tv Book Discussion on The Devils Chessboard CSPAN January 30, 2016 9:00am-10:16am EST
future he's just there. and i learned quite a lot about the way he and vladimir putin relate to each other. you know, the relationship between putin and berlusconi i have an article called the odd couple. because here we have both alpha males, putin former agent, beryl berlusconi billionaire mogul and fascinating to watch the two interacting and see how strong leaders only respect other strong leaders. >> alan friedman author of the new book berlusconi who took over italy. theangs so much. booktv is on facebook. like us to get publishing news. schedules updating, behind the scenes, pictures and videos. author information and to talk directly with authors during our live programs. facebook.com/booktv.
>> be fitting imagine, we don't know what year that was. his father was an amazing heartthrob and an actor and according to his sister margaret who wrote this book, the entertainer, quite a guy and quite a family and is brother steve is also a real interesting guy, fantastic documentary videomaker, very well known for doing the front line series and also to the baby boomers he was known as gilbert john leave it to beaver. >> we were a sitcom family. >> host: he worked in the heyday for crosser daddy. i remember. >> guest: the great rock and
roll magazine. >> host: you probably know rolling stone and editor of mother jones. and interviewed david for this book the devil's chessboard and at the examiner, he was one of the first people to say oh my god the internet exists, maybe we can do journalism on it and he started salon.com. it is still a vital organ. can i use that word? his book season of the which, which you might know, if i can hold up the proper, major fans of this in san francisco and throughout the country but this book has recently been chosen as the one city one book city of san francisco by the san francisco public library. the muni bus tells you to do it,
you know something is going on then. and also the author of the best-selling book the brothers. and the brothers which i think you let us know about this later, he the hidden history of the kennedy years. this idea of hidden history, we are here tonight and eventually led to "the devil's chessboard: allen dulles, the cia, and the rise of america's secret government" i would say. is that correct? >> guest: yes. that is a safe statement. >> host: david is also, amidst all these things is involved in the civic matters, a group called vision and debt. it has to do with for lack of a better word taking back our city. >> guest: from the 1%.
as if that is not enough. when you have time to go -- >> guest: i can always bring that in. it is the new cds called hot books and the first book has come out called the beast in side. the beast side. the beast side. all that dulles stuff. living and dying while black in america. this is a fantastic book and an important commentary on our lives today in this country and a couple other books coming out soon. >> host: we can talk about that later. without further ado let's get to "the devil's chessboard: allen dulles, the cia, and the rise of america's secret government". the subtitle, "the devil's chessboard: allen dulles, the cia, and the rise of america's
secret government". can you tell us how you got from the chessboard: allen dulles, the cia, and the rise of america's secret government"? >> guest: with your permission i would like to start with a few remarks of my own, i want to set the stage by talking about what i was trying to do with the book. it is basically a counternarrative about power. power tells its own story. power is its best publicist. power is the best spinner of the truth and history. you see this throughout our lives through the generation. saddam hussein was producing weapons of mass destruction. the north vietnamese fired on u.s. ships in the gulf of tonkin. lee harvey oswald single-handedly killed john f. kennedy. no, fidel castro killed john f.
kennedy. these are the stories power has told about itself throughout my life time. essentially these are the real conspiracy theories and they are told by power. with the complicity of the american media, appropriate media. these are the stories that had unfortunately some tragic consequences as well as we all know from the examples i just cited. it is the job of people like me, historians, alternative historians, journalists, to present the truth. basically, to cut through mythsmaking, spinning of history, of reality. it is no easy task because there is hollywood, there is the corporate media, there is a fox news. again and again day after day
24/7 they are telling us there reality and as the great sociologists who wrote the power elite during the cold war in the 1915s, one of the first to analyze the phenomenon of the dulles brothers and the power circle, as he famously said about these. is such men as these, they were 99% men and 96% today such men as these are crackpot realists. and we are forced to live in this reality. people living in a cave somewhere in afghanistan, there's always a bogeyman, there's always someone to fear and as a result of that they created a lucrative racket and that is what it is.
