Most Americans live very hectic lives and have little time to devote to reading lengthy tomes on a single subject, never mind researching these matters. Here, in a single volume, Richard Otto presents a series of compelling essays on Vietnam, Watergate and the assassinations of the 1960s. The Paradox of our National Security Complex examines the consequences of our militaristic and corporatist policies since World War II on our liberty, our security, and our democracy.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Richard Otto is an award winning attorney at law with a lifelong fascination for politics and history. The Paradox of Our National Security System is the culmination of almost a decade of research. Otto works as a case manager in a drug court, and lives with his family in Maine.
Read an Excerpt
The Paradox Or Our National Security Complex
How Secrecy and Security Diminish Our Liberty and threaten our Democratic Republic
By Richard Otto
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2016 Richard Otto
All rights reserved.
The Evolution of our Modern National Security Complex
When discussing why the CIA ran amuck with Trento, Angleton stated, "There was no accountability. And without accountability everything turned to shit."
"You know, the CIA got tens of thousands of brave people killed ... We played with lives as if we owned them."
"When national security is used as the excuse for concealing essential facts surrounding a disaster, it usually refers to the security of the man who allowed the disaster to occur. Actually, the greater threat to national security is the cynical concealment of such facts from the people."
"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."
When asked by a reporter to describe the purpose of the CIA, Allen Dulles replied, "It's the state department for the unfriendly countries."
"When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"There is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is a grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment."
John F. Kennedy
"... the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing (atom bomb)."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan."
Admiral William D. Leahy
"... we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs."
Brigadier General Carter Clarke
"The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all."
General Curtis LeMay
"The war might have ended weeks earlier if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor."
General Douglas McArthur
"We cannot, as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crises."
John F. Kennedy
National Security vs Dark Secrets (How our classification system threatens our republic)
An interview of Edward Snowden triggered some thoughts on how our national security state operates. Snowden was posing questions to former KGB officer, President Vladimir Putin, regarding Russia's intelligence programs and if they collected and stored data on their citizens as was done by our National Security Agency (NSA). His reply was predictable in that he denied that they had the money or the technology to spy on their citizens as in the United States.
The issue I intend to confront is the expansive classification program we have instituted in this country since the end of World War II. Before the war documents were classified and secrets were kept from the public; this certainly was true. However, the dynamics and the scope of this practice has morphed into a beast that undermines our democracy or what our founding fathers called our republic. When Benjamin Franklin was asked after the Constitutional Convention of 1787 how he would characterize our form of government – a republic or a monarchy? He responded "A republic, if you can keep it."
Before World War II, this country never had a formal infrastructure for intelligence. This was considered by our British allies as a liability as war approached. British intelligence and military officers – which included Ian Fleming the eventual author of the James Bond series – advocated to President Franklin Roosevelt the need for the United States to establish an intelligence capacity worthy of a world power that was commensurate with what the European nations had instituted. Roosevelt was persuaded and quickly formed the Office of Intelligence Coordination. This fledgling agency would be eclipsed during the war by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which added clandestine operations to its responsibilities.
The euphoria that swept through the world after the surrender of Germany and Japan did not last long. The hopes and aspirations by many at the end of the war were dashed as cooperation between the allies would slowly recede to the tides of fear and mistrust as the world observed the rise of the Cold War between the East and the West. This combination of fear and paranoia was memorialized in the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. This act reorganized our military that was now headed by the Secretary of Defense. It also created our National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The NSA was established in 1952 by President Truman. It is operated under the auspices of the Pentagon and is completely separate from the CIA.
As our intelligence communities grew in stature and their influence in the formation of Cold War policy was consolidated, as well as supported by the military, the pressure to engage in secret programs and operations began to expand their authority and responsibilities in the safeguarding of our national security. Many of those who originally joined the CIA were former OSS agents that were well trained in covert operations. This perceived need to be able to confront an adversary as evil as the Soviet Union and its communist allies encouraged policies and programs that could tackle any threat even if it required illegal and unethical action. As former Deputy Director of Plans Richard Bissell conceded in his memoir, "The end justified the means." This clearly meant that secrecy was paramount to the success of any mission or operation. This led to the doctrine of plausible deniability which was formalized in National Security Council 10/2. Along with this was the establishment of a hierarchy of classification codes that limited access to documents and information to those who had the requisite security clearance. Consequently, the CIA was compartmentalized and responsibilities were divided. Information was transferred and shared on a need to know basis. This meant that two employees engaged in the same project while working next to each other would not be able to comprehend that their duties were related.
