Operation Gladio: The Secret CIA Program to Control Europe

Operation Gladio

BBC (1992)

Film Review

This 1992 documentary is based on rare archival interviews of former Gladio operatives. Gladio was a secret US/UK intelligence-run program run across Europe between 1945 and its public exposure in 1990. It’s main purpose was to crush strikes and public protests and to prevent groups unfriendly to US/UK interests from coming to power. The main strategies employed were false flag terrorist attacks (mainly bombings and assassinations) that were officially blamed on left wing groups

The Office of Strategic Services or OSS (which became the CIA in 1947) and MI6 (the British secret service) divided up spheres of influence. The Brits ran Gladio in Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium and the US France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Turkey and Greece. In each of these countries, UK/US intelligence recruited police and secret services, fascist groups and Nazi spies “left behind” when Hitler’s army withdrew from occupied Europe.

Although elected parliaments (and many prime ministers) were never informed of Gladio’s existence, all NATO countries were forced to join as a condition of NATO membership. Moreover the French continued to participate in Gladio after President Charles DeGaulle withdrew France from NATO in 1966.**

In this film, former Gladio operatives from Italy and Belgium discuss their motivation for participating, their role in infiltrating targeted left wing groups,*** the role of local CIA operatives in providing funding, training and other support, and their eventual disillusionment with illegal terrorist actions that deliberately targeted civilians. There are also interviews with CIA officials involved in funding, arming and training Gladio operatives and with Italian Investigating judges, whistleblowers and journalists who helped bring Gladio to public attention.


*In a false flag operation, deliberate deception creates the appearance of responsibility of a particular group or nation for a given atrocity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.

**DeGaulle made the 1966 decision to withdraw French troops from NATO after learning a secret assassination team operating out of NATO headquarters in Belgium was responsible for four assassination attempts against him. French intelligence would provide details about this group to New Orleans District Attorney James Garrison in his prosecution of Kennedy assassination co-conspirator Clay Shaw (see New Evidence in JFK Assassination). French troops would rejoin NATO under President Nicholas Sarkozy in 2009.

***Germany’s Red Army Faction (aka Beider-Meinhoff gang), Italy’s Red Brigades and France’s Action Directe are the best known so-called leftist groups infiltrated (and likely run) by Gladio.

 

I Knew Saddam

This is an abbreviated portrait of Saddam Hussein, based mainly on the reminiscences of US, British and Russian journalists who met him during the first Gulf War (1990-91).

The documentary notes his difficult childhood – his birth out of wedlock, unrelenting bullying by other children and his physically abusive stepfather. It also explores his love of the film The Godfather Part 1, for its portrayal of power based on ruthless brutality.

The filmmakers credit Saddam for the rapid modernization of Iraq and delivery, for the first time, of health services, education, water and electric power to even the most remote regions of Iraq. The price Iraqi people paid for these creature comforts was to live in a constant climate of fear. Children were pressured to inform on their parents. Even ruling Ba’ath party members were summarily executed if they posed any threat to Saddam’s authority.

Soon after assuming power in 1979, Saddam launched a devastating eight-year war against Iran, with the encouragement and financial/military support of the US. Iraq lost this war. A number of analysts blame the loss on Saddam’s insistence on running every aspect of the military campaign, despite his total lack of military experience.

The film goes on to talk about Saddam’s defeat by UN forces following his invasion of Kuwait. And the extreme suffering of the Iraqi people under a 12-year UN sanctions regime – while Saddam continued to live in lavish palaces.

While rarely mentioned in the Western media, Saddam had handed over power to his youngest son by the time the US invaded Iraq in 2003.

Tony Benn, the British journalist (and former Labour MP) describes the 2006 Iraqi trial in which Saddam was sentenced to death as a “fraud.”  According to Benn, he should have been tried at the International Criminal Court, where he would have been allowed to call witnesses in his defense (eg former president George H W Bush).

The film makes no mention of the CIA-sponsored coup that brought the Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq in 1963: see CIA Saddam

 

The US Occupation: Japan’s Post War Miracle

Princes of the Yen: Central Banks and the Transformation of the Economy

Directed by Michael Oswald (2014)

Film Review

Based on Richard Werner’s book by the same name, this film examines the economic forces responsible for the Japan’s post war economic miracle. The US occupation of Japan (1945-1952) was characterized by heavy censorship and US control of all political appointments, including central bank governors.

