Operation Splinter Factor Combined Espionage and Personal Revenge
This story originally appeared on Feb. 27, 2017. While Joseph McCarthy, the House Un-American Activities Committee and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI terrorized suspected communists and their alleged sympathizers in the United States during the 1940s and ’50s, the CIA was simultaneously helping to orchestrate a campaign of witch hunts... Read more
The ‘Parsley Massacre’ Is a Chilling Example of How Quickly a Genocide Can Unfold
This story originally appeared on Feb. 21, 2017. In 1937, social and economic tensions within the Dominican Republic were redirected at its neighbor to the west, Haiti. Events quickly escalated into a genocidal rampage. Under the direct order of Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina, soldiers and civilian conscripts... Read more
Moscow’s Cuban Propaganda Movie Was a Cinematic Masterpiece — And a Commercial Flop
This story originally appeared on March 4, 2017. In 1992, the Pacific Film Archive’s Edith Kramer was given a difficult task — track down a copy of the obscure Cuban-Soviet propaganda film Soy Cuba that had been produced almost 30 years earlier. Cuban novelist and critic Guillermo Cabrera Infante wanted to... Read more
The CIA’s Operation ‘Midnight Climax’ Was Exactly What It Sounded Like
This story originally appeared on Sept. 17, 2016. On April 13, 1953, CIA director Allen Dulles authorized Project MKULTRA, the controversial series of experiments aimed at developing mind control techniques and discovering a “truth drug.” Agents dosed subjects with LSD and other psychotropic narcotics, hypnotized them, and exposed them to... Read more
America Experimented on Conscientious Objectors During World War II
This story originally appeared on June 24, 2015. The vast majority of Americans supported involvement in World War II, but a small minority refused to serve in combat because of their religious, philosophical, political or moral beliefs. The Selective Service and Training Act of 1940 gave these conscientious objectors... Read more
The Forgotten Tale of How Allied Bombers Chased a German Sub to Its Doom
In June 2018, Spanish media reported that divers Anxi González Roca and Eduardo Losada and naval historian Yago Abilleira had re-discovered the wreck Nazi submarine U-966 off Estaca de Bares in the Galician region on the northwestern tip of Spain. The divers found debris scattered across a wide area... Read more
Play the Pentagon-Funded Video Game That Predates ‘Pong’
This story originally appeared on July 27, 2014. Before Call of Duty, before Mario and even before Pong there was Spacewar! The brainchild of six graduate students at MIT in the early ‘60s, Spacewar! was the first true video game. A few guys had done cool tricks with oscilloscopes... Read more
In the 1980s, the Pentagon Was Desperate to Avoid Nuking the Middle East
In a secluded section of MacDill Air Force Base, four miles south of Tampa, Florida, is a building once used as a command center for strategic bombers based at the facility during the early decades of the Cold War. It is also where, on March 1, 1980, that Marine... Read more
How to Find a Missing H-Bomb
This story originally appeared on April 20, 2015. When a routine Cold War operation went terribly wrong, two planes and seven men died, a village got contaminated and a hydrogen bomb disappeared. The search and cleanup required 1,400 American and Spanish personnel, a dozen aircraft, 27 U.S. Navy ships... Read more
B.Z. Gas Rendered the Enemy Too Irritable to Fight
This story originally appeared on Oct. 27, 2014. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies could expect all sort of dangers if they ever got into a war with the United States—including nuclear weapons. The Pentagon was even prepared to deploy B.Z. gas. Sometimes... Read more
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