The “Deep State” Then and Now, by Edward Curtin

Many of the histories written of the CIA and other intelligence agencies implicitly assume that the they are not still doing the dark deeds the history chronicle. In most instances that’s a faulty assumption. From Edward Curtin at lewrockwell.com:

“…since grasping the present from within is the most problematic task the mind can face.”

Frederic Jameson

Have you ever seen a photograph of yourself from the past and laughed or grimaced at the way you were dressed or your hair style? It’s a common experience.  But few people draw the obvious conclusion about the present: that our present appearance might be equally laughable.  The personal past seems to be “over there,” an object to be understood and dissected for its meaning, while the present seems opaque and shape-shifting – or just taken-for-granted okay.  “That was then,” says the internal voice, “but I am wiser now.”  Historical perspective, even about something as superficial as appearance, rarely illuminates the present, perhaps because it makes us feel ignorant and unfree.

This is even truer with political and social history.

In recent years there has been a spate of books and articles detailing the CIA’s past Cold War cultural and political propaganda efforts, from the creation of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) with its string of magazines, to its collaboration with many famous writers and intellectuals, including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, Richard Wright, Irving Kristol, et al., and its penetration and working relationships with so many publications and media outlets, including The New York Times, the Paris Review, Encounter, etc. These exposés show how vast was the CIA’s propaganda network throughout the media and the world, and how many people participated in the dirty work.

Joel Whitney, in his recently published book, Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers (the word “tricked” ignores the eager accomplices), tells this scandalous story in illuminating detail.  His account informs and nauseates simultaneously, as one learns how the CIA penetrated NGOs, television, universities, magazines, newspapers, book publishing, etc., finding willing collaborationists everywhere – scoundrels eager to spy on and betray even their friends as they deceived the public worldwide; how well-meaning leftist writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Garcia Marquez were tricked into lending their names and work to propaganda publications; how leftists were set against leftists in an elaborate effort to sow paranoia and confusion that could be used to put the Soviet Union in the worst possible light; and how many front organizations were created to secretly funnel money to support these endeavors and make and break careers.  The story makes your skin crawl.

To continue reading: The “Deep State” Then and Now

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One response to “The “Deep State” Then and Now, by Edward Curtin

  1. Reblogged this on The way I see things … and commented:
    Everything has become style today, and no doubt the CIA has learned that the trick is to hide truthful substance behind the style. Evidence is beside the point. Just assert things in a slick style. Assert them repeatedly, even when they have been proven false or fraudulent. Sex Dust and Power Dust may be absurd con jobs, but they sell. They meet a “need,” a need created by the society that has slyly equated power with sex for a population that has been convinced they have neither and need drugs to endow them with both. A piece about Brain Dust may not have the drawing power of a Paris Review interview with Ernest Hemingway or Boris Pasternak, but then there were no “lifestyle gurus” in those days when people read real literature, not today’s New York Times best sellers. Propaganda was more literary in those days; it had to have substance. In a “wellness culture,” it has to have style. Today the only time you hear the word substance, is in “substance abuse,” which is fitting.

    The CIA is in the styling business; they’ve gone shallow. Everyone looks great that way, or so they think.

    Like

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