Saturday 22 June 2013
Photo, above: Khrushchev and Castro
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Saturday 22 June / Hour 1, Block A: The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Secret White House Tapes by David G. Coleman (1 of 4)
John F. Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis has been hailed as one of the great triumphs of American diplomacy—but the 13-day crisis cast a long shadow. With The Fourteenth Day, David G. Coleman offers a fly-on-the-wall narrative of the Oval Office in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, using JFK’s secret White House tapes. On October 28, 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba. Popular history has marked that day as the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. But the reality was not so simple. Nuclear missiles were still in Cuba, as were nuclear bombers, short-range missiles, and thousands of Soviet troops. Kennedy had to push hard enough to get as much nuclear weaponry out of Cuba as possible, yet avoid . . .
Saturday 22 June / Hour 1, Block B: The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Secret White House Tapes by David G. Coleman (2 of 4)
. . . forcing Khrushchev into a combative stance—and contend with the problem of verifying that the missile sites had in fact been dismantled. And while Americans had rallied around the president in the face of the threat, once the imminent peril had passed, White House critics charged that the president’s neglect had precipitated the crisis, that he had deliberately withheld information, and that he had been too lenient with the Soviets and the Cubans. Ultimately, though, the aftermath ushered in a new era. The first agreement limiting nuclear testing was signed, West Berlin was neutralized as a nuclear flashpoint, and Kennedy intended to use his newfound political capital to bolster his presidency. In late July 1962, Kennedy decided to start secretly capturing his presidency on tape, and compiled approximately 260 hours of recordings—of . . .
Saturday 22 June / Hour 1, Block C: The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Secret White House Tapes by David G. Coleman (3 of 4)
. . . meetings, office conversations, telephone calls, and dictations. His most prolific period of taping occurred during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the tapes made after October 28th offer a unique window into the challenges he faced as he attempted to reinvigorate his presidency and lay the foundation for the 1964 election. Unscripted and unguarded, these tapes reaffirm things we already know, occasionally correct a flawed record, and add nuance to events. But they also provide new information—for example, that the president’s battles with the press were more intense than previously believed, and that he authorized a secret campaign against Pentagon leaks, authorizing the CIA and FBI to spy on journalists with warrantless wiretaps. They also . . .
Saturday 22 June / Hour 1, Block D: The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Secret White House Tapes by David G. Coleman (4 of 4)
. . . shed new light on negotiations with the Soviets and Cuba and the neutralization of West Berlin. Beyond any particular revelations, they show how Kennedy approached the issues at hand, how he weighed alternatives, and how he came to his decisions. Coleman puts us in the Oval Office during one of the most highly charged moments in American history, offering a remarkable window into the Kennedy presidency.
Saturday 22 June / Hour 2, Block A: Blind over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis (Foreign Relations and the Presidency) by David M. Barrett and Max Holland (1 of 4)
In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, questions persisted about how the potential cataclysm had been allowed to develop. A subsequent congressional investigation focused on what came to be known as the “photo gap”: five weeks during which intelligence-gathering flights over Cuba had been attenuated.
In Blind over Cuba, David M. Barrett and Max Holland challenge the popular perception of the Kennedy administration’s handling of the Soviet Union’s surreptitious deployment of missiles in the Western Hemisphere. Rather than epitomizing it as a masterpiece of crisis management by policy makers and the administration, Barrett and Holland make the case that the affair was, in fact, a close call stemming directly from decisions made in a climate of deep distrust between key administration officials and the intelligence community.
Saturday 22 June / Hour 2, Block B: Blind over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis (Foreign Relations and the Presidency) by David M. Barrett and Max Holland (2 of 4)
Because of White House and State Department fears of “another U-2 incident” (the infamous 1960 Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane), the CIA was not permitted to send surveillance aircraft on prolonged flights over Cuban airspace for many weeks, from late August through early October. Events proved that this was precisely the time when the Soviets were secretly deploying missiles in Cuba. When Director of Central Intelligence John McCone forcefully pointed out that this decision had led to a dangerous void in intelligence collection, the president authorized one U-2 flight directly over western Cuba—thereby averting disaster, as the surveillance detected the Soviet missiles shortly before they became operational.
The Kennedy administration recognized that their failure to gather intelligence was politically explosive, and . . .
