Official narrative: In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading Vietnam war strategist, concludes that America’s role in the war is based on decades of lies. He leaks 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to the New York Times, a daring act of conscience that leads directly to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg and a who’s-who of Vietnam-era movers and shakers give a riveting account of those world-changing events.
If the ‘Myth of Daniel Ellsberg’ were ever to unravel, so would the decades of CIA misinformation on a whole plethora of cover stories (official lies) perpetrated on the American public.
Douglas Valentine, who for years investigated the CIA’s ‘Phoenix Program’ in Vietnam, and more, interviewing Indochina clandestine operations veterans who were on location, in that era, in 2003 penned an article; ‘Will The Real Daniel Ellsberg Please Stand Up?’
“The House of Representatives launched deeper probes into CIA drug smuggling and the CIA’s Phoenix Program in early 1971, and, naturally, the CIA at this critical time took extensive countermeasures in a concerted effort to conceal these facts. What is relevant … is that in June 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the aptly named Pentagon Papers, shifting blame for the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War from the CIA to the military, while distracting public attention from the investigations of the CIA’s Phoenix Program and the CIA’s involvement in drug smuggling”
The article is worth a read. I witnessed CIA delivery of heroin to the United States Army at Vung Tau, Vietnam, in 1971. There is no ‘conspiracy theory’ involved with CIA international narcotics trafficking, only the actual conspiracies that have been and continue to be carried out. Ellsberg’s denials concerning any knowledge of, or connections to this trade, even as he is established to have been moving among and interacting with its principal players, is a red flag that should have warned people off embracing anything this career CIA disinformation specialist (and mole in the left) has ever asserted.
Ten years after Valentine had published his Ellsberg article in 2003, James Corbett spent nearly an hour in discussion with Valentine on the very same, developing a larger body of information for radio you can listen to HERE.
If he [Ellsberg] would keep these incredibly important two years of his life secret, he would have no problem keeping other, more important secrets” -Douglas Valentine
The first question Valentine raises in his radio interview is, when Ellsberg wrote his autobiography aptly named “Secrets”, why did he keep major portions of his story ‘secret’? Ellsberg’s connections to the heroin trade’s principal players, the fact he’d been in liaison with the CIA covert war (separate to the regular military) bosses and was plugged into the highest levels of the Indochina covert operations scene, as his work assignment. Related to this, Ellsberg had taken on covert operations assignments in Saigon for the CIA chief of station. One of Ellsberg’s colleagues of that era then drops the bombshell he was the one who’d passed along instruction for Ellsberg to release the Pentagon Papers. This person is a contact Valentine had been sent to by former CIA Director and one time CIA Vietnam ‘dirty war’ (Phoenix Program) boss William Colby, who incidentally (1996) almost certainly was murdered for having been too free with giving up the agency’s dirty laundry. Moreover, it is credibly alleged William Colby himself had sent on the instruction for the Pentagon Papers release. Finally, the question is raised, why is Ellsberg still associating with those very CIA people he worked with in Vietnam (he avoids talking about in his autobiography), decades after the fact?
Valentine’s research matches the entirely independent (and highly suppressed) material in the exposé of a former Pentagon liaison to the CIA, ‘The Secret Team‘, by Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty. The reasons given for the Pentagon Papers release, by both Valentine and Prouty, is to shift any scrutiny and public attention away from the CIA and its activities in Vietnam; inclusive of narcotics trafficking & dirty war assassinations (Valentine’s focus) and how clandestine CIA policies were implemented to the detriment of the USA national interest (Prouty’s focus.)
