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The National Security-State and JFK, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 In 1954 the CIA published a top-secret classified document titled “A Study of Assassination.” The document confirms that within seven years of the CIA’s founding in 1947, the agency was specializing in the art of assassination. There are various fascinating aspects of the study. One is that the CIA was exploring different methods by which to kill people. The other is that the CIA was figuring out ways to keep people from discovering that it was involved in the assassination. If we jump ahead ten years or so, we find that the art of assassination was being taught to Latin American military personnel at the School of the Americas. It was the U.S. military’s primary training school for Latin American military officials and, in fact, was often referred to by Latin Americans as the “School of Assassins.” The art of torture was also being taught at ...

Wartime Tyranny against Eugene Debs

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Civil rights do not fare well in wartime, tested against the feverish jingoism of the martial spirit. As the old adage goes, inter armas silent leges — in war the law is silent. In the United States, liberty has too often been sacrificed (without hesitation, we might add) to the gods of wars, forced to prostrate herself before them, accede to their demands. But never completely is liberty’s light extinguished; undaunted and filled with righteous indignation — and, perhaps, naivety — a few idealists always stand as her partisans, prepared to sacrifice their own liberty in their own kind of war. Eugene Debs, whatever his faults, was one of this kind, a true believer. He was born in 1855 in Terre Haute, Indiana, a town west of Indianapolis and near the Illinois border, the son of immigrants from the French region of Alsace. Far from steeping the young Gene Debs in left-wing radicalism, his parents owned a small grocery store ...

America’s Turn toward Empire

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The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire by Stephen Kinzer (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017; 320 pages) Sen. Mark Hanna, a Republican from Ohio and President William McKinley’s campaign manager, couldn’t contain himself. How could the delegates to the Republican National Convention not see through the man wearing a sombrero as streamers rained down from the ceiling? He was dangerous. “Don’t any of you realize that there’s only one life between this madman and the presidency?” he said presciently to a delegate after the man’s triumphant entrance to the convention. “What harm can he do as Governor of New York compared to the damage he will do as president if McKinley should die?” The man Hanna referred to was none other than Theodore Roosevelt, the newly nominated vice president of the United States in the campaign of 1900. Hanna believed Teddy was deranged. A man who loved war and associated ...

Freedom and the Fear of Self-Responsibility

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Liberty is under a renewed challenge and attack in the contemporary world. From “political correctness” and its accompanying growing totalitarian closed-mindedness at institutions of higher learning in both America and Europe, to the rebirth of economic nationalism with its rejection of freedom of trade, investment and people in places like the United States, along with the continuing stranglehold of ...