I haven’t been posting recently, tied up with some additions, clarifications and other work needed to get Tipping Point actually published in print and EBook form.
What I’ve also done is some ten hours of interviews since the first the year, starting a new series on both my national security and political assassination books with Chuck Ochelli, plus some additional interviews on the MLK books which Stu Wexler and I co-authored. Most recently I did a two hour interview on Unidentified and will blog on that when I have time.
The Ochelli shows have been two hours in length and the discussion tends to cover a very broad spectrum of subjects. In discussing Surprise Attack we explored the long standing rumors that certain attacks were known yet allowed to happen – that talk ranged from Pearl Harbor to 9/11. The dialog on Pearl Harbor led us into the attack on the Philippines, which hardly ever gets discussed, but was far more egregious in terms of neglected warnings than was Pearl Harbor. Few people know that McArthur actually chose not to communicate with Washington or the War Department for hours after being given the initial warnings that Pearl Harbor had been attacked and ordered to immediately implement his war plan.
I went into detail about the advance war alert which had been issued for Pearl Harbor and the specific defensive plans that should have interdicted the Japanese carrier strikes – had not the B- 17 aircraft which were supposed to be conducting off shore reconnaissance flights searching for the anticipated Japanese fleet northwest of the islands been rerouted to the Philippines for interdiction bombing strikes during the anticipated Japanese attack. Strikes which General McArthur failed to authorize even when his air commander begged for him simply to follow the standing war plans. That failure of command led to the destruction of the American strategic bombing plan for the Pacific – and air strikes which would have caught the Japanese aircraft which devastated the Philippines on the ground prior to taking to the air.
We concluded with a discussion of Benghazi and the highly secret CIA efforts then underway in Libya and Syria. Covert actions which received little attention (not surfacing at all in the follow on Congressional inquiries), but which were the real reason for the attack which targeted the American Ambassador to Libya (who was organizing weapons shipments to Syria) – and explain why the CIA security contractors were not stationed at the embassy, but rather at the much larger and highly secure CIA station some distance away. You can listen to part or all of that conversation here:
In our two hours on Shadow Warfare, Chuck and I explored the early post World War II origins of American covert warfare and regime change – beginning with the effort to stage major military incursions into southern China from Burma and divert the Chinese Army during the Korean War, and then expanding the American activities to regime change in Iran. The Iranian experience proved to be the success (short term as it was) which gave the CIA a largely undeserved reputation for effectiveness – but one in which the regime change was more a matter of luck than the actual CIA plan, which had initially failed. One of the points of the discussion was that the Iranian experience illustrates the opportunity that the U.S. had to actually support the global anti-Colonial movements, but passed on in order to support the British position on dominating oil production in the Gulf States. A decision similar to that which led to supporting the French colonial position in SE Asia and the fragmentation of Vietnam.
The talk ranged on from the earliest years of shadow warfare to discussion of how covert operations frequently become entangled with drug smuggling – largely because the logistics needed for deniable warfare create the commercial covers that can be easily hijacked and often rely on connections to smugglers who are already engaged in illegal activity.
Beyond that the “surrogates” involved in such actions – whether they be the Burmese hill tribes circa 1950, the Hmong in Laos during the 1960’s, the Nicaraguan Contras or the anti-Soviet (and later anti-government) Afghan forces – always seem to involve at least some leaders who finance themselves with and base their power structures around drug sales. Working with them inherently contains the poison pill of drug smuggling. As I note in the Shadow Warfare, if you send in weapons to your surrogates by donkey, drugs come back, if you use helicopters drugs come back and if you ship Toyotas to Afghanistan, well you get the point. You can listen to part or all of that conversation here:
Next up on the Ochelli interviews, on February the 18th, will be a discussion of my newest book on national security history and practices – “In Denial”