“Nobody on the left questions Ellsberg about these things” –Doug Valentine
“From the beginning, the Pentagon Papers were a compilation of documents designed to paint President John F. Kennedy as the villain of the story, and to shield the role of the CIA” –L Fletcher Prouty
It was Colonel L Fletcher Prouty first blew the whistle, over forty years ago, on Daniel Ellsberg as at the center of a CIA information operation (PSYOP) to shift responsibility for the immense policy failures of Vietnam from the CIA onto the Pentagon, the full chapter of what follows can be read online HERE
We have been saying that the release of the Pentagon Papers by the former CIA agent and long-time associate of Edward G. Lansdale, Daniel Ellsberg, may have been the opening attack by the CIA to cover its disengagement not only from the physical conflict in Indochina, but also from the historical record of that disastrous event. In this effort, the CIA appears to be trying to hide behind its own best cover story, that it is only an intelligence agency and that its fine intelligence work during the past twenty years on the subject of Southeast Asia is all that we should remember.
Now we find in Cooper another CIA apologist using the Foreign Affairs review to follow up and to praise Ellsberg. In fact, Cooper’s exhilaration in his task gets the better of him when he says, “Thanks to Daniel Ellsberg …” he means it! This near-endorsement of Ellsberg by a CIA writer in the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations is all the more significant when one learns that this Council is supported by foundations which are in turn directed by men from the Bechtel Corporation, Chase Manhattan Bank, Cummins Engine, Corning Glass, Kimberly-Clark, Monsanto Chemical, and dozens of others. Not long ago, the political scientist Lester Milbraith noted that “the Council on Foreign Relations, while not financed by government, works so closely with it that it is difficult to distinguish Council actions stimulated by government from autonomous actions.” And while we appreciate that Foreign Affairs states clearly that “It does not accept responsibility for the views expressed in any articles, signed or unsigned, which appear on [its] pages”, its record and especially its list of authors over the years, from John Foster Dulles in its first issue, speaks for itself.
This whole plot thickens to the point of near-hypocrisy when Cooper cites the August 3, 1954, National Intelligence Estimate. The same Pentagon Paper from which he quotes also contains a report on the year-long activity of the Saigon Military Mission. This report, written by Edward G. Lansdale of the CIA, began in that same month of August 1954. While the NIE was speaking disparagingly of Ngo Dunh Diem, the SMM was supporting the Diem regime during the days after the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. This team and all of its efforts were CIA originated, CIA supported, CIA manned, and CIA directed. From 1954 through 1963, all American activity in Vietnam was dominated by the CIA. Although Lansdale and his key men, such as Charles Bohanon, Lucien Conein (the U.S. go between at the time of the Diem coup d’état), Bill Rosson, Arthur Arundel, Rufus Phillips, and others were listed in the Pentagon Papers with military rank, they were all in the employ of the CIA and were operating as CIA agents.
This is what the Pentagon Papers reveal as happening in 1954 and 1955. Now the CIA would have us believe that it was an objective and blameless intelligence agency all through those horrible years of the Vietnam build-up. However, it was the CIA that hid behind its own cover and that of State and Defense to fan the flames of a smoldering conflict. To add insult to injury, the CIA would have us believe that Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, the DOD, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon were all to blame because they would not read and heed their NIE. Where were the CIA officials of the clandestine sector when their own men were writing these National Intelligence Estimates?
The big question is, If the National Estimates produced by the intelligence side of the CIA were so good, then why didn’t the men in the clandestine operations office read and follow the advice of their own estimates? Yes, the CIA likes to write about itself, and the CIA likes to have others write about it, as long as what they write is laudatory and skillful propaganda.
How can the CIA rationalize the fact that at the very same time it was sending its most powerful and experienced team of agents into action in Indochina, after its successes with Magsaysay in the Philippines, it was writing NIE for the President saying exactly the opposite? It is alarming enough today to put the Ellsberg releases and the Cooper tales together, but what did the CIA have in mind in 1954 when it was doing such disparate things? What did the CIA expect President Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles to believe: The NIE that said we couldn’t win with the “frail Diem regime”, or the SMM clandestine operation that was designed to support the same Diem regime? Or could it have been that they either did not know about the secret operation or were improperly briefed? This is the very heart of the matter. This is what this book is all about.