that happened during the cold war and the war on terror. it is the job of people like myself, the job of you all, engage to citizenry to see through that methodology, to do the work, to do the research, to know what is happening and make the right decisions. by an end of reading the book and i hope you read the book, i hope you believe as i do that the name dulles should go down in infamy in american history just like the name kissinger, the name cheney, the name rumsfeld, these are names that should be strict off of every building, every airport, dulles airport and replaced with the names true american heroes like martin luther king and others. tonight i want to announce the campaign to do exactly that, to take the name dulles, named after john foster dulles with his own background, the brother of allen dulles, take that name off of the nation's capital
airport where so many people, thousands of people each day come from around the world, the gateway to our country and it is a name that should instead go down in infamy and be replaced by and named it stands for peace and world harmony. with that. opening statement. let's have a talk. >> host: is this my water? one of the things i wondering about is the process of doing that, doing the research, doing this book, where did you go, what did you do? how much were you aware of initially? i read the book. if you haven't you might think you know lot of these stories about the cia, assassination, extraordinary ambition, how did you -- where did you go? did you travel around, did you
democracy. it is a battle for the soul of the nation. many people from that era including alan dulles, long dead but their children in many cases are alive, we interviewed allen dulles's daughter joan. we interviewed some key people who are still living in that period and use documents that we could use. and they control the past and it is a struggle for every researcher for every historian trying to dig up the history that belongs to the american people to get those documents and the government often still withhold these documents. >> host: you also talk about how -- >> guest: they destroyed documents, they are in violation
of federal law to release them. because of political pressure there was a bill passed under clinton, the disclosure act, did use many documents that were released as part of that treasure trove legion only came about because of stiff political pressure from elizabeth holtzman who was a congress woman at the time and others in congress, but to get the cia to release documents because they were often embarrassing to our intelligence agencies because what many of these documents showed and what my book goes into is the extent to which you as security agencies were collaborating with mentally -- nazi forces in the case of the war, allen dulles and after the war when we wanted to read purpose many of these nazi officials to the war against the soviet union, the cold war. there's always a battle and we
filed a freedom of information act, lawsuits, they stonewall you, you talk about the kennedy era, that is another story in violation of federal law, the jfk reverence act passed in 1990s, refused to release the documents related to the kennedy presidency and his assassination. it is the to the american people whether we want our own history. it belongs to us, we demand it or not is what it comes down to. >> host: there's a constant breaking of the law and they get away -- dulles got away with it constantly. and also because of the complicity between blanc making and other government and the private sector because they gave them wall street so they see this complicity and they end up with what you call the deep
stage, or the concept of another operating, at this didn't go with allen dulles. >> guest: no. >> host: you want to make that argument? >> guest: these forces, what steve wright mills called the power elite. and what happens to be elected and men like allen dulles, democracy was too import to be left in the hands of people like you and me who are elected representatives and they kept power as tightly as they could within the circle, these were wall street bankers, the dulles brothers wrote in the most powerful law school, they often shuttled back and forth between washington and wall street in national security positions and
so on, high-level corporate officials, they belong to a same club, children go to the same school, they intermarry. is a cohesive power circle particularly in those days, more diverse, more complex today than when c. wright mills was -- and they dominated for many years. their ideas and policies whether it is to overthrow the democratically elected government in guatemala because it is threatening u.s. corporate interests or whether to drop the bombs, nuclear bombs on japan, to kill a president. they work these ideas out among themselves. i am not suggesting allen dulles is some superman who did this
mischief around the world, he was very much a corporate lawyer in that respect but would only act when there was consensus in that group. they did have the mechanisms like council on foreign relations and they still do to work out this policy and most of this, not all of it, in many cases kept secret from the american people. >> host: that needs to study of the fifth estate. talking about how the journalist has it more difficult. and it seems descent did not come from the media. we do not point out, and the
power in the white house, these guys were doing their own thing beyond the law. >> they are often top executives in the new york times, the washington post, cbs and so on. they are on a first name basis with allen dulles. he would hold these annual drinks and around new year's each year where he would invite the top people, reporters and editors and executives at his club, the alibi club was appropriate, and so very cozy, very cozy relationship. certain we these things would have been exposed by the american media. we have this vast me the apparatus and i always laugh about that, i spent my life in the media, knowing how
compromise most people in media organizations are, compromised by power. even today, new york times was complicitous, they led tragically to the war in iraq and to the ongoing disaster going on in the middle east today. certainly back in allen dulles's time, in princeton, the files are largely purged, the most revealing stuff by the cia, but there's still a lot in there that is interesting. among other things are is very chummy letters back and forth at the new york times, newsweek and so on. he has nicknames for them. one letter after the of warren report came out, he was an important figure on the warren
report, some people think he dominated to the effect it should be called the dulles commission, not the warren commission. this was a letter from the washington bureau chief of newsweek to allen dulles after the warren report came out saying mr. dulles, thank you so much for directing our coverage of the warren commission, we couldn't have done it under such a tight deadline, it is right there to be read in these files. >> host: to bring it up to the president, how has this book been -- positive or received, and -- >> guest: they are got smacked. >> host: it has -- i have read some of them. some of them have been rather strange. >> guest: if i hadn't shocked
the media, they are the gatekeepers, they need to start with my introductory remarks by saying they have an interest in a certain version of america. this is a counter story, counter narrative. there has been great resistance from the media gatekeepers. i have been told washington post is not going to review it but i slipped one by, i wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the washington post, you can do it, it is guerilla warfare. i was on my way to al-jazeera america a week or so ago on my book tour. i was lined up to do an interview in new york for al-jazeera america and my publicist got an e-mail that it has been canceled. when he asked why he was surprised, at a one word reply, politics.
