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Page 36

<< 35. The Light Where Shadows End37. Vietnam Dreams >>

The CIA as Organized Crime

By Larry Craig (reviewer)

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The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World
by Douglas Valentine

(Clarity Press, 2017)

Well holy shit.

I'd like to help out here but I must warn you that I personally interacted with an Air America pilot in Saigon so there is no way I can write anything about this book that is unbiased. And besides, I did not finish the book.

First off, let me tell you that this brilliant author is pretty much telling us things that we already know.

Of course, the CIA ran the killing operation in Vietnam known as Phoenix, which targeted civilians who were unwilling to bow to the corrupt puppet government in Saigon.

Of course, they ran drugs around the world and made sure they wound up in minority communities in America. Gee, I wonder who wanted to be sure these victims of CIA criminality were disenfranchised?

Valentine convincingly documents the crimes. He shows that the CIA worked with and facilitated domestic gangsters we know as the Mafia. They had no problem arranging for gangsters to go to Cuba to assassinate Castro. Fortunately for Cuba and especially Africa, the Cubans outsmarted the mob.

An early warning about the academic nature of the book comes on page 19: "Also, for a year before I started interviewing people, I'd read everything I could find about Vietnam and the CIA. I was knowledgeable, plus I looked like a good Methodist."

No, good Methodist is not an oxymoron. Some are actually Christ-like. Go figure.

Talk about balls, cojones if you prefer, Valentine started at the top. He sent former CIA Director William Colby a copy of his book, "The Hotel Tacloban," which is the story of his father who enlisted in the army when he was sixteen and was captured by the Japanese in the jungles of New Guinea. Along with British and Australian POWs, he was kept at the Hotel Tacloban from which he escaped.

Colby read the book and was impressed so he agreed to meet with Valentine. Colby told him who to meet with to get the story he wanted about the CIA. He went to his interviews with the former agents letting them believe he had Colby's blessings to open up. So, they told their stories. They seemed to be happy to get the garbage off their chests.

These agents were men who had always been headed for lives of crime. They went to the best schools but for many of them the CIA was the only place they could work where their criminal instincts would be respected and used. I suspect plenty of them found the welcome mats out at Goldman Sachs and Citibank as well.

I don't want to scare you off this book but those of you who trust people like Daniel Ellsberg, Amy Goodman and the New York Review of Books are going to see them all trashed.

Ellsberg worked with the worst of the CIA in Vietnam planning the slaughter of civilians in the Phoenix program.

When Valentine called Ellsberg to arrange an interview, Ellsberg said, "You can't possibly understand me because you are not a celebrity." In fact, the CIA wanted the Pentagon Papers released so they would be big news as Congressional hearings looked into the Phoenix assassination program.

The nitty gritty about our killing of good government around the world, from the Congo, to Guatemala, Chile, and Iran is all here.

Back to Saigon in 1966. I don't recall how I got tangled up with an Air America pilot named Charles but looking back I don't suppose he was at all special. In his apartment, he had a framed photo of himself posing by a small Air America plane. He owned several night clubs. I made the rounds with him once. He collected huge piles of cash at each stop. The young women working for him obviously drank a lot of Saigon tea.

At the time, I was dating a beautiful German blonde who worked on the Helgoland, a hospital ship parked right downtown on the Saigon River. He was jealous and talked me into fixing him up with another woman from the ship for a double date. That got me in trouble with the Germans. They seemed to smell his criminality and told me to never bring him to the ship again.

Now I think I'll close this review with this fine summary from page 39: "Meanwhile the CIA, the military and the cops are covering their collective asses through their propaganda outlets. They're corrupting our understanding of the world by controlling the information we receive. They create the myths we believe. If we were allowed to understand the CIA, we'd realize it's a criminal organization that is corrupting governments and societies around the world. It's murdering civilians who haven't done anything wrong. The military does the same thing in a more violent way. Cops too."

Larry Craig was in the 25th infantry division for 1966, in 1967 he got a Bronze Star for coverage of Op Junction City. He testified in Detroit and was in DC for the medal toss.

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