Wackenhut Corporation Name Base Search Results, by pir.org

Wackenhut Corporation Name Base Search Results, by pir.org

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Wackenhut Corporation Name Base Search Results
by pir.org

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Association of National Security Alumni. Unclassified. (Published quarterly since 1989; edited since 1994 by Verne Lyon; last issue appeared in 1997.)

The Association of National Security Alumni is an organization that seeks to expose and curtail covert actions because they "are counter- productive and damaging to the national interest of the United States, inimical to the operation of an effective national intelligence system, corruptive of civil liberties ... and they contradict the principles of democracy, national self-determination and international law to which the United States is publicly committed."

David MacMichael, the person who started ANSA and was Unclassified's first editor, is a former CIA analyst who resigned rather than falsify his reports for political reasons. "Unclassified" was valuable for those who follow various judicial and legislative efforts to investigate or remedy abuses within the intelligence community. ANSA helps whistleblowers and tracks current scandals, particularly those that have achieved some official attention (Iran-contra, BCCI, October Surprise, Inslaw, etc.). They are nonideological and nonpartisan in terms of left-right, Democrat-Republican, preferring to stay on the mark by encouraging concrete reforms as a response to recognized problems.

Bainerman, Joel. The Crimes of a President: New Revelations on Conspiracy and Cover-Up in the Bush and Reagan Administrations. New York: S.P.I. Books (Shapolsky Publishers), 1992. 324 pages.

If you've been following what investigative journalists have written about George Bush since the early 1980s, then this book will offer few surprises. If you haven't, here is a summary of the circumstantial evidence, as reported by a variety of journalists, showing that Bush was behind many of the secret agendas of the 1980s. This book was hastily produced because the publisher was trying to beat the 1992 election (there is no index and some names are misspelled). Other than that, it is well-written and responsive to the evidence.

The chapters include Bush and the contras, drugs, Quayle's role, Manuel Noriega, October Surprise, the arming of Iraq, the Gander and Pan Am 103 crashes, Bush and Israel, BCCI, Inslaw, the looting of the S & Ls, and the suspicious policies behind the Gulf War. Author Joel Bainerman, a conservative journalist based in Israel who is sincerely alarmed over all this corruption and duplicity, tenuously adopts a larger perspective with a brief concluding chapter on Skull and Bones, the Council on Foreign Relations, Freemasonry, and the New World Order. While this isn't as rigorous as we would wish, at least Bainerman knows that Clinton won't make a difference. This alone suggests that he's closer than most journalists to figuring it all out. ISBN 1-56171-188-8

Ben-Menashe, Ari. Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network. New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1992. 394 pages.

If this book is even half true, it means that less than ten percent of the Reagan and Bush administration double-dealing was ever revealed to the American public. Ari Ben-Menashe's description of the U.S.-Israeli arms network can only be described as "sensational." If you accept his scenario, it's apparent that an impotent U.S. Congress, once they got a whiff of the dimensions of the problem and considered their options, had no choice but to cover it all up. Some journalists who have verified portions of Ben-Menashe's story have found that his information is excellent. Others just wish he would disappear and are inclined to discredit him, because to accept him is to admit that you've been chasing your tail for ten years and missing it all. With Ben-Menashe, there doesn't seem to be any middle ground.

Ben-Menashe was one of six on Israel's top-secret Joint Committee on Israel-Iran Relations, and spent years globe-trotting for them, setting up fronts and transferring millions in cash. In 1980 he saw George Bush in Paris meeting with a high Iranian official, and in 1986 he briefed Bush. In 1981 Robert Gates helped him with his suitcase containing $56 million. Others in this book include Margaret Thatcher's son Mark, Chilean arms dealer Carlos Cardoen, and Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner, to name a few. If you start reading this book, watch out for Mossad hit men and hold on to your hat. ISBN 1-879823-01-2 \

CounterSpy (1973-1984)

CounterSpy published 32 issues from 1973 to 1984, a special issue on Jordan in 1977, and 8 issues as The National Reporter from 1985 to 1988. Back issues are no longer available except through the PIR photocopying service.

This little magazine had a stormy history. After they started printing names of CIA officers around the world, a station chief was assassinated in 1975 by urban guerrillas in Athens. CounterSpy found itself under attack by what appeared to be an orchestrated U.S. media -- or perhaps it was simply pack journalism. Their struggle to keep publishing was not always successful.

