Tag Archives | Cold War

Behind the CIA’s Mission to Secretly Retrieve a Soviet Sub From the Bottom of the Ocean

PIC: The Hughes Glomar (PD)

PIC: The Hughes Glomar Explorer (PD)

IO9′s Charles Strauss has written a great overview of Project AZORIAN: The CIA’s covert plan to retrieve a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine. If you’ve never heard about it before, then I think you’ll find this all pretty interesting. Incidentally, I first became aware of it through Charles Stross’s wonderful Cold War spies vs. Cthulhu mythos series The Laundry Files. AZORIAN becomes a major plot point in the second novel The Jennifer Morgue after negotiations between the Deep Ones and the UK government start to fray over the sub’s retrieval.

Anyway, I particularly like the use of the term “Glomarization” in Strauss’s piece:

Via IO9:

The submarine, if recovered, would be a treasure trove for the intelligence community. Not only could U.S. officials examine the design of Soviet nuclear warheads, they could obtain cryptographic equipment that would allow them to decipher Soviet naval codes. And so began Project AZORIAN.

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How The CIA Used ‘Dr. Zhivago’ As A Cold War Propaganda Tool

PIC: CIA (PD)

PIC: CIA (PD)

Note to self: Convince CIA to serve as book distributor for next Disinformation Company title.

Via Christian Science Monitor:

CIA officials had rave reviews for Boris Pasternak’s classic Russian novel “Doctor Zhivago” — not for its literary merit but as a propaganda weapon in the Cold War, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
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The US intelligence agency saw the book as a challenge to Communism and a way to make Soviet citizens question why their government was suppressing one of their greatest writers, according to newly declassified CIA documents that detail the agency’s involvement in the book’s printing, the Post said.

The Soviet government had banned the novel and British intelligence first recognized its propaganda value in 1958, sending the CIA two rolls of film of its pages and suggesting it be spread through the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Keep reading at the Christian Science Monitor.Read the rest

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‘Lack of Genocidal Application’ Keeps Science From Exploring Thorium Energy

Thor Donner Arthur Rackham Wagner Rhinegold Rheingold Ring Nibelungern Norse mythology myth German GermanicHow ‘Thor’ May Save the World:

Unbeknownst to most climatologists that decry nuclear energy for its environmental liability (in the form of radioactive waste and potential Chernobyl/Fukushima meltdown), there is a friendly and feasible cousin to the Uranium reactor that uses Thorium (yes named after the Norse god of thunder).

Thorium is an element much more abundant than Uranium in the Earth’s crust (comparable in abundance to Lead), and is already produced industrially as a byproduct of rare-earth-metals mining.  Thorium reactor designs (using liquid Fluoride as coolant) consume atomic fuel far more efficiently than Uranium reactors using pressurized water as a coolant.  Furthermore, these reactors are ‘incapable of meltdown’ and produce hazardous radioactive materials lasting only 300 years as opposed to 10,000 years for Uranium, in relative quantities of 1 ton instead of 35 tons, respectively.  Unlike Uranium reactors, Thorium does not pose a proliferation risk because none of the products or reactants present viable materials for creating an atomic bomb.… Read the rest

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Uri Geller’s Life As A Psychic Spy For The CIA And Mossad Revealed

uri geller

Did you know there was a Cold War “psychic arms race”? Geoffrey Macnab writes in the Independent:

Showbiz psychic Uri Geller has seemingly had a lengthy second career as a secret agent for Mossad and the CIA. Geller was at the Sheffield Doc Fest this week for the premiere of Vikram Jayanti’s The Secret Life Of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?, a new film that offers compelling evidence of his involvement in the shadowy world of espionage.

In interview, Geller remains coy about his espionage activities. Nonetheless, the psychic acknowledges that his handlers once asked him to use telepathy to stop a pig’s heart. He refused, knowing that if he had succeeded, the next target would almost certainly have been a human. “I tried to execute missions that were positive,” Geller claims. “I said ‘no’ to dark things.”

Jayanti spoke to the high-level officials involved in recruiting and using Geller.

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How the Cold War Spawned the Environmental Movement

The_Population_BombVia New Scientist

In Arming Mother Nature, Jacob Darwin Hamblin argues that environmentalism is rooted in cold war plans to abuse nature for military ends

I have often wondered why NATO holds environment conferences. Now I know the answer. Back in the 1960s, the Western military alliance coined the term “environmental warfare” and for years actively considered how to wage such wars. More than that, argues Jacob Darwin Hamblin in this startling account, much of modern environmental thinking originated with the scientists and military strategists during the dark days of the cold war.

