M. Stanton Evans' analysis of McCarthy's tangle over communist subversion is an excellent antidote to much of the false received wisdom about what was going on in that period. (Blacklisted by History: the untold story of Sen. Joe McCarthy and his fight against America's enemies, Random House, 2007.)
A commenter on a previous post questioned my serious reservations about Evans' impartiality. Let me say that there is no doubt that Evans, a former political columnist associated with the conservative Heritage Foundation, is an advocate and practices advocacy journalism.
But, let me hasten to add that Evans is clearly an expert newspaperman who has done a lot of digging through old records in his valuable attempt to put Joe McCarthy in perspective: the senator had a point!
Though we should be duly cautious about intelligence intercepts released by the government, nevertheless it is noteworthy that a number of McCarthy's initial cases have shown up in the Venona files as Soviet agents or assets. The Venona project decoded 1940s Russian transmissions (because in the wartime emergency the Soviets recycled their "onetime pads").
Any historian of the era will now have to contend with Evans' carefully documented book. What I find noteworthy is how thoroughly he demonstrates that the State Department pulled every dirty trick in the book and invented some new ones in its war to discredit McCarthy.
I'd like to point out also that one of McCarthy's targets, the Institute of Pacific Relations, which was tied to the Amerasia spy scandal, had had its nominating committee taken over by the communists but continued to be bankrolled by the Rockefeller interests until after McCarthy's death, when they finally shut it down.
Another McCarthy case, John S. Service, against whom there was plenty of evidence of communist leanings, was in 1957 reinstated as a Foreign Service officer as a result of a decision by the Supreme Court under Earl Warren, who went on to head the Warren commission. The State Department came under fire in this period for tilting the game in favor of Castro, using arguments similar to those used a decade earlier by Service and others to tilt the game in favor of Mao.
At any rate, State Department dirty tricks against McCarthy bring to mind the sleazy propaganda methods used by the current permanent government -- whose operatives act through the State Department -- and its shills to smear 9/11 skeptics.
9/11: who benefits.
I suppose I should say something about the Wikileaks publication of a trove of Afghan war documents.
Point 1: The wrath of the White House, Pentagon chief Gates and the Joint Chiefs head are predictable, but somewhat political. That is, what's the point of getting angry over a leak? Once it's out, it's out. If military problems arise, deal with them.
Point 2: The Trotskyists point out that the cables reveal incalculable civilian suffering, which may be a non-issue to the mainstream media, but there is an important moral issue here (whether one is a leftist or no).
Point 3: We may be seeing a revolution in governance, whereby the invisible control cliques face having unpleasant realities made manifest. This potential, it is safe to say, suggests that America's founding fathers would have upheld the activities of Julian Assange of Wikileaks. What Assange is doing is upholding the basic purpose of a free press.
Point 4: It is important that Wikileaks publish documents embarrassing to totalitarian and authoritarian governments also. Let's see some bombshells from (none dare call it Red) China.
China sentences Uighur journalist to 15 years.
Facebook said to ban "Don't tread on me" flag.
Facebook link censoring discussed.
Hacker rifles ATMs, for fun.
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/ (Search "jackpotting")
Legalistic chisel of email privacy is reported by EFF.
Zimbabwe wants pound of flesh.
More tribal thinking.
Iranian prisoner's health in doubt.
Murders of Honduran journos condemned.
Chavez menaces religious broadcaster.
Chavez upraided on censorship office.
Paraguayan journalist survives slay tries.
Reporters describe BP press vise.
Australians polled despise net nannies.
Thailand under massive net lid.
Cuba's freeing of 10 journalists is doubtless politically motivated. And here's the probable motivation: Obama is getting ready to reset relations with Havana and accord the communist nation normal diplomatic status. See IFEX.org for specifics on the releases.