More than once this was where you read it first. The station chief in Costa Rica, Joseph F. Fernandez, first appeared in CounterSpy in 1975, even while the Washington Post was sticking with his pseudonym up until the day he was indicted in 1988. And the National Endowment for Democracy, finally recognized for its role in buying the Nicaraguan election in 1990, was first exposed in The National Reporter by editor John Kelly in 1986. This magazine will be missed by those who feel that they need to know.

Covert Action Quarterly, 1500 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 732, Washington DC 20005, Tel: 202-331-9763, Fax: 202-331-9751. Subs ($22/year) and back issues ($8/ea) are available from CAQ.

Covert Action Information Bulletin began publishing in 1978, and currently issues a well-produced quarterly of about 70 pages with no advertising. Some themes include CIA in academia, the new world order, CIA in Eastern Europe, George Bush, domestic surveillance, CIA and drugs, AIDS, the religious right, and the Nazi-Vatican-CIA nexus. Most articles contain plenty of footnotes. Most names from almost every issue through 1992 (Number 42) are in NameBase; since Number 43 the magazine changed its name to Covert Action Quarterly (CAQ) and the indexing in NameBase has been more selective.

Before 1982, this publication was best known for its "Naming Names" column, which tracked CIA officers under diplomatic cover by researching the State Department Biographic Register and the diplomatic lists issued by the U.S. and other countries. This finally became illegal when Reagan signed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. CAIB was forced to drop this column and also became generally more cautious on the matter of CIA names. One foreign publication is continuing the earlier tradition, but CAIB/CAQ's reputation for quality, consistency, and accuracy make it a hard act to follow.

Donner, Frank J. The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America's Political Intelligence System. New York: Vintage Books, 1981. 552 pages.

As a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union Project on Political Surveillance and someone who had been identified as a Communist in front of Congressional committees during the 1950s, it's not surprising that Connecticut-based attorney Frank Donner (1911-1993) emerged as the foremost scholar of U.S. domestic political surveillance. He wrote two major books on the subject: "The Age of Surveillance" (1981) on political intelligence by federal agencies, and "Protectors of Privilege" (1990), which looks at surveillance by police departments in major U.S. cities.

"The Age of Surveillance" has several chapters on the FBI and Hoover, and one each on the White House and CIA, the Internal Revenue Service, military surveillance, kangaroo grand juries, the role of Congressional committees, and private-sector intelligence. Most of the material in this book concerns surveillance during the late 1960s and early 1970s, although some historical background is included that goes back to the Palmer raids of 1919. The book is scholarly in tone, straightforward in its reporting, and very well-documented. It received high marks from a broad range of reviewers. ISBN 0-394-74771-2

The Guardian, New York City, 1948-1992.

The Guardian began publishing in 1948 and folded in 1992. Each issue consisted of about 20 tabloid pages with some pictures, a fund-raising appeal or two, a small amount of Movement advertising, and perhaps an anguished essay about the failure of the Left to organize even in the midst of a collapsing economy. Their parent organization was the Institute for Independent Social Journalism, Inc., a nonprofit educational foundation. In 1985 their circulation was 20,000.

Their masthead proclaimed that The Guardian is an "Independent Radical Newsweekly" -- historically, they had remained independent of the Trots, Communists, Maoists, and other sectarians. This allowed them to publish some of the most informative reporting on international current events that the U.S. Left had to offer. But lately, all that's left on the Left is an increasingly bizarre multiculturalism, which simultaneously manages to be both overly-diluted and distressingly narrow as it celebrates everyone and everything except straight white males. Until they folded, Washington correspondent Jack Colhoun still plugged away at stories that interested NameBase users, and they still published informative articles on what was happening abroad. But too many issues would go by before I was compelled to clip an article and make room in my files. -- D.Brandt.

Herman, Edward S. and O'Sullivan, Gerry. The "Terrorism" Industry: The Experts and Institutions That Shape Our View of Terror. New York: Pantheon Books, 1989. 312 pages.

If they don't support U.S. interests we call them "terrorists," but wrap the same activity in a different flag it is always done by "counter- terrorists" or "freedom fighters." This is the first vocabulary lesson to be learned from Washington's McMedia talking heads and think tank mandarins.