And you thought the first environmentalists were muesli-eating, sandal-wearing hippies? Far from it, Hamblin says. Before them was a generation of scary Dr Strangelove types, “scientists, military leaders and politicians who believed they would have to manipulate and exploit nature” in a war against the Soviet Union. The original doom-mongers were not sounding the alarm; they were riding into battle.

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Files Reveal The FBI Monitored Marilyn Monroe Over Communist Ties

Are any Hollywood superstars of today this exciting? Via the Denver Post:

Recently obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, the updated FBI files do show the extent the agency was monitoring Monroe for ties to communism in the years before her death in August 1962. Monroe’s file begins in 1955 and mostly focuses on her travels and associations, searching for signs of leftist views and possible ties to communism.

The records reveal that some in Monroe’s inner circle were concerned about her association with Frederick Vanderbilt Field, who was disinherited from his wealthy family over his leftist views. A trip to Mexico brought Monroe in contact with Field, who was living in the country with his wife in self-imposed exile. Informants reported to the FBI that a “mutual infatuation” developed between Field and Monroe.

“She talked mostly about herself and some of the people who had been or still were important to her,” Field wrote in “From Right to Left.” “She told us about her strong feelings for civil rights, for black equality, as well as her admiration for what was being done in China, her anger at red-baiting and McCarthyism and her hatred of (FBI director) J.

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Inside The Army’s Cold War Experiments In Psychochemical Warfare

The New Yorker unravels the military’s secret program to develop the ultimate “humane” weapon for the wars of the future — mass-delirium-inducing gas:

Colonel James S. Ketchum dreamed of war without killing. He joined the Army in 1956 and left it in 1976, and in that time became the military’s leading expert in a secret Cold War experiment: to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals that temporarily incapacitate the mind-—causing, in the words of one ranking officer, a “selective malfunctioning of the human machine.”

Today, the facility, Edgewood Arsenal, is a crumbling assemblage of buildings on the Chesapeake Bay. But for some of the surviving test subjects, and for the doctors who tested them, what happened at Edgewood remains deeply unresolved.

I spoke to a former Edgewood test subject who was given the nerve agent VX. The effect was rapid. There was a radio on in the room, but the words made little sense.

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U.S. Army’s Chemical Weapons Expert Reveals Details Of Experiments

Colonel James S. Ketchum, was the U.S. military’s leading expert in a secret Cold War experiment: to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals that temporarily incapacitate the mind, reports Raffi Khatchadourian in a lengthy profile for the New Yorker:

…The drugs under review ranged from tear gas and LSD to highly lethal nerve agents, like VX, a substance developed at Edgewood and, later, sought by Saddam Hussein. Ketchum’s specialty was a family of molecules that block a key neurotransmitter, causing delirium. The drugs were known mainly by Army codes, with their true formulas classified. The soldiers were never told what they were given, or what the specific effects might be, and the Army made no effort to track how they did afterward. Edgewood’s most extreme critics raise the spectre of mass injury—a hidden American tragedy.

Ketchum, an unreconstructed advocate of chemical warfare, believes that people who fear gaseous weapons more than guns and mortars are irrational.

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Western Drug Companies Paid East Germany To Use Its Citizens As Guinea Pigs

At least a handful of the unwitting subjects died as a result of the pharmacological experiments. An instance of capitalist and communist collaboration during the Cold War, via the Independent:

Communist East Germany allowed Western drug companies to use its medical patients as unwitting guinea pigs for tests with untried pharmaceuticals in return for hundreds of thousands in hard currency, a television documentary by Germany’s ARD television channel has revealed.

The disturbing disclosures about the former communist state’s patients-for-cash scheme comes only weeks after an admission by the Swedish furniture giant Ikea that East German political prisoners were used to make its products before the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.

Using information gleaned from East German Stasi files, the film shows how, in 1983, Communist Party Central Committee members hatched a secret deal with Western drug companies enabling them to test their unlicensed products on unwitting patients by using specially selected doctors and clinics.

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Victims Of The Army’s Secret St. Louis Chemical Experiments Speak Out

Missouri’s KSDK has more on the previously discussed revelation that the U.S. army secretly sprayed chemicals on families in St. Louis housing projects during the 1950s and 60s. Former residents reveal bizarre recollections which were previously ignored:

Missouri’s two U.S. Senators, Democrat Claire McCaskill, and Republican Roy Blunt, are demanding more information about the secret human testing. But so far, the Army remains silent. Survivors remember and for the first time are sharing their stories in hopes someone will listen and perhaps be held accountable.

Dorothy Johnson and her doctors never knew what caused blisters to boil up and cover her body when she was 18-years-old. The life-long emotional scars never healed and she wonders if there is a connection to the secret testing. Through tears, Johnson said, “They isolated me and I stayed there about a month to recuperate. I lost my fingernails, my toe nails, the lesions on my body.

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