Madmen in the White House

The Soviets were master chess players so what happens when the Mad Hatter takes a seat

The Mad Hatter Creative Commons

The Mad Hatter
Creative Commons

at the table? That was a question President Richard M. Nixon asked. By January 1969, finding a face-saving way out of the Vietnam War became a foreign policy priority for Nixon and Kissinger, and they had a plan. The Madman card played by Eisenhower during Korea was legend and Nixon, Eisenhower’s Vice President (1953 – 1961), was familiar with the ploy. Many arrows fill the foreign policy quiver; economic, trade, intelligence, diplomacy, and, of course, military. Foreign policy arrows combine forming customized solutions to particular interests or threats. The Madman game, played in one guise or another from 1969 to 1974, customized a bizarre and risky combination of foreign policy shafts.

The Eisenhower Madman policy appears founded in scuttlebutt, and documentation is hard to come by. Admiral Joy commanded the Naval Forces Far East, including all naval operations in Korean waters during the Korean War (1950-1953). Later the Admiral served

Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, USN, Commander Naval Forces Far East Photographed 9 June 1951. Note his Nikon 35mm camera. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, USN, Commander Naval Forces Far East
Photographed 9 June 1951. Note his Nikon 35mm camera.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

as chief negotiator during the truce negotiations at Kaesong until they broke down in 1952. Joy asserted that the Eisenhower administration’s nuclear threats in May 1953, reaped Soviet compromises during negotiations. The January 1956, issue of Life Magazine published a supporting story by James Shepley, “How Dulles Averted War” (pages 70 and 71). Secretary of State Allen Dulles detailed how he carried Eisenhower’s nuclear warning to Beijing in 1953 during a visit with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Shepley reported that “…Dulles told Nehru that the U.S. desired to end the fighting in Korea honorably. He also said that if the war continued, the U.S. would lift the self-imposed restrictions on its actions and hold back no effort or weapon to win…” According to rumor, innuendo, and the tribal drums similar, clarified messages, on nuclear intent found their way to China through several different mechanisms. Continue reading

The Enemy of My Enemy Illusion

“American blood tastes sweeter, and we are coming for you” paraphrases a battle cry

In honor of the people who died in France on November, 13, 2015.

In honor of the people who died in France on November, 13, 2015.

that rang through the streets of Paris on Friday, November 13, 2015. As shots and explosions rang out at Parisian symbols of Western culture, the people cried, and brutality unfolded. Make no mistake, this is a religious war. President Obama may dance around the words all he chooses, but the dance does not change the facts. ISIS and its allies have declared the war to be holy and just, based on its interpretation of Islam. It matters not that the religion is Dharmic faiths, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Rastafarian, or even other Muslims. It matters only that Western Culture and Eastern Cultures exist. Dissenting with the ISIS interpreters of Islam lands even fellow Muslims on an uncomfortable enemies list alongside Western and Eastern Civilization. Denying the role of religion in this war is like sending firefighters to fight the smoke rather than attack the fire. The structure will burn, and the smoke will hang in the air unfettered.

America, The Great Satan

With the Cold War decisions to use the drug trade to help fund secret, off-the-radar CIA ‘low-intensity’ wars and to align with various political factions of Islam evolving america-great-satan-via irantheocratic states with Shariah Law, the United States left its moral high ground floating in the wake of its fear of Soviet Communist expansionism. The Cold War legacy of the U.S. government’s drug trading is evident in shattered families across the United States and in its streets and alleys lined drug hazed with lost souls. Making a case for the U.S.’s involvement in the growth of the second generation drug cartels we fight now would not be difficult. Why and how the U.S. lost its Constitutional soul to trading drugs leads back to the myriad proxy wars it fought at the height of the Cold War: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America. The argument is made that proxy wars have been fought throughout history and, it particular, they kept the Cold War from becoming too hot. Whether or not you agree with the rationale, other peoples and their children died by the millions in proxy wars, and it was the first time the U.S. paid for proxy wars by trading drugs thereby bypassing Congress. In May 2009, Shunya published Namit Arora essay, America, the Cold War, and the Taliban pointed out that: Continue reading

