. The Archive’s press release blames the then President-Elect George Bush, Sr., for failing “to meet Gorbachev even half-way”, thus essentially preventing “dramatic reductions in nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and conventional armaments, to the detriment of international security today”. Read more of this post


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