they were pretty upfront about it. politico, the online publication, has become the voice on line for mainstream political coverage. they had me lined up to do something, one of the key people there who is a good reporter called my book a masterpiece, he said he wanted me very badly to write something based on the book for politico but someone above and spiked it at the last moment. instead man of peace by a guy named bill shannon was a new york times reporter has been battling a cia disinformation line for some time, that fidel castro was behind the murder of president kennedy which is literally the oldest conspiracy theory there is about jfk's assassination and complete the s. that happens. writing is fighting. i don't expect anything different in this book but the fact is it is not an media
monolith, people like has have way is, there is alternative media, democracy now, mother jones, salon which is why i started it, to have an alternative thing like that and because of that the book has become a best seller which i am proud of despite this pushback. >> host: that is what i wanted to hear you say. just started taking offsetting calif.. is that correct? >> guest: california led the way. and northern california first. >> can i ask a possible silly question? it has to do with extraordinary renditions. do you in reading this book, these people and the effects, i can see why you called the devil's chessboard because they were playing with nations,
people and the affects so many of them were deaths, that suicide, crumbles, legacy of ashes as the term goes, do you guys ever fear for your own life? >> you think i will end up at guantanamo? >> public figure difficult these days. just curious, reading it sometimes you think creepy. >> guest: the point is to have an impact, to shift the public's understanding of what is happening in the country. this is not just ancient history, this is history that is very relevant today. extraordinary rendition, torture, extra atlegal assassinations, mass surveillance of private citizens, these began after 9/11 and the the reign of allen
dulles, to understand is essentials what is going on in the country today. i worry about myself? no. i worry what is happening to people in pakistan, people in afghanistan, our own soldiers who are asked to fight these endless wars under impossible circumstances, that is what drives me, that this is on my conscience as an american, journalist and historian. i know it is on our consciences tonight. we have to finally say enough. it is my job to give us information and there are other wonderful people doing the same. an american hero, many others doing the same, that is why i started the new book, to be able to publish more books the shed light on what is happening in the country today but at some point we do have to say enough.
the presidential campaign is under way and there is no focus at all on these issues about the growth of this big brother state that has intruded into every aspect of our lives. >> host: the hearing with hillary clinton, benghazi, there is no mention of what the actual thing was. there's no talk about why we are there, why do they hate us? >> guest: exactly. we are shocked, when we start to have heavy boots in all these countries into interfere in other countries we are shocked that people fire guns at us and our emissaries and try to kill us. this should not be shocking to the american people or that there are atrocities like a hospital in afghanistan that was run by doctors without borders that children and nurses and doctors are blown up in these attacks that are supposedly
collateral damage. collateral damage is an essential part of an imperial situation the we are constantly fighting. that happens in this situation. our representatives, soldiers are killed and to a much greater extent the civilians in these poor be knighted countries where we intruded died by the thousands. so again this is a legacy of the allen dulles imperial arrogance that we have a right to the world. that is what they felt like out of world war ii, they had a right to the world, we have a right to the world's markets, we have a right to the world's resources, we have a right to do whatever we want to people around world who are less powerful than we are and at some point you have to understand there is going to be below back, there will be consequences. the american people need to wake up to this and i hope my book is
at least a small part of that awakening. >> guest: one of the haj books, the topic kind of fit right in. >> guest: hot books is a new imprint i started with sky horse publishing which is a brave and independent publisher in new york run by a publisher named tony lyons and one of the first books after it the beast side which we talked about earlier is called american nuremberg and it has been written by a philosophy professor at the university of san francisco. rebecca important wrote a book earlier for oxford unit is the press called mainstream torture which looked at how we became culturally accustomed to accepting torture in our name as part of u.s. policy. in this book she looks at talk
u.s. officials in the bush and obama administration from those presidents on down from president bush and president obama who should by the principles and standards that were set at nuremberg after world war ii the tried for war crimes and is a very restrained, provocative argument for the citizens tribunal. and official like nuremberg, there is not enough political opportunity for obvious reasons to do that in this country. but the russell tribunal that bertrand russell, a british philosopher established in the 1960s. this is a very distinguished commissions in 1967 and for the