National Security Act of 1947 – A Horse of a Different Color

A horse of a different color remains unnoticed on the streets of Emerald City

A horse of a different color remains unnoticed on the streets of Emerald City

Like L. Frank Baum’s horse of a different color parading through the streets of Emerald City in The Wonderful  Wizard of Oz, the National Security Act of 1947[1] is noticed by few.  Cited by many as a link in a logic chain going somewhere else, the Act itself was a sea change that forever altered the course of the United States’ Foreign Service business.  In addition to forming the CIA as we know and love it today, the National Security Act of 1947 gave rise to the standing military by forming the Department of Defense.  With the deftness of a magician’s misdirection, the Truman administration’s in-plain-sight side-step of the U.S. Constitution in the name of modernization was passed and heralded as a breakthrough piece of legislation.  The full force of the Tsunami created by the National Security Act of 1947 rushed through my brain’s backdoor and swamped the story I was recently researching so I’ll begin at the beginning.

In 2011, Melbourne, Australia’s Nigel Davies posted Uselessly comparing Patton and

General Montgomery and Lt. General George S. Patton meet.

General Montgomery and Lt. General George S. Patton meet.

Montgomery. It was a delightful romp through the tulips of commonly held convictions about the Patton-Montgomery feuds and their significance.  Davies’ irreverent treatment of verbal tribal custom belief systems regarding Patton and Montgomery sparked a question. How do Vietnam veterans feel about the generals that led them through that era?

I asked the members of the American Cold War Veterans Facebook page which was the best Vietnam War General and why. I also provided some names who gained notoriety during that time: GEN Maxwell Taylor, Harkins, Westmoreland, Krulak and Abrams. COL’s Olds, Starry, Summers, and George S. Patton IV (son of WWII’s George S. Patton, Jr).  Their answers were interesting.  Continue reading

Cold War Intrigue: Dateline Germany, 1984

Cold War stories are wonderful. Across the digital expanse the tales are spun from Facebook pages, Web Logs (Blogs), digitally archived libraries and newspapers, Freedom of Information Requests, to electronic books. The story is there in the brick and mortar archives and libraries housing row after row of microfilm, too, but it takes longer to discover the trail. Like a hound on a ham bone, I listen, laugh, and cry with this huge multi-generational congregation of veterans; military and civilian. Be it a military veteran chatting about the triumphs and fears along the East German border or a nuclear cowboy spinning yarns about overcoming all odds in the 1970s to drill a fifty four inch diameter hole 5,875 feet deep to detonate a megaton range nuke in a cavity on Amchitka Island, Alaska, I am riveted. The tales of wonder, fear, triumph, lessons, and reflection are told by the winners; the men and women who made it through some very scary times more or less intact. There are those who did not.

Today, somewhere in Ohio, Jeffrey Carney, struggles to make ends meet by working three menial jobs. Released from prison in 2003 after serving the better part of twelve years of a twenty year

Jeffrey Carney After his release in 2004 (Courtesy of DOE Hanford)

Jeffrey Carney After his release in 2004 (Courtesy of DOE Hanford)

prison gig for espionage, he still doesn’t much like America.[1] Unfortunately, his country of choice, Germany, does not want him so he is stuck in the U.S. with only a cat for company. Growing up, Carney was a bright kid. He loved Germany and German military history and avidly consumed everything he could about the country including the language, which he spoke fluently.

Born in the mid-1960s, Carney grew up during the huge cultural shifts that were unceremoniously and brutally pushing and pulling U.S. society and culture. In 1980, at age 17, Carney enlisted in the Air Force. His flawless German landed him a dream assignment in Berlin at Marienfelde, a listening post cleverly disguised as Tempelhof Central Airport. According to Bill Price, Ex-Airman who also worked there, “…our work site, which was situated on top of a hill on the southern outskirts of the city, in a sub-district of

Marienfelde (Courtesy of Berlin 6912 Org)

Marienfelde (Courtesy of Berlin 6912 Org)

