On this episode journalist and historian Douglas Valentine discusses his research that culminated in the landmark book The Phoenix Program (1990)–the definitive history of the CIA-led counterinsurgency and assassination program 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 set to begin 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 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 is titled, With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century (2014).