Saturday 22 June / Hour 2, Block C: Blind over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis (Foreign Relations and the Presidency) by David M. Barrett and Max Holland (3 of 4)
. . . and their subsequent efforts to influence the perception of events form the focus for this study. Using recently declassified documents, secondary materials, and interviews with several key participants, Barrett and Holland weave a story of intra-agency conflict, suspicion, and discord that undermined intelligence-gathering, adversely affected internal postmortems conducted after the crisis peaked, and resulted in keeping Congress and the public in the dark about what really happened.
Fifty years after the crisis that brought the superpowers to the brink, Blind over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis offers a new chapter in our understanding of that pivotal event, the tensions inside the US government during the cold war, and the obstacles Congress faces when conducting an investigation of the executive branch.
Saturday 22 June / Hour 2, Block D: Blind over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis (Foreign Relations and the Presidency) by David M. Barrett and Max Holland (4 of 4)
Photo, right: The W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University hosted an art exhibition focussing on issues of race and racism in Cuba: Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art
Saturday 22 June / Hour 3, Block A: Cubanos in Wisconsin by Silvio Canto Jr. and Gabriel Canto (1 of 2)
Cubanos in Wisconsin is an inspirational story about one family’s triumph over adversity. Fidel Castro’s communist regime stripped the Canto family of their personal property, freedom to choose where to work and go to school, and, most importantly, liberty to freely express their ideas. Despite these desolate circumstances, the family kept past memories of a free and prosperous Cuba close to their hearts. It was this memory of freedom that lead the Canto family to embark on a great journey to leave their entire world behind in hopes of a better life in Wisconsin. After years of struggles and seemingly insurmountable hardships, the family ultimately fulfilled their burning desire to live free. Cubanos in Wisconsin provides a high degree of inspiration and speaks strongly to the strength of the human spirit when confronted with tyranny. It is also an eye-opening account of the horrors of communism and the bravery of the Cuban-Americans who challenged the Castro agenda and endured incredible obstacles to come to the United States. Cubanos in Wisconsin is much more than an inspirational tale; it is also a solemn reminder to be thankful for our freedom and remember the courage of those who have gone so far as to challenge dictators in order to live free.
Saturday 22 June / Hour 3, Block B: Cubanos in Wisconsin by Silvio Canto Jr. and Gabriel Canto (2 of 2)
Saturday 22 June / Hour 3, Block C: Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, the CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Brian Latell (1 of 2)
In Castro’s Secrets, Brian Latell, former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America and long-time Cuba analyst, offers a strikingly original image of Fidel Castro as Cuba's supreme spymaster. Latell exposes many long-buried secrets of Castro's lengthy reign, including numerous assassinations and assassination attempts against foreign leaders. In writing this book, Latell spoke with many high-level defectors from Cuba’s powerful intelligence and security services; some had never told their stories on the record before. Latell also probed dispassionately into the CIA's most deplorable plots against Cuba, including previously obscure schemes to assassinate Castro and presents shocking new conclusions about what Castro actually knew of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Saturday 22 June / Hour 3, Block D: Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, the CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Brian Latell (2 of 2)
An on-the-ground history of American empire Say the word “Guantánamo” and orange jumpsuits, chain-link fences, torture, and indefinite detention come to mind. To critics the world over, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is a striking symbol of American hypocrisy. But the prison isn’t the whole story. For more than two centuries, Guantánamo has been at the center of American imperial ambition, first as an object of desire then as a convenient staging ground. In Guantánamo: An American History, Jonathan M. Hansen presents the first complete account of this fascinating place. The U.S. presence at Guantánamo predates . . .
. . . even the nation itself, as the bay figured centrally in the imperial expansion plans of colonist and British sailor Lawrence Washington—half brother of the future president George. As the young United States rose in power, Thomas Jefferson and his followers envisioned a vast “empire of liberty,” which hinged on U.S. control of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Politically and geographically, Guantánamo Bay was the key to this strategy. So when Cubans took up arms against their Spanish rulers in 1898, America swooped in to ensure that Guantánamo would end up firmly in its control. Over the next century, . . .
. . . the American navy turned the bay into an idyllic modern Mayberry—complete with bungalows, cul-de-sacs, and country clubs—which base residents still enjoy. In many ways, Guantánamo remains more quintessentially American than America itself: a distillation of the idealism and arrogance that has characterized U.S. national identity and foreign policy from the very beginning. Despite the Obama administration’s repeated efforts to shutter the notorious prison, . . .
Photo, left: Guantanamo in Cuba
. . . the naval base is in no danger of closing anytime soon. Places like Guantánamo, which fall between the clear borders of law and sovereignty, continue to serve a purpose regardless of which leaders—left, right, or center—hold the reins of power.
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