Tempelhof called Marienfelde. Just a short distance from the hill, perhaps a half-mile, was the Berlin Wall. Most of the area was empty fields. A city dump was located nearby, to the east. To the north was a field occupied by a few modern apartment buildings and a flower nursery. All of the surrounding area was flat, and so the site stood out rather prominently in the landscape, and even more so because of the odd-looking towers, domes, and antennae that sprouted from its top.”[2] Carney was assigned to the 6912th Electronic Security Group, which was part of the Electronic Security Command, an organization that belonged directly to Air Force Intelligence. According to a Hanford report, Carney’s ability to ‘hear’ the language and identify individual East German Fighter pilots increased his value to the unit.

Carney’s life began to fall apart on two levels between 1982 and 1983. First he discovered he was gay and second was the scary Able Archer 83 exercise. An August 29, 2003 article in Spiegel Online vividly describes Carney’s conversion:[3]

One night, at the age of 19, after drinking too many pints of beer at an Irish pub, filled with the confused emotions of delayed puberty, he stumbles into a GDR guard post at the Friedrichstraße/Zimmerstraße border crossing. He is prepared to take revenge on America, to do something that will “make so much noise that everyone will finally listen.” He waits for an hour and a half until the Stasi’s professionals arrive. They make a copy of his military ID card; they sense that fate has delivered a golden source into their hands, and their grip begins to tighten. They frighten him. They threaten to kill him if he tries to become a double agent, but they also encourage him. Stasi Major Ralph Dieter Lehmann flatters him by telling him that if there is anyone who can do something important, something for freedom, justice, a better world, then he is the right man in the right place. He tells Carney that he too can become a “soldier at the invisible front,” one of the few who can truly make a difference. And Carney, a boy with ambitions, is more than willing. From then on, the “Source Kid” furnishes a flood of information to the Stasi’s “Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung” (Principal Intelligence Division, or HVA). He is as unsuspicious and uninhibited as a child. Instead of photocopies, he provides the Stasi’s Department XI, which is responsible for espionage activities against the United States, with numbered originals, including documents “of maximum value,” according to a top-level Stasi report written in March 1987. And he is acknowledged for his efforts: “The appropriate recognition has been issued by Army General Chebrikov of the Committee for State Security of the U.S..” …

Understanding Able Archer 83’s contribution to Carney’s destabilization requires a step back in time. In 1981 the KGB, the Soviet security agency, pretty well convinced the leadership that the U.S. was planning a secret first strike nuclear attack and, simultaneously, President Ronald Reagan was applying all manner of pressure on the former Soviet Union to bring them to their knees. And then…and then, NATO decided to conduct the ten day Able Archer exercise in 1983. Able Archer simulated a DEFCON 1 scenario in which tensions escalated to a nuclear attack. Just for fun, the exercise incorporated new elements; a unique format of coded communication, radio silences, and participation by heads of government. The resulting unintended consequences from Able Archer[4] caused a colossal uptick in tension that frightened many, including Carney.

Carney did not just make copies of the documents he secreted to the East German authorities, he provided numbered originals; hundreds of them. While Carney was paid under $200 for each document, the U.S. estimates the damage costs in the tens of billions of dollars. Carney described the fear and exhilaration of being a spy: “I took a huge document and another huge document with me, went across the hall into an unsecured room, laid the documents out on the table, secured everything, and had my camera ready, and started photographing. . . . I was walked in on two times while I was photographing. . . . My face went red as a beet because my blood pressure was unbelievable, and the people went, ‘Oh, excuse me, I didn’t know you were busy.’ And they turned around and walked out.”[5]

1984 found Jeffrey Carney continuing his espionage work at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. He got ‘spooked’ after he was scheduled for a psych evaluation and took off for

Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth

Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth

Mexico where he reported to the East German Embassy and requested a rescue. Carney was repatriated to East Germany through Cuba where he apparently lived happily until 1991. The Air Force unit OSI, however, had not forgotten about Carney who now carried a West German ID card. According to Spiegel Online International (See Footnote 3), he was kidnapped in front of his Berlin apartment, returned to the U.S., tried, convicted and sent to Ft. Leavenworth to serve his sentence.