soul of the country, we have to take steps as engaged citizenry to examine what has been done in the last 15 years under the so-called war on terror. >> host: you tell the story -- i was wondering if you could tell the story because i wanted a quote. >> guest: this is not an invention of the cheney and donald rumsfeld. it is a creation of the cia during the cold war so in one of the first cases of extraordinary rendition i am aware of it is a remarkable story. there was a young brilliant scholar named jesus who was a refugee, he fled the fascist government after the war, end ed up out of the frying pan into
the fire, was thunder the brutal rule of rafael trujillo. then he fled to new york city where he was studying for his ph.d. in colombia and working as a lecturer. his ph.d. thesis was an inside look because he had inside information about the brutality of the dictatorship. and trujillo's agents were everywhere, he was a powerful guy, backed strongly by the eisenhower government, he was supposedly anti-communist. his agents stopped -- as classrooms and tried to intimidate them, tried to threaten him into stopping, seizing work on his thesis but
he refused and so one day he was headed it home downtown from colombia and he was grabbed by agents who went under the employ of the cia, cia contractor's. he was hustled to airport on live and then flown back to the dominican republic where he was horribly tortured and murdered by a trio. to heal. this happened in the 1950s after 9/11. >> host: this is from your book, one of the students from colombia, one of his students, she wrote this can happen here. what is left? everybody who has some sense of responsibility and a feeling for democracy or freedom should be concerned. i thought that was what your
book was about. >> guest: that is a moving letter to get people concerned about the case because he did know, he disappeared. but they had suspicions about what happened. president eisenhower asked about his appearance during press conference. colombia university was complicity cause the president at the time was grayson kirk, sat on commissions and foundation supported by the cia, the colombia administration did nothing to look into the case so it is one of these dark episodes in cia history that we chessboard: allen dulles, the cia, and the rise of america's secret government". >> host: this concerns why we are here and why you do what you do and i also want to say what
is new, the newest thing we found out in doing this that you found most regulatory? >> guest: the key had line began with the nazi period, the extent to which allen dulles and his intelligence circles collaborated with the nazis, the war wall street law firm represented nazi business interests, including the notorious chemical co. that was used to exterminate jews and exchanging christmas cards into the early war period. and continued to represent not the interests. he is trying to cut deals in the science of roosevelt's policy of unconditional surrender with
nazi emissaries except for peace deals after the war he helped establish the so-called rat lines that were escape routes for nazi war criminals that were set up so they could flee from germany over the alps through italy and overseas to safety. he even helped rehabilitate the more notorious nazi war criminals allowing them to go back into daily life, even officials life in west germany, postwar germany. the top spymaster in west germany tells the story, as rinehart galen who was it there's top spymaster on the bloody eastern front and allen dulles helped to install him as top intelligence official in west german government, they an important role in the cold war for many years and that is number one. the collaboration with the nazis. i argue in some ways that we didn't crush the third reich some much as purpose it for the cold war. there are a lot of things in the cold war period i go into that
have not come out before including the fact the we targeted not only the governments of guatemala which we know about, iran which was a disastrous result we are still dealing with today but even the government of an ally in france antagonized national security interests in this country and dulles in particular by trying to settle the war in algeria, the colonial war, u.s. national security interests were concerned, they fought algeria might fall into soviet hands as a result, he was too stubborn and nationalist and flirting with breaking away from nato and in 1961 on the heels of one other cia crisis, the bay of pigs invasion of cuba event president kennedy was just inaugurated a couple months before and now faced with
another crisis, charles they gaulle and his government are furious, screaming that the cia is backing a right wing fringe military coup against him and it is an extremely awkward position of telling the government i am not in control of the cia, i can speak for them. i am not supporting this coup but i can't speak for the cia. finally the big headline in my book, getting a lot of pushback from media gatekeepers looks at allen dulles's involvement in the kennedy assassination. de gaulle felt that the dulles forces were behind the assassination of president kennedy, when he came back to the funerals this a national security forces targeted me. that book has never been
