Monday, August 26, 2013

Everything old is new again

Have you noticed the trend? All sorts of old spook news is being presented as if it were new spook news. The latest example is a Foreign Policy story hidden behind a pay wall. The headline (by way of Memeorandum) reads:
Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran — The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history — and still gave him a hand.
Isn't this rather familiar? Whole books have been written about American aid to Saddam Hussein during the 1980s. First and foremost would be The Spider's Web by Allan Friedman, along with Kenneth Timmerman's The Death Lobby. Joseph Trento's Prelude to Terror gets into this area.

A week or so ago, we were gifted with the breathtaking revelation that the CIA has admitted to its role in the coup against the Iranian leader Mosaddegh in 1953. My response: Cah-MON. Around the time of the Iranian revolution of 1979, there were, like, a zillion news stories which talked about the bad things the CIA did in that country.

We also have allegedly new news about a possible conspiracy in the death of Princess Di. (We'll get to that soon -- promise.) But does the new news do more than recapitulate the old news? Maybe the BBC can drag out Rupert Allason to reassure the public once again.

To judge from some of the internet commentary I've seen, many younger Americans were genuinely shocked to learn that the NSA and Britain's GCHQ trade information all the time, thereby bypassing laws against domestic spying. (Our spooks eavesdrop on British citizens and their spooks spy on ours. Then the spooks trade data upon request. It's all very civilized.) If memory serves, this arrangement was discussed in James Banford's The Puzzle Palace in 1983.

Most Americans would be surprised to learn that the House Select Committee on Assassinations, flawed as it was, overturned the Warren Commission's "no conspiracy" verdict in the JFK case.

The most absurd example of this selective amnesia occurred in the later 1980s. I don't have the citation to hand, so you'll have to take my word for this. During the Iran-contra controversy, The New York Times published an article pooh-poohing then-current conspiracy theories. The piece included words to this effect: "Some people even say that the CIA tried to assassinate Fidel Castro." Snicker snicker; smirk smirk. "Oh those wacky conspiracy theorists! What will they think up next?"

Of course, the CIA did try to kill Castro. We've known all about those assassination attempts since the late 1960s, when the news broke in...(wait for it)...the New York Times.

A youthful citizenry which has more-or-less ceased to read non-fiction books is doomed live in a state of perpetual astonishment. I'm reminded of an old story which may or may not be true: Circa 1970, a writer was interviewing the famous model Twiggy, then in her 20s. For some reason, the interviewer mentioned the concentration camps. She had never heard of them. And she was floored to learn the details: "Six million? That's perfectly awful!"


LieparDestin said...

The 'old is new' term had me thinking of the false-defector program the CIA had going in the fifties. Its an interesting theory to apply to the Snowden events when you have some time to let your imagination run wild

LieparDestin said...

Well actually a comment at booman and then your post, but its interesting nonetheless.

Andy Tyme said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dojo Rat said...

And yet old lies are also recycled;

I was sickened while during the coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings, Chris Matthews (MSNBC), fresh off the flogging of his much-panned book on JFK - stated that Kennedy had been killed by "a disaffected Communist".

Chop wood, carry water for your corporatocracy, Chris...