The Secret Government
The Constitution in Crisis: A PBS Documentary
National Security Act of ‘47 gave us the National Security Council. Never
have we had a National Security Council so concerned about the nation's security
that we're always looking for threats and looking how to orchestrate our society
to oppose those threats. National Security was invented, almost, in 1947,
and now it has become the prime mover of everything we do as measured against
something we invented in 1947."
Navy Admiral Gene La Rocque in PBS Documentary "The Secret Government"
In the highly revealing 24 minutes of the PBS video documentary The Secret Government available for free viewing below, host Bill Moyers exposes the inner workings of a secret government much more vast that most people would ever imagine. Though originally broadcast in 1987, it is even more relevant today. Interviews with respected top military, intelligence, and government insiders reveal both the history and secret objectives of powerful groups in the hidden shadows of our government.
Watch this engaging documentary and further explore the vast amount of reliable, verifiable
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secret government which manipulates global politics behind the scenes.
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very well-organized and hierarchical military and intelligence services
that those involved with the secret government are able to implement their
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- "The Secret Government"
- PBS website's brief bio of Bill Moyers
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on Terror is largely a fabrication. For those interested in very detailed information
on the composition of the shadow or secret government from a less well-known
source, take a look at the summary
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THE SECRET GOVERNMENT –
The Constitution In Crisis
Moyers, Secret Government, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) 1987
"The Secret Government is an interlocking network of official functionaries,
spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and superpatriots, who, for a variety
of motives, operate outside the legitimate institutions of government.
Presidents have turned to them when they can't win the support of the Congress
or the people, creating that unsupervised power so feared by the framers of
our Constitution. Just imagine that William Casey's dream came true.
Suppose the enterprise grew into a super-secret, self-financing, self-perpetuating
organization. Suppose they decided on their own to assassinate Gorbachev or
the leader of white South Africa. Could a President control them and what
if he became the enterprise's public enemy Number One? Who would know?
Who would say no?"
"World War II
was over. Europe lay devastated. The United States emerged as the
most powerful nation on earth. But from the rubble rose a
strange new world, a peace that was not peace, and a war that was not
war. We saw it emerging when the Soviets occupied Eastern
Europe. The Cold War had begun."
Churchill: "An Iron Curtain
has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the
capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe."
"The Russians had been our ally against the Nazis, an expedient alliance
for the sake of war. Now they were our enemy. To fight them we turned
to some of the very men who had inflicted on humanity the horrors of Hitler's
madness. We hired Nazis as American spies. We struck a secret bargain
with the devil."
"One that I know real well is
Klaus Barbie. He was wanted by the French as their number one war
criminal, and somehow we employed a man like that as a very secretive
Moyers: "Erhard Dabringhaus
was employed in the U.S. Army
Counter Intelligence Corps and assigned to work with Nazi informants
spying on the Russians. One of them was Klaus Barbie, the
‘Butcher of Lyon', who had tortured and murdered thousands of Jews and
resistance fighters. The Americans did not turn Barbie over to
the French when they finished with him. They helped him escape to
Bolivia. Other top Nazis were smuggled into the United States to
cooperate in the war against the new enemy."
"So began the
morality of the Cold War. Anything goes. The struggle
required a mentality of permanent war, a perpetual state of
emergency. It had met a vast new apparatus of power that
radically transformed our government. Its foundations were laid
when President Truman signed into law the National Security Act of
Gene La Rocque: "Now that National
Security Act of 1947 changed dramatically the direction of this great nation.
It established the framework for a national security state."
Moyers: "Admiral Gene La Rocque rose through
the ranks from Ensign to become a Strategic Planner for the Pentagon
and now heads the
Center of Defense Information, a public interest
Gene La Rocque: "The National Security
Act of ‘47 gave us the National Security Council. Never have we had a
National Security Council so concerned about the nation's security that we're
always looking for threats and looking how to orchestrate our society to oppose
those threats. National Security was invented, almost, in 1947, and now
it has become the prime mover of everything we do as measured against something
we invented in 1947. The National Security Act also gave us the Central
Moyers: "This is the house the Cold War built
– the CIA. The core of the new secret government. Its chief
legitimate duty was to gather foreign intelligence for America's new
role as a world power. Soon it was taking on covert operations,
abroad and at home. As its mission expanded, the CIA recruited
adventuresome young men like Notre Dame's 'All American,' Ralph
McGehee: "I look back
to the individual that I was when I joined the agency. I was a
dedicated Cold Warrior who felt the agency was out there fighting for
liberty, justice and democracy and religion around the world. And
I believed wholeheartedly in this. I just felt proud every day
that I went to work because I was out at the vanguard of the battle
against the international evil empire – international Communist
"Iran, 1953: the CIA mounted its first major covert operation to overthrow
a foreign government. The target was the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mosaddeq.