translated. it was the memoir that he wrote that was published in france, never translated. i present compelling evidence that ties dulles to the assassination and a cover-up because he played a critical in the warren commission. how convenient, this guy was fired by president kennedy after the bay of pigs, bitter enemy of the president's ends up being the top investigator in his murder. this is the time this power group works with the complicity or laziness of the american media. you want to turn it over? >> a big hand for david. [applause] >> host: if you want to do all of little q&a, if you could talk to the microphone it would be great. make sure there's a question and not a statement if that is
possible. a statement at the end. so. >> what your book was about, i was wondering if you talk about connections between those two. >> the question is about journalist gary webb who wrote the dark alliance. as a reporter for the san jose mercury, investigated the connection between the cia and the contras in central america
and how they allowed the contras to run drugs and to this country to finance their activities there. and it was a bombshell when that story broke. he came under heavy fire from the cia as a result of it and heavy pressure ultimately from his own newspaper and the american media at that went after him and instead of pursuing the story its self. she ended up being -- his career was ruined, and one of the great tragedies of american journalism, here is one of the great truth tellers, one of the brave investigative journalists and one of the awards he should have won, his career was ruined and he end ed up committing
suicide. one of the great regrets i have is not being tuned in enough to what is happening to hire gary webb and put him to work because those talented and intrepid journalists are too a few and i would have loved to have given him another safety rep. and it was written by nicholas scout who was a good reporter. it became a great movie, you shall see the movie and read the book. because of karen croft, the hot book series. i will tell you about it. you are on a need to know basis.
anyway. gary webb, i am inspired by what he did in part by what i done with chessboard: allen dulles, the cia, and the rise of america's secret government". [inaudible] >> guest: that is great. i'm glad people are making that connection. >> host: anyone else want to ask a question? you can come up and ask a question. you can come up if you want to. >> guest: you are asking if gary webb did indeed commit suicide? there is definitely some ways he supposedly committed suicide that raise questions. i don't know enough about the details to go into it. let's leave it there. other questions? >> if presidents don't have the
power, the power is somewhere else, how could we as citizens have a criminal -- who would we take in criminal court? how do we get to the power? not obama but the real power? >> you put your finger on the key question. how do we go about holding these people like delta will? we are in a democracy nominally and how do we go about acting as if the popular will, the public will matters? as i send earlier, obviously we don't control congress. every wing of the government is in support of the war on terror, every wing of the government is in support of pressing our own history and releasing documents the american people have a right to. we are in the worst situation right now than we were during
the cold war because of the reign of terror and repression 9/11 unleashed. what we can do we have to do outside of the mainstream political arena. we have to i think be inspired as i said earlier by things like the bertrand russell commission during the vietnam war. that would be an amazing step forward. if we could bring together a legal scholars, some people from the political system, investigative journalists, experts in constitutional law and bring them together for public inquiry into the war on terror and the crimes committed in our name and organize this in such a way that it gets maximum media at exposure and various public organizations, a
human-rights groups participate in this. at least begin a national dialogue we are missing in the presidential campaign. these issues are not being discussed even by bernie sanders as far as i know. bernie has done a wonderful job focusing on the wealth gap which is another enormous crisis for the country and obviously we have to commend him for doing that. that is desperately needed also in the national discussion but the national discussion about a permanent war we are in, whenever you are in a permanent war situation is going to erode democracy at home. you cannot have those two things existing at the same time because a national security state is a -- anathema to a democracy, healthy democracy. there is no way congress is going to do this on its own. we have to act as the people, we created a public inquiry in
washington d.c. to shame congress and get as much media exposure as we could. it would at least initiate a national discussion that we support the need at this point. [applause] >> last night on charlie rose, ted koppel appeared, talking about possibility of internet sabotage and this kind of thing. any comments to make? seems to be launching a campaign to raise consciousness about this problem. i personally don't think the national security state is going to go away anytime soon. i wonder if you have any thoughts on the campaign.