Mindful of the peasant uprising that led to revolution in China, US occupiers immediately implemented major land reform, breaking up large estates to hand the land over to their tenants. In 1951, under US oversight, Japan declared an amnesty for all war criminals. Thus while Nazi war criminals were being tried and hung at Nuremberg (or secretly smuggled into the US or Latin America), Japanese war criminals were forming (with major CIA support) the Liberal Democratic Party, which would rule Japan continuously until 1993.

Because they mainly held war bonds or loans to industries that had been destroyed, private Japanese banks had collapsed. Under US supervision, the Japanese central bank purchased these worthless assets in exchange for bank reserve (a process that would come to be known as quantitative easing).

They then set up a system known as “window guidance” to guarantee the rapid credit creation necessary for economic recovery. Under window guidance, the Bank of Japan issued quarterly directives to each bank on the amount of credit they needed to create for specific industries. The goal was to maintain a war economy with a focus on consumer goods instead of weapons. Growth skyrocketed, producing rapid income recovery with reasonable income equality for Japanese citizens.

By the 1970s, Japan was the world’s second largest economy and held major investments in the US and other western countries. In addition to owning 75% of US treasury bonds, in 1986 Japanese investors owned Columbia Pictures, Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach Golf Course near Monterey, California.

All this changed in the 1990s, when the Bank of Japan colluded with the IMF, World Bank and Goldman Sachs for the right to be independent of the Japanese government like western central banks. As part of this scheme, which would hand Japan’s central bank over to  western speculators, the BOJ deliberately (according to Werner) created a massive asset bubble which collapsed in the mid-1990s. Between 1991 and 1996, 212,000 Japanese companies went bankrupt, stocks and land lost 80% of their value and over 5 million Japanese became unemployed.

The Japanese economy continues to be in recession to the present day.

The Whistleblowers Who Exposed the Surveillance State

Digital Dissidents Part 1

Al Jazeera (2016)

Film Review

Digital Dissidents is about six whistleblowers who risked their careers, financial ruin and imprisonment to expose secret government crimes. In Part 1 of this two-part series, the whistleblowers introduce themselves and speak briefly about the circumstances that led them to leak illicit secret government information – at great risk to themselves.

  • Daniel Ellsberg, who worked in the US Embassy in Saigon, leaked 7,000 pages of documents to the New York Times in 1971 revealing the US government had systematically lied to Congress for decades about US military involvement in Vietnam. He was charged with theft and illegal possession of secret documents. The case against him collapsed when it came out that Nixon was illegally wiretapping him and had ordered “plumbers” to break into his psychiatrist’s office.
  • Thomas Drake, who worked for the CIA prior to being transferred to the NSA on 9/11/01. When he learned the NSA was illegally spying on journalists, he spent months “going through channels” to raise the alarm with his superiors. After he went to a Baltimore Sun reporter in 2007 with evidence of his concerns, the US government charged him with 10 felonies under the 1917 Espionage Act. After a lengthy trial that virtually bankrupted him, Drake pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor of misusing a government computer. He was sentenced to one year probation and 240 hours of community service.
  • William Binney, who also worked for the NSA (for 30 years) developing a wiretap program capable of filtering large numbers of domestic and foreign communication. He left the NSA in October 2001 and became a whistleblower in 2002. Although the FBI raided his home at gunpoint, he was eventually cleared of criminal charges.
  • Edward Snowden, who worked for both the CIA and the NSA, leaked thousands of files substantiating Drake’s and Binney’s allegations to a number of journalists worldwide. The US canceled his passport while he was at the Moscow airport (en route from Hong Kong to South America), and he was forced to seek asylum in Russia.
  • Julian Assange, an Australian national and former hacker, who founded Wikileaks in 2006. The purpose of this website is to allow whistle blowers from all over the world to safely and anonymously leak documents implicating their governments in criminal activities.
  • David Shayler and his former partner Anne Machon, former MI5 operatives who passed secret documents to The Mail on Sunday about British intelligence involvement in illegal activities. In 2002, Shayler received a six month prison sentence for violating the Official Secrets Act.