Many of the programs executed by the CIA, FBI and the NSA operated under such strict security and secrecy that even the President and Congress were not informed. In many cases, this was an intentional corollary to our classification protocol in that the President or a member of Congress could not plausibly deny knowledge of programs that violated domestic and international laws that they had been fully briefed on. In some instances, Senators told operatives that they had no desire to know the details of their black ops. The consequence of this was that the activities of the CIA were not supervised by our elected officials which allowed the proliferation of nefarious practices within the Agency to flourish. The agents in the field and the officers at Langley in many cases were ultraconservative cold warriors – whose allegiances varied – that wielded tremendous influence on our policy towards the Soviet Union and the developing world. Their alleged mandate was to fight communism by defending democracy around the globe. Their operations in many circumstances achieved neither for their corporate allies were not interested in the rights and liberties of other nations but rather were solely invested in their goal to maximize their profits.
Their desire to enhance the Agency's power and influence caused them to inevitably violate their founding charter by spying on US citizens, public officials, government agencies, journalists and organizations. The organizations that the CIA and FBI infiltrated and spied on included the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Students for a Democratic Society, the Non-violent Student Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the Young Lords, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and other associations not considered acceptable by God fearing anti-communists. The CIA also formed symbiotic alliances with the mainstream media to further promote its agenda.
All the above evolved into a process in which almost anything can be classified under the ambit of national security. In many circumstances, the government official who determined whether a document would be classified as top secret was involved in its creation or was implicated in the events contained within the memorandum. This has created a dangerous precedent as was discovered by the Church Committee in the mid-1970s. Programs and operations in many cases were classified as matters of national security so that misconduct and even murder could remain hidden from the public and the media. Agents of our government who had access or were privy to these documents were confronted with a serious moral dilemma. If they released the documents into the public domain, they would be violating their oaths, as well as potentially humiliating their beloved country or worse. If they chose to be complicit in maintaining their secrecy, people as well as nations would continue to suffer. This is the dilemma that confronted Daniel Ellsberg, Private Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and Edward Snowden.
The case of Frank Olson is an example of how this policy of secrecy has allowed agents within the system to engage in criminal acts with impunity. Olson was the head of the Special Operations Division within the CIA which was a top secret research program. Agent Olson was an expert in biological and chemical weapons. He was also involved in mind control projects that included the use of drugs and hypnosis. He therefore was implicated in Operation Artichoke which evolved into MK Ultra. In addition, he was familiar with Operation Paperclip that assisted the emigration of Nazi scientists into the U.S. where they worked in our secret labs. During the Korean War, his research was used in top secret programs that involved the use of chemical and biological weapons that were dropped on Chinese troops and North Korean civilians. He eventually became disgusted with how his research was being implemented by his superiors within the Agency and wanted to retire in 1953.
The CIA determined that he was a security risk and that Olson's retirement posed a serious threat to these secret operations. The Agency decided to drug him with LSD without his knowledge. Subsequently, he had a terrible reaction to the drug and became very depressed. His superiors told him they were going to treat his depression with medication and a period of rest and relaxation. He was accompanied to a hotel in Manhattan by another agent. A doctor came by and injected him with a sedative. Shortly thereafter, he allegedly jumped through a closed window and fell 13 floors to his death. The switchboard operator at the hotel received a request by Agent Lashbrook to make a call to Long Island. She connected the call to Dr. Herald Abramson who had earlier administered the sedative. The operator overheard the brief conversation that she included in her statement to the police. She stated that she heard Lashbrook say "Well, he's gone." Dr. Abramson replied "That is too bad" and hung up. It was after this call that Lashbrook finally informed the police. The medical examiner found inconsistencies with the reported events but nevertheless ruled it a suicide.