>> not clear about what he is doing. trying to suggest the internet is a terrorist land we have to crack down? >> a national lockdown. >> they always have some new scare, under the best and worry about that. and the national security media, has been his whole career. what is shocking is some of these guys start to break away from that consensus. dan rather gave me a shout out, dan rather was part of that corporate mainstream world for many years and had his own kind of traumatic break following the story he did on bullish and the national guard. as a result he was fired by cbs. he has been in the wilderness for some time, he was good enough to give a shout out to the devil's chessboard, you have
been telling the truth for a long time and it was great to hear from him. unfortunately it happens for some of these people after it they are thrown overboard. i wish it happened when they were in positions of power and could do more to enlighten the american people but i don't leave what ted koppel says or what charlie rose -- is point of view even. these are very mainstream people, they are not about shaking up the national conversation. they are about putting america to sleep which he often does for me. >> i finished the book this summer and he seems to suggest -- the secret team, the 1947
national security act hall gave the cia their power or whatever. how do you feel about changing that? changing names on airports would be good, but took something away from this. >> guest: the american military has an number of these people throughout our history. having people know butler's name, the famous marine hero who became a great champion of peace and democracy and fletcher is another military hero, people should read his books. he is not with us any longer but he wrote extensively about how all of the national security state was eroding democracy and in fact was in great position to see this happen. because he is the liaison for
some time. he knew allen dulles quite well. 1947 is the year the cia created a national security charter is passed, harry truman is president, he later came to feel the created a frankenstein. probably believed the same. this is the president himself saying this. he always intended, he said, for the cia to be nothing but an intelligence gathering organization that would delay the best information and pass it on to the president in the white house but instead became this action arm that went around the world overthrowing governments and assassinating people and so on a and harry truman wrote a remarkable what ed piece about this in the washington post shortly after president kennedy was killed and it was a bombshell at the time given the traumatized state of the nation
just weeks after dallas. what he wrote in the washington post was that the cia had become this rogue agency that was not only endangering democracy overseas but at home. allen dulles was stunned by this and he knew he couldn't let it stand so he goes into action, tries to strongarm harry truman who is now around 80 years old, retired in independence, missouri, tries to pressure truman into retracting his own article but truman is a stubborn guy famously and refuses so dulles flies down to missouri and personally again puts the pressure on him and says mr. president, certainly you remember when he praised the cia you wanted to be an activist organization, truman won't hear anything of that and stands by his articles of dulles does the next next thing. he can't change reality so what does he do it? this is how intelligence
agencies operate all the time, they change the record. so he writes a matter for the record, dulles, to the general counsel of the cia and says i came back from visiting kerry drew and. he was very upset to hear that his article had been read that way. the didn't mean to say that. he was confused about how it had come through that way. he made about to be at senile guy who didn't know what he was doing, deputy put him up to it and so on said that became the cia's officials story that got picked up in history and essays written by cia family historians and so on so allen dulles was a master at manipulating the truth when the truce didn't satisfy his needs. >> you obviously commanded a
huge amount of information related to the dulles era and especially the kennedy assassination and the enormous literature that has come out of this. the credibility of that material is body shall we say. i am curious, the story that is alleged about the plot to involved cuba more deeply in the assassination of john kennedy but yet very few bits of information have ever surfaced trying to make that connection more tangible. >> guest: the allegation that fidel castro was behind the assassination? >> that there was some complicity there. i came across a book a few years ago that is the only source i know that talk about it, called jfk ii by matthew smith
published in england. basically the sheriff of the adjoining county to dallas actually has a number of the airplane that was sitting, idling on the runway at the time of the assassination with the flight plan to cuba. >> guest: that oswald was supposed to fly there? >> a series of connections how to be transported to the airport that the sheriff seems to corroborate. that is an interesting tidbit. >> guest: i can't comment specifically on the book but i will comment on this long,
complicated allegations that fidel castro and cuba was involved in the assassination of president kennedy. to be blunt about it is the oldest ally that has been told about the kennedy assassination. it is being disseminated by the cia and its friendly assets in the american media and world media, the president's body was still warm. that was the first conspiracy theory pumped out about the kennedy assassination. and here is why it was preposterous. i will go into some key things which at the very moment president kennedy was being shot in dallas he was meeting with the peace envoy, castro, from jfk, john daniel who was carrying an olive branch from kennedy and this is one of several peace envoys who on the president's request has gone down to havana to try to find a way to defuse the tension between have and and washington. as soon as the message was
delivered in havana at a find out the assassination, castro is devastated because he realizes these peace negotiations are finished and he says to john daniel this is terrible. everything has changed and he says watch, the next thing you know, we will hear they are pinning it on me and that is exactly the next broadcast from america is connecting lee harvey oswald to cuba, the cuba committee. the bridge of spies film by spielberg leaves one key thing out, a new film that is an entertaining movie with tom hanks and it is about this guy who is an american hero, james donovan, a corporate attorney crew recruited by kennedy to go to berlin to win the release of france's gary powers in return for the release of a soviet spy.