To put this in another context, when Eisenhower was planning for the ultimate summit meeting in May 1960, did the NIE say that all was going well and nothing should be done to upset the chances of success of that most important mission; and did the DD/P come in with his briefing for the U-2 flight at the same time? Or perhaps was there an NIE and no briefing about the U-2? How did the ST handle that one?
Or to carry this same theme over to early 1961, did the NIE correctly foretell that the Cubans would not rise up and support an invasion of so few troops without United States troops and air cover; and how did the DD/P brief the secret operation to President Kennedy to perform an invasion operation that was patently diametrically opposed to the NIE?
To drive home the point of this duality farther, Cooper states: “In November 1961, shortly after General Taylor and Walt Rostow returned from their trip to Vietnam recommending, inter alia, that the U.S. ‘offer to introduce into South Vietnam a military task force’, an NlE warned that any escalation of American military activity in Vietnam would be matched by similar escalation by Hanoi … the North Vietnamese would respond to an increased U.S. commitment with an offsetting increase in infiltrated support for the Viet Cong.”
Again the Intelligence Directorate of the CIA plays the lily white role. At about the same time, July 1961, the Pentagon Papers show that a report, again by Edward C. Lansdale, at that time a brigadier general assigned to McNamara’s staff and still, as ever, a strong supporter of the CIA, lists the very considerable amount of unconventional warfare resources in Southeast Asia, which were supported by and operating under the CIA. These military and paramilitary forces added into the tens of thousands of armed men and were liberally supported by American men, American money, and American equipment, all put in place under the direction of the CIA. The Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, General Cabell, had just ordered the ClA-operated United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron from Laos, where things had turned from bad to worse, into South Vietnam, where things were going to turn from bad to worse. They were flown into the Camau Peninsula by Americans, and they were supported by Americans for the purpose of airlifting the Special Forces Elite troops of Ngo Dinh Nhu for action against the citizens of that terrorized area. This was another example of what was going on in the covert field at the same time that Intelligence was putting out an Estimate to the contrary. We have Cooper to thank for the “nice” story and Ellsberg to thank for the “not-so-nice” story. Who was President Kennedy to believe — the man who came in with the NIE, or the man who came in to brief him about the tremendous clandestine and paramilitary operations? Or did they tell the President about both?
Today, the CIA would like us to believe that it had challenged the validity of the hallowed Domino Theory by advising Lyndon B. Johnson that, with the possible exception of Cambodia, it is likely that no nation in the area would quickly succumb to Communism as a result of the fall of Laos and South Vietnam. Furthermore, a continuation of the spread of Communism in the area would not be irreparable.
In 1961, the same time as this quote, Maxwell Taylor, the White House spokesman of the clandestine side of the CIA, informed President Kennedy that “the fall of South Vietnam to Communism would lead to the fairly rapid extension of Communist control, or complete accommodation to Communism, in the rest of the mainland of South East Asia and in Indonesia. The strategic implications worldwide, particularly in the Orient, would be extremely serious.” In those days, Maxwell Taylor expressed more properly the views of the CIA (DD/P) than those of the DOD where he was held in awe and suspicion after his return from retirement to become a member of the Kennedy “inside” staff.
General Taylor continued to espouse this view even after he moved to the Pentagon as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On January 22, 1964, in a memo to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, he said, “A loss of South Vietnam to the Communists will presage an early erosion of the remainder of our position in that subcontinent.” Even though he had moved to the Pentagon, Taylor’s memoranda on South Vietnam were written by the Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activity, an office within the confines of the Pentagon, but an office that had been created to work with the CIA, and which by that date had become a regular conduit for CIA thought and action.
Then, McNamara picked up this same “party line” in his memo to President Johnson (at that time his memoranda on this subject were written either by Lansdale or Bill Bundy, both CIA men) of March 16, 1967 “… Southeast Asia will probably fall under Communist dominance, all of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia … Burma … Indonesia … Malaysia … Thailand … Philippines … India … Australia … New Zealand … Taiwan … Korea and Japan ….” By now, everyone was putting all pressure possible on Johnson, and as noted, they used all of the dominoes. Yet the CIA today would have us believe they were only the voice of the DD/I and not the DD/P speaking, through SACSA, to Maxwell Taylor, thence to McNamara, with input from Bundy and Lansdale, and on to Rusk and Johnson. No wonder the CIA wants men like Cooper and Ellsberg writing for them.