He held power legitimately, through his country's parliamentary process, and
he was popular. Washington had once looked to him as the man to prevent
a Communist takeover. But that was before Mosaddeq decided that the Iranian
state, not British companies, ought to own and control the oil within Iran's
own borders. When he nationalized the British run oil fields, Washington saw
Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles and his brother Alan, Director of the
CIA, decided with Eisenhower's approval, to overthrow Mosaddeq and reinstate
the Shah of Iran. The mobs paid by the CIA, and the police and soldiers bribed
by the CIA, drove Mosaddeq from office."
Newscaster: "Crown Prince Abdullah greets the Shah as he
lands at Baghdad airport after a seven-hour flight from Rome."
The King of Kings was back in control and more pliable than Mosaddeq. American
oil companies took over almost half of Iran's production. U.S. arms merchants
moved in with $18 billion of weapons sales over the next 20 years. But there
Love (former New York Times reporter):
"Nearly everybody in Iran of any importance has had a brother, or a mother,
or a sister, or a son, or a father, tortured, jailed, deprived of property without
due process. I mean an absolutely buccaneering dictatorship in our name that
we supported. SAVAK was created by the CIA!"
Moyers: "SAVAK, the Shah's Secret
Police, tortured and murdered thousands of his opponents. General
Richard Secord and Albert Hakim were among those who helped
supply the Shah's insatiable appetite
for the technology of control. But the weapons and flattery heaped by America
on the Shah blinded us to the growing opposition of his own people. They rose
up in 1979 against him. "Death to the
Shah!" they shouted. "Death to the American Satan."
"Khomeni is a direct consequence,
and the hostage crisis is a direct consequence, and the resurgence of
the Shi'a is a direct consequence of the CIA's overthrow of Mosaddeq in
Moyers: "Guatemala 1954. Flushed with success
America's Secret Government decided another troublesome leader must
go. This time it was Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected
president of Guatemala. Philip Roettinger was recruited from the
Marines to join the CIA team."
Philip Roettinger (Ret.) U.S. Marine Corps: "It was explained to me that it was
very important for the security of the United States that we were going
to prevent a Soviet beach-head in this
hemisphere, which we have heard about very recently of course, and that
the Guatemalan government was Communist, and we had to do something
"President Arbenz had admired Franklin D. Roosevelt and his government voted
often with the American position at the United Nations. But in trying to bring
a new deal to Guatemala, Arbenz committed two sins in the eyes of the Eisenhower
administration. First, when he opened the system to all political parties he
recognized the Communists too."
Roettinger: "Well, of course there was not even a hint
of Communism in his government. He had no Communists in his
Cabinet. He did permit the existence of a very small Communist
"Arbenz also embarked on a massive land reform program. Less than 3 per cent
of the land owners held more than 70 per cent of the land. So Arbenz nationalized
more than 1 ½ million acres, including land owned by his own family and turned
it over to peasants. Much of that land belonged to the United Fruit Company, the giant American firm that was intent on keeping Guatemala, quite literally,
a banana republic. United Fruit appealed to its close friends in Washington,
including the Dulles brothers, who said that Arbenz was openly playing the Communist
game. He had to go."
Roettinger: "This was sudden death for him.
There was no chance of him winning this fight because of the fact that
he had done this to the United Fruit Company. Plus the fact, that
he was overthrowing the hegemony of the United States over this
area. And this was dangerous, it could not be tolerated. We
couldn't tolerate that."
"From Honduras, the same country that today is the Contra staging base, the
CIA launched a small band of mercenaries against Guatemala. They were easily
turned back. So with its own planes and pilots the CIA then bombed the capital.
Arbenz fled and was immediately replaced by an American puppet, Colonel Carlos
Roettinger: "He overturned all of the reformist
activities of President Arbenz. He gave the land back to the
United Fruit Company that had been confiscated. He took land from
the peasants and gave it back to the land owners."
Moyers: "The CIA had
called its covert action against Guatemala, Operation Success.
Military dictators ruled the country for the next 30 years. The
United States provided them with weapons and trained their
officers. The Communists we saved them from would have been hard
pressed to do it better. Peasants were slaughtered.