The authors describe the experts, examine their many overlapping links with Western intelligence, lobbyists, the security industry, and corporate foundations, and even tabulate their usage of the word "terrorism" in some of their books. They also look at state vs. nonstate terrorism, and the PLO's overpublicized terrorism as opposed to Israel's "sacred" terrorism in terms of the numbers killed, to make the point that media coverage is highly selective. "The mass media, whose structural links to government and the corporate system are already potent, and who are therefore already inclined to accept a state line, are driven further toward closure by the fact that the experts, whose credentials are from affiliation with institutions specializing in terrorism, are supplied them by the industry collective. These experts all follow the approved semantics and model and select and fit facts accordingly.... This reflects an effective propaganda system." ISBN 0-679-72559-8

Intelligence, 16 rue des Ecoles, 75005 Paris, France, Tel and Fax: 33-1-40518519. Olivier Schmidt, editor. Distributed by e-mail. Address inquiries to: adi@blythe.org

Olivier Schmidt began publishing a newsletter on intelligence and parapolitics in 1980. First it was called "Parapolitics," but after 53 four-page issues the name was changed to "Intelligence/Parapolitics" in 1984, which appeared monthly. In 1988 the 106th issue began as an expensive fortnightly under the name "Intelligence Newsletter," published by Maurice Botbol. Schmidt was the editor until 1994, when he split from Botbol. Now there are two publications: Botbol has a new editor, while Schmidt and his associates use the name "Intelligence" and distribute it via e-mail.

The content and production quality of these newsletters have improved dramatically with each name change. They remain geared to an exclusive audience -- the intelligence analysts, international-relations news hounds, and parapolitics watchers of all nations. Each issue of IN, for example, is eight dense pages, consisting of various short items of current interest, perhaps four to a page. These are usually presented under the name of the country. Many items are plucked from the press in various countries, but the newsletter also delights in a fair number of exclusive leaks. It's ideal for the lazy analyst who needs to impress his boss, but doesn't want to peruse hundreds of publications in a dozen languages every two weeks.

Intelligence Newsletter, Indigo Publications, 10 rue du Sentier, 75002 Paris, France, Tel: 33-1-44882610, Fax: 33-1-44882615. Published every two weeks in English and French, $635/year.

Olivier Schmidt began publishing a newsletter on intelligence and parapolitics in 1980. First it was called "Parapolitics," but after 53 four-page issues the name was changed to "Intelligence/Parapolitics" in 1984, which appeared monthly. In 1988 the 106th issue began as an expensive fortnightly under the name "Intelligence Newsletter," published by Maurice Botbol. Schmidt was the editor until 1994, when he split from Botbol. Now there are two publications: Botbol has a new editor, while Schmidt and his associates use the name "Intelligence" and distribute it via e-mail.

The content and production quality of these newsletters have improved dramatically with each name change. They remain geared to an exclusive audience -- the intelligence analysts, international-relations news hounds, and parapolitics watchers of all nations. Each issue of IN, for example, is eight dense pages, consisting of various short items of current interest, perhaps four to a page. These are usually presented under the name of the country. Many items are plucked from the press in various countries, but the newsletter also delights in a fair number of exclusive leaks. It's ideal for the lazy analyst who needs to impress his boss, but doesn't want to peruse hundreds of publications in a dozen languages every two weeks.

Klare, Michael T. Supplying Repression: U.S. Support for Authoritarian Regimes Abroad. Washington: Institute for Policy Studies, 1977. 72 pages.

Michael Klare is perhaps the only anti-Vietnam War activist who made a career out of researching the U.S. defense establishment. He began with the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) in the late sixties; we still recommend their 69-page Research Methodology Guide (1970). Ten years later Klare was doing most of his work as a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. Even some among the ruling class like his work: he has been on the staff of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and in 1985 received a three-year Ford Foundation grant to direct the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies based at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He also writes for Nation magazine.

Almost half of "Supplying Repression" contains tables of U.S. aid and corporate sales to foreign countries in the areas of military and police training, narcotics control, and arms transfers, while the remainder of this little book offers further historical details and commentary. "The evidence suggests that our corporations and governmental agencies are deeply involved in the supply of repressive technology and techniques to many of the world's most authoritarian regimes... [and] the measures adopted by Congress in 1974 to restrict arms and training assistance to foreign police forces have not been successful in cutting off the flow." ISBN 0-89758-001-X

Kruger, Henrik. The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence, and International Fascism. Boston: South End Press, 1980. 240 pages. (Originally published in Denmark as "Smukke Serge og Heroinen" in 1976.)