The final irony is discovered when the Cooper story begins to pit the National Estimates against other Ellsberg data in 1964-1965. He states that the NIE of late 1964 claimed that, ” . . . we do not believe that such actions [against the North] would have crucial effect in the daily lives of the overwhelming majority of the North Vietnamese population. We do not believe that attacks on industrial targets would so exacerbate current economic difficulties as to create unmanageable control problems [for the Hanoi regime] … would probably be willing to suffer some damage to the country in the course of a test of wills with the U.S. over the course of events in South Vietnam.” Then, as if to place the blame on the military, he adds, “As the Pentagon historians note, this view had little influence on the contingency papers which emerged.”
The most remarkable thing about this paragraph from Foreign Affairs is that it is directly the opposite of the views presented in the Pentagon Papers as the “William Bundy memo” on “Actions Available to the United States after Tonkin”, which is dated August 11, 1964. Bill Bundy was at that time no longer sitting in the Pentagon; he was working for the ST as Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. However, overriding that position, Bill Bundy was always the ready spokesman and puppet, in both the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, for the CIA. He had been with the CIA for ten years, was the son-in-law of Dean Acheson, and has been reported, as of this writing, to be in line for the position of editor of Foreign Affairs.
In this utterly fantastic memo, CIA spokesman Bill Bundy listed pages of “dirty tricks” and increasing pressures that were to be brought to bear against Hanoi, including the Rostow favorite, “tit for tat” actions. By late 1964, military escalation had begun, and the role of the CIA did not diminish — it was just overshadowed by the greater military magnitude. The flames that the CIA and the greater ST had ignited were faced by the military. However, even this huge force was never able to snuff them out; it just had to stand there and let them burn themselves out.
Then the Cooper account presents Dr. Sherman Kent, the long-time chief of the Board of National Estimates saying: “The nature of our calling requires that we pretend as hard as we are able that the wish is indeed the fact and that the policy-maker will invariably defer to our findings …” He feels that his associates’ concern about their influence is misplaced: “… no matter what we tell the policymaker, and no matter how right we are and how convincing, he will upon occasion disregard the thrust of our findings for reasons beyond our ken. If influence cannot be our goal, what should it be? … It should be to be relevant within the area of your competence, and above all it should be to be credible.”
Sherman Kent is an old pro. He knows his business and is one of the very best in his field; but how strange the context of this Foreign Affairs essay must seem to him. While he did prepare these NIE, his own associates in clandestine operations and his own boss, the DCI, were fanning out all over Southeast Asia under the cover of his professional expertise, not only oblivious and unheeding of his work, but making mockery of it. Such are the ways of the ST.
When a National Estimate is presented by the same house that presents the collateral and usually opposite view of Special Operations, the Agency pulls the rug from under the feet of its own best achievements and the men responsible for them. Allen Dulles was wrong when he wrote in 1948, along with Jackson and Correa, that the two broad functions of Intelligence and Special Operations should be under the same man and in the same agency. There is nothing wrong with the NIE system and with men like Sherman Kent, Ray Cline, and Bob Amory. The evil is on the other side; and in spite of the vigorous efforts of Agency zealots, who have attempted to rewrite the history of the past quarter-century, we cannot but take some faith in those words of Saint John, that Allen Dulles chose for the entrance way of the new CIA building: “The truth shall make you free.” This attempt to warp the truth will not.
It might also have been well if the Agency and its disciples had reconsidered their own “more appropriate choice” for a motto: “Look before you leap.” The American public and the world for which Arnold Toynbee speaks, prefer Truth.
