Did you know that the Mafia was one of many secret societies created to free the island of foreign domination? That "the running battle between Hoover and [Bobby] Kennedy defined the larger political context for the escalation of activity against [Martin Luther] King"? That Strom Thurmond authored a memo to the White House and Attorney General John Mitchell suggesting that John Lennon be deported because his planned tour coincided with the 1972 elections and would pour money into the “coffers of the New Left” (Lennon was deported)? That the original investigation of the My Lai Massacre was conducted by Colin Powell, "who refuted claims that a massacre had occurred" despite testimony to the contrary?
Years ago, journalists opened the door to democratic discourse, especially in regard to government and its bureaucracies, but the current ownership of media has caused concern as information is formatted to fit into news programs that offer as much soft as hard news. Indeed, the topic du jour is frequently the latest missing person or celebrity trial.
Since the tragedy of 9/11, the Freedom of Information Act has taken a back seat to Homeland Security, with little attention to the half-truths and excuses for incompetence, including fraudulent activities. Democracy thrives on discourse; history has proven, over and over, that where there is secrecy, there is opportunity for fraud and misinformation. The public must be willing to inform themselves.
In The Secret Histories, journalist and documentary filmmaker John S. Friedman has gathered dozens of documents, memos and transcripts, exposing formerly undisclosed details in the public interest. Subtitled “Hidden Truths that Challenged the Past and Changed the World,” this volume addresses the code breakers and collaborators of World War II, the Korean War, the Atomic Age, Cold War Secrets (including Edward R Murrow’s “Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy”) and Mark’s “The Search for the Manchurian Candidate.”
Original Crime includes material on Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War’s “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” and “The Massacre at My Lai.” In more recent history, Iran is discussed, as well as Kornbluh’s “The Pinochet File;” under the heading “Abuses of Power,” there is fascinating material on the Nixon White House, Watergate and the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison.
The truth speaks louder than fiction on these pages, whether it concerns the secretive Nixon Administration or our involvement in Vietnam under Lyndon Johnson. In order to take ownership of our society and the government that represents us, citizens are called upon to ask hard questions and demand answers. This significant collection discloses valuable information, offering both the opportunity and the means to question the elected government and the corporations that do business on out behalf. Whether revisiting history or discovering new material, this book can facilitate an open-ended conversation for all interested citizens.