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Trento - Prelude to Terror (2005) - Synopsis

Trento - Prelude to Terror (2005) - Synopsis

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Published by Mark K. Jensen
Synopsis of Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to Terror: Edwin P. Wilson and the Legacy of America's Private Intelligence Network (New York: Carroll and Graf, 2005). -- Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on August 23, 2010.
Synopsis of Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to Terror: Edwin P. Wilson and the Legacy of America's Private Intelligence Network (New York: Carroll and Graf, 2005). -- Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on August 23, 2010.

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Published by: Mark K. Jensen on Aug 23, 2010
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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CXXXIV: August 23, 2010, 7:00 p.m. 
 Joseph J. Trento,
Prelude to Terror: Edwin P. Wilson and the Legacy of  America's Private Intelligence Network 
(New York: Carroll and Graf,2005).
"The private intelligencenetwork originally inspired by PaulHelliwell, created by Edwin P. Wilson, andtaken over by Ted Shackley and hisassociated became the model for futuremajor covert operations by the UnitedStates" (311). The CIA lied about itsrelationship with key player EdwinWilson, convicted as a rogue to protectthe agency's reputation.]
Brief summary (ix-xv). Three men have been key sources: Dr.William R. Corson, James Jesus Angleton,and Robert Trumbull Crowley (xv-xvi).
Ch. 1: Allen Dulles and PrescottBush.
Allen Dulles privately recruitedex-Nazis and ran a "private intelligenceservice" out of 44 Wall Street, thenbrought his "networks and assets" to theCIA (1-3). Prescott Bush worked for the Thyssen-funded Union BankingCorporation (UBC), the largest Nazi frontbusiness in the U.S.; its stock wasconfiscated in 1942 with almost nopublicity (3-7). Recruited to the CIA,Prescott Bush put his experience inclandestine financing to work andbecame a key intelligence liaison toPresident Eisenhower, as his designationpersonally to investigate a failed 1955attempt on Zhou Enlai's life shows (7-12).
Ch. 2: Recruiting George H.W. Bush.
George Herbert Walker Bush'sindependent business career was a myth(13-15). He began doing favors for theCIA in the late 1950s through hiscompany Zapata-Offshore and assistedthe anti-Castro Operation Mongoose (15-16). G.H.W. Bush cultivated a keyrelationship with Diaz Serrano, aide toLopez Portillo, who became president of Mexico (16-21). Got out of the oilbusiness in 1965 (21-23).
Ch. 3: Spybiz.
Paul Helliwell specializedin "the arcane craft of concealing secretbusiness operations," starting in Asia andcontinuing in 1960 in Florida, cementingthe CIA's relationship with organizedcrime (24-27). Theodore Shackleyemerged from the debacle of the Bay of Pigs operation to run a covert waragainst Cuba (27-30). He ran the secretwar in Laos beginning in July 1966funded by opium (30-33). Edwin PaulWilson, Thomas Clines, and Erich vonMarbod grew in stature by assistingShackley in Laos (33-35). Others (35-38).
Ch. 4: Secret War Buddies.
As part of the CIA's European trade-unioninfiltration, Wilson became the politicalasst. of the AFL-CIO's boss (39-40). ThenWilson "became the new Paul Helliwell,"ran Air America (41). In 1968 Wilson, hiscover blown by a Soviet agent on Sen.Eastland's staff, "struck off on his own"(43).
Ch. 5: The Ice Man.
Shackley, "the IceMan," was made station chief in Saigon(44-47). Shackley orchestrated the coupin Chile that overthrew Allende (48-50).
Ch. 6: Wilson Branching Out.
The CIAdistrusted Henry Kissinger, set ThomasMoorer to spying on him (51-52). Wilsonwas tasked to penetrate TF-157, a secretnaval task force handlingcommunications for Kissinger (52-55).Wilson assisted SAVAK in Iran (55-58).
Ch. 7: The CIA under Fire.
Watergateled to investigations of the CIA; WilliamColby relied on Shackley for cover-up,fired J.J. Angleton (59-64).
Ch. 8: New Old Boy at the CIA.
G.H.W. Bush ambassador to China (65-66). Head of CIA (66-69).
Ch. 9: Picking Up the Pieces.
Withcontacts from Frank Terpil, Wilson set upa working relationship with Libya; hisgoal was to make money, using CIAconnections in hopes of businessexpansion (70-77).
Ch. 10: Murders at Home andAbroad.
Orlando Letelier's 1976 murderin D.C. was part of Operation Condor, a joint S. African, Israeli, S. Korean,Chilean, etc. "murder-and-assassinationrampage" (78; 78-82).
Ch. 11: Operation Watchtower.
TheBush-Noriega relationship "may havebeen the first attempt by America'sprivate intelligence network to financeoperations in this hemisphere with drugoperations, as they had done in Laos"(83). Bush agreed to Noriega's demandto be cut into the CIA's drug operation;Edwin Wilson was made the scapegoatfor Operation WATCHTOWER (a secretCIA-Israeli operation in Colombia) (83-86).
Ch. 12: Setting Up Wilson.
Confusednegotiations were under way involvingassassination plots when in theaftermath of the Letelier murder the CIA"labeled Wilson a former CIA agent whohad left the Agency and gone rogue" (93;87-93).
Ch. 13: Politicizing Intelligence.
The June 1976 decision, when G.H.W. Bushwas head of the CIA, to set up an outsidegroup of intelligence experts ("the B Team") to evaluate Soviet strategicstrength "eventually allowed the ultimateprivatization of American Intelligence"(94). The mysterious John Arthur Paisley,subject of an entire book by Trento andhis wife Susan, entitled