Henrik Kruger spent five years as a correspondent in Bangkok, Santiago, and Washington for the Copenhagen daily "Politiken," and has written or co-authored eight books. His work on what is today called "narcoterrorism" began more than ten years before the term was used in the U.S., and without the anti-Soviet baggage that became obligatory under the sponsorship of Reagan-era think tanks. Unfortunately this book is one of a kind and is invariably ignored by today's mainstream writers.

The Great Heroin Coup raises awkward questions. The first half of the book concerns French intelligence, the OAS, the Corsican Mafia and the CIA, the Ben Barka affair, and the story of Christian David; the second half examines the CIA and Mafia in the Golden Triangle, Cuban exiles in Florida, the Nixon-Vesco connection, and the CIA's infiltration of the DEA in Latin America. The conclusion is not essential to the rich detail and dense footnoting throughout the book, but here it is: Nixon's war against the Turkey-Marseilles heroin allowed Trafficante's marketing "coup" using heroin from Southeast Asia, and for Kruger it appears that there may have been passive collusion in high places. ISBN 0-89608-031-5

Livingstone, Neil C. The Cult of Counterterrorism. Lexington MA: Lexington Books, 1990. 437 pages.

Livingstone conducts a brisk insider's tour of the 1980s world of operatives, entrepreneurs, and flakes who devoted themselves to a specialty they called "counterterrorism." Livingstone himself goes ga-ga over counterterrorism's "gods," the laconic elite forces at the hub of this world. But he tells us far more about the periphery surrounding them: specialists in "executive security," rightist operators of paramilitary training camps, and assorted vendors of mayhem manuals and mail-order arms.

As well he might, Livingstone denounces the rogues and fantasists on the disreputable outer fringe of this world. But Livingstone's own account demonstrates how difficult such distinctions are to draw. Thus for Livingstone, Ollie North in his heyday was a "player," a real counter- terrorist doing a real job. Yet North (a rogue and a fantasist in his own right) accomplished little, had money stick to his fingers, and left behind a trail of dead civilians. Livingstone is too impatient of definitions and argument to attempt to sort all this out. Nor does this book acknowledge that North's funding network paid $75,000 into Livingstone's private institute on "terrorism." -- Steve Badrich ISBN 0-669-21407-8

Messick, Hank. Of Grass and Snow: The Secret Criminal Elite. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979. 190 pages.

This book is Messick's attempt to expose the new elements behind the drug trade: blacks and Cubans, South Americans, and the counterculture. He describes the trade in marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, and the efforts of U.S. federal and local authorities to curb the supply. Richard Nixon's war on drugs -- which involved Lucien Conein and 14 ex-CIA agents assigned to him, all operating through the DEA -- is discussed in one chapter. Rumors that this was some sort of assassination squad are still circulating today.

Hank Messick's many books on organized crime are widely respected. In 1965 he was hired by the Miami Herald for a series on Meyer Lansky, and his first book, The Silent Syndicate (1967), reported on crime and gambling in Kentucky and Ohio. Messick makes a distinction between the syndicate and the Mafia. The former is international and multicultural, and often includes the latter as a subset. But beginning with the Joseph Valachi hearings in 1963 and J. Edgar Hoover's "La Cosa Nostra" hype, the Mafia got all the attention while Lansky was left alone. Messick was the first to hint at the reason for this: Hoover had been compromised by Lansky, as Anthony Summers recently confirmed in "Official and Confidential" (1993). This debate is significant today for assassination theorists, because most "Mafia did it" authors still give Lansky a mere footnote or two at best. ISBN 0-13-630558-X

Morris, Roger. Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996. 526 pages.

One sport these days is to watch the major media sweat and squirm while they wait for something to go away, and then it just gets bigger. This book is a brisk bestseller as of July 1996, but after a month it still can't get the attention it deserves from the press. The man in the street knows it's hot, while the media pretend not to notice. There are two possibilities: the major media no longer represent a free press, or this book is a reminder for pundits and journalists that they screwed up in 1992 by missing every story. Roger Morris has a doctorate from Harvard, and a widely-acclaimed biography of Richard Nixon to his credit. In 1970 he resigned from the National Security Council to protest the war in Vietnam. Morris writes well, his sources are solid, and he spent three years on this book.

