On this weeks Real Politik journalist and historian Douglas Valentine discusses his research that culminated in the landmark 1990 book The Phoenix Program–the definitive history of the CIA-led counterinsurgency and assassination campaign carried out in Vietnam during the late 1960s.
Phoenix was a major precursor to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in the post-9/11 era and remains a potential harbinger in light of domestic military exercises such as Jade Helm that has begun this week.
Valentine also discusses with James the inroads the CIA has made in drug trafficking and mass media since the late 1960s, noting that the CIA is essentially the “organized crime branch” of the US government that has institutionalized its practices to shield against another “Gary Webb” meltdown of the mid-1990s.
In addition to The Phoenix Program, Valentine is the author of several other notable books including The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs (2004) and The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics and Espionage that Shaped the Drug Enforcement Agency (2008). In addition to his historical research, Valentine is also a poet. His latest collection of poetry, With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century, was published in 2014. See Douglas Valentine’s Author’s Page at Amazon for a more detailed list of titles.
Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.