(Of course the fact that E. Howard Hunt, James McCord, Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzalez, Frank Sturgis, and Eugenio Martinez were all current or “former” CIA operatives, and that G. Gordon Liddy had “special clearances” from CIA at the time, might have given anyone who could fog a mirror a clue in that direction – but that’s another thread.)
Back to St. Ellsberg and his heroic, selfless act for world peace: it’s a complete fraud, and the CIA had already created the total plan for getting him off scott-free before he ever delivered the CIA-provided “secrets” to Neil Sheehan, his old buddy from ‘Nam – who he had been hooked up with there by CIA’s Robert Komer and Lucien Conein, both long-time CIA pals of E. Howard Hunt.
If there is a “strangest part” among the strangeness, it might be that it’s all in the public record. It doesn’t even require prying secrets out of the cold, clammy hands of America’s favorite spooks. The perps have admitted to all of it. They just admitted it at so many different places in so many different time frames that nobody ever put all those stray pieces together until recently, and the picture the puzzle forms is ugly indeed.
Ellsberg’s “psychiatrist,” Lewis J. Fielding, had been staff psychiatrist at the Veterans Administration way back in the late ’40s and early ’50s, just when the VA was feeding unfortunate veterans into the hungry tormenting maw of CIA’s mind-control beast, Operation Bluebird (and its bastard children – ARTICHOKE, MK-ULTRA, etc.), to be used as guinea pigs under the loving eye of Richard Helms, Sidney Gottlieb and friends – where Hunt, Conein, and Komer sang along in three-part harmony.
There are lots of tiny details that make up the big picture, and I won’t lay out every one of them here in this introductory message in this thread. They’ve actually already been laid out meticulously in a very thorough timeline I’ve read, which I’ll provide a link to at the end of this message if anybody wants to visit it themselves. But there are several important pieces that are worth laying out.
One of them is that E. Howard Hunt and his wife Dorothy went to Miami and met with Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzalez, and Felipe De Diego on Saturday, 17 April 1971, almost two months before the leak of the Pentagon Papers. So? So, these happen to be the exact same three CIA – connected Cubans who Hunt later uses to stage a “break-in” at the office of psychiatrist Lewis J. Fielding – purportedly as part of the “response” to the leak of the Pentagon Papers – the claimed purpose of which will be to get the psychiatric file of Daniel Ellsberg. (Stay tuned…)
The next piece to lay out is that well prior to the Labor Day weekend “break-in” of Fielding’s office, the CIA supplied E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy with:
- Phony IDs
- CIA “disguises” that didn’t disguise them at all
- A CIA camera
So on 26 August 1971, Hunt and Liddy took these CIA-supplied items and flew out to Los Angeles and went to the Beverly Hills office of Lewis J. Fielding, purportedly to “case” the place for the upcoming break-in. And they put on their ill-fitting CIA wigs, and took photos of each other with the CIA-supplied camera standing in front of Fielding’s identifiable office door.
As inconceivable as this is already, we aren’t done yet–not by a long shot. Liddy and Hunt flew back to D.C. and were met at the airport by CIA’s Stephen Greenwood, who took the film from the CIA-supplied camera, took it back to CIA headquarters, and had the photos developed there, giving a copy to Hunt, and keeping a copy in CIA files.
Okay: I know you think I’m pulling your leg, but I swear it’s the precise truth, admitted by CIA, and it only gets better.
Just over a week later, on Friday, 3 September 1971 (Labor Day weekend) the purported “break-in” took place at the office of Lewis J. Fielding. The three Cubans Hunt had met with earlier (two months before the Pentagon Papers had even been leaked) did the dirty work.
