"Once there is a suspicion that a religion is a myth, its power has gone."
Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
Like Odysseus, Douglas Valentine is a wily warrior who managed to enter the enemy's stronghold disguised as a gift. Not Troy, and not within a wooden horse, but in the guise of a nice young "Nobody," he was able, thirty or so years ago, to breach the walls of the CIA through William Colby, a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The guileful thing he brought was his proposal to demystify the Phoenix program, "the controversial CIA assassination program that resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians during the Vietnam War," with which Colby was notably associated. Colby naively assumed "demystify" meant justify, so he welcomed Valentine into his inner sanctum. As in days of yore, Colby, and the CIA officers he referred Valentine to, were so disarmed by the bright young trickster that they divulged their secrets without being asked, defeating themselves in the boastful ways of men drunk on their own youthful exploits. Wanting to be heroes in their own myths, they became unwitting accomplices in their own besmirchment. So much for intelligence.
When the Trojan Horse that became Valentine's 1990 book, The Phoenix Program: America's Use of Terror in Vietnam, was opened, and many truths rushed out to slay them, they reacted with shocked outrage that they had been double-crossed by an amateur counter-spy.
Legends fall, of course, battles are lost, but when the self-anointed heroic warriors of the CIA fell, they summoned their acolytes and media scribes to silence the counter-spy who did not love them. It was not the Valentine that these spurned lovers were expecting.
In this case, their defender was the media celebrity reporter, Morley Safer, who had reported from Vietnam and was friendly with William Colby. Safer owed Colby a favor. When he was in Vietnam, Safer had accepted Colby's Mephistophelian offer to take a tour of the infamous Phoenix program's interrogation centers and meet the counterterrorism teams, but with one stipulation. In Safer's words, delivered to a conference in 2010: "I showed up and [Colby] said, 'Okay, here are the rules".You can't take notes and you can't report anything you hear",to this day, I still feel constrained in terms of talking about [what he saw and heard].'"
Valentine: "And like Don Corleone dispensing favors in The Godfather, Colby knew that one day Safer would be obligated to return it. That is how the CIA, as the organized crime branch of the US government, functions like the Mafia through its old boy network of complicit media hacks."
So The New York Times, which Valentine had criticized in his book for not reporting the truth about the CIA's Phoenix program, had Safer write a book review of The Phoenix Program: America's Use of Terror in Vietnam. He wrote a scathing review in which he said the book was "as turgid and dense and often incomprehensible book as I have ever had the misfortune to open." Thus Valentine's work was disappeared like the Vietnamese victims of the Phoenix program. (Safer's "misfortune," however, became our fortune when in 2014 Open Roads publishers announced a "Forbidden Bookshelves" series and resurrected Valentine's expose' in a new edition.)
In his latest book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America And The World , Valentine explains it thus: "But the left's leadership is part of the CIA's old boy network and like all American intellectuals, they look to the Times for direction and validation. So the word went out to ignore the book, not just because it revealed CIA secrets, but because it identified the media, and the Times in particular, as the reason why the public can't see the CIA clearly for what it is: a criminal conspiracy on behalf of wealthy capitalists."
But Valentine had been "neutralized," and over the next quarter century the CIA, through its placement of its people throughout the media, including Hollywood and television, resurrected its mythic image -- phoenix like -- from the fleeting and rarely examined ashes Valentine had reduced it to. Using what the CIA officer Frank Wisner called the agency's "Mighty Wurlitzer" -- its deep penetration of the news and cultural apparatus -- it played the American people to a tune of CIA heroes defending the "homeland" from mad Muslim terrorists and evil drug dealers besieging the U.S. citadel through deception and direct attack. Movies, television shows, cognitive infiltration of the mainstream media across platforms repeated the message over and over again: We are the good guys in this mythic battle of good against evil. We are defenders of the "Homeland."
But over these years Valentine had not disappeared, despite the CIA's wish that he had. It took him fifteen years to recover from his "neutralization," and then he wrote two books -- The Strength of the Wolf and The Strength of the Pack -- that examine the nexus between the CIA, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and the Drug Enforcement Administration in which he explains in documented detail how the CIA hijacked drug enforcement as it became a prime player in international drug trafficking. Joining hands with organized crime and corrupting law enforcement, the drug running and murder that was crucial to the CIA's Phoenix program went international.
Most importantly, the Phoenix program's organizational structure became the template for these world-wide bloody operations: among them, the Salvadoran Option, undertakings throughout South and Central America, the Middle-East, and later the war on terror, "the greatest covert op ever." And the Phoenix became the conceptual model for The Department of Homeland Security, as "both are based on the principle that governments can manage societies through implicit and explicit terror."
Valentine shows how the federal drug agencies protect the CIA's drug running assets and operations, and spread addiction throughout the "homeland." This is accomplished by CIA agents posing as federal narcotics agents. "The DEA has a public affairs branch staffed by creative writers who filter out anything bad and tell you only what the bosses want you to know. The media echoes what the DEA and the CIA PR people say. But it's a big lie and it's pervasive."
But those important books had little effect on a drug addled population. They appeared in the midst of the dramatic rise in the use of "legal" pharmaceutical drugs (see Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime : How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare by Dr. Peter C. Gotzsche) and the epidemic of heroin (Greek, heros, hero + German chemical suffix, ine, coined in 1898 by the Bayer Company as a morphine substitute) that has reduced so many people to walking zombies, while minorities have long had their neighborhoods devastated by CIA facilitated crack cocaine. The zombie myth itself has become a staple of American culture -- pure entertainment for a brain devouring and brain dead population - entertainment for dummies. It is no wonder. Because from 1990 when Valentine's The Phoenix Program was trashed by the Times until today, the U.S. government and the scientific/media establishment have worked to convince Americans that all our lives revolve around our brains and that the answers to our problems lie with more brain research, drugs, genetic testing, etc. It's been a quarter century deluge of propaganda of scientific materialism and biological determinism that we are not free but victims of our genes, neurotransmitters, brains/computers, and chemicals. Having lost our minds and fixated on our brains as instructed, we have chosen to be determined to be determined, not free. It is not coincidental that the U.S. government, beginning with ex-CIA Director and then President George H.W. Bush, declared the 1990s the decade of brain research, followed up with 2000-2010 as the decade of the behavior project, and our present decade being devoted to mapping the brain and artificial intelligence, organized by the Office of Science and Technology Project and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Brains and drugs, Big Pharma and the CIA, drug running and drug dealing, deaths at home and deaths abroad - a neat circle that has corrupted the country at the deepest levels.