When all is said and done, the Clintons have a major character flaw: again and again, they've sold out everything they've ever professed. For example, Clinton at Oxford claims he was an anti-war protestor, but according to inside sources, he was also spying on other protestors for the CIA. And while governor of Arkansas, Clinton was aware of CIA drug-running and money- laundering in Arkansas; if he didn't inhale it was only because he was too busy snorting. Since this book leaves off in 1992, the big question now is what's been going on in the White House for the last few years. ISBN 0-8050-2804-8

The Nation, 72 Fifth Ave, New York NY 10011, Tel: 212-242-8400 (editorial), 800-333-8536 (subs). $48/year (47 issues).

Founded in 1865, The Nation is the oldest and most prominent left-of- center magazine in the U.S. Like today's left, the 1990s Nation is literate, hip, skeptical, and contentious -- and perhaps a bit remote from everyday concerns like trying to make the rent.

The magazine's front section features national and international news and commentary. Investigative articles appear on an irregular basis -- not often enough, given their generally high quality. Some of The Nation's many star columnists also do investigative work. Christopher Hitchens, for instance, was an early theorist of a possible 1980 back-channel deal between Reagan insiders and Iran (the famous "October Surprise").

Like other left publications, The Nation goes in for long-running controversies that often turn personal. (See, for example, the flap over Oliver Stone's film "JFK" that began with attacks by Hitchens and fellow columnists David Corn and Alexander Cockburn.) The magazine's ample "Books and the Arts" section has its loyalists (I'm one, I guess), but probably strikes many readers as infuriatingly specialist. -- Steve Badrich

O'Toole, George. The Private Sector: Private Spies, Rent-a-Cops, and the Police-Industrial Complex. New York: W.W. Norton, 1978. 250 pages.

A former chief of the CIA's Problems Analysis Branch, George O'Toole began writing magazine articles in the 1970s and in 1975 wrote "The Assassination Tapes" (Penthouse Press), which used a psychological stress evaluator to analyze audio tapes of JFK witnesses, including Oswald, to try and determine who was lying.

This book looks at the threat to civil liberties from private-sector intelligence and investigative firms such as Burns, Pinkerton, and Wackenhut, which are often hired by big corporations for activities ranging from employee screening and strike-breaking to anti-terrorist security and competitor counterintelligence. The gray area between public and private is represented by the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit and the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI. Private record-keeping systems, politicians and their private plumber units, lock-picking and security systems, and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration's funding for private merchandising of police hardware are also covered. O'Toole believes that the public criminal justice system has ceased to work, and with the strain on tax revenues, this trend will continue. Those with assets will always be willing to spend part of what they have in order to protect the rest, so the private sector is moving in to fill the vacuum. ISBN 0-393-05647-3

Public Eye Magazine (8 issues, 1977-1984)

The Public Eye was an alternative magazine with about 48 dense pages in each issue; it appeared once a year for eight years out of Washington and then Chicago. The principals behind the magazine were Chip Berlet, Russ Bellant, and the National Lawyers Guild. Since 1987 Berlet and Bellant have worked with Political Research Associates in Cambridge MA.

The topics that interest Berlet and Bellant haven't changed since the mid-1970s -- they are primarily concerned with the Right and the threat of emerging fascism in U.S. society. Certain themes emerge with regularity: spying on the Left by government COINTELPRO programs and by private Right groups, the LaRouche organization, and white supremacist groups such as the KKK and Posse Comitatus. Occasionally a more international perspective would emerge (a report on the World Anti-Communist League, for example), but generally the emphasis is national or even regional.

These days, the Right/Left distinctions of past decades have been obscured by both an emerging Right populism in the U.S. and by ossification on the U.S. Left, and other worries have largely replaced our concerns about classic forms of fascism. However, the Berlet-Bellant research is still valuable for historians, as it tends to be rich in factual content.

Spotlight, 300 Independence Ave SE, Washington DC 20003, Tel: 800-522-6292 (subscriptions), 202-544-1794 (editorial). $59/year for 52 issues.