It seems worth mentioning in passing the reason Liddy gave in his autobiography for getting the Cubans to do the break-in. I’m going to say it, but if you fall out of your chair laughing and hurt yourself, don’t sue me; sue the CIA for reckless endangerment. But here it is: just after Liddy and Hunt had taken photos of each other at Fielding’s office, Liddy says they got a go ahead for a break-in (from NSA’s David Young–but that’s another thread), but that Liddy and Hunt “weren’t allowed to be anywhere near the place.” Once you recover, we’ll move along here…
The Cubans (all with CIA histories) made the “break-in” real subtle: they broke a window–even though Gonzalez was a locksmith. (This is another curious twist: in the anecdotal accounts of the Fielding break-in, none of the people involved ever mention that Gonzalez is a locksmith. Yet in their tales of the similar Watergate op just nine months later, it becomes the whole reason for Gonzalez being on “the team.” Of course, if they had made an issue out of it in the tales of the Fielding “break-in,” the broken window would look a little suspicious. I repent for bringing it up.)
In the much-later revelations of the “break-in,” the CIA shills involved couldn’t even get their stories straight. Liddy, Hunt, and the Cubans all claimed there was no Ellsberg file at all, but Fielding reported that there had been a fat Ellsberg file in the office when they broke in, that he found it lying open on the floor when he next came to the office, and that it was “evident” that someone had gone through the file. Who you gonna’ believe? Does it matter? They were all in on the CIA op together.
As a final note on the “break-in,” Liddy and Hunt at the time, as the “commanders” of the op, supposedly were running around Beverly Hills like Keystone Cops, trying in vain on Radio Shack walkie-talkies to raise the Cubans and doing other endearing things. The problem is they were in New York City the same night checking into the Pierre Hotel on a completely impossible timeline. But, hey: it’s a CIA op. Don’t be so nitpicking.
If all of this buffoonery isn’t enough, it’s time to take a giant step now, all the way across 1972 to early 1973: Wednesday, 3 January 1973, to be precise. On that day, Daniel Ellsberg went on trial for felony crimes in the leaking of the “Pentagon Papers.”
And on the same day–the same exact day–the CIA sent a courier named Anthony Goldin, one of their own agents, to hand-deliver to Watergate prosecutors a nice, official, sealed CIA envelope.
And what do you think it contained? Are you even able to guess?
If you said “photos of E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy mugging in front of Lewis J. Fielding’s office,” I’d be willing to wager your breath can fog a mirror.
And so on the very day his trial began, Daniel Ellsberg was given a custom “Get Out of Jail Free” card, tailor-made for him by CIA and their jolly operatives. It wouldn’t be passed along to the Ellsberg court and made public for several more months, but it was hand-delivered by CIA the very day the Ellsberg trial began. It had been planned far, far in advance just that way.
“But why,” you might be asking.
The obvious answer to “why,” from the record, was to provide a big, brazen, scandalous excuse for the CIA to shove Liddy and Hunt into the White House through the back door and get them White House credentials and lots of operational latitude.
In fact, there’s a little detail from one of the Watergate tapes that has gone almost completely unremarked: way back on 2 July 1971 — the day after NSA’s David Young had been appointed to work with Egil Krogh at the White House Domestic Council, just days after Ellsberg had been indicted for the “Pentagon Papers” — CIA Director Richard Helms is revealed to have been back-channeling to the White House staff, lobbying for Hunt to be taken on. In a tape of an Oval Office conversation that date, Haldeman tells Nixon that Helms has been whispering in his ear about Hunt: “Ruthless, quiet and careful, low profile. He gets things done. He will work well with all of us. He’s very concerned about the health of the administration. His concern, he thinks, is they’re out to get us and all that, but he’s not a fanatic. We could be absolutely certain it’ll involve secrecy… .”
On or about the same day, Daniel Ellsberg’s ex-wife contacted the FBI and gave them a tip about psychiatrist Lewis J. Fielding knowing “all about what Daniel has done.”
Within five days, Hunt was hired as a White House “consultant.”
There’s more, but how much more do you need?
If the new burning question is “why did the CIA so badly want Hunt and Liddy in the White House,” well, that’s another story for another day.
While I’m not going to attempt here to supply an answer, I have an even better question: If their real purpose was to “stop leaks”–and hence the famous nickname, “the Plumbers”–why did they never, ever stop even one leak, and never, ever do anything effective regarding any leak? It’s not an idle question.