It’s shaping up to be a rough winter here, two major ice storms and power outages, snowing at the moment…all sort of slowing me down.  I’m hoping to get back to some topical posting but in the meantime I wanted to post a link to this past week’s two hour interview with Charles Ochelli.  A two hour interview is pretty challenging but Chuck is a fine host and we covered a broad range of subjects related to both Surprise Attack and Shadow Warfare.  One of the themes for the discussion was identification of “patterns” related to American deniable and overt military actions over the past sixty years.  As Charles noted, just reading the subtitle of Surprise Attack leads to the obvious question of what in the world would be common to Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and Benghazi –  given the time span, the evolution of international affairs and the differences in the events themselves.  Its not an easy question to answer but fortunately this sort of extended interview allows the time to at least begin to do it some justice.

Another area we spent a good deal of time on is one that particularly concerns me, as evident to anyone who has read Shadow Warfare. The privatization of military operations, first seen in Iraq and Afghanistan has a number of negative consequences, and the practice is increasingly buried in the new integration of multi-agency, multi-unit covert operations.  Stu Wexler and I coined the term “gray warfare” to describe it, because it crosses the lines between not only military and private participants but even more importantly the lines between actions covered under Title 50 and Title 10,  the legal codes that support declared military action with participants subject to the Unified Code of Military Justice to the much more nebulous interpretation of what is permitted under the national security acts of 1947 and 1948.   What is of special concern is that its now clear that the “privatization” is being extended to both intelligence collection and even to scientific developments related to military challenges.  Its important to remember that the entire post 9/11 water boarding fiasco was based on the opinions of a couple civilian consultants who ended up applying highly questionable techniques, wielding amazing influence and overriding the experience and opinions of virtually all career combat officers involved in actual military interrogation work.  And when  you see a higher level DIA office take something like the Jasons away from DARPA , making a scientific advisory group even darker and seemingly under even less oversight as to both their selections and assignments, there are questions to be asked (just search for “Jasons” and “research group” if none of that made sense to you) .  We managed to tilt open the lid on Pandora’s Box in the 1950’s, how far its being opened now is a real concern and I have a sense that the oversight has become increasingly personalized, and sketchy.

In retrospect, it the scope of the interview was obviously considerable and hardly does it justice – but if these subjects are new to you it would be a place to get started:





About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

2 responses »

  1. Marv Kramer says:

    Larry, “gray war” is a terrific term. It helps to understand what really goes on in our domestic battles we’re experiencing here in the U.S…….especally as it applies to intelligence.

    • One of the patterns we discussed in the radio interview relates to the area of “gray” legal activities which lie in between the at least constrained code we attempt to follow in declared wars and the utter lack of such constraints we tend to fall back on when we pursue undeclared warfare. An early example was the decision, largely based in the recommendations of the Lindbergh committee, that to effectively fight the perceived Communist menace we would have to abandon all ethical and moral practices merely to survive….which we did by moving to “deniable” covert actions for decades. That mind set burst to the surface again following 9/11, not because of a committee recommendation but largely to to the impact of Cheney and Rumsfeld and their influence on the president. Ultimately President Truman came to realize how the national security legislation and CIA covert action had gone far beyond his intent…not it appears that even Bush may finally have realized, at least to some extent, how he was manipulated.

      In the interest of transparency, those who know me appreciate that actually I tend to be hawkish in some instances, but its more of a view that if you feel national security is threatened then you need to be open about it and both the administration and Congress need to stand up and produce laws and policies that make no bones about your actions…and most importantly constrain them to some extent rather than leaving everything in the dark and to personal interpretations. I can’t think of anything worse than Bush’s letter, used by the CIA to justify torture, which essentially said do whatever is necessary. I do believe that certain threats justify some level of profiling and most definitely a level of intrusive surveillance, including on social media. But I also believe such intrusions need to conducted under a special state of what essentially amounts to declared war against a specific threat – in order to set the limits – no blank checks should ever be written, as they were in 1947 and once again in 2001.

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