Political opponents were tortured. Suspected insurgents were shot,
stabbed, burned alive or strangled. There were so many deaths at
one point that coroners complained they couldn't keep up with the work
load. Operation Success."
Roettinger: "What we did has caused a succession
of repressive military dictatorships in that country and has been
responsible for the deaths over 100,000 of their citizens."
Moyers: "Success breeds success, sometimes with
dreary repetition. Mario Sandoval Alarcon began his career in the
CIA's adventure in Guatemala. Today he's known as the Godfather
of the Death Squads. In 1981, after lobbying Ronald Reagan's
advisors for military aid to Guatemala, Sandoval Alarcon danced at the
"Richard Bissell, another veteran of the Guatemalan coup, went on to become
the CIA's Chief of Covert Operations. I looked him up several years ago for
a CBS documentary. He talked about a secret report prepared for the White House in 1954 by a group of distinguished citizens headed by former president Herbert Hoover."
Report Quote: "It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto accepted norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, longstanding American concepts of fair play must be reconsidered. We must learn to subvert, sabotage, and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated, more effective methods than those used against us."
Moyers: "Cuba, 1961, seven years after
Operation Success in Guatemala, Bissell was planning another CIA covert operation."
Newscaster: "The assault has begun on the dictatorship
of Fidel Castro."
Moyers: "On April 17, 1961, Cuban exiles
trained by the CIA at a base in friendly Guatemala landed on the
southern coast of Cuba, at the Bay of Pigs. The U.S. had promised
air support, but President Kennedy cancelled it. The invaders,
left defenseless, surrendered. Seven months after the disastrous
invasion, Kennedy delivered a major foreign policy address."
John F. Kennedy: "We cannot, as
a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination,
false promises, counterfeit mobs and crisis."
"The President was not telling the truth. Even as he spoke, his administration
was planning a new covert war on Cuba. It would include some of the dirty tricks
the President said we were above. The Secret Government was prepared for anything."
interview with Richard Bissel:
"At one time, the CIA organized a small department known as Executive
Action, which was a permanent assassination capability."
Bissel: "Well, it wasn't just an assassination
capability. It was a capability to discredit or get rid of people, but
it could have included assassination."
"And it did. There were at least eight documented attempts to kill Castro. He
says there were two dozen. And there was even one effort to put LSD in his cigars.
To help us get rid of the Cuban leader, our Secret Government turned to the
Mafia, just as we once made use of Nazis. The gangsters included the Las Vegas
Mafioso, John Roselli, the Don of Chicago, Sam Giancana, and the Boss of Tampa,
"If I read you correctly you are saying it
is the involvement in the Mafia that disturbed you and not the need or
decision to assassinate a foreign leader."
Moyers: "It is a chilling thought made more
chilling by the assassination of John Kennedy. The accusations
linger. In some minds, the suspicions persist of a dark unsolved
conspiracy behind his murder. You can dismiss them, as many of us
do. But knowing now what our secret government planned for Castro, the
possibility remains. Once we decide that anything goes, anything
can come home to haunt us."
1968: American soldiers are fighting and dying in the jungles of
Southeast Asia. But the Vietnam War didn't start this way.
It started secretly off the books, like so many of these ventures that
have ended disastrously. The CIA got there early, soon
after the Vietnamese won their independence from the French in
1954. Eisenhower warned that the nations of Southeast Asia would
fall like dominoes if the Communists, led by Ho Chi Min, took over all
Vietnam. To hold the line, we installed in Saigon a puppet
regime under Ngo Dinh Diem. American-trained commandoes were used
to sabotage bus and rail lines and contaminate North Vietnam's oil
supply. Vice President Nixon lent moral support to Diem, but the situation kept getting worse."
Kennedy sent the Green Berets to Vietnam and turned to full scale
counter-insurgency. He had once said that Vietnam was the
ultimate test of our will to stem the tide of world Communism. By
the time of his death, there were 15,000 Americans there. They
were called "advisors." The secret war was leading only to deeper
involvement and more deception."
Lyndon Johnson: "It is my duty
to the American people to report that renewed hostile actions against United
States ships on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin have today required me to
order the military forces of the United States, to take action and reply."
"This President was not telling the truth either. The action at the Gulf of
Tonkin was not unprovoked. South Vietnam had been conducting secret raids in
the area against the North and the American destroyer, ordered into the battle
zone, had advanced warning it could be attacked. But Johnson seized the incident
to stampede Congress into passing the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. He then used
it as a blank check for the massive buildup of American forces."
