Thursday, Jul 02nd, 2020 - 10:12:33

Wurlitzer Prize

The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (2008)

'The CIA’s relationship with its front organizations has often been depicted in the imagery of musical recitation or theatrical performance. The Agency has variously been portrayed as playing the keys of a giant organ, pulling the strings of marionettes, or calling the tune of a piper. Whatever the metaphor, the implication is the same: from behind the scenes, the spies exercised complete control over the recipients of their covert largesse. What do we now know about the Mighty Wurlitzer? Modeled on the communist front, and powered by the natural energy of American associationalism, the CIA’s covert network was constructed by a group of elite men whose innate dislike of big government and official secrecy was offset by their hatred of communism and unquestioning belief in the moral righteousness of their own actions. Having failed in one of its original purposes, the mobilization of eastern-bloc émigrés to liberate the “captive nations,” the network was increasingly employed instead to prevent the communization of, first, western Europe, then such regions of the developing world as Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa... the early influence on front operations of ex-communist ideologues gave way to a liberal, internationalist emphasis on development and modernization, with many of the citizen groups involved also active in social movements and minority struggles on the home front.'

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