The Olson Family in 1975 while following the Church Committee Hearings became very suspicious of Frank Olson's alleged suicide when they heard CIA operatives discuss assassination programs that included poisons and other techniques to mimic death by natural causes or appear as a suicide. The family began to make their suspicions public and accused the CIA of lying about the cause of his death. The Agency reacted by engaging in what is referred to in intelligence parlance as a "limited hangout." They admitted to injecting Olson with LSD but denied they were culpable for his death. The Chief of Staff for President Ford Donald Rumsfeld and his assistant Dick Cheney were in charge of damage control. They recommended that the matter be settled as quickly as possible in order to avoid the potential of national secrets being disseminated to the public that could severely embarrass the administration. The CIA as a result of pressure from the administration paid the Olson family $750,000. President Ford also personally tendered an apology to the family at the White House.
The family had Frank Olson's body exhumed in the 1990s and examined by a coroner to determine the cause of death. The medical examiner concluded that it was a homicide. This is the type of behavior that is being protected by our broad classification program. Below I will discuss three whistleblowers that were unable to remain silent while their government was abusing its power and lying to the American people.
Daniel Ellsberg was a military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation who became involved in a top secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War that would later be called the Pentagon Papers. As he assisted in the preparation of that study, he became disturbed by what he discovered in the documents. Essentially, he learned that many in the Johnson administration recognized early on that the war could not be won, that there were many more casualties than were being reported and that President Johnson had lied to Congress and the American people.
He began attending anti-war rallies in 1969 and found himself agreeing with their cause. He was deeply moved by a statement made by Randy Kehler who declared that he was willing to join his friends in prison than go to Vietnam. Ellsberg after the event wrote, "There is no question in my mind that my government was involved in an unjust war that was going to continue and get larger. Thousands of young men were dying each year. I left the auditorium and found a deserted men's room. I sat on the floor and cried." He decided with his friend and colleague Anthony Russo – who was also a staff member of Senator Edward Kennedy – to make several copies of which one went to The New York Times who subsequently won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the documents. They both were eventually charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 and with conspiracy and theft.
U.S. District Judge William M. Byrne, Jr. dismissed all charges on May 11, 1973, because of "gross government misconduct and illegal evidence gathering." It had been brought to his attention that members of the plumbers who would later become infamous for Watergate had broken into Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office seeking information to smear his reputation.
Private Bradley (Chelsea) Manning was an intelligence analyst in Bagdad in 2010. He also was exposed to information that appalled his sense of decency. For example, he came upon a video that captured an Aerial Weapons Team engaging a Bongo truck driving up to assist wounded civilians. The team determined that they were enemy combatants and requested permission to destroy the target. Once granted permission, they blew up the vehicle that not only transported adults but was also carrying children. In the video, the team showed no remorse for their mistake. Instead, they made comments such as "dead bastards" and congratulated themselves even though children were among the casualties. This was one of many examples that were included in the thousands of documents that Private Manning had released to Julian Assange's WikiLeaks. Manning defended his action by stating, "I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan were targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather they were people who were struggling to live in a pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare." He also wanted the public to know how corrupt the government in Iraq was that we were supporting. He was only 25-years-old when a military court sentenced him to 35 years in prison.
The last of the whistleblowers was Edward Snowden, an American computer professional who was a former employee of the CIA, and when he released the documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post was a private contractor for the NSA. The reason he released the documents was the same as the others. He was concerned that our government was trampling on our liberties in the name of national security. He stated, "If we do not contest the violation of the fundamental right of free people to be left unmolested in their thoughts, associations and communications – to be free from suspicion without cause – we will have lost the foundation of our thinking society. The defense of this fundamental freedom is the challenge of our generation, a work that requires constructing new controls and protections to limit the extraordinary powers of the states over the domain of human communication." He resides in Russia as a fugitive from justice.
Excerpted from The Paradox Or Our National Security Complex by Richard Otto. Copyright © 2016 Richard Otto. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – The Evolution of our Modern National Security Complex,
Chapter 2 – JFK's Urgent Quest for Peace,
Chapter 3 – JFK Assassination,
Chapter 4 – The Dissenters,