 

Although the video can’t be embedded for copyright reasons, it can be seen for free at the Al Jazeera website: Digital Dissidents

MK-Ultra, LSD and the CIA War on Musicians and Activists

Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA War on Musicians and Activists

https://www.drugsasweaponsmovie.com/

Film Review

On January 29, John Potash will release his film Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA War on Musicians and Activists – based on his 2015 book Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA’s Murderous Targeting of SDS, Panthers, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain, Tupac and Other Activists. A virtual encyclopedia of illegal government drug trafficking, the film begins with the involvement of the JP Morgan, Russell and other first families with the British East India Company and the opium wars that forced China to allow their opium trade.

Potash crams a massive amount of detail in his two-hour film, tracing how these and other powerful Wall Street families were instrumental in launching he CIA to protect their financial and political interests and how illegal drug trafficking (initially heroin trafficking from Southeast Asia) was essential to the CIA’s MO from its very inception in 1947.

He goes on to explore how the CIA/FBI assisted 9,000 Nazi war criminals to secretly settle in South America after World War II – where they helped establish paramilitary death squads to assassinate labor and human rights leaders who threatened US-installed dictators. Under the leadership of Klaus Barbie, they would also link up with local cocaine barons in establishing CIA-supported networks to smuggle the to the US.

Potash next details the probable role of the CIA/FBI in a host of suspicious OD’s, suicides and “lone nut” assassinations of activist rock stars and political figures who posed a threat to Wall Street interests. The list (as the book’s title suggests) includes John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Janis Joplin, Jim Hendrix, Tupac Shakur and Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, among others.

For me the most fascinating part of the 2015 book concerns the extensive distribution of the hallucinogen LSD via the CIA’s MK-Ultra program in the sixties and seventies. Potash documents how CIA drug agents deliberately sought out targeted civil rights and anti-war activists and activist rock stars (eg John Lennon, George Harrison and Mick Jagger) in the hope of “neutralizing” any threat they might pose to corporate interests.

Although a two-hour film can’t possibly offer the same level of documentation as a 440-page book, the evidence this documentary presents paints a cogent and credible picture of the CIA as an immoral criminal enterprise dedicated to serving the interests of a tiny US financial elite.

About the Filmmaker

John Potash first came across evidence of the CIA role in disseminating LSD to activists and rock musicians in FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in the Media) co-founder Martin Lee’s book Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion (Grove Press 1985). The book details a high level Italian investigation of US intelligence officer Ronald Stark, who oversaw the trafficking of tens-to-hundreds of million of acid hits world wide. This led Potash to Operation Julie (W.H. Allen 1978), a book by high level British detective Dick Lee. Lee also investigated Stark’s operation and its network of intelligence links. Later Potash, a drug and alcohol counselor, would deal with clients who obtained LSD from the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a Stark-linked operation in the US.

Potash is also the author of the FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders (Progressive Left Press 2008) and has made a prior documentary (by the same title) based on the book.

Full interview with John Potash at Drugs as Weapons Against Us – Interview with John Potash

 

Drugs As Weapons Against Us – Interview with John Potash

Full Interview with John Potash About His New Film

1. What was your motivation for writing your 2015 book Drugs as Weapons Against – and for making a film based on the book?

I had a number of motivations for writing the book, Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA’s Murderous Targeting of SDS, Panthers, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain, Tupac and Other Activists. For one, I wanted to break the media censorship regarding the hidden history of some great activists, along with some great musicians who aspired to do more activist work. That is one of the reasons for the long subtitles. It helps get the word out on these issues.

Personally, I grew up with socialist grandparents and somewhat activist parents as my father organized fellow doctors against the Vietnam War and mother ran NOW lectures.  got into anti-war and anti-racism activism, and found out about U.S. intelligence operations, such as the CIA’s Project MK-Ultra that used LSD to undermine anti-racist and anti-war activists. I further read about the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program, which targeted leftist activists in general, but was particularly murderous against black activists such as The Black Panthers.

I eventually found much evidence of how the CIA and MK-Ultra worked with the FBI in such targeting, and used many drugs, particularly LSD, heroin, and cocaine against anti-war and anti-racism activists. Later evidence supported the use of other drugs in this way, particularly MDMA/Ecstasy. My book got the information to a certain percentage of people with a certain amount of trust. My film will hopefully get it to more people, and depicts the actual sources of the information, such as CIA whistleblowers, saying some of the things I quote in the book.

I eventually found much evidence of how the CIA and MK-Ultra worked with the FBI in such targeting, and used many drugs, particularly LSD, heroin, and cocaine against anti-war and anti-racism activists. Later evidence supported the use of other drugs in this way, particularly MDMA/Ecstasy. My book got the information to a certain percentage of people with a certain amount of trust. My film will hopefully get it to more people, and depicts the actual sources of the information, such as CIA whistleblowers, saying some of the things I quote in the book.