1965: Two battalions of Marines land in South Vietnam. The
first of more than 2½ million Americans to fight there with no
Congressional declaration of war. The dirty little war that began
in secret, is reaching full roar. Free-fire zones, defoliation,
the massacre at My Lai, napalm, and the CIA's Operation Phoenix
to round up, torture and kill suspected Viet Cong."
McGehee: "We were murdering
these people, incinerating them."
Moyers: "Ralph McGehee was there for the CIA and
helped set up South Vietnam's secret police."
(Notre Dame "All American"):
"My efforts had resulted in the deaths of many people, and I just – for me
it was a period when I guess I
was – I considered myself nearly insane – I just couldn't reconcile what I had
been and what I was at the time becoming."
"Many of the secret warriors in Southeast Asia had no such doubts or regrets.
Some of the team that later joined the Iran-Contra enterprise, helped to run
the secret war in Laos. As General Richard Secord later put it, 'Laos belonged
to the CIA.' Looking back, it is stunning
how easily the Cold War enticed us into surrendering popular control of government
to the National Security State. We've never come closer to bestowing absolute
authority on the president. Setting up White House groups that secretly decide
to fight dirty little wars, is a direct assumption of the war powers expressly
forbidden by the Constitution."
since December, 1941, has Congress declared war. Since then, we've had a police
action in Korea, advisors in Vietnam, covert operations in Central America,
peacekeeping in Lebanon and low intensity conflicts going on right now from
Angola to Cambodia. We've turned the war powers of the United States over
to, well we're never really sure who, or what they're doing, or what it costs,
or who is paying for it. The one thing that we are sure of is that this largely
secret global war carried on with less and less accountability to democratic
institutions, has become a way of life. And now we are faced with a question
brand new in our history. Can we have the permanent warfare state and democracy
"In 1975 as the war in Vietnam came to an end, Congress took its first public
look at the Secret Government. Senator Frank Church chaired the Select Committee
to study government operations. The hearings opened the books on a string of
lethal activities. From the use of electric pistols and poison pellets, to Mafia
connections and drug experiments. And they gave us a detailed account of assassination
plots against foreign leaders and the overthrowing of sovereign governments. We learned, for example, how the Nixon administration had waged a covert war
against the government of Chile's president, Salvador Allende, who was ultimately
overthrown by a military coup and assassinated."
Church: "Like Caesar peering
into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of
government by the Chileans was unacceptable to the president of the
United States. The attitude in the White House seemed to be – if
in the wake of Vietnam, I can no longer send in the Marines, then I
will send in the CIA."
Moyers: "The powers claimed by presidents and national security have become the controlling wheel of government, driving everything else. Secrecy then makes it possible for the president to pose as the sole competent judge of what will best protect our security. Secrecy permits the White House to control what others know, and that's power."
"This is the ultimate weapon of the secret government – the National Security Decision Directive – the NSDD. Every president since Harry Truman has issued them. They're not published in any government register. Ronald Reagan has signed at least 280 such directives. They cover everything from outer space to nuclear weapons to covert operations in Iran and Nicaragua. In essence, by an arbitrary and secret decree, the president can issue himself a license to do as he will, where he will. And the only ones who need to know are the secret agents who carry it out – the knights of the Oval Office."
"This remains for me the heart of the
matter. The men who wrote our Constitution, our basic book of
rules, were concerned that power be held accountable. No party of
government and no person in government, not even the President, was to
pick or choose among the laws to be obeyed. But how does one
branch of government blow the whistle on another? Or how do the
people cry foul when their liberties are imperiled, if public officials
can break the rules, lie to us about it, and then wave the wand of
national security to silence us?"
it happen again? You bet it can. The apparatus of secret power remains intact
in a huge White House staff operating in the sanctuary of presidential privilege.
George Bush has already told the National Security Council to take more responsibility
for foreign policy, which can of course be exercised beyond public scrutiny. And a lot of people in Washington are calling for more secrecy, not less, including
more covert actions. This is a system easily corrupted as the public grows indifferent
again, and the press is seduced or distracted. So one day, sadly, we are likely
to discover once again that while freedom does have enemies in the world, it
can also be undermined here at home, in the dark, by those posing as its friends.
I'm Bill Moyers. Good night."
Special Note: The above text and videos are excerpts of the full 90-minute version of "The Secret Government."
To see the entire broadcast, search for the 90-minute version here.
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