Friday, February 25, 2011

Frank Gardiner Wisner~It's All About Whom You Know

An authorized biography of Frank Wisner?

The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIAThe flyleaf of Burton Hersh's The Old Boys boasts that the book is "the never-before-told story of how an elite East Coast Ivy League Wall Street clique, patriotic but arrogant, and often amateurish, dominated the OSS and later the CIA," labeling it a "history of how a secret government alien to our constitutional system grew into the CIA, which ultimately fostered the extralegal scandals of the Iran-Contra affair."

Leafing through the photo section of the hardbound book, first published in 1992, one gets a sense that the book was in large part an authorized biography of Frank Gardiner Wisner, whose family opened up their scrapbooks to Hersh and allowed him to publish nine photos from the family album, while the other ten photos of all other men from the book are taken from more official institutional collections. It leaves one wondering, "What did they want left out about this official history of how covert operations work?"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Frank Gardiner Wisner ~ The Education of a Covert Agent

Frank Gardiner Wisner was born and grew up in Laurel, Mississippi. His family owned the town of less than 20,000 people when he left there for a Virginia Episcopal prep school around 1925 or so. For whatever reason he didn’t go to Lawrenceville, like his cousin Gardiner Green, he turned out well enough by going to Woodberry Forest, then on to Charlottesville to the University of Virginia and its law school. 

The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIAWhen Burton Hersh wrote his tale of the early days of the CIA, called The Old Boys, he interviewed one or more family members of Wisner’s who led him to write the following:

At this juncture Wisner's promise as a track athlete peaked; he'd placed quite high in shakedown meets around the Southeast Conference, and so was invited onto the U.S squad in training for the Berlin Olympics in 1936....Frank George saw no percentage in fooling away a summer with time trials, and directed his only son to forget collegiate sidelines and get into something. The disappointed young athlete looked hard for work in New Orleans, got no bids, and trooped along to Wall Street, where Woodberry Forrest [sic] classmates helped snag him a trainee berth at Carter, Ledyard and Milburn, attorney to the Stock Exchange, where Franklin Roosevelt practiced. (p. 192)

We are guessing Hersh didn’t look further into what he was told, or he may have discovered something incredibly disturbing about what happened next. Perhaps his sources were only repeating what Frank had told them about job-searching in New Orleans, but public immigration records tell a much different story.

The first thing he did after law school was travel to Cuba in August, 1934 on the Zacapa with a couple from Charlottesville, Franklin Butler Lord, Jr. and his young wife Louise Blagden Lord, who had married in a celebratory fashion in 1932: 

New York Times, 15 Jun 1932
The wedding announcement revealed that they were to live in Charlottesville while the groom, Franklin Butler Lord, Jr., continued his studies at the law school there--the same law school from which Frank Gardiner Wisner graduated in 1934, followed by the trip to Havana, Cuba with the Lords. So much for Wisner seeking work in New Orleans! Was it a lie he had told his family, who then shared it with Hersh, or was Hersh misleading us for some reason? Either way, we know it was untrue. Wisner spent that time during the summer of 1934, not in New Orleans, but in Cuba.

Read Part 2

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Evidence Meese Had Alzheimer's in 1984

Poor Ronnie. It wasn't bad enough that his son suggested he was suffering from Alzheimer's even before he left office. All these reminiscences of his 100th birthday during the last week have brought up the fact that his attorney general, Edwin Meese, may have been suffering from the dread illness during his prolonged confirmation hearings--even before he got into office. He couldn't remember a damn thing!
Alzheimer's Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers
Time: Mar. 26, 1984
By Ed Magnuson. Reported by Anne Constable/Washington
The Senate finds a few more questions to ask Edwin Meese...
Confirmation of Edwin Meese III: Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-ninth Congress, first session, on the confirmation ... United States, January 29, 30, and 31, 1985
The Senate confirmation of Presidential Counsellor Edwin Meese as Attorney General has suddenly shifted from a near certainty to an increasingly close call. Republican Strom Thurmond, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had closed the heated hearings two weeks ago after four days of testimony. But last week he reluctantly agreed to Democratic demands that Meese answer more questions before the committee voted on his nomination. "The longer the issue accelerates, the better and better his chances of being defeated become," said Meese's chief opponent, Ohio Democrat Howard Metzenbaum.
Why reopen the hearings? The key was a revelation in the Washington Post that Meese had failed to tell the committee about a $15,000 interest-free loan made in December 1980 to his wife Ursula by Edwin W. Thomas, a longtime California friend of the couple's. Meese had also failed to include the loan in his 1981 financial-disclosure statement, which was supposed to cover any large assets or indebtedness of anyone in his family. After the Post sought an explanation from him to include in its story revealing the loan, Meese hurriedly wrote a letter of apology to the Judiciary Committee saying, "I sincerely regret the oversight."

The Meese letter said that his wife had used the loan to buy stock for their children early in 1981 in Biotech Capital Corp., a firm headed by a colleague of Meese and Thomas' from California

The Last Circle: Danny Casolaro's Investigation into the Octopus and the PROMIS Software ScandalThat "friend" could not possibly have been Earl Winfrey Brian, could it? According to Cheri Seymour in her book, The Last Circle:
An old 1975 Sacramento Bee newspaper article, dated January 12, 1975, reported that Earl Brian, called the Genius Doctor by his friends, was out to get a little "of that Middle Eastern oil money." The article went on to say that Brian was "helping to write a proposal on health care for Iran."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prince of the Emirates

3D Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates PuzzleEarlier reports have stated that the notorious Erik Prince moved to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates after five of Blackwater's executives were indicted last April on conspiracy charges involving weapons violations. Abu Dhabi is one of seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE)--a federation on the Southeast Arabian Peninsula, which was created in 1971. Its close neighbor, the emirate of Dubai, boasts the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa, more than twice the height of the Empire State Building.

Prince, at the time of his relocation to UAE last August, was being threatened with civil litigation from Iraqi victims killed or wounded by Blackwater personnel in Baghdad. He renamed Blackwater to Xe Services so as to keep the Afghan contracts, then put his stock and other assets owned by Xe (including the 7,000-acre training compound it operates at its headquarters in Moyock, N.C.) up for sale in June. He abandoned the U.S. for his new home, which, coincidentally, has no extradition treaty with the U.S.

City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of CapitalismA Diamond in the Desert: Behind the Scenes in Abu Dhabi, the World's Richest CityAbu Dhabi, which has been called the world's richest city, and nearby Dubai, referred to as a city of gold, are central to the region's oil and financial empire. While America pulls increasingly more of its troops out of Iraq, the U.S. State Department depends more on private companies (which some critics refer to as mercenaries) for providing security to the officials still located there. One report in October also indicated there are 16,000 mercenaries on contract to the U.S. Defense Department in Afghanistan. So Prince has plenty of competition there, but there is also lots of demand for what he does.