2. For me the most eye opening aspect of both the book and the film was learning the CIA had deliberately disseminated massive amounts of LSD to anti-war protestors and activist pop stars in a deliberate effort to undermine their political and creative effectiveness. How did you come across this information?

After college, I got back into activism and saw Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) co-founder Martin Lee speak. I later got his book, Acid Dreams, loosely subtitled, The CIA, LSD and the Sixties. It documented the CIA dissemination of acid.

That book got some decent publicity and attention, even from some mainstream newspapers such as The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Village Voice. It included the details of an Italian judge ruling over a case of a U.S. intelligence agent, Ronald Stark, heading the trafficking of tens-to-hundreds of millions of hits of acid worldwide. 

Amongst other sources, I found a book by high level British police detective Dick Lee, who was the lead investigator of Operation Julie, and the author of a book by the same name. Lee detailed how his team’s investigation uncovered Stark’s operation and its network of intelligence connections, before higher authorities tried to cover it all up again.

I also confirmed aspects of U.S. intelligence’s continuance of their operations. For example, about four years ago I surprised an acid dealer I counseled by asking him if he was getting his acid from The Brotherhood of Eternal Love. He fearfully confirmed that The Brotherhood, a Stark-aided and U.S. intelligence-linked operation, was his supplier in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I further found whistleblowers confirming the continuance of intelligence operations under different names.

3. How did you finance your film?

I never left my day job and still do counseling for a living, with a particular expertise in addictions and trauma work. My first book continues to sell well. I poured the profits from that book, my first film, and my second book, into this film. Still, none of my projects could ever come close to paying my bills with the mainstream media censorship in the U.S. I see these more as activist projects.

4. How do you plan to distribute it and what’s the best way for people to see it?

My first film was lower budget and more low-key. I mostly sell that on my website and through Amazon. For my second film, I thought I’d try to get a distributor. I didn’t know how it all worked and so I took one of my first offers for distribution, Gravitas Ventures. I signed a North American distribution deal with them and they are officially releasing it on 1/29/19. I’m still looking for a distributor of the film for the UK, Europe, Australia and your New Zealand area.

In America and Canada, the best ways to see the film are renting it on Itunes, Vimeo, Vudu, Google Play/Youtube, and Microsoft Xbox. It’s also available for purchase on Amazon, and at Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.

I highly recommend people buy the film because the purchased film will have an extra 16 minutes of deleted scenes. These scenes include eyewitness evidence of Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones’s murder, just after he was gaining agreements from his friends Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon to form a super-group in 1969. It further includes the apparent CIA hypnotist in charge of aiding RFK’s assassination talking about everything he could get people to do through drugs and hypnosis. It finally includes more on Occupy Wall Street and Bob Marley.

https://www.drugsasweaponsmovie.com/

Meet Allen Dulles: Fascist Spymaster

Meet Allen Dulles: Fascist Spymaster

James Corbett (2015)

Film Review

A comprehensive biography of infamous CIA director Allen Dulles, this film is a treasure trove of hidden history. Dulles ran the CIA from 1953 until Kennedy fired him (in 1961) over the disastrous CIA invasion of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs.

Prior to watching this documentary, I was unaware of Dulles’ long time collaboration with fascists of all stripes. For example, Dulles

  • (with his brother John Foster Dulles) was a founding member of the corporate elite round table group the Council on Foreign Relations (1921).
  • collaborated with George W’s grandfather Prescott Bush and W Averell Harriman to use Union Bank Company to launder Wall Street monies that financed Hitler’s military arsenal.
  • as a member of the Office of Strategic Services (the CIA’s precursor), served as the primary architect of the program to secretly bring Nazi war criminals to the US – where they became CIA spies, military analysts and space and mind control scientists.
  • with John Foster, represented the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the United Fruit Company as partners in the powerful Wall Street law firm Cromwell and Sullivan.
  • instigated coups against Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) as a personal vendetta when their democratically elected leaders acted contrary to the financial interests of corporate clients.
  • as a Warren Commission member following the JFK assassination, demanded records destroyed relating to Oswald’s CIA employment.*

*The order was foiled by a Warren Commission staffer who secretly retained a copy.