Chalmers Johnson

Chalmers Johnson, who died in 2010, taught political science at the University of California, San Diego, specialising in China and Japan, and was for many years a consultant to the CIA. His books include a trilogy on the dangers of American empire: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis.

Four years ago, on 28 January 2003, in his State of the Union address to Congress, George Bush referred to the prisoners – more than ten and a half thousand of them – the United States had taken into custody in the course of the war in Afghanistan and the so-called war on terror. Not all were in prison, he said: some had been ‘otherwise dealt with’. ‘Let’s...

Jeffrey Richelson is an expert on the American secret intelligence agencies, particularly on their peculiar devotion to spying without spies – their reliance on aerial or satellite imagery, intercepted communications, seismic and acoustic detection of nuclear bomb explosions, and other esoteric means of surveillance. Richelson’s politics are completely conventional. He sees the...

It should by now be generally accepted that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979 was deliberately provoked by the United States. In his memoir published in 1996, the former CIA director Robert Gates made it clear that the American intelligence services began to aid the mujahidin guerrillas not after the Soviet invasion, but six months before it. In an interview two years...

“According to the Seagraves . . . almost as soon as the war was over, American forces began to discover stupendous caches of Japanese war treasure. General MacArthur, in charge of the occupation, reported finding ‘great hoards of gold, silver, precious stones, foreign postage stamps, engraving plates and . . . currency not legal in Japan’ . . . Back in Washington, it was decided at the highest levels, presumably by Truman, to keep these discoveries secret and to funnel the money into various off-the-books slush funds to finance the clandestine activities of the CIA.”

Who’s in charge? The Addiction to Secrecy

Chalmers Johnson, 6 February 2003

If there was anything American militarists learned from the Vietnam War it was the need – and the way – to control and manipulate the news. The extent to which they have now become masters of damage control is evident when you consider the fact that US troops killed as many innocent bystanders in Afghanistan as New York office workers were killed on the morning of 11 September 2001. A future Watergate remains a possibility: there won’t, however, be another case like the Pentagon Papers.

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