it is a great story that it is presented as if he is doing this on his own like he is a lone ranger and as i rose in my hot lead piece in the washington post this is a delicate diplomatic dance has a complete support of khrushchev in moscow and kennedy in washington because both of these world leaders were trying to defuse the cold war and this is one of the first steps in that direction. they also leave out the fact there is of little crawl at the end of the movie, jim donovan was used by kennedy to win the release of the bay of pigs prisoners in cuba which is true but there is in even more interesting story about jim donovan and kennedy and cuba which is after he won the release of the bay of pigs prisoners the kennedy brothers asked donovan again to widen his efforts in cuba into establishing a broader peace understanding with castro and he went down on more than one occasion, hit it off with castro, they loved to talk late
into the night and he was on the verge of forging something with havana. but the cia was not in support of this and when they got word of the back channel they went to donovan and said on your next trip to cuba we understand fidel castro is a scuba into easiest, take this wet suit he will enjoy putting on. the whig suit was confused with poison cooked up in c i a labs, one of the many ways the cia tried to kill castro with a poison which suit. here is the cia in one of the many cases in which it tries to sabotage kennedy policy, and the kennedy policy aimed at ending the cold war with moscow and havana. one of the most flagrant ways, using a piece on boy who was an american hero to try to kill castro unwittingly.
it is a remarkable story and the cia's effort to blame castro actually came out of the anti-castro plots against kennedy as bobby kennedy figured out immediately as attorney general. i write about this in both my books including "the devil's chessboard: allen dulles, the cia, and the rise of america's secret government," that is the source of the plot. not castro himself but the anti-castro operation run by the cia with the mafia's help. that is the blow back that killed jfk. fidel castro had nothing to do with jfk's assassination binge >> host: force for the trees discussion, i am off struck by detail you provide which makes it showed don't tell, but to me don't you think that the collaboration begins before world war ii and the national
>> you know, said later i wasn't fighting for uncle sam. i was fighting for wall street. and you know, you know, he said he was the bigger gangster basically than al capone. so he said war is a racket. he wrote a bock war is a racket so he was drawing on his experience from war that was a turn of the century in 1900 that mark twain among others, another great american hero wases u u crew crusading saying america
was going down a dark path. i wrote a graphic hill had industry by the late cartoonist and worked on that that trying to bring butler story to a younger audience. so yeah there's more history there. >> what's the name of that book? >> "devil dog" do you have that? i thought you were a completist. [laughter] >> any other questions? >> sorry -- [inaudible] thank you. >> can you talking engelton as a cultural czar i think you called him and sneak in a second question the whole world know you as deception and lies, how do you work through that and encompass that is of the truth and dealing with research?
>> good question. so james, jesus engelton chief of counterintelligence in the leading intellectual an artist of defeat. and covert action, so he was also the right-hand person and going tba to world war ii final days of the war where they're very active in rome. james has deep roots and prides himself on being very connected there. that is spy versus spy atmosphere in rome right after the war is fascinating and trying to evoke that period. one of the things i tried to do is write an anti-spy novel. i wanted to grip the reader. i think that book does pl you along with amazing stories. but they're all true.
and so one of the things he's doing in rome is setting up rat lines to allow nazis to escape and he sets up kind of a luxury apartment in rome for some of the more notorious and flamboyant nazis so he, you know, has a lot of deep history with dallas. and he suggested end of his life that the reason i became so successful within the cia was basically i had the goods on ellen, and he had to keep promoting me so that's an interesting saying. he also was a catholic so he had something of a conscience kind of a soiled con o conscience and dying from all of the cigarettes he had smoked over the years and he was harassed by coughs and lung cancer at end, he said, the heads of the cia, great legends of the cia and richard helms would all end up in hell. he told a journalist who was visiting him. he said i imagine i'll be seeing them there short isly.
