30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Cold War – General

Oct 15, 2019 | News
A new documentary film offers fresh historical material and perspectives on the 1953 coup in Iran.  COUP 53, directed by award-winning Iranian-born film-maker Taghi Amirani, is an innovative look at a decades-old story that continues to reverberate in international politics.  After notable selections in festivals from Telluride to London in 2019, the film is currently having premier screenings in a number of U.S., Canadian, and European cities.

Oct 3, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 3, 2019 – When the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba nearly 60 years ago, American officials refused to believe that at least one Soviet motivation was the defense of Cuba. But declassified U.S. documents published in the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) confirm a series of sometimes frenetic covert operations ordered by the Kennedy White House and run by the CIA in those years to overthrow the Castro regime that in hindsight make Moscow’s (and Havana’s) concerns about defending the island much more credible.

Sep 9, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 9, 2019 – Seventy years ago, on 9 September 1949, Director of Central Intelligence Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter handed President Harry Truman a carefully worded report of “an abnormal radio-active contamination" in the Northern Pacific that greatly exceeded normal levels in the atmosphere.  While uncertain as to the cause, the DCI’s first hypothesis was “An atomic explosion on the continent of Asia.”  This proved to be accurate – it was the first Soviet test of a nuclear device.

Aug 9, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 9, 2019 – Several previously unknown Henry Kissinger memoranda of telephone conversations – or telcons – from October 1973, uncovered by the National Security Archive, provide blunt and fascinating vignettes from a significant moment during the Nixon presidency. 

Aug 2, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., August 2, 2019 – The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty negotiated by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 not only eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons but also broke new ground in arms control verification, according to declassified documents on INF negotiations published today by the National Security Archive.

Jun 27, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 27, 2019 – Recently declassified U.S. documents posted to mark the 60th anniversary year of the Dalai Lama’s flight out of Tibet depict sharp divisions among Chinese authorities over how to cope with the contested region and conclude that Beijing had “badly mismanaged” its policies and brought “disaster” to the majority of Tibetans.  The documents – a series of State Department cables – cover an important turning point in the global Cold War, 1979-1980.

Jun 11, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 11, 2019 – “Launch-on-warning,” a feature of U.S. nuclear warfighting strategy since the late 1970s, has frequently faced intensive criticism because of the high risk of accidental launches and uncontrollable outcomes, including massive casualties, according to recently declassified records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

May 2, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., May 2, 2019 - During 1963, President John F. Kennedy was preoccupied with issues such as Vietnam, the nuclear test ban negotiations, civil rights protests, and Cuba. It is less well known, however, that one of his most abiding concerns was whether and how fast Israel was seeking a nuclear weapons capability and what the U.S. should do about it. Beginning in April 1963, Kennedy insisted that the Israeli leadership accept regular bi-annual U.S. inspections, or in diplomatic language, “visits,” of Israel’s nuclear complex at Dimona in the Negev Desert.

Mar 13, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 12, 2019 - Last month’s posting by Robert S. Hopkins on “How the Strategic Air Command Would Have Gone to Nuclear War” provided incredible detail on SAC procedures during the 1960s. Strategic Air Command veteran Bruce Blair takes the story in to the 1970s, with an extraordinary account, based on personal experience, of how SAC would have carried out its nuclear mission if deterrence failed.

Mar 4, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, March 4, 2019 – The covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency are one element of the forward edge of power in U.S. foreign policy. But the CIA is not a lone ranger, shooting up saloons on its own account. A senior interagency group within the United States government acts as the high command of the secret war.

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