This weekly tabloid has 28 pages with some advertising, photos, and a circulation of over 100,000. It has been published since 1975 by Liberty Lobby, which is a populist organization founded by Willis Carto. The left is always calling Carto a right-wing anti-Semite, but we find only rare hints of international Jewish banking conspiracies or the like in The Spotlight. It's not the sort of tabloid we would produce, but it covers important material that its critics on the left have ignored in recent years. Spotlight is loosely allied with critics we respect such as Victor Marchetti, Fletcher Prouty, and Mark Lane, and with a broad spectrum of populists. Basically they are anti-elitist, opposed the Gulf War, want the JFK assassination reinvestigated, and feel that corruption and conspiracies can be found in high places.

Spotlight goes beyond the usual right-wing conspiracy theories concerning the Rockefellers, Kissinger, the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateralism, and Bilderberg -- they also target George Bush, the CIA, and "one world" foreign policy. They believe in the Constitution and Populism, which is dubiously vague. But we'd rather index the names in selected Spotlight articles than continue to index the left's denunciations of them. If the left resumes covering the same issues, we might change our mind.

Stich, Rodney. Defrauding America: A Pattern of Related Scandals. Expanded second edition published in 1994 by Diablo Western Press, Inc., P.O. Box 5, Alamo CA 94507, Tel: 800-247-7389. 654 pages.

Rodney Stich began his whistle-blowing career when he was a safety inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration in the 1960s. Before that he had been a Navy and airline pilot. More than a mere whistle-blower, Stich was something of a pest with his petitions and lawsuits against public officials and judges. This landed him in jail for contempt, where he met Gunther Russbacher, a self-described deep cover agent for the CIA who was able to clue him in on every major covert action of the past twenty years. (There are numerous intelligence documents in the book with Russbacher's name on them -- but they lack routing marks and could conceivably be bogus.)

Assuming that Russbacher was only half-reliable, that still leaves the other half. The problem is, which half is which? Stich supports Russbacher's evidence with names and dates, and claims to have corroborated most of it. He also covers many conspiracies where Russbacher doesn't play a role, always giving more names and dates to back up his narrative. This self- published book is simply amazing. It is a tribute to the sincerity, energy and dedication of author Rodney Stich, but beyond that it's difficult to evaluate objectively. Fortunately, we don't have to -- we just throw all the names into NameBase. ISBN 0-932438-08-3

Thomas, Kenn and Keith, Jim. The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro. Portland: Feral House, 1996. 181 pages.

Danny Casolaro was found with his wrists slashed in a motel bathtub in Martinsburg, West Virginia on August 10, 1991. He was a struggling writer and something of a romantic. Recently he had also styled himself as an investigator, contacting a variety of spooks-turned-victims and weaving their stories into an "Octopus" theory. This would be the book of his career: Danny as dragon-slayer. Now it was a year later, and documents were missing from Casolaro's motel room. Was it suicide or murder?

This book involves Inslaw, Inc. and its Promis software, as well as Michael Riconosciuto, a child prodigy who became a secret agent and drug pusher, and still keeps a bevy of fringe journalists busy by dispatching leads from his jail cell. Mix in several years of affidavits flying like shrapnel, mostly due to Inslaw's reasonable claim that Promis was stolen by the Justice Department. Add Riconosciuto's unreasonable claim that he hacked Promis, making it so magical that U.S. intelligence tried to install it everywhere as a Trojan horse. Include more prominent names than you can shake a stick at, each with loose but spooky connections to everyone else, and throw in a few more investigative trails that end in corpses. Ultimately it just doesn't fly: any philosophy major can tell you that something this big is very nearly the same as nothing at all. ISBN 0-922915-39-3

Thomas, Kenn (ed). Popular Alienation: A Steamshovel Press Reader. Lilburn, GA: IllumiNet Press, 1995. 343 pages.

This is an anthology of issues four through eleven of Steamshovel Press, plus an extra "phantom" issue. Kenn Thomas, the man behind the shovel, works out of St. Louis, Missouri. He's a gonzo editor with a penchant for mining the depths of New Age conspiracism, beat literature, Wilhelm Reich, UFOs, and assassination theory. If presented with a choice between the outright bizarre, on the one hand, and dull, cautious, footnoted research on the other hand, Thomas prefers the former.