Jeffrey Carney considers himself a victim of the Cold War. In his advice for stopping future ‘Jeffreys’, can be found his list of grievances “If you want to do these people a favor who have problems — and I’m talking from experience — say something. If somebody had said something to me and put a block in front of me and said, ‘I think Jeff’s got a problem and I don’t think that he’s handling it very well,’ that would have been enough to stop the process….I lost everything — my dignity, my freedom, my self-respect.”

Perhaps he is right, but as I re-run the stories of the veterans in my head I do not think so. I think Carney bought into the ‘victim’ trap laid by the Stasi. His justification for selling-out his brothers-in-arms was the lie that he was saving the world. He blames others for not reaching out to him but there is no tale of his effort to reach out to others for help, except that he did try to quit military service. In Carney, the Stasi recognized an individual who needed constant reinforcement and stroked his ego.

Other service men and women found ways to ‘keep the faith’. These people lived in the long shadow of death that could strike instantaneously from the mountains, valleys or skies of East

Blackhorse Trooper Image depicts a soldier of the U.S. 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment on duty along the inter-zone German frontier during the Cold War.

Blackhorse Trooper Image depicts a soldier of the U.S. 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment on duty along the inter-zone German frontier during the Cold War.

Germany yet they made it through with help from each other. The service men manned their tanks, their aircraft, their listening posts, walked post, exercised their companies and knew on a moment-by-moment basis their world could erupt into pitched battle. Still the military kept its machine going; served three meals a day, maintained the equipment and trained. The serving military laughed, cried, thought, reflected, drank, partied, and stood their ground.

Recently I had the privilege of witnessing a conversation among a group of veterans focused whether or not each, as individuals, would have fought and died had the Russians come through the German line.  Veteran James Hanebury summed up all twenty or so comments eloquently when he said, “All enemies both Foreign and Domestic. At the point of the Fulda Gap in Bad Hersefeld we would not have much choice. But that choice was made when you raised your right hand and took that one pace forward. Always felt it was better there than on American soil…Up in Hersfeld we used to joke about learning Russian so we could say don’t shoot I know secrets or just wave them

through the TCP with a Das Verdanya Torvarich . My MP Platoon would have been chopped to the 3/11 ACR as scouts so we would have been in front of everybody. Same thing when I had the

Jay Cooley taking care of business in 1976 or 1977 around Wildflecken, Germany (Courtesy of James Hanebury)

Jay Cooley taking care of business in 1976 or 1977 around Wildflecken, Germany (Courtesy of James Hanebury)

Heavy Platoon 3rd MP Co 3rd INF Div. We would escort the Jump and Main TOC then be chopped to combat opns in the Div support area from the front back 20 klicks looking for Russian Descant Forces. Both units would have been some of the first to engage Soviet Forces. Damest thing is it never seemed to bother us. Boy, talk about young and dumb.”

And the gravel in the gut didn’t stop with the soldiers on the line, it ran right through the families who shared the dangers with their soldiers. Veteran Bill Sier was stationed in Germany with his family. He writes, “We were supposed to report Russian aircraft over the West. My wife told me once a chopper flew low over our quarters and my son, who would have been about 5, ran to her in the bedroom and said “Don’t worry, Mom, it’s one of ours.”

I pity Jeffrey Carney and the man he became. He never knew or grew to understand the value of sacrifice and service. Carney will never feel the gratitude of Americans thankful to the men and women of the Cold War who gave so that we might live free.

[1] The Washington Times; Monday, July 21, 2003; Germany denies passport to ex-spy;

[2] Berlin / Tempelhof Central Airport , 1973 – 1976; 6912th Security Squadron, USAFSS; An Ex-Airman Remembers;

[3] Spiegel Online International; Ausgabe 29/2003; Agents: No country more beautiful;

[4] Unredacted The National Security Archive Unedited and Uncensored; Nate Jones; President Reagan Meets Oleg Gordievsky, Soviet Double Agent Who Reported Danger of Able Archer 83;

[5] Department of Energy Hanford; Jeffrey M. Carney;