What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Some of the most interesting conversationalists I have ever met are war veterans. For most of my life they have been around me for various reasons. Most often they are neighbors, sometimes I bump into them randomly and when I talk to them I usually get at least one interesting nugget of wisdom out of them.
If you viciously demand information from them you won’t get very far. If you let them talk they will often tell you some really spicy information if only to keep your attention. Listening to various old guys when I lived in Eugene Oregon I heard stories from pilots who flew B47 bombers out of Area 51 and became privy to the “rumor” that the CIA had been a major driver of the drug trade and perhaps even the hippie counterculture that was intended to wash the old American culture out to sea, as Boston T Party suggested in Molon Labe. And I feel that certain other researchers have proved this.
This is where things get interesting when we start talking about things that are secrets, and yet they are not. When I was very young my mother would drive me up to a hilly area near our home in New Zealand and allow me to run along a remote road. That road ran right past a massive piece of equipment which I was told was a microwave receiver. I asked, “well, who built it, and why?” She said, “the Americans paid for it and run it, they use it to spy on people.”
Years later I found out that device, if it was intended for surveillance was most likely installed as part of the Echelon program. If you don’t know what that is, go look it up, it will seem quite familiar to anyone with a hint of consciousness of recent events. Stefan Molyneux talked about it on a recent podcast.
The Echelon program is simply not something you are not supposed to know about. Revelation of this program could compromise countless ongoing investigation of horrible terrorists and criminals, or whatever. But information about Echelon is commonly available, an author I absolutely detest has even written a series of books about the wacky adventures of a mass murdering agent of Echelon. This program was not revealed by Snowden, but by the fact that one simply does not hide an operation with that much infrastructure.
There are other secrets that are not secrets, the CIAs overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran or the Allende’s government in Chile. Or the danger of the use of depleted uranium rounds. Officially the US government denies that they had anything to do with these or countless other crimes. But to try to say with a straight face that our masters had nothing to do with all this would require a level of naïveté that goes well past childish.
Finally we come to what I consider the most interesting variety of government secret, the forgotten secret. To those who discount the viability of a long term conspiracy involving political or military elites you have clearly never met a loyal soldier. A loyal soldier is a person who always follows orders no matter how distasteful and always keeps secrets. A couple of months ago I was reading an aviation history magazine, (sorry I can’t recall which one it was). There was an article in it about a mission at the end of World War Two to destroy a Japanese oil refinery. The details of the mission remain classified and information about it is inconsistent. It is known that the mission was led by a Japanese turncoat, a possibly unique event.
Now, I don’t know how many pilots and crew there are left who flew that mission. But unless you could prove to them that the details of that mission are completely in the open now I would be willing to bet that those men would have kept those secret until their death.
There are other citations I can make, MI19 and the London cage, where British intelligence wire tapped captured German soldiers and officers. That operation only became declassified after a researcher working on something utterly unrelated was accidentally given about 9000 pages of transcripts from that program.
Consider the insanity of all this for a moment, I would bet good money that there are military secrets that remain classified from World War One, the civil war, perhaps even the revolutionary war. If so then for gods sake why? Finding these things out will be up to the skill and luck of archivists and researchers. As those who held these secrets are long dead, or about to be.
One of my neighbors talked to me about being hosed down with defoliant, (also known as agent orange). In the jungles of Vietnam as part of what was known to him as the bearcat program. He was also told that he was never to speak of this, the only reason why he did so with me was because he saw a show on the history channel talking about everything related to it and figured that the information was no longer sensitive.
What makes this information sensitive? Frequently it is the flimsiest of excuses. The surveillance done by MI19 was kept classified with the explanation that if the Cold War turned hot they wanted to use the same surveillance techniques on captured soviet soldiers. But to think that the Russians wouldn’t have been able to figure this out, or for that matter ran their own similar programs seems patently absurd. The ultimate absurdity I can think of off the top of my head being the leak of the pentagon papers, none of the information in those documents was anything that the Vietnamese, Chinese or Russians did not know about. But it had to be kept from the American people to cover up countless humiliations, reversals and embarrassments. I once heard a CIA agent say (on a TV show, not in person) in the wake of the Iraq WMD humiliation that they don’t care if people think that they are evil. However they do take great offense to being thought of as incompetent.
There is one other reason why these old secrets don’t get out, those who speak them sometimes do not have a forum and even if they do they are frequently ignored. Many years ago I ran into a guy who claimed to be an ex CIA mercenary who had fought in the dirty war in Laos. If this guy was a fake then he had certainly done his homework, he had vast and specialized knowledge of weapons, tactics and procedures that I did not learn until quite some time later. Unfortunately I didn’t catch his name and we never met again, he is one of 2 people who I sincerely wish I could find again. In the course of a 2 hour conversation he told me things that I would have never imagined, I like to think this man pointed me to Libertarianism because he was the guy who got me to think honestly about firearms as a tool, not some magic talisman. From there my experiences in the gun culture led me here.
I would like nothing better than to have another conversation with that fellow and post the transcript here. Airing out of secrets, especially dirty ones seems to be good for the soul. I feel that in talking to that mercenary I learned a lot about myself and what I was capable of. He certainly illustrated what our government and other governments are capable of