Ch. 14: Bush and the Safari Club.
George H.W. Bush succeeded while headof the CIA in switching reliance forregional intelligence from Israel to SaudiArabia (99). An informal intelligencenetwork was set up outside the U.S. withthe help of Saudi Intelligence headSheikh Kamal Adham after Watergate; atthis time "worldwide covert operationsfor the Agency were funded through ahost of Saudi banking and charityenterprises" (101; 100-01). Ed Wilsonsupported this network (101). Thisnetwork, which included France, Egypt,Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran, wascalled the Safari Club (101-03). WithBush's "official blessing," Adham set up"the biggest clandestine money networkin history " in the Bank of Credit andCommerce International (BCCI) (104; theoperation of this bank, busted by Frenchauthorities in 1991, is still not understood[370n.4]).
Ch. 15: Stansfield Turner TakesOver.
Carter made war on the CIA andlost (107-09). Carter tried to end Israel'sspecial relationship with the CIA, butShackley went around him and becamethe Mossad's man at the agency (109-11).
Ch. 16: The Setup.
Shackley set out to"create a totally private intelligencenetwork using CIA assets until PresidentCarter could be replaced" by taking overWilson's assets and discrediting Wilson(113-15). One of Trento's best sources isShirley Brill, with the CIA since 1960 andin an affair with Tom Clines during thisperiod (116-19). Wilson did not realizeShackley was out to get him until afterhe was in prison (119-22).
Ch. 17: Missing the Rogue Elephant.
 Turner axed 823 CIA operatives in the1977 Halloween massacre; Clines left theagency and Shackley was demoted (123-26). Roberta "Bobbi" Barnes becameWilson's paymaster and mistress (126-27). Wilson's dealings with Libya (127-
30). API in Mexico (130-31). The Carter- Turner effort to reform the CIA wasdoomed (131-32). When Carter cut looseSomoza, CIA rogues began backingreactionary elements in Central America(133-37).
Ch. 18: Change Partners.
Wilson'soperations; good relations with Israelis in1977 (138-44).
Ch. 19: The Takeover.
Shackleybelieved that he would be CIA director ina George H.W. Bush administration, andWilson agreed to help him "take thingsprivate" (145). Shackley used DonLowers and Neil Livingston tooutmaneuver Wilson (145-50). Wilsonformed dozens of front companies andran them out of his townhouse in D.C.; hehoped to profit from the 1978 CampDavid settlement and buy his way backinto the CIA (150). In December 1978,Wilson, Shackley, von Marbod, Clines,and Richard Secord met; Wilson agreedto put up $500k and set up twocompanies, Arcadia in Switzerland andInternational Research and Trade (IRT) inthe U.S. (150-54).
Ch. 20: Carter Blindsided.
Carter lostcontrol of U.S. intelligence: "PresidentCarter's inner circle was cut off from theintelligence they needed to conduct asuccessful foreign policy" (158; 157-58).Wilson supplied hundreds of identities of Iranians being trained in Libya to SAVAK (159). Wilson knew of "revolutionariesfrom scores of countries" who were beingtrained in Libya, but Wilson's informationon them was withheld from the Carteradministration (160). In 1979, Israeldecided to compromise Carter throughhis brother Billy (160-64). Carter,clueless, was an outsider in his owngovernment (164-65). "Shackley wasprepared to use every resource . . . tohelp remove Carter and Turner fromoffice" (165). Shackley had "his men onthe President's National Security CouncilStaff, having recruited ZbigniewBrzezinski to the CIA in 1960, when hewas at Columbia (166 [Trento saysBrzezinski was "a graduate student" in1960, but he was in his 30s and on thefaculty at Columbia, having finished hisPh.D. at Harvard in 1953]). The fundingof Islamic resistance in Afghanistan failedto anticipate that this would strengthenIslamic fundamentalism (167-68).
Ch. 21: 7777 Leesburg Pike.
"[H]undreds of angry intelligenceofficers" supported George H.W. Bush'spresidential bid in 1980 (169). Right-wing lobbyist Richard Viguerie's offices at7777 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church, VA,became the "headquarters for theprivate CIA" (172; 170-72). Shackleynow turned on Wilson, who became afugitive, while Clines used EATSCO (theEgyptian American Transport andServices Corporation) to cut Wilson'scompany out of business (172-80).
Ch. 22: The
and RichardHelms.
Dawud Salahuddin (born David Theodore Belfield), an American BlackMuslim recruited to be an assassin forthe Islamic Revolution, assassinatedIranian exile Ali Akbar Tabatabai'e in D.C.on July 22, 1980, carrying out a
conveyed by Gen. Hosian Fardust whenthe latter came to the U.S. for secretnegotiations about the hostages (181-94).
Ch. 23: The Drowning of a President.
"Carter's most secret operations werethoroughly penetrated by Bushpartisans," which doomed his efforts tofree U.S. hostages in Iran (200). Trentoregards as proven allegations thatRepublicans negotiated a delay in theAmerican hostages' release untilReagan's inauguration (201-11).
Ch. 24: The Winners.
"Bush turned thenew administration toward the privateintelligence network that he had come toknow so well" (214). The Reaganadministration "quickly split into two

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