Nevertheless, the occasional nugget stays in the pan. Particularly informative are his interviews with Jack Hoffman (Abbie's brother), Deborah Davis, Mark Lane, Kerry Thornley, Jim Marrs, Dick Gregory, Jonathan Vankin, Robert Anton Wilson, John Judge, Carl Oglesby, A.J. Weberman, Allen Ginsberg, David Dellinger, David Emory, and Sherman Skolnick. The book reviews are more mixed: some are helpful, but others treat titles that are insanely obscure, almost kinky.

Steamshovel Press sees itself as a serious magazine, even if one suspects that Thomas sometimes has a laugh at our expense. If you like some "X Files" paranormality mixed in with your "Octopus" theories, you could do a lot worse. ISBN 1-881532-07-0

Turner, William W. Hoover's FBI. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1993. 344 pages. Revised and updated from the 1970 edition by Sherbourne Press, which also appeared as a Dell paperback.

From 1951-1961, William W. Turner was an FBI agent, until he was fired for refusing to roll over in the face of J. Edgar Hoover's eccentric megalomania. Turner hired superlawyer Edward Bennett Williams and sued the FBI; he lost, but did manage to get anti-Hoover testimony by other agents into the record. By 1968, Turner was working on the JFK assassination for the celebrated muckraking magazine Ramparts, and was number three on Hoover's personal COINTELPRO enemies list. That year Turner wrote The Police Establishment, and after this book appeared in 1970, he wrote several others that are indexed in NameBase: Power on the Right, The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (with John Christian), and The Fish is Red (with Warren Hinckle, about the CIA and anti-Castro Cubans).

What's amazing, 26 years after Hoover's death, is that this book was not only the first, but still ranks as one of the best, among the dozens of books that have since appeared on this topic. Everything anyone needed to know about Hoover was available while he was still in power, for the price of a Dell paperback, and before the Freedom of Information Act started churning out documents. It's a brutal reminder that even when the facts are indisputable, most people still find it convenient to ignore them.
ISBN 1-56025-063-1

Vankin, Jonathan and Whalen, John. The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time: History's Biggest Mysteries, Cover-ups, and Cabals. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1998. 502 pages.

In 1991 a book by Jonathan Vankin titled "Conspiracies, Cover-ups, and Crimes" discussed various episodes in 17 discrete chapters. This book ups the page count from 319 to 502, and expands the number of episodes to sixty. There is not much overlap between the two books.

The writing is generally balanced and capable. The authors deserve credit for describing the various theories on their ostensible merits, rather than conveniently dismissing them as psychological epiphenomena. They recognize that the "Disney" or "New York Times" or "TV news" version of history, packaged for mass consumption, is the product of vested interests, laziness, armchair psychoanalysis, peer pressure, and the stigma associated with the word "conspiracy."

Some of the topics were chosen for their entertainment value, which gives this book a coffee-table aura that other topics don't deserve. Then there's the problem of whether anything valuable can be imparted in eight pages per topic. Many readers will learn only enough about any particular item to discuss it unintelligently, or dismiss it more convincingly. But this book is better than nothing, and is probably the last of the genre. ISBN 0-7607-0882-7

Webb, Gary. Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1998. 548 pages.

As a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, Gary Webb created a firestorm in 1996 with a three-part series that led to this book. The series was popular on the Mercury website, where it was backed up with a massive collection of documents, just a mouse-click away. Then the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times seemingly got marching orders, and bashed the story in three-part harmony. This story is about Norwin Meneses, Danilo Blandon, and Ricky Ross, and the arrival of crack in Los Angeles. Behind these three, to some extent, was the CIA's contra war against Nicaragua. The original series was poorly edited, and cut to fit. The CIA angle was overplayed to suggest that without the CIA, crack in Los Angeles could have barely existed. Some of the more imaginative web surfers then came close to concluding that the CIA was trying to exterminate blacks.

After reading this book, with its shoe-leather reporting and 68 pages of end notes, no one can deny that Webb is a capable journalist (he lost his job anyway; the Mercury couldn't take the East Coast heat). In the end, the CIA's motives and its control over its own contra agents are still open to question. But don't expect any answers. Just before this book appeared, it was revealed that in 1982, the CIA was exempted by the Attorney General from reporting on the drug activities of its agents, assets, and contractors. ISBN 1-888363-68-1
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