he was an artist as you where suggest at yale he published a very well respected poetry journal. he knew azerpound and hung out with e.e. cummings. you know, he understood that the cold war was very much a war of ideas. and culture war, and so under engelton and deputies within cia they pumped a fortune into different front groups. cultural front organizations that subsidized poets and poetry journals and literary conferences and magazines including more famous ones. paris review and so on. encount or magazines so he understood this war as a war of ideas and intellectual war, and that -- he was able to create i think a
very strong culture hajemny in this country and in western europe, and you broke away from that had. a great peril to your career really. suddenly funds would dry up. you didn't get teaching positions, you know, it was very effective so -- you know, in soviet union maybe had more brutal methods of controlling intellectual hads and artist bus the engelton way was more effective in some waying because it was full and driven by self-censorship and sense that we didn't want to break away as an the cold war con consensus so they see in mill who is when i was in college a well known figure because of the power lee. but largely forgotten now. but you know, he was a critic of the cold war intellectuals. he said basically you're all
about american triumphalism and celebrating america and that's not the role of intlel intellectual but it is to be rigorously independent and critique power and you've all sold out and they are liberals who were most among compromised by cultural funding were furious of people like mills, and so they were great debates between mills and i him. so he wrote a big best seller calling "listening yankee" hung out in the early days. he die od very young, i think it was late 40s. in 1962 i think it was. >> one more. >> one more -- up here. [laughter]
>> so i think a lot of your audience here today came out either inclined to believe your particular count ow narrative or counternarrative of their own that they wanted to put to you as someone who wandered in because topic seemed interesting. you used two terms in describing the book one is counternarrative that mean something intended to question. common narrative other is a true story that means something else entirely. especially for historian, why is the, you know, let's say georgetown political science student or m.i.t. computer science student someone with an idea of lodgic and not to maintain expert in the subject, why -- what -- why should they take yours to be the true story? >> that's a good question. and you really have to read the book not just listen tonight to look at the evidence that i compile in the argument that i
put together. you know i think speaking of celestingjer said it was an argument and i understand my book will be challenged from many directions and it is being challenged, and you know, the people who have their own ideological bias that i can see right away that are trying to knock this story down, i dismiss those. but i take to heart actually people who have done their own work. and have researched this history as exhaustively as i have. so i often learn from dialogues with them whether upon the internght internet or face-to-face. i understand i didn't get the whole story perhaps, and i really do think this is the work of my lifetime and karen croft and i worked hard in this and basically working for ten years on this when you look at my book brothers and this book, and i think this book is most complete
version of this history that we have at this point. i expect it to, you know, as i say to be challenged earn to evolve maybe over time. but as of it shall the year 2015 if you want a real understanding of what happened in the cold war to this nation and the rise was secret government, and how democracy was undermined and how people were killed, heros who buy that state, then i think you have to read my book. >> great. that's a great way to end. i want to let u you know too that david will be at the howard book festival which is november 15th, at mission branch of city college. thank you, david. thank you patrick. >> thank you, karen. thank you, concerned citizens. [laughter] please -- i'll be signing books. stay here. >> or a table.
move to a table. >> i'll move these for you. >> great, so cool. and -- [inaudible] >> you're watching booktv on c-span 2 with top nonfiction books an authors every weekend. booktv, television for series serious readers. >> and this weekend on booktv princeton professor eddie discusses race in america with national urban league president mark marc morial on afterwards and takes look at cybersecurity and neuroscience peter examines
human behavior a look at early presidency of george washington. creation of d.c. as the nation's capitol and brookings institutions explained presidential primary process. for a complete television schedule, go toe to booktv.org. booktv 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors. television for serious readers. >> this is a -- like i said a heavy subject but crucially important for this nation as we had into the 2016 elections. and that is the means by which had deep pocket businesses have moved aggressively to steer the american political process their way, and by and flarnlg, by no means entirely but by and large they're succeeding. and in the entirety in its complexity this is a story far, far bigger than any one bock can hold. it includes sources as coke
brothers and their -- far reaching next that are as we speak raising enormous amounts of money to influence both presidential and congressional races and they have a huge network of donors, it also includes a form of superpack, and what are known as dark money groups that are forming alongside pretty much -- at least half of the republican field for president, again, much like we'll talk about with the chamber of cer donors, deciding or they would like to decide outcome of elections in this country. movements at all in fund raiding is spending on politics and this is proven american politics. but there's a reason that i chose the chamber of commerce as a subject for my book. and it's because it's single organization really sums up the story of how we got here to this
place. where it is possible and by and large legal. i mean, it pretty much everything i talk about in this book operations in the law because the chamber has figured out how to use some of the resources that it raises from the major businesses to, in fact, change the laws. change election laws, change the landscape politically, change who is in congress. in order to create a friendlier environment to advance the agenda of its members in these large donors whose ideas keep secret. in this string of the chamber helps explain why it is that we see congress, the courts, moving very quickly away in many case its from very, very pressing needs that we clearly have as a
society. and to -- it's really making -- really changing the balance in washington from -- a climate in which the premise that you know, that congress is there to sort the public, and really it's primarily listens to big business first. you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> i'm patrick senior director of the asia pacific security program here at the centers for new american security. tnas a washington, d.c. based nonpartisan and bipartisan think tank committing to help u.s. decision makers, i have the most profound strategic challenges confronting the united states. in established great power is managing lives of increasingly assertive and power ofhi